Saturday, December 24, 2011

16 weeks!

HERE is my 16 week update with Elliot.

16 weeks

How far along? 16 weeks 1 day.
Baby’s Size: The size of an avocado, 4.6" and 3.5 oz.
Total Weight Gain: 6 lbs. At this point in my pregnancy with Elliot, I had gained 10 lbs. I'm hoping to gain a little less this time, so being 4 lbs lighter so far makes me happy!
Bellybutton: innie.
Stretchmarks: nope! Just started using belly butter again, too. I don't really have time to put it on as much as I did the last pregnancy, though. Right now I'm doing it at morning and night.
Maternity Clothes: Nope. I still fit into my regular leggings, jeans, and shirts. I've decided to start wearing a Bella Band with a few of my tighter jeans though. I can still button them, but it's uncomfortable.
Gender: I'm really nervous about this! I keep second guessing myself. We find out right after I get home from Michigan. I just hope I won't be too disappointed if it's another boy.
Movement: Still feeling the little one move here and there, particularly when I'm laying down on my back.
Sleep: Elliot is STILL sleeping through the night {can you believe it?!}, and I'm taking full advantage of it. I'm so tired by the time I hit the pillow that I fall asleep unbelievably fast.
Symptoms: Headaches- really bad headaches... usually in the evening. Other than that, still feeling fantastic!
Food Aversions: Nothing really stands out to me right now. I still cannot STAND the smell of our neighbors grilling out, though. It really makes me want to vomit. So weird.
Food Cravings: Anything and everything sweet. My mom has been baking up a storm and I'm SO excited to eat a few of her Christmas cookies (or 10).
Best Moments this week: Having Aaron home and spending lots of time together as a family. It's so nice to have him around to help.
What I miss: Nothing at all!
What I am Looking forward to: Heading home for the holidays on the 26th! I can't wait to see my parents, my little brothers, and my in-laws! And most of all, for them to see Elliot! He was only 6 months old the last time they saw him... and he has changed a TON since then.
Milestones: How am I already starting my fifth month of this pregnancy? It's really flying by, and it's making me a little really sad. I'm trying to live in the moment, but I honestly can't wait to actually look pregnant.

Friday, December 23, 2011

one year ago... surgery day.

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My favorite pre-surgery picture of Elliot, taken the day before his surgery.

Exactly one year ago, on December 23rd, 2010, Elliot had his primary closure surgery to put the rest of his intestines back inside his belly, reconstruct his abdominal muscles, and close up his belly.

I seriously have no words, guys. So, instead, here is a quote from the original post.

"Elliot went back for surgery at about 12:30pm, and I cried like a baby as I watched them wheel him away. It is so hard to say goodbye to your brand new, five pound baby boy before he leaves for surgery."

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Wearing a Christmas hat, the day before his surgery.

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Elliot swaddled for the first time ever, getting ready to go into his transport isolette.

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Getting settled for transport.

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Minutes before we said goodbye to him and left him in the hands of the anesthesiologist. I'm pretty sure I couldn't even see my camera screen, because I was crying so hard.

I look at my healthy, happy, baby boy today, at how far he's come... and I just can't believe it. I really can't.
I cannot believe it's been a whole year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

the sun came out yesterday...

All summer long, when it was in the 100's, the sun shone in Texas. Every. Single. Day. Now that it's winter autumn, however, the sun has been hiding behind clouds... and those clouds have been pouring down buckets and buckets of rain. Seriously! It has been raining here for over a week. A week! That's unheard of around here.

So when the sun finally made an appearance yesterday, and it stopped raining, you can bet your bottom dollar that we took advantage of it and walked to the park!

ho hum ho hum.

Daddy pushing Elliot on the swing.

He likes it!

Cheesy, squinty smile.


hey dad, I'm in a tree!
Oh hey dad, I'm in a tree!

future tree hugger ;)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Want a shock? Read these facts about the US Economy

Disclaimer: this post will not contain cute baby pictures, and it may just make you angry. Sorry.

