Friday, November 30, 2012

Day 30 NaBloPoMo

Today's (final) NaBloMoPo prompt:  What has been the hardest part about blogging daily?

My desire to blog goes in fits and starts, depending on my mood and on what's going on in my life and in my head, so the hardest part about blogging daily is thinking of something I'd like to write about every day.  (The second hardest part: finding the TIME to blog daily, particularly on the weekends; on weekdays, I always have my lunch hour.)

I have also found it challenging at times to think of something for which I am grateful each day to post about. I feel as though I do often pause to be grateful for the many, many good things in my life, and yet, when pressed to find just one to post about, at times I have struggled.  Once I get beyond the obvious--my sons, my husband, my family, my friends, my healthy, my job--I have to really think to come up with things.

Two things I have not yet posted about being grateful for are two things that have been really important to me for as long as I can remember: books and music.  I literally cannot recall the time in my life before I learned to read--I was reading on my own before kindergarten--and I have been an avid reader my entire life.  I remember my parents getting special permission in elementary school for me to take home more than the two-books-per-week maximum our school library allowed because I could easily read both books the first day I brought them home.  I couldn't even begin to list all the books and authors I've read (and enjoyed) over the course of my life.  Having limited time (and mental energy) to read has been one of the hard things for me about my transition into parenthood.

As for music, I can remember my parents playing various kinds for us even as a small child.  My mom taught me to play the accordion when I was 6, and I later learned to play the clarinet (my main instrument), the saxophone, the oboe, the xylophone, the guitar and (most recently) the piano.  I sang in the church choir throughout my childhood.  I love many kinds of music.

When someone poses the hypothetical question of whether I would rather lose my sight or my hearing, I am never able to choose because both would be such a huge loss.  (Although I suppose if I went blind, I could learn to read in Braille eventually.)

I am grateful to have the eyesight and ability to read, even if I don't always have the time to do it as much as I'd like, and I am grateful for music and the ability to hear and enjoy it.

One last note for my "Buy Nothing New" month. . . I posted about slipping and buying a rubber ducky a few weeks ago.  I also slipped on Thanksgiving and bought some items from both Gap and Gymb.oree online.  (The sale prices were so good, they lured me in!)  Apart from those purchases, though, I actually got through the entire month without buying anything new except food, medicine, gas and the Christmas gifts I had already planned to buy, and I did cut back on lunches out during the week.  I must say that, after the first couple of weeks, it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.

My next challenge for myself is to buy no clothing for my sons. . . not even used.  Between my MOMs consignment sale and a few other sources of gently used (adorable!) clothing, they now have more than enough clothes to last through their third birthday, apart from shoes, socks and maybe pajamas.  It is so fun to shop for them, and really hard for me to resist when I see a bargain (like a new Janie & Jack shirt that is now 10% of its original price, for example). . . but I don't want to go to excess.  (MM would say that's already happened, LOL.)

Happy last day of November!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Day 29 NaBloPoMo

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt:  Tell us about three new blogs you found this year.

What does it say about me that all my new blogs are infertility related?  Hmmm.

My favoritest(?) blog I've found recently is written by Stupid Stork (  If you want to laugh, this blog is the one for you.  Many of her posts are not, strictly speaking, infertility related, but she is infertile and childless, still in the trenches.

I also discovered Scrambled Eggs ( through Lost and Found and Connections Abound.  I first visited Belle's blog to give input to a question she asked about whether to transfer one or two embryos during her IVF cycle, and I have continued to read.  She is currently 9 1/2 weeks pregnant after having a miscarriage earlier this year.

I started reading ANDMom ( after visiting her blog to read a popular post about her thoughts on breastfeeding.  The post gave me comfort in the face of my own failure to nurse my twins successfully, and I have continued to follow her blog.  (Warning: she is parenting three children, so only visit if you are OK with reading a parent's blog.)

Today I am grateful for getting some new cases assigned to me this week.  I think that I may *finally* be at a point where I have sufficient work assigned to me to get my productivity up to where it's supposed to be.  (It's only taken me eight months since returning from my 12-week leave.)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Day 28 NaBloPoMo

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt:  Tell us about the worst trip you ever took.

Truth be told, I really cannot remember ever taking a bad trip.  Is that unusual?  I do really enjoy traveling, and I have been fortunate in that I've never had any major mishaps away from home (apart from the usual delayed/canceled flights and the like).  Even times when I've gotten sick while away from home, they've all been minor illnesses and I had family/friends along to help me out.

Today I am grateful for MM.   He has never read this blog (he thinks blogging is "weird"), so there is no chance he will see this post.

Today is our fourth wedding anniversary.  In many ways, the last four years have not been at all what I had expected, but MM has been everything I expected when I married him: my close friend, my partner in the truest sense of the word, and an excellent father.

