Our miracle RAINBOW BABY BOY arrived 8/2018

1st IVF = BFN
2nd IVF = Baby A, born May 2015
3rd IVF = Miscarriage at 14 weeks
4th IVF = BFN
After we paid for 5th IVF, positive pregnancy without IVF!

Because the important moments in life just don’t fit in a status update! I started this blog when I was training for my first ½ Ironman, (70.3 miles) to record what I hoped would be growth and progress but ended up being a huge learning experience. Although fitness is one of the key ingredients to a happy life, it certainly isn't the only ingredient. My blog has evolved to document growth, progress and setbacks in other areas too. From my surprise proposal in Rome and wedding in the fall of 2013, to Mom's devastating stage IV cancer diagnosis and death 2 weeks after I found out I was pregnant. Who knows what shape it will take, but thanks for being along for the ride.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

March, 2022


We visited Disneyland three times this month and the kids tackled the Matterhorn for the first time. When we were in line, Aut was very apprehensive. I told her that she would probably want to go on it again after she finished and she quipped "If I do want to ride again, then I'm wrong!" But Mom was right, and she was back in line as soon as we were finished.

At three years old, it's crazy to me that Cha exceeds the height requirements by two inches! He's 44" tall and weighs 45 pounds, making him the size of most kindergarteners. His personality and sense of humor are growing just as rapidly!! His new thing is making silly faces when I ask him to smile for a photo. I love the little man he is becoming.  

This month, we added to our brood of animals with  two beta fish in one aquarium with a divider. Beta fish like water at 80 degrees, and for under $10 at amazon, you can purchase a small heater to keep them happy. Please don't have a beta fish without a heater! Sometimes what we see or what they sell in pet stores are not ideal for pets. Since getting two parakeets, for example, I have learned that nearly all cages sold in pet stores are far too small for them. They actually need cages that are much, much larger, known as "flight cages." Finches prefer them to be larger width-wise, and parakeets prefer height, because they are climbers. I became an accidental owner, finding one on a hike and so they have been in a small cage since that time. I didn't know! I have my sights set on a large one for my birthday. 

This month, we also celebrated St. Paddy's Day and my brother's birthday. The kids had some fun, free-dress themed days at school.

Aut had her first father-daughter dance which was everything you expect a school dance to be: slightly awkward with little dancing. Almost no one from her class was there. It made me happy to learn that instead of staying, they left early in favor of a trip to In-n-Out for cheese fries and a shake. In the parking lot, he let her stand through the truck's sun roof and she came home bouncy and happy. 

Pool construction continues, but it is slow-going.

Our girl was student of the week near the end of the month and was able to share with her class that we are gearing up for an international trip. Crazy Covid travel restrictions cramped our style. But this will still be the 8th country she has traveled to in her 6 years, a source of pride for both her father and I. I didn't leave the country until I was nearly 30, and it gives me so much meaning and fulfillment to be able to travel with them. As the quote making the rounds on instagram goes, 'Travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer.'

Tacky Tourists

Friday, March 18, 2022

February, 2022


 

This month flew by didn't it?! As I write this, I have officially completed half of my Ed. D. program. I am also behind on this update, so this update will be brief!  A highlight of the month was bringing my Dad home after he was hospitalized since 1/13 with COVID. After a lengthy stay, he was moved to a skilled nursing facility which he, understandably, did not like and called frequently asking to come home. It was wonderful to bring him home on his 77th birthday and celebrate with a cake and presents. He is back home at his place in Yucaipa. 

The pool is progressing! My husband has had to manage the project daily to ensure that it is right and I'm so thankful that he is on top of it! He is also great about holding the line when they try and sneak in extra charges, adding up to tens of thousands of dollars. At the end of the month, they added  the shockcrete, which needed to be watered twice a day for two weeks. Next up, plaster!

