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More like Terrific Twos!

What a jam-packed weekend full of celebration and filled with lasting memories, both funny and heart melting. Great friends of ours are getting married in 3 weeks and I was fortune enough to partake in the bachelorette festivities… festivities-a-plenty! Then today was family time to celebrate the fact that two years ago today, our beautiful niece, forever known as our little punkin pie, came into this world (a few days late but definitely worth it). After all this fun it was a scenic 2 hour ride back home only to greet the kitters who clearly missed their mama, run to put everything away, get the garbage out, throw in a load of laundry and prepare hard-boiled eggs for my husband’s salad while he taps away at the keys to run his weekend reports to prepare for the Manic Monday.

I must rewind to capture all the amazing events, personal “firsts” and adventure. To start the bachelorette madness off right, we met up at the local shooting range… yes REAL guns! Now I do claim to be a sharp shooter from my childhood use of BB guns aiming for soda cans in the trees both righty and lefty (ambidextrous, yes), however my dad and older brother are both marksman by trade – hunters and recently my brother made the SWAT squad as a sniper. Sharp shooting clearly runs through our veins, even my mom said that she has shot before and impressed the instructors. From the first shot mere millimeters away from the bullseye on the target’s head in control of a 22, to the last few shots using 45 caliber bullets, it was pure adrenaline, control and amazement of my marksmanship.

One of the shooting range workers who sparked up conversation with my friend and I as we were contemplating the recoil of shotguns, offered for us to shoot his own personal gun. We jumped to the chance and I clearly wasn’t watching all to well considering the bullets were about 4 times the radius of the previous bullets. After the riveting shot right in the target’s chest, the shell smacked me in the forehead! If you haven’t tried out a shooting range, I highly recommend it. Don’t be afraid of guns because the key is being in control and not letting it control you. Not only was my mom and dad highly impressed, the look on my brother’s face as I showed him my two targets was one of hidden pride and according to my dad, a bit of jealousy!

After the shooting, we headed downtown to a swanky hotel to get ready for our night on the town. Lots of laughs with the girls was just what I needed. The move out of state has been a difficult transition, more so to our social calendar. We had an awesome Greek buffet and dry wine (not my fav but at least there was white) filled with salad, a platter of hummus (so much better than the store bought plastic flavored mess), plenty of olives, feta cheese, chicken and lamb open gyros, followed by a rich tiramisu. It’s safe to say over 2 hours we ate ourselves into a semi-food coma, but it was well worth the enriching experience. A short stint back at the hotel, we got a mini bus from the restaurant to take us to a club with our names on the list for $2 drinks. It was only 10:30 so there weren’t many people out, but I was ready for bed! I only made it another hour and knew that my husband needed to get rest for our busy Sunday so we bid adieu until the wedding!!!!

Sunday morning brought on birthday cake baking and decorating with my mom, a haircut and a little shopping, before we celebrated Miss Kenadee’s birthday. As soon as we walked in the living room and she saw us my heart had already melted. Hugs and kisses later, I had to apply my Mango Burt’s Bee’s chapstick and of course share with my little diva. Her independence has truly soared over the past few months so once she sees the stick it’s all about having some, holding it and applying it herself. When one of her 4 (yes, it’s true) great grandmas came by to say hi she softly grabbed my arm and said to her “this is Kiki.” Heart melted!

She had to go down her slide a few times, make sure no bugs were by her and even showed Uncle Bud her garden aka gawden, followed by a mini photoshoot with me! She’s a ham when it comes to our iPhones – kids and technology are quite the crazy combination these days! I was chewing gum and she asked for some but when I said no, sorry honey you can’t she promptly replied “I can when I’m older.” And she’s only two!!! We had a dance party in the basement and “Glad you Came” by The Wanted came on right away and she got very excited because “this is my song!” I was too excited to enjoy dinner because I really wanted to see her reaction to her present and garden birthday cake that was fast approaching. Uncle Bud brought over the Little Tikes Garden Wheelbarrow with flowers and she went straight for it “Ooooohh!” and proceeded to play with it even after her mom tried to reign her in to the other boxes of toys. I also wanted to make sure she had her own mango chapstick that stemmed her shouting “Mango!”

It’s been a wonderful weekend with our little sunshine. Until next time, breathe easy my friends!

Reflections of a Busy Year

I can only imagine how many people are sitting pre-cocktail in their NYE garb reflecting on the experiences that they encountered and perhaps endured throughout 2011. On the other hand, I believe a majority already have consumed a few totties to say peace out 2011! It’s been an interesting year full of challenges for many, including job, economic, health and happiness, but I am happy to look back with a positive view and forward with an inspiring and optimistic outlook.

Halfway through 2011, a big career opportunity moved us to another state and it was quite a change. Since my last post weeks ago (my apologies), I’m blessed to say that my wait for a new job may have been long, but was definitely worth it. I’ve been immersed in a new dynamic culture and working on a great team, under two wonderfully friendly, inspiring and welcoming women, something I never thought would be possible. It’s a different role that I’m used to and I’m still getting acclimated to the processes, procedures and nomenclature but I know 2012 will bring renewed confidence and significant experience in my portfolio.

