Friday, November 30, 2012

Where am I?

Before we get to today's post, my mother in law fell and broke her hip yesterday. She is having surgery today. Prayers are appreciated!


Man, it’s the end of NaBloPoMo. Honestly? I’m relieved. Posting every day is hard work! I feel like I gained quantity but lost quality this month. I don’t think anyone appreciates reading daily brain dumps.
Tomorrow is December 1st. R and I said that we’d make a decision by the first of the year about expanding our family. I’ve been good to my word and haven’t brought up the elephant lately, so I’m not sure where his head is at this point.
I know that the SSA thing has made it difficult (or, you know, impossible) to think positively about having another child. The first of the year will be immediately after SSA has been with us for a week and then left again, and R will have had a very hard talk with him right after Christmas about SSA's future living arrangements. I doubt he will be in a place to consider more.
Should we leave it for a few more months, give R some time to recover? The next set of dates that comes to mind is our birthdays in the Spring, but that will be right when SSA comes for Spring Break (and then leaves again). More drama, recurrence of depression, reboot the grief cycle… Summer? The same thing. And then all of a sudden we’re back to Fall/Winter and a year has passed. Little K will be a year older, I’ll be turning 33, and R will be turning 49.
R made a great point a few weeks ago that it would be so much easier without the vasectomy. He is great at playing the hand he is dealt! He’s done the “Opps!” thing twice, made the appropriate changes in his lifestyle, and has come out the other side in one piece. With the vasectomy, there’s no “Opps!” option. When you hold the sample in your hand, you better KNOW that you’re ready to see this through to the end.
My heart and body want another child. Little K is an amazing big sister to her step-sister in FL and wants a sibling of her own up here. We have an open bedroom for a nursery. I have some top of the line gear in the attic. My clinic has already signed the papers for the sperm bank. We even picked out a donor together!
I still don’t know how this will all turn out. R asked The Lord for a sign and, from what he told me, was given one. It wasn’t enough. How can it not be enough? If you can see it, hear it, feel like you can reach out and touch it… Life is there, waiting for you! All you have to do is take it!
Most likely, it will be no. And I’ll start the long process of letting go.
No matter what, God is good. Life is good. R and I fall more in love each day. Little K continues to bring joy into our lives. Our family is blessed just as we are.

Tenth Ave North: Let it Go

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Frivolous Regrets

I have a few little regrets that have stuck with me:
·         When I got married the first time, I wanted a cupcake wedding cake. I also found the perfect dress. I didn’t get either of them.
·         When R and I eloped, I had purchased a retro cocktail dress for the ceremony; at the last minute, I didn’t wear it because it was so cold that day.
·         When I was pregnant with Little K, I wanted to use cloth diapers and make her baby food. I never tried the diapers and only made a puree for her once. And I feel like I weaned her too soon.
In the long run, none of these are big things. The right dress or cake would not have saved my first marriage. I married R in a beautiful sweater that I still wear regularly. Little K’s bottom and my bank account survived disposable diapers, as well as Gerber Organics, and we did nurse until one year.
Not a big deal. But I still think about them from time to time. As they come to mind, I hear “I wish I had done that” in the back of my head. So, I want to encourage you to go for it. Whether it’s for a wedding, the baby, your first place, a can of paint, or a haircut – Just Go For It! True, you may look back and cringe, but I think that's better than looking back and wishing.
In a similar spirit, here are my makeup moments:
·         When R and I have our five year anniversary next year, I want to go out that night and wear the cocktail dress I purchased back in 2008.
·         When R and I reach our ten year anniversary, I want to throw a big party with the perfect gown and cake.
·         If we are blessed with another child, I want to at least try cloth diapering and homemade baby food. I will also nurse for as long as possible, even if that’s past 12 months.
What are your little regrets? What are your makeup moments?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Delicious Decisions

The department I work for hosts a small holiday party every Friday between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I signed up to bring treats this first week and am having trouble narrowing down my baking list. So far, I’ve only committed to my famous brownies. However, I’m eyeing the following recipes:

Any votes? Baking will commence at 7:00 PM tonight.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

CD2, PSA, Decor

So, yesterday turned into CD1. *sigh* Progesterone, you are a lying liar of lies.
In other news, I am now sufficiently sane enough to be able to express to R that, although every touch doesn’t need to lead to… things, I do need more physical attention than an absentminded kiss when I get home from work and a deliberately irritating poke in the arm at bedtime.
You want a happy wife? Tell me I look good, compliment my outfit, stand up and kiss me when I get home, sneak up behind me and give me a hug when I cook, and lift up your arm as an invitation to cuddle when I get into bed. Or, you know, don’t and be on the receiving end of a wife who is constantly irritated with the added bonus of thinking you 1.) don’t love me, 2.) don’t find me attractive anymore, and/or 3.) are screwing around.
*The more you know.*
We finally put away the last of the Thanksgiving accoutrements and set up the remaining of the Christmas decorations. (I’ll have to take some pictures soon. The garland on the banister looks amazing!) This is the first year since moving to NC that I’m really excited about Christmas. It’s definitely a new and different experience, that’s for sure. Even though Little K won’t be with us that week, she’s become more aware of the holiday season and the excitement that comes with it. She has an appreciation for aesthetics that you don’t often find in young children; she wants the candles lit, the tree and garland plugged in, and the fireplace going... It is very fun to have her as a cohort in creating ambience!
Speaking of such things, who would like to take the opportunity to explain to me how to use Pintrest? I received my login several months ago, attempted to get started earlier in the month, and failed epically. How do you re-pin things? How do I start a new board? What is the point of following someone, is there a dashboard or something when you login? I’m confused.
This has been your regularly scheduled NaBloPoMo brain dump. Anyone else ready for December 1st already?

