Thursday, October 29, 2015

Advice from a Stepmom

I have 16 years real life experience raising children I did not give birth to.  And I survived!  How did I do it?  Well I'm here to offer you a little advice from stepparent to stepparent.  You see, 50% of marriages end in divorce so there is a chance you might find yourself dating, engaged or married to someone who is already a parent. When I married Daddy Bun, he was the proud owner of two little buns.  They were 9 and 6 years old.  I was 22 when we married and raising two kids that are not yours through biology is a completely different challenge than raising those who are.

Let me say that I was blessed because their mother accepted me openly, she didn't see me as a threat, she did not attempt to hinder my relationship with her children.  I thank her on Mother's Day every year for that.  There are many, many spouses who do not have that luxury.  They are met with resistance and hatred.  I never dealt with that from my kids' mother so I cannot attest to the difficulties of raising children in a hostile environment like that.

When we started dating, his daughter Madison was just three years old.  She was very protective of her daddy.  She didn't want to share time with anyone, especially me!  That was HER daddy and I was an intruder into her life and she reminded me often that he was hers.  Nick was older and did not protect his dad as much as his sister so it was a little easier with him.  I waited patiently for her to come around and as time passed the bond between Madi and I grew stronger.  She eventually allowed me to hold his hand and was excited when we announced we were going to be married.

That was *GASP* 16 years ago.  Those little buns are now 21 and 19 years old.  Madi attends  college while working part time at a local eatery.  Nick is working full time with his dad.  Both of them have grown wings and left the house, so it's just Daddy Bun and I while we navigate this infertility journey.

Sharing kids with their parents is hard work.  It takes effort, patience, and the ability to see beyond your own wants and needs.  It requires consistently working with two other people that you may or may not agree with.  But in the end, you have to be able to step back and accept that you are a step-parent and your opinion, while important, may not have a bearing at all on a final decision.  Do you know how difficult it is to be a part of a child's life that is not your own?

As a professional stepparent, my advice to you is this:
  1. Be patient with children that are not your own.  When they're not your birth children, you feel differently toward them.  It's not a bad thing, it's just a different thing.  Exercise patience with them, remember that they are children and they do not formulate opinions and make decisions in the same manner as you.    

  2. Accept there are things you cannot change and learn to recognize those things.  There will be many disagreements as a stepparent, whether it be a scheduling conflict, a parenting conflict or a discipline conflict.  Learn to identify the things you cannot change or control and LET THEM GO.  This will save you trouble, wrinkles and gray hair.

  3. Always advocate for the children's best interests, even if other people benefit from it.  There will be times when someone else benefits from a decision made FOR THE KIDS.  Don't cheat them out of any situation because it causes a benefit to the other parent.

  4. Never assume anyone will react the way you react or you will be disappointed.  There were so many times I was exasperated or annoyed or angry because someone else didn't react the same was I would react.  Remember that they are not you, people are not carbon copies and no one ever reacts the same way to the same situation.  Don't assume or expect things that you yourself would do simply because you would do them.  

  5. Remember, you were gifted these children, don't take advantage of that gift.  Some else created those buns, and you get to take time to enjoy that.  Get to know what they like and what they don't.  Take time with them to bond and show them the value of family.

  6. Whatever you do, keep it consistent.  Whether it's a punishment, a chore, an allowance, a reward, establish a rule and keep it consistent.  This is paramount for children so they know what to expect in the household.

I hope these tips might bring you closer to your family.  As a stepparent you have a special gift, you can be objective without "parent blinders".  Learn to present that objectivity in a positive way.  Be an advocate for the kids.  Remember, you want them to grow up healthy and happy.  


This is one of my favorite photos of them, it's classic, Nick is talking and Madi thinks whatever he is saying it ridiculous.  I miss these days, we all ate dinner together, we hung out together, we were a close family.  That changes when they grow up people!  We are not the cool parents we once were and finding time to get together is difficult, especially when life brings new challenges that we all face.  They love each other immensely and will protect each other as fiercely as they will turn on each other when they're mad.  I did not give birth to them but they are my kids.  I hope should the time come, they will love their little bun as much as we will.    

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

You Want to Start Over??

One of the first things I hear when people find out we are TTC is....

"You want to start over??  Didn't you just finish raising kids?"

And the answer to that is YES!  Yes we do want to "start over" and it's kind of a slap in the face to hear that from people.  Yes we realize that  Daddy Bun's children are not children anymore.  There is a big chance our little bun, should we have a little bun, will grow up close to an uncle or an aunt because both of his children are old enough to make their own.  But should that alone deny me the chance to become a mother?  Should I suffer in silence because I married a man who had children before me?

Another one I hear is, "Just wait for grandkids, you can sugar them up and send them home."  Again I wonder, why should I settle for that, when we could have our own?  And I wonder, what the heck are you thinking because it's usually someone with children saying those words to me.  It's really easy to sit back and make that sort of call after you've had your own children.

It's really easy to say, just take one of mine for a weekend and that will "fix you right up" as if spending time with someone else's child would deter me from wanting to have a child.  How horrible is your kid that a mere weekend would make me change my mind on having children forever?  That may say something about the parenting and not the child.  I can honestly say I've never walked away from a baby or child thinking, NO I do not want to do that!  If anything, I celebrate the time I spend with other people's children and I think of it as a gift.

So yes, we do want to start over.  We are ready for this experience.  We are ready to share a child by blood and not by marriage.  There is one thing I know for sure, I will never offer my child to "fix up" another couple, I will never say, "You want to start over, are you crazy?" because YES I am crazy and YES I do want to start over.

I'm not scared!

 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Lab Work Day

So LabCorp was so busy Daddy Bun didn't have time for his appointment and will have to reschedule. BOOOOO!!!!

We arrived right on time and I got in 20 minutes later. Poor lady had a room full of people and was working ALONE!  I will never understand why such a busy lab reduces to a staff of one during their two hour lunch....and boy would I like a two hour lunch! 

My list of labs was the largest she'd seen since she moved down from New Hampshire and some of the tests she had to go into the back and get the numbers for the test. 



She took 8 vials of blood. Five large and three small. She just dropped the full vials into this basket right in front of my face!  Luckily I've been hospitalized a few times and I'm no stranger to giving blood.  But it was a little woozyfying seeing it all there in a basket! 

