Guess whose soccer season ended Monday?

And guess who won his first game of the season Monday? 🙂

Little people playing sports totally cracks me up. The uniforms, the shin guards, the crazy-bored dancing on the field while they wait for the ball to come their way.  And it keeps me on the edge of my seat, I might add – especially when all they want is to win ONE game and they’re holding a slim lead during the last moments of the game!  It felt good to become “that” parent – the one screaming cheers from the stands.



I think it really might be coming!


Along with spring comes blossoming trees. Blossoming magnolia trees. And I’m a little bit beside myself. I’m not ready to erase the sacredness of last year’s blossoms with new life.  Has it really been eleven months? Has it really been almost a year?

I’m not ready for this. I’m not. I’m not ready to hurt again and I’m not ready to leave the hurt behind with the passing of time.

It occurred to me afresh this week that we might not ever have another baby. I don’t know how I “forget” this likelihood, but I seem to find myself forgetting it over and over again. I alternate between loving and hating that element in myself. Forgetting means I live with hope, but it also means inevitable pain each time its remembered.

This, I determined, is the essence of my funk.  So I’ve switched gears from attempting to “inspire” it out of me to attempting to coexist with it carefully for the next month.  But truth? I’m scared. And feeling fragile.


Tahd’s gone. Again.


But he’ll be home tomorrow night, and then we only have one more week to go!  Coming soon? A trip to California – and Gabe and I are going, too!

Work travel is good for something, I guess!


Check out the little project we’ve been working on since Tahd has been gone…

Gabe’s most recent favorite book (which just so happens to be my most favorite children’s chapter book I’ve ever read):

Now check out our rendition of said book:

We’re quite proud of our creation. Granted, the laundry hasn’t been done and the legos haven’t been put away, but we have a killer drawing of Mr. Benedict’s house!


And borrowed from Ali Edwards… loving – reading and watching!

Book | A Place of Yes by Bethenny Frankel. I know a book by a Real Housewife of Any City might seem a little slushy, but this book is anything but slushy.  In fact, it’s really good – motivating and inspiring. And its message seems to be popping up in a number of places throughout my life right now. A definite thumbs up!

Also reading Expressive Photography by the Shutter Sisters. I’ve been finding bits of myself behind the camera lens lately, and this book is inspiring and educational without being mundane or formulaic.  It won’t give you a lot of specific tips or challenges to implement, but if you’re looking for some basic principles of photography presented in a stirring way, this might be the book for you.

Television | The Office. I guess I’m something like six years behind the curve on this one, but we recently got Netflix and I have started watching the series from start to finish. Aside from the fact that it makes me want to run right out and find myself a clerical job just like Pam, I have another issue.   By the name of John Krasinski.  In the form of a giant geeky crush on him and his messy hair and mischievous smile.


Also, I love Netflix for enabling this infatuation.

Email | a little bird told me by The Brave Girls Club. This is a free daily newsletter that sends the most amazing (and stunning) life truths. I am really loving these! Each one cuts to the heart of the matter and says something infinitely profound and yet refreshingly simple. Go – sign up. You’ll be so glad you did!

Online | The internet has been abounding with fantastic reads lately!

How (Not?) To Get Pregnant

Not counting the traditional “interventions” of  Clomid, injectables, IUI, and IVF, I thought it would be “fun” to do a post counting the other various ways we have tried to overcome infertility and have a baby.  If by “fun” you also mean “depressing” and “slightly nauseating when you think of the expenses involved.”

Brace yourselves.  This list is so “fun” it will exhaust you and you’re going to have to take a nap afterward.  It’s riveting.  And proves for sure that we are very dedicated.  Or very smart.  Or very crazy.  And quite possibly obsessed.

Ovulation predictor kits – honestly, this is pretty regular.  Everyone with any sort of fertility hiccup has probably done these, but they’re definitely added annoyance and expense.  And extra pee all over the toilet seat.  Joy.

Basal body temperatures/natural family planning – again, everybody who’s anybody has probably done this.  And if they haven’t, I personally think it’s a good thing to consider because you learn so much about your body and hormones and health.  It’s cheap, too, but incredibly high on the annoyance factor since you have to get up at exactly the same time every day and have to be certain to have slept for at least three hours prior to awakening.  Which, I might add, is a certain impossibility if you are a nursing mother.

