Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Have You Noticed??

This image from MLB.com shows the standings in the American League going into today's games.  Notice anything pretty darn exciting??  I'll give you a hint....it's right there in the middle of the picture.  At the top of the Central League.

Let me zoom you in a bit.

I know it's still hard to read...so I'll just say it.  The Cleveland Indians currently have a record of 12 wins and 4 losses.  They're sitting at the top of the AL Central.  In fact, they currently have the best record in the entire American League.  Actually...they're tied for the best record in all of Major League Baseball.  Only one other team has a record of 12-4.  The Colorado Rockies.

I realize that we're only a few weeks in to the season....but WOOOOHOOOOO!!!  I'll take it!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Dining Room Wall

Our dining room is one of the few rooms in the house that we basically haven't touched since we moved in.  We put in our dining room table (which actually belonged to my great-grandparents and was, at one point, used as the butchering table...don't worry...it's been thoroughly cleaned and refinished), and we set our non-matching chairs around it (3 of them were purchased at my former church's "garage" sale; the other chair was bought years ago when I lived alone and really just needed one chair).  That's all we've done.  Until today.

One of the main reasons we decided not to do anything in here is these words:
They're just vinyl words stuck up above the french doors that lead from the dining room to the back deck, but I actually really like them and would prefer not to take them down just yet.  Because I don't want to take down the words, we really can't paint the dining room.  (Although Shawn and I did discuss possibly painting an "accent" wall in there one of these days.)  Fortunately, I also like the pale yellow color that the dining room and kitchen were already painted when we moved in.

For the last year and a half (since we moved in), this has basically been what we see when we look in the dining room:

(And yes...our dining room table often has stuff on it.  I'll admit.  We rarely eat at the table.  We're more likely to eat dinner while sitting on the couch.)

That wall has just been yellow and empty, but I've been wanting to hang something up there for awhile now.  We did buy one piece of art, but we decided that it didn't look good against the yellow, so it ended up hanging in our master bedroom. 

But a few weeks ago, I found something at Target that I liked, and I went ahead and bought it...figuring I could always take it back if Shawn didn't like it.  :)  We finally took the time and effort (a whopping ten minutes or so) to hang it up today!  So now...here's what we see when we look into the dining room!

I've realized that this picture looks a little funny.  It's actually about as long as our table, so it works pretty well in there, I think.  :)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Small Projects

I've had a list of projects that I'm hoping to get done around the house soon.  We spent some time today at Lowe's, buying some supplies, and we also did a few small things.  Here's our list of projects (some obviously bigger than others):
  1. Paint and redecorate the "pink room." 
  2. Hang art in dining room.
  3. Install curtain rod and hang curtains in the living room.
  4. Put up shelf in the living room.
  5. Power wash and stain back deck.
  6. Purchase and plant some new flowers in the front flower beds (where we planted annuals last year and therefore have some "holes").
  7. Pull weeds and put down mulch in the front flower beds.
  8. Work on backyard (fertilize, get rid of weeds and moss, and/or lay down some sod).
  9. Have drainage issue in the back/side yard fixed.
A couple of these items were started today (and one was already finished), so I'll try to post some updates soon!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


On Sunday, Shawn and I decided to get up early, head east towards the mountains, and look for snow.  Our last attempt at snowshoeing ended up just being a hike, but this time, we were hoping for actual snow.

We found it!

We were aiming for a particular trail that we weren't able to find.  Turns out, the road was just snowed in, so we could've parked our car and just hiked an extra mile or so to the trailhead.  But since we couldn't find the trail we had in mind, we decided to just turn up a plowed road and see where it led.  We drove up a couple miles before the plowing stopped and the snow started.  That's also where we saw a big ol' pickup truck stuck in the snow, and 3 college kids attempting to get it out.  Shawn parked our car and got out to help.  (For those of you who don't normally drive in the snow, here's a tip: If you're stuck in the snow, don't floor the gas.  If your tires start spinning, all you're doing is creating a more slippery surface, and you'll just get more stuck.  To get unstuck, rock the car gently back and forth.)

