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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year...

2011 has been such a challenging year for me.  It brought me much love, happiness and grew my heart strings to include two sweet baby boys... along for the ride also came so much heartache, sadness and many many tears.  The loss of little J has forever changed me in so many ways...and on the flip side of that token, baby N is growing bigger and stronger and is such a beautiful little boy which brings me in-measurable joy.  

2011 brought a visit from my mom along with her new significant other and my nephew.  How wonderful it is to see my mom smiling and being truly happy.  I love seeing like that!

2011 moved us from Oregon back to Illinois and this has not been without its challenges.  The children had a tough transition in school but they are getting over the hurdle and are settling in.  We are close to family and friends again and we all love being able to spend time with them again.  That being said, we all miss the beach and friends back in Oregon very much.  I miss hearing the lull of the ocean as I let out the dogs in the morning .... and I totally miss my hardwood floors where dirty paw prints can be erased in no time at all! 

2011 brought lots of growth in my three children ... they are getting so big and each day I marvel at how magnificent and a privilege it is to be a parent....ok ok I can't lie there were the occasional daily moment where I wanted to pull my hair out as the pre-teen / teenage stage is creeping up on the older two but overall it is so enchanting to watch them grow and develop.

2011 is almost gone and 2012 is right on our doorstep ... bringing with it brand new opportunities and hopefully much fun, laughter and joy.

2012 I am ready for you to arrive ... I am ready for the new year to blossom, to open up and reveal its beauty.

2012 here is to you .. and to lots of happiness, excitement and much love...

        ~~~ Wishing you all a Happy New Year ... may it be a wonderful one for all ~~~
   

Friday, December 30, 2011

Hurry up and wait...

Short sales are a lot like surrogacy .... hurry up and wait!

Depending on when this occurs in surrogacy, it is not necessarily a bad thing.  In the beginning of a journey, it gives time to develop a great relationship with the intended parents you are trying to help; whereas, in the two week wait .... it is torture :-)

In a short sale situation it is a bear!!!  We just want to get through this and be done with double housing costs.  We are currently going on 9 months since our home was put on the market and almost a full year of double housing expense.  Our first short sale offer was rescinded due to the "wait" and we are now in the second short sale process.  This time we have gotten further than with short sale offer #1 but we are still stuck in the waiting game .... waiting waiting waiting for approval. 

As much as I hate to sell our home .. one of my new years wishes is for an approval for this sale ~ and soon please!  It will still take a couple of months to finalize the sale after approval ... I am just hopeful that approval will come soon

Friday, December 23, 2011

Resolutions...

New Year's resolutions are always made with great intention and seldomly upheld by the end of January ... this year I have a few that I really think will stick...I want them to stick and that determination must count for something!

Exercise ... yep that is always on the list!  For Christmas we are getting an elliptical machine as our present for one another.  I really need more cardio in my daily workout in order to loose the few pounds hanging out in undesirable locations ;-)  I was doing really well with running but by mid-November it just got too cold for me to run outside and for many reasons we have decided not to get a gym membership right now (time, money...need I go on?).  Instead we looked at some home workout equipment and settled on an elliptical - it will be delivered just after Christmas and I cannot wait to get my hands on it.

Write ... I write a lot at least on the computer ... between blogging, email, message boards I frequent and with the addition of homework very soon...I write a lot.  But I also love personal notes and who does not love getting a handwritten note in the mail.  By far I lag behind in my penmanship and good manners when it comes to writing personal notes, birthday cards and thank you notes.  I truly have so much to be thankful for and have many wonderful people in my life that deserves a little special attention.  My mission for this year is to write one handwritten note/letter/card a day ... and actually send it out!

Study ... school starts on January 17th.  I am very excited to be going back.  Nervous too.  It will be my first time back on the school bench in over 10 years.  My study skills will likely need a little dusting but hopefully I will be back in full swing in no time.

Live ... and be present ~ really be present and enjoy the little moments in life.  Enjoy the daily things that happens all the time even when we are just rushing through the day.  These last many months, I have craved a lot of solitude and often found my self in deep thought.   I always love spending time with my children, but I am also aware that my grief and sadness impacted my being completely there mentally with them all the time especially over last summer.  While the sadness still lingers and I am often quick to tears ... life around me brings much beauty and joy to my heart ... being truly present to enjoy all this is a very important goal for me.

I am so excited for 2012 to get here and while these last days of 2011 settles upon us, I will take the time to count all my blessings and let the joy and beauty of the Christmas season overflow my heart.  I truly have so many things to be grateful for...

                    ~  Merry Christmas ...  Glaedelig Jul ~

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fun morning...

I spent the morning in Olivia's class room today .. sharing about our Danish Christmas traditions and our love for putting candles on the tree... well really all over!  I also showed them some of my "nisser" (Christmas elves), taught them how to say Merry Christmas in Danish ~ Glaedelig Jul ~ and talked about how little Denmark is compared to the United States.  It was just so much fun sharing with the kids and answering questions for them.

It was also a joy to watch Olivia in her daily environment.  My girl is so funny!  She got her braces on Tuesday and she has not smiled with an open mouth since then in school.   Actually the week before she got her braces on, I got the top 4 list of reasons why she should NOT get braces:

1. I will never open my mouth
2. I will never talk even at school
3. I will never eat anything
4. I will be ALWAYS be hungry

I am happy to say that 1 ~ she is opening her mouth; 2 ~ she is talking (even at school); 3 ~ she is eating but 4 ~ she is STILL always hungry :-)

Anyway she is getting quite advanced at keeping her lips wrapped around her teeth and has been keeping the color of her brace bands a secret at school.  So as soon as I come into the class room, I get a string of kids wanting to know the color of Olivia's rubber bands on her braces.  Sorry kids... I cannot divulge that information (..they are smoke and sapphire!!!) you just gotta get my girl to laugh out loud!

As mad as she has been at me over the last few weeks leading up to getting braces put on, she has actually done really well.  I think the excitement from the other kids of wanting her so show them off has been good .. she is feeling a bit special and getting lots of attention in class.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas to my surro babes...

Hugs and kisses to a sweet little girl and a handsome little baby boy!  I hope you will have a beautiful holiday season with lots and lots of fun.

little J ~ where ever you are sweet boy ... I will listen for the flutter of your angel wings.

Much love to all of you and your wonderful families too...

Where is my Christmas spirit...

It is missing and I am frantically searching for it by cleaning my house and wrapping the presents..maybe it got lost in the dust bunnies or in a shopping bag!

Christmas is just few days away and I just can't seem to get into it this year.  I love Christmas but so much stuff has happened in this last year and it is just all weighing heavy on my heart.  On top of that I am really getting stressed out about our house in Oregon.

Our home sale does seem to be coming along ... just not quickly enough for my liking.  I was really really hoping to be done with a double housing costs by 2012 but alas this is not to be.  I am hopeful that our short sale will have approval soon but still it will likely take another couple of months before a closing can happen .. this means a minimum of another two months of double housing payments and it just sucks!  My fingers crossed right now that this will go through and life will start looking up a bit on the other side.  I keep reminding myself that at least we are all together in the same place and that is a good thing.

On top of the housing stress...another bit of financial stress has now been added with Olivia's braces.  We had to get them on her here in 2011 in order to maximize the benefits for insurance purposes and it sucks.  Olivia is so very mad at me for making her go through this.  I just hope that eventually she will see the benefit of her beautiful smile.  For now she is miserable but hopefully the pain of the initial bonding will start to disappear soon.  I can help but think how lucky they are back home in Denmark with the school dentist and no concern of having to pay for braces for a child....this crap is so expensive!  Magnus will need braces too but not for as long as Olivia will ... poor girl will be in them for at least the next 22 months where Magnus will be done in about 10 months.  Hopefully timing will work out well and Magnus can have his put on next September and will be done before starting high school. 

...ok off to clean and chase my Christmas spirit out from the corners .. if I can just get a little Christmas snow it might help lighten the mood as well.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cautiously optimistic...

We have a new offer on our house.  I am trying to keep my emotions in check ... want to be excited because we have an offer ~ but is afraid to be because it has to go through the bank and round 1 for that was not great!

