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Toy Story

Wow! It has been quite a while since my last blog post.

See… This is what I was afraid of when I decided to start a blog.

I knew that I’d start with a bang, especially since it was over the summer, and I wouldn’t be able to continue on the same path once I started the new school year. I was right.

Okay. I’m done complaining about how I’ve slacked off. Moving on…


So much has happened over the past several months. For one, we are now at 28 weeks, and everything is looking fantastic! Our ultrasounds have been amazing. We have seen so much of our baby boy–from his heartbeat to his facial features. We’ve had a handful of “anatomy” scans at our high-risk doctor’s office due to our son’s stubbornness. When he doesn’t feel like cooperating for the scan, he doesn’t, and Dad and Mom have to leave work early again and again for rescheduled appointments. Luckily, all has been well, and we have gotten some fantastic pictures in the process.

I do have to report about our very first anatomy scan. After the ultrasound technician took a jillion measurements and pictures, she retrieved the doctor to take a look. The doctor–who is not our doctor–flipped through the pictures and said, “Yes… The heart is limited.” I literally almost went into cardiac arrest. Knowing our past with miscarriages, you must understand my feelings. I said, “I beg your pardon.” She replied, “Our view of the heart is limited. You’ll have to come back, so we can get all of the angles we need. Otherwise, everything looks wonderful!” Could she not have started with that?! Talk about a sigh of relief…

We have also been working on the nursery. We have decided on a Toy Story theme. We were very much inspired by a fantastic blog post on The Photographer’s Wife. From the Scrabble letters above the crib to the hanging Barrel ‘O Monkeys she describes in the post, we are striving to make our nursery look just as amazing as hers. My dad painted one weekend while we were out of town, and our best friend and his brother installed our wood laminate flooring today. We plan on picking up the nursery furniture tomorrow and assembling it this week. My wife has set a goal of having all of the “big” stuff done by Thanksgiving. And, by the grace of God, I am going to see that that happens!

On top of all of this, my wife’s baby shower is being planned. Being that I’m not the average male/husband/father-to-be, I was granted permission from my wife to attend the shower. (I’ve gone to several other baby showers in the past due to being friends with women and being close to female family members, so why wouldn’t I attend my own wife’s baby shower?!) I’m sure that there are many people who disagree with this, but I want to celebrate this baby with our family and friends, and especially my wife, more than anybody. I have already guaranteed that the spotlight will not be taken off of my wife. The day is still all about her and our son. I am simply a guest who is there to enjoy himself, participate in the games, and enjoy the food and company. What’s wrong with that?!


For The Boys

This past Saturday, we had a gender ultrasound. We finally found out if Rhiannon is carrying a handsome boy like his daddy or a beautiful girl like her mama!

Let me back up a bit first… Let the suspense build a little.

Several weeks ago, one of our best friends, Nikki, sent us a LivingSocial deal on a gender ultrasound at a local ultrasound studio called Oh, Baby. The package was 50% off the original price and included a photo with your exam. We jumped at the chance.

At around 15 weeks, Rhiannon called to make the appointment. They recommended 16 weeks for a gender ultrasound, so we postponed our excitement for a week. (It felt like the longest week of our lives!)

In the meantime, we worked on names. We had our boy name nailed down, but we were having issues finding a girl name that we both loved. Many sounded good, but none of them had the oomph that we were looking for. We didn’t want to just settle for something, so we put it off until after our ultrasound. (If we were having a boy, we were set; if not, we had some work to do.)

Finally, our appointment came. My mom went with us–much to her overwhelming excitement–and was in awe of the technology. (I’m her youngest child, so things were a lot different 26 years ago!) When our baby’s heartbeat was heard, she almost fell off of the couch. She couldn’t believe that so much could be seen and heard at 16 weeks! (Needless to say, having her there was such an amazing experience. To see this ultrasound through her eyes was great!)

After making sure that we wanted her to tell us the gender, the technician commented on how huge our baby’s feet are. (My first thought: “Oh, please be a boy because a girl–my daughter–would be made fun of for having big feet, and I don’t want that.”)

That’s when she told us: “You’re having a boy!”

Right away, the three of us teared up. Rhiannon’s emotions took over, and she couldn’t help crying her eyes out. It all hit her: The fact that this is still really happening for us, we were getting blessed with a second chance at having a son after our previous miscarriage was a boy, and just the overall excitement of the news. (She promises that it had nothing to do with the fact that she predicted that she was carrying a girl… HaHa!)

