Monday, December 23, 2013

Oh, Baby!


Babies are miracles.
I don't care how you spin it...they are absolute miracles.  I realize that now more than ever.  And my new niece is no exception.
I was nervous to go visit the hospital on the day she was born for fear I might cry or kidnap her.  You see, when my brother and sister-in-law announced the pregnancy last spring, that is exactly what I did.  I locked myself in their bathroom and I bawled while everyone picnicked on the patio.  I was being selfish...I felt like it was my turn for a baby...they already had one, my big sister had just had one a couple months prior, and I should be next!  
I was so MAD at myself for reacting that way.  It was the first tearful reaction I have had on this journey that completely caught me off-guard and left me feeling ashamed.  I've cried at the sight of pregnant women I don't know.  I've cried watching kids at play.  I've cried hearing a nurse tell some woman over the phone that she should go buy a pregnancy test because her progesterone levels looked promising.  I've cried listening to the way parents talk about their kids (good or bad).
I no longer trust myself to have socially appropriate responses, especially when little miracles are involved.
So, I wasn't sure how the hospital visit would go.
But I am happy to report that I ONLY felt joy with that little one in my arms.  She is beautifully perfect.  I felt joy when I saw my brother and sister-in-law's tired smiles.  I felt joy that everyone was healthy!! (Their road to a family of four was no walk-in-the-park...a tragic 21 week infant loss and an extremely high-risk pregnancy that resulted in my nephew).
Later, looking back on the visit, I realized that for the first time this holiday season, I felt Christmas-y.
I was humbled.  Awe-struck. Captivated.  Joy-filled by the mere presence of a baby...
Isn't that what Christmas is all about?  Not presents, but the presence of a miraculous baby in our midst.  A baby who was an entirely different magnitude of miracle?
I may not be holding my baby this Christmas, but I will be seeking and relishing that joy that is found in the miracles that surround me...for we were all once babies.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Cyster! Cyster!


Remember that show? Anyone?  Sistah! Sistaaaah! *cue theme song* and Tia and Tamara Lowry rocking 90s garb.
I liked that show. 
But not as much as I liked Full House. 
Oh, did I have a crush on Uncle Jesse!!  And DJ's boyfriend, Steve.  He looked just like my Totally Hair Ken doll (who also sported some banging 90s neon)!  My sisters and I always fought over who got to play him because he had real hair and not the painted on stuff like the other Kens.  I normally won though because I was the one who purchased him with my allowance.  In fact, I probably purchased 80-90% of the Barbie dolls we played with.  I was a little obsessed with Barbies.
*Maybe that's why you have a poor self-image.*
Hey! Who said that?? How rude!!
BTW, I loved Full House, but Stephanie kind of annoyed me when she was older. She was my favorite when she was little (with curly hair), but then I don't know what happened.  Oh, and how did she go from such curly hair to about as stick-straight as it gets?  Were there flat irons in the 90s?  I never learned about them until, like, 4 years ago.  Don't laugh.  So I'm a little behind on the trends...
Sorry, I've digressed....a lot.
I was going to write a posts about cysts.  Namely, ovarian ones that are likely the culprit of many pain spells over the last 10 years.  My general practitioner has heard me bring up the pelvic pain over and over again and told me it was IBS and I told him, "No, it's not."  I did have one meeting with "the wand" YEARS ago and nothing turned up. Problem was, that appointment was not scheduled in coordination with the pain at all.  And the pain has always been very sporadic.  I might go up to 6 months with no pain at all and then, wham!  I have it daily for days or weeks on end. 
I also had trips to digestive disease specialists and for awhile I kept a journal about the pain... where I felt it, what it felt like, how long it persisted, what I'd eaten, where I was in my cycle.  All to no avail.  Finally my GP just said I had "abdominal migraines" and I thought "okay, so that's it then" and I'd take Ibuprofen or Advil Migraine whenever the pain was too intense.  For years I've thought I had abdominal migraines.
Well, yesterday, my appointment with "the wand" did reveal a rather large cyst on my left ovary that I was told appeared to be draining.  The physician's assistant told me it had likely been bigger when I was experiencing the pain and probably popped and is slowly draining/dissolving. 
Oh, and you heard me right: I met with a PA afterward, not an OB.  I knew my doctor was out of the office, but I assumed my follow up would be with another doctor.  No offense to any PAs.  Err...FRUSTRATION!!
The PA was a nice enough lady, but couldn't really field all the questions I came into the appointment planning to ask.  It seemed like she was just there to relay the results of the ultrasound and didn't seem to want to get into much else.
She told me that Clomid can trigger cyst production because it overstimulates the ovaries.  I told her about my history of this kind of pain and she agreed with my hunch that this has been going on a long time...as in before Clomid. 
Before BC, during BC, after BC, with Clomid: seems like I can make cysts under a variety of circumstances.  I am a cyster.  
Now, she didn't mention PCOS...but that's where my head went.  I've read about it, but need to refresh.    
I'm actually doing pretty okay after the whole ordeal.  It's not great news, but it's news!  I think I would feel more frustrated if they had told me, "Everything is beautiful...no idea what kind of pain you're talking about!"
One other perk of the appointment is I got some clarification on my husband's SA.  They had told me over the phone that they wanted us to get another analysis because of his morphology.  I asked the PA at my follow-up if I could see the report.  I wanted numbers. 
She  pulled up the report up on the computer and we looked through it line by line.  Everything was great or average, except the morphology.  It was about 1% lower than what I've read is typical.  And there are a variety of things that could have affected that sample that day.  Now, I know 1% can be substantial in some situations, but I'm not sure we should rush out and spend another $150 on an SA when OBVIOUSLY there is an issue with me.  I mean, maybe we should get an egg first before we start worrying that one of his millions of sperm won't make it to the promise land.
ANYWAY, that's what's up.  I'm a cyster.  Any cyster sisters out there who can shed some light on what this means for me...in our quest for a baby and life beyond that?
Oh, and speaking of sisters.  My sister-in-law just had a beautiful baby girl yesterday.  My husband and I went to see her, my brother, and our new niece after my appointments.  However, my niece deserves more than a casual mention at the end of a post about ovarian cysts (and 90s sitcoms and Barbie dolls).  So, more to come on that later.
Until then, peace out sistahs!
 

