Sunday, May 19, 2013

Joci Turns 4

It's been two months, but how about some pictures of Joci's birthday? She has been anticipating this birthday since about Christmas. I had to tell her back then that all the snow had to melt before it was her birthday. Time and waiting is hard for 3-year-olds. 

And finally, the birthday came. I have never seen a happier kid. When she went into the living room the morning of her birthday she was so excited to see streamers, wrapped gifts, and a rainbow wall hanging. 

She had breakfast with me at my work that morning. She told EVERYONE it was her birthday. 


Barbie game from cousins

Moon Sand, a last gift from Grandma Normandie. My mom usually thought ahead a bit and we found a sack with a couple toys. There was Sharpie writing on the sack saying which toy was for which grandchild. 

One of the easier cakes I have made. Why do I try so hard on birthdays? Lots of layers, but cute. 


I love the grin this girl gets when we sing Happy Birthday to her. 

I asked her if she made a wish. She said yes. When I cut the cake and put a slice on her plate, she squealed and said, "That was my wish!!!!"


That weekend, Grandma and Grandpa Z came. Of all her gifts, Joci loved the singing birthday card the most. She took it everywhere. Even to bed. It died after only a few days. She also really loved her pink cowgirl boots. They light up when she walks. For about four days she wore them everywhere and even slept in her boots.


Joci had her first friend birthday party. Attendance was a bit abysmal and that disappointed me but she didn't  notice or seem to mind. We went to a party place called Blast-Off.

Even Noelle got in on the action

Joci was really uncertain at first and scared of the tiny tunnels and rooms, but finally warmed up.

About to eat cupcakes. Landon, Joci, Alex and Alyssa, and Paige.

Rainbow cupcakes

Noelle had her first taste of cake and loved it

Alyssa showing Joci how to play with the doll she got her


After her friend birthday party, Joci  was convinced she was 5 because she had two birthdays. :) It's taken us awhile to convince her she is only 4. We love our little girl. Every year is just more and more fun. I love having a four-year-old.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

If You Love It So Much, Why Don't You Marry It?


Joci just saw a wedding picture of William and Kate on my computer.

Joci: Why are they getting married?
Me: Because they are in love.
Joci: Why do the boy think the girl is love?
Me: When you get married, you start a new family and you always want your family to love each other. So you always marry someone you love very much.
Joci is thoughtful for a minute and then says: I love cake.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day Without My Mom




This has been a very tender Mother's Day for me. Last year, I was *supposed* to spend Mother's Day with my mom. She had plans to come up to Idaho to spend the weekend with my brother and me. But my little baby Noelle came earlier than expected and I spent Mother's Day in Arkansas while my parents stayed in my house and watched Joci.

No one on this earth would know that my mom only had six more months left in her life.

I am not coping very well today. I push away thoughts and memories because the crying gets really ugly when I let them come to the surface. But I do want to honor my mom with some favorite memories.

* I was maybe 6 or 7. We went to Arctic Circle. We ordered our food then hung back to wait for our order. There was a half-wall separating the ordering area from the eating area. I noticed a wallet on that half-wall. I looked around. No one was near the wallet. I was concerned that someone had lost it. So I reached out to grab the wallet with every intention of turning into the Arctic Circle employee and report it missing. As my hand hovered over the wallet, a sketchy looking man with a dirty tee shirt, grizzled long beard, and crazy eyes slapped my hand and called me a thief. I instantly started crying as I tried to explain what was going on. My mom finally clued into what was happening and she went full-on mama bear crazy. You don't hit someone's child and expect to get away without a massive verbal evisceration at the Arctic Circle.

*I was 16 and my mom took me to lunch at Mi Casa restaurant. Pretty cool for her to just take me to lunch one random day in high school. We started talking. I told my mom a lot of stuff, but I always kept my romantic life pretty private. But this time I opened up to her about a boy I was in love with. I was embarrassed and expected her to tell me I was to young to be in love. Instead, she commiserated with the pain of it all and told me that young love is very real and very strong.

*One time in high school my dad was out of town and my mom said I could have a big party. Like the kind of parties you see in the movies when the parents are gone. But no alcohol of course. And so I did. Almost the entire school came over. My mom even set up the TV and VCR on a picnic table out side and like 10 kids were piled on the trampoline watching the movie. My mom, of course, was in the garden weeding and planting flowers by only the porch light.

*I remember looking out at the sea of parents' faces during the kindergarten Christmas pageant and comparing them all. My mom was the most beautiful out of all the moms.

*I always told my mom that I picked her to be my mom. I've said this since before I can even remember. I think it's true.

