All the Sun For You

A mom, two boys, a husband, and a whole lot of adventure!


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Tit for Tat

(Fair warning, this is a bit of a rant…)

I have an appointment tomorrow with my OB for my annual pap and also to figure out long-term birth control that isn’t permanent.  We were going to go with the Es.sure procedure, because it sounded so simple, but then I read about it.  Yeah, we’re not doing that.  There are a lot of side effects reported that I worry about, and the coils are coated in plastic and I am unusually sensitive to almost all plastics on my skin (even silicone nose pads on sunglasses eat my face).  The idea of a plastic device being shoved into my fallopian tubes worries me a great deal, so we’re looking at other options.  Hottie is coming with me to the appointment because he wants to make sure we select the right option for US, and I think we’re going to go with an IUD.  There are a lot of reasons for this, but the main one is that it’s not permanent.

When I told a friend about this today, her response was the same as I’ve heard over, and over, and over again when this topic comes up.

“Why isn’t he getting fixed?  You went through the IVF, he can do this for you.”

Ummm… because we don’t work that way.  Because there’s more to life than, “I did that, so you have to do this.”

There are lots of other reasons for this decision, such as 1) a vasectomy would be permanent (yeah, yeah, some reversals work, but I’m not counting on that) and an IUD isn’t, 2) I’m the one whose life is at risk if we get pregnant again, and 3) I’m not willing to let Hottie do something so permanent that if something would happen to me, that he couldn’t have children in the future if he would remarry (remember, he’s 3 years younger than me).  But the main reasons are that the IUD is simpler, less invasive, not permanent and… Hottie owes me nothing for being the one who “went through all of those shots.”

The response I almost always get really upsets me.  It makes me wonder how other people’s marriages really work.  I hear a lot of this when talking with my girlfriends.  “My husband had a guys night so he owes me a night out with the girls.”  “He won’t let me go for a weekend away because I did that 6 months ago and it’s his turn.”  “He bought that new computer so he owes me.”  “I bought those awesome boots, so now I have to let him buy that telescope he wanted.”  And my favorite, “I’m the primary parent during the week, so he can take the kids on the weekend.”  It doesn’t stop with their expectations of their own marriages and spouses, they project it onto me as well.  No one has any idea how many times I’ve been told by my girlfriends (SAHM’s and WFHM’s) what Hottie owes me because I’m with the kids all day.  I am constantly told that he needs to give me more breaks, because he gets breaks every day from the kids, and they tell me just what those breaks should be (a pedicure, a movie night, drinks on the patio, a trip to Vegas).

If our marriage worked the way that people seem to think it should, then Hottie and I would spend little time together.  I am home with the kids every single day – the weekends are no different for me than normal week days.  If I did what I’m told I should do, Hottie would be spending the weekend days from 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM with the kids while I go off and have my time.  Hottie travels a couple of nights a week, so according to my friends, he should take over all dinners, bath times, bed times, etc. for the same amount of nights that he was gone so I can be paid back for the times he didn’t have to do those things while he was away.  Instead of make, or go to, breakfast as a family on the weekends, one of us should sleep in on Saturday and let the other one sleep in on Sunday (my neighbor has had multiple day-long fights with her husband because he got to sleep until 9:00 on Saturday, and she got to sleep until 9:30 on Sunday and it wasn’t fair).  Don’t get me wrong, there are mornings when I just can’t get up when Bryson does and I sneak off to Matthew’s room to sleep with him until he’s up (7:30 at the latest), but we don’t talk about whose turn it is to do that – we just do it (Hottie has done this too).  No one feels that anything is owed to them in this household.

It’s all very interesting to me, and I find myself feeling very defensive and resentful when my friends start telling me what Hottie owes me because I’m with the kids so much.  And I find it disgusting that others think that he owes me a vasectomy because of the IVF that we put my body through.  We did IVF because we desperately wanted children, and no one went into it keeping score.  Sure, we know the reason for our infertility and at fleeting times, I was a bit resentful that I had to do the shots when I “wasn’t the problem,” but we wanted a baby so I did the shots, and I got over that resentment almost as quickly as it entered my mind.  I certainly don’t think that he owes me an irreversible medical procedure because of the pain and suffering my body went through to conceive our children.  I got my kids out of the deal, and Hottie owes me nothing beyond them… not even a vasectomy.

