‘Tis the season…Pt 1.

‘Tis the season to be jolly.  True.  But my feelings can’t help but be a bit up-and-down like a see-saw.  So I decided to split my post into two.  Depending on how you are feeling this season, you may only want to read one or the other.  Maybe you feel a little bit like me, so read both!

Pt 1: ‘Tis the season to be jolly

Pt 2: ’tis the season to be not so jolly


Pt 1: ‘Tis the season to be jolly

I don’t know why I love the festive season.  Maybe it’s the food, maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s the gift giving/receiving, maybe it’s the family coming together or maybe it’s just that time when the year is coming to an end where you can draw a line under the past 12 months and feel excited to start afresh with the New Year.  Or, in my case, perhaps it’s because it is also my Birthday ;-p

This is the first Christmas we will spend in Virginia.  The first Christmas in the US we spent it in Vermont skiing, this is where we decided to make a go of becoming parents.  The second Christmas we returned back to the UK and rented a cottage so both our families could stay with us for the holidays.  This third Christmas is less exciting in comparison, we are staying put.  But this is exciting to me because I can finally buy Chris a gift that is bigger than my suitcase!!!

This past week has been filled with festivities abound.  Not just in the physical sense, but the emotional sense too.  Here is a summary of the amazingness (or jolly, if you like) that I have experienced so far:

1. Home made mince pies.  If you read one of my previous posts you will know that these are not easy to come by in the US.  I made Nigella Lawson’s Domestic Goddess Cranberry studded mincemeat pies (recipe here).

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Home made Cranberry Studded Mincemeat star topped pies

My goodness, that pastry was so flaky and the mincemeat so juicy I couldn’t believe that I actually made them.  I shared them with some of my non-British colleagues at work who were intrigued as to what these ‘mincemeat pies’ were.  They didn’t spit it out in front of my face so that had to be a good thing 🙂

2. Decorating my house with a CHRISTMAS TREE!!!  The first time in the US!  OK so we still didn’t buy a real christmas tree, we wanted to see how our terrorquisitive cat Diesel would deal with one.  So we bought a small fake one.  He eats anything that has a dangly bit or rubber on it.  So far so good…everything remains in one piece and the tree still stands.

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It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas!

I also treated myself to one of those German wooden spinning pinwheels.  I have wanted one for aaaaages.  Every time I go to Germany I go to buy one and realise I don’t have enough room in my bags.  Plus they are quite expensive!

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I don’t know why I love it so much!!!

When the lady at TJMaxx rung it up, she exclaimed -“$40 for that!!!!”, I pointed out that in Gemany these were usually over $100.  Anyway, I love it.

3. My first Resolve support group meeting.  Resolve is the US national infertility association and they provide various forms of support for people with infertility. I picked up a flyer from my clinic about this local Resolve monthly meeting about 8 months ago when we were going through our third IUI procedure.  I left it in my ‘to do’ pile of paper work and each month thought about going and never got round to it.  Finally I got round to it!!!  I am so pleased I did.  I met some lovely ladies who just get it.  It was good to talk, and good to listen to their stories too.  I will definitely be going again.

4. The #TTCMugExchange2015.  I participated in the Mug Exchange that Chelsea from Starbucks, Peace and Pursuit of a Baby organised.  This week I received my mug and a few extra lovely goodies!

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I was spoilt with a box of goodies as well as a mug, cosy socks, an Irish Angel of Hope and a travel journal.

The mug I received was so beautiful.  Quite honestly, I think it is the best one I have seen 🙂

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My exchange partner is a bright and bubbly girl from Northern Ireland, she was originally told she would have to do IVF privately but just found out that the NHS will do IUI, so she is preparing for her first treatment!!!  She doesn’t blog, but is on Instagram.  As a result I’ve taken to trying out Instagram you can follow me @thegreatpuddingclubhunt if you have an account!

