Monday, April 30, 2012

My journey - Part 2

Part 1 of my story here...

So I left off just after my Mom shared the news from my doctor.  We decided to start hormone replacement therapy (hrt) after the first of the year.  This was necessary for me to have any physical development as bloodwork showed that the presence of estrogen and progesterone in my blood to be significantly below normal ranges (essentially zero).  At that point I was 5' 1" or 2" and barely 80lbs... pretty much a twig!  I can remember that between starting HRT at the beginning of January and my next appointment with my doctor in late February, I gained 20lbs... That sounds really significant, but you actually couldn't tell by looking at me.  I only remember because I broke the 100lb mark during that period.

Emotionally, as you can imagine, I was all over the place.  My self confidence which was marginal at best went even lower.  I have been told that people I went to high school with thought that I was kind of "stuck up" or thought I was better than others... the truth was that I was scared to let anyone in too close because I didn't even know how to process what was going on, let alone another person who might have questions for me... and a person who was a little shy to start with became even more reserved.  I can see now how this must have come across to classmates.

I started HRT in January and an odd thing happened at the beginning of March.  I experienced something like a period... I was at school, VERY unprepared, and a little (ok a LOT) confused.  I can remember asking my Mom to explain how this was possible given what I did not have - needless to say she didn't really have an answer.  We called my doctor and he was surprised but did not seem overly concerned with this new development.  He simply added progesterone to my monthly medicine routine.

This continued as the status quo until just before graduation.  We sat down for a more in depth talk with my doctor because I was really starting to have questions - the main one being how was  I cycling if I did not have a uterus?  We decided to repeat the ultrasound and laparoscopy.  I went back to the same ultrasound place and they began imaging me.  Again, the tech left and brought back a colleague... this was starting to get too reminiscent of my first ultrasound!  I remember asking if everything was ok and they simply asked why I was being imaged and what had happened the first time.  I explained everything to them and again asked if everything was ok.  They said yes and that my doctor would call to let me know the results.

The results?  According to this second ultrasound - two ovaries, one uterus... all measuring a little small but all there!!


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Trying to keep up

With the change in weather, the busy-ness of life seems to have picked up and I find myself simply trying to KEEP UP!! 

I started my week with a normal trip to Spokane for Karen's speech therapy.  I picked up my Mom who was in town for the week from my sister's and we headed home.  I had a jewelry party scheduled that night and LOTS to do finish getting ready.  I don't wear much jewelry but wanted to do something fun and have people over.  So the kids played outside while my Mom and I baked and got ready... if you like peanut butter, you have to try this peanut butter cake!  I made it as written except I added a 1/4cup of cocoa to the cake and to the icing!    The party didn't turn out quite as I hoped, but it was still a fun time.

Tuesday I thought was going to be a relaxing day with my Mom.  We drove to a little coffee shop after I took Karen to preschool and sat and visited.  I got a call from Carl after about an hour - he was trying to figure out where I was.  We had a HUGE thunderstorm come through Monday night, so he could not be in the fields because it was too wet.  He wanted to go to Spokane to pick out materials for our basement (we are in the process of finishing it - and needing to pick out doors, trim, etc.) ... so while my Mom babysat, we headed up to Spokane to do those errands.

Wednesday brought more busy-ness... Karen went in to preschool for a couple of hours and then I picked her up to head to Spokane for her second speech therapy appointment for the week.  My Mom, the kids, and I ran some errands after we were done and then headed over to my sister's house.  We spent the rest of the afternoon there visiting and letting the kids play.  I was able to get out for about an hour to head to the Centennial Trail for my sprint workout that was supposed to have happened Tuesday.  Then I fed the kids dinner, changed them into pj's and drove home - they all fell asleep and went right into their beds.

Thursday was Jessica's birthday.  I met my sister for Mass at noon and then we grabbed a quick bit of lunch with the kids before we headed to the airport to pick up my Dad.  We met up with the rest of the family to buy some silk flowers and then to the cemetery to decorate Jess's grave for her birthday.  It was late afternoon by the time we got back to my sister's house.  The kids played outside while we made dinner... spaghetti... which ironically is the last meal I had with my niece - bittersweet memories throughout the day.  Again, the kids rode home in their pj's and were asleep when I got home!

