Monday, February 28, 2011

Looking Good!

I had my SHG today.  I threw back some Tylenol about an hour beforehand and I'm glad I did!  Apparently my cervix was being tricky today and the tech was having trouble getting the catheter in the right place.  Aren't you jealous?  I was there forever.  My initial ultrasound was quick, but then I had to wait 30+ minutes for the tech. Thank goodness for my Kindle!  But I love both this particular ultrasound tech and the tech who did the procedure, so no complaints.  We all had a good discussion on books we're reading while examining my girly parts. 
Dr. Toledo still has to review the pics, but the tech said the screen shots look great and she saw NO sign of any residual septum!  She also looked back at my pics from my SHG last fall and definitely could see a big difference. So it sounds like that 3rd surgery did the trick!  I am very encouraged.  I'm excited to hear what Dr. T thinks.  Funny thing is I will see him on Wednesday because I'm meeting a fellow IF buddy for her transfer.  So maybe he will have news for me, but it's not my day so I won't bug him then!  My friend is having her first actual transfer after a couple of failed IVF attempts.  She is doing her first donor egg cycle and I'm SO thrilled for her!  Her hubby is actually up north currently in school.  He flew down last week to make his *deposit* but can't be here for the transfer, so I will be a stand-in hubby! 
So yeah, exciting stuff.  I should be starting back acupuncture in 3 or 4 weeks!  I'm ready to get this ball rolling.  For now, I'm working on getting back on my Moo Goo diet.  I was a disaster this past weekend... the hub's birthday was on Friday and we went out to a local Italian spot and ate enough for 4 families.  And we went to Krispy Kreme Sunday morning instead of church.  An entirely different house of worship.  And then I ran into one of my particularly *fit* friends the same day and I literally felt like a glazed donut.  Hahahha... neh, but I'm definitely ready to get back into yoga and be eating better.  I can no longer use my surgery and estrogen intake as an excuse!  So here's to a healthy March!  Can you believe tomorrow is March?!
Hope y'all are having a great week!  Back to work...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

R.I.P. Javis Davis

I was just minding my own business this week when Lucky emailed me alerting me to the fact that Javis Davis was closing its doors. WHAT?! If you're unfamiliar with this great family-owned business out of Fairhope, Alabama, they make incredible custom crib (and big kid) bedding for amazing prices. I actually sold for them a couple of years ago and still have tons of swatches and samples. I have drooled over this company for 6+ years and dreamed of one day designing a set for my own baby. From day one, I've known that when the time comes, I'm getting my bedding from Javis Davis. No question. But now they're closing.

I totally understand... Mary Lou (the owner) is my mom's age and I'm sure she's ready to hang her hat up. But, ugh, I'm SO sad! Curse you, uterus! Now I'm back to square one on bedding. Lucky suggested I go ahead and order a gender neutral design now so I can have it for later. (Javis Davis is still taking orders but will close at the end of March - so HURRY if you want to order anything.) But my style is WAY too picky... even if I could afford to buy a girl set and a boy set right now, I just can't. My ideas change every week. I won't know exactly what I want to do until I'm pregnant and find inspiration somewhere.

The nursery is a big hairy deal to me. Big, HUGE. I've been planning it for years. Shoot, when we built this house 6 years ago I picked out fixtures and styling specifically for a nursery. On our house plans and change orders that room was referred to as "the nursery." We still call it the nursery. I seriously get annoyed with fertiles who haphazardly throw together their baby's room at the last minute. What the hell? I've had this planned for years and I'm not even pregnant. Why are you dragging your feet? As if it's a chore or something. *Eye roll*

Rant aside, I really am bummed to see this business go. Javis Davis, you will be greatly missed! So I guess the search is on for other custom bedding options. The bedding in a bag thing just isn't going to cut it for me. I'm not into matchy-matchy and I'm just way too particular. I'm all for garage sale strollers and hand-me-down clothes, but my kid's going to have one kick ass nursery.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

