Making a Baby, IUI 4 – Part 1

Making Baby Mettler

It’s officially go time again!

We are switching up the blog layout and decided to write basically everything up to insemination in a full blog, then follow it up with the results and all of that good stuff. This way we don’t have 17 chapters for everyone to read and follow.

CD 2: This morning we had our first Ovary scan of this cycle. It is cycle day 2, and our emotions are already all over the place! We are very hopeful this time because literally, everything has changed. Steph has been completely Gluten-free for 90 days now, the medications are almost all different. This ovary scan was the easiest and quickest one we have ever been to. So that was also great. The right ovary was completely quiet and the Left had a couple of follicles.

Steph is starting Chlomid tomorrow and for the next five days (CD3-CD8) and then adding Gonal F Injections on cycle days 5,7, and 9. We had some Gonal F leftover from our last attempt so we used that first.

Our insurance technically doesn’t cover “infertility” but DOES cover “diagnostic stuff”. CRM (Center for Reproductive Medicine) submitted a claim for the diagnostic (cost of ultrasound and bloodwork) which was $250 each time at the other office PLUS the copay, so now if insurance continues to cover it, we should only have to pay a $65 copay each time instead of $250, which would REALLY help cost wise.

Fun/Annoying fact that we learned: The regularly prescribed dosage (250mcg) Ovidrel trigger shot is only 50-70% as effective as the Pregnyl trigger shot. WHAT?!! So what is the point in using the Ovidrel at all if the effectiveness is that insignificant in comparison?!! That’s just silly… 

THE SCIENCE and RESEARCH

We also just learned that the original donor we chose (the whole donor fiasco is in our previous blogs) is suddenly no longer available for purchase. So we have to switch sperm donors again, but it’s probably for the best after that whole mix up.

We narrowed it down to a few this weekend and will be ordering it this week once we decide on one and get the all-clear from the dr.

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One Week later CD 10: 

We went for our follicle scan on Friday, there were 3 follicles growing, Two 12mm and one 10mm. Still not big enough, so they told us to do One more Gonal-F injection the next day (Saturday) and then come back on Monday (3 days later) to check on the growth.

The nurse advised us to go ahead and order the sperm now so that it was at the office in time. This office has the capability of using their own Cryo tanks to store it in case something happens to where we would need to wait until the next cycle, etc. which is SUPER awesome. Normally the “to-go” tanks that they use for shipping are only good for 7 days. We decided to go with a Donor from NW Cryobank for quite a few reasons. They had a better selection for the things we need and want. The CMV negative donors are much fewer in numbers so to find one with the qualities we were looking for was an adventure in itself.

Sam and I have different things we look at when selecting a donor – I look for whether they’re educated, whether they’re a nice, caring person, their favorite things (TV shows tell a lot about the person!), and what they do for work. Sam looks for things like how old their parents and grandparents lived to be, whether there’s been cancer in the family, how many siblings, how many siblings are girls.. (basically all the DNA things that are actually controllable as opposed to my assessment of whether they’re nice, lol). In spite of our nature vs nurture conversations, we found a donor that is amazing and fits all of our criteria.

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Monday CD 13:

Follicle scan was this morning at 7:30 am and we have LOTS of activity… One follicle is at 14.5, One is 13, One is 12.8 and one is 10. One of the things we have been doing differently now that we are at CRM, is that they take my blood each visit (yay me) to measure the amount of estrogen in my body. They use this as a more accurate way to detect ovulation. As much as it sucks getting poked and prodded each time, I know the end result will be worth it. Currently, we are waiting for a phone call to tell us what to do next based on the results, whether I need another Gonal F shot, or whether we ride it out and come back or trigger, etc. It’s looking like we will be coming in this week for insemination, we just don’t know specifically yet until we get the call. As of 3pm, we are both anxious as hell.

Monday, later(4:52pm):

The nurse called. Tonight we have to do another Gonal F shot, but just a half a dose of only 37.5 because they are trying to slow down 1-2 of those follicles. If there are 4, they will cancel the cycle and that is NOT what we want. We go back on Wednesday morning to check up on them and then we will decide what our next step is.

Wednesday CD 15:

Last night, we lit some incense, and put our fertility stones around the fertility statue that our best friend got us for some extra luck with slowing down that extra follicle! We felt like it surelyyyyy couldn’t hurt anything.

This is a statue of the Celtic triple goddess of the Sun, the Moon, and Childbirth.

