Monday, April 27, 2015

Alice's 4th

We were lucky enough to celebrate our daughter's 4th birthday this weekend. First with a little get together with my family and best friend and then yesterday, the actual day, with some fun at home.

We had a fun day outdoors planned on Saturday. Cupcakes in the park, a fair and then strawberry picking. Unfortunately the weather didn't get the memo and it was storming all day. My sister graciously allowed us to have the birthday shenanigans in her house. I was so thrilled to get there and find that she and my mom had decorated the whole house. How sweet of them! I didn't expect it at all and it was just the nicest. We ate burgers and had cupcakes and opened gifts before heading out to bowl. It was a really lovely day. We're blessed with wonderful folks.

Yesterday was the actual big day and we started off with the traditional tower of donuts and opening our gifts, the most important being a Super girl outfit that she LOVES. She hasn't taken it off since. Her daddy is very happy with this.

After that we surprised the kids with a trip to Chuck E Cheese and although a lot of the games were broken I think they enjoyed themselves. Then it was frozen yogurt and we picked up some pizza and went home to watch a movie and eat dinner and have brownies. We ended her day by reading and snuggling.

She's such a cool kid. It feels like she has been here forever and it's totally nuts to think that just 4 years ago she was only about 9 hours old. I'm so grateful for our wild hearted, fierce, bright little book worm.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Dear Daughter- Happy Birthday

Dear Alice Mayhem,

Where does the time go? One day you'll understand. People tell you that life flies by but having kids... the days are so so so long but the years are SO short. It seems like just last week you were on my chest for the first time and you were so angry and you yelled so hard and I just laughed and laughed at the perfection of you. And now here you are, at your 4th birthday, so bold and blonde and sassy and brave and kind.

Three was a great age. It has been my favorite so far. I said that about 2 as well so I'm sure I'll love 4 too. But 3... three was independence and dressing yourself and imagination and so much twirling. Three was an obsession with superheroes and the color red and Frozen, especially Anna. Three was conversations for the first time and your first big girl bed (in red, of course!) and learning to spell your name and draw little stick figure potato people. Three was an adventure. Even when you were screaming FINE! at me and stomping your little feet after hearing 'no' about something, you were such a sparkling little thing. Three has been goofy smiles and kitten snuggles and playing Mommy and writing pretend letters to people and so many firsts. Three has been the year of asking 'why?' to everything, the year of wanting to learn to read like big brother, the year of taking leaps into deep water.

Four will be our last year home together and that's something I dread. You have never been away from me. My heart is being prepared to send you off to school in a year. I know that you are going to be in so much trouble! You will never take anyone else's sass and I love that about you. I know that you will take care of yourself. You are bossy and I hope you never lose that because bossy women mean business and bossy women take care of things and bossy women don't take crap and I want for you to never take anyone else's crap.

Four is also the last year I can protect you from everyone else's words. You are the most confident person I have ever met. Frequent phrases from your mouth include- 'Wow, I'm awesome!' or 'I'm so cool!' or 'I am big and strong!' and I hope that you hold onto that forever. There will be so many people who try to tell you that you aren't strong and important and beautiful and special and cool but you are THE COOLEST. Just being a woman, people are going to try to shush you and I hope you keep all of this loudness you have at 3 because you deserve to be heard and you  have important things to say! Take up space. Don't let anyone ever tell you that you don't deserve this space that you've carved out in the universe. You are special. You are important. You are a miracle. Make waves! Make huge gigantic waves in the world because you can and because you want to. There is only one of you and the only person who can diminish who you are is YOU. Always know that there are 2 people in this world that think you are the most beautiful thing on the planet and every time we see you laugh or twirl or smile or yell or sass or sing or sleep or stuff your face, it takes our breath away.

You are growing so much faster than I imagined you would. It goes by so fast and it's so bittersweet. I love seeing you become a tiny human with morals and compassion and thoughts and independence but teaching you all of these things is just pushing you further out into the world and one day I'll have done my job and you'll be gone. A huge piece of my heart will always go with you. My love will always find you.

