Dec 30, 2015

2015 Year in Review

This year has been awesome.
Exciting and fun and sad and trying...but oh so awesome.
Every day, every season, I felt like I grew as a person, as a wife, as a daughter, and as a career-woman.

These are the highlights.
I hope you take a moment out of your (long) weekend and re-read some of these's what made 2015 so great!

After FOUR. LONG. MONTHS. of shipping a workout tank around the entire United and a dozen other ladies hosted a mutual giveaway for an awesome motivational tank top....we called it Track the Tank.

Mark and I battled with the uncertainties of figuring out how to make a baby.
Turns out....genetics were not on our side.

My job sucked. I won't lie. I needed a change and while most people would think getting laid off is a bad thing...I took it as a blessing to find what I truly loved.

After months of interviews, phone calls, resumes, hoping and praying...I landed my new job, one that I tailored to my needs and hope that I stay at for a loooonnnnggg time.

With the good, comes the relationship with my brother has always been rocky. He is on a path in life that I truly do hope he overcomes...but dragging me down along the way isn't part of it.
I resolved to let go of the toxic and turn my focus back to my family. It was tough, but ties needed to be broken. I hope he finds his way one of these days.

Memorial Day rolled around and we got to put our new pool heater to the test!

When we bought our new home, a lot of people thought maybe someone had gifted us money, like we couldn't do it on our own. There was jealousy and snide remarks. And to that I say...we worked for it.

At first, we thought we would put baby on the backburner for years....and I laugh at that thought now.
I was getting soo antsy...especially since I have been collecting a few items here and there.

4th of July happened and our party was FABULOUS!

My mom and I took a trip to Tennessee, we sold the pontoon boat and kept the summer vibes going.

I turned 32....and had a bit of an emotional roller coaster with a happy ending.

I kicked some fitness ass the entire year....even during summer!

I gave my living room a little face lift with paint, drapery and new furniture, and then got in the Halloween spirit!

Mark and I had a rough patch around October...too much to do and not enough appreciation for each other.
That all changed when we ventured to our favorite haunted house.

Thanksgiving flew by, we settled into a more wintery routine, had our annual Friendsgiving Shrimp Boil and decorated our home for Christmas.

Which brings us full circle to where we were one year ago.
I reflected on what this year has brought us...and how far we've come.
A lot can change in a year, and I love revisiting our life through this blog.

For New Year's Eve, Mark and will be cozied up by the fire, with fondue for dinner and a festive glass of champagne in hand, watching Kathy Griffin and dancing to Ludacris.
It's a night we look forward to all year.
Just the two of us.

I'll be signing off for the long holiday weekend again, and when I return, on January 6th, I hope to share all the little details of our IVF consultation.

It'll be a new year.
A new year for memories.
A new year for adventures.
A new year for trial and error.
A new year to learn something or simply learn from a mistake (or ten).

I do not make me, it's like making a plan that is set in stone.
Plans change.
People change.
They grow and develop and blossom.
Relationships grow stronger, and some falter.
I hope to take on all of 2016 with an open mind and the drive to dig in and get things accomplished, both big and small.
But first we have to survive the gross part of winter.
Who's with me?

Happy New Year, my loves!!

Dec 23, 2015

Merry Christmas

Happy Christmas Eve Eve!
I am juggling some last minute wrapping, my last day of work before the first of two holidays, and through it all trying to find some time to just enjoy the glow of the Christmas tree, a festive cocktail, and maybe a nap?

Tis the season....
for Christmas music!
for a dusting of snow...maybe?
for a never ending to-do list!
for wrapping that present just so...only to have it destroyed in seconds.
for eating one too many Christmas cookies!
for soaking in a tub filled with sugary skin-softening goodness.
for seeing family that you love and those you just....tolerate.
for laughing through the chaos!
for hugging that awkward uncle...a little too long.
for doling out heaping plates of food.
for playing another round of cards.
for forgetting that damn present at the house again.
for watching Christmas Vacation....again...because you love it.
for wearing Christmas pj's...all day.
for a warm cup of coffee.
for staying up too late.
laughing too much.
loving with every ounce of your soul.

