Monday, April 30

Where's Charlie Been?

I know I've been quiet lately. Just laying low. Not much to talk about on the diet front or the baby front. Just maintaining my weight loss (give or take a few pounds) and waiting for the next period to show up so we can try for a baby again.

In the meantime, I started a new blog. Just something to keep my mind sharp and to challenge me. You should go check it out!

I'll keep you guys posted over here as soon as anything changes. Till then, I'll be at A Little Off Color doing my thing.

With much love-

Tuesday, March 27

(R)Ode to Joy

I’m not afraid to admit it.
I am a bit overly emotional right now.
It’s not like I can’t function in life. I’m not in that place.
It’s just that it hurts. It hurts a lot.
I made the statement on Facebook the other day that “Joy is a choice, forever and always.” And I mean that with every fiber of my being.
That doesn’t mean, however, that choosing joy is easy. Sometimes it’s the hardest decision you can make.
This afternoon, I was having a small pity party. I invited me, myself, and I. Which is more than enough for this type of shindig. After having an ultrasound this morning, talking to the doctor, and having to come home and process all the information I got, my heart felt like it was going to explode. Oh sure, I was pleasant enough at the appointment. But after coming home, I felt the finality of it all.
I sat on the couch, folding laundry and watching House Hunters International. Every couple minutes I would get lost in this zone of pain. Where your mind feels like you are swimming in sorrow. Just knowing that I’m emptying out my heart, soul and womb at the same time leaves a woman feeling broken. I’m sure everyone reading this has experienced this type of hurt at some point or another in their lives. I know you all can relate to this place I was finding myself.
The problem with pain is that the more you think about it and give into it, the harder it hurts. That goes for emotional pain as well as physical. I knew that I needed to get off the couch and just do something different.
So I went outside to pick up trash in our yard.
It’s not that it’s OUR trash in the yard… the corner we live on has this weird wind vortex that blows all the neighborhood trash onto my sidewalk. Plus people are idiots and throw litter on the ground like the world is their dumpster.
Anyhoo, the wind vortex was blowing like mad today, and after I noticed candy wrappers, a shoebox and some empty cups had blown into our yard, it kinda got me frustrated. So I went out and started picking up OPT (Other People’s Trash). Meanwhile, I was having a conversation with God that sounded really whiney and annoying. Something like this.
“God, people are so stupid. Why don’t they realize how what they toss aside ends up as somebody else’s problem? And people don’t only do it with trash. They do it with other people’s feelings. Speaking of feelings, I know that people know what is going on in our world, and I know folks are praying for us. But right now, I just feel alone. Which I know that I am not alone. But in this singular moment of my day, I feel alone. I feel like all this hurt is welling up inside me and there’s not a trash vortex for me to dump it. I can’t process anything because THIS HURTS TOO MUCH.”
At which point in my very one sided conversation, I was almost to the point of starting the ugly cry.
And that happened to be when I looked at the particular piece of trash in my hand.

Dang it.
Because in that desperate moment of frantic grasping for understanding, I WASN’T CHOOSING JOY.
In fact, I was squelching it. Squashing it like a bug.
The tricky thing about joy is that it’s not always obvious. Sometimes you have to search for it. Sometimes it’s a needle in a haystack. Sometimes it’s a gosh darn speck of dust in the universe.
I’m gonna be honest kids. I don’t know today how to be joyful about my current situation. Specifically, I know this means we “can” get pregnant again, and I know God has a plan, and I “know” that this stuff happens when there might be something really wrong with the embryo and it’s for your own good. I got that stuff covered.
Yet I think I’m being too hard on myself. I’m trying to be specific with my joy, when it simply needs to be general.
God doesn’t ask me to be “OK” when things are going all wonky in my life, but to trust that HE is ok and can be trusted to see me through. I can be hurt and cry and mourn during this season. It’s ok for me to be vulnerable with my heart for a little bit. It’s ok for me to admit that I am struggling, or that I could really use a long drive with sad music playing and have myself a good cleansing cry.
What God does ask me to do is to be joyful that not every season of my life will feel like this. To know without a doubt that this hurt is temporary. To take Him at His word that He’s gonna catch me if I fall down. To trust Him that He will pick me up and be the lifter of my head.
I love that phrase. “He is the lifter of our head.” It makes me imagine that I am sitting on the floor crying, and He kneels down to where I am, puts a finger under my chin, and gently lifts up my tear soaked face so I am looking right into His eyes.
And in that moment He says something like “It’s all going to be OK. Because I have overcome the world.”
For this moment, that is my general joy. God, somehow, has got this covered. I don’t understand it, and I certainly don’t enjoy going through it, but He’s got this.
Nobody ever said the road to joy was an easy one to choose. Nor is it an easy one to walk. But if we can choose it, and if we continue walking it, we will eventually walk ourselves to a better place than we ever dreamed we could be. All of those road blocks we face today will be distant memories tomorrow.
So to the best of my human ability, I’m going to continue choosing joy. Even when it hurts, even when it doesn’t make sense.
This is my rODE to joy.