 
 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

10 Words


While blog surfing I stumbled upon this gem of a post, Ten Words that Describe Infertility.
It was too brilliant and succinctly put not to share.  This man's words about infertility are exactly what I needed to hear today.  A great reminder that I am far from alone in my battle with the ugly feelings. 

It was also a great reminder that my attacking my husband as yet one more "outsider who doesn't get it" isn't solving any problems.   And it's not fair.  Sometimes I perceive him as untouched by the process because of his strength.  Though he is strong...much stronger than I...my husband is my partner in this journey and this is affecting him too.  He deserves to deal with the rollercoaster in whatever way he needs to.  Together we can get through this.  Alone, I'm screwed. 

Luckily I'm not alone.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

If you can't say anything nice...


Don't post anything at all, right?
Well, that's been my predicament this week.  I've had a lot of negative energy rolling around inside of me and I know that it has been spilling out into this blog since Thanksgiving and my wacky 18 day cycle on 150mg of Clomid.  I know I didn't promise a sun-shiney blog...but still, being a Debbie Downer all the time is annoying.  So, I thought I'd spare you by keeping it to myself.

Sorry, that was a bad plan.

Instead of releasing my "ugly" here, I took it out on my husband.  I got all bent out of shape when he made a joke about the laundry still being in the dryer from a week ago.  I gave him the silent treatment for a reason I can't even remember now.  And I think steam poured out of my ears every time he commented on how waiting two weeks to hear about a potential career change was KILLING him.  How it is just so hard to wait for something he wants so bad!  Umm, hello?  

Instead of taking the good-wife approach and saying something like, "I totally get it, babe.  It's awful trying to be patient when you're waiting on something you've wanted so long," I took the sarcastic approach and said something like, "Oh my gosh!  Wow!  You have to wait two whole weeks!  How terrible!  I have no idea what that feels like!" 

What a b.

Truthfully, I'm just hurting...and it's not his fault. 

I am so tired of putting up this front that things are swell when inside I am overrun by feelings of despair, impatience, anger, confusion...(all the ugly things).  That's not to say that I can't find joy in the many "swell" parts of my life, but I just feel overwhelmed by the hurt throb that's going on.

I am nervous.  Nervous about an appointment Thursday at the OBGYN.  After I conveyed to the nurse that I was having lots of pain this cycle, my Dr. decided I should come in for an ultrasound (with the wand) to scope out my ovaries.  I am excited to hopefully get some answers.  I am nervous about what the answers might be.  The pain died off this weekend and once again, I find myself a masochist...wishing the pain would last just through Thursday so we might find the culprit!  I am nervous the ultrasound will show cysts and confirm PCOS or something more sinister.  I am nervous it will show signs of ovulation (because I was in too much pain and too fowl of mood to capitalize on that). I am nervous it won't show anything.  And I won't know anything new.  And I'll be left feeling like a crazy hypochondriac. 

I am much less than merry.  Christmas is fast approaching and I am struggling to find the holiday spirit.  Last year for Christmas my husband wrapped up our laptop and when I opened it there was a power point about the "Mega Date" that was my gift.  It had 6 parts.  1. Gear Up (snow coat and gloves, etc.), 2. Skiing (I'd never been), 3. Dinner (because surely we'd be hungry after skiing all day), 4. Hotel (a romantic place to crash for the night), 5. "Sleep", 6. BABY!  