 


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Help and Honesty

I accidentally, yes ACCIDENTALLY, fell into two new pair of jeans today.  I was killing time at a sporting goods store that has neat jeans and I went there for tops.  Well, they had “Kut from the Kloth” jeans on sale and I peaked just because Nordstr.om R.ack has this brand and I wanted to compare prices.  The first one I grabbed (Farrah boot cut) was $25 – marked down from $82.  They were my size – the only 6’s in the bunch.  I figured, what the hell… and I grabbed them.

Then, I went to my neighbor’s for the kids to play, and she’d ordered the wrong length of G.ap jeans.  She has to return them by mail so asked if I wanted to buy them off of her (we do this a lot!).  I said I’d try them because they were 27’s and I figured they’d be too small (she’s always pawning stuff off on me and I’m always polite and say I’ll try it, and then get rid of it myself  or tell her it didn’t work out for me).  I LOVE G.ap Long and Lean jeans, but I truly thought they’d be too small.

I tried both pair of jeans on at her house and her advice was to keep them both – because, “they look good and they were $25!  And show Hottie the G.ap ones and just bring them back if he doesn’t like them.”  Sounded reasonable.  I brought them both home.

In the privacy of my own home, I of course re-tried them on and took pictures.  I need to know what you guys think.  The first pair, Kut from the Kloth, were truly $24.99.  The second pair, the G.ap Long and Leans, are $52 (or so she thinks – we’ll sort it all out if I keep them).

Are they worth keeping?  Be honest.

Side by side, front and back. G.ap on your left, Kut from the Kloth on your right

Side by side, front and back. G.ap on your left, Kut from the Kloth on your right

Kut from the Kloth, size 6, I'll be honest and say that I love the pockets. $25

Kut from the Kloth, size 6, I’ll be honest and say that I love the pockets. $25

Different views of the KftK jeans, and a much better ass shot

Different views of the KftK jeans, and a much better ass shot

Gap Long and Lean, size 27, no idea on the wash/color. Regular length. $52-ish

Gap Long and Lean, size 27, no idea on the wash/color. Regular length. $52-ish


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So It Seems…

… that people like to see what their friends are wearing.  I know I do.  I know that when Josey posts a Sti.tch F.ix post, I hop right on over to check it out.  When Chon puts up a “What Chon Wore” post, I’m all over it!  I have a preschool mom friend who has such great fashion sense, that I stalk her FB page to see if she’s posting pics of anything that I should be considering.  I think I get most excited about people’s fashion posts, simply because I have limited fashion sense and I need ideas.  And I love seeing others pull off what I don’t think I can.

This morning at preschool drop-off, I was in my running clothes because I like to run my 5 miles with Bryson right after dropping Matthew off.  The weather is perfect right now and I just can’t get enough of it!  All the moms know I’m a runner, so they always ask where I’m headed, how far I plan to go, and how long it will take me.  Most of the moms are dressed for the day, so I take in their attire and make mental notes for myself.  Today, the friend I mentioned up above, was wearing a cute sleeveless dress.  I thought to myself, “see, that makes perfect sense and you have something like that at home!”  After my run, you can bet I showered and pulled out my dress – and I felt so good and so COMFORTABLE for the rest of the day.  We went to the park for an hour and I felt great!

Dress

Kavu Eve Dress, size M. The PERFECT outdoors dress ever made!

Now that fall is around the corner (or is it here?  I think it may be!), I took an inventory of what I have to wear.  I’m sort of excited about changing things up and adding some more flattering pieces to my wardrobe, and I thought it wise to not only take note of what I have, but record it here for when I get the bug to buy more.  I tend to buy too much of one thing (as you’ll see when you get to sweaters below…) and a place to come back to for some perspective is necessary.

