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Thursday, December 27, 2012

I just love Christmas...

.. but let me clarify - I DO NOT love spending half of Christmas Eve night nor ALL of Christmas day sick as a dog!!!  Yuck!!  Luckily none of the children got sick and I am finally back to feeling better.  I have even managed to keep everything down that I have eaten today...sometimes it is the small victories that count ~ even if those victories are crackers, toast, and a little bit of yogurt.

Anyway before I got sick, we had a lot of fun!  We spent a couple of days at Great Wolf Lodge playing, swimming and enjoying quality family time .. it was great to get away for a few days.

We came home on the 23rd just in time to get ready for Santa and for Christmas Eve.  In accordance with Danish traditions, Santa visits our home between the 23rd and 24th and Christmas Eve is the main celebration for the holiday.  This year we had some lovely friends to celebrate with and it was also Jane's (our exchange student) first Christmas ever so that made it extra fun and special too.  I told her that she would not be experiencing a truly "American" Christmas as our family follow many of the traditions from my home country but I still think she has really enjoyed December and all that came along ...especially the presents and goodies from Santa.

As a true Dane, I really really love candles and many of our traditions include lighting candles ... I just love the warm glow they cast off and I enjoy every opportunity I get to put candles all around.  Some of the things we do at Christmas time includes lighting the "calendar candle" daily.  This is a special candle that counts ~ or should I say "burn" ~ down the days from December 1st through the 24th.  Each day we burn one little segment for that day counting down to Christmas Eve.  We also light our advent decoration each Sunday for the last four Sundays before Christmas.  Each successive Sunday we light one additional candle, so first Sunday one candle is lit and on the fourth Sunday all four candles are lit - it is beautiful.  We also put real candles on our tree ... it always freaks people out when I tell them that.  But it is a tradition that I gladly carry on and I must say that it is one of my favorite moments of Christmas Eve when the all other lights are turned out and the tree is brightly lit in the warm glow of candle light.....and yes for those of you who wonder, my husband always has his bucket of water handy just in case ;-)

All in all it has been a magical and beautiful December.  The children have enjoyed them selves and I love watching the joy in their eyes although I must admit that this year I am a little sad to realize that the "magic of Santa" may soon be reaching its end at our house.

To end my post ... I have a little extra Christmas cheer to share because Christmas came early for me!!!  A few days before Christmas I received some very good news in the mail regarding my insurance and coverage for surrogacy.  Suffice to say that it sparked some extra Christmas joy for all of us and we look forward to see what the new year holds...especially on the surrogacy front.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

WHY must this craziness happen...

I have said before, that in the big scheme of things I believe things will happen because they are meant to .... but with the events of yesterday that belief is again just flying out the window.  Once again I am sitting with the wish that if we could just turn back the hands of time ... change one little detail and maybe the outcome would have been so very different.

There is absolutely NO way such a horrific and terrifying event should EVER happen.  All I am left with is why why why feeling and a broken heart ... why would anyone want to take their anger out on sweet little innocent children.

The news from CT yesterday breaks my heart.  I feel so sad for all those parents that did not get to hug their children last night.  I know that when mine arrived home from school, I squeezed them so tight that they were batting at me to set them free.  Loosing a child is incredibly difficult under any circumstances, but adding in this horrific and violent ending..it is just so unimaginable. 

Any mass shooting is disheartening - no one ever deserves to die like that.  The victims age in this one though, just makes it so much more difficult.  What is the answer?  More gun control, tighter security, or better mental health treatment and education? .... I don't know but something has got to change.  Schools should be a safe place to be - the mall should be a safe place to go shopping - the movie theater should be a safe place to go for entertainment.

My thoughts and prayers goes out to all who were affected by this sad event...I pray for peace for all of you.



Thursday, December 13, 2012

19 months out...

19 months ago I delivered sweet N&J.  I can honestly say that it was the most difficult day of my life.  I hated everything about that day and I still do ~ the wishing that I could change it will never go away ... but I have accepted what was...although it is still hard to have no idea how the N-man is doing.  I hope he is having a glorious day today and that he just continues to be a joy to his family.

Life goes on and right now I am filling my days with Christmas fun, planning and studying .. we are on break from school but I cannot leave the books alone.  I love learning all this new material as I prepare to enter nursing school next summer or fall and I am totally digging the opportunity to volunteer in our local Emergency Room... it is a fantastic opportunity to watch the nurses in action and pepper them with questions when time allows.  I am so excited about the possibilities that lies ahead.

Every day I love on my kids and every day I think of three beautiful babies ~ each in their own place ~ and thank God that I have been part of 6 miracles even if one little miracle grew wings too soon.

I have been working hard to get back in shape.  In the months after delivery, I felt in so little control of my body ... it failed me when I really needed it.  But I have slowly regained that control and can once again appreciate the incredible things the human body can do.  Honestly, I think studying anatomy has really helped in that regard too ... it is just so fascinating!

I am 19 months out from delivery of the twins.  Lots of running (...and yes a good part of that running was "running away" from all the pain, emotional trauma and disappointment I felt from the premature delivery), soccer coaching, weight training, and the a fall term of Health and PE ... and I am now in better shape than before I got pregnant with Magnus 14 years ago.  While I still want to "tweek" and tone several areas of my body, I am overall very happy with myself at this point.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Missing my angels...

I watched a movie last night ... A little Slice of Heaven ... it made me cry!  A movie about death and dying from cancer seen through the glossy eyes of Hollywood.  I should have known better than to even start it!  It ended with a celebration of life...  life should be celebrated and the ones we loved should be remember with cherished memories.

 Last week an aunt of mine passed away.  Last time I saw her was when I was home for my father's funeral.  She had been ill for some time, but luckily she was feeling well enough to participate in the marriage celebration of one of her grandchildren.  The beautiful bride is my cousin's daughter who came and stayed with us some years back during a high school exchange program.  My aunt was there all day to celebrate the happiness and joy of new love .. surely many beautiful memories were captured that day and I am so happy she was able to share that day with the lovely couple.

Sometimes it is so hard to live half the world away from family.  Everyone gets older ... and well so do I (although I still think my Wii Fit age should count especially on the days when I am in my 20's)!!!!  .. and I wonder who else I may not get to see again.  The other side of new losses is that it seems to bring others back into focus and I feel just a little lost tonight.  My soul is a little raw and I miss some of the special people that I have been lucky enough to have shared my life with. 

There are three people that I think most often about when I am sad ... my grandmother was such a big part of my life growing up.  She taught me many things and she had the patience of a saint....there are days when I wish just a little more of that patience had rubbed off on me!

I miss my dad ... I remember him whistling Christmas songs when I was little.  I remember the only Christmas Rio and I spent in Denmark when we were first married - and he loved that we were there.  We went for a walk on Christmas day - in the forest, beautifully white with freshly fallen snow everywhere - I can almost hear his whistling from that day as I sit here.  I recall so vividly the last time I talked to him on the phone and how excited he was that he figured out how to install this "new-fangled program called skype" on his computer... because that meant that "now he could call me and see me anytime he wanted"...it was a brief call that day as we were both busy and as it happened, those short brief few minutes was the last real conversation we shared.  My dad passed away three and a half years ago now and still I miss talking to him.  Since he died, I have been trying to recall his voice in my head ... but I still can't hear him - every time his voice seems close by it becomes elusive and slips back away....maybe one day.

I also miss a special little angel...  Loosing J gripped my heart and soul.  I miss him more than I can put into words ... well actually those words just seems trapped deep deep in my heart and some times they spill over in the form of tears.  I do not talk about this grief or loss with very meany.   It is very difficult for most to relate to and it is just so very personal. 

What does not kill you makes you stronger ... Thank you God for making me stronger ... but please know that for right now, I feel just strong enough!
 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Things we do not see...

I saw this in someone's tag line on a posting board.  I love it ... it makes me smile.

Why do we close our eyes when we pray?  When we cry?  When we dream?  Or when we kiss? Because we know that the most beautiful things in life are not seen, but felt by heart

Life has infinite unseen beauty.  I hold some of my sweetest memories in my hearth.  They were never photographed and while I wish that some of them might have been, they warm my heart every time I think of them.

Happy December my unseen angels .. your memory is weaved into the spirit of the season.  I miss you all ... and while you may be gone from life and touch, your sweet memories will always warm my heart.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Christmas wishes on this 1st day of December...

I have some very special Christmas wishes this year.  Christmas is a time of believing in magic and joy ... and while I know some of my wishes may not come true, I will keep wishing anyway! 

This first day of December, I send much Christmas love to the special families that I have been connected to through surrogacy ... I wish the season will bless you all with abundant love and joy in hearts and homes. 

M&M ~ I know that the twiblings will keep you on your toes this year ... wishing you much fun and happiness throughout the season.

L&J ~ I pray that the magic of Christmas fill your spirits and lifts you souls to hear your sweet angel J sing.  I truly pray that N is bringing you lots of joy and that your Christmas is blessed with lots of love and wonderful times for all of you.  I miss hearing from you ... and I pray that someday I will.

