Friday, February 28, 2014

The Secret to Parenting

If you ever see a perfectly smiling and adorable picture of CK, please know that:

1. It took 117 attempts to get that one picture, and

2. I am probably saying and doing all kinds of ridiculous things to try to get her to actually smile, and

3. A third of the 117 attempts were blurry because she won't stop moving, and another third most likely included her screaming or crying for me to PLEASE-FOR-THE-LOVE-OF-THE-MAMARAZZI-STOP-TAKING-HER-PICTURE, and

4. There was some sort of bribery involved.  Always.

And that's really the secret to parenting:  bribery.

Any mother can tell you that she always had some judgments about other parents until she, herself, joined the mama club.  Then all judgment goes out the window and you basically do whatever you can to survive.

And I myself have mastered the art of bribery in order to survive the toddler years.

Will you say cheese and look adorable for this picture?  I'll give you a lollipop/cookie/donut/Milky Way.

Will you stay in the cart for the entire duration of the grocery trip?  I'll let you pick out a surprise in the checkout line.

Can I stay in Target for just TEN more minutes?  You can have whatever you want from the dollar spot.

Will you use the potty?  You can have some M&Ms.  Lots of M&Ms.

Will you behave for the six hour road trip?  You can watch this new movie, play with this new toy, eat your body weight in junk food... just PLEASE, please stop whining.

So when you see my kid smiling on Instagram, or see a video of her singing adorably on Facebook, or see her sitting patiently in the cart at Target while I pick out fifteen more things that weren't on my list, just know that there's always something at stake.  And usually something involving sugar.  

Or bandaids.  Bandaids are like crack in the Peele house.

And when you see something like this...

Or this...

Please know that in reality, things look a lot more like this...

Because sometimes, the bribery just doesn't work.

So that's when I turn to wine.

For me, not her.

Happy Friday!

Friday, February 21, 2014

What NOT to Say...

In light of my last post, I thought now was a good time to post what NOT to say to someone diagnosed with infertility, be it primary or secondary.

First, though, I have to say that I have been incredibly overwhelmed by the love, support, thoughts, and prayers we've received as I've been very open and honest about our struggle.


There are always a few little nuggets of advice that come your way that make you cringe.

I never let those little nuggets get to me, or at least I try not to... because I know that the world of infertility, and especially secondary infertility, are tricky to understand if you're on the outside looking in.  Most people want to help and support and offer words of advice, but just don't know what to say.  It's not like we're dying, or have been diagnosed with some horrific cancer... but yet, we have been diagnosed with what is considered a disease of some sort... a diagnosis that leaves us feeling pretty defeated and hopeless and jealous and resentful and sad and scared.


My friend Courtney over at her blog did a post awhile back, about what NOT to say to someone dealing with infertility.  Except, she put it in terms of what you wouldn't say to someone who is paraplegic.  Pretty clever, and pretty eye-opening, in my opinion.


And also, thank you thank you thank you for coming to this little corner of the internet, for continuing to read about our journey, for supporting me through thoughts and prayers, for letting me feel brave enough to be honest about our struggles.  I will forever be humbled by the opportunity to be so open on here and to receive such love and kindness from you guys throughout all of this...


Sunday, February 16, 2014


It is all-consuming -- mentally, physically, emotionally.  It is worry, it is fear, it is despair, it is guilt, it is hopelessness, it is stress, it is lonely, it is exhausting.

It is navigating a seemingly endless road that is littered with obstacles, mountains impossible to move.

It is waiting, it is patience, it is bad news.  It is doctor appointments, and needles, and dollars, and discomfort, and tears, and disappointment.


It is finding enough courage to be brave, finding enough willingness to try, finding enough strength to hold on, finding enough faithfulness to trust.

It is being unconditionally and undeservingly supported by your family.

It is realizing just how in love you are with your husband.


People assume that when you're going through IVF, you just take a bunch of fertility drugs, put your eggs in a petri dish, and end up with twins.

If only it were that easy.

For us, well...

                       Our IVF cycle got cancelled.

Even with the highest possible dose of injections, my body wouldn't respond.

A year ago, I never would have imagined we'd be doing IVF and now, it won't even work.

It goes without saying that we are devastated, and starting to feel pretty hopeless.  And we're tired - so tired.  I'm exhausted mentally, as every thought of everyday revolves around this struggle.  I'm exhausted emotionally, as the past year has been such a rollercoaster.  I'm exhausted physically, as I've put more medicines and hormones and supplements into my body than I even knew existed.

