Thursday, November 25, 2010

Full of Thanks

Wow, this year has had its ups and downs.  However, I would say that there have been more ups than downs.  Obviously, the biggest downs were a failed IVF, the loss of BabyA, and the loss of our beloved poodle, Ollie.  But, on the upside, I have a lot to be thankful for, and would like to take the time to call you all out individually and give thanks:

Chris -- You are the best husband a girl could ask for.  You have such patience (except when you are driving), that I know you are going to be an excellent father.  You join me in appreciating life and the little things (as evidenced by the picture above of you enjoying a mangosteen).  You are loving, caring, empathetic, and just plain wonderful!  Thanks for always being there for me, for enjoying the ups, and helping me through the downs.

Mom -- I am so thankful to have such a great mother-daughter relationship/bond.  You are the greatest listener I know, which has been so helpful over the past couple years.  You have helped us emotionally and financially, and I am forever grateful.  I can't wait to give you the grandchild you have been hoping for; I know they will be well read-to, played with, and loved.  Even though we often tease you, it's the very things we tease you about that we love about you.  You are a great country road!

Pop -- I love your schadenfreude attitude!  You are hilarious, and I am so glad that I got your sense of humor.  I am very thankful to have a father that has always been involved in my life.  You are a wealth of information. Whether or not the information you give is accurate, I still enjoy learning from you.  Your interrobang e-mails are always interesting, I never know what you'll send next.  I can't wait until my kids can call you "Grumps"! 

David -- I am very thankful that you and I have finally developed a brother-sister relationship over the past year.  You are a very kind, caring, helpful brother whom I really appreciate.  I enjoyed getting to know you even better on our trip to Thailand.  You surprised me several times with your openness to new things.  You are a great traveling buddy, and you make excellent Thai food!

Peggy -- I am so fortunate to have a mother-in-law who I get along with so well, and with whom I have so many things in common.  You help me keep the baking traditions alive and well in our family!  You are always there for Chris and me when we need you.  I am so glad that my parents and you get along so well, and that we were all able to travel Europe together!  I can't wait for you to be a grandmother again!

Bob -- Monsieur photo, you are the best father-in-law a girl could have.  I love your appreciation for tile and architecture . . . and life in general.  I know I can always count on you to "ooooo" and "aaaah" over anything I bake, always making me feel good about myself.  I love how much you love the dogs, and I know you will love our child even more!

Matt -- I will always remember the time you stopped by after my first egg retrieval to bring me flowers.  That meant a lot.  I appreciate your taste in music, and your willingness to share!  I am thankful to have a brother-in-law who has so much in common with us and enjoys a lot of the fun things we enjoy.  It also helps that you have two cute babies for us to play with -- I am very thankful for them as well!

J'aime -- I always wished I had a sister, and now I do!  I am thankful to have a sister-in-law that I have so much in common with.  It is going to be a lot of fun taking our children out on play dates together!  You are a wealth of baby information, in addition to having all kinds of interesting knowledge about a variety of things!  Someday I hope we can all share our love of travel together, and go on an amazing family trip!

DeMeres -- I am thankful for such a fun extended family!  I always look forward to our game nights and Christmas Eve together.  I can always expect to go into a full on asthma attack from laughing so hard with you all.  Becky, I am grateful that you became part of the family.  You are one of the most thoughtful, sincere, and kindest people I know.  It means so much to me that you asked me to be Josie's godmother!  Chris and Nick, you two are such awesome cousins.  You both turned out to be such wonderful people, I only wish we got to hang out more often!  I miss the kickball days!  Ella and Josie, you are the cutest little gals I know!  I look forward to seeing you every chance I get.  Ella has so much personality, I love it!  Aunt "B", I am thankful for how excited you have been for me when we found out that we were going to have a baby!  You are always there for the family and make the gatherings even more entertaining!  Uncle "Toes", I am thankful for your sense of humor and your kindness.  I hope you are ready to mess with my kids and tickle them to death the way you did with us!  Aunt Jaime, I am grateful for the kind words you send my way on Facebook!  They are very heartfelt.  I only wish we got to see you more often!  Tyler, I am glad I have you on my side for reinstating game nights!  Your enthusiasm is awesome!  You are a very cool kid, and I can't wait to see you Sunday!  Jill, I remember playing with you constantly when you were a baby!  I was so excited to have a new baby in the family.  You have turned out to be a cool chick!  I am proud of your hockey abilities, and am thankful that I have at least gotten to see one game!  Matt, we miss you man!  Do you know that I haven't seen you in 5 years (aside from a rare sighting at Whole Foods a couple years back)?!  I am thankful for your humor, your writing abilities, and your creativity.  I miss our Lego building!  Howpa, I am thankful for your endless supply of historical knowledge.  You have a ton of familial stories to share!  Nancy, I am thankful for your knitting and quilting talents!  You create amazing works of art!  I am also thankful for your desserts that have become a staple (the pineapple cake in particular)!  Maybe I got my baking interest from you?!