I was expecting a more laid back Friday, but as with every other day this week... it was not in the cards!  I made a quick trip to Colfax to drop off some orders from the jewelry party in time for the closing and then home.  We decided to head up to Spokane as a family (Carl was still rained out) to run some more house errands and then spend time with the family (Carl had not really had a chance to visit with my folks since they were in town).  So, when I got back it was racing around packing an overnight bag for myself and the the three kids.  Errands all afternoon and then finally some down time at my sister's for dinner.

Saturday was another errand day... it's a good thing that my kids don't mind being in the car or in home improvement stores.  They actually find home stores REALLY entertaining!  Mid afternoon it was time to start getting ready for church.  My nephew Nicholas received his First Holy Communion and Confirmation yesterday at 5:30 Mass.  I am SOOO glad that our normal church time is not in the evenings... the kids were not nearly as well behaved as normal, but we made it through.  Dinner and cake followed in the parish hall, and then it was putting kids back in their pj's to drive home!

... I'm really looking forward to Sunday to wind down!  But then again, the yard needs mowing, the laundry is piled back up, and there is drywall dust all over my living room...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Happy Birthday Jess

So alot of my posts lately have been a little on the heavy side... today is no different - but I promise to lighten things up soon!

Today would be my niece's 13th birthday.  Happy Birthday Jessica!
Welcome to the world!
1st Birthday
5 years
Turning 10... a whole decade!
She shares her birthday with her Grandma Arlene
Her 12th birthday... and last

Friday, April 20, 2012

SUYL - at least 3 Angel babies...

I'm linking up with Kelly's Korner again this Friday for Show Us Your Life.  The topic this week is for Mom's who have lost children.   This is a group that I KNOW each and everyone of us would not wish ourselves into.  But through God's amazing graces, these experiences and losses have also made us stronger, shaped our  families into what they are, and given us wonderful friends who have helped us through tragedy.

I am in the process of sharing my fertility journey, more of the story is coming soon.  This part jumps a little ahead but I want to share it here for the link up.  I spent better than 10 years thinking that it would be impossible for me to have children naturally.  After nearly 6 months of fertility treatments, that moment of pee-ing on a stick and having it say PREGNANT happened!!  It was Superbowl Sunday - 2006.   To say we were excited is an understatement.  It's hard not to immediately start thinking about the future when you find out you are expecting for the first time... we immediately started talking baby names, made a surprise trip to visit my folks to share the news, shared it with all of our sisters...

My sister was nearly nine months pregnant with her 5th when we found out we were expecting.  Then on March 8th she had a little girl - Katarina.  We went to our doctor that morning for my first checkup (7 weeks) and ultrasound.  To our horror, the ultrasound showed a little sac with nothing in it... no beautiful little heartbeat, no little fetal pole.  It was one of the hardest things I ever did in going from that ultrasound to my sister's hospital room to hold her beautiful new little baby.  It was 4 or 5 more weeks before I actually miscarried our first little one.

We had Karen nearly two years later - how blessed were we!  We started treatments again when she was almost one and I found myself pregnant with twins this time!  It was an exciting time as I have always wanted a big family and as involved as my treatments are, this seemed like such an amazing blessing.  Both little ones were thriving - my doctor had me in every two weeks from about 6 weeks and I was able to see both babies growing via ultrasound.  At my 16 week checkup there was a med student working with my doctor and she conducted the ultrasound.  We happily looked at the first baby and got growth measurements and then the student excused herself to go get my doctor.  I honestly didn't think anything of it.  When my doctor came back he softly but immediately broke the news that the other baby had died around 15 weeks.  We do not know why or what caused the death.  I fortunately did not miscarry the twin I lost as this would have put the other baby in jeapordy.  When I delivered Megan at full term, I also delivered the remains of her twin.  It took almost two years, but we finally buried Emily Rose in the arms of her cousin Jessica this last October.

Last spring, I took a pregnancy test just before we left on a trip to Cleveland to visit family... positive!  After 5 more months of treatment we had been blessed again.  During the visit, however, I started miscarrying and we confirmed that I had lost the pregnancy when we returned home. I found that the sorrow at saying goodbye to another baby was not getting any easier, in fact it was harder.  But, the distraction of two toddlers gave me less time to dwell on it.

In addition to these confirmed miscarriages, I have also had two unconfirmed miscarriages, one other prior to Karen and one other prior to Lauren.  They happened so early that I had yet to have a blood pregnancy test and likely only caught it because I knew we were trying and start peeing on a stick about 10 days post-peak...

