Thursday, April 30, 2009

What he says vs What I hear....

It's funny to me how differently men and women think. My husband and I sometimes misinterpret one another and, unfortunately, that can lead to arguments. He can say something so seemingly innocent and I just take it and run with it. Here are some examples of misinterpretations we've had....

1) He says: So how did you spend your day?
I hear: Clearly you did NOTHING all day, judging by the looks of this house.

2) He says: Your friend, Sherri, seemed really nice. How come you don't hang out with her more often?
I hear: Your friend, Sherri, is freakin hot. I wish you would wear low-cut sweaters like she does....she's got one hell of a rack on her.

3) He says: Do you know the name of that spice my mom uses on her pot roast?
I hear: Your cooking sucks....you should probably call my mom and ask for her help next time you attempt to make pot roast for dinner.

4) He says: Are those new jeans you're wearing?
I hear: You must have had to buy a new pair of jeans because your butt has gotten so big. Why don't you use my hard-earned money to get yourself a personal trainer at the gym instead?

5) He says: John called and wants to know if we're free in the next couple of weeks to get together with him and his wife. We don't have anything special coming up, do we?
I hear: I have a feeling there's a special birthday or anniversary in the next couple of weeks and I have no clue what it is but there's no way in hell I'm gonna come right out and ask you that so this is the best I can come up with.

6) He says: You seem exhausted....why don't you lay down for a little while?
I hear: I know you're exhausted but the day's not over yet and I'm horny.

7) He says: How come you never wear that perfume that I bought you?
I hear: I'm tired of you smelling like chicken nuggets, playdough and kid's puke.

8) He says: I can't seem to find my sunglasses. Do you know where they are?
I hear: Maybe if you cleaned this house every now and then, I'd be able to find my sunglasses....and those earphones I've been looking for since 2003.

9) He says: I wonder what ever happened to that girl, Susan, I used to work with at Home Depot....do you remember her?
I hear: I wonder what my life would have been like if I had married her and not you.

10) He says: You look really nice today.
I hear: I know something looks different but I'm not quite sure what it is so I'll just give you a very general compliment and hope you fall for it. Oh and, by the way, it'd be nice if you made the extra effort to look this nice EVERY SINGLE DAY.....and you'd score extra points if you threw on that sexy nightie you used to wear.....in 1998 (even though I can't remember what you asked me to get at the grocery store earlier today, I can remember that hot black lacy thing you wore over 10 years ago....before we had kids....when your body was smokin' hot, like your friend, Sherri's).

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I feel love, love, love, love.....

Awards and tags....yeah! I feel like a broken record but receiving awards always makes my day!!

Tami, at Diary of a Mad Woman, made the Blogger Buddy Award....look how beautiful it is!! Thank you Tami for including me!

The rule of this award is that it MUST be passed on to someone else. So I'd like to send this award over to Kim, at The Mommy Machine. Not only does she take awesome pictures of her beautiful surroundings in Alaska, but she is now back from a blogging hiatus and she has been missed. So go over to her blog and show her some "welcome back" love.

I received the following award from Lana at The Kids Did WHAT?! Thank you, Lana!! Definitely go check her blog out, especially on Mondays when she participates in "Not Me Monday". Her stick drawings totally rock!


I was given this award by Confessions of a Moody Mommy. I love this lady...she says it like it is and that's definitely something I admire! The rules for this award are:

-- List 7 things that make you Awe-Summ and then pass the award on to 7 bloggers you love.-- Make sure to tag your recipients and let them know they have won!-- Also link back to the Queen that tagged you.

So here are 7 things that make me Awe-Summ:

1) I gave birth to 4 beautiful kids in 2 short years. I think my uterus is pretty darn awesome.

2) I have a great sense of humor. I can almost always find something funny in even the weirdest situations.

3) I have no problem with being silly with my kids, even if it means throwing myself down a slip-n-slide or dancing around the family room singing songs at the top of my lungs just to entertain them.

4) I genuinely care about others. If a friend or a family member is hurting, I hurt right along with them. If they're happy, my heart sings for them.

5) I'm a round-the-clock type of person, meaning I can be a night owl if necessary, I can be a morning person when the time calls for it and I can wake up in the middle of the night and function semi-well. I have a "ready to roll" attitude 24/7....kids'll do that to you.

6) Hmmmm, okay, I'm really struggling now coming up with another one. Let me see....I'm starting to actually enjoy cooking for my family (now that I seem to know my way around the kitchen, thanks to some wonderful foodie bloggers out there...you know who you are). I feel such a sense of pride when I fix a meal that my family truly enjoys.

7) I left this one up to my kids....Cole says what makes me awesome is that I always take good care of him, Bella says my boobs make me awesome (um, thank you....I think), Garrett says Buzz Lightyear makes me awesome and Landon says Daddy makes me awesome (I have my doubts about that one....).

And now the 7 bloggers I want to pass this award onto are:

Veronica from Of MICE and raMEN
Junglemama from Jungletwins
Emily at Raising Chickies
Kathy B at the world according to me
Karen at A Peek at Karen's World
Nikki at Life as we know it
Amy at The A to Z Twins (she's having a homemade COOKIE giveaway on her blog....so head on over there and enter yourself in the giveaway for some yummy cookies!)

Lastly, but certainly not least, Tess at Six Feet Under and Onna at Toddler Craft tagged me with the "8 Things" tag.

8 Things I Look Forward To:
1) Cole and Bella's first T-ball game on Saturday
2) Mother's Day
3) Using our tax return money to replace our carpet with wood flooring
4) Our week-long vacation this summer
5) Eating oreos all by myself while the kids are asleep
6) Treating myself to a pedicure (hopefully this weekend sometime)
7) A nice, healthy veggie garden
8) The little twins being completely potty-trained and not having to fork out $175/month on diapers anymore

8 Things I Did Yesterday:
1) Woke up before the sun and took a quick shower
2) Got the kiddos up at 7:00 am, got them dressed and gave them breakfast
3) Dropped Cole and Bella off at preschool and came home with the little twins
4) Met with Garrett and Landon's IE specialist
5) Picked Cole and Bella up from preschool
6) Made them all lunch and put the little twins down for a nap
7) Played Candyland with Cole and Bella
8) Took them all to the park when the little twins woke up, came home and made dinner, did the whole bedtime routine and then zoned out in front of the tv until bedtime. And I can't wait to do it all over again today....

8 Things I Wish I Could Do:
1) Go on a month-long vacation to Paris all by myself
2) Sell our home
3) Buy a bigger, single-story home
4) Help out my friends more than I do
5) Read minds
6) See the future
7) Bake
8) Be more talented and creative in doing crafts with my kids

8 Shows I Watch on TV:
1) Grey's Anatomy
2) Desperate Housewives
3) American Idol
4) Law and Order
5) Without a Trace
6) Criminal Minds
7) Table for Twelve
8) Oprah

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

It's National Safe Kids Week this week....

Did you know that in 2007, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were more than six million unintentional injuries to children ages 0-14? When you break the numbers down, that essentially translates into 12 injuries per minute....isn't that number shocking?! Did you know that unintentional injuries are the number one cause of death and disability for kids, ages 1 to 14? To me, that is extremely disturbing.

The greatest amount of injuries to young children are mostly due to motor vehicle occupancy injuries, falls, bicycle-related injuries, fire and burns and poisonings. However, the positive side of all this is knowing that, with the correct information, many of these injuries can be prevented.

That's where Safe Kids USA comes into the picture....to coincide with National Safe Kids Week this week (April 26-May 3), the organization released a safety report, Raising Safe Kids: One Stage at a Time, based on extensive research, which centers on child development as it relates to unintentional injury.

In recognizing National Safe Kids Week, please visit the Raising Safe Kids: One Stage at a Time site to learn more about how you can prevent injuries from happening to your child(ren). Also, please share this information with others that you know who have young children. Together, with the helpful information provided by Safe Kids USA, hopefully the CDC's 2009 statistics for unintentional injuries to young children will have decreased exceedingly.

* All statistics were found on the Safe Kids USA site

Sunday, April 26, 2009

An unexpected treat....

I wake up every Saturday morning, mentally going over a list of all the things I need to do....mostly running errands, which include (but are not limited to) grocery shopping, weekly run to Target, weekly run to Babies R Us (diapers) and the list goes on. This Saturday morning started off no different than any other.

I was awoken by 4 little people coming into our bedroom....one jumping on the bed next to me, one pulling at my hair, one grabbing at my arm and the other one screaming at the door, "Mommy, I want french toast for breakfast". Oh yeah, Saturday is still a "work day" but at least I can stay in my jammies for a couple hours, unlike on the weekdays when everything is go, go, go, rush, rush, rush.

