Sunday, June 30, 2013

June Blogging Challenge Day 30 - Last Day!

I can't believe that it's the last day of Waiting For Baby's June Blog Challenge! It was nice to blog about things other than TTC for a while and I hope that you learned more about me besides my ovulation dates. I know I missed a few days, but adding in TTC updates means that I blogged every day this month! While I don't think I'll continue that trend in the future, hopefully I'll get in the habit of posting more often.

So today, the last prompt of the challenge is, "What's one thing in your closet you wear when you have a nice occasion? Interpret that as a date night or important job event."

At the end of May, my work had its annual fundraiser. Every year we've had our gala at our gallery, but this year one of the richest families in town donated their house mansion for the event. All of a sudden, what was normally a casual dressed event turned into something much more formal. We don't have many stores in my small town, so I was stuck with Old Navy.

For some strange reason, the trend these days is the "natural waist" look on dresses which looks absolutely horrible on me. After striking out with all of the dresses at Old Navy, I said what the hell and headed to the maternity section.

Et voila, I found my dress.

It's blue with eyelet detail at the bust. It can be worn with our without the straps and is super comfortable. I wore it for the gala as well as running errands around town. I was so worried that since it was made for a growing belly, that it would make me look pregnant, but it made me look less so than the other non-maternity dresses I had tried on earlier. The bonus is, I can wear it now, as well as when I get pregnant! 

Friday, June 28, 2013

June Blogging Challenge Day 28 - Je T'aime Mon Petits Choux

Today prompt is, "Do you speak any other languages? When do you think a child should learn a new language?"

I personally don't speak any languages fluently. I took French in high school because one, I need a foreign language to graduate and two, my parents were born in Canada and both grew up with French as their (somewhat) second language.

While neither one of my parents grew up in Quebec, the French speaking part of Canada, French is to Canada like Spanish is to America. Many of the inhabitants of Canada speak French. On many products, the information and directions are in both French and English. Both of my parents grew up learning French in school, all the way up to Grade 13.

Anyhoo, I started my French speaking experience in 9th grade, partially because my dad suggested it, and partially because I wanted to rebel against all of my friends who were taking Spanish. I thought it would be great to have my dad help me with my homework, but that didn't turn out so well. Turns out I was learning France French and my parents knew Canadian French. While the two are quite similar, it's comparable to having someone from Alabama speak to someone from Boston. The basics are the same, but there are slight differences that make them almost two different languages. There were many instances of late night studying where I'd get frustrated because I was taught something by my teacher while my dad had learned something different.

Even though I was told I would have to take a foreign language in college, I wasn't, so my French experience stopped in junior/senior year of high school (I graduated a year early from high school, so technically my junior year was my senior year because it was the year I graduated. Confusing, I know.) I've still held onto a few phrases that would allow me to survive if I suddenly woke up in Paris, but a few of my favorite are, "ferme ta bouche" (shut your mouth, or shut up) and "mon petit chou" which means "my little cabbage" which for some strange reason is an affectionate term.

While I'm not sure if a child learning a second language is vital to their development, I certainly think it's cool, and I can see it being very important if their parents/grandparents speak a different language. Back in my hometown in Missouri, there was a French immersion preschool that I would have loved to have my child(ren) go to. For one, it would have helped me practice my French, and two, I think it would have been cool for my child to be able to insult the bully on the playground in a different language. Kid can't get in trouble if the teacher doesn't understand, right? I've also heard that children learn multiple languages easier when they're younger which makes me question why I couldn't graduate high school without learning how to ask where the bathroom is in another language.

I apologize to anyone who speaks French for the butchering of the language that happened in my title. I'm a bit rusty. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

June Blogging Challenge Day 27 - When I Grow Up...

When I was in elementary school, I wanted to be a vet. However, I grew out of that when I realized that I would never let an animal be put to sleep (unless necessary,) which meant I would ultimately become a crazy cat and dog lady.

Once I hit junior high, I had this odd fascination with crime dramas, specifically Law and Order SVU. Don't ask why, I just did. Anyways, in 9th grade, for one of my classes, I had to job shadow someone in a field that I thought I'd like to make my career. The odd child I was, I wanted to job shadow a coroner. My dad somehow knew a coroner and basically played match maker for me. I don't really remember much, but I do remember watching him preform an autopsy and seeing a man's face peeled off his skull. And then we went to lunch.

Once I realized that I would have to go to school as long as a doctor would, but wouldn't get paid as much, I said screw that. High school came around, and I used up all of my elective classes in art. I took almost every art class my school had to offer and I couldn't see myself doing anything else for the rest of my life.

After graduation, I threw caution to the wind and I got my bachelors of fine arts with a minor in art history as well as a minor in textile and apparel management. Once we moved to Mississippi, I was pointed in the direction of an art gallery and I never left. I'm lucky enough to have a husband whose income allows me to keep a job that barely pays enough to keep gas in my car. If it wasn't for him, I'd certainly be living in a cardboard box.

June Blogging Challenge Day 26 - Newbie Advice

Ah, newbie advice. Below are some things I wish people had told me when I first started down this road to infertility.

