Friday, January 30, 2015

Friday Five

I discovered Hot Sauce and Donuts, like all good things, through Instagram. Their Love You Like XO shirt is what drew me in while I was looking for Valentine's Day shirts. I ultimately didn't get that shirt, but what I did order was even better. I ordered a "It's Hip To Be Square" shirt and a Frozen shirt for the kids, and I ordered the amazing Modern English pullover for me. The kids have already worn their shirts a couple times, and I love them more each time they wear them. And other people seem to appreciate them too, because H and B been saying thank you a lot, thanks to all the compliments they've been getting. Go check out Hot Sauce and Donuts, like now!

Right now when I take a picture on my camera and want to share it on Insta, I have to wait until I have my computer, log into Dropbox, upload the picture, then get on my phone to download it from Dropbox, and then post to IG. It's not a huge pain, but it is a process, and I can only do it if I have my computer. When I heard about EyeFi, I knew this was something I needed to get in on. It's an SD card that connects with an app on your phone over wifi, and downloads your camera pictures straight to you phone. Apparently these have been around for a little bit, but I am just now learning of them and can't wait to get my hands on one. If it makes my life a little easier, it may just be worth the steep price tag.
itty bittys® Star Wars™ Collector Set
Harrison and Brooke got a few Itty Bitty's for Christmas, and they love them. They are the perfect size for their little hands. B is especially fond of hoarding them and having Elsa, Anna, and Minnie play together. I decided to get them a few more for Valentine's Day. When I saw the Star Wars set, my inner nerd geeked out, and I knew we had to have them. Even though it will be years before the kids get to watch Star Wars, they'll know about C3-PO and Obi Wan well in advance of any movie screenings. They have a Darth Vader and R2D2 that are sold separately, and we snatched those up too. Thank you Disney for buying the Star Wars franchise so my kids can have these cute nerdy toys.

Robbie and I decided to go on an afternoon movie date this week. Thanks Grandma for watching the littles! We originally thought we would go see American Sniper, but decided something a little bit lighter was in order. We decided on The Wedding Ringer, even though it got terrible reviews. Kevin Hart is always good for a laugh, and this movie was no different. We laughed, and laughed, and laughed. Olaf Josh Gad was hilarious too, and quite the dancer. If you're looking for a fun couple of hours, I highly recommend this!

The Superbowl is this weekend, and I'm ashamed to say we don't have anything planned. No parties, platters, or anything. Maybe it's because I really don't care who wins, but I'm just not into it this year. I do want to watch the game, and definitely the half time show. I should probably make some kind of fun, bad for us appetizer. Thank goodness Pinterest is full of inspiration. I think those cheesy bacon Bombs need to make an appearance in my mouth. What do you all have planned?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

365 Challenge - Week 4

Yet another iPhone photo is making it into the mix this week. Harrison has decided naps are overrated, and it's been a struggle to get him to take a nap each day. Last Thursday he won out, and naps were skipped. We were in a hurry to leave the house to occupy the long afternoon ahead, and I forgot my SD card. Oops! The rest of the pictures this week are from my camera. We had a few great pictures from our weekend that I already shared, so I'm not sharing again. Here are the rest of the best.

1.22.2015 - Red Robin, Yum! - iPhone

1.23.2015 - water thief

1.24.2015 Huey Lewis fan

1.25.2015 - snow thrower

1.26.2015 - green hair

1.27.2015 - and twirl

1.28.2015 - channeling MJ?

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Weekend Recap

Another great weekend in the books! This one was better than most because we got to share an exciting day with a couple of our best friends. More on that later. Our Friday was nothing special. Gym, work for a few, dinner, and then to bed. Robbie had to work late, so it was just the kids and I all day. Once I got them tucked in bed I watched a movie by myself. That rarely ever happens, so I picked out something only I would want to watch, The Other Woman. It was two parts funny, one part girl power, and one part terrible movie. Just the way I like it.

