Monday, January 5, 2015


"Surprise." That's a word that usually brings a smile to peoples faces.  A majority of the time a surprise means good news.  You're having a party, you get a promotion, you get pregnant.

Wait, what was that last one?  Pregnant?  No. That couldn't be.  Just 10 short months after Baby Girl Pal was born, I was again late.  And again, I was staring at a little stick with the word "Pregnant" staring back at me.

How did this happen?  It can't be right.  I called Mr. Pal and told him the test was positive.  Then I called my doctor.  I had peed on so many sticks in my infertility journey that I knew not all positives were real.  Surely this was a mistake.

I admit that I wasn't overjoyed.  I wasn't all that happy.  I cried because I was scared.  I was sad.  I was so freaking confused!  The timing was all wrong.  My baby girl wasn't even a year yet.  I was getting old(er).  Our finances were in ruins.  We can't get pregnant on our own. We know this. We tried for three years.

But, against all odds, I am carrying yet another little fighter.  Somehow my body decided, I needed to have another baby.  Who am I to fight my body?  I don't think I felt joy for having baby 2 until I saw that little heartbeat.  With that little flicker my heart was seized.  This baby was our miracle.  This baby was the second one I never thought I'd have.

I joke now that baby 2 is our "late baby."  We wanted this little one three years ago while we were driving to have a D&C.  Why did you show up now? I don't think I'll ever know the answer.  Well, maybe I will after baby 2 arrives and we see a personality.

For now, I think baby 2 is here to let us know that hope is still alive.  Even in our darkest moments, there can still be a reason to smile.  Baby Girl Pal makes us laugh all the time with her silly faces and baby babbling.  Baby 2 makes us smile because we realize there was hope all along.

This far along we have learned that Baby 2 is actually going to be Baby Boy Pal.  Yes, we will have our girl and our boy.  And yes, we are going to be officially done after he is born. No more surprises for us.  At least in the baby department.

I know this time around that it won't be easy.  There are major changes going on in our lives.  There is a major shift as far as residence is concerned.  But, I am trying (key word is trying) to stay positive. After all, I never thought Baby Girl Pal would be here as I was giving up IVF procedures.  An never in a million years did I think that we would get pregnant on our own and be expecting Baby Boy Pal.  His arrival is set for January 2015.  So we will have a Summer baby and a Winter baby.  And our family will be complete.  Unless you ask Mr. Pal. He thinks it won't be complete until we get a dog!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Mom Mondays

How was your weekend?  Ours was good. We had family over Friday night and on Saturday and Sunday we just hung out and did things around the house.  I feel like I'm forgetting something.  Hmmmm. Oh, right! Sunday was the First Football Sunday of the season!!!

It's a big deal in our house.  Mr. Pal is a huge New York Jets fan.  I'm a Giants fan, but I'm not a huge Giants fan.  I root for them because that's who I always rooted for, but I'll root for the Jets if they are playing.  I'm a great wife like that! LOL

Of course, Baby Girl Pal, being a daddy's girl and all, is a Jets fan.  Here is her and daddy when she was about three months cheering on their team.

Look at that little face! I love this picture.  It almost looks like she understands what's going on.

And then there's this picture.

I guess the Jets lost!  Sorry kid, you should be a Giants fan like mommy!

This Sunday Mr. Pal was getting ready to go to our brother-in-law's to watch the game. He was cooking up wings in the kitchen.  I was doing my usual Sunday routine of starting laundry and dumping out the garbage cans that are upstairs.  Baby Girl Pal had just woken up from a nap and was running around the living room, babbling to herself and playing with her toys.

Then it happened.  That "mom" moment.  I paused and looked over the ledge so I could see Mr. Pal & Baby Girl Pal.  This exact moment is what I had pictured in my head of what being a mom would be like.  It was a moment I pictured that wasn't all cuddles and kisses.  It was a moment I pictured that was real life.  It was a moment that was occurring right now.

