Amber and Aaron

Amber and Aaron

The Fun We've Already Had...

  • Graham Tomas born July 31 at 5:04 P.M. weighing 8 lbs, 12 oz.
  • December 2, 2011: PREGNANT!!!
  • Paisley Kate arrived August 21 at 5:38 P.M. weighing 7 lbs, 9 oz
  • DUE DATE: August 25, 2010!!!
  • Dec. 14, 2009- PREGNANT!!!
  • Oct. 07,2009- Had elective D&C.
  • Sept 28, 2009- No embryo on ultrasound. :(
  • Sept 15th, 2009- We found out we're PREGNANT!!!
  • Sept '09- Aaron had varicocele repair.
  • July '09- IUI #1 with HCG shot= No such luck
  • April '09- Ovarian drilling surgery, followed by hospitalization for uterine infection
  • Jan-Mar '09- metformin + 3 rounds of clomid= no ovulation
  • Dec. 11, 2008- Hysterosalpingogram (Fancy word for shooting dye through the ovaries. OUCH)
  • Nov '08- Sent to RE. Tried metformin alone for two months (No ovulation)
  • Oct '08- Diagnosed with PCOS based on amenorrhea and crazy hormone levels.
  • June '08- Aaron convinced me to start trying.
  • June '04- Got Hitched!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Tortoise Ride Anyone?

My husband is a vet as many of you know, but his true hobbies are fish and tortoises. We had a great time the other day in our backyard when Paisley got to take a ride on one. It's amazing how strong they are. It could actually walk around with her on its back!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Tornado Aftermath

This post is actually quite premature as the true aftermath will last for years. The grief, healing, and rebuilding phases will continue long after most people remember that this tornado even happened to Moore, Oklahoma. But I thought I'd let people know what it's like to live in an area affected.

We live in a neighborhood that has been destroyed on the north end. We luckily built our house on the south end. A walk through the neighborhood last night with the kids shows that every street gets worse than the one before it. It starts with debris filled streets and then slight roof damage and then trees down. Until you get to the street about 9 away from ours.

It is like walking into a third world country. The houses are destroyed. We walked by one house that the whole front is ripped off and you can see an intact china cabinet untouched. There is no front door or windows but a hanging basket with flowers still hangs on the "porch". There are cars parked in what used to be garages. Roofs are thrown into neighbors yards and cars are thrown into houses.

Across the street, a daycare center and doctors office are leveled to the concrete slab as if they were never there. One of the two schools hit is visible from my neighborhood as well and is a heap of rubble. Orr Family farm, a popular site for birthdays and weddings, is destroyed and most of their horses were killed. Paisley just kept saying "these houses are broken". Luckily she thought it was more strange than sad and we have hidden most emotions from her.

Our neighborhood is mostly vacant right now. We are one of only two or three streets that amazingly got power back. So most of our neighbors just left for somewhere else to stay. We have police checkpoints surrounding us on all sides that we have to show our IDs to get in.
And the lines are so long to do so that it has taken no less than 45 minutes and as long as 2 hours just to travel about 10 miles from our house. With 2 kids.

The situation is actually getting worse every day as clean up and rebuilding is already happening. Today, we have only one very bad route of getting out of here. They are reinstalling power lines and have shut us off from leaving except for one street that will be overcrowded and WAY out of the way.

Aaron has to make it to work and I would love to get out of this house. We have zero groceries in the fridge because ours all had to be thrown away from the power outage. And most of our fish in our saltwater tank died. We also lost some of our big koi in the backyard pond that we've had for 6 years. They eat out of our hands so we are very attached to them.

Our area is full of army tanks, emergency vehicles, police helicopters, utility companies and Red Cross vehicles. It feels surreal and scary and foreign. We have a 9 pm curfew to prevent looters. No one in and no one out after that point.

Our drive in or out is through a wasteland. I have to try hard to remember what used to be there and even what street I'm going through. I took a few pictures of the main intersection by my house yesterday and will post them. This isn't the worst of it. I just can't bear to take pictures of the rest.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

We are okay

Several of you have expressed concern on here and my phone nearly blew up yesterday with people asking if we were okay.

Short answer is yes. Long answer is I feel shaken to the core. I feel sad for so many around me who have lost everything. Their pets, their homes, their lives. I question "what if" about alot of choices from yesterday.