A&S ~ Christmas joy to the three of you ... I wish this Christmas season would bring the magical news we are all wanting to hear.

....now off to decorate and make a glorious breakfast for the biggest three joys in my life and of course for sweet Jane as well ~ let the magic of the season begin.

Happy December 1st to all!

Fall term is over...

Which means about two more weeks and I can submit my nursing school application!  I need to finish my application letter ... and I just hope that I can write one that is good enough to tip the scale in my favor for acceptance to the program.

This next week is finals week for school.  I only have my final in anatomy and physiology class left to focus on.  I was able to take my math final early - so glad to be done with that one.  Yesterday was a productive day too.  I had my last lectures of the term, completed the final assignments and project for my Health and PE class and got that all turned in, and completed my last online quiz for A&P.  So now I just need to buckle down with plenty of study time to get ready for A&P and finish up my last posting for our remaining case study.  There is so much material to learn for that class, but I love it and find it endlessly fascinating...I am excited for the Christmas break to be here ... but truly I am really looking forward to starting classes again in January. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Power ... glorious power...

It is finally back on!! 

We lost power last night.  After a couple of hours in the dark, I got the kiddos all settled in for bed and asleep and then the power kicked back on around midnight.  Luckily the kids are out of school for Thanksgiving break this week, so I did not have to get them all up in the morning.  I still had to get up and go to school though.

The power was on when I left, but by the time I arrive at school, no power there or at home.  Classes was cancelled shortly there after...and I went back home to find hungry kids and a dark house!

We spent the day in front of the fireplace and with a host of neighborhood kids joining the fun.  Around 3 I gave in and opened the freezer as I knew all the ice-cream would be melting and no good ... so we had a mini ice-cream party ... then voila ... power came back on!!!  YES!!

I am thankful for power!!  ...and winterstorms ~ they make room for some cozy days by the fire :-)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Started my nursing school application...

I am so excited to begin this process.

I cannot complete the application until I finish the current term but I have started it... woohoo!!!

I will be applying to two schools.  The first application is due on January 5th and for an accelerated nursing program at Oregon Health and Sciences University in Portland.  This is an accelerated bachelors degree program and is my first choice.  It is highly competitive to get in.  If I do get in (oohhh pretty please with a cherry on top!!!), the program will start next summer and last the following 5 terms.  The school has a great program and being able to take advantage of my previous degree and finish my BSN (Bachelor's Degree of Nursing) in 16 months is a very attractive option.

However, I do not want to put all my eggs in one basket, and I am currently making sure that I will be eligible to apply to the local program here as well.  The local program is at the school where I currently take my pre-requisites - they have a very solid program here but it is my second choice as it is an ADN (associates degree) program.  In addition to being an ADN program, it is a 2 year program and when done, I will still need to do a bridge program to get my BSN.  So in total it will take me 3 years to get done versus 1 1/2 if I can get in in Portland.

Either way, I get to pursue a dream .... I am so excited and love all the new material I am learning.  I feel so fortunate being able to pursue this.

Thanksgiving is next week...

...wait a minute that means Christmas is just 39 days away!!!  I love Christmas!!!  But I am not ready for Christmas just yet....yikes!

What I do love love LOVE is that early December will bring the end of the term.  This term has been so hectic.  I feel like I am studying all the time and there is still more to do and learn.  Do not get me wrong I am loving it, but sometimes it would be nice to slow it down just a little bit.  Today we had our exam on muscle physiology and anatomy ... and while I have learned a ton over the last 2 1/2 weeks of covering this subject matter in class, I just feel like there is so much more to learn and that just a few weeks on muscles is not enough.  Anyhow .... exam #3 is done!!!  Only the final is left .. Yippeeee ... 

I have 3 weeks left of this term.  Having 11 credits is definitely preparing me for getting back to school full time and I am really hoping that I will get accepted at OHSU for next summer.  I have two of my old transcripts ready for submission already and as soon as I can get my hands on transcripts for this current term, my application will be in.  The application deadline is January 5th.  I have started the online piece of it and I am a currently working on my application essay to accompany the application.... it is just so exciting.

Another exciting new addition to my schedule is that I am now volunteering at the hospital.  I have the opportunity to be in the ER and to watch and observe the flow of the hospital there.  It is great.  I get to sit with patients who may some extra monitoring and help out with turning over the rooms and run to the lab ... I am loving it.  The best part is that I have ample opportunity to observe the nurses and ask questions when they have time.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Happy Birthday...

Miss V ... I wish you a wonderful and happy birthday!!!  Lots and lots of hugs and kisses from all of us to you.

Today you are three ... three years since you arrived and changes a lot of lives.  I am so lucky to have been part of bringing you into this world and I feel so incredibly blessed to continue to get peeks into your life. 

I just got a few new pictures and the darling girl is just so cute :-) ...and I must say that both of the twiblings look ever so fabulous in their Halloween costumes!

Friday, October 26, 2012

One of my favorites girl has a birthday coming up...

Miss V is turning three on Monday!!!  She is getting to be such a big girl. 

I just received a snapshot of her and her brother in their Halloween costumes... cute as ever!  I love getting pics ... it is just so much fun to watch her grow!

October has flown by...

Halloween is right around the corner!!!  We are all excited about Sunday where we are hosting a pumpkin carving party.  Lots of kids, lots of goodies, and hopefully it will be lots of fun.
 
Tomorrow we are having the last soccer games for Olivia and Sebastian and my coaching for the season is over.  It has been a lot of fun coaching Sebastian's team .. although sometimes getting 9 2/3 graders to run in the same direction is like herding cats!!  Magnus still has two more games, one tomorrow and then next Saturday too.  Jane is also done with volleyball ... so we are taking a sports break for the next few months.

Between lots of soccer, volleyball, mountains (...and I mean mountains) of homework, this month have just flown by!  I had one test in A&P earlier this month and the next one is coming up on Monday.  There is so much information crammed into this course.  I am loving the class and love the learning - but it is a little overwhelming.  I just hope I can cram it all into my skull and be ready my Monday at 11AM :-)

Math is going ok ... it is a lot of repetition.  I am a bit rusty in the math department when it comes to algebra.  I am through about 55% of the material at this point and we just finished midterm-week.  So I really need to a few more hours into - just not sure where to get them from!

My Health & PE class is great too.  I really wish I had much more time to put into it.  It provides lot of great information about personal training and how to make a great personal training program.  It truly is very complimentory to the nutrition class I took over the summer...now again if I just had a few more hours in the day to workout, that class would totally rock!


Monday, September 24, 2012

Day 1 back to school...

This semester will be busy for sure!!!  I had an appointment with the nursing adviser today and it turns out that the math I am enrolled in will not count towards the "residency" points for my nursing application because it is a pass/fail class.  The problem is that all other math classes offered this term conflict with my A&P class or the children's schedules. Well that is with the exception of Calculus.....and I am NOT retaking that one - once was enough!

So my options now are to take an extra class this term or add another class in the winter term (in addition to Genetics and A&P II) ...neither one is really a great option.  So I figured that I am going to bite bullet and opt for a PE class this term.   I really do not want 11 credits but the way I look at is that at least 7 of my credits should be relatively easy.   The math class is primarily self-guided, show up and do your work kind of thing and for PE - well what can I say, at least I will get exercise 3 days a week ;-).  The bonus to taking the PE class now, is that I will be completely done with all the general credit classes required for the nursing program.  So if I get accepted to the local program, I only have the nursing curriculum to concentrate on.

So for the next few months ... my nose will be in the books!


Back to school today...

Classes start back up today and I am SO ready to get going.  I am taking A&P and math ... here is to hoping that I will not be completely buried in homework by the end of the week.  Nah who I am kidding .. of course I will be :-)

I had a great birthday weekend.  Beautiful and sunny out all day Saturday ... an excellent day to try out my birthday present at the bird estuary.  My honey got me a kayak.  Love it!  It will be a great way for me to work on my upper body strength ~ my only conundrum at the moment is learning to get it on the top of my car by myself!

Have a great week everyone!

Friday, September 21, 2012

All about perspective...

In my last post I wrote about my hurt feelings.  In the overall context of life ... my feelings are just that mine.  Putting a little more thought into it, a better term may have been disappointment.   I never expected daily, weekly, or even monthly contact ... but I did expect some level of contact.  Just a little news ... a girl can dream ~ maybe one day it will happen :-)

All I am doing is giving a voice to something that has been weighing on my heart.  In the grand scheme of things, I feel certain that N is well cared for and loved beyond measure.  He is a blessed little boy and I treasured the time I carried him.

Treasure the journey ~ enjoy the moments - and live life without regrets.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Hurt feelings but I would still have done the same...

Fall is here and my birthday is near.  The change in season is a reminders that two years ago, I was gearing up for a transfer with L&J to help them complete their family.  The transfer went perfectly but life is not always perfect ... Still I believe in miracles and that every life circumstance will teach us something.  It may not always be lessons that we want to learn but none the less we will take something away from all situations.

