Thursday, July 21, 2011

Love Is...

a pair of socks. no, seriously!

i have been so blessed to meet so many wonderful people through this blog that encourage me, laugh with me, cry with me, support me, and understand me, people that don't have any actual ties to me or obligation to care about me. these people touch my heart and warm my soul on a regular basis.

sarah, over at baby talk, is one of those people. she's about to go through her first cycle of IVF and decided to order some cute socks for her retrieval. well, she wound up with a few pairs of them and decided to send me one for our IVF. her generosity, kindness, and sisterly love were poured into a pair of socks and the gesture brought tears to my eyes.
even miracles take a little time

man, i'm getting all sappy...but while i'm on the track, i might as well ride the train...


yesterday was B's and my 9th wedding anniversary. yup, 9 whole years. it's been an incredible journey with him, a bit of a roller coaster at times, but incredible.


B is the kind of guy who just makes you feel comfortable. his sense of humor and kind nature belie his intimidating stature. i could talk to him for hours and never tire of hearing his voice. when he hugs me, he hugs me with his whole heart. when he holds my hand i feel safe. when he kisses me i still feel the flutter of butterflies.


he challenges me when i'm wrong, but admits when i'm right. he laughs at my stupid jokes and actually thinks i'm funny. he treats me like a queen, insisting on opening all doors for me. he goes along with my crazy ideas and accepts my imperfections. he stands behind me 100% of the time and would defend me to the end. he is my best friend and my soul mate.


our life together is not perfect, but it's as close to it as i think anyone can be. i love him with all my heart, soul, and being. i am so grateful to have him as my partner in crime. how did i get so lucky?

happy anniversary, B!!!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hero Humpday

today's hero is such a sweet blogger with a wonderful story. she is always so good about showing her support through commenting. i truly hope her happily ever after is around the corner!


congratulations to...baby hopes at chasing our stork: our journey with infertility!



What an honor to be nominated for this tremendous award! Thank you, Carlia, for putting together this award to encourage us. Your creativity and thoughtfulness amaze me. I have been so inspired by each of the heroes named, and it is truly an honor to be considered among them! Thank you also to the ALI blogging community for nominating me for this award! You have all been an incredible source of encouragement, insight, and inspiration!

And now on to a quick snapshot of our journey through infertility:
I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism at the age of thirteen, and have known since then that I would face a long, hard battle with infertility. In April of 2002, I met a tattooed, hard rocking, weight lifting, bad boy engineer with a heart of gold: Mech. Five short months of a whirlwind romance later, he proposed. Before he did, I told him that if he wanted to spend his life with me, it may mean not having children by birth. He didn't even blink and said it didn't matter how our children came to us - we would be a family. We married in May of 2003. 

We continued seeing specialists throughout our marriage. After two years of trying (without success) to get a more exact diagnosis other than "unexplained infertility with primary amenorrhea," we decided to move forward with trying. Six years later, with numerous unsuccessful treatments behind us (most recently, IVF this past May), we've decided to move forward toward the children we have always planned for: a son and a daughter brought home through international adoption! We are currently in the process of completing our home study. We are also working to regulate my rare form of Hashimoto's and recently have been given hope that in doing so, our chances of success with treatments after our son and daughter come home will be drastically improved.

While infertility has been one of the most difficult aspects my life, it has also given me opportunities I would not otherwise have had. I've learned much about my own strength, faith, marriage, and friendship that I doubt I would have had Mech and I not shared this struggle. I've become part of the incredible online ALI community and have been inspired daily by others who have experienced the same. I have a new found hope now that we are on our way to bringing our son and daughter home. And I am encouraged by each and every individual that takes on this horrible disease with determination and endurance!

A few other, things about me:

1. I love to travel - especially to the Mediterranean and Middle East. For obvious reasons, I'm eager to travel to Africa!
2. I'm a PhD student in International Relations. I love what I do - it allows me to combine my passions for studying ethnicity and statistics with my love for travel.

