Wednesday, December 31, 2008

east meets west

"Used as a complementary form of therapy for women undergoing other fertility treatments, acupuncture has been proven to be especially beneficial. Some believe that acupuncture works by helping women stay more relaxed through stressful fertility treatments. In particular, studies have shown that acupuncture definitely increases the rate of pregnancy in women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF)."

yesterday i scheduled my first acupuncture appointment. we had decided if the first cycle didn't work we'd try a little alternative medicine in conjunction with our IVF treatment. does it actually work? who knows. but it definitely won't hurt to try.

my follow-up appointment with my RE (reproductive endocrinologist) is scheduled for january 13th to discuss this last cycle and what our next course of action will be. as of right now, we're taking at least one month off to let my body recuperate from the last treatment. if all goes according to plan we'll start again in february with a retrieval and transfer in mid-march. although i just looked at our calendar and our trip to san francisco might interfere with that date. we'll have to see if my RE changes my protocol. i guess i really can't say the when til we talk to him.

i'm feeling better but i think i'll pass on going down to asheville tonight. thought i could talk about it, but when i texted the answer to the "baby?" question yesterday i got a knot in my stomach and my eyes started to instantly swell. it's not that i don't want to talk about it, it's that i can't. at least not now. i just want to thank everyone for all their thoughts and prayers, we appreciate all your love and support.

Monday, December 29, 2008

christmas 2008

here are some pics of christmas 2008. surprisingly we kept them down to a minimum. i labeled all the new camera pics so you can tell the difference in quality. yeah, me likey my new toy!

i <3 technology

and apparently so does my dad. this year was a techno gadget christmas. from my parents we got a new flat screen tv. so we went from having none to having two in a few short months. we also got a garmin gps from them, which came in extremely handy today when i was looking for a starbucks fix after my dr's appointment. i just typed in "starbucks" and in 1.7 miles i was feeding my fix. i also got a new camera from aaron. i think he was feeling a little bit sorry for me this year, so he splurged and got me a digital SLR. i'm still reading the directions, but i did manage to take a few quick pics of some of our holiday decorations. (i'll post more christmas pics later) another gift to note: the wii fit. aaron, danny and i played it all christmas day. apparently danny and i need to gain weight and aaron needs to lose. i guess i better get to working out, i told aaron i'd use it if he bought it. now to keep up my end of the bargain. ha, ha!

proven otherwise

at least by mother nature. saturday i had some spotting which isn't uncommon during the early phases of pregnancy. but just to be sure all was well, i asked aaron if we should do a home pregnancy test (hpt). it had been 11 days post transfer and technically any hormones in my system should be out by now. his answer was to wait the two days for my blood test. yesterday, i woke up with more spotting and told aaron i WANTED to do a hpt. he agreed to pick one up when he was out running some errands. four hours later when he walked in the door with the test, i was almost positive AF (aunt flo/my period) had arrived. "i don't think i need to take the test anymore." i told him. i did anyways and it came up BFN (big fat negative). very disappointing! i went ahead and headed down to hickory this morning to get the blood test to confirm what i already know. unless i'm some freak who has her period while pregnant this cycle is pretty much a bust. right now i really can't talk or think about it without crying. keeping myself distracted has helped somewhat, but i'll have pangs of disappointment and sorrow. i'm sure it'll pass with time.

i'm already thinking about our next cycle and asking how soon we can start. my nurse said i'll have to wait til after they get my blood results back today to decide what our next step will be. luckily, we decided to participate in the "shared risk" program. basically it's where you pay for two IVF procedures up front and get the third one free. we kinda thought it would take the pressure off if we knew we had three chances to make it work. it also includes three frozen embryo transfers (FET) too but since we didn't have any to freeze with this cycle we'll have to skip and go on to another fresh one.

if this cycle had worked, we would have been paying double the cost for treatment. at least now we'll be getting our money's worth. (yeah, i'm trying to rationalize this failure) also with "shared risk" if after all our attempts have been exhausted and we don't come home with a baby we'll get 70% of our money back. so all will not be lost. i think we'll start looking into other options after this is completely done. but we've still got a little while to go.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

marley and the chocolate factory

today i got home from christmas shopping with mark and danny and found rice all over my living room floor. marley had gotten down mark's hand warmer sock and ripped a hole in it proceeded to drag it about. there were also a couple of chewed up white boxes lying amongst the debris. i had no idea what was in them, i remember seeing them sitting on one of the steps leading upstairs but didn't think anything about it when we left. apparently they held two huge chocolate bars. i really don't know why mark left them where he did, while we were shopping he had told me they were for grandma and ellie, so there was really no reason for them to be even out of the car. anyways, one of the bars was completely gone. absolutely no evidence it ever existed cept for the box. luckily the other one was still intact. i was kinda hoping both dogs had munched on the chocolate just so one wouldn't have had too much. but now it's pretty apparent marley devoured it all. she's puked about 6 times already. (nope, make that 7 times) we were gonna take her to the vet but we read they would pretty much induce her to vomit and hydrate her which she's doing on her own. poor girl. i think she's pretty close to getting it all out of her system. let me tell you something, it's the sweetest smelling puke ever!

