Running from the Law: August 2013

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Still Struggling

If you saw my post on Instagram last night, you may know that yesterday was a particularly rough day. The strange thing about dealing with infertility this time around is that it tends to hit me in waves, as opposed to the constant empty ache I felt the first time. Sometimes I can go weeks and not really stress about it, but then it’ll blindside me out of nowhere and I’ll wallow around in a fog of self-pity and doubt for days. I’m not sure whether it was the long detailed message I had to leave on my RE’s voicemail telling her that it’s not working again that triggered these feelings or the fact that it’s been exactly two years since we got pregnant with Mac and I can’t help but think back on that time in our lives and how excited and happy we were. Either way, it hit me hard yesterday and I just want to thank everyone who left a comment or said a prayer for us. 

When we were trying desperately to get pregnant with Mac, I used to get so angry when I’d read about women struggling with secondary infertility. What right did someone with a child have to complain about wanting another one? Why couldn’t they just be thankful for what they had? Why be so greedy when there are so many people that don’t even get one? And I have to say, I still feel that way to a point, but now that the shoe is on the other foot (isn’t that ironic how that happens), I understand. I understand the desire to give your child a sibling because I know how special that is. I understand the longing to have another baby and the desire to experience pregnancy, birth and the miracle of life all over again. I understand the fear of thinking you might not get the chance to do the baby days again. I understand that having one child doesn’t mean that your family is complete. 

I can’t say that dealing with secondary infertility is any harder or easier than dealing with it the first time around, it’s just different. On the one hand, it is easier because I have Mac. I have a perfect, beautiful, healthy baby that was the answer to all my prayers. I am so incredibly blessed and thankful for him. It's also easier because I know now that I can get pregnant, which eliminates a lot of the uncertainty and fear I had the first time around. It gives me great hope to know that it’s happened before (twice), which means it could happen again. But there are some things that make it harder this time around, too. It’s harder because I now know what I’m missing. I’ve experienced pregnancy and birth, first steps and first words, cuddles and kisses. I now know how incredible it is watching my body grow a baby. I know that indescribable feeling of your newborn sleeping on your chest. I know what I’m missing out on if I don’t have another baby. The thought of not getting to experience those amazing things all over again breaks my heart into a million pieces. But then again, at least I got to experience it once.

Lately I feel like I’m once again sliding down that slippery slope of infertility-induced anger and jealousy that I had such a hard time with the first time around. I told myself over and over that this time, if it happened again, I’d be a better/stronger person - I’d have more patience, I’d be more gracious, I’d be easier on myself. But sometimes I can’t help but feel jealous when a friend announces that she’s pregnant with her second or third child. I can’t seem to let go of that last bit of anger that I have to go through all this again. Why me? And most of all, I feel guilty for wanting this so badly. Guilty for wanting another when there are so many more people out there that are more deserving and are still waiting for one. The anger and jealousy are feelings that I really struggled with the first time around. I went to a dark place for a while where I really couldn’t see past my own sadness and couldn’t be happy for anyone. I don’t want to go back there. Guilt is a new emotion for me this time around that I wasn’t expecting to feel. It's like not allowing yourself to hurt because you don't feel like you are worthy of the pain, which makes you feel even worse because you can't properly hurt. It’s basically the perfect trifecta of misery. 

Part of me is hesitant to put any of this down in words; especially the part of me who still feels like wanting another child is getting greedy. Opening myself up and talking about my struggles has been incredibly scary, but also cathartic. There’s something very healing about putting your thoughts into physical tangible words. I know this post will probably draw a lot of “just be thankful for the one you have” comments, so I want to address that right up front and say that not a second goes by that I’m not eternally thankful and grateful for my child. He is my world…and if I can’t have another baby, then my story still has a happy ending. I know how lucky I am. But I also know deep down in my heart that I have so much more love to give. I want to share my life with another child. I want to be a mom again. I want a house full of chaos and disorder and bickering siblings. I want to love another baby. 