The phone rang around 8:45 am and my first thought was that it had to be a family emergency, like my sister screwing up her computer by opening an unfamiliar e-mail and calling Tim in a panic (which would usually result in him
spending a majority of his afternoon at her house, fixing the problem).

But it wasn't my sister calling....it was one of my fellow twin mommy friends, Brenda! She offered to bring her girls over and watch all the kids while Tim and I went out for a little while. At first, I thought maybe she had a really high fever and was hallucinating or something....but, no, she was truly offering to come over and hang out with the kids so Tim and I could get out of the house for some one-on-one time.

Now I have to say, my kids are adorable, friendly, super fun and they provide hours of entertainment but I don't exactly have people standing in line at my front door waiting for the opportunity to watch my kids. We usually have to BEG the grandparents and if we're lucky enough to get them to agree, Tim and I really can't enjoy ourselves because we're worried about the kids the whole time and we feel rushed to get back home to the kids, especially with my stepdad asking about 3 times (within a 10-minute period) "and what time do you think you'll be back?".

I must have asked Brenda at least 3 times "are you sure?" and that's when I realized I had better stop asking her that before she came to her senses and said, "you know what? I AM having second thoughts now...it did seem like a good idea at first, though". But she didn't say that at all...she kept insisting that she and the girls wanted to get out of the house anyway and she was happy to do this for us. So I told her that I'd talk to Tim and get back to her.

I walked over to where Tim was laying on the sofa, completely unresponsive and in his own little world of denial, while the kids ran around spitting on one another. I said, "Guess who that was?? Brenda!! She said she'd be happy to come over and stay with the kids for a little while so we can go out somewhere!". He came to life right before my very eyes and asked, "What's she smoking....cuz I'd like some..." and then he said, "wait, are you serious....you're not joking??" and I shook my head.

I said, "I feel so guilty though...it's so nice of her but I don't want to take advantage of her kindness" and Tim said, "give me the phone....I'll call her...your mommy guilt is out of control, woman". With that, I grabbed the phone back from him and he said, "Ask her how soon she can be here...."

We made arrangements for her to arrive around 1:00 pm, when the little twins would be down for a nap. Cole and Bella were super excited....they totally were not expecting a fun playdate today...and Tim and I totally were not expecting to be able to run off for a few hours and do whatever we wanted! I could hardly contain my excitement.

When she arrived, we said our goodbyes to the kids and off we went, with her assuring us that everything would be fine. Oh, and she didn't ask 3 different times when we would be back...in fact, she told us to take our time. We saw the movie "State of Play", which was awesome, although I was rather disappointed by Russell Crowe's whole grungy greasy look. Usually he's pretty hot but in this movie...not so much. After the movie, we ran over to Costco, which was closeby to the theater, and picked up a few things that we needed.

Then we arrived home and we were pleased to see that Brenda was.....well, still alive. We thanked her a million times over and told her that she needed to let us return the favor soon, when she and her husband needed some time alone.

One of my blogging buddies, Paula, often writes on her blog Organizing Tips and Thoughts for Moms, about clutter-free gifts....basically, replacing those material items we often give to others as gifts with the gift of love and time. That's what my friend did for me today and it was completely unexpected and completely genuine, with no strings attached. And that was better than any gift I've received in a long, long time....

We could all use more friends like that in our lives, don't you think?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Things that made me smile this week....

It's Friday again....my favorite day of the week. For some reason, this week in particular seemed to last forever. I'm not sure if it was due to the unusually warm weather we were having or if it was just having to adjust to getting back to our normal routine after spring break last week.

Thankfully, though, there was more laughter and smiles than there were tears and cries of frustration. Here are some things that made me smile this week.....

1) Garrett and Landon are the silliest kids. Even though it was 96 degrees outside for the better part of this week, that didn't stop them from wearing their winter hats and gloves. And, of course, anytime they share a hug (unprompted) makes me smile with glee.

2) Bella makes me smile with some of the things she says. She has a little crush on one of Cole's friends at preschool. After I picked them up from school the other day, she informed me, "Mommy, Carson is my one true love and I'm going to marry him someday." I asked, "How does Carson feel about that?" and she said, "Well, I just told him today....he didn't say anything. But that doesn't matter....I told him he's going to marry me so now he has to", as she sat in the backseat smiling adorably. Sure, she looks innocent and sweet on the outside but on the inside she's all princess.

Then yesterday I was explaining to her that we have to take good care of our veggie garden so that the plants won't die. She asked, "It's kind of like when you take care of us.....so we don't die?". And as I was applying sunscreen on the kids on Tuesday, I told her that sunscreen is important to prevent the sun from damaging our skin and she asked, "Why? Is it because our skin will get all crinkled and cruddy....and then we'll die?". In all seriousness, it's probably time to talk to her about death and dying....but her questions still made me smile.

3) Garrett has finally been speaking in 2-3 word sentences. Music to my ears. Last night, he ran around waving his finger in everyone's faces and saying, "You stop it" everytime we'd laugh at something he did. And he's even been saying "love you, Mommy".....can I just say that I melted like butter the first time he said it??

4) Lastly, our little veggie garden....oh, it's had a tough time surviving. The kids and I grew our seeds indoors for a month and then transplanted them one day, only to have the wind knock most of them over. And what wasn't knocked over was trampled on the next day when I hosted an Easter party at our home. So we started from scratch again but this time we planted the seeds directly into the outdoor garden. We waited and watched....waited and watched....but after 6 days, still nothing. And then suddenly, we noticed our seedlings were starting to pop out of the ground. Before we knew it, there were seedlings everywhere!! Yesterday morning, when Cole, Bella and I went out to take a peek at our lovely garden, we were all so excited that we did a little dance right there in our backyard....here are some pictures of our little veggie garden....

One of our blooming cucumber plants (the kids have fondly named it Dexter)


More cucumber seedlings


Watermelon seedlings


Tiny little lettuce seedlings



The view of the whole garden area




Green bean seedlings (we get a lot of wind on this side of the house, so Jenna from The Newlyweds, shared a tip with me....cut the bottom out of a planter and plant it around the seedling to prevent the wind from bothering the plant...we didn't have any planters so we used large plastic cups)

Our tomatoes and summer squash never made it out of the ground so we're gonna buy some seedlings from the nursery this weekend and plant them in the garden. According to Bella, we need to do this quickly...."Mommy, we need to get new tomato plants so the other plants don't get sad.......and then die".

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Slip-sliding away....

It's been super hot around these parts of town....on Tuesday, it was almost 96 degrees! The scary thing is that it's only April....I hope this isn't a taste of what's to come for summertime.

With it being so hot, it was time to break out the old water toys....the huge blow-up pool and the slip-n-slide. I got all nostalgic as I got the slip-n-slide set up for the kiddos, thinking back to the days where me, my sister and our friends would all gather together and take turns sliding down it.

There was the one time when I was wearing a hot little bikini and trying to show off in front of the 15-yr old boy I had a crush on....I got my running start and then threw my body onto the slip-n-slide, screaming with laughter. When I stood up and wiped the water from my eyes, I noticed everyone else was quiet and staring at me....or should I say, they were staring at my now-exposed boobs. Along with the warning on the box that says this toy is meant for kids ages 5-12, it should have also clearly stated that wearing a bikini while playing on the slip-n-slide is STRONGLY DISCOURAGED.

So getting back to Tuesday....the kids were squealing with excitement as the pool filled with ice cold water. Once the pool was filled, I attached the hose to the slip-n-slide and we had a blast!! Oh yes, I was sliding down that thing right along with the kids (but don't worry, I wore a one-piece bathing suit, Mama learned her lesson the hard way)...I probably looked like a complete ass to any of the neighbors who might have been watching out their windows but I didn't care. It was a hot day and I was having the best time with my kids. It totally made my day when Bella said, "Mommy, you're so much fun" and I said back to her, "Yeah, not so bad for someone whose life is almost over, eh?". She will never live that one down, I'm afraid.

Tim surprised us by coming home from work 30 minutes early but he refused to get in the pool or go down the slip-n-slide. The man does NOT know how to have fun. But the kids were at least able to convince him to hurl them down the slip-n-slide a couple times...and of course I grabbed the video camera because....say it with me, people....I recognize a good blogging opportunity when I see it. And yes, I'm fully aware that he was throwing them down the wrong end of the slip-n-slide and he was even forewarned about it but he assured me "it'll be fine". Oh, and sorry for my annoying voice in the background while I was video-ing (is that even a word?)....it's only 1-minute long so just deal, k?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Why God Made Moms....

Guess what? I'm not here today!