IVF Update

Thought I'd give y'all the latest while I'm munching on my turkey taco leftovers here...  I'm all good and recovered from my surgery last month.  My doctor had me taking Estrace (estrogen) for 30 days post-surgery.  If you want to add some insta-chunk, just take estrogen for days on end.  It works wonders!  A bloating sensation!  Anyway, I just wrapped that up a couple of days ago, but the last 5 days on it, Dr. T also had me take medroxypogesterone (Provera).  Now, I recall my doctor saying that I'd have a period after taking this medicine... but that was weeks ago and it didn't hit me that he meant *right* after taking this medicine.  So I woke up with a fun surprise the other day and the future cycles I had mapped out in my head are now all askew.  But no big deal - it just bumps everything up by about 10 days.  Fine with me!
We are still planning to wait till after tax season to do our first FET (frozen embryo transfer) cycle, but the whole warming-up process isn't far way.  I've got an SHG scheduled for Monday to see what the goods look like post-surgery.  Not the worst test out there, but I'll definitely be poppin' some pain pills beforehand.  Dr. T said I could get going this cycle, but we're waiting one more to get started so that I'm past tax season during the actual transfer cycle.  Basically he'll put me on Lupron beginning late in the cycle before our actual FET cycle.  The Lupron effectively halts my regular cycle and keeps me from ovulating.  So we will begin this process on the cycle after this current one (so I'd be starting meds around early-April).  I plan to start acupuncture again during that same cycle and I'll get hard core back on my Moo Goo diet/herbs as well.  I'm still on the diet for the most part, but I've totally been cheating on the weekends.  And I had flour tortillas with my turkey tacos last night.  *Gasp!* We were out of corn ones.  I'm on herbs currently, but a much paired-down regimen than what Dr. Liu had me on when I was doing treatments.  So I'm sure she'll up all that once I start back.  So in about a month, all of this madness will begin!  Really not that far away at all... I'm getting excited!
The actual FET cycle, so I hear, is very, very easy compared to a fresh cycle.  A lot less meds, very few monitoring appointments, and you don't have to make a bunch of eggs and have them surgically removed from your girly parts.  It's a walk in the park!  Basically you just get good and drugged up, schedule a transfer day, and BAM, it's done.  I've got two friends having FET's over the next week, and I'm following their every move so I know what to expect.  (And saying big, big prayers for them!)  My FET cycle should begin right when tax season ends, assuming my cycles cooperate.  Exciting stuff!  I'm enjoying the break from the doctor visits and meds, but I'm definitely eager to get this process going!  I feel really good about it.  Who knows what the outcome will be, but I'm grateful for the chance to try.  Let's get to defrostin'!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Book Review: Rich Dad, Poor Dad

My nerdy side loves reading up on stuff about personal finances. As far as I'm concerned, you can never have too much wisdom in that area, so bring it on! I had heard great things about Robert T. Kiyosaki's "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" so it was hovering at the top of my list of non-fiction goodies to digest this year.

The short of it? I think this is a fantastic read. I really like the overall message of the book, which is how to get out of the rat race of the middle class and start thinking like a rich person. I love this concept because that is exactly why my husband and I are busting our butts right now. Sure, we're broke today, but we're not sitting still. We're heading for rich.

Kiyosaki was raised in Hawaii and tells of how he grew up with two dads, his "rich dad" and his "poor dad." His own father was the "poor" one and the father of his best childhood friend was his "rich" dad. Both were great men, but Kiyosaki was challenged with polarizing views on money and success between the two of them. His poor dad was a big believer in education and the importance of getting a good degree and finding a secure job so you can make a good income. (Is any job really all that secure these days?) His rich dad argued that we need more than education. We aren't taught anything about personal finance in school. (Think about it - when did you ever have a class on how to handle money?) So naturally, any financial education a child receives is left up to his parents. Rich dad maintained that finding a "secure job" was not the answer. Learning about money and how to make it work for YOU is the real solution.

