Jan 29, 2018

Happy Monday

No, the title isn't some overly-caffeinated word-vomit spewing onto this page.
It's how I feel. It's a happy Monday, for me.....finally.

You see...the last few weeks I have been in a bit of a rut, and it all seems to come to a head on Monday's. I hate to be that cliche person, but Monday's have seemed to be extremely rough to get motivated, get back on schedule, stay focused, and most importantly...stay AWAKE.

So, I started to proactively seek changes in my routine and in my life in general.

For one, I decided my morning commute needed a bit of a boost. After reducing my commute time from nearly an hour and a half each way, down to 25 minutes, you would think that alone would be enough of a change to have me shouting from the rooftops.

And it did, for a couple of years.

But now, even though I get to sit in the comfort of my own vehicle and sip warm coffee, alone, which is something I always crave....two things kept me from really enjoying the commute.

First is what I listen to. I realized I am constantly battling with the radio. I like talk radio in the mornings and CAN. NOT. STAND. most new age music these days (as in whatever plays in between talk segments on Kiss FM. That is not actual music in my eyes.) so I was constantly flipping through the channels, distracted...which would then translate into me dashing in between cars and fighting against bumper to bumper traffic, trying to get my commute over with as quickly as possible so I didn't have to be annoyed any longer.

The second issue is my mind was constantly wandering. Now I know sometimes that can be a good thing when you're trying to come up with a plan or new idea, but anxiety stems directly from a wandering mind and it is not good for me.

My solution?  Podcasts.

I reached out to people on social media and set up my blue-tooth in the truck to stream some calming, yet inspiring conversations each morning.

And the change has been glorious.
Now I just seem to go with the flow and let my commute happen.  It takes relatively the same amount of time to get to and from work each day, so I just need to accept that time and make it as good as I can get it.

I get into work way less stressed out and angry, and it helps set a more positive tone for the day. I highly suggest doing this if you're looking for a change. I save the upbeat music for my commute home. :)

The bigger issue in my life stems from closing our journey with IVF and battling infertility, is my purpose. Granted, I do realize this isn't something that you just FIGURE OUT overnight, but I realized that perhaps I need to change things up a bit to feel more connected to my passions and dreams and home life.

I know I sound utterly cryptic...because, well...to be honest, it's terrifying to me.
To know in my heart I need to take this next step, is in constant battle with my sensible brain.
It's a hit on one of my biggest securities.
I plan to spend the next few months or so, solidifying my game plan and making sure I can do what my heart says I need to do.

I keep visualizing and longing for little things here and there, and it seems silly to keep putting them on the back-burner. Mark and I have always been those types of people to not "save all the good stuff" for retirement. We strive to live a more balanced life where we continue to save for the future, while simultaneously doing some of the bigger stuff now...while we are younger and have more energy.

We tend to walk a fine line of live in the moment vs. let's wait a while.

I think I'm in a good place to make some "crazy" changes. When everything comes to fruition it will likely be laughed at because it's really not that big of a deal. But I can assure you, to me, it's a huge deal.

I'm ready.
Yes, indeed. Keep the faith, my friends. XO
Jan 24, 2018

He's the Rational One

I have been mentally overwhelmed recently.
With work at a steady lull and the never-ending gray weather, I was craving something that sparks my creativity and mental capacity, and boy did I get it!

Between our two home's renovations (which will forever be a weird thing to say) all of a sudden I felt this urge to start making decision on all the little details all at once.

I like to call it being efficient.

In my head (which is a hot mess right now) I figured if I could make decisions for all the paint and all the fixtures right this very second,  I could order everything all at once and only have to make one trip to Home Depot, and/or receive shipments from Amazon and be done with it.

But then I kept second guessing myself...because anyone that has ever done a home renovation project knows that certain things look different in person and tend to change colors once they are actually in the place they will go....and not online or in a store.


And then I went to Orangetheory and the class is so draining that it's basically impossible to think about anything else except for not passing out on the treadmill.

Which is a welcome brain break.
Yes, I basically need to overwhelm my body so much that my brain literally shuts off and focuses on not dying.

So anyways....I get home and immediately jump into the hot-tub where Mark resides because I'm tired and sweaty and my legs are all jiggly (driving home was a breeze).

I'm overwhelmed and I can't shut off my brain, I blurt out.

I am talking a mile a minute which is exactly how my brain is working and I finally look up and Mark is staring at me wide-eyed...which is hilarious because it's not like this doesn't happen on a weekly basis.

He should know by now.

He reassures me of two things.
1. The rental property isn't going to be completed overnight. I don't need to make all the finish decisions all at once and YES he will make sure to inform me when they are happening and not just pick any old thing because he knows I will be pissed at him for not letting me decide.

2. We are completely fine to keep using the upstairs bathroom as our main bathroom for as long as it takes until I am finished with the downstairs renovation in our current home. I kept having major guilt that I was basically changing up our whole routine but it turns out that concern was only affecting me.

Mark reminded me that rushing through the renovation will take all the fun out of it, which is completely true. Plus, you make more mistakes that way.

The silly thing is I know all of this but sometimes it helps to be reminded about it when your brain won't stop jumbling things together. If anyone needs help understanding what anxiety feels like...that last sentence is it. Instead of having a series of logical thoughts, you basically get throat punched by all your thoughts at once and they are fighting for front-line attention.

It's super fun and not at all exhausting.

Switching gears, (you need to keep up with my brain, after all) this morning was a three-ring circus complete with a series of tiny mishaps.

