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, December 20, 2023

November, 2023

The Breakers Mansion, 11/2023
It is amazing to have all of our furniture back! Following a slab leak back in February (read: 10 months ago!) our insurance company sent movers to take everything from our downstairs. And I mean everything, including my Nespresso machine, shoes, and even a few dirty dishes! It all magically appeared the other day, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate having a couch or chair to sit on following my morning run! While we were using a metal table and patio chairs, it just wasn't the same. Now, I need time to sort, organize, and, most importantly, throw things away. If you can live without it for 10 months, do you really need it? Seeing most things back in their place was so strange, including all of my Valentine's Day decorations. It was SO cute; Aut excitedly said this morning: "Mommy! Our TV is back, and now you can watch TV while you COOK DINNER, and then, we can ALL EAT at the dining room table!" And, of course, they are super excited about all of their toys! It's like it is all new and a reminder to me to pack up some of the things/rotate toys, and not just leave everything out.

The furniture was not back in time for Turkey Day.
This month, we celebrated 10 years of marriage on Thanksgiving. A whole decade; the best decade of my life! We celebrated with a traditional Thanksgiving meal (courtesy of yours truly), dessert, and catching up with our neighbor friends, the Clarks. We also spent some time in the hot tub (Staying up past midnight!), reflecting on the last ten years and discussing what we hoped to accomplish in the next ten years. We committed to spending time in the hot tub at least once a week because being in there is just about the only time we're able to slow down. I feel like I'm always multi-tasking. Seriously, even when I'm watching TV at night, I'm either folding laundry or editing photos for my side hustle. When I go on a run, I'm also listening to a podcast. And then, there are always papers, that we each have to write. Just when I feel like I can't get busier, something else gets thrown into the mix. But in the warmth of the hot tub, with steam gently rising and the distant sounds of coyotes or owls from the open space behind us, we find a peaceful escape. Here, free from distractions, my hubby and I can simply enjoy each other's company and genuinely connect.

We also had an amazing family vacation to New England this month. We flew into Providence and stayed in Newport, Boston, and then Providence, visiting Plymouth Village, the Mayflower, and Salem along the way. The weather was great - nice and crisp (40 degrees!) in Boston for the Duck Tour and Christ Church Burial Ground, where Paul Revere, Benjamin Franklin, and Samual Adams are buried. In Salem the next day, we had light, cold rain on our witch tour. One highlight was the living history of the Plimoth Patuxet museum, where you get to wander through a 16th-century English village one year after the settlers from the Mayflower arrived. It was so fun to interact with the actors, who remained completely in character and explored all of the homes and backyards, asking tons of questions along the way. Although we try to do some research with the kids before any trip, this was one of the first times that they were so into it. Aut was reading a historical fiction diary about one of the girls on the Mayflower that my co-worker recommended (thanks, Karli!), and when we stepped onto the Mayflower II, some of what the tour guide mentioned was what we had just read about! Both kids were also really interested in listening to one of my Podcasts, American History Tellers and their episode on the Salem Witch Trials. On the drive, they requested it - a dream come true!

Love the juxtaposition of the old and new

America's oldest restaurant 

Catching falling leaves

On our way to the Breakers mansion in Newport, we stumbled on a college for Aut. Half joking and half serious, we explored the Harry Potter-esq grounds, talking about what it would be like for her to attend somewhere with an actual winter. Finding out that it was a small, private Catholic university intrigued us even more. We walked inside, and, playing up my role as a school counselor, I met with the recruiter/rep for California, who explained that the average GPA was 3.4. Apparently, as long as you can come up with the $65,000 cost, it is not too competitive! While we realize she likely will not go to this particular university, it was both interesting and eye-opening to have this conversation with my husband because I really thought that going out of state would not be an option for her. 
    Being practical and appreciating value, he had previously mentioned the idea *gasp!* of her attending community college, something I immediately shot down. She will take some community college classes while in high school to build her student profile, but I do not want her to attend college at a place that will take literally anyone, whether they have graduated high school or not. There is nothing wrong with community college! It is where I spent my first three years of college (yes, I needed remedial math and took it for a whole year before it counted to transfer), but then I only had a few years at the university. By the time I became comfortable with CSUSB, it seemed I had finished my bachelor's degree. Additionally, continuing to live at home until I was 23 served to delay my independence as I stretched out and enjoyed what we Americans term "extended adolescence." What's wrong with that, you ask? Well, for me, it delayed my ability to find and be ready to marry. At 18, I was not the adult my Mom was when she married my father and moved to America, also at 18. My work BFF, AnnMarie was and is very close to her daughter, who is now a Physician's Assistant, married and with a child of her own. She told me that her daughter going to the University of Tulsa (on a full ride) was the best thing for their relationship, helping my friend as much as her daughter. My husband has said that he does not want his girl leaving at 18 - for she is far too young and needs protecting...but having this real conversation and working out the logistics of her attending a place in New England such as this private university was thrilling. I never realized that it would be an option he would not only be on board with but be excited about. He said it is a once-in-a-lifetime experience to live somewhere so different and new, and why not do it when you're young?

On our last night, we stayed in Providence to be close to the airport, but I had no idea it was so beautiful! Right after I took this amazing photo from the pedestrian bridge at sunset, we were driving to dinner and stumbled upon Brown University. With the sky splashed with amazing sunset colors, we stopped on a whim at one of the most unique playgrounds ever and delighted in watching the kids play. 

My hubby also celebrated his birthday this month, and the kids had fun helping me make and decorate the cake. They finished flag football and launched into Basketball as I made a mental note to skip a winter sport next year. While being active year-round is important, this is such a busy time of year, and throwing two practices for her, one for him as well as two different games each week is tough.

She joined a Girl Scout Troop with girls from her school.

So many beautiful sunsets this time of year.