Sunday, January 31, 2010

I love because I can....

Scarves.  Border Collies.
Argyle.  Layers when it's cold.
Hot Chocolate.  Beads.
RIK.  Baby socks.
Pictures.  My Fair Lady.  
Snuggle time.  
Poetry.  My fireplace.
Nephews and Nieces.
Braves Baseball.
Key West.  Savannah.
Being married.
Beyond the Zone Saucy Curls.
Warm socks.
Hand-knitted anything.
Down comforters.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Healthy Eating Looking for Happy Eater

I've decided to revert back to my former healthy, active self.  I decided to get up off the couch.  In doing so, I have had to find things to fill my time that was otherwise being filled with vegging.  I cleaned the house, played with the dogs, and made a lovely grocery list.

Which leads me to the reason for this post!  I've decided to go back to cooking for us five nights a week.  We've been eating out way too much the past three months (thank you holiday season!).   I've managed to gain about 5 lbs that I don't like looking at every day.

With that being said, I went to the grocery store, list in hand, ready to tackle the shopping all on my own.  Let me just interject here that Rik usually goes with me and splits the list (yes, he's a saint of a man) but today, he was home, waiting on the in-laws to visit.  So anywho, I pull into the parking lot and find the ultimate bonus: A front row parking space!

I make it inside with my shopping arsenal: water bottle, credit card, mack-daddy grocery list and ink pen only to realize that at least 2000 people and their closest relatives had also decided to get off the couch.  What a madhouse!!!!  Two hours and forty minutes, and over $200 later, I exit the building exhausted, irritable and with achey legs!  I grumbled the whole way to the car (all of 20 seconds thanks to my awesome parking spot!).

Then, as I loaded those bags into the back of the car, I did what I always do when I leave a grocery store with an overflowing cart....I said a huge thank you to big guy upstairs.  How blessed I am to live in a place where I can work, and bring home a decent paycheck so that I can afford to eat any time that I am hungry.  How blessed I am that there is a place near me where food abounds and I can get anything that we need.  After I finished my prayer of thanks, my mood had improved considerably and I felt silly for being so grumpy!

I can't tell you how many yummy, healthy items I bought, but I know we won't have to buy lunch or dinner again for a few weeks!  In an effort to help myself (trust me, I need it!), I made a menu for this weeks dinners and another menu for the lunches I'd need to pack for myself each night.  Then, I packed a bag full of healthy snacks (apples, granola bars, 100 cal almond packs, water bottles, oatmeal and english muffins) so that I can eat more healthy breakfast items and snacks while I'm at work!

I'm feeling better about this year already!  This week's menu for dinner is looking pretty tasty and I'm happy to say that I'm back on the healthy wagon!  Gym clothes are packed, lunch is packed, meat is thawing for tomorrows dinner, and breakfast is laying on the counter for me to gulp down in the morning.

I feel like today was a winner....and dangit, so am I.

Monday, January 11, 2010

1 Plus 1 Plus 1

Ok, so I ended up working much later than planned this evening (after 7) so I didn't get anything "creative" done like I had planned.  But I did do something other than sit on my tush.  I did laundry.  :) That's something!  Take it or leave it!

So, I've deliberated about this long and hard and I finally decided (with the hubby's permission since it's his life too) to talk about our current "situation".  Our covert operation.  Our secret mission.  Our...well, you get the point.

Very few people knew this (or know about it now), but we've been trying to conceive now for about 8 months.  While that may not seem long to some, to me, someone who had feared pregnancy with all her heart and had done everything possible to prevent it up until the moment we decided to start trying, who is also very impatient and by most standards "healthy"'s forever.  Or I thought it was...until recently.

Each month, we were bungee jumping.  Or riding a roller coaster of ups and downs.  Whatever analogy you wanna use, we were experiencing it.  Then, in December, we found out we were pregnant.  I found out for certain on Christmas Eve.  What a fantastic present right?!  I was over the moon and more than a little in awe of the little tiny plus sign showing up on the test I took.  I couldn't believe we had done it.  We weren't "broken".  We had made a baby!  Or started to anyway!  I just stared at the test with this dumb grin on my face for a solid three minutes.  Oddly enough, I didn't cry.  Which is very surprising because I'm a huge sap.  I cry over sweet things or sentimental things very easily but somehow, I kept it all together.  Rik didn't suspect a thing!

