Never Too Old

I’m going to take a little trip down memory lane in this post. Life is constantly changing and while I super excited and inspired by the changes currently taking place, I think it’s good to remember where you have been.

30 years ago my family and I moved to a small town in Iowa.  26 years ago we moved into this house.  This house is beautiful inside and out.  Though she needs a bit of work in this particular picture. IMG_6142 (1)

I “grew up” in this house.  I say that even though we moved there either my freshman or sophomore year of high school.  It went through my teenage years with me.  And those were some years.  As I walked through the house one last time I was flooded with memories.

IMG_6472  The attic.  It was much nicer back in the day when it was my room. If those walls could talk.

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I was blessed to have my best friend live next door to me for a while. I used to sit on this window seat and she’d sit on her couch by the window and we’d talk on the phone.
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Then there is this beautiful staircase where many a family picture was taken.  I remember putting my wedding dress on and walking down to show my family.  The archway that welcomed so many as they walked in our front door.  The room where I had my first kiss with the man I would end up marrying.IMG_6481

 

And the last picture I have for you.  The kitchen that Adam and I remolded a bit together.  Again, as in my other posts more Adam than me.  But I did chip off all of the plaster covering the brick wall.  I love exposed brick.

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Why am I sharing this walk down memory lane with you? Well about a 3 months ago my parents sold this house.  And it got me thinking about the past, the future, change and living your dreams.

They have always been adventurous, my parents.  My dad maybe more so then my mom.  Though,  in spite of dealing with anxiety/depression issues due to a genetic disorder she is a carrier of, she has always been up for whatever adventure he could dream up.  She may want to let her fear and anxiety keep her from these adventures but she doesn’t.  She puts her trust in God and goes.  My dad has always had a dream of living in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana and so at 77 and 72 they are working at making this dream come true and that inspires me.

What dreams have you been putting on the back burner?  What have you wanted to do forever but have thought impossible?  What is holding you back from achieving your dreams?

My parents have taught me a lot over my 42 years but one of the best lessons is don’t let fear hold you back.  It can be crippling.  I’ve seen my mom work through it time and time again.  Be brave! Be bold! Have faith and go for it.  You are never too old to make your dreams come true!

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Table Building Amatures

7 or so years ago my husband was helping my dad clean a shed.  While doing this he discovered these. 3 – 12 foot 100 year old barn boards and he got a vision of what they could be someday.

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These barn boards sat around in my dad’s garage until about 6 months ago when they made the voyage from Iowa to Wisconsin.  Where they sat in our garage until March.  Over spring break we got ambitious and said let’s build a table.  Something we have never done before.  How hard can it be, right?

I must stop for a moment and say this, my use of we should really be limited to the planning, sanding and painting on of the protective coating.  The building of this table was all my husband.  Through YouTube, Google and his dad (thanks Glenn) he made the plans and executed.  So while I may use the term “we” throughout this post please know my husband deserves all the credit for the actual building of the table.

Now that we have that clear, on with the post.  We cut the boards down to 3-6 feet pieces and 2-4 feet pieces and my husband set to work putting it all together. IMG_6172  We had to take the boards to be planed (thank you Patrick) and jointed (thanks Tom)
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After they were planed and jointed it was time to start building.  I can’t give you all the details but there was lots of drilling of holes, dowels, and glue.  There was not one nail or screw used in the building of this table. A fact that I find extremely cool!  If you have questions or want specific plans leave a comment and I’ll get them to you.

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We chose to use cedar for the base.  Cedar is so beautiful and it really goes well with the table top even though we think that is white pine.  (If you can tell us if we are correct leave me a comment).
IMG_6400After he got all the parts assembled it was time to sand the whole thing.  I helped a little with that.  I wanted to say I helped “build” the table.  I am not really a details person.  Well, on somethings I am but on something like this it makes my head hurt.  My husband loves it and he is great at it though and he did an amazing job.IMG_6239

Anyway, after all the sanding was done we began to debate what we should use as a finish.  We knew we didn’t want to use a stain of any kind.  The wood was so beautiful as it is.  We considered tung oil or teak oil.  We spent a lot of time in the finishing isle at Menards.  We finally settled on a clear water based poly.  I can’t really tell you why we made that decision.  We just needed to make one and it seemed like a good choice.  I liked it because it didn’t have a strong smell and its really easy to apply.  It really made the table look even more beautiful.

