Monday, August 31, 2015

Infertility Update- August 2015

Hi friends! I hope you all have had great summers! Lee and I certainly have. We've been busy these past couple of months!

June and July were busy for us! You can read about what we did during those months here and here.

August slowed down just a bit. At the beginning of the month, we went to Kansas City and enjoyed a weekend get away and saw Kenny Chesney and Jason Aldean in concert. We celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary, and spent some time deep cleaning our house and getting ready for school to start back up.

As far as our infertility situation goes, we finished our 6th Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) cycle in June. All 6 of them were big fat negatives. We decided a break from all of the drugs, hormones, needles, and appointments. July was our first full month with no treatments. It was so nice. We were busy every weekend that month, and it was just really awesome to not have to miss work, rush home from weekend trips to go to appointments, give shots, or anything like that. I also had about a 31 day cycle, so that was really encouraging too! That was my first cycle of 2015 that hadn't been controlled by doctors and drugs, and it made me so happy to be somewhat regular.

Then August rolled around, and my body decided to be difficult again. This month my cycle was about 40 days long. So this means I'm back to irregular ovulation, which was our main reason for seeking fertility treatments in the first place.

We decided previously that after 6 IUIs, there's really no point in doing anymore... time to move on to something else. Next we plan to try In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), but we decided to put that on hold until after summer is over, and we are back from the trips we have planned. Lee nor I had never been to a destination wedding before 2015, but it just so happens this year we are going to 2! We already went to one in FL in July, and are planning to attend another in Mexico this fall. Once we get back from Mexico, we plan to call Dr. G and get the IVF process started.

Thinking about IVF has really had me going back and forth lately. Somedays I just really want to get started NOW because I want to get pregnant and experience all that goes along with it NOW. I so badly just want to be able to talk about baby names and have a real reason for doing so... I want to finally have a reason to clean out our extra bedroom and paint it and buy baby furniture and watch my belly grow, and talk about how Lee is going to be the most adorable daddy EVER. (Side note: Seriously... There's just no way God created and man so sweet, genuine, and patient and didn't intend for him to be a father.) I'm impatient and I want all of that to happen right now! The thought of all of this happening makes me really look forward to starting IVF.

Other days I think, "Why in the world would we even consider doing IVF?! What kind of crazy person does that to themselves??" After 6 emotional, painful, heartbreaking IUIs, why would I want to do that to myself again, at an even more intense level? More hormones, LOTS more needles to the stomach, more appointments, more money... what part of that sounds enjoyable? What if it fails? To think that we could do all of this yet again, and still not end up pregnant is so intimidating. Think of it this way: If you saved up and went to the dealership to buy a car, and they told you that you must pay first, and there's about a 70% chance you'll leave with one car. There's a small chance you could even leave with 2 or 3 cars, but there's a 30% chance that you'll leave with nothing... would you buy from that dealership?! No way! That's kinda how I feel with IVF. I'm excited because the success rate is much higher than IUI, but there's still a chance we could leave with nothing, and that is SO SCARY! Of course the thought of getting pregnant and having a precious baby to hold is motivating, but its easy to let past failures get in the way of thinking it could happen.

So as you can tell, even the waiting process can sometimes be a roller coaster. Ask me one day and I'll tell you we are ready and IVF is our next step, no doubt. Ask me another day and I might say that I'm so nervous about it, and i just really don't know if we should start fertility treatment again. Medically, it just makes sense that we try IVF if we want to get pregnant, but its not a 100% guarantee, and that can be scary.

After we had our last IUI, I really just hoped that we could be one of those crazy stories where our fertility treatments fail, but all the meds helped regulate my cycle, and we get pregnant on our own. Clearly, that is not our current situation.

My friend Elisha reminded me last month at The Nest*, that God can change your circumstances in an instant. Doctors can try all they want, but life can only be created when God is ready. He doesn't need a regular cycle, he doesn't need the perfect size follicles before the IUI, he doesn't need any of it. He is bigger than all of that, and he can (and will) create life at the perfect time, whether that be naturally or with the help of fertility treatment. I'm trying so hard to remind myself of this.

Overall, no fertility treatments this summer has been a nice break for Lee and I, and we have enjoyed our time together traveling and spending time with friends and family. Although we have this infertility roller coaster going on, we are trucking along! We know we have so much to be thankful for, and we know that God has a plan for us. Sometimes its just hard to figure out what that plan might be, especially for impatient people like me!

