Thursday, December 24, 2009

Latest update

This past Tuesday V and I headed off to the referral I had with a doctor of internal medicine, we'll call her Dr. C. My OB/Gyn thought it wouldn't hurt to get the referral just to see if she had any other ideas about what we could to do better our chances on our last cycle we'll have in the new year.

She was very nice. Said that being heterozygous MTHFR isn't enough, and somewhat weak but definitely agreed that the 5mg of folic acid was a very good idea. She also mentioned the baby aspirin and fragmin during the cycle, which I indicated we had done in the past.

She did say that losing weight wasn't the big thing, but getting regular exercise. Yes, it doesn't hurt to drop the weight but she said she wanted me to get regular daily in the form of walking or something similar, just for 20 minutes a day. I did intend to put that back into my routine once Christmas was past as we have a treadmill in our room and I used to get up before work and do 30-45 minutes daily while watching our local morning show. So I will be doing that for sure. I will be improving my daily diet as well....way too many cookies and such these last month (see previous cookie post).

She also sent me back to the lab for additional blood work to check my thyroid and redo one of the previous tests. So I've had blood taken for T3, T4, Free TSH, Anticariolipins, and the retest on the Lupus anticoagulant screen (no I don't have lupus) because apparently I tested postive at the last blood work and they want to see if it's a transient result.

So, for the next two months I will increase my daily exercise, improve my diet, and begin taking the increased amount of folic acid. I go back to see her February 23rd for a followup.

V and I are hoping to be able to do the last cycle in March or April.

As this is Christmas Eve, I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year and may the coming year bring you all joy, love, happiness and laughter.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


December is the month where I go a little overboard with baking for Christmas. We do a lot of entertaining and I like to have a variety on hand for such occasions. Plus both V and I take cookies to work for colleagues. The first two weekends in December are the two where we host large events...namely our poker potluck event, and our annual open house party. In total, we probably had over 80 people come through, so I like to have lots of food and cookies.

Below is an array of what I did this year. :) Yes, I know.... I need help.

Gingerbread, Molasses cookies, Shortbread, White Chocolate Macaroons, Pointsetta Shortbread (the molasses, shortbread and macaroons were from a cookie exchange).

Cherry Poundcake, S'mores bars, Cherry Almond bars, a sandwich cookie from cookie exchange, Cranberry Oatmeal cookie, Sugar Cookies, Chocolate Pecan Sandies, Chocolate Cherry cookies.

A variety of iced sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies and rolled chocolate cookies.

Gingerbread Sleigh

Santa Cupcake Cake

I had dinner with Gor.don Ram.say

Okay, maybe I didn't have dinner with him but I cooked dinner with him.
Okay, maybe not "with" him, exactly. But he was in my kitchen....uhm, okay on my tv....and I was cooking with him as he cooked. Yeah that was it. But it was still pretty cool.

He was on F.ox last night showing Coo.kalong Live with Gor.don Ram.say. It was pretty cool. He claims that we can all make a three course meal for four in one hour and he was going to prove it. He had several celebrities in the studio to help him out, as well as a number of people in their homes on skype that were going to cook along. As long as you knew about the show in advance you were able to download the ingredient and equipment list in advance and make sure you had everything you needed to make the three dishes.

We love GR from his other shows. And I already knew he spoke quickly, but OMG! I found that initially it was a challenge to keep up with him but we were able to get through the hour with three quite good dishes.

Angel Hair Pasta with Shrimp, Chili and Tomatoes
Steak Diane with Sauteed Potatoes and Peas
Quick Tiramisu

Check out what others are showing at Mel's Show & Tell.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Update of sorts

I know, it's been a while since I've been here. Sorry about that. There just hasn't been anything to say, and how many times do you want to see cookies or cakes. Oh, you do? Okay, look for a Christmas cookie post soon.

Anyway, since we last met I had my pelvic and transvag ultrasound as well as the sonohysterogram. Today (Dec 1) was the followup with my OB/Gyn to see what if anything resulted.