Catty Girls -- I am so glad that you all let me into your group.  We always have a great time together, whatever we do.  I love all of your creativity.  I love how thoughtful everyone is, always surprising each other with little things.  I love our e-mail communications throughout the work day -- they help pass the day quicker.  I love how everyone's personalities are so different, yet we all have a lot in common that brings us together!

Katie M -- My oldest and dearest friend!  No one else can say that I was their Swiftwind!  You are an awesome friend, a great listener, tremendously talented, and always a ton of fun!  I love how comfortable  our friendship is, and how we can enjoy our time together regardless of what we are doing.  I lurve you!

Jenn -- I am so thankful that we have become friends!  You are such a thoughtful, caring person.  I love that we can complain to each other openly and continuously (you and I know, there is plenty to complain about!).  I guess that last statement didn't sound too thankful, huh?  I am also grateful that our husbands have become such good friends.  I always look forward to our Dexter dates -- we'll have to come up with a new obsession after the season ends!

Katie K -- I am thankful for your amazing texting abilities.  It is all because of you that I upped my texting package!  You are a great friend!  You have awesome taste in music, food, and fun!  I am so glad that I was forced to come to Commons Lane . . . it resulted in a great friendship!

I am also thankful for so many of my friends that I didn't call out individually.  I don't have pictures of everyone on hand!  Julie K, Shawnee, Andrea, Jackie, Monique -- I haven't seen you all in so long and I really miss you gals!  I am thankful for any visits we have together, and I hope we see each other again very soon, because regardless of the distance, you are all very dear friends!

Thailand -- I am thankful for the fact that I have had the opportunity to travel to so many awesome places.  Thailand was especially unique and "once-in-a-lifetime".  It was a great bonding trip for my mom, brother, Chris, and me!  And, we all came away with the most amazing Thai recipes that actually taste better than any Thai restaurant in St. Louis!

Ollie -- I am thankful for the 7 years we had with you -- the best dog in the world!  I love all of your quirks -- the fact that you loved to watch the Puppy Bowl on my computer, when you tilted your head when you heard "Wall-E" because it sounded like "Ollie", the doodle dance, your obsession with squirrels, your unending love for your people, and so much more!

Wembley -- I am thankful that you actually turned in to an awesome dog.  I really was worried in the beginning, thinking I would have to give you back because you were so stubborn.  Thankfully, you were the cutest puppy ever!  But, now, you are a wonderful dog, and you make us very happy!

Escher -- I am thankful that you came into our lives when we needed you.  You are a cuddle bucket and I can't wait to get to know you better!  I look forward to puppy classes with you every Monday night!

Baby B -- I am so so thankful that we finally got you!  I am grateful that you are healthy and "perfect".  It took two years of hard, medicated work, lots of emotions, trips to compensate for the failures, disappointment all around, but you are real and will be here in 6 months!  Along the same lines, I am thankful for modern medicine!  Without it, we would never have been able to experience pregnancy or a baby of our own.

House -- I am thankful that we have a nice, large house to welcome two dogs and a baby, as well as a great place to entertain.  Even if the neighbor kids destroy our lawn, play on our porch, and run into our cars with their bicycles, I just appreciate the fact that we have a nice place to live that we can afford.

There is so much to be thankful for, the list could go on and on!  I am thankful that both Chris and I have jobs, I am thankful for our talents, for our educations, for our intelligence, and overall, I am just thankful to be alive!!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  What are you thankful for this year?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Life and Death Part II

Well, after the week of Ollie's death and the life of our babies visible on ultrasound once again, we have had another week of life and death.  This time the roles were reversed.

We went in to my Ob's office for a follow-up ultrasound to check on Baby A.  Just as feared, Baby A just wasn't meant for this world.  Its sac had decreased in size, there was no longer a heart beat, and the baby was measuring much smaller than the week before.  On the up side, as you can see, Baby B is doing wonderfully!  We could see her/him scratch her/his head, arch his/her back, wiggle arms and legs, and bounce around.  It was pretty incredible.  My doctor is so thoughtful and empathetic, and asked if it would make me feel better to come in for one more ultrasound between now and the anatomy scan just to check in on Baby B.  Of course I said yes!  So, I have another ultrasound next week (13 weeks).

On the life side of things (other than Baby B doing great), we got a new puppy!  I know it probably seems soon after Ollie died to be getting a puppy, but we figured with a baby coming we had to do it now or not for a LONG time.  We really love the standard poodle breed and couldn't imagine a life without one.  So, may I introduce to you, our newest family member . . . Escher (as in MC Escher).  He is a brindle tuxedo, and he is just plain awesome!  He is so sweet, mellow for a puppy, potty trained!, and cuddly!  We already love him.  He starts puppy classes next Monday to get him all trained up to be around a baby come June!

L to R: Jackson (my parents' poodle), Wembley, Escher

Notice Escher's speckled belly?  So cute!

