TTC – IUI on the Horizon

**Personal Post**

A few weeks ago, I stepped out onto a limb and shared my Trying To Conceive (TTC) story with you all.  I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of love from everyone!  The words of wisdom, the stories of hope, and the acknowledgement of our emotional struggle was amazing.  Thank you all for loving my family, and continuing to pray for the growth of our family!

Since so many people seemed to want to support us in our journey, I decided to continue to post some TTC updates for you all.  Hopefully I will soon be able to transition from TTC posts to “baby on the way” posts, but we aren’t there yet.

In the last post, I mentioned that we had wonderful results from the HSG procedure and our doctor wanted us to try naturally for a couple of months.  Well, as you can probably already tell, naturally just isn’t working in our situation.  The emotions of the last three months have been a roller coaster to say the least – up up up to the “is this it?”, “is that twinge in my side a sign?”, and googling everything from “gas” to “acne” to “excessive crying” as signs of pregnancy….then down, down, down when we would take the pregnancy test and get a negative result.  To explain those feelings of hopelessness, loss of control, and heartbreak would be impossible to put into words on a blog…

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So last week I made a phone call to schedule the next step – an Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) procedure.

** Doctor Talk ** Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a fertility treatment that involves placing sperm inside a woman’s uterus to facilitate fertilization. The goal of IUI is to increase the number of sperm that reach the fallopian tubes and subsequently increase the chance of fertilization. ** End Doctor Talk **

The phone call was a shocker to me….after almost 20 years of seeing the same gynecologist, after crying with her, hugging her, going through all the previous testing with her, I was told on the phone that she is no longer at the practice!  WHAT?!  This is not what was supposed to happen!!  When the rubber hits the road, she is supposed to be there with me!  I was devastated to hear the news, but then received this letter in the mail the next day:

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My incredible doctor, who has a heart of gold, did exactly as I suspected.  She took a position that will give her career a wonderful path.  I am not mad, not hurt, just a little sad.

The short phone call wasn’t all sad though.  I was automatically placed with the other female physician in the office because I was in the process of fertility treatments – this means I am not out seeking a “new patient” appointment with other doctors, which in turn means we aren’t postponing the process!  Also – the best news of all – the $7000 estimate we have been saving for….yeah, nope….we are only looking at an approximate $700 per treatment fee!  Yippee!  This means that this is not going to be a “one shot” deal for us.  Don’t get me wrong, $700 is not pocket change for these two teachers, but it is a more reasonable number that will give us at least a couple of opportunities to grow our family if the first one doesn’t work out.

So we have a consultation appointment scheduled for the first week in April to move forward with the IUI procedure.  Yeah, we are still holding out hope for a natural positive pregnancy test before the actual procedure, but we have placed the process in God’s hands.  All we ask from our dearest friends is to pray for continued peace in our hearts, pray for our little miracle that isn’t ready to join us on earth quite yet, and pray that whatever our path holds for us we will continue to be faithful to God about the process and be good examples for others with similar struggles.

We will keep you updated – promise…until then we will trust it all to God!

**The song below gets me through every day – when I think I can’t take another day – when I think I want to take it back from God – when I think our miracle will never happen….Enjoy…

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365 Days with the Lord

**Personal Post**

This year I have committed to writing out 365 bible verses.  Why?  Because it causes me to sit with the Lord, spend time with the Lord, and reflect on the words of the Lord.

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I have a little confession to make…I am not a good prayer, a good scripture reader, or even a good christian…none of us are really.  My goal this year is  to make God first.  Sure, I have made Him a priority this past year, but God and I have had a few disagreements in the past.  I just couldn’t seem to get a handle on the fact that ultimately I am NOT in control…and I really can’t have a full and complete life until I realize that God is in control…AND hardest of all…hand EVERYTHING over to him and STOP trying to control my destiny!

Many times I make decisions first and then talk to God about it later.  I am sure he gets a few laughs out of my fumbles, and sometimes he is probably even disappointed in my choices.  This year I will be purposeful in putting prayer first!

