The Next Chapter

Say YesToday is the last day at a job where I’ve served for the past five years. I’ve been blessed to work with amazingly talented people who are passionate about ending cancer. The decision to leave was not an easy one, but I’m excited for more time and new adventures with my little girl, and also the opportunity to venture out on my own with my career. As a new mom, freelancing will give me the best of both worlds: precious time with my growing daughter and continued career growth and satisfaction.

I’ve learned that life moves very fast, so I want to take pause before I turn the page to reflect on what I’m thankful for in this moment:

  • My education, which prepared me to work in my field for the past 10 years, learning and earning a living
  • Amazing colleagues who’ve mentored me, inspired me, and helped me grow
  • Challenging work that has given me perspective and reminded me to be thankful for good health and precious time with family
  • My husband, who is graciously stepping into the role of sole bread-winner and giving me the privilege of being a fully present mom

This job also gave me the flexibility to take the time I needed for fertility treatments to start our family, and for that I’m eternally grateful.

While I’ll stay connected by working with my colleagues on a freelance basis, it still feels like the end of an era. Here’s to the next chapter full of new challenges and lots of baby giggles!

How to Talk to Your Infertile Friend

Since it is National Infertility Awareness Week, I thought it was a good time to put this one back out there. It still rings true after becoming a mother. #NationalInfertilityAwarenessWeek #StartAsking

about my eggs

Everyone approaches a diagnosis of infertility differently, but one thing that has struck me is the lack of communication between friends on the topic. During our first year of trying to conceive, conversations with friends went from discussing the life changes that a baby would bring, to the “you guys better catch up” jokes, and then quickly changed to sympathetic looks and silence on the topic.

elephant Infertility is the elephant in the room

On top of dealing with the sadness that infertility brings, these changes in friendships can be very difficult.

Here are some tips on how to talk to your infertile friends:

Ask About the Elephant in the Room
Infertility can make you feel lonely and put a strain on your relationship with your partner. The worst thing you can do is avoid a friend who is struggling with infertility simply because you don’t know how to approach the subject…

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My Big Promotion…

That’s right, folks. I’m taking the plunge and leaving my job as a nonprofit communications director to stay at home with Zuzu. Technically, I’ll be a stay at home mom, a title I’m not in love with because it conjures up images of me trapped inside my house baking cookies in an apron. The way I see it is the I’m leaving my current career to shift my focus on an even more important job: raising my daughter.

There were SO MANY factors that weighed in to this decision, but here are the Cliff’s Notes.

You only live once. (At least I think!)
Call it a gut feeling or intuition or mommy guilt that won’t quit, but I could not shake the feeling that I’m missing the best part of my life. I like my job and find it fulfilling, but I’ve always wanted to be a mom. I’ve tried the “have it all” path and have found myself stretched very thin the past five months that I’ve been working full-time. I really want to be as present as possible when my kids are young. I’m taking the approach that I only get to go around this crazy world one time. I know I won’t regret time spent with my family during these precious early years.

Childcare is $$$.
Right now my saint of a mother-in-law watches the baby. She loves her to death and they have developed such a special bond. But guys, my baby is crazy. Like never ever stops moving/climbing/exploring. As she gets ready to walk, we all see the inevitable challenges this will pose for my mother-in-law, who is in her mid-60s. And if we’re lucky enough to have another child, there is no way she could (or should entertain the idea of) watching more than one of these crazy kiddos all day long. She deserves to be a Nonna who gets to have all the fun and not the day-to-day dirty work. We did our research on daycare and nannies, but in the DC ‘burbs, prices are crazy and you also have to factor in waitlists. At the end of the day, it just wasn’t right for us.

We can (barely) afford it.
We’re not rich, people. But we are closing in on our mid-thirties and we have both worked hard for the last 10 years. We’ve been able to save and we’re very lucky to have a good safety net from our families if times get tough. We’re the responsible type, so we met with our financial planner to make sure this was something we could swing for a few years, with the eventual plan of me going back to work at some point. That being said, this will be a major lifestyle change, especially for me. I’m the spender and I’m going to need to cool my jets. No more Mini Boden shopping sprees for Zuzu!

