Wednesday, December 31, 2014

December Photo Challenge...Or Naw

For some reason, teenagers like to say "or naw" and drag out the 'naw' instead of just saying "or not."  It's actually catchy.  You should make a resolution in 2015 to start using it.  You will thank me.  You are welcome.
On another unrelated note, I’m a terrible blog slacker because I said I would do a December Photo Challenge, and then I decided not to.  It’s been a rough month, so I won’t even apologize.  Instead, I will share a few pictures from this month that I have enjoyed taking.

I hope everyone has a blessed New Year.  I hope that 2015 fulfills dreams for many of us that 2014 failed to do. 

That sounds pessimistic.  I’ll try again.

I hope everyone has a blessed New Year.  I hope that 2015 isn’t as cruddy of a year as 2014 was.

Grrr, I messed it up, again.

I hope everyone has a blessed New Year.  Good riddance to 2014, which somehow ended up more wretched than 2013.

Apparently, this isn’t going to work.

I hope everyone has a blessed New Year.  The end.  J

(For the record, I did not take all of these pictures. However, they were sent to me, and I liked them. Therefore, I'm taking credit for them. True photo credit goes to someone else in my family. They won't really care.)
Thanksgiving...trying to get a picture with Bradette's daughter, Eleanor.
I don't think she liked my curls.

My handsome stag and me at Thanksgiving

I think Eleanor prefers fewer people in her pictures.

So many little time for a nap!  Eleanor with the matriarch of the family...beautiful Mimi.

My awesome cousin, Matthew.

All of the cousins at bowling

Happy hour with college friends

Sushi with the girls

Todd and our buddy, Eddie, on their last day of "No Shave November."

How we decorate for Christmas...exterior lights by Dave, snow by God.

Our tree.  I would leave this up year-round if Todd would let me.

Our mantle.  The picture doesn't do it justice.

I took this picture to use for "cozy" on the photo challenge.

LifeChurch...decorated for Christmas

Our beloved LifeKids area

The church lobby

Headed to my company Christmas party

A girl party scarf exchange.  Such a fun night, Amy!
Right before our LifeGroup Leaders Christmas party...
I was a Griswold Christmas, and Todd was mistletoe.
(See his headpiece?)

At the LifeGroup Leaders Christmas party

Todd dressed as a present to God during class.
The little guy was saying, "You have no arms."

I'm sorry, but my uncle caught a goat at the golf course. 
You have to admit that's hilarious and worth sharing!

My sister, Jenny, and her family

My nieces with my parents.  (I don't have a picture of my nieces with their parents from this Christmas.  Poo!)

Our kids with their cousins from Todd's side

We attended 2 churches on Christmas Eve.  It was an amazing day of worship.

Christmas Eve at Mom & Dad's

More Christmas celebrations when my nephews made it back into town

Myself, Mom, and sister Jenny...We missed having my other sister's family in town!

This is how we SnapChat our kids' friends when they leave their accounts open on our phones.

What is this wet, white stuff falling from the sky?!

Home Sweet Home

Because it is...

Monday, December 22, 2014


Yesterday, we were spending our Sunday afternoon in a pretty normal fashion.  Two of our kids were playing ping-pong in the garage while the other had holed up in her room behind an iPad screen that was playing her latest teeny-bopper TV show obsession.  Todd and I had turned our kitchen into gift-wrapping central.  He wraps gifts as well as and probably better than anyone else I know.  I make pretty cute bows to dress them up.  Two of Gary Morris’ Christmas albums were setting the mood for our afternoon of Christmas fun.  (If you haven’t heard Gary and his son, Matt, sing together, you’re missing out on a beautiful treat.)

I stopped for a quick restroom break, and while I was away from my given duties, I had the idea that it was time to find out the sex of the two babies we just lost.  I ran back into the kitchen to make sure my handsome stag was on board with the new idea.  After assuring him that I would not turn into a complete pile of mush for the remainder of the day, he agreed that he was ready to see the answers.

We turned on my phone, opened my email, and found the PGS (pre-implantation genetic screening) results from Tulsa Fertility Center.  (Remember, we performed genetic testing on our embryos, so we actually have the chromosomal make-up of all 7 embryos from this cycle, including their sex.)