You are 4! I can't believe you are 4. And you know what, Alice? You are AMAZING. You are made of star stuff. There is only one of you and there could never be another. You're fantastic. You make us so much braver. Happy birthday, my brave little beastie.

Be blessed, my darling girl. I delight in you.

Love always and always and forever and then some,

Your Mama

Friday, April 24, 2015

FO Friday

The past week has been pretty hardcore on my anxiety. I am not sure exactly what is up, it could have something to do with medication, but I have been really anxious on a regular basis. Especially last Thursday and Friday. I decided the remedy was picking up a crochet hook and making some small things. Potholders won out and that is how my wall of potholders was born.

The cherry potholder I made up as I went and the granny square one as well. At some point soon I will try to have a tutorial up on them.
I enjoyed it so much and it did such good for my anxiety that I decided to go ahead and make some more. My mom had seen these and loved them so I thought I'd make her some fun, fresh colored ones for Mother's Day. I like to get a jump on things, if you can't tell.


This isn't a potholder pattern but I just did the mandala up to round 7 and then made a double crochet back for it (same as the African flower mandala potholder pattern) and then single crocheted them together and made the edge with *sc, hdc, hdc, sc, slip stitch into next 2 stitches, repeat*.
I'm so happy with them and I can't wait to give them to mom in a couple of weeks. I think I might make a couple of dishcloths to go with them and buy her a plant of some sort.
And that's it for me this week. We're gearing up for the daughter's birthday, which I am so excited for but also spending a lot of time with big fat tears in my eyes over how my baby is growing up so fast. That's just how I roll.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

National Infertilty Week- How You Can Help

I did a post about what NOT to say and now I want to focus on how you can help a loved one going through infertility.

Be kind. It's really that simple. Before something slips out of your mouth, really think about it. How is this comment going to help them? Empower them? Give them hope?

Arm yourself with facts. Do a google search and learn a bit about what they are going through. There is a lot of info out there. Don't research this in an attempt to give them unsolicited advice, do it to give yourself more knowledge so that you can better empathize with them.

Listen. When they are struggling- listen. When they need to cry- be still with them and listen. When they are angry- listen. Certainly it's okay to tell them to keep hoping and it's okay to try to lift them up. But when we are angry/scared/sad we aren't really looking for advice. We just want someone to HEAR US. The flip side of this, of course, is to not push us to talk when we don't want to. It's probably a good idea to not ask us about babies.

Show support on Mother's/Father's day. There is also Bereaved Mother's Day for mother's of angel babies. Be kind. Remember your loved ones who are struggling or can't conceive or who have lost babies.

Please don't talk to us about every pregnant person you know. Now, this one is not universal. I'm sure there are some infertile couples who don't mind. It is pretty personal to my own situation, actually. It seems that since this whole secondary infertility business got started, everyone and their sister is pregnant. And not just that, although it's certainly hard enough to deal with, but I also have to hear about it from everyone. I don't want to hear about it. I don't care what friend of yours I don't know is pregnant. I don't care. Please don't talk to me about other people and their pregnant selves.

Invite us to showers. But please be okay if we decide not to go. We want to be included and thought of, but sometimes we just can't. And that should be okay. Our feelings are valid.

Validate our choices and feelings. Even just telling us that this all really freaking sucks. Don't question what we want to spend our money on or what tests we want to do and don't question if we decide to stop treatments. Just support us. That's your only job.

I hope this helps someone. I hope that what you take away from these posts is not that we infertile peeps are bitter or angry or demanding, but that we have a disease and we are struggling and trying to deal with it as best we can.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

National Infertility Awareness Week- What NOT to Say

April 19 through the 25 of 2015 marks National Infertility Awareness Week.

Being on this infertility journey (now for the second time) for the past 2 years, I feel like I can definitely give some advice about what's appropriate to say and what you should never ever say ever ever ever to any infertile person or person trying to conceive.

For today, lets focus on common things people say and why you shouldn't/why it's hurtful.