I know it’s a sensitive topic and a very hard thing to talk about, but if there’s anyone else out there going through this too, please feel free to contact me if you ever want to feel a little less alone. My heart goes out to anyone wishing and hoping for a baby, whether it’ll be your first or your fifth. I’m right there with you...again (and us bitches gotta stick together). 


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Cardinals vs. Cubs

A few weekends ago, Ryan and I took Baby Mac to his second official Cardinals game (he went to a playoff game last year, but he was really little and the game ended up getting rained out).  This time though, Mac was old enough to enjoy the game and the crowd and the atmosphere (and the food).  He loved all the cheering and clapping!  Plus, the Cards beat the Cubs, so it was extra awesome.  

Yeah, I know...he's wearing a Pujols shirt.  What can I say?  It was a gift to Mac from my cousin Jenny when we found out we were having a boy and even though he's no longer on our team, I love the shirt.  

Even more than the game, Mac loved the golf cart, of course.  

He'd periodically take a break from all the driving to sign "more" Dipping Dots please.

Obligatory family photo opp.  The usher was kind enough to take our photo, while the first 10 rows of people yelled and cheered, trying to get Mac's attention so he'd smile!  It was pretty awesome! 

This kid makes friends where ever he goes.

He even has an entire cheering section! 

Also, yes, it is hard impossible to keep a 15 month old entertained and still during a three hour baseball game.  Just in case you were wondering.  

He did really great though.  We were very impressed.  He'll be invited back.

Go Cardinals!

Monday, August 26, 2013

August Photo Challenge

The August Photo Challenge is officially up and ready for your entry!  This month's theme is:

Please remember to choose only ONE photo.  I will be taking submissions this morning through Wednesday night.  The photo can be a recent picture that you took (maybe with the help of this tutorial) or one of your favorites from your archives.  You can submit your photo a couple different ways:

  • Put your photo in a blog post (please reference/link to this blog post) and add your permalink (URL) to my linky below.  If your post has more than one photo in it, please make sure you clearly designate which photo you are submitting.

  • If you don't have a blog, email me your photo (my email address is to the right) or submit it on my Facebook page  (make sure you're a "fan") and make sure I have your name and email address.

(Canon 7D with 50mm 1.4 lens - settings: f/2.8, 1/200 sec., ISO 100)

I'd also love it if you explained why you chose that photo, how you got the shot, what settings you used, if you did any post-processing to the photo, or any other fun info that could help others achieve a similar shot, but that's not required.  The more info, the better so we can all learn together.  

Winner will be chosen (and announced on the blog) later this week!  The winner will receive the following AWESOME prize:

1. your choice of any of these amazing necklaces from 

(initial, ampersand, heart, bow or (my personal favorite) a CAMERA necklace)

2. a gift certificate to create custom photo postcards from

(perfect for sending all those thank yous for birthday gifts, showers, etc.)

Linky is below!  

Good luck!

*Prizes were donated by Make Pie Not War and Snow & Ivy.  I was not compensated in any way.  

Friday, August 23, 2013

5 on Friday - Volume 4

ONE - I had the opportunity to meet-up with some amazing local St. Louis bloggers last night for dinner.  I (ahh!) organized a little get-together for a few of my favorite bloggers that I've been dying to meet for ever now.  I sent out the invite and they actually said yes - some of them even showed up!  (We had a few cancellations due to illness, funerals and family obligations - you all were missed.)  I've never really done anything like that before and I have to admit that I was SO nervous (like first-date-what-do-I-wear-will-she-like-me nervous).  But everything went so well and it was wonderful to meet other women in my city that have similar interests.  Our blogs cover a pretty wide range of topics, from fitness to fashion, infertitlity to babies, family to food.  It was such a wonderful evening.  I think we're definitely going to have to do this again soon!  Thanks Liz, Dacy, Lindsay and Alyssa for taking the time out of your evening to meet up with me.  (Also, how did 5 bloggers get together and no one managed to take a single picture?)

TWO - And speaking of meeting new friends, it looks like I'll be heading to Washington, D.C. for a couple days next month for work.  I'll be in meetings all day, but if anyone in the area wants to meet up for drinks or dinner one evening, let me know!  I'd love to get together!

