Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The BEST 5 Year Anniversary Gift

I was having dinner with friends the other night and someone asked me why I was eating off a bread plate. Thinking how can someone not know I had through weight loss surgery in 2004, someone else pointed out not knowing you before it is really hard to imagine you 147 lbs heavier. I reread the post I wrote last year about my surgery anniversary of June 30th, 2004 and really wouldn't add anything.

I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to change my life. Now that my husband is about to know this same rebirth I cannot tell you how much this is a 5 year prayer answered. The night I returned from Florida in April he told me he had made appointments for initial consultations. I am proud that this is his decision and he has come to on his own.

It has utterly amazed me what took me a year approval and presurgery testing took Bill 6 weeks. He is motivated in a way I have seldom seen and I hope that he will carry this with him when it become hard. Bill's recent blog post reflects a real desire for a healthier life.

I am committed to helping him make what can be a really hard diet work with food options and ongoing support. I think for the first time ever he finally understands why this decision is one of the most important of my life. For my 5th surgery anniversary I got exactly what I wanted, a healthier family.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Jackson Mania!

Is anyone else getting a little tired of Micheal Jackson coverage? I am sure you will hurl your Thriller album at me for saying this but can we move on? Tonight it was again the 1st story on network news, followed by the death of Oxy clean pitch man Billy Mays, THEN a story on Iran, finally what had been NPR's lead story of the day the military junta takeover in Honduras. Even my beloved TAL found a way to work in Jackson titles and music on their weekend show. Ira, I am very disappointed for pandering to the Entertainment Tonight crowd.

A story about how June 30th marks the end of military presence in all cities outside of Baghdad was nestled in in the last 10 minutes, just before another 5 minute tribute to Jackson. An endless war that defined one presidency and will likely define another bumped to 20 minutes in. Nice priorities.

I totally get it that he is famous and is a global superstar, but after day one this is making me want to scream. There is so much more going on in the world. It's a sorry state when the Daily Show gives the situation in Iran more screen time.

So Americans, I implore you to let this family bury their son and brother and let's all get on with our lives. If you feel nostalgic remembering when you where in the 3rd grade and the most popular kid worn a red vinyl jacket and matching glove then so be it. I personally want real news back.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Finished for Friday- Relaxing and productive all rolled into one

I cannot believe that 2 weeks of my summer vacation are already gone! In keeping with my less is more goal for the summer we can mark off other family summer list: overnight trip to the beach and trip the aquarium. We had a great short trip earlier in the week.

On the productivity list I got 5 meals (summer goal: 30 for me, 10 for my mom) made yesterday and in the freezer. I am shooting for a double batch of cornbread dressing today bringing the tally to 7.

As far as today, Ben is in school so I hope to get the following accomplished: mow the grass before we need a goat, grocery for super-double coupons, work on insurance filing, finish the last 75 pages in a book, laundry. I had planned for a yoga class this morning, but after staying out WAY to late at book club I choose sleep.

Note to self, there is a reason I always leave by midnight during the school year, Not to feel like a car hit me the next day. Think I can attach coffee to the mower?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Beach Trip Recap

Could we have packed more into 48 hours??? NO! We did everything I wanted to do for our short trip and best of all we have found a new place to stay come our annual Thanksgiving trip at the beach.

The trip down Monday involved stopping on an exit ramp to poop in the little potty under a tree (this excitement was short lived as Ben proceeded to poop at least 3 times each day in his underwear, all changed at various interesting places including the Ferry bathroom standing on a sink). I also had the great pleasure of once again washing the comforter at the all-appealing beach laundromat due to nighttime pee.

Monday afternoon we headed to the pool and then out to dinner at our favorite hole in the wall restaurant, walked on the pier, then drove over to the lake to walk off too much fried shrimp.

Tuesday I attempted to get Ben interested in going to the beach. He was fine digging holes and burying our feet but was petrified of the water. Every time I would go near the water he would start shrieking about crabs and sharks. This is truly Bill's son as I would rather sit in the surf all day given the chance. Back to the pool again, then a nap with daddy while I sat in the surf in total relaxation.

