Bright and Early

Saturday, October 30, 2010

I woke up this morning to a new cycle, without any cramps, bright, and early. I was expecting to start this weekend, but I was surprised in that I have been having some pre-AF cramps in previous cycles, and I had no such discomfort when I woke up. I'm hoping that acupuncture and some healthier eating has helped encourage healthier bloodflow, which from my understanding, reduces cramps because cramps can be a sign of blood flow interruption...and the cramps come from your body trying really hard to get things flowing again.

And, while I am enjoying my heating pad right now, the cramps that have developed are very very mild, and if it wasn't that Mr. A made an amazingly cozy fire this morning in our wood stove and that we are (all four of us) taking a family mid-morning nap in front of the stove (well I am not sleeping, but this is relaxing for me!), I would be out doing errands instead of kicking back in the recliner. Mornings like this are too good to pass up.

Like I told my acupuncturist yesterday before an AMAZING session, I am really looking forward to embracing the chinese medicine approach to getting my body in good shape (but I am equally scared to leave modern medicine behind). She taught me some Qigong moves to strengthen my kidney energy, and I am looking forward to practicing them. From my pulses, my kidney energy is low, and in chinese medicine, that is the energy that governs reproductive systems. Need to get that in good working order!!! Here are some things I am doing to help the energy:

-Practicing my bear Qigong moves, with the focused purpose of increasing my kidney strength and energy
-Eating more beans, especially kidney-shaped ones, and nuts, such as walnuts
-Continuing to drink room temperature/warm water
-Upping my wheatgrass drink to twice a day- wheatgrass enhances the blood
-Adding some seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, chia) as snacks
-Remaining committed to a low-level of sugar in my diet, and continue eating organic meats/veggies/grains
-Going to bed by 10:15, so that I can get good, restful sleep (I have to set my phone alarm for this one- we often fall asleep in the family room with the TV on, but this does not lend itself to restful sleep, as your mind/body is not fully at rest when the TV is flashing and making noise, etc.)
-Applying vetiver oil to a cotton ball for imparting a grouding scent to areas I spend alot of time in
-Increasing the time I spend in reflection/prayer, to try to make my day as peaceful as possible

I hope these things will make a positive difference!!

Food on Friday

Friday, October 29, 2010

Is everyone waiting with baited breath for today's recipe? I thought so!!! Haha ;-)

I have three or four favorite cookbooks. Today's recipe is adapted from one of them: The Blue Willow Inn Bible of Southern Cooking. You MUST buy this cookbook!!! I am a southern girl, so that is what drew me to it initially, but even if you are a yankee or from anywhere else, you will grow to love these simple but so satisfying recipes :)

Ever heard of Chicken and Dumplings???

You can do this! I promise it isn't too hard. Promise!! Plus your house will smell amazingly cozy :)

Here are the ingredients:
1 whole chicken
2 quarts + 1/4 cup of water
2-3 Tbs cornstarch + water for dissolving
2 tsp salt
2 cups of flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup shortening
2 tsp black pepper

SEE, you probably have most or all of these ingredients already in your house!

In a big stockpot, dump the 2 quarts of water and dunk the chicken (I also added a carrot, a celery, and a whole garlic clove for broth flavor). On medium high heat, cook until done, about 1 hour (if you use a bigger chicken- 6+ lbs, you might need to cook it a little longer, but a 3-4 lb one will be done in an hour). Remove the chicken (and vegetables if you added them) from the pot, reserving the chicken broth. Go take your dog(s) for a walk while the chicken cools. When you get back, remove the skin, and get the meat off the bones (this will not take as long as you think, because the meat will be so tender, but it will probably take you about 15 minutes). Cut the chicken into bite size pieces, and put as much chicken back into the broth as you like (I made a 7ish lb chicken for this, and I probably got 7 or 8 cups of chicken off the thing... so I put 2-3 cups back into the broth and was still able to freeze 5 cups!). It is totally up to you how chickened your broth is!!

Over medium heat, bring the chicken broth back to a slow boil/simmer. In a little bowl, dissolve/wisk the cornstarch + water and dump it into the broth to make it more gravy-ish. (If you don't like gravy-ish, then you can skip this step!)

To make the dumplings, combine the flour and salt in a medium bowl. Cut the shortening in with a fork or pastry blender. Add the 1/4 cup of water to the mixture and mix with your hands to form a dough. You can either do drop dumplings (just pinched off dough), or you can roll the dough out (my favorite), and use a knife or ravioli cutter to cut little dumpling squares. YUM.

