Summer Wrap Up

Howdy! I know it’s been two months since I’ve stopped by to chat so get ready for a serious brain dump.

(warning: this may be the longest post ever. After my ramblings — there are FIFTY pictures of our summer!! WOW)

First — there’s a few reasons why I’ve been so absent. One being that Alex was getting ready to deploy and we spent the summer trying to soak in every moment we could together. I don’t want to say that I was just too busy to write, because that’s not entirely true. Mainly, I think that since it had been so long I felt like whatever I came back to say needed to meaningful. I kept sitting down to write, jotted a paragraph or two and felt that it just didn’t do such a long break justice. Delete, delete, delete. The words just weren’t there. I have some half finished posts that I’m hoping to salvage and get them up.. we’ll see!

Alex left this past week and now that I don’t have as many distractions, I spend a lot of time alone with my thoughts. It’s time to get them out! Writing is therapeutic for me and more importantly, if Alex is able to catch some internet access here and there, I know he really appreciates getting caught up with what’s going on at home and seeing pictures of our boys (aka dogs, whatever — they’re children to us).

We had a great summer full of weekend trips, parties, weddings, grilling, kayaking, visitors, gardening, golf (him), canning (me) and truck projects (him). One thing that really stood apart from previous summers is that we didn’t overload it with house projects. Of course we still have things we want to do with the ol’ house, but we’re definitely slowing down. We’re getting to the point that we mostly have bigger projects left (new wood floors, remodeled kitchen, basement+hall bathroom remodels) and we 1. ran out of steam for such big (months long) projects and 2. didn’t really have the time since we knew some deployments were on the horizon. We actually spent money on ourselves this summer (yay! kayaks!) rather than dumping it into the house. It felt good.

A lot of people ask me about this when I see them and I know it’s uncomfortable for people to bring up, so I’ll just keep you all in the loop. Another thing that changed this summer is that we pretty much hit our breaking point and finally decided to stop trying for a baby right now. Well… considering that Alex isn’t even in the country that’s not hard to believe, right? 😉 Anyway… I didn’t like who I had become. It consumed me. I spent hours and hours every single day researching things; furiously googling supplements, symptoms per day past ovulation, the average amount of months it took for someone to get pregnant after an ectopic. It was bad. I compared myself to everyone around me and constantly felt like a failure. I tried some fertility medicine for a couple months and I was super unpleasant to be around – happy, crying, angry, moody… you never knew what you were going to get. I gained weight, my skin my broke up, I had headaches and was hot all the time. Yeah.. it wasn’t pretty. My breaking point came when a very good friend of mine told me she was pregnant (for various reasons they weren’t sure they could ever have a baby on their own). Of course I was happy for them both, but I was just sad for me. I locked myself into the bathroom at work and did the always attraction silent sob (you all know what I’m talking about). That night as I cried myself to sleep, I had a conversation with the man upstairs and basically told God that I had nothing left to give and that if I was supposed to keep trying right now, I needed some kind of sign. The next morning, Alex had a very open, honest (and brave!) conversation with me and told me that he thought it was a good time to take a break from trying.

So, I took that as my sign and just STOPPED. I stopped going to all my websites, I stopped obsessing and worrying and envying and crying and JUST STOPPED. Can you even imagine the pressure that has been lifted? Probably not. All of the sudden, I’m just not worried anymore. Sure, the want is still there – I’m not sure that will ever go away. But you know what… one day we’ll be parents. It might not be right now, it might not be in the next year… but we will. And now we can focus on us and it feels fantastic. Props to the husband for being willing to have a conversation that he knew would hurt, but would be for the better.

Whew! That felt good to get that out! Let’s see… what else has been going on? Well, the garden was phenomenal this summer. Even in September, it’s still trudging along. To this day, I’m still getting buckets of tomatoes, peppers (jalapeños and bell), carrots, a few cucumbers and even some yellow squash. We built the beds up a bit and added probably 25 bags of new soil. We also tilled the soil and mixed in lots of plant food.

I could go on all day chit chatting, but I think for now — I’ll finish up with some pictures from the last few months.

