Thursday, June 30, 2016

16 Goals for 2016 - Progress Report #2

Wow, the end of June already. It never ceases to amaze me how fast the year flies by. I'm really not doing well with my goals this year, which is discouraging, but I'm trying not to get too down from it. I'm doing my best and that's all that matters. Here is the recap for the first 6 months of 2016.

1. Run my 4th 5k Still not going well. At this rate, this will totally not be happening.
2. Read 35 books I'm super slacking on this one, by like 30 books or so. Dang.
3. Learn to knit a baby sweater I have the wool but need to actually start it!
4. Renovate main floor of house In progress, the kitchen is currently being done.
5. Journal at least 5 times a month I was great the first few months but haven't been doing so well lately.
6. Take a photography class
7. Try 12 new recipes I lost count after 2...
8. Start one good habit a month January-flossing, February-drinking more water, March-weekly dates with Dan, April-making the bed, and then I stopped starting new habits.
9. Build a big chicken run We really need to get started on this!
10. Take a weekend getaway with Dan The June one didn't happen, so we need to plan another one.
11. Make a monthly budget I hate budgets.
12. Reach goal weight of 117 lbs TOTALLY COMPLETED!!!! Although I have since gone back down, but I'm still counting it as a success because I got there.
13. Try container/raised bed vegetable gardening I have 5 containers going right now with zucchini, cucumber and tomatoes.
14. Go to the gym at least 8 times a month Succeeded in January and then stopped mid February due to chest pains. Since February, I have gone twice. I suck.
15. Complete a French exercise book I have finally started the book, so at least it's now in progress.
16. Find a new go to hairstyle I have totally found a new hairstyle I like and am using quite frequently. You can see how cute I am in it in the picture below.

Still only one thing completed. Sigh, I don't think this is going to be my year for goals. I made too many that depended on being awesome every month, which is too hard. Next year, smaller more attainable goals is the goal.

How is everyone else doing?

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Father's Day

Today is a day of so many feelings. Feelings of sadness mostly, as I try to keep my chin up and make the most of today. But in all honestly, I find today a little soul crushing.

Today is the day to celebrate fathers and everywhere you look, there appears to be a happy little family out and about with a proud father in the midst. Not us though. Never us.

We don't have any kids to look up at Dan and think he's the best dad in the world. No one to think he is the strongest or bravest or funnest man who ever walked this earth. No one to jump into his arms and give him a big hug and say "Happy Father's Day Daddy".

What we get instead is a sinking feeling as we lie in bed listening to the birds sing and feel the sun stream in. A cloud hanging over us as we get up, get our breakfast and eat in silence. A feeling of jealousy and sadness all mixed into one as we peruse through Facebook and are inundated with Father's Day posts.

We want what everyone else seems to have. We want it so much.

Today is extra hard for me too, because I don't have my Dad here to celebrate with anymore. Even though this will be the third Father's Day since he died, it is hitting me the hardest. I just have a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes as I try my best to get through today.

I miss him a lot. I miss his smile and his humour and his hugs. I miss hearing his voice, telling me he loves me and is proud of me. I miss being able to call him today and tell him he is the best Dad in the whole wide world. I just miss him so much.

Maybe I should stop trying so hard and just succumb to the sadness and curl up in bed and cry. Because today is hard and that is okay. Hard days happen to the best of us.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Kitchen Destruction Begins

I apologize for not getting a post up last week showing pictures of how our house is currently looking, all semi finished and beautiful. But you see, life happened and pictures didn't get taken. And then, then disaster happened and pretty house pictures will have to wait. By disaster, I don't actually mean anything too bad, just that we started our kitchen reno and that was the end of my house looking half put together.

We finally decided to start our kitchen, which meant we needed to begin by taking up the old floors. In case you can't remember what they looked like, here is a nice before picture of our empty dining room, right before we tore everything to bits.

The flooring itself wasn't that bad and we probably would have left it if the previous owners had installed in properly. But alas, no such luck. There were bumps and dips and it was already starting to peel up in some places. So up it came.

