Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pumpkins and Stuff

Today is the first day all week that I haven't been completely exhausted by nap time. Sunday night I came down with a headache, which turned out to be the start of a lovely cold. H and B have been fighting it too, but much to my dismay they haven't been taking extra long naps to help them get over it. 

Now that it finally seems like we're on the up swing, I thought it was time to get back to blogging and share some of our pumpkin adventures from this year. I shared our visit to Hilger's, here, but we've also been on a couple other outings involving pumpkins and fall fun.  We visited Advanced Tree Technology for "you pick pumpkins," and Kuehnert Dairy Farm for their fall festival. 

We let the kids pick out a pumpkin kit from Target which they were super excited about. Brooke picked the dog and Harrison picked the cat. We decorated them this week, and they just went out front yesterday. The pumpkin kits were fun, but we definitely needed extra paint and some double sided tape. Rob carved a basic jack-o-lantern and I decided to forgo any carving since we won't be home to light them on Halloween.

The above picture is about as good as posed pictures get with them these days. At least they're both looking at the camera, right? I still have a few final thing to do to finish up their costumes. I was planning to do it all earlier in the week, but naps became more important. So here we are, last minute, rushing around to get them done. They are dressing up as 90s cable access stars, and I have a matching costume too. We'll be sharing pictures tomorrow on my Instagram @jennpargeon. What is everyone else dressing up their kids as?

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Game Plan

I recently, well in June so not so recently, had a follow up meeting with our reproductive endocronologist to discuss our failed FET and the potential for future cycles. Depending on what research you look at, the success rate for thawed embryos is 70-90%, so why did we have 3 embryos not survive the thaw? What does this mean for future cycles? What do you recommend we do in the future? I had a lot of questions.

What I found out didn't really answer the question of why none of our frosties made it. All three were low grade embryos, good enough quality to freeze, but barely. So there's no reason to think there was anything genetically off, but would it impact future cycle? Our RE thinks not, but since we didn't do any testing, there's no way to know for sure.

So that brings us to future cycles. Yes we are planning to do another fresh IVF cycle. We were looking at the beginning of the year, but it's looking like March or April now because I need to be able to make it to Denver in August. 8 months pregnant ladies don't usually get the green light to fly. We still have a few basic tests to run once we get closer to the start of our cycle, but the plan looks pretty identical to last time. Same drugs, same protocol. The big question will be how many embryos to transfer.

I know there are a lot of variables in this situation. We could even go through all of the drugs, monitoring, and stimulation and not wind up with any embryos. It's a possibility, but hopefully one we won't face. Best case scenario, our cycle goes exactly like last time and we have a handful of embryos to transfer or freeze. Statistically we have a 40% chance of a successful transfer with one embryo or a 70% chance with two. Those are our chances for a singleton pregnancy, assuming we have good quality embies.

So, what about twins? There's a 20-30% chance that we would wind up with twins if we transfer two. Yes I want to have a natural birth, a low risk pregnancy, the "normal" pregnancy experience. But if we play the numbers, two embryos it is. And would a second set of twins be a bad thing? Absolutely not. It would be a blessing. It would make for a long a difficult pregnancy and a definite hospital delivery, but I know we would manage.

Having twins has been the most amazing experience. Seeing their relationship grow and change. Watching them play with their best friend every day. Watching them help one another or comfort their twin when they're sad. The bond they have is beyond words, and we would be lucky to experience it again if we were so fortunate.

So we have a plan. We have a date. And now we wait. So much of infertility treatment is a waiting game. Waiting for test results, waiting to save money, waiting for insurance approval. Even though we are still 5 or so months out, having a plan feels good. It gives me hope. Something to look forward to. Something to pray for. 

And there you have it, where we are in our journey. Because I know all of you were just dying to know. But, some you you asked so now you know.  


This weekend was a good one. A fun one. One I won't be forgetting anytime soon. We're trying to squeeze in every last moment of outdoor fall fun that we possibly can. Friday involved a few errands and two separate park trips. It was absolutely gorgeous in the morning. We visited the bunnies and picked up dog food at Rural King, exciting stuff, I know, and then headed to park #1. The kids swung, slid, climbed, picked flowers, and found a few caterpillar friends.

After a rather successful nap time, we headed out to park #2. By this time it was cold, windy, overcast, and we definitely needed jackets. We still managed to squeeze in a little more fun before Rob and I headed out for the evening.

