And so it began...

I suppose the first thought readers possess when searching a blog like this is "so what's your story". It's a fair question and as we may be getting to know each other for a some time, I am certainly game to share.

So...where to begin.  I know! I'm K.  I'm 35 years young though knocking on the door of no more ease in fertility.  I always knew I wanted to be a mother.  Before I wanted to be a wife or professional or dreamer or anything else in the world, I always knew I wanted to be a mom.
When my little cousins and I would play house as children, I was always the mother.  I was sweet and kind, fair and not too strict.  I relished that role and just knew that I would wear it in reality one day.  And my reality kind of went that way...kind of.

After a pretty enjoyable life of business travel, new adventures, and around the clock business meetings, two lines on a plastic cartridge changed my life forever.  I was suddenly aware that my plan of having a child at 30 with a handsome husband and a mahogany wood fenced home (okay, so I had a vivid imagination) had been quite artistically edited to now be a 26 year old single working mother.  And strangely, I was okay with that.  I rolled with the punches, adjusted schedules and travel, and kept it moving.

After a long series of twists and turns which I may share one day, I met the man who would one day become my husband.  Some years after our initial meeting and after years of friendship, this man and I had our first date.  A year later, this man had my son walk down the aisle of a church to assist him in proposing to me.  A year after that?  This same man became husband to me and a bonus father to our son.  (Awwwwwww)

It's Fall!!!!




So, I'd originally planned on posting this yesterday because it was officially my favorite time of the year...FALL!!!!  BUT....it was 80+ degrees here with humidity.  It certainly didn't seem like fall to me. Oh but when I stepped outside my doors this morning?  Brrrrr!!!!  I needed a jacket and actually turned on the heat this morning in my car lol!  Yep, that did it lol!  Yay!!!!!!!!!!  It's Fall!!

Photo credits:Weather.com
Photo Taken in Arkansas City, KS by stelon
I love Fall.  No, seriously!  I really love the fall.  The leaves change colors on the trees; there are fall festivals and family traditions that I like to share with the family.  Shoot, last year this time, I was already planning things that I'd like to do.  This year Honeybee will actually be able to enjoy some of these activities with us.  I'm so excited to share my love of the Fall with her and hopefully, she'll grow up loving the Fall too.  I know my Superbug already does.  His favorite has to be going to the pumpkin patch and picking up a bag of kettle corn on the way back. Thinking about the fun Superbug and I usually have made me wonder about what other fun things we could get into this season.

Fall Bucket List from SimplyKierste.com
Check the paragraph for her direct link!
I decided to Google "Fall Activities" and I came across this really cool Fall Bucket List from Simply Kierste.com. I actually came across it Googling "Fall Activities".  I liked it so much that I left a comment on her page and asked if I could share it on my little personal blog (and all four of my family followers lol).  She was gracious enough to say yes and even allowed me to share the photo of the bucket list provided I give a link back to her.  Of course!!!  So, I'm sharing this list below and am super excited to try most of the things on the list!  I'm also planning on adding some things of our own and trying to complete them all by season's end.  It'll be a lot of fun to try!

I am not too sure if we'll get to do the jump in the leaves.  We don't have a large tree with leaves but I'm betting I can find some friends who will love having Superbug rake leaves before we jump in!

I'm so excited.  It's FALL!!!!

-WinterMommy

Our Initial Consult

Today was our first consultation with our Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE).  I wasn't nervous because I honestly had no idea what to expect.  I didn't know if we were going to go in and they would already have a suggested "do it this way" guide or if we would get a bunch of shrugged shoulders. Fortunately for us, we received peace.

From the moment we entered the facility, we were put at ease.  The staff was all courteous and everyone greeted us with a smile.  We turned in our pre-filled paperwork listing how long we'd been trying to conceive, my pregnancy history, our sexual history, etc.  Shortly after arriving, I was called into the back to get the ever dreaded weigh in and height.  Nothing out of range, but I was not happy to see that I had re-acquired that pesky ten that I'd lost last summer.  And then, S. (hubby) and I waited.

In about ten minutes, we were called into the back office and met with our RE who was one of the most professional, warm, and engaging woman I've ever met.  I could understand why her reviews were so high.  She went over our forms including my Ob/Gyn records, asked us some follow-on questions, answered our questions, and then immediately discussed what they [the facility] would do to get to the bottom of why we couldn't conceive on out own.

