Friday, September 26, 2014

How to Write the Best Maid of Honor Speech Ever.

Do it just like this:

It all started at the age of 2..we lived right across the street, I look back after all these years and realize how lucky we are we got the chance to meet.

From flushing towels down toilets to cutting each others hair, we did what we wanted and just didn’t care!

You were my partner in crime and I was the instigator I think, like the time we decided to poop in the sink :)

We fought each other rolling down a hill laughing at the end, we got into our fights but always remained friends.

Then the day came when I had to move away, no doubt we both didn’t want our friendship to end that way.

We lived 3 hours away which to us seemed like forever, but that didn’t stop us from getting together.

We’d write and talk on the phone but it’s our visits that were the best, we’d constantly beg our parents to get us together and wouldn’t give it a rest.

We’d always find entertainment in some sort of way, and usually get in trouble for it at the end of the day :)

Like the time on the white board writing profanity all over it, leaving it for my dad to find-WOW did he throw a fit!! (haha)

We definitely always liked a good party, even if it was in my parents basement drinking their Bacardi!!

We’ve had so many great memories and so much fun, I look forward to all the new memories to come.

When it comes to being a friend Ali you have been nothing but the best, but I would never expect anything less!

You have been there for me every step of the way, and here I am with you on your special day.

I am so happy for the 2 of you-your love is so rare, you compliment each other so well and really make the perfect pair.

Trevor I am really glad you came into Ali’s life, you are going to make her the happiest wife.

Thank you for making her so happy and bringing out the best in her, I know you two will enjoy spending the rest of your lives together.

There’s one last thing I’d like to say before I’m all out of rhymes, then we can all grab a drink have a good time.

Here’s a toast for today, tomorrow always and forever-GIVE IT UP FOR ALI AND TREVOR!!!!! Woooooooo!!

I was definitely speechless.  Well done, Angie, you rock! 

5 years.

Five years ago, I knew a lot of things.  I knew I was about to make a big, life changing decision.  I knew we made the right decision to wait and make sure Michelle could be there.  I knew Trevor would deploy in 12-18 months.  Despite being pretty darn cool, calm, and collected overall, I knew I should have gotten decaf.  I knew I was about to marry the right person and I knew all the great things we had planned for our life together.  As much as I thought I knew it all, there were a few things I didn't know.  (Besides the fact that we figured the five year mark would be a good time to go on a repeat honeymoon to Jamaica...ha!)

I didn't know that five years from that day I would be sitting on my couch alone watching Scandal and writing a blog post and not even able to have a beer or glass of wine.  Just hold your horses, this isn't a whiny depressing post, hang in there.  Despite how crummy that might sound, today was a great five year anniversary.

Trevor left for drill yesterday and will be gone until Sunday.  I actually haven't even talked to him today (standard for drill weekends) other than a quick text this morning.  I woke up to the sound of Myra rolling around in her crib and saying "hi!" to her baby and stuffed bunny.  We got ready and went to Toddler & Me class like we do every Friday morning.  The weather was perfect and we spent the last 15 minutes of class playing outside.

I didn't take photos of the other kids, but there were about 8 of them.  I don't know that they signed up for toddler class to be put on some mom's blog.

After class, I stopped by Starbucks for a Pumpkin Spice Latte.  Make that a Venti!
As soon as we got home, it was right back outside to climb, swing, kick (the ball, of course), and play with the leaves!

Play time was followed by lunch time then nap time.  After nap, we ran a couple errands, came home and read some books.  We ate supper and Myra was rubbing her eyes so she even went to bed 20 minutes early.
So, here I sit in the only home we've ever known as a married couple...married to the best man ever who is spending the weekend with his Company...a sweet little girl asleep in her number two nudging and poking in my belly...sans beer and wine...and a tired out fur child snoring on his rug.  Since Trevor and I will be celebrating (just us!) on Monday with a Red Lobster dinner courtesy of some gift cards we've been hoarding, I can honestly say this is a fabulous anniversary!
However, I think we will need to really focus our efforts on Jamaica for our 10 year anniversary...

Monday, September 22, 2014

It's A...