Now Kiyosaki's own father wasn't what we think of as "poor." He wasn't necessarily struggling to put food on the table, but he simply thought like a "poor" person thinks... make the donuts, pay the bills, make the donuts, pay the bills. Never getting any traction, like a mouse in a wheel. He was highly educated and well respected, but found himself in this perpetual rat race. "One of the reasons the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, and the middle class struggles in debt is because the subject of money is taught at home, not in school . . . Schools focus on scholastic and professional skills, but not on financial skills. This explains how smart bankers, doctors and accountants who earned excellent grades in school may still struggle financially all their lives. Our staggering national debt is due in large part to highly educated politicians and government officials making financial decisions with little or no training on the subject of money."

It's often hard for a family with an income of $46,000 (what the average American household makes) to understand how a family making twice that or more struggles living pay check to pay check. "If only we made this much more, than we'd be OK." The truth is, when we make more, we spend more. Dave Ramsey talks about how most Americans take a $300/month raise and immediately turn it into a $400/month car payment. Car payments have become a way of life and are poison to the middle class. They keep the middle class... in the middle class. And that's exactly why the hub and I don't play that game anymore. So it's not all that difficult to imagine how a high income earning doctor or lawyer can get caught up in the race. Make more money, get more stuff. Make MORE money, get bigger better stuff. And on and on...

So obviously, book smarts and lots of letters after your last name mean nothing when it comes to handling money wisely. Hello, I'm a CPA for crying out loud. I was well educated on accounting for money. I learned how to account for different transactions and how they are presented on financial statements and recognized on tax returns. But never in any of my undergraduate or graduate classes did I learn anything about personal finance. Or even wise financial decision-making in business, for that matter. I simply learned how to properly present what's already there. So what we're ultimately left with is what we learned from our own parents. Even if your parents said very little on the subject, you learned a great deal just from watching how they handle money.

My parents were (and still are) very responsible with money. As far as I could tell, they were a good hybrid of savers and spenders. Definitely not hoarders and definitely not over-spenders. And my Dad tried to teach me the importance of saving for retirement. I say *tried* because while I totally understood and agreed with the concept, it wasn't something I was able to get all that excited about at the time. And though I like to think of myself back then (in my teenage years) as being well grounded and self-aware, I know that I, like many young adults these days, felt a sense of entitlement when it came to having stuff. I wasn't a spoiled brat, but I do think I somehow developed this I-deserve-this mentality. A little materialistic? Yeah, probably. My parents were great examples, and I had a few pages out of the manual on being responsible, but I was lacking the motivation to win (not to mention the real definition of winning with money) and the self-discipline to say no. And thus began my early adulthood and early years in marriage... on the quest for stuff (because the accumulation of stuff means you're winning, right?) and continually trying to out-earn our stupidity.

Thankfully, there is a movement to get sound financial education in schools, but much like sex education, parents are ultimately responsible for teaching their children. My gosh, if you teach your kids nothing else, please teach them about money and sex! No two things are more spiritually connected or potentially detrimental. Teaching our (future) kids about money is something the hub and I are SO excited about. We've got lots of great ideas and that's another post for another day, but yes it's something we consider to be extremely important. The fact is, however, most people grow up simply with the "get a good education so you can get a good job" mentality. And that's just not enough. They fall it to the rat race with no hope of escaping.

So what is the "rat race?" Kiyosaki explains that the poor and middle class work for money. And it's fear that keeps most of them working at their jobs - fear of not being able to pay bills, fear of losing their jobs, fear of not having enough. So we therefore become slaves to our money. Slaves to our employers. Along with fear, greed steps in. "Once we get that paycheck, greed or desire starts us thinking about all the wonderful things money can buy. The pattern is then set," taught Kiyosaki's rich dad. "Offer them more money, and they continue the cycle by also increasing their spending. This is what I call the Rat Race."

