Friday, August 16, 2019


Ever since the kids were born, the plan has always been for me to return to work once they started kindergarten. The plan had been for me to apply as an Instructional Assistant (IA), which is basically the same thing as a teacher's aid, but our district calls it an IA for some reason. I followed the district webpage for job postings all last year and beginning of this summer. I had started to get stressed about it, because there wasn't really any jobs opening up that I would be interested in.

After talking with an acquaintance who has been working as a sub in the district for the past few years, I decided that I would go that route instead. My understanding, from talking to numerous people, was that I could basically work every day as a sub if I wanted to. Subs actually make pretty good money; they just don't get the benefits that full time employees get. Tony and I thought this might be the perfect way to transition back into work. As a sub, I would have the flexibility to not work if one of the twins gets sick, or to go to dentist appointments, etc. Softball season would be so much easier if I am only working as a sub. I could choose to work when I want, but could also choose not to work on days I have a lot of softball stuff to take care of. It would also get my foot in the door, paving the way into a full time position down the road. Okay, decision made. I would be a sub.

A few weeks ago, I started working on my subbing application and updating my resume. Then last weekend, I was notified that an IA position was opening up at the kids' school! Ackkkk! So much for my decision being made. Being a sub sounded ideal, but.... this is basically the job I had been hoping for all along! But am I ready to take the plunge?

I have spent the last three nights staying up WAY too late working on my application, resume, and cover letter. Whether I was applying as a sub or as an IA, it all still needed to be done asap, with school starting just around the corner. I spent all day yesterday weighing the pros and cons of each. I talked with a friend, and then last night Tony and I talked about it.

As much as being a sub sounds appealing, I'm not sure I would enjoy having every day being such an unknown. I would have to get up every day at 5:30 to find out if anyone needs a sub that day. As an IA, I would know what my job is. For the most part, I would be working with the same kids everyday. The best part is that I would be working at the same school the kids' are attending. It is the ideal spot in our school district for me to be working, at least for the next few years. Who knows if an opening will come up again any time soon?

Decision made. I got my ducks in a row: online application complete, college transcripts ordered and delivered, resume done, cover letter written, letters of recommendations collected. This morning I hit the submit button and it was official. My application for the IA position was in. Shockingly, I got a phone call only an hour later to set up an interview! I'm not surprised I got an interview, but I definitely am surprised to get a call and have it be for Monday already, because the application deadline is also Monday! They'll still be accepting applications through Monday, so I assumed interviews wouldn't start until after that.

My days as a stay at home mom are numbered. I hope that this job is meant to be and I get hired, and I hope that we can settle into a new routine with the kids going to school full time and me joining the work force.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Right Now: August Edition

Reading: Ironically, my answer to this question in the last Right Now post I did in February is my same answer today! We just tonight finished reading the Captain Underpants books they got for their birthday for the second time. They aren't my personal favorite, but the kids have enjoyed them enough to want to read them again! As stated in my previous post earlier this week, I have not read anything for myself. I need to do that.

Watching: Tony and I have been watching Veronica Mars. I never watched it when it came originally, and Tony had only seen the first season and the movie. We are currently half way through season 2, working our way up to the 4th season that just came out! I've also been watching So You Think You Can Dance.

Listening: I've been listening to the podcast Terrible, Thanks for Asking while out on my walks/runs. It's not the most uplifting, feel good thing to listen to, but it is very engaging and keeps my attention. I've struggled to find podcasts that keep my attention and make me want to extend my workouts, but the stories on this podcast have me walking an extra few blocks at the end of my workouts just so I can listen to the entire episode. I'm also currently, at this very moment, listening to an annoying fly buzz around our living room.

Drinking: Water and sparkling water. I recently purchased a blackberry vanilla sparkling water. It's just okay. Not great.

Eating: We purchased a new barbecue last month. We haven't had one in over 20 years and we are very excited about our new purchase! We have been bbq cheeseburgers about once/week and bbq chicken once or twice/week since we got it. We are also enjoying all the summer fruit: peaches, blueberries, plums, watermelon, etc. And then there's the chocolate coconut covered almonds I found at Costco. I'm eating too many of those. Oops.

Wearing: I am currently wearing my orange homemade (by my mil) Oregon State shorts and a turquoise v-neck t-shirt. They don't go together at all, but I really don't care if I match in whatever I wear to bed.

