Sunday, May 31, 2009

We Are Family

What a weekend! We just returned from an overnight camping trip in honor of Grandma's 70th birthday. She thought she was going camping with Aunt Jackie and her kids, but when she showed up, the whole family was there to surprise her! This picture is Grandma's genuine surprise when she saw all of us in one of the cabins, AND the look of surprise when her Grandaughter Kaitlin's hair caught on fire from the candles on the cake!

After we extinguished the fire, we had a fantastic time hanging out and eating lots of good food and plastic cups.

And then we got some family pictures taken because that's WHAT WE DO.

Grandma gave birth to all these people...
Who, in turn, gave birth to all these people...

We're 3 short of being the Duggars, and way too misbehaved for our own television show. Unless it was for MTV, and a spin-off of The Real World.

And if you've ever been told that I sometimes like to be the center of attention, please know, that it is a big fat lie. Or Not.

Our mothers are so proud of our diva attitudes.

5 of the 6 grandkids under 12


And an updated picture of Mr. Cline and me!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I Don't Really Know What To Write About Myself

I got this fantastic bloggy makeover well over a month ago, and have yet to link up information about "Characters".

I hate to jump on the FAQ bandwagon, but is there anything you'd like to see there? What are you just dying to know about me, Aaron, and even Duke?? I'm an open book about 95% of the time, and if I'm willing to share my fertility journey with you, including broken toenails, I can't think there is much I won't answer.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Get to cleaning, woman!

So the day started out just like any other day. Meaning I slept too late, ran around trying to find something to wear that wasn't a.) wrinkled b.) dirty c.) Aaron's, and put my hair in a clippy that was missing a tooth. The past month at work has been very stressful and I have been working about 60 hours a week. It takes everything in me to just get out of bed in the morning. Getting dressed in something that matches is no easy feat. And the hair! Don't get me started on the hair.

Anyhow, on this particularly dreary day, I let the dog outside to go potty while I found something to spray Febreeze on and throw in the dryer to de-wrinkle wear and when I called him in, was shocked at the amount of mud on his little paws. I wanted to go out and investigate the situation, but I wasn't wearing a bra. Or pants. I grabbed the closest thing I could find to wipe his paws. Aaron's boxers. He will never know, so if you tell him, I will deny that it ever happened.

Little Duke Monster ate his breakfast, I continued with my rushed morning routine, and after taking the time to put on proper undergarments and pants, I went outside with him to make sure he, okay to spend the rest of the day inside. As we walked close to the tomato plants I despised planting in the first place (because I hate dirt and bugs and worms), I noticed that not only had my tomato plants been dug up, they had been tossled around the yard.

Please know that I do not condone animal abuse, but seriousy, I wanted to kick Duke right square in the butt. With my shoe. That didn't match my shirt.

Recalling that I was already leaving the house 15 minutes later than usual, and I needed to make my daily Panera stop for their iced tea laced with cocaine, I put Duke in his cage, grabbed my keys, my lunch, my sweater because it's cold in the office, my phone, and my purse, and ran out the door.

Let's recap. Dug up tomato plants in backyard. Muddy paw prints all over kitchen floor. Aaron's boxers, now also covered in mud, laying on laundry room floor. Fourteen shirts I thought about wearing, but didn't wear because they were a.) wrinkled b.) dirty c.) Aaron's thrown about the bedroom. And my dirty undergarments on the floor because even when I don't get up early enough to take a shower, I still like to be clean. THANKYOUVERYMUCH.

When I got to work, I had an email from my realtor that someone wanted to see the house. Today. At 4 pm. I emailed her back and said:

"My house is a disaster. Our only hope of them buying our house is if they like dog hair and dirty dishes"

To which she replied:

"I'm afraid if they don't see it today, they won't want to reschedule"

Then she called. And someone else wants to see the house at 1 pm. Breathe in, breathe out. These people have seen dog hair and dirty dishes right?!

And at that very moment, I remember the muddy floor, clothes strewn bedroom, boxers on the floor, and the kicker of all kickers, embarraser of all embarressers: the pregnancy test on the bathroom counter.

In case you weren't paying attention up to this point, my realtor showed my house twice today. WITH A PREGNANCY TEST ON THE COUNTER.

We will be living in this house for the absolute rest of our lives.

Friday, May 22, 2009

My Dog is having a Birthday

I know you're not going to be 1 (or 7, as it may be) until Tuesday, Duke, but Happy Birthday. To celebrate your special day, Mommy will go to Starbucks and get you a cup of whipped cream. YUM!

(This is what happens when you don't have kids. You celebrate the birthdays for your "other" children. Ha!)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

And then they called again.

I figured I should follow up on this post, and let you all know that the doctor's office called and I get to keep my uterus. It's really quite exciting, and while I have forever been a supporter of Breast Cancer Awareness, I am now adding Cervical Cancer Awareness to the list, cause that was some scary crap.

