Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015's Inaugural Elite Entry

Since there is not a Creme de la Creme this year, I want to recognize for myself what was my best blog entry for the year.  When deciding, I thought about something that really touched me deeply--not only while I was writing it, but that it also resonated with me after I wrote it.  There is something in the post that communicates something deep and significant while continuing to be appreciated after having reflected on that moment, idea or experience.  A lesson learned, something to remember carrying forward.

I hope to start this practice this year with the intention of doing it next year.  So, for this year, I have two posts to honor because they seem an appropriate pair.

2015's Elite Entry:

To Plan or Not To Plan

2015's Elite Entry Honorable Mention:

Healthy Hope and A Choice for a Childfull Life

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Music

Christmas music is one of my favorite parts of the holiday, along with several other things like twinkling lights, fresh trees, cookies, candy canes, Christmas Story, Elf, wrapped gifts, spending time with loved ones, midnight mass, the nativity and the story of Jesus's birth.  But, I feel Christmas music sets the tone in many of the places you spend time preparing and celebrating the holiday whether it is at home, shopping or at church.  My favorite Christmas songs are by Johnny Mathis.

However, it has been a long, long time since I have been able to find the joy in Christmas music.  Some things were ripped away when my life changed and I really felt the lonely darkness and cold of the winter season.  Music was painful.  It took a lot of time and healing to really embrace music more fully again, and it seems like Christmas music was the last to fall into place.  While I will wait to listen to Christmas music until after Thanksgiving Day, it was not something I was actively seeking out in my recent past.  But this year, I found myself tuning into the radio station quite regularly.  It was not until Christmas Eve that I came to realize I have been enjoying Christmas music more wholly again, and that made me smile.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Healthy Hope and A Choice for a Childfull Life

While scrolling through Facebook, I saw a piece that caught my eye from  It comes from the perspective of a life that once dreamed of having a child, but it did not come to be for the author.  She shares her insights and learning from a living a life without children.

My IVF Treatments Failed.  Here's What I Wish Others Struggling With Infertility Knew.   By Justine Brooks Froelker

I appreciate that she is another voice who shares the side of the story of when a person is not able to have a child of their own.  What happens?  How does the person move forward?

Some of what she says echoes what others have expressed.  Although, hearing those sentiments repeated is validating.  She talks about breaking the silence, being careful not to compare your journey to others, respecting our individual limits and being more than trying to have a baby.  These seem to be good things to keep in mind however your IF journey unfolds, baby or not.

Then the author takes it to the next step, the space where there is no baby.  Below are a few quotes I really liked.

"For us, healthy hope has meant redefining our dream of family, accepting that we will never have children, and yet doing the work to always have children in our lives."

"For us, this is in living a childfull life and finding ways to parent in honor of our babies who we don't get to hold."

"When we give ourselves permission to feel it all, at the same time, we can find our clarity again.  In the complicated gray of life, we can awaken to life in color again."

It takes time to figure out how to live without a child in your family in the way you had once hoped and imagined.  It takes time to sort through the feelings and knowing you will not ever be done feeling them all, but finding a way to dream new dreams and deciding how to fold children into your life, how to make room to experience motherhood or parenthood a bit differently.  And maybe for me it has been a bit awkward at times, but I'm trying to figure it out.  T~ and I are still near the beginning of our life as a couple.  While we are newlyweds, we have been together for three years and have had several conversations about children and family.  We still have hope, but we are realistic in knowing that time is limited.  This part of our story is still playing out.  But, it is up to us in how we decide to live while in this space of between.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

House Scouting

It may not be fair to say that T~ and I have started house hunting.  I prefer to call it house scouting.  We skimmed the realtor websites in the fall getting a feel for houses in our area.  Then we saw an older house with lots of charm where the priced dropped and thought it was worth a looky-loo.  That put us in contact with a realtor who sent us some links to some homes and showed us a few one Saturday afternoon.  While doing our research, we also noticed some new homes being built in the area for a similar price.  It has gotten us thinking and with the wedding and holidays behind us, I believe we are beginning to move from looky-loo to more serious hunting.  With all of this has come some important conversations.

We have been talking about what each of us finds important in a house and things that may be nice, but not completely necessary.  We have talked about in the city, country or suburbs.  Schools are important, whether or not we have children.  We have talked about size, layout and yard space.  The one tricky spot for us has been size.  We grew up in different homes, so definition of space and how it is used is different.  I grew up in a small ranch house and shared a bedroom with my sister.  T~ grew up in a two-story home where he and his brothers had their own bedrooms.  I had a living room and a semi-finished basement.  T~ had a living room, family room and a finished basement.  I grew up in a family where we shared more common space, where as T~'s family had room to spread out with opportunities to individualize space.  We have seen some very nice homes, but it seemed the reoccurring thread was the discussion of the amount of space.  While there have been homes within our budget that have additional space, I just felt like it was too much house for us.  It seems silly and almost wasteful to buy a home with several more rooms in it than what we need on a regular basis.  I'd also rather spend less on the size an upkeep on a house and use the money for travel, fun and life experiences.  However, T~ was concerned that we may get too small of a house and it would not fit our needs for when family comes to visit or that a smaller house may feel like more of an apartment than a house. 

