Always, Katie: 2013

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas Eve Party Outfit

Ethan's Granny always hosts her children and their children on Christmas Eve, and we exchange gifts and eat yummy food and catch up.  But because Ethan's dad had surgery a few months ago and is still in a wheelchair and Granny's house isn't wheelchair accessible, we offered to have everyone over to the new house this year. :-) We are so thankful for this house and how well it lends itself to entertaining!  This is what I wore that evening... Emerald green is my recent obsession (I know, getting on that bandwagon a little late) because it REALLY brings out the red in my hair.  I've also been experimenting with my makeup to emphasize my green eyes. :-)

  • Emerald Green Blouse - New York and Company (Outlet) - I love it so much I went back and got one in another color/pattern!
  • Black Slacks - I don't remember which of my three pairs this is... oops!
  • Footwear - soft Christmas socks made more sense than shoes, since we were staying in :-)
  • Jewelry - pearls from Ethan <3
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Friday, December 20, 2013

How to Not Judge or Alienate (or Invalidate the Feelings of) Your Infertile Friends at Christmas Time

I probably lost two friends today.  

I haven't clicked the "unfriend" button.  Yet.  I may.  I don't know.  But I certainly will never think of these two people in the same way again.

Last night, after this particular pin showed up multiple times in my Pinterest feed, I shared it on Facebook with this comment: "You know what the inverse of this is? Give you a hint: it's exacerbated by stuff like this. Do ya really need to spike the football?feeling left out."   

Now, maybe my comment wasn't the most patient or eloquent... but I thought I got my point (and my pain) across pretty clearly.  

Declaring loudly and proudly that folks cannot know or understand the TRUE awesomeness of Christmas unless they are parents is HURTFUL, and... I'd like to believe... it is INCORRECT.

That being said... the people that pinned this yesterday and have pinned it in the past, by and large, are really sweet, awesome people, who would never voluntarily hurt anybody.  I'm not angry or holding a grudge against them at all.  I'm sick of being hurt, but... I can forgive inadvertent injury.  These are not the people whose friendship I am mourning.  (In fact, one of them is a dear, dear friend who actively encourages, comforts, and lifts me up. Love you, woman!)

The reaction I got passive-aggressively from two people on Facebook, through pointed personal statuses and not directly on my post, was along the lines of "Everyone needs to stop being negative about Christmas.  Stop 'putting a damper on everyone that actually loves Christmas'.  Even if things aren't going the way you want them to, the real meaning of Christmas should make you happy.  Quit whining and ruining things for everyone else."  This status got a lot of agreement, especially from her retired pastor father.  Shocking lack of compassion from people of God.  One brave, lone woman chimed in that it was hard for some people, herself included... no response or compassion to her story, either.  Another status this morning... the gist of which was that her sister thinks she is wonderfully brave for handling her secondary infertility the way she does, and how secondary is painful too... yeah, that wasn't pointed at all. </sarcasm>

Infertility hurts.  All year long.  But Christmas brings a special kind of pain, especially (I think) for someone who loves Christmas and traditions and family as much as I do.  That's right, y'all... I LOVE Christmas!  Almost every aspect of it: from the weather, to the food, to the decorating, to the thoughtful hunt for the PERFECT gift for everyone on my list... I love it!  And I desperately want to share that love with my children.  And... I know secondary infertility must be awful... I have a lot of friends who are going through it, and I know they ache to give their kids siblings.  But, no, I don't honestly, in my gut, believe that that can compare to empty arms and empty wombs during the most kid-centric time of the year.  

But regardless, this is not the pain Olympics.  We don't have to compare notes on who hurts more, or handles the hurt better, or puts on a more convincing mask of "Christian" joy.  We just need to love, because that is what Christmas is about... LOVE born in human form.  While this is the most joyous time of year for many people, that joy can be joined SIMULTANEOUSLY by deep sadness.  Infertile couples don't have the monopoly on this.  Single folks who don't want to be single... people who have lost family or friends recently (or not so recently)... people who are estranged from their family or have painful memories of Christmases past... there are any number of people who have heartbreaking and very legitimate reasons to feel sad this time of year... to suggest that they should mask or just "stop" their sadness is unrealistic, cruel, and unloving.  