Certain rules about the… um, procreation process – I remember watching an old Roseanne episode where she was trying to get pregnant and laid in bed with her feet in the air after they finished their stuff.  Naively, I thought it was insane. If you’re going to get pregnant you’ll get pregnant no matter where you’re feet are, or at least so said I.  And yet?  I, too, have found myself with my feet in the air.  Among other things.  <ahem>

Vitamins – you name it, I’ve tried it.  Not just to get pregnant – also to improve my overall health.  Fish oil, probiotics, folic acid, b6, b12, vitamin c, Fertilaid, vitamin e, vitex, digestive enzymes, vitamin d, baby aspirin, selenium, etc.  A very expensive proposition.  I think I have very costly pee.

Acupuncture – by far my favorite.  Fertility problems or not I’m thrilled to have discovered acupuncture.  Sometimes I imagine myself becoming an acupuncturist.  There’s the issue of not really preferring to touch people, but I think I could get over that.  Probably.  I think all infertile people – and all fertile people, really – should do this.  I only wish I had found it sooner, if just for the depression and anxiety stuff.

Chiropractic treatment – honestly, I’m not a fan.  For back problems it’s fine.  For depression, anxiety or infertility?  I think it’s mostly for the birds.

Allergy elimination – several years ago I undertook the elimination diet from hell after receiving the results of some allergy testing done through my chiropractor.  Seriously – I eliminated all gluten, cheese, milk, yeast, eggs, and a few other more minor things.  I have no clue what I ate during those four months!  I had an overall stronger sense of well-being, but my uterine polyps got much worse during this time so I don’t think it did one iota for my fertility.  So I quit.  Heh.

Feng Shui – I joke about this one, but after discovering acupuncture and learning (and observing) how energy moves through my body, I think energy might move through our surroundings in similar patterns, too.  So I sort of think there could be something to feng shui, especially since when I got pregnant with Mara I had actually implemented a few small feng shui principles.  Do I really think leaving certain doors open and putting certain colors in front of certain windows helps people get pregnant?  No, but just in case it does I’m going to keep using it.  And decorating things is fun, so there’s always that.

Castor oil packs – these, supposedly, break up stagnation and congestion.  Which implies they should be effective in dealing with uterine polyps and fibroids.  Also, perhaps I should have been bathing in castor oil these last few weeks for my respiratory junk?  As for fertility, I’ve done these packs on my abdomen and I think they do sweet nothing for me.  They feel good, though, so I figure they can’t hurt.

Fancy teas – I haven’t done these with much consistency so I can’t speak to their effectiveness.  But I love tea and seize any excuse to try new ones, so this works well for my overall tea addiction.  I have generally found teas alone to be too weak to effect much change in other areas, so I wouldn’t expect them to “cure” infertility issues.  But I don’t discount them as being effective at boosting what little fertility an infertile person might possess.

Herbs – mostly I’ve stuck with Chinese herbs, and I’m a big believer.  Not sure I’ve fully tapped their potential, but when I take certain herbs regularly my mood is so much more even and calm.  Love it.  Now if I could just remember to actually take the herbs…

Dietary adjustments – in addition to the elimination diet, I’ve tried some interesting food techniques.  For example, eating pineapple is said to improve implantation.  It is also said to impair fertility.  Go figure.  I’ve tried both.  Some people suggest eating chicken at certain points in your menstrual cycle.  Tried it.  Didn’t seem to help.  In a what I consider to be completely insane set of recommendations, someone suggested eating more full-fat dairy – especially ice cream.  I tried it, but it only succeeded in helping me gain a few non-baby-related pounds.  I’ve also tried avoiding dairy; supposedly it reduces inflammation, but I don’t think I avoided dairy for long enough.  I’ve tried food combining, juicing, wheat grass shots, a low GI diet, vegetarianism, and more.  None of it seems to make a difference except to my waistline, and sometimes my mood.

Exercise – exercise and fertility have a controversial relationship, and I’ve gone in several directions.  Namely, I tried incorporating more fertility yoga, which I enjoy but which is more relaxing than conditioning.  Along those lines, I also gave up running.  Some people feel that running places stress on the ovaries and that the impact can prematurely damage eggs.  But guess what? I’ve never gotten pregnant while doing yoga or while on a running fast.  So I decided I’d do what made me feel happiest.  Two months ago that included lots of yoga.  (By lots, I mean occasional…)  Last month it was dancing a la wii Just Dance.  This month it seems to include running.  I’m at 4 miles this week in 60 minutes, not all in one “sitting.”  The timing and distance leave a lot to be desired, but it’s 4 miles more than I went last week so I’ll take it.

