Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Music, Mayhem, and the Lake

For Memorial Day weekend, since we had an extra day off of work, we met Sam's brothers and some friends at Lake Eufaula.  When we began planning this trip we weighed the options and decided to tent camp.  I'm so glad we did!  Aaron arrived early and picked out a great camping spot, then the rest of us trickled in throughout the evening and night.  During the weekend we spent a lot of time on the water although we didn't wakeboard much due to the excessive winds.  While we were down there, we also went to a Gary Allen concert (part of the Music and Mayhem production) which was awesome!  They even had wine slushies at the concert which were amazing (I seriously want to buy a machine so I can drink these again)!!!  I don't have a lot of pictures because a.) it was windy on the water and I didn't want my camera to get wet, b.) I didn't want to have to carry it around at the concert, and c.) it ran out of battery sooner than anticipated. 

Campground View A

Campground View B

The Arsenal
(Yes, we had two boats and a waverunner for nine people.  Excessive, maybe.)

Although the wind made it rough for the boats, it was fun to ride the waverunner on the choppy water.  

 Ben and his crew checking out the concert area.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Happy Birthday, Rufus!

 Since I made a blog post for Bella's birthday, it's only fair that I make one for Rufus too.  So, without farther ado, here are some fun facts about Rufus:
~  His favorite food is cheese!  He starts spinning if you ask him if he wants cheese.
~  His teeth are symmetrically crooked.
~  He loves being dirty!
~  He loves water, but doesn't swim.
~  Rufus doesn't know how to play with other little dogs.  He only knows how to play with big dogs (who normally don't want to play with him).
~  Although he doesn't really bark, he makes more noise than any dog I've ever known.
~  When you pet Rufus (especially on his head), he tries to lick your hand, making it difficult to pet him. 
~  Rufus LOVES Bella!  He will follow her anywhere and gets depressed when she isn't around.  He licks her face every night.  
~  Every morning, when Sam sits down to put his boots on, Rufus sits either on Sam's foot or between his legs.
~  Almost every time Rufus enters the house he runs to the kitchen to check the floor then squeaks his kong toy repeatedly.
~  Rufus plays tug-of-war with Bella, but won't play it with people.
~  He only gets on the furniture when invited and loves my orange blanket because he knows he's likely to get invited up when it's out.
~  He doesn't jump on people, but he does jump on Bella and the glass door. 
~  Sometimes little kids mistake Rufus for a pig.  I think it's a combination of the snorting noise he makes, his curly tail, the way he roots around with his nose, and the shape of his body.
~  Rufus, in typical Boston fashion, smiles often.

Awwwww, Rufus the day we got him.

 When Rufus and Bella first met.

 He was such a cute puppy!

 When we first got Rufus, his entire body fit in Bella's mouth and I was scared to let them play together.  Luckily, she was very gentle with him. 

 Rufus broke his leg when he was less than six month old. 

 He likes to take naps with Sam.

Proof of his love of water (yes, he is trying to climb into a bucket).  

 When he was two, Rufus had to have a grass awn surgically removed from his paw.

He is such a happy dog!!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

As Luck Would Have It

As most of you know, I love a good craft blog.  In fact, I read a few daily.  Most of these blogs hold randomly selected giveaways or contests on occasion.  I don't always enter the giveaways, but if it's something I'm interested in I throw my name in the hat.  Well, I got lucky this morning and the random number generator was in my favor.  But first, lets back up a little bit and recall other prizes I've received over time.  I'm not trying to brag, it's just crazy to me that I can have such great luck in drawings but horrible luck when it comes to extending our family.

Let's start with when I was in elementary school, I sent in a post card to enter a drawing on Nickelodeon and won.  Well, I didn't win the big prize which included participating on a game show, but I did win a Sega Genesis.  Do you remember those?  I thought I was hot stuff with my Sega!  The two games it came with (Sonic the Hedgehog and Altered Beast) were the only games I ever owned for that device.
Isn't that creepy?!?!  I can't believe I played that game for hours!

A few years later, for our 16th birthday, my friend and I went to a hockey game with a group of friends.  My seat number was called to go down on the ice to shoot for a recliner.  I'm not sure who all was behind picking my seat, but I'm pretty confident it was rigged.  The part that wasn't rigged was that I actually made the shot!

Last fall I entered a giveaway on the blog Craftaholics Anonymous.  I was randomly selected and won a gift certificate to Modern Bird Studios.  Their stuff is awesome!  They take your picture and use it to create unique, modern art.  I'm really hoping that we have our kids by the time it expires so I can use a picture of them.

You can pick any number of colors and color combination you want.

