Monday, December 26, 2011

Advent Prayer Buddy

This Advent I was blessed to pray for J at A Green Keen and a Black High Heel. J, I offered my daily mass and Rosary for you and your intentions, and remembered you during my Friday Adoration hour. I've enjoyed reading your blog posts! I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

Friday, December 16, 2011

To the left of the zeros...

Thank you all so much for your prayers and comments on my last post... I'm feeling much better today. Yesterday was still somewhat tough, but not as bad as Wednesday. Sometimes I feel like I handle CD1 okay... others, well... as you could see, not so much. Your prayers were most definitely felt!! I am grateful.

Today during Mass I started remembering a point from The Way by St. Josemaria.
Cast away that despair produced by the realization of your weakness. -- 
It's true: financially you are a zero, in social standing another zero, 
and another in virtues, and another in talent...
But to the left of these zeros is Christ... And what an immeasurable figure it turns out to be.

I'm going to put a big fat ONE in front of the 50% that Dr. S. gave me after my last surgery. Take that, IF!!! :) 

Now, my mood just might have also been helped by a successful shopping outing this morning signifying that I'm done with Christmas shopping. Battling it out in the mall that is. I have a few more gift cards to get, but they're easy. 

And.... it could also be helped by these:


Arrived yesterday. Actually comfortable. Got them for over 70% off.


At least my mood, anyway. ;)

Happy Friday everyone!

ps: At the mall, I was really surprised by how many people actually wished me a Merry Christmas! Awesome!! :)

UPDATE:
For you, Kerry... (yes, I am slightly obsessed with peep-toed little numbers right now!! These can be found at White House Black Market.)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

On Joy

At mass this morning, as I started feeling CD1 mild cramping, I began counting...

4 1/2 years of trying to conceive
55 FAILED cycles
One 5 1/2 hour surgery
One 9 1/2 hour surgery
One 2 1/2 hour surgery
Countless blood draws
Hormone pill on top of hormone pill (who knows how many I've swallowed?)

What is it, something like 4,000+ abortions a day, Lord, and I'm kept waiting for one BFP???

I could go on and on...

The numerous pregnancies that have been announced, that fill me with joy and yet tear my heart out at the same time.

Wondering how in the world I'm going to handle it when my wonderful sister gets married next summer and most likely is pregnant within a few months??

The homily this morning (the Feast of St. John of the Cross) was obviously about the Cross... and alternately about the Dark Night of the Soul. The testing that God allows some souls to go through - when the soul feels abandoned by God... when prayer is dry and lacking desire.

My tears were exactly for that reason... I don't want to pray. I don't want to be at mass (well, I sort of still want to be there). I don't want to pray the Rosary. I don't want to talk to Our Lady (she after all, was pregnant! Never mind that it was the work of the Holy Spirit... again, CD1 here, obviously I'm lacking rational thought). I don't want to talk to Our Lord because I. am. just. so. mad. at. him.

To be honest, the thought I kept coming back to, was... I hate you for doing this to us!!! WHY?!?!?!?!?!?!? (Yeah.... that's a terrific way to prepare to receive him in Holy Communion.)

And of course, right before communion, the communion antiphon was "whoever wishes to come after me must  deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me, says the Lord." 

WHAM. That one hurt.

I've had about enough of this cross, Lord!!!

On my drive home, I was also thinking - It's Advent! What happened to joy and peace? What happened to hope?? I have none!! I don't even know how to get it back! Each Advent, each Christmas, is yet another marker of another year that I am not a mother. That my amazing husband is not a father. And for the thousandth time thinking my husband deserves better than me! He should be married to a woman who can give him children!

It breaks my heart. I was sobbing when I got home. Wanting to throw something across the room... I hate CD1. I hate that I know it's coming today by the cramping, but it's still not here. Like it's a promise of hope... but I know - I KNOW - it's not.

Are you even listening, God? Do you even care??

I'm here

I couldn't have heard it more clearly... I checked my email shortly after getting home and remembered that Silhouette is having a Christmas freebie shape each day. What is the one today? 


He's listening. He hears my pain. And... the one thing he desires for me this Advent is it's return.

Joy.

Monday, December 5, 2011

My first Award! :)

Wow! My first award(s)! A big, big, big thank you to these 3 lovely ladies JennyKaren and Renewing Moments!!



Apparently my head must be in the sand (or, in cookie dough (see previous post)) but I completely missed that I had been nominated! So thank you, thank you, thank you!!


The Liebster Award spotlights up and coming bloggers with fewer than 200 followers.  In return for the award, the recipient bestows the award on five of their favorite bloggers.  

I tried to find bloggers for my 5 picks who have not been nominated yet, but there may be duplicates....

My nominees are:
1. Patiently Waiting

Jeremiah and AYWH's blogs were the first blogs I began reading - a little over a year ago! Without their willingness to record their struggle with IF and their adoption stories, I wouldn't be blogging, and I certainly wouldn't be adopting... and I would still feel very much alone as an infertile Catholic. 

But really - ALL of the blogs I follow are my favorites. :) It's hard to pick just five! I feel so blessed to be part of this community!

Upon receipt of the Liebster Blog Award, there are a few very simple rules: (BUT NO PRESSURE!)

1. Copy and paste the award on your blog
2. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you
3. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
4. Hope that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Quick Takes (UPDATED with Recipe!)

The Christmas Cookie edition.

So the kitchen is a disaster area for the umpteenth time this week because of the following. In no particular order....

1) Anise cookies (these are little flat cookies that are delicious! A family tradition and one of my most favorites)

2) Pizzelles

3) Peanut Butter balls

4) Almond butter balls (same recipe as number 3, but since my sister is allergic to peanuts, I thought I'd try an almond variety)

(*Note - the chocolate on #3 and #4 is hardening around me as I write. I think there are about 6 dozen total!)

5) Pecan tassies (yummy - with a cream cheese crust)

6) Cream Cheese Dreams

7) Pecan snowballs

8) Old-fashioned sugar cookies (These delicious things pretty much melt in your mouth. A college friend's recipe. Yum!)

I have a few more to make - Raspberry Stripes, "S" cookies (your basic buttery spritz cookie, but my Granny always made them in the shape of S's), , Thumbprints and Sugar cookie cut-outs. Oh, and Peppermint bark! Then I'm done!

I could really use a nice mug of tea right now and any of the above... but I'll refrain. For a little bit. A very little bit.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Here's the recipe, Lisa!
1/2 cup Butter
1/2 cup Canola Oil
1/2 cup Granulated sugar
1/2 cup Powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1 Egg
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Cream of Tartar
1/2 tsp Salt
2 cups Flour
Extra granulated sugar for dipping

Cream Butter & Sugars. Add eggs & Vanilla. Mix dry ingredients, and add to wet. (It says to sift the dry ingredients but I never do!)
Roll tsp. of dough into a ball, then in granulated sugar. Press down on greased cookie sheet with glass dipped in sugar.

Bake 10-12 minutes at 375 until light golden brown.

Enjoy!! :)
(ps - they are really good with a nice cup of tea!)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

GIVEAWAY WINNER!

Congratulations to Patiently Waiting! I'll contact you on your blog so you can send me your address! :)



I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. DH & I arrived home this afternoon, and it only took us an extra hour with traffic. (In years past it's been 2 or 3 extra hours- ugh!) Thank goodness we left early this morning. On the way home I was so excited to get my Prayer Buddy name! Woo-hoo! I can't wait to see what God has is store for all of us this Advent.

Happy First Sunday of Advent Everyone! :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

St. Cecilia & BLOG GIVEAWAY!!

Happy Feast of St. Cecilia!!

I started piano lessons in third grade and knew even then that my life would center around music. Now, I really have my dream job - teaching children to love and appreciate music. I can remember my high school choir director telling me that he'd never been to work a day in his life. I'm so fortunate to say the same... I'm paid to do something I love. And I've been blessed to get to know some wonderful children and amazing families over the years.

When I was in Italy for the first time visiting a close friend for Easter, we went to the Catacombs of San Callisto where St. Cecilia's remains were found, and were said to be uncorrupt. Our tour guide said that she was found with one hand extending one finger and the other hand extending 3 fingers indicating her love and belief in One God and the Trinity. I have a little statue in my piano studio of St. Cecilia and have often told her story to students. If you'd like to read more about her, go here.

I'm sure I mentioned it before, but one other special reason I celebrate today is that my wonderful husband proposed on this feast day! It's 5 years today! :)

Now... for the giveaway!! I'm going to give away the latest Christmas album by Michael Buble. I had hoped to have in my hot little hands at this point. (Yes, I am bad and I have listened to Christmas music before Thanksgiving!!) Unfortunately, there was a little problem with the shipment and I didn't receive it before DH & left for our Thanksgiving trip. So, I've had to settle for listening to the album on Yo.uTube so far. I think I could listen to his voice all day.