Since the birth of my first child, my birthday wishes has always included happiness for my children and my sweet little surro babes.  This year I wish that little sweetheart N is growing bigger, hopefully stronger and more joyful to his beautiful family day by day.  Some days I think a lot about N&J - it is a funny feeling of holding someone so close at heart while still letting them go. 

I often wish that I would hear some news and my feelings are hurt that I do not.  Then I think maybe this is how it would have been even if all had been perfect, after all that is the chance you take with surrogacy.  Sometimes I think back at our emails and conversations laced with intent of keeping in touch...and wonder how I could have been so mistaken in what was yet to come.  Then I think that life and circumstances just got in the way.  Loss is hard and my journey with the twins ended in ways none of us wanted.  So many thoughts clouds my head when thinking about it....retracing steps of the last days of my pregnancy and then of the days to come after.  So many unanswered questions ... too many to count ... maybe I should not have left for NY the night I did, maybe I should have kissed little J's sweet cheek before his surgery.  Maybe I should have held little N closer that last time I saw him.  Maybe a few more minutes of holding him tight before taking L and him to the airport would have been ok - but I did not want to make them late.  Had I known then what I know now, maybe I would have held on just a little longer instead of the hasty snuggles in goodbye... but is that not how we always think, that there will always be a next time?  Reality is that sometimes there is not a next time.

Truthfully ... had I known, that soon I would never hear news again, I would still have done the exact same things.  I would still have spent hours pumping milk because even though it was time consuming and heart breaking, I wanted to do everything I could to make a difficult situation just a little bit better.  I would still have driven those many times 4-5 hours round trip just to catch little glimpses of two sweet little ones, to bring up milk to them, and for a chance to catch up with L to see how she was holding up.  I would still have spend hours and hours praying for all of them and I would still have given Little N my hasty snuggles to ensure their timely arrival at the airpot.

Life goes on and time heals .. or so so they say.  I do feel much stronger and better than I did a year ago.  If nothing else, time does provide perspective.  But I have learned something that I wish no mother ever had to learn.  Loosing a child ~ even one that was just mine to love for a brief time ~ is not something that you can ever be healed from, it is something that you have to learn to live with.  It changes you profoundly and life is never again the same. 

I have so many blessing in my life .. so much joy that I am grateful for.  Still at times an iron fist remains locked around part of my heart and closes in so tight that I can barely breathe.  My heart will always have ragged edges, and a piece will forever be missing ... but still it remains overflowing with lots of love for all the incredible, beautiful, talented, spirited and wonderful baby feet that I have been blessed to carry deep inside below my jagged heart.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Busy busy busy...

Homework x 4 kiddos, soccer and volleyball, 2 lovely doggies that wants to run and play, keeping up the house .... and as of next week adding my own school and homework to the schedule ... I have my work cut out!!  But it is all good...busy is great and while my to do list never ends or even seem marginally shorter even on a productive day, I feel ever so fortunate for all the wonderful blessings in my life.

Our exchange student arrived on Sunday and just a few days in, she is doing fabulous.  Her English is very good but I know it will still take her just a little bit to feel fully comfortable hearing herself speak another language all the time.  She had her first day at school today.  It was a bit overwhelming with all the new impressions, things to remember, and homework.  So after a little while, I banned homework for the day as she needed to get some rest.  She seems very sweet and I hope she will enjoy her stay in the US.

With all the kids of to school today, it was time for a bit of catch-up for me in order to get ready for school.  I start on Monday so not much time left before I really need to kick in back in to study mode.

I also went to meet with the volunteer service coordinator at our local hospital today.  I have been wanting to get some community volunteer service in and figured that the hospital will be a great place to do it at.  So now I just need to wait for my criminal background check and drug screen to come back and then I can schedule orientation.  My hope is that I can volunteer in some capacity that will give me a little bit of patient exposure. 

It has been a long day today and I am ready to hit the pillows and conquer more of my long list of "fun stuff" to do tomorrow :-)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Adding the "Warrior" title to my name...

Rio and I have the Warrior Medals to prove it!  We ran the Warrior Dash together last Sunday and it was so much fun having someone along for the run.

This is before the run .. check out the nice clean shirts and the horns!


After shot ... well we definitely have the mud requirement covered ..  Rio did a complete face plant in the very last mud pile :-)



Don't we just look awesome?

Back to the grind...

In more ways that one!

My fall term classes start soon.  I am ready to get back in the thick of it.  I will be taking Anatomy and Physiology (A&P) and basic algebra this semester.  Yes I did say math!!!  Ughh!!!  I have both Finite Math and a Calculus class taken for my previous degree; however, the math requirement for the nursing program must be fulfilled within the previous 5 years ... so here I go!!  Hopefully it should be an easy class although I know it will be a lot of busy work.  Actually it might be a nice review and enable me to help the kiddos better as they are advancing in to more complicated math in school.

The downside to having to take math is that I will be on campus 5 days a week for this term.  Yikes!  That means out of the house every single day ... busy!!!

I also need to set a new fitness goal.  I have been slacking a bit during the last month of summer but I have maintained my weight below 130 and I am happy about that.  Today my scale reflected 124.2 .. woohoo - I do not even recall when I saw that number on a scale!

So here is my new goal.  Back to running 3-4 days per week, strength training 3-4 days per week, and my abglider ... EVERYDAY!!!  My goal for now will be to make it down to 122 lbs.... actually it would be great if I could make it to about 150lbs with a sweet babe in my belly but since that does not appear to be in the cards right this moment...I will strive for letting go of a few more pounds.

Wish me luck ...


Friday, September 7, 2012

Surrogacy update...

While I am updating, I figured I might as well get a little post in about this as well.  Here is where we are at:

Hurry Up and Wait.....

Will it ever happen ... I don't know.  Life happens and some times other things get in the way.  What I do know is that insurance issues seems to be straightened out .. but now we are waiting on the attorney.  Hopefully soon ... things will move forward. 

To make sure that I am still healthy and set to go in the event we do move forward, I just had my usual annual OB check-up as well as a visit with my primary care provider.  Labs and pap results should be back soon and hopefully all looks good.  My primary care provider did have me go in for some further testing on my abdominal aorta as she thought the pulsating was very prominent on my belly.  Well the ultrasound went fine and all looked well - the technician said it is because I am so skinny ... now that made me giggle as I have not really been accused of that before ;-)

Appreciation...

So this posting have been in the works for a little while now.  I really needed some time to reflect and think through a recent incident.  No one in this world is perfect ... and I know that while I strive for perfection and I often expect perfection ... I am FAR from perfect!!

I recently made a huge faux pas .. and truly, I should be have been skinned and hung out to dry.  I was mortified at my own indiscretion and the fact that it happen so quickly.  The realization of what I did just sting and I feel terrible about it.

Let me preface the below with saying that I have a total new-found appreciation for parents who are dealing with food allergies in their children.  What most of us take for granted, the ability to eat what ever we like at any given moment, is so not the life for parents of allergic children.  They always have to be on watch ... always have to read labels ... always watch what other people around them are doing and bringing close.  While it surely it is something that becomes second nature because it has to.  It must be exhausting because dangers can lurk anywhere even when good intentions is all that is present.  A child may be at risk for adverse reactions and any parent will know that watching your child, any child, in trouble is no fun - regardless of what the situation may be.

On a recent overnight away, we visited some friends whose children are severely allergic to various things ... including eggs and peanut butter.  I have known this for a while, and during the visit we spent a good amount talking about it and the allergy trials that they are currently a part of.  Given my new line of studies, hearing about the trial is very fascinating to me and especially as I just took a nutrition class over the summer too.   The fact that potentially through exposure, tolerance levels can be increased and the risk of reactions can be lowered, is amazing.

Anyway...the morning comes along and the kids are hungry.  Since we were away from home, we had a cooler packed with some stables that we take for granted in our life and the kids wanted their usual oatmeal.  While pulling out the oatmeal, I automatically pulled out a couple of boiled eggs and Rio had the PB to make a quick sandwich (this is one of his go to meals) .... well what a boo boo.

My friend comes in the kitchen, takes one look and announces that we are just an "allergic parents" worst nightmare!!!  And YES the realization hit me full on - WE WERE!!!!  How the heck did I not mentally connect my brain to my actions.  Yes it was morning time and the needs of my children were primary on my mind (one of my friends children were already gone to pre-school and the other had already had breakfast) ... but I felt so utterly disappointed by my actions.  The act of simply and quickly wanting to feed my children could pose a risk to their children.  My actions were to tied to my usual habits.  My second nature of doing what we normally do kicked it when really I should have been thinking.  Well a fanatical and big time clean-up impulse hit me right then and there...the need for me to eradicate any little trace of egg or pb was instant and severe.   Luckily we were at a very minor portion of their kitchen (small area of the counter top and sink) ... but trust me when I say, every possible surface that may have been touched was wiped down with cleaner.

Needless to say - I felt like a horrible horrible person.... and my friend if you are reading, please know that the next time I see you ~ I promise, promise, promise to leave egg breath and pb at home!!!

Pinch me ~ we have a family addition...

I am cannot believe how quickly it all happened with our foreign exchange student!!!

