Monday, December 21, 2009

Upcoming Cooking Plans

With all the snow this weekend I've been able to finalize our holiday menus. Christmas Eve is going to be our standard - Clam Chowder and Fajitas. For Christmas I've decided to make Ham in Coca Cola. I've wanted to make it for awhile and this seems like the perfect opportunity. I'm also seriously considering making this Hot Chocolate Layer Cake with Homemade Marshmallows. Because when else you have that much sugar in one meal??

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snow Storm 2009

We've got a serious snow storm going on right now. You can't see the basement window and the snow is up to the second step.

Teddy is not sure about snow up to her shoulders.

Measuring 18 inches at 3:30pm with another 8 hours of snow forecast.

Teddy enjoyed the snow when we took her to the nearby football field early this morning and let her run around. Now that it's still coming down I don't think she's a fan.

The local news is classic right now. The weather guy has been on since 6 am and is still really excited about the storm. The anchor seems drunk and Matt's betting they pull her soon because she's a little out of control.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Update

Tomorrow is going to be the biggest snow storm in years. I plan on not leaving the house, but if I have to maybe I should get one of these and wear Teddy around my belly to keep it warm. Stupid coat not making it one more week!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Signs of things to come

As of this morning I can no longer fit into my non-maternity coats. Thankfully my mother bought me a pretty coat while I was in CA, but I have my fingers crossed that it will get me through the East Coast winter. Next week starts the beginning of the third trimester (which is an additional freakout) so I figure by the end of January I will not longer be able to wear any of the regular clothes I had been making work as maternity clothes.

I've also started wearing long earrings every day. I figure I'll have to put them all away for about 5 years in a few months so I might get some use out of them before I put them away.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Classy Is My Middle Name

Yesterday I had my glucose screening test. For those who haven't had to do it, you drink a nasty sugary drink and an hour later the doctor draws your blood to see if you have gestational diabetes. The drink made me a little nauseous, but nothing too bad. I had been allowed to eat breakfast (with a limited amount of sugar) to help counteract the drink. With about five minutes to go till the blood draw the doctor walked in and we started talking about how everything was going. With two minutes till the blood draw I started to feel very lightheaded and started sweating. The doctor had me lie down so she could listen to the heartbeat and measure my stomach. Lying down I started to get even more lightheaded and came the closest to passing out that I've been in a long time. Of course that's when the nurse came in to draw my blood. So, I'm lying there trying to keep conscious, my dress is pulled up so the doctor can have access to my stomach, and the nurse has my arm to take blood. It was quite a scene and maybe one of my classier moments. After some water, hard candy, and about 15 minutes I was feeling better and allowed to go clean myself up and leave. I looked like an extra from a horror movie. My makeup was running all over my face because I'd sweated so much and my hair was sticking up in 8 different directions. It was lovely. The baby did very well and waited until I was fully recovered before beginning her morning tap dance on my bladder. She's considerate like that.

I figure that I either passed with flying colors or failed spectacularly. With that kind of reaction I don't think there's a middle ground.

Update - I just got the blood test results back and I passed! Yeah!! Because I think the three hour test might have been more than I could handle.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Favorites

Our baby girl has started to develop certain habits that I am not fond of. She likes her space and is not afraid to kick me to make me move so I am in a better position for her. It doesn't seem to matter that I have to sit like that to work on my computer at work. No, our little princess would like her space NOW. If I don't sit back she will start kicking my bladder so I have to get up and walk around. She also thinks peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are the greatest thing ever and gets very active every time I eat one.

Everything else is going well. We are making progress on cleaning out the room that will be the nursery. After the fifth bag of books that we're getting rid of, we've decided that we really should use library cards more often.

Over the past week I've started to see a change in Teddy. I think she knows what's coming, but there's no way to know. She's started to curl up next to me and put her head on my stomach with her ear leaning against it like she's trying to listen. I wonder if she can hear the baby moving. She does seem to be enjoying the stories we read to the baby.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Nesting Instinct

I knew it was coming, but I was really unprepared for it. The past two weeks the nesting instinct has fully kicked in. I think that might be a misnomer. I think "Nesting Psychosis" is a more appropriate term. There have been trips to Ikea, The Container Store, and Target. There's been much sorting and getting rid of unneeded items. I will also confirm that the words "We can't bring a baby into the house with such a large pile of ironing still needing to be done" passed my lips. Thankfully Matt still finds it amusing. Which is good because today he needs to dust, vacuum, fold the laundry, rake the leaves, mow and reseed the lawn, and get rid of the bags of stuff that I purged this weekend. Tomorrow there's another list for him. Enjoy your vacation honey!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

We're halfway there

Monday I hit the halfway mark and yesterday we went in for an ultrasound. Our baby girl is looking good. All parts are accounted for and in the right place. We even got a couple of waves during the ultrasound.

I've been feeling her move pretty regularly. I think it feels kind of like when your heart beat is racing and you can feel your blood pumping, but not quite as rhythmic. Then Friday night during dinner I got my first big kick. I looked down and stared at my stomach for a couple of seconds because I couldn't figure out what had happened. Then I couldn't stop smiling because I was so excited.

Matt and I have also started reading to the baby. We generally read children's books, but Matt is reading selected Sports Guy columns to her. I vetoed Roberts Rules of Order. If anyone has suggestions for good books I'd love to hear them. Here's what the baby library currently has.
-Corduroy
-Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel
-Madeline
-Eloise (my goal in life for many years was to be her)
-A couple of Dr. Seuss books
-Baby's first Stanford text-board book (a gift from my dad - because it's never to early to start the pressure to be the 5th generation to go)
-Hippos Go Berserk (bought solely for the title)
-The Runaway Bunny

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Latest Baby Purchase


Because brainwashing can't begin early enough.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Because The First Lady Is All Sorts of Awesome

During an interview when someone asked her how to catch a great guy like she did. This is part of her answer.
"Look at how the guy treats his mother, what he says about women, how he acts with children he doesn't know. And more importantly how does he treat you? When you're dating a man, you should always feel good...you should never feel less than...you should never doubt yourself, you shouldn't be in a relationship with someone who doesn't make you completely happy or make you feel whole. And if you're in (such a) relationship, don't get married, and find that person who brings you complete and utter joy."
God I love that woman. I hope some day to be that smart.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Not the swine flu

After getting fully vaccinated last week, yesterday I came down with something. After conferring with the doctor this morning it looks like it's just a cold. There's no fever, so they don't think it's the flu (either kind) but if I do come down with a fever they will be getting me a prescription. For the next few days it's rest and lots of fluids for me. I have been around people who had been exposed to swine flu, but the time between when I saw them and when I started to feel nasty wasn't enough time for me to get sick. The doctor said that I might be having a reaction to the shot, but not to worry. So everyone, don't worry. Mom and Gloria I'm looking at you specifically.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Madness of Infertility

I think this is an amazing essay that so accurately describes what it's like to be infertile. The author explains how she's jealous of a panda bear who manged to get pregnant while she and her husband still struggle. It's the best example I've seen of how you can be jealous of ANY pregnant being, even one trapped in a zoo. I also like that the author is in her 20's. So much is written about infertile women in their 30's and 40's that the younger ones tend to get forgotten. One of the final straws with the first doctor we saw was when he told me "You're still young and have plenty of time" during a visit. I later realized that it was the third January in a row we'd had an appointment with him. Just because I have time doesn't mean that I haven't already spent too much time dealing with stupid heads. (For the record the time between first appointment and positive pregnancy test with the new doctor? 4 months.)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

And the answer is...