How to enter the giveaway....

1) Follow my blog if you haven't "officially" started yet and leave a response to this post letting me know you have... and leave a prayer intention.

2) If you are already following, leave a prayer intention for me! My husband and I have a weekly Adoration time at our church and I'll be taking your intentions with me during Advent.

I will post the winner on Sunday the 27th!

Good luck and Happy Feast of St. Cecilia!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

2:30 AM

Apparently lemon tea with honey sparks terrific imagination. Consumed right before bed. So that you wake up at 2:15 AM raring to go. In more ways than one...... ;)

Sooo... after lying there for a bit trying to fall back to sleep, I decided to get up and do something about the ideas buzzing in my head. And now, 5 1/2 hours later, my profile book is almost done! :-D

And it looks really good, if I do say so myself, haha. :) I even wrote our Dear Birthmother letter! Of course DH has to add his part to introduce me, and go over the birthmother letter. I'm sure he'll have things to add or edit. But I feel great about it overall. The only thing I do need is a good cover photo.

Question for all of you who have done profiles... here's the one I'm considering:


This was on our Italy trip last fall and I really like our smiles. (Hello!? Of course we're smiling, we're eating breakfast outside a little cafe in Venice!!) But, the random guy between our heads... Maybe I can try to fade the background or something.

Or ... should I go for a more formal photo and put this on the inside with our Dear Birthmother letter? I want a photo on that page to break up the writing. (I don't actually have a formal photo yet. I'm hoping to get a friend to take some pictures of us outside this weekend as long as it's nice.

Anyway... your thoughts??

Oh, and I also have 2 other smaller photos on the cover page, but this is the "attention grabber". The one that says "PICK US!! PICK US!!!" :-D

And now... well.. I'm a little tired now. The adrenaline must be wearing off... I hope I don't fall asleep at mass!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Woo-hoo!

For 2 reasons... :)

1) DH & I had a great trip to Pittsburgh this past weekend - fun times with family and the Steelers game on Sunday! It was a late game and we got back really late Sunday night, and I am still recovering from sleep deprivation, but it was worth it... especially since the Steelers beat the Patriots!! Fin.a.lly. :)

I tried loading a video of the crowd cheering after the Steelers got the safety at the end of the game, but since it's taking forever to upload (the file is probably too big), this photo I saw posted over and over again on fac.ebook will probably be enjoyed also by the lovely Rebecca and Patiently Waiting... who are both Steelers fans!



2) Another BIG woo-hoo is that we are Home Study approved! I got an email from our agency Monday morning that our copy is on its way to us. Yay!! I'll feel better when I have it in my hands, but all the same, it's good news. For those of you adopting, how long did you work on your profile books? I'm creative, but I'm worrying that my perfectionist tendencies are going to make it take longer. Maybe I should just give myself a deadline. :)

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Don't forget to keep praying for this sweet blogger who had surgery yesterday!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thankful Thursday

1) First, thank you Rebecca for hosting these! Thankful Thursdays along with today's post by the lovely Lauren are a great reminder that we all have much MORE to be grateful for than we usually think...

2) My wonderful, amazing husband. (He's always going to be at the top of my list). He's compassionate, caring, generous, thoughtful, hard-working and the bestest friend ever. I'm so lucky to be his wife!!

3) All of you bloggers... your comments on my last post gave me so much hope... and I don't feel quite so alone now. THANK YOU!!

4) Our agency... AFTH. We're having a class this Saturday for waiting parents, and the topic is relationships with birthparents. There will be (I think) 2 birthmothers along with the adoptive families there to talk with us. I'm really looking forward to it. And hopefully, we're soon to receive our home study approval. The next job is to complete our profile book and video. Then we're "in the books"!

5) Ahhh... it's that time of year. It's fall. Which means football season. GO STEELERS! And hockey season. GO PENS!!! :-D

6) I'm thankful for the challenge of a dairy-less pizza. I just started trying to go without dairy 2 weeks ago, and have noticed a bit of a difference already. It's essentially paleo- meats, fish, eggs, and lots of fruits and veggies. Nuts and good oils for fats. We'll see. Obviously, I'll never go back to gluten, but dairy I may end up cheating on every now and then!! So anyway, tomorrow's pizza will be topped with fresh tomatoes, spinach, green peppers, sausage and maybe a bit of onion. I'm going to stick with my GF dough, since I still have a ton of packages left!

7) A wedding date (my mom's birthday!), church, reception hall, and dress for my sister V's wedding. She found the dress when I was visiting a few weeks ago. She looks BEAUTIFUL!! :) Please pray that she finds a photographer soon! :)

What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

CD1 through 3...

Warning... this is not a happy post.

CD1 arrived... in the middle of mass... this past Sunday... on the Feast of St. Gerard. Lovely.

Later that evening I had a wonderful sob-fest on my DH's shoulder (seriously, he is a saint to put up with me), after reading about yet another person who had Crohn's disease who essentially cured it by DIET. Not by steroids (though she had been on LOADS of them, just like me), not by having her colon removed, but by DIET. That's it. So cheap (well, except that organics and a gluten and dairy free diet are not particularly cheap which is what I'm doing now), and so simple. Why, oh why, wasn't I more persistent? Why did I just accept the doctor's answer when he said there are no links? How can there NOT be??? If you're putting something in your body that your body doesn't like, OF COURSE there will be a reaction. And it certainly makes sense that if it's food, your body will react somewhere along the digestive tract. Part of me knows (and DH said this too) that I did the best I could at the time, but the word that just kept coming to me on Sunday night was failure. I'm failing in what is supposed to come so naturally. If it weren't for my colectomy, I probably wouldn't have so much trouble conceiving. My hormone levels are good now. CM is usually pretty good (some cycles not so much, others it's great). But all the adhesions... my uterus fused to the back of my abdominal wall. The tubes and ovaries buried in a mass of adhesions. For 6 YEARS before I got married and tried to conceive. I was so utterly clueless. And... I just feel like such a failure.

I used to thank God all the time for my surgery because I was so sick before. And I was so happy not to be going to doctors offices every few weeks. Little did I know... it wasn't really a cause for rejoicing. It was only going to give me more YEARS of grief. I would laugh at the irony of it all, except it's not funny any more. Not at all.

Yesterday, CD2 had me running late for mass (I slept in because really, all I want to do is stay in bed and be miserable), missing communion because we have a new pastor who doesn't yet know me (our previous one was really kind in whenever I would be late (which I try very hard not to be) he would have one of the servers get the extra chalice). So... no communion for me. And I just started crying... pretty much the whole mass. Trying very hard not to make it obvious. Afterwards, I planned to wait a little longer than usual so the church would be really cleared out before I left, and a old lady came up to me to tell me I could go receive communion after mass... I really wanted to yell at her! A sweet little old lady! IF I CAN'T RECEIVE THE HOST DURING MASS, WHAT MAKES YOU THINK I CAN RECEIVE IT OUTSIDE MASS?! Fortunately, I didn't yell that at her, I just told her I wasn't feeling well, and hoped she would go away. But I wasn't very kind.

I hate the person that I become when IF rears its ugly head. And I feel powerless to stop it.

At the post office, this morning (after I took a pregnancy test to make sure I'm "not" pregnant before taking the Letrezole-  ha!) I dropped off some final papers for our SW for the home study. On my way out, a lovely and VERY pregnant woman was standing at the self-mailer. Seriously? Why couldn't it have been an old man with a cane or something? I arrived home and pulled into the driveway only to have my neighbor getting out of her car with her BRAND NEW baby. Yeah... it's obviously going to be one of those weeks.

I feel like St Theresa... "If this is how you treat your friends, Lord...."

Maybe in a few days, I'll take this post down. It's so depressing. Ugh. I sure hope it blows over soon.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Saturday Snapshots


1) The adoption class was terrific. It was so nice to meet the SWs in the agency since they'll be the ones we work with once the HS is completed. I have to start working on our profile book though now - we have to make 15 copies (they are 10 pages long (either single sheet or 5 front-back) so that each agency can give them to the birthmothers. We also have to make a DVD - once the birthmom narrows her selection, she'll usually watch 3-5 interviews with each prospective family. They're about 5 minutes long... and the agency has a company they work with specifically in each region. We watched a few to give us an idea of what the finished product looks like. It doesn't look like I'll be able to play the piano though! Not unless I can drag it into the studio, haha. :)

2) I'm enjoying reading the Prayer Buddy reveals. I knew it was coming up but it was the week of piano camp; I was packing for 2 vacations, and getting ready for the kitchen remodel; and then official sign-up occurred during our vacation and I wasn't online that much to remember to sign-up. So... I missed it this time around. :( I'm looking forward to Advent prayer buddies!! I've been praying for all of you when I read your posts though!