I would never ask anyone to not enjoy their holidays, or to refrain from posting the avalanche of kids-on-Christmas pictures I am already bracing myself for.  So please don't ask me to censor my pain, or judge my faith by that pain.  (If you haven't already, or need a refresher, please read this post about anxiety, depression and Christianity. It has resonated with a lot of depressed Christians on Pinterest, and some of it is applicable to this discussion, too.)

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Katie Tested, Kid (and Adult) Approved Christmas Party Recipes

Every year, Ethan's big group of best friends (+ spouses and kids) gets together for a big family Christmas party.  This is the only time through the year that some of us see some of the others, so it's always a really special time.  :-)  We hosted this year (yay!) and there were 12 adults, 12 kids (under 8, most under 5), and one very intimidated but sweet maltipoo.  It was noisy, busy, overwhelming and SO much FUN!  

Ethan and Charley... before Charley's little mind was blown by 12 kiddies! :-)
We always have a carry-in dinner, and this year Ethan and I provided the main course and a TON of desserts :-)  Since these recipes have all been tested by me, and approved by a bunch of adults and kids alike, I thought I'd share them with y'all.  In case you're still looking for yummy and easy things to bring along to your Christmas gatherings!

All of our yummy desserts on a fabulous Winterberry (by Pfaltzgraff) platter my Grammie gave me <3

Spicy Bacon Chicken - I found this recipe on Pinterest, and thought it looked amazing.  Somehow when I was making it for the first time (as a test-drive before the party), I forgot to add the brown sugar.  Don't ask me how that happens... it just does. ;-)  Anyway, it was still delicious, so when I made it for the party, I left it out again on purpose.  It's basically all "to taste" if you leave it out, too, which makes this a wonderfully simple thing to make!

Pinwheel Cookies - This is the first time ANYthing pinwheel-y has EVER turned out for me!  You have to be very... careful... and deliberate... and patient... while rolling the dough in the sprinkles, and while cutting the chilled roll.  Especially with the cutting part... if you hurry, you will squash the spiral and it will still look pretty, but in a very abstract art kind of way :-)

Mini Muffin Kiss Cookies - There's no link for this one because they're kind of a family variation on the most basic recipe known to man.  You know the cookies where you use refrigerated dough to make a cookie, then while they're cooling, you drop a Hershey's Kiss into the center?  We make ours in mini muffin pans (like this one ).  Mix it up, use whatever kind of frozen dough strikes your fancy, and any kind of bite-sized candy that would coordinate well.  Peanut butter cookies with a tiny Snickers?  Reese cups? Chocolate cookies with yummy, oozing milky ways?  Ooohhh yum!

** Okay, for these next two... you have a cookie press, right?  No?  You need one.  If you love baking, you will love the gazillion different things you can do with them.  If you hate baking, you will love that you can crank out (literally!) 12 dozen cookies in about an hour.  :-)  I have Wilton's highest model (about $40 regular-price, but on sale on Amazon now. Or, I used a 40% off coupon at Michaels), because I wore one of the lower models out.  Wore.It.Out.  But I used it a LOT, so if you're not looking for a big investment or don't know how much you'd use it, one of the entry-level models would be totally fine. By the time mine wore out, I definitely felt like I'd gotten my money's worth!  Anyway... Wilton has about a dozen different spritz cookie recipes, and a few savory cracker-type recipes you can make with them, too.  You need a cookie press!! **

Butter Spritz Cookies - Perfectly delicious, light cookies... perfect for dipping in tea (or as my cousin just taught me - fruit punch!)  They're buttery and crispy, and addictive.  Go crazy with them... add colored sugars or sprinkles before baking, or dip in melted chocolate and chopped nuts... add food coloring to the dough before you press them... whatever!  If you use three cookie sheets, you can have one in the oven, one cooling on the rack (you can remove cookies to another rack after about 2-3 minutes), and one that you're currently squirting cookies onto... you can get a good rotation going, and use each sheet about twice... most cookie sheets will hold about 2 dozen cookies.  DON'T try to use parchment, foil, or waxed paper.  The dough won't stick to it, but the baked cookies do come off the bare sheets very easily.  Just brush any crumbs or stray sprinkles into the sink and pop that sheet back into the rotation! :-)

