Saturday, May 30, 2015

Oh... just a side trip to Warner Bros

Baby and I decided to go visit Sean at his work.  As an outsider I think its pretty cool that he works at Warner Bros and it's always a little intimidating when I go to visit because you have to check in with security and all.  But for Sean, its just work.

I went for the lunch hour.  He quickly showed me his work area and met his coworkers and then we went to the commissary.  Unfortunately there were no celebrity sightings.  :)  I'm proud of my honey and all the work he does at WB.  He's been lucky to work on a wide range of projects and most of the time he doesn't even get credit for them.  His latest credited project is Age of Adaline so look for his name in the credits!  Check out his IMDB for a portion of his projects.

Ellen must be off for the summer cause her car wasnt there

We decided to walk around some of the back lot before I left

The famous ER street

Memorial Day Adventures

We used to get out and do more activities but since I've been pregnant our adventures have been at a minimal.  I wanted to change that for Memorial Day weekend.

On Saturday after running some errands we went to Mountasia where we did a round of mini golf.  We were pleasantly surprised that I got buy one get one free with my AAA membership card.  Score!  I'm not surprised that Sean beat me by several strokes.

Afterwards we decided to eat some Chinese but since it was a tad bit early for the dinner hour we decided to walk through some model homes for the heck of it.  We do this occasionally for fun but lately I've been disappointed with the new houses.  They aren't even close to a "dream" home for me.  But we did go through on that evening that was pretty close.  Other than the awkward "retreat" that is in the master bedroom, it was as close as you could get to a "dream" home.

Our Chinese meal was sub par, we've been spoiled by our favorite restaurant in Glendale (which to our chagrin shut down so we can't even venture out there anymore) so its going to take a lot for us to like a new place.

I was excited for Monday for the activity that I was most looking forward to.  We hiked Mount Pinos.  About 2 months ago we went to Yosemite and I spent two days doing a lot of hiking and it triggered some muscle and ligament pains so I learned from my mistakes to have a better experience at Mount Pinos.  Namely, I wore a maternity belt to give support to my ever growing belly.

Sean recently went on a camping trip in the area and reported back to me that it was very foresty (one of the things I lament about the mountains here in So Cal is that they aren't foresty enough for me).  He thought I would really enjoy the area.  I had a friend tell me that her favorite place to hike was Mount Pinos so I told Sean I really wanted to go.  We had to buy an Adventure Pass from Big 5 for $5 but that was such a small price to pay (Sean lamented that we should have bought the annual pass instead of the day pass).  We drove up the 5 freeway and in less than an hour we felt lands away.

I was told the hike was 1.5 miles to the top but it did feel more than that.  We arrived a little before lunch so a portion into our hike we found some rocks and sat down to eat our sandwiches and snacks.  There were several groups of hikers on the path but not so many that I felt crowded or that I couldn't enjoy hiking by ourselves in the forest.  We eventually made it to the top and I loved the view.  We could even spot the mosaics of the fields of the San Joaquin valley.  I didn't realize you could see Mount Pinos from that side of the mountain range, we'll have to check that out next time we go to visit my parents.

I was tired by the time we made it back to our car and my feet were hurting like crazy, but I don't regret going.  I think I inspired some people along the way, they saw a 8 month pregnant woman and probably thought, if she can do it, I can do it.  There even was a woman on the trail who looked  more pregnant than I was!
Our lunch rocks

A lot of the trees had branches growing downwards and at very weird angles.  I couldn't come up with a reason why.

My honey on the trail!

Me and baby posing on the top.

The terrain changed near the top to a large meadow area. 

Probably cant see but in the distance you can see the Valley

More views from on top.

I was glad to get out of town and out on another adventure.  As I head into the last of my pregnancy these outings will be inevitably coming to an end so I want to get out as much as I can now.  Thanks to an amazing husband who humors me with my adventures.  He doesn't like hiking but he likes hiking with me and I love him for that.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Keeping Busy with Projects

I've had an up and down time with being a stay at home wife these past couple of months.  I'll start a project that will literally take up all my time for a couple of weeks and then I would have a couple of weeks of total boredom while I figure my next project.  Having projects to do around the house is the only way to stay sane.

