Monday, November 18, 2013

Whoa.

Woah. Yes, I know I had the same response for myself when I logged into Blogger for the first time in months. If you're still following me, THANK YOU. I've missed you all terribly!! Why have I been MIA from blogger land for so long? Yeah, I'll get to that some day. Promise. Right now I'm not ready to talk about that. ...but I did want to tell you all that I've got lots of posts in my head and I promise to start blogging again VERY soon!! My first job is to finish up that European trip I took in July!! I can't wait to share all the wonderful photos with you, especially of that little man who I think about on a daily basis. He's growing so big!! So folks, stay tuned--European trip will continue, along with other stuff soon!!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

One Year Ago Today...

One year ago today, I was in a hospital.

One year ago today, I gave birth to a baby boy.

One year ago today, I helped create a family.

One year ago today, I fulfilled my dream of becoming a surrogate.

Happy First Birthday to my handsome little surro-guy!!! 

He went from this cutie moments after birth:


To this very handsome little man:



I am so thankful an honored to have lived the past year knowing I was able to help create a beautiful family.  Knowing that that little guy above is loved by so many people brings a feeling to my heart that in unexplainable.

Relive the birth story here, if you'd like!

Jáchym--Všechno nejlepší k narozeninám! 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Europe...Day 1

July 7, 2013
In flight

We flew from Milwaukee to JFK (New York) on a very uneventful flight, only a couple hours.  Thanks to the bloody mary's at the airport at MKE, our vacation started off great!

We arrived at JFK airport with about 5 hours to spare before our flight left for Prague.

Hmmm....in New York...and 5 hours before our next flight...what does one do??

Go to New York City, of course!!!

So, we stepped outside the terminal and happened upon a man wearing bright yellow with a checkered pattern vest...a taxi driver right?  Well, kinda...I'll get to that in a sec.


He looks like a taxi driver, no??
We negotiated with "The Yes Man" (I don't think we ever got his real name, but the "Yes" tattoo on his arm denoted his surname) and before we knew it, we hopped into his SUV with another driver sound asleep in the front and headed to the city.

The self-proclaimed "King of the Swoop" (think of swooping as veering out of traffic, passing a car or two on the shoulder and cutting someone off to get back onto the road) made good time and before we knew it, we were looking out the windows at Times Square.

I was seriously just thankful to be alive at that point.

Now, all the way to the city, Jesse kept giving me "the eye". My first thought was, "oh, he's telling me he loves me before we enter an alley and find our death by taxi-driver". What he was trying to tell me was that "The Yes Man" wasn't legit. Completely illegal, operating what I thought was a real taxi-service in New York City.  Yeah, I was wrong.


Lovely.

My inner Wisconsin small town girl mind took over and needless to say, I was slightly frightened.

...but he got us to the city just fine--and the whole way there we had interesting conversation with him and learned all about his endeavours, true or not.  He was kind of a neat chap.

And Al was still sleeping in the front seat.

Double parked, "The Yes Man", hubby and I got out and ordered some decent street grub at a somewhat famous food cart (I guess it's one that has had the same spot for 25+ years).  Nothing like eating a gyro and falafal in a double parked taxi, just sayin'...



After lunch, we headed back to the airport.

And got there safely.

Whew.

After standing outside and chatting with "The Yes Man" for a bit before we re-entered the terminal, I glanced down at his name tag.  Still not quite getting his real name, I learned his very official taxi badge read that he was a "Food Service Manager".  Very official, no?

We found our gate and boarded the 7-hour Delta flight to Prague!



Up Next...Day 2.  Prague.  And the surro-family.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Foto Friday!

Just wanted to share some pics of some of my favorite little people:

My kiddos, growing up way too fast:
Elliot, Emerson & London

And check out this little man!  Ack!  He's so big!!!




Wednesday, June 12, 2013

We are amongst fame, people!

No, I'm not famous...

...but someone that I may have had a baby for is...

(15 Second Mark)




No, I didn't understand any of it, either.
But here's a screen shot of the best part:

See that doctor??  Yup, that's Honza (one of Jachym's daddies)!! 
Cool, eh?

Oh, and PS...Jesse and I get to see all the boys in less than a month!!!! 

More blog posts soon-miss ya'll!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

5K. Complete.

I’m not sure that I can flat out say “I’m a runner” …yet…
…but I am happy to tell you that I did, in fact, “run a 5K”.

No really, I did.

I ran it.

Mostly.

My friend, Cole, and I have been talking about doing a 5K for a few months. When I say “doing” my thought was always just walking the thing. Never could I possibly run 3.106 miles. Ever.