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Wow! Did you make it through those?? I hope to be posting way more regularly! If not, I’ll have a very disappointed husband when he gets back!

PS — WHO IS EXCITED FOR FOOTBALL TODAY??

Have a great Sunday!!

Good Mothers

I saw this on a support forum this morning for women that have endured losses while trying to have a baby. We’re still working on that (so no need to assume this has any deeper meaning than me simply sharing – it doesn’t). Many of you have found your way to my page by googling pregnancy loss, ectopics and struggling and if that happens to be you, first of all, I’m so very sorry and secondly, I hope this helps. For some reason fertility issues are not something widely discussed, meaning that when you are in the middle of your struggle, you feel even more isolated and alone. I’ve tried very hard to discuss what I went through, how it made me feel, and how I got through it both on this blog and in my real life. I hope to shed some light on the suffering so many women (and their significant others) go through.

And it’s not just to provide support of those suffering, but to those of you who never had to give a second thought to having a family. I hope that you become more sensitive and aware of the possible suffering and longing of those around you and alter your actions and words to be more thoughtful and compassionate.

One day it will happen. We will become mommas. We’ll have to get up at all hours of the night for feedings, we’ll be the ones cleaning up messy explosions, we’ll be disciplining our children and dealing with toddler tantrums in the middle of the grocery store. We’ll comfort our teenagers after their first break-up and cry when our babies graduate. One day… it will happen. And while the waiting is the hardest part, the disappointment, fear and frustration stinks pretty freakin’ bad too. So, until our day comes — I hope this eases the pain.. even just a little bit.

There are women that become mothers without effort, without thought, without patience or loss and though they are good mothers and love their children, I know that I will be better.

I will be better not because of genetics, or money, or that I have read more books but because I have struggled and toiled for this child.

I have longed and waited. I have cried and prayed. I have endured and planned over and over again. Like most things in life, the people who truly have appreciation are those who have struggled to attain their dreams.

I will notice everything about my child. I will take time to watch my child sleep, explore and discover. I will marvel at this miracle every day for the rest of my life.

I will be happy when I wake in the middle of the night to the sound of my child, knowing that I can comfort, hold, and feed him, and that I am not waking to take another temperature, pop another pill, take another shot, or cry tears of a broken dream. My dream will be crying for me.

I count myself lucky in this sense: that God has given me this insight, this special vision with which I will look upon my child that my friends will not see. Whether I parent a child I actually give birth to or a child that God leads me to, I will not be careless with my love.

I will be a better mother for all that I have endured.

I am a better wife, a better aunt, a better daughter, neighbor, friend, and sister because I have known pain.

I know disillusionment, as I have been betrayed by my own body.

I have been tried by fire and hell many never face, yet given time, I stood tall.

I have prevailed.

I have succeeded.

I have won.

So now, when others hurt around me, I do not run from their pain in order to save myself discomfort. I see it, mourn it, and join them in theirs.

I listen.

And even though I cannot make it better, I can make it less lonely.

I have learned the immense power of another hand holding tight to mine, of other eyes that moisten as they learn to accept the harsh truth and that life is beyond hard. I have learned a compassion that only comes with walking in those shoes.

I have learned to appreciate life.

Yes, I will be a wonderful mother.

And so will you.

Spontaneous Trip to Niagara Falls

Lately, I’ve had the itch. (Woah – that’s a weird sentence!) Not that kind of itch… I promise you. I’ve been dying (or itching, if you will) to just get out of the house and explore. I think the winter cold and short, dark days are finally wearing on me. Thankfully, we were able to get up to the house in WV a few weeks ago, which temporarily satisfied my carving. Obviously, it only put a Band-Aid on gaping wound since just a few short weeks later, I already found myself dreaming of getting away again.

On Thursday morning, Alex and I had a rare chance to grab breakfast together pre-work and began discussing the weekend. Should we stay home? Should we start a project? Are we just going to do the same old, same old? All of those options seemed mundane and oddly terrible.

This is basically how the rest of the conversation went:

A: “Maybe we should get out of town.”

M: “Yeah, maybe we should. Where could we go?”