The table is 7 feet long.  The top alone ways at least 250 pounds.  We built the base separately and brought that in the house first.  I was able to help with this and that’s it.

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I knew I could not help carry that table top from the garage to house.  My husband and his dad made that happen.  It is a beast.  A beautiful beast.

IMG_0632I have dreamed about having a farm house table for a really long time.  I have pictured sitting around sharing meals, but also living life around it.  My kid working on homework while I meal plan, having my quiet time with God, playing board games, maybe having a puzzle going during the winter, projects being done, laughing and playing cards with good friends, and holiday meals with family.  I love this table! If you couldn’t tell.  Thank you Adam for making my dreams come true!IMG_6549

Infertility Sucks

I promised a Friday post with our story of infertility.  I’m a day late.  Between helping my parents pack and move and preparing to do a couple overnight shifts I totally lost track of what day it was.

Some stats first.  1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility.  Think about your work place. Think about your church. Think about your card club.  Think about your fill in the blank.  You probably know a couple who is struggling and you don’t even realize it.  Infertility is a disease characterized by the failure to establish a clinical pregnancy after 12 months of regular unprotected sex.  This includes getting pregnant and staying pregnant.  The average cost of one cycle of IVF is $12,400.  The average cost of an infant adoption in the United States $34,093.

I shared our story in a post I did a while ago called This.  But because it is National Infertility Awareness Week I wanted to share it again.  This time sharing more of the raw emotions that come with infertility.   I’m just going to lay it out there and be honest and speak from the heart.   I don’t think infertility and the feelings a woman/couple goes through is talked about enough.  I think people have heard of it and probably have heard or maybe even know couples who are or have struggled.

I had a plan and I thought it was one God was in on.  Get married, have a bunch of kiddos and be a stay at home mom.  Not the plan.  Not even remotely close.  I got married but the bunch of kiddos never came and I’ve never really been a stay at home anything other than a very short time I’ll mention later.

For most of our early married life I really thought it would happen.  I bought a book called Taking Charge of Your Fertility.  I learned way more from that book than I really ever wanted to know about my body, but I put in to practice everything I could.  We saw my primary doctor and tried oral medications.  I took my temperature.  I charted everything.  We used ovulation predictor kits.  I stood on my head.  I exercised but not too much.  I quit my job for a while to try to reduce stress.  I tried to switch my husband to boxers.  No hot tubs for him either.   I prayed everyday.  I had surgery to remove the endometriosis.  I went on medications for 3 months at a time to try to keep it away.  Then we’d try for 6 months to a year again.  Still nothing happened.

How I felt:

  1.  There must be something wrong with me.  There was physically.  I suffered from endometriosis.  But more than that.  I must be odd or weird or emotionally stunted. I don’t know how to explain this one.  I just felt like something must not be right if I couldn’t have children.
  2. God must know that I would be a horrible mother and that’s why it’s not happening.
  3. I must have done something in my past to cause this.  I made a huge mistake somewhere and this is my punishment.  I don’t deserve to have a child.
  4. Why do all those people who don’t even want the kids they have keep getting pregnant and I’m over here begging God and it’s not happening?
  5. Angry and frustrated. What am I doing wrong?  I can’t afford to adopt.  I can’t afford fertility treatments.  Why won’t this just work naturally?
  6. Bitter and jealous of women who could just look at their husband and get pregnant.
  7. Shame – Some self inflicted .  Some from the way others looked at you when you explained you were trying but it just wasn’t happening.
  8. Like a failure – this should be so easy and yet it’s not.
  9. Like a liar – always coming up with some excuse of why we didn’t have kids rather than deal with the looks and the well meaning unsolicited advice from people when you told them the truth.
  10. Faithless – my faith must not be enough.  I must have some doubt somewhere otherwise God would be answering.
  11. Alone.  I didn’t know anyone else who was going through the same thing I was.

