My Grown-Up Christmas List

It used to be that I REFUSED to put up my tree or ANY kind of Christmas decoration until the day after Thanksgiving.  Actually, it was ON Thanksgiving.

After I’d eaten (and then napped), on went the Christmas music, out came the decorations, and down went the Frothy Eggnog.  (Yes, I said Frothy.  It’s eggnog, rum and ice all mixed in a blender.)

I’d start with the Christmas village, and then moved forward with the rest of the decorations.  I’ve ALWAYS had an obsession with Christmas villages.  I LOVE them!

I love to sit and look down at them and imagine all the goings-on that are happening in the tiny little town.

Children giggling in bed until all hours.  Peeking down the stairs when they hear the floors creak.  Waking up before the sun to beg mom and dad to let them check out their stockings and open presents.

About 10 years ago or so, I found little ceramic houses.  I bought one thinking it would be good to help pass the time and little did I know that 10 years later I would still be collecting them and painting them one-by-one.

One painstaking, detail-oriented, OCD-in-full-effect house at a time.  Here’s a sneak-peek at a few of them!

They all start out like this!

They all start out like this!

IMG_4052 IMG_4051 IMG_4050

And then I add the details!

And then I add the details!

And then I add glitter for snooooow!

And then I add glitter for snooooow!

I think of those little houses like us.  Blank as can be, and then God fills in all the tiny little details – right down to the number of hairs on our head.

I found that when I got out on my own, my traditions changed.

My husband and I started our own traditions 7 years ago – it all started with a tree.  And it hasn’t changed since.  (It almost ended with a tree too, but that’s a WHOLE other story!)

The holidays have been kind of rough the last couple years.  I’ve always looked forward to the holidays with children.  While it’s not at all impossible for adults to enjoy Christmas without kids (side note: people who think it is are on my list of people I don’t want to hear comments from.  ever.)  I had just always dreamed about wrapping presents and filling stockings for our kids.  I had even hoped I would be able to do a creative, fun pregnancy announcement for the holidays!  But the last couple years, I haven’t much wanted to participate.

This year…  this year is different.  There’s a new sense of cautious optimism.  A tentative joy.  A watchful hope.

J and I have been ensconced in the process of adoption…  mountains of paperwork and doctor’s appointments and reference letters and background checks.  It’s seriously a LOT of work!

Part of all the paperwork are a LARGE list of questions that J and I have to answer separately.  Questions about the other.  Questions about ourselves.

Me being COMPLETELY OCD couldn’t just leave the answers in our own handwriting – noooooooo.  I had to type them up and then highlight my name in pink and his in blue for our respective answers.  (DON’T JUDGE.)

I answered my questions on my own and had J do the same.  As I was reading through his answers and typing them out – through tears – I realized something.

INFERTILITY SUCKS.  But if it weren’t for this trial, and for the amazing blessing we are preparing to receive, we would probably have never asked each other a lot of the questions.

  • Describe your personality
  • Describe your spouse’s personality
  • What’s your biggest strength/weakness?
  • What’s your spouse’s biggest strength/weakness?
  • What makes your marriage strong?
  • Describe your happiest/worst childhood memory

How many of you can tell me what your spouse’s favorite childhood memory is?

It sure does wake something up inside of you when you hear your biggest strength and weakness in someone else’s voice.  And it certainly does something to your self-esteem when you see yourself through someone else’s eyes.

I try SO HARD to be grateful for every situation we face.  Some days I fail.  Other days I fail MISERABLY.  Other days, I can almost feel the silver lining.  But I am SO GRATEFUL that I was able to learn those things!!

This year, as I was decorating our tree, the song “My Grown-Up Christmas List” sang by Michael Bublé came on.  And as he sang about wishing for no more lives torn apart, no war, time healing all hearts, everyone having a friend and love never ending, I wanted to write my own lyrics to the song, but my rhyming skills are SERIOUSLY lacking.

As I’ve grown older, my list has gotten smaller.  I’d like to say that the things I want can’t be bought, but as we all in the infertility world know, unfortunately they really CAN put a price on a child.

But they can’t put a price on happiness.

And after I finish my Grown-Up Christmas List, I won’t be sitting on any laps to tell what it is…  No, I’ll be reading it on my knees. 


