Tuesday, November 27, 2007

fastest two weeks ever.

that was ....fast.

i got all giddy about being able to "take care of biz," while biding my time on birth control....and BAM....i got knocked right over the very next day. i may still be down. i'm not sure.

aaaalot has transpired over the last 15 days.
i had another root canal.
i had a titanium drill bit screwed down into my jaw.
i had a breakdown.
i had a mouth guard fitting.
i ate only stuffing for Thanksgiving '07.
other than that, i've been drowning my sorrows in advil, drinking my meals, and having nightmares about teeth.

i had no idea it could be so consuming.
the grocery check list has been looking like this:
mac and cheese.
bananas...maaaaybe. if it's a good day.
ensure vitamin shakes.
odwalla organic fruit juice. (maaaajor culprit of the RUNS....fyi.)
and that about covers my diet over the last 4-6 weeks.

we DID have progress however, YESTERDAY! i ate a pita! and i managed GRAPES! and i went out to DINNER TONIGHT and ate PASTA! glorious creamy fettuccine and SHRIMP! the shrimp sorta went down in big pieces...but it was FANTASTIC!!!

here's the prognosis:
yours truly has a stress-management problem. and it manifests itself in a very bad way. i apparently clench my jaw so hard (while awake AND sleeping) that i snap all my teeth in two. now, we all knew that already...but there are now three medical professionals involved who are using me as a case-study for "THE WORST CASE SCENARIO."

heh. heh.

now...all of this is fine and good and we're making strides in the right direction, but....we have a ways to go. and the bad news is: no fertility treatments...or hopes...or thoughts...for at least another 3 mths. apparently the bone graft in my freaking jaw needs three months to heal before titanium screw #2 can be inserted. and that will require general anesthesia. therefore. i cannot be pregnant. and yes....i'd like to get THIS DONE AND OVER WITH already.

i felt my chest get tight as he relayed that oh-so-lovely news to me ...while sitting in that dreaded chair. "come back at the end of February, and we'll be ready for that next phase...."

good 'ole epiphany just got stretched alot further than i had hoped. my little "month or two" time out just became 4 mths total. i still flinch saying it...but then i remember HOW MUCH i've accomplished in the last 4 weeks of "forced break" from fertility treatments.

i have steered my energies in new directions and am again reminded of how WELL i get things done when i focus. how efficient i have the potential of being. how DRIVEN i become when i set my mind to things. and i've been able to check SO MUCH off of the "big picture" to do list. we've sold a car. we've organized all of our storage. we've basically hired a real estate agent. we've taken the crazy-wife out of the fertility ward and committed her into the dental ward and in a weird way -- that even feels amazing because it's PROGRESS. it's been weighing me down in the back of my mind for YEARS....and we're moving FORWARD now, tackling my fear of the dentist (and the endodontist and the oral surgeon...we're all on a first name basis now!), and getting things taken care of. i even went grocery shopping for the first time in 3 mths, last week! i'm almost a fully functioning HUMAN BEING again and i cannot stop breathing it in.....

and it makes me realize.....
4 mths off isn't a bad thing at all.
4 mths off to rebuild some systems that have been misfiring for years....isn't so bad.
4 mths to realign my priorities and take care of schedule over the CRAY-zeh holidays is not a bad thing.
4 mths to clear my leftover workload from the summer shooting schedule (yes, i still have 5 weddings on my hard drive, and a trip to dallas for another wedding upcoming)....is actually a great thing.

only over the last 4 weeks can i see how very sick some parts of my life are/were.
and i can say ...with God as my witness... that i am overwhelmingly and completely thankful that i am not pregnant yet. in some ways i was hoping i would be. but in MORE ways, i'm so relieved that God can see the bigger picture and could recognize i'm completely unprepared for motherhood right this second....and allow me the time to take care of some personal matters first....

in 4mths....i could become utterly psycho again, particularly when i start shooting up with crazy drugs. and in 4mths, i may try again. and it may turn to 5mths...and it may turn to 10 mths....and i may sob my eyes out....when it becomes 12mths and things aren't going my way.

and i will have to believe in my heart...that...God...is...still...good. fully good. powerfully good. because whether i believe it or not -- He is.

i had lunch on sunday (i was able to devour some eggs and french onion soup!) with a powerfully courageous girl my age, who i was introduced to by a friend in my bible study after my bible study watched me mentally wander off the reservation THE DAY i found out i was miscarrying. i didn't stand a chance. of course i bawled my eyes out that night.

ANYWAYS....they were good friends to me and rallied and one of them KNEW of a girl in the church undergoing the same things....and set us up via email. given the VERY unfortunate chain of events with my angry teeth, we kept missing each other for coffee. she ran up to me in church that following sunday, having seen my picture in the members pictorial (hello! HOW did i ever survive church w/o such a thing!) and we chatted and discussed rescheduling coffee. it still didn't work the following week. so this SUNDAY she and her hubby ran up to us again....and invited us to lunch.

we had the most heartfelt three hour lunch i think i've ever had.
the four of us...perfect strangers...reaching out to each other in an effort to help.
she had undergone an IUI the very day before on Saturday, yet, she ended up ministering to me in ways she'll probably never understand. i was so amped on talking her through the ropes...giving her advice...pumping her up with stats...high-fiving her on giving herself shots...telling her all the ways she could better evaluate her physical condition...

....and it became painfully evident to me -- she simply didnt need it....
....her heart was as still, and crystal-clear as a placid lake at sunrise.
she had it.
she not only had it....she owned it.
His peace.
she had allowed herself to be captured by His everlasting peace...
...and i was captivated by her...or God in her...this freak thing that was going on with her...
she was a boisterous, energetic, fun, outgoing, adorable 29-year old girl....yet in the weirdest way i've ever seen...perfectly quiet at the same time. her brain....was quiet. her heart....was still. her soul....was...at....rest....

