Five things I’ve learned living with the in-laws

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1. Brae and Sienna miss “home.” They keep asking when they will go “home.” I keep telling them we don’t have a home right now. Sure, I could get into a theological engagement with them about how home is where your heart is, blah blah blah. They are 4 and 2. I’m not.

2. Naps are nice. Very nice. When you are shacking up with another family, there’s not a lot of “honey-do” items for you to do. It’s not your house. You have to know your place. So, we take lots of naps instead.

3. VCRs and tapes still really do come in handy. They are more durable and scratch-resistant than DVDs. My in-laws have VCRs. And lots of tapes. I like them.

4. I’m a lot more low-maintenance than I thought. I’ve packed my socks in some box that is now in a POD somewhere miles away. No big deal. I can wear the same socks a couple, three, four, ok, five times in a row. Don’t judge.

5. We are very blessed to have this as an option. It sure beats the Holiday Inn.

I’m a mom

Let me preface this post by stating that I am I have never been overly high maintenance nor have I been someone who updates my wardrobe every year to keep up with the latest and greatest style.  I tend to wear clothes that are more classic in nature and don’t tend to draw a lot of attention to myself with clothing, jewelry or nails.

I just got a haircut and while I was there I had to laugh.  It been 13 weeks since my last cut and needed to remove a medium sized dog rather than the small dog I normally have removed from my head.   The conversation went something like this:

Stylist: what type of shampoo do you use?

Me: Umm, Suave

Stylist (choking slightly): What kind?  For any particular hair type?

Me: Umm, I don’t know.  It’s in a green bottle.

Stylist: What kind of product do you use?

Me:  Just something to tame my frizz so I don’t get big headed.

At this point, she gave up.  Seriously, there are certain things that I just don’t pay that close attention to.  As long as my hair is clean and not sticking out at odd angles, I’m not that concerned. There was a day that I purchased expensive styling products and got pedicures on a regular basis….but that was before I was a mom.  I might get highlights done twice a year if the budget allows, but find it hard to justify the expense sometimes.

There were days when I would think about paying full price for clothes, but today that really isn’t an option.  Target clearance rack is perfectly acceptable and I admittedly bought a shirt at the Magic Mart during my last trip to Norton, VA.  One of my co-workers cannot wait for me to wear it as she is certain that it will be obvious that it was $9.99 at Magic Mart.  Maybe it will be…but I don’t really mind… I’m a mom.

And while I am a mom… I won’t be caught wearing “mom jeans.”

MOVING

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We sold our house a month ago.

In one day. For above asking. So, we asked for more. And they accepted. We hadn’t even put our sign up yet.

I guess you can say that God was telling us to get the heck out of our house.

We had been thinking about it for a while – moving to a neighboring suburb with fantastic schools, and closer to friends and family.

We had no idea it would happen so fast.

We had not bought another house.

I had many mental breakdowns in the first week after we sold. Where were we going to live?

So, then we started looking.

We made an offer on House #1. 1970s. Half acre. Colonial. Needed some updating. We made them an offer. They countered. We countered. I got cold feet. We rescinded.

Lot of money, and still a lot of work.

So then we made an offer on House #2. 1970s. Awesome neighborhood. Dutch Colonial. Needed lots of updating. We made them an offer. They countered. We accepted. Inspection time came. Lots of problems – radon, sewer, etc. We asked them to repair half of what the inspection suggested. They basically said no, and that they were done negotiating. Take it or leave it.

We left it.

We made an offer on House #3. 2008. Traditional. Move-in ready. We made them an offer. They countered. We countered. They accepted. Inspection tomorrow. Praying nothing major.

We have to be out of our house on Wednesday. From start to finish, it will be 32 days since the day we sold our house. That is very fast.

The new house won’t be ready until end of October. So, we’ll be living with my in-laws for a few weeks.

After sleeping on a blow-up mattress, in a sleeping bag, and eating out of tupperware dishes, I’m extremely excited to move in with them.

Brae and Sienna have been amazing – with all the houses we’ve toted them around to – telling them to “go pick out their bedroom” in each one. They’ve picked out about 8 bedrooms now. They probably have no idea which house is actually theirs, at this point.

But, they don’t care. They just want us to make tunnels out of all the spare boxes in the house, eat lots of take out and pizza, and move in with Grammy and Guapo for a while.

I miss being a kid.

THE INVISIBLE RED THREAD

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“An invisible red thread connects those destined to meet, regardless of time, place or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but never break.
~Ancient Chinese Proverb

While preparing for our transfer and selecting our donors, I had asked family and friends to keep us in their thoughts that we would “know” when we came across the right embryos meant for us. It was such a daunting decision with so many variables. The selection of embryos would likely result in a child that would be with us forever. It had major implications and required much consideration.

After choosing our embryos, I’d talked with a friend who’s daughter, having gone through years of infertility, was led to adopt a little girl from China. She told me of the Chinese proverb ‘The Invisible Red Thread’. It’s Chinese legend that the gods tie a red cord around the ankles of those destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. When a child is born an invisible red thread connects the child’s soul to all the people who will play a part in the child’s life. As each year passes, those threads shorten and tighten, bringing together those people fated to be connected.