It's a girl. We also got the test results back from the ultrasound and blood work a couple of weeks ago and everything looks good. I also had my cervix checked and everything looked great. My mother spent at least 2 months on bed rest with each of her children due to an incompetent cervix (three months hospitalized with her hips above her heart and unable to get out of bed with the last one) so I was very paranoid about my cervix. I might have high fived Matt about because I'm not like my mother. But it was done with love and appreciation for the time she spent in bed with me and my brothers.

We are super excited and can't wait to meet our little girl. Based on what we've seen in the ultrasounds so far she's definitely energetic and has problems sitting still. The technician today had trouble getting a recording of her heartbeat for more than 3 seconds before she moved again. Only time will tell if she's really the OCD/ADD combo that we're expecting.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Last Chance to Guess - Hopefully

Tomorrow we go in for another ultrasound, and hopefully are able to find out the sex of the baby. I do know someone who had a baby that never cooperated and they had to wait till the baby was born. I'm praying that baby doesn't have a twisted sense of humor, but I'm not holding my breath.

Last week I spent a couple of days with my family in the Bay Area and then a couple of days working in San Francisco. It was good to see everyone, even if the weather was worse than El Nino. I also managed to get out of my dad's house with none of the reserved baby clothes from the basement. If I wanted to I could dress the baby from birth to 12 with nothing but the clothes in the basement, so this was an epic feat. Roughly the equivalent of climbing Everest.

For the most part I'm feeling better. I'm still exhausted and going to bed early, but everything else seems to have calmed down.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Not so much with the talking

I was aware of baby brain as a concept, but I thought it was something along the lines of being forgetful. Apparently I am suffering from a version which makes it impossible to use the right words. It's not gibberish, just clearly not the right word. Recent examples include...
"Putting all your birds in one basket"
"I need to clean the dog poop off my car" (I meant bird poop)
"Have we ordered the signage for the blow"
"Furbulous" (ok, maybe that one ventures towards gibberish)
I've also developed a habit of being completely unable to type my own name. Awesome.

I think part of it is baby brain and part is just being overwhelmed. Last week my company decided to reorganize. Not unexpected, just really poor timing. This meant my boss was laid off, effectively immediately, and I am taking over his responsibilities. I don't get to hand any of mine off to anyone else, I just add his. I'm trying not to panic, but I've never missed tequila as much as I have in the past week.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Our little elf

The top one is WAY zoomed in so you can see the profile. My mom thinks it looks like Matt, but I think that's just because it has hair. And it totally looks like a little elf.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Babies On The Brain

Today our interim president at work became the proud daddy to a new baby girl named Emma. He hand his partner used a surrogate and she lives in San Diego, so he's out there for the birth. San Diego's an excellent city to be born in, if I do say so myself. Contrary to popular belief it does not make you an instant surfer.

I am doing well as I'm about to enter my last week of the first trimester. Most of the nausea has passed, but this week I did learn the hard way that I shouldn't take the trash out anymore. Teddy was kind enough to get out of the way before I threw up on her.

This weekend I'm planning my first trip to the baby store to start figuring out what we need. Any recommendations that people have for baby gear I would appreciate. Matt's keeping a spreadsheet of all recommendations (along with a spreadsheet of baby-related spreadsheets) because he's way more organized than I am. Next week I have my next appointment and ultrasound so we get to see how big the baby's gotten. Last time it looked like a gummy bear, so we'll see what it looks like now.

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Little Concerned

After spending some time in traffic over the past week, I'm becoming concerned that the baby's first phrase is going to be "Why are you such a douche bag?"

Random aside - I once used the phrase "douche bag" while driving with my youngest sister, who was about 12 at the time. She asked what it meant, so I told her. And then, because I am my mother's daughter, I ended it with this comment. "Some people think that douching after having sex will prevent pregnancy, but that's not true." She asked to change the subject.

We had the first appointment with the OB this week. I've been seeing him for about 5 years, and he performed some surgery on me last year and then the D&C after the miscarriage, and he kept telling us how happy he was for us. Stuff like that are the reason I keep going back to him. We were talking about epidurals and he asked if I was going to want one. I asked if I could have two. He said "Good. I don't understand people who want natural childbirth. It's like having a natural root canal." Also why I love him.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I am a slacker

I haven't been writing, not because anything is wrong, but because I seem to have lost the ability to put thoughts into words. Not only can I not bring the funny, I can barely bring the English.

Everything is going just fine with the pregnancy. We've seen the heartbeat a couple of times, and we have our first appointment with my regular OB this afternoon. I am now nine weeks along, and my due date is March 29th. We have told just about everyone, except my office. I have a meeting tomorrow to tell the President, and then everyone will know. I am telling work a little early, but my due date is two weeks after I'm supposed to be in Las Vegas for our big show, and we need the time to plan on how we're going to do it with one less person. There's also rumors going around my office that I'm interviewing for a new job, so I'd like to put those to rest before they get out of hand. Also, someone asked me this morning if my doctor's appointment is because I'm pregnant. Maybe I'm showing more than I thought.

For the most part I'm feeling ok during the day, but the evenings I start to go downhill and feel pretty bad. I do have some good nights, like last night when I insisted on burgers and fries for dinner followed by going out for ice cream, but most nights the smell of food does a number on my stomach.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

First Ultrasound

Today we had our first ultrasound of the pregnancy and everything looks good. We were able to see the heartbeat and we have a due date of March 29. Based on my blood tests we thought there might be twins, but when we saw only one I think we both were a little relieved. With the level of exhaustion and nausea I'm currently having with one, I don't think you'd ever get me out of bed if it was two.

I go in for another ultrasound and then I move from the fertility specialist to my regular OB/GYN. For right now I'm having ultrasounds every 10 days between the two doctors. Once that level goes down I think I'm going to be a little wound up between appointments. I do not know how people did it before they could look every few weeks and check up on the baby's progress.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Update

So far, so good. My beta numbers have been going up very nicely and everything looks good. Right on schedule I've gotten exhausted, bad cramps, and nausea. It's like I'm pregnant or something! Oh, and my sense of smell is in overdrive. Teddy has gone to doggy play group twice in the last week, and I can smell her from five feet away. Which is really bad because she wants to spend all her time with her head in my lap. That is when she's not throwing up in the basement. That was awesome. I tried to help Matt clean it up, and he wouldn't let me. He said that he'll clean up the dog puke because I'll have to clean up all the baby puke. I don't remember making that deal, and I refuse to honor it. Babies throw up way more than Teddy does.

