First off, I woke up to a text at 5:30 am from my younger sister who just had a tonsillectomy last week saying that she was in the ER at 2.  She ended up being admitted back into the hospital to be put under to have her throat cauterized again because one side ripped open and she was bleeding.  I was in complete shock when I woke up and read this text.  She actually texted me right away at 2 am when all of this was going on, but for whatever reason my phone happened to be on silent.  I NEVER keep my phone on silent in the middle of the night for reasons such as this and go figure the one time there was an emergency, I wasn’t aware of it right away.  I feel terrible.  Talk about waking up with a heart attack.

Thankfully, she is back home and recovering…AGAIN.  Due to all the ciaos going on in my life, I really haven’t been able to visit her yet or really physically be there for her.  First, E was sick and I didn’t want to expose my sister and her family to anything major especially to my sister right after a big surgery. Plus anytime I could visit I would have to take E with and I didn’t think she would appreciate the extra noise and stress and I also have had appointment after appointment and things pertaining to this infertility nonsense.  I feel like the worlds worst sister at the moment.  It’s not a good feeling.

To add to the worlds worst sister comment, I also feel like the worlds worst mommy (I know I am not, but do have moments where I feel like I am lacking being 100% present).  Like I said, SI is all consuming and between being at doctor appointments, then getting home and explaining what was said to my husband and then being on hold with the fertility drug company for 45 minutes it really takes time away from my daughter.  It is so not fair to her.  I try to keep her busy in the midst of my busy times too but it’s times like this where being a SAHM is hard and I you feel almost guilty that she isn’t in a daycare to play with her friends and have daily structure and learning experiences 24/7.  However, I know she knows how much I love her and I do make up for it in the moments that are not completely consumed with this sort of thing.  I just know my time with her is precious beyond words and spending time on something that should just happen naturally without much thought really pisses me off at times that it is so much harder for us and takes up so much more time (excuse my french)!

Secondly, I feel like I have seen my husband for 2.2 seconds since he got home last night.  He was helping my dad tap maple trees at the Cabin this weekend so he was away.  I am glad he got some time away from the daily grind and thankfully, he took our dog with him so it was one less thing I had to deal with.  Side note:  I love our dog very much, but she also loves me wayy too much and her constant need for attention can sometimes be a bit much.  However, things are much, much harder without my partner in crime (aka my husband).  It was nice having a girls weekend with E, however since I am a SAHM M-F being alone and having to care for her all weekend by myself can be a challenge.  Sometimes, a Mom just needs an hour or two of alone time, which rarely happens except on the weekends when my husband is home. Between potty training and mission take away her BA (a.k.a. her nuk) it’s been kind of a headache.  I love my daughter with my everything and I never take our time for granted but these new challenges in parenthood are turning me into a MOMSTER (Mom:  A women who loves you unconditionally.  Momster:  What happens to a Mom after she counts to 3…).  Needless to say, E has been throwing tantrums, crying, hitting me in my face, not listening, and being quite the sassy pants.  Sometimes it really tests my patients as you can imagine.  You may think I am crazy for wanting another child so badly after that little rant BUT feel free to call me crazy because I would do this all over again in a heartbeat because I am a Mom and I just love being a Mom (again, see definition)!

Going back to my husband…I miss him terribly and I miss having him around to help me parent our potty training, BA-less, sassy, cute adorable toddler (Toddler:  Emotionally unstable, pint-sized dictator who has the uncanny ability to know exactly how far to push your buttons to utter insanity before reverting to a lovable cuddle monster.)!    Now it’s Monday again, and he is back to work and pretty much gone from 5:30 am to 6ish PM.  Bottom line is I’ve been alone with Etta for far to many hours in a row and this Mom has turned into a Momster and needs to promptly be turned back into a regular Mom again- but I can do no such thing until I get a tiny-wee-little break to re-fuel.

Thirdly,  I had my mid cycle ultrasound this morning.  My husband ended up staying home with E as we didn’t want to bother anyone to watch her and I went to this appointment solo (Unfortunately, the 15 minute car ride was not enough time to lock up the Momster and morph back into regluar Mom).  Needless to say my head is swimming after this appointment-which is why it’s always nice to have my husband there for extra ears to retain all the dates and information and instructions given. Most all appointments are like this as there is just so much information to take in. Then I got thrown a bit of a curve ball as I was not expecting my Nurse to tell me that I should do the Novarel shot again this cycle ( Poor hubby, Zach McStuffins is going to have to come out of the closet yet again).  When I heard this, my nerves shot up ten fold.  Although the shot didn’t hurt to badly, it’s just really nerve racking.  So, when I got home, I called and ordered that.  It should be delivered tomorrow sometime via FedEx and I am instructed to also take the shot tomorrow…eek! On the up and up…It looks like I have 2 good sized follicles, one on each ovary and the shot will just help them along!  As of now it looks like we will have procedure either Wednesday or Thursday.

