Sunday, December 11, 2011

A Song From Mom

I've got another song for you my friends.

A fellow blogger sent me a link to this song and I don't know how I missed it since I am a fan of the group Daughtry.

For anyone who has had a miscarriage, pregnancy loss, stillbirth, or infant loss - your words and feelings are beautifully put into music. I still connect deeply to "A Thousand Years" by Christina Perri, but this song is much more specific to our loss.

I love how music can really make you feel included. That all-encompassing loneliness doesn't feel so overwhelming when you hear that someone has written a song that has touched millions.

Take a moment and listen. It's a beautiful tribute to our 'gone too soon' babies.

Daughtry - Gone Too Soon

I love you every day, Michael and Alena.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Happy Birthday to my hubby!

Mexico - May 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Dark Passenger

I may have posted about this, but I'm expanding on it because it seems to be the thing I am having the most trouble coming to grips with.

I have a split personality.

Yep. I have the ideal side of me who is strong, capable, hopeful, and can overcome anything in her path. That is the person I was before infertility and who tries to surface in intervals throughout the day.
Then there is the injured side of me who is tired of being shit on, who pulls back from happiness and who is angry at everything. This is the girl who wants to run away, avoid the memories, and everyone who currently has what she lost.

I play tug-of-war with my split personalities every day. All day.

I can feel like two different people in the same moment. I think I may very well be schizophrenic.

For example: I go to a friend's to spend time with her and her baby daughter. I am feeling pretty good...holding and cuddling with the baby...smiling. Then something clicks over and I feel despair and grief over this happy family. This family that had no problem creating this beautiful child, carrying her, and can now be blissfully happy this Christmas. My heart breaks in that moment.

Then sometimes I can reign myself back in and focus on how happy I am that my friend never had to know the pain that we face - that I had to face. I can shove it back down with both hands and be a normal friend to her.

On occasion I can make it through the rest of an evening without that injured side of me stomping back in. Other times...when I least expect it, my 'dark passenger' forces her way out without warning and I have no choice but to bow my head and retreat.

All of this can happen in the span of 60 seconds. To go back and forth like that so quickly leaves you feeling like the breath has been knocked out of you. It leaves you completely drained.

That's what it's like when I venture out of my house to push back at life. That's what I have to go through over and over, every day. I know I can't just stop fighting my dark passenger - that side of me that wants to be alone and longs to stay angry. If I want to heal and be happy, I have to push back.

But it is SO exhausting. Every day when I wake-up, I think "oh god, here we go again".

My nephew seems to be 'afraid' of me a little now. I know that kids (at a certain age) get shy and hesitant with people they don't see on a frequent basis. I guess I am now bordering on that line and it kills me. He used to be so happy to see me and it was nice to have that kind of obvious love. Maybe it's just a phase for him...maybe it would have happened anyway, but my weekly visits have definitely been fewer the last couple of months. I know my sister understands, but this may be the result of my partial avoidance of children.

I'm trying to do what's best for me, to not be hard on myself, but I don't want my nephew to look at me like a stranger. I want to be someone he is not just comfortable with, but who he can count on to be around. The person he loves is my 'ideal' personality...the side of me that is struggling to stay dominant. I try to keep the dark passenger under control so that I can maintain some kind of normal in my life, so that I can be around those I hold dear. But the struggle gets so exhausting sometimes that I have to allow that side of me some face time. I have to stay away and let go of that fight.

I have my fists out swinging most of the time. More now than before, I can find the strength to keep up with the split identities. I know it's just a matter of time and persistence, but I don't want to lose anything else in the meantime.

I received the block ornaments I had made for M & A yesterday. They were adorable and I was so happy to see them. I went directly to my tree to find them a good spot out front. In the span of a few seconds, my dark passenger had appeared and I seriously considered throwing them across the room. I was so angry and upset that I had no babies to show them to. M & A will never see them. I don't even know what color eyes they would have had. Blue like their dad or green like me? And the ornaments should not say that they were born at 9 inches long and 11 ounces. They should be 6 pounds, 19 inches and the date on the block should be in February.

I was just so I cried. I let the injured side win. No one but my husband was around to see it and I had already made my ideal personality spend time with my pregnant sister that day. I was just too tired to fight with my split selves, so I didn't.

Everyone says this is my new normal. But I don't want it to be. I want my dark passenger to leave me alone for a while, maybe forever. Unfortunately, I don't think she will ever really go away. I have a feeling... that if ever there were an event to split me into two people, it would be the passing of my babies. I have a suspicion that this new part of me is sticking around and that I will just have to discover a way to live with her. If this is indeed my 'new normal', I have to either be okay with the way things are now or I have to lead as often as possible with the ideal me.

Both sound very difficult.
This was not anything I imagined I would have to deal with. I always thought "if I could just get pregnant..." and now I am realizing that the road to a full term child is much longer than I anticipated. I never dreamed I would end up at war with myself, constantly torn in opposite directions.

Me vs. my dark passenger.

Every time I push her down deep, she pushes back with equal strength. It's like trying to shove a buoy under water. Just when you think you have it beat, it pops back up. In fact, I am exhausted even thinking about it.

I guess my halves will have to arm wrestle it out. The problem is, my ideal side hasn't lifted weights in a while, so I am not sure that would be a fair fight.

* the idea of a 'dark passenger' comes from the Showtime series DEXTER.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Their's is Worse

There is something I think I need to clarify.