Yesterday I also had the interesting experience of reading that I was pregnant on Facebook. I haven't gone that public with it yet, so it was funny to see my brother in law put it up. Thankfully the only friend I have in common with him is Matt, so none of the people I haven't told yet are going to find out via Facebook.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Results Are In...

And they are positive! I am officially pregnant. I will go in on Monday and Wednesday for blood tests and then we'll schedule an ultrasound. Patients who've been through IVF, IUI, and the like, are monitored about every two days to make sure the pregnancy is progressing well. I'll let everyone know how things keeps going, but now I need a nap.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Diary of an IVF Cycle - One Day More

And now for the longest 24 hours of my life. I'm trying very hard to keep myself busy and my mind off the test, but I'm failing pretty spectacularly. I took Matt to the airport this morning and we did manage to talk about some other things during the drive. I'll pick him up on Sunday night and I'm pretty sure whatever the outcome it will be all we talk about on the ride home.

That might be a bit of a lie. Matt's instructions for this weekend are to have a good time, try not to stress out about this, don't get alcohol poisoning, and don't get poison ivy while peeing in the woods. We will be talking about if he followed the rules.

I've managed to schedule about 80% of my work day for the next two days with meetings where I have to be paying attention, so I'm hopefully that will keep my mind occupied. My office got an interim President/CEO who started yesterday and we're having all sorts of "get the new guy up to speed" meetings. All staff members also have to have a 2 hour meeting with the President explaining what we do, what our background is, and what our goals are. My meeting is scheduled for 1-3 tomorrow afternoon. My goal for the meeting is not to look like a complete hormonal nut case that has something more important on her mind. Also not to start crying.

It's hard to tell if Teddy is being more protective than usual or if she's just needy. She goes through periods where she definitely prefers Matt or me, and right now it's all about me. She has seemed a little more pouty than normal, but I'm going to blame that on the fact that she feels like we don't treat her as well as Matt's mom did. And we don't. She is a princess and has no qualms about telling us when we are not paying her enough attention and demanding more petting.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Diary of an IVF Cycle - Reading Tea Leaves

The wait till the blood test on Friday is making my hyper-conscious of anything happening to my body. Cramps - is that a good thing and a sign of a growing uterus or my body trying to get me to stop taking the hormones? Breast tenderness and swelling - sign of pregnancy or PMS? Related - are you serious that I did not fill out the top of that bridesmaid dress? Well, there's a first time for everything. Nausea - food poisoning, morning/afternoon sickness, or the worst case of nerves ever? Pain in my toe - Teddy get off my foot. And my least favorite and cause for some panic, spotting. It was very little blood and stopped within 24 hours, but still added to the stress. If spotting doesn't freak you out you're either male or lying, or maybe both.

I've been told that all of these are normal and don't indicate anything one way or the other.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Two Things

1) If I have a tomato and mozzarella sandwich for lunch and then bruschetta with tomato and mozzarella for dinner that's totally not eating the same thing for lunch and dinner.

2) The hormones are to blame for the following:
-Crying at the Harry Potter movie
-Finding deep wisdom in pop songs - especially Whitney Houston and Bette Midler
-Very detailed dreams that have involved me staring in movies
-Going to bed at 8:30

Five days till the test. Not that I'm counting the seconds or anything.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Summer On Sourdough

There's nothing like to me a tomato, mozzarella, and basil sandwich. I could eat it every day in the summer. Tonight I made it and thought I would walk you through the steps to make any that you make even better.

First, slice the bread (I really like sourdough, but any white bread would do depending on your preference) and drizzle the side you want the inside of the sandwich to be with olive oil. Sprinkle with a little salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Broil for a few minutes until light brown. Flip over, drizzle with olive oil only. Broil again. Try not to get distracted and burn and have to repeat.
While bread is toasting, slice tomatoes and sprinkle with salt. This will draw out some of the water and give them a stronger tomato flavor. Slice fresh mozzarella and salt as well (same reason.) Cut fresh basil with chiffonade and set aside.

Place first slice of bread with seasoned side up. Layer tomato, mozzarella, and then basil. If desired, add a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Enjoy! I just had my second on of the week. I used tomatoes and basil from the garden and mozzarella from the crazy cheese guy at the farmer's market. Now I just need another tomato to ripen to do it again.

Diary of an IVF Cycle - The Waiting Game

Today is the halfway mark till the pregnancy test. The nurse who discharged me after the transfer had written that my follow up blood work should be on the 21st, but that didn't make sense based on other things I'd read, so I double checked with my nurse and I have to wait till the 24th. I'm trying to figure out if I should have the nurse call me with the results on my cell phone and just leave the message there so I can check it after work. That would save any tears at work, which would probably come no matter what the outcome. But it also involves a level of discipline that I'm not sure I have. I'm not allowed to use a home test (the shots can give a false positive) and I had one around the house that I asked Matt's mom to hide while she was here last week. I realized that I couldn't be trusted with it once I made up a massive rationalization about how I would only trust the test if it was negative, and it would only be to help me slowly deal with the idea that it didn't work instead of it all coming at once. I couldn't even bring myself to try that one on Matt.

In the end I think I'm going to have to leave my phone at home that day. I don't know how to check my messages away from my phone, so that might be the only way. We're going to have a new interim boss at work who will be on his third day in the office next Friday, so I'm thinking tears and obsessive checking of personal phone messages will be looked down on. Also, I'm sure it will be written all over my face and I know my boss will ask, and while I really like my boss, I don't want him to be the first person I talk to about it.

Now that I'm looking at the rationalization, it really makes sense to me. Anyone else?? Dammit, how am I going to make it another 9 days? Where's Michael J. Fox and his time machine when I need it?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Diary of an IVF Cycle - Brain Dead

I know I've been complaining about being tired, but it's really nothing compared to the level of brain dead-ness I am currently experiencing. After two rounds of anesthesia and a gazillion IUs of hormones, I am completely exhausted and brain dead. I've found myself staring off into space and you can practically hear the crickets in my head. If I have any thought at all it's generally "try not to drool on yourself."

But, oh the hormones. I'm doing pretty well dealing with everything that's happened in the past week. (One of the bonuses of being so out of it is that you can't have a proper freak out while so spaced out.) And then today came. I picked up Matt at the airport this morning and then curled up with him on the couch for a few minutes before going to work. I put my head on his shoulder and all of the sudden I was sobbing. Why? No idea. He wasn't hungover, he didn't smell like stripper, and he hadn't lost all our money, what more could I ask for after a couple of days in Vegas? I have also managed tears over a photo from Sotomayor's confirmation hearings, a glitch in the database at work, and being out of gum. Tonight I'm going to go home and curl up in bed and try not to cry when Teddy sheds on me. Hopefully tomorrow I will be back to just trying not to drool on myself.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Diary of an IVF Cycle - Transfer Day

This morning I had the transfer. We ended up having two embryos available at transfer, so we put in both. Only one (the one that fertillized naturally) was highly rated. The second one had reached 4 cell stage, but is about 24 hours behind the natural one.

