Tuesday, July 31, 2012

8 years. 8 great years

8 years ago today I opened the door to my future. It was the front door of my mom's house and the person standing on the other side would become my boyfriend, my fiancée, my husband.

But most importantly he has become my best friend, my rock, my confidant, my personal laugh track.

I know he thinks it is cheesy to acknowledge our "meetiversary" but without it, we wouldn't be where we are today.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Extended bed time

Most nights, including weekends, I'm asleep by 9:30. I'd love to be asleep by 9:00 each night!

But every 4 years, I give myself a late bedtime as I stay up until midnight or later watching the Olympics. I'm avoiding results which means staying off news websites and almost the entire Internet as a whole. I've deleted Twitter from my phone and I'm careful about what I read on Facebook.

I surprise myself with the ability to stay up this late and with my 5:20 wake up time in the mornings to get ready for work, I'll be struggling these next two weeks....

But it's worth it. The Olympics are my jam. I can't get enough!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Like a Cut

Have you ever cut your finger? A cut that requires a band-aid for weeks? And because that cut is on your finger and you need to write, type, apply makeup, etc, you are constantly reminded of the pain of the moment you cut yourself. In the early days of the wound, small movements increase the pain and you wonder if it will ever heal.

As time goes on, you still have to wear the band-aid but the pain goes away. You don't want to risk the wound opening so you play it safe with keeping it covered up. You are used to the band-aid getting in the way and it still serves as a reminder of what happened.

Down the road, you decide to remove the band-aid for good. Your wound is healed. The scar is there, the memory of the event that created the scar is something you will probably never forget but you can safely say that life is back to normal. Nothing is getting in the way when you go about your daily business and you think back on those annoying, painful days and it seems like a distant memory.

A year later, you cut yourself again. Right on the scar. And you bleed. The pain returns only this time, it is worse because you are remembering the pain from the initial wound and realizing that the healing this time around might take twice as long. That band-aid is back once again to annoy you and get in your way.

Yesterday, we met with the doctor at our Infertility clinic. This is a new doctor and I must say, I'm quite happy with his approach. He is no-nonsense, honest, forthcoming and bold. All things that I need. He listened, he spoke, he shared his ideas and thoughts. And we walked away with a plan. One of the things that he said that stood out to me the most was he was surprised at how long we have been patients in the clinic. He said most people don't last this long because one of two things happens: they get pregnant or they just don't come back. We have taken long breaks between treatment cycles but yes, we have been in their system for many months. He doesn't want to see us anymore. He wants us to get pregnant. As he said it "shit or get off the pot." Love it. It is so true.

And while I appreciated the technical talk, the making of plans, the sorting through labs, I hate the wound that reopens when going through this type of appointment. It has been closed for nearly 14 months and yesterday, as I drove to the hospital, I could feel the wound opening and the pain pouring in. In our case, there is small optimism. We have to remain realistic. The doctor said himself that given false expectations is not okay. He keeps it real.

While trying to get to sleep last night, I typed "infertility" into the Pinterest search bar, hoping to find something humorous in this crappy situation. You can always count on e-cards!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Hot Hot Heat

-It was HOT this weekend and instead of trying my best to stay inside, we went outside far too much. Just so you know, walking 2 miles round trip to a food festival in town isn't really worth it when it is 102 degrees outside. Deduct one point.

-Seeing The Dark Knight Rises was awesome because it was inside and air conditioned. Add one point. (The movie was epic. Go see it)

-I was bored yesterday so I decided to go down to the Dollar Tree to buy some organization stuff for the house. My car was hot. Deduct one point.

-I went out at 6:30 p.m. to go to my sister's softball game. It was STILL hot but I got a slurpee at 7-11 and that helped cool me off. Add one point.

-When I got home, I discovered that the a/c was on pretty low upstairs and settled into bed feeling cold. Add one point.

-Today is my niece Amy's birthday. She is 3. She is a crack up. The days of being called "Bo" are over as she can say "Au Bob" now. It never gets old. I get to spend the evening with my family, eating pizza and cupcakes before going to watch Diana's t-ball game and Chris' softball game. Outside. In the heat.

I give up. The heat wins. Bring on winter!!!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Embracing Social Media

"You really like Facebook, don't you? You are always updating your status."

"You blog? Hmm, that's interesting."

"What is the deal with Twitter? I don't get it."

