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.

Friday, September 20, 2019

July + August Update

July was filled mostly with our international trip, which you can read about here. Right before we left, C started standing while holding on to things. By the end of August he was getting around by holding on to something such as the coffee table and then stepping sideways. We were home for less than a week before heading up to Oregon for some family time. While we were home, we visited Once Upon an Island for a mermaid makeover, got together with some friends, prepared for C's first birthday and did a lot of unpacking, laundry and then more packing.

The kids and I flew, while my hubby drove the 15+ hours with our three dogs. Things were a bit hectic with a dozen people under one roof for the week that we overlapped, but that's part of what family time is about.

Our days were filled with hikes, meal prep, baths and carrots for pony, gator rides and time on the lake and in the wading pool. I did my best to run or walk 3 miles every day and adopted an all vegan diet just for one week with my sister in law, who is now a legit vegan after decades as a vegetarian.

But it wasn't the tranquil place it usually is for any of us, and it may be the last time we're all up there together. One thing is for sure; we will forever have a different reaction when we hear gunfire, which is commonplace up there.

As I was flying into SF for a short layover and plane transfer, my husband texted me that his brother had been shot. Immediately, I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. He texted back that he was "alright" but because he was with him and driving to the hospital, information was sparse and delayed. I was left wondering where and by whom for quite awhile. In that time, I came up with different scenarios, none of which were accurate. My first thought was that it must've been an accident; that they did it while shooting for target practice. Then, I wondered if maybe they went to town, and someone robbed a store and he was caught in the crossfire. I never expected the truth: That he was on their property, close to the house,when a stray bullet hit him in the stomach. We learned that the riffle shot had already traveled almost a mile, and as a result, stopped just short of piercing his abdominal wall.

Wait, bullets can travel a mile?! Yes.

And then came an unthinkable thought: The same height where he was hit would have been the same height as the heads of the older children. Their property previously seemed so removed and secluded; safe. They are on 83 acres and back up to BLM wilderness. But about a mile away, there is a shooting range, and people who use it who don't know what they're doing, apparently.

The impact that this family event has had on each of us is different, and ripples out with those closest having the greatest impact. But it really says something when even a gun owner such as myself reconsiders her position. Because of this, I wanted to share something that my brother-in-law sent to the family:
Thinking Solutions. I don't want to get on a high horse here, but with so many guns in circulation right now and with the range and power of these guns tending to increase over time, I have been a bit shocked how little most Americans (on both sides of the debate) know about guns. I'm not going to resolve this in an email and there are no easy, quick solutions that will please everyone. But let me suggest two resources to further educate yourself:
  • First, there's the Pew Research Center on gun policy and this article is a great place to begin. I also think they're pretty balanced and data-based.
  • Second, there's Everytown for Gun Safety. Admittedly, they are an advocacy organization and have a point of view. And I know all of you won't agree with them (And that's OK!). Still, it's a great place to learn, check your thinking and take some action if you so choose. (And if you don't, or even if what you find there upsets you--That's fine!) Alright, getting off the horse now and returning to our normal programming...
My Mom was always looking for the positive, even (especially?) in the negative. I thank God every day that she passed on this outlook to me. She would say that what happened was a blessing in disguise. Prior to this, hearing the gun shots was so commonplace that we never reacted. Now, we go inside and bring the kids. So, this horrible event could play a major role in preventing something much, much worse. In effect, he may have literally taken a bullet for (instead of) the kids.

Bad, unfair, serious things happen to all of us, at some point, unfortunately. If they haven't yet, they will, and that is something that no amount of money or preparation can prevent or control. What we can control is what we do with it; how we let it shape us. Do we let the fear impact our life in a negative way and control us? Or do we try to find beauty for ashes?

Although I would not choose to go through it again, one of the most impactful events in my life was being told I had melanoma. I went to surgery, had scans and an appointment with my oncologist while living with that fear and dread for over a month...only to be told it was a mix-up. While I sometimes think that I would sign up for living forever if it were an option, it is only when we face our mortality and consider the finiteness of our life that it truly begins to hold meaning. I believe that I am a better parent, kinder counselor, more loving spouse and have more faith in God because of this experience. Things that were a big deal to me before my misdiagnosis just roll off, like water on a duck's back. It also helped shed light on who would be there for me if I really had cancer, and who would not. Hopefully in time, this experience can be viewed in a similar way. 

After our time in Oregon, we squeezed the last few drops out of summer by camping for three nights at Shaver Lake with our good family friends. A was so excited to play with her friends and have her first camping experience. So was I. Baby C loved waking up and looking out the window of our tent trailer that we rented. "Oooooh" he would say.
Those of you who know my husband know that he does not like camping. And those of you who know him also know that it takes a whole lot of convincing and coercing to get him to do something that he doesn't want to do. But he also has a strong sense of tradition and is more sentimental than anyone I know. As a child, he went with his family to Shaver Lake and so it was an easy sell. It was a great opportunity for A to bond with her friends who are in higher grades at her new school, and for us to get the scoop on what we needed to know from their Mom who is a teacher there. When asked if she preferred our five star hotel in Austria with a view of the Salzach or camping, she enthusiastically answered "Camping!"

We drove home on Thursday and that Saturday was C's first birthday party, so I didn't have too much time to prepare. I had coordinated a lot while up in Oregon, and put together some of it right before we left. His theme was "Time Flies" and because I couldn't find any entertainment along those lines, I went with a magician.