3) MY SISTER V. IS ENGAGED!!! I am over-the-moon excited. :-) Wedding planning is in full swing. Next week I'll have a chance to do some dress shopping and probably reception-site shopping. They haven't set a date yet, which probably depends mostly on the reception site. They are considering a Friday wedding, I think. The only trouble is that the groom's family lives quite far away... he doesn't expect a ton of people to travel, but no one in his immediate family lives close. A Friday wedding means more time off work for people. But - we've had 3 cousins in CA with Friday weddings, and have attended a few others, so it seems like they're more popular. Plus, they're cheaper! :)

4) And hot on V's tail is my sister S!!! She and her boyfriend got together with my parents earlier this week for dinner to discuss getting engaged sometime before Christmas and married sometime next summer - after V. that is! I can't believe there might be 2 weddings in the family! S hasn't been dating her boyfriend all that long... but I really can't point fingers since DH and I only dated 3 months before getting engaged! I guess when you know, you know... :) Please pray for both sisters. Both will have to move. I remember how difficult it was to make friends at first after I got married and moved to a new city. Fortunately my sister M was only 20 minutes away. That helped tremendously. V will be a few hours from me so hopefully that will help.  S will be 2 hours from home, but she suffers from anxiety (she has a history of depression too) and any change is difficult for her. Hopefully the months of planning the wedding will help her adjust and prepare for the change.

5) We're going to surprise DH's brother tomorrow evening!!!! I'm so excited!!! :-D He is performing in the Music Man and while he knows his parents and another brother/SIL are coming, he doesn't expect DH and me. Woo-hoo! Can't wait to see him, and the show. I was in the pit orchestra in high school for Music Man and know it well. BIL is part of the quartet.

6) I joined our church choir this year. I've really missed being part of an ensemble. If I had to choose, I'd rather play an instrument (I was in a handbell choir for awhile before I got married and LOVED it) but singing is good for me... I sang soprano for years and years until finally singing alto one semester in undergrad when I realized that was what I should have been doing all along. I always hear the top notes of a chord - never the inner voices. Singing alto helps tremendously. :)

Happy weekend, everyone!! :)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Dutch Apple Pie Recipe

It's Paula Deen and can be found here. Delicious on it's own and served with vanilla ice cream!
BTW, I tried different apples when I made it - the first time I used sweeter apples (gala) and the second time I used mostly Granny smith. I liked it better with the Granny smith - they balanced out the sweetness. The gala apples were good, but it was very sweet.

Enjoy! :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thankful Thursday

It's a good day to be grateful. I realize that tomorrow is probably CD1 based on my lovely PMS symptoms today :) but here goes...

Today I'm especially thankful for...

1). This lovely lady's announcement!! As I sat there at Mass this morning, the lector began the first reading with "A reading from the letter to the Hebrews"... I just grinned and grinned. If anyone saw me, they probably thought I was nuts!

2) My awesome hubby... I'm grateful that he works so hard to provide for us and that I'm able to continue my amazing job of home-maker and part-time piano teacher. We certainly wouldn't be making it on my salary, ha!

3) We're leaving in an hour (I hope!) for our adoption class. Well - it's tomorrow morning, but we're staying overnight tonight nearby so we don't have to drive 3 hours tomorrow morning. I can't wait!

4) A clean house. I had some time today to work around the house and I guess I just feel better after getting rid of those dust bunnies. :)

5) Game night! We're having some friends over on Saturday... I don't know what all we'll be playing, but Taboo is high on my list. It's my favorite.

6) Dutch apple pie. The one I made last week for the big 25 party turned out so well I'm making another for Saturday night. Yummm....

What are you thankful for today?

Monday, September 12, 2011

Remembering 9/11

It's so hard to believe it's already been 10 years...

On Monday, September 10th, I had a colonoscopy (ugh) which was a final look before deciding I would go through with the colectomy. Those tests aren't pleasant in the slightest, but it was really, really painful that day. I had been having pretty bad flare-ups so there was a lot of inflammation throughout my colon. So on the morning of September 11th, I was sleeping in, feeling awful and feeling kind of sorry for myself as a result of the exam. That changed when my mom came into my room and told me I needed to get up... the world had changed.

I remember going into the kitchen in my pajamas and watching the events unfold. I remember feeling so, so frightened. What was happening? Who was attacking us? What would happen next? I know my sisters eventually made it home from school (one was away at college) and my Dad. I think we just stayed in front of the TV most the day and spent time praying for the victims and their families. I think we were mostly just in shock.

One of my sisters and I were supposed to go to the Pir.ates game that evening. I can't remember what day the game ended up being rescheduled to, but I remember singing God Bless America and the Star-Spangled Banner and the feeling that just overcame the entire stadium. I still have the ticket with the original date on it.

Fast forward to the weekend and my family went out to celebrate the twins birthday at a really nice restaurant in downtown Pitts.burgh. It was on the 64th floor of the tallest building downtown and the restaurant was closing at the end of the month. The views up there were spectacular. It was kind of eerie, looking out and realizing that a few days prior planes had struck other tall buildings. When we came out after dinner, we ended up driving out behind a black SUV with GOD BLESS AMERICA! on the rear window. I remember thinking how proud I was to be an American.

I don't know that I will ever understand what could drive anyone to commit such acts. I do know that I am blessed to know members of the military who've placed themselves in danger to protect our country. How can we not be grateful for their sacrifice?

GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Adoption Ed class

Well... I had hoped to be blogging about how even more prepared I'm feeling right now, but the hurricane last week interrupted plans to head south to the education class. So... DH & I rescheduled for the 16th. You-know-where is going to have to freeze over before I reschedule again! :)

I assume that's when we'll learn about the Dear Birth.mother letter and photo album. I also know that our agency does some kind of DVD. I assume it's for the birthparents to view... so I'm going to have to overcome my strong dislike of how I look and sound on videos! :) Maybe I could just play the piano instead. I'd feel better about that - ha! :)

I'm really excited about the upcoming weekend. We're having a surprise 25th party for both my twin sisters, V&R (birthday) and aunt & uncle (anniversary). The twins were born 2 days after the wedding. On their wedding video (my dad was the "official" videographer), he zoomed in on my mom (being watched like a hawk by his mom) who proudly announced "I made it!". Apparently her doctor told her she was NOT to go to the wedding as she was already showing signs of labor. She did NOT pass that information on to my Dad however... She probably also wanted to see me and my sister, S, as flower girls. She even made our dresses! Yup, my mom is amazing! :)

Anyway... aunt and uncle think it's only a party for the twins and the twins think it's a party for aunt and uncle. At least, we hope they have no idea! V's boyfriend, T, is the one who had the idea. The twins also don't know DH and I are coming in for the weekend. I'm not sure if he wants us to tell them ... would it ruin the surprise for Saturday (the party) or would it throw them off track to think we are the surprise in case they do suspect something? T is in town for work tomorrow and DH and I are meeting him for dinner. Maybe he'll tell us what he'd like us to do...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE surprises! Seriously, I get practically giddy. :-D

Also... an update from my appointment with Dr. S. He pretty much said to keep on with everything we're currently doing. He said I really have to try to "re-set" my clock to "trying since this past surgery" rather than over four years. It's... hard. He does want me to get a follicular ultrasound series done, although this cycle wouldn't have worked out. Maybe this next one? I need to talk again to the fertility clinic that said they'd accept me on kind of an "out-patient" basis to make sure they are open to do scans on weekends.

I'm adding licorice root to my diet to help with adrenal fatigue. I got some tea, which is delicious!  I'm still trying to find out if I should be taking a pill form or the tea form.

Same meds though - Fem.ara on CD3, Estra.diol & Prom.etrium on P3-P12 and Amoxi.cillan on CD11-15. CM was okay this cycle... not quite as good as last month when I also took the Mucin.ex. I forgot to ask him if I could just take the Amoxi.cillan, but did it anyway. I'll probably add the Mucin.ex again next cycle. Anyone take B6 for this? How much? I take an extended release tab, I think it's 200 mg, 1x day. Should I be taking more?

Happy Tuesday everyone! :)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Happy Labor Day! UPDATED WITH RECIPE!

This is what we did today:

Super tasty!

Happy Labor Day everyone! :)


*UPDATE:
Here is the recipe (thanks for asking Hebrews!)

