December 12, 2012

Approaching the one year mark

Shortly after the twins were born, Roy showed me a short video. The video was about a half minute long. All it showed was the road ahead of them as they drove into the city I live in.

To an outsider, the video would mean nothing. It shows a typical highway with other cars driving to their destination and tan highway sound barrier walls on each side. I think of this short clip every once in awhile, especially when I drive through that part of the city.

To me, this clip oozes anticipation. The anticipation of meeting their new son and daughter. The anticipation of parenthood. They were entering a new city they would call home for the next several weeks and they were on the verge of experiencing a huge life-changing event.

This was almost one year ago. Some days "one year ago" seems impossible (one year already?). Other days it feels like a lifetime ago. In November, the guys and I hit the 2 year anniversary of our first conversation. It surely does not feel like two years has passed. All of this happened in just two years? That feels crazy.

As we approach the celebration of Ella and Ely's first year, I want to take another moment to tell Roy and Avner... how grateful I am you choose me to take this journey with. Thank you for staying in contact with me and allowing me to be part of your lives. Many hugs and kisses!

November 30, 2012

And the bombs have stopped



Pssst... I have a super awesome update to: my surrofamily and rockets.

The chaos has ceased!! My sweet Israeli family is back together and going about their normal, everyday lives. 


It's such a good thing!!




This is quite possibly the shortest "short and sweet" post ever.

November 18, 2012

My surrofamily + rockets = me sad and worried

I've never shared with Blogworld where my surrofamily lives, but with Avner's permission I am telling you now. I am telling you because I want to share with you what is going on. Here goes...

Less than a week after I returned from my trip, Carrie (BFF) sent me a text saying things weren't looking good in Israel. Ta da... the guys and babies live in Israel. I'm not one to keep up with the news. It's usually depressing and brings me down. So when Carrie sent the message I immediately went to CNN News. Sure enough I started reading words like rockets, fighting, deaths. Scary words.


After reading the news, I sent Avner a message telling him I didn't like the news coming from Israel. I did not expect the response I got. "I was drafted last night"... uhh what?!?! I hoped he was joking but I knew he wasn't. He has been assigned to doctor duty. I have no idea how close he is to the Gaza Strip (really anywhere in Israel is too close to Gaza). Like a silly girl, I started crying (I think I've mentioned I am an emotional person). I always worry for them living in a country where war seems to be a constant threat. Now my worries were warranted.

Gaza seems to be throwing a major temper tantrum right now. The guys live in Tel Aviv. If I am reading the map right, Gaza and Tel Aviv is a little less than 50 miles (or 80 km is you prefer) apart. Later that morning I received another message saying that Tel Aviv's air raid sirens were sounding. At least two rockets had been fired with intentions of hitting the city. I was already anxious that Avner was close to where all this crap was happening but now Roy and the babies are dodging rockets? Are you kidding me? I don't have the right words to express my true feelings. People I love are in danger. Like, really serious immediate danger. The only thing I want to do is put on my superwoman cape and go rescue them.

Most Americans have no idea what it's like to live in a country that seems to be in a constant state of threat. I've turned into a stalker of sorts. I'm checking the news constantly. I'm disappointed and relieved when there are no updates. Disappointed because I want to read that harmony has finally struck and peace has overcome. Relieved because the Israeli death toll doesn't seem to be rising.

I don't know what it's like to send a family member or a close friend overseas to Iraq or Afghanistan. I imagine it feels a lot like how I feel. It sucks to not know what is going on at all times. My mind tries to be positive but the what-ifs creep in. Maybe I'm being way dramatic... I don't know. I'm worried though. I'll remain worried even after the fighting has ceased. I'm a little overprotective like that.

Thankfully, we have the ability to stay in contact through messaging. I check in with them at least once a day. If you're curious... yes, I'd send hourly check-ins, but I think that would be a little over the top and possibly annoying.

The day I learned how serious Hamas was about starting a war, Thursday, was a tense day for me. A lot of worrisome and distracting thoughts. As the days have passed, I am feeling more confident my sweet little surrofamily will be okay. For now all we can do is wait. Waiting sucks! I've never been a huge fan of it. 

Anywho..... please please please keep these special people in your thoughts and prayers.

November 17, 2012

My trip

I recently visited my surrofamily. As I've mentioned, they live overseas. I've wished a million times they lived closer to me but that just hasn't happened. So I traveled across the Atlantic Ocean to spend some quality time with them.

I had been planning this visit since summer. When I first started planning it seemed like November was an eternity away, but as we all know time flies and I soon found myself boarding a plane.

