Gardening Lessons

In May we started a very Charlie Brown garden.  It is my first ever vegetable garden and I really had no idea what I was doing when I started.  Apparently, I didn’t need to know a whole lot.  Hand till the ground, organic fertilizer, weed and water.  Grant and Maria gladly helped with picking out the plants and had fun helping to till the ground.   Now our garden is no longer qualified as a Charlie Brown garden.  It has already required expansion and is full of lush green plants.  It has yielded numerous zucchini’s, green peppers, and hot peppers.  We have no less than 30 tomatoes growing and in most recent developments, we have watermelon and cantaloupe that have finally started growing.
Gardening has been a great learning experience for the kids.  They are learning that bees are not bad, that good food comes from the earth and that patience and care will bear fruit, Much like the kids, the garden grows overnight.  They love watering the plants, checking on growth daily, and making things like salsa and zucchini muffins from things freshly picked from the garden.
We have expansion plans for next year.  Grant and Maria have requested berries and broccoli and I’d like to find some non-GMO corn to plant.  I’m enjoying the process more than I thought and glad we put in the initial work.  There is something very satisfying about growing your own food and I know that Grant and Maria are learning valuable lessons to take with them in life.

Post-baby blues




Someone in our house is struggling with the post-baby blues.  For once, I wish it were me.

It is Sienna.

She has taken baby Graem coming home harder than anyone else.  She is just all out of sorts.

Temper tantrums.  Whining.  You name it.  She has brought the full force of her 3-year-old self to bear on our family.

I know this transition is hard for her, which thankfully, I’m able to remember when I otherwise could lose myself to impatience.  She is struggling, and I empathize.

God knew what He was doing when bringing Graem into our family. For so many reasons, it is good he is a boy vs. a girl.  The main reason I appreciate now is because I don’t think Little Miss could handle the direct competition of another girl in the family.  The fact that he is a boy suits her better for her motherly role, and she does dote on him.

She loves him; she’s mad at me.

Each night, I tell her how special she is to me.  How she’s my only girl.  My princess.  I tell her I understand how hard this change must be, and it’s ok to be upset.

She just nods, smiles, and tells me she wants strawberries.

Yesterday, we went to the library and got her some “big sister” books.

I don’t know how much she is able to comprehend of what I tell her, or what we’re reading in the books.  She isn’t able to communicate fully how she’s feeling with the transition.  My heart just goes out to her.

I know this is just a season, and we’ll get through this transitory phase soon.  Hopefully, relatively unscathed.




If you really don’t want to know how a pregnant women is feeling-don’t ask!

Recently, a dear friend asked “How are you feeling?”  To which I replied I was feeling good, but I’ll feel better after my next ultrasound.  I told her I wasn’t having as many symptoms as in the beginning.  I still felt pregnant and was starting to show, but was worried I might have lost one of the babies.

It is a common fear of early twin pregnancies, especially since Vanishing Twin Syndrome occurs in 21-30% of multifetal pregnancies in the first trimester (according to the American Pregnancy Association).

Her response was, “That shows you have too much time on your hands if you are worried about that.”  This reaction bothered me on several levels.

First, I detest when people dismiss your worry as something insignificant.  Things that bother some of my friends or family does not worry me.  I don’t discount it as irrelevant when they express their concerns to me.

Second, she’s never gone through infertility and has no concept of how hard it was to be able to say, “We’re carrying twins!”  In my 11th week of shots (with a sore bum), I can truly say, she has no idea what we have gone through.  She jokes she can get pregnant on birth control.  Love you girl, but good for you!  My babies didn’t come so easy, and I won’t dismiss losing one so easy either.

Third, because I fear miscarrying a twin means in her words, “ I must have too much time on my hands,” infuriates me.  My well intended friend is always making comments about how much “free time” Stay-At-Home moms have.  I don’t want to debate the challenges of Working-Moms vs Stay-At-Home Moms, but there are few myths out there about Stay-At-Home moms.  It’s not a competition- both face advantages and disadvantages.

