Tuesday, April 28, 2009

1st Birthday Party

Low key affair, plenty of mexican food...lots of ripping of gift wrap. Lots of giggles. Willow had a great time, and we got to have our friends and family over. We had a great time with Ana (the creator of the wonderful cake) and her dog Ryka--Ryka and Willow just LOVED each other (Gabrielle did not like Ryka--she went into hiding).

Willow got many wonderful gifts and many cool items to put into her time capsule. Here's some pictures (most of them taken by big brother Michael):

Michael got Willow Spongebob bath toys. The package in her hands is from Ana. (That's my foot).

My brother's feet; Ryka and Willow hanging out.

Opening a gift--Ana's cell phone...

Michael showing Willow how to use her baby laptop (given by Mom & Dad)

Cake time! (The monkey's ear got hurt on transit).

Willow liked chocolate cake!

Playing with Ana after a change of clothes. (Outfit a gift from Ana)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Show & Tell #33

Our friend Ana is very crafty. She was the one who made a mural for Willow's nursery. She offered to make Willow's first birthday cake (Willow's party is today). The theme, as with the nursery, is safari animals.

Here is the cake, as posted on Ana's facebook page.

I can't wait to see it in person! (Click Ana's name in the first paragraph to see other cakes she has made)

Show and Tell
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Friday, April 24, 2009

It's all happening at the zoo...

Someone told me
Its all happening at the zoo.

I do believe it,
I do believe its true.

Its a light and tumble journey
From the east side to the park;
Just a fine and fancy ramble
To the zoo...

To celebrate Willow's birthday today we decided to go to the zoo. It was a warm day and while I brought sunblock, I guess I did not take the time to put it on--its okay tho--only mom, dad and Michael got a little sun burned.

Willow was protected by a nifty hat she got from the zoo. So nifty in fact, that she liked to take it off to look at it. And put it in her mouth. And throw it on the ground.

Somethin tells me
Its all happening at the zoo.

The monkeys stand for honesty,
Giraffes are insincere,
And the elephants are kindly but
They're dumb....
---Simon & Garfunkel

Michael with a Wallaby. A zookeeper had this one out. Both Michael and Willow were fascinated by him.

Looking at the giraffes. (Hat on)

Looking at the girafees. (Hat off)

And the elephants (who are not dumb)

Michael and Willow looking at Moon Bears. Who were right up against the window display.

Michael on a frog.

Willow fascinated.

Taking off her socks after a long day.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

One Year - Updated

This week has become one of reflection for me. A year ago this week, one of our longest, hardest journeys was coming to a successful end. I remember at the time thinking how lucky we were. But, I still had regrets--I wished that she had come into my life sooner, that we had gone into treatment sooner. I wished my son had a sibling closer in age. I wished that life was perfect, that the years of hurt could just melt away. Willow Leone was born a year ago this Friday and I was swept away.

Seeing her, I sometimes cannot believe that she is real. I am not imagining. I am not dreaming, to be woken up by a nagging feeling like someone is missing. She is here, she is really here. And she amazes me every day.

Our lives have changed dramatically in a space of a year. The changes of having another child were expected and we have been adapting. Ironically, I find that we have many new obstacles in our lives (some good, some bad, some expected, some not). This week, I have begun to realize how much we have endured, how far we have come. What a wonderful gift our children are and how much we need each other. How our family can endure and gain strength and overcome.

But most of all--I am reflecting on how we were able to accomplish this:

Click to play this Smilebox scrapbook: Happy Birthday, Willow
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UPDATE: Some people have noted my choice of song--its "Daughter"
Written by Peter Blegvad; Performed by Loudon Wainwright III
It has special meaning for us. Shortly after our first IVF/ICIS cycle failed, we wanted to divert ourselves by going to the movies. We hesitantingly decided on "Knocked Up" even though we knew the subject would bother us (I rationalized, like I usually did in those situations--"Well, its about her first child"; also we had already scheduled cycle #2). That song was at the end of the movie--and after we found out we were going to have a daughter--we both spontanously put that song on our mp3 players. That song will always remind me of our journey in bringing Willow to this world.

Things Willow can do:

Eat most table food
Say "Mama" "Dada" "Kitty Cat" "yes" "hi"
Suck her thumb
Laugh and giggle
Clap her hands
Dance to Music (She went to her first Dan Zanes concert this weekend--she had a BLAST)
Stands on her own
ALMOST walking on her own
"She has her own way of communicating" - Michael
Is curious
Is friendly with people
"You gotta mention her smile." - Husband

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Show & Tell #33 - Braces Bunch Edition

I was going to do a Show & Tell about what I was doing one year ago this week...

But I got a wonderful surprise in my snail mail box today, and I had to share.

This is from JJ, founder of the Braces Bunch, which is celebrating 2 years of supportive friendship.

I have never met Janel, but in the 2 years that we have corresponded (via e-mail, blog posts, and snail mail), I have felt a kinship with her. And I was totally honored that she sent me this.