Gingerbread Spritz Cookies - Another variety of spritz cookies from Wilton's site... I didn't have dark brown sugar, so I used light.  They ended up pretty mild, but everyone liked them.  I want to try them the way Wilton intended soon, though!  I piped melted white chocolate onto these, following the snowflake pattern from the cookie press disk, and on some of them, I added white/clear coarse sugar sprinkles.  Until my hand hurt and I got wimpy and quit.  This was about 20 dozen cookies into my baking spree, so I feel no shame ;-)

White Chocolate Cherry Shortbread Cookies  - This is a recipe I made mostly for Ethan, who loves all things cherry :-)  The dark pink was close enough to Christmas red to add some pretty seasonal color to the plate, too!  I had trouble with the "slice and bake" aspect, so it was easier to treat it like just a tube of dough, pulling off chunks, rolling it in my hand and pressing it flat on the cookie sheet. 

Cheerios Treats - This is another recipe my family has made forever, and one that I occasionally have CRAZY intense cravings for!  It's a souped-up version of Rice Krispie treats, involving peanut butter and M&Ms... two things that make anything better! 

You need: 
3 Tbsp butter or margarine
1 (10.5 oz) bag of mini marshmallows
1/2 C peanut butter (creamy or crunchy, I use creamy)
5 C plain Cheerios.
1 C Milk Chocolate M&Ms (I grabbed a Christmas colored bag, of course!)

Prep a 9x13 pan with lots of non-stick spray.  Grab a piece of waxed paper or foil, and spray a little on that, too, and have it near the pan.  Melt the margarine over medium-high heat in a big pot (non-stick is preferable).  Stir in marshmallows until melted and smooth.  Add peanut butter, stir to combine.  Remove from heat.  Add Cheerios, tossing GENTLY to coat all of the cereal.  Then, GENTLY (getting the theme?) fold in the M&Ms until they're evenly distributed. Turn the whole contents of the pot out into the waiting 9x13, smoothe it out with your spoon as best you can.  Use the greased foil to scrape off the mixture clinging to the spoon, and to press the treats evenly into the pan.  Let cool for a little while (half-hour should be enough) before cutting. :-)

Let me know if you try any of these recipes, or if you have any questions :-)  
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PS: Disclosure: Amazon links above are affiliate links.  I will get paid if you buy anything after clicking a link on my blog :-)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Big Exciting Medical Update

During my little unintentional blogcation, I had THREE doctor's appointments that just filled me with giddy, bouncy relief :-)


Since my RE, Dr. G., thinks we're pretty close to being ready to start on IVF, he referred me to a maternal-fetal medicine specialist (MFM), who happens to be another Dr. G.  He wanted her to be familiar with our case and my history so she would be ready to jump in the minute I have a bun in the oven.  Our agenda was basically to figure out which of my doctors would be handling which part of my care (which I know sounds funny, but there is some overlap in the specialties)... we really liked the dietician (which is shocking - most of the ones I've seen have annoyed the daylights out of me) and LOVED the doctor!  

The most complicated (but probably most typical) plan would have been for Dr. G, the RE to do our IVF and monitor me for the first trimester before handing me off to my regular ob/gyn and the MFM who would kind of co-manage the rest of the pregancy, with the MFM taking the lead right up until delivery, which would be handled by the ob/gyn. In the meantime, between bouncing back and forth from the MFM and ob/gyn, I would also be having frequent appointments with the endocrinologist to keep my insulin pump settings fine-tuned.  That's a lotta docs.  But it turns out, the MFM is totally comfortable managing my diabetes (which is fairly common, but not what the RE made us think would happen at first)... and I'm not even her first type 1 with IVF!!  So, for 9ish months, I will get to skip the endo's office.  WooHoo!  But then the even awesomer news is... she is one of the very, very rare MFMs who ALSO DELIVERS HER PATIENTS' BABIES!!  So I can also avoid the redundant appointments with my general ob/gyn! 

THE ENDOCRINOLOGIST (aka... the doc diabetics dread).