It quickly jumped out at us that both of the chromosomally normal embryos (the two that we transferred) had an XY chromosome in the 23rd spot.  It then quickly dawned on us that we had no idea what that meant.  For some reason, all of our training had left both of our minds.  After a search on Dr. Google, we found out that meant they were both boys.  Boys!

For years, we had assumed we would have girls.  Most of the IVF babies (not all, but most) that we know personally are girls.  We hadn’t dreamt of having boys any further than coming up with a family name we would use for one.  But standing there in our kitchen, surrounded by gifts, wrapping paper, bows, and Gary Morris singing “What Child is This?,” my world was turned upside down once again.

For the first time in this entire process, I knew that we could have ourselves a little, baby boy.  In fact, our most successful cycle to date was with a son.  I was overwhelmed with emotions, but as promised, I did not turn to mush…

… until I received a text from my sister, Jenny, saying that she knew we would be reunited with these babies someday.  I like to believe that all of the babies we have made through IVF are in Heaven with our Father.  Now, we know that there are definitely some feisty boys up there pulling their sisters’ hair.  I hope we meet all of our babies, someday.


As a side note, my acupuncture doctor told me on November 26 that he could tell from my pulse that I was pregnant with a boy.  Even more ironic, my uncle announced to my cousin (before any of them knew we were pregnant) that we were pregnant with two boys.  Like my cousin said, he’s never been known to be clairvoyant; I guess some dreams are more real than others.

Todd and I have a long history with Gary Morris and Matt Morris music.  Therefore, I’m going to leave two videos that I would recommend everyone watch:
·         Gary Morris singing “My Son”
·         Matt Morris & Justin Timberlake singing “Hallelujah”  (For the record, Matt Morris was on The Mickey Mouse Club with Justin Timberlake.  Now, you know.)

Friday, December 19, 2014

No Promises

For a few years, we would take family vacations with Todd’s side of the family to Myrtle Beach.  It was a week-long vacation.  We would drive out there to save money…after all, flying 5 people gets pricey.  (We even had to walk Kaleb through a cost-analysis exercise one time, so he could see how much money we were saving.)  Anyway, the drive was 21 hours one-way when we lived in Dallas and the kids were in Arkansas.  In order to maximize our time there, we left Myrtle Beach at midnight and returned home around 10pm the next night.  This is all added information that is not important.

The point of the story is that we took the kids on an annual vacation.  The first year we did this, they started asking lots of questions about what we would do while we were there.  Quickly, we learned to answer them with, “We are making no promises.”  By the next year, we had shortened this to “No promises.”  By the final year, the kids had learned to answer their own questions with this answer.

We had our final ultrasound today.  Goodbye, Wandy…until next time?  The news is not good.  This was, indeed, not our cycle to have a baby.

What the next step is?  I don’t know.

What I do know is that I can make no promises.

I can make no promises that next time you see me, I will be happy-go-lucky.  However, I can make no promises that I will be sad, either.  My emotions will be unpredictable.  I could change how I feel at the drop of a hat.  When you’re dealing with something this painful, you deserve to have your mourning periods.  That being said, you also deserve the right to pull yourself out of the mourning slump and enjoy life when you can.  For the record, finding joy in life during a time like this does not mean that I’m over it or that it doesn’t hurt; it means that I cannot remain upset 24/7 or I could end up letting happiness slip through my fingers forever.

I can make no promises to be optimistic from this point forward.  There will be times that things will seem like they are never going to go our way.  I will do my best to only unload on Todd, though.  J  Lucky fella.

I can make no promises that I will respond to each and every text, email, voicemail, or Facebook message that I receive.  Sometimes, I have no words for what to say back.  I do appreciate any and every message that you send, though.  Just don’t be offended if you don’t hear back from me.

I can make no promises to what our future holds.  More IVF, donor eggs, donor sperm, donor embryos, adoption, no more Provence babies?  Who knows?  Todd and I have a lot discuss.  We have a lot to pray about.  Our next step used to be decided.  Then, we got pregnant, and things changed.
I can make no promises to stop making jokes about stealing babies.  Maybe those are a little off-color, but they make Todd and me laugh.  We enjoy dreaming up new ways to go to Walmart and bring home bread, eggs, and a baby.  That being said, I can make no promises to stop making jokes about taking friends' multiples off their hands.

