Friday, May 28, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Friday, May 21, 2010
Aren't Fridays the best? Shoot, even in tax season when I have to work weekends, I still love me a Friday! Even a rainy one. Had my 2nd acupuncture session today and it went well. I was a little flustered leaving the office for my appointment - we had a fire drill right before I had to leave. OK not a drill, fire alarm. So the whole building was evacuated and we all had to stand outside for like 30 minutes. Which left me a whole 10 minutes to scarf down my Moo Goo lunch and head out the door. Which means I forgot things like, my list of foods I meant to ask Dr. Liu about... but I managed to remember a few! Instant grits: OK, Oatmeal: OK, Decaf coffee? "You don't need that, no good. Drink hot water." Boo on that.
Anyway, so I just got home a few minutes ago to find a card from kuntry bride in the mail. Haven't mentioned her in a while, but she's one of my best friends whom I love to pieces. And my heart just melted when I opened this unexpected thank-you note...
I want to thank you and [the hub] for inviting us to [Buckhead] church with y'all and as a result helping us find Southside [Church]. We have been in search of a church for some time now but have struggled to find a church home. We feel at home at Southside. Andy's sermons are so uplifting. We especially love how he relates to everyday life. His advice and guidance is amazing and unbelievable. You are an inspiration to me and I just want to thank you for helping me reignite my relationship with God. Please pray for us on our journey to grow in Christ. You continue to be in our prayers!
Wowsers. Talk about a Friday afternoon tear jerker! Didn't see this one coming... you just never know when people are watching and you're really affecting their lives. I'm not posting this letter to say "yay, I'm so awesome" (well...), but it's such a great reminder that God is always using us - sometimes when we don't even know it. I'm so thankful that we are a part of a church that is so AWESOME and irresistible that it makes it incredibly easy to invite people to join us on any random Sunday.
Hope you all have fabu weekends! We've got some fun plans with friends, but also have some down time to relax and tackle laundry (which is oddly relaxing to me - for the most part). Catch you on the other side...
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
It's been an interesting week here full of all things new... I went to see Dr. Liu on Monday to try out acupuncture. This has been a part of our plan for a while, and we were gearing up to do our last IUI attempt in the next month, so I wanted to go ahead and get started. My OB/GYN has been pushing me to do it, and I've been reading up on acupuncture and fertility. My friend, Jill, recommended The Infertility Cure and I've been eating it up on my Kindle. So I already had an idea of what to expect going in...
The acupuncture session itself was pretty simple. There were needles in my head, my wrists, my knees, and my feet. And apparently I'm very "weak" right now. Which makes some sense... I mean coming out of tax season where I haven't been working out AT ALL and probably not eating the best either - that'll do it. Dr. Liu explained that my body just isn't ready for IUI yet. She works with infertility patients a lot and is familiar with my RE and understands my issues. My biggest *thing* is my thin lining. I was told I have poor circulation right now, and creating a good environment for baby is all about bloodflow. But she kept saying that my big issue is implantation and not actually "getting" pregnant. The fact that I had that one chemical pregnancy last year proves that I can conceive. So she really believes that with several cycles doing acupuncture, herbs, and making diet changes, that we could possibly get knocked up naturally! That was amazing to hear... I mean I don't have any other big hormone imbalances that acupuncture can't help, so it's certainly worth a try, right?
It's not a cheap process... she wants to see me twice a week and sometimes more frequently during certain parts of my cycle. With the herbs, I'm thinking it will cost around $1,000 to $1,250 a month. One IUI cycle costs around $1,500+ a month, and after that we're looking at IVF which is of course much, much more. So we are thinking this is a good plan - not to mention so much less invasive then all the hormones and junk you're put on when going through IUI or IVF. How amazing would it be if we could achieve pregnancy without all that mess?