A 5K opportunity just happened to come up near her home in Kentucky. She called me and asked "want to do a 5K with me?".

I said okay.

And then regretted my answer immediately.

I mean, she was actually talking about running it. Yikes! I thought she was nuts.

And then I thought—No, I can do this. WE can do this.

We talked about goals and decided on 2 of them:

1. To finish without keeling over.
2. To finish in under 45 minutes.

Then I got an e-mail from the Flying Pig Marathon Association. It was my registration. It was my race number. It was reality that I was going to have to do this.



How on earth was I going to run 3 miles? The most I had ever run at a time was 1 mile—and my best time was just a smidge under 12 minutes. Notsogreat. To run a 5K in less than 45 minutes would mean I would have to average less than 14:48 per mile. For one mile that might be a walk run in the park, for 3 miles that might be worse than, oh, I don’t know, running more than 1 mile??

The day of the race arrived. I donned my spandex running pants (the last time I wore spandex in public was at a 6th grade dance in 1991…seriously) and pinned my race number to my shirt. I actually could have passed for a real runner. But I didn’t feel like one…I actually felt like a poser. I wasn’t a runner. I don’t run.



The countdown to the start of the race commenced and as soon as we heard “One!” we took off.

And we ran.

And ran.

(okay, more like jogged, but you get my drift...)

Seriously, we ran nearly the entire thing. We walked only for a couple minutes.

And we finished it!!  We finished in 43:10.




Is that great? For us, yes. For a runner—probably not.  But our goals were met. And then some.  And we had a great time doing it!


Thanks for the great time, Cole (and your hospitality)!!  It's always a good time when I'm hanging out with good people.

As for the 5K...will we do another???....we'll see!!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Cursillo

Heads up kids, this is about religion. Kinda.  Maybe not really.  But it’s also about an experience I recently had. I’d love for you to sit back and read. Maybe you can relate. Maybe not. But I’d certainly enjoy some company in this little anecdote.

I would never consider myself a religious person. Sure, I’d go to church…as often (okay, maybe not) as I could.

But I never really listened. I never heard a message. I never had a relationship with God.

I’d go because I wanted to be able to say “I went to church”. I also wanted to keep my dad happy. He was so into church, so into God…and I wanted to make sure he was content with his daughter’s religious doings.

A few years ago, my father casually mentioned a word to me and gave me a 30 second commercial about it. The word was Cursillo. Much like many things my dad talked about when it related to church or religion, I listened for about a millisecond, came up with some sort of answer or excuse on why that just wasn’t for me and turned the conversation to the weather.

And then he wouldn’t bring it up again for a few months.

For years, this was a never-ending cycle with my father. Cursillo. “Jesse, I really think you’d like it”. “Sure, dad—but I’ve got so much going on with work, with my mom—it’s just not good timing”.

I still had no clue what Cursillo was. But I was totally against it.

I did this just now—never before did I even look up the definition of this word:
What is Cursillo?? The cursillo focuses on showing Christian lay people how to become effective Christian leaders over the course of a 3-day weekend. Definition: Short course of Christianity.

As you may know, my husband and I had some “troubles” last year. After a rocky moment or three, we talked, we figured everything out and are happier than we have ever been.

And in early 2013, dad asked us both about Cursillo.

“Ugh, dad”…I thought. “Not again”.

But Jesse had a different outlook. “Why don’t we go?” he said.

Hmmm….I actually never really thought of going. Ever. And now my husband—the pretty non-religious chap I married is suggesting it? Hmmmm…..

So we talked about it, figured out the logistics and if we could get away for a weekend and sat my dad and step-mother down and told them we were going to Cursillo.

And I couldn’t wipe the smile off their faces.

The decision to go was made in January. Cursillo was in April. We had plenty of time to research it, to figure out what this thing was, to come up with a reason to not go….

But the time came. We filled out our applications. We wrote a check.

We were going.

We understood that my dad and step-mom would be our “sponsors”. We had no clue what that meant, other than that my dad would be driving us to the place they would hold Cursillo (a camp in Waupaca, WI) on Thursday afternoon and pick us up on Sunday afternoon.

Besides a “packing list” for the weekend, we received nothing about Cursillo. No agenda. No list of who would be there. We were blind going into it.

So, Thursday afternoon rolled around. Jesse and I packed our bags and within hours we were chauffeured (via mini-van) to Spencer Lake Christian Camp with my father, 2 hours away from home.

He dropped us off and we walked through double doors headed into the unknown.

