Monday, September 22, 2014

So, this is belated...

...but, I'M AN AUNT! It's been better in just about every way than I could have imagined. The second I laid eyes on the first picture my sister sent, I was in LOVE. I was anxious the whole day to go see him, and when I walked into the hospital room, my heart full-on melted. People who've seen the picture of me holding him with Buddy at my side said they've never seen such joy on my face. It's entirely true. I was happy and relieved to be happy and my heart was full and I was proud and I was feeling every other feeling all at once. I remember feeling like my smile must look fake, it was so big, but I was completely not in control of it at that point.

His arrival has been so incredibly healing. I used to battle with resentment about my Sis and BIL living so far from us and thinking we'd never see them, and worried I wouldn't even want to see them. In reality, I decided on the day of his birth that I would spend an afternoon a week with him and give Sis a chance to rest, do chores or errands, go to the gym, whatever. The bonding time with him has been amazing. I get to see all the little changes from week to week. At 5 weeks, my sister shocked me left me alone with him - I was amazed she trusted me with her baby, and it meant more than I can express. At 6 weeks, I got to give him his first bottle. At 8 weeks, he started spending more time away and playing. Now, he's awake almost the entire time I'm there and we have chats and play and read books and take a billion pictures and videos. It's my favorite part of the week. As a bonus, my sister and I are closer than we've ever been. Nephew has healed me in ways he'll never comprehend.

That's not to say there haven't been difficulties. I was hesitant to see my parents as grandparents at first, and that's still hard sometimes. My family planned a trip to Hawaii without mentioning it to me and Buddy and that turned into a Big Thing just a week after another Big Thing about feeling left out and out of place in the family. That was really hard. This past weekend, my parents hosted what I guess would kind of be like a sip-and-see to meet my nephew, and it was bittersweet. Seeing my grandmother hold him almost broke my heart.

But, yeah. I'm an aunt. And I have every intention of being the best aunt that sweet boy could ever ask for.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


I'm the first to admit I've been distant. From here, from groups, from family. Twitter's probably the only place I haven't pulled back from. Well, and a few individual friends. And work. Work gives me no choice but to be INCREDIBLY present. Anyway. I've been absent.

Someone - an IRL friend - asked me the other day how my sister was doing. My response was that I assumed she was well, but didn't really know. We haven't spoken aside from superficial "how's your week going texts." We've never been very close, so this is pretty normal for us. But my friend meant how my sister was doing in regard to pregnancy. And I know nothing. I don't know how her glucose test went, or when she started feeling kicks, or if she's already showing signs of giving birth soon now that she's almost 37 weeks. I know her due date and where she's delivering. Period. If they have a name chosen, I don't know what it is.  I assume that if she was on bed rest or had GD or if something was wrong, they'd tell me. I assume no news is good news.

My friend's response was "that's so weeeeeird!" And she's right. It is. Most sisters of expectant women would know these things. I explained that I learned from my high school friend's pregnancy that sometimes you get more info than you ask for, and that sometimes that hurts. So I don't ask. On my sister/mom's side, they've simply not given any info without me asking. So if I don't ask, and they don't share, I know nothing. Again, my friend said "but that's so weeeeeeird." Yep. It's weird. It's weird and unfair and disappointing for all of us, I'm sure. I mean, I assume. I know it's that way for me.

The problem is, my distance - though seemingly what I wanted and have made for myself - brings new fears. I'm scared that my keeping people away, avoiding making plans, etc. is going to have long term effects on my relationship with my family. Yet, I don't want to actually DO anything about it. I don't want to go have lunch and see my sister's belly and talk or not talk about the baby - it's uncomfortable. I don't want to be anywhere that feels like the elephant in the room is my nephew. So I avoid. I take advantage of excuses. I don't make the effort to make plans. I don't know when I became this person who refuses to put herself in uncomfortable situations for the sake of others, but I have.

I've been operating under the assumption that this pregnancy would be like my friend's and that at some point, excitement would take over and it'd no longer be a "fake it 'til you make it" situation. I would eventually "make it." But that time hasn't come. And the longer I go without reaching it, the more I worry that not only will I never get there, but that I'll do more and more damage to my family. I kept saying, "the pregnancy is the hard part. When he's here, I'll be fine." But what if I'm wrong? I have a harder and harder time imagining one big happy family. What if I can't ever imagine a time when I look forward to seeing my sister and her family? What if my mom and I have this void made up of what we don't talk about forever?