It was the best gift.  It made me cry.  Did I tell you I'm a crier?  It came about 6 months into our TTC journey, still early on, but far enough for seeds of doubt to creep in that something might be amiss.  We even timed the trip to match up with what I thought might be the weekend closest to ovulation.

Back then, a year ago, I looked ahead at 2013 as the year we would have our first baby.  By this Christmas I was supposed to be bouncing an infant on my knee while we sat around the tree on Christmas morning.  If not holding a baby, surely I would have one growing inside of me by Christmas 2013.  But, here I sit, empty womb-ed in the throws of some ugly feelings I just can't seem to shake.

Here's hoping that 2014 brings some peace, patience, and perspective.  

And maybe a positive post or two.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

There's Something Wrong with My Pipes!

No, I'm not talking about "those pipes"...I'm talking actual pipes.

I came home from work today and I swore it sounded like the sprinklers were on.  I mean, there wasn't any sign or sound of them being on outside, but inside I could hear what sounded like water rushing through pipes.  When I washed my hands I noticed the pressure was low and then I got a little worried.  Of course, my husband is out of town and so I was on my own to investigate.  First, I inspected the walls and ceilings of each room in the basement.  No signs of flooding. 

Then, I followed the sound down to the furnace room.

There are several valves and levers and knobs and I know that they all have some special job, but I'm never really sure which is which.  I think I should label them.

Anyway, when I turned off what I was pretty sure was a lever to the outside pipes/sprinkler system the sound stopped.  That made me curious, so I switched the lever back to "on" and the sound returned...but it was much louder and more threatening sounding.  So I turned it off again real quick-like. The faucets all had restored pressure...problem solved?

I'm not sure...it's been so cold over the past couple weeks and I've heard all kinds of news stories about frozen and busted pipes...I was feeling paranoid.

I studied the control panel for the sprinkler system.  I swear that thing has a mind of its own.  We would set it in the summer and it would randomly turn itself on and off at times completely different from what we had set.  I was wondering if it had pulled another one of its little voodoo tricks and decided to turn itself on.

Next I went outside, armed with a flashlight, and checked the sprinkler heads and hose spigots.  Sure enough, I found our hose frozen to the place where it connects to the house...and a big block of ice making it impossible to disconnect.  Oops.  We weren't on the ball with winterizing this year...

That made me nervous that water had backed up into the house via the hose line, so I returned to the basement for another look.  I took my flashlight into our creepy crawl space and, yes, I crawled on hands and knees under cobwebs and over dirty plastic peering around at any and all pipes...searching for signs of leaks or damage. 

I didn't see anything...so I am keeping my fingers crossed that it stays that way.

And now, (because what KinderCoaster blog post would be complete without some mention of my lady parts??), a word about those pipes.

If you didn't already know, I am taking at least one cycle off from any hormone treatments (although I am still on Metformin)...mostly because I had no choice and partly because Clomid cycles are completely draining emotionally and physically. 

Recently, as in for three days now, I have been in a considerable amount of pelvic pain.  The first day it started in my back; I have a retroverted uterus so lots of my girly pain radiates from my lower back (ahahaha, spell check wants me to change retroverted to "extroverted").  The following day the pain circled around to my lower abdomen and that is where it has been since.  It seems to get worse as the day progresses and by night time it is only made bearable with a heating pad. 

That delightfully pesky little Hope Gremlin has emerged from hiding and keeps  piping in with comments like, "Ooooo, wouldn't it be something if you spontaneously ovulated on your own this cycle?!?"  I would love to think that the pain I am experiencing is because my ovaries are finally growing some nice plump follicles...but I can't help but picture it more like this:

*Sorry!  Removed the Fat Cat trying to escape a bath tub video because it was causing some problems from the administrative end of the blog.* 
 
Imagine the tub as overstimulated ovaries and the cat as some big fat wanna-be egg turned cyst that just can't get out! Except now imagine that the tub has 40 of those fat cats in it...who not only can't get out, but have the tub full to bursting! 
 
Okay, so there is no evidence to back up this line of thinking.  Maybe the gremlin is right.  I have no idea what's going on in there really...but I can't imagine any good coming from so much pain!
 
I called the doctor's office again.  Partly because of this new pain, partly because we still haven't heard the results of our SA from a month ago, but mostly because I still had a lot of questions about my last cycle that never got answered (or even relayed as far as I can tell).  I made a list of notes and questions and called prepared to stand my ground and be more assertive. And I was...with a cherry on top.  A different nurse than last week called me back and she at least feigned more interest and concern than the woman from last week.  She obviously didn't have my answers, but I feel like she listened better and she said she was taking notes...so hopefully things get communicated better this time around.  I really wish I could just talk to my doctor!!
 
