Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year

I specifically planned on NOT writing an end of year post and here I am.  2016 had it's share of ups and downs, but it was mostly a great year.  In February, S turned one and since then, it seems he's been on a mission to grow up FAST.  As soon as he surpasses one milestone, he's on to the next, never turning back.  In March, we all traveled to Florida.  While the trip started out challenging, by the end, I wasn't ready to leave and vowed to go on as many family trips as possible.  In June, I traveled to Ohio for a business meeting.  In July, it was off to Maryland and Pennsylvania.  It was such a fun family trip, as always.  It was our first time visiting Pittsburgh and I loved the city.  Lots of travel in the first half of the year.  In August, I celebrated my birthday and it was one of my favorites.  My guys spoiled me and even made me a cake.  It will go down as one of the best birthdays EVER.  November brought a Cubs World Series victory - something I never ever expected to see.  I still can't believe it!

And a few not so great moments... Work proved to be more challenging than I expected.  Looking back, I think (and hope) these were just growing pains.  The company has grown incredibly fast and that doesn't happen without conflict.  There was a cancer scare for my mom in late summer.  Thankfully, all is well at the moment.  I was supposed to travel to Switzerland for work and that trip was cancelled.  S caught a very bad case of HFMD.  Then there was the presidential election.  If you've read this blog, you know my feelings.  No explanation needed.  And finally, our failed FET.  Not how I hoped the year would end.

I'm not sure what to think about 2017 and I'm a little nervous about what the year will hold.  I have a business trip at the end of January - back to Ohio I go.  A and I had originally planned on a spring break trip, but we've decided to hold off until next year.  We're hoping it will be a little easier since the boys will be older and we won't have to bring a stroller and worry about sleeping arrangements (S is too big for a pack 'n play, but too little for a bed).  We're planning another trip to Maryland in July, but beyond that, I'm not sure what 2017 will bring.  I'm hoping we'll get to do something really special for our 10 year anniversary - maybe even an anniversary trip!  Here's hoping for an incredible year.

Happy New Year!!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Friday Thoughts

With the exception of Christmas, the last few weeks have not been my favorite.  I'm still coming to terms with our failed FET and on Tuesday, we found out that Addie's doggy day care is closing.  We've been taking her there every week for 7 years and it's also where she goes when we travel.  It's not easy finding people you trust with your fur babies.  Even tougher when you have a rescue dog with separation issues.  I'm incredibly sad.

Since our failed FET, I have not been very kind to myself.  I've had more Diet Coke than ever and I've consumed more cookies, candy, and cake than anyone ever should.  Also, holiday dinners.  Yikes.  My self deprecating philosophy was, "Well, I'm only hurting myself and not my future child so who cares..."  As we approach a new year, I'm ready to get back on track and feel better about myself.  I got my hair highlighted and cut yesterday - it's darker than I'm used to, but I like it.  I also made myself an appointment for a pedicure.  I haven't had one in years so I'm excited.  A little pampering goes a long way.

A and I got out for a much needed lunch date.  We both had a chance to talk about the failed FET that is still so fresh in our minds and our hopes for the future.  He's always been someone I can vent to and not feel judged.  I love that about him and I'm so grateful for his support.

I am so proud of W.  He's been mostly potty trained for awhile, but we've had him in Pull Ups because I was fearful of accidents while we were out and about (which I know is stupid).  He's been wearing underwear all day every day and we've even ventured out of the house with no accidents.  Yay!!

The Cubs won the World Series, but aside from that, the second half of 2016 had quite a few set backs.  I'm so ready for a new year!  Hoping 2017 is a good one!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Christmas 2016

Christmas 2016 is in the books!  We had a wonderful three day affair and I'm sad it's over already.

My extended family celebrates Christmas Eve every other year and this happened to be the off year.  A suggested making a big meal and inviting my mom over.  I loved the idea!  We basically had a second Thanksgiving complete with turkey breast, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, corn, and stuffing.  Giving ourselves props for cooking a big, yummy meal because chefs we are not.




A and I had so much fun setting out presents after the boys went to bed on Christmas Eve.  Playing Santa is the BEST!!  For the most part, gifts were wrapped, but we left out W's critter house and S's ride on toy and Anywhere Chair.  Both boys were so excited when they woke up and as W walked in and saw all the presents, he said, "Holy Moly!".  W wanted to play and it was difficult to get him to church, but we eventually made it and then stopped at Starbucks for bagels, coffee, and juice.  Soon after, it was off to Nani and Papa's for another delicious meal of ham and beef tenderloin (sooo good!) and more presents.  I was a little disappointed that S was not interested in opening presents.  He was a bit overwhelmed and when a present was opened, he wanted to play with it.  We eventually headed home with two tired boys.  Before bed, we emptied out stockings.



The day after Christmas, my mom, brother, and brother's girlfriend came over for brunch.  I made a breakfast casserole and once we started eating, I realized I forgot to add the potatoes to the casserole.  Can't believe I did that!  But luckily, it still tasted great.  We also had cinnamon rolls, pancakes, bacon, and sausage.  After brunch, we finally got around to opening all the presents under the tree.  Again, S was not really interested and just wanted to play with the toys that were opened.



I love stretching out Christmas over 3 days and I hope we'll continue to do this.  It's such a magical time, I'm all for anything we can do to extend it.  I also think the boys appreciate their gifts a little more - instead of opening all the presents at once, they get to experience a few at a time.

Our favorite gifts this year: W loves playing with the Calico Critter House he requested many times and a toy cash register.  S's favorite gift was a new blanky (his previous one had ripped in half).  The boys received a trampoline that W had requested multiple times and that was a big hit, but I'm skeptical about how much they'll play with it once the novelty wears off.  A's favorite gifts were a photo calendar I made for him (it turned out awesome if I do say so) and a Cubs World Series Lego set.  My favorites were two pairs of slippers.  I know most people might think two pairs is crazy, but I live in slippers (even during the summer) and I'm obsessed with both pairs.  I wore my previous pair so much they had a gigantic hole.  I also received a big Philosophy gift set from my mom that I can't wait to use.



Ready for 2017...


Monday, December 26, 2016

FET #1 - BFN

Spoiler alert:  Our one and only FET was a failure.  I debated whether or not to share this, but ultimately it's part of our story and that is the point of this little blog.