I was supposed to have lunch with my mom today. When I called to confirm, she said she couldn't. When I asked what she was up to today, she didn't have anything she was planning to do. She just apparently couldn't do lunch with me. I can't help but feel like I'm getting what I deserve - or at least what I've set up to happen through my distance. I've done it to myself, and if I want it to change, I have to make the effort.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Grief cycling

I feel like I'm going through another grief cycle lately. Namely, the anger part of it. I think. Or sadness. Is resentment one? As excited as I am for the Walk of Hope (tomorrow!) I'm cycling through something and it's frustrating. Maybe bullet points are better, because none of it really feels cohesive.

  • I feel pressure to do more stuff with the family than I'm used to and it has me out of my comfort level. My mom's birthday falls on Monday and Sis wants to go to a spring training game because that's what Mom wants to do. But she wants to go tomorrow after the Walk... after I'll have to BE SOMEWHERE at 6AM and will have just spent 6 hours in the sun. Plus, I really just don't like baseball. So for me, this is literally the last thing I want to do. So I feel guilt that I don't want to do this for my mom. Just... ugh. 
  • Seeing my sister frequently is HARD. It just is. She's most definitely showing and growing now. Not only that, they're actively shopping for their family vehicles and other family junk and aren't being as quiet about the shopping as I would be comfortable with (no, I don't feel like giving my opinion on a third row-seated vehicle when I know you're only shopping for said vehicle for your bump. Even if you don't explicitly say it. Just... no). And she wants to do stuff and hang out with me, which sisters should want to do, and I feel like an ass for not reciprocating and generally wanting to avoid situations with her. It makes me feel unsettled and agitated.
  • I felt sad a couple days earlier this week. Just downright sad, with nothing to point at for the cause. It wasn't a cryfest or anything. I just felt down.  
  • This is kinda related I guess in that it might be exaggerated by hyper-feelings lately. Yesterday, I met up with my Walk co-chair to take some stuff off her hands. She asked if my husband was coming and I said "no, it's not his thing." (Side note: I am truly fine with this. He didn't choose to be an advocate and volunteer, I did. He's welcome to join me anytime, but I'm honestly happy as long as he supports me in doing what I feel I need to for an outlet). And her response was (roughly): "He should come. My husband doesn't get a choice. This is about both of us." Yeah, I agree. The infertility part IS about both of us. But the Walk, Advocacy Day, my support group hosting - that's mine. Not that I wouldn't gladly include him, but he's not interested and I don't at all feel that he needs to be involved just because I am. It just rubbed me the wrong way, like it was implied he's not supportive because he's not physically there. 
It's been the end of a very long week, and tomorrow is a long day. I'm transitioning to a new job soon, and I just have a lot going on. I hope it's all just stress and next week will be better. Or the next week. Soon, anyway. Send me your good vibes :)

Oh, I thought of another of my outlandish feelings lately. I feel highly disinclined to shop for anyone for birthday/Christmas presents (feelings parked by my mom's upcoming birthday, I assume) because my sister is giving them everything any of them could want - grandkid for my parents, kid for Sis and BIL. It is very reminiscent of the first couple of Christmases TTC and then IF when I didn't want anything but a baby. There was nothing on my wish list - if it wasn't a baby, I didn't want it. In the same way, I feel like the family is getting a baby, there's no way I could possibly give any of them anything better or even noteworthy, so I'm not even motivated to try or care. This feeling is something I've been familiar with for myself, but feeling it about others has blind-sided me quite a bit.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Why I Walk - 2014

On March 22nd, 2014, I am participating in RESOLVE’s Arizona Walk of Hope. Not just participating, either, I'm the co-chair of the event, which is incredibly exciting and also a little intimidating. But it's my passion, and I'm so excited!

I walk because...