Drop the dumplings into the slow-boiling chicken broth, gently stirring. Add the pepper. (In the interest of full disclosure, the actual recipe calls for adding a stick of melted butter at this point, too (misfit, I know you'll like that part!), but I don't use the butter.)

Turn the heat to low and let it simmer for as long as it takes the dumplings to cook- about 15 minutes or so.

Eat up! You have to let me know if you try this!!

The Family (Infertility) Circus

Thursday, October 28, 2010

{Thank you for all your support yesterday- it is so amazing/comforting to read the comments as you girls post them. Thank you so much!}

I'm not sure if you read the funnies this past Sunday, but Family Circus had a three-part comic titled "It's Apparent You're a Parent". Of course the three little pictures were totally cheesy depictions of idyllic parent/family life.

Of course it made steam come out my ears. Ha!

So I decided I'm going to do a top-10 list of my own that is called "It's Apparent You're NOT a Parent", Halloween edition:

10. No one in your house is "excited" about Halloween- you participate only because you hope that someday neighbors will give your kids free candy. You'd rather turn off all the lights and hide in the bathroom and eat the whole bag of milky way's.
9. It is more fun to roast/eat the pumpkin seeds than to draw the carving design.
8. The costumes you consider buying (before your hubby vetoes the idea) have 4 leg holes and a tail hole.
7. You could care less if the 31st is on a Sunday, or if it is raining or snowing or -20F or 80F.
6. The only thing you do to get ready for trick or treating is dump the candy into a big bowl.
5. To decorate with scary things, you set out pregnancy tests and thermometers and ovulation monitors instead of witches and spiders and zombies.
4. You go by yourself to buy a pumpkin on a random Thursday afternoon.
3. You spend Halloween in your foyer, just the two of you and your dogs (who go crazy every time the doorbell rings), and seeing everyone else's perfect, happy families and kids come and go from your front door
2. You don't email pictures of your dressed-up kids to your entire address book the next day.
1. You have to switch off candy-duty with your husband, not so you can take your kids around to the neighbors, but so you can go change your pad- your period will be here, of course.

I want to hear your suggestions!!!

Same. AGAIN.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


I wonder if Mr. A lays in bed pretending to sleep, but hearing me take the unopened box of tests into the bathroom, turn on the fan to try to mask the upcoming noise (really, who needs the fan first thing in the morning?!), rip open the insanely-loud cellophane packaging, unwrap a test, go to the bathroom, and flush.

I wonder if he thinks, hey, maybe today will be the morning she will come running out of the bathroom and wake me up to tell me that it's positive!

I wonder if he is as disappointed when I don't. (I know he is.)

I wonder if he thinks about it the whole walk with the dogs, like I do.

I wonder if he realizes that the rain this morning is taking the place of my tears. I just can't cry anymore.

Some perspective

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

(Is it possible that I feel apathetic to testing tomorrow? Or am I kidding myself and playing games that my fear is apathy?)

I had a really interesting afternoon at the pregnancy clinic yesterday. My client said she had tested positive on two digitals at home and wanted confirmation. Her personal and financial life are, relative to mine, in veritable shambles (not being braggy, just being objective- and yes, I'm thoroughly thankful for all our blessings!), but her and her husband of 2 weeks did want to be pregnant. Our center's test was negative. (On a side note, has anyone ever heard of a false digital positive?!?!?) My client was CRUSHED. And I do mean crushed. I have never had someone cry so much so hard in a session before, even if they did not want to be pregnant and the test was positive. I gave her a minute to get the biggest tears out of the way, and choking back my own, I shared with her that I knew how she felt. I had been right where she is, wanting to be pregnant, and crying the same tears. I told her that personally I always believed that God would bring something good out of my sadness and that He would do the same for her.

My director happened to be in the room doing my yearly eval, and afterwards I was nervous to hear if she had thought that was appropriate for me to share my heart and beliefs when it came to a situation like this. She said I handled it so excellent, and she could barely believe I held it together. I was so encouraged!

At that moment that the Holy Spirit was prompting me to share my story, I felt like this was the culmination of my infertility story. This was the reason! Honestly, and I have not been able to shake that feeling either. It was really amazing, too, because the devotional from Sarah's Laughter (link to the right) was about how God had a specific purpose for opening and closing Hannah's womb, and who knows what His purpose for infertility in our lives? I had read that devotional just before I arrived at volunteering, and it was very amazing how I felt the answer just hours later.

