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.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

On November and Gratitude

I had a nightmare the other night. I was planning A's 16th birthday (I'm not going to lie - this is something I've thought about) but I was doing it now, in present time. She was suddenly turning 16 instead of 5 and all the years leading up to it were gone. In just two years, she would be graduating high school. I knew time went by fast, but this is ridiculous I thought. I had no recollection of the past 12 years and felt panicky.

Fortunately it was just a dream, but I did find myself in the middle of November without a clue how I got there. But, what a way to start it!
The kids and I spent the evening of the first day of the month watching the sun set over the water of the Newport Bay.  My exuberant and generous friend Tamara rented a duffy boat for our girls' night and wouldn't accept any contributions. She brought champagne and appetizers and, as always, her positive outlook. About a week after this trip, she was let go from her high-powered job. Instead of complaining or feeling sorry for herself, she viewed it as God's plan to have her spend more time with beloved family back in Texas and Oklahoma. She moves next month.

We cannot control what happens to us; only how we respond and act. This was a gentle reminder of that and how perspective is everything.
C decided to start walking this month, right before he turned 15 months. One day he was taking a few steps, and a few days after that he was going much further. He is so wobbly and it is so precious. I will always remember him reaching out for the first time to take my finger; wrapping all his little fingers around it.
As he was off and walking, A had her first race: the Dino Dash 2K. I understand now why parents live vicariously through their children! It gets a bad wrap, but really, is their anything more meaningful than seeing our offspring  take on our pursuits and joys, only to soar to new heights? To do better than we ever dreamed we could?

After she crossed the finish line of her first race, I asked her what she thought of it. I have to say that A may just have what it takes to be a distance runner because her response was "That was booooorrring!" Welcome to my world! The sooner she realizes that running is boring, the better. It is, but most of us run for the feeling we get when we're done. Throughout this month, I continued my 3 mile lunch runs. I rarely look forward to them, but I never regret them.

We took on a sweet foster dog named Colette this month. She was hit by a car and dumped at a shelter. Because she is backed by a rescue agency, they take care of her medical bills; we just provide the love. She was a good companion to Coco before he went to Heaven, three weeks after I adopted him.
At South Coast Repertory
We had a few outings with our neighbor friends who have a little girl close in age to A. It is so nice having people close by that we connect with and run into on walks. We have very little family, and so it is friends like this who help us feel like that is not the case. We can count on them; they were even able to watch A one day when her school was closed and daycare was full. We saw a play at SCR together, they joined us for a day at Great Wolf Lodge, and we all went out for a nice dinner while one sitter watched all of our kids! It was a good excuse to dress up, as was the annual Gala for her school. And because we were getting all fancy, we had our Christmas card photos taken behind our house, right before we left.
Meeting the actor from Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible...
I have been hoping to instill in her a love of theater by going with her as often as I can. This month, I realized that it worked, because she invited me to a play at her school (Villain School) on the last day before Thanksgiving break. It started at 7pm (late for us!) and was in the small, old fashioned auditorium that doesn't have stadium seating or comfy, padded chairs. Of course all the actors were middle school students, and we didn't even know any of them. But I couldn't say no, because she had watched part of it during the school day and legitimately wanted me to see it.
We hosted Thanksgiving at our place. It was relaxed and as stress-free as hosting can be! Which is to say, you are in control of how stress-free you want ANY holiday to be! A few days prior, my fancy Dacor (previously, I had never heard of this brand) double oven started randomly beeping to warn us that the control board needed to be serviced. More accurately, it started beeping sometimes and would not stop. During the night. These ovens run about $5,000 and so we were not ready to go out and buy a new one. We already had the turkey and all the plans and so when my husband said he was worried about it, I didn't let myself. "Well, we'll order out or pick up!" I said. Immediately, I thought of A Christmas Story and their meal out after the Bumpuses' dog ate their turkey. Sometimes, when our plans go really awry, we make the best memories.

But no such luck, the oven worked just fine and the turkey was actually the best I've ever cooked, due to the convection feature. My hubby decided to class it up this year with a blue leisure suit, a la Christmas Vacation, and so it was still memorable. We also had my husband's cousin, her husband and new baby girl, as well as their parents from Michigan. Aunt N made two healthy pumpkin pies, whipped her whipped cream by hand and played a song on the piano that made me cry. Dad and my brother arrived a little early (6 hours) and it was the kind of evening that you didn't want to end.

The kids also had their school photos taken and I am in love! It's hard to believe C is not yet 1 1/2 and yet he looks like a little man! A handsome little man. And A is as beautiful as ever, dimple and all. Mom brag: The most beautiful thing about our children is their sweet, gentle hearts. A has more than her share of empathy, and is so sweet and loving with our small adopted dog and our senior foster. She strives to please and a nightly request is for me to fall asleep beside her. Usually, I will tell her "I'm sorry, Mommy has chores to do, but I'll be in during the night." Sometimes, when I'm exceptionally tired I will relent and say okay which is met with "Yay! You're the best mommy ever!"

She doesn't always have a lot to say when I pick her up from school, and often requests certain songs or her audio-book. But in these tender moments before bed, she will usually tell me something interesting about her day, out of the blue. For this reason, I cherish our special "talk time" before she falls asleep.

This month, we're listening to a lot of Kanye's new album, Taylor Swift, Imagine Dragons, Jolene by Dolly Parton (or, "Don't take my man" as A calls it), Junie B. Jones Turkeys we have Loved and Eaten (and Other Thankful Stuff) and Anne of Green Gables.

I remember my life back in a small, dark one bedroom apartment with my cat Isis and can't believe how full it has become. 

Every day, I am thankful that I met my husband and that we have this life together. I love our children, our routines - all of it! Life isn't about not making mistakes; it's about learning from them. It is what you do after you make a mistake that really counts. While I do wish I had met him much sooner, I know I would not have appreciated him quite as much if I had. The bad times we go through and the hurt we experience doesn't have to harden us or make us cynical. Instead, those times can serve to make us even more grateful when we get through them, and find ourselves on the other side, living the life we only rarely allowed ourselves to dream of.