    Friday, March 23

    Charlie, God, and the Pregnant Pause

    Dear God,
    If there was ever a week a woman needed a straight jacket, it would be this week of my life. We’ve suffered heartache after heartache. Tears have fallen until there were no more tears left under the sun.
    Honestly, God, I’m used to things not really going our way. As much as I wish everything would go as I planned, they just don’t.
    And I’m not gonna pretend like everything is ok, because it’s not.
    This hurts.
    But in all things, I am choosing to trust that YOUR way is better.
    This pregnancy is ending. My HCG numbers have fallen beyond hope, and this morning I have started spotting.
    Holy Father, while this heart is broken, let me pour out everything within it. Purify my heart while it’s wide open. Look closely to see what needs to be restored, what could be softened, what could be strengthened. Do not let this time of hurt be in vain of the wonderful things you could do. Let this pregnant pause grow something greater in my life than I ever dreamed. And if it is not a little duck today, then let me grow in my relationship with you.
    Sweet Jesus, in the midst of our hurt, let me be a light. Let me point people to the hope I have in YOU. This world comes at us from all sides, twisting and turning our emotions until we can’t breathe. Situations rise up from nowhere, testing our resolve.
    Do not let my resolve be moved.
    I am not considering my current situation the end. This moment of life You are proving to me once again that YOUR LOVE IS ENOUGH. Because I trust that You are for me, I know that You have fully equipped me to find solace and peace and comfort. It is only by Your miraculous grace that I can come to terms with the state of my life today.
    Today I choose joy. I choose joy joy joy that you loved our family enough to tell us no, not yet.
    I often think about the times when the kids ask for really big expensive stuff. I know it’s not in their best interest to give it to them. Sometimes we want them to work towards those things. Sometimes Matt and I want to be the ones who give it to them, surprising them just because they are loved. I know they don’t like to feel the disappointment of being told no, but with each and every no they hear, there are loving parents who are teaching them that getting a NO doesn’t mean no-not-ever, it just means that we want you to feel the full impact of this gift. That it will mean something more to you because you had to wait.
    And as I think about those times, I see clearly how Your love is so much like that.  Maybe this is something You want us to work towards. Maybe You want to pour down such spontaneous blessing on our lives JUST BECAUSE YOU LOVE US, but we need to wait for You to make that move.
    Whatever the reason is You are telling us no today, I thank You. I will embrace this moment as a sign of Your love and favor upon our lives, that we would be purified again and again during our lives. When we are broken to the point of barely hanging on, that is never a sign of Your anger or proof that You have abandoned us as some might think. It means that You love us so deeply, so completely that You want to pull us close and hold us tightly as we cry. You want MORE for our lives than what we presently have. Your love is closer than ever when our world falls apart, and the bigger the damage path, the deeper we will find Your love goes.
    And through this heartbreak, I will wait for what YOU have for this family.
    I wait for the LORD, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. - Psalm 130:5   

      Tuesday, March 13

      How Charlie managed to spend 3 days in utter confusion and come out ok on the other side

      (Today’s post is lengthy. Just wanted you to know ahead of time.)
      So it’s been a long time since I’ve blogged.
      It’s not that I’ve wanted to keep the nutty life of Charlie from any of you, it’s just that I’ve had a LOT going on lately. It’s showchoir season, and the kids’ schedules are packed with activities. There are few nights when we are all home and can enjoy the company of each other. My days have been packed with trips to school, sewing costumes, running to the store, and my latest obsession:
      Peeing on sticks.
      As you all know, we are trying to get preggers, and I have to tell you the urge to see a positive test has been a bit like my obsession with the scale once was. CONSUMING. And that’s the reason for today’s story.
      So on Saturday afternoon, I still had not started my period. Which is good. I had been taking pregnancy tests that whole week leading up to the day my period was expected, but they all turned out negative, except for the one on Friday morning, which (not even kidding) turned polka dotted. (Faulty test, I assume) After a trip to the store to grab some dog food, I picked up one more box of pregnancy tests. And I got home and took one.
      Faintly positive….
      Of course, Matt and I are now jaded about faintly positive tests ever since the mysterious orb fiasco last year. Plus last month we had one that was faintly positive as well. But the more the test sat there, the more positive it looked.
      We decided that a digital test might be a better option.
      So I ran to Walgreens, got a pack of 2 digital tests, stopped to show Julia the faintly positive test (which she agreed looked positive indeed) and came back home. I took the next test.
      And it said… (exhibit A)