She ordered a full blood panel including STD tests and an Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) for me.  She ordered the same panel for S. and a sperm analysis for him as well.  She answered our questions regarding how much IUIs cost versus IVFs and the options that were associated with each and then introduced us to our personal nurse, A. who would be helping us on our journey.

She gave us a folder with step by step instructions for everything that we'd discussed and information of how and when to have the HSG done.  We left her office feeling pleased that we had a plan and a direction.  I stopped by the front desk and made an appointment for the HSG and a follow-up appointment to return.  S. made an appointment for specimen drop off.  We were/are officially in business.

Here are a few of the questions we asked our RE.  I got the list from Medicinenet.com.  I didn't ask all of these questions, but some were pretty relevant to our needs:

  1. If the reason for my infertility is unclear, what diagnostic tests do you recommend? What is the likelihood that each of these tests will establish a diagnosis? Are there any risks associated with the testing? Does my partner need additional testing?
  2. What type of treatment would you recommend trying first? Does this treatment involve surgery, medications, or both? What are the risks of treatment?
  3. In your practice, how often does this treatment result in pregnancy? (Be sure to determine whether your doctor is talking about pregnancy rates or live-birth rates when discussing specific treatments so you can make adequate comparisons. For example, a treatment may have a 30% pregnancy rate per cycle but only a 25% live-birth rate due to early miscarriages.)
  4. Are less-invasive or more conservative treatments available? How do these compare with your recommended treatment in terms of risks and success rates?
  5. How many cycles of treatment would you recommend before trying another option? Do you recommend skipping a menstrual cycle between treatment cycles?
  6. Are there any lifestyle modifications that might help my condition and increase my chances of getting pregnant?
  7. (If this is an acceptable option for you) Would you recommend treatments using donor eggs and/or sperm? Does your clinic or practice offer these options?
  8. What is my prognosis? In your opinion, how likely is fertility treatment to be successful for me? (While no doctor can give you an exact answer to this question, taking into account your personal medical information and age, your doctor's past experiences may allow him or her to roughly estimate whether you will have an average, below-average, or above-average chance of success).
  9. What does treatment cost? Does my insurance cover any of the medications, hospital charges, or doctor's visits? If I must pay out-of-pocket, do you offer any special payment plans?
REFERENCE: MescapeReference. Infertility.Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/12/2014

Weekend Recap: Faith Forward & Family Fellowship

What a great weekend it has been.  Friday evening, our family went to a Young Adult Fellowship where we discussed Gifts of the Spirit.  It was an amazing discussion and tied perfectly with the bible class that I am taking.  After the teaching and discussion, the remaining attendees played Headbandz while the children played in the playroom downstairs.  If you haven't played, please do.  We did a girls against boys and teaming and it was hilarious.  Can I tell you how funny it was seeing grown men try and act out what an aardvark was.  FUNNY!!!   When our eyelids got heavy, we made our way home and put the children to bed.  Then, FatherWinter and I enjoyed a bit of us time discussing the bible study we'd had that evening and family plans for future events.  It was such a great evening.

Saturday morning, after prepping a healthy breakfast for the family, I went to choir rehearsal with the same young adults from Friday evening.  We had an amazing rehearsal and a wonderful fellowship. There is something about 18 to 30-somethings spending time together singing and worshiping God through song.  We are preparing for our church's annual Homecoming.  There will be a lot of familiar faces that we don't usually get to see since everyone has grown and gone off to college or gotten married and started their lives in other places.  I know the feeling from my home church and am really looking forward to this service and day.   It will be a lot of hard work, but a lot of blessed fun.

When I returned to the house after rehearsal, we spent the rest of the day as a family--just enjoying each other's company minus the time we let Superbug ride his bike with his friends.  It was the perfect time for movies and new recipes.   I love my family.  I'm so blessed to have them in my life!

Today, we went to church, had a dynamic fellowship, and took Holy Communion.  There was a fantastic message about what happens when you follow Christ from a distance and was referring to after Jesus was seized and Peter followed Him from the safety of the courtyard, and subsequently denied him three times.  I tell you I really enjoyed the sermon.  After church was over and we said our goodbyes to friends and family, we settled in at home for family discussions, outside play, and catching up on Disney movies.  We allowed Superbug to stay up a bit past his bedtime to catch Sunday night football and afterwards called it a night.

