Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Trash to Treasure Charity Yard Sale

PFM held its second fundraising event, Trash to Treasure Yard Sale.

There were many very generous donations to help make the sale successful. We held it on a Saturday, the weather was perfect and there was a good turn out. We promoted the non profit and hopefully gained a few more followers.

Thank you to all that donated. We made $800.
I am pretty proud of that. We still have a few items that I will sell on Crai.g's List.
I hope to have the total at $1000.

Our next fundraiser in the works is called Kids and Trucks. More details to come. We continue to work on getting our 501 c(3). Once that happens and donations are tax deductable, we hope PFM will enter a whole new level of donations.

We will be accepting applications for grants in January 2010.
The first grants awarded will be in June 2010.
For more information visit our website- Parenthood for Me.org

Monday, June 29, 2009

Pennies from Heaven

Pennies are deemed as good luck, but there is also a phenomenon that found pennies are signs from angels saying hello and letting you know they are around you and love you. Here is the story:

I found a penny today
Just laying on the ground.
But it's not just a penny,
this little coin I've found.

Found pennies come from heaven,
That's what my Grandpa told me.
He said Angels toss them down.
Oh, how I loved that story.

He said when an Angel misses you,
They toss a penny down.
Sometimes just to cheer you up,
To make a smile out of your frown.

So, don't pass by that penny,
When you're feeling blue.
It may be a penny from heaven,
that an Angel's tossed to you.

For the first time in my life this story touched me in a personal way. This past Friday my 89 year old Nana had to go to Emergency. It was quite serious and due to her age I was frightened of what was going to happen. My mother, her daughter who is also a nurse practitioner is out of town. It was just me sitting in emergency with her waiting to be admitted to a room. I listened to everything the doctor's said and made sure they were taking proper care of her. Via phone my mother confirmed that it sounded like things were going well. We waited 7 hours to be put into a room. When Nana was getting up to switch to a new bed she found a penny amongst the sheets. She immediately thought it was from Pop, my grandfather who passed away 3 years ago. They were married for 60 years. She misses him very much, as we all do. I could see in her eyes the comfort she felt in knowing that Pop was around watching her and left her a sign of his presence. It warmed my heart to think he was there somewhere sending his love.

At Nana's age it is inevitable that we talk about what will happen when she is gone. She lives a very active life for 89, living alone and doing everything for herself. She is still driving and plays in 3 bridge clubs. along with entertaining her neighbors and friends. I admire her and hope to have her stamina and zest for life even during tough times. She is relatively healthy but has some problems like an aneurysm in her heart that could prove fatal. We enjoy every moment together not thinking about what may happen but rather what we have now. She has 7 great grandchildren and counting. She is enjoying being a part of her grandchildren's adult lives and watching them become parents.

Here is Billie Holliday's rendition of "Pennies from Heaven"

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thank you for the Award

I was given the Honest Scrap Award from my friend Just Caz.

Here are 10 honest things about me. I will not be able to top her list, though.

  1. I used to have to drive home to use the bathroom when I was in high school (not every time if you get my drift).

  2. I slept on a beach in San Torini, Greece

  3. I used to have a problem with stealing when I was 5 and 6. My mom thought I was going to be a juvenile delinquent.

  4. I have never gotten a ticket.

  5. I love to nap. I could take a nap an hour after waking up. But, when it comes to falling asleep at night like normal people, I just cannot get my mind to shut off.

  6. My family and husband call me Eri

  7. I have a crush on Bobby Flay

  8. I used to wear six earrings in each ear and I had my nosed pierced. I was a teen in the 90's.

  9. I am super sappy. I cry at everything but try to hide it.

  10. I love quoting funny lines from movies. I wish I was one of those people who always had a revelant line from a movie for something happening in real life. (I know several people like that.) One of my favorite movies for funny quotes is Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase. "Are you surprised, Clark?" "Eddie, I wouldn't be more surprised if I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet."

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Show and Tell- June 24

Here is my Show and Tell. I have missed a couple of weeks since the big switch.

I am posting this for Lori because this is cleary not a very flattering picture of me (see previous post :) )

This is my prized Weebles Wobblog t-shirt donated by Ms. Lori herself. I wear it proudly. Don't mind my hair. It's very hot today!

It states Lori's mantra, "Mindful living amid chaos."

Monday, June 22, 2009

Apple on Toothpicks

Here is my contribution to Perfect Moment Monday. Writing this was a perfect moment for me because I was able to articulate publicly how I felt and now feel about my self image.

When I was young, my body was a big issue for me. I was never overweight but had my "problem" areas. It stinks looking back on how badly I felt then. I had myself convinced that I could never wear sleeveless shirts, bikini's, or any sort of form fitting clothing. I lost a lot of brain cells worrying about my body. I know I am not different from many women. Growing up girls face a lot of scrutiny and we are always harder on ourselves than we need to be.

