Be warned. This one's a little dark.

I've thought for a while about actually putting this into blog form versus keeping it pinned neatly inside the privacy of my head. But I'm going to throw aside thoughts about what people might think (as in, this girl's crazy) and just go for it.

We're getting on a plane to France next Sunday. I don't speak a word of French, but Paris is going to be a dream. I haven't even been able to seriously make myself pack or put together outfits because I'm battling with the mindset that our plane's going to crash. I've convinced myself that I won't even really need those outfits.

Yep, very dramatic and irrational. I've flown plenty in the past, but not since we went through fertility hell and back and had Carter. Realistically, I know that every time we get in the car, we're putting ourselves at risk. But I just can't talk myself out of this sense of uneasiness. Life feels so much more valuable and fragile than it ever has before.

My heart plummets at the thought that - should our plane crash - he won't get to live in the house we're building him. He won't know the things I want him to know. I won't be able to give him anything.

He won't remember me.

My stomach is sunken, I have a lump in my throat, and my eyes burn a little. I'm not crying, though.

If you thought you were at risk of dying in 10 days, would you do things any differently? I've been trying harder to make eye contact with Carter when I tell him I love him. I sing him more songs. I play, hug and kiss like I'm never going to get to do it again. And like he'll never feel his mother's love again.


Carter, here's what I want for your life, should I be gone:

*Know that you should work at winning people over with your personality first. Hypnotize them with your big, round eyes second.
*Confidence. I want you to look people in the eye and know that they're no better than you are.
*Know that jealousy serves no purpose but to make you feel bad.
*Offer whatever help you can give, whenever you can.
*Don't cheat on girlfriends. Be polite to their parents.
*Know that, at the core, people are genuinely good. Even if they treat you badly. The only thing anyone really wants is to be liked.
*Run barefoot playing in the woods.
*Smile at strangers. Keep in touch with your wide-open, childish personality that's never afraid to wave a Hi.
*Know that I wouldn't like whatever tattoo you're getting. Even if it says Mom.
*Earrings are even worse.
*Always be on time or call if you're running late.
*Fix things. Or figure out how.
*Know that you can't make someone love you.
*Send Thank You notes.
*To know that appearances do matter. Take good care of your hair, teeth and clothes. Wash your hair every day.
*Learn a second language. I feel like it lessens ignorance.
*Be kind. Unfailingly.
*I love your ears. Never change them.
*You can make a difference in the world.
*Know that I love you more than anyone else ever will. Wife. Children. Anyone.



Adorable Kaity from As we Grow published a beautiful post about us on her blog today. Give her a click!

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i'm sorry, matt

Did you like my shoes yesterday?
So did Carter.



20 months, 3 weeks

Scroll to the bottom and pause the music player before you click Play.

mommy style: knock-off

I don't know who this chick is or how she's suddenly being pinned on everyone's Pinterest page, but I love her outfit. So much that last night I actually fell asleep thinking about it, and then I realized I own similar pieces.


Here's my attempt.
Granted, I'm far from ever getting to hold that adorable purse.


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steppin' out saturday

Today we were going to the playground, but we couldn't find anywhere to park and happened upon a Civil War reenactment instead. So how's that for a random day?







This Abraham Lincoln-ish character stopped to chat. I think Carter was trying not to laugh? I dunno, but he was concentrating on something.

The actors did look pretty incredible in their outfits. They were playing flutes and completely in character. The women wore no makeup and poised themselves with little umbrellas.

Although, we did see some men hiding boxes of fried chicken in their tents. And then there were obviously the important phone calls.



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fast food & fast walls

Carter & I had a date at Wendy's. But before anyone gets huffy puffy - technically, I didn't feed him fast food. He wouldn't bite into anything, he just used the food as a tool to suck dollups of ketchup. And really, I don't care if he does eat fast food, because one french fry would be more calories than he gets in an entire week of meals. I'm exaggerating. But he does starve himself and hold out for the good stuff.

Good stuff, as in, ketchup.







The walls inside our house are up! My brother came with us today, so Carter was showing off, running as fast as he could back and forth across the rooms.







This is a little out of character for my blog, but I think I'd appreciate hearing it, so I'm just going to write & not think ... if you have a Harris Teeter around you, they're doing Super Double Coupons this week! They'll double any coupon for $1.98 or less until 6/26! Tomorrow I'm getting my binder out to organize a trip.

two current obsessions

Our days are filled with trains. Train tables, books, figurines, DVDs. I took Carter to the train table at Barnes & Noble. He played for an hour, then kicked and screamed when I had to drag him away. One mom had to stop reading to her kid and stare us down until we were out of ear's reach.

I tried everything, though. There was no possible way to talk him out of there that didn't include a major public display. Next time, I'm bringing cookies in my purse. Really big, chocolatey ones.



Our house! Woo! They're starting the drywall inside tomorrow. We just found out our move-in date will be around the second week in August.


beach horror


I really thought this was our year.