I am just feeling very overwhelmed as I am almost certain this will be our last go at it for a little while.  I have mixed feelings about stopping “treatment” to take a break BUT we really need the break as this is all consuming and emotionally draining and we need time to build up our savings account so we can press forward.  However long a break we take, I also know it’s not going to feel like much of a break because these feelings associated with SI are not something you can shut on and off like a light switch.

If this cycle fails (which praying to the almighty God above, it does not fail us AGAIN)… It looks like the next step in the process would be to do injections which is a daily shot for about 16 days during my cycle that helps improve the quality of a my eggs (Although, at this point we are assuming my eggs are fine as there have been no tests done to say one way or another).  The injections are rather expensive, around that $1500 mark and then there is a one time fee of $572. This would be on top of the ultrasound charges which is $175 a time and the IUI charges.  We would be working with the fertility doctors from either Green Bay or Illinois during this portion of the process.  UGH….Now I am getting ahead of myself so to not overwhelm myself further I will just say that I hope we don’t even need to get to that point and this cycle will just take.

I was once told that if my life gets overwhelming, that I just need to keep calm and carry on. So…I am going to take a couple deep breaths, enjoy a mug of English toffee mocha, hug my daughter extra tight all day and snuggle her a little longer, pet my fur babies to lower my blood pressure, stay calm and carry on with this “awesome” day…

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I first of all wanted to thank all of you who said a prayer for us on Friday or kept us near in your thoughts.  Your “silent” support is very much appreciated.  I also appreciate those people who called or texted us to let us know we were thought of. Your support, is appreciated more then you will ever know.  A special thank you to my father-in-law, who took time off from work yesterday to watch E so we could go do what needed to be done!  With all these appointments, it’s oftentimes hard to bring E with as there are things little ears should not hear and things little eyes should not see.  Not to mention, it can be a huge distraction from the support I need while I am there (my husbands).  We need to be completely present at these types of things and find it hard to be the few times we’ve had to bring E along with.  We also have one smart and observant child on our hands and she picks up on things pretty quickly–and has indeed repeated certain things that do not need to be repeated.  She also seems very concerned for Mommy when I am at the doctor and almost scared for me at times.  So, it’s important to me that we bring her with us as little as we have to.  My older sister has also been there for us a lot in times when we need someone to care for E and we greatly appreciate her being there for us as well.

Next, I will update you on my HSG test.  PHEW!  I am just so glad and so relieved that this is over with.  I really had myself worked up, and really for no reason whatsoever.  As my mother in law said to me, the unknown is always just scary and it’s so true.  I took 800mg of Ibuprofen before my test as recommended by my doctor and  I really attribute my comfort level during the test to this.  The worst part of the entire test was putting the catheter in as there was a slight pinch.  I briefly felt some cramping when the dye was first injected, but after that I really felt nothing.  I had no cramping and no side effects from the test after, except slight bleeding…but that only lasted a few hours.  One of my biggest fears was the pain that I have heard this test can cause and I am one lucky lady that it didn’t cause me much pain.  It was uncomfortable yes.  Painful, no.  I told my husband that my last IUI was unbearable compared to this test.

My next biggest fear was the results.  I am beyond relieved to say that my Fallopian tubes are clear and my uterus is normal/healthy.  Praise the Lord!  My doctor said she has high hopes for us this cycle as typically after the test, like I’ve mentioned before, women tend to be more fertile 1-3 months after this test.  She’s hoping with the tweak in our medication, and now this test that this is what we needed to have a desirable outcome.  I really hope and pray she is right, but really not getting my hopes too high.  I am just focusing on being grateful that nothing was wrong in that department as it answers more of our questions and puts our mind just that much more at ease.  It’s another step forward in the process and any positive news in the right direction relieves the weight on our shoulders just that much more.

