My Garden

I love my garden.  It is colorful, lush, private and small.  Just perfect!  I have a curved patio with an umbrella, tables and chairs to relax on.  In addition, there are 14 planters complete with a variety of annuals and perennials, yielding an amazing array of colors.

Peonies and Clematis
Peonies and Clematis

This year there has been so much rainfall that we have hardly had to water the grass, bushes and planters, other than the amount that lands on them from the passive process of the morning sprinkler system.  As you can see everything is lush and green!

The boys have dubbed our vegetable garden the secret garden!
The boys have dubbed our vegetable garden the secret garden!

Along the side of the house I have a small (8 ft x 12 ft) vegetable garden.  One quadrant is a strawberry patch.  The rest is filled with tomatoes, eggplant, cucumber, bell peppers, zucchini, pumpkin, and watermelon.  This year, owing to my back surgery, I can’t even weed the darn thing, because of limitations set by the doctor after surgery!  It is driving me crazy!

The big stir has been that my neighbor does not care for the admittedly ugly fence that was erected by my gardeners last year.  I was planning on replacing it this spring, but before I had the chance, I was hit with a violation!  Better to go through the proper channels before paying a lot of bucaroonies for the fence which will allow both water and sunlight through, just to have them say you have to tear it down!  It was put up too far forward of the back of the house. So I need the city to give me an exception.

I had a few ideas for what should go up.  I have a friend Kristine, who has a beautiful fence that I rather fancy.  Most unfortunately, the fence company that erected hers seems to have gone out of business and no one is familiar with this type of fence.  If you have seen it and know where I can get ahold of the wood for fence, please give me a holler.  I would be much obliged!

A secondary idea is simply to extend the existing fence, which is chain link, and move the gate.  A third idea is to simply remove the fence entirely and take my chances with the dear and bunnies.  Let it be a veritable community garden!

In the meantime, I have an appointment with Elyria Fence Compnay to discuss my options Tuesday morning.  They have a square lattice, vinyl, chestnut brown colored fence that I rather like.  Tuesday is the day before my violations meeting.  Yikes!

I can’t wait to show you what I elect to do.

Lisa J Lafave
CEO & Founder of Coaching Rocks, LLC
A Single Mom By Choice Raising Surrogacy Twin Boys
Written in My Little Brick in University Heights, Ohio

Bring Baby Home Through Surrogacy

Mama Lisa with Jarvie and Giles

Are you having trouble conceiving and have decided surrogacy is right for you? If your answer is Yes, then you have found the right group coaching group for you! This group is designed to support you through your Surrogacy Journey.

Topics to be covered:

• What Stops Members From Bringing Baby Home?
• What Information do You Need?
• Whose Permission do you need?
• Special Issues of Having Children Thru Surrogacy
• Locating Sperm Donors, Egg Donors, and Surrogates
• Locating IVF Doctors and Lawyers

WHEN: Group Coaching Group meets w/ Intended Parents through Surrogacy on Tuesdays at 12:00 PM

START DATE: Group will commence on July 14th, 2015 on a Bridgeline. Group meets for 6 consecutive weeks for one hour

FEE: $895 plus registration fee through Eventbrite

QUESTIONS: Please contact Lisa J Lafave, PhD, MBA, ACC at


House Rules

Giles Lafave
My darling Giles

It was the funniest thing.  We were just sitting around the table, when out of the blue, Giles, my 5 1/2 year old, busts out with, “So Mom, how come all the rules are always in your favor?”  I was so taken aback, I immediately covered my mouth and began to laugh quite audibly out loud.  There was simply no obvious precursor to this out of place question.  Then he retorted, “No, really mom, why are all the rules always in your favor?”

At which point, I pulled myself together and told him in no uncertain terms, as I referenced myself by pointing to my chest, “I am the parent of this house, the sole parent, and as such, I create the rules of this house, as I see fit.  You, Giles, are a child and will have to learn to follow each and every rule that I, your parent, set forth in this household!  Do you understand?”  Wordy though it might be, he got it!  After a brief lull in the conversation, things returned to usual in the Lafave household.

