“Just survive until Sunday.”

This week has been chaos, and, to navigate the chaos, I have adopted a new mantra: Just survive until Sunday.  It is now Friday, and I can see the light so clearly I am almost giddy.  Let’s back up about a week and a half:

Thursday we left for Florida, and it was fantastic.  We had a direct flight to Orlando and rented a car for our stay.  Honestly, the most hectic part of the whole vacation was driving in rush hour traffic from the airport to our hotel.  After getting to our hotel, we had some time to get to our room, shower, change, and we headed off to dinner at Medieval Times.  We have been to Medieval Times three times now, once 10 years ago just as we started dating, once 5 years ago on our honeymoon, and then again this year.  It’s always fun, always delicious, and always fills me with a sense of nostalgia.

The next morning we got on a shuttle and went to Universal Islands of Adventure, and I could feel the excitement and anticipation building like crazy!  I made Mike ride with me on The Hulk roller coaster, even though it wasn’t in Harry Potter, because I loved that ride when I was in Florida when I was 12.  Again, the nostalgia was overwhelming, and I was all smiles as we walked to the back of the park where the Wizarding world of Harry Potter was located.  Going through Jurassic Park, you could see Hogwarts, and Mike had to stop me from running for one of the first times in my life!  Being in Hogsmede among the shops and other Harry Potter fans was actually MAGICAL!  We spent so much time in the shops, and even not purchasing things for the first hour, I couldn’t get enough!  We were in the wand shop, the book shop, a jewelry store, and finally broke down and bought things at HoneyDukes, the candy store!  We rode the Dragon Challenge Ride, ate at the Three Broomsticks (delicious!) and my favorite ride of the morning was in Hogwarts!  Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey was just the coolest ride, and the line took you inside to explore Hogwarts!  After taking in most of Hogsmede, we took the Hogwarts Express to Diagon Alley in Universal Studios, and spent time in the Wesley’s Joke Shop and rode the Gringott’s Ride.  We rode the Hogwarts Express back to Hogmede, got a Butter Beer, and made our way back to the front to catch our shuttle to the hotel.  However, after a full day of craziness, my legs barely got us back to the shuttle drop point!  I could barely move that night!

The next day was a little more laid back, we again went on the Forbidden Journey ride, rode the Dragon Challenge again (there are TWO different roller coasters on this ride, one is faster, one is more intense turns), visited a few more stores, and just spent a bunch of time walking around.  We slowly made our way back up front about two hours before we had to, but stopped at several shops to browse, rode one of the rides in the Marvel/DC area, grabbed food and sat a lot.  By the time we got to the front for the shuttle again, I wasn’t nearly as tired, but felt I had seen so much and had a perfect vacation!

The next morning, we left our hotel by 4:15 am to get to the airport by 5am for our 7am flight.  I was so tired, but it was so worth it to be back home before 10am!  My day on Sunday was composed of trying to recoup from vacation and getting as much ready for class as I could before Monday, and I still felt ill-prepared.

On Monday, I felt myself panic about things that had to get done this week.  Other than my 40 hours of work, I had 12 hours of school, grocery shoping, a trip to Costco, a mid-week homework day, a full day of cooking freezer meals and cleaning, and Sunday would be getting all of next week’s homework done and supper at my parent’s house…If that doesn’t get you overwhelmed, you are far more level headed than I am.

Monday: Work 7:30-4:00, Anatomy & Physiology 5:30-9:30

Tuesday: Work 7:30-4:00, Anatomy Lab 5:30-9:30

Wednesday: Work 7:30-4:00, grocery shopping after work than homework until I pass out (it was 9pm)

Thursday: Work 7:30-4:00, Medical Lang 5:30-7:20, Anatomy & Physiology 7:30-9:30

Friday: Work 7:30-4:00, Nap at 4, Karaoke at 8:30 (because I will blow if I don’t get me time!)

