More on the Photog.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

I think it is funny that most of you were more concerned with the "dishonesty" and would admit that good photographers are pricey, while I was more price sticker shocked than convinced she is out to screw her customers.

I really think she probably mentioned something about the newborn session while at the expo. You know how those things are- a noisy gym/conference center with tons of people and distractions, and to be completely honest, I was walking around that place in such a happy fog, that she could have told me that I had to buy her a new car and I would not have remembered.

And as far as the website goes, yes, it wasn't clear, but I don't think she made it that way on purpose. I just have a tendency for taking things very literally, and since it didn't say "minimum order", I just didn't think that the "expect to pay" part was equivalent terminology. Which it technically isn't, but I guess some people would say that if someone tells you to "expect to pay" something, that is what you will be paying!! So I can see both sides, but I still hope she edits her site to be clear that there is a minimum order required. And I think that if I hadn't asked her via email about the reprints this morning, she would have gone over it when we met for lunch- she had a price list/info sheet ready to hand me when I arrived.

I think she does amazing work and will be very easy to work with. And, I don't think you could be a successful family photographer if you got a reputation for doing backhanded things to your clients. Plus we are getting both a maternity and a newborn session for the cost. We can buy a CD of the edited images so we can make our own prints (which cost pennies) of what picture and how big and how many, and the CD is a pretty big price item, so with buying the CD and 2 "brag" albums for the grandparents, we will exactly meet the $350 minimum and be out the door. Easy peasy. No going over the minimum.

I was surprised at the hostility in a couple of the comments, though. Have you never misunderstood someone, or have said something that was interpreted differently than you intended by someone else? Did they jump down your throat about it or vice versa?

Buyer's Remorse

So a few months ago I went to this baby expo and entered a raffle for a free maternity photo session with a professional photographer. You know the type, the gal who takes perfectly beautiful maternity photos you dream of being in someday.

Well it turns out, I won!

I was very excited :) The caveat- that was either not mentioned at the expo or I just didn't hear it because angels were singing in my ears at the time because I actually was at a baby expo because I was pregnant- was that we had to agree to buying a newborn session, too.

Okay, that is fine, newborn session was only $200, and what is $200 on the baby we have dreamed of and prayed for for more than three years?

So today I was supposed to be meeting the photographer for lunch to set up and pay for the newborn session and look at all her albums and extra's. It says on her website "expect to pay at least $350 for reprints and items", but of course I scoffed at that- I thought that was the average that most people spend, and who really needs $350 of reprints?!?!?

Until I learned, through email conversation with her this morning, that there is a $350 minimum order required with the newborn session!!

OH. (I did tell her fairly bluntly that she needs to edit that part of her website to be clear that the $350 is a required minimum, and that I would have been greatly blindsided and upset if I hadn't had realized that until I was handing her the session check, or worse, taking the newborn photos themselves!)

To say that I have buyer's remorse (before I have even bought anything) is an understatement. I am agreeing to pay nearly $600 for photographs?!?!?!

But Mr. A says we should just do it, that this (having a baby) doesn't happen every day, and it will probably only happen three times, max.

And that damn infertility devil sits on my shoulder and whispers in my ear "He has a point- but even three times is awfully optimistic- this might be your only baby."

Well crap, if you put it that way, let's spend $2k!

I am sure she will do a great job, and that we will be really happy to get reprints for our friends and family, and that after paying God knows how much money for all the medications, appointments, and procedures in the last 3 years, $600 is cheap. Not to mention this baby girl is priceless, anyway.

It's a good thing I'm not fertile, because I could not justify $600 for newborn photos of each of my easily-conceived perfectly-spaced 4 kids!!! Hahaha :)

(ETA: {sad face} Everyone's "holy crap's" and "whoa's" and "yikes's" are not helping me feel any better. So am I really an idiot? Not that I just want you to say what I want to hear, but isn't there anyone who would do the same thing? Maybe it's just the pregnancy hormones, but I feel like taking this post down and calling her to say don't cash my check!!!)