Loving: That Rylee and Ayden are enjoying their swim lessons so much! They are currently learning how to tread water and how to flip over from a back float to a front float. Tonight they jumped into the pool and were able to swim to the wall with very minimal help. We also recently had photos taken of the twins, and I am loving the end result! I'm having a bit of trouble figuring out how to get them downloaded, but as soon as I get that done, I will be sharing here. In the meantime...

After swimming lessons yesterday.

Anticipating: Our sister visit at the end of this month! Little Sis and her family will be coming for our annual visit (4th year running) for the last week before school starts. I'm looking forward to the new memories we will be making.

Hoping: For a smooth transition into kindergarten. For them to make lots of new friends and to have an amazing teacher.

Following: Job postings for the school district. Even though we have decided that I will start out subbing (hopefully), I do check the job postings regularly. It's become a habit since the original plan was for me to hopefully get a full time job within the school district as soon as the kids started kindergarten. 

Wondering: Who their teacher will be. I've heard that all the kindergarten teachers at their elementary school are pretty amazing, so I'm not really worried about that. We know one of the teachers personally, so it will be interesting to find out if the kids are placed in her class. We are also crossing our fingers that one of their preschool buddies will be in their class. There are three (public) elementary schools in our area, and he is the only friend we know of that will be going to the same school. Side note: this same boy tells his mom almost daily that he is going to marry Rylee when he grows up. It will be fun to watch them grow up and see how that pans out. lol

Trying: To get myself prepared for the Hood to Coast race coming up very, very soon. I ran/walked (I do intervals) 3.5 miles on Tuesday while the kids were at a Superhero Dance Camp, but that's been my longest one so far. I need to up that and be going 4-5 miles consistently and I am running out of time.

Worrying: That I won't be healthy for the Hood to Coast race. My knees and achilles have been bothering me recently. No full on injury, but very tight calf muscles that have been affecting my achilles. I struggled with that last year right before Hood to Coast as well, but I made it through. My knees have also been aching off and on as well, but that is something I've struggled with a lot over the  years. Overall, my body has been feeling very stiff and sore recently. I'm worried I may not be able to pull my load in the relay, which would mean somebody else would have to run my legs, and I'll be damned if I make someone else have to run their own in addition to mine!

Planning: The kids ask me CON.STANT.LY what we will be doing. "What are we doing today? What are we doing tomorrow?" And when I answer them, they respond with "what are we doing after that? and then what?" And on and on and on. It's exhausting. I don't always have an answer because I don't always have the days planned out to the T. Sometimes I just want to fricken NOT HAVE PLANS! Gah!

Contemplating: Hmmmm. At this exact moment, I'm contemplating going to bed. No, actually I AM going to bed! It's way too late, but I wanted to get this post done. Good night!

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Goals? What Goals?

So, how are those 2019 goals coming along that I set for myself? To be honest, I completely forgot about them while I was coaching softball. They've been resurfacing in the back of my mind, so I just read through them again. I've actually managed to accomplish a few, or partly, without even trying! But most of them, welllllllll....... I still have 5 months to at least make somewhat of a valiant effort, right?

  1. Run in four races. Nope. Hasn't happened. I know I'll at least be able to check off one big race, as the Hood to Coast relay is fast approaching next month. However, I didn't do any races leading up to that big event. Softball kind of got in the way. I know there's still time in the Fall/Winter, so maybe I'll manage to get another race or two in there.
  2. Lose 25 lbs. I haven't weighed myself in a very long time (over a year), so I'm not sure exactly how much I weigh. I know for sure that I lost some weight during softball season, but I also know for sure I've gained most of it back since then. Oops.
  3. Self care. There's still time left in 2019 to make this happen! I did have my eyes checked, and have reading glasses to wear (whenever I remember to put them on). I still need to find a gynecologist and discuss perimenopause and should probably see my regular doctor for a general physical.
  4. Mail birthday cards to all my nieces and nephews. Giant face palm! Hasn't happened. I've missed all of them so far. There's still three more birthdays this year, out of the eight total. Maybe I'll finally remember???
  5. Send a love note once a month to a family member and/or a friend. This is a big fat fail so far. I've managed to send one, but that means I've missed six. This should be an easy one and one that I'd really like to do. I actually did buy a few cards and have them on hand, so I need to just do it!
  6. Put together a resume and find a job. Outside of putting together my softball resume and getting that job, which was already done before this goal was set, I have not done this yet. I still need to. My plans have changed somewhat though. Instead of getting hired in a full time position within the school district, I'm going to get on as a sub first. That way I will still be pulling in an income, but will have the flexibility to not work when a kid is sick or anything else that might come up. We think this will help into the transition of the kids starting kindergarten and me starting back to work. Also, this should make it a million times easier to get hired on when the perfect job opens up.
  7. Finish painting the kitchen and dining room, and also get the hallway painted. This hasn't happened yet, but we are hoping to make headway on this again soon.
  8. Finish unpacking and organizing the garage. This is a work in progress. There hasn't been much more unpacking, but there has been some organization. Key word: some. We still have more time left in the year to make a dent in this as well.
  9. Read five books. Other than reading books to the kids, no books have been read for my own enjoyment so far.
  10. Make the state playoffs in softball. Done! Accomplished! We made it to the State Quarterfinals. This was the first time our softball program had made it to the quarterfinals in 7 years. And we came so close to advancing to the semi-final game!
  11. Have a family adventure once per month, May-September. I honestly forgot about this goal. We didn't do anything remarkable in May, since I was still coaching softball and our season was extended with the playoffs. We did have a family adventure to Enchanted Forest in June for Father's Day though, and we made up for missing May with two trips to the beach this month!
From our day at the Enchanted Forest