Last Thursday I inquired about the program through http://www.cetusa.org/ as I had heard via Facebook that there were in big need of host families as many students were still waiting for placement for this year.  Well the ball got rolling quickly....and in the matter of a week we went through a whirlwind!

Informal inquiry, formal application, criminal background checks, psych screening and in-home visit, phone call with the children and hubby, review of student profiles, choosing a great student for our family ...  and yep placement of a student!!!  That was in one week!!!  Ok now let me breathe for a moment .... deep breaths ... in and out!!!  I am adding another teenager to the clan :-)

All I can really do is just laugh ... thank goodness I have a great husband and wonderful children who are so loving and accepting when I come up with these crazy insertions to our daily life!

I should mention that we have hosted an exchange student before, so this is not completely new to us.  I love opening our home to others and bringing different perspectives and new culture into our family.  It is such a wonderful way for everyone to learn and expand horizons.  We truly hope that our new "daughter" from Thailand will be a blessing to our family and we hope to bless her with a wonderful experience in the US for the next 10 months.

We are excitedly awaiting her arrival details ... it will be very soon, maybe as soon as Saturday :-)


Vacation, Miss V and visit with a friend...

Summer break ended with a fun vacation to California.  I needed to renew my passport, and as Denmark have gone to biometric passports as of January 1, 2012, my only options were to go to New York, Chicago (yep should have done that one before we moved back to the coast had I only known about these new requirements!!) or Palo Alto, California.  Well Palo Alto was the closest option and we could incorporate a trip to San Francisco.  I have been wanting to visit there for a long time so off we went on some family fun.

We left the coast on Tuesday and started off with getting new tires on my car in Portland.  Then we collected Rio from work and headed south.  We had a week filled with lots of fun!  We saw the Redwood Forrest .. which is amazing!!  We visited the Trees of Mystery in Klamath California where they have a 36 foot tall talking statue of Paul Bunyan and his bull.  It was hilarious.  The kids would shout out questions and the statute would "talk back and answer them."  They also offered an amazing canapy ride through the Redwoods and all the kids loved that.

From the Redwoods we headed further south to Palo Alto and San Francisco.  We got the City Pass for the San Fransisco attractions and our weekend was full!  Friday night we did a boat ride on the bay, underneath the Golden Gate Bridge and around Alcatraz (I really wanted to get on the island but tickets were sold out).  Saturday we went to the Exploratorium - the kids loved it - and the aquarium on Pier 39.  Then we went on the famous trolley ride and to the Rain Forrest Cafe for dinner.  Sunday we spent at the California Academy of Sciences which again was just an incredibly fun place for the kids to explore.  There was so many things to see and do - I am making my list for next time ;-)

We just had a great time together and saw lots of fun stuff along the way.  Rio flew back to Portland on Sunday to return to work.  Leaving me to do the ride home alone with the kiddos.....it was just fine - but long!  But hey we are used to that!!!

On our trip we got to visit with Miss V and her family ... what a treat!!!  The babes are getting so big and they vocabulary is just exploding.  It was just so much fun to talk to and play with them.  It was wonderful to chat with M&M as well, and I feel so very appreciative that we still have contact.  To be given a window to look in on a sweet little miracle that I helped nurture is truly a blessing....and my heart just melts over little Miss V's cute little smiles.  Thank you guys .... we had a nice visit.  Sprinkler and all!!!

I also got to visit with another friend on the drive back home.  Back in the fall of 1995, Rio and I purchased our first computer ... you know, the big box, that was incredibly expensive and totally a waste of money (at least if you asked my mom at the time!!) ... and we got hooked up to this incredible thing called the internet.  Well the internet led me to AOL's chat rooms and there was a Danish Forum.  In there I "met" Rikke ... she had come to the US as an exchange student and found her prince ;-) ... well here we are 18 years later and until this summer we have only shared an online friendship.  On this trip, I had the opportunity to meet her and her lovely family face to face.  It was just a lot of fun.  With true Danish hospitality, they opened their home to us and we came there for dinner and spent the night before heading back North.  Our visit was too short ... but I hope that we can remedy that sometime as I would love to spent more time with her....fun fun fun!

Back home again ... we were gone for 7 days ... 7 days of no computer time for me!!!  What a great and wonderful ending to our summer.


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Kids are back in school...

Woohoo....back to school was yesterday and the kids were excited.  Well at least two of three were excited!  Olivia was lamenting that all she does in school is sit and do work ... yep that is school for ya little girl :-)

With the kids back in school, I have some catching up to do!  But first...I have exciting news.

We are the proud parents of an extra teenager - Supawadee from Thailand will be joining our family for a 10 month high school exchange.  We are excited to welcome her here very soon.

...Let the mayhem continue :-)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Pre-application transcript evaluation...

The nursing school that I want to apply to has a pre-application transcript evaluation service that you can use.  It is great because they will evaluate all previous classes as well as ongoing and planned pre-requisite classes to ensure that they meet their criteria for acceptance purposes.

Well - I got my response letter back today and it is sitting unopened on the bed next to me.  I am nervous about opening it.  One of my issues is that I have schooling from Denmark and I am unable to get an "official" transcript from that school in the format that is typically used in the US educational system.  This presents some difficulty as I may need to use an international transcript service to have another evaluation done and this is quite pricy.  The funny things is, that I never needed that for my initial enrollment or acceptance at Southern Illinois University or for acceptance into the nursing school back in Illinois.  Furthermore, I have met all my education requirements for my bachelor's degree in the US and the credits that are reflected from Denmark were not used to fulfill any of my previous degree requirements nor pre-requisite requirements for nursing school.  So it is a little frustrating that these may now inhibit my ability to go back to school .. hopefully they will not.

Anyways I am nervous about opening this letter ... it may be silly really, but truly I really want a shot at going back to school.  The excitement I feel everything I think about going back is just very fulfilling....ok now on to read!!!

I opened it - no reason to fret!  It was just a standard form letter reply attached to the specific pre-requisite evaluation that I had filled out.  All my planned pre-reqs are good to go, but they did not answer my questions about admissions and acceptance of what I have already provided from my school in Denmark.  Hmmm what to do, what to do...thankfully I still have plenty of time to figure it out as the application widow does close until January 5th.

For now I am going to enjoy being done for this term and the rest of my vacation planning for next week.  I tried to get tickets to Alcatraz but they are all sold out :-( bummer but I am sure we will find plenty of other fun stuff to do.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Another term is over...

And I am now two pre-requisites closer to being able to apply to nursing school....I am so excited!  Next up is my Anatomy & Physiology classes and I am really looking forward to these.

My finals for summer term are officially over tomorrow.  My nutrition class was super and I really learned so much useful stuff.  I finished up all my requirements for that class last week and I already have my grade ~ I am a happy girl :-)

I am so happy that I got it done last week because my psychology class has been hectic this week.  We have to work in a group and do lots of online blackboard discussion.  Along with specific requirements for each day this week, we also have to develop a group paper and turn it in as one single document.  That is a bit challenging as we are all on different schedules and making sure that everyone has input and get an opportunity to participate is difficult.  I have really enjoyed the subject matter in this class as well but there were so many more areas that I would have liked to explore... I guess another class for another time ;-)

With school over, I can fully concentrate on our upcoming vacation.  I am so excited to get time away with Rio and the kiddos.  We have lots of fun stuff planned ... now my challenge for that is to get everything to fit in the car...yikes! 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Ouch...

I barely ate dinner today ... and not for the lack of hunger ~ insert big pout here!!!

As of this afternoon, I am re-living my early teens....I had braces put back on my teeth.  When I was a kid I had them on my top teeth only - but this time, I am adorned on both the top and bottom.

I have been wanting to get braces for a long time now.  Ever since I had my wisdom teeth (yes maybe my wisdom went out the door back then too) removed back in my early 20's, this has been something I wanted to do.  Once my wisdom teeth were gone, all the work done in my early teens, just vanished resulting in a nice big gap in my smile.  I am so excited that it is finally time to do something about it. 

Our new dental coverage is great so I am all over it :-)  I was hoping that invisalign braces would have been an option .. but unfortunately my gap is too wide.  So on went the traditional good old brace brackets.  Thankfully the top ones are clear, still I feel like I am wearing a grill! 

To beautify my smile and entice Olivia into just a little excitement about having her braces put on, I had them give me a rainbow from different colored rubber bands...I am a sight for sore eyes that is for sure but I am all rainbow smiles :-)


Thursday, August 2, 2012

August...

Last year on August 1st I started running.  Slow running and not very far at all...but I started and getting of the couch was a great thing.

This last year has been filled with a lot of moving ~ in more ways that one!!!  We just loaded a little moving truck again the other day.  Rio found some temporary housing in Portland to stay at for a little while as we continue to look for something that can accommodate all of us plus doggies when we go up there.  So we loaded up a little truck with necessities for now.

On the more physical side, I am still running (well ok small confession to be inserted here: for the last month it has been very minimal ... can I blame Rio coming home and bringing bad influence ... LOL!!!) but I am still working out almost on a daily basis.  I have prioritized getting some type of physical activity into my day every day.  We have been surfing, biking and jumping alot and it is all making a big difference in how I feel....now if those stubborn jelly rolls on my belly would melt away that would really make my day! 