*This woeful rambling brought to you by Pipe Dreams Plumbing: Your pipes are our priority!


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Karma Reserves

Do you ever feel like you are stock piling karma?  I do.  I feel that way every time I go to the grocery store.

Going to the grocery store is one of my least favorite chores.  It would probably not be so bad if we planned a menu and shopped all at once for a whole week at a time.  But more often than not, 5:30 rolls around and I get a call from the hubs...it goes like this:

DH: Hey Babe, what do you want for dinner tonight?
Me: I dunno, what do you think?  What do we have?
DH: I'm not sure we have anything.  What sounds good?
Me: I dunno, why don't you pick tonight?
DH: Do we need to go to the store?
Me: Oh, probably (sigh).
DH: Should I go or would you mind swinging by on your way home?
Me:  Doesn't matter.  I guess I can, but what do you want?
... 

And the conversation continues in that manner. So, one reason I dislike going to the grocery store is because I never really know what I am there to get.  I am a list-maker generally, but grocery lists are not my forte.  Also, I am at the grocery store entirely too often.  I know all the checkers.  And now, some of them know me a little too well.  (You can read what I mean at the end of this old post). 

Today, while at the grocery store, I realized there are a few other reasons why I'm not so fond of it...

I have an uncanny knack for picking the slowest line.  I mean, I always go for what looks like the shortest, but inevitably end up behind somebody with 50-bajillion coupons that grabbed the wrong ketchup who has to do multiple transactions and write checks.  Meanwhile, the checker runs out of receipt tape and keyed in the lettuce wrong (according to coupon lady).  I watch as people breeze through other lines and envision myself out the door already if I had just chosen THAT line! 

But...I wait it out...and very patiently I might add.  Because if there is anything worse than being behind coupon lady...it's being behind the person who just can't stand being behind coupon lady and gets all uppity and acts like the world is crashing down around them. 

So, like I said, I wait patiently for my turn...and stock pile some karma.  And when the checker says, "Sorry about that," I reply, "No worries; I don't mind waiting" because honestly it isn't any trouble...a mild inconvenience.  Saying I don't mind waiting might not be entirely honest.  Not many people like waiting...but when I say I don't mind it is more of an admission that I know waiting is part of living.  And in life, things are often worth the wait.  Perhaps the grocery store doesn't fall under this umbrella...I'm thinking like a fancy dinner or an amusement park ride or a baby or something like that.

Anyway, when I finally get out of the store and make my way to the car, 2 out of 5 times there is a cart abandoned nearby.  And I ALWAYS take it back to the cart return...stock piling my karma, you know.  Once, when it was 4 degrees outside I hopped in my car and thought, "Screw it.  That cart is not my problem."  But then I felt so guilty I got out of the car and returned it.  It was in a good parking spot and leaving it there meant someone else would have to walk further in 4 degree weather to get inside because of a wayward cart.

That maybe sounded a bit like tooting my own horn...but I think I am a nice person.  And a patient person.  And I think I have stocked up enough karma for something awesome to happen.  So...hopefully it does. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

What a Week!

Whew...what a week!  I love teaching in December because there is so much fun to be had, but boy am I exhausted.  Thanksgiving Break is always such a tease...conferences are over, you have some time to relax and then...BAM!  Commence the 3 weeks of pre-Christmas chaos!  The kids' energy is amped up and I can't help but smile.  Ah, to be a kid again!

Here's a peek at my week, Five for Friday style...on Saturday!


1.  Glue and glitter snowflakes.


I found this idea at Whimsy Workshop and decided to give it a try.  I took the fall leaves off my year-round bulletin board and needed something wintery.  It's like 2 degrees here.  Literally. The leaves are long gone (unless we're talking about my back yard, in which case they are still on the ground...raked into piles, mind you.  But not bagged.  We did one round of raking and bagging already, but have a couple HUGE ash trees that hold onto their leaves FOREVER!) 

Returning from tangent: Snowflakes were the obvious choice for the bulletin board, but I wanted something different than just the traditional paper flakes.  I am so impressed with the result...does it look like these were made by firsties??? Because I promise they were!  My kids are fine motor geniuses this year.  Honestly, I've never seen the like!

 You need waxed paper, Elmer's glue, and glitter.  I printed out a couple clipart and blackline images of snowflakes and let the kids pick one to put under their waxed paper.  They then used the glue to trace over the snowflake image and we sprinkled glitter on top...and all over the floor, because that's how glitter works, don'tcha know. (Bwahahaha, the custodian hates glitter and normally I am nice to her and keep a really clean room, but after her comment this week, I felt  a wee bit vindictive).
 