I've always been interested in politics. I took many political science classes in college and was originally planning to make it my double major. So when I saw this article, I couldn't resist posting it! I'm not going to go into my opinions or anything... this would be the longest post ever, and I'd rather not start a heated debate. Just thought you could read this article and form opinions of your own!

50 Shocking Facts about the US Economy
1. A staggering 48 percent of all Americans are either considered to be “low income” or are living in poverty.
2. Approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are living in homes that are either considered to be “low income” or impoverished.
3. If the number of Americans that “wanted jobs” was the same today as it was back in 2007, the “official” unemployment rate put out by the U.S. government would be up to 11 percent.
4. The average amount of time that a worker stays unemployed in the United States is now over 40 weeks.
5. One recent survey found that 77 percent of all U.S. small businesses do not plan to hire any more workers.
6. There are fewer payroll jobs in the United States today than there were back in 2000 even though we have added 30 million extra people to the population since then.
7. Since December 2007, median household income in the United States has declined by a total of 6.8 percent once you account for inflation.
8. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 16.6 million Americans were self-employed back in December 2006. Today, that number has shrunk to 14.5 million.
9. A Gallup poll from earlier this year found that approximately one out of every five Americans that do have a job consider themselves to be underemployed.
10. According to author Paul Osterman, about 20 percent of all U.S. adults are currently working jobs that pay poverty-level wages.
11. Back in 1980, less than 30 percent of all jobs in the United States were low income jobs. Today, more than 40 percent of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.
12. Back in 1969, 95 percent of all men between the ages of 25 and 54 had a job. In July, only 81.2 percent of men in that age group had a job.
13. One recent survey found that one out of every three Americans would not be able to make a mortgage or rent payment next month if they suddenly lost their current job.
14. The Federal Reserve recently announced that the total net worth of U.S. households declined by 4.1 percent in the 3rd quarter of 2011 alone.
15. According to a recent study conducted by the BlackRock Investment Institute, the ratio of household debt to personal income in the United States is now 154 percent.
16. As the economy has slowed down, so has the number of marriages. According to a Pew Research Center analysis, only 51 percent of all Americans that are at least 18 years old are currently married. Back in 1960, 72 percent of all U.S. adults were married.
17. The U.S. Postal Service has lost more than 5 billion dollars over the past year.
18. In Stockton, California home prices have declined 64 percent from where they were at when the housing market peaked.
19. Nevada has had the highest foreclosure rate in the nation for 59 months in a row.
20. If you can believe it, the median price of a home in Detroit is now just $6000.
21. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 18 percent of all homes in the state of Florida are sitting vacant. That figure is 63 percent larger than it was just ten years ago.
22. New home construction in the United States is on pace to set a brand new all-time record low in 2011.
23. 19 percent of all American men between the ages of 25 and 34 are now living with their parents.
24. Electricity bills in the United States have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row.
25. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, health care costs accounted for just 9.5 percent of all personal consumption back in 1980. Today they account for approximately 16.3 percent.
26. One study found that approximately 41 percent of all working age Americans either have medical bill problems or are currently paying off medical debt.
27. If you can believe it, one out of every seven Americans has at least 10 credit cards.
28. The United States spends about 4 dollars on goods and services from China for every one dollar that China spends on goods and services from the United States.
29. It is being projected that the U.S. trade deficit for 2011 will be 558.2 billion dollars.
30. The retirement crisis in the United States just continues to get worse. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 46 percent of all American workers have less than $10,000 saved for retirement, and 29 percent of all American workers have less than $1,000 saved for retirement.
31. Today, one out of every six elderly Americans lives below the federal poverty line.
32. According to a study that was just released, CEO pay at America’s biggest companies rose by 36.5 percent in just one recent 12 month period.
33. Today, the “too big to fail” banks are larger than ever. The total assets of the six largest U.S. banks increased by 39 percent between September 30, 2006 and September 30, 2011.
34. The six heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton have a net worth that is roughly equal to the bottom 30 percent of all Americans combined.
35. According to an analysis of Census Bureau data done by the Pew Research Center, the median net worth for households led by someone 65 years of age or older is 47 times greater than the median net worth for households led by someone under the age of 35.
36. If you can believe it, 37 percent of all U.S. households that are led by someone under the age of 35 have a net worth of zero or less than zero.
37. A higher percentage of Americans is living in extreme poverty (6.7 percent) than has ever been measured before.
38. Child homelessness in the United States is now 33 percent higher than it was back in 2007.
39. Since 2007, the number of children living in poverty in the state of California has increased by 30 percent.
40. Sadly, child poverty is absolutely exploding all over America. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 36.4 percent of all children that live in Philadelphia are living in poverty, 40.1 percent of all children that live in Atlanta are living in poverty, 52.6 percent of all children that live in Cleveland are living in poverty and 53.6 percent of all children that live in Detroit are living in poverty.
41. Today, one out of every seven Americans is on food stamps and one out of every four American children is on food stamps.
42. In 1980, government transfer payments accounted for just 11.7 percent of all income. Today, government transfer payments account for more than 18 percent of all income.
43. A staggering 48.5 percent of all Americans live in a household that receives some form of government benefits. Back in 1983, that number was below 30 percent.
44. Right now, spending by the federal government accounts for about 24 percent of GDP. Back in 2001, it accounted for just 18 percent.
45. For fiscal year 2011, the U.S. federal government had a budget deficit of nearly 1.3 trillion dollars. That was the third year in a row that our budget deficit has topped one trillion dollars.
46. If Bill Gates gave every single penny of his fortune to the U.S. government, it would only cover the U.S. budget deficit for about 15 days.
47. Amazingly, the U.S. government has now accumulated a total debt of 15 trillion dollars. When Barack Obama first took office the national debt was just 10.6 trillion dollars.
48. If the federal government began right at this moment to repay the U.S. national debt at a rate of one dollar per second, it would take over 440,000 years to pay off the national debt.
49. The U.S. national debt has been increasing by an average of more than 4 billion dollars per day since the beginning of the Obama administration.
50. During the Obama administration, the U.S. government has accumulated more debt than it did from the time that George Washington took office to the time that Bill Clinton took office.

