The Vacation-Dominican Republic

The day of my surgery I was in a hospital bed emailing my travel agent.  We needed a vacation.  Whenever life gets really tough for me, I take flight.  I run somewhere that I can breathe and take a step back.  By just booking a trip it gives me something to focus on.  Not that I’m trying to run from dealing with life in general but I need to go to a  place where I know I can find myself again.  The ocean does it for me every time.  So we booked the next place on our travel list and the first week in December we left the beginnings of holiday chaos behind for 82 degrees and a beach.

I was stressed before we left.  A stress that left me feeling like I couldn’t get a grip on anything.  I couldn’t even get excited for my trip because life was happening and details that I couldn’t get to were sending me over the edge.  I didn’t get a manicure, I didn’t get a wax, I didn’t swing in for a few tanning bed sessions, I didn’t acknowledge the state of my toes and I didn’t bother shopping for anything new and fun to wear.  I threw old swimsuits in a bag along with my go-to summer dresses and a bottle of nail polish and called it good.  My Husband questioned why I, for once, didn’t over pack.

There is that moment when you get on a plane and turn off your phone for an entire week, that moment, that is where I exhaled that early morning.  I exhaled for the first time in a long time.  There was nothing I could do about anything at that point.  If it wasn’t taken care of or finished then it would have to wait until we got back.  We unplugged.  I found the first mimosa I could at our layover and sipped it happily.  I looked at my Husband and truly smiled at him.

I know we all say it on vacations or at least we should, we found ourselves again on this vacation.  I look at our pictures and can see we look five years younger.  The stress of the past couple of months slowly faded from our faces.  The color came back to us and not just in the form of a tan.

During the day we spent our time at the beach and I couldn’t even bother to read a book.  I just sat, soaking up the sun, listening to the ocean, drinking rum.  Just being still.  Every evening we sat on our balcony and talked, the stress so far behind us.  There wasn’t the ghost of a baby in the room with us and I didn’t feel like people were walking on egg shells around me.  There was no Facebook to throw another pregnancy announcement in my face or any other social media to remind me that I should be nearing the end of my second trimester.  Instead I was fine being in the moment with my Husband.  I was fine with being us and not keeping track of time.  I was fine keeping life simple and unapologetic.

Here is the thing about coming back to reality though.  The beach doesn’t solve everything. Yes, it gave us space in between breaths that we needed.  But, it doesn’t take away this ache of how I miss my baby, a feeling I never thought I would have and can’t explain.  It didn’t give me an answer on what to do next.  That is okay though because there are no answers and only time will get us where we need to be next.  This trip just gave us a new starting point.


Losing the “Busy” Excuse

Last night a friend of mine rang and I let it go to voicemail since we were sitting down for dinner.  Once I listened to her voicemail she had listed out her schedule for the week and how “busy” she would be and how “busy” life is and so on.  If I could try to find time to call her in between her millions of things, that would be great.  I have been the one trying to get ahold of her for a couple of weeks now.  It wasn’t just for any reason, it was to tell her I was pregnant so she didn’t have to learn the news from Facebook.  But time was running out.  I shot her a picture that we are planning on posting to FB and she immediately called me.  I guess she wasn’t so busy after all.

I’m not trying to pick on my friend but I am using her as an example.  The Husband and I have been purposely trying to ban the “busy” excuse from our daily lives.  In this day where we have every means of communication available to us at our finger tips, we sure do think of a lot of excuses to not be able to call Grandma or a friend we haven’t spoken with in a couple of months.  I’m tired of getting the excuse from friends and I sure don’t want to give it back to them.

Unfortunately, as much as we live in a “busy” society, we also live in a society that doesn’t seem to know how to say “no” from time to time.  My Husband started saying “no” to side jobs.  They are great money but woah are they time-consuming and cause some serious stress.  It was adding to the busy excuse as well.  The second he started saying “no” he felt much better.  After he said it a few times it got easier and freed up time to do what he wanted to do.

