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Life Lately, in photos

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010915_photos_kellymcauleyYou guys know I’m a lover of words, but every once and again, even I need a break from them all. Here’s a look at the past few weeks in photos. Lots of yarn. A little beach. Cuddly cats. Toys. Christmas. New York. And back to work. I’m sure my weekend ahead will include some of the same. Here’s hoping yours is fantastic.

My Daughter, Bailey, Gets Me Every Time

Bailey1I want to introduce you all, the world, to my daughter, Bailey Quinn.

She’s named after her maternal grandmother’s maiden name (just like her mom was) and her paternal great-grandmother’s maiden name.

Her birthday is September 13. Which means she’s a Virgo. And while I don’t know much about astrology a quick google search tells me she’s loving, sympathetic, charitable, faithful, instinctive and moody. (Sounds about right.)

Bailey3She has a head full of dark brown hair. And a strong grip. Such strong little fingers. And the longest toes I’ve ever seen a baby wear. Dancing toes. And she loved having her picture taken, just like a little diva would.

Her favorite color is pink. She has a pink bear her dad gave her named “Barbara Bear.” And a pink lamb from her best friend. Yes, of course, she has a best friend, and her name is Jenn. Jenn helps Bailey with arts and crafts during their sleepovers. They always were up to something, making some new decoration for Bailey’s room.

Bailey’s favorite food was always her mom’s basil & tomato pizza. Can you blame her? What kid doesn’t like pizza?

Bailey2She loves to listen to mom and dad read stories like “Goodnight, Moon,” “The Little Engine That Could,” and tales from Richard Scarry’s big storybook. She also likes to listen to mom & dad sing whatever song they can remember the words to, even when they mess them up.

Every morning and every night she says her prayers with mom and dad, “Our Father,” “Hail Mary,” “Glory Be,” and our special prayers where we ask God for healing, understanding and strength.

Bailey liked making her footprints on paper so much that she did it a few times. But, being quite the lady, she didn’t take well to having her fingerprints taken.

Even at a young age, she likes to share clothes with mom, something I thought wouldn’t happen for many many years.

She isn’t a girl of many words, though how could she get any in with her two parents around all the time?

Bailey4All in all, Bailey is quite an amazing little girl. So, don’t be shy to talk about her. Or ask how she is. I think she’s turning out to be a lot like her mom and dad. And in my book, that’s not such a bad way to be.

Bailey Quinn, September 13-19, 2014

 

Our Dining Room Gets Me Every Time

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We’ve been in our home more than a year, and, just now, we’ve finally started to feel settled throughout all our rooms. We’ve done a lot of work over the past year and today I’m excited to share the dining room updates with you.

Some details. On our mantle. (Maybe this year we’ll get around to using the fireplace.) The clock was a wedding gift. The photos are all old family photos from both me and the Mr. including his dad and grandparents and my grandparents. I had a friend help me with getting the resolution right after scanning them in, then printed them using MPix. There’s also one of Louise as we were trying to include the whole family in the room. Next to the front door we hung a wedding photo, though we plan to change that one out every year or so as our family grows and ages.  The new chandelier is from Overstock. And what did the old one look like? Here’s the room before we closed on our home.

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Oh hi, Mr. GMET.

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The walls were a very pale shade of green, which would have fine, except for two things. First, the previous owner didn’t leave any of this green paint behind. Meaning we couldn’t patch any of the holes they did leave behind in the wall. Two, this room had lead paint in the baseboards and the mantle, so we knew we were going to have to do some repainting anyway. We went with Benjamin Moore’s Athena, as we did in our family room and kitchen. We hired a great local company to take care of all the deleading and though it wasn’t cheap, we know it was worth the investment in the long run. We were out of the house for just over a week and came home to a painted, lead-free abode.DiningRoomGMET_InProgress

Over the course of the year, I’ve shared some of our updates with you. Left, our newly polished floors. We decided not to have them refinished because we were putting down an area rug anywhere. Our first Thanksgiving in the center there shows our in transition space, pre-painting, post-furniture shopping. And that rug. I just love our stripe rug (no longer available) from West Elm. (Table from Macy’s.)

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With all the photos going on throughout the room, we wanted to keep the wall opposite the windows pretty clean and simple, hence, just one simple shelf. When we think about needing more storage, we just think back to the previous owner’s furniture and how cumbersome it looked in the room. (Maybe we need a bigger wine rack though?)

