Thankful Thursday

This week, I am thankful for...

  • Getting to see Alison (and her baby bump) - and to finally meet Mr. Moonhead IRL on Sunday!!!!!!! I can't think of a better way to start my New Year!!!!!! (And I'll get to do it 2 years in a row - yay!)
  • That the secretary at work who proofreads all my stuff doesn't proofread my blog, I think she would frown upon my use of many exclamation points - ha!
  • For leftover Christmas cookies (hence the spastic snark in the previous item - I am eating minimal sugar these days and when I do eat it, well, let's just say you'd be better off with a toddler on caffeine :)).
  • Ahem. 
  • For another week at one of the Theology of the Body Institute's Courses - from Jan. 1 - 6 I will be learning about Karol Wojtyla's (Blessed John Paul II before he was Pope) Love and Responsibility from...wait for it...Dr. Janet Smith! YEP, this Dr. Janet Smith!
  • For dinner tonight with Sara and her hubs!!!!! Maybe sometime before the Pittsburgh 5K (for me) and half marathon (for Sara) we'll actually run again - ugh!
  • Two More Feet who was my Prayer Buddy! There are no words to say how grateful I am for the prayers and kind words.
Ok, I think my exclamation point button is broken :( so I guess I'm done for this week. What are you thankful for today? I will be taking your thankful intentions to Adoration with me every day next week, so once again, make 'em good! (or not broken :) - ha!)


Reflections on P+5

So often when I come here to share my thoughts, emotions, or reflections from the IF roller coaster it is when I am struggling to see the screen through the tears and know that The Man doesn’t need more of my “stuff” dumped onto his shoulders. As I was driving the other day, I couldn’t help but take note of how “normal” I was feeling, how not crazed and insane by sorrow and sadness and how maybe it would be nice to share some of that here.
I’m sure this feeling will be short lived, the BB will make its appearance in the next day or so and then a week after that CD1 will arrive. But for today, for these few days each cycle the hope creeps in and I start thinking about things like:
• I probably would need to test while I’m out of town next week, what a cool surprise for The Man that would be. Heck, how cool would it be to just actually get to POAS?!?! Unless it’s negative .
• Oh, and I could surprise my dad during our trip next Saturday with good news.
• And oh, would I blog about it right away or wait a while? Probably right away. But not until we told The Man’s parents since finding out about a grandchild on your DIL’s blog is probably not how they would like things to go.
• But what about all of my friends who still wait? How I hate the thought of hurting them and causing them more pain on this already painful enough journey.
• Maybe I just won’t tell anyone for a while, that way no one gets hurt? Right? Maybe not?
• Hmm, happier things, I’d finally get to turn the spare room into a nursery, I bet there are some great New Year’s sales.
• And wait! If this were “the” month, I’d never have to schedule surgery with Dr. S. (yes, yes, I know you want more details on that appointment, patience ;), I’m living in the land of that appointment won’t matter).
• OMG! What if I’m pregnant? I’m not ready to be a mother! What makes me think I can be a good mother! Oh no! I’ll be a horrible parent. *enter horrible feelings of guilt here*
• Why am I getting my hopes up? Why would anything have changed this month?
• But maybe, just maybe…

And so goes the car up the track of hope. Undoubtedly it will fall, but even as I type that, in these days of the ride up, it’s hard to believe that I am the same person who writes of anger and pain. It’s hard to believe that giving up is ever even a faint, distant option. It is these days, of blissful ignorance and hope that are gifts of grace from God; that are the reason we keep trying again, that remind me of what God is calling me toward.

In the days that come, these feelings will feel as far away as the anger and pain do now, but without these days there would be no bearing the others at all.


Merry Christmas

From our family to yours...

Stationery card
View the entire collection of cards.

I finally! ordered our cards yesterday, so they will be a little late in getting out, as long as they arrive before Epiphany, right? :)

Merry Christmas dear friends!


Prayer Buddies Reveal

Merry Christmas (Eve!)

This was my first time participating in Prayer Buddies and I'm so glad I did. I had a hard, dark Advent and one of the lights was being able to pray for others and offer up the darkness and sadness I felt for them.

I was honored to get to pray for 2 Prayer Buddies:

Cathy from See Cathy Save

And RMB from In Her Footsteps.

Almost every day I prayed in the following ways for your intentions:

  • The St. Andrew Novena
  • The Rosary
  • Daily Mass Intentions
  • Offerring up my struggles
  • Adding you both to my Magnificat Prayer Group's Intentions (by first name only of course :))
  • While listening to Christian music on my way to and from work
I pray the prayers were felt and I will continue to keep you both in my prayers throughout the Christmas season and beyond.

It was so hard to not comment on both ladies blogs throughout Advent to let them know I was praying for them and their intentions, getting to tell them I was praying for them was a great gift! I'm looking forward to commenting in the future AND to meeting Cathy. We are both from the same home town, it will be so great to give a big hug and pass on my prayers in person!