Advice people gave us/questions people asked us:

  1. Just relax.  It will happen.
  2. Drink some wine before intercourse to relax you.
  3. Do you know how to make a baby?  Has anyone explained it to you?
  4. Everything happens for a reason.  Maybe it’s just not meant to be.
  5. Have you considered adoption?
  6. Have you prayed about it?
  7. Maybe it’s just not God’s will for you.
  8. I understand what you are going through.  It took me a couple of months to get pregnant the first time too.

By the time we hit 10-11 years of marriage I finally began to accept the fact that I would not be a mother through the normal methods.  I grieved.  It was a loss of a dream.  A desire of my heart.  I gave up.  I cried Uncle. I surrendered. Whatever you want to call it.

I’m sure you are wondering, don’t you have a kid?  You just posted about him.  I do have a kid.  He’s a miracle.  A conversation at a baseball game between a good friend of mine and the woman who would become a dear friend and my supervisor.  That conversation almost didn’t happen because one of them was going to skip the game but decided against it at the last moment.  A random conversation with a provider at the clinic where I worked, that led to a complete fertility work up.  An amazing doctor/employer who was willing to do IVF even though I had just given my 2 weeks notice.  A very determined doctor who wanted me to have a New York baby to bring back to the Midwest with me. An enormous amount of shots.  A pregnancy and a miscarriage.   Wonderful friends and coworkers to walk through that with us.  A crisis of faith.  Another cycle of IVF with no pregnancy.  A month break and then back for an embryo transfer.  And this one took.  A viable pregnancy.  And then the heart beat.  And then seeing movement.  Shear terror at 14  weeks.  A gush of bright red blood.  Oh no – another miscarriage. Panic and a trip to the emergency room to be reassured and told it was just a burst blood vessel and the effects of being on blood thinner.  Then on April 5,2008 he arrived and he was perfect.

We only had that one kiddo.  I am super thankful for him.  God answered and gave me the desire of my heart.  Just not in my timing or preferred method.  We’ve continued to struggle with infertility.  10 more years of hoping every month but it not happening as the physical struggles continue for me.

I often wonder if God had told me back when I was a 19 year old newlywed what exactly his plan for me to become a mother was, would I have been patient?  Or would I have tried to rush his plan?  Would I be the person I am today?   The person that 13+ years of infertility made me to be.

There is a verse in the bible I came across after my kid was born.  I had probably heard it before but it hit me different this time when I read it.   It’s 2nd Corinthians 1:4, “He comforts us in all our suffering, so that we may be able to comfort others in all their suffering, as we ourselves are being comforted by God.”

I talk about our journey with infertility because it needs to be talked about and because  of this verse.  I know that there are many women who are going through this and feel so alone. Women who are physically unable to have children and IVF or adoption is their only option.  Women who are frustrated at the cost of IVF and adoption. I want people to know they aren’t alone.   Your journey may not be IVF. Your journey might be adoption, foster/adoption through your state, embryo adoption or a surrogate.  Every journey to motherhood is different.  For us it was IVF.  For two couples we know it was adoption through the foster care system.

I also want to talk about our infertility story for those who haven’t experienced empty wombs or empty arms.  Be sensitive.  Support not advice.  A hug goes a long way.  If you have a friend or a family member who is struggling with infertility and really want a picture into what they are going through watch a documentary on Netflix called One More Shot.  It follows a couple from start to finish on their struggle to have a family.

That is our story.  Thanks for reading!

 

Cooking Night

I have a 10 year old son.  I want him to grow up independent and able to take care of himself.  Cook for himself, make his own doctors appointment (eventually), get a job, be responsible.  I think that’s every mother’s hope for their kids.