This included making myself late because I insisted on vacuuming before leaving the house because I was sneezing a ton and convinced myself there is too much cat hair upstairs, leaving my hair curlers in too long (from the vacuuming) that resulted in super puffy poodle-ish hair, spilling coffee down my shirt while driving, getting caught by an enormously long freight train, slipping on ice getting out of the car, and the best part...leaving my phone at home.

I called Mark from my work phone and updated him on the tiny catastrophe that was my morning, and being the saint he is...he offered to stop by the house and bring me my phone.

Which got me thinking, AGAIN, that maybe I should back away from social media a bit.
Which is like...exactly what you shouldn't do if you want to be taken seriously as a blogger.
But you know what? Blogging isn't my source of income. It's a fun hobby.

My brain is already super overwhelmed most days....is this just adding to my stress?

I blog to blog because I like it.
I started blogging more often and more chaotically because that is how I actually work.
I don't necessarily have it in me to plan out a lot of things. I am rather impulsive and therefore decided my writing should be too.

It's more ME that way.
Does it make it better or funnier?
Maybe...depending on who you ask.

Well, that's enough rambling for today.

And to think, this post makes him look like the rational one. :)

Thanks for putting up with the nonsense. XO
Jan 23, 2018

This Old House

Houses, houses, houses!!
I am declaring 2018 the year of the home renovation.

Reality has set in like a ton of bricks, I tell ya.
Our rental has been a source of nagging stress for me ever since we moved. The house itself was fine, but in the four years we had our first tenant, it seemed each month the payments came later and the issues kept escalating until we finally agreed it was time for her to move on.

She left our home a complete disaster and if I ever see her again in person, I will likely punch her in the throat.

Kidding....sort of.

So we cleaned up the home and ignored all the glaring issues with the place, assuming everyone else would as well. I was newly, yet briefly pregnant and didn't think twice about the reality of the home, just that we needed to get it cleaned up enough so someone other fool could pay us to live there.

When my pregnancy failed again, I shielded myself from any additional drama in hopes to heal my heart.

It's been a little over three months, and while the photos of the home look fabulous online, and many people walked through those front doors, they quickly found alternative places to live, even if it meant more money. Our feeble attempts to mask the major issues are slowly picking away at the wall I put up to keep my emotions safe from stress.

It's time to tackle them head on.

We took the home off the market and hired a good friend and co-worker of Mark's....we'll call him Shorty (you know...like Joanna's Fixer Upper side kick?) to tackle each floor of the home.  The list of fixes and upgrades is rather long, and includes all new windows, which, gulp...I hope we knock out without a MAJOR dent in our finances.

But if there is one thing I excel at...is finding solutions with budgeting and research.

As I said in my Insta-stories...I am ashamed of that house in it's current state.
I sure as Hell wouldn't want to live there, so why would anyone else?
It's a far cry from the state in which we built our relationship over a decade ago.

Although it won't be featured on HGTV any time soon, I feel confident that the upgrades we have on deck will give this home the fresh start it needs to keep us working towards our end goal.

Of course we could always sell. In some of our lowest points, it's definitely an alternative we have talked about. We could just break even at this point, do no renovations and walk away with zero stress.

But I'm choosing to look at this property as a stroke of luck when we couldn't sell it five years ago.
And now that we have it...there IS a very attainable dream where we pay it off, sell it, then pay off the balance of our current home and be able to live mortgage free for the majority of our years on earth.

Doesn't that sound divine?

Switching gears, I checked in on the bathroom upgrade I'm working on.
As frustrating as it is, I realized the tile paint needs another coat.

This bathroom is like a little jig-saw puzzle. I work on one section and realize another area needs way more attention than I anticipated.

The upside about a longer renovation is that there are plenty of wintery days ahead of us to wrap things up before the weather is too beautiful to be held indoors any longer.

I'll be continuing to check things off my list and report back as I go.

As always, thanks for following along!! XO
Jan 22, 2018

Bathroom Upgrade: Weekend 1

22 Hours.
22 hours of cleaning, sanding, prepping, drying, wiping, painting, taping and cursing.

I took on the bathroom upgrade with as much gusto as I could, damn well knowing the prep was going to take the bulk of the work. I have no idea what Mark did this weekend since I lived my life in the bathroom, only taking a few breaks here and there to eat.

So what was accomplished?

- the bathroom was deep cleaned
- all outlet covers, towel bars, wall mirrors, and vents were removed
- the vanity mirror was painted
- the walls were painted
- the wall tile was prepped, sanded and painted

So basically I painted every square inch of the bathroom, minus the floors, with at least two coats of paint.

Although I won't be posting any final reveals for a while...here is a side-by-side sneak peek of the progress:

The wall tile was the big item this weekend.
I hand-sanded every single tile in the bathroom for a solid six hours.
Who needs Orangetheory anyways?!

In case you're wondering how all this happened, here is what I did.
(The full list of equipment items can be found HERE)

Prep and Cleaning:
- I taped off the tub, shower surround and toilet with painter's tape and plastic.
- I mixed a 50/50 ratio of bleach and water to spray the tile that had any mold or mildew.
- Then, using an abrasive pad, scrubbed the tile, rinsed and wiped down.
- Then clean all tile with Comet. I dumped some of the powder in a small bucket and topped off with a little water to turn into paste. Using an abrasive green sponge, I scrubbed every wall tile, let dry, rinsed off with water, then wiped everything down to dry.