3. I went for nearly six years without driving. Between owning only one car with Mech that was a stick (which I deplore driving!) and living in cities with fantastic public transportation, I didn't have cause or opportunity to drive - until we bought my dream family SUV in February: our Murano (which we call Nissie).
4. Speaking of cars, I *love* N.issans but *hate* C.adillacs. It may have something to do with growing up with a father that loved buying used C.addies... at least three of which started on fire
while my sisters and I were driving them.
5. I worked on my dad's civil engineering crew throughout high school. I've had a hand in building roads in Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota. During the school year, I was in classical dance, a cheerleader, and on the dance squad and flag corps... so I was what you might call a seasonal a tom boy and a girly girl.

6. I have two older sisters and one younger brother. My sister and I that are closest in age were often taken for twins and frequently mistaken for each other by our teachers in high school (both our graduating classes had less than 70 students).
7. The greatest joy for Mech and I is our seven nephews and two nieces (with another little one due in August!) - we can't wait to be parents!

8. My favorite way to unwind is to cook an elaborate meal with Mech and a glass of wine. And I love cleaning the kitchen... I can't explain it.
9. Mech and I are currently learning French with the intention of raising our children in a bilingual household.
10. I have a love/hate relationship with birds. A family of barn swallows nested above our door when I was young and terrorized us by swooping at our heads any time we left the house or came home. Later, I contracted histoplasmosis, so while I think birds are beautiful, I'm also afraid of them and have to avoid them.

And last, but certainly not least, a message to my readers:
The most important thing I've learned along the way is the importance of being your own advocate and self-education. There are so many things I would have missed had I not taken the initiative to stand up for what Mech and I want for our family, and to learn as much as I could each step of the way. The choices we have to make along the way are deeply personal - take the time you need to search out your own answers and come to decisions you feel at peace with. Then, take your stand and do whatever is in your power to fulfill your dreams. Surround yourself with those that will stand behind you and lovingly support you - this community is a tremendous source for it!


now, stop by baby hopes' blog and show her some love.

don't forget to email me your nominations at storkdropzone at gmail dot com!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Parenting Game: Round 7

it's been a while since we played the parenting game, so we're due. plus, i have a pretty awesome one today. ;)

for our newbies, here's how it goes: i show you a pic, you tell us why you'd be a better parent without stating the obvious. sarcasm is strongly encouraged and the more outrageous, the better.

here we go...


i'd be a better parent than this one, because i wouldn't insist that my child follow my career path.

your turn!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Babies

so, i've been blogging on here for about 3 years now and i just realized that i've never formally introduced my kids. i know, i know... so rude.

so, to make up for it, i thought i'd give you a close-up of those pics that everyone seemed to like so much when i posted about the frame, along with a proper introduction.

this is jack - the anti-social one:
4 year old siamese mix

well, he's only anti-social toward everyone except for me. he was a feral kitten when we adopted him and we've worked with him quite a bit. he may not be everyone's idea of a perfect cat, because he runs and hides any time he gets scared or if you even walk toward him (that includes me), but once he's in your arms he turns to putty. he never bites and never scratches, no matter what you do to him. he loves to be held like a baby with his paws and head up on my shoulder and when he's laying on the bed and i walk into the bedroom, he flips over and lets me know that he wants me to rub his belly. he eats every meal like it's his last, practically inhaling it. when i drag him out from under the bed to say hi to any visitors we have, his ostrich complex kicks in. he hides his head in the crook of my arm, as if he thinks that if he can't see you, you can't see him. he's my "special" kitty. ;)

this is dexter - mr. personality:
4 year old maine coon/snowshoe siamese mix

he loves everyone, especially jack. he always lets jack eat first, bathes him when he comes out of the litter box, and cuddles with him during nap time. he's also very smart, too smart for his own good. he understands how doorknobs work and if we don't double-check that we close doors completely, he will reach up and paw at it, shaking it enough to open it. occasionally that leads to him pushing the door closed behind himself. if he's ever missing for more than an hour, we know to check each room in case he gets stuck somewhere. he has also figured out that if he scoots the automatic feeder around enough, food will drop out, so he gets a nice little snack. he's such a stinker!

