Tag: children

Their Perfect Time Together

Their Perfect Time Together

A baby lays asleep on the couch snuggled in her travel bassinet while her older sister plays games on her iPad, learning her ABCs and singing along with songs as they came up in her game on ABCMouse.Com. The TV plays a child’s show but neither baby nor child pays attention to it. Their mother sits tiredly on the couch, her eyes lovingly watching her baby sleep for a few minutes before her exhausted gaze shifts to where her oldest daughter sits at her feet. She may feel like a zombie but it is well worth the exhaustion, the stress, and everything else that comes to raising an independent loving little girl and bringing another strong baby girl into the world even though the world has become so confused and full of hate. Their mother sighs heavily as she thinks about having to raise these girls in the strange world, her mind and heart heavy. She looks at her daughters and hopes that they grow into beautiful, smart, independent, loving, caring women who won’t let the world or those living in it change their hearts or steer them off their path towards whatever it is that they wish to be when they grow up.

Her eyes wander to the couch beside her where her amazing husband sits, staring down at his laptop that sits propped on his black lap desk, his eyebrows knitted together as his fingers slide across the keyboard, the man never done with his work for the Navy and always giving his all to make sure that everyone is taken care of medically. The enjoyable clicking of the keyboard and the sight of her husband brings a smile to her face because she knows that she is not alone in raising her two daughters. The world may be scary but she knows that with the help of this incredible man beside her, their daughters will stand a chance. And with their families and all of their friends behind them, their daughters will always have the help they may need and will win in this crazy life of theirs.

She returns to her writing, a story flowing forth from her imagination and pen. She continues to write and to work on the story before her eyes, knowing that she must strive to work hard, get published, and show her girls that their dreams can come true if they keep striving for it, work hard, and never give up. Her eyes leave the page that she is writing on a few times as she looks to her sleeping sweet baby, to her older amazing daughter, and her perfect reliable husband, feeling truly blessed and at home with her little family. Her pen flies across the page, her mind whirling with thoughts and ideas, and a smile stays plastered to her face because as she sits there on their couch, she feels like this is their perfect time together. She can’t wait to make more beautiful memories as a new family of four, having already made some amazing memories as husband and wife and as a family of three. Life is an adventure and she knew that she has a great group of people to enjoy it with.

Don’t Give Up

Don’t Give Up

Hope: a four-letter word that means so much to some and so little to others. To my husband that word meant a lot as we stepped off onto a beaten path in order to begin to grow our little family. To me that word was important but then gradually rang empty promises as we began a march to a different beat because our path to become parents kept veering off course due to who knows what.

We had agreed at the end of 2011 that 2012 we wished to try for our own little bundle of joy but it seemed as if it wasn’t going to be as we struggled and my heart ached each month I began my period. I heard of others getting pregnant right away or after a couple of months and yet here I was unable to conceive. Then something had changed and to our despair, I miscarried. I wasn’t fully sad about the situation because to me it brought back hope since that meant that I could conceive it was just a matter as to why I couldn’t carry a child. I had so many questions as to why and what had gone wrong but I clung to that one word, hope, as did my husband since we saw that I had indeed gotten pregnant even though it had ended as quickly as it had started.

Then closer to the end of the year, we suffered from a second miscarriage and I began to let go of my life preserver- hope. Ryan wouldn’t let go and he clung to me, pulling me back, never giving up on our dream of having a family of our own and us becoming parents. He had seen me with children as I taught Preschool and he told me time and time again that I would make a wonderful mother to his children. But my heart ached and broke as we now had two angel babies.

A year ended in heart ache, an empty womb, and full of questions as to why it happened to us but we kept trudging forward, him working in the medical field in the Navy and myself working at one of the most wonderful preschools, Coast Kids in Carlsbad, CA. And though I kept a smile on my face and a kind word on my tongue, working with kids was also taking its toll on me, not because I was jealous but because I was sad at the thought of never being on the other side of the fence as a parent to a rambunctious ready to learn child or children. The teachers and directors of the preschool continued to pray for my husband and me and did their best to help my husband pull me back towards hope but it was a hard task. My family and friends also continued to fight to keep me afloat in the rocky waters of doubt but again it was a difficult task.