THREE - Mac has been at his grandparents' since Wednesday afternoon and I'm going through serious baby withdrawals.  I miss that kid so much!  It's been almost 48 hours since I've seen him and I think I might die if I have to wait much longer.  In other news, our house is so clean right now!  

FOUR - Don't forget the that August Photo Challenge is open for submissions starting on Monday!  Get your cameras out this weekend or go through your photos to find your favorite.  The theme is SUNSHINE.  Awesome prizes for the winner!  Easy peasy to enter!  

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Baby Mac - 15 Months

Dear Baby Mac,

Fifteen months have passed us by in the blink of an eye.  Daily, I am humbled and amazed by how much you've grown and what an incredible little boy you've become.  You are so sweet and funny and smart.  I have no idea what I did to deserve such a wonderful child.  Every day your dad and I have the same conversation...something similar to "You won't believe this, but he got even more amazing today."  As much as I think I miss having a little tiny baby to snuggle, I am really enjoying each new thing you do and am so excited to see what new trick you'll learn next.  You keep us on our toes, have stolen our hearts and made us the happiest parents in the world.  

Physically, you are getting so big!  You're still long and lean.  We don't have your official stats yet, but I'm sure you're still on track with being around 50th percentile in weight and 95th percentile in height, as you have been at all your past appointments.  You probably have just under 15 teeth at this point.  I've lost count and I'm too scared to stick my finger in your mouth to find out!  I learned my lesson the hard way on that one.  You also have so much hair! And it's BLONDE!  Almost white-blonde - my little towhead.  You have the best little curls in the back and you get the most amazing bed-head after naps (we're never going to cut them).  Everyone you meet comments on your beautiful big brown eyes and blonde curls!  They say you are a perfect mixture of both me and your dad, which makes us beam with pride.  

You are active, active, active!  You are not only walking (very well), but running, climbing, jumping, walking backwards, walking sideways and spinning in circles until you're so dizzy you fall down.  You love to be chased (by us and the dogs) and we run around the circle in the basement and the island in the kitchen until you are squealing and laughing so hard you have to stop.  You can go up and down the stairs with ease and you can climb on the bed/couches and get yourself down pretty easily.  You're ticklish under your arms, under your chin and on your thighs and love it when we roll around on the floor tickling you.  You close your eyes and scream in delight.  It's just wonderful.  You are also a total mess, all the time.  You're dirty and snotty and sticky and disgusting.  All the things a little boy should be.  And I love it!  You always have dirt under your fingernails and syrup in your hair and leaves down you diaper and scraped knees and bug bites and food on your face.  Such a boy!  I think that means you're having fun and exploring and being a kid.  It's just great.  

You are getting more and more vocal and love communicating with us.  You don't have a lot of words at this point, maybe because you prefer two-syllable words to easier ones (daddy, outside, upstairs, bubble, golf cart).  You are also getting really good with your sign language.  Right now you can sign the following words: all done, more, milk, eat, stop, help, airplane, car, cat, gentle, hot, shoes, telephone, thank you, please, water.  You also make the most adorable animal noises.  My favorites are elephant and cow.  So adorable.  You love looking through your animal books and making all the noises.  You also sing, which is the sweetest sound in the world.  You love music.  You sing and dance and jump around every time your dad plays the guitar for you.  I have a feeling you're going to be playing an instrument in no time.

You are amazingly observant.  You watch us intently and then do exactly what we remember, even days later.  I'm constantly impressed with how fast you pick up on things, just by watching us.  You can see one of us do something just once and you've got it.  You also want to do anything and everything we're doing.  You love to "help" us around the house.  You want to help cook, help vacuum, help drive, help fold laundry, help mow the lawn.  We love to let you "help," even if it means the project will take twice as long or we'll just have to do it again later (without your help), because we love watching you learn and figure things out.  I really need to make you one of those helper stands for the kitchen so you can watch while I cook and help with stirring (your favorite) and other tasks.  I'll just add that to my six-mile long to do list. 