      Which just left us in shock. I mean we always knew it was going to happen, but still when it actually does happen you are kind of in shock. We agreed that the next morning I would take the remaining digital test before we allowed ourselves to get excited.
      Sunday morning, I peed in a cup with my first morning’s urine, then went back to sleep for a couple hours. After Matt and I both got up, I dipped the digital test in the oldish pee and we waited. Those 3 minutes were taking forever.
      And finally the answer popped up.
      “Not Pregnant.”
      What? But I was so sure!!!!! And I felt like I was pregnant! Plus, mother nature was still MIA!
      At that point, the obsession part took over my head (Or perhaps a surge of undetermined pregnancy horror-moans) and I went to the walmarts on a mission. After consulting the website I tried to gather the most accurate tests I could find. Multiple packs.
      I went up to the cashier who looked at me like I had lost my mind.
      “I’m getting mixed results” I said quietly.
      “Why don’t you just go to the doctor?” she asked, kinda snarky-like.
      Sigh… “Because it’s Sunday.”
      I took my bag full of tests and went home.
      After peeing in a cup, I began the frantic routine of unwrapping and dipping. Setting the timer.
      (See? Exhibit B)

      So Matt and I started to get a little giddy. And when the kids got home we told them that while it still has to be confirmed by a doctor, it looks like we are pregnant. And joy swept over this house.
      Now, fast forward to Monday afternoon.
      I stopped by the kids’ school to drop off a few things, and one of the 5th graders was standing in the office. She looked at me and smiled.
      “I heard you are pregnant!”
      Whaaaaaa????? I guess I never told the kids to keep it under wraps. Epic mom-fail.
      Of course, our secretary (who is awesome, by the way) waited till the girl had left the office and then said “Yeah, we heard that earlier. One of the teachers called me to ask if I’d heard anything, and I hadn’t, so we checked your facebook page to see if you’d mentioned it. But you hadn’t. So?”
      “Well, yes, but I’m going to the doctor to get it confirmed.”
      More joy bouncing all around!
      I left the school and headed to the doctor’s office.
      They got all my information, I peed in a cup for them, and went on with the appointment. The doctor (who I also saw during the Mysterious Orb fiasco) didn’t seem to remember me. She was asking lots of questions about the tubal reversal, why I had it done, where, etc. Then one of the nurses walked in with a post-it note. Suddenly the tune of the visit changed.
      “What symptoms are you having?”
      “Well, besides not getting my period on time or at all, I’m exhausted, my boobs hurt to 11 (**she did NOT get the This is Spinal Tap reference**), and I’m hungry all the time. But mostly I’m just tired. Oh, and bacon doesn’t sound good to me, which is just not normal on so many levels.”
      “And you had some urine tests come up positive?”
      “Yes, 8 of them.”
      “Hmmmmm… because the urine test we just did was negative.”
      And that was when my world SLAMMED INTO THE FLOOR.
      Suddenly, she seemed to recall I was the woman who thought she was pregnant last year, and you could tell she did not think I was pregnant at all. Like any good hormonally surged woman would do, I whipped out my iphone to show her the picture I showed you above entitled Exhibit B.
      “But look- I took all these yesterday, and they are all positive!”  
      “That looks expensive.”
      Calmly (or at least I tried to be calm about it) I stated, “Can we just do a blood test?”
      “Maybe we should wait a couple days and see if you start your period.”
      “I’d really rather have the blood test today. I need to know.”
      You could tell that she really didn’t think it was necessary. But she ordered it anyway.
      And I got my blood work done.
      On the way home, after calling Julia and sobbing through the whole fiasco, and leaving a frustrated and cryptic facebook status, I had a talk with God.
      “God, this isn’t really fair. I either should be or I shouldn’t be. This middle ground of not knowing things and living in limbo is pushing me over the edge. This whole issue of trust is something we know I’m pretty good at, but today is not the day I can be calm and wait things out. If this is Your timing, then lets go. But if it’s not, please, I can’t be run over the emotional coals about one more issue in my life. I’ve already got enough on my plate. Don’t tease me with maybe you are maybe you aren’t. Not that You are a God who teases, but really, I just need to know one way or the other. Plus if I’m not, I’ve got to go back to the kids’ school and tell them all it was not meant to be. It would be hard, but I could do it. Just get me through this afternoon and let them get my test results back today and not tomorrow. Please God, I’m begging you.”