DiningRoom_GMET3Finally, opposite the mantle, we enlarged three more old family photos. One of each of our mother’s with their mothers. And one of my grandparents with my dad. To the right, you can see our ode to our “first home”. And, we had the interior of our front door painted black, just to make it pop. (It was previously white.)

And that’s it. Now, who’s coming to dinner?

 

A Baby Story Gets Me Every Time

MyBump“Your baby’s not normal.”

It’s not exactly the words that first-time expectant parents want to hear at 8am on a Tuesday morning during what should have been just a routine ultrasound. But that’s what the radiologist said with no more bedside manner than that of a butcher.

It’s been 141 days since I heard those words and they still ring shrilly in my ears. Here’s the short version of our story.

At our first appointment (9ish weeks) where they listen for the baby’s heartbeat, it wasn’t heard, but there was no need to panic. We were to go for an ultrasound the next day where they would just confirm viability. And we weren’t worried. There could be a million reasons why the heartbeat wasn’t picked up.

The next morning, the heartbeat was there! But the radiologist also told us about something else that was there—a fluid buildup on our baby’s neck.

Initially there were a lot of questions, tears and prayers. Let’s also put out there that Dr. Google is no longer covered by our insurance. (That’s also why there are no links in this post… don’t go searching. Just don’t.)

What the ultrasound showed was a septated cystic hygroma. It’s a pocket of fluid on the back of the baby’s neck that can sometimes be life-threatening in utero. We are fortunate ours was not fatal. It’s also extremely rare. We’re talking 1% (or less) of pregnancies. That’s like a 1 in 6,000 chance or something. So, unless you know more than 6,000 pregnant women, it’s not surprising that you haven’t heard of it.

There can be many causes of cystic hygromas, about 50% of the time they appear because of chromosomal disorders. We did some initial blood work (10 weeks) that came back negative for some common disorders. We chose not to do any further DNA testing (14 weeks) because it would not affect the management of our pregnancy. (Even if we found out about a certain disorder, there’s not much we can actively do, except worry, until the baby arrives.) We have continued with regular ultrasounds and we had an echocardiogram (20 weeks) as some cystic hygromas are associated with heart defects.

At this point we know that our baby has a bilateral SVC (20 weeks). (Everyone has a right SVC and our doctor said that as much as 20% of the population could have an extra left SVC and just not know it.) It’s not a problem on it’s own unless a person needs bypass surgery later in life.

At this point we know that the cystic hygroma has resolved or (that the nuchal translucency) is no longer larger than normal (24 weeks). We also had an MRI and a second echocardiogram done around this time that showed no further heart anomalies and what the doctor’s called a “boring*” looking brain.

At this point we know way more about fetal diagnoses and ultrasounds and echocardiograms than we ever wanted to know. (see weeks 9 – present) We still have a few more extra ultrasounds and appointments to get through, but we’re keeping a positive outlook.

And at this point (30 weeks) we know September will be here faster than we could imagine.

So readers, I’m sharing this here not because we want your sympathy, but because writing about difficult things helps me process them. Because writing this here might help some other young family that’s in a similar situation.

One thing you may not know is that I am a religious and spiritual person. And I believe that the prayers we’ve made and those made on our behalf have helped strengthen us and our baby. So thank you for the prayers thus far and if you have any more prayers or positive thoughts you want to send our way, we will certainly take them.

Sorry for all the words. But thank you for reading and being part of our family’s journey.

*Boring has never looked better.

PS… I’m not a doctor, so my stats or explanations are not exactly scientific. This is just my version of what we’ve gone through. If you are in a similar situation, please speak to a doctor or counselor.

 

A Magic Number Gets Me Every Time

Three. Three decades on earth. Three years of marriage. Three members of our family (four if you count Louise, and we do, of course.) Yes. Three.

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I guess three really will be a magic number for our little family this year, specifically, come mid- to late-September.

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And while most of my readers probably already know this news, I think there are a few of you who don’t.

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So, sorry for the lack of posts recently… we’ve been a little busy planning, prepping and praying.

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There is a lot more to this story that I need to share with you guys. But I think this is enough news for one day, Internet.