Monday, November 26, 2012

What Can You Do?

Three good things and thankfulness:
·        Our house looks so pretty decorated for Christmas! So many of the little things (the right spot for the tree, the right candles, the right flower arrangements) came together this year and it’s beautiful.
·        The time with my parents for Thanksgiving was so wonderful. Getting down the china, cooking with my parents, decorating the tree, going to see the lights… These are things that I remember from my childhood and I’m so glad that I can pass down to Little K. I hope she treasures these memories the way I do.
·        Laundry! It sounds crazy, but I am so thankful for getting the laundry done! Between clothes, sheets, and towels, I did about six loads this weekend. I’m glad that’s taken care of!
As for thankfulness, I’m thankful for the calm I’m experiencing right now. Between SSA, work, the elephant, bills, and just life in general, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Especially with how irritable I felt last week (stupid hormones)! But at this very moment, I feel at peace. It is so nice.
The rest of this will be a little all over the place and rather boring. Sorry about that!
It’s the holiday season, so R is missing SSA. Unfortunately, when he misses SSA, he pulls away from the rest of us. It is definitely hard on our relationship. When we don’t spend time together, we don’t have anything to talk about. And when we don’t have anything to talk about, we don’t connect well. And when we don’t connect well, we don’t make the effort to spend time together. It’s a vicious cycle. The one good thing is that, rather than silently fuming, I was able to gently tell R how I was feeling, explaining that I really enjoy his company and, since one of the reasons we got married was to spend time together, it’s important to me that we don’t lose our connection while dealing with the SSA fallout.
R’s bible study class doesn’t meet this week and Little K got just over five hours of sleep last night, so we’re looking at a night at home. I’m hoping to put Little K to bed early (she woke up this morning saying that she felt like she didn’t sleep at all), so maybe R and I can light the candles and sip drinks by the fire.
It is RC’s last week with the company. Booooo. Her presence was one of the best things about being here. With my favorite coworker having left in April and now RC… I’m not sure what the future holds. I am not unhappy with my work and am very grateful for a job in which I excel, I just am going to miss the relationships, you know? One good thing is that the three of us are taking a long lunch together tomorrow. I can’t wait to spend some uninterrupted time with them!
More brown spotting today. I’m doing a pretty good job of letting it go, although I will test tomorrow morning if I haven’t started bleeding yet. My one concern is that I’ll have to cancel my procedure for tomorrow if my period shows up. Keeping a close eye on that situation. I’m also debating whether or not to keep using Fertility Friend. While the actual charting portion is fantastic, the additional signs, fertility analyzer, and estimated dates are doing a number on my mind. I’m not sure yet.
Little K and I went clothes shopping this weekend. It started out as a rather futile search for pants that fit her well enough to look good now but with room to grow into over the next six months. After two hours at Kohls (*sigh*) we ended up with jeggings from Target. They are totally cute! She also managed to score two fantastic vests, one pink sequins with a faux fur collar and another grey knit with nubby cream lining and toggles. She looks fantastic in both. I was trying to find a couple shells to go under two blazers I picked up last year. It went… okay. I did find one silk top, a sequins tank, black leggings, and two camisoles, so I’m pretty happy. Five pieces that can coordinate with seven outfits. Not bad!
I went off my diet for Thanksgiving week and it totally shows. I’m dreading the idea of going back on low-carb; it has been so nice to eat fresh fruit again! I’m going to try dropping to 1000/day for this week and see if anything comes off. If so, I’ll do that through the end of the year and reassess the situation. I’ll be loosely following the Biggest Loser plan: 4/3/2/1 – 4 servings fruit and veggies, 3 servings lean protein, 2 servings whole grain, 1 extra (either sweet or alcohol, not totaling more than 150 calories). There is a strict ban on processed food, potatoes, white flour, and pasta. So, really, it’s low-carb with one slice of multigrain toast and some grapes thrown in. I can do that.
It’s that time of year when all I want to do is sit by the fire. I want to be sure I stay active this winter. I can move my hand weights into the family room. I have three workout DVDs that I really enjoy: Boot Camp, 30 Day Shred, and Yoga for Heat. Little K loves things like that, so maybe I could pop those in when I get home each day? I’m also considering picking up running again. I was running 2 miles/day, 5 days/week before my surgery and got to the point where I looked forward to it. I’m not sure if I can commit to running in the dark or in the cold, so we’ll see how that turns out. It may be better hold off and stick to doing a DVD each day.
There we have it. Just life in general with nothing cute to wrap it up. Instead, I'll share a link to the newest addition to my Christmas playlist: Six String Christmas by Bob Rafkin. Just YES, to all of that.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Back To It

Tomorrow is the first day back after the five-day (well, four-day for me) break. Boo. It's also the last week at the company for my former boss. And, as long as my period holds off, it will be the week of my additional testing at the GYN.

