Tuesday, September 30, 2008

CD 11, Estrogen 617...

I went in for an ultrasound early on Sunday morning. Fertility clincs have to be open for these kinds of appointments on weekends. Cycling doesn't follow weekend closing hours. =) Anyhoo, I got there at 8:15, and my doctor was waiting for me. He's lowered my dosage after my last ultrasond to 50 iu for the past couple of days. Well, looks like he was right to do it. I had a hormone surge apparently, and I had one follicle at almost 17 mm, and two close behind it at 16 mm.

I wasn't expecting to see that on the screen. By my calculations, I still had a few days before maturity. I like Dr. Park. He's a young doctor who just joined the practice, and he's been through infertility himself. I suspect that can make a difference in your sympathy for your patients. He explained that my follicles might already be mature, though there was a greater chance that they are once they reach 18. He wanted me to go ahead and give myself the "trigger shot" of Ovidril. Ovidril is synthetic HSG, and it stimulates your ovaries to drop their load. =) The egg drops sometime within 24-48 hours after you take the shot, so by that time, it will probably reach 18.

I went to have blood drawn, still a little stunned, and there was another gal waiting in the room. I asked her where she was in her cycle. She was also taking Follitism, and this was her second cycle. She said, "You know, this one doesn't look anything like the first one." I was able to share with her that the same thing had happened to me the first time I did this, but I got pregnant on the second round. She seemed relieved and asked me about Seth. I wonder if God had me go in at the same time because she needed some encouragement.

David couldn't be with me at church because he had to work. I slid into my seat, alone, after dropping Seth at the nursery. The praise team was gearing up with "Not to us, but to your name be the glory..." I was fighting back tears as I worshipped. I have been careful in my words in this process, making sure to say that the outcome of my treatments is all up to God. I want to always believe what I'm saying with my mouth.

It is easy to think sometimes that the medicine is what gets you pregnant. It's not. God has total dominion over this. Any good that medicine can do, He can stop in its tracks if He wants. And He can overcome anything that medicine cannot do. I have no control. And if I get pregnant with another child, He alone should get the glory.

Sunday afternoon was kind of nervewracking. I sat around, read the directions on the Ovidril carefully for the second time, took a nap, and then gave myself the shot. This one hurt like the dickens. Thicker, longer needle, I guess.

This morning, I am relieved. The shots are over for this time. I have done what I needed to do. From a medical standpoint, the cycle went very smoothly. Now only time will tell whether God will bless this with a baby. I start taking progesterone on Friday to help sustain a pregnancy if there is one. A pregnancy test is still a couple of weeks out. It's going to be a long two weeks...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Day 9, Estrogen level... 316

Last night, I went to a prayer meeting. A girl from our Sunday School class told me about it. They meet once a month to pray at someone's house. Last night it was 5 of us. I didn't know two of the women. We're all youngish, with husbands and kids.

We sat down, sprawled all over the living room, dim and toy covered, in our sweats and t-shirts. No refreshments, no agendas... just prayer. We talked for a couple of minutes before we got started, and I got introductions for the gals I didn't know.

And then it started. Jillian said, "Oh yeah, Ellen, did you know I'm pregnant with no. 3? Yup, due in May." One down. The other lady on that couch shifted positions, and Melissa said, "Wow, you're really starting to show." "Yep, this is no. 4." Two down. "I know you can't tell it from this shirt, but I'm expecting no. 3." This from the girl sharing the couch with me. Boom, boom, boom. 3 out of 5. The only women in the room that were not pregnant were me and Melissa, who has a 3 month old.

I felt myself shrinking a little farther into the couch, suddenly lonely and sad, surrounded by an abundance of new life, touching my own swollen, needlepricked stomach. I decided to get it over with, so I told them about my treatments. I calmly explained what each drug did and why to a room of women who will probably never know what it means to fight for the chance to bear a child.

They prayed for me, each one of them in turn... such sweet, kind words. They were good prayers, and I'm grateful for them. They know they don't understand this particular battle of mine... but I know that I don't understand some of theirs, either.

This morning, I went for my day 9 ultrasound. I've done this so many times, and each time has been basically the same. I'd have one egg growing out in front of the others, with maybe one other a couple of days behind it on the race to maturity. Well, this time was different. Looks like I've got two eggs on their way, running neck and neck, with a third a day or two behind. Whoa. Hmmm. Two eggs? Really? I don't know what to do with that. The nurse explained that its possible that one could take off in the next few days and leave the other two behind. It's still early in the game.

