4 May 2016

My Favorite Free People Blouse and The Love Wall

On Sunday, we enjoyed a special lunch with my family and then we ventured out to do some exploring. I heard about James Goldcrown's Bleeding Hearts/Love Wall in Eagle Rock awhile back, and it was on my list of things to check out in the city. We were in the neighborhood and it was definitely worth a look see!

Free People Summer Lovin Blouse (Currently 50% off!) | J. Crew Boyfriend Jeans (old) | Tory Burch Sandals



K had just woken up from a car nap and was completely unamused. 

My birthday and Mother's Day are at the end of this week. It feels like the right time to reflect and think about where I am right here, right now. I am continuing to keep gratitude and faith in my heart and believe that I am on a pretty good path. A few short years ago, it felt like my life was crumbling all around me, and I felt unbelievably lost (and anxious). It has been a long road back, but all of the hard work has not been in vain. And I have this little girl by my side. Love of my life. 

I hope you are all having a great week! 

2 May 2016

Just Floating

Over the weekend, it became pretty obvious that my two week wait was over. It seemed rather early to call this cycle a failure, but I told you guys I never take pregnancy tests. My body beats me to it. I saved a few bucks on a test and I got the consolation prize of early spotting instead. Thanks, body.

My initial reaction? Well. Duh. No surprises here.

I honestly don't know what to make of yet another busted cycle. It feels as normal as breathing at this point. But still a little sad because there is always that little sliver of your heart that you want to leave open to...the possibility. The possibility that maybe just once you'll be wrong about yourself. L didn't have much of a reaction which sort of offended me. I think he felt bad for me and expressed that we are only just starting this process again. But, I don't think he put much stock into this cycle, and, again, that didn't feel great. I felt alone in my disappointment and sort of foolish for thinking that the end result would be anything but negative.

But, I'm moving on.

I have no other choice. I go about my days like nothing is wrong or different or off. I feel lucky to have this blog, because if I didn't write these feelings down, I doubt they would be processed at all. Whether we ever get pregnant again or not, I still want an account of how it all went down.

My intentions for this week going forward are to stay hopeful, honest, and humble. I am very grateful for everything and everyone in my life right now and I really have very little to complain about. I say "very little", because complaining is just part of who I am. ;)

For now, I am just floating and watching this little girl grow up too quickly.

28 April 2016

4 Tips for Maintaining Sanity During the Two Week Wait


I am back in the land of the two week wait. It feels somewhat surreal. It's hard to have hope when trying naturally feels like such a long shot. My body usually forces a period before I even have a chance to take a pregnancy test. What can I say? I'm special.

I was actually pretty shocked earlier this month when the ovulation kit was positive. I'll give my body a well deserved pat on the back for that one. My therapist told me that I should remain faithful to this experience and that pregnancy is something that will happen. Her words felt like nails on a chalkboard. I wanted to scream, "Noooooo! That would jinx it!!" Over the years, I have developed a lot of superstitions and assuming that a second pregnancy WILL happen feels almost cocky. I'm not comfortable being that confident. I'd rather sit in my miserable corner of uncertainty and lament.

The two week wait is essentially one gigantic mind fuck whether you're infertile or not. I've been through it so many times, I forgot that there might be women out there who have never experienced a two week wait or are new to this.

Here are a few tips I have picked up throughout seven long years (give or take) of TWWs:

Make a conscious decision to get off the emotional rollercoaster. 
Tell yourself that your body is going to do its thing regardless of obsessive symptom checking, googling your various shades of discharge, or any other odd behavior you've developed while waiting to pee on a stick. Whether this means taking a nice walk, meditating, or whatever else you need to do to get out of your own head, do it. The bottomline: simplify your life and stay off Google.

Try to hold off on peeing on a stick for as long as possible. 
Peeing too early is likely going to give you a negative result that will send you on a downward spiral of googling (yes, trying to conceive can involve TONS of potential googling) and frustration. While the prospect of peeing on a stick is really exciting (especially if you are in the first few cycles of trying to conceive), try and hold strong. You can do it!

Hug your spouse. 
Trying to conceive has been known to make me a little (a lot) edgy. The process can feel very clinical especially after months or years of trying to conceive. Remember to support your spouse as they support you. Plan a date night or something fun in the days leading up to your testing date.