While I'm not 100% on target to completing all my goals I originally set out to accomplish, I have made decent progress at some of them. Writing this post has served as a great reminder and motivator for me to get back on track and get some of this stuff done!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

It's Been Awhile

I can't believe I haven't written a blog post since February. It definitely hasn't been for lack of thinking about it. It was a challenge juggling my family life and my first year back to coaching softball! It was a little overwhelming, but we all made it through.

So, how did softball go? We had a lot of ups and downs throughout the season, but we thankfully ended on a high note! We had to go through a lot of adversity with injuries and sickness through the first half of the season, but we pulled it together and made it to the state playoffs. In fact, we made it to the Quarterfinals and lost in a very exciting game to the eventual state champions. If we had to lose, there was no better way for it to happen, coming down to the very last play of the game. We lost 2-3 in the bottom of the 7th inning.

Ayden and Rylee weren't fond of me being gone at bedtime a couple nights a week. Tony struggled with having to get off work early to pick up the kids and go through the whole evening routine by himself. He also struggled with being jealous of not being able to be out there coaching with me. He was very supportive and helped me in every way he possibly could, but really would have liked to be on the field with me as well. But somebody has to support our family.... Sigh.

Here's a little snapshot of some of the things we've been up to in our personal little corner of the world:

This girl got glasses! She doesn't have to wear them all the time, but will need them for school and whenever we are reading/writing and crafting at home.

These two are officially registered for Kindergarten!

Rylee had her spring dance recital and loved every second of being up on stage performing.

Ayden was quite the little climber as a baby, and he continues to be a climber today!

She does her best to keep up with her brother's climbing skills.

But she is definitely still our little princess!

Dressing up in costumes is a regular occurrence around here.

They both played t-ball for the very first time! Thank goodness for grandparents who helped get the kids where they needed to be while I was back coaching softball.

This guy has mastered riding his big boy bike without training wheels! Rylee is still pretty timid about it. She can ride her little 12" bike without the training wheels, but it's a work in progress to get her confident on her big kid bike.

They've also been working on conquering the monkey bars. Ayden can now make it all the way across! Rylee can go about half way. It won't be long before she's going all the way across too!

On June 23rd, we celebrated their half birthday! The grandparents had us out for dinner and cake, and we sang them happy half birthday. No presents. Ayden and Rylee now tell how old they are, emphasizing that they are 5 and a HALF. It's a big deal!

Hopefully now that I've finally gotten this post done, there will be more to come. I've missed the blogging world. I've done an absolutely terrible job of keeping a baby book for these two, other than what I've documented here in this space. I want all these memories, not only for myself, but for my kiddos to look back on someday.

Even more than that, I really appreciate keeping in touch with all the friends I made through this blogging community. Many have stopped blogging, but there are some I keep in touch with via Facebook and text. A few are still blogging and continuing their story (which I love!), and some I've lost track of altogether but still think of them often and hope they are doing well.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Microblog Monday: And So It Begins

Softball season is upon us! Today is the first day I'm allowed to work with pitchers and catchers. It's still considered pre-season, but new rules (since I was last coaching 5 years ago) allow us to start working with pitchers and catchers 2 weeks before everyone else. It's a good rule, as games start just 2 weeks after tryouts begin. Pitchers need to have more time than that to get game ready and hopefully avoid injury.

I'm excited and nervous. I hope it goes well. The kids seem to be adjusting to things pretty good. They LOVE going to my friend for daycare, so that is good. Time will tell in how they adjust once I am gone a few nights a week at bedtime, when we have away games! It will just have to become our new normal for the next few months.

