Monday, March 28, 2011

The definition of family

This weekend, the young'un was at our house. She's with us every other weekend and a couple of evenings a week for her dance classes. This means that for that period of time, I'm the mother figure in the house. According to my mother-in-law, I play house for those times, but that's another post in itself.

The conversation came about while we were driving around on Saturday after her play rehearsal and before the evening performance for her dance school's spring ballet. Since P was helping his dad do some things, it was just her and I for most of the day. Since we had errands of our own to get done, we spent a significant amount of time in the car. This tends to be where most of our talking occurs now as she's 11 going on 30 and is in tears over some slight (real or imagined) a large portion of the time at home. This is not just at our house, but everywhere. This weekend, she was dwelling on my place in her life vs. her step-father's place in her life.

How does one explain the intricacies of step-parenting to a hormonal pre-teen who is looking for someone to make life nice and simple, but still treat her like a grown-up? It isn't something easy to explain. I had to somehow explain to her that she was the child of my heart, but that I understand that I'm not her mother. I'm her step-mom and I don't want to take her mother's place when she's with us. I'm her friend, one of her parents, and someone who loves her very much. But at the same time, I have to make her understand that I would love to have been her mom, lest I make her think I don't love her like a mom. She's a complicated child and it's a complicated subject.

This has now gotten me dwelling on family. How do you define family? Is it by genetic relationship? By law? By choice? Do you have friends who you feel like are your family and family you'd rather forget ever existed? As an infertile woman who wants to build her family, this subject nudges at that nice tender spot in my heart that's never completely healed each month. We all know the one. It's the one that gives us hope of a baby, of a miracle of our own in some way. But in some ways I have a miracle, but the miracle is only mine for brief moments at a time and then she flies back to her other home.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Four letter words - the IF version

This weekend, as I was silently muttering and cursing under my breath about some real or imagined slight from my husband and step-daughter (PMS. It's a bitch.) I started tho think about what the equivalent of swear words are for those of us suffering through infertility. What are the words that are breathed in reverential terms or have caused us to cry?

The first word that comes to my mind is hope. Hope is a 4 letter word, both literally and figuratively. Hope can lift us up, but it also lets us crash down hard when CD1 arrives. Hope - the ability to ignore the fact that a low sperm count, inability to ovulate, and sex at the wrong time can still lead to a biological child in that cycle. I've fallen prey to it countless times. Each month, it creeps in and then, pulls the rug out from under me.

The second word is period. The dashing of hopes, the end of a cycle. The sign that yet again, anything we did would not end with a baby in 9 months. While not technically 4 letters long, I've been known to mutter it like the most vile curse word on more than one occasion.

Another set of words is baby shower. Nothing sets my heart pounding like a baby shower. The cute little invitation, the prospect of cooing over baby items, the mother-to-be, smiling and rubbing her belly with an almost beatific smile upon her face. The only reaso I go to these things still is because I'm still hopeful that one day I'll have a child as well and I really want the hand-me-downs.

Loss announcements. These bring the stark reality of the fact that even a BFP doesn't always lead to a baby. Each time I read one, it sends pain through me, wondering the what-ifs that plagued me after my own miscarriage.

Pregnancy announcements are by far the worst. I think those can be counted as swear words by infertiles. When one is made you have to fight back tears, smile and pretend to be happy, and make some kind of congratulatory statement. It's difficult, painful, and often just maddening. Invariably it's the 2nd cousin twice removed on your long lost Aunt Mabel's side that wasn't even trying, but oops! She's pregnant. Then she mentions that wouldn't it be great if you got pregnant right away as well? Then you'd be pregnant together and your babies would be the same age. By the end, your blood pressure has spiked, you're seeing red, and the last thing you want to do is be nice.

Just relax. How may times have we heard this. Just relax, you'll get pregnant right away. Who cares that your husband has no sperm. Who cares that you haven't ovulated on your own since high school. All you really need to do is relax. Apparently, it makes babies.

Another favorite that has been accorded 4 letter word status is "Why don't you just adopt?" Because it's so easy to wave a wand and have an adoption ready to go. Because everyone is called to adopt and then once they do, the magically get pregnant as well.

What are some of your infertility 4 letter words?

Monday, March 14, 2011

And the winner is.....

And the winner is comment #4 - The Knapps!!


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

CSN stores giveaway!!!!!

I've been offered a free $35.00 code for the CSN stores for 1 lucky reader. Since we're in the process of updating the house, I took some time to look around their sites and found some really nice LCD tv stands. This has of course given the husband the desire to upgrade the tv, but I think I've gotten him talked out of it for now.

In addition to the tv stands, there are shoes (oh the shoes), home decor, things to organize your life. I know I'm in serious need of more organization at my house. The kitchen drawers alone are enough for my mother-in-law to cringe when she has to open them. Okay, that may be a bonus, but when I need a pen it doesn't help.

So whatever you are looking for, you'll have a really good chance of finding it at the CSN stores.

Giveaway ends on 3/13/11 at 11:59 PM EST. Winner will be drawn through on Monday morning. Hey, it'll help improve the fact that most of us are losing an hour of sleep this weekend in the US.

