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"As for me, I'll take one baby marinated in a dish please"

The playground

I have a love/hate relationship with the playground.  But mostly hate.  The girls love it, so I keep taking them there, despite my ever growing irritation with it.  My kids clearly only see the surface of a playground.  The slides, swings, monkey bars, and various other kidtastic entities a playground has to offer.  I on the other hand, see everything else a playground represents.

Exhibit A: It's a place for teenagers to be obnoxious.  


If you can't read this grammar and spelling catastrophe, neither can I.  But I assure you a teenager wrote it to be super awesome.  How do I know?  It has the words "suck", "ass", and "bitch" in it.  And I can tell you that nothing makes want to send my kid down a slide more than stuff like that.  

And FYI, some teens didn't the memo that playgrounds are for kids.  Because who doesn't think it's a parent free place to makeout with your girlfriend while 20 toddlers are screaming around you.  Sounds romantic.....

And my final teen gripe is that they hang out in groups and do things to get attention. Like throw swings over the bar so nobody can reach them.  Or spin so fast on a tire swing that he or she throws up while everybody laughs.  

I don't get it.  So glad I was never a teenager.


Exhibit B: Playgrounds aren't just where kids and annoying teens hang out.
Tweakers like them too.
.

Oh, hey look.  It's cops arresting a meth head behind my kids.  Good thing they are too busy having fun on the swing to notice the firetruck and ambulance driving in next to those police cars....

And that was our first experience at that playground.  Other parks we've visited have allowed us the opportunity to meet all kinds of interesting characters who have scared the bejesus out of me.  And I swear, I take my kids to legit playgrounds.  It doesn't matter.

Exhibit C: And speaking of that...Teens, tweakers and everybody else seems to leave all kinds of "treasures" for kids to find. 

"Hey mom," what is that rubber thing on the ground?" Enough said.


Exhibit D: The reason I'm even writing this post right now. Other parents.

At the park today, a little boy was stuck on top of the money bars.  I was over there with the girls, so I offered to get him down. His mom then decided that we should engage in conversation.  Not that I have a problem with that per say, except for two things.  #1, My kids still don't play by themselves.  I have to be fully engaged.  #2, She initiates her conversation by saying, "My son is staring at the girls.  He loves them. And he loves older women."  To which I reply, "They can't be too far apart, my oldest is 3.5.  How old is your son?" It was a weird and creepy way to start a conversation, but I was trying to be nice.  Until she said this, "He likes way older women, like you.  And he was staring at the girls.  Not your girls."  Insert creepy crawler super grossed out, WTF moment.  Who says that?  Who even thinks that? She then tried to engage in more random conversation as she and her kids followed me around the playground.  We eventually just left.  

Aside from the pure weirdness of that person, I don't really understand other people who are super engaging at the park.  You are there so your kids can run and play.  People who want to talk life story aren't paying attention to their kids.  I've never met anybody who met their best friend at a park while their kids are playing.  Be friendly yes.  But I don't want to know that you are in the middle of a divorce because your husband shows no emotion, have 3 cats, and are about to undergo a cyst removal.  What was your name again?

Rant over.  I already promised the kids we would try a new park tomorrow. Wish me luck.
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Your sister has a poopy diaper?...Hold on, let me set my fantasy lineup

I'm hoping that being white trash is a symptom, like a runny nose or a fever, that goes away with a little TLC.  Because let me tell you, right now, I'm feeling pretty whisky tango.  I can't keep my house clean, my "blond" hair has roots two inches deep, and ever since quitting my job as an event coordinator, my uniform is yoga pants and an oversized tee shirt.  I can't even wear a fitted shirt, because, oh ya, I haven't lost those 8 extra baby pounds that fit snugly around my waist line.  And here's the thing.  I can't really even call them baby pounds anymore because Milan is 15 month old.

I guess it's my karma for snickering at all the mom's in the grocery store that would wear slippers and pjs while shopping for peanut butter and turkey.  Yep, that was me.  One eyebrow raised wondering how under eye bags even got that big.  And how could they let their children eat all that junk.  Who would even buy stuff with MSG? And peanut butter with all those chemicals? Don't those mom's get it?  Insert eye-roll here.

