April 24, 2017

Toddler Craft Caddy + Creative Mindsets


Disclaimer ** I am FAR from a craft expert. (Lo and Jess? This is all you!) I just throw things at Remi to keep her happy and these have been her favorites so far haha. She's almost 3 now and is finally taking some official responsibility for her creations!

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I have a confession to make. I am not the biggest fan of messes + clutter and when I used to think of crafts with a toddler, I would shudder a little. Guys, it stressed me out!
Next confession, having a toddler changed me because creativity is key and I will tell you why!

When Remi was turning 2 I was a pretty okay mom haha. I let her do her thing with positive reinforcements, the occasional timeout - I was fun! BUT thennnn she turned 2. I could just leave it there -- nuff said, but this rebellious age triggered this stressed, annoyed, grump of a mom that I even hated myself. I micromanaged EVERYYYYYTHING and when things didn't go according to plan, I was bummed inside. I was weird. I needed to make a change and it was enough for me to one night impulse buy some books on Amazon on the topic of learning to deal, being calm, embracing the crazy, yada yada yada. I bought the whole 4-book bundle, yo! I was annoyed with being so uptight and you know what all of those books advised? A creative mindset. No brainer.

From collecting leaves to chalk drawings on your driveway, I vowed then and there to just let things go and be creative! For months + months I have explored and shot photos and lived so free. I don't really answer to anyone, Remi and I just live for a living. We make whatever we want of our days because we can. I remember several months ago, somewhere between tri-city hill and Wally's Beach, Remi yelled out from the back seat, "Mom, I like adventures with you!" My heart burst and this age suddenly became okay with me. She collected her leaves and rocks to her heart's content and when her nasty mud-splattered shoes smeared my pants and the rest of the car interior, I was okay. I have really started to live in the moment and accept things as they are.

I'm a firm believer that a creative heart leads to a creative life which I would describe as contentment in the chaos. Sometimes my house is clean, sometimes it's a bomb. Sometimes we get Remi's hair done, most days we don't! Sometimes I still cringe internally over messes, but I also let Remi have some fun first. What kind of moms would we be if there was never a mess? Right?! I'm not saying we shouldn't have clean houses, clean is good! I'm just saying it's not the end of the world to push the pinterest-perfect mentality aside, relax, and let your kids be kids. Messes generally imply some enjoyment! Our kids aren't here to be 100% controlled and perfect. I actually find a lot of joy in the messes now and Remi is a lot happier when she is told OH SURE rather than H NO! ;)

I'm going to turn my sappy on for another split second and say:

Step away from the mundane scrolling. Live in the moment. Crank the music. We want to have fun, so we create! We create memories. We create dreams. We create messes. We create happy.

It has been so fun and important learning to embrace this part of life! I'm a better mom and all around a better person because of it.


Things we love to include in our craft caddy:

• stickers! Every kind.
• stamps. (as seen above) Remi could stamp all day and she does.
 • googly eyes
• glitter glue/white glue
• Finger paints + sponge shapes
• clay or play dough.
• crayons, markers + pencil crayons
• stamp markers - she loves these!
• sequins and gem stickers. Beware -- definitely messy!
• pipe cleaners. She loves to string things on them or stick them in strainers.
• beads + buttons (used for above)
• paper towel or toilet paper rolls
• kids scissors -- under serious supervision thanks to her hacking her hair!
• popsicle sticks + velcro dots -- so she can stick and unstick shapes all day.
• scrap paper or white paper
• coloring books
• watercolor paints -- I join too! :)

(We snagged this caddy at Walmart and I love the removable sorting tray in the top!)


April 12, 2017

Green[ish] Thumb


I'm a huge advocate for home being your little sanctuary for happiness. Ours is always changing but I really love making our house a home -- making it our own. Remi was getting a little bored  the other morning and I was feeling the itch to go look at flowers so we decided to head out and raid a few different garden centres + green houses close to our house to spruce things up a little. At the check out Remi told the cashier, "we just need some kid-friendly, little cuties." HAHA! I may have reiterated that point one too many times. I was laughing so hard! She's my little parrot for sure. 