My husband and I both are baseball fanatics.  More accurately, Braves fanatics.  We go to a game or so every month in Atlanta during the season, sometimes we go to spring training games in FL and we rarely ever miss a game by watching it on TV, going to the game or listening to it on the radio.  Rik was a high school and college pitcher and he has continued pitching in an adult baseball league that plays for several months every spring in Chattanooga, TN for the past 8 or so years.  Baseball is just something we share and we love it.  I took this all to heart when deciding how I would tell him we were pregnant.

That evening, we decided to exchange one gift.  I can never wait until Christmas to give him his presents, but this year, he made me save them all except one.  I snuck away at one point after I took the test and found an old baseball he had in the art studio (he has a huge bucket of them) and then snuck it upstairs into my little knitting room.  I wrote "#1 Daddy" on one side of the ball and then signed it "Love, Shannon +1" on the other side.  I put it in a box with the positive test and a little note that I signed "S. +1" and wrapped them up in Christmas paper.  

Whenever it was time to exchange our gifts, I was so nervous, I thought my heart was going to jump out of my chest.  You see, Rik has actually wanted a little one for a few years.  He's been beyond ready to be a Daddy.  It's not something he talks about constantly or anything but he has definitely made it known that he didn't want to wait a year after we were married before we started trying....that was my request (although we didn't wait that long at all).  

I'll never forget being at his class reunion this fall when a lady walked up holding a really adorable little girl about three years old with big blue eyes and blonde braids and then me looking over at Rik and seeing tears in his eyes.  Later, he just said that's exactly what he's imagined our little girl looking like and it had just really gotten him all choked up.  It really hit me hard that he has this pure, sweet desire to have his little girl or little boy wrapped around his neck as soon as possible.

So where were we?  Oh yes.  We were exchanging gifts.  I went first and opened a CD from him while he took pictures.  Then, I took the camera from him and took my sweet (and nervous) time getting that situated before handing him his little wrapped box.  He took forever (as usual) unwrapping his present and I thought I was going to scream before he finally got the paper off the box.  When he opened the box and pulled out the ball, he snorted kind of like he was a little perplexed.  I could see him going through a few things in his head over the course of two or three seconds trying to piece it together and then he saw the test in the box and it clicked.  I have several pictures of him during this whole process and it's really very precious and heart-wrenching.  He just kept saying, "Are you serious?!?!  Are you serious!?!" and then, with huge tears in his eyes, he clobbered me on the couch and kissed me about 50 times.  It really couldn't have been any sweeter.  

Cloud 9.  It's a very nice place to be.  We did sweet little things like call each other Mommy and Daddy.  He'd tell me, "Love you baby" and then tell my belly, "Love you too baby" when I'd leave the house.  I'd tell my belly that Daddy was being a stinker or Daddy was being a sweetheart depending on the situation.  Rik emailed me our company policy on maternity leave.  He checked into all kinds of benefits we have and what we're required to pay out of pocket after our insurance pays.  He made a list of things he wanted to get taken care of before the little one made his/her appearance.  I had looked at tons of baby stuff online, registered us for several baby & parenting magazines.  He had already found a very un-cute Braves mobile online and sent me a picture of it.  We told two of our closest friends because they were in for the holidays and we knew we wanted them to hear it in person and shared an afternoon of giggling and talking about it with them.   It was really sweet and really exciting.  

We went out two days later and bought six or seven books on pregnancy.  He bought three books on "Being Pregnant Too" and how to get ready for raising a baby from a Dad's perspective.  I bought a few nutritional/exercise books and another book that I really liked about things your girlfriends will tell you that your doctor never will (hilarious read, by the way).  The lady at the register was officially the first person we told we were expecting.  She got chills and tears in her eyes.  It made our day!