Going in I'm not sure I wanted to find out something was wrong or not. And if something showed up in the results would we be able to point a finger at it to say that's why the cycles didn't work?

If you recall (and if you don't go here)she sent me for a laundry list of blood tests. She asked me today of my RE had ever done any of them and I said I really didn't know but I didn't think so.

The ultrasounds and the sono didn't yield anything new. They confirmed that I have two very small fibroids and that I have a "beautiful uterus". The blood work all came back normal except I am heterozygous for MTHFR. This is a pretty good explanation of MTHFR.

Beautiful uterus, good 8-9 cell day-3 embryos, good donor; all things saying conditions are favourable for a successful cycle. RE had me on fragmin (blood thinner) and baby aspirin along with some other meds during the cycle. So my OB has suggested I could benefit from more folic acid, like 5mg. I was only supplementing with the 1mg tablets from the drugstore. So, she has given me a couple of months worth of prenatal vitamins to take. Meanwhile she is referring me to a doctor of internal medicine just to see if she has any additional insight before we do the final cycle. She did think we shouldn't put off doing the last cycle once we were ready to go, probably because of my "advanced maternal age". :) She didn't come out and say that, but I'm sure she thought it. I also need to make a concentrated effort to try and lose some weight before then as well.

Anyway, that's where we are now. I don't have a date for the referral appointment yet. I'll let you know, when I know.

Meanwhile, I'll have some cookie pictures online soon.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Show & Tell: Cake.....

What would a Show and Tell be without another cake...but this time it's got a theme. Can you guess it? :)

Oh and better yet, it's entirely made of cupcakes. I was not a fan before this of the Cupcake Cake, but I have to say, I am a convert. So much so that I made another cake last night for a friend's son who had to bring a sweet to his class halloween party

Oh, and ignore the obvious missing pieces. A friend could not resist and just had to have one or two. Unfortunately, I had forgotten I had yet to take a photo.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Sad Day

Patti is one of my closest friends, and the sister that I never had. Today her mom is finally at peace. She touched the hearts and lives of many people. She will be missed.

I don't know if Patti will post on her blog but if you want to leave condolences here, I will pass them on to her.

RIP Betty.

UPDATE: Patti has posted if you prefer to leave comments on her blog.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Lost and Found: Flowers

It's been a while since I've participated in Mel's Show & Tell....

So, I've finished my cake decorating classes and I find myself with free time so to speak. I've got a couple of things on my agenda, but fear not, I will do the odd one day class. Meanwhile, the last class I took was called Gumpaste Flowers. It was one where we were taught to make life-like flowers for bouquets that would go on cakes. Initially I couldn't decide if I was enjoying the class or not, possibly because I was just so busy with work, home, and the other class I was doing at the same time. You can check out that finished product here. However, by the end of the course and seeing the finished product and what can be done, I think I did like it and in time could see myself making more of these.


Thursday, October 08, 2009

Doctor Visit Update

So today was the big day. I was finally going down to see the OB who did my fibroid surgery and hope she would be willing to do some tests and exams to see if there is any reason why we haven't been able to get pregnant on any of our previous cycles.

For those of you just joining us....we have been with our current clinic since May 2007. Over the last 2+ years we have had two different egg donors. We have always gotten excellent embryos. The first donor we shared and we got 6 eggs and 6 embryos. Neither couple achieved a pregnancy with this donor. Our second donor we had exclusively. We got 20 eggs of which 14 fertilized and in the end had 9 quality grade A embryos. Our fresh transfer of 3 resulted in a beta of 21 which quickly went down, the FET a month later was a BFN so we've now got three remaining embryos on ice waiting for us to be able to do our last cycle. That brings you up to date if you don't feel like reading the archives. :)

So, I go in to see our favourite doctor and unexpectedly she is standing in the reception area and a) remembers me from the surgery in 2006 and b) she's totally on time! So, she sees me immediately. I am hoping this bodes well for anything we do with her. So, we review what's been going on for the past three years and specifically the past IVF cycles and what I want her to do and what she thinks. She's agreed to do pretty much anything I want.