Rich dad went on to explain that the "rich" have a different worldview. They make money work for them. The book goes into a lot of detail about how the rich focus on money-making assets, having a balance sheet view. Whereas the poor are always focused on the income statement - money going in and money going out. Now, I'm an accountant so all this balance sheet and income statement talk made total sense to me. I don't know how easy it would be to grasp if you don't stare at financial statements all day like I do! But I think it's written in a way that anyone could understand the key points here. One point in particular is that the poor tend to buy liabilities that they think are assets... like cars. That's not to say you shouldn't buy a car! But don't fool yourself into thinking you're investing in an asset. And rich people of course buy cars. But they understand that "stuff" is just stuff. They don't immediately run to buy more and more stuff as their money grows. They understand and practice the concept of delayed gratification. This is a huge distinction between the rich and the poor. Kiyosaki even argues that your own house is not ultimately an asset. True assets earn you money. Your house doesn't earn you money, it costs you money. Even if you own it free and clear, it still costs you. You're not making any money off of it. No, you're continually repairing it and improving it.

The book goes on detailing how differently the rich see things than most of us do. As I mentioned, the rich have a "balance sheet" mentality instead of focusing on income and expenses. The rich pay themselves first. They have very little or no debt. And they understand the importance of giving. Kiyosaki adds, "My rich dad gave lots of money away. . . He knew that to receive money, you had to give money. Giving money is the secret to most great wealthy families." None of this rich-people-thinking was necessarily new information for me (since Dave Ramsey has been drilling it into my head for the last couple of years), but I really loved the author's approach to this concept. At the end of the day, winning with money is largely about behavior rather than know-how. You have to change the way you think.

Where the book leaves me going, "Huh?!" is when Kiyosaki goes into detail on how he personally invests and finds opportunities. He is a huge risk taker, which has often brought about great returns for him. But he's also admittedly gone broke over and over again. OK, I only want to go broke once (been there), figure out what the hell I did wrong (done that) and then never do that again. I don't buy into the idea of making high risk investments and leveraging debt to make quick returns. I'm a crockpot, not a microwave. Sure, I may never see some of the huge payoffs that a big risk-taker sees, but I will avoid the heartache when an investment turns sour. And hell if I'm putting my family's security at risk in an effort to make a quick buck. Building and sustaining wealth takes time. And we certainly won't be using debt as a "tool" to build wealth. So on his investment strategies, I have to say, "not for me, Mr. Kiyosaki."

Investing differences aside, I think the overall premise of the book is excellent. If nothing else, it'll challenge you to think about money in a completely different way and really brings light to the fact that NO ONE is teaching our kids about money. It's a very entertaining and quick read. Yes, there's a good bit of financial jargon in there, but I don't think it's anything the average reader couldn't grasp. Grab this book and get out of the rat race!

Next Up:
"Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters" by Meg Meeker, MD

"Sex and the Soul of a Woman" by Paula Rinehart

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thoughts on the Book...

I've got lots of ideas swimming around in my head for my book.  Am I allowed to say "my book?"  I don't actually have a book deal, much less a book.  I have the idea of a book.  Whatever.  I'm still going to write it even if I'm the only one who ever reads it.  My book on struggling with infertility that is...  and I want your help!  I have chapters pretty much lined up, tackling all the odds and ends I want to make sure I cover.  But so far it's only from my own perspective.  So enlighten me, will ya?  What kind of topics would you want to see covered in a book on one's first hand experience with infertility?  This is not just for the infertiles, so read on...
- Fertile friends and sisters, what would you specifically seek to understand about the mess that's going on in your infertile friend's head?  How to best approach them?  How to ask questions?  How to deliver your good newsI'm an only child, so it's hard for me to get the whole sister thing, but I know this is a BIG issue for many.  I liken trying to comprehend the "mess" in the infertile head to trying to understand the male species.  I will never understand why my husband (or any man) thinks or behaves certain ways, but I can read about it and know that he does a lot of this stuff simply because he's a man.  He's just wired that way.  In much the same way, a fertile woman can't possibly "get" the funk inside the heart of the infertile woman.  But you can read about it and think, "Oh, so that's why she's such a bitch!"  Or something like that.
- Moms and Dads, maybe you want to know how best to show your love and support for your daughter?  How you respond to her is a big, big deal.  I have been incredibly blessed with parents who are behind us ALL the way on our journey, but I have friends who have not been so fortunate.  I will definitely have to touch on this important area.  What other questions do you have, parents?
- Husbands, how best can you show love to your wife during the struggle?  What do you want to know?  As if any husbands read this blog, but whatever.  I'll be sure to guide them because I know their wives will highlight and dog ear those pages and stick the book in the bathroom for their husband's to stumble over. (Genius move, ladies.  But be sure to remove the Sports Illustrated magazines first.)
- Fellow Infertiles, most importantly, what do YOU seek from a book on infertility?  There are some good ones out there, but not a lot.  What is missing?  What kind of support are you looking for?  What feelings do you struggle with?  Do you have certain thoughts/behaviors that you wonder about (i.e. whether they're "normal")?  Do you have trouble finding hope in the midst of all the mess?  I'd love to hear your thoughts - any thoughts.  As always, feel free to email me if you rather not leave a public comment.
Yep, so I'm just in the "gathering ideas" phase right now.  Plotting my path.  I doubt I'll get much of any actual writing done till after tax season but I'm definitely compiling thoughts and developing an outline of sorts.  So whatever your angle is, if you have something you'd like to see me touch on, please advise!  My goal is for this book to be a source to the reader.  Yes, it'll detail a lot of my personal struggle, but it's ultimately about helping others find peace in the middle of a war zone.  All with a dose of humor, of course.  Laughing is an absolute must!
Alright... back to work.  I plan to get on here later this week with another book review.  Stay tuned!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Easy Cupcake Icing (even for me!)