If I were able to choose again, I would still choose him.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Day 27 NaBloPoMo

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt:  If you could instantly know any language in the world, which one would it be?

I've always thought it would be really cool to know Mandarin Chinese.  But doing what I do for a living and living where I do, being fluent in Spanish would be a smarter choice.

Today I am grateful that I will be spending my work day doing the things I like most about my job: taking a deposition and meeting with a client.  When I have stretches of days spent in my office writing or reviewing documents, I sometimes long for personal interaction, and today I'll be getting lots of it.

(I'm also grateful for the Powerball.  Bought my ticket today, as the jackpot is a record $425 million.  I know the chances of winning are infinitesimal, but you can't win if you don't buy a ticket!)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Day 26 NaBloMoPo

Today's NaBloMoPo prompt:  Do you speak more than one language?  How did you learn the additional languages?

I speak some Spanish (I understand more than I can actually speak) and a few words and phrases in Navajo.  I learned Spanish by taking four semesters of it in college (actually, it's sad that I'm not proficient, given that fact) and practicing occasionally with Spanish-speaking friends.  I learned the little bit of Navajo I know from an ex-boyfriend who grew up speaking it in the home.  At the time, it was useful to me because I was a nurse who often cared for patients with only spoke Navajo.

Today I am grateful for decongestant.  It doesn't completely take away my cold symptoms but it helps.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Day 25 NaBloPoMo

I'm fresh out of ideas for a post today.  Sorry about that.  Going to get out and enjoy this gorgeous weather we're having: it's been in the upper 70s/low 80s every day this weekend.

Today I am grateful for my stepfather and stepmother.  Although neither of them ever acted as an actual parent to me--my father didn't marry my stepmother until I was in college, and though my stepfather married my mother when I was 10, I never lived with them during my childhood--I do feel fortunate to have good relationships with both of them.

My stepfather passed away in March 2007.  Today would've been his 73rd birthday.  He was funny (in an inappropriate, irreverent way), loved animals and liked doing nice things for people on the sly (example: when I was in college, he would change the oil in my car and hide a $20 bill in the ashtray).  I know my mother was much happier during the almost-26 years that they were married than she was during the years she was married to my father.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Day 24 NaBloPoMo

Almost missed a day!  Not much to tell today. . . I once again violated my "Buy Nothing New" rule and went along with MM's desire to buy the boys two superhero shirts at Gap.    Ah well.

Today I am grateful for having a four-day weekend!  I am still trying to get over this head cold, so it's been nice having some extra time off to do so.  (Oh, forgot to mention: my trip to my father's got canceled because he is sick, too, and didn't want the boys to catch whatever he has.  So I'm at home this weekend.)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Day 23 NaBloPoMo

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt:  What is the hardest word for you to say?

I'm not sure if this question means a word that's hard for me to say as in hard to pronounce, or a word that is hard for me to say because I don't like using it.  Either way, I really cannot think of a word that fits either description.  As I have mentioned here before, I am pretty plain-spoken in real life.  I don't generally have a problem saying "I love you" or admitting when I am wrong.  Also, for reasons that are unclear, I have good diction and am good at pronouncing words.  So after some reflection, I really don't know of a word that would fit either description.

Today I am grateful for ibu.profen.  I came down with a head cold on Wednesday, and it's the only thing keeping my congestion-related headache at bay, not to mention all the times I've relied on it for the other headaches I get regularly, menstrual cramps and other aches and pains.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Day 22 NaBloPoMo

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt:  When was the last time that you cried?  Why?

I cried a couple of weeks ago just because I was exhausted and feeling overwhelmed.  Feeling like this at times is the downside of parenthood that no one tells you about before you have your children.  Thankfully, those occasions are few and relatively far between for me.

Today I am grateful for Thanksgiving dinner.  I love turkey and stuffing!  :-)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Day 21 NaBloPoMo

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt:  What is your favorite place to read?

I love, love, love to read.  Probably my favorite leisure activity.  Pre-kids, I could read almost all day and finish a novel in a weekendNowadays, I am lucky if I have the energy to read a chapter or so before bed at night.

I will read anywhere, but my favorite place to read is in a big, comfy armchair that will allow me to curl my feet under me.  (You see chairs like this strategically placed in nooks and crannies in most book stores.)  Sadly, I don't have a chair like this at home and therefore generally either read in a corner of our sectional or in bed.  A fully-stocked library with two of these chairs would definitely be a room in my dream home.

I have to say that, 21 days in to this challenge, it is getting harder for me to not only post something every day but to think of something for which I am grateful.  I mean, I am grateful for some things every day--my sons, my husband, my family, food and shelter, my job--but I don't want to duplicate during this month because I know there are SO many good things in my life for which I am grateful.  It's just kinda hard to come up with them to write a post.

