Friday, August 30, 2013

7 Quick Takes

--- 1 ---
Happy 3 day weekend for those of you who get to partake in it! I already have about 48 hours of relaxation scheduled (Saturday and Monday). I am definitely going to finish my Alaska scrapbook, but other than that I am envisioning a lot of Netflix time. My life is going to get super busy in about a month and, I'm guessing, won't slow down for another 18 years or so after that, so I am thoroughly enjoying all the sit-on-my-butt time I can get these days!!!! Fall is always super busy in a good way, and then there's the holidays, and then there's all the preparation we need to do. So yes, 48 hours of relaxation- here I come! 

--- 2 ---
I got these yesterday and I am so, so in love. I buy this style of New Balance (442) every single time I buy new shoes. I think I'm on my 3rd pair and I wear them for 3-4 years at a time. Yes, I love them! So to find them in darker gray (won't show dirt as easily! score!) and with purple polka dots.... BEST EVER.... I am such a happy girl. $10 with our mad skillz! Now let's see how many wears I get before my feet spread! 

--- 3 ---

Pregnancy TMI/girly take (you have been warned): I'm doing my best to bury this in the middle, but I have to share. I've been a little panicky about maternity underwear since I found out I was pregnant. I was envisioning those underwear that are about 8 feet tall by 12 feet wide. Imagine my surprise when I found cute pregnancy underwear at Motherhood Maternity (which by the way, is soooo hard for me to find pants at! I am apparently in between sizes. Story of my life!). Anyway, I was in need of some underwear and figured it was dumb to NOT buy some maternity kind instead of my normal kind since who knows how my shape will be post baby, but they have these foldover briefs that are comfortable and cute! You fold over the top when you're smaller and they look totally normal (not old lady brief-ish), but then you unfold it when you're bigger/care less about your underwear being normal looking. Win win! 
--- 4 ---

In other maternity fashion news, my favorite brand of maternity pants (that I have yet to wear out of the house because I look SO MUCH MORE PREGNANT in maternity clothes) is Three Seasons at Belk. Scroll down to the khaki bedfor cord pants, which are not actually cords. LOVE THEM! They look like totally normal pants with a low rise NORMAL waist line, but from the inside of that waist line comes a stretchy panel. So when you bend over, people see normal pants (I kept having the issue when trying stuff on that the stretchy panel was too low in the back and said cute underwear would show right through), even though you have the supportive stretchy fabric on your belly. Right now I'm wearing out my drawstring pants in an attempt to be at least 16 weeks before I'm in the maternity clothes. Luckily due to awesome friends I only needed a few pairs of work pants and I will eventually need a couple shirts, but that's it! 

--- 5 ---
This week I attempted these frosting shots. They are VERY dark chocolately tasting, for those of you who like that. Almost too rich for me, but very tasty and I love that it's 'real food' with no sugar! I attempted for one second to make mine pretty but it did NOT happen. Steven doesn't like them, but I think it's a fun treat without worrying about sugar. 

--- 6 ---
Steven is off for the THIRD Sunday in a row this weekend. I kind of don't know what to do with myself!!! The first Sunday we had a relaxy day; we just went to church and came home. Last Sunday we had a Sunday Funday (church, out to eat, shopping), but the jury is still out for this Sunday. I kind of want to do something else fun but that means spending $. I feel like we should tackle a household project but... that's not fun. So hopefully we make a decision by Sunday morning ;). 

 --- 7 ---
Friday question! Ladies, how often to you get your engagement ring inspected? Or do you? The store Steven bought mine from offers free inspections and repairs, but it's not super convenient (though not super inconvenient either) so I rarely think about it. But then I hear about someone who lost the diamond in their 10 year old ring and freak out that I should be doing it at least yearly! 

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Dear Penny: Letters to our Child #11

Dear Baby Penny, 7/4/13

Well, this is one 4th of July that probably can’t be beat. We drove down to gammy and gampy’s today, excited and anxious the whole 4.5 hours! When we finally arrived, mommy called the house to make sure neither of them were in the shower. Gammy had JUST gotten in! So we quickly moved our car around the corner where they couldn’t see us and I told Gampy that I needed to ask Gammy a question so for her to call me asap. Our stomachs were in huge knots as we tried to waste the time away. As soon as Gammy came, I gave her instructions. I said “you and dad need to come out to the porch in one minute, stay on the porch, and don’t ask any questions”. I got the frame out, Steven got the balloons out, and we hid in front of the garage where they couldn’t see us until I heard the door close and I knew they were on the porch. We rounded the corner and Gammy instantly knew. I started crying as soon as I saw her, she started tearing up, and she grabbed me in the biggest hug. Gampy was standing inside of the screen door and came out giving us congratulations and hugs. We went inside and gave them EVERY detail of the past 3 days. They are SO EXCITED about you!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are so, so loved. They sent me home with a little Panther set of baby items, a DVD about babies, and a Big Bang Theory onesie :). I called Aunt Rachel who immediately began crying. It was so sweet! Aunt Jen came over with Dylan and Kaitie after she heard the news and brought a book of baby names for us to borrow. This family loves you so much. We spent about 6 hours there and it was fantastic, talking all about you and us and the future! It was such a perfect day. Nine hours in the car meant nothing with all the fun and excitement we had announcing you! Now on to Grandma and Grampa Cash tomorrow night. Love you baby. Stay safe and stay put!