After Shawn helped get the truck out of the snow, we decided that we'd just keep heading up the road on foot.  Other than the kids in the truck and one other couple who drove up as we were putting on our snowshoes, we only saw one other pair of people all day (and they were cross-country skiing, and we saw them near our car).  Eventually, we ended up on the Iron Goat Trail, and the snowshoeing up there was awesome. 

Satchel had never been in deep snow before, and he loved it!  We even got really good weather.  It only drizzled for a few minutes, and for awhile, we even got sunshine!  Here are some pics:
And hopefully this video will work.  Shawn was actually running behind Satchel for a little while to encourage him to run, and the sound you'll hear is Shawn's snowshoes, but it gives you an idea of the fun Satchel had.  :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

More Flowers!

We actually hit 60 in the Seattle area today...it was so nice!!  I took Satchel for his walk at lunch, and although I started off wearing a light jacket, I took it off after a couple blocks.  The flowers have enjoyed the sunshine, too!

Our tulip/crocus type flowers:

The beginnings of our Columbines (they look better in person, I've realized):

The one tiny blue flower that's popped on one of our perennials (phlox, I think?):

And our flowering pieris (those aren't berries...they're flowers); and the sunshine!

As you can probably see from the pictures, we need to get busy weeding and mulching our flower beds.  If the weather holds up, maybe we can do some of that this weekend!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

New Fence

When we bought the house, we knew that we'd eventually need to replace part of the fence.  The fence on one side and most of the back of the yard was fine...it was obviously put up by someone who had some idea of what they were doing.  However, the other side...not so much.  The fence was shorter over there, and pieces of it were falling off.  Oh, and there's one section of the back of our yard that was never technically fenced in.  There was just a temporary "wood and wire" fence put up.

Here's an example of the fence between the yards:

Early last summer, the house next to us was finally purchased, and our wonderful new neighbors moved in.  As soon as they got here, they started working on their yard, mowing, weeding, and cleaning up the trash that the previous homeowners had left behind.  We introduced ourselves one day when they were working in their backyard, and Shawn brought up the subject of the fence. 

Happily, these neighbors are awesome.  They very quickly agreed that the fence would need to be replaced, and rather than hire someone to do it, they'd love to just chip in on the cost of it with us, and the guys could do the work themselves.  Woo hoo!

A few months passed before the guys got started on it.  And frankly...it took awhile.  Fortunately, Jeff and Emma like Satchel, and they were totally okay with letting him have full run of our combined back yards while the fence was down. 

Here's are a couple "in progress" shots:
Just last weekend, Shawn finished the front section of the fence (between our garage and the neighbor's property), and that included building and installing the door:
I love it!  The back section of the fence still needs to be done, but I feel pretty good that Satchel isn't going to get out any time soon, and it's a lot harder for anyone (or anything) else to get in to our yard.  (Did I mention that the previous door/gate didn't actually shut all the way?  We just got lucky that Satchel never realized that.) 

Sure, it took awhile to get the whole thing done, but it was a nice "bonding" experience for Shawn and Jeff.  It'll also be a nicer selling point whenever we sell the house (versus the crummy fence that was here before).  And since Jeff got a deal on the materials and since the guys did the work themselves, it only cost us a few hundred bucks.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Efficient Heating

We had another major home improvement project a few months ago, and while it certainly isn't glamorous, it's saving us money, and we're hoping that it'll be a "plus" whenever we attempt to sell the house.

When we bought the house, we were told that it was built in 1979.  That means that this house is only a year younger than I am.  The furnace that was still being used to heat the house was original...also from 1979.  And it was electric. 

I really, really wish that I had a picture of that old furnace.  It was almost scary.  We knew when we bought the house that it would need to be replaced, and I was voting that it would be replaced fairly quickly.