yeah, i've got some pretty cute kids. :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hero Humpday

we have another humpday hero!!! the nominee this week is a witty blogger who pours her personality into every post. she isn't your typical IF blogger, as she blogs about more than just her journey toward parenthood. she also entertains with posts of her goals, life stories, hilarious inner monologues and wacky what-if's. regardless of whether you're an infertile or not, her blog will definitely put a smile on your face.

and now, for this week's humpday hero...junebug from junebug's musings:

I have been dropping in for a long time to check out who was nominated for the Humpday Hero Award.  Never in a gazillion years did I even dream I would be nominated.  Thank you!  I am now attempting to decide whether to celebrate with chocolate or a cocktail or a chocolate cocktail. 

I started blogging five years ago because I was bored.  It seemed like something fun to do.  At that point I had been TTC for four years.  I was still pretty positive.  I’ve been through 9 doctors and while I do currently still have an IF dr. I am not actively TTC.  We are shifting gears and working our way through the adoption process.  Once we have adopted our first child, I will return to TTC with more IUIs.  By trade I am an actress/director, however, I have been spending most my time lately writing.  I was preparing to get my MFA in Creative Writing prior to being transplanted to Savannah, GA for hubby’s job.  Currently I am researching the best baby products and designing my dream nursery.  I’m not on the path I dreamed.  I’m not on the path I hoped.  I am facing the path I was given and providing roadside litter pickup. 

10 Things about Junebug:
1.      I cannot whistle.  No.  I can’t just put my tongue here or blow this way.  I can’t whistle!!  It drives me so nuts.  I can’t even stand to listen to anyone else whistle.  It hurts my ears but it might hurt my pride more. 
2.      My husband and I dated on and off for four years of college.  We went our separate ways for seven years before he found me again via classmates.com.  We were married less than two years later. 
3.      I can change full outfits in less than 30 seconds.  A skill I learned as an actress. 
4.      I once owned a goat who thought she was a cat and would sun on top of the car.
5.      My niece and nephew called me Aunt Juju because my nephew couldn’t say June when he was little.  I miss hearing them call me Aunt Juju. 
6.      I am the first person in my family to go straight to college and to leave with an actual degree.  Much to my family’s dismay it is a BFA in Theatre Performance.  “What the hell are you going to do with that?” they asked.  “Do what every good actress does…wait tables.”  Too bad they don’t have a degree for being a smart ass. 
7.      I have been known to dance in the rain. 
8.      I can only eat things when they are divided evenly in my mouth.  Unless it is M&Ms in which case I have to eat them two of the same color one for each side. 
9.      I love thin crust cheese pizza topped with bacon and cheese flavored popcorn.  Don’t knock until you try it. 
10.  I often make up my own words.  Such as lasterday for yesterday.  It is a gift.

Message to the readers:  It is easy to get mired in the muddy world of IF.  I could not have imagined the amazing IF community I would find including new IRL friends.    I am infertile and I adore the IF community but I found blogging about it depressing.  It is easier for me to read other’s blogs and comment in a positive way if I’m not writing about the depressing bits of my journey and instead focus on the other aspects of myself.   Whether you write about IF or mostly serve as support to other IFers, remember you are more than infertile.  You are so much more.

congrats junebug!!!

now, don't forget to keep the nominations coming! it doesn't matter if the inspiring blogger you think deserves the award is new to the IF community or has been around for a while, whether they have 2 followers or 200. if you think they deserve some recognition, email their name and blog name to me at storkdropzone at gmail dot com.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Bang, Bang!

i finished the provera yesterday and the cramps started today, but until AF actually shows up i have nothing to talk about other than the boring goings-on around here. that said, the most exciting thing to happen to me in the past week was that B and i took our guns to the range and broke them in. wow, that sounds even more redneck in writing than it did in my head. ha ha!

anyway, we had so much fun! it's been about 10 years since i've shot a gun, but it only took me a few magazines to sight in and by the end of it, i was totally schooling B. ;)

my target on the left, B's on the right
B after his 3rd magazine
me after my 3rd magazine
i majorly improved on my 4th magazine
i'm pretty much a pro now. ;) i can't wait to go again next weekend!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

One-Upped

i pulled out all the stops for B's birthday last month. seriously, i went to great lengths to surprise him and really make it a special birthday. and what does he do when it comes time for my birthday? he completely blows my efforts out of the water!