- I had no idea how much I was supposed to sand or what the tile was supposed to look like when I was "done" sanding. I learned that the shiny wall tile will stay shiny no matter how much sanding is completed and that is okay. I was extremely hesitant to sand too little, for fear the paint wouldn't stick to the wall. It will. I promise. Just make sure you go over all the little corners of every tile and it'll be fine.
- I started off with the recommended 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper, realized my efforts seemed to be futile, went to Ace and bought 220 grit sand paper and sanded the whole bathroom for five hours.
- Then I went over everything again with the original 400 grit sandpaper for another hour.
- Then I cried because my arms hurt so much, took a bath, and passed out.

- I used Rust-oleum Tub and Tile refinishing kit in White. I bought two boxes. Each box was enough for one coat for the entire bathroom. (the bathroom is roughly 10x8 and the tile is 60% of most of the walls)
- I swept and dusted the room again for good measure
- Just before I was ready to paint, I wiped down all the tile with tack cloth to remove any fine debris.
- I had a 4" roller frame and 20 high-density foam rollers, along with a multi-pack of foam brushes.
- Set up your space: Place extra rollers, brushes, paper towels, and a lined garbage can in an easy accessible area. You will be changing out rollers often during the painting process.You will use most of them since the paint will eventually eat away at the foam and you will need to replace it every few feet so the foam pieces don't get stuck in the tile paint.
- Wear plastic gloves so your hands don't end up with epoxy paint all over them.
- Open the windows, turn on any return vents and fans (facing outwards) as possible.
- Put on your respirator before opening the cans of paint.
- The paint comes in two cans. The base (large can) and the activator (small can). I shake up the base contents before slowly opening the lid. Continue to stir for about a minute.
- Shake up the activator can and slowly open the lid. Place the base can IN the paint tray (with liner) you are planning to paint from. Pour the entire contents of the activator can into the base can. (If you pour too slowly it will just run down the can and onto the floor...trust me)
- Don't freak out that it filled up to the top of the base can. Slowly stir all contents in the base can (side-to-side and up-and-down) for roughly two minutes. The result is extremely liquidy contents.
This is good. It becomes tacky rather quickly.
- Pour some in your lined paint tray and lightly put the lid on the can to keep the contents fresh.
- "Cut-in" the paint with the foam brush around the edges of the tile, then smooth over with the roller, just like you would normally paint a wall.
- The paint will run so be sure to keep the painting moving. Keep a decent amount of paint on the brush the entire process or you'll find the foam will disintegrate much faster and end up in your wall paint.
- I pushed the foam brush into the grout as needed to ensure paint coverage everywhere, then went over the tile with the roller. The paint becomes tacky rather quickly so keep moving and fixing your paint constantly.
- Once the can is open and the activator is added to the base, you have six hours to use it.
- Let the first coat sit for 1-2 hours before applying the second coat.
- Use a different tray liner with every coat and a fresh roller and brush.
- Make the second coat a bit thicker than the first and don't roll too hard or you may notice it starts to pull up the first coat. Don't freak out. Just let it dry a bit and come back and add more paint as needed.

This paint is super toxic smelling. Do not use anything less than this respirator. It was a god-sent and kept me from passing out. I couldn't smell anything while wearing it. Get your kids and pets as far away from the room as possible for the first 8 hours. Shut the door to the room, open the windows, and put a towel at the base of the door to keep the fumes at bay. Yes, it's that bad.

As far as the vanity goes, I used this chalked paint company and had them tint it to match the walls.
They sell all their standard colors on Amazon, though.
It took two brushed coats and one rolled coat to look even.
This painting process took four hours.

The walls were painted Tahitian Vanilla (by Valspar) to match the rest of the house.
This painting process took about an hour.

The tile paint has to cure for about a week before you use water in the area, so just let it be.

Thanks for following along!! XO
Jan 19, 2018

In the Valley

Some days are easy, and some days are hard.

Some days, hell, even weeks go by and I feel like I'm floating on cloud nine. All of my worries seem to be gone, life runs smoothly, and I don't have trouble thinking clearly. I am overly positive and optimistic, my marriage and my home are running smoothly....all is good.

And some days, or multiple days in a row, I just feel overwhelmed.
On those days I wonder if perhaps my crazy meds need to be adjusted because my thoughts and my vision seem to be a bit more jumpy than usual. I keep scrolling through the last couple years of my life...wondering how so much of my plans for the future seemed to derail, and the ending came so abruptly.

But did it?

I find myself falling into old habits...starting to open the can of worms that is my issues with conceiving, seeking out answers, coordinating things. I found myself logging into the egg donor site of my fertility clinic and looking at these beautiful, selfless girls offering their perfect little eggs to grow other people's families. And then I cried because I know just how messed up my own eggs are, and I'm sad knowing that portion of my life is over.

I find myself ordering new vitamins. After my last major blood draw at the fertility clinic, I learned my thyroid antibodies seem to be attacking my thyroid a bit....so of course the internet said BUY SELENIUM...so I did. I'm already on thyroid medication, and I don't really know why I'm bothering...but I did it and can now say I'm officially gobbling down 8 vitamins and medications on the daily. Cool.

I volley between wanting to move forward and follow what little faith I have and keep chugging along with life like normal people do, yet simultaneously sleeping for months on end.
It's weird to be both happy and really sad at the same time.

I'm ecstatic that we don't have to coordinate our entire lives and keep so much of it on hold these days, but I feel like I'm missing this huge chunk of my life that I just don't know how to attain.