Two kids later, I'll tell you how that shit happens.  It's called the parent beat-down.  It starts slowly and methodically.  Just kidding, no it doesn't.  It starts like a firestorm of kid wakes up 6 times a night and finally gets up at 5:30 a.m. for the day.  So right off the bat they beat you with no sleep.  It's criminal really.  I don't even think they let that happen at Guantanamo Bay.  Next, they trick you by eating organic black beans and avocado.  But it's just a phase to let you believe you know what you are doing.  Quickly, that ends with them refusing to eat anything but hotdogs and marshmallows.  And of course, you give in.  Or should I say that I give in because I'm too tired to fight the iron will of a marshmallow monster.

And then they take over the house.  I vacuum the floor, they spill granola all over it.  And then they dump their water out, "accidentally," like 5 times.

 I fold cloths and then they jump into them like raked up Autumn leaves.  After abandoning the idea of folding altogether, I just put them in drawers.  It seems like the answer until I look over and one of them is pulling them out of the drawer and throwing them on the floor.

Next up? Smearing the couch with leftover yogurt that I couldn't get off their hands quickly enough.  And then after that, emptying every toy in the bins onto the floor.  But let us not forget the building nests with every towel in the house because they are pretending to be baby birds.  Oh wait? Did Milan just take Pirates Booty into her nest?  Yep, now fake cheese flakes are caked all over the bed.  But it's fine because I still need to wash the sheets after  Ellyette had an accident on them the night before.

Time to sit them in front of the TV.  But alas, not even Leo, June, Quincy and Annie from Little Einsteins can entertain them to the point of getting anything accomplished, so we move along.  And I, with the unimaginable under eye bags, unplucked eyebrows, and disaster of a house, am the epitome of desperation.   But all that changes when Ellyette comes to me and says, "mom, Milan has a poopy diaper.  It stinks!!"  And to which I respond with, "hold on, I need to set my fantasy lineup.  Auntie Bree can't beat me this week.  It will just take a few minutes.  She can hold on."
 
And right there I went from desperate to a little whiskey tango.  Hoping it isn't permanent.


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I’ll take another special treat with a side of diabetes

Here is a question for the generations: How can the same small bladder run frantically to the bathroom and not always make it without an accident, yet still have enough control to siphon her pee into 15 different trips if she knows she’s going to get a special treat for each one?

Even I, with full adult bladder control, do not have the focus, willpower, or bladder prowess to do what my child manages to do on a daily basis.  Bathroom, wash hands, special treat.  Repeat. Repeat again. And again.  She would spend the whole day doing that if I let her, simply for the “special treat.” And because of my desperation to get her potty trained, the special treat anti was upped from two M&M’s to full sized marshmallows, mini Snickers (or as Ellyette calls them, “Snoozie bars”), lollipops, fruit snacks and ice cream. 

And now, not only is my kid addicted to candy and urination, she also refuses to wear clothes.  In her world, it just hinders the ability to get on the toilet faster so she can get a special treat.  While normally not a problem, as we spend a great deal of time at home these days, going out in public has proven to be quite a disaster.  It wouldn’t be so bad if I was just trying to get her on the toilet in a sanitary way without her obsessing over the loudness of each public toilet flush.  Or, if my only challenge was to get her to go without ripping all her clothes off and refusing to put them back on.  Or if the only issue was running back and fourth four times in each place so she doesn’t have an accident – I could deal with all those things. The problem is that all these things go together….And I can’t leave Milan hanging out in isle 12, so I deal with all of it one-handed.   Good times!  Not.


The deeper into potty training we get, the more I think I like diapers.  If this keeps up, my kids might be the only ones in kindergarten still wearing huggies.
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Oh ya…Let me introduce you to, what’s her name? Oh right, Milan.


Being the middle child of three girls, I grew up with absolutely zero middle-child complex.  My mom and sisters might argue that point considerably, but since I’m the narrator of this blog, my opinion is the only one that counts here. My mom would also argue that she treated us all the same growing up and still does to this day.  Nice try mom, but no. 












I know she loves us all the same, of that I am sure, but as far as the day-to-day stuff growing up? Let me just say, being the middle child didn’t come with a new car.


My older sister's 16th birthday gift.  Nice ride Nicole!
Maybe I'll get one just like it when I'm 16!!
My 17th birthday gift. At least it runs...Almost.