I felt my problem areas were my upper arms and stomach. I carry my weight in my stomach. That can be good and bad at the same time. I have very skinny legs and no hips or butt, BUT the stomach thing was all I could focus on. When I sit down I have two stomachs or rolls (such a lovely term). I would obsess about sitting down and worrying if anyone would catch on that I had fat on my stomach. Geez. How much energy did I waste on this?


In college I gained the usual weight. It wasn't Freshman year though, it was when I lived in Italy while studying abroad. Beer and pasta, need I say more? I was ten pounds overweight in college which isn't all that bad but at 5'3" wasn't all that good either.

Anyway, the point of my little story here is that at some point after I graduated college and my lifestyle changed, I lost those ten pounds, dropped a size and had never felt so good about my body. I still did not have a flat stomach and I still did not have skinny arms, but I began the cathartic process as a woman of accepting my body. I wore clothes with confidence. I didn't constantly worry if a smidgen of fat would show when I sat down.

I didn't care anymore. And, epiphany time here- I realized the boys did not care either!!!

I remember the day that somebody described me as tiny. For as long as I can remember I had a morphed image of what my person looked like. I thought I looked big. The truth is that I was of medium build or as my mother described me, just plain normal for my age. I was not skinny as a rail nor was I overweight. I am a muscular person and have a small to medium build and as stated before I am not tall. That one statement about me changed my entire perspective of myself. I began to see myself for who I really was. Mainly, I stopped beating myself up for not exercising or eating this or that. It seems like the moment I ceased letting this image problem be such an issue, the issue disappeared.

This leads to my title. I cannot take credit for this title. My college roommate and I had the same body type, and she coined this ingenious description of our body style.

Definition: skinny legs, no hips, average chest size B cup, but weight in the stomach region.

We both had nicknames for our guts. Mine was Ralph and hers was Sean. Why they were male names I have no idea. "Oh, Sean is hungry." "Does Ralph really show in this shirt?" We had a sense of humor about it and tried not to take our bodies so seriously (even on the days we were late to class due to fussing over our minimal wardrobes and trying to hide Sean and Ralph)

Apple on Toothpicks will not be listed as one of the body types featured in In.Style or O.prah when they give advice about what clothes look best on whom. There is the hour glass, straight or boyish figure, big busted, bottom heavy. Where is the "all those extra pounds are hidden under that fantastically styled flowy shirt?" (BTW, so love that roomy shirts have been in style for the past 3 seasons. Of coarse now that I think about it, it sucked to wear maternity style shirts when going through infertility. I hated that people might have questioned if I was pregnant or not).

Lycra and stretchy shirts do not enter my shopping bags or my closet. We all have those items of clothing that should remain on the rack because they simply do not flatter our assets. This is why I love the show What Not to Wear. It teaches women to embrace their body instead of scorning it. What a revelation. I am proud of my body type. I find it amusing and often laugh with my mother (where I get my body from) about the wonderment of having 2-3 stomach rolls when I sit down and upper arms that will be flapping in the wind someday. I do my best to keep my weight at a certain level, but I no longer obsess about it. Thank goodness! Life is too short.

Have that extra piece of cake, drink a margarita, go easy on yourself. Healthy living is key and a very good reason to worry about weight. But, you also have to live life, and if that means having "fat pants" that come out every once in awhile, so be it.

I'm off to get another cookie!

Cheers and happy ICLW.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Pain is Pain is Pain

This posts comes from the inspiring "Greener Grass: Greener Pastures" at Conceive This!

I have no problem admitting I played the pity card with myself because we have both male and female factor IF. I cannot believe I actually longed for someone elses situation over mine, but I did. One of the biggest lessons I have learned after digging myself out of my own black hole is that anyone experiencing infertility is in pain, lots of pain.

I understood secondary infertility and how hurtful it must be to not provide a sibling or have the big family you once planned on. In fact, I sometimes thought that secondary infertility must suck worse. Talk about being blindsided. Those who got pregnant within 3 months never could have imagined it would take 4-5 years to have a second. How frustrating and unbelievable that must be.

Even though I thought I understood secondary infertility, I didn't really. I believe after talking with several more people I really see it for what it is. People feel guilty for wanting another child when they have a beautiful child(ren) to take care of and love. If they open up to others about their situation most people shame them into trying so hard for a second or dismiss it completely because they got pregnant with no problem once. That automatically means there isn't a problem, right?

I see a difference between those who have tried for a long time without a successful pregnancy and those who were able to be pregnant and give birth and have started a family. I can see why the first situation looks more painful on the surface, but I also see that no one's pain should be categorized or dismissed. It all sucks.