That night we went out for dinner and had planned to play putt putt but decided to pass when it was going to be 20 dollars and a sinking feeling of endless frustration of Ben chasing the ball all over the course. Good call as we wound up at the Carolina Beach Boardwalk only to discover a carnival. We rode rides, ate the BEST homemade donuts and walked around people watching.

On Wed morning Ben and I took a long walk on the beach and then returned to the pool again to play. We were so loud that the clerk came out to see what all the commotion was in the pool at one point. Shamelessly we were the only ones in the pool at the time but Ben was jumping in from the side and playing dinosaur shark.

We headed out byway of the Aquarium and then the ferry to Southport for lunch and then finally home. While we were waiting on the ferry Ben met up with some other kids and climbed his first tree. I'm telling you this kid can talk to anyone. The other kids were at least 2-5 years older and Ben was holding his end of the conversation up by saying "poopy" over an over and dying laughing.

We did everything we wanted to do in the short time there. I am so ready for a longer trip to Florida in August where the pool is just outside the bedroom door. This would be Ben's fantasy to jump in directly in his pajamas.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Baby Daddy

Bill gets the ultimate father's day award, going with me to SC to my mom's 60th Birthday celebration. It actually was a comedy of errors as we had to go back to the house 3 times for forgotten items, stopped at the new IEKA in Charlotte thinking we would have time to shop but only had time to eat and check out the kids stuff.

It was Hot as HELL outside and even hotter in SC (state motto: NO Shirt, No shoes, NO problem in full glory). My mom changed her mind 3 times for her 60th bday dinner resulting in food from the world's greasiest hot dog place, called Skins. Ben projectile vomited all over her and her couch, and we went to sleep at 10:30 after a misunderstanding about pillows.

At least on the trip home all Vinson boys slept for almost the whole ride home.

To my awesome husband who loves me enough to visit my family, I love you and am very, very glad our own family is heading to the beach in the morning. I can't wait to walk on the pier, eat seafood, play putt putt, take the ferry to Southport to eat more seafood, hang out at the pool, and walk on the beach with my 2 favorite men.

Wishing you many more Father's days to come to do what YOU want to :-)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Finished For Friday- That Girl's (NOT) on Fire this Summer

I have posted twice this week about goals for this summer while at home from school being: 1. Family Time

2. Time spent not doing household chores all summer but rather things that feed my soul

The reality is that my house is clean, organized to the degree that I can live with, and overall my focus is staying as relaxed and not stressing about all that is going on both with my family here as well in SC.

I am beyond proud that I can look at these 8 weeks and be ok not making a list of 70 things to accomplish. What I am going to aspire to is these few items that I think will make me feel productive without feeling like I spent each and every moment in a frenzy of physical productivity. My summer mantra, Napping is OK

So here goes for a first ever summer to do list with less than 10 items in the checkout line:

1. Bill- Keep up with our weekly Thursday date lunches and day to get household chores done while Ben is at school. Trial run yesterday was magic. 2 hour max spent on house cleaning, appointment, lunch, movie, errands, pick up Ben. Repeat all summer long.

2. Read instead of watching TV. Yesterday I posted books on my summer list. What are you reading... want to share? I must admit Bill and I plan to get caught up on several shows we missed during our crazy year. Are we like the last people to see this season of Lost?

3. Find ways to stay relaxed: Yoga class on Monday night, Acupuncture, i-phone relaxation app, visualization IVF CD. Cheesy, but I totally buy into mind-body connection so throw on a unitard and join me or keep negative comments away from me.

4. Sleep. I am finally sleeping through the night again! After months of my 5 hour a night routine I am sleeping 7 hours most night and I feel better already. I even let myself cat nap suring the day and didn't feel guilty.

5. Cook- Try to put back a month of meals. Summer days are a perfect time to prep a busy July and fall. Plus doing it with a friend has shared in the cost while the kids play. A double win and I will thank myself later.