So, I'm booked for both a pelvic and a transvaginal ultrasound on October 26th. We were hoping that they could have taken me today as I'm on CD2 because she also wants me to have a sonohysterogram if the ultrasound deems it necessary. Since that has to be done between CD6 and CD10 that will be likely the second week of November, if the technician sees something. After those appointments, I'll go in for a followup. Based on any findinds (or lack thereof) will determine our next steps. Just in case she sees a polyp, endometriosis or another fibroid, she's got a surgical date booked in April, so there's no additional waiting. I had asked her about the fibroid surgery we had done in 2006 and mentioned our REs comment back when we first began seeing him asking why we'd removed them as he might not have and she reminded me that they had been distorting the uterus so it was necessary. So, at least I know there was necessary (which I knew at the time and had forgotten).

She also sent me down to the lab for bloodwork. We discussed a number of things and because I don't know just how indepth the bloodwork had been initially, she wrote up an order for all kinds of things:

Prenatal: ABO, RhD, antibody screen
Repeast prenatal antibodies
Russell-Viper Venom
Protein C
Protein S
Antithrombin III

Looking back on an old post, I don't think the RE ever did all of these, but I never saw the request, I do know that we did the anti-cardiolipin IgA and IgM which isn't on this list.

Anyway, that's all I've got for now. But at least we're moving in a positive direction. :) Have I said how much I love this doctor? I really hope that she's able to help us and we can see her for a pregnancy.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

It's October!!

And for those of you who are still reading, and remember, October means I've got my appointment with the OB who did my fibroid surgery several years ago. Back in July when I got the appointment I thought it was for October 10th, but that would be Saturday. However it's this Thursday, the 8th!!

I don't know what, if anything, she'll be able to tell me but I'm hoping she'll be able to give me a once over and check and make sure everything is okay inside. I'm not sure she'll be "doing" anything at this appointment. I'm concerned that I may have scar tissue from the surgery that has affected our past cycles. Of course I don't want there to be anything wrong, but if there's nothing wrong why haven't we been successful?

So, if anyone has any suggestions of questions I should ask her or other issue I could point her to, let me know. I'll be heading in to see her on Thursday morning.

I'll let you know how it goes afterwards.

More cake

So, it seems that all I do is post about cake....which really isn't that bad a thing considering it means, V gets a lot of cake. :)

I've just finished two cake decorating classes last week. This is the cake we did for one class. I have to say although my piping skills are getting better, they are far from being as good as I'd like. I guess that just means I'll have to make more cake. :)

The flowers are made from royal icing and dry hard. The little birds are made from colour flow icing and also dry hard but are somewhat fragile. The cake is a 7" oval chocolate devils food cake filled with raspberry jam and iced with vanilla butter cream.

Next week I hope to be able to show you guys the flowers I've been working on for the last 4 weeks....I just have some finishing touches to do. Meanwhile, enjoy!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Happy "Belated" Birthday to Me

So, yesterday was my birthday. It wasn't a major one, but I'm pretty damn close. I had told V that I didn't think it was fair that every year, since his birthday is the May 2-4 weekend, we always have a party/bbq for him. It's usually the first bbq of the season and generally is quite a big affair. Not fancy, just a lot of people, food and drink.

Last year we missed out in his birthday because it was his Dad's 70th (his 40th) and so this year he wanted to make up for it and have a 40/41 birthday bbq but with everything going on we had it in July. So, it was that party which had probably 60+ people at it, and dancing in the basement, I decided I wanted something...just because it wasn't fair. :) Once I said that to him, it was a done deal. But, I said I didn't want a bbq. I wanted a West Indian feast. As many of you know, V is Trinidadian, and over the years I have learned to make a number of different foods and grown to like them.

So we although I didn't prep the whole party, and asked some people to bring and we bought a few items, I still did make a few things, namely the curried chicken, curried chickpeas and potato and the bbq chicken. Oh, and I also made my cake. :)

And because I made my cake, I didn't just make a cake with buttercream icing...I MADE a cake. I've been taking cake decorating classes for the 4-5 months and have shown you some of the results of those classes. Well, I decided I was going for it......

