April 26, 2013

Fab Friday: Keeping My Cool

It was my sole purpose in life this week to keep a cool head.

There are a number of reasons why this task was not easy.

1. Traveling Husband.
I know this is potentially the first of many travels ahead for my brilliant husband. He is presenting as well as sitting on a couple different panels for a conference in Vegas (a.k.a. pimping himself out). While I can certainly "handle" being a single mom for 5 days, it doesn't mean I have to like it. No matter how many times he has traveled, it is always the same story for me: I cannot sleep when he's gone. I'm simply paranoid. About everything. The house. The dog. Not waking up for the kid (even though my side of the bed is the default for Jack to walk up to anyway). While I actually loved the one on one time with my little guy, he is exhausting. To to it all off, I actually miss my husband when he is away.

2. 5K Training 
I am running in the Get In Gear 5K tomorrow. Because of #1 above, my ability to train for tomorrow's race was pretty limited to my treadmill. The winter storm that hit us 72 some odd hours ago probably would have deterred my training anyway. Running is my escape and it was so hard that I wasn't able to make it work into my crazy week. I needed it. I craved it. I realized how important it is to me! Given the challenges of my week (see #1 and #3) I expect my race will go one of two ways: I will either crumble with exhaustion and post my worst time ever or (and I like to think it will go this way), I will channel all this crazy frustrated energy into my run and post a personal best.

3. Work Insanity 
If there is one thing I have prided myself on over the course of my professional adventures, it is my integrity. While I haven't job jumped as many as some, I can pretty honestly say that I have never left a job with bad blood or burned any  bridges. I always made sure that the bulk portion of my job had been completed and I wasn't leaving the person taking over for me with a giant mess. My colleague, a PM for a multi-million dollar website re-write in which I will eventually take over management of post-launch, up and quit 6 weeks before its launch. Not only were her unfinished piles of work left on my plate, but her last week here has been nothing but open ends and negativity. If there is one thing I do not subscribe to in my professional life, it is talking crap about my colleagues or acting like a petulant child. I am a team player. I get things done. Instead of wasting my time pointing fingers or playing the blame game, I choose to move forward and solve the problem. While she has offered to "help" in her final hours, she seems to be insulted that we are not accepting it. As with all jobs I have ever left, it doesn't make sense to try and continue working on things when it will leave open ends and essentially more questions. Thus making the two week notice kind of a joke. Let's face it, when you say you are leaving, what's the point in having you stick around. Hand your work over to the people who will be taking over, answer any lingering questions and walk away with some dignity and grace.

I rant because the behavior I witnessed this week was nothing short of completely unprofessional and for someone of this caliber, I guess I expected more. She was the first friend I made here and I feel like she dumped me in the deepest part of the ocean and left me to swim with the sharks.

Being the consummate professional that I pride myself to be, I am ranting here on my blog rather than talking shit to my colleagues. I kid you not, I have lost sleep over this situation this week. I am determined to oversee the rest of the project and hopefully come out in the end looking like a shiny diamond.

Moving Forward
To say this week has been a challenge, is putting it mildly. I am exhausted. Crabby. I don't feel like myself. I am taking things a day at a time. Taking a lot of deep breaths. Remembering that I am a strong, smart and confident woman. Like a mantra, I need to just keep saying to myself over and over:

I got this. 

April 25, 2013

My Story: National Infertility Awareness Week- Join the Movement!


Every year during NIAW (National Infertility Awareness Week), I retell my story. In many ways it is therapeutic, but it is also a chance for me to bring awareness to a world that largely doesn't understand what it is like to live with infertility. It serves as a chance to let those who suffer from it know that they are most definitely not alone.

My Story:
I always wanted to have a family. Always. When I married my husband in 2005, we wanted to waste no time in starting our family. We got pregnant just 5 months after we started trying; however, it ended quickly in an early miscarriage at just 6.5 weeks. I was crushed. We were given no answers other than, "Miscarriage is common. So sorry." We kept trying. And trying... and trying. After 2 years of testing and fertility drugs still nothing. My doctor had chalked it up to Unexplained Infertility as they could find nothing specific that could be the cause. IVF was just too expensive not to mention I hated the fertility drugs, so it just didn't feel like an option. We left things up to fate. We chose to move on with our lives.

