Monday, July 14, 2014

My yard baby

I just wanted to swing in quick and share some thoughts on my recently rediscovered passion and love. 

Gardening. Flowers. Creating. Designing. 

I worked in the floral and garden industry for many years. I attended college for a short time, and my studies were all focused on horticulture. I loved spending my time in and around flowers. My favorite work to do was for funerals.  Sounds weird, but I loved creating European gardens and other beautiful pieces that brought life and joy to a mostly joyless time. Meeting with the families, and learning about their recently deceased loved one, and helping put together something that represented their personality. I just loved that. 

In addition to arranging, I also loved spending time in the garden center. Mundane tasks like dead-heading plants, watering numerous pots, learning about the kind of environment each plant liked best, or nursing a lifeless plant back to life. I am a social person and love being around people, but being out there, alone, and left only to my thoughts was what recharged my batteries. 

I am sure it comes as no surprise that I've completely fallen in love with my yard since we bought our house. My yard as a whole is no where near where I want it to be, but it's coming together slowly, and I am really proud of the work I've put into it. It's my baby. 

Here are a few pictures of some of the work I've done. 

(Arrangement I made from my nanny family's yard) 

Friday, July 4, 2014

What Lou Gerhig taught me on the Fourth of July

I had bit of grief wash over me about an hour ago. It was the combination of a constant stream of patriotically dressed children on my Facebook newsfeed, followed by me having to go in that one bedroom in our house. I walk by it all the time, but rarely go in it. It's that room one that sits empty with the door always closed. Some days there is a light that creeps out from under the door, and it shines hope into my heart. I know without a doubt that one day that room will be the place I've always dreamt it will be. But some days, it taunts me with it's cold emptiness, and I dramatically contemplate hanging drywall over that entire region of house, in hopes that I forget it's there entirely.  

I am either stronger, or just better at keeping the emotions at bay, because this honestly doesn't happen very often anymore. Except for today. I completely surrendered myself to the tears, and before I knew it I was full on sobbing. Sometimes you just need a good cry, right? A good ol' fashion, hopelessly infertile, will-I-ever-be-a-mom cryfest. I can't say it feels good in the process, but it is cathartic, and I feel better after. I even let Jesse hug me. I'm not usually a cuddly, huggy person, but girlfriend needs to be held when she has a case of the sads. Poor Jesse. I should probably be a better hugger when I am happy too. I'll work on that.

There are very few words exchanged, partly because I can't get them out without snotting on everything around me, but mostly because there's really no need for them. Jesse just knows, and he gently sees me through my meltdown, while rubbing my back. I love him for his ability to love me how I need to be loved in these situations. It's these moments that remind that I have the absolute best person to go through these bumps in life with. Thanks, And Jesse's parents for raising such a stand up guy.

After a few minutes I dry my eyes, and vow to Jesse that I'll cool it with Facebook for the majority of the day. We sit on the couch together, and watch the Twins. I asked what the "75" patch on the players' jerseys signified, and Jesse said that it was 75 years since Lou Gerhig gave his famous speech to his fans. Most Americans know of him. He was the professional baseball player in his mid-30s, who found himself dying of disease that would later be named after him. Jesse goes on to tell me what he says during the speech. Because it's Jesse, and if it's sports related, he knows what's up. Here was a man, dying (DYING, you guys), yet still capable of standing up there, and boldly proclaiming to a crowd of people that he was the luckiest man on the face of this earth. And that's when I realized it. It's cheesy as hell, but I just gotta say it. I am lucky too. So, so lucky. Sure, I don't have a baby to dress in gaudy patriotic garb right now. The one dream I've always had hasn't been realized (the baby is the dream, not the dressing up part...I will undoubtedly suck royally at making my kid cute on purpose), but I still consider myself the luckiest woman on the face of this earth. I don't need to list off everything that makes me so. I know them, and refuse to forget them, even on these difficult days that creep up on me.

