A Tragiversary

Tragiversary.  You probably haven’t heard the word before.  It is the anniversary of a tragic event.  Today is a personal one of mine.  It’s been exactly a year since I experienced an ectopic pregnancy (or some may be more familiar with the term, tubal pregnancy).

Honestly, I don’t feel bad life experiences need to be turned into this big make you bawl or gasp fest or something that needs a big… party(?) to shout to everyone I know a bad thing happened to me.  It happened.  I experienced it.  I learned and grew from it.  Now, I feel ready to share some of my story to help others that may be going through something similar or already had gone through it.  I know when I was in the midst of my hardship, I devoured any information I could about what really happens.  And later, I will share some of the details I was looking for when ectopic pregnancy was new to me.  But today, I want to share a bit of hope.

When I was doubled over with pain and finally realized I needed to get myself to the ER, I didn’t know what was wrong.  I didn’t know I was pregnant.  I wasn’t planning on being pregnant.  My husband and I were going back and forth on if we did want to have more children.  I only suspected it because nothing else that could cause the pain made sense to me.  I think I surprised a lot of healthcare workers with my happy attitude throughout the whole process.  I wasn’t happy to be going through something awful, but I was ok about the pregnancy not working out.  It was scary but I found it very interesting because the average population of women (including myself at the time) do not know much about it.  I was learning so much.

Then, we had to wait.  The whole process to become un-pregnant took 6 weeks.  After that, we had to wait at least 2 months before trying to get pregnant again.  All that waiting and all that awfulness changed my husband’s and my perspective and we agreed that we would like to bring another baby in our family.  We tried a few times without success so when I finally found out I was pregnant in mid-November of last year, I was ecstatic!  I immediately started documenting the pregnancy and refreshing myself on pregnancy do’s and don’ts and dreaming about a possibility of a little girl.

5 days after my positive pregnancy test, I miscarried.  Though the physical pain was like a 1, the emotional pain was like a 9.  It was a very different experience than my ectopic pregnancy.  I had been looking forward to having a baby for several months and a few hours destroyed that hope and excitement.  I felt completely broken.  I really thought there was a good chance I would never have another baby because I wasn’t physically able to anymore.  I had 3 very boring yet perfect pregnancies and babies and now twice in a row, my pregnancies were failures.  I didn’t even want to try again for fear that something bad would happen again.

Then very slowly, my emotions leveled and I started to rise out of the fog.  I had to ask myself if I really did want another child.  Was God’s plan for me include another child?  Did my husband still want another child?  I felt like the answers to all those questions were yes but I was still hesitant.  Hubby and I had a serious, to the point conversation where he said he did want to try again but we would wait until I was ready.   We talked about what scared us (really me) and his responses calmed me.  I felt a big relief and peace come over me and I knew I could do it.  I would try again, but only one more time.  I didn’t feel like I could keep trying if a third pregnancy turned out with no baby.

About 2 weeks later, I had another positive pregnancy test.  I wasn’t excited as I was the last time, it was more like anxious.  Every twitch of uncomfortableness came with a thought of another miscarriage.  Hubby was reserved too.  We didn’t know what would happen this time.  But I was still pregnant week after week.  Finally, when I was 7 weeks pregnant, I called my doctor’s office to set up my first appointment.  A week later I was in his office and he showed me the most precious thing in the world to me in that moment, my baby alive with a beating heart.  I was excited.

wpid-IMAG0643.jpg

I still can’t help myself but smile when I look at that picture or even think of it!  I really am pregnant and my baby is ok!  I was so excited that I showed off the picture to my boys to tell them the news.  Soon, I started having doubts again.  I have known too many people who lost their babies.  Some were late miscarriages, some were stillborns, all could happen to me.  I reserved my excitement.

My second doctor appointment I was pretty anxious.  This would be the first time to hear the baby’s heartbeat, if there was one.  I asked my husband to go with me.  I would want him there if the baby had died.  I may have let him think I thought it would be exciting for him to experience hearing this baby’s heartbeat for the first time.

