Happy New Year’s Eve!

Ok, let’s give this little “year end wrap-up” a try:

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?

Celebrated seven years of marriage to my lovely husband. Started rock climbing. Became president of the North Beaverton MOMS Club. Took Ana to Disneyland. Joined Stroller Strides. Attended a MOMS Club Luncheon. Saw my daughter turn three.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I don’t believe I made a resolution last year, as I am not generally a fan of resolutions. But this year my resolution is simple: to breathe. I want to try and remain calm before I yell or say something I will regret. I want to take a deep breath, remember what is really important, and understand that every little thing does not matter. I am going to relax, close my eyes, and just breathe. For me, for my husband, and for my daughter, I am going to breathe. And it probably wouldn’t hurt my blood pressure either!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Oh yes… My little sister, Darcie, had a baby boy: Silas. My step-sister, Mandy, had a baby girl: Francesca. My friend, Jennifer, had a baby boy: Matthew. My friend, Jen, had a baby boy: Zeke. My friend, Angela, had a baby boy: Henry. My friend, Laura, had a baby girl: Amelia.
(Sorry if I forgot anyone. There are just so many babies right now!)

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Yes, my Grandma Thissel (my Mom’s mom).

5. What countries did you visit?

I don’t think we left the county this year. We were too busy recovering from our visit to Italy at the end of last year.

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?

A baby? Ha!

Seriously I could go for a surplus of cash for all the home improvements we are needing to make. Oy! We need a new roof, we need to re-side the house, we need new windows, we need to trim the floor on our main level, and the list goes on and on and on.

7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Why can’t I think of one? No ONE date really sticks out in my mind. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Being the best mom I can be. Working with my board to turn around our MOMS Club. Starting to exercise again so I can live a healthier life for my daughter.

9. What was your biggest failure?

The moments when I’ve been less than the parent I want to be.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

No real illness or injury, but I did have the E.R. visit for my abdominal pain after my HSG procedure.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

My iPhone (I’ve had one for years, but I got the latest version this year…I think.). It allows me to stay organized, connected, and never get lost. I don’t know how I ever lived without it.

12. Where did most of your money go?

The mortgage, car payments, bills, and groceries.

13. What did you get really excited about?

Every little thing my daughter does or says. She is adorable that way.

14. Compared to this time last year, are you:

– happier or sadder? Happier.
– thinner or fatter? Hopefully a little thinner! Stronger, if nothing else.

– richer or poorer? Maybe a little richer? But ask me again after tax time! Yikes!

15. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Relaxing and just enjoying life.

16. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Yelling. Rushing. Stressing.

17. How did you spend Christmas?

We hosted Christmas at my Mom’s house in Seaside (she was in Arizona).

18. Did you fall in love in 2009?

I fall in love with my husband and my daughter every single day.

19. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No. I’m not a big hater. It’s pointless.

20. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 29 years old and I took Ana horseback riding for the first time during the day. That night, Sim and I planned to go to the Jewel concert at the zoo but blew it off due to the chaos of the crowds and parking and decided to go see The Hangover instead. Best. Decision. Ever.

21. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?

Fashion? Ha ha ha ha! I am a jeans and t-shirt kinda girl. Comfort is key.

22. What kept you sane?

My daughter and her amazing hugs. Exercising. Laughing with my family. My supportive husband.

23. What political issue stirred you the most?

I try not to get involved in political issues because the whole thing stresses me out, but as someone who has a husband who is self-employed and basically uninsurable, I would really love for our country to get on board with universal health care.

24. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Now if only I could actually follow it…

25. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

There’s always going to be another mountain
I’m always going to want to make it move
Always going to be an uphill battle,
Sometimes I’m gonna to have to lose,
Ain’t about how fast I get there,
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb
(Hannah Montana “The Climb”)

Surprise Snow of 2009

Today while Sim, Ana, and I were sitting at the kitchen table eating lunch I happened to look out the window and noticed a few tiny little flecks of snow. They weren’t even really flakes but it was snow! Then by time I put Ana down for her nap giant cotton ball-sized snowflakes were falling from the sky. But the biggest surprise of all was that it was actually sticking! Within hours our neighborhood was covered in a beautiful blanket of white.