Monday was a bit overwhelming though... just a lot information to process. I went ahead and started on my herbs, which are really just a bunch of weird looking pills. Some are smelly. Dr. Liu has me on a very restricted diet too... and trying to figure out what the hell I could eat was making my head hurt. The biggest challenge is no dairy. I love me some dairy... oh goodness. And Monday night I finally got myself back into yoga class... only to find this effin' cute little pregnant girl in there with her friggin' cute little maternity yoga outfit. Ugh. My excitement turned into why-the-hell-do-I-have-to-do-all-this-shit-to-get-that?! Make that maybe get that. I bet she got knocked up by accident. That bitch. (These are the thoughts running through my head while holding my Warrior II.) My head was pounding by the time I got home and I couldn't think of anything that we had in our pantry that I was "allowed" to eat. So I just went to bed. Pathetic.
But now, I'm doing much better. I feel good and I'm doing well with the herbs. I miss my morning coffee (no caffeine allowed), but I'm managing. I went to Wally World last night and loaded up on lots of veggies and fruits. There's plenty that I can eat, it just requires some planning. Jill has helped me lots since she was on a similar diet with Dr. Liu when she went through IVF last year. So I'm doing OK with it all... it's just a weird and sudden change. But hey, let's go for it! The hub is being super supportive... I don't talk enough about how awesome he is with all of this. He insisted on coming to my initial appointment with me and offered to do the diet with me too. But who am I to deny anyone his coffee? Or CHEESE? Hello.
It's an adventure, that's for sure. So anyway, after hearing what Dr. Liu had to say, we're now planning to see how things go with just acupuncture/herbs/diet for 3-6 months. IUI is on hold for now in case we get the job done ourselves. This is a new path we didn't really see coming, so it's exciting to think about. I'll keep you guys updated!
Friday, May 14, 2010
Well on Wednesday, Charlie decided to start urping. Which of course sends us into a panic because we're especially sensitive to any change in him these days. And his whole sickness/surgery/cancer thing a couple of months ago all started with vomiting. Suddenly it looked like it all was coming back with a vengeance. He continued to vomit all day and again the next morning. We found ourselves in bed Thursday morning discussing our plans for when we'd ultimately have to put him down... just laying in bed with him crying. We were hanging on to hope that this was just a random tummy ache but couldn't help thinking "is this it?" Well, praise God, we haven't seen Charlie up-chuck since mid-morning yesterday (Thursday). And he started eating some again yesterday and has been much more of himself. So it's been over 24 hours... we're a little afraid to celebrate just yet, but he appears to be getting over whatever it was. Hang in there, buddy! Meanwhile, our oldest (Belly) is thinking, "what the hell is wrong with you dogs? Get it together and stop smellin' up my bedroom!"
Yeah, so we're glad to start the weekend with three happy dogs. And in other news, we're in the middle of this awesome new sermon series by Andy Stanley at church called "Guardrails." (My dog-vomit intro doesn't really lead into that so well, but whatever.) We all know what guardrails are - those ugly metal beams alongside the highway that keep you from running off the road and into danger. Well the whole premise of this series is establishing "guardrails" in different areas of your life to keep you from heading into dangerous or forbidden territory (i.e. screwing up your life). It's about making the conscious decision to define behaviors for yourself to keep you out of trouble and protect the relationships you have. Andy talks about how we have to be intentional with setting these standards for ourselves because we're always tempted to live right on the edge of disaster. So we need to set boundaries for ourselves - guardrails far from that real "line" we never want to cross - so that we never find ourselves up against it.
The series focuses on various areas where we all need guardrails - friendships, finances, and marriage. But I found the marriage piece SO fascinating. I've always said to the hub that there are just "certain things you don't do when you're married." I've never really defined that, but you know... there are just things you don't do cuz you're married. I'm sure a lot of my friends would disagree. But OMG don't you just love it when someone *official* (like your pastor) confirms something you've been saying or feeling all this time?