Sometimes I bring up these feelings to Mark. He looks at our family building options very simply. And the reality is he simply doesn't want to pursue any more insane options that are remotely similar to IVF. So of course I asked...well what if we conceived naturally? And he responded...well that would be wonderful and we would figure it out.
I don't want to fight with him, because quite frankly I don't even know if I believe in what I would be fighting for either. I don't have the energy to figure everything out anymore...I just want it to happen. That surprise that everyone dreams about. I want to build my family in the same way he wishes it would go...without medical intervention or massive amounts of money.
And of course I agree...so I find myself blubbering out incoherent sentence fragments and just saying I DON'T KNOW BUT I JUST WANT TO BE A MOM.

He jumps up to give me the strongest hug I can imagine for as long as Burn will allow before he starts humping us both.
I am worn out from Orangetheory and don't really know what I want to say or not say and I most certainly don't want to cause an argument so I just take a shower. I assumed the crying would continue but then it doesn't, and I move on with the night.

I don't know if you ever really get over losing something you never really had, especially as a woman. We tend to dwell and relive and seek out the emotions and sit with them, as opposed to constant oppression like men do.

I have been in a valley right now, but I also know the only way to go is up, and tomorrow is a new day.

Thanks for reading. XO
Jan 18, 2018


Burn and I have similar morning routines during the week.
We both have a hard time functioning Monday mornings, and tend to feel overly tired.
Lucky for him, he gets to plop back down into his bed as I walk out the front door.

Side story: Monday's are tough for me and make me want to make rash decisions like quitting my job and running away (which, I do believe is par for the course with most working folks) so I have been implementing No Major Decisions Monday into my regime. Although I'm not one to wish time away, Monday's are by far the hardest to get through, especially in the dead of winter, so I try to make it easier by thinking less. No plans, no deep conversations, no appointments, not major-anything's.
Just get through it as painlessly as possible. Tomorrow is a new day.

By the time Wednesday rolls around Burn is literally under toe while I'm drying my hair, hoping I grow a third arm to provides constant pets.

I deeply desire to bring him to work with me. Or be able to be around him way more than I do. He brings me so much joy and unconditional love that I could just burst into a million pieces when I think about him. I would just LOVE to have him in my office on the daily, so I could turn around at any point and see him sleeping peacefully in the corner. He really lives up his bulldog-mannerisms these days.

If you tend to watch my insta-stories, I briefly shared that I found a new deodorant that does not leave any white marks on black clothing, nor does it make white clothes have yellow pit-stains. 
I am a rather sweaty person and it becomes VERY obvious when I'm working out or under pressure. Like, I even sweat on my forearms and shins. 
That's sort of insane, right?

Anyways, so I have been using this Degree deodorant for a while, but to be honest, I cannot stand the spray option. I feel like I'm choking on a cloud of chemicals and it makes me sad. They do have a solid option which would help, because it really does live up to it's promise of no white marks. 
So for that I'm thankful. Those white marks are such a pain to get out of clothes!

But, I really shouldn't be using any sort of standard antiperspirants.

Deodorant is the last piece of the puzzle in terms of eliminating nasty cancer-inducing chemicals that I apply to myself daily. I have been doing my research on activated charcoal and think I may have found a suitable alternative that both combats sweat AND doesn't include disgusting additives. 
I'll report back if it actually worked for my, ahem, issues. 

I am also finding so much joy in being able to move forward with projects and plans, even if they may be small. A bathroom upgrade and a vacation are two items I couldn't even dream about when we were in the droves of IVF because I simply didn't have any more energy (or money) to pursue them. But here we are; with new things and experiences to look forward to. 

In between, I am continuing to boldly pray that God grants me my desire to become a mom.
That was placed in my heart for a reason and I cannot deny it just because we closed the door with science. There has to be a different route, a different alternative, that will work with our lives. 

I'll be reporting back next week with bathroom reno updates! You can follow along on my Instagram as I'll try to post some live stories. The goal this weekend is to move all the items out of the bathroom, clean and sand the wall tiles, paint the wall tiles, and if I'm feeling extra ambitious, paint the walls, and maaayyyybeee the grout or vanity mirror?  We shall see!

Thanks for reading! XO
Jan 17, 2018

Plans for the Bathroom Facelift

It's time. The weather is planning to be un-seasonally warm this weekend, which is exactly what I need to kick off this project.

Side Story: Once we finally get our credit card paid off, and a new tenant in our rental, the bulk of our extra money will be saved up for the big one.....our main floor kitchen renovation.
I anticipate that project starting in roughly two springs from now, God-willing.
But in the meantime, I'm hoping to flex my design and DIY muscle just a tad.

Our downstairs bathroom, the one we use 99% of the time and basically the only one anyone ever really sees....is in dire need for a bit of a face-lift.

It is in impeccable shape given that whoever installed everything likely did so more than a couple dozen years ago. But the colors....ooooh the colors. There are so many. TOO MANY for my taste.

Since the ultimate goal is to do a gut-reno at a much later point in time, I will be working with the current layout and footprint.

This project wasn't even on my radar a month ago. But I tend to make rash decisions a lot sometimes and literally decided last week that I needed to get on it. January's make me itchy to start some sort of home project, and this year is no different.

I was hoping to knock out the update for minimal money, which means I'm doing all the work.
I believe the material cost to complete this upgrade hovers around ~$200. (I'll detail the final costs later)

Then I did my research. I started watching Youtube videos, read the reviews for a bunch of different products, and finally settled on the bulk of the plans.

Here is the game plan:

FLOORS: I'll keep the existing travertine tiles, but clean-up and dye the grout back to bright white.

BATHTUB AND SURROUND: Not touching it. We had the bathtub refinished last year and although the plastic surround is off-white (vs. bright white like I would prefer) I will keep it for now until we can replace it with tile.

