Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Pursuit of peace



[via]

  It's funny how time has a way of putting things in perspective.

2011 was full of surprises, challenges, and changes. I accomplished some awesome things, struggled through some tough times, said hello to some good things in my life, goodbye to bad things, and ultimately changed as a person. For the better? I'd like to think so.

I started off the year with high hopes of getting pregnant. Actually, almost exactly a year ago is when we said we would start "trying". I had the whole plan figured out. I was proud of myself for finally being ready after many years of geuinely being afraid of having a baby. At first we didn't tell anyone. I didn't want the added pressure from friends and family asking questions or giving advice. That lasted all of a few months, and then my world began to crumble.

When I didn't have a period for nearly three months (and was not pregnant), I decided to get checked out. My doctor diagnosed me with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I started taking multiple medications in an effort to get my body to cooperate with my plans. I was terrified. I couldn't believe this was happening to me... me of all people, the person who had their entire life figured out. Yet every month I would hold on to some glimmer of hope, only to be continually disappointed. I began to realize how very little control I actually hold over my own life.

I finally had to start talking about it. At first I started a seperate blog so I could write out my own thoughts without anyone knowing. But I slowly realized that this hurt too much to hold it all inside. So I started talking. Along with that came my own guilt of thinking I was too depressing to be around. I couldn't feign happiness or hope when I truly didn't have it inside me. What friends of mine want to talk about hardships, struggles and heartbreak all the time? Who wants to listen to that?

People who truly love you, that's who.

Along with the realization that I was no longer in control of my life plan, I began to realize how much I need people in my life who care about me, who will listen, and most of all, be honest with me. Yes, my husband is a huge source of encouragement with his never-ending supply of hope and optimism. I truly couldn't be going through this without him and his strength. When I want to be sad and hopeless, he will listen, hold me, and let me feel what I'm feeling. At the same time he will express his hope for the future. Oh, how desperately I wish I could be more like him.

And then there's my friends. It's scary to me how much I've discovered I need them in my life. I am not the type of person who admitts (or even believes) that I must rely on another person, or need what they can give. Yet, how foolish of me to think I could make it through this life alone. I have discovered that when you are depressed and sad sometimes, not a lot of people want to be around you. I have lost friends this year because of my own pain. That's why when you find someone who will stick by your side through bad times, you appreciate it so much more. It means so much. Those friends are the only ones who also deserve you at your best.

So to those people, thank you. You know who you are.

Little did I know what a journey this year would take us on... the hopelessness I would feel, the struggle to stay positive, and ultimately the pursuit of being at peace with the whole situation.

This year was full of thing I never thought would happen.

I never thought we would struggle to get pregnant.
I never thought I would run two half marathons.
I never thought we could live on a $7,000 a year pay cut.
I never thought owning a home would be so much work, yet so rewarding.
I never thought I would lose friendships I held so dearly for so many years.
I never thought I would gain a friendship I now cherish.
I never thought I would be on my way to accomplishing a lifelong dream of being a Psychologist.
I never thought I could be so out of control of my own life situations.

... and yet, I never thought I would be so at peace with my life.

For me, 2012 is all about the pursuit of peace. Coming to terms with the things that have happened this year is a continual struggle for me. I constantly wrestle with believing God has a plan, and that this IS a part of that plan. Believing that He is good. That He is faithful. That He only wants the best for me. Inner peace with all that has happened in the past, the things going on right now, and what will happen in the future -- that is what I'm striving for.

I am by no means there. And even if one ever does get there, it doesn't mean that the pain stops or the struggle ends. Sometimes I will still be depressed. I still need help keeping the right attitude, and I still need people who will hold me up when I want to fall down. One thing people like to say to me to "encourage" me is that this is just a bump in the road, and that they are confident we will get pregnant someday. But I couldn't say I've learned anything from this whole ordeal if I truly believed that.

