Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Memories

My lovely sister, Lauren, asked me to write a post about my favorite family Christmas memories from over the years. I quickly turned it around and asked her to write the post, which I would feature as a guest post here on BtB. Unfortunately, she's still a little blog-shy at this point in time. So, I guess that means I'm on the hook to write this thing. Because I love you, sis, this one's for you...

Every year since I can remember, my parents have hosted a Christmas Eve party for all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins on my mom's side of the family. All together, it's a pretty large family; she has 5 brothers and each brother has a wife, plus most have at least 2 children. I guess if we're being precise, that means 5 uncles, 5 aunts, 9 cousins, my 3 siblings, 2 grandparents, and my 2 parents, plus significant others now that we're a bit older. It makes for a great size party and a house full of warm-fuzzies and fun every Christmas Eve. Folks start arriving around dinnertime with appetizers, desserts, and presents in hand, ready for our annual evening of quirky Christmas delights.

Family at the 2009 Christmas Eve party.

My dad (with awesome Christmas tie), my sister, and my cousin.

When we were really young, my grandfather -- we called him Pepere -- would dress up as Santa, gather us 'round, and hand out all the gifts, gifts that were actually from our aunts and uncles. We had absolutely no clue that this jolly man in red was actually our Pepere, who just minutes before had disappeared into the bathroom and just minutes after reappeared having missed out on the whole Santa visit. We fell for this trick for about 5 years. And it was wonderful.

As we got older, we switched things up a bit. Instead of getting several gifts from all of our aunts and uncles, each cousin would pick the name of another cousin to get one gift for, Secret Santa style. And while we did this, all the aunts and uncles would participate in a $30 Yankee Swap (aka White Elephant, aka Dirty Santa).

Five years ago, my sister was several months pregnant on Christmas Eve. She had bought a thoughtful gift for the cousin she'd picked in Secret Santa and was hopeful that the gift she would receive would be nice as well. Well, unfortunately, the cousin who picked her skipped out on the Christmas Eve party that year and Lauren was left without a gift. And because of her raging pregnancy hormones, she ended up on the stairs, in the corner of the house, crying because she felt forgotten and unloved.

My mom had an extra gift for the Yankee Swap, so she encouraged Lauren to participate with the aunts and uncles, to make up for her lack of gift. This cheered her up a bit. Then, my Uncle Bobby popped in, showed her the wrapped gift he had brought for the Yankee Swap, and told her she had to choose this gift, as it was the gift she deserved to have this Christmas.

When her turn came along in the Swap, she grabbed the gift my uncle had encouraged her to take, opened it, and to her great surprise, she found herself holding a framed picture of him. All the aunts, uncles, and cousins looking on were confused but also in hysterics over his silly gift. Lauren was also a bit confused, but she did as he said and held onto the gift for the rest of the game (though this didn't prove to be a very difficult task, as no one was interested in a framed picture of my goofy Uncle Bobby). It wasn't until the end of the Swap that my uncle revealed why the gift was perfect for her; he told her to take the back off of the frame and behind is she found a $100 bill folded inside. She was instantly in a much better mood.

Uncle Bobby struck again another Christmas Eve when he told my cousin, Nate, his son, to eat the big glob of green stuff off the sushi platter because it was a delicious treat. Ouch! His mouth was on fire for at least an hour. And we were all in stitches again. What a jokester, that Uncle Bobby.

Once our party wrapped up and the relatives headed home, we'd usually get a gift from our parents, Christmas jammies, to be worn to bed that night. We'd also put out a plate of cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer before heading to bed, which would always have big bites taken out of them by morning.

By 7am, we would all be awake and ready to greet Christmas morning by opening gifts under our tree. Though, not so fast, kids! My parents had a bit of a routine before we were allowed to go downstairs and see the tree and gifts in all their glory.

First, Dad had to go downstairs and put on a Christmas CD and set up that clunky, old video recorder. Then Mom would go downstairs next to make herself a cup of tea and get the camera ready for pictures, pictures, pictures! Meanwhile, us four kids would sit on the top stair together and wait for what felt like foreverrrrr for the parents to come back and take our pictures. And when they did, pictures upon pictures ensued. When Mom felt like she had taken enough, we were finally allowed to walk through the kitchen and into the family room, where Santa had left all of us good kids lots and lots of lovely presents. With happy hearts, we'd all find our spots on the floor near the tree and start picking out presents for unwrapping. Oh, and then Mom would take more pictures.

Stair picture #1 - Me, brother Jeff, and sister Lauren with sleepy faces on
Christmas morn' 2006. Camera shy: brother Matt.

Stair picture #2 - Steph & Jeff on Christmas 2009. We were the only two
"kids" who spent the night at the house, so we were the only two featured
in the stair pictures that year. 

Dad next to his not-so-clunky video camera (the cameras got smaller as
technology advanced over the years) and my brother Matt.

Santa gift unwrapping was always a blast -- one gift at a time so we could each be a part of the joy of each others' gifts. Then, we'd get to dive into the little gifts in our stockings. And finally, we'd exchange gifts from each other. We'd spend the next hour playing with our new toys and enjoying cinnamon rolls for breakfast and then we'd scurry to get ready and out the door for Mass. And after Mass, we'd usually head home and pop in one of the DVDs we'd gotten as a gift and all lounge on the couch and just enjoy the free time together.

This Christmas, I won't be experiencing the usual holiday fun with my fam, as it's John's family's turn to have us this year. I'm a little bummed that I won't get to be a part of Uncle Bobby's crazy antics, or the million pictures on the stairs on Christmas morning, but I'm excited to experience a new set of Christmas traditions. Ya see, I've never been with John's family on Christmas, so it'll be a fun and different experience for me. I'm hoping I can pick up a few of their traditions so that we can blend them with mine for our own little family some day. John claims his family doesn't really have any special traditions, aside from vacationing in Florida with relatives and friends for the week of Christmas, which they don't do anymore. We'll see about that, though. I'm sure there'll be something special about it. Something special worth sharing with our kids someday. :)

How about you? What are your favorite family Christmastime traditions?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

What just happened? (And some free prayers.)

WARNING: This post is mostly just a big glass o' whine.

Let me tell you, I think I have some cycles elves conspiring against me, because I don't think my last cycle could have been any more of a disaster!