I know this, but I'm still a little frightened. The possibility of twins hasn't ever seemed this real before. I guess being frightened is a good sign. It means I think it's possible that I will get pregnant this month.

I drove to a friend's house after that appointment, mental images of Sarah's sweet newborns dancing in my head. I'm already surrounded by twins. I'd have lots of help and advice and borrowed gear. Yeah, we can do this. Can't we? Ok, I'm getting waay ahead of myself.

I got the bloodwork results and new instructions on the machine after I got home. My estrogen is steadily rising. It's already far higher than that of a normal woman. No wonder I'm a loopy mess... and sleepy. Extra estrogen will make you sleepy. The doctor wants me to lower my dose a bit. He'll see me personally at my next ultrasound, early on Sunday morning...

God is in control.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Baseline ultrasound, day 3...

I'm taking y'all back to day 3 of my cycle, the day of my baseline ultrasound. The baseline ultrasound is something they do to establish that everything is fine before you start giving yourself tons of fertility drugs. They want to make sure there aren't any cysts, that your uterine lining looks good, etc.

I woke up to go to my baseline after dreaming that they'd found out that I was pregnant while they were doing the ultrasound. In my dream, the bleeding that looked like a period wasn't at all. Instead of an empty black and white uterus on the ultrasound screen, I saw a tiny baby. I was sad to wake up to the reality of what my morning would probably look like instead.

I tried to get a friend to watch Seth for this appointment, but it didn't work out. I didn't want to take him into that waiting room full of sorrowful/hopeful/nervous women. I didn't want them to see the tangible evidence of that grace that they'd been denied so far. I remembered how it felt to see babies in the waiting room, in the one doctor's office where I thought I'd be safe from seeing them.

Fortunately, there was no one there when I arrived at 10:00. One couple came in while we were there. I made a point to say to them as I left, "I'm hoping for another miracle like this one." They had understanding smiles for me, and I felt slightly less guilty.

Going into the ultrasound room brought back bad memories of all those times I'd done it before. I received the same instructions. But... this time it was different.

As I went into the bathroom to change, Seth started crying in his stroller. The nurse tried to calm him down, but the screaming continued. His cries weirdly made me smile. "I am not alone this time. He is here, crying in the other room. I have him."

This time, he sat there next to me, munching his rice chex and cheerios, watching the screen with me. I said to him, "That's what you looked like, way back in the beginning. You started just like this." A smile, another Cheerio pushed in a little bird mouth with a tiny, grubby hand.

After I changed my clothes, after the nurse had left, I knelt down next to the stroller. I kissed his head, and I told him how much I loved him. I teared up a little as I told him about God's goodness to us. This time is different. Even if I never have another baby, I have him.

Sometimes it feels just plain greedy to ask for another miracle. In a world of limited resources, its easy to imagine that me getting to have another child takes one away from another infertile woman with empty arms. I am almost ashamed to be seeking another priceless treasure. I have him. I don't know how this month will end, but I know that if it ends badly, I will be less devastated because of Seth.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fertility... or not...

Ok, this is a little weird for me. I've decided to write about this... and not post it. I'll be saving these posts in draft, and when I feel the time is right, I'll post them... aka... now =). I don't want to forget how this new journey has progressed for us, but we also aren't ready to talk about it with the world wide web yet. That's mostly 'cause our families read my blog, and we are hoping, rather crazily, that our first attempt at treatment will be successful, and that infinitesimally small chance at a surprise seems worth keeping our mouths shut.

We've decided to tell our families after this cycle, regardless of the results, so after they know we're in treatment, you'll know. And if you're a friend who knows about all this before I've posted it, please don't let that out in the comments section. I want people to see the complexity of infertility treatment through my eyes as I'm experiencing it, and I think skipping ahead takes away from that.

You may have guessed that we started trying again after Seth turned a year old. That was early in February of this year. My periods had been relatively normal, ie. monthly, for most of the time that I was nursing him, so I was hopeful. After I stopped nursing him, things got nuttier with my cycle. It would be really short or really long, 20 days or 40+ days. My heart started sinking, but I wasn't ready to admit defeat.