It is only through God's amazing love, comfort, and grace that we continued to be able to move forward with our family.  I realize in looking at each of my daughters that I might not know their little souls if we hadn't lost one before them.  I've also come to the realization that motherhood is not a right but a gift, and I am called to embrace that gift even if I only get to know the child in my womb for days and never get to know him or her in my arms.  For as He says in scripture, "Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour."(Matthew 25:13). 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

6 months and 4 months...

since two pretty important happenings in my life.  The first is six months since I said a heartbreaking goodbye to my niece Jessica...

I can't believe 6 months have passed without her presence, without her smile
 She was a little mother to my girls... she adored them.  Whenever I visited my sister, I knew I would find them with her.  She loved to hold them, to read to them, to entertain them, to be the one to get them to fall asleep.   I so miss seeing my kids in her arms and still find it hard to wrap my head around the fact that I will never see her holding Lauren...

But mostly... I just miss her beautiful soul here with us.

And 4 months... my baby is 4 months old today!!  I cannot BELIEVE how fast the last 4 months have gone.  We love you Lauren!

1 day

3 months

4 months

Friday, April 13, 2012

My fertility journey - Part 1

I've alluded that my journey to becoming a Mom was long, was very challenging, and for over a decade something I thought would not be possible without the gift of adoption.  While on one hand I have been wanting to share this journey, on the other I've struggled to start.  Sharing this journey is more than "this is what is wrong with me and how I was able to get pregnant"... it is a journey that started when I was in high school, profoundly affected my self confidence, and (I believe) played a significant part in shaping the person I am today... so, in short, sharing this journey is baring a bit of my soul.

So why do it?  Not because I have a burning desire to bare my soul - that's for sure!  But I want to simply because I know how much comfort I found from other women who also struggled with fertility, self confidence issues, etc.  If my story helps even one person - then it's worth it.

My journey started when I was a little over sixteen years old.  My Mom decided to bring me in to her gynecologist because I had not yet started showing any signs of puberty... none.  I'm sure most of you can remember what high school was like... it was challenging enough with all the hormones, figuring out the "relationships" between boys and girls, trying to get emotional maturity to catch up with mental/educational maturity, etc.  Now imagine still looking like you are about 10 or 12 on top of that... I can't begin to describe how self conscious and uncomfortable I was with myself EVERY DAY!  I loved sports and p.e. but dreaded the time in the locker room where it might be obvious how under-developed I was.

The fall of junior year my Mom took me in to her ob/gyn.  They did full blood workup on me and an abdominal ultrasound.   I remember being in the ultrasound room - it was cold!  The tech worked for a while and then excused herself.  She came back with another person and they both went back to imaging me.  After a short time, they both left... this time returning with the radiologist...  By this point I was really wondering what the heck was going on.  As any of you who have been through an ultrasound before - they won't tell you anything.  The next day my doctor called and all he would really say was that they have hard time seeing things on the ultrasound and he wanted to schedule me for a laparoscopy.

A laparoscopy is a scope procedure where they make a small incision below your belly button and insert a scope to check out inside.  It is an outpatient procedure an the main discomfort that comes from it is from the gas they put inside to kind of "balloon" up your abdomen to make imaging easier.  It takes a while for this gas to be absorbed away so after the procedure it feels alot as though you have constant side-stitch... Anyway, I went in on December 8th of my junior year for this scope procedure.  On December 9th, my Mom picked me up from school.  I knew something was up because she only picked me up... not either of my other two sisters...

We ended up parked in front of our church - St. Agnes - and went inside.  It was there Mom told me that my doctor had called with the results.  From the scope he was able to definitively see why they had a hard time finding things (ovaries, uterus) during the ultrasound - it was because I did not have them.  Here I was at 16 being told that I had no ovaries, no uterus... no hope of ever having a family (when all I wanted to be worried about was if I was ever going to have a date!) ...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ultimate Blog Party - 2012

********** Winner Update ****************

According to, comment #11 was my winner
Wendy from Tales from the Motherhood won a hat from My Sweet Potato 3!

It is that time again when 5 Minutes for Mom throws their massive Ultimate Blog Party!!  Each year they host a this "party" to introduce bloggers to other bloggers and have a grand time while doing it.

If you are new to Musings of a Palouse Mom from the ultimate blog party, Welcome!  I am excited to get to know YOU and hope that you stick around and get to know me as well!  My name is Renee and here's a little info about me and my blog!

Carl & I have been married for almost 8 years!