In case you're not aware, electric heating is not efficient.  It just takes lots of power to heat a house this size.  What's more, this particular furnace was designed with four "burners."  We discovered at some point last year (when we called in a plumber, actually, who is also a heating guy and offered to look at our furnace for free while he was here) that only two of those four burners was even working.  So for a long time, our house was being heated by an electric furnace that was only working at 50% capacity.  I'd rather not think about how high our electric bills were last year.

So this fall, we decided it was time to replace the darn thing.  We quickly realized that it would be in our best interest to replace the furnace with a heat pump...so in December, that's what we did.  This now stands outside our house:
It's quite snazzy.  I'll be honest...I don't understand how it works, exactly.  But I do know that it's energy efficient, and it somehow takes the heat out of the surrounding air.  In the event that the temperatures get below 35 degrees (which does happen here on occasion, but it's not the norm), we do have an "air handler" in the spot where the old furnace was located, and it will turn on "emergency heating" to make sure the house doesn't get too cool.  Along with this new heat pump, we now have a programmable thermostat.  And, although it often isn't needed in this part of the country, we actually do now have air conditioning that will come in handy for those 3 or 4 days a year when it'll be nice to have.

We've already seen a sharp reduction in our electric bills, which is awesome.  And we qualified for a $1500 tax credit (which we've already gotten, since I submitted our taxes more than a month ago).  So between the tax credit and the electric bills, this baby will pay for itself in just a couple years.  Nice.

Friday, March 18, 2011

I Kind of Invented a Recipe!

You probably know that Shawn and I are Catholic, so Fridays during Lent mean no meat.  Now for a lot of people, this isn't really a big deal.  Lots of Catholics just eat fish on Fridays.  I don't mind fish, but it's never been one of my favorites, and I've never really learned how to cook it.  Typically, if I want to make fish, I pull out a bag of Gorton's frozen fish filets, pop a few of them in the oven, and call it good.

This year, though, Shawn and I have agreed that we should try to branch out a bit...try new things on Fridays.  I've pulled a recipe out of a magazine to try salmon, which is a huge deal for me (I've only ever had smoked salmon, and I hated it).  And a friend of mine recently gave me a link to a recipe for crab rangoon, which I actually think sounds pretty good!

So that's what I decided to try making tonight...crab rangoon.  I got all the ingredients, but then I re-read the recipe and realized that the filling mix needs to refrigerate overnight.

So.  Hm.  Now what to do?  I was actually in the mood for crab, so I thought about possibly making crab cakes.  I looked at a recipe I've tried once or twice before, but I don't have any tartar sauce.  I started looking on allrecipes.com (one of my favorite sites for finding recipes), but I couldn't find a recipe that I actually had all the ingredients for.  So....I kind of made one up!

I basically used this recipe as my base.  But I don't have lemon juice, tarragon, or crackers.  And I don't like red pepper flakes.  So I decided to pull some other flavorings and seasonings that I had seen in other recipes, and put them in here.  This is basically what I came up with!

In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 egg, about 4 TBSPs mayonnaise, garlic powder (I eyeballed it), a dash or two of Worcestershire sauce, about 1 tsp of brown deli mustard, and some sliced green onion (I sliced up most of two "bulbs").  If the consistency looks too runny, add a bit of mayo.  Then stir in two 6 oz cans of crabmeat (drained first).  Once that's mixed in, start adding in dry bread crumbs until the consistency looks right (I just eyeballed this....maybe 1/2 cup?  3/4 cup?).

I divided the mixture into four equal-ish portions and formed them into cakes.  Then I melted 1 or 2 TBSPs of butter in a skillet over medium heat (but I did turn it up to medium-high after a few minutes), and cooked the cakes, about 5 or 6 minutes on each side (until golden brown).

I have to say...these crab cakes were pretty darn good!  And since I'm normally a very "follow the recipe to a T" kind of cook, I was also impressed with myself that I was able to improvise and end up with something more than just edible.  :)

Here are the cakes after the first flip:

Look What We Have!