Another miracle occurred though!  The doctor quickly found the baby’s heartbeat and could even hear the baby moving already.  Another wave of relief and excitement came over me.  This baby is still ok!  I’m finally ready to tell everyone that I’m definitely pregnant and the baby is doing great.

wpid-storagesdcard0Yahoomailattachmentscomic6.jpg.jpg

Our next appointment will be the sonogram where we will find out the gender… and if there is anything wrong.  I do have some worry about it, but I’m much more hopeful that the baby will be found healthy and thriving.  Today may be my tragiversary which started a journey of failed pregnancies, but it’s also the beginning of the renewed hope of bringing a baby into this world.

I know there are many couples out there who are wanting a child.  Their journeys may be much longer or more difficult than mine.  I completely sympathize.  I just want to share that most of those people can have hope that not every pregnancy will end in terrible sadness.  It’s ok to hope.  Once you are emotionally ready to try again, try.  Life is full of events that are not planned or wanted but these trials make us stronger, more capable.  We can be happy in the process.  Remember that life is also full of joy when we search for it.

Baby Saucy is 14 weeks along and due October 4.

For another amazing account of hope following baby loss, read my sister’s blog here.

Behind the Scenes: Birthday Cakes

I kid myself with “behind the scenes”.  Like I am a movie star with something interesting to show you or something.  Hmpf!  But you know how you see someone else’s beautiful creation be it a craft or a recipe and you never see pictures of their 10 failures before they got it right?  Or how they completely destroyed their table with a glue gun?  Well, I’m posting pictures of some ugliness when it comes to making birthday cakes happen.

I actually am a Wilton certified cake decorator.  No, really.  I am.  I had big ideas of how awesome I was going to be and how I could use my awesome skills to earn extra money when I had a family.  Some of these grandiose ideas stemmed from my own mother, aunt and grandma who decorated cakes when I was a child.  But I realized in the midst of my training that I didn’t have a passion for it and with cake decorating you really need passion to get you through the days (yes, days) of baking, mixing, coloring and making cute swooshie things.  I realized since I didn’t love it, I just couldn’t be patient enough to make cakes pretty as the pictures.  Lesson learned.  But I still attempt to make fun cakes for my family’s birthdays.

My husband’s birthday is exactly a week before my 5 year old’s so there’s a lot of cake going on at that time.  Hubby requested mini cupcakes which I did in red velvet with cream cheese icing.  The thing about red velvet is it stains everything.  My hand looks like I just finished wiping blood from the counter instead of cake.

I ended up making 50 something mini cupcakes.  They are so cute but I was so done.  I took a few of them to create the number 36 and slapped on some icing, called it good.  They were too.

My sweet 5 year old requested a princess cake.  Not just any princess either, Princess Peach.  He really wanted me to make him this fondant Mario wedding cake I found online but that surely wasn’t going to happen.  He settled for this.

I know it’s not the best decorating in the world but I think it’s pretty good with the amount of time and effort I was willing to do.  I think it took me 2 hours to decorate.  Last year, I made him this Curious George cake.

He was even easier to make because I didn’t have a lot of colors I needed to mix.  So how do you make these mediocre cakes?  Use a template!

  1. Just find a picture and print it out to fit on your cake.
  2. Cut around all the edges then place it on your cake.
  3. Take a pointed knife or box cutter or exacto knife, whatever and cut around your template.  Make sure to not cut very deep.  In fact, the more shallow you cut the cake, the better.  Otherwise, when you serve the cake, it will fall apart on you.
  4. Remove the template and trace your cutting guide with icing.  With both of these cakes, I used black icing I bought.  If the picture isn’t complex, you can use an icing tip that comes with store-bought icing tubes.  Or find a craft or cake decorating store that sells Wilton tips (like Hobby Lobby or Michaels) and get the size you need.  The smaller the number, the smaller the size.  You do not have to buy icing bags either.  Just stick the tip through a corner of a sandwich baggie.
  5. Trace any outlines you need inside.  You can cut your picture if you don’t trust your creative instinct and trace like you did before or go wild and freehand it.
  6. Fill in with icing.  You can use a small star tip to fill in like you might see on Wilton cakes but I find it cramps my style… and my hand.  You can smooth the icing with a clean finger that you dip in a bit of water.