  • First and foremost, have the most wild, kinky, racy sex with your husband/partner now, because in a few months, whenever you mention sex, he'll roll his eyes at you and then promptly fall asleep after the deed is done. I know it's hard to imagine, but sex stops being fun. 
  • Remember that your husband hasn't been spending all of his working waking hours researching, reading, and consulting Dr. Google, so his knowledge of infertility is probably pretty limited. Don't get frustrated that he's less than enthusiastic when you tell him that you got a smiley face on your OPK so you have to DTD (otherwise known as TI) and you have EWCM so now's the best time. Oh, and that you'll wait to test until 14DPO so that you don't get a negative pee stick. 
  • You'll have friends, especially on Facebook, who will complain announce their pregnancy on the day that you've found out your most recent cycle was a negative. They have this handy "hide" button so that you can hide those posts until you're ready to see baby bumps and sonogram pictures again. Use it.
  • People will give you assvice such as "just relax," "maybe it's God's will" "perhaps you weren't supposed to be parents," etc. Ignore them. If you must interact with them later down the road (relatives, co-workers, your husband's boss,) politely excuse yourself from their presence and then come bitch to us. We'll have your back. If you just really don't like them, or are never going to see them again, feel free to go on a 15 minute rant about your husband's wonky sperm and why drinks on the beach aren't going to get you knocked up. 
  • Along those lines, get a good support system. Sure, your husband/partner and your family (if you tell them) can be good cheerleaders, but they (probably) don't know what it's like to wake up at the ass crack of dawn to have yet another ultrasound tech stick a condom-covered camera up your ho-ha. Either join your local RESOLVE group, find a close girl friend, or start a blog as a way to talk to someone who knows exactly what you're going through. 
  • Yes, having someone other than your significant other look at your lady bits is embarrassing the first time around. Just remember that this is what s/he does for a living, so to them, it'll just be another day at the office. I promise it gets easier. 
  • While we're struggling to pop out one kid, the rest of the world will continue to procreate. Do what you need to do in order to survive baby showers. A few tips:
    • One day when you're feeling strong, do all of the baby shopping for other people that you think you'll need for the year. Or, while buy things you didn't realize you needed at Target, pick up all 10 of those baby onesies that are on sale. You never know when someone in your life is going to get knocked up, so having a stash of gender neutral gifts in you closet makes it easer to deal with a baby shower rather than having to go shopping the day after your IVF cycle was canceled. 
    • For me, the general rule about baby showers is: if you know them well (i.e. family members, a close co-worker, your maid of honor,) you should go to the shower. I know it sucks, but it'll mean the world to them. If they're someone you don't see all that often (a third cousin, some random lady from accounting) then while it would be nice for you to go, it's a little more acceptable for you to come up with an excuse. Just make sure to send a gift or a card so that they know you're thinking about them. 
  • This road is long and hard, so I think that finding small ways to treat yourself is important. If you're on Clomid, treat yourself with a massage for not killing your husband in a hormone induced rage. If you're doing IVF, give yourself a handful of M&Ms after your injections. If you have yet another failed cycle, make your husband be DD and treat yourself to a strong drink (or two.) 
  • While Dr. Google can be helpful, take his (her?) advice with a grain of salt. While yes, there is that random woman out there who got pregnant after standing on her head while eating pineapple and drinking pomegranate juice, that doesn't mean that it'll work for you. You're paying your doctors the big bucks for a reason, so while they don't always seem like they know what they're doing, you should probably listen to them before that random woman on the interwebs. 
  • That being said, it's important to be your own advocate. While your doctor may not always fulfill your wishes, s/he should be respectful enough to hear you out. 
  • I think the most important piece of advice is to keep a strong relationship with your partner. Having a child will not fix the cracks that infertility creates, so having a strong foundation before bringing a child into this word is important. Realize that this time is difficult on your partner as well, even if they're not the ones sticking themselves with needles every day. Take time to be with each other and not talk about infertility. Remember that you're with your partner, not for their baby making abilities, but because you fell in love with them.  
This time is tough, but if you're able to persevere through it, I promise it'll be worth it in the end.

If you'd like some more advice, go check out Stupid Stork's post. She's wonderfully witty and gives awesome advice.

So ladies, did I miss anything? What would be some advice you'd give to someone who just found out they'd be going down the infertility road?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

June Blogging Challenge Day 24 - What's In My Purse?

I honestly thought I had a more exciting post for today's prompt of what's in my purse, but turns out my purse is very boring as of right now.

First of all, I own a purse made by PeaceLoveNPolkadots on Etsy. It originally had a large bow, but I figured the plain gray purse could be more professional. It is most expensive purse I own at $35, but I love it. It's huge inside while not looking huge on the outside and it's made out of upholstery fabric so it's super sturdy.

First thing in my purse is my wallet. Yes, it's a zombie. I worked at Hot Topic while in college and I got a 40% discount on everything in the store. I have so many shirts and shoes from HT that I can't really wear anymore since skeletons and blood splattered high heels aren't that professional. 

Next, I have my planner. I had seen so many bloggers rave about the Erin Condren planners that I asked Keegan to purchase one for me for Christmas last year. He didn't feel comfortable picking out the pattern that I wanted, so he just gave me permission to purchase it on my own. 

My planner has a quote on the bottom that says, "When the world says "give up," hope whispers, "try it one more time." When I ordered my planner, we were just beginning our TTC journey. I never realized how true that quote would become. 

I also have a purse organizer. 

I saw the organizer on GroopDealz, but I didn't purchase mine in time, so I contacted the original Etsy designer, MadelineandCompany and purchased mine through her, but in gray. I like the organizer, but since my purse has soft sides, it doesn't really stay expanded. I think it would work better if I had a hard sided purse. 

In my organizer, I have a cheap digital camera, a few pens, a bottle of Naproxen for when I have horrible period cramps and a bottle of Ondanestron for curbing really bad Metformin nausea. Oh, I also randomly have a bag of raspberry tea for whatever reason. 

The only two other items in my purse are a black umbrella because it's supposed to rain here all week and half a bottle of water that I just can't seem to throw away. You know, for that time when my car breaks down in a desert or something. 

Oh, I also have my keys hooked onto my purse strap with a purple carabiner. I have my car's key fob, a key to unlock my work, a key to my house, a key ring card for Walgreens, Pet Smart and Kroger and an Alice in Wonderland "drink me" key chain. Yet another Hot Topic find. 

Google images

So what about you ladies? What's the strangest thing you've ever had in your purse? 

Your Child Is "Different" - What Would You Do?

So, in addition to my June Blogging post which I'll have up later tonight, I want to write a post about a potentially controversial topic. And because it's controversial, I'm going to put this disclaimer:

Anyone making rude, hurtful, or discriminatory comments will be deleted. If you don't like what I have to say, you don't have to read. 

I follow Renegade Mothering, and I have for a long long time. She's one of my favorite bloggers because she is open and honest at how hard being a mother can be. Also, her kids are adorable. Today on Facebook, she posted that she wrote an article on about a transgendered child by the name of Coy who was born with male anatomy, and is a triplet of two sisters. "However, according to her parents, Coy has identified with the female gender from infancy, preferring dresses and "girl" toys and asking people to call her a girl. By kindergarten, her parents allowed her to fully embrace her female identity and asked the school to treat her exactly like any other girl."

"At first, the school did just that, even allowing her to use the girls' bathroom. But a few months into her first grade year, the school decided Coy needed to use a bathroom in the school nurse's office, but not the girls', for fear that students and their parents would find the arrangement inappropriate or disturbing." You can read more about how the school handled the situation as well as Janelle's take on the situation in the rest of the article.

I don't really want to talk today about if/how a child knows that s/he is in the wrong body. I want to talk about how you as a parent would handle a situation like this.

One of my biggest fears as a potential parent that I didn't talk about last night is my fear that my child will be "different" in some way, whether that be a disability (mental or physical,) a change in sexuality, being gay/bi, etc. Let me be clear: I would love my child no less if they were "different" in any way shape or form. I am, however, scared of having to be my child's rock, role model and biggest supporter when the world can be so cruel.

So, my question I pose to you, women who are already mothers, are mothers to be, or are hoping to become mothers one day: If your child differed from the "norm," what would you say to them? What would you say if their school didn't accommodate them? What if someone on the street came up and said something to your child?

I'm scared of a situation like that happening. I absolutely hate confrontation, so I'm nervous that I would clam up and not be able to defend my child in a way they needed. Perhaps my shyness would disappear once someone confronted my child, but it's still a situation that worries me. I am in awe of the parents that stand up for their children in such public ways.

I would like to try and have a discussion about this. If you have any thoughts, please leave them in the comments.

Monday, June 24, 2013

June Blogging Challenge Day 24 - Mama Fears

Today's prompt is, "What's your biggest fear about becoming a mom?"

Oi vey, as much as I want to be a mama, I'll admit that I'm scared.