Before I finish this, I also need to tell you a little story about Prayer Buddies:
This year, at the start of Lent The Man and I had been through our first 6 TTC cycles and though it was still relatively early, I just *knew* it was going to be a long road. A part of me wanted so badly to be a prayer buddy and put my intentions out there, but a part of me was scared. Scared mostly of this happening: that I would be paired with someone who had suffered IF for years and end up pregnant by the end of Lent. To know that I could cause pain as a result of asking for a prayer buddy paralyzed me and I debating for weeks as to what to do...so I reached out to a dear sister in Christ, Michelle, and asked her if we could be each other's prayer buddies and I shared my intentions with her: first that we be blessed with a pregnancy and a few emails later for the grace to handle whatever comes our way. She shared intentions with me and we were our own prayer buddies.

Both seasons have given me one thing in common - knowing that someone is praying for you specifically is one of the most healing, soul-soothing experiences I have been through. I feel it every time there is a post here that is responded to with prayers, I felt it during those days of Lent, and I felt it during this Advent.

JBTC, TCIE, and Mrs. Henderson - thank-you so much from the bottom of my heart for organizing this beautiful way to pray and share our stories.


Thankful Thursday

This week, I am thankful for...
  • Good friends that you can count on - thanks again Christy!
  • Star Wars Marathons.
  • A great first visit with Dr. S. I know I need to write a more detailed post on this one...
  • Daily Mass.
  • Prayer buddies.
  • Today the days start getting longer again!
  • A rare December thunderstorm last evening.
What are you thankful for this week? Leave your thankful intentions in the comments or link up your post. I'm offerring them up as my Christmas Mass intention this weekend - so make 'em good :).


Quick Takes

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Happy Friday! #7 has an important question...

1. Thank-you all for your kind comments on my blogoversary post, I wish I could give you all the ornament! But, I can't, so....the winner is CM from Confessions of a Catholic Mutt! Congratulations!!!
Here's proof...
Please email with your mailing address and your WVU Snowflake Ornament will be on it's way.

2.  Christmas Cards. Um yea, maybe I should do those.

3. Sara made me a gift that brought me to {good} tears. She is an awesome knitter and made me this:
Sara took the photo also!
It is a cowl made from the best yarn and is super warm, but the part that brought me to tears was two of the things written on the card: 1) it is called a "Good Luck Cowl" and 2) In Chinese culture red carries a largely positive connotation, being associated with courage, loyalty, honor, success, fortune, fertility, happiness, passion, and summer. It is this second part that brought the waterworks forth. Sara is my oldest, bestest friend and each of these words have a place in our friendship, but of course seeing that she picked a color that had to do with fertility is what touched me so deeply upon reading it. However, rereading the words I am struck by all of them, by how much they describe our friendship and Sara. I've sent her a text saying it and I'll say it again here, I'm not sure I'll ever be able to thank her in person because of the emotions wrapped up in the two words that mean so much "Thank-you." At least not without completely losing it.

4. When Ania asked what kind of dogs I have I realized I have been a horrible blogger when it comes to sharing about my girls. Here is a video of a typical occurrence in our house. Kali is the black dog, she is a Shar Pei/Dalmatian (Sharmatian) Mix and Mei Mei is the brown and white dog and is an English Sheep Dog/St. Bernard/Argentinian Dog (English St. Dogo - ha!) Mix. Kali is not typically friendly to any other dog or people other than The Man and me, in fact we weren't sure if getting Mei Mei was a good idea last year, but it has turned out way better than we ever could have imagined. With that said, we certainly never thought this would happen:

5. As stated above, Kali isn't always friendly to others, but she is super smart all the time and super loving once she gets to know you. Mei Mei is super loving all of the time and we are hoping she gets smarter as she gets older - ha! For now, she just follows Kali around and it's very cute. As long as she's not chewing something up (power cords, shoes, mattresses/box springs) I'm OK with the less-than-smartness.

6. I'm so relieved to hear that I'm not the only one enjoying shopping in my PJs and taking advantage of my Amazon Prime account. It's like a little mini Christmas at our house every day because there are packages arriving constantly. So fun! It is definitely lifting my spirit, well that and it's CD 9 or 10 so my hormones are finally back in order...for at least a couple of days, right? I'm trying to enjoy feeling somewhat normal while I can because I know it's short lived.

7. Monday is my first appointment with Dr. S. My FCP has been helpful in giving me some guidance as to what to expect and to write all of my questions down, but I'm asking you all for some suggestions. What questions should I ask? Anything I should not ask? Anything I should expect that you were not expecting? Thank-you in advance...

Be sure to visit Jen for more Quick Takes and have a great weekend!


Thankful Thursday

This week, I am thankful for...

  • 3 years of blogging and the friendships that have come from it. Be sure to go here and enter the giveaway before tonight - winner announced tomorrow!
  • Online shopping. I may not set foot in a store this year for any Christmas gifts other than my little brother's Lionel Train Ornament from Hallmark - 16th in the series.
  • Sweet pups who offer unconditional love and tail wags to prove it.
  • Unseasonably warm weather (though a snowy Christmas would be nice).
  • The Man. I know this one is on here every week, but lately I've not been exactly easy to live with and he's been amazing.
It's your turn! What are you thankful for this week? Link your post below or leave a comment, prayers will be said for each of your thankful intentions.


Overwhelmed at 3 Years

Three years ago today I sat down and wrote in this place for the very first time, wondering if anyone would ever read the words I'd written or if I'd stick with it (expecting not to stick with it in fact).