Because if I've learned one thing, it's that we are not guaranteed anything in life. Whatever actually happens is a blessing. Anything else good in my life is over and above the fact that I was simply given the gift of my own life. Babies are miracles... the eighth wonder of the world. Life is precious. I no longer expect to be given one. All I can do is take one step at a time, do the next thing thats in front of me, and trust God for tomorrow.

I can no longer plan on the future. I do not know what the future holds, but I can thank God that He does.

I find peace in that.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

5-day weekend in sight

I don't know about you, but I am so over this lame week at work! After the craziness of a very successful toy drive last week, I'm stuck in the office for three days attacking the aftermath of paperwork that accompanies said toy drive.

Our sponsors for the toy drive were awesome. It was so much fun seeing them all come drop off gifts and be so excited about giving. We even had our local news channel come out and do a story! What a fun day!































This past weekend was a lot of fun! We went to Citywalk in Orlando with some friends on Friday night and drank wayyyy too much, but of course had too much fun! ;-)

Ready for a night out on the town!




















Saturday night we went to another party at one of Eric's work friends house, which ended with drinks and food at Chili's. It was a packed weekend for sure! I was sure happy to lounge around all day Sunday, clean the house and get my Christmas cards in the mail.

Christmas is FIVE DAYS away! I'm pretty stoked that I was able to do all of my shopping online this year. The presents are still not wrapped nor under the tree, but the upcoming time off of work will help that situation. My sister and brother in law are coming over for the weekend -- should be fun!
Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Obsessed!

Over the weekend I got the bug to get extensions. I wanted to do something different with my hair, but was sort of afraid of the price and the maintenance. But I reallllllly wanted it before I go to Vegas with my girlfriends in Feburary!

SO - brilliant idea - I got out the clip in extensions from our wedding. I had splurged at the time and gotten real, human hair extensions (Remy), because I knew I wanted to curl them and do different things. I watched a tutorial video on YouTube especially for extensions in short hair.

After experimenting last night, I dove in and decided to wear them to work today!

Drumroll please............
























I love them! Amazingly, the color three years ago from our wedding still matches my hair today!

























It will be fun (now that I'm getting better at putting them in myself) to experiment whenever I feel like long hair! :-)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tis the Season

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself
in the service of others.
-- Mahatma Gandhi


This year I have the privilege of organizing and planning our annual toy drive for children in foster care. It's my first year doing this as a part of my new position at work, and I'm loving it. The quote above could not be more true for me at this time of the year.

Things can get crazy during the holidays. I heard someone say to a co-worker today, "Are you surviving the holidays?" and thought to myself, is that all we have left of this season? Survival?

Trust me, planning this toy drive is no small undertaking, and has consumed my time for several weeks (and months prior). I have felt my share of feeling overwhelmed, biting my tongue and reminding myself, "it's the most wonderful time of the year... right?!?" But then I see the community coming together, I get random calls from organizations who want to sponsor a needy family for Christmas, and I remember what this season is all about. Hope. Joy. Giving.

I must say, that even though I don't have any family nearby to celebrate with this year, I am full of love and appreciation for the things we have, overwhelmed with the blessings in our life, and truly grateful for the joy I am privileged to bring to these nearly 1500 kids who have been removed from their homes. Seems to keep everything in perspective. 

This is what Christmas is all about.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Technically, I have now run a full marathon!

This past Sunday, I finished my second half marathon! I was lucky I even made it, because the day before I was struggling through a 101.8 fever and cold/flu symptoms. I was chugging vitamains like nobodys business, and really thought I wouldn't make it. But around 2:00 my fever broke, I ate something, and started feeling just a little bit better.

Better enough to drag my ass out of bed at 4AM the next morning and run 13.1 miles! :-) I'm so happy I did it! And the amazing thing?? My time was about 30 seconds FASTER than my first race! What what!

Ready to go!













































Yes I stole pictures from the official photo website becuase I wasn't about to pay $25 for a sweaty picture of me! ;-)























This race was was different than my first one. I had been sick the day before, and still felt a little bit out of it, so mentally I was sort of unsure of myself. I just kept telling myself I would finish. By mile 8, I was EXHAUSTED and really need to walk a lot more than my first race. I practially speed-walked the last 2 miles. Also I was super thirsty this race. I sometimes took two cups of water at the water stops.