Anyways the good news is that the offer is for the full BPO value, so hopefully the bank should approve the short sale without further ado.  The maddening news is that I still feel like we are giving the house away.  We obviously need to sell it as Rio could not secure employment where it is located but ... man I love my house :-(  ...and it sucks to have to sell it so far below what we paid for it.  I just keep reminding myself that it is after all just a house and the important thing is that we are together as a family ... still I miss my house and the beach.

On a positive note, I think the buyers will be a great fit for our neighborhood.  I know from our agent that it is a young family with a stay-at-home mom ... they will love it there.  I will miss it very much and I feel very happy that a new family hopefully soon will be able to enjoy our wonderful home and neighbors.

Looking forward, I try to keep a positive outlook ... good things are yet to come!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tiny angel...

I am getting ready for bed and my heart feels ever so heavy.  I wonder if I will always feel this way every time the 13th rolls around.  It is just hard ...  this is the month of Christmas after all and one tiny angel should be here ~ celebrating his very first Christmas at home with a family who loved him so very much.

I found this poem and it just resonates in my heart:

Tiny Angel

Author Unkown
Tiny Angel rest your wings
Sit with me awhile.
How I long to hold your hand,
And see your tender smile.

Tiny Angel, look at me,
I want this image clear....
That I will forget your precious face
Is my biggest fear.

Tiny Angel can you tell me,
Why you have gone away?
You weren't here for very long...
Why is it you couldn't stay?

Tiny Angel shook his head,
"These things I do not know...
But I do know you loved me,
And that I loved you so."


Little J ~ I am thinking about you .. you have had a significant impact on my life in so many ways.  I so wish that we could have held your hand for so much longer than we did.  Instead you soar far above us all and I must believe that somewhere in heaven you are enjoying a marvelous Christmas with angels, big and small, when you see my dad, give him hugs from me .. I miss you both very much.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Gingerbread house...

I spent this weekend with friends making and decorating gingerbread houses.  It was just so much fun to catch up with my old co-workers .. chit chatting and decorating away.  The rules are for the house and decor to be 100% edible .. and although I would not eat it, the kids though can barely keep their little fingers away!   Below is my house - it made it safely all the way back home to Peoria - check out the goldfish in my water fountain:-)






Below is a photo of everyone's houses (...actually two are missing) ~ they really turned out pretty cool:


Thanks ladies for a totally fun day!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

December is here...

And Christmas is just around the corner ... well actually it is already here!  Most of my Christmas decor is still in boxes but hey the boxes are open and a few items have made their way around the
house.  I was going to decorate this past weekend .. we were off to a good start on Saturday but got side tracked with taking pictures of the kids for the Christmas cards...some turned out really cute









Then I spent Sunday fuming instead of decorating!  Saturday night we went out to get a few items and before we left, my dear hubby took Olivia's instrument out of the car and placed on top of his car.  Surely with the intention of bringing it in when we got home .. well that did NOT happen!  Bright and early Sunday morning, Rio heads off to work ~ with an instrument on top of the car ~ la di da!  GRRRRR.... I found her music book laying in the street in front of our house but not the instrument.  Who knows where it ended up :-( .... I was not a happy camper.  I know Rio was really upset about it too.  I am sure I made him feel even worse with my mood ~ ~ he pretty much stayed away from me the rest of the day.  What a way to spend a Sunday!

Sebastian had his school Christmas performance last night - he did a fine job my little man.  The kids were so cute and the concert was really a lot of fun to watch.  Magnus and Olivia both have their concerts next Tuesday ... and here is to hoping that Olivia's newly ordered instrument will make it here in time!  I begrudingly paid extra for 3 day shipping so she will have it in time for the weekend to get some practice in before the concert, especially since she had to take this whole week off from practicing.

This coming weekend I am in for a treat.  Some fun time all on my own ... can't remember when that happened last.  I am going to the annual gingerbread house decorating get to together with some former co-workers.  It was a tradition started while I still worked at PwC and I have not been able to be part of the fun while we have lived in Oregon.  So this weekend will be such a treat and I am really excited to see everyone again.

Now off to clean the house and decorate...

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

:-( ...

Not meant to be.  Our potential buyers walked even when an offer to reduce the price to the PBO value was put on the table.  This suck!

Suspense...

Monday was not a happy day.  The buyers for our home decided that the wait time had been long enough and their patience with our mortgage company had run dry.  Alas they rescinded the offer to purchase our home as we could not secure the short sale approval from our mortgage company.  I was in tears...

At this point we have had double rent since last February and our home is going on 180 days plus on the market.  The real estate market is tough right now especially if you are trying to sell.  Really it sucks!

I am sure that the person I am dealing with at the mortgage company is tired of hearing from me.  On Monday she was especially tired of hearing from me!  We had a good offer, with a good reflection of the current market price, and here we are with an offer slipping away.  It seems like a vicious  cycle ... in order to generate a new offer, we will need to lower the price.  With a new lower price, we will likely get an offer below what the mortgage company is willing to accept .. just like this time around.  I know we are far from the only ones in this situation but where does it stop? 

Well today we got the new Broker Price Opinion back ... $30K below the first PBO and $9K below our last market price ... and to boot $4K below the offer that was just rescinded :-(  GRRRRR....

My wonderful realtor is working hard for us right now.  We are hoping that the potential buyers will still be interested in moving forward.  Maybe just maybe it will happen ... holding my breath and biting my nails here..

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

At a loss...

Over the last week I have read about several recent pregnancy losses on SMO (surromomsonline) and while all make me sad, twin related losses just cuts right through my heart still.  A few days ago a fellow surrogate lost a twin pregnancy at around sixteen weeks gestation.  Reading about it made me numb and incredibly sad.  It brought so many memories and the loss of little J right back front and center.

As surrogates, we care SO much about someone else's baby (or babies) and when things go wrong it is just heart wrenching.  We want so much for these sweet little ones to go home to their forever family, to be loved and cared for by the parents who have gone through so much just to have family.  We put our hearts and soul on the line often for strangers who become dear friends in the process of a surrogacy journey.

Although the love for a surro child is different than the love we have for our own children, we care deeply for the babies we carry and for the families we carry them for.  It is sad and an utterly helpless feeling when a baby is lost.  Regardless of when that loss happens it has an impact on both the surrogate and the family we try to help.  Failed transfers and early trimester losses are tough, second and late trimester losses, and especially loss after viability and birth, are just so devastating.

In a perfect world much would be different...but as much as we like to seek perfection, we have to deal with the hand we are given.  Today I send many healing prayers to all the special women who have experienced a loss in surrogacy and also to the all the parents who have gone through much heart ache just to have the family they so wish for.

My hair is back...

well at least it is growing and I can see it and feel it!!!  Woohoo.... I have always lost a lot of hair post pregnancy but this time I almost had a few bald spots.  I have a whole lot of baby fine sticking out everywhere and I am so happy!  Now if it could just grow back as really thick hair with beautiful curls like my daughter then that would be extra bonus but I am not holding my breath on that one!

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Family Tree...

Thanksgiving weekend was a busy weekend and we had so much fun!  We spent a quiet Thanksgiving day at home cooking a nice big turkey.  (Rio just cannot get a big enough turkey ... this year he settled for one just under 15 lbs for the 5 of us ~ he will be eating leftovers forever!!).  Then Friday we went to St. Louis for some fun at the City Museum and then on to a weekend with Rio's family - what a treat! 

A family get together was planned for Saturday and it turned out to be a small family reunion ... great to see family that we have not seen for a long time and so much fun watching all the little cousins running around and playing with one another.

Being in the midst of family, reaffirms to me once again why I choose to be surrogate.  Family is so important.  Without surrogates, some people would not have the opportunity to have a family they long for or the opportunity to carry on their legacy.  Surrogacy is truly such a blessing.

Both Rio and I are blessed with really large families .... crazy big families really.  Yikes it is a job just to keep track of everyone.  Two of Rio's cousins started to draw up an improptu family tree ... it is amazing to see all these names listed down on paper .. so many people to name.  Rio has 41 fist cousins on his mom's side alone.  Add that to the 16 cousins I have on my dad's side and at least that many on my mom's side and you get a whole lot of family.  Our history really is so rich and filled with incredible stories and wonderful people.  One day, when life slows down a bit, I hope to sit down and draw it all out for them.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Gobble Gobble...

