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May 31, 2017

If I could do it all over...


I think if most people go through any experience more than once, by the time the second or third opportunity arrives, they are basically a pro at the situation.

This goes for most things in life; buying a home, having a baby, negotiating a salary, picking a good boy/girlfriend, applying eyeliner, knowing just how many drinks to suck down before you reach black-out city...and the list goes on.

I find comfort in the been there, done that mentality.

In the trenches of our first year of IVF, I did my due diligence in terms of researching, questioning, and generally hashing out the details of every poke and prod, every sentence, every result, every everything.

I have no regrets in terms of what I could have known vs. what I should have known with science and technology.

But, as we head into our second year of treatment, and hopefully, a second, successful pregnancy to an earth-side baby, there are a few things that stood out from round one that I will absolutely be eliminating from the insanity.

If I could do it all over again, I would bring my head above water more often. 

Life literally passed us by last year. Sure, we tried our best to have fun, party, celebrate, see friends, and do normal things....but we were so involved in the details of each cycle that I regret not taking time to breathe. Ever.

There were so many times where I remember wishing away days, weeks, and months.
Hell, I even wished away summer at one point!

Every cycle was barely met with good news...and I clung to those next phone calls and next monitoring appointments like they were do or die.

Life outside of IVF was frivolous at that point, and I think we suffered because of it.

I now know that yes, IVF can be rather time consuming if you let your entire brain take over....but the few minutes spent in a monitoring appointment, or administering shots, or taking a phone call, are just that....minutes...of a very long day that I can choose to turn into a positive and stay focused on my health, my work, our friends and our marriage.

Sure, it's easy to get wrapped up in anticipation waiting for the results, but I am going to try my hardest to let go, and let God handle it.

I have enough on my plate and come Hell or high-water, Infertility will not define me as a person.

If I could do it all over again, I would refrain from learning the gender. 

When the nurse called with our PGD results, I took that phone call by myself.
She asked if I wanted to know the gender, and because we really, really wanted a girl...I said yes.

After I got off the phone with the nurse, I called Mark, and while telling him the news, I could sense he wasn't thrilled that I made that decision by myself.

I got this huge pit in my stomach. I made a mistake.

I kept brushing it off because...IT WAS GOOD NEWS!!

But still, that phone call, sitting in the air-conditioned car in the heat of summer, is a moment I'll never forget. I should have said no. We should have just gone with the best embryo and moved forward.

What we learned from last year, when the girl didn't take, but the boy did....was that the love we had for the little boy growing inside me was monumental.

It no longer matters what we have, as long as the little person stays put for an entire pregnancy and is born free of abnormalities and I get to spend an eternity earth-side....we're good.

If I could do it all over again, I would refrain from announcing at work.

My work-situation may be a bit different than others.
My career is in Human Resources, and I just happen to be one of a couple girls in an office filled to the brim with men.

So, there is one role I play where I have to use discretion, and another role I play where I'm basically one of the guys.  It's rather fitting, in a way.

But neither of those roles is a good match to announce a pregnancy at 6 weeks, have it fail at 10, and then be hounded with innocent questions through what would have been my second trimester.

How am I feeling?

Am I getting excited?

You don't look pregnant.

Men, I mean...they are basically aloof. So when they were finally face to face with me, in a situation I never meant to have, the question would always come up randomly if they remembered it.
And then the ever-awkward conversation would ensue.

Oh, right...I miscarried at Christmas.

I'm sorry to hear that. 
*enter random mumbling about something similar, yet totally not*
And then there was always some ass-bag who would wrap-up the conversation with...

Are you going to start trying again right away?

*face palm*

At this point, do I start spilling the details about my personal life to a stranger?
The answer is no.

So I just smiled and wrapped up the conversation as quickly as possible, using phrases like....do you really want to have this conversation with your HR Manager?

And...this isn't exactly appropriate for work, don'cha think?

So anyways....the moral of the story is....I will never be announcing a pregnancy at work ever again.

Even when I'm clearly showing, I'm going to just keep denying it and telling everyone I got fat.

Because if someone is going to have fun with the situation.....


What have you done in your life that you want a do-over with?
Thanks for reading! XO

May 26, 2017

DIY - Stenciled Canvas Art

When I moved into my new office, I realized I was constantly staring at a blank wall.
I am always slow to make decisions when it comes to accessories, so the wall stayed blank for almost a year.

