Friday, October 2, 2015


My last post ended with the us having another appointment scheduled to start the whole process over again since the last round of meds didn't work.  That appointment has come and gone.  I was prescribed 150mg of Clomid every day for seven days. That's one of the highest dosages they give so the side effects made themselves WELL known.  #HotFlashesForDays  This regiment worked so much better than the last one.  12 days after starting this round of meds I was right where the doc wanted me so I could take the trigger shot.

We decided that we were going to jump straight to IUI for this round.  So we scheduled another appointment for two days later.  Intrauterine insemination, or IUI, is a process in which the sperm are 'washed'.  They separate the good ones from the deformed and bad ones.  The doctor then places only the good sperm inside the uterus, giving you your best chances of conception.  Joe has affectionately been calling the procedure 'turkey basting'.

As we were sitting in the waiting room to be called back, I was noticing the different types of people that were sitting all around us as I've done every time I've been there.  There was a couple in their late 30's-early 40's, the wife looked kind and caring like she could have been a Sunday School teacher.  There was a young couple that had driven many hours to get here and arrived late the night before.  There was a gorgeous 20-something African American lady and her tall, dark, and handsome husband.  A middle-aged balding white male.  There was a couple who were around our age or maybe even a bit younger.  The husband had a dark beard, tall stature, and you could tell he worked with his hands while his wife looked like she could have been the captain of the cheerleading squad or a beauty pageant participant.  And then there was us.

As I observed everyone in the waiting room I couldn't help but notice the differences between everyone.  Most, if not all, of our paths would probably have never crossed had it not been for this waiting room.  We would have never been together had it not been for this one common denominator we all shared...infertility.  You see, infertility doesn't care if you're 40 or 22.  If you're married or in a relationship, if you spend your time molding the lives of children or if you spend it under the hood of car.  If you have blonde hair, brown hair, red hair, or no hair.  If you're black or white or if you look like Miss America.

Joe and I may be a different age, or nationality, or look different than many of the people in the waiting room that day but when you strip away age and hair color or the color of our skin, we're all really not that different.  We're all human.  Humans who are all fighting for the same goal to create a family that we can love and nurture and watch grow.

Everyone is fighting their own battles, somebody's might even be similar to yours.  Be kind, be patient, and spread some love.  You may have more in common with that stranger next to you than you think.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Patience is a Virtue

I've never been an incredibly patient person.  Not that I necessarily have the shortest temper but for example, if I buy someone a present any earlier than the day of their birthday I have THE HARDEST time keeping it a secret and not giving it to them immediately.  It kills me not to just blurt it out and ruin the surprise.  Same thing goes for if someone lets it slip that I have a present hiding in the house. I will tear the house apart trying to find it.  I've been like that ever since I was little.  It's hardwired into me and everyone close to me knows this...and uses it against me often.

It hit me while I was on my hour-long commute to a doctor appointment the other day that maybe that is what I'm supposed to be learning through this whole drawn-out, painful journey...patience.  The old cliche of "If God is going to teach you patience do you think He'll just give you patience, or will he give you opportunities to be patient?"  Touche.

I thought back and counted the numerous situations that I've needed patience through the beginning of this whole ordeal.  The obvious situations like the waiting rooms, waiting for the doctors, the 2-hour roundtrip drives to and from the clinic.  Those ones were easy, I could handle those.  I could even handle the 4-5 hour wait to get the test results back each time blood was drawn.

But it's the harder ones that really started to take a toll.  The constant and what seemed to be never-ending wait to see if the follicles (what hold the eggs) were growing, which they barely did over the course of a month until the doc seriously ramped up the dosage on my meds multiple times.  (Which in turn seriously ramped up the side effects.  SO sorry, Joe :) We weren't even to the point of waiting to find out if the test was positive or negative, we were just at the point of waiting to see when or IF we could try.  Multiple ultrasounds and each time hearing the doctor say "We're not quite there.  Nothing seems to be happening" was like a punch in the gut every. single. time.  Why won't my body just cooperate?  Why is it so easy for everyone else?  WHY US?!

I drug myself into the office once more for another ultrasound check and finally, FINALLY we were at the point the doctor had been looking for.  The meds finally did their job, the waiting paid off, and the prayers worked.  The following morning brought a self-administered shot of Ovidrel to induce ovulation and then, well...I'm sure you can figure it out.