Finally, my frustration led me to admit that, once again, my body is a broken thing, incapable of producing life without help from modern medicine. Once again, God has not chosen to heal me, and I'm left to deal with that. It hasn't been nearly as hard as the last time around, but I'm not going to say that it doesn't bother me. It does. I would dearly love to have a baby the fun way, the way most people do it, no needles, no bloodwork, no ultrasound monitoring. But at this point, I'll just be thrilled if God gives us another baby.

We scheduled an appointment a couple of months ago with a local fertility clinic here. I've gotten good recommendations from friends who've used them. They're small, about a 15 minute drive from me, and remind me a lot of the ART program. I'm very thankful that this option is available to us.

We had an initial consult with a doctor there, and I was relieved to discover that he wasn't going to try to convince us to reinvent the wheel. He thought the best bet would be to do the injectables, just like we'd done with Seth, same dosage, same meds, etc. We get to skip the first several months of testing and watching different kinds of medicines fail that we did last time. I'm incredibly thankful for that. He did some initial bloodwork to make sure that nothing had changed, wrote me a prescription, and asked me to sign up for the injectable training class.

But... I wasn't ready yet to get started. I'd found out about this new way of monitoring your saliva to tell if you're ovulating, and I wanted to give that a try first. So we did, for a couple of months. And what it showed me is that I'm probably very screwed up. I took the injectable class. And I hoped that it wasn't true. It looked like I'd ovulated one month, and then my period came too early for that to probably be the case. More dashed hope.

We felt very torn about starting the treatments after we bought the house, but we thought we might do a cycle in September. We know that the next few months are going to be filled with moving stress. As we agonized with the decision, and while I hoped against hope for something to change, I got my period again. On day 17. Way, way early. I wasn't even supposed to start taking progesterone to induce a period until day 20. Now we had to decide... and fast.

So we did. We didn't feel like God was telling us not to, so we decided to give it a go. I called the pharmacy and had them overnight the meds. I called the doctor's office and had my baseline ultrasound. And then we went to the beach for Labor Day with David's parents. =) I hid my medicine inside a soft lunch cooler in the fridge. I gave myself shots in the stomach every night, hiding in the bathroom. We thought about telling the parents, since I would have to hide what I was doing. But we just weren't ready. I didn't want this weekend to be about infertility. I just wanted it to be simply about enjoying the sun and sand and Seth.

I had another ultrasound today. It's day 7 of my cycle. I got up this morning very nervous. At this point, I know from experience that we should be able to tell how things are progressing by now. What if they weren't progressing?

The nurse checked my right ovary first. No eggs were growing there. I remembered the cold fear in the pit of my stomach that I used to feel when I'd see an ovary with no growth. Fortunately, I knew enough to know that it didn't have to mean the end. My left ovary has two eggs growing. At the average rate of growth, one or both of them should mature around day 14 of my cycle. I'll know soon if they want us to increase the dosage of my meds or do anything differently.

Monday, September 22, 2008

First Fruits...

This semester in Sunday School, we're doing the video series, "That the World May Know." It's a FotF production that videos a Bible scholar taking a group through Israel. There's something about the imagery and the lessons that makes the Scripture come alive to me in different ways. Ray Vander Laan weaves cultural history and the Bible seamlessly together, and I see new things in familiar places.

This week's lesson was on Jericho. I didn't know this, but apparently, Jericho is probably the oldest city in the world. It was around for about 8,000 years before Abraham walked the earth, if that gives you any new perspective. The city isn't as large as I used to a imagine, only a few acres really, and it's located at a crossroads in the ancient world. Jericho is a green, lush place. Its a natural oasis with a clear brook running through it.

When the Israelites crossed the Jordan River, they were headed for Jericho. It seemed like a perfectly logical place to go, a beautiful example of the land of milk and honey they had been promised. After the defeat of Jericho, they probably would've loved to rebuild and settle there. It probably looked like a sure thing that they would get a good yield on their crops there.

But God had other plans. He told them not to rebuild a single stone of that city. In fact, he went so far as to tell them that the man who did so would lose both his oldest and youngest sons as the cost of his disobedience. This came to pass later on.

But why would God not allow his children to build there? Vander Laan suggested that the reason could have something to do with the concept of first fruits. This was one of the Biblical feasts set out by God for his children to practice.