It all started around peak time. I have trouble identifying peak these days because a certain type of man-fluid looks exactly like the peak-type stuff and I can't seem to get a clear reading on things. So, much to Dr. G's dismay, I use ovulation prediction kits (OPKs) to determine when I ovulate.

I was low on OPK sticks this cycle, so I knew I had to use sparingly. I thought I got a positive ovulation test, though it was a little hard to read. I just went with it and assumed, because of the ridiculous abundance of peak-type mucus I saw that day, it was probably right. Though, three days later I had some not-so-great, but pretty stretchy mucus a few times and because I had no OPK sticks left, I just decided it probably wasn't peak and I should just ignore it (and chart it as an 8).

So then, when what I thought was Peak+5 came around, I went and got my blood drawn. And again on Peak+8 (because Peak+7 Thanksgiving) and again on Peak+9. Just as the doctor ordered. But this time around, the guy who drew my blood was new and forgot to label my vials. So by the time I was ready to pick up my blood to ship it off, it was too late and we couldn't tell which vial was drawn on which day.

I figured that Dr. G could still use the samples, so I sent them off on dry ice like I was supposed to. I used FedEx Ground like I did last time because that got them to Dr. G's office overnight, which is what needs to happen in order for the blood to stay frozen and fresh. But, dummy me didn't realize holiday season = busy FedEx = package will take two days to deliver instead of one. Doy. I should have just paid a little more to have them shipped guaranteed overnight.

So the blood arrived warm. The dry ice had evaporated. And normally the lab won't even run the tests if the blood isn't fresh. But Dr. G convinced them to.

I arrived for my monthly follow-up appointment with Dr. G just in time to find out that of the three vials of blood sent to the lab, only one came back with results. And as far as I can tell, my progesterone was still normal and my estrogen was still low.

At this point, I was already 1 day late for my period, though I wasn't letting myself get too excited, because I was starting to second guess the day I had identified as peak. Dr. G offered to do a serum pregnancy test, but I quickly protested. And he agreed that that was probably ok because the numbers from the blood draw were not really indicative of pregnancy anyway.

Then he pointed at my overabundance of awesome 10KL (peak-type mucus) right around peak time, which made him say, "This is great because now we don't have to worry about Clomid messing with your mucus. It looks perfect." Which bummed me out because, like I said, I'm pretty sure I actually peaked 3 days later, on a day that did not have great mucus at all. And I tried to tell him this, but he was pretty convinced that I identified peak correctly. Sigh.

He said he'd like to start me on HCG injections on Peak+3, +5, +7, and +9 for this next cycle. It sounded good to me! Except, on the ride home, I got a call from the lab that sends the HCG and their machine that makes the HCG broke. It's fixed now, but they can't send out any HCG until it's tested and approved, which takes 3 weeks. Which means we'll be cutting it oh-so-close to when I'll actually be needing it. AND we may not even been in town by the time it arrives, right before Christmas. Which means we might not even get to use it this cycle.

And then my period still took two more days to arrive, which of course got me all too hopeful, even when I knew it shouldn't have. Because I had every sign under the sun that I wasn't pregnant. But still, when you've never had a late period before and then all of a sudden it's 3 days late, you get hopeful. Even if you are mostly sure that you misidentified peak.

Bah humbug!

So, to summarize:

  • Hard to read OPK that made me think I ovulated.
  • Ran out of OPKs when I wanted to test again.
  • Misidentified peak because of silly OPKs and silly boy-fluid.
  • Blood did not get labeled properly.
  • Blood did not get shipped properly.
  • Blood did not even get drawn on the right days because I misidentified peak.
  • Only one of three vials of blood got results.
  • Dr. G is convinced my mucus is good when it's not.
  • HCG machine broke.
  • Period was "late" (but not really) and I let myself get excited about it.

Let's say it again, all together this time: BAH HUMBUG!

I just don't get it. How could that much have gone so wrong in just one cycle?

Hopefully this means all the bad things are behind us and this next cycle will be perfect! Right? 

Also, you may think I'd be pretty down in the dumps about all this, but actually, I was only sad for about 30 minutes. So that's pretty great. I'm just sharing it now because I thought the shear ridiculousness of this past cycle was sure to make some of you laugh. I mean, it's pretty funny, right? That everything just went that wrong? 

Alright. Now that I have all my whining out of the way, I must say, I'm pretty excited to do the HCG injections this cycle (if they arrive in time). I'm hoping it's the magic touch! 


Ok, and now for something totally unrelated, but totally awesome.

I forgot to mention in my last post..

When we attended Mass at a lovely church in Hot Springs, the celebrant, who was a visiting Benedictine monk, asked us all to go to his Abbey's website and send the monks our prayer intentions. They pray 5 times a day and, if you send your prayers to them through their website or by calling, they'll pray for you and your needs by name at their services. How nice is that? John and I have already sent our intentions in, and I hope you will too! 'Cause what's better than a whole bunch of really holy guys sending up prayers for you? :)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Hot Springs!

After that really bad day where I felt like I just needed to escape from reality for a while, John and I decided to take off and explore Hot Springs, Arkansas for the weekend. It was a bit of a last minute trip, as in, I planned it the day before we left, but it ended up being the perfect escape from my not always perfect life.

We took off around 8am on Saturday morning and arrived about 3 hours later in cute, little Hot Springs, home of the springs with really hot water. Upon our arrival, we ate a delicious lunch at Cafe 1217 and then proceeded to check out Bathhouse Row, AKA the "downtown" area of Hot Springs. I put "downtown" in quoties because the area was awfully small and more touristy than anything. But it was honestly perfect. We walked that short, little main street, Bathhouse Row, and checked out one of the old bathhouses, Fordyce Bath House, which is now a museum, free to tour.

My little ham, posing outside of Fordyce Bath House.

Inside the male section of the bath house, which was much larger and
more lavishly decorated that the female side.

The stained glass ceiling on the men's side. 

One of the old tubs.

Bathhouse Row is lined with, you guessed it, bath houses, most of which have been shut down since the hay day of Hot Springs. Seeing that one million gallons of 143-degree water flow from the natural hot springs in Hot Spring every day, this turned into a serious relaxation, throw-your-cares-away, cure-your-ailments vacation city back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, with bathhouses popping up everywhere, all claiming to have different restorative powers. One video we watched while in the Fordyce Bath House museum even claimed that Hot Springs was as popular as Las Vegas as a vacation destination back when business was booming. It's no longer a big, famous, vacationy city, but there are still 2 bathhouses in operation, which we took advantage of the next day. But I'll get to that in just a bit.