I pizza mix from Gluu.teny bakery. It is a gluten-free, casein-free crust mix, and they now sell on Ama.zon. It's supposed to make one crust, but I use it and make 2 - it's a thinner crust which I think helps disguise that it's GF. It is really tasty though! When I mix it, I add garlic powder, onion powder and oregano - no measurements, just to taste. I freeze the other half and it doesn't take long to defrost it. We eat pizza on Fridays, but today decided to grill the second for lunch!

I cooked the pizza dough first in the oven for 8 minutes to firm it up. It is literally a goopy, sticky mess - nothing like regular dough. Then DH grilled it on one side for 3-4 minutes, we flipped it (inside), added toppings and grilled for about 7 more minutes.

So - for any of you who can still eat gluten I'm-so-jealous, bless your hearts, you can use any dough you like. You can probably also put it on the grill to start with instead of putting it in the oven. I just had no idea how it would turn out if we just put it on the grill.

I used a grill pizza pan from Cra.te and Bar.rel that they no longer seem to carry. Maybe you can find one somewhere else? If you're using regular dough though, you might be able to put it directly on the grill? We used a charcoal grill.

Toppings
I used a parmesan-romano pasta sauce, store-bought. It's literally 99cents a jar as opposed to 4x as much for "pizza" sauce. I like it with the cheese in it. I spread a thin layer.
Fresh mozzarella, sliced thinly
2 slices of provolone cheese, deli style, sliced in thin strips
Shredded mozzarella - a sprinkling dousing. I like lots of cheese. :)
Shredded pizza blend - sprinkle to your taste
1 thinly sliced Roma tomato
1/4 of a green pepper, thinly sliced
And because I LOVE it, a few slices of pepperoni.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dr appt and Adoption class

Actually, I first want to know if any of you know this song? 

Casting Crowns - Praise you in this storm...


It's often given me comfort. I've found myself listening to it recently.

So... tomorrow is another appointment with Dr. S. I know I'll be asking him about Adrenal fatigue and treating it naturally rather than with the Cor.tef I discontinued. I'm hoping he can order one of the food allergy tests I read about in one of the books he recommended - the Elisa/ACT tests. I'm wondering if I have more than just a problem with gluten. No reason really, except that I have so many other allergies! He also wants me to have a follicular ultrasound series. Have any of you gone through that? The only place I could find around me that will do it is a fertility clinic... can't say I'm crazy about going into one of those, but I guess it will have to do. I won't be able to do it this cycle because we won't be here for CD11 when I'm supposed to begin the testing. Oh well...

Friday is our Adoption Education class with AFTH... super excited about that!! It's all day, I think with a few other couples, so I'm looking forward to meeting other people going through the process. Hopefully it will be one of the last steps we need to take before our H.S. is approved. Yay! Closer and closer! :-D

I'm still catching up on blog reading from the last 3 weeks... since I got back from vacation, I'm busy planning out the year's activities for my students. Hopefully after next week when most of my students will be on their back-to-school schedule, I'll feel a little more settled and back into a routine!

Oh... so yesterday, yes, I felt the earthquake that hit northern VA. I was in the middle of teaching a lesson to one of my adult students and it took me a second to realize the floor, the piano and things on the bookshelves were shaking and it was not just the pounding of the left hand part of the Bartok piece he was playing! It was a little unnerving to say the least! And this weekend we're supposed to get hit by the hurricane sometime Sunday.... in any case, DH and I will probably enjoy a nice afternoon inside reading. I love to read when it's raining outside. Hopefully that's all we'll get and there won't be much damage. 

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Catching up

Surprise! I didn't fall off the face of the earth! :) I've been a bad blogger lately... sorry. :( Here's what I've been up to...

3 weeks ago... piano camp with my students. We had a blast. We spent a good deal of time on composers and some of their more famous works. The kids favorite part was getting to watch a few cartoon clips! Yes - Bugs Bunny used a great deal of classical music! We played games toward the end of the week and it was clear the cartoons really helped them remember the pieces and the composers. Yay!

2 weeks ago... vacation with my family at a lake in NY. It's wonderful there - we had great weather and got in quite a bit of waterskiing, jet-skiing and laying out on the dock. Went out to dinner quite a bit (we don't eat out a ton at home, and as much as I love cooking, I did enjoy the break!), and made it to a local baseball game - minor league team. The home team won in the 9th inning and I can't even remember the final score. Something like 11-9 maybe? It was back and forth for a while and exciting at the end! It was soooo nice to get together with family.

1 week ago - a great workshop with some good friends. It's always so nice to catch up with people you don't see much, isn't it?

In the middle of all that... I had to prep for our.... kitchen remodel!!! :) It looks terrific and I LOVE it!! I'm still in the middle of getting everything back in order, so no pictures yet. :) Fortunately it was done in the 2 weeks I was gone (DH was home the week I was at the workshop, but our contractor was great about cleaning up at the end of the day and didn't inconvenience him that much). Did I mention that I LOVE it?? Putting everything back is making me think I need another 40 Bag challenge though. Today I realized I have 5 round cake pans and 5 bread pans. FIVE! What do I need that many for? I don't even make cake or bread that often! I think most of them were wedding gifts though, and I think one set of the cake pans came with a cake dome cover that I bought after we were married. As soon as I get things off the counters and into the cabinets, I promise to post photos. :)

Alright, now I have to catch up on reading what you've all been up to! :)





Friday, July 22, 2011

An Extraordinary Man

This week has been a difficult one emotionally - for me and my family. I'm fortunate to know some amazing men - first, my father, who was the best father any girl could imagine having. He never missed piano recitals, concerts, football games when I was in band, and so on. I treasure having a close relationship with him. Next, my Grandpap (mom's Dad; Granddad passed away when I was small and I don't remember him all that well).  Grandpap was incredibly patient - my favorite memories are with him on vacation at the lake, where we go every summer. He taught me and my four sisters to waterski... And of course, my husband - I don't think I can count the number of times I just stop and thank God for bringing him into my life.

But this post is about another extraordinary man - my Uncle J. Uncle J has always been a favorite - since Grandpap passed away a few years ago, he's taken over driving the boat while we waterski. He taught DH to ski, and was patient when I was trying to learn to slalom. He's quiet, rather private, patient, sarcastic, but very funny. Uncle J has never married. A few years ago, he began dating a wonderful woman, whom I'll call A. The first time I met her, she reminded me of my mom and aunts. She fit in our family beautifully. A has two grown daughters- both very sweet girls. One is married. About a year and a half ago, A began having trouble with her foot... and then increasingly, more and more health problems seemed to surface. It took a long time to finally come up with a diagnosis - ALS. She went from being a vibrant woman, to confined to a wheelchair, and then finally, bedridden, unable to speak except through an electronic device (I never saw it and I'm not sure how it really worked), but she was able to communicate using it. It must have been so frightening - to be trapped in her own body. Uncle J helped her first by making her home wheelchair-accessible when she could no longer walk. He continued to care for her - taking her to doctors appointments, and has been caring for her for the past year. Towards the end, when she was really bad, my Grandma would tell me about him having to suction her lungs when she couldn't breathe. Every time I heard about it, my heart just broke for him. My sisters and I, after we met her, couldn't stop saying how happy we were for him. And then, this...

A passed away this past Sunday, in her sleep. She was 57. DH and I drove up Wednesday night for the funeral, which was yesterday morning. Watching my uncle be a pall-bearer for the woman he loved, but never really had a chance to share a life with.... well, I don't have any words. I've asked myself so many times - why did God bring A into Uncle J's life, when He was going to take her away? I don't know... but maybe it was because He knew how much she would need him.

At the luncheon after the mass and burial, I was really happy to see A's daughters joking around with Uncle J. A's oldest daughter and her husband are planning to come for a day when the family is at the lake in a few weeks. I really hope and pray that they will remain in his life.

If you would say a prayer for my Uncle J, and A's family, I would really appreciate it.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday Quick Takes

1) First - Wicked was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!! I can't believe I waited this long to see it. :) The casting was just phenomenal. My DH really enjoyed it too and said he wished we could see it again with this cast! I started listening to the music the week before we went to become more familiar with it, and I'm hooked. All the songs are going through my head at regular intervals! Haha! It takes me back to high school when I was in musicals and I sang the songs for months.

2) We met with our SW last week for our last visit. Truly, she was so nice, that it wasn't difficult, and it didn't even feel the slightest bit invasive. We turned in all the paperwork except autobiographies, so I think we're good to go there. The education class is at the end of August (we couldn't schedule before then), so hopefully after that we'll be approved. And then the wait begins!!

