Thursday, March 2, 2017

A New Job

I've been working a little bit here and there as a speech pathologist since my girls were born. I do early intervention evaluations and generally do about 3-4 per month. It's a nice way to keep my foot in the door without having to commit to too much at once. 

I love being home with my girls and am so grateful I don't have to work full time. A few months ago I picked up one early intervention kiddo for feeding therapy. We've been making slow progress and I see him once a week. 

In December I noticed one of the local hospitals placed an ad for a per diem weekend speech language pathologist position. The ad was for someone to work one weekend a month. I applied because I figured it couldn't hurt. Childcare wouldn't be an issue either since W is home on weekends. 

I interviewed right before Christmas. I have zero hospital experience professionally or from graduate school and was unsure how the interview went. I interviewed with two people and one was very nice and friendly and seemed to like me while the other wasn't impressed by my lack of experience in hospitals. While in graduate school I was so convinced I only wanted to work with kids so didn't get as broad of an experience as I could have. 

Well, I was offered the job and quickly accepted. I figured it was an opportunity I couldn't pass up. W could be with the girls on the weekends I worked and it might provide some nice "empathy training" for him as I called it.

I'm in the process of training/orienting now. The computer system is overwhelming as is the documentation. Let's not even mention the nature of the job. This hospital is a level 1 trauma center. They have a new and big head and neck cancer center. I'm not used to seeing people that are that sick for therapy. It's intense to say the least!

I've worked one weekend so far and am excited. Some moments I feel totally in over my head, but then I realize I still want to learn new skills and information. I'm not happy to continue to do the same thing forever as I still have a strong desire to learn. It means really going outside of my comfort zone to expand my knowledge and skills. While that is scary, it's also pretty exciting. 

Most of the job is doing bedside swallow evaluations. It's mainly determining the safest consistencies of food and drink for people who have been hospitalized for one reason or another (stroke, pneumonia, cancer, surgery, trauma, etc). I know I can do it and learn it, it will just take time. I'm excited to learn more and get a whole new level of experience. I work this weekend so am looking forward to being scared shitless again. Haha

Monday, February 27, 2017

2016 in Review

I've done this post every year for the past few years and I always enjoy doing it. Even though we are part of the way through February already, it's always nice to reflect back on the past year. Reading this post for last year makes me sad I didn't keep up with blogging much this past year. I'd love to recap what I did each month like each prior year, but I'm afraid I didn't keep close enough track to do that.

What did you do in 2016 that you'd never done before? 
I took my diet/nutrition seriously and lost a lot of weight. I did the 21 day fix in February and then a round of Whole 30 over the summer. I got back to the weight I was 7 years ago when we got married. Losing all this weight unfortunately ended up in the loss of my wedding ring as it no longer fit my finger and I was still wearing it. Good thing we had insurance and I was able to get a new one, but it was pretty devastating. 
We took a road trip with the kids to North Carolina. We had done vacations, but always flew. This was our first big car trip with all three girls. 

Did you keep your resolutions and will you make more for this year?
I did a great job of trying to get and stay healthier this year. I'm so proud of myself for all of the weight I lost (about 25 pounds) and the shape I'm in. I'm able to run a 5k no problem and with a pretty decent time. Cutting out sugar is a big deal but starches was an even bigger deal. I feel like I got my PCOS under control and learned to listen to my body and how food makes me feel. The Whole 30 was seriously life changing and I'd love to keep up that way of eating as much as possible. I'd also like to make healthier choices regarding exercise and our evening routine. Most nights we don't accomplish much and veg out to the television. It would be nice to spend that time doing more reading or productive tasks. When the weather is nicer it's much easier to feel motivated. I hope to do more running this year and maybe even do a 10k. I also really wish I kept up with this blog better. I'd like to at least do a monthly update post on our lives to have it written down somewhere. Life is so crazy it's hard to find the time though. 

Did anyone close to you give birth?
My friend Michele welcomed a baby boy Benjamin in January. 

Did anyone close to you die?
Luckily, no. 

What countries did you visit?
We stayed in the US but did take a trip to my parent's condo in Florida. It was such a nice trip and we plan to go again this year. Much better than our trip to Mexico the year prior. 

What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
I would love to lose another 10 pounds and get into the 120's. Taking care of myself and filling my own cup has been so huge for me. W and I struggled some but really communicated well in the end and made some huge realizations. I'd like to make healthier choices that my girls can witness and internalize. 

What dates will be etched upon your memory, and why?
September 3- Lucy and Clara's third ice cream birthday 
October 3- Stella's first Fiesta birthday!
I'm so bad with remembering dates all that's left here is birthdays

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Taking care of myself and putting myself first for the first time in a long time. It felt so great to have "me time" at the gym and put energy and effort into myself, not always just my kids. W really stepped it up to make this happen by watching all three girls most evenings and preparing dinner while I went to the gym. 