Here's the speech Lou gave 75 years ago.

I would also be remiss if I didn't also acknowledge the service the men and women of this country give every day to make my life super easy breezy. I am eternally grateful everyday, but especially today, on Independence Day, for our land of the free. It's all because of the brave.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

What about the birth mother?

We went to our first adoption seminar last night. We were one of four couples. We so appreciated everything we learned, and feel like we have a bit more knowledge under our belts. We're still overwhelmed, and not sure what our next step is going to be, though. Neither of us had a "this is it!" moment after attending, so Jesse suggested we go to a few more seminars at other agencies over the next few months to get a feel for how they do things as well. I think that will be good. If we choose to go the adoption path, we are pretty sure domestic infant adoption is the route we will go. I had been interested in the foster to adopt program, but there are just so many variables and unknowns. I am not sure that we could do that anytime soon. Not like there aren't unknowns with domestic infant adoption. There certainly are. One thing I do know is that I still want to support the fostering community, and hope to start sewing even more burp rags, bibs, and blankets for families that choose to go that route. We may not have the capacity to be official foster parents with children in our home, but there are so many other opportunities and ways to love and support the fostering community. I look forward to doing that. 

Since we are thinking domestic infant adoption, the thought that replayed in my head throughout most of our time in the session was, "What about the birth mother?" How is she treated through this process? What services are provided to her? What about the father if he is in the picture? Who helps her (or them) come to the decision that is best for her and her baby? Who helps her after she gives up the baby she carried for roughly nine months? I want to feel confident that if we go through an agency for adoption, that the birth parent(s) is/are cared for, loved, and counseled during the pregnancy, and as much as possible after as well. I cannot even imagine being in that situation, but there is no doubt in how traumatic it can be. 

I didn't feel like the agency touched on those aspects as much as I'd have liked, so after the hour and half session I made sure to seek out the person who lead the discussion. She assured me that they do whatever they can with the resources that they have, and that birth mother and the baby are of utmost importance. I know the circumstances for every adoption situation can vary, however, I just want to know that the person (or the couple) that potentially gives us the greatest gift, a precious child for Jesse and I, is being supported. My hope is that her family is involved in the decision, and they support her in what she chooses. And most importantly, I want to know her decision to place her child with another family is not forced or coerced. 

So. That's where we're at right now. More knowledge has been obtained, which is what we wanted. Neither of us feel rushed to make a decision or have any anxiety surrounding it. We're hopeful. And overall, there's still that sense of peace about everything. That's good, right? 

Oh yeah. I'm 31 now. I had the best birthday, and in a few weeks I will be on a plane with that husband of mine, to see the greatest performer of all the times. My boy, Billy Joel. And I will have that ridiculous, dorky smile on my face the entire time. Guarantee it. I just love him so much. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

I asked, Jesse answered

First and foremost, thank you for all for your support and kind words regarding our decision to look into the adoption of a human kid. I feel it necessary to add "of a human kid" to the end of that because, well, I I think I need to convince myself that we are here at this place. It's still sometimes pretty unreal to me that our hearts are leading us in this direction. We are attending an informational seminar tomorrow, and we are hoping for clarity with everything. We may leave and not want to pursue it any further. We may think it's a super, swell idea, but pump the brakes for a bit until we get the financials in order. Or we may get pregnant naturally now that we are looking into adoption. Because according to the general public, that is what happens when you start talking adoption. 

One thing I do know is that before Tuesday comes Monday, and Monday is today. Today is June 30. June 30 is my birthday. And my birthday means Jesse does what I say. Like fill out this silly husband survey that I saw a bunch of other bloggers post a few months ago. I'm late to the party per usual, but hey, it's my birthday, and on my birthday I do what I want. 

Without further ado, I give you Jesse's ridiculous answers to a few random questions. My responses are in parentheses. 