It has been mentioned to me that I should just be thankful to have Luv Bug and stop worrying so much about another child, getting pregnant, or adopting again. I guess that puts me in the secondary infertility category, even though I am an adoptive parent. I was really hurt and offended when it was suggested that the pain I may still feel about not getting pregnant or wanting more children is not justified. Luv Bug is amazing. I cherish him more than anything in my entire life- he is my life. But, I also feel that I am entitled to feel the pain when I feel the pain.

As stated- it all sucks. When you have to go through years of tribulations and spend tons of money to become parents or expand your family, there is no hierarchy of pain. Each person's situation is their own; it is all hurtful, confusing, frustrating and life altering.

Thanks, Murgdan for writing such a great post.
Also, check out this Quotable Quotidian about "Navigating the Land of IF." Mel states it perfectly.

Plucking Pennies

I mean pinching pennies.

Wow has my attitude changed about personal finances. Things changed for us when Luv Bug came home and we had extra expenses for him. The next step was moving to a new house and then when we had to start paying for part time child care. Gone are the days of my Tar.get shopping sprees. That's for sure.

Since the economy has plunged my attitude has changed on spending. We always try to have a certain amount in savings, and now it is imperative. I work for a family business and things are going well. My husband's job seems to be secure, but we are not naive enough to sigh with relief.

I guess I have always been somewhat financially savvy in the sense that I would pick up items for gifts when they were on sale. I start my Christmas shopping in September. We go to the library instead of buying books all the time. But, I do love my clothes shopping and used my credit card for one favorite store. I have since put a halt on all clothes shopping, will pay off that small bill , and stay away from the mall. It is now a personal challenge to use the clothes I have, wear shoes and shirts that I have had but didn't really wear. I have no problem taking shoes or clothes from friends if they are getting rid of them. I have heard of many groups of women doing clothing swaps. I think that is a great idea. There are now book exchanges going through the postal service.

My MIL gets all the toys for Luv Bug at local garage sales. She has picked up nearly brand new toys for a mere fraction of their retail price. I have gotten creative with gift giving and also taken it down a notch. One of my biggest weaknesses is gift giving. I love to do it and I often go over what would be a necessary amount to spend.

A huge goal of ours is to plan out our menus to avoid the multiple trips to the grocery store. We also take advantage of the many farmer's markets in our area. We are lucky enough to live next door to a mini farmer's market and often given fresh strawberries, tomatoes and broccoli. I want to try and figure out how much money this will save us by the end of the summer.

I am also very conscious of donating. I give all of my used magazines to the local library (this is also good for recycling). I donate items to our local food pantry and have considered sending some clothes I no longer fit in (boo) to the charity Dressed for Success. Many of Luv Bug's old toys we can donate to the Korean adoption agency where Luv Bug came from. The babies need clothes, bottles, burp clothes, etc. to use while they are waiting to go home to their parents.

I wanted to express that even though there are way too many cliched phrases going around, some new some old (staycation, less is the new more), I believe that there is never anything wrong with focusing on the people in our lives than accruing more possessions.
If I have $20 bucks to go out for drinks (that's enough for drinks, right?) as opposed to buying a new shirt, I will choose the former because we need personal connections more the stuff.

7 Things I Love

I received the Kreative Blogger Award from the Pitter Patter.

Here's my list of 7 things I love:

Easy enough:

1. Funny/ silly movies

2. Decorating and design

3. Vintage items ( antiquing and going to flea markets)

4. Writing

5. My family

6. Driving

7. Indulging my sweet tooth

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Financial Tid Bit- Update

I read in Conceive Magazine about the "anything loan."

The Anything Loan from online consumer lender First Again is offered to people who have maintained excellent credit. The company touts the loans as being available for any purpose, including they say, fertility treatments, adoption, or home improvements needed for a growing family. To find out more visit their website-http://www.firstagain.com/

A fellow blogger 'Murgdan' (read the comments) searched out the link and found out they are no longer accepting new loan applications. Maybe when the economy turns around, they will be a good resource.
Sorry I did not investigate before posting. I was just really excited to read the blurb.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Collateral Damage

Infertility turns your world upside down. Besides your own personal reaction and ability to cope, relationships are the first thing to change and be tested.

For about the first two years we were going through IF we had very little social pressure or stress. As a couple we were dealing with many losses and hard times, but our social circle was not at the stage of trying to conceive. While we had many heartbreaking moments in private they were not exacerbated by friends and family inundating us with pregnancy announcements. In fact, sometimes when I would get a negative pregnancy test, I was a little relieved because of a social event coming up. I was TTC while two friends were planning their weddings. I could have been a very pregnant bridesmaid, but it never happened.