Our loss recently has been a huge hit. Yes, I feel devastated that after all our effort and the hope that we put into having children failed. I am very sad for Mike and I and that our chance to be parents has been taken away. All of this is a definite loss for us. It sucks.

But what I am most sad about...what I am most hurt over is not our loss but our babies' loss.

We can try again to become parents and possibly even make that happen with a new baby. Michael and Alena will not have the chance at a life here with us. It's their loss that has me in knots most of the time. It's the fact that they will not be able to become the people they were supposed to be - that they were deprived of possibly an amazing and fulfilling life. They don't get another chance like we do.

I look at other people's children and immediately wonder if M & A would have been anything like them. When I am around babies I don't always think about what I am missing out on, but what my twins are not experiencing.

Yes, I feel bad for us and that our dreams for them aren't going to come true, but more so that Michael and Alena aren't able to dream for themselves. (I know some of you will say that they are still living out their lives somewhere else, but this life is important too).

A lot of people note the pain and heartache of our loss and I will not deny that it's a major source of my grief. I did want to be a parent in February, but what I wanted more than that was to be a mom to M & A. Once I knew them, they were my dream...not just being a parent in general. Another baby will not take their place, nor will it make everything okay. It doesn't mean I won't try for that next baby or that I won't love them separately - it just means that my twins should have been able to create a meaningful and amazing life and it's that fact which has my heart breaking.

I would have loved to see them grow and become their own little people. I would have loved to have been able to kiss their cheeks and that is a great loss for us.

Loss is hard to separate out, but the one thing I have been able to see more clearly is that the particular losses I feel are for different things. And the one that seems most unbearable is the knowledge of what my babies lost. I miss them and who they could have been, not simply missing my lack of children.

I can't change what happened and I can't bring them back for a second chance. I have to accept that and find a way to be okay with it. And I have to find a way to be okay with pursuing my dreams of parenthood when Michael and Alena can't fulfill their earthly ones.

What was taken away from them has me spitting mad I have no one to blame. I am not supposed to blame God, or myself, or the doctors, so I flounder around with the fact that life and the universe screwed us all. I won't reiterate past blog posts, so I will just say that pain comes in from different sources and for many reasons. Pain and loss coming from one place can be crippling, while the pain from another source can be manageable.

Somehow I will cope with what I've been dealt, because I know that I still have my life and I still have a chance to be a mom. It's the pain of M & A's loss that I find so hard to get over.

Other children are out living their lives and are able to dream, and hope, and achieve...while mine can't. That is why being around those kids is challenging for me. I can see clearly what Michael and Alena will miss out on. What we will miss out on, in being their parents.

I tell them I am sorry all the time. That I love them and I am sorry, because I have no way to make it better for them. Moms want to make everything better and I can't.

I saw another rainbow on Friday and the magic of them (and obviously the science behind them), had me amazed. I have seen more lately than ever and it makes me feel good to think that maybe they can hear me. So with that hope, I keep sending up love and "I'm sorry's", praying that it's enough.

Friday, November 11, 2011

And Now...A Song

This is a new music video for the song 'A Thousand Years'. It's part of the Twilight Breaking Dawn soundtrack. Although it's meant as a love song for the two main characters - the words meant something different for me.

I thought it was not only beautiful, but the lyrics had me tearing up.

I felt like they were the words that have been in my head since I started this journey to become a parent. They are what I would say to Michael and Alena and to the baby that will hopefully come to us in the future.

Please excuse the ad at the beginning, you should be able to click the x to make it go away . Please take a listen and send a warm thought to our angel twins.

Christina Perri - A Thousand Years

(Verse 1)
Heart beats fast
Colors and promises
How to be brave
How can I love when I'm afraid
To fall
But watching you stand alone
All of my doubt
Suddenly goes away somehow

One step closer

I have died everyday
waiting for you
Darling, don't be afraid
I have loved you for a
Thousand years
I'll love you for a
Thousand more

(Verse 2)
Time stands still
Beauty in all she is
I will be brave
I will not let anything
Take away
What's standing in front of me
Every breath,
Every hour has come to this

One step closer

I have died everyday
Waiting for you
Darling, don't be afraid
I have loved you for a
Thousand years
I'll love you for a
Thousand more

And all along I believed
I would find you
Time has brought
Your heart to me
I have loved you for a
Thousand years
I'll love you for a
Thousand more

One step closer

One step closer

I have died everyday
Waiting for you
Darling, don't be afraid,
I have loved you for a
Thousand years
I'll love you for a
Thousand more

And all along I believed
I would find you
Time has brought
Your heart to me
I have loved you for a
Thousand years
I'll love you for a
Thousand more

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Letter

A Letter to my Babies – *spoken into a recorder during the first trimester, to be included in Michael and Alena's baby book. I was finally able to write it down and decided they should still have it even though they are gone.*

Hello my little nuggets, it’s your mommy.

You are only about 9 weeks and 2 days now. You are no bigger than the size of a grape. A grape with a heart beat - which is amazing because you have arms, legs, feet and toes already. You have everything that’s important.

It’s still a little bit crazy for me to believe this is even real, because right now I am not showing and you are so tiny. You feel like more of an idea than a reality for me…but I’ve seen you. It amazes me every time. And a small part of me wondered if I would ever have the chance to see you, yet there you are!