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"But for the child-free, the benefits go beyond dollars and cents. There's less guilt, less worry, less responsibility, more sleep, more free time, more disposable income, no awkward conversations about Teen Mom, no forced relationships with people just because your kids like their kids, no chauffeuring other people's kids in your minivan to soccer games you find less appealing than televised chess."

Read the whole article here on yahoo today. Hard to fathom that couples willingly make the choice to remain childless- based on such materialistic ideals so that they won't be bothered with difficult conversations or lack of fancy vacations- while there is an entire portion of the population who willingly spend the amount of an extravagant vacation for even a chance at conceiving a precious child, or way more than an extravagant vacation for a chance to adopt their child.

This article just hurts to read.

(For what it's worth, I do believe in living within your means, and of course raising a child does cost money, but I don't think that's the point of the article at all.)

Bourbon, yes; Bug Spray, no

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

HA. Today bourbon girl was back (shoot! pun intended..get it?). When our teacher asked us how we were feeling, bourbon girl launches into her latest lame complaint that mosquitos are attacking her. Oh really? In the summer, outside? No kidding!!! But she says that she doesn't want to use bug spray because she's not sure if it will sink in.

HAAA!!! So, let me get this straight. She is fine with drinking hard alcohol to get her baby to stop moving, but she is a little wary of using a squirt of bug spray. Maybe if she did a little research, she would know that you can buy natural bug repellents that do work!!! Maybe she is too busy doing shots...

She also regaled us with a tale of how she was at a party recently and she had a hot flash and people were telling her how glowing she looked, and she had to correct them that she was just super pregnant and sweaty and feeling gross!

I do not make this stuff up...this girl is for real- straight out of your worst IF/PAIF nightmare!

But yoga this morning was a good class, so I am trying to focus on that. I finally figured out a way so that my shoulders don't tense up during our 2-minute holds of squats- don't brace my arms on my knees! I just let my arms hang down for the 2 minutes, and it is much easier to relax my entire body (except for my legs of course) for the 2-minute time frame. YAY! It was annoying having my shoulders be so tense during squats because instead of focusing on having strong legs, I would be having all my energy locked up in my shoulders! So glad I fixed it :)

I have my glucose test on Friday, and I'm hoping that I pass. My mom had GD with my brother, but she said that her glucose test was the day after Easter (yikes!), so she suspects that it was a false positive....

Hope you're all having a good week so far and steering clear of mosquitoes! ;-)

Grandmas (mine)

Monday, June 27, 2011

We love our dogs for lots of reasons, but one of them is that they help us meet our neighbors! Many of our neighbors have dogs, too, and it has been really nice to get to know them (and their pups). I always wanted to live in a place where you had your neighbors' phone numbers on the fridge in case you needed something or wanted to invite them for dinner.

Or to swim!

We live around the corner from an older couple whose dog LOVES to play with our dogs. Whenever he has a chance, he escapes from their yard and comes bolting over to ours (literally, he only comes here when he gets out- makes it easy for them to find him!) to see if Banana and Bert are outside (there is a good chance they will be because they love it outside!). Anyway, our neighbors' granddaughters (9-year old twin girls) are visiting them for 3 weeks, and so we invited them to come over and swim yesterday afternoon.

I just can't say how much the grandma reminds me of each of mine in different ways. She even seems to talk like one of my grandma's! Yesterday was the second time they'd come to swim (the girls are seriously top notch young ladies and are great company!), and both times I found myself lost in memories of time spent with each of my grandmas.

We spent more time with my maternal grandparents (almost every summer for 2 or so weeks), and the one thing that I will never forget is how fun it was to get up in the morning (grandma was already awake) and get the container of Nesquik out of her cabinet and make some chocolate milk while she made me oatmeal with apple jelly and we would talk about what the day was going to hold. That is my quintessential maternal grandma moment. We did lots of other things, too- picking strawberries and cherries, having picnics at the beach, swinging on their porch swings, playing badminton in their backyard, and working in her garden.