What was your biggest failure?
I can't really think of any ways I feel I really failed this past year. W and I struggled with communication, but things are better now and we are seeing eye to eye more consistently. Making time for each other and date nights has made a huge difference. 

Did you suffer illness or injury?
I got food poisoning in the fall and for the first time since having children felt entirely unable to care for them. It was so bad. Other than that, no major illnesses. Clara and Stella both got ear tubes. 

What was the best thing you bought?
We took two amazing vacations this past year that I funded by working part-time. Our first one was to Florida. It was so nice to get away from Central New York in the winter and have some family time. We had a great trip with some super fun beach time. We also took a trip to North Carolina with friends in August. It was so much fun to be at a beach house all week with our family. I hope we can do that again. 

Where did most of your money go?
Mortgage, bills, food, car, endless amounts of cute kid/baby things. I'm pretty sure this will be the case for a while. I discovered a new kids clothing line this year and spent far too much on it. Luckily the resale value is good!

What did you get really excited about? 
Our vacations and family time. Finally succeeding at losing weight and making progress with my endurance and speed with running. I'd love to do a 10k this year.

What songs will always remind you of 2015?
Renegades by X Ambassadors
Send My Love by Adele
Can't Stop the Feeling and Get Back up Again from the Trolls movie

Compared to this time last year are you:
Happier or Sadder? Definitely happier. Putting time and energy into myself has been huge for me. I'm happy with my weight for the first time in a long time and feeling stronger and more confident at the gym. I got a Y membership for Christmas from my FiL and have been going at least a few times a week.  
Thinner or Fatter? Thinner! I weigh less than I did when we got married 7.5 years ago. I think I'm back to my college weight!
Richer or Poorer? Probably the same

What do you wish you'd done more of?
Saving money haha
What do you wish you'd done less of? 
Arguing and fighting with W. Having three young kids is a huge challenge on our marriage. Amazingly enough, cutting out sugar has made us so much nicer to each other, especially in the mornings. We had a tendency to snap at each other from being crashed and notice we both feel so much more even tempered when we don't consume tons of sugar. 

How did you spend Christmas?
We went to Syracuse for church on Christmas Eve with my MiL and then had dinner at my in-laws after. On Christmas morning my in laws came over after we had breakfast and we opened presents and drank bloody marys. We celebrated with my mom at her house about a week prior as they went to Florida for Christmas. My dad came out a week or two after Christmas for the day to celebrate. We never celebrated with my sister :(

What was your favorite TV program?
We watched a bunch of Naked and Afraid. Prior, we had been totally turned off by the title, but once we realized what it was about we watched it a bunch. 
What was your favorite book of the year?
Wish I had gotten to read more. Even though we started book club back up I still haven't gotten to read any of the books. I'm embarrassed to admit that, but it's true. Most nights I fall asleep on the couch watching T. V.

What were your favorite films of the year?
We saw the Trolls movie at the theatre with Lucy and Clara. It was their first time to the movies and so much fun! It was a super cute movie too. 

What's one thing that would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I wish I could contribute more financially but it's worth it to be home rather than working every day. 

What kept you sane?
W and my friends. I love my fertility buddies and that we still get together often. Winter is always tough for friendships as we don't live super close to any of my friends. I guess my phone really keeps me sane because it keeps me in contact with the outside world. I wish I got to see my friends more often, but hopefully that will improve with nicer weather. 

Tell us valuable lessons you learned in 2016:
It's so important to fill your own cup as a mom. I spent so much time filling up everyone else's cup and never really prioritized myself. It's worth it to put yourself first because you are much better able to fill the cups of those around you when you're pouring from a full one. 

Diet is so much more important than exercise when it comes to weight loss. I learned a lot by doing a round of Whole 30. I'd love to complete another round and reap the benefits, it's just so hard in our culture to eat well. PCOS feels like so much less of an issue when I fuel my body with the right foods. I wish I had figured this out sooner. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

