Monday, May 29, 2017 we are 18 months later!

I'm back. Back to blogging...back to feeling more like myself...and {almost} back to being "home" in the Midwest.

Life has changed so much since that last post, December 2015.

Dark Moments 

I discovered and researched and "self-diagnosed" my postpartum depression... over one year past the birth of Sophia... but just weeks after stopping nursing cold-turkey {thanks to an anniversary trip away for 7 nights and her quick attachment to the bottle during this time}. My hormones were completely out of whack, I cried nearly every day and despite the constant Colorado sunshine, I felt so cold, isolated and of course, lonely.  I couldn't be the mother I envisioned {and not the one society paints, but just a normal one} and I couldn't be the friend to others that I formerly was and always felt behind the 8 ball.

I suffered. Often, I would experience my monthly period every few weeks...which brought intense hormone swings, the resurfacing of my lower back problems and more emotional craziness and rage. I brought this up to my doctor in November 2016 at my annual check-up {hoping for some sort of hormonal pill to help} and she toed the line behind medicine indicating a 21 day cycle is "normal."

Well...this wasn't normal for me. So I knew there was more.

Saved by the Gluten {Free}

I read one random article about how a disregarded gluten sensitivity can create such turmoil with our bodies, creating hormonal imbalances {check} and irregular menstruation cycles {check}.  So... I dug deeper and found supporting research which gave me the ammo to stop putting gluten in my mouth...or at least avoid at all cost.

Within the first month...I had a normal 4-week cycle...I physically felt better, less back pain, more energy, my head felt "clearer" and best of all, I had more patience with my littles. This...all within four weeks!

A self-diagnosed gluten sensitivity is no surprise to my mom also deals with this and her brother has celiac disease. 

Avoiding gluten isn't terribly difficult for me - except sweets - that is when my "sweet tooth" gets the best of me! I've always considered myself a salad aficionado... for nearly 20 years. It was a joke at our wedding shower, that J was the cook in our home...and I would make a "mean salad." In fact, during college my roommate used to tease me b/c I ate so healthy and say "why do you eat boring salads all the time?" and kind of peer-pressured me to think I was lame for my diet. But truth be told - salads always made me feel good... and the "junk food" my best friend shared with my husband made me feel like garbage.

When I eat gluten now, I usually feel extremely fatigued {as in...I need a nap, ASAP}...sometimes I feel nausea and headaches, and if I find myself "slipping" a little too much {like last month}...guess what, I got my period in 3 weeks and had horrible lower back problems, again!  

When I think back to my earlier years - I have fallen asleep at Red Wings hockey games, concerts {with seating}, comedian shows, etc. It was just my mode of operation to fall asleep easily, early and often. In hindsight, I had probably consumed a nice pasta dinner with my love, or some delicious bread of some sort... and my body was upset.

It all makes sense now! 

I often wonder if my mom had known about her gluten sensitivity in her earlier years, if my parent's marriage would have been different, if her health path would be changed...but they are doing the best they can in their next chapters. I am just thankful for my personal discovery.

Of all of the changes in the past 18 months... this one is most significant to me.  As I feel back to myself, I find that I miss blogging, it was such a great outlet for me. I blog for myself, so I remember life during these young, but chaotic years. So I am getting back into it... and I hope you will enjoy our future updates! 

Off to enjoy the Colorado sunshine...while we still can!!!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Deep Breaths...

Take deep breaths. That is what I tell I cry endlessly while watching a video about a "friend-of-a-friend" and young mother battles an aggressive form of cancer and is begging for her life. Ahh. I'm such an emotional basket-case these days.

I gathered with some help of friends, that maybe the past 8-10 weeks haven't been my finest. Feeling scatterbrained, emotional, sad, blue, and just blah. I pushed it off that my work, although a blessing, was keeping me "too" I tried to dial it back. But, there was still the crying every day feeling. With some suggestive gesturing, I realized that postpartum depression can hit you like a ton of bricks. And maybe for me, it is more like post-weaning depression; as all of those feel-good hormones I experienced while nursing Princess S...came to a screeching halt when I stopped nursing, nearly cold-turkey.

When I say it out loud, it helps. When I acknowledge it and try to smash it before it makes me sad, it helps. I am trying to defeat it with exercise and Vitamin D...along with coffee and wine, some of the most important ingredients to most SAHM's day - or at least us Irish-Catholic-types!

Circling back to the cancer. Cancer just sucks. It makes me sad to think of the intensity of cancer deaths in the area of Michigan, where our roots were planted. It has permanently shaped our family dynamic, perhaps for the worst.