We celebrated Valentine's Day as a family, with a nice dinner out. The kids received their gifts, which included chocolate, silly string and some warmies, which they love to cuddle at bedtime. They also received cards from their classmates, grandparents, Uncle TJ and Auntie Bex and Jeri, my best friend's Mom. They also had a ton of class Valentine's and a delicious cookie decorating kit from their cousins, made by Aunt Brittany! 
My loves, on Valentine's Day!

This month we also attended their newest cousin Benedict's baptism, as well as a Pirate Dinner Adventure with the Goss family!

For our week off (known as ski week in our district), the children and I flew to Oregon. We had a direct flight which was just over two hours and much better than flying up to Seattle and then taking another plane back down. My husband made the 14+ hour drive so that all four dogs could come and they had a blast. It really is like a doggie vacation for them, and I love nothing more on a walk around the lake than hearing the sound of their paws pass us as they gallop ahead, in a full sprint. Anna and Elsa were in the lake every day, even though it dropped as low as 15 degrees at night and the lake partially froze. As we say, the cold never bothered them anyway (sorry, couldn't help myself!).

My hubby bought a new truck and the kids were so excited to go off-roading on the property, where his previous (non-4x4) was stuck a year ago.

While husband received a new truck, I received a speeding ticket while in Oregon. Apparently, I was on a "Connector" which looks exactly like a freeway, except it has a 55 mph speed limit. Coincidentally, it happened on the very day that I had moved Cha out of a car seat and into a booster, and taken Aut out of anything at all. "Not to get another ticket...but would you mind checking to make sure the kids are safe, I asked?" After inspection, he gave them both the thumbs up. Pro-tip: if you're too busy to take your children to the police office for a safety check/inspection, they can come to you, if you just drive fast enough! 

This all happened when we were on our way to spend a zoo day with Uncle Ben in Portland. And we still had a great day! Uncle Ben was excited to buy Aut a swaddled baby otter that she was eyeing on our December trip, and she proudly wore it around all day.

This month we continued cheer, gymnastics and Girl Scouts continue and Aut has leveled up in swim, as we continued our Saturday morning gym routine. I love sitting in the sauna while they have their lessons because I can still see them. Then, they love going to Kids Club after while my hubby and I work out.

Things I don't want to forget:

Cha says "Last year" meaning yesterday and "Please I have another cookie?"

What I'm Reading:


Reshaping it All 





Friday, February 4, 2022

January, 2022

Dig day! What child labor laws?
This has been an exciting month in some ways, and a tough month in other ways. After nearly 6 months of planning and waiting, pool construction has finally started. It was exciting to finally break ground and the month ended with a massive hole in the ground, which the kids have fun playing in. 

On the 13th, I took my father to the emergency room. He was admitted, and he is still not home. And, we have not been able to see him at all, because he tested positive for covid. Surprisingly, I did not get it even though I drove in the car with him (no masks) from one city to another. I also sat next to him for 4-5 hours in the waiting room, even holding his hand. My father was extremely weak, and it was hard for him to even stand up to move out of his wheelchair. He was falling at home and when he would fall, he did not have the strength to even get himself up off the floor. In the emergency room, his resting heart rate was 155 and could not be lowered. Even with IV fluids, and even with medication. They needed to sedate him and shock his heart with electricity to get it restarted on a better rhythm. The next day, we spoke on the phone and he had his usual sense of humor and seemed good. So it was a bit of a shock when he took a turn for the worse, needing 1-2 liters of oxygen one day and up to 7 liters another day, with a full face mask. They started him on a 5 day course of Remdesivir, something "unproven" that Trump was criticized for mentioning as a possibility, that is actually quite effective. The 5 day course was extended to 10. 