We had our next ultrasound to see what our follicles are doing at 7:15 this morning, And they slowed down all right! Maybe a little too much. We are down to 2 possibly 3 follicles and those ones haven’t really grown much at all…One is 15 ish, one is 14 and one is 13 (They were 14, 13, 12, & 10 respectively before). Butttt Steph has cervical mucus, which is a sign of ovulation, so they added a progesterone check to her bloodwork to check her progesterone levels, which are able to tell us if she’s actually ovulating or not.

And nowwwww we wait for that phone call again to let us know what our next steps are going to be. This waiting game is going to be the death of us. Whyyyy does it have to take allllll day to get our results. (We are working on this patience thing…)

(Progesterone levels peak a week after ovulation. Measuring progesterone levels at this peak time gives us a way to assess ovulation. A progesterone level above 3 generally indicates that ovulation has occurred and a level 10 or higher suggests adequate production to maintain a pregnancy.)

Wednesday Later (3:30pm):

GOOD NEWS! Steph is not ovulating! Progesterone is only at 0.3! So tonight we will do another Gonal F half-dose shot of only 37.5 units. And we go back in Friday morning at 7:45 am to see what our follicles are looking like.

Come on babies, GROW GROW GROW!

Friday CD 17:

Follicle scan this morning! We have two mature follicles. One is at 19, one is at 14, we also have an 11, but that one won’t end up releasing. They said that the 19 and 14 will grow a little more over the next 24-36 hours, and we should have the two eggs when we inseminate. Hopefully the 14 is able to get to at least 16 to increase our chances way more! Tonight between 6-8 pm we will use the Pregnyl trigger shot to force ovulation (this can take anywhere from 12-36 hours to happen). And then Sunday morning at 10:30 am we will inseminate!

We feel very excited about this cycle. Everything feels so positive and just.. different. Sunday night is a full moon and will be exactly 90 days (that we’ve been counting) of Steph being gluten free. All of our fingers and toes are crossed for babies!

Steph’s been having some headaches and hasn’t been super hungry but we’re chalking it up to the Gonal. She’s been super tired too, but that may be due to the crazy math and Engineering homework… This is the most hormones she’s had in a given cycle and I think this is the longest we’ve gone without triggering as well. Average ovulation is between CD 14 and CD 21 depending on the length of the cycle (28 day vs 35 day) so CD 17 is right smack in the middle which would be roughly the same as our “natural” ovulation date. The fertility clinic basically helps the follicles grow and mature so we aren’t ovulating with eggs that are too small to be able to conceive. They of course also control ovulation so we can pinpoint when exactly to inseminate since we only have that one shot.

We will end this blog post here and pick back up for our next post which will be all about the insemination and our Two Week Wait. Pray for us to have some semblance of patience!

Cost:

CD 2:
Ovary scan: $65 (co-pay)
Progesterone: $44
Chlomid: $14.79
300 pen of Gonal F: $170
Pregnyl trigger shot: $154.89

CD 10:
Follicle check #1 and bloodwork: $65 (copay)
Sperm from NW Cryobank: $525 for IUI Sperm $310 for shipping.

CD 13:
Follicle check #2 and bloodwork: $65 (copay)

CD 15:
Follicle check #3 and bloodwork: $65 (copay)

CD 17:
Follicle check #4 and bloodwork: $65 (copay)

Total baby-making cost to date: $6907.39

Making a Baby, IUI 3 – Part 2

Making Baby Mettler

We had our second appointment on Monday (CD13) and I have 2 follicles on my RIGHT side, which is new since the last 2 times have been on the left. One is measuring 18 and the other is measuring 19. These are the largest I’ve had going into IUI, which I’m hoping is a good sign. Also, if I can remember right, I think my HSG test (from one of the 1st blogs) revealed that my right fallopian tube was much more open than the left side.

We are getting inseminated on Wednesday (CD15) and then the 2-week wait happens again. Crossing our fingers, meditating, holding crystals, praying, and putting good vibes into the universe.

TWW Edit: This two-week wait has been pretty similar to the last two. Some things that are definitely recurring are the feeling of being full, bloating, and the PMS symptoms around day 6-8. Some differences (or things I’m just now noticing that I didn’t last time) are this time I’m noticing a lot of nose related issues. I’m having to blow my nose a bit more than usual and there’s some blood in my mucus. My digestion has also been very different this time around and I’ve been gassy, which isn’t like me. I’m not eating any gluten and haven’t for 2 weeks despite REALLY wanting pizza. We got a cauliflower pizza the other day that was GF – California Pizza kitchen frozen pizza that we found at Publix, but we are sure you can find it anywhere at this point! Other than that no major changes. 

Cost:

Ultrasound #2: $250
Insemination: $500

(luckily our sperm was covered because of that whole mix up last month)

Total baby-making cost to date: $5233.71

Making a baby, IUI 1 – Part 2

Making Baby Mettler

We were back at the fertility Doctor this morning!