So...anyhow, you let the things dry over night and peel them off the paper the next day and viola!
I only broke two trying to peel them because a couple girls went too light on the glue.  Theirs were the most beautiful and delicate snowflakes and I feel awful that I broke them, but I'll let them make new ones.  Thank goodness I am working with a very forgiving group.  I am in love with these kids.  They are probably the best group I've ever had!
 
2. Christmas Celebrations Around the World

Have you seen this?  It's Stephanie Stewart's (Falling Into First) Christmas Celebrations Around the World unit. I am SOOOO excited about using her stuff this year.  I've been doing some version of Christmas Around the World for years, but I've been working on updating things and making them cuter and including more academic work (like comparing and contrasting and questions to answer, etc. etc.)  But Stephanie already did that and her pack is awesome!  It's all cutesy and thorough and fun and academic and so on and so on.  The saying "time is money" implies the two commodities are equal.  IMHO, it's an insult to time...I would rather spend my money and keep my time, so there you go...time saved=money well spent.  Thanks Stephanie!

3. Three Dog Night




We actually have two dogs and a cat (Chester's on the left, Sadie's on the right, and Chocolate is our cat...we normally just call her Kitty).  All three pets slept on our bed this week because it has been so cold!  I think it's part of the reason I've been so tired.  Most days this week I hit snooze about 5 times.  This morning I slept until 10:30!!!  One of the best feelings in the world, I think, is turning the alarm off on Saturday morning.  I always let it buzz just so I can turn it off and not get up!
       
4. Hustle and Bustle of the Holiday Season


 
I normally decorate my house the weekend after Thanksgiving, but since we were out of town I am a week late.  I had hoped to do a little bit each night, but my week nights fill up with other things and when they don't, I just want to sit on the couch and watch TV or read a book or read blogs or something.  

This week I got together with one of my best friends and roomies from college...we try to see each other once every week or two.  I also had "Grandma Night" on Wednesday...this has been happening since my student teaching days (so, 8 years???).  I go to my Grandparent's house once a week for dinner and we watch Project Runway or play cards and drink tea.  Even my Grandpa joins us to watch all the crazy fashion shenanigans. On Thursday night I went to Shrek, the Musical with my dad.  One of the high schools in our district was putting it on.  I was so impressed by the talent of these kids!  They did a phenomenal job!  I always wished I had a good singing voice so I could do musical theater.  I love being on stage and becoming a character outside of myself.  My voice is one only a first grader could love...so I sing in class a lot. 

Currently, the kids have Christmas Carol books in their book bags and we sing different songs throughout the day.  I love how even my lower and struggling readers will say, "Mrs. Maguire, I can read this song!"  Of course, the truth is the kids know the song and begin tracking the words...it's a great confidence and fluency builder.  Often times the Christmas Carol book is an eye opener, literally, as keeping up with the tune forces eye movement across the page instead of focusing in on words individually.  

I need to check out if there are any copyright laws I would be breaking before sharing the book as a freebie with everyone...but I think it would be okay for me to send it to interested people, right?  Comment with your email address if you want it!  Also, can anyone explain to me how I would let people access it if there is no copyright infringement?  It has something to do with the google sky drive, right?

And finally...

5. What happened this month?

 
So, if you have been following my blog you'll know that I am in the midst of a fertility dilemma...apparently, my ovaries don't like to make/release organic eggs.  So I've been taking Clomid in hopes to facilitate a solution to said dilemma.  Well, so far, no dice.  Or, no eggs I should say.  Yesterday would have been a day of great hope and anxiety.  It would have been the day that I woke up early to go get my blood drawn before school to see if the Clomid worked its magic.  One of two things would have happened:
a. The results would have shown no sign of ovulation like with the 50mg and 100mg cycles.  But I would have spent the next week or two hyper-aware of EVERYTHING going on in my body and would have convinced myself that the results were wrong or I was going to ovulate later and that I was pregnant in spite of the results. 
b. The results would have confirmed ovulation and I would be bouncing off the walls because...YAY...that would do it for sure!  All I need is an egg!  And I'd spend the next ??? convincing myself I was pregnant.
But, this 150mg cycle only lasted 18 days...so instead of getting anxious about my blood work, I  spent the whole week trying to get information out of my doctor's office.  What does an 18 day cycle mean?  What happened? Did I ovulate? Did I miscarry?  Did my uterus say to hell with this shit and just give up early?  Where do we go next?  Hello?
I wish I had some answers to these questions, but after calls back and forth to the office every day this week, I still don't know what happened and have lost a bit of faith in my providers.  I don't feel like anyone is paying attention to my charts and information.  There was no sense of urgency in getting back to me...I don't feel like they are communicating or taking note of my questions and comments.  I spoke with the same lady every day and she had trouble remembering any of the information I gave her from one day to the next.  I like my doctor...but I am starting to wonder if I should go to someone else.  The reaches of the OBGYN are wearing out and I'm probably not far off from seeing an RE if I can find out whether or not insurance will help out.