She has Alzheimer's, so the last few years have been a little rough on her (she still fights the notion that she has Alzheimer's from time to time), especially losing my grandpa last August. So although my memories of visiting her when I was 9 will never fade, remembering those times was quite a change from how I relate to her lately (and vice versa). When I was sitting talking with my neighbors and their granddaughters, it was kind of freeing to remember my grandma they way she used to be, the way it seems that the girls relate to their grandma this summer.

My paternal grandma lived further away (this grandpa passed away when I was about 3), so we visited her less (but she visited us more!), but the memories with her are not any less cherished or prominent. This grandma is the girly-girl's dream come true. She always wore dress clothes on airplanes, and whenever we went to pick her up, I always thought she looked so elegant! She was a very early riser, with her first priorities being to get the coffee going and to "put on her face". Meaning, get out her fancy makeup bag and spill it's beautiful contents onto the bathroom counter and start applying all kinds of creams and shadows and glosses with big fluffy brushes and soft applicators. When you are 9, makeup even smells fancy and decadent and alluring!! My day couldn't get any better if she decided that I needed a little blush or lipstick that morning. (It was seriously a little- she never overdid it- it was just enough to send my heart flying with excitement!) Her necklaces and earrings and bracelets always matched her outfits, and she always wore a hat to church. She taught me one thing I will never forget, regarding nail care: You paint a house, but you polish your nails. Don't even think of painting your nails!!! ;-) She made amazing Christmas cookies, and there was nothing better than sledding in her yard and then hanging your mittens to dry over the heating vent. She is also an amazing Christian lady- she always inspired me to stay close to Jesus, even (especially) when my heart was sad.

In the last month or two, she has been diagnosed with an aggressive stage of colon cancer, and while the original prognosis was up to 2 years, she has developed an additional bowel infection which has really taken her on the downward spiral quickly. As of this morning, her doctors say she has "weeks" at most. She has always been preciously small (I seriously think she weighs 90 lbs soaking wet), but my aunt tells me she is starting to look very frail. I want to go see her (even though it's a $400 plane ticket), but the bowel infection is very contagious (even the nurses have to gown/glove/mask when they go into her room, not to mention normal visitors), and I am not sure if it is advisable for me to potentially expose myself and baby girl to the infection which can apparently be difficult to treat and very stubborn. I'm going to put a call into my midwife, but I am sure my grandma will understand if I can't make it to see her. Right?

So while both my grandmas are still with us, I think the time is near when their time on earth will be through and they will be reunited with their husbands in Heaven. Just as it was neat to think of my grandpa joining the angels watching over us last August, it is calming and exciting to me that my paternal grandma will probably be doing the same sometime soon.

It seems like my neighbors' granddaughters have alot of love and respect for their grandma right now, and I hope with all my heart that they tuck away these times into their memories so that in 20 years when things are different, the happy times they spent together will soften any sadness that comes with their grandma slipping away.

One more shot (for now)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Update on bourbon girl: She was not in class yesterday (maybe hungover? haha, okay, I know that is harsh...).

But since I arrived first to the studio, I took the opportunity to let my teacher know that it was hard for me to hear her say she drank bourbon to get her baby to stop moving. I shared that after struggling with infertility, feeling our baby move is so amazing and is such an answered prayer, and I just cannot fathom why someone would want to silence their healthy, active baby.

Luckily, not more than a second after I'd said this, she said "I totally agree with you! I was so shocked I didn't know what to say to her."

She went on to tell me that another girl in the class had expressed her concern/shock/disappointment after class, and that she was worried that a first time attendant of our class last week wouldn't be back because of the awkwardness that bourbon girl created (the first time attendant was missing yesterday, too, unfortunately).

At least I wasn't the only one. Seems like bourbon girl is alone in her desire to but the kibosh (sp?) on her wiggly little one. (Our Tuesday morning class is small- there are usually only 2-3 students plus our teacher.)

Our teacher is a licensed clinical social worker whose career is (was? she owns this yoga studio now...) working with foster children and their birthparents who are to be reunited. She said the weirdest part of hearing about bourbon girl's drinking habits was that she is used to working with people whose first inclination is "I don't really feel like giving up (insert destructive habit here) just for my child." Whereas, here is bourbon girl, attending a prenatal yoga class that from all indications and research can help moms be the healthiest people they can be, and that is why 99% of the students enroll in prenatal yoga, and this chick is triumphantly telling us of her habit that she has added to her lifestyle that in many circumstances is a contributing factor to people having their kids taken away from them.

