Thursday, October 27, 2011

Another First: First Field Trip

Declan's class had their very first field trip this month to Bobrook Farm's Pumpkin Patch.  My favourite memory of this momentous occasion came about a week before though.  We had to find a short sleeved navy t-shirt; I'm not sure if this is an American thing or a Southern thing, but whenever kids go on field trips they all must wear matching shirts.    I couldn't find a short-sleeved T anywhere, as my regular stores had all moved on to fall fashions.  So in search of the elusive navy T, I thought I'd check at Wal-Mart to see if they had them (they did), but when I told Declan where we were going, he complained "Can't we go to Target or Dillard's??"  Three year-old getting all uppity about Wal-Mart.  *Snerk*

First up, the Hay-ride

With his speech therapist, Ashley.

With his teachers Whitney, Ashley and Courtney.  Why he loves going to school so much, I'll never know. 

Pumpkin retrieval.

In the hay maze- he's maze crazy these daysies.

With his friend Kennedy

With his friend Sam.

Check out those tonsils!  I have a friend Amy that said the sentence she least ever wants to hear is "Does this look infected?"  and that is all I can think of when I see this picture.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Our stint as temporary butterfly farmers.

My sister Lori gave us this package of grow your own butterflies.  She bought it for my niece Mikayla, only to find out that they wouldn't ship the caterpillars to Canada.  Discrimination!  So I have held on to it for two years, waiting for Mikayla to come and visit so we could grow the butterflies while she was here.  I sent in my "caterpillar coupon" so their arrival would coincide with Mikayla's visit this summer.  Turns out they won't mail the bugs in the dog days of summer, so they didn't arrive until a few weeks after Mikayla left, so she will have to enjoy them vicariously through this blog post. But that was pretty thoughtful of me all the same.
Neighbors Mac and Jett helping us set up the garden.  Which entails taking the cup out of the box.

First the 5 caterpillars came through the good old USPS in a little self-contained cup with all the food they will need.  So you wait for a week and watch them grow; their growth is so rapid as to be perceptible to the naked eye.  They get huge very quickly.  My photography isn't any good, but can you see how much bigger they are here in a matter of a couple of days?

Slowly the cup empties of food and fills with caterpillar poop- its the circle of life.  Then through some primal impulse, the caterpillars then make their way up to the lid of the cup and attach one end from the paper disc affixed there, and hang down in a j-form.  Then in the course of a day they metamorphize before your very eyes into creepy looking chrysalises.  Here you can see the would-be butterfly still in caterpillar form, and its four buddies already making the structural change to chrysalis form. 

Once all the chrysalises are stable, you remove the paper disk from the lid and get your surgically-skilled husband to move them into the butterfly habitat. 

After about a week, the butterflies emerge and dust themselves off.  We kept them on the kitchen counter for a few days, feeding them orange slices and sugar water left on the petals of flowers in the bottom of the habitat, as per the kit's instructions. 

Then we set them free in our yard, and they booked it on out of there. 

The whole thing was really fascinating and we all enjoyed checking in on the butterflies for the few weeks they were transforming on our kitchen counter, as well as ultimately setting them free. The kit cost about 20 dollars which is pretty good edutainment value right there.  Especially when your sister foots the bill.  The same company has some other kits to chose from, so we may ask Santa to put some more creepy-crawlies under our tree this year.  Or we could just let our Terminix contract lapse.  Hey, dont' say you don't ever get some money-saving ideas out of your time spent reading this blog.

Another First: Horseback Riding

I'm so behind on my blogging that not only did I miss recording Declan's first horseback riding experience, I missed the second one too.  So here they are:

#1- At the Wildwood Harvest Fest, he rode a big black horse named Shaq, and that's all I have to say about that.   Shaq was so massive, Declan had to do veritable splits to stay astride.    He wasn't scared at all though, which is a long way from his terror-inducing pony stand from last fall.
He was so darn pleased with himself.

#2 - A week later we found ourselves at the Rendezvous festival at Pinnacle Mountain, and Declan went on a real trail ride with the guide, on the back of a pinto named Cisco.  He liked this too. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Update from Denver

So we did our first embryo transfer today; after 2 years of infertility treatments now we are finally actually trying to get pregnant!   This morning the day 3 embryo we made last December was taken out of the freezer and left out on the proverbial kitchen counter for a few hours.  It did not lose any of its ten cells in the thaw, so we were off to a great start. 

The day for me was very pleasant, especially compared to the other parts of the IVF cycle.  One of the many many things I like about my doctor, Dr. Schoolcraft, or "Schoolie" as I like to affectionately call him when he's not present, is that while he's a real hard core sciency guy,  he still incorporates some aspects of Eastern and alternative medicine into his practice.  So the order of the day for me today was Acupuncture + Valium.  East meets West, indeed.  It was heavenly, the best combination since somebody's chocolate got into somebody else's peanut butter.  When I was reduced to a puddle of relaxation, Schoolie came in with the embryologist and showed me our wee little day 3 embie: 

Our baby looks like a Rorschach test:  Look at this blob, and tell me what you see.   When Shane's mom saw this picture her response was "That is weird.  I will pray for it."  That about covers it.  Once Schoolie put this baby back where it belonged,  I became what is known in infertility parlance as PUPO- pregnant until proven otherwise.  I got another session of acupuncture and then came back to my hotel for 2 days of strict bedrest.  As soon as I got back, I ate a couple of chocolate-covered Digestive biscuits,  trying to encourage this kid to stick around.  Like Eliot luring ET with the Reese's Pieces.  Stick around- there's all sorts of chocolate things in this world. 

Now tonight, the bulgy blob and I are awaiting dinner which is being brought to my bedside by a Stranger from the Internet.  Because Schoolie's clinic is one of the world's best, people come from all over to get IVF here, and as we are "cycling" we connect on an internet message board to root each other on and share info.  Every time I've come to Denver, I've managed to meet up with some of the other women from the message board to hang out, which has been really nice bonding experience.  Yesterday I met up with 8 more of these Strangers from the Internet for lunch, and then again for dinner.  Today, one woman drove me to my appointment and another picked me up, and now they are taking turns bringing my meals.  How awesome is that? 

I am scheduled for another transfer of our Day 6 blastocyte from July on Thursday.  This is a highly unusual double transfer situation but Schoolie insists its the way to go.  We have a lot on the line, with two year's of time, a wheelbarrow full of money, hundreds of injections and blood draws, six trips to Denver and two to Chicago, and a lot of hope and heartache going into this procedure.  We will know in two weeks what the outcome is.  In the interim, I appreciate all the support, and prayers and crossed fingers on our behalf, coming from friends and family and Strangers from the Internet too.  Thanks folks.