As for now, we will take life one day at a time.  The kids get into town tonight, so we won’t be making any decisions until after they leave.  I will stop my Progesterone injections tonight and hope that I naturally miscarry.

At this time, the only thing that anyone can do for us is to pray.  We appreciate the support.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Handkerchief

When I was a little girl, my dad always had a handkerchief on him.  When I had the sniffles, he handed me his handkerchief.  When I cried, he handed me his handkerchief.  When I skinned my knee, he handed me his handkerchief.  He would put a handkerchief in his back pocket with the same importance of his wallet and watch.  I don’t remember a day that my dad didn’t have a handkerchief on him.
When a friend of mine passed away in college, my high school History teacher walked over to me at the funeral and handed me his handkerchief.  It reminded me of my father’s actions, and I was comforted.
When I got married, I had handkerchiefs monogrammed for him with my maiden initials.  It was symbolic of how I would always be his little girl.  I also had some made for Todd and myself because I knew that we would both cry on our wedding day.  Those handkerchiefs were meant for happy tears.
See the handkerchief in my hand in the bottom-left picture?
This week, I haven’t been without my handkerchief.  I have spent the better part of the last 3 days crying into one while curled up on my husband’s perfectly-made-for-me chest.

You see, 23 days ago, Todd and I received some of the best news of our lives.  We are pregnant.  We were elated!  We spent the next 3 weeks sharing the good news with friends and family.  (We chose for me not to post it to the blog because we were planning to tell our kids when they get here tomorrow night for Christmas.  We did not want to take a chance of them finding out via social media.  That would not have been a problem back when my mom was announcing she was pregnant with me!  Yes, kids, I’m that old.)
Anyway, our second pregnancy test at the doctor was on December 2, and we had a bit of a scare.  Our hCG levels were not rising as fast as they should have been.  However, by December 9, everything was on track, and we scheduled our first ultrasound on Monday, December 15.
We were so excited!  I asked Todd that week what he was most excited about, and he said, “Watching you be a mother.”  Awe!  So romantic.  Then, he quickly followed it with, “And freaking out over everything.”  Ha!  He knows me so very well.
As we sat in the exam room on Monday, we were like kids on Christmas morning, waiting for their parents to brush their teeth and get the video camera off the charger.  Dr. McKinney couldn’t take any longer to come into the room.  I was thrilled.  I even remember asking Todd if he was excited to see our baby for the first time.  We were all smiles and nerves…but good nerves.
The ultrasound started, and Dr. McKinney did a good job hiding that maybe things didn’t look quite copacetic.  It wasn’t until the nurse left the room without a word that I began to worry.  She could see that one of the embryos had implanted.  However, the gestational sac did not contain a yolk sac.  She proceeded to explain to us that this is called a blighted ovum.  She wanted us to return for a follow-up ultrasound on Friday (tomorrow).  It was at that point that she really burst our bubble.  She informed us that there was less than a 10% chance that this would turn into a viable pregnancy.
I was crushed.  Devastated.
I realize we still have a 10% chance that this will work.  I realize my God is bigger than this problem.  That doesn’t take away all of my pain.  There is a chance that this isn’t our cycle, and that hurts.  I am doing my best to remain positive and remember that God can fix this.  However, that doesn’t mean that He will.
I have spent the last 3 days crying into my monogrammed handkerchief.  That handkerchief comforts me a little, though.  It reminds me of when I was a child and life was so easy.