Lots of things.

I did have a bit of brown spotting early this morning, so I doubt anything is going on in there. I do hope that my period holds off until Wednesday so I can have my procedure on Tuesday.

I'm mostly okay with everything. I love our little family of three. It's comfortable, cozy, happy, full... Everything I want my family to be.

We had an absolutely wonderful visit with my parents. They arrived on Tuesday evening. Wednesday was last minute grocery shopping, pottery painting, pre-cooking, and my dad's brisket. Thursday was absolutely fantastic! We made the annual gingerbread house, ate crepes, watched the parade and football, and did some crafts. Friday was tree decorating, lights, movies, leftovers, and a trip to Hillridge Farms for the light show and Santa. We said goodbye Saturday morning, but only after consuming the remaining crepes.

Everything was amazing, relaxed, and full of love. I have so much to be thankful for (or, you know, for which to be thankful). I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Creeping Along

Found out today that we can't adopt this little cutie since he's not into cats:

Naminae decided that my dad's guitar case is her new bed:

Little K turned the laundry basket into a crib:

I am currently 14DPO, continuing the steady high temps with a dip at 7DPO. I have the world's biggest and sorest boobs, a sore throat, headaches, *tmi* constipation, heartburn (new today), and will destroy EVERYTHING. And can't sleep through the night without waking to pee, although I'm fine during the day.

I've managed to hold off on testing so far, mostly because I left my box of tests in my desk drawer. Let's be sure to shout it out loud: my husband is still vasectomized. Nothing has changed.

Welcome to Crazytown, population: Me.

Friday, November 23, 2012

NaBloPoMo, Day 23

I was already in bed when I realized, Hey! I haven't posted today! I'm just not ready to give up on the NaBloPoMo dream. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Imperfectly Perfect

I didn’t get everything accomplished. And that’s okay. Rather than holding myself to perfection this holiday season, staying both stressed and disappointed throughout, I’m focusing on the feeling. How does this situation feel? How do I feel? How do my family and/or guests feel?
I remember the story of Mary and Martha:
The Lord and his disciples were traveling along and same to a village. When they got there, a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat down in front of the Lord and was listening to what he said. Martha was worried about all that had to be done. Finally, she went to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it bother you that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to come and help me!” The Lord answered, “Martha, Martha! You are worried and upset about so many things but only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen what is best, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Perfection would be nice, and it is important to take care of what God has given us, but not at the expense of relationship. And certainly not to the point where it causes me to stop honoring Him.
Does my fussing make my guests feel welcome? Does my distraction make my daughter feel loved? Does my stress make my words kind? I would rather have an imperfect Thanksgiving filled with laughter than a "perfect" evening filled with stress.
Along with the holiday, my hormones have me on edge. (Holding steady at 98.2 and beginning to look forward to my period on Sunday, as long as it means I will start feeling better.) As I feel myself becoming impatient and irritable, I’m trying to pull back and ask, “Is this reaction reasonable?” Another question can be, “How important is this?”
I once heard a great piece of parenting advice and try to use it in all of my relationships: Is this (situation, thing, whatever) more important to me than this person?
That can easily be applied to the holidays, too. Is this event more important to me than the people I will spend it with? If not, let it go! Do you best and don’t worry about the rest. Don’t worry about perfection, whether it’s with the décor or the cleaning or the food. And certainly don’t worry about competing! Not with whoever hosted the event last year, or with the lifestyle of the other people around the table, or even with yourself.
Instead, hold God’s love and His word in your heart, allowing it to radiate out to the people who gather around your table:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Orange crepes for breakfast on Thanksgiving. Grandma Pat’s cranberry relish. Watching Muppet’s Christmas Carol while decorating the Christmas tree. French toast on Christmas morning…
These are things my family of origin has always done.
I’ve added some things since Little K has born. This will make the third year in a row that we have decorated a gingerbread house on Thanksgiving morning and I’ve continued my mom’s loose tradition of giving pajamas to my daughter for Christmas.
We have some other acts that are on their way to becoming traditions. This will be the second Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve in a row that my parents have joined us. Last year we watched Pirates of Penzance on NYE, which opened on December 31, 1879. (I certainly have no problem with popping in a musical every NYE!) I’m considering taking Little K to see the 29th annual production of Cinderella at Raleigh Little Theatre this December, which could become a special Christmas tradition for her and I since she spends the holiday with her father.
There are some things that are falling away at our house. I know that my grandfather considers brussel sprouts and pearl onions a requirement on the Thanksgiving table, as well as sending homemade Stollen to everyone in December. My dad needs Grandma Pat’s dip on Thanksgiving. My mother and sister need my great-grandmother’s Christmas Cookies.
These are things that I’m just not keeping up with. I think, though, that we are managing to keep the spirit of these traditions alive. We still cook together on Thanksgiving. We still assemble an iconic Christmas baked good (and then pick at it until it goes stale the next month). I still make cutout Christmas cookies with my daughter, although a different recipe. (And the dip has made a comeback since Mom and Dad have started joining us for Thanksgiving.)