We had been looking forward to Friday night for months. We are huge Ben Folds fans.The man is insanely talented, and really funny. He is currently doing as symphony orchestra tour, and The FW Phil is one of the orchestras he chose to perform with. We rarely get good tours that stop in Fort Wayne, so we were hugely excited for this.

The concert was great, and I definitely recommend seeing a concert at The Embassy Theater. There isn't a bad seat in the house. After the concert we went to The Phoenix for cocktails and then closed out the night with a little food truck action. The weather was complete crap by the end of the night, but standing in the cold rain for Bravas was totally worth it.

After a few martinis the night before, it's no surprise I had a migraine Saturday morning. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse saved me. I was able to lay in bed while the good drugs kicked in, and the kids were happily entertained with fruit, cereal, and Mickey.

Once I was feeling a bit better, we headed out for a play date and Chipotle with our besties. I failed to get any pictures, probably because the kids didn't stop moving the entire time we were out. Saturday evening we went to Meijer to grab groceries and so the kids could ride Sandy. I'm sure I've said this before, but that horse is the only reason we get through some grocery trips. The promise of the penny horse keeps them in line 99% of the time.

Crazy hair!

Sunday was of course Daddy Day. We went to Hilger's for hay rides in the morning, where we all got way muddier than expected. We did the corn maze, drank cider, dodged bees, petted kitties, pushed around plastic cars, and of course went for a hay ride. A great time was had by all, except for Brooke's pink boots. I'm pretty sure they died yesterday morning. Suede and mud don't exactly mix.

Sunday evening was of course dedicated to TWD. Our friends came over and we feasted on chicken ranch enchiladas and a delicious dessert Andrea brought along. Brooke said she doesn't like enchiladas, even though I have photographic evidence that says otherwise. She instead ate 3 bananas for dinner. I won't detail the disaster that followed after dinner, but with three tired toddlers I'm sure you can imagine how the rest of the night went.

Coffee at 8 pm last night made for a night of terrible sleep, but thankfully the dogs are being nice to me this morning and I have a large cup of hot coffee to power my morning. Happy Monday!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Flying with Twin Toddlers

It's been almost two months since our trip to Seattle. It was our first flight, and major trip with the kids, and we definitely learned a lot. Some things we tried worked really well, and some others we will do differently next time. I definitely scoured the internet for tips and info which proved to be a huge help.

We flew from Midway to Sea/Tac. When picking flights we knew we wanted non-stop flights both ways. We could have flown out of Fort Wayne, but we would have had layovers each way, and one of our flights would have been a red eye. We opted for the three hour drive to the airport instead of the overnight flight. Both of our flights left early in the afternoon which fell right during nap time. The kids thankfully took a cat nap on the drive to airport both ways, because there was definitely almost no sleep on the planes. It's amazing what a difference a 20 minute nap can do.

Getting through security at Midway was easy. They have a wheelchair and stroller lane, so we didn't have to feel rushed because the people behind us had kids too. Sea/Tac did away with their family lane a couple years ago, so getting through security there was not quite as easy, but we still did it without too much of a struggle. If possible make sure to print your boarding passes ahead of time. We were able to print them ahead for our flight to Seattle, but not for the return trip. we definitely save 20-30 minutes of standing in line by having boarding passes pre-printed.

We flew Southwest, which means we got to pick out seats. We didn't do priority boarding, because Southwest lets families with small children load after A group. We didn't have any troubles getting seats together on either flight. Instead of taking up seats on both sides of the aisle, we picked window seats in front/behind each other. It worked really well to be able to pass things back and forth if needed.

The kids each had a backpack with their toys and tablets. We made sure their Kindles had multiple games on them, Frozen, and an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. We purchased these headphones for the trip, and we were very happy with the sound on them. They also had Wonder Wow cards, an Elmo Dry Erase book, and a Color Blast book for coloring. We also made sure Rosie and Thomas were in their bags.

In my carry on I packed their blankets and a back of snacks for each. I went pretty heavy on the snacks, but I am someone who would rather be over prepared. They each had 3 pouches, two Happy Tot granola bars, 2 Mighty 4 Kids bars, 2 Cliff Twists, and a bag of goldfish. The pouches were great during take off to help with the pressure. We also made sure to bring empty sippy cups, and we filled those as soon as we made it through security.

So much stuff!