The real test of strength came when she handed over the bill...$2117 in lab work.  Holy sheet I almost passed out right there holding that paper. My face froze in shock...I sputtered the words, "I hope insurance covers a piece of that" but my insurance does not cover infertility at all, maybe some diagnostics....so I will argue that with claims if I can.  When you're paying out of pocket, every single dollar you can save is precious!  

It should take a few days to get it processed and back over to Dr. Mark and they'll upload the results right away into the Patient Portal. 

We will keep you posted on the results! 


Monday, October 26, 2015

Lab Week...Let's Give Some Blood

Tomorrow is Lab Day!  Daddy Bun (DB) and I have lab work tomorrow and we are crossing fingers we can slide that cost through insurance but I'm sureeeee the minute they read things like "progesterone" and "FSH" we will be up the creek on this one!  It's CD 24-27 so I'm due to get all my hormones checked and if you ask DB I'm sure he would say YEAAAA SHE'S GOT THOSE HORMONES ALRIGHT...and they're rampant!!  

Next week is a trip over to Fertility CARE to meet with Dr. Witt, the Urologist to go over DB's "sample" and if you haven't read our hilarious sample story, you must check that out on the Blog. 

Too bad Dr. Witt comes in from out of town because I will have to make a separate trip to do my HSG test so that's another half day off work for this Bunny.  And I can't wait to tell y'all about that mess! We will be checking to make sure I have no blocked Fallopian tubes and a healthy looking uterus, which I call a Cuterus but only after I heard Leslie Knope refer to it that way in Parks and Recreation.  Nothing's more Cuterus than your Uterus!

I happen to disagree with that sentiment because I have a Yorkie named Brutus and he is, in fact, MORE Cuterus than a Uterus! 

We are currently preparing for a Dwcember IUI but the blood work and HSG test will give Dr. Mark some additional information to make sure it's the right road for the Buns! 

Updates soon!  

Our Weekend in Mississippi

Well, we did finally make it to Mississippi...a day late and dang, I sure hate we missed a whole day with our family and friends!  I will definitely relinquish the travel responsibilities to Daddy Bun.

Let me tell y'all about Alamo car rentals.  I was FLOORED when we called to push back our arrival by 15 hours and our rental cost went UP, yes UP, by over $200.  What kind of calculators do they use when an $80 rental becomes a $280 rental just by keeping the car by 15 hours less?  Alamo that's where!  In fact, all the car companies were really proud of their little rentals because once I cancelled the Alamo rental and searched out the other companies, they were all about $300.  For TWO DAYS.  In an "Speck" in a car the size of a matchbox...don't even try to afford the standard size car at $377!  I considered calling little brother and asking him to pick us up and Daddy Bun wondered if we should have just not said a word about the car at all and showed up a day late.  BUYER BEWARE...Alamo is NOT like Southwest at all.  Perhaps Southwest has spoiled me with their low fares, no change fees and free bags....

We got to Hattiesburg about 3pm which gave us enough time to get ready for Miss Ruby's Beauty and the Beast Birthday Party.  This child is Belle....she is all about Belle, and her Daddy is Beast.  They've adopted these adorable nicknames and Ruby loves to dress up in her yellow Belle costume and dance with her daddy.  It's the sweetest thing you'll ever see!  "Beast!" she'll cry out, "It's time to dance Beast!".  And her daddy will dance and twirl her around, it's enough to warm even the coldest hearts.  To watch that moment between daddy and daughter is precious!  I have cherished this picture from July last year of Ruby and her Daddy dancing while they watch Beauty and the Beast.

The party was a beastly success and it was so AWESOME to be able to be a part of her special day!  She had the most adorable little Princess friends and they played for hours outside in the backyard.



Saturday we went to a great little restaurant called the Keg and Barrel with friends Bryan and Crystal.  Those two are my FAVE Mississippi friends!  Hattiesburg is well known for it's craft beers and Keg and Barrel has them ALL, about 120 different brews are sold from the KB so there is definitely a beer for every mood!  Their menu is full of delicious choices but their burgers are WHERE IT'S AT y'all!  Let me just highlight some of these amazing goodies...because the names are pretty AWESOME!

The Dirty Diana - you read it right - is a classic bacon cheeseburger but all their beef is from local grass fed cows and it comes with not one, not two but THREE different slices of cheese!

The Fatty McFat - buffalo chicken strips with bleu cheese crumbles on brioche bread.

The Wrappers Delight - smoked turkey and provolne in a pita wrap.

And don't get me started on the bacon cheddar fries!  French fries doused in bacon, cheese, and chives....those fries are cooked crisp and delicious.  Are you hungry now?  Because I am and there is no Keg and Barrel here!  (INSERT SAD FACE)

Sunday was an experiment in patience as we were set to go to Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans but Hurricane Patricia had different plans for us, namely, sitting in a crowded airport waiting for a plane...but see what had happened was, the mechanic was not happy with the plane we were planning to board.  So we were put on mechanical delay.  I sent Daddy Bun in search of my favorite waiting food, Funyuns....but guess what, NO FUNYUNS.  My patience was really tested as we were shuffled from gate to gate waiting on a replacement plane.  Finally, 2.5 hours later we boarded a functioning plane and set out for Orlando.   We made it home about midnight, bags soaked from the rain, bellies hungry from our peanut dinner...but we were home and my fur family was excited!




This is Daddy Bun, Ruby and I as we were leaving, before she got very sad and cried.  She did not want us to leave and it was hard to say goodbye.  I hope to be back with them VERY SOON.

We love you guys!





Thursday, October 22, 2015

That One Time I Messed Up Our Flights

Hilariously funny story but not really.

Today we were due to fly out of Orlando to New Orleans to visit our favorite Mississippi Family...ok fine it's our only Mississippi family...but who's counting!  

Here we are...as you can see by our faces we are very excited...

So, we take our excited bodies to the Southwest ticket counter to check our bags and THEY CANNOT FIND OUR RESERVATION!  I'm dumbfounded...befuddled...bewildered...

And then I look down at my boarding pass...hey why does it say we are flying out of Orlando, we are in Tampa. 

AHHHHHH, we are in the wrong airport. YES, read that again folks, the WRONG AIRPORT.  Guess who booked our flight...Me!!!  I can feel my face get hot, my knees start to waver, I wonder if I am going to faint right there at the counter.