Your daddy and I love you already. We’ve known you were with us from the very beginning – in fact, we picked you out. You were the two little embryos that fought the hardest to thrive and grow. We knew you were strong and determined and that you would fight to stay with us…and we were right.

We are so excited and so proud of you already. It’s strange to be this proud of someone you haven’t even met. You fought to be part of our family until you were big enough to be put back where you belong. You made it possible for me to experience what it was like to create another human. Even though you are growing alongside each other, I know you will be completely unique and individual.

I think this pregnancy will be a very interesting and exciting road for us and I am positive you are going to be good friends. Maybe not right away.  :) You might fight and have to learn to share or maybe grow-up with the same friends. You may have to be in the same classes or may like the same guys (or girls), in which case I hope you are a boy and a girl so we have a few less ‘situations’ during your teenage years.

Either way, I know you are going to be friends and that you will love each other. You will be grateful one day that you have each other even if it’s hard sometimes. Because I know what it’s like to be at odds with your sibling for a period of your life and also how close you can become later when you come to realize how important family is. You may not know that for a while and it may take some time to grasp the notion that family is the most important and wonderful thing you have. My sister and I are different in a lot of ways and we didn’t always see eye to eye, but now we are best friends. I only have one sibling, as it’s possible you might…but we love each other and want to see each other all the time. We make each other laugh and understand each other, which is very special because there may not be that many people in your life to truly ‘get you’ in every way. The one thing I always wished for my own children is that they have a sibling, so they could possibly experience what I have. I know I would be much lonelier if it were just me.

So just a little advice from your mom; don’t take any of it for granted. Appreciate the family who love you and the friends who stay loyal and are there for you through everything. These are people who will see you at your worst and will still love you no matter what.

Since you are no bigger than my thumb, I will save some of the advice for when you are born.

I also wanted to thank you for sticking it out with me and believing in me: believing I will take care of you and protect you and give you whatever you need. I will do my best to take care of you while you are with me and make the best decisions I can make since I am who you have right now. As much as your dad loves you there is not much he can do to help you grow and stay safe. That’s up to me for these few months. I’ll do my best to give you every possibility, every advantage, before you are born into the world.

In fact, you both are really helping me do that. You are giving me the best gift, not just by being here and surviving, but also by making this journey incredible from the very beginning. So far I haven’t had a day of sickness and that is something to be happy about. You have been so good to me in the symptom department and I am thankful. I can sit out on a warm day and enjoy the sun without feeling nauseated or go about my day at work without worrying about the proximity of a bathroom. So far, there has been no bleeding or anything to make me overly worry about you. So far, you’ve made this pregnancy very enjoyable – something I didn’t necessarily anticipate. After all the pain and difficulty it took to get you here, I am so grateful that I can feel good right now and that I am able to enjoy the small changes in my body as you grow. I am able to spend valuable time with our friends before you grace us with your presence and I can get out and enjoy our short summer weather. Some women are sick for much of their pregnancy or are put on bed rest and can’t fully enjoy this beautiful phase of motherhood.

Even through this wonder of a pregnancy, I worry about you. I worry that I am not sick and think that maybe I should be since that is what seems normal. But mostly I feel lucky. Lucky because I’m not sick and because a lot of women haven’t been given the gift that I’ve been given. There are couples who are still struggling to create a baby (let alone two) and I know how they feel. We gave it everything we had and came out on the other side with our biggest wish granted.

We have a family that gave us the support we needed and every advantage that they could. One day you will see how lucky you are, to not only have two determined and stubborn parents who wouldn’t give up, but to also have three loving grandparents. You have three grandparents who have given everything they could to make you part of our family and who have been waiting patiently to meet you.

You have three aunts who will dote on you and be around to help raise you. You’ll have cousins to play with and a lot of ‘adopted’ aunts and uncles who are so eager to get to know you. You have so many loving and wonderful people in your life already and we are lucky to have such a great support system. These are all people who have been with your dad and me from the beginning and know how much we wanted you and how long we waited for you.

We’ve been rooting for you from the time you were little clusters of cells – my sweet twinnies. And now you are growing (with amazing speed) into two babies. You were exactly what we wanted and I am so happy to have gotten to this point. I am so grateful to be able to get to know you from the inside out.

I know there may be challenges to come and that carrying both of you could be difficult down the road. There could be many things to worry about in this double pregnancy, but I will try to stay calm and provide you with the least amount of stress possible. I’ll send you good thoughts, surround you with as much love as I can and hopefully it will be enough to bring you out safely.

Your dad and I will be working to make sure that your childhood will be a happy, secure one and even if there are challenges we have to face as a family, I know that we’ll get through it together.

This is going to be quite a journey and you are incredibly loved already. I can’t see much of you yet, but I can feel you. I can feel your presence and hear your heartbeats, strong and fast. And I am patiently waiting for the day that I will get to see your faces and hear you cry. I am excited to hold you and call you by your names.

You have a doggie to play with and vacations to look forward to. You have a cousin who you can learn from and a new house where we’ll snuggle each night.

I know how strong you are and how hard you worked to make it to us…and I’m confident that with all of us working together, we’ll be a family by March. Although I am also confident that you will be ready for us before then and make your appearance as February babies.

Someday you will know what it took to get you here, someday I will tell you about this unbelievable process. There are a lot of people in our lives who still don’t know the path we took for you and many who don’t even know about you yet. That will come in a few more weeks and I am so excited to tell them! I know my life will change completely, but I am so ready. We’ve been waiting for you my darling babies!