Again, after our last look at houses, we returned to the conversation of house too big/ house too small.  T~ felt like there was something more in how I was feeling.  And there was.  It was the fear of future regret.  I told him I was afraid of getting a house too big for just two people.  While lots of two person families may have two-story homes with a family room, living room and formal dining room, I was concerned that if we lived in that kind of house and if we could not have a child that it may end up feeling like a reminder of what we could not have.  I did not want to be haunted by the empty rooms.  Another concern would be regret in if we spent more on our house and then maybe struggled with having the money available to adopt.  Fortunately, T~ was understanding.

It seems to us that we are trying to find a house that is not too big or not too small--a house that will give us opportunity to grow, but not trip all over ourselves--a house that will feel like home for both of us.  I think we are getting closer to that idea, and now we just have to find the house out there.  I think we will know it when we see it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Chinese Takeout

While doing some Christmas shopping and running some errands, I was drawn to the toy aisle in the drug store* (not just any drug store, but the end all be all of drug stores).

I don't know why, but this year I've been really excited about looking for toys.  Because of infertility, it has been a long time since I have enjoyed shopping for children's gifts.  Well, at least in terms of toys or clothes.  I've hidden behind the safety of books for many years, which my godchildren and little cousins have enjoyed.  I love books and I'm really good at picking them out.  And I'm told the kids look forward to it because they can't wait to see what I find for them.  It has become my niche and not everyone gives books, so it is kind of special.  And that was kind of my thing before the whole infertility cloud of darkness.  However, it has been a safe haven because I can either go to one store or go online to get all of my holiday shopping done.  Low risk for triggers.  Sadly, not exactly a place swarming with children.  We'll hope they are at the library picking out free books to borrow!

But this year was different.  Something shifted and I wanted to venture down the toy aisle.  Granted this was not the toy aisle of a big toy store, but it was toys.  I just let myself peruse and get lost in the fun of just looking.  I had no real goals.  Just looking.

Then, I was drawn to this toy.

At first glance, I laughed.  Play food has become so much fun, and it comes with a fortune cookie.  Then I had some sad feelings, the ones of longing.  But it was cute, and cooler than the cheeseburger.

I sent the picture to T~ on my phone followed by a texting conversation.

Me:  If I was a mom, would this be the kind of toy my child would have?

Me:  "Mommy is a terrible cook, so we got takeout!"  :O

T~:  We totally would have that!  "Mommy and Daddy expose me to all kinds of culturally diverse, delicious foods!"

Me: (Insert happy blow kiss face emoji.)

Maybe one day.

*Discount Drug Mart--The jingle sums it up nicely.  Discount Drug Mart saves you the run around.  You'll find everything you need!  I bet you can Google it or find it on YouTube.  Growing up in my hometown, this was (is) the go-to store to meet your errand needs.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Honeymoon in Hocking Hills

Since we both started new jobs, we did not have a lot of PTO saved up.  However, we went for a long weekend to Hocking Hills and stayed in a cabin.  We hope to plan a longer trip later this year or around our one year anniversary.  But, this weekend was perfect and so glad we took the time to get away as newlyweds!

The mild winter weather was surprisingly lovely.  When booking the cabin, I imagined snow.  But, the weather was perfect for snuggling and venturing outside for hiking.  It was a weekend for romance, good food, time at the spa, a couple of hikes and pursuing the craft stores and antique shops.  It was a quiet time for us away from the world.  It was absolutely cozy, relaxing and lovey!

Friday, December 4, 2015

The New Mr. & Mrs.

We're married!!!

More photos to come, as this was at the end of the night and the only picture that I took.  Oops!  It was beautiful and fun!

Carl Goes Up, Up Soundtrack

(I realize the song comes from a movie steeped in infertility, but it just felt right.  There is something very freeing and hopeful about the song.  It  marks the start of a new journey, even if it is not all how you imagined.  Plus, T~ enjoys Pixar films.)

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

It's Almost Here

While getting everything done before the wedding and in order can be stressful at times, I just stop and pause.  Then I think about walking down the aisle to meet my groom.  Sometimes just listening to the song calms me, and then excites me as I remember that I am marrying a wonderful man whom I love and loves me right back.

A Thousand Years by Christina Perry by The Piano Guys