Today I will say that I am grateful for my friends.  I have a number of awesome ones, some of whom have been in my life for many years.  They have supported me through so many challenges in my life: during the days when I was alone and lonely, when I was struggling with career choices; during the many months we were dealing with infertility; and during my transition into parenthood.  They have celebrated my happiness and successes with me: marrying MM, having our sons, graduations, new jobs, and many other smaller things.

I don't get to spend as much time these days with most of my friends as I did before I was a mother, but I appreciate them and their understanding.  :-)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Day 20 NaBloPoMo

First, I have a confession to make: I slipped and bought something new during my "Buy Nothing New" month.  I had been doing really well.  A couple of times I felt the "need" to buy things, but I satisfied the urge by buying secondhand.

But Saturday night after our dinner out, when I stopped in to Target to get the boys some baby food, I saw a cute rubber ducky for only $2.99.  I thought about how MJ has started really enjoying the bath but has no bath toys to play with.  (He usually plays with the bath wash and the cup I use to rinse his hair.)  So I broke down and bought the rubber ducky.

On the plus side, I did bypass all the other baby bath toys and put back the two cute $5 snapsuits I had impulsively scooped up as I walked through the baby boys' clothing section to the baby food.  So there's that.  Progress not perfection.

Our boys were 10 months old yesterday!  I can hardly believe it.  Allow me to share one of their "official" 10-month photos (taken a day early, on Sunday).


That's MJ on the left showing you two of his three (almost four teeth) and AJ on the right being held in place by a disembodied hand (which actually belongs to MM).

I see photos on other moms' blogs of their children's monthly photos where the child is sitting sedately with his/her sticker or sign indicating current age prominently displayed, and I wonder why my sons can't be that cooperative.  LOL.  Every month has been a struggle since around 5 months, I think, and it just gets harder every month as the boys get more mobile.  They don't want to sit still, and they really want to grab Mama's camera.  They try to pull the sticker off their snapsuit to either stick it in their mouths or crumple it up.

Our sons are very active and curious, and that's how they should be.  So if that's the trade-off for not being able to get nicely posed photos, I'll take it.

(BTW, MM *hates* assisting with each month's photos.  Hates it.  He asked me yesterday when I was going to stop taking them.  Um, maybe when they're a year old?  I'd like to get at least that far before I give up.)

Today's gratitude post is a bit of an odd one.  I am grateful for stain remover.  Seriously, I have never gone through as much of it as I do now taking care of the twins' clothes.  They have gotten to a stage where they want to feed themselves or help you feed them, and it creates some major messes.  I would be crying over the destruction of many cute outfits without stain remover.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Day 19 NaBloPoMo

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt:  If you had to get locked in some place (book store, amusement park, etc) overnight alone, where would you choose to be locked in?

Normally my answer to this would be the Museum of American History in D.C.  If I were locked in overnight alone, I would be able to explore all the exhibits at my leisure and take the time to read all the information.  I've visited this museum several times, and I've never felt like I've been able to take it all in, between the crowds and other distractions and the limits on the time I could spend there.

Nowadays, though, you know where I'd like to be locked in more than anywhere?  A Crate and Barrel or Pottery Barn store.  In addition to being able to peruse the many wanted-but-unnecessary items they sell there at my leisure, I'd be able to use one of the many bedroom displays to get a great night of completely uninterrupted sleep!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Day 18 NaBloPoMo

Today I am grateful for coffee.  It's funny: unlike many of my peers, I never drank coffee in college or during the years I worked in hospitals (often on the overnight shift).  When I was younger, I didn't like the way caffeine made me feel, and I didn't like the bitter taste of coffee (though I've always loved the way coffee smells, oddly enough).  If I needed a little "jolt" of energy--these were the pre-energy drink days, remember--I would quickly drink a Dr. Pepper.

As soon as I became a lawyer, though, and started spending the majority of my working hours sitting at a desk reading and writing, I got hooked.  I started slow: a few yummy caffe mochas while studying for finals in law school.  (Hey, they tasted almost like hot chocolate but allowed me to focus!)  Pretty soon I had a daily coffee habit going.  I still love caffe mochas, but I more often drink coffee with just milk/cream and spl.enda these days.

I have given up coffee a few times, especially during the years we were TTC--and I drank NO caffeinated beverages during my pregnancy--but I always end up slipping back into the habit.  Now, working full time as a lawyer and being a mother to twin infants, I wouldn't even consider quitting coffee!  I need it to get through most days.  I carefully limit my intake to no more than two cups a day, but I don't think I could give it up entirely.

Oh, and can I also say that I'm grateful for a little invention called the Keurig?  MM doesn't drink coffee, and it just doesn't make sense to brew a pot for one person. . . so the Keurig single-cup brewer is perfect for my weekend cups of coffee.