Each year at harvest time, they were to give him the first of whatever they harvested... the first bunches of grapes, the first handfuls of grain, etc. They gave to God what they'd longed and hoped for for months, and if a sudden storm came afterward, there would be nothing of the harvest left for them. They gave to God first, trusting that it was He that provided, and that he would continue to provide what they needed.

So maybe God required Jericho as a kind of first fruit. It was the first city that the Israelites took in the Promised Land. Logic said to them that they should trust in its fertile location to take care of them in future years. God demanded that they remember that it was He who would provide what they needed. They probably looked at it with longing as they left. It isn't easy to trust God as we leave what we think is certain security...

It got me thinking about first fruits in my own life. There are some obvious ways of giving God first fruits. When we tithe off the top of our income, we're saying that we trust God to provide the rest. That's first fruits. But there are other ways to give the first and best without knowing that we'll get what we think we need afterward.

Time is a hard thing for me to give to God. When Seth goes down for his nap, I'm not giving God the first and best of the time I have if I spend it talking on the phone or even doing dishes instead of doing my devotions. I need to give to God first, instead of pushing my time with Him off until I think it's convenient for me.

So often, I don't give to God first. I give to me first, and I ask Him to take what's left after I'm satisfied. This lesson was a challenge to me. What are some ways that you could give God his first fruits in your life?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Good mommy morning...

Ok, I'm going to confess something online today. Not because I want to, 'cause I don't, but just in case somebody else out there has been in the same boat and could use the encouragement of knowing they're not alone.

For awhile now, I think I've been afraid to spend too many hours at home with my son. Just about every day, we're out and about doing something for at least part of the time before lunch and nap. I think what made me afraid was some really bad teething days that we spent at home all day, so I started avoiding mornings at home. There were times, and still are, when my creative fount runs dry, and I can't come up with anything that'll make him happy for longer than 5 minutes.

But I don't need to run away from it. I need to face it. This morning, I woke up determined to turn over a new leaf. Instead of just promising myself that I wouldn't give in and look at the computer for "just a minute," I shut it down entirely. It's a pain to boot up my computer, due to stuff that starts up on it that I don't know how to get rid of because I'm a computer moron, so this was a good deterrant.

Seth and I played together all morning long. And it was good. And I feel a lot better because I buckled down and did the hard thing and worked to focus on him instead of on myself. Ouch. He could tell that I was trying. The boy has a cold, and he still did well because he could tell Mommy wasn't so distracted.

He played contentedly with toys because I was in the room. He used his new-to-him play slide on the back porch, over and over. He helped me put away toys and clothes and seemed thrilled to help. I usually do those chores while he's napping. Maybe I shouldn't do so much of that anymore. I could tell he understood when I asked him if he wanted to do a particular thing. We read books, we had snack, and he even did a craft with me. I cut a toilet paper roll in half, and we used it to stamp red paint circles on a piece of paper. Nothing huge, but something new and different for him.

And he blessed me so much by making a new milestone for me to put on the calendar. He said his first sentence when he got up this morning. It was "I see a shoe." =) Not too shabby for 19 months.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Beans, beans...

Beans, beans, good for the heart, the more you eat.... the more money you save while eating healthy. =) Tonight was our very first beans and cornbread night. I tried a new cornbread recipe, and we LOVED it. It smelled so heavenly baking in the oven that I could hardly stand it.

So, here's the recipe for the cornbread...

2 c. yellow cornmeal (I got a nice, locally ground variety that they were actually selling at Walmart)
2 eggs
1 T. sugar
2 c. buttermilk or sour milk (I used powdered milk with 2 T. of vinegar to sour it)
2 T. oil
4 t. baking powder
1 t. salt.

Grease a deep dish pie pan, and put in the 450 degree oven while you mix the ingredients. Pour into the hot pan and bake for approx. 30 minutes. Keep an eye on it; mine cooked a little faster than that. I added a can of shoepeg corn, but I think I'll leave it out next time...

Now for the beans portion. On the stovetop, I heated up a saucepan and added chopped green pepper, chopped onion, and some minced garlic. I sauteed until tender, and then added 2 cans of rinsed, drained pinto beans. I dumped a bunch of chili powder on top (Penzeys.com has the best chili powder ever), and then I simmered the whole mess until it was nice and gooey, but not mushy.

I ladled it on top of the cornbread and sprinkled a little cheese on mine. David said this was a really good dinner. Since he would like to eat a slab of steak and potatos every night, this is high praise for him....