I'm now at home on bed rest for the next day. A few weeks till the blood test when we find out if it worked.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Diary of an IVF Cycle - Numbers Game

So, I had my egg retrieval on Monday. They pulled out 8 eggs (and pulled is the best word considering the amount of pain killers I've taken since then) and Matt gave them his contribution. I really appreciate how no one (other than my mother) has asked about Matt's part in this process. For some reason his part is a little gross and unnecessary to talk about. Any hoo, 24 hours post retrieval I got a call from the doctor. The message was this (and I'm quoting exactly) "Hi Alicia, it's Dr. X. It's not a medical emergency, but I'd really like to talk to you as soon as possible." At which point I'm lucky my lunch didn't end up on my desk. After 20 of the longest minutes of my life, I got to speak with the doctor. It turns out of the 8 eggs they retrieved, 7 were mature, but only 1 fertilized. Both our parts looked perfect under the microscope, but for some reason they do not play well together. The doctor said there was no reason he could see for that to happen, but they have a plan should we have to do this again about how to try and make sure this doesn't happen next time. The doctor decided to do ICSI (stands for injecting sperm directly into the egg, but in Latin) on 5 of the eggs to try and get us more options for transfer. As of this afternoon, the one embryo we had that fertilized naturally had split into 4 cells (which is exactly where they want it to be at this point) but only 1 of the ICSI eggs had fertilized. The eggs need to reach a certain point before they'll transfer them back, so we won't know until tomorrow if we are transferring one, two, or none (both of our options could die before transfer). They've scheduled the transfer for tomorrow (Thursday) and I'll let everyone know what we end up doing tomorrow afternoon. My dreams of "Matt and Alicia, plus Eight" have been dashed. (Dude, I could totally do her hair a a Halloween costume.) And now I've just jinxed us with identical quadruplets from the one good embryo...

I do feel slightly better that there's clearly something wrong that they didn't see before (ICSI should have like an 80% fertilization rate) but at the same time it's a bit of a pisser. Of course I really shouldn't be that surprised because Matt and I are both seriously independent and I feel like our reproductive parts think they can do this all by themselves and don't need anyone else's help, thank you very much. We are very lucky that we don't actually have to do this by ourselves and have had great support from family and friends. I'd specifically like to thank Matt's mom, who not only gives shots, but is driving me home from the transfer tomorrow and taking care of me while I'm on bed rest for a few days. I'd also like to thank the friends who have emailed or called us during this process just to check in and see how we're doing. I think we're doing better than expected, but I've just had my last drink for at least the next two weeks, so check back next week when I'm losing my mind and can't have a glass of wine.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Diary of an IVF Cycle - Egg Retrieval

After a trigger shot on Saturday night, I had my egg retrieval this morning. Everything went very well and they got 8 eggs. I was really hoping for at least ten (and had been told by the ultrasound tech that she was thinking we'd get 11-12) so I'm a little bummed. But then again, it only takes one. We will get updates for the next two days for how many fertilized and then how many make it through each day. Not all will fertilize, and some usually die each day, so it's a numbers game at this point. The doctors/support staff will grade each embryo each day, and by the time we get to transfer, they will implant the best ones. I'll let everyone know how it's going each day and what they're thinking. The transfer back happens on Day 3, 5, or 6 post transfer (I have no idea why Day 4 is bad) and today is considered Day 0. That means we're looking at Thursday, Saturday, or Sunday for the transfer.

This is the part where some of the really hard decisions come into play. How many do we put back (assuming we have more than one) and if it works what do you do with the frozen ones? We will definitely freeze any extras to save for another cycle, even if this one works. Apparently once they're frozen eggs don't age so in five years if I want to use them they'll still be considered 30 year old eggs instead of 35 year old eggs. The weird trivia that I now know. I think it's taking up the place where calculus used to be. For the record, we're planning on putting back two because I'm not going through all this to put back one. If we only put in one (and had the option of more) and it didn't work I would be really pissed off.

Today also marks the start of the countdown to the pregnancy test. It will be 18 days from today. Generally I would not tell anyone what it says, but let's be serious. If it goes well, I'll want people to hold my hand as I hold my breath for the first couple of weeks. If it goes poorly, you all need to know to send wine and tequila. Even before we started this cycle I had said that I would want to tell people early because I will be even more of a lunatic for the first few weeks. We know the heartache of miscarriage, and if it were to happen again I'd need all the support I can get. Some people might think of that as pessimistic, I tend to think of it as "hoping for the best but preparing for the worst."

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Diary of an IVF Cycle - Trigger Tonight

Happy 4th of July! Celebrate the founding of your country with a shot in the ass.

This morning I went in for blood work and an ultrasound and the results came back tonight with a trigger shot this evening with a retrieval on Monday. That means I'm down to my last three shots! Sweet! The tech doing the ultrasound said it looks like there are 11-12 follicles, which is good, and that they are almost ready to go. I am immensely grateful to Matt for coming with me this morning and letting me hold his hand, because the only worse than early morning ultrasounds, are early morning ultrasounds that poke you in your swollen parts. While I can't see the ovaries from the outside, I can definitely feel them when I poke my stomach. Also, my right ovary is the "powerhouse" ovary, the left one is a sissy. We're very technical over here.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Better Than Bread Salad?

I know people aren't going to believe me, and this might be controversial, but I really think this might be better than bread salad. I think it has more applications, and is seasonless. Or good year round if you want me to use words that are actually in the dictionary.

What is it? Cobbler muffins. More specifically, muffins made of cobbler topping. I know, why isn't this something that they sell? One of the best parts, you probably already have everything in your kitchen. Flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter. Go look, I'll wait. ... Do you have it all? No, margarine doesn't count. You need real butter for this.

You can use the muffins with ice cream, with fruit, or just eat them straight. Or you and your husband could eat an entire batch of 6 muffins in one night because they were so good. I'm just saying it's an option.

Cobbler Muffins
Makes 6

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in water until just combined.

Spoon topping into well greased muffin tin, dividing between six muffin pans. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and the tops are golden.

Diary of an IVF Cycle - Almost There

After this morning's ultrasound it looks like we're almost there. I have 6 follicles on the right and 4 on the left, all measuring between 14 and 16 mm (the goal is to get them to 18.) I go back in tomorrow and hopefully they'll be the right size by then and we'll be doing the retrieval over the weekend.

Much to Teddy's delight Matt's mom arrived last night. (For the record it took less than five minutes before Teddy got her first treat.) She's been kind enough to come down to administer shots and take care of me after the retrieval and transfer. She's also open to the idea of moving in with us if this whole thing results in triplets or more. I have a rule that the number of people in the house who can change a diaper cannot be outnumbered by the number of people who need their diaper changed. This will also apply to adult diapers. I'm just putting that out there now so everyone knows.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Diary of an IVF Cycle - Delay?