Just relax. Let me explain simply- Infertility is a disease. It can be caused by a multitude of things but infertility itself is recognized as a disease. So for example, if you knew someone with diabetes, would you tell them to relax and it would get better? If your family member had cancer, would you tell them that relaxing would make it go away? No? I thought not. So don't say that to someone who is struggling to get pregnant. Thanks.

Don't complain about your pregnancy. Look, I know pregnancy sucks. I get it. It's not a picnic. But don't you have friends that are pregnant or that CAN get pregnant that you can complain to? Don't go to the infertile people complaining about how much you hate being pregnant. It makes you look like an asshole.

Don't question their feeling over being able to have a 2nd (or 3rd or 10th) child. Your idea of our family isn't what matters. Saying 'you already have 1 kid, why do you need more' is not helpful or kind. I am sad because my plan for my family and my dream for my family is heartbreakingly difficult. And it's hard to let go of a dream. Not to mention that so much of infertility is secondary infertility, meaning a couple conceived easily and then when they tried for more children there was a problem.

Why aren't you trying IVF/Why don't you just adopt? Oh man, I never even thought of that! I'll get right on that. Let me go check out my money tree in the back yard. Shoot. Wouldn't you know it... it's bare. IVY and adoption cost lots of moolah. And chances are, whoeve you are making that dumb comment to has already looked into every option. You are not helping.

There are worse things that can happen. Lets not play that game, okay? Maybe my problems pale in comparison to someone else's. Maybe your problem seems dumb to me compared to my ovaries not working. Lets just not go there. Treat everything with kindness.

That about sums up April's 'ways to not be a turd to an infertile person' seminar. It honestly seems like common sense to me, but you'd be surprised how terribly often these things come up. It's almost shocking. And it is always hurtful. Please be kind.

Monday, April 20, 2015

This week....

This week we say goodbye to 3 and hello to 4 as Miss Mayhem gets one year older. Birthdays make me a soppy puddle of a Mama. I am so grateful to get to watch these gorgeous creatures bloom and grow and that I get to say I am Oliver and Alice Mae's Mommy.


What adventure does 4 have in store for us? We can't wait to find out.

Friday, April 17, 2015

How I Deal With Negative Pregnancy Tests

There are going to be more negative than positive tests in most people's life time. Especially if your ovaries are confused. So what to do when the infamous Big Fat Negative symbol appears on your pee stick? Here's what I do-

  1. First of all, I let myself be sad. And sometimes that might last a while. An hour, a day, a week. I don't make myself rush it. I try not to drown in it but I definitely don't tell myself not to feel it. Holding it back only leads me to act crazy at some other point. It's also just easier to deal with other people's happy baby and pregnancy announcements (which seem never ending) when I am letting myself feel sad when I need to. That's an important word. NEED. I need to feel this way so that I can let it pass and then feel better.
  2. I treat myself. Or more accurately, Husband treats me. If I've had a bad day, he can be counted on to bring me a big steak home and smother it in onions and blue cheese. Or a bottle of wine or a chocolate pie. Or all 3.
  3. Get out. I'm 100% more likely to be miserable and angry and sad if I'm stuck at home. So we go out. We go to the craft store and I get some yarn. We get frozen yogurt or go out for dinner or go for a walk in the swamp.
  4. I am grateful. When it's really bad, and it usually is if I'm being honest, I remember that I'm blessed. I remember how easy it was to get pregnant with our accidental first born and I remember how happy I was when we got our positive test with our daughter after over 2 years off birth control. I remember that I had 2 healthy babies and I am lucky enough to have 2 gorgeous, robust, wild children.
  5. I talk about it. It's not always easy because often it seems people are very uncomfortable with the subject of failed pregnancies or infertility and I've come into contact with a lot of assholes who made me feel like I wasn't allowed to take up space and feel my own feelings. I do try to be open though. Even if it's just with my husband. I know that if I can get some of it off my chest, I can feel better faster.
  6. I remember hope. This is not always easy. I am a Debbie downer. Anxiety girl. I assume the worst. Sometimes it means opening up to someone, sometimes it means opening pinterest and looking at hopeful quotes, sometimes it means visiting some infertility sites and listening to happy endings. It is hard to have hope because you get a lot more crushed when you're positive and looking for the best. Negativity, or 'realism' as I like to call it when referring to myself, is chain mail that we don to protect our spirits from what we feel is inevitable. It gets so heavy. Hope lifts us up. It's like tying balloons to our heart strings.
This infertility stuff isn't easy and it toughens you right up. It also breaks you down monthly and makes you spill your guts out all over the floor. It's helpful to know yourself and to know how to best bandage it all back up.

