Exciting news!!!! So, we did it and finally purchased our very own travel camper! We’ve been wanting one since we were married and frequently kick ourselves for not investing in one when we were running OCR’s monthly. Once we spent ENTIRELY TOO MUCH money on yet another hotel + boarding Yawkey for 3 nights we’d had enough. We finally decided to put that money into an investment rather than hotels that aren’t worth it anyway.
We were able to break it in in and take it “out” last weekend for our first test run and already are in love. We can take Yawkey with us, the kids have their own books and toys handy and we still have our home away from home. We had the dealership throw in a lot of extras so we had to pay for less out of pocket and we purchased a lot of things for cheap through Big Lots and the dollar store to keep it simple. I’ll post more later about some of our tricks/organization hacks that we’re following.
Being military we are blessed enough to be able to stay on any military installation for around $20 a night (give or take depending on the installation). This will definitely be easier and more fun for traveling…not to mention PCS time!
Here are a few pictures of our first adventure staying Engineer Beach on Ft Rucker, AL! MANY more to come over the years.
I never truly understood how opinionated people can be about your life until we got pregnant and had kids. I mean, from family and friends to even perfect strangers on the street! Of course we saw it a little with the infertility and inappropriate comments that were made. You wouldn’t believe what we heard…and 90% of the time from people who had NO idea what they were talking about. (Did you know that if you stand on your head while drinking kool-aid and burning incense and you never EVER stress then ALL of your fertility problems will magically disappear like your neighbor’s brother’s friend’s cousin twice removed?) The “mom shaming” nowadays is out of control! It seems that no matter what you do, people think you’re totally doing it wrong.
Ryan will tell you that i’m an OBSESSIVE researcher. When we PCS or or look at career/school changes, and especially with infertility/pregnancy and the babies I have to read everything there is to know! Of course, i’m not the expert on any of these subjects, and babies don’t always fit the mold from books (shocker!) but I fully believe that “Knowledge is power” so we take what I read and we made informed and educated decisions based on that information.
“Words of affirmation” has always been my primary love language. I’m lifted up and truly feel like someone cares when they speak positively about me or those that I love. On the flip side, this can be dangerous for someone like me to deal with the judgments and negativity that seems like is everywhere in this world. I constantly internalize most of it and it’s often made me second guess my decisions. It’s been a learning process to not let other’s negative opinions and comments affect me.
That’s where the Mama Bear Melissa comes in to play. Everyone has an opinion on what we’re doing wrong: You shouldn’t vaccinate, or you need to let them CIO, or you need to stop breastfeeding and give them formula. Enter Mama Bear! For the first time in my life I feel such an intense need to protect our perfectly innocent babies from the world and I have the faith that the decisions that Ryan and I have made are appropriate for our family that I don’t much care for what others think of us. I don’t need to change my mind because someone doesn’t agree or questions our motives behind our decisions. There were only 2 people that created these babies (okay, minus the medical team’s assistance!) and we’re the only 2 that get the vote. I’ve had my doubts as a mom, as i’m sure we all do at one point or another, but deep down I feel that i’m truly doing the best that I can and I pray that L & E will see this as they grow.
We never really had the support that we desired when going through anything that we’ve faced (good or bad) so it’s crazy to me when people show up when the cute, cuddly, attention getting babies arrive. Don’t get me wrong, it hurt us a lot when people weren’t more involved when we were broken-hearted that we couldn’t conceive, or when I had problems or scares with the pregnancy, and especially after they were born… We still have “close” friends and family that have not met our babies or who haven’t gotten to know how wonderfully amazing they are! But it always seems that people don’t want to be present in your pain, but want to reap the benefits afterward. I just always pray that any person entering my children’s lives has pure motives and won’t hurt my children later by walking back out. My latest fear is the internet. After seeing a few friends with crazy instances of their kids’ pictures being exploited, it’s so hard to be okay with social media. I’m constantly torn between wanting to share in our joys and for our long distance family in Maine to see our babies and wanting to run screaming from the internet! I know that we’ll still make mistakes along the way, I mean we’re not perfect after all. However, we’re doing our best in the best way we know how to protect our family!
This week (17 Weeks 3 Days) we had a special “fun” ultrasound gender scan with our doctor. Daddy was supposed to deploy this Spring with his unit so our doctor told us he’d do a special scan just so that we could find out the sexes before he left. (Did I mention we ADORE our doc??) I haven’t been this anxious since waiting for our first ultrasound to see if we were having twins and praying like crazy that they were both still “sticking” around! Still NOTHING like waiting for the Beta test!!!! It was pretty exciting though knowing that it couldn’t end in bad news. 🙂 Once you’ve struggled with infertility you can’t help but get nervous before appointments and ultrasounds, but now that I have my trusty heart rate monitor and I’m starting to feel the babies throughout the day my worry has GREATLY decreased.