...seemingly perfectly healthy baby! I know the techs can't give us the official stamp of approval, and even then anything can happen. That said, the tech did explain a lot during our anatomy scan today and as far as we can tell, all is well. I'm measuring right on schedule (19 weeks, 4 days) and baby is an estimated 12 ounces right now. 

Sorry creepers, no details or photos of genitalia ;) We will let you all know when we find out in February!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

All The Exciting Things We Did This Week.

Well, these posts seem far less exciting when they cover one week at a time rather than one season.  Surprise, surprise, I still got ramble-y and tangent-y.  Trevor is still plugging away one dental school applications, shadowing local dentists, school work, Army work, you get the idea. 

In addition to the usual excitement of grocery shopping, dishwasher unloading, dog walking, and the like, I/we kept fairly busy this week.

Myra randomly started doing this pose a while ago, and when she does we call it "yoga."  Here she is doing "yoga" with Daddy.

I work, as in actually go to work, one day per week.  I work as needed/sporadically from home the rest of the week, too.  I am a case manager for our local transitional housing program which is something I love.  We provide housing subsidies on a short term basis (up to two years) while meeting with the recipients regularly to help them get back on their feet (that's pretty vague because that can mean many things...whatever they need to accomplish, we do what we can to help).  Grandma Christy comes to watch Myra and they have all sorts of fun. 

Myra had a semi-rough night Tuesday night.  We're leaning towards blaming our barley trial, but she's got some teeth coming in so it's really hard to say for sure.  Barley has a fairly low pass rate among FPIES kids, but there's no knowing until we try.  She loves it and we need more grains, so we'll see how the rest of the trial goes.  Regardless of the cause, lack of sleep and/or interrupted sleep turn me into a slacker the next day.  Although I was a total monster, I got used to never, ever sleeping during Myra's first four months, but I'm out of practice and growing a human now.  Side note: some day I will post the email I wrote to Tosha in the middle of all that CRAZY about everything we had tried and how desperate I was.  I'm sure it's littered with profanity and "I don't like my baby" (it was a horrible, awful time, even though I loved Myra and I knew something was wrong and it wasn't her fault, it was all around ugly).  I digress.

Speaking of her FPIES, I recently learned many FPIES kids do just fine with Dum-Dums suckers.  Since we are a family of multi-generational dentists, I haven't really been on a search of candy she can have, but the girl deserves a treat sometimes!

Thursday was a busy day.  We had a WIC appointment right away in the morning.  I always schedule them right away to get it out of the way, so I don't have to plan my whole day around it...then I wish I hadn't.  I just have to say this: WIC is an amazing program.  They have single handedly saved us.  The cost of formula varies a lot based on how it's purchased (confusing, I know, click here to read the specifics).  Although Myra's formula intake has gone down a little as her food options have increased, WIC still pays out $491.20/month for Myra's formula.  Because of insurance contracts and other exciting stuff like that, we would still have to pay $207.79/month out of pocket after insurance if we would have to purchase it ourselves.  That's not including the cost of Myra's special foods (we have to get certain brands and some "novelty" food items because of all the hidden ingredients in other brands).  Bottom line: WIC has been a huge help.  They are now providing her Neocate Splash, essentially a hypoallergenic nutritional supplement/Boost type drink, in addition to her formula ($132/month).  ANYWAY...we had a WIC appointment Thursday morning.  Our little smarty pants has figured out that doctor's appointments go like this: nurse comes in, doctor comes in, nurse comes back=shots.  Apparently she's narrowed it down even more because she was totally fine with the WIC nurse until she put on gloves.  Then she got really nervous, wanted to sit on my lap, and eventually started crying-all before the nurse was even ready to do her finger poke (hemoglobin and lead test).  Myra was a pretty tough cookie and there was minimal drama after the fact, but the anticipation is not cool.  We had lunch with my boss at Applebee's and Myra spent her time jammin to the music and finding all the apples (in the logo) she could.  She had a view out the window, so she pointed out "truck," "car," "cycle (motorcycle)" the whole time, too. 

