Our miracle RAINBOW BABY BOY is on the way! Due 8/2018

1st IVF = BFN
2nd IVF = Baby A, born May 2015
3rd IVF = Miscarriage at 14 weeks
4th IVF = BFN
After we paid for 5th IVF, positive pregnancy w/o IVF!

Because the important moments in life just don’t fit in a status update! I started this blog when I was training for my first ½ Ironman, (70.3 miles) to record what I hoped would be growth and progress but ended up being a huge learning experience. Although fitness is one of the key ingredients to a happy life, it certainly isn't the only ingredient. My blog has evolved to document growth, progress and setbacks in other areas too. From my surprise proposal in Rome and wedding in the fall of 2013, to Mom's devastating stage IV cancer diagnosis and death 2 weeks after I found out I was pregnant. Who knows what shape it will take, but thanks for being along for the ride.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Pregnancy (and gender!) Reveal Party

We had been keeping my pregnancy a secret, and wanted to tell our friends in person. Not having a good reason to throw a party, I sent an invite out  about a month before for "Food + Friends." I tried to entice them by saying that we would be serving Baja Fresh and were looking forward to catching up. I learned later on that the mere fact we were throwing a party for no real reason tipped some people off, as did my weight gain and near-constant wearing of a vest.

As soon as I thought of the idea of a party back in December, I picked rainbows as a theme because this was our rainbow baby. Picking the theme early always helps, because it allows me to space out the spending so that it is not as noticeable! I created the card below for free on Canva, and printed 35 copies of the image this same size. I ordered a box of 35 full-size skittle bags from Sam's Club and attached the card with a drop from the hot glue gun, for a quick and easy favor. I placed a basket filled with them by the door (after the announcement, of course), along with a sign instructing each guest to take one in case I was in a different part of the house or yard when they left.

I didn't order too many decorations, but enough to set the tone for the cheerful message we were going to convey. I love setting up for parties at home, because I'm able to do it over the course of a week or more, so it's not stressful. I ordered the decorations from Amazon, Oriental Trading and Party City.

Gummie rainbows from Oriental Trading



I enjoy baking and was going to attempt to make the 48 cupcakes above. But when I called our local grocery store bakery, I realized that they were so inexpensive that it didn't really seem worth my time to mix up all of the different colors of frosting.


I ordered the rainbow roses from our local Grower's Direct two weeks ahead of time. A specialty item, they needed time to pick them up from the flower mart in LA.

Once everyone arrived and had a chance to mingle and eat, my husband started the announcement: 


The pregnancy announcement lead into our gender reveal:
  

My husband and I had found out a month prior that we were having a boy. A boy! At a dinner with just the two of us, I opened an envelope from my doctor's office based on blood work done at only 10 weeks and we celebrated. With baby A, we found out when everyone else did, at a gender reveal party when I was only 11 weeks pregnant. Click here to see Baby A's gender reveal party back in November of 2014. Shout-out to my friend Delia who makes a guest appearance in that video as well! 

Due to my previous miscarriage, we would not be announcing for another 6 weeks this time around, and there is just no way I could have gone a month and a half without finding out! After-all, I needed to get started on planning his nursery, first birthday and buying some clothes!

We are over-the-moon excited that Baby A is going to be a big sister to a little brother! There was a time when I worried that I may not have a child, and now we are being blessed with a second.



Wednesday, March 7, 2018

How To Throw An Unforgettable Birthday Party For Kids

This week, I'm sharing a guest post on my favorite topic: Kids' birthday parties! I won't share with you what I'm spending on Baby A's Beauty and The Beast themed party which is less than 2 months away, but will say that I'm probably exactly the type of parent she is referring to when she writes: There are ways to give your child a unique and special party, without dipping into their college fund. This article serves as a good reminder (to me and a lot of other parents out there) that parties can still certainly be memorable without breaking the bank. I may refer back to a few of these tips myself as I move forward starting next year with two birthday parties to throw within two months' time. What an amazing predicament to have, when there once was a time I worried about never becoming a Mom at all.
How To Throw An Unforgettable Birthday Party For Kids
There was a time when parents gave their kids traditional birthday parties. Most birthday parties had a cake, a few cheap games, (like Pin The Tail On The Donkey) presents and the “Happy Birthday” Song.

Today’s parents feel an obligation to make their child’s birthday party a major event. People spend huge amounts of money for professional entertainment, bounce houses, and rent out establishments with rides, food, and games that celebrity children could not compete with.

There are ways to give your child a unique and special party, without dipping into their college fund. We will share a few of these ideas with you below. Before we begin, we would like to point out that we are not going back to the plain traditional party, we will be pushing against tradition here. For example, instead of a sheet cake that costs a fortune, we suggest buying candy from an online supplier. Make goodie bags that match the theme of your party. If your party colors are blue, get with your supplier. For example,
buy pastels and blue candy from Sweet Services that will be unique and keep the theme color together. Save the cake for your family dinner that is in honor of your birthday child.


You can also set up a buffet or bar and display containers of candy. This is a cheap and easy way to treat guests. Get creative. You can use ice cream cones filled with scoops of pretty cotton candy, stuff small jars with gummy insects, or make lollipop trees. You are only limited by your imagination. There are many party favor boxes, bags, and bags to choose from.