Next year who knows what I'll do. :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A PSA for those who are looking to adopt

As you know V and I aren't on the adoption track. Not because we wouldn't consider it, but more likely because although we haven't really discussed adoption for us (and wouldn't be opposed to it), funds are limited at this point, and it's not feasible at this time.

However, way back when we first started this journey and I was surfing the net madly looking for anything that might help us, I did look at information regarding adoption, particularly interracial adoption as we are an interracial couple. Since then I periodically receive emails from on adop.tion facilitator in the US which I generally read and file away.

This week I received an email from them only this time it really peaked my interest. Below is a partial screenshot of that email. Click the image to enlarge it, but this is what the beginning says.

Life.time Adop.tion currently is experiencing a shortage of families who are prepared to adopt African American and/or Bi-Racial Children.

Since the inception of the African American Enrichment Program in 2003, Lifetime Adoption has been fortunate to assist hundreds of babies find their way to their forever families.

Currently, we have 5 birth mothers who are due before the end of the year who do not have any adoptive families within their preferences from which to choose.

Now, I have to say I've never worked with them directly, I really don't know anything about them and I'm not endorsing them but I figured someone out there may want to check this out. I think if V and I were living in the US or were US citizens living outside the US, we probably would explore this opportunity. However, it seems that to work with them you need to either be living in the US with a valid home study, or be a US citizen living outside of the US.

If you want a copy of the email I received, send me a message and I'll be happy to pass it on.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Thank you

I just wanted to thank everyone who voted for me during the Best Travel Story contest. However, I didn't win. C'est la vie.

I hope everyone is having a good week.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Last three days

Since there's nothing to report in IF news, I'm hoping to get your support and vote for a contest to win V some hockey tickets.

Click here -->

You can vote once a day until Sunday, August 29th. I've dropped to 5th place, and I have no idea how far behind I am. With your help, and hopefully the help of the LCFA readers, I can pull ahead.

Thank you in advanced and I hope everyone is having a great week.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Just a something to make you all laugh

I haven't got anything going on so I thought we could all use a laugh. All of these are funny, but I nearly peed myself with the first one.


Thursday, August 06, 2009

Shameless Plug

I've entered a contest for the Best Travel Story using the surprise trip to Cuba that V planned back in October '06. V. did for me what we all want our husbands/partners/signifs to do for us....surprise us and wisk us away on an all inclusive vacation. My shameless plug is asking you to please vote for my entry to help me win opening game tickets for our home team as V is a huge hockey fan and die-hard Maple Leafs fan. You can vote once a day until August 29th....please...please...please.... Click here to vote --> VOTE

Click here to get the basics, and click here to get the full story.

You can click here too :) ==> VOTE

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Not much happening on the IF front

There really isn't anything happening regarding our FET and when we may do it. I've managed to get an appointment for October 10th with the OB who did my fibroid surgery to get her to take a look and make sure everything is still okay inside and there isn't scar tissue that could impact our success. I'm also on their cancellation list, so hopefully that appointment will get moved up.

Once we get past that appointment, we will know where we stand. We've got three embryos on ice and I ain't getting any younger. I'd prefer not to wait any longer than necessary because of that. I worry that my age is a factor, but I've been told that isn't so. Who knows. In any case, we don't have any other options other than me as funds don't permit us to move to a surrogate with these embryos, or even a surrogate with a new donor. Our donor was proven and really there's no reason for this not to work as far as everyone so far is concerned. I'm not wishing for there to anything wrong, but in a way I'm hoping something shows up that is fixable....sigh....

Anyway, that's where things stand for now.

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer.

Show & Tell: Yep. More Cake

It's that time again - Show & Tell

So you thought my life was way more interesting and I'd have something else to show you guys. Nope. Nada. Nyet. Not happening. There is nothing going on here except me and cake.