6. Exercise- Find something everyday to get moving and burn off calories and stress.

7. Making ourSummer of Family Fun a reality. I think this summer of being laid off and medical procdures can be what we make it, an endurance test or possibility the best summer ever. I am opting for the 2nd plan and with a little weekly planning, it can be. Just writing the post of summer plans got me excited!

ps- I really DID get something done today, I cleaned out our first aid box and restocked it with boy-injury friendly items. Woo-hoo to productivity on the summer schedule.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Overdue to Read More-Summer Edition

I kinda lied on my post yesterday about not making a list of items to do this summer non family related. With about 8 weeks of free time I would be nuts if I didn't do a few personal "to do" items before heading back to school.

On the list every summer is to catch up reading. During the school year as much as I try to read before going to bed, Bill usually finds me asleep with the book over my face on the same page that I started. I have a really bad summer habit of watching bad, bad TV instead of sitting on my porch at night on my chaise lounge under the fan with drink in hand. Once I do I question why LA LAw reruns "seemed" so much more important.

I have emailed a couple of friends that are voracious readers and sometimes share similar tastes for some recommendations. I am also including any books that made it on my 2009 master list that has yet to be read. So for my summer personal to do list I hope to finish 8 books. In no particular order up for reading:

The Tortilla Curtain- Started this last night and had a hard time putting down
Perfectly Irrational
The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008- So I didn't get to make this latest Krugman part of my summer AP assignment, but I really want to read it!
Stumbling on Happiness
The Black Swan
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
Hocus Pocus
- My 11th grade English teacher would smile after I did a whole project on Vonnegut for class.
Night (Bookclub selection but am going to reread)
Lovely Bones (also bookclub and I still haven't read this book, Am I the only one)
Music For Torching
Let your Life Speak, Listening for the Voice of Vocation
PreSchool Wise
Mommy Guilt
Bad Mother
(Super excited about this this new book and will likely be the only one I buy after hearing the author Ayelet Walman on Fresh Air)

Notice that the Unauthorized Biography of LA LAW did not make it on the list. Does a book even exist? Please don't tell me, I "might" show interest :-)

Also notice there is not a "historical" social studies teacher book among the lot. I think Team of Rivals did me in for 2009 after an almost 20 hour audiobook. I do have at least 2 books for my summer session at Harvard on the Women's rights movement but annotation does not equal summer reading fun.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Now Taking Applications for Camp Mommy and Daddy

The original origin of this blog in 2007 was to keep up with a massive to do list. I again made my all summer consuming to list of almost 70 items the focus of my blog last summer. This summer all bets are off. I AM NOT GOING TO MAKE THIS SUMMER ABOUT HOUSEHOLD CHORES!!!

Instead with Bill likely home for the duration of my 2 months of summer break, we are making this summer about family and doing things daily as a family what we either have not had time to do or feel we won't have time to do once the school year starts back and/or Bill has a new job and of course if our family of 3 grows.

We opted to keep Ben is one day a week day care so that Ben can see his friends, we can get a much needed opportunity to get something done at the house, allow us to have a "date" over lunch using up our BOGO Citipass book, as well as keep a weekly appointment.

Over the next two months we hope to do the following things as a family. We kicked off our plan over the weekend with a visit to the NC Museum of Natural History to see the dinosaurs. Last night we played Chutes and Ladders as well as played with our stomp rocket (indoors no less) after a dinner of Daddy made chicken tacos.