I enjoy using social media. I have a Facebook and Twitter account. I like sharing pictures on Instagram and obviously, I blog. And guess what? I don't think I should apologize or explain myself for embracing and using any of these mediums.

I try not to get out of control with my use of these resources though. And yes, I do like to refer to them as resources. I can get any breaking news on Twitter before most news websites have completed writing a story about it. I can post something on my blog and have readers comment with their thoughts. I can ask a question on Facebook and get answers immediately, most of which are funny and helpful. And I can see friends that live far away on Instagram with the touch of an app.

This is the world we live in. And I embrace it. Sometimes, I think of simpler times with written letters, phone calls and even emails. But if you don't connect with the future of technology, you will be left behind.

And can I speak for a moment about the people who have made comments to me (in person comments) about my use of Facebook, etc.? Yes, I like to update my status. That is what Facebook is all about. I try to limit it to twice a day. 95% of my updates are silly updates about something that happened to me. I don't think I've ever crossed into vaguebooking territory and I've actually had a couple of people tell me (in real life) that my status updates actually make them laugh. That made me happy because really, I'm all about the humor. I want to make people smile in life, whether that be in person or through the technology of a smartphone or computer screen. Also, for those people who scroll through Facebook on a regular basis, never creating ONE status update, you have no room to tell me that I use it a lot. You are using it as well but in a more subdued way. You are lurking in the shadows while I'm waving my arms around, in clear view.

So if embracing the Internet makes me a nerd, so be it. If a person thinks I'm too entrenched in the goings-on of social media, that is fine. In this day and age, being able to operate these social media networks and search the Internet like a pro is a marketable skill. When it comes down to it, I'm skill-building, networking and preparing for future employment by embracing social media. Time to update that resume!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Project House: Get rid of all the things

When you move into a house, there will always be a project to do. Maybe it is just remembering to trim the hedges outside. Perhaps you want to replace the hardware on the cabinets or hang some pictures on the wall. Nothing brings on the excitement of getting projects done like putting paint on the walls!

Aside from getting our bedroom decorated, there are a few other projects that we have our eye on. Nothing huge (like new counter tops my husband is DYING for) but small cosmetic changes that will make a big difference in the respective rooms.

Our master bedroom: Purchase a bed frame, art for the room, new bed spread, a full length mirror that isn't from Target and belongs in a dorm room.

Dining room: Replace this awful thing. The previous owners had this installed and to be honest, I'm not sure why this wasn't the first thing to be replaced when we moved in. Probably because it is in the formal dining room and we never sit at the table in the room. I believe I have utilized that table once when we had friends over.

Master bedroom ceiling fan/light source. Standard "comes with the house" ceiling fan.

Master bathroom vanity lighting. UGH. So fug.

Guest bathroom vanity lighting. Not terrible but we can do better.

I've been searching the Lowe's/Home Depot/Ikea/etc websites trying to find replacements and additions for our problem areas. We have the bed frame picked out and I think I know which full length mirror we want to buy. We got into a heated discussion about flush mount vs. semi-flush mount vs. chandelier last night for our dining room and came to a conclusion on that. Once we make our purchases, I'll share before and afters. And I hope that isn't in another years time!!

Oh, how life is different when you become a home owner!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Infertility Advice

If you decide to take some time off from receiving treatments, make sure you know the procedures at your doctor's office. Evidently, taking a 12 month break means that we have to re-do all of our lab work and have a consultation with the doctor about our labs and the plan for our treatment. The wait to get a consultation appointment was two weeks. It is in the middle of the day on a Tuesday. Not really an ideal time for my husband who can't easily miss work.

I was looking forward to getting at least 2 (hoping to just need 1) fertility cycles in this summer but now, we'll be lucky to get 1 in. I understand repeating lab work and it will be good to see where we stand in those terms but really, do we have to meet with the doctor to go over our medical history AGAIN? Nothing has changed! My lack of planning ahead has me really bummed out about this. The waiting game is not fun.

Once again, I am reminded that the world of Infertility is a cruel existence. And as I watch others get pregnant with great ease, I can't help but want to throw my hands in the air, stick my middle fingers up and decry the entire act of procreation all together.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Master Bedroom: PAINTED!

All I can say is FINALLY. We've been in this house since October of 2009 and had all of the downstairs painted before we moved in. We painted the guest bedroom last year and have stalled out big time on picking out a color for our master bedroom.