I saw my new endocrinologist, Dr. K., for a one-month follow-up from my first appointment.  He downloaded the information from my insulin pump and was pretty pleased with what he saw.  He made some minor adjustments and was ready to send me on my way when he asked if I had any more questions.  I hesitantly asked if we could do another hemaglobin A1C test (A1C).  I told him I knew it was a three-month average, and that my previous laissez-faire management would still be reflected, but that I thought that if I could see it come down just a little bit, it might be the motivation I needed to keep pushing myself.  He kind of smiled indulgently and had the MA stick my finger for a test.

He came back in the exam room about five minutes later holding a sheet of paper and scowling at it.  He asked what I was hoping for, and I answered "7.8" which would have been a .5 reduction from the A1C of just a month ago, and .1 lower than my all-time record low.  His scowl started to crack and I realized he was pretty excited about my news when he said, "Well, it's not quite a 7.8... how about 6.8?"

Then I started crying and he told me not to dehydrate on him.  :-)  We had a fun little moment of celebrating in the office, and he gave Ethan and me the all-clear to get pregnant. I think he was shocked, but genuinely very, very happy for us. :-) Which is nice... it's nice to have a doctor who seems to be rooting for you.


My RE wanted to do an ultrasound to get a better look at the large cyst that was seen during my CT scan and HSG, before deciding on a surgery plan.  It turned out to have been a functional cyst that resolved on its own, and there were no others in the vicinity of my tubes.  Some of my hormones had come down just a little bit, too... enough that he didn't see any reason to rush into surgery.  So my tubes can stay where they are, and my ovaries can remain undrilled!  It's kind of silly... one of the (smaller) reasons I'm excited about this is that drilled ovaries are really, really ugly.  And I KNOW nobody would ever know the difference, but... somehow it still would've been sad and really scary to have parts of my ovaries destroyed! Plus, we're saving the time, cost, pain, and risk of surgery... wooHOO!!  

So... that's my medical update from the last couple of months, I think.  All in all, super-encouraging!!  With these couple of hurdles out of the way, IVF is now just a matter of scheduling and finances! :-)
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One of Those List-Type Blog Posts


So it's been, like, 6 weeks... oops.  There's a whole bunch of stuff I have been meaning to blog about, but I have this really paradoxical reaction to a long list of blog topics.  You'd think it would make me really happy and relaxed, because - hey! - I don't have to wrack my brain for things to write about!  But no... it overwhelms me and I just put it ALL off until "later." 

So in the last 6 weeks... let's see...
  • I had a couple of very encouraging doctor's appointments.
  • We went to Disney World.
  • We bought the house (yep - it's official!).
  • We moved in.  
  • We celebrated Thanksgiving with most of the sides of our family.
  • We painted 3 out of the 5 rooms we want to paint.
  • We decorated most of the downstairs for Christmas.
  • We hosted our first party in the new house.
  • I got my official internship placement and have the first part of it all planned out.
Now... maybe now that that's all out there, I'll be able to motivate myself to write on all/most/some of it :-)

Missed y'all!
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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Home Sweet Home: Family Room Inspiration and Plans

If you guys remember our list of "would love to have's" for our new house, a gas fireplace was on the list... it was practically a must-have, but as relatively easy as they are to install, it wasn't QUITE a deal breaker.

Happily, our new house comes with a nice, big family room with a great fireplace!  Yay!!  It's open to the kitchen, which I love for entertaining and for spending time together during supper prep, and has four big windows that provide a ton of gorgeous natural light.

In another happy little detail, we like the color of the walls.  Maybe not - "Oh my gosh, that's the exact color I've always dreamt of having in my family room!" - but more - "Hey, this is pretty and it will definitely work with the overall style I want this room to have."  It's a little less olive in person, and little bit softer and more neutral.

We love the entertainment center we bought together before we moved to South Carolina, and are so glad that it will blend with the hardwood floors and cabinets in the kitchen!!  And there just so happens to be a wall that is plenty big enough to accommodate this massive piece of furniture :-)

Ashley Furniture, from about 2010

(Forgive the grainy phone pic - two thirds of this is in the POD, and the little middle part is in the basement, so I had to dig to find this old photo!)  We love that this is big enough for our big TV, and all of the storage it offers.  All of our DVD player/Wii/whatever other gizmos I don't recognize, binders of DVDs, video games and accessories, etc fit in the glass part, and the drawers hold board games, camcorder, books, blankets... all kinds of stuff! Love it!