Well, I did call about having a zip line installed behind our house, but the $5,500 price tag was a bit beyond our budget!
The magician was awesome! Although C is too young to know what was going on, the entertainment was perfect for the older friends, who sat mesmerized for close to an hour. He's based in LA and you can find out more about him here. 
Can you guess who my husband is?

It was a smaller crowd than our usual parties because many people were already back to school, or still finishing their summer vacations. This provided a good opportunity for us to visit a bit more with those who were there.

That Monday, I was back to work, while the kids and hubby had an extra week before they started. We were all a bit apprehensive about getting up early and on time with two different locations to drop the kids off at. It was surprisingly smooth. A few weeks in, and A has wanted to go every day. She will sometimes ask "How many days until we have a break?" like she did on the Tuesday morning of her very first week.

At a year old, C started daycare for the very first time, at the same place A used to go to. He didn't cry at drop off for the first two days, then clung to me like a koala bear and cried for about 5 days, which was tough. It's so hard to leave your kids when they are crying and want you, but my guilt was assuaged remembering that my mom was a stay at home mom who still chose to put me in pre-school because I wanted to go, and to prepare me for kindergarten. After those 5 days, he didn't mind going at all, often leaning to get down and play as I passed him off to the worker.

My husband and I alternate days of dropping off and picking up. So far, we haven't forgotten either child, although I did show up at daycare the other day only to learn that he had already picked big man up, and I mis-read his text.

I'm loving being back to work; wearing clothes that aren't just for working out and having uninterrupted conversations with adults. I have a new boss, who is amazing with a super-positive attitude, which sets the tone for the day. I miss the kids like crazy, of course, but I am so fortunate to have a career that I love!

I know that this is going to be an amazing year, with so much growth and change in store! 

He is such a sweet soul.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Becoming Unbusy

There are so many options of things we could be doing, but IĆ¢€™ve been opting out of all of it. No to the weekly obligations after school. No to practices and games. No to feeling overwhelmed and stressed. I say no and I say it often. #becomingunbusy *Great post on embracing simplicityHave you heard about the Becoming Unbusy movement? It's a real thing. I guess that my husband is advanced and a bit of a trendsetter, because he's been all about not being busy long before it was "a thing." He's not anti-social and he's great with people; funny and witty in mixed company. It's just that he doesn't feel the need to constantly be doing stuff to be entertained. When we were dating, one of our most memorable dates was "camping" in the living room of my apartment.

When we were anticipating the arrival of our first child in 2015, we both dreaded the time when we would inevitably become busy. It was as if we would have no control or say because around us, it just seemed to "happen" to people once they became parents. 

But I remember my friend Delia, a type-A lawyer and ultra-runner who had a "policy" in her home of "only" one activity or sport per child at a time. And that gave me hope.
"Really?!" I inquired, a bit in disbelief. 
"Yes! For example, it's girl scouts or soccer; piano or track. The kids get to pick, but it's only one."

At the time I remember wondering if they wouldn't feel as if they were missing out. Now, a few years later, I realize that being over-committed is missing out. At least in our family. If you thrive and get energized with a full social calendar, there is nothing wrong with that. But if you commit to doing something and then instantly regret it (or worse) begin to dread it, it's time to say no.

"Don't double book us." My husband would often say and now, I get it. I love being at our home, together. "Mommy, I'm bored" is amazing to hear every once in awhile because that's when she gets into some really creative (read: messy) play.

I haven't started saying no to events, parties or activities because I don't want to do them. Rather, I just don't want to do too many of them. A few weekends ago, I tripple-stacked our outings, with the best of intentions. I said yes to one thing, and then another and then to a side-business and before I knew it we had plans from 8:30am-7pm with a few hours in between that we couldn't really enjoy.


It doesn't mean that I'm not going to buy tickets to plays (we have two in the works), go to Disney on Ice, keep my side hustle or go to birthday parties. But it does mean that once I commit to something, I'm not going to add on to that day, even if it does sound really fun. It will make what we do more enjoyable, and people will know when I say I'll be there I won't flake out last minute. 

Almost nothing feels better than going into the weekend with a clear calendar. If you feel that way too, make it happen! We're not alone in wanting to be alone with our family. Remember, it's a whole movement! 

UPDATE: The day after this posting I noticed I only had one thing planned for the entire weekend. So what did I do? Make plans to go to the pumpkin patch, of course! Hey, we're all a work in progress.

Check out this posting on Embracing Simplicity in a Culture of Excess:

Choosing a slower pace and more margin in our schedule
As we’re getting ready for back to school, it’s becoming readily apparent that schedules are getting busier. There are so many options of things we could be doing, but I’ve been opting out of all of it.
No to the weekly obligations after school.
No to practices and games.
No to feeling overwhelmed and stressed.
I say no and I say it often.
It’s counter-cultural to have a lot of margin in your schedule. Try to find a time to meet up with a friend and you’ll quickly notice how busy people are. Different families have varying comfort levels with amounts of activities. We are more comfortable with very few.
Margin allows us more rest but also the option of being available if we want. I’m able to help-out a friend last minute or we can have a spontaneous family picnic at the park. A less busy schedule gives us more flexibility and freedom.
Have a tough time saying no? Check out this guide.