We got this picture at our 2nd appointment, which was the Wednesday after we found out we were pregnant on Monday. My doctor said since my hcg was over 1000, he could check the gestational sac. See the 'pig snout' in the upper left? Babe is the left nostril ;). We got our updated due date of 3/5 (Ash Wednesday!) at that appointment. I got another progesterone injection that day and then a script for oral progesterone until their supply of injections came in from the new pharmacy. Thank God for my doctor's proactiveness! He has really helped us to take good care of Penny.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Family Guidelines

Because I like the word 'guidelines' better than 'rules' :) Some of these came about after lots of thoughtful conversation, and some of these have always been unspoken and are just the way we do things. I think all families probably have some of each and I'd love to hear yours in the comments! Every family is unique, so of course what works or is right for one family may not be for another. The other disclaimer I must add is that things change and families adapt. These are our family guidelines that we've developed over the first year of being married; some came with growing pains and some just fell into place. I think it'll be interesting to look back on this at 5 or 10 years from now to see what things have changed and what has remained the same! This is, of course, not an exclusive list.

  • Dinner is at the table together. Steven works weird hours sometimes, but we make every effort to still have dinner together. We'll have to adapt once we have children, but for now it works because I can be flexible about dinner (though it requires more snacks the nights he works later!). We find time at the dinner table really important, so it works for us right now. We almost never have breakfast together because our schedules are too different in the morning, and one or both of us is almost always at work during lunch, so dinner is our meal time to connect. There is usually one night a week Steven works til 11pm and that's the only night we miss dinner. And I miss it when we do!
  • Go to bed together. I don't put "always" because there have been a handful of times where one person just isn't tired. In that case, our guideline is that the non-tired person still gets in bed, but will play on their computer, read, or whatever. We love going to bed together and it probably has to do with our love languages. Mine is physical touch and Steven's is quality time. Having some time to cuddle, even if the one person may stay up a while, is really important to both of our love languages. 98% of the time we do go to bed together and there is something so comforting about always going to sleep with my spouse, especially since we rarely wake up together (due, again, to work schedules). Luckily it works for us because we are both flexible about having a little extra or a little less sleep depending on the other person's needs. It just works so I'm sure that's why it has stuck.
  • Spouse before anyone else. I never wanted to be the person who 'had to check with their husband' before doing something. But now I realize the value of that. I love knowing that he puts me first in his decisions and that I do the same. It's not asking permission, which is how I used to view it pre-marriage, but rather giving the consideration that your spouse comes first. This is probably a time to point out again that what works for one couple may not work for another. If you don't do it this way, that doesn't make you wrong or me wrong ;). 
  • We set aside time for 'together time' every single night. Together time is basically anything where we aren't on our computers doing our own separate thing. It could be a date, a car ride, a show together on Netflix (though that one stretches it a tiny bit), a cuddle and convo in bed, board games, or a walk around the neighborhood. We can both kill hours on the computer in our own little world, so it's important for us to carve out time to really be together. As you may have noticed, "together" is one of my favorite words! 
So, if you want, share one of yours! I love to see what makes families tick and what works for other couples! 

Friday, August 23, 2013

7 Quick Takes

--- 1 ---
In case you missed my announcement on Wednesday, we are expecting a baby on (or around!) March 5th. We are so, so elated! I'm offering up the difficulties of this pregnancy (general pregnancy stuff but mostly progesterone issues which I'll post about sometime) for those dealing with infertility and subfertility. We pray a weekly rosary on a rosary that was custom made just for Penny with our intentions being Penny's health and the list of people we have. If you want to be added, please let me know and we would love to pray for you! The rosary is a powerful tool... 2 people dealing with subfertility have gotten pregnant so far! Mary is quite the intercessor ;). In fact, we prayed a beautiful novena to her the cycle we got pregnant. 

This is how we showed up to my parents' front door in SC on July 4th, totally unexpected :). We had to sit in the car around the corner for about 20 minutes because when I first called my mom was in the shower. LOL it was torture!!! 

--- 2 ---
I have many more letters to Penny but not sure if I should keep posting them or not. I have to admit, it does make for a very easy post once a week and I enjoy sharing them, but I'm not sure how I'll ever catch up! I'd like to eventually just write them here but I think I'm still about 7 behind. Apparently I have lots to say to that little one! I'm already sad for the future hypothetical 2nd child who I'm sure will not receive this kind of attention!