I am stuffed!  Rio cooked a beautiful turkey - it was moist and yummy.  I normally do not care much for turkey but at Thanksgiving time I will indulge.  We have enjoyed a quiet day together.  We raked the front yard, cleaned the cars and went for a hike in a near by park while the turkey cooked.

After the meal we all snuggled up on the couch and watched a funny family movie.  Then Rio, Olivia and I went out for a walk to look at Christmas lights and then home for dessert.  Now the kiddos are off to bed and I will be hitting the couch once again to relax.

What a wonderful day.  I am so thankful for my family and I really enjoyed being together just the five of us.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thankful...

Two days and Thanksgiving is here .... where did this year go?  I just cannot believe that the holidays are right around the corner.  For one, I am just not ready for Christmas to be here yet, and two .. time is passing by too quickly ~ so many things to do so little time!

There are times when I struggle to be thankful but I know that I have many many things to be thankful for.  I have a wonderful husband, who is a bit stressed out but who is working so hard to make a go at his new job.  I know it is not easy being the "new guy" and I am so proud of him.  I have three great kiddos who makes me smile everyday ... ok yes they also makes me go absolute bananas!  But even so, they are my world and I love them more than anything.  Each day, looking at them reminds me how fortunate I am and every day I strive to be a better person because of them.

I am also so thankful for my surro babes.  Miss V is learning new words by the day and I am sure the explosion of new words and ways to put them together is such a delight to M&M!  ..and little N is getting bigger and stronger day by day.  I have been so fortunate to get lots of pictures recently - they always warm my heart. 

This last year has been a bit of a blur.  It has been a hard one emotionally and God only knows that there were experiences that I could have been without.  However, the happenings of life shape who we are and what we become.  I have a renewed focus and I know that even on a gray day, the sun is behind the clouds somewhere.  More than ever before, I try to look for the silver lining in life and my faith is slowly being restored.  There are so many things that I will never understand but I have got to believe that somehow there is a meaning with everything.

I know that I am truly blessed and I try to remind myself of that every day.  Today I am so thankful for the little ones I have carried in my belly.  They all own a piece of my heart ... especially sweet little angel J.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

And by the way...

My hubby is a big pain in my a..!!!  Literally!

A few nights ago I was flipping through the channels and off course informercials are scatted about on the different channels.  One of them was on a "Brazilian But Lift" - another work-out gimmie I am sure but it did have some great glutes workout suggestions.  Anyway we laughed a bit over of the trainer's funny mannerisms and moved on.  And then tada... my sweet hubby actually went out and searched for a couple of down-loadable videos and all I have to say this morning is Ouch!!  Thanks honey you literally caused a pain in my bum!  I am so sore ... guess I have not used those muscles in a while - but hey if they will get the jiggle out of my booty, bring it on!

Pedometer count from yesterday ~ 13,176 steps equivalent to about 5 1/2 miles...woohoo!



In pursuit...

Life is about pursuit .. pursuit of happiness ... pursuit of freedom to be who we are ... pursuit of the living the life we want... the pursuit of a toned tummy and loosing the last pounds of pregnancy (ranking pretty close to the top of my list these days ;-) ...the list could go on.

Life is amazing and each day is a new gift.  Recently I read an analogy about how life is like money; imagine that every day you wake up to bank account filled with $86,400 and the money is yours to use on whatever you choose, but what you do not spend by the end of the day will be gone and lost forever.   This is like time.  Everyday we wake up to 86,400 new seconds of life.  Like money some seconds will be used on necessities but the remaining are ours to use or to loose.  Once the time is gone you can never have it back.  And if there is one thing that I have learned in watching my children grow, it is that time flies and regardless of hard I try to hold onto the moments they will slip through my fingers like sand on the beach.   

Here I am standing on the threshold of opening up a new chapter in my life.  It feels like standing in the doorway between two rooms and not being able to decide which one to enter.  I am not sure that I am ready to close the old chapter just yet and I will leave the door ajar.  What I do know is that I am so ready to make inroads into what is to come next.  I am just really hopeful for the possibility of being accepted into a nursing program for Fall.  I am so excited about what lays ahead.

Going back to school will be bring a big change to my routine - our routine.  I am already now trying to figure out a good study schedule and how to get everything managed around the house so have a minimal impact on everyone else.  Changes for all will come soon enough if I do get accepted into nursing school.

For now life hangs in a balance and I will navigate between two spaces to find my way forward. One never know what tomorrow will bring but change will come and if you ask me these are exciting changes for sure!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Forever missing...

It was on SMO this morning and an intended mother shared a picture book of her little twin boys that just recently turned 6 months old.  The book and pictures were beautiful...such a wonderful and sweet way to commemorate their journey to parenthood.

Looking at the pictures however reminded me how there never will be such pictures of N&J together.  They spent their first part life so wrapped up with one another and too early they were separated for a lifetime.  While I am incredible grateful that baby N is giving out great big smiles, it would have been amazing to have pictures of two sweet little boys smiling out at the world together.

Some times life is just not fair ... I wonder if I will ever get to a point where I do not feel the sting in my heart every time I see or hear about twins.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

11/13/2011...

Today it is six months since N&J were born.  An adorable little N is growing big and has the cutest little chunky cheeks ~ oh how I would love to pinch them and give him a big hug.  I just got new pictures of him and he is such a little sweetheart.  I am so grateful that he is doing so well.

During the last month or so I have steadily been increasing my workouts and although I feel stronger physically, I am still not seeing as much change in my body as I would like.  I was really hoping that "eating right and exercise" would let me drop those last few pounds ... but they are determined to hang on!  Rio suggested getting a personal trainer for a couple of months but I am not quite ready to give up on doing it on my own just yet. 

Everyday I make sure to get some type of cardio into my schedule.  Most days I go for a run but I do try and mix it up a little bit.  Friday night we went ice-skating which was a lot of fun.  My ankles were sore afterward but surely not as sore as Sebastian's bum!  Some days I grab the bike and go for a ride, today Olivia and I went for a long and very hilly ride and it was a great workout and so much fun having my girly come along for chit chat.

I also track my step count every day to make sure I am on target for a minimum of 10K a day.  My daily goal right now is 11K and will gradually increase it to 12K over the next few weeks.  12,000 steps for me is about 5 miles and I find that having a goal is a great motivator and truly becomes a mental game to beat the goal and "bank" some extra steps for a rainy day.

The short story is that six months post birth, my abs are still flabby, my legs still have cellulite and I am still hanging on to about five extra pounds.  Since I am not a fan of dieting, I will not do any kind of crazy diets to drop the pounds....really all I want when I go on a diet is what I cannot have.  Then I give into just a little bite and it all becomes pointless.. so no diets for me.  But I will remain in a pursuit of a more well toned body and loosing those last pounds ... hopefully being consistent with more cardio exercise will be the key.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Info session part two...

Today went well!  The information session was .. well very informative!  I got lots of my questions answered....as a matter of fact I got all my questions answered because no one else bothered to ask barely anything ~ but you know me...I will get the answers I need so hopefully some of the things that I wanted to know about the school and program was helpful to other students as well.

After the info session, we toured the school building and one of the simulations labs located at the hospital.  I also had an opportunity to talk to a student currently in the 2nd degree program and get a more personal take on the program which is always useful. 

One of the neat things about this particular college is that the majority of the clinical rotations are actually at the hospital and I really like that.  The sim labs will also be very useful for targeted practice and getting prepared before heading out into an actual clinical setting. 

After the campus visit, I had lunch with Rio.  I shared with him the information about the program and I know that he will support my decision for going back to school.  I am getting increasingly excited about it all.  I talked to the director of the program about the competitive aspect of actually getting into the program.  Of course she cannot tell me that I will or will not get in at this point, but she did say that with my GPA (...which of course is magnificent!!!!) I have an excellent chance of getting admitted for the Fall. 

Now here is to tackling the last few pre-requisite requirements ..which includes getting the school to approve transfer credit for my statistics class from SIUC ~ currently they are not and they want me to take another general education statistics class at ICC :-(  I am going to call the math department at SIUC next week and see if I can get a course syllabus so they can actually see the different components covered by the class and hopefully approve it.

Hopefully come March I will receive an admission letter to the programs and cruising through A&P I, microbiology and sociology!!!  Power of prayer and positive thinking :-)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Info Session...