3) For those of you who have adopted - how much prep did you do to the house? Buy a crib? Paint the room? Nothing? How long before you were chosen by birthparents? We are turning our "office" into the nursery, so the only thing I can really anticipate doing is getting a smaller desk. It will move to the guest room once we need a crib, but I'm sure we'll use a bassinet at first anyway. Part of me feels that to fully get ready would make me really anxious.

4) My cycle review wasn't all that great this time around. Estradiol level was 4.6 and Prometrium was 8.1. I know the Femara can impact Estradiol, but I'm taking 200 mg of Prometrium. The nurse said we'll try another cycle and see how it goes, but I may end up with HCG. I have no idea yet if our insurance will pay for those. I'm going to try one more cycle with Femara... but honestly, I'm dreading ovulation. If it's as bad as this cycle, it'll be hitting right around the time we leave for vacation. I do not relish the idea of driving or spending the first few days chained to a heating pad!

5) My next appointment with Dr. S. is in August. (Ironically, the day before our adoptive class!) I'm wondering if I should ask him how long we should continue everything. When do we "give up"? I've been on hormones for the better part of 2 1/2 years... and I know my surgery was just this past February, but still... I'm tired of it. More and more I'm wanting to just let God take over and stop with the medical stuff.

6) Sooooooo looking forward to vacation! I have piano camp with my students the week before we go away and I've been procrastinating with those plans! I know what I want to do... but I need to get everything written down and printed. This morning instead of working on plans, I started packing my toiletry kit! Ha!

7) DH has been working some crazy hours lately. Please keep him in your prayers!

Happy Friday, everyone!! :)

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

What you can get for free...

So far for my birthday (coming up on Sunday), I've received via email, a coupon for a free... breakfast at IHOP, a treat at Rita's, a creation at Cold Stone, a dessert at Eat-n-Park, a "surprise" on my MyPanera card, a scoop from Baskin Robbins, Chocolate Fondue for 2 at the Melting Pot, and a 1/3 burger from Fuddruckers. Where do I begin??? :)


Well, I don't know where I'll go first to use up those freebies, but I am really looking forward to this weekend. We're going to see Wicked!!! I am sooooo excited! I've been wanting to see it for years! We're planning on a nice early dinner out afterwards, at one of my favorite restaurants. They take great care of my GF needs. Yum!!


DH and I had a great weekend - we spent Friday night with his brother, and his brother's former roommate and girlfriend - made homemade pizza, and had a few good rounds of bananagrams. Saturday we enjoyed dinner with some friends and their kids - I was quite content, and only a tad jealous of their newest 2-month old addition. And the baby had to be one of the best ever - he was quite content to sit in his little rocker chair, and he never even made a peep! Sunday, we ended up spending time with the family of some good friends of ours. The couple, D&M, live within walking distance of us. D plays soccer with my DH and M is another musician, so it's a great friendship. D's family is all quite musical, so we ended up playing and singing for over 2 hours with everyone, ending with a rousing rendition of some patriotic hymns, sung in harmony.


This week - SW visits tomorrow for her last visit - I'm trying like mad to get all the paperwork done. I just want to hand it in and be done with it. :) She'll do her walk-through of the house. Fortunately, since DH's brother was here, I cleaned a lot on Friday, so I just need to do some quick de-cluttering. 


Happy 4-day week!!

Friday, July 1, 2011

SW visit & cycle craziness

This week we met with our SW for our first interview - again, she made me feel really comfortable. We decided to just pack it in and schedule the second interview - the separate interview - next week. I have most of the paperwork done, I just need to finish a few more things, finish my autobiography and copy everything, and give it to her. We are having a hard time scheduling the education course though. Please pray for that - I really want to get it done in July - especially if we have everything else done, but it looks like it won't be until the end of August. We are on vacation the first week in August, then I'm out of town the second week. We could potentially come back or leave late for vacation but I really don't want to do that. Vacation with my family is so much fun, and I come back so relaxed. We'd probably have to shorten it by 2 days in order to do the course. Any idea how much it would delay things if we have to wait that long to complete it?

In cycle news, this week has not been a good one. I'm really frustrated. Wednesday night, around the time the SW was going to come, I started having ovulation pains. I thought I felt them on Monday, and figured that was Peak Day, but then this. The pain woke me up during the night, I finally started using a heating pad and tylenol in the morning Thursday, but then I was chasing the pain. It never really went away significantly and I spent most of yesterday in bed. It hurts. A lot. I'm not a wimp; I have a high pain tolerance; and this is ridiculous. I cannot imagine that any normal ovulation hurts this much. Really?? So, I'm seriously considering bagging the Femara - and the Mucinex, which has done nothing for CM.

Strange question - (maybe TMI) can surgery damage the parts that create CM? I mean, occasionally I would have months where it wasn't that great, but now, I'm not even seeing anything remotely stretchy. It just runs. I won't go into detail there, but it doesn't seem quite right.

Looking forward to the weekend though; we're getting together with some friends tomorrow night, and their 5 very cute kids. The youngest is only a few months - so pray that I can handle that!! They are a great family though, and one of our references, so it will be good to see them. And DH's brother is in town for a wedding so we'll get to spend some time with him too. I just hope I don't have to walk around attached to a heating pad. Ha!

Happy 4th!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

I'm a Pinkaholic

Confession: I'm a pinkaholic. You may have guessed that already from my blog header?? :)
Here are a few of my favorite weaknesses...


A healthy and delicious snack:


A delicious, but not so healthy snack: 
(Who came up with Starburst Fave Reds? Genius. Pure genius.)


 Shoes and bag:
(The shoes are new. Can't wait to wear 'em!)


Happy Friday everyone!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Acupuncture Question

Has anyone tried acupuncture to increase CM? If so... did it work? :)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

CD 1

... came on Monday. You what I really don't like? Having to take a pregnancy test on CD3 just so I can confirm that I'm not before taking the Femara. Ugh. As if I really need to see it in writing!!

I knew it was coming.... but still.... I hoped.

I'm offering the pain up for all of you still waiting with me. Hugs.

Friday, June 10, 2011

A little of this, a little of that

We met the social worker doing our home study this week for the first time - yay! She was super nice and I have to say I'm feeling much better about the process. There is a lot of paperwork for sure, but we got our fingerprints done this morning and will have all the clearances mailed in within the next week, I think. Then we have to write our autobiography. For those of you who have done that - how long was yours? She mentioned some as short as 2 pages, others 4-5. When I read over the list of questions, I thought I'd be writing a thesis! Haha. She said we don't have to answer every question, but did point out that it's actually a nice thing to do - our adoptive child might like to read it one day. :)

Our next meeting is the last week of June. We have to schedule the Education course in July and one more meeting. I LOVE that they have a nice checklist of everything we need to do as far as paperwork. I work so much better if I have a nice, orderly checklist!

Next week we'll be traveling - DH is working out of the city his parents live in, and I'm going with him. I'm super excited. I have some things to work on - piano camp, and the autobiography, and a few leisure books! I haven't read a nice relaxing book in ages, although I like mysteries, which aren't always relaxing. :) Do any of you have a favorite mystery author who avoids bad language and immorality?

I am on a blueberry pancake kick. Seriously. I've been craving them since my surgery. We have them every week for brunch on Sunday! I think something's wrong with me. DH and I usually try to go to mass in the morning (early - 6:30!) and have breakfast together on First Fridays, but he was out of town last week. We scheduled it this morning instead and I had more blueberry pancakes. And then went to be fingerprinted! Ha! :)

Has anyone seen the new X-men movie? DH and I rented X3 a few weeks ago. We're going to see the new one tomorrow with my sister. She and I crammed all of them in this week and last while DH was away so she could catch up! It's been so nice having her stay with us!

Ooohhh.... one other thing - manicure and pedicure with the same sister tonight! I rarely splurge on those, but we usually get one for each other for our birthdays. Her birthday was in March so we're catching up, and mine is next month, and she'll have moved by then. So tonight, it is!

Which shade? :)



I better do some cleaning before then or I will wreck the manicure within a day!

Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Zo.ne

First a disclaimer: I'm not a nutritionist; what follows is my opinion, and what works for me. I love food, eating healthy and reading about both! :)

DH and I have been following the Zo.ne diet for over a year. As I mentioned in my last post, I became familiar with it when I started following the Cross.Fit workouts and began reading their online journal articles. (The CF journal is terrific, by the way. Nutrition is addressed as well as fitness.) Prior to CF, DH and I, for the most part, followed a pretty good diet - I purchased a lot of fresh foods, we ate (still do) mostly at home (we splurge every 6 months or so for a dinner out and go to a really nice restaurant), and my husband packs his lunch. However, we did have lots of snacks lying around, and have been known to have large amounts of ice cream in the freezer. Somehow, it became my mission to put the Ed.y's children through college. What, you too?? :-D

Espresso chip... black raspberry (ooooh)... caramel praline crunch (ahhhh)...