As I noted, bourbon girl wasn't there yesterday, and our teacher isn't sure where "the line" is as far as talking to her about it versus letting her deal with the consequences of her actions.

But suffice it to say that we had an awesome class yesterday. It was me, the teacher, and another gal who is 35 weeks pregnant. We worked hard, had just enough but not too much banter during class, and they were asking me all kinds of questions about our baby shower and giving me awesome advice after class was over. It was the perfect morning- no alcohol needed ;-)

Karma is a you-know-what

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

{Thank you all for your comments and reflections over the last week about bourbon girl. I hope that you don't think I was a wuss for wanting to ask our teacher to say something to her! I guess my reasoning was that it seems like they have a friendly rapport, so maybe a suggestion or comment from her would be more readily opposed to one from me who has pretty much zero relationship (even acquaintance-wise) with this chick. And, hopefully she won't even be there for any more than a few more weeks, so I don't think it is worth making things awkward or angry during yoga classtime that I've come to really look forward to, because I'm sure nothing I say would change her choices- she just appears to be that sort of person. I will keep you posted if she has anything else mind-blowing to share!}

You will all remember my generally insensitive friends from college, namely the girl who told everyone else she was pregnant except me. Well, ever since April, I have emailed with several of them, but I am through doing the group emails- there are a few of them (I think you can tell who) that clearly do not care about maintaining our friendship. But it turns out that girl #5's dad has been diagnosed with cancer (she was a surprise baby, so her parents are in their 70's), as she shared with us in a blanket email, because apparently she doesn't think that her behavior has affected anyone's desire to give her support.

Seems like the shoe is on the other foot, girl #5.

Do I have any experience with cancer? Do I know the exact right things to say? Do I know what it's like to hear that my DAD has CANCER?


Given the events over the last year with her, I completely do not feel like emailing her back. I do not feel close to her, or her friend, or that she cares about me, or that if my dad had cancer that she would give two bleeps.

But what good am I if I return the behavior that caused me so much pain, even if I don't consider her to be my friend anymore?

Having grown up with a very manipulative mother, I am always worried that if I act as the better person, forgiving and forgetting, that people who seem to care only about themselves will never get the picture if people are always nice to them despite their behavior. There is still a part of me that wants to stick it to them and force the consequences of their awful choices in their face. How else are they going to learn?

But it is not up to me to change their heart. That is up to God. In the prayer that Jesus gave us, he encourages us to ask forgiveness from our Father, AS WE FORGIVE OTHERS (Luke 11:2-4). We must forgive others as we want to be forgiven when we make mistakes.

I'm going to email her back. I don't have any delusions that I'm going to get any response from her, and it doesn't change how I feel like we are not really friends anymore. But it's the right thing to do, and that's what I'm choosing today :)

Musings (more bourbon)

Friday, June 17, 2011

It is nice to know I'm not the only one who was more than a little surprised/shocked at Bourbon-girl's choices.

To answer some of your wonderings, basically the other 4 of us in the room all sort of had the same reaction, including the teacher. We were all kind of speechless! (And, no, I don't think she was joking.) Then it was sort of the awkward "laughter" and her trying to dig herself out of the hole she just dug in front of pretty much complete strangers, who are all at the yoga class to try to be the healthiest they can for their baby!! I think everyone was too shocked to really give her any third degree constructive advice that maybe that wasn't such a great idea.

Several times since Tuesday, I have sat down to draft an email to my teacher about my disappointment in this girl's choices. I think it is completely awful that anyone would ever drink to purposefully sedate their unborn baby (as misfit pointed out in the comment section), and I feel like someone should tell her that, and since she seems to have no problem talking to the teacher, in my heart of hearts I thought maybe our teacher could say something to her about it.