Saturday: Costco with Mom at 10am, cook 2 soups, breakfast burritos, banana bites & banana bread, clean the house

Sunday: Homework date with my brother, Conner, then supper at my parent’s house

I honestly didn’t think I would make it to Friday, at least without taking a day off, but I did it!  I have also decided that my Hufflepuff sweatshirt that was purchased at Universal has magical properties, that will fill me with happy thoughts and allow me to do anything!  So today, I’m rocking the Honey Badger pride, NOT passing out at my desk, and just looking forward to an evening of a nap & karaoke before I finish the chaos of this week tomorrow & Sunday.  Wish me luck!!!

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Christmas

“I am both happy and sad at the same time, and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.”
Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Christmas has come and gone, and it was fairly uneventful as holidays go.  I was so lucky to get my MASSIVE crocheted blanket for my grandparents done before Christmas Eve (it was finished at 10pm the day before) and the rest of the presents were purchased and wrapped well in advance.  My family had their first holiday in their new home, and yesterday was spent trying to organize post-move, post-holiday.  I was excited by the gifts I recieved, especially the new microwave that my father gets to install, and the Zumba CDs I requested from my husband.  My Grandparents from across the state came down, so there was always a commotion at my parents house that complimented the low key Christmas Eve at Michael’s parent’s house (Sometimes I think our family looks like the families on My Big Fat Greek Wedding).

Christmas used to be my favorite time of year, and for the most part, I still enjoy it quite a bit.  The magic of Santa is long gone, and being one of the many grandchildren who recieved 8 presents for every one present an adult got hasn’t happened for years, and it’s been replaced with the hussle and bussle of having two family’s worth of Christmas celebrations to attend versus just my own.  I find it is almost as fun to watch my nephews tear into their presents as it was for me to actually get them as a child, and I love seeing my grandparents and having everyone around the table, but that does mean more chaos and several people who handle stress in very different ways.  Basically, being an adult at Christmas is not what it used to be.  But I’ve known this for years, and have gotten very used to it.

One thing that still knocks me off my feet, however, is how suddenly I can be overwhelmed by pain I was so sure would be gone by now.  There are days, weeks even, that I will go without remembering that I am supposed to have a toddler right now, either 3 year old or a 2 1/2 year old.  Christmas would be so much more fun if I had my own sweet children to watch open presents, and if I had my own Santa Closet full of things I couldn’t wait for them to open.  I remember my parents complaining how frustrating it was having children get into everything and try and figure out what they were getting for Christmas, or trying to wrap presents in privacy, but I would honestly trade it for the uneventful wrapping session I had at my house.  I know I’m going on a fabulous vacation in two weeks, but I would kill to deal with the loud noises of new toys in the next room instead.  Right now, I am going to school and will hopefully be getting into a career I love in a few years, but I would much rather be so overwhelmed by my child that I couldn’t even think about doing anything but work and parenting.

Thankfully, these bouts of frustration seem to no longer come when I am busy with family and friends, but only really hits when I am alone to think now.  I haven’t had to excuse myself out of a gathering or cry in a bathroom for a long time, and I honestly can’t even remember the last night Mike had to hold me while I cried myself to sleep.  Today at work I am finding myself being distracted, but not really outwardly.  My thoughts no longer bring me to my knees, but simply consume the entirety of my head for a few moments.  So, overall, I feel like I’m better than 3 years ago, or 2, and last year.  It’s possible that maybe someday I will no longer be consumed by these heart-breaking thoughts, even if it is just for a few moments around the holidays.  It would be even better if it was because I am too busy looking after a small person, but I wont hold my breath.

Having multiple homes

When Michael says home, I know exactly what he is referring to.  It was about two days after we bought our house that his parent’s house became his “parent’s house” and our house became “home”.  For me, it has never been that easy.  Don’t get me wrong, my house is definatly my home, but I feel like there are a few places that also are “home” for me.