I'm scared of...
  • My son getting a girl pregnant, having to drop out of school and work to pay child support
  • My daughter getting pregnant in high school (or before!) and dropping out
  • Passing on the family diseases 
  • Potty training a boy
  • Having to teach my daughter that her self worth doesn't come from how skinny she is or what designer clothes she has
  • Having to teach my son that his self worth isn't from the girls he's slept with or what car he drives
  • Having to explain death and why things like bombings and war happen
  • The first instance of bullying
  • The first heartbreak
  • The constant "am I doing what's best for my child?" question that will run through my head for the rest of my life
  • That I won't bond with my boys as much as my husband does
  • That we won't be able to spend as much time with my children's grandparents and extended family as we would like
  • That my husband will work too much and will miss out on things like first steps and their first word
  • Having to raise children in such a materialistic world
  • Trying to convince my children that their quirks and personalities are what make them amazing and unique, that they don't have to be like every other child in their school. I hope that my children will have the courage to be themselves and not like everyone else. 
And let's be honest here, I'm scared that...
  • My body won't be able to handle being pregnant 
  • My body won't be able to handle child birth and I won't get the med-free natural birth I want
  • I won't be able to breastfeed, something that I really want to do
  • And for the sake of being really truly honest, that my body will never be the same
But I know that all of these fears will be worth it when...
  • My child stands up against a bully for their friends 
  • My child goes against the grain and wears/does/says what s/he wants, no matter what society is telling them to do
  • I get those hugs and kisses, especially in front of their friends when it's not "cool"
  • When my children grow up to be successful, respected members of society
I know that some of these fears, like having to potty train a boy are somewhat silly, but others, like the rising teen pregnancy rate and having to explain death are something that I really fear as a potential parent. I know that Keegan and I will be able to overcome these challenges as a team, but it's still something that I think about once in a while.

So, what about you ladies? What is your biggest fear about being a parent?

Cycle 6 Update

I figured I should do a quick update since I haven't been posting about infertility too much lately, and I'm sure many of you from ICLW care more about my ovaries than my hypothetical charity donations.

I believe that I'm thisclose to being in the two week wait. I had positive OPKs on CD 12 and 13 (Saturday and Sunday,) as well as a temperature dip this morning, so I'm thinking ovulation will be either today or tomorrow.

As much as I hate letting hope into my life, I can't help but be slightly more hopeful for this cycle. You hear stories of women who get pregnant after having an HSG done (which I had last Monday on CD 7) and even my doctor said there's an increase chance of conceiving after an HSG.

I'm also hopeful because the timing for this cycle would be beyond amazing. As I've mentioned before, Keegan and I are meeting up with my dad and sister to go visit my extended family in Canada the last week of July / first week of August. If this cycle works out, at that point in time we'd be 7 or 8ish weeks into the pregnancy, and while it would be early, we would have the option of telling my family in person. With us living 8 hours away from our immediate families and in a totally different country than my extended family, the chances to tell them amazing news like this in person are few and far between. My birthday is also at the end of July and I couldn't imagine a better birthday present.

But, hope is a bitch so I'm trying to not dream too much.

In other news, Keegan and I are better than ever. Ever since his best friend left at the end of May, our relationship has grown stronger and stronger. While Brendan was here, I was feeling like the third wheel in my own house, and Keegan and I didn't have much alone time. Now that it's just us again, we're rediscovering each other. This weekend, we met up with two sets of Keegan's co-workers to just hang out, and Keegan finally finished the upgrades to his 'Vette, so we've been cruising around in that. We've also started walking again after work, and even though it's in the upper 90s here, it feels nice to sweat the day away. We have tentative plans with two couples from Keegan's work for a pizza night at our house some weekend and we're going to watch fireworks on the river on the Fourth. Even though growing our family is always on my mind, it's been nice to think and do other things non-infertility related for once.

Edit: I typically use the cheap OPKs during my cycle because well, they're cheap, but once I get what I think is a positive, I use the Clear Blue Digital OPK just to double check since those two lines can be difficult to decipher. Anyways, this weekend my digital OPK showed an error. The instructions say to call the help line and to not use the system anymore. My questions to you ladies is, is it worth calling the help line? I only have a few more test strips, so if this cycle is a bust, I'll have to buy another box anyways. I just don't want to call the help line and be on hold for 45 minutes during work if they're just going to tell me to suck it up and buy another box. However, if they're going to send me a free box, then I'll gladly call during work. I have no shame. Any help would be much appreciated!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

June Blogging Challenge Day 23 - Charity

So, I've realized that I'm absolutely horrible about posting on the weekends. We've actually gone out and done things with people this weekend (gasp!) so posting has honestly been the last thing on my mind. Anyways, today's prompt asks, "If you had $100,000 that had to be donated to charity what would you do with it?"

I feel like this is such a hard question. There are many charities that I feel are worthwhile, so to pick one is difficult. I would say though, no matter which charity I would choose, I probably wouldn't just give them the money. Many times, donated money doesn't always go towards what the donor wished it would go towards. Working at a non-profit, many times the donations we get go towards keeping the lights on, not towards specific programs, which I'm sure the donors wished it did. The only time that we put money towards a specific program is when the donor requests it. If I had $100,000 to give to a charity/charities, I would probably sit down with the director of the program and ask them where they really needed the money. If it was just to keep the lights on and the doors open, then I would be fine with the money going towards that. However, if the director was trying to start up a new program, or needed materials for an exiting program, I would much rather go buy the materials and donate those to the charity. I know that with my non-profit, while we need money to keep the lights on, it was nice to have a few donors tell us that they wanted their donations to go towards the materials we needed for our summer art camps.

As for actual charities, there are a few that I would give money to. First of all, is the Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome Foundation of America, Inc. My dad has been diagnosed with APS as well as Lupus and other diseases. There is no cure for APS, so he currently gives himself injections every day that would rival those of an IVF patient. Perhaps $100,000 would help find a cure, or at the very least a less painful way to live.

I would also give money towards an organization in my community that brings the arts to children. I think that the arts, whether it be dance, drawing, music, theater, what have you, are so important to children's growth and development, and many times, art programs are the first to be cut in schools.

The Humane Society would also get a chunk. I just can't say no to those adorable faces! Both of the dogs that live with my parents have been humane society rescues, and I'm so thankful that I've had them in my life.

Friday, June 21, 2013

June Blogging Challenge Day 21: New Reads

In today's prompt, Waiting For Baby asks for new TTC blogs to add to her list. She specifies no pregnant bloggers, but I'm going to bend that rule. While looking at the list of ladies I follow, I realized that many of my favorites are pregnant. If you want the entire list of ladies that I read, I have a tab above that says, "Blogs I Love." I'm too lazy to look through her blog list, so I'm just going to highlight a few of my reads here.

1. Midwest Pillow Talk - I love love love this girl. She's one of my first few commenters and she's always made me feel welcome in the TTC community. She's due with her first baby boy around my birthday and I think I'm just about as excited to meet him as she is.

2. Frozen OJ - She's witty and funny and her PunDay posts always brighten up my Monday. Her and her husband have PCOS, Endometriosis, and MFI and have begun their journey to embryo adoption.