BLUE WALL TILE: This is the big hitter for this room and requires the most prep. I'm talking A LOT of cleaning and A LOT of sanding. The painting requires adequate ventilation and a quick, steady hand, but I have confidence the results will be well worth the time. Goodbye blue and HELLO bright white!

PAINTED WALLS: They are currently an off-white beigey color, but I plan to paint them the same Valspar Tahitian Vanilla white that I painted the rest of the first floor.

VANITY MIRROR: I found a chalked paint company called Renaissance that will custom-tint their paint to match anything you want! I plan to pain the vanity mirror to match the painted walls, so it sort of, fades into the background.

VANITY: Unfortunately, there is nothing I can do about the colorful pink/gray granite top for the time being. I won't spend a penny to replace it until we buy a completely new vanity, so the wood base will be painted as well. Right now it's a toss-up between the same white as the mirror, or go dark gray. My samples should be arriving soon enough to make a decision.

Simple and clean is the name of the game. I pulled inspiration from bathroom photos like these:

Besides the tile paint and respirator mask that I purchased on Amazon, the rest of the smaller items were bought from Home Depot. However, I included a full Amazon shopping list with relatively similar pricing, should you be tackling a project now or in the future.

You can find it all HERE.

Progress photos and details to come! Wish me luck!
Thank you for reading! XO
Jan 15, 2018

A Good Weekend

Today begins my fourth cycle since our second miscarriage.
Looking back, I realized the last three cycles had been filled with a bit too much false-joy and false-hope.
A hope I fabricated that, perhaps, if we just stopped IVF, I would naturally become pregnant and live happily ever after. So for the two weeks of every cycle following ovulation, I would be filled to the brim with ecstatic expectations, only to crumble in a pile of emotions and tears when my period would show up; right on time.

If you haven't realized by now, I am a relatively emotional person.
I cry a lot. Both when I'm happy and I'm sad.
Sometimes those emotions take over rational thinking, so I have worked hard over the last 15 years to take the reigns on them.

Because dudes, these huge emotions can be as draining as running a marathon.

Although there is nothing wrong with positive thinking, it's realizing my miracle didn't come as I intended it to, and seeing my emotions unravel in the complete opposite direction that is concerning.

Life, to me, shouldn't be all about these extreme high's and low's. That's how I lived during IVF and I am diligently working to close that chapter of my life for good.

I have been working towards a lovely middle ground, one not dictated by my menstrual cycle.
And guess what?
When CD1 rolled in right on time today, I wasn't mad or sad.
I thanked God that it showed up, revealing it was not my time, yet I was still healthy and functioning appropriately.

I could not have been happier this weekend.
I felt worn down, between the weather and a constant schedule of work and work-outs and therapy and social events.

I took a lot of time this weekend to rest and read.
I dove into The Case for Christ, which to me is rather intense.
You see, I literally know nothing about Jesus or the bible or any of the details.
So while this book feeds my need for research and questions, I do spend a lot of time Googling words and information I hadn't heard of until now, to provide an overall context to what I'm reading.
I believe this is a good place to start, though, and although I'm only like 50 pages in, I'll keep chipping away at the book until I make it through.

In between, I made food and spent time with close friends.
As good as down-time is for my soul, it's equally energizing to pick up where I left off with the friendships I treasure the most. You know which ones the good ones are when it's irrelevant how much time has passed between visits.

Burn and I made a quick trip to Home Depot to pick-up some supplies for the upcoming bathroom renovation. He gets more than his fair share of attention at that place and is always up for a car-ride, even if it's to the vet!

A lot of the pieces to this project are falling into place, and the parts I am still questioning will work themselves out as I dive in. At this point I think I just need to rip the band-aid off and get to work.
No, I have never dyed grout, used chalked furniture paint, or re-painted tile...but what's the worst that can happen. Eek!

Besides, I actually think the biggest annoyance will be the prep. There is a TON of sanding and cleaning that has to take place before a drop of paint is applied.
Not to mention I literally need to move everything out of that room and set us up in the other bathroom until everything is finished.

I'll try to document as much as possible in case you're thinking of taking on a similar task in your own home. At the very least you can learn from all the mistakes I'm bound to make!!

Happy Monday! Thanks for reading! XO
Jan 11, 2018

A Millionty Projects

You guys...I don't know what happened but now I have come to realize I have given myself a bunch of projects to work on, and for some reason I am actually a little frazzled that they may not be completed before spring.

I think most people get the urge to purge after the Holidays.
No? Just me?

Well...I am purging like a motha' these days. Room by room, I have been digging through all the junk drawers, dead spaces, and cabinets to create piles of keep, donate, or toss.

First comes purging, then comes deep-cleaning.
I'm talking, scrubbing the fucking drool-covered walls (and ceilings for that matter), scraping out the baseboard gunk, picking gross things out of corners with q-tips and bleaching everything imaginable.

Being forced to stay indoors for many months and seeing a space in juuuust the right morning light instantly reveals how nasty our home gets in a year.

I sort of love cleaning like this though, as long as I can knock out an entire room in a day.
The rest of the year is simply spent tidying and wiping down the larger surfaces or just outright ignoring them since I'm too busy doing things like day-drinking in the pool.

Then when all the general house-hold cleaning, purging and organizing is complete...I can hit the larger projects with a clear head.

Since looking at what was supposed to be our nursery is completely depressing to me, I decided to turn it into my craft room for the time being. <---see what I did there? #therewillbemiracles

I want to set up the space so that it's accessible enough that I actually want to craft and create more.