I've done a lot of projects.  From cleaning out old file cabinets to packing up things to store in the garage.  I have also been spending a lot of time doing Spring Cleaning.  That's taken up a lot of time because in reality we weren't able to clean our house as extensively as I would have liked when we first moved in. 

There were some home improvement projects that I completed that I have to say I was quite proud of.  I've mentioned some of these in a previous post.  Some of the caulking in our shower was getting moldy so I spent a lot of time on my hands and knees scraping out the junk, cleaning it up and then putting in new caulk.  At the same time our shower head was leaking and after some youtube searches discovered I needed to replace the cartridge behind the handle.  I handled that all by myself (pun intended).  I also took on a reupholstery project for our piano bench.  The one I'm most proud of is refinishing a damaged dresser that Sean had from his single days. 

It was really damaged with gouges, burn marks, missing sections and all around wear.  My handy skills at wood putty and sanding made it look almost like new.  We painted it a neutral color because it was to be baby's dresser and we didn't know what we were having at the time.  It ended up working out quite nicely because we ended up getting a gray crib to match the dresser.  This project ended up costing barely anything because we ended up using paint that we had left over from our rooms.

Unfortunately I forgot to take a complete "before" photo.  This was the dresser that we later learned was a art deco dresser designed to be affordable for the everyday American to buy.

Nice burn marks we had to get rid of.
Gouges all over especially on the curved edges.
Wear on the top of the dresser.
Some of the veneer was missing on the drawers

Pretty much all the drawers had damage like this.

This was our finished product.  I even lined the inside with colorful fabric.  We love everything about it and just so happens to match the crib that we bought.  Guess we unintentionally created a gray and white theme for our nursery.

Sean has been super busy over the last couple of months at work and has even worked weekends so I knew I couldn't rely on him to do some of these projects (although he did paint the dresser since those fumes would have been extra bad for me and baby).  I was very proud of myself for doing them and Sean was grateful that he didn't have to do them either.  :)

That's my'll steal another....

Awww, Newsies.  Such catchy lines and toe tapping music.  Awesome cult classic.  When they announced that it would be brought to Broadway I knew that it would eventually travel and come to LA and I would HAVE to see it.  That day came last April.

I got an email for pre-sale tickets and by the time I looked the selection was already minimal.  This was a very hot ticket.  We splurged and got really good seats and my parents drove down to go with us. 

The story line was slightly different and there were new songs and even the old songs had lines that were slightly tweaked (which made it hard to sing along too, you know in my head) but overall it was an excellent production.  The audience was very involved too which was a new experience for me.  There were standing ovations for songs other than the last one.  And all the fans went wild when Crutchy did a move that was in the movie (I have to admit I was one of them).  I highly recommend the show to anyone.

Their set was amazing because it would move to take on different shapes for different scenes.  They also projected images that helped move the story along.  The engineering of it was great.

The Pantages Theater is a really cool theater to visit.  If you havent visited, you must go to a show.

Afterwards we went to a bar called 33 Taps for dinner.  My parents had fish and chips which we all sampled and declared it was the best fish and chips we've ever had and Sean had the Jambalaya which he said was one of the bests he's ever had so this place definitely gets 2 thumbs up.

Living in the suburbs means we don't get to LA that often so I was happy for the excuse to go to Hollywood and have some fun for the day. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Some thoughts on infertility...

A couple of weeks ago was Infertility Awareness Week and I thought maybe I should share some of my own thoughts.  Actually I’m a little surprised I haven’t done this sooner.  While we were going through treatments I would formulate in my mind the blogs that I wanted to write to tell the world what I was thinking (mainly about how I was being treated as a person with no kids).  But as soon as we got pregnant I kinda lost the drive.  It was kinda like, well we got pregnant why go back to where we were. 

