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!


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!

May 11, 2012


I just like to see you smile...

This is totally me... everyday

Happy Friday!

To all my blog friends:

May 09, 2012

Another child lost

A child dealing with bullying + depression = another child dead. The latest incident in our city happened Sunday night. No way can I wrap my mind around how badly someone must be feeling in order to go through any form of suicide. I can't put myself in their shoes. I just know that something terrible is going on inside their head.

Monday morning, the school district sent out emails and phone calls to families of high school and middle school kids informing us of a student's death. While I listened to the automated phone call, my thoughts were that this child had taken his own life. That's probably because our community went through a suicide just a week prior. The call stated that the child had died earlier that morning in the hospital. No details as to how or why. My thoughts were clouded with this child most of the day. I hoped that he had not chosen death for himself, I hoped something else had chosen his fate.

The phone call said he had two sisters in middle school. Since middle school only has 3 grades (6th-8th) it was a fair assumption that one of the sisters is in Kaelyn's (my daughter) grade. When Kaelyn came home from school later that day, I asked her about it but she hadn't heard anything. A few minutes after talking with her, she got a text from a friend telling her about the boy. The message said he committed suicide because he was bullied for being gay. It's just heartbreaking.

Normally I don't want to know the "how'd they do it" details. Not because I think it will be gruesome or because I don't care. I just think it's disrespectful to be so nosy about the subject. On the other hand, I also think it's human nature to be curious. The details of this incident really disturb me though. The story published in our local paper goes like this: near one of our local high schools (the high school he attended) is an enclosed pedestrian bridge. The street below is busy. Around midnight, he climbed to the top of the pedestrian bridge and jumped. He later died at the hospital.

I don't share this information with you just to share it. I am sharing it because I want you all to know the pain this boy must have been struggling with. Any form of suicide is unthinkable to most of us. To me, public suicides scream a statement. Think about the time it took to climb that bridge, the emotions screeching through him, to feel so empty and worthless then to end it all with a jump. I wonder... did he hope someone would stop him and a happy ending would be had? Did he lose his footing and fall? Or did he have every intention of going out like that?

Please spread the awareness!

May 08, 2012

Gay penguin update

I recently wrote a post regarding a book titled And Tango makes three and it got me thinking about other children books that gently explain or support same sex relationships/parenting and some that confront stereotypes. I put on my bikini and dove into the cyberworld pool to see what else I could find.

Here is what I found:

"The Princess Boy": A four-year-old boy loves dressing up in princess clothing. "A nonfiction picture book about acceptance ... to give children and adults a tool to talk about unconditional friendship"
My review: I really wanted to read this book and tell you how cute it is. But I can't. It actually made me sad. It starts out by telling the reader all about a boy that enjoys playing dress up and wearing pretty dresses and jewelry and how his family and friends are accepting of this. Of course, that acceptance is wonderful but the sad factor for me is that this acceptance is not reality. As the book goes on the princess boy has encounters with people that are not accepting. This book hits close to home for me. When my oldest son was 3 and 4 years old he loved (I stress the word love) wearing a recycled nightgown from his sister's closet. The nightgown was purple, very satin-y and had four different Disney princesses on it. He absolutely adored wearing this nightgown. I let that boy shine in his newly obtained gown. I think he probably wore it more times than my daughter did. He brought it to sleepovers at his g-ma's house. I know there were snickers (not the candy bar kind) and comments behind his back. But no one teased him directly. Eventually he moved on from the gown. When he wore it in front of other people besides my husband and I, I often worried what kind of reaction he would receive. I was always on guard and ready to give disappointed looks and a little speech. Is it good to let our young children experience cruel comments and judgmental looks because they choose to sway for the norm of society? I don't know the answer. As parents we want to protect our children but we also want them to be themselves. Sometimes it doesn't seem possible to do both.
My daughter's review: I thought the princess boy was a very good book on stereotypes, but it was also very sad. In the book people are judging him and saying he shouldn't dress up. Because that's for girls, but i think if you like something you shouldn't let someones judgement get in the way especially when it's just about how you dress. I thought it was a sad story though because people teased him and laughed and even made mean faces. If he was my brother or a friend of mine who liked to dress up i would feel just horrible. A lot of times people have this certain way or look on life that others don't, because they were wired to look at life that way. The Princess Boy was a very touching story I will probably never forget.

"Mommy, Mama and Me": A baby enjoys a number of fun activities with her two mothers.
My review: This is a board book. I really enjoyed it.

"Daddy, Papa and Me": The story of a toddler's daily activities with two loving fathers.
My review: Same as the above. It's a board book. A fun, cute read.

"The Family Book": Represents a variety of families, some big and some small, some with only one parent and some with two moms or dads, some quiet and some noisy, but all alike in some ways and special no matter what.
My review: It's a good book. The pages have fun, colorful pictures. The words on each page are kept short, sweet and get right to the point. It shows how each family, as different as it may be, is special in it's own way.

"It's okay to be different": Illustrations and brief text describe all kinds of differences that are "okay," such as "It's Okay to be a different color," "It's Okay to need some help," "It's Okay to be adopted," and "It's Okay to have a Different nose."
My review: Another fun, colorful book. It covers many differences we face in each other today but it isn't clear (in my opinion) if they reference having two moms or two dads. The page I am talking about says "It's okay to have different moms. It's okay to have different dads." It's kind of vague so it can be taken however the reader chooses. My kids really enjoyed the book, especially the macaroni & cheese in the bathtub part.