8/1/2016 - A and I have talked extensively about adding another child to our family.  Should we give those two remaining embryos a chance?  Despite our concerns about the future, our answer was a resounding yes.  Those embryos deserved a chance.

There have been a few particularly tough days with the kiddos lately.  Nothing major - just your typical 3 year old "why" questions for every single minor decision made throughout the day and your 1 year old temper tantrums because you can't go outside when it's 100 degrees.  After these trying days, I repeatedly ask A if he's changed his mind, knowing full well that if both of us aren't completely, undoubtedly, 100% on board, we won't move forward.  His answer is always "No, I haven't changed my mind".

I've been putting off making the phone call.  Mainly because I know this is our last shot.  If it doesn't happen, then our quest for a third sweet red headed babe is over.  Ignorance is bliss at the moment.

I finally made the call on Friday.  I talked to the nurse today.  I wear my heart on my sleeve.  It's easy to predict how I'll feel about something.  It's easy to tell myself to react a certain way and keep my emotions in check.  But I often can't help myself and react in whatever way my heart feels.  And as I talked to the nurse today, the most prominent feeling was excitement.  I really hope one of these embryos decides to stick around.  I can't imagine it right now, but I'm hopeful.

It was wonderful to talk to the nurse.  The same nurse I had two years ago.  She remembered me and my boys' ages.  And I can't put into words how appreciative I am for that.  At my previous clinic, no one knew who I was, no one knew our story, I did not have "my" nurse - just whoever was on duty at the time.

We discussed the process, the timeline.  Right now, we're aiming for a December transfer.  She gave us a 40% chance with one embryo.  Not excellent.  But better than 39, 38, and so on.  I'm to call her back in October to discuss upcoming appointments...

8/31/16 - As we begin to think about FET more, I'm getting very anxious.  Last night I had a bit of a break down.  The odds for baby number 3 are not in our favor.  I'm really hoping the odds are wrong.  And then last night, I allowed my mind to wander.  I was home with the boys while A was at a school event.  We were having so much fun - we went for a walk, played, and I put them both to bed rather easily.  The night couldn't have gone better and I thought, how wonderful it would be to have one more.  And then I thought, BUT WAIT.  How exactly would we do this?  I mean logistically, how would we make it work?  Right now, I take W to school Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  I pick him up on Wednesday and Friday and Nani picks him up on Monday.  She can do this because she has two car seats.  Her car would definitely not fit a third (even she'd even want to keep watching the boys).  Next year, S can also attend the same school.  But the 2 year old class is Tuesday and Thursday from 9-11, while W's class is Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8:30-11:30.  See my dilemma?  My company allows me to work from home 2 days per week (Wed and Fri), which is very generous and I can't ask for more.  So how will this work?  Even without a baby in the mix, I'm not sure how it will work.  Now S doesn't have to attend preschool, BUT I'd like to provide him with the same opportunities as W.  And W could attend a 3-5 year old class on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but I think he definitely needs more than that to prepare for kindergarten.  There's also the option of sending W to all day preschool at the school he will attend kindergarten at, but I'm not sure he'll be ready.  In that case, A could potentially pick him up.  We've also thought about A pursuing a job sharing stint, but that did not work out this year and the chances of it working next year are slim to none.  I can't stay at home because I'm the primary breadwinner.  A would lose his valuable insurance benefits if he stayed home.  I have no idea.  I'd like to think that if we are lucky enough to be parents for a third time, we'll find a way to make it work.  But I'd also like to have a plan in place. :\

9/19/2016 - I was closely monitoring the weather on Friday because we had outdoor plans.  I noticed that there was a 40% chance of rain and couldn't help but think, "hey, the same odds for our embryos.".  And then I thought, "maybe if it rains, that's a good sign!".  It didn't rain.  There have been quite a few times lately in which I've had the overwhelming feeling that this just isn't going to work and it's heartbreaking. :(

The odds for baby number 3 are against us, but I'm really hoping that our embryo will defy the odds.  I've mentioned previously that I just feel our family isn't quite complete.  I can't explain it.  And I know I may be wrong.  Baby 3 may not happen and I may have to accept that my family IS complete despite my feelings.  But I also can't ignore my heart.  It's something I've felt since the arrival of S.  I told myself he was my last baby and then found myself asking my OB at my 6 week postpartum check up if there were any concerns about me having more children.  Obviously, this is something I've been considering for awhile.

10/10/2016 - Well, things just got real.  I talked to the clinic today and I'm to start BCP soon in preparation for a December transfer.  There will be a few appointments along the way including the saline sonogram/hysteroscopy (I think that's what it's called - for some reason, the name is escaping me.  And yuck.).

10/13/2016 - Starting BCP tonight.  I also need to be better about taking vitamins.  I really want to feel like I'm at my healthiest prior to transfer.

10/14/16 - We have a tentative transfer date!  12/14/16 - which I just realized is exactly 2 months away.  I also have a date for the dreaded hysteroscopy.  I asked A if he'd considering taking a half day to go with me for moral support and he said he would. :)

10/24/16 -
W: "Mommy, you used to pump milk for S.  Why don't you do that anymore?"
Me:  "S can drink cow's milk, the kind we keep in the refrigerator, so I don't have to pump anymore."
W:  "Oh, we should give the pump to someone else."
Me:  "Well, what if we have another baby?  Then I would use the pump again."
W:  "I don' think we're having another baby."
Me:  "You don't think so, huh?"
W:  "No, we have enough already."

:\

11/1/16 - I had the hysteroscopy performed this morning.  The bad news:  It was very painful.  Some people experience pain, while others do not.  I'm one of the unlucky ones here.  I need an overfull bladder and the way my organs are situated/shaped makes the procedure tough.  There was another doctor observing who held my hand and my husband came over to hold my hand too, which was really sweet.  I'm so glad A was able to attend with me.  The RE performing the procedure asked me a few times if he needed to stop, but I just wanted to get it done with.  I've never actually had tears during the procedure before so that was a first.  My blood pressure was also high for me.  No one was concerned and I suppose it wasn't at all surprising given the aforementioned scenario.
The good news:  Everything looked great and we're on track for December.  Everyone at the office was so kind, welcoming me back, and asking to see photos of the boys.  I love this office.  And the hardest part is over.  The transfer will be uncomfortable, but not as painful as this - thankfully.