I've been asked to co-blog with a wonderful group of women at Reclaiming the Woman Within!! You know, sometimes, as women, we get caught up in taking care of everyone and everything else that we sometimes forget to take care of ourselves!! This blog is dedicated to helping us ladies re-discover who WE are, besides wives, girlfriends, mothers, sisters, daughters, short-order cooks, chauffers, personal groomers, booger-pickers, butt-wipers, personal assistants, housekeepers....yadda, yadda, yadda....you get the picture, right?

And even though my post today is about motherhood, it's a humorous look at how some children view their moms. I think we're all entitled to a good laugh every now and then, especially on a Wednesday.

So come and check it out by clicking HERE.....oh, and while you're there, please add yourself to the follow list so we'll be able to stop by your blog and say hello!

I'll be back here tomorrow!!!

Infertility, my cross to bear....(continued)

For the first part of this story, read In the Beginning....

The phone rang and I immediately recognized my ob/gyn's number on my caller ID. She must have received the results from my cycle day 3 bloodwork. She had said she'd get in touch with me once she had the results but I was expecting a letter in the mail....not a personal phone call. My heart felt like it was going to jump out of my chest....my hands were shaking. The fact that she was calling me...well, I just knew it had to be bad news.

For a minute, I almost considered not answering the phone. Maybe I didn't really want to know the results. I think this was the moment I realized that my brain and my heart were in two different places.

I grabbed the phone and she said, "Hi, it's Dr G....I have your lab results. I was hoping you'd have a few minutes to discuss it". I let out a huge breath and said, "Of course, I do". Then she broke it down for me....my FSH level was borderline high. Most doctors consider a normal FSH on day 3 to be anything under 10. My level was 11.3. FSH stands for follicle stimulating hormone. Essentially, this hormone is produced by the pituitary gland, which stimulates the ovaries to develop a follicle (which holds the developing egg) each month. As women age, it becomes more difficult for the ovaries to ovulate as the supply of eggs gets reduced and so the level of FSH rises over time. This condition is also referred to as "diminished ovarian reserve" (DOR).

I let out a sigh of relief and said, "well, 11.3 doesn't seem THAT high if you're considering 10 the cut off for normal." She replied, "Yes, while that's true, I'm taking your age into consideration and you know that fertility starts to drastically decline after the age of 29. So I'd like you to do the Clomid Challenge (CCCT)....that will give us a better picture of what we're actually dealing with".

She explained what the "challenge" involved....I would wait for my next cycle and on day 3, I'd come in and have my FSH, estrogen and LH levels checked. Then on days 5-9, I'd take 100 mg of Clomid and return for another series of bloodwork on day 10. Typically, in order to "pass" the challenge, I would need an FSH level lower than 10 on both the 3-day and, especially, the 10-day bloodwork.
I can't say I was thrilled about doing this "challenge", figuring it was yet another test for me to fail. Part of me was hoping I'd get pregnant on the 50 mg of Clomid I had already taken for my current cycle so I'd be done with all of this....wishful thinking on my part but I just so desperately wanted it to be that easy.

When my beloved ovulation monitor told me I was getting close to ovulating, I began my ritual of cozying up to Tim. He could always tell when it was "that time" because I would suddenly become nicer to him, catering to his every need and desire and then I'd seal the deal with, "Hey, it's baby-making time....let's get to it". At first, like most men, he really enjoyed the whole process. I was eagerly initiating sex and the amount of sex that went into conceiving a baby was a dream come true for him. But, soon within time, he started to figure out that I viewed sex completely differently than he did.

I remember this one time, at band camp (trying to throw some humor in here), he tried to initiate sex with me and I looked at him with all seriousness and said, “but I’m not ovulating yet and you need to save up your sperm for when I do ovulate”. Eventually, when he finally did give up trying to initiate any type of non-baby-making sex, he would actually roll his eyes, groan and look completely depressed when I would say those dreaded words, “I’m ovulating…where would you like to...um...do the deed....will it be the kitchen table this time or back to the bedroom?" I didn't care where "the deed" happened, as long as it happened....

But I didn’t always make sex sound as dreadful and as boring as a board meeting with the boss. Sometimes I’d throw some humor in, with the hopes that Tim would be more inclined to have sex with me, by saying “hey, what are you doing for the next 10 minutes? Wanna try to impregnate me?” I think he was starting to dread the whole process as much as I was. Sex was now about making a baby…it was no longer for enjoyment or to share a close intimacy with one another.

When that cycle failed miserably (again), I tried my best to have a positive outlook for the next cycle, where I would do the CCCT. So day 3 came....did the bloodwork, took 100 mg of Clomid on cycle days 5-9 and then went in for the day 10 bloodwork. I was still faithfully charting my ovulation cycle and when my fertility monitor indicated that it was "time", I hit Tim up for some "baby- dancing" for the next 4 days and then turned the cold shoulder on him as I awaited for my CCCT results.

I'll never forget the day I got "the news". I was working from home writing up some staff evaluations and the phone rang. As always, my heart skipped a beat as I noticed my ob/gyn's number on our caller ID. I looked up towards the heavens and whispered outloud to God, "Please....if this is bad news....please give me the strength to deal with this...."

I picked up the phone and quietly asked, "Hello?" and Dr G said, "Hi, Helene...I'm afraid I'm not calling with positive news. I got your CCCT results back and your day 3 FSH was 18.3 and your day 10 FSH was 23.5. As you know, these are not the results we're looking for with this challenge. I had hoped your levels would be below 10 on both days but the fact that your FSH was already 18.3 on day 3 and then it continued to go up, instead of down, on day 10....well, I think you were right to listen to that gut instinct that urged you to ask for the bloodwork in the first place. I know this isn't what you wanted to hear but ultimately what this means is that you have diminished ovarian reserve....."

I didn't say anything....I was afraid to open my mouth, out of fear that I'd start crying and never be able to stop. I just sat there, listening to the silence...not quite sure what to say. Dr G said, "Helene, are you still there? I'm sorry that it's turned out this way..." and I said, "I'm still here....I just don't know what to say....where do I go from here?". Just as I suspected, the minute I opened my mouth, my voice started to crack, my chin started to quiver and I felt tears stinging my eyes. She asked if I still wanted to continue talking....if not, she was willing to call me back later or I could make an appointment to come see her the next day.

I still wanted to continue to the conversation so she said, "Where do you go from here? Well, it depends on how you feel about more aggressive measures, such as IVF....have you given that any thought?". I asked, "Why IVF? Isn't that, like, the last measure....what about continuing on Clomid or combining injectibles with an IUI....why are you suggesting we go straight to IVF?"

She was quiet for a few seconds and then she said, "Can I be frank with you?". I sat down on the sofa and answered, "yes, of course....just come right out and tell me what your professional opinion is...at this point, there's obviously no going back, I can't change things so I need to know where to go from this point and I don't want to waste any more time".

Dr G explained, "I believe that both Clomid and IUI's are a waste of your time. When I take into account your FSH levels, as well as your age, I think IVF is your best bet at this point. My advice would be to not walk, but run, to a highly reputable clinic that does IVF." I started to laugh at how dramatic she seemed to be. She continued, "With high FSH, time is of the essence....FSH is not like other hormones. You can't take a pill for a quick fix, it's not one of those hormones where you can just wait around to see if it gets lower...it never will get lower....I'm afraid the condition only gets worse as time passes...that's why I feel like you really need to get moving on IVF."

I suppose I was still in denial and I asked, "So, really....you don't think injectibles with IUI would even work?" and she said, "You could try IUI and I can even recommend a doctor friend of mine who's an RE (reproductive endicrinologist) within this HMO but I have a feeling he will give you the same advice, but with one more additional suggestion and I'm not sure if you're ready to hear that just yet". I quickly asked, "what.....what do you mean by additional suggestion?".

Dr G said, "Sometimes, women with high FSH can't conceive with their own eggs....and that's when you may have to consider the use of donor eggs. I think that's probably what you'll hear from Dr S if and when you talk with him".

My head was spinning right about then. How could I have gone from one state to another so quickly? How could we have been talking about my ovulation charts at one appointment to then having some bloodwork done, which would finally end up here.....needing IVF to conceive?? And maybe not even being able to conceive with my own eggs? It felt like a nightmare....yes, I had a gut instinct that something wasn't right but, never in my wildest imagination, did I think this is how it would end up. I asked Dr G if she would speak to her friend who was an RE and get back to me on what his opinion was. She agreed to call him and said she'd be back in touch with me as soon as she could.

After I hung up the phone, I just sat there on the sofa staring into space. I had a million thoughts running through my head.....what do I do now? Will our insurance even cover IVF? How do I find an IVF clinic? What do I tell Tim? Tim....the minute I started to think of how I was going to tell him all this, that's when I started sobbing. What would he think? Would he be willing to do IVF?

