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!

Monday, December 31, 2018

It was a Merry Christmas

The first three weeks of December were a bit rough, as we battled one sick bug after another. First was the tummy bug, then came some sort of virus that brought high fevers, and then we finished it up with nasty colds that included severe coughing. In between all that, we managed to go on a Christmas tree hunt, make it through the children's musical at church, Rylee's ballet recital, their school Christmas program, their birthday party, Christmas, and this last weekend spent up in Washington with the in-laws to go sledding. What a CRAZY month! The only thing we had to miss was Watch Week for Rylee's ballet class (where the parents actually get to watch them practice during class, as normally they are closed classes) and a few karate classes for Ayden.

We thought we'd made it through our stomach virus by the time the day came to go find our Christmas tree. The kids had even gone back to school the day before, as they'd been symptom free for two days at that point. It's a good thing we went on our Christmas tree hunt in the morning, because by that afternoon, Ayden had a raging case of diarrhea.

Ayden found our perfect tree! Haha!

Enjoying her hot chocolate

They couldn't wait to come home and "unfern" the tree!
*Unfern = cut the strings off and unbundle it

The bottom of the tree was very ornament heavy :) 

Thankfully, Ayden was feeling better the next day and made it to their Christmas musical. The kids had been practicing for well over a month for this play, and we were afraid he was going to have to miss it! Which also would have meant that one of us would have had to miss it too, and watching Rylee, while we stayed home with him! All worked out though, and the kids did great. Ayden was an excited but distracted donkey in the play, and Rylee was a very lively and animated little performer! Even Auntie J (Sis) and three of their cousins came to watch!

Ayden waved to us several times throughout the performance. He was so excited to have us all there watching!

Classic! One picking his nose and the other with a finger in her ear! LOL

Three days later was Rylee's Nutcracker performance. She had started coming down with a cold the day before, but it was mostly just a runny nose. No big deal. She was the cutest little ballerina mouse I've ever seen. She was also beyond excited that she got to wear makeup!

Cuteness overload!!!

She's such a feisty little thing!

The next day, Rylee came down with a fever that spiked at 105° during the night and I ended up taking her to the doctor. No strep, lungs sounded good, ears looked good; probably just a virus that we needed to ride out. Of course Ayden then got the fever too, although his didn't quite reach as high. Thankfully the fevers ended up being short-lived and passed quickly, which was a good thing, because then they had their school Christmas program!

In the midst of all the activities, we had a family movie night and introduced them to their first big kid movie, Home Alone. Usually, if they don't see a cartoon character, we hear "this is a grown up movie! I want to watch a KID movie!" The overall consensus was that our first family movie night was a raging success! They loved it! I could have done without some of the language/name calling at times (for Ayden and Rylee's sake). Rylee hid her eyes a few times when she thought it was a little scary, but then was laughing a few seconds later.

Mac & Cheese brought them new Christmas pj's for family movie night.

That Home Alone face!

Next came Ayden and Rylee's 5th birthday, which deserves a post all by itself. For now, let's just say that I can't believe my babies are FIVE!!

Ready for their party!

After their birthday party, we had our first Christmas celebration with the in-laws since his brother and his family was in town. I didn't end up taking any pictures that night.

We spent Christmas Eve with my family, which included Sis and her family, my brother and his family, and my mom. We used to spend Christmas Eve with all the extended family - aunts, uncles, cousins... but since my Grandpa passed away and the family has expanded with all the cousins getting married, we sadly don't get together anymore. It was important to Sis and I that we started our own tradition of us siblings still getting together on Christmas Eve with all our kiddos, so that is what we've done the last three years, alternating who's house it is at.


While dinner was being made, I kept all the kids entertained with a dance party in the living room.

All the cousins! P (3), N (7), S (8), Rylee (5), Ayden (5), E (13), U (8)

We had Christmas morning at home, with Tony's parents joining us. Then we had a much needed day of down time for the kids to play with their new toys. We'd been on the go so much since their birthday party, that they hadn't even had a chance to play with any of their new toys, and it was killing them!

Santa came!

(Im)patiently waiting to open all their gifts!

The kids and I spent this last weekend up in Washington, with Tony's family. Tony stayed home because he needed to work. On Saturday, we headed up the mountain to find snow. This turned into a bigger adventure than we all planned on! Right after we arrived at our sledding destination, FIL and I got out of the pickup, intending to get Ayden and Rylee out of their car seats. I managed to put my hand on the lock button as I was getting out, and locked the kids in the truck, with the keys still in the ignition. Smacks head. Ayden freaked out as soon as he realized what had happened. Rylee stayed mostly calm. It's an extended cab truck, so it's big, and of course they couldn't reach the locks on their doors. We tried and tried and tried to get them to unbuckle their harness, but they got more and more frustrated because they couldn't quite get it. I'd been trying to teach them to unbuckle themselves recently, but they hadn't gotten it down yet! After about 40 minutes of them being locked in, everyone trying to keep Ayden calm while encouraging both of them to unbuckle their seats, having them take their shoes off to try opening the door with their feet, several other people (strangers) joining us in our quest of getting them out, BIL was finally able to pry a door open enough to use a long rod (shared from one of the strangers) to press the unlock button. At the same exact moment, Ayden was finally able to release the chest clip on his harness strap! Hallelujah, they were free. We had no cell service where we were at, so SIL had driven down the mountain (in another car) to call for help. Thankfully they didn't charge us when they showed up a half hour later, only to find out we didn't need their help anymore. We went on to enjoy a fun afternoon of sledding, despite there being barely any snow! The kids had fun and we made lots of memories that day.