We arrived at the doctor’s office shortly before my 3:30 appt and the office was slammed! The sonographer is only there 1 day a week and they were closed the week of St. Patrick’s Day (love that it’s a holiday). We had to wait until almost 4 for the ultrasound and our nerves were killing us by the time we got called back! Haha Apparently the don’t know that I am the LEAST patient person on the planet and infertility only made it worse not better. After going through the routine and getting everything set up, our sonographer asked if we wanted the sexes listed in an envelope or if we wanted to know. We both were like “HECK NO! The patience is gone!” Haha It’s a good thing too, because our sweet “Baby A”, let us know about two seconds after she put the wand on my belly. No shyness whatsoever (takes after Daddy already)! Haha “Baby B” had to make things a bit more interesting (must take after Mommy) and was being a little shy and stubborn. Baby was hiding behind my belly button and I had to roll over to my side twice before we could get the right look. Definitely made for a fun story for later though!! Also, both babies are still looking great and their heartbeats were both at 156…nice and strong! 🙂 Doc ran the “quad screen” bloodwork to make sure that we’re not at risk for Down’s, etc. We already know that we don’t have to worry about any genetic diseases because we were tested prior to beginning our fertility procedures.
Since our families are so spread out (Maine/NY/NC/Florida) we couldn’t do a gender reveal party and have everyone there, so we decided to skype the grandparents, call everyone else (aunts/uncles/great grandparents) and then post a video to social media. Minus the fact that it took us WAY longer to accomplish this than expected, it worked out great! Our pictures are below.
We were so very excited to find out that Baby A: is a BOY!!!! And Baby B: is a GIRL!!!! We are being blessed with one of each!! 🙂 We couldn’t be more thrilled and it makes it that much more real and exciting to know the genders and put names to our sweet babies. 🙂 We picked out names 4 years ago when we were still engaged and Ryan was downrange on his first 12 month deployment. We went through a book called “1001 Questions to ask before you get married” (which I HIGHLY recommend to dating/engaged couples), and in the section discussing kids we got on the topic and fell in LOVE with these names. It’s still a little strange to be sharing our secret with the world. The names have come to mean SO very much more to us after our journey with infertility though and have truly learned to lean on God’s understanding and not on our own.
Our “Baby A”: is Logan Connor Grim. It’s a Scottish/Irish name meaning wise. We chose Proverbs 3:5-6 for his verse, “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make straight your paths.”
Our “Baby B”: is Emma Riley Grim. Her name is English & Irish and it means whole and courageous. We chose Psalm 27:14 for her verse, “Wait on the Lord: Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.”
Once again, we had an amazing church service this morning at Latechurch where I felt like God was speaking directly to us. After a very rough morning and news of what feels like our millionth failed month and first failed round of fertility treatments, I desperately needed some time with God to get my mind right. I wanted to share some of the key points from today to remember later and in case anyone else needed this as badly as we did.
“So many times in our lives we say we want to feel God. But we don’t want to feel pain.”
Wow! That one hit home. How many times do we pray to God for things and tell Him we want to be more like Him and to draw closer to Him, but then we don’t want any of the growing pains? I know I am definitely guilty. We pray, but we only want God’s answer to go one way: our way. We doubt God. We get angry when we suffer especially when it seems some people have it so easy.
God doesn’t always deliver you from the fire…at least not in the way you expect.”
It’s so very hard when you’re going through something so painful or trying in your life to not wonder “Why?”. Why is God allowing this to happen? It’s hard to not blame God or be angry at Him when you see so many people abuse or take for granted their ability to have children when you would give anything for that blessing at least once. However, when we’re asking all of these “Why’s”, we should really be asking “Where?”. When Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into the furnace they knew that God was with them. Either He would deliver them or they’d be in Heaven with Him…no matter the outcome they were ready for what God would have for them. It’s in the fire that God reveals Himself to us the most. My mom has always said that it’s okay to pray and beg God for what we want. He never tires from hearing from His children and He encourages it! But we have to be willing to accept whatever answer He gives us. That’s the hard part. There is nothing that I desire more than to be a mommy. I want a baby that is part me and part my beloved husband. I want to experience all of the joys and even the pain that comes with carrying a life inside me and giving birth. I want to raise children and share all of our adventures with them as we watch them grow and experience the world around them. The idea that we may never get our dream of having our own children or worse…none at all is gut wrenching. How do you get to the point where you can accept that? When we say “Your will be done”, do we really mean it?
Fire Does Two Things:
It destroys or consumes.
My prayer is that God teaches us the lesson that He wants us to learn from this battle with infertility. We were never promised that this life would be easy; in fact, we were promised the exact opposite. I know that God is in the fire with us and will never leave us…not once. I know that the rejoicing will be 1 million times more amazing and special to us after we’ve gone through the hardest trial of our lives to get there. There has not been a single day of my marriage with Ryan that I have not thanked God for creating him and bringing Him into my life after so many years of prayers and loneliness. I have not once taken him for granted. I know that it will be the same way with our children if it be His will to give us our dream. As difficult as it is, I’m going to stop praying for the fire to end and start praying for the fire to refine me.
