Friday, December 28, 2012

Emerson's 8th Birthday Party at Great Wolf Lodge (11/7-11/8/12)

The insides of the cupcakes were so bright and colorful.  The kids loved them.

My completed cupcakes for the party.  I topped each one with chocolate frosting and then covered each with a fondant circle to make the Ugly Doll faces.  They were super easy to make.  

The room was impossible to get a good photo of.  We could have upgraded and got a super nice suite but I decided to go with this one because I just knew that the kids would love the kid cabin inside of it.  They had their own space, complete with bunk beds and tv.  It only had 3 beds in it but that was no biggie since E's guests couldn't stay the night anyway (they had school the next day and I opted to keep my kiddos out).  

Hayden chilling on the top bunk in the cabin

So, I got this great deal for GWL a couple of months ago and booked it for Emerson's surprise birthday party.  He really had no clue.  I showed up in the room before he got there to decorate it.  Clayton said that he was still clueless when they drove into the parking lot.  When they showed up at the door, E was amazed when he saw the room decked out for his special day.  He was super excited and the look of happiness that he had made it all worth it.  Shortly after he arrived, his guests showed up.  We took off immediately to play in the water park and it was pretty much deserted.  They had the place practically to themselves.  There was maybe 15 total swimmers in the whole park.  Gosh, it really is beneficial to live only 10 minutes down the road so that we could go on a weekday.  The boys played hard and then had some nasty pizza from one of the eateries in GWL.  It was beyond terrible but it didn't seem to phase them.  After the park closed, we headed back to the room for cupcakes and snacks.  The guests left and we went to bed.

The next day, which was Emerson's actual birthday, Clayton had to go to work so I took the kiddos to breakfast.  We then did MagiQuest until lunch time.  I took them out to lunch and then we hit the water park again.  They played all afternoon until Clayton got back from work.  Emerson was hungry for steak so we had his birthday dinner at Texas Land & Cattle.  All in all, I think E had a wonderful birthday. :)      


Ryan, Emerson, and Aaron (Big E is making a wish)

One happy 8 year old :)

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Halloween 2012

Hayden as Kid Icarus (it's a video game)

Emerson as Mario (this was an unusual choice of costume since he has been Jason, the Scream Ghostface guy, and a demon in the past, lol)

Emerson goofing off with his best friend, Murray

Clayton helping Hayden with his costume

Halloween night was a blast.  We went over to our neighbor's house and had a nice dinner party before heading out in the 'hood to trick-or-treat.  All of the kids from the party rode on the back of a trailer throughout the neighborhood.  It made trick-or-treating super easy on us parents.  Clayton and I rode on the back the whole time to keep an eye on all the kidlets.  Since I was almost 5 months pregnant, I didn't have to worry about wearing myself out.  It was a fun night.  I have many more pics but I don't feel right posting them considering that there were a lot of kids in them that I do not know very well.  Their parents may not approve of me plastering their faces on the Internet.   

{So yea, I am a terrible blogger lately.  I just haven't cared to update it.  Sorry about that but until this baby is out of me, I won't be spending very much time on here.}  

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Kitchen Tile

I ordered my tile on Monday night and the boxes were on my front porch today.  I am one happy girl.  The tiles are ridiculously gorgeous!  They are impossible to get a good photo of though so you will just have to trust me on this.  I will be bugging Clayton to get these installed this weekend so I will hopefully have a photo of the completed project next week. :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

My Newest Hobby (besides gestating)

I have been taking painting classes from an awesome studio in Asheboro called The Preppy Possum (feel free to check this place out on Facebook at: The Preppy Possum).  The talented owner/instructor, Nikki Cherry, makes painting an easy and fun thing to do.  My classes have been full of women that claim to have no creative skills (I am creative but can't paint worth a toot), and yet everyone has left the classes with a completed 16x20 masterpiece to call their own.  Her events are called "Wine Downs" as you are encouraged to bring wine or beer to sip while you create your work of art.  I am now officially hooked and plan to paint as many canvases as I can get my hands on!

