Beauty from Ashes Interview

I wanted to share my interview with fellow Christian author, Ginny Priz, about my battle with Infertility.  It is filled with a message of HOPE in a very desperate time.  Please share with someone who has a similar struggle or maybe just loves someone that is dealing with Infertility.

Stephanie Greer – Beauty From Ashes interview

For more information, you can read my book, “Full Heart Empty Womb: How I Survived Infertility…Twice.”

Full Heart Empty Womb

Who Said Miracles Don’t Happen Anymore?

Life can be a series of highs and lows. My life has certainly been a testament to that. Met and married my wonderful husband Eric – High. Tried to conceive for a couple of years, failed fertility treatments, surgery – Low. Successfully got pregnant through IVF – HUGE High! High risk Pregnancy that left me on bed rest for what felt like most of my pregnancy – Low. Delivering premature but healthy twins – High/Low. Six weeks being separated from them in the NICU – Low.

I could go on and on. Today I wanted to tell you about one of my favorite Highs. He is my little Miracle High. Eric and I were told that there is absolutely no way that we could conceive. That is why we went through IVF to conceive Ethan and Ella. I have no doubt that it was indeed a fact. As I said this is a Miracle High.

Here is an excerpt from my family blog in 2008:

Ah I woke up just like the day before. I had no idea that this morning would change all our lives so much! Eric was getting ready for work and I was in bed watching Sports Center (his choice not mine). I remembered that I needed to call in a prescription that day. Before I could get it, I had to take a pregnancy test. My cycle was running way too long and I needed to get on progesterone to get me back on track. I always thought this was a funny thing for me of all people to have to do. I mean we know I can’t get pregnant. On top of that, I went back on birth control after I had Ethan and Ella. I simply was taking it for convenience sake. Eric and I often laughed about all the money we wasted on all those birth control pills early in our marriage. So off I went to pee on my little stick. Unloaded the dishwasher, sat down and watched TV for a minute. Should I get the kids up? Oh no wait….better go check the test and get that out of the way.

I walked into the guest bath and looked at the test on the sink. Double take…..was that TWO lines? Huh? I must be seeing things. I heard Eric say something, so I threw the hand towel over the test and jumped back in bed. Eric said, “Why do you look so weird?” I was still in shock so I said, “just tired.” He went back to the closet to finish getting dressed and I ran back to the bathroom for a second look. Yes. Definitely 2 lines. How did this happen??? I mean I know how it happens for most, but not us! We were told that we couldn’t get pregnant on our own. Holy cow. Eric’s birthday was the next day. Boy could I have fun with this!!! I ran upstairs to get the babies up and whispered my secret in their tiny ears. I am pretty sure they smiled.

Thankfully Eric left shortly after that. (I was told later that I was in MAJOR trouble for letting him go to work because he would have called in sick. Whoops 🙂 I quickly called my mom, my sister, and Kristen. Kristen, my personal OB nurse, reassured me that the home tests were pretty accurate. Even so I had my mom come over so I could get an official blood test at the doctor’s office. I still didn’t believe it. I went and looked at the home test again. Still 2 lines! When I called the doctor’s office to get the test they acted like I was crazy. “Mrs. Greer, we usually don’t do blood tests if you have a positive home test.” I replied, “I know, but I don’t believe it. When can I come in?” I went in immediately, got my blood drawn, and paid to have the results to me stat.

All day I was avoiding calls from Eric and his sister, Amy. How in the world could I play this one off? I couldn’t even sit down I was so excited! I finally got the “official positive” test results from the doctor. Hallelujah! Praise God!! I checked the home test one more time and finally threw it in the trash.

Now how in the world would I give Eric the total shock of his lifetime??? The way we found out we were pregnant with Ethan and Ella was so impersonal. We called into a voicemail box and listened to a stranger tell us the good news. Not that we minded one bit. We were finally pregnant!!

I decided I would get the kids Big Brother and Big Sister T shirts, take their pictures in it, frame it, and give it to Eric for his birthday. Well I am not sure how many of you have tried to get a 16-month old kid to stand still so you can get a good picture of them. Now throw in a second child. It isn’t possible. Just take it from me. So I decided the next best thing was to just wrap up the shirts and let Eric open those.

erics bday

We waited on pins and needles until Eric got home. Of course since we were anxiously awaiting him, he didn’t get home until after 7. After the kids bath, Eric read them a story and they just had to give their Daddy an early birthday present. He didn’t know it, but I was recording the whole thing : )

I turned the camera off right after I told him so we could all snuggle. There were lots of happy tears all around. I was told later that Eric was thinking “Why in the world did she give me some shirts for the kids for my birthday?” Apparently what I thought was pretty plain isn’t plain to a man.

You are gonna blink, and they will be grown up!

“Oh you will blink, and they will be all grown up!”

I usually hear this in the check-out line in Publix. After I have battled my way through every dang aisle with my three children.

Put that back!

Don’t hit your brother!

Don’t hug your sister. That always ends bad.