My boys - Wembley

Look at that embarrassment!

You can really see the brindle on his face in this one.

Sleeping on our pillow.

He and grumps (grandpa) already love each other!



Like a little bullet!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Life and Death

Well, this week has been a mix of emotions.  Thursday we got our first video recording of the babies, thanks to my mom's insistence.  We actually got to see Baby B move its little arms around!

Yet, the week turned to the greatest sadness I can remember in a long time.  Our first "child", our beloved standard poodle, Ollie, had to be put to sleep.  He was the best, most loving dog.  He was such a presence that his absence left an endless abyss of sadness.  He was only 7 years old, way too young to have died so suddenly and unexpectedly.  He was fine yesterday, woke us up last night acting strange, we took him to the emergency vet, they told us his stomach had flipped upside down (bloat) and required surgery, in surgery they found a perforation in his stomach and gave him a 1% chance of survival, we were forced to make the horrible decision to euthanize him.  So, within a matter of 4 hours we went from thinking we'd see him in a little while post vet examination, to saying goodbye.

We love you, Ollie.  We miss you terribly already.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I'm moving to Europe

I am so sick of Missouri's conservativeness!!!!  I guess I could at least move across the river, Illinois seems to have a little more sense.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A photo recap of October!

The second weekend of October, Chris and I headed off to Washington DC for Chris' friend, Belen's wedding.  We were excited to get a chance to have somewhat of a reunion with a lot of Chris' college friends while on the trip.  Also, it was our 5th wedding anniversary (October 8th), so vacationing was an excellent way to celebrate!

Strange reptile at the Smithsonian Zoo
My favorite -- an elephant shrew
The view from inside Amsterdam Falafel House in Adam's Morgan
My delicious falafel (they have an amazing toppings bar from which to pile onto your falafel and pita
The BEST fries!
Fancy pumpkin soup appetizer at the wedding
The newlyweds!
Friends chatting
The only seats in the house were overlooking the cake -- I wasn't complaining!
After our DC trip, it was time for "Melissapalooza" to quote my sister-in-law.  Little did I know how true this phrasing was!  I invited my close friends and family to join me in trying a new restaurant (new to me) called The Shaved Duck to celebrate my birthday on the actual day (October 15th).  Most people on my invite list showed up!  We had a wonderful time and DELICIOUS food!  More shocking than how large our party ended up being, was the amazing birthday present I received from Chris, my parents, and his parents:

They all pitched in together to buy me a Canon Rebel T1i.  It was so thoughtful, and waaaaaaaay more than I expected for my 30th birthday!  Chris made the point that we need an SLR camera for the impending babies!  Not to mention, it shoots HD video, which will be awesome for catching all of those baby firsts!  But, really, Chris got it for me so that I could enhance my blogging capabilities.  Unfortunately, I'm not off to such a great start, am I?  Things will slow down in November (as evidenced by the fact that I am posting this in November).  

My first pictures with my new camera (I unfortunately ran out of space on my SD card pretty quickly, and didn't get all the pictures I wanted):

Father and brother
My chili sampler (one came with a shot glass of milk because it was made from the ghost pepper!)
Chris' pulled chicken sandwich and gooey mac and cheese

My mother-in-law's duck flatbread

Tim and Faith get cute (as usual)

Jenn and the frisee showing off the new found depth perception

Jenn and Tim
BFF Katie M

Parents (not posing for the photo, as usual)

Trying out macro setting in low lighting

Somehow I missed out on getting photos of Katie K (who sent me BEAUTIFUL flowers to my work), my in-laws, and Jenn and Justin!
So, you might imagine my surprise, after so many of my friends and family showered me with love on the night of my birthday, when Chris led me to a surprise 30th in Tower Grove Park!  What a guy, right?!  He planned the whole thing himself!  It really was Melissapalooza!  Almost all of my lovely friends and family members were able to join us for a beautiful afternoon in the park with a wonderful picnic.  Thank you Becky, Katie, Ella, Josie D, Maureen, Steve, Jeff, Tyler, Jill, Howpa, Nancy, Bob, Peggy, J'aime, Matt, Josie J, August, Mom, Pop, David, Julie, Dave, Nate, Jenna, Micah, Jenn K, Justin, Tim L, Faith, Octavia, John, Atticus, Delphi, Bella, Jenn H, Tim H, Katie K, Paul, Chris, and Grandpa Schumann for coming to my party!  It meant so much!

The next day we went to Pere Marquette Lodge for brunch, which was delicious as usual.  Then, we attempted apple picking, but mostly trampled over fermented goo.

The next weekend, I headed to the Lake of the Ozarks with the Catty girls!  I will let you check out the Catty blog for more on that.  We had a blast!  And they were so sweet to celebrate my birthday . . . yet again!!  

I MUST go to bed now.  I need to keep up on this blog so that it doesn't take me an hour and a half to write one post!