The Hallowedding

mrmrsfullmetalxero We’re gonna go in-house for this one. In a previous post we mentioned that there was a wedding. A wedding on Halloween. A Hallowedding, if you want (and we do!).

Pictured is our son marrying the love of his life, Crista. They were joined at an incredible Bed & Breakfast somewhere in Oklahoma.

It was a beautiful, personal ceremony, in typical Oklahoma fall weather. It was chilly and dreary, (truly, it is never not chilly and dreary in Oklahoma on Halloween) which served to highlight the bright, warm Autumn/Halloween-colored decor, and white shirts & red suspenders all us guys had to wear.

Their pastor was a pretty great guy, too. He knew just how to break the tension. He basically did this;

“Mawwiage!” he yelled, and everyone cracked up, loosened up, and watched these 2 kids get hitched.

Of course, then it was on to a Halloween themed wedding reception. With everyone in costume. The reception also featured a special guest, Adam. Check out some of Adam’s night at the party (tap any image for a slideshow);

So now we’re approaching the One Year Anniversary of this momentous event. It seems like yesterday. It also seems like yesterday when we were changing that boy’s (excuse me, man’s) diapers. Oh, how time flies. We love you both, and hope you see many more Halloweens together.

Oh, and always, always invite Adam to your Hallowedding party.

“And I just said, ‘Is this real life?'”

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Sisters Lizzie Valverde (left) and Katy Olson [via CBS News]
We’d like to think that if we went into a writing class with a story about how we met our sibling in writing class we would be thrown out as hacks.

It’s a story almost too incredible to believe..

But this actually happened in New York. Two girls sign up for a writing class at Columbia and their whole world changes.

Their sibling story began when both signed up for a writing course at Columbia University in 2013. Neither could have imagined the tale they would end up telling — together.

It started on the first day of the class as students were introducing themselves. Something clicked for Olson when Valverde started describing her background.

“And then when she followed up with the rapid fire of more detailed personal questions like, ‘Were you given up for adoption in Tampa, Florida, to a woman named Leslie?'” Valverde said. “I was, like, woah woah woah!'”

“The room kind of froze,” she said. “And I just said, ‘Is this real life?'”

They were given up for adoption at birth, a year apart.

“I wanted to give them the best possible future they could have, and it wouldn’t have been with me as sad as it is to give up your own children,” Parker said, “but I felt that’s the best that I could give them is to let them go.”

Valverde had located Parker a few years ago, and Olson will be meeting her mother for the first time soon.

We can’t imagine how hard a decision like that must be. It appears, though, that it was the right thing for her girls, one of which (Valverde) graduated from Columbia U. Valverde will now have two extra family members at the ceremony.

What we take away from this is; treat everyone like family. They just might be family.

Conjoined twins separated

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The Mirabals twins were in surgery for 12 hours with more than a dozen doctors and nurses working to separate them when they finally succeeded.

Connor and Carter were joined from the sternum to the lower abdomen, sharing a liver and a small intestine and bile ducts. Before the operation, their parents and some nurses lined up for good luck kisses.

The doctors say the boys will go on to live normal happy lives despite their dramatic entrance into the world. How many “attached at the hip” jokes do you think they are gonna hear?

Losing a Pet is Hard, This Person Makes it Easier

Wally is pictured with his family - via ABC News
Wally is picture with his family – via ABC News
Losing a pet blows. We lost a Good Boy a while back. A Good Boy we had had since before his eyes were open. It was hard, but thanks to always having a computer with a camera in our pockets we have lots of pictures. Most are blurry and you can’t really tell it is a dog, but some are okay. We keep them all.

I wish we’d known Kristin Zabawa. She takes photos of people with their pets, in the last days of their pets’ lives. For free.

..for Kristin Zabawa, it’s all about being able to give a gift to grieving pet owners.

The Portland, Oregon-based photographer is the owner of Soul Sessions and captures images of beloved pets in the final stages of life with their owners . And her work truly is a gift: She doesn’t charge for the services.

Ms. Zabawa is fundraising to start a non-profit- Soul Sessions– that helps her continue her work.