I've been enjoying finding healthy, frugal recipes on all kinds of blogs. This is one of my favorite posts about cooking beans. Enjoy!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Cheap, homemade, yet classy, wedding gift...

I've already showed you how to paint plates here. Yes, I am the queen of the homemade baby plate... but I am also the queen of the homemade wedding plate! Monogramming is the rage currently, and I haven't had a chance to try my hand at it in awhile. (Yes, I know, this is a stinky picture. I had trouble getting the plate to stand still.)

It seems like the weddings that I used to attend are giving way to baby showers... and there was awhile there that I wasn't interested in doing anything but trying to keep up with Seth and shower, so... I am now back in the saddle.

There are tons of great monogramming stencils available, but not at your local Michaels. Their selection is pathetic. Try A.C. Moore. That's where I got the alphabet ($5) that this came from. They also had a kit that had one set of capitals and a slightly smaller set, if you want to do a three initial monogram.

I got the plate at Walmart for $3. Don't worry all ye who fear my stinginess... this isn't the only thing the bride is getting from us. I'm tucking a gift card in there, too.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The times, they are a changin'...

CBS started today! I held my new smelling study notebook on Deuteronomy in my hands and smiled. It felt like a new start in learning who my God is, just like every new study does for me.

But things have changed a lot this year at CBS. Last year, we met at a regular looking church building, only a couple of miles from my house. I don't go to a traditional looking church (mine meets in a converted hotel), so it was a treat to come in and sit in wooden pews and gaze at the light coming through stained glass windows.

No more. I got a call this summer, telling me that CBS was moving to... the church I currently go to for MOPs. I made a face and got ridiculously upset. Not at the person telling me; it was a message. Just mad at the situation. See yesterday's post for more info about my love affair with change of all kinds.

See, I loved it at the old church, and I don't like the other church so much, layout wise. Its a converted industrial building, there are no windows in the nursery, and I don't think there's a playground. Seth loved the playground last year. And my one chance at pews and stained glass was going bye bye. I was not pleased.

But God in his mercy has taught me not to judge quite as quickly as I used to. I remembered all the times in the past that I went into a situation, expecting it to be bad, and came out surprised that it was better than I'd expected.

So today... all the little old ladies who also loved their church pews and all the mommies who were a little frustrated that their kids have no windows came together for the first meeting. We met in a hip coffee bar area of the industrial church building. Instead of pews, we sat at round tables. But all the familiar faces were there, beaming. We were just glad to be getting together to study God's word.

And as the new study leader talked, I began to see God's potential new plan forming...

-Because there is more space at the new church, there is more room for extra children's classes.

-Because this is a younger church, new young mommies signed up for the class, swelling the membership rolls with a new generation.

-Because there is more space, it is now possible to do leader meetings on the same day as the regular CBS day, thereby freeing up Tuesdays again for the current leadership.

-Because leadership doesn't have to commit to two days a week anymore, new leaders were inspired to commit.

-New leaders means that all the kids on the waiting list for the study were put into classes, so there are now many more kids studying the Bible on Thursday mornings.

-Because CBS now only meets on Thursdays, there are far less volunteers needed to watch the leader's kids while they meet.

-And now, those who help out with children on their given Thursday, can, *gasp*, listen to the lecture on the web because of the new technology the church provides, instead of having to stay afterward with their kids in child care.

Our 70-year-old, spunky study teacher is learning to use powerpoint, and she's chuckling instead of grousing about it. She talked about how great the tables were this morning for creating an informal atmosphere. We're all adapting, and it's beautiful to behold. If she can, I can, too.

I guess stained glass is overrated.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I would die for that...

I found something cool while surfing today. My friend, Paula, and I were always looking for good songs about infertility. There weren't many out there. So go here to look at this music video. I can't figure out how to imbed it.

A sad story about a little ol' car...

It was the summer of 1996, and a certain 17-year-old girl was about to find herself in possession of a brand new, red, Chevy Cavalier coupe. Sort of like a sports car, but not. =)

Since she'd gotten her license the year before, this girl had driven her mother's old car. It was an Oldsmobile Delta '88. Picture a large, navy blue box with wheels. The thing was like driving a tank. It had a long, comfy bench seat and a skinny, faux wood plastic steering wheel.