Baby dust and blessings.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Living with Infertilty - 1 Week

It has been a whole week of medication taking and I am pleased to say that it's going great! I was placed on medication to stop my bleeding (my insanely loooooong period of almost 4 weeks) and it worked like a freaking charm. I also started taking metformin again. Metformin is commonly used for women with PCOS or irregular periods. The hope is that it will get my cycle regulating and get me ovulating and then I'll be preggers.

Metformin often comes with some uncomfortable tummy side effects. Nausea, upset stomach, diarrhea. Ew. The last time (over a year ago) I was on Metformin, the first couple of weeks were ROUGH. I was holding my breath for this time, expecting to be sick out of my mind. And.... nothing! No sickness. I am making sure to take it at dinner and breakfast so I have a full belly and it seems to be doing the trick! I'm really grateful. I took it for 4 nights with no problem so I started taking my morning dose on top of that evening dose on Sunday and I'm still feelin' good.

I am trying to give my body an extra boost by eating lots of fresh veg and hydrating myself. I still have to wait for my next period to start and then on the 21st day I'll get all of the needle pricks and hopefully get some more answers. It's pretty exciting. We're out of infertility limbo and into the waiting room!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

WIP Wednesday

I've been working hard, trying to bang out as many squares for the first borns blanket as I can. There is good progress being made. I am currently drowning in squares.

I started a very special bag for Miss Mae. It's only halfway finished. I doubt it's easy to guess at this point what it will be.

And that's about all that I'm working on. It's dreary and cloudy today so I imagine there will be plenty more squares made. I have to buckle down and start working on comicon creations next week. Only 4 months to get stuff made.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Weekend Happenings- A Practice Birthday

We had a little fun with Husband's family over the weekend to celebrate Alice Mae's upcoming 4th birthday. My sister in-law is currently very pregnant and due close to Al's real birthday, so we moved it up a couple of weeks in case she goes into labor. We just told Alice this was her 'practice birthday party' and she was cool with that.

I have 0 pics of cupcakes or food but we just had a little pizza lunch at his sister's house and I made funfetti cupcakes with my favorite whipped mousse frosting (just 2 cups of heavy cream and a packet of any flavor instant pudding, mixed until stiff) with sprinkles on top and we opened gifts. Girlfriend got a nice haul. We gave her a Doc McStuffins outfit and a doctor kit and she also got a Leap Reader (SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS), a snow cone maker and my favorite was actually that her uncle got her a tomato plant. We went out right after the festivities and bought a pot for it.

Next up was mini golf. It started off fun and great and then our brother in-law fell on one of those little hills and.. it wasn't so great. He and the sister in-law ended up having to leave for the emergency room and we found out late last night that there are some broken ankle bones. Poor dude. Hopefully he mends quick!

The kids did have fun. We managed to have a 2 year old, nearly 4 year old and 7 year old on the course at the same time and even with a lot of clubs being swung around, no one was injured. Alice did get surprisingly grumpy over thirst and she refused to play after about 10 holes. But the rest of us played and had fun.

It felt a little weird to be celebrating so early, to be honest. Kind of almost a bummer for me because I am so big on birthdays. I probably will not recommend us doing it again. But it was fun and sunny and Alice liked it. It just didn't have that 'birthday magic' feel to it.

Her real birthday is in a couple of weeks and I am looking forward to spoiling her some more.

Friday, April 10, 2015


Apparently blankets are all I make anymore. I'm okay with that.

This week I have been finishing up a blanket for my soon to be born niece. I wanted to have it ready when I see the in-laws this weekend. And it's done!