Even though the rain won't really stop in this area for a few more months, I'm definitely excited that spring is just around the corner!  Since we don't typically get super cold temperatures in this part of the country (although we did get snow 3 or 4 times this winter!), one big benefit to living here is that our flowers start to bloom a bit earlier than other places!  As I've been taking Satchel on his daily walks, I've really enjoyed noticing the little differences in the plants, bushes, and trees around the neighborhood.  As Satchel stopped to sniff at one of his favorite bushes this afternoon, I noticed that it has tiny little leaves on it that weren't there yesterday!  Our neighbor's plum trees are also starting to blossom, and even our own maple tree is starting to get little buds (or maybe they're huge buds...who knows...they're nowhere near the ground, so it's hard to say).

I took a couple pictures of the flowers that are starting to bloom in our own yard.  This is a flowering bush we have in our front yard.  It's a type of Japanese Pieris.
Since I took that picture on Saturday, the rest of the flowers have popped and it looks really pretty!

We also have a group of flowers growing near our garage.  Honestly, I'm not sure if they're tulips or crocuses.  The leaves look like tulips, and the petals are a bit too long for crocuses, but they're low to the ground like crocuses, and the shape of the petals are more like crocuses.  I was telling my dad about them, and we wonder if they're a hybrid....each flower is a tucus (pronounced "tookus").  It made us laugh.  We're odd.  Anyways...I took this first photo on Saturday:

And then I took this photo early this evening:
I should've taken the pic earlier today; around lunch time, I noticed that the petals were more open.  Maybe I'll try again tomorrow.  If you notice the leaves poking up behind these flowers, those are our irises popping up!

I'll definitely have to keep an eye on the flowers and try taking more pictures soon.  We have day lilies popping up in the front flower bed, and Shawn and I noticed that our columbines are coming back!  Those sprouts are super tiny right now, but they're there!  It's nice to have a little Colorado in Washington.  :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

First "Major" House Project

Okay, that title might be misleading.  It was the first "major" house project we did (something more than painting, weeding, or installing a new appliance), but we didn't actually do it ourselves.  We definitely paid someone else to do it.

Anyways...during our home inspection when we bought the house (back in September 2009), we realized that the garage door had some issues.  Namely, it wouldn't stay up.  Our inspector thought that tightening the springs would probably do the trick, so we didn't think too much about it.  After living here for a few months, we had someone come to look at the door (and, ideally, fix it), and we were told that actually, the springs had already been tightened as much as they could, and at this point, all we could really do would be to replace the door.

Shortly after we were told that, we also realized that the door was falling off the track.  If we did open the door, one side of two of the panels was hanging off the track, just waiting to fall.  Additionally, the wooden door was "smiling" (warped enough that, from the outside, the bottom of the door looked a bit like a smile...turned up on the ends).  It kind of makes sense that a wooden door in a super rainy area would probably warp after awhile.  I was searching for a "before" picture, but I don't think I really took one.  This is probably the best picture I have of (part of) it.
You can at least see that it was gray, and it had little squares on it.  I guess I never really cared to take a "before" picture of our crummy garage door.  :)

So finally...about a year after we moved in to the house...we had the garage door replaced.  One guy came and did it by himself, and by the end of that day, we had a brand new, white, non-wooden, insulated garage door.  And a super quiet garage door opener.  I love it.

Other than the fact that the garage door opener is so quiet that I can't hear it from inside (even from our bedroom,which is located directly above the garage!), my favorite thing about this new door is that we can actually park the car inside the garage!!  You may be aware of the fact that it rains a lot around here.  I love that I no longer have to walk through the rain to bring in the groceries from the car.  :)

I Blame Satchel

Oh goodness....it's been a few weeks since I last posted, hasn't it?  Sorry.  :(  I've actually taken a bunch of pictures to post on the blog, since I've realized that I actually do have some things to blog about!  Shawn and I haven't been totally lazy the last few months.  :)

So...I blame Satchel for my lack of posting.  See, here's the thing.  If he's awake and ready to play, it can be difficult to use my computer.  He has this habit of barking at me in an adorable, growly way, and I feel the need to put aside the laptop and play with him.  Or he'll come up next to me and nudge his nose under one of my hands, sort of tossing it on top of his head, asking me to pet him.  He's hard to resist.

