Hello, Dusty Corners

Hello, Dusty Corners of the internet. It’s me. I hope you aren’t mad that I’ve been away so long. Life gets crazy, you see, and sometimes it’s hard to pause and reflect.

I messaged with an old friend recently who reminded me that I used to leave my thoughts here. I’m going to try to find time to leave them here once more.

This started out as an (in)fertility blog, so it seems only proper to perhaps pick it up there. I went back and re-read my last fertility related post from November 2014. I was in a rough place, knowing we needed to put things on hold. 9 cycles in, and nothing to show for it.

I thought things were going on hold for 3 months. We ended up on hold for 7 months, because life just got in the way. In June of 2015 we trudged back down to the clinic to discuss our options for in vitro. We forged ahead and got 5 viable embryos from that cycle. Our fresh transfer wasn’t successful, and we moved on to Frozen transfer in August.

I titled this blog “Let’s Make 3” because that was our dream. The pitter-patter of ten tiny toes. The thought of a little bundle of joy snuggled close with me on cold winter days. We were moving mountains to have a baby, but that isn’t what happened.

We had two.

That’s right. We skipped right over 3 and became a family of 4. Of course, if you know us in real life, you’ve seen us flood Facebook with photographs of our tiny humans, so this isn’t news. But if you stumbled upon this humble page – that’s how the story concludes. Actually, it’s really more how the story begins.

The babes were both boys, and the boys are now a year old. I have no shortage of stories and antics to share. I know many of my experiences are common to all mothers. Maybe some are unique to moms of multiples. Either way, if you want to laugh with us or cry with us, we’ll be here.

18221740_10103819839822226_8332457192030199812_n

Advertisements

Iza Bajan

The first port of call on our Caribbean cruise was Bridgetown, Barbados. It was our first visit to Barbados, and I very much hope not our last. Any island that makes its own rum is a good island in my book, and this island boasts three distilleries. It’s a pretty strong start.

We wandered into town and made a point to check out the fish market. It was a lively bunch – hawking their selection of seafood. There was flying fish, swordfish, and tunas the size of toddlers. Colleen fell in love at once.

Fish kisses

Well, that’s awkward.

After that, we thought it best to take it down a notch. We caught a taxi from the pier with a very spirited driver named Eve. She entertained us the whole way to Payne’s Bay beach, where she left us in the care of a man named Marvelous. You can’t make this stuff up. Marvelous was, well, he was marvelous. He got us set up with beach chairs and an umbrella, and pointed us in the direction of the best rum punch on the beach.

Payne’s Bay boasts several villas of the Hollywood high and mighty. Rhianna, Simon Cowell, and Opera are owners of the cool white condos at the the far end of the beach. They were enjoying some of their many other homes that week, but we did spot quite the interesting visitor.

Colleen coaxed me into the ocean after we’d enjoyed some rum punch and tilapia sandwiches. I swim in pools. Anything murkier than that merits my rear end stay firmly planted firmly on shore. But the water was crystal clear, so I thought I’d chance it. If I saw a fish, I could run back to dry land.

I didn’t see “a fish”. I saw a 5 foot wide stingray go casually floating past – just a few feet from where I stood. I managed to keep my cool, and actually stayed in the water as it moved back into the rocky reef. Thank you, Mount Gay Rum punch, for that extra dose of courage!

Eventually, I found my way back to our lounge chairs – and that’s where I stayed until Eve arrived to take us back to the boat. I don’t know that a single day in Barbados can make me a Bajun – perhaps we’d better go back and see.

Payne's Bay beach

Quieramos cerveza, por favor.

If you’ve never taken a cruise, I firmly believe you’ve no idea what your missing. I’d like to take a moment to tell you that you’re missing a great deal, and I feel a bit sorry for you.

If you’ve ever come home from a cruise in the dead of winter – leaving azure waters, soft white sand, and temperatures in the 80’s for steely skies and frigid winds – I feel sorry for you, too.

We fall into the later category. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

All of the cruises we’ve taken previously have left from the US mainland. This time around, we flew to Puerto Rico and began the party almost as soon as we landed. Our group of friends and friends-to-be arrived the day before the cruise, and we congregated in the street outside the local bar (across from our hotel) at midnight. You know, like normal people.