We went out last week and picked out furniture for the family room - a couch and a loveseat - and put a deposit on it.  We'll pay it off as soon as we close, but for now... we are being very careful not to derail our mortgage process!  I can't wait til these arrive... I love the soft blue!  Light enough to go with the soft, calming, clean look I want for the room... but not too feminine for a man to enjoy ;-)

via Ashley Furniture - Kreeli Sofa (and Loveseat) in Slate
The couch and loveseat both come with the pillows shown, which actually, I don't like as well in person as I do in the picture.  Ethan agreed with me that they didn't stand out well and were awkwardly matchy-matchy with the sofa fabric.  But they're still really pretty, so we will use them someplace else in the house, and we are getting pillows in this floral fabric to toss on them and provide most of the palette for the room.  We were able to see the pillows in the show room, and put them on the couch to see how we liked it... perfect :-)

via Ashley Furniture - Kylee Accent Chair

We're planning to use a recliner we already have for some additional seating, and we want to get a storage ottoman/bench like this one to put in front of a window for some extra storage and seating.  We also kind of suspect Charley will make it his spot for squirrel-watching :-)

via Kohls

Our old coffee table and end tables will still work in the new room, so we don't need more of those... I would like to eventually get a console table to kind of anchor the loveseat that we think will probably float beween the kitchen and family room, and our beloved "periodic tables" will be the additional surfaces needed for any entertaining we do...

As amazing as these windows are, I don't want to do anything to darken them too much.  I'm thinking maybe some buttery yellow curtains that will pull in the yellows from the accent pillows?  

And I'm picturing something simple for the mantle, along these lines but with a big mirror instead of the multiple little prints (and leaving the mantle as-is, not painting it white).  Some silk flowers should help tie in the colors from the pillows that aren't necessarily already in the windows, furniture or walls :-)  I'll echo that in some of what I put on the display shelves of the entertainment center, too.  


The appraisal on the house was done a couple of days ago, so we're just waiting for the mortgage company to compile the paperwork and we should be ready to close... probably in the next two weeks... then we can take immediate possession and I can start putting these plans and pictures into action!  I SO can't WAIT!!!

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PS: If you missed it, here are my plans for the formal dining room!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

An Infertile Rite of Passage

I am really not sure why I have put off writing this update for so long.  Part of it may be that the things that are already written on the subject are often contradictory and ultimately intimidating, and I hesitate to be a part of it at all, even though my story is one of the more encouraging, because it may just add one more confusing voice to the din.  Part of it may be that I’m still not 100% comfortable talking about the more nitty-gritty details of infertility testing and treatment in a public forum.  And part of it may be the sense of dread that fills me when I think about medical procedures of any sort – past or future – no matter how well they may have gone (long story, bit of trauma from all my DKAs and stuff years ago).   

But.  Last Friday, the day before we toured those six houses, I had my first hysterosalpingogram (HSG).  I had counted myself extraordinarily lucky that none of my doctors had ever suggested doing one (because, like, EVERY infertile woman gets at least one!), but the results of the CT scan I had had a couple of weeks before warranted a closer look at the integrity of my right Fallopian tube.  As a blogger and reader in the infertility community for more than 3 years, I had read plenty of horror stories about them, and how much more painful they can be when a tube is blocked (which I surmised from my radiology report, was a good possibility with the 3.6 cm x 6.3 cm cyst currently hanging out in the vicinity, as it could have been pressing it from the outside or lodged inside).  Several of my wonderful infertile Facebook friends (love y’all!) tried to comfort and reassure me that it was less painful than menstrual cramps, but I prepared myself – mentally and physically – for the absolute worst.  

Thankfully, Ethan was allowed to hold my hand for most of it, the radiologist was skilled and kind, the RE had recommended a LOT of ibuprofen, and my tubes are (presumed) CLEAR (praise God!!), so my pain during the procedure was manageable.  In all honesty, I have pretty rough period starts (the first 12-18 hours or so, especially), and this was a little bit worse than that.  However, the cramps were a breeze compared to a rupturing cyst!  You’ll hear that the cramps only last about 30 seconds, and I would agree that the worst of it is pretty brief.  But I cramped pretty steadily for the rest of the day, and felt pretty tender.  My pain level fluctuated (as high as what I would call moderate pain, or strong cramps) for the next couple of days, but by Tuesday, I felt completely back to normal.  This is a lot slower than what the doctors’ offices tell us to expect (go back to work that afternoon? Uh huh!)… but that may also be because of my other health issues making me a slow healer.  All in all, it was a small price to pay to learn that my tubes are most likely clear :-)

I am headed to the doctor in the morning to find out the official results of the CT and HSG, as well as all of my blood work.  Please pray that all of the good news from the preliminary results makes it to the official report as well! 