This girl had no job, no nice home, no car, an off-to-a-rocky-start marriage, and she wanted to be pregnant. Her sadness and disappointment is the SAME as mine, even though our circumstances are very different. Mr. A could not understand why she thought it would be a good idea to get pregnant. To me, it doesn't matter. No matter what the circumstance, if you long for a baby to be growing within you, hearing that there is nothing is a huge, huge blow. The pain of infertility is universal.

This session was very different. I have only ever tested negative before, and I hope tomorrow is different, too.

Looking Back

Monday, October 25, 2010

This here is post #300.

At this point, I've been blogging enough to start to look back on our year of pretty intense treatments. A year ago today, I was praying for a BFP from our first follistim cycle, and a year ago tomorrow, God told me no not yet, again. Don't worry, it's not lost on me that I'm supposed to test on Wednesday, the 2-month anniversary of my Grandpa's passing away. I say "supposed to" because I'll only be 14dpo, and I've held off testing till 15dpo the past cycles. But I have this fantasy that I'll get a BFP and have an amazing heavenly high-five from my beloved Grandpa. We'll see if I get the courage to test on Wednesday... If not, Thursday is my sister's birthday, so I could always have fun telling her she's an aunt on her birthday. Oh yah, and if we're pregnant, the due date would be between my birthday and our anniversary. And finally, I could tell my mom in person when we go up to visit my other sister in 2 weeks. I maintain that this is torture!!

I can't believe we did all we did in the last year. And I can't believe that today, we are planning on not doing any more treatments (even clomid) for an indefinite amount of time. I'm going to continue acupuncture, we're going to continue eating organic/natural, and just see what happens.

But I can believe it, really. I always said (in the treatment trenches) that all the meds, appointments, hopes, and despairs didn't really seem to affect us that much, but looking back, it really had more of an impact that we were willing to grant it. It's kind of awful how it is SO subconscious that sometimes you aren't even aware of how the toll of IF is changing your life. Although I am scared about not doing any more meds/treatments (how will we ever conceive without meds if the super ones didn't even work?), that is what gives us peace right now. So that is what we'll do.

While all my fertile friends* look back on last year and count all the baby milestones that have happened in their house, the things that I can name are associated with acronyms, insurance coverages, and pharmacy and hospital bills. I suppose for the sake of full disclosure there are some other things, too- like getting Bert, and.... well I need to rack my brain for some more... does staying married in the midst of this struggle of our lives count?

I can only hope and pray that NEXT October, we will be looking back on a year of a healthy pregnancy, a healthy baby, and a happy family (FINALLY). If not, I don't know if I'll be able to handle looking back anymore- may have to settle for looking "forward " to a life in a family of 2.

*Update on telling my friends about our journey: 5 of the 7 girls have been moderately-to-generally supportive. 2 I have not heard a peep from. One of those had a baby boy sometime this or last month (okay fine so she is "busy")- I have no idea when because she only announced on facebook, and I'm one of the only ones of my generation who thinks facebook is creepy. She never told me (she knows I'm not on facebook), and even after I had emailed her congratulations (which took alot for me to muster), she recently sent out an email update (guess she has time for that after all) about her new baby (#2, of course), and did not include me on the update. I guess I need to clarify with them that I already feel 95% left out of what is going on with them, and if they start leaving me totally out of the loop, well, I'll feel 100% left out!!! I have some emotionally fair days when I can handle reading your baby updates, people!!!

PS. Did anyone else see this on FOX News' site this morning. GUESS WHAT, FOX!! If you need fertility treatments to conceive, you're not fertile!!! Stop the insanity!!! (Celine Dion is their #1 "Fertile after 40" celebrity!!!)

Food on Friday

Friday, October 22, 2010

I have never been one to do some of the weekday postings, but since it seems like at least some of you are interested in what/how I cook, I think I will start a new Friday theme of FOOD! Plus I love to talk about cooking anyway, so it will be a nice diversion from whatever ttc-catastrophe has just happened to me.

Today's recipe is my mom's apple crisp! We still have a half of a bag of apples from the orchard sitting on the dining room table. I did make some amazing apple muffins last weekend, too, but maybe that will be next Friday's recipe!