If you can't tell, these are the most non-green thumb plants around. They're super low maintenance! Remi held them and chatted with them ("hey bud!") all afternoon so I think we nailed the kid-friendly part!
[Sidenote: Have I mentioned how much I ADORE the phase Remi is in right now? Because I do! She is so funny and just gets me. The other day I asked her what she wanted for her birthday and she told me she should maybe start collecting hats like me. I told her she can do that when she's older and she replied with the most content, "oh, sure!" It's not like I talk about how much I love hats, she's just the most keen and observant little lady and it cracks me up! She carries conversation like an adult sometimes. It's entertaining for sure!] 
Anyways, I love walking into the front room now and seeing the pop of neon green and orange. Definitely brightens things up! We don't live in the most plant-friendly area so you gotta do what you gotta do. Here's to green-ish thumbs, some consistent warmth, and to all the "kid-friendly little cuties"! ;)


April 3, 2017

IVF Round 1

source.
I realize this topic is kind of consuming a lot of my life right now and you're most likely a little bored of the whole thing, but just to clear my mind I thought I would give you a little update as to how our first round of IVF went. Again, this might be a little much if you don't like talking about fertility and such!

It all started in January. I had been on injections and medications for about a week when I got called in for an appointment at the fertility clinic for blood work and an ultrasound. Once this all starts it's a pretty intense process where you wake up at 6 AM to snag a number and then wait around until 7:30 AM to then get checked out number by number for your appointments. Sometimes you wait around a long time because each checkup is so different. I was one of the first 3 people every time and I never knew what to expect.

So at my first appointment, they let me know that my left ovary had very mini follicles but the right side had 4 great ones and 2 amazing ones! (6 in each side) They wanted to monitor things closely so the doctor asked me to come back in 2 days. For that appointment I brought Jason and Remi and we stayed at a hotel - made a weekend of it! We visited with some friends and family and it was a good time. 
At my next appointment they were pretty concerned with the left side so the doctor let me know that we had 2 options: ONE) stop this cycle right now and try on a lower dose next time up the chances of the left side's development or TWO) keep going even though our chances were a bit slimmer. I knew that Jason would agree with me on option 2 and the doctor told me he advised the same. He kept emphasizing that I am young and that's the only thing going for us at this point. So bitter sweet! He then told me he wanted to see us the next day. (!!) I was happy I had Remi and Jason with me. We had only packed overnight bags so we snagged another hotel room, I did the 6 AM wakeup to grab my number, and when I got there for my Sunday appointment it apparently was go time! They said 2 follicles were looking ready and that I had to come back again in 2 days. (I was really wishing I lived in Calgary by this point haha) 


EGG RETRIEVAL DAY
Tuesday was egg retrieval day! So excited and holy moly they are going to put 2 eggs in most likely?! We were pumped! We hadn't told anyone about what was actually happening this day. My mom watched Remi and for all anyone knew it was probably just another blood work/ ultrasound day. We just didn't want to get our hopes up let alone anyone else's! 

So we get admitted to a little waiting room. They had me change into my gown and a sweet nurse came in and explained what was going to be happening. The doctor came and did my IV. I was very comfortable. Our embryologist also came in and explained the process, that they would be emptying each follicle, so taking 8 separate oocytes that day. It was all very exciting. I was nervous about the pain and cramping though. That quickly disappeared when they pumped with Fentanyl haha. Let's just say we were best buds!
In the surgical room they had a big screen on the right wall that I watched. I went in alone as Jason had gone to do his sample. I brought music and honestly I felt like a million bucks. Thank you opioids! It was super neat seeing the probe go in and clear out each follicle. You don't get to see that everyday. Afterwards, I waited for Jason in our little room where they brought cookies and I just hung out and slept. I was SUPER dozy. I felt amazing though! When Jason came back the embryologist met us again with the overall synopsis of what she had done and we waited 30 minutes to be released. They would call us the next day with word on what had matured or not, but for the time being, we just had to wait. I can honestly tell you I didn't feel any cramping or discomfort from egg retrieval but I did sleep the ENTIRE way home haha. Thanks Jason!


