Sunday, October 28, 2007

Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

We went to the pumpkin patch this weekend to pick out the some local pumpkins for our front porch. The kids had a good time and got some real winners! It was Justin's first year walking through the pumpkin patch and he had a great time, as did Sarah. Here are some pics from the day:

Justin working hard at pushing the cart for us!

Surveying the scenery (Great composition Ron!)

Sarah finds the perfect pumkin

Cart ride!

Costume Party #2

Ron and I went to a costume party last night dressed up as Abrahem the salt merchant and his first wife Miriam. Ron's costume was authentic dress from Niger and mine was borrowed from a belly dancer. This is the most skin I will ever show in public!
Close up shot - mega make up
Do we look authentic or what?

Ron the sultan

Monday, October 22, 2007

Costume Party

We went to a costume party last weekend. Here are some cute pics of our little "bee."

Justin with his good friend Charlie

Justin and Rowan - twin bees

Curl shot!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Mommy's Goup

Justin and I are back at Momm's group! We had a grand time hanging out with the kids and moms. Most importantly, Justin had a great time of socialization with the other kids. Here are some cute pics from the day.

Justin and Ella having fun

Justin and his new friend Isaac

Deanna and Rowan having reading time

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

October 15th was National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. I hosted a candle light vigil at Common Ground Community Center. We had a sharing time and candle lighting. Here are a few pictures of the candles we lit for each of our precious angels.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Late Season Blackberry Picking

My friend Allison and I went for a walk yesterday and noticed some late blooming blackberries. We decided to go picking today since it would be our last chance this season most likely. We brought the long clippers with us so we could get the ones too high to reach. Sarah came along, and between the three of us we picked two big bucket fulls! Sarah and I went home and made a yummy cobbler. It reminded me of the times I used to pick blackberries on my Grandparent's farm in Oregon. Blackberry cobbler will always bring back good memories of the farm.

Sarah's Birthday Party

Last weekend we celebrated Sarah's 9th birthday at the Discovery Museum. She and her friends had a great time. Here are a few of the pics from the day:

Birthday girl with her cake

The girls

Justin had fun too!

Waiting for the sugar!

Puppet Show

Playing on the boat

I'm Published!

I recently submitted an article to a local moms' publication called Hum Mums, and guess what? It got accepted! I've never been "published" before, so it feels pretty good. Here is the article:

Multiple Miscarriages: One Mother’s Journey

By: April Alexander

My Story

When I reached my early thirties my biological clock began screaming at me, and I found myself longing to have another baby. I figured it might take a little longer to conceive due to my age, but little did I know that I was about to start a journey I never could have imagined.

After months of trying to conceive, my pregnancy test finally revealed two lines. I called my husband immediately, and both of us reveled in the joy of becoming parents again. A few days later my elation turned to sadness, however, when I miscarried. I saw my doctor shortly after this and was told that isolated early miscarriages are common. I thought to myself, “Okay, no biggie, my body is just warming up.” I became pregnant a few months later, and I was confident that this pregnancy would stick. A few weeks into the pregnancy I was shocked and devastated when I suffered my second miscarriage.

My doctor was proactive and began treatment, although most doctors won’t take action until after a woman has had three consecutive early miscarriages. She prescribed natural progesterone hormone, as low progesterone is suspected to be one of the leading causes of early multiple miscarriages. I conceived again, and soon after my positive pregnancy test my doctor had my HCG, (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin), levels tested. HCG is a hormone the embryo produces after conception. When the results came back my doctor said sadly, “I’m sorry, you lost this one.” I was grasping for any remote shred of hope to cling to, and I remember asking her if she was sure even though I knew it was over.

I had now entered the territory of secondary infertility which is diagnosed when a woman who has had one or more children is unable to conceive or carry a baby to term. My doctor had the challenge of figuring out the cause of my early, (or chemical), miscarriages, and I was told that there was no guarantee that I would be able to carry another baby to term naturally. I could now relate with the millions of women who receive this devastating news. I kept thinking, “How could this be happening to me?” I was awash with feelings of anger, loss, fear, and sadness. I wanted my daughter to have a sibling, and as I saw other pregnant women around me I longed to become pregnant again.

After loads of testing, I was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder called Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome, (APS.) APS is a disease which causes the veins in the placenta of a pregnant woman become filled with blood clots at the cellular level. These clots cut off the baby’s essential life giving blood flow and nutrients. My treatment was one baby aspirin per day and three daily self administered heparin injections.

Five months later I became pregnant, and this would be my last try, because if this pregnancy didn’t succeed I would need to take high risk medications. After an ultrasound at around six weeks it was official – we had a heartbeat! I made it through the first trimester with flying colors. But, at the end of the second trimester I started having serious problems with my heart, and another autoimmune disease flared up. I couldn’t believe all of this was happening to me. I desperately hoped and prayed that my baby would survive. Amazingly, I carried the pregnancy to term, and my miracle baby boy Justin was born on March 31, 2006! I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room that night; we were all so relieved that he had arrived into the world safe and healthy after the long, hard road.

The Fruit of My Labors

Through this journey I have learned an incredible amount about both the medical and emotional aspects of miscarriages. About 1 out of 4 women who become pregnant has a miscarriage at some point in her lifetime. Of all diagnosed pregnancies, between 15% and 20% end in a miscarriage in the first trimester or early in the second trimester. (1) The most common causes of repeated miscarriages include: endometriosis, genetic problems, structural problems involving the uterus or cervix, (such as an incompetent cervix), luteal phase defects, diabetes, and thyroid disease, (if it's not treated promptly), and immunological factors such as antiphospholipid syndrome. (2)

The emotional repercussions of having a miscarriage are far reaching, and many women feel isolated in their grief. When I was grieving my miscarriages it was difficult to find someone who could relate with my struggle. I joined an online support group, which helped me work through my grief and provided vital information about miscarriages. If you are grieving alone I encourage you to find support. There are local grief support groups, counseling services, and online communities that can help you through this time.