Toddlers

Young children are easily entertained. They love simple parties that keep the focus on them for a few hours. For your cheap DIY toddler party, why not have a Teddy Bear Parade?

Invite each guest to bring their favorite teddy bear or other stuffed toy. Set up a “costume room”. This is where you will have baskets of dress-up clothes, shoes, bags, and other items. You can get your accessories from home, friends. The Goodwill, garage sales, and the local dollar store.  Here are some suggestions:

  • Sparkly materials
  • Hats
  • Ribbons
  • Bows
  • Beads and necklaces
  • Make-up
  • Flowers and floral leis
  • Umbrellas
  • Canes
  • Walking sticks
Check out the clearance section of your local hobby or fabric store.

Each guest goes to the costume room to dress up and to dress up their Teddy Bear. When everyone is ready, form a line and begin the parade.  March the party around the block or through the park. The parade ends at the location decorated and selected for the guest of honor to sit and unwrap gifts.

Photo credit

School-aged children

DIY Calming Glitter Jars are super fun and easy to make and costs very little. You need a jar (plastic if the kids are very young) with a lid, glitter glue in various colors, (chunky glitter and fairy dust are also recommended) food coloring, water, and some kids that want to have fun. Click here for exact instructions.

Some great ideas for older kids and teens include:

  • Scavenger hunt
  • Making decorative picture frames (use thrift store frames and buy accessories in bulk)
  • Karaoke
  • Races
  • Make a “weirdest tee shirts”

The most unforgettable part of any child’s birthday party is a present and attentive family. You can be a single parent or a large foster family. Your family may be made up of friends that you join with to create a community. The point is, children need to feel special. They need to understand the celebration is because they came into your world that day and you were forever changed. If you keep this in mind, an unforgettable party is guaranteed.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

February Update - 32 Months

What an amazing month it has been!



We started the first weekend with unusually warm weather, and a trip to the beach with GranpaGlennie. She had an absolute blast digging in the sand with them under the shade of our umbrella. She loved letting them bury her feat and my "Oh no, you're stuck!" reaction before breaking free and running in a large circle, only to come back and repeat the process. But nothing topped her belly laughs when Grandpa ran toward the water and then let the waves chase him:

On the second weekend of the month, we had a play-date with Tommy and then later, her cousins came over for dinner. She had not had a chance to play with them since before Christmas! She loves it when people come over, and likes showing them random toys, and directing them to play. "Tommy - go in my house" or "Over here!" etc. 
Daddy spoiled his girls on Valentine's Day. A month before, when he talked about getting her a gold locket with family photos inside, I loved the idea. But with her being 2 1/2, I did not expect her to appreciate the gift. Boy, was I wrong! She absolutely loved her gold 'A' locket necklace, and loved putting it in her new jewelry box. Because it was adult size, she was able to put it over her head without help. Even the next morning, she woke up and wanted to wear it before she left for school. She went into her room and placed it gently in her ballerina box before we left. 

Because he had 3 dozen roses delivered to my work, I was not expecting a gift. He surprised me with with a beautiful ring with three rows of rubies. It is important to him to have A grow up seeing me wearing jewelry that will one day be hers. 

We had dinner at a local Italian place and A was as good as gold. We had the iPad with us in case of emergency, but she didn't need it at all. Instead, eating her spaghetti seemed to occupy most of her time, much to my delight.

 

I continued with my piano lessons every Friday afternoon, and she continued with continued her dance lessons every Saturday morning. Learning piano as a complete beginner is slow-going for me, but she's picking up her routine quickly!


She went to her first movie in the theater with me (Peter Rabbit) and lasted the length of the film! We had pizza at Pieology before the movie, so that we would miss all the previews. As we were sitting there enjoying our pizza, she asked "How was school today, Mom?" Thinking I did not hear her right, I asked "What did you say?" And she repeated it again. She will also now almost always ask the title of each song I play when we are driving to and from school. " What's this song, Mama?" or "What's this song called?"
Before our movie.
My husband and I have a week off together every February because of the district we work for. We spent a lot of time at home preparing for our pregnancy reveal party, but also worked in two days at the "Wolf Hotel." As always, she had a blast! And so did I. I'm just so happy when we're there, causing my husband to be perplexed and say "I don't understand why you like this place so much!" Well, I don't, really. I can't go down any of the water slides because I'm pregnant, different pools are periodically closed due to poop accidents, and I can't relax or read a book because she continually wants me to play with her. But it is my favorite place to go because of just how excited she gets in the days leading up to our trip and while we're there. I love seeing a group of older girls there and the thought that we'll be returning for a decade or more, much to my husband's dismay. 

When we returned, we adopted two kittens for baby A. A brother/sister duo rescued from the city of Compton. We named them Bonnie and Clyde and we are all in love.  We keep them in a spare bathroom during the day because they are still being litter box trained, but in the mornings and as soon as we get home, they roam throughout the house. Baby A especially likes playing with them in her room, and will often stay in there with the door closed for up to a half hour! 

We ended the month with a pregnancy and gender reveal party at our house. More about that (and the gender!) in the next post! Baby A is going to be the best big sister; she's already pretty excited. For the weeks leading up to the party, she would proudly announce "My Mommy has a baby in her tummy!"