1. Overnight Trip to the Beach
2. NC Zoo
3. NC Museum of Art
3. State Farmers Market
4. NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher
5. Durham Science and Life
6. See an IMAX movie
7. Scrap Exchange Workshop
8. Start a family game/puzzle night
9. Start a family cooking night
10. Make homemade ice cream
11. Make a stepping stone for Ben's garden
12. See an outdoor movie
13. Go to Pullen Park to ride the train, carousel, and picnic
14. Check out the NC Railroad at New Hill
15. Weekly trip to the Library
16. Try out the Airport Playground
17. Play at one of the area bounce houses with a friend(with my BOGO coupons)
18. Go on a nature hike at Umstead or Eno River State Park
19. Host an artwork show of summer art projects created by Ben
20. Invite friends down to have a car wash, completed by preschool labor
21. Go to the pool or play on the water slide on really hot days
22. Get together weekly with friends to play
23. Make Smores and roast hot dogs over a real fire
23. See a car race (not NASCAR but something involving wheels for our car-lovin' child)
24. Take Swim lessons through Raleigh Parks and Rec
25. Plan and take an awesome road trip to see family in August to Destin, Florida. This will know be the 4th time Ben and I have made our great adventure and this year Daddy is going with us!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ben vs the Front Steps

Ben has his first official black eye. It's more like a swollen red eye, but we are counting it as a "first" for childhood. Sunday night we decided to take our dog for a quick walk after dinner. Our dog is a Jack Russell/Begel mix and is 100% high energy. Ben and I have been working on how to hold a dog lease and walk the dog as well as feeding/watering the dog as a daily chore.

I should have rethought letting him hold the lease as we made it down the steps as Vegas (the dog) pulled him down and into the last step face first. Poor guy, the dog took off across the street and I ran to pick up a sobbing Ben.

Luckily a trip by the neighborhood playground remedied the crying and placated the dog. While we were there Ben proceeded to tell the other kids about his dog trama and showed off his hot wheels band aid proudly.

Why do I have a feeling that this story is going to be retold all week and become progressively more in Ben's favor than the poor dog.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Random Thoughts at Graduation

Today was a bittersweet day as a teacher. Kids that I helped start my current school in August 2006 passed out of my life and into their own. I have sat through many a graduation over the last decade of teaching. They are all about the same, but with this class I feel like we had a shared experience of being the new kids on the block and finding our way to build a high school from the ground up under what were at times very difficult and challenging.

As a Senior homeroom teacher I had to sit on the stage in full academic regalia as well as hand out my homeroom diplomas. As I sat there I did have some random thoughts on the day... funny, bittersweet, it all comes with the job.

- damn it's hot under these lights, wonder if I should have worn a tube top and daisy dukes under my masters robe?

- New Million Dollar Convention center my ass this place looks like a Costo Warehouse. I am waiting on someone to come over the loudspeaker and say, "need a price check on the value pack of Trojans."

- Really, we have to go out to the parking deck to actually give the kids their diplomas, as the District graduations are planned back to back... classy

- Who's choice was it to wear bright purple robes. Grimace or Telletubbies, most unflattering.

- Was there a requirement that all graduating ladies had to wear stripper heels?

- Check... taught him... check... taught her... hell did I teach this entire graduating class Civics their Sophomore year? They better vote!

- I almost didn't recognize the PE department with out bad polyester too tight coaches shorts and a smell that resembles only the joy a gym coach knows

- Oh look theres my old principal who is now in Central Office. God why did I leave a good thing?

- Nice touch blowing an air horn as your child walks across the stage, but I got you beat. At my high school graduation in South Carolina (insert your own joke here), someone showed up with a giant cow bell they ran continuously. Yes, I will so be required to wear a Scooby Doo T-shirt at Harvard this summer to identify me as a product of this State education system and to not let others mingle with me for fear of ricket contamination.

- Another year down. I am beyond sad that this was not my graduation day from a career that I am ready to leave. But, what hopefully a final graduating ceremony to attend. I really and truly loved some of these kids while I had them in my classroom. I couldn't help but wonder what Bennett Davis Vinson as well as his siblings will be doing once they walk across the stage. Hopefully making me proud.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Waiting, Part 2

Why does it seem that these days it is one step forward and two steps back? Thank you to all the comments and supportive emails in response to my recent post about starting IVF. It is much appreciated and to even be able to publish that post is a major accomplishment for me.