What if I'd decided to stay at our house so our kids could take afternoon naps like usual? What if I had chosen to leave the clinic for "better shelter" and put myself more in line of the storm? What if it took its original path and hit our clinic?

I went to our vet clinic 7 miles from our house at 1:30 yesterday. At 3, my phone started erupting with warning texts, many from numbers I didn't even know. Everyone urging us to seek shelter immediately. We luckily have a TV at the clinic and started watching as a giant tornado formed mere miles from us.

We had twelve minutes. What is difficult though is most places here don't have basements and not many people have shelters large enough to accommodate us and our two kids and our three employees and our clients who were trapped with us.

So we considered driving away in our cars. You may have seen what happened to people's cars on our main highway by my house. It mangled them beyond recognition. We thought of going to a school. Three were destroyed around us yesterday. And they just kept repeating that people above ground would not survive.

Luckily it missed us at the clinic where we watched the tornado clearly destroying everything to the south of us. We could see its massive shape and feel its ominous presence. If you've never been in a tornado, there is a distinctive calmness in the air and it gives you chills.

This felt just like the May 3rd tornado that hit within a mile of my home. And took 40 lives and thousands of homes. It's one that Oklahomans still talk about frequently. And this one was worse.

My mom saw it looming over her as she frantically raced to our clinic and out of its path. She made it to us in time. What if she'd left a minute later and been trapped in her car with all the others fleeing our area? I can't even think about it.

None of our phones worked well all day yesterday so I was unable to let our friends and family know that we were okay. Every once in a while I would get 50 texts from people worried, but it wouldn't allow me to respond by text or call. Our clinic phones were ringing but we couldn't hear anything when we'd pick up.

We didn't know about our house until late last night. Aaron left pretty quickly after it hit to survey the damage but had to walk about 4 miles on foot through enormous amounts of debris. Roads were littered like a landfill. Dead horses lay in pastures and even roads.

Our house is miraculously okay. Yeah it's a mess. But it has a roof and four walls and is okay. Our pets survived. Which is also incredible considering that they were outside. I left them OUTSIDE. It was a beautiful afternoon with a 30% chance of showers. We have a large patio for shelter. They wouldn't have survived inside anyways, but I bet they were terrified.

My Mom's house is also okay. She rode into the neighborhood in the bed of a military vehicle and saw everything around us destroyed. (She lives down the street from us).

I stayed at the clinic and triaged a few animals that were brought in and accepted some boarding animals from people who no longer have homes. We have a cat who was found underneath a large beam. He was wet and covered in mud but alive. Aaron helped me treat him over the phone as he walked to our house.

We have no electricity and no means of getting to our house. The tornado destroyed everything on the other side of OUR neighborhood. Less than a half mile from our house. It went between our home and clinic. Our neighboring businesses and schools and houses are GONE. We had many friends welcome us to their homes and I am lying here now with my family as they sleep at our best friends' house in Edmond.

My heart hurts. This morning seems so much more REAL. I fear all that I will see when we return home. Aaron and my mom have warned me how bad it truly is in person. What if we had lost everything???

The picture was taken by one of our neighbors before he went into his shelter.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Water Time

My favorite thing in this world is babies in swimsuits!!! We got to go swimming for the first time this summer and I love these kids in their suits. They both had a blast and Graham would splash around and then laugh hysterically!

Sunday, May 19, 2013


Living in Oklahoma all my life, tornados have always been a normal inconvenience to me. I have slept through a good number of tornado sirens and been guilty of ignoring the warnings to take shelter.

For those that don't live in a place where tornados are the norm, they must seem terrifying. And honestly- they are. But only in recent years have they seemed so destructive and dangerous. In the past, they seemed to touch down in very rural counties where no one had ever lived. A crappy old barn might be damaged, but nothing too exciting. It was mostly irritating because all TV shows would be interrupted with our overexcited weathermen chasing the tornado around.

What is awe-inspiring is how a tornado can just level an entire neighborhood in one swipe or even destroy one house while leaving the next one untouched. We have had this happen to people living within a few miles several times in recent years now and it never stops surprising me.

May is an infamous month for the natural disasters to strike here. We always have our most devastating tornados in May. And now that I have kiddos to protect, they are just a bit more scary. We don't currently have a storm shelter but we will build one in our next home.