I needed jeans that fit, and I’ve spent a small fortune on 3 pair in the last week.  There is one more pair I’ll buy in a week once I can spend my Ga.p C.ash (redemption start 9/19 for those of you holding coupons!), and then I’ll have 5 pair of jeans that fit me correctly.  Here is what I have so far:

Left to Right: Bana.ana Re.public Washed Indigo Skinny (Size 28), Edd.ie Bau.er Slightly Curvy Bootcut (size 6 short), Ed.die Ba.uer Destroyed Boyfriend Slim (size 4)

Left to Right: Bana.ana Re.public Washed Indigo Skinny (size 28), Edd.ie Bau.er Slightly Curvy Bootcut (size 6 short), Ed.die Ba.uer Destroyed Boyfriend Slim (size 4)

 

Dear John Joyrich (size 27)

Dear John Joyrich (size 27)

 

The jeans I’ll be getting, or so I plan to be getting, are the Ga.p Reso.lution Slim Straight jeans.  They fit ridiculously well and I really liked them, especially for $70 (but they’ll be $35 with G.ap C.ash).  In all honestly, I’m itching for a pair from BR, but their jeans are so damn expensive that I can’t justify buying 2 pair in a month.  G.ap jeans are just fine, especially for a 5th pair to just finish up the weeks throughout fall, winter, and spring.

Ga.p slim straight jeans (size 28)

Ga.p slim straight jeans (size 28)

 

Ok – onto shoes.  I have said this before, but I’ll say it again, I have horrible feet to fit and when I find something that fits, well, I buy them.  I learned at a very early age that my shoe budget must be higher than the average gal because my size is usually only made by high-end shoe makers (my parents bought me fabulous shoes while I was under their roof because they both had impossible feet to fit – and they felt sorry for me and wanted me to have shoes that fit correctly).  It turns out, I have quite a few pairs of boots (with one on the way – WHERE ARE THEY ALREADY??) which isn’t a bad thing.  I have NO dressy shoes (but am constantly looking) and just a few pair of casual shoes.  I need more in the realm of casual flats/slip-ons and definitely a pair of black strappies for dressy occasions.

Ecco Rise Tall Boot (size 42), Bass Tan Suede Boots (size 11), Ugg brown booties (size 11), Franco Sarto black booties (size 11)

Ecco Rise Tall Boot (size 42), Bass Tan Suede Boots (size 11), Ugg brown booties (size 11), Franco Sarto black booties (size 11)

My must-have boots 2 years ago - Sor.el Joan of Arctic

My must-have boots 2 years ago – Sor.el Joan of Arctic

Chaco black, Chaco brown, and Keds

Chaco black, Chaco brown, and Keds

As you can see, I love my boots, and I need a few more lower profile shoes.  I found some today that are $150 (of course they are) so I’ll skip them and head to D.SW this week to see what they have (and probably leave in tears, like I almost always do).

Coats.  I love coats.  I used to buy jackets like they were tops – I moved back from Chicago with tubs full of jackets and coats.  It was pathetic.  BUT – now that I’m smaller, I’ve gotten rid of almost everything and am left with just these three coats.  I’d like to add a pea coat to the mix this year.

Ann Taylor cream coat (I love this coat!!!), North Face Men's Summit coat (LOVE!), Eddie Bauer Micro Therm Storm Down (I hate this coat - it is not warm at all)

Ann Taylor cream coat (I love this coat!!!), North Face Men’s Summit coat (LOVE!), Eddie Bauer Micro Therm Storm Down (I hate this coat – it is not warm at all)

I don’t think I need anymore coats, even though I’d like one.  I’m skipping it this year unless I find a great pea coat on a major sale.

For dresses, I have very few that fit.  I have a formal skirt and top that are beautiful, but on the verge of being too big and I’m not sure the cost to alter them will be worth it.  I have two casual dresses, one being the one I wore today, and the other being a gray one just like it (I buy in bulk – it’s ridiculous).