After debating for weeks on how to handle the car seat and stroller issue, we decided to take our Britax B-Agile Double and gate check it. Our stroller is easily collapsible, and we didn't have any issues bring a larger side by side. I can't imagine not having it with us. With as much walking and hills as we had on our trip, an umbrella stroller wouldn't have worked well. We bought stroller hooks for the stroller and they were a huge help. I was able to hang my carry on and purse on there, and they were also helpful when getting groceries in the city.

We also decided to bring our Diono Radians, and not check them. The kids sat in their car seats on the plane, which I think helped make them more comfortable and not as interested in moving around. These were the one thing we knew we absolutely had to have, and we didn't want them to get damaged. We bought a folding luggage cart to lug them through the airport. Yes they were a pain in the ass, but I would do it the same way again. I think it's also worth mentioning that we forward faced them while in Seattle due to size constraints, and then switched back to rear facing once we got home. They had absolutely no issue switching back and forth.

The kids didn't sleep at all on the way there, and only slept for a short amount of time on the way home. Even with the lack of sleep, they did really well on the 4 hour flights. The only times they had any issues was during the descent. Harry was so upset he wouldn't listen when we told him to take a drink or have a sip of his pouch. Brooke did take drinks when we asked her too, and that helped a lot with the pressure.

One thing we brought along that I wish we wouldn't have brought the Pack and Plays. They are so large and bulky, and there's no good way to carry them. Thankfully we won't need them the next time we fly. If I had to do it over again, I would spend the money and rent pack and plays for a week instead of bringing them with. There are rental services in almost every large city.

By the end of the trip, our Kindles were a saving grace.

I think the biggest thing we will do differently is the duration of our trip.  We were originally going to go for 7 days and then changed to 11 days. It was too much for the kids. By the last few days, they were a mess. Too many days with not enough sleep had worn on them. I think a week would have been perfect. I also think next time we travel they will have their own space. We all shared a room which was ok, but I think they would have slept better if they had their own space. I foresee a hotel suite with doors when we head to Denver next summer.

The view from our bed to theirs. Definitely right on top of each other.

While we were in the city we took the bus quite a bit. There are a lot of really great smart phone apps that can help you master public transit schedules. We used One Bus Away and MoovIt. It was definitely easier, and cheaper, than driving and paying for parking. We didn't rent a car, and we definitely didn't need one. We did take a limo to and from the airport. It cost us about the same as a cab, and we had help loading/unloading. We even had driveway pick up. I definitely recommend looking into a town car/limo service for getting to and from the airport.

Overall I feel like our trip couldn't have gone much better. Traveling with kids is no joke, and it requires so much planning. I hope what we learned can help others with planning trips with littles. I think we can successfully tackle another trip with H and B, and I'm glad we don't have to for another 10 months.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Walking Dead, Season 5, Premiere Party

The Walking Dead is back, and we couldn't be happier in this house. It feels like forever since we saw Rick bite through a man's throat and then disembowel his friend. It was a long off season and we're so glad it's over. The season premiere did not disappoint. It was intense, hilarious, and touching. And seriously, Carol! Wow. I am not going to spoil anything, but if you saw the episode, you know what I mean.

We of course had a party to celebrate our favorite showing coming back on the air. We do TWD viewing parties at our house every week, but this is the only one we go all out for. Our Sunday nights for the next 7 weeks will entail drinks, dessert, and probably a taco bar or two. Then we'll be forced to go without our beloved show again once the mid season finale airs. Anyway, back to the party.

For decor we did bloody decals for the floors and walls in the entry way. The bathroom also had some minor blood splattering. Our living room got a Terminus candle room makeover complete with writing on the walls, with sidewalk chalk, and flame less candles.

Outside we put up some zombie caution tape, and splattered the house with blood. I used washable tempra paint and mixed a little blue in with my red to give it a good blood color. The kids and I splattered the house with fake blood on Saturday, and it all washed off with a hose on Monday. We made sure not to get any on the wood trim, just on the siding.

For our front door, I made a Terminus sign. $4 at Kinkos for the map, a couple pieces of poster board, and a nap time dedicated to lettering the top half of the sign. The people at Kinkos asked if they could come to our party. I told them to come over, but they never showed.The fact that I didn't give them an address might have something to do with that.