But I have never sent the email (yet?). I am not sure that I really expect our teacher to make an issue out of it, even though there is definitely an issue to be made, and I am not sure even if I really expected her to step up to the plate if she would actually do it. Even though I'm sure our teacher didn't think it was a healthy response, is it really her place to confront this girl about it a week after she said it? I am sure the girl would be defensive, and I can't imagine the teacher wanting to create some conflict in the studio...

Would you ask the teacher to say something?

Stop Annoying Me (Have some Bourbon)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

For the last 8 weeks or so, I've been taking a prenatal yoga class at a studio in my area. I LOVE IT!!! For the first 4 weeks or so of that time, there was a girl who came to the same class who is about 10 weeks further along than me, and as hard as I tried to be friendly, she never seemed to reciprocate or seem interested in me. It is hard for me, because I'd like to be friends with everyone, but as I've learned the hard way, some people just don't care about being my friend. (However, she talks to our teacher the whole class, which annoys me...)

Then she didn't come for a while, and it was admittedly really nice. The other girls who would come to class are all very friendly and interested and talkative. We had peaceful, quiet, challenging classes, but before and after class we were swapping ideas on where to get maternity workout gear and what our experiences have been so far and how things were going in general.

Well, she was back today, and my impression of her has decreased even further.

At the beginning of the class, our teacher asks us how things are going and if anything in particular is bothering us that we could work on during class. Here is what she had to say:

"Well, this damn kid is moving so much that it is getting annoying! I can't even enjoy a cocktail party anymore without the movement being distracting! I have started drinking some bourbon before I go out just so the baby won't move as much. The worst part is when the baby moves when I lay down to sleep, and my belly is jumping around on the left side!"

Um. I think I literally raised my eyebrows and dropped my jaw and looked away. Did she just say she drinks BOURBON to get her PRECIOUS BABY to STOP MOVING?

Listen missy, I am really sorry that you can't enjoy a stupid cocktail party without feeling the new life within you moving around. And feeling your child squirming around when you are going to bed at night must really delay your sleep by a whole few minutes.

But you have NO idea how many women go to cocktail parties with empty wombs after another cycle has failed. You have NO idea how many women's sleeps are delayed by tears of longing for a child in their belly. And, have you gotten the MEMO that you're not supposed to drink while you're pregnant?

I honestly still can't believe that she complained about this. Fine, if she wants to complain about swollen feet or sciatica or heartburn or whatever, FINE. (I still don't think those are valid in view of the amazing opportunity and blessing that pregnancy is, but whatever.) But I am not going to know what to do if you come in again and complain to me that your child is moving within you.

Because there are women who look forward to the kicks and the squirming as the highlight of their day. I love the days when baby girl is more active, and I get nervous when I haven't felt her as much (like today, really trying not to worry about it...). I can't even fathom complaining that she moves TOO MUCH. It is really beyond my comprehension.

So yoga girl, it's highly uncharacteristic to me to think things like this, but I'm glad you're 35 weeks. I don't know if I can stand more than 5 more weeks of you coming to "my" yoga class!!!

Friday Prayer Request(s)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Morning :)

Some friends of my sister's are pregnant with triplets and they have just been given word that two of their girls (identical) have Stage IV Twin-to twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS). You can read their blog at Zero to Three in 40 Weeks (also to the right on my blogroll). I've been reading them for a few months now, and up until this point, things have been going awesome, so you can imagine how scary this must be for them!

If you have some spare minutes, please go over and leave them a virtual hug, and pray for them and their girls as they trust doctors and nurses with their lives. Also, if you have any experience with this condition, I'm sure they would love to hear your story and any encouragement you may have!!

What is your prayer request for today?

Back on Track

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

After too much contemplating and lamenting the Oreo package yesterday, I am happy to say that today is looking much better. :)

I have already weeded and watered our veggie garden, which I am so excited to say is looking great!!! I am all set to have a breakfast of cherries (from the farmer's market!!!) and Kashi Honey Almond Flax cereal (my favorite because it has omega-3's and protein for baby girl!) with organic milk. YUM.