Stay by me and the cart, so they can pass by.

OUCH!!! You don’t have to be on top of me!

Don’t stop in front of the cart!

OUCH!!! Don’t hit me with the cart!

For Pete’s Sake! Don’t put your mouth on the cart!!!!!!

Although I offer a sweet smile and nod to the little old lady, inside I may be gritting my teeth and spewing a few choice words.

But even deeper down, I know she is right.

IMG_6522Then there has been this week. We had two bursts of snow in Tennessee that has amounted to over 7 inches of snow and 6 out of the last 7 days stranded at home.

Don’t get me wrong; I LOVE snow days…. until I don’t 😉 I loved every minute of it until about hour number 96 of not leaving the house. My kids and I are all social creatures who get to a point where we long to be social with someone who doesn’t share the last name. And the homemaker in me is ready to let Chik Fil A cook a meal and give my dishwasher a break from the two loads a day it has been doing the last week. I just need a day for my sanity and, honestly, theirs too.

I know when my kids are off to college, I will miss it. I may see some sweet neighborhood kids out building a snowman and say to the mother, “Oh you will blink, and they will be all grown up!” They may force a grin with their tired, snow day weary bodies. And I hope I remember. I hope I remember that, although, there are fabulous memories being made, it is a lot of work.

This is what getting three kids ready for a snow day at my house looked like this week:

  1. Run around the house to gather a hodgepodge of snow gear for each kid. Crap! Where is the matching glove!!!
  2. Start to dress first child who promptly turns into a limp noodle – long johns, long sleeve t-shirt, hoodie, socks (help me out child!!), snow pants, gloves (one in each hole!!), coat, and finally 15 minutes later – toboggan.
  3. Repeat with each child.
  4. Start to try to get yourself dressed then….
  5. Child #1 comes in and needs a new pair of gloves, because the other ones make her fingers feel funny.
  6. Start to get dressed then….
  7. Child #2 comes in and asks has played long enough to get Hot Chocolate. NO!!!!
  8. Attempt to go to the bathroom then…
  9. Child #3 comes in and asks if you are ever going to come out…
  10. You finally get your own hodgepodge snow gear on minus your boots and gloves because your daughter is now wearing them.
  11. Repeat at least 3 times a day.

It doesn’t just have to be a snow day.  Sometimes just a Tuesday can run you ragged.  Last week my husband was working late, so I was putting my three kids to bed by myself. My older two children read to themselves before bed. I was tired after a long day and ready to trim our 30-minute going to bed routine to 20 minutes. I asked my 7 year old, Matthew, if he wanted to read to himself instead of me reading to him before bed. He was SO excited to be a big kid reader. By the time I finished snuggling, chatting, and praying with Ethan and Ella, Matthew’s light was turned off.

I couldn’t help myself as I went back in his room, snuggled a little more, and got a book to read to him.

Because I am going to blink one day, and he will be all grown up.

Relish reading books, snuggles and the snow days. But give yourself a little grace if you need a minute to recharge your batteries because being a mom is hard work.

On the SevenFREAKINteenth Day of Christmas Break

On the SevenFREAKINteenth day of Christmas break, I was busy giving myself a pretty good guilt trip.

I need to get out in the sub-zero weather and peddle some Girl Scout cookies with Ella.  

I really should take the kids somewhere fun on one of their last days of break.  

And then after looking at Facebook…Oh look at the super fun trip they are on!!!  Geez my poor kids don’t get to do anything fun.

Alas, my nose was running like a faucet, and I had a ton to do to get ready before my Daddy’s surgery on Wednesday.  My sweet friend, Rheanne, gave me a pep talk when I was having a mini breakdown.  She reminded me that the kids were going to be just fine and that I just needed to focus on taking care of myself and my daddy.

So I allowed myself to remove “Entertainer” from my Mama job description and let them entertain themselves.  And guess what?  The day was pretty awesome.  Sure we stayed in our pajamas all day.  And Matthew played his Lego Dimensions WAY too much, but he also colored an entire dinosaur coloring book.  No one fought (excessively that is) and I didn’t have to take anyone to the ER.  Score!

When I found the below video on my iPhone after the umpteenth low storage message on my phone, I decided we need to have a lot more days like this where the kids can just be kids.

Too many quotes that I love to even pick one!  Of course I had to find the original one that they made a couple of years ago…

We (me included) spend so much time trying to make sure our kids are involved in the right activities, getting good grades and all the other absurd pressures for kids today.

We need to just let them be kids, have fun, use their imagination and record a talk show in their room with their big sister  🙂

 

 

When Does School Start Again??

