Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Finding your feet again

Infertility sucks.

Someone told me once that when something happens on your path, on your road of life, that it is detour, or a stumble, but it is not a blockade. After so many stumbles....how do you find your feet again to continue on? How do you not feel like it is a blockade? Yesterday I got dealt another blow. One of those blows that makes you just want to lay down in the middle of the road and never want to get up again. My husband and I had another round of IVF - the transfer was on my birthday - and this is our 6th infertility treatment. And we found out yesterday...that it didn't work. The sadness is so deep. The emptiness is so vast. The tears are so raw. But...some how, I found my feet to keep walking. I got through yesterday, and am walking forward again today. People are using words like strong...graceful...perseverance...but even though i'm walking forward, I still feel like I am just laying in the middle of the road. I feel so open and exposed and vulnerable. But I keep moving forward. I feel so empty inside....but then full too.

I woke up this morning giving Thanks. I know that even though I am going through this terrible time, I know that I am Blessed. And what is picking me and moving me forward? Its my Faith and the strength from family and friends. Everyone is praying so hard for this to happen for me. To know that so many people are behind you and with you on your journey is overwhelming. It fills you up, and lifts you, and helps you find your feet again. Kind of like a balloon. Just filling you up from within and floating you down your path.

The hardest thing is right now - is not knowing. How can two people who love each other so much and just want a baby so bad, how can we not create a baby that grows and is filled with love? How can someone who has the desire so deep to be a mother, how can she not become one? How can two people with so much love and support behind them, and so many prayers and people praying for them, how can this pray not come true? This is what I don't understand. This is what I am struggling with. I hear stories all the time about people who don't want a baby and our pregnant. I hear all the time horrendous things that happen to children. And I am so confused why a home filled with such love and desire for a family, can not be filled with children?

These questions may never be answered. It may never be explained. And the prayers continue. That some day, our home will be filled with the love and laughter of a child. I will not give up. I will fight forever to make this happen. No matter the cost.

For anyone going through this or who has gone through this...there is a cost isn't there? How many times can you be knocked down? How many times can you get up from laying down in the middle of the path and just not wanting to get up again? As long as I have my Faith, and all the strength and love and support from my family and friends, I know I will always be able to find my feet again.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

It Takes a Village

We have all heard the saying "it takes a village to raise a child". For my husband and I, it takes a village to HAVE a child. Our journey is nearing another milestone. And I have been thinking of how many people have been a part of this journey and helped get us to this place.

Our family has been a support for us every step of the way. Whether it has been emotional or financial support, they have been there. This journey has been as difficult for them as it has been for us. A parent wants nothing more then to give their child their hopes and dreams. Well no matter how hard they try, then can't "make" this happen. And that is a terribly frustrating place for a parent to be. A parent doesn't want to see their child in pain or hurting. And this experience has brought on a lot of both. And it leaves a parent feeling helpless. Thank you all of those who are supporting our parents while we are on our fertility journey. I know you have been then to wipe the tears of sadness or disappoint from their eyes and have said prayers for us every day. And thank you to all of our family who has supported us with prayers, support and well wishes.

At first, Niles and I choose not to share what we were going through with friends. We didn't want to bring them down with bad news or burden them with our problems. But everyone knew something was wrong. When we shared what was happening, everyone understood and the outpouring of support and love has been overwhelming. I will get random texts or messages on Facebook that someone is thinking of me. Or I'll receive a wee gift in the mail - like a Mickey Mouse from my best friend so I can hug him every time I get sad. Or an kneeling angel figure from a friend who also went through fertility troubles. It is overwhelming how many people just want us to have this gift - a gift of having a baby.

The most stunning and amazing gift someone has offered to us, is the gift of their body to be our surrogate if it gets to that point. One person who offered this to me is a dear friend who I have known since I was 9 years old. And another, is someone that I don't know well but we our friends on facebook. Can you imagine? There are people out there who care so much and want to help so much that they will give over their bodies to help us? It was a stunning and amazing gift that still brings me to tears.

