May 19, 2011

The Charlie Sheen of The Internets (WINNING!)

Pinterest.com

If you haven’t checked it out yet, RUN FAR AWAY.

I’m kidding. Sort of.

Pinterest is a really neat website. The basics: You download a button to your toolbar that allows you to “pin” things. You can pin anything you find on the web – craft ideas, meal ideas, music, clothing, anything. Once you sign up (it’s currently invitation-only, I’ll get to that in a minute), you can follow other people’s boards & repin things you like. People can follow you & repin what they like. It’s a giant web (ha! Get it? On the web?!) of people pinning & repinning & finding new things from all over The Internets. Plus, when you pin something, your pin links directly back to the website it came from. So no more, “Where did I see that mega-cool idea again?”

Jill from BabyRabies.com is starting a McLinky for everyone’s Pin of the Week.

My favorite?

Lullabies for Getty.

A gorgeous collection of songs put together to benefit The Getty Owl Foundation. Getty is a little girl with Spinal Muscular Atrophy. They are fighting for a cure. They are fighting against time. Getty recently turned one. Children with SMA aren’t given long life expectancies. So, they are enjoying every moment & fighting for a cure.

The album is $9.99 on iTunes. Go. Buy it. (Click on the image for a direct link)

You won’t regret it. It truly is spectacular.

(Pinterest is currrently by invite only – you can request an invite, I got mine in a couple weeks. OR, you can leave me a comment with your email address – I suggest typing it out as youremail at wherever dot com to avoid the spam bots – & I’ll send you one as quickly as I can.)

P.S. There is a Pinterest APP! Yay! Time suck on-the-go!!

P.P.S. I totally don’t mean to be insulting by calling Pinterest the Charlie Sheen of the Internets. I mean it in a totally awesomesauce way – because they are so clearly WINNING!)

May 18, 2011

Focus.

I’ve been meaning to update Ye Olde Blog for several weeks now. I’ve got several posts simmering on back burners right now, but haven’t really had the passion to write them down.

So, an update. McDreamy finished his field training, meaning he is now working the night shift. Alone. Well, not totally alone, there are other guys on his shift, but alone as in, only one in the car. Like, backup might be miles away alone.

I’m a complete contradiction over this. On one hand, he is GOOD at what he does. I trust him to make good judgement calls & come home safe at the end of his shift. I don’t really mind being home alone, other than the fact that I sometimes often lose track of time & end up not going to bed until 1am. Mainly because I get sucked into the vast expanses of The Internets & before I know it, it’s late (10:32pm) & I still have dishes to do & laundry to wash (because I have NO scrubs to wear to work tomorrow) & there are so many dust bunnies I need to sweep up that I’m afraid they are plotting world domination starting with my house, & before long, we will all be subservient to the dust bunny war lords & it will be all my fault.

On the other hand, he is ALONE. In the dark. Checking buildings when alarms go off, stopping (potentially) drunk people for swerving, going to houses on domestic calls. Now, typically, there is an officer to assist in the first & last scenarios, but still. He straps on his bullet-proof vest on work nights & drives away into the impending darkness. My husband has to wear a bullet-proof vest to work. ::deep breath:: & because he’s gone, the dogs are on high alert ALL.NIGHT.LONG. The slightest noise sets them off into the Apocalyptic Death Nell. It is ridiculous. They were like this when he was in the academy, too. But then, he would come home in a couple of hours. Now, he isn’t home until morning. Which means I usually get at least one rude awakening that has me reaching for my gun because OMG THERE MIGHT BE AN INTRUDER THIS TIME FOR REAL. It’s quite nerve-racking.

In uterus news (are you listening, GOP Uterus Police?!), I had my appointment with the RE today. We discussed my long, sometimes anovulatory cycles. He feels that I probably have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). He recommended 3 treatment cycles with a medication to help ovulation. If I haven’t gotten pregnant by the end of the third cycle, we’ll pursue testing to see if there is a secondary reason. He feels that, baring any other issues, I may have just not had enough true opportunities to get pregnant due to my lack of ovulation.

