25.) Baby bumps!

14 weeks...

15 weeks! (almost 16 weeks, actually)

Baby is growing!!!!


24.) Sweet gifts from thoughtful friends.

How perfect is this?!?!  Words can not explain how in love I am with this book, and the concept behind reading to children as soon as possible (including in utero!).   Love, love, love this gift!

23.) Time spent with family and friends.

We spent a week in our shared hometown to visit with family and friends during the holiday season.  It was the first time that our loved ones had seen us since we found out we are expecting, and I'm sure that Baby felt the love!  We even received some really sweet and special gifts for Baby, including this book, which we can't wait to read to our little one.  In fact, we also looked through many, many children's books, set aside from my own childhood, and took a trip down memory lane while setting aside the potentially re-usable books (some were tattered from so much use!) for the future. 

We also visited the city we were married in five years ago and took some gorgeous pictures of the chapel, which I may to post later. 

We were very lucky to have a chance to see numerous friends throughout the week, many of which probably squeezed us in amongst holiday parties, Christmas shopping, busy work schedules, and family responsibilities.  We love our friends and hate being nearly 20 hours away, but thankfully, the distance is only physical - we still feel so connected despite seeing each other only once or twice a year. 

Our families were thrilled to see us, and it was one of the best visits "home" I think I've had in a while.  We took each of our parents out to dinner and spent time with 2 of our 3 brothers/brothers-in-law, as well as their long-term significant others.  We are all so lucky to get along and I can really see us all enjoying each others' company in the future, and hopefully doing fun things together like taking vacations with all the kids, etc.  So much fun stuff to look forward to!

We returned home last night (no delays in either direction - can you believe it?) and we are now ready to spend what should be our last Christmas as "just us two".  Hard to believe!!!!  Finally!!!!


22.) Seeing a tiny baby dance inside of you.

We just had our NT scan this morning, which is an ultrasound done on a high-resolution machine that looks for soft markers for genetic disabilities such as Down's and other trisomies.  It was awesome!  We got to see the baby flipping and flopping, and moving all it's limbs.  We were able to count 10 fingers and 10 toes, and we could visualize some of the organs (including the brain, stomach, bladder, and heart). 

My eyes started to tear up during the scan, as I have seen many of these pictures before (friends babies, mostly) but I've never looked at one and known "this baby is ours".   Life is amazing!


21.) Give Thanks.

This year, I have a lot to be thankful for. 

I am thankful for the fact that my little brother made it back home safely after his second tour of duty overseas, this time in Afghanistan (last time in Iraq) with hardly a scratch on him.  He does have a giant scar on the side of his forehead after a metal pipe dislodged and hit him on the face during the dissembly of a tent, but aside from that, we are thankful to have him on U.S. soil all in one piece. 

I am thankful, too, that both my husband and I have jobs and can pay our bills.  I'm extra thankful that right now, I can afford to only work part-time, leaving me some time left during the week to restore my sanity, considering my job does make me crazy at times.

I am thankful for our home, filled with laughter and love, and fur-balls from our two precious kitty cats.

I am thankful that, after many many attempts to start our own family, our luck finally came through for us and we are now expecting our first bundle of joy in approximately six months. 

I am also thankful for my family and my husband's family.  We aren't a perfect bunch, and sometimes we drive each other crazy, but I do know that if we ever needed anything, we could call upon our parents and our brothers, and they would never hesitate to help us out in any way they could.

I am over-the-moon-thankful for my husband, who truly does love me just the way I am.  He is my absolute best friend in this world, and means more to me than just about anything.  I am so proud of the way he lives his life and the person that he is, and I can honestly say that I would hardly change a single thing about him.  I just love him to pieces.

And last but not least, I am thankful for my friends, who I don't get a chance to see face-to-face very often, but who have been there for me (in their own ways) each step of the way during my journey through the land of infertility and trying to conceive.  I needed all the support I could get at that time in my life (it's still strange to refer to it in the past-tense... wow, am I really past it?!) and my caring, supportive friends were always there to listen.  Sometimes I complained, sometimes I cried, sometimes I laughed and feigned acceptance.  Some knew the details, some knew the jist, and others knew nothing at all, but likely suspected.  They comforted me with grace, they encouraged me with love, and they congratulated me at the end of the race. 

