Friday, May 31, 2013

CD2, New Low Carb Recipes: Citrus Chicken Salad

I'm going to be hitting ya'll with some of the fun, low carb/low fat dishes we've been whipping up at the 'spence house. Nom!

Citrus Chicken Salad
Serves 2

  • The Veggies: Romaine Lettuce, Kale (2 Carbs)
  • The Protein: Grilled Chicken Breast, Bacon, Almonds (Optional, add 1 Carb)
  • The Carbs: Orange Segments (8 Carbs)
  • Other: Light Ranch Dressing (2 Carbs)

Season chicken breast with a heavy pinch of kosher salt and 1t to 2t California Citrus Rub (see below). Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Grill until done, set aside to cool. Once cool, chop into bite-size pieces.

Chop a large fistful of kale and place in a small pot with half to one inch of water. Season with a heavy pinch of kosher salt and 1/2t California Citrus Rub. Cover and set burner to medium. Allow to boil/steam for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Cook two pieces of bacon until done, set aside to cool. Once cool, chop/crumble.

While the above are cooking and cooling, chop one heart of romaine and set aside. Slice orange in half horizontally and then into 1/2 centimeter rounds. Remove peel from rounds and quarter.

Layer Salad: Romaine, kale, chicken, orange pieces, bacon, 2 teaspoons light ranch dressing, almonds (optional).

Total Carbs: 12 Total, 6 per Serving

California Citrus Rub
I buy mine here but you can make it at home! Everything on the official ingredient list is readily available in the spice aisle of your local grocery.

The proportions would be:
  • 1T Garlic Powder
  • 2T dried Parsley
  • 2t to 1T Splenda
  • 1T dried lemon zest
  • 1T dried orange zest
  • 1t to 2t crushed (not ground) red pepper flake
Store in an airtight container and enjoy on everything: protein, veggies, even whisked into oil and vinegar for a dressing! Be careful - it's a little spicy!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

CD1: Again and Again

Please, let this be the last time.

Again and again and again and again
Do it again, do it again
Again and again

It's a shame, it's a shame
It's a perfect shame
Creep under my door and we do it again, oh oh

It's so easy and easy
And easy and easy
And creepy and creepy
And creepy and creepy
Oh oh, again, again, again

Again and again and again and again
Do it again, do it again
Again and again and again and again
Do it again, do it again
Again and again

Say my name, say my name
Say my stupid name
It's stupid how we always seem to do it again, oh oh

You're so stupid and perfect
And stupid and perfect
I hate you, I want you
I hate you, I hate you
Oh oh, again, again, again

Again and again and again and again
Do it again, do it again
Again and again and again and again
Do it again, do it again
Again and again

La la la, la la la
La la, la la, la la
La la, la la, la la la

Again and again and again and again
Do it again, do it again
Again and again and again and again
Do it again, do it again
Again and again and again and again
Do it again, do it again
Again and again and again and again
Do it again, do it again
Again and again and again and again
Do it again, do it again
Again and again

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

CD33: What-Up Wednesday

It’s that kind of day. Proof: It’s been six hours since I started this post. I just… ugh.

We had our neighbors over on Saturday for burgers and drinks. Look at us, being social! We had a great time and all the kids got along well. Can’t wait to do it again!

Little K was in a school play today and it was totally adorable. I can’t figure out how to put video from my phone on here, though, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

I can tell my period is coming because I’m having trouble staying asleep and have been feeling incredibly overwhelmed the past two days. I actually woke up this morning with an overarching feeling of dread. I took 200mg of 5-HTP yesterday and another 400mg so far today. I feel like I can’t possibly get everything accomplished that I need to for work and just want to hide from all of my responsibilities. Ugh.

I know that, besides my cycle, a big part of why I’m feeling out of control is because I’m taking Little K to spend the summer with her father the end of next week. I miss her so much when she’s gone and worry about her when she’s with her dad for an extended period of time. Praying for protection for my little girl.

Not to mention that there are things to do and people to see while I’m in FL but what I want to do most is just spend time with my family and hang by the pool. And spend as much time with Little K as possible before she goes to her dad. I’m trying not to beat myself up about that and let it go. No one except my family and BFF need to even know that I’m in FL that weekend. I’m allowed to hide if I need to.

Since I started typing this I have started spotting. Looks like my period is coming tomorrow. That means CD12 will hit the day I’m travelling back from FL. Of course. Since we’ve never seen anything on CD12, I’ll just go for a scan on CD13 instead and leave it with the Lord. The good news is that it’s a week earlier than we expected, which is wonderful. And our IUI, should we get that far (HA! I’ll believe it when I see it.) will take place before the boys arrive. Yay for privacy!