I LOVE my kids. However, they have been out of school almost two weeks with one week to go. Here are 5 reasons I will be the first in drop off line in January:
1. I have no clue what day of the week it is.
2. At one point, I had each kid, my husband and the dog in separate corners. And they were still finding a way to fight through the air vents!!!
3. I desperately need a buy lunch option in the cafeteria
4. They keep uncleaning my Spring cleaning. (Husband included)
5. When I banish them to the backyard for 15 minutes, I spend an hour scrapping mud pies off tennis shoes from our torrential Tennessee Winter Thunderstorms.
But here are 5 reasons I will miss the 3 littles pieces of my heart the instant they step on the sidewalk:
1. Morning snuggles
2. Lazy breakfast with lots of laughter
3. Movie popcorn and snuggles
4. Random “I Love Yous” throughout he day
5. No 3rd grade homework or tears 😉

The GRINCH Who Hated Football

The Grinch Who Hated FootballI am not sure if my youngest, Matthew, is actually related to me. I mean I look at him and see that he is the perfect combination of Eric and me, but there is something that is just off about him.

He hates football. Seriously. Hates it. He can’t honestly be a Greer and hate football. I mean it is our family tradition.

We can usually convince him to go to the first few games, but I never make it to a game past mid-October. Eric still goes with Ethan and Ella rallies sometimes too. I stay home with the Grinch who hates football.

Yesterday on the way home from our trip, I asked Matthew why he hated football. Without skipping a beat he growled (just like the Grinch)… 

When they get in the stadium it is filled with that

Noise! Oh, the Noise! Noise! Noise!

Then they Feast!

Feast! Feast! Feast! Feast!

They feast on popcorn and nachos and hot dogs

And they Sing!

Sing! Sing! Sing! Sing!

They Sing Rocky Top every time they score!

I cannot take it any more!!!

 Drop the freakin mic.

I am just passing the MacBook on to him.

Peace Out.

Black Friday PERFECTED

I have done the “Black Friday” experience a number of different ways, but this year I freakin NAILED it.

A couple of years ago, my sister in law had the “iPad Christmas” for her triplets.  Obviously, that mandated a late night Wal-Mart run in order to save literally hundreds of dollars.  And we had a blast.  Our husbands came too and it was like the most hysterical, entertaining, pitiful double date.  And I didn’t even have to get dressed up.  We plotted and strategized.  Drank caffeine way too late.  Found the Blu-Ray player I didn’t even realize I HAD to have.  Made friends with complete strangers in line. Searched for the ever-elusive $3.99 chopper for Nana.  Combed through $5 DVDs that we would never watch.  Sent the boys to investigate when we heard there was a fight over a basketball goal.  But the bottom line was even though our goal was to get gifts for kids…there were none in sight.  Holla!

This year that was no big item that necessitated Wal-Mart crazy.  There is one thing on my kids’ list that was $50 off.  After thinking about it, we decided we would pay $50 to have a chill Thanksgiving night. Since I was sawin’ logs before 10:00, that was a solid choice.

Southern Lady-6Our Black Friday morning tradition is to go to the town square in Eric’s home town, Paris, TN, to see Santa come to town in the fire engine.  How many more years will our kids be excited to do this???  “Santa is coming!!!” (You have to read this like Buddy the elf).  We saw Santa come in and even got a hug from Mrs. Claus.  Afterwards, we went and shopped at some local businesses that were full of Christmas cheer.  My favorite, of course, is “My Favorite Things,” were Nana works.  It is such a cute shop with tons of character and is filled with lots of things that could become my next favorite thing 😉

We went home to have a plate of leftovers even though we were no where near hungry…because I will have to wait a whole other year to eat Thanksgiving food again, so why not??!!   We packed up our stuff ready to head back home to Nashville.

As soon as we got home and got everyone squared away, I headed out to do my Black Friday shopping…a full 24 hours past the official start.  And friends, after 6 days of non-stop family, I was seriously needing some Steph Time.  I love my family; there isn’t a single one that I don’t love to freakin pieces.  But sometimes it is nice to just not have to talk.  Just have peace and quiet.

So naturally I went to my zen place – Target.  I pulled into the parking lot with my list and nearly got a front row Joe parking spot.  Score.  Sure I had to flick some stale popcorn from the bottom of the cart, but there were plenty of carts to choose from.  Score.  Found my 7′ un-lit tree (because I have sworn off pre-lit trees because the lights always go out and look janky)  Score.  Got all our super cute clothes on sale for our angel.  Score.  Scanned, bagged, and paid for with my Red Card in less than an hour.  Score.  And I figure since a lot of the DVDs and Door Buster things that I would have just thrown in my cart were gone, I actually came out ahead savings wise!  SCORE!!

So I think I have this Black Friday thing figured out.  (For me anyway).  Enjoy Thanksgiving and Friday morning.  Let the crazies get off the road and out of the stores 😉  Then the world (or Target) is your oyster.  At least until we have the “iPad Christmas.”  Although, Mama doesn’t even have an iPad yet, so we have some time yet 😉

So tonight I can relax with a glass of Chardonnay, while I watch my husband put up my new tree and string the lights.  (Because he won’t let you touch the tree or lights because I may have strung them one year and it looked janky, so I lost Christmas tree privileges.  Really who is the winner now??? 😉  Score.