Friday, March 30, 2012

Friday Night Leftovers: Plans edition

  • I was able to work from home today – it was a much needed morning with my family.
  • We finished all of our advanced dining reservations for our August Walt Disney World trip and I am so stupidly excited for this trip!
  • There are still lots of plans that need to be made – like our plane reservations and I want to plan some fun stuff to bring for Gianna.
  • I had a monitoring ultrasound today for this cycle.  We had really been debating what we wanted to do this month – but we were just going to move forward with clomid/IUI again.
  • Except I have a cyst, so we’ll just be moving forward on our own for another month.
  • God totally has a sense of humor – I even chuckled as I was leaving the office today.  Considering as he totally made the choice about what to do this month pretty crystal clear.
  • Funny how He gives us little glimpses of His plan for us when we least expect it.
  • Surprisingly, I am okay with all of this.  I don’t really have a choice, of course, but mentally, I feel okay with it.
  • So all of my energy for the month will go in to Easter and planning Gianna’s birthday party.
  • I have a really fun idea for her birthday pictures, so that’s exciting.  I also have about a million ideas (a’la Pineterest, natch) for her party – I need to get.on.the.ball with all that.
  • We finally started the long-standing mental plans I have had to move the rooms around and get some better organization in this house.
  • But, my plans for the rest of the weekend involve a bottle of Barefoot Moscato, a jewelry show tomorrow, an easter egg hunt on Sunday and some more of said bottle of Moscato. 


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday


I’ve been participating in the Photo A Day Challenges – here’s my February pictures!

You can check out my pictures on Instagram (andreamarie528) Are you doing it? I want to follow you too!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Side-Yard Superhero (Book Review and Giveaway)

Kathy from Five Star Publications reached out to me about reviewing Side-Yard Superhero by Ohio native Dr. Rick Niece and I jumped at the chance.


This is a book that defines small-town America, to live in a tight-knit community and what it means to truly be a friend to everyone.

Trust and friendship can go no deeper when a small-town newspaper boy befriends a young man with cerebral palsy, and a lifetime of adventure unfolds.

Side-Yard Superhero chronicles the friendship between Rick and Bernie Jones, who was born with cerebral palsy, and their adventures in small town DeGraff, Ohio.

I loved reading about their adventures (delivering newspapers together and dressing up as Superman and Clark Kent to pass out Halloween candy) and seeing the lifetime of memories and lessons unfold in the process.

Growing up in a small town in Ohio, I could easily relate to many of the stories and community dynamics described in Side-Yard Superhero as well as the lessons that those who appear different can teach us.  My job in high school and college was with handicapped adults, some of whom had cerebral palsy, and the things I learned from those individuals were far more than any impression I could have left on them, I am certain of that.  I was hit with a flood of memories and emotions throughout the book – good memories growing up in small-town USA.

This is an quick, light hearted read and I highly recommend it.  Side-yard Superhero is the first in a series of books by Dr. Rick Niece and I am awaiting the next release in the Fanfare for a Hometown series.

Five Star Publications is offering up a copy of Side-Yard Superhero to one of you beautiful readers!

All you need to do to enter – is tell me if anyone with a disability has made an impression on you in your life. 

Check out the Rick Niece facebook page for updates on the Fanfare for  Hometown series and other exciting information. For every like this month, in celebration of National Disabilities Awareness Month, Dr. Rick Niece will be donating $1 to United Cerebral Palsy.


Giveaway is open through Monday April 2nd 11:59pm EST. Please make sure there is a valid email address in your contact or way to contact you when you win associated with your google profile.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Game over. Try again.

I had a thought this morning as I stared at a digital pregnancy test that was all but screaming “not pregnant” at me. again.

These damn things should at least be more entertaining if they are going to deliver bad news, especially so early in the morning.

Something along the lines of “try again, bitch” would have at least made me chuckle this morning.

Or “Bwahahaha. No.”

“game over” or “better luck next time” could also work.

I think “Maybe if you just would have relaxed” would be a fan favorite.

Although, they are probably going to have to make that little window bigger to fit all the snark.

And if (when) it is positive? There will be instant cheers and a flash mob. And someone to snap a picture so you can forever capture that look of shock, awe and bedhead all wrapped into one nice little package.

For the record, Jen and I totally have the market cornered on this and plan to live the rest of our lives, after we make our millions off of THE digital pregnancy test full o’ snark, with a pool boy feeding us alcohol and helping us into our spanks. Or something like that.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Eventually, I’ll Feel Grown Up

I got married.

But I didn’t feel “grown up”. I just felt like me.

I had a baby.