We had decided to keep the pregnancy quiet for a few weeks because we assumed I was just four weeks and we both knew that there was always something that could go wrong.  We had read the books, or at least the first few chapters of all of them.  So, we thought we'd give it a few weeks and see the doctor first.  Oddly enough, I had an appointment with my OB/GYN on the fourth of January to discuss with her why we weren't getting pregnant and to have my labs done to see if I needed any hormone injections.  We decided we'd just keep that appointment and surprise the doctor with the news so they wouldn't put us off till the 8 week mark before seeing us. *sneaky!*

My birthday was the 29th so we had our dinner plans scheduled that night and a masquerade party a few days later to celebrate with everyone.  It was my big 3-0 so we were going to make a big deal of it!  ha.  Anyway, we passed the days between Christmas and my birthday by making grocery lists including all the necessary foods I was going to have to start eating with matching exercise programs, reading our books, taking pictures of my 4 week pregnant belly and talking constantly about "plus one" and what he/she might look like, which room we were going to put him/her in, what kind of budget we needed to start adapting to and other newly pregnant things I'm sure every newly pregnant couple considers.  We were excited to say the least.

Then the old birthday rolled around.  Before Christmas Eve, I had been dreading the fact that I was turning 30 but looking forward to the evening (we always do something just the two of on the actual day) and then the party a few days later.  But, since we had gotten the news we were expecting, I couldn't care less about either event.  ha!  All I wanted to do was work on being pregnant!  But the day came and with it, unfortunately, lots of sadness.

On Monday, the 28th, I started spotting and cramping a little bit.  I knew this was normal and to be expected but after a little while, I called the doctor just to tell them what was going on (I needed to anyway) and she said she wanted me to come in the next day around 8:30 for blood work to make sure things were going in the right direction.  During that evening and on into that night, the spotting and cramping got worse and worse and worse and by morning, there was little doubt in my mind what was happening. 

We got up early after hardly sleeping and dragged ourselves around the house and through the morning routine in a funk.  It was like walking through really thick fog but not needing to see where you were going anyway because you knew the way.  You could make it from point a to point b without much thought or mental presence.  We held hands on the way to the doctor and I talked to one of my friends who had suffered several miscarriages before having her little girl in 2008.  She tried to be upbeat and explain that this is part of the process for a large number of women but I just didn't want to accept what I already knew in my heart.

We were having a miscarriage.  We were becoming a statistic.  We were swaying the "bad" number instead of building the "good" number in that scenario.  I didn't want to add to it!  "33% of women will miscarry during their lifetime" - I wanted to be in the other 66%, thank you very much.  But no one asked me what I wanted.  In just one day, I became 1 in 33 out of 100.   Take a number.  

Rik wouldn't leave the doctors office until someone saw us.  They only wanted to draw blood and send us along.  He wasn't going to let that happen.  A nurse took us back to a room.  She was very kind and answered several questions that we had, wrote me a Rx for 800 mg ibuprofen tablets ($4 at walmart for a 30 day supply, fyi), and told us to call if we had any other questions.  Then she just told me to go back home, get some rest, they'd let me know "for sure" that afternoon or the next morning.  So I did.  And they did.  

My hCG levels were at 5 and my progesterone levels were "non-existent" to quote the nurse that called me at lunch the following day.  Not that I needed any confirmation.  If anyone reading this has experienced a miscarriage, you know what it's like and you know you don't need a doctor to tell you what's shakin' down.  

It would be pointless to say that we were sad and depleted and shaken to the core.  We were in the depths of despair to quote Anne of Green Gables.  But we kept trying to pull each other back up and out of the funk by reminding each other that we had gotten pregnant.  We could do it again, hopefully.  But for a few days, it was really hard on both of us.  I think outwardly, we both did a really good job.  We got back to work the next day, we laughed with our friends, I survived the teasing from my co-workers about being pregnant instead of having a "stomach bug"(the excuse I gave them), and Rik did his best to cheer me up when he thought I was down.

But honestly, during those first three or four days, I was confused about what the next steps were and felt like no one was telling us what to do and I needed them to tell me what to do.  Did I need to have a procedure done?  How long does a miscarriage take?  When should we go back in for a visit to the doctor?  How long until you can try to get pregnant again?  Could a miscarriage cause other health problems?

We felt completely lost.  Neither of us knew what was going on.  We still had the appointment that Monday (the 4th) and luckily they didn't tell us to cancel it (since we were no longer pregnant) when we got our lab results.   So, we decided we would make a list of questions and ask the doc everything we needed to ask her then.  So, we had my little masquerade on the 2nd as planned and plugged along until Monday.

