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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

I love the holidays. Christmas starts in our house the minute Thanksgiving ends. We always go down to a christmas tree farm and cut our tree down the day after Thanksgiving. Screw going shopping on Black Friday, that's tree trimming day in our house. And it's all done! It's so fun! We fully decorated, wreaths are on the doors, stockings are hanging on the mantle, Eric has constructed his wonderful Christmas Village that is growing bigger every year. We even did most of the lights outside the house. And we would have done them all, except that when we plugged them in to test them, half of all the strands were out. Really, how annoying are Christmas lights? I need to know what happens when we store them in the box from this Jan 2nd to day after Thanksgiving. Because they ALWAYS work when we put them away, and without fail, shits all screwed up the next year when we take them out. Ugh. But besides that, Christmas is full force on in our house, and I love it!

The kids love to stare at the Christmas tree. My parents babysat for the kids on Tuesday, because Eric and I both had to work, but my cousin and her whole family was sick so she couldn't take the kids. And my mom said that Hailey was like a rolling lunatic, and rolled under the tree, and then just layed there staring up at it. Makes me laugh. Oh, and Jake fell off the bed today! It happened so damn quick! He was in the middle of the bed, with a toy, so I thought he would be ok! And I just finished changing the sheets, so I was sitting on the floor at the end of the bed to tuck the sheets in under the mattress. I was tucking, and all of a sudden I looked up, and he was like a top rolling without a pause and off the bed he went! Thank goodness I was right there, so I was able to break his fall with my arms, but he started to cry because I think he got startled. Ugh. These kids are tough. Eric is going to have quite a fun time spending December home with them!

Thanksgiving was fun. We spent it with Eric's family. It was nice to be with all his family and eat like little piggies! I do love me some pumpkin pie!

The yuck news is that I got sick on Sunday night. Just a cold, but ugh, it's so hard to be sick and still be a mom. I wish there was a way to press the pause button for a few days when I get sick. I just so badly wanted to sleep late and overdose on Nyquil and just not have to worry about anything. I'm lucky to have a great hubby that really did take on a lot of the burden, but it's still hard. And I HAD to go to work. Monday I had a meeting all day long and Tuesday I had to go into NY for 2 meetings. Ugh, and I felt SO crappy Tuesday. And it took FOREVER to get there. I purposefully drove to a train station that went direct into NY, cause the closest one to my house you have to transfer in Newark. So that sucked, because there were all accidents, and it took me like 45 minutes just to DRIVE to the train station. So I take the train into NY. Then I decided to grab a cab because I felt so crappy and just didn't feel like taking the subway. It took so long to get to my work. Usually its like a 15 minutes cab ride. It was like 45 minutes that morning. I forgot that it's now the holiday season, so people are all in and shopping and siteseeing, and I'm like "Get outta my way! I have to work!". So I think door to door it took me 3 hours to get in. Then I decided to take the subway when I left work, because I figured it might be hard to get a cab on 5th Ave. The subway is so gross. Now the subway cars themselves, just getting down there. There's just this smell as soon as you go down into the subway stations that I just try not to breath and fly my way through. Ah, the fun of NYC during the holiday season. Hopefully I won't have to go in to many more times before Christmas.

Don't get me wrong! I love being close to the city and going in and taking advantage of all there is there. But not when it's for work. I like going in and walking around and taking my time. But when I need to go to work, I just want to get there, do what I gotta do, and get out.

Only 2 more weeks of this part time schedule, and then I'm full time back to work. Wow, how the time flies! Not that i'm not REALLY ready for that full pay check again.

What else? Me and Eric and going out to dinner Saturday night to celebrate our anniversary. My parents are babysitting which is nice. Our actual anniversary is Dec 5th. We will be married for 4 years! In some ways it seems like years ago, and in some ways like a lifetime! I'm sure I'll write a special anniversary post on that day.

And of course, pictures! Here are some from Thanksgiving weekend.