Me: What is the name of my blog?
Apples and Bobo Plus 8

(yeah, he rarely reads this blog)

Me: What do I typically write about?
Apples and Bobo

Me: What's a popular fashion item for women right now?
Jorts and tube tops

(jorts = jean shorts, tube tops = only if you're a carnie)

Me: What's the best place to shop for women?
Dollar Store

(we both share a strong passion for a whole store with dollar priced items)

Me: What do you know about Pinterest?
It is sack

(yeah, I don't get it either)

Me: What do you and I like to do together?
Go to get puppy food

(top of the list is buying dog food?)

Me: Am I good at staying on a budget?
No, never


Me: What do women keep in their purse?
Parking tickets

(I just got one outside our house the other day and Jesse only brings it up once an hour)
Me: What do I do when I'm home alone?
Talk to puppies


Me: And what do you do when you're home alone?
Take puppies outside

(I never take the dogs out)

Me: What is your favorite thing about me?
When you are hap hap

(when I'm not stark, raving lunatic?)

Me: Least favorite?
When you are sad sad

(so when I'm a stark, raving lunatic?)

Me: What's my favorite accessory?
Snap bracelets

(no words)

Me: What's an acceptable amount to spend on a makeup item?

(maybe she's born with it, maybe it's....her cheap husband?)

Me: What are my hobbies?
Bocce ball and LARPing

(not into live action role playing orrrrr bocce ball)

Me: What jewelry do I wear everyday?
Nose ring and chain


Me: What's my favorite TV show?
Designing Women

(Delta Burke is my idol)
Me: Do you really regret me adopting Bobo without your permission/blessing? 
He is sad

(you didn't answer the question, Jesse!)

Me: Anything else you'd like to share?
You love the puppy garden. 

(it's my jam, fo sho) 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Going down a different path?

This blog is read by a lot of people. People I know in real life. People I don't. I share a lot of stuff too. Personal stuff. Funny stuff. Weird stuff. Sappy stuff. I write about it all. I don't mind when people I know read this blog, and in fact, I welcome it, and hope they will tell me when they've stumbled upon a post or three. I've talked about this a billion times, but writing is my thing. I enjoy it. I may not be the best with proper sentence structure or inserting a semicolon...but that doesn't stop me from writing and sharing it all with you.

Recently there is one thing I haven't broached on this blog. Mostly because I have been afraid to write it, and put it out there. Like once it's on this blog, it's official. It's what we're doing. It's a done deal. Eeesh. That's scary. Because we may not do it. We may change our minds. Or it may not work. All I know is that my desire is there, and so is Jesse's. It didn't happen at the same time for us, though. If I have learned anything about this journey, it's this: Your spouse is generally and consistently about a step or two behind or ahead of you. One of you will arrive to a place before the other. Whether that be the initial decision to make that appointment with your primary, or pursuing different treatments after several failed rounds of a particular kind. Rarely do both partners arrive to the same conclusion and at the same time. That can be difficult, at least for me, as I tend to be a few steps ahead of Jesse with all of this. The second and most important thing I have learned is that you need to be patient with your spouse, and trust that you'll eventually come to common place. Together, unified, and sure of your next step. Only then will you know that it's the right time to proceed. 

The good news is that Jesse has met me at a place where I needed him to be. He's not a researcher, but he came to me with information that he found on his own, fueled by an increased desire of his own, and also because it's something his wife wants too. 

The information he gathered was on....adoption. Adoption of a human child. On his phone he had dates and times for informational sessions through a local adoption agency being held this summer. 


I feel like we are now at a place where I can talk about these feelings and desires as they increase, and we explore them. We have told our families and a few of our friends, and now I am ready to open up to the encouraging community that reads this blog. We are still in the itty, bitty baby stage of things. Excuse the pun, but that's how I see it. My desire to pursue adoption happened toward the beginning of this spring. I told Jesse shortly thereafter. He was a bit stunned, which I think is perfectly normal given that up until then we'd been all aboard the IVF train. Then we bought our house and moved, and we tried to not think about baby stuff at all. And then we got settled into our new home, and decided against the sixth IUI we had been planning since late January. And then Jesse came to me last week and said he was ready to learn more about adoption. It's been a crazy few months, but the evolution of everything has just felt natural and right. 