While this weekend didn't seem that eventful for us as a family, it was a great time of fellowship for us.  I am so very blessed to be mother to my two wonderful children and wife to my wonderful husband.  Every day I'm reminded of more and more ways I am blessed just by loving them and being loved in return.  God truly is good and I truly love Him.

Have a good evening.
-WinterMommy

Our Summer Recap

It's over....sigh.  Summer is unofficially over.  It was a wonderful ride, but it's time to return to the normalcy of all things school and responsibility.  Usually, this is the point where I share our weekend recap, but since we've officially hit the last event on our "summer calendar", I thought it appropriate to give a belated summer recap and reflect on all the things that God has allowed us to enjoy and experience this summer.

1.  Placement Agreement

Before an official summer kick-off, we were blessed to sign Honeybee's adoption placement agreement. After such a long and arduous process, we were finally able to start the legal finalization proceedings that would lead to our Honeybee becoming a legal forever member of our family!  Even though we are still waiting for everything to be finalized, we are very close and I couldn't be more excited!



2.  Family Vacation

We kicked off our summer with a family vacation to the Sunshine State.  We were blessed to have FatherWinter's sister and her family join us and also FatherWinter's brother and his family join in. Theme park fun, tasty food, long car drives, magic shows, and tons of rain.  It was a pretty great time.





3.  Reading 

Superbug is just like his Mommy and loves to read. So this summer, it wasn't unusual to catch him curled up in his favorite reading chair reading new adventures.




He's been reading the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and has really been enjoying them. What's awesome is his little sister has been observing him read and now sits in her seat or beside him to "read" her book as well. Looks like we will have another budding avid reader on board.

We've also enjoyed some pretty cool family memories from "camping" to weddings to birthdays. I didn't get to do all that I wanted to do with the kids this year, but I'm definitely thankful for the things that we were able to do.






Without a doubt, we had a great summer.   I'm looking forward to similar family memories this Fall.

-WinterMommy

Happy Birthday, Superbug!!!

Nine years ago today I was blessed to give birth to the most amazing, handsome, and special little boy that I have ever known.  What a perfect gift he was and what a perfect gift he is.  Happy birthday to my amazing, wonderful, kinds, sweet, loving, Superbug!  I love you very much!

Happy Birthday, Superbug!!!

Explaining 9/11

Photo Credit:  Google Search
When the first plane hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center, I was a senior in college and I was asleep. It was a Tuesday and I’d had a class schedule that meant my first class wouldn’t begin until 1PM. I hadn’t planned on waking up until much later that day, so I was more than annoyed when a girlfriend called and woke me up out of a restful slumber.

“Girl! Are you watching TV”

I remember sighing and asking her what channel and remember her asking me what channel I had. That shook me and I turned on the television just in time to see the second plane slam into the South Tower. I hung up the phone and ran into my best friend/college apartment mate’s room. I swung open the door and she stared at me wrapped in the arms of her boyfriend (now husband). Tears streamed down her face. I knew immediately it was no accident.

That day was a sad combination of raw emotion. I remember throwing on clothes and sobbing with relief as my mother picked up the phone from Jersey. She was at work, mere Life Flight moments from the destruction and could see the smoke from the roof. She begged me to stay inside because she feared more attacks and I told her I couldn’t because I had “a job to do”. I remember changing clothes, grabbing my reporter’s pad, and heading out. Somewhere along the line I ran into my male best friend and heart string. He and I walked together to the college auditorium where there was standing room only while our chancellor gave a speech about the tragic events, why classes would not be cancelled “because he would not let them win”, and how we needed to pray. I remember my friend praying with me and keeping me calm despite not hearing from his family at the Pentagon and in DC. I remember his walking me to my 1PM class and telling me to go straight to class and then to go home, that he loved me, and that everything would be alright. That was 14 years ago and I remember almost every detail like it was yesterday.

In recent years, I have shown Superbug pictures and articles of that day. I showed him the slide show that showed the destruction of the towers. I showed him the candlelight vigils. Last year, when he asked why the people didn’t come down the stairs, I showed him the captured of pictures of those who jumped because of the heat of the flames and being blocked from any other way.

