{Not so} Merry Christmas News.

I will keep today’s post as brief as possible, because I am feeling a little down and don’t want to drag anyone down with me. I did, however, really want to document this change in status for my hubby and I, as it is an important step.

Yesterday we got the results from Jas’ second round of testing. It turns out that even though everything is working well for me, it isn’t for him. Without getting into any graphic details, he has high volume, low count and a very low percentage of ‘guys’ moving forward the correct way. What we were told for now is that we have the option to try a couple rounds of IUI using hubby’s ‘material’ or we could try IUI with a donor. The problem with using hubby’s ‘stuff’ is that our chance of it working will be lower than a normal IUI. I believe our doctor told us that the normal chance of an IUI working was 15%…not sure how much lower is lower for us.

Here is how I am feeling:

  1. Relieved that we finally know what is wrong. After two years of just hoping nothing was wrong, but having that dark feeling in the back of our minds, it feels good to at least know the reason behind our struggles.
  2. Sad to know that our chances of having a child that is 100% both of ours is very little. Jas told me last night that “it’s hard to wrap his head around the idea that even when we have a baby, it will just be (mine), not (his).” That broke my heart into little tiny pieces. I feel so bad that he has to go through those feelings.
  3. Scared to begin the process of trying rounds of IUI. A tiny little corner of my brain was trying to stay happily unaware of reality and thought maybe it would still happen naturally for us. But the full weight of reality has set in now and I am very nervous of trying the treatments. Only the future will tell…

I swear I am still working on projects! In fact, I just finished hubby’s christmas present album (JUST IN TIME to use the Shutterfly coupon…this little Christmas Elf saved $47 on his gift!) and I will share that when I get another spare moment. I am a couple days behind on December Daily and will work on that tonight. I am also still a couple of weeks shy of being current in my PL album…but hope to finish those by the first week of January! I CANNOT wait to order my 2012 digi album!! The anticipation is killing me! I also started a special little project for myself, that when I get up the courage I will share as well!!

I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday season and making wonderful memories in the small moments! Take care!

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The countdown begins!

Whew…that was a busy weekend! December 1st brought with it all the craziness of the holiday season! Our small hometown had a little Christmas festival and it was so much fun! Santa came in on a helicopter and dropped candy to the kids! I set up a little booth for my photography business and gave away a free mini photo session! I had lots of lookers and compliments on my work and lots of people take business cards. So, fingers crossed that I will get some business in the near future!

More importantly, was we put our Christmas tree and decorations up this weekend! It was a HUGE struggle for me! I was emotional to begin with, as we are waiting on results from my husband’s fertility testing. As we were putting up all these decorations and thinking about the season, I felt like I was just going through the motions. It is hard to face another holiday still childless. It doesn’t help that I am starting to get Christmas cards from family and friends and lots of them have new babies or announcing pregnancies. Sometimes I feel very alone in my struggles starting a family.

Despite the obstacles though, we pushed through and got our tree up! A friend was over to get some car parts from my hubby, and he brought his two little sons with! They are 4 and 6 and have lots of energy. When they saw the boxes of ornaments, they could not contain their excitement and wanted to help me decorate! Let’s just say I had to get over my OCD for this one! They are what, three feet tall? And this was the first time little people have helped me with the tree and I had to get over the fact that ALL the ornaments were on the bottom half of the tree! Hubby thought it ws hillarious…I fought the urge to move them all weekend long! Here is what our tree looked like in the end:

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I love taking photos of christmas lights and making them look like strabursts by changing the aperture on my camera (using a tripod and f/22) and this time I took it a step further and busted out my lensbaby lens. I usually don’t do well with the lensbaby, because it’s such a different look, but I got this photo and surprisingly LOVE it!

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After finishing all the decorating and business work on Saturday, I spent all day Sunday trying to be productive on my scrap projects! I am going to throw it out there…I am stressing about my hubby’s Christmas present! I am only half way done with his racing scrapbook and feel like I need to get it ordered SOON (like tomorrow)! We will see how I do on that one. I was more motivated yesterday to work on my Project Life and my December Daily.

Go figure, I completely changed my mind on how to structure my December Daily! I can just never make up my mind! I think it will be easier for me to include it at the end of my 2012 Project life album. So, I decided to use the 6×6 squares template and put four layouts on one page. Here is what my first page looks like:

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I also started the Day 2 layout, to be put on the second full page.