In February I entered a giveaway at the Make It and Love It blog (one of my all time favorites!).  This randomly selected giveaway was for a $100 Target gift card sponsored by Groopdealz.  I thought it was a joke when I opened my e-mail to find a notification that I won.  I even went to the Make It and Love It blog to verify that I won before I responded to the e-mail.  I considered spending it on crafting supplies (and it was tempting), but ultimately decided to put it aside to help get the kids' rooms ready when the time comes.  It helps that we don't have a Target in Stillwater to be teased with. 

Just last week, Jess at Craftiness is Not Optional (she makes the cutest clothes for her little girl!) held a  (again, randomly selected) giveaway for the etsy shop From The Red Kitchen.  Guess what?!?!?!  I was shocked and excited to receive notification e-mail this morning saying I won.  I've been wanting to get some cute buttons, but haven't taken the plunge and bought any.  I can't wait to do a little button shopping, in fact, I think I will head over their now. 

Maybe I should try my hand at the lottery next, or maybe we'll get lucky in the kid department ;)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

One. More. Class.

That's right, we only have one class left!  We are almost completely finished with our homework (since we did the assignment for each class right after we got home even though it isn't due until the final class... yeah, right).  Also in preparation for Tuesday's class, the brisket we signed up to bring to the potluck is thawing in the fridge.  No lie, when they passed around a sign up sheet I did a quick mental inventory of ready to heat and serve meals in our freezer and let Sam choose one.  Yeah, I'm lazy like that, I didn't even make the brisket, my mother-in-law did (she's the best ever!).  The last class is an easy one that will go something like this:  panel of teenagers in foster care, eat dinner, panel of foster parents, graduation (ok, so they don't call it graduation, but we do get some kind of certificate at the end of class).

Once class is over, all we lack is a lot of waiting.  As far as the home study goes, our contractor has all of the requested information and is typing up the final report.  She might have a few small questions, but we've given her all the major information.  We are also waiting for our fingerprints to come back.  When those two things are complete, I will turn in our life book (which I need to start) and the real waiting game begins.  Wow, it's starting to feel like this might really happen!

Monday, May 9, 2011

My Mother's Day Surprise

I try to be a really positive person (and most of the time I think I succeed), but everyone is allowed a rough day week sometimes, right?  Well, last week was that week for me.  First of all, it was Aubrey's week.  I'm calling it Aubrey's week because it includes the day we discovered she didn't have a heartbeat, her delivery, her funeral, and all the days in between.  This week was also teacher appreciation week, being a teacher is my #2 dream job and what I gave up to stay home with Aubrey.  The topper for this week was Mother's Day, my #1 dream job that I was so looking forward to doing.  Do you know how hard it is to feel like a mom when your only child is an angel?!

For Aubrey's birthday, Sam and I decided to take her some live flowers for a change.  Sam took a stake and fixed it so I could put the flowers in a vase with water so they wouldn't be dead the next day.  In addition to visiting her grave (where Sam read a sweet, sweet letter that he wrote to her for her birthday), we spent Aubrey's birthday getting finger printed, physicals, and going to class. 

Aubrey's birthday flowers

For Mother's Day weekend, Sam and I went camping.  It was a perfect weekend at the lake with just us and the dogs.  We borrowed a couple of kayaks from my former principal and took advantage of the lack of wind Saturday by spending a lot of time on the water.  We were going to stay out there two nights, but decided to come home late Saturday evening after Sam got a terrible sunburn (we now have sunblock on the master camping list). 

Sunday, after church, we went to Aubrey's grave to collect the dead flowers and leave some fake ones.  Imagine my surprise when we pulled up and saw this:
That's right, the daisies died as expected, but the unopened buds bloomed into these beautiful flowers!  I know it's just a simple thing, but this unexpected surprise really turned my week around.  To me it was a little symbolic, the daisies died, but something beautiful and unexpected came of their short life.

I also left a tile that I made for Aubrey by her headstone.  For this tile I used a quote from a Robert Munsch book to say what she means to me. 

Monday, May 2, 2011

One Year Ago Today, God Gave Us an Angel

I have decided that for the one year anniversary of some of the best and worst days of my life I would like to share Aubrey's story.  I'm doing this partly because I want to share her short little life (hey, she's still my daughter and I still love talking about her) and partly in a hope that in some way our story will help other couples who go through late term pregnancy or infant loss.  Our goal is to honor Aubrey as a defining member of our family without dwelling on her death.  We just want her to be remembered and to do good in her name. 