The very unknown.

I am not going to go through the details on what we actually did at Cursillo. It’s not that I don’t want to talk about it….I do. But I can’t do it justice. There’s only so much that can go into words on a computer screen. I can’t relay what I felt. I can’t relay what I experienced. Not on paper, not in person.

There were some down times. I will admit that. There were times I wanted to leave. Jesse too.

But we stuck through it.

And on Saturday, I had a life change. Jesse will tell you he did too.

I can’t describe it. I can’t explain it. Just know that as I type this and think about it, I get tears in my eyes. Good tears.

Today as I type this, it’s the Thursday after Cursillo.

And I feel amazing.

My life is just as it was before this past weekend. I still sell vision insurance, I still love pasta and wine, my feet still hurt in certain shoes and I still need to go on a diet.

But I’m different.

I’m different because of Cursillo. I’m different because Christ knocked on the door to my heart and I let him in.  

I see things differently. I think about things differently.

I am better. And very, very happy.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Half Celebration

Do you celebrate half's?  Half anniversaries, half birthdays, perhaps?

Yeah, we don't either.

Until this year.

A couple weeks ago I was pampering myself a bit at my favorite salon when I got a text message from my husband that read "Let me know when you're 2 minutes from home".

So, when I was about 2 minutes from home, I called him and I was instructed to pull down the driveway, but not to pull in my normal spot...I was told to stop before that and he would then direct me to what my next step was.

So, I did as I was told, with one eyebrow raised the entire time.

He greeted me at my car, instructed me to close my eyes, grabbed my hand and led me to the house.

Yes, I was freaked out.  I had NO clue what he was doing.  Did he paint a wall some funky color?  Did he invite people over for dinner?  Did he make dinner?

None of the above.

I walked into my house, opened my eyes and heard "Happy Half Birthday, Mom!!!"

We were celebrating my half birthday.  A day I would have never even thought twice of.

And it was pretty special.


I got some cards... (A present, too!!)

There were balloons...

Party Favors...

Even half a cake!!

The kids, Jesse and I had a nice time celebrating something we wouldn't normally.  My husband can be quirky and goofy, but this kind of stuff is pretty awesome to me. 

Now I have to think of a "half" celebration I can spring on him!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

8-Month Photo of one cute kid...

Just had a brief moment for a quick drive-by blog post...I HAD to share this photo.

I am one very proud surro mama! 

Happy (a little over) 8 Months, Jachym!!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Be in Peace, MC

There's a blog that I follow...one that has inspired me, one that has put many a smile on my face and one that has made me cry.

Today, Hayden (aka "Master Cheeks") passed away.
You can see the post here.

If you're the praying type, please send a quick prayer to Bernadette and her family.

“Each new life, no matter how brief, forever changes the world.”




Saturday, March 2, 2013

Disconnected

I'm feeling quite disconnected lately.  From everything.

I barely text my friends, I certainly don't call them.  I've been MIA from Facebook for days on end and the blogs I follow have been updated 1800 times without me reading one thing...and I feel so lost...

I mean, I'm busy.  Really really busy.  I've been working on a project for work and put in no less than 60 hours/week...plus I have a family to take care of, plus I have a mom in a nursing home to visit....but are excuses even okay here?

Okay, sorry--just needed to vent.  My friends, close and far, I love you.  Please know that.  My blog followers, thanks for hanging around.  I have lots to say, just no time to say it right now. 

Jesse hasn't left the building--I'm just hanging out in the stairwell right now. 

...but I'll be coming back soon. 

XO

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I get 70 miles to the gallon on this hog.

The day:  January 4, 2013
The time:  sometime in the afternoon

"I have an "appointment" tomorrow afternoon.  Will that work with your schedule?" said the man I married.  "Uh, sure" I said.  "What kind of appointment?".  "Nevermind that" he said with a smirk.

My eyebrows raised.  He said nothing more.

Something was up.

The day: February 14, 2013

The time: 5:49 am

I awoke to a familiar voice "Hun, get up. It's Valentine's Day". When I was able to open my eyes and focus, I saw my husband staring at me with a huge smile on his face.

He grabbed my hand and I looked down the stairs leading to the main level of our house and saw this:



I walked oh so carefully down my path of hearts, walked into the room below and saw this:


 

Yes, my friends...it is true and oh so awesome.  I am now the proud owner of a Honda Cosmopolitan Scooter. 

Oh yes, I took it for a spin immediatly.  Nevermind it was only 4 degrees outside, I needed to try that puppy out.  And she's awesome.