Later in the evening, Ana and I were driving home and I thought she was going to pass out from all the excitement of the day, but as soon as she saw Sim she was asking to have a snowball fight, build a snowman, and go sledding. Naturally, Sim wasn’t about to tell her no.

You can see all the pictures from our fun in the snow here. Enjoy!

A Letter: Thirty-six Months

Dear Ana,
Last week you turned three. THREE. I don’t even know how it happened. I know it’s a total cliché, but it seems like you were just born yesterday. Yet it’s almost impossible to remember life without you in it. But why would I want to? Ever since you were born my life has had meaning and purpose. Before I was just going through the motions and now I get to be ANA’S MOM. I could not be more proud to carry that title.

Now that you are a three year old, we have noticed several little “disturbances” in your otherwise mellow personality. Now every little thing that happens is either the BEST thing that has ever happened to you [insert high-pitched squeal here] or it is the equivalent of having one of your limbs removed. With dull scissors. Basically you are an emotional roller coaster of unpredictability. This is nothing new to you, however, as you are constantly telling us about your current emotional state. You are always saying overly dramatic things like, “you hurt my feelings! That breaks my heart!” or “when Daddy talks to me I burst into tears!”

Yet, you can be the sweetest thing ever. You have so much love in your heart that you can’t bear to keep it to yourself. You are always whispering, “I have a new secret…I love you forever and ever and always.” Or shouting, “I love you!” to all of our friends and family. You are filled with compassion and honest sincerity that is so refreshing in someone your age. When you apologize, you say things like, “I’m sorry I was bad earlier. I’m sorry we were having a fight.” Or, “I’m sorry for being mean. Can we be friends again?”

Something that isn’t new, or shocking in the least, is that you are still totally obsessed with babies. There isn’t a day that goes by when you don’t ask me if you can have a baby sister or brother. It breaks my heart to see how hopeful you get when we are talking with one of our numerous pregnant friends and you overhear us discussing babies. You ask, “Mama, are you gonna have a baby now?” Then I say, “No, sweetie. She is going to have a baby.” You always reply, “But Mama, I want you to have a baby in your belly.” I know, Ana. Me too.

Babies have been quite the topic around here lately and, naturally, you are getting caught up in it as well. You are insistent that I am going to have a baby SOON. Scratch that, you think I am going to have BABIES. Plural. You keep talking about how I am going to have a boy AND a girl. Then you are quick to explain to me “that means twins, Mama.” I am convinced that you got this idea from Dora, because when she became a big sister her Mami had twins. Yep, you guessed it: a boy and a girl. So I think it’s entertaining and cute. Your Daddy, on the other hand, is terrified.

I didn’t think it was possible, but in the last month you have gotten even more girly. You are always putting on lip gloss in the vanity mirror, pretending to do your make-up or donning some fancy dress-up outfit. Your room is filled with princesses and fairies, crowns and tiaras (you informed me those are, in fact, different), necklaces and bracelets, and every little thing a tiny princess requires in her royal chambers.

We have a battle every morning about what you are going to wear that day and it always starts with you saying, “I want to wear a dress…with no sleeves, no pants, no socks and no shoes.” And since it is practically winter (last week we had temperature in the TEENS! It was BELOW freezing!) I am forced to remind you that you must wear some type of clothing covering every part of your body. I am partial to letting you pick out your dress and then having you add leggings/pants/tights and a sweater/jacket. But even this can become a battle of the wills. In fact, this morning you cried for five minutes because I made you wear leggings under your dress. Your reason why you shouldn’t have to wear pants? Because, and I quote, “Taylor Swift doesn’t wear pants!!”

