Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Meal Plan Monday: 5/30

Ah, Memorial Day weekend is over. Holy moly was I ever lazy. We saw friends Saturday night, and my mother-in-law on Sunday evening for dinner, but that's about it. Dan did have to work yesterday, but he was home at 3, just in time to find me freshly showered after a long day of watching TLC and snuggling puggles. Rough life. I almost feel like I wasted it. But no fear, I have a 4 day weekend coming up in just under 4 weeks as my 30th birthday gift to myself. I've got big (or not) plans for wasting those 2 vacation days I'm tacking on to Birthday Weekend (yes, capitals).

So anyway, let's figure out what my lazy butt if cooking this week.

Tuesday: Breakfast for dinner! I think we'll go with french toast, bacon, and eggs. Dan's going to be shocked about this one because I never want breakfast for dinner, but it sounds delicious

Wednesday: Burgers and sweet potato fries

Thursday: Turkey taco salad

Friday: Grilled chicken and broccoli

We tend to go out Friday night, but I'm really making an effort to save our night out for Saturday when we're not tired from the work week and can enjoy it. Even though not cooking Friday night after the week is over is a nice break, I feel like sometimes we're just zombies having a staring contest (or maybe it's just me), and I want us to enjoy our date nights. I'm going to make sure to pick up salad and sandwich fixin's for the rest of the weekend, so I'll make us some extra chicken Friday night to get us through. Then our one meal out will really feel like something special. New perspectives, I've got 'em.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Well, that's a relief!

I had my first appointment yesterday with my new OB/gyn. I was pretty anxious about it all day. On the one hand, I was almost relieved for the day to arrive when I might start getting some answers. On the other hand, I've been braced for bad news. I had talked to girls who've been through this type of appointment and knew that what was likely to happen was a short physical exam (similar to an annual well-woman exam) and quite a few questions about my cycles. I was worried about what she might say about my blood pressure and my weight, but I know they're both things I need to work on, so it's not like it would be a shock to hear they need improvement. I was also worried that she wouldn't be keen or knowledgeable on charting temperatures to confirm ovulation. In talking to some girls who've gone to their OB/gyns about concerns, the doctors weren't receptive to charting and found it a waste of time.

To my wonderful surprise, my doctor was awesome! She was very impressed with my charting and my knowledge of my cycles. She said we were doing everything right, which is always nice to hear. She did a short exam and didn't come up with anything that was a concern. Even my blood pressure gave a fabulous reading. She suggested the exact tests I had in mind: blood work on hormone levels and an HSG for me, and a sperm analysis for Dan. These are pretty standard tests that rule out funky hormones, issues with my anatomy, and poor numbers/motility etc. for Dan's swimmers. My tests have to be done on certain days of my cycle, so I'll have to wait a few weeks to get started, but we have a plan.

If everything comes out normal, luck just hasn't been on our side. We can try a couple meds to give us better chances for conception, but it won't really explain why we haven't yet been successful. Even though I don't want something to be horribly wrong, I almost feel like it would be easier to wrap my mind around a diagnosis like blocked tubes or a low hormone level. That's something we can fix. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Thank you all for your wonderful messages, prayers, thoughts, vibes, and well wishes yesterday and today. It was overwhelming how many people took a moment to let me know they were thinking of me, and that was awesome.

There is one other cute thing to share, and hopefully you don't all think I'm too kooky, but it really was awesome. A group of girls on The Bump's Trouble TTC board had a sock exchange. Why socks? Well, with all this testing and prodding, we're bound to spend time with our feet in stirrups. The idea is that we figured we might as well be awkward in style. So my sock buddy sent me this last week:

Yes, those are cupcake socks, and I wore them to my appointment yesterday. Somehow, knowing they came from someone who's been through this stuff before was a big comfort.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Biggest Loser's serves up a new host

As you probably know by now, I'm a self proclaimed reality TV junkie. I watch pretty much anything, except the singing and dancing shows (with the exception of The Voice, which I love, but wouldn't have watched without Dan's stuffing it down my throat). One of my favorites is The Biggest Loser. Oh, how I love that show. I love watching people's lives being transformed in the most profound ways before my very eyes. Sure I get a little cringey when the contestants start weighing less than me, but I still feel overwhelmed with happiness for them on their accomplishments. It's incredible. They literally go from solemn and unhealthy shells to vibrant pictures of life and health.

