Saturday, March 29, 2014

{Gracie’s TWO year pictures}

If you take one look at this blog, I think it’s pretty clear that I love pictures.  Like really, really LOVE them.  To capture special moments in time and to document the life of my little family is something that has been incredibly important to me since before Grace was born.  That’s actually one of the reasons why I started More Than Words.  So that if something were to happen to my computer or our home where all of our pictures are stored, there would still be images and stories of our wonder years as a young family to look back on.  Growing up, this is something that my mom was really good at.  At least once a year, we would take family photos and those pictures of us rockin’ horrific 80’s attire with missing teeth are some of my favorite memories.  Georgia’s mom took her and her brother to have their pictures taken every year as well and I get so much joy out of laughing at some of the hairstyles my wife had growing up, lol!  My hope is that Georgia and I can document the same special moments for our gal and any other kiddos we may have because I know how much it will one day mean to them. :)


For the Bean’s two-year photo shoot, we went with the same photographer who took our first photos as a family of three in 2012, as well as Gracie’s one-year pictures in 2013, and our family photos taken this past Christmas.  L is a good friend of mine and I love that she has been our family photographer since the beginning.  Her and Grace get along great and I honestly don’t think we would get the same beautiful smiles we get from Gracie if we went with someone else.  L is just awesome with little ones.


We decided to have the Bean’s pictures taken at the University where I earned my BA.  The school has a beautiful duck pond surrounded by grass, beautiful fountains and lots of flowers.  Our appointment was at 10am so it was still a bit breezy out but Grace was totally unphased by the cold and was her normal smiley self.  Because there were birds to chase and ducks to feed, she was a happy camper!


L took over 70 photos (because she’s awesome and always gives us more time and poses then we’ve booked) and while it’s impossible to choose a favorite, this black and white portrait is one that I find myself looking at time and time again since we picked up our CD.  It’s so natural and captures all of the sweetness and beauty that is our daughter.  This one is getting printed on a large canvas for sure!


After taking pictures at the duck pond, L had the idea to head over to the sorority house where we both lived when we were in college.  I love that she had this idea because it’s something that I would have never thought of.  I absolutely adore the way Gracie’s little smile and outfit looked against the white bricks and pillars of the timeless house that I called home for 4 years.  I have countless memories of reading and hanging with friends on the very steps and swing where Gracie’s pictures were taken.  The whole experience was so special to us.


As I mentioned, our photographer took A LOT of photos, and while I wish I could share all of them, it would take all day to upload so I’ll leave you with these last ones.  Thank you to L for once again documenting our daughter’s life so beautifully.  As I look over her pictures again and again, I can’t help but think that in a blink we'll be taking her high school graduation pictures.  And that thought make me want to burst into tears.  As my friend S recently shared in a quote that pulled at my heart strings, “As a parent, just know, each day is a second, each week a minute, and every month an hour.  In a camera flash the years fly by. 


And what would a 2nd birthday photo shoot be without a little bird chasing? ;)




Thursday, March 27, 2014

24 Months of Gracie

Dear Grace, you have officially been a part of our family for 24 months little one!  Can you even believe that?  When you were a teenie baby, I would think about what it would be like when you were big enough to walk, talk, make friends and play, and here you are, TWO years old already and doing all of these things and so much more! Every month your mamas are convinced that you have reached maximum cuteness but then you grow another month older and do and say even more new things that surprise us and keep us laughing.  You are incredibly kind and loving to your friends and family and darlin’, you are one smart cookie!


At 2 years old you can count to 20!  You run in the opposite direction any time I try and film you counting, however I did get a short clip of you showing off your counting skills last month.  While you lost interest and wanted to bolt near the end, Mama’s glad she got something on video to show you when you’re older. :)



You can sing all of the words to the ABC’s, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Row Row Row Your Boat, Isty Bitsy Spider, Rockabye Baby, You Are My Sunshine and Happy Birthday.  You LOVE to sing so we’ve been singing to you a whole lot these past couple of months.  One day it’s like a switch clicked on and suddenly you were the one singing to us!  On the mornings when I take you to Gaga and Papa’s, you sing to me the entire way there.  It’s the best way to start my day. :)



You learn things so quickly that it really does amaze Mommy and me.  Verbally you have always been ahead of the curve according to your pediatrician and really any other parent who hears you speak, but we’re just now getting to see how coordinated you are, especially in soccer.  It took you less than a month to learn how to run and kick your soccer ball from one end of the soccer field to the other.  You are one of only a few kiddos who can do this in your class!  You really love soccer and we’re hopeful that it’s something you will want to do for years to come.