This was a follow up to check on my follicle growth and also do the HSG test.

Follicle Update:

I was a little nervous this morning because I’ve heard mixed things about the HSG test. They did the ultrasound first, which was a little longer than the first one because my bladder was more full than the last time (of coffee, no doubt..), but they saw about 4 follicles this time measuring roughly 11-12mm. So in the last 7 days, they went from 5-7mm to 11-12mm. This was after 5 days of taking the Femara (follicle steroid pills – I think it was 2.5mg that they started me on). They won’t trigger you for ovulation until they are measuring at least 18mm, so they were going to put me on a double dose of the same pills, but after the nurse talked to the actual doctor, they decided to go a different route.

They WERE going to have me come in next Tuesday(Day 16), but Sam had mentioned that at that point it would be getting sort of close to the date that I would have naturally ovulated. The Doctor decided to do a shot instead of the second round of pills. So now, Samantha has to inject me with 75 units of Gonal-F (Typically an IVF drug) tonight and tomorrow night.  NOW we come back Monday (5 days from today) for another ultrasound. (fingers crossed)

The goal, from what I’ve understood, is to have 1-2 follicles at least 18mm before they trigger ovulation. Any more than 2 follicles that are maturing runs the risk of multiples (as in more than 2 babies), which would put me and the baby(ies) at risk, in which case they would cancel this cycle and try the next month. The steroids they are giving me are causing my follicles to grow a bit faster than normal so that they CAN trigger my ovulation in order to more precisely determine the proper moment for insemination. If the follicles get too big (more than 24mm) then they have a chance of ovulating on their own, and we definitely don’t want that, because then they could miss my ovulation. That’s why they are doing so many ultrasounds and really monitoring my follicle growth.

HSG Test:

Okay, so I was super nervous because I’ve heard so many mixed things about the HSG test. I heard it hurts from some people and others felt mild cramping, so it was sort of a mixed bag of emotions. In my personal experience, it wasn’t any different than a pap smear. When they injected the dye, I felt a warm sensation and then slight cramping. I described it to my wife as if you have to pee really bad and then someone squeezes your bladder. It didn’t burn and wasn’t super uncomfortable for me at all.

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The RN let me watch the screen as they injected the dye, which was cool. I got to see as the Doctor injected the dye, my cervix filled and got darker and then the dye spilled into my fallopian tubes (which look kind of like spaghetti noodles coming out of my cervix). I snagged a photo of the still frame once they were all done.

One of my tubes was super clear and the dye came out right away, the other took an extra few seconds but both of my tubes were totally fine. The nurse said that it’s possible it was partially blocked, but the HSG test could’ve unblocked it. She also said she’s had experiences with people having better luck with IUI after the HSG test for that very reason. I’m glad I did it for my own peace of mind. Plus it was covered by insurance. Sooooo Win-Win!

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…So that’s pretty much the update for now. Sam “gets to” give me a shot tonight and tomorrow that will continue to stimulate follicle growth.

This weekend we are headed on a mini-vacation to Birmingham, Alabama to see Mumford and Sons in concert. We are SO ready. Until next week!! (See our blog from that trip HERE)

Follicle Tracking:
4 follicles total: 2 follicles measuring 11-12mm, 1 at roughly 10mm, and 1 at 8mm

Cost:
Second ultrasound: $250
Antibiotic for HSG test: $11 (thank god for insurance!)
HSG: $65 co-pay! The actual test was covered by insurance thank god!
– – – – (or it would have been roughly $600)
Gonal F fertility shot: Thankfully we got a sample! (Otherwise, it would have been $2200)

Total cost to date: $1567

Our First Fertility Appointment

Making Baby Mettler

If you’re just joining our adventure, check out my previous blog post about prepping for our baby process >>> HERE.

If you’re all caught up, welcome!

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Holy moly.

Monday, we went to our first fertility appointment
and shit just got REAL.

Prior to this appointment, I had my bloodwork done from my primary AND had more bloodwork and testing done from the gyno. I wanted to be ahead of the game for our first appointment.

This appointment was pretty much a consultation. We ended up going to Dr. Cabrera at Brown Fertility in Downtown Orlando – the whole staff there is so sweet and helpful and they’re super supportive with LGBT couples. I still have to go get more bloodwork done and the results can take up to 10 days for one of these tests. This bloodwork tells the doctor how many eggs I have, my CMV status, and some other stuff.

After bloodwork, the next step is an HSG test, which basically checks to see if your tubes are open. It’s covered by our insurance, so we decided to go ahead and get that test done to be on the safe side. Samantha somehow timed the fertility appointment PERFECTLY allowing everything to flow rather smoothly through the next 30 days without having to sit and wait. The HSG test will be done in 2 weeks roughly and if all is well there, they’ll give me some fancy drugs and two weeks later we can get this party started.