What does this mean for us?  We're not sure.  We do know that we want to fight like hell to have the family we've always dreamed of, fight like hell for CK to be a big sister and to know a life with siblings, fight like hell for the babies we've lost.  But we also know that we can only handle so much... and there's going to come a time, apparently sooner than we'd like, that we have to - give up.  Stop trying.

Let go.

We're not sure where we're going to go from here, but for now, we will do our best to remain as hopeful, and faithful, and prayerful as we possibly can... which, to be honest, is a tricky thing when the clouds just won't seem to clear for the sunshine.


"We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."  (2 Corinthians 4:18)

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." (Romans 15:13)

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."  (James 1:2-4)

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Day O' Love

Yet again, this little girl has eyes for only one guy in her life...
 Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

12 Birthdays...

I cannot believe I have celebrated 12 of his birthdays with him...

He is truly the most kindhearted, selfless, generous, amazing man I have ever known.  I feel so lucky to be his forever, but even luckier to have him as the father of our little girl.

No matter what life throws at us, he stays so strong.  He truly is our rock.

He loves me, and supports me, and makes me laugh, and lets me cry, and will always put me and everyone else before himself.

I know now that whatever cards we're dealt - whatever life we end up living, whatever roadblocks we face, whatever heartache we feel - we will all be okay, because we have him.

Happy, happy birthday, T.  YAWILFT.  We are so lucky to be your girls...

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Random Weekend Brain Dump!

*First things first - youguysyouguysyouguys...
Please look at this bundle of sweetness.  That, my friends, is my new niece, Addison.  Isn't she perfection?!  And this is my brother, wrapped around her finger already:
And my beautiful sister-in-law, partner-in-crime, who was born to do this whole mama thing:
Every time I look at these pictures, I get a knot in my throat.  I already love sweet Addy so, so much and cannot wait to snuggle her in person.  I'd already be there if I had doctor's permission to leave town!  For now, though, we'll have to settle for Facetiming,

Ok, now on to more randoms that are a little less exciting...

*Like everyone else, I am OVER the cold weather.  We even got more snow on Thursday!  Who would've thought we'd see so much winter weather in GA?!  The snow was fun for like a day, but I'm so ready for long summer days spent hanging out in our new neighborhood.

*T and I just caught up on our Nashville episodes - I've always loved it, but it has gotten really good lately!  

*Last Thursday night we got all dressed and ready to go to an art show at the university.  I was pretty excited about it and was looking forward to supporting UWG by finding an inexpensive piece for our new house.  Whaddya know... the art show is THIS Thursday.  Oops!!

*Speaking of this Thursday, it's my hub's thirty-fourth birthday!!  We've decided not to do any gifts this year for birthdays/holidays because of medical bills, but I'm having such a hard time just doing NOTHING for him.  We had a firm rule, no presents.  But I'm all about making a big deal out of birthdays.  Any practically free suggestions for a thirty-four-year-old man who deserves to feel so special?

*How are you feeling about the Olympics?  I'm kind of meh about it all.  I love the summer olympics, but never really get into it in the winter.  Maybe it'll be different this year since I'm home all day and can kind of keep up with what's going on?

*Y'all... have I mentioned that I'm currently driving a minivan?  And no, not your typical minivan - a 1990s Honda Odyssey.  (Google it... but then please still be my friend.) If you know my husband, you know he LOVES cars.  He has made a habit out of buying and selling cars and making money in the process.  It actually drives me crazy, but I can't complain because he's so good at it.  Well, when all of our medical stuff took over our lives and our wallets, it became clear pretty quickly that our car situation needed to change drastically.  So our awesome Sequoia which we love so much is for sale so that we can downgrade to get some quick cash and, enter stage right - the Odyssey.  At first, it wasn't so bad.  But when you move to a new town and are trying to make friends with all these cute young moms driving cute mom cars, cars that are like the exact opposite of a Honda Odyssey... it makes me a little self-conscious.  T tells me I'm being vain, and materialistic.  And I actually agree with him.  But it doesn't change the way I feel about it!  Please don't judge my minivan!!

*And speaking of meeting new people... I have met quite a few in my new little GA town!  It's so funny because I feel like I'm a single woman scouring a bar for a guy, hoping he'll ask for my number - but instead I'm a young mom with no friends scouring Kindermusik class for another young mom, hoping she'll want to be my friend! ha!  Truth is, it's hard sometimes, because I'll meet someone who I feel like I really connect with, who I can see calling fifteen years from now to talk about how hard the teenage years are as a parent... but most of the people here already have their lives established and are surrounded by family and friends and busy social calendars.  I just hope I fit in somewhere, ya know?