Today, I am overwhelmed. My emotions are still raw and all over the place and I'm trying to reply to all of your kind comments on my recent posts (those of you that have your email enabled anyway :) ). I am also trying to process all of the love and prayers that you all have bestowed upon me not only this week, but over the entire three years. There have been times when I could feel the prayers and love, tangibly feel them. Yesterday was one of those times.

Whether you are one of my oldest IRL friends or someone I've never met in person, thank-you for making this place what it is. Thank-you for making this place home to me, where I am most comfortable being me.

As a thank-you to all of you, I have a small giveaway.

It is just a tiny way that I can say thank-you to you all...if I could give you all a gift, I would. All you have to do to enter is to leave a comment...any comment will be fine :)...I will pick turn comments off on Thursday evening and post the winner on Friday. Oh? You want to know what you can win? I know it's probably not something on your Christmas list, but it is something that I hope when the winner hangs it on their tree each year they remember it was given with total gratitude for prayers offered and kind words said...


Anger on Gaudete Sunday

While so many of you have written beautiful reflections on Gaudete Sunday and rejoicing during Advent, I've only got anger. There will be nothing pretty about this post, consider yourself warned.

It wasn't until reading TCIE, Ania, and Polkadot's that I realized just how angry I've been. Oh yes, there is still plenty of sadness and fear and anxiety and all of that, but my glass-half-full-rose-colored-glasses-wearing-self has done a pretty good job of burying the anger.

And then today, the Joyful Sunday of Advent. And I feel like God is just laughing at me. For the first time in my life, when I consider my feelings, joy and happiness are the very last things that come to mind. And when I consider Christmas, I wonder how convincing I will have to be when coming down with the flu in two weeks? And when I try to do some shopping or decorating? Tears. Only tears.

And then there is the man at work, who could not contain his excitement at the BFP he and his wife got Wednesday morning last week. He was so excited he was telling the ladies in the cubes right next to me. And the anger is crushed by sadness. What if The Man never gets that day? What if he never gets to be so overcome with joy and excitement and hope that he can't contain the good news?

Prayer buddy, I've quit saying my St. Andrew Novena for my own intentions, they are all for you.
My rosary on the way to work? All for you.
My intentions at Mass? All for you.
I'm tired of praying for grace on this journey, I just want it to end and it's barely even started.

I want to scream and shout at people. I want to say to the man at work "don't you realize there are people around you who might not want to hear about this?"

And then the guilt settles in. How dare I feel this way? It's only been 19 cycles. It's only been 1 cycle on meds. Maybe he and his wife had to wait too? How dare I question the cross God has given me? How dare I twist the thorns into Jesus' head and pound the nails into His hands? How dare I not realize the good things in my life?

And then the sadness comes back, burying the anger all over again. Hiding it and leaving me wondering just how long this road will last? And how ever will I make it? Ladies, I am in awe. Absolute awe of you who have walked this road for even one day longer than I. And those who've walked it for years? You're faith and strength and witness that it can be done are the only thing that keeps me going.

To my prayer buddy, please pray that I make it through the holidays in one peace emotionally and without totally alienating my family and friends due to my piss-poor attitude.


Thankful Thursday

Much like Thanksgiving week, this is a hard one to write this week; and much like Thanksgiving week, it's times like this are the reasons I started writing Thankful Thursday. It's hard to be completely bummed out when you are trying to think of things for which to be thankful. Go easy on my items this week, they may seem superficial, but I assure you, my gratitude is not:

  • Nacho cheese Doritos left over from last week's WVU Football game.
  • An unexpected Christmas bonus check that paid for the unexpected repairs on my Jeep - the amounts were almost identical.
  • My mom. We don't have the best relationship ever, but I realized yesterday that knowing that I can depend on her when I need her (like when I need a car to get to work) to help me out (give me her car for the day) is something positive. I need to go easier on her.
  • The Man. I'm pretty sure he's knocking of years in purgatory left and right by being married to me.
  • All of you. I'm pretty sure I'd be checked in to the local psychiatric ward without your kind comments and prayers. I will never be able to say Thank-you enough.
  • The look on Kali's face when she saw it had snowed. I will never understand what that pup loves so much about cold weather and snow, but watching her enjoy it almost makes me enjoy it.
  • A girl's weekend with Nicole starting tomorrow.
What are you thankful for this week? Write your own post and link below or leave a comment with what you are thankful for. I pray for each of your items specifically each week and it is such a gift to me to do so.



It's like getting two "nos" every. single. month.

Every month, Peak Day shows up as scheduled, and then about 6-7 days later the Brown Bleeding begins...for "no, you're not pregnant" #1. Of course in those 6 - 7 days my hopes go sky high and then posts like this happen. And while on prometrium (month 1 on it), the BB got darker and worse than usual.

Then, despite the BB and how hard I fight it, hope creeps back in and then 7 days later CD1 shows up for "no, you're not pregnant" #2.

I seriously don't know how much longer I can do this. I do not know how some of you have done it for years and years. When it comes to fighting or flighting, I'm a flight kinda girl all the way. I spent many hours in college when I should have been studying {completely - head and all} under a blanket in a comfy chair in my living room hiding. If I'm sticking up for someone else, I'll fight to the death. When it comes to me, my first instinct is to run, as fast as I can.