Monday, the doctor calls and has to reschedule because of an emergency.  We were so frustrated when we couldn't reach anyone to actually get the appointment rescheduled and even more frustrated when we found out it wasn't with the doctor, but with the Nurse Practitioner!  We still hadn't met our doctor! 

Tuesday morning around 4 am, I woke up and started vomiting.  I ended up throwing up 7 times in 9 hours.  Because we were already clueless and scared, we immediately thought something was wrong related to the miscarriage.  Especially after the PCP told us to call the OB/GYN and if I didn't stop throwing up to get to an ER.  Furthermore, the OB's office asked me how quickly I could get there and when I said thirty minutes, she said, "See you at 10:30".  It was 10:02.

It ended up that I only had a stomach virus that kicked my butt for about 24 hours and it did take my mind off of "things" but I literally thought I was dying at one point.  I even came back in the house when we were leaving to go to the doctor to pet the dogs one last time in case something happened to me.  But I survived.  We are surviving and the doctor gave us the ok to start trying again now that my body has recovered (we killed 2 birds with 1 stone during that visit AND I got to meet the doctor so that's the silver lining here).  Trying again just seems weird though.  It seems odd to think we can just get right back to it, but what do I know?  

So that's where we're at now.  That's our situation.  Our covert mission that failed.  And here we are working through it.  I'm working through it online when I haven't even told 90% of my family or friends.  I've just read so many blogs written by people who have been trying to conceive for years, gone through fertility treatments I can't even decipher, much less understand and have had more miscarriages than you can imagine...and they still manage to make it through each and every day with a certain strength and determination and grace.  I'm in awe of these people I've read about these past few days.  It's made me realize that I can get through this and maybe blogging or talking about it with others will help.  It's a bump in the road compared to what some have gone through and we'll keep traveling down this path as long as God allows us to do so and hope for the best.  We want a family and if we're able, we'll have one.  I look forward to seeing Rik with our little one's arms wrapped around his neck more than you can possibly know.

Till next time,

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Creatively Adding To My List

So, reading all these blogs written by all these amazing folks has really got me thinking.....I need to continue start my journey to being as creative as I can possibly be.  

Growing up, I had a wild imagination.  I made things, jewelry, perfume (not my best work).  I wrote poetry and short stories.  I read all the time (still do) and loved nothing more than going places in my mind I'd never been to and knew I probably never would.  Then I grew up.

I realized you had to work hard, make a living, pay your bills, eat, sleep and then do it all over again.  It's not that I suddenly thought, "Oh well, responsibility=creative".  It's not that at all...I just let life get in the way I suppose.

I've poked and prodded my creative self here and there-I taught myself to knit and crochet, I've refinished a few pieces of furniture, I've written poetry pretty regularly, I've made a few interesting pieces of jewelry, I made the masquerade mask I wore for my birthday party last week and then there was the two years or so where I made and sold gift baskets filled with my own bath gels, lotions, soaps, lip balm, etc.....but I just fill kind of empty because I'm not really doing anything regularly.  

My husband, Rik has his art studio on the basement floor of the house and I have the upstairs bonus room set up just for me.  It's currently home to hundreds of Christmas decorations (yes my tree is still up and the lights are still on the house) scattered all over the floor and my yarn collection pushed into each corner for safe-keeping.  It's like a Christmas graveyard decorated with skeins of yarn.  I really feel badly about not doing anything to get things back in order up there!

For the first time in my life, I've become a sedentary being.  I get home from work and I sit.  I fix our dinner or we grab something and then I do nothing but get on the computer or watch television.  What happened to the days of old when I refused to even turn ON the tube because it was such a huge waste of my time?  It's like all the energy (creative and otherwise) has just been zapped out of me.  This blog is the closest thing to creative that I can get right now it seems.  

I think I'm in the dumps.  I need a kick start or a jolt or a jarring or something...inspiration would be welcome at this point too.  

So, here it is....I'm going to go on record here and say that I have decided this will be added to my New Year's Resolution list:

Shannon's 2010 New Year's Resolution List (thus far):
1) To keep my mouth shut more often.
2) To be creative in some way each day.