I'm a mom.  I'm a wife. I have a little girl who has entered a world of independence.  She doesn't need me to entertain her 24/7.  She doesn't need me to carry her everywhere.  This was a moment mom's all get to experience.  We can get stuff done.  Somehow our babies grow to be independent toddlers and we get to slip into a routine of cleaning the house and doing things that for a year were designated as "nap-time chores."

This moment made me smile.  Yes, I love the cuddles and kisses.  Yes, I love being needed.  Yes, I love the quiet moments where all three of us snuggle on the couch to watch Sesame Street.  But this moment, where all three of us are completing our own agenda just made me realize that sometimes being a mom, means letting our kids just be on their own.

I love Baby Girl Pal's independence.  I love her fickle moods when it comes to story time. (She only lets me read the first page before she thrusting the next book in my face).  I love the little girl she is becoming. It's hectic moments like the one on Sunday that make me realize just how much I love my little girl and just how much I love the little family I am a part of.

Friday, September 5, 2014

A few favorites

We have lived in our townhome for a little over 5 years.  We purchased this place right after we tied the knot.  Well, not right after.  It took three months to find this place, but it felt like a lifetime to me! I remember looking at all different types of homes (capes, split levels, ranches, colonials).  We then switched gears and decided to purchase a townhouse as our first home.  Boy are there are lot to choose from! Some with yards, some with garages, some with basements, some that sagged, some that felt like a tomb, some that were so open they were missing doors, some that were so dirty I wanted to shower afterwards.  But, alas, when we stepped foot into our townhome for the first time, Dave and I looked at each other and just knew!

We are not people who agree easily on big purchases.  It took four trips to Fortunoff to pick out our wedding china.  We saw more wedding reception locations that I can count and purchases our first home was not an easy feat for us.  But something about this place stole our hearts.

It wasn't a pretty place, but it had potential.  The location was great, too.  We back up to the woods, so it's peaceful and on a few occasions we have spotted deer lurking in our driveway.  It's been a place that we can call home, find comfort and discover ourselves.

These walls have heard our laughter through good times, watched our tears flow in times of sadness and cringed during moments of anger.  These walls have watched us grow as individuals and as a family.  These walls have seen some hideous decor decisions and have taken a beating by nails and paintbrushes and some bunny teeth chewing the moulding.

For this post, I wanted to share my three favorite rooms.  I'll break down each of them in separate posts, but just wanted to introduce them today.

First is our half bath.  Here is it on the day of our inspection.

YIKES!!  I forgot how much beige was in crammed in that room. This was our first big project.  With the help of my dad we gutted this room and gave it a new life.  Ugliness went out and a calming oasis went in.

Here's the finished project.

So much better!  I love this bathroom.  Is that weird to say? I love the colors, the flooring, the sink, and most of all, the fact that we did it!!

My second favorite room is our kitchen.  Here it is on the day of inspection.

Looks like a typical 1970's kitchen. I actually forgot how much brown there was.

Here it is after a little paint and some decorating.  We added the island, which has made a HUGE difference for Mr. Pal and I.  We enjoy cooking meals together and the island added much needed counter work space.

Ignore the green tape on the island.  Baby Girl Pal was sticking her fingers between the slats and getting hurt.
And I saved my favorite room for last.  Here's the spare bedroom when we moved in.

This room gets great light from the two windows.  The downside is that it's above the garage.  This means it's kind of chilly in the winter and a bit warm in the summer. We finally found that by leaving the door to the room open all the time regulates the temperature, so it's more comfortable.

Here's that spare room as our Nursery for Baby Girl Pal.

 I LOVE THIS ROOM!!  This is my by far my favorite room in the house. I love the design direction we went for the nursery.  We stepped outside of the norm and decided to just create her space, instead of buying the usual "nursery theme in a bag."  It's completely personalized and so much love went into designing this room.  I love spending time in this room with my little girl and creating memories and just watching her grow.

So what's the deal with showing just my favorite rooms? Well, we are leaving our first home.  We bit off more than we could chew when we first went house shopping.  We never looked ahead to possible income changing factors (job loss, new baby, etc).  We walked in with blinders on and our checkbook open.  We have learned a lot from this experience and appreciate how much we have grown.