She affectionately named her new chariot "Oscar the Oldsmobile." She and Oscar would go tooling down the road, oblivious to the fact that she needed tightly curled, slightly blue hair in order for them to look like like a couple. He meant freedom to her. She loved him, in all his retro glory.

But the day came when the local mechanic delivered some sad news. Oscar was dying. The energy within his engine was slowly fading away. He didn't have long. The teenage girl's father decided that it was time. He had to bite the bullet and find something else for his daughter to drive to college.

So they went to the local dealership, and he found the cheapest domestic new car he could get, (since he didn't believe in buying very used.) At first, he wanted to buy her a slightly used rental car in Barney purple, but her mother mercifully intervened. So she picked red. It was hers. She was thrilled. She hugged and kissed her sweet father, trying not to pout because he wouldn't buy her a Camaro. She was so mature at seventeen.

As they pulled back in the driveway, she spotted Oscar. He was parked in the utility barn, already lightly covered with dust. Guilt gripped her heart. How could she be disloyal to her first love this way? She left her new wheels behind without a backward glance and ran to his side. She stroked his faded blue paint, and told him that she'd miss him. She shed tears. She mourned the loss of the old friend, the tank who'd given her enough confidence on the road to move on to something smaller and shinier.

Her father watched the grieving process, shaking his head, and possibly thanking his lucky stars that he only had one highly melodramatic teenage daughter. He remembered how, as a little girl, she spent a morning in the basement workroom, telling the old tv goodbye when they got a new one. He began to see a pattern forming...

The girl is now 29. Her little family bought a new house with joy. But today they brought the "For Lease" yard sign and the lockbox for her current front door. How can she say goodbye to the sweetest little home she's ever known, the place where her son is learning to walk, and where she spends countless evenings listening to the crickets on her back porch? She is a traitor for buying something bigger and nicer. Shame on her. Today she is sad. It is the same process once again for a hater of change and an incurably irrational lover of inanimate objects...

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

This is why I wanted to do this...

Today was our first MOPS meeting of the year. Everyone in leadership was frantically buzzing around, nervous that we'd make the whole thing flop with our ineptitude. Fortunately, that didn't happen. Everything went off without a hitch, and approximately 70 moms were hopefully blessed today.

And I remembered why I wanted to become a small group leader. I wanted to provide a welcome to new moms the way I was welcomed last year. I remember coming in and sitting at a table and wondering if I'd have anything to say to the people around me. Leah, my small group leader last year, gave me a big smile and asked me about myself and my little guy. I left the meeting feeling sure that this would be a great place to come and be refreshed... and so it turned out to be.

I don't have an official small group yet. I just sat at a table today with other moms, and it was my job to try to answer their questions and make them feel welcome. One of the mothers looked a little nervous. She'd mentioned that her baby was crying when she left him. I got to tell her something important that I appreciated hearing last year:

"If you need to go and get him, please don't leave afterward. We want you to come back and bring him with you. This is your time. It's great if you can have a break from your child, but if you can't or don't want to, nobody here cares. You can even nurse here if you want. Several gals in my group did last year."

As I was delivering this little speech, the tears welled up in her eyes. She looked so relieved. I remember that feeling, and I was so glad I could be there to help.

MOPs is a place where you don't have to worry that your screaming child will offend others. They'll smile in understanding, and multiple arms will reach out to relieve you of your burden for a few minutes. You get a chance to just be, in a place where everyone understands what you're going through at home on any given day.

This year was a different start for me than last year's first meeting. I was able to see how far I've come in building relationships. Everywhere I turned, there was someone to chat with. I could easily find a place to work, since I knew how the room was run. The time that I'd spent building a friendship with the mother of five paid off in being handed her sweet 6-month-old while she spoke. And the mom behind me noticed when she spit up on me and wiped me off.

I felt such community today. It's been worth every bit of the time and work and uncertainty that I've put into diving into this new place. It didn't have to pay off, but it has, and I'm grateful.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Lentil Patties...

This conversation occured in our kitchen tonight...

David: "So, what's for dinner?"
Ellen: "Ummm... hmmm... an experiment."
David: "So, what's the experiment called?"
Ellen: "I choose not to say at this time."
David: "If you don't tell me, than I will be forced to tell Seth that we're having Gross Burgers for dinner."

I am pleased to say that they did not turn out to be Gross Burgers, though I had my moments of doubt early on. After the initial lentil cooking phase, they looked pretty gross, but I pressed on, and we now have a new family healthy, cheap, vegetarian entree to add to the weekly menu.