Sure, some of the things that make us busy we can’t say no to.  Sometimes are lives really and truly are busy.  But the rest of it….really?  Why do we even feel the need to make the excuse?  Isn’t it a good thing to be busy, to have friends want to call and meet up, to have weekends filled with family activities, stay-cations, mini trips, long trips, or even lazy days filled with movie marathons?  That means you are alive, not busy.  That means you are doing something with your life.  You are finding purpose.  Why not enjoy it instead of rushing through it?

By losing the “busy” excuse in our summer (and saying no!) I cannot express how much more we seemed to live in the moment.  I can honestly tell you we took every minute we possibly could out of our summer and made every effort to make time stand still and summer last a bit longer.  We really aren’t busy right now, we are just indulging daily in life.

My Fertility Balance

This month I was supposed to start Clomid but I don’t know if it is going to happen.  You see, once you start Clomid on this calculated day, then you have to go in for an ultrasound on another calculated day and if my period shows up when it is supposed to, well, I’ll be busy on the second calculated day.  As in, we have a vacation planned with Rebecca, things booked, time off requested.

Insert gasps from many.

Some may even say I’m crazy.

For a lot of people trying to conceive can take over their lives.  Everything is a timing matter and I’m not saying we haven’t had to juggle and put somethings on hold but I will only take it so far.  I just cannot do the deed when I have a raging sinus infection and no voice, nor am I telling my child otherwise for a vacation.

When we started down this road we didn’t want to become that crazy couple who forgot to enjoy life happening right now.  We are still enjoying the start of our marriage!  I’m not giving up drinking wine, working out, and a million other things that people told me to stop doing to increase my chances of having a baby.  I didn’t want our marriage to start suffering or become hyper focused on this one thing, so this is not our only topic of conversation.  We try to have sex that isn’t just on a calculated day but on an uncalculated day on the new trampoline because isn’t that what everyone jokes about doing.  We are not saving every penny for endless fertility treatments but are looking at boats because we know how far we are going to take this.

I’m not saying I don’t care, I do.  There are the good days, bad days, learning curves, tears and frustration.  We want this and going through this has only, thankfully, strengthened our marriage.  We just don’t want this to become our entire world but merely a part of it.  Most importantly, this is stressful and I need to keep some sort of balance and control with it all for my sanity.  So we choose carefully, weigh our options and go with that.  The rest we just have to accept.


Feeling is Healing

I let myself lose it a bit.  I like to keep control but sometimes I do believe you just have to give into it all and break down.  I threw faith, positivity, and any give a damn right out the window.  I gave in to a bottle of wine on my deck, while it rained and stayed under the blanket, crying.  I lost it all over again when my Husband came home from work and I took some of my anger out on him.

It has been 18 months since we have started trying to conceive and for some reason I mentally snapped a bit yesterday.  After 9 days of a late period and negative pregnancy tests, I scheduled my HSG test and texted the Hubby that I was nervous.  His reply, an hour later, was “I bet.”  To be fair I have a rule that we don’t talk about serious stuff or fight via text.  It was something that should have been a conversation once we got home that night but in the moment I needed reassurance and it was lost via text and I started to spiral.

This can feel like a one sided battle as a woman some days.  No matter what my Husband does, I’m the one who has to watch days, pee on sticks, go to the appointments, get poked at and so on.  The luck of being a woman really and it is only the beginning.  All this means the topic is in the front of my mind more often than his and I begin to feel like I’m shouldering all the responsibility.  Compound that with the fact that all household stuff falls to me right now, my brain feels full while I feel like all he does is go to work and come home.  It all feels a bit unbalanced even though in the grand scheme of things that isn’t how it really is.

The good thing about just finally falling apart is there is only one direction to take things the next morning and that is up.  You would have thought I would remember some of these tricks from when I was going through my divorce.  There are the good days and the bad days and sometimes you just have to cry it out, talk it out and put your big girl panties back on the next day.  Which is what today is.