...and my heart ached instantly for all of it...

there was so much about her attitude, her outlook, her council, her everything...that dripped of Christ. her husband is in the military so, essentially, ALL of her fertility treatments are free. she was on her 4th round of clomid (first three rounds she was unresponsive) and had done her trigger shot for the first time this past week. it was her first IUI. the military will only allow you to do 6 rounds of clomid. PERIOD. if she's not pregnant in 6 rounds....they automatically force you into IVF territory. and after extensive counsel from our pastoral staff and Christian counseling force at church -- they've already decided to forgo IVF. so basically she was looking down the barrel of a gun....with two months left of Clomid after this IUI.....and she's done. she kisses her human child-bearing capabilities goodbye. she's been trying for 1.5 years. and is about to see it through and have closure in 2mths if this doesn't work.

....and the waters of her heart...are so perfectly calm.

of course my jaw dropped. i nearly crushed three more teeth in her name. GIVING UP!? WHAT!!?? FREE IVF (basically) AND YOU'LL STILL WALK AWAY!!?? WHAT DO YOU MEAN!!?? HOW DID YOU MAKE THIS DECISION!!? OOOMG!!??

that literally was me.
and she responded....in ways i don't remember exactly.....that reality is what it is. you can either allow life to pass you by while you live in denial....or you can embrace that God is perfect and make the best use of your time that you can. i believe there was an ethical discussion thrown in there, but from what i gather, my church has mixed views on IVF. some support...some dissent. but all of that aside, she said verbatim, "i just don't feel IVF is the best use of my time. it's so consuming and that just isn't what God wants for us. i want to use my time well...and i simply can't justify emotionally investing into in vitro....."

and i have no doubt she meant every word.
and it was beyond astonishing to me. at first i wondered if she was crazy.
for a women to be able to even utter these words in the depth of what has to be some of hardest moments of your life....being unable to BEAR CHILDREN....is only of God. his astonishing mercy poured out on her.....

it left me speechless.
and breathless.
and awe-struck.

she continued, "we've already signed up with an adoption agency and are probably looking at a 2-year waiting list...and we've just purchased a 5-bedroom house that we'd love to have children in...but if the IUIs don't work....i'll probably go back to work and make good use of my 2-year wait for a baby to be placed with us...."

not even a pinch of resentment. bitterness. eye-rolling. second-guessing. apprehension. discouragement. or disbelief.

....and i was fully dumb-founded. so deeply grateful for her witness....yet feeling so vile for the emotional freakshow i've put on over the last 9mths. my endless kicking and screaming and STRAIN and discontentment and finger-pointing at God. when i could have just as easily traded it all in....for what she has. what on earth was i thinking. it's MINE already...but i locked it out. i stiff-armed it all away. and i was left with the raging storm in my heart...and the endlessly choppy waters....and the black skies....

she had everything....everything that i didn't have.

and then she said, ".....and if i never have my own biological children....i have to believe that God is ...still good...."

i felt such shame in that very instant.
how as Christians....no. how did i get to a point in my faith where i fully believed that God is not good.
what does the path look like....that winds around the difficult seasons of our lives...and takes us to places darker than ever before....
at which "Y" in the road did i wander off in the wrong direction....
i wonder exactly which crossroad took me to the idols of self...and doubt and desperation...and fierce indignant anger....
when exactly did i sacrifice the bedrock of my beliefs for things so obviously outside of my control....

at what point did getting out of the boat in the middle of the storm to walk on water....sound like a great idea, without God....?

....when i believed that in my natural capabilities, i didn't need God to perform the supernatural....rather, i could do it all on my own...by my own rules...all by my perfect, fallen, sinful, self.....

and i sank.
and i drowned.
and i died a million deaths this year.

i could have sworn each death was a piece of my faith...chipping away...proving fruitless...
but He used it for my good....

Gen 50:20
....but God meant it for my good...

... the death was actually mine...a painful dying of my will...i could have learned faster...i could have cried 'uncle' sooner...but my CONTROL just wouldn't give way. so some deaths are slower than others...and sometimes we choose our torture. but under His watch -- we will all eventually die to self.

....and that is always, ...always a good and glorious thing....

2 Cor 3: 18
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


i've had an epiphany.
i came really close to being pregnant.
i was even a little bit pregnant for a few days.
and i woke up on sunday....utterly and unmistakenly....terrified.

very jarred.
very aware of how close i came to my life changing forever.

(sure...maybe it was the baby shower i went to on saturday where the mother-to-be had ice on her wrists from pregnancy-induced carpel tunnel...and ok...maybe it was due in part to sleeping on julie's couch when her precious baby -- who is truly ADORABLE -- cried at midnight...cried at 3am....and then he proceeded to wake her up at 530am for the day....and she camped out with him in her office trying to stay quiet so the rest of us could 'sleep.' i'm sorry but that would be a wicked change of pace around the morgan motel.)

and as chad and i were eating lunch sunday afternoon, i looked across the room at him and heard myself proclaim, "i need a break...i need to take a break...i need an emotional break...i need a health break...i need some sanity relief...i need to get my life IN ORDER...i need to CHANGE some things in my life...i need to be more ready for the day it actually...does...happen...."

i thought he was going to fall over.
oh wait.
he did fall over.
i was a smidge disturbed by his elation...as if to suggest he had been secretly HATING the idea that we've been trying so hard...but i was capable of recognizing it was simply his relief that maybe he'd get his wife back...for now. a little reprieve from the daily hell of rants, tears, depression, tunnel vision, ....you name it. he needs just as much of a break as i do. thing is - men know better than to suggest a break...