The three of us left there with the biggest smiles on our faces. We immediately called/texted some people who knew we were going to the appointment–my dad, Paul and Nikki (our best friends), and one of my aunts. We planned on spreading the word to the rest of my family and family friends at my grandfather’s eightieth birthday party later that afternoon and, of course, on Facebook for the rest of the world.

Our Facebook announcement was broken down into two parts. We started with this picture, giving everyone one more chance to vote on whether or not we were having a boy or girl:

Several hours later, while at my grandfather’s party, we decided to let the Facebook people in on the excitement and posted this picture:

Now, everyone knows! Our excitement continues today as we begin the planning stages of the nursery: Theme, furniture, paint colors, specialty items, etc. It’s going to be fantastic! πŸ™‚



Being that things were going so well, I decided to utilize my time wisely over the summer. I’m a Fifth Grade teacher, so I am very lucky to not have to work over the summer.

Before you say/think some snide comment about how easy it must be being a teacher and getting summers off, please spend 180+ days with a classroom of children with different learning styles, abilities, etc. and see if you don’t feel that you deserve a two-to-three-month break!

Sorry for the tangent… It’s just one of my pet peeves when people belittle the teaching profession.

Anyway, I decided to clean out our garage. It was full of stuff that we were “going to sell in a garage sale”. I realized that this garage sale would never happen, so it was time to get rid of all of the crap–which is exactly what it all was–before I didn’t have the time to do it. (Let’s just say that Goodwill and anybody who rooted through our heaping trash pile must’ve been in Heaven!) From furniture to clothes to DVDs to books to toys, we had SO MUCH in our garage that we never needed or used. (And, don’t even get me started on all of my wife’s old toys, clothes, etc. that my in-laws would bring by as they cleaned out their house and garage. There are still almost 10 boxes of stuff for Rhiannon to go through!)

Once the garage was done, I turned to our guest room, which is set to become our nursery. The guest room had, of course, become the storage area, since we rarely have guests who stay the night. A treadmill, new lighting fixtures, a new fan, and so much more had taken up residence in there over the past year. Thankfully, our neighbor is rather handy, so he came and put up the new lights and fan, one of Rhiannon’s friends/co-workers bought our treadmill, and I threw out a lot of random stuff. Finally, it was emptying out–getting ready to become our baby’s nursery!

With nursery thoughts on our minds, we began the shopping around/pricing for baby furniture. Holy Lord! It is so expensive to just buy a darn crib and dresser. I would’ve never imagined… We want what’s best for our child, obviously, so we’re frantically searching for sales, coupons, and the like for new baby furniture. HaHa!

Once we find out the gender, we’ll be able to pick out paint colors and really start putting it all together. We have two great themes picked out depending on the gender. Without disclosing too much because I want it to be a surprise when we end up doing the nursery, they are both Disney-related. (We are Disney freaks!)

So… We wait. We have an ultrasound very soon that’ll hopefully tell us our baby’s gender. The suspense is killing us… πŸ™‚

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Picture Perfect

The world finally knows that we are pregnant, and I can’t tell you how amazing it is to be asked about it constantly…

“How’s Rhiannon feeling?”
“Are you going to find out what you’re having?”
“Have you thought of any names yet?”
“Have you started planning the nursery?”

All of the questions are fantastic, and I don’t mind at all answering them to the best of my ability. After all, this pregnancy has been our miracle, so I’m trying not to take any of it for granted. That’s why I don’t mind sharing things with the world. πŸ™‚

This brings me to the topic of pregnancy pictures.

We decided right away after posting our announcement on Facebook that we’d like to post weekly pictures of Rhiannon’s growing baby bump. We started at 13 weeks and have been posting ever since. (We will be at 16 weeks on Thursday of this week.)

Take a look at the baby bump gradually growing over the course of three weeks:

13 Weeks

14 Weeks

15 Weeks

It’s amazing how much can change in the matter of a week. We look forward to taking these pictures every Thursday night. Rhiannon puts on the same outfit, and I update the whiteboard. It’s a great way to keep track of dates and how far along we are.

As for baby names, we have a few picked out. We don’t want to announce them to the world just yet. πŸ˜‰

With all of this excitement, we knew that we also had a lot of work to do around the house to get ready for baby!

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Look Who’s Talking

We had reached the twelve-week mark, and we were over the moon with excitement. Now, the fun part was here: We could finally spread the word! An added bonus to spreading the word was putting together a gender pool… What did everyone think we were having?!

I visited my grandmother and aunt in the same day to tell them the good news. Plus, I was way overdue for a visit. (It’d been months.) They, of course, were thrilled for Rhiannon and me. My grandmother thinks it’ll be a girl; my aunt said a boy. (Everyone prior to my aunt had said girl, so she was the first to throw a wrench in the system!)

