Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Missing my boy.

I don't usually post personal (people) pics on here, and don't really intend to change that... but I just love this picture. This was taken maybe a half hour or so before we said our final goodbyes to sweet Charlie. He was awfully sick Monday morning but after a couple of pain pills and some peanut butter, he had some energy to get outside for a bit and catch some sunshine.

I can't describe the pain I feel for this boy. I knew letting him go would be hard, but goodness it hurts. Monday night and all of yesterday was incredibly rough. I was constantly reminded of how much Charlie was a part of my routine at different parts of the day. There were traces of him everywhere. And coming home last night, knowing he wouldn't be there to greet me broke my heart again.

We miss him so, but of course are so grateful for the life he had with us and that he is not in pain anymore. I will write more on him later - there is so much to share. There's so much that I miss. But for now we're just trying to heal a bit. Thank you SO much for all your kind words and prayers. Every comment here and on twitter means a lot to me and the hub. We are hanging in there!

Monday, June 21, 2010

My buddy.

Charlie Heath Ledger Rogers

July 2003 - June 21, 2010

We love you, buddy.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Summer Concert Series

OK so I just heard from the hub - sounds like we are definitely on for the concert tonight. This is the 3rd of a month-long series of free concerts at a neighborhood/community up here called Sterling on the Lake. We went a couple of weeks ago to the '80's night one and it was so fun! You can bring in coolers, chairs, and whatnot - some people go all out with tents and tables. Only cost is a $5 per car parking fee. Each concert has a theme - tonight's is country. I'm not a huge country fan, but our friends sure are. It'll be fun. They have a great amphitheatre area on a big lawn, so it's a great casual venue for an outdoor concert. Tons of kids there and doggies are welcome too!

So if you're up in the Gwinnett area, definitely check it out. It's a fun, cheap evening for the whole fam. Tonight is kuntry and then next week (the last one for the year) is Motown.

Hmm... guess I'll have to shower afterall.

Look Mom, No Hands!

Aw, bust.

That's my high-flying husband. We were on the lake last Sunday - had a great time! Everyone was wake boarding, but I was just sitting pretty eating my Moo Goo snacks and soaking up the sun (a la SPF 45 of course). No rigorous exercise for me, thanks. And slamming my body into the water at high speeds sounds a bit rigorous.

No lake this weekend, but it's a fun one. Last night we had our couples' small group over for an in-home cooking class with a professional chef. SO fun! And hello, we got all the leftovers! Didn't even think about that when we volunteered to host, but hey... bonus! Of course, I can't have any of them - ha. But the hub's happy. Y'all would be so proud... I mean we are talking all these fabulous appetizers (our class was just a bunch of different appetizers) and like 75% of them involved cheese. Sad! But I was good. I brought out my own Moo Goo friendly crackers so I could have some hummus and fruit salsa. And there were a couple of meat dishes I could partake in - some flank steak skewers and some teriyaki chicken wings. Ugh, and she made this delicious looking Sangria (y'all know how I love me some Sangria!) and I had to stick with my room-temp water. Boring, but I managed. It was such a fun time anyway though. And our small group also declared that for our next meeting we're all bringing Moo Goo friendly snacks (we all bring an appetizer/dish to share at group meetings)! So sweet! Guess it'll be lots of meat... ha!

Though I have discovered that I can have corn tortillas. I'm not a big fan of them, but hey - that means I can have enchiladas and I guess hard taco shells too. Finding all the things I can eat at a Mexican restaurant has been essential. Anyway, so I bought stuff to make enchiladas and I think we'll give that a go tonight.

Tomorrow we're putting together a Greek-themed menu for Father's Day. My parents are coming over for dinner. I'm going to attempt Baklava for dessert - I found what looks like a really good, simple recipe. Working with filo dough is the hardest part! I think I'll have to try a small bite once I make it... I mean, the dough is paper thin and all. Just a bite though!

Alright... gotta put together my grocery list and get moving. Feels so good to have a clean house today and not have to worry about any of that! We may go to a free concert tonight with some friends... I'm not sure what the plan is. But if that doesn't pan out, I'm totally cool with chillin' a la casa tonight too. Shoot, I may not even shower. *Gasp!*