The plan for now is this: I am forced into taking at least one cycle off because I missed my chance to start any new drugs.  Maybe this is good...I can just be "me" at Christmas...whatever that looks like.

Then, if I don't start a cycle on my own in 35 days I am supposed to call the office for a prescription to induce a cycle. Following that, I would do another round of 150 and hope to be able to do blood work to see if the 150 is successful.  Depending on what happens with that, I will make another decision.  I try not to map out too far in advance, because I just can't handle it.  There are lots of moving parts in my life right now that I don't have control over so I have to take things as they come.  I guess that is the silver lining to all of this.  I am learning to surrender my control...but at the same time I am becoming my own advocate...I have to be more assertive and direct with providers.  Those things seem to be at odds with each other, but both are things I have never been very good at. 

So...cheers to character building!  

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Lighten Up!

So, I think it's time to lighten up around here...and since I am having trouble thinking of some clever way to begin this post, I am just going to make a list:
 
1. Lighten up with this art project.  Simple. Fun. Cute. Bright.  The kids adore it!
 

All you need is some tempera paint, black markers, and construction paper (I cut red, green, and white paper into squares).  The kids draw 2-3 lines on their papers...loopy, straight, zig-zag, whatever...with the black marker.  Seems simple enough, but it can be harder than you might think.  I make sure to tell the kids that the lines should start on one side of the paper and go off another side.  It's not a bad idea to have the kids do some practice lines on small dry-erase boards because they are apt to draw about a ba-jillion eensy weensy itty bitty loops.  And then they can't get the lights to go around them.  And then there might be tears.
 
Anyway, they draw the lines and then they dip one finger in each color they want to use (the example shows 5 colors, but I've had kids choose to use 2, 3, or 4 colors and they turn out good too).  Then they just make fingerprints for the bulbs and re-dip as needed.  It's that simple.  And like I said, the kids adore this project.  
 
My teaching partner, Veronica, did it on black paper and used glue/glitter for the cords and they came out super cute!  The colors really pop.  Very festive.  Sorta jealous.
 
Anyway, here's a bulletin board with all the kids' work...looks better in person, I think.


2. Apparently I need to lighten up: literally.  I made a joke about gaining 5 lbs over Thanksgiving break and maybe you laughed and that's okay.  Because I can joke about myself gaining weight.  My custodian, however, should not be afforded the same luxury. Here's the conversation:

Custodian (female, incase you were wondering): You gain weight over Thanksgiving?
Me: Ummmm....did I gain weight over Thanksgiving?
Custodian: Yeah, you gain weight?  You look like you gain weight over Thanksgiving.
Me: Ummmm...

I blame these birds:
 
And these birds:
 
Yes, there were TWO turkeys at Thanksgiving, and yes, I maybe sprouted a third angry ovary.

3.  You know who else needs to lighten up?  My local Albertsons.  I have bought all my pregnancy tests there because I could use self check-out and never have to have any awkward conversations with quasi-strangers. 

When I called my doctor's office the other day to ask about my 18 day cycle the lady asked, "Did you take a pregnancy test?"  Um, no, I did not...the thought did not even cross my mind.  "You need to take a pregnancy test and call back tomorrow."  Okay.

I think the doctor's office and the people who make these pee sticks are in cahoots...of course I was going to buy the darn thing even though I KNEW it would be a BFN...doctor's orders, right?

So, I went to Albertsons and low and behold they now have all "family planning items" LOCKED up by the pharmacy! And I went late at night, so the pharmacy was closed and I didn't really feel like asking the checker...I mean, that's the whole reason I went to Albertsons in the first place.  Are people seriously stealing this stuff????  I guess I believe it...it's embarrassing to buy and the prices are a racket: pretty sure the technology isn't that sophisticated.

I left the store in a huff:  already mad that I had to buy a test that I knew was going to fail and then the whole locked-up business...ERR!

The DH...feeling sorry for me or something ...was sweet enough to go into a gas station and buy me a test.  

I love that man, but he came out with two ovulation predictor kits.  He swore it was all they had and I would just have to use it instead, to which I became aggravated because, a.) it doesn't work like that, and b.) this was becoming a ridiculous late-night hassle.  

Finally, we ended up both going into Safeway (where I do most of my shopping) and had to buy the darn thing from a checker I see ALL THE TIME.  Ugg.

So, lighten up Albertsons...you might have had some trouble with family-planning thieves, but now you're loosing customers.

Hmmm, not sure I succeeded with a brighter, lighter post...

Sunday, December 1, 2013

My Hope Gremlin went M.I.A.


Happy Belated Thanksgiving everyone!