Merry Christmas to all!
Hope it's fucking magical!
If not, there is always booze!

See you next week! But you can always follow along on Instagram (tgendooza).
Stay classy, folks!
Dec 18, 2015

This Christmas

As the year inches ever closer to an end, I can't help but feel at peace with how this year is wrapping up.
I know that in 13 days 2016 starts, and so begins the year I have dreamed about for the last five.
It's a dream that has had so many emotions, so many stages, so many developments.

It's the process goes.

When I first had that spark....that I wanted to become a mom, I spent a lot of my time researching things, that, looking back, just seemed so silly and trivial.

I remember panicking about my options for before and after school care, since I would be working.
I remember planning exactly how I was going to tell Mark, after I saw those two lines.
I remember budgeting and creating checklists for the first few years after the baby was born.

And my favorite, I remember googling phrases like, "chances of getting pregnant using protection" (because we still were) and "how to get your man on board" (he finally came around), and "how to tell your boss you're pregnant" (like that even matters now).

So many things that just seemed so overwhelming and important and if I didn't have it all figured out IWOULDLOSEMYMIND. 

Like I was trying to figure out the next 18 years of my life in those few weeks.
And those weeks quickly turned into months, that turned into years.
And with each passing year, I stopped worrying about the details things, little by little.

And 90% of the last year....I haven't given any of it much thought. We had an absolute blast. Sure, there were bumps in the road. That's life. But it has been the most fun and the most relaxing and the most rewarding year I have had to date. As stars aligned with our home and my career and my well being, I feel more prepared than ever to take on this next chapter of our life.

Mark, on the other hand, started ramping up the questions and voicing concerns over the same things I was thinking about years ago. And I can't help but laugh a little about it.

I keep telling's all details.  We don't even know if we can become parents yet. Let's get through that hurdle and battle the next one, okay?

I feel so nostalgic about this journey. I feel like I have grown in so many ways.
With patience, with understanding, with...details.

Plans change. A lot. Even next year, in my head I revamped our game plan a million times. But even with a general time line, and all the variables in place...the biggest thing I need to remember is to be fluid with the process. Go with the flow.

We can't guarantee that our embryos will develop properly and on schedule.
We can't guarantee ANY embryos will be normal.
We can't guarantee I can carry anything.
We can't guarantee a pregnancy.

But we have hope. Lots and lots of hope. And a bit of luck on our side as well.
And with that, my weekend will be filled with a Straight No Chaser Christmas show and lots of present wrapping.
What are your plans?
Happy Friday loves! Have a festive weekend!
Dec 14, 2015

A Christmas Party

That's the time the party officially ended.
No worries though, I was only up since 7am.
And didn't have a massive pre-party meltdown on my husband.
That didn't happen at all.

So here I am, prepping all my festive ingredients.
For a festive day. Snapping away for Instagram and generally loving life.

Until the batter started....sticking.
To everything.
I kept staring back at the ingredient list in disbelief.
Surely I had left something out, right?
Why is the dough flinging all over the place.
Why is it so sticky?!

I am violently trying to beat this dough into submissions because I NEED to make these cookies.
They are my grandma' her soul.
Two hours later I had cursed the high heaven's and everyone else in the neighboring rooms.

Mark stupidly opens his mouth...."do you HAVE to make them? You've wasted a lot of time already."
I stare at him, with wild eyes and cookie dough splattered in my hair...


I realize it's closing in on noon and the house still needed to be cleaned, lasagna assembled, and I need to book it to a hair cut appointment, before my cousin showed up at 4.
There is cookie dough on EVERYTHING. The kitchen is a disaster and my to-do list doesn't have a dent in it. THESE are the days I wish I'd taken off a day from work to lessen the party day stress.