Not to say we didn't try. Can you believe that second color is actually gray?

Today was finally the day. We got to work at 8:30 and at about 1:00 we were done. I pooped out a bit before 1:00 due to the fumes from the paint getting to me but Chris finished up, painting our tall walls and we are very happy with the result. 

Ugly, standard white walls



Post painting...






Do you want to know the color? Yeah, so do I. I wanted Martha Stewart "Flagstone" but didn't want to pay $$$$ for Martha Stewart paint. So Home Depot color matched with Behr paint colors. In some of the pictures it looks like a brown color but it is a dark gray. Up until Wednesday of this week, I wanted something lighter gray but I'm really happy with this color. It is dramatic! Next task: decorating. Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Yearbooks by Michelle

I'm not sure if I've shared this before but since 2008, I have put together yearbooks documenting the past 12 months of our lives. I mainly use Snapfish because the software is easy, I can upload my pictures directly from Flickr and they usually offer decent online coupon codes for up to 45% off the price of a book.

I think my book making skills have come a long way since 2008 and it helps that most of my pictures are taken with my dslr or my iphone 4s camera instead of the crappy point and shoot I had from 2008-mid 2009. Putting together these books can be a bit time consuming but I love the finished product. Even my husband, who isn't mushy about memories, loves looking at them when they arrive and I've even caught him looking at past books as he is cleaning the table we keep them on.

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I love the idea of photo books so much that I've made them for other special occasions as well. For my dad's birthday last year, I made a book of our trip to Italy in 2004 (and got myself a copy as well). I made a book of our trip to NY and DC last year and copied and pasted all of the emails my mom sent on her Amtrak trip across the country in May and made her a book. That was a big one! When my niece completed two triathlons last year, I put together a book of pictures from the races for her.

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I have many photo albums with printed pictures that I would love to scan and create digital books for but that is so much work. I love our professional wedding album but there are only 72 pictures showcased from that day and so many moments missed. A while back, I started to create a photo book of our wedding pictures and got overwhelmed at the idea of it. How do I narrow down 1300 pictures? Do I dare include them all? I would need an amazing coupon code to purchase that book!

I'm currently working on my 2012 book which is a miracle considering I just finished my 2011 book a few months ago. I'm mixing things up this year. Instead of organizing the book month-by-month, I'm arranging it by event: birthdays, holidays, husband and wife pictures, special occasions such as weddings, pictures of my nieces, etc. It will make it a bit more difficult to make because I will need to add pages in the middle of the book instead of just adding new pages at the end but that is okay. Like I said, the more I design these books, the more adventurous I become in how I create them. I'm hoping my 2012 book is my best book yet!

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Monday, July 9, 2012

Olympics FEVER

As they get closer, I get more excited! I love the Olympics. I will watch pretty much any sport, any time of the day but I live for Swimming and Gymnastics. Here is the schedule of events with times and medal events marked clearly.

I might have just made note of all gymnastics and all medal swimming events in my planner along with the times so I make sure to avoid all spoilers online throughout the day of the event. I better start getting lots of sleep now because when July 28th hits, I will be up all night watching The Games!

Will you be watching? What are your favorite sports?

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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Our Travel Wall

I thought I had it figured out months ago. I ordered a print that we loved, got it framed (custom), hung it up and then put off completing the wall.


The wall looked like this for a few months until I got motivated to go to Michael's and buy frames to put around it. That is where I ran into a problem. I couldn't find frames to coordinate or match the existing frame. I didn't want clashing frames and eventually (Saturday), I gave up. We decided to hang this picture in another room and start from scratch.


I found this layout on Pinterest and instantly loved it. I was feeling pretty defeated on Saturday but seeing this made me feel confident again. Instead of going to Michael's again, I just went to Walmart and picked up 6 black frames. When I got home, I laid them all out in various positions to find just the right placement.

The Christmas ornaments are just place holders for something else that will go in that spot.


Just a small adjustment and I had my final layout....
Final layout

I ordered the pictures through Snapfish, paid a bit extra to pick them up at Walmart in 90 minutes and started Phase 2. 

Lucky for me, my husband loves hanging pictures and is very good at it. I assisted.


The 99% finished wall. 


I'm going to find something to put in between the two 5x7's on the right and the wall will be complete. I'm very happy with how it turned out after all this time keeping the picture of it in my mind. 