But the truth is, we were a couple that struggled with infertility and even though during most of it I didn’t FEEL like an infertile couple (cause I saw light at the end of the tunnel), it’s a part of who we were and are.

So what are my thoughts on infertility?  Where to begin? 

First off, every infertile couple is different.  Different in how they react to their situation and different in how they want to be reacted to.  And the hard truth is you may be associating with an infertile couple without even knowing it.  This makes it difficult to know how to act and unfortunately there is no universal answer. 

I’ve come across a blog of an infertile couple who have cried themselves to sleep every. Single. Night.  I’ve also come across an article detailing how a woman refused to go to a baby shower because it hurt too much and expected her friend to understand not to expect her to be happy for her. 

These are extremes that Sean and I can’t relate to.  In fact on numerous occasions we felt left out on purpose because we didn’t have kids.  I just told Sean the other day how hard it was moving into our new church community.  I sat by each Sunday seeing how all the new moms were welcomed and included while no one attempted to friendship me.  I get it, you have kids the same age and that makes you have something in common.  Regardless, I felt very excluded because of our childless situation (and of course it was made worse because we were trying to get pregnant). 

And its not something that I’m making up.  People flat out told us we weren’t invited because we didn’t have kids and they thought we wouldn’t want to come.  That hurt.  Of course we want to feel included.  Another situation that hurt was having a couple hesitate on telling us they were pregnant.  I understand they wanted to be mindful of our situation but we were so happy for the couple that it made me frustrated that they felt like they couldn’t celebrate because of me.  Go ahead and celebrate.  Goodness knows I was going to celebrate when it happened to me!  At least someone was getting pregnant.

On one hand, you have the lady who refuses to go to a baby shower and you have us who were dying to get invited to kid friendly get togethers.  You see how difficult it can be to know what to do? It is a difficult situation no matter how you slice it. 

You can google “what to say (or not to say) to an infertile couple” and there will be many lists (for the record, some I agree with and some I don’t’), but I would like to share with you my personal top points that bothered me the most.

·      Don’t dismiss their situation or make it seem like an easy fix. 

There’s a lot that can be covered by this sentence.  DON’T tell them they should enjoy the peace while they can because kids can be cah-razy.  DON’T tell them how they should approach their infertility (“don’t waste too much time and money on treatments just go for adoption if its not working out” or “just use your sister as a surrogate”).   And DON’T tell them, you’re young!  You have plenty of time to have a kid!  I’ve been told all of these and I wanted to punch the people in their faces.

·      Don’t assume who’s at fault. 

The surrogate comment from above really frustrated me because that person assumed I was the reason why we couldn’t get pregnant.  Infertility is something you struggle together whether it’s because of the woman’s condition, the man’s condition or partly both (or you just don’t know). In addition, don’t use the word “fault.”  That makes it sound like they are guilty of something.  Someone told us once, I know its not your fault but I’ve waited a long time for you guys to have a kid….Really?  You’re blaming us for making you wait?

·      Don’t abuse someone’s trust in you.

Just because they told you about their infertility issues doesn’t give you the right to go share it with other people.  There were a couple of people who knew of our situation and I was constantly worried that they would go gossip it around to their friends or family.  It caused me to be on edge whenever I was in public with these people.  Also, just because you’ve been told doesn’t give you the right to ask whatever question you want.  I wasn’t perfect but when I told people of our situation I tried to explain how I wanted to be treated and the type of questions I was willing to answer.  Some people ignored this and asked too personal of questions that I didn’t want to answer.  This made me super uncomfortable and when I tried to be evasive I was seen as the rude one.  A good rule of thumb here is be a good listener and wait for them to bring it up to discuss it.

Since you may not know the closet infertile couples in your community I would like to share some insights on how to better behave in public (aka so you don’t inadvertently frustrate/offend/upset an infertile couple).