15 Months Old posted late

Another month has passed and you're another month older. I can't believe what a big girl you are now. You're a little better at listening this month than last, but are still a little wild woman. You are following simple directions more consistently and respond better when we tell you "no". You're repeating a lot but so much is jibber jabber that it's hard to decipher the real words in there. I need to get a video of your "talking" because it's so cute and nearly constant. You have a LOT to say! Your sleeping hasn't improved a ton this month although you had ONE night where you slept all night long and I even had to wake you to nurse before I had to leave that morning. You generally are up once a night, but some nights are worse than others. I was convinced you were cutting your canines on the top earlier this month and then they went away and your crankiness improved, without any new teeth. My new thing is worrying about your bottom tooth. You have 3/4 of your bottom teeth and I recently learned your Aunt Charlotte also doesn't have that tooth. So now I'll worry until it appears...or not. You are going through a huge mama phase and cry a lot of the times I pass you off to others, even Daddy. I had to stop dropping you in the childcare area at the YMCA because they would come get me since you were crying so much. It's a bummer, but I'm hoping a little time will solve that problem and we can try again. Your eating is hit or miss and you still love meat. You love dairy although it definitely makes your reflux worse. With your cold we actually had to increase your reflux meds this month because you seemed uncomfortable a lot and weren't eating as well. You are down to one nap a day and usually nap at the same time as your sisters. You nap anywhere from 2-3 hours most days and I love that down time when everyone is sleeping. It's so nice when the house is so quiet, although it never seems to last long enough. You have such a big personality and add so much to our family. I just love you little Stella.

crazy girl
Looking at the trees at the tree farm

The only Santa she would go near

Not so sure about him...

Accidental twinning with Mama

Christmas Eve 

She wanted to carry her stocking just like her sisters did. 
More twinning 

I'll jump on any breastfeeding bandwagon. These pics were going around social media so I made one for us too. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

It Was All SO Good!

I always think of Christmas as one of our lowest points with infertility. Christmas is the time when everyone celebrates their families. It's the time of year when it's very lonely for those who don't have kids. Four years ago we celebrated our hardest Christmas ever. We had just failed another cycle (our first cycle with Braverman) and hope was all but lost. We had tried his immune treatments and still didn't have success. About a week before that Christmas we attended our first adoption orientation and started to look in that direction. On Christmas Eve, Walt's cousin announced she was pregnant after they had just gotten married in June. It was hard. We barely made it through and I distinctly remember throwing up in the driveway after Christmas dinner and too many drinks.

This year couldn't have felt any different. We did so many fun and festive things as a family this Christmas season. We went to Lights on the Lake and the girls loved driving through the light tunnels and seeing the princesses. We cut down our Christmas tree as a family and enjoyed the hot chocolate and popcorn they had to offer for free after. We hung ornaments and lights on our tree together and listened to Christmas music. We got the girls their own little Christmas trees for their bedroom that they decorated with lights and ornaments. We made a whole bunch of handprint cards and went to a nursing home to hand them out and wish everyone a Merry Christmas. We had a book advent calendar and opened a Christmas book every day to read. We made a few batches of Christmas cookies and enjoyed them immensely. We attended the Mom's of Multiples Christmas party and built a snowman. We saw Santa and had very mixed results. We went sledding for the first time as W had a few days off before Christmas and the girls LOVED it! We also got to go to Lucy and Clara's preschool for a Christmas tea and to see them sing holiday songs. In addition, we attended a Christmas Eve church service and had dinner with W's parents for Christmas Eve. Boody Mary's, my in laws, and pajamas at home on Christmas morning. It was all so good!!

Our Christmas card
Our snowman we built

Christmas pajamas

Our book advent calendar before I wrapped them all. 

We got a fireplace this year too! I loved decorating it. 

MMM Christmas party

Library fun 

Our Christmas tree!

Where we get our tree

Hot chocolate after tree hunting

Santa cookies!

Decorating our tree

Post bath crazy Santa 

decorating the tree at pop pop and Grandma Becky's house 

Baking cookies with grandma becky and pop pop 

After singing Christmas songs at preschool 

My girls

Sledding with Daddy. So much fun!!

Ready for swim lessons

Close encounter!

Christmas Eve church service 

Christmas Eve Dinner 

Reading The Night Before Christmas

Daddy's last day off so we went for carousel rides. 

This holiday season I can't forget how lucky I am to have everything we have. I have THREE beautiful girls that make life feel so full. They fill my days with laughter and joy as well as frustration from time to time. I have an amazing husband who works hard every day and a job he loves to provide for our family. He is such an amazing hands on daddy to our girls and we're all so lucky to have him.

I just feel so lucky and blessed to be where we are now. I know how lucky we are because I've seen the other side of that. I've felt heartbreak as we waited for our turn to be parents. We were so close to giving up.

"When the world says give up, hope whispers try it one more time." I'm beyond grateful I emailed Dr. Braverman when it felt like all hope was lost and he told me I had to give it one more try after that unsuccessful December cycle. He told me I had to try at least one more time in order to know if the treatment was successful or not. When all hope felt lost I had a glimmer of hope in his reply. That glimmer turned into an IVF cycle at his clinic the following month. That next month I got pregnant with twins after the hardest Christmas ever. One month and a little hope was all it took to change our fate beyond belief.