Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Life Lately

I have not given a life update recently simply because there is not a whole lot to talk about. Life lately has been filled with preparing for our Europe trip, fertility stuff and dissertation stuff. I would assume that most people don't want to hear all the details of all of those things week after week so instead I will give you one big update.

This month, May, marks two years since we have been trying to get pregnant. Two years since we left Hawaii vowing that we were going to get pregnant quick. I can feel both sides so strongly--it feels like we have been on this journey for forever, yet I can't believe it has already been two years. How did that happen? At times I am grateful it has not happened yet because it would have complicated the last year of our lives, and by having more time we are able to get more situated before having kids. Then there are times that I want it so desperately that I can't imagine waiting another month, or even another day. Lately though, I have realized how much better of a place I have been in. I don't get the tears as often as I used to and have come to a point of acceptance. This is my journey to pregnancy and I am fine with that. Do I wish it was easier? Hell yes. Do I wish I could get pregnant without having to think about it much? Yeah, that would be a lot simpler. However, that is not how my journey will happen and I have made peace with that. I will get my happy ending in some form, I just don't know how or when yet. All of this is not to say that I do not have my ups and downs, I just know that I am doing what I can to get a positive ending and I am hoping for the best. I have to put my whole heart into this and believe it will all work out.

As far as fertility stuff goes, I started blogging about my journey and then I completely stopped. Did anyone notice that? I have not shared anything in a while because I am just not ready. This whole journey is just so personal and I have not felt ready to share the raw emotions that I am feeling at the moment. I am sure I will share them eventually, but for now I am keeping my heart guarded and only sharing my journey with a few people. I have been writing as I go so that I do not forget all of the details, but for now they are just for my safe keeping and eyes only.

Now that the heavy stuff is out of the way, we have some good news! This summer is going to be a good one. Richard spoke with his faculty advisor last week about his dissertation. He has had Richard's almost completed proposal draft for a few weeks reading it over. He told Richard that he is almost done reading it and does not have any major edits so they are moving forward with setting a proposal date! We have a date assigned for a proposal and it is so soon! Then Richard is hoping to work his butt off and turn around and defend his dissertation less than two months later. So it is going to be an intense few weeks of him working around the clock, but that means he could potentially be done with his dissertation by the end of summer! EEK! I feel like for the last two years we have had pretty much the same schedule, the same story. First it was comprehensive exams, then it was dissertation. We would spend our days at work and our evenings were set aside to get dissertation (or studying) done. Our weekend could never be too busy because that would mean less time being spent on his dissertation. I have been over it for a year now and Richard recently felt the same desire. We just want to be done. Since the day we got married, one or both of us has been in school. We don't know what life looks like without school. What do people do in the evenings when they are done working and do not have a dissertation to work on? It will be so weird. But we are so so excited.

Also some good news. I have officially ended my chiropractor visits for treatment from our car accident. I have been going twice a week for the last three months and I am glad to be done with it. Having to go to the chiropractor really was not that bad, but it was annoying. Especially when work changed my schedule and then every time I had an appointment, I was 30 minutes late to work. Although, my biggest thing that I hurt from the accident, my shoulder, is still currently hurting which is frustrating. We will have to see how the next few weeks play out.