Once I regained composure, I called him at work and tried to explain everything the best I could without crying again. He became upset upon hearing me so upset and he assured me that we'd work this out, one way or another. I prayed with all my heart that he would be able to accept whatever path we were supposed to take to become parents.

A few days later, Dr G called me and said she had spoken with her friend, Dr S. Just as she had suspected, he didn't feel that IUI was a good call. He felt that IVF was my best bet and he strongly urged me to consider donor eggs. I asked Dr G if she would give me his phone number so I could speak with him directly. She gave me his number and I called him immediately after hanging up with her. I left a voicemail and he called me back the next morning.

Dr S was friendly but cut straight to the point. He was able to access my medical record on his computer and he read me the results of my CCCT, as if I hadn't already heard them. Then he said, "So what is it exactly that you want to know?" and I replied, "I'm not so sure I want to just jump in with both feet and do IVF....I'd really like to consider doing an IUI with injectibles first and see how that turns out". He said, "I'm assuming Dr G already told you my feelings on that?" and I answered, "Yes, she did but IVF just seems so....I don't know, aggressive".

He listened and then spoke up, "Well, with high FSH, you have to be aggressive. From what Dr G has told me, you don't want to waste any more time doing things that won't work and so I believe that IVF is the best way for you to go achieve motherhood. In fact, I'd even strongly urge you to consider donor eggs, if you really don't want to waste any more valuable time."

"I just can't accept that at this point", I said, "I feel like I need to explore all my options with my own eggs first and then I'm willing to consider other avenues. What are my chances of conceiving with my own eggs?" He replied, "With your own eggs, you have about a 1-3% chance of conceiving a take-home baby". I asked, "Take-home baby? What do you mean by that?" and he quietly said, "A baby that you safely deliver, ALIVE, at the end of your pregnancy that you take home from the hospital, when all is said and done".

I didn't know how to respond to that. It wasn't quite what I expected to hear. My brain was trying so quickly to process everything. As if he could read my mind, Dr S continued, "And if you are lucky enough to fall into that 1-3% chance, you have a 75% chance of miscarriage. With high FSH, not only are we talking about diminished ovarian reserve, we're also talking about poor egg quality as well. Most of those pregnancies that are conceived will be chromosomally abnormal and that's why the miscarriage rate is so high. That's why I'm saying that if you really want to get straight to the point and be done with all the trying....donor eggs with IVF is almost a sure-fire way to go".

Once again, I questioned him about an IUI and he replied, "Look, if you twist my arm here, I'd be willing to do an IUI but I honestly think it'll be a waste of your time and your money....I'm afraid it will only end in further heartbreak for you. Tell you what, you give this some thought and then call my office and let me know what you've decided to do. If it's IVF, then I can help you find an RE outside of our network...."

After our conversation, I got angry....who is he to tell me what's possible and what's not possible?! How does he know IUI wouldn't work for me?! Maybe I'd be the one to beat all the odds....maybe I'd fall into that 1-3% chance of conceiving with my own eggs and be lucky enough to be part of that 25% who don't miscarry. I then sat down at my computer and began searching for articles on high FSH....unfortunately, almost everything I read mentioned the same statistics and the recommendation was donor eggs.

Later that day, I looked online for infertility clinics in the nearby area. One of the clinics that came up in my search was ironically a clinic where I had almost donated my own eggs to an infertile couple several years earlier. The couple had chosen me anonymously and I began the donor cycle, only to end up being cancelled due to poor response. Back then, I had no clue what that could mean for me in the future.....I wish to God I had known back then what I knew now.

I called that clinic and made an appointment with the RE, only to have the head nurse call me back later that day to tell me that, for the most part, they didn't accept patients with an FSH level over 13, unless that patient was willing to use donor eggs. I was stunned....I was being turned away before I could even get in to see the RE! The nurse rattled off some statistics and once again, I heard the same "1-3% chance" speech all over again.

I called another clinic and made an appointment with that RE. Amazingly, that clinic kept the appointment; however, I was disappointed upon meeting him that his clinic, too, had the same standards for accepting high FSH patients. He said that sometimes they made acceptions for patients with FSH levels up to 15 and I said, "But my level is pretty close to that....can't you make an acception for that?" and he said, "No, not based on your age...if you were in your late 20's, I'd say perhaps but being in your mid-3o's....I just don't think there would be a positive outcome for you" and then he went on to tell me that if I used donor eggs, they'd happily accept me as a patient. Just to amuse myself, I asked him what the statistics were if I did IVF using my own eggs and he said, "oh, about 1-3% chance of conceiving a take-home baby". I laughed all the way home, thinking all these RE's must be in the same club or something. God forbid, they accept a patient who might skew their success rates listed with the CDC.

Once I was home, though, I found myself in tears again. I cried until I had no more tears left. I asked God, "WHY ME?" Hadn't I played all my cards right? Why was God punishing me like this? Why did I have to be facing this decision? What would Tim decide? I'm ashamed to admit that I even wondered if he'd want to leave me if conceiving a child with me was going to be this difficult. This was my cross to bear, not his. Would he ever be able to forgive me? As it turned out, Tim wasn't exactly "on board" with the idea of IVF...so yet another hurdle to get over.

And then as I sat on the floor, completely drained of all tears and emotion, I decided that there was no point in being angry with God. It doesn't change the facts....it doesn't give me back my fertility....it won't make things easier. If anything, it will just make things that much harder. I decided I had to move forward....pick my head up and keep focusing on that strong urge that kept telling me I was meant to be a mother. That urge never went away, oddly enough....if anything, the urge only got stronger. I believe that is what kept me going in my darkest hours....when I would question if motherhood was meant to be for me, I'd get a feeling deep down in my gut that pulled me forward and kept me going.

The next day, I went to my computer and searched "high FSH support" and that's when I was lead to an amazing group of women on a support board who were also diagnosed with this same condition. As I grasped for courage, I wrote my first post on the board, introducing myself and explaining where I was at in my journey to motherhood, including my latest FSH levels and what was recommended to me by Dr S, as well as the other two clinics.

I was surprised to receive a number of responses almost immediately, encouraging me and offering me hope. Two women, in particular, were especially supportive and told me about an infertility clinic in Las Vegas run by Dr Geoffrey Sher.....The Sher Institute of Reproductive Medicine (SIRM). They were both beginning an IVF cycle with him in the next couple of months and they strongly recommended I get in touch with him, saying that he was one of the most well-known, most successful RE's in the country AND he never turned down a patient based on any kind of diagnosis. Furthermore, he specialized in women with high FSH. I was intrigued.....

They say that once you've hit rock bottom, the only way to go is up.....and let me just say how true that phrase is. Within a few weeks, I had my phone consultation with Dr Sher himself and it was an answer to prayer.....

To be continued.....

Monday, April 20, 2009

Apparently, I'm bossy and old....

Me: So, Cole, what do you want to be when you grow up?
Cole: A police officer
Me: Wow, that's pretty cool.
Cole: You wanna know why?
Me: Of course
Cole: So I can be in charge and boss people around......like you do.


Me: Bella, want do you want to be when you grow up?
Bella: A unicorn...
Me: Wow!! And how would you spend your days?
Bella: Hanging out with the little Lucky Charms guy and painting rainbows.
Me: Oh, that sounds like so much fun....that's how I wanna spend my days too!
Bella: But, Mooooommmmm, you're already growed up and you can't grow a horn on your head now because your life is almost over.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday Regurgitation - "Here are your choices....better make it a good one".

My bloggy buddy, Andy, at The Creative Junkie, often does a Sunday regurgitation post on her blog. She explains:

"For those of you wondering why Sunday is throwing up, fear not. Sunday Regurgitation occurs every Sunday, when I link to a prior post of mine, because I am trapped under something heavy and am unable to write anything original or riveting. Hopefully someone will notice I’m missing, remove whatever is suffocating me and I’ll be back to normal by tomorrow. But just in case this doesn’t happen, think of me fondly."

Please go check out her blog....you will not be disappointed! Make sure you're not drinking any kind of liquid while reading....because you'll be laughing so hard, you surely will spit it out all over your computer screen.

So in honor of her Sunday regurgitation.....here's mine:

From October 27, 2008

As I was driving home from picking Cole and Bella up from preschool today, I heard them chattering in the backseat. This is what I heard:

Cole: Okay, Bella, listen to me. Here are your choices...better make it a good one. The choices are for Mommy to drive your way home* or choose a movie to watch at rest time. (*there are 2 different ways we can drive home from preschool so I usually let them choose which way we take)

Bella: Um, hmmmmm, I'll pick the movie today.

Cole: No, I'm going to pick the movie today.

Bella: But you gave me the choice.

Cole: No, I just TOLD you the choices but it's really up to me. And I'm picking the movie.