So Andy specifically laid out 5 guardrails for married folks. He also did a list for singles which is awesome, but I'm just focusing on the married right now. These are not found in the Bible anywhere... these are nothing but "standard operating procedures" for protecting your marriage. Guardrails are important in all the major areas of our lives, but Andy noted that establishing them to protect your sexual purity, whether you're married or single, is the most important. Because you can overcome a financial disaster and completely recover, but very rarely do people fully recover from an affair. So don't deceive yourself into thinking "this can never happen to us!" Be proactive in protecting your marriage and establish these boundaries for yourself. By doing so, you're making a decision. By not doing so, you're making a decision. I think these are awesome and totally on point, but I'm curious to know what y'all think. Here are the 5 guardrails for married couples...
(1) Don't travel alone with members of the opposite sex.
Andy talked about how he went out of his way not to do this (i.e. carpooling to work) even when it seemed convenient.
(2) Don't eat alone with members of the opposite sex.
This one is huge - Andy especially stressed the importance of this one. Throughout all the years he counseled couples struggling with infidelity, he said ALL but one relationship/affair began here. "Oh let's grab a coffee... let's get lunch..." And yes, there are times when you'll find yourself in one of these situations unexpectedly. It's OK, you don't have to scream "NO!" and run out of the restaurant. Just take a minute to phone your spouse and tell them what's going on.
(3) Don't hire cute members of the opposite sex because you want to help them.
That one of course got a good laugh from the audience. You've seen too many movies not to know where this leads... Don't deceive yourself into thinking you're "helping" them. Get them help, but don't hire them.
(4) Don't confide in or counsel members of the opposite sex.
So true... doesn't take a genius to know that's dangerous ground.
(5) When you feel your heart or desire drifting toward a specific person, tell someone.
Whether it's a sister, a best friend, a small group member... tell someone. Someone who will hold you accountable.
I'm sure some of you think these might be a bit extreme... but what wouldn't you be willing to do (or not do) to protect your marriage? You certainly wouldn't *regret* adopting these guardrails. It's not as though having coffee with another man or woman is a sin... it's about drawing a line for yourself and choosing not to cross it. It's important to know your spouse's guardrails - so you can hold him or her accountable! And you also want to be comfortable with your spouse's guardrails. But ladies, think about it... if you knew your husband set these boundaries for himself, how awesome would that make you feel?
It's an incredible series overall, but I definitely encourage y'all to go check out this specific sermon that goes over the guardrails for marrieds and singles. Andy does a MUCH better job selling the idea than I do. Hop over here and click on the yellow square for "Guardrails." The 5/2/10 message, "Flee Baby Flee," is the one you want. You can also download a podcast version. Have a listen and let me know your thoughts!
And have a fabulous weekend, all! Later...
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
- Homemade red sangria
- Spring mix salad with goat cheese, roasted sunflower seeds, tomatoes and creamy balsamic dressing
- Shrimp and veggie kabobs over rice pilaf
- And a really fancy boxed brownie dessert! Though, I have to say, I only like brownies out of the box. Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Supreme - I dare you to make anything better! Not possible.
Our weekend was rather action-packed from start to finish, as they all have been lately... so I decided to stay home yesterday and put my domestic diva hat on. I had a mountain of laundry to tackle and our closet was a mess. So I got a lot of stuff done and feel MUCH better about starting the work week now.
Saturday we were running around and that afternoon we had a party to attend on a house boat. It was a good time... for the first 2 hours. But when the boat was still out past 11pm, I was wishing I could call in a helicopter. I'm just NOT a late night person and I was so ready to get home. Plus we had to be up early the next morning for church - not cool.
But here's how my weekend started off... I left work a little early on Friday because it was a friggin' ghost town at the office. My dad had caught this post on my blog and as I was pulling into my garage at home, I saw on my blackberry that he had sent this message. I just sat in my car and cried... so thankful and so blessed to have such amazing parents that are behind us all the way. Infertility can be so lonely and incredibly isolating. You often just get forgotten and the world continues to spin on without you. Having the people that matter to you supporting you, and more importantly, saying so again and again - that's what keeps you going...