I am also moving forward on school stuff...I am almost done with two more classes.  I am actually really enjoying both of my summer classes.  The nutrition class is fabulous and giving me lots of good stuff to think about with respect to our daily dietary habits.  While I think we eat pretty healthy, there is always room for improvement (.....eating at Olive Garden last night is probably not part of that improvement plan - but it was ooohhh so yummy :-)

Now I am off for a run ... my doggies are happily wagging their tails in anticipation.  I need to get back into the running habit so I can be ready for the Warrior Dash in September ... just a month away - I am so excited for that run ... just can't wait to get dirty! 


Monday, July 30, 2012

Babies ... well baby kitties that is...

A&S have kittens....Mama brought her babies out of hiding just yesterday.  I have been told that they are so little and sweet!  aawww :-)

... a little bit of sweet love

Planning summer vacation...

I am so excited .. kids are finally done with all their camps - 2 weeks of camp K for Magnus and Olivia and a fun 1 week of day camp at Fort Clatsop for both of them.  Magnus' survival camp included a double camp out in the "wild" and Olivia's included one overnight in Lewis & Clark's cabin where they overwintered in their expedition to the West.  She slept on a deer skin on the hard bunk and was happy as a lark when she came home.  Sebastian is not big enough for overnight camps yet, much to his disappointment, but a week of day camp with lots of fun Lego building was a great hit!

With camps over it is now time to plan a bit of family fun.  Our destination has been pre-determined!  My passport expired here in July and with new regulations for Danish passports in effect as of January 1, 2012, there are only 3 places in the US that I can renew.  So the options for vacation was New York City, Chicago, or Palo Alto, CA.  With all the moving about we are not ready to go on a super long road-trip, so NYC and Chi-town is out.... Cali here we come :-)

I have always wanted to visit San Fransisco, so we are definitely making a trip across the Golden Gate Bridge, dinner on Fisherman's Wharf and planning a visit to Alcatraz.

I also hope to visit one of my favorite girls on this trip!  Little miss Violet and her wonderful family - I can't wait to see them all again.

There is another special friend that I would like to visit while in Cali.  She is a fellow Dane and I "met" her the first year Rio and I were married in an AOL chatroom.  She came to the US the year I did and attended high school while I was an au-pair ... commonality ... she met her prince and I met mine.  She came back to the US and married her sweetheart as well!  Well all these years we have stayed in contact but have yet to meet face to face ... I hope timing will work out well as that would totally be so much fun.

Friday, July 27, 2012

St. Jude Warrior...

Rio and I are signed up for the Warrior Dash as St. Jude's Warriors .... Team Frioe :-)

If you want to donate to a great cause look us up through the St. Jude Warrior site ~ our goal is $500 and I just made our personal contribution of $200.

https://waystohelp.stjude.org/sjVPortal/public/displayTeamPage.do?programId=901&eventId=259829&teamId=22946

Now I better get back to running every day!!!  ...and get ready for mud :-)

.....and if anyone wants to joins us for playing in the mud ~ September 9th in North Plains, OR - 12:00PM run .... come out and get muddy.

Monday, July 16, 2012

New race...

September is right around the corner and I am up for a new challenge ... a warrior challenge :-)

The Spartan Sprint was brutal ... the Warrior Dash is right up the same ally but not quite as difficult.  I will be training more for this one too so I will be better prepared ... and I am totally excited!

Rio will be doing the race with me ... woo hoo!!!  I should know very soon if we are going to move forward with our journey and if not then bring on the mud.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

My hubby is home...

Yeah ... finally!!!!  We are both officially in the same state again!  He is starting a new job in Portland next week but will be home for at least 3 days every week ... I am so ready for this!

If I am lucky enough to get accepted into the nursing program next year, we will be looking a a bit more permanent place to stay in the Portland area but for now we are just looking for a small place for him to stay overnight on the days he works.

I am a very happy girl today :-)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Things to consider...

So this post has been in the workings for a while ... my plate has been pretty full recently but I want to give a quick update on the surrogacy plans.  Since we cancelled cycle in May, we have all had a lot to think about.

I have not shared much about why we cancelled the transfer but it was due to insurance issues.  The insurance options that we planned to use was no longer a viable option due to my early delivery with the twins.  And for those of you wondering - yes my history was disclosed to the insurance company but it did not become an issue until well ... last minute so to speak when they were pressed for specific details.  I guess most companies are happy to take the premiums but not as happy to incur the risk.  So we cancelled transfer - better to stop something than to have an issue later.

With this particular insurance option gone - we all knew that the end of the road was likely reached.  Insurance when undertaking surrogacy is very important.  Self-pay is certainly an option, but given how quickly the unexpected turn of events with the twins occurred, it is not really a risk that we wanted to take.  I knew that my insurance from back in the Midwest would not cover anything because we are completely out of network out here.  Furthermore, I was not hopeful on the likelihood that our new insurance would cover surrogacy as most specifically excludes it.

Low and behold, my new insurance does cover - but here is the hitch - it covers uncompensated surrogacy.  So the question for me to ponder was whether or not I can do that.  Surrogacy requires a lot of you both physically and emotionally but it is a gift regardless if those efforts are comped or not.  My main motivations for surrogacy was never the financial gain and that is certainly not what motivates me this time around either.  If anything, my last experience have taught me more about how precious life is and that you truly cannot put a value on it.  Parenthood is priceless.  I truly have it upon my heart to help A&S, so while I may not have considered an uncomped journey in the past, things have changed and knowing full well what goes into this, I have spent a lot of time over the last month pondering it....can I do it?  ....and yes I can do that - the incredible intrinsic rewards that come along with this act of giving the miracle of life to someone else is truly the reward that means the most to me.

This has however required a lot of discussion between Rio and I - because this is not just my decision to make.  He is as big a part of this as I am and his input is just as important as mine.  While I gain all the personal rewards, the financial aspect has made up for some of my shortcomings along the way such as when I was too tired to cook dinner and we ordered extra takeout, or when I simply had no energy to clean my house, I could pay someone to do it for me.  I need his support and unless he is ok with my decision - then it would be a no go.  How lucky I am to have a great supportive husband - who understands and care for me.  Bottom line is that he knows my wishes and my dreams to carry a baby for this couple.  The reasons are plentiful - are they tied to the outcome of my last pregnancy .. sure there is some to that ... but trust me when I say, that I am not pursuing another pregnancy because of that experience.  I knew A&S before I knew L&J and at this point we have a long history together and a very special friendship.  A and I email back on forth on most days - actually I think that she is probably the person that I emailed with most frequently these days.  Mostly my desire to do this comes from wanting to help some very sweet parents realize their dream of adding to their family.  Family is very important to me.

In life we do not choose our family ... if we did, I certainly have a few extra families that I would like to include in mine.  Sure I have met these families by chance ... but by chance or not, 3 families have crossed paths with mine and I am ever so blessed that they did.

So things are still in the works - I just really needed time to think through it all ... life is a journey - let's see where it takes us next!



Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Objectivity...

Take away from a conversation with Sebastian today:

S: Mommy what would happen if a huge gigantic asteroid hit the lake
Me: I guess we would get REALLY wet
S: No Mommy like the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs
Me: I don't know
S: We would go extinct Mommy!

Here I was, sitting in the car, hoping not to go extinct just yet!!

This conversation was so sweet and candid and I love these moments when I can tell that he is really starting to process things he is learning.  Fascinating to hear how he puts 2 and 2 together and trying to make sense of things.  Even more interesting as I am doing a lot of reading for my developmental psych class!  I am sure some of the various theorist (if still alive and not yet extinct!) may just have something to say about that conversation.  Anyway, I am excited about this class because I hope to gain some valuable insight not just for applicable usage once I get into the nursing field, but also for myself now.

There are two aspects of the class that I am particularly interested in - childhood development stages as I may glean some very valuable information to aid in my never ending quest to raise three bright and delightful children ....who will always speak nicely to their mommy, who will never throw pre-teen girlie fits completely with "if eyes could kill - you would be dead now" looks, or who will quit saying "just a minute" when being asked for the 5th, 6th or 7th time to get off the computer!!! .....ok ok I digress, maybe the class will not help me with those exact issues, but surely it will help me to become a more educated parent!

We will also be talking about grief and how these feelings impacts people.  I know I feel like I have been dealt such a shitty hand when it comes to grief ... but surely that is how all people feel when they loose someone they care about.  It is never fair and timing is never right.

A quote keeps floating back into my mind;

~ Better to have loved and lost .. than never to have loved at all ~

And yes .. it is better - it is harder but better!  

I feel grateful for the experience of carrying N&J.  I am saddened by their early arrival and still heartbroken over the loss of J ... but the experience have still made me a better person.  I cry sometimes and part of that is an ongoing process of loss and letting go.  Letting go of expectations  and being ok with knowing that I may never know how N is doing.  