There, I feel better because I've now made it official.  I'm going to do my level best to post some pictures of my projects to come just to keep me honest!  

Saturday, January 9, 2010

just a few lovely pics....

Well, this is just a funny/hilarious picture of Baxter Bagwell doing his jack russell thang.....JUMPING.  It just cracks me up every time I look at it because...well, it just does.

Tess realllllly hated me for this, but it was her birffday!!!  You have to wear a birffday hat and be sung to on your birffday!!!!

The other man in my life.....Chance.  Can you really get any prettier?  He does no wrong.

Let's just say this picture has a certain hilarity to it that some do not see....

Thursday, January 7, 2010

New Year's Revelation-Ok, so it's not really a revelation....

So, recently I've decided to do a better job recognizing my strengths...which I've also found inevitably leads you straight to your failures when you're of an analytical (not pessimistic) mind (which I like to think I am).  

Tonight, I had a revelation.  I need to talk less.  I need to heed the words of all my elementary school teachers marking up my report cards year after year with comments like, "Shannon is a joy to have in my class when she is not talking to her neighbors" or the more to-the-point, "Shannon talks too much".

I'm realizing more and more that being open and forth-coming (an open-book) is not necessarily a strength.  Sure, it makes you personable and people enjoy talking to you because you don't seem snooty or snobby, but some times (more often than not I've found recently), it's just better to keep your mouth shut.  That seems to be where I run into trouble.  For example...

At no time is it ever a good idea to share with a co-worker (or two) the fact that your doctor had to give you your medicine in suppository form because you were ralphing too hard to keep even the smallest sips of water in your tummy.  Nor is it ever a good idea to describe your projectile vomiting episode that took place behind the power supply box of the local hospital to your new, weak-stomached boss just so she doesn't think you were "faking it" to get a few extra days off around the holidays.  It is also not a good idea to talk to a new employee on the floor and make "that's what she said" jokes after something they say just because you think it's hilarious.  They most likely do not.  I've also found that making conversation with your AVP should never end in discussing those little tags on the back of men's dress shirts that all the mean kids at school hatefully called "fag tags".   Especially when he's talking about wearing one of those shirts.

I could go on here, but I think recounting one days events is enough to validate my need for privacy and self-restraint.  I'm going to go on record here and say that my 2010, New Year's Resolution is to be just a little more reserved for the remaining 11 plus months than I have been the past 12 hours.


Monday, January 4, 2010


I can't imagine what some people go through in their lives that makes them who they are. We're all so very different. Yet, so very similar.

I know it's a collective chutney of sweet and spicy events all mixed together culminating in the savory (or otherwise) dish we are presented with in the end but......the mind and the heart and the soul are warped, twisted, improved, changed with every day that passes from the day they are born. Each day, each ingredient in our life's recipe effects us in a very specific, very irreversible way. In ways we cannot avoid. In ways we learn to understand, accept and adjust to.

Because of who we are and how we've been shaped thus far in our lives directly impacts how every thing, every situation, every event will change us and mold us further. Our past indirectly influences and reflects our future. We chose our situations, but never how our brains, our soul or whatever you want to call it will respond.

How I react to and overcome adversity, joy, trials and challenges today is different from how I would have approached it five years ago or even five days ago (because it's not who I am now) and therefore it's different in how it alters me in the future; my future self.

It's like a very well-made map was drawn for my life and it is being followed every day, in the correct order, as it should to make me the person that I was meant to be. And with each change, each day I'm alive I am morphing just enough into my future self to experience the following day as I was meant to.

Each event, or occurrence or person I meet I am meeting or experiencing as I was meant to meet them, at the proper time in my life for it to develop me into the ME that I'll be on the day that I die.

What a thought?

The caveat to this, of course, is understanding why "bad people" end up the way they do if it's all part of a master plan that we can't control. If we can't control how something effects our mind or our soul, how can we cast so much blame on those who are subjected to the unthinkable?...and how can some people experience horrific things that they can rebound from and go on with their lives while others can experience far less and it causes them to break down, murder, rage? It's like having our minds, our psyche made up of different types of material...or fabric. Some sturdier than others, some delicate as tissue paper, easily ripped and torn to pieces.