Holi-daze – Resolve to Know More

Holidays are fun and joyous and exciting!

Loved ones gathered around – sharing stories and giving gifts and spending time together.

When one of those loved ones passes away, those holidays are now a sad reminder of all the good times.

Death is painful.  And while that loss is very hard, there’s a difference between the loss of a loved one and the loss of a dream.  When a loved one dies, there’s rituals – closure.  You go through the grieving process and, while you remember them on the anniversaries of those losses, the pain gradually recedes.

With infertility, there’s no closure.  Just when the wound of another negative pregnancy test has the time to heal, it’s reopened again the next month.  It’s like this constant revolving door of pain.

To couples struggling with infertility, holidays are yet another reminder of our unrealized dreams and memories yet to be made.

Children barely getting any sleep on Christmas Eve in hopes of catching Santa leaving presents under the tree.  Of seeing the Easter Bunny hiding eggs.  Of choosing a costume that transforms them into their favorite superhero or character.

When you get married and make the decision to have kids, you think about how you’ll decorate their room and what you’ll say when they have the cutest puppy EVER follow them home and how old they’ll be when you let them start shaving.

But you never think about how many cycles will pass that you get a negative pregnancy test or how good you’ll get at knowing down to the moment when you ovulate or that trying to make that baby just might not be fun anymore.

Maybe you’re the person that bought an ornament just for your child’s first Christmas.  Or you have a stocking that you have to keep in the boxes every year while you just hang two.  Or you have the CUTEST Easter outfit for church.  Or the perfect Father’s/Mother’s Day card stashed away in a secret spot.

But as the holidays come and go, you’re in a daze.  You go through the motions and smile on the outside.  But on the inside?  On the inside, your heart is just trying to beat past all of the broken pieces.

I’ve been asked why we even celebrate with just the two of us and was told that we should just enjoy not having to fill stockings and wrap presents and shouldn’t even decorate a tree.  Like there’s some unwritten rule that if you don’t have children, you’re not allowed to participate in the festivities.  THAT hurt.

holiday e-card

Mother’s and Father’s Day are especially hard.  It’s the time when everyone is celebrating motherhood and fatherhood.  While we celebrate our mothers and fathers, we are reminded that there is a void in our hearts that hasn’t been filled.

I can’t wait until the day that we will giggle like teenagers as we oh-so-stealthily put presents under the tree for our child.  I can’t wait for the day that we will dress our child up and take them door to door trick-or-treating.  I can’t wait for the day we find new creative places to hide the Easter eggs we’ve decorated.

And I especially can’t wait for every night that we will get to pray with our child and kiss them on the forehead as we tuck them in and wish them a peaceful slumber – and then stand in the doorway, arm in arm, and marvel at the miracle that we get to love for the rest of our lives.

Until that day – we will continue to smile.  And celebrate each other.  I may be in a holi-daze when those times come around, but I’m doing my best to make it through.  And sometimes, it’s okay to not be okay.

So, when those holidays come around and you know someone who is struggling with infertility – just remind them that you love them.  If you ask them how they’re feeling and they tell you that they don’t want to talk about it, don’t take it personally.  We always remember those who make a genuine effort!

For more tips on how to cope with the holidays, visit:

Can I Say That?

Well, its come.  And its gone.  Christmas is like a dream – it all happens so fast, that you can barely remember all the details.  All the hustle and bustle, hurry up and wait and then it’s gone.  *poof*


My poor husband and I spent this Christmas sick as can be.  We mustered the strength to spend Christmas Eve with his family, and that was very enjoyable – as always.  I had some trouble making it through the night without tears, but by about the 10th breakdown of the day, I was learning to hide the tears very well.  Plus, being sick, I had something to blame the sniffles on!  We did our traditional “Dirty Santa” gift exchange and I must say – we came out the big winners!  One of the rules is that, a gift can only be owned by 3 people.  Once the third person has it in their possession, it’s frozen!  When my brother-in-law opened a ginormous mug with Mickey Mouse on it, I KNEW it had to be mine!  I coolly waited my turn and then went in for the kill, making me the second owner.  Thankfully, my husband and I make the BEST team.  He stole it from me and – VICTORY!  (You know, what’s his is mine, and what’s mine is mine!)  When I say GINORMOUS mug, I mean GINORMOUS mug!!  After that we did our traditional, draw-a-name gift exchange hosted by none other than my husband – Santa Jon.  Seriously though, I wish he wasn’t trying to grow his beard out to truly fit the role.