Ahhhh. . . . .

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Day 17 NaBloPoMo

No NaBloPoMo prompt today, so I am once again on my own for post ideas.  Think I'll take the bullet points approach:

  • I have had some level of migraine or garden variety headache every day but one this week.  What the heck?  It has been really awful and made getting through the workdays hard. . . not to mention caring for the boys in the evenings between when our nanny leaves and when MM arrives home.  And I've been popping Ad.vil, aspirin and Ex.ce.drin like candy.  I hate it!
  • I was lucky enough to get two mostly uninterrupted nights of sleep this week: one night from 9:15 p.m. to 5:45 a.m., the other from 10:30-ish to 4:45.  Yea! You just don't realize how important sleep is to your health and your mood until/unless you aren't getting enough.
  • MJ has just cut his third tooth (top left) while AJ still has no visible teeth.  That's one of the fun parts of having twins: seeing how your two children develop at different rates.  (I suppose you could have this same experience by having two children separately, but the contrast is more stark with twins.)
  • Both boys are "cruising" regularly these days, and AJ likes to climb on things.  G-d help us.  :-)
  • MM and I are leaving our sons with a babysitter tonight for the first time since they were born.  Well, let me clarify: a babysitter who is not a grandparent, close friend or our regular nanny.  G is a 17-year-old high school senior who appears to be very responsible and was referred to me by a member of my MOMs group who teaches G at her dance studio and has used her as a babysitter for her year-old twin boys.
    • We are using G to babysit because we are going out for only our second nighttime date since the boys were born.  Wish us luck!
  • Apart from our dinner out, we have nothing planned this weekend, and I'm glad.  I need to spend some time planning and packing for our road trip to my father's for Thanksgiving next week.
  • I am dreading the 6-hour-plus drive to my father's for the holiday.  I love my father, and I even like the city where he lives and normally would not mind visiting.  But I hate that drive even without children--it's all freeway and mostly through super boring, sparsely populated country--and with the boys along?  Yeah, I'm not sure how this is going to go.
    • (Oh, and also?  MM hates road trips.  Yeah.)
  • In addition to dreading the drive, I am apprehensive about staying at my dad's house.  It is small, it is not babyproofed, and the boys have never slept for more than a short nap anywhere but their own nursery.  So I'm not sure how this visit is going to go.
    • To top it off, my dad and his wife are both thin-skinned and easily offended.  Sigh.
  •  I am beginning to feel stressed about the fact that I have yet to really Christmas shop in earnest. . . even though I have over a month left.
OK, so something for which I am grateful. . . I am grateful to still have my father around to spend the holiday with.  From childhood, I've been told that he might not last much longer--he has had a number of health problems over the years--but he's 70 years old and still alive and kickin'.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Day 16 NaBloPoMo

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt:  Would you buy your dream house if the price was right BUT you also were told it was inhabited by ghosts?

I guess I'm weird, but the idea that a house was inhabited by ghosts would not make it less attractive to me.  Unless the ghosts were some type of evil poltergeists with ill intent.  But if the ghosts were your usual relatively benign apparitions, seen occasionally on a staircase or reflected in a mirror, that wouldn't stop me from buying my dream house.

Today I am grateful that we own a house.  For many years between graduating high school and marrying MM (over 18, if we're counting), I was a renter and moved frequently.  It was rare for me to live in the same place for more than a year; I can only think of one place I lived during those years for longer than eighteen months.

Having grown up in the same town K-12 and lived in the same house from ages 5 to 17, I found this itinerant lifestyle unsettling, but it was part and parcel of where I was and what I was doing at that time.  Most college students move a lot, and for a few of those years, I was a nurse for a company that sent me on short-term assignments to hospitals all over the country.  These assignments were generally 3-6 months long, so I relocated frequently of necessity while in that job.

During those years, I often longed to be settled in a house of my own somewhere.  Now I am.

The dream of home ownership is not what it once was in this country, in my opinion--we, like most people in our area, are majorly "underwater" on our home mortgage and thus are in a position where we'd likely be unable to sell--but I still like the notion of having a place of my own and knowing that I won't have to pack up and move any time soon.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Day 15 NaBloPoMo

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt:  Tell us about your favorite pet.

I have had a few much-beloved pets in my life, and it seems wrong to pick a favorite. . . almost like picking a favorite child.  (For the record, I don't have a favorite between AJ & MJ, truly.)  I have written quite a bit here about Sebastian, my golden retriever who died last summer after having a hemangiosarcoma burst in his heart.  He was a wonderful pet.

During my childhood, we also had two other dogs that I loved a lot.  The first, Angie, was a St. Bernard who came to live with us as an adult dog when I was about 5 and she was about the same age.  Angie was very tolerant: my sister and I used to ride on her back like a horse, and when she got tired of this, she would simply sit down, causing you to slide off.  She died of a stroke when I was 8 years old.