In 2013, we could finally see a military doctor about our problems of conceiving and carrying full term and a glimmer of hope once again poured into my heart. We were both tested and none of the results answered the questions as to why I couldn’t carry so they instantly marked me a mystery infertile woman, baffled themselves. They sent us to Infertility and the new doctor began to make a plan for us to follow to get me pregnant. I would have to take Clomid as well as give myself shots of another fertility drug into my stomach that would help my eggs develop quicker so that they can see if I can get pregnant by doing IUI (Intrauterine insemination) treatments along side the other method, sex. I did it even though the shots hurt and I felt like I was wasting my time as I kept thinking that I would never get pregnant with all of that. But once again Ryan, my rock, stepped up to push me forward and to help me with the shots when I felt like I couldn’t do it myself. He couldn’t always go to my appointments with me so my parents would sometimes go with me or one of my friends would go so that I was never alone when I entered that clinic because if I had gone alone, most likely I would have cancelled the appointments and had given up. Whenever he wasn’t able to go with me, I would always get calls or texts asking me how it went, asking what the doctor said, and just seeing if I was okay. That meant the most to me besides him always being by my side. He always thought of me first even though I knew he was hurting from this experience as well.

I ended up going through two IUI sessions and to our joy, the second session with the doctor and of course with us together ended in a pregnancy but before we could rejoice, it ended tragically in yet a third miscarriage. I cried then and I cried a lot because once again my womb had had a little baby in there but for some reason it refused to carry that baby. The doctor told us that we would have to wait for at least three months before we could begin with the shots, Clomid, and IUIs again. And once again, my heart dropped, and hope began to slip through my fingers like sand as my dreams of a family began to fade. I did start to talk about adopting but it still hurt because as every woman wishes to be able to do, I might not have been able to enjoy the strange wonders of carrying a baby full term and giving birth.

Ryan talked to me about adoption I believe to humor me but he still was holding on to hope that we would get pregnant and I would carry full term. And him keeping that hope alive even though I was losing mine had paid off in the end because two months after our last miscarriage, in April, we found out that I was again pregnant. Of course, I didn’t hold my breath since the last three had ended before they even had a chance to really live inside of me so I didn’t have much faith that this one would survive either. I waited week after week for the shoe to drop as they say and I miscarried for a fourth time but then a month went by and I went to the Infertility doctor who confirmed that I was indeed pregnant. I was then transferred over to OBGYN and had another ultrasound done to see that this baby was a fighter; we could even hear a strong heartbeat.

I finally allowed myself to feel hope in my heart again as the months began to slip by and my stomach began to grow larger as the baby inside grew. We did a 2D/3D ultrasound at A Baby Visit in Mira Mesa and found out that our little fighter was going to be a girl. I held Ryan’s hand as we saw our daughter’s face come up on the screen and my heart swelled with joy and happiness. Ryan had a grin on his face and I think went into shock because afterwards we went out to celebrate with my parents, godparents, and a friend that I worked with at Coast Kids and had became good friends with, he barely talked at first. But I knew that if it hadn’t been for my husband, I would have given up after the first two miscarriages and then we wouldn’t have been sitting there in the dark room, staring up at a huge screen that showed a small human wiggling around inside of me. We had our rainbow baby early as well. She decided to grace us with her presence on December 28, 2013 when her due date had been January 2, 2014. We were ecstatic when she decided to join our family and made us a family of three earlier than she was intended to come.

Then two and a half years after our first daughter, we decided that we were ready to try again for another child and so we began to try again, hoping that this time we wouldn’t have to deal with a lot of issues and heartaches. We found out in 2016 that I was pregnant again and we were super excited, not wanting to wait to tell everyone. But we should have waited because it wasn’t meant to be. I went to the ER for bleeding and was told that I was miscarrying another child. I hadn’t gone to the ER the first three times because it had happened so fast and so early on in the pregnancy where as this one I was at least a month or so. So once again we had another angel baby.

We were directed to an Infertility doctor who set up a plan for me to do the IUIs and Clomid but had decided against the shots this time around. I wasn’t looking forward to taking Clomid or giving myself shots in the stomach, and was a bit pleased when he told me that we wouldn’t be doing the shots, but I was willing to do anything to have another baby and this time I clung to hope right alongside Ryan. But we had found out too late because it was time for Ryan to pick out new orders, our three years out in Virginia having come to an end, so we decided that we would wait until we were settled at our new duty station before we once again talked to the infertility doctors and come up with a plan of action.

Our daughter is now 4 1/2 years old, we are settled back in California for Ryan’s new duty station, and we have been blessed in getting pregnant only a few months after getting back to California. We have welcomed another beautiful little girl into our family and she decided to out due her older sister by coming even earlier. She was due August 4, 2018 but decided that was too far away and joined us on July 23, 2018. And we didn’t have to talk to an infertility doctor nor did I have to take Clomid or give myself shots this time around and we couldn’t be any happier than we are now.