(...sorry, mom...this is gonna postpone the whole gramma stage for ya-as if i've had any control-but we'll be back in the saddle one day...)

i know. i can't believe it either.
i go away for one weekend and i'm instantly unrecognizable.

i feel SO inspired.
like...my life has snapped COMPLETELY into focus and i wake up with a new purpose.
a purpose which DOES NOT include blood tests, vaggiecams, train tickets to the clinic, and words like: E2, progesterone, chemical, gonal-f, follicular development, 'coasting,' cysts, and myriad of other things i can recite in my sleep in painful detail.

what REALLY made things clear, weirdly enough, was....my health.
i've just....been....plain ole....negligent about myself.
i am not healthy. nor am i the domestic caretaker i ever expected i'd become.
i really feel disappointed in myself all of the sudden and have been simply put...irresponsible with everything relating to "taking care of biz" on the homefront.
my house is SO unorganized.
my kitchen.
my week.
my life.
and i've HAD IT.

also....this is going to sound INSANE....but....my teeth.
if ANY of you know me....i have some SEEEERIOUS teeth issues.
when i was younger, and poorer....and too intelligent to listen to the orthodontists....i would grind my teeth in my sleep and throw caution to wind when they'd advise me that i need a night guard to protect myself from breaking all my teeth.
so what did i go and do?
broke all my teeth.
my teeth hurt so bad.
all the time.

it started 5 years ago with my first molar extraction due to the tooth being LITERALLY split down the middle from all the blunt force. then 4 root canals to repair cracks in my teeth. then another extraction last month on another molar....oh wait...i forgot a 5th root canal in there along the way.....and needless to say....i still have a WAYS to go. i'm in alot BETTER condition than i was....say....5 years ago. but, have MONTHS AND MONTHS and THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS of dollars of repairs to make....and you can't do ANY OF IT if you're pregnant. no laughing gas. no IV sedation. no nuthin.'

it'll never be a better time than NOW to take care of it all FOR ONCE AND FOR ALL.
i've put it off long enough ....chosen denial rather than....GETTING ON WITH IT ALREADY.
i was telling my dentist today that i haven't eaten cereal in 5 years.
it's too crunchy.
it hurts my back teeth too much.
it's just time to close the "mouth" chapter of my life....because FREAK THINGS can happen....like being stuck at the dentist today for 4 hours. HOW THE HECK would i DO THIS if i had a NEWBORN!? like....in the CITY? without any FAMILY? the stress of THINKING about it was enough to make me just NEED to get it over with now.

our car situation is another.
we have too many cars.
2 of the 3 would be completely unsuitable for a car seat or peace of mind with a baby.
so, this past weekend, we sold one.
and we have a very prospective buyer for the other.
but we need to find a replacement for the 2 we're losing....and work needs to be done and alot of things need to be considered.

all to say:
we're movin' our booties into gear.
i spent 10 hours yesterday cleaning out "the closet" and gave away 4 MASSIVE trash bags of clothes. 20+ pairs of shoes. did some organizing in the office and already feel like a new person.
since we'll be staying put for a while in this house....we're turning it upsidedown. cleaning it OUT. getting organized. making it livable for us....for however an extended time.
i have actually moved forward with the oral surgery (i need 2 implants to replace the molars i have lost) and the first (of 4) legs of the surgeries is this thursday. i'm doing it. i'm actually doing it. i also spent 4 hours at the dentist today having him explain the new and improved mouth guard i need...and he reshaped a few teeth (OUCH...w/o NOVACAINE) in order to re-align my bite. hopefully that helps some of the pain. i was able to eat soup tonight which i couldn't do yesterday b/c there was certainly ONE WHEEL squeaking the loudest in my mouth. sigh.

i also need to clean, detail, organize the final sale of the cars. which could possibly take a month. i have a second closet in my trunk. when i worked in the office, i would literally keep a change of clothing for any occasion in my trunk. along with a zillion different bags. i know for a fact that chad has clothes in there too, and some boots, some winter coats, and ALOT of trash. snap snap already! move it or lose it.

carolyn bought me a recipe book and i could die.
i laughed at first.
but immediately felt inspired. a true FIRST.
which is interesting b/c i have a dozen of them getting dusty on my bookshelves, but it was a reminder that i need to do this. and i already feel better about the potential!

i wanna start running with chad.
i wanna start living...again.
completing projects.
finding closure.
opening up all the doors i chose to close when my brain needed the energy for fertility related attention.

i need to wake up and feel THANKFUL again, rather than....immediately desperate and short-changed. which is what i kept reminding myself of this morning on the way to the dentist...again. "sure, this sucks...but PRAISE GOD i have a great dentist who sees me whenever i call on a whim...who is amazing...kind...compassionate...and willing to help me. and praise God i'm in a position to actually RESOLVE this crap. it'll be expensive, but it'll be ok. and i will be thankful."

thing is...the first part of surgery will call for a 4mth healing period before the second part can begin. and both require an additional 4mths of healing before it can be completed.
will we put off proactively trying to get pregnant for a full 8-9 mths?
only God knows.
but do i wanna deal with this while i am pregnant or stressing over a new baby?
that would be a BIG fat no.

same with my current home.
not ideal.
not my dream come true.
but nevertheless -- amazing. a real, honest blessing.
it feels small, but it will grow ALOT once i am done organizing it and using it to it's FULLEST.
i could NOT have asked for a cooler or more interesting neighborhood and i will be thankful. and, frankly, it's not a debilitating mortgage.
i could fall RIGHT TO MY KNEES over the contract we pulled the plug on 6 weeks ago.
we'd be SO STRETCHED financially....WHAT WERE WE THINKING!?
our townhouse has allowed us to save alot of money...it's allowed us to pay up front for alot of things w/o going into debt.
it's truly been the answer to a million prayers i have never had to pray.

how could i NOT be thankful.....

so with this new resolve...I FEEL SO FREE.
i feel SO unchained.
i feel SO renewed.
i feel SO inspired.
i feel SO SO SO blessed.

the whole NOT TRYING via fertility clinic crap has literally made me feel like i'm walking on air. EVEN after a day at the dentist. i can stretch my legs. i can breathe. i can relax. i have time.

and sure.
i've just totally begged to be a bullseye to satan by putting these words in black and white.
and sure...i'll have my hard moments when the dark clouds come rolling in again.
don't we all?

but for the immediate next 3-4 months -- no more fertility clinic.
if it happens...it happens (to which i honestly think i'd panic for a split moment)....but i'm not going to run my life by it until early next spring. i hope to be in a different place. a cleaner way of living. a better run home. without procrastination and chaos....