Nancy at the Southwest counter sets to work attempting to correct my GINORMOUSLY HUGE error and I'm using peripheral vision to see Daddy Bun's face, will I survive the heat that is going to come from this?  What is he going too say?  I prepare for the worst as. Nancy tells me all flights out tonight are booked solid. All flights out of Orlando are booked solid. We are not leaving today....and I am MORTIFIED. 

I handle all travel, all the time. I've been flying since I was three years old and booking flights that long too...KIDDING...but I KNOW BETTER folks. I know to book my flight out of Tampa. I never book out of Orlando. 

SIDE NOTE: never book a flight when you're in a sad or depressed mindset as you are likely to make an error of massive proportions such as this.

Nancy called her Supervisor who came out and arranged for us to fly out of Orlando tomorrow morning at GET THIS....no charge. Even though they were out of the cheap fares, even though we are in the wrong airport, Southwest worked its magic and got us on a flight for no change in the fee. 

So we have a short delay, We are missing one whole night with our family but we will make the best of it. 

Tonight we go to the correct city, we are going to enjoy my most favorite food ever, Japanese, at Kobe and then we are
Going to head over to City Walk Orlando to find some trouble. As if I haven't made enough already!  Nice shoes right?!???

Special thanks to Nancy and Susan at Southwest for helping. 

Even more special thanks to Daddy Bun who's only response was, Don't worry, these things happen, it's OK. Not a yell, not an angry word, complete patience and understanding. Although I bet he doesn't let me book the flights next time! I have no idea why God blessed me with him, but I thank God he put us together.

I shared this on Amateur Nester today for her Tuesday Linkup.  Lisa at Amateur Nester is the creator 31 Days of Scripture During Infertility, which she JUST RELEASED!  31 Days of Scripture is a new FAVEEEE I have on my reading cycle including her 31 Dyas of Prayer During Infertility ebook. Talk about a way to get your prayers on track! She has really helped me learn to STOP ASKING for what I don't have and to start asking for WHAT I NEED!  Head over to check out Lisa at Amateur Nester and read her journey.   Just click the button below and BE PREPARED for the amazing experience that is Amateur Nester!


AmateurNester

CD 16...Big Fat Empty Circle

UGH....big huge pouty face.

Super disappointed as I'm rounding CD 16 and still no smiley face on the OPK.

Yes. I just started to POS again after several years of not doing that. But waiting there, every morning, for five grueling minutes...every morning...it puts a hurtin' on your spirit.  

So I must keep breathing. Be thankful for what we have. Pray for clarity on God's plan for us and contentment while I'm waiting. Definitely using those first five days of 31 Days of Infertility!!  





Tuesday, October 20, 2015

From IVF to Possible IUI

So, after the weekend and the results coming in from the SAMPLE Daddy Bun provided we were met with some pretty exciting news.

First, Daddy Bun's last analysis ended with poor results.  His motility and count were low.  Well, we knew that was a possibility since his vaso-vasectomy resulted in only one side being reconnected.  So when we got the call from Dr. Mark regarding his analysis, I was expecting much of the same.  Poor results.

But lo and behold, they were NOT poor results.  In fact, for the most part they were terrific!  Count is above normal, motility is above normal...we do have a few aspects that will require a trip to see the Urologist, but overall, we were thrilled with the results.  

In fact, they were so good Dr. Mark suggested we consider IUI instead of IVF.  For those who don't know, an IUI is the turkey basting technique.  Of course, they don't do it that way anymore...did you know they started that practice in the 1800's.  The 1800's!  

IUI costs almost 93% less than IVF.  Did you see that?  93% less!  For a IUI cycle with Dr. Mark, the cost is approximately $1500 per procedure, which pales in comparison to the $20,000 price tag associated with IVF.

This brings about a new angle to create Little Bun.  I've spent so much time examining and analyzing IVF, I haven't even looked into IUI.  So this week, Daddy Bun and I will delve a little deeper into the details of IUI while we decide the right road for us.  

Praying for Clarity, which is Day One of the 31 Days of Infertility devotional I'm reading, is really what we need right now.  We have to trust in God's plan for our family, so I will pray about it the rest of this week. 

Daddy Bun has an appointment on November 4 with Dr. Witt, the urologist at Fertility CARE.  More updates to come!

PRAY FOR THE BUNS!

       

AWOLNATION....I Am


Sometimes I just listen to the music and consider the lyrics.
Maybe all of these things made me who I am...


Monday, October 19, 2015

The SAMPLE Experience

I failed to mention the hilarious experience Daddy Bun and I had with the Fertility Lab, which is conveniently located in the building behind Dr. Mark's office.  Thankfully we don't have to go to other labs, doctors or locations to perform any tests or procedures.  It's always going to be Dr. Mark. It's always in the same location.  That is SO VERY important to me.  Even though we brace a 1.5 hour haul each way, I am really comfortable with the doctors and staff.  They really made me feel at home.

They wanted a sample of Daddy Bun, so we were ushered into what I thought was a small room, NO it's a bathroom!  There is a small 13" TV with a VCR and headphones...inside drawers under the TV were VHS tapes, I cannot even repeat the titles because I literally explode with giggles every time.  No, I cannot handle some adult content or situations, I am a giggle-box.  Do you have any idea how difficult it is to provide a sample in that environment with your wife GIGGLING about every aspect of the "sample room". We had a hard time (no pun intended y'all) getting our wits about us...OK FINE...it was just me having trouble with it and I even wondered if he would just kick me out if I wasn't better behaved!  Skipping through the details, that little cup got placed in the box for observation and analysis and we waited to get the results from the review.

A little history on Daddy Bun, he had a vasectomy in 1998 and in 2007 he had it reversed.  Unfortunately, one side could not be connected successfully so THANKFULLY we got a 50% discount on that out of pocket surgery!  After the procedure we had his sperm analyzed and the results were less than stellar....actually they were crap and I was told if we wanted to have a baby IVF was the only way to succeed.  What a defeating result.  So much money invested in the reversal, not to mention the post-surgery care that involved..and talk about taking GREAT CARE in doing that...oh my heck!  You know you love your husband when you're that close to his hide-a-parts!!