Saturday morning the kids and I did our usual gym trip, followed by lunch and naps. When they woke up we started getting ready to go to our friends' wedding. I knew I was going to be busy taking pictures, so we loaded them up with snacks and books, so they would stay quietly occupied during the quick ceremony. Of course that didn't happen, so Robbie got to deal with two kids who didn't want to stay still. Thankfully it was a very low key event, so no one minded when Brooke and Harrison kept saying, "Hi Mommy," while I was up taking pictures.

A huge congrats to Kristie and Andrea! I'm so excited for them and can't wait to celebrate their union again in a few months. Since we had friends willing to step on the other side of the camera, we got a couple quick family pics. If you follow me on Instagram (@jennpargeon), You got to see my favorite outtake from this weekend's pics.

Once the wedding was wrapped up, Robbie took the kids home and I headed out for dinner and a drink with a few friends. We went to the Dash In which is one of my favorite Fort Wayne restaurants. Unfortunately they don't allow kids, so I rarely get to go. If you live in town and haven't been, do yourself a favor and go. And get one of their amazing grilled cheese sandwiches. They are so good!!!

This morning we went to breakfast with Robbie's parents. Brooke ate more food than I've ever seen her consume. Carbs covered in sugar are her jam. We made a quick Target run which of course turned into a cart full of things we didn't know we needed. 

It started snowing while we were out and about this morning. After the kids woke up from naps, they insisted they wanted to go play in the snow. So we bundled up and headed out. It was really fluffy snow, so no snowman building, but they loved picking up snow and throwing it over their heads. In true child form, they wanted to stay out even after Robbie and I were frozen through. The promise of hot chocolate and Cinderella brought them inside.

The rest of our evening has been pretty chill. Movies, dinner, and hanging around the house watching the snow fall. We broke out the Play Doh for the first time in a couple months, and the kids were entertained for over an hour. Score!! Robbie and I may have had just as much fun as the kids.

I'm hoping for decent weather to play outside tomorrow and enjoy the snow a little more. Once we get a chance to build a snowman, I'm ready for spring to come anytime. I would be very ok with 60 degrees on Valentine's Day. I hope all of you have had a great weekend too, and are enjoying the last few hours before it's back to the grind tomorrow. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

IVF #2 Protocol

I can't believe we're only a couple months away from the start of our fresh IVF cycle. I am excited, scared, nervous, anxious, hopeful. Pretty much every emotion in the book can describe how I feel about this. It changes from day to day. Most days I'm excited and hopeful. Other days I'm sad thinking about our canceled FET and how if the embryos would have survived, we probably wouldn't be going through this right now. Thinking about the baby or babies that might have been. They would have been a couple months old about now. And while I've come to terms with losing all of our embryos, it's still painful to think about.

We've had a lot of progress over the last couple weeks when it comes to this next go round. We've had some tests done, received our protocol, and started working on getting our meds taken care of. Not only is the procedure not covered by our insurance, but neither are any of the medications. It makes me so glad we pay the ridiculously high premiums we do so that none of this can be covered. Sense the sarcasm? Yeah, I laid it on pretty thick. On the plus side our RE's office is helping us get the best possible prices on our meds and informed us of some potential assistance programs for cash paying patients.

Our tests that we had done pretty much dictated the protocol we will follow this time around. Since we already know from our canceled FET that all looks well internally, all I had to do was give a few vials of blood. My cycle day 3 labs are as follows:

Estrogen - 42.5                                  Normal <50
FSH - 6.5                                             Normal <10
AMH - 2.58                                        Normal >1.2

All of those numbers are within normal range, and pretty similar to where they were for our first IVF cycle. I did a day 21 Lupron protocol then, and will be doing the same protocol this time. However, the protocol has changed a little bit since last time, so there are a couple new drugs I'll be taking. The list of meds include:


For those of you not familiar with IVF meds, the Lupron is used to down regulate the ovaries and make sure I don't ovulate. Follistim and Menopur are then used to hyper stimulate the ovaries. The Menopur is is new to me drug. Once there are enough mature follicles, Ovidrel is used to finalize the maturation process. PIO, is a progesterone injection that is taken only after the egg retrieval. All of the medications are injectables, and the only one I'm nervous about is the PIO. I didn't have to use it last time, and I've heard it's a real pain in the ass, literally.