*You guys... insurance companies suck.  And I now know why some people move to Massachusetts JUST to get fertility coverage.

*Have I ever mentioned how much I love red wine?  I didn't think so.  Anyway, I found a cheap Pinot Noir that tastes like Kool Aid to me.  It is so good, too good.  I love when it's time for my 5pm glass of red!!

*I've had to make a lot of phone calls lately to banks, power companies, customer service lines, etc., and I cannot tell you how many times they think I say my name is Jessica BIEL.  Yeah, I wish (Hellllooooooo JT).

*Our new house has an infestation of... wait for it... LADYBUGS.  They are everywhere.  And you can't really kill ladybugs, you know?  There's just something wrong about that.  But y'all - what do we do about it?!

*So, I'm such a cynic when it comes to yoga.  I tried a class one time, years ago, and as soon as the lady told us to clear our minds, I giggled.  And never went back.  I did do some prenatal yoga while pregnant with CK, but that was more like a moose attempting a split.  So when a new friend asked me to go to a heated power yoga class, I obliged for two reasons:  (a) I was looking forward to another opportunity to get together with said new friend, and (b) I'm supposed to be trying less jarring exercises, per doctor's orders.  Y'all, I can hardly breathe today without grimacing in pain.  Yoga kicked my butt!  And now I am obsessed!!!!!!

*Yesterday, CK fell down the stairs.  And not just like a little slip - like a full-on laid-out Olympic-style front flip, landing on her back on the hardwood floor at the bottom.  I was standing right there, and witnessed it in what seemed like slow-motion.  It scared us both, and I am just so, so glad she didn't get hurt.  Talk about a heart-stopping mama moment.  Whew.

*I am feeling such a thirst to get back to church, and every Sunday since we moved here we haven't been able to go for one reason or another.  I can't wait to find a church here in GA to call home.

*And lastly, I am really wrestling over what to do in the fall in terms of employment.  And while it may seem like there's plenty of time to decide, most preschools do their fall registration within the next month... so the decision needs to be made soon.  I can't decide whether to stay home for another year and keep CK home with me, stay home for another year and send CK to preschool two mornings a week, or go back to work part-time with CK in preschool part-time.  I'm wrestling over this decision for many reasons, and I'll save the rest of the conversation for another post, soon.  I just want to make the right and best decision for our little family, and right now I don't know what that is.

Ok, off to enjoy this BEAUTIFUL weather until winter slaps us in the face again on Tuesday.  Happy weekend!! 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Does Everything Happen for a Reason?

It's a pretty thought-provoking question, no?

It's no secret that the past fourteen months of my life have been difficult.  If you frequent this blog, you know they've included the most difficult times of my life to date.  I've hit some of my lowest lows, and after many, many months of feeling alone and abandoned out in the middle of a seemingly endless darkness, a darkness no one truly understands... I finally feel like I'm starting to grab onto a life raft to float back to shore.

Life has a funny way of shaking all of your dreams until they turn into something you'd never imagined.  A year ago, I never would've dreamed I'd be living in an entirely different state, far away from the comforts of the life I knew.  A year ago, I never would've imagined we'd be deep in the throws of such aggressive fertility treatments, treatments that have already begun to take over my body and my entire self.  Treatments that, lately, have left me with many sleepless nights - wondering, worrying, scared - tossing and turning and hoping and praying.

I've definitely spent a lot of time soul-searching lately, hence the title of this post.  And while I promise not to be too melodramatic, as I usually am in my little corner of the internet universe, I can't help but constantly ask...

        Does everything happen for a reason?  

I'm truthfully not entirely sure... it's a question I often wonder about, and may never know the answer to.  It's a question I've asked a lot, especially lately.  

Does God have a plan?  I am sure of this, though it's tough to hear words like that when you're alone and in a very dark place.  Because when you're stuck in the storm, and you can't find shelter, the last thing you want to hear is "Everything happens for a reason," or "Don't worry, God has a plan."  It doesn't mean you don't believe these two statements; however, it's hard to believe that you are ever supposed to experience such suffocating grief.  There are so many times in our lives when we can look back and say, "Oooooh, NOW I understand why that happened."  But when you're not on the other side yet, when you're still surrounded by heartache and fear and worry and disappointment and everything feels unfair... the place of understanding why it all happened seems so far away, too far away.

So until I find my way to the shore, climb up, and push through to the other side of all of this, I'm continuing to cling on to the hope that one day - some day - it will all make sense.  One day - some day - the pieces of the past year will come together to create a picture that may not be perfect, but is unmistakably beautiful.