Myra isn't the only one with food allergies.  Rowdy is on a grain-free lamb food.  It was easy when Myra couldn't have any of the foods Rowdy can't have (he gets itchy, gnaws on his paws, flaps his ears all day).  Now that she can have corn, she loves to feed him her Kix and Chex.  We're working on it, but in the photo above she thought I couldn't see her feeding him if she didn't look at him while she did it...

ECFE (Early Childhood and Family Education) is back in session this week!  I'm on the Advisory Council, which is tons of fun, and we had our first meeting of the year.  We started planning the events we'll be doing this year, divvying up duties, and learning about some really cool new programs coming to our area (like the Dolly Parton Imagination Library).  On Friday, Myra got to start school.  She is in the toddler class for one year olds.  We go every Friday for an hour and fifteen minutes.  The first fifteen minutes is free play then circle time (welcome the kids, sing a few songs).  After that, the parents go to a different room (separated by a divider left open just a tad, so the kids can come find us if they want).  There is a topic/focus for both kids and adults every week (kids: physical motor skills, sensory activities, listening and understanding, exploration, etc. adults: what to expect at one, one year old play, food and nutrition, how to get stuff done with a toddler in the house, etc.).  Myra loves going, the kids get to play and explore while having a focus topic; I meet wonderful people and love learning new things.  In fact, we still get together regularly with the moms and kids from our very first ECFE class (0-3 month newborns).

First day of school 2014!

Saturday was babywearing meeting day!  (I will soon be putting together a post on our group's blog about what exactly happens at meetings--I will link it here)  We have learned so much and met some awesome people from our group, so when it works out to get to a meeting we love going.  Myra likes playing with the kids, we get to try other wraps and carriers, and I get to help other care givers learn about babywearing.  In a nutshell, we start with introductions, have a demo (this month we talked about soft structured carriers, the backpack style ones, then split up into small groups to help people learn what they came to learn).  The photo below shows about half of the people who were there.

And a couple extra photos from this week:
Our little book worm.  She's reading a book called "Birds Have Beaks" all by herself.  She turns the pages and says "beak," "beak," "beak."

Always a little bigger by the end of each day.  No surprise, but a bit bigger than I was at 18 weeks with Myra!

Medical Need Formula Letter.

These auto-post to my Facebook, so to those of you reading it because you saw it posted there: sorry (maybe).  This is a letter Myra's allergist asked me to write to help him fight the nonsense of medical formula costs for these tiny humans who really need it.  It's a messed up system.  Read on if you'd like, but I'm posting this just so I can refer back to it in another post and share with other FPIES families.  This was written on February 5, 2014.  Myra is now on a toddler version of this same formula and it lasts her slightly longer, but the point still stands.

To whom it may concern:
I am writing to make you aware of the costs for the amino acid based formula my daughter, Myra, needs due to her Food Protein Induced Enterocolitis (FPIES).  She is currently on Neocate Infant with DHA/ARA.  Our insurance company is Tricare, specifically TriWest, managed by United Healthcare.  While they do cover the formula when purchased through a medical supply company, Tricare only pays 80% of the costs.  The remaining 20%, our cost, adds up very quickly since one can only lasts Myra 2-3 days. 
There is a substantial discrepancy in cost based on where the formula is purchased. 
$162.29/can from Apria Healthcare (insurance pays 129.83, we pay 32.46)
$94.47/can from Edgepark Medical Supplies (Insurance pays 75.58, we pay 18.89)

If we had the option to purchase the formula with insurance coverage directly from Neocate’s website, or if these medical supply companies followed the same pricing as Neocate’s website, both Tricare and I would save a considerable amount of money.
$38.75/can from Neocate’s website (when purchasing 1 case) (insurance would pay 31.00, we would pay 7.75)
$38.00/can from Neocate’s website (when purchasing 2 cases) (insurance would pay 30.40, we would pay 7.60)
$36.10/can from Neocate’s website (when purchasing 2 cases at their auto-reorder rate) (insurance would pay 28.88, we would pay 7.22)
Myra has been going through 12 cans per month, give or take a couple cans.  If we used Apria for her formula, it would cost us $389.52 out of pocket every month after insurance paid $1,557.96.  However, if we were able to purchase the formula directly from Neocate’s website and still receive insurance coverage, it would cost us as "little" as $86.64 per month after insurance paid $346.56.  Clearly, purchasing this formula through a medical supply company is costing families and insurance companies a significant amount of money.  It is worth noting that this amount is for one month and many children with FPIES, Myra included, will need to be on their formula well beyond their first birthday.

