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.