Sent: Fri, May 7, 2010
Subject: Like You Like Me
I read your blog this morning and it made me think about how much you and I are alike in so many ways. Like you, I'm much better at using a keyboard than my mouth. That's true for me both professionally and personally --- I even have a reputation for it at work. I also have a comfort level with letting [Mom] handle most of the communication with you and [the hub] on my behalf. I feel guilty that I don't talk with you more, but tend to hold back because [Mom] chats/emails with you all of the time. If we're both coming at you from different directions, I feel like it might be too much. I don't know if that's right or not, but it's just where my head is. I value my privacy and know you do too. So, I leave it to you to straighten me out if that's not the case. I'm just sensitive to the idea that you and [the hub] have your own life to live, and don't want us to be a burden or dominating in any way.
What I'm really trying to say is that I love you and you mean the world to me. I feel it and think it all the time, but just don't say it --- so as Gran would often tell me when I bugged him about something, "I need to work on that". I'm sure you probably know but if you don't, [Mom] and I talk a lot about the challenge you and [the hub] have with making babies. So, I need to say and you need to know that I desperately want to help you both get there in any way I can --- just as much as [Mom] does. There are no boundaries we wouldn't cross to help make it happen. We are both behind you one-thousand percent. You and [the hub] just need to decide on the path and let us know how we can help get you there.
I'm sitting here with my door closed and tears in my eyes, so I better move on before somebody comes barging in.
You have a wonderful new year ahead of you, so keep your spirits high with a smile on your face and in your heart, because I know good things are coming your way.
With all my love,
Friday, May 7, 2010
Thursday, May 6, 2010
I can't believe it's May already. Which makes it seriously ridiculous that I'm just now getting around to posting about our 2010 goals. How about that for procrastination? The first quarter of every year is just spent in a fog, so I feel like I'm only now able to spread my wings. My "real" year's just getting started!
But before I move on, let me first say how grateful I am for all the sweet comments you guys left on my last post. Your encouraging words are so heartfelt and I just soak them all up! Thank you! I'm not a big "talker" in the real world - never have been - so I really use bloggy world to express a lot of my funk. It's super therapeutic for me and if it helps someone else out? Hey, bonus. I suppose it's pretty easy to be open and honest when hiding behind a keyboard. Most of y'all don't *really* know me - I mean I don't share personal photos on here (of people anyway) and don't use my real name. Though it's not hard to figure out and a lot of my friends and fam have stumbled upon me here, so I always post bearing in mind that anyone I know could be reading. I'd be stupid not too. But really, I just find it so much easier and comfortable to express myself through writing than speaking. I wish I was better at the latter, but whatev.
Anyway, so 2010, huh? Well, as most of you know, the hub and I are in the midst of our "Total Money Makeover" a la Dave Ramsey. Still on baby step #2, paying off all of our consumer debt (everything but the house, that is). Totally need to update our progress on my sidebar because those numbers are obviously way old. We've made some serious strides over the last 19 months but it just feels like we're going at a snail's pace right now. Truthfully, we haven't had a "normal" (for us) income since we started this gig. We've been rolling on approximately 50-60% of the income we had grown accustomed to beforehand. So from day 1, we had to do a total about-face on the way we handled money. Insert major behavior changes and the dreaded budget! It's been a hard 19 months, but we have learned so many life lessons and are SO the better for it. As I sit here typing in my $10 consignment store skirt (thanks, Mom!), I can't help but laugh at the old me and how much I've changed. I'm still me and I still love the same things - that doesn't change! This girl loves her stuff, that's for sure. But my worldview is entirely different. Simply, I've grown up. And I could go on for miles about all this but anyway, that's where we are right now in that process. So our debt snowball is rolling - slowly, but it's rolling. And therefore two of our big goals this year are (1) to find a full-time job for the hub where he can really take off, and (2) to have our snowball down to our one last consumer debt by the end of the year (that big beast - the hub's student loan). Right now it feels as though we're chipping away at our debt with a spoon. The crappy plastic kind that breaks if you try to take too big of a bite. But by the time we get to that last debt on the list, we'll be hammering away with a freakin' shovel. Can't wait!