You love your cousins and adore you grandparents.  Watching how much you all care for each other and enjoy spending time together makes mommy and me so very happy.  Sofia the First is still a favorite “Toonie” (cartoon) of yours.  You equally love Peter Rabbit, Bubble Guppies, Peppa Pig and Max & Ruby. Your favorite foods these days include rice, avocado, blueberries, corn, cheese sticks, frozen yogurt, grapes and you’ve become quite the cookie monster.  You’re still not a huge fan of meat but Mommy and I manage to sneak protein into your diet just about everyday.  We’re sneaky mamas!


At 2 years old you LOVE:

- To feed the doggies and insist on putting each cup of food in their bowls all on your own.  You squeal with happiness as they come running in the door for dinner.


- Bath time is a must now, every night, because you love it so much.  You could spend hours in the tub if we let you.  Mommy just got you a Little People Splash ‘n Scoop Bath Bar, which has made it even harder to get you out of there before turning into a raisin.


- Bedtime stories are another favorite of yours.  After watching an episode of Berenstain Bears each night, we all cuddle up in Mama and Mommy’s bed to read some books before you go night-night.  You have several favorites, which we often read over and over.  You love our evening routine and yell, “story time, come on, let's go!” every night as you run to our room.  You even climb out of your bed some nights and grab books to “read” on your own. :)


- You adore your babies, especially your Little People.  You take your babies to bed, to the bath and on our outings everyday.  You shower them with kisses and hugs.  You also try feeding them and combing their hair.  Such a good mama!


- Going to the park is a favorite activity of yours and I’m talkin’ every.single.day!  Your grandparents live across from a park and you all spend so much time there that the park is often referred to as “Gracie’s park”.  Now that you have your birthday bike and princess helmet, I have now doubt that you will be spending even more time over there.


And then there’s the “terrible twos” stuff…

Mama’s not a big fan of that saying but I will agree that you can be pretty darn stubborn.  You are ALWAYS on the go and there are days when you have a hard time sitting still and listening.  This is something that’s become apparent at your soccer practices the past couple of weeks.  You would much rather run laps around the field or chase other kiddos then sit and listen to your Coach.  Soccer practice has turned into a workout for your mamas because you are one fast runner!  We just keep reminding ourselves that you’re two and sometimes you’re going to act like a two year old.  Imagine that! 


Mama: you promise you won’t drop it?
Grace: yes, pomise mama!

*You dropped it about 10 seconds later… ;)

You are very determined, which is something you get from both your moms.  When you have your mind set on something, that’s it.  Your favorite thing to say right now is, “I do it!” and “no help pease”.  When you're having a tough time, Mommy and I can try explaining things to you at eye level, offer you alternatives, scold you or even bribe you but most of these things don’t work when you are really worked up.  You have yet to throw yourself on the floor and you don’t have the epic tantrums we hear toddlers typically have, (thank you for that!) but that doesn’t mean you don’t throw fits.  You’ve developed a distinct cry that usually surfaces when we take something from you that you aren’t supposed to be playing with or when we have to keep you from running off when we’re in a crowded place and you’re excited to explore.  Thankfully, chapstick still seems to work like a charm as a "fix all" when you’re fussy.  In other words, your mamas always have chapstick when we are out and about, just in case!


This year, like last year, we celebrated your birthday starting the moment you work up with a birthday breakfast of cupcakes!  We started this tradition when you were one and it’s something we hope to do until you’re all grown up!  I love your sweet sleepy face in this video and the bed head is my favorite! 


Happy birthday beautiful girl.  Your Mommy and I are so lucky that you chose us to be your mamas.  We could not be more proud of the sweet girl that you have grown to be.  We love you as high as the sky and as deep as the sea!
   



Wednesday, March 19, 2014

IUI #3 = BFN

To be honest, I never thought it would take me this long to get pregnant.  I say this knowing that some of you out in TTC land may read this and think I’m being a bit overly dramatic.  For the record, I do realize that when TTC through IUI, 3 tries does not equal “a lot” of attempts.  Even so, I didn’t think it would take me 3 inseminations or that come Gracie’s 2nd birthday I would be moving on to round 4.  I was absolutely certain that by the time her birthday came around, I would be pregnant… Unfortunately, I was wrong.  Even though I am considered overweight, I am healthy and I am strong.  When we tested to make sure my fallopian tubes were clear a few years ago, they were.  And while I was diagnosed with PCOS back in 2011, I’ve never had a cyst and my blood tests have continued to come back within normal ranges.  Because of all of this, I really did think I was Fertile Myrtle as my mom insisted I was and to be honest, it’s been very difficult to come to terms with the fact that I’m not.