What I learned from giving up Facebook for a month

Along with my many goals for 2014, I decided to give up Facebook for the month of January.  By giving myself just one month I didn’t feel like it was forever so the commitment to such a change wasn’t very scary.  New Year’s Eve, when the clock struck midnight I promptly deleted the app from my phone and said no more. I can honestly say I didn’t have any slip ups but did go on twice to answer private messages that were sent by a friend.  Several things came from this little experience.  Some I wasn’t surprised by and some I was.

  • The first few days I realized just how much I clicked on FB and I honestly didn’t think I had done that so much in a day.  I would grab for my phone waiting in line some place or go to click on it on my desktop when bored at work but I would have to stop myself.  What would I do while standing in line now?  I spent much more time noticing my surroundings once I shoved my phone back in my purse.  Or I spent much more time accomplishing the task at hand without getting so sidetracked.  Suddenly I was gaining all these little minutes back in the day that I was previously throwing away.
  • I had some friends that were promptly annoyed and unsure how to handle me NOT being on FB.  “Can I tag you?”  “What if I send you an invite?”  “How will you know what is going on?” The list of concerns went on and on.  I would shake my head thinking this was the exact reason I needed a break from it all.  People really do have friendships without FB in this world and I certainly could.  Could my friends though?  Apparently, yes.  People would send me texts or (shock!) pick up the phone and just call me.  There were words of “Miss seeing you on FB! Wanted to see what you were up to.”   “I know you won’t see this pic on FB so I’m texting it to you.”  And let me tell you how much more I appreciated that picture of their kid that was sent via text instead of in a rolling scroll of FB updates.  I knew giving up FB would change how I approached things but I didn’t think it would do the same for my friends. How cool.
  • I went out and bought Thank You cards.  Did you know there is still a whole aisle of options of them at Target? I sent hand written thank you’s and grabbed Hallmark cards for upcoming birthday’s for that month.  There was no easy route of throwing up a comment on someone’s wall and calling it good.  No, I wanted to do more because who doesn’t like something fun in the mail? You know what that prompted?  More actual phone calls of “How cool, you sent a card! How are you?”  Much better than a notification saying they liked my comment!
  • Being FB free truly helped me clear the clutter and noise that was in my life which was my main purpose.  I’m really trying to focus on positivity this year and living in the moment.  It is no secret to anyone these days that if you unplug your life, then you find a bit more happiness. I didn’t miss the passive aggressive status updates, the lunch updates, the tagging in at some exotic destination or anything else.  When I got rid of the noise from a person I knew back in High School, I just felt calmer. We all know that there are a lot of positive statuses on FB but there is a lot of downright meanness and negativity.  I just wanted to worry about myself in that moment.
  • The thing I missed the most from FB was the pictures.  Which made me realize the obvious reason I like being on Facebook and I don’t know if I knew that prior to this experiment. The picture from a first birthday cake attack or from a vacation that had long been planned.  I have an Instagram account that I love but so many friends are not on it.  If they were all on there then I would honestly not feel the need to be on FB anymore.  I know I have family that lives far away wanting to see pictures of my dog with her cone of shame because it is too funny NOT to see.  Facebook is just the only means to share that with everyone.

So, what have I done with myself now that January is over?  While I wish I could say I didn’t re-install the Facebook app back on my phone when the end of the month hit, I did.  Mainly to update pictures.  I can say that first day back on it I scrolled for about 15 seconds before I realized I didn’t want to waste my time and logged back off.  There it was still… the clutter, the noise, the competition.  I did go through my friend’s list and deleted quite a few people.  The ones that made me roll my eyes often or the ones that I met once 8 years ago didn’t need to bring clutter to my life.  The good thing is now I don’t reach for my phone to check for updates and I’m limiting myself to looking at it just once a day.  Old habits are easy to fall back into and I just don’t want to go back there. I like the change.