He gave me the choice of the standby Clomid, or a drug called anastrazole. They work differently, but achieve the same effect. Clomid is an anti-estrogen drug; it binds the estrogen receptors, effectively stopping the effects of estrogen – which signals your pituitary gland to produce more Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) & Lutenizing Hormone (LH). FSH & LH are the two hormones primarily responsible for follicle growth/eventual ovulation. The side effects are mainly due to the estrogen-blocking effects – vaginal dryness, mood swings, thickened cervical mucous, thin uterine lining. Clomid has been approved by the FDA for treating infertility caused by anovulation.

Anastrazole is actually a breast cancer drug. It is used to prevent breast cancer in high-risk women, because it is an estrogen suppressant (most breast cancers are estrogen-driven). Instead of completely blocking estrogen like Clomid does, it lowers the overall level of estrogen. The level is low enough to still cause a stimulation of FSH & LH, but without completely shutting down the other functions of estrogen – mood regulation, thinning of cervical mucous, thickening of the uterine lining. Using it to help with ovulation is off-label (which I’m okay with).

I’ve chosen the anastrazole to start with. But, because we are out-of-pocket for all treatment expenses, it will probably be a few months before we start our first treatment cycle. I still need to go in for blood work on day 3 of my next period (obviously if I’m not pregnant this cycle) to measure FSH, LH, A1C, lipids, prolactin, etc. The doctor is also going to write a letter of medical necessity to my insurance company to see if they will cover a test for Fragile X (which is a gene linked to mental retardation & autism – my maternal half-brother is severely autistic). Luckily, my CD3 blood work & baseline ultrasound will be covered as diagnostic, so that helps. But a cycle will still run us between $200 – $400, depending on how well I respond & whether I need additional drugs/blood work/ultrasounds. We could probably swing the $200 next month, but not $400. We’ll have to save up for that.

This month has been absolutely crazy. McDreamy started nightshift, Christina is getting married, we had massive storms & tornados all across the region (& in our figurative back yard – lets say ¬†I’m very lucky to still have a job to go to). So, I am on a self-imposed charting break this month – that is to say I have no effing clue where I am in my cycle. IF I ovulated “normally”, I should be starting my period (or be getting a positive test) in the next day or two. If not, who knows? I’ve decided I won’t test until Saturday morning, & that is only because Christina’s wedding is Saturday & I shouldn’t drink if I am in fact knocked up ūüôā The doctor pulled a progesterone test today to try & confirm whether I have ovulated or not, so that should help.

& now that I am quickly approaching 1,000 words (this is what happens when I slack off & don’t update often enough!) I will bid you adieu, before your head explodes from the wordiness of it all.

P.S. Could you please pray/light a candle/meditate/whatever you do for me? I’d really like to see a second line on Saturday so I don’t have to shell out wads of cash to get a chance at a baby. Thanks.

April 21, 2011

Fashion 911

Ok, y’all. I need help. Send out the Bat Signal or whatever – fast.

Setup: Christina’s wedding is in May. I’m the MOH, & all I have left to purchase are my shoes. All of us are wearing different LBDs with colorful shoes. My LBD is a knee-length halter. I have been searching for the perfect blue shoes, but I’m having a really hard time finding shoes I like in my size & the right shade of blue. I don’t really want navy, I’d prefer a cornflower blue or bright(ish) blue, but no patent-leather electric blue. SO, my back-up color is pink.

I’ve put together a list on Pinterest.com, & I’d really love it if you’d help me narrow the choices down. (If it helps any, I’m slender built & “average” height)

Take a looksie.

I’d really like to order these by tomorrow (Friday), so don’t dally!

Thanks!

(P.S. If you have suggestions, I’d be glad to hear them! I’ve looked at Overstock.com, DSW.com, Target, Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, Aldo, Forever 21, Payless, Piperlime.com, & Zappos.com. I’ve also Googled “blue heels” & every variation I can think of. I’m a size 7 or 7.5, & most of the styles I REALLY like don’t come in my size. I’m a wee bit frustrated, to say the least.)