3. Gypsy Mama's Journey - This lady drew me in with stories of her two IVFs in Mexico - I had never heard of anyone doing IVF overseas! I learned a lot through her experience and I hope to learn more when she goes through the process of adoption. Her husband is a musician (which I'm slightly jealous of...) and I love her free spirit and tree hugging ways.

4. In My Garden Grow - I honestly don't remember how I found Ana's blog, but I'm so happy that I did. I think she's a great story teller and isn't afraid to curse, which I love. She's also from across the pond which makes her automatically cool in my book.

5. Not Pregnant and Pissed! - This lady is another great storyteller and talks about spiking her husband's beer with ruffies and Viagra which means we need to be friends. She's a dancer (totally jealous) and got the most kick ass pants from her sister. Again, jealous.

6. Old Lady And No Baby - Amber is a total sweetheart and I'm really glad I found her. She's a softball coach by night (and weekends) and her love for her team is obvious when she writes about them. She just recently found out that she's pregnant with twins and I couldn't be more excited for her!

7. Teach Me To Braid - Em is a total sweetheart and was one of the first TTC/Infertility bloggers I found. I love that she asks thought provoking questions like her recent post, "A Good Patient" She already has one beautiful daughter and is working on giving her daughter a sibling.

Of course these are just a few of my favorites. If I tried to list them all, the post would be a mile long! If you don't already follow these ladies, you really should. They're all strong, amazing women who have had to battle this long road of infertility.

Happy June ICLW!

Hello to everyone here from ICLW!

If you don't know what ICLW is, the Stirrup Queen explains it as, "it stands for International Comment Leaving Week, but if you say it aloud, doesn’t it sounds like “I come; [but] leave [as a] we”? And that’s sort of the point. Blogging is a conversation and comments are honoured and encouraged. I like to say that comments are the new hug–a way of saying hello, giving comfort, leaving congratulations."

A bit about me:

I'm 23, going to be 24 in July and will be married to my husband a year in August. I was diagnosed with PCOS on September 4, 2012 after 5 months of unexplained missed periods. From September until January, I was increasing my Metformin intake, and working on getting my body in a better place to house a baby for 9ish months.

In January, we officially started trying to conceive, and I'm currently in the middle of my sixth cycle. I had an HSG on Monday to make sure that I didn't have a wonky uterus or any blockages in my tubes. I started OPKs on Wednesday just to make sure I don't miss ovulation like I almost did last cycle.

I've been participating in Waiting For Baby's June Blogging Challenge this month, so that is what a lot of my posts will consist of during this week. I do try and squeeze in a few TTC updates when I feel like I have something to talk about.

Besides waiting for that ever elusive second line, I work in an art gallery, own a cute, although obnoxious cat, and work with my husband on restoring his second baby, his '71 Stingray Corvette.

Thanks for stopping by my blog and I hope you decide to stick around! 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

June Blogging Challenge Day 19: Adoption + A Guest Post!

When reading today's prompt about adoption, I wasn't sure what to write about since I really have no experience with an adopted child. My husband, Keegan, however, has an adopted brother, and after some reassurance that the ladies who read my blog won't bite his head off, he agreed to give some advice about his experience with an adopted sibling. Here is what he has to say: 

To start off, Aislinn is taking the day off and giving the reigns over to me, her husband Keegan. 
Today is the 19th day of the June Blogging Challenge. The subject today pertains to advice to give adoptive parents.  Aislinn does not have a whole lot of experience with adopted children so she has asked me to give accounts of my experiences with growing up with my adopted brother. 
To give a little background on my family. My Mother and Father went through some level of infertility that I do not fully understand. They were planning on moving to Brazil to pursue a career down there. They made a visit and organized an adoption of a new born. Upon their return to the United States to make provisions for the move, they got pregnant with me (Aislinn's note: not helping the stereotype of "once you adopt, you'll get pregnant!).  They decided to take on raising two children very close in age. One biological and one adopted. My brother and I are a little less than 10 months different in age. This gave me a very unique view on raising an adopted child. 
My first piece of advice would be to understand that an adopted child will likely have different personality and interests.  These will not likely line up with the parents’ interests. Like any child, these interests need to be encouraged.  An example of this is that my parents are both engineers by education.  While I grew to enjoy academics, my brother struggled with school and always preferred athletics. My parents managed to strike a very good balance of providing an environment that encouraged both of us to be active and academic. They even encouraged us to help each other with the other's weaknesses. My parent's approached the differences with a very positive outlook allowing both of us to pursue or loves without focusing too much on one or the other. 
Second I would like to say that there will be an unknown medical history. Be prepared to deal with obstacles that could never be expected based on the parents. My brother suffers from Attention Deficit Disorder and gave my parents, who are both academics, a particular challenge.  There were concepts that came very easily to me while it would take a very different approach for my brother to sink in. Once again encouragement and patience is a necessity.  Understanding the individual personality of the child is needed to help overcome the challenges. 
There always seems to be a debate about whether or not to tell the child if they are adopted. My brother and I are physically very different and my parents didn't have a choice in this matter.  We knew that I was biological and he was adopted. I feel that parents should be honest with the child.  This allows the child to understand why they may or may not be different.  This will encourage the child to be their own person and explore their own strengths and not be fixed to the image that they need to be like their parents. I think that not being honest may always leave questions in the child's mind if they belong where they are. At the end of the day, there will be no question in the child's mind who mom and dad are. Even if they do feel once they are old enough to find out who their (biological) parents are. 
The biggest theme through my advice is to keep an open mind with an adopted child to ensure they have the opportunity to be who they can and want to be. If something does come up think outside of the box and approach challenges with the child's interests and needs in mind. 
I hope my insights can be useful  to those of you thinking about adoption.  It may be challenging but has rewards when you realized that you have overcome all of the challenges. 
From Aislinn and I: keep your hearts up and minds open.  Life is about the journey no matter the challenges it throws you. The end result will be more than worth the challenges.

Keegan and his brother, Derek

I've always wanted to adopt, and seeing the relationship that Keegan and his parents have with Derek has only solidified my hope that we will be able to adopt a child someday. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

June Blogging Challenge Day 18 - How Far Would You Go?

When I first read today's prompt, "If your insurance covered infertility treatments at 100%, unlimited attempts - what would you try and for how long?" I immediately thought, "IVF, as many times as it took!"

After a while of thinking about this topic, however, I've changed my answer. Of course, if I had unlimited infertility coverage, I'd go to IVF in a heartbeat. I have no moral qualms about it, and I'm not scared of needles. If it came down to that, there would be no question.

The real question that I have about unlimited coverage is how long would I try. The quote "insanity is doing the same thing over but expecting different results" is applicable here, I think. It's hard to say, never having to face IVF yet, but I think I would continue to do IVF as long as there was the chance of a different result. I believe that negative cycles, while extremely hard to deal with, give both the patient and the doctor a chance to learn. Learn how the body reacts, learn that maybe just one more day of stims was needed, learn that one drug works better than another. Even if I had multiple negative IVF cycles, as long as we were learning things that could help us get to a child, it would be worth it.