With our Europe trip almost here, Europe prep has been in full swing. Big trips like this are always overwhelming to prepare for, especially this trip because I have no idea what to expect. And I feel like I need to be prepared in advance because we will not have much internet access. Modern day problems. We are definitely excited, but a little nervous as well. I am sure once I get there I will be fine and have been nervous for nothing. For my one biggest packing issue, I was saved by one of my besties. Here's the story. With all the fertility stuff we have been doing lately, I was feeling a little bloated and have gained a few pounds. Fun Stuff. Then we have the fact that Richard and I have two formal nights on our cruise where we have to wear formal wear, aka evening gowns and suits. So I figured I could try on some of my old bridesmaid dresses and use those since they are pretty formal looking. Well, I tried on a few options that have fit me in the past and none of them fit me well enough that I was comfortable enough to wear one of them for a few hours. Ugh. Panic mode. I only had three days before our trip! So I called up my friend Sammi who I know has a few formal dresses that might fit me. Also, Richard's brother was flying down to us the next day to watch our house and our dog so I figured if she can get the dresses to him then we would be in business. They live a little less than an hour apart so I could try to coordinate something. Sammi then came up with a few options of dresses for me and she conveniently was driving into Wisconsin that day and was going to drive right through the city that Richard's parents live in so she could meet up with them to exchange the dresses. Everything worked out so perfectly! Richard's brother came with the dresses for me to try on less than 24 hours after I had called Sammi to coordinate a plan. And one of her dresses fits me perfectly so I will be able to wear it on the cruise! Whew!

So there you have it! A few things we have been up to lately!

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Europe Planning

I feel like we have been planning and talking about this trip for a very long time. Well, I suppose it has been a long time since we have been planning this trip for four years. For that reason it is so crazy for me to say that we are leaving for Europe in one week. It came up so fast that I forgot to blog about it. Whoops.

Let's start with the details. We had originally planned this trip for spring of 2015, but with Richard trying to find a job, the timing was not good. 8 months later, we were still not pregnant, so we decided to go ahead with plans for a trip to Europe in the spring, aka May 2016. If I did end up getting pregnant within the next few months, it would still be early enough in a pregnancy to make a trip to Europe. Well, oddly enough we don't even have to worry about that at all on this trip since we are still working on the pregnancy thing. Oh well. It makes this trip a lot simpler.

So we knew when we started planning that we wanted to do a cruise of some sort in the mediterranean in Europe. I have never been to Europe nor have I been on a cruise. We figured a cruise would be a good way to get a feel for Europe before we committed to anything big and on our own. A cruise is pretty dummy proof. We have someone else making plans for us and we get to experience Europe without too much pressure. Plus, I am an extremely picky eater so I knew being able to have dinner on the cruise ship was a safety net in case I could not find something on land. With all of this, we figured it was a good way to get comfortable with Europe and in the future we can venture out on our own a little more. I am glad we decided to do this because even the minimal planning I have done for the cruise has been overwhelming. It is just a completely different culture that I am not familiar with at all.

Once we had a general idea of what we wanted to do, I called up our trusty travel agent who booked both our honeymoon and my sister's honeymoon. I told her what we wanted and she did her magic to find us a cruise we liked. She found us a 7 day cruise that departed from Barcelona, Spain and ends in Rome, Italy. With starting and ending in two amazing cities, we are spending an extra two nights in both places. The cruise has some great stops along the way as well that we are super excited about. Here is the map of where we will be going. Quality is not great, but it works.
We only started planning a few months ago and at first I was a little overwhelmed. Our neighbors have been to Europe quite a few times and had some books they let us borrow. Unfortunately, they did not help us a whole lot because they did not apply to our trip. But we purchased a similar book, but one that applied to our cruise. It is called Mediterranean Cruise Ports by Rick Steves. Rick Steves has written many books about Europe and they are extremely detailed and so worth it. His cruise ports book tells us exactly how to get from the cruise port into town, how to plan out our day to make the most of it and what sites are most important to see. I only wished that he had more of our ports in his book since he is missing three which is a bummer. But he also talks about general cruise tips and things we did not even know about. Such as formal nights on cruises where you have to wear suits and formal dresses. We have two of those on our cruise. We also got the pocket books for both Rome and Barcelona that he wrote since we will be spending extra time there.

As I read the books, I realized that I needed to come up with an itinerary for all of our different days and trips that we would make. The biggest mistake that I think we made was that we did not know that we could book excursions prior to boarding the ship. By the time we realized that, some of the excursions were sold out so our options were limited. But, we were able to book some great excursions that we are excited about. For the cities we did not get excursions, we will have to come up with a plan on our own which will be interesting.