And even though he tried to hide it, I could tell my husband was really worried about me. Even though I didn't want him to worry, it meant so much to me. I know the he cares, but it was a special concern that he usually doesn't show.

I'm so glad to be okay, and I'm so glad for the friends and family who are my support system.

I will leave you with this pleasant message - get an exam every year ladies, no matter how uncomfortable it makes you feel. It is totally worth it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

You Capture


This week's You Capture theme was "Sweet" and since I promised the gals at work that I would bring them cookies in the morning, I figured it was a perfect opportunity to showcase my baking skills. If my husband is reading this, he no doubt just spit Coors Light all over the computer because the only skill I have in the kitchen is eating.

I don't know which is sweeter:

Peanut butter cookies?

Hershey Kisses?

Or the man who stole 1/2 the cookies off of the cooling rack?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

It's My Blog and I'll Talk About It If I Want To

Welcome to my journal, my place for family, faith, humor, life-changing memories. I write about my husband, my dog, my job, things that I like, and things that frustrate me, like the woman I work with who curses in the workplace. I write to inspire and encourage, to make you think and make you laugh.

I've said before that this is not my sounding board for fertility issues, and while I have tried to limit what I say here (with the exception of the past couple weeks), the reality is that my life the past few weeks has been about our fertility journey and working 60 hours a week . It's hard to write about my life but avoid certain topics for fear of seeming conceited, but then I would have nothing to talk about I would be lying to myself and denying myself the support I know ya'll can provide.

So here's the story.

In mid-April, I went in for my annual exam, which has got to be comparable to death by stoning. I discussed with my doctor that Aaron and I have been trying to conceive for going on 6 months, and while I wasn't worried it wouldn't happen, I was a little concerned that for as many ovulation tests I had taken, I had never been able to detect the hormone that indicates ovulation (LH Surge). She suggested a "21 day draw", which would determine the levels of progesterone my body generates or produces or gives off or something. Just 48 hours after my blood test, a nurse called to tell me that my levels were low, and the doctor wanted to start me on Clomid. I said okay, thinking all the while that I was going to research alternatives to this medicine because I don't want to have the side effects that will make my husband want to leave me. I certainly wouldn't get pregnant that way.


Anyhow, that same night when I got home, there was a letter in the mail from my doctor, the results from my test the week before. The letter had mulitple lines available for the office to check, from "Everything is fine" to "PLEASE CALL US BEFORE YOUR UTERUS FALLS OUT" and for the first time ever, I had the "PLEASE CALL US BEFORE YOUR UTERUS FALLS OUT" line checked. My heart instantly sank, and I had nightmares about what could be wrong. This is not the place for me to go into my past (that may actually require multiple posts), but I will just say that had I never expected to see any lines marked, other than "okay" and I certainly hadn't expected to see them after I turned 25. Things like "this" won't happen to "me". Of course!

When I called the next day, the nurse was very sweet in telling me that there had been some abnormal cells found during my visit, and the doctor wanted to see me. As if being violated once a year isn't already enough, I scheduled an appointment, and didn't even have to beg Aaron to come along.

The procedure itself wasn't terrible, although I did squeeze Aaron's hand pretty tight, and my doctor mentioned that I'll be a terriffic candidate for an epidural - that she will be able to administer in my fourth month of pregnancy. I couldn't hide the fact that I am a baby, and I have no pain tolerance.

During the appointment last week, she was able to tell me that my risk for cervical cancer is very low. She was not, however, able to rule out other cervical issues, which may or may not be related to my difficulty conceiving thus far. The test results will be back this Friday or next Monday.

When I said this was not my sounding board, I intended to keep it that way. Unfortunately, or not, life happened, and if I was going to continue posting about the things that matter to me, I couldn't avoid letting you know where I've been!

Look for an uplifting picture post soon!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mother's Day Weekend

These pictures are SOTC (Straight out of the camera). I just wanted to post them so my mom could see them. Hi Mom!

I think my sister, Payton, is just adorable. And now matter how old she gets, I will always think of her as my baby sister.

My momma and her Great Aunt, Donelda.

My mom and her kids on Mother's Day. I am biting my sister because she called me a skeeze. And because I love her. And in my family, we bite people when we love them.

There are a few more pictures in the two posts below this one, so keep scrolling to see the ones that were edited!

You Capture

I haven't been taking part in You Capture lately because I haven't been taking my camera with me! I'm so bad, I know!

The You Capture challenge for this week is COLOR, and I tried to focus on one color per picture.

This past weekend, during a trip to Ohio to visit my mom for Mother's Day, I photographed some of the vintage things at my parents house, as well as some of my mom's beautiful flowers.

I'm excited to start taking my camera with me more places, because I love seeing the beauty that can be captured!