Friday, December 19, 2008

things that make you laugh out loud!

from katie: You are the only person I know that got pregnant while her husband was camping in Washington! :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

before you were born

so here are our little lifeforms. to my surprise when i went in yesterday the doctor recommended we put back both. so i am officially PUPO with twins. aaron has no clue. since he's camping in washington, i have no way to contact him til sunday.

we'll find out the monday after christmas whether this worked for us. til then it's gonna be a long 12 days. actually 13 depending on where i want to go for the blood test. i can make the two hour trip to charlotte on sunday to find out or i can wait an extra day and head the one hour to hickory. either way i've got one day notched off already. tomorrow i'll head up to maryland with the pups to visit with my family. i'm thinking if i keep myself busy, the time will just fly by!

restless

video
this is what happens after 20 hours of bedrest. some very restless puppies.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

transferring little buddies

yesterday i got the report that out of the seven that had originally fertilized six were still going strong. one little embie had decided it was done growing. little bugger! in addition to the fertility report i also got my transfer time and date. so tomorrow at 12:30p i will be PUPO (pregnant until proven otherwise). 12 days later will be the "otherwise" i'll have a blood test to determine if we are officially preggers. i'll update tomorrow to let everyone know how many we put back. i'll be on bedrest for 24 hours so you might see a flux of posting here, there and everywhere. thanks everyone for your support.

**edit, 12/15/08, 9:15a: they just called and told me they want to push the transfer to tomorrow. ugh! i literally had my coat on and was out the door when the phone rang. they're gonna call back this afternoon with a new time for me. i asked and we're now down to five embies. i really hope waiting another day is a good thing. fingers and toes crossed!

awes is awol

awes left this morning for his annual christmas hike in northern washington. he arrived safely despite some questionable weather in minnesota. i had originally been slated to go, not the hiking/camping part but visiting with jamie while the boys were out and about. unfortunately i had to sacrifice in order to get this IVF cycle in. hopefully next year i'll be able to go with a little one in tow!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

embryogenesis

we left the house at 7a to be at the clinic at 9:30a. signed some consent forms and went back to the waiting area. aaron was with me the whole time. i'm given a gown, booties and a shower cap that i put on and sit on the stretcher to wait on the doctor. aaron had brought a stockpile of magazines and he's sitting there reading "sports illustrated" aloud to me and occasionally holding it up to share funny photos. "are you nervous?" he asks.

"about the surgery or the anesthesia?"

"either?"

"no, i'm fine."

and i pretty much was. the nurse came back and inserts an i.v. fluids start pumping through my veins. a few minutes later the doctor comes around and they walk me back to the surgery room. i get myself situated on the table and a few minutes later i'm out cold. the next thing i know i'm back in the waiting area. i.v. already taken out and aaron sitting beside me.

"how many did they get?" i asked.

"nine."

"have i already asked you this?"

"yep. this is your third time asking."

so they retrieved nine eggs. this morning i got the fertility report. of those nine eggs, seven were mature and all seven were fertilized using ICSI. so far so good. we'll get another call saturday morning updating us on the state of the embryos. and hopefully on either monday or tuesday we'll have some really good embryos to transfer back into me. fingers crossed they keep dividing over the weekend.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

egg hunt

tomorrow's one of the big days as far as IVF is concerned. egg retrieval. let's hope we get some good numbers and excellent quality. fingers crossed. i'll report more afterwards.

cloning


aaron's office is having a holiday party on thursday. one of the projects they're doing has something to do with baby/childhood photos. they asked me if i'd scan the photos and put them in a powerpoint presentation. no problem. one of the pics had seen better days, so i decided to do a quick edit to it with the cloning feature in photoshop. not too shabby for 10 minutes of work. if i took a little more time, i'd be able to fix/adjust some of the lighting and tape stains/watermarks. i mainly worked on the creases and tears. pretty cool.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

artful blogging

this morning we left the house at 6a to make a doctors appointment in charlotte. we were pretty much in and out of there by 8:30a and decided to head the hour north to hickory to do a little christmas shopping. we didn't factor in that most stores would be closed so early in the a.m. on a sunday, so we decided to get some breakfast at an IHOP to kill some time. i think this is the first time i've ever eaten there during day light hours. weird.

afterwards we headed over to a barnes and noble, which i hadn't been to for some time. (and man, do i miss having one in our hometown.) well, i'm standing at the magazine section, my jaw dropped in disbelief. the sheer number they have, it's mind-boggling. if you can think of anything, i'm almost positive there's a magazine about it. and, of course, this is the magazine that catches my eye. artful blogging. it basically points you to websites that use photography, creativity or some type of visual art when blogging. very inspirational.

i didn't get the magazine, but i did realize that i like having hard copies of inspiration. i flipped through tons of craft books before deciding on one to take home. simply sublime bags by jodi kahn. it's got some cute, simple bags that are either no sew or low sew. the less complicated the better as far as i'm concerned. i love the web, but sometimes it's hard to navigate to find exactly what you're looking for, at least inspiration wise. so my craft book library continues to grow.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

the calm

today has been a quiet day at home. probably the last one i'll have for the rest of the year. aaron's with patrick at the football game. although it's been an hour since it ended and i haven't heard from him. i saw that app. state lost so he may be wallowing at a local bar.

i've been commuting to hickory to get monitored while i'm on my stims. tonight will be day 8. i'm somewhat feeling my ovaries growing, but not as much as i had expected. some of the girls in my support group talk about how they are doubled over in pain because their ovaries are humongous. i just feel a twinge here and there and that's pretty much it. i guess i won't complain about not being in pain, i guess my doctor knows what he's doing and is preventing me from overstimulating. anyways, i head down to hickory every other day, get a needle prick and an ultrasound to check my progress. when i went in on wednesday they counted 12 follicles/eggs. a fairly decent number, so i'm told. i think they like to see between 10 and 20 at about 20mm in size by the end of stimulation. tomorrow we head down to charlotte to see my RE and hopefully he'll be able to tell us when everything is going to happen. since everything is "progressing nicely" i'm assuming the egg retrieval will be on tuesday or wednesday. and the transfer will be 5-6 days afterwards. i'll be on bed rest for 2 days after the transfer, i guess to help with implantation. then we have to wait two weeks when we go back in for a blood test to determine if i am with child/children.

i'll let you know tomorrow the "when" of everything. it's just weird to think we're less than a week away now. crazy!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

black and white bulldog

a few weeks ago one of our neighbors called.