Other then that, I have a mid cycle ultrasound on Monday and will know more after that.  So, until next time…

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In need of Positive Vibes

My HSG test is tomorrow.  I am incredibly nervous for this test even just thinking about it.  I think I’ve psyched myself up (in a bad way) and am fearful of how bad it is going to hurt.  Even worse, I don’t think I can handle getting any negative results. I am a person who always thinks of the absolute worst before the best.  I have been praying that this is not the case with everything else we already have going against us. Best case scenario is that my tubes are clear and my uterus looks healthy.

If you are reading this, I just please, please, please ask you to send some positive thoughts my way.  I’ve really been struggling this week.  If you could also keep me in your prayers today and pray for calm nerves and to not let anxious thoughts affect my day in a negative manner I would very much appreciate it.  Secondly, if you could pray for positive test results tomorrow and strength to get through the test with minimal pain, that too would be appreciated.  Don’t forget my husband in all of this, please pray for him as well as he has expressed his nervousness about this test as well.  We both just need the extra support right now.  Sometimes it’s just hard to stand on your own two feet and you need an extra person to lean on for support.

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Stage 5-Accepting.

Well, I said it would take some time for me to process what Gods will was for us this cycle as it wasn’t what I wanted.  However, I am finally to Stage 5 and I am accepting of the situation yet again.  I am continuing to trust that God has an even more awesome plan for us and a future that is better then anything I could possibly imagine.  This gives me much hope for our future.

Psalm 56:3 says “When I am afraid I will trust in You.”  It is 100 percent certain that we can’t always see our future and what lies ahead but the promises of God show us there are better things ahead.  We just have to continue placing our faith in Him.  Don’t get me wrong, I am still very sad over our answer, which was “No” but I am learning slowly but surely to say “Thank You” as I believe the good Lord truly knows what he is doing in our lives.  There is always a reason for our struggles, even if we don’t see that reason right away.  Our struggles make us who we are.  I know I have changed and am continually changing from this circumstance set in our lives.  There have been many teachable moments along side the tears, stress, and heartache.  This situation has allowed me to bond with other women in similar situations and although it saddens me that there are so many other couples struggling with  primary/secondary infertility because I know first hand the heartache that comes along with it, but I am thankful that I have these women that support me as I do them and also to help teach each other along the way.

In accepting, part of being able to move forward is to come up with a new plan of attack so you are indeed feeling like you are moving forward in the process. Part of this decision is even making the decision to move forward or to take a break.  My husband and I have mulled over all the possibilities of what to do next and have had to face some big decision making in a very short amount of time.  As you may know, procedures/tests/medications are all needing to be done/taken on very specific days of my cycle.  So, what is next for us?  That seems to be the never ending question in this horrible cycle. The hardest part are there are just no clear cut answers in this whole journey.

After getting our doctors opinion and then my  husband and I discussing our options together we came up with this for our next cycle.   My doctor decided she wanted to take me off of clomid as one of the side affects is thinning of uterine lining.  It proves to be one of the side effects I am experiencing from the drug as they’ve seen the thinning via ultrasound.  So, they decided that maybe clomid is not the best medicine and we are now switching to a new drug called Femara or the generic form Letrozole.  I will start taking this drug on days 3-7 of my cycle (starting Sunday).  Due to 4 medicated cycles already and 3 failed IUI’s my husband and I do not feel confident proceeding on with IUI’s even with a new medication trial, until I have the HSG test done.  This test will basically tell me if my tubes are clear and not blocked and to make sure there are no problems with my uterus.  The following link provides more in depth information on what this test is:  http://www.webmd.com/infertility-and-reproduction/guide/hysterosalpingogram-21590  We went back and forth about this test, sadly mainly because of the cost.  We both agreed it would be silly to do another IUI if my tubes are blocked or something is wrong with my uterus, however, the cost out of pocket is pretty expensive.  Again, nothing infertility is covered in our insurance.

I talked with the Billing Department after the headache of having to call and talk with 3 separate departments because they bill separately for this test.   Here is what we came up with:  Doctor Fee:  $1387  Hospital Fee:  $911 and Radiology Fee:  $237.  Yikes.  Luckily they said we could work out a payment plan as long as we paid in full by the end of one full calendar year.  As much as you don’t want money to be a factor in this decision, the reality is we can’t just go and plant a money tree in our backyard.  We have a future to think about and one that already involves a child.  We can’t put ourselves in debt up to our ears over this.  We just can’t.  We’ve already drained most of our savings with what we’ve done this far.  However, coming this far only makes us want to get the end result we so badly desire.  A BABY!

