In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. ~ Proverbs 3:6

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Weekend Getaway - Nashville, TN

        We try to take a weekend getaway every year around our anniversary.  This past weekned we did just that:) Desperate for warmth and sunshine, I planned this year’s trip to Nashville, TN. Nashville is five hours due south of Indy, and temperatures are usually around 70 this time of year! Unfortunately the weather wasn’t on our side. It still felt like winter while we were visiting:( Other than the weather, we really enjoyed our trip. Normally, I would use pictures from my trip to give readers a step by step of our planned weekend. For this post, I decided to go to Google images and look up pictures of where we went, linking pictures back to the source where I found them. The reason for this is because we ran into a phone/computer problem when we got back from our trip, and all of my photos from the weekend got deleted - major bummer:( On the bright side, I did manage to upload a few pics to Instagram as we were experiencing our weekend, and I’ll share those pics at the end of this post. Without further ado, here was what I had planned for our weekend in Nashville, TN.

We left the house around 8:00 a.m. on Friday and drove five hours south to our destination.  There is an hour difference between Indy and Nashville, so by gaining an hour we arrived around lunch time.  We started our trip by visiting downtown Franklin, TN.  Franklin is a historic town about 30 minutes south of Nashville.  We enjoyed visiting the shops of this quaint town.
We ate lunch at the Franklin Mercantile Deli.  I’d describe this place as country chic.  Decorated in a casual yet classy country setting, I definitely noticed the detail that went into the d├ęcor and really appreciated the atmosphere. It’s a soup, salad and sandwich place, but it has a bistro feel to it as well.  Many appeared to be enjoying a glass of wine with their meal, and several people seemed to come in for the soup of the day or fruit tea.  I did not try the tea, but the tomato basil soup was delish!  Best of all, it cost us less than $20.
After visiting downtown Franklin, we checked into our hotel on the outskirts of Franklin, so we could get cleaned up for our evening plans. I prefer to stay in three or four star hotels when we travel, and I ALWAYS read the reviews!!!   A nice hotel in a convenient location with the best price is VERY important to us when we travel. Initially, I wanted to stay in downtown Nashville, but I couldn’t find a nice hotel for less than $250 a night, breakfast not included.  Not willing to pay that price, we decided to stay at the Hyatt Place (Nashville/Franklin/CoolSprings) for $140.  Our suite was nice and the hotel was overall a clean, modern hotel with a pretty good breakfast buffet.
When I planned our trip I wanted to eat dinner at Ellendale's, but it was a little pricier than what we wanted to spend.  We ended up looking for something at the last minute using Urban Spoon.  The hubs was pretty persistent on eating BBQ.  We found something local, B & C Melrose BBQ, that was pretty good and less than $20 for the two of us.  After dinner, we had tickets to a 7:00 show at the Grand Ole Opry.  I recommend getting there early.  We arrived at 6:00 and had plenty of time to visit the Opry shop and take our pictures.  Tickets for the show were $45 each.  I’m not a huge country fan, but there is nothing like the opry, and I think that the cost was well worth it.  This was definitely the best part of our trip.
The following day, we visited downtown Nashville.  We walked the river, saw some historic sights downtown, visited Music Row, walked the stars in the Walk of Fame Park, saw way to many cowboy boots, and had some fantastic fudge.  If you're really into country music, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is reccomended.  It wasn’t really something that we were in to, so we didn’t spend the money on it. 
We try to look and see if we are near places that have been featured on Food Network when we travel. Hog Heaven, in downtown Nashville, is literally a little BBQ shack by Centennial Park that has been featured on "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" and "The Best Thing I Ever Ate". The meat was excellent, and I loved that we could just grab our food and eat in the park!
Before heading back home, we walked the ground of neighboring Centennial Park.  This park is unique because it is home to the Parthenon. We were originally going to stay in Nashville two nights, but two save money we decided to leave Saturday evening instead.  That proved to be a wise move, due to the late spring snow storm that was awaiting us in Indy on Sunday;)

Had a lovely afternoon visiting historic Franklin, TN with my love! Time to get ready for dinner and then a show at the Grand Ole Opry:)