"susan, we have a little black and white bulldog on our back porch."

i'm thinking, we don't have a bulldog so why are you calling me. i quickly do a lookaround and notice bosco is nowhere in sight. "hmmm. i think it may be bosco. i don't see him at the moment."

"well he's scratching at the door, should i let him in?"

"that would be great, i'll be over there shortly."

i walk over, knock on the door, and apologize for the inconvenience. i look up and see bosco just trotting around their loft like he owns the place. he hears me and comes running.

"don't you guys have an electric fence?"

"yes, but we haven't been putting their collars on since they know their boundaries. i guess bosco will have to start wearing his again."

i scoop bosco and we head back home. i put his collar back on and let him out again. he starts running for the high weeds and plows through them towards the neighbors house again. what the heck! i call him and he actually listens and comes back. he's really testing his limits and both of us can't figure out why he waits til the cold winter months to do so. he's usually a wimp when it comes to being outside when it's the slightest bit chilly.

well the other day he's down by the creek bed and this morning he's way past the end of our driveway. yeah, the battery is not working in his collar. also, when we were in jamaica, jerome installed a doggie door for bosco and marley. thought we'd give them some free reign but bosco's put the squash on that. i hope that battery comes soon.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

hormone threat level: RED

saturday i started my stims. three shots to the gut every night. 5 units of lupron, 10 units of low dose HCG and 225 units of follistim. basically what the drugs are doing is stimulating the growth of follicles (early eggs) in your ovaries. you normally have one egg mature and gets released in a cycle. with the drugs you're hoping you get between 10-20 of those follies/eggs. so those little ovaries that are currently the size of almonds will be the size of lemons or close to by the time i'm done.

so far i haven't really had too many side effects. cept maybe all the pimples that have decided to plant themselves all over my face. so it's safe to say the hormones they are a raging. that should be an indication to aaron not to push any unnecessary buttons. nah, not really. if you're gonna start a sentence with, "don't get mad when i ask..." yeah, i'm gonna blow-up ten folds. i mean i was so mad that i actually did all my shots myself that night. (up until then he'd done them all.) it was surprising to both of us. after a night to cool off, things are back to normal. i'm still tearing up watching commercials and sobbing when cheering at a basketball game (which was really weird). but as long as there isn't any physical side effects, i won't complain too much.

turkey day in review

my parents came down wednesday evening and with them came our new/used table and chair set. i was a little worried buying something sight unseen but when they pulled it out of the truck, my worries were for not. it's actually in better condition than i expected. we set it up and were soon enjoying a chili dinner around it that night. i am contemplating painting the chairs, there's a little too much brown for my taste. maybe a nice blue to match the backsplash we're eventually getting.

no matter how big a house is, my mom can make it seem like it's too small. as soon as she arrived we didn't have enough refrigerator or counter space. we didn't have enough dishes or pots. serving utensils - needed more. somehow we managed to make a delicious turkey dinner in spite of the lack of everything. afterwards the guys watched football and mom and i ended up starting a craft project.

friday i had a doctor's appointment in charlotte at 8am so mom tagged along with me. i told her we'd go shopping afterwards, big mistake. got up at 5, left here by 6, arrived in charlotte by 8. saw the doc and was out of there by 9. the first and last store we hit up was target. if there's an economic crisis going on, it sure didn't seem like it this day. i went up and down aisle after aisle looking for a parking spot. when i finally scored one we had to wait for a shopping cart. after dodging the gazillion shoppers in every aisle and waiting in the checkout line that was the whole length of the store, i was done. i looked down at our cart and there wasn't a single "sale" item in it. i told mom, if we're not getting any "deals" than we don't need to be shopping today. waking up at 5am was starting to show. i asked if she cared that we headed home after we paid and she was fine with it. i felt kinda bad for dragging her down there with me for nothing, but she was fine with it. we got a little mother/daughter bonding time in.

we got home around mid afternoon. aaron and dad had gotten the christmas tree. it's a little smaller than last years. (unfortunately the guy that gave us our tree last year isn't selling trees this year.) they ended up getting the tree from the church up the road and it was one of the largest ones they had. we set it up in the foyer sunday and it still looks good despite it's dwarfness. :) i'll have to take pics when it's all decorated which will probably be tonight. in the evening we all settled down in the basement and watched "tropic thunder." a good night.

saturday aaron and dad went to watch app. state play in their first playoff game against south carolina state. luckily the weather somewhat cooperated as they watched the mountaineers beat sc state to advance to the next round. unfortunately siu lost to new hampshire so there's not going to be a match-up of saluki vs. mountaineer like we hoped two saturdays from now. it would have been great to see. while the boys watched football, mom and i did some shopping. despite our town being so little, we do have a fairly decent sized mall. and with a majority of the town at the football game, it wasn't too crowded. we were able to pick up a few things. afterwards, i picked up dad and aaron from the game, came home watched some more football then we went out to dinner. all in all it was a great visit. luckily they left before the weather got too bad. had to brave through some rain but at least it wasn't the 3 inches of snow we got yesterday. yes, more snow. unbelievable.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

fit for a king

when i was talking to my dad about arranging pickup for the dinette set i also told him i was cruising craigslist for a king-sized bed. (with our new basement addition aaron and i decided to upgrade our bed to a king and move our current queen to the new guest room.)