Does this mean we are pursuing adoption? Pursuing adoption sounds like we are definitely, 100% doing it. I don't think that's the case. Not yet anyway. We're in a fact gathering place. A place that will help us decide together if we are the right candidates for adopting a child. Obviously there is so much more to it after that. Like a home study. Being approved. Being chosen. Ummm, oh yeah...MONEY. Lots and lots of other things. But I do know that where we're at right this very moment is exactly where we need to be. And with that comes a great sense of peace.

Friday, June 13, 2014

To that guy I married...

It was your birthday yesterday. 33. My old man. Not that much older, as I will be 31 in a few weeks. But you'll always be older. Sorry.

You know I ask you this on an almost weekly basis. How did I get you? You generally respond with either, "How did I get you?" or "". Yes. It was the ever amazing Internet that brought us together. I'm so thankful for that. We're an odd couple, and I have no doubt we wouldn't exist as Lauren and Jesse if it weren't for the aid of a dating website. Our paths might have crossed when we were younger. So weird to think of us potentially meeting before we actually did. I dated a guy briefly that went to the same college as you. I think we've even determined you and I rang in the new year at the same chain of bars in Mankato in the early 2000s. You with your friends. Me with mine. So odd that we might have been in the same place, but no words were exchanged. Timing is weird like that. We came together at the right time, no doubt. The best, perfect time.

In addition to your birthday, we have another holiday fast approaching. Father's Day is on Sunday. You're technically not one yet, despite our very best efforts. You still possess all the qualities of who I want the father of my children to have, though. You even have a few I never thought I wanted. That's good.

Last night I saw you gently pick up Apple and cuddle her close to you as she was getting sick. She's a good dog, and doesn't act like this very often. I could tell it was making you nervous and a bit sad seeing the panic in her eyes as she convulsed and wretched. We later determined she ate a piece of Styrofoam. Silly dog. You said you didn't want her to barf all over our new couch. Sure. That must've been it. You'd pick her up, rub her back, and tell her she'd be better soon. You'd then lead her to the fresh bowl of water you set out, and block Bobo from going to it before she could. Yeah. That's definitely the demeanor of someone who is just concerned about the furniture. It melts my heart to see how caring and selfless you are. I don't deserve you one bit. But somehow, you're mine.

I loved sitting out on our porch last night (we have a house, babe...a house with a front porch!!). We drank birthday beers with Andrea, Robyn, and Jungle after we ate the birthday dinner I made. I try to make your birthday special. It's that one time of year that I think I am truly successful in reminding you that marrying me wasn't the craziest thing you've ever done. But let's be honest. It is the craziest thing you've ever done.

 Listening to you and Jungle joke and play cuts on your phones, and reminisce about college days. You always make sure every fifth song or so is something by Billy Joel. You know I love him. And then you always play Biz Markie's "Just A Friend". You make fun of my small town, conservative upbring, and can't believe I had never heard that song until I got XM Radio in my car a few years ago. You like to dance to the music you play...after you've had a few beers. Your dance moves are usually impressions of sack dances done by your favorite football players. It always makes me laugh. A lot of things you do makes me laugh. Your quick wit is definitely my favorite thing about you.