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Monday, September 30, 2013

Home Sweet Home: Formal Dining Room Inspiration and Plans

One of the must-haves in our new house is one that I think seems to be falling out of favor with most prospective home-buyers: a formal dining room.  But, I like the idea of a place to have extra-special meals on our good china - birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Tuesday... and it's important to us that our house is inviting and allows us to host big family and friend events.  So, a formal dining room was a must.  

Our new house has a nice, big dining room that the previous owners used as a sitting room, we think.  

We BY NO MEANS hate the walls in here.  They've been sponge-painted beautifully, but we don't think that the little bit of dining room furniture we have will work with them.  Too Halloween-y :-)

We bought this china cabinet a few years ago, mostly for storage and to display some of our china.  We are planning on using the china pattern as the major inspiration for the room.  This cabinet holds MASS amounts of stuff - at one point, I had all of our china and table linens, as well as all of my bakeware (which is a considerable collection, haha!) in it, easily.  It's no longer available at Value City Furniture, but we are very pleased with its quality and price, and with the service we got there, so we'd recommend them for anything you may be looking for!

This is our china pattern, around which we plan to decorate.  It is Royal Doulton's "Mystique," which as been retired since I was 4. :-)  We got it for a GREAT price from a friend's consignment and decor shop (where I can't wait to go shopping for the new house)!!  The newspapers in was packed in were from 1994, which I thought was pretty neat.

So basically, we are looking for simple black furniture with clean lines to coordinate with our china cabinet.  We found a set we like (it's in the collage... we'd probably do black all over instead of the wood top, and maybe a cream or grey cushion instead of the brown).  Planning on sticking with the soft neutral carpet... for now.  Maybe someday, a long way away, we'll do hardwood or a laminate that looks pretty doggone close :-)  We want to paint the bottom half of the walls a soft grey (with the slightest hint of purple undertones), and the tops soft white, with a white chair rail. 

Sherwin Williams "Wishful Blue" is about what I'm envisioning... but I've been trying for an hour to get it to show up right here.  The best I can do is add it as the background of my inspiration collage.  For some reason, THAT shows up correctly, but it doesn't show up if I save it as an image from Sherwin Williams's site! :-\

I'm not certain what we'll do about curtains.  I may have to just shop and see what strikes my fancy :-)  I'd love to do a medium grey, with maybe some silver in it?  But I don't want to darken the room too much, and I'm afraid that those curtains with black furniture would be too dark.  A very greyed-out purple might be pretty, or even white (but ugh, keeping THAT clean!).  We'll see :-)

The chandelier will be changing!  I might attempt to paint it like a brushed silver, or I may do the smart thing and just buy a new one ;-) If we get a new one, I'd like something pretty basic, not too ornate... but with the option to get pretty bright if we're doing something that requires more light... like homework or card games or something.  :-)

So... here's an inspiration collage with all these elements included.  Can you tell I'm a little bit on the excited side? Please pray that the government shutdown doesn't delay our closing too much!

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Sunday, September 29, 2013

Hunt for Home: We Have a Winner!

Well.  I had planned a post for today about the houses we toured this weekend, and our thought processes in narrowing 6 homes down to a short list of 2 or 3 to revisit.  

But things didn't go quite like we planned - happily!  

The fourth house we visited, we fell in love with... we looked it up and down, compared it against our needs and wants lists, searched desperately for downsides... then called Ethan's parents and asked them to meet us there in an hour.  We went through the last two houses, just to be thorough, then went back to the fourth house to meet my in-laws.  We took them through it, and these veterans of many home purchases with their critical eyes came to the same conclusion we did - we wanted this house!