Mark, after firmly being berated for an hour....left to clean any portion of the house that I wasn't in.
We make amends after I realized I am turning into my mother.
Mrs. Pre-party meltdown herself.

I apologized.
And cried a bit.
And we got back to work.

I finished wrapping the last gift before zipping off to my hair appointment. And I swear to Jebus, it was exactly what I needed. I felt this literal weight lifted off my six inches of dead hair fell to the ground. I love my stylist and I love my new do.

The party was a blast. Our family is weird and loud for as small as we are.
The kids ate all the candy and ran around like they were tops spun off a counter for six hours.
We laughed and danced and drank until the wee hours of the night.
I totally forgot I had been on my feet for twelve hours already.

And we wrapped up at 3am, and because my internal clock never stops, woke up at 7am, per usual.
I was still drunk.
And confused.
And kept dropping things.
It took four hours to clean up a minimal mess from the party.
It should have taken 1...max.

But alas, we spent the day laying around and eating.
I finally started to feel like my normal self around 6pm last night.
Being hungover as an adult sucks guys.

And then....THEN!
Last night I am hoping to hit the hay early and get a nice full 8 hours of sleep.
Until I was abruptly woken up because our bedroom light was on.
It was so bright.
I am moaning to Mark to turn off the light, assuming he got up for work and hit it by mistake.

He pauses...."I didn't turn it on."
I open my eyes barely and see him darting out of the room.
Tia...ALL the lights are on.
And they were.
The TV was on, our street light was on, the garage lights were on.
Everything was on.

The power went out and yet...our lights went on?!
Thinking back to about it's weird. Like, really weird.
Like Potergeist weird.

I do remember waiting until all the lights went back off (remember we had not switched on any lights at this point, therefore could not just turn them off...the switches were all in the off position)
hopped back into bed and mumbled that if there were chairs stacked up in the corner, we should be concerned. And that was it.

So that was our weekend. Fun and weird.
How was yours?
Oh and PS- We STILL have not watched one single Christmas movie.
But we did watch Get Hard...and that was inappropriately hilarious. I highly recommend.

Happy Monday and thanks for reading!
Dec 11, 2015

It's time for a change

Never mind that semi-crooked front tooth. I clearly need to start wearing my fucking retainer again.

Moving on.
Let's talk hair first, because hair is fun. Then I'm going to get to bitchin' about Facebook.
But first, hair.

My hair grows, I think, 2cm a year. Even after taking prenatals and multi-vitamins and eating super healthy and not washing it every day and all that still grows at a snails pace.

Let's back up a bit.
A long time ago, I wanted to grow my hair out for my wedding, knowing I would be doing some sort of up-do.  I grew it, did my own up-do...and it was fabulous.

And then I was just over it, and hacked a lot of it off within the coming months.

(And then my wedding photographer asked me to do a boudoir shoot, so of course I said yes! 
It was free!)

My hair was super cute. Shorter, stacked, angular...all things I like. :)
But as the story goes, I grew tired of the constant up keep that is hair shorter than your chin, so decided to grow it out again.
And that is what I have been doing for four years.

So now? It's the longest it's been as far back as I can remember.
But I don't think I'm cut out for this length.
Sure, I had visions of this long, wavy, ethereal hair that flowed and was gorgeous and beautiful.

But the reality is, I don't have thick hair.
I have to tease and fill my hair with volumizing products to get it to stay where it needs to be....and that would be the second floor of any building I'm in.

Higher the hair, closer to Jesus, right?

I'm headed into the salon in about a week, and I'm thinking I can find peace with a Lob.
Long bob, for those not in the know.
Still angled....still stacked...but longer.
So I can still pull it up in a pony to work out.
And curl it and wave it and all that.

But no bangs. Never again...amen.
I have never been so ragey as I was with bangs in the summertime.
A fuzzy tumbleweed, half shellacked to your forehead does not flatter anyone.