  • I remember what it was like to feel alone
  • People should be more aware of our feelings as infertile couples and the issues that affect us uniquely
  • 12% of Americans struggle directly, yet no one talks about it
  • Legislation could be presented at any time that would hinder couples' rights or ability to choose how they see fit to grow their family
  • Everyone knows someone who's struggling, many times in silence\
  • Infertility is not shameful
  • Myths and misconceptions about fertility treatments persist
  • There is strength and empowerment in numbers
  • I am a RESOLVE peer-led support group host and I am proud to represent them and the other men and women of our community who seek support
  • Currently, support groups like mine are only held in the Phoenix Area and Tucson, and I hope we can bring support to rural and Northern Arizona
  • I believe in RESOLVE's mission to bring about awareness and support of couples who are pursuing their dreams of building a family or who have resolved their infertility by other means. RESOLVE provides support to all couples no matter what resolution they choose
  • No one struggling with infertility should walk alone

I am proud to be a part of the Walk of Hope, and I would be proud to have your support. If you find yourself able, contributions can be made here.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Better? Bitter? Who knows?

This week seems better. Kind of. On Tuesday last week, my sister sent me a very thoughtful email asking if 1. I would like to be invited to the baby's bits reveal party (I'm avoiding - hopefully - making this googleable by not using the word "gen.der," which it isn't anyway - it's biological sex that's being revealed) party and if so, 2. would I like to make the cake? It floored me. I don't know why. I knew this milestone was coming - I talked about it in my last post. But something about... I-don't-even-know-what really upset me. A lot. I answered back that I'd like to be invited - I certainly don't want to be excluded (FYI, I think it's best to invite an infertile friend and let them decided their presence, rather than asking if they want to be invited. Usually people don't want to not be invited) from it - and that I would think about the cake and talk to my therapist about it (I happened to have an appointment on Thursday). I passed the email or the details on to a couple people (and to Twitter) to get their thoughts. I just felt I wanted to make a fair decision, and I thought friends' input might be helpful.

Later that evening, I was included on a group email inviting me and Buddy, my parents, my sister's in-laws, and my BIL's sister (via skype) to an early dinner and then the reveal back at Sis and BIL's temporary housing apartment. Now when Sis had told me it was a bits reveal "party," I assumed it was going to be at either my parents' or BIL's parents' house in our hometown with extended family and their friends. But dinner with just the 8 of us and then the reveal felt very intimate and different. At a large party, I could escape pretty well unnoticed if I felt overwhelmed. In a one-bedroom apartment? Not so much. And I started to think about seeing my parents finding out if they would have a granddaughter or grandson and my heart started racing all over again.

I started to try to break it down logically, and bounced all my thoughts off friends and my therapist. Ultimately, I looked at it as three events that were not mutually exclusive: the cake making, the dinner, and the reveal. When I considered the cake making, people made the really good point that I would know first and would have time to process it. I wouldn't be finding out with everyone else and that would take pressure off for an appropriate reaction. I also have been hoping to have a moment where I'm okay with all this - like I did with my best friend's pregnancy - and turn the corner and feel joy. Maybe doing the cake would be that for me. Maybe it wouldn't, but it couldn't hurt to try. On the downside, I haven't made a baby related cake since we were diagnosed, so I was worried about emotions. However, in the end, I decided knowing first and the chance at a unique connection with my niece or nephew (I think niece, by the way) won out.

Now the dinner. What are people going to talk about at a dinner before they find out what their grandchild is? The baby. Duh. So that wasn't super appealing. But I talked to Sis, and we're actually doing a late lunch at a cool spot that is basically a sprawling lawn that people picnic on with food bought from their small carry-out-only restaurant. Not the claustrophobic Chili's booth I somehow had in mind. So there'd be some space, and that seemed a little doable. We'll mark dinner as a possibility.