We made it home about 10pm that night and by then, I was MISERABLE!  I know that when we first got home, my temp was hovering around 100 degrees.  It was straight to bed for me, and straight to the couch for my husband – my coughing could have woke the dead.  It felt GREAT to sleep in on a Wednesday!  For a brief second after I woke up, I had to fight the urge to take down all of our Christmas decorations, but then my inner voice kicked my butt into submission and pushed me onto the couch – where I remained parked all day.  When hubby joined me, we began a movie marathon.  My only requirement was – NO CHRISTMAS MOVIES!

Then this morning, first thing at work, I decided to do some digging.  I know that Kentucky is NOT a fertility friendly state.  (only country I know that would rather give women free birth control than try to help a woman become pregnant.  But that’s another book blog.)  The company my husband and I both work for acquired a new insurance carrier this year.  As I started to look online at their policies, I saw a VERY promising line – one that made my heart & stomach collide and do a little dance.  “Covered Services: Infertility”  They continued to tango until I was on the phone with the agent from the insurance company and they assured me that, while the insurance company DOES offer those services, that our state doesn’t mandate that coverage and our company hadn’t elected that to be one of the benefits of the extra money we would be paying into our sub par policies.  I then proceeded to call 3 different supplemental agencies only to be reminded that – people don’t want to be REMINDED that there are women out there that have trouble getting/can’t get pregnant naturally, therefore there is no insurance to COVER it!  We seriously need to move.  But ANYWAY!

wish you were here

Some parts were not so great.  Some parts were really great.  I got to speak with someone who I hadn’t spoken with in quite a long time, someone who means SO much to me.  I always hear people say how they didn’t realize how much they missed someone until they talked to them again…  I don’t know HOW that can be true.  Speaking to this person only reminded me just HOW MUCH I had missed them.  What a blessing!

With all that said – I’m glad it’s over.  Can I say that?!  I feel like such a Scrooge!!  But it’s never been truer than this year!  I am SO ready for 2014 to start.  I’m ready for hope and blessings and maybe even a miracle thrown in.

always believe

3 Days And 4 Letter Words

I did something today that I do every day.  I looked at my phone.  But for some reason – about the 1,893 time I looked at my phone today – I could only see one thing.  The date.  Sunday, December 22.  SERIOUSLY?!  Surely my phone was lying!  I’ve even changed the mouse in our Countdown Calendar every day and it STILL didn’t hit me… THERE ARE ONLY 3 DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS.

3 days til Christmas

My life isn’t counted by days or years anymore.  It’s counted by months – 25 to be exact.  25 long months have come and gone.  Some brought more pain than others.  Some have been bearable.  Some have been good.  Some have been miserable.  We’ve been waiting for one to be great.  I’ve ALWAYS dreamt of giving a card that said “Merry Christmas, Daddy/Grandma/Grandpa/Aunt/Uncle”.  Oh, how I prayed this year would be it.  But instead, in some cruel twist, I’m supposed to receive a “gift” that I dread on Christmas Eve.  Of all the family coming to town, this is the one that I would like to just skip this holiday all together.  My dreaded aunt.

dear tampax

You know how when you have allergies, you go in for shots to desensitize you?  I’ve been practicing that concept since the day after Thanksgiving, with Christmas movies and music.  I figured – the more I exposed myself, the less I would feel.   Part of me has wanted to fake some kind of illness to get out of the family get-together we have every single year, so I don’t embarrass myself in some sobbing, messy display.  (Although at the rate my husband and I are going with illness, I may not have to fake ANYTHING!)  Today, I realized that my desensitization process may have worked!  While I haven’t quite hit ‘happy’,  ‘numb’ is going to have to do.  Although, I feel the emotion building as I think about it.