I’ve taken advantage and enjoyed our time as a single couple, but now that you are really here…really on your way to see us…I am on the edge of my seat. Take your time now! Don’t rush yourselves, but know that we are so very happy that you found your way to us. You have such love waiting for you.

Some people take their children for granted and don’t appreciate their blessing. They don’t know what it would be like if they couldn’t have it. And as hard as this journey has been, it’s made us see with more clarity. In turn, we will see you and what you mean more clearly.

I look forward to every ultrasound appointment and every milestone we reach. Getting to see you grow from a speck on the monitor to an infant will be such a moving experience and I will have pictures and videos of it all. These are things you too will get to see someday.

You are already, as the size of two grapes, draining my energy and making me oh so sleepy. But I am happy. You mean so much to us.

Thank you for making me a mom.

I love you my little ones.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Saying Goodbye

Saturday, October 29th, we had a memorial for Michael and Alena.

My husband and I, along with a few family members, decided to take our chances and hike up to Mirror Lake to say goodbye to our babies. We chose a lake in the mountains that we frequent almost every summer so that we could visit (almost) whenever we want. It's serene, crystal clear, and surrounded by trees.

We knew there was a great chance that it would rain and rain hard. It is Washington in the fall after all. But honestly, our time was running out. It could be snowing in the mountains soon and if we were made to wait until next summer, after the snow melts, I may not be able or willing to hike at all. I am hoping to be pregnant again by then and I won't take any chances. So with all of this in mind, we knew we had to try.

My mom, along with Mike's parents, sister and brother-in-law came with us for support. Luckily, we chose a spot that didn't require you to be an expert hiker because I am still on the mend and couldn't have done anything too strenuous.

On the way there, I saw a rainbow. It made me feel like this was the right thing to do and the right time. It was a sign from the world that things would be okay.

Once we arrived at the lake and I took a little while to ready myself, we prepared the babies for their new home. I held them, sent them my love, and said my goodbyes. Mike's father did a reading and then my husband read something he had written for the occasion. It was beautiful and heartbreaking and I was proud of him for having the courage to make himself that vulnerable. I certainly couldn't have made it through something like that, and I am the writer between us.

There was a lot of crying on my part and Mike had to be the one to spread their ashes in the lake. It was the one thing I was having too hard a time coming to grips with, so I sat beside him while he did the task. Afterward - we sent two red roses and two floating candles into the lake with them. The candles stayed lit longer than we expected them to.

Leaving them there was the hardest thing I did that day. It took everything I had to turn my back and walk away. It felt like I was leaving them there alone and I hated it. People kept telling me I would see them again soon and that we would be back, but that was not enough in my mind. I didn't want to come back to 'see' them that way. I wanted to be bringing my children there in the baby carriers we bought and for them to be spending time at the lake in our arms, not living there. I wanted them alive and safe.

Somehow I managed to turn away, and on the way back, the skies cleared and the sun came out. Again, a sign from the universe that they were where they needed to be and that I would be okay. I spent the rest of the hike back enjoying the sun on my face and mopping up silent tears. I already missed them so much.

Now I have mixed feelings about their ashes being gone.

I am sad because now I feel more empty than before, with few living memories to hold on to and now their bodies were gone as well. It was a comfort to be able to talk to them and spend time with them and I won't have that ability anymore.

But I am glad, because having them in the house with us made a harsh reality of the fact that they were no longer living inside me. They were dead. It may have made it harder to move on if I could see the physical evidence of their loss every day.

I am torn in two directions and it's hard to bring myself to the middle.

Nights are the worst. It's always been the time when I think about my day and everything else in my head. I get so tired in early evening, just waiting for a reasonable time to go to bed and then I can't sleep. I have always had a hard time turning my brain off and now is no exception. I go through all the stages of grief in a matter of an hour and it's exhausting and draining. And I know I will have to do it again the next night.

Sometimes I get so sick and tired of feeling down. I just want one whole day where I can block it all out and enjoy myself. One day to be happy like I was before. And I do try to be happy...but it always comes back - the loss and the sadness. I know it's to be expected, but I just want to be normal again. It seems like I am the only one who can't just 'turn it off' when I want. Maybe it's the hormones or the body changes or the simple fact that I had been carrying them with me every day for 20 weeks.

But it's just so frustrating that I have to feel the loss ALL the time, while others can laugh and talk about sports and move past sad feelings whenever they put their mind to it. I know some people can't see the point in dwelling and try to go back to normal... or maybe they just want to portray strength around me to hold me up. I get it, but HOW do they do it? I can't just turn it off or forget. I can get through a work day or other busy work if I engross myself, but it only lasts for short periods of time. I'm just tired of being like this.

I went a little off topic, but hey, that's the way my brain works right now. It's a bit of a mess.

I will leave you with a few pictures my mom took from the lake-side memorial. If only the sun had come out a few minutes earlier, the lake would have been a sight to see.

I also wanted to thank you all profusely for all the comments, love, and support you have shown in the last two weeks. It helps so much to know that I am surrounded by such wonderful people.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Crazy Town

Sometimes I feel like it was all a dream.

None of it seems real, like I was never never pregnant at all. Like my babies never existed.

And other times...I feel like I am still pregnant and the labor and death never happened.