If you'd like to read more #MicroblogMonday posts from other bloggers, click here.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Right Now: February Edition

Reading: The kids got three Captain Underpants books for their birthday, and we've been reading them every night for the past few weeks. Our first chapter books with the kids! As for myself, I attended a National Coaches Clinic a few weekends ago that was a little over an hour drive away. I checked out a book on CD to keep myself entertained on the drive, Friction by Sandra Brown. Unfortunately, it has 10 discs! I only got through 4 of the 10 discs driving back and forth to the clinic, so now I only get a few minutes here and there driving around town to finish the book. I'm now on disc 6...

Watching: A Million Little Things. It's getting very interesting! Also can't wait for This is Us and New Amsterdam to come back on.

Listening: Read above. I'm trying to work my way through a book on cd. I drove a round about way home through town this morning just so I could listen to it longer. lol

Drinking: Always water, but not enough. Also drinking sparkling water, and I threw in a couple Sprites this last week when my throat was hurting and I was coughing so bad. 

Eating: We had scrambled eggs and oranges for dinner. Kids choice tonight.

Wearing: Purple plaid pajama bottoms, a black hooded sweatshirt with a pink t-shirt underneath, and socks.

Loving: Rylee's personality these days. She is quite the little poser lately, always wanting to strike a pose for pictures. The girl also LOVES to dance and is frequently showing off her ballet moves. She loves to perform. I will not be shocked if she does drama/theater when she is older.

Anticipating: Little Sis and her family moving to Oregon! They have been actively applying for jobs. Hopefully something will open up for them soon and they will be able to move here by this summer. It will be so fantastic to be able to see them more than just once a year!

Hoping: To get our taxes done by mid-March and that we will get a sizable refund like we did last year. Although, I have heard from a few people that were greatly disappointed this year, so we shall see.

Following: The weather report, but I'm not sure quite why, because it is never accurate. As of yesterday afternoon, my weather app showed a potential for snow 7 out of the next 8 days. Now it shows only 2 days of possible snow. We were supposed to get a substantial snow storm this last Monday/Tuesday, and we got a small dusting that was gone in less than 2 hours. The schools didn't even have a delayed start because the roads were clear. It was anticipated that we would get anywhere from 4-14 inches of snow this weekend. Ummmmm, yeah. That's not happening.

The little bit of snow that we got.

Wondering: When registration will be for kindergarten. I have a few friends (in other states) that have already registered their kids for kindergarten already for next year. I haven't heard anything about it yet for our area. I know I can call, but who has time for that! And OMG. I can't believe my babies will be starting big kid school in September! Hold me.

Trying: To keep my head above water with all the things that need to be done before softball officially season starts in 2 weeks. 

Worrying: I can't say that I really worry about a whole lot exactly; it's more like being anxious. I'm anxious about how our softball season will go. I feel a lot of pressure to come back and be successful right off the bat, for 3 reasons:

  1. Because of my previous success and the expectations that people have of me because of that.
  2. Because none of these girls have ever played for me before, and they will bring their own expectations of how things should be done. I hope that it won't be difficult for them to buy into my coaching philosophies.
  3. Because this group of girls is very talented and we SHOULD make it to the State Playoffs, potentially making a run at the Championship.
It's been 5 years since I've coached though. And I've never coached as a parent. My time was a LOT more flexible prior to having kids. It will be a challenge to balance family and coaching, and meet the needs of both.

Planning: All my planning is for softball right now, practice planning for tryouts. Planning how I will split up the JV and Varsity teams. Planning fundraisers, spirit gear, uniforms, voting for team captains, parent meetings, game strategies, and the list goes on and on and on....

Contemplating: Who I want my doctor to be. Do I go to the same guy I've seen over the past 20 years very sporadically? Seriously, I don't go to the doctor very often. I've been twice since the kids have been born. Do I go to the OBGYN that I went to for years prior to starting infertility treatments, or should I go to the OBGYN that delivered my babies, that I haven't seen since they were born? Or should I find just a gynecologist that might be more focused on the menopause aspect, rather than someone that works so much on the fertility side of things delivering babies? All things I've been contemplating and asking myself.