Source: Yahoo News. Read the original article HERE.

Also, some of my facebook friends (and thousands of others) shared this. Our US Budget broken down for everyone to understand- this was posted a few days ago, and the US debt has since risen to over 15 billion.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Flying with a one year old.

Elliot and I will be heading home to Michigan in exactly one week!

If only the real thing were this fun...

Elliot has flown a few times in his life- the first time, he was 2 months old, and the second time, he was 6 months old. It went pretty smoothly both times, thankfully. Nowadays, though, Elliot is MUCH more mobile, and he has an extremely short attention span.

So, do you have any tips for traveling with a one year old/toddler? Were there any magical toys or other things that kept your little one busy?

We have two fairly long layovers, so my plan is to stuff him full of some food, give him a bottle, and push him in the stroller until he hopefully falls asleep and naps. Honestly, I'm not too worried about the layovers. He can probably crawl around a little- I'll bring lots of wipes and hand sanitizer. There will be fountains {sure to amaze him} and music. Plus, there will be plenty of strangers around... and Elliot is an avid people watcher and quite the flirt.

We've all seen it- that look of horror on someone's face when they realize that, {gasp!} the woman with the baby was going to be sitting next to them.

It's the plane rides themselves {all 3 of them} that make me nervous. I do NOT want to be "that mom" with the screaming child driving my neighbors nuts. I'm not too sure about noisy, annoying toys, either. If you were flying solo for the holidays, which would annoy you more? Sing-songy toys, or crying? Because if he's not crawling around, pretty much the only thing that entertains Elliot are food, loud toys, and a couple of his board books {only if read in a high-pitched voice} and not sure how long new snacks and treats will keep him busy.

My goal is to make it through the day with as few tears and irritated travelers as possible.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Cake Smash!

Elliot had a fantastic birthday.