Ate lunch at the cutest little deli today in Franklin, TN. Very country chic. Great place to grab fresh homemade soups, salads and sandwiches! #franklinmerchantiledeli #tennessee #weekendgetaway

Found a pretty good BBQ place for dinner. You know you've found descent BBQ when it's served on a disposable plate;) For real...this stuff is meant to be yummy and messy, not fancy and pretty:) #b&cmelrose #tennessee #weekendgetaway

Getting ready to go in:) #thegrandoleopry #nashville #tennessee #weekendgetaway
The only names I recognize for tonight's show are Ricky Skaggs and Alan Jackson. #thegrandoleopry #nashville #tennessee #weekendgetaway
I'm not a big country fan, but this is pretty cool. Such a beautiful, historic building! When I think of Nashville, this is what I think of:) #thegrandoleopry #nashville #tennessee #weekendgetaway
Again, I'm not a huge country fan, but listening to Alan Jackson sing live was pretty surreal. Definitely the best part of the night! Was so happy he did two of my favorites in his song selection tonight, "Remember When" and "Drive".
Had so much fun with him tonight! So glad we decided to get tickets to this! #thegrandoleopry #nashville #tennessee #weekendgetaway

This is the coldest it has ever been for our anniversary weekend. Usually my boots are put away by now, but yesterday was definitely a boot wearin' kind of day....even though we were 5 hrs south of home. Have I mentioned #imoverwinter yet? I'm pretty sure I have:/

Had a great time visiting downtown Nashville today! I could have done without the cold dreary weather that must have followed us all the way from Indy, but other than that it was a good trip. #nashville #tennessee #weekendgetaway
 #nashville #tennessee #weekendgetaway #hogheaven #bbq

#nashville #tennessee #weekendgetaway #centennialpark

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Spring Where Are You?!?!

The title of this post pretty much says it all.  Like most of the country, it seems that winter has not been told that it has overstayed its welcome in my whereabouts.  It must not realize that today is MARH 26!  We got hammered with MORE snow over the weekend!  We got around 7-8 at my house when it was all said and done.  While I love snow at certain times of the year, late March is not one of those times. 
Fortunately, it melts pretty fast this time of year, and in a few days this latest winter storm will only be a memory.  Unfortunately, Spring break is looking more like winter break, and Palm Sunday looked more like Christmas, making me wonder what Easter is going to be like. Easter egg hunts are certainly not intended to be in the snow, and many of them were canceled or carried out indoors over the weekend.   One thing is for certain, the leaves will not be green and the flowers will not be blooming this Easter.

This crazy weather has many of us in the country asking the following question: Spring Where Are You?!?!



Thursday, March 14, 2013

I'm over winter.......


I’ve never been more ready for spring!  Sunshine and fresh air can do so much for my mood.  It naturally gives me boost of energy and  seems to put a smile on my face; and believe me, I really need that this year.  January and February always seem to be so difficult to get through, because the sun rarely shows itself through the grey, dreary sky.  March comes, and I get a glimmer of hope.  Hope that spring is almost here! Hope that sunshine, green grass and flowers will soon follow. 

The only problem is that the weather can at times be unpredictable.  March hasn’t brought me much hope this year L  I think it may be confusing itself with its two predecessors. 
Instead, March has been somewhat of a tease.  The sun has on occasions peaked from the overcast sky and brought with it warmer temperatures;  however, the peak of sunshine is always short-lived.  It's not long before I am reminded that winter is still my reality  and with it SEVERAL days of grey skies, cold temperatures and even snow.
It’s just depressing really!  I can’t take much more of the grey skies!  I need sunshine….lots of sunshine!  And I’m certainly not fond of snow in March!  I love the white stuff around the holidays, but by this time of year I’m completely over it! 