We have three beautiful little girls - 
which is nothing short of a miracle (story to come in the next few days)

What will you find on Musings? ... well, I would consider this a Mom blog that shares my journey of being a farmer's wife, a stay at home mom, a (trying to be) woman of faith, a fitness lover, and even at times a try to be cook...

Musings on country living:  I LOVE being a farmer's wife, even during the challenges of busy seasons where my husband is out the door at 5am and not home until after 9pm... I wanted this life from my childhood and never thought it possible until God brought Carl into my life!  I write about the our many adventures in our country life.

Musings on faith:  My faith and religion are EXTREMELY important to me.  I am so imperfect but am striving and struggling to raise my daughters to be servants of Christ who love Him with their whole hearts, souls, and mind.  I share my struggles and successes at keeping Him at the center of our lives.

Musings on family
:  My family is everything to me.  Being a mom of three girls 4 and under is an amazing experience, often challenging, but always entertaining. :)  I share about my journey of motherhood in all it's glory or challenges.

Musings on fitness: I am four months post-baby #3 and struggling to get my body back.  My over-arching goal is simply to get back to being comfortable in my own skin again!  Running is usually my go-to exercise, but I also have been trying to mix it up more.  I write about my journey in juggling fitness with motherhood, injuries, and house projects!

Musings on food:  I love to cook, bake, can... pretty much anything in the kitchen I enjoy.  I'm not necessarily very good at it - some things turn out great, most things turn out ok, and a few things go straight into the garbage... I have a hard time following recipes to the letter which could explain some of my kitchen escapades!  I want to share more about my adventures in the kitchen!

In honor of 5 minute for Mom's 2012 Ultimate Blog Party, I am doing a giveaway from a good friend's Etsy shop - My Sweet Potato 3.  She makes custom crochet hats and photography props.

Follow along and leave a comment on this post to be entered to win:  One item of your choice up to $30!!

Giveaway Ends at midnight April 20th and a winner will be picked via!

Click HERE to go back to the UBP12 Linky List!!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Back in the running!!

So after taking it easy for two weeks, I tried out the legs today and things feel great!  No pain in the behind or the achilles... yippeee!!!  Plus, the weather was a FABULOUS 65 degrees and my husband was home doing work on the basement so I got to run outside!

I typically like to do my sprint workouts on the treadmill.  Truth be told, I'm a wimp... mentally at least.  The nice thing about doing sprints on the treadmill is that I set a speed and do not let myself touch any buttons until the required distance is hit.  I've worried that running outside I'll let myself ease up too much if I'm tired.  But the weather was so beautiful today that I couldn't resist and I surprised myself!  My workout was supposed to be a 20min warmup with 3 1600 "sprints" followed by a 10 min cool down. 

Here is a stretch of the gravel road that comprised my 1 mile route...

I went out to the 1 mile point and back for my warmup in 20:24.  My first mile sprint was 8:23 - my goal was 8:45.  My second mile sprint was 7:30... yippee!!  My second mile sprint had me back at the house and during my 2 minute recovery the porch light flipped on.  This was my husband's preset signal that one of the kids needed my attention.  Sure enough, Lauren had woke up from her nap early... darn!  I was done running for the time being. 

Fortunately, I was able to finish my workout early this evening.  I did a 1 mile warmup in 9:21 followed by my last mile sprint at 7:07... double yippeee!!  I didn't know I could still make my legs move that fast for longer than a 400... 

I'm so happy to have my body back in running shape.  Here's hoping that it continues and the rest of my training is uneventful... only 5.5 weeks until the half-marathon!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter 2012

I LOVE Easter morning!!  There is something different about how the sun shines and simply how the day feels on this resurrection morning!  I am a daughter of Christ and everything in me rejoices today!

We had an amazing and very full day!  It started with the kids waking up to find what the "Easter Bunny" had left them... this is the first year that they've actually kind of got it, so it definitely made the Easter baskets more fun!

Then we colored eggs before breakfast... I know, this is supposed to happen BEFORE today - we just weren't that organized.  We also figured that our girls are still young enough that they wouldn't care - and they didn't...  They just had a grand time decorating with their Dad!

Next we were off to church - remembering the real reason for the day.  Church is always followed by fun play time with the cousins!

It's become a tradition when we are in town for Easter to go to the Old Flour Mill after church for Easter pictures.  Our brother-in-law is very good with the camera and we've gotten some of our best family pictures here over the last few years.  The girls weren't quite as cooperative this year, but we still got a few good ones.