I am a lucky girl in many ways.  I try to remember that every single day, not just the last Thursday in November, but sometimes we need an appointment.  And that's what I love about Thanksgiving!


20.) Maternity pants!

They may be funny looking, but ahhhh the comfort!  Why is it unacceptable to wear these little pieces of heaven all the time?!  I guess the full panel type might be a little bit of overkill, being as though I'm only 10wks pregnant, but the elastic waistband is surely something that I could get used to. 

Only problem: The selections are awful!  At least, around here anyway.  Take Old Navy for example.  Their "maternity department" consists of random ugly shirts all mixed up on a rack way in the back corner of the children's section, plus 2 colors of corduroys stocked only in sizes 2 and 6, and a hodgepodge assortment of jeans, including some that appear cute at first glance but then turn out to be skinny jeans once you pull them out of the single over-crowded rack they are all jammed onto (and as far as I'm concerned, maternity skinny jeans = no thank you!).

I will take myself to Motherhood Maternity as soon as I can justify it.  For now, two pairs of jeans to throw into the rotation when the bloat gets bad will be sufficient.


19.) America's veterans.

"On this day, we honor every man and woman who has ever worn the uniform of the United States of America.  We salute fallen heroes, and keep in our prayers those who are still in harm's way -- like the men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan." - President Barack Obama, November 11, 2010.

Today is Veteran's Day, and while many of us complain that it's not Friday yet, that our lunch sucked, or that dammit, we forgot to DVR Gray's Anatomy... our veterans are suffering.  They have sacrificed their families, their comfort, their holidays, their bodies, and sometimes their lives, for America and it's people.  Our veterans have given their all to protect us... but, ask yourself, how are we protecting them?  What have YOU done to honor, support, or assist an American veteran or member of the United States military?  Nothing yet?  Well... here are some ideas to get you started. 
  • Donate to the Wounded Warrior Project (woundedwarriorproject.org). 
  • Donate your old car (helpourveterans.org). 
  • Volunteer your time at the local VA hospital (va.gov). 
  • Purchase a Vet Pack or crochet a blanket for a wounded veteran (soldiersangels.org). 
  • Donate money to help make a paralyzed veteran's house wheelchair accessible (pva.org). 
  • Can't crochet, and don't have money?  Give blood (redcross.org)! 
Just do SOMETHING.  Did you know:
  • There are an estimated 107,000 homeless veterans on any given night. 
  • There are 140,000 incarcerated veterans. 
  • 4 to 5 veterans commit suicide everyday, which is over 7 times the national average. 
  • 300,000 veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan ALONE suffer from PTSD, and 320,000 have experienced traumatic brain injuries. 
A military friend of ours said it nicely today on Facebook: "Honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good, but also praise the spouses and children of veterans who endure long hours and extended deployments supporting a loved one who chose to serve."  Well said, my friend.  Freedom is never free.


18.) Giuliana and Bill Rancic.

This celebrity couple is publicly fighting a very personal battle: infertility. 

Many infertile couples do not even discuss their issues with their closest friends, or even family, due to embarrassment, fears of judgement, and consuming feelings of despair.  Infertility is still very much a taboo subject in our society, and unfairly so. 

More than 1 in 12 couples in America alone have difficulty conceiving, and that number increases to 1 in 7 couples who are in their 30s.  30% of this group has male infertility, 30% has female infertility, 30% is unknown, and 10% is a combination of male/female infertility.  We are talking about a LOT of people. 

Giuliana and Bill (an E! news anchor and the winner of Donald Trump's show, The Apprentice), are both celebrities who have been trying to start a family for over a year.  Due to advanced maternal age, they've come to their last option to conceive a biological child: In vitro fertilization.  The process is personal and grueling, with extreme emotional stress (and financial stress for those who are NOT highly paid celebrities!). 

They have bravely and candidly been documenting their journey on their reality show (on the Style Network), and have even publicly suffered a devastating loss of their baby via miscarriage at 9wks.  To watch a video previewing upcoming epidoses of Giuliana and Bill's reality show, click right here.

Celebrity couples who suffer from infertility often opt to keep their struggles (and treatment) private.  It is a person's right to remain silent about their private life, but this choice ultimately perpetuates the "taboo" mentality of infertility within our society.  Revealing their choice to go through IVF, IUI, or other infertility treatment approaches (including donor egg/sperm, embryo adoption, traditional adoption, surrogacy, etc.), celebrities can bring attention to the fact that infertility is happening everywhere, probably to somebody you know.  It can be devastating and heartbreaking, but it can also be overcome. 