Ok, those weren't exactly our cars, but my older sister did get a brand new car right after she turned 16, and I did get one from the car auction that was 10-years-old and needed a new transmission.  Not complaining, I did eventually get one, and that CRX was awesome....

Anyway,  I swore up and down that I would treat my kids exactly the same if I ever had them.  And here I am now with two.  And I treat them totally differently.  Try as I might, treating them the same is impossible.  This blog is a perfect example of how the last year has gone with how I am with the girls. Well, not quite.  I don’t actually neglect Milan like I did updating this blog with all of her new skills and silly antics.  But she just requires so much less than her older sister.  While Ellyette still takes up every ounce of everything I’ve got, Milan just goes with the flow.  She walks around like a champion, sits on my hip when she’s tired, giggles  constantly. and can entertain herself for a whole 10 minutes at a time.  She really so awesome and so easy. 

To say we scored with her is an understatement, although, she doesn’t make for many blog worthy stories.  Not like her older sister anyway….

I’m sure it won’t last forever, or really much longer – I’m not that lucky. I  just hope the change isn’t when she realizes that in all her pictures she’s wearing Ellyette’s hand-me-down clothes,  or playing with all her old toys, or dare I say it? Driving her old car.
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This trip to Vegas was not like the others


“I mean, who brings their kids to Vegas…” said the chick with a Coors Light in one hand and a 50oz gold plastic Champagne bottle cocktail in the other. She slurred it to her friend, but loud enough so I could clearly hear it.

“My baby is going to win mama a new Mercedes today,” I replied.  “She loves those progressive slots.”

But what I really wanted to say was, “It’s 10am and you are super drunk and still wearing your club outfit from last night, I hope. But your makeup has worn off, with the exception of smeared eyeliner, and you look like Vegas got the best of you. So take your billion-ounce pimp cup full of cheap booze and sugar and head to the closest hotel for some shut-eye.

All Gold All The Time

But then again, she did have a point. Ellyette did want the free cards people were handing out...errrrrr...

Hey buddy, do you have a PG version in that stack?    
Milan's sticker shock at price they are
charging for M&M's
Ellyette trying to run away from the creepy
antics going on behind her
We immediately went to the  four-story M&M store for some wholesome rated "G" activity and overpriced candy.  And just to make up for my mom guilt for having my kids in Vegas, I spent $6.99 per pound on those candies.  Talk about getting violated in Las Vegas…..





Yes, the four-day trip was not like the Vegas of old.   The good news? No hangovers this trip.  The second best part?  Not getting lost in the hotel lobby and calling my dad crying hysterically to come get me at 4 a.m. because I had also lost my sister, who actually made it to the hotel room.    The third best part? Not losing all my money on slot machines that say one cent, but really mean $2.30 per spin. 
I’m pretty sure those slot machines have single-handedly kept Las Vegas rich,


WTF? How could I lose AGAIN? I bet 10,000 lines.  Wait, what do a Q
and a water buffalo have in common? This makes no sense. AWWWW
And not that I would chose to come to Las Vegas on a family trip, but being here for Ben’s cousins high school graduation, was actually pretty cool.  We got the chance to do things that well, I would never normally do in sin city.  The most memorable being this bad boy


And while Ellyette didn’t win me a new Mercedes, she did perfect her back spin on antique table bowling.  And that was enough for me.



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Twins, two years apart


The odds of having siblings born on the same day are 1/365.  It’s somewhat assuming that with a little planning, you can avoid your kids having the same birthday. Clearly, we didn’t plan hard enough.  So without further ado…Happy 1st birthday Milan and happy 3rd birthday Ellyette.

Allow me to back up, ummm…a year and a half.  The last time I wrote in this blog was before I knew Milan was a girl, before I knew she would arrive on Ellyette’s birthday and before I had any notion that having two kids could put negatives in front of the time I actually had to myself.

I thought many a night that I should really update this bad boy.  So much has transpired the last year.  New baby, new house, new job.  But when your kids don’t nap at the same time and one or the other is up from 5:50 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and then waking up multiple times a night, it doesn’t allow much time for personal endeavors.  And by the time I even got around to the necessaries, such as showering, brushing teeth, or watching Castle on Monday nights, there was no time left for sharing my personal angst online. 