The Doctor broke down the testing and cost and what we could expect moving forward. Each ultrasound will be around $250 and I’ll need at least 2 before insemination. We are looking around $2k-$2400 total estimated, which includes the insemination and “baby juice”. We will keep a running total as we go through this process at the bottom of the page.

A few weeks ago, after months of narrowing down our donor search, we landed on a donor that we both LOVE. Last night, we made the purchase officially. Somewhere in a laboratory, there’s a frozen vat of sperm with OUR names on it that will hopefully be our future baby.

In terms of the reality of the risks and chances of success, we are trying not to get our hopes up, but we both let ourselves get really excited about this. It’s the first MAJOR step towards starting our little family and we could not be any more thrilled!

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Stuff we did:

We bought sperm! *GASP*
We came up with a pretty solid list of names we love. ❤
Obsessed over Pinterest…

I also got a 93% on my Calculus exam (self-five!)

Things we are looking forward to:

Getting the bloodwork and HSG tests done.
Hopefully, all the results coming back normal.

Answered Questions from the last blog:

How long does the process take altogether?

I started early with bloodwork and gyno visit as well as a visit to my primary. It’s been exactly a month since all that and if all goes well, we’re looking at exactly a month for the fertility testing and insemination, then a two-week wait to see if it was successful. Roughly 2 months.

What kinds of testing do I need to get done?

Additional bloodwork, HSG test, (that’s it so far..)

Cost:
First visit: $65 co-pay (without insurance it would have been $100)
Sperm from Fairfax: $920

Total cost to date: $985

Prepping for our baby adventure

Making Baby Mettler

Initially going into this adventure, I knew it would be a fairly unconventional one from the get-go. Both of us knew we wanted kids. I was 29 when we got married and I had a feeling the pressure would be building soon after. We agreed to take the first year of our married lives to enjoy being married. We ate a lot of sushi, went to a ton of concerts and traveled a TON. See our post about our Seattle trip for our first anniversary!!

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So we have officially started our baby journey! We started doing some research and decided to do anonymous IUI from a donor bank. We tried to look up some blogs to read about other peoples’ journeys on IUI and being a same-sex couple but came up short. There were plenty of blogs and stories about IVF and/or using a known donor (See Missy and Rae’s Blog here!), but not many really outlined the whole process from beginning to end and even fewer answered any questions we had. Hopefully, someone else can come across our blog and learn from our story.

I began taking prenatal vitamins with a bunch of other stuff Samantha looked up to help prepare your body for babies. I’m not a doctor, so do your own research before taking anything – I started taking Prenatals with DHA, Maca powder, Red Clover, Red Raspberry leaf, Folic acid, vitamin C, and vitamin D. I started tracking my ovulation and tried a few different types of ovulation sticks. I wasn’t registering on the non-digital, so we switched to the digital ones. This was sort of our “step 1”. My tests were fairly consistent timing-wise, but less consistent registering my Lh surge. I was a little worried that I wasn’t ovulating sometimes, but the doctor said that sometimes that happens and that if my cycle was regular I shouldn’t worry about it. I used 2 apps, Flo and Glow to track ovulation, periods, temperature and some other stuff like weight and “how are you feeling today” etc.

We went to see the gynecologist for an annual exam in January, and to talk to her about any questions we had (not many at this point). We mentioned that we were thinking about doing IUI the first time at home and she recommended we go to the fertility doctor for the actual insemination to reduce any risks, and essentially to make sure it’s done correctly. We were on board – we’d rather have it done right, even if it costs a bit more. I scheduled a visit with my primary to get a referral to the fertility doctor. I made sure that he ordered a full blood workup since it’s covered by insurance and chances are the fertility doctor would need that anyway.

Things we are looking forward to:

Learning more about the baby-making process and our next steps.
Narrowing down donors.
Narrowing down our potential baby names.

Questions we have:

How long does the process take altogether?
How much will it cost?
What kinds of testing do I need to get done?

Let’s be real, we’ve never done this before so we have a ton of questions. Mostly we can look on google, but some I’ll have to ask the doctor!

If you guys have any questions send them my way and I can try my best to answer!

Our Fertility Journey

Making Baby Mettler

This has been quite the journey for us and #sorrynotsorry for the lack of social interaction, responses, blog posts, etc. Trying to make a baby has pretty much consumed our lives since January 2019 when we started going to doctor appointments. I’ve been documenting our journey via blog posts including costs and our experiences. We had initially planned to post-date all of our blog posts until we got a positive pregnancy, but that hasn’t turned out the way we were expecting.