Support from the unknown has helped us on this journey. By putting my story out there and sharing what we are experiencing through social media has led to an outpouring of support, prayers, and well wishes. I belong to a Disney board. We talk about all things Disney all day! My kind of place!! I opened up and shared with them our struggles and journey. One of the members on the boards shared a story with me. He said that they had trouble having a baby and while walking in the wee hours of the morning at the resort they were staying, Port Orleans Riverside, they ran into a cast member who was on the bridge. This cast member told them a story of making a wish on the bridge by tossing a dime into the river. They tossed in their dime, made their wish, and the next year, they brought their daughter to Disney World and went to that spot on that bridge. Their wish came true. This past September, Niles and I happened to be staying at this same resort and we tossed our dimes into the river on the bridge and made our wish. I shared this story and what we did in a trip report after we returned home. The responses I got to this story was stunning!!!! People who have never met me and don't know me beyond just a person who dishes out Disney advice have started praying for us and sending us pixie dust! One member who is traveling to this same resort in a few weeks with her niece is going to take a dime and make a wish for us. She is having her niece make one too. Her niece is an IVF baby. I get chills just thinking about how remarkable this all is! How many people want us to have a baby and will do anything to help us!!

I have been seeing a therapist since February to help me navigate through this emotional and difficult journey. I can say with out any doubt, I'm a different and the best version of myself now. Its been her weekly efforts that have helped me focus on what is important and put myself first. She has helped me to control the worries and anxieties that this experience has brought up. I am stronger and happier and am ready for the next step of my journey thanks to her.

The medical staff at the fertility doctors office has been so supportive and wonderful. When Niles and I began going to a fertility doctor in early 2011, we were with a different doctors office. The doctor, although amazing, had a staff and office that was anything but. We left them and started with a new office and doctor and have been so happy with their support and their efforts.

I never really bought into the world the acupuncture until it was recommend by a friend I went to high school with who suffered from some fertility issues. And as I researched it and looked into it, I realized the benefits. Then I did it a few times, and I was sold! It has helped tremendously getting through this journey.

Going through fertility treatments is a time consuming and difficult journey. Without the support and love from the families I work for, I would not have been able to do any of this. They have all been understanding, supportive and want this so bad for us!!! They have let me take time off for doctors appointments and have been beyond supportive while I go through the fertility treatments. Being able to share this journey with my families has meant the world to me. They are truly an extension of my own family. They share their children with me and let me into their lives, homes and family every day. Being able to be surrounded by such love and support every day has made this process easier on me. I know I can depend on my families and they can depend on me. They are always there, to give hugs, love, support, and even...shots!

This is my village. A village I love and that I love being a part of. Each member of this village has been a part of our journey. Without you all, we would not have been able to get through this. In a week, on my birthday, this journey takes its final step. Thank you to everyone who has helped, supported, loved and prayed for us. We love you. We love our village.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Halloween "Must Do's" Kids and Family

If anyone has stayed on property at Walt Disney World, you know Stacy and her "must do's". Well this is Carey's Must Do's for Haloween!

1) Trip to Pumpkin Patch! Even if it is your local church patch or a full farm to go pumpkin picking or both - take a trip to The Great Pumpkin Patch! And while there:
  • take pictures 
  • pick out pumpkins to paint
  • take a wagon or hay ride
  • pick out pumpkins to carve
  • enjoy a fall treat - bring a special cookie or fruit treat to enjoy in the patch

 2) Make a painting to mark the size of the kids feet. Check out this great blog for the tutorial:


or this one:


3) Have a fun Halloween party! Make these fun treats! The kids I nanny for love the mummy dogs and witch fingers!!!


 And these ideas from parents.com!

And these monster sandwiches!

4) Play Games! Sing Songs! All sorts! There are so many games to play - Halloween bowling, pin the jack o lantern face on the pumpkin, and Pop Goes the Pumpkin!

5) Watch its The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

Saturday, October 20, 2012


Well, the journey continues. I still don't know anything specific. This has been going on for 8 days. 8 days of tests and monitoring just to determine when the embryo transfer will be. I realized that I have a case of the "I wantsies". I realized this a.m. that I have used the word "want" so many times in the past week that I am actually alarmed!! Its been everything from, I want to know when I will have my transfer, I want to know how is giving me my trigger shot, I want to know when I will find out if the IVF transfer worked, I want to find a pair of skinny jeans, I want organize my closet, I want a new cable knit sweater...Its all "I want".

