Sunday, April 28, 2013

Beach Colors

Beach Colors: A NovelBeach Colors: A Novel by Shelley Noble

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Beach Colors was a book I downloaded for my Nook for some simple reading but was an easy, enjoyable read. The story begins with the main character Margaux Sullivan, a successful New York City fashion designer, heading home to the beach in Connecticut after finding out her husband stole everything she had. With no home, no job, no money and barely enough gas in her car to get her back to her mom and childhood friends in Crescent Cove, she sets off to figure out the next step in her life.

On her way into town she is pulled over by the new chief of police, Nick Prescott, setting off a chain of events that are highly unexpected. Nick is coming to terms with his new life back home in Crescent Cove. He gave up his life as a college professor in Colorado to raise his nephew, Conner, after his brother is killed in Iraq and Conner’s mother runs off and abandoned him. Back in Crescent Cove, both Margaux and Nick navigate the challenge of starting over and finding their way along the new path life sent them down. Unexpectedly, Margaux is the only one who can help break Conner out of his shell and this attachment shows Margaux that maybe what she once had and what she thought she wanted again might not be what she really needs. As she puts back the pieces of her professional career, is she ready to give into love again?




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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW)


When I think back about the beginning of our quest to have a child, I cringe. I cringe for so many reasons. The optimistic naivety. I mean, how hard could it be? You just have sex right? I was that girl who was frustrated at 6 months of trying when nothing had happened. We were newlyweds in a new state, hundreds of miles from every single one of our friends and family. And yet we jumped in head first, without ever thinking things would be this difficult, without ever knowing I would never be the same, that we would ever be the same.

Somewhere along the road, I lost my faith. I lost myself. I broke down. I went through clinical depression. I pushed everything away. I cried myself to sleep. I was certain we were going to file for divorce from the stress and fights. Our sex live was in ruins. Our marriage was barely hanging on. Meanwhile, everyone around us was getting pregnant. And yet we were still left barely treading water.

So how can I accurately say where I am at today? I don’t know. I’m coping. I’m surviving. I’m happy most days…until I think about our childlessness. We don’t always have a choice on when we can be cycling due to us being 100% out of pocket for our treatments. Sometimes, like last April, we say, ok, that’s enough medicated cycles for the rest of the year. Let’s just live.

So we did. Infertility is such an isolating disease and then when someone knocks you for wanting to spend frivolously on yourselves, the criticism adds salt to the wound. Because at times, the justification is, "I’ll always have that ring or the memories from that trip rather than that money might just be more money we throw down the toilet with another IUI." And then to add more insult to the first layer of criticism, then it becomes, “Well, maybe you don’t want it enough.”

How do I even begin to form an answer to that? Last year we went on a vacation. But what some don’t understand is while it cost money that could have gone to cycling, the vacation was to go visit my grandparents for a week. I am lucky if I get to see them once a year. My time with them is priceless. K lost his only remaining grandparents in the last 24 months. I may never be a mother. But I have always been a granddaughter. And until that unfortunate day comes, I will spend any dollar I have to go see them. You can count on that.

You see, I need these breaks. Some are better at handling the stress. Some need to cycle continuously. I, on the other hand, have to have a separated balance. Everything else in life gets put on hold when we are in the trenches. And during my breaks, I am very guilty of tuning out infertility. I don’t want to dwell. I can’t dwell. For me, it leads to depression. And I am not going back there. We need to remember that we are still living, breathing, sometimes functioning people. Normal people take vacations. Normal people enjoy perks of working hard at their jobs and rewarding themselves for it.

There is no right or wrong way to deal with infertility. When you’re lucky, you find a community of people who know how you feel, who are there for you during the peaks and valleys, who 100% “get it.” In the last 5 years, 9 months, 18 days I have come across some of the most amazing group of women I think I ever will “meet.” Some of my best friends are those that I have never even been in the same room with. We send birthday cards and Christmas presents to those we've never hugged in real life. The support, the lifelines, the advice, the words of encouragement, the cheerleading, the caring, it all has been brought to me by infertility. With as much sadness as this battle has brought into my life, the goodness is remarkable. Those women are some of the bravest women I’ll ever have the pleasure of knowing. They make me a better friend and a more compassionate human being. For that, I am thankful for infertility.

So in the end, what is National Infertility Awareness Week? It’s everything I wrote above. It’s so much more. It’s every infertile’s story, all the pain, the heartache, the sadness, the wonders, the miracles, all wrapped up into one week for us to spread awareness and to let others take a peek at what it is to walk in our footsteps. This is only part of my infertility story. My story is unique. My story is not just mine. We’re out there.

We’re 1 in 8.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Nemo's Coral Reef Blanket

images property of Rachael M.

Hiya!

I have a crochet project to share with you today! I actually got the urge to pick up my hook and start (um...and can we say COMPLETE) a project!

I have a ton of crochet projects and inspiration pins over on my favorite website, Pinterest. Self-serving plug here: Crochet My World. I used this Chunky Crochet Baby Blanket Tutorial for inspiration. While she used three different yarns, I opted for two. I changed the colors every so often to create various widths of color.

This blanket was originally intended to be a baby blanket to be sent to my close friend to celebrate the birth of her second baby. Once I got going I realized that I didn't just want it to be for a baby. This is her last newborn and I wanted him to be able to grow with it. Or to have his big brother snuggle underneath it with him. Or have her mom steal it and use it for herself when she visits, lol (true story based on tales of the tie dyed crochet blanket I sent to her after her oldest was born.)

Since she and I became forever friends when we lived and worked together at Walt Disney World's Contemporary Resort (um, 10 years ago this summer!! eek!!) we have a mutual love for all things Disney. She still resides in the area and the baby's nursery is a Finding Nemo theme. This is what I drummed up based on that. Oh and if you know her, shhhh. I doubt she still has this link...this is going in the mail on Monday - she hasn't seen the final results.

I call it Nemo's Coral Reef. I wanted it to be bright and colorful. I love the way it came together.




Blanket Details

Size: Approximately 37 x 41 inches

Hook:
Susan Bates size N/15-10.00MM (metal)

Stitch: Single crochet

Yarn:
(1) Red Heart Super Saver skein in Pumpkin (7 oz.)
(2) Red Heart Super Saver skein in Turqua (7 oz.)
(1) I Love This Yarn! skein in Orange (7 oz.)
(1) I Love This Yarn! skein in Limelight (7 oz.) 


Segment lenghs:
Pumpkin & Limelight - 11 inches
Turqua & Orange - 12 inches
Turqua & Pumpkin - 8 inches
Orange & Limelight - 6 inches

Notes:
I had originally planned on putting a simple border on the blanket in the Turqua but I didn't. That left me with a lot left over. If you made the segments with the Turqua slightly smaller, I think you could get away with only buying one skein. Just a little note to remember with the colors I used, the Orange is really red when viewing the pictures. Pumpkin is the bright orange. Limelight was found in the clearance bin at Hobby Lobby but I saw a very similar replacement color on the shelves.