--- 3 ---
I have seen such a beautiful outpouring of love and support since I became pregnant. I love seeing so much good in people! I went straight to Cathsorority with the news because I knew I'd have tons of people praying for me, and pray they did (and still do!). From there, I had one amazing friend give me almost an entire wardrobe of maternity clothes (half of it before we had ever met in real life, and the other half the first time we got to meet!), and another who I've never met sent me a gift card to Motherhood Maternity. Another worked with me to custom make the rosary for Penny that I talked about in the first take. It will be prayed on all through pregnancy and given to Penny as a First Communion gift one day. Yes, there were lots of tears on all occasions. It's been a great inspiration and reminder to me to pass that kind of love on to others!

--- 4 ---
Ok, I was attempting to not have all my takes be baby related but I can't help it. I promise I will blog about other things soon! Steven and I agreed, upon finding out we were pregnant, not to buy baby stuff until 12 weeks, especially since I was having progesterone scares. Well by the end of that day, it had been moved up to 8 weeks. And by 8 weeks, I had about 5 outfits of every size through the first year, an ergo carrier, a marvel avengers ring sling for Steven, furniture anchors, and some Melissa and Doug toys. OOPS :). How could I not? I was too excited AND I kept finding things in thrift stores and consignment stores for awesome prices. I love me a bargain, and a bargain on something OMG SO CUTE is even better. We aren't finding out the sex, so I had NO incentive to wait on clothes! We celebrated new life from the very first day and I wouldn't want to do it any differently! 

Someone loves the ring sling, someone else does not.

--- 5 ---
Cravings thus far: Barbecue, Mexican, Pizza, Eggs, Nuts, Beef, Wendy's Berry Almond Salad, Ice Water. Steven loves our baby even more now. Luckily, this baby mostly does not enjoy sweets so that's a win-win. PCOS develops in the womb (since eggs and ovaries develop in the womb) so I'm trying to stay away from high GI foods and sweets. Luckily my severe craving of protein has made that pretty easy! 

--- 6 ---
Shout out for Creighton and Napro. Do you know that the average woman has to miscarry 2-3 times before her doctor will do a simple blood test to check for progesterone deficiencies? Doctors often time to not have a woman come in until 6 weeks. It's hard to even type this, but Penny would have been GONE by 6 weeks. Thank God for my doctor who had us come in the very day we had a positive test and got me started on progesterone. If you chart and have any indication of low progesterone, please request that your ob test it early on or, ideally, before pregnancy! I've kind of been a nervous wreck (Steven would laugh at my word choice 'kind of') but seeing our little baby kick, squirm, and stick its arms out on ultrasound this week has totally put me at peace! Thank God for our doctor! 

My favorite ultrasound even though it's the hardest to make out. Baby is looking at us with hands up on either side of his/her face. Peekaboo mom and dad! 

 --- 7 ---
You'd think my Friday question would be baby related, but it's not. We buy big packs of chicken (we buy natural, antibiotic free and stock up on sale) and put 2 pieces in each freezer bag. But we keep having to throw chicken away due to freezer burn! It's not sitting in there for more than a few months and we are using actual Ziploc freezer bags. What am I doing wrong? Freezer set tooo high/low? I hate throwing away money and wasting food. 

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Dear Penny: Letters to our Baby #10

This is the letter I have been wanting to share for WEEKS now. And frankly, I've felt a little badly about all the prayer offers I've received while posting our other letters, but please know that prayers never go to waste... they were either used on this sweet little one (we have had quite a few progesterone related scares!) or on someone else dealing with subfertility! But after an 8 week ultrasound where the babe measured a bit small, I really wanted to wait until the 12 week mark to share our news, as hard as it was! 

Here is the letter I wrote to Baby Penny (remember: nickname only! ;) We aren't going to find out gender) the day we found out, or were almost positive, that we had co-created life with God. The due date has changed to the 3/5, just fyi.

 Penny is actually 11w6d here-yesterday-, but just consistently measures the teeniest bit small. Little shrimp baby :). Looks like Penny is waving! 

Dear Penny, 07/01/2013

Wow! I cannot believe it. Yesterday morning I woke up without a period (p+18) and decided against my better judgement to take a pregnancy test. It came back positive, but I didn’t let myself get too excited since I am using hcg post peak. I thought “hmmm.... we’ll see what happens”, but since I’ve been cramping for a week, I still expected a period to come. But I was very, very hopeful. Daddy was excited but much more realistic. This morning I woke up again to no period. I took another pregnancy test and it also came back positive. This is when my heart began skipping a few beats! I went to the chiropractor and all I could think was how if I didn’t tell him I might be pregnant, and if I miscarried after the adjustment, I would think it was my fault for not letting him know. So when he came over to adjust me, I had him bend down and I whispered, “I might be pregnant in case that matters with what you do”. He smiled and said “Praise the Lord!” (yes, indeed!) and gave me a foam pillow to lay on that has a belly indention. I almost cried. It felt real, but I wasn’t ready to say it yet!