My friend said her daughter loves this proverb. She believes all the years of going through infertility was her destiny, preparing the way to bring her, and her daughter’s souls together, at just the right time. Lilly Joy is the other half to her soul, brought half way across the world, to make her life complete. She is now 8 years old, and Sally can’t imagine her life without Lilly.

I believe this to be true. Going through all the donor profiles was agonizing. But when we chose “the one” and after it was confirmed the donor profile was reserved for us, a peace came over me that we had made the right decision.

I believe John Luke is the little boy, Josh and I were meant to have. His little life frozen, until just the right time, place, and circumstance, for our souls to meet. People always say how much he looks and acts like us already. Josh and I have said, we wouldn’t change a thing about our infertility, even if we could, because we wouldn’t have John Luke.

His little soul was our destiny. May our thread stretch or tangle, but never break.

OUR PATH

I mentioned recently about a new Facebook group that was created for embryo adoption and donation. It’s a private page and one has to be added by a current member. It has been very interesting to read about all the different stories and paths to embryo adoption and to walk alongside those who need encouragement as they proceed down the embryo adoption path.
For me, it has definitely reaffirmed our decision to avoid lots of fertility treatments and to move straight to embryo adoption upon learning that we were definitely going to need help conceiving. I didn’t want to put my body, mind, and savings account through IVF and IUI. Plus, we were already comfortable with adoption, so why not go with this option? There would be physical and mental ups and downs with embryo adoption, but nothing compared to going through multiple failed cycles of IVF and IUI like many couples do.
I know many will face different paths to embryo adoption. It might be the first step in fertility treatments or the 100th, however we all share a common bond and empathy with one another. It is amazing to me how anxious I can get waiting to read someone’s results and based on comments, I’m not alone. We celebrate with one another when a big fat positive test is revealed and cry with one another when the news one was dreading, but mentally preparing for, is regretfully shared.
The path to having children may not be easy, but I don’t think is has to be lonely. My path was rather lonely as I only knew one other person who could relate to my feelings of sadness and frustration of not being able to conceive and having to go a different route. I’m thankful for the online support I have found and hope others can find the same comfort with those walking this path.

UNEXPECTED NEWS

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John Luke and I went home for the weekend to see my niece and nephew, who are “visiting” from South Dakota, along with their mother. I was happy to see them, but saddened by the circumstances for which they came home. It seems my brother and his wife are separating. I was not only surprised by the news, but shocked. No one in the family saw this coming.

My sister-in-law has put the kids in school here in Tennessee. She plans on living near her family, while my brother finishes his duties in South Dakota as a Senior Master Sergeant for the Air-Force, until he retires next June.

Despite the unexpected news, John Luke and I had a good visit with the kids. I haven’t seen them since my baby shower last October. JL got to meet my brother’s children- his first cousins Hunter (age 6) and Jordie (age 4).

JL loved watching them play and was fascinated with Jordie. He kept wanting to crawl on her, and touch her face. He also found delight in grabbing her pony tail. I asked her if she wanted to take him home with her. She replied with a resounding NO!! John Luke is cutting his first two bottom teeth and was quite “the grump”. She was amused playing with him the first day, but quickly grew tired of his fussing, and asked me to make him stop.

I loved spending time with the kids. We enjoyed throwing rocks in the river behind my mom’s house, playing Chutes and Ladders, and a game called Sequence. It saddens me to think how their world is about to change. For the most part, they seem unaffected by it all. They are too young to understand. I hope it stays this way, for as long as possible. Right now, the most they’re worried about is, “What are we going to play next?” and “When can I get a snack?”

My brother and sister-n-law are both good people, and say they love each other, but are just not “in love” any more. It reminds me to cherish my marriage, and my family, and to not take anything for granted.

A Wedding. And a Divorce.

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A few weeks ago, one of my best girlfriends got married. It was an honor to be there for her special day, and to be able to stand next to her as a bridesmaid.

Also standing next to her as a bridesmaid was our other very dear friend. She is going through a divorce.

The dichotomy of the two still sends chills down my spine.

In the midst of the celebration of two amazing people finding love, another life is falling apart because of a lack of love. While one man in a tuxedo proudly proclaimed his love in front of a hundred people, another man in sweats is sneaking around, cheating on his wife.

There were several moments during the day when my sweet friend had to leave the festivities to just weep. The “Father/Daughter” dance was especially hard.

My heart just ached for her.

It’s hard to know what to say in moments like those. She has two children. Young children. And her life is falling apart before her eyes.

So, sometimes, it’s better to say nothing at all.

Instead, I weep with her. And I hold my children a little tighter. And I give my husband a kiss, and say “Thank you.”

I once heard someone say that if everyone was forced to put all their crap in a big pile, take a step back and look at everyone else’s crap, every single one of us would gladly go back to the pile, and grab our own crap back.

Behind every smile, is a load full of crap. Be nice to someone today.Britney bridesmaid