From all this partying, I had a mountain of dishes.  Both sinks are full and it’s overflowing.  😦   I despise doing dishes.  At least I got to eat a fair amount of cake!

New Year, New Me?

Ahhh, I love the new year!  I am a bit crazy and I love making goals for myself.  I really do this all year long but there is something about the start of a new year that makes me be able to forgive myself of all my shortcomings from last year and start anew…  At least that’s how I usually feel.  With that said, I haven’t made any resolutions yet.

I was looking at my 2012 resolutions and it was painfully obvious that I was failing.  I made 6 resolutions and I can confidently state I achieved 1 of them and completed half of two others.  3 out of 6 is 50% and 50% is an F.  F for F-A-I-L.  Cue sad music.

So instead of thinking about my bad grade from last year, I’m going to focus on an old resolution that went gloriously well.  Cleaning.

I know you’re already excited with just that simple word so let’s dive in to the topic.  Cleaning is something that you have to do and love the results but the actual work is not normally enjoyable.  Actually, a lot like your job.  And also like a project at work or school, when more people are involved, the more complicated it gets.  I had 4 people living in my house so cleaning seemed to be really complicated and I wasn’t master of that universe.  So I made a new year’s resolution to master it and I actually aced it by the end of that year.

Now aced it doesn’t refer to a sparkling clean house 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Acing it refers to now I have a more manageable contained mess where everything has at least been recently sanitized.  Cause life isn’t perfect and certainly I am not and I live with a whole house full of people who aren’t either.  🙂

Tip #1:  Decide what your standard of cleanliness is.

Tip #2:  Lower it a notch for each opposing factor.

When I met my husband, I was one of those people that had my things and places very organized, neat and clean.  That’s how I like to live.  After a few years of trying to change my wonderful hubby to be like me, I decided I liked loving him (even with his huge pile of stinky clothes) better than fighting with him all the time.  This meant that there was a more…  lived-in style to our home.  With each child and stress, the standard of cleanliness went down.  It had to.  Unless I want to spend every moment of everyday cleaning.  I assume that most people do not want to be cleaning all day long every day too so that means lower your ideal standards.

Tip #3:  Decide how much time you’re willing to spend on it each day.

When I first made mastering a standard of cleanliness in my home a resolution, I was working about 25 hours a week in the evenings/nights and taking care of 2 kids during the day while my husband worked.  My “free” time was precious and my energy was even more so.  I knew that there was going to be some days where I couldn’t clean and when I did have time, it wasn’t going to be very much.  Now that my full-time job is to raise our 3 children and make a home, I have more consistent time and energy to go towards cleaning.  Be realistic and don’t put yourself up to something that you’ll fail at.

Tip #4:  Create a system.

The time you have and the type of cleaning that your household needs will determine what your system is.  Google cleaning routine and you’ll get all sorts of systems to look at and make your own.  When I first started, my system was a list of chores that I would rotate through.  There was no laundry day or clean the floors day.

1.  Dishes

2.  Counters

3.  Floors

4.  Bathrooms

5.  Laundry

The first block of time I had to do chores I would do dishes, the second time I would clean off all counters and so on.

There would be some days where I would get “backed up” and have to skip bathrooms to do some laundry and then go back to bathrooms.  The cycle would get broken up a bit but it worked for the most part.  About once a month hubby and I would take a Saturday and just work on cleaning the house up.  Sometimes the dishes piled up and the Mr. would do some cause I was working on floors.  We just accepted it since that’s how our life was at that moment and that moment we knew wouldn’t last forever.

Now that I’m home, I do have chores assigned to certain days.

Monday:  Counters, sinks & trash

Tuesday:  Floors & mop

Wednesday:  Toilets & mirrors or Bathtubs (these alternate every week), a Bedroom (deep cleaned once a month)

Thursday:  Counters & laundry (only wash & dry)

Friday:  Bills & fold laundry

Saturday:  Floors, Dust (every other week)

Everyday: Dishes

If for some reason, I can’t get to a chore on it’s assigned day, I just skip it that week (except for laundry).  If you were to come to my house on Wednesday, it will look pretty sparkling clean.  If you come on Saturday, it will most likely look like chaos.  But at least I know the floors underneath all the toys and random half-eaten quesadilla are still pretty clean!  I also have my 7 and 4 yr old boys help out.  They normally have one chore a day and sometimes two.  They typically help with dishes and pick up but I give them the option to help me with another regular chore where I try to teach them how to clean.  A very important skill if I am to stop cleaning when I’m 40, right?