This crisp is very easy and very good. You can even have it for breakfast and not feel guilty, because it is mostly apples and oatmeal.... or at least that is what I tell myself when I'm spooning some into a dish next to my morning fake coffee!!!

Lest you think I am some sort of amazing photographer like this gal or this gal, you should lower your expectations immediately! I don't even have a picture of this crisp! Guess we were too busy digging in...

Here are the ingredients:

6 cups of sliced/peeled apples (I used fuji, but you could definitely use any kind you like!)
1.5 cups of oatmeal (dry)
1/2 cup of flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup of softened/mushable butter

Spray an 8x8 glass dish with nonstick spray and arrange the sliced apples in the dish. In a big bowl, combine the oatmeal, flour, spices, vanilla, brown sugar, and butter. Stir until it the butter has kind of bonded with the other ingredients to create a crumbly consistency. Cover the apples with this mixture. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes!

And there you have it! You should try it and let me know how it turns out :) Happy cooking!

Ps 5:3

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I didn't tell the women at the pregnancy center that we were trying until just this year. There are a few things that went into this decision, including...

I am a member of a more traditional Christian denomination. Many of the women (volunteers) at the pregnancy center are members of evangelical churches. We are all Christians, but sometimes the ways of praying are a little different. And that is okay.

But last fall, we had an inservice where the speaker had volunteered at our center years before. She shared her testimony, which included that she was having trouble conceiving #2, and so she asked the then-volunteers to pray over her, and of course, she got pregnant that month.

At the time, this struck me as kind of presumptious. I mean, it almost seemed like (in the way she presented it) that the prayer over her was so amazing that God had no choice but to bless her. I just remember thinking, who are you to tell God what to do?

And over the last year, this sort of scenario has come back from time to time, and I have never gotten completely comfortable with it. I mean, I pray every DAY for a baby, and God has not put one in my womb yet (that I know of, maybe today though, haha!). Tons of mothers pray for their children to be healed of sickness, and yet so many have to say goodbye too soon. Parents pray their kids will come home from war, but many do not. These people pray for something once and it appears!

As I have reflected on it, I wondered if maybe some denominations don't emphasize prayers that haven't been answered because they view them as less of a testimonial. Obviously, it makes a way bigger impression to have the testimonial that the speaker gave, compared to mine which includes praying for over three years with nary as much as a bit of encouragement yet. Or is it possible that God does answer all their prayers?!

But I had a new revelation the other day as I was continuing to reflect on this phenomenon. Maybe the reason that their prayers are so powerful is that they believe 200% that God WILL answer this prayer! Maybe I don't have enough expectation that God will bless us with a baby.

There are many places in the Bible that direct us to pray with expectation (Ps 5:3) and with perseverance (Luke 11:1-13 and Luke 18:1-8). Maybe I need to renew my gusto of expecting God to answer my prayers for a baby. But at the same time I write that, it feels a little odd because it's not like God is waiting for me to be busting at the seams with expectation of His response, before He will give it to me. I don't believe there is a threshold of faith that he is just waaaaaaiting for me to reach. He can bless me at any time.

I am so grateful to have the opportunity to be exposed to all kinds of Christian prayer. There are good things about all types of prayer- written, spontaneous, directed, and silent. As "luck" (or something) would have it, I had a mini-breakdown during our pre-shift prayer time about 3 weeks ago, and all my gusto'ed-evangelical sisters in Christ prayed aloud over me that God would open my womb immediately!!! And true to form, I believe that they honestly would not be at all surprised if we are pregnant this month. That is how much they believe that God answers prayers. Quite a lesson for me. Because I'd be surprised ;-)

(Edited to add that I love my evangelical Christian sisters just as much as my Methodist ones or any of the other Christian ladies! Like I said, there are good things about all types of prayer/denominations, and I think we can learn alot from each other! Hope no one was offended...)

The CR-Y

Monday, October 18, 2010

Oh Honda, you sure missed a great marketing opportunity.

We (Mr. A and I) are very interested in the new CR-Z. Mr. A's very first car was a red CR-X, and he loved that car for its sportiness then and wishes he still had it now, for love of its amazing gas mileageness.

When we first saw a commercial for the new CR-Z, I wondered aloud why they didn't just pick the next letter of the alphabet, but then I realized that it'd have spelled "CRY", and who wants to name their new sporty car that?

Except, that Honda is missing an opportunity to have a shot at a monopoly on the infertile car market.