(PS… as for the questions. No, we don’t know the gender. Yes, we’ve narrowed down names. No, we won’t tell you. Yes, I’m feeling good. Yes, we’re so excited/freaked out/scared/in awe. No, you can’t touch my belly.)

Three Years Get Me Every Time

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Today, I’m raising a toast to three years of love, growth, smiles, tears, laughs, moves, friends, family, travel, hugs, kisses, Boston, marriage and Mr. GMET.

Three years ago we were saying “I do.” Three years ago we were enjoying a HOT spring day. Three years ago we were eating burgers, fries and chocolate chip cookies.  Three years ago we were toasting our marriage with OKC-style lunchboxes. Three years ago we were dancing the night away.

Thank you to each and everyone of you who has made the past three years so very special. Here’s to many, many, many more with the whole gang.
wedding2PS. photos by the wonderful Bob Perachio.

Around Here Gets Me Every Time

224AroundHere1224AroundHere2If I tell you this weekend was nothing special, I’d be lying. Because, let’s face it, the weather was beautiful here in the Boston area. We’re talking warm enough to take a long walk outside without risking frostbite. Talk about a major win.

We celebrated by doing the ordinary weekend things—cooking, cleaning, sleeping in. Plus, buying a new microwave since ours bit the dust when I reheated toasted some leftover quinoa in there on Friday. But get this. We found a Visa gift card we didn’t remember having + used Sears loyalty points and walked away without dropping a dime on that new microwave. I’ve never had a better appliance buying experience.

I’m thinking that’s just the start to an excellent week. Let’s do this thing.

A Travel Book Gets Me Every Time

Travel Book | Gets Me Every Time

I remember my first camera. It was neon pink. One of those rectangular ones with a simple trigger button and a level on the bottom that you pushed to advance the film on the spool. I got it for Christmas and I took more non-pictures than I actually took photos. Mostly blurry. Mostly out-of-focus close-ups of peoples’ faces and my dolls. But I loved that camera and my photos. And I’m sure I went through more film than my parents could have ever imagined.

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One of the best parts about getting film cameras was waiting to see what developed, don’t you think? I mean, there are few surprises in life. And that was definitely a fascinating one for me when I was a kid. Now, you’ve seen the bulk of our photos from Rome. And I saw them on the plane ride home. But there’s still a little magic in holding them in prints, or books, don’t you think?

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I wanted to create something similar to my Instabook, so I went with the same 8×8 style from Shutterfly. Once the book arrived, I grabbed our travel journal and a Zig pen and got to recalling all the details.

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On the back of my childhood prints, I’d write who was in the photo. Or what year it was. I think this is just an evolution of this. Spelling out how our days went. And making sure to mention how we managed to get around and find our way.

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Some pages get a lot of description. Some get little or none at all.

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And while I could elaborate on any one picture for a while, I tried to keep it top level enough that it’s easy enough to flip through and get the full story.

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I think our trip to Rome was one for the books. And I think this was the perfect way to commemorate our vacation.

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*Ps. I was not paid or perked by Shutterfly. I just really love the size and quality of their photo books.

Around Here Gets Me Every Time

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Welcome back, folks. Another week in the books. We were lucky to get an extra three-day weekend lumped in with the holidays so our schedules are all out of whack. Nonetheless, we had a productive weekend. We managed to play in shovel all the snow. Get our Christmas decoration put away (Happy Epiphany, y’all!) Finish up a little decor project, details soon. Get in some playtime with Louise. And yesterday, I spent all day in the kitchen. By choice, of course. I managed to cook up 8 freezer meals (which will probably make 14-16 meals for the two of us), 2 weeks worth of muffins, a big salad, half a week’s worth of lunches and dinner last night. A long but productive day. On to the next one.

New Year’s Cards Get Me Every Time

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Happy New Year, Internet! I hope you didn’t stay up too late ringing in the new year. ‘Cause it’s here. And it’s time to get moving. But not without a little peek at our New Year’s cards. (We don’t send Christmas Cards because ain’t nobody got time for that. But New Year’s I can totally handle.) I feel like sending a New Year’s card after Christmas is a way to hold on to the holiday spirit a little longer. But that’s just me.

Now, it’s our tradition. Funny, do something once, it’s nothing. Twice, nothing. But three times, it’s a tradition. Right? And this is one of ours.

Enough about our cards. Get out there and get to New-Yearing. 2014 is waiting!