Then, I see an IG pic from a friend in Indy, whom has several in-laws either passed or currently battling cancer. And I know that Indiana has some of the highest cancer rates...a place we previously lived and enjoyed.

Then...I combine this knowledge with the stats about Colorado having some of the best cancer rates in the country. Vitamin D with ample sunshine, an active lifestyle and healthier place to live all contribute to the superior stat. Frequently, I believe God has placed us here with strong purpose and reason. I just question what is more important - being closer {proximity} to family or "feeling" less vulnerable to cancer {not that we should ever let our guard down}. Then, I see the tears of a young mother battling cancer with a plead for support via YouTube...and I feel like I never want to be in her shoes.

Why can't we have our cake and eat it, too?! Or perhaps this is all a moot point, as none of us truly know when our final breaths on this earth will be? And the after life is more desirable, any ways!'s deep...but from the heart.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Polar Opposites

"No two children are the same," proclaimed every seasoned parent as they dished out parenting of 2 {or more} advice when they witnessed my baby bump and a toddler in tow last summer. I hate to say it but...boy, were they right!! 

Miss L is a first-born go-getter, driven to have it her way, Leo that savors the spotlight, and with the flip of a switch can go from super sweet to crazy "threenager" in 4.2 seconds flat! "They" were also right that the 3's are far worse than the "terrible 2s," however, I have heard that 4 is much more manageable. I hope and pray come August that we meet the fun 4-year old in a slightly more mature version of the fun 18-month old I remember from yesteryear! 

Sophia the Second knows the obnoxious, my-way-or-the-highway role in the family has already been secured and she is taking the Libra-route of being chill, go-with-the-flow and just happy as a pig in mud on a hot summer day! I so want to freeze this time with S, as now I know how fleeting it is. 

It's incredible how different these girls are from one another {already}, yet, they share the same genes. Definitely puts some ummph into the nature argument. 

Recent visit to MI - riding Gr Grandpa R's pony - "Ginger" 

Recent visit to MI - swinging in the hammock

Friday, March 6, 2015

Quality Family Time

Just a few weeks has passed since we hosted a lil' family reunion of the entire L family. It had been 18-months or so since the last time we were all together...perhaps it felt great to be reunited. 
 It was a quick Fri night - Mon night trip for everyone and the weather was anything but normal for Colorado {after all...February went from record-breaking high temperatures to the snowiest February on record!}. Not once did they see the crystal-clear blue skies, abundant and brilliant sunshine nor the full Rocky Mtn. range from our neighborhood; however, with this group - it didn't matter that much.

We played Euchre, watched some Red Wings, went bowling, attended mass, drank beer {on the Coor's tour, of course!} and spent a full-day in the mountains on the slopes at Winter Park Resort. It was a bit of a whirlwind, but it was filled with fun, great food and family time!

At the end of the trip, everyone was itching to ski another day and agreed that this should be an annual trip. We look forward to hosting again!

Miss L playing in her Toy Room with Uncle Joel

Princess S with her Aunt M

Games, games and more games! 

Priceless! It certainly is exhausting being the center of attention...

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

How the Other Half Lives...

I anxiously said a final "see you later" to my colleagues and excitedly pushed open the large, 14' wooden double doors to the outside world. The blue skies, abundant sunshine and warmth of life in Colorado welcomed me. On Friday, I closed a chapter in my book of work {for the near future, that is} and started my new job yesterday as a stay-at-home-mom. It is not without bittersweet feelings.

Rewind to a moment about a month ago, as J is out of town for a work trip, our nanny painfully exclaimed that she couldn't fulfill her end of the contact, as her lifestyle {read: 21 and grocery shopping at Whole Foods} requires her to make more money that we can afford to pay her.

I called and emailed six in-home daycare locations with zero success, which led me to inquire with daycare centers - the only locations with availability just didn't seem affordable. Plus, I hated the idea of baby S in an infant room with a ratio of 1:5. I started to question, "what happens when multiple babies need fed, held, or are just crying?" or doubt my ability to get myself and two little princesses out the door every.single.morning. This was combined with my distaste to pumping at work, missing my girls and feeling like time was just flying by and my decision was pretty easily justified. we are.

At the very least there will be more time to blog {record memories}, and a rare opportunity to work on "projects" that I have in the pipeline and most importantly, have the unique gift to experience motherhood - full-time. That, I will be forever grateful for and I am confident this is a decision that I won't regret.

Stay tuned...

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Welcome little one!

This month has been quite a wild ride. October is my favorite month for a multitude of reasons - it's my birthday month, it's prime for football (and post-season baseball when the Tigers progress), sweater season, all-things-pumpkin season and the list goes on...