The top painting is from my first class back in September and the bottom painting is from the class that I took last night.      

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Kitchen Backsplash

It's taken me forever to choose our tile for the kitchen.  I finally ordered these tiles yesterday.  The photo does them no justice at all.  They are glass with variations of blues, aquas, greens, and browns throughout them.  They have a iridescent sheen on them so they are colorful and sparkly.  I love them!  BTW, the manufacturer is Hirsch and the line is Silhouette.  They come in all kinds of cool colors.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Isn't she lovely?

I received my first KitchenAid mixer at 17 when I graduated high school.  My aunt Judy bought it for me.  It was white and I loved it.  After 17 years of use, making cake icing has started to wear down the motor so I decided to replace it with this gorgeous girl.  The color is aqua sky and it is going to match the backsplash that I have picked out for the kitchen.   

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Concord/Charlotte Great Wolf Lodge Deal

(click the link above to be taken to this awesome deal!)

I have been watching the recent Groupon deal for Great Wolf Lodge.  It was for 2 nights in a family suite.  The problem was that it wasn't the room type that I wanted and it didn't sleep enough people.  I also didn't care for a 2 night stay because this would be during the school week.  Emerson's birthday is the reason for going so I really wanted one night in one of the cool Wolf Cabin rooms and at least 7 wrist bands to the water park.  The deal I picked up from Living Social also included lunch for 7 in addition to all of the things that I wanted.  Whoo hoo!!  They also have other cool options.  It was so hard to choose!  The goofy thing about all this is that we live less than 10 minutes away but you have to stay on grounds to enjoy the water park.  That sucks for us but at least I feel like we got a great deal.  If you decide to buy in on this deal, please use the above link because I get credit.  If 3 people buy using my link, we get the deal for free.  We could really use that so please help me out if you can. :)  

Thursday, September 06, 2012

First day of school-8/27/12

Emerson-age 7
2nd Grade
Hayden-age 9
4th Grade

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Sorry for my long absence

I haven't been on here in forever and I apologize for just dropping off the face of Earth.  I have had my reasons though.  Sickness is the main culprit.  I have been sick since about week 6 of this pregnancy.  It seemed to innocently be good ole morning sickness so I didn't think much of it.  Then it got progressively worse.  Over the past few weeks, I have been in a lot of abdominal pain.  It has been so bad that I haven't been able to eat.  It hurts so bad after I have a meal or snack.  It's like someone has punched me in the gut.  My weight started to drop from my lack of eating and I spent all of my time in bed.  I decided to call my OB last week after I spent the morning crying on the floor from the pain.  Gall stones seemed to be likely since they commonly appear during pregnancy.  Unfortunately, the ultrasound came back clear.  My gall bladder, pancreas, and liver were all checked for abnormality.  Everything was fine.  I was so upset because that left me with no diagnosis or treatment plan.  What's even more frustrating is that my OB told me that they couldn't figure it out so I should see my general practitioner instead.  Like the gp can do anything?  I am pregnant for crying out loud!  When you are pregnant, no one wants to treat you and there usually isn't much that they can do.  I ended up in the urgent care office for my gp's office this past Sunday and the physician that I saw leaned toward a possible stomach ulcer.  He couldn't run any labwork though so it was just a guess.  He told me to see my gp this week so she could order the labs to see if anything was off.  Well, I have gotten a tiny bit better.  I have started to eat again and the pain isn't as intense as it was last week.  I am holding out on making any appointments for now.  I have an OB appt. on 9/17 so I think I can wait until then to discuss a possible ulcer.  We shall see.    

Friday, August 03, 2012

My Birthday and an Ultrasound Surprise

Yesterday was my 34th birthday and my family made it a wonderful day.  Clayton started off by leaving me the above surprise treats in the fridge.  He had dipped marshmallows, strawberries, bananas, and potato chips in chocolate just for me.  Yum!!  I wolfed down half of the plate for breakfast.  