And then there's what he does if he's ready to sleep.

Um....yeah.  He comes up on the couch and plops down on my lap.  Sometimes, he keeps his head up, and he basically leans his "elbows" and shoulders on my leg.  Super cute.  Then, when he falls asleep, he flops his head over across my lap, which is what he's doing here. 

Now seriously...who can say no to something so adorable?  And when he's there, it's again rather difficult to use my computer.  In all honesty, he often doesn't mind if I go ahead and put my computer on top of him, but I do try not to do that.  My only other choice, then, is to hold the laptop in one hand, a la server holding a tray of drinks, and then type with just one hand.  I can do it...but A) my left hand gets tired, and B) typing is painfully slow.

So needless to say, when I've finished my work for the day, and I don't have to work on my homework, and I have time to blog....well, Satchel often prevents me from doing much on the computer.  I can blame him, right?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I Felt Naked

I had the day off from work on Monday, so I decided to do a little shopping.  While I was out, I realized I should take in my rings to be cleaned, inspected, and rhodium plated.  (Rhodium is what keeps white gold looking silver instead of yellow...without getting this plating done from time to time, my rings would eventually look like yellow gold.)  Unfortunately, the plating takes some time, and I was apparently not the only one who thought she'd do this on a Federal holiday, so I had to leave my rings there overnight.

I felt naked.  I kept trying to play with my rings, and I would have a little shot of panic when I first felt that the rings were missing...and then I'd remember why and go about my business.  But Monday night and all day yesterday, it was driving me nuts.

Shawn picked the rings up for me last night between work and rugby practice, so I didn't actually get them back until about 10:00 last night.
Ahhh...much better!  I had missed them.  And now, aren't they super shiny and pretty?!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

RE Update

I went to the RE on Wednesday for a follow-up appointment and to go over all my test results.  I didn't really get any answers....at least, none that I wanted to hear.  The good news is that I seem to be pretty darn healthy.  No indication of clotting disorders or uterine deformities or hormone issues.  The bad news with that is that it basically means that there's no discernible reason for having two early miscarriages...which means there's not much that can be done to prevent another one from happening in the future.  I'll be taking low-dose aspirin and extra folic acid, and I'll continue taking progesterone supplements.  All of these things fall into the category of "we don't know for sure that they'll help, but they can't hurt."

The "scary" news for the day is that the doctor thinks that I have an issue with ovarian reserve, based on the number of follicles she could see during the ultrasound and the level of my FSH on cycle day 10 (after taking clomid for 5 days).  In other words, at the ripe old age of 32, my ovaries are starting to run out of quality eggs.  Because of this, her recommendation is either to just keep doing what we've been doing, or do IVF.  Because Shawn and I will not do IVF...well, this means that we just keep doing what we've been doing.

I'll admit that Wednesday's appointment was hard for me.  I left the office thinking primarily of the "ovarian reserve issue."  It's a very scary thing to be told that you're running out of time to have kids earlier than "normal."  I couldn't help but focus on "If we haven't been able to get and stay pregnant on our own in the last 18 cycles of trying, what makes me think we'll get pregnant now?"  Lots of "big picture" questions were going through my head, like what will our lives be like if we never have a child?

A few days have given me a bit of clarity, though.  In all reality...it does only take one good egg to make a child.  And I do have some...just not as many as I'd like.  When I left the RE's office, her suggestion of "do it on our own or do IVF" was very frustrating; but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that she's been approaching the whole situation from the standpoint of trying to figure out why I've miscarried twice...not why I'm not currently pregnant.  Her reasons for not wanting to try a few cycles of clomid or even doing IUI was mainly because it still wouldn't address the issue of miscarriage (and with my numbers, I'd be at higher risk for ending up with multiples...like 3 or 4).  But that's not to say that we can never get any help from her.