When I was 18, my parents moved out of my childhood home, and moved into house number #2.  I only lived there for about 2 years before I bought my house, and I had lived in my childhood home for 15 years, but that house quickly became “home” to me.  I guess it’s not too hard to imagine, since most of my stuff was there, but I was suprised by house number #3.  Shortly after I got married, my parents sold house #2 and bought house #3.  I was already in my house by this point; in fact, they had to live with me for 2 weeks after they sold house #2 because house #3 wasn’t done being built.  So I had never lived in this house; the most that was ever over there was a change of clothes the few times I stayed the night because of power outages or holidays we had to be there early for, but shortly after my parents moved in, I started calling it “home” too.

This week, my parents moved into house number #4, after selling house #3 last month.  This house I have never stayed the night in, I don’t think I have left one thing over there, and even half of my parent’s stuff isn’t put in it or organized, but I went over there for lunch today, and it still felt like home.  There was my family to talk to, I knew the organization of the kitchen (because it’s my mom’s kitchen), and I knew there was my favorite familiar foods to eat.  I have driven on that street twice myself, but it still felt like a familiar drive, because I knew what would be waiting there for me.  My family would be there to give me grief, and if I walked through the door upset, they would be there to comfort me.  So, for me, I think “home” will be anywhere that protect me from the harsh reality that is the real world.

Being scared

I have a few fears that some would call irrational.  I sometimes sit and ponder my mortality: if death will be painful, could I have prevented it, if there is an afterlife, will I sit there and be devistated that I didn’t achieve something.  I am terrified of someone harming me, to the point I don’t like driving in not very nice neighborhoods at night.  I make Michael go into our house first when it’s dark, especially when the dogs don’t bark first.  My house is almost always unlocked, except when I get back from taking Mike to work at 5am, I can’t sleep my last hour without the door being locked.  I feel these are more self-preservation, but others (like Michael) call me a bit crazy for them.  Last night I was reflecting on another fear I have, that I have had for a while.

Sometimes when I am lying in bed, and my husband is sleeping next to me, I reflect and think how in the world did we get here?  I think of everything we had been through, every time there was the oppurtunity for a heart wrenching disagreement, and instead we just held onto each other for dear life.  We have gone through so many nights that could have easily torn us apart, yet those nights were spent wrapped in each others arms and letting the other sob until we were able to stand life again.  So when I compare the boy I was in marching band with to the man who’s arms I run into when I’m about to fall to pieces, and I’m astounded.  I still feel like the same person I was in high school, even though I’m assuming I’ve changed, but I wonder if he knows how much he has changed, and how much he means to me.  Because of the man he has become, I am terrified of ever not having him.

Like most of my other fears, I have no real reason to be terrified of this, more a healthy concern that it MAY happen, and like not going into a dark house without Mike, I constantly try to not let my fears actually happen.  But a few years ago, a pattern had emerged, and it was that a lot of my friends or people I knew were getting married.  It wasn’t that shocking as I was about “that age”. Now, as the years have gone on, there are a few people I know who’s relationships/marriages are over.  My marriage actually has a few that it has outlived, and this scares me so much, it turns my core to ice.  In my head (and hopefully in actuality) every horrible thing we have dealt with and came out on the other side has only built a stronger relationship for us, but what if something comes along, and rather than it making us stronger, it winds up being the straw that brakes the camel’s back?  This fear causes me to do somewhat silly thing sometimes, like constantly doing “pulse checks” on his happiness, making sure nothing is bothering him, and making sure my “pulse checks” aren’t bothering him.  I try to not sweat the small stuff, but also make sure things don’t go on for years without me bringing them up.  I try and do little things for him all the time letting him know I love him, and I tell him I love him all the time.  I love spending time with him, but I do my best to not get TOO upset when he wants his alone time.  I am hoping that if nothing else, my diligent manner of trying to make sure we are both happy will be enough to keep us together.