1.) Creinin MD, et al. (2001). Early pregnancy failure-Current management
concepts. Obstetrical and Gynecological Survey, 56(2): 105–113.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Art Show!

I have a mosaic art show at US Bank in Arcata for the month of October. I have nine pieces in the show and most are older pieces, but there are a few new ones. Another mosaic artist, Brooke Fox, is also showing art there. I haven't done a show since Justin was born, so it feels good to get my stuff out there again. I'm feeling inspired to get back into doing mosaics again. So in my free time, (ha ha), hopefully I can start doing more art. So check out my show if you can and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Sarah Is Nine Today!

Today is Sarah's 9th birthday. She was born Friday October 2, 1998 at 4:29 pm. at Redwood Memorial Hospital in Fortuna, delivered by Dr. Kathleen Harner. Weighing in at a tiny 6 lbs. 2.6 oz and 19 1/4 inches long. Her full name is Sarah Alyse Alexander. Sarah means princess and Alyse means truth.

It doesn't seem like it's been that long since we've had this wonderful girl in our lives. She really is a great kid, and we're blessed by God to have her.

We didn't have a digital camera when she was born, but here are a few cute pictures of her.

Dega's Ballerinas Recital

I thought it would be fun to post a few pictures from Sarah's spring dance recital: Dega's Ballerinas. Sarah was in two dances: The Blue Dancers and Dancers Waiting to Enter. Her class was dressed in costumes and looked like the ballerinas in the paintings by Degas. They looked gorgeous!

Dancers Waiting to Enter costume

Blue Dancers

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Ballet Class

Sarah has started her second year of ballet. She takes classes from Erin Fernandez at Common Ground Community Center. She loves it and has moved up from Ballet1 to Ballet2 this year. Her class is going to be working on their Christmas performance soon. We're very proud of her hard work and progress! Here are some pictures from her class last week.
releve' in first position

stretching in first position

the waltz

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Sarah and the Violin

Sarah just started taking violin lessons at school and she loves it! She got to learn a few notes this week and when she played for us it sounded great - no squeaking. I'm learning about the world of rossen (sp?), strings and much more! Sarah is excited to learn how to play an instrument and we're glad she gets this opportunity. She will have a concert this fall, so stay tuned!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Justin's Play Date!

Rowan and Justin "playing catch"

Having fun with toys

Justin is pretty shy by nature, and normally when he sees kids his own age he makes a quick escape. The other day we had his friend Rowan over for a play date and amazingly he had a great time! Instead of running away he actually played with her and the two of them got along famously. (Well, except for when Justin hit her with a toy, the head....but that was an accident!) They had a great time riding on Justin's little car and at one point Justin even pushed her while she was riding on it - it was too cute! Other highlights included eating lunch together, (and wanting each others food of course), and dancing to some tunes. So, we're happy to say that our boy is coming out of his social reclusiveness nicely these days. :) Thanks Deanna and Rowan for the fun play date! More to come on this topic, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

We Have Lift Off!

On the run!

Justin took his first steps around three months ago at @ 14 months. Since then he has been taking his 'ol sweet time mastering the skill of walking. He is very cautious by nature, has been from the get go, and no amount of prodding or bribing would make him go any faster - thank you very much! In the past few weeks, however, he has decided it's finally time to Go For It! He now walks everywhere and is beginning to gain some speed. It's great to see him getting some wings, but in a way it's hard to see my baby growing up, sigh. Well, I better get used to it!

Sarah started school three days ago and is now a big 4th grader! Her teacher's name is Mrs. Johnson, (does that sound like a teacher's name or what?!), and she loves her. The 4th graders at Sarah's school get to take strings this year in music class. Sarah has decided to go with the violin and we're excited to see her jam out some tunes with her bow and strings! Well,.... once she gets through the squeaky stage I'm sure it will be wonderful!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Alexander Family Vacation - Coffee & More: Part Two

When we were in Seattle we had to see the original first Starbuck's at Pikes Place of course! We aren't called the quad shot for nothing. ;)

While we were in Vancouver we went to the old town area, also called Gas Town. We found a great coffee shop where Justin had his first iced latte - decaf of course. He LOVED it, no shock there!

This is the best shot from the trip by far! I love the indignant look on Justin's face - "What you lookin' at?" Sarah and I were laughing so hard we could hardly breathe. Definitely a Kodak moment!

Alexander Family Vacation! Part One

We just returned from our travels to the far north: Oregon, Washington, and Vancouver B.C.! We had a relaxing fun filled adventure.

Our first stop was Ashland where we hung out at a fun park. Sarah scaled a super tall climber - what fun!

The next day we went to an amazing drive through safari in Oregon. A sign read, "Please keep all windows and doors closed at all times." - yikes! We steered clear of the rhinos!

We headed up to Seattle Washington where we went to the famous Space Needle, Seattle Art Museum, Pike's Place Market, Seattle Bay, and the locks.

Next we went to Vancouver, B.C.; It was our first visit to Canada and we loved it! Our first stop was China Town where we visited the beautiful botanical gardens and did some shopping and sight seeing. We found a great Chinese noodle restaurant. Justin liked "eating" with the chopsticks.

Old town Vancouver was by far our favorite part of the trip. It's called "Gas Town" and has lots of quaint European type shops and boutiques. There were loads of out door cafes and coffee shops. There were even a few pubs! I felt like I was back in England almost. After our visit in Canada we went back to Seattle for a few days then headed back down to Oregon where we hung out with April's family for the weekend and then headed home.