The reveal? Nope. I really just don't think I can see my parents finding out. And understandably and justifiably, the parents- and grandparents-to-be would be wanting to talk about the little arrival and about names and nursery ideas and all that stuff. Not easy or non-awkward to escape from in a small apartment. No to mention, I feel very strongly that my sister has been robbed of some of her experience as an expectant parent because of me. I wouldn't want anyone to feel that because of my presence, they had to hold back any of their emotions or excitement or even consider me in any way. My sister assured me that they would have fun and enjoy it no matter what, but I have a hard time believing that if I started crying or it became awkward if I was visibly upset and my parents felt torn between celebrating with her and consoling me (which I would want them to do for her if the roles were swapped), shit would just go on as if nothing happened. I don't know what to make of her thinking all would be A-okay on that one (it feels lacking of compassion), but whatever. I decided I'd rather just skip that. Part of me thinks it would be cool to take the new camera and get photos, but I don't know if I'm being realistic in thinking that would be fun. My sister and BIL will know what the bits are already anyway, and half the "fun" of those pics is seeing the parents'-to be faces, so that's a moot point.

So I got that all figured out, but there were some upsetting things during the week that still have me feeling... not better. In trying to open up to my mom some about how I've been feeling, I ended up in tears and she suggested we reconsider our stance on adoption. NOT helpful. The whole conversation in general was a disaster and we haven't spoken in almost a week, which is unusual. At the same time, we haven't really talked a lot since Sis even told me she was pregnant because I didn't feel confident that she'd be very sensitive and understanding about my little crisis. And I was right, so I have little incentive to open myself up again. And even though I came to a bit reveal non-party solution I'm relatively happy with, I still have general unease and sadness about not being able to just be like "sure, sis, I'd love to come to your bits reveal party and be super excited and cry tears of joy and talk about how to decorate the nursery." It just sucks.

And that nursery? Is going to be in a house 67 minutes from us - their offer has been accepted on a home some 50 miles from us. On the one hand, we keep some of our freedom. It's far enough that no one is going to just pop in because they were in the neighborhood. On the other hand, going to see them is going to be a minimum 2 hour commitment. It's long enough to feel like a day trip. That's a lot for us, considering we'll be doing the driving since our home won't be baby-proofed, they'll have more space, and I wouldn't expect them to drive an hour each way with a kid, especially in the beginning with a small baby. I wouldn't expect them to choose our side of town since it's not convenient to them either, but it sucks. I want to have a close relationship with my niece or nephew, and this makes it not as easy. And I keep thinking about holidays. I currently host Thanksgiving and usually Christmas with both my parents and Buddy's. So what now? With Sis and BIL here, they're also close to his parents, who I imagine - wait, know, based on the infamous Thanksgiving grocery list and Christmases that are planned down to the half hour - that they will want significant control over planning holidays. Do we now begin the dreaded splitting of time that we've been lucky to avoid? We've been fortunate that we've been able to just plan with our two sets of parents and it works out. And maybe that's the right approach to continue - we'll plan what we want and if you can join in, great. But with a kid in the mix - and only grandchild on both sides, no less - I just have a feeling everything will revolve around him/her, and we'll want to be there, but want to not be steam rolled. It makes me feel... insignificant. Like, "hey, don't forget about us. We're a family, too." It just gets me down.

Alright, I'm blabbing. Point is: I strategized, figured out a good solution for one thing, and it brought up thoughts and feelings and hard emotions about a whole other thing. I guess this is just the way it's going to be.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

My Sister's Pregnancy

This is going to be an incredibly and brutally honest post because I don't know how else to say it. There are feelings that will be shared that I feel shame for, and that I feel should be hidden, but they're raw and honest and so very real. If you're the friend or family member of someone who struggles with infertility, I feel they're something you should read, because whether you like it or not, no matter how happy your infertile friend is to your face, they're struggling with something. Maybe not all of what I'm struggling with, but some of it. A lot of it is contradictory, and I'll get into that. And if my family finds this, I'm sorry. You all know I advocate, and that means sharing tough stuff to make others aware so we can all be more loving. This isn't meant to hurt you, ever, and I love you. My goal is and always will be to help others feel less alone. Your compassion and love are appreciated.

A little background on my relationship with my sister: we're 3.5 years apart, and the only siblings in our family. We fought a lot growing up. A lot. Sometimes violently - hitting kicking, punching. I was NOT a nice big sister. And yet, M, my now 29-year-old sister, is an incredible person. We didn't have the typical birth order roles you think of, where the oldest (me) has all the restrictions and curfews and is the overachieving Type A. I had it pretty easy, and M was the "normal" first born type. She's always been the best at everything. She was the better athlete, the better student. She never gave our parents a scare by dropping out of college (don't worry, I went back and then earned a master's degree). She knew her major from day 1 and followed in our mother's footsteps. She married the man with more earning potential, is smarter with money, has the bigger house. There's plenty to envy, so yes, there's some jealousy. And now, she's having the first grandkid, which will only be followed by other grandchildren that are hers. She's got it all.