Apparently, infertility is an invitation.  People come out of the woodwork with advice, ideas, opinions, diets, exercises, etc..  I appreciate the intentions behind (almost) all of them.  We’ve gotten support and love.  Recently, I’ve also gotten chastisement and scolding.  Some of it was directed.  Some of it was indirectly directed.  Some that know of our struggle, yet post about how people who complain or whine about not having kids not knowing how good they have it.  People are just plain mean.  And then there’s those who are supposed to be the closest to you that, no matter how many times or how many different ways you try to explain it, still just don’t get that just because THEY think that it should work a certain way, doesn’t mean that it WILL.  ‘Relaxing’ and ‘letting go’ works just as well for getting pregnant as it does for curing cancer.

nothing worth having comes easy

And then there are the days that my husband tells me that not everything has to be about that 4 letter word – “baby”.  I try SO hard not to make every day about that!  I wish I could explain to him just HOW hard I try not to make every day about that!  I know that he just wants his fun-loving, spontaneous, confident wife back.  I wish I could wrap that up and put it under the tree for him.  I wish I knew where to find her.  I miss her, too.  I had a friend that I’ve met through this journey tell me the other day that she feels like 2014 is OUR year.  It’s the year of the 4 letter word.  OH, how I pray she is right!!


One Down, One To Go

Well, I made it through Thanksgiving!  The biggest accomplishment of it all?  I didn’t even CRY!!!  I had to pull myself together quite a few times, but not ONCE did those little moist menaces blaze a trail down my cheeks!  While a large part of the suckiness is that we are facing another holiday without a baby, the other part is that – I MISS MY FAMILY!  Yes, it was my choice to move to Kentucky.  Yes, it’s my choice to STAY in Kentucky.  But that does NOT make it stink any less!  ESPECIALLY when I go online to look at the price of plane tickets!

Stack Of Cash

I’ve been watching people do the “Thankful” posts on Facebook…  You know, the ones where they take a break from complaining about EVERY. SINGLE. THING in their lives for 30 days to express the things they should be thankful for every day?  Don’t get me wrong, I’m NOT saying that they’re NOT thankful for those things all year-long, it would just be nice to see Facebook flooded with posts of thanks and love all year, rather than just one month.  I started doing them at the beginning of the month.  First – I’m not very good with keeping up with things like that.  Second – while I can be as gushy and sentimental as I feel here, I almost feel … uncomfortable … doing it on Facebook.  (Weird, I know.)  Third – I’ve NEVER been one to follow trends.  Fourth – after watching both my mother and my mother in law battle cancer the last two years, I’m thankful every day.

This is the 3rd year I’ve spent Thanksgiving with my husband and his family.  Part of his family was missing also, as his sister and her husband and children are in Florida and couldn’t be with us.  Every year, they go around the table and everyone says what they are thankful for.  I was thankful that every time one of them said they were thankful for family, I felt like I was included in that.  I KNOW that they all consider me family.  I consider them family as well.  It still just touches me in a place I can’t quite describe to be reminded that they do.  Although, as much as I loved being around the table with them, my heart was hurting to be home in California with the other half of my family.  My side of the family hasn’t had a Thanksgiving together in probably 8 or 9 years, partly because I moved away, but also for reasons that are another blog entirely.  I still remember little traditions that we had and I seem to miss them more when the times come around that those traditions were carried out.  As I read through a blog earlier by A Hundred Affections, I was reminded just how much traditions shape us as we grow.  Those memories NEVER fade.  Though, it seems, the ones that dull suddenly come rushing back when presented with a mere vision of how life WAS.  I will forever be thankful for those memories.

As we all migrated to the living room to stretch out and relax after stuffing ourselves, conversation flowed freely.  The kids were running in and out and up and down and all over, like they always do!  At one point, my nephew came in to tattle on his sister.  I have never been a fan of tattling.  When I owned my child care, they KNEW that I simply wouldn’t tolerate it.  I feel like children need to figure out how to resolve conflicts as early as they can without having to resort to some kind of interference on an authority figure’s behalf – as, if they don’t, it will only transform them into those people who run to management or whoever when they have issues later on in life.  Anyway!  As JW insisted that he “wasn’t tattling, she just won’t do what I want,” I imparted some of my “wisdom” on him about what tattling really was.  No matter how long I am on this journey, I am NEVER prepared for the question that came from the friend of the family – “Dacina, why aren’t YOU a mom yet? You seem to have ALL the right answers for these kids!”  “Uh.  Um.  Well.  Uh.  Yeah.  We’re trying.”  (not so wordy now, huh?!)