However, once we were doing IVF cycles that we weren't learning from, I'd stop. If it became obvious that there was no way for me to have a biological child, then I would much rather spend that time and money on adoption, egg/sperm donation or surrogacy.

It's really hard to say how far I'd go if infertility was covered indefinitely. Not having to go through some of the more invasive procedures like IUI and IVF yet, it's hard to say how I would react, emotionally and physically. Of course, there's my relationship with Keegan to consider. I would stop if cycling was putting too much of a strain on my marriage. I'd much rather be together with him than alone raising a baby.

This question definitely made me think, and come to the conclusion that I'm somewhat glad infertility isn't indefinitely covered. While I would absolutely love the monetary help and the chance of trying IUI or IVF if needed without having to think of selling a kidney on the black market, having to spend the money forces Keegan and I to sit down and talk about every test and procedure. We make these choices as a couple and I think that if we had unlimited chances, we'd continue to cycle almost without thinking, just until we got lucky. While having to make these choices is extremely difficult, and I'm afraid that not having coverage could mean that we never grow our family, it makes us take this journey seriously and make the best choices for us as a family of two.

So, what would you do? If you had indefinite infertility coverage, how far would you go?

Monday, June 17, 2013

June Blogging Challenge Day 17 - Coffee

Unfortunately (fortunately?) for you guys, today's post won't be too long since the prompt is about our coffee habits. I'm not a huge coffee drinker. In fact, our Kurieg has only had coffee in it once or twice when we've had guests. We use it primarily for apple cider, hot chocolate, green tea, and Keegan's chi tea.

I was somewhat of a coffee drinker in college, only because there was a Starbucks in our student center, which was right across the street from where I had my art classes and spent many a late night. It was nice to get up and stretch after bending over a canvas for hours and get a pick up. The closest Starbucks to us is about an hour away now, so any taste I had for coffee is gone. The few times that we stop at one, I'll get a caramel macchiato or a white chocolate mocha. My dad, who's a black coffee drinker, says I like my sugar with a bit of coffee, which I suppose is true. Even though I don't drink coffee, I love the smell. It reminds me of my dad drinking his cup or two every morning.

So what about you ladies? Did you give up your coffee when you started trying to conceive? If not, how do you take yours?

HSG Finale

As many of you know, this morning I had my HSG. I'm going to try not to make this too long of an update, but we both know I can be a bit wordy. If you don't feel like reading, just know that it went well and things seem to be ok.

I was instructed to be at the hospital at 8:45 for my appointment at 9. I walked in to the outpatient area and got checked in. Half an hour later, I got called back to talk about insurance and payment for the procedure. Now, I knew the hospital had my primary insurance as the one I'm on with Keegan because that's what I've been using for all of my appointments with Dr. B. However, I wanted to use the insurance that I have with my dad because that was the one who said they'd pay for the HSG in full if it was coded as diagnosing infertility. Well, that turned out to be somewhat of a hassle. Since that insurance is out of state, they had to play phone tag with the insurance company to make sure that they would agree to pay for the procedure. I got sent back to the waiting room and waited for another 45 minutes before I was called back again. The financial person told me that they had contacted my dad's insurance company, and that I had a $250 deductible, but that my procedure was pain in full. I let out a huge sign of relief knowing that I didn't have to fork over $4000. However, I will only breathe fully once I get the bill from the hospital and the insurance company saying I don't owe anything.

After that almost-fiasco, I was lead back to the radiology department. I was greeted by an extremely nice nurse/assistant who told me to strip from the waist down and put on a gown. I nervously asked her if I had to take out any of my earrings and  she laughed and said only if I had any jewelry "down there" which I don't (TMI anyone?!)  I was worried because I have an ear piercing that would require pliers to get out. Thankfully when I sent Sarah a message on Facebook last night, she put my mind at ease, as did the nurse. The earrings got to stay.

Dressed in my sexy gown, I sat down on the x-ray table and waited for the doctor to come in. He arrived shortly, shook my hand, and explained what would be going on that day. I was then instructed to lay down on the table and scoot my butt towards the end. The table didn't have stirrups so I had to awkwardly bend my legs in a position that wouldn't be in the doctor's way. He strapped on a headlamp and got to work.

Can I just say how having your doctor sit down to look at your lady bits with a headlamp on makes you feel like your ho-ha is an undiscovered cave? That was certainly a first for me.

Google Images

Many of you ladies know how the HSG goes, (and if you don't, you can go here,) so I'm not going to go into all the details. The assistant had said that if I had any blockages, the doctor was going to try and force them out which would be very painful, so I was extremely nervous about that, but the pictures showed a clear uterus and tubes. I definitely had some cramping, especially when the dye was inserted. When the balloon was inflated, it felt like period cramps, but the dye felt like a sharp stabbing pain. The procedure only lasted about 3 minutes and I was shown the images afterwards. The doctor said that I have all of my lady bits and that things look open, however, I still want to talk to Dr. B about what he sees.

I've had some cramping throughout the day, but not enough to stop me running a few errands. I didn't go to work today, so I've just be bumming around the house all day. There was a few minutes where I had some stabbing pains in my right ovary area, but besides that, it feels similar to period cramps. I didn't take any pain medications before the procedure, mostly because I forgot, and I haven't had to take any afterwards. I do feel like someone has kicked me in my lady bits, but I'm assuming because the doctor was a bit rough with the speculum.

If you're here because you're about to have your first HSG, here are some suggestions:

- Wear comfortable clothes. I wore yoga pants, a t-shirt and flip flops. I'm glad I did, I feel like jeans would have been too restrictive.

- Take some pain reliever, especially if you're not used to having period cramps. I typically get bad period cramps, so the ones I've had today haven't been that bad, but if I wasn't used to it, they'd be quite painful.

- Bring a pantyliner or a pad. Remember, what goes in, must come out. If you're like me, you'll also have some spotting so a liner/pad will be handy. I totally forgot one, so the nurse gave me one (can you see the trend of my forgetfulness this morning?)

- It might be helpful to be cleanly shaved down there. I wasn't aware that the dye was sticky, so I wish I had trimmed a bit more...if you get my drift.

- Try not to psyche yourself out too much. I was really nervous beforehand, but it was an easy, fast procedure.

Hopefully this'll be the little bit extra that we needed to get pregnant this cycle. I'm going to start OPKs tomorrow on CD11 just to ensure I don't miss ovulation like I almost did last cycle. I'm not one to look too far into the future, but if this cycle works out, we'll be able to tell not only my immediate family, but almost my entire extended family in person during our vacation to Canada at the end of July. It would be too perfect, so I'm trying not to get my hopes up.


Go give Amber some good wishes that she'll heard her second baby's heartbeat on Wednesday, congratulation Egg Timer on making it to the double digits, and celebrate with Sarah that she only has 35 days left of her pregnancy!  Also, send some good wishes into the universe that Ana gets some good beta numbers.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

June Blogging Challenge Day 16 - Breakfast

Today's prompt is to talk about what I had for breakfast today and what I normally have.