She also struggles. When we were little, she was heavier. I had our mom's skinny-legged, lanky build, and she was more like Dad's side of the family. I wasn't nice about that with her, either, and it's my biggest life's regret. Her first or second year in college, she went away to be a camp counselor and was so homesick, she couldn't eat or sleep or function. She came home - I don't even know how many pounds, but a lot - much skinnier after about 3 or 4 weeks, and she's stayed that way, or even slimmer, for over 8 years. Because of my teasing, weight and health is not an easy topic for us. I'm now the fat one, and she's the skinny one, though there's worry and evidence that her weight is not always achieved by healthy means. Like I said, my biggest regret, truly. It's been hard and heartbreaking, and I have tremendous guilt for how our relationship has played out.

Like I said, she's now pregnant. She told me on November 18th, via email, as I'd asked, as I knew it would be easiest for me. If she'd called an told me, she would have heard an awful sob followed by my phone hitting the entertainment center. Email allowed me to have my (one and a half hour) moment before I responded that I was happy for her. It was a good five minutes of crying before I could even tell my husband. It was not my proudest moment. And it's also where the conflicting emotions began. She found out she was pregnant on the 14th, at her first appointment with an RE to discuss PCOS. It was the weekend Buddy and I were having our Friendsgiving. Somehow, it was decided that the info should be withheld from me until after the party so as not to ruin my weekend. Thoughtful. And yet, it made me feel like I was a landmine. On the one hand, I want to be treated like a normal person, since I am. And on the other, I do require "kid gloves" at times. And in this case, my family erred on the side of kid gloves. I get it. I appreciate it, but it makes me feel like things are hidden from me. It makes the elephant in the room feel bigger and grayer and elephantier. It's "damned if you do, damned if you dont," because if they told me before my party, I would have been upset. It makes me feel like there's no easy way to deal with me, and that sucks.

Since being told of my sister's pregnancy, there has been almost no mention of it, aside from a couple of questions I feel I have to ask so as not to be completely disengaged, disinterested, and heartless. She struggled with morning sickness, and I inquired as to how she was doing, after being shamed by my mom ("she's been sick. You should care."). She asked me who to go to for an OB/GYN (which had me VERY upset). Other than that, nothing. I figured out today that she's about 17 weeks along, which means she'll be finding out the sex by the end of February. And again, I'm conflicted - Buddy and I wanted a girl. What if it's a girl? Will that make me happy or jealous? What if the name they pick sucks? Or, alternatively, what if it was on our list, and I feel angry that she got to use it and we didn't? Will I feel more connected if I know the sex as opposed to it being an unidentified fetus?

I have so many emotions, honestly. I'm happy for her - she wanted and is having a baby. I'm sad - I'm not having one. I'm jealous - she gets to give my grandparents a grandchild and I don't. Add onto all of  this, she's just moved back from Washington State - we've never lived in the same city as adults. As I told my therapist, I'm just not ready. Her moving here would be a shift in our relationship; her having a baby would be a shift in our relationship. I felt I could handle one, but both seems like so much. When I tell people that she's moving here and that she's expecting, the common response is "you must be so excited." But I'm not. I'm terrified, angry. I'm mourning our space, quite honestly.

Buddy and I have had this city mostly to ourselves for 6 years. We live 10 minutes from his parents and see them probably 2-3 times a month. We see mine (2 hours away) every 4-6 weeks. We enjoy a lot of freedom. My sister being here will change that, understandably. She is closer with my parents than I am (I think - I assume) and I imagine she'll want to see them every 2-3 weeks. And if she sees them, I feel the assumption id that I should make the effort, too. It's not that I don't want to see them, but it puts extra pressure on us. She and my BIL are looking at homes anywhere from 40-60 minutes, one way, from us. That's big if we're going to be expected to join in every time my sister has my parents up. And we'd be driving an hour each way to do what? Hang out? With my pregnant sister?