I was the tradition-keeper of the family. And still am, up to a point. As a teenager, it was so important that the holiday season follow the same map as it did the previous year. If it was suggested that we do anything differently, I would freak out. I'm beginning to see that growing up means holding on to what means most to you and allowing the rest to fade away. I hope that our family traditions, the ones that stick around, have a special place in Little K's heart the way they do in mine. And hopefully I'll be graceful when she grows up and starts doing things differently than me.
I do feel bad about the Stollen, though. I think that I’ll ask Granddad for his recipe; maybe we can improve upon it and turn it into something that actually disappears off the plate rather than into the trash can!
What holiday traditions do you have?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

i has a sad

I got totally sad around Noon today and haven’t been able to shake it off. My former boss, who has become a good and special friend, is leaving the company. She and I spoke about it in depth last week but I think it’s just now starting to sink in how different things will be without her.
She has become a professional mentor, stand-in mother, and the one person in the office with whom I can speak about spiritual things. Any time I have brought up possibly leaving this company, R has been quick to point out that I would be leaving her, too, and that relationships like ours don’t come around every day. She and I would end up spending a couple of hours together each week and that time has meant the world to me. It was often business related but during the course of each conversation we would end up sharing about sermons or recipes or parenting thoughts or just trading anecdotes during the conversation. She was the third person I called after my diagnosis this past summer, right after R and my mom, and I texted her on the way home from the hospital. She is just so special!
I interviewed with her over two years ago, the first of a group of four, and by the end of the interview she and I knew we wanted to work together. We hit it off immediately! And when I was hired, I was a part of a rather exclusive group because I reported to her. Although my direct supervisor changed this past spring, I was one of the few people who was still able to provide support for her programs. That distinction will be going away, too.
I think that’s another part of it. The past couple of months around the office have been difficult, with layoffs and reorganization. So many offices are dark now... Everyone is feeling edgy and wondering if it could be their last day. With her, I had a sneak peek into the pipeline and would have advance notice if I was being let go. Now I’ll have zero visibility, just like everyone else.
I’ve never been great at being just like everyone else. My professional and personal relationship with her made me feel special. I’m worried about how long I’ll enjoy working here and how long it will last with her gone.
Today, I’m thankful for RC. You have been a light in my life and I hope we do stay in touch!

Let It Begin

I began my regular descent into holiday planning madness today. We have been taking every precaution to make sure that Thanksgiving is laid back, cooking-wise. The majority of our dishes will either be made ahead or purchased premade (*gasp* Blasphemy! Mmm, delicious blasphemy…).
Our menu for Thursday looks like this:
·         Brunch
o   Orange Crepes, Wednesday – Reheat
o   Bacon and Eggs
·         Dinner
o   AB’s Roast Turkey Breast, Thaw/Brine Tuesday, Complete Thursday (3 hours, inactive)
o   Turkey Gravy, Thursday (15 Minutes)
o   Simply Mashed Potatoes, Premade - Reheat
o   Sweet Potato Souffle, Premade - Reheat
o   Cornbread Dressing, Premade - Reheat
o   SL Collards and Apples, Thursday (25 Minutes plus Prep)
o   SL Buttermilk Pecan Green Beans, Thursday (20 Minutes plus Prep)
o   Cranberry Relish, Wednesday
o   SL Icebox Rolls, Begin Wednesday, Complete Thursday (10 minutes plus Prep)
·         Dessert
o   Pumpkin Pie, Wednesday
o   Pecan Pie, Wednesday
Really, it’s not a terribly taxing menu with just over two hours of active cooking time Thursday afternoon. It is a little heavy on the carbs, of course, but what can you do?
We specifically purchased some of these items because they are either time consuming or only enjoyed by a few people at our table. I’m trying to scale back the portions for the homemade dishes, making only enough for a little on Thursday and no leftovers. With so many side dishes, there’s no reason to make a lot of any one thing. The plan is to use up whatever remains on Friday with hash for brunch and sandwiches in the afternoon.
I’m adding to my own work with the green beans and homemade rolls. Really, we could skip the extra greens and just purchase rolls. But part of being Southern is going just a little over the top, right? At least, that’s what my bestie has always taught me and who am I to argue with the southern born and bred. He’s hosting Thanksgiving for a group of 20 on Thursday with a menu that includes apple cheddar stuffed squash and truffled mac and cheese. My table of five is small potatoes here, people!
In other news, the house is completely clean! Yay! All that’s left is the tablecloth (grrr) and Home Depot. And a last-minute grocery run. Should be fine!
How are your Thanksgiving plans coming along?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Brain Dump