      And the afternoon had no problem dragging by at a snails’ pace. Finally, at 4:30, I called and left a message if they could see if the results were back in.
      About 5 minutes later, my friend Carrie called me from the doctor’s office. (It’s good to have a friend behind the counter. Plus, she knows how much we really want this, so her attitude is compassionate and sweet. A total Godsend.)
      “Hey girl! Ok, your results are back in.”
      Charlie begins taking deep breaths and trying not to pass out from the suspense.
      “Anything over 5 is considered pregnant.”
      More deep breaths. “OK…”
      “You are at 17.”
      Doing crazy hormone math in my head. 5 and under is no, and I got more than 5. So that means…
      “So it’s positive?”
      “Yep, but just barely.”
      Barely is good enough for me!!!!!
      “Now, you need to come in again on Wednesday, because we need to retest and make sure those numbers are coming up like they should.”
      “No problem. I will be there Wednesday morning.”
      So that’s where we are.
      Barely pregnant, but pregnant. Now the hard part of this process begins.
      The risk of having a tubal pregnancy after a tubal reversal is higher than for the majority of women. So we have to make sure the numbers are climbing up (they should be doubling or close to doubling every day for a while) and once my numbers hit between 1500 to 2000 there will be an ultrasound to make sure the baby has attached itself onto my uterine wall and that there’s a heartbeat and everything is ok.
      Matt and I talked a lot about what we wanted to do in regards to announcing it and telling people. And frankly, it all came down to this fact.
      Blogging and writing is how I process things. I grow, I come to understanding, I arrive at acceptance when I am sharing our lives with you readers. I didn’t want to take this journey without you.
      When I began this blog, I didn’t really know if I could lose the weight. It was a journey. Not always good, not always bad, but it was honest and real. I experienced more self acceptance knowing you all were out there, cheering me on, rooting for me. No matter how this experience with our pregnancy ends, because I can’t guarantee anything in life, nor can you, I NEED TO HAVE THE FREEDOM TO SHARE WHAT I AM GOING THROUGH. The good, the bad, the horror-moans, I’m looking forward to taking you all with me. With our family. With the new duck.
      So we need your prayers. Prayers that the little duck is where he or she is supposed to be and for high numbers on Wednesday.
      Thank you for being such a wonderful and important part of my life. Knowing you are out there makes me see the beauty of the world in a whole new way.
      I’m gonna go take a nap now.

        Wednesday, February 1

        Charlie and the Juice Cups

        Thursday, January 26


        Monday, January 2

        Charlie and the ACTUAL OPERATION

        Friday, December 9

        Charlie and the Laboratory Chicken

        Saturday, December 3

        Charlie, the Progress Pictures, and the Parking Lot Syndrome

        Monday, November 21

        Just ONE MORE... thoughts of a woman one pound from goal

        For some reason, the aspect ratio is off, and it's not letting me fix it at the moment.
        (Dear Santa, please bring me Final Cut Pro for Christmas so I can make kick butt videos that look amazing. Mmmmkay, thanks.)

        Sunday, November 20

        Introducing Merlin...

        So I haven't really taken the time to properly introduce you all to our dog, Merlin. He's part boarder collie, part mutt, and big part pain in the butt. He's almost 8 months old. Such a big boy...

        Seriously, I can't imagine having a different dog than him. He's bright, completely housebroken (only took us about 7 weeks) and cute as heck.

        Our family is in love with him, and after watching this video, you might understand why. (Ok, so Puppy the cat isn't THRILLED, but she tolerates him.) (Kinda-sorta.) (Ok, not really at all...)

        Not to mention he is my new running partner. Lands sake, how that dog loves to run!

        So, like all members of our house, Merlin has some qwerks. And he couldn't be more precious.

        Just take a look...

        Thursday, November 17

        Bad Case of THE WANTS

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