The next dog I particularly loved was Blackie.  She was a stray, a small mixed-breed of 15-20 lbs, that my sister and I convinced our father to let us take in during the time my parents were getting divorced (when I was 9 years old).  Blackie was loving and patient.  She lived a long life.  My father had to have her put to sleep due to a number of worsening chronic ailments when she was around 18-19 years old.

Lest you think I have only ever had dogs, we also had two different cats during my childhood, a goldfish and a tadpole.  (I never got to have the guinea pig I agitated for because my grandmother threatened to move back to Ireland if I got one.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Day 14 NaBloPoMo

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt:  Tell us about the best meal you ever cooked.

Given my lack of domestic skills in general, and culinary skills in particular, this question is a tough one for me to answer even after thinking about it for a while.  I really don't think I have ever cooked a meal that I'd feel comfortable assigning the word "best" to.  Honestly, the best meals I've served in my home are meals that have been prepared elsewhere and brought in.  Sad but true.

I am grateful that I have a husband who doesn't much care that I don't cook much.  Given MM's (picky) eating habits, he wouldn't eat most things I would cook anyway, even if I made them.  So I guess in that way, we are well-matched.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sneak peek

I couldn't resist sharing this link to the sneak peek our photographer sent me from our recent photo session:

I won't leave it up indefinitely but thought you might like to see a few of the photos she took of us.  I'm pretty happy with the way they turned out!

Day 13 NaBloPoMo

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt:  What is the bravest thing you've ever done?

I believe I have mentioned here before that I was engaged to someone other than MM before MM and I met.  My ex-fiance "L" and I were co-workers and had many mutual friends.  We had been a couple for over two years, living together for seventeen months and engaged for over eight months when we broke up thirteen days before our wedding.

Yes, I broke up with my fiance less than two weeks before our wedding. . . the day after my bridal shower, as a matter of fact.  I then had to call all of my friends and family members to tell them that the wedding was off.  (Just the acceptances on our guest list made up about sixty people, most of whom were "my" guests.)  Not a fun experience or one I'd particularly like to repeat.

I have had quite a few people tell me since the break-up that they thought I was brave for calling the wedding off.  Several women have told me that they had similar doubts before walking down the aisle but went ahead anyway. . . only to end up divorced later on.

At the time, I just knew that I had reached the end of my rope with a specific issue in our relationship, and I had decided that I would rather live the rest of my life alone than be married to L and to that issue.  I did truly believe then that by ending my relationship with L, it was probable that I would never marry while I was still young enough to have children of my own, and perhaps not at all.  (I was 36 at that time, and my relationship with L had been the first serious one I'd had in over five years.)

I broke up with L anyway.

Of course, at the time, I had no way of knowing that less than six months after our break-up, I would meet MM and would end up marrying him and having children with him.  I have often thought about the fact that I came so close to marrying someone with whom I was not entirely happy, and about how I never would've met MM at all if I had gone through with my wedding to L.  I've thought about how, as awful as it was going through infertility with MM during the first few years of our marriage, how much worse that experience would have been with L as my husband instead of MM.  ('Cause let's face it: my egg quality wouldn't have been appreciably better if I'd started trying six months sooner, which is the timeframe L and I had discussed.)

I didn't think of breaking up with L as a brave thing at the time--in fact, although it was hard, I know that it was the absolute right decision for me--but in retrospect, I think it was a brave thing.  The easier thing would've been to go ahead and marry L, despite my reservations.

I am grateful that I had the guts to make the hard decision to end my relationship with L, even at the eleventh hour, because if I hadn't, I wouldn't have my current life.  I wouldn't have moved back to Phoenix, wouldn't have met MM, and wouldn't have had AJ and MJ.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Day 12 NaBloPoMo

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt:  Where is your favorite place to blog?

Hmm, I can't say I really have one.  I can say one place/way I don't like blogging, and that's on my iPhone.  Apart from that, any place with a working computer is good for me.  I usually blog on my laptop at work over lunch or at home in the evenings.

I want to mention that I just love it when I leave home in the mornings this time of year and see hot air balloons floating nearby. . . always puts a smile on my face!  I have never been up in a hot air balloon, but I've long wanted to go up in one, and I will someday.

Today I am grateful for my sons' good health.  Despite being born almost six weeks early, and despite my gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, so far they seem to be developmentally on track, and they have yet to have anything more serious than a mild cold.  We are so fortunate in this regard!

I got the sweetest email from a reader of this blog over the weekend, and her baby daughter is undergoing chemotherapy for rhabdomyosarcoma diagnosed not long after she was born.  I can't imagine how hard that must be.