This morning was another blood draw and ultrasound (Can I tell you how much I love being on the Beltway first thing in the morning? God I freaking HATE driving. Maybe the meds are messing with more than I thought...) I had 5 follicles on each side, with the largest at 11mm. The doctor told me not to worry that they're not growing quickly. He said that's very common and wouldn't change our chances of the cycle working. Can I tell you that nothing puts me in a panic mode quicker than a doctor telling me not to worry about something. Don't worry about it, we'll be able to reattach your finger. Don't worry about that, it won't leave a scar when we stitch you up. ALL LIES! Ok, maybe I don't know about the finger, but you get my point. I go back on Thursday for ultrasound and blood work (like you didn't see that one coming) and they'll see where the follicles are at and what the plan is for the retrieval. I was originally scheduled for the retrieval on July 4th and now it's looking like it will get pushed back a day or two.

I just reread that paragraph and I sound way more ticked off than I really am. More than anything I'm just exhausted and tired of the shots. Work is kicking me in the arse HARD right now and I'd love to go to the gym and work off some steam, but I can barely keep my eyes open at the end of the day right now, so playing with gym equipment is probably a bad idea. I also have this horrid vision of all my puncture wounds starting to leak blood once I got my heart rate up and looking like an extra from a horror movie. I've also felt like I'm going to cry for the last four days, and no tears will come. I NEED SATISFACTION! I really think men don't understand how that can release a level of stress. I think it's the equivalent of screaming at the television during sports. It's not going to solve anything, but it makes you feel better. See how bad you feel after watching the World Series, Super Bowl, or World Cup without being able to yell. Pretty freaking miserable I'd bet.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Diary of an IVF Cycle - Bruiser

I look like I've broken out in some sort of bizarre rash all over abdomen that leaves small red dots (puncture wounds) and bruises. I've never been as happy to not have six pack abs as I've been in the past week. The fat is good for making the shots less painful. Matt's also gotten good at working around the bruises to find the little bit of skin that is still free of marks so it will be less painful.

On Friday I got the call from the nurse (they call after every ultrasound and blood draw to let me know what's going on) and based on the blood work they increased one of my evening medications. I went in again on Sunday for another ultrasound and more blood work. At that appointment they counted the follicles that are almost large enough to be measured (instead of just what looks like it's developing), so I had 8 on each side. There's was one that they could measure at 10mm, but all the others were still too small to measure. The nurse said to not worry if the numbers were a little lower than the time before because they're starting to count differently. Does that stop me from worrying - of course not. The call on Sunday night increased the dose of the second medication I take at night, and they stopped the morning shot all together. Yeah!! One less shot a day!

The increase of the medication actually does not make me worry. I was considered to be at risk for hyper-stimulating (producing way too many eggs) and if that happens it can cause a cycle to be canceled. Different clinics define "too many" differently. The clinic we're at right now generally doesn't want to see more than 25 follicles/eggs (they're considered follicles until they're removed from the ovary and then they count them as eggs) but I know someone who had 45 eggs in one cycle and that clinic did not cancel her cycle. She also had ovaries the size of softballs and could see them protruding from her stomach, eww. When we went in for our injection class, I had lower doses of all the medications than the other two women and now I'm in line with what they had.

I continue to be really foggy in my brain. Last night I even started passing out at a friend's house at 6:30, which is a new record for going to bed early. Matt had to poke me repeatedly in the car on the way home so I wouldn't fall asleep in the car. Epic levels of exhaustion.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Diary of an IVF Cycle - Updated Follicle Count

This morning I had another ultrasound and I've got 10 follicles on the right side and 9 on the left. The doctor said that's good and I go back in on Sunday to start getting them measured. They want the to grow to about 18mm each so the eggs can reach maturity. Once they do I get the trigger shot (aka the shot we're making Matt's mom come down and give me because it's complicated, goes really deep and I've already been warned hurts like a mo fo) and 36 hours later they do the retrieval.

For the most part I'm handling the drugs better than I anticipated. Other than exhaustion (please don't take it personally if I fall asleep and start drooling on you) and a serious case of oatmeal brain, it's not nearly as bad as I was expecting. I am starting to see bruising more where the shots are given, but Matt is doing a very good job of working around those for the next day's shots.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Diary of an IVF Cycle - And Now My Pants Don't Fit

I had been warned that bloating and weight gain were going to be a problem, I just didn't realize it would come on so quickly. The pants I wore to work fit perfectly, even a little loose this morning. Now they are straining at the seams and over my bruises and puncture marks. I have now given up on pants and skirts without elastic waistbands. If tomorrow is free dress day at work do you think I can get away with a nightgown?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Diary of an IVF Cycle - Vicious Circus

Last night we had to call in reinforcements, specifically Matt's mom. The dosing instructions were very confusing and the dose was given in IUs, but the syringe was in CCs. She talked us thru it and was extremely helpful while we figured out what the hell we were doing. Everyone should have at least one nurse in the family and we are very lucky to have three mom/nurses to call in with questions.

I'm beginning to feel more and more side effects, but not in the way I was anticipating. I expected to be on edge and angry and have a temper. What has happened is I'm exhausted, but can't sleep because of night sweats, and having really bad cramps, made worse by caffeine, which make me achy and want to be curled up in bed. I was explaining it to Matt last night and said it was a vicious circus when I meant to say vicious cycle. I think vicious circus works just as well. Can you tell that I'm also currently working with oatmeal instead of a brain?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Diary of an IVF Cycle - Lupron Evaluation

There are certain things in this world that you should not have to deal with before coffee. Surprise trans-vaginal ultrasounds are on that list. I would have at least shaved my legs this morning if I knew that was coming.

Today is the start of the stimulation medication. I went in this morning for a blood draw and ultrasound. I knew I was having blood drawn, but I totally forgot about the ultrasound which is why I looked at the nurse who told me to go empty my bladder like she had lost her mind. The ultrasound looked good (8 follicles starting on the right side and 6 on the left, which is a good start) and I'll get a call this afternoon confirming that a) I'm not pregnant and b) everything looks good to start. If we're all set I start two additional shots at night and cut back the amount of the morning shot. I currently get 20 International Units of the drugs in the morning, and I will be cutting back to 5. It doesn't seem worth it because 5 IUs could be injected into a pea with room to spare, but I'm not a doctor.

So far I don't have any bruising from the shots, but I can already see bruises forming where I had my blood drawn this morning. I wore all my short sleeve outfits to work last week because they're being banned for the next few weeks.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Diary of an IVF Cycle - Side Effects

After a rough week at work, this morning I had my first over-reaction that I'm going to blame on the meds.

Scene: Sunday morning, 9am
Alicia wakes up and goes downstairs to see what Matt is up to. Teddy tries to stick her nose in inappropriate places. Matt is nowhere to be found, but his wallet, keys, and phone are still in the living room, so he's not off getting breakfast. Alicia theorizes that Matt is off on a run.

9:15
Still no sign of Matt, so Alicia eats some breakfast so she can take her pills.

9:20
Alicia checks the front yard by looking out the window, no sign of Matt mowing the lawn. Alicia starts to get concerned.