Your absolute favorite thing to do right now is drive.  You are OBSESSED with driving, whether it's a car, truck, tractor, golf cart, hummer, boat or train.  If it has a steering wheel, you want to drive!  Your nanny has been taking you to the Transportation Museum during the week, which you love, since you get to play in all the cars.  We let you "drive" the car in the driveway, which consists of you jumping up and down making zoom noises, turning the steering wheel, opening and closing the sunroof and turning the radio, lights and wipers on and off.  And best of all, when you're at the farm or the ranch, you get to drive the golf cart, hummer, tractor and boat, which you can't get enough of.  

In the last few months you have really started to get demanding.  I think it stems from the fact that you are fiercely determined.  There is absolutely no distracting or diverting you away from what you want.  You are persistent and dogged in getting whatever it is you set your mind to, which I can't say is always a bad thing.  I think it'll be a wonderful quality to have when you get older, but right now your dad and I don't really know what to do about it.  When you want something, you let us know any way possible.  That means if you don't have the words or the signs to get your point across, you scream.  And boy, do I mean scream!  If screaming doesn't work, then tantrums are thrown!  It definitely makes us pay attention and most of the time you end up getting what you want because we're so shocked that such a tiny person can have such strong feelings about things (and we want to make you happy all the time).  That's probably not the right move on our parts, but you are so determined!  What is it going to be like when you hit the "terrible two's"?  A friend told me that what we do (and let you get away with now) will determine how you act next year, which scares me to death.  I think we're all going to have to work on patience in this house. 

I hate to even say this for fear of something changing drastically, but you've made incredible strides in the sleep department.  Just after you turned a year old (and we got back from vacation), we eliminated the bottle completely and you stopped waking in the middle of the night to eat.  You also finally picked a lovey (a little black and white puppy) that you sleep with every night and for the most part, you sleep about 11 straight hours through the night.  Every now and then we'll have a night where you wake up once or twice (which is to be expected), but you usually go back down very quickly without much help.  It's absolutely wonderful and we can't believe what a difference it has made in all of our energy levels and moods!  I am one happy mama these days!  I think I forgot what a good night's sleep felt like.  

You're also eating like a champ.  I don't know if it was the Baby Led Weaning (or if you get it from us), but you are such an amazing eater!  Breakfast is your favorite meal and you've been known to put away 4-5 pancakes at a sitting or 3 entire scrambled eggs plus turkey sausage and toast.  It's wonderful watching you eat!  You have started eating a bit less for dinner lately.  Maybe you're just not as hungry or something (or maybe it's just a phase), but dinner is more of a struggle to get you to eat much.  I think you're partly distracted by your dad and I both getting home around dinner and you don't want to be bothered by sitting still for more than a minute or two, so you swipe or throw everything off your tray and proclaim "all done!"  The dogs love it.  You also are developing a pretty serious sweet-tooth.  You love anything and everything chocolate, which I know you get from me.  Sorry.  

So, Macadoodle, that's you in a nutshell.  Although I just don't think there are enough words in the world to accurately describe just how amazing you are.  You truly are the light of our lives and we are so incredibly blessed to be your parents.  Every day just keeps getting better and better.  I hope you never stop exploring, never stop learning and never stop going after what you want. You are absolutely amazing.  Thank you for being mine.

Your mama

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wednesday Walktails

Does anyone else feel like Wednesdays are the looooooongest day of the week.  I know the camel is all excited about Hump Day and all, but I feel like Wednesdays drag on FOR-EV-ERRRR.  You're three days into the week, but it still seems so damn far from the weekend.  By Wednesday I've usually already blown my diet for the whole week, given up trying to fit in a workout and relegated myself into that "just do whatever you can to survive the rest of the week" frame of mind.  I read somewhere that Wednesdays are the middle finger of the work week.  Yeah.  Exactly.