We’ve been going to the fertility clinic here in Orlando and we recently got a negative result for our third attempt with IUI, or intrauterine insemination, which is artificial insemination via a catheter using a sperm donor. This might be a surprise to most of you since we had been keeping it hush-hush. It’s not very fun to be “the girl who cried wolf” on top of the pressure of having people ask us “are you pregnant yet!?”. It has taken quite a toll on both of us emotionally and physically and it’s only gotten worse each time we’ve tried. 

I think it’s important that we (Samantha and I) share our experiences with the public eye simply because this is a real issue. Being two women doesn’t necessarily increase our chances of becoming pregnant with a donor. I don’t have anything physically/biologically wrong on paper, and honestly, I thought this would go much smoother than it’s been going. We aren’t looking for sympathy or anything like that.. I just want whoever is reading this who may be struggling with infertility to know that you’re not alone.

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Around September of 2018, we did a bunch of research and decided that IUI was the best option for us. We chose a sperm donor that resembled Sam’s characteristics since the baby will already be getting half of my genetics. We went to a bunch of fertility appointments over the course of a few months (Dec 2018 – Feb 2019) and I got poked and prodded and tested and we finally went through 3 cycles of IUI over the course of 4 months (March 2019, May 2019, and June 2019)

Honestly, the last 8 months have been quite a whirlwind. We have a lot more to go through, but I’ll be posting our past blogs for everyone to read. I hope our journey can help others going through similar experiences, whether it be a same sex couple, someone struggling with infertility, or a single mom doing this by herself.

Thank you all so much for the support and love. ❤ 

Remembering Pulse, 3 years later

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Today has been difficult to say the least.

As I logged onto facebook this morning, and I knew that I would see al the reminders of what happened, reminders of 49 lives taken too soon. I won’t ever forget laying in bed next to my wife (then fiance) getting up at 5am to both of our phones buzzing uncontrollably. “Where are you?? Are you okay?!” At 5am, I woke up confused – what had happened? “There’s been a shooting” – Sam told me – “No that was yesterday.. Christina Grimmie was shot” I said, reliving the events of the previous day. “No, at Pulse – There was a shooting last night at Pulse”.

Not another shooting..

I worked at our other gay club for about a year and knew the majority of the bartenders who would swap back and forth between clubs depending on what night it was.

At 5am my heart sunk. I’m okay, but what about all of my friends and my Orlando community and all the people I have come to call my family? Of course, the guilt and anger came followed by panic over the people we couldn’t get ahold of by noon. Sam’s cousin was out all night for a friends birthday and Pulse was on the normal list of stops for a party. They decided last minute not to go. A friend of mine was trapped in the dressing room while he huddled with strangers and barricaded the doorway to try to keep out the sounds of gunshots. Another few friends were bartenders who escaped while bullets flew over their heads. Another friend was hit in the leg. My friend Ray was the DJ that night. While working the light booth at Southern Nights, I got to know him as a DJ, a father, and a nice guy. I got to know his son as well. Ray saved so many people that night by turning off the music and helping people escape. Several of the victims were students at Valencia and UCF, and a few worked at Universal and Disney, all strong communities that were shattered in a single night, the latin community, most of all.

I can’t help but to feel so overwhelmed with emotions.

Today my friend Danielle was out in the community touching up the paint on one of our many Pulse tribute murals and I sat at work helpless and full of so many feelings.

Sam and I went to the memorials and stood in the rain several times after it happened. We visited pulse while the bullet holes were still visible on the sides of the building where so many lost their lives and suddenly I felt so heavy and helpless. We got pulse tattoos as a reminder (as if we needed it) permanently on our bodies. We cried, not due to pain, but due to immense gratitude that we were all able to be together when so many had that option taken away.

So many people have been affected by Pulse. Our entire gay community was targeted and we lost brothers and sisters and friends. Even if we didn’t know anyone personally, it felt like a personal attack on our family. We have all been to Pulse and to Southern. They are our safe havens and our home away from home. A place where we could go to have a good time and not feel threatened when we hold hands with our partners in public. It is here where we feel most at peace and the most accepted, when we are surrounded by the family we chose, and the friends who we can openly and honestly be ourselves around. We’ve grown up with people from this community and we are here for each other now more than ever, no matter our differences.

I want you to know, whoever you are reading this, that you are not alone in your feelings. Your emotions are valid. It’s okay to feel today. I think a lot of us are still healing and that’s okay. I felt like I needed to share a part of my story today because I can’t seem to hold back my tears anymore. I’ve never seen a community come together like this before and Orlando will forever hold a piece of my heart.