Kavu Eve Dress in gray (size M)

Kavu Eve Dress in gray (size M)

I have my eye on this dress at An.n Tay.lor, but the 6 seemed too big and they didn’t have a 4 to try on, so I’m waiting to see if they get one in.  I am thinking of getting this for Hottie’s formal holiday party and dressing it up with some nice strappy shoes.  We shall see…

Shift Dress

For nicer tops, the types I’d wear out on date night, I have plenty.  PLENTY.  I bought a bunch while I was in KC in January and I regret one of them, just because it snags easily and I never wear it because of that.  The last thing I need is more tops like these.

Hottie picked out the striped An.n Ta.ylor top and I do like it.  It's the wine colored top I don't like - it's just... cheap looking (and feeling) and snags if you look at it wrong.

Hottie picked out the striped An.n Ta.ylor top and I do like it. It’s the wine colored top I don’t like – it’s just… cheap looking (and feeling) and snags if you look at it wrong.

I love the black dress top - worn with the leggings on the shelf there.  The red top hasn't been worn in 2 years - but I like it.

I love the black dress top – worn with the leggings on the shelf there. The red top hasn’t been worn in 2 years – but I like it.

I love this sweater - it is so fun to wear!  It has a tie neck in the back and it's open in the back

I love this sweater – it is so fun to wear! It has a tie neck in the back and it’s open in the back

My favorite date night outfit for fall - Dear John skinny jeans and that awesome gray sweater with tall or short black boots!

My favorite date night outfit for fall – Dear John skinny jeans and that awesome gray sweater with tall or short black boots!

OK – so here is where it gets embarrassing.  SWEATERS.  I have always, ALWAYS, been a lover of sweaters.  Wool sweaters, warm sweaters, thin sweaters, cotton sweaters, fair isle sweaters (I DO need a new one of these!), turtleneck sweaters, V-neck sweaters, etc.  I have never been able to resist purchasing beautiful, warm, cozy sweaters.  I think all of my spending money in college went to my sweater collection (I still have a few of those – do you remember when J Cr.ew did holiday sweaters every year???) and once I was making real money, it just got worse.

After getting thinner last fall, I was desperate for sweaters that fit and weren’t too big.  G.ap had a killer sale and I bought heaps of them.  HEAPS.  Then BR put out the most delicious line of sweaters and I just had to have one.  Then I found Nord.strom Rack and they had a couple of gorgeous sweaters that I could not leave behind.  And then we went to Seattle and there were some fun, lighter weight sweaters that we bought in preparation for this fall (Hottie cannot resist buying me sweaters either, and the Seattle sweaters were all his idea).  I have NO BUSINESS buying sweaters this year unless they are truly special – like a gorgeous fair isle sweater from Da.le of N.orway (hint, hint, Hottie!).

So I’m just going to stop justifying my obsession and put the inventory out there.  Please don’t judge me.

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So that’s it!  That is what I have for the fall and winter.  I think I need tops of the non-sweater variety and a pair or two of casual flat shoes.  Please weigh in though on what you think is missing, and if there’s something you see that you are thinking, “she cannot wear that!” please tell me.  We’re all friends here!


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In Other News… Fashion!

Ha!  Did you EVER think you’d see a title of mine with “fashion” in it?

Me neither.

But this isn’t what you think it is.

So I can admit, out loud, that I have lost quite a bit of weight.  People will ask how much I’ve lost, and I say, “not much, about 40 pounds,” and they react with bulging eyeballs and sometimes an eye roll.  It’s not that I think this is easy to do or no big deal, I just don’t think of myself as this thin person (I don’t think I’m fat, or even big… I just think I’m normal).  I also don’t make a big deal of it because I was very fit before we went through infertility, fertility treatments, then pregnancy, then nursing, etc.  Before all of that, I was consistently weighing in at 150-155 pounds for years.  So being normal/thin again isn’t new to me, but it is new to everyone who met me after the infertility hit (so all of Hottie’s work friends, because he started there after we’d tried to get pregnant for a year, and all of my mom friends, because they met me post-babies, and all of my blog friends).  I am a super woman to almost everyone we know.