The first week all I knew was my loss. My only reality was that my son and daughter were gone and I was without children again.

Now? I feel a numbness and a sense that I was only dreaming. It is such a strong feeling. I forget sometimes and think that maybe it never really happened.

And then I absently put my hands on my tummy or look down and realize with a sharp pain, that my belly is gone. I am thrown back into a reality that I could never imagine, let alone understand. The life I saw and felt only 12 days ago has vanished.

Was I ever pregnant with two babies?

That confusion doesn't last long however. There are signs of them everywhere. Signs that I have refused to eradicate. I won't pretend that they didn't exist or that I wasn't anticipating them with all the joy a mother could conjure. I won't erase them.

But this also means that as soon as I start to exist in a moment without the pain of their loss, I am reminded that they are really gone. That they were real and at one point thriving.

There are the flowers, candles and sympathy cards. There is the pile of baby items we collected recently stored in the garage. Their footprints and stuffed bears (that our nurse gave us) are sitting in the living room. I have a pile of ultrasounds in the guest room to be put into a memory book (as soon as I get up the courage). When I walk up the stairs, the first thing my eyes move to is the half put together nursery. And of course, the babies' ashes are usually nearby because I can't stand for them to be alone.

And those are all the things that remind me - at home - that they are gone. When I am out, my body reminds me. The cramps, the blood, the sore boobs, and the pants that no longer fit me. When my body fails to remind me, I have the teller at the bank or someone at work who is out of the loop.

I try to forget when I can. But then, I feel so guilty. We will talk about guilt another day as it's a big, long topic I can't get into now.

I think to myself at least daily...'why couldn't this have happened earlier?' Why couldn't I have miscarried at 15 weeks before I celebrated at my gender reveal party? Why couldn't I have lost them when I bled and had to go to the emergency room at 12 weeks? Why couldn't I have said goodbye to my twins at 7 weeks instead of seeing their heartbeats? What was I supposed to learn from all of this?

Not for one second did I take them for granted. I loved them the moment I saw them as a mass of cells. I wanted them before I even started trying to conceive. I waited and waited for Michael and Alena to find me.

Instead of miscarrying early in my pregnancy, I was given time to grow attached to them and get to know them. My body decided to wait until they were big enough to be delivered to take them away.

And now I am stuck in this surreal limbo. One moment I think I am still mid-fertility treatments and haven't gotten that positive test yet, and the next I think I am still pregnant.

I feel a little nuts honestly.

It's a disorienting place to be when you don't know what is real and what isn't. Granted it's only for small amounts of time, but boy does it throw me wildly from one emotion to the next.

I know that this is all part of the grieving thing and it will feel less dramatic as time goes on. I know that reality will always return to stare me in the face.

But I hate when it finds me, because it's so much easier to dream that they are still with us.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

Who would have thought that I would be joining the millions of grieving parents on today of all days?

I don't have much energy to put into today, but as I have only been without my children for 3 days, I will most heavily be remembering them.

Please join me in lighting a candle this evening for Michael and Alena. I only held them in my arms for a short time, but they have forever made an impact on our lives.

Hugs and kisses to you angels,

mommy and daddy

Friday, October 14, 2011

Our Angels

It's time - our children were born at 20 weeks gestation.

 In memory

Michael and Alena S.
born October 12th 2011
at 12:53 and 12:57 pm.
Michael died during birth and Alena died around 1:14pm.
Rest in peace angels. We love you.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

On My Mind

Favorite song of the year so far:  Adele - Set Fire to the Rain

A very powerful song, sung by a very talented artist...

The thing the teen in me is longing for most: Breaking Dawn pt. 1

(new trailer)

The show I look forward to the most next month: Dexter

Something that made me really sad this year : the death of Andy Whitfield (AKA: Sparticus)

What I think about most these days: our babies!

There you are - just a few things to chime in on since I'm lazy. But really, I am too tired to do much more right now.   :)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Alive and Smiling!

I know it's been a long time.

I don't know if I'll be posting a ton on this blog because life seems to have taken over, leaving me little time to write.


Since I have said nothing on here at all in the last 2+ months I figured I should at least get this out.

We are 16 weeks pregnant with twins!

We are very excited and trying to slowly get prepared for two little ones in February.

Let me introduce you to the Schillinger twins!

and before you ask...

And on top of this amazing news... I felt the little girl kick/poke/nudge me this evening for the first time. It was the best thing in the world.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sweet Addictions

I have a few guilty pleasures in life. I won't explain my way out of it or justify myself. It just is.

I am listing them here in picture and video format. I'm throwing myself out there to the blogosphere and saying proudly that I have a few minor addictions. Accept it, I have.

Seen here: Breaking Dawn trailer

America's Next Top Model


Harry Potter
Seen here: The Deathly Hallows Part 2 trailer

Richelle Mead - Fantasy writer


Jack in the Box


Josh Groban


Lady Gaga


I could keep going, but I think I'll stop here.

What are your guilty pleasures?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wee Bit Wednesday

I know, I know. I suck at keeping up my blog. It's been like three weeks. But honestly, I have been SO busy and hating all the time my face is stuck in front of a computer. So for my 1st post I am going to be simple and let you know a few tid-bits about myself and mooch off of some other people's idea.

Here we go!

{one} how many times have you been a bridesmaid/maid of honor?

Umm...4 I think.

{two} what’s the last thing you do before you fall asleep at night?