Lentil Patties

1 c. dry lentils, thoroughly rinsed and drained
2 1/2 c. water
1/2 t. salt
1/2 med. onion, finely diced
1 med. carrot, finely diced
1/2 t. pepper
1 t. soy sauce
3/4 c. rolled oats, finely ground
3/4 c. italian bread crumbs or any kind of bread crumb
1 egg

Put lentils, water, and salt in pan, bring to boil, lower heat, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes, until lentils are very soft. Drain any excess water. Saute onion and carrot. Mix all ingredients together and form into patties. I fried them in a little canola oil for 3 minutes on each side. You can also bake them in the oven at 400 for about 15 minutes.

It makes about 7 good sized patties. I froze the leftover ones without cooking them by wrapping each one individually in plastic wrap and putting them in a ziploc freezer bag.

If you want them exotic, use regular bread crumbs and add 1 t. each of either cumin, coriander, or garam masala.

I put the bottle of ketchup on the table... but no ketchup was required. =) Bon appetit!

Babysitting, 1:39 p.m....

I'm at Kristi's, babysitting so she can go to a doctor's appointment. The munchkins are downstairs, and though they're all supposed to be napping, I hear noises. Seth doesn't nap as well when he's not at home anymore... Sigh. The baby tent is now a thing of the past. He's too big for it, so I have to use a pack n' play wherever I go.

The fall schedule is beginning. Seth got moved up yesterday in nursery. I was a little worried about it at first, but the new room is bigger and has more advanced toys. He's a happy camper. What a change from earlier in the year!

Tomorrow is the first MOPs of the year. I have to make a ton of pumpkin muffins when I get home for brunch. And Thursday is the first Community Bible Study. I confess, I haven't been as diligent in my devotions this summer without the accountability I get from this. I'm really looking forward to diving back in again...

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Ok, now this is a yard sign I can get excited about...

Go to this place for more great options...

Hurricane afterglow...

It's a dismal, dreary day outside. The rain is falling, and the sun doesn't want to come out to play. Seth is sleeping in. I love having a baby that does that occasionally on dark Saturdays...

The picnic we were supposed to go to tonight is cancelled. I was looking forward to it, but I really don't mind. Staying hunkered down in my cozy house with my little family sounds great to me. David is having to work all day, and we haven't gotten to spend a lot of time together in the evenings this week.

Last night, we went out to dinner...fast food... with coupons. I wanted to go to my favorite Mexican place, but we knew it wasn't wise. The fast food was our compromise way of starting to make ourselves turn back from regular eating out. I like eating out on Fridays, and we've been doing too much of it lately. Funny how hard it is to scale back fiscally bad habits once you let them creep in. Eating out used to be a rare treat for us... now its an entitlement. =)

Seth played in the play place by himself for the very first time! I love Chick Fil A's play places. We sat at a table right outside the door within helping distance. It was awesome. This was also the first time that he crawled all the way up to the top of the thing and slid down... all by himself. He may not be able to walk alone, but he is the baby king of the playground.

After Munchkin went to bed, David and I watched King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters. It was recommended by Sarah and Stephen, who frequently do not have the same taste in movies that we do. But they were dead on in recommending this one... it was the funniest, most fascinating documentary I have seen in quite awhile. There is another world of classic gaming boy/men out there, an alternate culture that is totally hilarious and deeply competitive. I highly recommend putting this one in your Netflix cue.

Got really ripe bananas, so I may make banana bread today. I'm planning to make cornflake oven fried chicken and potatos for dinner. Mmmmm. It feels like fall...

Thursday, September 04, 2008

I know, I'm usually not political, but...

We watched Sarah Palin last night at the convention. We were both positively gleeful, as was the entire convention floor. She's smart, articulate, and truly conservative. I am thrilled. After the blistering email I sent to the McCain campaign when I heard the rumor that he was thinking of nominating the pro-abortion Tom Ridge, this was not the response I was expecting. It was FAR better.

We watched on PBS last night, and it was highly amusing to see the liberal media reaction to the speech. The reporter on the floor could hardly contain her disgust. Just about every other word was spoken with a barely concealed sneer. It was one of the nastiest displays of partisan leftist reporting I have ever seen. It appears that she had lots of company.