Then I am getting a much needed hair-trim this morning (only a trim- I don't want to do one of those drastic pregnancy hair-chops)!

Then a friend of mine and her FIVE (soon to be six; she is due a week after I am) kids are coming for lunch and swimming this afternoon. Should be a perfect day for it- sunny and 95!

She is bringing gazpacho (sp?) and tuna salad sandwiches, and I am making a huge salad with some garden lettuce, farmer's market tomatoes, organic carrots, and Mennonite (boiled) eggs. I think I'm also going to go and get some fresh fruit for a snack for us all this afternoon.

I'm taking the day off of work, and I couldn't be happier!! Hope your day is looking up, too!


Tuesday, June 07, 2011

A few weeks ago, I bought a package of O.reo's at the store.

I know, they are completely NOT what/how we eat, and I honestly don't even remember the last time I bought such an artificial, processed, preservative-laden, junk food.

But they looked good at the time.

Unfortunately, it turns out that they are not Mr. A's favorite cookie/snack (after almost a year of stopping the purchase of processed foods and snacks in our home, he goes for a handful of almonds- yay, it's working!!), but somehow there is a row and half of the cookies gone.

I certainly cannot be responsible for eating the whole package of Or.eo's... I don't care how long they've been in the pantry. I promise I only have 2 or 3 at a time, and not even every day. And because my body isn't really used to eating that type of thing, I don't even think they are that great.

So who else is eating the rest of them? It has to be someone else. It can't be just me....come on.....


Saturday, June 04, 2011

Hard to believe that we have a crib in our house... we are so thankful!!!!
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Fast Forward

Friday, June 03, 2011

I want to know who hit the warp speed button. Because although it is exciting and thrilling, I am not exactly used to all of this yet.

In the last week, we ordered the nursery furniture, set up our registries, received our baby's first diapers, ordered the crib mattress, talked to my sister about mural ideas (we are doing E.ric Car.le animals!), took a new belly picture, and received word that the nursery furniture is ready for pickup.


For as long as we waited and dreamed of being pregnant, this part of our journey is going really fast. I never thought it would go by so quickly, but as I treasure each day, I still can't believe we are already more than halfway to meeting our baby. And not that I take meeting her for granted- my hope and prayer is that God allows her a long and happy and healthy life with our family- and we are preparing for her with great joy, but we are far from taking each day of her life as a given. We feel like we can't say enough thank you's for her life- every time I feel her kick and squirm, I am reminded of what a gift she is to us.

I have been having some survivor's guilt the last couple of days- especially since our diapers arrived yesterday and the covers and all-in-one's are honestly some of the cutest things I have ever seen in my life. I don't care if it takes me 25 loads of washing the prefolds to get them prepped, I am so excited about it! I received a "how-to" booklet with our order, and I've already read it twice. There is so much to learn and consider, but I can't wait to try my hand at it.

But every time I glance in the baby's room and see things in there that are baby-related, I "remember all {our infertile} way". I think of YOU who are still waiting, YOU who have suffered losses, YOU whose hearts are frustrated, and YOU whose baby's room looks like ours did 5 months ago. I worry that what I think are words of comfort or encouragement to you may come across as hollow or ungenuine (is that a word?) given where I find myself today. I think of the times when I tried to read PAIF blogs and the writers seemed to have lost all recollection of their struggle with infertility, and I cringe at the possibility that some of my readers think I have.

But I haven't; I will never forget. Every minute of this pregnancy has been so treasured in light of our journey to get here. There is not one second when I have "missed" something from before I was pregnant.

I always wanted to fast forward through infertility, and now part of me wants time to slow down so I can drink in this pregnancy as much as I can.

But the other part of me is so amazingly raring to go and can't order baby stuff fast enough. The other part of me looks at the daily z.ulily sales and puts 4 dresses in the shopping cart before my brain takes over and determines that even though the dresses are on sale, do you really need to buy that now?? (The answer so far has been "welllllll, no......"...)

Praying our baby girl already knows how much she is loved and wanted. I am sure the next 18 weeks are going to fly by, just like the last 18 (or 22 "total") have!!!