That's partially why I have no idea how my time was faster than my first race when I was healthy and ready to go! Wow.






















BUT I FINISHED! Go me! ;-)

This time, I think I'll wait a few months before running another one. I have my sights set on one in February, which I want to run with Jen and my sister again.























After the race, my hubby had gotten off work at 7AM or so, so he drove over to meet me and watch me finish. I loved this post-race more than the Disney one (well, expcept the Food & Wine Festival... can't beat that!) They had way  more "swag" to give away - of course the medal, a large race towel, a patch, a freezing cold ice towel to cool you off, orange juice, diet coke, pancakes, pizza, chapstick, wipes... you name it. It's too bad we had to hurry and leave so Eric could get at least 5 hours of sleep before he had to work again that night! :-)

I would probably do this race again next year. It was great!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fun post!

I figured I don't do many "fun" posts where I just talk about what's been going on, or random things in my life... so here you go! :-)

We went camping last weekend with my in-laws, and it was a good time. We drove three hours to Suawnee River State Park, but overall I wasn't impressed. I wish we would've gone to Wekivia Springs which is only an hour away, because we've goone there before and it was great. It was funny though, this part of FL we were in was apparently "Old Florida", and I guess that equals redneck central. OMG. It was pretty funny.

Here's a picture of the closest liquor store/hole in the wall. Apparently this was a "dry" county (seriouslyyyyy, who has that anymore?!?) so we had to search high and low for this place. And then there was dust on EVERY bottle, and the cashier had half a head of hair... it was just, wow.


My favorite part about camping... sitting around the fire! 

It got pretty cold... in the 40's at night... so we bundled up and played Uno! 

Best part about camping in the fall... hoodies all day long!  

Of course, I was glad to get home and take the longest, hottest shower ever in a clean bathroom! ;-)

I'm getting sooo excited for Thanksgiving... only a week and a few days away! My parents are driving down from Indiana, my brother, sister and their kids are coming, Eric's parents/grandparents are coming, my friend Jen, Joe and Macy, and I'm sure I'm forgetting someone. Seriously, I'm going to have like 20 people at my house! I can't waiiiiit. I started shopping already for some stuff I can get ahead of time... menu is planned... just gotta put the final touches together!

Speaking of Thanksgiving, check out this recipe I want to try! Pumpkin Pie Dip.....mmmmm.



This weekend I'm having a Pampered Chef party which is going to be a lot of fun! Next week on Monday-Wednesday I'm headed to a conference out of town for work. It's always fun to get out of the office, and I get to do that a lot more with my new position in Public Relations.

Happy Friday Eve everyone! Make it a great day!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Crazy is as crazy does

Well, I bit the bullet and signed up for another half marathon!

Just two days after Thanksgiving, November 27th at 6:15AM - the Space Coast Half Marathon (+ Marathon). It's the oldest race in Florida, and is also a qualifying race for the Boston Marathon!






















The course is along Riverside Drive, which ironically is where my friend Jen and I ran 11 miles for the training of my first half. Gorgeous views!

The theme is obviously "space" since it's on the Space Coast. The race is celebrating 40 years! I can't wait.





 


















Finishers medals:






















I may or may not be addicted! :-) Mostly though, I signed up because I need motivation to keep running. Also because I live on the Space Coast and wanted to be a part of this prestegious race for the sake of history! I found that after my first half I felt "accomplished" and gave myself permission to slack a bit. However I want to keep up the momentum. Signing up for races is expensive, but worth it if it keeps me going!

I decided that at this rate, I need to make some sort of plaque to hang my medals (I also plan to run another one here in Melbourne in February with Jen and my sister). I swear I saw something like this on Pinterest but of course didn't pin it, and now for the life of me I can't find it! Anyone have ideas??

Friday, October 28, 2011

Inspiration for Friday

















"When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on."