After touring the museum, John and I went in search of some real hot springs to touch! Lucky for us, right outside of the bathhouse, we found a fountain from which flowed the most mineraly, hot, and steamy water.

Then, we walked a bit into the park (where all of the real hot springs are located), which was right behind all the bathhouses (convenient, right?) and touched more hot water from an actual spring! Mission accomplished!

Oops, he blinked! The hot spring is on the right.

By the time we were done enjoying the soothing powers of the hot mineral water, it was time to check in to our fancy, shmancy bed and breakfast. We contemplated staying at a hotel, but we decided since we were just staying one night, we should splurge and stay somewhere nice. I did a bit of research (in my one day of planning) and read lots of great reviews for Lookout Point Lakeside Inn, so we booked it and boy, are we happy we did! Just look at its prettiness...

Right on the lake!

Johnny showing off the room.

Relaxing on a hammock!

Outside our room.

The main lobby. So much pretty wood! Love that rustic feel.

Relaxing fireplace.

We settled in for a little while, took in all the lovely sites, then headed out to the vigil Mass. 'Cause it's always good to put aside time for God, even on vacation. :)

Dinner was at Rolando's, a most delicious nuevo Latino restaurant. We ate on their second floor, which they had set up to look like a speak easy, complete with girls dressed as flappers, a live pianist plunking out tunes, and a fancy bar. Not sure that's exactly how speak easies functioned back in the day, but it was pretty cute. Oh, and the food was soooo delicious. I just had to take a picture...


And then, because we weren't absolutely stuffed enough (sarcasm), we went out for some ice cream at Nom Noms Mexican Grill-n-Chill, because you just can't go on vacation and skip the most talked about dessert place on Yelp! I didn't take a picture (was too full to think straight), but I found one on the internet, so...

Picture stolen from Rafael Poe Alvarez.

'Cept we ordered this flavor AND avocado ice cream. I know, sounds weird. Trust me. Avocado is good in savory dishes AND as a sweet dessert.

And that ended our night out on the town in Hot Springs. We got to sleep early and woke up the next morning to a most delicious breakfast at our bed and breakfast. Then, we packed up, took tons of pictures of our room, said our goodbyes, and headed back to Bathhouse Row one last time for a dip in their relaxing hot spring baths.

Of the two bathhouses still in operation, we went with Quapaw Bathhouse, the one that has been modernized, where the baths are just four large hot tubs, each at different temperatures (up to 104 degrees), that guests can all bathe in simultaneously, in bathing suits of course! The other option was Buckstaff Bathouse, which still operates exactly the way it did in the 1800s. Men and women go to separate sides of the bathhouse and experience (in the nude, if you wish), a personal mineral bath with a loofa scrub from an attendant, hot packs, a Sitz bath (basically a bath for your butt), a few minutes in the vapor cabinet, and a needle shower. Since we didn't want to be separated, and a few of the old-fashioned bath treatments sounded a little weird, we opted for the more modernized bathhouse.

Quapaw Bathhouse

We spent about an hour relaxing in the deliciously hot mineral water, surrounded entirely by senior citizens doing the same. I guess large, communal bath tubs attract the elderly? Who knows. We still enjoyed the heck out of it, even if we did bring down the average age by a multitude of years.

It's said that the water of the hot springs is known to cure all sorts of ailments, so maybe after our little trip and dip in the soothing waters, our infertility woes are behind us. I'm gonna have to call "unlikely" on that one, but I guess it didn't hurt to try. No, actually, it felt very nice. :)

Before leaving, we did our usual adventure ritual and purchased a magnet from a little touristy gift shop as a sweet souvenir of our trip. All in all, I'd say it was a lovely getaway! I'm not rushing to get back to Hot Springs, as it was mostly pretty touristy, but I also wouldn't mind returning some day. I think if I had a group of galfriends with me, I'd like try out the more traditional bathhouse. And we also didn't have time to really explore the Hot Springs National Park or the supposedly beautiful Botanical Gardens there. So I guess another trip will just have to be in the works sometime.

Gosh, I just love vacations!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Liebster Award

The blogger behind sayin' i love you has nominated me for the Liebster Award! She's got an awesome blog where she writes about her family, her faith, and all the life in between. And fun fact - she lives in Nicaragua! Go check out her blog if you haven't already. It's pretty great. :) Thank you for the nomination, girl! I'm really excited to take this opportunity to share more information about myself to my lovely followers. And I'm pumped to learn more about my followers too!

This award is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. Liebster is a German word meaning sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome. Isn't that such a lovely name and idea for an award? And the great thing about it is it gives smaller blogs an opportunity to get a little more recognition and increase connections in the blogosphere. 

Here are the rules for receiving this award:
1.) The nominated blogger must list 11 random facts about him- or herself.
2.) Answer the 11 questions your nominating blogger wrote for you.
3.) Nominate 11 bloggers for this (literally) lovely award.
4.) Write 11 questions you'd like your nominated bloggers to answer. And make sure they are aware of their new award.
5.) No tag backs!

Let's start with my 11 facts:

1.) I'm an introvert. I love my quiet, alone time and get very intimidated at large parties or gatherings of new/unknown people. My whole life, I've only had a few close friends, but that's exactly the way I like it. :) And I think my introvertism is the reason why I don't blog a whole bunch. I love blogging, but I have to find something I'm really excited about or dedicated to posting in order to feel like sharing. 

2.) My minor in college was in music with a concentration in voice. That means I like to siiiiiinnnnnng! At my college graduation, I performed "God Bless America" as a solo with the band in front of a crowd over 20,000! Nowadays, I'm not that showy, but I do cantor at our church every few weeks.

3.) Strands of wet hair drive me crazy! I spazz out when they get stuck on my fingers. In the shower, where this is most likely to happen, I immediately put strands of hair on the shower wall. Then, at the end of the shower, I swirl it around and ball it up so it's easy to throw out. Icky!  

4.) I love giving gifts, but I'm horrible at waiting to give them. For example, just yesterday I almost gave my husband his big Christmas gift. Luckily, he stopped me in my tracks, but I just don't have the patience to hold off on giving the gifts I just know the recipient is going to love!