I'm officially over winter! Sring, please come quickly! If you ask me, it can’t come fast enough!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Infertility Update: IUI Results

I’m just gonna come out and say it.  I don’t have good news to share.  The IUI did not result in a pregnancy.  I’m not going to express my feelings too much about it right now, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hurting.  My last post gave a little insight into the normal feelings that infertility can bring each month.  This month just seems to sting a little more because of all we put into it financially and emotionally. There are not any guarantees with any fertility treatments, and there is not any particular reason why the IUI didn’t work for us. Everything looked hopeful for us when we went in for the procedure.  With the help of doctors and medicine, they were able to do everything for my body that my body couldn’t do for itself.  We went into the procedure with good hormone levels, two good looking follicles at mid-cycle, a strong ovulation, an even stronger semen count than normal, and the timing was perfect.  I’ve been careful about my diet and rest the past two weeks.   I’ve been taking my vitamins and supplements as usual and most importantly, I’ve tried not to stress about anything…..but when it’s all said and done, my body was unsuccessful somewhere in between the fertilization and implantation process and wasn’t able to achieve a pregnancy.  For whatever reason, my body just didn’t do it.  I took yesterday to cry….cry….and cry some more.  I took a day to myself to get all the tears out of my system and accept the results for what they are.  Now we just pick up the broken pieces and do our best to move on.  

So here’s the next step for us……we are taking the next three months off of fertility treatments.  My body just can’t take anymore hormones being injected, and my heart can’t take anymore disappointment.  This is the first time since we’ve been trying to get pregnant that I am allowing myself to take a break.  I feel like we have given it our all; we’ve done all that we know how to do up to this point.  This is also the first time that I have a peace about allowing myself to take a break.  In the past, I would be tired and would want to take a break, but I would tell myself, “What if we haven’t tried this…..and what if that could work….what if we were quitting too soon….what if we just needed one more month?”  Now that we’ve tried everything, including an IUI, I feel like it’s ok for us to take a break.  We’ll reschedule our next IUI for June.  If that one is unsuccessful, it will be followed by a consecutive IUI in July.  If both of those fail, I think that I may have to come to terms with what will probably be the biggest heartache of my life up to this point.  Financially, IVF is not an option for us, and we can only pour so much of our resources into IUI’s.

I wish this was a happier post, but it is what it is.  I know I am not alone is this.  Many other women have journeyed down this same road and know all too well the disappointment that I am feeling right now.  Keep us in your prayers over the next few months.  Continually trying to get pregnant month after month may have come with some exhaustion, but the constant trying kept me busy and gave me a little hope to hang onto each month.  While I feel relieved that we can get off this roller coaster of emotions for awhile, I'm the kind of person who is a natural “doer".  I’m not very good at sitting still and doing nothing, which is sort of what we have planned for the next three months.  I like to try to fix something when it is broken.  I like to try to solve the problem.  Taking a break means that I’m not going to DO anything about the problem, which goes against my very nature.  And before someone says that I should just try again to conceive naturally, I’ve been told by doctors that even if we did get pregnant on our own, my body doesn’t make enough progesterone on its own to sustain a pregnancy past implantation.  In other words….taking a break for us is literally taking a break.  No more charting by BBT every morning….no more OPKS….no more stressing over what I eat and what kind of supplements I’m taking….no more feeling like we HAVE to have timed intercourse no matter how tired we are from our work day….no more hormones…no more medicines….no more doctor visits…no more blood work….no more two week wait… more peeing on a stick….no more searching on the internet for signs that maybe just maybe the stick was wrong….no more disappointment…..NO MORE…I’m done for now.  So for now, I’ll take the next three months to “Be Still”….something that I’m not very good at, but think will be really good for me…..


(Ps. 46:10a)


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Infertility Update: The Raw Emotions of it All

The time is approaching.  I’m almost to the end of my month.  Soon, very soon, I will know if our IUI resulted in a pregnancy.   I will probably give an update on the blog with the results.   I am certain that if the answer is no, I will not want to share my feelings about that particular answer any time soon.  For that reason, I thought that now would be a good time to write about the raw emotions that infertility can bring.  Hopefully it will bring insight to those who have never had to walk this journey, and those walking this journey can hopefully relate. 

I have probably spent the last decade not feeling much of anything.  I’ve kind of had the mentality that life is life….suck it up and deal with it.  My husband even jokes with me in saying that I am the man in the marriage when it comes to feelings… in, I don’t have any.  Can I just say that journeying through infertility has brought up more than enough emotions to make up for the last decade of not having any.  I can’t remember the last time that I have cried the way that I have cried these last few months.  And I certainly can’t remember the last time I have let myself hurt the way that I have hurt these last few months.