I'll be honest, for years I didn't eat breakfast. I know what doctors say about breakfast being the most important meal of the day, but it was really hard for me to wake up and shove something in my face. Even when I swam competitively and had morning practices, I wouldn't eat anything until after practice was over. I can count on my hands the number of times I ate breakfast during college and if I did, it was typically left over pizza. Aaaahhhhh, college life.

Anyways, since being diagnosed with PCOS and trying to eat healthier, I've been trying to eat a healthy breakfast. Usually I take some sort of small pastry like a few mini muffins, a turnover, or a slice of breakfast bread, as well as some sort of fruit to work and eat around 9:30 or 10 when my stomach has waken up a bit. Today is a bad example because I had to work which happens once or twice a month and I didn't give myself time to grab breakfast so I'm just drinking a personal sized Simply Lemonade with Raspberry.

Google images

I've always been one to prefer pastries and fruit over eggs and bacon. For some strange reason I just can't stomach something so heavy in the morning. I do get random cravings for eggs now and then, but I generally don't eat them until brunch time. I'd say my all time favorite breakfast item is crepes. I'll never say no to a good crepe. 


Since today is Father's Day, I just want to wish all of the dads, dads to be, and dads in waiting a happy Father's Day. Whether you're holding your child in your arms or in your heart, today is a day to celebrate you. No matter if you're changing dirty diapers, or sticking a needle in your wife's butt every night, we couldn't go on this road of infertility with you. 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

June Blog Challenge Day 15 - First Love

So, today I'm supposed to talk about my first love. The correct answer would be my husband, right?

Well, it's not. Sorry to disappoint.

I'd honestly say that I have fallen in love with every boyfriend I've ever had. I'm definitely one who gives every relationship everything I've got. If I don't see being with you the rest of my life, then I won't date you. I was never one to "go out on dates" in the sense that I'd go to dinner with someone once and then never see them again. I didn't do first dates or blind dates, I always dated someone who I was friends with first. Sometimes that worked out and we were able to stay friends after we broke up, but a few times our friendship fell apart after our relationship ended. I've never regretted any of my relationships, though.

If I really had to answer this question with only one name, I'd probably say my first love was Dan. I met Dan downtown during my hometown's event they had every Thursday throughout the summer. We had mutual friends and throughout the night we started joking around together and by the end of the night, I kissed him under a tree. I know, I was a hussy. I fell head over heels for him and I told my parents numerous times throughout our relationship what I was going to marry him.

We went to opposing schools and he was two years older than me. I was 16 or 17 when we met and we dated throughout the fall semester of my sophomore year in college. We got an apartment together my sophomore year of college which turned out to be the biggest mistake of our relationship as well as the best thing I ever did in my life. The first few months we lived together during the summer were great, we were in that honeymoon stage. But once I started school, things got bad. I was taking a full coarse load of art classes which were three hours each and required an extreme amount of work outside of class. I was also working two to three jobs at a time. Dan, however, had graduated tech school and was trying to find a job in his field, but wasn't working while he was searching. I would get home after being in school all day and then working at night and the apartment would be a mess. It was so bad that the only time my dad came over to see the apartment was when he was helping me move out.

I remember one night sobbing in our living room because I was afraid this is what my life was going to turn out to be. Living in the ghetto (literally,) with a guy who didn't support me as much as I supported him. I had a long talk with Dan and he promised me that he would get a job. Well, he did get a job eventually. We were standing in line waiting to get food stamps when the security guard came up to Dan and asked if he needed a job. I didn't give Dan a chance to answer, I told the security guard that yes, he'd take the job.

Even though Dan was working, things didn't get better. I was afraid that I had moved in with Dan too quickly, that I hadn't given myself the chance to really live the college life. A girlfriend I had met in my graphic design class told me that they needed a fourth person to move into their apartment in the spring. I had never lived with friends before! I had gone from living with my parents to living in the dorms to living with Dan. I never had the freedom of having my own room, of being able to go where I wanted to, of going out with friends. I told Dan that I wanted some space and that I was going to move in with the girls. I quickly lost everything over the next few weeks. My relationship with Dan was beyond repair. All of our mutual friends took his side, so I was suddenly left with no friends and no support. I was crushed for a while, but I got over it. I slept on my girlfriend's couch for a while until my lease with Dan was up.

During this time, I met Keegan, my future husband. For some reason I was at Dan's apartment when Keegan wanted to pick me up for our first date. I told Dan I was meeting a new friend, and I remember him saying the only reason a boy would drive an hour and a half to meet me was to sleep with me. Even though those first few months after my relationship ended with Dan were hard, eventually there was a happy ending. I met new friends though Keegan and the girlfriends I was living with. I learned so much about myself in that year that I was single. I learned how to be happy by myself. I didn't have to rely on anyone. I grew into who I am now.

Even though our relationship ended badly, I'm happy that I had my time with Dan. I learned that I needed a man who would work just as hard as I would for our relationship and our family. I learned that it really mattered to me if my family liked my significant other, and that I needed to like my partner's family as well. Maybe one day I'll write about how my relationship with Dan significantly affected my relationship with Keegan, but let's just say it worked out for the best.

Friday, June 14, 2013

June Blogging Challenge Day 14 - First Job

Before I was legal to work, I had jobs like baby sitting and helping my mom at the preschool she was working at. However, my first "big girl" job was being a lifeguard at the pool I had swam at since I was 5.

I became a lifeguard when I was 15. Looking back, I don't understand why the pool left the lives of their patrons in the hands of a bunch of kids since most of my co-workers were more interested in tanning themselves than saving lives, but oh well. No one died in the 7 years I was there.

The one and only time I had to save someone was when a child decided jumping into the deep end was a good idea. The young mom (nothing against young moms, just setting the stage here,) was in a very interesting conversation with a girlfriend when her little girl, no more than 3, decided to toddle her way towards the pool. I was up on the lifeguard stand watching her every move, knowing exactly where she was headed, but had no way to stop her. I had to continue to scan the rest of the pool to make sure no one else drowned, but as soon as I heard her little body splash into the pool, I jumped down. Thankfully due to my training, jumping into three feet of water from 15 feet in the air was an automatic response (the lifeguard stand was right over the shallow end for some stupid reason.) I swam over to the little girl who at this point was at the bottom of the deep end, picked her up, and set her down on the pool side. Her mom and my manager ran over to check out her out, but she was fine.  My manager asked if I wanted a few minutes to collect my thoughts, but I told her I was fine to continue working. I got back on the stand and noticed my entire body was shaking from the adrenaline.

The best part (besides saving the girl's life of course,) was the cute guy who ran the summer camp gave me a standing ovation.

I continued working at that pool for 7 years, teaching swim lessons and coaching the swim team as well as lifeguarding.


By the way, today is Ms. Not Pregnant and Pissed!'s birthday! Go wish her a happy birthday as well as good luck on her IUI on Sunday. Happy birthday girl!