I am NOT a fan of generic artwork, but the idea finally came to me one day to re-use some existing canvases I had previous purchased from Hobby Lobby.

But what should I paint?

Around the same time I was making these decisions, the company I bought my bedroom stencil from saw my work and decided to feature me on their blog. As a thank you, they offered me a stencil of my choice, and the pieces to my canvas art fell into place.

Here is what I painted and how I did it.


SUPPLIES:
- (2) 24x36 Blank Canvases ($14 ea)
- Acrylic Paint: White, Yellow, Fuschia, and Charcoal (Or get a basic starter set on the cheap)
- Large Flat Paint Brush (or buy a different sized set)
- Plastic drop cloth (to cover surface you are painting on)
- Spare cup of water
- Paper plate or similar surface to mix paints
- Mandala Stencil (similar HERE)
- Small Roller Brush - (I used the one from this stencil set)

First, I ripped off the old "art" that was glued to the front of my Hobby Lobby canvases.
Of course, one came off in a snap, and the other I sat cursing for about an hour. This is why it would just be easier to start fresh with some news ones.


Then, once they were blank, I prepped them with a light sanding to remove any glue residue.


It's not perfect. I get it. But that really wasn't the look I was going for in general, so I think it works.

Next up is the background paint.
I was going for a rough, sort of rustic-looking sunset.
I basically just squirted the acrylic paint on in sections, thinned it out with water (a lot of water) and blended from light to dark. Don't do the reverse or you'll end up with a muddy mess.


While the background paint dried, I had a snack and opened up my mandala stencil.
This beauty comes as a "half"...not the whole circular stencil.
So you tape and paint one side, then rotate it 180 degrees and tape and paint the other half.
Turns out, having only the half works out really well when applying it to two different canvases.


I just happened to have some old enamel, high-gloss wall paint lying around, but you can purchase a similar paint here. I used a small roller from the stencil kit, taped the stencil down with some painters tape, and got to work.


Stenciling when the stencil is not spray-glued to the surface is going to make the project an imperfect process. Own your errors and you'll be a lot happier with the results.
If this was a very smooth surface, I easily would have opted to spray it into place with temporary glue.
But I'm also extremely impatient, so I accepted the fact that the paint bled a little and the lines weren't completely crisp. It's all good.

It fit with the whole old-world rustic theme I was going for anyways. :)

Once complete, I grabbed some velcro hanging strips and used the level in the stencil kit to mount my project to my office wall. I opted not to hammer nails into the wall because I figured my boss would flip out. These velcro strips also help for re-positioning if you happen to hang it a bit crooked to begin with.


So there you have it!
A beautiful, custom piece that is super easy to create!

Hope you find some inspiration in my work and create your own beauties!
Happy Memorial Day Weekend! XO

May 24, 2017

How I Quit Running Errands : Part 2 - Hello Fresh

Happy Hump Day folks!
Welcome to Part 2 of the how I eliminated all the things that don't bring you joy goals of 2017.

I decided to stop running errands. Yup.....I just stopped doing all of it.

All that precious weekend-time wasted doing things like meal-planning, grocery shopping, toiletry shopping, checking labels, cutting coupons, looking for deals, driving all over Hell and back, loading up the loot, schlepping all the bags up the porch stairs, unpacking the loot, and dropping into a pile of exhausted confusion.

I eliminated. All of it.

If you missed Part 1 where I explained how I buy all my toiletries and non-refrigerated grocery items from Target now, read up here!


For weekly dinners, we typically volley between actually wanting to cook or throwing in an oven pizza. With this inconsistency, I took a chance on Hello Fresh.

We have been customers for a couple months now, and it's been great. A breathe of fresh air, really.

I have seen other meal delivery services like Blue Apron, but for some reason, Hello Fresh caught my eye. I have also been fielding some questions from interested people, so I thought I would round up my answers on this post.

Q: DO YOU HAVE TO KNOW HOW TO COOK?
A: Sort of. I am not a chef in any way, but I do know how to chop up veggies and sautee things. I would say if you have ever made more than mac n' cheese, you're good. Plus, they give you step by step instructions with cooking times. It's basically full-proof.