When we discussed 9/11, we discussed people who executed a terror attack because they believed they were within their right to do so. He asked what I was doing on that fateful day, how I felt, and if I think about the day anymore. As he gets older, he doesn’t ask about it as often. I suppose it is similar to thoughts I had about Pearl Harbor. I was aghast at the attack and could only imagine what my great-grandmother felt, but I couldn’t quite relate and some how felt a safety bubble that it wouldn’t happen again. At least I did.

I hope and pray that Superbug and Honeybee never experience a moment of profound historical significance as 9/11 or Pearl Harbor. While it is always important to #NeverForget, let us hope and pray that the next generation won’t have such a moment to recall.

-WinterMommy

Weekend Recap: Labor Day Fun

What a great weekend it has been.  It's the unofficial last weekend of summer.  Come tomorrow morning all students in the area will have officially started school for the 2015-16 school year.  This weekend's recap is dedicated to family.  May we always be blessed....

Saturday morning found FatherWinter and Superbug attending a family church function.  Our church's Deacon Ministry hosted a free bowling event.  I decided to stay at home with Honeybee to prep some of the food for our cookout later in the day and also knock out a couple of errands.  I so appreciated being able to get things done without the extra tails.




FatherWinter is a fan of my slow cooker ribs and asked if I would make two racks for the cookout. I had to smile at that. For my husband to request a dish to be made is a true compliment. I love my ribs too and they are so easy to prepare.

But I have to be honest.  It's not really my recipe.  It's a combination of recipes that work together for a creation of something ultimately yummy.  (If you're interested, feel free to click here for the base recipe.  ) Shortly after the guys arrived, the baked beans entered the oven and the corn on the cob was placed on the stove.  It wasn't too long after that guests/family started arriving.  The kids, of course, were thrilled with the key entertainment.

The moon bounce
The moon bounce was FatherWinter's idea.  I came home on Friday and he was on the phone with a local inflatables renter.  We were expecting about 20 kids so he thought it a great idea to have something else besides the playroom to occupy them.  He was right.  The moon bounce was delivered Saturday morning and Superbug was so excited to test it out.  As our guests arrived later in the day, every child was more than anxious to go to it first.

Once the majority of our guests arrived and the food was blessed, we allowed the youngest (in utero to 5) get their plates first and then every one else followed after.  It was a great time.  The guys ended up in the basement and  man cave discussing basketball.  The ladies found ourselves in the kitchen and family room.  The kids in the playroom when not moonbouncing.  It was just a really great and fun time.





After dinner,  several of us participated in our annual NFL Fantasy Football draft.  I've been participating since dating FatherWinter and can tell you I really enjoy it.  Our family is extremely competitive.  I lost solely on an error in the championship game last year and was determined not to do the same this year.  But this year's draft was a lot harder than it has been in the past.  It seemed like the clock was moving like wildfire!

I wish I could have gotten some pictures of the event for you, but intense.  No time for snapping photos when you're trying to assemble a world class team!

I suppose the highlight of Saturday evening was when we surprise Superbug with a birthday surprise.  Since we'll be at a wedding on his actual birthday weekend, we decided to have a gigantic birthday cake for him.  During the cookout, FatherWinter had him go upstairs and "clean up" a bit in his room. While Superbug went upstairs, all the attendees gathered downstairs in the basement beside me holding a huge sheet cake.

FatherWinter called Superbug and when he walked into the room, everyone started singing Happy Birthday to him.




Superbug's face was priceless.  He told us that he was very surprised, but got why we'd sent him to his room to clean a room that was already pretty clean.  After enjoying cake and second and third helpings of dinner, we celebrated and said our final goodbyes to our guests about Sunday morning.  As FatherWinter and I sat and discussed the evening, we both agreed that it was a pretty great event.  
Sunday morning saw us wake much later than usual.  Both FatherWinter and I had stuffy noses and I had horrible headaches.  We missed church and stayed in PJs with the kids most of the day.

Fortunately for us, there were plenty of leftovers to heat up and a Disney family movie marathon on television.  We watched Cars 2, Ratatouille, Tangled, and a few more shows until Mommy and Daddy started feeling better.

And today?  Today was just prep mode.  Back to school lunches are packed.  Outfits have been selected and everyone is nestled snugly in their beds.  Definitely my favorite part of the evening.

Here's looking forward to great back to school memories!