Monday, December 15, 2014

This Hope as an Anchor for the Soul

The night before our third retrieval, Todd and I were at a benefit dinner with some friends.  I know I told about this awesome gesture, but I haven’t taken the time to blog the details.
At the benefit dinner
My cousin, Bradette, worked with the members of our family and a few close friends to absolutely make our night one of the most special nights ever.  Right around the start of our dinner, texts with these notes and pictures began coming to us in this order…well, roughly this order J:
My parents –
Pistols Firing for Baby Provence!!!  - Mom and Dad. 🐴🐴🐴🐴  (iPhone emoticons don’t always translate well into Microsoft Word.  Those were horses in honor of our college, OSU.)
Our kids –
Think you can get another one as cute as us?  :)
Heather & Greg, one of my college girlfriends –
I'm late!!!! I'm on Houston time ;) Thoughts, prayers and ANCHORS headed ur way!!!! I love u both so much! And I think ANCHOR thoughts from a Texas fisherman r a good luck charm!!!  Do u love that it took us three tries for a decent pic :-) another good sign I think! Love u and praying for this anchor to work!
Mimi & Bill –
Hoping and praying for a new great grandchild! - Mimi and Bill
Larry, one of our groomsmen –
I'm praying for you Laura and Todd!!  Thinking about you guys!  Love, Larry.
My sister, Jenny's clan –
#anchordown #boysonly #nogirlsallowed  #mycousinsaredrab #kalebsboring #laurajr (#probablynotagoodthing;)) #hopehegetsmylooks-pete #jennysthefavoriteaunt #iamnotchangingdiapers #itsallingodsplan
My sister, Amber’s family –
This is us being hopeful for you guys and baby Provence!  Anchor down those little embryos tomorrow. We love you and are Praying for you!!!
Carri, Jen, Sam, & Annie, our friends from Dallas –
Anchors away!!!  We love you guys and will be praying for you guys tomorrow (and 5 days after that...and then for the next 9 days...and then for the next 9 months!).  Love, Sam and Annie (oh, and Jen and Carri too) 😍😍😍😍