There it is. The first thing I think with all of this is "my pregnant sister." And the thought of just hanging out with her and her growing belly is what gets me anxious. If she'd stayed in Seattle, I wouldn't have to see all this. It would be an abstract idea, and I would see her at her baby shower (I can handle that, I did it with my best friend and survived) and then she'd have a baby and at some point, she'd fly here with it and I'd meet it. But she's here now, for the foreseeable future. And it's all not very far away in comparison, and there's no nice way to say to your sister, "nope, thanks for the brunch invite, but I have no desire to see Mom and Dad fawn all over your fetus and hear you talk about registry shopping and about how the half a million dollar home you saw yesterday isn't just perfect for your child-rearing vision." Nope. It makes my pulse quicken just thinking about it.

I'm worried about how everyone will perceive me - from the people I tell that I'm going to be an aunt, to my parents, to my husband, to my sister. I'm worried people will think I'm heartless and selfish. I'm worried my parents - namely my mom - will think I'm not being sisterly and will shame my for my feelings. I'm worried my husband will tire of my reaction to pregnancies and stop being my rock. I'm worried that my chance to build a good adult relationship with my sister will be ruined by my feelings in the next 5 months. Or that it's already been ruined, considering we've had exactly .38 conversations about her pregnancy since November.

There is just so much. All of it feels shitty. It's all constantly in my head. I'm regularly trying to figure out how I'm going to deal with it, how I'll avoid it, how I'll face it. My therapist has been wonderful. After graduating after 6 months of twice-monthly therapy, I saw her only once when my best friend from high school told me she was pregnant, just about a year ago. And now I'm back to biweekly appointments to keep my thoughts and feelings from boiling over. This is a crisis for me, and it's awful and I hate it. I don't hate that M is pregnant. I hate that it's a crisis. We're all being robbed - M of getting to enjoy every bit of pregnancy with her whole family, my mom and dad of getting to share their impending grandparethood with the world, and me of being an excited expectant aunt. No one wins.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014 Goals

I kind of hate resolutions. I always feel like they have the opportunity to haunt me if they're left unfulfilled on December 31st. But at the same time, life is about having room for improvement, and goals are good for focus. We all need them, and we all make them, even if we don't think of them as goals. I have a lot of them, and some probably will fall by the wayside, and I'm going to be okay with that. In my mind, they're on a spectrum - goals that need to be achieved all the way down to stuff that would be nice to do, but I'm not going to beat myself up over a "failure." It wouldn't even be a failure - more like icing on the cake.

So, kind of in order of importance, my 2014 goals:


Increasing intimacy, making memories, starting traditions, taking more pictures, traveling more, showing my genuine appreciation. This is our 6th year together, and he is my everything and we're happy and comfortable and I'm loving life as husband and wife. But this is the prime of our lives, and I think it's time for us to really start enjoying some of those perks of being a family of two. I want us to be more carefree and spontaneous, to really seize moments and do new things together.

I'm starting the year lighter than in 2013, which is good, but I'm no where near where I'd like to be. Losing 10 pounds in 2013, as little at that is, showed me I can do it, and it wasn't that hard. I eat pretty healthy most of the time. It's eating out where I get in trouble, and I tend to lose track of just how many treats I allow. We get lazy and toss the meal plan in favor of take-out. So I want to be more conscious of all of that, as well as remember that if I screw up in the morning and have a coworker's homemade cookie, it doesn't have to mean I'm done for the rest of the day. My daily food plan includes breakfast smoothies, healthy snacks, salads for lunch, and delicious but sensible dinners. I'm also not going to focus so much on the number on the scale as how I feel. I have a pant size goal in mind, and I think that's more important.

Bad Habits
In college, I was a closet smoker. Mostly, I picked it up working at restaurants - if you smoked, you got breaks. Horrible excuse, but I can't think of why else I decided it was a good idea to start. I kept it up when I graduated, all the way up until I met Buddy. I hid it from him and decided I didn't want him to be with a smoker, so I quit cold turkey one day. I didn't tell him until months later that I even did it. That was over 5 years ago, and it stuck until around October-ish last year, when for some reason, I started again and it became a regular habit by about March 2013. Stupid. And it needs to stop. Again. So as of yesterday, I don't smoke anymore. I know, I make it sound easy. I'm sure I'll be a grouch and I'll struggle, but this is top priority, and I will quit again. Will.