Our third big goal for this year? Make a baby. My mother has affectionately told me to "get on with it." So we're kind of working through that right now and trying to figure out what to do. All kinds of factors come into play here... one minute I'm ready, the next I'm not. There's a lot of fear there because we're not comfortable where we are financially today (in terms of adding another mouth to feed). So just pray that the hub and I can continue to lean on the Lord and seek his wisdom here.
We also have all kinds of other little goals and wishes for 2010, but those are our big three. My parents got us this adorable wooden Christmas advent calendar a couple of years ago. So while putting away our Christmas decorations earlier this year, we decided to write down our goals and wishes for the New Year and tuck each of them into one of the days on the calendar. When we pull everything back out this December, we'll get to look back at our goals and see how far we've come.
As with every new year, ups and downs come that were never a part of the plan. We certainly never imagined the hub would still be out of work at this point. But I never imagined we could *survive* this long with him out of work either. God has been truly amazing... and now I really see that decision we made 19 months ago to start tithing - no matter what - coming to fruition. We handed over control of "our" money to God that day and never looked back. It seems mathematically stupid and irresponsible on paper. But the peace that comes with it is absolutely priceless. And we're not one of these couples saying, "oh God will provide so we're just going to sit here and wait." On what, the government? Geez. God gave us an ass so we could work it off! We'll get there. But really, God has provided like we never would've believed. He is ever faithful and reaffirms that trust everyday... and it's with that trust that we keep plugging along, knowing we'll eventually get there.
And of course our other scare this year has been sweet Charlie's cancer. The thought of losing him never entered our thoughts when thinking about 2010! In a few days, he will be at his 2-month prognosis mark... and the boy is still doing great. He did give us a fright yesterday morning when he threw up his dinner from the night before. That's how it all started the first time. My heart just started racing when I heard him throwing it up. I was half asleep, but I woke the hub up and had him turn on the lights in our bedroom. Charlie had thrown up a full meal, but I also found some pieces of what looked like part of a plastic bag and other not-normal stuff. He's not one to get into trash (unless it's food), so this was odd. We have a theory on how he ate it, but I'll spare you the details (not all of his habits are cute). Anyway, we were hoping it was just an isolated incident where he swallowed something that didn't agree with him. So we've kept a close eye on him since then and he hasn't thrown up again. And he seems to feel fine! And extremely eager to eat everything in sight - which is par for the course with him. But yeah, this whole situation with Charlie has been a tough one. Our three doggies are everything to us. I know they won't always be with us, but I can't imagine our little world without any of them. They're each so different and so special in their own silly way.
So far 2010 has been a rather frustrating year... but it's not over! And honestly my tax season schedule does NOT help with that - anything frustrating is made exponentially moreso because all I live and breathe is work for that 3+ months. So here's to better and brighter days from here on out! I still hold out great hope for this year. For now, I'm trying to get back on track with God - on a daily basis, that is - rather than just waving at him from across the street every now and then. Which is totally where I've been lately. I'm constantly having to remind myself to take it one day at a time. To prepare for tomorrow but not to worry about it. I have my freak-out moments every now and then but I'm generally not a worrier. But it is a daily decision not to worry... a daily prayer.
OK did this get depressing somehow? Wasn't supposed to. I think there's a lot of fabulous left to unfold in 2010! I'm just having to sift through a bunch of muckity muck before I find it. I hope this year brings many blessings - whatever they look like - to all of you. So here's a late toast to the New Year... CHEERS!