By the way, Baby Kinsley's parents have a page set up for her (, and I'm sure they could use your prayers and good thoughts as they go through this difficult experience.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Day 11 NaBloPoMo

No NaBloPoMo prompt today, and I must say, I don't have any brilliant ideas for a post.  Sorry about that.

The boys' first trip to the zoo yesterday was fun.  The weather was cool but sunny, and it was fun meeting an online friend in person for the first time, and another twin mom at that.  I am thinking the trip will be the boys' first of many to the zoo.

I am grateful that I live in a large enough city that I can take our sons to places like the zoo.  I think I was seven years old before I first visited a zoo because the nearest one was hours away from where we lived.  Our boys will get to do and see things I didn't do or see until I was an adult because we live where we do.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Day 10 NaBloPoMo

In my daily posting this week, I realized I forgot to share a fun experience we had last weekend.  On Saturday afternoon, MM, his parents, the boys and I had a family photo session with the same fabulous photographer who did our engagement photos.  The boys did as well as can be expected, given their age and the unfamiliarity of the setting.  I am eager to see how the photos turned out!  I trust that the photographer got some good shots. . . in addition to doing lots of natural light portrait work, she also does weddings and has two small children of her own.  (I think her work is really great.  If you're interested, you can see some of it on her blog:

Today I am grateful for cooler weather.  We don't have four true seasons here in Phoenix--people joke that the seasons are "hot" and "hotter"--but this weekend's weather feels like fall and is the sort of weather I look forward to all during the long, hot summers here.  It's finally cool enough to be able to take the boys on outdoor outings--yea!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Day 9 NaBloPoMo

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt:  If you could change one thing about your life right now, what would it be?

Another easy one for me: my job.  I have written here before about the fact that I am not content in my current job.  I would love to have a job that pays me roughly the same salary I currently earn but provides the fulfillment that is lacking from my current job and affords me more time with my sons.  I don't think such a job exists, but that's what I'd change if I could.

(How life has changed.  Usually in years past, I would've responded to this question by saying I wish I were at a healthy weight and could maintain that weight effortlessly.  Now that seems like something that would be nice but far less important.)

Although maybe what I should say is, I wish I could change how I feel about my job.  I have convinced myself that a job change is in order, but maybe there is a way to find the fulfillment I feel is currently lacking and a better work/life balance without finding a position?

Today I am grateful for having had the freedom to go back to school and pursue a second career.  I have to be honest: in spite of the fact that I'm not as happy at work these days as I could be, I enjoy my worst days at work now more than I enjoyed most days in my previous career.  Seriously.  There is something to be said for finding the right fit between one's natural talents and abilities and her career.

In addition to the fact that I'm happier in this career than I was in my previous one, the three years I was in law school were some of the best of my life.  I am grateful to have had that experience, especially after several years in the work force, and for the friends I made during that time, several of whom I still count among my friends today.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Update on our frozen embryos

You may recall a few months back that I posted here about our plan for the four frozen embryos we had in storage at St. Mungo's, given that we did not intend to use them ourselves.  We finalized our agreement to donate the embryos to the couple I wrote about in that post not too long after I wrote the post, and our (now their) embryos were overnighted from St. Mungo's to the intended mother's clinic in another part of the country.

Because of various (frustrating) delays for the intended mother, including cysts, a hysteroscopy, and one slightly subpar lining, these embryos had remained frozen until the day before Halloween, when it was finally the right time for them to be transferred.  Sadly, the first two embryos thawed did not survive with sufficient quality intact to be used, but the couple then chose to thaw the last two remaining embryos, and they survived and were transferred.

I got an email from the intended mother yesterday letting me know that she'd taken 4(!) HPTs (we can all relate, right?), and they were all positive, so she is pregnant!  She'd had a suspicion because of increasing symptoms: heartburn, nausea, dry skin, and fatigue.  (Those all sound familiar to me, though I don't recall having them pre-beta.)

Her first beta is tomorrow, and they are hoping for twins.

MM and I are so happy and excited for them.  It will be really great if our gift helps them become parents.

While at work this morning, I did have one funny fleeting thought: this woman who received our donated embryos is pregnant with my husband's child or children!  That sounds weird when I think of it that way, so I put the thought out of my mind.  LOL

Anyway, just wanted to share the good news here.  :-)

Day 8 NaBloPoMo

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt:  If you could have any job (and instantly have the training and qualifications to do it), which job would you want?

Ooh, this is an easy one for me.  I would love to be a Supreme Court Justice.  At times in my life, I've thought it would be cool to be a famous singer or author, but that type of fame is usually fleeting.  Supreme Court Justices are appointed for life, and the decisions they make affect millions of people and literally make history.  So while they may not be "famous" in the sense of making the cover of People magazine, they are certainly famous in their own way.