Mr. Pal and I already allow ourselves to daydream about our "dream home."  We know now to be more realistic.  We also know potential can go far, but only so far.  We have decided to make a list of our must haves and a list of what we can do without.  We know now that being a homeowner means there are compromises and surprises.

We aren't sure yet when we are going to go, but we are ready to start a new chapter in our lives and press the "reset" button.  Life should totally come with a "reset button!"

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The long and winding road... having our little Baby Girl Pal.

Here she is the day she was born.  July 25, 2013.  Best day of our lives.  We were able to breathe a sigh of relief.  The baby we wished, hoped and prayed for was finally here.

But, how did we get here?  Let me tell you.

Mr. Pal and I always knew we wanted to be parents.  We wanted two.  A boy and girl would be great. We had our kids names picked out right after we were married.  We couldn't wait to be parents after we said, "I do."  After some discussion, we decided to wait a year before we started to start trying.  We wanted to enjoy being married before we had to add another label to each other besides just "wife" and "husband."

The year came upon us.  We were a jumble of a bunch of nerves.  This was it! In year we would be holding our little one! I figured it would take about three months to get all the birth control out of my  system, then we'd be pregnant.

Three months went by.  Then six months.  After nine months I made a tearful phone call to my dad asking how long it took my parents to have me. (They were married six years before I was born).  Apparently, it took them a pretty long time as well before they were able to get pregnant.  I was devestated.  I was heartbroken.  I was so sick to my stomach.  How come everyone around me had no problem having a baby? Why was it taking us so long?  The length of time it took my parents wasn't comforting.

There wasn't anything we could do at this point except keep trying. So we did. And we did. And we did.  Then, in December I was late.  I was exhausted.  I was forgetful.  Are we finally lucky??  I remember the moment we found out we were pregnant so well.  It was December 26th.  We were both off from work because of a major snowstorm that hit our area.  I remember taking the test and seeing that word I prayed for a year to see, "Pregnant!"  I was so overjoyed! I remember crying when I told Mr. Pal the good news.  He was beyond excited.  Mr. Pal screamed out, "Yes! I'm gonna be a dad!" Then he proceeded to run outside in the snow and make snow angels.

Yup, there was the father of our future baby outside in a blizzard in nothing but a tshirt and sweatpants making snow angels. I couldn't love him anymore than I did in that moment.

We kept our pregnancy a secret from everyone.  We wanted to do a big and fun announcement for our families.  We made our doctor appointment and waited patiently to see our little baby.

I think doctors should learn to play Poker.  They need to find a way to not have a "tell" when there's something wrong. Our doctor searched and searched, but all she could find was an empty sac.  My body thought it was pregnant, but there was no baby.  I can't put into words what I felt when I heard that information.  I have erased it from memory because it was too painful to hold on to.  We called our families to let them know the news.  We wanted so bad to be sharing a joyful moment with everyone, but instead, we were sharing our misfortune.

I had a D&C and once we got the go ahead from the doctor we began to try again.  Our moods had changed, our perspective was different.  We prayed and hoped harder.  We bought ovulation tests and loaded up on pregnancy tests.  I've peed on more sticks than I could ever count.

After ten months we conceded that we could not have a baby on our own.  We asked for help.  We turned to science.

Science gave us back hope in our journey for a baby.  There were a lot of tests, a lot of questions, a lot of poking and proding, a lot of examining.

We went through six IUI's.  By the fourth round, we were ready to try IVF, but insurance required the 6 IUI's first.  We were so excited when we went for our first IVF.

Well, I'm not sure excited is the best word to use.  The idea of it was exciting.  The day of the retrieval, I was so hormonal and miserable.  The hormone drugs pumping through my body made me crazy and angry.  I was mad at Mr. Pal for no reason.  I remember him asking me to stop looking at him with such hatred.  I remember snapping back at him that I wasn't.  (Yes, my husband deserves a medal for dealing with Hormonal Mrs. Pal!)