I would love to say that we stopped "trying". Of course, I didn't. In a weird way, following my cycles, taking ovulation tests on top of numerous supplements pretty much became a part of life after two years. I was on my 3rd month of FertilAid when to my shock, a second line started showing up on my cheapo tests. I was sort of in disbelief. I had seen phantom lines many times before so I didn't say anything to my husband. I kept testing (see this post), and when that digital test said "pregnant" on it, I knew that it wasn't a fluke. We were skeptical. Not wanting to get exited. Not wanting to be disappointed. How were we supposed to feel? My doctor was fantastic. After my long history of infertility, she allowed us to be considered high risk. We were able to get an early ultrasound as part of our pregnancy confirmation appointment and we tested my beta numbers every other day for a week. We continued to be nervous until about the 12th week and then became a little more confident that this might actually happen for us. We finally were able to say: we are going to be parents!
My Jackson Robert

On September 11, 2008 our miracle, the love my life, Jackson Robert was born. I would never know a love more amazing and more powerful than the love I have for my son. Nobody could be more wanted. I hope I can tell him someday how much we went through to bring him into the world.

I would love to say that we kept popping out babies, but that is not the case. Secondary infertility became a reality. I developed fibroids about a year after having Jackson. In 2010 I had surgery to have them removed. Still no luck. No magic. No miracles. Over the next year, my monthly "pain" worsened. But it wasn't typical. It felt different. In April 2011, I had a burst of pain and I became very ill. My doctor discovered that I had an ovarian cyst rupture. We attempted to treat the cyst with hormones, but ultimately scheduled a surgery to have it removed via laproscopic procedure. I woke up in recovery, groggy and in pain, my doctor delivered the news that she had to remove my ovary and my tube. The cyst had wrapped around my ovary and was sticking to various organs. This was more crushing news to my chances of having a sibling for my son. We also discovered at this time that I had stage 4 endometriosis. The lesions had been removed, but there was no guarantee that it wouldn't come back.

Last fall, my husband and I decided that we would consider IVF to try and have baby #2. I wasn't thrilled about the drugs, the appointments or the procedure, but I really wanted to complete our family. I wanted this for Jackson. For us. I didn't even make it past the baseline testing. I currently have multiple cysts on my remaining ovary. While they have remain unchanged since last November and we don't have an immediate need to remove them, they have all but destroyed any chances of having another baby.

We discussed adoption and to my amazement, my husband is actually on board with this. Since our first round of infertility, we didn't really think this was a route we would want to take, so I was surprised when he was open to it. However... I am overwhelmed by the whole process and it scares me. I don't want to be let down. There is also my age consideration. I turn 37 next week. If the process takes longer than expected, do I really want a new baby at my age? Would it really enhance my son's life to have a sibling 5-6 years younger than him? So many questions in my head and in my heart.

We have chosen to accept our little family as is. We love our son and everything we do is for him. He is enough. We are enough.
My beautiful little family

We are okay.



Join The Movement!
So, you have heard my story. Whether or not you have had to endure infertility yourself, you can help. Maybe you know someone who is going through it. You can help. You can be a part of the movement. You can help by just learning and understanding.

You can become educated. Did you know?
  • Infertility affects 1 in 8 couples of reproductive age
  • There are many ways to build a family
  • The disease of infertility impacts the physical, emotional and financial health of those facing it
  • Those trying to conceive should know when to seek advice from a specialist. 
It has always bothered me that infertility is viewed as almost "cosmetic" or rather an elective medical condition. In my case, infertility is just one of the MANY issues that I face with endometriosis. I don't find it elective at all. I find my treatment necessary. 

With that said, this is also why Resolve is hosting Advocacy Day: 

Advocacy Day/Legislative Issues:

On May 8, RESOLVE is hosting it's Advocacy Day in Washington, DC. As a part of the infertility community, we need your help to make more people understand the issues facing all of us. One of the main issues facing the infertility community is access to affordable family building options. So many people diagnosed with the disease of infertility also face “financial infertility”—the inability to afford medically necessary treatments. It’s time for our government  to understand that infertility is a public health issue. People with infertility deserve access to all family building options and together we need to educate our elected officials about the issues important to our community.

Become a part of it and help those of us struggling with infertility gain the support we need from our elected officials to make our family building dreams a success.

This subject is a raw and emotional subject for me. It has affected my life, my marriage and my family. Now, if I have convinced even just one person to Join The Movement, then that gives me and all others that suffer through infertility just a little piece of hope.