I take Charlie potty and watch a little HGTV (House Hunters).

{three} you just won your dream vacation, all expenses paid. where are you going?

Like so many others, I would probably tour southern Europe (Turkey, Greece, Italy) or hop a plane to New Zealand.


{four} what is your favorite outdoor activity?

I like to take walks or swim if it's warm enough.

 {five} as a child, what did you want to be "when you grew up"? did you end up there?

Oh I wanted to do so many things. First I wanted to be a farmer apparently, then an actress, then a teacher, and finally - a wedding planner. None of those things really panned out, but it could still happen...maybe.

{six} what are 3 things your dream home would have that you don’t currently have?

A wrap-around porch, a media/movie room, and a jetted tub.

{seven} what’s for dinner tonight?

Hmm..good question. Maybe I'll make breakfast - an omelet?

{eight} if someone stopped by your house unannounced on a typical Saturday night, what would they find you doing?

Watching a movie with a friend or the hubby, maybe playing Rock Band.

{nine} what’s your average monthly water bill?

About $41 - I know it's cheap (for now).

{ten} what do you do to relax?

Read, walk Charlie, watch the boob tube, or visit with a friend.

There will be some good updates for you all soon. I have a back-log of posts I need to get to, so stay tuned.

Happy Wednesday!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

What's Up?!

What's been up with me you ask?

In a few words... and graded.

The book I just finished reading and liked quite a lot!
Grade: B+

And for comparison I also went out and saw the movie.
Starring: Robert Pattinson, Reese Witherspoon, Christoph Waltz.
Grade: B-

Synopsis courtesy of IMDB

"When Jacob Jankowski, recently orphaned and suddenly adrift, jumps onto a passing train, he enters a world of freaks, drifters, and misfits, a second-rate circus struggling to survive during the Great Depression, making one-night stands in town after endless town. A veterinary student who almost earned his degree, Jacob is put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie. It is there that he meets Marlena, the beautiful young star of the equestrian act, who is married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer. He also meets Rosie, an elephant who seems untrainable until he discovers a way to reach her. Water for Elephants is illuminated by a wonderful sense of time and place. It tells a story of a love between two people that overcomes incredible odds in a world in which even love is a luxury that few can afford."

What I am watching!
Glee - season 2
Grade: B+

What I am stressing over!
The Maple Valley House
Grade: D
We are still on track for buying it, but boy are the seller and escrow company complete crap. The closing has been put off until mid- June.
What I am looking forward to!
Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
Grade: A

By the time you read this I will be on a plane.

See you all when I get back!

Saturday, May 14, 2011


*Book Review*

I recently finished an audio book by Ally Condie. It was written for teens, but since I've been accustomed to young adult fiction as of late, I decided to give it a try.

I spend enough time in my car during the week that a new audio book could only help pass the time.

In Cassia Reyes’s world, everything is designed for living an optimum life. People eat specially prepared healthy food full of vitamins and minerals. Their physical and mental status is monitored to make sure they are functioning at their finest. They die on their 80th birthday, the best possible age that allows a fulfilling life without deterioration from being too old. And, if they want to get married at twenty-one and have children before the most favorable cut off age, they’ll need to be Matched to their best genetic option at seventeen.

The story starts out with Cassia heading to her Matching ceremony, excited to see the man she is destined to be Matched with. But imagine her surprise when she gets paired to her longtime childhood friend, Xander, which is almost unheard of. She’s given a disk of information about him to view, like all the Matched, and even though she knows pretty much everything about Xander, she decides to watch it. Xander’s face appears on the screen, but after a few seconds it disappears, to be replaced with another boy’s face. A boy she also knows, named Ky Markham. What does it mean? Who can she talk to about this? And why, even though Xander is her true match, does she find her thoughts continuously drifting back to Ky?

One of the major themes that I loved was about freedom of choice. In this world, everything is decided for you, eliminating most of the dangers that caused humans stress and early death prior to this shift in society. And throughout the book, the author writes this life in such a way that you can definitely see the perks to some of them. I mean, who wouldn’t want the option of being able to have your ideal mate, both emotionally and genetically, chosen for you? It’s definitely an intriguing thought. But even in that sentence, I state that which is never actually available to Cassie: option. If she wants to get married and have kids, then being Matched is her only choice. And as the story progresses we learn that maybe she doesn’t want to go gentle into that good night after all.

This book was well-written, complex, and interesting. The love triangle aspect was handled beautifully, and the development of Cassia’s desire for personal freedom was wonderful to watch. It will definitely have you thinking about choice and ultimately what is right for all of us.

What would you do if 'society' took over in making all the big decisions for you? What job you would have...who you would many children you could have...when you would die?

I have read books and watched movies that have tackled this idea and find it so intriguing! It takes me back to: The Gift, The Huger Games, Unwind, and The Island.

A pretty good listen/read for teens - and myself.   :)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Gleeking Out

I have to say - I have really been enjoying Glee.

But you know what? I knew I would. It's fun-tastic.

It takes me back to the days of high school where everything was the end of the world and you tried everything you could just to fit in.

The show covers a bunch of misfits who all join a glee club in order to find camaraderie, acceptance and a place to showcase their talents.

Looking back now, I really wish my high school had a show choir. I would have fit in perfectly! Singing and dancing? - heck yes!