What is it?

I have decided in celebration of Willow's first birthday this Friday, I am assembling a time capsule. In it, amongst other things--including print outs of my blog from the time I was doing her IVF cycle--will be this letter from Janel. I do not know if ten years from now (when Willow will open this capsule) I will still be in contact with JJ. I hope that I will. But, I want Willow to know that during the dark times preceding her conception, and during the happy times when she was born--Janel and the Braces Bunch were there to support me.

Show and Tell
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Thursday, April 16, 2009

First First Birthday Present...

Since a lot of our family and friends are out of state, we tend to get a trickle of presents shipped to us during holidays/birthdays.

We got our first presents for Willow this week, from her "Aunt" Marcy and "Uncle" Mark. They sent these books (which I will be wrapping for Willow to open on her day).

Willow modeled her other present yesterday:

Its a nice three piece outfit, perfect for Spring. (She tended to like the jacket off so she could look at it).

Lately, I only have a few minutes with the camera out before she tries to grab it.

Its her first Seasame Street character! (Its her first anything character!) Hmmm...Elmo was the new one when Michael was born--I remember at 6:40 a.m. EVERY weekday morning for about a year--we had to turn to Seasame Street so he could watch Elmo's World. It will be neat to see if Willow bonds with Abby in the same way.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Show & Tell #32

Today we went to our friend's house in New Hampshire to have a BBQ. She invited another couple who brought their fur-baby, a 5 month old chocolate lab named Java. So, Willow got to hang out with three dogs, and a few cats.

Here are some awful, blurry photos from my husband's cell phone.

That is our friend, with Java and Willow on her lap.

Willow petted Java and Java was wonderful with her (it helped that Java was really tired out from running around outside).

Our friend is also fostering kittens for the local shelter (taking care of them until they reach age to be adopted). Willow LOVED one of the kittens, and took it and hugged it like crazy.

I am so glad she is getting this exposure to these animals. She had a blast!

Show and Tell
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Friday, April 10, 2009

Things are...complicated

2009 has so far pretty much sucked eggs. Can't go into too many details, but aside from me being laid off and unemployed, my husband is having problems at his work--and there is a possibility that he could get laid off too. Oh, and the stress of that situation, my situation and daily life in general has just made it even more difficult for me to eat right and exercise and get rid of this damn weight already(!!) I just feel like we never catch a break. Or, more acurately, we get breaks, we seem to get ahead in the world--and then WHAM! we get sucker punched with something else happening in our lives. I am just so tired of the MOVING800MILESAWAY-DEPRESSION-BABYBLUES-ADHD-SECONDARYINFERTILITY-PPD-NEWBORN-LAIDOFF-ECONOMYSUCKS rollercoaster.

Ugh. I need chocolate.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Show & Tell #31

We went on a family outing today that I think is one of the hidden treasures in our area, the Harvard Natural History Museum.

We have gone here many, many times and the exhibits do not change that much, but it is a fascinating museum, especially for children. I remember taking Michael when he was Willow's age, and her eyes lit up just the same as his did. We put her in the umbrella stroller, and she was excited to see the mammal exhibits...pointing to a red fox on display--saying "kitty caa" (so far this is her only "real" word and it is used for all animals).

And, as usual, Michael was brimming with excitement and pointing out all the animals and dinosaur skeletons--I especially like how he likes to makes me close my eyes so he can steer me (while I am pushing a stroller no less) towards an especially "scary" exhibit--so that I can open my eyes at the right point to be "scared" (which I proceed feign--and still at 10 years old--he doesn't realize that I am not really scared).

I especially like looking at the skeletons of the ice age creatures like the Giant Ground Sloth or the mastedon. Also, having skeletons of Sperm Whales above your heads is pretty darn cool too! Michael and I were both fascinated at the exitinct animal exihibit--it is amazing to see creatures and imagine what they were like--and a bit bittersweet to realize that humans have caused much of the extinction.

The funny thing about today's outing--it was a spur of the moment change of plans that brought us to the museum--and we had a blast!

Just for fun...here is a creepy exhibit picture (I did not take it):

Okay, this doesn't look ANYTHING like the cute pet chinchilla's we used to have!!

Show and Tell
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Friday, April 03, 2009

16 years

16 years ago we got married. We met when we had just entered our 20s, now we are almost entering or 40s. We share so much in common. We have had our shares of ups and downs (thankfully, more ups than downs). We have shared clinical depression (his), post-partum depression (mine), attention deficet disorder and social pragmatic issues (our son), lay-offs (his many years ago; mine now), infertility and a newborn (again!).

2008 was one of our best years of our lives. 2009 has had a less than stellar start. But each and every year has been an honor and privaledge to be his partner. I love him even more for the husband and father he has become in these sixteen years. Happy Anniversary!

Psst...Legal Seafood tonight!

#Microblog Monday - New Who

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