Mary's Meaty Surprise
Grilled Sausage, extra crispy
Bone Bites
White cheddar Cheetos
Post Apocalypse Pizza
Crescent roll crust, cream cheese ranch spread, veggies
Dan's Intestines
Puff pastry filled with spinach and artichoke dip
Zombie Balls
Meatballs in BBQ sauce
Cheesy Brains
Cheese ball piped in brain form
Bloody Brains
Strawberry jello in brain mold form
Zombie Flesh
Nutella puppy chow with gummy body parts
Crunchy Bones
Chocolate dipped pretzels

I wanted to go with easy food that could all be prepped ahead. The only thing that couldn't be prepped ahead was the intestines. They were the last thing I got ready, and took the most time. Definitely worth it though. So good. We didn't do any special drinks this year. Just a couple variety packs of beer and some Jones Soda for those of us opting not to drink. 

We ate tons of food, had a few beers, and the kids played in the bounce house until it was time for bed. I'm already looking forward to next week. Now I need to decide if I should leave our "blood splattered" hallway the way it is until Halloween or if I should take it all down now.

 Thank you Andrea for the fridge art.

The TWD crew.

All decorations purchased from Meijer, Target, or Halloween party stores.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tasty Tuesday - Crockpot Chicken and Noodles

I have fond memories of eating chicken and noodles every time I visited an old friend from school. It seemed like every time I came over for dinner, her mom made chicken and noodles. Maybe I just enjoyed it so much that it's all I ever remember eating when I joined them for dinner. The noodles were always frozen egg noodles and it was served with a heaping side of mashed potatoes.

I recently had a friend tell me noodles served with mashed potatoes is a Midwest thing. She also told me it  gross, which I refuse to believe. A double dose of carbs is definitely not gross. I also love my mom's homemade beef and noodles served over mashed potatoes. Another double dose or carbohydrate goodness. A Midwest thing or not, I love it.

I unfortunately don't have time to do homemade most days and the crockpot is my best friend, especially on days that we have to close up shop at work. I tried a couple recipes and came up with a version that we love. Easy and still tasty.

Crockpot Chicken and Noodles

3 chicken breast (fresh or frozen)
1 can cream of chicken soup
32 oz chicken broth
4 TBSP butter
2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
19 oz pkg frozen egg noodles (I used store brand)


1. Combine all ingredients, except noodles, in crockpot. Cook on low 4 -6 hours.

2. Shred chicken into large pieces.

3. Return chicken to crockpot along with frozen noodles. Cook on low for 2-3 hours, or high for an hour.

4. Serve noodles alone or on a bed of mashed potatoes.

When I made this last week, the first night I served it with just a side of green beans. When doing leftovers, I made garlic smashed red potatoes to go along with. Both ways were totally delicious, but the kids preferred the noodles without potatoes. Although, they aren't big on potatoes unless they're in fry or tot form. Sometimes I wonder if they are truly my children. Ok, not really but how can you not love mashed potatoes?

There you have it, another Tasty Tuesday recipe in the books on the blog. And now I'm hungry.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Mornings Lately

Our schedule lately has been full. When I say our, I mean mine and the kids. The week we got back from Seattle I started back to work. I only work a few hours a week and I'm lucky enough that I can take H and B to work with me and not mess up their schedule too much.  That's one of the awesome benefits of owning your own business, and having amazing employees who accommodate your crazy kids and their schedule.

Having them at work with me three days a week has given me a whole new level of respect for moms and dads who work from home. Trying to juggle kids and work is no joke. I'm sure my clients think we're a hot mess every time they come in and there are two toddlers running around screaming. Meanwhile I'm trying to make sure dogs go home with the right owners and that Brooke doesn't poop her pants while I'm busy with a client. Hot mess indeed.

Being that we head to work most days as soon as they finish naps and that by the time we're done working they need to eat dinner and hop in the tub before bed, we have to make the most out of our mornings. Any activities, play dates, trips to the store, etc, all have to be finished before 1pm. It makes for tightly scheduled days.

Last week we went to a local farm, shopped for our Walking Dead party, and made our last zoo trip of the year. I think the weather will be keeping us inside most of this week, so I see a few gym trips and hopefully a play date in our future this week. Anything to keep them busy, happy, and tire them out so they take good naps. I am gladly taking recommendations for things to do as the weather gets cooler. I know our mornings at the park are limited.

I am also gladly taking suggestions on ways to manage kids while working. I'm trying to avoid screen time even though I know giving them their Kindles would keep them happily occupied the entire time we're at work. They're great at helping when they can, but since I work with big, playful pups they can always help with what mom is doing.