Posted in Uncategorized

It takes 2… um… wait!


If you’ve been following our journey closely you’re probably wondering where we are at. I’ve been approached by a number of you to check in – and well – this is as good a place as any to lay it all out there. 

2 years trying to conceive.

8 Fertility Cycles.

2 chemical pregnancies.

1 blighted Ovum.

1 surgery.

4 broken hearts… over-and-over.

And that is all just wishing and waiting for baby número trois.

We don’t know if this is even in the cards for us, but alas, we have been fighting the good fight all this time now. 

Just the other day, Elliott informed me that he was going to take me out and buy me new medicine that will put a baby in my belly. Well, his wish may just come true – someday soon.

As it stands now, we are headed into the big wide world of Science for this belly bean.

We will both be undergoing a series of testing this month – fertility, motility, genetic compatibility, as well as a specialized ultrasound diagnostic for me. 

Then, if all is well we will be moving forward with IUI and IVF consecutively. 

So with a little love, a little faith, and a little science maybe this will be our new beginning! 

Tight squeeze

Ella

Posted in How Tos, Recipes

Tropic Trifle

Tropic like its hot, because I guarantee you are going to be falling over this delicious trifle. So great, in fact, that I just had to make this my inaugural food post. Also this recipe takes a few quick spins of the mixer, and voila your done… in minutes!!


Trifles are almost always my go-to potluck contribution, because I can throw it together the night before – which is my #1 potluck rule –  and grab it and go when your running out the door, WHICH MEANS… more ‘hair did’, ‘make-up did’ doing. I have been making so many trifles in the past few years, that boredom set in and I have been getting adventurous with my ingredients, this one has taken the cake! – pun intended.

Ok so your going to need to take a quick hop-skip-and a jump to the grocery store – well unless you have toddlers in tow, then its all like; talking to every stranger, snacking on a cracker box in the aisle, “I lost my blankie”, and “Stay with mommy I am in a hurry” 65478300 times. In this case, I am sorry! I feel you! Maybe you can send hubby???

Shopping List;

1 pkg. Dr. Oetker chocolate mousse

1 cup of milk

1 tub of Cool Whip (regular or light will work)

2 pkgs of 6 mini angel food cakes (that’s 12 total – math geek right here)

1 pkg of coconut flakes

1 pkg of chocolate chips

1 pineapple (or 1 can of pineapple bits)

You will also want to make a long term investment in a trifle bowl like this one, because when you discover how easy this is it will be your go-to too.

miranda-7_75-trifle-bowl

Step 1: Mix the Dr. Oetker Mousse as directed on the pkg (adding your cup of milk, and mixing until thickened)

Step 2: Chop your angel food cakes into bite sized pieces

Step 3: Cut up your pineapple, putting 1/3 into the blender to create a liquid consistency, the other 2/3rds will be chopped into tidbits. If you opted for the canned pineapple – even easier- simply strain the pineapple over a bowl so that you separate the tidbits from the juice (both will be used).

Step 4: lay out a layer of angel food pieces to cover the bottom of the bowl.

Step 5: Drizzle 1/3 of the pineapple juice to the bottom layer, throw in 1/4 of the pineapple bits, a handful of coconut, and a handful of chocolate chips.

Step 5; Spread on a later of chocolate mousse

Step 6: Spread on a layer of cool whip

Step 7: REPEAT steps 4-6 to create a total of 3 layers.

Step 8: Top with the last 1/4 of your pineapple bits, sprinkle coconut and chocolate chips until your pleased with the presentation.

Step 9: Refrigerate overnight this way the angel food cake has the opportunity to soak in all the delicious flavors.

Also, like the cool kids do, you may present to guests with the leafy pineapple top set atop your trifle to make it all fancy-like. I’ve done it, and it made a lasting impression! 

Give it a try… or don’t. It’s totally up to you! But if you do, you will be ‘pining’ over it for years to come- no apologies, the pineapple puns are endless.

 

Tight Squeeze

Ella

 

Posted in Elliott, Family

Elliott is 4 ever young!


Elliott is turning 4.

4!

A two year tumultuous infertility journey has somehow rapidly shifted gears into a four year adventure that has led us here.

Now nearly 4 – our boy – is his own person blossoming with his own thoughts, beliefs, and a timid but certain voice.