9:30
Alicia rehearses the conversation with Matt about how he needs to leave her a note telling her where he goes. Teddy tries to stick her nose in inappropriate places.

9:40
Matt doesn't run this long. Alicia starts considering driving around the neighborhood making sure he didn't throw out his back while running and is lying on the sidewalk somewhere. Decides he should have left at note and doesn't open the door.

9:45
Alicia is now good and mad and muttering under her breath. She needs to get her shot, but since she doesn't know where Matt is, she decides to do it herself. She washes her hands, gets everything together, and makes quick work of the shot. Realizes afterwards that maybe she should have been laying down, or at least sitting, in case she got dizzy, but she was too mad.

10:00
After pacing up and down the stairs a couple of times, Alicia decides that she going to start weeding the backyard, but opens the front door to make sure that Matt's not lying on the sidewalk in front of the house in pain. Is considering kicking him while he's lying down. Looks out the front door and notices that the front steps are a different color and there are wet paint cones in front of the stairs. Alicia goes to the back yard to find Matt coming in after painting the front steps. His back is sore and he's covered in paint. Alicia decides not to kick him. He tries to defend himself from not writing a note telling his loving, caring wife where he is. He is wrong.
(Editorial note: Matt insists he was only only in the front yard and thus was not required to leave a note.) He is very proud that Alicia handled the shot herself. She makes him make his own breakfast.

Fade to US Open coverage...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Diary of an IVF Cycle - Medications

We are now three days into injections, and I have to compliment Matt on his technique. I have no bruising, even with the aspirin, and the pain is almost gone. Today also marks the last day of the birth control pills, so I'm hoping my energy level returns to normal because one of the side effects of being so wound up has been some insomnia. I like sleeping, so it would be nice if that went away.

Today I also received the rest of my medications. After an obcsene amount of time it took on the phone with three different pharmacies, a trip to Fairfax on Saturday, and getting box the size of a small dog delivered to my office I finally have them.

And now for the costs
Medication #1 = latte
Medication #2 = new book
Medication #3 = bottle of wine
Medication #4 = drinks at ladies night
Medication #5 = nice dinner out
Medication #6 = car payment
Medication #7 = mortgage payment
Of course it all pales in comparison to the cost of the treatment itself, but it's all part of the Matt and Alicia stimulus package of 2009.

Millions of peaches, peaches for me

While I do love the farmers market, my biggest problem with eating locally is that sometimes I want something that isn't there. Right now I am tired of asparagus and strawberries. I want PEACHES! Times like these call for the grocery store. And then when I don't eat them fast enough, peach cobbler.

Peach Cobbler
Serves 4
Ingredients
6 large peaches, cut into thin wedges
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon cornstarch

For biscuit topping
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup boiling water

Preparation

Cook peaches:
Preheat oven to 425°F.

Toss peaches with sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch in a 2-qt. nonreactive baking dish and bake in middle of oven 10 minutes.

Make topping while peaches bake:
Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in water until just combined.

Remove peaches from oven and drop spoonfuls of topping over them. Bake in middle of oven until topping is golden, about 25 minutes. (Topping will spread as it bakes.)

I followed this recipe exactly. As I poured the water in I realized that part of the recipe didn't make much sense. The point of using cold butter is so that it releases steam in the biscuit, but if you pour hot water over cold butter it will melt. Next time I'll use cold water, but it didn't seem to have any ill effects. The topping was fantastic, the filling a beautiful pink color (because I left the skins on the peaches), and it was a perfect summer dessert. I may have some for breakfast.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Diary of an IVF Cycle - First Injection

Yeah, I'm definitely not doing that to myself. Even with an ice pack on my stomach for a few minutes before it still stung like a mo fo. The nurse who taught our injection class told me that it would feel like a mosquito bite. I didn't believe her at the time, I am a mosquito magnet and they usually don't sting, but now I think she was confusing mosquitoes and Mothra.

Today was also the first day for taking Children's aspirin, apparently it helps with implantation by thinning the blood, but it also makes you bruise easier. Which is exactly what I would like when I will be repeatedly stabbed over the next three weeks. When I worked in the kitchen I used to joke that I should carry a card in my wallet that said "My husband doesn't beat me, I work in a kitchen." Now I think it should be changed to "My husband stabs me with needles every day, but it's under doctor's orders."

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Diary of an IVF Cycle

Matt and I have made a decision to take the next steps to try and start a family. I have been on birth control pills for about three weeks already, and the best thing I can say about that is I've been very productive. Someone compared the way I was acting to a meth addict, or Jesse Spano on a very special episode of Saved By The Bell. Tomorrow is the first day of injectable medications. I expect to be this by the end of the week.

For the record, I will not be giving myself the shots. I almost threw up holding the needles in the injection class. Matt is going to be giving them to me. I'm making him promise not to enjoy stabbing me too much. And to use an ice pack first.

The whole process will take approximately four more weeks. I'll be writing about what's going. I'm doing this for a couple of reasons, but mainly so if I start screeching at people they don't take it personally. Imagine your worst PMS, times a thousand, with a porcupine jumping on your stomach. That's basically what I'm expecting the next couple of weeks to be like, so please excuse me if I scream at people who cut me off in traffic. Maybe giving my the shots will be Matt's revenge for having to live with me during this. It will be interesting, and hopefully worth it all.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Garden Under Water

We've had roughly 85,000 inches of rain in the past few weeks and it's messing with my garden.

Check out the herbs. The basil is looking a little sickly, the mint is gooey from mid-stalk down, the oregano and thyme will need to be replaced, but the garlic chives are going strong.
At least they're doing better than the cilantro, which melted away. Maybe that's what the Wicked Witch was made of...
The tomatoes are growing like gangbusters, even if there are only a couple of tomatoes growing.

Some of the cucumbers are starting to come in.
This was also supposed to be cucumbers. Clearly not, but the yellow squash is growing nicely.
The lettuce is also growing up nicely, even when Teddy tries to eat it. She has decided to stop laying on it, which is good. We've already had a couple of salads from it, and it's pretty good. I've even taught Matt to harvest it and use the salad spinner to clean it.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Dinner OK, Success, and Fail

In an attempt to branch out and try different markets in the area, Jen and I went to the 14th and U St farmers market last weekend. Getting there was a bit of adventure considering half the Mall was shut down and covered in pink. Stupid breast cancer messing with me before I've had coffee. That's just MEAN.

After picking up some coffee we went and took a look at each of the vendors before buying anything. The first purchase for both of us was strawberries. Why do we keep picking up the delicate things first? My goal for the summer is to remember to not be an idiot at least once. Maybe coffee before instead of at the market would be helpful. My second purchase was flowers. See, clearly I need more coffee. They did smell nice and kept most of the week. Hello peonies!
I picked up a jar of Roasted Shallot and Barolo sauce, along with some pasta from the same vendor. I had read good things about him from a couple of local bloggers, and was excited to try it out. I also picked up some hamburger buns from another vendor because I had read that they were excellent. I got both the regular buns and the Parmesan ones.