After the chiropractor appointment, I called the doctor. The nurse said to take a home pregnancy test; I said I had taken 2! The doctor got on the phone laughing, congratulating me. I asked if he could be sure from the home pregnancy test due to the hcg. He said it was very unlikely that I was experiencing a false positive and that I needed to come in today for an hcg level and progesterone level as well as a progesterone injection, that daddy needed to learn how to give me shots at home. I called daddy at work, crying out of excitement! Once he realized nothing was wrong (and everything was right) he was excited. How did I even get any work done today? I kept crying or nearly crying as I made my way to the office, but I managed to focus most of the day since I had a lot to get done. It was torture talking to your gammy and not telling her.  I picked daddy up from work at 2:45 and we headed to the doctor.

Of course the wait was the longest ever! They confirmed that a urine pregnancy test was positive and the doctor dated my pregnancy based off my ovulation date. Penny, you are due on March 7. March 7 is St. Felicity’s feast day. St. Felicity is my patron saint. She is the patron saint of barren women, which I didn’t even know until almost a decade after I picked her, and was hit with the irony when I learned of my reproductive issues. I instantly knew that we were in God’s hands and being taken care of, no matter the outcome.

The doctor said he couldn’t tell me for 100% certain that I was pregnant until he had a few days of hcg levels to make sure they are rising, but from the way he acted, I just knew. He and his entire office kept congratulating us. They made us feel like such big shots and gave us a little baby magazine and diaper and wipe sample on the way out. We were beaming! On the way home, daddy was SO excited and kept saying he wanted to tell the whole world. We celebrated with a meal at Chickfila which the doctor and nurse ribbed us about but hey... we will save the big celebrating for when we get our numbers back!

Daddy had to learn to give me progesterone injections and he was such a champ! I had to get one in each hip (ouch!) and he watched the nurse do one, and then he did the other. The nurse got an A; daddy got a B. He will learn :). He’ll have to do this throughout much of the pregnancy to keep you safe in there. I don’t really have any pregnancy symptoms yet except my chest is a little sore. I’ve also been drinking/peeing more but I don’t know if that’s related.

On the drive home, we plotted how we’d tell your grandparents, which was so much fun! We decided for your gammy and gampy (mommy’s parents) that we will drive down this Thursday, the 4th of July, and show up at their house unexpectedly with a pink and blue balloon. For grandma and grandpa (daddy’s parents), we are going to print out pictures from our Alaska trip with a picture of us with the balloons mixed in there, and let them find it at our next visit! We are sooo excited, but trying to wait until we hear numbers to tell close family and friends.

Except daddy already told one friend (he just had to tell SOMEone) and I already told 3 very close online friends(I just had to tell SOMEone, too!).

I keep wondering “what did it?”. The doctor’s nurse made a joke about the cruise being the answer. It didn’t happen actually on the cruise, but maybe so! Last month I asked my primary care doctor to raise my thyroid medication dose because it was higher than I wanted it to be (she was fine with the level but also fine with raising it a bit). Was that it? Or was it the 2 months of hcg injections helping to balance my hormones out? It was probably all of it! And obviously God had a pretty big hand in it :).

Baby Penny, we already love you so much. Daddy is already kissing and rubbing you, and you are probably the size of a pencil tip, if even that! I can’t stop thinking about you and planning for you already. Pregnancy dating is so silly. I am 4 weeks and 3 days along, even though I ovulated 19 days ago. But you know what? I will totally take it because that means less time until I get to meet you!

Stay safe and cozy in there baby. Can’t wait to go on this journey with you.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Dear Baby: Letters to Our Future Child #9

This is the 9th letter in a series of letters I have been writing to our future child as we go through the process of dealing with subfertility/infertility that began in January. If you want to read the others, simply click the "Dear Baby Series" tag at the bottom of this post. 

Dear Baby, 06/23/2013

Here I am again in the 2 week wait. Or in mommy’s case, the 17 day wait. I have been feeling SO UPBEAT this month! All that praying for peace has really paid off. I think going on a wonderful vacation with daddy, your grandparents, aunts and uncles really helped too. We went on a fantastic cruise to Alaska and just got to relax, enjoy, and explore. Daddy and I both really needed it!! It was nice to step away from normal life for a bit. If I have to have surgery, I’m ok with it. I’m so ready to have you, but I keep reminding myself that it’s God’s will and plan, not mine.

Last night Daddy and I talked about what we’d call you when we find out about you. You know, like a little nickname since we won’t find out your gender (if you come to us biologically). We threw around a few different ideas and then came upon the perfect one... Penny. Sounds girly, I know, but a penny is the smallest form of... wait for it.... Cash :). And you will be the smallest form of your mommy and daddy, Stacy and Steven Cash.