5.) My birthday is 17 days away! Yup, I'm a December baby. And along with being horrible at waiting to give gifts, I'm also horrible at waiting to receive gifts. My husband wrapped my gift and placed them out in the main room just a few days ago and I've already figured out what it is: an Aerogarden. I'm so excited because this is such a great, thoughtful gift, but now my punishment is that I have to wait 17 more days to be able to use it! Silly me.

6.) I was kinda chunky in high school, so I gave up eating red meat and pork to lose some weight (and I did!). Nothing was able to stop me from eating Big Macs and pepperoni and hot dogs until I put my foot down and just took away the options completely. That lasted for several years, 'til a friend had me over for dinner and her mom served meatloaf. In college, I became a vegan because I read the book "Skinny B*tch" and it told me I had to. That lasted only a few months. Before our wedding, I used to tone up for the big day and lost 15 pounds! And now I'm trying out the anti-inflammatory diet to help with infertility. No, I don't like dieting, but I've definitely been drawn to different forms of it for different reasons throughout my life. 

7.) I love cooking and, in the past few years, have learned the importance of high quality spices in cooking. For Christmas in 2011, my parents got John and me a whole buncha yummy herbs and spices from Penzeys Spices, now our absolute favorite spice company. If you've never tried them out, I recommend it. As far as I can tell, their spices generally cost around the same as what you'd find in the grocery store, only they're a whole lot yummier and very high quality. Once you order some, try them out on this delicious recipe (that we just had for dinner tonight): Sweet Potato + Black Bean Chili.

8.) Jobs I've worked in my life include: waitress, camp counselor, RA, orientation leader, middle school science teacher, high school math teacher, and (now) youth director.

9.) I've never been to Europe, but my husband promises to take me there one day. Though I've never been across the Atlantic, I have been out of the country twice. The first time, John was doing a month-long rotation in Antigua, Guatemala through his residency program in Houston and I went along for one week of the adventure. It was lovely! The second time was our honeymoon in Aruba, which was also lovely!

10.) I like all things nerdy including Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Back to the Future, Lord of the Rings, math, graphing calculators, and this hilarious math joke: One day, Jesus said to his disciples, "The Kingdom of Heaven is like 3x squared plus 8x minus 9." A man who had just joined the disciples looked very confused and asked Peter, "What on Earth does he mean by that?" To which Peter replied, "Don't worry. It's just another one of his parabolas." Buh-dum CHH!

11.) Back in 2011, I took a picture every day for an entire year. I'm no professional photographer, but it was a fun challenge and now is a great way to look back and remember that year. 

And now my 11 answers:

1.) Why did you start a blog?
I've always been drawn to blogging. I had a livejournal in high school which was basically just blogger before blogger existed. When I was engaged, I wrote about the whole wedding planning experience on my wedding blog, Schwedding! And then after that whole sh-bang was over, I started another blog that was supposed to be a photography and recipe blog, but it fizzled rather quickly. About a year later, when we found ourselves in the world of infertility, I realized many women used blogging as a support network (which I was in dire need of) and I felt like I finally had something to write about again. Enter: Blessed to Be! 

2.) What is your favorite time of your day?
Late night. I've always been a night owl, though I've become less of a night owl over the last few years, especially when I was a high school teacher. In college, I'd stay up doing work until 2 in the morning, and that's when my best work would get done. Now it's more like 10pm or midnight. I just like feeling like I have nowhere to be and the time is all mine for my crazy creativity. On the flip side, I am NOT a morning person AT ALL. I've tried and it just didn't work. So night time it is!

3.) When was the last time you cried and why?
When I wrote that post about my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. It really was a bummer of a day. Infertility is about the only thing that makes me cry these days. Boo!

4.) Do you like to leave comments on other people's blogs? Why or why not?
I do like leaving comments, although sometimes I feel like I'm an awkward comment robot. I want to let readers know that I'm following along and enjoying their posts, but I'm not always the best at coming up with clever or encouraging responses. It actually takes a fair bit of effort for me to write comments. So, I'm apologizing now if I have ever written or do ever write an awkward comment on your blog.

5.) What is your favorite quote?
Not sure that I have a favorite quote. But I always love quotes from Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. Here's a recent favorite: "The truth is the truth even if no one believes it and a lie is a lie even if everyone believes it."

6.) What is your guilty pleasure?
Long, hot showers. Jalapeno Cheetos. The TV show Nashville.

7.) Do you have any talents?
I can play the ukulele and piano and I sing. I can also lick my elbow. And wiggle my nose up and down. 

8.) How old were you when you had your first kiss?
9th grade in a game of spin-the-bottle. Embarrassing. 

9.) How do you feel about plastic surgery?
For folks who need plastic surgery to correct scars, burns, malformations, or abnormalities, I say it's great! Otherwise, I'm not so cool with it. God made you beautiful, so learn to embrace it! 

10.) What is your favorite childhood memory?
My favorite childhood memories all involve hanging out at family parties with my mom's side of the family. I have 5 aunts, 5 uncles, and 9 cousins on that side and when we all would get together, it was always a blast! And we pretty much had a family party every few months: 4th of July, October Fest, and Christmas Eve were the 3 best. One year, me and most of my cousins did a re-enactment of "So Long, Farewell" from The Sound of Music. It was pretty sweet!

11.) How did you come up with the name for you blog?
Funny you should ask! I wrote a whole post about it here. :)

Any now for my 11 nominations! Congrats, you just won the Liebster Award!!

Cathy @ Fiscally Chic
Justine @ This Country Life
Jasmine @ Chronic Brevity  
The lovely blogger @ Waiting Hopefully
AM @ Snapshots
Mary Beth @ Grace of Adoption
The sweet blogger @ Infertile Minnesota
The kind blogger @ Ask and It Will Be Given

My 11 questions for you, dear award winners:

1.) Why do you blog?
2.) What is your favorite smell?
3.) What would you have as your last meal? Include appetizer, main course, and dessert.
4.) If you could master any skill overnight, what would it be?
5.) Who's your favorite Disney character?
6.) What movie did you most recently watch? 
7.) What song are you currently listening to on repeat? 
8.) Cupcake or slice of pie?
9.) If you could have any miniaturized animal as a pet, what would you pick? (e.g. My husband wants a mini-bear.)
10.) If you just found out company was coming over in a few hours, what dish would you whip up for them?
11.) Summarize yourself in 4 words. GO!   