....and with alot more God....

Friday, November 9, 2007

sweat pants.
late nights.
48 hours.
all together.
timeless friendship...

...just in time...

Thursday, November 8, 2007

i just don't have anything to say.

this week has simply left me feeling as though...words are vain.

my heart is grieving deeply for two very close families who are in my age bracket, who are facing the prospect of cancer. actually, one has been confirmed. one is waiting on a biopsy. people that i love from the depth of my heart. marriages that are being shaken. the very roots of faith being tested.

in light of their new pain, i feel shameful grieving for myself.
my loss feels so minute by comparison.
i was pregnant this week.
now i'm not pregnant this week.
and though that hurts, i am forced to my knees in gratitude and humility.

there is being frustrated by a thorn...a circumstance...a less than optimal scenario.
and then there is being shattered to the core by your entire future being threatened. your very life.

i was talking with a girl in my bible study last night who went to a CCEF (christian counseling education foundation) women's seminar over the weekend, and the entire theme was "Fear."

she shared that most of the time, God drags us to the 11th hour. to that state of complete hopelessness. helplessness. that place we hate being. finally accepting of our utter futility in our humanity. He waits for that moment, when we come to the absolute end of ourselves...and then He performs the miracle.

but some of the time...He doesn't.
we meet horror in real life -- when up to that point, it was only materialized as fear and anxiety in our hearts. the what-if comes true. we find ourselves in the 12th hour. whatever hidden nightmare of an idea that was festering in your heart -- is suddenly reality. is God less loving? is God less sovereign? satan so powerfully pushes the lies into our hearts....

but she concluded that there should be, even in the 12th hour, a realization that though we experience a death -- in any form; the physical loss of life, loss of dreams, loss of security, loss of whatever -- we are never forsaken. He has promised a 13th hour. if we can pry our hands off of all this world and our fallen state offers, though the clock can strike 12 at any time, hour 13 is waiting. unshakable. a covenant to us.

Jesus himself was forsaken....
so that i never would be.

Psalms 22:
King David (prophetically) speaks on behalf of Israel:

"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
from the words of my groanings?
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer,
and by night, but I find no rest...
Yet, You are Holy,
enthroned on the praises of Israel
In You our fathers trusted;
they trusted, and You delivered them..."

i don't know when deliverance comes.
but is my desperation for temporary deliverance eclipsing the very notion that, in fact, i am already delivered?
though David was utterly undone by his circumstances, he recognized he would be delivered.
in this life...or the next.

he feels forsaken. check.
he feels isolated. check.
he feels he can't cry anymore. check.
he's unable to rest. check.

You are Holy.

as if to conclude it all...as if it were meant to be a lasting impression...as if to say, 'if you hear nothing else,' Jesus' final expression of love to the witnesses during his ascent:

"...and behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age...."

as i meditate on all i can, while grappling with the very idea of fallen humanity, broken bodies, broken hearts, broken dreams, broken lives --His TRUTH is absolute, capable of arresting and interrupting every scheme by the prince of darkness to torment my mind.

...always, even to the end...

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

"makes me wanna run a marathon...almost"

this will end up being a mother post.
i've told the weekend stories so many times, though -- that i may mistakenly not do it justice. my fingers are still thawing out from the chilly new york weather, which also makes for less than optimal typing.

but the real reason i hesitate to start this post ..is.. I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE TO BEGIN!!!! in all honesty -- so much happened in so little time that i still feel overwhelmed. there just is NO PLACE like new york. amazing. sensory overload. and so....here we go!!!!

we both have to admit we weren't quite "prepared" for the onslaught of people. the last time i remember feeling THIS claustrophic around 2 million people was when chrissy and i decided it would be fun to go christmas shopping at rockefeller center in late november a few years back. it was freezing and to say it was crowded is AN UNDERSTATEMENT. i remember walking pressed sideways against cole haan just to turn the corner. i can't believe people LIVE LIKE THIS. we had heard marathon weekend was something impossible to explain, you just sorta have to...be there. they were right.

so we take the train up on saturday morning....I LOVE THE TRAIN. but i'll save all the reasons for another day. we arrive at penn station and cab over to our hotel, which, might i add, is located right in the center of the above photograph. we were LITERALLY in times square. AND because chad sweet talked monica, the concierge, we were bumped up to a club level suite. it. was. amazing. :)

we immediately have to head to registration to get his shoe chip (which keeps his time) and a bunch of other....stuff. PANDEMONIUM. 40,000 people in all sorts of lines, corals, groups, etc. but SO FUN! you feel so cool even BEING there, so i can't imagine how cool is feels to be PARTICIPATING in this event. over 110,000 people applied to enter this race. 39,000 were accepted. 100 countries represented. just an overwhelming place to be.

the best part (or the worst, depending if you're running or not) is that they actually put a video camera on a motorcycle last year and videotaped the entire race as the bike drove through it....so you felt like you were watching a simulated marathon on this massive movie screen. honestly....SO cool because you hit all 5 NYC boroughs: manhattan, staten island, bronx, brooklyn, and queens. but you watch and realize....how long....you actually...run. it's hard to comprehend.

so we cab back to the hotel to unpack and figure out our evening plans...and i think puffy was getting a little scared:

at any rate...we were within hours of meeting up with chrissy and jay, so we had little-to-nil time to fret. the dinner distraction was nice. so they met up with us at times square and we did a little happy hour in the club lounge, with this being our view of marathon eve:

you wouldn't think of it, but to get a PASTA DINNER the night before a marathon...you have to BOOK YOUR RESERVATION for an italian restaurant like....over a week in advance!!! you figure, 40,000 runners wanna "carb-up" with their friends and families and poor chrissy had a heck of a time finding us a place to have an "italian" dinner!! but she succeeded after some research and it was WONDERFUL!!!! the entire dinner crowd was talking about the cities they were from...the times they wanted to finish the race by...it was like the ENTIRE CITY was running. you could hear the buzz while eating! chad's got a pop-eye face going on. not sure why. he looks drunk. i can assure you he's not.

sure...i could blame it on nerves and excitement, but the truth of the matter is....TRYING TO SLEEP IN TIMES SQUARE ON A SATURDAY NIGHT IS IMPOSSIBLE!!!! literally, 100 cabs were below us at any given time BLARING THEIR HORNS. drivers are freaking insane...and set on pissing off everybody in the nearby hotels at 4am. FOUR AM! SHUT UP ALREADY! chad and i laid there in total disbelief at 4am.