Love you little baby,


Friday, August 16, 2013

7 Quick Takes

--- 1 ---
Not that I claim to ever have fantastic material in my quick takes, but since I'm writing all of these on Friday morning, please lower the standards a bit, k? I usually struggle around take 5 or so, but write them over 3 days so I just come back and finish later. But since I used up one quick take with a disclaimer, maybe I'll be ok!

--- 2 ---
I love, love, love my little town and neighborhood. We live just a few miles from downtown Raleigh, but technically in Garner. Right in our very own neighborhood, they do a summer concert series of about 5-7 concerts every summer. People of all ages come out with chairs, blankets, and snacks, vendors set up their wares and food, and we enjoy being a community for 3 hours. There are 2 more left in September and I can't wait! We were not able to make any of the May or June ones, and they take the month of July off, so I was soooo glad to be able to go last night. There is nothing like a free date night with your love!

--- 3 ---

Date night fun! We packed hot dogs, chips, orange slices, and water for a little beach chair picnic!

Slow dancing! I wish they had played another slow song. My inhibitions had just started to fade and then the song was over. It was so sweet watching some of the older couples dance! 

The band was from Garner (they are always from NC but not always from Garner), so that was a treat!

--- 4 ---
This week, one of the daily catechism readings reminded us to be super thankful for our jobs, even on the rough days and even when we think something about it is unfair. We are so blessed to have jobs and pray a lot for those who don't. But then I had a day yesterday that made me appreciate my job SO much. It was a rare, cool and breezy August day and I was itching to be outside. One of my proteges (clients) loves to color and we had just gotten a donation of coloring books and crayons, so I took them out to his rest home, we went outside, and colored our hearts out! It was gorgeous weather and he talked to me more yesterday than he has in 4 years! I might have to start doing coloring therapy more often :).

--- 5 ---
 I'm starting to waiver on the whole gluten free thing. I'm not giving it up yet, but it might be looming in our future. I'm not actually craving bready stuff, but lunches are SO hard sometimes compared to packing a peanut butter sandwich! And maybe even a bit more expensive? I wrote about our food costs going up last week, and I'm pretty sure it directly correlates with going gluten free (even though the only 'gluten free' item we buy is an occasional loaf of bread). So I think we might start slooooowly incorporating gluten back in for my carb addicted husband, so we don't go from no gluten to ALL THE GLUTEN. But the towel isn't thrown in just yet! Not exactly sure what I'm waiting for lol.

--- 6 ---
Weekend plans! My cousin-in-law has a bridal shower tonight so I'm going with my mother-in-law. It's actually our first mother/daughter in law event together without Steven! It's a pampered chef shower, so I know I will come home with a few goodies (eyeing the paring knife set and cheese knife). Saturday my plans are to do NOTHING. Then Sunday is church, faith formation info session, and hopefully one of Steven's friends is coming over that afternoon. I am making meatball subs that night... drool. Do you have anything fun going on? 

 --- 7 ---
Friday question because I love when my readers talk, too! How do you keep up with your favorite blogs since google reader went away? Honestly, I never loved google reader. I use bloglovin' now which I like more but I'm bad about checking it. I always check the ones I'm subscribed to on blogger, but that's only a fraction of the ones on bloglovin', so I end up missing out! 

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Dear Baby: Letters to our Future Child #8

This is the 8th letter in a series of letters I have been writing to our future child as we go through the process of dealing with subfertility/infertility that began in January. If you want to read the others, simply click the "Dear Baby Series" tag at the bottom of this post. 

Dear Baby, 5/29/13

Today at the doctor, I learned that I may be writing to an actual baby after all. It hit me in the gut right when the doctor said it. Later I found out it hit daddy in the gut, too. The doctor said that I could be getting pregnant every month, but that due to possible endometriosis, you might not be able to implant. Talk about a dagger to the heart! And I will never know until I get to heaven if I have babies there, or how many babies I have there. It honestly makes the thought of heaven (which, oddly enough, I fear) to be more comforting to me. Imagine the homecoming I’ll have if you are there waiting for me! We would certainly make up for lost time. I think the hard part is not knowing. I’ve always loved when couples who have miscarried have prayed for the intercession of their tiny saint in heaven. I don’t know if we can do that because we don’t know if we have a baby in heaven or not. I guess it can never hurt.

Due to our travel plans this month (Alaska! Our last ‘hurrah’ before babies, I certainly hope), we are doing one more round of Clomid and then I’m having surgery, no ifs ands or buts. Last night was so rough on mommy. Everyone seems to have an opinion about surgery for endometriosis so I sat here crying, thinking how do I know who to trust??? Daddy and I eventually decided that our doctor has my best interests at heart, and we will continue to trust him.