We may have struggled through the holiday season this year, but we survived and made lots of memories along the way. Christmas has always been my favorite holiday, but I never truly understood how magical it could be. It makes me weepy thinking about the fact that we almost didn't get to experience what it's like to share this season and make these memories with children of our own. There is nothing in the world that compares to seeing their joy in all the little ways we celebrate Christmas throughout the month. It. Is. Magical.

We ended the month, and the year, with even more excitement! Shortly after putting the kids to bed tonight, Ayden came out to show us that he had a VERY loose tooth. We had known it was loose, but had no idea it was THAT loose! After about 10 minutes of gushing over his loose, barely hanging on tooth, I ushered Ayden and Rylee back to bed (of course she had to come out and see what all the excitement was about). A few minutes later, Ayden was back out to proudly show off the tooth he managed to get pulled out. He asked if he could go show it to Rylee, and of course we let him because losing a tooth (his second) is a very big deal! They are both excited for the Tooth Fairy to come tonight.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Right Now: December Edition

Reading: I'm stilllllll working on my book from the library, Unbroken: a World War II story of survival, resilience, and redemption by Laura Hillenbrand. I'm not giving the book the endorsement it deserves, since I've been working on reading it for 3 months now. It is definitely a great story. I just get distracted by the million other things I have on my plate. I have till the 26th of this month to finish it! I can't renew it anymore after then.

Watching: This is Us is done until after the holidays. I'm not sure if New Amsterdam is also on a break. And I've been watching A Million Little Things. I've been enjoying Million Little Things, but I was disappointed with the previews for this week. "I had sex with Ashley because I love you." Ugh. Gag. Their storyline is my favorite in the show, but major eye roll and loss of respect at that. 

Listening: Currently listening to the rain hit the window and the washing machine going through the spin cycle. On a more enjoyable note, we've been listening and singing a lot of Christmas tunes lately.

Drinking: Water, although not enough, which seems to be a recurring theme. Also been drinking Cascade Ice sparkling Water in Lemonade and Wild Berry flavor.

Eating: Ironically, the EXACT same thing as last month when I wrote November's Right Now post! I just ate a Zone Perfect bar and am making Broccoli Cheddar Soup for dinner!

Wearing: Black capri leggings and a royal blue t-shirt. Very simple, comfortable, and easy. Maybe not the most attractive.

Loving: The kid's excitement for our Elf on the Shelf, Mac & Cheese. I love the excitement, but not so much the early wake ups every day since our elf arrived! Ayden has woken up before 6:00 am every day. I - Am - So - Tired. Worth it to see how happy they are every day to check the advent calendar to see what Mac & Cheese might have brought them, and then be so tickled when they find his new hiding spot every day.

Ayden said, "Mom, look! He's has plungers (little suction cups)  on his feet!" Hahaha

They embraced the 3 good deeds challenge so much better than I thought they would! We emphasized their good deeds to be something nice for others that would make them feel special.

Their good deeds were:

  1. Painted pictures for some neighbors and Aunt D. Unfortunately the neighbors weren't home when we went to deliver them, and we still need to try again. They loved putting the mail to Aunt D in the mailbox all by themselves though.
  2. When we went to the library, they made it a special point to say hi to everyone and tell them to have a great day. When it was time to leave and we were half way to our car, they realized they forgot to tell the librarians to have a great day and insisted on going back inside. Of course I couldn't tell them no! So back inside we went, and they made all the librarians smile. Fist bumps were also exchanged!
  3. They wrote thank you letters to their grandparents for the early birthday presents.

Swinging in Ayden's bedroom

They've also recently discovered the cartoon Tom and Jerry. I am loving and getting a real kick out of listening to their giggles while watching the show. It's impossible not to laugh right along with them when they think it's so funny!

Anticipating: Softball season! I was offered the Head Coaching job and accepted the position last week. I'm looking forward to having something to focus on outside of keeping our house functioning and taking care of my family. Of course that is the single most important job, but it will be so nice to have a small part of the old me back again.

Hoping: That our stomach virus has finally departed our house! We had round two make an appearance on Saturday, but thankfully it was short lived and round two only hit Ayden instead of all of us! Fingers crossed that is actually true. I somehow managed to escape all of it, thank goodness!

Following: Hmmmm... All the info regarding Rylee's Nutcracker performance. It's a pretty big production and there's been a ton of info sent out over the last few weeks. 

Wondering: Who my assistant coaches will be for softball. I have two possibilities, but both of them applied for the Head Coaching position, which I got, so I have no idea if they will have any interest in being volunteer coaches. I'm working on getting at least a small stipend for assistants, but athletic budgets tend to be pretty small at the public school level, so we will see.

Trying: To get more sleep!!!! If only the kids would stop waking up so dang early. Oh, and I guess I could try to get to bed a bit earlier at night as well.

Worrying: About how I'm going to juggle being a mom and coaching softball. I know we will find our new routine eventually, but it's going to be a challenge. Ayden currently goes to karate twice/week, but we are going to have to drop the weekday class, unless MIL will maybe be able to help out with that. I'm not sure her own work schedule will allow for that time commitment for 3 months though. The in-laws are out of town for another week+ so I'm not able to ask about that yet. Also, we'd love for the kids to play t-ball this spring. I have no idea how we will be able to manage that between Tony's work schedule and my coaching schedule. Kind of ironic that as a result of me coaching softball, that my own kids may not be able to play the sport themselves. Time will tell how that all pans out.

Planning: A 5th birthday party! It's going to be at our local fire station. The kids will all get fire hats and badges from the firemen, get a tour of the station, including the locker room, and possibly get rides in a fire truck. We are also making plans for their actual birthday. We are tentatively planning to go to OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) and to the Oregon ZooLights.

Contemplating: Going to bed. I started this post around 2:00 this afternoon, and I am finally now getting it done! Good night, all!