If I thought all the waiting up until this point had been hard, the infamous "2 Week Wait" was excruciating.  I literally drove myself crazy stressing over if everything had worked, analyzing every little symptom that I thought I was experiencing which turned out to just be from the meds, trying so hard not to take a test because I knew full-well that it was too early to detect anyway, hoping so hard that all the time and money put into this was going to pay off.

I wanted so badly for this story to have a grand and happy ending, but it doesn't.  All tests came back negative.  It didn't work, we weren't pregnant.  We knew going into this that the odds of conceiving on the first round of fertility meds were slim to none but that didn't make the reality of our failed attempt hurt any less.  All of the dreams and wishes I let creep into my head over the past month were, in a single instant, dead.  So here we are, back at square one with a doctor appointment scheduled to start this whole process over again.

I'm starting to come to grips with the fact that this is probably going to be a much longer journey than we had anticipated.  It's most likely not going to be the quick fix that we were hoping for.  I've realized that it's not our story that didn't have a happy ending, it's simply this one chapter that was more painful than hopefully others will be.  Our chapters will be filled with lots of waiting, lots of meds and doctors' offices, a lot of pregnancy announcements that won't be ours, a lot of heartbreak and a lot of tears.  But hopefully at the end of this journey, whenever that may be, there will be that one final chapter of our story that brings the happiest ending.  And that will make this my favorite story of all.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Sex, Drugs, and...Not Rock & Roll

I've struggled over the past year keeping up with writing here.  As the projects that are left on our list quickly became the most expensive ones (save the best for last, right?), there just wasn't as much to write about as often.  There was plenty going on in life, just not necessarily on the house.

But surely I can't write about just life, this is a home DIY blog! Reality check.  This hobby/project/way-to-avoid-doing-the-dishes thing can be whatever I want it to be.  And at this point in time, I need it to be a place where I can just write, about whatever is going through my head and heart. 

So, with that being said...are you ready? Because sh*ts about to get real.

When I was younger I knew I wanted to get married, buy a house, get a dog, and have kids.    Nothing crazy. I never had dreams of owning a Fortune500 company, curing diseases, or living in the White House.  I just wanted to be in love and be happy.  The things many little girls' dreams are made of.  Here we are 20 some years later.  I'm now 27 years old, I got married, got a dog, bought a house, I'm in love, happy, but I have not had kids.

There is this odd phenomenon that happens when you're in a relationship.  All of a sudden everyone becomes really curious as to when you'll tie the knot. "So, when are you gonna pop the question?" or "What's taking so long?!".  Why do we pressure others into making one of the biggest decisions of their life?  I'm ridiculously guilty of this, too, trust me, I won't be throwing the first stone.  But don't you think that when a person finds who they want to spend the rest of their tomorrows with, it is entirely up to them when they choose to do it?  My husband and I dated for almost 8 years before we got married, trust me, we've heard em all.   

So you've endured the months of "when's the wedding" questions.  You've gotten married and now the questions will stop, right?  Wrong.  There's another really funny thing that happens immediately after you get married. (And by immediately, I mean like, at our wedding reception...yeah.) Everyone becomes oddly interested in your sex life.  Think I'm crazy?  How many times have you heard someone ask or you've maybe asked "So, when are you two going to have kids?". I know people mean well and are trying to show interest in your life and relationship, but what happens behind a couple's bedroom door is none of your business.  We've only been married a short time and we're still young so why the pressure?

That popular baby question has been a difficult one for my husband and me to field repeatedly over the past few years.  There are only a very few people who know the real reason as to why.  You are about to become one of them.

Over the nine years Joe and I have been together there were plenty of talks as to when we wanted to start having children.  We had always planned to have at least one solid year after getting married for just the two of us.  At the same time we weren't doing anything to prevent pregnancy so if it happened, it happened.  As we approached our one-year anniversary the topic of children seemed to be coming up more often than not and with a good 45% of the female staff at our school pregnant, baby fever was putting on the full-court press. Most couples would simply increase the frequency of when they...ahem...try.  We knew this would not be the case for us.

I have known for many years that I have a condition called PCOS- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I'll spare you the super-attractive details but in short, it's the leading cause of infertility amongst women.  Doctors have told me it will be extremely hard for me to get pregnant without medication and medical help. They were right.  We've had two years of "no-goalie-marital-bliss" and as I mentioned earlier, we haven't had any kids.