-WinterMommy

Open House



Photo attribution: Cliparts.co

And it officially arrived.  That one great reminder that summer break for students is over and school is ready to begin.  Last night our family attended Superbug's Back to School Open House.  Halls laden with students, parents, and staff, we found Superbug's name on the list and visited his new classroom and new teacher.
Superbug on Open House night

I don't know.  I was hoping for the great warm and wonderful feeling I received last year when we walked into his third grade teacher's class.  She was so warm, so personable, so friendly.  I just didn't get that immediately from this one.  Don't get me wrong.  She smiled and introduced herself, but I still didn't get the connect.

I do know that Superbug liked her and that made me feel a lot better. I know that it doesn't matter how the teacher makes me feel, but how she makes Supebug feel and likewise how well she can teach him.  He's an easily distracted student, but works very hard, makes good grades, and has an extremely big heart.

This year will be the first that Superbug will have students in his class with food allergies.  I don't know what kind yet, so I don't know if the class will have the restriction on PB&J or nut products. I remember  that last year the class across from Superbug had nut free restrictions.  The students were not able to bring in any products having tree nuts.  It will be interesting if Superbug has similar restrictions this year.  Superbug knows not to share his food with a anyone not because he is mean, but because they may have an allergy.  We'll see everything goes there.

I did receive disappointing news that Superbug will not be able to bring in cupcakes to celebrate his birthday this year.  Another parent asked if she could bring in cupcakes for her son's birthday which is two days before Superbug's.  His teacher replied that she frowned on such things, but if he wanted to bring in bookmarks or something similar, she would allow that.  How disappointed I was.  I know school is a place of learning, but I still hope for a moment where children can appreciate some celebration of great events.  So I didn't bother to ask a similar request for Superbug.  Sigh.  No worries.  That just means I get to get Superbug up early on his birthday for something special.  I'm thinking an early morning visit to IHOP or Chik-Fil-A for breakfast is a sufficient start and possibly a Birthday-themed Mommy/Children Night.

As for Back to school, we're pretty much set.  I still need to pick up a new lunch bag and thermos for Superbug and then we are good to go.

It's almost time for Back to school!

September!!!



It's September!  Woohoo!  This month ushers in a bunch of "new" experiences and milestones in our family.  Superbug returns to school in a few more days.  Honeybee begins her first day in the toddler room tomorrow.  FatherWinter and I started our first week of classes at the accredited Bible college at our church.  FatherWinter's first class was last night.  Mine was tonight!  How is that for new experiences?

I am currently taking Gifts of the Spirit.  I started off wanting to take the class simply to learn more about what God wills for my life, what my purpose in Him is, and what He wants me to accomplish while I am on Earth.  Some how that ended up with my signing up to begin degree coursework toward a new Bachelor degree!  I'm still not sure I'm quite on board with that one, but I'm willing to ride this out to see where it leads.  I really enjoyed tonight's first class and am looking forward to a very inspirational and important season.  Somehow I think this is going to be bigger and more important to me than I even realize.

Speaking of important, I learned some important new information for Superbug tonight.  Superbug's bus schedule arrived and since there are more students in the neighborhood route now (new subdivisions), Superbug's bus will come ten minutes earlier than it has for the past two years.  When I told him, he was kind of taken aback.  (Smile).  He figured it meant his morning schedule would back up by ten minutes from now on.  He's right, but I am not complaining.  Because Superbug's bus typically picked him up later in the morning, I would always get to work about 9:15 since I didn't leave for work until he was safely onboard and couldn't get to work until Honeybee was dropped.  With him on the bus ten minutes earlier, I can get to work earlier by a few minutes and that extra time is appreciated.

We find out tomorrow who Superbug will have as his teacher for the upcoming school year?  He's anxious to find out.  He'll meet the teacher and view his classroom this week at Open House.  Then it's all out planning for the next few weeks' activities.  I was looking at the calendar today and it's a busy month!

We have our NFL Fantasy Draft Cookout/Potluck, then Superbug has his first day of school, our friend and her fiance get married on the same day as Superbug's birthday (which we're celebrating that evening), followed by a baby shower for my sister in law, and prayerfully a finalization notice for Honeybee's adoption is coming soon.  Truth be told, October is my favorite month, but September is quickly giving it a run for the money.  Especially with all of these fun activities scheduled.  Stay tuned!

-WinterMommy