When I checked in yesterday, his wife was working at the front desk. I’d never seen her working there before, but I know her from the NFP mass last year. As soon as she heard my  name, she said “Oh he told me he saw you at Mass!” because he and his son had come to our church while in the area for hockey. I can’t tell you how good that made me feel.... that my doctor was excited to see me at Mass and told his wife about it. I struggle sometimes with my doctor choice because, when I chose him, I knew nothing about Dr. Hilgers in Omaha or Naprotechnology. Now I’m finding out that the doctor in Winston-Salem actually studied under Dr. Hilgers for a year before opening his practice, which is the only non-contraceptive, pro life practice in the state. But then I think... how cool would it be to be a patient of this doctor when he goes NFP only (which I really think, and pray!, is in his future). So I’m really hoping he is headed in the same direction as this other doctor. If you’re up there, how about doing some interceding for your parents and their doctor? :)


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Hi, My Name is Stacy and...

I am a commitment-phobe. Luckily, I am not a commitment-phobe when it comes to my husband/marriage, but I am in so many other aspects of my life. Every lesson I ever started as a child, I quit. And usually not too long after starting. Generally, I'd quit after a year/season, because the requirement was I could join whatever I was interested in but had to stick it out for one year. I'm thankful my parents put that in place, or I probably wouldn't have lasted more than a few months in each activity. 

Another example is that almost any time I make plans with someone who isn't a really close friend of mine, I am tempted to think of reasons to back out. And when I say I'll do something for work or church, I basically end up doing it because it's expected of me since I agreed, but I dread every second leading up to it. I'm not sure if it's commitment phobia or laziness or a little bit of both (probably), but it's a character flaw of mine that I really detest! I'm always envious of those people who just seem to naturally and genuinely want to do all the things they say they will. I find I have to put a lot of effort into it. Luckily, I don't like letting people down and I don't want my name dragged through mud, so many people don't even know this side of me. But I know it because I grapple with it All. The. Time. 

Besides the things I listed above, here are some ways I've learned to deal with my own self ;) over the years:

  • Think hard before committing to something. Do I feel like it's something I want to do and/or should do? Ie don't let myself get pushed into something because I'm kind of a pushover which does NOT mesh well with commitment phobia. I got pushed onto 2 committees at work recently so this is clearly a work in progress. 
  • But don't think for too long. I'm likely to talk myself out of it, even if it's something I want to do.
  • Pray about it. Sometimes I feel like something is right and necessary but I just don't want to. I've found that God will not lead me astray. For example, I have been feeling the call to teach faith formation since I stopped in 2010. I kind of ignored it... I mean, that is a 9 month commitment! I finally prayed about it this past year and knew that I needed to sign on the proverbial dotted line, so I called the lady up the next day and *gulp* committed. Here's to the kidlet that I'll be helping prepare for sacraments this year! (And for the record, I never once missed a faith formation session! Luckily God and guilt are bigger than my commitment phobia!) 
  • Tell Steven about said activity/thoughts/plans. He's a reliable source. He'll tell me if I'm biting off more than I can chew, or if I need to put on my big girl pants and just do it already. He's way more honest with me than I am with myself, and that comes in handy, even if it might make me cringe sometimes.
  • I remind myself why I'm doing what I said I would do. Because I said I would and I want people to know they can trust me, because it is helping someone else, because it is helping me, etc. Sometimes focusing less on what I'm doing and more on why I'm doing it helps me to stick it out for the long haul. 

There's no real point to this post besides maybe that the list will serve as a reminder for me in the future; it just feels good to 'come clean'. And in an attempt to write realistically, I thought you should all know that I'm not as perfect as I seem. Muahaha... bwahahahahaha. That is all. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Dear Baby: Letters to our Future Child #7

This is the 7th letter in a series of letters I have been writing to our future child as we go through the process of dealing with subfertility/infertility that began in January. If you want to read the others, simply click the "Dear Baby Series" tag at the bottom of this post. 

Dear Baby,   5/27/13

Well this month was not the month. Even though I could practically tell myself that it probably was not the month, it is emotional each month because my luteal phase lasts ONE day longer each cycle. So each cycle, I have that one day where I really think this could be it. Today I would have gone to get bloodwork, but I woke up and found out that was unnecessary. I was so glad daddy was home because I went and cried in his arms. I needed about 5-10 minutes to let my frustration out, and I’m feeling ok again. I have to keep praying and keep trusting. I’m bummed but optimistic. I’ll go to the doctor tomorrow to find out if I’m having surgery this cycle or if I get one more shot at Clomid. I’m anxious about the money for the surgery, but also don’t want to waste any time. I look at big families all the time and have to mourn what I may never have. Daddy’s parents tried for 11 years before they had him and he is an only child. I have to remind myself that my images of a large-ish family are what I want, but may not be what God wants or what I will end up with. I have to be ok with the hand that I’m dealt, because the other option is to just sit back and miss out on life while I grieve.