"....dude. this is maddening."
"....so you're awake, too?"

yeah. great way to start off a day when you have to RUN 26 MILES! haha, but...he was up and bouncing off the walls at 530am per usual, i don't think he could be fazed. he came over to kiss me at around 630am and his BREATH smelled REDICULOUS..


"...my leftover pasta and meatballs."

i always knew you had to be sick to run a race like this...but that just sealed the freaking deal.

he had to leave by 645am and face the 43 degree weather...in THIS:

he looks so focused!
i was still under the covers, in my PJs, shaking my head.

so he leaves for staten island to meet up with kristen and andy. crazy kids. there's no point in me heading over there with them at this point because:
1) i wouldn't be ALLOWED anywhere near the starting line.
2) that's the only stop in staten island, so....once i made the trek across the bridge, i'd be left in the dust....with no clue how to get back.

totally not worth it. but i did feel bad with him walking out the door alone. thems the breaks though, in this race.

and i only felt bad for .... 2 minutes. and then i went to down the club lounge...destroyed the buffet....too espresso back to my room....and mapped out my pit stops on a MASSIVE map, of all the places i'd find chad on the race track. and of course, watched everything on TV while doing it.

i have to tell ya...i got choked up twice this weekend. and at the moment the cannon blew and the race officially started....the speakers down on the starting line bridge blew up with frank sinatra's New York, New York...and it was just SO fun and emotional!!

so chrissy meets me at the hotel again....and we end up on our hands and knees huddled over a 3 foot map of NY...trying to figure out the FREAKING TRAIN SYSTEM. hello. i'm sorry. but i wouldn't send my worst enemy on the NY transit system. i'd still be on the wrong track somewhere had it not been for chrissy..THE NATIVE...who STILL doesn't really get it. we had moments of the blind leading the blind, but...we survived :) until she had to go to a family reunion and i had to go to harlem by my lonesome. but that's getting ahead of myself.

i was
that girl on the train. with my camera strapped around my neck. with my directions...and maps...and armed with snacks and water bottles....and a thoroughly terrified look on my face. chrissy would inch over to the other side of the train car when i'd unscroll my area map of the city as though my life depended on it. it was highlighted, inked up, and fraying at the edges. it was my lifeblood.

so we finally make our first stop in brooklyn at mile 12.
fortunately, the runners have chips on their shoes that send emails to my blackberry when they pass certain markers in the race.
unfortunately, they were in KILOMETERS and incredibly delayed emails with missing information...like...at WHAT TIME they passed 15 kilometers. nothing like the DC marathon where the updates were lightening speed...in MILES...with all the pertinent information to do those ridiculous equations in your head to figure out where the runner was. no, no, no. so we waited at mile 12 for an hour. AN HOUR. i was terrified we had missed him, but JUST as we were about to give up....i see him and andy! nothing like havin' a hubby who's 6'4" to spot a mile away!!!!

i saw him running over to me and WAS THRILLED! "aww, he wants to KISS ME!!"

nope. just kidding. he wants to throw his stuff at me, so i can carry it for him for the rest of the 15 miles.

i chased him down like an 80 year old italian gramma and forced him to kiss me on the race street. so sue me, if i got in your way....
actually, i can't believe i didn't get trampled....
so as you can see, at mile 12....all was still well in the world of runners.
everybody was still smiling!

my plan then proceeded to go to hell.
my plans to see him at mile 17 didn't pan out.
i hadn't calculated the ZOO of a transit system....and the time required to get from A to B.
so i figured, we would see him at mile 20 in the bronx.
chrissy proceeded to beg on her knees to forego the bronx.
chrissy "the city slicker" got scared....of the bronx.
chrissy decided it was actually time to check out....and at that point left me for the day.
on the 6 train.
to face the bronx.
i realized i probably wouldn't have time there either...and thought, "it'd be better to get to the 23 mile marker WAY ahead of schedule and wait there for him."
in harlem.

i waited...

and i waited some more....

and after 30 minutes....realized harlem wasn't all it was cracked up to be. and that if i didn't leave soon, i'd miss him at the finish.
i was PISSED....how did my CALCULATIONS FAIL ME.
so i waddle my rear back to the 6 train at 103rd street. (so tired....lugging WAY too much stuff).
ride the ClownCar train to 59th...on the verge of tears that having been in this race for over 4 hours already....he was probably crossing the finish without me THERE.
get off at 59th....RUN (zero exaggeration) cross-town along the bottom of central park (can we talk about how FREAKING HUGE central park is?) and realize...i'm about to have my #2 choked up moment.

as you round the corner....the sea of people at the finish....the amazing sky line....the MUSIC they have playing....is awesome. you feel SO PROUD to know somebody that is running. the support is astounding. the CITY SHUTS DOWN....here i am at 5th avenue and central park south....and not ONE CAR can be found. just people. millions and millions of people. i find a spot at the 25.5 mile marker....and i feel my blackberry buzzing. an update about chad. OMG. he had just crossed the 35 kilometer mark. thats....21 miles. SO I HADNT MISSED HIM ALL ALONG IN HARLEM. he had simply slowed down his pace and threw me off. i knew i'd be standing at the 25 mile marker for a while....