I commend Giuliana and Bill Rancic for stepping up to the plate to bring awareness to infertility.  I truly hope that they acheive the family they are so deeply desiring.  I also hope that their candid approach to infertility encourages other people (celebrities or not) to come out of the infertility closet, reach out for support from others, and not feel so isolated in their struggle.

For more information on infertility, please go to http://www.resolve.org/
Giuliana & Bill is on Mondays at 8/7c on the Style Network.


Or not.

Okay Phils... that wasn't the turnout I was hoping for.  Good try though.  See ya in 2011!


Let's Go, Phillies!

The Phightin' Phils take Game 5 from the Giants in San Fran! 
Bring on Game 6! 
Saturday night in the City of Brotherly Love...
Keep the Phaith!


17.) seeing a baby's heartbeat for the first time is amazing.

I saw the heartbeat today! 

So far, baby looks like a little jelly bean in there, just hanging out in his yolk sac.  I'm already looking forward to seeing him again next month, when we can hopefully hear the heartbeat and see some growth as well. 

It's a little nervewracking, being pregnant and having to just wait... and wait... and hope everything goes okay.  I feel like I hardly know anything about the process of being pregnant (just the process of getting pregnant... more than I'd like to know, at that!) so I can't wait to be able to share this news openly with friends and family and hear their advice, stories, etc.  I am still having a hard time letting my guard down and being as enthusiastic as I'd like, but I hear that's normal at this stage. 

My husband is already wanting to tell people even though it's way too early.  We agreed to wait until around Thanksgiving to really tell people, although admittedly, I've already told a few friends (and so has he).  We won't go "public" with the news though for quite a while. 

We're thinking specifically about when and how to tell our parents.  We'd like to do something creative, but since we live 19 hours away and won't be seeing them until the holidays, it might be nearly impossible to wait until we are face-to-face.  If all goes well, I will be 12 weeks at Thanksgiving and 16 weeks at Christmas, which is a little later in the game than we'd like in terms of announcing to the families (friends/public, however, will probably find out right around the holidays).  So that rules out the cute Christmas gift ideas like wrapping a pair of booties, or a grandparents picture frame, and so on, as people like to do. 

Maybe we'll incorporate Halloween, and do something with pumpkins or....?  I don't know, I would really like to think of something clever, we'll see if that happens.  Lately I am so tired that I can only think straight about half the time!


16.) a miraculous rescue!

For 69 days in Chile, 33 miners were trapped a half-mile underground, with no sunlight or fresh air and very limited access to food, water, and medication.  Loved ones camped out at the mine, sending messages of hope and faith down the small chutes and praying desperately for the safety of the miners as a rescue plan was devised.  Miraculously, all 33 miners survived and were brought to the surface in a tiny capsule by a team of six rescuers.  Cheering erupted literally across the world as people watched the rescues on live television.  Everyone loves a good survival story! (Chileans are typically a very religious group, and some have speculated that the survival of the miners is a testament to the power of prayer.)   It's undeniably a miracle that every single person in the mine (which was damaged after an explosion) not only made it safely to the secure area, but also eventually made it out of the mine entirely after 69 days (two and a half months!) undergound.  Three cheers for the miners, their rescuers, and their families!


15.) a Monday at home with the hubby

Mondays are normally my day off, and today my husband called out sick and stayed home too.  We ran around alot this weekend with company in town, and we have a lot going on in general (some good and some bad).  I convinced my husband to take the day off so we could just relax and be together.  We didn't do anything terribly special, but it's nice to just spend a day being lazy together when the opportunity arises.  We made beef stew, we made a dent in our DVR, we treated ourselves to a yummy lunch out, and we took naps (not in that order).  All in all, not a bad Monday.  If only all 7 days could be like this!

a very sad time in my family

I posted a few weeks ago about a special person in my life, my sister-in-law, and her incredible strength as she tackles the most difficult thing she's ever had to face: the imminent end to her marriage and her world as she knows it.  She has become a very dear friend of mine over the last couple years, especially this year, as we've confided in each other and cheered one another on through life's trials and tribulations. 