The nursery colors are set to be pink and navy blue so I just went with that. A simple, frilly ruffled border seemed the best. Super simple-

Single crochet around the edge in the same color as the blanket, 3 single crochets in each corner.
Join new color, chain 1 and single crochet around the blanket, 3 single crochets in each corner . Slip stitch into first single crochet.
Chain 3, two double crochets in each stitch around, 4 double crochets in each corner, join with a slip stitch.
Chain 3, 2 double crochets in first stitch, 1 double crochet in next. Three double crochets in each corner. Join with a slip stitch.
Continue in this pattern until it's as thick as you want. Example- the next round would be Chain 3, 2 double crochets in first stitch, 1 double crochet in next 2 stitches, repeat. Continue with 3 double crochets in each corner. Join with a slip stitch and chain 3.


Look at that gorgeous texture. Yum.

And the frills. Double yum. I love this blanket. It turned out just as good as I'd hoped.

And in great news- I finished Alice's blanket! I actually finished this up about a week ago but I haven't gotten around to any good pictures yet. I am going to make her bed with it today, maybe. I'll try to snag some good ones.

For now, a lovely tease of the border and the larksfoot pattern. Love love love.

Happy weekend! We are going to have the first of Alice's birthday celebrations on Saturday. We're having an early get together with his family (her birthday isn't until the end of the month) because the sister in-law is due very soon. Trying to beat the baby timer. We're all very excited to eat pizza and hang with our best girl and shower her with birthday wishes. Don't get me started about her being nearly 4. *sob*

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Living With Infertility - The Gist

Yesterday's appointment went so well that I actually cried after. Big fat tears of happy.

First of all, my new nurse practitioner is amazing. She's kind, so southern and short, positive and really took her time and she wore bright pink lipstick which was awesome.

We have a plan! I am on a few medications right now, most notably metformin, to get my cycle slightly more under control (or that's the hope) and then once my next cycle starts I'll go in on the 21st day for some blood work and that will decide what other medications I need. Most likely I will need something to help me ovulate.

It feels so good to be out of limbo and armed with a plan. I love that someone is listening to me now and they are positive they can make this happen for us. We are headed down a new path with new doctors and nurses and we are certain this is where we're meant to be.

I am full of hope. It's a beautiful day.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Living with Infertily - Today is Hopeful

No other quote I've seen has ever summed up living with infertility so well. I feel like a creature between worlds. Flickering in and out of a world full of pain and sadness and a world of bright, feathery, tickling hope.

Today is a hopeful day but a scary one. Today is my first fertility appointment. Today, I might get some answers. I am scared beyond all imaginings. I have a list of things I want to discuss tucked away into my purse. I have my book to read while I wait. I have my outfit picked out and ready. I have my insurance card safely in place. But I don't feel ready. I feel like we are finally headed toward the light at the end of this seemingly endless dark tunnel and somehow that is even scarier. In ignorance there is more hope. Not knowing what is wrong has some freedom.

Hopefully, and I am hopeful, I come home this evening with something good. Hopefully I come home loving my new doctor and with a plan of action to have a baby. I am keeping the dark, scary thoughts at arms length and letting the hope wash over me.

All I want in the whole world today is for something good. For this woman to look at me and say that she really thinks we have a chance at making another baby and bringing it earthside. I need this so desperately.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

March Reads

What did I read in February?

Mockingjay (Suzanne Collins)
The last book of The Hunger Games trilogy. I was really looking forward to finishing up these books and once again, it lived up to my memory of it. I really just enjoy these books.
 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (J.K. Rowling)
The 4th book of the Harry Potter series. Lots of shenanigans ensue, of course. It's Harry Potter. There are always shenanigans. From the 4th book on I've only read the books once and it has been abut 10 years since I read this one so it was pretty much brand new and exciting. I had forgotten a lot of it. I always love me some Potterverse.