We wrote out an offer right there, and after a couple of back-and-forths today, we came to an agreement and signed the contract.  I can't believe how fast it went, but mostly, I can't believe how perfect this house is for our needs!  We also can't believe how wonderful our realtors have been - they even prayed with us over the original offer and for my health and fertility.  This house hunt really seems to have had God's hands ALL over it!  

I'll share more pictures and details a little bit later :-)  And then... inspiration boards, painting, decorating, ohmygoodness, YAY!!! 
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Friday, September 13, 2013

Random Outfit Post: Lunch Date!

I had a hot date today... got to pick Ethan up at work and whisk him away to Culver's for lunch!  It was so wonderful.  As grateful as I am that he has a job (REALLY, REALLY grateful!!!), we had been home together for four months, and my days are pretty lonely without him.  Kinda like the guy!  We didn't get to have lunch dates too often when he was at the university, and when he taught high school, I had to take a sub gig for an English or Social Studies teacher. :-)

Speaking of sub jobs... I had an orientation session yesterday (despite having subbed for three years!), so I will hopefully get to start subbing the week after next, after all the paperwork is processed.  Our area schools have recently delegated hiring subs to a joint group of two counties' educational service centers, so by getting hired by one agency allows me to sub in 16 different school districts! Yay!! Lots more opportunities to actually get out in the buildings and earn some Christmas (and furniture?) money!

This is what I wore out to lunch with Ethan today :-)  And, y'all... I stepped outside in jeans, a tank, and a cardi... and was still chilly!  Boy, I hope autumn is really here... so excited for crisp days.  I love summer... love winter... love spring... and I'm glad they each only last about 3 months because I'm always so excited for the next fabulous season to arrive :-)

  • Jeans and Booties: Kohls (Clearance jeans, current booties)
  • Cardi: New York & Company (couple years ago)
  • Sequined Tank: Dress Barn (last year)
Happy fall, y'all!
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Monday, September 9, 2013

Book Review: Shooting Blanks: A husband’s perspective on missing the mark and dealing with infertility

I was approached last week to review a new e-book, “Shooting Blanks: A husband's perspective on missing the mark and dealing with infertility" by Jonathan Boldt and Steve Ruiz, two men who are each half of an infertile couple.

The book’s description on Amazon is
"Infertility is one of the most gut-wrenching and emotionally draining experiences known to man (and woman) and finding ways to deal while learning to still live a satisfying existence can be a difficult task—even for us guys. We may not say it out loud (and probably won’t); we may not seek help emotionally (honestly, the odds of that happening are slim to none); and we for sure never want to admit that we just might be shooting blanks. But we feel it all. One of the best ways to numb the pain is with the opiate of laughter, and while it may not be a cure, it sure as hell can get you through a lot.”
Y’all know I am a big believer in finding what little humor can be found in infertility. Unfortunately, much of that humor is borderline “blue” humor that can be a little bit uncomfortable to read, so if you are easily offended, this is probably not the e-book for you.

I am also a little bit disappointed in how every book or book chapter I have read that endeavors to speak to men on this topic, speaks to the inner caveman. I promise, my husband is not a caveman, and I’m betting yours isn’t either. Mine is academically and emotionally intelligent, and does not need to be condescended to when discussing matters of the heart or of the reproductive system.

Those two considerations aside, this was a quick and humorous read that helps fill the need I often have to remember that we’re not alone in this. It’s the same need that keeps us (mostly women, I suspect) scouring the internet for new blogs to read. Sometimes, reading parts of our own stories and our own thoughts in someone else’s voice is what we need to reassure ourselves that we are not, in fact, nuts. While the book may have largely “missed the mark” with us, the overall message and goal are great – get men talking about infertility. Infertile female celebrities are starting to “come out” and talk about their struggles to have children, but their infertile male counterparts are still sadly missing from the scene… which I believe is partly to blame for the double standards “normal” couples face regarding discussing their infertility. Until it becomes less taboo for our husbands to talk openly about their MFI or about dealing with the emotional aspects of having an infertile wife, books like these are one of the few sources providing a male perspective (even if they do tend to be a bit caveman-esque) to them or to us, and as such are a valuable contribution to infertile literature.

You can download your own copy of this e-book on Amazon, here. :-) Mine was provided free-of-charge to me for the purpose of my review, but rest assured... the opinions expressed here are my own :-) (More disclosure – all Amazon links are my affiliate links.)
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