At this point, this is what we've decided.  Shawn and I are going to keep doing what we've been doing.  We're going to try our best to just put our faith in God and remind ourselves that He knows what He's doing, even when it doesn't make sense to us.  Our plan right now is to give it until June or so.  That would take us up to a year from the last miscarriage.  If at that point we're still not pregnant, we'll call someone (not sure who...my OB/GYN, this RE, another RE...someone) to see if there's anything else we can try.

So...that's where we stand!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Still Here...

Darn it...I'd been doing so well with blogging at least once or twice a week.  :)  Oh well. 

I'm still here.  Really nothing super interesting to report right now.  I finished reading Frankenstein last week for the first time.  I have to say that it wasn't at all what I expected, but it was pretty good.  Now I'm re-reading Left to Tell, by Immaculee Ilibagiza.  I read it in July of 2009 (my review is here), and I'm reading it again for a book club that I'm hoping to start attending on a regular basis.  The book club meets on Sunday (I think...or maybe it's next week), so I need to read a bit faster!

I also have started my first class.  I have an assignment due in less than five hours, and I'll admit that I haven't actually started it yet.  I did do all of the reading that was assigned, but I haven't yet begun actually completing the work that needs to be turned in by midnight tonight.  Last week, I had to write my first website using XHTML code; it wasn't too bad.  Now I have to figure out how to write Cascading Style Sheets and apply them to the website I created last week.  Should be fun.

Shawn is at rugby practice right now, and Satchel is snuggled up next to me on the couch (with his head on my hip, snoring away).  Now that I've written a blog post...I should probably quit procrastinating and get to work on that assignment.  :)  (Teachers really are some of the worst students!)

Monday, January 31, 2011

Update on the Testing

For those of you who have been wondering about the testing that I'm having done, I figured I'd give a little update, even though we're not totally finished.  If you missed the blog post that explained the tests that are being run and why, it's here.  :)

Remember those 10 vials of blood that I had drawn?  Most of the results have come back (I think we might still be waiting on one or two tests?), and they were almost all "normal."  (And I learned for sure that I have O negative blood...I thought that's what it was, but I wasn't 100% sure.)  There was one test (for Protein S) that came back as "2 points below the 'normal' range."  My doctor isn't sure that a deficiency that slight could cause a clotting issue, but she's going to do a little research on it. 

Last Friday, I went back in to get started on the next round of testing.  More blood was drawn, and I also had an ultrasound.  This is the beginning of the "clomid challenge test."  I'm taking clomid this week (Monday-Friday), then I go back in again at the end of the week for more blood tests and another ultrasound.  Clomid should stimulate the ovaries, so we'll be checking to see how I've reacted to it.  The blood tests are also checking that the hormones are doing what they should be doing.  If the hormones aren't right, this could be an indication of an ovarian reserve issue (meaning that I'm running out of eggs earlier than my age would suggest I should be).  The results of the first blood draw were good...well within the range of "normal."  So...now we wait to see what happens at the end of the week.

Oh, I'll also be going in on Friday for a Sonohysterogram (SHG).  In a nutshell, it's a different kind of ultrasound that allows the doctor to see any uterine deformities I might have.  Everything looked fine at Friday's u/s, but this will show everything in more detail.

So that's where we are right now.  Lots of appointments (I haven't done this much driving since we moved to Washington!), lots of pokes and pricks and other fun things.  Hopefully all of this will result in some answers!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Snowshoeing...or not!

Shawn and I planned on going snowshoeing today!  We went to church last night, and we left home around 7:30 in search of snow.  We spent some time last night, looking at a guidebook and checking online to find some options for a good trail.  We decided to go back to a trail that we hiked last summer, the Lake 22 Trail.  (It's the trail that we first hiked on the 4th of July.)  According to the guidebook, it's good for snowshoeing from late December to early April or something like that.  It also had the added benefit of being a place that we knew how to find.  :)

So we packed up, loaded the car, and drove to the trailhead.  Look at all the snow!
Yeah....there was no snow at the trailhead.  We took our snowshoes anyways, though, since we know that the trail has an elevation gain of about 1200 feet.  It was definitely possible that we'd hit snow not too far up the trail.