I have gotten so much stronger over this last year - I am stronger person for what I have been through.  Truly loss happens all the time, it is eminent and especially for a nurse it is a reality that will linger close by.... So what is the trick?  Is it to remember the good things and warm our hearts on those memories when the going gets tough.  I know for me remembering that for a moment in time I brought joy and hope and the miracle of pregnancy where none was before, and although the end of the journey was troubled, I still brought the excitement of little feet to a very very loving home.  Or is it to have a place of solace to remember the people we loose?  For me visiting the grave site of my grandmother and my father will always be a staple in my life when I travel to Denmark and J's little sunny spot will forever be close to my heart.

Whatever it is, I hope to be enlighten in this class - I hope to gain some valuable knowledge to be able to handle situations with grace and humility and down the road be able to provide comfort for those in need.

....and if nothing else ~ even if I do become extinct by morning due to a massive asteroid hitting the lake close to my home ~ this I know - I am so much richer for having loved.  Although I may have lost, the memories of love lives on forever.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A sweet new baby...

Congratulations M on the delivery of your second little surro babe ~ you rock!

I know M from my very surrogacy journey with M&M.  She carried their little boy while I carried Miss V.  Today she delivered a sweet baby girl and made a family very very happy.

Speaking of M&M ... I look forward to go and visit them very soon.  July is already a hectic month due to lots of kids camps ~ but hopefully August will allow for a trip ... yeah for summer planning.

Thinking about M&Ms ... I totally want some - but do not have any :-( ... Off to sneak in an Oreo and a cup of milk before bed!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Summer classes...

My summer term starts on Monday.  I am excited to get started again but also a little nervous as I am taking the classes online.  Scheduling wise, online classes work great for the summer as the kids are home and we do not have to plan around me going to classes several times a week.  Still I feel a little antsy waiting for the details from the class instructors so I can begin my studying.  The school uses an electronic blackboard for communication and I was hoping that information for the classes would be posted yesterday as the term starts Monday...but no such luck - one last weekend of freedom I suppose!

I am actually spending a good amount of time reading up on information for my upcoming A&P sequence starting in the fall.  I really want to go into fall with a good foundation on bones and muscles....almost anything I do physically right now gets mentally related back to anatomy.  Preparation is half the battle!


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Angel flutters...

It has been a year since little J received his angel wings...

I wish we had more time with you ... I wish you were not so little ... I wish you had stayed within me much longer than you did ... I wish you were home with your brother ... there is not end to my wishes for you ... but perhaps my biggest wish is peace for your sweet family and that you will continue to watch over them.

Loosing a child must be the hardest thing a mother can ever endure.  My thoughts are often with J and also with L.  I know her heartache is amplified many times that of mine.   Even though I am not J's mother, my feelings regarding his loss are indescribable .. as a surrogate the sweet little ones are not ours but still they are for just a brief moment in time.  I have been through loss before but this has been one of the hardest things I have ever gone through.  I still have moments when my grief feels very raw and I do not think that will change.

Baby boy .. your footprints sweetly lingers in my heart... I miss you.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

I AM a Spartan...

What a crazy crazy undertaking ... the Spartan Sprint is NO joke!

This morning I feel pretty much run over by a truck ... and I know the only way to combat my sore muscles is a little jog to get them to loosen up.  The thought of running right now is .... uhmm not so fun...but I will do it.  Because even just sitting in my bed, I feel sore and achy.

My knees and palms are totally thankful that I was wearing knee pads and half gloves .. my elbows?  Not quite as happy - Ouch!!!  They are both pretty bruised.  I guess crawling - no creeping is more like it - on your belly uphill in finger-deep mud, below barb wire while being hosed down with ice-cold water from a fire-hose, did my elbows no favors.....trust me, you will dig in anything in just to get forward and upward - including unpadded elbows!!

Still ... 3+ miles, countless of obstacles, a nasty spill off the monkey bars, 90 burpbees later and a jump over the fire... I finished the Spartan sprint in about an hour and a half.  I am proud of my accomplishment - the experience rocked!!

My two big kiddos ran in the Spartan Kids race - they loved it!  Well done kiddos ... I am just so proud of both of you!!  Getting muddy and having fun .. it was just a great day.  Both of them got a taste of running a race ... and they want to do it again!  I will totally do another race like this - but got to work a bit more on my upper body strength first....well that and nurse my raw elbows back to health!

I AM A SPARTAN .... aruuuuuuu!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Spartan kiddos...

We are doing this - I just finished the registration.  Magnus and Olivia are signed up to do the Spartan Kiddo race and I will do the Spartan Sprint..... I am sure that by 5 minutes into it I will have my moments of regret ... for now - I am just excited and think it will be fun!!

Check back Sunday to see if we all survive ;-)

YES!!!

I got 94% on my micro final ... I walked out of the test knowing that one of my essay answers was just not quite there.  I completely drew a blank when getting ready to answer that section and had to come back to it several times ... each time I was still at a loss.  Finally the time was ticking away and not wanting to leave the section blank, I wrote anything that I could possible relate to the questions to at least get some partial credit.  Last night I was totally stressing about it too .. kept thinking about the essay questions and how they could have been answered better.

Thankfully my instructor is a very quick grader.  The final was yesterday and the grades were logged today on the schools intranet.  I also got an email kudos from my instructor about the final ~ that just made my day!  I do not have my grades for the laboratory section yet but I am not too worried about that part ... but I am so totally excited that I did well in my first full class back in college and totally psyched to continue my studies.

Woohoo!!! 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Are you a Spartan...

Well I would like to attempt to find out if I am!!!

Since we cancelled transfer, I am needing something that gives a bit of immediate gratification...so while this may look like I am gluten for punishment, I am really just ready for an extreme physical challenge ~ well this will be it for sure.

Check it out: http://www.spartanrace.com/index.html

June 16 - is less than a week away.  I can still sign up through Thursday so if I can find someone to come along or watch the kids for the day, then I am on it.

Scared?  ....yup!!!

1st prerequisite for nursing school is done...

Can I just tell you what a sigh of relief I felt walking out of the test today (ok ok some anxiety too because there were pieces of the test that I was so not confident on!) ...it feels so good to have the first class done with.  I feel like I have actually accomplished something.  Now all I have to do is not stress out and worry about the grade - I should have it tomorrow.

The last few days, my thoughts have really kicked back into thinking about nursing school.  Thinking and planning how to get through pre-reqs, with minimal impact for the kiddos, in order to be able to apply.  All while hoping that I can keep up a great GPA as nursing school is SO competitive - for the 2012 sessions, they accepted just short of 90 students, had over 500 applicant with an average GPA of 3.86 ~ yep I got my work cut out for me.  Still, every time I think about it, I just get that really excited feeling deep in my belly.  I know this is a right direction for me.

So here I go .. ready to start the pre-reading to prepare for my summer classes - nutrition and developmental psychology ... excited already :-)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Missing my dad today...


Three years ago today my father passed away and I miss him very much.  I still cannot "find" his voice in my memories but I hope one day my heart will unlock that treasure and I again will be able to recall exactly what he sounded like.

When we loose someone we love dearly, life is never the same again.  After the initial grief a "new normal" settles in with the memories always lurking behind closed eyes and in the depths of our hearts. 

June for me will always be filled with longing.  Wishing not only that I had had just little more time with my dad.  June also brought the loss of sweet baby J.  He was such a beautiful little baby and while I cannot "hear" my dad, I quite often hear the little wimpers from an all too tiny little boy.  It still seems so unfair that he was taken away so soon...

Today though ... I just miss my dad .. I love you so much

Funeral Heart with Red Roses

Saturday, June 2, 2012

End of first term back in school is near...

Yikes my microbiology final is coming up in just about a week....not sure that I feel ready for the final yet - but I am ready to get the first term back to school under my belt.  It has been a great term and I am really enjoying the subject matter. 

Last week I signed up for both my summer and fall terms ... Luckily I got into the A&P class for fall.  It is a bit competitive to get into here and since I was not allowed to sign up for classes until day two of registration, I was keeping my fingers crossed.  I am excited that I got in and am totally looking forward to starting that class again.  For the summer months I will be enjoying a nutrition class.  It is an online class only which will work well as the kids are out of school.

Once my finals are over I need to get all my transcripts submitted to the nursing program for evaluation and possible transfer credits.  They will go through what I already have as well as the classes I plan to take in preparation for the nursing program to make sure they all fit their requirements.  The actual application window for the program is September through January ~ exciting!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Up in the air...

Surrogacy can bring so much uncertainty - you just never know if things will pan out just right.  There are so many steps in the process and anyone of those can fumble at a moments notice.  Infertility is not fair!  I care very deeply for the families that I have met through this wonderful journey and knowing the struggles they have endured makes me sad....and for A&S I hope and pray that a sweet baby will be in their future soon.

It is so hard to get so close and yet be so far away ... a little bitter sweet to have gotten within reach of transfer only to have it cancelled.  However, as much as I like to control my life, we are not always in charge ... life happens.  Only time will tell where we go from here ~ it truly feels like this is just meant to be and hopefully so it will. 

We are not quite ready to abandon our journey but we are at a stalling point at this time.  Who knows where the next bend in the road will lead us ... we are hopeful it all will work out just peachy but only time will tell.