I have a feeling this October will be similar to many future Octobers, as we now celebrate two birthdays. Mine and our second princess, Sophia. 

Please allow me to welcome Miss Sophia Lorryn to the world.

Birth Story

After a pregnancy filled with much concern over my platelet count, I had been fluctuating in the 90k range (normal is 145 - 450k, and an epidural becomes questionable if it is below 100k) for the past month of so of my pregnancy. On my due date, October 1st, I had my 40-week appointment with my OB late in the day. My blood was drawn then and she would expedite the results to have them first thing in the morning and together with my doc - we developed the following game plan: a) platelet count comes back in the 90's still and she orders an induction...or b) platelet count drops into mid-80's and we call my hematologist and obtain a plan to use steroids for a short-period and plan to induce on Tuesday with the hopes for a higher platelet count.  

Thursday, October 2nd
As I'm ready for work and nearly ready to get Alexis to her 2nd day of preschool at her new preschool, I receive a call at 8am from an unknown number. I immediately question if it is my doc, but it is soo early (or so I thought). Sure enough, platelet count came back as 107k. Yipee!! She states to head to the hospital, she has already called in the induction. 

Alexis heads to preschool where a neighbor/friend will pick her up and keep her during our hospital stay. 

I call Jeremy and tell him to come home - after he just arrived to work {note: 45 minute one-way commute}. We complete the hospital bags and head to the hospital. It seems so surreal. Of course, we thought we were going to meet our baby girl THAT evening. {Ha Ha!}

I felt as if we were checking into a hotel. The hospital has the name "Sky" in it and the locals nicknamed it "Spa..." 

Checked in: 10:30am
Don't really see a nurse until about noon. She wants to start pitocin and I request she call my doc b/c that is not my understanding. Sure enough, patient wins. Doc says "absolutely no pit!" - my cervix was barely dilated at 1cm...barely! Instead, they start cytotec - a teeny, tiny little pill that is not-so-nicely placed near the cervix to ripen it. The fun side effect - no going to the bathroom for the first two hours after it is placed. {of course, telling a pregnant woman not to go pee is the WORST thing in the world at this point}. P.S. - we go through this "pill placement" once every 4 hours...for 16 hours! 

After we watched our Tigers lose Game 1 of the ALDS. We go to sleep {me in the less-than-comfy hospital bed and J on the pull-out couch} - hoping to awake to some progress. 

2am - feeling the contractions
3am - waking J up to help me breath through them
4:30am - asking J to find the nurse to order me an epidural, now! 
Meanwhile, hello fentanyl x 2 doses - thank goodness!! 

Well, my nurse was in a delivery at that point, so the other nurses helping me didn't realize that I had to have blood work drawn to check platelet count {one more time} before an epi. So...30 minutes later - blood work. Result: 87...anesthesiologist agrees to perform - yay!! 90 minutes later - epidural. Works like a charm...I'm relieved and able to sleep.

8:30/9am ish - they realize I am fully dilated and they are calling my doc to join the fun!

Pushed for 15 minutes and out came a beautiful baby girl. Super long finger nails, full head of dark hair and onto my chest she arrived. Healthy 7# 3oz, 19.5" lil' peanut. 

Unfortunately, it took 45 minutes to extract the that was real fun! :(
Thankfully, Sophia nursed right away and for nearly 30 minutes!

In the aftermath, it became apparent they needed to check the platelet count again prior to releasing the epidural tubing from my spine. This is when "dracula" came into and did a number on my arm {wish I would've taken a photo - it looked black/blue and disgusting for about 2 weeks!} and sure enough the count dropped to 70-something. So, they gave me a quick steroid shot and on Saturday afternoon my platelet count was 130+ and they were able to remove everything and then I was able to {finally} take a much-needed first shower. This also delayed my check-out and we weren't getting out until Sunday at noon. :( 

So...we watched the Tigers...lose. And on Sunday, we came home and watched the Tigers...lose. Yes, my hospital stay was longer than our beloved Tigers' post-season appearance. 

Miss L joined us Friday and Saturday evenings for family dinner and "get-acquainted" sessions. J said on Sunday evening at home - "I feel like our house is so full. {our family is complete} I feel so joyful!" 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Celebrating the big 3!

Happy birthday to the beautiful doll that has a personality that sparkles as bright as her pretty blue eyes!