I'm thinking something more like this....

But like...more Southern....meaning, more volume and height, obviously.
I may be a rather basic white girl...but my hair never has been.

What do you think?
I think it'll be cute and manageable, and if I hate it...there is less to grow out!

Now onto my other topic: Facebook.

Dudes....I'm seriously getting over it.
Although I still use it as another social media outlet for the blog, keeping up with friends is hit or miss.
I just want to see timehop photos and babies and funny quizzes and shit like that.

I don't want to see your newest political rant, or every fucking thought that pops into your head throughout the day.
It's getting out of control.
And what the hell is with people sharing links of dead people and abused animals?
I can't even handle the fact that videos will start playing the second your feed scrolls to it.
Especially if it's sad.
My heart can't handle Facebook sometimes. It seems to bring out the evil in people.
And why are people ranting and arguing with EACH OTHER about whatever topic of the day has their panties in a bunch?

Why aren't they sending letters and phone calls and emails to the people making those decisions?

I have been un-following and unfriending people left and right and all I really wanted to do is check in to make sure my extended family is okay and my friends look happy.

I'll just go back to my bubble for a bit and get the hell off of Facebook, I think.

It makes me unnecessarily furious from time to time and it's completely unnecessary.
I know the world sucks sometimes.
There is violence and death and destruction around every corner.
Hello! I live in Chicago....I know all about it.

Is it wrong to want to have rose colored blinders on all of this?
It's not really in my bones to start internet arguments or troll people or share shitty videos of puppies dying.
I'm not looking to change the world....and maybe that isn't noble of me...but dudes...I'm just not.

I just want to live an honest life I am proud of.
I will stand up for myself and my family and my life without blinking.
I donate to animal shelters on the regular.
I am polite to all races of people.
I get off my ass and put in the effort to make a difference with my health, my marriage, my future family, my stress, my home and my career.
I am pro-guns, and pro-dowhateverthehellyouneedtodotoraiseachild, and pro-affordablehealthcare, and pro-makingyourownfuckingchoices, pro-haveareligionbutdontpushitonpeople, and pro-dontbeadick...but I sure as hell won't be shoving it down your throat.

Although you should be polite to people...ALL people. We are all going through some shit.
And don't be a dick. Just don't. I think that Karma thing swings pretty hard.

Other than that? Do you boo.
As for me? I'm saying sayonara to Facebook for a bit until some of this chaos dies down....I'll text you to catch up, mkay?

That's my PSA for the day.
Fabulous hair and Facebook. The end.
Happy Friday!
Dec 9, 2015

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

My December routine has become eerily similar each year.
Although, with each passing year, I feel like I am fine tuning the ever-loving shit out of it.
Read: less insanity

Thanksgiving flies by. We swoop in and our of multiple homes for the day, eat til full and drink too much alcohol. #storyofmylife
Shrimp Boil happens.
And it was glorious.

Even if it is a little ghetto and cold and we're all standing in an unfinished garage lit by beer signs, and it's a bit too smokey, and the music is blaring, and the dogs are on the verge of killing each other, and my throat gets sore from yelling over the music... it's nice to see old friends all together again.  #likeoldtimes

And in between these two end of November events?
I decorate.

 I try to put a little something festive in all the rooms (minus our bedroom)...and end up going balls to the walls in the main rooms. Christmas decor is my middle name, y'all.

And then I also rush to get my Christmas cards out the door. Because even though those little pieces of paper more than likely get thrown away on December 26th, I like to imagine they are hanging somewhere prominent for an entire month, and it's worth my effort to rush knowing how long they get on someone's fridge.

But then? When all the lights are strung, and decor is placed and cards are mailed?

We chill.
Each weekend in December brings a little bit of Merry.
I have my annual Christmas party for my side of the family.
We are heading to Chicago to see Straight No Chaser's Holiday Music.
Company Holiday parties, Christmas Eve at Mark's parents, Christmas at my parents.
It'll all be over in a blink of an eye.