Saturday night we had friends over for dinner and I made the first bread salad of the season. Hi Bread Salad. I missed you. We used the hamburger buns for burgers from the butcher. I liked mine better. Maybe that will be this weekend's project...
I also made strawberry shortcake. There were a couple left over so we had them again the next night. I did hold off on eating it for breakfast.
We made the BBQ chicken sandwiches with the Parmesan rolls. Dude, caramelized shallots mixed with Jack Daniels BBQ sauce, chicken, and cheddar on the Parm rolls is awesome.
Wednesday night we tried the Barolo sauce and the pasta. Wow. It was bad. Really bad. Neither Matt nor I could eat it. We ended up eating crackers and cheese for dinner.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Dr. George Tiller

As a student I read much about abortion clinics, the violence providers faced, and legal theories of both sides of the debate. I heard the rhetoric of both sides, both logical and irrational. I try very hard to understand the pro-life movement and try and show them the respect that they deserve. I will never understand how someone who is pro-life kills another person in cold blood. By all means, debate, protest, file suit, rant on the internet, but how dare you take someones life in the name of faith.

For me, my faith is the reason I am pro-choice. Because I have struggled with faith and what I believe I refuse to force someone else to live by my beliefs. What if I'm wrong? I know enough to know that I don't have all the answers and I have a deep skepticism of those who claim they do.

I do know that late-term abortion is something that many pro-choice people are uncomfortable with. If you've never read it, this essay is heart wrenching and will make you cry. It's a horrible choice to make, but for those who are faced with that decision it's one that they should be allowed to make for themselves.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Martha vs. Nigella Bake Off

There's few things in life better than a good loaf of bread. I've tried most of the bakeries in the area, and all the vendors at the farmers market, but still haven't found one that both Matt and I love. I decided to try out two different versions and see if I can come up with one that we both love. I pitted Martha Stewart's Breakfast Bread against Nigella Lawson's The Essential White Loaf.

First up, Martha. I've made this bread before and I like it. It's much more substantial than most white bread, but it's reliable option.

Breakfast Bread
adapted from The Martha Stewart Cookbook
Makes 1 loaf
1 c. milk ( I used 1% because it's what I had in the house, but I've even used non-fat with good results)
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1 package active dry yeast
1/3 c warm water (you want it to feel warm on your wrist but not hot. Like the bathwater for a baby)
3-4 c all purpose flour
1 egg, lightly beaten

In a small pot scald the milk then add the butter, sugar, and salt and remove from the heat. Let cool to lukewarm.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, dissolve the yeast in the warm water and then add the milk mixture. Mix 1 1/2 c of flour into the milk mixture until well combined. Add the egg and continue to mix. With the mixer on low slowly add more flour until the mixture comes together and doesn't stick to the side of the bowl. (Yesterday that took an additional 2 c of flour, but I've had it work for less than 1 1/2 c before.) Knead until smooth, approximately 7 minutes. Take the dough out of the bowl and knead by hand for an additional 2 minutes. (I do this because I like to feel that it really is smooth and I can tell if it's too wet or dry. You can knead it all by hand, but I really don't have the upper body strength for that.) Let the dough rise in an oiled bowl covered with a clean dishtowel until doubled in size.

Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and form into a loaf. It should look like a sandwich roll with the seam on the bottom. Place in a 9x5x3 pan, cover, and let rise again till it almost reaches the top of the pan.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 to 50 until brown and makes a hollow sound when you tap it. (It's usually best to test that on the bottom but be careful and try not to burn yourself while doing so.) Remove from pan and allow to cool on a rack. Slice and enjoy.

Here we have the whole loaf and then it sliced and ready for eating.
Verdict - good with a slight yeasty flavor. Including both rises, took almost three hours.

Next up, Nigella.

The Essential White Bread
adapted from Nigella Lawson's How to Be A Domestic Goddess
Makes 1 loaf

3 1/2 c all purpose flour (Her recipe calls for bread flour, but I only had all purpose)
1 package active dry yeast
1 Tbsp salt
1 1/3 c warm tap water (Nigella also recommends using water from boiling potatoes but I didn't have any handy. Seriously, who has that frozen in their freezer?)
1 Tbsp softened butter

Place flour, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add 1/3 c of water and stir, add more water until the mix comes together but is still slightly sticky and messy looking, then add the butter. Knead for at least 7 minutes until the dough is smooth. Again, remove and knead by hand for an additional 2 minutes. Allow to rise in an oiled bowl covered with a dishtowel until doubled in size. Punch the dough down, and form into a loaf and allow to rise a second time for about 45 minutes. (This can be baked either free form or in a pan. I used a pan to compare it to the Martha loaf.) Bake in a 425 oven for about 35 till it sounds hollow when tapped. Allow to cool and dig in.
The Nigella loaf just out of the oven and cut into. Notice Matt in the background helping himself to another piece of the Martha loaf.
Verdict - very good, but a little salty. I've never made bread without putting the yeast in water first. It took much longer for this to rise, almost 4 1/2 hours, but still came out with a good loaf with a very nice crust.

Final decision - The Nigella loaf won!! Even with a slight excess of salt it was still both mine and Matt's favorite.

Tonight we made sandwiches with the toasted bread, steak, arugula from the garden, caramelized onions and garlic, and garlic chive cheddar. Add a salad with lettuce from the garden and sauteed corn and you have a nice early summer dinner.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Photos from Yesterday

It's really only photos of the ravioli, because apparently I forgot that I had the camera the second part of the afternoon.

Here's the filling after sauteing. You can actually see the steam coming off it. It smelled awesome. I'm not usually the biggest mushroom fan, but I wanted to keep eating this.
Here's the assembly line of raviolis. It's about 1 TB of filling on each wrapper.
Frozen and ready for dinner one night. I put instructions on the bag in case I ask Matt to handle dinner if I'm running late.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Cooking All Afternoon

Today I pushed myself to get a couple of dishes done and into the freezer for the next couple of weeks. After weeks of takeout I don't want delivery until September, but I still need something for the nights when cooking is just not going to happen.

First up, Spinach Mushroom Ravioli. I stuck to the recipe almost exactly, only adding a clove of garlic to the filling. The recipe says you get 12 ravioli, but I got more like 18. Maybe Giada is padding her bra with the extra filling or something, but there's no way to only get 12. The raviolis were then frozen and bagged for easy use later.

Second up, Spanakopita, not exactly this recipe but close. The ones I made are big enough to be an entree, not the appetizer size you usually see. If you've never used phyllo dough, make sure to cover the sheets you're not using with a damp cloth, otherwise it will dry out. And that makes it a complete bitch to work with. After fighting with the phyllo, solving the drying with MORE BUTTER!, and rolling them up the turnovers were ready to be wrapped and frozen as well.

Last success of the day was Pizza Pouches. I made my own pizza dough, mainly because I like to have some whole wheat flour in the crust, and then added pepperoni instead of meatballs. I need to work on the execution of these a little, as the pouches have quite a bit of extra dough. Being a carb addict, this isn't a problem for me, but I think the spinning teacher would want me to back off a little.