He’s still a thumb sucker – there is certainly no denying that – but regardless, somewhere in the last year, he has morphed into a mini man.

Elliott has spent the last nine months learning and growing expansively in a local Preschool program. At the time of enrollment, he was completely uninterested in anything scholastic. We knew he needed a program like this to get him ‘school ready’ and the exposure to the whole ‘small fish in a big pond’ phenomenon, as well as the socialization with peers he really needed.

Spending the last nine months facilitating this transition has been joyously rewarding. He still has difficulty recalling the daily events to report about it at the dinner table, but hearing him tell me about the friends (most of whom still remain nameless) he played with all day is just enough to ignite the heartstrings. Pre-preschool he was social – yet shy, intelligent – but hesitant to try, curious – but cautious, so our in home childcare situation was really holding him back from experiencing life the way its intended. He needed that push so-to-speak to force him to take responsibility in this integral learning phase. And so, this journey began. He has mastered his color identification, he can identify and mostly spell and write his name, he struggles with the alphabet but there is marked improvement. He plays blocks, and does crafts, and is friendly with the kids in his class. Just the other day, we were making a quick errand run through Walmart, and as I thoughtlessly rushed my son down the aisles, he was calling after me “Mom… mommy!” When I finally caught wind of this and turned to see, he was pointing out a school friend, the pair of them so excited to find a friend in-the-wild, neither of them able to recall each others names. It was exciting none-the-less, and neither of them wanted anything more than to remind their mothers that they know people outside of their family dynamic. It was just the sweetest thing to witness, and in that moment I kneelt to the floor and held my nearly-four-year-old  in a deep embrace and told him how proud  I was that he was building friendships with these kids.

His teaching/learning journey has always been a struggle; he was slow to talk, hesitant to walk, he resists sitting in quiet study <Where he shines is on the physical experiences of life hands-on, tactile play, and the arts, and sports.> Do I wish he could just learn with ease? Sure! Would I change a single thing about him? Absolutely not!

Elliott loves bumble bee (as in the yellow Camaro that transforms into a robot), he is obsessed with everything superhero, and we get a daily dose of hero dramatics every single day (aren’t we lucky!). He is into planes, and trains, and automobiles, and now that he has been provided with a kid-leveled bookshelf you can find him curled up with a book just about anywhere. His love for hockey has remained unchallenged, though, he has expanded his love to pretty much all sports and remains active outside (or in) day-in and day-out.

Elliott doesn’t want to turn 4.

He has resolved to stay 3 because it’s his favorite number, or so he says.

I can’t blame him, I am not so fond of him turning 4 either, it’s one of those difficult transitional ages, he will suddenly be swept into the responsibility of the educational system, and miss out on all the 1:1 time he got with family. That’s a tough transition for any age.

At home, this past year he has been such an admirable big brother. He is thoughtful and  encouraging with every interaction he has with Oliver. His only fault is that he worries to much about his reckless counterpart. We honestly couldn’t have asked for a better mentor as a big brother. He is everything we wanted and more. Some mornings the kids wake on their own, and without even coming in to wake us, they get straight to business together cooking a breakfast on their little wooden kitchen set all the while chatting together like old comrades. It’s just the bees knees!

If there is anything we are most excited about in this past year, as far as milestones go, its that Elliott is a swimmer now. There was no lack of effort on his part, he hustled hard. It isn’t so much that he succeeded that we are so excited, although that is certainly a bonus, but that he worked so tirelessly to achieve it. He fought about as hard as his little body could fight to get here, and earned the reward to swim 6-10 feet without a life jacket because he developed that skill from the ground up.

If you were to ask Elliott now what he thinks of himself he would tell you that he is Smart, and brave, and nice. These are how he chooses to define himself at this ripe old age of 4, and I am one proud mama, that those are the only qualities that matter.

 

Tight Squeeze!

Ella

 

 

 

 

Posted in Family, Marriage

A letter to my Husband

This one is for you, Shane.

While we ride the speedboat of life through these sometimes turbulent lakes and those fuzzy shorelines – we call our lives –  whizz by, I’ve been watching you.

I see you! I haven’t forgotten the slower journeys we used to take together. Quieter ones – on sailboats and canoes – with less ‘noise’ distracting us from really hearing, knowing, and feeling each other.

I think about that- often.

And I’m sure that you do too.