With that, we decided on the test.  My test day is this coming Friday.  I am absolutely terrified of this test as I have heard it is by no means pleasant.  However, if it gives us some answers then I will put my super woman cape on once again and do it.  Then, the following Monday we will do our mid cycle ultrasound.  We do OPK testing starting on day 10 and once we get our positive we will be going through with another IUI.  The doctor recommended doing an IUI the same cycle as an HSG test as they say you tend to be more fertile 1-3 months after an HSG tests and ironically many women become pregnant after them as it “cleans out the cobwebs” so to speak even if there is no blockage.  We can only hope and pray this is the case for us!  If it isn’t, I for see a “break” coming up on the near future.  This doesn’t mean we are giving up, it just simply means sometimes a person just needs a break, some clarity and time to focus on something else for a while.  This is all consuming and we simply need to take a vacation!  Now, if we could afford to take a real vacation we would as my husband and I think that would be the best medicine!

Like always, we are feeling very overwhelmed, yet all the while trying to stay hopeful.  It’s hard.  It’s very, very, very hard.  With the financial obligations on top of it we feel like we can’t even go buy an ice cream cone without feeling guilty.  Times are very difficult.  However, we are doing the best we can in the most upbeat way we can.  Not every day is a rainbow though that’s for sure.

On top of all of this…our little lady is sick.  She spiked a temp of about 102 last night and it stayed strong even with Tylenol. So, I took her to the doctor this morning and it turns out she has RSV/Bronchitis.  Lots of TLC and snuggles are happening this weekend and we are hoping it passes as quickly as it came on.  She’s napping right now, so I thought it would be a great time to do some blogging!  I tell you, there is just never a dull moment in this house hold.  However, wishing we had some better moments then the ones I am speaking of now…but again, trusting God in the midst of all our trials!

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14 days post the IUI of hell has arrived.  Honestly, I was dreading this day more….and my feelings were justified this morning after testing.  BFN on a First Response which means BIG FAT NEGATIVE in the infertility world.  Both my husband and I just feel defeated.  I know I need some time to process this, but I can already tell I’m back into that funk again-in 2.2 seconds my day was completely ruined. Going on cycle 20 of this nightmare.  I can’t even believe this is our reality.  There are really just no words right now.

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It’s hard when this is what I see staring back at me every single time.

Luck of the Irish…I Hope.

Happy belated St. Patrick’s Day!  I do have some Irish running in my blood so I wanted to acknowledge it, although I didn’t do much of anything in spirit of the holiday.  I did, like every year, think of my Grandma Lee a lot yesterday.  One of her favorite Irish Blessings was this:

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I hold this Irish blessing near and dear to my heart, and you’d be amazed at how many times it has popped up in my lifetime after my grandma’s passing (my high school graduation, church, funerals, to name a few) and it really has spoke to my heart and impacted me.  When I hear it being sang, it gives me goosebumps every time and I always choke back tears! Every year my grandma would crotchet 4 leaf clover pins and give them to my sisters and I.  I sure do miss those little things that are no longer present.  Traditions, so to speak.  My Grandma Lee was a very special lady who is missed by many.

I ran across another blog by Arlene Stafford Wilson who writes this,

The Top Ten Ways to tell if you’re Irish:

1. You have the ‘gift of gab’. There is an ancient rock near Cork, Ireland at Blarney Castle and they say that anyone who kisses the stone will have the gift of gab. If you are truly of Irish descent, then there’s likely no pressing need to make the journey, as you surely already possess the talent of talking rings around most other people.

2. You are musical. Maybe you play an instrument or perhaps you just sing in the shower, but the gift of music is in your Irish blood and you will not be able to resist tapping your toe or strumming your fingers on the table when someone gets their fiddle out and plays a tune.

3. You have strong convictions. Whether the topic is religion, politics or your favourite sports team there will be no point in challenging your beliefs which you hold dearly, and you will argue about these beliefs passionately and convincingly.

4. You have a gift for writing and story-telling. You will be the one at the pub or social gathering that will keep the crowd entertained with your vivid and colourful tales. There may even be a bit of exaggeration thrown in for good measure, but it just makes your story all the more interesting.

5. You’ve got lovely skin and pleasing features. You may have porcelain, pale skin, or you may have freckles that outnumber the days of the year, but your features will be pleasantly proportioned and your eyes bright, with a genuine smile that lights up your face.

6. Your dinner is not complete without some spuds at the table. Whether it’s home-fries for breakfast, French fries for lunch, or baked, mashed or boiled for supper, the humble potato is a regular, healthy staple in your diet and you wouldn’t think of going a day without it.