I've been away for awhile because the DH and I went to Vegas right after work on Wednesday to see his family down there.  Yep, that's right, my in-laws live in Vegas.  Not a terrible place to visit! 
It was a good, but very quick, trip.  Family from CA and TX came too, so it was basically a family reunion and I got to see a lot of people that I hadn't seen since our wedding!  Oh, and the food was AMAAAAZING!  I'm probably at least five pounds heavier, but I'm a little to scared to step on the scale to verify that:/ 
Anyway, we had a good time and I have much to be thankful for, but I can't help but feel a little down.  This is sort of typical coming off of a long, fun weekend and facing the idea of getting up for work in the morning (even though I LOVE my job).  But today seems worse and I think I know why...
I'm going to go ahead and blame the Clomid.
Apparently the 150mg did something but I am very confused as to what.  I was supposed to have my routine blood work this coming Friday (day 25) to see if my angry bird ovaries popped out any eggs, but that's not going to happen because I need to call my doctor come Monday morning and see why this cycle only lasted 18 days.  I am used to cycles lasting too long, but 18 days seems way too short!  What does it mean?  Has anyone else who has been on Clomid experienced this?
Right now I'm feeling bewildered, so excuse my rambling and wallowing...
I'm just feeling so....so...
So....
Robbed. 
This cycle stole my process.
This cycle totally blindsided me. 
I was skeptical that the 150 would work and was not really expecting anything, but I didn't realize how much I was counting on going through the process until it was stripped away from me.  After each crushing and very final "." my long cycles have always given me plenty of time to rebuild my hope.  It starts slow and unsure...creeping cautiously.  With each passing week the hope builds and gains momentum...maybe this time will be "it."  Maybe this is going to be the time that is different!  And a new chapter starts getting drafted...
Each time I have to close that book it hurts...but each time I get to start another chapter.   People say that maybe if I just relax or stop thinking about it, it'll happen...and maybe they're right...but so far I haven't found the "off" button to my brain...or the "mute" for that matter. 
But this is my process and that pesky little Hope Gremlin that never gives up and is responsible for the intensity of the hurting is also the very thing that keeps me going.
ANYWAY, my process has been cut short and I'm left absolutely bewildered.  I didn't have a chance to stock up enough hope to feel really sad or to feel really compelled to do whatever comes next.  
I haven't cried and I haven't felt any renewed fire.
Maybe this is what it's like in purgatory.
I'm just here.   

Sunday, November 24, 2013

What IF...


I found a video today via another blog, Cinderella Wore Glass Slippers.  It so perfectly sums up the "What Ifs" of infertility. You must watch this video, but I can't quite figure out how to embed it because it is not from youtube.  So just follow  the link. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

My First Linky!!

 
I am attempting my first linky with Doodle Bugs...let's see how it goes!

 
 
http://doodlebugsteaching.blogspot.ca/
 

 
I save burnt out light bulbs every year and repurpose them as snowmen ornaments.  I always put a request in my newsletter right around this time of year for kids to bring in old light bulbs. 
 
This is one of my favorite craftivities to do with the kids.  It's so simple, the results are adorable, and I *think* it is a school-made gift a parent might actually keep because it's cute and not just because they feel obligated to keep it because their child made it.
 
All you need is...
*Watered-down Elmer's glue
*Paintbrushes
*"Clear" Glitter...or maybe it's called iridescent??
*black and orange tempera paints or Puffy Paint
* strips of fabric
*hot glue gun
*ribbon or large paper clips 
 
Here's what you do:
1. Hot glue a looped string to the twisty part of the light bulbs or manipulate paper clips to act as ornament hooks (pliers can be helpful)
2.  Have kids hold bulbs by the twisty part and paint the entire bulb with watered-down glue...sprinkle glitter on and hang to dry. (I normally call a small group of kids back to my kidney table rather than attempt for the whole class to do this at the same time).
3.  After the bulbs have dried students add nose, eyes, buttons, and mouth.  My partners have had better luck with Puffy Paint...I stick with the tempera paints because the school has them.  The paintbrushes you needed were for the glue...for the faces I've found that dipping a sharp pencil in paint and dabbing it works well and gives the kids more control/precision.
4.  This picture shows snowmen that all have the same scarves, but the last couple years I have had a variety of Christmas-y and winter-y scarves that the kids can choose from.  Hot gluing the scarves really only requires one dot of glue where the scarf overlaps itself.  
*That's it!
 
You may want to glue the scarves on before the kids paint faces because then they are more apt to make the face the appropriate size...but you run the risk of them getting paint all over the scarf.
 
One of my teaching partners, Teaching with Giggles, has added little twig arms with hot glue and they turned out super cute! 
                        
 
We have a LOT of new staff at our school this year.  One of our fourth grade teachers used to make these cute little name plaques as a welcome gift whenever someone new joined the staff.  She retired last year and an AWESOME parent volunteer (whose daughter is currently in my class and I taught her older sister) noticed that none of the new teachers and assistants had them...so I got volunteered to take over the tradition.  I don't mind though, I actually had a lot of fun.  And the parent volunteer along with our former fourth grade teacher helped me with this year's batch of plaques because there were so many.
 