Tip #5:  Revise and reward.

Try it out for a couple weeks and if it doesn’t work, change it!  Don’t force it to work.  My current routine has slowly changed to what it’s become today, home diva-ness.  At least that’s what I tell myself.  And you should tell yourself the same thing and add a special happy dance.  Or whatever you want to do to pat yourself on the back for accomplishing good in your life.

Now back to thinking what I can resolve to do this year…  I think eating chocolate will be on the list.  I’ll ace that.  🙂

Chocolate = Happiness?

I looooove chocolate.

Unless I’m pregnant.  Then I like anything sour.  It’s very disappointing.  But I’m not pregnant, so chocolate is my preferred choice.

You know when you have one of those weeks when you feel like that with the amount of stress you’re experiencing you will never be able to relax enough to recuperate?  Yeah, I do too.  I may be overreacting but that’s how I feel in the moment.  When I have those moments, I try to do something to de-stress.  Go for a run, read a book, watch a movie, eat lots of chocolate…

Well, last week I had a few days where I was feeling pulled way too thin.  My adorable little toddler was the Mr. Whiny and reverted to babyhood wanting me to carry him around everywhere all the time.  I actually started getting aches where I’ve never had aches before from the carrying I did indulge him in!  Of course, there was the normal stuff to take care of like the house cleaning, homework helping, meal making, butt wiping.  The thing that made it worse was that my poor hubby was gone all day for 3 days straight.  I don’t mean all day as in gone to work for 8 or 9 hours.  I mean he’s gone before the rest of the family wakes up and comes back after all the kiddos are asleep by 8:30.  He did stop by for about an hour for dinner on two of those days…  But the point is (if you’re not a mother), is that I got no break at all from taking care of the children.

I love my boys!  I make a concentrated effort during hard days like those to remind myself how lucky I am and how wonderful they are to be with but any person would need a break.  See, I don’t even have a car (yet!) to get out of the house so I’m really a stay at home mom.  And by the third day when I knew he wouldn’t be home in the evening as well, I texted him:

Honey, I need a break.  I don’t even have any chocolate to help me.  Are there any magical brownies lying around you can bring me?

When he came home for a dinner break before heading out again, he had a wonderful brown bag of goodies for me.

He told me that he got me a Kit Kat cause of their famous slogan, “Give me a break!”, the Fast Break is self-explanatory and the Laffy Taffy Sour Apple cause I had a sour day.  It was very sweet that he took a few minutes of his crazy day to make me smile.  That’s why I married him, he can always make me smile.  🙂

I didn’t devour the chocolate right away though I wanted to.  I was making dinner and I had enough self-restraint to wait until afterwards.  But then I realized I didn’t want the chocolate anymore.  I was already emotionally fed.  I really didn’t need the chocolate like I had thought.  I needed to feel better and my husband did that for me by showing his love and trying to help me be happy.

Luckily, my husband got misinformed about his activity that evening so he returned home much earlier than planned.  Plus, I skipped out on some cleaning and watched a movie with the kids.  And… I did end up eating my Kit Kat cause I do love those but not because I needed it to fill some emotional hole.  I hope that I can help my hubby be happy when he most needs it like he did with me!

So definitely chocolate doesn’t equal happiness but at times, it can help.  🙂  What is your happy food?

A Saucy Life Begins

Image

Life is hard.  I know.  Everyone knows.  But you just got to make the most of it, right?  You find things that make life easier.  You search for the things that make you happy.  You eat chocolate.  Lots of it.  Aaaand then run everyday for a week.

This little place in interspace is mine to share what I find makes my life better.  I hope it helps and inspires and that I don’t get too obsessive.  I tend to do that.  😉  So let’s enjoy our messes and be happy!