We had a great time, considering we were cooped up in a tiny bathroom with VHS and the 2010 Tara Reid issue of Playboy!!  This is a journey for sure and I am SO THANKFUL that God blessed me with Daddy Bun!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

31 Days of Infertility Weekend Review

This weekend I decided not to press on with days five and six of 31 Days of Infertility so I could spend the weekend reflecting on the first five days.  Lisa over at Amateur Nester really set me up properly with her 31 Days of Infertility book available HERE on her Blog.  The first five days include praying for the following:



I had a positively miserable weekend.  I felt lost, alone, confused....the peace and comfort I worked so hard to achieve all week seemed to fade into oblivion.  I spent too long in bed, I shriveled away into nothingness.  I gave in to the darkness that befell me instead of pushing through it into the light.  Old habits are hard to break and I got a real taste of it this weekend.  My old habit of allowing darkness to envelope me got the best of me and I relished in the pain and anguish of what I was feeling.  When it happens, I feel hopeless.  I feel empty.  I feel alone.



But I'm not alone!  It's a hard cycle to get out of without pure and driven focus on God.  I lost my focus.  I forgot my prayers of the week, the verses I studied fell short of my memory.  I was completely lost in my own worries, fears and doubts.  

This week I am STARTING OVER...yes that is right, I'm starting over with 31 Days.   I won't be re-blogging each day as I did, instead I'll be writing it down by hand rather than keyboard.  Once I get to Friday this week, I hope to be more comforted and content.

I am so thankful for this devotional and even more for the content that Amateur Nester posts on the daily.  Until next time, pray for me.  <3   





Why I Hate OPK's

spent several years and several hundred dollars on PT's which resulted in BFN's every single time. It didn't matter if my period was on time, late, or early. I had that stupid test. I POS. I get BFN. My heart breaks. Next cycle, start all over. 

Because we had such great results with our initial testing, and Daddy Bun had such a drastic change in his count and motility, we decided to spend this cycle (we visited Dr. Mark on CD 11) trying naturally another month while we make the financial decisions about our journey.  

Which leads me to the OPK... A stick you have to be on every single day. The stick that leaves me with a big fat empty circle that says no you are not ovulating today. This big fat into circle reminds me of two glaring words...NOT PREGNANT. 

I'm trying to determine if I have a luteal phase defect and as each day comes with a big empty circle I relive the fear that there is something wrong.  Every time I go in the bathroom and hide for five minutes while I wait for the big empty circle Daddy Bun lays in bed with bated breath wondering am I going to come out smiling or silent?  And my silence is an answer. No. 

Just like the PT.  

Now many people are probably reading this and wondering why are you so upset that you're using an ovulation stick and getting a big empty circle. It's just a constant reminder of the time that has passed, the test that I've taken, the negatives that have come at me over and over and over and over again.

This doesn't mean I'm not pregnant, this doesn't mean I'm not going to get pregnant, this just means today I'm not ovulating. I don't know why I am taking it so hard today.




Friday, October 16, 2015

Our Meeting with Dr. Mark

Today was THE BIG DAY!!!  We set out this morning for our 1.5 hour drive, a drive that will become very familiar because WE LOVED DR. MARK!  We absolutely loved our experience. I felt T ease from the moment we walked in the door. It was difficult to even ask questions because the answers to my questions were given before we asked!

Dr. Mark is the only doctor I will see in his practice means I won't be part of a revolving door of doctors. This was very important to me!!  He is double board certified and is considered to be one of the top RE's in the U.S.  I am very confident to be in his care!  

We met with the doctor and then went to discuss the financials. The costs...oh my goodness. I've read it all over the Internet but it's different when it's right there, black and white, this is going to cost you $20,000 and it will be due really fast to several people. Pay the lab, pay the doctor, pay the pharmacy...but if it doesn't work, it will be $8,000 for the NEXT round because the doctor drops his fee to $0.00. We still pay for labs and the pharmacy but he only charges you one time!  That was a financial relief because there is no guarantee this is going to work the first or even second time.  Overall the financial aspect, while its a very scary number, was a relief to get through!  I didn't have many questions for our financial specialist.

Next we were moved into the ultrasound room to take a look at my uterus and ovaries.  I looked at the machine and thought, YOU'RE GOING TO PUT THAT WHERE?!?!!

Well this is awkward, I mean WE JUST MET!  I have never had a transvaginal ultrasound so I was not exactly enthusiastic to be probed by a stranger in scrubs but I laid back and embraced the fact that these people are probably going to be seeing a LOT of me, might as well get to know each other now! Dr. Mark and Mary, the girl who met my uterus at the same time as us, were really happy with the ultrasound. I got to see all my "junk" which is a healthy uterus, two healthy ovaries and 9 follicles on the right and 10 follicles on the left. It was NOT COMFORTABLE. I don't really know if it was better/worse/indifferent on the "feeling" as compared to a regular pap-smear but you have to aim the wand at each ovary...so in my opinion, it was more uncomfortable than my annual exam.

I'm due to ovulate in a few days and it is coming from my left ovary because one of the follicles is bigger than all the rest. It's a good sign. It means via ultrasound I am a very healthy woman.  No fibroids or endometriosis in sight.  After a great review we were moved to the next stop, the patient education room.  We sat going over the plan of action and calendar of events depending on when we decide to start.  We have a week before I'm due for my first round of blood work so we are going over everything we covered today in more detail at home.  PLUS there was a late call in the afternoon that triggered a potential change in this journey.  MORE TO COME ON THAT!! 



31 Days of Infertility...Day 05 - Contentment


I must start today and EVERY SINGLE blog for 31 days....by reminding you, as I will remind you each day about this AMAZING devotional I purchased from Amateur Nester for a STEAL of a DEAL at $4.29.  This is my first devotional and it it awesome to be starting my journey using this book.

Buy Your Own Copy HERE


31 Days of Infertility Day 05 - Contentment


When I read the subject of today's post, contentment, I thought oh Lord this is going to be a tough one. I struggled with contentment for a long time and still struggle. Today's devotional is one that I need to carry with me always.

To be content is really to make the best of what you have, and not only make the best of it, but to enjoy it.  When you're focused on the raise you don't have, the baby you don't have, or the <insert material possession her> you can't afford.... Your discontented with the things you don't have which takes away the opportunity to have any kind of gratitude for the things you do. You didn't get that raise? At least you have a job. Be thankful you're still employed.  Show gratitude for the things you have, instead of focusing on the things you WANT to have.

Today's devotion applied to me in a lot of ways and allowed me to see some things that I should be doing on this journey. That is why am so thankful for Lisa doing this book!  This has guided me daily to new scriptures and new conversations with God that I need to have.  As I struggled with the desire for material possessions, I lost the opportunity to be thankful for the things I have. I lost focus. 