I traveled alone which made me a little nervous, but at the same time I was excited. I was nervous because it's a big deal to travel that far alone and I'm a small town type of girl - as in, I don't get out much. I was excited because I would have all this time to myself. Sure, I was on a plane and there is only so much you can do on a plane, but at least I could live in my own thoughts for awhile. Remember I have 4 kids... alone time doesn't come easy for me.

Avner picked me up from the airport. Together we drove to his and Roy's apartment. There is something about these two guys that I just can't explain. Just being in their presence makes me so happy.

I was anxious to see the babies. I was excited to watch them and just be near them. I wanted to get to know their personalities. I am happy to say they are quite perfect. Their personalities are somewhat similar to when they were in utero. Ella is a busy little bee with her crawling. The cat's dish has some sort of magnetic control over her. She tries her best to crawl to it before getting caught. She is very curious and seemed a little suspicious of me. By the end of my trip I think she was starting to accept me. Ely is full of smiles and very welcoming. He is content sitting in one spot (although he does crawl too) and playing or taking in the world around him. His favorites sounds are aba and ga. He gets pretty excited when he says them.

I spent time with the babies everyday. The guys have stuck to a great routine. During their playtime, I sat on the floor with them. During bath time, I watched as they happily splashed around. They love water! Every night we enjoyed a walk. In the evening, there are many couples pushing their little ones in strollers and/or walking their dogs up and down the boulevards. Actually all day the boulevards are busy with people going here or there. The weather was pretty great too. It was about 85 and sunny everyday... and it's their winter season. A bit different than Minnesota's winter months.

The guys were excellent hosts while I was there. Roy set me up with an apartment he oversees while the owner is away. Avner always made sure that I had a menu that read in English. If the restaurant didn't, he would read me the menu. Those are just a few examples.They both took time away from work to spend time with me. They showed me popular tourist sites of their country. Because of privacy issues I won't share where exactly I went, but it's a country with a ton of history and impressive landmarks. I know what you are thinking... "how did she get soooo lucky to be matched with these IPs?". I ask myself that too.

I met some of the guys' family. To be honest I was very nervous about that. They had certain expectations of me I'm sure. Is it weird that I didn't want to disappoint them? Both moms were very surprised at how young I look (I am quite youthful looking, you know haha). It was sweet. I'm not comfortable with a lot of attention on me. Lucky for me the moms didn't put me on the spot. They are both very nice ladies. I was happy to meet them and to spend a little bit of time with them.

I didn't even cry when we said our goodbyes! If I would have known what this week would bring I am sure my goodbyes would have been said with a boatload of tears. I'll fill you in on that news in another post.

Here are some pictures. I didn't take nearly as many as I should have. Guess I'll have to visit them again just so I can take more pictures.

Flying in

Pretty girl Ella

Ummm... nice view huh?

Miss Ella... look at that cute button nose!

It was tough getting these babes to sit still.

Gotcha!

Ely... love that face!
Aww! Love them!


My favorite picture of all! Just makes me smile.








November 13, 2012

Happy 10 months!

Ella and Ely are 10 months old today!!

As most of you know, I spent last week with them. Let's just say... I'm still smiling!!

A blog post about my trip is in the works. This is just a quick "Happy 10 months" shout out.




October 31, 2012

Let's rally for Nicole!

I am hoping to get some well wishes and positive energy sent to my friend, Nicole. Yesterday's ultrasound shows no heartbeat :( You can read her story here.

I have sent my hugs and support but I have not been through a miscarriage so I can only imagine this pain. If you have been through this (or even if you haven't) and can offer helpful words please share them with her.

 Thank you!


October 15, 2012

9 months... oh my!!

Those itty bitty sweet faced babies are 9 months old (as of the 13th). Time flies but it also feels like ages have passed since they arrived and left. I miss them and their daddies, but we stay in contact pretty much on a weekly basis... for that I am grateful!

According to my handy dandy ticker on the top left side of this blog, I'll be seeing this family in 2 weeks and 4 days! Woohoo!

September 16, 2012

New kid on the surrogacy block

Hi blog pals...

I'd like you to meet my friend, Nicole. She is a first time surrogate for a pair of hopeful IFs. She had her first transfer last week and is now in the 2WW. How exciting, huh?

It brings back such great memories for me when I read Nicole's story. We used the same agency (she actually works at the agency), the transfer went down at the same place, her IFs are from the same country as mine. There are a lot of similarities. I am very excited to follow her journey and read it through her words.

I encourage you all to venture over and catch her story while she's just getting it started. Please leave her some kind words and best wishes. Maybe even some sticky baby vibes.