Ways to enter (because we all know that's the important part, right?)

Mandatory Entry:
Visit CSN Stores and tell me how you would spend your gift code

Extra Entries:
Follow my blog through Google Friends Connect and comment to tell me you do (1 chance)

Follow CSN Stores on Twitter and comment that you do (1 chance)
Follow me on Twitter and comment that you do (1 chance)
Tweet (or facebook) about the giveaway and leave me a link to your tweet in a comment (1 entry a day) - Check out this awesome #giveaway from @csnstores and @cd1again
Blog about the giveaway and leave me a link to the post in a comment (3 entries, so 3 comments)
Good luck!!
Last night, we had a discussion about a new car for me. Now this isn't exactly new or earth-shattering at my house. My car is an 11 year old station wagon that's had more than its fair share of problems. The question now is do I get another station wagon or do I go back to driving a sedan. This is where my problem lies.

I started driving a station wagon 8 years ago. When I got my first one, it was with the dream of a house, a few dogs, and 3 kids to haul around to activities. It was a Vol.vo and it was free so while I didn't really consider myself a station wagon kind of girl at first, it grew on me. It carried all kinds of things, it went through snow like there was no snow. It did everything I never knew I wanted a car to do. Heck, it even had heated seats, impressive in a 1989 car.

Fast forward 2 years. We had bought our house and now had the Young'un more frequently and had 2 dogs. We're now engaged and I begin to allow visions of the family that I'm sure will happen dance through my head. Ah, how innocent I was of infertility then.

Two months before the wedding, my Vol.vo dies a hideous death of a blown headgasket. Since it was a 1989, we decided to get a new to me car. Enter the This is my current wagon. It's been a money pit and will be replaced sooner as opposed to later. While I like my car, it is starting to cost me more in repairs than the car is actually worth. Hence, a new to me car is in my future.

This brings up the sedan vs. station wagon debate in my head. When I accepted a station wagon, I did so thinking I would be hauling a family and dogs about. Instead, I haul 1 pre-teen grl twice a week and both of the dogs occasionally. A sedan would open more options up because there aren't that many station wagons that look like something I would drive out at the moment. But a large part of me is afraid that if I give up the station wagon, I'm giving up my dream of a family. The husband is fine with another wagon. He is also fine with a sedan. Honestly, he doesn't really care either way because he wouldn't be driving it, I would. After all, he has his Envoy to haul anything and everything. It does in fact hold all the dogs, both adults, and 2 kids (The Young'un and one of her best friends) without even breaking a sweat.

So the question is am I giving up a dream by getting a sedan with a lot less trunk room and space for hauling things? Or is it just a smart move when we have something big enough to carry everything and everyone already?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Good Dog

Six and a half years ago, we decided to get a second dog as a friend for our boxer-lab mix. The agreement was for a younger male dog. Instead, I brought home an older female dog. Her name was Daisy.

She was one of the best dogs I've ever owned. Her nickname was "The Smiling Bulldozer" because she would walk right through you, smiling the entire time. She was born without a tail, but would wag the nub that she had for all she was worth.

Daisy and Indy

She had a heart of gold, unless you were a small fuzzy animal in her yard. Then you were toast. She would present us with at least 1 trophy each year. Once, she even hid one in the house because we kept taking them from her.

I claim this bed in the name of Daisy

Last night, Paul and I had to put our dog Daisy down. She was 13 and a half years old.


Life From Scratch book tour

Welcome to everyone who is here because of the Life from Scratch book tour. If you haven't read it yet, you can purchase it here in book form and here in Kindle form. It was written by the wonderful Mel.

As a warning, this is my first time participating in a virtual book club. Please be gentle. On to the questions...

1. Blogging plays a key role for Rachel in the growth she experiences throughout the novel. How has blogging affected who you are and/or how you see the world?

Blogging has introduced me to a community of poeple who understand what it's like to be infertile in a world surrounded by fertile people. It's also opened my eyes to how each of us have been affected in the ALI community by our infertility or losses. It's helped me grow as a person and helped me become more understanding to others.

2. Rachel’s blog gets very popular when she wins a blogging award and she starts averaging about one hundred thousand hits per day. Would you want your blog to become that popular or would you prefer to stay smaller?

I'm of two minds on that one. Some days, I wish I had more to say and that I had the ability to be a great writer and have people want to come and read what I say. Some days I really wish I had things to say that were worth people coming to read. However, I'm content being a small fish in a really big blogging pond.

3. While she is trying to move on from her divorce, Rachel cleans out The Box- a box of sentimental mementos from her marriage. Do you have a Box of your own? What do you (or would you) keep in it?

I don't have a Box per se, but I do have a trunk. This trunk holds different things from different parts of my life that I have found special enough to want to keep. It has pictures, books, letters, cards, and other assorted things that have helped shaped me. These are things that have come with me through different relationships, several moves, and a lot of heartbreak.

To continue to the next leg of this book tour, please visit the main list at Write Mind Open Heart.