Always, Katie: September 2013

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!

 photo Signature_zps07f89d48.jpg

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!!! 
 photo Signature_zps07f89d48.jpg

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!
 photo Signature_zps07f89d48.jpg

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.)
 photo Signature_zps07f89d48.jpg

Friday, September 6, 2013

A New RE and a New Plan!

We met my new RE last week, and left the office feeling encouraged and optimistic, and awed at God’s obvious involvement in this match up.  Such a wonderful feeling for a couple who has spent the last year and a half or so wandering in the desert - so to speak - and waiting for a comforting sign that He was still paying attention!  

I am seeing Dr. G. now, who is a partner in the practice I used before we moved to SC (the doctor I saw there moved just before we did), and happens to be down the hall from my ob/gyn.  When we sat down in his office, Ethan saw a Calvin and Hobbes anthology on his desk and took that as a sign of a kindred spirit :-)  And he was pretty much dead-on!  

He seems very fascinated by my case, which is really encouraging.  Hopefully if he’s fascinated, he will be aggressive and creative in treating me!  He does want to see my hemaglobin a1c down to 7 (and I honestly have no clue what it is right now.  With all the moving and stuff, endo appointments have kind of gotten lost in the shuffle).  To that end, he referred me to a new endo here, Dr. K., who will hopefully not yell at me the way my old OH endo did!  Yelling is so not helpful!  

via Type 1 Diabetes Memes Which is hilarious, by the way.  You should visit them.
Dr. G. is also addressing my ridiculously high DHEA-s level, which is probably responsible for my fatigue and hair loss.  I have orders for a CT scan of my adrenal glands, because he thinks I may have a nodule on one of them, and for some blood work – to check some diabetes-related levels and my AMH and prolactin levels.   We’re going to try to get that scheduled on the same day as my first appointment with Dr. K.  May as well kill a whole bunch of birds with one of Ethan’s leave days!

We are likely headed toward a surgery or two.  If he finds nodules on my adrenals, he will want to remove them.  Not just the nodules, but the whole surrounding gland(s) which COULD result in my needing steroids for the rest of my life.  So please pray THAT’s not needed!  The other surgery would be for ovarian drilling, for which Dr. G. thinks I am probably an excellent candidate.  It can dramatically – albeit temporarily – reduce PCOS symptoms including cysts, excessive androgens (and resultant hair loss), and INSULIN RESISTENCE!  This surgery, I’m actually fairly excited about (oh, the things sick people say!), so I hope it works out that I can do it and it makes enough of a difference to help me attack my a1c!   :-)

The thing that just shocked and delighted us about this appointment though, was when I mentioned the name of my RE in SC, and Dr. G. said, “OH!  How IS [firstname]!?! He was my research mentor!  I just love him!”  Leaving Dr. L. down there was easily the hardest thing for me about leaving SC, so to find out that we are being cared for by someone who was trained by him, who is a big fan of his and who reminds us so much of him in his academic curiosity and personality… just feels miraculous, and helps us feel that we are in the right practice!

And for a last little bit of humor - I made these to wear to all of my RE appointments :-)  The nurses and receptionist were tickled pink... good ice breaker!!  I also have a clay embryo necklace to wear closer to transfer time, haha!

 photo Signature_zps07f89d48.jpg

Monday, September 2, 2013

Follow-Up to Prayer Requests

This news is awfully late, but I wanted to thank everyone for their prayers for Ethan's job search.  He starts his new job tomorrow :-)  

We are very excited and thankful - the timing was incredible and the job seems like a perfect fit for him. Our insurance coverage will be uninterrupted, and we didn't even have to pay to Cobra a single month!  Major praise right there!  He will be able to use his grad degrees and administrator's license in curriculum, and the schedule allows him a lot of flexibility as far as when he takes vacation or time off for - say - IVF appointments :-)  Also, the location allows us to still be able to live within half an hour of his parents and grandmother, and within two hours of a bunch of our friends! 

I am so proud of him, and so very, very thankful for all of the prayers, support and encouragement from all of our friends - it looks like one of our biggest challenges is behind us... and we're looking forward to tackling the others!
 photo Signature_zps07f89d48.jpg

Sunday, September 1, 2013

September Pinspired: A New Way of Thinking about Clothes and Style

This is my fourth Get Pinspired linkup, and I wanted to take this opportunity to do a little bit of reflection on what I have learned over the past four months.

I've never been one to buy clothes excessively... and I've never been one to buy things I didn't love.  But Pinterest has helped me to buy deliberately, strategically.  I am actually looking forward to cleaning out my clothing when we get moved into a house, and those who've known me for a while know that that's kind of a big deal ;-) 

Last week, Ethan and I were out shopping, and I had been talking about trying to find one of those slouchy sweaters that are all over Pinterest, and look so comfortably stylish.  I finally found one, and tried it on.  Then tried it on in a bigger size.  Then tried stripes instead of solid.  You know what?  The look does NOT work on me.  It just doesn't.  And I'm over it :-)  Same thing happened with mint jeans a month or so ago.  They are so cute on some models, but they just didn't do anything for me when I put them on.  Pinterest made me try them on, but Pinterest also gave me the shopping philosophy to walk away when they didn't flatter my figure or fit my personal style.

I've learned that, as much as possible, I demand multi-taskers.  You can see from my red pants post, white skirt post, and denim jacket post that I want almost every piece in my wardrobe to be able to be worn multiple ways and in a wide variety of outfits over the casual -> dressy spectrum.  Now, every time I try on a piece, I ask myself: Does this flatter my figure (from all angles!)?  Can I wear it multiple ways (ie, button-downs as shirts, cardigans, or under a sweater)?  Do I have something that serves the same purpose (ie, do I need a red cami when I have that red short-sleeved v-neck)?  Then the really tough question:  Will I actually reach for this when I'm getting dressed, or do I like the IDEA of the piece more than the piece itself?  The result so far has been that every.single.piece of clothing I have bought in the past few months is something I LOVE and I enjoy wearing. 

Okay.  Moving on.  Here's a photo I just had Ethan snap of me tonight, wearing one of my favorite new shirts.  I have worn a lot of "pinspired" outfits this week, but... I've been having some depression problems the past couple of weeks, and most pictures I've tried to take have made me want to cry.  My recent hair loss, that extra weight courtesy of PCOS... fun stuff, y'all.

These were loosely inspirational pics for this outfit... I actually wore the shirt with dark skinnies earlier in the month, but they were in the wash when I got dressed tonight :-) But these were some of the outfits that helped me determine that the plaid shirt was versatile enough to come home with me.

via Cranberry Chic
Could not find original source

Couldn't find original source for this one, either.
Also!  I was so excited about this!!  I've loved everyone's chunky, shiny watches, and I finally got my own.  It looks SO much like this $500+ Citizen watch, but it cost me... drumroll... under $11, thanks to the off-brand and stacking sales and discounts at Kohls.  Yippee!!!

I hope everybody has a lovely September!
 photo Signature_zps07f89d48.jpg

Blog Design by Get Polished