I'm also not really happy with my wine habit. For some reason, with wine - not beer, and I don't really drink liquor - when I have a glass, it turns into more. I don't like it. So wine is going to be out for a long while. Yeah, I'm gonna miss it - I enjoy wine, but I'm fearful of developing a real problem that I don't feel power over, so I'm putting my good senses to work and avoiding a bigger issue.

Mental Health
I've talked before about how my best friend's pregnancy was a complete shitshow of emotions for me. And now, my sister's pregnant, and will be moving to my metro area (we haven't lived within a 2 hour drive our entire adult lives). It's going to be difficult at times as I watch her give my parents their first grandchild and enjoy all those moments  I wanted. It's unique because it's my sister and not a friend. We've struggled with our relationship in the past, and I struggle with my relationship with my mom at times in relation to infertility,  so this is just something I need some extra care for right now. So, I'm back in therapy and will be working on tools and strategies with my counselor.


Yay, I have a new budget! I spreadsheeted it and everything, and set goals and budgets for individual categories that I'm going to be diligent about monitoring in 2014. We have both worked really hard in the last couple of years to build our savings and get rid of debt that he had before we married and that we accumulated together. We consolidated debts and should have that paid off by the end of the year. But my goal this year is to really build on that savings, as well as be better about my budget and setting some allowances for myself. I hate when I buy frivolous things I can't even remember and then don't have the money for the fun stuff I'd rather have. I have goals for trips this year and things I want to do in our home, and it's important to me that those are saved for specifically. I'm also eliminating about $100-125 a month (I KNOW!) in work cafeteria spending.

I think our marriage would benefit from Buddy being more involved in our finances. Currently, I handle all the bill paying and we keep separate accounts. I don't have a problem with this, but Buddy is total oblivious aside from being told by me when he owes for something, and quite honestly, I don't really think that's fair anymore. We should both be invested, and we should both know how much money we have where, rather than me being the owner of that info and feeling the sole pressure of maintaining it.

Other Stuff

Attend Advocacy Day in May and fund raise $500 for the Walk of Hope. Resolve involvement in general is going to be a big focus this year. I have a lot on my plate. It's going to put my organization and time-management skills to the test. I need to not be afraid to ask for help or guidance - this is all new for me, and my goal is to both give and take when it comes to resources so that this experience can have the best possible outcome for my community.

Figure out my next career move. Whether I stay with my company or not, I'm doing some reflecting and thinking about what I'd like to do next. I'd like to find a mentor in this, and I need to make more networking efforts. Ideally, I'll end the year making more money, but if I stay with my company, that may not happen, as any move would be lateral. Still, I think it's reasonable to ask for an increase in compensation, even if I don't get it.

Use my planner weekly to keep track of my to-do list and projects.

Be a better friend - send cards, or texts. Let them know I'm thinking of them. Wonderful people have held me up the last two years, and it's time to pay it forward.

I want to train the dogs better. We've gotten somewhat lazy, but we need to work on jumping up on tables (Sparrow, looking at you), and barking in the yard in particular.

Buddy got me a Canon Rebel for Christmas, and I'm determined to take a class to learn how to use it.

Bake more - I love decorating cookies. I want to get better at it, so that I can potentially make some more side money selling them. But I need to hone my skills and learn new techniques to feel more comfortable doing so. Even though it's time consuming, and even though it's messy.

Grow my support group and possibly start a new one for other childfree-after-IF couples/women. Support groups aren't something anyone wants to have to join. But I want to reach out to the community more, as well as try some new things like book reviews and guest speakers.

Blog more.

Be a fun auntie.

Have fun with makeup and learn some skills.

Organize and purge my closet at least twice. Replace purged items with quality wardrobe pieces. I really want to dress better at work, so it's time to get rid of the crap and "dress for the job I want."

What are your goals for 2014?