But I’m not.  I’m just me.  I’m the me who throws myself into the things I’m committed to, and fitness happens to be one of those things.

I weigh 140 pounds right now, less than I did when I was very fit for years, and less than I weighed when I graduated high school.   This is by far the healthiest I’ve ever been in regards to weight, muscle tone, endurance, body fat, BMI, cholesterol, etc.  I look in the mirror and I’m happy with where I am right now, no need to lose an ounce more (I was told today by Hottie’s two female coworkers to stop dropping weight, which annoyed me but I understand it).

So with this body that has been this way for over a year now (a year ago, I weighed 153.4 pounds and was running again consistently), I have decided to start dressing like a mom who is fit and healthy, and not like a mom who wants to cover up everything.

I had to enlist some help.  I am no fashion guru – I’m far from it, actually.  I’ve never had any fashion sense at all and I’ve always been very “vanilla.”  Jeans, solid shirts and sweaters, practical shoes, etc.  In my defense, I have very limited shoe options because I’m an 11.5 narrow (and 12.5 narrow with pretty bad over-pronation in running shoes = $160 a pair), so pretty strappies take MONTHS to find.  But that’s my only defense – it’s time to step it up.

I have 2 pair of skinny jeans in my closet and it’s time to make them the norm, but what about shoes?  Ugh.  I decided to take the boys to Nor.dstr.om Ra.ck to shoe shop the other night while Hottie was out-of-town (I prepaid them with cake pops – they did great!), and I brought home two pair.  I quickly put them on with my jeans and sent the pics to my friend, Chon, who I trust immensely with fashion sense.  She gave me the green light and I wore the sneakers last night to dinner – Hottie said I looked cute.  I wore them again today at preschool drop-off and I felt very with-it, put together, etc.  I looked like the hip preschool mom, which is the goal after all  😉

I also went to onli.nesho.es.com the other night to see what kind of sales they were having and they had Frye boots as their banner ad.  I had just seen some Frye handbags and boots over the weekend at a local store so I thought this was maybe a sign.  I checked out a bunch of discount sites for the best deal (I’m not paying $400 for boots) and after deciding that yes, I do like them, I went to the store to try them on.  They are the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn.  I signed up for Sak.sof.f5th emails to get a $30 off $150 coupon code – and I just ordered them today!  $170 shipped to my door (they are $370+ normally).  If they’re as awesome as I think they’ll be, I’m ordering another pair next month.  I will be all stocked up on boots after these cute little booties!

Here are the boots I just ordered – I am super excited!

Frye

So… I’m on my way to dressing more like a gal, less like a slob.  I do need a smaller pair of jeans, yes I know, Chon!  😉

 


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They’re All In School Now… Bryson is Off!

Bryson was so ready for school to start!  As everyone knows (because I over-share on FB and here,) Bryson threw a MAJOR fit when Matthew went to school without him on Tuesday.  He wanted to be with his brother, he wanted to “play with school toys,” and he begged me, “do not take me!”  It was EPIC!

Today, it was his turn!  I had no concerns, I was so excited for him!  I took him to the mall to pick out a different shirt yesterday (the one he picked out last week was long-sleeved and it’s the most beautiful week here!) and he picked out his shorts to go with it last night.  I loaded up his little backpack for him and put him to bed, promising “you’re going to have so much fun at school tomorrow!”  When he woke up at 6:30, he wanted to go for a run with me and that was really nice – the one thing that I’ve done with him, and not his brother, for over a year now.  It was special!

Everyone got dressed, and we headed outside for the obligatory pictures on the front stoop.

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Matthew had to be at school at 10:00 (late start) and Bryson at 10:30 (will start at 9:00 next week), so we quickly headed for “first day donuts” (again) and then to drop Matthew off.  Bryson did not understand why he was not getting out with his big brother, but the offer of “coffee” (a steamer) from St.arbu.cks calmed him down.  Ha!  He had his steamer in the back seat as we headed back to school, and he was READY to get out!  We snapped a few pictures outside the school before heading in!