But I didn’t feel “grown up”. I felt like a permanent babysitter for a long time, but eventually, I just felt like me.

I bought a house.

But I didn’t feel “grown up”. I felt accomplished.

I got my master’s degree.

But I didn’t feel “grown up”.  I felt relieved.

I got a great job, that actually had something to do with my education.

But I didn’t' feel “grown up”. I felt like I had to prove myself.

I have had to struggle with secondary infertility.

But it doesn’t make me feel “grown up”. It makes me frustrated.


So when do you feel “grown up”?  I often wonder what others think of me, or how they perceive me.  Not because I particularly care, but because I am curious if they see me as an adult or just some girl pretending to be an adult. 

I think this has to do with the fact that typically, I am the youngest in nearly any group I am involved in. I am the youngest of all of my friends (I am pretty sure).  I am the youngest person in my department at work. I am the youngest mom at dance class (I think).  It’s kind of always been that way –  But nobody really knows that and most people are pretty surprised when they find out my age.

But I’m creeping on 30 – so it’s not like I’m fresh out of high school.

I am pretty positive that nobody thinks that I’m some young girl who dresses nice but knows nothing. I rarely feel disrespected or that people don’t take me seriously. so that’s good.

I just never “feel” like a grown-up. But maybe I’m glad I don’t recognize that feeling – it’s good to feel youthful amidst all the crap life can throw at me.

How do you feel? Do you feel grown-up or somewhere stuck in the middle, like I do?


Friday, March 23, 2012

What I Didn’t Know Then

Five years ago, I had no idea what the weather would be like.

Or that he would cry.

Or just how much fun the night would be with our friends and family.

Five years ago, I had no idea how much fun the first year of marriage would be.

Or how hard.

Or just how much our lives would change that year.

Five years ago, I had no idea how hard it was going to be.

Or how much we were going to have to fight to keep our marriage alive.

Or the joy that parenthood has brought to our lives.

Five years ago, I had no idea the struggles we would face.

Or just how great it would feel to get the keys to OUR house.

Or how great life would be today.

Because despite the tough, the stressful, and the frustrating – there has has been much more happiness, excitement and love.

Five years ago, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

But I’m glad I didn’t know – this life is an adventure that I wouldn’t want to discover with anyone else.

Happy Anniversary, I love you!


Monday, March 19, 2012

Observations of a Toddler

Gianna is one of the funniest nearly three year olds that I know (no, I am not biased at all…) and I have made some observations that I want to remember forever and ever:

  • Gianna is a VERY CLEAR talker – there is hardly ever any question about what exactly she is saying. But she says some words so funny – I hope I always remember the way she says “elphanent” and “banilla” and “sun scweam”  among so many others.
  • She is a mocker.  She always wants to be just like everyone else – me, her friends, her aunts, etc.  The other day, she sat straight up with her legs crossed and said “so, what’s going on guys” – it was hilarious!  She also does this in sort of, well, in opportune moments – like if a friend is mad or upset about something, she will “mock” them – cry, throw herself on the floor, whatever was just happening – she does it.  It’s a little crazy!
  • The conversations. They are the best.  She now says “so, how was work, mommy?” when I get home. She is caring and concerned.  We just talk about everything together.
  • She has a certain look when she is ignoring you. It’s very distinct and very annoying when she does it.  but, hey! Threenager,
  • she does an awesome job following directions, when she wants too. But she is also good at the whole ignoring thing.
  • When she is in trouble – she gets sent to her room to calm down.  So now, when she doesn’t feel like listening she says “I’m tired, I’m going to bed”  If only it was so easy to get out of cleaning up toys! But again, Threenager
  • The wonder about EVERYTHING is so cool to me, I love exploring things through her.
  • She NEVER wants to eat a meal.  But she always wants a snack……
  • When kids turn three, are they still toddlers? Or preschoolers?

We try to be consistent with our discipline and expectations of her, and I see more and more every single day how important that is – because this girl does not miss a beat!

But overall, two has been easy and fun and totally memorable. 


Sunday, March 18, 2012

assisted baby making v. 1.1

continued from v. 1.0 post

- Dr. Wonderful said, as he was doing the PCT – we are probably going to see “nice clear cervical mucous with lots of good sperm” – I’ll be right back with the results.

- He came back REALLY fast. And when the first words out of a medical professionals mouth are “don’t let this news ruin your day” – you are probably screwed.

- Dr. Wonderful, while he really is wonderful, is also very matter of fact.  So he put it to me straight (which I like) and basically said the best chance for success with this cycle was insemination. tomorrow. and that will be $300.