Bella: Mommy, Cole said I could make the choice and then he told me I couldn't pick the movie.

Me: You both work it out amongst yourselves.

Cole: Bella, here are your choices....you're gonna tell Mommy which way to go home and I'm gonna pick the movie.

Bella: That's not fair. I get to decide because you gave me the choices.

Cole: No, I gave you the choices but I decide.

Bella: Cole, you are frustrating me. I don't like you anymore. Don't talk to me.

Cole: Okay, so we decided....Mommy, go Bella's way home and I'm gonna pick the movie today.

All I could think of while listening to them discussing this is that Cole would make one hell of a presidential candidate some day in the future. Make someone think they have a choice but then when they choose something you don't like, twist things around so you come out the winner in the end anyway. It's all about persuasion...

By this point, Bella was in tears over all this, insisting that Cole had given HER the choice. Between her sobbing, Cole yelling at her, and Garrett and Landon totally freaking out because they did not give a rat's ass which way we drove home or who was picking the movie because they were just so hungry they wanted lunch...I called for total peace and quiet.

Once we were home, I said, "Since you two can't work it out, here's what we're gonna do...we'll flip a coin". Cole immediately said, "I'm tails" and I said "you're sure you wanna be the one to choose first?" and he said "yes". Can we all see where this is going? Bella agreed to be "heads". I flipped the coin and it landed on heads, fair and square. Guess who's pouting now and screaming how unfair it is??

Once the little twins were down for their nap, it was time for Cole and Bella's rest time and Bella chose her movie (only this time it wasn't Barbie in the Diamond Castle...today it was Barbie in The Nutcracker....Barbie, Barbie, Barbie....I'm sick of Barbie). She ended up falling asleep within the first 15 minutes and then Cole fell asleep shortly thereafter.

So ultimately I was the winner....I got to turn the tv off and relish the quietness of our home. I plopped myself down on the sofa in the family room and got lost in a book....for 2 hours.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Courageous or glutton for punishment?

Picture it.....Thursday afternoon....the 4th day of spring break....the kids are bored and turning the house upside down. I've got to get some order around here or I'm gonna lose my mind. It's 4:00....2 more hours until Tim comes home from work.

I heard, "Hey, who wants to paint?" and I looked around and said, "who said that?". The kids looked at me as if I had officially lost my mind....they stared at me in complete silence. I said again, "who said that?"....Cole slowly said, "Mommy, um....you said it". I did? Oh mama, I really HAVE lost my mind....what time is it....does the psych ward allow late check-ins??

Okay, really...it's not that bad. Actually, it may be a good thing. All 4 kids together in ONE place doing a STRUCTURED ACTIVITY. So what if it's paint....paint's washable. I asked myself, "Am I being courageous or am I just a glutton for punishment?". Maybe I said it outloud, I'm not sure. But the kids didn't stare at me like I had a 3rd eye in the middle of my forehead so I assumed that the thought had occurred in my head.



After they each got to do 2 paintings each, I called it quitting time. Just in time, as Cole had said, "I'm gonna paint my hands and then do my handprints" and Bella had said, "yeah, I'm gonna do my feet". Oh, too bad...we're out of time. My head was about to explode....Tim walked in the door right about then.

After dinner, Tim took the kiddos upstairs for a bath. He called down to me, "Are you coming up soon?". I shouted to him, "Yeah ...in a minute....I'm just...uh....doing....um, finishing some stuff".

And then I sat there at the dining room table all by my lonesome, finishing my "stuff".....perhaps I was a glutton for punishment but that nice, chilled glass of wine sure did make it all worth it.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Beginning....Infertility, my cross to bear....

I realize that I don't talk about my personal experience with infertility that often on my blog. I'm great at encouraging and supporting others on THEIR blogs but, on my own, well...that's just a whole 'nother story. I'm not sure why I don't write about the details, other than to say, even now 6 years later, sometimes it's still somewhat painful to recall that time in my life. Once you're on the other side of the fence, you know, sometimes it's hard to look back at the other side and see where you've come from. Yet, at the same time, I wouldn't change a single thing of what I had to go through....I figure everyone has their cross to bear in life. Infertility was mine.

This is my story....from the beginning.....

"I N F E R T I L I T Y". There it was in black and white right before my eyes. The word alone made my heart pound in my chest. It made my eyes sting with tears. It was like my worst fear had just been confirmed.

There I was, standing in the hallway at my ob/gyn’s office, with a lab slip in my hand, practically having a meltdown. It was the first time since my husband and I had started trying to conceive that the word ‘infertile’ might have actually applied to me in the medical world. Since Tim, and I had begun the “adventure” of trying to conceive, I just had a feeling it would not be an easy time. But there was a huge difference between THINKING I might be infertile to actually KNOWING I was infertile. Seeing the word “infertility” written as a diagnosis next to my name on a lab slip was enough to make me wonder if Tim had actually been right when he accused me of self-fulfilling prophecy.

I had gone in that day to a long-awaited appointment with my ob/gyn, armed with all my ovulation charts to show her as proof that I had been really trying, whole-heartedly, to get pregnant. “Really trying” included taking my temperature every morning diligently (and yelling at Tim because he had turned up the heat that night which might have made my temperature higher than normal…how was I supposed to tell if I had really ovulated or not??!!), checking my cervical mucus on a daily basis (and actually spending hours surfing the web for pictures of other women's cervical mucus to compare it to), shoving a finger deep inside myself to feel for my cervical opening (and then leaving a voicemail for my ob/gyn asking "now, how low and open EXACTLY does my cervical opening need to be for me to know I'm ovulating?), living solely on a diet of baby carrots and salty pretzels to ensure lots of cervical mucus (so what if it might have been an old wives tale – I would do anything short of eating pig poop to get pregnant…and I might have even considered that if I could find a study proving that eating pig poop would get me pregnant), downing Robitussin as if it was going out of style to make any cervical mucus I did have nice and thin, and peeing on an ovulation stick to pop into my trusty fertility monitor every damn morning to help me determine how close to ovulation I was becoming and, last but not least, informing Tim that he needed to have sex with me RIGHT NOW..…and THAT was only my PRE-OVULATION ritual.

My post-ovulation ritual included saying a little prayer every time I popped the thermometer in my mouth first thing in the morning that my temperature would still be high above the cover line, examining my insides with a mirror to see if it was changing color (perhaps another old wives tale but a friend of mine told me that her sister’s best friend’s cousin’s hoo-haw turned blue each time she was pregnant), man-handling my boobs to see if they were sore yet and standing in front of the mirror for hours to see if my nipples were becoming darker which supposedly was a sign of pregnancy, asking Tim…okay, telling Tim, to examine my boobs to see if he noticed more blue veins than normal, which didn't exactly thrill him as he would say, “um, I thought my part in all this was to have sex with you when you told me to…not examine your boobs for imaginary blue veins”, obsessing over every little twinge or pinch I felt in my body, checking my underwear and the toilet paper I wiped with every single time I went to the bathroom to make sure that my period hadn’t arrived (or to convince myself that any blood I did see might have been implantation bleeding) and, finally, breaking down in tears when my temperature would take a nose-dive, which always indicated that my period would be arriving the next day. Like clockwork, my period would then arrive and I'd spend a majority of that morning sobbing on the bathroom floor, completely devastated and heartbroken. To say I was obsessed and desperate was an understatement, if I ever heard one.

Once my ob/gyn heard all this, she smiled at me and said, "Well, it does sound like you've been as aggressive as you can be....how old did you say you were?" I replied, "I'm 34....and I know, I'm no spring chicken in the reproductive world. So that's why I was hoping you'd give me a lab order for some bloodwork..." Her mouth said, "And what exactly did you have in mind?" but the look in her eyes said, "Oh good God, she's one of THOSE patients who thinks she knows more than the doctor".

I smiled as sweetly as I could and said, "well, for starters....I'm at the beginning of a new cycle so it would be perfect timing for my cycle day 3 bloodwork....you know, my FSH, estrogen and....". She held up her hand and cut me off with, "Okay, okay, I know what's involved with the cycle day 3 bloodwork. And your age is somewhat concerning but 34 isn't really THAT old in my book...you really don't want to give it some more time?"

I took a deep breath and explained,"No, I don't want to continue to try the old-fashioned way unless I know for sure there is absolutely nothing wrong with me. I could be trying for another 2 years while my eggs rot....if the results come back normal, then you have my word that I will continue to try naturally and stay patient. But if the results show something isn't right, then at least I'll know that I may need to move onto more aggressive means to become pregnant....that's not too much to ask, is it?"

She didn't say anything for what seemed like an eternity and then she said, "I'll tell you what....I'll order some bloodwork and I'll also request an HSG (hysterosalpingogram). In the meantime, I'll give you a scrip for Clomid and let's just start there, okay?" I was thinking to myself, "Wow, it really does pay off to be assertive".