At this point, the tears told us we were done trying to take photos!!!!

Back home for an hour to try and get some real food into their little bellies... soon followed by less "real" food, as is evidenced by their smiles! :)

Then off to Granny and Papa's for a fun Easter afternoon of eating, playing with cousins, kite-flying, Easter egg hunting, and bubble chasing!

"I'm sooo tired"...

Chasing bubbles!!

The "bubble-makers"!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday Potato Soup

It always amazes me at how hard it is to fast on Good Friday (or any day that you are purposely choosing to fast, for that matter).  On any given day I can go through it and eat very little and hardly think about it... but on days like today, food is the ONLY thing I can seem to think about!

This may be why my soup tasted so good to me, but I'd like to think that it was really good.  Especially considering I grew up HATING potato soup.  I mean seriously detesting the stuff.  I can remember sitting at the table for an hour or two after everyone else because I just couldn't force myself to eat the five bites required of me.  But, as I've got older, I have revisited foods that I previously detested and quite often find that they are actually quite palatable...

So, my soup:

.5 small onion, finely chopped
3 baked potatoes
1 can (14.5oz) chicken broth
1.5 cup whole milk
0.5 cup sour cream
1 can condensed cream of potato soup
1 handful shredded mozzarella cheese (guessing about .5 - 1 cup)
1 handful shredded cheddar cheese (again, about .5 - 1 cup)
1 tsp salt
pinch of pepper (I'm not overly fond of peppery stuff, so many people might prefer more)

In saucepan, saute the onion in butter until translucent.  Add all other ingredients and heat through over low to med-low heat.  Be careful not to scorch the milk/sour cream

Easy stuff!  But it sure was yummy!!

Love my daughters!

I'm linking up with Kelly's Korner on Show Us Your Life - Mom's of all girls! I have three beautiful daughters and absolutely love it!!  I grew up with three sisters, so am excited for my girls and the friendship they will share!  While I certainly hope that we may have a boy in the future, but my husband and I are both of the mind that "we get what we get" and are incredibly happy and blessed with our family!

My girls are 4, 2, and 4 months.  It has been an amazing journey so far and I couldn't ask for better little girls.  No, they aren't perfect or even exceptionally well-behaved... but they are my angels and ones that I spent many nights thinking I would never have!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Time moves on

One thing that my sisters and I have talked about (alot) recently is how quickly time has gone by and how "old" we are getting.  We remember growing up and looking at our aunts and uncles and "how old" they seemed to us.  The realization has been setting in that we are now them!  In fact, we are probably older than they were in many of our memories.  It's funny how time has a way of sneaking by you.  I always thought my Dad was a little weird by saying that high school to him felt like it was yesterday.  I can't say that I feel like high school was just yesterday, but college??  Absolutely!

This past weekend we had a gathering of some family... the reasons for which in a later post.  But the family included my Aunt and her four sons who's ages alternate with me and my sisters.  In fact, my Mom and my aunt were alternately pregnant each year for seven years until my Mom "broke" the cycle and got pregnant and had my little sister just a year after me.  What is neat is that my parents had four girls, my aunt and uncle had four boys (the fourth boy came about 10 years after my little sister).  Anyway, we have LOTS of pictures through the years of the seven and then eight of us lined up by age.  We took another one this weekend.

We talked about the last time we took one of these pictures and came up with it being at my Grandparents 60th wedding anniversary party.  In doing the math, I realized this picture was taken almost 17 years ago!!  That makes me feel so old because I was in college when it was taken...

Have you had any "rude" awakening like this regarding the passage of time in your life lately?  Don't get me wrong, I'm absolutely happy with my life and where I've come and too be honest (with the exception of the last 6 months) each year has been "better" than the one before it.  I'm just a little in awe at how quickly time moves on!  It really brings a new perspective to reminding myself to live in the moment and to be fully present to my kids because all they are going to go from here
my sisters and I circa 1980
to adults in way too short of a time - or as I was reminded this fall, from child to child of God well before I'm ready to say good-bye.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Missing my runs...

I'm trying to listen to my body and let it recover from starting out too hard and fast on my half marathon training... but only logging one run in the last week is challenging.  I am so itching to be out there running!!  I feel that just about the time I get past the point where I'm trying to motivate myself to workout and it is becoming part of my routine something happens to destroy my momentum... argh!!

Here's to hoping that the time off did the trick and things are feeling better when I try my runs this week.