Nicole's journey

September 06, 2012

Peek-a-boo!

I see two of the most babylicious faces! In less than 2 months, I will be snuggling these two lovebugs in person **and the crowd goes wild**.

In just a few short days, Ely and Ella will be 8 months old.

Ella

Ely


Don't they just put a smile on your face?!?

August 28, 2012

Whatcha doing...

My poor pretty little blog, I have neglected you lately. I'm sorry, blog. I know you understand.

Life is busy. Especially in the summer but autumn is approaching and those kids are going back to school. Maybe I'll find more time to post. I do make time to check-in with my fellow bloggers a few times a week though.


This summer has been filled with fun. We camped with friends, we visited Wisconsin Dells, we spent time at my mom and dad's cabin. My friends and I played in the mud during the Dirty Girl Mud Run. My daughter and I road-tripped to Chicago along with some friends to be entertained by her favorite boy band. This is just a sample of our summer. It was great.

I am ready for fall though. I love it. It's my favorite season.  I love pumpkin flavored anything, the crisp air, wearing long sleeves and jeans. I will absolutely miss my flip flops though. And I am definitely not looking forward to runny noses. It will soon be time get out the antibacterial tool belt.

School starts in less than a week. My kids are ready and for the most, excited. My daughter is entering her first year of high school (yikes). My second baby is entering first grade and my 3rd guy is starting preschool. My fourth dude will be lucky to spend his entire day with me, as usual.

November is sneaking up on us. And November is special because? Anyone remember? Yes, because I will be visiting my surrogate babies and their daddies! I'm kinda pumped. No, I am super pumped. Not only will I experience another foreign country, I will be spending time with 4 people I love and adore!  So yeah, I am super pumped.

Signing off for now. Remember to enjoy these last few days of summer!

August 03, 2012

I'd rather spread love

I've been thinking about this post, rewriting this post, deleting this post for about a week. I was having a hard time coming up with the right words. I was back and forth with my feelings. Mainly I was feeling pissed and hypocritical.

I'm pissed because people can be so hateful at times. I'm pissed because way too many people use God as an excuse to be hateful. True Christians don't judge. It's not our duty as a true Christian to judge someone else. Leave Judgement Day up to The Big Guy... who, from what I've heard, forgives all. He'll forgive haters for hating, he'll forgive sinners for sinning. Side thought: wouldn't you consider hatred to be a sin? It's really inconceivable to me how haters go out of their way to express their hate. How sad it must be to live in those shoes. To be so cruel to others who are simply living how they choose to live. To the haters, I've asked before but I'll ask again, how does a person's sexual preference directly impact your life? What is it exactly that draws out your hatred?



I'm hypocritical because while I think everyone has a right to stand up for what they believe in I also want to take these hateful words/actions and smash them to pieces.


My parents are awesome. For obvious reasons (they had me, hehe) but this week I was reminded of something else. Growing up, they did not talk ill of anyone while I was in their presence. They didn't bash or judge people for actions they may not do themselves. They are good, honest people. They allowed me to grow my own opinions. I bring this up because I've seen some pretty ugly things in the last few weeks. Ugly things grown ass adults are doing to their children. Such as, having a 5 year old wear an offensive shirt with the word "f@g" on it. How absolutely disgusting is that?? Really people, we are using our own children to spread hatred? Is it not bad enough we have adults with black hearts, can't we leave our children out of this until they are old enough to understand the argument? Please?!? 


Really though, how cute does a 5 year old look in a HRC shirt...super C.U.T.E.  


"If mom says no, ask mom"
"If dad says no, ask dad"
































Oh shoot... was that me being hypocritical again? What can I say... Love Conquers Hate!

Instead of bashing, smashing, ranting and raging, I've decide to continue doing exactly what I have been doing... spreading awareness (with only an occasional outburst). If I put myself out there and spread awareness, I should expect some backfire. If a hater spreads hate, they should also expect backfire. That's just the way it is. If you are open to posting, blogging, talking about your beliefs then you should be strong enough to take criticism. If you are afraid of what your words/pictures may say about you then it's best to keep it to yourself.

To me, there are a few things in this life worth fighting for. Giving a person the right to choose who they love is one of them.



July 25, 2012

Here's the scoop...

In May, I wrote a post titled "The Offer". I am ready to give you an update to the offer I made to carry another couple's baby.