We aren’t the only ones on that boat anymore, and sometimes – while you’re busy guiding the watercraft in the right direction – I’m standing lookout for hazards, or donning life jackets and applying the sunscreen. Our minds always wandering elsewhere to maintain safety and order aboard. 

But our love always remains the same – The anchor of it all.

I wanted you to know that I’m still here – as true as I’ve ever been – that carefree girl that climbed aboard with you some eleven years ago, she’s inside me somewhere. And I know you are still in there too.

For now, I stand and observe, for this new man I see has qualities that keeps me curious.

I can’t take my eyes off of you!

I notice you; as you sit at the dinner table casting smitten glances at our children.

I notice you; as you mow the lawn unfazed by the two small shadows following behind.

I notice you; in the grocery store line-up as you crunch numbers to stretch our budget into our tomorrows.

I notice you; and the way your exhausted body hits the bed at the end of the day.

I notice you; and the way the lines of your face have been changed by our life, morphing your youth into aged wisdom.

I notice you; as you prioritize instilling love and compassion with just a subtle hint of silly into the character of our boys.

I notice you; as you take a mental note of my ‘DIY wish list’ and run how-tos through your mind.

I notice you; as you tread lightly around my many emotional states, and respond with just the right amount of softness I need.

I notice you; as you doubt yourself, wondering if you are doing everything you can for our family (I assure you, you are!)

I notice you; as you wake well before the crack of dawn committing yourself to the duties required to keep our family afloat.

I notice you; as you shower away those signs of trauma, turmoil, and pain so you can keep on going for us.

I notice you; and how your love has deepened so I can still feel ignited when you hold my hand even after everything has been poured out of you each day.

I notice you; In our boys and the way they live, laugh and love with every fiber they posses.

I notice you; and the ‘potential’ you have to grow into the man our boys need years from now in their youth when these times are so much different than our own.

You probably thought I don’t notice you anymore, but I do! I am watching you and waiting for the days we can have to ourselves again – You are my end game! You were my beginning, and when these children are finally reared – you will be my ending!

I notice you, and I thank you!!

I love you! This new you, the old you, the not so perfect you that you think you are! It is all the same to me and I look forward to reuniting with you each new day.


 Tight Squeeze!

Ella

Posted in Elliott, Family, Oliver

One of THOSE days!

Try as I might, I am having a difficult time filing this day as a great one in the old attic of childhood keepsakes.
Don’t get me wrong I’m thankful for any day spent with my family, but this one was particularly tough to endure.

Between the three-angers and the terrible twos we were sure to be met with our fair share of challenges, and one giant dose of our fair share did we indeed get!!

The whining, good God! The whining! The fighting; hitting, biting, pushing, WWE over toys and the “who who gets a first chance at the slide” woes. Then the meal time strikes, we are at an all time high of 3 missed meals today by the pair of ’em. And the tattle-taling, and the ‘oh woe is me’ over every favour or direction mom and dad ask.

The terrible twos are a fairly new concept to me since Elliott clearly soared though it with little resistance, but the oppositional defiance we get from Oliver over every-little-thing is enough to make up for the two of them combined. Like, I literally just watched him slide his hand over a patch of wet paint immediately following my firm direction not too. The whole while he made eye contact with me, I swear I saw them turn an evil green, and that cheeky grin. He absolutely thinks he is hilarious. (Le sigh)

We had more time outs today alone, then I think we’ve ever dished out in total before. Just one of those days that has your left questioning why you would ever consider having another child again.


And onto tomorrow!! Let’s pray for a better one!

Tight sqeeze!

Ella

Posted in Family, Mental Health

Image IS everything!

When it comes to raising our  kids, the image of self-love that we portray is absolutely everything.

Before I had children I was oblivious to the fact that there are little people marching around this world imitating the things I do. I had no idea, that when I slump my shoulders, or wear a frown, that the children in my presence are hyper-sensitive to those little motions, and will undoubtedly question the meaning behind it.

Now here I am, my eldest isn’t even four yet, and already I am well-versed in the “whys” of the world. If you’ve been out grocery shopping and stopped for a moment, to assess your reflection in the window, you can bet my children noticed and innocently berated me with all the “whys” about your strange behavior.