So here is our plan so far.

Day 1: Travel Day. We leave Dallas around lunch time and do not make it to Barcelona until 8:30 am their time which is 1:30 am our time. That will be an interesting day adjusting to the time difference.

Day 2: Our first day in Barcelona. We land really early in the morning, but will have a day full of exploring.

Day 3: Our second day in Barcelona where we will finish exploring and hopefully be better adjusted to the time difference.

Day 4: We have about half a day in Barcelona before we have to head down to the port to catch our cruise ship in the afternoon. Our cruise ship sets sail around dinner time.

Day 5: Cartagena, Spain. This is one day where all the excursions were booked so we will have to make our own plans. It is hard to find much information on this city so we may end up just winging it.

Day 6: Gibraltar, Great Britain. Even though Great Britain is nowhere near the Mediterranean, this city is considered part of Great Britain. It is also the main entrance into the Mediterranean Sea, located right across the sea from Africa. Gibraltar has a whole lot of history and is situated on a giant rock cliff. We are hoping to go to the top of the rock, visit the apes that are native there and maybe some caves or history or whatever we can find.

Day 7: This is a day spent at sea. We will spend it relaxing and enjoying the ship's amenities.

Day 8: Marseille, France. We will be in the area of France called Provence. We have an excursion scheduled for this day that will take us to Arles and Les Baux De Provence. Arles was founded by Julius Ceasar and was once home to Vincent Van Gogh. Then we will go to Baux De Provence a cute village with a ruined castle within it.

Day 9: Genoa, Italy. The cruise's intent for this port was so that you could make a trip to Milan if you wanted. Since it is about two hours from the port, we decided against it. We instead booked an excursion that will take us to a few cute villages in the area.

Day 10: Florence/Pisa, Italy. We booked another excursion for this port. We probably could have done Florence on our own and had a good time, but I really wanted to go to Pisa as well to see the leaning tower and I don't think we could have done both on our own. So our excursion will first take us to Florence where we will go to the Accademia and see some other major sights in Florence before they will take us to Pisa so we can see the leaning tower.

Day 11: We end our cruise in Rome extremely early in the morning so we are hoping to have a day full of sight seeing. We also have a tour of Vatican city booked for that afternoon.

Day 12: This will be our second full day in Rome where we will explore the city more, including seeing the Colosseum.

Day 13: We leave Rome around lunch time, but we land in Texas in the evening. To us, it will feel much later than it is, so I am sure we will head to bed right away. We are both going to work the next day because we figure that is the best way to get over jet lag--staying busy.

Whew. That is a busy few days, but it is going to be amazing and we are so excited for this trip. If anyone has any recommendations or anything we should make sure we do, we are open to suggestions!

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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Milwaukee Weekend

Yes, it is Thursday and yes I am just getting around to blogging about the weekend. Anyone else have the hardest time coming back from vacation? Not to mention the fact that we have a crazy big trip to Europe coming up in less than two weeks that we are trying to prepare for at the same time. So forgive me for blogging about this weekend so late, but it was too much fun to not share.

Richard and I have been trying to plan a trip to Milwaukee for some time. We tried to make it work last fall, but with everyone's schedules it did not work out so we ended up going to Orlando instead. But then this spring, Southwest had another sale going on with cheap flights to Milwaukee so we jumped on them! Richard spent the first half of his life living in Milwaukee and I have a cousin and his wife that live in Milwaukee, plus a cousin and her boyfriend that live in Madison, which is a little more than an hour away. My cousin generously offered to let us stay at their house and my other cousin planned to come into town for a cousins weekend!

On Friday, we went straight to the airport for a late flight that got us into Wisconsin after 10pm. My cousin and his wife picked us up from the airport and then drove us to their house. The night was filled with catching up and being filled in on everyone's lives. And since they have a baby on the way, we had a lot to catch up on! We stayed up way to late chit-chatting, but it was totally worth it.