I'm hittin' the wind once the weather turns at least a teensy bit warmer.

I may have taken it out last night to pick up some ice cream at the local supermarket.  Froze my boobies off.

Best Valentine's Day present ever.  My husband may have just clinched the husband of the year award.

From this point forward, call me Lloyd.


I get 70 miles to the gallon on this hog.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Happy.

I'm happy. 
I'm very happy.

....for lots of reasons....
  • I have a great husband.  Yes, we've had our moments as a married couple, but those moments have truly made our marriage stronger.  And better.  And I couldn't be happier.
  • My kids kick ass.  They really do.  They're good kids.  They make me laugh.  They're cute.  And I love them more than words could ever express.
  • I have a home that I love.  We're doing some cosmetic changes to it right now to make it even more lovable (will post pics soon--yes, I picked a new kitchen color!!).  My house is old.  My house is sometimes a pain in the ass.  But I love it and it makes me happy to be there.
  • Adam Levine is gracing my TV right now.  That makes me REALLY happy.
  • I have great job.  I work for a great company and I have an awesome boss.  I am very passionate about my work and I have a feeling the next couple years are going to be pretty amazing regarding my career.
  • I have pretty awesome friends.  They all make me happy.  Though I don't see a lot of them a whole lot (due to geographical challenges), I hope they all know that I think about them often.  And when I think about them, I smile. 
  • There's not a day that goes by that I don't think about the family I helped create.  All of them (Tomas, Honza and baby Jachym) put a smile on my face every time I think about them.  They make me happy.  PS-Project Sibling 2014 may be in the talks.  Just sayin'....
I have so much to be happy about and so much to be thankful for.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Friday Foto Fun

For your viewing pleasure...


I am one proud surro-mama!! 

Happy Friday!!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

6 Months!

Holy schnikes!  The little man I gave birth to is 6 MONTH'S OLD already!!!

That's half a year. 

That's 182.5 days.

That's insane!!

All is well in the land O'Jachym.  He's doing great!  I understand the little guy is eatin' up his veggies...but much prefers his milk. (don't we all...)

And most importantly...


Yeah, still uber cute, eh??

As for me, well I'm FANTASTIC.  No really, I'm awesome.  Family is good, job is good, life is good.  I'm happy.  I'm very happy.

More for you soon!!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Opinions Needed--Paint Colors!

Things are a-changin' at the Jesse X2 home...

We're bored.  We need a change.  A revamp.

As much as I'd like to just buy a new house or even build something nice and new and pretty, I only have like $8 dollars to spend, so we're just going to change up our current home a bit.

You know...new trim, new paint, new carpet...stuff like that.

I've pretty much decided on the paint for the living room, sitting room and bathroom (I'll run it past ya'll just to make sure I'm on the right path), but I'm struggling with a room big time that I need your help with.

The kitchen.

The hub of my existence.

Here's the history...

We bought our home in July of 2004.  It was built in 1890 and the previous owners were psychotic.  No really, they were.  And they were gross.  Literally, I have photos from our first walk-through of pantyhose laying on the floor and marks in the floor on what we assumed to be containers that held pot-plants that were being grown in one of the bedrooms.

Seriously.

But we looked past all that and knew we could it make what we wanted to.

That first year we owned it (and lived in it), we pretty much gutted the entirety and re-did it.  New floors, new walls, new fixtures--everything.

And about half way into the remodel, I got pregnant.

Time to bust-a-move.

I remember sitting on the living room floor, 8 months pregnant, putting together our kitchen cabinets.  Yeah, that was fun.

Anyway, here's what the kitchen looks like now (forgive the stuff on the counters...this was taken a long time ago and I've since developed a sense of "I don't want any crap on my counters")...



See the blue walls?  That's pretty much the main paint in the entire kitchen.  The red is an accent wall (to your left) and the red is no longer there on your right (it's just pine now).

The ceilings are very high and pine (look right above the windows--the entire ceiling above the fan is the same thing).

Appliances are all white (for now...possibility of stainless in the future) and perimeter counter top is Formica (with hints of blue in it).  The island butcher block will be replaced with dark granite.  All trim work will be white.

As much as I'd like new cabinets, it's not going to happen right now.  So, the biggest change we can make is paint... 

...this is where I need your help.

We need something that will go with the pine cabinets, pine ceiling and white trim.  I'm not a fan of yellow and we want to stay clear of blue.  We would like to have the "accent" wall a different color or shade, if possible.

Alright friends.  HELP!!  Thoughts?  Ideas? 

Prize to the person with the best idea!