I have made some incredible friends through surrogacy and even if I never carry another baby I am so incredible blessed for what I have gotten to do.  How magical a ride it has been to help bring home two sweet babies to two very deserving families ... and how amazingly gratifying it has been to develop a special bond with another incredible family.  I truly do appreciate three beautiful intended mothers that I have come to know through this ... I have given openly of my heart to all three of them and in return I have gained so much more.

Prayerful and incredibly blessed ...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

This stinks...

Our transfer is officially cancelled.

We are all very disappointed ... so close yet so FAR away!

I am sad and have not quite collected my thoughts yet ... hopefully this is just a temporary set back.

I guess only time will tell.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Count down is in question...

Hurry up and wait!!!

Count down for now may be interrupted ... there has been a little snag in the plans which will likely postpone transfer for now ... maybe even cancel it completely.

External forces are at work here - this is not due to an internal conflict among my IPs and I - but an outside issue that was just not anticipated to play out the way it currently is.

Surrogacy can be very unpredictable but as my IM said, when one door closes another will open.  We are trying to spy that open door ... spying is hard on a cloudy day though and today is rainy!

For now I patiently wait (ok maybe "patiently" is a lie) for dust to settle and decisions to be made... hurry up and wait ... wait for it .... wait for it!

At this time I am sticking to my transfer schedule and staying hopeful.  Keeping my fingers crossed that all will work out....only time will tell!

Stay tuned!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Count down is on...

Transfer is in 9 days ... just 9 days and one more clinic appointment away!

Two more of Lupron injections to go and then I begin the daily injections of progesterone.  The progesterone is an intramuscular injection like the delestrogen, so the ice packs and heating pad will be coming out daily starting on Thursday.  Friday morning I head to the clinic for the last blood work appointment before transfer to ensure that all my levels are where they should be at this stage in the game.

At some point over the coming weekend, Dr. H and the embryologist will be thawing out A&S' embryos so that they can continue to grow before transfer.  I am not sure of the exact point they were frozen at previously only that it was pretty early after fertilization.  The embryos will be thawed and watched until they are at a blastocyst stage and ready for a day 5 transfer.  We are all hopeful that the thaw and growing process will be successful!

Keeping my fingers crossed :-)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Your uterus looks beautiful...

always chuckle when I get that comment....really how can you not laugh.  I wonder how many beautiful uteri the doc gets to look at on the ultrasound screen!  Still I will take my compliment and smile.

My clinic appointment went well this morning.  They were a bit backed up.  There was about a 1/2 hour delay in getting in to be seen, but I had my microbiology book with me so time was not wasted!  My ultrasound was quick as all looked good and "beautiful".  My lining is at 9 mm and triple striped.  It is lower than for my last two transfers at this point but the clinic just want to see that it is over 8 mm so we are good.

My estrogen levels are also where they should be, so I get to stay at my current delestrogen dosage of 0.3 ml twice a week.  Then next Thursday I will be adding daily progesterone injections as well.

We are getting close!

I am also getting close to another big event!!!  in just 9 days I will be the mother of a TEENAGER!!!  How the heck did that happen?  My little boy who was the first one to take up residence in my "beautiful" uterus is turning 13 - I just can't believe it.  I remember marveling at his little fingers and toes and just feeling like the luckiest person in the world. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Contract is done...

Going to notarize my part tomorrow ~ I cannot wait for it to be officially sealed, signed and delivered!

Finalizing the contract is always my least favorite part of surrogacy.  It always seem to put everybody a little on edge.  Even when your (mine and IP's) vision for the journey aligns,  even when you are pretty much in full agreement on the various aspects of the contract ... reading through it and contemplating all the possibilities covered in a contract is really sobering.  Add a double dose of lawyers to the deal representing opposite parties ... and well then you have a party! 

The contract is the legal backbone of any journey.  It is there to protect everyone involved and it is required to establish the legal parentage once baby arrives.  While it is a very crucial component of a journey, it is one of those things that once done, you hope you never really have to look at very much.  Sure it absolutely will be referred throughout the duration, but it will no longer be at the forefront ... it's like having a fallout shelter ... if the plan of attack goes well everyone wins .. but if something unplanned pops up, it is there to cover you.

Since I am doing this surrogacy as an independent match (meaning without the support of an agency), it is extra important to have an attorney that you trust and can rely on.  I really appreciate mine, he has always looked out for my best interest and make sure that I understand every little details and know what exactly I am signing my name to. 

It is a relief to have it finalized ... and suffice to say, that I am just happy that it is pretty much done and we can move on to lots more happier things ... like making a baby :-)


Monday, May 14, 2012

By the way...

I have managed to almost reach my goal weight, which is kind of incredible given the fact that I have started my hormone treatments.  The meds are making me feel bloated but so far I have not started to gain.  Actually getting on the scale Saturday morning...the numbers blinking back at me read 125.8 - wow!!!  I have not seen below 126 since before I had Magnus and he is turning 13 in less than 2 weeks.  While my weight is at the lowest point it has been in almost 14 years ... the shape of my abs will probably never return to the way they looked like 14 years ago.  But when I think of all the treasured gold that has been carried in there ... then a little extra flap on the midsection is a small price to pay.

So here I am doing a little victory happy dance....and then I am off to hoping that my weight will steadily begin increasing in the very near future and for a very very good reason!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day...

Today is first Sunday market of the season .... I am so excited ~ I love the market.  I love all the good smells of food, looking at all the different vendor stalls, and purchasing farm fresh produce and other homemade goodies.  We had a delicious lunch and I got a gorgeous bouquet of flowers.

The boys and I also went to one of the galleries to pick up my mother's day present from my honey - it is a cute evil cat statue on his soap box .... just love it!!!

My morning started off on a wonderful note.  Sebastian brought me "breakfast in bed" ... so cute!  It was a little baggie they had made at school and it had a cute poem, and orange and a granola bar in it.  Love that kid.  Then Olivia came with a school made gift and a home made card too.... so sweet.

It is a beautifully sunny day and I am trying hard not to feel down....I have so much to be grateful for, still it is hard not to think of two little boys who just arrived way to soon.  Today is the twinkies birthday ... a whole year has passed since my heart was crushed into little pieces....it took me a while to put it back together again, but I did and the process of doing so reaffirmed some decisions made in my heart long ago.  Life always have surprises right around the corner and I am excited about many new things ahead.

While enjoying my Mother's day with my three great kiddos.... I also send very special Mother's day wishes out to three incredible women that I have met through surrogacy.  I feel so blessed with the wonderful and special time of carrying extra little feet in my belly.  I am sending much love out to princess V and pray that baby N is doing well and having a wonderful birthday ~ as for Angel J ..... I hope that he is watching down on us and eating a whole lot of angel food cake today.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

3 weeks on the nose...

If all goes accordingly to plans, three weeks from now I will be laying in a bed in a hotel in Portland hoping, wishing and praying that a little something is going to stick!  I am excited as it looks like A will be here for transfer as well - I know she really wants to be, so here is to hoping that everything works out just right.

Three weeks! ... it will be here before we know it.  Our contract is almost fully done - can't wait for it to be signed, sealed and delivered.  It has been long time underway but sometimes travel and work schedules do not always match so well - the important thing is that we are pretty much done with that part.

It is always a bit surreal counting down to transfer.  Getting pregnant with my own children just happened .. with Magnus and Olivia it happen right when we wanted it to.  With Sebastian it took a little longer but still it happened ... with surrogacy it is so completely different.  It is a highly structured effort, all planned in the nitty gritty detail, and still achieving pregnancy can sometimes be a challenge.  For now my body is responding great to the RE's protocol and hopefully it will continue to do so.  I go back next Thursday to have my blood levels checked again as well as an ultrasound to make sure my lining is responding appropriately as well. 

Next up to worry about is the embryos.  They have been frozen for a bit and we all hope that they make the thaw.  Hopefully we will have a good quality embryo to transfer.  Off course we will - positive thinking all the way!  Knowing that "I will be pregnant" just three weeks from now is so so cool....hopefully a cute little bean wants to hang out with me the next 9 long months ;-)

Monday, May 7, 2012

The BIG needles...

Tonight is the first delestrogen injection .... out comes the big needles.   The first injection is always the worst and I have to work up my courage to do it.   I have Vanilla Ice and Ice Ice Baby running in my head ... you bet I am going to ice it up and have the heating pad ready...

                                      Yo, VIP, let's kick it!

                                            Ice ice baby
                                            Ice ice baby


Ok ... one down :-)

On a more exciting note, tonight I also get to decrease my Lupron dose ~ I am hoping that means "Good Bye Headache" starting tomorrow!!! ...ohh pretty pretty please!!!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Questions about surrogacy...

I often get questions about surrogacy ... questions about my feelings about the baby ... questions about letting go ... and questions about the continued relationship with these very special families that has crossed paths with mine and will forever be connected on the heart strings.