Before I begin, let me remind you that these are my feelings, and everyone’s feelings are different.  These are just my emotions in a typical month.  I hope this post is helpful for some.

In a given month I FEEL………

Driven – For me, the month usually begins without any feelings at all.  I try not to think too much about the end results and just focus on what I need to do to get the end result that I so desperately want.

Hormonal –Thanks to hormonal medications I may, out of the blue cry for hours, feel depressed or want to shout and scream for no apparent reason.  I remind myself that it’s not how I really feel….it’s just how the meds occasionally make me feel.

Hopeful – I call the first half of the month the good part of the cycle, because there is still hope. Hope that everything will work out the way I want it to.  Hope that my body will do what it needs to do.  Hope that I will see two pink lines at the end of the month.  Hope that God will “hear my cry and answer it.”  I admit that hope fades with each month of disappointment. I tend to go into the month thinking that the less hope I have, the less it will hurt if we don’t get pregnant.  The truth is that it hurts the same regardless of how much or how little hope I have.

Anxious – I usually feel very anxious as I get to the end of the two week wait.  I know that by this point in the month, I have done all that I could have possibly done and that I have no control over the end result.  Even so, I can’t help but have some anxiety and even a little worry as testing time approaches.

Disappointed – If the end of the month went as I hoped it would, I would feel nothing but joy, excitement and relief.  Unfortunately, I’ve only had to deal with a whole other mix of emotions at the end of each month.  Disappointment is a feeling that I know all too well.  If I could describe infertility with two words, disappointment would be one of them.  To me, putting my body through everything that I have put it through, and then still getting a negative pregnancy test, is quite possibly the most disappointing feeling I’ve ever had in my life.

Defeated – I kind of go into each month like I’m going into battle.  I take on this personal enemy of mine called infertility with one goal in mind….to conquer it.  And then, the test comes back negative, and I feel like anyone else would feel if they just lost a battle.  I feel defeated.

Frustrated – Again, if I could describe infertility in two words, this would be the first word that comes to mind.  I find nothing more frustrating than trying so hard for something while having absolutely no control over the end results!  I find nothing more frustrating than committing such great amounts of my time, energy and resources into trying to get pregnant, only to have it end in failure and have to start all over the next month!  I find nothing more frustrating than feeling like my body is broken!  I find nothing more frustrating than knowing that, as a woman, my body was designed by my Creator to bear children, yet my body won’t do what it was designed to do! 

Angry – I try to not let myself feel this too much, and for the most part I am successful.  I will admit at times, it does show itself.  I think my anger is sometimes directed at myself or even at God for allowing the circumstance.  In reality, I’m not angry with myself or even God.  I’m usually just angry at the actual circumstance and the fact that I have absolutely no control over it.

Exhausted – As the month ends, I am exhausted.  Once a test has confirmed that the month was unsuccessful in producing a pregnancy, I feel like I don’t know if I can do it all over again.  I’ll be honest; I’m tired of trying to get pregnant.  I’m tired of going through the same thing each month.  Many people think that trying to get pregnant is all fun and games, but for us it is WORK! 