After the retrieval though, the only one who could make me smile was Mr. Pal.  He was all I wanted near me. It's amazing how a little anesthesia can change a person! haha

We put a lot of hope and trust in that first round of IVF.  We both, as well as our families, believed that we would be holding our bundle of joy in nine months.

Well, that wasn't the case.  It didn't work.  IVF wasn't looking too great. More tests were run.  More procedures were done.  More rounds were completed. Still nothing.

By our third round, I was done.  Physically and emotionally my body couldn't handle another round of IVF.  I needed a break from shots.  I needed a break from negative tests.  I needed a break from seeing pregnant people.

The week of our third round Superstorm Sandy was headed straight for our area.  The facility called up the day the storm was set to hit and asked if we could come in a day early for our transfer. They were worried they wouldn't have power on our scheduled day to do the procedure.  Seriously??!!  This round would never work.  Mr. Pal was excited.  I just wanted to get back home.

Superstorm Sandy came and went.  There was devastation, power outages, loss of homes, and flooding.  We took in family members after we regained our power. Our state slowly rebuilt itself and people began to pick up the pieces of their homes.

Two weeks after my third round of IVF I was driving back from the facility.  I had just gotten bloodwork to measure my progesterone levels.  They needed to check if my medication needed to be changed.  The roads weren't in the best shape at this time, and on one particular road there was a huge branch that was hanging down blocking one side of the street.  My side of the road stopped to let the other side go.  The guy behind me didn't stop.  I remember watching the gold truck get closer and closer to my car.  There was no where for me to go.  I had to just brace for the impact.

After the police came and information was traded, (there were no injuries, just a bad fender bender), I called the facility to let them know I was in an accident.  They wanted me to come back for an evaluation. I didn't have any bruises or soreness. I was fine.

Actually, I was more than just fine.  That afternoon the doctor called with news I never thought I would hear.  They ran a pregnancy test and it came back positive.  In fact, my numbers were pretty high, which was so promising.  An ultrasound taken a week later revealed a beautiful heartbeat.  A sight that still tugs at my heart when I reminisce.

Yes, our state was rebuilding itself after a major storm.  And Mr. Pal and I were building our family after weathering our storm of infertility.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Free Birthday sign!!

Who likes free stuff? Pretty much everyone, right?  Unless you’re a millionaire and have no problem spending money, just about everyone enjoys things that are free.

What’s something that’s free??? How about paint chips at your local hardware store! I love those things. I could spend hours looking through all the paint chips and designing rooms around each color.  Aside from being free inspiration, paint chips are now popping up everywhere to be decorations.

Like these found on Pinterest.  All these creative minds grabbed some free paint chips and a shape cutter and made beautiful banners, circles, and art.

Paint Chip Mobile 1
Via here

Via here
I enjoy free stuff too, so I needed to jump on that paint chip decorating band wagon.  When Mr. Pal’s birthday rolled around, I decided to make a Happy Birthday sign out of paint chips.

I went to my local hardware store and stood in front of all the beautiful colors. Would I go for blue and do an ultimate male sign; or pick colors that coordinated with our décor? I went with C, none of the above!! (haha, I tricked you!)  I decided to grab red, black and white paint chips.  Why pick these colors you ask?? The reason is that Mr. Pal is a HUGE New Jersey Devils fan.

Via here
So I grabbed my free paint chips and headed home.  I cut them all into long strips as you can see here.  Oh, and if you’re wondering which paint samples I grabbed they are for Bher paint.  I’ve been a Bher paint user for as long as I can remember, and I liked the size of their paint chips for my sign.

After cutting down all the strips, I then glued the cut pieces together to make each letter in “Happy Birthday.”    As you can see from this picture, I just used Krazy Glue to make my letters.  It was within reach at the time and I didn't feel like firing up my glue gun.    

After I had each letter made I grabbed some string that I had lying around and attached each letter to the string using paper clips.

Now, I’m sure I could have done something a little bit classier to attach each letter to the string. I could have added an extra piece of a paint strip to the back of each letter to attach it to the string that way, or thought of something else, but I didn't.  There’s no reason for it, just that I wanted to use what I had in the house.  Plus I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out, so I rushed a bit to get it done since I had only two days before Mr. Pal’s big day.