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I am much happier with how these pages are turning out and it seems like I can manage the project better this way. I am thinking of including my every day activities into the normal PL layouts (IE: outdoor ice skating, snow tubing, movies, work, etc.) and focus on the special Christmas activities in the December Daily (ornaments, traditions, gifts, etc.) I am very excited to see how this turns out!

I also got a couple of PL layouts done yesterday! I am still trying to catch up and hope to be all done by the New Year so that I can order my album as soon as possible! Right now, I beleive I am missing weeks 48 and this week 49 as well as extra pages for my trip to Las Vegas. Here is the left side of Week 44, when we made Jack-o-Lanterns for Halloween.

IMG_5885On the right side, I made a VERY simple page just so that I could catch up that highlighted photos from the weekend. I did two photos for Friday, two for Saturday and two for Sunday, journaled a little and called it complete!

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Lastly I worked on week 47. The left side has photos from the short work week and our trip to Lincoln over the weekend.

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The right side has all the exciting photos from Jason’s track championship banquet. This was a really exciting evening for him and I was so proud that he accomplished such a big goal for himself! Way to go babe, you had an awesome season this year!

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I also wanted to point out that even though I forgot to take any photos, I did do A LOT of cleaning out last week! I followed the Daily Digi reverse 100 challenge and the goal was to donate or get rid of 100 items that we didn’t need. I did NOT take on the kitchen, because that was just unreasonable! I did however clean out my closet and donate a lot of clothing, shoes and accessories. I also donated some plates and silverware that we don’t use. The biggest accomplishment was cleaning out the paper scrapping supplies that I no longer use since I am digital! I sent out large envelopes of goodies to six of my fasted Instagram friends that asked for the items! It felt really good to send those things off to ladies who will put them to good use! As I continue to clean out and organize, I hope to tackle the stack of DVDs that we don’t watch, the magazines that we don’t read and maybe some of the makeup that’s old or lotions that I will never get to.

I hope everyone is having a great start to their Holiday Season! Let’s put family first and make the most of the small moments in life!

Project Life Week 46

Since my job gives me four day weekends now, I have been able to get a lot of work done on Fridays for my photography business as well as many house work chores done on Saturdays. For once, I have had some free time on Sundays, which is an amazing thing!

So, yesterday I sat down at the computer very excited to get some digi scrapping done and bam-creativity block! I get so frustrated on those days every now and then when I just cannot think of anything cute to do on my pages and I end up not liking the finished products. The good thing about digi, is that I can save the PSD file and come back to it later if I want to re-do it. I ended up scrapping a little, then going to eat a snack, scrapping a little, watching a movie, scrapping a little, folding the laundry. Needless to say out of an entire day, I got VERY little scrapping done! I also chose to jump around a little bit. Currently I am not done with weeks 44 or 45, but I wanted to start with this week first when I was working yesterday. Here is what I did get to:

Week 46, left side:

Week 46, right side:

Let me interrupt my display of PL pages to tell you how much I LOVED the last Twilight movie! I think the production improved tremendously from the first one and I thought the twists at the end were shocking! Call me a Twi-nerd if you want, but I enjoyed the movie very much! I think they did a great job of making my husband and I laugh, cry, gasp… I could go on and on, but I won’t submit anyone to that!

Here is what I started to work on for Week 45 (the week of Election day and my first time voting). I just could not come up with something I liked for this page, so I decided to leave it, not finish the right side yet and move on. I also can’t decide what to do, because the right side would be the weekend we were in Vegas. I am wondering if I want to include a few extra pages in the PL album or make a separate album. Decisions…decisions…

Next thing I wanted to share today are the few December Daily pages I have created! Remember the “plan” to keep it simple and not use many embelishments? Ya, that went out the window as soon as I started shopping for digitial supplies and saw all of the cute Christmas Kits that are out! I think I spent a good $25 bucks on digi supplies for Christmas! Ooops! Well, here is what I came up with for my title page with a lot of inspiration from my Instagram friend!

And here are my first two pages without any photos yet:

For a couple of days last week, I felt very excited for Christmas to come. I saw the crafts on Pinterest, decided to do my December Daily album and hubby and I came up with our list of holiday related activities. Everything seemed like it was going to be magical again. And then this weekend my cycle started over AGAIN! I’m telling you that trying to conceive can suck the fun out of everything! Without being too much of a Debbie Downer, I just wanted to document the fact that I am not looking forward to yet another holiday without a baby. Just in case anyone else is feeling the same way, because I think many people might be going through this! I am seeing all the cute new familes at the malls and the preggo mamas going out to lunch and it’s hard to stay positive for myself. I so want to do the Christmas pajamas tradition, and watch Christmas cartoons with a little one, and do the Elf on the Shelf, and have a little person shout with excitement when we turn the Christmas lights on. There are so many little wishes in my heart and I am barely holding out hope that it will happen one day.