*Can I tell you how much I HATE that blogger won't let me correct the color discrepancy above? Maybe the blue and the black are close enough in color that people won't notice? Ugh. But I notice, and it is driving me crazy that I can't fix it! End rant.*

Thursday, February 7, 2019

2019 Goals

Time to buckle down and put my 2019 goals into writing. I have never been one for New Years Resolutions, but I do enjoy setting goals and having something to work toward. Last year I was inspired to set yearly goals after reading posts from a few of my blogging friends about their goals and end-of-the-year reviews. I have some things I'd like to accomplish this year as well, so I'm going to put it down in writing, so I'll have some accountability behind my goals.

  1. Run in four races. I'm already committed to running the Hood to Coast again this year, now I just need to find a few races to participate in before that, to help motivate me and keep me on track training for the big event. I'd also like to do one in the Fall after H2C. I'm looking forward to us having longer days and me being able to run again at night after the kids go to bed.
  2. Lose 25 lbs. Really, I need to lose more than that. And all I REALLY want is to feel better in my own skin and have my clothes fit more comfortably.
  3. Self care. I need to find a new gynecologist and make an appointment to discuss my perimenopause. I've needed to do this for over a year now, but moving keeps getting in the way and I have procrastinated on it. I also need to visit my regular doctor for a general physical, and get my eyes checked because I have no doubt I need glasses. I actually DO already have an appointment scheduled to get my eyes checked, so that's one step in the right direction!
  4. Mail birthday cards to all my nieces and nephews. I set this as a goal last year and it was a big fat fail. I know my own kids LOVE to get mail. Who am I kidding, so do I! So this is something that I really want to do for all the other important littles in my life.
  5. Send a love note once a month to a family member and/or friend. I recently read a blog post about sending little love notes to people so they know how special they are to you. I'll pick a different person each month and send them a random surprise note in the mail.
  6. Put together a resume and find a job. I did do a resume and got my old coaching job back, but now I need to put more of a professional resume together and need to find a "real" job. With the kids starting kindergarten in the Fall, I am desperately hoping I can find a support staff job within the school district. It's very, very important to Tony that I get back to work so that the financial burden isn't solely on his shoulders anymore.
  7. Finish painting the kitchen and dining room, and also get the hallway painted. Bonus points if I can also get our bathroom painted. So. Much. Painting. I also need to paint all the trim.
  8. Finish unpacking and organize the garage. We can barely walk through our garage right now because I have all the Christmas totes down (waiting for the Christmas decorations to be put away), boxes yet to be unpacked, and our old couch and love seat are out there. We got a new sectional couch about a month ago, and need to figure out what to do with the old ones! If the weather were nicer, I'd put them at the curb and mark them FREE.
  9. Read five books. I managed to read a book while on vacation, so I'm 1/5 of the way done already!
  10. Make the State Playoffs in softball. Each of my previous 8 years as the Head Coach, we made it to the playoffs. In my 9 years as assistant coach before that, there was only one season we didn't make it into the post season. This team for sure has the talent to do it again. I feel a lot of pressure to coach our team to another successful season. I'm not just picking up where I left off. It's been 5 years. These girls have never played for me and have their own expectations. I hope they can buy into my coaching philosophies. You never know how things will go with teenage girls.
  11. Have a family adventure once per month, May-September. Last year my goal was to go hiking, but we only managed to do it twice because moving and Tony's gout flare ups got in the way. I think planning special family outings will be much more achievable.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Microblog Monday: Behind on Life

I'm feeling pretty behind on life these days. I still have that nasty cough that came home with us from Mexico, which is keeping me from getting a decent night's sleep. Which also keeps me from feeling functional during the day. The sore throat is gone at least, so that's at least a step in the right direction. Now if I can only get over the cough.

Things that need to be done:

  • Put the freaking Christmas decorations away! It's February and all the Christmas decor is still up in the living room.
  • Not only are the Christmas decorations still up inside, but I still need to take the lights down that are outside.
  • Speaking of Christmas.... I still have about half our Christmas cards that still need to be mailed out. Face palm.
  • Clean house!!! Seriously, our house is a disaster right now.
  • Lots of stuff for softball needing to be done: get coaching shirts ordered for our coaching staff, order necessary gear for the season, get myself somewhat organized and start practice planning for tryouts so I can feel like I know what I'm doing when I step back out on that field again.
  • Yard work. Both at home and on the softball field. So much to be done.
  • Keep my kids fed, bathed, and entertained.
Oh, and Tony has a business trip this week on top of everything. Counting his trip and him being gone all day yesterday for the Super Bowl with his friends, I will be single parenting for 5 days this week.

End vent and my whine fest.