My mom will be teaching Biblical Greek in 2014 as a part of her seminary courses and my sister and I are her guinea pigs this summer/fall. We received the materials last week and are doing the intro work this week. I’m super excited about being able to read the New Testament in the original language! At the same time, I’m concerned about my ability to stay on top of the work this summer. Hopefully the arrival of my period will help alleviate the overwhelmed feelings I’ve been having and get me going on this.

At R’s request, we cut carbs out of our diet this week. Not calling it a true Low Carb thing, just removal of starch/carbs/sugar and substituting lots of fresh veggies. Which is basically how I do Low Carb. Whatever. R is excited to lose some of the weight from the past five years and I always feel better when I’m not filling up on junk. Let’s call it a Freshening of our plates, k?

As we embarked on this new way of eating, I reminded R that it’s about subtraction rather than addition. Remove the carbs while trying *REALLY* hard not to replace them with fat. Instead, fill up the carb portion of the meal with fresh veggies. I told him to expect one giant salad a day – Face Salad (aka Salad as Big as Your Face). Heh. For example:

Tuesday’s Dinner: Mexican Face Salad! Romaine lettuce, baby bell peppers, red onion, steamed southwest kale, ground turkey breast with taco seasoning, light ranch dressing, grated cheese, NSA salsa. 12 Carbs.
Replaced taco shells and refried beans with lettuce and veggies. Substituted FF greek yogurt (already a sub for sour cream) with light ranch dressing. Kept the onions and peppers but consumed fresh instead of sautéed in oil.

Wednesday’s Lunch: two slices each Boar’s Head roast beef and deli chicken, light string cheese, fresh cauliflower, fresh cucumber, light ranch dressing. 4 Carbs.
Replaced bread, mayo, and chips with veggies and light ranch dressing. Replaced full fat cheese slice with light string cheese.

Wednesday’s Dinner: Citrus Chicken Face Salad! Romaine lettuce, California Citrus grilled chicken, steamed California Citrus kale, orange pieces, bacon, light ranch dressing. 12 Carbs.
Removed breading from chicken, grilled instead of pan fried. Replaced mac and cheese with lettuce and veggies. Added bacon (hey, it’s delicious!).

Work Travel
And last but not least, I just got a call from work asking if I can be in Houston for Tues/Wed next week or the week after. I gave the okay and am waiting to hear back with the final dates. I’m really hoping for the earlier dates since we should theoretically be doing an IUI sometime the following week. Oh well, I can always take my trigger to TX with me… Again, leaving it with the Lord!


Looks like I’m having to trust the Lord with a lot of things today: my period, the IUI, work travel, Little K’s time with her dad.

Lord, I recognize that I have no control over these things. You are in control and Your plans are always better than mine. Please fill me with your peace as I wait on You. I need You.

Sorry for the lack of a cute wrap up. Just… ALL OF THE THINGS AND EMOTIONS! I want to go hide in a hole somewhere and never come out. K?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

CD26: Sew Busy!

So, this one time? I dropped off the face of the earth for a week and a half. My bad! I do have a good reason, though: I've been sewing!

I've made friends with the new neighbors and somehow ended up sewing curtains for their house. The wife and I had fun fabric shopping together last week and have all five panels hanging up by Sunday afternoon. They look great and she is paying me with a large bottle of Grey Goose. Awesome.

While I was fabric shopping with her, I found amazing fabric that reminded me of my dad so much that I just HAD to get it! After some back and forth with my mom and sister, a project was decided upon for his Father's Day gift. Finished that Monday afternoon. No peaking!

Doing so much sewing the past week has me thinking about whether or not I could make some money on the side. My general idea for pricing right now is:
  • Materials: Retail ($6/yard and up, thread, trim, rings, pillow inserts, etc.)
  • Two Decorative Panels or One Full Panel: $20
  • Add Lining: $10
  • Add Interfacing: $5
  • Integrated Valance: $10
  • Add Trim: $5
  • Hanging Tabs: $5 (Rod Pocket/Seam for Rings Included)
  • Valance: $10
  • Add Lining: $5
  • Add Trim: $5 
  • Hanging Tabs: $5 (Rod Pocket/Seam for Rings Included)

  • Throw Pillow: $20
  • Add Welting: $10
  • Placemats: $20/set of 4
  • Table Runner: $10
  • Add Trim: $5