Q: WHAT ARE THEY EXPECTING ME TO ALREADY HAVE?
A: The basics. A pot, a pan, an oven, a fridge. :) Olive oil, butter, salt, and pepper have been the only things I have had to use out of my own stock. And how much you use is completely up to your own taste.

Q: WHAT IF I DON'T LIKE A LOT OF DIFFERENT TYPES OF FOOD?
A: You maybe SOL, then. But, I will say, a lot of the meals we look at it sound...weird. But then we make it, end up loving it, and can't believe we never thought of the flavor combo's before!

Q: HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO MAKE EACH DINNER?
A: No more than 30 minutes. A lot of the steps are made in tandem, so everything is finished at the same time. In our home, I'll wrap up the second half of dinner, while Mark feeds the pets. Then we can eat while everything is still hot!

Q: WHAT IF WE THINK THE MEAL IS GROSS?
A: Tell them! Hello Fresh is CONSTANTLY looking for feedback to improve their efforts. I write a review for nearly ALL the meals.

So with those out of the way, let's talk about the details!

FIRST, CHOOSE YOUR PLAN TYPE AND AMOUNT:

There are three options:
Classic (meat and seafood meals)
Vegetarian (plant-based protein meals)
Family (budget-conscious meals for larger groups and tiny tummies)

You choose your plan and how many mouths you feed.
We chose the Classic meal plan, for three nights per week, for a family of 2.
Each week we are given seven meal options that typically include meat and fish/seafood options.


Of the seven meals, there is typically one breakfast meal and one pricier meal upgrade (for about $10). I have upgraded twice and have yet to be disappointed.

CHOOSE YOUR DELIVERY DATE:
I chose Saturday delivery so we can enjoy the three meals during the following work-week.

You are not required to be home to accept the delivery!
They are packed in ice packs, very professionally (similar to how my IVF meds arrive!).

I love this delivery option because it takes the mental stress out of trying to figure out something new all the time. A lot of times when I was making meals at home, I would eliminate some of the extras because, well, who always has a container of sesame seeds on hand?

Plus, you can always skip a week if you're out of town, or just burned out of making food.

We typically make these meals Monday, Tuesday, and Thursdays.
We open a box, turn on some Tom Petty, pour a glass of wine, and within 30 minutes, dinner is ready.

Three meals for two people is $60.
So, $10 per person, per meal.
Not too shabby.

BONUSES:
1. Sometimes they throw in "extras" like some chocolates. For Cinco de Mayo they gifted us a whole bottle of Tabasco!
2. All the recipes are available to download if you ever want to recreate a dish again!

A GIFT FOR YOU:
If you want to try it out, sign up HERE and get $40 off your first order!
That's over 60% off the regular price! (Referral code does not expire!)
We did the same thing, splurged on a premium box with our first order, and ended up only paying $30 for 3 meals!!

With the elimination of three week-night meals, all I have left to shop for the remaining grocery items. Stay tuned for my thoughts on our weekly Peapod grocery delivery next week!

Thanks for reading!! XO

May 19, 2017

All Things Pineapple

Fertility Warriors - you damn well know that the pineapple is our beacon of hope.

Pineapples are a symbol of fertility and hospitality.

Our hope and our strength. For joy and fun and laughter and family.

So sprinkle that shit all over your life! Look at all these goodies I found!

Necklace // Cover-Up // Ice-Cube Tray // Sunglasses // iPhone Case // Candle
Face Cleanser // Pool Float // Swaddle Set // Swim Trunks // Tote Bag // Wine Glasses // Hat


This pineapple pool float is being delivered to my house as we speak. I try to add a different float every summer. I can't think of anything more relaxing than floating around on a summer day in these cute pineapple sunnies.

I like to keep a candle burning in the bathroom when we have company over...something citrus and fruity always fits the bill in the summertime. This candle is perfect.

When we're out boating, a cover-up is key to easily transition from the water to outdoor dining. Pair it with this delicate necklace and some flip-flops and you're good to go.

Get your family in on the pineapple action as well with these adorable swim trunks for men and this pineapple swaddle set!

My wavy hair can be a tad unruly in the summertime, but this super cute trucker hat would cure that problem!

I don't know about you gals, but I am constantly on the search for skin care products that are free from nasty chemicals. I have used Alba products for a while and love them. This pineapple enzyme face wash smells awesome and is fertility-friendly as well!