But what I really want...I want that moment...that moment when for the first time in my life, they tell me I am going to have a baby. I want to know what that feels like. I want to know that joy. I want to know what it feels like to have my most precious dream come true.

Everything else...is just filler. Nervous energy and anxiety as I wait. I am making my Christmas lists, planning on when I can go to Disney again, pinning my little brain out on Pinterest! What ever I can do to use up that nervous energy as I wait...wait for what I truly want.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Practically Perfect In Every Way

In my life, I try to strengthen my strengths, improve what needs improving, learn what needs to be learned and grow where I need to grow.  Basically, I'm a work in progress. I think everyone is. However, I put a lot of pressure on being perfect though.  This goes way back. For as long as I can remember, I felt like I needed to be perfect. I fully understand that no one is perfect so I never was one to strive for "perfect" perfection but more like "nearly" perfect. But in things I know - planning for a Disney Trip, decorating, cooking, etc...I want absolute perfection. I demand it from myself. Last year, for Thanksgiving, I was officially hosting my first Thanksgiving. I didn't want anyone in the kitchen with me. I wanted to pull off a Thanksgiving presentation that would rival Martha Stewart. And in the end. I achieved it. Everything down to the individual gravy boats. A perfect birthday meal for my mom the night before, a perfect breakfast course, a perfect Thanksgiving Day dinner, and a perfect dessert. And if that wasn't enough, a perfect round of left overs the next day.


It hit me by dessert though... this feeling of absolutely defeat. I missed it. I missed Thanksgiving. I missed it because I was so focused on the turkey and the stuffing and all the trimmings, I missed the laughter and watching football and relaxing. I missed an opportunity to cook in the kitchen with my mom and my brother's girlfriend, Emily. That was the "perfect" Thanksgiving. Everyone's hands full of flour, and butts bumping in the tiny kitchen. And the thing is...I actually know this. I just get so wrapped up in making the perfect moment for people. Making the perfect environment. I know that. I can do that. And in some ways, that is one way I show love. I show people love by creating the perfect setting for them and the perfect environment. If asked, everyone had an amazing Thanksgiving. The word perfection was thrown away quite a bit! I was proud, but deflated.

Whether I've held on a little too tight to Mary's words "Practically Perfect In Every way" or I watched too many Martha Stewart holiday specials, I, for as long as I can remember, have been like this. I remember back being 9 years old feeling this way. Feeling like I had to be perfect. Over the past year, through prayer, faith, friends, family, and my therapist, I have really focused on this idea of "perfection".

Last year when I went through IVF, I wanted to go through it perfectly. I didn't want to burden anyone with "my problem". I felt like I was thinking about it all the time, I certainly didn't want to talk about it all the time. I put loads of pressure on myself to just go through it with a smile. Every time I heard a "we are very sorry Mrs. Larson, but the cycle was unsuccessful", I would give myself 3 days to get over it and then back up to try and do it again. Towards the end, i'm certain that this played a roll in why things were not successful. I was grieving and sad and lonely, and found myself putting so much pressure on myself to control what I could - like creating a "perfect" Thanksgiving - that I wore myself down, physically, emotionally and mentally. I should confess here that I worked so hard over Thanksgiving, I got laryngitis.

One "imperfection" I have is that I struggle with patience. If I know something is coming up, anything from paying a bill to a Disney vacation, I get so wrapped up and anxious about doing what ever needs to be done, I usually make myself sick. Now there are two kinds of patience. I can listen to a 3 years old temper-tantrum for days. It doesn't bother me. Or I can have 18 children pulling on me vying for my attention and again, it doesn't get to me. The screams and yells of children is music to my ears. That kind of patience - I have ten fold. But the kind where I have to wait for something to happen in my life - well, i'm working on it.

Going through IVF is like a "hurry up.....and wait" experience. You have to hurry up....and then tell you to wait a couple more days. Hurry up...and we will call you tomorrow. Hurry up....wait a week. Its all hurry up....and wait. And its maddening. It tests my patience to its limits. Yesterday, I was all set to find out when our transfer would be. So I hurried to the doctor, had my tests, and then was told...wait to Sunday and come back. I would like to say this doesn't bother me any more. Over the past year, it has gotten so much better...but it still unsettles me.