And while I have gotten grief for not going the cry it out route….Ellyette traumatized me from that one…not being tight enough on the structure…sorry mom…and being an overall sissy when it came to sleep schedule, we have finally arrived.  Yes, indeed it was a happy birthday today.  For the girls yes, but as of one week ago, Milan is finally starting to go to bed at a reasonable hour and yes, sleep through the night. 

I kind of feel like I’m getting back in touch with an old friend right now.  So much to catch up on, but just a little awkward.  The good news is, I have my nights back, and because I have no life anymore, I plan to spend them here. 

Your welcome.

A couple highlights from our zoo packed day.


Some kids ride horses and motorized barbie mobiles when they turn 3.  My kid rides a camel. Not going for glamour awards here....


 If only I could post what I  was actually thinking about this picture.  But it is a cute one of Ben and the girls.




Mom of the year.  Leave one-year-old unattended on a sea horse in order to get pictures to commemorate a birthday that if all works out, does not end with a hospital visit.


Ellyette Dizzle keeping her eyes on  both prizes as she knows what's her is hers and what's Milan's is hers as well

Happy Birthday Girls!!
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My farewell to progesterone

These last 10 weeks, I have not written one bad thing about how much I despise my progesterone suppositories.  I have not mentioned how gross they are, how they leak, how Ben has asked me more than once if I have toilet paper in my underwear.....(hey, desperate times call for desperate measures). There is a reason behind my lack of complaints this time around, which Ben so eloquently reminds me of every time I get ready to go into a progesterone tirade.



The story goes something like this:

September 8, 2011, our first round of IVF had just wrapped up and we decided to celebrate by flying to Bulgaria for some seaside relaxation.  We were flying Wizz Air, which charges for carry-on baggage, so we just brought a backpack.  We didn't need much, just our shorts, swimsuits, passports, and my progesterone.

So one two-hour Wizz Air flight later, we land at Burgas Airport (which by the way, was bombed 4-months later in an attack against Israel.  We sure know how to keep it excitingl!). 

Anyway, we pick up our rental car and off we go to the black sea.  After some sightseeing and lunch, relaxing at the beach is exactly what we did.

That first night I went to take my progesterone.  Oops.  I had brought the box that only had 1-full-day worth of pills rather than the full five-day box I thought I had brought with me.  At first I tried to be reasonable about the situation.  I would ration the pills over the course of the 5 days that we were in Bulgaria.  Yes, that would work.  I would take one in the morning and one at night rather than the two.  But then I did the math.  That wouldn't work at all.  Panic time.

I spent the whole night worrying about progesterone.  I couldn't sleep.  I couldn't stop thinking about it.  
The next morning I rationed.  One instead of two.  I did the same that night.  But then I had no more pills for the next three days.  "How could you do this to yourself?" I thought.  I jeopardized the whole IVF process.  All the money, all the effort of going abroad, all the shots in the stomach, everything.  I could have potentially ruined everything because of three days worth of progesterone supplements.  

Once again a sleepless night.  Except this one was even worse.  I had no more pills to ration.  All the thoughts came creeping back.  I had to tell Ben the next morning.  Would he blame me?  How could he not?  I had just ruined the whole experience with one oversight.  

It was a horrible night in Bulgaria.  And it didn't help that the bed in our condo was uncomfortable and the room smelled like sewer.  But the worst part about it was that I was positively sure that I single handedly ruined any chance of a baby Hummel. 

The next morning was confession time.  I spilled my big secret to Ben.  No more progesterone.  Dooms day.  Did I throw in tears?  Maybe.  But when you know you just wasted thousands of dollars, how could there not be tears.

He was annoyed.  But then he said the magic words, "I bet we can find a pharmacy around here that would sell it to us."

I was convinced we couldn't.  Nope, we were doomed.  There were no pharmacies.  But he was sure there were.  So off we went in search of of a big green neon cross.

Less than 2 minutes down the road we spotted one.  First challenge out of the way.  We went in and saw a pharmacist.  Did she speak English?  Not really.  I asked if you needed a Dr. note for medicine and she said yes.  I was devastated.  I needed a doctor.  