If you'd like to read more #MicroblogMonday posts from other bloggers, please click here.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Microblog Monday: Vacation Made Us Sick

We got to spend 8 days in Cabo San Lucas! Unfortunately, Ayden spent half the trip sick, and the rest of us got sick either the last few days while still there or once we got home. I fall into the once we got home category. We got home late Wednesday night last week. I spent all day Thursday unpacking and doing laundry, and by the end of the day started feeling poorly. However, I had a national softball coaching clinic to attend all day Friday and Saturday, so I didn't have time to be sick! It was an overnight hotel stay by myself, with nobody else to be responsible for, and I spent it with a sore throat and trying not to cough up a lung on the people around me at the clinic.

By the time I made it home Saturday night, I was exhausted and ready to crawl into bed, and that is what I did! I spent all day yesterday in bed watching a few movies on Netflix, and Tony took care of the kids.

Despite everyone getting sick while in Mexico and/or once we got home, we still had a wonderful vacation, which I plan to write a blog post about soon. So many blog posts I need to write. Why is it that I can never catch up??? Ahhh, well, it is what it is.

If you'd like to read more #MicroblogMonday posts from other bloggers, please click here.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Microblog Monday: Adventures in Drug Screening

I've been working on getting everything in order for the upcoming softball season, now that I am coaching again. There's a few certifications that I need to update, get all my paperwork and official contract signed to officially accept the job, and today I went in for my drug screening. That turned out to be a bit more of an adventure than it should have!

Right after I dropped the kids off at school, I planned on going in for the drug screening. I decided to go to the district office first instead, to show them the necessary proof of identification. After that I'd go to the drug screening place.  That way I'd have more time for my bladder to fill.

That plan didn't work. Apparently, I'm getting a pretty shy bladder in my old middle age. I struggled to squeeze out any pee. What I did manage to squeeze out, I struggled to catch in the stupid little cup. And then I dropped the damn cup in the toilet!! It's okay if you laugh. Ugh. I grabbed some paper towels and fished it out. Then I embarrassingly had to tell the gal I dropped the cup in the toilet.

I made plans to return a few hours later, just before I had to pick the kids up from school. I went home and drank lots of water, hoping things would go better the second time around. I didn't go to the bathroom again until I returned to give my urine sample. But I still struggled! For some ridiculous reason, I had a hard time making myself pee into that little cup! I succeeded in giving about half the amount they asked for. The gal still took my sample and said it might be enough. They will let me know if I need to try again.

All of this made me think about the time I embarrassed myself right after an embryo transfer, when I ended up having such a FULL bladder that I peed on the table. Now THAT was an adventure!

If you'd like to read more #MicroblogMonday posts from other bloggers, please click here.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

We Have 5 Year Olds!

It still boggles my mind that we have kids. I mean, if you had asked us 10 years ago what we thought our life would look like today, the answer sure as heck wouldn't have included children. Not because we didn't want them, but because we didn't think it would ever be possible. 10 years ago, we'd been married for 11 years already. 10 years ago, 9 years had already passed with us trying to start our family. We had several years of timed intercourse under our belts, taken supplements in an attempt to improve our fertility, and had numerous doctor's appointments. We'd been told that while it "wasn't impossible, it was very unlikely" that we'd ever get pregnant on our own.

And we didn't. We didn't even get/stay pregnant with the help of IVF on our own. It took more than just science and the help of doctors. It took the help of donor eggs to finally have our babies, and even then we still had to go through the heartache of having a miscarriage at 9w5d. It took an army of prayer warriors, the generosity of my sister, science, and the team of doctor's at our fertility clinic.

But we DID finally have babies. It took us 14+ years of trying and put us in a ridiculous amount of debt, but our dream of having children finally came true.

And on December 23rd our babies turned 5 years old. Amazing! Last year I felt pretty emotional around their birthday because 5 was looming so close around the corner and it sounded so old! 5 is kindergarten age. How could they be approaching that so quickly! For some reason, it didn't hit me quite so hard this year on their birthday when they actually did turn 5. I'm sure I'm saving it up for the first day of kindergarten. Eeek!

A few days old

1st birthday

Almost 2 years old

3rd birthday party

4th birthday party

5th birthday!

I wanted to do a fire station birthday party last year, but that wasn't something they did in Veneta so we did something else. Then Tony's uncle attended the high school auction here in town, and ended up buying us a birthday party event at the fire station! I kept it very simple with no games and serving just cake. We had a few of their Veneta friends make the drive here for the party, they had a few friends from preschool come, and lots of family. 15 kids total and lots of aunts, uncles, grandparents, and parents of friends.