Oh, pardon me. Where was I?

Ah, yes... the Zone. ;)

I think the first article I read was this one: Meal Plans. Pretty soon after, I borrowed En.ter the Zo.ne from the library by Dr. Sea.rs. CF often says their best CF athletes follow the Zo.ne. I'm not trying to be a superwoman (okay, I am. I could get a cool cape), but I am trying to be in shape and eat healthy. DH and I talked about what I was reading and decided to give it a shot. It did seem to make sense, although weighing and measuring food was time-consuming and a pain at first. And - I didn't have any idea of what to cook! After probably about 2 weeks or so of trying it, DH came across his very frustrated wife trying to plan menus and not having much success. He didn't want to see me stressed out about it or not wanting to cook (which I happen to love!) and suggested we bag the whole idea. I thought about it and decided that if we were going to do it - we had to do it "for real". We would weigh and measure everything. During those initial two weeks, I also hadn't been feeling like myself- kind of out of it, somewhat unfocused, and as though I had a headache just waiting to explode. The day after deciding to do it "for real" I looked up carbohydrate withdrawal and found out I wasn't alone! Apparently, it does happen and I knew I had definitely cut way, way back on carbs.


A few more weeks of sticking to it, and I started to feel much better. More focused and I had lots of energy. I wasn't trying to lose weight - but I did lose a few pounds and I liked the new more toned me - yes CF and those darned squats helped a lot, but I saw even more results by eating differently. 

So... how does it work? Every meal and every snack is in the following ratio:

40% carbs / 30 % protein / 30 % healthy fats.

Meals and snacks are broken into blocks: 9 grams is 1 block of carbs, 7 grams is 1 block of protein, and 1.5 grams is 1 block of fat (this assumes that 1.5 grams of fat come from your protein. If you eat a zero fat protein - like Greek yogurt, double your fat.)

In my normal day I eat between 10-12 blocks. I'm not too particular - some days, especially days I work out, I may eat an extra snack. My main meals are almost always 3 block meals. (Occasionally 4, if the meat/protein part is pre-weighed to be a 4-oz cut of something.) Snacks are usually 1 block, but occasionally 2. Its advised that you never go more than 4-6 hours between a meal or snack. (Well, except overnight.) Both DH and I start getting cranky if we go more than 4 hours - it's pretty funny!

It's gotten easier to cook - our meals are pretty simple - a meat and fruit and veggies, eggs and fruit (I like veggies in my eggs) for breakfast, or cottage cheese and fruit, or Greek yogurt (which is much more balanced in the ratio of carbs/protein than regular). Sometimes I have kefir shakes too. We've cut way back on bread products (which helped when I found out I need to be gluten-free), so most of our carbs come from fruits and veggies. Our fat sources are EVOO, butter, sunflower seeds, almonds (DH) and cashews (me).

One of my favorite videos on the CF website included a discussion of what food is. If you look at an apple - it's clearly an apple. If you have to read what is in the box, it's not food. Maybe it was at one time, but it isn't anymore. :) Food is meant to be perishable - not last for months. It just seemed to make sense. I like to know what I'm actually eating.

Now... do I cheat? Yes, definitely. Fridays are my favorite. I stick to the Zo.ne in the morning and at lunch, and at night, it's pizza, movies and snack night. Ice cream, if I like, often popcorn --as it's movie night too. I don't feel guilty at all about it either. The next morning I'm right back in the Zo.ne.

What I've learned... I look at food differently. It's delicious, and I love it, but it serves a purpose. It's fuel. It keeps my body working and I want it to work well! It's not a diet anymore, it's a lifestyle. I enjoy my food - fresh stuff is just so delicious anyway - and feel satisfied after each meal and snack.

Oh, and one other side benefit? I don't get migraines anymore. I started getting them with increasing frequency a few years back, and now, I don't get one unless I cheat too much and start eating too much sugar! My body really can't handle it anymore. I'd much rather be migraine-less so I'm sticking to this!

For further reading - check out the CF journal and look up Zo.ne. Some of the articles/videos are for subscribers only, but others are free. You can also check your local library for Ent.er the Zo.ne.

And if you have any questions, please let me know! I'm happy to talk about it because I really love what it's done for me! :)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Cross.Fit

Several wonderful bloggers have posted lately about nutrition, and they are all excellent. :) Hopefully later this week I'll get my thoughts organized to post some of my own thoughts, but in the meantime, I thought I'd start by writing about what really got me into viewing food in an entirely different manner.

Cross.Fit.

I LOVE it. :)

I've always been someone who likes working out. Not the sweating part of it, haha, but the feeling of accomplishment, the energy and the feeling that I've burned off those ice cream calories! :) I did some swimming during the summers in middle school, and then I ended up studying Tae K.won Do for many years. TKD was definitely my favorite - lots of variety and fun to boot. [In case you are wondering, I earned my second degree black belt. :)] I haven't been to a class since moving from my hometown, but if we ever move back to that area, I definitely want to pick it up again. I've also worked with personal trainers and belonged to a gym, like many others who are looking to get fit, or to stay in shape. Since getting married, though, I've been working out at home.

About a year and a half ago, DH came home from work talking about Cross.Fit, a core strength and conditioning program. One of his colleagues, it turned out, is a certified Cross.Fit trainer. DH began looking at the CF website and finally decided to try one of the daily workouts that are posted on the site. After just one, I could tell he was hooked. Already we had essentially turned our garage into the workout room (my dream of a car parked in there long gone), and we had some modest equipment: a stationary bike, an elliptical, some weights and benches. He would often go down to his man cave the garage after work to get in a nice workout, normally lasting about 45 minutes. His first CF workout lasted half as long... and I'd never seen him look so exhausted. This from a life-long soccer player and exercise and sports enthusiast. After a few weeks, I was intrigued too. He didn't spend as much time working out, but the quality of each workout was far superior to anything both of us had been doing. And so I began...

So why do I like it? First and probably foremost - I'm not bored. Day after day of the same workouts in the gym or running on a track and I'm literally ready to throw in the towel. I want variety! CF definitely has that. I've learned all about cleans, jerks, snatches and burpies. Some of the main highlights are Olympic weightlifting and gymnastics. For Christmas DH received a pair of olympic gymnastic rings, now hanging from our pull-up rack in the garage. I have a new appreciation for those olympic gymnasts!!Second - I want to be challenged and  see results. [I'm a classic "pear" and certainly parts of me have never been in better shape, haha. :)] I believe it's due to the compound and functional movements plus high intensity at the heart of CF. And I do a lot tons ridiculous amounts of squats. Read more about this here. I never saw results like this with isolation movements at the gym.

The workouts are sometimes insane, but fortunately can be scaled to my current level. Starting out, I use light weights until I can do the exercise well with proper form. I also like that some of the workouts are really short. For example "in 5 minutes, do as many rounds as you can of X, Y, and Z." Occasionally workouts are repeated and you can look to your previous time/weight to see growth.

If you're interested in reading more, I'd recommend the following articles:
Understanding Cross.Fit
What is Fitness?

If you get hooked like me, I'd love to hear about it! :)

ps: There is a website for expectant mothers - just goo.gle CF mom.

Friday, May 27, 2011

4 years married! :)

Yesterday DH and I celebrated our fourth anniversary - yay! Despite the pain of IF, they have been the best four years of my life. I am so blessed to be married to this wonderful man!!!

We're going out to dinner on Saturday to celebrate, but last night I made a delicious salmon dish that I mentioned in a previous post. It was a new recipe and can be found here. I made some alterations - I didn't have the agave nectar (and after some recent blog posts was hesitant to try this sugar "alternate" so I used pure maple syrup. Still a sugar... but... it was our anniversary. ;) I also did not use the capers. 1) I didn't have any on hand, haha. 2) I thought about adding green olives, but changed my mind while making it. It. was. fabulous. Definitely a nice presentation too - I used our china and served the salmon in soup bowls with the salsa on top. I'll have to keep it in mind when we have company. (Or when one of you want to come over for dinner!! :) ) For dessert.... seriously, the stuff is sinful... creme caramel. So delicious, and also so easy to make. I always have the ingredients on hand for that. It's from Coo.king Light but the recipe in my book is smaller than this one. If you want the one I used, let me know! I used 6 ramekins. And, I used extra strength vanilla from Pen.zey's rather than the vanilla bean.