Monday, June 14, 2010

Food Fantasies

Man, my Moo Goo will was really tested over the last few days!  I was out of the office for CPE (continuing ed) on Thursday and Friday.  So I was confronted with all kinds of goodies...  delicious breakfast buffets full of savory biscuits and other cheese-covered goodness.  Bagels and all kind of breakfast pastries and muffins.  Coffee bar!  You should know that days at CPE are those that I drink more coffee than any other day of the year.  So I was stuck with fruit and water. 
Lunch was the hardest.  We eat in a big banquet room and are served a plated meal.  So our salads are already sitting out when we're seated.  Can't eat salads... so I'm just like twiddling my thumbs and hoping no one's really noticing that I'm not touching mine.  The main course is doable... it's usually a meat and at least some veggies.  The second day was a filet with veggies and polenta - sweet!  I could eat it all!  Except for the cheese mess on top of the filet.  I of course had to pass on the dessert each day - which is just sitting there behind my plate during the entire meal, staring me in the face!  Luckily, neither dessert from either day really did it for me.  So I wasn't missing much!  (I'm really weird about desserts - there are only a few I like.)  But not getting to eat certain things at lunch wasn't hard - it was the attention that I hated!  "Do you not like salad?"  Yep, I knew that was coming, so off I went explaining my Moo Goo diet to a near stranger.  It's funny - some people are totally fascinated by it and others look at me like I just told them I'm thinking about joining the circus.
Oh but the worst?  The afternoon snacks!  OMG.  First day they had ginormous cookies.  Not too hard to pass up, but next to those?  This gorgeous tiered display of all these fab cheeses.  I could live on cheese alone - this was killing me.  Goat cheese, gouda, brie, bleu cheese, and everything in between... Lord help me.  But I was good.  I passed on it.  And the second day?  Giant baked pretzels with mustard.  Those are fun, but easily passed.  But then...  ice cream.  Freaking Ben & Jerry's ice cream.  Are you kidding me?  Once again... I ate fruit and sipped on my room temperature water.
This weekend we also had a party to go to and party food has always been my weakness!  Chips and dip...  bring it!  But there are very few chips I can eat.  They have to be all natural, etc.  And dips?  Yeah, considering most are made with some form of dairy, there's few of those I can pig out on too.  So really, Moo Goo is not all that bad - all of my true "weaknesses" when it comes to food have pretty much been nixed from my diet.  BUT the party hosts happened to have crackers that I *can* eat along with hummus and guacamole (both of which I can eat!)... that was such a fun surprise!  And the main feast was BBQ, which I can also eat my fair share of...  I know the sauce and whatnot most definitely has some sugar and other crap I'm not really supposed to have, but I honestly don't get that severe with it.  So I was able to gobble up some BBQ pork, baked beans, and potato salad.  Had to pass on the flowing wine (swoon) and brownies and ice cream for dessert (double swoon).  But I had a full belly - I was happy.
So yeah, I find that challenges really come when I'm not in control of the food.  But I'm dealing - it's all good.  And I feel great, so it's all worth it.  Plus, I'm picking up some new recipes!  We tried out a great turkey meatloaf recipe last week.  Loved it!  I went by the book but for the bread crumbs (used oats instead and you totally can't tell!).  And I tried a black bean cake recipe.  It was OK, but I was missing some of the ingredients.  I'm going to keep experimenting with those - I think I can find a really good one.  If y'all have one, do share!  A lot of them call for sweet potatoes, so I want to try one of those.  Oh!  And I also made chicken salad for the first time ever!  Not hard, just never had actually done it before!  It turned out great - I truly surprised myself.  I just boiled chicken, shredded it and mixed it with some light mayo, celery seed (I can't do raw veggies, so seeds it is), black pepper, sunflower seeds, and some bacon.  It was great!
Not to pat my own back, but pat pat!  I am doing great sticking to this diet.  Which surprises this food-obsessed girl!  Many people have asked if the hub is doing it along with me.  He definitely offered but I told him no way - that is silly.  Plus, his needs are different from mine.  This diet is specially geared for me and my issues/needs.  But he has given up the coffee.  Our poor Keurig is collecting dust right now!  I've been on the hunt for some teas but haven't found any decaf varieties yet that really appeal to me.  Any suggestions out there?
And one thing I find oddly fun and strangely satisfying is discussing food fantasies with the hub.  We'll just be driving somewhere and I'll randomly say, "OK I want a mint cookies n' cream milkshake from Steak and Shake.  YES!  OK as soon as we get pregnant and are in the 'safe zone' I am having a mint oreo milkshake!"  When do I ever eat milkshakes?  Um, never.  Talk about a calorie buster.  But I just keep coming up with these off-the-wall food items that I decide I must have.  So I've started a food fantasy list and it looks something like this...
- The obvious mint cookies n' cream milkshake from Steak and Shake, sans whip cream and cherry (those take away from it, if you ask me)
- A big ole bottle of my favorite wine, Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc, chilled to perfection
- All the corner pieces from a pan of Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Brownies (best brownies in the world!!!!)
- Cheese dip and a big carafe of red Sangria from La Paz all to myself
- A Carvel chocolate ice cream cake (Not sure when or why that one came up!  Random!)
- A big pitcher of frozen margaritas and fajita nachos at our local dirty Mexican joint
And the list keeps growing...  it seems to revolve around cheese, alcohol, and chocolate.  Haven't had any coffee fantasies.  Guess I don't miss it all that much!  Ha!  So what's your food fantasy?  What's that one thing you can't have because of diet restrictions or illness or whatever that sounds like pure heaven?  A girl can dream...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Three Cheers for Moo Goo!