I have a presentation this afternoon, so this will be brief and most likely boring.
In My Pants: I went back to the GYN on Friday to have an internal bump checked out. My doctor agreed to do some further testing, which will include an in-office procedure next week. She is not particularly concerned but she is very understanding. It’s easy to get paranoid since we don’t know what caused the VIN to show up in the first place and she would like to lay both her and our fears to rest. Luckily I already met my annual deductible, so this should be relatively inexpensive.
Weekend: Even with the Friday drama we were able to get a ton accomplished this weekend, including: most of the cleaning; most of the upcoming Christmas, birthday, grocery, and Thanksgiving shopping; seeing a play Saturday afternoon with Little K; getting R diagnosed with strep throat on Sunday (*siiiiigh*); getting 75% complete crocheting a sweater dress for Little K’s doll; making a delivery to Goodwill; and moving some more of SSA’s things to the attic.
Things that did not get accomplished this weekend include the finishing work (and dry cleaning) on the formal tablecloth and picking up the final crafting items I need from Home Depot. Oh well.
To Do: This week we are looking at my parents arriving tomorrow night, Little K off school on Wednesday, and still needing to finalize the menu for Thursday. I do need to complete the finishing work on the table cloth, although I’ll just spot check and iron instead of having it cleaned, and need to make it to Home Depot since we’re decorating for Christmas on Friday. And wash the icky strep germs off our sheets. And put away the clean clothes. And stock the bathrooms with guest supplies. And dust all of the wood furniture in our house. No pressure!
The Crazy: My breasts have become so sore that it hurts to walk about at my normal clip. I’ll also mention that my temp is continuing to rise, hitting 98.3 this morning. I’ll go ahead with the disclaimers: I realize that the soreness is due to progesterone which is present after ovulation regardless of pregnancy and that my temp rising could simply mean that I’m beginning a fever and can look foward to developing strep. Of course, Fertility Friend doesn’t help, with a significant test date, projected due date, and percentage of positive test with my current temp/symptoms. I quit.
So, there you go. Hope you managed to stay awake during it! If not, maybe remember this post and use it to get to sleep tonight.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Apparently, Saturday isn't my day for blogging. Here's a fun link for you to tide us all over until tomorrow.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Busy Bees

I actually don’t have much to say today. Well, nothing insightful at least.
We have a busy weekend ahead of us. I’m doing the bulk of my Christmas shopping today, having planned everything over the past month or so. The only major pieces missing will be Little K’s bike, which I will be purchasing with the Christmas money from R’s parents, and something of R’s, which I won’t mention since he shows up here every once in a while. *waves* Hi, babe!
We will also be deep cleaning the house in preparation for Thanksgiving and Christmas decorating. And I need to hand stitch the corners of the tablecloth I made last year. And run no-fray around the edges. And get it to the cleaners.
And do the Thanksgiving shopping. Thankfully, that’s not much this year since Mom and Dad are bringing several items with them on Tuesday. Tuesday!!!
And I need to finish up my Christmas décor crafts, one of which involves tomato cages and white lights. Any guesses?
Oh yeah, and need to finish up my BSF lesson and get started on Little K’s.
And pick up yarn for one more project.
And decide if I can finish Little K’s afghan before New Year’s Eve…
Oh man, I’m tired just thinking about it. And excited. And REALLY can’t wait to finish up work so I can start the master plan!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Data Points

A follow up from yesterday’s post (man, a lot of those this week, huh?).
I want to be clear that I don’t think that anything is developing in my uterus. I mean, sure, it would be nice, but really three years and three counts are enough to convince me that, no really, not gonna happen.
And I’m okay with that.
Granted, I’m going to bask in the glow for now but I’m most excited about the fact that, Hey! Look at that! My chart looks normal! It’s not all janky and annovulatory! Which, to be honest, has been concerning me for several months now.
As a gift to you (fine! It’s a gift to no one but myself. Shameless self pandering.), I present the current cycle:

Isn’t that pretty? With the temp rise imemdiately after ovulation? Yay!
Just so that we’re all on the same page, here is the totally screwy previous cycle:

And the completely awful one before that:

Of course, now I’m wondering if my detour into Lowcarblandia is what jump started this nice and normal chart. I was three months into low carb the first and only time I’ve ever conceived. Hmm…
Now, off to research the effects of gluten and processed sugar on ovulation/luteal phase length. Toodles!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

All Aboard!

You guys, I am officially on board the crazy train. Get ready for a wild ride…
My cycle looks so good right now! I am currently CD25, 4DPO. My temp JUMPED after ovulation, rocketing up to 97.9 at just 2DPO. (This is compared with my last normal cycle, which took six days to get even close to that high.) Today we're up to 98.0, which I only manage to reach during the last days of my period. And may I just add that I ovulated on CD21 instead of CD30? Awesome.
We (okay, I) made a point to come together every other day once fertile CM showed up and hit pretty close to ovulation at -4, -2 and +1. I know there is no chance that this cycle will have any outcome other than what we’ve seen for the past three years but I am currently infused with a sense of goodwill that I haven’t felt in a very long time.
I have nothing but rainbows for everyone I see and haven’t been able to wipe this smile off my face since Monday night! I have no idea what’s going on or why everything is so beautiful to me right now but I’m riding it for as long as possible.
First test date is set for Thanksgiving morning.