There were a few kinks in our day, though. First of all, Elliot slept in until 8:15. At first, I was really happy about this- but when it was noon and he still hadn't taken his nap (which is usually at 10), I started to get worried. He finally crashed around 1pm... for a whopping forty minutes.

That afternoon, when my husband arrived to pick up Elliot's smash cake, he was informed that his cake was "the one that hit the floor," so they had to remake it. The new cake looked absolutely NOTHING like the original. No giant colorful polka dot sprinkles- the most important part. My poor husband, bless his heart, had no idea what the cake was supposed to look like, so when he called me on his way home, I flipped out. By that point, it was too late to fix it. Elliot didn't care, though. He had a blast smashing his cake anyways!

He decided not to take his afternoon nap until fifteen minutes before we were supposed to leave for dinner. Great timing, right? Wrong. We pushed back the meet up time... twice... but we were still fifteen minutes late. Oh well. We ate at Genghis Grill, and Elliot had his own stir fry bowl with broccoli, zucchini, squash, carrots, water chestnuts, green beans, and steamed rice with a tangy lemony sauce. He devoured it.

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Hey dad, can I steal your blower?

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Our little family of 3 (soon to be 4!)

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At first, all he did was scrape all the frosting off. Once we showed him that he could dig into the cake, though, he went to town!

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He definitely likes it!!

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Apparently, party blowers are yummy, too...

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Friday, December 16, 2011

One Year Ago...

Exactly one year ago, at 10:08 am, Elliot Reid Gougeon entered this world, weighing 6 lbs 3 oz and 19.3" long, and my life changed forever. I wasn't expecting to be able to hold him, but they suddenly plopped him on my chest. In the minute that he lay there, I couldn't do anything but stare at him and cry. I fell in love. I saw past his bright red skin and the fact that his intestines were spilling out all over my belly, to his dark hair, his cute button nose, his long eyelashes, his tiny tiny fingers and toes. He was perfect; he was mine. I knew that from this moment on, my life would never be the same.

The moment I wrote about above- when they unexpectedly put him on my chest, seconds after he was born.

minute or two after being born.
Just a few feet away from me, being prepped by the NICU team. He was being placed in a sterile bag so they could take him down and examine him. I couldn't see him at all, because he was SURROUNDED by doctors. Aaron was straining his neck trying to see what they were doing, and my parents held cameras up above and just fired away- not even sure what they were taking pictures of.

Brand new
All settled into his isolette.

seeing him up close for the first time.
A couple hours after he was born, they FINALLY brought me down to the NICU to see him. They probably got sick of me constantly asking, "Can I go see him yet?" I wasn't allowed to stay long, and the nurse kept asking me if I was ready to go, and I kept saying, "no, not yet. Not yet." When they finally wheeled me back up to my room, I bawled my eyes out. I could not stop crying. All I wanted to do was stay with him. Leaving your newborn son in the hands of strangers is something that takes awhile to get used to. In fact, I cried every time we left the NICU for the next several weeks.

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The first time Mommy and Daddy touched baby Elliot.

Sweet angel.
Pure perfection. Who would have guessed that olive skinned, dark haired baby would turn into a fair blondie?!

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My sweet, sweet angel. ♥

Happy Birthday, Elliot!
Mommy and Daddy love you so, so much. ♥

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Kreativ Blogger.

A few days ago, Kelly-Marie from Our Footprints on the World gave me the Kreativ Blogger award, which was very nice of her! Thank you, I am so flattered. :)


This award is pretty easy. I am supposed to tell 7 things about myself and then pass the blog award love on to 10 others. I can do that ;). {I've been pretty bad at accepting/posting blog awards in the past. I promise I'm trying to get better!} I'll even try to use NEW facts, instead of old ones I've shared before on this blog. That could get tricky, though.


1. My husband first caught my attention, when we were 14, by randomly coming up and standing next to me at Ash Wednesday Mass. Then, a few weeks later at Family Faith, he flirted with me by throwing sticks of gum and markers at me.

2. I have had two miscarriages and one baby with a birth defect. We have no idea whether these two facts are related... but thankfully, so far, the baby currently residing in my belly seems to be healthy.