Funny how when I think of him “not being here” I always imagine we split up.  I never imagine he got hit by a bus or died from heart failure, which, considering the food he adores, is definitely more likely…I guess now I will have a fear of stroggenoff and busses…

Recurring Grief

Today I am having one of my Debbie Downer days.  It’s true, they are becoming fewer and far in between, but they still have the ability to know me off my feet when they happen.  I’m inconsolable, and Mike has gotten pretty good at handling these days, usually with wine and a low key night.  But today I became frustrated at myself because I’m doing this again.  All I could think is “Why are you so weak?  Why are you not over this already?  It’s been 5 years!”  The time in which I have spent letting infertility define my life is pissing even me off, mostly because I don’t know why it cuts like a knife still.  I was browsing the internet today, though, and I came across the Resolve website(If you or someone close to you is dealing with infertility, its a great resource), and I found a paragraph that finally put into words why this still hurts this bad, even though so much time has passed:

Infertility is, indeed, a very painful struggle. The pain is similar to the grief over losing a loved one, but it is unique because it is a recurring grief. When a loved one dies, he isn’t coming back. There is no hope that he will come back from the dead. You must work through the stages of grief, accept that you will never see this person again, and move on with your life.

The grief of infertility is not so cut and dry. Infertile people grieve the loss of the baby that they may never know. They grieve the loss of that baby who would have had mommy’s nose and daddy’s eyes. But, each month, there is the hope that maybe that baby will be conceived after all. No matter how hard they try to prepare themselves for bad news, they still hope that this month will be different. Then, the bad news comes again, and the grief washes over the infertile couple anew. This process happens month after month, year after year. It is like having a deep cut that keeps getting opened right when it starts to heal.

It seemed to capture what I feel all the time.  I almost wish I was realisting/pessamistic enough to not get hopeful EVERY month, but I do.  How many stories have I heard about woman who give up on treatments or adoption and BAM!  They wind up pregnant?  Too many to count.  How many times have I been wanting to give up and a friend or family member has told me “It will happen eventually, I promise”?  Again, so many times!  Not saying these are bad things, I needed them more then you will ever know, but coupled with my hopefulness that everything will work, my excitement (or at least lack of reality) goes up every month, only to be stripped away again.  It’s almost impossible for this wound to heal because it will always open back up.

It would almost be easier for me to go through menopause, or be given a definate “No, you will never be pregnant” statement, so I can fall to pieces and grieve for the last time.  Until that happens, I will just look forward to tonight being criminal minds with a bottle of Moscato…that will help

Thanksgiving

I didn’t mind Thanksgiving weekend at all.  I enjoyed spending time with my grandparents from out of town, I played catch up with my in-laws, I got caught up on homework and crocheted like mad.

While chatting with my Mother-in-law, Kim, we got on the topics of school and future jobs.  Any time I think of what I will do when I have my LPN or my RN for that matter, I imagine one of the two hospitals here in town, or one of the doctor’s offices associated with the two big hospitals.  However, one of Mike’s aunts works at one of the major hospitals in Rochester MN.  According to this aunt, about 2,000 nurses are going to be retiring in the next year or so, and getting into the hospital when I have an LPN may open some doors for me, and they would pay for me to get my RN.  This was the first time it had been even brought up that I might not work in Sioux Falls, and I didn’t shy away from it either.  Mike kinda did, but mostly because he hates change.  It’s also not really anything that needs to be worried about for another year or so, who knows where I will be then.

I was also asked a week ago if I know what kind of nursing I want to be involved in.  When I first got nursing into my head 8 years ago, I was pretty sure I wanted to do something in maturnaty, neonatal or pediatric.  Not that my infertility has changed that, but my experience at the nursing home has.  People are crazy.  Maybe I want to be in surgery.  Or, I did get really into reproductive medicine while I was going through treatments…would that be sadistic of me?

EVERYONE IS MOVING!  My parents sold their house (finally),and friends of ours just bought a house.  Now I must ask, friends, who moves in December???  This isn’t even the first bit of moving Mike and I have had to help with this year.  We will be expert movers by the time the year is up!

37 days until we leave for Florida!!!

 

I’m not even supposed to be here today!