Behold! I actually baked something pretty darn cute. Now, I love to cook. I don't do anything fancy, but when I have the time and the energy, I really do enjoy cooking up a good meal. Baking, however, is not my thing. Sure, I have mastered the Ghirardelli boxed brownie. But anything I've ever attempted to bake and make pretty? Total failure. I'm a perfectionist and I lose my patience. Seriously, nothing amazes me more than those of you that can decorate picture-perfect cakes and cookies. I am in awe and green with talent-envy! I've accepted that I will never master this craft. So if I need exceptional looking cakes or cookies, I pay someone else to do it. My mom was not a baker either - even less so than me. So I did not grow up around it. I can vividly remember going to a friend's house in junior high and going into the kitchen to find her mother taking a fresh batch of cookies out of the oven. Heavens! Cookies out of the oven?! I thought those only came in boxes from Kroger!

BUT! While I'm not an avid baker, once in a blue moon I'll decide to give something a try if it looks easy enough. Last week we had our monthly neighborhood bunco game and for whatever reason, I decided to make cupcakes. The only cupcakes I usually make require no frosting. Frosting anything scares the hell out of me. I cannot tackle frosting to save my life. If you can successfully frost a cake, you are light years ahead of me. I think I could handle the tube kind where you just whip it around all swirly-like on top. But that would require making frosting and also baking supplies I don't own. No thanks. That all sounds really messy.

A few weeks earlier, the hub had gone on a marshmallow roasting frenzy with the snow and all, so we had an open bag of those jumbo marshmallows in our pantry. Suddenly I remembered reading somewhere about microwaving marshmallows on top of cupcakes to make perfect frosting. Or icing. Whatever you call it. (Is there a difference?) That's when I decided to attempt the cupcakes for bunco night. And wow, I was so impressed with myself! I did not try one (I am not huge on sweets, which is probably another major factor in why I don't bake much), but I gotta say they looked pretty darn cute! This is a lousy camera phone pic, but here's a few of the finished cupcakes (or muffin cakes, bestest!)...

It was so easy peasy - even for me. Just grab a box of your favorite cake mix (or if you're the do-it-from-scratch type, more power to you). Bake standard size cupcakes according to box direction and set aside to cool. For the frosting, you'll need the jumbo marshmallows (one for each cupcake) and any sprinkles/confetti you want to top it with. I used the standard white and the strawberry pink marshmallows for Valentine's Day!

For the marshmallow topping, top one cupcake with one jumbo marshmallow and microwave for about 15 seconds. If it falls off while nuking, no big. You are only microwaving it long enough for the marshmallow innards to get gooey. You don't want the whole thing to burst open. As soon as you see it just begin to swell, it's done.