We were so very excited when our kickoff to the IVF cycle we have been planning to start this week looked good with initial u/s and bloodwork. Yesterday afternoon we were contacted by the head embryologist to say that we were going to have to bump our start date from this Saturday to start our follicle stimulating injections to July 11th. She is taking time off around the 4th of July holiday and it will impact our retrieval and cycle. Needless to say we are upset, angry, and once again feel like can't we just get going with all this. The office itself has been really great to work with overall and I don't fault them, I just wish we had know so we could have started last weekend. I will still be able to do my Boston trip in July, just now with monitoring visits the week I am there as I will be injecting my Follistem on my own that week. At least I am not having to cancel something I really want to participate in and is frankly chance in a lifetime to have been chosen.

I have really worked hard these last weeks to emotionally get ready to this cycle. With everything else going on with my mom's hospitalization and Bill's job loss I have felt that starting IVF has gotten relegated to the back burner until all the meds arrived earlier in the week. I think it hit us both what we were about to embark on and needed to get our game face on.

I really appreciate the support, food for for the freezer, and encouragement. I hope that in all things sometimes we don't know the reason for why things happen and that waiting a month will give us the end result we really want regarless of when it happens, a healthy pregnancy.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Happy 3rd Birthday Ben!

Happy 3rd birthday my sweet blue eyed boy. What a day it has been. First you met me with the biggest smile this morning just so I could be the first to wish you a happy birthday.

You had an extra special party complete with decorated tables with artwork from your friends and mommy made cupcakes. We shared a special family dinner and ended out night with a birthday book before bed.

How much you have changed in the last year. A year ago you had few words but today we have whole conversations about your day, your friends, your favorite toys. Hearing you say, "I love you mommy and daddy" makes anything that has happened that day relative. Your love is pure, unconditional, and given freely. As I have watched your personality develop over the last year, you have a empathic nature that resounds in the way interact with your friends and your family. Keep this my sweet son, even when others will expect you to be a man.

I want so many things for you: for you to enjoy a child's imagination for all your days, to always find the funny in life even if you are the only one laughing, to find deep and unrequited love with a life partner, to hear your child's first cry, experience fulfilling work that gives you purpose, and know that your life had meaning for whatever choices you make

You carry more than a generational namesake as Bennett, you are your own individual and will mature into the growing boy you are more in the coming year in ways we cannot imagine. You will start preschool this fall and I hope that we made the best choice for you as you begin your formal education. As all parents we only want to set you up for success in life by providing options. It is up to you to make it your own.

Know that you are loved, were wanted beyond reason, and that we believe in your 3 year old self even when you test us. As I look at your 3 year old face I wonder what the next year will hold for you. You no longer are the baby I once rocked to sleep, you are all sticky arms and legs.

I look at you and I see the growing boy and wonder where the last 3 years have gone. I wish for time to stand still so I can gaze at your beautiful face and remember how blessed I am to be your parent. You are my gift of ultimate goodness and light and regardless if you are ever joined by other siblings, you will simply be all my reasons to be a mom.

I love you-

Sunday, June 7, 2009

"Daddy, Don't Eat my Face" aka Ben's Birthday Recap

Ben's 3rd birthday party was awesome! I'll restate the awesomeness for your reading pleasure: No rain, low humidity, an ass-kickin' waterslide for the kids
parents seemed to be having a good time, plenty of food and drink, and a cake featuring Ben and Lucy's picture from the invitation.

The last of which Bill ate the piece of cake with Ben's face on it which Ben has been telling everyone, "daddy ate my face and dying laughing." Minus the poison ivy I got while cleaning up and the almost electrified water slide created as we almost emptied it on top of the power supply (emergency room visit diverted luckily) this party rocked! I even got my wish of actually enjoying the party, talking to the adults, and best of all watching Ben totally enjoy his party. I did have to channel a little Martha Stewart with the gift bags with foam animal hats for the kids and homemade jam for the families, I really and truly spent less time this year in all ways prepping and planning. I again thank Bill for all the behind the scenes work to get the backyard party ready. I hope everyone had a good time and enjoyed the party for their kids as well as themselves. Here are some of my favorite pictures of a really great birthday. And a big thanks to LauraC for her photo magic.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Finished for Friday... Let's Get this Party Started!