EGG TRANSFER DAY
They called us the very next morning after egg retrieval to tell us the news. They had 5 successful eggs but out of those 5 only 2 had matured. They would transfer them the next day. 

This appointment was apparently quick and painless but it actually ended up being about a 1hr wait. They were running a bit behind so we just sat all gowned up in our little room hanging out for what I would consider too long, especially since my phone died. ;) All I could think about was twins to be honest haha, or maybe just one, or what if they don't even take? My brain was all over. 

"I really want twins! Don't get your hope up about twins... but that would be so neat. Can we afford twins? Can we afford another round of IVF? I really want to start a blanket shop! Extra income, cute and cuddly. I hope Remi is being good." Haha. My mind just turned and turned. 

We finally got called in and Jason got to come with me this time. They prepped everything, showed us a picture, showed everything to us on the screens from her taking them out of the media to putting them inside me. That was neat. They had me wait a bit afterwards and I felt a bit of pain but it didn't last long. They gave us a picture of the two transferred oocytes and we headed back to our little room. We changed and had to wait around another 30 minutes. Jason went to bring the car up and when I left the room there wasn't a person in sight. I always pictured walking out with people lining the hallways giving me hi- 5's but they were on to the next person. Whatevs! Thanks for the procedure guys! Thanks for my potential baby! haha just kidding but it was a little funny that way. Infertility is an interesting process. Very desensitizing. WHOLE. NEW. WORLD. 
I wasn't allowed to swim, hot tub, lift things above 10 pounds (hardest part with clingy Remi! I haven't been 100% with this...), work out, drive for 24 hours. I was heading to a gift show with my mom about a week later and it was going to be a great way to get my mind of things and another great way to avoid lifting Remi! ;) I was still taking a few pills but injections were over and we were on the home stretch!!


UNFORTUNATE RESULT
I'm not going to share much about this part just because it was obviously super hard but I was in Toronto with my mom at the gift show when it all happened. We had taken things easy, we were enjoying the gift show, I sat often, it was good. It wasn't until the evening of the 2nd day that I started to notice a bit of cramping. I had attempted to utter my usual prayers that night about "helping these babies to grow" and "if it be thy will, please help us to find success in this journey" but I physically was unable to utter those words and that's when I knew that we had lost them.

TMI but I woke up to quite a bit of spotting that next morning and long story short, by 3 o'clock that afternoon we were on a plane home. I couldn't imagine going through this with anyone else but my mom. She was amazing and I remember being so tense the entire flight home. When I sit on flights, I stay introverted and silent because I'm antisocial like that but my mom had made some friends and there was a very sweet Asian lady who asked for a picture with mom after we had landed. She was too cute! She handed us some red envelopes for Chinese New Year to put under our pillow for good luck? and we headed to our car. While unpacking the next day I almost threw it away but quickly glanced inside to find a $50 dollar bill! I called my mom and she had almost thrown hers away too! People are so sweet. 

That trip was an unforgettable one but I look at my mom a lot differently now, with all the love and respect. She's experienced quite a few miscarriages and she's STRONG! Although I hadn't experienced a miscarriage, my world was still rocked and we were back to square one. Those potential twins, that home stretch was all sucked away and I was wracked with dollar signs and the idea of having to do it all over again. I wasn't and still am not okay if I'm being completely honest, but I'm coping the best I know how and it has been a life-changing experience for sure!


HANDLING IT
I get comments all the time about not knowing what to say, what people can do, or if there is a right way to help me through all of this, and my one answer for that would be this quote:
"BE KIND for everyone is fighting a hard battle."
I guess because I wasn't completely open about what we were going through and others weren't aware, I had some really shattering moments with people that were most likely amplified because of my emotional instability at the time. Next time I should probably escape to some form of solitary confinement haha because timing was very poor! I cried more with these situations than I did with any of the infertility itself. Nothing is worse than getting blind sided with unkindness during struggles. I mean I don't want to be known as "the girl with secondary infertility going through IVF so hide yo wife, hide yo kids" but I really wish people would have eased up. I didn't need special treatment -- I just truly and entirely craved and still do crave genuine people who care and love. It's the sappiest statement haha but my life is a big blur of emotion and I just think it's the best way to handle it all - to be kind.