To learn more about Infertility and NIAW: 
Basic Understanding of the Disease of Infertility 
About National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW)




April 18, 2013

Just Keep Running

I have been absent from my blog this week for a couple reasons:

1. My workload is unbearable. I eat, sleep and breathe the current project I am on.

2. I needed some time to reflect.

I watched in jealousy as many friends and social buddies I have come to know qualified and trained for the Boston Marathon. I'm not sure I will ever be able to run a full marathon and very much look up to those who  do. I know it is the pinnacle of their running goals. The finish to a long, hard training journey.

As soon as I heard about the bombings at the Boston Marathon my heart was racing and I had a sick feeling in my tummy. Are my friends okay? Who would dare ruin an event that is only positive in every single way? Why? Why? Why?

Why the 8 year old little boy simply cheering on the runners, waiting for his daddy to cross the line? WHY?

Why did ANYONE have to suffer?

I have no answers. Only questions. Only hurt in my heart. Anger. Confusion.

The only solution I have for myself to be able to find any salvation in this horrific tragedy is prayer.

Prayer and my enormous resolve and duty as a runner to KEEP ON RUNNING.

I will run for those who cannot run anymore. I will continue to run in huge events to prove that I am not afraid of some coward who felt the need to blow up innocent people and children. The last two years that I have been running have been for me, but I feel like it isn't only about me anymore. I am so immensely proud to call myself a part of the running community in this world. It is the most positive thing I have ever been a part of in my life and I refuse to let anyone take that away from me.

Next Saturday, April 27 marks the "true" start to my running season (although MN weather seems to have a different idea in mind. Snow? In April? Really?). As my running crew (official name is still TBD) heads out to the Get In Gear 5K, we are going to be fired up. On a mission. We won't be running this just for ourselves or for our crew.

We are running for Boston.

I wish I could have gotten one of these t-shirts in time, because I would have definitely been wearing it next Saturday, but they are out of stock (which is actually pretty awesome):



I'm sure we will try to put together a way to show our support.

Our mission: Just. Keep. Running.

What is running to me? Pride. Joy. Satisfaction. Accomplishment. You can't take that from me.
Notice, I am smiling in every single picture.

My #runforboston on Tuesday, April 16

Crossing the finish at the Get Lucky 7K

Me with 2 of the ladies from my running crew. 

My dearest friend and running buddy.

Me & Kathy at the October 2012 Monster Dash 5K
Earth Day 5K 2012- I beat my goal time by an entire minute.
Me & My Girl Angie- Earth Day 5K Finish- April 2012

My first ever 5K- Race for Obesity. 

My first race that started it all 

Wishing you and the world all of the peace, love and joy I hold in my heart.


April 12, 2013

Fab Friday: Being Positive and Happy

In the midst of the winter that will never end, I admit, my attitude sucks. I'm tired of the cold. Tired of snow. I'm DONE!!

Over the weekend, among the many discussions with my husband, one of them was about the threats coming from North Korea. I'm not sure if it is because we just celebrated Easter and I'm feeling completely rejuvenated in my faith or if it is just the overall positive turn that my life has taken, but it's strange. I'm not afraid. Sad, maybe. But not afraid. I have had to ask myself a lot of questions over the past month, but most importantly, can I look back on my life overall and say, "I've done good."?

Yes, I believe I can.

While I can't say I have been a perfect, moral person by any stretch of the imagination (and if you go back to my college days you will need to stretch very far to find a decent, moral human in me), I feel amazing about the life I have lived and will continue to live. Sure, I need daily reminders every day to take deep breaths and not let too many things get to me.

Our lives have become all about being positive about everything. I have to tell you... it is kind of exhausting. There are SO many things that can weigh me down. Things like not running fast enough. The number on the scale that is perpetually stuck no matter what I do. My JOB and the sheer amount of work on my plate right now is downright daunting and scary- I worry that I can't hack it. Fucking infertility- you have no idea how hard National Siblings Day was. Not because I don't love my own siblings- I am blessed as hell to have amazing sisters and a brother in-law to add to that list- but because Jack's school had families sending in photos of their kids' sibling interaction. There are no words to describe my heartbreak. I hate that I cannot give my son a brother or sister. I want so much to be at peace with my infertility, but it just weighs on me. To top it off, I sometimes have just that overall feeling that something might be missing in my life and for some reason it makes me feel sad.