I cannot tell you how excited I am for this party tomorrow am! Excited for Ben as well that Bill and I have pulled off amazing feats this week. In addition to the party I got some other major stuff done. Here's the recap:

1. Booked tickets and got all my books/reading for my teacher trip Boston in July. I am so excited I am going to be my dream job of an eternal student for a whole week!

2. Made ahead 2 dishes for our summer 0' medical treatments. If I can keep this up then I can restock my freezer for the whole summer!

3. JamFest '09 is finished! Got 14 lbs of strawberries, I'll show you a sticky good time.

4. Party Prep Galore- Picking up a extra table/chairs, borrowing a power washer, realizing said power washer was leaking gas, onto plan B of scrubbing the porch and deck by hand, mowing/weed eating, Round-up the Weeds, making gift bag tags, cleaning up inside, getting all the food ready... AND I don't feel stressed out thanks to Bill's awesome help! This party is on like Donkey Kong!!!

5. Moved Ben to a big boy bed and underwear at night with only one rolling out of the bed and 2 pee pee incidents. Only one night did he get out of bed and owned up to it when there were more stuffed animals in the am than at bedtime. I am smiling that something went easy in the realm of parenting.

6. All IVF meds are HERE (minus extra larger gage needles that arrive on Monday). I have set up my Medication Center out of reach from little hands. The ultimate tailgate party starts on Monday!

Busy week but cannot wait for the weekend!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Super Supper!

I haven't updated my crockpot love column lately. I'm still using it most weeks, but I wouldn't count boneless chicken with barbecue sauce as an entry. A few months back I bought the Supper Suppers Make Ahead Cook book after checking it out the library and flagging tons of pages.

This book is put out by the franchise of the same name that does meal prep and dinners to go. A friend and I have been recreating the same division of labor every other month and as a result I have stocked our freezer for much cheaper than the commercial variety. I hope to have a cook a thon in the next weeks and will post what we cook.

We typically plan 5 dishes to make and shop the sales for the meat then get together for about 2 hours of meal prep. We try to pick family and kid friendly dishes that will freeze well. I love this cookbook and wanted to share two dishes.

Mediterranean Shrimp and 5 Bean Salad- 8 servings

Drain and Rinse all beans

1 lb cooked shrimp (I grilled my with a marinade of olive oil and balsamic vinegar)
1 can sliced black olives
1 can red kidney beans
1 can Garbanzo beans
1 can white navy beans
2 tomatoes chopped
1 jar of marinaded artichoke hearts (add marinade to other seasonings)
3 tablespoons of olive oil
Juice of one lemon
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp fresh pepper
1 cup of Feta (I used cubed fresh mozzarella)

If freezing ahead mix all ingredients EXCEPT cheese and freeze up to 2 month. Defrost in the fridge and add cheese.

You could also add sliced summer sausage instead of shrimp or grilled chicken

Orange-Tarragon Glazed Chicken (Crock Pot)

6 med boneless chicken breast halves
1 cup orange juice concentrate- thawed
1/2 cup chopped onion (I used sweet videlia)
2 tablespoons of Veg Oil
1 tablespoon of crushed dried tarragon
1 tsp salt

Place chicken in a plastic bag. Combine with all marinade ingredients. Put in crock pot on high heat for 2-4 hours or freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost completely before using.

I paired this with their recipe for Fruit and Nut Couscous which was really good!

1 cup couscous
1 1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onion
1/4 cup dried apricots
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons of golden raisins

Mix together and top with a marinade of 1/4 cup olive oil, juice of one lemon, salt and pepper

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

T Minus 3 Days Until HotDog Cake!

This is the first year and Ben is really excited about his upcoming birthday party. Last year despite hyping it up, it was not until the day of his party when he ran outside and saw all the baby pools and the slip and slide that he turned to me and said "Me Mommy?" What a look of pure joy and elation.

Since we have been going to birthday parties for friends in the playgroup almost every weekend in May, he is well versed and is ready for it be his turn.