But Ben wasn't so quick to give up.  He showed the progesterone box to the lady and asked if we could buy it.  Finally understanding what we wanted, the lady sold us two boxes of the stuff.  What did I do?
I started crying.  Hysterically. I'm talking can't breath, suck the wind up sobs.  And I couldn't stop.  Ben was so startled, he quickly paid for the progesterone, told the lady that I was super hormonal and ushered me out of the store.  I ended up crying out the pharmacy into the car and back to the condo.  I had never been so happy to see those gross white balls in my life.  Two days of worrying myself sick.  Two days of thinking, no, knowing that I had ruined our chances of children.  Two days of hating myself beyond imagination.  And it was all solved in 20 minutes.

So now, whenever I start complaining about how gross it is, Ben reminds me of that day, and I quit my whining.

So, as I prepare to "take" my final progesterone suppository tonight, I must salute those little white balls and the progesterone they give my body to carry a baby.  

But I will not miss them when they're gone.


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A little bit of happy, a little bit of sad

We went into the doctor for our first ultrasound the other day.  The good news?  I managed to keep the picture from the doctor's office until it made it into my scanner.





Yep.  This time I won't have to use a random "7-week-ultrasound" picture off the internet for baby B's photo album (sorry Ellyette).

The bad news?  We did have two babies until one quit growing and developing a couple weeks ago.

I know this is a very common occurrence with twins and especially IVF twins, but I don't think that knowledge helps when you are looking at an ultrasound with two sacks, two stems, etc.  But only one heart beat.

I think as a woman (or maybe it's just me....) My first thought went to, "What did I do wrong?"  Even though I know I did nothing wrong.....Or maybe it WAS going right back to work after getting back from Europe.... I AM fairly sure that work causes most life issues.

And it doesn't help that my doctor has the bedside manner of a rock.  In her words, "if you wouldn't have seen this ultrasound, you might not have even known about it.  This sort of thing is very common."

And

"You might have to go through a miscarriage.  Bleeding, cramps...that sort of thing.  It shouldn't affect the other baby."

Thanks doc for your kind words.  I'll just go home and have a miscarriage then.  And after that, I'll throw up with morning sickness just for good measure.

Vent over.  After seeing both babies, I feel even more incredibly blessed with the one healthy pregnancy that I do have.  It puts into perspective what women (especially infertile women who suffer through miscarriages) deal with emotionally.  As a person who has had such success with pregnancy after IVF, I had my first glimpse into the other painful side of the infertility coin.

So my goal for now is to come up with an equally awesome name as Ziggy Stardust and to dust off my photoshop skills so I can dress up my new ultrasound baby.  Thank you technology.


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Is it over yet???

I am less than two months into this pregnancy and boy, it has already been rough.  The things is, I hate to complain about being pregnant.  After all, I'M PREGNANT!!!!  More than a lot of my fellow IVF'ers can say....But I'm going to complain anyway because opening up the refrigerator door makes me vomit.  And so does waking up in the morning.  And changing Ellyette's diaper has put me over the edge a few times as well.  And looking at this computer screen is already starting to make me nauseous.

But the truth is, feeling horrible all day with a one-year-old wanting to hang on my leg all day hasn't even been the worst part. 

I thought I had kidney stones the first few weeks.  I went to urgent care, a chiropractor, my OBGYN and a ultrasound lab to get answers because the pain was unbearable.  And what did they find?  That I did not have kidney stones, but a polyp on my gallbladder that can only be removed surgically after the baby is born. 

Fantastic news!!! Thanks doc.

Fortunately, the pain that feels like I am being stabbed in the kidney has currently subsided until the next possible flare up.  It's a good thing I can take a Tylenol for pain.  Not.

Maybe I will have the good fortune to vomit it out before the first trimester is over....



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My Apologies



In all my haste to go over to Prague and get pregnant, I completely forgot to post my 2013 IVF extravaganza pictures.  Silly me.  So without further ado......





Let's start with dessert first....

Of course the sperm and egg cake that I insisted Heather make for me again.  It's so bright and colorful. And who doesn't want to eat a cake with swimming sperm.  I did forget to mention that our sperm was directly injected into the egg with a needle, but that would have just make the cake look weird.

And on the left side is a picture of all the fortune cookies that we didn't eat from a year's worth of Chinese take-out.  And to my good fortune, I received all kinds of wise tidbits such as, "It is a happy talent to know how to play," and "do not forget that a half truth is a whole lie," and drumroll please... "do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain."

Good idea! I should handle scorpions to rid myself of fearing them.  Not.





And then of course the drink......