If I'm honest, I was a little disappointed in the organization of the party from the fire station. The guy who is usually the one that runs the party wasn't there, and none of the stuff we had talked about on the phone was prepared. When I showed up, the chief in charge that day basically asked me what I wanted to do. Ummmm, well, I want to do all the things I had been told about over the phone: tour the fire station, have Fire Pup make an appearance, fire hats and badges for the kids, and if possible, rides around the parking lot for all the kids. I 100% realize that putting on a birthday party is the very least important job that they have, and I appreciate their "real" job. It just would have been nice to have some communication about the whole thing.

Despite the lack of preparation, the fire crew there that day did a fantastic job pulling it all together to make it fun for the kids. We got a tour of the fire station and a lesson on all the different trucks and the fire equipment. They found the Fire Pup costume and they managed to put little gift bags together, which Fire Pup then passed out to all the kids when he made an appearance at the party. They didn't end up giving all the kids a ride in a fire truck, but Ayden and Rylee (and me!) got a short ride around town! Another little girl who came to the party also got to go for a ride because her birthday is the same day as Ayden and Rylee's. The chief said, "alright, anyone who has a birthday tomorrow gets to go on a ride," not knowing that there was another kid at the party with the same birthday! So she got a special surprise, too! I thought it was going to just be a ride around the building, but we ended up going several blocks around town!

Overall, it was a great 5th birthday party. The kids had lots of fun and got lots of presents, but the true gift was the friends and family that came to help us celebrate. That's not quite something that Ayden and Rylee understand yet, but someday they will.

Checking out all the gear that a fireman wears.

Getting a ride in a fire truck!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

2018 Goals: How'd I Do?

After reading several of my blogger friend's posts last year about the goals they had set for the year, I decided to sit down and write some goals for 2018 as well. Here's how I did:

  1. Run in three races (not counting the Hood to Coast Relay). I only managed to get one race in. I talked Sis and my oldest niece into doing the 4th of July race with me, which kicks off the Independence Day parade every year. The race was 2.6 miles, and then we walked another 2 miles back to meet up with our family. The parade was just ending by the time we made it back to them! 

  2. Complete the Hood to Coast Relay.  I did it! Goal completed. I may not have done the three smaller races I had wanted to do, but I did do a pretty good job of training and getting myself prepared for Hood to Coast. I ran three legs of the race, for a total of 15.1 miles, at a 13:44 average pace. I didn't break records by any means, but I am so proud of myself for this accomplishment! This was my 10th Hood to Coast relay over the years, but it had been four years since I'd last done it.
    My Hood to Coast team

  3. Lose 25 lbs. I honestly have no idea how much I weigh right now, but I can for sure say that I most definitely did not reach this goal. Our scale needs a new battery, and I haven't taken the time replace it. We've been without a functioning scale since we moved in June. I was doing pretty good when I was running consistently, but once daylight savings hit and I couldn't go running at night after putting the kids to bed... Based on how my clothes fit, I have not lost any of those 25 lbs.
  4. Read three books. Goal accomplished! I read Two by Two, written by Nicholas Sparks and I read a few books I had borrowed from the library. I can't remember what they were though. Eye roll. I did not manage to finish the Unbroken book I had tried to read over the past three months, before I had to take it back to the library. Insert another eye roll. I made note of what page I left off at though, so I can check it out again and hopefully finish it.
  5. Finish painting the inside of our house. Oh man. I did so much painting in 2018! Before we moved, I finished painting the living room, and did touch up painting in the kitchen. I also painted the trim in the hallway in preparation of selling our house. My mother-in-law helped by painting our downstairs bathroom. Then we bought a new house and the entire house needed new paint. All three bedrooms have been painted, the living room, the kids' bathroom, the dining room (except for one wall that still needs done), and half the kitchen have been painted.
  6. Finish organizing the garage, hopefully with Aunt D's help. I wouldn't say we finished organizing the garage, but we almost did! And then we moved. And now our garage is once again a disorganized mess of boxes that still need to be unpacked, and stuff that just needs to find a home.
  7. Get a resume put together. I did this! I had to submit a resume when I applied for the softball coaching job. It's not quite what I had in mind when I set this goal though. Updating my softball resume wasn't hard. It's putting together a more professional resume that is the challenge for me, and it still needs to be done.
  8. Mail birthday cards to all my nieces and nephews. This was a big fat fail. I did not get one single card sent in the mail. I thought about it several times, but then their birthdays would fly right on by and it never got done.
  9. Celebrate our anniversary with another overnight weekend away sans kids. This didn't happen either. We had so much going on with our new house that drained both our time and our money, it just wasn't in the cards for us.
  10. Go hiking as a family once/month May-September. We went hiking at the coast on Mother's Day in May and that was it. Tony was afflicted allllllll summer with a gout flare up in his foot that never went away. It got so bad that we had to dig out the crutches because he could barely walk, let alone go for a hike! The kids and I did get one more major hike (7 miles) in at Glacier National Park with my sisters and their families on our trip to Montana, but the intention behind this goal had been to hike more as a family with Tony.
    Mother's Day hike
Hiking at Glacier National Park