November 3, 2009
Sam and I completed our second round of intrauterine insemination (IUI).  I joked that if that round "took" we should either name our child Mac or Wendy because we ate breakfast at McDonald's and lunch at Wendy's that day.  Between our two appointments (one at 7 am and one at 11 am) Sam took me shopping for new ski gloves since we had already paid for a trip in January assuming that we wouldn't get pregnant.

November 17, 2009
Even though I was sure it would be negative, I took a home pregnancy test while Sam was in the shower.  When he came out of the bathroom I told him that we were pregnant.  He was, literally, jump up and down happy!!!  We couldn't believe it, so I took another test and were ecstatic to get the same result!  I not so patiently waited until 7 for my specialist's office to open so I could call and see what I needed to do next.  When I arrived at school that morning I immediately told Denise and Amanda (the other first grade teachers, aka Team One) my news because I'm horrible at keeping secrets and I needed them to cover for me while I went to the hospital to get some blood drawn both that day and 48 hours later (thank goodness I had a student teacher).  When I told the rest of Team One Amanda started crying because she knew that I would be quiting to stay home with my little bundle of love.

December 8, 2009 
 Sam and I drove to Oklahoma City to see our blessing for the first time.  Dr. Hanson did a very extensive ultrasound to make sure that there was only one baby since we had an increased chance of multiples due to our fertility treatments.

Week of January 3, 2010
After clearing it with the doctor, Sam and I went skiing with his brothers and some friends.  I was restricted to the greens, but was content with that in order to keep our little one safe.  Throughout the trip I jokingly referred to my ski gloves as my conception day gift.

March 8, 2010
We waited until 20 weeks for our gender revealing ultrasound because we wanted to make sure that the tech was right.  As we were setting in the waiting room we noticed a couple crying.  When we went into the room Sam asked the tech what the worst part of her job was, she said giving people bad news like that they had miscarried, but that our little one was perfect and healthy and growing appropriately so we didn't have anything to worry about.   She then looked around a little more and announced that she was ready to tell us the gender.  When she said, "It's a girl," Sam said, "Are you sure?!?!"  You see, Sam's family is very male dominate so we had just assumed that we would be having a boy (even though Sam secretly wanted a girl).  In fact, many members of his family told us to wait to cut the tags off her clothes until she was here to make sure it was a girl.  From this day on, she was referred to as Aubrey Marie.

April 22, 2010
My coworkers held a baby shower for us on Earth Day.  Amanda thought it would be funny to decorate with a combination of baby stuff and globes.  Team One had secretly had a onesie made for Aubrey that read, "Team One Junior Member."  

April 30, 2010
I remember feeling Aubrey move that morning when I got up, but not really during the day.  One of my "special friends" wasn't at school that day and I had sat down most of the day completing assessments so I just assumed that she was enjoying the break.  I didn't want to be one of those moms who worried about every little thing.  Besides, other moms who where as far along as I was or farther said that their babies moved much less than Aubrey.  That evening I told Sam that she was being really lazy, we decided to keep an eye on it.

May 1, 2010
By far the worst day of my life!  When I woke up on this Saturday morning I immediately noticed that Aubrey still wasn't moving which worried me because she was like her momma in that she was a morning person.  I started doing things to upset her like jumping, drinking juice, and pushing on my stomach so she would move and I would know she was OK.  I called my mom and asked if she ever remembered us not moving at this point in gestation, she suggested the things that I had already tried so I told her that I would call her back with an update (she later told me that she knew then that something was seriously wrong).  In a final attempt to get Aubrey to move I took a really, really warm shower.  During this shower the reality of our situation started to sink in,  I remember crying and praying while the warm water washed over me.  I prayed asking God to protect our baby.  I also told God that we aren't strong enough to do this on our own, that if He was going to put us in this situation, we were relying on Him to get us through.  After I got out of the shower Sam and I went to the emergency room because our doctor isn't open on Saturdays and we didn't know where else to go.

When we entered the emergency room they acted like we shouldn't be there and kept asking questions like, "Is this your first pregnancy?" and "Now how far along did you say you were?"  All we wanted was for them to use their fetal heartbeat monitor so we could know that our sweet girl was OK.  They decided not to mess with us in the er and sent us up to labor and delivery.

As we were walking into labor and delivery a doctor strolled past with an Ed Hardy type shirt on and a stethoscope around his neck as if he didn't have a care in the world.  Dr. Henry was out of town that weekend so a nurse named Jennifer took us into a side room with a fetal heartbeat monitor until the doctor covering Dr. Henry's patients could get there.  Jennifer was having a hard time finding Aubrey's heartbeat and kept saying how she wasn't very good at using those things, I kept telling her that Dr. Henry always finds it on my lower right side so she needed to try there more.  Jennifer decided to call in another nurse to help her find Aubrey's heartbeat (I have to say that they were both very positive and polite during our whole visit).  Jennifer said that while the other nurse was finding Aubrey's heartbeat she would go find the doctor so she could do an ultra sound.  As the door closed behind her, I heard Jennifer say, "Get in here now,"  at that moment I knew this was bad, but still had hope. 

