Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Of weddings and vacations!

It's been a busy couple of weeks for the family. Here's the story of our lives.


Emily was the flower girl for my cousin Matt's wedding. She was pumped. She made several new friends over the course of a couple of days and still talks about the wedding. Here is a video of the beginning and the end of the evening.


We took some time off the week after Mother's Day. With the store closing and lots of other changes going on in our lives right now, it was a good time to get away. We went down to Tennessee and took some time refocusing and hanging out as a family and with some friends that live down there.

We spent a little extra time in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg this trip. One of our first days there, we stopped at the Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant... or as Tom calls it, The Apple Barn. :-) Tom and I are both on Twitter (@tsfGodGuy and @jennihypes) and we tweeted a lot during our trip. Tom sent out a few posts while we were waiting on our yummy food!

We also killed a little bit of time while waiting for our food by playing with my camera. Check out the close-up of Snickerdoodle's beautiful eyeball!

At some point during the week (I can't remember if it was after lunch or an entirely different day -- but does it really matter in the whole scheme of things?) we went to Ripley's Aquarium. It's become another one of our standard stops when we're in the area. Here's a picture of Em looking into an aquarium tube from underneath it... or if you don't believe that, she might also be listening to angels announcing the virgin birth, or trapped in a Steven Spielberg movie.

The Ripley's Aqaurium has quite a few exhibits to be proud of.

There's the giant, Emily-sized catfish that apparently likes to have it's belly tickled.

There's a ginormous tank that you can see from above....

...that has sharks....

... and old people swimming and scootering about in it!

Then, there are the giant tubes with moving sidewalks that take you underneath the ginormous tanks so you can get an up-close-and-personal view of the sharks, turtles, stingray and other creatures lurking about in the deep water.

There are also creatures that make us want to go, "Oooooooo!"

At the end of the moving sidewalk are several other exhibits and rooms to explore. Here's another giant tank that would make a fabulous addition to our living room. Any volunteers to buy it, set it up, clean it and maintain it for us?

One of my favorite exhibits at ANY aquarium are the jellyfish. We saw these first when we went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I made these guys sit still for this picture and it took about 6 takes before the smaller of the two stopped grumping it up... it was WAAAAY past nap time at this point.

Once we made it out of the darker, more peaceful part of the aquarium, someone caught their second wind and was ready to start checking out the domes that were built into the smaller aquariums.

On our way back past the giant aquarium (remember the one we wanted for our living room?), we were lucky enough to find a diver that was just finishing up feeding the fish some lettuce. That's Em's silhouette on the bottom-right working her charm to get the diver to wave at her.

There's a new penguin exhibit in the aquarium this year. It opened just a little over a month before we got there. It was pretty sweet. Here's a picture of Emily laying on the glass floor watching penguins swim back and forth between the indoor and outdoor parts of the exhibit. They also had tubes to crawl into so you could reach a dome that popped up in the middle of the penguin exhibit. Up close and personal folks. Up close and personal.

It was a good day. A long day. But a good day to snuggle up to a penguin.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sensitivity to Infertility

I have been thinking about reposting this entry recently and a recent question from a new Facebook friend has prompted me to follow through.

- - - - - - - - - - Reposted from April 2007 - - - - - - - - - - - -

I didn't write the summary below. It appeared on a Yahoo Group that I'm on. If you've followed my blog from the get-go you'll remember that I discussed some of my feelings as we were going through the adoption process and the things that were difficult for me. I've heard from several people that followed my blog that they appreciated my honesty online because it helped them know better how to handle situations with family and friends going through similar things. Today's post is along a similar line, but describes what a person dealing with infertility issues might be going through. Yes, some of these things also describe what I went through as we were trying to adopt. I had no real overwhelming desire to become pregnant and we did not have a desire to go through infertility treatments. Please read with an open heart and tuck some of these thoughts away for the next time you offer helpful advice to someone dealing with infertility/adoption issues. ;-)

- - - - - - - - - - - -

It may surprise you to know that one out of six women who wants to have a baby cannot conceive. There are many possible reasons for this dismal statistic: blocked fallopian tubes, ovarian failure, hormonal imbalances, husband's low sperm count, to name just a few. Moreover, after a woman turns thirty-five, it becomes difficult to have a baby primarily because many of the eggs she has left are defective and old. All these barriers to pregnancy are physical or physiological, not psychological. Tubes don't become blocked because a woman is "trying too hard" to get pregnant. Antibodies that kill sperm will not disappear if a woman simply relaxes. And a man cannot make his sperm swim faster by developing a more optimistic outlook.