A: “I dunno, we could go to Niagara Falls.”

M: “That sounds like it would be fun. Maybe we should invite Joe and Suzzette (our friends in NY).”

A: “Yeah, good idea. When could we leave?”

M: “I could take tomorrow off work. Do you want to leave this afternoon?”

So, there it was. Vague plans to travel up north. I called my mom to see if she would be able to watch our doggies and house (she’s a life saver when it comes to last minute plans 🙂 ). I checked with my boss (also, amazingly understanding). We weirdly invited ourselves up to NY to stay with Joe and Suzzette for a night and asked them to come to the Falls with us.

Seriously… that was the extent of our planning. I booked a hotel, we grabbed some adult beverages to bring and we packed our bags (you gotta have your priorities in line). By 6 PM, we were on our way!

Another funny thing that I would like to add: Apparently, when you travel up north in the WINTER and it says that there is a 30% chance of snow each day that (obviously) means that it will snow pretty much the entire time you’re there. Sooo — the lesson of the story is that if you find yourself debating on whether you should bring the big four wheel drive truck or the car (that needs new tires soon) – you should choose the truck. If not, you’ll find yourself stuck on a mountain in the snow at midnight (oh! and with no cell service). That story’s called: now I see how Deliverance happens in real life.

Alas, we finally made it to their house in the wee hours of Friday morning. Since Suzzette still had to work on Friday (drat!) – Joe, Alex, and I decided to explore the Corning Glass Museum while she was working (they’ve been there before).

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There were some really cool exhibits and information about Corning/Pyrex.

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And then there were some reeeeally strange exhibits.

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Yes, that is a bunch of glass knives hanging over a tiny little glass village. Nightmare central right there, folks.

Anyway, what stole the day was when we got to blow our own glass! It was pretty pricey so it’s not for everyone just wandering through – but it really made the whole experience!

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Friday night we hung around the house, made a delicious dinner, had a couple drinks, and played Cards Against Humanity. Have you guys played this yet? (Again – it’s definitely not for everyone!) But, basically it’s a completely inappropriate, slightly vulgar (adult!) Apples to Apples.

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Saturday morning we were off to Niagara Falls!

The town was pretty dead, which wasn’t surprising considering the lack of temperature outside. I was surprised that everything was pretty much in walking distance. We didn’t have to drive for miles and hike to the middle of nowhere to see the Falls. They were pretty much right in the middle of town and even the view walking up towards the Falls was beautiful!

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At this point, you have no idea how big the Falls will be – all you can tell is that in a few feet, the river completely drops off.

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Don’t let my shiny pictures deceive you. It was actually a ridiculously cold, grey day. Don’t believe me? Here’s one of my pictures straight off the camera (no editing at all).

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I was pretty shocked to see how much of the river froze immediately after hitting the bottom of the waterfall. I thought with the constant movement, it would prevent freezing. Oh, how I was wrong! The ice at the bottom was probably ten feet thick!

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I also couldn’t believe how close Canada was. The buildings on the other side of the river? Yeah… that’s Canada! I wish we could have walked to the other side, but someone (cough, cough ME) doesn’t have a passport yet. It was just so beautiful there. I can’t wait to go back in the summer to explore more of the activities when they’re open.

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That evening we ate at Michael’s  which is an old-school family style Italian restaurant with the biggest portions I’ve ever seen, an incredible wait staff, and awesome food! I would definitely recommend checking it out!

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Sorry for the blurry iPhone photo 🙂

We were pretty tired by the end of the day and hung around the hotel playing Cards Against Humanity again. We laughed all night, drank plenty, snacked on leftovers, and thoroughly enjoyed one another’s company.

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The boys had a great time hanging out with their Grandma and cousin/nephew/uncle (my mom’s dog), Jake.

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Now, we’re all back at work and will be recovering for a couple days!

A big thanks to my mom for watching our doggies and the house. Also a big thanks to Joe and Suzzette for letting us crash their weekend (and their abode for a night)!

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Have you guys had a chance to break the winter blues? Dreaming of any weekend trips? Have you ever been to Niagara Falls?