My BFN following IUI #1 was a bummer.  My second BFN was equally disappointing, but BFN #3 has been the most difficult emotionally and physically.  With the fatigue I felt during my most recent TWW and the abdominal pain I experienced the two days following my insemination, I really thought that try #3 was the ONE.  I broke down and tested on 10dpici but when that was negative I brushed it off as simply the result of testing too early.  When I tested again the evening of day 13 and it was still negative, I knew I wasn’t pregnant and I was pissed about it.  Yes, I was pissed.  Not sad, just angry.

I’m so damn tired of feeling tired all the time.  I’m tired of feeling bloated and uncomfortable in my clothing.  I’m sick of being moody… I mean seriously, my wife deserves a medal for what she puts up with some days.  I’m so over this emotional roller coaster and the fact that I’ve only been at this 4 months and I’m already feeling this way worries me a bit.  More than anything, I just want to feel well again.  Lately it seems like I’m always sick.  I remember this happened when G began taking fertility meds and suddenly it seemed she had a cold or flu like symptoms all the time.  Now it’s my turn and like her, it’s taking a toll on my immune system.  Right now I’m on week two of a pretty crappy cold.  This is following being sick in January and February and for someone who used to only get sick once to twice a year, this is definitely not the norm for me.  For those of you who have taken fertility meds, what was your experience?  I was on Clo.mid at first but switched to Letro.zole and still I feel the same.

So there you have it friends… The journey to bring a second kiddo into our family continues.  I’m strongly considering taking a cycle off this month and jumping back in come April.  G and I have been talking a lot about it and really what it boils down to is that I’m hesitant to inseminate while my body is busy fighting off whatever it is I have right now.  With the limited vials we have remaining, every failed attempt is one less chance of baby #2 sharing Gracie’s adorable and perfect DNA.  The thought of that just breaks my heart.

I mean, come on… Who wouldn’t want another one of these?!


As I began writing this post I laughed thinking about how I told G back in December that I would never blog about my inseminations.  At the time, I felt that TTC was far too personal a journey to share with others.  The plan going into this was that I would share information in the same way we did when Georgia got pregnant.  I would not write about all of the grueling details associated with negative pregnancy tests, disappointment and frustration, and I definitely would not share personal stories of my experiences with each BFN.  Instead, my original plan was to wait until I was pregnant and in my second trimester before writing a “we’re pregnant” post like we did before.  Then something strange happened… We started the process and I found myself desperately trying to find posts written by fellow bloggers who have been on the TTC crazy train and have dealt with the same kind of disappointment.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t really finding what I was looking for.  It seems that sharing about ones fertility woes goes hand in hand with sharing stories of miscarriage – you don’t.  I did come across a few blogs that I’ve found comfort in and my hope is that my BFN posts will do the same for someone else who is trying to make a baby and finding that it’s not as easy as they thought it would be.

It’s a scary thing writing about this kind of stuff.  You worry that you’ll be judged because your experience differs from others, or that you’ll come across as whinny for even writing about those first few BFN’s.  I know I’ve felt this way, almost like I needed to TTC for at least a year before being allowed to feel sad about it or share my feelings.  Then I realized that a person’s first BFN is heartbreaking.  So is the second and the third and the tenth.  They all matter and it’s okay to be sad about it.  It’s okay to feel jealous of those lucky ones who get pregnant right away or angry with moms who keep having babies with no intention to care for them.  It’s okay to be disappointed that things aren’t going according to plan, so that’s what I’m allowing myself to feel.  I still have complete faith that I will make a baby when the timing is right.  I have faith that our little one will look like Gracie and share her beautiful eye color or happy little demeanor.  I understand that I am a work in progress and that miracles take time.  I have faith in how far I can go. 

And now I’m crying.  Stupid fertility drugs.  Anyway, I’ll leave you with this --


Acupuncture selfie.  I get so bored lying on that damn table.



Tuesday, March 11, 2014

{Gracie’s 2nd Birthday Party}

We officially have a TWO year old!  She is smart and sweet and pretty darn near perfect if you ask her mamas.  This weekend was all about her from beginning to end and we loved every minute of it.  Below are some of my favorite pictures from her Sofia the First themed birthday party this past Saturday so get comfy friends, this post is going to be rather long and very picture heavy!  Shocking, I know… ;)


Gracie’s Nani hosted our Sofia the First birthday party at her house and everything turned out just as I envisioned it in my head.  Thanks mom!  We had some concern that it was going to be cold and rainy but aside from some sprinkling in the morning, it was a pretty nice day.  The festivities started at 1pm and Grace surprised all of us by taking a nap before the party, which put her in great spirits once her guests began to arrive.  We decorated the evening before so our morning consisted of eating lots of cupcakes and loving on our birthday girl.  This was such a change from the morning of the Bean’s birthday party last year and thank goodness for that.  Low stress is always a good thing when you’re gearing up to host 60 friends and family!  I loved seeing all of the princess decorations up and felt quite proud of the fact that we made a lot of the décor ourselves.  Grace loved everything but I think she especially enjoyed the gift bags we made for her little buddies.  The tulle and pearls turned out super cute.   