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He knew just where to go and showed us the way, leaving us in the DUST!  He hung up his backpack, hugged Daddy (then me, super quickly), let me take a selfie, and he was off.  Just like that!  He was so busy in his classroom that all of the pictures were blurry.

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I picked him up just an hour later (they’re easing them into 2.5 hours a day) and he did great – Mrs. Young said, “he was so polite, he talks to everyone, and he shares so well!”

OK then!

I did not cry once during the morning, until I was looking back through the pictures while waiting in the parking lot to go in and get him.  Even then, it was just a few tears… but it has hit me that my baby is no longer a baby, and there will be no more.  This was my very last “first day of preschool.”

But it’s going to be GREAT!

 


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School Has Begun For Matthew…

… Thank GOD!  I think all three of us let out a collective sigh last night as we got clothes laid out and the backpack ready.  Matthew has been going to preschool since he was 2, so this was just another rung on the ladder for us.  After 2 years of preschool and 2 summers full of camps every-other-week, he was ready to be back at school.  It was exciting, but uneventful, just how I like it!

Matthew insisted on having a fire truck shirt for the first day of school, so I headed off to Ga.p last week to get the one that he liked after he asked for it three times (he’s very flakey right now and really doesn’t care too much about clothes, and I wanted to be sure so I asked him over and over again for days).  It was a big win… until he got his “Food Truck Shirt” (truly, it has food trucks on it and he is fascinated by food trucks).  This morning, he said no to the fire truck shirt and asked for his food truck shirt, but it was literally in the washer so that was a no.  He’ll wear it tomorrow.

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How cute is this shirt???

Hottie was out-of-town on a work trip (my fault, I forgot to put the first day of school on his calendar) so it was just the boys and me this morning.  Matthew does not like having his picture taken – he’s told me so several times – so I asked him to please smile for 5 pictures and then we’d go get a donut before school.  He didn’t know that the donut was happening no matter what, so he obliged!  Bryson wanted to sit on the porch with Matthew for every picture, and Matthew was perfectly fine with that and even asked him to help him hold up his sign.  Bryson was NOT happy about Matthew leaving.  He would not smile for me and just looked so sad the whole time.  I didn’t read into it, I thought he was just a bit tired.

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We headed off for donuts and that was fun – and FAST!  Matthew is as neat as a pin, so Bryson lapped him on the donut consumption but we had plenty of time for him to take his sweet time eating (like his dad!).  Sprinkle donuts for both boys!

We got to school too early and had to hang out outside his classroom.  Matthew was so excited, he could not wait to get in there!  We took a few extra pictures before heading in to the cubbies.  It was fun watching Matthew welcome and hug his old friends and make new friends instantly.  The kid is a master at introducing himself and asking his friends their names and then asking them something about themselves.  He truly amazes me every day with his friendly, outgoing personality!  Bryson didn’t want to leave his brother’s side and I should have known it was going to be rough when we had to leave.

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It was finally, finally, time to go into the classroom so he ran in, washed his hands, grabbed his name tag, and kissed me goodbye.  “Bye, Mom!  I love you!”  That was it… with Matthew.  Bryson did not want to leave and I had to tear him out of there.  He was kicking and screaming the whole way to the car and then several miles down the road.  “Don’t take me, don’t take me, MOM.  I want Matthew!  I want to play with school toys with Matthew.  Go back, go back NOW!”  It was the worst melt-down he’s ever had, which isn’t really saying much because neither of my kids completely freak out very often, but it was definitely a melt-down.  It was not good.

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We ran errands, Bryson played at the mall play area, and it was time to go back to school (short days to ease them into it this week).  I left Bryson in the car – I did not want a repeat of the freak-out – and went in to get my big kid.  Matthew came running out, said he had a great day, said he didn’t get in trouble (yes, I asked), and asked for his brother.  I reunited them in the parking lot and all was right in the world.  🙂

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Upon our arrival home after the park and lunch, we noticed that the neighbor’s dumpster was being picked up by a dumpster truck, so of course we had to watch that before calling it a morning/afternoon and heading to naps and quiet time.  You don’t see a dumpster truck every day  😉

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It was a great first day!