Thanks again, sayin' i love you! This has been a bunch of fun. And now, I look forward to learning more about all of you newest Liebster Award winners. :)

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Stephanie's Recipes: Carrot Ginger Soup

Over the last few days, I've been trying out the anti-inflammatory diet. If I understand correctly, it's basically gluten in moderation, dairy in moderation, and lots of healthy fruits and vegetables. There's a whole balance to it (40% to 50% of daily calories from carbs, 30% from fat, and 20% to 30% from protein), but for right now, I'm just trying to cut out my over-abundancy of daily carbs and focus on eating more greens, beans, and fruity treats. Baby steps.

No, no. I'm not on this diet to lose weight. Though if I did, I wouldn't be too bummed. :)

I'm on this diet because I'm still really worried about my endometritis, AKA infection of the uterine lining. Dr. G isn't too worried about it, but little worry wart me is so extremely focused on it. So I'm taking matters into my own hands and trying to anti-inflame things with this new diet. I have no idea if this thought process is medically sound, but it makes sense to me. If my uterine lining is inflamed with  infection, this anti-inflammatory diet should at least help a little.

My Creighton Model instructor's story also encourages me to give it a try. She struggled for several years with infertility and after all the work up, surgeries, and medications, the fix that finally did the trick was this anti-inflammatory diet. She's since had two precious baby girls. I'm sold.

A few months ago, John and I celebrated our 2nd anniversary on a little trip to Nashville and The Inn at Evins Mill. My favorite part of our romantic getaway was the Inn and the delicious meals they served. The night we arrived, we got to enjoy a 4-course meal cooked on site. The first course was a carrot ginger soup; it was so simple yet so tasty. I raved about it to our sweet waiter and he mentioned that the chef posted recipes from his meals on the Inn's blog. When I got home, I excitedly searched and searched their blogs (turns out they have about 10 blogs) until I found the recipe and then promptly forgot about it...

Until now! Because this soup is perfect for my new diet!! Tons of vegetables with a little bit of cream and a whole lotta yummy flavor. Mmmm!

So last night I gave it a go, and after peeling 5 pounds of carrots and chopping a large, pungent pile of garlic, I'm happy to say this soup is just as yummy as I remembered. I probably could have halved the recipe and still had plenty to go around, but I'm thinking this will freeze well, so the tons of soup I made will still be put to good use. Also, if you're dairy free, I imagine you could leave out the heavy whipping cream, or use a non-dairy creamer instead and it would still taste great.

While I'm not exactly sure that I won't cheat from time to time (I already miss quesadillas, cupcakes, and mac and cheese), this is certainly a great way to start!

Carrot Ginger Soup

3 tsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1/4 cup fresh garlic, chopped
1/2 cup fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
3 quarts chicken broth
5 lbs carrots, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp lemon zest, finely grated
1 13.5oz can unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Heat oil in large stock pot on medium heat. Add onion, garlic, ginger, and crushed red pepper flakes. Saute until onion is tender. Add chicken broth, carrots, and lemon zest and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for two hours, until carrots are very soft. Puree with immersion blender or food processor.
Stir in coconut milk and cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serving size: 1 cup. Serves 16.

Adapted from William Cochran's recipe.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Grass is Just as Green on the Other Side

This time last week, I was feeling pretty low. So I posted about it, got some support and prayers, felt a little better, and spent some time trying to recover spiritually.

I'm certainly not 100% healed. Re-reading what I wrote last week, I notice I still have some of the same feelings of anger and abandonment stirring inside me, which makes me realize I carry this stuff with me every day, whether or not I'm aware of it. The infertility world is just a bummer of a world to be a part of and I will likely spend every day wishing I wasn't in it until the day we become parents. I know that sounds horrible, and honestly, it pretty much is, but I made a realization after I posted about my bummer of a day last week that made me feel less abandonedment, less anger. And it was related to this question I asked...

"Why do I have to suffer while others out there are getting exactly what they want as soon as they want it?"

The answer is: They don't.

Though the question was supposed to be broad (i.e. wasn't just related to babies), since I have a pretty one track mind these days, I started reflecting on all of my friends who have children or who have gotten pregnant easily. And I quickly started to realize that not one of them have actually had it easy. They may not struggle with infertility, but they all have some sort of cross they carry.

One friend had two miscarriages (and was told by a doctor she needed to have three miscarriages before they could help her) before she got pregnant with a little one that stuck. She also struggles to make ends meet financially and really dislikes her living situation.

Another friend got pregnant when they weren't trying, ended up nearly going blind during her pregnancy because of a disorder, and only retained some vision because of an emergency surgery during her third trimester. When her babe was only a year old, she ended up in the hospital again with very serious blood clot. 

Another friend was extremely sick during her entire pregnancy and had to have an emergency delivery. She may not be able to have children in the future.

A few other friends have gotten pregnant very, very easily but have turmoil in their marriages. Or have struggled in being faithful to their spouse. Or have a close relative who is sick. Or have massive debt. Or have no self esteem.

The more people with children I thought about, the more I realized no one has it easy. And when I did finally think of a few people who "had it easy" I realized I didn't actually know much about them. They were the people I once knew in real life, but now only know through Facebook posts. And we all know that people can paint a pretty picture of their lives on Facebook without actually having a pretty life in real life. 

The point here is we all have our crosses.

Yes, I already knew that. I think it's one of those things we all start to become aware of while we transition from adolescence into adulthood. So it's not like I'm sharing anything new here. 

But what helped me in all of this was realizing that no one is getting exactly what they want when they want it. Sure, they might be able to get pregnant easily, but there's very likely something else going on in their life that isn't going exactly the way they want it. 

So I guess that's one less thing to be sad and mopey and bummed out about next time I'm in a funk. Not that I'm happy that everyone's suffering. I'm just happy that I've realized jealously is never fruitful

(Duh! Isn't that something we all learned in grade school? Sorry... sometimes I'm a little behind with these "life lessons.")

On a happier note...

One of the messages I texted my husband on my day of sadness last week was, "I just want to get away. I don't want to be in Memphis living this life right now. Can we please just go somewhere else and be someone else for a while?" While I admit now that that was pretty dramatic, he took the hint that I just needed a little getaway, a little break. So this past weekend, we drove about 3 hours west to Hot Springs, Arkansas, and enjoyed ourselves a one-night getaway from reality. I've got some pictures and some stories to share of our adventure, but I'll save those for next time. :)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

A Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Yesterday was cycle day 1.