My heart is breaking today. There will be no surprise Christmas news to share with our families. No extra stocking to add to the fireplace. So many many "nos."

I'm trying so hard to offer this up for you prayer buddy and focus on the goods, but I feel the walls closing in; I feel the darkness surrounding me. And I want to run fast and far. I want to go back to saying "no, I don't want children" because that didn't hurt nearly as badly as "I can't have them."

I really thought I'd done a good job at not hoping during the BB this month; at realizing it was an exercise in futility; at protecting myself from the inevitable crash that would follow the hope. Clearly I was wrong.

Once a month would be enough. Twice every month is breaking me.


Quick Takes Monday

7 quick takes sm1 Your 7 Quick Takes Toolkit!
Happy Friday Monday!

1. Yes, I know I'm late. Blogger wasn't cooperating on Thursday night and I didn't get home until late Friday night (see Thursday's Thankful Thursday post as to why I can't post from work). Please forgive me for being late?

2. I have a request. If you have a Blogger blog would you please enable your mobile template, pretty please? Here's how:
First - from your "Overview" page, click on 'Template' on the left.
Second - click on the the little spirally thing under the 'Mobile' box/preview (if you are not enabled, it says 'disabled' on the box).
Third - select 'Yes. Show mobile template on mobile devices.'
The default setting will work just fine thank-you :).
Fourth - click 'Save' and close the window.
Fifth - make me a very happy blog-reader-who-reads-lots-of-blogs-on-my-phone :).

Thank-you in advance!

2.  Any of you ladies live or know any one who lives in Louisiana or know a good CrMS practitioner in Louisiana (near Baton Rouge or New Orleans)? If you do, please go visit Two More Feet :). Again, thank-you in advance!

3. I think that ends the requests portion of this week's quick takes..onto more important things, like FOOTBALL :). Mountaineer Football to be specific! We had a close game on Thursday night, but we ended up with a win, and thanks to Cincinnati winning on Saturday, we are Big East Champs and are awaiting to hear (as I type, as you read, we'll already know) whether we are Orange or Sugar Bowl Bound!

4. Last week, I got to meet the lovely Sarah from Sarah's Journal thanks to Skype! It was so great talking with you Sarah, and I hope I was able to provide some help - you have been such a help to me!

5. Thanks to the fact that I saw P., a nurse practitioner, within Dr. S's practice already, I was able to get an appointment to see him earlier than January. In fact, it is in 2 weeks - exactly 2 weeks from today. As it is clear already that I won't be needing to cancel this appointment because I got pregnant, I'm deciding to embrace the opportunity to see the Dr. early and not freak out because I am seeing 'the doctor.' It's just one more bend in this road.

6. I am woefully behind on my blog commenting, but I am doing my best to catch up. Please know that I read most of your posts the day your write them in my reader and pray for any prayer requests you have immediately. I have just gotten way behind on commenting and I know how important comments are, so I will do better I promise!

7. Last, but not least, I was awarded the Liebster Award by two bloggers! First by M. at Joy Beyond the Cross and then by Emily at Signed, Sealed, Deliverd, I'm Yours. Thank-you so much ladies!!!

This award features up and coming bloggers (with less than 200 followers) and asks that it be passed on to 5 other deserving bloggers. This is so hard...especially since I've taken so long to post about my awards...but here are 5 awesome ladies to go visit :).

  1. Donna at What if God Says No
  2. Mary at Life in a Small Town
  3. Katie at NFP and Me
  4. Faith Makes Things Possible...Not Easy
  5. Patiently Waiting...Kinda


Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for:
-The ability to post from my phone because internet explorer and blogger and work do not like one another.
-Daily Mass in the chapel on the same floor as my office today.
-Prayer buddies.
-Facebook messages.
-Football tonight!  Let's goooooo Mountaineers!
-The St. Andrew novena and chaplet from JBTC.

Please forgive the lack of graphic and linky, I'll remember to have this scheduled from now on!

What are you thankful for this week? Please leave your list or link in the comments!


I Don't Know What I Expected

I mean who really gets pregnant on their first month of prometrium?

Apparently I thought I would. (Even knowing I was out of town for about half of my fertile days).

Yep. Stupid. I know.

I think the worst part is this BB that I get every. single. month. for about 5 days before CD1 finally gets around to showing up.

So for the next 5 days I get to be reminded that CD1 is coming. No chance to even get my hopes up.

Except that I did get my hopes up.

Yep. Stupid. I know.


Why I Need Football

Last Friday was spent with 60,000 of my closest friends. No, I wasn't out hitting the stores for the Black Friday sales. Instead, I spent the afternoon eating deep-fried turkey and chicken wings; homemade pepperoni rolls; buffalo chicken dip; and a whole table full of things I'm not eating any more as of yesterday. I drank beer and talked about things like offenses and defenses; records and rankings; coaches and players. I laughed and smiled and stressed out over important questions like: would our offensive line show and play well? And, oh my, what about our special teams? And, of course, could Coach Holgorsen be the first WVU Coach since 1903 to defeat Pitt in his first Backyard Brawl?