So for now we are putting up fall decor and buying everything pumpkin  enjoying these last few days of summer, planning and packing for our trip to Mexico, and after that, I guess we'll call Dr. G and get this ball rolling.  If any of you are interested in praying for us, we would love that you pray specifically for guidance. We would love for God to give us some guidance in deciding if IVF really is the next best step for us. In the meantime, if there is anything we can be praying about for you, please let us know!

*Side note: Any of my friends living in the Southern Illinois area should definitely reach out to Elisha from Waiting for Baby Bird, and talk to her about attending her faith based support group. She hosts it once a month, so it's not a huge time commitment, and its so so enjoyable! I have been going for several months now, and really love the ladies I've met in this group! Nothing beats good food, an encouraging message, and some girl time with women who totally relate to the struggle of infertility. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Grilled Chicken Linguine Alfredo

Chicken, cheese, bacon, noodles, bread.... What more could you possible ask for? 

Lee is a huge fan of pasta... I could make it 3 or 4 nights a week and I really don't think he would get tired of it. His favorite meal is lasagna, and I do love lasagna, but I like to switch things up every now and then, and replace the red sauce with Alfredo. This week I made Alfredo with linguine noodles and grilled chicken, and it was de-lish! Here's how I made it:

Ingredients
2 slices thick cut bacon
2/3 block of Asiago Cheese, shredded or grated
2 cups Italian blend cheese
1/2 cup milk
1 square of seasoned butter
1 tablespoon of flour
1/2 tablespoon of minced garlic
1/2 tablespoon of pesto
2 chicken breast
4 oz. linguine noodles


To start, decide how you want to cook your chicken. I grilled mine because I loved the flavor the grill gives the chicken, but you could bake yours or cook it in a skillet. I thawed my two chicken breast, and threw them on the grill (mine were plain, but you could season yours with garlic or Italian seasoning if you wanted). 

While my chicken was grilling, I made my sauce. To start your sauce, cook your two bacon slices in a large skillet on medium heat. Once the bacon is cooked through, remove the bacon from the pan, but leave the grease. Throw in your butter and let it melt. Then thrown in 1/2 of your Asiago cheese and mix it in with the butter and grease using a whisk. Once your cheese is melted and mixed in with the grease and butter, add 1 cup of Italian cheese and 1/4 cup of milk. Whisk it all together and then whisk in your flour.

At this point, bring a separate pan of water to a boil and throw in your noodles. I like linguine, but you could use any type of noodle you like. Cook the noodles to your preferred texture and drain the water.

While your noodles are boiling, check your chicken. About this time, mine was done and I brought it inside and just covered it in foil and set it aside. If its still cooking, finish your sauce and check it again later.

Back to your sauce:  Now add your garlic and pesto. Then add in the last of your milk (1/4 cup),  2nd half of your Asiago cheese, and your last cup of Italian cheese. The reason I don't just dump all of the cheeses and other ingredients in at once is because by putting in a little at a time, this helps me get my texture just right.Once you add your garlic and pesto, you can taste your sauce and see if you like the texture. If your sauce is too thick, add some more milk, or leave out some of the second round of cheese. If its too runny, add a little more flour and cheese.
I like my Alfredo pretty thick. This is what mine looks like when I make it. 


Once you get your sauce the texture you want, mix in your noodles. Chop up your grilled chicken and bacon into bite size pieces and stir the meat in as well. I do this all in the same skillet I made the sauce in.
Final product! 


Cook up some garlic bread, throw together a salad, and dinner is served! This recipe serves 4 adults as an entree, or 6-8 adults as a side.

*Note: By using all of the ingredients above, your sauce will be pretty thick. It will be more of a coating to your noodles rather than a runny sauce. Kind of like the Carbonara at Olive Garden... YUM! My favorite! 
Dinner is served! 




Friday, August 7, 2015

Friday Favorites- 8/7/15




Today I'm linking up with the Momfessionals blog, A Little Bit of Everything blog, and Grace and Love blog to blog about some Friday Favorites!



ONE

These two people: My brother and my sister-in-law. BOTH of them have birthdays today!! Happy Birthday Jeremy and Mandy! It's crazy that Lee and I each have one biological sibling and both of them have the same birthday! Lee and I both look up to them both so much. If we can be half the parents they are someday, our kids will be in good hands! I hope they both have the best day, because they more than deserve it.
My Sister-in-Law & I at the concert last weekend!


My brother, sister-in-law, Lee, and I at a concert back in May. 
TWO
Los Bravos Mexican Restaurant
Los Bravos... my favorite Mexican restaurant! I can't wait to eat here tonight with two of our BFF's. It seems like time with friends is hard to come by these days because everyone is busy with jobs, houses, families, and everything else that goes along with being a grown up, so I'm always excited to get some quality time with friends.