Saturday morning, my cousin and her boyfriend met the rest of us so that we could all go out for brunch at a place near their house. Then we decided to head into Milwaukee to go to the Third Ward for some bloody mary's!
After enjoying drinks, we walked around, shopped and stopped into the Milwaukee Public Market. Richard and I bought a container of Habanero powder there four years ago and we finally used it all up and needed a refill. Perfect timing. The boys then ran off to get cigars while the girls shopped for home stuff.
When we were done shopping, we headed out to a brewery to go on a tour. By the time we got there, the tours were full so we went on a mini-tour instead. The tour guide ended up being extremely entertaining and both my cousin and I ended up being pulled into their demonstration that was super awkward, but hilarious. As part of the tour, we got four free samples of beer and a glass to take home. Since not all of us were drinking, there were plenty of drinks to go around.
After the tour, we headed out for the highlight of the trip. Well, for Richard anyway. He really wanted to go to Balistreri's, which is an Italian restaurant that has his favorite pizza. He went there a lot as a kid, and his dad even used to work there so it was a must. We are definitely glad we went there because the pizza was so good. For the six of us, we ordered three giant pizzas and we probably could have gotten away with two, but we were then left with leftovers for later so it worked out.
After pizza, we went back to my cousin's house for a bonfire. We basically just spent the night hanging out and talking. It was a great day.
Sunday was Mother's day which we knew when we booked the flights. It was the only weekend that worked for us all so we dealt. I don't celebrate Mother's day anyway so I figured it would work. My cousins however were hosting family over at their house for a Mother's day get together. So after eating a small breakfast and catching up with my aunt and uncle (my cousin's parents) we headed out with my other cousin and her boyfriend to go get appetizers and more bloody mary's.
After appetizers, my cousin and her boyfriend headed back to Madison while Richard and I went exploring. We went to visit his great grandma's grave and then drove past his great grandma's old house and the house Richard grew up in. Once we had explored a bit, we headed back to my cousin's house and crashed their family get together. We basically just hung out around the campfire with their family. That night we ate leftover pizza while we watched TV before we crashed since we had a super early flight.
Overall, the weekend was super fun and we are so grateful for my cousin and his wife for letting us stay at their place. It is always fun catching up with family you don't get to see as often as you would like. The next time we see those two they will be parents! So crazy!

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Currently: May

Hello May. Nice of you to get here so quickly. It is the first Wednesday of the month and that means there is a link up with Anne and Jenna. I have always meant to join, but kept forgetting until the day of and I can't draft a post that quickly. So I super planned ahead this month so here is my currently.

Celebrating teacher appreciation week! My preschool has created suggestions for the parents to follow and so far it has been amazing. I have received some extremely sweet cards along with flowers, gifts, and treats. It is a great week and its only halfway over. Feeling so very loved.

Reading the book What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. This book is messing with my brain. It is a really good book, but it has a character that is struggling with infertility that hits close to home. Also, it has some other thought provoking insights on relationships that are interesting. I am only halfway through it so we will see how it ends.

Pondering how this month is going to turn out. We have a lot to pack into this month and three weeks from today we are heading to Europe! EEEE! Not sure how that happened and I still need to write a post on that. Maybe next week.

Sipping smoothies. This week, I started making smoothies again in an attempt to eat healthier. These things are packed with frozen fruit, protein in the form of greek yogurt, spinach, flax seed and juice. They are a really easy way for me to get nutrients from food that I would not normally eat individually.

Going to Milwaukee!! Richard and I planned this quick weekend getaway a few months ago and it is finally here! We are so excited to visit with my cousins, eat all the yummy food and just enjoy the city where Richard was born.
^^Left: Our last trip to Milwaukee for Richard's grandparents 50th anniverary. Right: our last vacation with my cousins--Mardi Gras 2014^^

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