I am going to an information session at the College of Nursing tomorrow ....  I am excited to hear more about the program and I have lots of questions.

Going back to school is a big decision and I am not taking the it lightly.  I want to make sure that I am making the right choice and that includes making sure that "school fit" is a good one.  I do feel in my heart that this is the right direction for me but I am also aware that timing needs to be right in order for all the pieces to fall into place.

Tomorrow will be exciting .. stay tuned ...


A little progress...

Yesterday I went on a field trip with Olivia's class.  We visited the Challenger Learning Center in Bloomington for a "visit" to outer space.  The kids had all been preparing very hard for their mission called "Rendezvous with a Comet" and they had a fantastic time.  It was just so much fun observing them and seeing them put their learning into actual application.  Olivia was on the "Remote Team" and while in space, she got to examine bugs and plant life...she was a happy girl!

Upon returning home, I got some good news ... well at least I hope it is good news!  Finally the lady from the mortgage company came back with a reply.  Based on the BPO (broker price opinion) dispute information that we have submitted, they are ordering a new opinion.  I am hoping that this new opinion will be more reflective of where the market is actually at and will configure within a certain "magic" number of our current offer so that the sale will be approved to move forward.  I am keeping my fingers crossed and staying hopeful that we will have an answer very soon.

I really really hate having to sell our home ... I loved my house on the coast and miss our neighborhood and friends very very much.  I miss the sounds of the ocean, walking by the beach and feeling the tranquility of the sounds and looking the endless blue ocean ... But I love eating dinner together (so a paycheck is beneficial!!!) and I love the fact that we are all together again every day...being a family is better than any house because it is just a house ... just a structure... family is love and my heart is complete when we are together.  

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ugh...short sale wait...

So here we are and we still do not have an answer on our short sale.  As a matter of fact, I still have zero correspondence from our contact handling our short sale on the mortgage side.  Yuck!!!  I am getting nervous and impatient.  I know that the "short" sale process is not a short one but a response to my emails and questions would be nice.  Even just a acknowledgement that they have receive our information would be nice.

I have sent them stuff and our real estate agent has sent them lots of stuff....not a word in return.  I am getting stressed out as I worry that the potential buyer make retract their offer and then we would be SOL completely.  I just cannot believe that the mortgage company would prefer to go through a foreclosure rather than working with us when we have a buyer lined up. 

Keep thinking that STRESSED spells DESSERTS backwards.....off to eat another cookie to keep my stress level down....wait that just counter acts all my running.  Hmmm what to do what to do...

Monday, November 7, 2011

11 credits for spring...

It is official, I am registered for 11 credit hours in the Spring semester!  I am almost scared ... but so excited too.  I got most of my first choice classes which was good.  The only upset is that the lab class I wanted for microbiology was already full so I had to take one on a different day.  Which is too bad because I will now need to go to campus 4 days a week instead of 2.... but oh well ... I guess that gives me plenty of opportunity for study time.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I love books...

I am sitting here looking through my lab book for my A&P class.  I am registering for classes in the morning and I find myself a bit nervous and hopeful that the line will not be too long.  I really hope that I will get into the classes of my choice with regards to time preference.  Rio is very busy at work and his schedule is a bit unpredictable, so I need to make sure that the timing for my classes work with the kids' school schedule.

It is often said that people will change their career direction a few times in their life....I really think my time is now.  I have spent a lot of time thinking about this and the timing just feels right.

I have always loved books.  I love the library and the book store .. heck I love my kindle (except it is broken right now which is annoying as holy heck because I was in the middle of a book!).  Anyway, when I was a little girl ~ I think about Olivia's age (who by the way is a little super ready as well!) about 10 or 11 ~ I stumbled across a series of books about a nurse.  The books were old and collecting dust in the attic on my local library.  I loved going to the attic and looking through the old book boxes and for some reason I just found these books very facinating.  I remember obsessively reading the Sue Barton books (by Helen Dore Boylston) .. about a young woman going to nursing school.  The series has 6 or 7 books and cover Sue's young adulthood through nursing school and her life on through marriage and kids.  I loved these book, so much in fact that I re-read them again later in my teens ~ I remember thinking that being a nurse must be totally cool. 

As I went on with school, business seemed to be the way to go and although I like my first career choice, I do find it funny that maybe I knew all along what a better choice might be.  Only time will tell how things will work out but for now I am excited to start something new!

Surro lunch...

Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting two fellow surrogates who frequents SMO.  I drove up to Davenport and we met up for lunch.  It was wonderful to have an opportunity to share experiences and to meet new people.  Lunch was very enjoyable and chatting for a while with a couple of lovely ladies who totally get why I choose to be a surrogate was awesome.

My Asian Chicken Salad left something to be desired ... but I gotta say the Flying Monkey (think lemonade, Citron Vodka and peach schnapps)..... totally yummy!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The petals fell too soon...

I woke up this morning and stumbled across this poem and it just made my heart smile.  Little J would have been almost six months old now.  Despite his brief presence in this world he touched my heart and soul in ways that I cannot explain.   The imprint of his little body snuggled close to my neck the time I held him for the very first time, the light feather weight of holding his little hand, and the soft touch of his little head will always linger in my heart. 

Loosing a baby is the most difficult experience and something that I wish no parent would ever have to endure.  Although I am not the parent, J was mine a little bit too ... and I feel such a strong connection to this sweet little boy whom we lost so soon.  Just like his momma, I miss him every day.  I wish that he did not have to go and that he was still here with all of us.  I feel the heart ache of his parents and the fear that he will be forgotten as other people are afraid to ask about him and talk about him in our presence out of fear of not wanting to hurt our feelings.  

Everyday I think of N and am so grateful that he is here to bless our lives...I believe that his special guardian angel is looking out for his well being every day ... little one where ever you are in heaven, know that forever you touched my life and I will never forget...
   
The world may never notice
If a flower doesn't bloom,
Or even pause to wonder
If the petals fall too soon.
But every life that ever forms,
Or ever comes to be,
Touches the world in some small way
For all eternity.
     author unknown                   

Friday, November 4, 2011

4508...

...steps that is and it is only 8:32 AM ... I think I am going to meet my goal of 10K today!  I am actually really proud of myself for this week.  I went for another run this morning right after the school bus left - adding more distance and more running time ... and my thighs are now killing me!  Which is ok because my arms are killing me too after doing some extra lifts after my run....

Rio came home the other day saying that he wanted to get back to doing P90X again.  Just so he will be in shape in case a trip to Hawaii should come up some time over the winter!!  Well if indeed a trip to Hawaii will sneak up on us then you bet I  will be ready! 

We really want to go on vacation but we need to get the house sold first.  We are still hoping that we will get some answers from our mortgage company soon with regards to the short sale.  They are taking their time and I am getting antsy - it is just not fun having both a mortgage and rent to pay.  Wishing for a fairy to make the real estate market somehow magically restore it self to its former glory.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Woohoo...

Congrats to M ~ my buddy surrogate who delivered V's big brother ... she got a positive beta today!!!  Woohoo many congrats to M and her new IP's ... wishing them all a long and healthy pregnancy :-)

Girl ~ you rock!

Run in the rain...

I have been sticking with the running...well for the most part ~ yesterday I skipped the run as I had a couple of appointments in the morning.  I did make up for it and took Magnus and Sebastian for a bike ride after school.  The weather was beautiful, cool and crisp but not cold.  It was a great day for yard work and we got lots and lots and LOTS of leaves down to the curb for pick-up.  We are drowning in leaves here ... it is beautiful but so much work.

This morning we woke up to crappy weather.  Gusty, cold and rainy...a typical November morning.  Winter is on the way!  However despite the rain, I went out for a run and I feel great!  My endurance is still not the best but I feel an improvement and every time I go out, I add a little more running time to my routine.  I still do not go all that far in distance but it is a start.

I purchased a pedometer last week to keep my motivation going and to track the number of steps I take.  For now my goal is for a minimum of 10,000 a day.  I did not move enough the first few days I was keeping track and dug myself a little whole!  Day 4 of tracking, I was below my goal by 13,317 steps ... ouch!  So the catch-up began ... it really does take some effort to get to 10K.... seeing the number on my pedometer throughout the day keeps me motivated to move especially when the number is low!  Running helps a great deal too - hopefully between my daily weight routine and the running, the scale will show the results as some point too. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I am truly blessed...