Immediately after removing from the microwave, gently mash the marshmallow down and it should easily spread over the top of the cupcake. If it's being stubborn, nuke it for a few more seconds. But it should easily go down and allow you to "mold" it the way you want it without getting sticky. Top with sprinkles, etc. and viola! I've also seen recipes on how to do this in the oven but that scared the hell out of me. It involved broiling and I would surely set our house on fire.

So yeah, three cheers for my pretty cupcakes! Glad to have these in my back pocket if I ever feel the need to bake something cute.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Just Checking In

Well I'm already on the brink of failing miserably on my try-to-get-at-least-two-posts-up-per-week goal here.  But let's give this week a pass, OK?  I was out sick most of Monday and all day Tuesday.  I caught some kind of stomach bug.  I felt like crap Monday morning heading into work but it's tax season, so I was going to suck it up and go on in.  Fast forward three hours later and I'm running back home, vomiting as soon as I get in the door.  Well yeah I made it to the toilet, but it was immediate.  And then I remained horizontal for the rest of the day, refusing all food.  If I can't eat, there's definitely something wrong with me.
Tuesday was better, but I was still nauseous so I played it safe and worked from home.  Being upright was a huge improvement, even if I still didn't want to eat much.  Today I finally feel like I'm back to normal.  My usual breakfast is still a little hard to stomach for whatever reason, but I managed to actually eat most of it today.  So thank God we're past that!  I really can't afford to be sick right now.
Nothing much else to report here... though I did have the epiphany yesterday that if our FET cycle works in May, I'll be due around this time next year.  That is super fun to day dream about!  Not to mention the thought of getting out of tax season next year... hahahahha!  I'm starting to get excited about the process, which should begin in late April when they put me on Lupron.  Lots of work has to be done between now and then but tax season tends to fly by, so April will be here before we know it!  Counting down the days...
At SOME point I'll get back on here and tell y'all about the Valentine cupcakes I made last weekend.  I so impressed myself!  I am not a baker, so I grade on a curve.  But I seriously got an A+ here.  Pics to come...
Hope y'all are having an excellent week!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Because You Asked

I get these questions all the time. Even after I know I've given answers before. I can't get mad at people's ignorance over what's going on in my head. But haven't you ever wanted to make a T-shirt answering that one question people keep hitting you with? I have several. There are the questions that strangers ask. "Nope, no kids... just dogs." And there are the questions friends ask. "Yes, I'm still on that weird diet." I love talking about my journey with friends and new friends but maybe I should provide a resume of my experience thus far so we can knock out the obvious questions and get to the real meat. Or if you're a stranger inquiring about the ages of my kids to see if we have anything in common, I can end the conversation quickly and head back to the food table.

So for your information, and maybe a good laugh, here are some T-shirts I need hanging in my closet...


And if I feel like it, I'll hit you with the backside that reads, "WE'RE WORKING ON IT." This will be great to wear to baby showers and any other social gatherings where small talk will undoubtedly revolve around kids. If I'm really in a foul mood, I will flash my "I'M INFERTILE" camisole so you'll shut up.


They should require diagnostic tees for all patients at the fertility clinic. That'd be hilarious. We're very open with our friends and family about our infertility, but I still get asked, "So do they know, like, what's wrong with you?" Some people never get real answers, I get that. And to some degree, isn't all infertility "unexplained?" But yes, we know our issues. I was born with a septate uterus, meaning there was a wall of useless tissue (septum) straight down the middle of the thing. On screen, the cavity was heart-shaped. Though typically not a deterrent to conception, uterine anomalies like this often make implantation or carrying to term a concern. We discovered this in early 2007 and I've since had three surgeries to correct it. I also had Stage III endometriosis discovered (and removed) during my initial surgery. And after multiple assisted attempts to get pregnant, we've discovered I have uterine lining issues as well. Our first IVF cycle also revealed that we apparently have some kind of fertilization issue, since the embryologist deemed it necessary to "force" fertilization of all my eggies (rather than letting the sperm and egg party on their own in a petri dish). Good news is, I am an excellent egg maker. I make a lot of beautiful, good quality eggs. And thankfully, we do not have any huge male factor infertility. For the most part, the hub's boys are excellent. We've got 20 gorgeous embryos waiting on ice. So we're just working on the baking part.