I went to the lab to do some blood work and then headed over to the OB to do a quick ultrasound before lunch.  The ultrasound was supposed to show the second sac getting smaller or hopefully it would be gone.  Unfortunately, we are now befuddled.  Just since last week, a baby had started to develop in it.  The reason that I say unfortunately is because it is very unlikely to survive.  It is almost 3 weeks behind baby A in growth.  It did have a heartbeat but it was only 88.  Here are the stats and they are pretty grim:

Baby A---measured at 8w4d---heart rate of 176 (she's perfect)
Baby B---measured at 5w5d---heart rate of 88
The ultrasound tech has tons of experience in a high risk clinic.  In all her years, she's never seen anything like this.  She told me before the ultrasound began that there shouldn't be anything there.  I told her that I felt like a second baby was going to pop up.  She thought that I was nuts.  Well, my intuition was correct.  It's weird, I carried twins to 14 weeks with my first surrogacy and I just knew that I had lost one before the amnio ultrasound proved it.  I was correct about that situation too.  I had no indications of what was going on either time but yet I somehow just knew both instances before they were proven.

I am now sad and frustrated.  We don't have another ultrasound until 8/20 and in the meantime, I will be extremely anxious.  Baby B will likely dissolve between now and then, according to the OB.  I hate thinking about it and I wish that we were already past this tough time.  Please pray that this happens quickly and doesn't drag out.  My nerves simply cannot handle it. 

Anyhow, back to my birthday.  I met my extended family at our local Mexican restaurant for lunch.  It was wonderful to be surrounded by all of them on my special day.  I believe that there are many pictures of me with a sombrero but I don't happen to have one to share on here.  Clayton and the boys took me to a nice restaurant called Choplin's for dinner and it was sooo good!  I had crispy duck and he had shrimp and grits.  Both entrees were utterly amazing.  

My gifts were so cool.  Clayton bought me Apple TV and the last 2 books of the Shades of Grey trilogy.  The boys got me flowers and a balloon.  My mom and dad gave me cash (they know me sooo well, lol).  My sister-in-law Steph sent me a new pretty jewel pop for my Kameleon ring.  I loved everything!  My birthday rocked, to say the least. :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


one beautiful baby girl at 7 weeks, 1day gestation (lovingly referred to as Miss Thang #2). <3

My awesome IM flew in to Charlotte on Sunday.  We had a wonderful time catching up with each other.  Gosh, I wish we lived closer.  She is so cool and I swear that I could chat with her forever.  I am a very lucky gal to be matched with someone that I like so much. :)

We woke up bright and early yesterday to get ready for the ultrasound.  We made a quick pit stop at Starbucks and then headed over to the OB.  Our first appointment was for the ultrasound and that is where we learned that there is a perfect little gal growing inside me.  She has a heart rate of 145 and her measurements were exactly where they should be.  Yay!!  There was a second sac but it was empty.  I have to go back for a repeat ultrasound on 8/2 (my birthday) so that the OB can check on the empty sac.  They want to make sure that it doesn't affect the baby's development.  Hopefully, the sac will simply absorb and everything will be right on track.  Isn't she the cutest blob you have every seen? lol

BTW, we have an awesome OB practice.  They are so great about being thorough with everything that they do.  Their genuine interest in us and the way that they try to get to know us on a personal level is comforting. I know that they will provide the best care for us.  It's so amazing to find doctors/nurses that will spend a lot of time answering questions and not rush us through appointments.  Our sonographer spent a good amount of time doing the ultrasound and explaining everything on the screen.  She used to work in a high risk clinic and she is extremely versed on interpreting ultrasounds.  We saw a nice CNM for our first prenatal appointment and she spent 45 minutes chatting with us and checking me out.  I feel really good about this practice and I can't wait to meet all of the OBs.  They do not allow anyone to claim a particular doctor so we will eventually see and meet everyone there.  I expect that they will all be knowledgeable and nice to work with. 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Upcoming Ultrasound

I have been crazy busy over the past few weeks so I haven't had much time to update.  I tend to post on Facebook more than my blog, especially when I am away from my laptop.  Anyway, the ultrasound is set for Monday at 8am.  After that, I have my first OB appointment.  My wonderful IM is going to fly into Charlotte tomorrow and stay the night with us so that she can go to the appointments with me.  I can't wait!!  I will update you all as soon as I get back to my computer.  Hopefully, I will have a photo to post too.  What do you guess that we will see, one girl or two girlies??  My guess is one healthy baby girl.  I personally think that the overachiever embryo ate her sister for lunch, lol.