The temperatures out here have been on a steady decline the last month or so.  It even SNOWED the other night!  There is just something about snow that is so peaceful and magical to me.  Having lived in a town for a large part of my life that would bring snow storms to dump amounts as tall as I was, watching the snowflakes fall automatically takes me to this peacefully reminiscent place in my mind.  I know people think I’m crazy when I say this, but I LOVE the sound of the falling snow.  “Snow doesn’t make a sound”, you say.  I say, listen next time!  That quiet whisper you hear in the air when it’s snowing are those magical flakes touching everything and blanketing the world around you in newness.  I can’t think of anything else that can completely transform everything in my view as efficiently and beautifully as snow.

This picture taken by Me

This picture taken by Me

I’m REALLY hoping for a White Christmas this year.  More than that, I’m hoping that I can make it through Christmas as tear-free as I made it through Thanksgiving!  I’m prepared for it to NOT be as easy, however.  Even just thinking about it I can feel those bullies tugging at my ducts!  But, I’m going to put on my big girl panties, wrap the presents, decorate, play Christmas music, buy presents and generally put on the performance of a LIFETIME.  If I leave the room for a minute unannounced, just know this – I may not be ok at that moment, but I will be.

im okay


Hope for Our Miracle

Every year I look forward to Christmas.  I’ve always loved the feeling in the air as it approaches.  Every one seems a little bit friendlier and moods seem a little bit lighter – except on Black Friday of course!  Carols fill the air at shopping venues, lights twinkle brightly and the smell of fireplaces brings a feeling that is unmatched.  This year, however, a feeling that can only be closely compared to dread has accompanied the anticipation of the holidays.  I’m still HAPPY they’re here, I’m just kind of afraid of how I’ll handle them.

I keep thinking that the more I “fake it,” the easier it’ll get.  So, last night my husband and I began decorating for Christmas.  I turned on Christmas music and made homemade Apple Cider.  Garland, bows, lights,  Nativity (a collaboration of mine and my husband’s talents), Christmas Village (made by me!), Snowmen, Nutcracker, Candles…  EVERYTHING!!!  I haven’t been feeling all that great lately, so I didn’t get much further than a couple of strands of lighted garland hung.  Tonight, however, I was feeling a little better after some MUCH NEEDED rest and once again, turned on the Christmas music and began the process of putting up the tree.

I LOVE LIGHTS!  I probably use 6 strands at LEAST and I weave them on every single branch.  I used to like only white lights, but my husband has kinda converted me to colored lights (DON’T TELL HIM!).  After all the lights were on the tree and I had everything set just how I wanted it, I began to dig through our ornaments.  My husband and I started a tradition on our honeymoon, which is buying Christmas ornaments from the places we visit because we both LOVE Christmas so much!  We have this AMAZING ornament from Atlantis along with others from Myrtle Beach, Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and others.  Plus we got quite a few from friends from after we got married.  In addition to those, I have added a few to our collection that I have made myself!  I made some little Snowmen ornaments and I also bought some clear glass ornaments and filled one with our wedding invitation – cut into pieces and curled along with paper that matched our wedding colors – and then I also filled another with the roses from our 1 year wedding anniversary.  Sadly, the 1 year wedding anniversary ornament didn’t make it!  Here is a peek:

atlantis ornament myrtle beach ornament lighthouse ornament snowman ornament wedding ornament

As I was digging through the box, I also found this:


What is that, you ask?  That is the one glass ornament I saved – to fill with an ultrasound picture and a Baby Shower Invitation.  Seeing that ornament empty struck me harder than I expected and the next thing I knew, I was sitting on the floor in front of the Christmas tree crying.  I didn’t expect that ornament to be empty again this year.  There are little reminders everywhere of the emptiness that I feel.  Some days are easier to be strong than others.  Some days I can brush away the tears and move on.  Other days, it’s like a faucet that’s sprung a leak and there’s not enough duct tape in the world to stop the flow.  And I think that’s part of why I’m afraid of the holidays this year.