After friends were married things changed. The pregnancy proclamations were made and that's when our sadness reached a different level. We were now experiencing firsthand the disappointment of wanting something that other people had, a pregnancy. They had the exciting news to share with family and friends, and they reached this milestone with little effort. That hurt a lot. Sometimes it took all of my energy to act normal and smile along with my congratulatory exclamations.

As time went on without a pregnancy social situations became harder. In the meantime I had an ectopic pregnancy and went through a very lonely time full of loss. Baby showers were nearly impossible for me to sit through. I felt like people were always looking at me to see my reaction. I felt like the pink elephant in the room. When one of my good friends had her baby, I was pretty much absent from the event and the first year of her daughter's life. I did not see the nursery until she turned one. The pain was too much. I felt guilty, but I knew it was self preservation.

When other friends became pregnant, the news was always the hardest. For me it always felt like a punch to the gut. Finding out another person was pregnant really hurt, but after a little while of getting used to the idea, I was able to feel joy for; however, it was coupled with a disturbing sense of loss for myself. It really sucked being the person no one wanted to tell their joyous news of pregnancy. However, I was very lucky to have sensitive friends and family members.

Family events with babies were especially hard for me because I wanted so badly to be the beautiful pregnant mommy-to-be. I envied the attention, the questions people had, and all their excitement. I wanted so badly to give our parents a grand child because they were hurting too. My heart wasn't completely in tact when babies were born. I felt like a fraud. I smiled on the outside and cried as soon as I was safely by myself. I couldn't hold the babies. And, even though I have Luv Bug and fall in love with him more everyday, holding a small baby is still difficult for me. I may never know what it feels like to hold my baby the moment they enter the world.

I am grateful that news of pregnancies does not alter my life like it once did. Sometimes I would cry for days upon hearing of another pregnancy. It depended on what stage of TTC I was in. There were times when I was better able to cope. I will admit that I still get a twinge of sadness when I hear of a pending birth. I am at that stage in life where people are building their families, and there are pregnancies popping up everywhere. The second and third babies are a reminder of how difficult it will be for us to have a second child.

The collateral damage of infertility is that relationships are affected. The pain we felt isolated us and made us different. Friends and family wanted so badly to help, but there was nothing to be done. We avoided certain events or cut them short. We offered our congratulations on a pregnancy but would go home and talk about how much it sucked that we couldn't get pregnant. When my niece was born I know that my SIL felt bad for me! She was a new mommy and she had to worry about how I was feeling. People had to worry about how to tell us they were expecting. We appreciated their sensitivity but it sucked that they had to inform us of their news knowing that it would hurt us and almost downplay their excitement.

Those days are gone. We have our family now. But, it was a long four years. I am thankful that I can be completely there for new babies and their parents. I may not have become a parent the same way, but I am relieved to be able to relate to the excitement and joy they have of being a mommy and a daddy.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Show and Tell

This past week I went to NYC. The dates happened to correspond with the one year anniversary of Luv Bug coming home. We were in NYC to pick him up on June 3. Here is a picture of us at JFK waiting for his plane to land. (with my MIL Donna)

The anticipation of waiting for all 200+ people to go through customs (luv bug and his escort among them) was enormous. Every once in a while a baby would come around the corner and my heart leapt out of my chest. Finally over 40 minutes after his plane landed we spotted him. Simply put, it was incredible. I wish I could remember all the emotions, but it is a big blur of relief and happiness and love. Our connection with him was instantaneous because he is an amazing, open, affectionate, and very social boy.

Our first embrace. Magical.

June 4, 2008 we flew into the Rochester Airport. My parents were there, family and friends all waiting to see Luv Bug in the flesh. Everyone who came for the "reveal" had travelled our adoption journey with us; they all loved Luv Bug. This was a big moment for us. For me I was finally able to be a mommy and show off my beautiful son. The four years of waiting to be called Mommy had built up many emotions. I reveled in the instant that we rounded the corner and everyone became visible.
I saw tears streaming down friends faces, cameras going off, balloons, presents. This display of love and affection for AJ and I and Luv Bug was something I will never forget.

A few days ago on June 4 I happened to fly into Rochester around the exact same time of day as a year before. I slowly walked up the terminal waiting to see those glass doors that changed my life forever. Tears welled in my eyes for many reasons- how far we have come as a family, the gratefulness for having found my son, and all the struggles we faced to get to this celebratory point.

Friday night we had a family party for Luv Bug. Nothing big but something to gather together and reminisce about the past year. We all feel the year went by fast, but we also feel that it seems like he has been with us forever. We simply cannot imagine our lives without him.

This is a picture provided by Luv Bug's foster mother. We are so lucky to have pictures chronicling his life prior to coming home.
All of our lives have changed because of him, the miracle of his existence and the serendipitous way he came to be a part of our family.
Check out the rest of Show and Tell


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