Today is black friday, and a lot of people will elect to not be at work.  A good majority of them will be shopping, some will be staying home enjoying the day off.  Since I was 16, I have always worked on Black Friday.  The combination of working food/retail jobs and being young/new enough in the corporate world that I don’t have the seniority to take it off has always led to showing up the Friday after Thanksgiving, still partially in a food coma.  Not that I really mind, I don’t like shopping all that much, and its much safer inside the processing center of a bank.  I am, however, at a small enough bank, and just hitting the point where I MIGHT have the stuff needed to request this day off and have it approved.  But, out of habit, I just decided to come in and allow other people to have it off.  This was poor judgement on my part.

First, I organized a “food day” at work.  Not that I got a lot of response; most people were complaining about not having time the day after Thanksgiving to worry about it, and then even some who were going to do it forgot.  As underwhelming as it was, not having plates makes it worse.  Wal-Mart is across the street, but no one wants to venture over there to get some.

Also, I’m suppose to stay busy all day at work, which is why I have about 4 different jobs to do.  3-4 don’t have any work to do today, and my main job function had one case to look at, it took me 30 minutes.  I’m in trouble today.

My scissors were being obnoxious, mainly because they have so much sticky residue from cutting packing tape.  I tried cleaning the sticky stuff off, only to have the scissors attack me.  Two of my fingers took damage, one bled like I was hemmoraging.

I’m so tired I think I may fall asleep, and I’m texting Michael in the vain hope he will say something fun to keep me up…but he’s really busy today, so no hope from him.

I have now decided I should have just taken the day off.  I would not be in the crazy crowds of Target or the Mall, but staying in bed all day sounds like a good plan.

How to be thankful…

…even when I don’t want to be.

I have two and a half weeks of psychology left, and it can’t come soon enough.  Even though I am still maintaining an ‘A’ (by the skin of my teeth) I am not enjoying the class at all.  I don’t enjoy the schedule of the assignment, the assignments themselves, or the subject matter of the class.  I’m finding it a little harder to apply myself when I can’t even find one thing about the class I like.

There are two new babies at work, so they each had crochet projects that had to be done.  As much as I enjoy working with soft baby yarn, and crocheting cute little projects, It makes my heart hurt.

Today was the day.  It is the 26th of November, and we no longer have a profile at our adoption agency.  A few days ago I was hoping I could maybe just keep myself busy and not think about it until after the day had passed.  But a few days ago they sent us our profile books back in the mail, and today was the day they arrived.  Three picture books telling about us and our lives as if we were trying to persuade a potential birth mother into picking us to raise her child…what am I supposed to do with them now??? (Hint: they are going in the pile of “stuff” to be burned in our fire pit, I really don’t want them in the house)

My bestest bestest best friend lives states away, with her husband and child.  I miss them like crazy.  My very good Sioux Falls friend works crazy hours compared to me, I hardly see her.  My most frequent conversations I have other than with Mike or my mother are with Travis, who I love to pieces, but he has never been one to sugar coat anything, and I don’t know how much he knows about the pain that all of this causes, because he tries to underplay it.  Either that or he’s a jerk…could be both.

Work is going ok, minus the crazy amount of job functions I need to have in my head (4) because of so many areas that are floundering and how fast I am.

Its 43 days until The Wizarding World of Harry Potter vacation, it feels like 1,000.

So if you thought this was going to be a post about about how to be thankful amid all this…you were wrong.  Because I got nothin’.

I suppose I could do the normal “my health, I’m not poor, I have a wonderful husband/family/friends, there are starving, ebola-riddled children in Africa and I am so much better off”, but I don’t feel up to it today.  I just want to be upset for a little while.

What I’ve been up to.

My CNA class was difficult, and I felt like I didn’t learn a lot, most of it was having to rely on what the book said rather then what I was “taught”.  A combination of this and having a hectic night before my test, I missed a huge part of one of my skills when I took my test in October, and did not pass the skills part.  I was pissed off and mortified.  This CNA class is a prerequisit for EVERY OTHER CLASS in my program, and though I’m allowed to take the test twice, if I don’t pass the second time, I have to take the whole class over (despite it’s lack of direction).  So when I saw I didn’t pass, I disected the crap out of the book, made notecards, and had Michael quiz me everynight.  I was scheduled to retake the test November 15, and I dreaded it.  My program is so fast-paced that having to retake one class will throw a wrench in everything.