Separation and divorce are such a devastating thing, with such complexity that extends far beyond the two people directly involved.  I do not know what the future will be for my sister-in-law and I as she starts her life anew.  I am being as supportive as I can be while two people I care about very much make a life-changing decision and one walks away with a completely broken heart.  It's so difficult to be involved as a supporter when, let's face it, I have the interest of both parties at hand. 

I know that in the end, my sister-in-law (my FRIEND), will come out of this alright.  After her life stops spinning around unrecognizably and things start to settle down a bit, I have confidence that she will get back on track and do great things.  In the meanwhile, all I can do is be there for her, and for my brother.


14. Yep, definitely pregnant!

Well I went back to the doctor for a follow-up blood test to see if my HCG has doubled since the last time I had blood drawn (which was September 30th).  They kept me waiting on pins and needles all day and didn't call with my results until almost 5:00pm, which felt like cruel and unusual punishment.  But I did just get my call, and the HCG/beta number more than quadrupled over the weekend, which my doctor said is fantastic.  So, in a word: yay!  So far, so good! 

Now I just need to work on finding a balance between ridiculously excited and scared out of my wits!  I'm hoping to remain cautiously optimistic, but it's really hard not to overanalyze every little twinge of pain or pressure in my pelvis and wonder what's going on in there.  And I admit to saying a silent prayer every time I go to the bathroom for fear of seeing blood.  After enduring such a long and emotionally draining process of trying to conceive, I am naturally a little tentative, but I am also very, very hopeful!  This may truly be our future child!!


13.) Apparently... I'm pregnant!?!

The proof is in the bloodwork.  I'm pregnant, I'm pregnant, I'm pregnant! 

Now let's hope I stay that way for approximately 36 more weeks (or close to it)! 

I do still have some hurdles to cross: a second beta (HCG test), an early ultrasound, and of course an entire three trimesters of pregnancy.  But, so far, as of right now, I AM PREGNANT!

12.) all things fall!

I love fall.  The first day of fall was technically one week ago, but today it actually FEELS like fall.  I have the windows open and I can hear crispy leaves rustling in the wind (they haven't started falling yet, but they are starting to turn color).  The temperature is perfect: 67.  The skies are blue, the air is fresh, the season's new t.v. shows are starting, kids are picking out their Halloween costumes, and the grocery stores are selling pumpkins and apple cider.  Yes, fall is here! 

These are a few of my favorite (fall) things... Crock pots, hot apple cider, and hoodies, oh my!!
Image and video hosting by TinyPic Image and video hosting by TinyPic Image and video hosting by TinyPic

But wait, that's not all!
Image and video hosting by TinyPicImage and video hosting by TinyPicImage and video hosting by TinyPic
Image and video hosting by TinyPicImage and video hosting by TinyPicImage and video hosting by TinyPic


11). to only seeing ONE word on the digital...

Usually, when I take a home pregnancy test, there are two words that show up in the screen: "Not" and "Pregnant".  However, when I took one this morning, there was only one word present.  And guess what it was?  "Pregnant"!!!!!! anyone who knows my history knows that THIS is HUGE! We are bordering on MIRACLE here, people!

I have to go for a blood test tomorrow to see what my HCG level is.  I am praying that this is it.  Please God, let this be it.  Whatever lesson I was supposed to learn throughout this journey, surely I've learned it.  I am hoping with all I've got that tomorrow's numbers look good. 

So nervous!!!!


10.) five years married to my best friend.

Five years ago, I married my best friend.  Truly, I did!  It was an incredible day, filled with so much love.  Everything went perfectly (just as planned!) and everyone had an absolute blast.  The dance floor was packed the whole night!

We have had our share of ups and downs over the last 5 years, including (but not limited to!) job issues, real estate issues, relocation issues, family issues, and recently, fertility issues.  But no matter what goes on in our life, our marriage is the one thing I can always count on, and I am so thankful for that!

My husband is amazing in so many ways.  I can't imagine loving anyone more! 


9.) the end of a 7-month deployment!

Today, it is easy to find the "happy".  Today, I'm thrilled to announce that, after seven months in Afghanistan with the U.S. Marines, my "little" brother's boots are finally back on U.S. soil.  We are blessed by his safe return, and we will continue to pray that God watch over the troops who sacrifice so much each and every day to defend our great nation.  We also leave room in our hearts for those families whose beloved soldiers have not (or will not) return home.  My heart hurts to think of the number of soldiers being lost in the wars on freedom as a result of senseless acts of violence at the hands of insurgents and radicals. 