"how bout as a christmas gift we get you guys a bed?"

"sure!" as far as mattresses go, i think i'd rather have new than used. so it was really a no brainer.

in anticipation of our new bed, i've been scouring ebay for new bedding. trying to stay a little gender neutral for aaron's sake. i did find this set which somewhat resembles the green bathroom color. too girly? well it's too late, i won a set and just received it. i'm really happy with my purchase and will probably start decorating our bedroom soon. be on the lookout!

my mom and dad should be here in a couple of hours. better get back to cleaning house, pulling the turkey out of the freezer and starting some chili for tonight. happy thanksgiving everybody!!

Monday, November 24, 2008

happy birthday, brother!

doing what big sisters do best. embarrassing the crap out of ya! happy birthday brian!

desperately seeking susan

to celebrate their 1000th blog post, the girls over at loopyrocket are giving away free goodies for the next three weeks. this week's jen's (super blogger girl's) week. and her fantastic prize package includes a gift card to my shop! she actually did a "susan" themed package where you win the minimates above too. yep, they are "desperately seeking susan" mates! too funny!! so head on over there to enter and win! and check out the rest of their blog. sometimes i wonder where and and how they find the things they do.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

look out below

friday we got a pretty good snowfall. about 3 inches, which is about 3 inches more than we got last year. unfortunately, the ground is still warm so anywhere the sun hit, the snow has pretty much disappeared. this is the weekend we usually put up christmas lights. (don't worry, we don't turn them on til after thanksgiving) well since the sun barely hits the front of the house, i really didn't think aaron would brave the sloped, snow-covered roof. imagine my surprise when he asked if i'd hold the ladder for him this afternoon. i guess he had looked at the extended forecast and figured today would be the best day to get it done.

he arms himself with a snow shovel and broom and gets to work. sweeps as much snow off as he can but it's still pretty slick. he ends up laying flat on his stomach to put up most of the lights. he's about a third of the way done and while i'm adjusting the extension cords, i hear a swooooooooooooosh. i look over and he's standing on the ground. "did you do that on purpose?" i ask.

"heck no! i started sliding and couldn't stop!!"

"are you okay?"

"yeah, but my adrenaline is really pumping now!"

luckily it was on the sloped side that had about a 8 ft. drop and flat. unlike the other side that would have been 15 ft. and downhill. to my surprise, he got back up there and finished the job. we decided replacing bulbs could wait til after thanksgiving. hopefully the weather will cooperate by then.

on another note, i made my first craigslist purchase this weekend. since my parents are heading down here on wednesday for thanksgiving, i decided to check out the listings around the baltimore area for a table and chair set. (since we got the basement done, we moved aaron's office downstairs and now the furnishings upstairs are pretty sparse.) there were about 20x more listings there then we have around here. and i did manage to find a reasonably priced set that my dad was able to pick up yesterday. he even got it for less than what the guy was asking. awesome. i'll take a pic when it gets here. the guy had already taken down the listing before i had a chance to grab the photo. man, if i lived in an urban area, my house would be fully furnished by now.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

shot through the heart

well, not exactly, more like abdomen.

this evening i started my lupron injections. it was quick and painless. i let aaron do it since he's the "expert" at administering drugs.

this is exactly how it went down tonight. aaron got home from work, did tae bo, called his patients, took a shower, gave me the shot and then we both went to the app. state basketball game. so here i was, anticipating the worse all day and it was over and done with in a matter of seconds. so, yeah, it was sorta a let down but i guess i really can't complain.

i'll be on lupron for the next week and a half. what does lupron do? basically it prevents your body from ovulating naturally. next will be the stimms.

and so begins our journey.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

packaging material

a couple of months ago i got a package from super blogger girl (aka jen). she had decided to craft me up a little something-something on a whim. when it arrived, what i found was a box full of awesomeness, not to mention the box itself. a fully crafted exterior with lots of sweet miniatures inside. (i can't get enough little food minis.)

she also included some little toys her company makes, japanese lipgloss, a few crafting supplies and a fertility charm. (hopefully said charm will come in handy in the upcoming weeks!) i was going to post my score when i received it but decided to wait til i was completely done crafting with the material she packaged the crafted box in. old t-shirts.

yesterday i mailed off what i made. she sent 5 old tees and i was able to repurpose four of them for baby diego.

i actually did redo all five, but decided the shorts i made would be way too small for the little guy. (now bosco is sporting a pair of black undies.) i think everything is pretty self explanatory. onesie, bib, hat and blankie. i was quite surprised at how well everything turned out. my only complaint that made reconstructing difficult: the weights of some of the tees. a few were made of that paper-thin t-shirt material that is extremely hard to work with. i was able to pull it off and am pretty happy with the results. now we'll see if they're actually viable clothing when diego models them in a few months!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

pseudo celeb spotting

while we were waiting at the airport to return from jamaica aaron had his first pseudo celeb spotting. about 15 minutes before we were supposed to board the plane, i decided to visit the bathroom. upon my return aaron informs me he just saw that guy from that cooking show walk by. what? who?

"you know, that guy with the crazy hair on that show you watch."

"top chef? richard? from last season?"