Yesterday was my cycle review appointment with Dr. G. 

Yesterday, I broke down in Dr. G's office.

He wants to meet with me monthly now to check in on the medications he's prescribing and how my body is responding. Last month was our first cycle post surgery and he started me on a low dose of Clomid. To check on my body's response to the new drug, he asked me to get blood drawn three times post-peak. At the appointment, he showed me that the Clomid likely messed with my post-peak estrogen because the post-peak labs came back showing low, low estrogen, which was never a post-peak problem before.

So, with this next cycle, we're upping the dose of Clomid to 50mg on cycle day 3, 4, and 5, using Robitussin and sustained release B6 for mucus production, and doing another round of post-peak blood draws to see if the increased Clomid dose is helping or hurting. And if post-peak estrogen is still looking low after this next cycle, we'll consider HCG for the following cycle.

I was fine with all of this information. It sounds like a great course of action and I'm ready to get going with it.

But then he asks me, "How are you doing? Seriously, how are you doing with all of this, emotionally?"

And up until that moment I had held it all together. Well, in front of him anyway. I mean, there was an extreme wave of sadness that came over me when, earlier in the day, at work, I noticed my period had started. And there were those angry tears I shed during the 1.5-hour car ride to Dr. G's office, alone, while in frustrated prayer. And there was the annoyance at seeing yet another extremely pregnant woman waiting near me in the waiting room at the women's clinic.

So I guess it was pretty inevitable that I would burst into tears the moment he asked me about my emotional well being.

It was pretty ugly and I let it all out. I told him about how I felt abandoned and forgotten. How much it hurts to see so many pregnant women or women with newborns around me. How I feel like a bad Christian for being so angry at God, knowing that He could fix this if He wanted. How I had all these dreams and plans for our family that are quickly slipping away. How I'm probably the most impatient person on the planet and none of this is helping me to be a more patient person. How we trust Dr. G and all that he's doing for us, but I really have no hope for any of this. How I want to remain hopeful, but it's so hard to do when we've officially been trying for a year and having nothing to show for it but some still messed up hormones and 4 surgery scars.

Ok, so maybe I didn't quite say it all like that, but that's the general message that spilled out, uncontrollably, and through tears and awkward high pitched cry-talk.

Then I apologized for unloading on him and told him if the appointment had been on any other day than cycle day 1, I wouldn't be such a mess.

His response was so sweet, and so patient. He told me not to apologize for my tears or my emotions. He knows that infertility is hard. Medically speaking, he said, it's probably as hard as patients finding out they have cancer or some other serious illness, because it's a loss of control over your own body and an unclear future. He encouraged me to find support, specifically through my Creighton teacher, who also struggled with infertility for several years, and through other women in our same boat. And he ended by saying he's still hopeful that we are likely to be able to conceive, it will just require time, time spent trying and tweaking different medications and treatments until my body is healthy enough to get pregnant.

There was no false hope in his message. He didn't guarantee a pregnancy anytime soon. He just suggested I find support during the hard times and understand that the solution may not be quick. He also said he's been praying for us and will continue to do so.

By the end of his response, I had pulled myself back together and was just grateful to be working with such a kind, caring doctor. On my way out the door, almost without crying, I told him how appreciative we are of all he's done for us.

Then I walked out of the office, unlocked my car, plopped down in the driver's seat, and promptly let the rest of the tears spill out all over the place. Turns out I had only done about 10% of the crying in Dr. G's office. My car saw the rest. 1.5 hours in the car of crying, praying, crying, frustration at bad drivers, praying, listening to the radio, and just wishing I was home.

I've recently started listening to K-Love in the car, the "positive, encouraging," Christian music station broadcast around the country. Though I have to be honest, the music is almost all up there on the cheesy spectrum and the messages can be a little too sugary and happy, happy, joy, joy, it's much better than the alternative of over-sexed, over-drugged, anti-Church messages that are blasted by pop, top-40 radio stations I used to listen to. So I made the switch about a month ago. And I have noticed that it has generally put me in a better mood, even with the horribly synthesized violins in almost every song and non-Catholic Christianity fluff that comes out from time to time.

So, on my ride home, I had K-Love on in the background. And they were interviewing some guy who recently wrote a book about facing tough times in your life. (I apologize now for my inability to remember the author's name and the name of his corny book title, but it's probably best I don't associate his information with the reflections I'm about to make, especially considering I only heard a small snippet of his interview.)

The hosts asked him if he could talk about the tough time in his life that inspired him to write his book. So he spoke about the time his dad was sick with a terminal illness and how, no matter how much he prayed, it never got better. And though it was one of the hardest things he's had to face, he realized two things from it. First, there's a difference between your plans and God's plans. Second, though it was heartbreaking to watch his father die, he finds peace now in being able to comfort others who are going through the same thing, the death of a loved one.

And, in my angry Stephie-state, I could only think one thing...


Now, maybe it's just because I was extremely emotionally fragile yesterday. I mean, getting your period when you're trying to get pregnant is instant dream crushage, sole sucking, anger inducing, loneliness, and brokenness all rolled into one. Not pretty.

And I can say that pretty much on any other day of the month, I'm doing alright. I find beautiful distractions that bring me joy, I have a great husband who is so fun to spend time with and who takes great care of me, I pretty much love my job (I mean, there are always little things or people who'll drive you nuts, right?), and I know we're generally headed in the right direction with all this baby stuff and overall life.

But yesterday, and still a little today, I'm wondering, what do I do when I feel so low, so forgotten, so sad that all I want to do is crawl into a ball and cry and runaway and never face this pain and disappointment again?

Because I'm pretty sure "God has a different plan for you" and "This will help you help others" are the last two things I ever want to hear when I'm at that kind of low.

I wanted to say to Mr. Interview Book-Writer Guy TELL ME SOMETHING THAT CAN ACTUALLY HELP ME WHEN I FEEL LIKE I'M 100% SUFFERING! Not something that can help me after the fact, or when I'm feeling good enough to take in the "big picture" of this whole situation.