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If you can imagine our children as magazine editors, you can bet your ass they would release a publication of unedited images into the world. Raw, real, and… flawed – only to them it wouldn’t be – See, they have no concept of what defines beauty. For them the world is one glorious masterpiece, all things living in the beauty of its own right. Though, slowly over time, when mamas and pops, start unblurring those lines and create defined spaces for what should and shouldn’t be in the beauty department… they too start seeing it as so. Of course, none of it is intentional, we don’t go about blatantly addressing our thoughts on beauty, no, it’s a subtle progression starting with a lack of self-acceptance.

{Self-Acceptance is literally the acceptance of self. It is an understanding of the unique qualities that together create the whole self, and accepting the imperfections in relationship to completing the whole and thus creating an inner happiness and satisfaction. Self-love.}

It’s a learned behavior; to start believing that those perfectly placed freckles, or misaligned eyebrows are a flaw in the human design. These young kids have no idea our hips are a little too wide, or our bellies a little too round until they walk in on us poking and prodding, and cursing those nuisances. Self-appreciation is actually the natural part of their being, and we alter and redefine that as they grow, unless of course, we can let our own securities sit by the way-side while we raise our children.

I am not going to sit here and pretend I am perfect, I certainly know “I am thick in the middle, and I got much back” but who cares?? I know well enough, that isn’t all of me, and I wear confidence in the fact that I still have a shit ton to offer as a human. Instead I am teaching my sons to love women who love themselves first, and to be confident self-loving men too.

I long for my teenaged boys to enter their high school corridors with an ora of confidence that no amount of school boy taunting can destroy. I want my sons to embrace their ‘flaws’ so they don’t have to tear down others just to build them selves up. I want my boys to experience love, unwaveringly, and that starts with a strong, and confident self-appreciation. Absolutely all of this is entirely dependent on the image of self-love I put into their universe.

What I am trying to say <in a very long winded essay of sorts> is this;

  1. It’s totally okay to love yourself as you are. You are rocking a body that has walked a tough journey of your own unique set of trials and tribulations. It has endured the pain, only yours can tolerate, and calling them imperfections, is just reaching “mean girl” status.
  2. Stop allowing your children to think anything less of you. You are and will always be their ‘perfect mold’ by which everyone else will be measured. They know better than anyone the true strength of your hustle, and have seen you at your worst… with raw assessment but without judgment.
  3. Do not allow them the opportunities to learn vulnerability and insecurity. The world they are about to face can be enough to handle as it is, fill them with traits of satisfaction and appreciation. Allow their self-love to be limitless.
  4. Love every bits of them. Tell them they are perfect, that you wouldn’t change a thing. Praise their imperfections, and document them in photos. Begin their lives with self-love and breed body appreciative children. Because there isn’t a freckle worth the long-term emotional damage that questioning themselves will cause.
  5. Just be! Be present and loving in everything you do, don’t waste a single moment making your children feel less than – And that starts by letting them know you don’t believe you are less than.
  6. Share your vulnerabilities with confidence! Laugh it off, be the Ace Ventura in an otherwise body shaming-easily embarrassed society.

Now get out there and LOVE YOURSELF!!!

Tight Squeeze!

Ella

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Posted in Family, Infertility, Mental Health

Wish you were here. 🐣

Curse me for being a typical A type personality because 9 months ago, when I saw the little pink plus sign on a pregnancy stick I foolishly believed it meant something. Which temporarily catapulted me into sketching out the architecture of the next two years of my life. How my children would adapt, What working though my pregnancy would look like, when I would begin my maternity leave, call me spoiled for having those choices, but I’ve worked damn hard to be able to make them.

Now, This Easter, April 2017 when I thought I’d be home with my family, I’m cruising into work for another endless workday. All the while day dreaming of the “could have beens”… Based on my gestational history, I should be home waiting for baby’s arrival, a very long week overdue. My family should be sitting on the edge of their seats because it could happen at any moment! or maybe it already had, and a sweet little chick is the Easter gift somebunny left for us.

But that isn’t what is. It never was. Instead I just finished my 8th cycle of fertility drugs that are kicking my ass with migraines, nausea, and muscle aches. And pray a new babe comes to us eventually.

I haven’t forgotten the journeys I thought I’d be taking, nor the missed opportunities. I haven’t stopped wondering what life would be like, particularly this April. That is the painful side effect of loss, once you know something was or could have been it forever makes its mark on your life, no matter how small.

Tight sqeeze!

Ella