It should be noted that so far, in 2010, 355 U.S. soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan (icasualties.org).  All in all, 2,100 troops have died in Operation Enduring Freedom since 2001.  And just think, the war is not over yet.  Say a prayer for these families.  Support our troops.

"Victory Kiss" statue and USS Midway, San Diego Harbor
"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free."
- Ronald Reagan, President of the United States


Old people have no filter!

Why is it... that when people get old, they no longer have any inhibitions in regards to speaking about their bowels??  I mean, is this a requirement for those approaching (or already well into) old age? 

You tell me: maybe I missed something somewhere.  Is there currently a rule that in order to get your social security checks in a timely manner, you must demonstrate the ability to work constipation, gas, and diarrhea into any given conversation with no regard for the listener's discomfort level?  I mean really!  I do not need to know about your blocked bowels, and I certainly do not need to know when you have the runs.  Similarly, I do not need to hear about the gas you had last night after you ate a sloppy joe. 

Please, let's just stick to talking about your wartime memories, you mother's lasagna, the woes of penny-pinching during the Great Depression, and how provocatively the kids are dressing nowadays!


8.) the gift of photography.

When I turned 30 in August, my mom signed me up for a six week photography course at a local camera shop (great gift, right?!).  It was a course I'd had my eye on for a while, since I had gotten a nice new digital SLR camera the year before and hadn't mastered it's full potential.  I had my last of the six courses tonight, and I have to say that honestly, the class has been one of the best things I've done for myself in a long time!  (thanks, Mom!)

I've always loved to take pictures and loved finding unique ways to capture what is in front of my lens.  Recently graduating from a point-and-shoot to a DSLR has been an intimidating leap, and there is still so much more to understand.  It has a million and one capabilities beyond the "Auto" settings, and there is only so much you can learn from an owner's manual. 

Before the class began, I wasn't sure what to expect.  I was afraid it wouldn't hold my interest, or be too technical for me.  In the end, it was actually a really great mix of art + creativity + technique + technical mumbo-jumbo!  And, not only was the instructor knowledgeable and an incredible photographer, but he is also very approachable, which is really nice for shy folks like me! 
Photography is, as our instructor put it, telling a story through images.  But to acheive those images, one must first understand the functions of their camera and also have an eye for the composition of a photograph.  I may try to find a way to get some pictures onto this blog so that I can have somewhat of a portfolio as I really hone in on certain skills, or specific techniques.  It might be a nice way to keep myself organized while providing a visual log of my skills as I learn. 

I don't typically have "hobbies", so this is quite an experience for me.  I've found something I really like!  Too bad it's not the most affordable hobby out there.... but it does motivate me to explore other things that I feel I might enjoy.  S.C.U.B.A., anyone??


7.) hearing a song you can relate to.

6.) good purchases = happiness.

Wow.  This stuff is fabulous.  I have been scraping the last few ounces out of the bottom of the jar (it's lasted me about 4 months) and I just can't get enough of it!  In fact, I'm going to buy some more this weekend. 

It smells like cocoa, coffee, cream, and maybe a hint of spice.  It makes my skin nice and soft, not greasy. 

It's just by Bath & Body Works.  Nothing fancy.  I don't even usually shop there, so I'm glad I bought it on a whim.  Perfect scent for fall, too.

Love it!

And this stuff... though similar in appearance to the product above, lol, has a different place in my heart! 

This hummus, by Sabra, is probably the best hummus I've ever bought at the grocery store.  Ours, which was actually purchased in a larger container at Sam's Club, had a dollop of fresh herbs and garlic in the middle.  When mixed through the hummus... Mmmm it is heavenly. 

We can't seem to keep the lid on this stuff.  It's great for anything you want to dip.  Try it!


5.) taking leaps of faith.

I met an old woman today who I expected, from the emotions on her face, to be crotchety and bitter.  Physically, this woman has been through a slew of health issues recently, and it is apparent that she will no longer be caring for herself as she's always done.  She is fatigued, she is sore, she is dependent on others, and she is angry.  She is worn down and broken from loss.