Click here to read about Myra's FPIES (journey to her diagnosis, food trial info, recipes, and more).

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Summer 2014.

Well, this is embarrassing: one post about our entire summer.  Once I get out of the blogging groove, it can be hard to get back in it.  So, here goes nothing!  (Also, this will be long so I highly doubt I will go back and look for typos...hope it makes sense!)

If you don't care why I haven't posted all summer, you can skip this paragraph.  If you're nosey, read on.  I went back to find my last real post (not counting my Causes posts, which are definitely real, but you know what I mean) and it seems I was a bit of a blog failure this spring, too.  When I sat down to write this, I didn't intend to start out with this big explanation, but here it is.  I found out the day after Easter that I was pregnant.  I had some weird tests (really light, slightly darker, light again, darker, etc.) for a week and finally went in for blood work a week after my first positive test.  My HCG and progesterone were low (HCG 34 and progesterone almost 0) which was definitely not a good sign for a pregnancy.  I went back 48 hours later for a repeat; ideally, HCG would have at least doubled in that time and HCG was 1.  So, no baby (a very early miscarriage, or might even call it a chemical pregnancy).  Because of the weird tests, neither of us totally got our hopes up and definitely never had a "woo! we're having a baby!" moment.  My body didn't care and I still felt pregnant that whole time (sick, tired, blah).  Luckily, I got pregnant again a few weeks later and I'm now 17 weeks and feeling baby kicks every day.  Because of my history (two losses), my doctor ordered an ultrasound and blood work at my 8 week appointment.  Baby looked good but my progesterone was low.  I never had it checked with Myra and she was totally fine, but my doctor wanted to put me on progesterone just to help support the pregnancy until I hit 12 weeks.  So, I got two rounds of two shots in the butt followed by a month of suppositories and all was well.  ANYWAY, what that all really means is I've been tired and sick then extra tired and extra sick (progesterone side effects) for most of the summer.  It's only been the last few weeks I have been feeling pretty darn good, but I still love naps.  Again, I didn't exactly mean to get into the specifics of all that, but there it is-my legitimate excuse for failing at the blog.  I believe I had a similar lapse when I was pregnant with Myra.

17 weeks with Baby 2, a bit bigger than 17 weeks with Myra! (Also, not in Hawaii this time, sad face)

Trevor just started his final year of undergrad (Biology-Biomedical Science/Pre-Dentistry) and is busy, busy, busy studying for the DAT, filling out dental school applications, shadowing, etc., on top of being a student, husband, dad, First Sergeant...  That all leaves us both pretty busy.  We somehow make time for him to play softball/bowl (depending on season), so we agreed we need to make time for me to go do something on my own, too.  Until I come up with a better idea, I will be spending my Sunday mornings at a coffee shop while blogging and/or wasting time. 

I helped run a booth for my babywearing group at a Baby Expo...and Myra got to meet a couple of the Vikings Cheerleaders.

Myra and I survived without Trevor for two and a half weeks in June while he was at Camp Ripley playing GI Joe (normally these 2-3 weeks are no big deal, but early pregnancy made it suuuuuper fun).  I felt like crap and slept every second I could, but survival was the goal.  Trevor was gone for Father's Day, but Myra and I went to my great-aunt and uncle's 50th wedding anniversary party then to my dad's for a cookout. 

Myra and I went to the Minnesota Zoo with Grandma Christy and my nephews.  I was curious if she would turn into a zoo animal herself without a nap, but she found a way to squeeze one in. 

Our niece graduated high school this spring and we got to attend her commencement as well as her open house party.  We also attended a few weddings this summer and they ALL had photo booths.  We've got quite the collection of photo booth strips now. 

Thunder of Drums is an annual Drum Corps International competition Trevor and his family attend every year.  It's actually where I met half his family for the very first time many years ago.  This year was Myra's first time and she did very well!