Hailey and Mommy
Jake and Daddy


Wednesday, November 21, 2007


So much to be thankful for. Where do I begin? I guess I'll start at the beginning. I am thankful for the love of my life, Eric. I feel like everything really fell into place in my life when we found each other. Granted, we found each other at 18 and 19 years old, dated for 2 months and decided we would be better as friends. Well, maybe I decided that and broke his heart. But he was a WAY better person than me, and stayed my friend. And ended up being my best friend all through college. And he was my best friend through my many dysfunctional relationships. And he was the person I turned to when the worst things in my life happened to me. And one day I just started to look at him with completely different eyes. And I realized that I had fallen in love with my best friend. It was all complicated and messy, considering he was in a relationship with someone else, and had been for 5 years. But somehow we sorted through all the bullshit, and realized that at the end of the day, it was always supposed to be him and me. So finally at 27 and 28, we found our way back to each other. And he loved me at my ugliest (or what I consider my ugliest.) At 360lbs, he supported me when I decided to have gastric bypass surgery. And the best part about it was that he didn't really want me to have it, because he was afraid something would happen. He always said "You are beautiful, you don't need to do this." And that made me love him more. But I still went through with the surgery. And he held my hand through it all. And he took care of me. And after losing 180lbs, his love was just as strong as it was when I was so much heavier. He always supports me, loves me, takes care of me and makes me laugh on a daily basis. Eric, you are my everything and the light of my life. Nothing means anything without you by my side. There certainly are no words for me to express how thankful I am for you.

Finally in Dec 2003, on a snowy (read: BLIZZARD) winter night, we got married in what was the happiest day of my life! I couldn't imagine being happier. And we enjoyed the first year of marriage. But then we decided to start trying to start our family. And we all know how that story ended. After a tough road, we have (no offense to anyone else) the most beautiful babies in the world. I didn't think I would be able to love anything or anyone as much as I love Eric, but that was just silly of me. I can't even explain what it felt like to see and meet my kids for the first time. It's a moment I will never ever forget. I am beyond thankful for those two perfect little angels. They have fully made my life complete, and I really feel like the luckiest person in the whole world. I have been blessed with so much love in my family that sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure this isn't some sort of dream, because it truly feels like it is.

I am focusing on my immediate family in this post, but there are so many other things and people I am thankful for. My parents, my sister (who is my best friend), my brother, my in-laws, my job, my home, my health, my family's health. Gosh, the list goes on and on.

I can remember so vividly exactly one year ago. We had just found out that we were having a boy and a girl. It was still such an intangible thing. I couldn't wrap my brain around the fact that we were going to have two babies! Now on this Thanksgiving, I'm so glad they are here, and healthy and happy and thriving.

So, Happy Thanksgiving to you all! May you take a moment to appreciate all the amazing blessings that are in your life.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

We have come to a decision...

We are going with Kiddie.Academy. We really liked the place. Eric and I went to see them last Wednesday, and we got the full tour. The teachers were just so great and friendly and all the kids looked happy and like they were having fun. Eric's sister advised him to really look at the kids and the teachers faces. See if they look like they like their job and are having fun. And we just got such a good vibe from the place. Every room they showed us, all the kids were so smiley. They would all wave at the babies and yell hello to them. I also liked the fact that they have baby-cams. So I can log on from work, and watch them all day. Yeah, I know, not very conducive to being a good employee, but it will be nice to get my fix if I really miss them. Although it would kinda suck if I watched them, and they started crying or freaking out. Cause then I would want to run and get them. So maybe it's not so good to have the baby-cam. hehe.

But WOW is day care expensive. I mean like expensive like do we need to sell our house? Yeah maybe. We'll see how things go. It's crazy. I have no idea how anyone does it. I mean, even if you don't have twins, most people space their kids 2-3 years apart, so at some point they are in day care together. How the heck does anyone afford it?? All I know is, when they finally go to school, it's going to be like we hit the lottery! Kiddie.Academy doesn't have an 2 openings until February. So my cousin is still going to watch the kids for 3 days a week during January, and my amazing bosses have agreed to let me work from home 2 days a week until they start day care. It's so great that they are letting me do that. Especially since my boss knows that it's going to be hard for me to really "work" during the day with twinfants at home. Although they are getting older and spend more time playing in their exersaucer and jumperoo and what not, so I will be able to get some stuff done.