Don't beat yourself up.
If you happen to have a glass or wine or you aren't eating all the organic things, give yourself a break. Many women pay closer attention to healthy lifestyle habits when they are trying to conceive. Again, the longer it takes for you to conceive, the more likely it is that you will feel like you need to eat the perfect food, never miss taking the perfect prenatal vitamin, get the perfect amount of sleep, drink the perfect amount of water, and have the perfect level of stress in your life. My advice? Let some of it go. 

26 April 2016

A Quick San Diego Trip

We were in San Diego this past weekend. It's safe to say, traveling isn't a seamless activity for our family yet. L and I are serial over-packers. We usually forget to eat at proper mealtimes. K isn't a fan of sleeping in unfamiliar places. However, pushing ourselves outside of our comfort zone is necessary every now and then. We always end up having fun and making lasting family memories.

Here are some photos of our close encounter with some sun bathing sea lions!



This mama and baby sea lion were melting our hearts! They also reminded us of a children's book we have about a brave little seal pup.




I'm wearing an old chambray top from Anthropologie and 501 CT Jeans for Women in White Tumble by Levi's. I have been looking for a new pair of white jeans and these are more of a boyfriend cut. I LOVE them! K is wearing an Old Navy off-the-shoulder blouse (currently out of stock) and bermuda shorts. We've really been lucking out with Old Navy. The waist of the bermuda shorts fit her perfectly which almost never happens! 

20 April 2016

Wardrobe Staple: Army Green Cropped Pant

It's important for me to attempt to look decent during my days as a stay-at-home mom. (I said "attempt".) While I definitely had tons of yoga pants/t-shirt/hair up days during K's infancy, I am trying not to make it a habit now that K is a toddler. I focus on basic pieces that can be mixed and matched easily. Here is a simple outfit I wore over the weekend for a day of outlet shopping.

I've been wearing some version of army green cropped pants for years. You can tell me the trend is over, but I don't want to hear it. They match everything, do not need to be ironed, can take the wear and tear of greasy toddler fingers, and are super comfortable. To me, that's a win.


18 April 2016

5 Ways to Manage the Fatigue of Debilitating Anxiety


In the past, I have talked a lot about my debilitating anxiety. Now that I am a mom, it doesn't mean my anxiety has magically disappeared. (Actually, in some ways, it has intensified since becoming a mom.) When I started therapy about a year ago, I had high hopes that I would somehow be "cured" and with enough hard work and practice, I might get over this condition that has plagued me for years.

Wrong. 

I am a person living with generalized anxiety disorder. It has been very difficult for me admit that to myself. Anxiety is something that will always be a part of my life, but I am now much better equipped to manage it. I can even talk myself out of most panic attacks. Therapy and more specifically cognitive behavioral therapy has helped me in so many ways! I have a better understanding of my triggers and what gets my anxious juices flowing.

I am still learning and trying to shift my perspective to better handle my reactions to anxiety-provoking situations. I am constantly looking for ways to combat the fatigue and exhaustion that results from high anxiety. 

Here are some strategies I have discussed with my therapist that I use for coping with exhaustion brought on by anxiety. 

Get things done when you are motivated. 
With anxiety, I experience periods of energized busyness and periods of mental and physical burn out. Instead of looking at my to-do list during the exhausted moments and freaking out more, I put the list away for a day/time when I have energy. Then, when I am feeling good, I try and get things done then. I don't go crazy trying to complete everything at once, but it feels good when I check a few things off my list. This strategy helps me avoid the utter exhaustion I was feeling by trying to push through my fatigue. 

Space out anxiety-provoking events/exposures. 
I recently learned this lesson the hard way. Do not try and do ALL the things at once. When I'm feeling confident and upbeat, I tend to think I can do everything, including taking on my biggest fears. Not surprisingly, this mentality has caused major anxiety burn out. It results in needing a great deal of down time to feel back to normal. I feel guilty for feeling so tired around my daughter. Parenting is a 24/7 job, and when I'm just phoning it in, I feel even worse. I try and give myself a few days or even a week between high anxiety situations whenever possible. I realize that this type of scheduling is not always within my control. But, when possible, I work on balancing my schedule as best as I can.

Schedule time for self-care and/or doing something that fuels you. 
Believe it or not, blogging has re-ignited a passion in me that I thought I had lost or become too busy as a new mom to entertain. It is something I do for myself. I wrote about self-care recently in this post. I talk about self-care all the time, but I truly believe there is something to be said about being kind to yourself. It isn't just about physical upkeep, but also mental upkeep. Check in with yourself constantly and remind yourself of what an amazing job you are doing. 