blackberry buzzed again.
he just cross the 40 kilometer mark (24 miles)....so i KNEW i'd see him soon....and warned the nice lady next to me, with ALOT of plastic surgery and an engagement ring the side of mount rushmore, that i would soon be screaming in her ear. sure enough!!!! THERE'S PUFFY!!!! let's just say - ain't nobody smiling anymore at this point. please note that miss france here in the forefront looks like she'd rather go through natural child birth than take one more step...

chad couldn't really speak. but he smiled. i told him he was almost done.....

and then i proceeded to walk 40 city blocks to find him without any success. and 40 city blocks back to our hotel room...and he hadn't gotten back yet.....
we knew it wouldn't be possible to find each other at the finish...he didn't have a WATCH ON, nor did he have his cell...so we agreed that we'd TRY, but, ultimately meet back in times square. which is what ended up happening. he came bounding in.....SO RELIEVED IT WAS OVER!!!

we screamed and jumped around for a bit, scaring the maintenance dude fixing our internet connection....he was looking really good, compared to last year's finish line. he was actually still walking. big deal. haha...

so we showered, he drank approx. 34352 liters of water. popped some advil. sat in the tub. and we hit the town!!! we met up with some of his friends who work in NYC and we went down to the village, and had a great dinner:

and we literally fell asleep during a conversation we were having back in the hotel room. i remember talking...and then i remember him turning off the TV. we slept in...and decided to walk around and have lunch around the area, rather than attempting wall street. that was a little ambitious of us....considering chad was now moving VERY slow....and we were exhausted....

note to self: this is why i don't attempt self-portraits

it was priceless. the weekend. the experience. the excitement. and how proud i am to be married to chad!!! he never fails to finish what he starts -- no matter how long it takes -- no matter how challenging....(he finished in 4hrs and 40-something minutes...can't recall exactly...)

now, i will say -- whatever smidge of an internal inkling of a desire to live in NYC that existed in the caves of my heart -- was exterminated by this weekend. there is absolutely NOTHING reasonable about NYC. :) you can't eat for a reasonable price. you can't sleep for a reasonable price. you can't get anywhere in a reasonable amt of time. you can't do ANYTHING with the ease and simplicity of doing it here in DC. it completely DWARFS the magnitude of my current city. it's over the top. it's incredibly inconvenient. but it sure as heck is a FABULOUS fabulous place to taste from time to time....drinking it all in.....

yet we returned last night....got off the train....caught a cab to take home....and marveled that we could see the full sky....that we could hear ourselves think....that we could swing by the grocery store with ease if need be....that we had grass to walk our dog on....all these things that i wonder if new yorkers miss ever.

home never felt so sweet. :)


in other news.
** reality check about to come crashing in **

i had my unexpected yet necessary visit to the fertility clinic this morning.
nothing like THE FORCE welcoming you home.
it looks like you won't be hearing any fertility updates for 2 months.
november's cycle has been cancelled.
december's cycle has been potentially cancelled.
DIAGNOSIS: massive and painful cysts cover both ovaries and i've been placed on THE BIRTH CONTROL PILL until they dissolve.
i stared through the nurse as her mouth moved.
i have arrived at the place where...i don't even feel pain anymore.
only vicious anger. a rage that is so deeply rooted you don't recognize it at first....

"see you next month, allison."

my personal nurse rounded the corner with the BCP prescription and told me to stay hopeful.
i could feel the hot tears welling up....but couldn't speak. there were people around.
she hugged me...."i know. hope is hard....but i'll stay hopeful enough for us both...."

no more charting.
no more shots for another month or two.
no more Oracle appointments.

they say the entire infertility descent happens in increments. by degrees.
the fear that a newly diagnosed girl has of IVF is monumental. the concept is terrifying.
but by the time you do it...you've reached a point that most others would not understand. you find your mind capable of welcoming the notion of torture, if it meant you could end this horrible nightmare.

....i stared at chad's number for a few seconds on my cell and hit "call."

"...i'm there. i think i'm there. it's time for IVF....."

Monday, November 5, 2007


i am drop dead exhausted.
new york kicked my rear SO HARD CORE.
(and i didn't even freakin' run the dang race...though being a real, live, running-the-streets spectator with 2 million people is NO SMALL FEAT...)

i'll post pictures tomorrow.
i just dropped my suitcase...and am heading over to lalalalala's house to watch The Bachelor.
priorities people.

but...in the middle of SUCH a distraction from all things fertility related....THIS had to throw a wrench in my saturday...

nothing like a panicked called to the fertility clinic.
nothing like staring at toilet paper and wondering when is your life every going to feel normal again....


chad finished in four hours and 48 minutes!!!
i'll post all sortsa crazy pics in the morning....
it was by far (despite the above glitch) one of the best weekends of my life.
a true memory i am SO SO SO thankful to have tucked away in my heart forever!!!

Friday, November 2, 2007


28 days in a cycle (harty-har-har-har)
28 dominos in a full set
28 is the number of years it takes Saturn to revolve around the sun
28 is the normal number of teeth a human has (not counting molars)
28 is the number of years i've lived...

and 28 months ago today, i got married to the best thing that ever happened to me :)

i'm going to say something that may shock you....something that is not going to line up AT ALL with any of my previous emotional freak session posts in this blog. something that even scares me from time to time:

because of chad -- i want to have children, but,
because of chad -- i want to wait as long as possible before i have children.

yes, there is a corner of my heart that loves living life -- just the two of us.
i find it shocking that anybody would want to bind their life to mine
forever...but if you know chad...you can see why it'd be so easy to want to sell your soul to commit to him forever.
there's never even been one day in the past 2.4 years that i've wanted out. regretted my decision. wished the time away. second-guessed myself. or taken for granted exactly what it is that i have.

i have no idea why he loves me. i'm neurotic, emotional, high-strung, opinionated, selfish, stubborn as an ox, demanding, and dramatic, to name a few. chad is the exact opposite of all my traits.