Speaking of which, Daddy and I are trying very hard to enjoy life during this process and to keep as much normalcy as possible so that trying to have a baby doesn’t consume us. Our new favorite thing to do is grill out and play cards and board games after we eat. We just got furniture for the deck, so we have really been enjoying time outside together.We are headed to Alaska with the family next week, and I’m really excited to ‘check out’ of normal life for a little bit and just have a blast with daddy. He’s had a rough time at work, and we could both use some time to really enjoy each other!

I want to eventually share these letters to you on my blog, just as an eye opening experience for people who have never/will never deal with this and also possibly as a comfort (misery loves company?) for those who are dealing with it. I know some people might think this is strange. Writing to a baby who doesn’t exist? Writing to a baby who may never exist? But I’m hoping and praying you will, and I want you to know the experiences mommy and daddy dealt with. Not to make you feel guilty or bad, but because this is more than a blip in our life. It’s our struggle, and yet our journey, to expand our family and create/nurture new life. I’m big into documenting things anyway, so this is just an extension of that. I’m not yet ‘out’ on my blog, or really in real life besides to a few family/friends, about our struggle with fertility issuest, so this also serves as a cathartic form of therapy for me. Writing to you, who, yeah, doesn’t exist yet, makes me feel better. So strange or not, it is what it is.

Love you,

Saturday, August 10, 2013

When Not to be Crunchy

I struggle a lot with when to be and when not to be crunchy. That is the question. (Muahahaha....sorry). Ideally, I'd choose the green, organic version of EVERYthing in the whole world. Unfortunately, we live in a world where that is not always possible. For us, that is usually due to cost. No matter what tips and tricks you use, there is a certain amount of financial struggle to purchase 100% organic and green if you are a middle class or lower family. It may apply to higher income families; I just don't know what that's like ;). So how do you decide what to give on? Everyone's deciding factors will be different, and I'd love to hear yours in the comments!, but here's a general guideline I use to help guide my purchases:

  • Never, ever skimp on food. I truly believe what you're eating is the most important, so I would rather eat less meat than eat lower quality meat. I would rather cut another area of our budget than give on fresh fruits and vegetables (and organic especially on the dirty dozen but we aim for all organic with produce). 
  • Search for deals. This may sound "duh" but often times I will find organic or natural products at Target on clearance and I can really stock up! Do be careful of the label "natural" though as it isn't regulated. Just read the back of the product before purchasing to see if it meets your criteria.
  • Investigate homemade. You may find that some homemade things are just not worth it, and that's ok. I've had dismal luck with dishwasher detergent (as in, it works for 10 loads at a time and that's it). So I give on that (more below) but there are other things, like general cleaner spray which I make with equal parts water and vinegar, and about 40 drops of essential oils, that is not only so much better to clean with but DIRT CHEAP! We have saved a ton of money on cleaning supplies since switching over about 6-8 months ago. For the things you don't feel are worth the time or effort of doing homemade, see if there is a natural counterpart in the store. If it's toilet bowl cleaner (never going to touch me or sit on a touchable surface) I am more likely to 'give' and buy the cheap stuff than counter cleaner, which is a surface I touch daily. 
  • Look online for good deals. When I realized I needed to cave and buy dish detergent, I at least wanted to get something eco-friendly, but in the store that meant $$$ compared to the cheap stuff. It was almost an area I gave on, and I'm sure we would have survived if I had :). But I did find an awesome coupon code for and I was able to stock up. If I don't have a coupon code next time, or can't find it online cheaply, this may be something I give on temporarily until I find another deal. I'm weirder about this though since our food does directly touch the dishes we're putting it on.
  • Think about the impact it will have on your body first, and the environment second. Now that's not to say the environment isn't important and, again, we all have different priorities so you may feel the opposite way. But when push comes to shove and the budget is super tight, I worry first about the impact it will have directly on me, and give on the environmental factor a bit. That means I may buy a product that doesn't have endocrine disruptors (especially important with PCOS) like eco friendly bug spray but may have to buy that cheap yellow jacket spray that works but isn't great for the grass underneath the hive. Again, I look at this as a temporary thing. As soon as finances improve, I go back to protecting the environment.
  • Every now and again, I will let convenience trump eco friendly and try my hardest not to guilt myself over it. If I'm having a lot of people over to the house (rare, luckily for this introvert!), I might use paper plates so that I'm not up all night cleaning up. I used to feel super guilty about stuff like that, but I do minimize it to a few times a year or less, and then I decide that sometimes time=$! And hey, that paper may be compostable and save a lot of water! 
  • If it's an item I use infrequently, I'm more likely to buy the 'regular' version. The more often I use a product, the more important it is to me that I'm purchasing something that is both good for me and for the environment. 
So chime in; what guidelines do you use when the budget is tight and you have to make tough decisions? 