I haven't posted much about my "buy nothing" challenge over the past week or so since November started.  Suffice it to say, I have been doing very well.  I've eaten at home more often than not, and I have not bought anything new, despite having an urge to buy clothes for myself (that I don't really need but think I need), clothes and toys for the boys, and the black ballet flats I mentioned in my first post of the month.  (I also had a fleeting thought that I "need" the same flats in red also.)

I am finding that I have more cash in my wallet because while I haven't eliminated all spending for essentials like food, I have become more mindful of my spending and am spending less as a result.  Also, my credit card balance is not going up!  Imagine that. . . .

Today I am grateful for my nephew Rowan.  It seems like yesterday (or a lifetime ago, depending on the day) that I got the call from my BIL six years ago that he was about to make his entrance into the world.  He is growing up to be such a unique individual, and one of the few things I don't like about living in Arizona is that I'm all the way across the country from him (and his mother, my sister V).  It's hard to have a close relationship with a small child who doesn't see you often, so I am hopeful that as Rowan is getting older, we will be able to communicate more via FaceTime and eventually email and even letters.  I am hopeful that my sons will think of Rowan as their "cool" older cousin, as he is the only cousin they have or are likely to have.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Day 7 NaBloPoMo

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt:  Talk about the last compliment you received.

Wow, I actually can't remember the last compliment I received.  How sad is that?  Most of the compliments I hear these days are actually about my boys and not about me.

MM did tell me the other day that he thinks I am a wonderful, loving mother.  That made me feel good.  :-)

Today I am grateful for living in a country where we are free to vote as our conscience and opinions dictate and where we need have no fear of revolution, military coup or anarchy when an election doesn't go the way some had hoped.  I know many people in my family and in my circle of friends are either elated or depressed at the outcome of yesterday's presidential election.  All are free to express their views without fear of government reprisal.

The fear of dissolution into chaos following a contentious election is a very real one in many parts of the world.  I'm grateful I live in a country where that isn't the case.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Day 6 NaBloPoMo

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt:  If you were President of the United States, what would be your first act in office?

To tell the truth, I don't have the first clue.  I would never want to be President--way too much responsibility and pressure for me--so I can't even imagine it.

Today I am grateful for my parents-in-law.  They both have a birthday today (yes, I know, odd that they share a birthday), so it seems fitting to think of them.  I hear so often from friends and acquaintances how awful their in-laws are, especially MILs, and mine are really great!  I have a very good relationship with them, and in many ways, they have offered me more support over the past several years than my own parents.  Happy Birthday, J & W!

P.S.  If you live in the U.S. and have not yet voted, get out to the polls today.  Democracy only works when "we, the people" participate.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Day 5 NaBloPoMo

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt:  What are your thoughts about tomorrow's election in the United States?

The thought that is uppermost in my mind about tomorrow's election is "I can't wait for it to be over!"  Seriously, I am so sick of hearing about politics.

I have my own political beliefs, and they are carefully considered and strongly held, but I don't intend to ever share them on this blog.  One of the things my father taught me that I have continues to follow in my adult life is that you never talk about politics or religion with anyone but the closest friends and family members.  (And I would add: maybe not even then, unless you know your views and beliefs are aligned.)  You will never convert anyone to your way of thinking; the only thing you may do is alienate or upset them.

Given that many of my friends are lawyers, I have a fair number of acquaintances for whom politics is literally their job, or at least a pet hobby.  So I suspect that I hear more about politics than the average voter, to say nothing of the ads that are constantly on TV or mailed to our home.  (Thank G-d we don't live in a swing state!  My mom is in Ohio, and they are getting bombarded with ads.)

I am grateful for the right to vote and to live in a country where we CAN all discuss these issues freely, if we choose to do so.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Day 4 NaBloPoMo

Today I am thinking of my beloved dog Sebastian who passed away last summer just days after I learned I was pregnant as a result of our DE IVF cycle. I am grateful to have had Sebastian in my life for almost nine years, and I still think of him often.  I think he would've loved the boys.  He was great with babies and children (and everyone, really, even cats).

I will (finally) be scattering his ashes today while hiking on the last trail he hiked.  Like most dogs, he loved the outdoors and long walks, so hiking was a favorite activity of his.  I like to think that he's somewhere running free, looking as happy as he does in this photograph.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Day 3

No NaBloPoMo prompt today, and I'm fresh out of ideas and short on time (per usual), so this post will be a short one.

I'm doing well with my "buy nothing" project so far.  Temptation reared its head on the very first day of the month, with ads for baby toys and informing me that the black ballet flats on my wish list have had a price drop. . . but I resisted and have bought nothing but gas (I was on empty) and (necessary) food.  Because it's now the weekend and I'll be at home, I am going to cook some of the foods in my freezer and pantry and take the food as lunches for the week.