Wednesdays are also usually the day that my husband has after-work meetings for the charity he's involved with, which means that I have Mac all to myself in the evening.  While I love my undivided Mac-time, it's definitely not easy being the only one at home during dinner, bath and bedtime.  Seriously, how does one tiny child have the ability to totally exhaust two adults in an incredibly short amount of time?  It is hard keeping up with him!  We call him the Macnado or Hurricane Mac, leaving a path of destruction behind him everywhere he goes.  The safest place (for both our home and my sanity) is usually the front yard, where we can play with the sprinkler, the wagon, the Cozy Coupe, the trike or the water table (or all of the above in a matter of minutes).  

We usually end up in the little red wagon.  Mac's obsessed right now with the seat belt in the wagon.  He wants to snap and unsnap it over and over and over and over.  I don't know why that is so interesting to him, but whatever.  I just roll with it - it's his world, I'm just living it in.  While he's busy with the seat belt, I'm usually dragging the wagon up and down our street.  We stop to wave and say hi to all the neighborhood kids.  We stop and pick up sticks and rocks.  We stop to check the bird nest at the neighbor's house and see the mama dove.  We chase squirrels.  We pet all the dogs on the block.  We hop like the bunnies down the street.  I love it. It's our time to unwind together after a long day and rediscover our quiet little street.  We're really lucky to live at the end of a cul-de-sac, on a quiet street full of kids.  We're never going to move. 

The best part is spending time with Mac, of course, but it never hurts to have a "walktail" in hand for this little adventure.  I mean, it's 5:00 somewhere...and somewhere is right HERE, right NOW.  Ryan and I are both big fans of the walktail.  We got the idea from some neighbors who told us they never leave the house without one!  (We have the best neighbors).  Basically it's happy hour on the move, little one in tow.  

At the moment, my favorite "walktail" is a combination of Ice Mountain® sparkling water and cucumber vodka.  YUM.  I became obsessed with sparkling water while I was pregnant and still have a thing for the bubbles.  Ice Mountain® Sparkling Natural/Mountain Spring Water is comprised of just three natural ingredients—spring water, natural fruit essence, and bubbles! And, with no sugar or calories, Ice Mountain® Sparkling Natural/Mountain Spring Water is a good alternative to soda.  And cucumber vodka...hello, where have you been all my life?  I love this combo - so light and refreshing and perfect for those hot summer nights where you're dragging a giant red wagon and a 25 lb toddler all over the freaking neighborhood.   I'm convinced this is why the little red wagon and Cozy Coupe have cup holders!!  

Cucumber Lime Fizz:
- cucumber flavored vodka 
- sliced cucumber (and/or squeezed lime)
- ice 
- (if you want to get really wild, add some fresh basil or mint - mind blown)

Anyone else a fan of the walktail?

What do you do to get through that mid-week slump?  

Every Wednesday, Ice Mountain® is sharing some of their favorite ways to feel good and escape the midweek hump.   Head over to their Facebook page to have a feel good moment and share your own.

**Thanks to Arrowhead®, Deer Park®, Ice Mountain®, Ozarka®, Poland Spring®, Zephyrhills® Brands Sparkling Natural Spring Waters for sponsoring today's discussion.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Chips, Dips and Casseroles

As a blogger, every now and then I come across opportunities to review products, sample items, attend events, etc.  Most of the time those products aren't really all that interesting to me (and therefore I doubt you would care enough to read a blog post about them), so I try to politely decline, always keeping my eyes open for things that I think you'd all like.  So, when I came across the opportunity to sample some new veggie chips from Green Giant™ (which are amazing, by the way) and come up with some recipes to go with them, I got really excited!  

I got two different flavor samples from Green Giant™ - Garden Ranch Tortilla Chips and Multigrain BBQ Sweet Potato Chips.  Out of the four possible flavors (other two being sea salt and cheddar), they nailed it when it came to my preferences.  (Although can you really go wrong with salt or cheese?)  