Hurt - Above all else, I feel hurt.  Hurt that my plans are not His plans, and hurt that I don’t understand His plans.  For the most part the hurt is short-lived.  It’s not like I walk around all day with a sad face on, saying “WOE IS ME”.  I live my life like normal, and if I weren’t so vocal on my blog about our circumstances, I really doubt that anyone in my real life would even know about the hurt. I have had to learn that it is ok to hurt.  I usually allow myself a day or two to cry and sulk, before picking the pieces back up and starting all over again the next month. I allow myself to take some alone time and not feel bad about needing that alone time.   I think that a lot of people can look at women who struggle with infertility and confuse their hurt for other things like jealousy or bitterness.  Take last month for example.  The day we found out I wasn’t pregnant was the same day that we had plans to go to a Sunday school outing with several other couples our age.  I’ll be quite honest with you; I just couldn’t go that night.  I couldn’t handle being around pregnant women or other couples talking about their growing families on that particular night.  It just hurt too bad to be around that sort of thing when we had just gotten such disappointing news.  We certainly didn’t announce that as our reason for not going to the outing.  Unless someone from my class is reading this blog post right now, no one would even know about it.  That also means that no one came to me and said that I was an awful person for not going for that particular reason.  My point is that someone from the outside looking in could easily confuse my hurt with bitterness.  Hurting doesn’t mean that I am jealous of other pregnant couples or bitter that we are not pregnant.  I wouldn’t wish infertility on anyone, and I am so happy that others get to experience motherhood without any difficulty.  It also doesn’t mean that people who are pregnant should be sensitive around people like me who have such difficulty getting pregnant.  Pregnant women should be able to share their good news and talk about the exciting things that are going on in their life.  However, I think that fertile women need to not be upset to know that most infertile women can’t help but feel a little hurt when they hear someone announcing a pregnancy…..or when they see a FB status showing “my baby’s progress at so many weeks” or “my baby is the size of a certain fruit”.  And I think that infertile women need to not let themselves feel guilty for feeling this way.  Don’t misunderstand me.  Fertile women should keep doing those things like normal, but infertile women should not feel guilty about feeling those feelings like NORMAL! It doesn’t make you an awful person.  IT IS NORMAL!  It just means that sometimes someone else’s good news, that we are of course happy they are experiencing, can also bring to remembrance of our not so good news, leaving a hurtful feeling inside that only lasts for a moment.  If we allow the hurt to lead to bitterness, it can destroy us….but I also believe that if we don’t allow ourselves to hurt than that too can be harmful to us.

Guilt - I try really hard to not feel this, and I’m getting much better at it.   I think that sometimes we, as Christians, can look at verses like “rejoice in the Lord always”, “in everything give thanks” and “all things work together for good” and feel as though we have to repent for feeling the above emotions that I mentioned.  Can I just say that I don’t think that it is wrong to feel hurt….or wrong to feel any of the emotions that I mentioned above for that matter! God created the human body to have emotions.  He created hurt, and He is allowing me to walk through the hurt for reasons that at this time I cannnot understand. I think of people in the Bible like Hannah who wept over her barrenness….or people like David who wept over the loss of his son.  One would not look at those Biblical accounts and say that they should have been overjoyed with their circumstance.  So then why do we sometimes feel guilty because we are not overjoyed with our circumstances?  If we let the emotions that I have mentioned above take over our life, it can obviously become a problem.  But to feel guilty for feeling those emotions is to me just making the situation worse.  I also think that we can feel guilty because in comparison to other problems in the world, infertility is minor.  I know I have thought to myself that there are so many bigger things going on in the world, so why should I bother God with my tiny little problem?  My hurt may be small in comparison to others, but I serve a God who cares for both the big and the small.  I had to remind myself that my God even “cares about the sparrows”.  Hurt is hurt, and He cares about my hurt.  No matter how small my hurt seems to the rest of world, He desires to comfort me and carry me through it… I shouldn’t feel guilty for feeling it.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Adoption Update: The beginning of a long process....

          If you’ve read my blog lately, you know I’ve been giving several fertility updates.  Today I want to give an adoption update.   A few months ago, I announced that we were beginning the process of adoption.  Today I want to explain how we came to that decision and exactly where we are in the adoption process.

            Adoption has always been a first choice for us. The fact that we have been struggling with infertility really has nothing to do with our decision to adopt.  My husband has a heart for adoption, because he was adopted from Taiwan when he was three.  I have a heart for adoption, because God put a burden in my heart for the orphans many years ago.  Before we got married, adoption was something that we talked about, and we both really wanted for our family. 

            While our struggle with infertility has not had any impact on our decisions to adopt, it has had an impact on our decision of when to adopt. We always thought that we would have a few kids biologically before we started the process of adoption, because we didn’t think that we could afford adoption until later on in our marriage.  Facing infertility has forced us to face the fact that we may not ever be able to get pregnant, no matter how hard we try.  In November of this past year, after being disappointed once again that another month passed without a pregnancy, we decided that perhaps it was time to start getting serious about adoption; however, we weren’t finished seeking fertility treatments.  For us, that meant that we would seek both adoption and fertility at the same time.