Today one of our friends lost her home and it just made it all too real how serious it can truly be. Although you wouldn't ever guess from the rednecks they choose to interview on the news who recorded the whole thing from their front porch while drinking beer. ;). Our home is fine and we are all safe for today. I guess tomorrow is another "high risk" weather day...

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Thank You, Mr. Ferber

My second child was quickly turning into a worse sleeper than my first. It all changed at four months and this ship was sinking fast. He woke up at least every 3 hours still and the chunk weighs over 19 pounds. Did he not get the memo that he won't starve to death overnight and that my overworked nipples need healing time???

Sooo, six nights ago I was beyond exhausted and had determined that there was nothing at all that the boy needed. He'd been fed, bathed, fed again, snuggled, played with to the point of exhaustion and loved on. His room was comfortable in temp and lighting and sounds. In fact, I thought I had narcolepsy because every time I stepped foot in the room, I passed out cold. :)

But I laid him down in his perfect sleeping environment and he woke up after 45 short minutes. So I let him cry for an hour. Yep. A whole hour. I turned the monitor off and wished our house was larger so that I didn't have to suffer through listening. Then my tough side crumbled and I came in to feed him and he quickly fell asleep for 8 solid hours. This is only the third time he'd ever slept that long in 9 months so it was amazing!

Then the past 6 nights since his ferberizing, he's slept 8-9 hours straight with no crying at all! I'm starting to hear that inner, suppressed, sleep-deprived girl inside coming back to life. Say what you will about the method, but it has worked wonders on both of my babies and they both seemed to have survived without major psych issues. :)

Yay for sleep!!! Makes me laugh at my stupid pre-partum self that thought it was annoying and disruptive to have to wake up and pee during the night. I had nooooo idea...

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Mom of the Year

Yesterday we had a makeover party at my house which is totally not my thing for people who know me in real life. However, I'm now almost 33 and I have never known how to properly do my makeup or hair and rely on "natural beauty" to get me through. But that can only last so long before my age takes over...

So we had a makeover party with me, my mom and my mother-in-law. Paisley was the one who enjoyed it very most though! She put on base, loads of eyeshadow and we drew a heart on her cheek with eyeliner pencils. The kid felt sooo pretty and special.

The consultant mentioned numerous times that I was super calm as her mom and that she would have freaked out about her daughter being so messy. She even called me "Mom of the Year" which is a title I know I'll never actually deserve. So it got me to thinking...

I guess I'm a pretty laid back mom. I definitely chose the parenting technique of "Pick Your Battles" and try to not have that many. I want my kids to know the song "I Hope You Dance" and really live by it.

Yesterday at lunch, Paisley decided to break out in dance in the parking lot so I joined her. Some days she wants her face painted like a kitty cat for school or she wants to wear her monkey house shoes to dinner or she chooses to wear her princess dress to Gymboree class.

I feel it's all a sign of her developing individuality and boosts her self confidence. Maybe I'm setting her up to be made fun of by other kids eventually. But I just can't stifle her independence and creativity at this point.

My kids don't always go to bed at the same time and they sometimes skip naps and we're on the go a lot. They may have stuff on their clothes and their hair is often a mess because we play hard. But the lack of structure that I bring to the table doesn't seem to hurt them and I hope they learn to be flexible, fun people.

We aren't perfect parents but we raise out kids in a fun, loving home where they get to do lots of activities. My theory is the more we're out, the less trouble they get in, the more tired they are and the less messy my house can be!!!

I know some people probably think I have this parenting thing all wrong and maybe I do. But it's what works for us and our kids are really happy and seem to be developing into pretty amazing little people. Now to remind myself of that every day instead of letting that Mommy Guilt take over!!!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Deepest Fears

We all have them and many are the same. Fears that are too painful to confront. We all just push them into a small dark corner of our mind and try our hardest to forget they exist. We strive to believe that they can't happen to us. These happen to people we don't know in places we've never been. Far, far away from our own safe, little life.

For me, the day I decided I wanted a baby was also the day that these fears became overwhelming and powerful. There were times while dealing with infertility that the fear of never having a child controlled every bit of my soul. Then during my 2nd pregnancy, I was terrified that we would lose this baby just like we had the first. The thought of dealing with another loss was excruciating.