With all that being sad, I'm completely baffled by the show's producers' choice for the next Biggest Loser trainer. Remember Anna Kournikova?

She looks amazing, right? Professional athlete, strong, svelte, muscular. She looks to be in her prime here. Gorgeous, fit, and healthy looking. Totally conceivable that this girl would be a personal trainer and a role model for Biggest Loser contest. The only problem?

This is Anna now with Biggest Loser host Alison Sweeney. And this picture doesn't even quite capture is as I remember it. She literally looks sickly. I was actually shocked when she stepped out onto the stage on the finale last night to be introduced as the replacement for Jillian Michaels. All jokes about Anna being a professional loser her entire tennis career and therefore a perfect fit aside, there's something wrong with this picture.

I'm not going to get into digging into Anna's physique, because really? Who am I to judge? And also, I know that girls at any size and any weight have self image issues. So I'm not going to pick at her. What I will say is that I'd be seriously concerned for her health. She just doesn't look healthy, and it seems entirely hypocritical to me that someone who is clearly underweight (even with the extra poundage of cameras on her) is going to be guiding others to optimal health. It's just a bad fit for a fitness icon like Biggest Loser. Call me crazy, but I don't think she's the greatest example of a healthy physique for Biggest Loser contestants, and I'm pretty disappointed.

What say you? Do you think Anna is a good fit?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Do you like my new look?

So you may have noticed that I did a small overhaul on the blog. I wanted something a little more reflective of us and our style with a little less going on. It's just a boring Blogger template, but it'll do for now. Perhaps it'll motivate me to push me in new directions in terms of my posts, too.

The blog header pics were taken by This is Life Photography. I purchased the photo shoot through Groupon last year and we finally used it in March, the weekend after we moved into the new house. The photographer, Marisa, was awesome to work with and we loved our pics. Our deal came with 3 prints and 1 digital file and we ended up buying 8 additional files. If you live in Phoenix, we definitely recommend her.

Tomorrow is my appointment with the doctor to hopefully get some infertility testing started. If you can spare some good wishes or thoughts or vibes or prayers or whatever it is you do, I'd appreciate it.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The First Official Unexpected Expense

Since moving into our house over two months and a half months ago (how has it been that long?!) we've dropped our fair share of change on the house improving things. There was the bathroom and kitchen repainting, the new appliances, sink and countertops, the dog door, the new lighting fixtures. Dan poured concrete to extend the patio to under the dog door so the dogs would be on a cleaner surface than dirt before stepping inside. He also stained the shabby looking wooden gate to the backyard. I think that's all the major stuff. However, that was all expected. Last night we came upon our first unexpected expense: the garage door opener.

The darn thing has been kind of a pain since we moved. For some reason, at certain times of day, the safety sensors mistake sunlight for a small child (or something, I don't know how these things work) and won't close by itself. We have to sit there and hold down the button the whole time. Pain in the behind. Dan was researching how to move the sensors to eliminate the problem and had gone to Lowe's to get a tool and something else, and when he came back - irony of ironies - the motor on the opener burned out. By the time he figured out what was going on with it, Lowe's had closed and we were SOL for getting a new one. So that's on Dan's agenda for tonight: replace garage door opener.

The rest of our weekend was great. We spent Friday night with Dan's coworker Jake, watching Jackass 3, which - as a lover of all things Johnny Knoxville - was hilarious. I'm officially obsessed with the Roller Buffalo skit. I've played it on my phone probably 10 times since Friday night and downloaded the song as a ring tone. Yeah, obsessed. On Saturday we headed to our friends' house for a BBQ. We'd intended to watch the rapture, but that clearly didn't happen, so it was just a normal BBQ.