I decided to start a cooking night with him.  My kid is an only child.  Not by choice but by circumstances beyond our control.  I know there is a stereotype about only children out there but my kid is pretty well adjusted.  Plays well with others, shares, loves being around other people,(adult and kids) is sensitive and understands others moods.

That being said I started to notice that I was the one with the issues.  I’m a helper.  I like to do for others and I was always doing stuff for him.  Stuff he was able to do or could very easily learn to do.   He’d say,  “I’m hungry”, and I’d go and get him a snack.  So he got to the point where he would just holler “mom, can you get me a snack please?” from upstairs and I’d get it and bring it to him.  He’d be in the living room and ask me for something  and I’d quit what I was doing go get it for him.   I rarely made him do anything.  I was teaching him to rely on others to get what he needed.

I think this is a danger for those of us who have only’s.  It’s so easy to just do it for them.  I don’t mind helping him out.  I think its a nice thing to do.  It hit me though that I was raising a child who was going to need me to make his doctor appointments at the age of 45.  That is not okay with me.  I was not raised that way.  I was raised to be independent and self sufficient.  Things needed to change for his benefit.

This is totally not the direction I was planning on taking with this post.  Maybe a I need to do a post on raising an only child sometime. This whole post was to share about Monday night cooking nights with my kid.  When I send him off to college I want him to know how to make food for himself among other things like laundry and how to make a bed.  I thought I would start with cooking.  Why cooking? I’m not sure.  I am not a great cook, but I enjoy it and we’ve had some really fun cooking nights.

We started with Easy Mac in the microwave.  We have done things like pancakes and french toast.  Salad and smoothies.  Last night we grilled steak and veggies.   I’ve started asking him what he wants to cook too.  Sometimes he has an idea but most times he’ll leave it up to me.   One night when I asked him what he wanted to learn to cook he asked, “can’t I just get a wife?” Seriously kid?  We have been able to incorporate what he is learning in school with measuring units. We talk about healthy eating and making good choices.  We talk a lot during our cooking nights and that is probably my favorite part.  I love spending time with him.

It’s been a great way to teach independence and confidence.   He gets his own snacks now (as he should) but he was also able to make himself dinner (Easy Mac) when his dad’s meeting ran long the other day.  I love seeing him grow and learn new things. I can’t wait to see where our cooking night takes us in the future.

 

Sneak Peak

I promised more regular posts.  Well, here is a sneak peak at a post I have planned for later in May.  I am so excited to share with you the awesome project my husband is working on.  I was going to say we are working on but I have to be honest.  It’s been all him with a little tiny bit of contribution from me.

Life…

Life has a way of getting really busy and the things you enjoy doing get pushed aside to get the necessary things done.  I hate when that happens.  But that is exactly what has been happening over the past 7 months.

I haven’t blogged.  In 7 months.  Not the plan when I started.  I had a calendar outline of blogging at least once a week if not more.  I like blogging.  Even if no one reads it.  I like processing through issues, sharing recipe’s, sharing stories, success and failures.

I have been debating about whether or not to start up again or just call it quits.  But I’ve been learning about self care recently.  Learning to breath, quiet my mind, get back to doing things I enjoy, and have less screen time.  But that’s another post.

All this to say I am back.  Crazy adventures, personal stories, my northland farming and chicken updates and healthy recipes coming your way.

 

 

Travel Superior Photo Contest

Here are the 3 beautiful finalists in the Travel Superior Photo Contest.  I had some really tough competition and ended up getting third place.  Yay! And my photo is going to be used in the 2018 Superior-Douglas County Travel and Activity Guides.

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This was the first time I’ve ever entered one of my photo’s in a contest.  It was so exciting to be chosen and to win a prize for something I truly enjoy doing!

Make sure to check out the Travel Superior Facebook page for lots of exciting things to do in Superior, WI and Douglas County! #travelsuperior @travelsuperior