Most of Trevor's softball games were late games this summer, but we did get to watch him play at least once!

Every summer I/we go visit my aunt/uncle/cousins in Wisconsin.  For the last several years, they have lived in the Madison area, but since our last visit they moved to Green Bay.  It was fun to visit their new home and see some new places with them.  We went to Bay Beach Amusement Park and took Myra on a couple rides.  Trevor got to go on the doozies on behalf of our family.  As he was boarding the scrambler he sent me a text, "I am not looking forward to this." haha, what a good sport! 

A week after our return from Green Bay, we went to the North Shore for a long weekend mini vacation.  I spent a week every summer "up north" with my grandparents and cousins, but I haven't been back in about 14 years.  It was fun to see the area again and share that with Trevor.  He lived in Duluth for a while, but never made it up that far (crazy, I know!).  Myra LOVED the rock beach in Grand Marais; she would have been content to just play there the whole trip.

We spent over 30 hours in the car in July and Myra was a total champ.  Zero crying and less than 5 minutes of whining total.  Before we even got out of town on the first trip, she said, "out! out!" and we were pretty nervous about how it would go, but she was fine.  I probably whined more than she did (I was feeling okay-ish, but not wonderful, in July).

In August, my dad and I saw Paul McCartney live at Target Field.  Never in a million years did I think I'd get to see one of The Beatles live, and wow he still sounds amazing!  He played for three hours straight.  I can cross that off my bucket list now.

Myra and Rowdy have become quite the buddies this summer.  She loves to throw the ball for him, go on walks with him, pat him and say, "buh boyyyyyyy (good boy)!"  We recently got a dog park in town and I can't tell who has the most fun there, Myra or Rowdy.  She loves just running around, petting the dogs, throwing the ball, playing in dirt, all of it.  The first time we went, we saw a Great Dane and she kept pointing at him and saying, "horse!"

Our county fair was great this year.  Trevor was gone for it last year and I was dairy-free, so that was kind of a bust.  Myra really liked checking out the animals, people, and tractors.  We briefly went through the tractors the first time we went.  The next morning I told Myra we were going to the fair again and she kept saying what I thought was "doctor."  When we parked at the fair, I realized she had been saying, "tractor!"

Myra has gotten to be so much fun--lots of talking, walking, running, doing.  This child is OBSESSED with bubbles.  She loves playing with real bubbles and will make anything around the house into "bubbles" (a toy drum stick and a cup is pretend bubbles to her).  Grandpa spoils her with his mission to find the best bubbles on the planet and recently bought a pretty fabulous bubble gun for her to use. 


Food trials are going well, we have taken a couple breaks due to me feeling like garbage, Myra being sick (she had Hand, Foot, and Mouth last month), that sort of thing.  We usually take a break any time she has something going on that might cause confusing symptoms.  Our last "pass" was corn which has been huge!  Corn syrup is in so many things, plus she can now have Kix, Corn Chex, Fritos, Quinoa/Corn pasta, corn on the cob...  Sometime in the last month, we dropped her morning nap so she just takes one in the afternoon now.  It's not always super long (always at least an hour), but planning things around just one nap has made life much easier.  She doesn't really have a clue what's going on as far as my pregnancy/future big sister, but the other day she did pat my belly and say, "ball!"  At my 12 week appointment, it took the doctor a little bit to find baby's heartbeat, but as soon as we heard it Myra said, "HI!"  But really, I think she's pretty clueless.

That, in a nutshell, was our summer!  We got to spend time with friends (some we hardly see--two even moved back to town!), lots of trips to the waterpark and different parks in town.  Myra could spend all day playing with sand, swinging, and sliding.  She is also a fan of bike rides.  She climbs into the Burley and puts on her helmet. 

I promise to write a little more regularly now--if for no other reason than for us to read in the future.  Writing it publicly means I have no excuse, right?  Also, the Causes posts have been slacking because July was a tough month (not much for awareness stuff that I could find, and no one to write on the topics I could find) and the two I had for August fell through (life happens, it's all good!).  So, hopefully, no more blog crickets, okay? OK!

And well, who doesn't love a random photo of a sleeping toddler?

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