It had been Ryan who had kept me going forward in our long difficult journey to becoming parents to two beautiful rainbow babies and I am very grateful. If we had both given up, then we would not be parents today. I just have to remember that even though a situation seems hopeless, I cannot give up and I have to do my best to hold onto even the tiniest bit of hope and keep moving forward.

Now I am a mother to two rainbow babies and four angel babies and though my heart still hurts for the four babies I will never hold in my arms here on Earth, I am still grateful for having gone on this journey with my husband in order to see just how strong we can be together. I may not have been completely strong and Ryan may have had to be the one to pick me up to keep me going but it has opened my eyes to see that we can weather any obstacles this life throws at us. I dealt with being alone whenever Ryan had to be deployed, then I had dealt with the heartache of miscarriages and the birth of two amazing daughters, and now I have to face the challenges of raising these two girls to be independent, loving, caring, thoughtful and to make the right choices in their lives but thankfully I have such an amazing man by my side to help me raise these two as well as amazing family and friends since as the saying goes it takes a village to raise children.

I guess the moral to this story is to not give up hope and if you feel yourself letting go of that hope, make sure you lean on your significant other, your family, and your friends. Even sometimes a complete stranger can help instill that hope in your heart once again. So don’t give up on your dreams of becoming parents and I truly hope that one-day whether you decide to carry or to foster, or to adopt or to foster then adopt or even if you decide to have a surrogate mother, that you too can enjoy the wonderful mysteries of becoming a parent and raising your child/children. And don’t give up hope on any aspect in your life. Go for it! Make your dreams come true whatever they are and I hope you make your life worth living and are truly happy in the end.

Driving Cross Country Series- #2

Driving Cross Country Series- #2

Well now that you have everything from your lists taken care of, what do you do now? What my husband and I did was sit down and Google all of the places that we wished to see along the way on our drive from Virginia to California. And yes we even made a list of the places we wished to see so that we could pick and choose which ones to do on this trip and what places to save for another time. We finalized our list of places to drive to along the way for a nice family trip, allowed our daughter put in her two cents since it made her feel like she was apart of the planning experience, and we were ready for the day to come when we would hit the dusty trails. We had a blow up mattress and a blow up couch from Wal-Mart that we used until we had to pack the car and leave. We said our good byes to where my husband used to work and to the friends we had made, piled into our van, and headed out of Virginia Beach with a car full of bags and other materials that we had to keep for cleaning the house we were renting. Our daughter had her own bags up front by her car seat where she could grab them and play with her iPad, read some books, play with the mess free coloring books, and her stuffed toy friends that she had picked to take with her as her entertainment. We had a cooler and bags of snacks behind the passenger seat so that we can easily have access to drinks and food along the way. My husband and I would make sure to take turns driving and napping so that we didn’t wear ourselves out with just one of us driving all day long. Always make sure that you share the responsibility in the driving. It will make the trip a lot more fun and enjoyable. Also as the passenger, make sure that you have the camera ready at hand and take pictures. The pictures might not seem like much or might be boring to some but to you and your family, they will mean something because you took them while in the car and outside of the car when stopped at one of your destinations that will remind you of the great adventure that you all went on together as a family. Capturing memories as they say.

Another important factor to make this road trip a good one besides having fun destinations and a camera is to make pit stops. Even if you don’t feel that you need one, other people in the car may need it and whether you think you do or not, you definitely need a stop and stretch your legs. It may make the trip seem longer but it will help you especially if you have kids who have to sit trapped in a car seat for hours on end. Their little legs are just dangling there, they may need to go potty, and yes they will get bored so a bit of distraction like getting out of the car will help them readjust to being back in the car for a bit longer. And of course make sure you always stop for gas and/or snacks and drinks when needed. Have an envelope in your car where you can store your receipts if you are military because it makes it so much easier on you or your SO, whichever is in the military, to turn everything in so that you can be reimbursed at the end of your trip.

To entertain yourself as the driver as well as your passenger, pick out some good long audiobooks in genres that you both like. An audiobook can definitely help the time go by if someone is napping in the car or if you two just wish to listen to something other than music from the radio or from Pandora or whatever else you listen to for music. Make sure you’re listening to something child appropriate or have your little one wear headphones and play on their iPad. Our daughter loved playing ABCMouse.com or PBS kids on her iPad, both great learning tools, while my husband and I would listen to our audiobooks or music or just chat. It was so much easier that she had so much to do in order to keep her entertained. Though there were times when she would complain about being bored or wanting to get out of the car and it’s those moments you find a rest stop or another place to stop, pull off the road, and let her out so she can stretch and get some fresh air. Then she was ready to jump back into the car and go, go, go.

Do what you can to make the trip as pleasant as you can for yourself as well as for the others you are traveling with so then the trip can go smoothly and without too many things going wrong or hopefully with nothing going wrong at all.