There were four layers of flooring total, with two different underlays used. It was quite the job getting it all up, especially when we ran into mold between two of the layers. It turns out that the dishwasher has been leaking but no one knew because there were so many dang layers of floor to hide the puddle! Fortunately, once we got the moldy flooring up, the sub floor was in pretty good condition.

We pulled all the flooring up in the dining room in one afternoon, although it felt like a lifetime with the heat and humidity we were having. We don't have our air conditioner hooked up yet so we were working in a very hot house. The next afternoon, still in the heat, we tackled the staples/nails/screws in the dining room. It was dreadful.

Seriously, it took forever. I guess that's what 40 years and 4 layers of flooring gets you.

Our next step was pulling up the flooring around the cabinets in the kitchen, so as to leave us a working kitchen for as long as possible. We didn't see the need to lose our counters and sink before we needed to.

We lived with these sub floors for almost a week, until Dan went a little crazy yesterday. He had the day off work so while I was working, he tackled the lower cabinets and the rest of the flooring.

These are the pictures he sent to me around lunch time yesterday.

Craziness! Good bye old kitchen and hello renovation mess! Again.

I arrived home to a living room full of kitchen stuff and Dan starting to lay the new flooring.

I, being the wonderful wife that I am, immediately changed into my work clothes and got to work helping with the flooring. By 7:30pm, we had the new floor in and our kitchen back to working order. Minus any counters though.

It feels so nice to have all the same floor everywhere and not have any weird seams or crevices for dirt to get stuck in. And everything feels so open without any lower cupboards. Having no countertops to work on is going to take some getting used to, but luckily for me I am married to a plumber and I have a little dishes station all set up.

Isn't it cute? He installed the sink and I worked out my mini countertop for the dish rack. It's a little precarious, but it works. I have running water in the kitchen and a working stove and fridge. What more can I ask for?

So that is what our current state of renovations looks like. Our next step will be tearing out the upper cabinets and then cutting out the backsplash. Once that's done, we need to repair the walls and paint before moving in our new cabinets and getting counters measured and ordered. So many steps yet, but we are on our way!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Five Things Friday

Sorry that I didn't blog this week, but after writing so many posts for CIAW, I needed a bit of a break. I'm here for a quick stop by to share some random pictures for your Friday viewing pleasure and I hope to be back next week to show off how awesome the house is looking. Until then though, enjoy Five Things Friday!

1) Dan showed me this little meme last week and it cracked us both up. The longer you look at it, the better it is. Such a happy little turtle.

2) I was given a knitted hat probably almost two years ago from a family friend and I have never worn it. It got buried with a bunch of random things in my closet and I came across it while unpacking and thought to myself, "I could totally rock this". Wouldn't you agree?

3) Two weeks ago we babysat our niece Izzy for a few hours and were responsible for feeding her lunch. Dan suggested eggs and bacon and she of course agreed. I snapped this picture of them dipping their toast in their egg yolks and I thought it was pretty adorable.

4) Ever since Mia turned 3, her shenanigans have diminished. But the other day she pulled one off that had both Dan and I shaking our heads. She had been playing ball with Dan and was a little warm, so to cool off she decided to go lie in the small stream we have in the back yard. Except for the stream is more of a mud puddle right now and she got completely filthy right before bed. Silly dog.

5) Dan and I went on our first picnic of the year on Monday and it was so nice! We enjoyed the beautiful weather and watched the boats go through the locks. We hope to do this more often this summer.

What has everyone else been up to? Care to share some random Friday musings?

Friday, May 20, 2016

CIAW 2016 - Support is Key

It's the last day of Canadian Infertility Awareness Week and I want to close things off by talking about the importance of support. For those of us trudging through the mires of infertility, we need the support of family and friends and strangers in order to make it through.

A friend of mine showed me a little video and I thought it was so perfect. I'm sharing it here so that you can listen to it and hopefully take something from it.

Really, we just need to know we are not alone. That is the most important part. You may not fully understand what we are going through, but we need you to sit with us and say you are sorry. That's it. If you don't know what to say, just leave it with "I'm sorry".

If you are a more practical person and are looking for ways to show your support, here are a few ideas that you can start from.

1) Send a card. It doesn't have to say much, just say that you are thinking of us and are sorry. It's nice to know others care.