Take small breaks from social media. 
I'm not talking about days on end, so don't panic. A few hours or a morning/afternoon/evening away from social media can do wonders. Social media can suck the life right out of me. I can spend hours scanning my Instagram popular feed before bed as my evening guilty pleasure. Stepping back and resting my eyes helps reduce that drained feeling.  

Practice open communication with your partner and let them know when you need help. 
I'm not sure if I've talked about it here, but grocery shopping is the bane of my existence. It stresses me out. When I had a lot of anxiety, it was pretty much impossible for me to even enter a grocery store without feeling panicky. I'm better now, but it is still one of those things that haunts me. L and I have tried to be very open and honest when dividing up household tasks. So he does the grocery shopping. While it might be a traditional task for a stay-at-home mom, this is what works for us, and grocery shopping is one less thing for me to worry about. Talk to your partner if you are feeling overloaded. Make sure they know your triggers.

I hope this helps my fellow anxiety sufferers!

To read about how this all started see: My Truth: I Have Anxiety

13 April 2016

How Infertiles Try to Conceive #2: A Love Story


We have entered the unpredictable waters of trying to conceive #2. Trying to conceive when you are infertile is possibly the least romantic endeavor imaginable. It isn't the traditional love story, but it's our love story - the love L and I have for each other, the love we have for our daughter, and the love we have for a future child.

That's a lot of love.

I sound like a broken record, but for any new readers, here is our infertility track record. It took us five years to conceive our daughter and it finally happened after two rounds of IVF. Each IVF round, I produced several eggs and almost all of them fertilized. Yet, somehow by Day 5, most of our embryos had stopped growing and none were suitable to freeze. We put two blastocysts back in both cycles. The first cycle resulted in a big fat negative. The second cycle resulted in our daughter, K.

I really don't know what to think as we embark on this journey for #2, but I want to be open and honest about it. I have some regret over how I shared (or didn't share) news and updates after IVF #2. In my defense, I was in a very delicate state mentally. I am hoping not to burrow away this time, because I know how much it helps to read stories of infertility when you are going through it, too. I also know how invested you can become in other people's stories even if you aren't facing similar issues, and it's tough when people share and then drop off. Writing about it helps me process it all as well. So, I'm going to try and be as transparent as possible.

Since last month's hysteroscopy procedure, we have instructions to try naturally using a good ol' ovulation kit and progesterone supplements. We will re-evaluate our situation in a few months if I don't get pregnant. To some, it might seem foolish to try naturally given our history. If we spoke to any fertility doctor, they would probably remind us of our low probability of natural conception and encourage IVF again. While I know that is likely where we will end up, I want to give the natural way one last try.

By holding off on IVF, we are taking a chance because of my age (35 next month), and the possibility that my endometriosis and egg quality could be getting worse as time ticks on. Those thoughts definitely make me nervous. Some other challenges to natural conception with endometriosis may include: pain with sex and low libido. I don't want to speak for all women with endometriosis, but I have heard stories about couples who don't try naturally and go straight to fertility treatments because sex is so uncomfortable/painful. If you think about it, the pressure surrounding trying to conceive is really high when you factor in timing, high hopes, and tons of worries - and then when you consider that it might include pain - it doesn't seem quite as fun and carefree as you wish it did. Your level of desire absolutely drops, which is counterproductive, because you want to feel in the mood.

It can be complicated and triggering and not very sexy. But, when I look at my family and I think about all that could be, I feel ready for the wild ride that lies ahead.

With that said, we're off! 

11 April 2016

The ShopUp LA and My OOTD

Yesterday, we spent some time at ShopUp LA. It is a two day event that brings together independent children's boutiques and gives you a very tailored shopping experience for the entire family! I didn't have much of an agenda going in. I am basically a newbie when it comes to following all of these awesome up-and-coming boutiques. So, for me, it was more about keeping my eyes open to everything and learning about the brands. We left with a few cool accessories and a ton of inspiration!

We didn't take many pictures in the event, because we were busy looking around. However, we did snap a few photos on our way out. 

7 April 2016

Just Call Me the "Pushover Mom"

For me, there are certain aspects of parenting that do not come naturally. Coming to grips with my own strengths and weaknesses has been an important part of my journey as a mom. A couple of months ago, I wrote about the challenges of being an introverted mom. Today, I want to discuss people pleasing and being a pushover and how it affects parenting.

So, in addition to being an introvert, I'm also a people pleasing pushover. *High five* Growing up, I was an easy going kid. I got along with my peers. I was the teacher's pet on more than a few occasions. I was (mostly) a model child to my parents growing up. All was well with child-aged Carly.