And this year, I'm not letting any drama or sad times get me down.
We have a lot to be grateful for, even if some days are rougher than others.
I'm not allowing other people to drag me down.
We all know someone who is going through rough times, and that shit is probably worse off than my problems. So it's nice to take a step back and realize that life's not all that bad, really.

I'm looking forward to topping of this year on a high note.
This year has been really good to us, even if we haven't received every little (or big) thing we wanted.
There is a plan, and I can't wait to see it unfold in the coming months!

Thank you for reading!
Dec 4, 2015

All I want for Christmas

I'm kicking off the weekend with my uber fabulous friend as we do a double date dinner at her place.
And then it's shopping time, baby!

And since everyone seems to be giving out suggestions for you fine people to buy for other fine people, I thought I'd shake it up by talking about the items that I want people to buy ME.

In the past, I have never even given it a thought. We seem to always be in so much debt by the end of the year that all I ever asked for was cash to pay the bills and buy groceries.
I love buying for other people but I always hated trying to come up with MY list.
I guess it always seemed a tad selfish.
Like, I'm always thinking I'm a successful female...I can buy my own shit.

But this year I changed my mind set.
See, these things are items that I would never actually buy for myself on a whim because they are just my eyes.
These are definitely WANTS. Not NEEDS.

Without further ado...if you are looking to buy me a present this is my list.
Thanks in advance. :)

DIY Gel Nail Manicures
I swear I like the look of polished nails. I really do. However, I hardly ever actually polish my nails because they are guaranteed to chip within 24 hours. Also? I can't stand going to a salon. Such a waste of time, in my opinion. I am fully qualified to do my own, I just can't stand the thought of spending all that time perfecting my polish, and trying to be patient and let them dry, only to ruin them by doing normal life stuff.
Enter gel nails and the little light boxes that dry them (almost) instantly.
I have a feeling this will be a life changer.
I'd really like this little light because it says it sets each coat within 30 seconds. THIRTY. SECONDS.
The polish? Luckily my mom works at a salon, so I'm sure I'll have a sweet hook-up.

Lifting Gloves
How CUTE are those black and white polka dot lifting gloves? As a person that hits the gym 4x a week, I try to save my hands from awful calluses as much as possible. It's not exactly sexy to shake someone's hand and yours be rougher than his. Size small....obviously.

Fuzzy (yet durable) slippers!
I am in dire need of slippers. I know, I's kind of old lady like...but dudes, I can't tell you how many times I need to run outside quickly and wish I was just already wearing a warm pair of shoes...that aren't shoes...ya dig? These LL Bean ones in the Natural color (size 8) seem perfect for cozying up by the fire and also running around outside to grab the mail or pull the dogs off each other.

Bath Bombs (bath're a bath bomb!)
I do love me a nice soak in the winter time. And it's even better if it's doing double duty in the process. Enter bath bombs. I seriously love these things but I hardly ever buy them for myself! Mostly because at $4-$7 a's a splurge in my mind. But alas, the Christmas one or vanilla butter one seems just fabulous!

Rose Face Mask
So a few years ago, I received a sample of this mask from Sephora in the mail. I typically do a thicker face mask once or twice a month, but this one was was so much lighter and refreshing! I feel like I could use it more often, say 2-3 times a week...especially in winter!

Chase brand Elderflower Liqueur
And of course, you can't skip over the liquor. St. Germain is all the rave with their version of the same liqueur, but Chase does it for less money and I personally think the bottle is so much prettier!
I mix this with champagne, add it to a gin and tonic, or just drink it straight! It is SO. GOOD!

So that is my list this year. What's on yours?

Oh! And while we are on the subject of gifts, take a little sneak peek at the GIVEAWAY to begin ON INSTAGRAM (@tgendooza) this Sunday! So damn adorable, right? I'll be giving away these gifts just in time to #treatyoself for Christmas! All hand picked from Homegoods from yours truly.