She acknowledges that The End is indeed a difficult thing to have to go through;

“It’s a hard place to go,” she said. “When they [her subjects] contact me, they know the end is near. That’s a courageous act.”

Pets are family. And, like family, this experience isn’t all tear and sadness;

“Just like when a human companion dies, there are laughter and tears in the reminiscing,” she said. “They [the owner] will tell me all about their pet, how they met, the funny things that happened over the course of a lifetime, how they [the pet] helped you during hard times.”

Yes, losing a Pet is hard. People like Ms. Zabawa make it a little bit easier, and she gives the pet’s family a wonderful and poignant reminder of the lives they shared.

Hug your pets. Love your pets. If you don’t have access to a service like the one Ms. Zabawa provides, take lots of pictures and keep ’em. Even the ones that are blurry. If you are so inclined, donate to Soul Sessions and help ease the pain of someone else who is going through this tough time with a loved pet.

Check out the Soul Sessions video;

[more pics at the ABC site]

New way to make a baby

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Natasha and Omar Rajani tried to have a baby for four years unsuccessfully, and now they have their son, Zain, the first child conceived using Augment IVF.

Here’s how the science works: Mitochondria, the batteries that fuel cell growth, are taken from immature egg cells found within the lining of a woman’s own ovaries. Those mitochondria are combined with sperm and added to a woman’s mature egg, recharging the egg’s existing batteries to fuel embryo growth.

This method is not available in the US yet, still having some tests left to do to become approved, but the Rajani’s would swear by it. They are already planning on having another child using the same procedure.

“We do actually have two embryos that are frozen, and hopefully little Zain will have a sister or brother one day,” Natasha said.

While Augment IVF is much more expensive than traditional IVF, and we have yet to find out what effects (if any) there are on the children produced, I think it is safe to say that this procedure is a promising and exciting development for people who have trouble conceiving.

Blind Woman “Sees” Her Unborn Child

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Tatiana Guerra, now 30, has been blind since she was 17 years old, but thanks to 3D printing technology she was able to “see” her unborn baby by feeling a 3D print of his face.

Ultrasound machines that produce high quality, three-dimensional images are becoming increasingly popular.

Because of this beautiful step forward in 3D technology, visually impaired parents will be able to benefit from ultrasounds like they never have before. Yay progress! 🙂

Reunited and it feels so…better late than never!

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Last month Zella Jackson Price met her daughter Melanie Diane Gilmore for the first time after 49 years. After giving birth to a premature Melanie, Zella was told at the Homer G. Phillips Hospital that her baby didn’t make it. But after her and several other women with the same unfortunate story sought help from a lawyer, she gained a daughter and a granddaughter.

The women, all of whom are African-American, say they were told their babies had died at Homer G. Phillips Hospital, a city-owned facility that closed in 1979. They have reached out to attorney Albert Watkins, who represents Zella Jackson Price, 76, and filed a petition Monday in St Louis Circuit Court, seeking adoption records at the hospital. Watkins said the women all tell a similar, sad story.

Luckily for Price, this story had a happy ending. Hopefully the other women, all having given birth between 1950 and 1970, have the same luck in the pursuit of their stolen children. Price is looking forward to her new relationship with her daughter and granddaughter.

“I’ve got to get to work spoiling those children.” – Price

Son gets emotional surprise at the Minnesota Zoo

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US Army Sgt. Joseph Scott surprised his son after being deployed for a year while the boy thought he was on an ordinary tour of the Minnesota Zoo.

“The staff focused the show on Minnesota animals that help their environments,” Burns said. “Sgt. Joe was hidden behind the curtain and they asked for a volunteer from the audience and picked Evan.”

When Evan Scott, Sgt. Scott’s 3 year old son, thought an animal was going to be brought out from behind the curtain, he was instead reunited with his father.

The zoo staff is reported to have done several proposals and weddings on site, but this was their first Military reunion.

“It meant a lot to us to be able to say thank you to Sgt. Joe for his service. It was really meaningful to our staff.” -Beth Burns, the zoo’s Vice President of external affairs.