Robbie wasn't lucky enough to get out on testing this go round. It's been a while since he had to have any testing done, so the needed an up to date semen analysis.

26% forward motility
1% normal forms

Those numbers are pretty in line with all previous tests. Different clinics use different testing criteria for SAs, so I don't want to say what normal numbers are. According to our clinic, all Robbie's numbers are in the low range of normal, except for the morphology. It's due to the morphology number that we have to do IVF and that we'll do a process call ICSI, Intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection. They take the sperm and inject it directly into the egg instead of placing them in a dish and letting fertilization happen on it's own.

Now that I've bored you to death with all of the medical aspects of this, I'll hit you with our timeline. This can change by a day or two depending on my cycles, but I will be starting Lupron the last week of March. The first week of April is when we'll start stimming, and it will be about a month until we know if it worked. Pretty damn exciting stuff!

Over the next two months we are doing as much as possible to get ready, which I'll share more about later. The IVF process is rather draining, so I want to make sure I'm as healthy as possible. I also want to make sure we have any and all projects around the house, and at work done by then. It's going to be a busy and exciting few weeks, and I'm sure I'll be starting injections before we know it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

365 Challenge - Week 3

You know how last week I said I was going to try and not just post pictures of the kids smiling at the camera? Yea, I kind of failed in that department this week. I had a few more original pictures that I took, like an adorable one of Harrison in Brooke's undies sporting a serious wedgie, but the picture of Brooke eating a cookie won out. Sorry Harry's booty.

1.15.2015 - date night

1.16.2015 - hello miss blue eyes

1.17.2015 - warmish day shopping - iPhone

1.18.2015 - happy birthday daddy - I couldn't pick just one.

1.19.2015 - ready for love

1.20.2015 - show me your best swim faces

1.21.2015 - story time

Monday, January 19, 2015

Valentine's Day Style

Robbie and I have never been big into celebrating Valentine's Day. In our younger days we were stuck at work making bank while giving other people their perfect dinner and evening out. Even after we moved past food service, we've never made it a point to celebrate. But now that we have munchkins, we'll be up to our oears in red, pink, hearts, and all things love for the first two weeks of February. Bring on the valentines making and cookie baking! 

I have been stalking a lot of my favorite small shops just waiting for their Valentine's Day goodies to drop. I also discovered a few new shops while scouring Instagram. Mostly things for the littles, but also a few things for mom, and even dad.

Of course when I saw shirts with 80s lyrics, I jumped all over them. Modern English for me, and Pat Benetar for the kids. Those shirts definitely speak my language. Brookie and I will be sporting matching heart halos along with our matching Love One Another tees. I considered getting ones for Robbie and Harrison too, but I decided I wouldn't subject them to that.  This skirt and these heart jeggings will pair perfectly with any of these shirts for B. I kind of wish I had more fun pant options for Harrison, but I know he'll look adorable in his gray skinnys.

I had pinned these adorable Love Bugs shirts before H and B were born. I kept forgetting to order them in time, but this year I made sure I didn't drop the ball. They wore them for the first time today, and they are so cute! I love them even more in person! We are looking forawd to some very fun mail days as our V-Day items arrive. And I love that most of them can be worn well past Valentine's Day. Do you have any go to small shops you love for fun graphic tees or seasonal clothes?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Headband Display

Almost two years ago I made a headband and clip display. (You can find the tutorial here.) It has worked very well for us over the last two years. It is still perfect for clip storage, but as Brooke's headband collection grows, it's functionality for headband organization has decreased. Instead of organized headbands, we have a jumbled mess of elastics to sort through just to find what we want. 

I decided it was time to add a little more storage for Brooke's ever growing collection. I wanted to keep the current display and add a few a lot more hooks. Since I'm sure there will be more headbands purchased in the future, I also wanted a display system we can add to easily as time goes on. I saw quite a few Ikea hacks as I was scouring Pinterest, and I decided cheap and functional was the way to go. I loved the look of some of the wire curtain hangers, but ultimately decided to go with the Bygel bar and hook. I bought 3 21.75" bars and 60 hooks.