- I didn't even know this was a possibility – sure I had THOUGHT about “what if” we got to the point of needing to do an IUI, but never did I even imagine that decision would need to be made EVER. let alone in less than 24 hours because no one mentioned the fact that after the PCT – things might need to change. 

- it was a tough, tough day – Mike and I hadn’t talked about this – and both have very strong feelings about this stuff.

- ultimately, we went through with it and for 3 of 5 days last week, a peek at the lady parts by a medical professional is how I started my day.

- did you know after an IUI you can get super bloated and have ridiculous cramps? I didn’t. But I do know.

- I need to have all the facts, and the hardest part of this cycle have been all the unknowns – all the things I wish I had known ahead of time just to be prepared.  But now I know and I survived and am better prepared should I need to be in the future.

- so here we are. in that damn TWW. wondering what has gone so wrong with my body since I had Gianna.  wondering what, should we need to, we will do next, differently, and when it would all go down because we do know that back to back medicated cycles are probably out of the picture for us.  I hate how much my mind wanders sometimes, and I am really trying to just let it be – because it really is out of my hands at this point.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

assisted baby making v. 1.0

* I started this obviously, at the beginning of the month, and hesitated to post it – but again, obviously, changed my mind.  Mostly because there is so much I wish I had known in the beginning, and maybe other people would like to know this stuff too.   The whole timeline etc. is broken up into 2 posts.

- CD1 came, as expected.  And I was told to come in for an ultrasound and to bring $175 since our insurance doesn’t cover infertility treatments. I wasn’t too sure what the ultrasound was for but I figured I should just go with it. 

So I went in, had the ultrasound and got the prescription for the goods.  I really was not prepared for all that was coming my way.  Clomid. Hcg. Progesterone. On top of the prenatal, foltex and baby aspirin. Wooh. My husband is a little taken aback by the idea that the progesterone goes IN my vagina.  As am I, I guess but eh.

- I took the first clomid pill on CD4 and did not turn in to an instant bitch like I thought I might. In fact, it was pretty uneventful besides the daily headache.  Which may or may not have been from the drugs.

- I have been temping for about 4 or 5 cycles now and I have noticed that my temperatures are MUCH higher, almost a full degree, than what they are typically.  could be the clomid? could be exhaustion leading to user error too, I suppose.  still – kind of weird.

- Sometimes I feel as if I should FEEL something about all of this – but I am kind of numb, like I hate that this what needs to happen, but I accept it and just want to move on.  I know Mike isn’t entirely on the same page as me with how far we will go in regards to treatments, but I am just staying quietly hopeful that we won’t need to go any further.

- Our monitoring ultrasound showed 1 good, 1 okay and 2 small follicles and ended with an HcG trigger shot in the ass. Uneventful, overall.

- we had to do a post coital test the next morning.  that was as unpleasant as it sounds and ended in a totally unexpected way.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Struggles and Patience

I have been struggling a LOT with my faith lately.  I WANT to give it all up to Him, but I am a control freak.And I have been really angry, if I am being truthful. 

It pretty much all has to do with infertility, but I bet you knew that already.  Probably because when I think about it, I shouldn’t be trying to get pregnant right now – I should BE pregnant. Had I not lost those babies.    I know that I can’t think that way – but when I see and hear of people close to me experiencing things in their pregnancies I can’t help but think that I could be there too.  Except I’m not. And it feels unfair and just makes me want to scream some days. But that had to happen – for some reason that was part of my path.

But I really have been trying to just let it go. To know in my heart that this is how my life is meant to be and it’s okay that I just don’t GET it.  But my head, well, it’s missing the message.

I’ve been ignoring Him a little bit lately. Not literally, but I haven’t really felt much like going to church these days. Except, these are the times, the times of struggle and when patience is thin, when I should be there. Which I am fully aware of.

I went to church today – and like always – I felt like Pastor was talking to me.  Especially when he was speaking about how Jesus was good at making people uncomfortable by telling the truth.  One of those being that if we can’t be happy in our struggles and through the trials of life – we will never truly be happy.  And if we can’t be happy when we cry, we will never laugh.

What that was saying to me was – OPEN YOUR EYES AND JUST BE HAPPY – be happy with the beautiful family you do have. Be happy with the home you have. The jobs you have (this has been another, unrelated struggle).  Just be happy. Because whatever is causing the tears/anger/struggle will end and in order to appreciate it’s end, you have to appreciate the beginning and the middle too.

that sounds so simple, doesn’t it? but I think we all know that is definitely easier said than done.  And in my life, there are constant trials – constantly I feel like if THIS would happen, THEN I will be truly happy.  and like I am just always taking 1 step forward and 3 or 4 backward. 