April 18, 2011

Rollin’ around on $2 worth of gas.

[car engine starts, phone rings]

[Cedric:]¬†Man, this fool ain’t pickin’ up.

[Nelly on answering machine:] You know who it is. Do what you do.

[Cedric:]¬†Ey, yo Nelly. What’s up dog, this Ced the¬†Entertainer. Get at me man. I been hollerin’ at¬†you. Man I been tryin’ to call you ’bout three¬†days. Done called your cell phone, your pager, your voice mail over your mama’s house. Your Uncle¬†Darell and I paged Kyjuan like three times. Ya’ll¬†get at me man. I just want to holla at you playa.¬†You know I’m out here in Cali just doin’ it up,¬†hangin’ out here. You know. Chillin’. Trying to do¬†a little TV. You know how I do it. Rollin’ round¬†here in a big body Benz wit two dollars worth of¬†gas. Ha. Who said it won’t no future in your¬†front? Getting ready to put it down like that with¬†that country grammer right. I heard about it,¬†using them words like St. Louis. HeRRe. TheRRe.¬†Put them two capitol R’s and evr’ thang. Ha. I¬†feel you on that right. I feel you so just get at¬†me so I can do a lil somethin’ for you, flip a few¬†thangs. Just call me back. Whatever. You can’t get¬†me, call over my mama’s house, they know how to¬†page me. They a page me to yo number then I call¬†you back or you could just page my cousin Keith¬†and he’ll call my cousin lil Darrell who got my¬†real pager number and then I’ll you back on his¬†cell phone. He He. Whatever you do playa, do it¬†St. Louis style. Put it down for the STL ight. Now¬†get at me!

Y’all know you jammed out to some old-school Nelly back in the day.

Y’all also know that there isn’t ANYBODY rollin’ around on $2 worth of gas anymore.

April 16, 2011

Right on time.

Instead of looking at it as starting over, I should look at it as another chance to get it right.

Right?

On the bright side, at least I already made my midwife appointment for the first week of May. ¬†I figured it would work out to either being my first pregnancy appointment (at 6 weeks) or my one-year TTC appointment + yearly visit. Looks like it’ll be the latter (& as the fates would have it, exactly 364 days since my IUD removal).

April 10, 2011

Scattered.

I’ve had so many post ideas in the past 2 weeks, & now, I can’t think of one. Good grief.

Things have been mostly good around here. I’m pretty sure I’m 7 DPO (days past ovulation) & we had excellent timing this month. Of course, we’ve had excellent timing before & it didn’t mean squat. But, I’m my usual optimistic self, counting down the days until I start testing (T -4 days). I even went so far as to calculate my estimated due date – Christmas.

This also means that on our one-year TTC anniversary, I’ll either be 6 weeks knocked up, or I’ll be seeing my midwife for my yearly check-up & to discuss a referral to a RE (reproductive endocrinologist). I’d prefer the former, obviously.

In the meantime, I’ve been thinking more & more about home birth. We live a good 30 minutes from the nearest (competent) hospital, which means that I’ve always discounted home birth as not an option for us. I just wasn’t comfortable being that far away. But a couple of weeks ago, I dragged Christina with me to a doula meet-n-greet at a local baby store. I met a doula who lives in the town near me (which is farther from the hospital). She teaches Bradley classes, which I plan on taking once we are officially expecting, but she also said she had birthed at home with a midwife. This intrigues me, & I plan on sending her an email to find out which midwife she used. I’m also comforted by the fact that McDreamy could conjure up a police escort if need be ūüôā Maybe a home birth isn’t out-of-reach. Now if only I can convince McDreamy!

I’m definitely going to have to start writing my post ideas down. I know I want to do a “Home Tour” post sometime soon, with pictures of the things that make our house a home. Maybe I’ll go get the camera & start taking pictures.

March 26, 2011

Shop-a-holic.