Bryson’s first day is Thursday.  I am expecting full cooperation and excitement.  We shall see…


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The Realities Around Us

So I’m kind of struggling right now.  Things with Hottie, the boys, and me are fine, but the things around us are quite sad and they’re consuming me.

*****

Hottie’s sister is getting a divorce.  I may have mentioned it in a private post a while back, I’m not sure, but it’s getting rough and no one seems to know how to help her.  She did not ask for the divorce, her husband did, and it was hard for me to feel very sympathetic because I really don’t like Hottie’s sister and I really DO like her husband.  His sister is… different… antisocial… rude… angry… controlling… set in her ways… bitter.  We’ve never been “friends” and honestly, she’s a very selfish person who always plays the victim.  No matter the situation, she’s the victim.  She has been taught this by Hottie’s mom, so it’s not entirely her fault, but by the age of 40, I expect a person to grow up and take responsibility for who she is.  She is incapable of doing that.  The problem is, they have a kid.  A daughter… and now this 6-year-old girl is going through all the things that made her mom the bitter, angry, rude, selfish person that she is, and like her mom, she’ll go through the bulk of her life without a father figure.  It’s sad.

Hottie has been asked by his sister to attend the mediation meetings with her because she’s frustrated with her dad (technically her step-dad (Hottie’s dad), because she refuses to have anything to do with her biological dad no matter how hard the man tries) who’s been attending with her.  She is at her whit’s end with their mom and at first, we figured their mom was being her normal, “I hate your husband, kick him to the curb” self.  But she’s not.  She’s trying to get her daughter to see the light, make preparations, plan for the future, and hold her chin up a bit.  Hottie’s sister called last week in a panic asking him to meet her for coffee and they met for over 2 hours and he was brutally honest with her when he heard the things his mom is telling her.  He agrees with his mom (and that NEVER happens) and so do I: figure out a job, get an apartment, sort out your finances, meet with a lawyer.  All the normal advice a woman on the brink of divorce would receive… but she does NOT want to hear it.  She does NOT want a divorce.  I feel for her because that’s got to be just awful, but I also understand why her mom wants her to start making some plans.  If she’s not going to do anything to actively try to save the marriage, then she needs to plan her way out of it since he has already filed.  But I understand that it’s tough.

I’m rambling, I know.   This gets me down because it’s becoming more and more of a topic of conversation in our house because she’s asking Hottie for so much help.  I love that he’s supportive of his siblings, I think it’s great, but she’s asking him to be in a position that he doesn’t want to be in (going to mediations and telling his dad he’s no longer welcome).  Hottie is very non-confrontational – he is a very peaceful person.  Getting in the middle of this divorce is not where he wants to be, and it’s not where I want him to be.  I know he doesn’t like the situation he’s now in, but he does want to help his sister (and why wouldn’t he want to?), so he just tries to not look like he’s in agreement with his parents when he really is, while making his sister feel like he understands her frustrations with them.  It’s really tough.

*****

Our trip with my parents was not good.  They treated each of us sisters (and one of the husbands) with such disrespect that we were all in tears at some point during the trip.  My kids didn’t want to sit through long, fancy dinners (90 minutes, minimum) so of the 7 nights eating with my family, we were coerced (and sometimes told) to leave with the kids 4 of those nights.  That’s not fun.  My dad can give a look that is infuriating, and I saw him use it with each and every one of the grandkids several times.

My big run-in with my dad, and then my mom when she attacked me afterwards, was witnessed by Hottie, my two sisters, and their two husbands and although it was absolutely HORRIBLE, I was glad that I had 5 witnesses to my dad’s attack and 1 to my mom’s brutal, frosty attack of me afterwards demanding that I apologize to my dad.  Let’s just say, every last person who was there told me I was not going to apologize for anything.  Hottie approached my dad and basically told him to take a hike, and my little sister confronted my mom and told it like it was.  I’ve never felt so supported in my life, and although it was truly horrible, I’m so glad that everyone got to see EXACTLY what I’ve been saying has been going on for years and years.