Which leads me to this painting:

I think it's too colorful, so I'm going to re-do it since I stare it all day at work and it's not bringing me joy anymore.

Then there is the secret coffee-bar closet in our bedroom.
Our 100 year old home is laid out....oddly, especially when it comes to closet space.
I love the quirkiness of it, but it makes designing a functional closet a bit difficult since there are very few rectangular rooms.

The coffee-bar closet holds our Keurig, a mini-fridge, and a microwave on one side, and then the rest of the space has sort of become a catch-all for all the other crap I don't want to look at.

My goal is turn it into a little room that holds my essential oils and books, along with a more efficient coffee-bar space.

Side story: When Mark was sick with his second man-flu, he decided he was bored one day and did the unthinkable....He started rifling through this closet to clean it out. GASP!

And I completely lost it on him.

Because it is (mostly) MY SHIT and MY PROJECT. (um...if he didn't realize he married a crazy person...he sure as Hell realized that day)

Who the fuck gets pissed their husband was trying to help?
ME, that's who.

Besides, I didn't want his germy-flu hands touching all my stuff. I still think it's completely valid to lose it. You don't see me rifling through his garage because I think it's disgusting. Which I completely DO think it's disgusting and would love to actually clean, but I'd probably just end up torching the place because it's too much junk and then we'd get a divorce. So it's better if I just don't ever go in there in the first place. At least not sober. Marriage is all about picking your battles, you know.

Now back to the real post.

And the biggest task that I randomly decided to tackle as well?
Our main downstairs bathroom.

Now, I vowed not to do any home renovations this winter (because, IVF debt), but this bathroom keeps giving me gross vibes and I need to do something about it.

What I really want to do is gut the fucking thing and start over, and one day that will actually happen, but until that day becomes a reality I still have to live with what we have.
And what we currently have is this:

Not exactly my style. Or anyone's style outside of the 1982. There are just too many colors!!

My plans include re-finishing the existing tile; changing it from blue to crisp white.
Re-painting the walls a lighter color.
And for Christ-sakes...painting over that huge wooden vanity monstrosity.

I don't have the budget to change anything out...but I am SURE I can make a dent in the appearance with a cheaper face-life, right?

Four months and counting, folks! Do you have any projects this season?
Thanks for reading. XO
Jan 10, 2018


I have seen others pick a word to set the tone for the upcoming year. Almost by chance, my ears perked up the most to this one.

  1. 1.
    having or showing an excited feeling that something is about to happen, especially something pleasant and interesting.

I had seen it a few times across my social media feeds. Joanna Gaines ringing in the New Year using the word, only to announce her FIFTH pregnancy shortly thereafter...friends awaiting a new addition, with captions of expectant....it just seems very fitting at the moment.

I guess the bigger picture with the word expectant in my life is that this overwhelming desire has been granted to me for a reason. Even though it may seem that I just up and decided one morning that my every thought would be consumed by motherhood, I know the timing and the journey were given to me specifically.

And I suppose the hardest hurdle has been comparison. I have watched countless others attain what I desire, and make it seem so easy. Or, at the very least, less of a struggle.
But, comparison has no place in my life. 

In the Midwest, we are fully enveloped in the dead of winter. 
I am not one that finds joy in the outdoor winter activities, so I focus inward.
Life seems slower and more intentional.

It's a good time to change my mindset from one of it's not fair to let's wait and see.

After our third failed IVF transfer, I finally realized fertility treatments are not going to bring us the baby we deeply desired. It was too hard on our marriage and too hard on my mind and body.

Depleting all our resources is not the proper way to bring life into this world.

My spirit was dead. 
Our finances were tapped. 
My body was an experiment. 
Our marriage was unsteady.

And I quickly became depressed, not knowing how to make my dreams a reality anymore.
I felt like a failure. Like I was throwing in the towel on my life's work.

With nowhere else to turn, I'm handing it over to God. This journey has become too much for me and I'm praying for help.

Instead of feeling like this dream is impossible, and that it's, well...just a dream, I want to believe there is a guardian angel, carefully curating my wishes for me as I navigate this next chapter. 

I want to fully embrace the idea of joy in the wait, as the news unfolds.
I don't know how it will, but I am leaning on faith and conviction that it will...IT MUST....when the timing is right for my life.

A dear friend on social media wrote me a quick comment that made me laugh: 

God didn't bring me this far to drop me on my ass. 

Isn't that the best?!

It's so true. Why would I be called to start this winding journey to motherhood to end up empty handed? Wouldn't that be considered a waste if it just stopped abruptly? 

Although I don't comprehend what is in store for me at all....the possibilities are fruitful and overflowing.

How amazing is it to feel so full of life, realizing you are expectant with such good news?!

The anticipation is very freeing. Knowing that God won't let me fall on my ass after all this heart-ache. These dismal times were lessons, as they opened my mind and my arms to something greater in the future. 

I don't know what that is and I don't have to know right now.
My purpose is to keep bringing joy each day to myself, and to those around me.
To stop waiting for the miracle. Stop putting my life on hold in the meantime. 
It's coming. If it's still desired in my heart then God knows it and will make it happen. 

I will live fully and purposefully until the expectant information is fully revealed.

I can't wait to see what happens with the lessons we have learned in the last five years. 
It has got to be setting the scene for some pretty spectacular stuff!

Thank you for reading! XO
Jan 8, 2018

On My Heart

I'm feeling a little sassy this Monday morning, so I'm going to speak frankly about some stuff that has been on my heart recently.

1. Money
Money has always been a sort of taboo subject for me. As someone that has always been very submersed in the corporate world, it's one of those subjects, like politics and religion, that you just don't talk about. And I'm not here to spill what my salary is or anything, because to be honest?