I am so grateful for my sons.  I mean, duh.  This gratitude is something that I feel daily.  There is nothing like waking up to hearing their voices and their shared laughter, or walking into their nursery to see them smiling and bouncing up and down at the sides of their cribs, ready to face a new day.

If I could wake up with half as much energy as they do, and in half as good and optimistic a mood, every day would be a great one.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Day 2 NaBloPoMo

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt:  If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Hmm, tough question.  After MM and I visited Maui for our wedding, we talked about how great it would be to live there.  Beautiful scenery, temperate climate, lots of stuff to do.  But then we thought we might feel a bit isolated living so far from the mainland and from our friends and family, and we realized that, if we lived there and worked for a living, we wouldn't really be able to enjoy it in the same we could when we were there on vacation.

I would love to live in San Diego or other parts of southern California, if cost were no object, for many of the same reasons I'd wanted to stay in Maui, and with the same qualification: only if I didn't have to work for a living.  I've also thought of living in the southern part of Ireland, where my father was born and raised and still has family.  I think Ireland is beautiful, and it has a relatively temperate climate, though it rains a lot.  Times I have been there on visits, I have really enjoyed it, as the people are friendly, and I would be close to my cousins who live there.

I do have to say, though, that in spite of the G-d awful heat in the summers here, I am quite content living in Phoenix.  I dislike cold weather, and we don't experience that here.  Also, we don't have tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes or tsunamis to worry about (just dust storms during the summer monsoon).

Of all the regions of the U.S., the Southwest feels the most like home to me.  I love the wide open skies, the 300+ days a year of sunshine, the infrequency of inclement weather, the laidback feel, and the mixing of cultures (lots of Spanish, Mexican and Native American influence).  I love that I can hike on New Year's Day here, and I love the beauty of the desert and the way it smells after a heavy summer rain.

I am grateful for living in the desert Southwest.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

30 Days of Nothing and NaBloPoMo

I am feeling really motivated to blog every day in November.  I intend to post at least one thing for which I am grateful daily, and I am also participating in NaBloPoMo and will use its daily prompts for topics when I'm feeling at a loss for things to post.

Additionally, I recently learned of a project that I think may be just what I need to enhance my feelings of gratitude during the month.  My sister and I have been talking lately about how we (and our husbands), and so many of our friends, it seems, suffer from "affluenza."  
Af-flu-en-za (n). 1. The bloated, sluggish and unfulfilled feeling that results from efforts to keep up with the Joneses. 2. An epidemic of stress, overwork, waste and indebtedness caused by dogged pursuit of the American dream. 3. An unsustainable addiction to economic growth.
Goodness knows, there is nothing like the arrival of babies in one's life for spurring consumerism.  We are told about all the things babies "need," and all new parents are short on time and energy and looking for things to make life easier.  This often leads to spending, some of it necessary, some of it perhaps not so much.  I am as guilty of this as the next person.

I spend more money than I should on things I don't truly *need*, and then justify it by saying "I know we will use it eventually" or "It was on sale!" or "My friend ___ has one and loves it" or "I work hard, I deserve it!" or my favorite these days "I waited a long time to have these babies, and I'll buy things for them if I want to!"  I get a rush about getting a bargain, even if the item I've purchased is one I could've done without.

Some people wishing to break free of this type of behavior for a variety of reasons have pledged to spend an entire month buying nothing new (with the exception of essentials like food, drink, medications, and hygiene products).  If you do a search for "how to buy nothing new for 30 days," you'll come up with a number of websites and blogs dedicated to this purpose.

I'm gonna do this.  I am complicating matters a bit by undertaking this project during the month of November, when I still have Christmas presents to buy, so in order to accommodate my need to do that (and not put my gift-buying off even further into December), I am going to allow myself an exception for "gifts I would've bought for family members anyway" in addition to the exceptions for food, drink, medications and hygiene products.  Additionally, I am going to try to be more mindful of what I spend on even these essentials.  I certainly do very little currently to reduce my grocery bill ("I don't have time!" is a common mantra for me these days), and I don't deprive myself of a Star$$ coffee if I'm having a "hard day," but I am going to cut back in these areas as well.

Who's with me?  :-)

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt: Tell us your favourite quotation and why.

Wow, I have so many quotes I love that I really couldn't pick just one.  In keeping with my theme of gratitude for this month, I will single out this Oprah Winfrey quote which I included in this post I wrote almost three years ago about gratitude:
Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough.
~Oprah Winfrey 
I truly believe this.  Another quote on the same theme is one which I have as my email signature and on my Fac.ebo.ok profile: "He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have." (Socrates)  This reminder was one I really needed during the darkest days of infertility, when I often thought "If I could just be a mother, I would be happy."

Today I am grateful for the internet.  Without it, I would've missed out on some great friendships, and since I meet MM on an online dating site, I would never have met my husband!