I don't think it's possible to have too many tote bags. So many possibilities and cute designs! I am in LOVE with these gold sequin pineapples. Canvas is quick-drying as well, which is perfect for a beach day! Cover your iPhone in this cute case and you're the perfect kind of matchy-matchy.
I love a good stripe.

My favorite thing to do after work on a hot day, is grab an ice-cold glass of chard and sit by the pool. These pineapple wine glasses are perfect for me because they are stemless (I'm a bit of a klutz). 
And yes, I have been known to plop a few ice cubes in my wine, call it white trash if you will, but ice cubes are even cuter when they are pineapple shaped.
Or maybe you can use these for jello shots?
The possibilities are endless!! :)

That's a wrap! Hope you have a wonderful weekend! XO

May 17, 2017

Relapse

What is really bothering you?
Look at how you're standing.
Didn't the therapist say we needed a safe sentence that reigns in this type of behavior?
Whatever that sentence was...we need to say it now.

Mark is talking to me slowly. Like he always does when I'm about to lose my shit.
When I'm about to relapse with my grief.

It was the Thursday before Mother's Day.
I had just polished off a stiff vodka tonic and was reeling inside.

Looking for a fight.

Nothing. Why would you think it's anything? I'm just a little frustrated.
I just don't understand why YOU would start asking questions about what I do with MY medications. Their MINE. You're not the one that has to take all these shots and these pills.
I do.
So fuck off with your questions!

I storm out of the room and the overwhelming need to smash something to pieces takes over my rational thinking.
I storm back into the kitchen, slam the dishwasher shut with everything I have.
Open it.
Slam it back shut.
Open it again.
Slam it even harder.


I scream.

IT'S JUST NOT FAIR!!!

IT'S FUCKING MOTHER'S DAY!
WHEN THE FUCK AM I GOING TO BE A MOM?!
I AM SUPPOSED TO BE HAVING MY BABY SHOWER NEXT WEEKEND.
I'M SUPPOSED TO BE 31 WEEKS PREGNANT.
IT'S NOT. FUCKING. FAIR.
WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH MY LIFE!?

And proceed to bawl hysterically in the next room.

Burn is concerned.
He rushes over to me and nearly knocks me over while he proceeds to lick my kneecaps.
I start demanding a hug from Mark...because that's totally rational at this point.
No solutions, just a really big hug.

Mark unloads all the broken glasses from the dishwasher and I crumble in the corner, staring off into space. I can hear my heart beating through my ears at that point.

I need to calm down.
I am relapsing again and I hate that feeling.
That feeling of being out of control.
That feeling of being the alien in the room that everyone is staring at.

I'm so sick of feeling this pain.
So very sick and tired of feeling like I could spin out of control at any point.
That these feelings bubble to the surface so quickly I can't stop them, much less warn Mark that it's happening.
It comes on so quickly.

I have been an irritable mess for about a week, knowing that these two weekends were rapidly approaching.

For the most part, I have been good.
My recovery has been steady.
I argue and bicker with Mark here or there, but overall....I would say it's been positive.

But then shit like this happens and I curse the Heaven's asking WHY this is the hand I have been dealt.
Why now.
Why did this have to be taken away from me?
I keep asking for direction.
I keep asking for guidance.

I don't understand, and I'm trying to be patient, but sometimes the anger is overwhelming.

We went to bed halfheartedly defeated.
With no resolution outside of a thick apology, from me.
For ruining another evening.
For not having more patience.
For dumping these ugly feelings on Mark again.

As long as I "should be" pregnant, relapses are going to rear their ugly head at inopportune times.
Like when my due date arrives, or maybe again when yet another birthday rolls around, without the baby I have been wishing for since I was 28.

If you read these words, I want you to know that my life is not all gloom and doom.
I write these real emotions, the good and the bad, because I believe it's important to let others know that progress is most definitely not linear.
I can't even count how many times I have muttered the phrase one step forward, two steps back.
Because it's exactly that.
Just like you can't always have good, flawless, positive, drama-free days (although that would be nice.)
But the bad doesn't define me, or negate any of the good that has come out of my progress over the last five months.