I'm just glad that they are all signed up and our spots are locked in and a decision has been made. I hate worrying and having things hanging over my head. Especially this time of year. I'm so excited for the holidays. I've just barely started my christmas shopping. We aren't going crazy this year for the kids. That's what the grandparents are for. hehe. I went to Toys.R.Us with my mom, and she bought all this stuff for the twins it made me laugh. The best was when she wanted to buy Hailey a double stroller for her dolls. It looked just like the stroller the twins go in, the Graco Duoglider. In fact, I think it was made by Graco. I was like "uh, mom? Yeah, it says for ages 3+. And um, Hailey can't walk". She's getting a bit ahead of herself.

So much to be thankful for this year. But that's another post in and of itself.

I don't think I have any new pics to put up. Wait, I have a few I took of Jake in the bath. I gave him a mohawk with the shampoo. He's like my own little Maddox.
Jake and his mohawk


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Taking Care of Business

So much to talk about ... so little time. First, and foremost, thank you SO MUCH to Jenna. She bestowed on me the Blogger Flame of Fortitude. In her own words:

"You are receiving this honor because you have embodied perseverance in the face of difficulty and shared the journey of your experiences with others proving that a single voice can both be a light of support and a source or humor for those in the midst of their struggle. You are acknowledged here today for allowing others to share in your personal story and providing camaraderie through the power of your words."

Thank you Jenna, this means so much to me. I started my blog as a way to keep my family and friends updated on the twins. Lots of pics and fun and yeah. But as I slowly stumbled across more of the IF community, I realized that I wanted this to be more than that. Even though I'm not currently going through the process of trying to conceive, I still remember all the fears and worries, the emotions and stress, the highs and lows. It's something that will forever be with me. So many IFers (me included) thought a lot of the sting would go away once I had my babies. I was wrong. It's part of me, good or bad. It's a journey I went through that led me to the place in my life where I am. A journey that brought me to my beautiful babies, which of course was the end result I wanted. But also a journey to me. A journey that brought me even closer to my husband that I thought possible. A journey that made it painfully clear to me just how much I wanted to be a mother, regardless of how we got there. A journey that made me realize that IF affects millions of women. And it's still a taboo conversation. Which it shouldn't be. And I guess I just wanted to become a part of this amazing community that is creating a family for all of those woman who need a little love and support and friendship on the way to creating their own families. And any support and help I can give in the process is the little I can give back, for all the luck I feel I have received. And who knows, maybe one day we will decide it's time to try again, to add to our family, and it's so good to know their are so many women out there who can hold your hand through the good and bad of it. So who do I pass this flame on to? Every single person in my blog roll. Everyone single lurker. Everyone who has had to deal with any extra help in order to create the family they want. You all deserve this.

What else? Nothing much going on with the daycare front yet. We are actually going to see a Kiddie.Academy today. We checked this place out back when I was like 20 weeks pregnant, which was almost a year ago. So we need to get updated prices and just have more questions to ask now that the babies are actually here. The only caveat about this place is that they don't have 2 spots open until February. Kinder.Care had 2 spots open in January. So we'll have to see how it works out. At the end of the day, I'm going to put the kids in the place I like best. Have I mentioned how amazingly wonderful my bosses are? I mentioned to my boss about how we might need to find somewhere for the kids for the month of January, and she totally said they would work with me, let me telecommute a day or two, to help out. It's really wonderful to be a parent at the company I work for. My bosses are both woman, both have kids and just really understand what it's like. So I'll update more on that as we make a decision.

I bought shirts for the kids. Her's says Little Miss Trouble. His says Mr Silly. It fits there personalities perfectly. Check 'em out. The pics are links to tons more pics in shutterfly.

Oh, and one week and 2 days from today, we will be going to get our Christmas Tree! I can't wait! We are like lunatics about the holidays! I'm not even remotely religious, but I love the whole feel of this time of year. Fun and giving, spending time with family, eating (yum!). The kids already each have like 4 holiday outfits to wear. So be prepared for a million holiday pictures.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

12.5 Fighting Back

12.5% of the population is experiencing infertiliy and recurrent pregnancy loss. Yes, that statistic is correct. 7.3 million people in our country alone. Here is my story for Mel's Blogtavism.