We all remember those damn darn Routon Boom commercials. They still get my blood pumping (when I remember them) and make me want to throw things at the TV. How dare Volkswagen set forth that people will have broods of children just to buy their stinkin van!! And further, how dare they portray that it is just that easy. Mark my words, I will never buy one of their cars based on principle!!

But this is where the CR-Y would come into play!! If Volkswagen can assume that there are enough fertile people in this world to come up with a whole campaign playing right into all the stereotypes, then Honda, you can, too!!

There are several aspects of the CR-Z (CR-Y for my purposes) that are excellent for infertile people:
  • Seating capacity of 2? No problem! No need to make room for baby seats with us
  • Cargo room of only 25.1 (as compared to the at least 140-something of the Oddessy!)? That will be perfect. All we have to cart around are our dreams, which are so broken and beaten by now that they fit into very small spaces
  • Manual transmission is fine since there is no need to keep a hand free to find that errant pacifier
  • Starting at $20k allows us to still pay for another round of IUI or IVF or schedule some fancy vacations that are brought to us by our lack of offspring
  • All infertile's are very familiar with the word "CRY". In fact, we will probably (many a time) cry in our CR-Y. Maybe you could incorporate a tissue holder instead of a third cup holder?
  • While our fertile friends are away scheduling play dates, our infertility actually could get put to use, as we star in ground-breaking CR-Y commercials...
So there you have it. If only I worked at Honda, I might have been able to secure our infertile niche in the car world. Until they see this post and realize what a great addition to their team I'd be, we'll have to settle for gut-wrenching family love-oozing minivan obnoxiousness!

Who is with me on this great idea of mine?! ;-)

Feelin' Good

Saturday, October 16, 2010

After my bout of an awful time with this infertility monster (see here and here in case for some reason you want to relive that dark spot), I am having a really good day today. I am totally content, very happy, and hopeful tomorrow will bring the same feelings.

First thing's first, Josey won the giveaway!! Josey, email me your address and I will ship you your natural dishwasher detergent!! I hope you like it as much as I do!!

Secondly, I just want to bask in today. I hope that's okay. Those of you who are not having good days, be assured you are in my prayers. I have been where you are- when it seems so dark you can't possibly imagine light again. Hang on as best you can- we are all here for you (HUG)!! Just to show you that things do turn around, here are some things going on:
  • I had an amazing afternoon with my beautiful friend and her daughter yesterday. I invited them over so I could introduce them to the mennonite farm and bulk store I have grown to love so much. Luckily for me, they loved it, too!! And time with them is just such a balm to my heart. She struggled with IF, too, and her daughter is a beautiful example of God's plan for adoption- as a result, she is so sensitive to how it feels to deal with IF. We have an honest, prayerful relationship, and it is so wonderful! If I could pass along two prayer requests from her, please pray that her husband is led to the job God has in mind for him, and also please pray that God will give them clear direction on what is next in the building of their family. Thanks!
  • I made amazing pizza for dinner last night. The crust turned out perfect! I also used our own tomato sauce, with fresh mozzarella from the mennonite cheese shop, and ground beef from the farm!
  • I also made an apple crisp last night with apples from an orchard we went to last Sunday! The crisp turned out really good- it was all I could do to avoid having it for breakfast!
  • This morning my cousin came over to go hunting with Mr. A (bow deer season now). He's a senior in high school, and it was really nice to just hang out with him! They are gone all day, but it is the most perfect fall day you can picture, so it will be an amazing time in the woods. Not sure they will get a deer, but that would certainly liven up our activities tonight! Nothing like butchering your own deer...
  • Because they are gone all day, I have had a great day to myself. I've hung out 2 loads of laundry, and washed/hung up all Mr. A's work clothes. I went and got my dad a birthday card and some organic strawberries for.....
  • ANOTHER TWO BATCHES OF FREEZER JAM!!! I'm not sure if you can sense my enthusiasm. ;-) I picked another 8 cups of raspberries from our bush recently and wanted to make a different combination this time (last time I combined the raspberries with rhubarb). This time I used some pectin I got at the mennonite store that allows you to use less sugar or HONEY! This universal pectin's jelling power is from calcium, not by the sugar you add to the jam like other pectins. Long story short, I made one batch with honey and one batch with sugar (lower quantities than my previous batch), and it was VERY easy!! I can't wait to try the one with honey- how cool is that!
  • I am also making chicken and dumplings from scratch for my hungry hunters tonight. I am boiling the chicken right now, with some carrots, celery, garlic, and onion, and the house smells wonderful!! AND I already have some dumplings frozen from last time- the dumpling recipe made too many! It will be a really satisfying dinner (I hope) on such a crisp fall evening.
  • Our dogs are being so precious today. I don't know how we ended up with the world's two greatest dogs (am I biased?), but we sure hit the jackpot with them. Even though Bert is only 10.5 months old, he (and Banana, but she is always great with kids) did so great with my friend's daughter yesterday- they are the same eye level! I was a tad worried he'd knock her over, but he was wonderful! I don't think my friend's daughter was prepared for all the doggie-kisses though ;-)
Well I better scoot and do up some dishes from my cooking escapades this afternoon. It has been so wonderful to create things in the kitchen! I wish you were all here with me hanging out and making stuff :)