I ‚̧ consignment sales.

No, really. It’s like an obsession. I’m 99.8% sure that most of my family is tired of hearing how much I paid for any given outfit (usually in relation to my step-daughter). I just can’t help it. Consignment shopping is SO satisfying.

Let me give you an example. I’ve been to two consignment sales this week. One was a major, nationwide “chain” sale & the other was a small, local church sale. I spent a GRAND TOTAL of $60.

What could you get for $60 at, say Old Navy?


(Shorts: $19.50; Shirt: $12.50; Skirt: $14.50; Shoes: $14.50 = $61, before tax)

So that’s two cute outfits for the child, including the shoes. Care to guess how much I got for my $60 at consignment sales?


(Excuse the horrible quality, I took the picture with my phone)

It’s kind of hard to tell, but that’s 5 shirts, 3 shorts, 1 skort, 1 pair of jeans, & a swimsuit for the child, plus 2 pairs of maternity jeans, 1 maternity shirt, & 1 nursing shirt for my sister-in-law (& hopefully me, at some point), PLUS a pair of jeans & a pair of khakis for me. Also not pictured: From the Hips by Rebecca Odes & Ceridwen Morris & 26 Princesses by Dave Horowitz. Everything is in perfect condition. In fact, the swimsuit still has the tags & the sticky paper, & I’m pretty sure the Gymboree jeans have never been worn.

Have I mentioned how much I ‚̧ consignment sales?! I haven’t paid full price for a piece of clothing for the child in well over 3 years. In fact, I pretty much refuse to, UNLESS she’s in desperate need or it’s something like underwear (which I refuse to buy used, because that’s just icky). I do also shop retail sales & going-out-of-business sales & yard sales (are you sensing a pattern here?) but for the most part, I wait for the twice-a-year bonanza that is consignment season. We have no less than 5 different sales in this area. Each sale has a fall sale & a spring sale. Plus, there are at least 3 year-round consignment shops that I know of (though I think the seasonal sales have slightly better prices – people don’t want to come pick up what doesn’t sell, so I think they are a little more generous in their pricing).

My consignment sale tips?

  • DON’T take your husband or kids with you. You will probably be there for a while, & if your husband is anything like McDreamy, he’ll be bored out of his mind in 0.2 seconds & do nothing but bug you & try to rush you. If you bring the kids, you’ll be distracted from sorting & might miss a really good deal (not to mention how hard it is to do ANYTHING when you are trying to keep your child from re-enacting the trapeze act on the clothes racks).
  • Set a budget – BEFORE you go in. Know how much you want to spend, & what your individual item limit is – for instance, I generally won’t pay more than $7 for a pair of jeans, $5 for a long-sleeved shirt, and $3 for a t-shirt. If it’s your first time, you might not be able to set individual item limits, but know your overall limit. It’s VERY easy to go overboard when you find so many good deals!
  • Touch every piece of clothing in a particular size, otherwise you might miss something. I’ve found some great deals sandwiched between some of the worst deals I’ve ever seen. Consignment shopping is very different from retail shopping – things aren’t organized into neat little groups of like objects. You’re going to find t-shirts hanging out with dresses, tank tops next to sweaters. The only “organization” is by size & gender.
  • Don’t be afraid to look at other sizes! I always look at least one size up because you just never know when you’ll find a gem. Even if your child won’t fit into it now, it can still be worth it. T-shirts can be worn a little large, jeans can be worn throughout the year, & kids always need sneakers.
  • Speaking of shoes – consignment sales are fabulous for shoes! I found a pair of brand new, never been worn Sketchers for $8! The pair she grew out of were Nikes found at a consignment sale for $4 (they had been worn, but were in excellent shape).
  • Most consignment sales have a half-price day (usually the last day). Not all items are eligible (consigners can choose which of their items are), but sometimes being half-off means they aren’t out of your price range anymore. You can also get really good deals on items more suited for “play clothes” – shirts that are faded, jeans with stained knees, etc. You might not be willing to pay $5 for a strange-colored t-shirt, but $2.50 for a strange-colored play shirt that’s going to get muddy wouldn’t be so bad!
  • Sort through your stack before heading to check out. Sometimes it’s tough to remember exactly what you picked up & I’ve found duplicates before. I’ve also caught defects that I missed the first time – stains, loose threads, etc. that made me re-evaluate how much I was willing to pay. This is also a good time to see where you are in relation to your budget.
  • Lastly, if you have any money left in your budget after sorting through the clothes, look at their other offerings. Books, puzzles, games, toys, bedding, strollers, etc. can all be found for awesome prices.