Here's a recap of the beta (hcg) tests:
296------10dp6dt (or 16dpo)
684------12dp6dt (or 18dpo)
5967-----19dp6dt (or 25dpo)
28,871---26dp6dt (or 32dpo)

dp=days past
dt=day transfer
dpo=days past ovulation (I did not ovulate since this was IVF and the babies were not created using my own eggs, but a dpo equivalent can be determined as if this were a natural pregnancy by adding the number of days past transfer to the age of the embryos)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Baseball Boys (6/9/12)

Emerson and Hayden with their CCYA trophies
Hayden's team won the championship for the 9-10 league
Hayden holding the championship trophy :)

The boys both made it to the championships.  Emerson's team lost.  He did great though and he didn't seem to care if he won or not.  He learned so much this past season and I can't wait to see him play again in fall.  Hayden's team won and the last game was exciting.  The other team put up a decent fight so it wasn't an easy win.  I am proud of Hayden for playing so well during the game.  He has improved so much over the season.    Both boys are excited to play again in fall and I can't wait to cheer them on again.  Bring on the ball games!

Monday, July 09, 2012

4th of July

I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July this year. We sure did! We had a yummy lunch at home with grilled steaks, Maui scalloped potatoes, fresh corn on the cob, and a patriotic summer berry cake (recipe can be found here). The cake turned out to be really good, but the icing took forever to get onto the cake using the method shown.  It is really easy to do, just time consuming.  After lunch, Clayton went golfing and then we all headed out to a Kannapolis Intimidators baseball game that night.  The home team won against the Greensboro Grasshoppers (whoo hoo!) and then fireworks immediately followed after the game.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


So, I have been getting faint positives since yesterday morning.  I waited until today to take a digital because my hcg was too low to see the beautiful word "pregnant" yesterday.  Awesome, huh?  My IPs are thrilled beyond words and I am so happy for them.  We have blood tests on 7/3 and 7/5 to determine my actual hcg numbers (beta tests) and then an ultrasound will be scheduled around 2 weeks after to determine if one or both girls hung around.  Please pray for one girl as twins is not really ideal.  They are really hoping for a singleton pregnancy and so am I.  

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

2 Beautiful Little Girls

These are the 2 embryos that I am currently carrying for my wonderful IPs.  #2 is a total over-achiever.  I know most of you don't know anything about IVF but let me tell you, this particular embryo is spectacular.  She looks a lot larger than her sister because she has advanced to the next stage of bursting out of her shell.  #1 is a great embryo too but she hadn't broken out yet as of transfer this past Saturday.  These girls are 6.5 day embryos which is fabulous.  Most IVFers pray for 5 dayers because that is what is known as blast stage.  If they can get to that point, they are usually very strong and healthy.  My IPs couldn't have asked for better odds as these girls exceeded the 5 day mark and grew exponentially before transfer.  Please pray for my IPs as I hope to be carrying at least one of these girls for the long haul.

BTW, these girls were created back in July 2008 so they have been frozen for almost 4 years.  It was amazing that they both survived the thaw and then continued to thrive afterward.  They are tough little cookies! :)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Waiting for Embryo Transfer in CA

Hey guys, here's a quick update on my latest surrogacy journey.  They are going to thaw the last 2 embryos that my IPs have today.  Both are little girls and we hope that they make the thaw.  It's all so nerve-wracking!  Our transfer is set at 10am Pacific time so that is 1pm to all my southern friends/family.  I would greatly appreciate it if you would please say a quick prayer for my IPs and the procedure.  They want nothing more than to have a sibling for their daughter.