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Orlando United Assistance Center offers support and resources specifically for those impacted by the Pulse tragedy.
Call 407-500-HOPE
Orlando United Day about Pulse events happening in the community as well as additional resources and information.

Our quick trip to Birmingham, Alabama!

Bands and Concerts, Traveling

This year, we are attempting to take fewer vacations.
(insert huge eye roll here) If you know us, you know that this is next to impossible for us. We love anyyyyy excuse for an adventure. 

 

We need to save money, and we can’t do that if we keep traveling for concerts. HOWEVER, we bought Mumford & Son’s tickets back in November for their concert in March. So obviously we couldn’t NOT do that, which meant a trip to Birmingham for the weekend. It’s only an 8.5-hour drive for us, so… why not? Birmingham is one of our favorite cities!

We drove up on a Friday afternoon and made a pitstop in Valdosta, GA to surprise my little sister and her family. She had noooo clue we were coming, so it felt great to just spend a few hours with her. I painted my niece’s nails (and my niece painted Steph’s nails, which she proudly wore to the concert), played with her makeup and turned her into Harley Quinn, and had a tea party in her hot pink room. Then, I watched my nephew kick some Spider-Man video game ass. It was a great halfway-ish break! 

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Our one full day in Birmingham we spent exploring. We started our day out at Urban Standard which is the BEST coffee/breakfast place that we found when we were there the first time a few years back (for a City and Colour concert). Steph still raves about their Balsamic jam to this day. (she’s a balsamic JUNKIE, to say the least). This time all Steph wanted was Avocado toast, and I got a coffee gravy biscuits and gravy. IT WAS TO DIE FOR!! I got a chai tea latte and Steph got a soy latte with vanilla – honestly, everything they make is incredible so you can’t lose. (And the presentation of their drinks are so perfect!!!)

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We decided to spend the day exploring and seeing things we hadn’t seen the last time we were here. We went to check out a vintage Vinyl store, Seasick Records and next door there was a really neat antique mall called Urban Suburban. After wandering up and down every booth I scored 2 old fashioned makeup train cases that I have been obsessed with for years for just $10! (Steph’s mom has a blue one and I’ve needed one ever since I first saw it!)

 

We left the vintage mall and headed to this video game coffee shop called Saturn! We walked in and Steph was in heaven. There was a rocket hanging from the ceiling and all of the space gear decorating the whole place. Steph ordered an Iced latte and I ordered a  Kombucha because they told me that it didn’t taste like vinegar, and that is the ONE thing I despise about Kombucha. I fell in love and then found out that I cannot get said Kombucha in Orlando since it’s locally made and apparently Florida has something against good kombucha. (sorry to all of you Kombucha lovers, but I am NOT one of them). We sat down to play old school Mario Kart on their Nintendo 64. And Steph, of course, kicked my ass. (I wasn’t sour about it in the leasssst- insert eye roll here-) 


When we were leaving, we were going past the Sloss Furnaces, which we had read about before. Apparently, they are super haunted and a creepy place to be after the sun goes down. We had decided prior to this that we would NOT be stopping there.. but after seeing them up close (and it being the middle of the day), we decided what the “hell, why not!?” and we were sooooo glad that we decided to stop. Despite feeling lotsssss of cold chills and quite a few eerie heavy feelings, they were sooo gorgeous! They were full of all the history that we both love so much. They started operating in 1882 if that tells you anything at all. In typical “us” fashion, we turned it into a photo session and had a ton of fun. Not to mention ended up with some awesome photos!

While we were at Sloss, someone suggested a place where they serve edible cookie dough like ice cream called Cookie Dough Magic and Obviously, we had to check that out. We tried a ladyfinger cookie dough, birthday cake, and chocolate chip. Seriously, it was sinful and we probably should have been rolled out of there!

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By this time, we were EXHAUSTED! And still had a concert that we had to stay awake all night for! We went back to the hotel and laid around for an hour or so. Luckily the venue was literally attached to the hotel. All we had to do was go down an elevator and walk down a hallway and TA-DA! And on our way to the concert, Steph was handed a Mumford & Son’s Delta Tour t-shirt! Scoooore!! We finally got to our ALMOST nose bleed seats and the concert started! They were INCREDIBLE. Mumford & Son’s are breathtaking Live. For their Encore performance, they brought out this husband and wife duo who blew us all away the second they opened their mouths! If you haven’t heard of The War and Treaty, YOU NEED TO LOOK THEM UP RIGHT NOW!!!

We had a GREAT weekend! Stopped at my sister’s again for an awesome dinner. I taught her how to roast asparagus! It’s the little things. By the time we got home, it was around midnight Sunday. And unfortunately, we had to get back to reality Monday morning. Totes worth it though!! 