This week was the last class of the Tiered Cakes class I was doing. I really liked this course and I really like working with fondant. This last project was essentially a mock wedding cake. It was a two tiered, white almond wedding cake with lemon curd in the bottom layer and raspberry jam in the top layer. I got the recipe from here which is my go-to site for recipes. I doubled it to fill one 6"x3" pan and one 10"x3" pan. They were pretty full, 3/4 maybe, and I could have filled them a little less and made another 6" probably. Because of the size of the larger layer, I used a flower nail in the middle to ensure even baking. In future, I'd probably get a heating core for anything that big or bigger.

I was totally impressed at how moist and flavourful this cake was before I filled it. And the recipe doubled easily. I used a raspberry jam in the top and it tastes just like a jelly roll. The bottom was awesome with a home made lemon curd.

Oh, and the roses decorating the cake are all hand made by me. :) I think I may have found my calling....


Check out what the rest of the class is showing.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Show & Tell: Cake

It's time for Mel's Show and Tell.

As you all know I haven't got much going on except the cake decorating classes. So, here is the latest creation from class. This class is tiered cakes, but we don't get to that for two more weeks, so it's just a basic cake with fondant and decorating. I so liked the recipe that Cali pointed us to last week that I thought I'd try it out this week. I don't always bake from mixes, but I'm becoming a convert. The only thing I wasn't too sure about in this, and may not include next time is the chocolate chips. Anyway, I made this cake and filled it with cherry pie filling because chocolate and cherries just rock.

Here's the finished product. V can vouch for the taste. It was pretty good, and since it's gone to his office today for his colleagues, I think they've already deemed it good. Not sure how much is left and it's only noon. :)

I am definitely enjoying these classes and could see myself making this into a little business one day.

Go check out who else is showing today.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Show & Tell - More Cake

My baking experience began at the age of 7, I think, when I was given an Easy.Bake Oven. I'm not sure what they're like now, but it was the kind where you had to push the pans through one side and out the other, sort of like a conveyer belt. From that point on, baking has always been my "thing". I can cook and definitely enjoy that, but baking really is where I have the most fun.

I've been taking a series of cake decorating classes over the last couple of months, and will be continuing this summer and fall. You've seen the results of the first class, with the clowns and the flowers. And then I did the cookie class which resulted in the baseball cookies. This month I did a fondant and gum paste course. This was a new are in the baking world for me having never worked with either. We learned how to make some flowers, how to cover a cake with fondant, and some other things. Until the final week there really wasn't anything worth showing to others. However, this pass Wednesday was the final class of this course, and below are pictures of what I made.

The cake is a triple layer, lemon pound cake filled with lemon curd and iced with a buttercream icing. There is a layer of white fondant over it, and the cake sits on a board covered with pink and white marblized fondant. The carnations are pink and white and made from gumpaste, and the ribbons and border are made with a pink fondant/gum paste mix. I wasn't sure at first, but I think it turned out pretty good for a first effort.

Up Next for July: Tiered Cakes. This will be interesting as I've never made anything like that before. But I'm definitely looking forward to it.

What are bringing to class for Show & Tell today?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Prayers please *UPDATE*

No they're not for me or V.

V's brother, my BIL, was recently diagnosed with a fairly serious condition. Out of respect for him, I won't go into detail here. However, he is going in for surgery today. He is 36 years old and has a wife and two small boys. He's got an excellent surgeon from what I understand and we're praying that everything will go well today.

If you are the praying type, and even if you aren't, please keep him in your thoughts today.

Thank you.

UPDATE: My BIL is out of surgery and recovery and in good spirits. He will be in the hospital for about a week and home for about 7 weeks.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Nothing much going on

It's been really quiet (for a change) in Chez Baby-Wanted. There really isn't much going on. After the weekend that Gil was in town and we had Patti and Aurelia over, there's been nothing happening. Which for us, is really a nice change. Those of you who know us IRL know that we rarely have a weekend, especially in the summer, where nothing is scheduled.