There are a lot of things that help. The humor feed on Pinterest is a good example (there are no shortages of Grumpy Cat memes). But, one thing that has helped me remember to stay positive is the new app- Happier. At first, I thought it was just another Instagram type thing. Take a picture and share it with the world. Meh. Then I realized what it was all about. I have my app set up to remind me 3 times a day to record a happy moment. I can choose whether not to include a picture or to share it. Or, I can keep it as a private moment just for me. Regardless of if I have even had a happy moment at any point, it REMINDS me to say positive. It helps me reflect and think about what I can be doing better. It reminds me to count my blessings. I absolutely love it and wish more people would start using it! Here are 3 happy moments from this week:
A good hair day today which is good because I'm excited for happy hour with my ladies tonight!

My sweet dog who sat next to me all day yesterday when I worked from home. 

Daddy teaching our boy how to bowl. Could you die? Sweetest moment ever. 

So, after all is said and done... I am, as usual, a work in progress. I keep striving to be the best me I can be. Sometimes you need just a little extra nudge!

Another App that I have now fully embraced is Spotify. My Running/Workout Playlist? Amazing. I love it. If you have Spotify, these are currently my two jams that absolutely make me smile and do some serious cubical/car dancing.

Pitbull, Feel This Moment
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Thrift Shop

And for those of you who want my whole workout playlist, here it is- follow me! I make updates to it very frequently:

Workout - Running

What are YOU going to do to make it a positive and happy day? 

April 10, 2013

Day of Pink 2013

If there is one thing that I love the most about my company, it is their commitment to diversity and community.

I took part in the Day of Pink today:

Day of Pink is the international day against bullying, discrimination and homophobia in schools and communities. We invite everyone to celebrate diversity on April 10th by wearing pink clothing - a pink shirt, a blouse, a tie. Even pink socks will do!

Have you ever seen a friend hurt because of discrimination or bullying? 
Have you been hurt yourself? Have your children? 

Bullying is a significant health issue, and has long term negative impact on the development of relationships. We need to care because children have the right 
to a safe and healthy environment. Their future depends on our willingness to 
protect them, and to enable them to grow unburdened with fear and anxiety.

Whether it is at work, at home, or in other social situations, bullying and 
harassment can also victimize adults, including our colleagues, peers and 
family members.

Mostly, participate in Day of Pink to celebrate the diversity among us and 
to promote respect and inclusion in schools, at work, and elsewhere. 

I often think of bullying, discrimination and homophobia as people just being really big assholes to other people. I have never understood how someone could be outwardly mean to another human. It's a day like today that I am proud to work for a company that stands up for everyone. It's a day like today that I am proud to have Christian values and choose to treat everyone with equal dignity and respect. 

I may not have been "bullied" growing up, but I was certainly made fun of. The term "thunder thighs" in middle school seems to ring a bell. Kids were fricking mean. I want so terribly to raise my son to be a loving, sweet boy. I want him to know that he has to be nice to his friends. I want to shield him from anyone being mean to him. I would do anything to protect him. Anything. 

My day of pink: 



April 04, 2013

Thankful Thursday: Easter Sweetness

I was a day late for Wordless Wednesday. Heading into some extremely busy times at work, I thought rather than completely scrap the post, that I would salvage it. Change it into a little bit of Thanks. Remind myself of what I am surrounded by. People who have brought me so much love and confidence. Friends who help me nurture my talents and push me to be better, to step outside of my shell. Believe in me when I can't find it in me to believe in myself.

From Easter Sunday (that's me in the middle): 



Thankful for a family who brings me so much overwhelming joy. 

Jack & His Cousins (my sweet nephews)
Hmmm... Easter Egg inside is just not the same

Thankful for my healthy, funny and loving little boy. My constant reminder that miracles really do exist in this world. 


April 02, 2013

The Easter Celebration Aftermath

Another Easter has come and gone, but this year just felt different. I'm celebrating almost a year of the new "me" at goal weight (or, ahem... close enough to goal). Celebrating a revived marriage.

Celebrating a beautiful life




And oh yes. I celebrated. I celebrated with plenty of food sins. Do I regret it? Maybe a little. I've made some progress with my brain in terms of my eating sins. At least I KNOW now after eating like I did all weekend that I will have to make up for it. Did knowing this change my actions? No. But I also know that I can't continue to eat like crap all the time either. I know better.