Thank you so much Heather Dunbar Sesnowitz for the wonderful photography.  You can find her at

Lisa J Lafave, PhD, MBA, ACC
CEO & Founder of Coaching Rocks, LLC
A Single Mom By Choice Raising Surrogacy Twin Boys
Written in My Little Brick in University Heights, Ohio

My Little Lawyer in the Making

Children take the cake when it comes to negotiating to get their way.  They do it with such ease and such finesse.  Not to mention the fact that no one is as persistent as a young child who wants a shiny new toy or chance to ride on a pony!

Jarvie is the best negotiator I know!
Jarvie is the best negotiator I know!

Yesterday my boys were desperate to get me to take them to Beachwood Park, where new equipment had been erected in the last few days.  This is obviously a momentous occasion in a park’s life, as well as the life of a little boy!  In fact, it is so unprecedented that as a child I can’t remember a single occasion that our local school playground or park acquired something new!

Jarvie and Giles had been to Beachwood Park with their driver, Dan, earlier in the week.  When they came home, they did everything they could to describe the new apparatus on the playground, but sensed something was lacking.  The words just weren’t sufficient.  Their campaign for me to see it, began almost immediately.  My boys began to chant in unison, “We want you to see it.  We want you to see it.  We want you to see it.”

After the bullying ended, here’s how the negotiation went down.  Jarvie got his foot in the door by saying, “Mama if you don’t want to go for a long time, we could just go for a few minutes to show it to you.”  He just drew out that “you” and let it hang in the air.  Kind of like “yyyy oouu oouu oouu oouu!”  And he said in such a sweet little child voice too.  Now I have to say I thought that was a masterful sales pitch, because he made it about me and not about him.  So he let that just linger in the air awhile.  The silence was powerful.  Then he rebounded with, “You know Mama, we could play on the new equipment for a few minutes once we’re there!”  That suggestion was so reasonable, I found myself nodding my head up and down in agreement, while confirming with excitement, “Of course you can honey!”

To that, he dashed into the other room and busied himself with a self determined task, with apparent glee in his heart!  The trip to the park was a definite go!  Now all he had to do was figure out how to increase the amount of time allotted for the contracted trip.

About 15 minutes later, Jarvie proxied for more time on the playground by saying, “You know Mama, it would be nicer for us, if we got to play for longer than just a few minutes.”  I mean who couldn’t see the truth in that statement.

We tried to get out the door and go almost immediately, after they arrived home from camp, at 4:15 PM, but that just wasn’t in the cards. We had come back to drop off our bags, go potty and grab a quick bite.  Once we were all satied, I had to lay down a bit to get my back straight before heading out.  I must admit I was feeling pretty comfy in my bed and worried I might have set them up for true dissappointment.  I sensed my boys were in despair, fearing the trip to the park was off.   In the nick of time, I dragged my self out of bed and we were off and away.

It was a beautiful breezy night, I was in heaven at the park.  I met a new friend, sitting on the bench chatting away, while the kids played in the sand and on the jungle gyms.  Turned out my new friend is friends with another mom we know.  She is in my Single Mom By Choice Group on FB!  Small world! Who would have guessed their connection?  Rock climbing!  So if the truth be known, had my son not been such a highly skilled negotiator, I might never had had the chance to make Stephanie’s acquaintance!  Thank goodness for small favors and thank-you Jarvie, my little lawyer in the making!

Don’t be Afraid to Engage the Help of Others

imageAs I prepared for my back surgery, I looked for family and friends who might be able to take my children for a weekend.  My brother Willie and his wife Bonny graciously accepted caring for my boys this past weekend. Although it is a huge favor to ask someone to look after your children, there are dividends for everyone involved.  I went through this process last spring when my son Giles had open heart surgery.  Several families took my son Jarvie, so I could be home with Giles and help him calmly recover from his surgery.  Of course, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to each of these families.  My sister Annie played a special role last summer and not only cared for Jarvie here in Cleveland but also took him home to Boston for 10 days!

imageWhat I’ve discovered is that the intimacy that develops from providing primary care to a young child allows love to grow and bonds to form that without these special circumstances would never have been forged!  Can you see the love?

Share your very own experience soliciting the help of others.

When the Cat’s Away, the Mice will Play!



Interesting but true, when my boys are gone, my cats and dogs interact with me more.  They are more engaging and even more demanding.  They want more from me, perhaps because they sense I have more to give.  So in this scenario, the boys, Jarvie and Giles are the cat and my cats, Gracie and Tatiana, and dogs, Jake and Mae Mae, are the mice!