Anyway, I would like to give away 2 plaques with whatever name or saying you would like on them...just leave a comment and your email.  I will contact the winners and send your plaque as a "thank you" for stopping by! Winners have been chosen, but I'd still love it if you joined my followers!!
 

 


             
This may be one of my best ideas to date: a hallway bulletin board that can stay up all year!  In September there were apples with the students' names on them.  In October we painted fall leaves.  Soon we will swap those out for snowflakes.  And in the spring we'll make buds and blossoms.  The writing was done with chalk and hair-sprayed to keep it from smearing too bad.  
 
 
What do you do when you slash around in too many puddles and end up with cold, wet feet?  Buck up and deal with your poor choices...that's what I say.  There's something to be said for a good ol' natural consequence.  Maybe next time you'll think twice before jumping into that oh-so-tempting frigid water.  Or, I guess this works too.  Stuff a massive amount of paper towels in your shoes before the teacher notices what you are doing and continue work as usual.  I can appreciate the problem-solving, so I had to snap a picture.
 
 
We moved into our house 4? 5? years ago.  As part of the closing deal we had the previous owner pay to remove the master bathroom shower that had leaked and was causing some water-damage issues.  We were going to update the bathroom anyway, so we didn't have them put in a shower.  We lived with an unfinished master bathroom until about a year ago when we decided it was finally time to do something.  DH did a great job demo-ing the bathroom...ripping flooring out, the vanity, the toilet, the drywall, the insulation.  He also (with a teensy bit of help from yours truly) did a great job putting in new insulation and laying a custom cement shower-pan.  I've been much less than decisive about my vision for the bathroom...or l should say I haven't completely agreed to his ideas and he isn't fond of mine either...so we've been at a stand-still since...early spring?  Oh my goodness...maybe this weekend it's time to iron out some compromises b/c I don't know how much longer I can live with the disarray. I can't tell if it's the constant clutter of displaced bathroom items or the 150mg of Clomid finally kicking in...but I'm about to blow a gasket!

Here's to hoping we all have a peaceful weekend without blown gaskets!

Remember, you can still join the party and link up with Doodle Bugs!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Howdy Y'All!


Each morning I greet the student next to me with a “Good Morning, Buenos Dias, Bon Jour, etc.”  They return a greeting and then turn to their neighbor with a greeting.  The greetings pass around the whole circle until the last student greets me.  Some popular lines in our class recently have been “May the Force be With You,” “Greetings Earthling,” and “Live Long and Prosper” (very sci-fi of us, don’t you think?)  Anyway, “Howdy y’all” always gets a hearty chuckle out of the kids.  That and when the two Jason’s sit next to each other (almost every day) and say “Good Morning, Jason,” “Good Morning, Jason.”  I mean, you can’t ask for better comedy than that!

So, howdy y’all.

Today marked the first official day of conference week and I feel like I got off to a good start.   I was hoping for a perfect day, but I did have one no show.  But all the conferences went well.  Parents seemed calm and happy and appreciative and interested and those are all good things to see.

I am on our student study team (SST) and sometimes meet parents who seem so ill-equipt to be parents or don’t even seem to want the job.  And it makes me mad!  But mostly sad.  So, engaged parents is a good thing for my fragile emotional state.  A week or so ago I had to go straight to pick up my kids after back-to-back SST meetings with parents of the ill-equiped variety and I could not keep myself together.  Luckily I have Title reading specialists come into my room first thing, so I was able to leave the room without leaving the kids unsupervised.  I didn’t really know where to go.  I felt like such an idiot roaming the halls, tears streaming down my face, trying to hold my breath and smile as I passed our custodian and a couple parents.  All my friends were busy teaching, of course, so I went to the Principal’s office because we’re tight like that.  J/K.  Not really.  One of the other teachers was filling in for him and she was really sweet to me. Poor thing.  Hey, you’re the principal today and your first order of busy is to calm this hysterical childI mean, teacher.

SOthis all started with a “howdy y’all” and I was only going to write to say that I made it through one day of conferences. 

And I was going to brag that I get to go to an early showing of Catching Fire tomorrow because my little sister scored some free tickets.  My DH (Dear Husbandthat’s a fertility acronym) is sick and can’t go with, so hopefully I can find someone to go in his place.  Maybe my ONE and only follower, Teaching With Giggles??

AnywayTMI alertMonica, don’t read this part: I need DH to feel better stat, because I think (if the Clomid miraculously worked this time) I should be, wellI don’t need to spell it out for you.  But I’ll be seriously upset if we miss our first egg in (possibly) years.