I got alot of party prep stuff done last week and this week we are getting the house and yard ready. Please pray for NO rain on Saturday. The idea of rescheduling the now 16 kids and 22 adults coming makes me nervous.

Ben is convinced that he is having a hotdog cake and has talked incessantly about eating hotdog cake as well as the giant water slide at home as well at school according to his teachers.

We are doing a party with another child in his class since we both had parties planned on the same day, were inviting the class to both, and frankly wanted to save money on both sides.

I think I should get an award for coupons used to purchase party items as I have shopped sales and couponed to get most items... including spending .27 (not a typo) on all the soda using a combination of extra care bucks and a gift card. Literally I have saved at least $75-$100 if you count me asking for a discount on the water slide itself in exchange for having it for less time that they normally rent.

We went through the bag o' toys put away from sales throughout the year and picked out gifts for Ben's real birthday on the 9th. His major gifts are new puzzles, washable paint, a sticker book, new books, a stomp rocket for outside, and maybe a starter lego set is we can find it on sale.

Bill is sad that unlike years past we are really having to watch spending. Birthdays and holidays are scared to him and typically all bets are off as far as plans and gifts. We compromised this year and instead of more stuff we are planning a family night to go see a matinee movie of UP and then opening gifts at home afterwards with a special mommy made cupcakes.

I cannot believe my sweet baby is turning 3. When we hung his birthday picture last night next the one at 3 months, it hit me that he feels so much older this year. For the first time ever when I look at Ben I see nothing of the baby but rather as the boy that he is and the young man that is developing inside.

As much as I know I will likely attempt to channel my inner Martha Stewart at the party Saturday, I want more than anything to just sit on my swing and watch Ben live it up and love his day. If anyone wants to bring me a hot dog you know where I (hope) to be.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Happy 100th Post for 2009!

I realized I passed this milestone with my weekend wrap up post yesterday! WOW O WOW. Looking at my past posts I only had 83 in 2008, and 18 in 2007.

I am much more comfortable writing for myself and that is a milestone in itself. I wanted to celebrate this early New Years resolution with a post that has been rattling around my head for the past 6 months.

If you had asked me in July 2001, July 2008, and July 2009 what the odds of having a baby would be I would have answered, "likely never, bet it will only take a few months again, and did we bargain for more than we can handle." By the end of this month we will hopefully be at the end of IVF cycle 1 and waiting out a long two weeks for positive news. The past year of trying for a 2nd baby has been a testament to patience, letdown, bitterness, and finally relief to be starting what I have known in the back of my head would likely be our fate if we wanted children.

Without going into alot of personal medical history, a primary issue for most PCOS patients is infertility. After hearing that I had likely had this my whole life I was relieved to put pices together but also really angry that religious upbringing precluded what would have been a better treatment in the long run.

With the 2001 diagnosis I thought then that likely infertility was going to be an issue if we wanted kids and if I made a real attempt weight loss, took Metformin daily, and tried to reduce my stress then maybe we would luck out without IVF. Somehow the other longer term side effects of increased risk of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease haven't totally hit me but I know at some point in life I will have to wonder what if diagnosis 20 years earlier would have bought me?

Speed forward to last year when after 6 months of procrastination we decided to try for a 2nd. I fully expected that it might take the summer and maybe into the fall and am fairly certain I had a chemical pg along the way. But come January we decided that 2nd time out we needed to own up to this not happening without medical intervention and that Ben is a walking/running miracle.

I had actually seen the RE we are now with back in July 2005 right after a trip to Vegas to do some initial fertility testing before we officially started. Lo and behold we got pg in Vegas but soon after miscarried. I really liked her practice even it was a haul to Duke to see her. So naturally I knew who I wanted to see again if faced with a difficult call again.

So we jump through all the testing hoops throughout Feb and March. We had planned a much less invasive procedure for both months, but then cancelled the last minute when issues came up. By the time we got to a very long meeting with her in March she leveled with us that IVF was likely our only option and that she wouldn't waste time or money moving forward.