did you know i thought i'd potentially never have kids? by choice. i thought that sure, maybe in my 30's i'd pop a few out, but it was not my life's loftiest goal, nor was it something my heart desired. i especially never wanted kids...like me. God help us all. i couldn't even muster one day of babysitting. i'd stare at this 3 year old and wonder, "what the heck should i even say to you. how many times can we possibly dress barbie up. didn't you JUST EAT already? how bout you just go play quietly in your sandbox so i can watch tv."
i'd watch these unfortunate young mothers and feel such pity. the vomit, the diapers, the early mornings, the obnoxiously colored, disgusting plastic toys with slobber all over them on the living room floors. the jars of baby food, the midnight feedings, the ugly car seats, the weight gain, EVERYTHING ABOUT IT confused and baffled me. HOW COULD ANYBODY be THAT EXCITED to take on a new life like THAT.

and then i met chad.
and realized i still don't
want children.
but simply put, i wholly and desperately want chad's children.
i want a child with his eyes...and his blonde hair...and his disposition.
i want another girl out there one day to be as lucky as i was, and to marry a man who inherited chad's good heart. to enjoy for a lifetime an extension of chad.
i want chad to fully know and experience having a child love him with the same unlimited and overwhelming love by which he loves others...me...
i want a child built 99% by chad...and 1% by me.
chad alone has made me want to be a mother....

yet, there are snapshots of fond moments in my memory which chad and i will struggle to find again, once a baby enters the picture.
no more taking off to NYC for random marathons and weekend retreats with friends.
no more starbucks in bed on saturday mid-mornings...
no more reading in bed until 1am...and dozing off...and waking up uninterrupted whenever i please.
no more last minute dinners out...
...or movies...

life in general will evolve into something a little more structured. maybe a little less whimsical. maybe a little less "chad+allison"-centric.
and that terrifies me.
but i'm sure it's based out of the same fears that i experienced when i was first engaged.
i remember my mom and i driving around town in her car and actually SPEAKING the words, "i'm terrified of marriage because i will have somebody watching every minute of my life...and because i like sleeping in on saturdays and...i don't want somebody to make me feel guilty for it. i'm terrified of answering to somebody ALL the time. i'm terrified of losing my right to do whatever i want....i'm terrified of having somebody asking me questions."

and my roommates will tell you -- i'd vanish sometimes. just with the need to drive. be alone. hear myself THINK. run errands...get coffee...journal...be free. i was extremely protective of personal time and i recognized that would be a thing of the past one i got married.

do i miss it?
not for one second.
what i didn't realize is that though it's a loss of individuality to SOME degree, i had traded it all in for something bigger...and better...and something fully more satisfying than my 8 hours a week where nobody knew where i'd be and i'd turn my phone off.
and so i'm sure the same will hold true for a new addition to our family, whenever God deems us ready.

but eeeevery so often, in the darkest and most private parts of my psyche...i can sense a fleeting thought of gratitude that i'm not quite there yet, wiping snotty noses and dealing with terrible twos and stressing over babies with fevers...though, it's short-lived. i slap my mental wrist for thinking it, after all the money we're spending to achieve the opposite. but i simply can't help but want to steal every last second i can with chad...searing these moments into my memory forever...
it's just us right now...
for 28 months now...
...and my heart overflows...

happy 28th month, puffy.


::: rubbing bleary and glazed-over eyes :::

we, my friends, are GOING TO NEW YORK TOMORROW!!!!
the one and only had decided to intentionally destroy his knees forever and run 26 miles for no good reason. or at least i could find no good reason when asking myself if i'd ever run a marathon. BUT, he enjoys it and LOVES new york and well, we'll have a blast!!!

we've secured a room at the WESTIN (our fave) right on 43rd in TIMES SQUARE :)
i have NEVER stayed in NYC in my entire life. i am about to crawl out of my SKIN i am so excited!!!!

we're staying HERE:

when we arrive in NYC tomorrow morning...we've gotta head over to....some important place i'm sure....to register superman for the marathon and get his little shoe-chip device which will enable me to track where he is on the course. THEN we are meeting up with chrissy and jay for dinner and after puff goes to bed in his heavenly westin bed -- i'm hitting the town with the kids. :)

sunday is sorta very disorderly in my head right now.
i have no agenda. i have no idea how i'll find chad during the race. i do not get nyc. i feel overwhelmed and insecure...and lost when i think about it. BUT that is another GREAT REASON to have chrissy tag along for the day. we'll tackle it together and she'll keep me from wandering over to the bronx by accident. or. something.
then we're meeting up with some of chad's westmont alumni friends who work in finance in NYC. chad will drool and swoon and savor each word they speak....while....limping around the night of the marathon with two broken legs. it'll be swell.

on MONDAY...we're going to the new york stock exchange because he wants to. i think it'll be a fun learning experience. a few snapshots in front of the wall street bull...and the rest of the day will be spend on 5th avenue. :) not like i'd buy anything other than what i find being sold by street vendors, but....it'll just be a fun day for us.

we collapse in our own DC bed on monday night.

here's the course: you have to click on it to blow it up and fully see it. terrifying.

and here are the psychos that i could never ever be even if i sorta, vaguely wanted to:

so there ya have it!
quite the break from a normal weekend, shooting weddings and cleaning the house! (who am i kidding...i haven't cleaned the house in 2 mths.)
if anybody is interested, i can text you chad's chip number and you can receive updates every 5 minutes on how many miles per hour he is running and when he passes the major mile milestones: 5mi., 10mi., 15mi., etc...and the update on when he finishes and what his final time was!!!!
just send me your cell numbers or tell me you care.....and you can keep up!!!!

it's a great way to end one of the crappiest weeks ever....and for that....i am incredibly thankful.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

...the morning after...

ah, well...it's over.
it sorta came and went with far less fanfare than previous years -- and you figure -- halloween is what it is because of the hype. so at 6pm when you realized the doorbell is starting to ring and you haven't put your makeup on yet or figured out what in the world you're wearing...you anticipate it'll be a "get what you put into it" sorta night.