Miss L is currently 37" tall, about 32#, wears size 2T/3T clothes, is potty trained (with the exception of night time) and has a vocabulary for days with superb articulation and well-structured sentences. She amazes her teachers on a daily basis and wows us by the hour! Miss L loves books, puzzles, Little Einsteins, Tangled, Doc McStuffins and Frozen...along with crafts, coloring, play-doh and playing with her dolls and stuffed animals (which she was ample supply of, respectively!).

Despite SPF 50+ all summer, she has bronze skin to complement her sun-kissed very blonde hair.

For her birthday, her main request was to go on a gondola ride (in the mountains). This was to replicate her experience last fall on the gondola in Vail. to the mountains we went!

The snow "field"

Lake Dillon - this scenery never gets old! 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Platelet Update

Just a couple of days shy of 31 weeks along! I feel like we're in the homestretch. 

The pumpkin moves quite a bit, in comparison to her older sister's womb-days. The uncomfortable times while sitting on a couch or trying to sleep are becoming a daily occurrence. :( 

Platelet Update: 
2/10/14 - first pregnancy blood work panel : 167 (normal but low-normal)
5/19/14 - 109
6/20/14 - 112 (yay! stabilizing!)
7/23/14 - 103 (eek!)

I do have a hematologist appointment in a week or two - which will be the examining arm for moving forward with steroids or other options, in conjunction with my OB. 

Weight gain thus far: 30 pounds...which would put me on track for 40 pounds. :( I gained about 30-35 last time with heavy dosage of prednisone at the end. So, I'm kind of bummed about the weight gain this time around. I definitely have a much more intense sweet tooth during this pregnancy and working at a "restaurant" (so-to-speak) definitely doesn't help the cause. There are always extra food and desserts lingering in the kitchen...which everyone likes to feed a pregnant lady!

I don't really have any photos to post of the bump. Maybe next time!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Fun in Florida!

Us girls had the pleasure of tagging along to daddy's work trip to Boca Raton, Florida in early June. It would be the last little "hurrah" before the pumpkin arrives in the fall and a fun getaway - which I am always ready for! As anticipated, we had very little time with daddy - an occasional breakfast, random hour before dinner and a couple of late-night hellos. We still managed to have dinner with some Hertz wives on two occasions and a pool day with one of our friends. 

Dancing at the mall - family date night! 

Such a tough life! 

Yes, we like Pina Coladas!! 

Mommy & Me at Kona Grill

Found a carousel at the park!

She loves the sun, like her momma

"Terrible View from the tower of the beautiful Waldorf Astoria resort," said no one ever! 

We didn't want to leave vacation land, but was sooo happy to arrive back in humidity-free CO! Forgot what "sticky summer weather" was like! haha!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A fairy tale wedding

We all have read about Cinderella and her Prince Charming countless times, but how often do we have the honor of witnessing a fairy tale unfold, in-person? Not very...despite our own "happily ever after," it is very special to watch (from the outside) love grow and bloom between two people you love dearly...and that love each other deeply. 

This was part of the myriad of emotions I experienced during a fabulous and fun wedding weekend in honor of my dear friend and brother and his Cinderella. God blessed us with amazing weather (mid 70's and sunny with blue skies) the entire weekend! 

Here is a snapshot of the fun: 
The cabin my aunt discovered was a 5 bed, superbly decorated and carefully hand-crafted stunner of a home located 170' above the shoreline of Lake Michigan with panoramic views of Lake Leleenau on the opposite side.

It truly was a gorgeous setting for our family to host the rehearsal luncheon. Most guests attending the luncheon toured the cabin and exclaimed how they didn't know how the wedding was going to top this party. 
The patio seemed as if it was made for this party with the perfect area for tables around both sides of the home;
and views of both lakes! 

The groomsman had fun hitting golf balls into Lake Michigan

The party started around noon and lasted well past sunset over Lake Michigan
No one wanted the day to end, but was excited about the festivities to follow!
Pre-ceremony - getting ready with the girls in the Bridal Suite

This picture just melts my heart! Miss L is loved by so many!
Being a flower girl: nailed it and made the crowd laugh with her cuteness! 

I'm having trouble selecting just a few photos, as well as inserting them on here. :) I am disappointed to say that we failed to get a single, professional photo of our family of 3...or technically, 4. The day just flies by and Miss L was a busy bee.

This beautiful wedding was one for the record books - a bit shabby-chic, a bit northern Michigan and plenty of details dreamed of by the bride and executed by the team, she calls family and friends. It was perfectly intimate with around 120 guests - all there to experience the magic and blessings of the weekend. 
Miss L danced the night away - just as she had been planning in the weeks (er, months!) prior!
She likely danced every song until the very end!

This amazing weekend would not have been possible without the fab 4!

Cheers to a lifetime of health and happiness! xoxo