I do not know if it was ever really touch and go for Dad medically, but to us, it sure seemed like it was. On one of the more difficult days, he could hardly get one word out without being breathless. This was about 12 days in, and I thought that he was receiving oxygen and yet seemed much, much worse. However, we learned that he had just been taken off the oxygen, and that was why he was having so much difficulty. While he was in there, we also learned that his Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) is stage 4. We knew he had CLL, he has had it for a long time and takes an oral chemotherapy pill for it, but we did not know that it was stage 4. He was in the hospital so long that he started to have some confusion, agitation and was also very weak from laying in a bed for so long. While he begged to come home, and we wanted him home, it was the decision for him to be transferred to a skilled nursing facility to regain some strength. Continued prayers are appreciated, as his progress there is slow but steady. He will come home, it is just a question of when.

On the trails behind our home.
It is so hard to see someone you love struggling with their health. Well, even harder to not be able to see them and eagerly await a call back from the doctor each day with an update. Some days, you don't hear back from them and your mind drifts to the 'what-ifs.' In me, this stirred a renewed commitment to my health and fitness, as well as for the health of our family. When things are beyond your control, it feels good to control some of the things that you can. Obviously, many medical factors are beyond our control, but so many underlying conditions are preventable or less severe when we are healthy. Having a BMI over 25 puts us at risk for so many conditions, including COVID, but it is something that we are talking about less and less. In a way, that is good. There are far too many stereotypes and too much stigma and judgement attached to being overweight in our society. No one should be put down or treated poorly for their appearance. But, when the lack of conversations around being overweight in a private, medical setting for medical reasons are taboo, we have a problem. My friend is a physician's assistant and their medical group was given the directive to never bring up a person's weight to them, ever, unless the patient first broached the subject. This is taking it too far. But I digress.

I love the beach in winter!
I like to eat. And with a history of running marathons (15, but who's counting?) I'm used to being able to eat more than my non-running counterparts without it showing as much, but I have never been able to eat whatever I want. Even while training, it is still 80% what we eat and only 20% exercise. Even though we only burn 100 calories a mile, I famously ate more than my husband, who is 6'4", on our first date. Forget seconds, I went back for thirds! But now my mileage is much lower and I need to watch what I eat a little more closely. Limiting how much I eat has proven to be difficult for me, but limiting when I eat seems to work. I usually can't have just one cookie, but instead find it easier to not have a cookie at all or not until my eating window. Delay, don't deny. That's why I love intermittent fasting and find that 20 hours of fasting coupled with a 4 hour eating window works best for me. To help hold myself accountable, I started the 75 Hard program and am loving it. Total cost? $4.99 for the app. This program, which bills itself as a mental toughness program and not a weight-loss challenge, is a bit more strict that I'm used to with NO cheat meals or junk at all, coupled with two 45 min workouts every. Single. Day. Also, a gallon of water and a few other requirements such as daily progress picture and ten pages of non-fiction reading. I failed on the first day, then made it seven days before failing again. I'm back, on day two, with only 73 more to go - ha!

Being worried about loosing someone also stirs in us a renewed commitment to spending time with our family and enjoying every day every moment that we can with them. The kinds and I enjoyed an overnight getaway to Dana Point, where they had a blast in the hotel room, at the pool and on the cloudy beach. We worked in a few Disneyland visits and spent a few hours exploring Tom sawyer's island. Prior to catching the boat/raft, Aut was asking to "just play somewhere in the shade" and I realized that we had not been to the island since before COVID.  They loved the unstructured exploration and complete lack of lines.
No posting this month would be complete without mentioning our newest addition: Humphry! She is the sweetest little girl, and very mellow. Wait, she? The name was picked before we picked her. Cha is very gentle with her, too. He continues to be super affectionate and his newest saying that melts my heart is "I'm gonna marry Mamma ... allll weekend!"

Friday, January 7, 2022

Class Valentine's Day Idea

Every year, I am so excited about what my children are going to give their classmates for Valentine's day! My daughter is in first grade, and loves those pop it toys, so I thought this would be prefect! When you search on Etsy, they are up to $3.00 each for a cute bag and tag to go along with the pop it. 

Instead, I ordered these on Amazon, which are only $13 for 16! That means I can get more than I need for only $26. I like that they are gender neutral, so it doesn't matter if she passes them out to boys or girls. I'll do the same for Cha's class as well.