I changed my ticker above to reflect a pregnancy because that is what I will be considered until a blood test could prove otherwise.  If you are wondering how I am 2 weeks and 6 days pregnant before I even have the embryos transferred into me, here is an explanation:

In a normal cycle, you don't ovulate until around day 14 (2 weeks after you start day 1 of your period) and that is when conception occurs. By the time that you know that you are pregnant, you most likely just missed day 1 of your next cycle (about 2 weeks after conception). That makes you 4 weeks and 1 day pregnant even though you really only conceived 2 weeks and a day before your missed period. Due to never knowing exactly when conception occured because everyone's period lengths are different, the due date is always calculated from the 1st day of your last period. With IVF, we know exactly when conception occured but it still has to be calculated with the addition of 14 days before the egg retrieval.  These embryos were frozen at 6 days old so you add the 6 days to the initial first 2 weeks.  Clear as mud, right? LOL 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Our Home

I never got around to posting a photo of our house after it was completed.  Our sod is coming in rather nicely.  The back is a different story.  It is seeded and taking forever to grow in.  I miss having underground irrigation like we had in CO.  I can't stand seeing the hoses and tripping over them is a pain.  Maybe we will sod the back and put in a sprinkler system?  I have no idea.

We live on a corner lot at one of our neighborhood's entrances.  Because of that, we have a rock wall and nice landscaping flanking our front corner and side of our house.  I love it!

Monday, June 11, 2012

My Boys

I love these two guys so much!  They are turning out to be such cool people.  When they aren't arguing, they are the neatest things since sliced bread.  They have totally different personalities and look nothing alike (H favors me and E looks like Clayton).  I often wonder how they can both be mine but I am sure glad that they are. <3

Hayden (9) & Emerson (7)

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Proud Mom

I don't have any new pics to post but I do have some good news.  Both of my boys are going to the championship game this weekend!  Emerson's team will be playing the Red Sox (7-8 coach pitch league) in the morning and Hayden's team will be playing the Red Sox (9-10 kid pitch league) just before noon.  I think it is weird that both boys are playing teams with the same name but what's even weirder is that there is a kid who plays on both Red Sox teams (you can play up an age bracket if you are good enough).  Heck, now that I think about it, we have a kid on both of my boys' teams that does the same thing so he will be in both games also.  Crazy.  I hope we have a fun day of baseball on Saturday.  I am kind of bummed that the season is almost over.  My kids plan to play Fall ball so I guess we will return to the fields sometime after school starts.  I look forward to it!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Hayden sliding into home (unfortunately, he got tagged just before his feet touched the plate)
Hayden just before hitting the ball (that pitcher was striking out our best players and Hayden managed to hit it)
Big E at the bat
Emerson throwing the bat down to run (and yes, they were playing the Marlins but that isn't Hayden's team)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Boys

Hayden (9) & Emerson (7)-I wish I had fixed their collars but oh well.

I hadn't taken a photo of the boys together in forever so I decided to yesterday.  They had just gotten haircuts.  They were impossible!  If one was looking at me, the other wasn't.  It was like dealing with toddlers.  Anyway, I managed to get a couple okay ones.  Notice how they are starting to look about the same age?  They are practically the same height now.  Emerson is a little wider than Hayden (who is skinny as a broom) and has a bigger head.  You would think that he was the older one just by looking at their physical appearances.  
Emerson just lost one of his top teeth last week.  We were at the dentist for a cleaning and the hygienist barely tugged on it.  It fell out without him even knowing, lol.  So far, he is yet to pull any of his own teeth.  The dentist has removed his first 3 for him.    

Monday, May 28, 2012

Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

I have a serious love for baking breads.  It took me a long time to figure out how to be a decent baker.  Well, if I had started with this method, I would have been a master baker from the age of 14.  The amazing book is Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François.  If you google it, you can find a ton of blogs out there referring to it because everyone is amazed at how easy the method is.  I made the above bread using the master boule recipe.  It yields a sourdough-like bread with a crispy crust.  It is so good! 