Here are some gems from the Mumford and Sons concert:

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Seattle Recap 2018

Bands and Concerts, Married Life, Traveling, Traveling Gypsies

Today is January 31st and I’ve been horrible about this whole blogging thing. I finally got our Christmas Letter out just in time for Christmas this year (it’s the small things) so i figured I’d cram the rest into one blog post.

In November we celebrated our 1 year anniversary and flew up to Seattle. We had the time of our lives and wish we could’ve stayed a bit longer. I feel like we only skimmed the surface of what there was to see.

First of all the weather was perfect the whole time. And it only “rained” once but Seattle rain is like Florida fog so we weren’t that worried..

Our rental car was a Jeep Grand Cherokee, which was super nice until we realized Seattle has exclusively parallel parking.. we got to our Air bnb which was perched on a cliff. It was perfect and the view out of the panoramic windows every morning was breathtaking!

 

 

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We were starving so we stopped by a Mexican restaurant and got burritos bigger than our heads. It was west coast Mexican which tends to lean more toward a “chipotle” vibe which was 100% fine with us! We walked down a few blocks to grab a coffee from a place called Uptown Espresso which as it turns out was one of the best coffee shops in the area. They’re known for their foam which is super creamy and dense instead of milk bubbles. We went there a few times over our trip.

 

I wanted to grab some photos so we looked up the best viewpoints in Seattle to see the whole city and ended up at this park, which was AMAZING.

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The next day we did Pike’s Place Market which was such a culture shock to me. I’ve lived in Florida all my life so just being on the West Coast was mind-blowingly different. The lobster tails were as big as my arms.

 

Another thing Seattle has is BUSKERS. We were in one of the shops and RAN outside to see this one man who had the most incredible voice.

The next day we headed an hour outside of Seattle to do a bit of hiking. We headed up to a waterfall that doubled as a power plant. The photos don’t do it justice.

 

We planned this whole trip around Dermot Kennedy’s concerts in Seattle and Portland. They just so happened to land near our anniversary! If you haven’t heard this man sing you need to.

The next day we headed to Portland which is a three-hour drive from Seattle. But totally worth it. But the drive back the same night…. post-concert and exploring, was ROUGH! Scariest drive in fog, EVER!

 

We did a little sightseeing before the concert and got lost in an underground mall.. We ended up sharing a Lyft with 2 other girls who were going to the same concert and had been to the Seattle concert too – we aren’t the only crazy ones!

The day after, we went exploring again. We got “Teriyaki” from a local place, which is apparently a MUST – also it was prob the best Asian food we’ve had ever. We drove by UW and the Bridge Troll and Sam looked up a park for us to watch the sunset. It was freezing but my teriyaki kept me warm mostly.. there’s nothing that can compare to those views.

After that, we went to go see Fantastic Beasts (because we wanted to live like the locals) and found a quaint little movie theater on the top of the mountain in West Seattle where we were staying. (THEY ONLY HAD REDVINES!!! WIN FOR SAMANTHA!!) It was the perfect way to end the night and we felt so at home.

Get to know us! 20 questions AMA.

Bands and Concerts, Married Life, Traveling Gypsies

I decided to do something a little different for a blog post before I return to school next week. Here’s a little “get to know us” 20(ish) questions. Let me know if you like these and I’ll try to do another one in the next few months!

If you could change only one thing in your life, what would that be and why?

SAM: Honestly, there isn’t a thing I would change about my life. I have been so fortunate and I have everything I could ever need, want or think to ask for. If you asked me what I would have done differently, my answer would be that I would have traveled through other countries and experienced more of what the world has to offer.. But I’m not dead yet, so now I get to do those things with my wife and hopefully future children.

STEPH: I would have taken way more advantage of learning new things and reading more. I think because everything is so much more accessible with the internet and knowledge is everywhere, it’s so much easier. My life is pretty great though, now and I’m legit learning rocket science, so I guess I would have just started it sooner.

In a regular day, what do you find yourself thinking about the most?

SAM: Currently, Babies. A year ago, our wedding. A year from now, Either still babies or Our move to Washington State.

STEPH: Food. Our future house somewhere in the mountains. Our future. How I need to drink more water.

Who is your favorite artist that you’ve seen perform live?

SAM: That is suuuuuch a toss up.. Either Dermot Kennedy for his raw talent and the emotion that he evokes from everyone in the room, or City and Colour for the incredible performance and undeniable talent that Dallas Green has.

STEPH: City and Colour in Birmingham, Alabama at Iron City Music hall. But also The Band Camino. I’ve seen both twice and they’re both absolutely incredible.