I just found out it's Jen's from Overworked Ovaries as well! Go wish her the happiest of days.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

June Blogging Challenge Day 13 - Vacation

The prompt for today is our most interesting vacation.

Originally, I was going to say all of the trips that we took to Canada when I was a kid to visit family, but those weren't really interesting....just long.

I'd say my most interesting vacation was the first trip Keegan and I took together when we went to Gatlinburg in August 2010. A co-worker Keegan had met during his internship in Memphis told him about American Patriot Getaways which is a company that has really great deals on the cabins in the mountains. Keegan and I had never been on a vacation together, but Keegan wanted to get away for a few days in between him coming off his internship (and us being apart for 8 months) and the fall semester starting.

We rented a cabin in Gatlinburg for four days. Since we were still living in Missouri at the time, it was about a 12 hour drive. We had decided to leave at midnight so that we could drive through the night with less traffic and we would arrive at our destination in time to sight see a bit. I had to work that afternoon, so I told Keegan to take a nap so that he would be somewhat rested for the drive. I come home from work at 10:30 and he's up playing Donkey Kong with my roommate. So much for the nap. We decide to leave a bit earlier than planned and settled in for the long trip ahead of us.

I fall asleep pretty quickly in cars, especially at night, so I was no help to Keegan throughout the drive. I fell asleep in Missouri and woke up in Nashville just as the sun started to rise. Keegan was exhausted but determined to drive on. We got to Gatlinburg around noon and were beyond ready to get into our cabin to take a nap. However, when Keegan made the reservations, he was told that we weren't allowed in our cabin until 4. I begged him to call and see if they could let us in early, but he refused to. Since we were exhausted, we ended up taking a nap off the side of the road in the middle of the forest. I'm really surprised no one pulled over and made us move along. Come about 3:30, I begged Keegan to call again to see if they would let us in, and lo and behold, they did. The nice person we talked to even said they would have let us in at noon when we first arrived! I gave Keegan so much shit for that, I still do to this very day.

We stayed at the Lumberjack Lodge that had our own balcony in the forest with a hot tub. One of the first things I did was make a s'more over our stove. I ate at least two s'mores every day during that vacation. 

Throughout the week, we went sight seeing in Gatlinburg (a total tourist attraction, but fun anyways,) went for a ride on a ski lift that took us over Gatlinburg, did many auto tours, went hiking to see some waterfalls, looked at some old churches of the first settlers of the area and overall just relaxed and caught up with each other after being apart for 8 months. 

I'd say this was my most interesting vacation because it was full of firsts. It was our first vacation together, our first road trip, my first time to see mountains, my first time in Tennessee, my first vacation without my family, and so on. We had so much fun and it was the perfect mix of laziness and things to do that we went back for our honeymoon. We upgraded for the honeymoon and got a two story cabin with a heart shaped tub as well as a hot tub *wink.* We also went white water rafting which was one of the most fun things I have ever done. Now that we only live about 6 hours away, I keep trying to convince Keegan that we need to go back for a long weekend. 

In Case You Haven't Heard...

Well friends, it seems like the blogging world is coming to an end (!) because Google Reader will shut down on July 1. Almost every day I see someone excitedly post that they have moved to Blog Reader X, Y, or Z now that Google Reader is ending.

So, my questions for you lovely ladies is, one, is this (image below,) Google Reader? This is what I've always used to read my blogs, but I've read many women say that they have 300 posts in their "to-read," or they've just marked all posts as "read" after coming home from vacation. Obviously my system doesn't have that option which makes me think I never used Google Reader in the first place.

My second question is, what are you ladies switching over to? I've heard a lot of talk about BlogLovin' and I looked at it briefly, but it looks a lot like Pintrest to me (at least the home page does,) and I don't know how I feel about that. I'm one of those people who hates change, so having to pick out a new blog reader is going to be a pain in the butt for me. Your advice and hand holding through this process would be very much appreciated.

*Edit:* I finally bit the bullet and joined BlogLovin'. Feedly was also suggested, but I use Opera as my internet browser, and I don't think that Feedly and Opera are compatible, but I only looked for a brief time. I've also added a "follow me by email" section on the right side of my blog in case that's more your style. I'll also try and be better about adding my new posts to Facebook in case you follow me on there. Thank you everyone for your help!

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

June Blogging Challenge Day 12: Perfect Anniversary

Day 12 of the June Blogging Challenge is a description of your perfect anniversary.

Fun story, Keegan and I have only been together for 2 anniversaries out of three years of dating and almost a year of marriage. Our dating anniversary was December 26, so while we were in college, we both were typically with our respective families over the Christmas holidays which meant we weren't able to celebrate together. The first dating anniversary we were able to celebrate together was December 26, 2011. We were engaged and living together at that point, so we went spent the holiday season with both of our families together.

We'll celebrate our first wedding anniversary this year on August 4 while we're in Canada! All of my extended family on my dad's side lives around Toronto, so we'll be visiting them for about a week at the end of July, beginning of August with my dad and one of my sisters. I couldn't ask for a better anniversary than that! We were originally going to go to Canada for our honeymoon, but my Canadian passport didn't come back in time so we rented a cabin in the Smokey Mountains for a week instead, but that's another post. I'm so excited for Keegan to meet my family, show him Toronto and Niagra Falls, and relax at my family's cottage. Unfortunately Keegan's company has worldwide cellphone service, so he'll still be on call, but I'm hoping he won't have to work too much.

If we weren't going to Canada, I'd love to do a weekend trip for our anniversary. We live about 3-4 hours from the Mississippi coast, so a weekend at a hotel on the water sounds amazing to me. I also wouldn't complain if we went back to our cabin. The hot tub overlooking the mountains was perfect. If we had to stay at home, I'm like Frozen OJ. Dinner at our favorite restaurant, maybe pick up some ice cream, and spending the rest of the day watching movies or playing games together is good enough for me. Doesn't take very much to make this girl happy.

So what about you? What would be your perfect anniversary? If you've already one, what did you do?

HSG Update Part 3

My HSG has officially been scheduled for Monday at 9 am. I was told to sign into the outpatient services at the hospital at 8:45 and take some pain reliever beforehand.....and that's it.

So! I come to you ladies for advice. I know many of you have had an HSG before, so would you suggest anything? Comfy pants? Should Keeagn drive me? I already decided to take the day off work because we have to have yet another dishwasher delivered (long story,) so I don't need to worry about going to work afterwards. Do I need to have anything special at home? A heating pad?

I know many women report period-like cramps, but any other information and stories would be extremely helpful.

Also, I made an Facebook page for my blog! I figured it'll be a way to give quick updates and eventually, when I do get pregnant, a place to spam my happy pregnant self without worrying if I'm hurting another friend who's silently suffering with infertility on my regular profile. Friends can "like" and "unlike" my page if they're not comfortable following me through the current stage of my journey. If you'd like to learn more about when I'm ovulating and things like that, feel free to click the Facebook image to the right.

I hope everyone is having a good hump day! I'll be back later today with the June Blog Challenge Day 12.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

June Blogging Challege Day 11 - Our Wedding!