Because it doesn't feel right to spend several hours at work trying to hold back tears. Or to spend 10 minutes crying to your doctor about things he's already trying to help fix. Or to spend 1.5 hours crying and getting mad at a radio station.

Because hearing that God is with me and on my side and carrying me through it just doesn't feel helpful when I'm so totally angry at Him for not fixing something I KNOW He can fix!

Because knowing that it's all going to be alright in 6 months, 1 year, 5 years, 20 years from now does not help the me suffering right here, right now, in this moment.

So what do I do? What do we, sufferers of any emotional, physical, spiritual pain, do?

I tried prayer. I tried motivational radio stations and motivational music. I tried leaning on my husband. None of that soothed me. Prayers are unanswered, radio station doesn't get what I'm going through, and husband is hurting just as much as me.

The best I could do yesterday was distract myself, with guilty pleasures. An episode of Glee (I don't know why I even still watch that show), an episode of Parenthood, greasy pizza, cheesecake, and an episode of Doctor Who. Plus this sunset on my drive home from the appointment...

But I don't want to have to distract myself. I don't want to live the next 3 months or 5 years of my life just waiting and praying and hoping for something that's not happening, while I am forced to do nothing but distract myself from the one thing I really want. I just want to be a mother. Why is this desire written IN BIG, BOLD LETTERS on my heart if it's going to cause so much pain? Why do I have to suffer while others out there are getting exactly what they want as soon as they want it? Why does this one thing have to be so far out of my control?

I have no answers, my friends. Just questions. Hard to answer questions.

I'm so sorry to be such a downer. I'm sure tomorrow will be better. Thank God these lows are far and few between for me. Because I really don't like being an emotional and spiritual wreck.


Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Very Harry Halloween

Happy Halloween from Harry & Ginny!


It's raining cats and dogs here, so I'm not sure there'll be much trick-or-treating in the area. Though it's not like we, as a married couple, have ever had trick-or-treaters because the two of us have always lived in an apartment. One day we'll own a house and get to enjoy the cuteness of kiddos in costume on Halloween.
When I was younger, my dad was pretty awesome at making our house spooky, but in very subtle ways. He'd shine a single spot light on our house, which was at the top of a big hill, and blast "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor" by Bach out of a window on repeat. And a few years ago, he programed several pumpkins to light up and "sing" along to "This is Halloween" from the Nightmare Before Christmas. He also keeps record of the number of trick-or-treaters who come by the house every year, I guess to be better prepared for candy inventory the next year. Love that man. I hope I can be just as Halloweenishly creative as him some day.
Tonight, our plans are to enjoy $3 burritos at Chipotle (a special treat for going there dressed in costume) and see a show at the community theater, "Black Coffee" by Agatha Christie. It's sure to be a spook-tacular evening.
Oh, and just FYI... next year, if we have a little one to dress up, we're going to be Ariel, Prince Eric, and Sebastian. I'll let you guess who will be who. :)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Stephanie's Recipes: Pulled Pork & Black Bean Tacos

Remember that time my husband and I bought a 10-pound smoked pork butt from a Knights of Columbus fundraiser? Here, I'll show you a picture I posted about 2 months ago as a reminder of this crazy/awesome purchase...

Let's just say we still have a bit of that big butt left in our freezer. The first time we defrosted a bag for dinner, I poured some water over the pork and threw it in the microwave. Turns out, that's not the best way to reheat frozen pulled pork. It was just kinda soggy and bland. No bueno. The next time we wanted a pulled pork dinner, I reheated it in BBQ sauce. That was a bit better, but still not awesome. So by the third time we decided to use our stored up pork for dinner, I thought really hard about how I could make it stellar. Somehow, within seconds, it just came to me to use a can of black beans to simmer and reheat the pulled pork on the stove. I'm not always this creative, but I knew we had a can of black beans on hand and the combo of pork and beans is just about as good as it gets. So I went with it. And the results were so mouthwateringly good!

I turned to google for a little help and found this recipe for jazzing up a plain ol' can of beans. I tweaked it a little, grabbed my favorite tortillas, found some taco toppings in the fridge, and the rest is history. I know I've talked about how awesome tacos are in the past, so it should be no surprise that I'm writing a blog post about creating a delicious taco recipe. But seriously folks, these things are gooooood! I don't feel bad about posting this on a blog that's supposed to be about infertility. Nope. Not one bit. They're just that delicious. I'm to excited not to share. And they bring me and my tummy (and my husband and my husband's tummy) so much joy. I hope they can do the same for you and yours. 

Mouth. Watering.

Pulled Pork & Black Bean Tacos

2 tsp olive oil
1/2 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 large green pepper, chopped
15 oz can low sodium black beans, not drained
1/2 cup water
1 bay leaf
few pinches of cumin
few pinches of chipotle chili powder (optional)
pinch of oregano
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp salt (more or less to taste)
12 oz pre-cooked pulled pork (preferably smoked)
8 corn tortillas (we prefer La Tortilla Factory)

Optional Toppings
1 roma tomato, chopped 
2 leaves romain lettuce, chopped
8 tbsp crumbled feta cheese
1 bell pepper, sliced and sauteed 
1 small onion, sliced and sauteed
1 lime, quartered 

Add oil to a medium-sized pot on medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and pepper to the pot and saute until soft, about 3 minutes. Add beans, water, bay leaf, cumin, chipotle chili powder, oregano, red wine vinegar, salt, and defrosted pulled pork and bring to a boil. Lower heat and cover, simmer about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally (adjust water as needed). Taste for salt.

Spoon about 1/2 cup of black bean and pork mixture onto a tortilla, then add any of the desired optional toppings. Recommendation per taco: 1 tbsp salsa, 1 tbsp tomato, a bit of lettuce, 1 tbsp of feta, some slices of sauteed bell pepper and onion, and a squeeze of lime.

Serves size: 2 tacos. Serves 4, likely with leftover pork and bean mixture.

And it's a good thing the pork and bean mixture is even better on the second day, after the pork has had a nice long chance in the fridge to bond with the beans and all the yummy spices. Reheat in the microwave and make even more tacos orrrr go all Chipotle on them and make a burrito bowl - make some rice and top with leftovers and other yummy burrito-like toppings. The possibilities and pretty much endless. (Ok, so maybe not endless. Please don't try to make a dessert out of the leftovers. That would just be icky.)