Because of all of the drama and bad feelings leading up to, and then on, the trip, I JUST got around to sending a thank you gift to my parents today (the trip was over more than 3 weeks ago) and I had to force myself to do it.  I had a reminder going off on my phone every 4 hours for a damn week and I finally bit the bullet and sent the gift card today (something I wasn’t planning on doing until my little sister told me that they sent a $350+ gift to them BEFORE the trip even started, kicking off the thank-you-timer and the wild expectation to spend a lot of money thanking them for an awful time).  It still feels so bad to even think about that damn trip.

*****

Hottie and I have some decisions to make in the next couple of years about our remaining embryos.  We know that we are done building our family, but we hold onto them in case something bad happens to one of our boys someday.  Those embryos are our only hope to having more children if we need or want to in the future, but I am turning 40 in March (what the?).  So this has been on my mind lately, and on Saturday morning, I brought up the topic with Hottie, not because I want a decision, but because I want him to know that I’m thinking about it… I’m thinking about them.

I asked him to think about donating them to another couple.  We wouldn’t do this locally, and honestly, I’d want them to not even be in the same country, but it’s something I think we need to at least consider.  I told him that I want to talk about this in a year or two’s time, before I turn 42.  I think once I’m 42, we have to figure out a feasible long-term plan.  I don’t want them sitting on ice indefinitely, but I also don’t want to make a hasty decision.

By mid-Saturday, I had myself convinced that I could donate them overseas – that they are our genetic material that someone else may give life to.  I actually felt good about the idea of donating them.  And then Saturday afternoon happened.

*****

My friend’s 13-year old nephew died of leukemia on Saturday.  I never met him, but I’ve met his older sister a few times and his mom kept the most amazing Caring Bridge site going that you felt like you knew him.  His mom posted updates at every turn for 18 months so when they went silent early last week, I knew something wasn’t good.  Sam had tried tons of experimental treatments and was on his final attempt.  Because he gained access to all the drugs, all the treatments, all the “hail Mary’s” out there, I just believed he was going to live.  There were moments when I thought, “he may not make it, but statistically he should, but he may not.”  However, for the most part, I stayed hopeful.

That’s the thing about hope though… it makes you forget about, or sometimes ignore, reality.  I forgot about reality.  I forgot that Sam was as sick as a kid could be without being dead.  I had all the hope in the world that one of these magical treatments would cure him., but they couldn’t.

His mom posted the most amazing, heartfelt, and honest account of his last week.  I read it Sunday night and could not get ahold of myself.  She talked about my friend, Sam’s aunt, being there with him and it killed me to know that she had to go through that and that she has to coach her daughters through the loss of their close cousin.  She talked about his siblings coming in to say goodbye, the sweet teenage girl who I’d met and crafted with a few times who was still just 15 years old – forever changed though.  She shared his very final moment as he took his last breath, and she shared her peace in knowing that he was no longer suffering.

I cannot stop thinking about Sam’s family, his aunt, his cousins, his life, his death.  It has consumed me and it makes me think about my own boys.  We have two boys, two children.  What would I do if something like this happened to one of them?  How would we go on?  How would we survive it?  Sam was 13 years old – there’s no “safe zone” with parenting – your kids can get sick or die at any moment, any time, for the rest of our lives.  It’s very frightening if you think about it.

(All of this has made me stop even thinking about donating our embryos for now.  I think we’ll hold onto them for a long time… just in case.  They’re all we have…)

*****

We’re so fortunate (and lucky, really) that our little bubble remains safe and sound, but I’m saddened by the things around us.  I’m saddened by the things that are some people’s realities, and I know too well that those things could become our reality some day as well.  No matter how hard we try to protect ourselves and our kids from the bad things in life, we really have no control over them (not even our poor relationships with our parents).  Hottie always says to focus on the things we can control, which is good advice, but I also think it’s wise to always be prepared, to always be checking to make sure things are OK and to be ready for them to change on a dime.  It’s knowing that things can change suddenly that’s keeping me up at night.