Since we wanted to start adding to our family, I knew this would mean adding some visits to the doctor.  Numerous visits, many hours in the car traveling the hour to the doctor, blood draws, pee tests, drinking that nasty orange drink for blood sugar tests, ultrasounds, biopsies, more ultrasounds and more blood draws have finally lead to a plan of attack. 

Fertility drugs.  100mg of Chlomid 5x and a self-administered shot of Ovidrel for anyone wondering.

I never imagined way back when that this would be our reality.  That in order to have the children we so desperately want it would involve pills, and shots, and charting, and temping, and praying SO hard for positives, and scheduling sex.  Let's be real...there is nothing 'unsexier' than scheduling sex.  Seriously.

But, we are now apart of the 12% of couples whose struggle with infertility is real, and it's in our face, and it's hard.  As I'm typing this I took my first official dose of fertility meds so here's to hoping that the dream of that little girl many years ago to be a mommy, comes true.

I feel like this would be an appropriate time to 'cheers' you with a glass of wine but then I remember that medication, baby-making and alcohol should not go this situation the struggle truly is real, folks.

Monday, July 27, 2015

He Blows My Mind!

Joe and I have been married a little over two years, but we've been together just over 9 years.  When you spend that many years with someone you kind of think you know everything about them; what foods they love, how they take their coffee, the noises they make when they sleep, the weird habit they have developed where they need to smell everything ('s odd), their laugh, the excited way they yell when their fantasy football player scores a ton of know, EVERYTHING.

And then, one day, out of blue, your husband and best friend from the past 9 years calls you to the garage to show you something.  And BAM, he completely and totally blows your mind.

You guys...Joe MADE THIS!  Yeah, my jaw is still on the desk, too.

This all started because we had been in search of a coffee table for our living room.  We looked at every possible store and what we found either wasn't quite right or it was about $900...that's more than we paid for our couch - so ixnay the offeecay abletay (that's "HECK NO we're not paying that kind of money for a coffee table!!" for those of you who don't speak pig latin).

Joe got all excited that maybe he would just build one so we could pick the design we liked and it would be a lot cheaper.  I agreed but in the back of my mind I was a little worried.  It's not like Joe or I are master carpenters, that stuff is H-A-R-D!  But I went along with it.

Joe scoured Pinterest the internet for some ideas and found one he liked.  He holed himself up in the garage one weekend and THIS is what emerged!

I'm in love with my coffee table and am so completely blown away by how talented my husband is!

For the step-by-step on how to construct this table, check out Ana White's guide here.  We tweaked it a little bit as you can see we didn't do x's on the sides.  That actually came about because we didn't have a saw that could cut the correct angle so Joe came up with the current design...crafty, I told you!

The bottom is painted the same white as our trim and the top is stained with a dark walnut stain and sealer in one.

I'm off to read a magazine and put my feet up...since I can do that now cuz I have a coffee table :)

Monday, May 11, 2015

Rip My Heart Out!

Our house was built in the 1930's.  It has a lot of the cool elements of old houses; taller ceilings, cool wood work, and a beautiful walkway like this.
Actually, really similar to that.

Here is a picture I found online from when our house was sold years ago before we bought it.  It's blurry but you can see the cool glass bookcases with columns on top.  The window you see straight ahead is where the sliding glass door to the deck was put in and the wall to the right was knocked down to open up to the kitchen.  Isn't the difference crazy?

But then the previous owners had the gall to RIP. THEM. OUT!  They claimed the columns were cracked or something.  I couldn't really hear them explaining it over the sound of my heart crying.

Anyway, we also had to rip the header out of the walkway because when the previous owner replaced it, he didn't use a big enough one and the second floor was sinking.  You can read about that horror here. 

We framed out the walkway ourselves and put some rosettes in the corners and called it good.  The seams between the boards always REALLY bugged Joe because since our walls are old and no where near straight, some of the gaps were pretty big.

Then one day, Joe being the Pinterest loving teacher that he is (don't deny it babe, I love ya for it) he came across this idea to use lattice strips to create a neat dimensional casing all while covering up the cracks.

The seams still need to be caulked (as does everything else in the house) but it looks one million times better than it did before!  We love it.  For the step-by-step, check out this blog.  We didn't do the crown on the top because when we put the crown molding on our ceilings, there wouldn't be a enough room between the top of the walkway and the ceiling.  We have tall ceilings but we also have tall openings.