Oh, and yesterday I sold out. Call it what you will - sheer curiosity or too many DVR'd episodes of Extreme Couponing, but I went and did some coupon shopping. Seriously, people, deodorant and body wash for $0.67? Sugar-free Snack Packs for $0.77? Not to mention, better prices on quite a few things we use often. I didn't go crazy or anything, but it was definitely worth the time it took to cut coupons out of three papers. I had stocked up on meat in the last couple weeks and didn't have to buy any, so I was able to spend less than half my weekly budget and I won't have to buy deodorant for either of us for about 3 months, or Snack Packs ever again, and our fridge is stocked full of fresh veggies for this week's meals, which brings me to....

:: flashing lights::

Meal Plan Monday!!

This one was actually fun to do. Dan and I went out for dinner last night and planned the week's menu together, which was a nice change from flying solo.

Dan's requests: a lot of veggies

Monday: Spaghetti squash topped with veggies. This one was Dan's idea, and he's cooking it. I'm curious to see how it turns out. Honestly, I'm just thankful I'm married to a man who loves his veggies.

Tuesday: Enchilada casserole with beef. Again, Dan's apparently cooking this one

Wednesday: BBQ chicken and corn. Dan had a marathon of Best in Smoke on TV as he was doing stuff around the house yesterday and it got us both craving BBQ

Thursday: Bangers and mash. Only we're using turkey kielbasa and we're going to try a cauliflower "fauxtato" recipe I found. Hopefully it works out.

Hope you have a great week!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Gimme gimme! Update - my life in crappy Blackberry photos

Remember this fun little post about some things I was pining for? Well, some of my dreams have come true. I ordered my letters from Letter Chef on Etsy just before I wrote that post. What I didn't tell you was that the seller was awesome to work with. I wanted them on a pretty big wall, so 4x6 prints weren't going to cut it. She sent me a list of all the prints I could choose from to get the 8x10 and 11x14 prints I wanted. I had about 12-14 options for each letter. I showed them to Mrs. ESPN, Salt and my friend, Natalie, to help me choose. I got them in about a week, which is awesome, considering their custom size, and framed them right away.

But I didn't like something about the white on white on white. I had tried to pick prints that were dark around the edges because I knew the frames I wanted were white with white mats. But something just didn't look right. I wanted the mats to be purple to coordinate with my candles and bath mat. So on Mother's Day, my mom and I went to Joann Fabrics to search for a solution. We considered buying/custom ordering new mats, spray painting, and even covering the mats in scrapbook paper. Ultimately, we decided to try the spray paint. We figured that the worst that would happen is that we'd get too much moisture on the mat and it would ripple and we'd have to buy a new one. Spray paint was the easiest and least time consuming solution to start with. And this is our end result:

I love how they came out, and it was a fun project to do with my mom.

Next up, I mentioned my friend Jennifer's cards in my Gimme, gimme! post. It wasn't entirely a surprise because she asked for my address, but I was stunned to find these beauties in my mailbox when I got home yesterday.

Aren't they amazing? I wish you could see the details - there are hat pins, glitter, embossing, buttons, cute bows, and tiny Bingo cards. Five gorgeous, hand-made, and one-of-a-kind thank you notes. I love them all, and I can't wait to order some cards for upcoming birthdays from her. Again, if you'd like to contact Jennifer, her email is vogtdesignco@gmail.com. I think you'll be amazed at seeing her work in person

So there are just a couple of my little desires satisfied. Now all I'm waiting on are my chairs.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Meal Plan Monday: April 16

First, I'm so excited to announce that my wonderful friend, penpal, and bridesmaid, Kari and her husband are expecting a baby GIRL!! Kari called me after the sonogram to tell me and I'm just so happy for them. They were both hoping for a girl (with healthy being the number one thing of importance, of course), and I'm glad they got their wish. So that was the fabulous news of the day. On to meal planning.

Monday: Dan's childhood favorite, hot dogs and mac and cheese. Only we're going to add some veggies on the side so we can fill up on some good stuff. Mondays are a great day for a little bit of comfort food.

Tuesday: pasta with meat sauce, or maybe meat balls, because last week's turned out so tasty

Wednesday: chicken enchiladas with a side of black beans

Thursday: steak salad. I'm trying to recreate our favorite from Native New Yorker: sirloin, fresh romaine, onion, a little bleu cheese, yummy yum yum!