Happy shopping!

March 17, 2011

I never thought we’d get this far.

*Let me preface this post with a statement. I know that there are many, many couples out there who have tried far longer & far harder to get pregnant that we have. Trust me, I know. I have crossed every crossable for them, cried every time their hopes were dashed, & rejoiced loudly when their day finally came. Some are still waiting for that day, & I cannot wait for that day to come – they will be fantastic Mommies, to beautiful babies. So please, don’t take this post the wrong way.
 
 

Cycle day 1.

Cycle #9.

Month 11.

I never thought it would take this long.

Sure, I had fears that something would be wrong with me, but I always brushed them off as irrational, a side-effect of spending so much time on baby boards where the instance of infertility or trouble TTC was higher than in my usual circle of friends & acquaintances. I was just being silly, worrying about nothing. I’m young & in pretty good health, no major medical issues. McDreamy has already sired a child, so we know his equipment works. We’ll have fun the first couple of months until I see those two pink lines, & then the morning sickness will kick in. I’ve read the books, done the research. I signed up for a charting website, grabbed my thermometer, & dove in.

Leaving my IUD-removal appointment, my OB/GYN lightheartedly said, “Now, call me when you’re a week late, I like to do the pregnancy test here in the office.” I fully expected to be back in his office within a few months, telling him he was wasting his time because I’d already pee’d on 10 sticks that said I was, indeed, pregnant.

When flurries of pregnancy announcements flooded the boards, everyone joked that it must be in the water. This will be the month, I thought. If I buy a premium membership to the charting website, that guarantees I’ll get pregnant this cycle (& thereby not have a chance to use it). Last month, a girl I don’t even know had a dream that I was pregnant (she is friends with Christina, & knows of me through her). Surely, a premonition, right?

But here we are, a mere 6 weeks from the 12-month mark TTC. “They” say that it takes a normal, healthy couple up to a year to get pregnant. & if you haven’t by then, you should talk to your doctor. Factoring in my historically long cycle length, this will be our last cycle before we hit 12 months. At least 2 of my cycles (& maybe 3) have been annovulatory, meaning I didn’t release an egg. One cycle lasted 63 days (though I did ovulate that cycle – finally). Maybe we just haven’t gotten the timing right yet. Maybe it just isn’t our time yet. Maybe it will just take a little longer for us.

I just never thought it would take this long.

& I’m terrified this means it’s going to take a lot longer.

March 13, 2011

Ode to Dyson.

I have a VERY important announcement, people.

Like, this will rival the first loaf of sliced bread. Yes, it’s that BIG.

No, I’m not pregnant (yet, that I know of – more on that later).

I am in love.

With this:

This, my friends, is the Dyson DC25 Animal Ball Vacuum.

AKA, heaven on wheel(s).

Purchased last weekend, this vacuum is everything you have ever heard a vacuum should be. It picks up dirt like nobody’s business. It’s light. It’s maneuverable. & it’s pretty.

We bought it on sale at Sears – they were having a 20% off sale (which equaled about $110 off!). That really is the biggest downside of this vacuum – the price. MSRP is $549.99 which is A TON for a vacuum, & the main reason we hadn’t purchased one. Besides, our old vacuum wasn’t dead yet, & we only have an area rug downstairs, & the carpet upstairs doesn’t get that dirty since we are only up there every other weekend. Those were the things we told ourselves, at least.