(Please, oh please, oh please.)
I would usually post an introspective song here but have way too much energy for that so here's my favorite number, courtesy of Nine Days. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Tower of Babel

Following up from yesterday’s post.
Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) continues to be very important to me. Last night’s lecture hit some specific questions that I have been struggling with when it comes to the size of our family.
We were studying Genesis 10-11 last week, which tells the story of the Tower of Babel. Brief synopsis: After the flood, God reiterated His command to Noah and his sons to “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth” (Genesis 1:28, Genesis 9:1). Instead, united in one language, the nations gathered in Babel to built a city/tower specifically so that they would not be scattered across the whole earth (Genesis 11:4). So, God frustrated their plans by confusing their languages, causing them to give up building the tower and “from there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth” (Genesis 11:9).
Okay, everyone on the same page?
During last night’s lecture, the leader made the following statements/personal questions:
·         The people were rebelling against God’s clear command.
·         Sin is refusal to obey God-given directions.
·         What are you pursuing? Whose plans are you pursuing, yours or God’s? Are you working for yourself or for God?
·         How are you knowingly or un-knowingly resisting God’s plans?
·         What barriers has God put in your plans?
I immediately began thinking about the elephant. Before, when discussing the size of our family, it was clear that God was saying No. Now, I’m not so sure. I can’t discern whether He is saying No or Wait.
Of course, my kneejerk reaction is to say that I'm pursuing my own plans by wanting another child. And then immediately follow with the fact that God gave me the desire to parent and nurture another child, so it can't be sin to want another child. But the barrier in that plan is both the vasectomy and R's lack of desire to expand our family. But wasn't it us who put the vasectomy barrier in place, not God? So where did the resistence originate: with us by getting the vasectomy or with God? Is the resistence with me, because I don't want to accept God's plan for our family, or with R, originating from the hurt experienced from the custody arrangement from his divorce? If it is from the custody arrangement, then the resistence (although self inflicted) really originates with the Enemy, right? In which case, shouldn't we fight against it and allow God's will to prevail by expanding our family? But we can't agree on the size of our family and God does not desire conflict in our marriage, only unity...
*headdesk* Welcome to my merry-go-round of crazy.
It becomes especially hard when the strongest desire for another child comes when I’m studying the Bible with Little K or sitting in church with R. I find an incredible fullness and over-flowing love for my family as we study God’s word together and an overwhelming desire for another child to share this with. And a physical pain when I see the young children sitting in church on Sunday mornings with their parents. (Example: the 18-month old who came into church held by her daddy this past Sunday. She spent the entire music time with her head laid across his shoulder, whole-hand waving to R [who, of course, spent the entire time waving back. Swoon.] and then napped on her daddy’s lap during the sermon.)
I know that I won’t disrespect R or God by moving forward with treatment of any kind without R’s consent. I know that I can’t control R’s decision on this and am prepared for us to stay a family of three. But I’ve also seen God work miracles in our life before and am praying that He will do so again.
For now, I’m living on Wait, hoping it doesn’t become No, and understanding that it is ultimately in His hands.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Almost Phoning it In

It's late, you guys, but I don't want to give up on NaBloPoMo.

Today, I am thankful for BSF and the spiritual growth I am seeing in my own life as I study God's word on a daily basis. I am excited to open the Bible each day and see what the Lord wants to teach me. I am so happy to see myself memorizing scripture, knowing where to look when a verse comes to mind, and recognizing the importance of the inclusion or exclusion of certain words, phrases, or verbs. This past week's lesson was very stimulating! And two points I found in the lesson and brought up in group were affirmed during the leader's lecture tonight. I can't wait to get started on this week's lesson!

Details tomorrow. For now, good night.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Crochet Project: Votive Covers

Making progress on my Christmas crafts! Take a look at these totally adorable crochet votive covers, adapted from the pattern by NatureNutNotes.

I can't wait to light these adorable little guys! They will be a wonderful addition to our rustic Christmas theme.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Joy Comes in the Morning

Today, I am thankful for a good night’s sleep.  

Yesterday afternoon and evening were difficult. Little K in tears, no dessert, early bedtime difficult. *sigh* I like to think, though, that in the end it served her well; she was in a great mood this morning.
Little K is a “more” child. I don’t recall where I first heard this phrase, but it described Little K perfectly: every reaction is “more.” If she is happy, she is over the moon, cannot contain her joy, run around the room, sunshine and rainbows happy. If she is upset, she is open the floodgates, hates her life and those around her, throw herself face down and weep into the couch cushions, nothing will ever be right again upset.
And, let me tell you, it is exhausting.
We’ve been working with Little K on understanding and controlling her emotions. We certainly want her to feel heard and do not want to under estimate the validity of her emotions. However, we are trying to help her differentiate between bad vs. apocalyptic.
Example: Last night, I reviewed her school folder and found a cookie fundraiser catalogue. Because I love cookies (HELLO raw cookie dough!), I of course opened it and began drooling. Little K saw me looking at the catalogue and began meltdown #1 – it was suggested to the kids that they put the catalogue in the fridge next to the milk for their parents to find; since I found it in her folder instead of the fridge, I was being sneaky and she had failed. I told her that was a cute idea and asked if it would be okay if I kept looking at it, since everything looked so delicious. Instead of answering, she snatched it out of my hand, giving me a pretty vicious paper cut. Meltdown #2 came when she saw the blood – she threw herself onto the couch, sobbing into the cushions that she was a terrible person for hurting her mother. It took a solid five minutes to calm her down, convincing her that she wasn’t a bad person and only needed to remember that it wasn’t polite to snatch things, especially since it is both rude and people can get hurt.
Then, at gymnastics, meltdown #3 began because the warm-up stretches hurt. And meltdown #4 came when she wasn’t able to make it up the rope. And meltdown #5 when I wouldn’t give her dessert since she deliberately disobeyed me (twice) as we left the gym. And meltdown #6 came when she continued to act out and ended up with an early bedtime. And meltdown #7 when -no, really kid- you have to do your inhaler and take your meds before bed, they are what keeps your lungs healthy and allow you to breathe!
It’s just. So. Much. Sometimes.
So bedtime came early with many tears and wails about wanting to start the whole day over, along with cuddles from Mommy and a talk about how, yes, it’s hard that things didn’t go the way you want today but you DO get to start fresh tomorrow. And, yes, it’s hard that you didn’t get to stay up or have dessert but both of those things will help you remember what not to do and you’ll be able to do better next time. And, yes, I love you with all my heart and I don’t like how tonight went, either, but I’m still glad that I got to spend it with you.
Being almost-seven is hard. So is being the mother of an almost-seven year old.
So Little K fell asleep within 15 minutes of lying down. And Mommy downed a quick drink and sat in a steamy shower for 30 minutes. And everyone woke up in a great mood this morning.
I’m off to re-read Moxie’s entry about seven year olds (also: THIS comment. My life.) and see if the library has the book she recommends. I shudder to think that this may get worse before it gets better.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A Birth Story

