Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Final Countdown-2 Weeks to Go!

All our bags are packed!  Yep...*that* was a task, but it's done!  Our barrels are slated to ship soon and what we have left in this house (other than food) is what will fit in our 2 suitcases and 4 carry-ons.  The Kindergarten classroom is no longer here in the Treehouse.  Our hotel in Puerto Rico is booked and our U-Haul in Houston is booked.  Gettin' real y'all!  We have had our final grill night at the Treehouse and Big Blue (our giant grill) has gone to her new home with a great Ross family here in Picard.  I'm making one more trip to Roseau on Saturday and I finally got around to visiting the Kalinago Territory where I snagged a few amazing handmade baskets that I'll be shipping home.  Now all that's left is our "last hurrah" evening here in a few days and then we're off!  Are there really only 14 days left on this crazy ride??

Jonathan has done some MAD studying for this USMLE test, but he's decided to take a breather for a minute.  He literally ROCKED the COMP and set himself (and our future) up pretty royally.  So at this point he's kind of competing with himself to see how high a score he can get.  We're actually starting to get excited about him taking it because we know the outcome is going to be great.  And for all of those reasons, he has decided to give himself a more substantial break in studying.  We feel like his mental health is way more important than rushing to take this very important test.  We've got plenty of time!  So now it looks like he's going to push his test date back to mid July and just take his time studying.  I'm grateful for that!

 I'm getting anxious about leaving now.  I knew the day would come.  I'm beginning to feel sad fairly frequently thinking about the prospect of leaving this place.  Leaving my babies (i.e.-my Kindergarteners and my Strickland babies) and of course I'm NOT at all looking forward to saying bye to Jon and Elise.  They have become such an institution for us now.  Such an integral part of our lives in general.  It will be hard to leave them here...but I can look forward to the amazingly exciting things in store for all of us in the future.  We want to take a trip to Disney with both our families, I want my dad to take my Lincoln up in his airplane.  SUCH cool things coming.

So that inspired my #2's today...

The #2 Thing That I Will Miss About Dominica

My Little Red Head, Solveig, Elise, and Jon Strickland.  So this is the one I've been avoiding writing.  It's bittersweet this leaving.  Sweet because we get to go home and spend time with family.  We've got LOTS to look forward to in the coming months.  But oh so bitter when it comes to leaving behind the people and the community we've come to know and love.  One integral part of our experience here in Dominica has been our relationship with the Stricklands.  They have become like family for us.  Their kids have become like our own.  And it's a little difficult to imagine living our lives without seeing them every day or at least being close enough to them that we can call them and have them over for dinner any random night of the week.  I think that's why I got so emotional about that stinkin' grill leaving...it was the thing that first brought our families together!

Elise has been such an encouraging force in my life.  She and I have had many a conversation about my baby woes and about our decision to undergo IVF.  One of the things she is so good about is speaking about the success of our IVF as if it's a given.  Saying things like "WHEN you're pregnant this Fall," or "WHEN you bring a new baby home."  Sometimes...let's face it MOST of the time...I really need to hear that.  She is so wonderful about encouraging me in ALL things.  I mean, just look at the Mother's Day "gift" I got from her on Sunday:

Happy Mother's Day to a beautiful mother! This is for you, who have spoiled my babies because they need someone in their lives to fill in for all the aunties and grandmas who can't be here in Dominica. You, who have left a lasting impression on them that makes me smile whenever Solveig shrugs and says "dang" or Lincoln turns a random object into a guitar. You, who have come alongside me as a fellow momma in the midst of the mommy-muck to handle throw up, tantrums and potty accidents like a seasoned pro. You, who have been a second mother to my babies and have played an important part in the growth of so many other little humans. So this is for you, because even though next year may be your first Mother's Day as a *biological* mother, you have been a true mother for much much longer!! Love you friend!!

That is quintessential Elise.  And I've been so blessed to have her in my life!  

And the kids?  Well...to say that I love them like they were my own is the understatement of the century.  I find myself thinking often that if mine and Jonathan's babies are anything like the two of them, we will be blessed parents indeed.  Solveig is such a sweet and innocent soul.  I just love her sweet smile!  She's incredibly smart and sensitive and I love that about her.  I love her silly side and her intense side.  I love her drive and her enthusiasm.  I love her independence and her wit.  There are more "Solveig quotes" than I can even count.  Her little fairy hands and her tiny little girl voice and her impossibly long hair that makes her look like a Bratz doll (the giant blue eyes definitely contribute to that image) are things about her that will probably fade with age.  But for me, that will always be the image I have of her in my mind.  Sweet beautiful Solveig with a heart of gold!

And where do I even start with Lincoln??  That little red head has my whole heart.  His little freckled cheeks and those orange curls are just too much.  But the things I love about Lincoln go beyond just his adorably dashing good looks.  He is seriously one of the most intuitive 3 year olds I've ever known.  There have been mornings that I've come to campus after a long night of feeling blue about our infertility.  Without fail EVERY single one of those mornings he comes running up to me and hugs my neck and says things like "Oh Miss Racho you are beautiful!" or "I loooooove you!" or "Miss Racho I missed you!".  And it makes all the clouds go away.  He "took care of me" when I had E. Coli and a kidney stone.  He was so concerned about how I was feeling.  He insisted on sitting in bed with me and feeding me saltines and watching Cars with me (because that ALWAYS makes a sick person feel better right??).  He has taken to this sweet little cheek kissing bit and it will seriously melt your heart.  He'll say "Miss Racho can I kiss you?" and then he plants this sweet little kiss right on my cheek.  How can I not be in love??  He has fallen asleep in my arms more times than I even remember and the sweetness of his little baby breath and the way he snuggles up so perfectly in the crook of my shoulder make my heart full.  That little one has been the highlight of my time here in Dominica...

Jon and Elise and Solveig and Lincoln have been key players in this journey for us.  Key players that will continue to be an integral part of our lives and the lives of our own kids for many many years.  If we've learned anything in these past 2 years it's that friendships GROW when you are forced to be purposeful about them.  Even long distance ones!  So we are sad to say goodbye to them in 14 days, but we KNOW that this is not the end!!  We love you guys!!!

The #2 Thing That Will Be Awesome About Living in the States Again

Our IVF Journey Begins.  In 33 days we will be n the waiting room at OU Infertility waiting to be called in for our consultation with Dr. Hansen.  I am anxious and nervous and excited and scared and lots of other emotions all rolled into one.  That first week is probably going to be pretty eventful.  We will be undergoing lots of diagnostic testing.  And by we, I mean ME.  I will have my ultrasound, LOTS of blood work, my mock transfer, my hysteroscopy (and possibly a laproscopy if endometriosis is suspected), etc., etc.  All the stuff that makes me really nervous happens first.  It's the stuff that could halt us before we ever even get started.  But we are Thinking Positive here.  Taking steps to stay relaxed.  I'll be getting set up with an acupuncturist when we get back home and also getting going at a massage therapy place in Norman.  All just to manage the stress and anxiety that are sure to come along with the months of June, July, and August.  But we are both just SO ready for this to start.  We've been waiting so long for this chance and now we are so close.  We are so hoping that this is our year.  That this is our summer.  And it all starts happening in just over a month's time.  We are praying for great outcomes and peace and calm throughout the process.  If you think of us in the coming weeks, please pray for us and send good vibes our way.  We can't wait to share the news of our little miracle (or miracles!)...

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