"i don't know his name or what season, just that he had the crazy hair."

of course, since aaron probably watched about 10 minutes of the show in passing, i thought for sure he was mistaken. and since we were about to board our plane, i didn't have a chance to chase him down to verify. (somewhat stalkerish i know) well, come to find out aaron was right. i found richard's blog and he was, in fact, doing a red stripe event in kingston the weekend we left. i'll give props to aaron for being a little more observant than i thought. but i guarantee, he wouldn't have known who he was if it wasn't for the hair.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

everyting irie

monday was a long day for us. we left the house at 6:30a to make our 9:35a flight from charlotte. when we got up to check in at the airport the steward started freaking out. "you're supposed to be here an hour before the flight leaves" it's 8:37. "your names don't match" the name on my ticket didn't match the name on my passport. yep, i forgot to change my maiden to my married. please don't tell me this vacation is gonna end before it even begins. luckily his supervisor got everything under control and they ended up changing my ticket to my maiden name. after all that, we ended up having to rush through security and jet down to the gate where they were already boarding. have i mentioned that i haven't eaten anything yet? i buy a muffin, granola bar and a bottle of juice for $9 at the newsstand right next to the gate. outrageous, i know! we board. it's about a 3 hour flight. come to find out u.s. airways doesn't have anything complimentary. sodas $2, no peanuts, no inflight entertainment, nothing. did i forget to mention we had to pay $15 a bag at check-in? let's just say we won't be flying with them anytime soon. we get to jamaica around 12:30p, collect our luggage and head towards the couples waiting area. by now, we're both starving. aaron has a red stripe, i have a ting and we wait for our shuttle ride to the resort. it's about 1.5 hour car ride to the resort. i'm absolutely starving and have the beginnings of a migraine when we arrive. we check-in and make a bee line to the grill. ahhhh, the best jerk chicken we've ever had. mmmmmmmm. afterwards, i'm in dire need of a nap to quash the headache. aaron heads straight for the bar. we pretty much stayed in the room the rest of the evening and both were asleep by 10. which is way early for me.

tuesday we got up early to an overcast sky. we decided today we'd just chill on the beach. aaron read, i dozed and we both sipped cocktails all afternoon. seriously, time seems to not move at all in jamaica. i'm thinking it's gotta be around 3p and it's only noon. we grab some lunch and head back to the beach. i didn't realize how hard it is for aaron to relax. "you wanna do this, you wanna do that?" uh, no. i don't want to do anything. i thought we'd agreed we weren't gonna do a thing today just chill. "oh, yeah." he continues reading his book, we people watch and that's pretty much how we spent the rest of the day. that night we got all dolled up for our anniversary dinner at feathers, the hoity-toity restaurant on the resort. all in all it was a good day.

wednesday we went horseback riding a few miles from the resort. this activity is not a resort related one so you have to pay extra to do it. last time we did the canopy tour/zipline this time we rode. it's the first time i'd ever been on a horse and we both had a good time. with this ride, you rode into the mountains and then along a beach. about a two hour ride. the sun did pop out briefly at the end. we did get to swim with the horses. we were actually horizontal with the horse for a bit. it was so cool. unfortunately one of our guides was taking the photos and they turned out a bit blurry side. at least we did get some documentation. afterwards we went back to the resort, ate lunch and headed for the beach again. we signed up to snorkel the next day and for the catamaran on friday. another day down.

thursday we woke up to rain. looked up the forecast to see what the rest of the day was gonna look like. 60% chance all day. bummer. we decided not to go snorkeling, which we later regretted and spent the rest of the day under overcast skies. drinking, lounging and playing horseshoes and bocci ball. set up snorkeling for the next day and ate at the thai restaurant, lemongrass that night.

friday, overcast again. notice a trend and have you noticed no blue sky in any of our photos? but on this particular morning the waves are crashing on the beach. this is great for aaron. as soon as we lay our towels down, he's off into the water. bodysurfing. he pretty much goes non-stop for about an hour and he's about the only one that can do it. after a while, i joined him but didn't have much luck. it's easier for me to use a boogie board, but the resort didn't have any. i guess they don't get much in the way of wave action too often. i did manage to catch one good wave on my own and pretty much rode it all the way in. i did notice all the watersports crafts were not seaside and the only boat anchored was the scuba one. i look over at the activities flag and it's red which means no water sports today. this includes snorkeling and the catamaran ride we had scheduled. kinda sucked but we made the best of it. the big shipwrecked beach party they had scheduled for that evening was moved indoors. we ate dinner, enjoyed a reggae band trio and had a martini before turning in that night.

on our final morning aaron decided to go for a run along the beach. he'd been doing it every other morning since we'd been there. a few minutes later he was back in the room. no run? no beach to run along! what? apparently overnight the waves were huge and everything had been pushed/moved up to the building line. it was really weird to see. sidewalks were covered with sand, tiki huts blown over, tree roots exposed. we walked along the shore to breakfast and it just started to pour. all of this bad weather...compliments of hurricane paloma or the residuals from her. after breakfast we just sat up on a balcony and watched the waves crash. it was pretty cool to see. we ended up staying there til we had to go back to the airport. we both had a good time despite the weather. last time we went, i don't think we had a single cloud in the sky and we were there twice as long. hopefully it was a fluke and next time, yes next time, it'll be much better!!