I just read this great post by another surrogate... it really answers some of these questions well ... so I will link the post below ~ enjoy :-)

http://lovemakesafamily2011.blogspot.com/2012/03/surrogates-point-of-view.html?spref=bl

Thursday, May 3, 2012

First blood draw...

Today is day 11 of my medical protocol.... 11 small injections down ~ the big ones are starting soon!

I am now done with birth control pills and with the first round of Doxy ... hallelujah!!  Yesterday I started getting a headache and it was lurking for most of the day.  I know that it is due to the Lupron building up in my system as napping did not help and neither did a coke.  I totally needed to study for my micro midterm, but the headache was too intense so I went to bed instead.  Luckily it was mostly gone this morning...just a little remnant left but it is better for now. 

I went to Portland today for my first blood draw of this cycle.  They are checking the estradiol levels in my system and it came back good and low at 6.  This means that the Lupron is the doing what it is supposed to do in suppressing my natural ovulation cycle. With the number low, I am now on track to start the Delestrogen injections on Monday.  The good news from my nurse coordinator also included that I am able to drop my Lupron dose down to 5 units per day starting Monday as well .... hopefully the lurking headache will be gone soon.

... day 1 of the BIG needles coming up soon.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Can you say hormonal...

Ugh....I am so ├╝ber sensitive today and I just want to cry really ... I totally know it is the hormones messing with my system and double that up with my monthly cycle and you have a complete mess at hand.

It has been just been a tough day and I feel like I just have not gotten enough done!

My micro quiz went so so ~ I got 9/10 which is good ... but I really thought I knew all the answers.  Guess not!  Midterm is Friday ... so it is cram time between now and then.

My oldest dear son is struggling with some school work.  If you ask him, "it has all been turned in" ... but according to an email I received from his teacher this evening well ... not so much :-(  I hate grounding him ... but the kid will not do his work .. what to do what to.

I also received an email today that was clearly not meant for my eyes.  It made me a little sad ~ not really anything bad or unpleasant but still made me sad ... again I blame it on the hormones.

To top it all off, our kitchen sink is clogged, the garbage disposal is leaking and a lovely puddle found a home in my kitchen cabinet below the sink ... ugh!  The warranty on the disposal is out so between running kids to school, studying, doing laundry, getting groceries, and going to class ... I needed to also make a trip to Home Depot for a new disposal.  It has been purchased and is just awaiting the plumber, who will hopefully arrive bright and early tomorrow morning to rescue us all from the stinky mess of water backing up into the sink. 

While at the grocery store, I totally realized that Mother's Day is right around the corner and this year it falls on the 13th ... yep you got it, another pinch on the heart strings.  Mental note, gotta get all my cards written to some very special mothers I know. 

Anyway, needless to say that I am exhausted ... tonight was pizza night for sure .... and I totally deserved the chocolate dunkers that came along!  Now off bed ... good nite.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Almost done with doxy...

I have just 3 more days to go on my first round of doxycycline....yeah almost there!  I also finished up my birth control pills Friday night, so that is also one less thing to worry too.  My menstrual cycle started today and hopefully this will be the last one in a loooong time.  Come on baby making :-)

Taking microbiology during this round of IVF treatments has been rather interesting.  Certainly I have research and read about the various medications used for reproductive purposes before but never to the extent that I am now.  We are currently discussing antibiotics and antibiotic resistance, among other things in class, and I find it really interesting to actually be able to understand better how these things work chemically within the body....interesting stuff.

I am loving the micro class - I find it extremely interesting.  My midterm is coming up on Friday ... and I am trying to cram lots of study time in as I really want to do well.  The kids on the other hand can't wait until I am done with the class - they think I have become obsessed (ok ok more obsessed than before) with them washing their hands before touching everything in the kitchen and really around the house .....You know what, studying microbiology will make any parent more obsessed with cleanliness ~ I dare you to try it!  You will then understand what I am talking about, the comments "but mom I only touched one frog" while coming in from the yard ... or "but I only wiped my nose" while coming out from the bathroom" will make you cry out the standard answer ---- WASH YOUR HANDS before touching anything!!!

...now off to wash my hands ~ as I am sure that if I cultured my computer keyboard I would be thoroughly disgusted at what might lurk there!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Grey's Anatomy

I love this show and have been a big fan since the series started....but tonight's episode left me feeling .. hmmm .. well really like I just received a punch to the gut.  Part of the story line tonight involved a baby in the NICU - this story line has been developing for a while - but the end of it came tonight and it made me cry....dang TV!

The baby died of NEC ... it was like watching a train wreck ... I know I should have looked away - turned off the TV and gone to bed.  But I had to watch.  I know the show is just a depiction of life - but geez tonight's episode felt so real.  A rush of emotions flooded over me as I watched the scenes unfold and listened to the words that came along... it felt like dejavu.

While I was not at the hospital during the final hours for little J, I can imagine the angst and sadness my IP's felt watching their sweet little one battle against something that was so much stronger than him.

I hope our sweet guardian angel J is somewhere out there watching over his twinkie brother.

Abstinence...

I chuckle a bit every time I look at my cycle calendar.  Today is day 4 of my med cycle and tomorrow will be last day of birth control pills.  This also means that abstinence will begin starting tomorrow and continue through the day of beta draw.   The word ABSTINENCE is noticeably marked on the calendar ... and this is not something you want to miss the date on as a surrogate...getting pregnant for yourself when you are trying to have a baby for someone else.  BIG no no!!!

Well I have the super easy recipe for abstinence ~ just have a hubby that is working in a state a few thousand miles away!  Easy peasy .. here I am happily abstaining - no problem!!!  

Day 4 of meds and we are cruising along.  The doxycycline was kicking my butt the first two days ... nausea and a bit of a blah feeling.  Yesterday was much better ... other than being a little extra sleepy, I am doing good so far.


Monday, April 23, 2012

One down ~ many to go...

..and so it has officially begun.  Day 1 of our protocol has been carried out successfully.  The Lupron injection went well ... the doxy on the other hand, is going to get me!  Nausea is slowly setting in and I am pretty sure that an early bedtime will be in the cards for me for the next 10 days to combat the icky feeling.  Doxy always have this effect on me so it is not unexpected.  As for the Lupron, with my first surrogacy I got lots of headaches but none of significance with the second, so hopefully the third will be all good too.

 ... 9 more days of doxy .... I can do it!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Let's freak out...

Ok well maybe it's only me ... but still I am just going to have a little personal freak out so bear with me.

Reality check; am I really getting ready to voluntarily poke myself with tons of needles????  Even the really freaking long intra-muscular needles???  Well ... the answer is YES!!!

We start Lupron tomorrow - and that is only the warm up as far as needles go.  The Lupron needles are small and the injection goes in my belly; the big injections will be coming up soon enough and they will be planted right about the top of my derrier...and hopefully they will continue for far longer than the Lupron cycle, because that would mean our transfer was successful.

Needles and all .. I am utterly excited and a bit nervous too of course.  These injections are all for a very very good reason ... stick one ~ bring it on!


Friday, April 20, 2012

Fun day...

I had such a great day on Tuesday ... a lot of fun in the Californian sun :-)

I got up really early (and I mean really early .. like 3AM early) jumped in the shower and set everything out for the kiddos to get ready for school.  Then I headed off to the airport. 

I got to spend the day with A&S and their son.  I have really been looking forward to my visit and it was good to finally meet them in person.  Flying out to meet someone you have never met before is huge and a little bit nerve-wrecking ... what if we could not stand each other...or what if our chemistry in person was not good ~ luckily neither was the case.  As soon as I saw A in the airport - my worries just melted away.  She is exactly as sweet as I knew she would be and S and L are awesome as well.

We had a fun day both out and about and also just hanging out at home - they were so welcoming and sweet.  It was really nice spending time together and I truly appreciate getting to know them all better.  I never felt uncomfortable or awkward visiting with them - we have shared so much of our lives via email in the last couple of years, that it was almost like visiting someone you have not seen in a really really long time. 

With this meeting, we are embracing a brand new chapter in our friendship and the beginning of a very exciting journey.  I feel like we are a great fit to be doing this together.

Surrogacy is a beautiful thing.  Through surrogacy I have met some incredible people ... this includes A&S (and L) and I am really thankful for the beautiful day spent with all of them. 




Picked up my medications...

Let me tell you, it is one big bag!!!

So many things go into an IVF cycle, lots of advance preparations and lots of medications.  Are there risks with these medications - Yes.  But to me the risks are worth it.  Anything we do in life carries risk and this is a calculated risk that I am willing to take on.

My "goodie" bag contained all of the following...it is almost like Christmas in April!

Lupron, Aspirin, prenatal vitamins, delestrogen, progesterone, endometrin, doxycycline, medrol.... wow that is quite a bit.  Each and everyone of these present an important component of my IVF protocol. 

We are excited to get started...Lupron, prenatals and doxy are up first on the menu starting early next week.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Happy...

It truly warms my heart when I see an email ping in from some of my favorite people!  I recently got pictures, a CUTE video, and email updates from M&M ... it is so great to be allowed to catch little glimpses into their lives.

The twiblings are getting so big.  They are both totally blond and such little cuties....listening to their little giggles is just great.