The giveaway will be on Instagram starting at 7pm CST so mark your calendars and good luck!!
Happy Friday and Happy WEEKEND!
Dec 2, 2015

Five Weeks

I had a nifty little Christmas post all set to go today.....and then I got a call.
The Fertility Center FINALLY got back to me with my RE's 2016 availability.

So I scheduled my IVF consultation.

Things are finally in motion and I'm pumped. And nervous. But mostly excited!

In exactly five weeks we should have a whole new game plan for what our doctor recommends for IVF, PGD, testing, freezing, retrieval, the whole thing.

Now, obviously I have my own plans. But we all know how plans work out.....(they don't, at least, not EXACTLY how we expect).

But given what I know about the process, paired with our families timeline....this is my rough estimate for next year.

Early January we meet with Dr. Jacobs.
He gives us our protocol.
We either re-do some preliminary testing, or hop right into our first IVF cycle.

(As it's been exactly one year since we had all our original testing done, I'm not sure what he'll recommend. 
In my head, since we are likely moving forward with ICSI along with PGD, it seems un-necessary to re-do Mark's sperm analysis and all that...but what do I know)

We start our first cycle mid-January.
I will probably go through 2-3 IVF cycles to stim, retrieve, fertilize, biopsy, and freeze our embryos.
I would imagine they have some magic number of embryos that should make it to the freeze, all with good grades.

And then we wait.


I've said it before and I'll say it seasonal depression cannot handle the thought of baby blues AND being held captivity inside my home during the winter.
I haven't had the luxury of much with making a baby, so at the very least, I know I want us to work towards delivering a child during the spring/summer/early fall months.

That means our embryos chill out (literally) until after summer.
Then we hit go on the process again and get our transfer in place.
I'm totes looking forward to those progesterone shots in my ass....every day for 12 weeks
(said no one ever)

I'm also totally looking forward to multiple shots in my stomach this winter....for weeks.
And the bloat and the weight gain and the stress.

But anyways, we will do what we have to.

On a lighter note, once I scheduled our appointment yesterday, I starting reminiscing about where we were in life, and on the baby-making trail exactly a year ago.

Exactly a year ago today, I was blogging about our Shrimp Boil wrap-up and how stressed I was feeling that I was "so behind" with Christmas already.

December 15th I blogged about how frustrated I was with trying to conceive naturally using Clomid and Progesterone. I had three failed cycles and was weighing my options with diving into our first IUI.

December 19th I had just met with Dr. Jacobs for the first time, and he eased our worries about IUI and gave us our protocol....including a suggestion to have genetic testing completed.
We agreed (funny how life works, huh?)

I didn't blog too much due to work troubles towards the end of the month. But when I finally did, I mentioned on January 5th that my job seemed to be in turmoil. The end was a lot closer than I thought.
In the midst of all of this, I decided to chill out a bit and pamper myself.

On January 8th, Mark got his results back for his positive MCAD mutation. We continued to trudge on with our scheduled IUI, knowing we would have to get our results back prior to the trigger shot.

Then, on January 15th, more bad news with work. Our short term disability insurance wouldn't allow me to be covered since we were already going through infertility treatments. So we halfheartedly agreed to postpone IUI for four months.

And then the big bomb.....our genetic match. Game. Over.

After all of this, I knew some major changes needed to happen.
But I didn't know how.
I was stressed out, unhappy at work, and needed a life make-over.
HE helped me along our path, and within six months I had a new job and a new lease on life.
We took this last year to re-focus our efforts on each other, on our home, on happy.
It's been wonderful.
Even WINTER has been wonderful thus far.

So that's where we are at. December will fly by and we will be back in the hot seat, gearing up for our biggest life changing event!
Thanks for reading!

PS- You will want to check back Friday as I will be posting about our Christmas decor and there will a sweet STOCKING STUFFER GIVEAWAY!