And then the game started. And it started ugly. And at one point all I could do, literally, was scream at the top of my lungs because of my frustration. I threw my hands up in the air in disgust, high-fived my new friends behind me in triumph, and covered my eyes every time we went out to receive a punt. I added cinnamon schnapps to my hot chocolate and wondered why we didn't bring more.

During half-time I sat with my arms crossed tightly and my lips sealed tight. I had nothing nice to say and decided it was best to keep my mouth shut. I always say that the stress of a WVU game is going to kill me and for a while Friday night as my knees felt week, my pulse pounded in my head, and my heart beat out of my chest I thought this was going to be the game that did it.

But our defense held the line. All. night. long. Stopping the Panthers each and every time, because it mattered most each. and. every. time. And as the game ended with the final score reading WVU 21 Pitt 20, and John Denver's 'Country Roads' started to play over the speakers at Mountaineer field, I linked arms with The Man and belted out Country Roads at the top of my lungs, complete with squeaks from raw vocal folds combined with tears, with those same 60,000 closest friends.

And it was in these moments that it hit me. That THIS, all of this, is why I need football in my life. I've always loved the game. My dad taught me the rules and the language from an early age. My best friends in high school were football players and other girls who loved the game as much as I did. And this is all important. But in the midst of the deepest heartache of our lives, football gives me the gift of 3 1/2 - 4 hours were I completely lose myself. I think of and worry about nothing related to me or The Man or the children we don't have. For these few hours it's not about me at all. Yes, I stress out like it is. Yes, if you were around me on game day you'd think I was actually playing IN the game. But when it comes down to it, whether the Mountaineers win or lose has nothing to do with me (but I will still continue to partake in all of my game day rituals, just in case).

This football season was hard for me to fall in love at first with because the start of it came the reminder of so many unrealized dreams and worries. But looking back, each weekend, for a few hours, I was given the gift of losing myself. I focused on the game and not the cute kids around us and felt like 'me.'

Football is my outlet. It is my release. It is where my brain finally shuts off and just lives 100% in the moment. Yes, it is much better for all involved when the Mountaineers win. But truly, win or lose, I love this game. I love this team. And now, I have a new love of and appreciation for the gift I am given every Saturday in the fall when I am freed from myself. It is in all of this that lies the answer to how I get through days like the ultrasound I described yesterday. And now, I understand it. I understand why I get upset and anxious when something threatens to interfere with my football watching.

Some people craft; others, like The Man, turn their music up real loud; others find this release in prayer; others find it in exercise; and still others in art. I find it in the game of football.



I've tried to find the words to describe what it was like to have the transvag.inal ultrasound done a couple of weeks ago. They've been in my head and heart, but it wasn't until talking with Alison the other night that I finally was able to give voice to them...

My local doctor's office is brand new and with it came brand new, state of the art ultrasound rooms. In the room was a couch for The Man to sit on and a big screen TV high on the wall in front of me so that I could see everything that the ultrasound technician was seeing on her screen without twisting my neck.

And the reaction that felt like a punch in the stomach was instantaneous. The immediate feeling of empty overwhelmed me almost to the point of tears. Fortunately for me my curious, question-asking self kicked in and I quickly starting asking the 'what's thats?' and moved on.

But that first instant stayed with me. The first instant where it was painfully obvious that this wasn't the 'first' ultrasound I'd been dreaming of. It was very clear that this was an empty uterus that was being looked at - there was no dark circle in the middle with a white 'bean' in the center of it. I've seen enough ultrasounds of friends' babies to know the difference in what I was seeing on the screen. I wasn't expecting to see a baby - it was early in my cycle, I knew I wasn't pregnant. I knew the purpose of this ultrasound was to check the structures and see if everything looked OK. And yet, this wasn't how the first ultrasound was supposed to go.

The Man wasn't supposed to be sitting on the comfy couch beside me watching the measurements of my ovaries. He was supposed to be beaming from ear to ear as he met our first son or daughter. I wasn't supposed to be asking 'what is that?' and expecting the answer to be 'your ovary.' The technician wasn't supposed to be asking 'what is this ultrasound for?,' but rather saying 'let's listen for the heartbeat.'

I knew going in what the purpose of the ultrasound was. I had no expectations of seeing anything other than an empty uterus and my ovaries. Thankfully the results came back 'normal' (how I'm starting to not like that word.)

And yet the image of that empty uterus is burned into my memory; seared into my soul.


The Last Backyard Brawl?

Yesterday, Donna left a comment that totally embarrassed and shamed me. NOT because of anything she said, but rather because it marked a glaring omission on my part this year.

Her comment:  I imagine there's a story in "The Backyard Brawl"??

Yikes! How can I have done such a lousy job of talking about football, specifically WVU Football 'round here this year that one of you didn't know what THE Backyard Brawl is. I'm seriously thinking I need to be punished somehow!

So, in answer to Donna's question - yes, there is a story behind The Backyard Brawl. It started 104 years ago on a football field when the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) Panthers and the West Virginia University (WVU) Mountaineers first played one another.

Morgantown (home of WVU) and Pittsburgh (home of Pitt) are separated by a mere 80 miles along Interstate 79. Essentially, we are neighbors sharing a backyard. And the game has the feel of a pick-up game in the backyard, with the stories of heroics and tragedy on the field to go along with it.