2) Make us food or send us a gift card. When we are in the depths of despair (literally), we can't think about much and we don't have much energy to cook. But like everybody, we need sustenance. A home cooked meal, a gift card to a restaurant or even a box of cookies goes a long way.

3) Send flowers. This one can go both ways, I have heard some people don't like flowers, especially after a loss, because they remind them of funerals or are depressing when they die. For me, I love flowers and absolutely adore getting them. So if you know your friend well and know if flowers would be welcomed, feel free to send some over.

4) Listen. We need someone to listen to us without offering advice or talking back (much). We need a sounding board, someone who can soak up our thoughts and feelings and not judge us for them.

5) Pampering is always good. Chances are we feel pretty crappy about ourselves, so sometimes getting out for a pedicure or a haircut or something indulgent hits the spot. Even better if we can get in some girl time during the process.

6) Chocolate. Okay, so this one isn't exactly showing support but for me at least, it is always welcomed. Chocolate really does make me feel better, if only momentarily.

7) Honour our loss. Whether we are grieving the failure of a cycle or the loss of a baby, finding some way to honour this pain can be meaningful. Some people like keepsakes, such as Willow Tree Figurines, or maybe a flower or tree that can be planted in the yard. Some sort of token to commemorate this huge loss can mean a lot to someone.

Those are just a few things that you can do, but remember that I am just one person with different feelings and opinions. Not everyone will feel supported in the same way, so be sure to gauge that person's personality before doing something. If you're in doubt and not sure what to do, I would stick with just saying you're sorry in a card attached to a meal. You can rarely go wrong there.

This post wraps up Canadian Infertility Awareness Week and I hope that you have learned something from all my writings. I choose to share my story and bare my heart for the greater cause of raising awareness and advocating for those who do not feel comfortable sharing. If I have helped just one person see things a little clearer, I have made progress, and that is good.

Thank you for reading and for sharing over this past week, it means a lot to me. Now take what you have learned and put it into practice, because I am sure you know someone who is struggling with infertility and could use some understanding along this journey.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

CIAW 2016 - Friendships Amidst Infertility

Canadian Infertility Awareness Week continues and with each passing day, I'm finding it harder to write posts on the subject. It's a difficult topic to write on and is emotionally draining as well. But since I'm all about advocating and raising awareness, I will do my best to keep trucking along and finish out the week.

Today's subject is tricky, as it talks about friendships and I am by no means an expert on this. I am still trying to figure out how to navigate the waters of friendship as an adult, especially as an adult without children in a sea of families. When you are the only odd ones out, it makes things complicated. Or as one friend put it "The difficulty of what it's like living with infertility in a world where most of our peers have a different life". How true those words are.

As one goes through life, friends come and go, it's a natural thing to happen. But infertility sometimes speeds up the process of losing friends, whether we like it or not. It is hard to maintain friendships when we are at different places in life. Or when it is too painful to be around pregnant bellies or babies/children. Or when we are too wrapped up in our own pain to be there for someone else. Some of these friends just drift away, without any solid reasons for the separation. Other times we discover that a friend wasn't a true friend and they didn't stick with us during our hard times or support us in any way, so we need to cut them off. Other times we just need a break from the friendship, a step back to protect our self from the pain. We may rekindle this friendship down the road but for the present, it is just too hard. And then sometimes, we hit the jackpot and find that one (or more) amazing friend who sticks with us and loves us when we're hard to be loved. Who listens to us whine and vent and complain, who brings us cookies when we find out another cycle has failed, who reminds us that our pain is real and needs to be felt.

Navigating friendships in the tumultuous sea of infertility is hard, but it can be done. There needs to be some give and take on both sides, like all friendships need, and there needs to be lots of understanding and forgiveness. Infertility can strengthen friendships and cross our paths with others who become some of our best friends. Some of my closest friendships have developed over these past 6 years and it is our similar journeys that have brought us together.

For those of you who are the friends of people who are struggling with infertility, I thought I would give you a few words of advice. Although I really don't like using that word, since I don't want you to think I know it all. But these are some things that I know I (and some of my friends) have appreciated over the years.