3. I am currently taking classes to become a certified dog groomer. :) I plan to be a stay at home mama for several years yet, but want to be able to enjoy my work once the kiddos are off to school. And I am INCREDIBLY excited to be a groomer. I LOVE animals. Plus, there has been a high demand for qualified groomers in every city I've ever lived in- even in this crap economy. It's a win-win, to me.

4. I absolutely LOVE the Twilight series- both books and movies. Yes, I just admitted that.

5. I used to be a runner, but I think I have spent a grand total of maybe 5 hours running, jogging, or working out since becoming pregnant with Elliot. If you do the math, that means 5 hours out of the last... let's see... 22 months?! Yikes. I'm hoping to lose the baby weight as easily this time as the last. And to actually break out the jogging stroller.

6. I am a Christmas FANATIC! Yet I married a scrooge. I don't know how I let that happen. Oh well. He loves animals and babies... so at least I got that part right.

7. I want to have four children, and desperately hope that God will grace us with at least ONE girl. Just one. I don't think that's too much to ask! If not, I might be willing to try for more... although my husband might not agree. lol!

Now, I'm passing this award to a few other amazing bloggers...

1. Jennifer from This Yellow Brick Road
2. Mandy from A Sorta Fairytale
3. Laura from Between the Lines
4. Tara from Our Journey
5. Shawntae from A Little King and I
6. Rin from Little One, I Know You Grow
7. Sonya from Shutter Mama
8. Kristin from Our Growing Garden
9. Amanda from Our Little Men
10. Deanna from Delirious Rhapsody

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

more baby names.

I seriously couldn't sleep last night because I had baby names on the brain. Sooo, here are my new name lists... some of these I like as middle names, some as first, some I'm not even entirely sure I like/would use. I'm just trying to make some big ol' lists to share with Aaron.


Flynn Finn Sawyer Cade Jude Graham
Kellan Milo Finn Porter Channing Griffin
Reese Beckett Skylar Kyler Holden Atticus
Grey Tanner Kieran James Asher

my favorites: Flynn, Sawyer, Cade, Graham
his favorites: Sawyer, Asher, Reese, Finley, Holden


Elsa Willow Eden Ada Aurora Mira
Loralie Sawyer Maisie Harlow Lenora
Hazel Eliza Ender Elsie Monroe Edie
Arden Violet Scarlett Wren Cora Mara Rose
Hadley Grace Rowen Ruby Luciana Briar

my favorites: Elsa, Ada, Hazel, Eden, Mara, Willow
his favorites: Willow, Aurora, Sawyer

Suggestions are always welcome!

Monday, December 12, 2011

14 weeks!

HERE is my 14 week update with Elliot.

How far along? 14 weeks 3 days... that is going off my old due date. At my ultrasound last week, the baby was measuring over a week ahead, so I could actually be 15 weeks. They aren't officially changing my due date until my next ultrasound, though, so for now I'll stick with the old one.
Baby’s Size: The size of a lemon, 3.4" and 1.5 oz.
Total Weight Gain: 3 pounds.
Bellybutton: innie.
Stretchmarks: no way!
Maternity Clothes: Nope, still wearing all of my regular clothes.
Gender: Although I'm still thinking it's a girl, at my ultrasound the tech very hesitantly guessed boy... but she said it was still too early to tell. So who knows.
Movement: I finally started feeling movement! I usually feel the little one moving while Elliot is getting a bottle (and cuddling my belly) and when I'm laying in bed.
Sleep: Elliot has been sleeping through the night reliably, which means I'm getting a full nights' sleep for the first time in over a year. It feels amazing.
Symptoms: I'm seriously feeling GREAT!
Food Aversions: Meat, mostly, and for some reason I couldn't eat the pudding that I made last night... and I LOVE pudding.
Food Cravings: French fries and dark chocolate!
Best Moments this week: Seeing the baby on the ultrasound, hearing that everything looks normal so far.
What I miss: Not missing a thing!
What I am Looking forward to: Finding out the gender on the 11th!!!!!!
Milestones: Well, Elliot, baby, and I went to our first Tastefully Simple party last night, and we will be hosting one next month.