Last weekend we had your big birthday party. We had it at Westside Dance and Gymnastics Academy. It was a great party and you got to spend the entire time bouncing around, surrounded by all your best friends and family. It was the ultimate day for you, which was exactly the point. To make the day more special, I let you help me pick out all the decorations and your cake. Naturally, you picked the Disney Princess decorations and requested that I make you a Belle (from Beauty and the Beast) cake. After scouring the Internet for inspiration, and the baking and party stores for supplies, with your Father’s help, I made your dream a reality. All the hard work paid off when I saw the look of awe and wonder in your eyes. For that moment, I was Supermom and I could make all your dreams come true. I promise, as long as you keep looking at me like that, I will do my best to never let you down.

Oh my sweet little princess. What else is there to say? There are only so many ways I can tell you that you are amazing. Intelligent. Wonderful. Beautiful. You never fail to make me smile. Like when I walk into a room to discover a huge mess and when I ask you about it, you say, “I think my brother did it.” I can’t be mad at you, but instead I laugh out loud at your creativity and then we work together to clean up the disaster. Thank you for always giving me good-night kisses, for whispering “I love you, Mama” in my ear, for wrapping your arms around my neck in a hug that never fails to takes my breath away. Thank you for helping me look forward to each day, for causing me to get out of bed every morning with a smile, for making me laugh until I cry. Thank you for making the last three years the best years of my life. I love you, Ana.

All my love,

Ana’s First Ballet Recital

Today was Ana’s first ballet “recital.” I put it in quotes because it was technically just the last day of her Three’s Tip Toes ballet class, but her amazing instructor, Teacher Katie, had them preform on the stage. And, as Ana informed me, “we can have mommies and daddies and grandmas and grandpas there!” which basically means they were allowed to invite people to come watch. So Simeon and my Dad both came to watch Ana’s first time on the big stage! I was very excited, because now that Ana is in the Three’s class, I am not allowed in the room (parents can be quite a distraction to three-year olds) so I had no idea what they have been doing over the course of the last several months. Turns out they were working on the cutest thing in the whole world. Behold the cuteness:

Ana obviously had a great time. And in a few of the pictures, when she isn’t being silly or distracted by her friends, she actually looks like a real ballerina. My little girls is getting so grown up!! You can see all the pictures from Ana’s first ballet “recital” in the Ana Thirty-five Months gallery. Enjoy!

Working on Being Optimistic

“Well, it looks like somebody did their homework!” my doctor said happily as she peered at me over the stack of charts I handed over to her nurse just moments ago.

I smiled, and said, “Yep. Considering the length of time it took me to get pregnant with Ana, we started charting as soon as we decided to try again.”

And that was 10 months ago.

Allow me to back up. Sim and I started trying for Baby Number 2 at the beginning of this year. Being the (over) planner that I am, I was hoping to have a baby at roughly the same time of year I had Ana so that my maternity clothes as well as the baby’s clothes would all be in the right season. If I had another girl, then ALL the clothes would be able to be used again. Let me just tell you, there are A LOT of clothes. Anyway, I digress. So I had my IUD removed in January and thought I would allow my body a month or so to “get back to normal” then if I got pregnant in March-ish, I would expect another winter baby. Perfect, no? However, my body had other plans. After charting for 10 months and noticing some problems with the regularity of my cycle, I decided to set an appointment with my doctor to determine my options.

Now that brings us back to the present, with me sitting in front of my doctor trying to figure out what to do now. My OB/GYN is amazing, and got right to the point, “All I needed to see was TWO of these charts to tell you that something isn’t right. And you brought me TEN.” Basically she was able to conclude that I haven’t been ovulating. (Kind of a big problem when you are hoping to get pregnant.) Now we just needed to figure out why. Luckily I timed my appointment perfectly in my cycle (day three) and so while I was at the doctor’s, they were able to draw some blood and test me for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and check my hormone levels, specifically my Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) levels. My doctor also gave me a prescription for Clomid and instructed me to start taking it on day five of my cycle (through day 10).