Most recent years this game is the last home game for the Mountaineers and Senior Night. And on any given night, a huge upset can happen to either team. If you beat Pitt, the rest of the season doesn't really matter - it makes everything better. Or, worse, like in 2007, the Mountaineers were ranked #2 in the country, had only 1 loss, and with a win were going to the National Championship game. It was the 100th Backyard Brawl. Pitt was 4-7. Everyone from the outside looking in said WVU was a 'sure' win. Those of us closer to the situation knew, it's Pitt...anything can happen.  And it did. And I just can't talk about the rest of it any more.

In 2009 there was finally some redemption. But just hearing the numbers 13 and 9 in the same sentence still makes my stomach turn.

In 2010, we won again and did so in our Nike Pro Combat best.

And this year, with all of the conference changing, there is a very real possibility this could be the last installment of the Backyard Brawl.

As much as I hate Pitt, I hope the Athletic Director's at the schools find a way to keep the game going. I hate it when they beat us, but I can't imagine a football season without the Backyard Brawl circled on the calendar from the start of the season.

So today, I'm getting ready for the 104th edition of The Backyard Brawl. Everything I wear will be gold and blue; the tailgate food will be the best of the season (deep fried turkey, chicken wings, buffalo chicken dip, homemade pepperoni rolls, and more!); and our season that has been less-than-what-we-hoped-for can be totally redeemed with a win on the field tonight.

Let's GOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Mountaineers!!!!!!


Thankful Thursday

I'm not gonna lie. This is hard this week. Yes, I have MUCH to be thankful for. So. Much. But today, I am really feeling the hurt of what is I do not have. Last year it just never even entered my mind that I wouldn't at least be pregnant by this Thanksgiving. It is precisely days like today that I started this series of posts; why I decided that I needed to remind myself regularly of all that I have and all that I am blessed with. So, while my heart is heavy today, it is with deep gratitude for all that I have that I am writing.

This week, I am thankful for:

  • An opportunity to see Dr. S. in December. In less than one month.
  • A Thanksgiving Dinner with one part of my family.
  • The Backyard Brawl!
  • The Season of Advent - the opportunity to await a baby that has already come and saved us all from our crosses.
  • Breakfast with Kim yesterday.
  • Two sweet pups.
  • And so much more...
And I leave you with a quote I posted on Thanksgiving in 2009 that I think truly says it all about my intentions for these Thankful Thursdays:

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice.
~Meister Eckhart

What are you thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day?

(I was having linky troubles, so please just leave your links in the comments this week :). Thank-you!)


Wordless Wednesday

Scenes from NCYC 2011...

Eucharistic Procession into the Conference Center
Center Stage the First Evening
Bishop and Priests Venerating the Altar at the start of Mass Saturday night (please excuse the camera arm in the photo)
Bishop calling the Holy Spirit upon the sacrifice on the altar.
For more Wordless Wednesday click here.


Not Normal

Exactly 2 months ago, I was told everything is normal by my regular Ob/Gyn Midwife (how I have a midwife without a pregnancy is another story). I was devastated and lifted back up all on the same day and started to feel like I was on the path to answers.

Six weeks ago, the first signs of hope in a while started to appear with the beginnings of an answer at my first NaPro appointment.

And yesterday, P., my Nurse Practitioner called and I got some more of the picture.

There is evidence of insulin resistance. (For those of you who like the numbers my insulin went from 5.2 before drinking the orange drink to 42.8 after drinking it.)

My progesterone is too low. The highest it ever reached was 12.8 (17.8 is the goal).

My pre-peak estrogen is good, really good actually, at 293 (250 is the goal).

My ultrasound was normal.

For anyone who might be going 'that's great, but what in the heck did you just say?': This means my body produces too much insulin and this extra insulin can cause cysts to form on my ovaries blocking ovulation and when there is ovulation, the cysts can block the corpus luteum from producing enough progesterone (doing it's job).

I have a mild case of PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) with insulin resistance.

My thyroid is good and there is no evidence of diabetes.

There is a prescription for prometrium (to be taken P+3 through P+12 to increase my progesterone) and metformin (to keep my insulin lowers) waiting for me at the pharmacy.

Carbs and sugar are no longer my friend. *sniff* Chai from Starbucks I will miss you.

We are also awaiting the results of the se.men analysis. Please say a prayer that this goes well and the results are good. The Man is amazing and with every fiber of my being I want these results to come back better than normal. Let our problems be with me, not him.

I'm sort of stuck in the middle between being so grateful for some answers and wishing that everything were 'normal.' Between wanting to cheer with gratitude and wanting to burst into tears.

Oh and then there is the hope. The hope that maybe, just maybe, this journey is coming to an end. The hope that said immediately 'it's not P+3 yet this month you can start the prometrium right away.' The hope that was only tempered by the fears. The two sided fears of 'what if this doesn't work?' and 'what if this does work?' The hope that I will finally get to POAS and the fear of the of the result. The hope that the appointment with Dr. S for January will get to be cancelled. And the fear that it won't need to be cancelled. If I've ever needed God's Grace to handle this journey it is now.