Later, after being blessed with my two babies, it was worry over their health and safety. Mostly my kids have been super healthy kids and I am so fortunate for that. But it doesn't stop me from worrying that they are masking an underlying ailment or disease, or that someone could harm them, or that they could be involved in an accident. Those thoughts paralyze me.

Paisley gave us such a scare when she had a seizure in Las Vegas. Even with my medical degree, I could not detect that she was experiencing a seizure nor decide what to do to help with the situation. Watching your little baby turn completely pale with blue lips and go limp and unresponsive is terrifying. My mind shut down and my body wouldn't move. I know I called 911 and I remember at some point seeing her start seizing, but it doesn't even seem real. At last, we were in an ambulance and my fatigued child was draped across my chest on the gurney. What if that had been more than a febrile seizure? What if it had been the presenting symptom of something more serious?

With Graham, I awoke to find him running a terribly high fever and panting. He had cried out several times overnight in pain and had been very sensitive to light the day before. Again my medical training failed me and I ignored warning signs of meningitis. The drive to the ER with him was mind numbingly long. I was so scared that he would stop breathing in his seat. We watched our 4 day old baby endure two spinal taps, multiple attempts at starting an IV, countless injections and X-rays and lab studies. What if his tiny body hadn't been strong enough to fight the infection?

I reminisce about these two occurrences to say that there are people out there who deal with these things every day. I have friends who have lost babies. I know others who will. My own cousin's baby died from a heart defect at 4 months the same day we had babysat her for several hours.

We knew she was sick. But that day she was fine. She seemed happy and peaceful and beautiful as always. We held her and loved on her. I remember staring at her sweet face and wondering how something so perfect could be so sick. And then she was gone a few hours later. I've never felt such an unfair loss and it still haunts me that we couldn't keep her here with us. Every time I see her now 3 year old twin, I think of what she would now be doing.

Being a parent means having your heart exposed to the world. These two little people mean more to me than my own life. And knowing people who deal with terminal illness and death in their own babies makes it more palpable for me. I try to soak in every single moment because we truly are beyond lucky for THIS day.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Here Comes Three...

Oh geez, just as I typed that title I realized that it sounds like this is a pregnancy announcement which is the farthest thing from the truth! This girl's baby making days are absolutely, positively, without a doubt OVER. I will be leaving my paragard IUD in and will start the pill once I stop nursing. (I need the pill for my PCOS). Those along with abstinence and I should be covered... And P.S. If one more person responds to my answer that I'm not having any more kids with "that's what so-and-so said and now she has three more OR you'll change your mind when Graham is a bit older OR so-and-so thought she was done and then she got pregnant after a tubal and vasectomy!!!" I don't want another baby as much as I love my two and those horror stories are not funny to me after my sleep deprivation and sheer exhaustion. Mostly it's the same foolish people who thought the advice to just relax was useful in "treating" my infertility.

What the title was actually referring to was the way Paisley is careening wildly towards the tender, loving age of 3. My adorable baby turned one and things were so fun. She learned so much that year and she loved me wholeheartedly. Then two came and she developed a bit more attitude. She cries a bit more and become opinionated and fought for her independence. I thought "oh, this must be the terrible twos. How will we survive?"

Little did I know that those were the good days. She was smaller in size which helped us contain her, quieter so she created less noticeable scenes in public and far less vocal so she couldn't throw such painful insults and words my way and then watch for my reaction.

Now, the child has an arsenal of vocabulary that she knows all too well how to use to manipulate, destroy and conquer her enemies (otherwise known as her parents). She can scream loud enough that dolphins in the Atlantic Ocean wonder what is going on and she demands that everything in her world is just her way. Her motto is that it is "her way or the highway" and that there really is "only one way to skin a cat."

Then she can turn on the killer charm and woo everyone else around us so that they think I'm crazy for complaining about her erratic and loony behavior. She behaves perfectly at school and her teachers love her. I'm so shocked that I wish they could just raise her for a few years.

As much as this little person can baffle, confuse, frustrate, and sadden us, she is developing into an amazing little lady. I know she will be strong and independent and self-assured and creative. She will be fun-loving and spontaneous and funny. And she is totally beautiful. Which she is well aware of and is already using it to her advantage. She feels pretty when she wears dresses and mama's high heels. She loves to perform for us and be the center of attention.

But we are still 3 months shy of two and I'm not positive we can have much more personality in this house!!!