Friday: Date night

Saturday and Sunday: We should have enough left overs from the pasta and enchiladas to at least have lunches at home. I'm trying to make stuff stretch into the weekend to be both mindful of our budget and have homecooked food over restaurant mystery ingredients.

What are y'all having this week?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

I hope I'm not jinxing myself

This past weekend, for Mother's Day, my parents were visiting with their dog, Emmy, and we decided to try something new. While we ran out to run some errands, we left Clover, Paisley, and Emmy free in the house with access to the dog door. We'd been curious how they would do with no one around. When we got home, as far as we could tell, they'd done just fine. Nothing was destroyed, no messes on the floor, no evidence at all that they'd been left to their own devices.

On Monday, Dan texted me in the early morning to see what I thought about leaving our girls in the house instead of crating them. I figured it couldn't hurt to try. Clover's been doing great with the dog door, and my only real concern was her deciding one of the couch cushions looked tasty or barking incessantly at the neighbors without me there to stop her. I figured I'd come home to sticks and bean pods from the yard all over my living room carpet, but that happens almost daily anyway. So we tried it. I was amazed to come home to a clean carpet and two happy pups, still warm from their sunbathing. So we tried it again Tuesday, and got the same result. I was happy that we could give the girls more freedom and not have the guilt of crating them all day.

And then I came home yesterday. Paisley greeted me right away, but Clover was nowhere in sight. I went to the yard to see what she was up to, and called for her. Nothing. I thought maybe she was being stubborn - she tends to hide when called because she still thinks that "come here, Clo" means "get in your crate and get locked away for hours." And then I heard whining. And scratching at the bedroom door. Uh oh. We know how this ended up last time. Ugh. All I could picture was my comforter in shreds and Clover accidents everywhere. So I took a breath and opened the bedroom door, and... nothing! I searched everywhere for evidence of an accident. There was nothing. No wet spots - trust me, our carpet is so plush that her wet messes sit on top without soaking in. I'd see them very easily, and there were none. My comforter and pillows were intact. Clothes within reach of a bored puppy all had their buttons. You seriously couldn't tell she's been in there alone for 8 hours. Well, except for the fact that she made a mad dash to the yard to go potty and then drank a whole bowl of water (poor puppy didn't have any in the room since the bowl had been moved from the crate to the kitchen). Dan later found a ripped up package of iron-on hem under the bed, but if that's the worst of it, I'll take it. As it turns out, Dan had seen Clover in the yard when he was getting ready and thought she was outside, but when he gathered up his keys and lunch box, she'd apparently gone to hide under the bed to avoid crating and was accidentally left in the bedroom.

So I don't want to jinx myself, but I'm cautiously excited that we may have fiiiiinally achieved house-breaking with Clover. Yes!

Monday, May 9, 2011

It's the return (once again)...

of Meal Plan Monday. So we've been in the house a good 8 weeks now, and we've more or less settled in to our routine. We're both generally home (even after running errands) by 5 or 5:30 at the latest, then we work together to make dinner. Lately, Dan grills, while I prep something like veggies inside. But Dan's getting tired of Italian burgers (as freaking delicious as they are), so it's time to get the creative juices flowing again. As the weather heats up, the goal is to use the oven as little as possible, and I'm also in favor of working the Crock Pot into action at least once a week. So here's the plan this week.

Meal Plan: Week of May 9th

Dan's requests: pasta and chicken. You got it, Buddy.

Monday: Pasta - Italian sausage, whole wheat penne, and veggies

Tuesday: Shish-ke-bobs - chicken, mushrooms, peppers, pineapple. Yum!

Wednesday: Meatball subs. We don't do sandwiches much, but for some reason this one sounds good. I think I'll attempt roasted sweet potato fries to go along with the subs. They're our latest addiction.

Thursday: Mushroom Crock Pot chicken and broccoli. I'll do some extra to give us some easy left overs for the weekend.

Friday is still our date night, which means we generally head out for dinner to wash the work week away

What are you serving up this week? Care to share your favorite summer dinner ideas?