As I was walking out the door and starting down the hallway to the lab, I looked down at the paper and that’s when I saw the word “infertility” written as my diagnosis. I don’t know why it took my breath away, I don’t know why it caught me off guard, even though I had suspected this might be the case. Since we had begun trying to conceive, every night in my prayers, I would ask God, "Could you at least, like, send me an e-mail or something letting me know what your exact plans are for me in terms of motherhood....just let me know....is it ever gonna happen for me or not?" I supposed this was the closest form of an e-mail that I would get. Not very logical thinking on my part but then again I’m not a very logical person sometimes.

It was almost like opening Pandora's box, where I definitely wanted to know if there was something preventing me from becoming pregnant....yet, at the same time, not really wanting to know for sure because then that would mean I'd have to face the truth and be thrust into a whole 'nother world I wasn't sure I was ready to enter. I wanted to be a mother, that much I knew, but at what cost? How much was I willing to endure....how much could my heart take, emotionally....what would it do to our marriage....and, most of all, why did something that should come so naturally to me (the ability to conceive a child) have to be so difficult?

Little did I know then that this would NOT be the first time I would see the words “infertility” or “infertile” next to my name on medical papers but, somehow, the first time seeing it stays with me. Maybe because I just had that gut feeling about it....or perhaps, it was because I knew it was the beginning of a long and difficult journey I was about to experience to fulfill my dreams of becoming a mother.

To be continued.....

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

14 signs that motherhood has swallowed you whole...

Once we become mothers, we dedicate and sacrifice everything we have for our children. We live and breathe for them....they are the reason we get up in the morning to face a long, exhausting day and they are the reason we go to bed with smiles on our faces at night (well....sometimes, anyway). There's absolutely nothing wrong with that at all, except we start to lose our own identity of who we were BEFORE we were mothers.

Have you ever caught sight of yourself in a mirror and done a double-take because you don't recognize the woman who's standing right in front of you anymore? When you introduce yourself to people, do you say, "Hi, I'm Mooooommmmmyyyyyyy"

Here are some signs that may help you clue in to the fact that motherhood has swallowed you whole....

1) My Little Pony gummy snacks replaces Godiva chocolates as your new guilty pleasure

2) You're watching an Elmo DVD, laughing hysterically and saying "that silly Elmo".....but you're kids have already left the room.....and you never even noticed.

3) You're at the park with your kids and you hear some of the other kids complaining to their parents about "that lady who's hogging the slide".....and you're not the slightest bit embarrassed that they're talking about YOU.

4) While in a public restroom, you start helping the woman next to you wash her hands....while saying in your annoying sing-songy Mommy voice "remember the 20-second rule when washing your hands".

5) You used to be a hardcore Brad Pitt fan....but now you're having sexy dreams about the Imagination Movers (you know, the recurring dream where you replace Nina as the "friendly" girl next door)

6) When the bag boy at the local grocery store helps you out to your car with your groceries, you grab one of his hands and say, "remember to look both ways before crossing the parking lot".......and he reminds you that he's 25 years old.....with kids of his own.

7) Your neighbor has her sprinklers on and you can't help but squeal with delight while running through them....with your clothes on.....as your kids stare at you with horror in their eyes.

8) As you and your friend get into your car to head to the mall, you lean over to buckle her seat belt for her.....also tugging on it several times to make sure it's securely locked. She tolerates that until you lick your thumb and try to wipe smudged mascara off her face.....that's where she draws the line.

9) At dinnertime, you start cutting up your husband's steak into tiny little pieces, after you've put a bib on him and offered him a sippy cup of juice.

10) For Mom's Night Out with your friends, you spend 20 minutes trying to convince them that Chuck E Cheese is a whole lot more fun than TGIFridays.....who needs deep fried mozzarella sticks and strawberry margaritas when you could be eating greasy pizza and guzzling diet coke by the pitcher?!

11) You call your husband "Daddy"..... even when the kids aren't around.

12) You used to love to sing "Last Dance" by Donna Summer while you showered......now you sing the theme songs from Handy Manny, Dora the Explorer and The Wiggles while scrubbing yourself clean (but only on the days you're lucky enough to grab a shower).

13) You finally have a babysitter over to watch the kids so you and hubby can enjoy a date night out but you end up seeing separate movies because he refuses to see the new Hannah Montana movie with you.

14) Just for fun, you enjoy dressing up like DJ Lance from Yo Gabba Gabba and saying lame things like, "Let's do it....a-break it down".

If you recognize yourself in at least 3 of the above-mentioned signs, step away from the computer (after leaving me a comment, of course....) and tell your hubby that you will be checking into a nearby hotel overnight for some much-needed "ME" time. And, please.....no Elmo or Imagination Movers allowed.

If you want some more fun examples of how you know motherhood has consumed your life, visit Stephanie at Because of Love...her post today Yep, I'm a Mom is hilarious!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Teaching our kids how to stay safe in an unsafe world....

In a town that is only 20 minutes away from where we live, a little 8-yr old girl (Sandra Cantu) was kidnapped and murdered. What's even more shocking is that the person accused of this heinous crime is someone that the little girl knew. In fact, the accused woman (yes, a WOMAN!) was a neighbor of Sandra's family and her little girl and Sandra were playmates! She was also a Sunday school teacher and described by family members as being incapable of committing such a horrific crime. A crime like this just makes no sense....apparently, the motive is unknown. It breaks my heart every time I think of what this little girl's family must be going through...and to make it worse, it was someone that their little girl knew and obviously trusted.

In the past, I've gone over basic safety rules with my kids, such as stay closeby to us when we're out in public, never talk to strangers....that kind of stuff, just very simple basic things. But since hearing about this latest kidnapping, especially since it was SO close to where we live, I felt it was time to get a little more specific with Cole and Bella.

A few days ago, as we were sitting at the table coloring, I asked them, "What would you do if we were at the park and a stranger came up to you and asked you to help him find his dog....would you go with him?". They both said "yes".

So I asked them to pay special attention to what I was about to tell them and then I broke it down for them, as seriously as I could. Even though they are only 4 years old, I felt they'd be able to understand how important this was for them to learn. We talked about the fact that, for the most part, people are good...but there are some people who are just not right in the head and want to hurt little children. We're always talking about treating others with respect and being polite but I told them in the case of someone trying to harm them, that they need to do whatever it takes to get away to safety....don't worry about manners or being polite. This is when Cole asked, "So we could spit on the person and not get in trouble?" (figures, right?) I also stressed the fact that as long as they always stay nearby Tim and/or me, we could keep them safe from potential harm. I said, "if you can't see us, that means we can't see you....so make sure you always stay in sight where you can see us".

Once we were done with that discussion, we talked about safety techniques that they could use if someone approached them or tried to grab them. And we practiced every single one, repeatedly, until they felt comfortable with the technique.

  • If someone approaches them and asks them to go with him/her, they should scream "NO" as loudly as they can, as they run away. As they're running, they should scream "HELP" loudly to draw attention.
  • If someone tries to grab them, they should bite the person as hard as they can....any body part they can get in their mouth, whether it be a hand, arm, nose....whatever is closest to their mouth, just bite down HARD. When the person lets go, RUN and scream "HELP" and/or "THIS PERSON IS NOT MY MOM/DAD". If the person covers their mouth, they should still try to bite the person's hand.
  • If they aren't able to bite the person, they should try to go limp in the person's arms (my kids are famous for the whole limp spaghetti routine...you know, where you pick your kids up and they go limp in your arms, trying to get away from you). If the person loses their grip but still has a hold of them, if they don't feel they can get away safely, they should wrap themselves around the bottom of the person's legs and start screaming "HELP". The abductor won't be able to move and, more than likely, he/she will reach down to try to pry the child off and that's when the child bites the person. At this point, the hope is that the abductor has been slowed down enough by the child and attention is now being drawn to the situation, to where the person just wants to get away from the child as soon as possible.
  • Never go up to a car where a person has asked them to approach with the lure of finding a lost animal, lost child or an offer of candy. If a car does pull up next to them on the sidewalk, they are to move away as quickly as they can.
  • Fight, kick, scream, kick the person in the privates....whatever they need to do to get away, they should do. If the person attempts to put them in their car or the trunk, the kids should stiffen any of their limbs that are not being held and push away from the car. Unfortunately (for our cat), in order to demonstrate to the kids what I meant, I attempted to put our cat in her carrier. If you have a cat, you know what I'm talking about....the arms and legs stretched out, refusing to get in to the carrier, while meowing and hissing the whole time. The kids totally got it.
  • We came up with a special code word that can be used if someone approaches them and says the children are supposed to go with them. What made me think of this is because Sandra Cantu KNEW her abductor and probably felt safe with that person!! With a special code word, if someone my kids know comes up to them and says, "Your mom sent me to come pick you up", the kids can ask for the special code word. If the person doesn't know it, obviously we didn't approve that person to pick the kids up. In most cases, we'll let the kids know ahead of time that someone else will be picking them up, but that they should still ask for the special code word in ALL situations.
  • The kids know their phone number (area code included) but we also taught them their address and how to use the phone to call 911.