This show is great for just about anyone looking to watch something with a little pizazz. Something that reminds you of the important things in life: being yourself, respecting yourself and others, tolerance and enjoying the little things in life.

And well...the music is fabulous. Just the right mixture of show tunes and pop music. I love their music mash-ups the best however - the way they take two different songs and mash them together to make it completely unique.

I am just now trying to catch-up with Season 2 on Hulu and came across two great mash-ups on the last episode I watched.

Here is one for your viewing pleasure! (don't worry, they aren't very long!)

"Don't Stop Believing"... because I love Journey.

I am formally considered a Gleek. But ya know what? I was already a Twi-hard so who could be that surprised?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Inspection Over

Our home inspection was a success!

Well, mostly.

After waiting for the utility guys to get to the house, turn on the water, electricity, and gas, I spent a little time visiting a couple of friends that live out in the area. I had a little time to kill and wanted to make the most of it - even though I swore to myself I would finally spend more time on the book I've been slowly reading. I love reading and I just haven't had the time to do it lately. Obviously.

After that, I drove around the surrounding towns and tried to get acquainted with the local shopping and restaurants. There seemed to be just about everything I needed, except a Target. I am devastated. I love that store and even though there is one in the town where I currently live and will be working, I really hoped to have one near my new house. Oh well, can't have everything.

I arrived at the house right at 4pm and the Inspector and my agent were already raring to go. So off we went!

The inspection turned out to be about 3 hours and it was very informative. I kept a list of the things that would need to be done as soon as the purchase goes through (only 3 things) and a secondary list of the things that would need some work or would need to be purchased sooner than later.

Overall, the inspection went great. We'll need to throw a few hundred dollars into the place right away, but there were no real issues or major repairs. Our list was do-able.

After handing over a whopping $400 I was ready to call up my lender and tell him to proceed with the loan.

Now all I need to fret about is getting my down payment into my account this coming week. The money has been requested and I am hoping they will be able to process the request by mid-next week. After that...I guess I have to rely on my lender and the escrow company to get things done before our vacation next month.

I HATE relying on or waiting for other people. It stresses me out.

There are loads more details, but that's the short version.

I just need to keep my head straight for 3 more weeks. Then, off to Mexico I go - whether the house is settled or not.

Here's what I need!

Spark Arrestor - Chimney

Kitchen faucet replacement

Washer and dryer

cover to fix a cracked pipe

Those are the essentials. There is a long list of not-so-urgent needs, but that will come in time.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Let's Play Tag!

Hey ya'll! I was tagged to play a question and answer game, so here I am playing along. I'll be tagging a few peeps at the end so pay attention in case your name is called!

Here we go!

Food: Is this asking if I like food or if I have a favorite? I'll answer both. Yes, I LOVE food. And if someone were to put a gun to my head and asked what I wanted to eat most...I would say Thai food. It's delish! I guess the food item I like best is bread. All kinds - croissant, chibatta, french, sour dough, bagels, focaccia....(okay, I am getting a craving now).

Color: Hmmm...I like red, turquoise, and black. But not really together.

Animal: Dog.

Dessert: Foul Temptress! You know I have a wicked sweet tooth! I suppose that would be any kind of baked good. Cake, cookies, brownies...that kind of thing.

Artist: Honestly I don't really have a favorite. I am really random with what I like.

Pair of Shoes: I like flip flops and wedge sandals.
Outfit: I don't have a specific outfit, but I like brightly colored shirts and jeans. I have also taken to wearing scarves to accessorize.

Skinny Jeans: Not with this body type yo! The hips don't lie.

Brand: I guess Coach?

Perfume: Princess by Vera Wang, but I am silly and don't own it.

Accessory: My wedding ring.

City: New Orleans.

Hobby: Photography, blogging, movies, & reading.

Beauty Product: mascara/eye make-up.
Holiday: Christmas. Is that even fair really?

Snack: pretzels or trail mix

Movie: Wow, you really went there! I suppose that would be Moulin Rouge.

Song: This question is just wrong on so many levels. I'm just throwing a song out there that makes my butt shake....Right Round - Flo Rida.

Guilty Pleasure: Pedicures, Nerd candy, & competition reality shows.

Next up to be tagged is...drum roll please!
Happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

12 Years

April 8th marks 12 years of happiness with the same man.

Michael and I will have been together 12 years - yes your math is correct - we were 16 & 18!

It's been one hell of a ride and one that makes me smile from ear to ear.

For our anniversary, we packed up our singing voices and headed out to the Snoqualmie Casino for a flash back to the 90's.

It was a time of young love, summer drives, and country music.

Yes people, country at it's best. Circa 1996-1999.

We've seen Diamond Rio a couple of other times and just love their style and harmonies. So, since they just might have been our first concert together (back in the day at the King County Fair) we decided it would be perfect to top off year number 12.

We had a blast, as did the largely inebriated casino crowd, and sang our little hearts out.

The video I am going to post is of their last song. My favorite song. And one that totally defined our love at the time. This video is in true early 90's form with overalls and mullets. It's classic and SO much fun.

Give it a listen and bop your head. Come on....I know you want to!

You were a good boyfriend my love. Thanks for 12 fun-filled years!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

New Adventure

It happened quickly.

We got a call on Friday night that a house we'd looked at dropped in price by about 60,000!

We had to decide THAT DAY if we wanted to place a bid on it. There was no negotiating or counters, only a single bid and we had no idea how many other offers there would be.