I am starting to remember things again.
The therapist mentioned one of the symptoms of depression and grief is short-term memory loss...and of course when you're in the thick of it, you have no idea what she is saying.
Looking back, it's very true.
I still can't piece together a lot of events, but the harder I work at it, the more everything makes sense.

Speaking of therapists, I dumped mine.
Not because I think I'm cured.
But because I have gained a notion of clarity that I did not fully encapsulate before the miscarriage. The clarity to stop allowing bullshit to control parts of my life.

My therapist has screwed up a few times in recent months...double booking me....constantly running late....billing my insurance incorrectly....and while she helped when I needed to talk to someone....the bigger picture is...she was wasting a lot of my time.
And I was getting angry waiting for her to get her shit together all the time.
I simply do not have patience for people that do a half-ass job these days.

Same goes for my fertility treatments.
Having gone through the ringer for years at a company whose sole job is to get women pregnant...when they decided to switch a procedure to a different day....and a different LOCATION...without telling me?
Lord have mercy on them because I gave them a piece of my mind and likely got a few people fired.

This is MY TIME and MY MONEY and MY SANITY and MY FAMILY they are screwing with...and mama has had enough.
These days I feel more like Towanda from Fried Green Tomatoes.
And it feels good.


Thanks for reading. XO

May 12, 2017

Home Design : Our Bathroom Renovation

Let's take a trip down memory lane, shall we?

Waaayyy back in the fall of 2014, about a year after we moved into our forever home, we decided to gut and renovate our upstairs bathroom.

Confession: I may have cried in that very bathroom, during the initial walk-through of the home when we were deciding to purchase because it was just. so. ugly.

We wanted it to look more chic, more Miami, after our favorite vacation spot.
So this is what I came up with:

Chandelier // Wall Tile // Sconce // Towel Rod // Toilet Paper Holder // Faucet // Mirror
Glass Shelf // Cabinet // Floor Slate // Pedestal Sink // Towel Bar

We decided to handle the demo and prep ourselves over one weekend to save some money.
I know, it's so weird to want to get rid of this wallpaper. :)


It started out on a high note, with Mark getting overly frustrated with our old toilet and karate kicking it to pieces.

After that, it was my turn to take out some aggression on full walls of wood glue. The sanding alone took an entire day.

Then we brought in the professionals to add new sheet rock and lay tile.

Finally, it was on us to install the fun stuff. Mark was always so thrilled.


But the end result was so beautiful. Here is our first reveal, all festive for Christmas!

And this is it's current state (I need to work on my photography skills, ahem)








You all know I have an obsession with Amazon, and this renovation fully embraced that love. After measuring, debating, re-considering, and re-measuring, I pulled the trigger with all the pretty items on the list.

The flush-mount ceiling light is absolutely beautiful. Yes, you have to string up all the crystals by hand, but it was a labor of love and I was so thrilled with the results.

The two wall sconces that flank the mirror mimic the crystals in the ceiling light and provide a nice feminine quality against the dark slate tile.

I knew I wanted a pedestal sink to save space, and the addition of the towel bar and angular faucet added some chrome elements to tie into the glass shelving nearby.

I bought the white storage cabinet from Homegoods, but turns out, it's for sale online for the exact same price! Who knew?

We let the professionals lay the tile. I needed those grout lines to be perfect otherwise my OCD brain will stare at them for eternity. After the dust settled, I spent an afternoon sealing the slate with a wet look sealer. I used a large foam sponge and washed it on thinly, working my way out of the room. Once dried, I did another coat, and that was that!
The results have kept up since 2014 without re-applying!

Thank you for reading, and I hope you find a little inspiration from my home for your next project! XO

May 10, 2017

How I Quit Running Errands : Part 1 - Target

As part of my eliminate all the things that don't bring you joy goals of 2017, I decided to stop running errands.

Yup.....I just stopped doing all of it.

All that precious weekend-time wasted doing things like meal-planning, grocery shopping, toiletry shopping, checking labels, cutting coupons, looking for deals, driving all over Hell and back, loading up the loot, schlepping all the bags up the porch stairs, unpacking the loot, and dropping into a pile of exhausted confusion.

I eliminated. All of it.