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I will tell you that my sweet daddy prompted this choice for me.  At Christmas he wrote a family letter telling all of us specifically, individually and as couples, how he is proud of us.  (We also watched the AMAZING movie “War Room” – watch it – you must!!)  At the end of the letter he included a small monetary amount and asked us to share this with someone in need.  I have held on to this money and have yet to be called to give it.  Finally, God slapped me on the forehead (like those V-8 commercials) and said, “If you would pray about it, and ask me, I would be happy to tell you what to do with it!”  So right there I promised God that I would pray over that money…and then it snowballed…I will pray over my marriage, my travels, my finances, my fertility (thats the hardest for me).  I will hand it ALL over to God!

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So shortly after that, while scrolling through Facebook, I found this Scripture Writing Plan.  In the past I had seen these and thought they were silly.  Why copy bible verses down?  Just read it and reflect on it and you should be good right?!  Well, since I needed some direction in my prayer I decided to try it…just for these 31 days…let’s see what happens…can’t hurt right?!

Let me tell y’all something…EVERY SINGLE VERSE spoke directly to me!  To my fears, my hurts, my wishes and dreams!!  Wow!

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I would turn on Pandora to “Vertical Church Band” and I copied one verse a day (it really did only take me 10 minutes + doodle time).  After I copied the verse I would spend some time doodling, praying, and talking with God. (Sometimes I would doodle first….depending on my mood that day!)  Taking the time to doodle is what really would calm me down, almost like meditation!

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It has created a peace in me…and proved that God has just been waiting for me to show up.  This small act of coping a verse a day has renewed my faithfulness and inspired me to reach a goal of writing a verse a day for the entire year of 2016!

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Will you join me?  Just try for a month and see what amazing plans God has in store for you!  Do you need help?  I will be happy to help you find a list of verses to start with, or go back and spend just 31 days trying the verses above…I promise you won’t regret it!

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Friendship Day

Friendship day was originally founded by Hallmark in 1919. It was intended to be a day for people to celebrate their friendship by sending each other cards, but by 1940 the market had dried up, and eventually it died out completely. However, in 1998 Winnie the Pooh was named the world’s Ambassador of Friendship at the United Nations (believe it or not!), and in April 2011 the United Nations officially recognized July 30th as International Friendship Day; although most countries celebrate on the first Sunday of August!

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So today I want to to recognize some very special friends that I have in my life!  Of course this isn’t the complete list of friends that are important for me.  I have many many many people that I work with, live with, run with, celebrate with, etc. that are all so super special to me.  It would take me a month to write about them all and a week for you to read it. Smile  But I did want to speak about my most important friendships on International Friendship Day!

I have to start with the best friend I have ever had….the one I love with all my heart…the one I chose to marry and spend my entire life with…my Hubs!

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Hubs is the best friend I could ever imagine!  He supports me in all my crazy dreams, he loves me when I am unlovable, he values my strengths and balances my weaknesses.  I couldn’t live such a beautiful life without him!

Next up, is my Best Girl Friend – Jamie!  I can’t believe that we have been “besties” for almost 20 years!  We have been through so many life-changing events together.  She is the ONE and ONLY person I can tell absolutely EVERYTHING too!  I can call her when I need to cry, laugh, vent, or even just breathe.  She is the one person I know will be there no matter when I call, and no matter what I need.  Her daughter is the most precious thing to come into my life and I wouldn’t trade being her “Aunt CC” for anything in the world.  I know that Jamie and I will be Best Friends until the end of time, because I couldn’t imagine my life without her!

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My Best Family Friend – Jill!  Wow – I couldn’t survive all our big family events without Jill by my side.  I love her so much, and learn more about her every day.  She is in my life to challenge my thinking, show me what real passion looks like, support me when I need a smile or just someone to talk to.  She is the perfect match for my brother-in-law, and that makes me love her even more.  Jill is one of the strongest women I know!  If could be just a little more like her, standing up for what I believe, doing the research on the big topics, challenging the system, then I know I would be a much better person.  I wish everyone could know and love my Jill!  I am so glad that we are more than just friends…we are family too!