I had acupuncture session #5 yesterday afternoon.  This time Dr. Liu put needles in my belly!  Craziness.  She was talking a lot about how opposite the needs for men and women are.  Women need warmth.  Men need cold.  Women who live in warmer climates live longer.  The opposite is true for men.  Those pesky monthly cycles?  They actually prolong our lives, girls.  Because we're continually "cleaning out" our systems.  Even diet needs are so different for men and women.  Yesterday she mentioned oysters...  good for men, bad for women (well, good thing I don't care for them).  And she also told me to eat fresh pineapple the day before and the day of ovulation.  It's full of enzymes that help an embryo implant.  Perhaps this is why the pineapple is the international symbol of welcoming?  Ha... maybe.
I'm so, so fascinated by Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) right now.  I'm finishing up The Infertility Cure (finally) and I'm just eating this stuff up.  The doctor who wrote this book incorporates both Chinese and Western methods with her patients, so it in no way dismisses Western medicine.  But what's so interesting is how different the approach to wellness is between the two.  Western medicine zeroes in on a problem and attacks that problem with a hammer.  TCM backs up and looks at the whole body...  as in, particular symptoms are the result of an imbalance somewhere.  So let's get the body back in balance and the symptoms will go away.  TCM is all about balance... Yin and Yang.  Like for me, I have a Kidney Yang deficiency (among other things).  You can have areas of excess or deficiency in your body, and TCM identifies those areas based on everyday symptoms (crazy stuff like the color of your tongue, or the temperature of your belly, or how sweaty your palms are).  And then a combination of herbs, diet changes, and methods such as acupuncture are used to correct those imbalances and restore the body to health.
It's seriously wicked cool and I *wish* it was more embraced over here as a true form of treatment - for whatever ails you.  There's so much proven response to it with fertility cases, but TCM can treat so much more.  Unfortunately, it's not cheap and most health insurance providers won't cover it.  Each acupuncture session I have is $90 and the herbs are more on top of that.  That's just not practical for most people, and that sucks.  Everything has its place, but I think Western medicine dismisses so many symptoms we all experience as "normal" without a second thought.  I was reading about our menstrual cycles, which was so eye-opening.  All these symptoms that many of us have before and during our periods that have always been labeled "normal?"  Cramping, bloating, breast tenderness, spotting... all that?  NOT normal according to TCM.  Doesn't mean there's something hugely wrong with you, but there is an imbalance somewhere.  Something's off.  And how long or short, heavy or light your cycle is says A LOT about what's going on with you.  Honestly, it makes you wonder how the hell anyone gets pregnant because so many things have to be in check for a successful pregnancy to take place and stay put.  It's amazing - only God, y'all.
So yeah, I'm obviously loving this whole new path we've taken.  We've been at it for over 3 weeks now and I already feel like a new person.  The diet changes have been tough, but really not so bad overall.  As long I can control my meals (i.e. pack my lunch, cook dinner, etc) it's really not that hard.  It's on days like today - where the office had lunch catered in - that it's difficult.  Deli sandwiches and salads... sounds easy right?  Not when you can't eat anything *cold* or any refined carbs.  So that leaves out any of the breads and the pasta salad...  none of the raw veggies on the sandwiches...  I ended up picking a chicken salad sandwich and eating it open-faced.  They did have a carrot salad but Lord knows it was full of sugar - oh well.  And I grabbed a honkin' huge pickle.  Ate only half of it because those suckers are loaded with sodium.  So I'm not feeling very full, but whatever.  I've got plenty of Moo Goo approved snacks here in my food drawer.
Diet issues aside, it's all worth it.  The herbs I'm on have me feeling great.  They are all in pill form, but I take 91 pills a day.  I seriously have a spreadsheet to keep up with it - it was very overwhelming at first, but now it's nothing.  I can't have any caffeine at all, but I truly don't need it.  Sure, I sometimes miss the taste and warmth of coffee first thing in the morning, but I certainly don't need the upper.  And almost immediately after starting the herbs, I noticed that 2pm slump went away.  Those slow afternoons at work where I was like, "Oh geez, I need a diet coke."  Not anymore.  And with taking 91 freaking pills a day, I by default down a ridiculous amount of water.  So I know that helps too.  All I drink now is water.  At room temperature.  I've learned to order "water no ice" whenever out.  I asked about hot teas at the doctor yesterday so I think I'll check some of those out.  I'm a big fan of hot tea, but just haven't gone there yet.  It's got to be decaf, so I'll need to do a little experimenting there.
Overall, I especially feel like my hope for a baby has gotten a big steroid boost.  Totally renewed.  The fact that we're doing something period makes a big difference, but I truly, truly believe in this method and what it can possibly do for us.  It's all about preparing your body for a child and taking care of yourself.  We of course don't know if this is our answer, but we certainly hold out great hope for it and are going to give it all we've got.  Even if we don't conceive naturally here, we can still incorporate all of this with IUI or IVF.  So there's really nothing to lose. 
And my greatest revelation so far?  Yesterday afternoon a friend forwarded me ultrasound photos.  The subject of her email read, "Thought I'd share." In the email, before I opened the attached photos, she said, "And can I ask how you guys are doing?"  So I kind of had an idea of what the pic was before I opened it.  I'll preface this with saying that my initial reaction to emails with pregnancy or baby news of any kind is usually a huge eye roll.  It feels like someone is running me over in a minivan with one of those obnoxious "Baby on Board" stickers.  And then backing up and doing it again.  Hate them, hate them, hate them.  Delete, delete, delete.  BUT, when I opened these pics I can honestly say I was genuinely excited for her and immediately showered her with congratulations.  It didn't hit me till a few minutes later how unusual that reaction was for me.  It's really impossible to communicate that difference with someone who's never struggled with infertility for years.  But it is huge.  What a sense of peace, really.  And this morning I just praised God for that moment - such a huge moment for me.  And prayed that it was not a one time thing, but a sign of a renewed attitude with all of this.  I know I gripe about my sorry attitude with fertiles sometimes - but you must know how much I hate that I feel that way.  So this little email was very enlightening for me personally... I hope it's something I'll continue to see happen.  I fully credit my Moo Goo plan.  I think it's opened me up some emotionally - like the other day I just burst out into tears and let all this stuff out with the hub.  Came out of nowhere!  It was like this huge release.  Maybe it's just an upswing for the time being, but I'll take it.  Time will tell. 
Alright, off to down some more herbs...