Today, I am thankful to have this story to share. A happy story of an uneventful pregnancy and a live birth. I know that not everyone is lucky enough to have this story. Please know that this community marked by infertility and loss weighs heavy on my heart. You are in my prayers daily. I hope you experience God’s love, peace, and healing today.
For Keiko: The Birth of Little K
I had an easy pregnancy, almost embarrassingly so, and continued to receive care from my OB/GYN. He was very thorough and was up for me asking as many questions as I could think of. He didn’t mind delving into technical explanations when I asked for them, although his tendency to indulge his patients did lead to him running at least an hour behind on appointments.
Little K was due just after the New Year. I finally started getting uncomfortable in December and began walking about a mile each day during my lunch break in hopes of encouraging labor. I also asked my doctor to strip my membranes during my last two appointments, which didn’t hurt and resulted in some light spotting after.
I thought that my water broke early morning on Christmas Day and we headed to the hospital, only to be sent back home a few hours later. I woke up at 6:30 AM the next day with a contraction and bloody show. I went back to bed for almost an hour and woke up with another contraction. They became closer and closer together over the next four hours. We took that time to call parents, shower, have a bite to eat. We finally headed to the hospital when the contractions were five minutes apart, around 12:30 PM. By the time we got to the hospital, I was contracting every three minutes. It took longer to get through triage in Labor and Delivery than we expected and I spent about 20 minutes contracting in the L&D lobby. I was taken into a triage room for another 30 minutes for ferning, IV, monitoring, etc. I was admitted and given a room by 2:00 PM.
I *finally* received my walking epidural at 2:30 PM and was able to relax. By that time, both sets of soon-to-be grandparents had arrived as well as my younger sister. The epidural made me itchy, which I tried to hide from the nurses for fear that they would take the epidural away. They caught on shortly after and administered something like Benadryl, which cleared up the itchiness and made me tired.
I originally wanted to be walking around to help speed labor but the Benadryl made that impossible. Instead, I had my mother and husband position me cross-legged to open my pelvis and reclined my bed to about 45* to keep pressure on my cervix, then dozed for the next several hours while the contractions did their thing. Every once in a while a nurse would come in to check my progress. After three hours, the walking epidural was no longer cutting it and they upped me to the regular epidural. I continued to doze for another hour or two. It was particularly wonderful because the conversation swirled around me, allowing me to join in when I was awake but not feeling like I had to host or entertain anyone.
I believe at some point they administered pitocin, but can’t be sure. I was so happy dozing in and out of labor! I remember being woken up by my FIL, asking if I was okay. I responded that I was and asked why. He showed me that I had four contractions on the screen, all within the past five minutes. Man, I loved that epidural!
It seemed like the hospital staff was one step ahead of me throughout the day. In particular, I remember them coming in around 8:00 PM, asking if I was feeling any increased pressure around my bottom. I responded that I did not. Minutes after she left the room, I began feeling incredible pressure and buzzed her back in. She did an internal exam and confirmed that we were in the home stretch – just half a centimeter to go. (I am now wondering if I had slipped into “the zone” and if her interruption caused me to become more aware of what was happening. I guess we’ll never know.)
The next 45 minutes were the most intense. Even with the epidural, the contractions for that last bit were very fast and very painful, coming less than a minute apart and lasting for about 45 seconds each. That was the time when it was most helpful to have people with me. I had my mother on one side, my husband on the other, and my sister feeding me ice chips. The three of them were wonderful, especially my mom.
At 9:00 PM, the nurse confirmed that we were at ten. We asked for the extended family to leave the room and spent the next hour and forty-six minutes pushing. I was not productive at all for the first half, pushing with my abdomen (like I did in karate) instead of my groin. I spent the time between those efforts crying and apologizing to my husband for not doing it right. The nurse got a little exasperated and kept reinforcing that I needed to push with my butt. I finally caught on to the right way to push and things began to speed up. I intensely remember feeling Little K’s head moving down the birth canal during a push and then feeling her move! Back! Up! When the push was over. That REALLY got me fired up and she was born about 30 minutes later.
Little K was placed on my stomach immediately after birth but then had a bowel movement right away. They whisked her over to a corner to be cleaned, wiped down my stomach, and stitched me up. I was very agitated that they took her away and kept asking for them to bring her back. They took about ten minutes to clean her, do footprints, apgar scores, etc. We cuddled her for a few minutes then tried nursing. The family came back in once everything was right and tight again, probably about 25 minutes after her birth.
We said goodnight to everyone around midnight and were taken up to a room on the maternity floor. I ate the meal my father picked up for me earlier in the day and went to sleep. We tried rooming in and I had to buzz the nurse in the middle night because Little K was crying and I couldn’t find my glasses or a light switch to see her. The nurses were good to us, bringing me meds and ice packs on a regular schedule. They would come in periodically to check up on us and Little K. They did take her to the nursery once or twice and I think they gave her a bottle while she was in there.
I really wanted to breastfeed and we had a pretty good latch right away. The lactation consultant came in and I (stupidly) told her we were nursing well and she left. We didn’t find out until several days later that my milk hadn’t come in yet; Little K was losing weight and becoming jaundiced. Sleepless night with a crying (hungry) baby and blood tests at the hospital confirmed it. We began supplementing with formula, nursing and then giving a bottle after to fill her tummy.
It wasn’t until ten days after birth that my milk came in full force. By that time I had already sunk into PPD and moved in with my parents for two weeks, unable to do more than attempt to nurse Little K and cry. My mom was, once again, completely amazing. She took care of me and of Little K, involving me every step of the way. Without even discussing it, she knew to ask me what I thought we should do and I, without feeling bad, was able to say “I can’t make that decision”, allowing her to do whatever she thought was right. After a while I was able to respond with a decision, and she would do that. She slowly weaned us off of her support and, when I was able to make decisions without asking her first, we headed back home.
I still struggled with PPD for almost ten weeks. I would pack up Little K and myself and go to her house within an hour or two of waking each day, only heading home when it was time to go back to bed at night. I slowly got better and went back to work. Little K had a difficult infancy, to the point where I don’t have many memories of that first year. I do, however, remember the sweet relief of learning how to nurse her lying down as I slept. It was a miracle! I became a confirmed co-sleeper and nursed her this way throughout the night for her first year. Being able to sleep is what really began to pull me out of my PPD.
Looking back, I think Little K’s birth experience was exactly what I expected. An easy pregnancy, a relatively uneventful labor, a healthy birth. I would do several things differently during those first days, weeks, and months, but not her birth or the hours immediately after. I was glad for the medical professionals and the epidural. We were in the top children’s hospital in the state, so I knew we were in good hands. The staff intervened just enough to make us feel cared for but not imposing. They never once mentioned a c-section while I had trouble learning to push and they didn’t pressure us to try formula over breastfeeding.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Best is Yet to Come