One funny thing to mention - While we were headed to the RE's office, A got a text from one of his fellow teachers.  She's one of the few who knows about both A's CF and our IVF journey and I really like her.  We haven't told one single person that we're preparing for FET.  The text said something along the lines of, "preparing for baby 3?".  WHAT??  When I got to work, I went to the coffee bar for a drink and a coworker asked if we would have more children.  Are we that transparent??  It was a  crazy coincidence.

I wish I could shake the feeling that this isn't going to work. :(  I keep thinking I'm doing these procedures for nothing.

Goals for the next month are to try to eat healthier, remember to take my vitamins, and get some exercise.

11/14/16 - 1 month until transfer day!  The clinic called to tell me I was low in vitamin D (again) and needed to begin supplements.  I ordered the brand they recommended, but have been taking what I had in the house until they arrive.  I don't know that I've been eating better, but I have been exercising more, taking my vitamins, and drinking more water.

11/28/16 - I'm not going to lie - I'm feeling pretty sorry for myself today.  I'm sure cramps and hormones have absolutely nothing to do with it <sarcasm>.  I had to go in for an ultrasound (not the fun kind), blood draw, blood pressure check, and weight check.  Seriously?  A weight check right after Thanksgiving?  The automatic blood pressure cuff repeatedly suggested I was dead while trying to cut off all circulation in my arm until the nurse finally went and found another one.  I also had to pay $430, which stinks.  I shouldn't complain because I'm lucky insurance covers anything.  But medical expenses suck.  On the bright side, everything looked ok.  I start estrogen patches tonight.  I also was supposed to start low dose aspirin on 11/26 and somehow missed that.  I'm beating myself up because I'm usually so good at keeping track of medications - hopefully 2 days late on a less significant medication won't make a huge difference.  I had to drop W off at school so I ended up being way late to work.  I also found out a relative is expecting.  Though I'm happy for them, I could've done without that announcement while I was on my way to the fertility clinic.  I know I have a whole lot to be thankful for and I am, but every time I go through this process, I can't help wishing I didn't have to.  Blah. :(

11/29/16 - Patches are on, baby aspirin has been consumed.  My sweet husband knew I was having a rough day yesterday and brought flowers.  I don't know what I'd do without him.  He is the very best guy I know.

11/30/16 - I had a headache for two straight days and it was awful.  Finally, when I woke up this morning, I felt like myself.  Maybe a side effect of the patches?  Uggh.  Starting to feel a little less hopeless about the process... maybe... trying hard to keep my emotions in check.

12/2/16 - I think it's safe to say that these estrogen patches are working.  I started crying yesterday for no good reason (we were talking about the election - maybe that is a legitimate thing to cry over, but normally that wouldn't bring me to tears) and it seems anything can make me teary.  Poor A probably thinks I'm crazy.  Ugghhh.... I feel like I need a sign.  Proceed with caution, hormones in use.

12/7/16 - Had another blood draw and ultrasound today.  Everything seems to be on track.  I begin PIO shots tomorrow (my absolute least favorite) and also need to inject an HCG shot tomorrow.  And because IVF/FET is never straight forward, I need to make a decision about a scenario that I never considered.  We decided to transfer one embryo.  So best case scenario, one embryo is thawed and viable and it is transferred.  If the embryo thaws and it is determined that it isn't viable, then they'll thaw the second embryo and hope for the best.  Now the complicated scenario:  If they thaw the first embryo and determine that it IS viable, but that the chances for pregnancy are very low, what do we do?  We could transfer it anyway and hope for the best, though with my history, that seems very unlikely.  We could thaw the second embryo, and if it is viable, transfer that one and discard the other.  Or we could thaw the second, hope it looks good, and transfer both.  I'm not sure what we'll do and throughout the process, I thought that if this time didn't work, hopefully we'd have another chance, but this may be it for us.  I'm extremely torn.  Praying hard. :(

12/8/16 - A and I talked through our options yesterday.  I'm still feeling very anxious and not optimistic about this transfer.  Here's the thing...  I've had 3 transfers thus far.  In each transfer, one embryo was larger and more developed than the other.  The smaller embryo lagged behind.  I've got to believe that my two pregnancies were the result of the stronger, more developed embryo.  Our frozen embryos were slower and didn't meet freeze criteria until day 6.  I find it hard to believe that these could result in a successful pregnancy.  I'm not completely hopeless, but trying to be realistic.  Knowing that, we decided we would go ahead and transfer both embryos if one was not looking promising.  We want to give ourselves the best chance for a pregnancy and we both agreed that there was no way we could discard an embryo.  I'm also feeling very selfish.  I have two perfect boys, what business do I have agonizing over a potentially unsuccessful cycle?  And why do I feel that my family isn't quite complete? :(  PIO shots begin tonight. :(

12/9/16 - The PIO injection wasn't too horrible last night.  I am a bit sore today, but thankfully, it wasn't as bad as I remember.  On the down side, I also had to do an HCG injection and that left behind an itchy, red welt.  Apparently it's not unheard of, but I've never experienced that.  Boo.  I'm a bit down on myself because I forgot to take my vitamin D two days in a row and nearly forgot to take my antibiotic this morning.  I'm usually great at staying on top of medications.  Ugh.

12/12/16 - The PIO injections continue.  I'm only on day 4 and already hate them.  Some hurt worse than others.  I didn't think last night's was too bad... until today.  It feels like I was kicked in the back and I have a really painful knot under my skin.  I don't remember this happening at all last time. :(  Still feeling very pessimistic about the upcoming transfer.  Now I'm convinced our embryos won't survive the thaw. :(

