Friday, December 26, 2014

Surrogacy #4

So sorry for abandoning my blog.  I am much more active on Facebook.  I tend to post photos and stories there, so I don't feel the need to blog here also.  My hope is to get back over here on the good ole blog in 2015, but I can't make any promises.

If you are curious about my recent surrogacy journey, here are the deets:

Cycle #1
11/1---transferred 1 beautiful fresh 5-day embryo in CT
11/5---received my first BFP on a home pregnancy test @ 4dp5dt
11/11---first beta results of 161 @ 10dp5dt
11/13---second beta results of 246 @ 12dp5dt
11/17---third beta results of 106 @ 16dp5dt
11/18---chemical pregnancy confirmed as beta continued dropping :(

Cycle #2
12/17---began Lupron injections for second IVF cycle
12/29---baseline ultrasound and bloodwork
1/13---lining check ultrasound and bloodwork
1/22---frozen transfer of one or two 5-day embryos in CT

The first cycle was a bust.  I was devastated and the intended parents were bummed.  It sucks to have everything look good and then for it all to turn south.  That's okay.  We have a new game plan for January and I have a very good feeling about it.  Please wish my IPs much luck for a 2015 baby (or babies). :)

BTW, I received Christmas cards with photos of my previous 3 surrobabies.  They are all so beautiful!!  Even though they aren't my kids, I am incredibly proud of them.  The pics are already prominently displayed on my fridge (along with their past Christmas photos).  I just love seeing these families everyday. :)

Hope you all had a very merry Christmas!

Here are a few more pics from my trip for transfer #1 (my mom and I visited NYC):

Friday, September 19, 2014

Let It Begin...

Well, it is official.  I am finally taking injections for the upcoming surrogacy journey as of today.  These are the little shots that go in my stomach.  The med is Lupron.  It is typically used for testicular cancer patients, but it has an off-label use for IVF because it shuts the ovaries down.  My ovaries need to be shut down so that they don't release any eggs during our IVF cycle.  Since my eggs aren't being used (an egg donor is being used instead), this is a desirable thing.  The sides effects suck because this all equates to menopause-hot flashes, headaches, increased appetite, etc.  The blue and orange pills are prenatal vitamins and the red pill is birth control.  Yes, birth control sounds weird to take when you are trying to get pregnant, but there is a good reason for it.  It helps sync my cycle with the egg donor's.  We have to be at the same point in our cycles to make this all work.  My body would reject her fertilized egg if I was in a different phase.  Transfer is set for sometime between 10/30-11/5.  It will all depend on how the cycle goes.  I am so excited for my new couple!!  Hopefully, all will go well and they will get a new baby for 2015. :)    

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Stitch Fix #25 Review

My last Stitch Fix was seriously awesome!  I ended up only keeping 2 items though.  It was a tough call.  I wanted to buy the whole shebang but it just didn't work out.  Here's what I got:

1) Brentwood Tiered Striped Tank Top by Pixley
2) Priya Graphic Chevron Print Mixed Material Tank by Pomelo
3) Bryan Short-Sleeve Open-Front Cardigan by 41Hawthorn
4) Marquis French Terry Dolman Sweatshirt by Kut From The Kloth
5) Florence Colorblocked Dress by 41Hawthorn

I had to have the tiered shirt because it is so soft and comfy.  It is really cool too.  I love the striped tiered fabric.  The other keeper was the chevron shirt.  The design and colors are unique.  I ended up sending the other 3 items back because I already have a similar cardi in my closet, the sweatshirt was a bit oversized, and the dress was just okay (I didn't love it). 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Staining of the Glue on My Teeth

To all the naysayers, you were wrong.  The glue behind braces does indeed stain.  This was one of the reasons that I did not get clear brackets.  I can't stand that my teeth look so yellow now.  On the first day that I got braces, the glue was undetectable.  Now, 6 weeks later, I am sad to see the glue so stained.  I brush my teeth many times a day and use a Waterpik.  I don't let drinks or food sit on my teeth long.  My oral care has been meticulous since I became a metal mouth.  Sigh...  If I had clear brackets, I would be ticked right now.  Glad I switched to metal just before they started to put the ceramic ones on.

{Day 1 compared to week 6}
The top is looking great and the bottom front teeth are finally moving.  Interesting thing to note-It has taken me 5 1/2 weeks to finally be able to bite into something with my front teeth. It was too painful up until this point.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

My Birthday and My New Best Friend (8/2/14)

Yes, that is a beer.  Clayton gave me an assortment of gifts and this beer was a part of it.  What made it special?  Well, it is a beer from Fort Collins, CO, that combines two great breweries-New Belgium Brewing Company and Odell Brewing Company.  When we used to live near there, we visited Odell many times and loved their tasting room.  Unfortunately, you cannot find their beers here in NC, so this was a nice surprise.  New Belgium is another favorite of ours, so this beer was perfect.  Great find hubby!