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My Best Life Coach Friend – Amy!  What in the world would I do without my dearest friend Amy?!  Our friendship has grown and changed over time…a long time.Smile  Our relationship started almost 20 years ago when I started babysitting her precious kids.  She helped me get through the crazy journey of those teenage years. I remember asking her one night what I should order for dinner on my first date!  As I have grown into a woman, I have continued to turn to Amy when I need someone to help me reflect, step of the ledge and jump into my dreams, or help me find the words for those difficult conversations in life.  I have no idea where I would be without her!    Even though there are many miles between us now, I still value every moment I spend with her, whether it is a quick email, a phone call, or a girls trip!  I know we will continue to support each other for many years to come, and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

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And finally My Best New Friend – Becca!  You have different friends for different reasons, and different friends for different seasons.  Becca and her husband were a very welcomed surprise in our life.  Becca is a work friend (which I typically don’t get too close with – I like to keep work and personal life separate as much as possible).  Something in the world brought Becca and I together, like we were meant to be friends for a long time.  We have very similar philosophies on education, which gives us a lot to talk about, but even more important to me is the fact that Becca challenges me!  She challenges me to be a better teacher, to be a healthier woman, and a better wife.  She literally pushes me (yep, she has actually pushed me when I tried to walk in a 5K, to keep running) to go that extra step, that extra mile.  Having someone at work to support me in my journey of life has been a piece that has been missing for me.  I am so blessed to have met and founded a new friendship with Becca, and I know this is a life-long friendship in the making!

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It is amazing to me that these phenomenal ladies are in my life!  I love them all, and need them all, for very different reasons.  They all feed a different part of my soul, which in the end makes me complete!  I love these ladies (and Hubs) with all my heart!  My life is happy, full, positive, and complete with them in it.  I love spending my days with them.  I love sharing my special moments with them.  And I love that International Friendship Day exists so that I can honor their importance in my life!

Review of Chattanooga Tennessee

A dear friend recently said to me that “People don’t seem to really enjoy and appreciate the season of life that they are currently in.  Always wishing for their babies to grow up, or their teens to be babies.  Wasn’t it nice when we could travel on the spur of the moment because we didn’t have kids, or man I wish I had kids!”  I really took what she said that day to heart.  As much as I want to have babies, and have a family right now, I need to remember that I do have a husband that loves me very much.  I need to work on appreciating and enjoying what I have…because you know what…I have a really special life!

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So in order to try and stop “grown-up life” and truly enjoy this beautiful life we have, Hubs and I have made a commitment to try and travel to a small local town once a quarter.  Just to explore this beautiful part of the country we live in.  Each summer we want to take a bigger trip, like this summer we are heading to Jamaica, but why not enjoy what’s close by too….because there is some really beautiful stuff to see and explore right in our own backyard!

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A while ago, I shared my thoughts on a close-by city that I really fell in love with…Ashville, NC.  I could live there people!!!  So today I thought I would give you our run-down on Chattanooga, TN.  Take it for what it’s worth, just one person’s opinion, but maybe it will help you make some decisions if you decide to try Chattanooga out for yourself!

1. Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel StarStar

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Of course, while we were visiting Chattanooga we had to stay in the Historic Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel.  The location of the hotel was perfect, and within walking distance of everything in downtown.  The lobby had been renovated and had beautiful architecture.  But unfortunately, I am sad to say that this wasn’t my favorite part of the trip.  The hotel had a cool vibe because it was located in the old train station, and you could stay in the train cars that had been turned into guest rooms…but, everything was VERY outdated – 80’s style.  I will say that hotel was undergoing a 8 million dollar renovation, so maybe you don’t want to count it out just yet, but overall it (as it stands today) it definitely makes the top 5 list of yuckiest hotels I have ever stayed in.   

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2.  Rock CityStarStarStarStar

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One of the many places we explored while in Chattanooga was Rock City.  I really enjoyed walking the trails and seeing the beauty of the mountains.  The overall feel of Rock City is slightly too touristy for me, and I wouldn’t go back on my own (one of those “been there done that” kind of things), but I would totally go back with my kids.  It really was fun for the day, and because we went in the winter there weren’t too many people on the trails.  The best part of Rock City is the top…where you can see 7 states at the same time!  Pretty cool!