Monday, November 10, 2008

everyting crisp

we're back. thought i'd share some photos of our trip. unlike last time the weather didn't quite cooperate with us. it was still in the 80's and humid but pretty much overcast and rainy the whole time. despite the weather, we both had a great time. i'll post some separate photos with explanations on how we spent our time tomorrow. i'm a little wiped today cleaning house and doing mounds of laundry.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

jamaica bound

tomorrow morning we leave for jamaica. i can't believe by tomorrow afternoon we'll be lounging on the beach. yay! so my prediction came true thanks to aaron! what an awesome husband i have! not sure if i'll blog while we're down there, probably just journal. i may pop in for a brief update. happy 2nd anniversary to the westphals!

baseball booties

i've done a few pairs of cloth baby shoes over the past few months. i am finally getting comfortable making them. i found a tutorial here. looks easy enough? i think the most difficult part of making the shoes is cutting out all the fabric and interfacing. although it doesn't look it, there are 12 separate pieces involved in making these little buggers. here are a pair of baseball themed ones i was requested to make. they turned out better than i expected and super cute! i think aaron wished his feet were 20x smaller!

Friday, October 31, 2008

ms. wooten & magnum p.i. walk into a bar

here we are, all decked out for halloween 2008. no hannah montanas or disney princesses here. good guess ladies. i almost thought i'd have to construct a leotard from scratch. but lucky me, i walk into the children's section at walmart and found one. it was made for a 12-16 year-old but looked like it would fit me. and indeed it does. i took the sleeves off of the leotard, cut up a cosby sweater i found at the thrift store and used the sleeves for legwarmers, cut up another thrift store sweatshirt for the flashdance look, made a scrunchie, found some big earrings at a vintage store and presto... a jazzercise princess was born.

tonight was our dry run. i applied the loud make-up and did up the hair. yep, my bangs are a wall of hair thanks to a lot of hairspray. and yes, those are my own jelly bracelets. i'm definitely a product of the 80's. who is ms. wooten? she was my home economics teacher senior year. she had big hair and loved to jazzercise, so here my homage to her.

aaron is, of course, magnum. another 80's icon. most of his costume we found at the thrift store. the only modification i made was to shorten the shorts. i wanted to go shorter, but he refused. we had a hard time finding a mustache and a brown wig. he ended up wearing one of our black elvis wigs that we trimmed to fit and we found a gray mustache we colored brown with a sharpie. he went out and bought boat shoes and i'm sure he'll never wear them again. i think we did pretty good for last minute costumes. wishing everyone a happy halloween!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

she's a maniac

i got my halloween costume yesterday. yep, the whole thing just came together at the last minute. and guess where i got most of it: in the children's department at walmart. i can pull off a 12-16 year old outfit like no other. i don't know if that's funny or just plain sad!

we are all on drugs

or at least i will be. we have decided to start sooner rather than later. so the past few weeks i've been receiving my medication through the mail. i had to set up delivery times to receive some of the meds and when i talked to the pharmacy they started ranting of this drug and that. what?!? how many drugs are you sending me?!? when my nurse told me what the doctor's protocol for me was going to be, she had only circled 5 meds on the sheet she gave me. so imagine my shock when about ten more were added to the initial five. most are antibiotics, pain meds and valium for retrieval day. i'm already taking a multi-vitamin, folic acid and i just started taking baby aspirin daily. next week i start birth control pills. i know, how ironic? this is basically how it works. you suppress, stimulate, trigger and maintain. i'll explain more as i come to each step. and guess what, i still have more meds coming the week after next. oh joy!

Monday, October 27, 2008

are you ready for some football?

quick weekend recap. friday aaron got home a little early and we were able to make the 5 o'clock showing of "choke" at the dragonfly theater. boone's first brew and view. we've been meaning to check it out but there really hasn't been a movie we've both wanted to see til now. this might be the way we do movies on the big screen. we were very impressed with the setup. you can eat and drink full meals in the actual theater. there are about 10 rows of chairs and tables and the front row is lined with couches. we ate dinner while we watched, pretty neat.

as far as the movie goes, very sexually graphic. i'm a big fan of chuck palahniuk novels and had read this one a while ago. i kinda forgot what it was about, but it all came flooding back as i watched. i'd say the movie is a pretty close representation of the book. so if you like the book, you'll probably like the movie.

saturday we headed over to watch a little app state football. rarely do i go. but since jerome was out of town, i caved and went with. i actually had a good time despite the 40 degree temps. here you can see josef the mountaineer riding in on his hog. we were just waiting for that head to come flying off. surprisingly, it didn't.

aaron doesn't mind explaining the game to me which he pretty much did the whole time. it was a good game to watch, app. state beat furman 26-14. i probably won't be going to any more games this year. the weather plays a huge factor in if i'll attend. i just really don't like it enough to endure the cold, snow, rain, etc. the next game is friday night, halloween. aaron and jerome plan on dressing up for it. now we're scrambling to find costumes. i've got an idea...now to make it happen...hmmm.

yesterday we did a little geocaching and started to attack the basement storage mess.

and as you can see, aaron did bring home a copy of the als walk team.

Friday, October 24, 2008

from the basement

yep, i am updating from the depths of the basement. inspector came this morning and gave it his stamp of approval. we are officially done! well at least with the building part, the decorating...that's another story.

our sectional is finally a sectional again. doorways, windows and a fireplace made it impossible to fit upstairs. now we've crafted a home to house it. my advice, don't ever get a sectional unless you know you're going to live in the house forever!

we'll probably spend most of the weekend moving stuff from upstairs to downstairs. i got the guys to move the bulky items down before they left yesterday. there's also a room filled with junk covered in drywall/cement dust that needs to be addressed.

i just christened the new toilet. everything is a go!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

zebras, dots and lots o' pink

although it seems like i haven't been up to much, (in dire need of a shop update) i do have custom jobs i'm working on. case in point: a nice care package for miss katie. when i was in illinois a few weeks ago, katie and i picked out fabrics to make baby blankets for her new nieces. we wanted retro, rocker chic and i think we nailed it with both.