This thing is my new best friend.  I am amazed at how well a Waterpik works on getting food out of my braces and from in between my teeth.  I use it several times daily and it takes the place of flossing (which is a HUGE pain in my rear right now).

Clayton arranged for my parents to take the boys for the night, so that we could go on a food tour of NoDa.  He totally surprised me with this as I had never heard of such a thing.  We started off with treats from Amelie's.  Heist Brewery served up beer samples and some amazing flatbreads.  Ozpresso was our next stop for coffee drinks.  One of them included vanilla ice cream---yum!  We then walked over to a King of Pops cart for ridiculous good popsicles.  I got coffee and doughnuts, while C opted for cucumber mint.  Revolution Pizza invited us in for curry chicken kabobs and bruschetta.  We ordered a beer sampler to go with it.  That included: Sierra CANfusion-Oskar Blues, Triple C Hefeweizen, Greenflash West Coast IPA (MY personal favorite), and NoDa Ghost Hop White IPA.  After that, we walked across the street to Boudreaux's for shrimp and crawfish etouffee.  We ended the tour at Dolce Vita with blueberry tea cocktails.

After all that indulgent fun, we went over to a folk festival at Triple C Brewing Company.  It was a bust.  Too many people, nothing to do, nowhere to sit, and the beer wasn't all that good.  We left and went by Maggie Moo's to pick up cupcakes that C had special ordered for me.  They were 4 of each flavor, with cake and ice cream being a part of each one.  I can't remember the flavors, but they were very good.  Dinner was bought from my favorite food truck, Tacos Morelia.  It was a great day!!  I want to do it all again. :)

Friday, August 01, 2014

Braces-3 Weeks In (7/30/14)

Day 1-7/9/14
Week 3-7/30/14

Well, it has been a looooooong 3 weeks.  I hate these horrid things and can't wait to get them off.  I can already say that there is no way in heck I am going to wear them for 2 years.  On days where I talk a lot, my mouth feels like I have razor blades in it.  Regardless of how bad they feel, I love how they are providing quick results.  My top teeth look so much better.  The one tooth on the top right in the photo, has almost completely tucked into where it belongs.  That was fast!  Look at how crooked my wire was at the beginning and how straight it is now.  My bottom teeth don't seem to be doing anything though.  Hmmmm...  I will see the ortho next week and I hope he will reassure me that those teeth will indeed move.  They are crowded upfront.  

Monday, July 14, 2014

Brace Face

Day 1---7/9/14 (top), Day 5---7/14/14(bottom)
The top teeth have already improved.  The upper lateral incisor (the pink bracket to the right of the upper front tooth in purple) has started moving back into the proper place.

Ok, so I totally changed my mind on ceramic Clarity braces at the last minute.  I was already in the chair and they had the box of ceramics on the table next to me when I began drilling them with lots of questions.  The answers didn't make me happy so I chose to go with metal.  The reasons were:

1) Ceramic bonding glue stains and can be seen behind the bracket.  There isn't anything you can do about it.

2) The clear or light-colored ligatures (rubber bands that go around the brackets) change color and don't do anything to hide the ceramic brackets once stained by coffee, tea, soda, tomato sauce, curry, etc.  In fact, they can look downright gross if you stain them.

3)  Ceramic brackets are larger and my bottom teeth are tiny.  Considering how hard it is to get my lips over my small metal brackets, I can't imagine doing that.

4) The removal of ceramics can be difficult.  The bonding material is stronger and can pull the enamel off of your teeth.  That is a risk I am not willing to take.  I have a small amount of bonding on the surface of one of my top front teeth and the thought of getting a ceramic bracket pulled off of it scares me.

5) Ceramic brackets are brittle and they can break.  Enough said.

6) Metal is stronger and can work a little bit faster than ceramic.

Some people pay more for ceramic but my ortho charges the same either way.  I really wish that the ceramics didn't have so many cons because I really wanted them, but I am happy with the metal.  Since I have metal, it was easy for me to go with colorful ligatures since there is no way to hide the fact that I am in braces.