Jennifer walked back into the room with the Ed Hardy doctor (who turned out to be Dr. Evans, a really, really nice guy who attends our church).  He prepared me for an ultrasound while the nurses got the machine ready.  The doctor started the ultrasound and stopped on a non-moving black circle.  I kept asking, "Is that her heart?" over and over.  Neither of the nurses nor the doctor said anything, then Sam said, "It is, isn't it?"  While the nurses turned off the ultrasound machine, Dr. Evans wiped off my stomach and said, "I'm sorry."  I sat there in shock while my husband cried like I've never heard him cry.  The doctor and nurses left the room to give Sam and I some time alone.  A few minutes later, Dr. Evans and Jennifer entered the room to talk with us about our options.  Soon after they entered, the doctor covering Dr. Henry's patients entered so Dr. Evans left.  The new doctor told us that we had three choices, we could wait until my body figured it out and went into labor on its own (this could take up to two weeks), induce that day, or induce the next day with Dr. Henry.  We decided to wait until the next day so that we could spend that day mentally preparing for what was about to happen and we could have our doctor at the delivery.  Sam and I went home and called our family.  Dr. Henry called us from his family outing to discuss what would happen the next day.

May 2, 2010
Sam and I had to be at the hospital at 7am on May 2.  We arrived and Jennifer met us and showed us to our room, she said that she had requested to be our nurse.  Not too long after we arrived, they hooked me up to an IV and Dr. Henry came into the room.  He did another ultrasound during which he noticed that my fluid level was a little low, but not enough that he would be concerned about it under different circumstances.  Sometime that early morning they started the drugs to induce labor.  Throughout the day, Jennifer consistently came in to check my progress, they gave me more labor inducing drugs every four hours.  Mom and Mindy spent a lot of the day looking for a cute preemie outfit (not an easy task in Stillwater on a Sunday).  Many family and friends stopped by to show their support that day.  At 6pm we met our night nurse, Brandi.  We stayed on the same labor inducing drug schedule and I slept every other two hours throughout the night thanks to the drugs they gave me.  It turns out Sam's parents, my mom and Shirley, and Blake and Mindy all slept in their vehicles in the parking lot because they were afraid Miss Aubrey would arrive and they would miss it (we thought they went to our house when they left the hospital sometime after 10pm).

May 3, 2010
At 6am we met our new day nurse, Denise.  My response to our first meeting was, "Keep that lady out of my room."  She turned out to be a great nurse, she just must not be a morning person.  The day progressed much like the previous day with lots of sitting around waiting.  Dr. Henry finally broke my water late afternoon, early evening.  Around 5:30, Dr. Henry went home to eat dinner with his family saying he would be right back.  A little bit before 6 things finally started happening.  They had ordered my epidural shortly after they broke my water, but it hadn't arrived yet.  Denise said that we could wait for the epidural to get there or I could go ahead and deliver her.  We chose option B.  Denise called Dr. Henry while Brandi (our same night nurse as the previous night) prepared us for delivery.  With the help of Denise and Brandi, I delivered our perfect angel at 6:42pm.  She weighed 2 pounds 6.6 ounces, was 15 inches long and had wavy brown hair.

Dr. Henry arrived right after Aubrey was born.  Before we could see her, Denise and Brandi took Aubrey to clean and dress her as well as take samples and pictures for her autopsy (It was determined that she suffered a cord accident.  In the words of the medical examiner, "She's too perfect for it to be anything else.").  They returned shortly with our angel.  Sam and I spent some time alone with her, then invited any family and friends that wanted to come see her.  I'm actually thankful that my epidural didn't arrive in time because I have vivid memories of the time we got to spend with our little girl.  Sam, Mindy and I took her hand and footprints with paint for my friend, Julia, to embellish (they turned out amazing).  We took turns holding Aubrey, memorizing her face and body, smelling her little newborn head, kissing her sweet cheeks, taking pictures.  Sometime later, Brandi came and got Aubrey from us.  Our family went home or to our house and Sam and I began preparing to go home (we learned that since I didn't get an epidural we only had to stay for 3 hours post delivery).  At 10pm, on our way out, Sam and I stopped by the desk and asked to see Aubrey one last time (we had been advised that they don't embalm newborns, so we couldn't see her after she left the hospital).  We left the hospital that night broken hearted and empty handed.