So I wait...until tomorrow.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A True Love Story

I get teased a lot for my Disney "enthusiasm". I'm a girl who is 36, still watches Disney movies, and goes to Disney World every year! I think some people don't give Disney a fair chance and just think its for the kids. What if I told you the most romantic story every told is in 5 minutes of animated silent film? And done...by Disney.

Since I love Disney movies so much, my wonderful hubby took me to see Up!. I expected to laugh and giggle and just have a wonderful time at the movies with my buttered popcorn and junior mints. What I didn't expect was to have a story resonate so deeply and have such profound meaning in my life.

Here is what changed me life.

With no words...this is the love story that parallels my life.  I never anticipated being in this position. I knew marriage would have its own set of complications and problems coming up but never did I think it would be to start a family. If you were to ask me, from the time I was 5 to the present, what is the one thing I want to be when I grow up? I would answer then as I answer now...to be a mother.

When we started this fertility treatment journey, Niles, that wonderful husband of mine, surprised me with this on my lap top as my wall paper.

The similarities in this love story go beyond just the struggles to have a family. I'm the chatty one...Niles, not so much. We love fixing up old houses and making them our own. And when we met on Match.com, we talked about our adventures. And that has been a theme of our marriage. What adventures would we go on together and that we would always be okay as long as we had each other...and packed snacks.

When you struggle with fertility, there is so much pain and confusion. I am blessed and thankful to have a husband who has held my hand on every step of this journey. It hasn't been easy, but he has been there holding my hand. So the hand prints, displayed on the mailbox, is another theme we share with Ellie and Carl.

Tomorrow we become one step closer to our dreams and another step on this adventure. I know now that what ever happens, Niles and I, like Ellie and Carl, will be okay, because we have each other.

I love you, Niles.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Being Mary

My DH (Disney Husband) and I returned from a 10 day vacation to Walt Disney World a few weeks ago. Still settling into reality! I actually didn't get the Disney Blues this time when we returned but I have a bit of them now. I am just trying not to think of what the next few weeks will bring (beginning another round of IVF) so I'm going through all my pictures from our trip. I'm a bit of a photography nut so I take almost 1000 pics each trip! I think I have a picture from every angle of the Castle!

On our first day of our trip, we always start with dinner at Epcot and we love the UK pavilion! We stepped out of the tea shoppe and almost right into Mary Poppins! I literally gasped and squealed and yelled Mary! There were several girls about my age or a wee bit younger and we all started to follow Mary down the path! We were all giggling and skipping and just have a Jolly Holiday!

I find it interesting that after all these years, going to University and getting a degree in Elementary Education, that I am a nanny. I find this interesting because if you ask me what my two all time favorite movies are, I will tell you Mary Poppins and Sound of Music. Now it could be because I am a Julie Andrews fan. But I think it goes deeper then that. There is something about giving yourself to a child. In the class room, this is limited due to the size of the classroom and all the expectations put on a teacher these days. You spend most of your day teaching to the standardize tests or trying to get through the unreasonable expectations put on our teachers. But as a nanny, you become part of the family. You are there for every exciting new discovery and every boo boo and every temper tantrum. There is something magical about being able to be a part of a child's life in this way. It is heart breaking when you leave one family and go to another. I feel what Mary does as she leaves Jane and Michael.

About 6 months ago, I said goodbye to one of my families who moved away. I shed tears that day that were so deep that it felt like my heart was breaking. And in a way, it was. I met TH when he was 6 weeks old and was with him until he was 1 1/2 years old. I was there through every milestone in his life. TH is about to turn 2 years old. And I am not going to be there for this milestone and I feel my heart breaking all over again.  I don't just miss TH. I miss his parents too. There is a bond with them that goes beyond my being their nanny or being friends. We have become a family. I won't be there in person for this milestone, but I will be there in spirit. Happy Birthday TH! I love you little man.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Social media does bring people together

In the past, I have not been very personal on this blog. I have kept it to ideas and links for kids and Disney. But I wanted to share this story. For those of you who have been following me, I have been off the blog for awhile. My wonderful husband and I had a very hard year trying to start our family. We have been going through fertility treatments, and all 5 were unsuccessful. With the support of family and friends, we feel that it is time to start again and we will be starting this month. In the past year, I felt like I was under a cloud or in a fog. It didn't feel real and I didn't feel like myself. The people around me have helped me to find myself again.