Alright, I think I got my point accross without completely depressing everyone! My main goal is trying to find the magic in the small moments throughout the season and really enjoying my time with my hubby and family.

Sheesh.

I am totally going to start this blog post with yet another cliche…and say “Where has the year gone?” Seriously, I just now realized that tomorrow is Halloween and the Holidays will be upon us in meer weeks!

I feel as if I have no sense of time for various reasons, but I am will to share two of them: 1) I have been incredibly busy lately (the good kind of busy) and 2) infertility is hard (it just turns into counting days, weeks, and cycles). With everything mixed in together I have not only felt completely overwhelmed, but I have felt like a complete slacker lately! I mean it…I didn’t even decorate for autumn, which is my FAVORITE season of the year! I am lucky I purchased pumpkins and put them on my front porch!! I only did that because I used them as props for my Halloween Mini Sessions! My big goal right now is to make sure I get a Christmas Tree up before December 25!

To address the infertility, I want to let everyone know that hubby and I completed the priliminary testing and everything came up normal. No red flags, no blockages, no hormonal deficiencies…nothing. On one hand that is amazing news to know that everything is working properly. But on the other hand, there aren’t many avenues for treatment possibilities with “unexplained infertility.” Our doctor said that we could try a few rounds of IUI, but we thought it best to put our money towards some life goals before tossing it into the Fertility Wishing Fountain.

That brings me to the next update topic…money, travels, home improvement…oh, my! Money is a challenge in every marriage, right? I hope so, because we have dealt with financial arguments every year we have been together! I think we have finally gotten to a more secure point in our lives and are really enjoying less money stress! We are debt free not counting the house, the car and my student loans! Yay! We don’t use credit cards and pay for most everything in cash! The cool part of that was paying for our upcoming trip to Mexico all at once in cash too! One of the best feelings ever!! Only rivaled by the awesome feeling of having lots of cash stashed in my Piggy Bank! Yes, I am THAT old school that I have a Piggy Bank in my scrapbook room! Ha ha! I am saving for that Canon 24-70mm lens I have been dreaming about! Once we put a little more cash into the savings account we are hoping to finish our basement remodel…which would be a huge weight off our shoulders! Fingers crossed for a large tax return?

Alright, I think that completes the updates. I just wanted to let everyone know how things have been, why I am struggling to get everything done and how hopeful I am for good things in the near future!

Anyone want to see some Project Life progress? I think I heard one yes whispered out there…so here you go! I am going to share Weeks 35 and 36. Week 35 was the week we purchased our new Mac computer to help me with portrait editing and I am IN LOVE with the machine! So, of course I devoted an entire page to it, right? I love the picture of my hubby…he is pointing at the computer with excitement, but it kind of looks like he is pointing at the pretty girl in the background! Hee hee!

Week 35, right side: I used a cool kit I found from an Instagram friend that’s awesome for making a recipe book from the Project Life supplies.I just used the kit to make one page, to display a couple of favorite recipes that we make at home. I actually really like the way this entire layout turned out. It’s very simple, not many embellishments. But just enough pop of color to make me happy!

This is Week 36, which was such a fun week for us! Curiosity landed on Mars, we ate out at Mongolian BBQ and went away for the weekend! I used one of the free quote cards from Becky’s creative team as the ‘title card’ and then made the embellishments match those colors.

Week 36, right side: we were feeling a little stressed and overwhelmed with all of the fertility testing, so we decided to take off for the mountains over the weekend! We borrowed the motorcycle from my Dad and went to Glenwood Springs! Glenwood is my absolute favorite weekend spot! We have gone there every year since we have been together and Hanging Lake, near Glenwood, is actually where my hubby proposed! This weekend we went on a small hike to a fireman’s memorial, went for a couple’s massage at the Vapor Caves and ate out at the Glenwood Brewery. It was just what we needed!

I made this template in PS Elements 10, to include a 8x photo as well five 4×4 photos. But this weekend I had more photos than that, so I made each small square a little collage. It’s a bit busy for my taste, but I love that all the photos are included and each can tell a story for itself!

That’s all for now! Thanks for stopping by and catching up! ~Jay