Obviously, this couldn't be a business or anything, but it could be fun. A little bit of extra cash plus I genuinely like to sew. Here are a few shots of my projects:

In TTC news, I think I ovulated this past Thursday/Friday, which could have CD1 hitting right around June 1. I'd be very happy about that since it would be a week earlier than expected and we could get this whole show on the road again. Woo! I'm leaving for FL on June 7 so I could, theoretically, be done taking my Clomid that day and get back in town just in time for a CD12 scan. Not a bad way to spend a few stressful days: lounging in the sun and filling up on my favorite food and drinks!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

CD16: Mother's Day

I am praying for you today. I know your journey has been long and filled with doubt. I know that you have experienced loss and pain. I also know that God is good. I'm praying for your peace today and that this is your last Mother's Day without a child in your arms.

Friday, May 10, 2013

CD14: Be Being Transformed

Emily made a really good point in her comment on this post and I wanted to delve into it a little bit further.

"I do not believe for a second that God will use a sin you've made against you to teach you a lesson or something."

I don't necessarily think that God would "punish" me for my sin by causing our IUI to fail. I do believe that sin can keep you from experience the fullness and depth of God's blessings. And, of course, that He allows the natural consequences of our actions to play out.

In my particular situation, I have not been choosing Christ over self recently, indulging in idle thoughts/actions that are, well, sin. R and I have spoken openly about this in the past few days and I've been able to make some significant strides in turning from these thoughts/actions back toward Christ-likeness.

The Bible says this:

So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.

Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you’ll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ.

And that means killing off everything connected with that way of death: sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it, and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy. That’s a life shaped by things and feelings instead of by God. It’s because of this kind of thing that God is about to explode in anger. It wasn’t long ago that you were doing all that stuff and not knowing any better. But you know better now, so make sure it’s all gone for good

I've been struggling with the same sin for almost 20 years. I go through phases of being in control over it and others when it runs me over. It is a sin that can destroy my life, and has previously. It is only by God's intervention and grace that I have this life in front of me now.

I was going to say that the end result of our IF journey is too important to me to risk it on temporary pleasure, but that's not even the main thing:

The life God has given me -a loving marriage and spiritual influence over Little K and the boys- is too important.

And I feel that God would not give us more children if I'm not taking seriously the call honor my marriage and to be a spiritual leader in the kids' lives. Can I 100% back that up? Not really. God has shown me so much grace already that I can by no means say He Will or He Won't. But I do know that the Spirit has convicted me and I need to work hard on the follow up work He has placed in my heart.

Each day it gets a little easier. Each day I feel closer to the Lord as I turn from my sin. And, while it is still a conscious decision for me now, I know one day it will be as simple as breathing.

Some other powerful verses:

You know the next commandment pretty well, too: ‘Don’t go to bed with another’s spouse.’ But don’t think you’ve preserved your virtue simply by staying out of bed. Your heart can be corrupted by lust even quicker than your body. Those leering looks you think nobody notices—they also corrupt.

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

Whenever, though, they turn to face God as Moses did, God removes the veil and there they are—face-to-face! They suddenly recognize that God is a living, personal presence, not a piece of chiseled stone. And when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation is recognized as obsolete. We’re free of it! All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

CD13: Reality

I was doing pretty much fine yesterday. R and I had a conversation Tuesday night outlining what the possible outcomes for Wednesday's scan could be: 2 perfect follicles - ready to go, 3-4 under developed follicles - possibly cancel or rescan on CD14, 5+ follicles - probably cancel, no response - definitely cancel. Really, we covered all the bases.

What we ended up seeing was 6 follicles measuring under 10 and lining at 5.1. While my coordinator wasn't concerned about my lining (she said that Femara can have that effect), the lack of a true response meant that we were out this cycle. We asked about coming back in on CD14/15 but she explained that the general rule around their office is that, if you're going to respond, it will be by CD12. If not, it's better to cancel so that you don't waste the funds.

Although she usually recommends that couples have intercourse every other day for a week after this kind of scan, that really won't help us accomplish what we're going for here, what with the DS and all. SO. We've been benched this cycle.

We did learn some interesting things yesterday. Did you know that, although both can result in increased egg production, Femara and Clomid work in two completely different places in your body? Femara works within the hormone chain itself while Clomid works in the pituitary gland. Interesting! And, since I responded on Clomid and not on Femara, it's becoming more clear where my ovulation issues stem from. I seriously love learning more about my body, so this is very cool for me.