Here’s the “Happy birthday” sign all strung up in front of our dining room.

In keeping with use-what-you-got, I hung up the sign using Frog Tape.  It was durable enough to hold up my banner, but didn't rip off the paint on my living room walls.

I also made a hockey puck out of the paint strips.  Did I mention Mr. Pal loves the Devils? Cause he does!  For the puck I cut the black paint strips into thinner pieces like this.

 Then I glued them all together so I had a large piece-y square.

To make the puck I just grabbed the top of a candle that I had on our coffee table.

I traced out the shape.

Then cut it out so I had my "puck."

I added a white circle along with a free hand drawing of the Devils symbol to finish it off!

As for Mr. Pal’s opinion of his birthday sign on his big day?? Well, I had to point out the sign to him.  It was early in the morning and it was before his cup of coffee.  Plus he doesn't walk around looking up when he goes through the dining room to get to the kitchen! Haha!

When he did see the sign, he loved it! He especially loved the hockey puck since it had the Devils symbol on it. 

After all of Mr. Pal’s celebration, we said good-bye to our free Happy Birthday sign.  There are so many other possibilities to decorate for birthdays!  We did, however, hold onto the homemade puck.  Being a true Devils fan, Mr. Pal likes to keep anything that has the Devils symbol on it!

Friday, October 26, 2012


Always look for the bright side!

That’s what I try to tell myself when I’m feeling down about our fertility treatments.  Sometimes it can feel very isolated when it seems like everyone around you has kids or is getting pregnant.  You tend to feel like you’re alone in your journey; that no one else gets what you’re going through.

Whenever I start to feel down about something, be it our infertility or my unemployment or anything at all, I have to make a joke out of what I’m going through.  It’s my defense mechanism.  I’m not a fan of being pitied so I try to make light of my situations.

For instance, every night I have to give myself injections in my stomach.  These injections will produce many, many, many eggs which can then be retrieved, fertilized and put back in, and hopefully grow into a little baby Pal. 

The downside of this is that I loathe needles. I wish I could close my eyes when I do the injections, but then I’d probably stab my fingers instead!  Also, I can’t keep injecting into the same area because it’ll become too sensitive and I’ll have a hard time getting the needle in.  Because of this I have to inject a different area around my belly button each night.

So what’s the upside?  Well, the needles cause some slight bruising, and since I have to change where I do the injections, the result is a smile shape around my belly button.

The bruises make me smile. I can’t help it, if I see someone else smile, I smile, so I guess if I see a smile shape made of bruises I smile too!  Granted it’s not a full smile, but it’s enough to make me happy that I have something not everyone else does.  Come on, how many people do you know with a smile around their belly button?

I know the picture is blurry, it's the best one I could take. The bruises are beginning to heal so they are more yellow-ish is this picture.
Also, as you can see from the picture I’m not exactly a size 2.  I often complain to my sister that I’m tired of the weight I've packed on from being home so much and from all the hormone injections.  I know, I know, it’s not healthy to have such a poor body image.

The upside of this weight gain is that I have my choice of belly rolls to grab when I need to do my injections!  The way I see it, if I was a size 2 then I wouldn't have any rolls to grab and then I’d probably hate the needles even more!  But, with my added weight, I can grab a roll with ease and inject away!! And I can smile knowing that I’m adding building to the smile on my belly!  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

"It's a wall chandelier"

It had been a while since I did anything creative around the house.  I felt that after becoming addicted to Pinterest, most of the stuff I did around the house were knock-off’s of someone else’s creative idea.  It wasn't always that bad, but I felt like I was losing being original when it came to creative décor around the house. 

So I shut off Pinterest for a few days (I know, the horror, right? I’m so addicted to that website!) and decided to look around our house and decide what I felt we needed. 

I didn’t have to go far to look for a lonely wall!  Right in our living room on the right side of one of our windows as a big ol’ empty space!  It was screaming for something to make it look alive.  Now that I had the space, I just needed an idea.  That’s where Dollar Tree comes in.