            It’s been said by many that God is in the adoption process.  That He opens and closes doors along the way, as He leads in certain directions.  Even in this very early phase of our adoption process, we have seen His leading.  After we agreed to start getting serious about adoption, the first thing that I did was reach out to a Facebook friend who I knew recently adopted.  She was, of course, encouraging as she answered some of my questions and shared a little of her story with me.  She also said something in our FB messages that really pulled on my heart strings.  She said, My counsel to everyone that I talk to is that if God has tugged on your heart in even the smallest way concerning adoption, and finances is the most scary/concerning part about the entire process, then RUN TO IT!!! God will take care of that part.”  She went on to say, “It is expensive, I will not lie. however, I always refer back to my statement before--God's heart is for the orphan. He WILL take care of the costs--guarantee because HE commands us to care for orphans.” After reading her FB message, I began to weep.  Some of my tears may have been from the crazy hormones I was taking for fertilty, but the majority of my tears were because I knew that God was wanting us to step out in faith and begin our adoption journey.  God just used her words to confirm it. 

            We committed ourselves to adoption that very night, and the research part of adoption began immediately.  We spent hours looking over the facts.  This part can be overwhelming, because there is so much to learn about adoption if you are first-timers like us. In the midst of our research we stumbled onto a website of a local organization that deals with certain aspects of adoption here in Indy.  While on that page, we came across a name.  The name that we came across was the name of Matt’s best man’s wife’s sister, who my husband had actually met on a few occasions.  She happens to oversee home studies for international adoptions with her organization. To us that was another sign.  We wrote her contact info down and decided to reach out to her after the holidays were over. 

            At the beginning of January we were really focused on our fertility, because we had started working with an RE.  We hadn’t reached out to our contact yet…..and that’s when another GOD thing happened.  Out of the blue a friend from church, who had no idea that we wanted to adopt, came to me and said, “I know you and Matt are having trouble conceiving.  Have you ever thought about adoption?”  She went on to explain her reason for asking such a question.  Someone had, out of the blue, come to her and asked if she knew anyone who wanted to adopt.  Long story short, there potentially was a baby that needed to be placed into a home within a month, and the family wanted the baby placed in a Christian home.  As she was telling me all of this, I had done enough research on adoption to know that what she inquiring about could probably not happen for us in that short of a timeframe.  What she didn’t know is that God used her words to give us another big push to once again focus on adoption. 

            A meeting was set up with our contact for the following weekend.  We went into the conversation with a huge list of questions about adoption, and they were all answered!  We left the conversation with an application for international adoption and a list of agencies that work with Chinese adoptions. When we got our application, we filled it out right away.  The next step was choosing an agency.  We looked over the list that was sent to us and began to research the agencies one by one.  We were really curious about one agency that was within driving distance from Indy.  We arranged a conference call with them, and by the time that call was over we felt confident that we had made the right choice.

            After our call with the adoption agency, we felt really good about our decision to adopt from China.  The only downside to our conversation is that we were told that we would need to wait until August to really dig into all of the paperwork.  China won’t accept our paperwork until I turn 30, and the paperwork can not be more than six months old when they receive it.  That means that the next five months are simply waiting.  That was a little discouraging at first, but we feel confident that we have done what we need to do up to this point.  In the meantime, we can look over the list of special needs the agency gave us to see what kind of special needs we are comfortable with for our adoption.  We can also research the travel part of our adoption.  And of course we can save our money and pray while we wait.  We are told we will spend about $30,000 when it is all said and done. I believe that this incredible journey will be worth every penny!

             So that pretty much sums it up.  That’s where we are with the adoption process.  We are in a state of waiting!  The plan is to dig into the paperwork in August, send the paperwork to China next February, and then we are told that on average it takes 18 months from there before we are told to travel to China, meet our child and finalize the adoption.  Bottom line is that it is going to be a long, expensive process.   I’ll keep updates coming, but I don’t foresee any updates for a few months.  All I can say is that I can’t wait for August:)