Anyway, the above was occupying my mind yesterday and keeping me above water. However, once we got in bed that night, the quiet, disappointment, and a little sad crept in. Another cycle gone. And, since my cycles are so long, it's not like we're losing a month or will be getting started again in two weeks. No, we are losing 40 days and won't even be starting Clomid again for another 30 days. Which is just so frustrating that I can't even. Ugh.

In an attempt to get our hope and confidence back up last night, we ran possible due dates for the next cycle. And figured out that it would be one month before R turns 49. OUCH! Oh well, nothing to do about that.

I was hoping to be pregnant by the time I went to Florida the beginning of June. Now I'm making myself feel better by saying, Hey! At least I'll get to have frozen sangrias while I'm there! And I won't have to be stopping every 45 minutes for a bathroom break during the long drive. So there's that.

So, yeah. Disappointed but surviving. And what ended up doing the trick last night? Making these:

Hello, stress baking, you are always delicious. Nom!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

CD12: Nope

Whelp, cancelled again. No response on Femara. We will be starting Clomid again on CD3, which should be around June 10. We are doing ok; a little disappointed but getting used to the delays.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

CD11: What's Up, Photo Dump, Confession

We have a follicle scan tomorrow morning. Praying for at least two good looking follicles, measuring similarly, with a lining of at least 8.1. Hoping to trigger no later than Friday with an IUI no later than Sunday.


So, what have we been up to? For starters, we've been up to a whole lot of cold and rainy. Seriously, what the heck? It's May in North Carolina. We are supposed to be in the 80's! Instead, R had to turn the fireplace back on last week. Grr.

However, we did get a break in the weather on Friday and we prettied up our yard!

Planter Boxes: Foxglove, Salvia, Lantana; Potted Plants: Fern, Hydrangea; Hanging Baskets: Annual Mix; Other: Frostproof Gardenia, Daylilies, Liriope, Crepe Myrtle

Trellis: Camellia, Daphne; Azalea; Fence: Wisteria; Playhouse: Trailing Petunia, Rosemary, Strawberries, Crepe Myrtle, Annual Mix; Swingset Hanging Basket: Fushia; Chinese Snowball, Lenten Rose, Hosta; Rock Stream: Japanese Maple, Weeping Willow

Pergola: Jasmine, Geranium with Ivy, Trailing Petunia and Verbena, Gladioli

I also finally finished the DIY quilt from my sister's baby shower last year!

 Everyone who attended the shower decorated a square, most with Bible verses and others with fun quotes and drawings. I'm giving this to my sister for Mother's Day.

Speaking of Mother's Day, I sent an email to my pastor this morning to let him know how much we have been enjoying visiting this church and to let him know that we are praying for him and the staff as they prepare this weekend's service. Nothing like an IF Awareness email to your pastor to make you feel like you're really in the game!

In all seriousness, it felt really good to email the worship team. We are praying that this weekend is handled gracefully, honoring mother's of living children as well as those who have experienced loss, are still struggling to conceive or to bring a child home, and those who are to living childfree.

Oh! We got new neighbors last week and we really like them! They have two sons, one who is deaf and another with some delays due to a toddler-hood stroke. Both boys are really sweet and the parents seem great. We have invited them to join us at church this weekend.


As for the rest, last night's BSF lecture was very convicting for me. I'll admit that I'm afraid that this IUI won't work because I've been failing at overcoming my besetting sin. (Besetting sin: The one that comes back over and over, the one you can't overcome, the one that seems to follow you everywhere.) Ugh.

R and I were talking last night and he was being very reassuring but I still feel the weight of this right now. Every sin starts with compromise, one tiny thing that you let in, thinking it doesn't really matter. I'm here to tell you that it does. Every choice matters. Even the ones no one else sees, God sees. And we know when we have done wrong. Instead of allowing selfishness or pride to cloud your judgement, why not let the Holy Spirit convict you and then make a change?

Repentance isn't just saying you're sorry: it's admitting the sin and then turning from it, never to return.

In Genesis 49, we see that Reuben lost his rights as firstborn of Jacob/Israel because he slept with his father's concubine. Because he chose fleeting pleasure over spiritual purity, he missed out on his blessing.

I've been struggling a lot with daily, even moment-to-moment, choosing Christ over self. I am so scared that we will go into our IUI with a curse on the outcome because of my sin. I'm afraid that I will see it as a failure of both my body and spirit if we aren't pregnant at the end of treatment.

My heart and spirit are fragile right now. I'm praying for God's peace and to feel the fullness of his grace. I want this so badly and am terrified of failure.

Please, oh please, oh please...