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, January 22, 2021

December, 2020

Seas & Greetings

She was proud to chose her dress for church. 
Aut and I regularly attend church on Sundays now, outside under a tent. She also attends Awanas every Wednesday night. Faith formation is important, especially in her young, formative years. But it's also important for me. Though I still struggle with some of the stories from the Bible, and fear that this world is all there is, I've  finally reached a point where I definitely believe in intelligent design. To believe that this is all completely random would now require way more faith from me. The idea that this is all random is less believable to me now than the idea that there is a plan and a purpose. 

The lead-up to Christmas is always the best, isn't it? The anticipation of everything. We went to see Santa on the train at Irvine Regional. The train parked for quite awhile and Santa came by, spending time with each child, at a distance.

She had a snow day at her school, our HOA put on a parade and we went to see the lights at Saddleback Church, driving through.

Her kindergarten class.

We are so thankful that she continues to attend kindergarten full-time, and in person. She absolutely loves is and is learning so much! She can now read nearly any word with three letters, can count to 100 (and identify/write all numbers) and is doing simple math. She often walks around the house singing "10, 20, 30, 40, 50 , 60, 70 , 80, 90 ...100" to a tune.

This year was so amazing because the kids really seemed to "get" it. Aut was so excited to leave flour in front of the fireplace to collect evidence that Santa came, an idea she came up with on her own. She was so excited to find the evidence not only near the fireplace, but he also tracked flower on her purple rug in her room, where he left a smart watch under her tree, found the day after.

My father and brother spent the night on Christmas Eve so that they could be  here when the kids woke up before dawn. We had prime rib, and after dinner, the we all gathered 'round to watch Mom read The Night Before Christmas, which is a new tradition. Then, the kids opened one Christmas Eve gift as we had dessert and coffee. Remember knowing adults who could drink coffee at any time of the day or night, unaffected? I do too, and yet somehow, that's me now. Glen went to bed early, while Dad stayed up to help my husband, mostly by watching and critiquing him. "I'm here to help" became his catch-phrase that evening, as he instructed him on assembly or stated the obvious. They had a great time together, with lots of laughs. Dad spoke of Christmases from my childhood, and how much Mom loved this time of year. As anticipated, Aut was up before the sun, at 5:40 to be exact, and Cha wasn't too happy about it. Aut received her very first gun, an Annie Oakley Lil' Sure Shot BB air rifle, from Grandpa. After all the gifts were opened, we noticed something strange outside, and called the kids out. 


This historic dam is 1.5 miles out our back gate.

Best of friends!

The day after Christmas, Aut and I went ice-skating in Huntington, and she wore her new ice skates that she received for Christmas. She's continuing with her lessons and loves her weekly sessions with Coash Ashley.

We closed out the month with an early-morning trip to the snow with the kids' cousins. When there's snowfall in So-Cal, flatlanders like us flock to the mountains. But we went up the back way, through Yucaipa where I grew up, to the old school house in Oak Glen where we went last year. There wasn't any traffic, and very few people. Aut loves time with her cousins, and we hope to have more time together in the new year. 

I was happy to close out the year with higher mileage than any recent years. My total mileage was 1,221 which includes walking and running. Being home more, I have ran 3 miles nearly every day since March 13.

For New Year's, we set off fireworks in the street while the kids danced and rode their scooters. We also set off confetti cannons at the top of the staircase, and sat back as the kids jumped with delight in the raining sparkles. While the only postings I saw on Facebook and in the media about 2020 were negative, it was a good year for us. Perhaps, the best ever. All of the extra time at home has been the biggest blessing and I can't see us ever returning to our pre-Covid busyness. Life has been simpler, slower and much more enjoyable. 

Friday, January 1, 2021

November, 2020

This month started with rain, thunder and lightning; a rarity in Southern California. It was so much fun playing Christmas songs and setting up the first of our trees, while the kids wore their matching jammies and watched Charlie Brown. We even had a fire. 