Direct, frank, crushing news but what I think I needed to hear. She had been honest with us about terminating with a d/c in 2005 as opposed to waiting out the miscarriage. I respect her position that waiting around is often not the healthiest option and once again I know she is right about not wasting time.

She offered for us to do an April cycle but with the end of school stress we decided to wait until June. We went ahead and did our information class, shot class, signed more paperwork than imaginable and made such decisions as "if in the case of death, what will become of the embryos." It was one of the times in your marriage there are no words to explain how you feel, you just push on.

If you had asked me in March how I felt about this being basically end of the fertility road for us I would have said, "sad, disappointed, and really not wanting to advertise that we have been complete a complete failure at something we KNEW we could do."

I am really glad that we waited until June. Not because our lives are less stressful, anything but, but I think I have perspective I didn't have a couple of months ago. We have especially had time to think and talk about the ways a potential multiple pregnancy and birth might affect us as a family, couple, and individuals.

My IFV meds are due to arrive today to start our process on June 8th. I still have residual sadness that this the path we are on. I can't see what seems pregnant people around me everywhere and wonder how much did they have to pay physically and emotionally to be pregnant. Haven't I already paid enough in for this to have been a little easier?

I have hope and faith that something good is going to come out of all that's ahead.
Please send us prayer, luck, karma, even a cheesy token that you support us. I have to believe that all this will not be in vain and a testament to demonstrating that Job is not my family member.

This I believe that all struggle has an end goal, even if not apparent in the present. This I believe that there is something more than being tested by God. This I believe that good things can happen and we are just as worthy as anyone else.

This I believe that July 2010 will bring happiness or acceptance, or maybe a combination of both. Believe with me-

Monday, June 1, 2009

Fruits of My Labor

This post should be entitled, How much can I shove into one weekend, but yet still feel more rested than the past week? I hightailed out of my 84 degree classroom on Friday and was at the pool with Ben less than an hour later.

Sat am we met a friend to pick strawberries at a local farm. An couple of hours later with a 14 lb basket in tow and a visit to pet the horses and goats we were back home for Jamfest '09 to begin. Picking your own is the way to go as for a 30.00 investment in berries, one 5 lb bag of sugar, and 3 sets of plastic jars (finally found at Walmart in Easley, SC no less), I had 24 jars of jam for adult party favors plus a very large container I froze.
While Ben was napping in his new toddler bed I snuck in an hour alone at the pool. Getting Ben to buy into sleeping in a big boy bed was the major task of the weekend. We made a big deal about saying goodbye to the baby bed and as if we were not nuts enough, he slept in underwear overnight too. No accidents and No getting out of bed.

Woo=Hoo! For Once, I called this the right way to wait on moving him. Ben has never expressed a need to climb out so frankly I've been lazy. But I am a little embarrassed to admit my almost 3 year old son was STILL in a crib. Next up was working in the yard. While I pulled weeds and mulched, Ben and

Bill "washed" his little car. Plans underway to let Ben wash our 2 Honda CRVs all summer. Please God, don't let him work at a carwash as a dream career.We grilled steaks and had the last of the lettuce I had grown for dinner on our porch, got Ben to bed and then watched old 80s movie F/X.

Sunday we went and got Ben's birthday pictures made and I am happy to admit I stayed within budget by only picking the one pose package plus 1 extra sheet for grandmothers upcoming birthdays. We finished up birthday party purchases at good ol' Target and feasted on BOGO lunch.

I watched an actual whole movie while I got housework and party stuff done and when Ben was up we ventured out to a local festival. Bill has been battling a cold all weekend, so I solo parented it and to my surprise I did ok.

That was until Ben peed all over the ground just in front of the bathroom door. We lost an ice cream cone in the clean up process but for 13.00 in rolled change he got to ride 5 rides, eat ice cream, and most importantly peer at racing lawn mowers through a fence.

It was good, relaxing, family-oriented weekend that was super productive without being super tiring. Ok, I have to admit I WAS tired of strawberries at 9 pm last night, but look what I have to show as the fruits of my labor!