This year Grace had her very own Cookie Bar complete with sugar cookies, assorted frosting, sprinkles for decorating, and strawberry and vanilla milk.  You simply can’t enjoy cookies without a little milk. 


To be honest, I wasn’t sure if the kids would get into the cookie decorating idea or if anyone would even notice the Cookie Bar set up in the dinning room.  Boy was I wrong – everyone LOVED it!  Kids and parents decorated cookies and proudly walked around the party showing off their decorating skills.  Thanks to Gracie’s auntie, the birthday girl got to hit up the Cookie Bar as well!  I made around 4 dozen cookies thinking that would be plenty but they went pretty fast.  I just loved watching the chaos unfold in that little room as Gracie’s friends giggled and decorated their cookies sampling sprinkles along the way. :) 
 

One of the activities we had for the kiddos was a pretty pink princess piñata (say that three times fast, lol)!  Piñatas are a birthday tradition here in New Mexico, so when we came across the little princess piñata a few weeks ago, it was a must get item.  G filled the crown with candy bars and lollipops and each kiddo got a turn at bat.  The little ones went first and didn’t have to wear a blindfold.  Watching these little tikes doing their best to hit the piñata was just about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.  And the faces Grace was making during her turn had us cracking up.  The Bean’s little friend J ended up taking the winning swing, which was followed by a swarm of kids grabbing as much candy as their little hands could hold.  I can’t stop laughing at the action shot on the right side of the collage of G leaping toward J once she cracked open the piñata.  Too funny!


Our super awesome friend Becca made the bean’s birthday cake and it tasted as good as it looked.  We decided on cupcakes initially but in the days leading up to the party G decided that Grace really needed a cake to properly blow out her candles.  Becca made the cake for our bridal shower back in 2009 and as you can see below, she does a pretty amazing job!  Thank you so much Becca!


After everyone ate we sang Happy Birthday to the Bean and she loved every minute of it.  Some kiddos cry when that many people are staring at them but not our gal.  She squealed with delight grabbing Princess Sofia, Princess Amber and Prince James off of the cake before we even finished singing, haha.  She was also able to blow out her birthday candle all on her own this year, which was so very cute.


We ended the day with the opening of presents and had an absolute blast watching Gracie’s reactions.  The Bean was one very spoiled birthday girl and tore into her presents like a champ!  She had the help of all her little buddies, which created quite the chaotic scene.  Tissue paper was flying and following the opening of each gift I had 3-4 little ones practically on my lap trying to get a closer look.  We kept having to reposition the kiddos because with each gift they inched closer until we all seemed to be piled on top of each other.  They were all just so excited, lol! 


The Bean got totally hooked up in the Little People department!  She LOVES, loves Little People and now has the LP house thanks to Nani as well as the farm and Little Mermaid carriage to add to her collection which she hasn’t stopped playing with since the party.  She also received her very first tricycle from her Gaga and Papa and has already learned how to petal on her own!


I still can’t believe that our baby girl is two!  It just blows my mind.  I’m going through a bit of a blogging slump right now but have every intention of writing a 24 month Gracie update this week with pictures of the fun things we did on her actual birthday so stay tuned!  In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this hilarious picture of our birthday girl mid-sugar crash, half eaten cupcake in hand!  It’s her party and she’ll cry if she wants to. ;)  


Monday, March 3, 2014

10/52: "Open those eyes!"

I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all been in the following situation.  Your kid’s riding in the backseat, completely exhausted and you’re almost home.  Then 5 minutes before you reach your destination, kiddo falls asleep.  Despite your best efforts to bring said kiddo in for a nap, your child awakes and thus the long anticipated nap is gone forever.  The Bean has been doing this a lot lately.  She will fall asleep in the Jeep and even if she’s only passed out for a few minutes, that seems to be all she needs to completely skip her afternoon nap.  These days are tough because G and I NEED that naptime like we need food and water.  Those 2 hours allow us to get so much done and when they’re skipped it throws the whole day off.

The following video was taken this past Saturday on the way home from soccer practice.  We were determined to keep Grace awake until we got home and thanks to "Whoomp! There It Is" by Tag Team, we were able to pull it off!  Warning -- Gracie's moms sing in this video… proceed with caution. ;)



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