I’m so thankful to be relaxing with my husband next to me, laying on the couch recovering from a cyst removal surgery he had on the 20th. The experience made me nervous and the sub-par treatment and lack of competency from the hospital staff has exhausted me to the point of no return. I need to pen a letter to the hospital administration to not only help future patients with Cystic Fibrosis and Diabetes, but express our displeasure with how things were handled. Add that to my to-do list!

In the meantime, I have been playing the role of the best wife in the world, tending to his every need and helping take care of his large wound area. Thank God for home health care because his wound was far larger than we both anticipated and I couldn’t stomach it the first day. With the additional care provided by Lu’s, he is healing rather nicely and ready to get back into the world!

Another wish for a healthy new year is extended to my amazing mom, who really needs to have additional surgery on her shoulder in hopes of regaining normal function in terms of rotation and strength. I pray that she soon can be free from the constraints of pain, seeing as it’s stemmed from her back, neck, shoulder, arthritis, fibromyalgia, TMJ, migraines and a new condition that starts with a D too! No wonder I was attracted to my husband, considering a plethora of conditions were a normal part of my childhood!

Today we just sent an appointment request to the fertility clinic we’ve been referred to by quite a few people. I’m very excited to start looking into starting our family, or I should say expanding beyond our furry babies! I know there will be a lot of appointments, tests, waiting and costs associated with the process but we are both very excited at the prospect of raising a little one, or two or three! :0)

I leave you with one last wish for the new year. May you enjoy a healthy, happy and prosperous new year, while doing what you can to help others. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my wonderful husband, it’s the need for extending your hand to those who need it. Please sign up to be an organ donor to know you can help save lives.

Insurance of What?

Insurance: the act, system, or business of insuring property, life, one’s person, etc., against loss or harm arising in specified contingencies, as fire, accident, death, disablement, or the like, in consideration of a payment proportionate to the risk involved.

Now after that dull mumbo jumbo let’s get down to business. When you get a full-time job you qualify for insurance and hopefully a great policy from  a company that cares about their employees. When we moved to another state we anticipated premiums to be increased due to the cost of living. After initial research we found out that the state (one of 15) mandates assistance with infertility treatments. Yay, right? Well, I guess it only matters if the company follows the law. After further review of the company’s explanation of benefits, it appears that absolutely no coverage exists. I’m not sure where the loop hole presented itself for such a large company, but they established insurance out of New York. I posed the question, after of course stressing myself out, to the other CF Wives and received an interesting reply: write an appeal to the insurance company. That sounds like quite a feat to overcome but definitely is a consideration.

Interestingly enough, his company has an excellent adoption program. I did question why they wouldn’t at least first try to help you have your own child. Growing up, dreams of having kids is not like shopping for an outfit to an upcoming wedding, let alone sitting in a room and having a turkey baster used to prep you like a fantastic Thanksgiving Dinner. I can’t even begin to explain how uncomfortable it is hearing people, especially my older brother, tell you “at least it’s fun trying!” Of course, just as anything in life, you can’t expect everything to go cookie cutter like the movies. I didn’t expect to fall in love with my best friend, who happens to have a chronic illness, that prohibited the normal development of a lot of things, including the reproductive area. No need to glamorize things here people, it’s just life.

Before my husband, I was very private and secluded with my life’s details. CF is a very public condition so I had no choice but to accept it for what it is and embrace the facts of life. There’s nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed of, and I truthfully wouldn’t change  it for anything. As other CF Wives would agree, it has shaped our husbands into the men they are today. You have two options when it comes to being born with CF or any other chronic illness – spend each day pitying yourself and wasting your life by not truly living it, or accept the cards you have been dealt with and make the most out of each day. Our men should favor the latter and I’ve truly learned from my husband to thank God for the blessings we receive because every day we have together is a gift.

As I question the whole insurance issue regarding fertility, it really comes down to the fact that pre-existing conditions often make it hard to get decent overall coverage. Life insurance? Pfft! Do people plan for 401k? It’s expensive living with an illness, let alone one that is not so common so drugs, treatments and enzymes that are necessary to survive. I know from experience that heavy medication regiments usually come with side effects down the road and in a lot of CF’ers, diabetes is inevitable. No, my husband didn’t get it because he really liked Skittles, it’s from prolonged steroid use. Smokers might have to pay more for their premiums but they are at least eligible even with the laundry list of conditions that are eminent due to their lack of responsibility.

It’s terribly hard to be angry at others, but when conditions are self-induced and they still receive coverage it’s very hard. It’s just like any other hardship that comes with CF and life itself. When you hear of child abuse cases, parents smothering their babies or intentionally hurting their unborn children it’s not only heart-wretching but makes me physically disgusted. Obviously these children deserve the chance to be loved and I’m still not sure why our system makes it so difficult to adopt kids in America. I know this emotional reaction is all too strong in the CF Wives community too because even overseas, couples have been rejected due to CF.

As I look to the future, I know I must remain positive and believe everything will work out. I have three jobs in queue and I know I will start my new career very soon, hopefully one with the insurance we deserve that will enable us to start a family. I know there’s a slight hesitation because the future is unknown, but if there’s one thing I do know, we will be terrific parents. I want nothing more than to give that gift to my amazing husband, because he has so much love to share. I also can’t help but giggle to imagine him being different with our kids than he is with our nieces. He didn’t hold his niece until she was a couple of months old because I made him! He was too nervous to hurt or damage her. I love him! :0)