Summer is Belly's favorite time of year... cuz Dad breaks out the water hose and kiddie pool. She's our water baby, that's for sure. The other two? Not so much. Gertie will occasionally wade in the pool, but Charlie will get as far away from the water as possible - if he's not inside, he's usually on the deck with his nose pressed against the door.

Charlie is doing great, by the way! He finally had some beautiful *normal* dog poo this weekend after a long week of not-normal dog poo. He hasn't thrown up since late last week and he's been eating well. He's still very very slow eating, but he eventually gets it done. And he takes his pills like a champ - probably because we coat them in peanut butter. But yeah, big improvement over last week, so we are hopeful that this past episode was really just that - an episode that's about over. Still keeping a close watch on our buddy, but we're grateful he's wagging that tail again! Thanks for the prayers!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Change of Plans

Today was supposed to be a let's-hurry-up-and-get-out-of-town Friday, but it has turned into a lazy Friday at home with the dogs. We had planned to head up to Knoxville this morning to visit the hub's parents for the weekend and we were really looking forward to the little getaway... but poor Charlie has been sick again this week. After taking him to the vet yesterday and changing up his meds some, we decided it'd be best to stay home and keep a close eye on him.

He has been sick on and off all week and very iffy about his food. Again, his #1 favorite thing in the world is food. So if he's not eating, we know it's bad. Of course we're always thinking, "is this it?" whenever he gets sick because his cancer could return at any time. The vet thinks his issues this week though may be the result of some ulcers forming in his stomach because of the combo of meds he's been on the last couple of months. With his new meds, we should know in a couple of days if it's something that'll clear up or if it's indeed the cancer coming back with a vengeance.

Like we've said from the beginning, we just want to keep him happy and comfortable as long as possible. We've already had the tough talk about our "plan" for him once the time comes. Ugh, that's such a not-fun topic. I hate thinking about our home without our fuzzy boy. I'm praying this is just ulcers or whatever - something that will go away after a couple of days. We know we're on borrowed time with him, but oh let's please just stretch it out a little longer, Lord!

Well speaking of Charlie... I've got to run and give him his morning dose of pills! Boy needs his own pill box for crying out loud.

Hope y'all have a fabulous Friday! I'm off - weeeee!!! Just enjoying some time at home with the hub and our silly pups.