Today, I am thankful for the opportunity to watch a second acceptance speech made by President Barack Obama.
R and I were on opposite ends of the spectrum for this election. As we talked this morning, we discussed what it would take for the Republican Party to recover from consecutive presidential losses and a growing majority of voters made up of minorities, single women, young people, and non-theists.
The answer, in my eyes, is Jesus.
If you look at Jesus’ ministry, he wasn’t interested in aligning himself with the religious leaders of the day or, necessarily, with the ruling majority. Instead, his message was revolutionary!
Jesus preached love, community, and forgiveness. He boldly went out and told everyone he met:
You are important, you are loved, you are worthwhile. You deserve care, protection, forgiveness, and love.
Jesus didn’t do this by turning a blind eye to sin. Far from it! He solidly repeated God’s truth, upheld the law, and encouraged everyone he came across to repent and be reborn. But he accomplished this by loving people in their current circumstance. Beggar, thief, tax collector, prostitute, soldier, Jew, Gentile… His message remained the same: You are loved by the Father.
As I look back at the conduct of some politicians this election season, I see people who have forgotten Jesus’ message. Rather that spreading love, they have spread hate. Because of their actions, the words “conservative” and “Christian” have become dirty words, synonymous with class warfare and distain for women, minorities, and gays. Rather than protecting people, they tried to protect ideas. Unfortunately, some of those ideas do not align with Jesus’ message.
Matthew 5:14-16 (Message) says this:
If Christians are to bring out the God-colors of the world, what kind of God do we want them to see? One full of hate or love? Of judgment or acceptance? Of attack or protection?
I believe that Christians have the ability to live for Christ while still protecting the autonomy of the individual. I can only be responsible for how I choose to use my body, how I choose to live, and how I choose to pass these values on to my children. I hope that my words and actions show Little K a woman that values people, regardless of their gender, class, sexuality, or reproductive choices.
Any candidate, regardless of party affiliation, who vows to lead our country this way will have my vote. I am already praying for the 2016 election and for the person who will become president after Barack Obama. How about you?