7. You will likely have a few Irish names in your family tree because people of Irish descent are proud of their heritage and often pass down the names of their ancestors: Sean, Shane, Annie, Maggie, Michael, Patrick, Francis, Kelly, Bridget, Daniel, Aiden, Liam, Eileen, Irene, Brian, Barry, Collin, Ryan, Katie, Thomas, Matthew, Molly, William, Robert, Mark, Elizabeth, Peter, Sinead, Eva, Fay, Julia and so on…

8. You are better at swearing than most people. Partly because of your natural gift of gab and partly because of your quick wit, the swear-words seem to roll freely off of your tongue. You have even been known to make up your own, or stick a word in the middle for good measure, like “abso-bleedin’-lutely”.

9. Nothing brings out your poetic nature, natural ability to talk non-stop, or your talent for swearing like a few pints at the pub. A drink or two or three tends to make your exaggerations a bit more colourful, your storytelling even more fascinating, and your talent for music and dancing shines even brighter.

10. You are loyal. Your strong convictions and unshakeable beliefs are the most visible when it comes to your family and friends. If someone insults your friend then they’ve likely got a fight on their hands that they won’t win. If someone says something unkind about your family then they will have a nasty surprise coming to them that they didn’t bargain for. You are fiercely loyal to all you hold dear.

So, what are the Irish really like? Perhaps the best description comes from the popular historian, Carl Wittke:

“The so-called Irish temperament is a mixture of flaming ego, hot temper, stubbornness, great personal charm and warmth, and a wit that shines through adversity. An irrepressible buoyancy, a vivacious spirit, a kindliness and tolerance for the common frailties of man and a feeling that ‘it is time enough to bid the devil good morning when you meet him’ are character traits which Americans have associated with their Irish neighbors for more than a century.”

I love this list because it does describe my Irish blood well.  1.  Although I can be very quiet at times, I am also a gabbing type of girl.  Get me in the right mood and I will gab non-stop and quite honestly, you will get tired of it because when I gab I also tend to talk in circles and talk fast!  2. I am not musical inclined so this is about the only thing on the list that does not apply to me.  I wish it did.  I’ve always envy’d those of you that have musical talent! However, I am known to belt out my favorite jams, very out of tune of course!  3. I am a girl with strong convictions for sure and when you get me on such a topic I will pour my soul into that conversation.  4.  I love to write, and I always have.  I may not be the best, but also not the worst either.  5.  I do have a genuine smile and bright eyes.  I can’t complain about my features for the most part.  6. I love me some tators!  Most meals growing up involved spuds of some sort and still do!  YUM!  7.  My Grandma Lee’s name is Elizabeth.  There were other names on the list too that are in my family tree.  8.  Guilty of a potty mouth.  9.  You will for sure see a different side of me when I drink.  10. I am extremely loyal and take this very seriously.

With our TWW coming to an end, I can only hope that the Luck of the Irish is on our side.  It’s pretty Ironic that our wait will end 2 days after St. Patrick’s Day.  Hopefully this is a good luck charm.  I do believe in those.  It’s been a very anxious filled, stressed out, extremely hard 2 weeks for me.  Typically I cave and test early, and did not not this time around mainly because I didn’t want to see a false positive which is what the shot can sometimes give you.  To me, this would be worse then seeing a negative.  Because this time around was so difficult, I feel like if we are cursed with another negative I am going to be feeling pretty down and out.  This is to be expected.  I’ve been  trying to prepare myself for this, but honestly it doesn’t get any easier unfortunately.  I’m really just hoping for the best.  Seeing E with her new baby cousin this past weekend melted me and honestly tore my heart in two.  She will be the best big sister ever and is very much ready for this role.  I just hope and pray that we don’t steal her of this joy.  However, like we tell her almost everyday when she asks about a baby, “Mommy and Daddy are doing everything we can to make it happen”.  I will leave you with a few more of my favorite Irish blessings and let you be on your way.  Please keep us in your prayers and pray for whatever God’s will is for us.  We appreciate it.

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And, as my Grandma Lee would always say with a big smile, a big hug, and tears (my grandma always cried, and I mean always in every circumstance!) God bless your heart!

A Little Sunshine and Fresh Air

“The sun does not shine for a few trees and flowers,
but for the wide world’s joy.”

Henry Ward Beecher

Wow!  Yesterday was a gorgeous day here in Eastern Wisconsin.  It hit 40 degrees outside and the sun was shining!  Better yet, you could hear the birds singing and see the snow melting, yippee!  You can surely bet that E and I spent most of the afternoon enjoying it!