I value my sanity.
This decision wasn’t only about Zuzu. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror recently and was frightened at what I saw. Moms are so hard on themselves and I’m no exception. I’ve been so stressed about trying to do EVERYTHING and do it well that I’m not enjoying the precious time that I have with my sweet, growing daughter. If mama isn’t sane, it isn’t good for anyone else.

Because this is a sensitive subject, I want to make sure I say this: Every family is different and all parents are faced with tough decisions when it comes to raising their kids. I have SO MUCH respect for working moms and dads and moms and dads who choose to stay home. I firmly believe that there isn’t a right way, just a right choice for each individual family.

Last but not least, LOOK AT THIS FACE! I mean really – could you stay away from her all day? Stay tuned as I explore this exciting new chapter!

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This is Why Parents Are More Exhausted Than You Think They Should Be

This is spot on and hilarious. Had to share!

A Morning Grouch

At first, people understand that bringing new life also brings exhaustion. People ask new parents if the baby is sleeping through the night as if that is the magical key to them feeling like a fully functional human being.  But, every parent knows, it is not.  I’m quite sure that it is a scientific fact that parents never feel like fully functional human beings again.  Or maybe they just change the definition of what it “fully functional” means, which no longer implies anything closely related to “rested”.  Here’s why:

They never sleep through the night.  Never. Again.  Sleeping through the night initially means sleeping for longer than 2 or 3-hour stretches. Once your infant gets past that point people seem to forget that doesn’t mean jack.  At first, parents wake up in a panic when the infant doesn’t wake up and they check on them, adrenaline rushing, thinking they’re going to…

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Family Planning for Infertiles

Maternity painting

Babies are generally made in one of two ways. 1. A couple decides they are ready to grow their family and they start trying to get pregnant the old-fashioned way. 2. OOPS!

When you’re infertile, neither of these methods really apply to you. The first time around, we didn’t know we were infertile, so we spent many years trying to avoid 2. and then a few years desperately trying to achieve 1. When trying naturally produced no results, we turned to fertility treatments and were put on a path that eventually lead to IVF, which gave us our most precious gift, our daughter. It also gave us another unexpected gift: the possibility to grow our family again through frozen embryos.

This leaves us in a weird fertility limbo. While I’m not sure we’re ready to get pregnant right now, we know we would like more children and it seems weird to sit around and get older/more infertile. We also are hyper aware that time is not on our side. Do we try on our own and see if things magically work this time around? After all, our diagnosis was unexplained infertility and it is possible, but not likely, that I could get pregnant naturally. But where does that leave those little frosties?

I remember clearly the mix of emotions I experienced when the clinic called to tell us they were able to freeze some embryos. Four to be exact. Wonderful! But wait…four!? Four means the (unlikely) possibility of five children. How did we get from wanting a child so desperately to the possibility of five children?

Our perfect daughter was created through the same process as our frozen embryos and I feel an obligation to give the others a chance at life. I don’t necessarily see them as our children, but as the real possibility of life — much more tangible when I see my growing, healthy little girl. We made the decision to create them, out of both love and desperation, and it is hard to consider the possibility of not using them if we are able to have more children the natural way. You see, there are no easy decisions when it comes to infertility.

We are enormously blessed to have had success with IVF, and even more lucky to have frozen embryos that will allow us to try again. And soon there will be big decisions to make…

 

Tuesday’s Treat: Hello Fresh

If you’re a busy parent (who isn’t!?) I’m begging you to check out Hello Fresh! I’ll be the first to admit that my cooking skills are not up to par, but when my hubby suggested trying a meal delivery service I had visions of gross frozen lasagna. Not the case! We’ve been doing Hello Fresh for about a month and it is seriously delicious. Bonus points for it helping me learn how to cook AND creating some much needed time for me and hubby to reconnect each night after we put Zuzu to bed.

Below are snaps of some of the meals we’ve made. Some of our favorites so far include Smoky Beef & Poblano Chili, Shrimp & Lemon Risotto with Roasted Zucchini and Parmesan, and Pork & Apple Burger with Rosemary Potatoes and Mixed Green Salad. YUM!

Want to try it? Use my code C6DJ2N for $40 off your first box!

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Jamie’s Super-Speedy Steamed Salmon with Jewelled Couscous & Yogurt

 

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Garlic-Butter Shrimp with Tomato, Brown Rice, and Caramelized Veggie Skewers