12/15/16 - Transfer was yesterday!  The instructions I received were to arrive at the clinic at 9:30 with a full bladder.  I was supposed to drink 24-32 ounces and be done drinking by 8:30.  A and I arrived a bit early - by 9:15.  I was already uncomfortable and had to pee!  We waited about half an hour and then I had an ultrasound to make sure my bladder was full enough.  It definitely was and the nurse asked if I wanted to pee a little.  What?!?  During the hysteroscopy, I was told that I needed an overfull bladder so I was afraid to go.  And also afraid I wouldn't be able to stop once I started!  Sorry.  TMI.  Anyway, I finally got to a room and waited there for a long time.  By 10:30, we got to the transfer room.  At this point, I had had an overfull bladder for well over an hour.  Sooo uncomfortable.  I should also mention, the entire time, I was convinced that someone would stop in and tell us to go home because both of our embryos hadn't survived the thaw.  Once the doctor came in, we learned that one of our embryos did in fact not survive the thaw so we only had one opportunity at FET.  That's still sinking in.  We were told the other embryo looked good.  I didn't ask about grading and I didn't want to know.  The transfer went relatively smoothly, no pain like I experienced during the hysteroscopy.  After that, I had to lie down for an hour.  My awesome nurse knew how uncomfortable I was - I had to pee so badly.  She told me I could have a catheter or wait 15 minutes for a bed pan.  So awkward and not one of my finest moments.  I told her I could wait the 15 minutes.  A and I did a crossword together while we waited.  Happy for his company.  And that was it.  Feeling totally fine and normal today.  Now we wait.

12/20/16 - Today is W's birthday.  It's also happens to be the day I'm certain we won't be adding a third child to our family.  I'm heartbroken, but reminding myself that I can't be too sad on W's birthday and I also have two amazing boys.  Things started out promising.  I had cramping (likely just the result of the procedure), nausea (likely a side effect of PIO shots).  I was also tired and achy.  I was very achy during my pregnancy with both boys.  However, when I noticed the achy feeling, I also came down with a nasty cold so now I'm certain that achy feeling was the result of the cold (or another side effect of the evil PIO shots), which just seems cruel.  I think the exact words I used were 'bull shit'.  It makes me so angry and frustrated.  The two week wait is hard enough, but then I had to get sick on top of it and the symptoms were similar to those I've experienced when pregnant.  That's an awful coincidence. I was lacking some additional very telling "symptoms" - bloating and further cramping.  Naturally, I over-analyzed every feeling, every potential sign and while I never felt confident, I held out hope.  I Googled everything constantly like a crazy person.  I like when problems have solutions.  I like answers.  And I don't understand what the point of all this was.  Why did I even have two frozen embryos if one wasn't going to survive the thaw and the other wasn't going to result in a baby?  And why do our embryos always turn to crap.  A total of 7 embryos transferred and two babies to show for it.  While I'm so thankful for those two, those are not very good odds.  I cried this morning and hugged A tight.  I knew in my heart that test was going to be negative this morning, but I hoped that somehow I was wrong.  I pleaded for it to be positive.  This is certainly not how I wanted our infertility battle to end.  I had all these hopes and dreams - I really wanted to experience S as a big brother.  I know he would have been awesome.  I felt like my dad was with me during this struggle and hoped to use his name as the baby's middle name.  I thought about who would have what room and the relationships each child would have.  I thought about making the big announcement and feeling like our family was truly complete.  I thought about how I might do things differently this time around in the hospital.  I tried very hard to be realistic and protect my heart, but it's impossible not to dream.  And now I have to let go of all of those dreams.  I'm grateful for what I have, but devastated for what I've lost.  And now I sit here at work trying not to cry, trying to make sense of it all - why do some people try so hard to expand their family and have nothing to show for it, while others don't try at all and oops...???  Just trying to get through the day so I can cry at home.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Lately

I've been neglecting the blog lately.  I came down with a cold and S stopped sleeping through the night so A and I have both been sleep deprived (moreso A since he's been getting up with S while I battle this cold).  S is sleep deprived too, but you'd never know it!!  He'd give the Energizer Bunny a run for his money!  I've just been trying to make it through the day and counting down the minutes until bedtime.

Our previous weekend was a good one.  Saturday was W's preschool pancake breakfast and then A's teaching assistant came over to watch the boys.  I just love her.  We hoped to go to a movie, but there was a snow storm looming so we decided to grab lunch and run a bunch of errands.  It's amazing how much faster you get things done without two little boys in tow! ;)

Sunday was our usual.

Other than that, I can't wait to be done with this awful cold.  My latest Stitch Fix arrives today - yay!  I'm really looking forward to Christmas with the boys.  W is very excited and I love experiencing his enthusiasm.  S isn't really sure what's going on, but I know he's going to be thrilled to see presents on Christmas morning.  W officially turned 4 and I just can't believe it.  How have four years passed??  I had a (very) personal setback that I'll discuss later (also why I've been absent) - I'm still processing it.  We're all mostly healthy (except for the cold I'm battling and a mild ear infection for W) and I'll be ok eventually.  But suffices to say, I'm looking forward to time off of work, spent with family.  A and the boys definitely lift my spirits - so grateful for them.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.  Many blessings to each of you and your families.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Weekend Recap

Hello from cold, snowy Illinois!

We had a great weekend!!  As I mentioned, we celebrated W’s 4th birthday on Saturday.  He was SO excited and had been counting down the days to his party all week.  It was garbage truck/recycling themed, but I didn’t go crazy.  A banner, balloons, and a few decorations were enough.  We picked up mini sandwiches from a local deli, I made mac and cheese, and we had lots of yummy appetizers.  I have 2 nieces and 2 nephews and our friends came over with 4 of their kids so we had a house full of kiddos, which was lots of fun.  W did a great job thanking everyone for his gifts and it was a perfect day to celebrate my biggest boy.  And after everyone left, I barely saw W because he was so busy playing with all of his new toys.  S, the party animal, fell asleep on me by 6pm. :)

I actually got out the camera for a change so these are the only party pics I have.

The sandwiches and mac and cheese went in the open space


 Saturday night, the snow started falling.  We got about 2-3 inches of snow, but it stopped long enough for us to attend church and Starbucks.  Then we headed home to await the next snow storm.  S has always been independent, wanting to do things on his own and keep up with big brother.  At one point, he asked for something in the pantry and I said no.  Next thing I know, he opened the pantry door, pushed a chair over to the pantry, climbed up and grabbed whatever it was he wanted.  Ugh.  W got a train set for his birthday that S also loves.  The thing is, S doesn’t understand being careful or gentle and constantly knocks over the bridges and disconnects the tracks.  I’d fix the bridge for him and a short time later, it was knocked over again.  At one point, I fixed it and went into the kitchen for something.  I hear S say uh oh and I asked if his bridge was broken again.  He went to the drawer and grabbed the Scotch tape. :)  He also spilled some juice and went to the drawer for a towel.  Nearly 2 going on 5?  Then W.  Somehow he found my Christmas hiding spot – a closet in the basement that no one ever opens (until now).  Luckily everything was in boxes except for a couple cups I had planned to put in his stocking.  He comes running up the stairs yelling, “Look at this owl cup I found!” and proceeded to take off the wrapper, pull a chair up to the sink, and wash it in “hot” water so he could use it.  I’ve got my hands full with these two.