Femoral massage – this one is a little hard to explain, so you’ll have to google it if you want instructions.  It’s another one I think has potential for some fertility issues, but you have to remember to actually do it.  Which I don’t.  And I don’t think it will mean the difference between getting pregnant and not getting pregnant.  I think it might help, but I don’t think this alone is curative.

Relaxation – of all the things I’ve tried, I think relaxation techniques have the most compelling scientific support.  The research is truly astounding!  And it helps with so many other things, too – especially anxiety and depression.  Really, relaxation is a win-win.  The downside?  It requires an investment of quiet time.  First, as it is in most households, time is at a premium around here.  Second, quiet time that doesn’t involve drooling and snoring is practically unheard of – the holy grail, for sure.  But I still aspire to it and am convinced by its stories of success.

Cleansing – I’ve done several cleanses, and I’m just not sure about them.  The grossest was by far my liver cleanse, in which I drank scads of unusual liquids, including something like 8 ounces of olive oil.  Bottoms up, anyone?  I felt monumentally sick the next morning.  Imagine that!  But my acupuncturist said it seemed to have helped, so I’m not sure.  However, it was unpleasant enough that I haven’t been brave enough to do it again.  Was probably worth the effort, but if you decide to try it, have courage!

When I look at that list, it amazes me that I’ve had time to accomplish anything else in my life during these last five years.  Between the amount of time spent researching each of these things to the time it takes to actually implement them?  Well, it has been a substantial investment of time, to say the least.  Cuh-ra-zay.

My latest efforts involve dhea and iron supplements, hormone testing, increased relaxation and exercise, and ongoing acupuncture.  I’m most excited about the dhea stuff.  Its preliminary research is extremely promising for people with premature ovarian failure, my latest diagnosis.  Hey – at least I’ve graduated from “unexplained infertility” to something more concrete.  That’s something, right?

Lighting the Candles

If you walk into my house and it looks like this

it generally means one of two things.  Either (a) I was expecting you or (b) I am really mad and am trying to enhance the zen in my space to change my mood.  For your benefit, let’s hope it is the former.  Because the latter?  Isn’t good for anybody!

Well, there could be a third reason – something along the “romance” variety.  But given the conglomeration of my life’s circumstances lately, that’s a little less than likely.  Hear that, Tahddy M?  No getting lucky tonight.  Sorry! 😉

That’s how it has been looking around here lately – candles, like my hope, blazing bright.  I haven’t been writing much about it, but we are still hoping to wind up pregnant by some stretch of luck.  Alas, this was not our month and the blank whiteness of several tests screamed up at me from the bathroom counter this week.  I know I’ve talked about this before, but my capacity for hope astounds me.  For five years we’ve tried to get pregnant, and for most of those five years we’ve failed.  Why would this month be any different?  Especially since my body revolted on me by contracting basically ever illness known to man?  My three week tally goes like this – sinus infection, bronchitis, pink eye, ear infection, ruptured eardrum, glue ear, strep throat, another sinus infection, and pneumonia.  Oh, and a broken crown, but that was my own fault.  Note: you can’t chew Jolly Ranchers.  Why ON EARTH would I think I could possibly get pregnant being that sick?  It’s not logical.  I know it’s not.  But I still believe.  Every month.  Even with the odds stacked against me.  Well against me.

I have, however, come to a conclusion.  It goes something like this.  Why do I want another baby?

  1. I just want one.  I love babies.
  2. I want Gabe to have companionship now.
  3. I want Gabe to have companionship later.
  4. I want to create something that matters and has lasting value.
  5. I have a desire to nurture.
  6. I want an ongoing sense of family togetherness.

How can I get those things?