NO one wins in this argument.  Both make tremendous sacrifices.  When working moms go to work, they take their child to a caretaker.  I am the caretaker.  That is my job!  I take on hours of volunteer work outside the home that often feels like work, I just don’t get paid for it.  We do without so I can stay home.  I respect and admire the challenges working moms face in trying to juggle it all.  I hope they do the same for moms that work inside the home.

Another CPA friend who is on maternity leave with her third child said to me, “This Stay-At-Home mom stuff is not all it’s cracked up to be.”  She was considering staying home full-time to care for her three children.  She recently mentioned she wants to go back to work and give it some more thought.

I feel blessed to be a stay-at-home mom.  I also realize many moms simply don’t have a choice whether to work or stay home.  We sacrificed for years so that I could stay home.  This is a privilege, but it didn’t come at a small price.  We waited to start our family until we were financially able to raise a family on one income.  Unknowingly- while focusing on our careers- we waited until I was no longer able to have biological children.

We all make sacrifices for our family.  I have the highest respect for moms who have to work everyday to better the lives of their children.  My family has to make sacrifices for me to be able to stay-at-home.  Maybe we should be more sensitive to the struggles each other face in trying to balance it all.


A Biased Rant

I’m going on a rant.  There are two articles in circulation on Facebook that portray very negative attitudes toward embryo adoption.  One quotes a teenager who was donor conceived stating she wishes she hadn’t been born; the other says that embryo adoption exists solely to meet the needs to adults who believe life begins at conception and those who want children.  The author states that embryo adoption creeps them out.  The premise is that being raised by genetic strangers is isolating and potentially damaging.  One person commented that we are “frankenparents.”

Obviously, I’m biased.  I also have a Christian world view and believe that life does begin at conception.  I’ve commented on several postings. I know that there will questions that I cannot answer for Grant and Maria.  I’m not naive in thinking they won’t have questions.  I’m not naive to think that they won’t wonder about their genetic family.  I wonder about them.  But, it doesn’t change that Jeremy and I are their parents and we love Grant and Maria unconditionally.  Would they have been better off frozen indefinitely due to lack of genetic connections?

One person commented that genetic roots are important and not having the mother-child bond in utero is detrimental.  Guess what?  We had that bond.  I can still feel Grant’s head pushing into my rib cage when he stretched and Maria dancing on my liver.  Does lack of DNA mean we can’t bond?  And what about traditional adoption, are those children scarred because they aren’t with the mother who carried them?  Would they have been better off in an unsafe situation or orphanage?

For us, we chose embryo adoption because I wanted to experience pregnancy, but didn’t feel right going through IVF knowing embryos existed in a big frozen nursery.  Yes, IVF created some ethical dilemmas.  But, embryo adoption is a life honoring answer to the dilemma of what to do when a woman can not carry another child or chooses not to carry another child.  Thankfully, we don’t see the large numbers of embryos that were created in the earlier days of IVF, but we have an ethical and moral obligation to deal with those who were created and wait in limbo.

Embryo adoption, like any adoption, will have unknowns.  But not knowing doesn’t make any child, whether frozen or already born, any less worthy of having a loving home.  I know some pretty crappy genetic families.  And I know some pretty awesome adoptive families.  Shared DNA isn’t required to make a good family or a good life.  A life is a life no matter how small.

10 Years and Counting

July 3rd marks our 10 year wedding anniversary.
I asked Jeremy what he has learned in 10 years….He threw out these lovely nuggets:
Two most important words aren’t “I’m sorry” but “Yes, Dear.”
Love is hearts and flowers….true love is popping a zit on your spouse’s back.
No matter what, your wife will win….so just give in.
We did come up with an agreement early in our marriage…everything is his fault, but he’s always right.  It has worked well for us.
We have had a good 10 years.  Like all couples we’ve had our ups and downs, but thankfully the ups have far outweighed the downs.
Having started our relationship when we were 20, we have spent the majority of our adult life together.  We’ve grown up together and I can honestly say that no one knows me better than Jeremy or can make me laugh like he does.  I’m thankful for a husband who is fiercely loyal to our wedding vows and for a man who has sacrificed much to take care of his family.  He spends countless hours on the mundane things like laundry, cooking, and cleaning to maintain our house.  In the morning, it’s not uncommon to find a sweet or funny note for me, or a picture colored for Maria or the train set reconfigured as a surprise for the kids when they wake up.  We can drive each other crazy, but in the end we fit well together.
I found this quote and think this sums it up for me:
“To be fully seen by somebody, then, and be loved anyhow – this is a human offering that can border on miraculous.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert


I’m thankful for God’s blessings on our marriage and ask for continued protection, guidance and blessing for the rest of our years.
photo 1 (1) photo 2 photo 3




It is with excitement (and some hesitation) I announce- We’re pregnant with twins!! My excitement is for obvious reasons, but the hesitation is due to a couple of factors.