This would be a guaranteed bestseller among infertiles. God bless you all for wanting to fix us, but YES, we've tried that and NO, it didn't work. Next?


Bestseller #2. Because if Plan A fails, why not just jump ship for Plan B? I cannot think of some smart analogy here to mirror the grieving process a woman must go through to let go of the soul's longing to have a biological child. Yes, adoption is a wonderful thing. Perhaps there is no greater earthly love than that of an adoptive parent. And maybe it will be a part of our story - I am certainly open to that. But we are not there yet, dear friends, so please don't push me along. I know people throw out the "Why don't you just adopt?" question out of love. But it only crushes the spirit. Let your IF friends bring up the subject of adoption. Trust me, they know their options. And adoption is our obvious Plan B. The hub and I decided years ago that if we couldn't make a bun with my egg and his sperm and bake it in my oven, then we'll adopt. Donor eggs and/or sperm would do nothing to help our cause anyway, so that's not even a discussion. Surrogacy would be the only viable Plan B for having a biological child if we were dead-set on having one. I think surrogacy is a great thing - what an incredible gift. We've even had friends graciously offer up their fully functional ovens. But it's not for us. I want to be a mother, but I also have a huge desire to experience pregnancy. Always have. I honestly think I would have major issues with someone else carrying my baby. It's a great option for those who can handle it - I just know I'm not one of those.


The less acclaimed film about a couple in their mid-30's on their journey to parenthood. OK, not really. I don't get this question a ton, but it has caught me off guard before . "So, what are you going to do with the rest of the embryos? Do you consider that a life?" Well holy shit, can I not just get pregnant first? Yes, we are very blessed to have 20 frozen embryos awaiting us. While a successful pregnancy did not result from our first IVF cycle, we got the next best thing: leftovers. Many women going through IVF come out with no good embryos to freeze. In fact, I just caught word of a twitter pal who only had one egg retrieved during her cycle and it was no good. She was of course devastated. Y'all, I had 40 eggs retrieved. Seriously, we are so grateful. Even my acupuncturist was like, "Wow, did you hyper-stimulate?" Nope, I just have kick-ass ovaries. And damn straight I'm bragging. Let me boast about the few functioning girly parts I have, please! But yes, that means we have a lot of embryos - most of which we probably (hopefully - though that sounds weird) won't need. We did have to sign papers making a decision as to what to do with said embryos if the hub and I were to fall off the face of the earth. Options: (1) Destroy them (can they not choose a nicer word?), (2) Donate them to science (for research, not for making babies), (3) Donate them to another couple. I'm sure you all would have your own opinions, but for now we chose #2. This is not our ultimate decision - again, this is what will become of them if the hub and I get hit by a train tomorrow. I don't know what our ultimate decision is. We may very well donate them to other couples once we've had our kids but I can't wrap my head around any of that right now, so don't make me. For now, the kids are chilling and that's all you need to know.

What T-shirts would you like to add to YOUR wardrobe?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Few Goals for 2011