But instead, today this woman told me a story that warmed my heart.  She told me about how her husband of 59 years passed away after battling a terrible cancer.  In the next year, she buried not one but two of her children.  Her siblings were gone, her friends were dwindling.  She spent three years grieving and praying for companionship, and dabbled in evening activities at her local church.  One day, her power was shut of while the electric company worked on some lines.  Bored, she went to lunch at the senior center (which she never did... "who wants to eat with a bunch of drooly old fuddy-duddies?").  While there, a man, who was touring the senior center for the very first time, caught her eye immediately.  An attractive widower, she soon found out they'd gone to the same high school (though not at the same time).  One week later, they decided to tie the knot

I can not even begin to imagine the reaction from friends and family that must have ensued.  Imagine, getting married after 1 week!  But she insisted that "when you know, you know... and if you've already been reminded too many times just how fragile life is, then why waste another minute?" 

This couple has now been together for 3 and 1/2 years (actually "3 years, four months, and a week... but who's counting?!", if you ask the woman in the story).  They wink at each other when they think no one is looking.  They hold hands at her bedside while she rests.  He pushes her to work hard, get better, and come home soon.  She, of course, nags him about keeping up with the garden while she is in the hospital.  And to think: if the power company hadn't needed to turn off the electricity... if the woman hadn't decided to get out of the house for a bit... if her friend hadn't offered to let her tag along... if the man hadn't been standing there looking "dapper" at the sign-in sheet... and most importantly, if they both hadn't have had open hearts, open minds, and taken a huge leap of faith.... this happy couple, who spend every waking minute together, would not be a couple at all.  Each would be completely alone in this big, big world. 

Anyway, I thought I would share this story because it reminds us that sometimes we do get lucky.  Sometimes, good (love) can come from bad (loss).  Sometimes, the universe isn't out to get us and things actually work out.  Sometimes, it's okay to take a leap of faith... because you never know, it just might work out in the end! 


4.) hope.

Today I had a doctor's appointment.  It was multi-purpose: to review my history, assess my current status, and make a plan for the future. I am thrilled to conclude that, not only did it go well, but she actually gave me some good news for once!  It's a rare occasion that I do not walk out feeling defeated. Today, I walked out of the appointment feeling a strange, tingling sensation: I think it was HOPE!

I've been waging a war against infertility for... well, I don't even want to admit how long.  A while now.  Many of the months that have passed along the way, I've had a ridiculously low likelihood for a successful shot at conceiving.  So small that it was hard to even muster up any faith (especially after mulitple crushing let-downs over time).  My hope has bottomed out lately, and it's been a struggle to even stay in the fight.  I've been praying to just have a fair shot at conceiving a baby (that's all I ask, is for a chance!)... and this month, I may actually have some odds stacked on my side.  Woohoo!  Things are looking up.  And if this month isn't "the" month... well, we have a great game plan on what's to follow.  

This infertility journey has been a complete emotional sandstorm.  It's hard to have faith, be positive, and feel hopeful when sometimes the blows just don't seem to want to quit.  Sometimes a little fleck of hope will float to the surface, but for some reason, today it's running through me like a river!  See what one bit of good news can do for a person?  One little positive moment in the day and voila... hope is restored.  It feels good.  

There's a quote, which I believe is from the movie, "The Matrix Reloaded", that says it best:  "Hope is the quintessential delusion; simultaneously the source of your greatest strength and your greatest weakness."  It truly is a scary thing, "hope". 

It's scary to allow yourself to be hopeful while trying to conceive with infertility when so much of the emotionally-charged process is out of your hands.  But sometimes, just once in a while, you have to allow yourself to have faith, be vulnerable, and just HOPE with all your heart.


3.) unexpected free time.

Today has been a disasterous day, filled with a string of emotions.  Tomorrow may not be too hot either, as I have a really important doctor's appointment and I'm not sure what to expect.  I've not only been worried about the appointment itself, but also getting in and out of there on time without missing too much of the work day (the last thing I need is a boss on my back right now). 

Well, I just got a call saying that I don't need to go in to work tomorrow - they overstaffed my department and our patient caseload is low (it's a hospital environment). 

Yay!  It's a little pick-me-up bit of luck that only comes across every so often.  I'll take it!

The Dash by Linda Ellis

2.) knowing the truth.