This past weekend was our 5th anniversary. We spent it playing poker on Friday night at our place with some friends, Saturday was our anniversary. So we had lunch with L, K and the kids and watched their son D's soccer game which was being televised. Then we went to one of our favourite restaurants The with A&K. Sunday was meant to me a day of relaxing at home, but V went to church with K, D and baby M as M's christening is in two weeks and he's her god father. I on the other hand was a sinner and stayed home. However, we all went for breakfast afterwards. V headed out to see a friend perfrom with her dance group and I stayed home doing laundry and playing Gui.tar I love that game!

There isn't much on the books for this weekend except that on Friday, June 19th V and I (and Patti) are participating in one of the Canadian Cancer Society's Relay for Life. There's still time if you want to support the cause and pledge us. We've all be touched by this terrible disease in some way. Pledges of $20 or more will receive a tax receipt.

You can pledge me here.

You can pledge V here.

I'm in mid way through the latest cake decorating class. This week we're learning how to do flowers with fondant and gum paste, so if there are any photos, they'll go up for Show and Tell. Otherwise, check back in a week when we get to do a whole cake.

That's if for now. If you have made a contribution, thank you.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Just a quick note.

As you are all well aware, this is my wife's blog and I try to stay out of her way (much like when she is in the kitchen, it is her domain). However, I would like to take this time to acknowledge something we tend to take for granted far too often.

While we have made a number of acquaintances, passersby and curious onlookers, we have also been blessed to make a few good friends that have transcended the confines of the blogging multi-verse. This past weekend, we were honoured to host a gathering of our personal friends, the S-crew, meeting up with our new found friends in G&D from the valley and Aurelia from the T-dot. While not everyone could make it, it was very nice to be able to spend time with this group to share stories, food, drink and laughter.

I think that a lot of people go through this process and at the end, should things not work out, feel they did not benefit from it in any way. We will definitely not be one of those groups of people because our lives have been enriched in many ways and we thank you all for that.

OK, I will slink off back into the shadows now. Please resume what you were doing.


Edited to add by Pam:

Rather than make a second post, just to add my two cents, we had a fabulous time! Gil and her hubby came to spend the weekend with us and it was just awesome. We're definitely going to do this again. I know I've said it before, but whenever the four of us get together it's like we've known each other for years and we talk non-stop catching up.

Saturday we had a barbeque for Gil and hubby, Patti and Mark, and Aurelia. Unfortunately MyReality and Mr. Wonderful weren't able to join us this time. We had a great afternoon talking non-stop again, drinking,eating, playing with little Jack and catching up. We all decided that we needed to plan another get together for more Toronto bloggers (and anyone else who's in the vicinity at the time) because we all really had a great time.

Here is a picture of the four of us.

Okay, here were really are. That's Gil, me, Patti with Jack, and Aurelia (you really thought you'd catch a glimpse, eh?).

Okay, one more. That's me, Aurelia (gotcha again!), Patti and Gil.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Show & Tell - Final Cake Class

It's that time again... Mel's Weekly Show & Tell. As promised, here is the final cake we did in class this past week. They take all four weeks to teach you how to make the rose that appears on this cake. It's like they want you to learn how to do each section, even though it's something that could be done in one class. Needless to say, it isn't easy. I'll have to make up some icing just to practice the roses. Maybe I'll even make a cake to put them on. :) Somehow I don't think V will object to cake. :)

Well. here are the pics. The roses were actually a light lavender colour but are showing up as blue in the photos.

Next up, Fondant & Gum Paste class...not sure if there will be much for a show and tell post. Stay tuned. :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Normally that title would have meant something, perhaps the beginning of a cycle or something. However, today it means nothing except that it's CD2. I've not mentioned it before but I've been taking the DHEA for the last 3-4 months. I haven't done any monitoring, and we just go with the flow each month. I have noticed though that my periods have gone from lasting about a day and a half to maybe 2-3 days. I think this is better. I'm still as regular as always too. We haven't made any plans to do our last FET. Due to travel over this past weekend to Chicago for our nephew's Bar Mitzvah, some unexpected expenses, and just overall day to day stuff, it looks like it won't happen until July/August. I'd prefer it to happen before we get the invoice for the next year's embryos storage.