One of those amazing connections is one that I can hardly believe. In 2001, I was a teacher. My first real classroom. One of those families and I became very close. After 2 years of teaching at that school, I left and we stayed in touch every Christmas. Since my days teaching, I have moved twice. I received a Christmas card some time in January as it went to an old address. Inside were photos of my student standing in the Capital Building. I couldn't believe it as I live just minutes from DC! I read the letter - did the math as it must be mathematically impossible that my student is old enough to be in college (its not - the math is right!).  And not only is she close by but so are her parents! I hopped on facebook and found my former student and then connected with her parents and we spent quite a few wonderful summer days together in DC! It was wonderful to be connected again!

I have a new blog design and my logo at the top was designed by former student!  Sara is one of the most brilliant and beautiful girls I know! Her mom Sherry is one of the kindest and most generous giving women I know! And I am so blessed to have them both back in my life.

I find it amazing how in your time of need, God has a way of bringing people together. With this big world we live in and how fast things move, its easy to get lost or loose people. I know the social media world is a scary one. But if it wasn't for world wide web, I wouldn't have found my husband or be able to stay in touch so easily with my brother who lives 3 time zones away. Or find friends from long ago. It does have its advantages!!! I am so grateful to have found Sara and Sherry again! Thank you Sara for the beautiful new logo!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

3 great Groundhogs Day projects

In honor of Punxsutawney Phil, here are 3 Groundhog's Day projects to do with the kids!

How about a Phil Phruit Snack!


Coloring Book Page

Pop Up Phil


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thinking about Valentine's Day???

Hi everyone!

It's hard to believe that Valentine's Day is about a month away! In preparation, I have two cute and "sweet" ideas for you! Again, I found these ideas on Pinterest. Love Pinterest!!

Here is a great project that children of all ages can participate in making!


And for a "sweet" treat - a great twist on the peanut butter kiss cookies!


Great and easy ideas for Valentine's Day!


With love,

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Winter Indoor Activity

Now that winter is upon us (well, we got a 1/2 inch yesterday so i'm declaring winter even though it will be 50 today!), I am in search of some fun indoor activities to do with children of all ages. I came across this idea on Pinterest and fell in love with her blog!


We all love dressing up but costumes can take up so much space. This is a fun and easy way to take a cold winter day inside and turn it into a magical day of make-believe!!

Check out this great DIY animal ear headband idea!!! Its cute and fun!!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Magic of Pinterest

Hi Everyone,

If you haven't seen the new social networking craz, its Pinterest. Basically, it is one website, where you can create as many boards as you like, and then you pin ideas to those boards. Think back to when your favorite magazine and catalog came in the mail. You would take your highlighter, or marker and circle things you wanted to remember. Or you would rip the pages out and file them in your "idea" binder. Well, Pinterst is virtual way of doing that.

So why is it so amazing? 1000's of people pin their favorite ideas on Pinterst. You can either pin your own idea or just repin someone else's! It has 1000's of ideas for anything you can think of! Crafts - they have loads of ideas! Teaching tips and tools - yep, have that too! Looking for a receipe - they have so many you will be cooking for years!

If you have not gotten onto pinterest yet, please send me an email and I will send you an invite. It is a lot faster then waiting for them to send you the invite.

Here are just a few of the ideas I have gotten off of Pinterest:

A school supply cake for the teacher!

Do you have a Scrabble lover in your life? A great DIY project for a gift!

Or how about a DIY Disney Countdown calendar! I've already picked up my Disney paint chips from Home Depot!!

So many ideas - so much fun! If you haven't already, check it out!!!!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Children's Creative Movement Class

Hi Everyone and Happy New Year!

I hope 2012 brings us all much peace and happiness!

I have a friend who is opening a new studio tomorrow! I am very excited as she is an amazing talent!!

Her studio, Local Motion, located in Alexandria, specializes in both Creative Movement classes for children as well as a wide variety of classes for adults (with onsite childcare)!!! Oh - also - there is onsite parking!!!

The link to her studio is below. There is a list of classes as well as prices. 


There will also be a Grand Opening Party on Saturday January 7th. All are welcome!!! There is free yoga from 3 to 4 and from 4 to 6 there will be light refreshments, face painting, explore the space and meet the staff.

Follow on Facebook and you can also see a picture history of the Studio!