As an adult, I started to run into some issues. In certain situations, I felt like a doormat and I had trouble speaking up. This would lead to an endless cycle of frustration and resentment. I have a really hard time saying no and a fear of letting others down. I have noticed that my tendencies to people please have carried on into my parenting and had some negative consequences.

I have a strong willed, dramatic child that knows exactly how to push my buttons (like most toddlers). L can be firm with K. But, he even struggles with laying down the law sometimes. Every parenting book/blog/advice column dictates that being a pushover is doing a disservice to your child. I am the parent and I need to set boundaries. I know more about how to live life than my toddler (let's hope), and she doesn't know what's best for her. My mom always told me it's much harder to say "no" to your kids than "yes". It's not easy being the bad guy, but we, as parents, aren't here to be our kid's BFF. My mom gives the best advice, and I find myself referring back to her little nuggets of wisdom more and more as the days go by.

Now that she's two, I am trying to be more cognizant of what role I play in influencing K's current and future behavior.  I know I need to toughen up. Allowing K to call the shots is already causing some issues in our household, and I can foresee future issues if I don't step up and put my foot down.

Here are some issues we are currently dealing with as a result of pushover tendencies:

1) I don't like to see K upset. I often find myself doing whatever I can to keep her from crying or having a meltdown. I am giving her all the power in these situations. She also isn't learning how to cope with disappointment.

2) K used to have a strict bedtime of 8:00pm. She had some sleep issues a few months back, and somehow her bedtime has been pushed later and later mostly due to the crying that ensues if she goes to bed too early. Currently bedtime is 9:30-10pm which I'm embarrassed to divulge because it's hours later than most toddlers go to sleep.

3) K gave up her nap at 19 months. She would scream her head off in her crib until I went back in to get her. This was torturous and led to K falling asleep during dinner (like mid-bite) on a number of occasions. Part of me questions if I really clamped down on her and persisted, if she would have gone back to napping. Now we are on a slightly modified schedule where some days she naps in the car. Other days, she will take a short afternoon nap on the couch if she's really tired. But, she continues to refuse to be put in her crib for nap time.

4) K had issues with eating and gaining weight. Sometimes I still get paranoid if she isn't interested in eating a meal, and will allow her to wander away from the dining table and eat on the couch or in front of the TV in the living room. I feel conflicted every time I do this, because I want to encourage good table manners.

I have my work cut out for me. That's for sure. Any other pushovers out there? 

4 April 2016

Stay-at-Home-Mom Challenge March/Early April


Back in January, I instituted a Stay-at-Home-Mom Challenge to get myself and K outdoors as much as possible. I wanted to circle back and update you on my progress over the past couple of months.

I am happy to report that we have been getting out of the house most days! It took us awhile to re-gain momentum after we hit a huge snag in early March. Our household was a sick house for weeks. It was really deflating as I didn't have the energy to cook or clean let alone pack us in the car and go anywhere. We didn't see anyone because...germs. So we were basically just stuck. It was also tough because K recovered quite quickly and was so bored most of the time. I felt guilty, but I had to let it go because there wasn't much I could do.

K in her Easter dress (A $6 Gap Kids gem found at a local consignment store!)
Once we made a recovery, we were back to our toddler class, gym class, and normal outings of museums, parks, and the mall. Last month, I realized that I was becoming too entrenched in the politics of mommy groups and it was making me feel really shitty about myself. I decided to give it a rest and create some distance. I am trying to live an authentic life as much as possible. So I have re-focused my energies on some self care: writing, diet, and exercise.

Photos taken on a recent excursion to the Huntington Gardens. 
Self care is one of those things I was never good at. (Does clipping your toenails count as self care? I'm asking for a friend.) But, seriously though, caring for oneself totally falls through the cracks when you are thinking about and caring for your little one(s) non-stop. I am constantly trying to find a balance and I feel like I am mostly failing at it. Therefore, I'm adding a new dimension to my SAHM Challenge which includes doing a few nice things for myself each week.

Recently, I took the liberty of buying some new clothes (which I shared in an outfit post last week). I plan to keep up my outfit posts, because they remind me to prioritize my appearance in a fun way and they give me an excuse to play around with the stuff in my closet. I have also been considering eyelash extensions - just because I've been wanting to try them for a long time, and why not? This past weekend, I randomly saw a storefront that advertised eyelash extensions, and am taking it as a sign that I need to make it happen.

Be good to yourselves, everyone. Have a great week! 

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