Eric and I weren't even ttc a year when I told him I wanted to get checked out. The results were less than desirable. One blocked tube, bad morphology and not great FSH. According to our RE, we COULD get pregnant naturally, but it could take between 5-10 years. Yeah, not so great considering I was already 32. And really, who wants to wait that long?

We checked all of our insurance options. As both me and my husband work, we checked all of our plans. None of them covered fertility treatment. We decided to stay with my insurance, as all the testing and diagnosis was covered, and the RE we wanted to go to was in network.

Once we decide we were going with IVF/ICSI, we were also lucky enough to find out that all meds were covered. But it still left us with a approx $12,500 for a cycle. We opted for a shared risk plan. $22,00 upfront, and for that price you get 3 fresh/3 frozen cycles. If at the end we didn't have a take home baby, we would get 75% of our money back. Our story has a happy ending. A beautiful set of twins that has completed our family.

I live in NJ. New Jersey has an act called the Family Building Act. Here is what it says: The Family Building Act requires insurance policies that cover more than 50 people and provide pregnancy-related benefits to cover the cost of the diagnosis and treatment of infertility. The law defines infertility as the disease or condition that results in the inability to get pregnant after two years of unprotected sex (female partner under the age of 35) or one year of unprotected sex (female partner over the age of 35) or the inability to carry a pregnancy to term. This act covers IUI, IVF, ZIFT, GIFT, ICSI, surgeries and all diagnosis.

Sounds great, doesn't it? Ah, but there is always a catch. Companies DO NOT need to follow the state mandates if they are a self-insured company. A self-insured plan is one that is not backed by an insurance policy. The employer instead funds and administers its benefit plan (i. e. , pays claims covered by the benefit plan from its own money). It may outsource the administration of the plan to a third-party administer (like United Healthcare or Cigna), but this administrator does not provide the employer with any financial backing or assume any financial risk associated with the claims. Self-insured companies tend to be large, financially-sound companies. Small employers tend to not have the financial ability to self-insure, so they purchase insurance and rely on the insurance company to pay claims per the terms of the insurance policy. As a result, when state mandates are passed, they impact mostly small employers.

So, there is always a loophole. I work for a big financially sound company that decided not to offer fertility benefits. So just because I live in a state that has mandates, they still didn't help us.

I am lucky enough to have wonderful parents that paid for us to do the shared risk plan. It was money they took out of their retirement fund to help make our family possible. Without them, we would have taken out loans, probably would have sold our house, and put ourselves in financial debt to have our family.

Our family is most probably complete now. I can't imagine finding that money again to try and increase our family. It's sad to me that money is going to dictate the size of the family we will have, but I'm so thankful for the beautiful kids I do have. Honestly, I don't know if we would even try again, but it would be nice to have the option, and not have it dictated by how much money we have.

I hate that insurance pays for treatment for alcoholism and drug addiction. Because I didn't do anything to myself to create my medical problems. Yet people can CHOOSE to take drugs or drink, and they don't have to pay to fix a problem they caused themselves. I just hope that the more people that bring this issue to the forefront and talk about it, the more changes are made and people get all the help they need to create the family they want.

Monday, November 5, 2007

7 months! ** Updated

Can you believe the twins are 7 months today? Yeah, me neither. They are so damn cute, and getting so big! Hailey is rolling all over the place, I really think she is going to crawl any day now. She pushes herself up so high, and flails around like a lunatic. I just feel like once she starts to move, she's going to be speeding around like lightening. Jake is rolling all over too. He's a big chub.

Funny story, Eric and I were in the mall the other day pushing the kids in the double stroller. We were in the elevator, and another woman was in there with her child in a stroller. She looked at the kids and said "What's the age difference between your kids?". Yes, Jake is such a fatty that the woman didn't think they were twins! He is just so much bigger than her! We couldn't stop laughing about it.