I should have taken pictures... but everything was gobbled up quickly! :)

My parents are coming to visit for the weekend, and my sister is moving in with us for a month starting tonight. It will be a full - and fun - house this weekend. :)

Happy Memorial Day weekend, everyone!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Adrenal Fatigue

Is it the missing link? :)


I just received an email from Dr. S - 3 of my 4 levels were below normal and the 4th was at the low end of normal.  He recommended the following: Cortef 5 mg, 1 tablet in AM, 1 just before lunch, and one near bedtime. He also recommended 2 books (what would I do without Ama.zon?!) Adre.nal Fatigue: the 21st century stress syndrome and The Cor.tisol Connection: why stre.ss makes you fat and rui.ns your health. I have to admit, I just started laughing when I read the subtitle of the second book. (Don't hate me please) but I've always been little -at times scrawny- except when I had all that water weight after my last surgery. Uhhhh.... Dr. S... I still haven't gained back what I lost after the surgeries! Honestly though, what is there about IF that isn't stressful? Could it be the TTC for almost 4 years? (I know many of you have been waiting much longer.) The monthly blood work? Making sure I identify my peak day so I can take drugs accordingly and get lab work drawn? Doctor's appointments every 3-4 months? Multiple surgeries? Sarcasm and humor intended there. :)


Part of me shudders at the irony of it all - I had my colon removed because I was tired of being sick, going to doctors and taking heaps of meds. The adhesions caused by that surgery led me to all this and taking more heaps of meds. I could drop all of it, I know... but I guess I'm not ready to give up yet. Apparently there are more options of things to try.


Hugs and praying for you all...

Friday, May 20, 2011

7 Quick Takes

1) I have no idea where this month is going. :) So, so, so busy with recitals, competitions, preparations for recitals and competitions, a group class, playing for masses at church. Whew. June 7th is the day all of "that" will end. We're traveling to visit family after that for a week - Hubby is working out of town in the town where his parents & brother live. Yay! Looking forward to that!!!

2) Just made some blueberry scones using my GF flour... they're still kind of warm, and not quite as "crunchy" as I would like... so I might be out looking for another recipe. Mmmmm... scones and tea. :)

3) Speaking of recipes, I need some new ones. With so many fresh fruits and veggies available, I get itching to try new combinations. :) I spent some time this morning looking up clips from Gi.ada at Ho.me... I love her recipes!! I found some great ones for salmon, and some yummy breakfast treats. Can't wait to try them!

4) I need to finish cleaning my house. (And here I am blogging!)

5) Got some fabric to make some new pillows for our sofa in the living room. If I have time next week, I may try to get those done. I don't have a pattern for one of them, but I have an idea in my head... we'll see how it turns out! Jo.Ann's was having a good sale on home decorator fabric.

6) I have been obsessed with decorating blogs as of late. :-D I saw some really cute homemade cards on one site and ended up with several trips to Mi.chael's in the past 2 weeks to get supplies. (Of course, with coupons and sales.) I've been bad about mailing friends/family birthday cards lately... maybe this will jump-start things again. I love stationary, stickers, pretty paper, and I found this really great stuff called Japan.ese wash.i tape online. How cool is masking tape with beautiful patterns? (There are several ladies who sell it on Etsy - just do a search). :)

7) Friiiiiiiiiiiiiiday!!!! How I love Fridays!! I remembered (finally!) to defrost the homemade pizza dough for pizza tonight. I've been making it with basil, and 4 kinds of cheese - provolone, fresh mozzarella, fresh grated parmesan and a pre-shredded pizza blend. I bake the crust beforehand so it doesn't stay gooey (GF pizza doughs seem to do this more), and before I bake that I throw on some olive oil and onion & garlic powder. It is soooo yummy. It's better than the gluten pizza I used to make! Also, I don't have lessons on Fridays and it's a great way to get the house in shape for the weekend. (See #4). Despite by best efforts with the 40 bags, I find I still have clutter in the house and it is so much easier to enjoy the weekend with Hubby if I'm not staring at stuff that needs to be put away or organized. So... I better get crackin!

Happy weekend, everyone!! :)

Friday, May 13, 2011

It seemed like a good day...

to go for a walk....


Isn't it beautiful outside? Maybe I'll get some color. I'm whiter than white on rice. :)


 I could go here:

But maybe I'll go here....


to mail THIS!!!!!!! :) :) :)



Home Study... here we come!!!

Friday, April 29, 2011

The.re Be Dra.gons

I don't know if any of you have heard of the movie coming out the first weekend of May called Th.ere Be Dra.gons, but I wanted to spread the word! :) You can see the preview by clicking on the link. It's a great movie about the Spanish civil war. It's a story of love, friendship and forgiveness and tells the story of St. Jose.maria Esc.riva and a childhood friend. I've seen extended previews and it looks fantastic. Finally - a great movie portraying a priest in a positive manner! :) It's opening in selected cities next weekend across the country, and depending on how well it does opening weekend, will open in more. If you click on "tickets" on the site, you can see what cities it will be opening in. It was directed by Ro.land Jo.ffe, who directed The Mis.sion and The Kill.ing Fi.elds.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Femara question

For any of you that have taken Femara - did your ovulation pains increase? The ones I've been having are super intense. I used to have a pretty good idea when I was ovulating, but now, there is pretty much no doubt! :) I hope good things are going on in there, haha!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Happy Easter! and Adoption decisions :)

Happy Easter! It was a great weekend all around - DH and I were able to participate in all the liturgies at church beginning on Holy Thursday. A few years before I met DH, I began doing the 7 church walk after mass. Have any of you ever done that? One year, when I was visiting a friend in Rome for Easter, we ended up visiting 12 churches. It's really easy over there! :) But, we've stuck to 7 here - it takes about 2 hours after the Mass is over and by then many of the churches are closing. It's really beautiful. The last church we ended up at has a large his.panic population and there are so many in the chapel singing many hymns of adoration. I don't have any idea what they're saying, but it's beautiful. :) It's very peaceful - but somehow not - as the prelude to Good Friday. Good Friday we made it over for Stations, then went back for the Liturgy at 3:00. In between those I made cupcakes for Saturday night (they turned out really cute), but it wasn't the best choice when fasting!! :-D

On Saturday afternoon my sister and her boyfriend came to visit with us to celebrate Easter. Sis still lives in Pittsburgh and her boyfriend moved closer to us - but unfortunately further from her. It was good to spend time getting to know him - as things are moving along nicely - and he seems like a really great guy. A strong Catholic, as are his parents and siblings. He's been a good influence on my sis and I'm really happy for her! :) We all went to Mass together Sunday morning together and came back to the house ... and we pretty much sat around and ate the rest of the day! I ate waaaaay too much sugar (and I should really STOP munching on these jelly beans sitting in a bowl next to me, haha) but it was all delicious. I can't eat a lot of sugar anymore without feeling sick though. (This is another post someday, but DH and I have been following the Zo.ne diet for a year now and I can't go too far outside it without feeling yucky. I know it's a good sign, but I used to be a champ when it came to sweets!)

Other news... we've finally chosen our Adoption agency! We contacted them last week and received the application and began working on it. It's not that long, but we do have to contact a few friends we want to use as references. The SW mentioned that we could send in 2 separate checks - one for the application and the other for the H.S. so we can begin right away which is fine with us. We plan to finish it this weekend and send it in early next week. Hooray!!! :) I'm anxious to get started. Even though we may be able to conceive now that everything is "normal" inside, we both really feel called to grow our family through adoption.

Happy Easter to you all!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Prayer Buddy Reveal

This Lent I was blessed to pray for H at http://hafsa-thepeaceofchrist.blogspot.com. I prayed for her intentions at daily mass and during my Rosary. I also offered up the pain of recovering from my surgery at the beginning of Lent! :) Her blog is private... and I hope to get to "know" her better some day. H, I will continue to pray for you - a very Blessed Easter to you!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

CD2

After almost 6 full days of BB, I finally made it to CD1. I guess it's a good indicator that I need those hormones at the end of my cycle. :) This cycle was really weird. I only had 2 scant indications of CM, and when nothing else appeared, I didn't even think I ovulated. I ended up not charting and didn't take any of the hormones at the end. Soooo... it'll be Femara tomorrow to hopefully jump-start ovulation this cycle and then the estradiol and prometrium at the end. I really hope I get rid of this irritating BB. The strange thing is, my cycles were always pretty normal up until we started working on my (in)fertility. I never had the tail-end BB until after I was married. One really good thing about the recent surgery is that my cramps are SOOOO much better. I used to always be on ad.vil for several days as soon as my cycle started. Now, they're very mild, and I haven't even taken anything today. Yay! :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sheesh!