We quickly discovered that we were not in the tourist district. The sign outside the bar read “Michelob – 5/$10”. It seemed pretty straight forward – so the first in our party stepped up to the bar and said “I’d like the five for ten Michelob special!” The bartender responded, “¿Que?”

“You know – the beer bucket special on the sign? Five for ten bucks, right?”

“Lo siento, no hablamos Inglés.”

“Beer. I want beer.” *Pointing to cooler*

Oh boy – we’re not in Kansas anymore, kids. I scuttled to the front of the line to rescue our friend, and managed to recall enough Spanish from high school to get our vacation underway. At the time, it seemed an odd lesson choice to teach a classroom of teenagers to say “beer” in Spanish, but our Maestra was a wise woman of the world. She knew what would be important in the decades to follow.

There was precious little to do the following day prior to boarding the ship, so we headed back to the bar across the street. We snacked on tacos – both conejo and pollo – and sipped on a delightfully delicious error from the bartender many times over. As it turns out, my Spanish is not as fluent as I’d hoped. Somewhere along the line “Lime Rum with Diet Coke” turned into Lime Rum with Cranberry juice. I kid you not – it’s delicious.

Two dozen of us sat on the open air porches on the outskirts of San Juan – drinking, eating, and sharing each others’ company. Most every cell phone was put away, and yet not one of us seemed bored or wishing to be anywhere but where we were. I couldn’t have asked for a better start to vacation.

All things bright and beautiful

This winter has been bitterly cold for us here in the Northern states. I’m thoroughly fed up with wind chills of 30 below. Enough is enough! Give me spring!

We had some respite in January – escapes from winter that were not nearly long enough, and made the temperatures feel that much colder upon our return. I’m holding those adventures quite near to my heart as I wait for the ground to thaw and the colors of spring to arrive. It seems that the memories of palm trees and warm sand, cocktails and bad hot dogs are fading – so I’d best share them now.

After the holiday hubbub subsided and our decorations were safely tucked away, we took a long weekend to visit my grandparents in Florida. They have a lovely spot on the East Coast. We drifted off to sleep at night on the sounds of crashing waves, and woke in the morning to warmth and a world of possibilities. I don’t believe 3 days has ever elapsed so quickly.

We saw dozens of interesting restaurants – shacks on the ocean serving fresh seafood, Latino inspired cuisines ranging from Mexican to Cuban, even a highly regarded German eatery. We ate at none of them. My grandparent’s taste buds err on the side of caution. We did enjoy fried seafood at the New England Eatery – as two souls born and raised in Rhode Island, my grandparents place their trust in all things New England. In this case, it served them well.

What we took away from that trip more than anything was peace and rest. I am a planner – often to a fault. I like to maximize my use of time away and squeeze something into every spare moment. We went on this trip with no agenda, no schedule, and no expectation above time with loved ones. We left our cares in the sand and hung our hopes on the sunrise.

On the last day of the trip, Colleen texted me a photo. She was down on the beach, I wasn’t yet awake. She was drinking coffee and watching the sun come up above the ocean. I’ve since come across a quote by author Jo Walton, and it fits Colleen’s photo so well – I suppose I’ll share them both!

“There’s a sunrise and a sunset every single day, and they’re absolutely free.

Don’t miss so many of them.”

Sunrise

Ringing out the old

2014 has decided to wrap itself up in blustery snowfall and bitter cold here. The last bits of daylight showed flurries being whipped in circles by biting winds. I will begin 2015 with a hot cup of coffee, peeking out the frosted windows of our old house as Colleen guides the snowblower up the driveway. And for the hundredth time already this winter, I will be thankful for her.

Thankful feels like a good way to start the new year. 2014 has been a mixed bag, and while I’ll not say I regret any of it, I am thankful to move forward.

This year has held many treasures – an extended family vacation, the birth of my beautiful niece, building a house, completing a degree. We’ve hosted parties and stolen getaways together. We are moving forward with wonderful memories.

And yet as I write this, I realize I thought we would be in a much difference place. If our fertility journey had been successful this year, we would likely be pregnant now. If we had succeeded in the first two tries, the baby would already be here. Neither of us ever imagined we would still be here with no sure end in sight.

2014 has been marked with moments of intense heartache. As anyone who has been on this journey can share, every “no” is hard to hear. Every month that passes makes the reality of pregnancy and a family seem a bit further away – a little less possible.