I'm not proud of it, in the way you might think. (no, I'm not turning tricks....)

I mean, yes, I am proud of all the ladder-climbing I did, jumping hurdles like women-oppression and man-splaining along the way. And I guess I landed "on top" and made good use of that four-year degree I got.

But in all honesty, it's not fulfilling. It never has been and it never will be. I don't ever speak about my latest work endeavors with any enthusiasm. When people ask what I do for a living, I respond HR and change the subject. I am living this career-life because it pays me well enough to afford things most people couldn't even dream of. And for that I am grateful.

However, there has got to be a more fulfilling path that doesn't knock me on my ass every Monday.
I'm all for putting in an honest days work, so I'll be exploring different avenues in this new chapter of life. And maybe that path leads to less income.

That is a very scary statement to me. I was always raised to follow the 40 hour work-week, salaried role of every other working professional, but sometimes I just feel like I'm grasping at straws to stay afloat.

Is it just me? Or maybe it's just this time of year?
I don't know. Maybe my crazy meds need to be adjusted.

I have always found comfort knowing that if I just work a little harder, keep my chin up, I'll make more money and in-turn will have greater financial stability and a better lifestyle....but holy crap does that rat race get old sometimes! The burn-out is real and I just can't imagine doing this for another 30 fucking years. Who decided the retirement age again?!

Especially when I constantly just feel like a professional babysitter, or talked down to like I couldn't possibly know what I'm doing because I'm a WOMAN.

Which leads me to....

2. Oprah
Honey, did you see her speech? Bra-fucking-vo. Here it is if you missed it.

It certainly is a great time to be alive, isn't it?
Granted, sometimes Oprah gets on my ever-last nerve, with her constantly shouting about BREAD and shit, but THIS....this is inspiring and epic.

It led me to sign up for volunteer efforts at our local Women's March chapter in Chicago, so we'll see how that pans out in the coming months. Maybe that shit will bring some much-needed change in my life.

3. Therapy 
So now that I have different (non-IVF insurance) this year, the therapist I was seeing in 2017 is out of network. I was going every other week and I really like her. 
But every time I see her I now need to shell out $100.

My inner dialogue is this:

Part of me says keep going. She is doing really great things for me and I know it's good for my soul to talk about issues and work towards new goals since we are not doing fertility treatments anymore. Navigating this weird new world is hard and people like her should make it easier, which she does. Plus, she is helping shape my spiritual side and that can only be a plus.

The other part of me is a cheap-skate and is like....$100 for an hour?! Are you crazy?! How can you pay a couple hundred dollars each month just to have someone tell you you aren't broken?

Sigh....I'm trying to throw this in as a catch-all in the "self-care" bucket, along with my expensive Orangetheory membership. Both are testing my limits in different ways. What's good for the mind and body can only benefit me, right?

This issue brings me back to item #1....money. I have to keep chugging along in the corporate world to afford this type of self care. And so continues the annoying circle of life.

No need trying to find remedies...this is more just my brain purging since I think I only got 2 hours of sleep last night, my husband is finally recovering from his second man-flu, and there is still snow on the ground.

Thanks for reading!! XO
Jan 5, 2018

I Can't Be Killed By Conventional Weapons

Mark mentioned last night that he was feeling extra run down, like he was getting another flu or something.


I finally (although I never wanted it in the first place) got my first taste of the elusive man-cold every woman on the planet talks about, and the Great Man Flu of 2017 literally just ended a couple weeks ago.

I. Can. Not. Deal. with another go this quickly.

Mark kept asking why it looked like lasers were shooting out of my eyes (a look I perfected while teaching High School Color Guard....you remember, right mama?) and it's because I know what I'm up against and I don't want to go back any time soon....so I ran to the medicine cabinet and threw the containers of Multi-Vitamins and Vitamin C at his face so he could choke down AT LEAST 100 of each.

Then I ever-so-nicely explained to him that he is not exactly a spring chicken anymore and perhaps needs to combat working outdoors in below freezing temps by taking care of himself as if he isn't made of steel. Which is...par for the course...exactly how he has managed the last 39 years of his life.

"I can't be killed by conventional weapons" is what I hear on a daily basis. Not an exaggeration.

Then I replied, perhaps not...but working in literal human shit and then failing to wash your hands the second you leave said shit hole (PUN intended) may be contributing to the ebola virus you seem to get on a monthly basis these days.

In other news, I was required to leave the safe-haven of my warm living room this week and head back into work, forced into the cold, sporting polka-dot mittens while steering this beast of a vehicle I now drive to combat this horrid weather.

PSA: Going from a luxury sedan to a Hum-Vee sure makes you realize that air-ride suspension and consistently working seat heaters is a real treasure in life. #blessed

And because I'm all for well-thought out, planned decisions, I booked us a vacation to Key Largo as soon as possible so we can pretend we don't live in the North-fucking-Pole for a week.

And then I told Mark about it when I got home. He said Hell Yea.

I knew all those points we racked up from IVF would come in handy some day. And that day came in the form of a free-trip as far South as I can get without a passport.

The goal this weekend is likely to stay indoors as much as possible and avoid seeing people so we can continue our efforts to stop un-necessary spending. I have a few to-do items around the house that include re-organizing and purging...my two favorite verbs during winter.

Pray hubby fights off this flu and I don't contract anything in the process.
Amazon sells SARS masks, right?