Here's how:


Our situation
Mark and I are both full-time, working professionals outside the home. We are both very lucky to have steady jobs we don't hate. No, we are not rich. Far from it in fact.
But, I have always been a pro at managing money and we know when to splurge and when to save.
We have one cat and one dog and zero children.
*We hope to change the zero children stat by paying out the ass via IVF.

We value our evenings and weekends together like every other working professional.
We live for free-time, for down-time, for day-drinking, for parties, for date-nights, for movie-nights, for stay-cations, for make-it-at-home dinner dates, for friends, family, and FUN.

My Issue
When you subtract all the time and effort it takes for our careers, making dinners, cleaning the house, caring for the pets, sleeping, etc, we are left with roughly 40 hours of free time for the entire week.

And because of this, I have drawn a line in the sand.
I don't want to spend any more of those precious hours doing shit I absolutely hate.

The Solution
We live in an amazing time of technology. With a little "heavy lifting" on the front-end, I have researched and set-up delivery services for ALL. OF. IT.

On the line, people!


Am I sure I am saving every penny I can?
Nope.

So, now you're spending MORE money?
Nope.

Am I still coupon clipping and jumping around to ten different stores for the best deal?
Fuck no.

Am I HAPPIER now because I simplified my life?
YES. And this is really the only point that matters.

Can you do it too?
You bet your sweet ass.

The Details
I get weekly deliveries from three stores/sites: Target, Hello Fresh, and Peapod

Today, we'll focus on Target Home Delivery.

I use Target.com to buy household staples including toiletries and groceries that don't require refrigeration.

Think cleaning supplies, drug-store make-up, paper towels, condiments, baking supplies, coffee, light bulbs, vitamins, skin care, etc.

You get the same low prices and deals as you would in stores.



If you qualify for, say, a $5 Target Giftcard. It's emailed to you when the order ships, and you can use it on the next order!

Currently, Cartwheel isn't applicable for most online shopping.
I hope they change that soon because it probably saved me a few extra bucks every time I went into a store.
However, I justify this small loss with the fact that I'm not actually driving to the store, therefore, saving gas money. #winning

PREP FOR SUCCESS: This is the "heavy lifting" I was talking about earlier, but once you get it set up, choosing the items you use most to add to your cart for check-out becomes a breeze!

MAKE A LIST: I made a hand-written list of all the stuff I would buy at Target.
Yup, all of it.
I included Brand name or "Up and Up" Target brand pending what I use.

LOGIN AND LOVE IT: When you login to your Target account, and search for an item, you will see a little heart icon next to it. By clicking the heart icon, you are creating a list of "loves" that are saved for the future.



I did this for nearly every single item I would buy now or in the future.
I currently have 77 items in my saved list, and I'm sure I'll be adding more items to the pile in the future.

Each weekend, I jot down items I am running low on and every Tuesday during my lunch break, I order what I need. 99% of all my shipments arrive by Friday.

I "shop" from the saved list moving forward, instead of typing in each individual item on Target's main page.

My address is saved.
I apply any promotional coupons to my check-out screen, enter my CC and BOOM..shopping is done.

I can't tell you how awesome it is to have those huge paper towel and toilet paper bundles delivered right to my doorstep. I HATE how much space they took up in the cart!

Best part? All orders $35 and over ship FREE and are typically delivered to your front door within 4 business days.

So what do you think? Would you use Target Home Delivery for home staples?
I am happy to answer any questions that you may have.

Stay tuned next week for how I made week-night dinners easier with Hello Fresh!

Thanks for reading! XO

May 5, 2017

Happy Little Things : May

Yay for May!
What's not so yay, is this dreary weather. Did you know we got over 3 inches of rain in the last week?
That's like....3 FEET of snow! Crazy!

But..at least it's not snow, as is usual at some point this month.
Anyways, I have rounded up some happy little things that take the seriousness out of life and bring happy to the forefront.

Enjoy!
Coloring Book // Sofia Champs // Flamingo // Summer Mug // Umbrella Art // Coloring Pens // Hand Lettering

I'll be honest, at first when I started seeing all these adult coloring books pop up, the first judgmental thought that popped into my head was what a waste of time.
And maybe it still is a waste of time, but guys, don't we all need that sometimes? I have spent five months of mental and physical healing, and in the process, learned to eliminate a lot of things that don't truly bring me joy anymore.
Why not fill some of that extra time with things that don't require me to think about logistics and serious stuff? I found this cute shop on Instagram, which led me to her Pattern Play coloring book. She had me at flamingos, so I bought the book and these bright pens, and can't wait for them to show up at my door!