What an amazing week! And the fact that I am saying that after spending 4 days with 23,000 teenagers is just a beautiful testament to God's Grace :).

Last Wednesday, I headed West on I-70 (is there a flatter road in this country? I'm thinking there is not.) towards Indianapolis to attend NCYC as our Diocesan Group Leader. And my first stop was at the home of the lovely Jenny from All Things. She and Daisy were so awesome to meet and hang out with for a couple of hours (the time flew by!). And Kali and Mei Mei say thank-you so much for the awesome treats! It was so great to talk in person with someone about our IF journey and not have to explain things - though Jenny had to do some explaining for me and she was so gracious. Daisy was so excited we were taking pictures, she decided to join us.

My next stop was my hotel. And dinner at the Colts Grille. I knew I should've packed my black and gold!

NCYC began on Thursday and was a truly amazing experience. Jamie at Roman Catholic Cop has a list of the top 15 things about NCYC and they are pretty right on target - I love that his #1 is time with his daughter. Emma is a sweet heart and it's so nice to see a teen who still enjoys hanging out with her dad. Jamie and I had plans to try to meet up at some point, but we didn't plan to run into each other on Thursday afternoon (even before the kids from WV arrived). Emma took this picture for us on Friday afternoon, thanks Emma!

Saturday evening was the culmination of the week with Mass. There are no words to describe what it's like to experience Mass with 25,000 other people. Truly amazing. Truly awesome. Truly hope-giving.

On Sunday, I got to sleep in a little and then headed towards home. BUT, I only had to go about 15 minutes before my first stop at Sarah from Fumbling Towards Grace's home. She was a lovely host and made yummy french toast with bacon and homemade applesauce. I've been reading Sarah's blog since I started blogging (I think I might have been reading her blog before I started my own) and was so excited to meet her and sweet Maggie (her husband too, of course!). We sat down to talk after brunch and the time flew by - it was like we've been friends forever.

I know my purpose for traveling west was for NCYC, and I loved every minute of the conference (though I am also quite sure that youth ministry is not for me, and I'm totally OK with that!), but where God was most present to me (other than in the sacraments of course!) was in my time with these three people. There is something about meeting someone face to face for the first time and there being zero awkwardness or need for small talk that is truly heart warming. It was in these conversations, these laughs, these hugs that the Body of Christ was truly evident to me.

Thank-you to both Jenny and Sarah for opening their homes to this girl from WV; for the laughter and the shared stories. Thank-you to Jamie for laughing with me at my silliness and sharing your sweet Emma with me. NCYC was amazing, but my trip to Indianapolis in 2011 will always be remembered for the times that we spent together.


Does the Fairy Tale Even Exist?

I saw this question posed on twitter the other night. My initial reaction was 'yep, I live it and I should blog about it.' But then, I thought, oh that would 'jinx' us wouldn't it? And that would come across as bragging wouldn't it? And, even worse, that might come across like we don't have any problems (or that I am in denial of those that exist).

And then I thought this:

Does the fairy tale exist? Yes.

My fairy tale includes a time when I almost threw it away before we were engaged. It includes spending 2 and 1/2 years of almost 14 living in separate towns - all of which after we were engaged, 6 months of which were after we were married. It includes a trial that had my mom wanting me to consider postponing our wedding and my dad saying 'this can't happen again.' It includes 2 surgeries in 2 years to fix the wrists that are so important to The Man's work. It includes filing for bankruptcy. And it includes infertility. And it includes other things.

Wait! You mean this 'stuff' wasn't in the fairy tales you watched or read as a child? It wasn't in the ones I watched either. And it wasn't what I pictured when I stayed after work one day to have wings with the cute boy who took the trash out for me the night before almost 14 years ago.

But it's still my fairy tale.

It's my fairy tale because through it all, The Man has been by my side. Together, we've faced 'sickness and health,' 'richer and poorer', and 'good times and bad,' and the fact that when presented with the question of whether or not the fairy tale existed, my first instinct, deep in the core of my being was 'YES!'

My fairy tale may have all of those 'bad' things above, but those 'bad' things are real. And they are what makes up the story of the two people who still love and laugh every day. They are what make up the fairy tale of our life. It might not be cartoon-movie worthy, but it is our life. And for every sickness there is health; for every poorer there is a richer; and for every bad time there are a hundred good times.

So, as I consider the question 'does the fairy tale even exist?' I say 'YES!' with a confidence that only comes from living through the bads. I say 'YES!' knowing there will be more bad in our future. And I say 'YES!' with the anticipation of what lies ahead.

Our fairy tale exists because we choose for it to exist. We choose love and laughter. We choose 'happily ever after' in the face of adversity.

I needed this reminder. I needed to remember that The Man and I know how to get through tough times. That if our infertility is truly an inability to have children we will get through it. That, what we have said from the very beginning of 'us' is true - that as long as we have each other we have everything we truly need. And that is why I say the fairy tale does exist; that is why my answer is yes.