“BELOVED, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed.” 1 Peter 4:12-13
I recently changed the name of the blog to “Team Grim” since this has really become more of a place for my family than for just me and my thoughts. When I originally started my blog it was to get out some of my thoughts and feelings about my husband’s (then boyfriend) first year long deployment. Now it has become a way to document some of our life together and the excitement/difficulties that we face. “Team Grim” was started as a bit of a cute name for ourselves when we got married and stuck when we started running our obstacle course races together. I truly believe that marriage makes you a team and that has never been more apparent than it has in the past year-ish of our lives and dealing with infertility, but i’ll share more on that later.
As most people do, we had a lot thrown at us in our first year of marriage and even a bit prior to our wedding. Surprisingly to some though, there were never issues between the two of us. Ryan was gone for a total of about 9 of our first 15 months of marriage. We started PCS-ing (permanently relocating for those non-military friends) about a month in and he had several schools to attend in order to be spun up for a new unit. That led to multiple TDY’s, schools and a deployment to close out the year. On top of that we had a few very painful family situations relating to both health and relationships that gave us no choice but to learn to depend on each other and God.
I truly believe that our relationship has been made easier by keeping God at the center of our marriage. We prepared a lot for our marriage beforehand and I prayed often for my future husband before we ever started dating. I’m a firm believer that everyone should spend considerably more time preparing for the marriage than for the wedding (as beautiful, magical and fun as ours was). Recently we’ve been told by a few people, who we respect dearly, that we should start training/outreach to other married couples. While I think we still have a lot to learn about marriage ourselves, this truly touched me to hear that people believe that we are on the right track and have something to give back to others. With me as the aspiring counselor, who knows what may be in store for our future 🙂
“I’m a firm believer that everyone should spend considerably more time preparing for the marriage than for the wedding.”
I don’t say any of the above to brag on us as people, but to demonstrate how much God can lead a marriage when you continuously give it over to Him. I want to be a testament to others that marriage can be wonderful and fulfilling! There is no way that we would be this strong and still so much in love were it not for His love and guidance. We are still learning every day to trust in Him as we face the most difficult journey of all so far, but we wholeheartedly believe that He will give us the desires of our hearts. As a dear family friend and former teacher reminded us this week that faith is what it takes:
“He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” – Matthew 17:20
My amazing husband knows how much the 4th of July means to me (and to him) so he tried very hard to get me home to celebrate with my side of my family. Being from Maine, 4th of July is big in my family and we always have a huge cookout at my parents’ camp complete with lobstah, brisket and sometimes clams. When we were engaged he was deployed and last year we were PCS-ing to GA and never got the opportunity. It was very hard for us to not be home with everyone and he definitely made up for it this year! With his current unit they deploy pretty frequently so he volunteered for an early deployment in order to get home in time for celebrating America’s birthday with me. How special it was for us this year to celebrate America’s independence with him freshly home safe from war!
Within 24 hours of Ryan coming home from deployment, we were packing up the car and driving straight to Maine (22-24 hour drive). (Did I mention how much he loves me?) We couldn’t fly because it is the Army and the second you try to book something, plans will change. However, he was blessed with good leadership that allowed him to leave so quick after a deployment. As always, even a long and traffic filled road trip is a blast and filled with so many memories!
We got to see most of our family members while we were in Maine and definitely hit up some sightseeing. My parents have a camp on Loon Pond in Maine and I always wanted to move back home after my Dad retired from the Army. Sadly I never got the chance, but Ryan has fallen in love with New England as well and even claims it as his home (who wouldn’t??) Since his Dad’s side of the family is from Conn, it counts, right?
While at home we also got to tour Fenway Park and catch a Red Sox game…and a little bit of a thunderstorm/tornado watch. Hey, we always keep it interesting! Touring Fenway has always been a dream of mine and it was so cool seeing the stadium from every view possible and from behind the scenes. 🙂 Also, Cask 'n Flagon has the BEST Fish 'n Chips this side of Ireland! 😉
Best of all we got a lot of history lessons/sightseeing in as well. We visited Concord, MA and the Minute Man monument and even caught sight of the actual lantern used in the Old North Church during Paul Revere’s ride. We climbed Bunker Hill in Boston since he’s never gotten to do that part of the Freedom Trail. Unfortunately the USS Constitution was closed (yet, again!) so we still haven’t been able to see that! Lastly we visited a few of my favorite lighthouses in Maine! I may be biased, but I have lived and visited many places in the US and the world…Maine is the most beautiful: hands down! I will say from the pictures, Michigan may run a close second 😉
With everything that Ryan ends up missing out on with his job, I am so thankful that we got this much needed time with family. It was so great having my hero home to celebrate Independence Day and New England is most beautiful in the Summer. 🙂