Medical Intervention:
After every medical attempt at making her pregnant, she must play a waiting game that is peppered with spurts of optimism and pessimism. It is an emotional roller coaster. She doesn't know if her swollen breasts are a sign of pregnancy or a side effect of the fertility drugs. If she sees a spot of blood on her underwear, she doesn't know if an embryo is trying to implant or her period is about to begin. If she is not pregnant after an IVF procedure, she may feel as though her baby died.
How can a person grieve for a life that existed only in her mind? While trying to cope with this emotional turmoil, she gets invited to a baby shower or christening, learns that a friend or colleague is pregnant, or she reads about a one-day-old infant found abandoned in a dumpster. Can you try to imagine her envy, her rage over the inequities in life? Given that infertility permeates practically every facet of her existence, is it any wonder why she is obsessed with her quest? Every month, she wonders whether this will finally be her month. If it isn't, she wonders if she can muster the energy to try again. Will she be able to afford another procedure? How much longer will her husband continue to be supportive? Will she be forced to give up her dream? So when you speak with her, try to empathize with the burdens on her mind and on her heart. She knows you care about her, and she may need to talk with you about her ordeal. But she knows that there is nothing you can say or do to make her pregnant. And she fears that you will offer a suggestion that will trigger even more despair.

Just as an ordinary room can be an obstacle course to a blind person, so can the everyday world be full of hazards for an infertile woman --- hazards that do not exist for women with children. She goes to her sister-in-law' s house for Thanksgiving. Her cousin is breast-feeding. The men are watching the football game while the women talk about problems with their kids. She feels left out, to say the least. Thanksgiving is an example of the many holidays that are particularly
difficult for her. They mark the passage of time. She remembers what came to mind last Thanksgiving --- that the next year, she would have a new son or daughter to show off to her family. Each holiday presents its own unique burden to the infertile woman. Valentine's Day reminds her of her romance, love, marriage - and the family she may never be able to create. Mother's Day and Father's Day? Their difficulties are obvious. Mundane activities like a walk down the street or going to the
shopping mall are packed with land mines. Seeing women pushing baby carriages and strollers strikes a raw nerve. While watching TV, she is bombarded by commercials for diapers, baby food, and early pregnancy tests. At a party, someone asks how long she's been married and whether she has any kids. She feels like running out of the room, but she can't. If she talks about being infertile, she's likely to get well-intentioned advice -- just the thing she doesn't need: "Just relax. Don't worry. It will happen soon." Or, "You're lucky. I've had it with my kids. I wish I had your freedom." These are the kinds of comments that make her want to crawl under the nearest sofa and die.

Because she is infertile, life is extremely stressful for her. She's doing her best to cope. Please be understanding. Sometimes she will be depressed. Sometimes she will be angry. Sometimes she will be physically and emotionally exhausted. She's not going to be the "same old" girl she used to be. She won't want to do many of the things she used to do. She has no idea when, or if, her problem will be solved. She's engaged in an emotionally and financially taxing venture with a low probability of success. The longer she perseveres, however, the greater her chances of pregnancy become. Maybe someday she will be successful. Maybe someday she will give up and turn to adoption, or come to terms with living a childfree life. At present, though, she has no idea what will happen. It's all she can do to keep going from one day to the next. She does not know why this is her lot. Nobody does. All she knows is the horrible anguish that she lives with every day. Please care about her. Please be sensitive to her situation. Give her your support -- she needs and wants it. "

Friday, May 14, 2010

Slip me some skin..

While we were in Townsend, TN, we stopped by Cade's Cove for our regular visit.  After making a quick potty break stop at the visitor's center, we walked around and spotted a park ranger with some animal skins that she was talking about.  Emily was fascinated with the bear and skunk skins.

Monday, May 10, 2010

I'm Getting Married!

I started to post this entry over a week ago and.... oh, look... shin-ey.....

Yeah, I got distracted. So what hasn't that ever happ... pretty!

Okay, I'm back. Phew.

POSTED ON 5/19/10 just so you know I'm a little behind schedule....

Emily was slated to be the flower girl for my cousin's wedding in early May. The dress I made her for Easter was a practice dress for the flower girl dress I was going to make her. Let me just say this... this girl loves to wear dresses and especially dresses that twirl. The higher the twirl factor, the more requests we have for her to wear that particular dress.

The Easter dress had a VERY high twirl factor and is requested every time we open the closet. With this in mind, Emily knew her "wedding dress" was going to be just like her Easter dress but ALL white. She couldn't wait for me to finish it so she could try out it twirlability. (Like that? I just made that word up.)

I had finished her dress a couple of days before the wedding and somewhere in between the two, Emily had a physical therapy appointment. While we were walking through the hall during therapy, I asked Em to tell her PT what she was going to be doing on Saturday. With an exuberance galore and arms thrust wide open, Emily shouted for all to hear, "I'M GETTING MARRIED!"

Oi vey! Does your Daddy know?
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