"William's Doll": William's father gives him a basketball and a train but these do not make him want a doll less.
My review: This book was first published in 1972. It depicts a sweet, gentle boy. While he enjoys his father's gifts of a basketball hoop, ball and a train, his greatest desire to love and care for a baby doll. He is teased by his brother and a friend but it does not sway him. This book confronts the stereotype that boys should play with "boy" toys.
My daughter's review: This book takes a look at different toys for both genders. Trains, sports balls. Dollhouses and barbies. But the point of being a kid is to have fun not have people tease you by the different things you play with. Also everybody needs someone that will help them reach their dreams and goals. For William that someone was his grandma.

And last but not least....
"And Tango makes three": At New York City's Central Park Zoo, two male penguins fall in love and start a family by taking turns sitting on an abandoned egg until it hatches.
My review: This book is incredibly sweet and heartwarming. My kids listened intently as I read it (if you know how boys operate... you'll know this is a big deal). The book talks about the penguins being in love and becoming dads. I was sure I would enjoy this book and was not left disappointed. This book will be a great addition to our bookshelf.
My daughter's review: I heard about this book in school. This woman was trying to ban it from her daughter's school because she didn't like the concept of it. Two dads, one baby. That's not the typical family. But I don't see what the problem is. Two male penguins in love, raising a baby. I thought it was really sweet how they were always together. I also liked how the parents (Roy and Silo) helped Tango grow up. I thought this was a good book about different lifestyles and families.

My daughter had a very emotional reaction to The Princess Boy. The poor girl was in tears after she read it and while writing her review. When I posted Bullying. Who wins?, I mentioned that she thought the weekly assembly aimed at bullying/self-confidence was lame. I don't want anyone to get the wrong impression of her. So I want to tell you she is a wonderful, caring person. Her heart is huge. She'll go the distance for anyone. I don't understand why she finds this school program to be boring and inconvenient. My guess is because she's a teenager and can't really appreciate these words of advice yet.

I checked each and every one of these books out at our local library. I am happy to see these books are available to anyone.

It is our duty to raise our children with an open mind and to be accepting and respectful of everyone.


May 02, 2012

Bullying. Who wins?

News that an area girl had taken her own life flooded my Facebook page last Monday. The 13 year old had taken her own life because of bullying. The pain this family must be feeling is unfathomable.

When I read stories like this I can not imagine the pain suffered in order to take these extreme measures. This girl is a year younger than my own daughter. I know kids are mean and these days they have more outlets for their bullying.

When we lived in a smaller town (just 5 minutes from the small town this girl lived in) my daughter experienced bullying from some "cool" kids. While she had plenty of good friends, she did encounter some hassling. Now that we are in a larger city, the bullying is rare. For her anyway.

In the past few years, suicide due to bullying is being talked about more and more. My daughter's school has weekly anti-bullying/self-confidence assemblies. Her and I talk about it from time to time. I was sad to learn that a lot of the students couldn't care less about the weekly discussions and find it to be a waste of time. She told me they often joke about it. Even my daughter feels this way. It makes me wonder where I may have went wrong with her. Is it the immaturity that makes them feel this subject is a waste of time? Or is it because they are not personally feeling the effects of bullying?

When I put myself in the shoes of the bullied kids, I think of them sitting at the anti-bullying/self-confidence assemblies praying that today is the day their bully will "get it" and realize how much it hurts to be bullied.

Unfortunately, it's sad events like this that remind us to discuss bullying with our kids. Just like any other issue, if you're not faced with it on a daily basis, you probably don't think about it often enough.

The family of this girl is strong. It has only been 4 days since her death and already they are standing up and speaking against bullying. They are asking that negatives actions and words not be used against the people bullying their daughter/sister. I don't know that I could be that strong.

On one hand, I want these bullies to pay for their consequences but on another, we need to remember they are young kids, full of hormones and immaturity. I feel a small amount of compassion for the bullies because I imagine they never thought what they were doing would lead to a suicide.
It's important to communicate with kids. There could be kids in our lives that are facing these issues without our knowledge. They may know how to bottle these feelings and may be able to hide the pain. It's our job to protect these kids and guide them. Pay attention to their Facebook and email accounts. Look at their text messages. Ask them blunt questions, pay close attention to their reactions. We do not need an excuse to spy on our kids. Our kids probably will not like it but the bottom line is... their business is our business.

I don't believe bullying will ever stop. All we can do is keep talking about it and make others aware that words can hurt, even kill. We need to listen to our kids, watch for changes in their behavior (both positive and negative).

If you think your child is being bullied or if your child is a bully, take action now. Don't wait until it's too late.


May 01, 2012

The daddies

I talked to the daddies today. I talk to them often through text messages but we don't talk enough via the phone. There is an 8 hour difference and uh, they have twins. I heard twins are a bit time consuming. Anyway, I talked them today. Really about nothing major, just about life. We talked about Ella and Ely and how absolutely wonderful they are. I suppose they do have grumpy moments but don't we all? We talked about Roy's birthday gift to Avner (Avner's bday was last Saturday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY (again) old man). We talked about my girls only weekend with my bff. We talked about when I would visit them. Just normal everyday stuff.

I always hang up the phone with a smile on my face. I just love them......