A few other things we've always done and will continue to do is when we go out somewhere in public, like to an amusement park or the mall, we always take a picture of the kids with our cell phones right before we leave the house. This way, if they do happen to get lost, we can show the security people/police EXACTLY what the kids look like and what they were wearing. I also write our cell phone numbers in marker on the inside of their arms.

In the case that they get lost in a store, I instructed them to just stay put....do not leave the store, do not go looking for us (because we'll be looking for them and trying to re-trace our steps so this is to avoid running in circles). And if an adult comes up to them and asks if they're lost and needs help finding their parents, DO NOT go with the person but ask that person to go to the information desk/front of store and have us paged. If that person tries to grab them, scream "HELP" as loudly as they can, anything they can do to draw attention.

The kids, even a few days later, are still talking about the safety techniques....practicing it every chance they get. Today, after lunch, Cole came up to me and said, "Mommy, pretend to be a stranger and try to grab me...." so I did....and he reacted exactly the way he should have. Same with Bella...she knew exactly what to do when we re-enacted an unsafe situation.

So while I obviously have no plans to let them out of my sight, I feel better knowing that in an unsafe situation, they will know how to handle it. Gone are the carefree days, like when I was younger....I'd leave the house in the morning and not come home until the street lights came on in the evening. My mother often had no clue where I was or who I was with....but times have changed and that's unfortunate. And it's even more unfortunate that at the young age of 4, my children are already having to learn how to protect themselves from the evil that lurks in our world.

Lastly, please say a prayer for Sandra Cantu's family and keep them in your thoughts.....

Monday, April 13, 2009

Hide-n-Seek (Mommy style)....

I've discovered the sure-fire way for me to get just the teensiest, weensiest break during the day while watching my kiddos....wanna know how?

I play hide-n-seek with them....I let them run off to hide while I count to 10 (very, very, very s l o w l y....see, this is the beginning of the break) and then I announce very loudly "Ready or not, here I come....". Then I grab myself a little snack and find a comfy place to sit down....

Watch this short video, which demonstrates MY version of hide-n-seek....

Saturday, April 11, 2009

What is it about me that drives my husband crazy?

After he works on either of our vehicles, I ask him a million times, "are you sure you tightened all the bolts....you're sure the tires are on securely....did you take it for a test drive to make sure everything works okay?". He always laughs and says, "you trust the guy at Jiffy Lube more than me...."

He hates the way I put the dishes in the dishwasher. My attitude is he should just be thankful I did the dishes....period.

When I use the hose in the backyard, I never put it back all nice and neatly the way he does. I leave it twisted and warped, causing him to shriek out obscenities when he needs to use it again.

Instead of taking the trash out myself, I'll tell him "oh, the trash needs to be emptied". He just looks at me and says, "is there a reason why you couldn't do it yourself?" Um....yes, it wasn't in my contract when we got married.

He hates that I can go days without sweeping the kitchen floor. He'll walk across the floor and whisper obscenities under his breath, as I see him peel a couple raisins off his foot. Seriously, dude...we have 4 kids....4 yrs old and under....by the time I'm done sweeping the floor, someone will spill something on it again. Why endure that kind of frustration? Just deal, okay?

He can't stand the way I organize things in the fridge and the freezer. After taking all 4 kids grocery shopping by myself and unpacking all the groceries, while the kids run around like the Tazmanian devil on crack, as if I have all the time in the world to make sure everything is nice and neat?? He should just consider himself lucky that his ice cream ended up in the freezer and not the pantry. Hell, he should just consider himself lucky that I even remembered to buy his ice cream in the first place.

It drives him absolutely crazy that I don't squeeze the toothpaste tube from the bottom when I brush my teeth. Oh, and I don't care if there's dried toothpaste gunk at the tip of the opening. This has caused him so much frustration that he refuses to share a tube of toothpaste with me.

He hates when I walk up to him after a long, exhausting day with a hairbrush in one hand and a bottle of lotion in the other hand, as I say, "Okay, so which is it....you wanna brush my hair or rub my back?". Sometimes he'll just roll his eyes and whine, "I'm too tired..." and I say, "oh, that's too bad because I was gonna suggest that we have sex afterwards...." I've never seen a man reach for a hairbrush so quickly.

He can't stand the fact that I'll throw anything and everything away if it hasn't been touched for at least 3 days. Like the piece of junk mail that has sat on the dining room table for the last few days that he hasn't even bothered to look at....yet the minute I throw it away, he asks, "where was that piece of mail that was sitting here? I was going to read that".

Well, after seeing how easy it was to come up with the above-mentioned things, I guess the question on this post should be "What is it about me that does NOT drive my husband crazy?"

Thursday, April 9, 2009

"You put WHAT in your ear?"

Why??? Why?! Can someone please tell me WHY when I tell my kids to NOT do something, do they turn around and do exactly what I asked them NOT to do? Do they have this undying need to test out every single theory for themselves?

You'd think me warning them about several things, such as "never walk up to a strange dog too quickly without asking the owner if the dog is friendly", "do NOT run your little brother over with your motorized tractor at 10 mph", "never swat at an angry hornet....or run from an angry hornet, for that matter"...and let's not forget, the infamous "do not climb up the slide when someone is going down the slide", that they would say to themselves, "We should probably listen to Mommy....she knows about stuff like this". No....instead they say to themselves, "I AM INVICIBLE....I CAN PRETTY MUCH DO ANYTHING I WANT WITHOUT ANY HARMFUL OR UNFORTUNATE OUTCOMES".

Most recent attempt:

Theory tested: Do not put anything inside your ear.

Item used for testing: A very small seashell (just the perfect size to get lodged in a small ear canal, of course, because it wouldn't be any fun otherwise)

Children involved in testing: My demon spawn sweet, innocent first-born twins, Cole and Bella

When: last Tuesday night at bedtime (while Daddy was 45 minutes away playing soccer AND while Mommy's mini-van was in the garage, completely disassembled because Daddy never finished fixing the brakes....so no way possible for Mommy to take child to the dr's office, which conveniently closed just 5 minutes before the theory testing took place)

Where: Cole and Bella's bedroom (because that's where most of the disastrous theory testing happens....you know, the whole 'when the cat's away, the mice will play' thing)

How: Said small seashell shoved inside small ear canal (say that 10 times fast and you get a prize....my kids sent directly to your house via Fed Ex, at the cost of nothing to you...except your sanity)

Complications: Said small seashell completely lodged deep within small ear canal. Child comes to Mommy, in complete and utter defeat, "Mommy, I have a shell stuck in my ear". Mommy screams, "You have WHAT in your ear?? Didn't I just tell your brother right in front of you not 5 minutes ago to not put anything in your ear?? What would possess you to do this?"....child shrugs shoulders and looks completely dumbfounded and replies (say it with me, people), "I DON'T KNOW" because, let's face it, that's the catch-all phrase of the century when kids are confronted by their parents in the face of the obvious.

Outcome: Mommy uses tweezers to try to dig out seashell to no avail. Mommy calls advice nurse who tells her "whatever you do, do not try to slap the side of your child's head with the hopes that the object will fall out". Seriously? You just know they HAVE to tell you that because some idiotic parent actually did it so now it's part of the nurse's protocol to make that statement....kinda like the sign you see as you're about to get on a rollercoaster...."please stay seated at all times while the ride is in motion". After making several various phone calls to family and friends (with one awesome friend offering to come over and sit with the other kids while I borrow her car to take child to ER), Mommy finally calls next-door neighbor, who offers to bring over a pair of FORCEPS. Yes, that is what it has come down to....very much trying to avoid an 8-hr long visit at the ER.

Using the forceps, Mommy successfully removes the seashell from the child's ear.

The following short video was made, to be shared with other children who think they may want to test this same theory out.....the title is "Yet Another Sucky Outcome to Our Theory Testing"....

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Things you never want to hear from a potential babysitter during an interview....

Can you let me know when it's 5:00? That's the time I need to take my Haldol.

I won't be able to work on Wednesdays from 3:00-5:00 because that's the visitation hours at the prison where my boyfriend is. If I can't have the time off, I could always bring the kids with me.

How often do you expect me to take the kids to the park...I have a fear of grass.