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3.  Raccoon Mountain CavernsStarStarStarStarStar

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My absolute FAVORITE thing we did on our trip was explore the Raccoon Mountain Caverns!  We almost didn’t go to the Caverns because it wasn’t on our list of things to do, but we had time so we headed over to check it out…and wow!  It was totally worth the time!  Raccoon Caverns is a little “hole-in-the-wall” kind of place on the side of Raccoon Mountain.  I was a little nervous until the young tour guide opened the door and led us into a world of underground beauty!  I haven’t seen many things as beautiful as the underground caverns!  This was not touristy at all, and I think that was why I loved it even more.  It was really just a bunch of guys that love the beauty that nature provided us and want to preserve it and share it! We only explored about a mile of the caves, and there are 4 1/2 more miles we didn’t get to see yet!! I HIGLY recommend checking out Raccoon Mountain Caverns if you are in Chattanooga!  I would drive the 1.5 hours up there, just to see them again and come right back home!

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4.  The Hot ChocolatierStarStarStarStar

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Directly across the street from the Chattanooga Choo Choo was The Hot Chocolatier.  Um…Yummo!  It was Valentines day so we stopped in for a special treat.  This place had specialty hot chocolates and cakes and candy.  We picked up a piece of red velvet cake and a chocolate peanut butter cake.  It was delicious!  If you are looking for a special sweet treat, and willing to pay a little more than normal for it, then check out The Hot Chocolatier while you are in Chattanooga.

5.  Walking DowntownStarStarStarStar

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One of my favorite things to do in a new city is to walk the streets of downtown, looking for specialty shops, local book stores, and of course specialty pet stores.  Chattanooga was no different.  The city itself is actually fairly small, and the walk was beautiful.  As you walk around downtown you can tell that the city is trying really hard to revitalize itself.  There are a lot of cool, swanky restaurants in town, but not really a lot of good shopping.  And no pet stores…boo.  You would walk past a beautiful refurbished building and then three really run-down joints, repeating that pattern over and over.  The walking bridge over the river was gorgeous, and the small art district was really beautiful!  I give downtown 4 stars because I think in about 5-10 years, this would be a city that will be a lot of fun!  Right now it is still a little early in their revitalization process for me to consider it as a city I would like to come back to.  I think we saw everything there was to see in our 6 mile walk of the city.  I may come back in a few years to see how far they have come, and hopefully someone will open a cute bookstore or pet store before we return!

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6.  Ruby FallsStarStarStar

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Okay – so a hidden underground water fall is pretty amazing.  I loved the story of how Ruby Falls was started, but the love of this place stops right there.  They have really pushed the tourism here and you have literally 1 min and 30 seconds to see the falls, get your picture, and get moving.  Our guide was super funny, but he definitely had to do his job of herding us like cattle through the caverns and out again.  The falls were absolutely gorgeous, but I didn’t get the time to truly enjoy the beauty.  Honestly, I felt like the mission of Ruby Falls was to push through as many tourists as possible in one day…not my kind of fun.   I will return when I have kids so that they can enjoy the beauty and learn the history, but won’t ever go back on my own.  Been there – done that.

7.  Terminal Brew HouseStarStarStarStarStar

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My other favorite thing to do when I am in a new city is to try out restaurants that are only local, that I can’t eat at anywhere else.  The Terminal Brew House fit this to a T!  The food was local, organic, and delicious!  Joe’s bison burger and my fresh-made hummus were top notch!  The 3-story brew house had a super cool vibe, and I would eat there EVERY time I visit that city. 

8.  DeBarge WineryStarStarStarStarStar

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Of course if you know us at all, or keep up with our blog at all, you know that we added a wine cellar to our home a while back.  One of my goals was to stock this wine cellar with wine from tons of local wineries that I toured myself!  So when I noticed we had a little extra time I hit Google to find somewhere local.  I didn’t have high hopes, because where in the world would you have a winery in the middle of a city?  But we did find one, and it was AMAZING!  DeBarge Winery has a local vineyard right outside of town, but they also have the winery right in the middle of downtown.  Their tasting room was beautiful, the staff was sweet and super knowledgeable, and we LOVED our 12-flavor tasting!  Of course we came home with three bottles, and I would visit again in a heartbeat!

9.  Natural Body Spa StarStarStarStarStar

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Our last stop on the way out of town was the Natural Body Spa.  We treated ourselves to a couple’s massage that was world class!  The facilities were beautiful and calming, the staff was friendly, and our massages were just what we needed for the long ride home.  I would totally visit the Natural Body Spa again, without hesitation!