  1. Have another baby
  2. Look at each of those desires individually and work at bringing those things into my life in another way

Quite obviously, option 1 has been failing.  But it occurred to me recently that I do still have another option, one that is much moreso within my sphere of influence.  A welcome dawn has begun to brighten my horizon as I realize I can make choices to embrace the underlying principles for each of those reasons.  I may not be able to have a baby, but I can find a way to enjoy loving on some babies.  For example, maybe I can volunteer in my church’s nursery. Maybe I can learn more about newborn photography and try my hand at some of that.  There are probably a thousand things I haven’t thought of yet in this regard.  Or with Gabe and my desire for him to have companionship… maybe I can incorporate more play dates into our lives.  Maybe I can help him build stronger relationships with some of his second cousins (he doesn’t have any first cousins).  Maybe I can pressure my sisters into having children for Gabe’s benefit… ha!  That one probably won’t fly, but I figured it was worth a mention.  😉

As I ticked down through my list, I realized the possibilities are endless.  I may not be able to have what I want in the way I want it, but I still may be able to work toward my dreams if I can adopt some mental flexibility.  I’m learning that it’s possible to tap into my inner heart’s cry, even when it initially seems like I have no options.

I still think I’m going to get pregnant, though – sooner rather than later.  I can’t explain it and it’s incongruous and I have no reason to keep the faith.  But it just is.  I just believe it.  The last time I said that I did, in fact, get pregnant – a whopping three years later.  So perhaps my definition of “soon” is a little off.  And maybe it will never happen.  But I think it will, so I’m going to keep hoping and keep lighting those candles.

Chain of Thoughts

Well, the injectables definitely didn’t work.  Yesterday’s test – the conclusive one – was glaringly blank, so I quit the progesterone shots (hooray for no more giant needles!) and am expecting the “cycle from hell” to start anytime.  But in the meantime I keep thinking, It didn’t work. Which leads to thoughts of, It failed. Which leads to thoughts of, I failed. And I get stuck there and hang out for a while.

When I get stuck there I feel like I need to apologize to Tahd for being a sucky woman.  Not sucky in the sense that I’m generally incompetent or inept.  I usually find myself capable of accomplishing quite a bit, and even doing it well.  No, I want to apologize for being a sucky woman.  I actually suck at being a woman and doing the thing women do.  I can’t get pregnant, which is, in my opinion, the reverse of penis envy.  It’s the one thing that men get really curious about but can never experience.  I suppose there’s a lot of cultural conditioning going into those thoughts, but I don’t have the energy or desire to unpack them all right now.  I’m more content to try to squash those thoughts as they crop up, a task with which I’m not having great success since the thoughts come around over and over again, like the dirty, well-worn horses on the sketchy merry-go-rounds at the yearly state fairs.

This is coming off all wrong, I think.  More in a pitiful, forlorn way than an observatory way.  The truth is I’ve always been bound to have this argument with myself, and I always knew it would happen.  It just didn’t have to happen until things were over, and now is the time.  I’m not shattered or horrified that I’m having these thoughts.  They are what they are.  I just hope I can figure out a way to categorize them as untrue and move on.  Because I don’t prefer this bleak outlook, and I have my fingers crossed that sunshine and rainbows are just around the corner, even if they don’t include more babies.

And when I think of sunshine and rainbows, I have no choice but to think of this face…


We decorated the table and ordered pizza and piled together our gifts and had a fun family celebration.

See that mesh crap under those frames?  I worked hard for that!  It was Crate & Barrel’s last piece of Champagne Mesh (doesn’t that sound lovely and civilized?) and I had to convince them to sell it to me since they had it on display.  Tahd doesn’t get it, but I feel it will have hundreds of potential applications in my home!  I threw some of my favorite pictures of Gabe in matching silver frames (which I got on clearance at Target for something like $3 a piece) and added some candles to the mix.  I’m not sure it was the most aesthetically pleasing centerpiece, but it made me smile.

I totally took the easy way out and made cupcakes.  SO much easier than a cake!  I piled the icing high on Gabe’s special cupcake, and he seemed perfectly pleased.  Hooray for less stress!

Gabe “arranged” that his party would begin with gifts and then move onto pizza and cupcakes.  By “arranged,” I mean he pleaded with me in whispers, and being the softy I am, I caved.  I was a little shocked he didn’t ask for presents, cupcakes, and THEN pizza.  Upon the arrival of the adults, however, I realized they were far too hungry to wait to eat, so the adults ate while Gabe opened gifts.  He even read us all his cards.  It was SO cute!