Thankful Thursday

This week, I am thankful for:

  • Safe travels to Indianapolis for the National Catholic Youth Conference.
  • An awesome travel snack package put together for me by The Man. It had everything {this} girl could want: Vitamin Waters; Twizzlers; Almonds; Banana Chips; Air Heads (don't judge :)); Apples; Oranges; and Sweet Potato Chips! It was all packaged in an awesome hand made basket he bought for me. I SO appreciated not having to stop for fast food on the way.
  • Blogger meet-ups galore! Yesterday I met the beautiful and kind Jenny (and Daisy!) from All Things; sometime in the next couple of days I'll get to meet Jamie from Roman Catholic Cop; and on Sunday I get to meet Sarah (and 'Atticus,' Maggie, and Sirius!) from Fumbling Towards Grace! I will post pictures (from my new camera and using my new SD card reader) early next week. I've learned my lesson and will not procrastinate this part!
  • A job that gives me lots of opportunities to travel.
  • The opportunity to learn and grow from all of the adults and teens that will be at NCYC this week.
What are you thankful for this week? I will be taking time during Adoration on Friday to say special prayers of thanks for all of the things you are thankful for this week, so be sure to link your post or leave your gratitudes in the comments.


My Camera

Well, it turns out that the 'robber' (can you really call the person that since I conveniently left my doors unlocked for him/her?) did get something valuable out of my car...

My camera...

With the memory card in it...

That had the pictures of my meet-up with Joy (I'm SO sorry Joy!); those of our goddaughter's baptism; and the ones from my cousin's wedding last weekend.

The camera can be replaced, in fact, I'm picking up a new one tomorrow (thank-you to The Man for not being too upset and understanding that I will beat myself up more over this than anyone else could).

It just makes me ill. I'm still glad that my rosary wasn't taken, but I'm so mad at myself for leaving my car unlocked (we don't have a garage or anything like that). I know better.

When do we get a break? Even if it's only from my own stupidity.


Thankful Thursday

This week, I am thankful for:

  • Warm, fall weather. It's coming to an end today, but it's been awesome while it lasted.
  • The end of the blood draws for my hormone panel.
  • Amazon Prime. A new SD Card reader should be here tomorrow. (I realized, even if I ordered the one with WiFi, it didn't help me with getting the pictures on my current card onto my computer. Yes, I realize if I had not thrown away the handy cord that came with my camera I would not be having this problem. Details.)
  • That the person who got into my (unlocked) car the other night took only change and my phone charger - not the rosary that is made from the rose petals from my Pap's funeral or the single decade chaplet my mom recently brought me from the Vatican.
  • For the opportunity to spend time with family I rarely see this coming weekend.
Please link your Thankful Thursday post up below. It is one of the best parts of my week to pray with gratitude for the gifts in your lives.


My Friend, I Care

Don't tell me that you understand, don't tell me that you know.
Don't tell me that I will survive, how I will surely grow.
Don't tell me this is just a test, that I am truly blessed.
That I am chosen for the task, apart from all the rest.
Don't come at me with answers that can only come from me,
Don't tell me how my grief will pass, that I will soon be free.
Don't stand in pious judgment of the bonds I must untie,
Don't tell me how to grieve, don't tell me when to cry.
My life is filled with selfishness, my pain is all I see,
But I need you and your love...Unconditionally.
Accept me in my ups and downs, I need someone to share,
Just hold my hand and let me cry, and say, "My friend, I care."
~Author Unknown


Winners and Results

Congratulations to...

Joy, Ania, and Tooje!!!!!
You are the winners of the 25 Free Christmas Cards! Email me at RebeccaWVU02 at gmail dot com and I will send you the details!

And the results of the Big Idea Poll are:
More details to come...

I love starting the week off with good news :).


Quick Takes

7 quick takes sm1 Your 7 Quick Takes Toolkit!
1. Wow. Somehow it's been a busy week around here. First, thank-you all so much for your prayers for Cody.

2. Don't forget today is the last day (both end at 9:00pm EDT) to enter the contest to win free Christmas cards AND to vote in the polls on my sidebar as to your choices for the Big Idea (I really need to come up with a 'cool' name for this).

3. I'm missing my 2nd home football game in 2 years tomorrow.  (After an 8-year streak of not missing any :( ). Once again, this one is for a wedding. This time it's my cousin. The last of the 'adult' cousins to get married on my mom's side.  The next wave of family weddings won't be for at least 10 years or so. That makes me kinda sad.

4. Speaking of football, it's official, WVU is FINALLY in the Big XII. It only took them long enough! I'm just glad we are off the sinking ship that is the Big East.

5. Tomorrow should be my last blood draw for my hormone panel that is being done this cycle. I was actually totally calm, cool, and collected about this whole thing until driving home from the lab last night. It's starting to sink in that we may just be on the path to some answers, and the fears are creeping up again. As CD1 is approaching, I'm sure a whole post will follow.

6. I bought The Man sock monkey slippers (after seeing Mary's post about hers). He loved them. If you follow me on Twitter, you've already seen that he didn't even wait to take of his shirt, tie, and dress pants before putting them on :).

7. I have so many pictures to upload, including ones of Joy and me, of the baptism last weekend, and more. Sadly, I have misplaced the usb card reader to get the pictures from the memory card onto my computer. I'm giving it until Sunday to reappear and then I'll be buying a new one.

Have a great weekend! Don't forget to visit Jen for more Quick Takes!