[As as side note, a lot of people, myself included, are skeptical of Clomid because of the shocking stories you hear about women delivering sextuplets as a result of the fertility aid, but my doctor assured me that she “delivers babies, not litters.” With the dosage that I was prescribed, there was a 96% chance of having one baby, 3% chance of twins, and only 1% chance of triplets. There was ZERO chance of having any more that three.]

She also recommended that I start using an ovulation predictor kit (OPK) starting on day 10. I was also instructed to set up an appointment for a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) exam to check my fallopian tubes for blockages. This appointment needed to be done before day 12. (See how important timing is when it comes to fertility?!)

Whew! Are you overwhelmed yet? I know I sure felt that way. But while there were a lot of new words, acronyms, and procedures I needed to learn, I left my doctors office feeling empowered. I was taking control of the situation and being proactive! I had realized there was a problem (not necessarily what it was, but that there was, in fact, a problem) and was taking steps to fix it.

So, after a few hiccups with my insurance company (they would cover things, but only at specific locations) on day nine I went to Portland Medical Imagining for my HSG test. The procedure was as routine as shooting radiographic dye into your uterine cavity can be. Once I got past the tingly/stinging feeling (almost like injecting ice water into your veins) it was actually interesting to watch. My test showed that I did not have any blockages and the dye was able to flow freely through my tubes and into my abdominal cavity. I left the clinic, feeling mildy crampy, but optimistic about my results. There is also a slight increase in fertility in the months following an HSG, as it “clears out the cobwebs.” So that was aiding in my optimism.

Seven hours later, however, my positive attitude plummeted as I was overcome with severe abdominal pain and instructed by the on-call doctor from my OB’s office to go straight to the emergency room. The long and the short of it (after several hours of sitting in the E.R. in pain, explaining the procedure I had done to each person I encountered) was that my pain was too long after the procedure to have perforated my uterus (it would have been instantaneous), but too soon for infection to set in (it generally takes a day or two), so they concluded that I was having a “reaction” to the dye used in the HSG. Unfortunately, since my test went as we hoped, all the dye they used was just floating around in my abdomen, waiting to be absorbed by my body. My body, however, was having an adverse reaction to the dye and therefore causing me extreme pain…for which there was nothing the doctors could do but give me a shot to prevent infection, hand me a bottle of Vicodin, and send me home. So for the next few days I tried to move as little as possible, remain medicated, and sleep as often as I could. Eventually the pain dulled and now I just have minor twinges from time to time and an incredibly heightened awareness of every part of my reproductive system.

Since my test (and the recovery it required) I am back to charting, taking my basal temperature every morning, tracking my ovulation (if it does, in fact, occur) and crossing my fingers.

And now we wait.

Sitting on Santa’s Lap

Ana and I went to visit Santa at Washington Square Mall today. Ana was so very excited to tell him exactly what she wanted for Christmas: a purple bike… with streamers… and a bell… and a little basket to put things in. More specifically, this. She got a little nervous when it was actually time to sit on his lap. It didn’t help that the two kids before us burst into tears when their mom asked them to sit on his lap. One child even refused to walk past Santa to get to the exit. So I saw Ana hesitating and explained that she didn’t have to sit on his lap, we could just talk to him if she preferred. She decided that was a good idea, after all, she did want to make sure he knew what she wanted for her Christmas present this year! Trying to prevent the situation with the previous children, Santa promptly handed Ana a candy cane. Then realizing he gave up his bargaining piece too soon he quickly bribed her with a second candy cane to come stand beside him. The photographer snapped a few pictures and then out of no where, Santa leaned over, picked up Ana, and set her on his lap. Ana’s face turned to fear, and for a second I thought she was going to cry, but then she realized she was actually fine and the worst was over. So she hammed it up and gave us a pretty adorable little smile. If you look closely, you can see the mixed emotions in her smile, but she sat on Santa’s lap. And that is all that matters.