Go over to Beth's site to visit with the rest of the folks who "Captured" this week!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Clubhouse

When I was a little girl, I used to invite my neighbor girls over to play "club". Any kind of club would do, from the "Lisa Frank Sticker Club" to the "Kitty Cat Club". I had a fantastic clubhouse in the backyard of our house, and I spent many hours a day hanging out there with my friends. My clubs were exclusive, no boys allowed. My poor brother would run around the yard with his friends, and beg to come into the clubhouse. He was only allowed in it when I was out running around town, trying to find cats to steal for our "Kitty Cat Club". Have no fear, my mother was quick to address the issue of stealing our neighbors cats.

My friends and I spent all summer coming and going from that clubhouse. We not only used it for our "meetings", we also had occasional Friday night sleepovers, and Wednesday afternoon reading time. We ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the clubhouse, and we colored pictures for our moms. We made flyers advertising our current club, and brainstormed ideas and names for the next great club. One of which may or may not have included selling bird feeders made out of milk jugs and bird seed that we stole from my mom (I'm starting to notice a pattern here that I've cleary been in denial over for many years).

Now I'm older and most of the "Lisa Frank Sticker Club" members belong to a new club. A club that doesn't have a membership fee of sticker trades, a club that allows membership to anyone who applies, and even some who aren't sure if they want to sign the club agreement. A club where the rules aren't taped to the inside of the door, and you can't give up and change the name when it gets boring. Their new club doesn't collect kitties, either.

I want to be a member of the Mommy Club, but I think my invitation is lost in the mail.

One day, though, I hope it arrives. And I hope it has a big fat Lisa Frank sticker right on the front.
*Clubhouse pictures taken May 10, 2009. Roughly 17 years after I last climbed the ladder.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Back to your regularly scheduled programming...

I do not normally come to this blog to talk about my "trying to conceive" (ttc) issues. I write about them over here though, and if you're ever interested in our progress, you can check it out! I only wanted to bring attention to National Infertility Awareness Week, and I'm glad so many people were able to hear a fraction of my story. I received lots of emails and Facebook messages aside from the comments on my last post, and I just want to thank everyone for your kind, encouraging, loving messages. I am blessed to have you all in my life.

Moving on.

As you may have noticed, has recently undergone a makeover! Beth from I Should Be Folding Laundry and RubyandRoja was lovely to work with, and her vision for my bloggy and twitter makeover was more than I could have imagined.

It was funny, though, how a blog design could make me reflect on the past, and think about the present. Yes, "Once Upon A Cline" is an obvious play on "Once Upon A Time". But as I was thinking about the similarities, I was forced to accept the fact that my life, and my marriage, are not perfect. If you've been around my blogs (here and here) for a few years, you may recall a post about my desire for perfection (of course, I would like to link it, and I can't find it). But the general idea of that post went like this:

As I sat in the Student Union with my Bible Study leader Laura, I told her I just couldn't do it all anymore. I was a full-time student with a part-time job, I sang on the worship team for our weekly Campus Crusade meeting, I lead worship for a Friday afternoon gathering of students, I sang on the worship team at my church, I had 3 different rehearsal nights a week, I was committed to a Bible Study, and two different dicipleships - the one I was being discipled in, and the one where I was discipling. I had a boyfriend and a roommate and a sorority, and I just couldn't do it anymore. And as I cried over my Iced Tea, I told her I never thought I would get there.

"Get where, Natalie?" she asked me gently.

"I don't think I'll ever be perfect".

And with tears streaming down both our faces, she grabbed my hands from across the table, and kindly assured me that I would, in fact, NEVER attain perfection. If I was perfect, I wouldn't need a Saviour.

Five years after that conversation, my manager at work took me out for lunch for my employee evaluation and told me I was doing so well, and that she was really proud of me for how much I'd learned in the past few months. Her only suggestion was to be more willing to accept my mistakes, and to learn from them. She said I was too hard on myself, and I needed to let people help me fix my mistakes, and I needed to be teachable. And right there in the middle of that restaurant, the tears streamed down my face again. She looked shocked, and apologized if she'd said something that upset me, and I told her the story above. And I realized that I hadn't accepted what Laura told me back in 2003; I was still striving for perfection, for that unattainable goal.

Today, I am content with being less than perfect. My marriage is far from perfect. I say things to my husband that I am ashamed of, I yell. There is laundry to be done. My car is messy, and my work desk looks like a tornado blew through the building. I can't cook, I'm a terrible housekeeper, I gossip. I don't do my hair most days, I don't spend time picking out my clothes, and you're lucky to catch me with matching socks.

So my "Once Upon A Cline" is not a story of a perfect fairy tale, where the prince rides in to rescue the princess, kissing her to awaken her from a deep sleep, whilst she dreamed of mice and carriages, and glass slippers. I think I got that wrong. Anyhow...

My "Once Upon A Cline" is my far-from-perfect tale, pool guy rides in to save HR Manager, shaking her to awaken from a deep sleep in which she talks of non-sense and occasionally snores, whilst dreaming of flip-flops, carry out pizza, and someone to mop the floor. A step-sister, if you will. And usually, the princess in this story is drooling on the pillow.

And it's the Fairy Tale I've been waiting for all along.