Doesn't it look awesome!?  That man never ceases to amazes me!

Friday, May 8, 2015

You Raise(d) Me Up

Last time I posted I was headed to Fargo for College Gameday

Which was an absolute blast I might add... 10,000 people packed downtown Fargo all with a common hate for UND love for NDSU created the most unreal atmosphere.  WHEN Gameday comes back to Fargo (because they said they will and they absolutely love us) I will be there and you should be too.  It was awesome.

Fast forward like 8 months *yikes!*

After a year and a half of working on projects inside the house we were both feeling a bit antsy to pay some attention to our poor neglected yard.  Joe really wants the interior of our house to look pretty but I know his heart truly lies outside.  He wants to take pride in his man cave (coming soon...maybe...probably not, it hasn't been touched in over 8 months), and in the landscaping, and the greenness of the lawn.  His father's yard is something to behold so he wants to keep up with Pops.  But ours has pretty much just been an eyesore since we bought it.

Since we bought the house in December, we were not really sure what condition the yard would be in or what kind of plants would grow.  Last spring, our first in the house, we came to the realization that the yard was, well, awful.  And the plants that did grow were pitiful at best, few and far between, and completely outnumbered by the weeds.  We didn't end up doing much to the yard, though.  We wanted to give it a whole spring/summer to see what there was and come up with a good game plan of what we wanted to do.

The few projects we did do last year were our garden and adding some mulch and edging to the front of the house.  So this year the list is long, and overwhelming, and will most likely be split up over a couple summers.  So sorry neighbors, you'll have to stare at the ugly paint job just a little longer.

But there is something new and pretty to look at in our backyard!!  Look at these babies!  Raised cedar garden beds. Aren't they great?!  If you compare them to what our garden looked like just a few weeks ago, it is a MAJOR improvement.

We covered the existing garden area with heavy duty landscaping fabric which will be surrounded with double-tall landscaping timbers, and then everything around and between the beds will be filled with mulch.  The two long parallel beds in the middle will have an arch of hardcore wire fencing between them (forming a walkway or tunnel of sorts) that the climbing vegetables will grow up.  The part I'm probably the most excited about is SO.MUCH.LESS.WEEDING!  All the black area you can see is now area that won't need to be weeded.  With all that extra time this summer I'll be able to tackle so many more projects....or spend more time sitting on the deck in the sun with a magazine, we'll see what happens :)

If you're wanting to build raised garden beds for your own garden, make sure you choose a wood that is going to withstand being outdoors.  Cedar is naturally rot resistant so that's always a good choice.  The boards we used are actually cedar fence posts that we cut the dog-eared end off of!  $1.89 was much better than the $5+ cedar building boards.  The corners are just garden stakes.  I stapled cardboard on the inside of the beds to keep dirt from spilling through the cracks. The beds all got filled with dirt from a farm field and was shoveled into each bed a shovel load at a time.  They'll be topped off with garden soil.

We lucked out on the 'filler' dirt. Joe had mentioned that we were going to purchase a couple truckloads of dirt to fill in the bottoms of the garden beds to our neighbor.  Our neighbor said he would take his truck and trailer out to his buddy's farm and fill it up with dirt from his farm field...for FREE!  And then he wandered over while we were shoveling it all in and helped!  They've helped us out on a number of occasions so yeah, our neighbors are pretty phenomenal and I'm very thankful for them. 

This weekend will consist of: Me going to Junk Market which is this awesome 2-day event of the best painted, repurposed furniture, beautiful antiques, vintage finds, salvaged treasures and handmade treasures found in the upper Midwest! It's spread out over 3 HUGE buildings at the fairgrounds.  It's literally a big Pinterest-fest as the Hubster so affectionately calls it.  I LOVE IT.  Check it out some summer if you're ever in Fargo while it's going on.

And Joe will be hauling the landscape timbers, garden soil, and mulch to finish off the garden beds from Fargo to home.  I personally think my weekend sounds MUCH more fun than his but he vehemently disagrees.

I'm hoping to come home with some great finds, maybe some awesome new piece of furniture...sshhhh!!  Don't tell Joe, I've been grounded from taking in anymore furniture!

It's good to be back! See you in another 8 months!  Just kidding...hopefully.