Anyway, other than the Show and Tell posts I've been doing (go take a look at my handiwork), there's not much going on. This past weekend was our nephew's Bar Mitzvah. Since it was a long weekend here in Canada, we took three extra days off and drove down to have some fun in the windy city before all of the festivities.

For those who know us IRL, promptness is not our forte. We had originally planned on leaving late on the 12th to arrive in the morning on the 13th. However, our very good friend's son was being confirmed on the 12th and V was his sponsor so we happily delayed our departure to be able to participate.

My SIL had asked me to bake for her for a few of the events which I happily did leading up to the past week. However, I found myself baking on last thing late on the 12th which meant I didn't get to bed until 2am...and considering V wanted to leave at wasn't looking good. However, he saw just how tired I was at 4am and didn't push it. However, we didn't push it at all and didn't end up leaving until nearly 4pm.

Our drive was fairly uneventful until we reached Indiana. V was driving and I was dozing on and off (I don't sleep well in the car) and waking when I'd feel the wind pushing the van. About 30 miles outside of Gary the winds really picked up and the rain started. First it was just raining hard for a bit, then the rain got harder which required the fast speed on the wipers. It wasn't more than 10-20 minutes like that when the wipers just weren't cutting it. We were forced to reduce our speed as was everyone else on the road. About 10 miles outside of Gary the rain got so bad it was like the sky opened and a faucet was turned on. The wipers did nothing. We were forced to stop in the road where we were, as was the vehicle in front of us. We couldn't see the side of the road to be able to make our way over to the shoulder. V kept an eye on the rear view mirror to watch for approaching vehicles. After a few minutes, the rain sort of eased a bit and he decided we were better off moving and staying ahead of the traffic than sitting on the side of the road. Besides, we'd been listening to a Chicago radio station and they'd made no mention of the storm so we had to be able to drive out of it.

We carried on. Everything was pitch black. There was no lights except when the lightening would flash so bright it would make you squint. It was during one of these flashes, after V saw a semi truck veer around something in the road, that we saw what he'd gone was a semi truck on its side across 3 of the 5 lanes (we were right by an off ramp). We were about 100 yards from it. All we saw during the flash was a long rectangular frame. V was able to slow and go around it which was when we saw the cab of the truck with it's lights still on. We pulled over on the other side as had several other vehicles. He considered getting out to check on the driver but we saw that another person had done that as he was struggling against the wind to open his own car door. I had said just earlier to V, during one of our stops on the road when the van was just being shaken from side to side, that this was gale force winds, like a hurricane.

We decided to continue on as we were about a half hour from our hotel. Once we reached the hotel, and had the news on the tv, we found out that the greater Chicago area had been under a tornado we had the "pleasure" of driving through tornado conditions. Now we wish we'd taken pictures! However, we were both too scared I think to even consider it.

Our weekend continued at a more sedate pace. The next day was a beautiful, warm sunny day and after dropping off the baked goods at my brother's, we headed downtown into the city to walk up the Mag.nificent Mile and got to Pizz.aria Un.o for some authentic deep dish pizza. It turned out that this was the best day, weather-wise of the whole weekend as there ended up being rain on Friday and Saturday.

On Saturday, our nephew did a fabulous job and everyone had a great time. Saturday was also V's birthday but he didn't want anyone to make a fuss so as to not take away from B's day. However, our table at dinner did figure it out when the waiter brought over dessert with a candle in it...and we all sang, and totally embarrassed V. It was great! :) Sunday we headed back home late in the afternoon after brunch at my brother's. Thankfully we had Monday off to recover. :)

Below are some pictures we took when we were downtown.

The Cloud Gate aka The Bean in Millenium Park followed by multiple reflections in The Bean.

The following pictures are of an art installation along Michigan Avenue called Green Revolution: Fill which represents the consistent growth of waste which we as a people on the planet produce. In the plaque it says "the ultimate goal is to create awareness in all of us and, as a result, help us think twice before disposing of objects that could instead be reused and creatively given another life as new materials.