but we were RAIDED like a stampede of rabid rhinos.
our house is being covered and broadcast on BBC.
we were on the cover of the local paper.
we had well over 500 kids mob us ...and easily 75 kids at ONCE on our sidewalks waiting for the spider-lady to give them candy. (clarification: i was not spider lady. lara was spider lady. that would have taken forethought. but i was some sort of dead person. i have to ask lara again -- she was the brains behind my 'costume.')
it was insane.
we feared for the smallest children's lives. like...it was faintly reminiscent of a reenactment of the running of the bulls in spain. mob-scene. but in the american ghetto.

come to think of it, i don't really know what p-chiddy was either. his face was all black...his eyes were white. and he was dressed in black. nobody recognized him and he almost got himself kicked out of the bbq down the street b/c he was mistaken for a random teenager who came to crash a halloween cookout. janet the hostess was literally like, "HEY YOU....GET OUT...YOU YOU....WHO ARE YOU..."
of course chiddy froze...and revealed his identity and we laughed for the rest of the night.

here's the downside of being REALLY good at halloween.
the kids are ungrateful.
the kids have higher and more lofty expectations every year....
the kids...are impressed...but already know what to anticipate.
now if you remember, last year, chiddy was the scary dude in the bushes.
we made kids scrrream out of shock. he scared them to pieces...even the adults. high fives all around. we talked about it for 12 months. we drew straws on who would go in the bushes again. it was unanimous that p-chid would be the bush-monster. even though he didn't draw the shortest straw.
he never stood a chance.

well, i have to tell ya -- it's NOT AS FUN scaring kids when they already KNOW he's going to be there! as chad was chowing down on the burger he escaped with as he was booted from the bbq, the kids would cautiously approach and hold their breath....and peer into the bushes.....

"...aaaaw maaan....c'mon!"
and they'd put their grubby little hands on their hip and complain.
"...what the @$#!? WHERE BE DA SCERRY BRO' IN DA BUSHES??!..."

got to be kidding me.
we all turned to puff....with our disapproving eyes.....heads bobbing...
"GET IN THE BUSHES CHAD. gosh dangit....you're letting the KIDS DOWN."

had the 'hood parents not been standing there, expected candy as well, chuggin' on their 40's...holding out their trash bags for candy, we would have scolded the little dirty, ungrateful, under-dressed munchkins about how they should be as happy as piggies rolling in slop, for whatever effort we put into the decor of our home. all around, we knew our words would fall on deaf ears. we'd just throw tootsie pops at them and get them on their way.

at any rate -- it was smashing.
time for photo montage.

we had the smoke machine. we fought over who got to press the lever. it makes this hissing sound that scares the beegee's out of ..well....everybody.

without fail, our neighbor takes things just too darn far. but you would NEVER believe what a PHOTO-OP our side lawn was. every parent that saw it made their kids sit next to it...."go sit next to the skull and try not to catch your wig on fire with the candles and...SMILE." who knew.

this giraffe, my friends, was our first trickertreater. i swooned. his cheeks were pinched nearly a million times. HE WAS SO FLIPPING CUTE and we surprisingly didn't terrify him. i mean, we didn't TRY...but even so, we still have a negative impact on babies. this one, smiled and stared in awe. well-played little giraffe, well-played. when you grow teeth, you'll appreciate that we gave you the best candy in our cauldron.

that was puff before bush-duty.
dreading it. dreading it. dreading it.
it takes the first few initial screams to really get your blood flowin'.

you may remember the skeleton with bunny ears. in the neighbors car. behind the driver's seat. would you believe me if i told you somebody STILL managed to break into the car -- skeleton driver and all -- a few days ago? :::shaking head:::

this year-- our work was the best ever. BEST EVER. TELL ME you wouldn't want to come to our house if you were a grubster.

Run of the Grubbies. please note the scary clown with a white face in the background -- staring at me. cripes. these kids are no joke. or wait. they may be an adult.

check out one of our youngest trickertreaters!!!
yall. it's blurry. get over it. she's a squirmer!!! please note the crushed animal crackers that missed her mouth. but she was A DOLL....and considering it was probably past bedtime....happy to be out on the town. thanks for coming by!!!

unbeknownst to me...i was been given orders to look scary. i missed the memo.

memo arrived. claws out. but i couldn't stop laughing.

there we go. too bad that's JUST ABOUT how i look every morning. yeesh.

and yes, here's our captive, impoverished victim, overlooking the action from his chains in the bell tower.

and that's it folks!!!
all in all it was a fun night...and it's interesting. even when things aren't THAT grande....it's a tradition. and i love tradition. i love the thought of tradition. the moments in life that you create that become fond memories for a life time. and your mind has a weird way of only retaining the warm familiarity of the tradition. which drives you to do it again...and again....and again.....
you don't remember the money spent on the ingredients for thanksgiving dinner.
or the time it takes to make everything.
or the fact that there's a monster pile of dishes to clean afterward.
or the hated turkey sandwiches you're forced to eat for an eternity.
you remember the family gathering.
the laughing.
the crisp air and the smell of cinnamon.

and i guess that's how this night has become to us.....more or less a tradition that though it takes ALOT OF TIME...and alot of money....and alot of tear-down....it wouldn't be FALL without it. and so...until next year.... happy halloween :)

there was also a more somber tradition that i realized i had unintentionally started.
i couldn't quite put my finger on it....until it was halfway through the night and i was heating up apple cider, alone, in the "bell tower."
this faint sense of naive giddiness kept floating through my mind....what is it allison? what is it?
as i stirred the bubbling cider over the warm stove in the dimly lit kitchen ...it dawned on me with the weight of a million bricks....

....it was this night, exactly one year ago, that i took my very first ovulation predictor test.....
the laughter of a newbie trying to get pregnant...the freshness of delight and the thought of all the greatness the next year would hold. getting a positive and running around the house showing it to chad....my little secret. my perfect little plan. my heart pregnant with hope, even though i no clue my body never would be, this past year.

would you believe me if again, on halloween this year....on the exact day....it was time for another OPK. it was positive again. oh how the tides have changed...

please, God, let next year be different....