I have some cute tags which I'm happy to share. Email me at megan26.2@gmail.com and I'll send you the file.

Planning ahead for holidays fun events takes the stress out of celebrations for me. And yes, I already have her 7th birthday booked for the end of May. This one is going to be the best yet, and involves a few different destinations and a limo ride! Now, to start taking down all of our Christmas decorations at home...my goal for this weekend!

December, 2021

Each December, the nostalgia of Christmas combined with the approaching new year stirs in us a wistful feeling. Since the children have been born, I have diligently filmed every precious moment that I could capture. I imagined that one day, I would lovingly relive them, warm smile on my face and mug in my hand. But, I think it has sll been for naught. Just seconds into the video below taken five years ago in Christmas day in Italy, and I feel just like Chevy Chase in Christmas vacation. Not the jovial, fun Chevy Chase but the sad one, when he's sitting in the attic watching the old reels of his childhood and bawling his eyes out. And, this video wasn't even taken that long ago! I imagine the nostalgia will only compound over the coming years, and doubt that it will be any good for me at all. Time, you are a thief!

Okay, that's enough melancholy reminiscing for one blog post; let's get back to the present. Truly, this is the most wonderful time of the year, even if it does make us all a little wistful. About ten days before Christmas, I tired to slow down and focus on enjoying the moment. But that doesn't mean not going anywhere; we can still slow down and enjoy while we are out and about at Knott's Merry Farm, Disneyland, Irvine Regional Park or anywhere else! To me, enjoying the moment means putting my phone down and noticing the small things that the kids say or do, smiling and not worrying about things beyond my control, all the presents that need to be wrapped or wondering how it will all get done. It always does, right? It means choosing joy, and realizing that as long as everyone is healthy and happy, we are truly blessed. Life is good, and God is good. And when it seems like He's not? It's only because he has bigger and better plans.

We started the month with my husband's (and his twin's!) surprise 40th birthday party. Thank you to the Leach's for hosting and to everyone who came out! It was fun, yet stressful, keeping it a secret, since that's not my style. Since we were not able to coordinate the twins arriving together, they each arrived separately for two different reveals...within minutes of each other. The kids had a blast running around with sharp objects on the side yard, and no one was injured. It was a late night for this non-drinker but it was worth it. The kids slept in one of the spare bedrooms without protest, and just after 3:30am, we scooped them up to go home.

The kids each had a Christmas performance through their school. We were driving to church for Aut's Christmas pageant and I was explaining that the event was going to be live-streamed. Realizing that she did not know what this was, I explained that her Grandma was going to be watching her do everything right when she did it. It wasn't a recording that would be watched later, I explained, but Grandma would be viewing her live, and in real-time. Suddenly, she understood, and sweetly stated "Oh, I understand: My Grandma in Heaven will be watching me on stage." My heart. It was both humorous and heartbreaking. "No baby, I meant your Grandma in Oregon. But, your Grandma in Heaven will be watching too...I suppose that is just like a livestream..." My father and brother (collectively known as GrandpaGlennie) came to church to watch the performance. 


This month, we discovered a game-changer book for our girl! She came home very excited about this Gerald and Piggie book, which I ordered from Amazon. When it arrived, I gave her to it for the drive to school and it was the first time that she read on her own without any prompting and was truly excited! She also needed very little help. Other than the humor in it (same author as Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!), I think the fact that there is only once sentence per page makes it less intimidating for her, as she is able to progress through it very quickly.

The kids were fortunate to see Santa a few times this season. They are now aware that Santa is so busy that he has special "helpers" that are often placed at the mall and other places to help him out since it's such a busy time of year for him. She could tell that the Santa they saw at Disneyland was once such helper, but we were able to locate the real one a few weeks later. 