I was freaked out, but I knew the deal was too good to pass-up. This house would be gone fast!

We put in our bid and waited.

Saturday morning our agent called and said "Congratulations! Your bid was accepted!"

Holy crap! What?!

We got the house people.

If all goes as it's supposed to and the inspection passes, we'll be home owners in May!

For those of you who know the Seattle/Eastside area, we'd be moving to Maple Valley - Four Corners to be exact. It's about 25 minutes from where we live now and will be out a little farther than we envisioned, but it's perfectly acceptable.

I'm a little sad to be moving from my lovely Issaquah and my sister and nephew, but I know that this house will be worth it. It's got a hot tub for god's sake! Yeah, you heard me right...a hot tub.

The property needs some fixing up and the house could use some updating in the kitchen and bathrooms, but ya know, it's not a big thing right now. All in good time. Right now, we need to get us a washer and dryer! And a dining table. And living room furniture. And new locks. And paint.

That's really it though. Craig's List - here we come.

So without further adieu, here is what will most likely be our new residence -

Whoop Whoop!

Wish us luck!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What Does Your Map Look Like?

I found this neat site where you can click off all the states you have been to and visualize it all in map form!

What I saw was a little surprising! I am missing a large number of states!

I feel like I have traveled all over the U.S., but apparently I have neglected a bunch in the middle and much of the east coast!

I did not count states where I might have had an airplane layover of some kind while traveling and there was no room for other parts of the globe.

If there were, I could proudly proclaim that I have been to multiple spots in Mexico, Belize, Canada, and the Caribbean.

I have always wanted a huge wall map of the world that I could post up over cork board. I think it would be interesting art to have a large map where I could pin point (with thumb tacks or pins) all the places that Mike and I have traveled. Maybe it would give us more motivation to see new places, instead of revisiting somewhere we have already been!

Someday this map will be displayed and when it is - I'll post a photo of it for you to check out.

Has anyone been to ALL of the states? That would be quite a feat!

If you want to post YOUR map or just see what it would look like you can visit this site!

Monday, March 28, 2011

This Is What Happens When I Don't Pay Attention

Today I ate a big brownie!

Let me set the stage -

I was at work. I was juggling 8 different things and very distracted. My coworker pops her head into my office and asks if I want a brownie. I nod my head in what I hope seems like I am listening, but I'm not.

She holds the plate out and I grab one, eyes still on the computer screen. I mumble 'thank you' and without even stopping to think about what I am doing (it was close to lunch and I was already starving), I ate it.

I ate it in huge bites. That is until I realize that I am eating a large chocolate brownie. Then I exclaim "damn it!" and my other coworker looks at me like I am crazy.

It was too late. I had one bite left and had already consumed the majority of the calories, so I sighed and stuffed the last bite in my mouth.

(This was me, but staring at the computer)

I think I need to learn to do one thing at a time. I have always been a multi-tasker, but this time, my diet suffered because I couldn't take a second to think about what I was stuffing into my face.

Good job Alissa. Jeez!

Anyhow, I swapped my traditional lunch of a sandwich and fruit for a salad and made sure to add 30 minutes more to my gym time this evening. I did what I could.

As disappointed as I am that I mindlessly ate what was probably 300-500 calories, that brownie was DELICIOUS. Well at least the last bite was. I didn't really appreciate the first 6.

I'll update you as soon as I reach my next goal. I am hoping to lose another 2 lbs this week if I can keep the gym time strong and quit eating brownies.

But it's so hard! I love chocolate! Damn you sweet tooth!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Scavenger Hunt Sunday

It's Sunday and I am out of ideas at the moment for a post, so I am getting back on the Scavenger Hunt band wagon. It's getting to be Spring and it was a decent day broke out my dust-covered SLR camera!

I haven't been inspired at all this Winter and have had a lot on my plate. But I don't want to forget my trusty Canon as the weather turns and the flowers make their early appearance.

So today I hung out with my photographing family and went to the park to play with my nephew and the dogs!

Without further adieu, here is my entry for the scavenger hunt this week put on by Ramblings and Photos.

1. Camera Phone

Nothing Fancy here, just me with my messaging phone and my favorite Chihuahua Chupes! You can't really tell in the picture, but he looks very skeptical of me.

2. Camera

This is my momma using her new lens! I thought it was fitting that she be included in this scavenger hunt.
 3. Shoes

Not my best work, but I use what I've got and my sister had the cutest shoes between us! Plus little Jeffie-pie is posing so that's a plus!

4. Chair

Bennett is checking out the hobby horse so why not use that for the chair?

5. Imperfection

This is the fence to the side of our house. It's falling apart and looking mighty sad, BUT it's got character. And we rent, so I am not replacing it. :)

*Want to join in? The rules are simple:

1. Anyone can participate.

2. You're encouraged to take five new photos this week for the challenge.

3. If you get stumped, you may use one photo from your archive (although I'm not too strict about it - I do my best to take fresh shots).

4. Link up here on Sunday (or Tuesday at the latest) - you can use the button above.

5. Leave comments for at least five entries around yours (we have so many new participants each week, this is the only way I know to be inclusive).

Have fun!

Here are a couple other photos I took of my sweet nephew Bennett. It's been months since I have attempted to get some shots of him. They are not the best pictures I've taken, but they sure are cute!

( I may have a case of the Monday's tomorrow...)

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