The only bad thing is that I cannot eat properly.  My molars are so sore that biting isn't something that I can do as of yet.  It has been weird eating soft foods all the time.  Oh well, it will all be worth it in the end.  Heck, I was having a hard time eating before braces because my molars had just enough space between them that they caught food every time I ate.  It was terribly painful and the main reason that I opted for braces in the first place.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes...(Hair and Teeth)

I finally cut off some of my ridiculously long hair last month.  I got 8 inches chopped and now it feels so much better.  It has been 3 years since I last cut my hair.  That is too long to go between cuts, I know.  My feeling is that I would rather spend possible salon money on spa treatments (massages, facials, etc.).  I love being pampered but don't really care about getting my locks chopped.

I have been having a horrible problem with my back teeth getting gaps in between them.  Pockets in the gum have formed due to this.  They catch food constantly and really hurt.  I am in pain almost every time I eat and I am sick of it!  It all has been happening because I had 4 wisdom teeth and 2 molars removed back in 2005.  The removal of those teeth caused the rest of my teeth to shift.  My molars stayed in place but the rest of my teeth moved toward the front of my mouth, causing them to crowd.  I really don't care to fix the minor crookedness of my teeth as that doesn't really bother me.  It is the pain that prompted me to correct my mouth.  I will be getting ceramic braces on Wednesday.  They will be the color of my teeth with a small silver wire.  It will look like I am wearing a retainer unless you look really close at my mouth.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Stitch Fix #22 Review

My last Stitch Fix was perfect.  I love my stylist (Jackie)!  I requested items that could accommodate a growing belly and she picked items that will work well when I am in the awkward early pregnancy/post-partum phases.  Here's what I got:

1. Pomelo- Moni Geo Print & Camisole Blouse-Love the stud detail on this top.  It is a pretty orange color and lightweight for summer.  I have received numerous compliments on it.

2. Liverpool Carolyn Colored Cuffed Denim Short-These shorts are white denim and they cuff at the bottom (can be rolled down as the cuffs aren't sewn down).  I really didn't think I would like them but they fit perfectly and feel good.

3. Leota H
aylee Abstract Chevron Print Swing Skirt-This skirt is incredibly comfortable.  Lovely colors and pretty design.  It has a stretchy waistband, making it a great piece for pregnancy.

4. Pomelo Corinna Striped Heather Dolman Top- I already have this top in blue/black, but I was still thrilled to see this one in my box.  It is so soft and comfy.  The cut is flattering on everyone that I have seen on the web.  It's a perfect top.

41Hawthorn Montgomery Chevron Cross-Fit Top- This top is super soft and the color is beautiful.  The only thing I don't like about it is the fabric can move rather easily to show off more skin than I want to.  It needs a snap in the chest area to hold it closed.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Father's Day 2014 (6/15/14)

My 3 guys

Father's Day was a lot of fun this year.  We went to Amelie's for a nice breakfast, played around at Discovery Place in Charlotte, ate an early dinner at Tupelo Honey (oh-my-yum!), and then went to Studio Movie Grill at the Epicentre to see X-Men.
Love this pic!  Hayden's photo bomb makes me LOL every time I look at it.

The way to my hubby's heart is gifts (and homemade cookies).  He is like a little kid in that respect.  We gave him a couple of Tommy Bahama shirts (since he will never buy them for himself), beer soap (yes, you read that right, lol), a new beer glass, Aveda shampoo & conditioner, and a beer shirt. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Whoa, WHAT?!

I have a little secret to reveal.  I know I have been absent from my blog for a long time now but I will soon be updating regularly again thanks to surrogacy journey #4.  Yep, you read that right.  If you are a Facebook friend, you have known about this for several months.  I didn't want to announce it on my blog until I knew for sure it was going to happen.  Why am I pursuing this again?  I am totally insane, I guess, lol.  To be honest, I am trying to end my surrogacy life on the best note possible.  My last surrogacy was very stressful and hard to deal with (hence the reason that there are very few posts on my blog for journey #3).  Even though that journey was rough, I made amends with the mother and I miss her muchly after all has been said and done.  The conversations that we had after the birth should have happened early in the pregnancy.  I had no idea how many life struggles she was dealing with during the IVF cycle.  If had known then, what I know now, things would have been very different and I hate that.

Anyway, I am working with a wonderful agency this time around and they have made everything go so smoothly.  All of my previous journeys were independent so it is nice letting someone else do all the work.  I am matched with an international couple and they are going to be awesome.  I begin meds on 6/27 and we are looking at transferring around 8/9.      