Or not.  Before too long, we were both shedding some layers (like jackets, hats, gloves, earmuffs).  It was pretty foggy and a bit "misty," but that was it.  Satchel loved this hike, though, especially since it was pretty deserted, so he was allowed to go off-leash for most of the hike.

We did eventually find some snow near the top of the trail.  There was never enough to bother putting on the snowshoes, but at least we got to touch snow!  And Satchel enjoyed running around on it a bit.  Here are some pics from the upper part of the trail and the lake.
So...we didn't actually get to do any snowshoeing.  Oh well.  At least we got in a nice hike today!  And now we know that if we actually want to use our snowshoes around here, we need to get a lot closer to (or even on the other side of) the mountain passes. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Trying to Conceive...an Update

Some of you who read this blog already know a lot of these details; to some of you, much of this will come as a surprise.  You may remember that it was around this time last year, I found out that I was pregnant, but miscarried very early (around five and a half weeks).  The full details are here, if you want to read about it.  I don't think I've really posted anything else about "trying to conceive" since then.  So...here's the story.

Shawn and I actually started trying to get pregnant in August of 2009.  If you don't want to do the math, that's 17 cycles of trying.  I did get pregnant on cycle #5.  I also got pregnant on cycle #10 (last June).  That pregnancy also ended in a very early miscarriage.  Given the circumstances of both miscarriages, my doctor suggested that my progesterone levels might be low, so I started taking supplements for the last two weeks of each cycle.  Although I really like my doctor, I didn't like that this was the only thing she looked for (and frankly, she tested for it on the wrong date...but that's a long story that I won't go into).  She also told me that she wasn't going to be concerned about doing any other testing until it had been at least a full year of trying after my last miscarriage.

Once we got to January (and I hadn't gotten pregnant again), Shawn and I talked about it and decided that we are frustrated.  We don't want to wait until June (almost 2 years of trying) to see if there's a reason that I'm not pregnant 17 months after beginning to try.  While I know that 32 isn't really old, it certainly isn't 22, especially when we're talking about fertility and reproduction.  So I did some research, and we made an appointment with a Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE)...aka, a fertility specialist. 

We had our appointment with Dr. K last Friday.  She spent about an hour talking with us, which was really nice.  Basically, because I have gotten pregnant twice, she is focusing on why I had early miscarriages both times.  There are many things that can lead to an early miscarriage (clotting disorders, ovarian disorders, hormonal issues, thyroid issues, something with a gigantic name that basically means the body doesn't process folate appropriately, uterine deformities, ovarian reserve issues...I think I'm forgetting one or two), and many of those issues can also make it more difficult to get pregnant in the first place. 

So before we left the building on Friday, I went up to the lab and had 10 vials of blood drawn to do all kinds of tests to check for many of those things listed above.  Once I start my next cycle, I'll do a couple more tests (the clomid challenge test and a sonohysterogram).  Hopefully, within the next few weeks, we'll have something to work with.

After talking with Dr. K, I did feel some relief.  Yes, there were a LOT of options thrown out there about things that might be wrong with me.  But it's very good to know that most of the possibilities are things that can be treated with medication.  There have definitely been times over the last 17 months that I have felt hopeless.  Knowing that we may be on the verge of getting some helpful information is giving me some hope.

Monday, January 24, 2011

This Time Last Year...

...we had a brand new puppy at our house!  We brought Satchel home on January 24th, 2010.  Look how sweet and little he was!!

Yes, there were definitely times over the last year when Satchel drove me nuts.  I believe it was after he'd been here four days when I burst into tears when Satchel was trying to attack the trash bag while I was attempting to take it out of the trash can.  He's chewed holes into at least 4 of my shirts, and the bottom edge of our couch will never be the same. 