We all have a love/hate relationship with social media in general and it isn’t going away.  It is a great means of communication but you have to find a balance with it in your life and this was my chance to do so.  I was still on Twitter and Instagram  during this time but I have a different relationship with those two apps.  I don’t get the same negative emotion from them like I do Facebook.  And when you aren’t checking one app then you tend to not check the others as much, which means much more looking up and around at the life happening right there in front of you.  No matter how many more forms of communication come about, living life in the moment will always win.

Post Firing

It has been a few weeks since I have been fired and I have to say, I couldn’t be happier.  Less than 24 hours after getting canned I was at a new job.  Well, somewhat new.  I have been working nights with a long time friend for years.  We actually go way back, about eight years.  When I went in to tell him he said I was now full-time and I haven’t turned back.

The new career is still in insurance, which I hate but there is something a bit more liberating about being here.  I have my own hours, I am my own boss, and we laugh.  I feel free.  I feel like I’m back with a family. I don’t feel chained down and oh my, the stress is gone.  It is amazing how it takes something big happening to tell you what you already knew.

I knew my prior job was slowly suffocating me but I didn’t quite realize the extent of damage it was doing daily to my health, my marriage, my parenting, my social life and really, you name it, it was affected.  The past few weeks have been an awakening and it has really helped me focus every day on actually living and being, instead of just going through the motions of life.  I’ve also noticed that I’ve let go of so much more and I’m not nagging about the little things.  I think I was looking to grasp onto something to have better control since I felt like I was spiraling at my old job.

I’ve had happy hour with old co-workers several times who have filled me in on the news at my old job and we have come to a conclusion on the “why’s” of my firing.  I guess it should make me very upset and as some people keep telling me, I could have grounds to sue them but I have already let all of that go.  I don’t want it leaking any more toxins into my life and I’ll just assume karma will keep doing its thing.  I am more worried about where I am today instead of where I was.

I know, I sound like I smoked something and I’m living with the damn unicorns but I really am just loving life. First month of 2014 down and I feel like I’ve already nailed it.

The weight


Losing a Friend

A little over a week ago a friend of ours, Mike, passed away some what un-expectantly. We live in a small town so over the Holiday’s you tend to run into people more often than not and we continually ran into Mike and his girlfriend and mentioned drinks after the Holiday’s when things calmed down.  Unfortunately those drinks will never happen. He had been having back pain and went to the doctor to find out his abdomen was full of cancer and died a week later at the age of 55.

Saturday was his celebration of life service and I have never laughed or cried so much at the same time at a funeral.  I watched his daughter, my age, stand in front of a packed room and talk about her father with such positivity in her voice.  She wore Mike’s signature hat, smiled, and kept her head held high while she shared stories with the same ease that her father always did.  She had lost her sister 8 years ago and Mike and her stood at that funeral together and spoke.  They made a pact that from there on out they would always stand together at family funerals and speak of the good times, no matter how tough it was.  They had to keep this pact 4 more times  Saturday she had to stand there without her rock next to her side and I looked at her with such awe.  In the midst of such a sad time she urged people to be cheerful and look for the good.  By the end, upbeat music was going and people were singing, clapping and dancing together.

I walked out of the funeral that day feeling something much different from the normal “Life is too short.”  No, it was much more than that. Mike was laughter, a drink in his hand, a great friend, honest, a good family man, full of stories and always there to remind you how to let go and have a good time in life. I just need to put more of that in my life.  Yes, life is too short but it is also meant to be lived in the moment, not for some day when things change, when the house is cleaned, when you get a new job, when you have X amount of money.  Just now.  I need to be more present now.

Mike’s picture is now in my truck to remind me everyday to stop, breathe, slow down and let go.  I’m not waiting for one day to stop by his house to see his girlfriend and share that glass of wine, I’m going tonight.  Because tonight, whatever I had planned or need to do is not near as “busy” or important as talking to her about the love of her life that she just lost.

I can genuinely say that I am blessed to have known this man.  I urge you today to find the positive in something and take a few extra minutes to really breathe in life.  Go out and live.