We stayed inside all afternoon as the snow fell.  It looked so peaceful and beautiful outside.  When I was a kid I used to hope and hope for a white Christmas.  There’s a good possibility this year!  

Friday, December 9, 2016

Friday Thoughts

Tomorrow we're celebrating W's 4th birthday.  I can't believe it.  4!!  Where does the time go?  4 just seems so old.  W asked for a garbage/recycling truck themed part so that's what we'll have, though, I certainly didn't go overboard.  Pinterest party planner I am not.

One of W's favorite things to say lately is "we haven't done that/seen that/had that in like one hundred years..."  It makes me laugh every time considering he has no idea how long one hundred years really is.

Winter arrived seemingly overnight.  I realize it is December, but it seems like it went from temperatures in the 50s to temperatures in the 20s!!  And we're supposed to get lots of snow starting Sunday.  I'm a little excited.

A and I have been catching up on This is Us.  I love it!!  And I love that we found a show we both like.

That's all I've got for now.  Happy Friday!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Weekend Recap

S was a bit under the weather yesterday so I stayed home with him.  He ended up sleeping for over 12 hours last night and we’re hoping he kicks this bug quickly.

We had a good weekend and even got a couple of inches of snow on Sunday.  It looks so pretty and festive outside!

One of the highlights of the weekend was the pancake breakfast on Sunday.  Santa happened to be there.  S wanted nothing to do with Santa and W asked for a trampoline and garages for his town and then asked for garages for S so that he could play too!  It was a nice change of pace from hearing, “I don’t like him” and “I don’t want a brother…”  He’d never admit it, but I know W loves and looks out for S.



After that, it was time to drop off gifts for our adopted family.  I love, love, love doing this every year.  Seeing the multitude of gifts for needy children and all the cars lined up to drop things off restores my faith in humanity.  It always brings tears to my eyes.  As we dropped our gifts off, the snow was falling peacefully and it was just a beautiful sight.





This week, we’re hoping no one else catches whatever bug S has and preparing for W’s 4th birthday party on Saturday.  I can’t believe he’ll be 4 soon!!  Where does the time go?!?

Friday, December 2, 2016

Friday Thoughts

I thought I had the perfect Christmas gift selected for A.  We have a little tv in our bedroom.  I think I’ve had it since college.  It’s a tube tv and given our love for sports, that’s typically what we watch on it.  It’s become increasingly more difficult to see the puck or the ball or whatever sport we’re watching as the technology just isn’t current.  I had this great idea that I would gift A a new tv for Christmas so that we could actually see what we were attempting to watch.  I received an email that the tv I selected would be delivered on Wednesday.  I was working from home and checked throughout the day.  No tv.  I was upstairs getting the boys ready for bed when W said that he thought he heard a delivery truck.  Sure enough, a few seconds later, A said that a package arrived and it was for him, something he had ordered.  I assumed that the tv I had been waiting on was just delayed since it’s such a busy time of year.  We got the boys to bed and I had another email.  A delivery confirmation indicating the tv had been delivered at 8:04pm (really late, no??).  I asked A if he was certain that the package that arrived was his.  He said yes.  I told him I was going to go outside and look for my package, but also mentioned it was odd that he didn’t see it because it would be in a big box.  He said that his package was also a big box.  We both looked at each other skeptically…

A: “My package is something we can both use.”
Me: “So is mine.”
A: “My package was something for our bedroom.”
Me: “Yeah, so is mine!”
A: “My package is something with two letters.”
Me: “SO IS MINE!!!”

We got each other the same present!!  Same brand, same size tv.  I can’t believe it!!!!  I guess we’re made for each other. :)

In related news, I’m getting more and more excited for Christmas.  There is nothing better than experiencing Christmas with your children.

PSA:  You know that little screen on the back of your hair dryer?  Clean it out!  I knew this, but I guess I sort of forgot about it.  In my defense, my blow dryer actually has two screens so the buildup was somewhat hidden.  Anyway, I was drying my hair the other night and it was taking FOREVER!!  I realized the screen was completely clogged and after cleaning it, it’s a whole new dryer!!  Such a difference!

It's been rainy and gloomy for the past week it seems - I'm ready to never get out of bed again. :P

I'm still loving Lipsense and this Boden sweatshirt that I got for 30% off and then another $25 off is perfect for a cold, gloomy day.



Happy Friday!!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Weekend Recap

I’m so bummed to be back at work today and not feeling great.  Blah.  I loved spending quality time with all my guys.  How about a little recap?

I took Wednesday off so that we could participate in our second annual Kindness Day.  Not only do we get to spread kindness, but we also have so much fun.  We started the day by boxing up some cookies, chocolates, and a Target gift card to give to our mail carrier.  Then, we headed out to Target and walked the store handing out $5 Target gift cards to 5 groups of people.  We generally chose groups with children and W handed over the gift card.  We loved wishing people a Happy Thanksgiving and I hope we brightened their days.  Next it was off to Starbucks where we bought coffee for a stranger and left a tip for the awesome baristas.  We also dropped off doggy treats at doggy day care and packed up a box of treats for our recycle man.  We finished our little outing by picking up Chinese Food and heading over to my mom’s house for lunch.  Such a great day!



Thursday morning, we watched the parade for a bit and then it was off to Nani and Papa’s house for Thanksgiving.  As always, Nani cooked an amazing meal… Hi, Nani… I think you’re one of the few people who reads this blog. ;)  It was just great to be surrounded by family… and food!!  I seriously LOVE all of the Thanksgiving sides.  Why can’t Thanksgiving be twice a year??  Anyway, the boys had fun with their cousins and I even got a little break when A took the boys downstairs to play.