Happy birthday, my love. And happy Father's Day to the man I am willing to go to the ends of the earth and back for, just for the chance of making you the dad you were meant to be.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Three weeks ago

Three weeks ago today we entered a new chapter of our life. We became homeowners. And I promptly abandoned this blog. All my visions of sharing it all as we experienced it got sucked down the ol' tubes. As someone who has been blogging for a while now (did I ever tell you the story of the time I met a boy through my old blog in the early 2000s and moved to Georgia for him?), I don't get too up in arms anymore when I stop blogging for a whole month. It's never intended. It just sorta...happens? I used to get down on myself about it. I used to apologize for not blogging. To you. Like a true narcasistic twit, I was sure you cared and deserved my apologies for not gracing you with my blogging presence. Well the only one who has said anything is my cousin Tonya. So, Tonya? This ones for you. And like the little girl singing at the end of Love Actually, "And you. And you...and you". This is for all of you. All four of you. Tonya included. Hi, Tonya!!!! 

What's this? No, seriously? What are you writing about, Lauren? What are you trying to get at? 

How about I tell you a story. Gather 'round now, y'all. Lauren has a story fer ya. 

I was emailing back and forth with a fellow infertility blogger about a month ago. She told me about how someone told her that she needs to pray about having a baby. And not only does she have to ask God to bless her with a baby, she also has to ask God to take the desire away completely if she wasn't meant to be a mom. Wait. Seriously? That thought is completely unimaginable to me. Not being a mom? Not possible. the amazing risk taking prayer warrior that I am, I decided to toss that exact prayer right up to the G-Man himself. I was all, "Hey G-Man, you know I want to be a mom. I want babies to barf on me. I want to get poop under my fingernails and not realize it until an hour later when I'm biting my nails and eating poop. I want to be slobber kissed by someone other than Jesse. Buuuut....if Jesse's slobber kisses are the only slobber kisses for me, will you make me.......not want a baby anymore?? And will you also tell Jesse to quit slobbering on me? It's gross". And I don't know if it was the timing of us closing on the house, and me being distracted by Jesse letting me spend money and play house in something that is solely mine (I mean, ours), or what...but that burning desire to be a mom has sorta not burned so much in a way that I was being pained by it daily. 

We were suppose to start another round of fertility treatments this past week. I was going to go on the crazy drugs, and go in for those ever delightful monitoring appointments every other day. It would be our sixth and final IUI covered by insurance. We'd talked about it. We prepared for it. We were looking forward to it. But as the days approached and got closer, the tightening in my chest only increased. It didn't feel right. I didn't want to go on drugs. I didn't want every-other-day transvaginal monitoring. And I felt like a terrible person. A terrible person who didn't want a baby. Our baby. What had come over me? I'll be honest. It scares me. Do I not want to be a mom anymore? Did my one, measly prayer get answered? And was it answered in a way I didn't want it to be answered? 

Sooo...that's some deep stuff for you on this Friday morning. 

Some clarifications: I think I'm still suppose to be a mom. And Jesse definitely has dad written all over him (one night I wrote dad all over his arm in magic marker while he slept---kidding!---but wouldn't that be creepy?). I do think that God answered my prayer and is taking away that burning desire for right now. And that makes me feel a little less terrible for not wanting to do an IUI this month....or even in the next six months. Or maybe ever? Maybe the way I am suppose to be a mom is not through hardcore fertility treatments. Heaven knows how I've handled five IUIs. Could I tackle the even more intense and costly IVF? Maybe there's another way. I'll be honest and say that with this desire to not undergo treatments right now, there has also been a shift in how I see Jesse and I becoming parents. But I'll touch on that another time. This has gotten too long already. 

Also. Jesse doesn't slobber kiss. That would be a deal breaker for me. I kissed a few slobber kissers in my day. No thanks. 

Oh, and here's a few pictures of our new house. 

Lily of the Valley crop right outside our kitchen door. Love. Also, dining table and four chairs bought for less than $100 at a cool vintage place in Minneapolis. 

Landscaping has been a huge undertaking for us. I love how it's coming together. 

This might be my favorite room in the house. 

I look less than thrilled in this picture. But I love this picture, and that the dogs have a new perch to look out on.

That's it for now. I will share more about the move, life, dogs, and other stuff some other time. Like maybe another month from now?