But really...we couldn't ask for a better dog for us.  A year later, he's about 70 pounds.  He has tons of energy and is always willing and ready to go for a walk or a car ride or a hike or to the dog park or to play.  But he also loves to snuggle and thinks that he's a lap dog. 

We definitely love our little buddy!!  He keeps us busy and makes us laugh.  We've already informed him that he needs to live forever.  :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

First Class

Nope, we're not traveling anywhere (at least, not that I'm aware of).  Today is the first day of the spring semester at Boise State University.  And that also means that today is the first day of my first class of a Master's degree.  Let me give you a little explanation.

Depending on how long you've known me, you may know that my Bachelor's degree is in English Literature.  I earned it in 2000.  Yes...it is scary to me to realize that I graduated from college almost 11 years ago.  Where the heck has the time gone?!  Certainly, I'm not that old.  Right?

You also may know that I did begin working on a Master's degree back in 2005.  I completed more than half of my coursework for a Master of Curriculum and Instruction in English Education (there's a mouthful!) through the University of Colorado at Denver.  However, I wasn't finished when we decided to move to Washington, and the remaining classes that I needed to take weren't available online.  I could've found a similar program at a local university, but only 9 credits would've transferred.  And frankly...I wasn't sure that this was really the Master's degree I wanted to earn.  There really wouldn't be anything "new" that I could do with this degree; it would simply help me to continue to teach English.

So since we've moved here, I've toyed a bit with the idea of taking more classes, but I wasn't sure what type of program I would want to do.  I consider myself very lucky to be teaching online, since I think that online education is going to continue to grow by leaps and bounds over the next decade.  I feel like I've gotten in on the ground level...or maybe on the first floor.  I started to look around for Master's programs that would be beneficial to me in this job and that would possibly help me to explore different aspects of online education.

With that in mind, I decided on the Master of Educational Technology degree through Boise State University.  One thing that I like about this degree is that three of my required classes will be enough to earn me a Graduate Certificate in Online Teaching, which will be a resume-booster on its own.  It's also nice that the entire program will be completed online.  Oh, and for the first time ever, I'm "attending" a school whose football games are occasionally shown on national TV!  (Heck, it's the first time I've attended a school with a football team, period!)  Go Broncos!

So...wish me luck as I begin working on "The Internet for Educators."  :)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Satchel's latest "trick"

This is a Kong.  Satchel has one of these, and he loves it.  If you're not familiar with these babies, they're made of a hard rubber and make awesome chew toys.  This particular Kong is also hollow in the center, and the idea is to fill that center area with treats.  I'll admit that I spoil our pup, and I typically give Satchel a Kong every day.  I make myself a PB&J for lunch, and then I grab his Kong, put some "Buddy Biscuits" in there, and then add some peanut butter. 

For the longest time, he would just sit there with the Kong, licking and licking until he managed to get out all of the peanut butter and the treats.  Now, however, he's gotten smart.  After he's gotten out most of the peanut butter, he takes the Kong to the top of the steps...and sends it bouncing down the stairs.  He's figured out that this often makes the treats pop out.  Sometimes, he'll find the empty Kong, take it to the top of the stairs, and drop it, just hoping that maybe something will magically pop out.  Or maybe he likes the sound of it...who knows?

I've just finished with my lunch.  I'm guessing there must be a piece of treat stuck in the Kong, because he's currently downstairs.  I can hear him picking up the Kong and dropping it onto the wood floor, over and over again.  It amuses me.  And Satchel, apparently.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Just Curious...

Is anyone reading this?  I know that I'm an avid user of Google Reader, and I certainly can't be the only one.  I'm toying with the idea of beginning to blog again, but let's be honest....I'd prefer to know that there would be at least a few people out there reading it if I'm going to do it.  :)

So...if you see this, feel free to post a comment and let me know.  :)