Sunday, March 23, 2014

My life as a background blur on tv

Banshee season 2 just wrapped up on Cinemax this month.  I made my way onto set a total of 5 times during the season.  It would have been more if I hadn't of been pumping milk for the first half of filming.  In the above frame, Rebecca (played by the lovely Lili Simmons) is snooping around the dressing room at the strip club.  I was sitting down in the background, putting my makeup on.  In the montage below, I am the gal walking out of the dressing room in the red shirt.  Clay Burton (played by Matt Rauch) is seen bypassing me in the club.  He is one of the funniest people that I have ever encountered while on set.  He is incredibly boisterous and loud, lol.  I got the honor of him singing the song "Brandy" to me.  Love him!  I hope he continues to be Kai Proctor's henchman in the future because I would hate for him to ever leave the show.  
I love my new hobby!  There were 2 times last year that I got asked to be on set directly by the casting director and I had to turn both times down though.  That royally sucked.  I was asked to be in Banshee's season 2 finale but I was on vacation in Orlando at the time.  The other gig was on the new movie that Kevin Smith filmed in Charlotte (Tusk).  I was in Raleigh to see Bon Jovi that day.  It was my only shot to be on Tusk so I was super sad about missing out.  Oh, and one time I got asked to be on Homeland but had to back out due to being sick.  Not cool.  Anyway, I can't wait to see what is in store for me this year.  I look forward to many more opportunities to be on set.

BTW, I got to take part in two other projects last year, The Novice (new series on USA Network) and Captive (a movie about the Atlanta court case where Brian Nichols shot a judge, fled, ran into a woman's home, and then had a change of heart when the woman read "The Purpose Driven Life" to him).  Clayton was also in Captive with me.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Hayden has been bugging me for some cool plaid shirts to layer over his tees.  I have to say that the look suits both boys.  Even though I captured H making a funny face, they are both quite handsome. :)
I accompanied Hayden's 5th grade class on a STEM field trip at the Charlotte race track.  It was incredibly dull, I have to admit.  The kids had to do all these tests for balance, speed, etc.  It sounded like it would be fun but it wasn't.  The highlight for all the kids was the 2 laps we got to take via van around the track.  It was really neat to feel how high the inclines are.  The driver stopped on one of the turns and we all freaked out.  It felt just like our van would fall over.  After the track, we went over to Hendrick Motorsports to browse the museums and to talk to an engineer that worked there.  The engineer just happened to be a mechanical engineer from NC State.  He was in college at the same time Clayton and I were there.  We reminisced after he was done speaking to the kids.  It turns out that he almost applied to work at my husband's company but the Hendrick job popped up at just the right time.  Very cool dude, I must say.  
Hayden is on the right, behind the kid in the purple pullover.
Oh Molly, you crack me up!  She loves boxes and laps.  I don't know how she curls up so tight.  She's so cool. :)

Monday, February 24, 2014

Meow Monday

Molly asleep beside Emerson (I swear she isn't trying to claw his eyes out, lol)
She loves our heated blanket.  I wish I could relax as easily as she does.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Valentine's Day 2014

Homemade Almondine Sugar Cookies with Lemon Buttercream Icing

Clayton adores sugar cookies so I made sure to make a batch for V-day.  The icing was too hard to pipe though so I only decorated 3 cookies before giving up.  Clayton decorated mine for me but I didn't get a photo.
My boys munching down on our traditional chocolate fondue dessert

I made some homemade cracker-thin crust pizzas.  The boys didn't even notice that the pepperoni was placed in a heart shape before Clayton cut it.  I had to show them the photo to prove it, lol.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Snow Day (Well, Days)

The week of Valentine's was full of white stuff.  The kids had a half day on Tuesday and then got out of school for the rest of the week.  It was crazy!  Considering it was 75 degrees yesterday, it is hard to imagine that the ground looked like this just a week ago.  
We were one of the few homes in the 'hood to actually own a snow shovel, lol.  Clayton doesn't miss having to shovel the driveway in Colorado.
This was measured while it was still snowing.  There was probably another inch of snow by the time it stopped.  I measured it on our backyard table and no, this wasn't in a snow drifted area.

Friday, February 21, 2014

New Recipes

Porter Caramelized Onion Dip, Jalapeno Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms, Chicken Enchilada Pinwheels

Clayton and his beer brewing buddies got together in our garage to brew a Kolsch style beer back on 2/9.  I  love when they brew because it gives me an opportunity to try new recipes on them.  I made an onion dip with the porter that they brewed together and it was pretty tasty.  The chicken enchilada pinwheels were really good too.  The real star of the show though was the mushrooms.  Ahhh, the mushrooms.  They were slighty spicy with a great smoky bacon undertone.  The cheese and buttery panko crumbs made it all come together so well.  I was afraid that they wouldn't eat them but they LOVED them.  Here are the tried-n-true (TNT) recipes if you want to give them a go:

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Random Stuff---Catching Up

My awesome friend and neighbor, Jessica, gave me this awesome monogrammed scarf for Christmas.  Her mom made it for me.  Love it!!
Emerson had a marketing PBL (project based learning) for school last month.  The kids had to make up a product, create a store sign, set the cost, and sell their goods at a market fair.  Big E sold out of his cute Fuzzy Buddies and was able to buy several products from his classmates.
I have been so slow in getting the house painted.  Hayden's back wall was my most recent project.  The other 3 walls will be painted a light blue and the curtains will be changed to orange or navy chevron ones.  Whenever I get it all done (which won't be anytime soon), I will post a completed pic.
This is how we found Emerson on the evening after the boys' recent sleepover.  Unfortunately, he got sick.  We suspect it was Norovirus.  He puked 6 times that night.  I got it the next night and puked 5 times.  Hayden got it the next night and he puked 7 times.  Clayton came home from work the next day and didn't feel good (though his lucky butt never threw up---so not fair!).  It was atrocious.  The bright side is that I lost a few pounds, though that is not my preferred method, lol. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Stitch Fix #17 Review

I know, I know.  It has been a while since I did a Stitch Fix review.  The past few have been great but I was just too lazy to blog them.  Today was #17 and it was a lot of fun.  I was styled by Alexandra for some reason though.  Jackie is my regular stylist.  Anyway, I will go ahead and apologize for the mediocre photography but there is only so much I can do when using an iPhone and the mirror in the guest room.  

1. La Made-Weaver Mixed Knit Cowl Neck Top $28---{KEEPER}
This is the pretty blue top shown in the top photo.  It is super soft, cheap, and such a gorgeous shade of blue.  I paired it with my Lansome Houndstooth skirt from my last fix.  It also looks great with my black Banana Republic cardigan.  The arm holes are a little bit long (you can see my bra peeking out in the big photo) but I will likely wear a cardi anyway so it won't matter.

2. Loveappella-Baltimore Chevron Striped Knit Shirt $48---{KEEPER}
My favorite shirt EVER!!  I am sick of the chevron trend but this shirt was just too pretty to pass up.  It is so soft and the colors are gorgeous.  It perfectly matches the Kut From The Kloth purple cords that Clayton bought me for Christmas.

3. Pomelo-Westin Embroidered Henley Knit Shirt $58
While I adore the gorgeous colors of this top (and how well it matches my teal skinnies), I had to sadly send it back.  It was a bit big in the shoulders/underarm area.  It is hard to explain but the fabric would fold on the sides of my chest.  Bummer!

4. Under Skies-Marian Elephant Print Split-Neck Blouse $38
I have 2 elephant print shirts pinned on my Stitch Fix board on Pinterest, so it was no surprise that I got a shirt with elephants on it.  Unfortunately, this one is not even remotely close to being as pretty as the ones I want.  I want lots of color and this was a total miss for me.  The elephants are cute but I do not care for them in bright yellow on a black background.  The shirt was also HUGE.  It says it is a small but I have to wonder.

5. RD Style-Frenando Airy Knit Open Cardigan $68
This cardigan is nice but I have no need for it.  I have enough brown/neutral items in my closet.  I want color from now on.  Even if I was in the market for a brown cardi, this wouldn't be it due to how boxy it is.  It makes me look pregnant and that is not a look that I desire when I am indeed not carrying a child.

If you are interested in giving Stitch Fix a try, I would love for you to use this link so that I get a small credit to use towards my next box. Every little bit helps. Thanks!

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Hayden's 11th Birthday

Hayden got his birthday wish of not going to school.  On 1/28 (Tues.), they got out of school at 11:30am for an early dismissal.  A possible snow storm was in the forecast so the school system decided to go ahead and get the kids out before anything happened.  We ended up with about 1/2 inch of snow that evening.  Pathetic, I know.  That 1/2 inch of snow got school canceled for the next 2 days and a late start that Friday.  That is insane, in my opinion, but whatever.  My birthday boy was thrilled to wake up on Wednesday without the worry of going to school.

Hayden wanted some snow cream that morning, so I scraped up what I could and obliged.  I admit to making myself a bowl also.  That stuff is so good!
That night, we went out to Bonefish Grill for H's favorite, Bang Bang Shrimp.  My parents joined us.  After that, we went back home and let Hayden open up his gifts. 

That Friday, we had a little sleepover.  The boys had their best friends stay over.  Hayden had Tucker and Emerson had Jacob.  I reserved making cupcakes until that night so H blew out his candles then.  They had a great time with their friends.