The real Santa was found at Once Upon an Island's special Christmas event! How did we know this guy was the real deal? Because he knew that Aut had left flour out on the floor in front of the fireplace last year, in order to obtain evidence of his visit. He mentioned it as soon as she walked in: 

How else would Santa know that she did that? You can tell she was a bit caught off guard (and, wowed!) and told me after that she thought he may have been upset with her! But she loved every minute of it, and said that she wants to see Santa at this location, every year. Done, baby girl; for as long as you'll let me take you, we're there.

We had a nice dinner at El Ranchito in Corona del Mar afterwards, and thoughts of Mom were on my heart, as we often visited CdM when she was in town. My favorite Christmas picture of my Mom and I was taken there, on the beach in Crystal Cove. I love how we form a heart shape with our hug. June 28th, October 8th and all of December are tough for me in regard to missing Mom. I still whisper, once a day, I miss you, Mom with a heavy sigh. Then, I try and pull myself up by the bootstraps and channel that longing into something positive and fun with the kids. Mom did not spend much (if any?) time feeling sorry for herself because she was just too busy living and enjoying every moment. 

We had Christmas with my Dad and brother before my husband left to make the long drive to Oregon with the Golden Girls, our retrievers. My Dad and brother always go out of their way to make the kids' Christmas extra amazing, and Aut often says Grandpa gives the best gifts. This year, my father gave me a new heirloom piece that will one day be hers: An exquisite strand of Akoya pearls that shine unlike any I've ever seen. He was able to throw me off the scent by dropping an untrue hint earlier in the month when he said I don't know if you'll know how to use it which had me thinking it was an appliance of some sort. I was (and still am) wowed.


We met my best friend Andrea and her husband and son at the Huntington Library for the day. I cherish my time with her. The kids loved exploring the children's garden on their own as we chatted, but were less enthused with the indoor art. We had a nice dinner afterwards at the Northwoods, and exchanged gifts. 

The kids and I flew to Oregon on Christmas eve. Our original flight was cancelled, but my hubby was on top of it as always and quickly rebooked us. Afraid of longer lines, we arrived at the airport early, only to find it almost empty, which was nice. The kids were so excited to see their cousins, and stayed up a little later, after setting out all of the necessary milk, cookies, letters and carrots for the reindeer. 

 
Even though it was a late night, they were all up before dawn. Imagine their (and, our!) dismay when we learned we wouldn't be opening presents until almost noon, right as they thought they were about to dig in! But the kids took it in stride, and I personally didn't mine drawing out the anticipation of it all, which really is the best part. 

Aut asked Santa for "A real live hamster" and Cha asked for "tools." We were not sure if he would be able to deliver on the live animal, especially since we were at Grandma's. Aut was consumed with wondering what was in her Santa gift, and realized that it felt like a cage when it was moved and she was told she couldn't open it just yet. The anticipation had been building and her little heart must have sank when she opened the cage and saw the worst thing imaginable: A STUFFED, FAKE, NON-LIVE HAMSTER. She must have been extremely disappointed, but tried very hard to conceal it. She seemed to be in shock and was very quiet until we realized that there was was hope; there was a letter! As soon as I started reading it to her and she realized that he had come through for her, she started crying tears of joy and relief! 

We were blessed with a white Christmas; our first white Christmas! The snow actually stuck on the ground for Christmas morning and only continued over the next few days. It was so beautiful and we loved watching it fall. Grandma bought sleds for the kids, and they had a blast playing with the neighbor girl and renter's granddaughter. We even pulled them behind the gator on the volleyball field!

Due to the snow, this was the first trip to Oregon in which I didn't run! I did work on the blanket I'm crocheting, and read. When Cha saw me crocheting the blanket, he inquired "Why you making that blanket? You look like old lady, making that blanket!" 

In spite of this very adorable insult, he was super affectionate on this trip! He went through a phase awhile ago where he was very stingy with his kisses. Sometimes, I only received one kiss a day, which I had to bribe him for. Now, he is a love, often kissing me first thing in the morning and proclaiming "You da best Mommy in the whole world!"