I did have one total failure. I tried to make my own chicken stock and it did not go well. It just tasted salty and bland and smelled like dirty socks. Even Teddy didn't want any piece of it, and she'll beg for anything.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Starting To Get Back To Normal

As we've started to get used to the new kitchen things have started to get back to normal. I've even gotten some flowers from the rose bushes in the back yard.
Right now is the height of strawberry season and Jen and I stood in line at the Arlington Farmers Market to get strawberries from Westmoreland Berry Farms. They are the most delicious strawberries I have even had. Now I understand why there was such a long line. (Originally I thought the line was for a bathroom because what else would you stand in line for behind a truck?)

I also bought feta and mozzarella from Blue Ridge Dairy, asparagus from Westmoreland, and these beautiful chives with purple flowers.
I've already told Matt that tomorrow will be a day of cooking, so I'll post pictures and recipes tomorrow night. I've finally found the cord for the nice camera, so hopefully the pictures will get better.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

First Meals in the New Kitchen

Drum roll please...
French Toast. Not exactly new, but I did have to improvise because I hadn't unpacked the spices yet and the big pan I usually use for it was still buried somewhere in the basement. Always a crowd pleaser, this worked out well even without the added cinnamon and Matt running to the store because we had no maple syrup.

I went a little more all out for dinner on Sunday night, just to test the new kitchen. We had been to the Farmers Market, then the butcher and the cheese shop, on Saturday to pick up some items to restock the house and I might have gone a little over board. I blame the new kitchen on why I bought five kinds of cheese in less than an hour. The new kitchen NEEDED that cheese.

And yes, I am aware that walking to the local Farmers Market, two specialty foods shops, and then carrying my purchases home in my monogrammed LL Bean tote makes me the biggest yuppie of all time.

For dinner, I made an appetizer with a baguette, green garlic pesto that I picked up, burrata cheese, and halved cherry tomatoes. It was a nice combo and an unexpected twist on the familiar tomato, basil, and mozzarella combo that I usually live off of.

I've been craving meat on the grill, so we had a flank steak marinated in 4 cloves of garlic, sherry vinegar, a little dijon mustard, some dried oregano and basil, salt, pepper, and olive oil. I placed the whole thing in a plastic bag in the fridge for about 4 hours to let it get nice and juicy. Matt is in charge of things on the grill, so he grilled it for 4 minutes on one side and 3 on the other over medium high heat. It was exactly what I was looking for. With a side of sauteed snap peas and red peppers, and a garden salad it was a perfect first meal. I should also say that the extra flank steak made an awesome sandwich with some garlic chive cheddar that I also picked up on Saturday morning.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Where Does Your Food Come From?

I've been doing a lot of reading recently about what goes into our food and how it's made, so this tool is really interesting to me. I could play with it for hours, but it's really just going to get me to go to the farmer's market more. At least then I know where the food is coming from.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Hello Gorgeous!

We are almost done!! The only things left at this point are hooking up the water and putting in a few switch covers.
Teddy's still checking everything out and figuring out where the best place to lay and get in the way is.
We moved everything to the new fridge last night and the guys moved the old fridge to the basement. Our fridge contents currently are 3 Diet Cokes, 4 beers, 3 salad dressings, milk, and condiments.
The cabinets look a slightly different in the pictures than in real life. I'm using the older camera because while I know where the nice camera is, I don't know where the cord to hook it to the computer is.
Do you know where it is???
This looks worse than it is. Or maybe I'm just telling myself that because I would like to believe we'll be able to deal with it all this weekend.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

On A Break

The kitchen is currently on a mini break while we wait for the counter top to arrive. Since that means I can't spend money on new accessories for the kitchen yet, I had to find a way to do my part of keeping the economy going. So I went searching for some shoes online.

First, I do understand that my tastes tend toward the conservative. The last time I was in San Francisco my dad (who owns more Br00ks Brothers than Matt) offered to take me shopping to help give my wardrobe a little California flair. Second, DC is a conservative city for office attire and I've heard stories of no slingbacks, always wear pantyhose, and even always white pantyhose. But I think even the most laid back offices would not find these shoes appropriate.

This one is actually the first show listed under "Career." Not the most hideous thing ever, but certainly not office appropriate.

Maybe for a date, but please not in the office.
Nothing about this shoe, expect that it has soles, seems office appropriate to me.

Am I really that conservative? Tragically unhip? Or maybe I just have a thing against snakeskin.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Public Service Announcement

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week. While it's not quite as easy to celebrate as say, Arbor Day, I will point you in the direction of things NOT to do. As a personal addition, I would ask the following things:
  • Don't ask someone if they've thought about adoption. They are aware of adoption as an option. Adoption is a great and wonderful thing (yeah baby Ryan!!) but it is not for everyone and should not be taken into lightly. If you wouldn't tell a pregnant woman that she shouldn't have had her baby and should have adopted instead, don't say it to someone who is trying to conceive through technology.
  • Don't ever tell someone that infertility is God or Nature's way of telling them they shouldn't have a baby. If I have pollen allergies, does that mean I shouldn't breathe? No, it means I talk to a doctor and try to solve the problem.
  • Remember that if a woman is currently undergoing treatment she's definitely being pumped full of drugs and likely will be moody as hell. Please don't take it personally. She also might be packing needles, so be careful.
  • Remember that it's not just the woman who's dealing with it. While most stories cover the female perspective, it's just as hard for men.
Thank you for listening. Now imagine "The More You Know" music slowly fading out...

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Cabinets Are In!

All the cabinets are in! Tomorrow the countertop is being measured. By next week the appliances will be in and the floors and walls will be done.
You can actually see the window in the dining room!!
Until next week the appliances are still in the living room. Teddy is very offended by them. She did try and lick the hose from the dishwasher and was unpleased with result.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Progress!

About half the cabinets have now been installed. Here's the dining room wall. Please notice how lovely the lights look as the glow under 5 inches of dust.
The fridge will go where the ladder currently is. It looks really big, but will actually be smaller than what we had before.
This is where the bar will be.
The far wall still needs a little bit of work and the peninsula still hasn't started.
The floor has been put in, but it still needs to be sanded and stained. They will do that after all the cabinets and appliances are in.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Complication

Yesterday the floor guys came and laid down all the hard wood so there are no more nails sticking straight up. They didn't do anything to the electric work, but for some reason we have no power in half the the house. The electrician comes this morning to try and figure out how to get power so we don't have to shower in the dark. At least the air conditioning and the hot water heater still works.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

End of Week Two

End of week two and the cabinets come on Monday. Hopefully that means this wall will have the stove on it the next time you see it.
But we do have all the lights in and all the electrical run. The guys came today and laid out the floor in the kitchen. It's starting to look like we might have a kitchen again some day.
But there's a crap load of dust. This is Matt's black baseball glove in the basement.
Seriously. Lots of dust.