So I pray today for God to guide me away from being discontent with what I don't have, whether it is a material possession or a BFP.  I pray that I will continue to grow and reflect on the days that have passed so I do not lose sight of the Man in charge.  


Thursday, October 15, 2015

31 Days of Infertility...Day 04 - Confidence

I must start today and EVERY SINGLE blog for 31 days....by reminding you, as I will remind you each day about this AMAZING devotional I purchased from Amateur Nester for a STEAL of a DEAL at $4.29.  This is my first devotional and it it awesome to be starting my journey using this book.

Buy Your Own Copy HERE


31 Days of Infertility Day 04 - Confidence

One of my passages to study today was Hebrews 4:16 "Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."

It's very tempting to depend on the science and technology aspect when TTC.  But Psalms 118:8 is clear,  "It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in humans."

I don't know Dr. Mark.  I don't know the science of this journey.  But I know that I need to keep my focus on God's Plan for us and not the science and technology or the BFP I want.  As much as I desire to be a mother, there is no guarantee.  That is why I must focus my confidence in God's Plan and not the results.  

It gives me great peace to know that God has a plan for me even though it may or may not be motherhood.  How can I be a peace with that?  I want a baby!  I desire a baby!  But I don't find peace in those desires, I find anxiety.  I find peace in focusing my attention on God and just relying on his word to get us through this journey.

I pray for God to continue to grace me with his peace and comfort.  I pray that my confidence remains focused on what God is doing in our lives and not the science and technology of this.  I know that I would not have this opportunity if God hadn't picked me up from a very dark and lonely place.  I praise Him every day for finding me, saving me, and leading me here.  

Please don't forget to check out Lisa over on Amateur Nester for daily guidance and remarkable openness about her journey and her relationship with God.  It's a refreshing moment to visit her blog every day. 

Do I Shave My Legs for This?

I try to take a humorous approach to life. 
Deana Carter had it right y'all...
As I head for the door,
I turn around to be sure,
did I shave my legs for this?
Here's a link to that video, which is a cute country song about the woes of marriage 
(aren't they ALL woes about something!)  




I don't want to offend the writers of this song but NEWS FLASH marriage is not all flowers and romance.  Those things take effort and communication and if your spouse doesn't know what you're looking for, what can you expect!  I digress, back to the shaving of the legs.

How do you prepare to see your RE for the first time?  I don't literally mean do I shave my legs for this!  I am really not bothered by the fact I might not shave my legs before I see Dr. Mark (JUST KIDDING, we ALLLLLLL know I'm shaving my legs for this).







But how do you really prepare for your first visit?  I've gathered some helpful tips to get you through and after completing our visit tomorrow, I will give you the skinny on what works, what doesn't, and what I should have known!

The visit is scheduled to go as follows:

1)  Meet with Dr. Mark.  Undergo a patient evaluation and interview, a "get to know you meeting" of sorts to review medical history.  Then I get a physical so Dr. Mark can check out my overall health.  This would be the time I told Dr. Mark of my lengthy list of addictions and how I've made TREMENDOUS progress in overcoming them.  I've kicked almost ALL my bad habits but there are a few items, namely caffeine and poor eating habits that are really difficult to kick.

***This visit may end here.  Being comfortable with the doctor is PRIORITY #1.  It doesn't matter how many successful pregnancies he's assisted, if I am not comfortable with him, I'm not going any further.*** 

2) Get my first internal pelvic ultrasound.  I've read a thousand times that this is not as painful or scary as a PAP Smear but I have to admit, I am terrified to know what is up there!  This is where Dr. Mark gets to see what I'm contributing or hindering our efforts.  This is scary for me and I have serious anxiety about reviewing what he sees.  My cycles are normal, regular, and not overwhelmingly painful but you never know what could be contributing to infertility.  Based on the results we will determine a course of action.

3) Next we are turned over to the Reproductive Nurses who will review the evaluations with Dr. Mark and assist with determining the course of action best for our infertility.

4) We also meet with their onsite counselor to discuss infertility and coping skills while undergoing treatments.  This is a real benefit and I'm so thankful they have an onsite counselor to discuss all the aspects and help us deal with obstacles we face on this journey.

5) Finally they will throw the real gauntlet down and give us the financial details.  How much are we talking?  How will we pay?  Is it a pay as you go plan or is it a lump sum divided by visits plan?  I plan to give you the details of these steps in my visit so you get a secondhand experience from a firsthand appointment.



First and foremost, if you're not a good listener, take notes!  Daddy Bun....horrible listener...he can never remember details of a conversation so I expect he will be quietly nodding while I am feverishly writing.  I have compiled what I think is THE LIST based on several sources but these were the TOP THREE.

Parenting Weekly - What to Expect

Fertility CARE - Dr. Mark's website (who better to tell you what to expect than the RE you're meeting)

Stirrup Queens - Melissa over at Stirrup Queens has probably THE most comprehensive list of questions to ask an RE.  I cannot imagine going into his office with a list that long, but a well informed patient makes a well informed decision.

My list is a compilation of these three resources and I've also used Dr. Mark's website to answer some of these questions on my own....HOWEVER...I will ask them anyway to confirm some answers.

Clinic Questions:
These were all available on the website.  I like to be prepared so I've made myself very familiar with the Fertility CARE website.  However if you don't find the answers you seek, here are some excellent questions to lead you:
1) What are the office hours, are there weekend hours?
2) What procedures are completed in the clinic?
3) Who do we call if we have a problem during business hours?  After hours?
4) Does your clinic offer a Patient Portal where you can review labs and procedures?

Doctor Questions:

1) Where did you obtain your degree?  Are you board certified?
2) Will you be performing all the procedures?
3) Do you alternate doctors? (important to know and be comfortable with ALL the doctors who will see you)
4) What are your success rates?
5) What sets you apart from other RE's?

Treatment Questions:

1) Is treatment individualized by the patient or do you follow a basic protocol for everyone?
2) How long and how often do you monitor treatment?
3) How often will we come in for treatments?
4) Is your lab onsite or will other locations be involved in treatments? (i.e. hospitals, other facilities)
5) How long do you stick with a treatment before you move on to the next option?
6) Is there a waiting list for beginning treatments?
7) What is your course of action for male factor infertility?
8) Who determines how many embryos to transfer?

Lab Questions:
1) Do you do Assisted Hatching?
2) Do you have a donor program?
3) Do you perform all procedures on site?
4) How long does it take to receive results from labs?  Are they available online?