Guest Post (Bert)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hello, I am only 10.5 months old right now, so this is my first letter I've ever written, so forgive me if I don't have all the speling right. (This will be quick because it is raining outside, and this is a prime napping morning!)

Up until 2.5 months ago, I lived my whole life in a shelter. People would come see me, and then they would never come back for me. It was really frustrating because I am so friendly and I tried to make a good impression. But then one afternoon when it was thundering and raining really hard, two people came to see me and brought their other dog. In the small room at the shelter, we all met. I really liked their dog, and they could tell I was a great dog. But then they left again. I went back to my kennel at the shelter and wondered if I'd ever see them again or if it'd be like all the other families.

Much to my excitement, the very next day the man came back!!! He filled out some paperwork, and then he gave me my very own fancy collar with a shiny nametag with MY name!!! He led me outside- could this be it?! He opened the door to some kind of box and wanted me to get inside, but I was nervous- what was this thing- I had no idea?! He opened a bag of treats and put one on the seat. I hopped right in- I'll do anything for a treat!

I am SO happy to be home. It took my sister (Banana) a few weeks to get warmed up to how much I want to play, but now she wants to play just as much as I do. We take a walk all together first thing after I get up, and then we go outside every morning after breakfast (except today because it is raining) and we smell around the yard and run after each other. It is so nice to have someone to always play with! Then we come inside and take naps next to each other on the couch or chair. We really have to curl up tight to both fit on the chair, but it is so cozy!! And the rest of the day is spent snoozing and maybe playing with some toys. Then my dad comes home from work and we all go for a walk. Then we eat dinner, play outside some more, and come to rest at the end of each day cuddled on the couch again.

My mom said that she'd love to post some pictures of us, but their computer just broke so they lost all of their pictures. She promises to take more so you can see me and Banana!!

Sometimes, especially when I am dozing next to my sister on the most comfortable couch on the planet, or when we are running gleefully around the yard, I think back to when I didn't know my family. I woke up every day for 8 months hoping it'd be the day I'd get to go home like some of my other friends there. Eight months is a long time to keep hoping. My mom says that I probably got discouraged the same way she does, but look at what a happy ending the 4 of us are. I have loved being here, learning the things that they are teaching me, playing with Banana, and being safe and cozy. I have tried my best to be the best boy I can be, and my mom and dad tell me all the time that I am a very good boy! Except when I bark at rabbits (that I smell) when we are walking in the pitch black at 6am....

Okay, I'm getting sleepy, so I better sign off. I just wanted to say hi to everyone. I will write again soon!

Love, Bert

PS. My mom says don't miss entering the giveaway below!

Back in Business! (GIVEAWAY!)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wow, it feels good to open up the laptop and write a new post again! PLUS, I am so excited to be able to visit each of you this morning and leave a comment after so long of just reading!! I hope I haven't lost too many readers :)

And, just like I promised, it's time for a celebration giveaway!!

As you know, we've switched most of our food to organic/natural, and that has extended into other products around our home, too, like shampoo, soap, and cleaning products. I don't consider switching the home products to be quite as important as food, but some of the ones that come into contact with our skin are something to consider because of some of the ingredients, for example parabens which mimic estrogen and therefore can have an effect on our hormone system that we are so desperately trying to manage!!!

My favorite website for natural products is vitacost. There are tons of reviewed products, from vitamins to laundry detergent. And their prices are better than at least the stores in my area, usually by a couple of bucks. For my giveaway, I will be offering one of two products- you can choose which one you'd like!!