this was a first for me. these are the largest blankets i've made thus far. katie wanted them to be large enough you can set a baby on, but small enough to tote around. they're about 32" square. it's the first time i've sewn on satin binding. which was not an easy task. mitering the corners proved to be quite difficult for me. i'm sure with more practice, i'll get the hang of it. of course with the left over fabric, i made matching 12" tag blankets, burp cloths and pacifier clips. i also made a couple of ribbon hair clips. yes, there are three new projects here i tried my hand at.

there's the blankets. then the burp cloths which are made from cloth diapers. they were a pretty simple to make. pretty much sew a band of 5" fabric down the middle of the diaper. i might try giving the next batch some ribbon accent. but these turned out super cute without.

when in illinois, i also picked up some alligator clips at hobby lobby. the quality wasn't the best, i'll look at sally's beauty supply for better ones. but they served great for practice purposes. i'll probably feature the clips in another post later after i've made a few more. super easy to make once i found the right glue.

i'm off to start on some other custom jobs and to mail everything off to katie.

Monday, October 20, 2008

where the worms are so woolly

another jam-packed weekend for the westphals.

saturday we headed over to winston-salem for the als walk. we were quite surprised at how large the crowd was, easily twice as large as the walk in springfield. what was really great. thursday afternoon we found out we'd have a group of office staff walking with us. they even had t-shirts made for the event. it was great having so much support for such a worthy cause. we were both touched that everyone drove and hour and half both ways to walk. thanks everyone we truly appreciate it!!

unfortunately, i wasn't able to get any photos. we decided to bring the dogs along and i had a hard time corralling them and taking photos. i think someone did take a group photo, so hopefully i can get my hands on it sometime in the near future.

yesterday, we headed over to banner elk for the 31st annual woolly worm festival. it was a kinda cheesy event but apparently a must see/do in the area. it was a gorgeous day, so we didn't mind and actually enjoyed ourselves. (see photo above) we caught a few woolly worm races, drank some lemon shake-ups and listened to some bluegrass.

tomorrow i'm hoping to get some geocaching in. geocaching? what's that? yeah, it's been way too long since we've done any. yesterday i was hoping to get a few in while we were at the festival. unfortunately, i forgot the gps when heading out the door. i've got some new ones programmed in and if weather is permitting we'll get them done tomorrow. i wonder if there's any in jamaica. hmmmmm.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

what's in between your toes?

our new carpet! i can't believe how different the space looks. the carpet should be finished tomorrow. a few more stairs need to be covered. then another coat of paint, finish off the baseboards and install all the bathroom goodies. yay! here's this week's progress shots.

i also want to thank everyone for their kind words and support! it means a lot to both of us. we'll keep you posted as we progress. thanks again!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

logic vs. emotion

we had a productive appointment yesterday. pretty much got all our ducks in order and are ready to march forward. there are, however, a few questions that need to be answered before we start. first off: when do we start? aaron (logic) wants to start after the holidays, me (emotion) wants to start asap. (l) we've already waited this long, why not wait another two months and get past the hustle and bustle of the holidays? (e) we've already waited this long, another two months will technically mean another four months, there's never going to be a "good time," and i'm so ready to get this started.

question 2: how many embryos do we transfer? when we initially started, the dr. stated they usually don't transfer more than two. so all this time i've had the mindset of two being our number. well yesterday, the dr. suggested transferring one. one? i suppose after getting our test results the dr. is pretty optimistic one will work for us and we don't have to risk putting two in. (l) it makes sense. why initiate a higher risk pregnancy from the get go if you don't have to? (e) i understand there are more complications involved when having twins and i'm willing to do everything in my power to minimize those risks. and yes, i'm fine with doing double the work than if we had a singleton. to me, twins would be a double bonus. one transfer, two babies. pretty much a win, win situation as far as i'm concerned. we both agree that two is what we ultimately want. if we can speed up the process, why not do it?

these are the things we are currently "discussing." although i have a feeling emotion will outweigh logic in the end. we may reach some type of compromise. we'll see.

so what exactly does IVF involve? LOTS OF SHOTS! about three weeks worth. some twice a day. i really don't have a fear of needles. (see tattoos) but using said needles to pump myself full of hormones is a little daunting. just a tad. and brace yourselves for the emotional roller coaster that will be pulling out of this station soon. feel sorry for aaron. unlike the bumper of the internet, he'll being feeling my wrath full-force. hopefully, for his sake, it will be minimal.

i have been scouring the internet for information. med sites, forums and a few blogs. i have found a site that i absolutely love. monica's been documenting their whole IVF process. including videos (which i find extremely helpful), question and answer posts and just her rants and raves in general about baby makin. she's awesome and inspiring. most of her views are quite similar to mine. posts of note: baby dust and don't let infertility ruin your life. having an upbeat attitude seems to be very rare in this community. so i'm glad i found her.

in other news, carpet is being laid in the basement as i type. pics either tonight or tomorrow. woo-hoo!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

fall is finally here

we've had a busy, busy october. and it doesn't look like it's gonna slow down, at least not for a little while. last weekend we headed back to illinois to help celebrate mark's 60th birthday. a quick lowdown on where we were and who we were with.

saturday we stayed with the caraways. we visited a local pumpkin/apple farm with the kids, had a great steak dinner jason grilled up and then autumn and i proceeded to kick the boys butts in a game of trivial pursuit. we rule at 90's trivia.

sunday we headed over to jim and joyce's new abode for mark's surprise party. all of the boys were able to make it and even jay flew in from california to help celebrate. we got to see lots of family we hadn't seen in a long time, especially on aaron's mom's side. it was so great seeing everyone and meeting some new friends. matt and kristin announced that baby number two is on it's way! congrats!!

