Gearing Up for Baby No. 2

After reading Mrs. Jump Rope’s post on gear items for Baby 2, it made me think and question if I have everything we need for our little guy! I am pretty close to the finish line and expect to deliver in the next couple of weeks!

Fortunately, before we had Toddler Checkers, I made sure to buy a lot of our bigger gear items as gender neutral so that we could reuse them for the next baby.  Truth be told, I was a little sad to pack/give away a lot of her girl items (since I am mostly sure this baby may be our last), knowing we might never use them again!

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Everything You Wanted to Know About Surrogacy

Our surrogate Aimee posted a “Surrogacy 411″ post on her blog after receiving so many questions about our surrogacy journey, and she offered to share her post here on Hellobee.

I’ve been wanting to do a blog post all about surrogacy for some time now, but I wanted to finish my journey first before I did. It’s always been like this secret society that only the few select knew about, and it was difficult to find information about it when I began my journey. It really makes me super sad to read so many negative things about such a beautiful thing. So I’ve made it my mission to show and inform people just how wonderful the whole process is.

Here are some of the questions I’ve been asked during my entire journey….

One of the most asked questions was, “How did you get pregnant? Did you have to have sex with the intended father (IF)? Or have a three-some with the mother to get her eggs?”
Nope, no, never. Prior to my meeting my intended parents (IP’s), they’d gone through the process of retrieving eggs from my intended mother (IM) and sperm from my IF and the embryos had been frozen waiting for transfer. There is an option of doing a fresh transfer which usually includes syncing the cycles of the woman whose egg is being used with the woman who will be carrying the baby. I’m not familiar with this way, so I don’t have any information of that side. For us it was after weeks of meds and ultrasounds showing the lining of my uterus was thick enough and ready to house and grow a baby. An embryologist came into our reproductive doctor’s room where we all were waiting, and he inserted the embryos into my uterus where it attached and grew a sweet baby boy! It’s all done through IVF… science. Not some crazy backwoods thing!

“Did you use an agency?”
Yes and no. I had decided to seek out a couple independently and found my IP’s on a classified site called SMO. When I found my IP’s, they had been going through a small agency but the woman who ran it was extremely flaky. So while we used her to draw up our contract soon after that, she pretty much dropped off the face of the earth and we all agreed to continue on without her. I really liked that better because I felt like it strengthened our relationship and helped it to be as great as it is today. I can see both pros and cons to going through an agency, but I was really happy going independently and just being the one to solve any problems if they arose, directly between ourselves. There are many, many, MANY agencies out there and each have their own rules, as well as rules with the reproductive doctors offices, but I’m a little biased towards going independently.

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Momma’s Chili Recipe

My mom is notorious for flying by the seat of her pants when it comes to cooking. She can look in a nearly empty pantry and come up with something that may not be gourmet but is completely delicious. When Mr. Bear and I were married, I would often call my mother up and ask her what I should make by listing the ingredients I had available. She would patiently walk me through how to pull together a meal because she knows I’m not a cook. I can bake but when it comes to taking what I have in the pantry or fridge and making it work, I’m missing the necessary gene.

While I admire my mother’s ability to pull recipes out of thin air, I wish more of her dishes were actually on paper somewhere. The winter of my first marriage I was feeling hugely pregnant and homesick. I knew that with the temperatures as low as they were, my mother would be making what had once been a staple to my winter diet – chili. Unfortunately I had seemed to marry a man that didn’t understand that chili isn’t a want, it’s a need. Especially when the person who needs said chili is pregnant.

When I called her up one afternoon asking for her chili recipe, all I got on the other end of the line was my mother’s laughter. It wasn’t my request that had made her laugh but the idea that she had a recipe to work from. Still she took pity on me and sat down at her desk and typed up a recipe for me to use as a guide for when I went grocery shopping. It’s taken us nearly a year and quite a few tweaks since then, but I think Mr. Bear and I finally have something resembling the chili that I’ve missed so much.

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minted zucchini orzo salad

I had the most amazing salad on the cruise we took in May, and I couldn’t wait to get home to try and replicate it. It tastes amazing ice cold, which is something great in this heatwave Seattle is having, and great as a mom in general since my food is always cold by the time I get to it.

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Pepperplate: A Meal Planning App Review

Would you believe that for the longest time, I was tediously writing down recipes by hand whenever I wanted to cook something new?  All my recipes are jotted down in a spiral-bound notebook.  My organization skills in the recipes department is nil.  I’m usually pretty quick to jump on the technology bandwagon, but with stuff like this, I’ve been slow to the game…

Imagine my surprise when I discovered Pepperplate, a meal planning and recipes app that singlehandedly converted me from a pen-to-paper girl to app fanatic.  The best part is, this app is FREE, and you can access it from both your computer and your phone (available on both Androids and iPhones).

This app is great for saving recipes, and makes it so easy to transform your recipe list into a grocery shopping list too.  It even has a calendar that lets you plan out your 3 meals a day every day of the week (I don’t use this feature though – I prefer a visual on my kitchen whiteboard).

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Accidental Baby-Led Weaning

When Little Oats was four months old, the doctor suggested starting her on rice cereal. She was a little peanut in the weight department, and he thought it might help her sleep through the night (haven’t we all heard a variation on this?). So, just before Christmas, we started spoon-feeding her a brown-rice cereal… and she loved it! Gobbled up bowl after bowl… until her stomach protested. She had gas pains, constipation, and really struggled to go to the bathroom. So we backed off until 6 months, when we attempted to introduce other foods.

(Little Oats devouring her rice cereal)

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Hot Air Balloon Birthday Party

Baby Summer turned one! The second time around, this first year FLEW by. Shockingly fast. We definitely wanted to throw Summer a first birthday party as we had for Gemma, but I knew that I’d like to keep it simple and sweet. I chose a hot air balloon theme to commemorate Summer. She is so carefree, easygoing, sweet and easily adored, even referred to as “Baby Happy” by many of Gemma’s friends. I just wanted something that reminded me of happy, smiles and sunshine, so I decided on a red, blue and yellow theme that always reminds me of summertime.

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