THREE
Kenny Chesney



Yep... Kenny Chesney... he's making the list two weeks in a row, because last Friday I was super excited to go to his concert, and this week I'm still talking about how AWESOME his concert was! Arrowhead Stadium was packed full for this concert and Kenny, Jason Aldean, Cole Swindel, Brantley Gilbert, and Old Dominion all put on one heck of a show!
My brother-in-law, sister-in-law, Lee, and I tailgating before the concert! 



FOUR
These Chipotle Garlic Fish Tacos I made when we got home on Sunday... so good! Definitely a good, quick summer dinner idea. Check out my recipe from earlier this week.

Tilapia fish tacos... yum! 





FIVE

Italian Meatballs... another favorite from this week. Check out my recipe. They were so good, and super easy to make! 






Happy Friday, friends!! I hope you all have a great weekend!

Italian Meatballs

Italian Meatballs... yum! 
On Monday this week, I made pasta and Italian meatballs. Pasta is Lee's favorite food, and I scored some huge brownie points with this recipe! I had never tried meatballs before, because I assumed they were a hassle to make, but guess what? They are so easy! Here's how I made them:


Ingredients
1 lb ground pork sausage (or if you prefer, use ground beef, turkey, or chicken)
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 heaping tablespoon of pesto
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning (Or if you just use Italian sausage instead of plain sausage, you can omit the Italian seasoning)
1/4 cup shredded Italian Cheese for each 2 plates you serve

Start by pre-heating your oven to 400 degrees. Mix your sausage, bread crumbs, Parmesan, pesto, garlic, and Italian seasoning together in a bowl. Line your cookie sheet with aluminum foil for easy clean up (optional). Spray your foil with cooking spray. Form your sausage mixture into golf ball size meatballs, and place on your cookie sheet. Bake them for 15-20 minutes, or until cooked through. This recipe makes 12 or so meatballs, depending how big or small you make them.

While my meatballs were baking, I boiled some pasta, drained it, and added pasta sauce to the noodles and cut some veggies for a salad. When Lee and I made our plates, we sprinkled some Italian cheese on top.  These meatballs take about 10 minutes to assemble, 20 minutes to bake. So in 30 minutes or less you can have dinner on the table. That sounds like a win to me!

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Monday, August 3, 2015

Chipotle Garlic Fish Tacos



Chipotle Garlic Fish Tacos... This is a great dinner to make on a busy week night, because they only take about 20 minutes to make! I know everyone knows how to make tacos, so this really isn't so much of a recipe...its more of a dinner idea. Lee and I made these last night and they were so good! Here's how we made them:

Ingredients
2 thawed fish fillets (Choose whatever kind of fish you like best! I love Tilapia, and Lee loves Salmon, so we thawed one of each)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped bell pepper (I used yellow, but any color will work)
3 chopped button mushrooms
1/4 cup shredded Colby-Jack cheese
Chipotle Garlic Seasoning
Garlic Salt
2 flour tortillas
spinach leaves (or lettuce if you prefer)
salsa (optional)
guacamole (optional)

This makes enough for 2 large tacos, which is enough to serve 2 people, but can easily be doubled to serve 4.

To start, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. For easy clean-up, line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray. Lay your fish fillets out on the pan and sprinkle them with chipotle garlic seasoning. Once your oven is heated, bake them for about 10 minutes, or until cooked through.

While your fish fillets are baking, drizzle a skillet with extra virgin olive oil, and throw in your onions, peppers, and mushrooms. Sprinkle some garlic salt and chipotle garlic seasoning on them. I didn't measure my seasoning, but if I had to guess, I'd say I probably used about a teaspoon of Chipotle Garlic and a 1/2 teaspoon of Garlic Salt. Once the veggies are soft, remove your skillet from the heat.


These are the two seasonings I used on my tacos. The Chipotle & Roasted Garlic came from Schnuck's and the Garlic & Sea Salt grinder came from Aldi.




Once your fish and veggies are both cooked, then you can assemble your tacos. On my tortilla, I started by spreading guacamole all over the middle. Then I cut my fish fillet into bite size pieces and placed them in the tortilla. Layer on your shredded cheese, veggies from the skillet, drizzle on some salsa, and top with spinach leaves. Then roll up your taco an enjoy! We ate our tacos with a side of queso, salsa, and chips.

You can switch this up and use any kind of fish, and any kind of veggies! It's tasty, healthy-ish, and quick to make. What more could you want in a dinner? Enjoy, friends!








Here is a pic of my tilapia taco prior to adding my spinach on top. 



This one is Lee's salmon taco. He also added a few chopped tomatoes to his.