Eric and I are starting the process of looking for daycare. My cousin Christina has been amazing to take care of my kids for me, thus far. But it's become a bit much for her. She has her three kids to take care of, and I think that it is important that she gets to actually take some of her down time for herself, and she gave it up to take care of my kids. And for that I will be forever grateful. And with her being so busy taking care of my kids, her kids aren't getting the attention they deserve. So I think this is best for everyone. Eric and I found a place we liked before they were born and Christina offered to watch them for us. It's a Kiddie Academy, which is a chain. But I really liked it. We are waiting to hear from them about availability. Christina is going to keep the kids for the next month, and then Eric is taking a month off and utilizing his Family Leave. So we need to find a place for them to start Jan 3rd. We are also going to check out a KinderCare close by that is getting great reviews from other parents. One thing that is cool aobut Kiddie Academy (Kindercare may have this too, I don't know yet.) is that there is a web-cam where I can go and watch the kids at any time. Yeah, I will be getting NOTHING done at work if I do that!

I know I've mentioned my sister Chrissy here a billion times. She is CONSTANTLY buying things for the twins and just is in love and enamored by them, and it's just the sweetest thing ever. I feel so lucky that my kids have this crazy Aunt who can't get enough of them and love them as if they were her own children. My sister only lives 1 mile away from me, and she literally drives past my house to get to her house after work. Needless to say, almost every single day she stops in on the way home from work to get some lovin' from Boots (Hailey) and McButters (Jake). The nickname Boots came from my mom, and I don't even really know why. She just started calling her Boots and Bootsy. Now of course, there are like 20 derivatives of it. I call her Lady Boots. It's very funny. McButters started as Butterball, morphed into Butters and then became McButters, because Chrissy is a fan of Grey's Anatomy. She just bought him a onesie that says "Who needs McDreamy when you can have McButters!" How cute is that? And she got one for Hailey that says "If you think I'm cute, you should see my Aunt Chrissy". Good stuff.

I guess that's about it for my update. Tomorrow I have to go to physical therapy in the morning, she is still kicking my ass. And then I'm in NY for work. I don't mind going into NY for the day. My boss is cool and let's me go in just for my meeting from 1-2pm. So I just drive in. Takes about an hour, but at least I can go off times and not have to deal with traffic. I don't mind going into the city when the weather is nice, but now that it's getting cold, I'm getting cranky. I don't do well if I'm outside in the cold. I mostly just want to sleep.

OH MY GOD! I forgot the most important part of my update! BON JOVI! Me and my sis and my friends Jen and Michele went to see the Bon Jovi concert last night is lovely Newark. I am such a Jovi girl! Bon Jovi "Slippery When Wet" was actually the first concert I ever went to when I was in 8th grade. The show was super fun, and he played a lot of old stuff, from Runaway to Living on a Prayer and Wanted Dead or Alive. We were loving it. But I drank, a lot! We got a car service to bring us home, and I was definitely drunk. I stumbled in the house around 1230am and grabbed a cold slice of pizza, shoved it down my throat, and went to bed. Yeah, I'm classy like that. Then around 3am, I woke up to pee, and decided to sleep in the spare room so that the kids wouldn't wake me up. I woke up around 750am just in time to give the kids kisses goodbye as Eric took them to Christina's. I was so tired and hungover and just wanted to sleep all day. But I had to go to work. First thing I did when I got to work? Went to the cafeteria and got a taylor ham, egg and cheese sandwich.

If that last paragraph doesn't prove that I am the ultimate jersey girl, than I don't know what will.

** UPDATE **

We took some really cute pics of the kids this morning, so I wanted to add them to this post. It's not really THAT cold in Jersey this morning, but these hats were just too cute for me to not put them on the twins.
Sweet Hailey
Smiley Jake

Also, this weekend was our nephew Brandon's birthday party! He turned 5! Unfortunately, I wasn't able to go since I was going to the concert, but Eric took the kids and they behaved very well! Everyone was impressed that he took them to the party my himself. haha ... It was at a bowling alley, and Eric commented that you don't realize how many ceiling fans and strobe lights are in a bowling alley until you bring babies there. They couldn't take their eyes off them, and pretty much ignored everyone else.
Brandon's Birthday