First, I worry about adding more pain for couples who have gone through transfer cycles and didn’t get pregnant. Second, I’m still only 7 weeks. Until we get through the first trimester and beyond, Josh and I are cautious to celebrate too soon.

Because of my high hcg, we had suspected twins. My beta more than doubled the first 48 hours. I also had more symptoms this pregnancy than with John Luke. We did some research online, and found that it could go either way. I could have a really strong singleton- although- my hcg also fell within the twin range. During my phone consultation, Dr. Keenan confirmed my number was in the twin range; and said we won’t know for sure until the 6 week ultrasound.

At the ultrasound, Josh and I anxiously waited until the nurse practitioner at NEDC said, “There are two babies and two heartbeats.” She’d also said both babies measurements and heartbeats were within normal range. Baby A’s heartbeat was 117 and Baby B’s heartbeat was 107. I had asked if the 107 seemed low. She replied, “No, anything over 100 was within normal.”

Hearing “two babies and two heartbeats” was one of those surreal moments of my life. Going through infertility, we had always dreamed of having twins. We’ll have to take it one day at a time (at least until I am further along). Even so we are feeling blessed!! I also feel a little melancholy for those couples whose transfers didn’t take.

I share my success story for others to know embryo adoption can work. If you’re still struggling to become a parent, I’m sorry for your loss each time you go through a treatment, and you don’t get the answer you desire. I pray you find your success story.

35 week appointment and Sienna’s 3-year stats

PhotobucketI turned 35 weeks yesterday.  I’m so ready to be done with this pregnancy (and yet, trying to be so grateful at the same time for this amazing miracle).

I was able to get a 3-D ultrasound yesterday (babies still look a little odd at this stage, IMO), but it was still super cute.  Some pictures looked like it could be a girl, and some looked like it could be a boy.  So, I remain blissfully clueless about this little one’s gender.

Baby is weighing 5 lbs., 7 oz.  That is right about 50%, and the nurse said I should be on track to have a 7-8 lb baby (which would be the smallest baby ever born to my husband’s side of the family).  Baby’s heart rate fluctuated between 139-155 bpm.  It’s head down (I don’t think it’s ever been head up), and looks mighty squished in there.

We’ve settled on names (finally) for this little one.  Hannah if it is a girl.  There is a lot of meaning associated with that name, for us.  It would have been Brae’s name if he had been a girl.  It’s Brae’s birthmom’s last name.  It’s the woman in the Bible who struggled with infertility.  It goes really well with Sienna.  And, my middle name and my sister’s middle name is each Ann.

If it’s a boy, I’m leaning towards Drew.  Tygh is very picky when it comes to boy names, and on his list, this is my favorite.

Last week, Sienna had her 3 year check up.  She is still off the charts for height at 39 1/2 inches.  She’s 90th percentile for weight at 36 lbs.  She’s just a tall, sturdy little girl.

The doctor noted that she seemed quite sassy (that’s not hard to pick up), but that she otherwise is a healthy little girl.  She prefers water over any other beverage. She loves salads with ranch dressing.  She’s a champion sleeper.  She’s been potty-trained for 6 months.  She is a fish in the water.  She loves playing dress up.  And she loves animals.  If I were to predict, this girl will be a vet or do something with animals.

She seems generally unaware of the fact that she’s going to be a big sister soon, although she’s got all the right lingo down.  She has started wanting to try the baby’s pacifiers, and crawling into the crib.  I’m trying to prepare for some regression in her.

All in all, life is good.  We feel extremely blessed with how God has shaped our family.

And I just cannot wait for this next month to be over.