I have to say my animals have been that much more present and involved with me, since the boys have been away for the weekend.  It fascinates me that they sense the void and easily fill it by simply coming hither.  It’s that hierarchical thing that animals get implicitly.  They grasp the shift and respond quickly to it.  No one has to tell them or call them.  They know and change accordingly.

I think the quiet in the house is part of it as well.  They respond to that too, especially the cats.  The cats feel safer in the quieter space.  It is not just the boys and all the commotion they create either.  It’s me too.  I am different in the house alone.  I have no one to direct or hurry up.  I have no squabbles to resolve.  I am not yelling directions from one floor to the next.  So perhaps I become more approachable as I calm down and literally make less noise.  Hmmm now that is some food for thought.  Perhaps it would be better for all of us, human, canine and feline if the home were quieter.  Maybe there is a hidden message here from the animals to me regarding how I need to position myself with my children.  Boy oh boy am I ever going to give this some thought!

Bring Baby Home Though Surrogacy

Just Days after my surrogacy babies were born!
Just Days after my surrogacy babies were born!

A 6 week group coaching group will be offered for people having trouble conceiving, who want to bring their baby home through surrogacy.

The group will begin on July 14th, 2015 and continue for five consecutive weeks.  The group will be held on Tuesdays at 1:00 PM until 2:00 PM.  People will gather on a Bridgeline over the phone.  The Dial In Number and Meeting ID will be provided once you have registered.  Group members will be able to communicate with one another between calls through a Forum called Surrogacy Rocks here on the blog site.  Materials for the group will be available through a box.  Details as to how to gain access to the box will be made known once you have signed up for the group.  Be prepared to complete Action Steps between calls!

Make arrangements soon, because space is limited.  I hope to meet you in the group coaching group.

The URL that you need to register is



Gift to Self: A Composter!

My birthday was Wednesday and I turned 55.  I don’t know what the typical 55 year old wants for their birthday, if there even is such a thing, but I do know what I wanted and what I got!  I have been eyeing composters for about 5 years now.  I even wanted to start a composting pile a number of years back.  I just was stumped by how I was going to mix the compost pile.  Just looks like back breaking work.  It wasn’t until I found one of these upright ones, which sets on a stand, well off the ground and can be spun by the handles on the side, that I figured out how to bypass the back breaking limitations that kept giving me so much pause.  So when my birthday was coming around this year, I knew just what I wanted!  I wanted the Rolls Royce of composters, of course!   Fortunately, the boxes, shipped through Amazon’s prime, arrived the day before my birthday, in time for me to arrange to have John, our handy man, put it together.  I was so happy having John out back assembling the darn thing, while the boys buzzed about.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY to ME!

You see it all fits in with my core value that you have to give back to the earth and you must actively work at in the spring and the fall.  What is cool about the Composter is that it will allow me to pursue this purpose and passion throughout the entire year.  I will be working on creating “black gold” year round.  The more black gold I help to create, the greater my bounty from my own garden.  And not for nothin, the produce will be more nutritious for my family too!

Lisa J Lafave, PhD, MBA, ACC
The Surrogacy Coach from Surrogacy Rocks
CEO & Founder of Coaching Rocks, LLC
A Single Mom By Choice Raising Surrogacy Twin Boys
Written in My Little Brick in University Heights, Ohio

Does a mother ever get to fully sleep?


Cousin Brycie Reading to the Boys before Bed

My 5 year old twins are away for the weekend with my little brother Will and his family.  This weekend was supposed to be my chance to get a break and focus just on me, while I am recovering from spinal surgery.  I had big plans too.  I was supposed to go out for breakfast with my brother, Charlie, and a childhood friend, Dianne, was coming in from Kent for the afternoon.  But everything got dashed by the darn flu!  Bummer!  Now I tell you what, Recovery meets Flu meets Fibro is a complete pain in the neck!

This weekend is the first time the boys and I have been separated, without anyone being in the hospital, in more than five years.  What I’ve noticed before I got sick is that I’ve slept like a log.  The sleep was just been of a deeper quality than I can generally possibly attain.  Maybe there is something to that old wives’ tale that a mother sleeps with one eye open!