A couple of days before Violet's birthday, I received a beautiful wall hanging in the mail from M&M.  It depicts a mama bird and her nest ... with a sweet note thanking me for nesting their baby girl.  My heart is so humbled and flooded with gratitude.  On little V's birthday, I got to say hello to her on the phone and talk to both of her parents ... such joy to hear about their little girl and how life is going.  It is such a special privilege to continually be included in their life.  

Having this bond with them makes me feel very fortunate especially as just yesterday I read a post on SMO from a surrogate who recently gave birth.  She was in a dual surrogate situation just like I was ... only she did not know!  Her IP's never shared with her that they had another surrogate.  I understand the rights that any IP's have to keep their life private but there are some things that needs to be shared when you undertake a surrogacy journey.  Honesty and openness is so important.  I can understand the fears that potential parents have with the pregnancy not working out and that having two surrogate may double their chances for becoming parents but it is hard for me to understand why the IP's would keep such significant information to them selves.  A surrogacy journey is based so much on trust between the parties and basing the relationship on a lie is just a disaster waiting to happen.

I can only imagine the shock of finding out this news right after giving birth and then having the IP's lie straight to her face after she has helped them achieve a dream.  I hope the surrogate will find peace with her journey and that more than anything else, she feel the satisfaction of knowing that two sweet little miracles are in this world because of how special she is.

Registering...

Wow I can't believe that I am actually going to register for classes!  My transcript has been evaluated and as it turns out, I need 4 more required classes for the nursing program I applied to.  So my plan is to take three classes for the Spring semester.  Anatomy and Physiology, Microbiology and Intro to Sociology ~ both Micro and A&P has a lab component as well so it will be a busy semester.  Then in the summer I will take A&P II.  Hopefully registration will go off without a hitch.

I have already purchased my A&P book and I will be doing lots of review over the next few months.  Right now I am focusing most on medical terminology.  I found a couple of different free programs online and I am all about FREE!

While learning or should I say reinforcing medical terminology, I am also trying to solidify my knowledge of the human bones and muscles.  I am trying to relate my learning to my daily activities to connect the dots of learning.  I want to make sure that I am leaning not just for the class but that I "get it" and commit it to memory for future recall.

So here is to getting off my gluteus maximus to get rid of the extra chocolate caloric intake from Halloween!



Saturday, October 29, 2011

Happy Birthday to a Sweet Girl...

Today a lovely little girl turns two .... happy birthday sweet Violet!

Sweet girl - this day brings back so many lovely and wonderful memories.  Two years ago I woke up with contractions and knew it was time for your arrival.  It was such an incredible experience giving birth to you and watching your parents embrace you.  Time is flying and I cannot believe how big you are getting ... I truly hope you are enjoying your birthday.

This year I am not close enough to drive up for a birthday visit....but I just recently got the cutest little pictures.  Thank you M&M!

Many hugs and kisses from Auntie Fie!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Over the first hurdle...

This morning I went to take my placement test for getting into A&P (anatomy & physiology) in the Spring semester ...and tada I passed!!!  Woohoo...I am so excited!

Passing this placement test was really important because it will allow me to directly enroll into the A&P class without having to take full blow biology and chemistry classes first.  Timing was also extremely important, as I hope to get accepted into the nursing program for Fall 2012.  In order to start the program in the fall, I will need to have completed A&P I and II as well as micro-biology.  The only way to get these classes done, will be to take A&P I along with microbiology in the spring and A&P II in the summer semester.

I foresee lots of homework in my future.....but I am really excited about that.  So here is to waiting and praying for the College of Nursing to accept my application as well.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The 411...

I met with Dr. E today ... am I any smarter than yesterday?  Nope - not really, but I am more informed and that was my whole intention behind the consult - to be informed.  To be re-affirmed that I am not "broken" and that I have options *IF* I want them.

Pregnancy carries risk, infertility treatment and carrying someone else's dreams carries risks - heck life carries risk.  Risk level is an individual comfort zone, but button line is that should I choose to be pregnant again then I can.  Will there be a statistically higher risk for me than someone without my history?  Sure but not that significantly greater and I would feel comfortable with that risk level.

Placental abruption happens and not all that much is known as to why (unless of course it is resulting from one of the major indicative scenarios...such as trauma) or how to prevent it for that matter.  My risk with respect to another abruption is low somewhere around the 1% for a given pregnancy.  My risk for complications due to my vertical c-section incision is also small given my health history.

Rio asked me what I am going to do with this information.  The answer for now is ... Nothing.   After the delivery of N&J, I just felt such a loss of control - I hate when decision about me happens without my input ...  if you have not noticed by now - I like to be in control!   I needed to know that my options were not taken away from me but rather that I can make an active decision about my life.  That I have a choice and a voice ...

I am NOT broken :-)


..On a side note ~ I received the cutest picture of little N today.  He is growing some cute chunky rolls around his legs and arms.  Sweet ... thank you L!

A mother's intuition...

In college I was VERY science phobic.  So much that I kept on delaying one of my science requirements until my graduating semester...so there I was taking rock science (geology 101) as a senior along with all freshmans.  It was actually fun ... and compared to 400-level accounting classes it was a breeze.

Well things have changed!  I have changed - a lot!  ...and what is funny to me, is that my mother somehow pinpointed the change in my heart and the direction I am considering out of the blue during her recent visit.  It must be a mother's intuition because I have not talked to anyone about this other than Rio.

Anyway I digress, over the last few years, I have been trying to put a finger on exactly what has changed for me .. and it has taken some time to figure it out.  I knew there was something else I am meant to be doing.  Do not get me wrong, I actually love accounting but ... yes there is a but!   While I really like what I do, I do not feel completely fulfilled in my career choice and I feel an inner urge to have more of a human impact.

Over the years I have looked and researched different career choices (especially as Rio has kept going back to school) and I keep coming back to the same thing.  Honestly for a long time I disregarded my feelings.  Both because Rio was in school and it seemed that I could be fine and happy continue doing what I already am doing.  But also because I was getting a huge "feel good" human impact from being a surrogate .. but the thought keeps popping back into my head. 

Since Rio is now back to work, I have decided to throw the science phobia to the curve and take a leap of faith.  I am therefore studying basic science.  More specifically the basics of biology and chemistry in order to prepare for a placement test for an Anatomy & Physiology class.  Since I do not have a college level chemistry class and my bio class is way old, I need to pass a placement test in order to get into A&P.  In turn A&P is a requirement for me to get into the nursing program I am considering.

A few weeks ago I decided to put my "feelers" out for real and I applied to nursing school.  I really did it!  I can't believe that I actually did it but truly I am so excited about the possibility.  Currently the school is evaluating my transcripts and only time will tell what happens next.  For now there are a few obstacles in my way but I am ready to conquer ... first there is the matter if the placement test for the A&P class and secondly acceptance into the nursing program.

So wish me luck... I am leaving my heart wide open and trying to take it all in bit by bit ....  if it is meant to be it will... back to the books ... stay tuned :-)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Fall pictures...

                                                        My sweet kiddos
                                              Magnus and Chompers
Hubby & Chompers
 My favorite girl
 Sebastian
 Olivia and Bella
 ...well at least we are all looking in the one direction



Cute as can be...

Follow-up...

Tomorrow I have an appointment with a MFM doctor (maternal fetal medicine) - Dr. E - at a clinic local to us here in Illinois.  After my early delivery back in May, I was given the advice to seek an objective view of my delivery record, pathology report (from the twins' placentas), and pregnancy history in the event I should ever contemplate another pregnancy.

And for the record, I am not even close to thinking about another pregnancy, but I do seek some closure for my own edification.  Some days I still struggle with the sudden loss of control I felt (and still feel) with regards to my pregnancy ending way too soon and while I hear the words of the OB's doing the delivery in the back of my head, I also still hear the deafening WHY???

So I decided to make an appointment with the MFM here and discuss my records.  If the case is that I need to completely close the "pregnancy, birth and baby" chapter in my life then I want to know that now.