Tools needed

21 3/4 " Bygel bar x3
10 pack Bygel hooks x6
12 drywall screws (anchors optional)
Laser level
Power drill

This was a super easy project thanks to the use of my two favorite power tools, the power drill and laser level. I have a Ryobi laser level (similar) and it makes hanging anything super easy. I was able to do this in 30 minutes with the kids' "help." I decided to stagger the placement of the bars so I could fit more headbands into a smaller space. I measure the space I wanted to use and the divided by 2. Bar 1 at the top, bar 3 at the bottom, and bar 2 in the middle. 

I marked the measurements with a pen and then broke out the laser level. I aligned the laser with the top mark, making sure the laser line was level, and then put the bar in place. I aligned the top two holes with the laser line, and then marked all 4 holes with a pen. I repeated this process for all 3 bars.

One the holes were marked, I broke out the drill. I decided to anchor the screws so the bars would hold up to a little bit of tugging. I drilled all the holes, places the anchors, and then screwed all the bars in place.

Brooke and Harrison were so excited to help but all the headbands on the bars. I know that there is no point in trying to keep the headbands organized by color or style, so I let H and B go at it. I filled all of the hooks on our top display with skinny elastics. I found that using two hooks on a bar was a good way to hold onto hard headbands. Brooke is starting to enjoy wearing "crowns" as she calls them, so i wanted to makes sure those were on display as well.

We've had the new bars up for almost a week now, and they are a huge hit. Brooke loves being able to pick out her own headbands. Having them low enough that the kids can reach them worked out really well for playing dress up too. I don't love not having a say in what headband she wears each day, but whatever. If she wants to wear the neon coral headband with a hot pink shirt and a red tutu, more power to her!

I do love that these hooks are big enough that we can use them to hang sunglasses, jewelry, or even purses. We ordered 60 hooks to start with. We have 50 or so of them already in use, and there is still plenty of room to add more hooks as the headband collection continues to grow, or if we decided to use the hooks for other items as well.

Our total cost for parts was $14.91 plus tax and shipping. If you live close to an Ikea though, forget the shipping cost. So for under $25 we have a new, organized, easy to reach hair accessory display for Brooke, and Harrison too. After this turned out so well, I feel like I should get on more little projects around the house. Or maybe just catch up on the DVR.  Happy Saturday! I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

10 Years

I can still vividly remember the first time Robbie and I met. I was standing in the kitchen at The Blu Tomato, cutting paper to put on a 4 top. He walked by to the food line, and I was instantly drawn to him. The rest of the shift that day involved some witty banter and a lot of flirting. While I don't know that we would say it was love at first sight, there was definitley instant chemistry and a pull towards each other.

We were both babies when we met. He was 18 and I was about to turn 21. The first couple months of our relationship, we were friends with the expectation of more to come. We spent lots of nights at a local pool hall. Classy, I know, but it was somewhere he could go and I could enjoy my newly acquired legal drinking abilities. Once we decided to officially start dating, we spent our days hiding our relationship at work. Every free second not at work was spent together.

Within 4 months of dating we were already talking about marriage and moving in together. 13 months after we met, be bought our first house, and 2 months after that we were married. Now here we are 10 years, 2 kids, 5 dogs, 1 business, a few job changes, and a couple houses later.

Our life has not played out at all like either of us expected it to. There have been some serious bumps along the way, quite a few course changes, but we have managed it together. I know we both say that marrying each other at such a young age is probably the best decision we've ever made. Having Robbie as my spouse, partner, and best friend on this journey is the biggest blessing I've ever received. I would make the decision to marry him over and over again every time.

We have always talked about going on a big vacation for our 10th, but when we weigh the options between trying to have another baby vs. a couple weeks in St. Lucia, the baby wins out. We'll save the big trip for our 15th. So instead of lying on a beach in the Caribbean, we're going to kick it old school date style for tonight. Indoor miniature golf, dinner at Eddie's, and an On Demand movie. So maybe not completely Old School, because we definitely couldn't have afforded Eddie's when we first got married.