Expense Questions:
1) Do you have a list of costs for each procedure?
2) Do you have an option for multiple transfers?  (Some doctors are packaging two or three cycles into one cost)
3) Do fees include medications?  Injections?
4) Is a payment plan available?
5) Is financing offered?
6) Are there extra costs not included in any of the options?

Counseling Questions:
1) Do you have a counselor onsite?
2) Is counseling included in fertility treatments?

Success Questions:
1) What are the success rates for the clinic?
2) Do you have statistics for couples with similar problems?
3) What is the potential for success using the treatments for our situation?

These were the ones I felt were most important to us and I actually received many of my answers right from the website at Fertility Care.  However I still plan to ask them ALL over again!







Wednesday, October 14, 2015

31 Days of Infertility Day...03 - Community

I must start today by reminding you, as I will remind you each day about this AMAZING devotional I purchased from Amateur Nester for a STEAL of a DEAL at $4.29.  This is my first devotional and it it awesome to be starting my journey using this book.

Buy Your Own Copy HERE


31 Days of Infertility Day 03 - Community



YIKES!  The subject of community is difficult for me.  I don't have a community.  I don't personally know anyone struggling with this other than me.  I don't even really have a church community.  I'm just a number on a wall, a statistic of a mega-church.  I don't feel a home there.  So a community is foreign to me.  

An infertility community, that is a real reach into the uncomfortable.  But I really feel like God is leading me to do this.  I don't know if I am a voice for people like me but I believe sharing this experience and the feelings and events that surround it is part of His plan for me.  So this is an important day on the 31 Days Journey.  Yesterday on the way home I asked God, is this the right thing, putting it out there, exposing my life to the world?  But He gave me the answer before I even finished asking.  I was born to do this.  This is my calling, writing is my calling.  This journey is the beginning of me letting go and just following the path He has.  So as with every devotional day, I read today's message with an open mind.

Lisa started with a verse from Galatians 6:2: “Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.”

Galatians 6:10 adds, "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers."

So here I have an opportunity to do good, to share my burden to lighten the load, to in turn perhaps lighten the load for some couple going through infertility struggles.  Even I was to to reach one person, they could reach another, and another, and yet another!  It starts with one y'all.

I ended the devotional with Romans Ch. 15.  She recommended reflecting on 15:20 but I like to read all of the verses in context so I started with Verse 1.  And there is says, "We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2 Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up."

I am a strong woman...not physically, but emotionally.  But we who are strong should be helping others, the weaker...and not to help ourselves, not to add to some unwritten list of deeds.  Help others because it is what He asked us to do.

So I end today praying for guidance to find a community to not only help me on the journey, but to help others.  May someone find solace in the words I write as I've found solace in this devotional.    

LITERALLY....freaking out!

TWO DAYS from now, we will be completing our initial consult with Dr. Mark.  Dr. Mark is Board Certified and the #2 RE in the state of Florida.  He heads up Fertility CARE in Winter Park.  His website is My Fertility CARE 

My heart stopped when my cell phone rang and it was his office calling.  Why were they calling?  The last time they called it was to cancel my appointment.  Oh my, please don't be another cancellation.  They have NO IDEA how long I've waited for this...
6 years
8 months 
and 15 days
I've waited.

Please don't make me wait again!!  


But it was Mary calling to tell me that insurance confirmed they did not cover any portion of the treatments (which was not news to me) but she wanted to be upfront and let me know what would be covered and what would not.  I think that is very considerate of them to do that for me, even though I did it myself already.  

So we are still on for Friday at 10:00am for the consult.  If I said I wasn't anxious I would be lying.  

How in the world will I ever hand a 2WW if I can't even get to the first appointment without anxiety?

I better get a grip y'all.  We want this to be smooth sailing!


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Subscription Boxes

These days it seems like EVERYONE has a subscription box, but my personal favorites are the makeup and beauty boxes. I had no idea about these until I searched for the perfect gift for a fellow makeup addict. That is where I stumbled upon BoxyCharm....

THE greatest makeup subscription in...dare I say it...the history of Everdom!

My husband, a man who keeps detailed notes on the things I mention throughout the year that I want, a man who keeps and maintains a list of my sizes from bra to shoe...yes, bras, tees, baby tees (he separated the two based on my style preferences)...he is truly a KEEPER!  

Back to the action and not the man behind it, using his handy-dandy notebook he ordered me a different subscription box...GASP!!  He didn't know I had learned that BoxyCharm sends FULL SIZE products to your door...STOP.  What?  Full size?  Uh, yes people, full size products. He had no idea what he had done...HOWEVER, as a thankful wife should be, I eagerly accepted my monthly sub-box from him, no matter it's origin. It was thoughtful so I didn't burden him with details, and it gave me a good comparison on the two boxes.  I relied solely on the opinions of my fellow makeup addict on her BoxyCharm experience and she relied solely on me to deliver the news on the "other" box.  The OTHER box is one of these listed here.... 

Well the verdict is in people...and BoxyCharm won by a LANDSLIDE.  I compared our boxes for three consecutive months, May, June and July.  The other box just didn't have a chance!  Everything was sample size, the items were sometimes broken when received, it was just...OKAY.  The BoxyCharm subscription box however, was AH-MAY-ZING.  Full size products!  She received a full palette of eye-shadow (Makeup 101: a palette is a collection of several shades in one container).  Most of her boxes retailed for over $125 so do the math, three months = $375 worth of product.  And I'm resourceful, so even if I didn't USE all of the makeup I am surrounded by people who would love to share.    So when my sub-box subscription ended, I can't say I was sad to see it go. 

But, I loved to watch it leave when I got email confirmation today that my hubby gave me a BoxyCharm subscription!!!  (GASP....pause...pause....wait girl you gotta breathe...)

OH MY GOSH I GOT A BOXYCHARM SUBSCRIPTION!!!

Now I get my own awesome box of makeup and beauty products every month.  The cost of the box is $21 per month.  Yes, I said $21 per month.  That is $21 per month from Little Bun's budget.  I consider every dollar I spend or save because Little Bun is coming out of our own pockets, no insurance coverage.  But Daddy Bun is OK with the small investment for me each month.  He really loves me.  REALLY LOVES ME y'all!  I am so thankful for him and he thoughtful gifts!