I am so happy with the family that we have.  I love my children more than anything in this world and I often think fondly of the sweet babies I have been privileged to carry under my heart.  But it would be untruthful for me to say that the events surrounding N&J's early delivery and the loss of little J have not stirred thoughts in my heart.  That is not so say that I feel the need to add to our family in any way ... I am just sad that my last pregnancy ended the way it did.

Happy Birthday to a big boy...

Happy birthday to you ... happy birthday to you .... happy happy happy birthday dear Kieran ... happy birthday to you!!!

Wishing you a great 2-year old day :-)

I cannot believe that Miss V is almost 2.  Just another five days and one of the sweetest twiblings in the world will be 2.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Good luck...

Over the last year and a half I have been corresponding with a sweet sweet IM - A.  We were talking before I matched with L&J but due to timing issues our match did not move forward.   A and I have been staying in touch periodically and recently we have been chatting back and forth a bit.  I am so excited for them.  They have a potential surrogate they are meeting with very soon ~ a good match is so important for a successful journey.... sending them lots of good luck for a great match.  I hope they will be blessed with a little one to join their family soon.

Surrogacy has brought so many good things to my life .... sweet little babes ~ wonderful intended parents turned into great parents ~ and good friends in a supportive surrogate community online ...
some of these friends I have had the pleasure to meet in person and others that I look forward to meeting sometime in the future.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Uggh...short sale bump number 1...

So we have officially hit the first speed bump in the short sale process.  The BPO (broker price opinion) requested from the mortgage company came back $28K above the buyer's offer.  Alas the mortgage company is not even going to consider the offer and will counter the buyers at the BPO.  This stinks as I just do not think the buyers will come up that much.

It really sucks for us, as reality is that the next offer we may receive will likely be lower than the one we have now ... plus how long will it take to get another offer.  I will just say it again - selling a house right now SUCKS!!!!

We have a great agent working with us and she is putting some information together for our mortgage company as we speak.  I hope that some factual information may encourage the bank to reconsider the offer.  Facts are that a foreclosure sale recently sold down the street at $11K below our BPO; that a current foreclosure is pending on a home down the street at the same price as our current offer; and that another foreclosure is getting ready to hit the market two house down from ours.  She is also putting a "house showing with listing price" report together to send in - this will reflect that we have only had 5 showings since we hit the market in May, with the three most recent being after our most recent price reduction ~ obviously the BPO cannot be that accurate if we cannot generate any interest in the house at the BPO price (and for what it is worth our initial list price was close to the BPO amount).

I am hopeful that we can "flatten" out this speed bump and cruise along...keeping my fingers crossed!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Update on goal for 10/13...

Well I did not quite drop the 5 lbs I wanted ... but I am getting closer.  And I partially blame visitors!!!  Eating lots of good food with them is not so good for my diet!

I have not had a chance to run much as our schedules have been a bit crazy and all over the place.  However, I have established a daily work-out routine here at home for lifting weights and lots and lots and lots of stomach crunches in an effort to combat my tummy zone that Sebastian so affectionately refers to as my blubber!!!. 

I have also been getting on the trampoline daily.  It gives some cardio workout - not enough - but some and I am starting to see some pay off on my calves.  In order to see the results that I want though, I know I need to step up on the cardio workouts.  However, slow progress is still good and I will take it ... like a turtle knows "slow and steady wins the race." 

I am planning to sign up for two different 5K races coming up.  One is called the Turkey Trot and the other is a Christmas Jingle something.  Even if I only run part of them, I will be happy with just completing them and having two 5K's under my belt before the end of the year.


We are drowning...

...in all the fall foliage!!!  There are leaves everywhere.  I can spend the entire day raking and there will still be more.   This is the first time we have lived in a place with very mature landscaping and boy it takes time to keep up the yard. 

The upside ... it truly does look beautiful with the changing of the colors.  And my overarms are getting a good workout daily ... by the end of fall I should be sporting some nice guns :-)

Off to do some more raking ...

Almost 2...

Little Miss V is almost two ... I can't believe it!!!  Now off to do some shopping for fun little girly stuff :-)

Mr. N is also growing ~ he is five months old today....  Happy day to you and your family ~ grow little boy grow!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Circle of life...

As one gets older the circle and fragility of life becomes ever more present (...and sure with Rio working in health care and holding people's hearts in his hands daily does have an impact too).  The reality of mortality slowly creeps into ones thoughts ~ when I was young it was easy to think that people "would be there forever" but as I age that reality seems to retreat a bit too quickly for my liking.  The last five years have brought forth the beauty and gift of life with the birth of V and N&J as well as a few of my favorite nephews!  But it has also brought the sadness of many goodbyes ... specifically my father and more recently, and much to prematurely, little J.

Loss is hard.  It is one of the coldest realities of life...at some point it will end.  If anything, the passing of little J has reminded me not to take anything for granted.  I still find myself doing it though ~ it truly takes a commitment to live every day purposefully and let the "small stuff" go.  Since my birthday, I find myself thinking about J again very often.  I am not sure what it is but he is just in my thoughts a lot.  I wonder why he had was unfortunate to get NEC and I still wonder why a pregnancy that was so perfect could so drastically change without forewarning...it is a little heart ache that continually lingers. 

Having my own children and being a surrogate have really changed me in so many ways.  Being able to give something of myself to someone else has been so incredible...My heart has grown a few more heart strings and my love is extended to two beautiful little children and a sweet sweet angel.

The last few years I have felt a tug on my heart to do "more" .... I am not really sure yet what that "more" is, but I know that being a surrogate has really made me re-evaluate what I want to do with my life "when I grow up."  Turning 37 was really a catalyst and it has got my wheels turning ... what to do ~ what to do .. so many things so little time!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Visitors...

Woohoo my mom is coming in just two more days !!!  Yeah!

She is bringing her significant other with her, whom I have never met so this shall be interesting, as well as my nephew.  We are all so excited that they are coming.  I hope the weather will be great for enjoying all the beautiful colors of the fall.

Olivia already asked if mormor can cook some curry rice and chicken for her!

Craziness...

I am having a bit of a crazy time right now.  Getting settled takes forever and it seems that even though I bust my rear everyday there is just still more stuff to get done....but I am making headway! 

It has also been crazy busy with doctors and dentist appointments.  All the kids needed check-ups from an IL physician to have on file at school.  Magnus and Olivia also needed sports physicals.  Poor Olivia has several follow-ups - she both needed to see the podiatrist and the dermatologist.  We saw the derm guy today - ugh I did not like him one bit...bad bedside manners!!  Anyway her warts have now been frozen again (this is the 3rd time) and hopefully 3rd time is the charm.

The kids also need dental records on file at school ... and again the OR records do not work ... so off to find a new dentist.  I found one and we went right away because I knew little Mr. Sebastian had a cavity to be filled.  Before I made the appointment, I called them and told them which two teeth that needed work and they also got the full records from Dr. W's office back in Oregon.  Well after the check-up's the dentist says "they all look great with no problems" .. I was like ... "WHAT ...uhmm no"! 

How the heck could they miss not one but two cavities after they have been told they are there????  grrr...I even had to pull out Dr. W's x-ray and show them to her because their x-rays were not low enough to see it.  Man I am questioning that practice big time and truth be told off to look for a another new dentist!


Thursday, September 29, 2011

It worked...

We have an offer on the house!!!  Yeah!  So now begins all the fun of the short sale loops and hoops.  I pray that is will be a quick process and not drag on forever.  As much as I am very sad about selling our home, I am extremely excited about the prospect of not having both a mortgage and rent to pay.

Keeping my fingers crossed :-)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ouch...


With another price reduction reflected (insert lots of expletives here!!!), we are finally getting some action on the house front.   We have had three showings in the last couple of days which is great news and now we wait ... I will be so happy if we can get the house sold as having both a mortgage and rent to pay is only sustainable for so long. 

However, I must say that I am so unhappy about the price that we are listing at ... it seems so ridicules that the market pricing could decrease that drastically.  I know we are not the only ones in this situation but it truly stinks that as of right now, our listing price is about 40% less that our valuation the home just after we finished building and landscaping just 3 1/2 years ago!  Ouch!

Anyways ... I try not to think about it and instead focus on something else.  Like getting the home we are renting here in order.  The boxes are slowly departing - well aside from all the ones that Sebastian insists are his castle!  Soon I will have the moving company come and pick up the ones to get disposed off - we are keeping the majority of the boxes in anticipation of our next move but at least for the next year we are somewhat settled.