E&O Peppermint and Tea Tree Hand Soap: Alot of the naturally-fragranced products use lavender. I got the world's largest bar of all-natural lavender soap for our downstairs bathroom in the spring, and at that time I mentioned to my acupuncturist that we'd switched to natural soaps, and I had this amazing lavender one, and she told me that lavender oil is used in some instances to bring on your period, so I shouldn't use it during the 2ww! Ack!! So when searching for a new (period-inducing-free) bathroom hand soap, I was really happy to find this one. The scent is just right- not too overpowering or girly (for the very manly husbands)- and it definitely does not dry out your hands. But it also cleans very well- so I have a bottle at the kitchen sink, too. Plus, the blue bottle is really pretty, and the soap is paraben free!!

Earth Friendly Wave Lavender Dishwasher Soap: Okay, since I don't wash with this soap, I allow it to be lavender. Ha! It really does make the kitchen smell nice!! But more importantly, I have found this product to work better than cascade! We don't have a very new dishwasher, and I am not one to rinse all my dishes, and when I was using cascade, alot of my glasses would not get clean on the inside- to the point where I just started handwashing all the glasses. Amazingly, this product gets all my glasses clean!! (Unless, I put something really icky in there without rinsing it, but that is my fault...) I am always impressed by how well this product works, and it doesn't contain bleach or any other harmful ingredients that are prevalent in other dishwasher soaps. (I was using Palmolive Eco because it is free of alot of the other chemicals, but then I checked the label and it contained bleach!) Anyway, I think you will be impressed with this product. You have to remember to shake the bottle before putting it into your dishwasher though :)

So there you have it! I hope you will want to enter this giveaway and go explore the natural products for you and your home! (I'm not being paid by vitacost- I did email them to see if they wanted to partner, but I haven't heard back yet- still hoping they will want to in the future!)

To enter, leave a comment and tell me which product you'd choose and why! I'm keeping it simple :) (ETA: No comments after 5pm EST Friday. I'll announce the winner (random) on Saturday morning!)

a tease

Saturday, October 09, 2010

I hope that you all will forgive me for not commenting lately! Our new macbook should be arriving this coming week!!! I cant wait to get back into all your journneys. I have not stopped praying for you!

I so appreciate all your prayers, support, encouragement, and good thoughts. I think the fog has lifted for now, thank God (literally)!

Today was so great. Mr. A and I had an awesome time hanging out with my friend, her hub, and their daughter (2 yrs). They are precious friends, and you would not believe how cute it was when Mr. A "found" a lego person in their daughter's ear! She was so worried! It was so cute- how do kids think that magic trick is real?! What an awesome afternoon!

To tease you with posts i plan to write on my new laptop, here are some topics:
*guest post from Bert
*giveaway of my new favorite natural product
*new car review
*adventures in freezer jam

Stay tuned!!
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Tuesday, October 05, 2010

i'm sorry it has been so long since i've written.  we still don't have a laptop, and it is a pain to write out a whole post on my phone, and even though i can post via email, it still isn't the same.  i miss everyone so much!  ho hum.
that really describes my heart lately.  last friday, my super fertile "best" (or not) friend from college emailed everyone that now that her son was 2.5, she knows we're all wondering when they'll have #2, and #2 is due in april!
i just cant take my friends' emails anymore.  so i wrote them all about our struggles.
i was really proud of my email- i dont think it was snotty or bitter or mean.  and from the ones i've heard from, they totally don't know what i'm talking about, but everyone has been generally supportive.  and when i say generally, i mean truly in general, because there are several little hurtful things that have been written, but i am TRYING to let those go.
but it is hard to write to your used-to-be friends and say that you (i) feel lame and bleak and unimportant compared to them.  i mean, it is hard on the soul and mind to admit that outright.  and everyone says of course that's not true, but it is how i FEEL.  because it doesn't really help me if i tell you i'm feeling isolated, and you say, "you're not isolated!" because that doesn't address that i am still feeling that way.
i have really been working hard the last week or so to really force myself to start accepting a childless future.  it is tough, but i have almost stopped wondering when we'll have to wait for the schoolbus, or what we'll do if our kid is getting bullied, or how we'll talk to them about tough issues. 
i still do trust that God will work this situation for good, but i have been so battled lately.  i have cried probably every day at some point for the last whole week.  it's not normal for me to do that, and maybe this is where i truly get broken, but i sure hope i can get out from under this attack soon. 
to quote from misfit's header, my sacrifice, God, is a broken spirit.