sunday evening we headed back to murphysboro to check out nate and katie's new home. it's super cute and so them! congrats to you guys! we did a little shopping monday for katie's new nieces and then headed home tuesday.

this past weekend has been packed full of activity as well. friday we went out with jill, jerome, todd and michelle for a belated birthday dinner for aaron. saturday we headed up to tweetsie railroad to check out the ghost train and all the other halloween festivities they had going on. the weather was perfect and we had a spooktacular time. today we headed up to sugar mountain for their make-shift octoberfest. rode up the chair lift for the second time this year. we laughed at how we've ridden it more without snow than with. it had gorgeous views and the leaves are in full color now. a definite plus in the high country.

here's the flickr set with all the photos we've taken so far. next week we head to winston-salem for the als walk.

gotta go. brian just texted me to play mariokart. man, i haven't played in forever.

Friday, October 10, 2008

an unconventional road

rarely do i post anything of significance. maybe i need to rephrase that. the intention of this blog was/is to be a light-hearted update on our day-to-day happenings. to keep family and friends informed of our coming and goings, life here in north carolina, and to showcase my latest creations. that being said.

you spend your whole life trying not to get pregnant and when you're finally ready...nothing. yes, infertility has popped it's ugly head into our lives. months of nothing happening has slowly turned into two years. in june we decided to get tested. four months and many, many tests later our problems are pretty much confirmed. not to go into much detail, we'll be needing medical assistance, i.e. IVF.

it's a definite blow to ones psyche. no matter how strong a person you are, you're never really prepared to hear it's not going to happen, at least not naturally. especially when you KNOW you are meant to be a parent. both of us are staying positive as well as optimistic. i think it's the only way to get through this otherwise.

we have an appointment in charlotte on tuesday to discuss our treatment plan. all our tests will be evaluated and we'll find out when we can get the ball rolling, so to speak.

this post was supposed to be so much longer, i've been contemplating sharing this since we found out. it honestly doesn't bother me to talk about it. i just had to make sure aaron was on board and he gave me the go-ahead last week. no need to walk on eggshells around us. we're tough cookies and we'll get through this, hopefully with a baby or two in the end! thanks everyone for all your love and support! we love you all!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

turnaround

we just got back from illinois and i have to turnaround and head off the mountain for a dr.'s appt. tomorrow morning. fun. i have to be there by 8:15 which means i have to leave here by 6:45. i have no clue where i'm going. please, mapquest, don't fail me!

Friday, October 03, 2008

gym socks

our hotel smells like a musty old gym sock lying underneath a pile jock straps worn after a scrimmage in the 100 degree heat. yeah, it's that bad.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

knock, knock

progress! it's finally looking like a living area. paint has been applied and the doors were installed today. and no, it's not carolina blue. jason, who did most of the framing, came over yesterday and i asked if he liked the colors.

"i like the green but not the blue."

"what? why?"

"i'm a duke fan."

i kept the colors light (vast sky in the tv room, atmospheric in the bathroom and dancing green in the guest room), since it is a basement and i didn't want it to feel like a dungeon. we both agreed to add color and not a beige or brown. these are the colors we both liked. if he had his way, we'd be drowning in a sea of cardinal red, which i promptly nixed. i contemplated doing wallpaper. which he nixed. (having it professionally done, of course). i'm thinking about doing tone on tone blue along the long wall and perhaps an accent wall somewhere. so many ideas!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

junk yard dog

one of the construction guys, woody, left an empty can of beenie weenies on the ground which bosco promptly found and took off with. i ran after him along with woody and marley. when marley approached bosco, he let out a low growl which was very uncharacteristic. i did manage to grab the can but for some reason the dogs started tearing into each other. i attempted to step between them to no avail. woody, "should i help?" please. he picks up bosco and marley is somehow still attached. who's grabbing onto who, i can't even tell.

i check both dogs over. bosco has a small puncture wound on his neck and marley has a gash on her forehead. it definitely looks worse in person. the scars from her last altercation have recently healed and left little bald spots. now she can add to her collection.

aaron has started to affectionately call her "his little jyd." jyd? junk yard dog.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

the price is right

it's been awhile since we've gone hiking. life and moods seem to get in the way of exercise, at least for me. today we ventured up to price lake with the dogs and hiked the 2.3 mile loop around. although both of us agreed it was definitely longer than advertised. the leaves are on the cusp of change and there was a nip in the air. i love the transition and weather this time of year. inspired by jen's fall post, i took a few shroom shots on our journey.

i honestly didn't see the slug on the smallest shroom until after i downloaded the photo. i guess he needed to get a little camera time.

here's aaron's find on our hike. a mushroom waterfall. and just to let you know, we are now living with a JYD. details tomorrow.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

walkin to dfeet

Aaron's mother, Donna, passed away from ALS in 2000. Her strength, courage and faith throughout her illness served as an inspiration to all who knew her. We are participating in this event to honor Donna and hopefully to help raise awareness of this debilitating disease.

If you'd like to donate, walk or learn more about ALS click here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

50 inches

aaron's birthday present: a 50 inch plasma. here you can see him and the dogs enjoying it.

we have walls

more progress shots. we can finally get a gander of what it's gonna look like. amazing what a couple of walls will do. unfortunately there isn't any electricity on the tv room side of the basement. that should be fixed in the next few days if not today. the pictures are with a flash and somewhat blown out because of it but i think you can get the gist. hopefully we'll be done in the next two weeks. fingers crossed.