Fall is here and it is getting cold, wet and dark.  Seems like I should be totally used to the rain since it rains all the time in Oregon ... but it is different here in Illinois.  It pretty much down poured all day yesterday ... so depressing ~ but on the upside I got lots of organizing done!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Turning 37...

Tomorrow is my birthday and while I am not sure that I am ready to be a year older .. time is ticking!

Sitting here and reflecting on life, I think it is actually a privilege to be turning a year older.  Not everyone will get to celebrate their next birthday and today in particular I am a little sad that J will never get that chance.  I makes me sad to know that we will never get to watch him grow or that his family will never get to see the excitement in his little eyes as he opens them up from making his wish just before blowing out the candles on his cake.  We all miss you sweet angel.

While some lives are cut way to short others are granted longs lives and many birthdays.  My grandmother lived to be 99 and just yesterday Rio's great aunt Helen passed away at the prime age of 103. 

I know better than to take life for granted ~ no one is ever promised tomorrow.  Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a "present."  As I await the dawn of my birthday and look ahead to a year of being 37, I hold close the many special people in my life that I have lost ~ especially my sweet little angel J. 

I am certain that many new adventures lay just around the corner and it sure is fun to make plans for the future.  As fun as it is to make new plans, I also love to reflect on all the wonderful experiences that I have enjoyed so far in my life.  Life goes by so quickly and nothing makes me more conscious of that than watching my children grow.  So here it is ... another year passed another birthday arriving.  My birthday wish this year, is to live more in the "present."  Make the moments count and enjoy the gifts of today.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Box after box...

Unpacking has begun!  The truck arrived today and all our stuff was unloaded ... now begins the fun of unpacking and getting everything back in order.

I am really happy with the house we are renting and once we get fully settled I think it will be really great.  There is lots of space for everyone and plenty of room for the dogs to roam in the fully fenced in back yard.  I truly think we will enjoy living here.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Waves...

Sadness comes in waves and this morning after the kids went of on the school bus it just hit me full force.  Another surrogate from SMO just delivered twins at just around 25 weeks gestation - I do not know much about her other than she has had 5 previous singleton pregnancies and this is her first twin pregnancy.  From her postings, I can tell that she went into labor at 24 +3 without much forewarning at all.  Luckily they were able to stall labor and hold of on deliver for another 4 days.  Being able to hold off on delivery would have allowed for steroid shots to help the babies lungs mature and for magnesium which has proven benefits for babies too in the event of premature deliveries.

It made me so sad to read the short note about her delivery via c-section.  Her story resembles mine ... good previous singleton pregnancies and then BAM a change and a twin pregnancy coming to an end! 

My heart goes out to the surrogate.  I know that she, her IP's and babies have a rough ride ahead.  I pray that the babies are doing well and that the NICU will be kind to them.  I pray for courage for the parents who will endure so much worry and heartache in looking at their little ones struggle just to live.   I pray for the babies that they will grow strong and have minimal life long effects of their early arrival and that they get to home to be loved and cherished. 

I wish this experience on no one and the fact that someone else is embarking on a "ride" similar to the one L&J and I have just been through makes me cry....it makes my heart hurt.

Grow babies grow...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Goal...

So now that we are getting settled I really need to get back to working out.  My first goal is two-fold; get back to the C25K program (...I really was doing well but the move sort of got in the way!!!) and to drop about 5 lbs by October 13 ~ hopefully I can do it.

I actually have no idea of my current weight as my scale is on the moving truck....however, I am sure our cross-country stint on fast food did not do me any favors :-)

Hopefully by Christmas time I will be down to about 125 lbs and back in great shape ... still pondering that vacation and looking good in a swimsuit would be a nice bonus.  Of course I could continue to do nothing and then go skiing instead ... the extra "flubber" (as Sebastian affectionately refers to as my belly) could keep me warm!!!

Quiet...

..the house is so quiet!  The kids have all started school and they are now all three going full days.  Sebastian has been worn out the last couple of nights!  I am glad to have the back in school and they seem to be settling into the new routine and surroundings very well.

Olivia is starting band this year and I just ordered her clarinet ~ we found a purple one .. she loves it and cannot wait for it to get here.

Magnus is in middle-school now and his schedule is very different from what he is used to ... but so far so good.  I love the fact that he has PE everyday.

Unfortunately, it seems that we will completely miss soccer season this year which makes all three of them a bit unhappy ... I have left a few messages but we are not getting any response.  So now I am pondering what other activities we should involve them in.

During all this quiet time I have been doing a ton of cleaning.  The home we are renting is really lovely but it has a musty smell of "old smoke".  Although the home was listed as "non-smoking", I think previous owners at some point use to smoke and the odor is stuck in the woodwork.  I have been wiping everything down with a vinegar and lavender solution and it is helping some. 

Well off to clean some more and to hit Bath and Body works for some "out-let" fragrance plug-ins....hoping that my truck will show up on Monday!!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

4 months old...

Today sweet little N is 4 months old ~ happy 4-month day little guy ~ wishing you a great day today and everyday.  I am so thankful that you are at home.

I got some really cute pictures of him while on our drive from Oregon to Illinois and he is doing really well.  One was of an "almost" smile .. the camera just missed it ... he is so cute.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Back in Illinois...

What a looooong drive from the Oregon coast to central Illinois....especially with 3 kids and 2 dogs in tow!  We left the coast on Wednesday afternoon after the moving truck pulled out and after Olivia gave the neighborhood something to remember her by.  Her screaming!!!  Poor girl got stuck on the eyelid by a yellow jacket just before we were getting ready to leave - her face was swollen for days but she is now back to looking good a new.

Wednesday we made it to Bakers City in Oregon - good progress for day one.  On Thursday we drove to Utah and we got to spend some time with my IM's parents.  They were very wonderful to all of us.  It was nice spending time with them and getting to know them and so incredibly nice of them to invite us to stay overnight.  I went to the cemetery with little J's grandmother and having her with me there was just very special for me ~ I am very thankful to her for being there.

On Friday we drove through Wyoming .... boring!!!  On Saturday we drove through Nebraska ... yawn!!!  I am certain that both of these states have wonderful things to offer visitors but certainly none of these things are located easily accessible of Interstate 80.

Sunday morning we left Omaha and drove the rest of the way.  We did a quick pit stop in Elk Horn, Iowa which is the first official Danish Settlement in the USA.  It was fun to go see - we did not stay long but I am sure we will go back to visit at some point in the future.

Finally we made it to the rental house around dinner time on Sunday ...  now we just have to wait for the moving truck to get here with out stuff too and this could take time.  I called the driver today to get an update on a delivery date and apparently the truck broke down the day he picked up from us and the driver has been stuck in Portland since then waiting for a truck part.  :-( ....now he says delivery will most likely be on the latest possible date that we were given so the house will be empty for a while still.

Anyways ... the kids are registered for school and they start tomorrow.  Yeah!  They are so excited to meet new friends but also nervous about a new school and not knowing anyone.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

J's little sunny spot...

Yesterday I visited little J's grave site.  It is a beautiful sunny spot at the foothills of the Wasatch Mountain range.  A gentle breeze was blowing as I was sitting there and the sun was shining down on me.  I thought that maybe just maybe little J was looking down on me from above too.

When I think of the babies, I always think of them in a pair and it will forever be hard to know that they will never be together in their little pair here on earth again.  I placed two white and purple violets by his little grave ... one seemed too lonely.  I know that my thoughts about N&J will always be enter-twined - the pain will never go away but I pray that the rawness will subside and lead the way to a smaller sting instead of such a strong grip on my heart.

I let go of my tears as I sat there for a while - remembering his little kicks in utero and all the good things in my pregnancy ... remembering all the difficult times around the birth and the days that followed.  This has been such a hard summer.

Going to visit J was such a good thing for me.  Saying goodbye brings some closure.  I miss you little J ... I miss that you are not at home with your parents.  You are forever beloved and always in my heart...

Monday, September 5, 2011

Goodbyes are always hard...

The house is almost packed up and the moving truck will be rolling in Tuesday morning.  It makes me incredible sad to be leaving a home that we love but it makes it easy to do when I know what is ahead.  Our family back together again. 