The June Blog Challenge prompt I was most looking forward to - our wedding day!

First of all, I will warn you that this picture will be extremely picture heavy. Our wedding photographer was amazing!

I feel like I should start our wedding story with our engagement story. On October 9, 2011, Keegan and I met up with a relator to start looking at houses. We had moved into an apartment complex surrounded by college students in May 2011 and were quickly getting sick and tired of the constant noise that came with living in a college town. Both Keegan and I were commuting between half an hour and 45 minutes to our jobs, so we wanted to move closer to our work. We spent the day looking at houses (including the one we'd eventually buy!) and stopping by Keegan's co-worker's house to play with her puppies.

After a day full of house shopping, we decided to get dinner at one of the nicer restaurants in town. Suspiciously, Keegan let me get dessert which he almost never lets me get. I questioned it, and he shrugged it off by saying he wanted to celebrate our first day of house shopping.

After dinner, we drove back to our apartment. I decided to take a shower while Keegan hurriedly went outside to call my parents for ask for my hand in marriage. He would have liked to have asked in person, but we were (and still are,) living 8 hours away, so a phone call would have to do. Keegan tried to call my dad's cell, but like always, he didn't pick up. He then called my mom and quickly asked to speak to my dad. My mom told Keegan that my dad was in the shower, but Keegan urged her to go get him. My mom realized what Keegan was calling about and ran upstairs to get my dad out of the shower. My dad gave Keegan permission to propose to me with a towel wrapped around his waist and water dripping from his hair.

All of this went down while I was blissfully unaware in the shower. I got dressed in some sweats and Keegan suggested that we go for a drive. Late night driving is something that we enjoy doing, so I didn't think twice about it. We drove out to a small lake about 20 minutes from our apartment and walked out onto the dock. I was looking out at the lake when Keegan said my name. I turned around and he was down on one knee, holding out a ring. He asked me to be his wife under the moon and the stars. Of course I said yes.


We quickly set a date for August 4, 2012. We decided that we wanted to have our wedding in Missouri where both of our immediate families are, as well as a good chunk of Keegan's extended family. We decided to have it in Columbia, my hometown.

We had the wedding at a local park and gardens. The ceremony was outside and the reception was inside the recreation hall.

My side of the wedding party was my sister, Bri as maid of honor, and the bridesmaids were Audra, Keegan's cousin, Sarah, a mutual friend and Caitlynn, my sister.

Keegan's side was his best friend, Brendan as best man, and the groomsmen were his brother Derek, and friends from college, Matt, Ben, and Ryan.

Our flower girls were Audra's two girls and they were absolutely adorable. 

Our colors were green, orange, cream and brown. Our "theme" was clovers and maple leaves. The school that Keegan went to was an engineering school and St. Patrick is the patron saint of engineers, so St. Patrick's Day is a huge holiday for our college group of friends. Clovers have made their way into so many aspects of our lives because of that. The maple leaves were in respect to my Canadian heritage. 

Our centerpieces were mounds of moss with our engagement pictures in the middle. 

Instead of doing favors, I made these cards that were placed on the tables. They explained that my father had been diagnosed with antiphospholipd antibody syndrome and Keegan's uncle had been recently diagnosed with prostate cancer. We had a jar for each illness and our guests had the option to put their tokens into whichever jar they wanted their portion of the donation to go towards. 

One of my favorite parts of the wedding was our candy bar. In the background were pictures of our parents and grandparents on their wedding days. 

Unfortunately we were pressed for time, so this is the only picture I got of my dress, but I love it! 

Audra did our hair at the hotel as the girls got their dresses on, but I didn't want to drive over with my dress on, so I had to get changed in the tiny reception hall bathroom. This is a picture of all of the girls and my mom crammed into the small bathroom, tying me into my dress. 

Keegan and I saw each other before the wedding so we could do pictures before the ceremony. This is right after Keegan saw me for the first time all dolled up. 

Our musicians were one of Keegan's friends from school on the cello and his brother on the viola. The wedding party and Keegan walked down to "Oh Sweet Child Of Mine." 

Both my mom and dad walked me down the aisle. I was also lucky enough to have my dad marry Keegan and I. 

Since our ceremony was short, our guests stood. Saved us a bunch of money on chairs! 

During our first kiss, Keegan tried to be romantic and dip me. My shoes got stuck in the dirt and I started falling backwards! What was supposed to be a romantic dip quickly turned into him trying to save me from falling on my butt in front of our guests! 

 As maid of honor and best man, Bri and Brendan both made a speech. Brendan is a sarcastic asshole (and I mean that with so much love!) so Keegan was a bit wary about what his speech was going to be. As you can tell from the above picture, it was very....Brendan-like. 

At the end of Brendan's speech, he called "community shot!" A community shot is a tradition in our friend group where if it's called out, everyone has to take a shot, whether it be of alcohol or water. We typically toast to St. Pats, unless something special is going on. When Brendan called community shot, all of our friends from the audience came up and did a shot with us. This is one of my most treasured pictures. 

We had salad, pasta and bread sticks for dinner and instead of cutting a large cake, we had cupcakes! Keegan and I had a small cake that we cut into for tradition's sake, but in my opinion, cupcakes we so much easier for our guests. You know the tradition of saving the top tier of cake for your first anniversary? Well, the next day my family ate the rest of the cake we cut, so we don't have anything for our first anniversary! I told Keegan we'll have to drive up to Missouri to get cupcakes. 

The topper for our small cake were two characters from Keegan's favorite movie, Cars. I made the little veil and top hat. 

Keegan and I danced to "I Won't Give Up" by Jason Mraz. I also danced with my dad and Keegan danced with his mom as well as mine. 

Then the real party started! Almost everyone got on the dance floor, including my dad! The glow sticks were supposed to be for our grand exit, but they somehow got passed out early. They made for some great pictures on the dance floor! 

 We also had a photobooth which was one of the best decisions we made. We have so many pictures of our families and friends that we treasure. 

One of our groomsmen got a little wasted and decided the grand exit was for him. We don't have any of us leaving, but we have a lot of Matt!

Our friends, being the lovely people they are, decided the glow sticks were fun to throw at us, so we had to run and dodge flying glow sticks all the way to the car. We got into Keegan's 'Vette where they proceeded to dump arm fulls of glow sticks into our laps. We found some while we were taking apart the car 9 months later! 

Keegan and I went to the hotel to clean up and get into comfortable clothes while our friends and families cleaned up for us. All of our friends then came back to our hotel room and we partied late into the morning. 

The next day, we had a "day after session" with our wedding photographer where he took some pictures of the 'Vette, Columbia, and the picture for our thank you notes. 

I hope this gives you some idea of our wedding. I could go on and on with more pictures, but I figured I should stop here. If anyone wants to see more, I'd be more than happy to oblige! We also had a wedding videographer, but we're still waiting for him to deliver our video (almost a year later!) or else I'd post that as well. Our first anniversary is coming up in two short months, so it was fun looking through these pictures and reminiscing about our special day.