Last year Carter just ate sand and cried at the beach, since he wasn't walking. This past weekend we went for round two at OBX; he couldn't even calm himself enough to let his feet hit the sand. He was scared to sit on a towel. Scared near the water. Just scared if he wasn't being held.

Needless to say, it wasn't more than ten minutes until we were hauling our gear back to the house for a nice, long nap.

Post-nap time cocktails by the pool. Nappy hour?

Carter just doesn't travel well, and when you throw scary new cribs, 15 new family member faces and roaring beaches into his mix, you get a weekend with nothing but tears.

We befriended a mini Jamie Lee Curtis. She wanted him to play with her but couldn't understand why he was so emotional the whole time. I was swimming in the pool with her (since Carter was too nervous to get in), and she gave me a confused look with her eloquent little toddler speak, But he's just my size?

He is your size. But you're a little bigger than him, so you have to show him how to not be scared.

Because I wish I could.

He slept for 13 straight hours in his crib last night.

father's day, behind the scenes

You know that adorable smile plastered between Carter's cheeks in most of my latest pictures? It's not there because the mood strikes him, and I happen to be there with a waiting camera. Oh no.

95% of those smiles come from the behind the scenes work of Carter's hilarious best friend, Daddy.











a baby by any other name would not smell as sweet


We got the sweetest, personalized, matching bean bags and pail from Maria at babyKAMP. I'm still deciding what to keep in the pail (little trains and cars? you think?).

But Carter's had no problem deciding that the lettered bean bags are great for kissing (we kiss everything these days), then throwing at Daddy to trigger his own personal giggle fit.

They're going to be perfect to teach fun name-spelling skills later on.


I'm blown away by the level of detail extended into Maria's work, from the matching tissue and tulle wrapping to the perfectly stitched lettering, no aspect was skipped.

Her site has tons to pick from and personalize. If Carter were a Carterina, I'd so have him her in these. But I can't even convince Matt to let me pick up a pack of Huggies denim diapers - he thinks they look like daisy dukes. And I guess they do, but with babies, there's supposed to be that whole gender flexibility thing going on ... ? right?

You can get 15% off your order at babyKAMP when you enter the discount code BUMBLE15 (from now until June 30, 2011).


I can pop out blog posts about Carter all day long. You know. You've seen them. I love showing him off. Bragging about him. But changing the vibe of some of my blog posts to something super personal and less than admirable? It feels a little funny.

About four years ago, my husband and I, blissfully in denial, decided to casually ask a fertility doctor why we weren't getting pregnant. We were suddenly barraged by the truths of infertility. Starting that week, my life was filled with surgeries, blood tests, ultra sounds and repeats of surgeries. For every test conducted, there was more bad news. I didn't know how badly I wanted a baby until I saw the aching look on my doctor's face. He was looking for the words to tell me I wouldn't have one.


I was an emotional wreck. I couldn't sleep, and I couldn't turn off the incessant, worried chatter in my brain. My mind was always panicky and racing. I'd lived my life in the mindset that I'd get married, have a home and make babies. It was my right. It was my plan. What do I do if I don't have a family? Travel? But I hate traveling.

In public, I'd see a pregnant woman or a mommy with a baby casually strolling around the store. The look on her face and the aloof to her stride didn't seem to fully appreciate what she had in front of her. I went home and cried all the time. My emotions morphed into a hate for any given female because she could probably have a baby, and I couldn't. I was exhausting my husband. I was always enraged, jealous or sad, and he was running out of reassurance. Eventually I opted to just not leave the house; it felt a lot easier on my heart.

To shorten the story, we did in vitro fertilization a year after our first doctor's appointment. I was on the maximum amount of fertility drugs permitted for a human with a pulse, and we were only able to retrieve two eggs. One egg fell apart immediately. The other one stayed strong, painted its eyes bright blue and became Carter.


Picture 2_2

Today my life with Carter is happy. He is more than I imagined a person could ever capably be, and he's only been alive twenty months.

Sometimes, in the back of my mind, I struggle a little bit with what's meant to be in life. As in, things that happen naturally versus forcing the issue. (If you'd asked me prior to discovering my own infertility what I thought of modern medicine, I would have told you I was against conceiving children in medical ways) But when I look at my son's face, I know someone who's this beautifully sweet has major plans laid out for his future. I think that just by claiming his spot in this world and existing, he's stronger than me. I feel like he saved me from my sorrow. I owe him the world.

I'm in a stronger position than I was four years ago. I was in such a dark place, and now I have more than I statistically should. I don't think I deserve anything more.

But I do want more for Carter.


And so that's why I'm writing. We want Carter to grow up with a sibling. I want him to have someone to play with. To hide with if his parents fight. To build giant birds' nests out of pine straw in the woods and split little snack bags of Doritos. We're giving IVF a go again.

Going backwards and doing it all again feels frustrating. Once I laid eyes on that positive pregnancy test, I knew the emotions I went through during that battle were gone forever, simple as that.

I'd love to see this turn out positive, but if it doesn't, I know that I'm not left wondering what it feels like to love a baby. I want Carter to smile into a face similar to his own and never feel alone.

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my brother & me

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matt & his brothers