There are many things that I will miss - especially the sound of the ocean and the view of endless waves....on the upside we will have a lake down behind our back yard and although it will not bring the roll of the ocean waves it may bring an occasional splash (...even if I have to go make it myself!) 

Saying goodbye is never easy ... I hate goodbyes and prefer instead to think of them as "see you later."  See you later leaves open the possibilities for the future ... possibilities of many good things to come.

On our journey back to the Midwest, there is one final goodbye that I have to make and this one is ever so difficult.  I am very pleased that I will have the opportunity to go to see little J's final resting place even though I know it will be a very hard thing to do.  My heart still hurts and every day I think of our sweet little angel.  I look forward to just being there by his side for just a little while.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Frosty frosty frosty...

Today is day four of no pumping and that completely engorged feeling is finally going away....I have quite the rack ;-) too bad Rio is not around to enjoy it!!!  Anyways my boobs are still sore and have that full feeling but at least it is no longer painful. 

A second milk shipment went out today.  I shipped it from our local post office instead of one in Portland so it had to be dropped off quite a bit earlier actually already by 12:30PM.  Hopefully it will still make it to little N good and frozen.

I have somewhere north of 300 ounces remaining in the freezer.  I plan to pack it in the cooler and take it to L's mom on our way to Illinois.  L's mom is so sweet and have invited us to stay with them overnight during our journey back East.  It is such a kind thing for her to offer and I am really looking forward to seeing her again.  The first time we met was on the day that J got really sick .... such a sad and difficult day.

On our drive I am also planning to visit little J's final resting place ~ I am so happy to get the opportunity to go there and getting to say my goodbyes to a sweet little angel.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Success...

Woohoo.... milk has arrived nice and frozen ~ so exciting.  I am totally doing the happy dance now!!!

Eat up little N ... another shipment will be on its way soon.

...did I happen to mention that I am just VERY EXCITED!!!!!!

On another note - my boobs are still sore but Tylenol and cold cabbage compresses are working (....that is aside from me feeling like I smell like - well cabbage - and thinking I already need another shower and it is still before noon!)

Time...

Time is a funny thing .. It seems like the last year has passed by in a flash and at the same time it seems like this summer went on forever...
 


No longer the milk maid...

Yesterday I took Sebastian and Olivia and went to Portland ... it felt weird to do the drive back towards the hospital again and I was so glad that Olivia was keeping me company and thinking of other things as we were driving.

First we went to the airport post office to drop off a great big box of milk for little N ... here is to hoping that it arrives fully frozen by this afternoon.  I am thinking lots of frosty thoughts. I am so nervous about it but hopefully it will all be well.  The post office worker looked at my box and saw that it was marked "Handle With Care - Human Milk" and said "I guess it is perishable???"  Yep - extremely!!!  Ship fast and keep cool :-)

I was able to get over 300 ounces in the cooler but I still have at least another 700 ounces in the freezer.  Hopefully the shipment will go off without a hitch and I will ship one more box.  But I am also going to figure out the logistics of my car for when we leave to do the drive next week to see if I can fit the rest of the milk in coolers and take to L's mom and dad's house instead of shipping it.... 

After the airport we went to the hospital.  Since it was after 5PM, I had to return my pump to the Family Birth Center.  It felt strange going back in there and I realized that I actually do not remember my transport from OR recovery to my room in that department...  Anyways it was just so bitter sweet walking past the entrance to the NICU, past the maternity ward, and into the family birth center .. so many feelings went flushing through my heart.  I hope to never return to these hospital hall ways again - as we walked back to the car all I could do was cry.

Olivia did NOT like me crying!   I know the sadness will linger but I will try to focus on the good things... such as great pictures of a sweet sweet baby boy who is now over 7 1/2 pounds!!  Way to go N ... and way to go to N's mama who is doing a great job getting him to eat eat eat!!!

Reinforcements are on the way .... hopefully in a very frosty condition!!!  

Sunday, August 28, 2011

My little yellow companion...

I will be turning my pump back into the hospital on Tuesday.  My little yellow pump has been my steady companion over the last 3 1/2 months regardless of where I have been.  It has been a little yellow rock during some very difficult days.

Over the last couple of weeks I have slowed my pumping schedule from five times per day to four to three.  My goal for today is to see if I can make do with just two sessions.  Although my milk production has gone down, my body needs to adjust and as I have no desire do to be miserable, slowly weaning off the pump is a good way to go.

A benefit of stopping to pump is six plus hours of sleep in one stretch.  It feels incredible!!!   Although I feel ready to be done pumping, I do find my self quite emotional about it and maybe not completely ready anyway.  It is a process and it is a feeling of letting go.  It has been a good part of my ongoing healing.  I only wish for the very best for Little N and knowing that shipping off the milk in my freezer will keep him well fed for the next couple of months feels really good. 

I have been so incredible blessed to have been able to pump for little N until now.  It can be difficult to exclusively pump especially when there is no baby to stimulate the milk production.   Often when I sit down to pump, I look at pictures of both the babies and let my thoughts roam free.  This morning I awoke thinking of the L and N&J and I think I was dreaming of little J.  I felt very sad ... it is hard to explain but I just had a rush of emotions flood over me and sometimes I wonder if this will ever stop.  Loosing a little one, even if you gain an angel, is just not fair.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Yard sale...

Ugh....I "never" do yard sales - well I guess I need to say "I almost never" do yard sales!  They are just too much work and dropping stuff off at Goodwill just seems so much easier.  However, a neighbor of ours was doing one last weekend and since we are moving, I figured this was my chance to get rid of some stuff that I was not going to move anyway.   You know, the stuff that I do not need pack and really should not pack because when I unpack I will wonder why I ever packed it in the first place... ok so the way I see it ... I get a good cleaning through stuff and get to purge.  What ever is not sold will then go to Goodwill.

Last weekend I made $100 on stuff and got to sit and chat with a great neighbor for the morning as well so that was a bonus...

Now I am doing another yard sale tomorrow because since I still had stuff out from last weekend (...have not made it to Goodwill yet!!!) I figured I might as well.   All week I have been pondering what should go out.  So this weekend I am pulling out the furniture, old Halloween costumes, kids clothes galore.... and hopefully someone comes along wanting to buy a couch.

Ughh ... I digress ... I will never do a yard sale again - it is just too much work!  But then again so is moving and that I will do again ~~~ I guess moral of the story is "never say never"!! 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Loosing my ...

marbles ... sure in one of the moving boxes that is LOL ... Many words could probably be used to finish that sentence these days as I am packing down the house but the correct would be HAIR!!!!

Yikes the pregnancy hormones are definitely leaving my body and along with those my hair is deserting my head!   I always shed like crazy a few months out from delivery and the time has come ... my hair is falling out ~ I am hoping there will still be some left!!!

Anyways, I am still taking prenatal vitamins since I am pumping for little N... but now that am stopping that before to long I need to go find some super vitamins that are good for my hair and body.

Moving news...

We are almost on our way!!!  The boxes are stacking up and I am just waiting on a final quote and date from the moving company.  Yahoo!!!  I cannot wait for us all to be together in one place again.  The house we are renting looks so nice and it is very close to the community beach on the lake in the neighborhood.  So we will still have a beach ... so maybe I can just paddle around on my surfboard - if anything I can catch a tan while doing it!!

Chubby cheeks are so sweet...

I got a long email from L yesterday ... I was so happy to hear from her and to know that little N is doing good.  His follow-up appointments are going well.  He does pull little smurf tricks and turns blue on occasion which is so scary but I know his mama is watching over him very closely...she is such a strong woman.   I also got a couple of new pictures and his little cheeks are getting so cute and chubby ~ I just want to squeeze them.

I felt so many emotions flooding over me as I was reading her email.  We have been bound together by a very emotionally taxing experience and very few people can relate to the journey we have been through.  The grief and loss that lies so tender right under the surface of everyday can very difficult to navigate and come to terms with.  I can only imagine how hard it is to be at home with one sweet little baby but missing the other.  I know how much the loss has impacted me, how much I miss little J and wish that he was here with us.  Their feelings of loss are so much more amplified and I send many good thoughts of healing and strength to her and J.  Many hugs to you my dear friend ~ you are never far from my prayers.