Friday morning, my mom and I set out to do some shopping.  This has become our little tradition.  I didn’t need a ton (I do the majority of my shopping online), but I did manage to find gifts for all my nieces and nephews.  We also adopted a family for the holidays (another yearly tradition) and I found everything on their list.  A very successful day!!  We met the boys at our favorite pizza place for lunch and I’m happy to report that we all made it through the entire meal.

Saturday, we headed out to order food for W’s upcoming birthday party and stopped for lunch at my favorite Mexican restaurant.  Once again, the boys were good… phew!  After S napped, it was time to decorate the Christmas tree!!  W was super into it and loved hanging all the ornaments.  S couldn’t have cared less.  However, now that the ornaments are on the tree, he loves removing them.  He is especially fond of the cupcake ornament and the Starbucks cup ornament.  This boy has his priorities in order!!  :)  Only two ornament casualties so far…







Sunday, was our usual routine.  I made dinner and it took twice as long as I anticipated, but ended up being delicious.  While, I was cooking, S went through the cabinet, found a jar of sprinkles, and emptied it all over the floor.  He then got his broom and attempted to sweep them up.


And that was our long weekend.  I love this season…

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Stitch Fix #12

Number 12?!?  Holy moly!!  It recently occurred to me that I never shared my latest Stitch Fix.  It was another great one.  I say that every time, but I think I’ve kept everything in my last 3-4 fixes.  Pretty impressive considering my stylist has never even seen me.

As always, if you’re considering giving it a try, I’d be so grateful if you used my referral link. stitchfix.com/referral/5478084

First up, the Stanley Striped Raglan Knit Top.  I have similar tops, but this was SO comfortable and I loved the loose fit.  It was almost “flowy”.  I’m a sucker for these types of tops and although I initially thought I might send it back, after trying it on, there was no way this baby was going back in the box.  I also loved it under my green cargo vest, which I wear all the time.  KEEP




Next, the Jana Poncho Pullover.  Confession: this was really the first item I tried on.  I wore it on Halloween while trick-or-treating with the boys and it kept me really warm.  I initially paired this with riding boots, but felt too covered up.  Does that even make sense?  I think I like it with flats better.  This is a true poncho in that the sides are open so definitely need a thin shirt underneath.  All in all, I loved this and I don’t really have anything similar.  KEEP




Next, the Borrego V-Neck striped sweater.  This was actually purple with magenta stripes – it’s difficult to see that in the photos.  The sweater was also somewhat loose, which I appreciated.  It seems sweaters in this style are usually really clingy or tight.  Again, I didn’t have anything similar in my closet and I loved the stripes.  This was also cute under a black vest.  I’m really into vests lately obviously.  KEEP




Then it was time for the purple Underwood Cardigan.  I loved the color and loved that this was a thin material and long.  My only concern was that I really didn’t need another plain cardigan.  I practically live in these and as a result, I have a ton.  BUT I don’t have purple.  I’m still on the fence with this.  I kept it, but may sell it in the Stitch Fix group I belong to. ???



Finally, the Bailey Open Cardigan.  This is the “I give up, just take the freaking picture because the boys are going bonkers in the background” pose. J  So don’t let the pose or my expression or the fact that A likely took this while being accosted by two littles distract you.  I loved this cardigan.  It just felt so cozy and I loved the colors.  I actually had this pinned and I’m happy I received it.  I’ve worn this already (actually I’ve worn all of these items except the cardigan), but I foresee having this on when it’s -35 degrees in January.  KEEP




So another Fix in which I kept everything.  My stylist, Kate, is amazing.  Since starting Stitch Fix, I’ve purchased a few items here and there from other stores, but this is where the bulk of my wardrobe has come from.  I just love it.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Weekend Recap

Happy Thanksgiving week!!  I really do love Thanksgiving.  Family, food, what more could you ask for?

This weekend was exactly what I needed.  We stayed inside primarily – our weather went from 70 degrees on Thursday to 20 degrees Sunday morning.  But I can’t complain – we’ve had some extraordinarily beautiful fall days throughout November.  Anyway, Saturday morning, A took S to school while W and I went grocery shopping.  W asked if we could stop at Starbucks and because I’m a pushover who was really in need of some coffee, I agreed. ;)  There happens to be a Starbucks inside our Target so it all worked out.  I swear we had been in the store for 30 minutes by the time we got our drinks and made a bathroom stop and we had zero groceries to show for it.  I’m happy W is mostly potty trained, but it means a bathroom stop (or two) everywhere we go.  A texted us as we were checking out and asked if we wanted to meet for lunch.  W picked BWW (not my favorite) and off we went.  Unfortunately, I didn’t bring the diaper bag since I hadn’t planned on meeting up with A and S so I didn’t have any milk for S or any distractions while we waited for our meal.  S got super cranky so we ordered an appetizer and milk in a straw cup.  S is going through a phase where he thinks he is a big boy and can do anything – i.e.  sit on the potty, sit at the table sans booster seat, drink out of a cup… Anyway, he got furious when we wouldn’t let him dip his chips in the chili queso (because he was double dipping and making a mess) and threw his cup down, which spilled all over the carpet at BWW.  So embarrassing.  We quickly finished up and headed home so that S could take a much needed nap.  I don’t think there will be any more lunch outings for a while.  Side note:  This boy can go from a crying/screaming mess to the sweetest little love… as I watched him wake from his nap, he grabbed his Winnie the Pooh Bear and just sat there hugging him until I went and got him.  He’s also been known to bear hug you and then quickly fall asleep on your shoulder. 

After S woke, we decided to decorate the house for Christmas.  W, my helper/decorator extraordinaire was totally in his element.  We got all of the d├ęcor out with the exception of the tree – that we’ll do next weekend.  The house looks so festive – I just love it!  We also had our first fire of the season in the fire place.  Alls well that ends well!





Sunday was our usual with a couple errands thrown in.  With the exception of the restaurant experience, it was a really great, low key weekend.  W asked if he could watch Charlie Brown Christmas and both boys loved it.  S burst into tears when it was over, which was so sad, but so funny.  I also sang Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer to S and when I was done, he yelled, “more, more!”.  I think I sang it 3 more times.  So so excited for the holiday season!!