5. Just feeling the love around me.  We have received lots of invites for Christmas day so we are not alone; we have received lots of cards sending us well wishes and Christmas pressies that now sit under our tree.  And sometimes, it’s the little things that make a difference.  At a work gathering our big boss spoke about a whole bunch of work things and then he turned to talking about the holidays.  He pointed out that this is the time to look around at our neighbours and check they are doing OK.  The holiday season can be difficult for some people, and if we notice someone looking sad, down or simply stressed, take a minute to stop and ask “Are you doing OK?”  then listen.

love

Coping with the holiday season when dealing with infertility

Resolve – The national infertility association – posted an article today on ‘tips for coping with the Holidays’.

I thought I’d take a look because the last article I ‘Pffftt-ed’ from Resolve I ended up regretting – coping with Halloween. I ‘Pfffft-ed’ it when I saw the headline ‘Coping with Halloween’ on my facebook feed because I honestly thought it was a ridiculous idea. Why would it be difficult to deal with Halloween? And then Halloween came along and by the end of the evening I completely understood.

I had actually never experienced the Halloween fun since moving to the US because I had been on work travels the past two years. This year I was excited to actually be in the country because Americans go all out when it comes to Halloween. I had to yet to experience American Trick-or-Treating.

I bought a couple of pumpkins and two of the biggest bags of fun pack sized sweeties (candy) I could find. I made Chris go and dig out all the halloween decorations from the shed. I wanted to get into the spirit of things.  On the eve of halloween we dressed up as ghost muskateers and went to a friends party – adults only! It was so much fun.

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On halloween night itself, we went to a friends house to chill out. We sat outside in their front garden around a fire pit, making ‘smores and giving out candy to the tiny terror trick-or-treaters. It was everything I imagined trick-or-treating to be in the US. The kids had fantastic costumes – some kids even turned up in a limo! After a bit of questioning we found out that the kids in the limo were from a neighbourhood that perhaps one wouldn’t go trick-or-treating (the adults followed in a different car). It was the sweetest thing, and they were by far the politest children too. Adorable. All this cuteness around – our friends have a newborn baby too who dressed up too! It was a bit too much for me and I felt a bit sad by the end of the night.

If we do fall pregnant with the next round of IVF we might have our own newborn to dress up in a cute costume. Chris said that next time we will just have to borrow a kid for the night and actually go trick-or-treating with them if we haven’t successfully produced our own by then!!

So now I actually understand what the Resolve article was all about. Halloween is not an easy holiday to cope with when dealing with infertility. I just had no clue.

Resolve’s article today contained some useful tips for coping with upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. I won’t replicate them here, you can take a look for yourself here.  They are worth a read.

But I will mention the one tip that really stuck out for me:

“Begin your own family traditions: a special ceremony or ritual that says that you and your partner are already a family, and that you can rejoice in your love for each other, with or without children”

I liked it because it is so true. In particular as we are thousands of miles away from our family it is even more important to create our own family traditions. Chris and I brainstormed ideas for what could be our tradition – we talked about food and drink (making our own things), activities like volunteering at a shelter, going for walks etc. And playing games….

One of our favourite hobbies together is playing games. We even have our own games night tuesday where we switch off the TV and play some games. We also have our own cribbage league. The day after we got married we started counting the cribbage wins in a little notebook. We carry a deck of cards, mini travel fold out cribbage board and the little score notebook where ever we go. It’s a bit of a talking point in cafes and restaurants as we get our crib board out and play away! Each year there is a decisive winner (Chris is currently winning!!!)…we will continue this tradition forever! We also hold games night dinner parties too. As you can tell, we like playing games!

But what has all this got to do with coping with the holidays? Well, we decided to create our own family game. It will be called “‘Insert Our Family Name Here’ Fluxx”. Fluxx is a card game where the rules are constantly changing – it is a lot of fun.

There are many themed variations of this card game e.g. Pirate Fluxx, Monty Python Fluxx, Zombie Fluxx, Oz Fluxx etc…So we will create our own Fluxx like card with the theme of…us!! And this will be the game we play at Christmas. The great thing about Fluxx is that it is suitable for all ages, so it really will be a family game. I am so excited to get started on making this game – just in time for Christmas! A small thing to get us started on creating our own family tradition over the holidays 🙂

NaBloPoMo November 2015