·      NEVER ASK WHEN SOMEONE IS HAVING A KID.  It could not be any simpler.  Even if you think you are best friends with someone (or are their family member).  Having a kid is very personal and its not something to bring up as light dinner conversation. I cant tell you the NUMEROUS times I’ve been in a public setting where my heart was racing because I felt for sure someone was going to ask me that question. 
And please don’t ask when someone is having another kid.  Secondary infertility is a situation that is definitely on par with primary infertility.  I know a handful of people who suffer from this and their awkward moments with unwanted questions are just as offensive as those who don’t have kids.  Learn new social skills and questions if this is your back up topic of conversation.

·      Avoid speaking in absolutes.  This may sound funny and is probably best explained by examples (which some of these may be reminiscent of all the “mommy war” battle lines).  I read an article once of a woman struggling with infertility asking her mother (who knew of her situation) what she thinks is the epitome of life—what makes it all worth it.  Her mother’s response, her children.  Now on the surface that may seem good and dandy but think about what the daughter heard.  You’re only worth something if you have children and since you cant have children your life will never be fulfilling.  

I’ve heard other absolutes that have rubbed me the wrong way.  You must have kids 3 years apart because that is what’s best (I don’t have that luxury if I want the number of kids I want) or of course she will go back to work because she’s a successful and smart professional (so you’re saying if my life’s goal is to stay home with kids than I am unintelligent and dumb) or of course she’ll stay at home with the kids (so you’re saying my career and interests mean nothing) or she had a kid at 41, I would never do that because that is way to old to have a kid (what if I am healthy and really want another kid).  Go ahead and share your opinions but remember everyone has different personalities, strengths and situations that what worked best for you wont work best for them.

Which leads me to…

·      Don’t gossip about people and their situation with family or friends.  You may not think it does any harm but I believe it fuels preconceived ideas that affect how you view people especially as time goes by.  I was always conscious of the fact that I thought people were gossiping about us and why we weren’t having kids yet and it made me feel very uncomfortable.  It also made me feel like I wasn’t of value unless I had a family. 

Now as an aside I have to say something about Mother’s Day since it’s coming up (this is a HUGE soap box moment for me so I’ll try to keep it short and as sweet as possible).   You’ll find that my opinion is VERY different from what is suggested on how to treat infertile couples on Mother’s Day.  Simply put, if am not a mother don’t wish me Happy Mother’s Day (for the record so I don’t sound totally anti, since I’m pregnant I can be wished Happy Mother’s Day).

Now I know people use the statement, “but aren’t we all mothers in a sense”, to justify this accolade.  Ok I get that but acknowledge me for what I am and not for what I am not.  If you think I’m a great wife who has taken care of our family of two than acknowledge that.  If you think that I am a great Aunt who has cared for and at times taught or molded your children then have my nieces and nephews call and talk to me about it.  If you think I am a great friend and confidant, then send me a sweet email to tell me of a specific time I’ve inspired you.  Just don’t cop out and say, since we’re all mothers in one way or form, Happy Mother’s Day.  (And don’t get me started on how Mother’s Day is treated at church—that is a whole ‘nother soap box for another day)

Summary of this post?  Yes it appears to be a bit of a rant of bottled-up feelings on how I was treated as a childless person.  Other blogs and articles will share other (maybe even more positive) information with a lot more general advice.  But to be honest, this has been a bit cathartic for me.  I believe God gives us trials so that we can help and be empathetic to others in similar situations.  Hopefully my advice will inspire and change some readers to reflect on their social practices with those around them.  If you change for the better than my trial has not been in vain. 

My heart goes out to those who have had to suffer more than us, through procedures, miscarriages and failures.  All I can say to those couples is to find comfort in each other and try to enjoy (not just endure) the journey.  Sean and I had an amazing six years together where we’ve had tons of fun and grew closer than we could ever imagine.  In the end, I wouldn’t give up those years.  We talk about how drastically different our lives would be if we had kids 4 years ago.  It wasn’t what we wanted or expected but it ended up being just how it should be.  Love yourself and love your spouse and put your faith in God and everything will be ok.