31 Days of Infertility...Day 02 Comfort

I must start today by reminding you, as I will remind you each day about this AMAZING devotional I purchased from Amateur Nester for a STEAL of a DEAL at $4.29.  This is my first devotional and it it awesome to be starting my journey using this book.

Buy Your Own Copy HERE


31 Days of Infertility Day 02 - Comfort

This was a much needed reading today.  Comfort.  There is something wonderful about being comfortable, a peace that you can't put into words, that feeling when you wake up and your body is relaxed, your mind is quiet, your heart is calm.  The worries of the world haven't clouded your thoughts.  I feel most calm when my husband gives me a hug.  Sometimes he has to stand there and hug me for what seems like an eternity before I feel a quiet mind and calm heart.  

There was a time not long that I found no comfort in words or actions.  No matter how anyone tried to help, my soul was weak and beaten down and I refused the comfort others offered.  God is often right around the corner and all you have to do is ask and receive that comfort.  Read that again, ask and RECEIVE.  It's not enough to ask God to comfort you, you have to receive the comfort he offers. 


He will restore your life.  He will comfort you in your time of need.  You may not want the comfort he offers.  The comfort might come in a way that includes more from you than you are ready to give.  To receive the comfort God offered, I had to LET GO of some things.  And we have a tendency to hold on to things, whether they are material or emotional.  I was holding on to something, fist clenched and brows furrowed (don't do that ladies, the anger lines are hard to undo) and refusing to let go.  There was my comfort, just within my reach....but I had to let go of what I was holding onto in order to get it.  I wrestled with it, I tried holding it to the side and reaching, but the result was the same, there was not enough room to let Him in without letting that go.  

So, after growing tired and weary from carrying the burden, after realized my furrowed brows were causing wrinkles, I said, "TAKE IT God!  Take away this burden and allow me to receive the comfort you offer."  Allow me to receive this gift, the gift of grace, the gift of comfort.  I was back in His arms.  I was getting the hug I so desperately sought.  I was at peace.  My mind was calm.  My heart was quiet.  All I had to do was let it go.      

I ended today's devotional using the scriptures the author suggest and this struck me today:

 Psalms 71:20-21 "Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once more."

It does not matter our troubles, God is with us.  All we have to do is accept that comfort he offers.  What an amazing feeling, to get a hug from God!

As I continue my journey to Little Bun, I am comforted because I KNOW God has a plan for me.  It may not be a Little Bun, but He has a plan and I'm going to follow it.

I invite you to check out  Amateur Nester if you're on an Infertility Journey and make sure you pick up that book!

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Five Day Countdown!

HOLY CRAP Y'ALL!  We are at five days and counting, four if you don't count today!

My anticipation grows as quickly as my anxiety.  One moment I'm calm and prepared, the next I'm a whirlwind of emotion.  What if...what if...what if...oh the WHAT IF'S!

What if I don't like Dr. Mark?

What if he doesn't like me?

What if the swimmers are lazy?

What if my doctor was wrong and I'm not the "baby making machine" he praised?

What if I have a diminished reserve?

What if we get a BFP and it's multiples?

What about multiples?

Oh my gosh there could be multiples...

WORSE...

What if we can't get any swimmers at all??

I don't like to think those words.  We have discussed this in depth and donor sperm is not an avenue we want to consider.  It's our guys or no go.  Even typing the words my mind races to the worst possible conclusion.  That's why it's a big benefit to have Daddy Bun.  He sits as a scale.  If I'm contemplating the bad, he can sense that spiral.  He can tip the scales for me when I lack the ability to do it myself.  He is a perfect compliment to my life.

 

31 Days of Infertility...Day 01 - Clarity

I told you all about the book I purchased from Amateur Nester for a STEAL of a DEAL at $4.29.

Buy Your Own Copy HERE

I started this devotional today.  The great thing about this book is it's an e-book.  Read it on your phone, read it on your iPad, your Kindle, your computer or even print it out and carry a copy with you.  There is never a better time than RIGHT NOW to focus your attention on God.  He is always focused on you!
I've struggled for many years with infertility and the biggest obstacle was always finances.  When we started TTC in 2009, we knew we had the odds against us.  But fertility treatments were just not in the cards for our family.  So we put IVF on hold, indefinitely, and said "If it happens, it happens." The hope and despair I felt were overwhelming.  I became a shell of myself.  I was lost, confused and hopeless.  I didn't know where to turn, I didn't know what to do.  

Which leads me to Day 01 in the 31 Days of Infertility Devotional.  

and Day 01 starts with Praying for Clarity

See, why didn't I think of that!?  Here I am praying to God the same prayer over and over, because like Lisa over at Amateur Nester, I was terrible at prayer.  I know...you are probably thinking how can you be terrible at talking to God??  Ahhhh, but I am.  Having a conversation with God is not an easy task for me.  I drift, I lose focus, I lack CLARITY for what I desire to say to Him.  Day 01 focuses on talking to God about areas I am lacking clarity.  So today I am asking God to give me clarity, not just with our infertility journey, but with my life.  I seek His clarity to guide me in my decisions.  Day 01 ends with a reading from Psalms 119.  These verses stuck out to me.  I take comfort in the suffering I've endured because at the end, His promises will preserve me.  He outstretches his arms to embrace me.  How wonderful is that!  

My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.” - Psalms 119:50

"I have sought your face with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise.  I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes.  I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands." - Psalms 119:58-60


I pray for clarity, as I cannot see the light to know the path of which I walk.
I pray for eyes to see the person He loves instead of the person I think I am.
I pray for the strength to let go of the things I can't change.
I pray for peace within my soul.
I pray.  I pray.  I pray.






Sunday, October 11, 2015

How Far is the East from the West

I will tell you, it's the length of one of Jesus' scarred hands to the other. That is how far he will separate you from your sins, as far as the east from the west!

If you have even an inkling of an idea of how much that means to me, I mean WOW, the grace He extends to us is nothing less than amazing!  Even in my darkest depths, He knew where to find me and I couldn't even find myself! 

I will forever be grateful to God for the work he's done on my life!  I know He has a plan for the Buns! 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Our Ruth's Chris Dining Experience

Let me start by saying I'm a country girl and I live in my little country world.  So going to Ruth's Chris Steakhouse required two things I'm not a real fan of....pants and manners. 

I was going to wear this dress from Banana Republic, isn't it gorgeous!  Yea, and it's a size six (which I am not) so while I am standing here in this photo, I feel like a woman from the corset days and I am literally moments from passing out!