When the chips showed up on our doorstep, Ryan and I immediately opened the bags and dug in to try them out.  I wanted to get a sense of what they tasted like so I could figure out what kind of recipe I wanted to use them in.  Ryan was just hungry and wanted food.  Honestly, they were both so good that we were tempted to eat both entire bags right there on the front porch!  I had to take them away and hide them in the top of the pantry so we'd have enough left to use in a recipe.  Yeah, they were that good.  Ryan's still pissed at me.   I was really surprised at how good they were...much better than other veggie chips I've had.  These actually tasted like chips and not stryofoam.  Plus, being veggie chips, they're healthier than regular potato chips.  Win-win.  

(Note to self: next time photograph the bags before you rip into them and devour the contents.)

Also, when you put good snacks within the reach of tiny toddler hands (and dogs), you must be very careful.  Obviously, we weren't the only ones that liked the chips.  (This was just before Sage knocked him over and stole the chips out of his hand. Bad dog!)  

Anyway, I was so excited to play around in the kitchen over the weekend and come up with some new recipes.  It feels like forever since I've posted any recipes on this blog (probably because I suck at cooking these days), so it's about time!  

The first recipes is a Sour Cream & Roasted Red Pepper Dip that I found in a Weight Watcher cookbook (slightly modified).  It's made with light sour cream, home-grown roasted red peppers and garden-fresh herbs.   We paired the dip with the Garden Ranch Tortilla Chips and they were amazing!  The dip was cool, light and really refreshing.  It didn't have a lot of overwhelming flavor, but it wasn't necessary because the chips have so much flavor (they definitely not mild or lacking on "ranch" flavoring).  The chips were very crunchy and tough enough to hold up being dipped.  They kind of reminded me of the whole-grain tortilla chips we usually get, but with a lot more flavor.  

Sour Cream & Roasted Red Pepper Dip
Yields about 1/4 cup per serving
Weight Watcher Points: 2

  • 2 cups roasted red peppers (either from a jar or roasted yourself) 
  • 1 cup(s) reduced-fat sour cream  
  • 1/2 cup basil, fresh  
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, fresh
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder  
  • 1/2 tsp table salt, or to taste  
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground, or to taste  

In a blender (or food processor), combine roasted peppers, sour cream, basil and garlic powder; puree until smooth. Season to taste with salt and black pepper; garnish with cilantro.  Serve with Green Giant™ Garden Ranch Veggie Tortilla Chips.

The second recipe is completely made up out of thin air!  I was looking for a way to incorporate the Multigrain BBQ Sweet Potato Chips into a main dish and the one dish that kept coming to my mind was BBQ chicken pizza, which I love, but has been done before and I wanted to try something new.  So I decided to take all the ingredients and throw them into a casserole!  (My dad would be so proud - he's the king of made-up-random-ingredient-lets-just-try-it-how-bad-could-it-be casserole recipes.)  I was a little worried it might be too sweet, but it wasn't at all.  I think it was pretty darn fantastic!   We had it two nights in a row and Mac and his nanny both had some for lunch and loved it.  I'll call that a winner!

BBQ Chicken (Pizza) Casserole

  •  3 cups pasta (rotini)
  • 2 pound ground chicken (or turkey, or shredded chicken)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 whole medium red onion, chopped
  •  ¼ cups fresh parsley, chopped
  •  ¼ cups fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1-2 cups of BBQ sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray's Sweet & Spicy)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 bag Green Giant™ BBQ sweet potato chips, crushed
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a 2 quart casserole dish with cooking spray.  
  3. Cook and drain pasta according to package directions.
  4. In a large skillet, cook chicken over medium heat 8-10 minutes until brown, drain, set aside.
  5. In the same skillet, cook onions in olive oil with a pinch of salt until caramelized.
  6. Combine meat, onions, pasta, parsley, milk, BBQ sauce, mozzarella and Monterrey Jack cheese in skillet over low heat.
  7. Stir well until all ingredients are combined and cheese is melted.
  8. Spoon into casserole dish. 
  9. Bake uncovered 30-40 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
  10. Top with crumbled sweet potato chips and a drizzle of BBQ sauce across the top.
  11. Bake (or broil) for additional 5 minutes. 

The chips are available at a grocery store near you!  (I spotted them at our local Scnuck's last night.)  Go get some!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.