Our preferred salsa is Arriba! Salsa, sold at most Krogers.

I hope you lovely readers don't mind if I post recipes from time to time. I do really love cooking and sharing good food with good people. I'm no professional food blogger or photographer, just here to have fun. Hope you enjoy! :)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Life Lately

The sweet husband and I have been very busy lately, but having a complete blast while we're at it. I should admit, when he has his weeks off, I tend to have trouble finding time to blog. We'd just rather spend the precious free time together, ya know? But he's back to work today, so I figured I'd take a few mins to fill everyone in on the whirlwind of fun we've been having these past few weeks.

With my new job comes new responsibilities. For the month of October, our parish runs a pumpkin patch as a fundraiser for our youth group, which actually means I run a pumpkin patch. And I'll tell you what, while it's a fair bit of work, it's also a fair bit of fun. During the first weekend of October, with the help of over 40 teens, we unloaded over 1,000 pumpkins from a large truck trailer, all sent to us from a Native American Reservation in New Mexico. We've worked with this pumpkin supplier for over 10 years and though they travel far to bring us pumpkins, they're great, high quality pumpkins, and we're happy that our fundraiser also supports Native American families out west.

After several hours of unloading and pumpkin patch set-up, we're
kinda stinky and very happy with the work we've accomplished.

After the great pumpkin unloading, I now mainly spend all my time begging the youth group teens to sign up to work the cash box every day and checking for rotten pumpkins. Oh, and I also try to wrack my brain for creative ways to advertise. So far we've made decent money, so that's been good. What's best about it, though, is the opportunity it provides for the teens to spend more time together, getting to know each other outside of our regular meetings. It's pretty adorbs watching the friendships blossom.

Posing with the pumpkins.

Teens working the cash box. 


Last weekend, a friend invited us over for a pumpkin carving party. Good thing I know a good place to buy pumpkins. :) John and I decided on the "skeleton with a mustache and monocle" design for our pumpkin, 'cause we're classy like that.

Our pumpkin mustache you a question.

Sir Pumpkington hanging outside of our apartment with
his two other pumpkin friends we bought at the patch.

Unfortunately, our carved pumpkin didn't last very long...


That mold grew overnight! We've had some unseasonably hot and humid October weather here in Memphis, so I think that's what caused it. Oh well, at least we got a cute picture with him when he was moldless.

Last weekend I also got a great idea to make a blanket for my four-year-old niece, Lindsey. My sister is pregnant with baby #2, due in February, so I thought it would be cute to make Lindsey a "big sister blanket." I wrote her a card explaining that her new blanket was for cuddling with her baby brother once he arrives. My sister tells me Lindsey had nothing but a big ol' smile on her face when she read her my card. It can be hard living so far from my family sometimes (they all live in RI), so making my niece smile from afar with this little present brought me lots of joy.

Tying the blanket and watching some Sherlock.

In the past week, we've discovered two new favorite board games - Dixit and Pandemic. Dixit is a great family or party game, kind of like Apples to Apples, but with pictures instead of words. And Pandemic is a cooperative game, where you try to beat the game together rather than competing against each other. Both provided lots of fun in our little apartment these past few days.

We've also gotten into Doctor Who. We heard from a friend that the first season was not the best, so we went into it expecting that, and now that we're past it, it's gotten awesome! Not to mention, the 10th Doctor is prettttty dreeeamyyy! Don't worry, my husband knows, and he's not jealous, because he also knows I think he's the dreamiest of them all.

My sweet in-laws got me season tickets to 2 different community theaters here in the Memphis area as a verrrry early birthday present. I'm pumped that John and I now have a whole bunch of free date nights in our future. Last Thursday, we used our first two tickets to see Young Frankenstein, the musical, and it was HILARIOUS! Also, the acting, set designs, costumes, all of it, was so well done! Looking forward to seeing more shows at that theater now, especially Jesus Christ Superstar in March.

In addition to all the random fun, we've also spent a bit of time tackling some of our adoption paperwork. It's quite a stack to get through, but we've enjoyed diving into it together. This week, our focus was completing several questionnaires - one about our feelings towards adoption and what kind of connection we'd like with the child's birthparents, one about infertility, one about our marriage, and one about our parenting styles. I have to say, I wasn't expecting the questionnaires to take as long as they have. Though all of the questions are good to think about, I don't think I would have reflected on any of them had we gotten pregnant and hadn't looked into adoption. For example: Define how you see your spouse's role as a parent. How or will it be different? What values were emphasized in your childhood and which of these values do you plan to instill?How do you feel you might react to your child's decision to search for his/her birthparents? Hard questions, right? I'm glad I took time to reflect on them, but it gets me thinking...

It's interesting to reflect on how different this path is from the path most families will take to have children. It requires much more screening, much more preparedness, and much more time (not to mention money) to adopt. I understand the reasons for all of these things, but it doesn't help me from wondering why our journey can't just be like most everyone else's. Especially knowing that every day there are women out there who are so far from being prepared to parent a child getting pregnant so easily. Maybe I'm just called to something bigger and better than having a large family. And maybe their own crosses are ones that are far worse than IF. I suppose it'll all make more sense one day.

And that leads me to the last bit of my little life update. I started on a low dose of Clomid earlier in this cycle and now I'm doing a little ultrasound series to see how the follicles are growing. After my first ultrasound on CD10, where the ultrasound tech didn't see a single dominant follicle, Dr. G said he didn't think the Clomid was working the way he had planned it to, so I think that means an adjustment for my next cycle is already in the works. I went back today for a second ultrasound, now CD13, and there was a dominant one on my right ovary (thank you, ovary!) though the ultrasound tech couldn't see signs of an egg, just like the last time I had an ultrasound series. I'm going back on Thursday for a third ultrasound and then for bloodwork around P+7 to see if Clomid has affected my post-peak hormones. The good news is I didn't turn into a Clo-monster on this low dose of Clomid. Yay! We'll see if that story stays the same next cycle; I'm assuming Dr. G will considering upping my Clomid dose.

Honestly, though adoption paperwork and silly follicles can be a bit of work, John and I have had a lot of fun filling our time in between those activities with plenty of adventures this month. Life lately gets an 8 out of 10 from me. And that's keeping this IF girl happy.

Now it's back to the pumpkin patch for me. Time to look for squishy, moldy pumpkins and count the cash box. All in an October day's work!

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