I loved watching him open this gift:

He was so excited!

Check out the thumb!

So cute!  Gabe has been slightly obsessed with the Winter Olympics held earlier this year in Vancouver, and since then he’s been proud of his dual citizenship.  He loves his Canada jacket!  A definite winner of a gift!

It was a good birthday.  I can’t believe I have a six-year-old!

Gabe Turns 6. I Give Thanks.

There is a certain impossibility to the growth of children.  They are born and then they are grown, even before you exhale your next breath.  Onlookers have told me this at least a hundred times, but I am finally believing its truth.  How is it possible that I have a six-year-old?  Who goes to school and says words like “curiously” and “quite possibly” and “fart,” sometimes all in the same sentence?  How did that happen?  Didn’t the doctor just put his slithering body on my belly, and didn’t I just nurse him for the first time?

This, I believe, is the secret birthday joy of mothers.  On his birthday, Gabe woke up before it was light, his eyes brimming with joy over the possibility of presents and parties.  The joy in my eyes came from remembering the day my body brought forth the greatest gift of my life.  It’s a joy I share with Tahd, but much of the joy is unique to me as his mother, a very visceral and tangible joy due to the visceral and tangible experience of his birth.  I like that about being a woman.  I like mothering.  I wouldn’t wish it any other way.

This year was just as it was the year Gabe was born.  Gabe was born on a Wednesday and Thanksgiving was the following day.  Truthfully I expected a similar experience this year since Mara’s due date was November 17th.  At the very least, I expected to be bringing a newborn babe to the Thanksgiving table, another one of the greatest gifts of my life.  But it was not to be.

I’ve spent the last few days hoping my final injectable cycle worked.  But today I decided I don’t think it did.  First, my pregnancy test was negative.   I think that makes the whole “I think it didn’t work” thing a reasonable assumption.  Second, I just feel like it didn’t.  I feel like it’s over.

“Over” is a big word.  It’s not just that this cycle is over. It’s that our treatment cycles are over. I keep reminding myself that when I got pregnant with both Gabe and Mara I wasn’t receiving any sort of treatment.  But “over” does present a sense of mental finality, one that’s not entirely unwelcome in my thoughts.

It’s over.  We are who we are, a family of three who might never be a family of more.  And we will take full advantage of the blessings afforded to us by our small size.

I am who I am – infertile for no apparent reason.  But it is not the only thing or the most important thing that defines me, and I will choose to focus on the qualities that energize and give life rather than the qualities that hurt and make me sad.

Today at our Thanksgiving feast, we spent some time going around the table sharing the things for which we are thankful.  Gabe was thankful he had a lot of toys, which made me feel as much embarrassed as it did amused, and when it was my turn I said I was thankful for family and especially for Gabe and the fact that this year is almost over.  Passing the baton to Tahd, I turned to look at him while h shared his thoughts, but Gabe interrupted and said, “Aren’t you thankful for one more thing?”

Not sure what he was thinking, I asked, “For Daddy?  I’m very thankful for Daddy.  But no, it wasn’t Daddy.  He looked at me out of the corner of his eye, his head bowed slightly, and subtly pointed at the ceiling, saying, “I think you know!”

“Mara?” I asked.

“Yes!  Mara!  Aren’t you thankful for Mara?”

“Oh yes, Honey,” I exclaimed.  “I’m definitely thankful for Mara.  Are you?”  I had wanted to avoid bringing my sadness to this day of gratitude, not as an act of denial but as a conscious choice toward gratitude and intentionality.  But my child could see straight through me, waiting with baited breath for me to acknowledge what he knows has been an integral part of my life.  I didn’t cry.  I didn’t even feel like I wanted to cry.  I just smiled and we moved on and it was okay.

I’m thankful for many things this Thanksgiving day, but I’m especially thankful for the gift of a child’s perspective.  Gabe demonstrated to me how grief and happiness can coexist, and he reminded me that being intentional works best when it comes from an authentic heart.

I’m still thankful that this year is almost over, but I’m also willing to say I’m thankful for Mara and I’m thankful for the way things have changed since she was here and I’m thankful for what has been left behind for me to enjoy fully.

Happy Thanksgiving!

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.
— Albert Schweitzer

None is more impoverished than the one who has no gratitude. Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy.
— Fred De Witt Van Amburgh

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