Oops! When I began this blog I had hoped to post at least once a week. I'm slipping! :)

This morning I spent time on the phone with a few companies determining which of their lotions (if any) I can still be using on a GF diet. This began when I started cleaning out the closet again to rid myself of hotel-room shampoos and the like as I read recently that they could contain gluten (why do I take them anyway? They dry out my scalp and I never use them.). I also randomly read the ingredients on my antibacterial lotions and gels from B & B Wo.rks and they contain wheat germ oil and wheat amino acids!! Ugh! I've been slathering myself with gluten!

For the record in case anyone wants to know: I was told the Tru.e Bl.ue Sp.a lay.it.on.thick and shea.it.isn't.so foot cream are gluten free, as are the anti-bacterial SOAPS. They do not guarantee about cross-contamination though. Has anyone used these without a problem? I've never had a problem with my skin breaking out or developed rashes by using it.

I do have to get rid of my most-favoritest scent in the world by V.Se.cret, their bo.dy.by.vict.oria line. I'm most displeased about this. :( I was told NONE of their beauty products are GF. Sure enough those lotions have hydrolyzed wheat protein in them. What should I do about the perfume? Seriously, it's my signature scent, I've worn it for years. Am I breathing in gluten? Or am I getting paranoid? The lotions I can deal without... but the perfume? (I didn't ask in particular about the perfume, but the customer service lady I spoke with told me nothing was GF, so I assume that is included??)

I DID discover that Joh.nson's products are gluten-free. (They have a statement on their website and I love that.) I used to love the baby lotion so I may look to going back to using their stuff. They have a variety of scents it looks like, so I might need a Tar.get run in the next few days to check them out. :)

I also discovered a completely GF line of make-up that I may try. Af.ter.glow cosmetics. The founder of the company has family with lots of allergies, including gluten. The products also do not contain soy, which bothers me. **Note: Soy makes my throat itch like CRAZY. I've been on the prowl for a well-balanced GF protein bar, but so many contain soy as protein. I tried some last week that were soy-based and it confirmed any suspicions I had about it. Benedryl was a good a companion after that mistake, haha.** I've been using Ma.ry.Kay make-up for years, and although my rep told me everything was gluten-free, that the company doesn't post such info on their website bothers me. If it's truly gluten free, why not post it? Tons of people would flock to the company. Since formulas often change, how will I know if gluten goes in there? Also, since I read ingredient lists like crazy, why wouldn't I want to read them on my skin products? My skin hasn't been the best for the last year or two. I'm not breaking out like crazy, but when I had my surgery I didn't wear make-up for 2 weeks and my skin was so much better! It's started breaking out again since I started wearing it again. I think it may be time for a switch. Has anyone used Af.terglow's products?

Other non GF-related stuff.... I've been really busy getting applications in for my students and their various adjudications coming up in May. This is such a busy time of year. I have music related events every weekend in May and the first weekend of June. I'm glad I work into my schedule a spring break! Some students will be off next week, others the last week of the month after Easter based on their school schedules. Lots to get done when they're off!

40 Bag update: I'm up to 33 bags. I spent yesterday cleaning out the small storage area in our basement. I ended up doing it earlier in the week rather than later because my DH went in there on Sunday night and realized it was damp and warm in there... we think the dryer is venting in that space, not to the outside. Ugh. He has the unpleasant job of going in the crawl-space to see about fixing it. Ugh. I would never make it to do that. We had a gi-normous millipede crawl appear on Sunday afternoon while I was doing laundry and I shrieked and literally leaped onto the arm of the chair down there. Fortunately DH was there to save me from that little terror!! :-D I'm such a wimp when it comes to crawling nasty things. I know I'm a thousand times bigger than they are, but it doesn't matter. They have more legs than I do and they are fast!!

Well... I should get back to clearing out my beloved, wonderful-smelling beauty products. Hey,  getting rid of all the stuff I have probably counts toward a bag. ;-)

ps: I was talking to a priest about the 40 bags in 40 days and he liked the idea and said - I think there's a song about that! He started singing to the tune of 40 days and 40 nights "40 bags in 40 nights. We are cleaning out our...." LOL. :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

40 Bags in 40 Days: Update

Woo-hoo! I'm up to 22 bags!

I really should be taking before and after pictures, but I haven't been. Too busy getting rid of stuff. I'm sure you really want to be looking in my linen closet and under the guest bed, haha. I've always liked those beds that have drawers under them. So practical - no wasted space! Or... is it just a place to store more junk?

In my cleaning throughout the last 2 weeks, I have...

1) ...shredded a TON of paper. Yay! Paper breeds. It turns into books, and notepads, and piles. Piles, piles, piles. I believe the trick is to NOT begin a pile. Then it can't grow. :) We ordered a really nice file cabinet in February from an A.mish store nearby. It will be finished late April or early May. I can't wait! I'm really going to try to get all the paperwork down to the number of drawers in the cabinet. We have a big desk in our "office" which will have to become a nursery if we are blessed to conceive or adopt. The file cabinet could stay in one corner and would't be too cumbersome. The desk will have to go. I haven't figured out what to do with the computer yet though!

2) ...gotten a. lot. of. VHS tapes ready for recycling. There's a place I can mail them for recyling, and I'm planning to do that this week. And, as we no longer have a TV that works with a VCR, they might as well be thrown away. [*Note: The library no longer accepts VHS donations. I called and asked. :)] I wrote down a list of the movies in case we want to replace them.  (Actually, we did replace the Star Wars ones already. My husband found a set at a Bor.ders going out of business last week. I've resisted watching them, other than the first one, which is the fourth, but I don't think I'll be able to avoid it any longer. Ha!) Also note- the Star wars DVDs came in those SLIM cases!! Thank you for being considerate, movie packaging people. Who needs fat cases?

3) ...gotten rid of 12 pairs of shoes. Really? Yes, 12. 6 are donations, 6 are throw-aways. I have this great pair of black boots - I really should have purchased 2 pair, because they are super comfortable and don't squish my toes - but they are worn out. They're practically embarrassing. Anyway, I won't let myself buy a pair to replace them until they're gone... so... they're ready and waiting for the trash. :( May they rest in peace. They were sure a good pair of boots. We had a great life together.

** Question - one of the "donation" shoes are the sandals I wore at my wedding. Of course I'm saving my dress and veil! Am I right to get rid of the shoes though? If we have a daughter some day, is she going to want to try on the dress and the shoes?

4) ...amassed an incredible amount of recycling. Old and empty shoe boxes. :) Other random empty boxes in my closet, the empty VHS boxes and packages. Old school notes, and empty CD and DVD cases (broken ones).

5) ... assembled a big bunch of photo frames that can be donated/thrown away. I had an entire box of frames. I saved the photos, but got rid of the frames. I don't have a place to display them! I'm not a huge fan of displaying photos in frames, although I do have a few. But again, only a few - because that's all I have room for! :)

6) ... started cleaning out the old dresser in our "office." It's an old dresser, particle board, that Mr. Wonderful had, but I use it for cards, stationary and other assorted office accessories. It really is a great way to organize it all, but it. is. falling. apart. I have one bag of trash from it already.

7) ... cleaned out our medicine closet. I don't know what else to call it. It's more of a linen closet, but we have 2 of those in the hall upstairs, and one is linens, and the other... well, it contains the guest towels, but also the stock of tissue boxes, medicines, dental supplies, soaps, lotions, travel things - like a small hair dryer, our travel toiletry cases, the iron and light-bulbs. It's kind of all-purpose! I got rid of old make-up, expired prescriptions, and a host of other things that made their way into it. I guess when it's all-purpose, anything can happen, haha.

8) ... wondered - how does one count computer files? I've done a bit of trashing there too. I haven't included it in my totals, but as I've been working on those photo books, I'm finding duplicate photos stored all over the place. I've made sure I have at least one copy on the desktop, but have gotten rid of the duplicates. It's backed up on the external hard-drive, and that's all we need. Plus, the best of the best are now stored on Shutt.erfly!

Whew. I feel so good about all of this. I should really do it more often. Doing so has definitely made me think about what I buy, what I accept, and what I bring into the house. I have a ton of "accepted" books when it comes to teaching. I can't count the number of times someone has said "Oh, my insert-name-here took piano lessons, but doesn't anymore... take it off my hands! could you use this?" One time recently I was able to decline politely. It felt REALLY good. And boy did she ever try to get rid of it! I should really not even pick whatever-it-is up when they try to give it to me. Haha. I've started a bag to be donated to a local music teacher's organization that holds a music swap at meetings. I still have more to go through; then I'll add it to my total.

OK... it's time for lunch. And now I have the urge to purge even more! :-D
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