That morning when I woke up, the first ACTUAL snow fall of the year had taken place the night before.  A solid 3 inches was covering all of roads, and the snow was still coming down.  I had to be at the testing center by 9, and even leaving at 8:30, I felt like I was going to be late (I was there with 5 minutes to spare!)  I was the first person up to take the test, so my “could be here for two hours” morning only took the length of time it took me to complete 5 skills, which was 30 minutes.  I left feeling like I screwed something up, having no idea what it could be, but I felt that last time too.  The worst part was knowing it might be until Tuesday evening before I find out if I completed everything correctly.  Having the rest of Saturday, all day Sunday, Monday, and possibly Tuesday, I declared to Michael that if I did not pass the 2nd time, that I was going to be done with school.  I had one goal, and I was failing to meet it, which may be a sign that I am not supposed to be doing this.

Well, Monday MORNING I got my email.  Just seeing the subject line was enough to put my mind at ease, as I knew I would not be waiting until the next evening freaking out; everything would be decided the minute I open the email and download the attached word document.  As it turns out…

I PASSED!!!!!

I am now a certified nursing assistant!!!  I have no intentions of using it (as they are mainly employed at long-term, elderly care facilities, which I have decided I DON’T want to do), but it was the most important step thus far to getting my program rolling, and I am so happy to be done with it!

I have about 3 1/2 weeks left of this dreaded psychology, and then things will become really intense!  I will have the holidays off, and Michael and I have a vacation planned the 8th of January (more on that in another post) and then I will start my spring semester on the 12th of January.  Starting that week, I will be on campus Monday, Tuesday and Thursday after work from 5:30-9:20.  I have no idea the amount of homework I will be given, but just the amount of days in class is enough to give me ulcers.  Please wish me luck and give me all the good vibes you can muster…I will need them.

Pulling the trigger

About a week ago, I recieved an email from our adoption agency, asking if we were planning on renewing our homestudy this year.  When I got that email, I panicked just a little bit.  Mike and I had talked and talked about our decision, and we felt really good about out decision…to just passively let our homestudy expire.  The social worker that we have been working with knew I had went back to school in August, and emailed me to congratulate me, and at that time I told her that we were more than likely going to pass on renewing our homestudy for a third year.  But, like a very dutiful social worker, she emailed me on the 3rd to ask if that was still the plan.  So my idea of just allowing it to expire instead of proactively setting up an appointment to renew our homestudy didn’t work as I planned.  Instead, I was having to actively pull the trigger on whether or not this was it.

Don’t get me wrong, I knew this was going to happen, and I was/am perfectly comfortable with the decision Michael and I made as far as stepping away from pursuing adopting (or any family planning decisions for that matter), but this email  caused a lump to form in my throat.  My dream of passively letting our adoption journey end was not going to happen.  I would have to end up confirming with our social worker that we were really done.  At first, I couldn’t really pick up the phone and call or email her back.  I told myself that it didn’t really matter; sometimes people just took a little time getting back to their emails.  But I also got a voicemail from her one afternoon when I was away from my phone.  So on Friday, I actually opened up my email on my phone, and emailed her back saying we were still firm in our decision to be done now.

At this point I would say something along the lines of “it’s finally hitting me now”, but it hit me long ago that this was going to wind up happening.  Right now, the thing I had been fearing is here, and I’m not 100% sure if its easier or worse than I imagined it would be, because I’m desparately trying to not stop and look around, but just to keep facing forward and hope I can come out of this ok, seeing as I’ve had almost 6 months to think about this and prepare.

I now have to figure out what I’m going to do with the “nursery”.  Part of my plan to distract me from waiting to be chosen by a birth parent was to set up a nursery, and now there is this perfect bedroom for an infant that I never go in.  I have no idea what I would ever do with it, I DO know that tearing it down just may cause a breakdown.  Maybe I will just have to be so busy with school that it gets put on the back burner for now.