Last month, they opened a new Dollar Tree right near our house.  The one that I usually shopped at was about half hour away and this one is only about 20 minutes away.  Plus, I don’t have to take an annoying jug handle to get to it.  Here in Jersey if you wanna go somewhere that’s on the opposite side of the road, you need to take a jug handle.  Sometimes I love them, like when I’m lost and need to turn around (which happens often).  But other times I feel like it’s a waste of gas since you need to pass your destination, turn around in the jug handle, then re-trace your steps the other way to get to  your destination.  I think this is why our gas prices are lower since we have to do a little bit more driving in jug handles to get to our destination.

Anyhooo, back to the new Dollar Tree, I checked it out a few days after it opened and found these lovelies.

They are packaged in groups of three and are called “snowflakes.”  I bought four packages of them because I thought they would be cool to make some kind of light fixture out of for the spare room...for whenever we get to turn it into a nursery…if it’s a nursery for a girl.  I figured if the nursery is for a boy then I’ll find another use for these “snowflakes.” 

While I was still allowing myself to troll Pinterest, I found this inspiration room. 

Via here

This picture made me think of doing something like this in our dining room. It doesn't have any regular windows and I figured it would make the room look a little bigger with these mirrors.  I wasn't totally sold on the idea yet, so I figured I’d let it bounce around in my brain for a bit.

While that picture was bouncing around my brain during my Pinterest dry spell, so was the reminder that I had those “snowflakes.”  I got to thinking that if I put the snowflakes in front of a mirror, they might look pretty cool.  Aaaaannnnndddd, it was an idea that came from my own brain! Not a knock off from! Which means, that I can allow myself to drool over Pinterest again!  That makes me Pinterest happy.

So I drove to my closer-to-me-by-10-minutes-Dollar-Tree to get more snowflakes and look for some mirrors.  I’m glad I went when I did since there were only two packages of those snowflakes left. They had others, but they were blue and I wasn’t digging the blue color.  I then went in search of a mirror.  I was hoping to find a big mirror like 8X10, you know, one that you would put candles on or something, but they had nothing like that.  I walked around the frame section and found these bad boys.

Since they were an odd size, I picked up three being sure how big I wanted this chandelier reflection wall piece. When I got home, I cut down some wood from those old shelves I have from this project (bathroom shelf).  In my head I figured two of the mirror stacked on top of each other was about the size I wanted.  I added a few inches to my wood so I could add something to the top to hang the snowflakes, which I’m now calling chandelier pieces, from.

I had some of this paint left over from other projects.  I’m in love with this paint. I love the color and the way it covers. It doesn’t hurt that it’s made by Martha Stewart! I adore her…well, except for the whole insider trading thing.  Just stick to crafting, Martha!!

I added the paint to the top and bottom of my wood and the sides then glued the mirrors onto it. 

 Since I had to take the mirrors out of the frames they were in, I figured I could cut them down so I’d have the longer pieces to attach to the top of my wood. 

I sawed them down so I had four long pieces from the mirror frames that I could work with.

 I then glued the four pieces together and painted them silver as well.

After the frame  pieces dried I added these eye hooks to the underside in order to have something to attach my chandelier pieces to.

After the eye hooks were attached I glued the frame pieces that were attached to each other to the piece of wood.  Then I just played around with the length of string for my chandelier pieces and tied them on.

Here’s the finished piece.  Mr. Pal said it looks like a chandelier for a wall.  I think that description fits, so I’ll stick with that.

It’s really hard to get a picture of something with a mirror without getting yourself in the shot.  I’m very thankful for 10-second timer! I was able to set it and duck down so my reflection wasn’t in the mirror.

It finally adds a little something to the blank wall.  Plus, it was all my idea, which makes me very happy.

I do feel that it’s a bit small for the wall and was thinking of adding something around it, but for now I just want to live with it and see if it grows on me.

I’m just happy to get back into doing creative stuff without the assistance of Pinterest.  Now if you excuse me, I need to see what’s new on Pinterest!! haha