B has a competitive side, even when it comes to me, so when he saw how well i had surprised him, he felt the need to up his game.

i could be mad that he beat me, but i'm pretty much the one who reaped the rewards of his efforts, so i'll let this one slide. ;)

so, here's the story... i am not a morning person and when B woke me up at 6:30 am sunday morning, i was not a happy camper, especially when his reason for waking me up was that he couldn't sleep and wanted me to get up so we could go do something. i tried to ignore him in my groggy state, but he was relentless.

i finally got up and followed his instructions to dress comfortably and pack an overnight bag that included an outfit to wear to dinner. he told me he had this brilliant idea to take me hiking and camping. i tried to dissuade him by reminding him that we don't even own a tent or any other camping gear, but he kept telling me to just go with it. that became the slogan of the weekend, "just go with it".

so, B plugged an address into the GPS and we headed out onto the freeway. suddenly, B had this major need to pee, so he had me take the next exit so that he could make a pit stop. when we were headed back to the freeway, he gave me the wrong directions and we ended up in the park & ride. i started to go back, but he told me to go ahead a park and we would figure out where to go.

then he got out of the car, put his backpack on and started toward the bus stop. huh? turns out he had booked us on the megabus to NYC! sneaky...very sneaky.

when we got to the city it was raining and we practically ran 20 blocks to the hotel he booked us in for the night. turns out it was the affinia shelburne, a contemporary 4-star hotel near the empire state building. our room - oh, our room! wow! - was a corner suite about halfway up with a direct view of the empire state building. so beautiful!


taken with B's phone - sorry for the bad quality!
anyway, when we got up there he told me to hurry and change because there was another surprise. he had gotten us tickets to see wicked!!! anyone who knows me well knows how much i LOVE that soundtrack and have been dying to see the play for years.


taken with B's phone again. :(
you know when you've waited for something for a really long time and you've built up these expectations that couldn't possibly be met? well, this wasn't one of those times. the play was everything i dreamed of and more!


what a trip! it was only one night, but it was the best birthday surprise ever! B was so sweet to make my 30th birthday memorable (my b-day was tuesday). he did good, didn't he? i guess he wins. ;)


on a side note, i got a call from the clinic today telling me that they got the approval from our insurance to go ahead with the IVF! yay!


on another side note, you have to stop by my sister's blog (which i'm currently working on revamping for her) to enter her give-away! it ends tomorrow, so hurry!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Hero Humpday

today's humpday hero is truly inspiring. i've been reading her blog for a while now and am amazed by her strength. i really don't think she even knows how awesome she is. i wasn't at all surprised when i got a few nominations for her, because she really is amazing.

anyway, without further ado, here's this week's humpday hero: jennifer from do i have to be a d.i.n.k.?


A big thanks to Carlia for creating this wonderful way to show support to each other!  I graciously accept the Humpday Hero Award!  What an honor to receive an award from my blog friends!  I hope you enjoy reading our story. 

Bio – My name is Jen and my hubby and I have been married for 5.5 years now and enjoying every second of it!  We have been TTC for over four and a half years now.  The first year was just having fun and trying to see what happens.  During that time my DH’s mom was diagnosed with cancer and passed away.  I don’t really consider that year part of our TTC journey because we had so much other stuff going on.  The second year was spent with the “far away” RE doing testing.  My DH has low morphology so the “far away” doctor wanted to do SA’s four months apart in hopes of seeing improvement.  Such a big waste of our time because there was no change– we then found an awesome RE closer to home.  During years three and four we have done 10 IUI’s, 2 IVF’s, and 1 FET.  Two of the IUI’s worked but I miscarried at 10 weeks and at 6 weeks respectively.  IVF*1 resulted in four fabulous grade A embryos.  Two were transferred for the IVF and the last two for FET - Both resulted in a BFN.  Jan 2011 we got our BFP with IVF#2 but lost our baby Gavin at 18.5 weeks in May.  So, now we are figuring out our next steps and trying to heal our hearts from the loss. 