Friday, November 18, 2016

Friday Thoughts

W's school was looking for volunteers this week.  Since I drop him off and pick him up and have already earned some volunteer hours, I asked A if he could miss a couple hours of school to help in W's class.  He agreed and W was so excited.  Normally, W's very much mommy's boy, but as soon as he woke up this morning, he exclaimed, "Daddy is coming to school with me today!!".  Aww.  They made "friendship soup" together and I hear that W loved every minute.

I finally got around to writing my latest Stitch Fix post - I'll share that next week.

I started ordering birthday and Christmas gifts.  Five packages arrived today.  Pretty sure the delivery man hates me.  Tis the season!

I love doing my makeup every day.  For me, it's fun and makes me feel good.  I've discovered a new lipstick that I'm obsessed with... Lipsense!  It lasts all day - through breakfast, lunch, etc. and still looks great!  http://www.senegence.com/quadkisses  And no, I don't sell it, I just love it.

Awkward lipsense selfie

I'm excited for Thanksgiving... my tummy is rumbling as I type that.  Yummmmm.

Happy Friday!!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Weekend Recap

It was another insanely busy weekend in these parts.  A and I agreed that we need to find a baby-sitter one of these weekends so that we can grab lunch and have a little time to ourselves.  As fun as these weekends have been, I need a break from constantly being busy.  Anyway, our weekend…

My company had an event at the Museum of Science and Industry.  Basically, we got in free of charge and there was a room set up with snacks and beverages.  We left the house around 9:30 and arrived an hour later.  My plan was to see a few exhibits and then have lunch.  Well, you know what they say about plans.  After a trip to the hospitality room, 4 bathroom trips for W, and one exhibit, S lost it because he couldn’t sit in the tractor forever.  So we decided it was time for lunch.  Both boys were in a better mood after our $40!!! chicken finger lunch (what the heck?!?!) and we finally got to see a few exhibits.  The boys really enjoyed the transportation vehicles – cable car, steam engine, airplane and the model train that was set up to run in a giant display.  They also loved the chick hatchery.  W liked the miniature fairy tale castle (me too!) and S liked the butterflies projected onto a wall.  S was furious that I would not let him walk up and down the steps to the steam engine the entire time and had a little meltdown.  Suffices to say the trip wasn’t without its share of challenges (S!) and I think W had to go to the bathroom about 15 times, but all in all, we had fun and I was happy we went… until the ride home.  S started to cry.  I know drinks and the car do not mix and it was extremely stupid of me to give S milk.  My hope was that S would drink milk and fall asleep.  Unfortunately, he proceeded to puke all over – and then fall asleep about 5 minutes before we arrived home after a 2 hour drive.  W also spilled all his goldfish crackers in the back seat.  I seriously thought we might never make it home and you what’s worse than milk puke smell in an enclosed space?  Nothing.  That’s what.  We were all pretty worn out by the time we arrived home.







Even though everyone slept well, I was still tired the following day.  We did our usual church, Starbucks (thank God for coffee), grocery shopping routine and then it was time to head to my nephew’s birthday party.  The boys had fun checking out their cousins toys and they both ate cake, which was shocking since W is not a fan.  Sidenote: S was OBSESSED with this little ride on toy.  He seriously sat on that thing on and off for the 3 hours we were there.  I Googled it and found it for $29.99 on Zulily!  Score!!  I don’t think we need any more ride on toys, but for $29, I can make an exception.  I think he’ll love finding it on Christmas morning.  By the time we got home, S was so tired, he fell asleep at 6:30.  I cleaned up a few things and then headed upstairs to bed, exhausted.  Of course, I wound up with a major headache and barely slept… grr.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Today

Anyone else feeling shocked and horrified today?  I've already come close to bursting into tears multiple times.  I don't understand.  I can't make sense of it.  I'm afraid for the next four years and I truly believe this country has taken many, many steps backwards.  And for those who say nothing will change, I call bs.  You just showed the world that a misogynistic, hateful bully can win, which is the opposite of everything I was ever taught.

So with all that, how about a tiny bit of good news (because I'm trying to muster a bit of optimism, though it is incredibly difficult in this moment in time)...

A had CF Clinic yesterday and all went well.  His lung function remained stable.  His weight was down, but only by 2 pounds, so nothing major.  W was good company and kept us entertained.  He also had the staff fawning over him.  We did see the doctor that A and I aren't so keen on, but she's going on maternity leave soon... winning!  I also may be talking to a few couples about our experience starting a family, which I'm excited about.  I learned a lot during that process and I'm excited about the opportunity to share my knowledge and experience.  I really feel like I could help and provide support.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Weekend Recap

We had nothing planned for the weekend (other than a haircut for me) and I wanted to make sure it stayed that way.  We’ve been so incredibly busy lately, I was in desperate need of some down time.  Our weather has been incredible and we spent much of Saturday outdoors.  W and A played at the park while S and I went for a walk.  I got my hair cut and changed it up a bit – shorter, added layers, and lowlights.  Not sure if I’m loving it, but trying to give it a chance and I really needed a change (just not sure this was the right change :\).  By the end of the day, the boys were worn out and went to bed early so A and I got to enjoy an episode of New Girl.  I also spent some time going through a stack of mail and gathering clothes to send for consignment.

Sunday was another beautiful day.  After church, Starbucks, and grocery shopping, we headed outside once again.  I raked leaves – 5 yard waste cans full, while A cut the grass and put up Christmas lights.  Note: we have no plans of turning the lights on any time soon, but it’s so much easier to put them up in 70 degree weather.  I made mostacolli for dinner and called it a day.

We received our family photos back from the photographer.  I think I look terrible in all of them.  Boo.  Scarves look good on everyone else, but I look like I have no neck and my hair looks crazy.  Double boo.  At least the boys look adorable!

Trying to respect A's wishes of not appearing on the blog... hahaha



I seriously cannot believe we’re into November – where is the time going?


And finally, A has clinic tomorrow so please send good thoughts our way. :)

Friday, November 4, 2016

Friday Thoughts

I still can't believe the Cubs won the World Series.  Someone pinch me!!  The big parade and rally is today - our CEO sent out an email telling us we could go.  Best CEO ever!!  Unfortunately A had a work meeting he couldn't miss.  Adulting stinks sometimes!!



On a related note, since most of our nights have been dedicated to watching baseball games, my house has been neglected, I haven't been cooking dinner, mail is piled high.  It was worth it - but I'm looking forward to life returning to normal.