Just like everything, the things I can't have? Not being able to have them makes me want those things more than ever. Food is no different. Not being able to "have" it makes me want to eat it that much more. And when I give in? It's a rush. I mean what the hell? You heard it here first and I confess... I am addicted to naughty food that I can't have unless I want to gain back 40 pounds. You know what? I don't want that weight back on my ass. I'm going to continue to fight.

For the record. I did fail the DietBet. I hope the winners are enjoying my money. LOL. Not that I want to get all TMI or anything on a Monday, but mother nature kinda screwed me on the timing of the weigh in on the DietBet. Sorry, but even the best eating isn't going to win the battle against that bitch.

Nonetheless. A new day. A new week. I am refreshed. What am I going to do to redeem myself?
  1. Track my food. Even though I am following the South Beach Diet (which has actually worked, albeit slowly), I still need to write down what I eat. It's called. Wait for it. ACCOUNTABILITY.
  2. Follow my training plan. I have 27 days until my next 5K- the Get In Gear 5K. I have felt really sluggish lately. I'm sure a lot of it weather related. A lot of it just my own personal demons. I'm going to start committing to once a week runs with the Life Time Fitness Run Club (Let's face it. I have a kid. If I can make it once a week at 6p, that is a lot). My Lucky Ladies Running Crew is also planning to run together at a minimum of once a month as well. Overall, I have SOMEthing exercise related to do DAILY. If it isn't running, it is cross training. If it isn't cross training it is strength training. If it isn't any of those, I will sit and stretch while watching Y & R on my DVR. I seriously need it to be 50-60 degrees on a daily basis. 
  3. Time to do a mini detox/cleanse. I came across Jillian Michael's [not so] Secret Cleanse Recipe via Pinterest and was intrigued. It sounded a little gross. What I love about it? You don't have to stop eating. You drink this in addition to your HEALTHY diet (meaning you limit processed foods sugar and alcohol as well as lower your sodium intake). Now, they gimmick this as losing 5 pounds in 7 days. I did it once before after a weekend of heaving boozing and I did lose 3 pounds in 5 days. Yes, all water weight. It's easy to gain it back. However, when you are feeling as gross as I am after all the weekend sugar and carbs, this really helps to reduce the bloat. 
So here you have it- the Jillian Michael's Secret Cleanse Recipe: 
  • 60 Oz distilled water
  • 2 TBS sugar free cranberry juice (not from concentrate)
  • 2 dandelion root tea bags
  • 4 TBS lemon juice
  • mix and drink each day. (sipping through out the day)
You will find other versions of the recipe out on the Interwebz, but this is the formula that worked the best for me (my recipe is doubled with exception to the 60oz of water- that stayed the same. I just added more of the other goods). I was able to find all of the ingredients at Target, but you may need to go to a store like Whole Foods to find the cranberry juice and dandelion root tea. I usually fill a 60oz pitcher with the recipe and then fill one of those big 32 oz Nalgene bottles to bring it to work. I then drink the remainder at night. Please note... this concoction will make you pee all freaking day so be prepared for a lot of potty breaks! 

I have a couple other little secrets that have helped me along the way in terms of kicking the cravings. 
  1. I chew sugar-free gum. A lot of gum. Yes, it messes with my TMJ but it's a sacrifice I make to not stuff food in my mouth. Plus, I have ridiculously fresh, fruity breath. 
  2. I polish my nails at night. Not every night, but probably every few days. Sounds like a crazy, tedious chore, right? Well, doing my nails means my hands are busy, I don't want to mess up my pretty nails by digging into something to eat and the taste of nail polish remover? Disgusting. 
  3. The more distractions the better!!!! 
  4. One last secret... a supplement from Life Time Fitness called Lean Source. It isn't some magic pill that makes me lose weight. None of them are. However when combined with a healthy diet and exercise, I am a firm believer that it has enhanced my results. I can definitely tell the difference when I miss a dose. This little tidbit of info on Lean Source is what got me to try it because you know, I'm an old lady: "7-Keto™ supports proper hormonal levels, including balancing thyroid hormone levels, which may be more significant in women over age 30." and this: "Clarinol™ CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) has been shown to support reductions in body fat while helping to maintain or increase lean body mass." So yeah. It was worth a try. I like it so far. 
See? No naughty Easter eating is going to bring me down!! You gotta jump right back on that train and keep going. TAKE THAT CHOCOLATE BUNNY! I WIN!!! 

I hope you and your family had a very blessed Easter! 

P.S. Singing vid is coming... Stay tuned my loyal readers! 

 
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