We have exactly 0 non blurry pictures of the two of us from our wedding. I am beyond thankful for afordable digital cameras and of course quality camera phones, because the pictures from when we first started dating and got married are not the best quality. Never the less, here's a picture from our dating days, with our wedding party, and from shortly after we were married.

As Robbie pointed out while we were lying in bed last night, we've been together for a third of our lives, and it has flown by in the blink of an eye. I literally can not imagine spending my life with anyone else, and I look forward to the next 10 years and making it half of our lives that we've been together.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

365 Challenge - Week 2

Thanks to a go round with a stomach bug, I dropped the ball toward the end of this week. I completely forgot about it yesterday until right before I went to bed. Thankfully Jules was being ridiculous and provided a good photo op. I've already found it's going to be difficult to not double post pictures, as is the case with this post and my last weekend post. I am also going to try really hard to keep the pictures original. As in, not just posting 365 pictures or H and B smiling for me. I know that will be easier once we aren't stuck inside all the time. In the mean time, I'll be trying extra hard to make sure I'm mixing it up. 

Week 2

1.8.2015 - daddy day art project

1.9.2015 - her happy place

1.10.2015 - library reflection

1.11.2015 - snow dog

1.12.2015 - dress up with the three musketeers

1.13.2015 - Tyson is so tolerant

1.14.2015 - mouse crush

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Tasty Tuesday - Mixed Vegetable and Sausage Soup

I love soup. Now that Brooke and Harrison have learned the art of dunking bread in their broth, they love soup too. A hot bowl of soup paired with a baguette on a cold Indiana day always hits the spot. I made multiple batches of a few of our favorite soups a couple weekends ago, and froze a bunch. Even with enough frozen soup to last us a couple weeks, I still wanted to give this one a go. 

We first tried this at my uncle's house over Christmas. It was super delish, so I asked for the recipe. The original recipe used a couple canned soups, and I wanted to deviate from that. The flavor was great though, and the main ingredients are things the kids will happily eat. Broccoli and carrots are pretty much guaranteed edible vegetables where H and B are concerned, so we eat them a lot. And Harry LOVES sausage. He definitely gets that from me, or my dad. Smoked sausage was, and still is, a staple at my parent's house. 

So, a few tweaks here and there, and I am pretty darn happy with the outcome of this one. An added plus, since the recipe uses pre cooked sausage it's easy to make last minute if you didn't plan ahead, something I do far too often. This one will definitely be making it into our soup rotation.

Mixed Vegetable and Sausage Soup

Makes 8 servings
Prep time - 10 minutes
Cook time - 30-40 minutes


6 tablespoons butter
3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 small onion, diced
6 tablespoons flour
2 1/2 cups milk
4 cups chicken broth
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3 large carrots, sliced
10-16 oz broccoli
10-16 oz cauliflower
1 or 2 lbs smoked sausage


1. Prep all vegetables.

2. Melt butter in large pot over medium heat.

3. Add onion and celery to butter. Cook for 5 minutes, or until fragrant and softened.

4. Whisk in flour. Cook until starting to brown.

5. Slowly whisk in milk, keeping smooth.

6. Whisk in broth, then add cheese and sesonings. While continuously stirring, bring to a boil.

7. Add vegetables. Cook for 10 minutes.

8. Add sausage and cook until vegetables and tender and sausage is warmed through.

9. Serve hot and enjoy with a side of crusty bread.

Notes: You can use fresh or frozen vegetables. I used a mixture of both because I had some fresh cauliflower and carrots that needed to be used. Cooking time will vary depending upon the use of fresh or frozen. I used two pounds of Eckrich turkey sausage. Using one pound will let the veggies take more of center stage. Using flavored sausages would change the flavor and add more dimension to the soup. I think spicy sausage may be used on our next go round. We have recently learned how great the take and bake baguettes from the grocery are. I highly recommend serving one with this soup.