From there, we showed off our twelve-week video that I had taken on my iPhone to almost everyone: My uncles and aunts, my “second family” who lives across the street from us that I’ve known ever since I was three years old, our bosses and co-workers, etc. (From what I’m told, many of them continue to watch it over and over again!) Many tears were shed, as well, because they all knew about our first pregnancy, but were sad to hear that we had miscarried again before this pregnancy. Plus, the happiness of a pregnancy in general caused “happy tears”!

Phone calls were made to family and close friends who are not local, and Facebook messages were sent to friends who we primarily keep in touch with through social networking. (Sad, I know, but that’s the beauty of technology.) Everyone’s reactions were amazing and really uplifting!

The consensus of the gender changed to boy due to Rhiannon not experiencing any morning sickness. A lot of our family members and friends who have had boys said that they weren’t sick with them. Those with girls said that they did have morning sickness. Interesting…

We shall see!

We didn’t want to post our news on Facebook just yet because we wanted to create a one-of-a-kind announcement–rather than just say that we were expecting in a status update. Everyone we had just told was, in a way, sworn to secrecy until we were ready to tell the world. πŸ™‚

In the meantime, we had our rescheduled appointment with the high-risk doctor. The ultrasound and blood work would test for Down Syndrome along with two other genetic disorders. The ultrasound was amazing! We heard the heartbeat again, and our baby cooperated so much better this time around. The technician was very pleased with everything that she saw and measured. She informed us that they measure a piece of skin on the back of the neck for part of the Down Syndrome test. If it measures above three millimeters, it’s a cause for concern. Our baby’s measured 1.3 millimeters, so she was extremely happy with that, as were we. Rhiannon had her finger pricked for the blood work, and we were told that they’d only call with bad news. If we didn’t hear from them in a week, nothing questionable came back.

A week went by, and we didn’t hear from them. (Cue the sigh of relief!)

Due to such good news, we went ahead with our Facebook announcement. Rhiannon used the same template from our Save The Date magnets from our wedding. Since we’re huge movie fans, this is what we came up with:

The response was nothing like we ever expected. Over 100 “likes” and comments combined from both of us posting this picture. We were in Heaven, and we were so glad that the entire world now knew our amazing news.

The next step was putting together a list of baby names, as well as taking weekly pregnancy pictures to document Rhiannon’s growing tummy!


The Turning Point

The time finally came… Twelve weeks. This was what we were waiting for. If we reached this level, the chance of miscarriage would drop immensely. We’d finally be able to tell our family, friends, and co-workers.

We had our twelve-week appointment at our doctor’s office, and they hadn’t planned on doing an ultrasound. (It’s not standard procedure, I guess.) However, our doctor is so invested in our pregnancy that she asked one of her nurses to get the ultrasound room ready because she wanted to take a look. (God bless her because we always enjoy seeing our bundle of joy!)

Let me back up… Our previous appointment was at our high-risk doctor’s office. We went there to do the ultrasound and blood work for Down Syndrome. An ultrasound can show some signs of Down Syndrome developing in the fetus. “Some of these subtle signs include a decrease in femur length (a bone in the leg), an increase in the skin behind the neck (called nuchal translucency), or choroid plexus cysts (cysts in a section of the brain that produces spinal fluid). These are what are often referred to as ‘soft signs’ because none of these ultrasound findings will cause the fetus any problems by themselves. However, they may make the doctor suspicious that the fetus has Down Syndrome. Other more serious signs that can also be seen on an ultrasound can include heart defects and intestinal blockages” (Kathleen Fergus, 2009).

Due to a too full bladder and our baby’s lack of cooperation, the technician couldn’t see what she needed to see, so we needed to reschedule both the ultrasound and the blood work. The best part of this experience, though, was the fact that we got to HEAR our baby’s heartbeat. It was one of the best things I’ve ever heard… πŸ™‚

We were scheduled to go back the next week. Before that next appointment, though, we’d meet with our doctor–which is where I started this post at because I get too excited. Sorry… I can’t help myself!

Anyway, our doctor thankfully wanted to do an ultrasound. She was delighted with what she saw, and she even told me to take my iPhone out and film it. Our baby was moving around so much… We could see his/her hand up by the mouth, and the outline of his/her face was very apparent. It was truly amazing.