I'm getting my hair cut tomorrow and I'm considering a change.  I always chicken out and never follow through with a change, but I'm so fed up with my hair lately.

I complain a lot about our weather, but it has been absolutely perfect lately!!  60 degree weather in Chicago is practically unheard of in November.  Thank you, Mother Nature!!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

It Happened.

I must’ve been in about the fifth grade when my great grandma passed away.  I didn’t know her very well, but I remember my parents cleaning her house and helping pack up her belongings.  My dad generously gave me my great grandma’s television.  It was ancient, complete with an antenna and maybe 10 channel buttons – though it only got 4 channels and even those were a bit fuzzy.  But none of that mattered to me.  I was a kid with a tv in her room and I felt like the coolest.  One of the channels that old television picked up was channel 9 – WGN.

When I was in junior high and high school, I remember coming home and watching the Cubs on that antique television.  My parents weren’t super into baseball (my mom is now) so I’m not sure how I became so interested.  But I followed the team and developed a love for the so called “lovable losers”.  The Cubs had some decent teams throughout the years, but never made it very far into the post season.

In college, my friends and I were so excited to see the Cubs make the playoffs, we even decorated our dormitory window with the players’ names (and were later asked to remove them because it was considered a fire hazard).  We went to Wrigleyville during the playoffs and rooted for our team.  Most people recall the infamous Bartman fiasco and a World Series appearance was just not meant to be in 2003.  That also happens to be the year I met A, an even bigger Cubs fan than myself, and I remember texting him and exchanging emails about the Cubs.  He even sent me a newspaper photo of my favorite player.

Throughout the years, A and I have enjoyed so many games together.  Cheering on our beloved Cubs no matter how pitiful they were, never wavering in our support and devotion.  We had fun taking the boys to their first Cubs games.  And this year, we had the opportunity to attend 5 games, including one in Pittsburgh.

And then last night happened.  The moment we’ve been waiting years and years for.  The moment we thought would never ever happen.  Sure, we always hoped, dreamed, wanted, and wished, but the Cubs were known for losing in spectacular fashion and breaking hearts.  It was something we’d grown accustomed to.  Yet somehow, our team came back from 2 games down, winning three games in a row, winning in extra innings, to be crowned World Series Champions.

Some say it’s just a game.  But it’s so much more than that.  There is something to be said about supporting a cause bigger than one’s self.  The emotions that come with each victory or loss, the camaraderie with fellow fans, the passion, the perseverance, the inspirational moments that accompany a game, the vulnerability.  Supporting something you have absolutely no control over and keeping the faith isn’t easy, yet somehow it’s good for the soul.  And when the stars align and the impossible happens, the sheer joy is worth every heartache, every tough loss, every disappointing year.  In so many ways, sports are a metaphor for life.

No more waiting.  "Next year" is here.


If the Cubs can win a World Series, anything is possible.




Monday, October 31, 2016

Weekend Recap

I. Am. Tired.  As in mentally and physically exhausted.  We had a lot of fun this weekend and (I think) we squeezed in every possible fall activity over the past month, but I am so ready for a weekend without any major plans.  I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy all of the family outings and activities, but staying home has never sounded so appealing.

Saturday, I took S to school.  It went well, but I think S is a bit more stubborn than W was when he started.  He’s also a tad younger so I know that makes a difference.  Little man S could not understand why I wouldn’t let him spread glue everywhere or dump glitter all over the table.  Clearly I am the meanest mom EVER.  Related, who thinks 20 month olds with glue and glitter is a good idea?!?!  Anyway, when I wasn’t taking it away, S loved gluing and glittering pumpkins, playing at the sand table, playing in the sensory bin, and running around outside.






We picked up lunch on the way home from school, S napped, and then it was off to family photos.  Actually before that, W had a tantrum because I told him it was time to change clothes and he didn’t want to, I yelled at him more than I should have, and he sat in time out until it was time to leave.  So that was fun and I felt pretty awful.  Parenting is not for the faint of heart.  Not surprisingly, W acted a fool for photos and I’m pretty sure I’m leaning over with hair in my face as I tried to hold onto him in all of the photos that were taken.  Everyone else cooperated – even my 6 month old niece.  Sigh.  I hope the photographer’s photo shop skills are exceptional.  And I’m really happy we won’t be taking any more family photos for a long, long time.  W may never be in photos again.  Or maybe I’ll resort to drinking heavily prior to any photos…  I will say that the photographer was really kind and told us that he had a daughter who was the same way and just didn’t cooperate for photos.  A photographer’s child not cooperating for photos?!?  That made me feel better.

We went to Nani and Papa’s for a bit after photos.  We all had a yummy lunch and W was asked to be a ring bearer for his Uncle Matt’s wedding.  I’m not sure who’s more excited – him or me. :)  Sidenote: at church the following day, W said, “Grandma, grandma, I have something to tell you!!  I’m going to be a ring boy!!”  Super cute.  Anyway, the boys stayed for a while at Nani and Papa’s house and I had to head to the auction that my mom and I work at every year.  It was great to see familiar faces.  It was not so great to see the Cubs lose and I came home empty handed this year.  I was also completely worn out when it finally ended after 10pm.  I’m too old for these outings. :)

Sunday was our usual morning routine and then it was time for trick-or-treating!!  I love that our trick-or-treating is on a Sunday afternoon.  Day light and no rushing home from work!  Our friends joined us with their 3 girls.  W was all business and loved going from house to house.  S couldn’t have cared less and just wanted to walk to the park.  There was an unfortunate incident when W realized he was eating peanut butter crackers and not just plain crackers.  I’ll leave that to your imagination.  And S had a fit and cried the whole way home when I wouldn’t let him stay at the house playing Thriller with a lady dressed as Michael Jackson.  Who knew S was such a big MJ fan?!?  But all in all, we had lots of fun.  I’m hoping S will participate more next year and I’m thinking that our friends need to come over every year.  Also, some type of adult beverages need to be involved for the grownups… lol.  I’m fairly certain I ate my weight in Halloween candy.  Zero willpower.  Somehow I totally botched dinner, but it was still edible.  And even though I had given up hope, the Cubs won.








And now I’m ready for a vacation.  Happy Halloween!!