Except I feel that I AM truly happy with my life.  But I tend to just dwell on things that in all reality, I can’t change.  (control freak, coming into play again).

I just explained this to Mike the other day (and I don’t think he really got what I was saying) I am HAPPY with my life. With the people and experiences and content of my life. I am not, however, satisfied with my life.  I know there is more for me to be – more children for me to mother, more knowledge to obtain, more love to give.  I hope that I am never SATISFIED with my life and am constantly growing, learning, challenging, etc.  The lines of happiness and satisfaction can get blurred, and sometimes that is okay, but sometimes it’s just confusing.  Right now, it’s a little confusing!

A very amazing friend also shared with me today something that goes along with this and really it made me smile, because God, he is funny sometimes.  He works through people in ways that never cease to amaze me.  So, she shared with me James 1:2-4:

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

and the biblical definition of perseverance – which is the most powerful piece to this whole story – “patient endurance of hardship”. 

When I read that, I just sat for a minute.  How true.  How I really, really, needed to hear that today.  It is NOT about the ability to hurry through our troubles, but our ability to PATIENTLY ENDURE them.  To see them through, because we are growing and God is working through us and in the end – we will be complete and we will be so much MORE than when we started.

While I am looking forward to the end of this hardship, I am beginning to see the beauty in perseverance as well.  I have had some experiences lately, that until today, didn’t mean a whole lot to me – but looking back, I can see the lessons they were meant to teach and the people they were meant to touch. 

Struggles, patience and love – three things that make up so much of life. 


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Working Mom Issue #189: Balance

I work full time.

And I have a small business.

And my husband has a small business.

And our schedules are a little crazy.

But it’s just our life and usually, it is perfectly, crazily balanced. Huge props to Google Calendar for helping us stay on track.

Except when it’s not.

Because it isn’t always as balanced as I would like it to be – a lot of the time work gets about 85% of my time, Gianna gets 13% and Mike gets 1%. Leaving 0% for taking care of the house, laundry, errands, friends, etc.  sort of the opposite of what it should be, huh?

this is one of those weeks and it just hit me on the way home from another really long day – I have not had a day off in 12 days or something like that and I have worked two jobs for like 8 of those 12 days. And all I wanted to do was snuggle my family, laugh with my family and just BE with them.  And that is exactly what I did this evening.

But I get in to this “work mode” where I just DO things – I don’t think about them, I just do them, because I need to. And I hate saying no to people, or missing work events. And it’s kind of like a black hole – the black hole of work and several cups of coffee.

This is not me complaining because all this work helps me to provide for my family and to eliminate our debt. But it is at it’s own cost.

This is me struggling to stay balanced.

My ideal schedule would be to only spend one week night away from home for work purposes and one weekend afternoon.  But that is, in all honesty, rare.  If I am actually HOME one week night, that is a good week.

And that just sucks when you have an awesome family that you miss every day.  and a little girl who says, at least once a day “I miss my mommy” because her mommy is working a lot. 

I know that life can get out of balance no matter what your schedule is like, or what kind of work you do – but what helps to keep it all balanced?  How do you help to keep your life in balance and juggle everything that is important to you?  Most of the time I think I have this figured out and then I have a few weeks in a row where I realize that I have a long way to go.


working mom issue #1

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Weekend Rambles

  • Zumba was SO FUN! I am excited to go back!
  • I had my baseline ultrasound for this cycle on Friday. It was uneventful and Clomid started yesterday. But you know what sucks? The fact that my insurance pays for ZERO % of any of this. 
  • It was kind of like, okay, so you started your period – we’ll see you in 2 days and bring your money tree.  Or at least that’s how it felt.  I just wasn’t prepared for the expense of multiple ultrasounds and HcG and Progesterone on top of everything.  It’s okay. Just a surprise.
  • I also was not prepared for Gianna to wake up yesterday morning at 4am puking.  That was a terrific way to wake up on a Saturday.
  • This is only the 2nd time in her life that she has actually vomited like an adult.  And it was really sad because she was SO confused at what was happening to her.
  • I am thankful we do not have carpet. Because getting her to the bathroom or to aim was not happening.
  • She must have either had the shortest stomach virus ever or ate something she shouldn’t have, because she was totally fine after she woke up at about 10:30am.
  • I had a jewelry show yesterday and I am doing a training show for one of my new jewelers today. I think in the end I will have worked at least one job for 12 or 13 days in a row.  A lot of days I will have worked 2 jobs.  I’m already ready for a nap.
  • Gianna went on a surprise pancake date with her Papa this morning, he is seriously her favorite person ever! She was so excited!
  • Mike and I have been cleaning (operation organization!) the kitchen and living room – we cleared off the top of the refrigerator, took care of the bookshelf clutter and are working on finally getting out TV mounted on the wall.  We got the wall mount for christmas….
  • I want to go shopping
  • Because of yesterdays crazy – I was asleep before 9pm. And I slept until about 7:30 this morning – I so badly needed that rest!
  • We have a really hard time scheduling time to hang out with our friends because of our crazy schedules and weekends – it kind of sucks.
  • Yesterday I moved almost all of the 2T clothes out of Gianna’s drawers and packed it away.  How big my girl is getting. It’s almost unbelievable.
  • Speaking of that big girl, I need to make her birthday invites!
  • We still can’t decide where or even when to take a vacation this year.  Beach? Disney? Something completely different? May? October? So many things to think about!