- Franklin D Roosevelt

Monday, October 17, 2011

unfounded optimism

It feels spiritual to minimize our troubles: “It’s not really that bad,” when confronted with financial turbulence; “Cheer up,” when awash in grief; “Keep on the sunny side,” when standing in the rain.


It’s true that there’s plenty in life to mope about, plenty to feed an Eeyore complex. And we know that discouragement is a weight that will sink any ship. But unfounded optimism is as damaging as unfounded pessimism because both are forms of dishonesty.

If your ship is sinking, admitting it opens the way to glorifying God for His deliverance when it comes.

(exerpt from Seeing the Invisible blog here)

"Let us hold fast
the confession of our hope without wavering,
for He who promised is faithful."


Hebrews 10:23

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Babies are everywhere

I'm just going to put it out there -- I am sort of depressed about this baby stuff. I'm sorry if I talk about it alllllll the time, but sometimes I just can't get it off my mind.

I feel like it's raining babies. The other week I went through my facebook and counted everyone that was either pregnant or had a baby within the past month. Twenty-five friends are either parents already or are going to become parents, and I'm so sad I'm not one of them.

I'm not looking for a pity party... not at all. I'm just admitting how much of a struggle this is for me sometimes. SOME days, I'm totally cool with it, happy with my dogs as my "girls" and enjoying the freedom to drink, travel, and sleep all night long. Trust me, I know what I've got and I'm grateful. My heart just wants that other thing that is missing, and sometimes it hurts.

My good friend Tiffani just had her baby girl on Saturday night. I am so happy for her and her hubby! Look at this adorable little thing!


(sooo jealous ;-)

I haven't been able to meet Ms. Liliana yet, but I think we're going to bring them dinner tomorrow night and hang out a little bit. I'm so excited! I can't imagine how Tiff must be feeling, and I'm beyond happy for her.

But I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I want that. I want exactly what she has - a perfect little girl. After she texted me this weekend with the announcement, I've really been having a hard time. I've been testing and I'm pretty sure I'm NOT going to ovulate this month, so that's another let down. So much of me is just plain tired of trying. It's been almost a year, and it's truly wearing on me. Also this weekend we cleaned out our third, "extra" room that we've been calling the dogs room, but is really being saved for a nursery. It looks so good all cleaned out (in preperation for Thanksgiving guests) but I was sitting there imagining it painted pink and all decorated. It's all sad and plain white and boring... it wants to be painted pink, I just know! ;-) 

I had a doctors appointment last week, and she said that in two months she will send us to an infertility specialist if we're still not pregnant (IF I ovulate every month, which doesn't look like it's happening either.... &*^@#$&ck). I know there are couples who try for years but I just can't imagine that. It's only been one year and I'm so over the pill-taking, pee-stick testing, doctor-appointment making madness.

This morning on the way to work I had a little talk with God and just really asked him to get me to the place where I can accept whatever the future holds. I'm ready to throw in the towel and start taking classes and go through the process to adopt a baby. But then I see Tiffani with her little girl and my heart aches for that feeling. I just don't know if I'd feel the same way about an adopted baby. But what if that becomes our reality? What if that is God's plan? Can I accept it?

I know, this is crazy talk. But it's in my head, and I just want to get to the place that I can accept whatever God's plan is. I also need Eric to get there, but that is going to be on his own time. I am a believer in everything happening for a reason. I know God's timing is perfect. I know all thing will work out for the best in the end.

But knowing and believing are two, completely seperate paths.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

13.1 miles DONE!!

So excited to report that I've finished my first half marathon!!!







The race was at Epcot this past Saturday. I started in the last corral at about 10:20PM, and I finished in about 2 hours and 50 minutes, with a pace of about 13 minutes per mile.

Race map:


YAY! I feel accomplished and can't wait for the next one! :-)


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Life right now

Work, school, and running = my life right now











... I'll be back eventually :-)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

News!!!

I haven't written about our "baby quest" for a while now, and I'd say it's time for an update.