Champagne in a can. People. CHAMPS. IN A CAN. It's everything you never knew you needed.
I am meeting some fellow infertility warriors and one of my very best friends for an evening out where we paint and drink, and these are always my very favorite to-go libations.
The pink can just screams FUN...mostly because it comes with a cute little straw!

I'm not always a huge fan of generic artwork, but I ran across this piece and it spoke to me. During my darkest days of depression, when I felt alone and completely isolated, I could always trust in unconditional love from my dog. I know, it's silly. Maybe you have to be a dog person to understand. But they just want you to love them, and they just want to slobber all over you and be close to you and love you. And they don't say anything to mess it up. :) Dogs are the best.

Speaking of flamingo's, how fucking adorable is this little plush toy? It would be so darling in a little girl's room, I can't stand it. Again, found at Target as most glorious things are!


If you don't know Lindsay Letters, you should. She is not paying me to promote her, I just like pimping things I love and know others will love too. Right now her shop is having a clearance sale on prints and mugs, and of COURSE I scooped up this summer mug. Hello....PINEAPPLES!
I may have purchased a few others as fun little gifts too. ;)

Finally....Hand Lettering. Learn to write a certain way has a soft spot in my heart. It brings me back to my freshmen year in Interior Architecture school where we all had to learn to write...architecturally, ha!
It's forever my new normal. A lot of times, I see these chick's lettering, and I keep thinking...I could do that. So I just might. And this cute little book doubles as a tutorial and coffee table accessory.
See? It puts the FUN in FUNCTIONAL. LOL...I'm such a dork.

And with that, I'm off to color and do other crafty things!
Have a great weekend! XO

May 3, 2017

Benign

I can't believe we're already in May, right?
Like....the year is almost halfway over already, sort of...

If you follow along on Instagram (@shehasgoodgenes) then you know last week I asked for extra prayers because I was having some testing completed. Here's the whole story.....


So, way back on New Year's Eve, Mark and I were sitting by the fire, sipping champagne and generally trying to be as happy as possible, given all that we had been through in 2016.

I should interject with this little tidbit too....this is kind of gross, but you should know I am a poker. (that's what she said)
I get a weird satisfaction at poking and prodding and picking at things.
I like popping pimples, and checking my dog's ears for gunk, and generally making sure everything seems okay.

Like how you see monkeys groom other monkeys?
Yea, that's me. I like grooming the people and pets that live in my home.
Not, like....randoms.

ANYWAAAAYS....so on NYE, I must have been generally checked out at one point. My boobs hurt in previous days, likely because of the pregnancy and hormone drop after the miscarriage, when all of a sudden...I felt something.

A lump.

I'm sure my complexion went ghostly white, and I just froze.

Holy. Shit....I'm thinking.
So I start massaging the area more...is it really there? Am I making this up?
I check the other side...nope...not the same.

WTF!!!

I have Mark feel.
Yup...there is definitely something there...

I consult Dr. Google.
I keep reading that if it moves (it does) and if it seems like it isn't rooted to anything (it isn't) and that it feels like a pea or a marble (it does)...then it's likely a cyst.

We both vow to calm down. It's likely nothing. After everything I went through, who knows what these hormones have done to me.

Over the months of grieving, I did forget a lot that the lump was still there.
I waited until I finally got a real period....and noticed it was still hanging out, same size, same shape.

I had a breast exam from my gyno at some point in January, and he told me I have fibrocystic breasts.
This means they are more dense, and generally more lumpy, whereas a lot of other woman have pudding-consistency boobs.

So fun.

But the nodule is still there. Why didn't he say anything to me about it? Am I overreacting?

I had a physical in February where I ask my physician about it.
He tells me he does feel it...but agrees the hormones may be messing with me.
I should keep tabs on it and if it doesn't go away in a couple months...come back in.

Well guess what?
It never went away.

And now what used to be a small nagging feeling of it might be cancer starts coming to the front of my thoughts more often.

Like I need more bad shit in my life!
I wrapped up a rather shitty review at my job, am trying my best to get my head straight, battle depression, find joy after pregnancy loss, and now this.