While I'm grateful to be back to 100% after my surgery two weeks ago, it looks like my 3 month hibernation from society has officially begun.  Every year I think, "Oh, I'll totally be able to get everything done I normally do during tax season."  And every year I fail - as if that's surprising.  This is my... 12th tax season.  You'd think I'd have figured it out by now.  So while I have several bloggy ideas floating in my head at any given time, I find it harder and harder to get on here as we approach those big tax deadlines.  I'll do my best to get a couple of posts up each week, but working an extra 2-3 hours a day just leaves me in a comatose state when I get home at night - no matter what time it is.  And seriously, the last thing I want to do is get BACK on the 'puter after staring at four screens for 10 hours straight.
But wow, it's already February and I haven't shared any of our big goals for the year.  We're always kind of slow to get them figured out and down on paper, but we've got some good ones for 2011.  We tried really hard to nail down at least one goal (as a couple or individually) in each of these categories:
- Financial Goals
- Professional Goals
- Personal Development Goals
- Marriage & Family Goals
- Physical Goals
- Spiritual Goals
- Social & Community Goals
So here are just a few of our personal goals for 2011 that I wanted to share...
1.  Financial:  We will get our debt snowball down to the last debt on our list, the hub's student loan. 
Predicting exactly when we'll be done with our debt snowball is tricky since our income fluctuates each month, plus *hopefully* we'll be forced to temporarily stop our snowball later this year to stash away cash for maternity leave.  But we feel very confident that we can hack through everything that is in front of that last big debt by the end of the year.  Also, a piggyback goal to this one... depending on our income levels in 2011, we may have to add our HELOC to our debt snowball.  Normally, a 2nd mortgage or HELOC is paid off in Baby Step #6 on Dave's plan, but if the balance is less than half of your annual income, you add it to your consumer debt snowball in Baby Step #2.  It would definitely drag out Step #2 (and therefore drag out our rice and beans lifestyle a bit longer), but it would have a HUGE long-term payoff if we were able to do that.  So while we're VERY ready to get past Step #2, we hope that our income will be great enough to require us to stick with it a little longer.
2.  Personal Development:  I will read 50 non-fiction books in 2011.
Y'all have already heard this one... I initially had it for 25 books, but with the pace I was setting in January, I decided to be brave and double that goal.  Tax season will probably slow me down some, but I'm still confident I can get 50 books under my belt this year.  I just finished my 5th yesterday.  So why non-fiction?  It's purely about growing my brain and also growing my faith.  So yeah, this double dips as a spiritual goal too.  A lot of the books I'm reading are faith-based, but many are personal finance or business books.  I've had a lot of these books on my list of good intentions for a long time and I decided 2011 is the time to make it happen.  Charlie "Tremendous" Jones said, "You will be the same person in five years as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read."  So there you have it.  I don't want to be the same person in five years.  I want to be a better, wiser, stronger version of me.
3.  Spiritual:  I will read through the entire Bible in 2011.
Yeah, y'all know about this one too.  I began reading just before Christmas to get a good jump-start.  I am using The One Year Bible on my Kindle and am loving it (revisit this post for more on this particular Bible).  I really thought I would just make a goal of regularly reading through the Bible, like 5 days a week.  And I wouldn't give myself a hard time about finishing it in 365 days.  But after starting it, I found it SO easy to fit in the reading each day.  And I also keep a notebook where I jot down the "synopsis" of each day's passages along with any verses that strike me or questions that arise.  I feel silly for thinking this was going to be a chore.  It has been an incredible joy.  I know most of the big Bible stories, but it's been SO long since I read them all in great detail.  So I decided to forget being passive about it and declare that I would indeed get the job done in 2011.  I'm right on track.
4.  Professional:  I will begin writing a book on struggling with infertility this year.
I don't know how the hell to do this one, but I'm just going to fly by the seat of my pants here.  Whether this will be a published work at some point, God only knows.  But it's something that's been swimming around in my head for a couple of years and I figure, what better time to start than when I'm in the thick of it?  Not that I think my hurt and fear will be forgotten if and when our dreams of parenthood come true, but I want to document those feelings now while I'm facing them.  And hopefully be able to reflect back once I've overcome them.  There's not enough good information on struggling with infertility and I feel led to contribute somehow, so perhaps this is a big first step.  My goal is to have a rough draft by the end of 2011.  Probably really rough, but we'll see.
5.  Spiritual/Social:  We will use $30 once a month to bless a friend or neighbor.
You've heard me talk about how big our hearts are for giving.  The hub and I love, love, love it and can't wait to have the financial means to give in big ways later on.  But for now, we are pretty much restricted to tithing while working our debt snowball.  Though, the other day I thought of an idea for a particular friend... just a small little unexpected gift that I knew would bring a smile.  And then I thought, why not do this every month?  $30 is not a lot.  But $30 well spent can lift a spirit.  And shouldn't we all be in the spirit-lifting business?  I'm excited to see where this goal takes us this year.
How are YOUR goals coming along?