So I accomplished some of my goals and failed at others. Overall, I think I did pretty good. The only one I'm disappointed in is not sending out the birthday cards. Of course I would have liked to lose the weight too, but the fact that I spent my summer running and able to participate in the Hood to Coast makes me pretty proud of myself. Now it's time to set some new goals for 2019!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Surprise Sister Visit

Okay, I'm attempting to write this post for the second time now. I first wrote it a couple days ago, but when I finished it and hit the publish button, it somehow managed to get lost into cyberspace! SO FRUSTRATING! Especially frustrating because I know I won't be able to recreate this post as well as I wrote it the first time around.

My sister (Sis) celebrated her 39th birthday last week, and had a surprise visitor! If you've been following my blog for a few years, you know that we reconnected with our other sister (Baby Sis) 3.5 years ago (you can read about that here). Since then, we've made it a point to visit once a year, every summer, alternating between Montana and Oregon.

On December 26th, Sis's father-in-law (Old Pop) contacted me and said he wanted to surprise Sis by flying Baby Sis here from Montana. He told me to make all the arrangements and he would give me his credit card to make it happen! Holy Smokes! Not only was that a gift to Sis, but to all three of us! I immediately contacted Baby Sis, and with Tony's help, we were able to get her and my niece (5 years old) on a flight here. Exactly a week later, the kids and I picked up Baby Sis and L from the airport the morning of Sis's birthday. We came back to our house to hang out until Sis's birthday dinner that evening. Sis knew about the birthday dinner, but what she didn't know was that there would be two extra surprise guests! Lots of happy tears were shed.

This was the very first time in our entire lives that all three of us sisters had been together to celebrate one of our birthdays.

Baby Sis and L stayed with Sis for the next few days, and the kids and I joined them on Friday. Because this was a short notice surprise visit and not a planned one, everyone still had to deal with every day life and work. Fortunately, Sis runs a daycare out of her home, so visiting was still possible throughout the day, just with a few extra kids throughout the day!

The kids had fun coloring and drawing lots of pictures.

On Saturday, everyone had the day off and we were all able to hang out. We took the kids to a bounce house that afternoon to let them burn off energy and have fun together outside of the house. After dinner that night, Sis, Baby Sis, and L came back to my house to spend the night so that Sis and I could take them back to the airport together the next morning. Rylee was super excited to have a slumber party with L in her room.

Rylee and A with their Auntie N at the bounce house


Ayden hitched a ride from his oldest cousin

The kids weren't thrilled that we wanted a picture with all of them. haha!
Ayden (5), Rylee (5), N (7), E (13), A (5), S (8), L (5)

Group selfie!

Rylee and L having a quick snuggle before Rylee crawled into her own bed for the night.

Sis, Baby Sis, and I had a slumber party in the living room that night. The three of us all snuggled on a queen size air mattress, and we talked and giggled until 1:30 in the morning, when we finally went to sleep. I think that night might be my favorite memory to date with my sisters.

The next morning, we made the 1.5 hour trek to the airport. We made good time and arrived early, so Sis and I were able to visit a bit longer with Baby Sis and L before they had to go through security and board their plane back home to Montana. Saying goodbye is never easy.

Saying goodbye, until next time!

When we stopped for gas on the way home, Sis and I took a silly photo to send to Baby Sis to hopefully make her smile.

This sister visit was a sweet surprise that was too short and full of big emotions, but amazing memories were definitely made! Baby Sis and her family will be back again in August for our now annual summer visit. Them moving to Oregon is something being discussed, so there is a good chance that we will someday be able to have more than just these short visits. We have a lot of years to make up for!

Something else to note... I think it's pretty incredible that the three of us all had babies within a few months of each other. It was such a special thing for Sis and I to have a bump photo together. It's crazy to think that we actually could have gotten a bump photo with all three of us, had we "known" or "met" each other sooner. I find it so ironic that we had babies so close together!