Here's the link to the tutorial that will blow your mind: Master Boule Recipe

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Hot Cross Buns

For Easter, I decided to make traditional Hot Cross Buns.  I had never had one before.  I can't believe how good they are!!  They are spicy, orange-y goodness.  One thing I will do different next time is to add a thicker "cross" of icing across the top.  I didn't have the correct tip size so I used a smaller one than the one called for in the recipe.  Believe me, the more icing, the better!  Also, I didn't use currants because I couldn't find any at Super Target.  Try this awesome recipe. I promise that is great.  I will be making these every year for Easter from now on.

Recipe from Brown Eyed Baker: Hot Cross Buns

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Monster High Cake

I made this cake for friend's daughter a few weeks ago.  I spent hours making the colorflow decoration on top. I thought it would be easy to make, but I was wrong, lol.  The image was transferred to a piece of wax paper, outlined with thick colorflow icing, and then filled in with thin colorflow icing.  Because I worried about the black background icing bleeding through the decoration, I used mini marshmallows to prop it up.  One big lesson I learned, you CANNOT use hot water to smooth colored icing for the background of a cake.  It streaks the color and gives it a marbleized look.  That's a good thing to know for future reference.

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Flour Tortilla Tip

I saw this idea on Pinterest so I cannot take credit for this tip of sheer genius.  It is so good that I thought it was worthy of posting on my blog.  

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lay out 6 flour tortillas and brush a thin layer of oil (your choice) on both sides of each tortilla.  I have read that you can use spray oil to do this if you are particularly lazy.  Take tortillas and lay in between the wire racks in your oven.  Bake 7-10 minutes, or until crispy.

I used 2 different sizes of tortillas

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Junior's Original Cheesecake

I added cherry pie filling on top.  Yum!

I haven't made a homemade cheesecake in forever.  I picked up a 6 pack of cream cheese from BJ's and decided to give it a go.  This endeavor meant that I had to go buy a spring-form pan so off to AC Moore I went.  I ended up with a 10" pan but most recipes are for 8" or 9" pans.  It took me a while, but I figured out how to convert the recipe for a larger pan.  My mom bought me the Junior's Cheesecake cookbook a while back so I figured it was time to try it out.  I made their original basic cheesecake.  What's different about Junior's cheesecake is that bottom layer of spongecake.  It has a lemony taste and is oh-so-good!  It was way better than graham crackers.  This cake was seriously to die for so try it if you feel inclined.  I found the recipe online for your guys.  It is labor intensive but well worth it!

Naked cheesecake, lol

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wilton Advanced Gumpaste Flowers-Class 4

Stargazer Lily

Sweet Pea 

I forgot to post these on here.  Better late than never, right?  The sweet pea was posted to my blog earlier but I didn't do the shading/coloring to it until the last class.  Aren't these flowers cool?  The flowers are completely edible but I would never recommend eating gumpaste.  It's rather blah.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


My boys gave me a Wolfpack tag for the front of my car for Mother's Day.  In NC, we do not have license tags on the front so we can have vanity tags.  I don't want them to know it, but I am a bit distraught over their gift.  Yes, it was super sweet but I am not quite ready to remove my Colorado plate from the front of my car.  It's the only piece of my life that is still connected to our previous home and I am not ready to remove it just yet.  I am a sentimentalist, I can't help it.  It was sweet of my boys to think of me though.

Speaking of Mother's Day, I was thoroughly disappointed.  No plans were made.  I got a $200 gift card to an awesome spa (albeit it is 45 away) and a pricey dress that I made Clayton send back.  All I wanted was to be taken to breakfast/brunch and for us to do something fun together.  Was that too much to ask?  Gifts are great, but I choose experiences over gifts from him.  Sigh...  Sorry to sound like a complainer but dang.  I know I have addressed this before to my husband.  I treated him to an awesome Father's Day a couple of years ago with a surprise weekend that involved a hotel, golf at a prestigious course, great meals and beer.  It turned out that he enjoyed it but he would have preferred actual gifts.  Ugh...  After all that planning and fun we had, he would have been happier if I had bought him crap to open.  This past year, I bought him "stuff" instead.  We are totally different on this and we had acknowledged that, or so I had thought.  
I am getting ready to chop all this hair off.  It is so long now!