1) Validate our feelings. What we are going through is real and hard and cuts us to the core. Please don't blow it off as nothing or something that we will "get over". This is a part of us and we need you to accept us as a whole. Tell us you are sorry and that you love us.

2) Come over to our house sometimes. When all of our friends have kids, we find that most of our get togethers happen at their places, due to the fact that it is just easier. Which it totally is and we understand that. But sometimes, it would be nice to be able to host the dinner or games night or whatever, to open up our homes and be the hospitable ones. We don't need (or want) to do it all the time, but the occasional time would mean a lot to us.

3) Make time for girls only gatherings. We like to be able to spend time with just you, whether it's meeting at a coffee house, having a girls night or even escaping for a girls weekend. We need time with just you. And really, I'm sure you would enjoy a break too.

4) Initiate contact from time to time. We feel so lost and alone - like no one would want to be around us (in most moments we don't even want to be around us). Taking the time to text or call or send a card can really help turn an ugly day into a much better day. We often feel like we are on the outside and barging into your full lives, so it's helpful for us to know that we are wanted in your world too.

5) Be the friend you want to be and have. Simply put, be someone who listens, who is their own person, who has their own life (and doesn't tip toe around that fact) but is invested and fully present when they can be. Having an infertile friend means that their feelings of brokenness are triggered by different things than your brokenness. Build a friendship that makes both of you feel whole in and despite of your brokenness.

Like I said, maintaining friendships amidst infertility is hard. But it is possible and with some work and dedication, it has great rewards.

I'm going to end this here, because I'm not really sure what else to say. Before I do though, I want to thank my friend who helped with some of the tips, you know who you are, and I appreciate your input and encouragement. Yours is one of the amazing friendships that has risen out of this infertility mess and I am forever grateful for your patience and love.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

CIAW 2016 - Think First, Then Speak

Today for Canadian Infertility Awareness Week I'm going to share some things people have said to me and other friends struggling with infertility. These are words that can hurt, even without meaning to, and I wanted to share them as some examples of what not to say. This is obviously not a complete list and some of these things are hurtful or offensive to some and not to others. So don't necessarily follow this list to the letter, just keep in mind that words do hurt and you should be careful of what you say when it comes to having children or trying to get pregnant.

Some things not to say...
  • You want kids? Here you can have mine
  • At least you can sleep through the night
  • Do you have any kids? Do you want them?
  • Have you tried <insert method here>
  • It's probably all the toxins you eat
  • Does your husband drink pop/soda - it's probably that...
  • Maybe you're not supposed to have kids
  • You'd make such good parents... you should have kids.
  • Your parents must be disappointed you have a dog and didn't give them grandchildren
  • You're still young, you have plenty of time
  • Do you keep a cellphone in your pocket/purse? It's probably affecting your fertility
  • No kids yet? Better get cracking!
  • You're not trusting God enough
  • At least you know you can get pregnant (after a miscarriage)
  • Well at least it (your miscarriage) happened early, it wasn't actually a baby yet
  • God has a plan!
  • Maybe you should volunteer with children
  • If it's meant to be...
  • You can always adopt
  • At least it is fun trying
  • You look pregnant
  • God works in mysterious ways
  • Maybe you are meant to do something else
  • I know how you feel, we tried for 6 months before we got pregnant
  • My friend got pregnant when...
  • Is it you or your husband?
  • Ah well, I don't even want kids so it wouldn't be a big deal for me
  • I never wanted kids, but I got them
  • At least you have a stepdaughter
  • Just relax and it will happen
  • Everything happens for a reason
  • I know someone who tried for years, they adopted and then got pregnant right away!
So there you have it, some things that have been said that others have found hurtful. Remember that your words, although meant well, don't always come across that way. Sometimes we can just brush it off and chalk it up to not knowing better, but sometimes it cuts deep and stays with us forever.

Once again, I'm not pointing any fingers and please don't worry yourself to death if you have ever been guilty of saying one of these things. We all say things we later regret, no one is perfect. If you want, you can always apologize to your friends for something you may have said or you can just let it slide. This post is more to raise awareness and help you in future situations.

If you have anything to add, please feel free to comment.