14-15? weeks belly
sorry for the bad quality!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas recipes!!

Blame it on the holidays, or the little one growing in my belly, but I have a SERIOUS sweet tooth lately. So I thought I'd share some of the recipes I want to try this Christmas season!

Peppermint oreo meringues:

Cake Batter Cookies:

Mint chocolate cupcakes:

Little Christmas tree cookies:

Source: via Jess on Pinterest

Peppermint Bark:

Swirl Cookies:

One word: YUM!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

a quick visit from Florida!

Grandma, Grandpa, and Elliot.

Sorry for the lack of blog posts lately. My mother-in-law called us about a week ago, wondering what we had planned this month. I told her our calendar was pretty much wide open, other than doctor appointments and Elliot and I heading home on the 26th. Not too long after, they hopped in their Prius and drove all the way here from Florida!

Elliot and Grandma.
Elliot and Grandma Karen.

It was a good visit. We took Elliot to the mall to see Santa, beneath our tree is now bursting with presents, and Grandma and Grandpa even babysat Elliot for us so Aaron and I could have a rare date night!

Post Santa.
Elliot after seeing Santa. He didn't cry at all. In fact, we even got a little smile out of him. He was delirious because he missed his afternoon nap, but surprisingly too distracted to be fussy.


We even managed to get a few quick family shots of the three of us. We have very few family pictures since Aaron was gone for so long, I'm usually behind the camera, and we don't have anyone else to take pictures for us!

Happy family of three (+1 in the belly)!

It fits!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

baby #2 update (after nt)

ultrasound at 14 weeks.

I had my NT scan today, and it went wonderfully! The first thing they noticed, right away, was that the baby was larger and more developed than they expected. Originally, my due date was June 8th (based on my LMP). Then, after my first ultrasound, they changed it to June 10th. By that due date, I am 13 weeks 4 days pregnant. On the ultrasound, however, the baby measured between 14 weeks and 14 weeks 3 days. In addition, the NT fluid was already dissolving and almost gone... which doesn't happen until the fourteenth week of pregnancy. I have a follow up ultrasound in four weeks, so they will probably change my due date (to the beginning of June or even late May) based on that.

What was left of the NT fluid measured normally. Once the ultrasound technician was done, she brought the doctor in and told him that our son had gastroschisis. After hearing that, he also closely examined the brain, heart, and facial features, and everything looked normal, as far as he could tell. THANKFULLY, the belly was also properly closed with the intestines tucked safely INSIDE. :)

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14 week (?) belly
14 weeks (ish) belly!

Monday, December 5, 2011

It's starting to look a lot like Christmas...

It was a rainy, cold day, so we decided to finally decorate our tree. I had visions in my head of all of these beautiful pictures with Elliot in front of the tree... but as it turns out, he wasn't in the mood. He was WAY too distracted by the tree to sit still for any pictures. So far, he hasn't tried to pull it down, thankfully. Since he isn't standing or walking on his own yet, all he does is crawl up to it, sit down, and touch the branches. He likes to take the ornaments off, though. He broke two of them. We since moved them all out of his reach, hopefully solving the problem.

This morning is my NT Scan. I am 13 weeks 3 days, so at the very very end of my "window." Hopefully they can still get the measurement. I'm not looking forward to getting my blood drawn again {last time they took EIGHT vials!}, but I'm dying to know what's going on inside my belly. I've been praying this whole time for a healthy baby and a smooth, "normal" pregnancy. This will be our first chance to screen for any birth defects. Please pray for good news! :)

EDIT:After we got Elliot set up with a sitter, drove all the way to main post, circled the hospital parking lot(s) for 15 minutes, walked from the furthest parking spot ever in the freezing cold, we arrived at my appointment just to be told that there was a "scheduling conflict" and my NT scan was rescheduled for tomorrow morning. Wow, would've been nice to know that ahead of time...

And now, for a few festive pictures! I hope to get much better ones in the next week or two.

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