A week or two ago, I had a procedure done called HSG - no idea what it stands for, but it means that someone shoots dye up into your ovaries and watches on an x-ray machine to see if it goes all the way through. It only takes about 30 minutes all total, and is sort of uncomfortable, but sort of cool. I could see the x-ray while he was doing it, and it's so insane to see how tiny your reproduction system is. Haha.

So, anyway that came back normal, which is great. Sometimes people with PCOS have blockage in there which is keeping them from getting pregnant. But, I can't tell you how many people told me that even if it's normal, sometimes just doing the test is "therapeutic" because it "cleans you out", so to speak.

The guy at the hospital that was walking us back to the room before the procedure compared it to a "roto rooter". Humm.... ok, whatever works! :-) He also told us that his wife was having these issues, had the HSG test, and got pregnant the next month. They now have two boys!

So I'll admit, I have been losing hope lately. It's coming up on a year that we've been trying, and still zip, nada, nothing. But, everyone knows that a month can feel like three when you're waiting for something. And I was waiting, hoping, anticipating -- for ovulation. I don't even care about pregnant right now, I just want to ovulate on my own. If I can at least get there, I can relax knowing everything is "working" down there and it's only a matter of time.

I've been paying out my a** for ovulation tests for so many months, I was getting tired of it. Last month I took the medication religiously, tested with military precision, and didn't get jack. Needless to say, this month I wasn't as excited to try it ... again.

So I took the medication halfheartedly. I even forgot the last pill and found it two days later sitting right where I left it, so I took it. I sort of counted the days to when I was supposed to test, but not really. The weekend I was "supposedly" going to ovulate I was going to be out of town, and sure as hell wasn't bringing along those pee sticks in my luggage. So I didn't. I drank like a sailor all weekend without a care in the world. I noticed a couple of nights my ovaries were hurting and cramping (abnormal for me), but chalked it up to the affects of the HSG test... and maybe I was mistaking my ovaries for my liver. Ha.

Well, Monday was Labor Day and I was off work. I looked at the calendar and figured out it was day 19 or something (of my cycle) and thought "Oh damn, I was supposed to test on days 12-17... oh well". I figured I should take a test - JUST IN CASE - and also so I could at least tell Eric that NO I WASN'T ovulating again this month (he always wants me to test like a mad scientist).

Drumroll.........................














Smiley face (yes I enhanced it on Picnik... lol) = OVULATING!!!!

I nearly fell over when I saw that! It might as well have been a pregnancy test, I was so excited!! Eric was sleeping, so I said "You've got to see this babe!" and turned the light on and shoved it in his face. LOL. He was so confused, mostly because he just woke up, and mumbled "What is that?" I said, "It's a smiley face!!!" He's like... "... what does that mean?" LOL.

This is the best news I've had in a while! I even called my doctor and told her! LOL.

Now, we wait and see. I guess the moral of the story here is exactly what everyone told me early on: When you stop "trying", it will happen. I mean, there are certian things you HAVE to do, like take pills and test occasionally, but I think the idea is my attitude. I'm so far out of control of this situation, when I take a step back and accept that, maybe it will happen. There is a difference, however, between giving up hope and giving up control. I'm still working on that.
Fingers crossed. ;-)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

September = all things FALL!

HAPPY SEPTEMBER 1ST!
I'm sooo excited for Fall! I love everything about it... cooler weather, fall decorations, all-things pumpkin, Thanksgiving, Oktoberfest, the Food and Wine festival, Halloween Horror Nights, spiked apple cider, full moons....

I recently started using Pinterest and pinned some fall-themed decor ideas!


[via]



[via]

[via]

[via]


[via]

[crock pot mac n cheese... must try.] [via]


[via]

[pumpkin cream cheese muffins] [via]

I'm totally pulling out the the Fall decorations this weekend! I have quite a bit from years past, but this will be our first year in a big house (as opposed to a one-bedroom apartment) so I'm SURE I'll have to go buy more! (such a tragedy!) Hobby Lobby and Old Time Pottery, here I come!

What do you think? Too early for Fall, or decorate your heart out?