As You Wish (Cary Elwes)
As You Wish is full of photos and stories from Cary Elwes' time making The Princess Bride.
The Princess Bride is one of my favorite books AND movies so I am a big fan and I was really excited to read this book. Husband surprised me with an AUTOGRAPHED COPY and I nearly melted into a puddle of fan girl. This book was utterly charming. It was full of lovely tales from making the film, stories of the actors that Cary worked with, so much film buff-ness. It was lovely. Just lovely. I really enjoyed it. A pretty easy, light read but so full of information and love and with such a fairytale feel. I might have cried when it was over because it was so touching. And I am a sap.
Stiff (Mary Roach)

Stiff explores the lives (afterlives?) of cadavers. Mary Roach tells the stories of several cadavers and their contributions to science and explores the history behind it all. Chock full of grossness and cool science.

This book is so interesting. And full of humor. I didn't really expect it to be funny but the author is witty and dry and finds humor in the weirdest places. I found myself laughing out loud a few times. That's not to say it is in any way disrespectful to the cadavers. The humor mostly focuses on the living and poking fun at people. It's so full of the science behind everything. I learned a ton. Some of it disgusting, some of it really cool, some of it a mixture of both. I never knew so much about cadavers but I have much respect now.

Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts On Life Unarmed (Glennon Doyle Melton)

I read this book, which I have been wanting to read for ages, for my first month of Blogger Book Club and it has its very own post because it's special.

The Color of Magic (Terry Pratchett)

The epic first tale of the legendary Discworld. The beginning of it all with the tourist Twoflower and his wizard guide, Rincewind.

I chose to read this book because of the death of Sir Terry Pratchett on the 12 of March. It was a big blow to the literature community. A lot of my friends were heartbroken and so was I. He was a master of parody and he will be insanely missed. The Color of Magic is re-read for me and I'm going to slowly work my way through them. I've never made it all the way through! There are A LOT. But I love this book. It's laugh out loud funny in so many places. He was able to spin a tale as complicated and intricate and beautiful as Tolkien and as funny and spontaneous and wacky as Twain. I enjoy his work so much. I already have the 2nd and 3rd books in my library bag waiting to be read.

A Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L'Engle)

It was a dark and stormy night... Arguably the best beginning ever. Meg's father has vanished while experimenting with the 5th dimension of time. After 3 strange creatures show up and whisk her off along with her brother, Charles Wallace, and a boy from school, Calvin, they attempt to rescue him. It's dangerous, dark and heart-stopping.

This was mine and the first born's major book this month. I, along with a big chunk of the population, read and loved this book as a kid. When Ollie picked it up off the shelf and chose it as his next book to snuggle up and read together at night, I was ecstatic. That is not an exaggeration. I think overall he enjoyed it but it is definitely long and full of big words and I had to explain a lot of it to him. I think it's a fun read for discussions, which we've had plenty of. It's also just one of the best books ever, in my opinion. Also, that author name. Best ever? Or at least top 5? I'll always look back on reading this out loud with him and get the warm and fuzzies though. It's a gorgeous read. Full of mind-numbingly beautiful words and imagery and fantastical, hair-raising, heart pounding adventures.

That concludes March! It's been a good one. Every month my list of books I want to read grows bigger and bigger. Making a goal of reading this year is the best decision ever and also Goodreads is like my favorite thing ever. I love lists and having a place where I can track my books and see my goal and a list of books I've read? This list makin' Mama is in heaven.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter 2015

Easter weekend was so much fun. We decorated eggs, went to the neighborhood egg hunt, had ice cream, played jelly bean bingo and had a full and fun Easter morning. Complete with a scavenger hunt for their baskets (a huge hit!) and the biggest most delicious dinner ever.


Scavenger hunt!


We got into our fancy Easter clothes and snapped some photos and had dinner with my sister and mom.  After, we walked the kids and Sister's dog to the park for some kite flying, which was a horrible failure, haha! Not enough wind. Hopefully one day this week.

Love monsters and Sister.

Love monsters and Mama.

And that's that. Another Easter over for another year. The house is a mess now and covered in glitter from Alice's dress. So much left over food! I'm gonna whip up some biscuits to go with our leftover ham for breakfast. Yes please. It was a lovely weekend. I hate to see it end. But now we have Alice's birthday to look forward to!