On November 1st, I started setting up our Christmas trees and by the end of the month we had five! The real one is close to 11 feet tall and makes the house smell amazing! By the end of the month I was also nearly done with Christmas shopping and wrapping. My return to work (on campus) coincided with Cha's transition to his big boy bed. Like every other transition he has passed, it was easy-peasy, lemon squeezy. After he commands me to read a book, I tuck him in, give him a kiss and close the door. I leave the light on low and sometimes I hear him playing with whatever toy he has chosen to go night-night with, but over a month in and he has never gotten out of his bed once I put him down. We own a monkey lock and have yet to use it. Mornings are surprisingly the same! I will hear him chatting away, but he has never left his bed even once before I open the door! He is the most a remarkable little guy.
It was tough for Cha to return to daycare after he had been home for over 7 months. At drop off, he clung to me and cried, once holding on to a bench as they tried to pick him up and carry him in. Some mornings, he would ask "hide?" and releasing from his car seat buckle, I quickly learned that meant crawl into the back of my Honda Pilot so that I can't reach him without partially crawling in myself. As tough as it was on me, I knew the routine and socialization would be good for him. I didn't cry. That was, until around the middle of the month when we walked in all by himself, cheerfully saying "Bye Mom!" as he took his little stuffed dog under his arm and carried him through the gates without a fuss. By the 20th, he was saying "House! Big house; my house" as we pulled into daycare and saying "Bye Mom!" this time before we had even parked! Clearly, he likes it there, which is a good feeling. Even though it makes me feel less needed, I know it's a good thing and it gives me insight into how and why people become co-dependent or stunt their children's growth (I'm only half kidding here). And yes, we now call daycare going to the big house.

Aut started ice skating lessons this month and enjoyed them more than I anticipated. Although she also takes horse-back riding lessons and gymnastics, ice skating quickly became her favorite, with her excitedly saying "yay!" when I tell her that she has a lesson. 

We took a long weekend and went to Williams, Arizona to go on the Polar Express. I may have been as excited as the kids! There was a bit of snow on the ground and the whole event was the perfect way to kick off the Christmas season. The small, old city of Williams, known as the "gateway to the Grand Canyon" holds meaning to me because Mom and I visited the summer after I finished my first year as a school counselor. We also went to the Grand Canyon for the first time on that trip back in 2007 and so it was nice to take my children there. 

The train ride was only half-full to allow for social distancing, and we wore masks. But it was otherwise a normal experience, with Santa still boarding the train to give each child a bell. This video of Charles receiving his melts my heart. We had fun being the only ones in our hotel's outdoor hot-tub, visiting a playground in town, and seeing Artic Wolves and bears roaming around our car at Bearizona. The Polar Express will definitely become an annual tradition for us.
This month, we celebrated seven years of marriage and nine years as a couple. I cannot believe how well-suited we are for each other and can say with certainty that I am more in love with him now than I was even when I said "I do." On our wedding day, I knew he had everything that I was looking for; the non-negotiables like sense of humor, attraction, educated with a career, active and irresistible. The more I was around him, the more I wanted to be around him. But there are so many other qualities that he has that I didn't realize were so important, like his devotion to family, ability to stretch our dollar by finding incredible deals and our similar viewpoints on politics that have only served to strengthen our bond. He is the best leader of our family and my rock. I thank God every day for him, and the life he has given me and our children. Our anniversary was followed by his birthday, and the start of his last year being in his 30's.

This month I continued running 3 miles most days and also continued weight training. With gyms closed, I've been humbled by just how sore a 30 minute YouTube weight training session with only hand weights can make me! And I love being sore from a good workout!

We spent Thanksgiving at home, with my Dad and brother. I love cooking a good meal for others to enjoy, how it makes the house smell and having leftovers. I love it when Aut helps, and baking desserts together.

After Thanksgiving, the Elf on the Shelf made her appearance, and it was so much fun seeing all of the mischief she got into and the kids' reactions. Cha is such a good, good man. I started wrapping presents this month and placing them under the trees. He was patient and somehow understood that they were not to be opened until Christmas. A conversation surrounding this would go something like this: 
Me: We can't open these until Christmas.
Cha: Huh?
Me: We can't open these presents until Christmas.
Cha: Huh?
Me: We will open these presents on Christmas.
Cha: Ooooohhhh.

Aut is such a joy and a good, sweet girl. She wants to please and she wants to do what she is told. She plays so well with her brother. She is thriving in kindergarten, and has received only positive comments from her teacher. I was able to take some time off work and attend her class party which is so important to me and, to her. We are truly blessed and thankful, and will never forget the struggle to become parents. It has only served to deepen our love and appreciation for what I see as the most important job in the world: being their Mom.