Overall, we really enjoyed Chattanooga.  It was a great weekend away from our everyday life.  We would give Chattanooga an overall StarStarStarStar rating.  If you are looking for a quick weekend getaway, and you love the outdoors, this may be a city you would like to check in to!

Why Do I Run 5Ks?

I am slower than a turtle running through peanut butter, so why in the world do I keep running 5Ks?  Because of this:

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The support that running with friends brings, beats no other motivator for me!  I have had a goal of running one 5K a month for a while, and for the most part (with exception of the dead heat of summer) have stuck to it for over a year.  Yes, I have gotten a little faster (not as fast as I would like), but that is not what it important to me.  It is spending time with these phenomenal ladies and working on ME. 

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Every 5K brings different friends and I love that!  But one friend that has been a huge support is this one right here.  She never lets me miss a race, slack on my practice, or slow down during that last mile.  She keeps me on my fitness toes by supporting me with my eating at work, and my fitness at home.  The best part is that we are in this journey together!  We both are aiming to transform our lives and won’t let the other one back down!  Thanks so much for your support Becca!  #babebeforebaby

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This month we ran our first color run, The Color Race for Grace.  The supporting cause was human trafficking and the statistics are very eye opening!  We had a blast running the 3 lap course and getting dowsed in color!  I can’t wait to run another 5K with these ladies, and hopefully a 10K in the fall!

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A Heavy Heart

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”– Hellen Keller

It is with a warm and content heart that I write this post.  Most of you that read our blog know that a year and a half ago, we brought “our boy” into our home. We have updated you on his progress and success along the way.

His journey began with choices that led him down a path of self-destruction and missed opportunities.  My husband and I have opened up our home and hearts to this boy.  I must say this boy, has showed more courage than any other fifteen year old boy I have seen.  He has handled the opportunity given to him with a humble heart, courage, and grace.  Many of you have played an integral part in shaping this boy into the young man he is today.  I would like to thank so many of you for the support, time, advice, mentoring, patience, and caring you have shown for him over this past year and a half.  Because of “you” he is successful both academically and personally. Thank you for accepting him as part of our family!

For the past few months we have worried about M’s overall well being and began to speak with him about why he seemed sad.  He expressed to us that he missed his family, and that he worked very hard to change, and feels he deserves the chance to be with his family again.  After speaking with my husband, we fully believe that only Marcos really knows where his heart is and what is truly best for his overall well being.  So we began the process of weaning him into more time with his family.   During these times M has shown his strength of character by choosing to go to the gym, help mom cook, or help dad make repairs around the house rather than wander the streets as he had in the past.  He felt like he was really ready to prove to everyone that he can still reach his goals and live with his family.

After speaking many hours with M he believes, and we do as well, that he has learned a lot of valuable lessons while living with us and that he is ready to go back and be a role model for his family.  Although my husband and I know that reaching his goals will be much harder in that environment, we feel that he is strong enough for the challenge.

Even though the home environment hasn’t changed since he left, M has changed…a lot.  He knows now that his actions effect more than just himself.  He knows that he has a support system bigger than just his immediate family.  He knows that he can set goals for his life, and he can work hard to reach them.

So today, M is embarking on the next chapter of his life.  Yesterday was the last day Marcos will be living with us.   However difficult and sad this may be, we will support him in this decision. He has proven himself “changed”.  M has moved back in with his family, as family is very important.  I hope and pray that the tools and skills we have taught him over the course of a year and a half, have provided him with enough strength to overcome obstacles that may come his way.

Of course our hearts are a little heavy, and our home will always be missing a little part of it now, but my husband and I believe whole-heartedly that now is the right time for Marcos to go home.  He will forever be a part of our family, and will forever have a cheering team on his side.

I do not think this is goodbye…more of an “I will see you around”.

A Day of rest

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Happy Labor Day!  Do you know why we have Labor Day? (other than a perfectly timed break for teachers in the middle of the beginning of year rush)  Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

So take the time to rest and reflect on how your hard work, no matter what you do, makes a big impact on our wonderful nation!  We wish you a restful, fulfilling day with your family and friends today. 

Stay safe!

CC, Hubs, Willow and Harley