We took a walk around the block and it was like our neighborhood came alive yesterday. After our walk, E wanted to try riding her bike.  My baby big girl can finally reach the pedals on her bike, which means she’s grown since last time this year.  She still doesn’t quite get how to actually ride a bike, but we have all Spring and Summer to teach her.  I am very excited for all the things she will learn and be able to do that she couldn’t do last year at this time!

After she rode her bike she had some fun playing with her cozy coupe car.  She just loves going fast down our driveway, which has a slight incline! She told me that she was going to drive all the way to the store and she asked if there was anything I needed.  I told her I needed more eggs.  She said she was only going to the shoe store so she couldn’t get me any eggs.  Now that’s my girl!  She cracks me up!

After she exhausted the cozy coupe fun, her neighborhood friends came over and they played on the swing set and were having fun getting dirty in the mud and splashing in the puddles.  I’m so glad we invested in a pair of rubber boots for E last year, and bought a size bigger so they fit this year too!  Oh, to be a kid again!  We are so fortunate to have amazing neighbors and kids around E’s age that enjoy playing together.  We have some great families living nearby, who we’ve become friends with, making our neighborhood a pleasant and lovely place to live!  All in all It was a great afternoon outside!

I don’t know who enjoyed the sunshine and fresh air more, me or E?  I can only speak for myself when I say it was simply the best medicine for me.  I think E would agree with me though if she were writing this.  She was in a very excited and happy mood and was jibber-jabbering away the whole time!  It was great getting out of the house for starters and getting a breath of fresh air.  It took my mind of our TWW.  I felt refreshed and in better spirits.  Taking a walk, helped clear my mind and help me stress less.  I got a burst of energy and I definitely slept better last night.   I’d say there are only positives to a little fresh air and sunshine.  It’s been a long winter and it’s so easy to get the winter blues.  I know I’ve been in a funk a while now and being cooped up has been making me go crazy!

According to simplegreenorganichappy.com  here are 10 Health Benefits of Sunshine:

Top 10 Health Benefits of Sunshine

1. Reduce risk of Type 2 diabetes. Once considered an adult-onset disease, type 2 diabetes is reaching epidemic proportions in our kids. It’s a lifelong disease, and harder to treat in the young.  Some studies suggest that vitamin D can reduce the risk of developing it (one study found that those with high levels were 40% less likely than those with low levels).

2. Reduce cancer risk. There are lessened mortality rates for 15-20 types of cancer in regions of higher solar UVB exposure, particularly for breast, colon, and rectal cancer. Those patients who had higher vitamin D blood levels when diagnosed had nearly twice the survival rate of those with the lowest levels.

3. Strong bones for better bone health. Vitamin D boosts calcium absorption for strong bones, which means you’re less likely to develop bone diseases, fractures and osteoporosis.

4. Protect eye health. Vitamin D has been tentatively linked to lower incidence of cataracts, and studies indicate good D levels correlate to a lowered risk of macular degeneration as you age.

5. Boost immunity. Researchers believe that vitamin D is integral to proper function of the body’s T cells— the immune system’s first line of defense.

6. Improve metabolism; fight obesity. Several studies show correlation between sun exposure and an increase in metabolism, although the reasoning isn’t cut and dry. One hypothesis that makes a lot of sense to me is that decreased time in the sun leads the body to believe it’s winter, causing the body’s metabolic processes to shift into a winter fat-storing mode. More about that here.

7. Lower blood pressure. The warmth of the sun can improve circulation, andheightened vitamin D levels have been shown to reduce blood pressure in hypertensive subjects— perhaps as effectively as medication.

8. Reduce stroke risk. There are likely a lot of factors at work here, but in one survey people who lived in areas with less sun exposure had a stroke risk that was 60% higherthan those who lived in sunshine-y regions.

9. Sleep better. Daily time in the sun helps to regulate circadian rhythms for a better night’s sleep. And sleep has its own host of health benefits.

10. Feel better. Sunshine has been shown time and again to improve mood, fight Seasonal Affective Disorder and lessen stress. Not to mention, we’re more likely to MOVE when we’re outside basking in the sun. And physical activity is definitely good for you!

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Get outside, even if it’s only for 5 minutes!  The health benefits alone are so worth it!  Nothing compares to a little sunshine and fresh air.  Enjoy!  There is only 10 days left until Spring is officially here…!!!