We stopped at Beall's so I could find a dress that I could actually fit, details that are of importance if you're planning to...I dont know, eat, drink, and BREATHE!  

Once I was breathing and comfortable we set out to our 8pm Ruth's Chris reservation with me still wondering what kind of name is Ruth's Chris?!  Let me tell you about Ruth Fertel...in 1965, a divorced mother of two teenage boys, she invested in a failed restaurant called Chris Steakhouse in order to pay for her son's to go to college. And THAT is why it's called Ruth's Chris!  She put her hand into every single steak she served and has become one of the the premier steakhouses in the U.S.  Ruth went against her banker, her lawyer and her friends with a goal. She set out to achieve that goal and SHE DID!  I am proud to have spent my 13th anniversary in her restaurant!  What a woman!  She, like me, had a goal. She set out and achieved it!
  SO WILL I!

  
We arrived and parked what seemed like a mile away in my five inch heels...hey, I said I'm from the country but I didn't say I don't love shoes, especially heels!

We were seating at a quiet corner table and set out for one of the best meals I've had in a long time.  

We started with drinks and they were exceptional!  I'm a martini girl and this Lemon Drop Martini was amazing!  Daddy Bun kept it simple with a Blue Moon beer. 


We had Spicy Lobster as an appetizer and I started wolfing that down before I could even take a photo!  Whoops!  Sorry about that...note about the SPICY Lobster...uhh yeaaaa...it is spicy all right, warns you right in the name. I needed lots of water refills for that dish!

Next came the Chop Salad, a recommendation from our friends Shawn and Mandy. And it was ADORABLE!  Don't let that little circle of greens fool you. There were so many delicious ingredients in that salad!  Green olives, eggs, bacon, chopped iceberg, spinach, mushrooms and all chopped in with the most amazing lemon basil dressing...and little cherry tomatoes on the side and topped with CRISPY FRIED ONIONS...had me at CFO y'all. This salad was delicious!!!

We each decided on steak because I felt it was a little silly to go to a steakhouse and not ask for steak!  Daddy Bun got the filet and I got the ribeye.  I like a filet, but I LOVE a ribeye.  These came sizzling in butter...I was trying so hard not to drool when it came to the table.  How awkward to be salivating on my fancy tablecloth while our server slid this in front of my face...

Oh my heck y'all, seriously, this was melt in your mouth, you want to lap it right off the plate but you can't, delicious.  I wondered why we even bothered to order sides....who needs sides when you have this!  But we added a potato and veggie anyway with the au gratin potatoes and cremini mushrooms. They were superb!  We LOVE mushrooms and happily agreed they were the best mushrooms we've had and we WILL be perfecting that recipe at home. 

Do you know what we didn't do?  Eat dessert. And they had chocolate mousse cheesecake. But I was so stuffed I don't even know where I would have put the cheesecake.  I imagined it light and fluffy with dainty garnishes of whipped cream. We agreed to skip the dessert. They boxes up our food and put it in a bag for us to take home. 

We had enough leftover to share a small late lunch on Saturday. 



This was definitely an experience to remember. The price of dinner was a small fortune, it would pay for my Ultrasound at Dr. Mark's office!!!!  While it was definitely one of the most amazing meals Daddy Bun and I have ever had...I would still gladly have his steak and mushrooms right at my dinner table. 

If you have a chance to have an experience at Ruth's Chris (we used Southwest Reward Points to get our gift certificates!) definitely GO!  Eat the Chop Salad and SAVE ROOM FOR DESSERT! I feel like I really missed out there!


My First Fishing Trip

....YESSSSSSS....that's right, my first fishing trip y'all!  My hubby has been asking me to go fishing since our first boat.  But it was small, and I don't fish, so I declined. Over and over, against his wishes, I declined.

So he set out to find a bigger boat to entice me to go fishing. And he did find a bigger boat.  So for his anniversary gift this weekend, we planned a fishing trip. Happy Anniversary Daddy Bun!  



My first few casts and look what I brought in the boat!  Okay, yes this is an tiny redfish, but I caught this!!!!  I didn't even realize I had a fish on the line!  I was just playing with my bait, HA, and a pull revealed this on the end of my line...My FIRST FISH!!!  I was thrilled!  We used shrimp and I even baited my own hook...well I tried several times...and if they were lifeless enough I didn't even throw them off the boat with squeals of fear...but I admit, I did lose a few.

Here I am with the first shrimp I put on the hook...YUMMY RIGHT?!?!  Just kidding!!!


I caught three fish and even out fished Daddy Bun! 

Below is the third fish I caught...a trout. Isn't it adorable?  No, adorable is not a fishing term. In fact, you don't want to catch adorable fish....but I did!  How cute!  


How amazing to spend the day with my hubby!!  Just the two of us, out on the water, surrounded by all these fascinating fish and amazing mangroves.  In my hubby's favorite place to be, sharing it with him, it was truly a BLESSED day for us. I thank God every single morning for my husband. He is my partner for life. 



Friday, October 9, 2015

Happy Anniversary...Advice after 13 Years

Tonight we celebrated 13 years of marriage.  I have to say that, for the most part, I've had an easy marriage. A lot of people will tell you, "Marriage is hard work." And I just didn't see it. It just wasn't like that. Now, don't let me fool you, we faced challenges and we faced many challenges...but looking back, I have today that was pretty easy to do with Daddy Bun.  We have a unique marriage in that we always seem to counter balance the other. If I'm having a bad day, he's having an amazing day and telling me to lighten up. If he's down in the dumps, that's the day I'm telling him how amazing we have it. We just have a knack for that. 
But lately it has been hard. It's been a real test of our faith and our marriage. It's taken a beating.  And I can tell you that yes, sometimes marriage is hard. Sometimes it is the hardest relationship you will ever share. Sometimes you wonder, why are we even doing this?  Other times you just look up and thank God that this person has chosen to stay with you. 

Marriage is not always easy. You may go three years without an obstacle, you might go ten years, you might be the blessed few who have little to no obstacles along the way. But remember this, you made a vow....so when it's hard, you think back to that day, the day you stood across from them and vowed to love them through the good and the bad. You remember that no, not every day will be sunshine and rainbows. But this person stood across from you and was willing to make the same vow. 

Always fight for that, for the vows you made.  No matter the obstacle.  That's my marriage advice to you.  Never, ever, let anything separate you from your marriage.