Thanks for reading. XO
Jan 4, 2018

A Typical Morning Convo

During the winter, Mark doesn't have to rush off to work before sunrise since he tends to spend most of his days outdoor and the weather is currently -390. In the sun.

Therefore, we get to actually see each other in the mornings and it's sort of....insane.

Mark has been up at least an hour before me so that he can eat his Eggo's and watch Fox News, while I'm struggling to not hit snooze for the 11th time and make it out the door by 7am since it's an Orangetheory Day and my schedule cannot. be. messed. up.

Once Mark has successfully inhaled his morning sugar breakfast, he will burst into the bathroom, always while I'm drying my hair and can't really hear that well and he'll start off with something like this.

We need to talk about your recycling habits.

No, we don't. I recycle and care about the environment. The end. *as I flip my head upside down to perfect the bouffant I am trying to attempt for work*

You can't just throw out candles with wax in them. 

It's glass. Glass is recyclable. I don't see the issue. 

The issue is there is wax in them.

Then take it up with Bed Bath because I'M NOT THE ONE that designed the candles that don't burn out all the wax. And I tried doing the freeze-the-wax-outta-them thing and all it ended up doing is exploding in our freezer and leaving shards of glass everywhere.

You never cleaned that out?

What does that have to do with your recycling issue?! 

*Mark shakes his head* You can't combine recyclables. If something has garbage in it or two types of recyclable materials, then it can't be recycled.


You're basically making us have two garbages instead of one recycling and one garbage bin.

I'm not changing. The recycling people can fix it if they are so concerned. I thought you had that huge conspiracy theory that there isn't a recycling company anyways?! What about that? 
If that's so true then in theory I'm just helping your cause since it doesn't matter anyways right?
I am basically separating our garbage into gross garbage and not-covered-in-ketchup garbage.
If anything I'm helping people in this case. You should be thanking me! 

That's not how it works.

Maybe just spray paint the lid of the recyling bin green and all of this is resolved right? 

*I dab no-itch cream on my neck rash that seemingly popped up out of nowhere*
Does this look contagious? 

*Mark examines himself in the mirror*

Men need hair, you know.


I mean, I am devilishly good looking, but this tuft of hair I'm holding on to needs to stay put and not start coming out of my ears.

*I sigh because I have seen a receding halo hairline around the top of his head for quite some time but Heaven forbid I say anything*

Yes, I am well aware of your rugged good looks. It's the main reason I married you.

Damn straight. I gotta go. 
*reaches out and smashes his face into mine in an attempt to kiss my face*


Jan 3, 2018

Where Does God Fit in Your Life?

I struggle, sometimes, to make sense of the hand we have been dealt on our path to parenthood.

After trying and failing for most of our marriage, I always wonder if this is it.
If what we were supposed to learn is simply to enjoy each other.

Some days I wonder if I should still be fighting for a child.
I see others moving forward, pressing on, and I just wonder if I'm doing the right thing.
In my heart I don't have any fight left.
At least, not in the form of invasive procedures and daily injections.

And then some days I forget how exhausting the IVF battle is and I start thinking maybe we didn't test for EVERYTHING.
Just before the New Year, I finally went in for the long list of blood-work the doctor suggested I have completed after our second miscarriage.

I put it off for two months, and quite frankly, didn't really anticipate doing it in the first place.
But I bit the bullet and headed back into that waiting room.
And when I was finally called back, I was so irritated and frustrated I ended up passing out after the phlebotomist drew the 15th vial of blood.

I hated being there.
I felt like an imposter.
It didn't help that I went at the same time all the successful women were getting their ultrasounds, newly pregnant, relieved all their hard work finally paid off.

I remember those joyful times.
Each week, watching our baby grow.
Gosh, those ultrasounds were the absolute best images I have ever seen.

Although I have made up my mind to stop IVF....my heart isn't out of the game yet.

I have these weird premonitions, that keep growing more and more vivid as the days go on.

Although we lost a boy, I was never convinced we would raise a boy.
It's almost as if I knew the pregnancy wouldn't take, but didn't understand at the time.

I keep having these visions of a girl.
I see her.
I see snippets of time, as if I'm watching myself, holding her, in a little checkered dress, barefoot in the summer time out in our yard.
I see how she looks, with soft blond curls at the nape of her neck.
She has chubby little cheeks and blue eyes.
I see her so well I can even give her a name.

It all just....makes sense.
These visions.

And yet, at the same time, it completely doesn't.
Because I have no idea to attain them.

I have no idea how to make them a reality if we are through with IVF.
How do I make a baby if we are done trying?

And my therapist boldly questioned my confusions with....Where does God fit in your life?

My response was equally ridiculous.
I started crying.
I have never imagined something I can't see solving a problem in my life for me.

As a Type A person...I create my own destiny, right?
So how do I handle this?

If I have always been the solution and resource for a lot of my and other's lives....does God fill in the pieces of the puzzle that I can't fathom?

Sometimes I feel my faith growing, or, I guess it's faith. I don't actually know what to call it....and I will be honest that I am terrified about it.
Because it's not tangible.
I like things that I can see and touch and understand by looking at it.

But I can't see this.
It's just a feeling.

I don't know how to lean into God for these visions.
I don't want to come off as crazy but I can't stop them from happening.

I am terrified to let into too much hope for fear of falling on my face again.
I want to weave that little girl into my life just like every other piece of the beautiful puzzle.
I worry sometimes that I am just manifesting these visions out of the chaos over our loss.
That I should just snap back to reality and stop day-dreaming.

It all seems so real sometimes, though.
So I'll keep trying to lean in and hope for a bit of guidance on this strange path.
Thanks for reading. XO