Facts about little ole me…
  1. I love having a blog but I know I am a horrible writer.  I wish I was much more entertaining.  I think I have a blog just so I can follow other peoples IF stories.  They always write what I am feeling; they are just unable to express it properly. 
  2. I curse like a sailor at home but I rarely swear on my blog.  Not really sure why that is.  
  3. I dated my hubby in high school for three months…then he dumped me.  We stayed friends and started dating for real about 9 years later!  I am one of the lucky ones who actually married their best friend.
  4. I have two sisters and a brother.  They are all married and each have four kids.  Somehow the fertile gene missed me.
  5. My degree is in Construction Management (yes, I own a hard hat)
  6. I wish I could wear flip flops all year round. Wonder if I can get work to change our dress code?
  7. I have decided to take my wedding dress and cut it up to make blankets, ornaments, a Christmas tree angel tree topper, etc out of it. No use in saving it and having it take up space in my closet. (this is on hold – I will only do it if I have kids)
  8. My favorite colors are gray and brown. You should see my dull colored clothes in my closet.
  9. I have never bounced a check
  10. I am a closet coin collector.  I love ordering coins and going to mints!
 
Message to my readers – I have learned many lessons in the crazy world of IF.  I guess the most valuable one is that we will eventually be ok.  I have been in times of great despair during this journey and each time I come out the other side ok.  I hope you all find your path and it leads you to wonderful things.  ~Jen

congrats to jen!!! be sure to visit her blog and show her some love.

remember, we can't give out awards without your nominations, so please send me as many as you like to storkdropzone at gmail dot com!

Friday, July 1, 2011

A Cheap Trick: DIY Artwork for Under $2

i'm no interior designer by any stretch of the imagination, but i know what i like. unfortunately, what i like is often way out of my price range...which is why i shop at goodwill. (don't judge.)

anyway, my birthday present to myself is a clean house with several projects crossed off my to-do list. after scrubbing toilets and vacuuming floors, i was finally free to craft it up. yay! one of my projects i am particularly proud of, so i thought i'd share it with you, in case you're having a hard time finding a nice, affordable piece of artwork.

here's what i did...one of the frames that i recently bought at goodwill just needed a little sprucing up. it was a drab greyish-wooden finish (sorry, i forgot to take a before picture), but it has some really cute accents in the corners. all it really needed was some color. so, i spray painted it red...really red.

it came with two mats, which were...well, hideous. one was gold and the other was my least favorite color in the world: hunter green. blech! lucky for me, they weren't attached to one another, so i just flipped them around to the white sides.

lastly, i had to come up with something to put in the frame. i couldn't find a photo that i really liked, plus i wanted it to look a little more artistic, since it was now such a fabulous shade of red.  so, what did i put in it, you ask? paper! yup, paper. i dipped into my secret stash of scrapbook paper. well, it's not really a secret that i have it; the secret is that i keep adding to it. shhh, don't tell B! luckily, a few weeks ago i had found the cutest pack of black, white & grey scrapbook paper in all sorts of patterns at walmart and, luckily, i bought it. see, it wasn't a total waste of money! anyway, i sifted through, found a fabulous pattern that would match our color palette of black, white & red in our master bedroom, taped it to the ugly side of the mats and placed it in the frame. and, i must say, i am quite in love with it.

so, the moral of this story is that if you can't find that perfect piece of artwork, or are pinching pennies, a nice sheet of printed paper and a cheap frame can be the perfect solution.

what it cost:
spray paint: $3.50, but since i used so little of it, we'll just say $0.50
picture frame: $0.98
scrapbook paper: $5.00, but since i only used 1 sheet, we'll say $0.05

grand total:$1.53

cycle update: i got the go ahead to start taking my provera, so i should be seeing AF in about 10 days.
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