Oh sangarita from Los Dos Molinos.  I will miss you for the next 10 months.  Sigh.  You are worth the wait.


And ode to the wine.  Always the prelude to a great evening, it shall temporarily be replaced with Trader Joe's blueberry sparkling juice.  Temporarily.





And then the food......


In true extravaganza mode, my girl Angel made us a send off dinner that included baked salmon with mango salsa, asparagus, salad, potatoes, wine, and brownies.  It was amazing.

And a couple days before departure, Ben made me a board of all the soft unpasteurized cheeses that I can't have for the next 10 months.  What a guy.








 
Gifts......

Gifts for extravaganza's are not a necessity, but we did have a little extra love this time around.    Just in case I didn't get pregnant, the royal bitch bag was ready and waiting in case of a BFN.  Very important to have a backup plan that includes drowning sorrows with friends and a lot of sangria.

My sister gave us an "airplane pack" for Ellyette for the ride over.  Very cool not only for us and her, but also for everyone around her who didn't hear any tantrums, crying or fussiness in general.  Thank you Nicole, from everyone on Delta flight 8731.

And finally, we got a family picture of the three of us before there were four.  So very cool.









So that about sums up this years extravaganza.  But kind of like wedding's and baby showers.  I'll be stoked if that was my last one....
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Lightning does strike the same place twice

Ben and I are the luckies SOB's this side of Prague.  For the second time in a row, we have had an amazing trip, worked with amazing people and in the end gotten a:





In the words of Quincy from 'Little Einstein's,' "I DO NOT BEEELIEEEVE IT."



Oh no, did I just quote a cartoon character from a really annoying Disney show?  I'm going to have to soul search that when I have a chance.  Yikes.

Anyway, right now I'm just feeling grateful for all the support we have gotten from family, friends and even strangers.  It's been really awesome.  Especially because this time, less people thought we were crazy for going abroad to do this.

So while I really believe that it was the staff at Gennet who knows what they are doing, who knows,  It might have been because we rubbed the lucky egg both trips.  Or ate at the same restaurants.  Or bought the same souvenirs, or.....






In the end, it doesn't matter.  We are just so fortunate and so lucky.  So tonight, I will raise my glass of sparkling cider and toast to the new Hummel.  Watch out world.  Here we come.







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Question:

Here is a question:

What do the following countries have in common? 

Italy

Bosnia

USA

Czech Republic

Germany

Croatia










Give up?


Yep.  We went to five countries and stayed in Hotels, Bed and Breakfasts, flats and apartments and almost all of them in all countries were completely or partially furnished by Ikea.  Tables, coffee cups, chairs, cabinets, duvet covers and more (does Ikea sell toilet paper?)  If they do, then the store provided that too.

Not that I'm complaining.  I have my fair share of Ikea at the Hummel Cantina despite Ben putting a ban on ever putting together one more particle board piece of furniture.  I love the stuff myself.  But who would have thought that the Nordic giant would find itself in Bosnia?

But it has.  I'm pretty sure it is working on taking over the world.  My hat is off to you Sweden and your giant blue and yellow 20 block stores.

Here is a fun Swedish fact:  It is legal to masturbate in public.  

Who would have thought.



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And here I didn't think I was superstitious



 I didn't think I was that superstitious. However, after reflecting on both rounds of IVF, I think I might be just a little bit.  Not anything gross like wearing the same underwear for the duration of the IVF treatment (really).  Or weird like eating 12 grapes at midnight the first week of every month.  Just a few little things here and there that I did last time that I wanted to do this time as well.

Case in Point:



 Heather's BFP cake from 2011                                                                         And again from 2013






Magic Red Sweats


Rubbing the same strange Czech egg that was a few doors down from our favorite pizza place (which I also felt the need to eat at the day of egg transfer both times)


.
.
.
.
.
.





Thumbs up from the Gennet Bed

Visiting a "spa/bathhouse" (although, one was in Budapest and the other in Karlovy Vary)










And a bunch of other things I don't have pictures of.  It seemed like a
lot of our decisions were based on, "well, we did it last time and it worked, so I think we should by our new egg christmas tree ornament from the same store as last time...."













Oh well, in the words of Dr. Danek, "Whatever works for the patients mind might just help. You never know."  - spoken like a man who deals with crazy ladies all day, every day.
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