I hope you don't mind if I bring my imaginary friend with me.

It's cool if you need me to cook meals for the kids....I'm fascinated with fire.

I'm an expert at changing diapers....I wear them myself sometimes.

Would you mind if my boyfriend came over and helped me with the kids? He used to be a sexual predator but he's over that now.

Do I know CPR? I think so...wasn't he one of the robots in Star Wars?

I'm sorry, I didn't hear you....the devil was talking to me.

I'm not sure if I can work overtime....let me call my parole officer and ask.

I hope it's not an issue that I don't drive....my license was suspended after my 2nd DUI.

Is it okay if I watch "The Girls Next Door" while babysitting because that's totally my favorite show and I simply CANNOT miss an episode?

Do you mind if I use your computer while I'm babysitting.....I like to check how many hits my "adult site" gets every couple hours.

Would you mind paying me in cash every Friday....that way I can just go directly to my dealer's house when I'm done babyitting.

If there's an emergency, I'd just call 911....it's a really great way to meet hot guys.

I usually ask for $10.00 per hour but for an extra $20.00 I could "take care" of your husband too, if you want.

Feel free to check my references....oh, but please don't call my last employer....we ended on bad terms. She was so paranoid about me drinking beer while I watched her kids.

Well, I don't really have a LOT of experience with children but people who know me say I have the maturity of a 9-yr old so that should count for something, right?

As far as discipline, I think all kids need a good ass-whipping every once in awhile. That's what my dad always did with me and look how wonderful I turned out. So when do I start?

**Please drop by my bloggy buddy, Tess' site Six Feet Under. Each Wednesday, she does "Words with a Blogger"....I was interviewed for it today...so please go check it out HERE. Oh, and while you're there, PLEASE vote for her Hallmark card (details at the top of her blog)!!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The dreaded "Man Date"....

My 40th birthday....well, it was pretty awesome. Much more than I expected, seriously. The day before my birthday, Tim surprised me by saying that he was going to take the day off and take me to a movie and lunch. He had arranged child care already for the kiddos so I didn't have to worry about that.

We went to Boudin's for lunch, where we talked about the kids the whole time. Then on the drive over to the theatre, we chatted some more about the kids. We saw "Love You, Man", which was an awesome movie! I highly recommend it, especially if you just need a good laugh. Plus, it helps that Paul Rudd is easy on the eyes. He may have replaced Seth Rogen as my dream lover. The whole premise of the movie is that the main character is getting married and he realizes that he doesn't have any close friends to ask to be his best man, while his fiancee has 2 really close friends that she shares everything with. So he sets out on a hilarious journey to find a new friend.

I had to laugh after the movie because I have been trying to find new friends for Tim recently. He's a stay-to-himself, homebody kinda person. And I've been saying all along "you need to make friends". So I set him up on a "man date"....one of my friends' husbands enjoys poker and he's having a game at his house in a couple weeks. I RSVP'd for Tim...saying "count him in" and then I informed him about it. He stared at me and said, "you did what?". I said, "I told Mary that you'd be joining the guys for poker night....Men's Night Out, if you will". He wasn't too sure about it but when I told him that there would be no wives and no kiddos, he was totally sold on the idea.

What guy doesn't need friends? I know it's not the same thing as us women. We need friends, we crave friends....we need other women around us who understand and support us. We enjoy friends we can be real with....someone we can cry with or laugh with. Men....I don't know....they don't sit around and chat about the things we chat about. Like I can't imagine them sitting around the poker table and saying, "Can you believe my wife didn't notice how good my butt looks in these new jeans I'm sporting? I could change my hair color and she probably wouldn't even notice" or "Check out these new shoes I bought on sale today...and I had to hide the receipt from my wife because she'd kill me if she knew how much I spent on them".

And you know they won't be talking about sex, like we women do. We tell each other everything (well, almost everything...) but I just can't picture men doing that, saying stuff like, "Can you believe my wife asked me to do THAT....it's just so gross" or "I'm just too shy to do it with the lights on" and of course never "She expects me to have sex with her all the time....after a long day at work, I just wanna relax...sex is the last thing on my mind".

But guys need somewhere they can go to let off steam. Just to hang out with other guys who walk in the same shoes.....hard-working guys who are married with kids. I would imagine they "get" each other, though they may not talk aloud about their woes and troubles as we women would. I would imagine there will be a lot of beer drinking, high 5's, poker chips flying around and plenty of "hey, dude...." to last a lifetime.

I went out for dinner with 3 good friends on my birthday. We had a blast....we all go way back, having experienced infertility together and supporting each other through every pregnancy, miscarriage and birth. As I sat there, while we chatted about everything under the sun (and I mean EVERYTHING...no topic left untouched), I felt sure that Tim would have a good time on his Man Date.

But if he happens to come home in tears, crying about how mean they were to him and how they just don't "get him"....well, I guess I'll just have to keep looking for new friends to set him up with. The dreaded Man Date....

Monday, April 6, 2009

Family rules to live by....in our house, anyway...

1) Me: In this house, we use nice hands. We don't hit one another.
Child: But he hit me first.
Me: Oh, okay....well, in that case...

2) Me: Please stop spitting on one another. If spit gets in your eyes, you could go blind.
Child: *speechless of course* (sometimes you just gotta scare them a little to get them to follow the rules)

3) Me: Please wash your hands after you use the bathroom, before you come to the dinner table.
Child: I already did...wanna smell them?
Me: Um...no thank you....I'll just take your word for it. In the meantime, please do not touch MY food.

4) Me: Please use your quiet voice.
Child: But then you won't be able to hear me
Me: And your point is....?

5) Me: Please stop jumping on the bed before one of you falls and breaks your neck.
Child: Why?
Me: Well, I guess I should say because I don't want you to get hurt, but the truth is I'm just too tired to drive you to the emergency room. SO STOP JUMPING ON THE BED!

6) Me: We can't buy every single thing that you want. We have to save up for special things. Money doesn't grow on trees.
Child: Then how does it get in your wallet?
Me: I take it from Daddy's wallet because Mommy's smart like that.

7) Child: *whine* But I don't want milk...I want grape juice.
Me: *whine* But I don't want you to have grape juice...I really, really, really want you to have milk *whine, whine, whine*
Child: *stares at me for 10 seconds* Mommy, you sound like a baby when you do that...it's annoying.
Me: Yeah....it kinda gets on your nerves, doesn't it?? Like nails on a chalkboard? Like being woken up from a deep sleep in the middle of the night? Like someone crunching ice in their mouth? Like craving some Honeycombs only to find that someone ate it all? Like....
Child: Okay, okay...I won't whine anymore (......for the next 15 minutes, anyway)

8) Me: Excuse me...but trash belongs in the garbage can, not on the floor.
Child: Oh...
Me: Why do you act surprised? Let me guess....you missed the memo on this rule too?


9) Me: Please close the sliding door when you go outside....we're not air conditioning the whole neighborhood. (Child has no chance to say anything because Mommy is too busy freaking out..."Oh.My.God. Did I really just say that? I've turned into my father")


10) Me: Please don't throw your clothes on the floor. Can you just put them in the laundry room where they belong?
Husband: *laughing* But, sweetie, I know how much you LOVE cleaning up after me.
Me: I'm sorry....did you confuse me with YOUR mother? She may have lived to serve your every need and desire but that's not how I roll, kapeesh?

Onna from Toddler Craft interviewed me for her blog post today!!! The interview topic was about my experience with infertility. Read it by clicking HERE and be sure to participate in her Click and Comment Monday meme!!

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post...."The Dreaded Man Date...."

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Don't mess with little brother....

Sure, little brother looks sweet and innocent. He might even look up to you lovingly and smile, as you move closer to give him a kiss.


But then before you know it, he breaks free from the kiss and socks you in the nose.
And smiles, mischievously....as he gets busted and says, "Hi Mommy", as sweetly as he can.

When little brother says "no more wire hangers", he means it. It doesn't matter if you're 3.5 feet taller than him, he's out for blood....



Don't even think of trying to take food out of his hand....twin brother tried...and had to learn the hard way....
Oh no, where did twin brother go? Off to the kitchen for an ice pack. "Don't mess with me...and don't go near my food".

"You toucha da juice, I breaka you face...."....even big sister showed no fear until she endured the wrath of little brother.

But you gotta give props to little brother...his adorable smile will drawn you in....but don't be fooled. He's a wolf in sheep's clothing (either that or he thinks he's the next Rocky Balboa).
"Mommy, come closer....I won't bite....I promise" (famous last words....thankfully, Mommy knows better, unlike big brother, big sister, twin brother and Daddy)

I figure that if the children are alive when my husband gets home at the end of the day, I've done my job.

----Roseanne Barr



 
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