I headed back in for another check and am promptly referred to the hospital for further testing.
After my, rather extensive, research, I have three conclusions:

1. a cyst - a fluid filled nothing. Nothing to worry about
2. a fibroadenoma - this is again, not really anything to worry about. It's common in women with fibrocystic breasts, but should be monitored and tested to ensure it's not something worse
3. cancer - we all know what this is

My gut kept telling me it was a fibroadenoma, but at this point, I just needed confirmation, before we move forward with any additional hormone therapy with IVF.

At the hospital, I had an ultrasound that immediately ruled out a cyst. The doctor suggested I move forward with a biopsy, just to be sure, and as luck would have it, I could get in that afternoon to have the procedure completed.

I was also lucky enough to have a dear friend at my side before and after each appointment as she works in the same hospital. I'm telling you, having a support system means more and more every day of my life...and a lot of times it hasn't been my husband.
But that's a whole other story for another day.

Now...the biopsy. After everything I went through with IVF, them telling me they were going to plunge multiple needles into my body didn't really phase me.
The doctor and nurses were so caring and kind, and walked me through the whole process.
From start to finish, it was roughly 15 minutes.

The first needle stings as they numb the area. Once numb, you don't feel anything more than pressure.
The biopsy needle makes a loud rubber-band snapping sound, and they performed three separate biopsies of the tumor.
I was cleaned up, given some steri-strips and a band-aid, and shuffled off to a mammogram.

They had placed a marker in the tumor, for future documentation, should the tumor grow or need to be removed.

Per usual, I ignored my need for downtime and headed back into the office.
Everything was fine until the numbness wore off, and I felt like I got hit by a truck.
I just felt off. Sad. Worried. Overwhelmed. The whole deal.

I left work early and cried in the parking lot.
I finally got home, still blubbering.
I asked for Mark to leave me alone as I laid in the guest room, generally pouting because at this point, I've just had it, you guys.

I'm sick and tired of fighting to become a mom.
I'm tired of being scared and worried for myself, for my future, for our lives.

I need a break. A real break in all this chaos. Not like time off.
Like I need some positivity and guidance that says what I'm doing is worth it.

All I wanted was to become a mom, and it's like every step of the way is just a huge slap in the face, and yet...I'm supposed to keep getting back up and saying...IS THAT ALL YOU GOT!?

So I carried on with the next couple of days. The biopsy site was very sore and I had limited movement on that side. I wasn't really allowed to shower for the first day, so kind of half-assed hung my head over the tub to wash my hair.

The biopsy was on a Tuesday, and I was told I wouldn't have results until Friday.
So you can guess my surprise when my phone rang Thursday afternoon.
I looked at the Caller ID, and started having flashbacks to when the IVF nurse would call with our results.

I said a quick prayer, then answered.

Hi Tia, this is Sandy, the nurse who worked with you Tuesday? I wanted to be sure to call you as soon as I got your results because I know you've been on pins and needles.

Your results were negative. It's benign. You have nothing to worry about.
What you have is a fibroadenoma. It will never transform into cancer, my dear.
It may grow or it may go away.

IVF will not affect anything, and I hope you move forward and become a mom. 
I have high hopes for you.

You can elect at any point in the future to have it removed, but it's doing no harm to stay put.
Also, you don't need yearly mammograms just yet, you're so young!
But if you are ever worried, please have your doctor schedule an ultrasound and we'll get you in for peace of mind.

Take care.

BENIGN.
The most beautiful word I have heard in a long time.
My health will always come first in this journey, and I am lucky to still get to pursue my dream.

So ladies...feel your boobies.
You are your own advocate for your own health.
If something is weird, or pops up unexpectedly, like mine did, get it checked out.

Chances are, all your worries will be washed away. But you never know until you know.

For me, I felt like this lump was the last piece of the grieving puzzle, over the last five months.
I have been working through a lot of things, trying to find the girl who used to be so carefree and ALIVE and excited about the future.

I have done a lot of personal growing this year.
Sometimes I don't think so, when I'm in the thick of depression, but as the days pass, I realize how much more confident I am with my choices and with my life.

I am learning to weed out the bullshit and focus on only the things that will bring my soul joy.

Closure, my friends, it's all about closure.


Thank you for reading. XO