I’ve been telling McDreamy for YEARS that if he would buy me a vacuum that actually WORKED, then I would happily vacuum more than… well, once it reached a certain level of “gross”.

You see, model housewife I am not. I definitely am not one that vacuums every day. In fact, I consider it awesome if I vacuum 2x per week. The problem with 2x per week vacuuming is that we have pets. Three dogs, two cats, & a bird to be precise. Plus 4 horses, which means mud gets tracked in, too. We have hardwood & tile downstairs, with an area rug in the living room. The stairs & upstairs are all carpet (except for the bathroom). The area rug is by far vacuumed the most – it’s the primary room we use, & the dogs are constantly wrestling each other on it. I vacuumed it with the Dyson the first day, & I had to empty the canister THREE times.

Let that soak in.

THREE times. Area rug. Not a whole room, an area rug.

I was thoroughly disgusted. It really proved to me that we should have never waited this long to get a Dyson. & that our old vacuum was truly HORRIBLE.

Then today, I vacuumed my step-daughter’s room. It’s been a good month since I had vacuumed it, but she’s only here every other weekend, & the animals aren’t allowed in there for the most part (they tend to steal toys/stuffies/whatever & proceed to eat/destroy them). Her room is roughly 10′ x 12′. I emptied the canister TWICE.

Yuck.

What’s so fabulous about the Dyson – it works. I’m actually excited about vacuuming, which means I WILL VACUUM MORE. That sound you just heard? McDreamy hitting the floor. & the ball is a dream. With a flick of the wrist, I can vacuum around dog toys, little girl shoes, & the cat that is oddly not afraid of vacuums.

Summary:

Pros:

  • It sucks, literally. It pulls up dirt you didn’t even know was there.
  • Maneuverability. The ball is incredible.
  • It’s light, perfect when I have to haul it up & down the stairs.
  • Did I mention it works? Really well? It does.

Cons:

  • Price, obviously. If you can find it on sale, BUY IT.
  • It comes with an upholstery brush (that is awesome, BTW) but there is nowhere to put it on the machine. Minor.
  • On the area rug, it doesn’t like to go across the grain of the carpet. It does fine on the regular carpet.

Bottom line:

You will NOT regret buying this vacuum. If it can inspire ME to clean, it has to have magical powers.

 

*Disclosure: I bought this vacuum of my own free will. I paid for it with money I made at my regular job. Dyson did not ask me to write a review, nor did they contact me at all. I simply love this vacuum & wanted to sing its praises.
February 27, 2011

Protect & Serve.

McDreamy starts a new job on Wednesday.

I won’t lie. I’m scared.

He’s been a computer tech for years. About 13 months ago, he decided he wanted to change careers, completely. He did the research, found night classes, applied for loans. He commuted over 200 miles three times a week for 6 months. He was one-tenth of a point away from valedictorian of his class. He won a pretty major award. After graduation, he had a position secured but got shut down at the (literal) last minute because of politics. I saw the intense disappointment; I watched him so disheartened as his dream slipped away. Then the call came. A different city, a new position, a second interview. His excitement was palpable. When he got the job, I was elated for him.

I’m so incredibly proud of him.

But I’m scared.

He is my husband. He is my best friend. He is the father of a beautiful little girl who looks just like him. He is my rock, my light. He pulls me up by my bootstraps when I’d rather stay down. He is who I want to be the father of my kids, who I want to raise them with, who I want to grow old with. I want to watch him walk our daughter(s) down the aisle to a beautiful future. & when we are in our golden years, I want to look over to the rocker next to mine & see him. I want to hear grandkids call him Poppy, & laugh as he teases & tickles them.

Today, I am 3 days post-ovulation (DPO). My heart yearns to see that + sign, not only because of the obvious; because if something were to happen, I selfishly want a piece of him with me. I also want a tangible tie to my step-daughter, because without him I have none. They are my heart & soul, those two. & if I lose one, I will certainly lose the other.

So, I’m scared.

But still, so proud.