Gotta love outtakes!
Uncle Brad –
Well pilgrim, you know what the duke always says, we're wasting daylight. Let's get it done.
Cousin David’s group –
We are praying for you'll daily that God brings you a beautiful healthy child. We love you and we are here for you.
Cousin Danielle’s bunch –
This family is cheering you on!!!! Love you all!!!  Anchor them babies!!!!    Remember I get 1!!!!  :-)
Cousin Matthew –
Todd, play this on your phone right meow!  Wait for it....  BAM!!!!!  It's a bird, it's a plane... No, it's Anchorman!!!
Michael, Samantha, & Kennedi, Todd’s bestman & his family –
We love you guys more than you know. We will be thinking about you and specifically praying for God's hand to guide the doctor in placing those embabies in the perfect spot. Just know tomorrow, we will be with you in spirit and if we could hug your necks really tight, we would!!! Go P's! The G's are super stoked about tomorrow! 🎉🙏👍👼 (Again with the iPhone emoticons vs. Microsoft Word.)
Uncle Vern & Aunt Jan –
Never underestimate the power of prayer - our hearts are crossed for you.  Uncle Vern and Aunt Jan
Cousin Jeff –
Wishing you luck, Jeff.
Kyle, Jeni, & Keelie, one of our groomsmen’s crew –
Want y'all to know we are praying for you guys and thinking of you and share your hope that baby Simon or Simona will be here soon. These aren't the real family pics....those will come afterwhile...they are on Kyle's phone and he is on a delayed flight. :) Love you guys so much!!!  Keep us posted.
Sans Kyle, who was travelling and missed the photo op.
Last, but not least, the ringleader herself, Bradette, Rob, & Eleanor –
You may not always know how much everyone thinks about you but we hope you always know that everyone loves you!!  Our cup runneth over and over and over.  Love you guys!  The Groves
This was one of the sweetest gestures we have ever received.  Todd and I will never forget it.  Thank you to everyone that took the time to participate.  We are blessed to have you in our lives!
Shot Clock:
1.       Tuesday morning, October 28 – 300 units of Follistim
2.       Tuesday evening, October 28 – 300 units of Follistim
3.       Wednesday morning, October 29 – 300 units of Follistim
4.       Wednesday evening, October 29 – 300 units of Follistim
5.       Thursday morning, October 30 – 300 units of Follistim
6.       Thursday evening, October 30 – 300 units of Follistim
7.       Friday morning, October 31 – 300 units of Follistim
8.       Friday evening, October 31 – 300 units of Follistim
9.       Saturday morning, November 1 – 300 units of Follistim
10.   Saturday evening, November 1 – 300 units of Follistim
11.   Sunday morning, November 2 – 300 units of Follistim
12.   Sunday evening, November 2 – 300 units of Follistim
13.   Monday morning, November 3 – 300 units of Follistim
14.   Monday evening, November 3 – 300 units of Follistim
15.   Tuesday morning, November 4 – 300 units of Follistim
16.   Tuesday evening, November 4 – 300 units of Follistim
17.   Wednesday morning, November 5 – 300 units of Follistim
18.   Wednesday morning, November 5 – 250 mcg of Ganirelix – NEW SHOT!!!
19.   Wednesday evening, November 5 – 300 units of Follistim
20.   Thursday morning, November 6 – 300 units of Follistim
21.   Thursday morning, November 6 – 250 mcg of Ganirelix
22.   Thursday evening, November 6 – 300 units of Follistim
23.   Friday morning, November 7 – 300 units of Follistim
24.   Friday morning, November 7 – 250 mcg of Ganirelix
25.   Friday evening, November 7 – 300 units of Follistim
26.   Saturday morning, November 8 – 300 units of Follistim
27.   Saturday morning, November 8 – 250 mcg of Ganirelix
28.   Saturday evening, November 8 – HCG Trigger Shot – Ovidrel
29.   Monday evening, November 10 – Progesterone ½ ml
30.   Tuesday evening, November 11 – Progesterone ½ ml
31.   Wednesday evening, November 12 – Progesterone 1 ml
32.   Thursday evening, November 13 – Progesterone 1 ml
33.   Friday evening, November 14 – Progesterone 1 ml
34.   Saturday evening, November 15 – Progesterone 1 ml
35.   Sunday evening, November 16 – Progesterone 1 ml – theme song from “The Big Bang Theory”
36.   Monday evening, November 17 – Progesterone 1 ml – Bon Bons commercial (
37.   Tuesday evening, November 18 – Progesterone 1 ml – “All I Want for Christmas,” by Mariah Carey
38.   Wednesday evening, November 19 – Progesterone 1 ml – “Pretty Woman”
39.   Thursday evening, November 20 – Progesterone 1 ml – “Shoo. Fly. Mosquito.” from Pioneer Park Elementary Honor Choir  (even Google has never heard this song)
40.   Friday evening, November 21 – Progesterone 1 ml – “Up On the Housetop”
41.   Saturday evening, November 22 – Progesterone 1 ml – “Kiss,” by Prince in the janitor’s closet at a wedding reception
42.   Sunday evening, November 23 – Progesterone 1 ml – “Close,” by Hillsong Young & Free
43.   Monday evening, November 24 – Progesterone 1 ml – “It’s a Hard Knock Life”
44.   Tuesday evening, November 25 – Progesterone 1 ml – “Jesus Loves Me”
45.   Wednesday evening, November 26 – Progesterone 1 ml – “Oceans,” by Hillsong United
46.   Thursday evening, November 27 – Progesterone 1 ml – “Jesus Loves the Little Children”
47.   Friday evening, November 28 – Progesterone 1 ml – “Jingle Bells” in the women’s restroom at Waterfront Grill
48.   Saturday evening, November 29 – Progesterone 1 ml – “All out of Love,” by Air Supply
49.   Sunday evening, November 30 – Progesterone 1 ml – “Rock-a-bye Baby”
50.   Monday evening, December 1 – Progesterone 1 ml – “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”
51.   Tuesday evening, December 2 – Progesterone 1 ml – “Silent Night”
52.   Wednesday evening, December 3 – Progesterone 1 ml – “Let it Snow”
53.   Thursday evening, December 4 – Progesterone 1 ml – “You’re the One that I Want”
54.   Friday evening, December 5 – Progesterone 1 ml – “Charles Page High Forever” – in honor of Jenks High School winning the football state championship…again
55.   Saturday evening, December 6 – Progesterone 1 ml – OSU Fight Song – in honor of OSU beating OU in football as 19 ½ point underdogs
56.   Sunday evening, December 7 – Progesterone 1 ml – OSU Alma Mater – had to keep the weekend theme going, and it’s the last school song I know
57.   Monday evening, December 8 – Progesterone 1 ml – “Silent Night”…oops, I’m repeating!
58.   Tuesday evening, December 9 – Progesterone 1 ml – “The Wheels on the Bus”
59.   Wednesday evening, December 10 – Progesterone 1 ml – “Baby Got Back,” on request of Tiffany & Sadie
60.   Thursday evening, December 11 – Progesterone 1 ml – “Rudolph”
61.   Friday evening, December 12 – Progesterone 1 ml – “Frosty the Snowman”
62.   Saturday evening, December 13 – Progesterone 1 ml – “Come as You Are,” by Crowder
63.   Sunday evening, December 14 – Progesterone 1 ml – “This is Amazing Grace,” by Phil Wickham