Friday, August 9, 2013

7 Quick Takes

--- 1 ---
This has been such a fun, busy week! This weekend I am going to SIT and SLEEP! :) Last weekend, my parents and I hit up the outlets for tax free weekend on Sunday morning. That is the time to do it! We got there when they opened at 10 and left around 12:30; it was JUST starting to get busy from the after church crowd. We all 3 left with a few bags of goodies and enjoyed a super delicious lunch at Moe's before they headed home. Then Elizabeth and fam came over for dinner. It was so much fun getting to meet them! Charlie is SO CUTE!

--- 2 ---

Tuesday, we had a quadruple date at Carolina Ale House with Elizabeth and fam, Mandi and fam, and Kendra and fam. We then headed to the best park ever, Pullen Park, for a little play time. Steven and I definitely rode the train after scoping it out and seeing two friends without children riding. We didn't want to be creepsters, but luckily Elizabeth and fam rode too... so we had Charlie to make us legit ;). The train is only $1 per person and free under $2 and is a pretty decent 7 minute trip around the park. Loved it! We got to see all the new playgrounds (we of course usually stick to the more 'adult' side of the park haha) which was fun... they went all out! Can't wait to have our own little one to take there one day!

I'd blow the picture up but we all have creepy eyes, even the babies!

--- 3 ---
Wednesday evening we went to a Goo Goo Dolls/Matchbox 20 concert that we scored groupon tickets for at Easter time. Isn't that crazy? This was Steven's dream combination! It was overall a very good time; the music was good, the weather was perfect, and we ran into a couple old friends of Steven's. The downside? I COULD NOT GET AWAY FROM THE WEED! Note to self: indoor concerts from now on. We must have moved like 4 times until we finally found the 'family zone' in the back that was weed-free. Overall, it was a great and different (for us!) date night!

--- 4 ---
To continue the fun, we went to a Durham bulls game with Elizabeth and family last night. We had a great time hanging out with them but did learn a very valuable lesson. Do not go to a Bulls game on the deadly combination night of: $1 concessions, get in for free by bringing a book to donate, AND the last night of a living social deal (guilty). I have never seen it sold out and it was sold out and packed to the GILLS with people! 

--- 5 ---
Are you exhausted from reading that? Man, that's more activity in one week than I usually see in a month! We have had a blast with friends and family, that's for sure. And I love that Steven was off at 5 every night this week to do all this fun stuff with me. What a treat! 

--- 6 ---
As busy as my week nights have been, my week days have been pretty busy too! Sometimes I have slow, boring weeks at work and wish for more work. Well, this week I got volunteered to be on two committees and had about a billion conference calls. I guess my wish was granted! Here's to hoping next week is a bit quieter again! 

 --- 7 ---
What's your best grocery saving tip without sacrificing food quality? We don't coupon since we eat lots of real/whole/organic foods (and Trader Joe's doesn't take them, but luckily they have good prices!), but lately our costs have risen. I use to be able to easily feed us for $30-50 a week and now it seems like I go over budget EVERY week. My tip that I just put into action is making a weekly menu. I'm hoping there will be less 'stopping in the store for this item' when we've meal planned in advance. I'm also hoping to get to the farmer's market this weekend! What about you? How do you cut costs?

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Dear Baby: Letters to our Future Child #6

This is the 6th letter in a series of letters I have been writing to our future child as we go through the process of dealing with subfertility/infertility that began in January. If you want to read the others, simply click the "Dear Baby Series" tag at the bottom of this post. 

A side note: As you'll see below, we already have 'grandparent' names picked for my parents. I actually started using them shortly after I got my cat, and was nannying a child at the time who used the term "gammy" and "gamgam". I thought it was hilarious, so Buttercup "called" them gammy and gampy. Guess what? It stuck lol. We have been using those terms ever since and they are well aware that the future Cash children will be calling them that, too! 

Dear Baby, 5/23/2013

I have been SO hopeful and so peaceful this month. I’m not exactly sure why, but I have certainly been praying for those two things. Daddy and I also did a new novena this cycle, a particularly touching one to John Paul II. I wonder if that has anything to do with it? I started giving myself HCG shots this cycle and had to learn 1 at the office, then do the other 3 at home. It was less of a big deal than I thought it would be! I was kind of proud of myself, knowing I could do it. I really hope it helps me to ovulate on my own. I know I can’t be on Clomid forever. But back to feeling good :). Daddy and I are going on a cruise to Alaska in a little over a week. Gammy and Gampy are celebrating their 35th anniversary so we are all going to celebrate! I am looking so, so forward to it. Daddy and I have said since it was booked (before our wedding!) that it would be our last big hurrah before a baby. I really hope so because that means you’ll be on your way to us in the not too distant future! Every time I hear a pregnancy announcement I think of you and wonder when I’ll meet you. I am going to be one happy mama when the day comes :).