From the top going clockwise: Bellagio, Italy; Grand Canyon; Lincoln Memorial; (top) Pacifica; (bottom) The Lone Cypress in Carmel; Wailua Falls in Kauai; (left) Sorrento Coastline in Italy; (right) Kalapaki Beach in Kauai.

We also hung up to pictures in our guest bathroom and I switched out three 11x14 pictures in our dining room from Maui pictures to Kauai pictures. AND we might have decided on a color for our master bedroom. We'll see how long it takes to paint that monster.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Our 4th

Attended the parade in my hometown


BBQ at my dad's house

It is so fun to run around with my nieces in the same yard where my sister and I ran as kids.

My sister decided to climb the tree in the backyard. So random. 

Our neighborhood has a block party each 4th of July. All the neighbors come out, bbq, drink and have a good time. One neighbor forced us to do tequila shots (FORCED!) and another had illegal fireworks he was shooting into the sky.


Chris and his brother were in charge of our fireworks which were great!



The fireworks put on by the city were great as well. We sat in the middle of the street along with about 50 other people and watched.

The 4th of July is fast becoming one of my favorite holidays.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Old Navy: Summer and Winter

I saw a 20% off coupon floating around Facebook this morning and since I was next door at Home Goods finding some new decor items, I decided to pop in and see if they had anything. Usually, I'm against Old Navy and don't shop there. Their sizing is all wrong, they don't have tall pants very often and the clothes just don't fit right but I thought I could probably find something that I liked.

I did.
For summer: 

For winter:

One note on the shoes.They run a little small. My right foot in a tad bit bigger than my left so the size 10 fit just wasn't working. They were digging into the back of my foot after just a short time of wearing them today. I'm going to return them and get a 10.5. Thank you Naturalizer for carrying half sizes above a 9!

I love the second outfit but I won't be able to wear it until late fall. It is just much too warm outside to wear tight black pants. The pants are classified as jeans and are stretchy. I'm tempted to buy a few different colors, if I dare. Trying to dress outside of my boring box!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th!

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Dear America,
 You aren't perfect but I love you nonetheless. I'll never make idiotic statements about moving to Canada based on who gets elected president. I'll vacation within your borders to see the glorious sights you provide. I'll support the people who fight for the flag that is a symbol of you. America, I still see you through rose colored glasses. A simple life in my suburban neighborhood. As long as I call myself an American (which I always will), I will proudly display your flag, praise your strengths and wear red, white and blue with honor.
I am an American who is proud to live in this amazing country through good times and bad.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Beam, Bars, Vault, Floor

Sunday night, I attended the 2012 Gymnastics Olympic Trials! I don't just love the Olympics, I'm obsessed with them and gymnastics (and swimming) are my favorites. I was happy that our seats were right above the balance beam since that is my favorite aparatus.

It was pretty clear throughout the night which girls would end up on the team but it was exciting to watch all of them perform. I just can't imagine how nervous they were. To even be competing for a spot in the Olympics would be such an honor and something all of them are sure to never forget.

When the announcer came out at the end of the night to bring out to official team, the big screen showed the girls (I guess I should call them "women" but they are so young!) walking from behind closed doors out to the arena. I was holding back tears! They all were crying and a few of them actually looked like they had been given bad news. I've watched the Olympics as long as I remember and even attended in 1996. I admire these athletes that dedicate their lives to a sport and for many of these girls, it is their dream to be an Olympian. And now they have reached that goal. It was an amazing night to witness dreams coming true.

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Warm-ups for the final rotation. Floor exercise is VERY fun to watch in person! They get so much height!

I also need to add how moving it was when Nastia Liukin completed her portion of the competition. She fell on the uneven bars but was given a huge ovation to get back on and finish her routine. A standing ovation followed and another occurred when she completed her routine on the balance beam. She was very gracious as she smiled and waved to the crowd. We stayed for a while after everything had ended. Nastia waited until the men's team left the stage and hugged each one of them. She had stood there alone, wiping tears from her face before exiting the arena with her dad. A row of girls lined up to give her high fives and she extended her arm to each of them. Another ovation followed as she disappeared into the tunnel, saying goodbye to gymnastics former champion.

It was an emotional night. You want to see these girls do well. When the wobble, fall or fail to make the team, it is heartbreaking. Especially since another 4 years of intense training is usually not in the cards. I'm really looking forward to watching them perform this month (EEEEE so excited) and I hope USA can bring home the Gold!