What things in your life bring you the greatest pleasure?

SAM: Coming home to my beautiful wife and our Zoo of a house. We are so blessed to have such a stable home and a great love that can conquer anything.

STEPH: I love coming home and being able to hang with my wife and the dogs and watching a movie or catching up on our TV shows after a long day of work. Weekends with her are the best.

What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment in your life?

SAM: I’m still working on that.

STEPH: So far, going back to school. I’m at the very beginning of that journey, but I think starting anything is the hardest part.

In what settings are you the happiest / eager / most comfortable?

SAM: Any Concert or getaway with my Wife.

STEPH: In my house or hanging out in the backyard (when it’s less than 80 degrees).

What things do you look forward to each day?

SAM: Crawling into bed with the love of my life every night. Just the fact that I am blessed enough to have her to snuggle up to is enough for me.

STEPH: Coming home to hugs and kissed from my wife and our dogs.

What would be my ideal romantic date?

SAM: Whisk me away to anywhere.

STEPH: I love adventure. Any sort of trip to anywhere would be amazing. We are road trip professionals.

What do you appreciate most in your partner?

SAM: The way she views the world through her rose-colored glasses. I fought it for the LONGEST time. But there is something to be admired about her sheer blind faith in the world and the goodness it contains. Her heart is something so pure and I am incredibly lucky to hold such a huge piece of it.

STEPH: Her realness. Whether she’s telling you something hard to hear or is pulling my head out of the clouds and back to reality. Her confidence is something I admire as well. The way she demands with her presence is out of this world. I can’t wait to see her in mom mode.

In what situations do you feel most afraid or insecure?

SAM: Dinosaurs and scary movies. That’s about it. I can take on anything the world throws my way otherwise.

STEPH: I’m not good at being in situations I can’t control, mostly with money or adulting. In an emergency, I’m the person you want by your side, lol. For whatever reason, I’m super calm cool and collected.

What would you like to do outdoors that you have not done before?

SAM: I can’t wait to hike up an actual mountain!!!

STEPH: Being able to explore the wilderness. You can only go so far in Florida on flat land and highways before hitting the beach.

What country would you like to visit that you haven’t visited yet?

SAM: See bucketlist…. I’ll send a picture. Lol

STEPH: Pretty much all of Scandinavia. Denmark, Iceland, and all of Europe. I’ve only ever been in the US.

What family member did you most admire when you were a child?

SAM: My Grandpa was my ENTIRE world.

STEPH: My aunt Barbara. She’s my mom’s little sister and was always the cool aunt who I ran to when I needed absolutely anything.

What are your favorite things to spend money on?

SAM: Ohhhhh crap…. I mean, I don’t likeeeeee the amount of money they cost… but the things I buy the most often are makeup and clothes!

STEPH: I HATE spending money. I can talk myself out of buying anything.. Movies and books are my downfalls.

Who are you most envious of?

SAM: Honestly, no one. There have been moments where I wished that I had what someone else had.. but at the end of it, everything in my life made me who I am today. I wouldn’t change that for anything… … I TAKE THAT BACK!!! I’m envious of morning people!!! I wishhhhhhh I was the type of person who could get up with the Sun.. but I wasn’t blessed with that gene.

STEPH: I’m envious of people who are debt free and are somehow so good with their money that they can travel all the time. I wish I could be a travel blogger. They’re living the life.

If you had endless amounts of money, what’s the first thing you’d do?

SAM: Buy a farm on an Island in Washington…

STEPH: Build a house and pay off my debt.

If you had to live in the world of any book or movie, what would it be?

SAM: ….this is an impossible question…. Every book series that I love is full of sooo much drama and insane crazy, that I can’t say that I would love to live in it…. But the paper magician is the coooolest concept. So if I HAD to choose one, that’d be it.

STEPH: I’d say Star Wars, but they’re legit in pretty much constant battle and there’s a pretty good chance your planet could get blown up, so I’m going to go with Harry Potter.

What’s the last book you read?

SAM: The immortal circus series!!!!!! Sooooooo good!!!

STEPH: I’m in the middle of 3 right now. The last one I finished was Fallen – I take that back. I still haven’t finished that. It was the Paper Magician.

If you could do anything that wasn’t your current job, what would it be?

SAM: Either be a History professor or own and run a successful record label.

STEPH: I’d work for Spacex or Nasa.

What is your least favorite food?

SAM: Greek!!!!

STEPH: Olives. Or any of the weird cheeses like feta and blue cheese. And pickles.

 

Here’s Sam’s Bucket List. Is she forgetting anywhere? Have recommendations? We’d love to hear from you!

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