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Please, Thank You and You’re Welcome

Danifred wrote a post recently about manners, essentially. 

And it got me thinking, because we get comments quite often about how Gianna regularly and appropriately uses manners.  I don’t actually understand the nature of such comments because I feel like it’s all just very normal behavior and expectations.

A few of the things we just do/have built in to our daily routine/ways we help Gianna to be polite and respectful:

1 - we use ma'am and sir when appropriate, we don't quite enforce it yet, but she has picked it up for sure.  I don’t think she needs to call me or mike or anyone that is constant in her life sir or ma’am, so this really doesn’t come up often for us.  I’m sure as she gets older it will make more sense to begin using it in the right context.  She actually gets mad if you say ma’am to her – she’ll say “I am GIANNA, not a MA’AM!”

2 - we use Miss/Mr First Name - but honestly, we are the ONLY Of our friends who do this.  We get weird looks sometimes but most people go with it.  It’s important for her to know that we are respectful of people and I feel this is a good way to demonstrate that.

3 - I always have Gianna introduce herself (usually she needs no prompting, she’s not exactly shy!)- she loves to say "Hi, My name is Gianna. Nice ta meetcha"!  and she shakes whoevers hand!

4 - we are working on interrupting right now, she needs to know that is disrespectful and to wait her turn.  and to say "excuse me" if it's REALLY important and she can't wait!  This has really come to light after she recently literally stood between Mike and I and said “HEY!” while we were talking about something!

5 – I’ll step in to discipline or redirect other kids, especially when other kids could get hurt/that kid could get hurt etc., if parents are no where to be seen and/or are oblivious to what's going on.

6 – She asks to be excused from the table. And clears her plates. (sometimes this actually works AGAINST me because she will throw ALL of her food away so she doesn’t have to eat dinner. ya. awesome)

7 – we always use please, thank you, you’re welcome.  Again, this sometimes works against me because if she doesn’t want to do something (i.e. eat dinner) she says “no tank you” very matter of factly.  And she still signs please, which just KILLS me. And has recently added “pretty please” to her list of things that make you go AWWWW.

What about you? What are your feelings on kids and manners and all that jazz?

I don’t get mad if she doesn’t follow through totally on things, but I know she is learning and  picking up on all of it because I have to remind her MUCH less (hardly ever, actually) about any of  - it’s all just very normal and that is EXACTLY what I wanted.  It SHOULD be normal to say please!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

I weeerk out

If you follow me on twitter (I know you do…..) then you have noticed a trend recently.

Every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday I work out. On the elliptical (that used to be more of a clothes holder). For at least 20 minutes.

Because I was tired of complaining (usually to Mike) about the flabby-ness that’s been going on up in here. And getting increasingly more flabby over the past few months.  Of rather, fluffy, as I usually refer to it as.  If I didn’t just START DOING IT – I was going to keep whining and the fluff wouldn’t be going anywhere.

So I did what anyone would do. I scheduled it. So at 8:30 (if I haven’t started it yet) I am reminded to get to working out. If it’s not on my calendar, it’s not going to happen and you can guarantee yourself that I already forgot about it.  So this seemed like a pretty logical step.

I’ve also been using myfitnesspal to track calories.  It’s good and bad.  Good because it keeps me accountable.  Bad because it keeps me accountable.

I’m not really trying to lose weight (inches, yes!) but to make myself feel good (and extra energy!) about how I look.

And, it’s something I can control right now.  there are plenty of things about my life that I have ZERO control over, but this, is all mine.  It’s all on me and I think I really needed something to take the edge off of the stress.

Tonight I am going to try zumba (they have it at the studio G dances at) with my mom and sisters. I have a feeling we will laugh a lot more than we will zumba, but I kind of hope that I like it! And that I don’t die.

so, I’m back to working out. or weeerkin’ out. or whatever.