Remember- have a camera, take lots of pictures even if they might not seem remarkable to anyone but you and your family, have music and audiobooks to listen to, have plenty of games and other items for your child or children to play with so that they can stay entertained, have food and drinks close at hand in the car, make pit stops even if you don’t feel like you need them since someone else might need them especially your kid(s), and have an envelope in order to store all of your receipts that you collect while on the trip.

Driving Cross Country Series- #1

Driving Cross Country Series- #1

Imagine this! You’re a military family, having lived in a place for nearly three years, and it’s time for new orders. So what do you do? Well after you have decided together hopefully where you wish to go for your next duty question, that’s when you should whip out the notebook and begin to make lists. Yes you did read that right; I did say to make lists. Lists about what to have packed by the movers, lists about what you will need to keep out until you are ready to leave the house you are renting or own, lists about realtors if you plan on selling your house and who can help get your place sold quickly or if you decide to rent which property managers you would talk to about renting out your home, lists about what you wish to sell online or in your garage sale if you decide to have one, lists about what clothes to keep out for yourself, your SO, and if you have a kid or kids, what you will keep out for them. Lists about what you have in the house including your household items might always be a good idea since we know even in the military our belongings get stolen quite often or somehow “misplaced” from the truck to the warehouse where they are stored until you have found a new place to live at your new duty station. Lists about what needs to be cleaned in the house, who to call for cleaning your floors (especially if you are in a rental), and what might need to be repaired before you can sell/rent/leave your rental house, condo, or apartment. Even have lists about what you wish to pack in order to keep yourself entertained on either the flight or driving (we chose to drive cross-country but more about that later) as well as what you wish to take to keep the kiddies entertained. And last but not least, make sure that you have a list of snacks that you, your SO, and your kids like so that when you do a little food shopping you can stock up on those oh so important snacks that everyone will enjoy, on a car trip. If you are flying, then you might not need to remember this list.

So now that you have your lists in hand, you can begin to go through your clothes and your other items to decide what should go and what will stay. Broken things go in the trashcan, items that need mending maybe put off to the side so you can finally get them mended, and just keep going for those next several days, getting rid of items, making sure that your items to be packed are ready to go for once the overs get there, and your clothes and other items you will be taking in the car or on the plane with you maybe stashed off to the side so that you can easily pack them up once the time comes. The best way to be prepared is to make lists, have a plan, and execute said plan in the days to come until you have to say adios to the state or country that you are currently living in and hello to the new state or country you have decided to make your new home for two, three, four, several years.

Making lists have always helped me because when I didn’t make lists, I would think of everything that we had to do before we left and I became way too overwhelmed and couldn’t function right. It also helps my husband to see what has been done and what still needed to be done so that he can pitch in to help out. Our four-year old daughter, who was three years old when we decided to drive cross-country from Virginia to California just last year, helped as much as she could. She would grab things she wanted to keep for the car trip out and we would have her little bags where she could pack everything inside. She actually was a good little helper for her mommy as her mommy buzzed around the house getting things ready. I also liked having lists in hand because then it was a motivator for me to not wait and to not procrastinate until the last-minute to get something important done like selling certain items we didn’t need any longer but worked great or cancelling our daughter’s MyGym class ASAP. So I have come to rely on lists for the military life as well as other aspects in my life. I even have a list for this blog series I am about to write about our trip from VA to CA. Of course, we did the same trip three years ago last October from CA to VA and our daughter wasn’t even one yet but I decided to do this trip because we didn’t stop in many places on the first trip since my husband needed to get back to work as soon as we were moved into our rental house in Virginia Beach so there wasn’t much time for us to make any stops except for at night and to sleep and for pit stops during the day. This second trip across country was more eventful and quite fun for all of us because we had decided to slow down, take in some sights along the way, and actually enjoy the car trip.

So remember whether you are military or aren’t military but planning a trip for vacation or moving, make your lists so you can check everything off as you go! Lists are quite fun to make and helps keep you on track with time crunches, packing, and anything else you might need to add to said lists for your vacation or move to go smoothly and hopefully help iron out any hiccups that might happen, since we all know that those happen from time to time.

As I had said earlier, this blog is just the first of many in a series that I will write that will include strategies for driving cross-country, especially with a little one, and talking about the places/states that we have stopped in along the way as well as with reviews of said places that we had stopped to enjoyed and reviews on the places where we stayed in at night (hotels and motels a like). So sit back, grab a cup of tea or coffee, and enjoy the cross-country trip of this military family as we make plenty of stops along the way from Virginia Beach, VA to San Diego, CA.