*My mom was really nervous about our first adoption. She was nervous about the prospect of an open adoption. When Joci was born and we drove to go get her, I could hear the apprehension in her voice almost more than the excitement. She seemed to be prepping me for a heartbreaking outcome. She also seemed to view Joci's birthmom as an obstacle to be overcome. I don't say that as a bad thing. Unless you've had an experience with an open adoption, it's natural. Well, we got to Boise and me the baby and the birth parents in the hospital and then went to Applebee's for lunch. I called my mom on my cell phone to tell her that we held the baby and things were going well. At that moment she was shopping at JCPenney for clothes for the baby. Suddenly the line went really quiet. With a choked voice, she told me to thank the birth mother and tell her she loved her. It was such a special moment, knowing my mom loved my daughter's birth mom.

*I still feel guilty about this. My mom made me an amazing, elaborate dress for preschool graduation. As a 5 year old, I had a hard time with the abstract idea of a picture of a dress on the pattern and different fabric and modifications. I wanted my dress to be just like the dress on the pattern. She finished the dress and had me try it on. The dress had some little detail I wasn't happy with. Like there were little bows on it instead of rose appliques. Something like that. I threw a fit. I was not kind. Instead of telling her snotty 5 year old to just be grateful for a beautiful new dress, she spent all night redoing it to make it right for me.

This is the dress. My niece wore it at my wedding. 

A few more memories. I'll be brief. 

*When I went on vacation to NYC and she came to my house to watch Joci and she made Halloween costumes for me and my friend. 
*When I was in college and we had a truly honest discussion about relationships and disappointment
*When she was so proud of the work I do as a copywriter that she made me pose in front of a sign I had written that was on display at my company and took my picture with it. 


*The many times she let me stay home from elementary school just because I was her baby and she wanted to spend time with me. 

I still can't believe you aren't with me, Mom. You were so healthy and vivacious, I fully expected another 25+ years out of you. Your mother lived that long. I always imagined building an apartment for you in our house and making a lot of special memories with you in your golden years. I'm still coming to terms with life without you. I don't like it one bit. But you were such an amazing mom and I know that heaven missed you and needed you back. Nothing gold can stay. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

20 Things You Need to Know About Infertility


  1. You know someone who struggles with infertility. The statistics vary from 1 in 10 to 1 in 8 to 1in 4, but even at the smallest percentage, that means one out of every ten people you know struggle with infertility.
  2. Infertility is embarrassing. People make bad jokes. I was asked if my husband and I knew how to “do it” right. I had to keep a chart for my ob-gyn marking every day that we “did it”, marking my temperature every morning, marking my cycles. Someone gave me a Sex for Dummies book—I normally take jokes really well, but it was humiliating.
  3. Because infertility is embarrassing, many people don’t talk about it. I promise that you know more than one person struggling with infertility. I also promise that you won’t know everyone in your life who is struggling with infertility.
  4. Infertility and sterility are different. Infertility is not being able to conceive a child after twelve months of trying. Infertility can sometimes be overcome through medicines or procedures. Sterility is the inability to procreate. No amount of medical intervention can change sterility.
  5. Infertility is not always a female thing (even though Henry the VIII always blames his wives). Male infertility happens just as frequently as female infertility.
  6. Most insurance plans do not cover infertility treatments.
  7. President George Washington, the Father of Our Country, was likely infertile. He never fathered any children, even though his wife Martha had four children with her first husband.
  8. Infertility can be caused by many different things—hormone levels, glucose levels, polycystic ovarian syndrome, low sperm count, sporadic ovulation, low sperm motility, endometriosis, irregular menstruation, infections, scar tissue, and much, much more.
  9. Secondary infertility is when someone who has already had a baby has difficulty having another baby.  
  10. Secondary infertility is just as devastating as primary infertility. The fact that someone should be “happy with what they have” and be glad they already have a child does not lessen the blow that their hopes and expectations have been pulled away from them.
  11. In vitro fertilization is not the only course of action for infertility. Treatments depend on the underlying cause and will vary based on that. Many treatments are as simple as taking a pill a few times a month or changing your diet. Less than 3% of infertile couples are treated with in vitro fertilization.
  12. Alternative health care like acupuncture or herbal remedies seems to be beneficial at treating infertility.
  13. Infertility is a physical disease and must be treated as such. “Relaxing” won’t get rid of someone’s lupus or diabetes. It won’t get rid of infertility. However, learning to cope with stress is an important part of dealing with infertility, just as it’s an important part of dealing with any long-term disease.
  14. Depression rates in people with infertility are the same as in people diagnosed with cancer.
  15. Adoption is not a cure for infertility—it a cure for childlessness, which is not the same thing.
  16. Infertility increases with age. While society may think that 30 is the new 20, women’s ovaries haven’t got the message.  
  17. There are only about 600 reproductive endocrinologists (reproductive specialists) compared to over 28,000 ob-gyns.
  18. Baby showers and birth announcements can be really hard for those who are struggling to have children. 
  19. Hormone therapy used to treat infertility can make people extremely moody and sensitive with a penchant to get upset easily, rage astronomically, and cry uncontrollably. They don't act like themselves. They are usually aware. They don't feel like themselves. They don't like themselves either. Show them extra patience and love when this happens. 
  20. People with infertility like hugs as much as everyone else. Give them one. 




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