Check out this link to see what I mean.

My favorite, though, was this quote from Macleans, also found on the NR website:

"It was that good. No, she’s not qualified, and the substance was thin, but my God — that was perhaps the greatest bit of political theatre I have ever witnessed. Her critics in the media and in the opposition may regret having piled on quite so enthusiastically, and with so little heed for who they hurt — or angered. Watching the tumultuous, ecstatic reaction in the hall, I was reminded of the famous words of the Admiral Yamamoto after Pearl Harbour : “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant, and fill him with a terrible resolve." '

I couldn't have said it better myself. I'm actually excited about the Republican ticket for the first time in what seems like years now. I only wish the two names on the ticket were reversed... =)

Stacking cans and begging for stuff...

Seth and I spent this morning at a local shopping center, right around the corner from our current house. I had been charged with asking local merchants for goods and services to use as door prizes for MOPs. I agreed to shamelessly beg for goodies from Applebees and Quiznos.

Applebees didn't have any more freebies until next month. The manager at Quiznos had to ask the owners, but she seemed very receptive. She wanted to know more about MOPs, and she had a young mommy friend that she wanted to tell about it. I should be able to pick up my loot tomorrow.

After that, I decided to strike out into uncharted territory. I stopped into a local salon. Seth was oohed and ahhed over, and the manager there promised to write me up some sort of gift certificate when she got a minute. She also wanted to know about MOPs, said she had a customer who'd said she wanted to get out of the house with her baby. I really started to warm up to this gig. People are nice when you ask them for free stuff? Awesome...

So I boldly ventured into the local Mediterranean restaurant. The owner wasn't there yet. I'd have to come back later. So Seth and I moseyed on over to the local Dollar General...

And that's when I learned something about toddlers and grocery stores. I usually don't let him get down, but this trip was all about amusing him for a little while. He wanted to walk with my hands in his death grip... no crawling for him. So we walked up and down the aisles. It was mid morning on a Thursday. There were cardboard boxes of canned goods on both sides of some of the aisles. Seth decided to use them for stair climbing practice.

He started reaching for the shiny gold sardine cans. I put some on the floor, and he stacked and restacked them. Then he noticed the canned goods on the bottom shelf of the aisle. He spent the next half hour pulling them off the shelf and putting them back on, his head bent over his task, a very serious, very little shelver. The real shelver came along, doing his own stacking. Seth didn't even look up.

And so we passed a quiet bit of morning in a grocery discount store. No one bothered us or told us to move along. It was great. I think I've discovered a new activity for slow, rainy days in the winter when we can't get outside to play. I think the key to this is that it's not our regular grocery store, and there aren't any carts there. He doesn't associate the place with grocery shopping. It's a quiet place where we won't get in anyone's way. If you have a little store like that where you live, and you have a toddler, I highly recommend this little field trip. =)

Oh, and the Mediterranean restaurant? I scored two free lunches! Too bad neither of them were for me... =) Oh well, I have a chance at that door prize just like everyone else.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Labor Day...

A good time was had by all. We met David's parents at my parent's cabin on Friday night. Seth was spoiled completely rotten all weekend. He actually enjoyed the water this time! Everybody but me got in the sound in front of the cabin on Saturday. I sat under a tree and watched with a book in hand. =) On Sunday, we went to the beach. The water was calmer than I've seen it in ages. It was calm enough that I wasn't too afraid to let David take him out past the breakers. He loved it. This was his very first swim in the ocean.

We grilled steaks one night, and the next night, we went to my family's favorite seafood place down the road. I'm really glad we made a point of doing that, since one of the managers came to our table and told us this would be their last night open! I only go for the hush puppies, but I will miss their deep fried, cornbready goodness. Sniff.

Bill and Diana took care of Seth on Sunday night, and David and I got to take a long, moonlit walk on the beach. We used to take those a lot, before the munchkin came along. We'd walk and talk and talk and talk. There's something about it that just makes for good conversation, despite the tired old personal ad cliche. We were thankful for a chance to do it again.

Now we're home, and we're up to our necks in house stuff. I'm trying to finalize the painting plans. Hopefully, I'll be going to the parade of homes soon to get an idea for colors I'd like to use. There's nothing like seeing paint on actual walls. MOPs and CBS start next week, and I'm really looking forward to that. And I may get my hair chopped off soon. I'm feeling like a change...