Well, my week has already started out interestingly enough.  Not even 8 o'clock in the morning, and things had already gotten dramatic on the in-laws front!  After waking up, I had a friend on my mind, so I went online to drop her a quick email.  Lo and behold, I see that I have an email from a family member waiting in my inbox.  As anyone would do, I read it.  But I quickly realize that I was not the intended reader for this email.  Instead, I am the topic, and not in a good way. 

It's one thing to suspect your mother-in-law has certain opinions of you, but it's another thing to see it in writing when she thinks you aren't looking.  I mean, no holds barred, right out there in your face.  Automatically, my hands start shaking and my eyes brim with tears, because even though I wasn't surprised by what I read, it still hurts.  Soon, my phone starts blinking like crazy with text messages from the accidental sender who has realized his error and is obviously mortified for having unintentionally sent me the harsh message.  He desperately hopes that my mother-in-law doesn't find out that her message was passed on for me to see, or he fears he will never hear the end of it (which is true).

So, I'm left with a couple of choices here.  I could call my mother-in-law out on the email (at the expense of the accidental sender).  I could pretend it never happened and leave her to believe she can be sneaky, negative, and nasty about me with no repercussions.  Or, I could try really hard to find the bright side here... which I think is probably the fact that now I truly know how she feels (even though she said it unintentionally) and it didn't come about in a giant argument or emotional scene.  I mean, maybe I'm lucky to have been able to see the truth - if nothing else, to confirm my suspicions to myself (and to my husband, who wasn't really sure what to think up until now).

It's kind of a stretch.... but if there's a positive hidden in there somewhere, then I think that's it!  Plus, in an odd way, I must admit that I find it pretty comical that I know something she doesn't know.


1.) my sister-in-law, my friend.

Lately, I've had alot on my mind regarding my own life and my own problems.  But while I wander through my day feeling sorry for myself or wondering why things happen the way they do (or why they don't the way they don't), my sister-in-law has been fighting her own personal battle with strength and grace that I don't know if I have.  She and my brother are going through some tough times, struggling to see their future together.  There is hardly a pain that can compare to the fear of losing your partner in life and being left to pack up, shove off, and start anew. 

So amidst all the sadness and throughout all the tears in our individual lives right now, we've been pulling hard for one another and forging the strength to support one another despite our own challenges. I've realized that I've truly been blessed to have acheived such a wonderful connection with my sister-in-law.  Some people aren't so lucky.  But I am, and I'm thankful.  It's just one small bright spot in a storm of emotions... and it should be acknowledged in its own right.


we will never forget.

taken with Nikon DSLR D60, in shutter priority

“Time is passing. Yet, for the United States of America, there will be no forgetting September the 11th. We will remember every rescuer who died in honor. We will remember every family that lives in grief. We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls, the funerals of the children. “
- President George W. Bush, November 11, 2001

It's been 9 years.  It's hard to find any good luck, small blessings, or sweet moments in this horrifyingly tragic, senseless, act of terror.  But I think the "good" lies in the health and safety of those who survived, the dedication and will of those who risked their lives to rescue others, and the humbling sense of fragility that we, as a nation, faced after experiencing such insurmountable tragedy.

I remember where I was on September 11, 2001. 

Do you?


Life's Little Blessings: they're out there somewhere.

Like anyone's life, mine has been filled with some good and some bad (and, of course, some ugly).  I've got plenty of regrets and I've got plenty of memories.  I've made wise decisions, terrible decisions, and some that have outcomes yet to be determined.

In a life that often feels all-consuming, it's easy to miss the little things.  I've caught myself lately feeling like nothing is easy, no endings are happy, and luck is laughing at me.  As an attempt to open my own eyes to the many small blessings I've been fortunate enough to experience, I'm putting it all out there, in this little corner of cyber universe. 

Because the small things?  The lucky moments, the simple miracles?  They're out there somewhere, just waiting for someone to notice.

So from now on, I'm going to notice, and hopefully each day I can find something good buried in the chaos of everyday life. I'm going to search for the good within the bad, even when it's hard to find. I'm going to see how long it takes for 101 little blessings to come along.  I'm going to document them all right here, so that, on days when it feels like nothing happy happens, I can look at this list and be reminded of just how lucky I really am, and how sweet life really is. 

And so a blog is born...