2014 has changed me – some ways for better and some for worse. I have proven to myself that I’m stronger than I ever imagined. Colleen and I have weathered storms and forged an incredibly strong relationship. But I’m more jaded, more cynical, and a little less cheerful. There are times I want to disconnect and retreat.

I have said many times that the only way out is through. 2014 was a “through” on this road for us. I hope and pray that 2015 is our year. I can’t make a resolution to be a mom in 2015, as badly as my heart may wish it. We can only resolve to keep moving forward.

Put one foot in front of the other

Last week, Colleen and I enjoyed an evening together – an increasingly rare luxury these days. To her delight, the Christmas classic ‘Santa Claus is comin’ to town’ was on TV. To her surprise, I admitted that I’d never seen it. I’m somewhat a sucker for all things Christmas, and I enjoyed every minute.

I’ve had a song from that special stuck in my head for the past week, and I must admit it’s quite fitting.

Three years ago, I decided to go back to school. I’ve had a full schedule of classes (on top of work and trying for a baby) since then, and Colleen has handled far more than her share of keeping our lives running in the meantime. Amazingly, I’ll be done in just 5 days, and off to walk the stage in a cap and gown. These are possibly the longest 5 days I’ve experienced since all of this began. Between the term papers, regular assignments, course evaluations and discussion posts, I’m trying to figure out when I’ll have the chance to sleep!

When I’ve reached the point where I don’t know if I should laugh or cry, red-headed Kris Kringle has been popping into my head with the catchiest little diddy of the season.

one foot

“Put one foot in front of the other, and soon you’ll be walking ‘cross the floor.      Put one foot in front of the other, and soon you’ll be walking out the door!”

Kris is right of course. The only way out is through. So I’ll keep on going – one step at a time!

I am incredibly grateful for Colleen’s love and support, and I will be incredibly grateful when Friday gets here and I can move past term papers and assignments and enjoy more time with my wife. And maybe before the holidays draw to a close, we’ll watch the story of Santa Claus together just one more time.

Lumber, Nails, and Glitter Pumpkins

My mom won a prize at a baby shower she attended recently. It was a small, artificial pumpkin that had been tarred and feathered. It seems, however, that the creator had run out of both tar and feathers, so they utilized the next best thing. Glue and glitter. It actually made a very sweet centerpiece for our Thanksgiving dinner. We did things the traditional way – too much food, and plenty of laughter – the way holidays are meant to be.

Glitter pumpkin

Last Thanksgiving, we celebrated with a twist. We’d begun a family project, the magnitude of which we’d yet to realize. The holiday meal was served on sheets of plywood, carefully balanced on saw horses. 16 of us gathered in the fresh pine shell of a house that we’d all worked to build in the weeks before. This house was the family project – a long time dream coming to fruition. It wasn’t much to look at yet – open rafters criss-crossed the ceilings, and a plastic tarp fluttered in the entry where we’d yet to put a door. November in East Tennessee isn’t particularly warm, and we fired up temporary heaters to take off the chill. The wine and the laughter warmed us more than anything.

House   thanksgiving

In the many months that followed, the house took shape. It was a slow transformation, like a butterfly hatching from its cocoon. Some weekends, the family gathered for a work day and a barbeque. Other days, Colleen and her brother worked alone, fingers frozen, tending to the more intricate details. Winter became spring, and spring became summer, and still the work went on. None of us imagined the tenancity we’d need to see the project through. None of us imagined how difficult it would be to work together to assemble the pieces and parts.

Colleen has spent the past month painting walls and building window sills. Every nail brings the project closer to its completion. Yesterday, we stood in the kitchen and assembled sandwiches on countertops, set where the plywood tables had been erected a year before. A year. And still the project goes on – installing bathroom fixtures and waiting for carpeting, attaching hardware and outlet covers. As any homeowner can tell you, the work is never done. Colleen is packing her bags as I write this, and she’ll be boarding a plane to come home to New York tomorrow. Its sad not to stay and see the project completed, but time moves more quickly than we do, and its not in our hands. We know in a week the new little house will smell like fresh pine once again, the scent coming this time from the softly lit Christmas tree.

There are so many other things grabbing for our time and attention in the fast moving race of the holiday season. I’ll drop by in the next day or two and share more. I’ve missed this little corner of the internet, and I’ll try not to stay away so long.