First though I have to share with you that I received some "what are you thinking" remarks. I am very aware that I delivered twins in January. My body is not ready to be pregnant again quite yet... I get that. In "The Offer" post I explained I was offering now because I knew it would take time to get everything in order. Surrogacy isn't a fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants kind of thing. A lot needs to happen before a transfer can be attempted. My first surrogacy started in Oct (application process) and the transfer was in May. I was told by the agency I worked with, this was a fairly quick start to transfer. If 7 months is quick, I am not sure what time frame to expect with a couple that hasn't even looked into surrogacy yet. With that being said, I wanted to get the ball rolling, fully aware it would probably take at least a year to get to the transfer stage. So that's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Back to the issue at hand. We met for brunch at a totally delicious restaurant... and I mean totally delish! Hold on while I reminisce.....................

We did small talk, ate then the surrogacy talk came up. Bottom line is surrogacy is not an option for them right now. It saddens me. It saddens me that some people don't have the option to have a baby, when everything inside them yearns to have a baby but nature does not come through for them. A fellow (and very cool) blogger, Jeni, wrote "It's not fair". This statement runs through my mind over and over when I read/hear about infertility. Infertility truly is not fair.

As for my surrogacy adventures... you'll have to stay tuned.




July 13, 2012

Friday the 13th... 6 months ago

In the wee hours of a snowy morning on January 13, two bundles of incredible joy were placed into the arms of their daddies. Read about their arrival here.

I can't express to you how wonderful, how blessed it feels to have helped create this family. In life, we have dreams of doing big things, life changing things...  this was mine and it feels great!

You know that overwhelming feeling of love your heart feels when you see someone you love and adore? I get that when I see these babies! In just a few months, I will be lucky enough to kiss and snuggle these two. They'll be just about 10 months old... hmmm... they may be too busy and "on the go" to have time for snuggles. Snuggles or not it will be great to see them (and Roy and Avner) again.

HAPPY 6 MONTHS ELLA AND ELY!!
YOU BOTH ARE SO LOVED!!







Goodness! Those faces are precious!

July 04, 2012

Let freedom ring

Happy
Fourth
of
July!!!




I hope your day is full of sun, sno-cones, beaches, campfires, laughter and whatever else makes you smile. And for goodness sake... please don't blow off your thumbs lighting fireworks.








June 25, 2012

Special birthday gift

My birthday was last week. I gave myself one kicker of a gift. I'll give some clues.

Clue 1). two terrific guys
Clue 2). two amazingly gorgeous babies
Clue 3). a very long hop, skip and a jump over the Atlantic Ocean.

Any guesses?

Ding, ding, ding... we have a winner. In November, I am heading overseas to see my ever-so-special surrogate family. And if you all must know, I have major ants in my pants and can't wait for November to get here.

I drew a picture to show you all how excited I am... guess which one is me?!?

June 15, 2012

Party at my place!

Long time no see, huh? Life has been busy for me. I do check-in once in awhile to catch up on the blogs I follow. Some good things going on and some not so good things. Chin up to some bloggers going through difficult times and many hugs.

I'll just post a few pictures because I don't have much time to write up an impressive and informative post. Plus, it's Friday... we gotta keep it light.

 Friday, sometimes you just have to dance



Love me a good dog picture


Who's gonna party like it's 1999? This guy!!

Have a wonderful weekend!!

May 26, 2012

Okay - I'm a dork

I just realized I linked the wrong post in the post "The Offer" regarding the birthday party conversation. If anyone is interested, here is the correct post. Geesh!

May 25, 2012

The offer

I have secret to share with you...

Last fall, my husband and I went to a birthday party for a friend, we'll call him John. John has a wife, we'll call her Jane. The party guests began leaving and soon it was just Jeremy and I sitting in the living room with John and Jane. I talked about our conversation here. Take a minute to read it... I personally think it's a good post.

After much thought and talks with Jeremy, we've decided to offer my uterus to them. Some that read my blog often are probably thinking "What the (insert whatever word you choose)?! You just had twins in January? Isn't it a little soon to be thinking about it again?" It's okay for you to think this because I've had the same thought. I went to a surrogate social last October and met someone jumping into surrogacy just a few months after delivering her first surrobaby. I understand where she was coming from now.

We invited John and Jane over for dinner a few weeks ago. I don't know if they expected the surrogacy discussion. I wasn't sure how to present it, it's not everyday I offer my baby maker to people. I offered surrogacy one other time to a friend (read about it here - it's a longer post but it explain the whys and hows of my surrogacy decision). Even before she came into my life, I knew I wanted to carry a baby for someone. I assumed God would present me with the right person. This person felt so right. Today, I realize I didn't approach her the right way. I won't go into details about it but I'll tell you I was very blunt about it and the setting was not right (no, it was not in a bar after having 5 martinis, it was at work). I often wonder if I had chosen a different approach what her reply would have been. I wonder if she thought maybe I hadn't put much thought into it. Anyway, she declined my offer.