Besides that, this twelve-week appointment was hardcore. Rhiannon had to fill out a ton of paperwork approving or denying different blood tests. (Plus, she gave what seemed like a million ounces of blood… Oh, Lordy, I don’t know if I’d be able to stand that!) We also met with the financial person and talked about the hospital expenses, including the option for a payment plan. Our medical histories and birth information was also examined and documented. Whew! We were given a ton of information, as well, from the nurses and our doctor. Our heads were so heavy with all of it when we left that I’m surprised we could even lift them up.

Oh, but we could lift them up because we were SO beyond happy that we made it to twelve weeks and that everything still looked so promising and positive.

We knew that we could finally start spreading the word!

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Meet The Parents

How were we going to tell our parents? That was the question.

After our ultrasound, which was on a Wednesday, we decided on–okay, Rhiannon came up with–framing our recent ultrasound. We thought that’d be a fun way to tell them, as well as provide them with their first picture of their still-baking grandchild. Perfect!

First, we hit up Bed, Bath, & Beyond. Unfortunately, the selection of ultrasound/sonogram frames at our store was lacking immensely. However, we found a great frame for our own home. (Click on the picture to find out more about it and/or purchase it for yourself.) They only had one, which is why it became ours. πŸ™‚

Our favorite thing about it was choosing the cute saying. It came with several of them; our favorite was “bun in the oven”… It’s been proudly displayed in our living room ever since.

Next, we headed over to Target on the search for the perfect frame for our parents. Upon entering the picture frame aisle, I saw a frame–luckily, there were two of them–that said “BABY” in different colors (pink, blue, green, and yellow) and had a small circular opening for a picture. This was it.

(Unfortunately, I couldn’t locate a picture of it online. I’ll keep trying, so stay tuned!)

We bought the two frames and headed home, excited to frame our nine-week ultrasound for our parents. Another part of Rhiannon’s brilliant plan was to hide the frame in my parents’ house. (We live next door to them. And, no, it’s not weird.) Part of the fun would be to see how long it took them to find it.

The stars couldn’t have aligned more perfectly. My dad called the next morning (Thursday) and needed me to put their house key inside from under the mat because the lady who cleans their house was not coming until the following day. I knew that this was my chance… No one was home, so I headed next door with the frame in my hand.

After several “too easy” spots that I texted to Rhiannon for her approval, I finally settled on their wall unit in the living room. I just knew that they’d see it while watching TV that night. It wasn’t too hidden, but it wasn’t right in the open either.

Well… They didn’t see it. No phone calls or anything that night. Crap!

Now, for her parents, we were planning on getting together with them one night that weekend to celebrate Father’s Day. (Rhiannon was very sick on the actual day, so we postponed our get-together until she was feeling better.) We would wrap up the frame and have her dad open it as his gift–much like we did with the Grandfather Remembers book the year before. Unfortunately, they couldn’t meet for dinner that weekend.

So… Here we were. The waiting game had started.

That all changed on Friday afternoon. My mom called. “Oh! Oh! Oh!” was all I heard when I picked up the phone. “What’s wrong? Are you okay?” I asked, thinking that she was in some sort of pain. “I’m holding the greatest picture ever!” she exclaimed! She immediately wanted to come over and congratulate us. (She left the picture out in plain view for my dad to see when he came home from work.)

The only reason she found it was because she was walking around her house checking to make sure that everything was clean, since the cleaning lady came that day. (She’s a tough customer for cleaning ladies, since she used to be one herself. HaHa! She knows exactly what to look for.) She walked right by the frame, stopped, asked herself if that frame said “BABY”, and backtracked. Too funny!

She was beyond ecstatic when she walked in the door! My dad wasn’t too far behind her, and he was elated, as well. Both of them have known our journey thus far, so they were so happy that everything looked to be in tip-top shape. They stayed for about forty-five minutes or so to hear about all of our doctor’s appointments and left smiling from ear-to-ear.

Rhiannon’s parents didn’t find out for another two weeks. We were past our twelve-week ultrasound when they finally could do dinner. The thing was, though, her stepmother would be out of town at a work-related conference, so her dad needed “babysitting” for a night. We had him over for dinner on a Sunday and gave him the frame. He was over the moon and immediately called Rhi’s stepmom. She didn’t answer, so he sent her a text a bit later saying, “Call us, Grandma.” That, of course, did it. The phone rang, he handed it to Rhiannon, and she was very excited for us, as well.

In the end, our plan worked. It just happened in an odd order and not exactly like we had hoped. But, isn’t that how life is?!

In the coming weeks, we would have our twelve-week ultrasound. This is the threshold we wanted to cross so badly–to be able to spread the word to the world. We grew more nervous as the days went on…


create the future. undo the past. love the moment.

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