After I pulled myself together, and only with one or two temper tantrums, I finished putting up our Christmas tree.  And it looks beautiful (even if I do say so myself).  My husband even COMPLETELY decked out our patio!  His excitement for this time of year is contagious, so I’m hoping I’ll catch some of it!  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again….  I’m SO glad that I have him by my side.

tree patio

Don’t get me wrong.  That is NOT going to stop me from enjoying them!  I am going to drag myself – probably often kicking and screaming – through this next month with a SMILE on my face!  I’m still debating whether I’m going to use that ornament this year anyway for someone who deserves it and then buy more when our miracle comes – or keep it, as a reminder that we have hope for that miracle.  After all, that’s what Christmas is about, right?  HOPE.


Sunshine Award!


A little over a week ago, I was nominated by Amanda Gayle for a Sunshine Award.  She is a BRILLIANT writer and I LOVE her recipes!

It feels amazing to be nominated for these awards!  The sunshine award is an award that goes to writers who brighten others days.  But I must admit,  It’s taken me awhile to write this because I haven’t felt very sunshine-y.  I try so hard not to blog when my mood isn’t positive – for lots of reasons.  One of them being – and I KNOW that people are just trying to be nice – if I hear one more person tell me to “be positive”, I just might scream – loud and long!  I am positive most days of the week.  Ok, maybe half.  On a good week.  One of my biggest struggles as of late is, trying not to succumb to the disappointment and discouragement that is eating away at my mind.  Every month that passes, I feel is just another month that I’m closer to never having a baby.  I check our fundraiser DAILY and the needle hasn’t moved in quite some time.  I understand it, and it’s TRULY ok.  But it’s HARD to not let that little voice in my ear become a constant nagging.  One thing I’ve learned on this journey is that I have to let myself FEEL.  But then … I have to MOVE ON!! So, here goes!!

The rules are:

  • To link the blogger that nominated you
  • To answer 10 questions about yourself
  • Nominate 10 other bloggers to receive the award
  • Link to the nominees and let them know!

Here’s my answers!

– Why do you Blog?

Blogging is like an online journal for me.  But also, I do it because I hope that, even with how small I am, that our story may reach just one person.  That they can identify and take away maybe one small jewel from our struggles.

What are some of your hobbies?

I LOVE to paint!  I’m currently working on expanding my Christmas village.  I’ve painted every. single. home in it with painstaking, loving detail.  I love to paint my nails too!!

What’s your favorite creative activity?

See above answer!! 🙂

What is your favorite dish to cook or bake?

I am really just starting to discover my hand at cooking and baking, so I can’t quite say I have a “favorite” just yet!  But for tradition’s sake, I LOVE to make Shoo Fly Pie at Christmas!!!

What is one positive thing that blogging has brought to your life?

Blogging has made me realize that, even though it often feels like it, that we are NOT alone in our struggle!  I am CONSTANTLY surprised at genuine, quick connection that I have formed with ladies that I have never even met that are so generous to reach out and offer support and love and often, not say a word but just let me feel.

What makes you most excited about Fall?

The leaves changing color!!! But more than that, there is a crispness in the air… the promise of a new season.  It’s a reminder that – soon – the ground Is going to be covered and the canvas is going to start blank all over again for new things to grow.

Do you prefer Facebook or Twitter? Why?

Facebook!!! Because I had a twitter account but could NEVER figure it out!  Ugh!

If you could go anywhere, where would it be?

Paris, France.  No contest!

What’s your favorite weekend activity?


What is your favorite thing about blogging?

Seeing all the diversity!  Learning about different people!  You know how when you drive down a street, you can’t help but look into someone’s front window if they’ve left the window open?  Well, blogging is like seeing open windows as far as you can see!

I nominate:

A Hundred Affections – Her words are open, raw, emotional, touching and unbelievably honest.

Candidly Carol – I LOVE her “candid”ness and how she just puts the truth out there!

I know that’s not 10 people, but right now… Those are the blogs that really stand out in my mind!!

And here’s your questions:

  1. If you could do one thing COMPLETELY crazy and death-defying, what would it be?
  2. Which do you like better – coffee or tea?
  3. What is your favorite holiday?
  4. Why did you start blogging?
  5. If you were to be trapped on a desert island and could only take 3 items, what would they be?
  6. Mousse or Gel for your hair?
  7. What’s your FAVORITE kind of food?
  8. One HAPPY childhood memory?
  9. What is you favorite movie?
  10. What would be the first thing you would do if you won the lottery?

Thank you to Amanda, again, for nominating me and feeling that my words were “an inspiration”.  It’s nice to be reminded that my words are heard!