Back to John and Jane. The offer was presented after we ate. It's not something to take lightly so I wanted to be sensitive about it. We talked about it and threw around ideas. The reason I brought it up to them so soon after having the twins is because I know it will take time to get things in order. They aren't working with an agency yet and they need to research it a little more. And of course the dreaded money thing. They have to be sure their finances will allow it.

So here we are... hopefully heading down the road where I can help another family have a child. I love this! I really really love this!!

Oh and I have to add that God eventually presented me with the right people to have babies for. I can't say enough how much I absolutely adore the family I helped make.

Stay tuned!

May 16, 2012

Wanna see a sweet newborn?

It's no surprise that I LOVE newborns. I discovered this love the first moment I saw my daughter. Had I been using my brain a little better after she was born, I would have turned to a career handling newborns.

I was 21 when I had my daughter. Young, young, young. Thankfully, the older we get the wiser we grow. I am not quite middle age but I am quietly sneaking up on the heels of it. I realize I could go back to college and begin the long process of becoming an OB nurse or a midwife. Honestly, I can't see myself doing that. I couldn't dedicate myself to school right now.

Another love of mine is photography. Newborns + photography? Ahhh.. now we're getting somewhere. I became serious about my photography 2 years ago. My goal is to focus on maternity (check out my self-shot maternity, not terrific but self-portraits aren't so easy), birth and newborn photography. I have done quite a bit of maternity and newborns but no birth sessions. I simply can't wait to do one. Capturing the first moments of a new baby's arrival would be... I can't even come up with a word to describe how great it would be.

Since there are so many babies springing up (or shall I say out) in blog world it seems appropriate to share a few shots from my latest newborn session. This little guy is only 3 days old in these pictures.






And while I'm at it... here is my most favorite newborn shot ever. It just happens to be of my sweet little surrogirl, Ella. I think I shared it here before. She was just a couple of weeks old when I took it. This is true baby love!



Melissa

May 14, 2012

Everyone should have one

I have a rockstar best friend. I know most people think they do but I really do. In addition to being an awesome bff, she is a wife, a mother to 2 beautiful little girls, an attorney and my IVF nurse during my bedrest after the transfer. Yeah, she's pretty kick butt.

A few weeks ago, Carrie and I ventured off to Duluth, MN for a good old-fashioned girls weekend. Our plan was to go hiking but the rainy weather wouldn't allow it. What do girls do best when it's raining? Shop. A friend of Carrie's gave us a private shopping session in her boutique. I didn't buy a lot but I am now a proud owner of a pair of Sanuk flip flops... oh so cozy for the tootsies (side note: their Sidewalk Surfers shoe adorbs! Adding them to my wish list).

Me and Carrie
After the shopping we got ourselves all dolled up for the evening.





We went over to Canal Park, which is the tourist shopping district of Duluth. Our first stop was Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory where I bought some delicious caramel apples. One was coated with caramel and smothered with Snickers and another was coated in caramel, peanut butter and mini chocolate chips. These were gifts for the hubs and kids. But don't worry... I sampled some.


Me and Chef Bear
 I think Carrie and Chef Bear had a "thing" for each other. See the Chef's hand? 

Next we went to dinner at a tasty Italian restaurant. I had the Garlic Shrimp Fettuccine and Carrie had the Ravioli. We were both very pleased with our meals. After dinner we walked over to the Lake Superior shore for pictures and froze our tushes right off. It was windy and cold. Have a look at how they turned out:


You can't compete with wind.


After the wind tunnel photo session (which I am sure has made us a shoo-in for People's next "50 Most Beautiful" issue) we headed over to have an adult beverage and warm up. Then we went back to the hotel to sit in the hot tub and enjoy some wine.

The next day we decided to tour an old mansion. The mansion was built by the Congdon family in early 1900. The mansion is called Glensheen. While the mansion itself is grand and intriguing, another intriguing factor is that two murders took place within the mansion walls in 1977. A tour of the mansion had been on my "bucket list" since I read the book Will to Murder.

Front of the mansion

The arrows point to where the nurse and Elisabeth Congdon were murdered

Me and Carrie on the shore of Lake Superior on the Glensheen grounds

 After the tour, we drove south to return home. It was a wonderful weekend with laughs, shopping therapy and relaxation.

Thanks Carrie for being one heck of a bestie!