Monday, July 9, 2012

Menu Plan Monday

Happy Monday!  I'm linking up at orgjunkie's Menu Plan Monday this week.

Lately I have been slacking on the menu planning.  However, I can say that Frank and I have decreased our eating out drastically in the last three weeks.  In an effort to trim our budget, we have been trying to eat from our pantry and (ever-dwindling) stockpile.  It has been nice to see more space being made in our overstuffed pantry and to see more dollars in the checking account.

The effort to eat at home and to eat from the pantry had improved our budget enough to where I could pay an extra $200 on our main credit card balance this month!  In fact, the last three weeks, I have only been to the store three times.  Each time I bought staples (bread, milk, cheese, etc) and a few other random items to fill in the holes for recipes I had for the week.  It was so nice to pay that extra money towards the credit card!  Take that, US Bank!

Anyways, time to return to today's subject:  menu planning.  This week's menu is as follows:

Monday:  Dining out at a local mexican resturant.  (No money out of pocket though, my family is taking me out for my birthday dinner!)

Tuesday:  Cowboy casserole

Wednesday:  Chicken Tortilla Soup

Thursday:  Leftovers

Friday:  Something drive-through

Saturday:  Eating with the family--might try a new recipe for my Mom.  She's a diabetic and needs a more expansive "healthy eating" recipe collection.

Sunday:  Cheesy Brocolli Chicken Foil Packs  (You can find the recipe for this on Pinterest.  Just search "Throw in the oven chicken packs."  Or just click here: )

That just about covers it!  I hope y'all have a great week and thank you for stopping by!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Happy Birthday to...ME! And thoughts on infertility...

Today, I am 29 years old.  I can't believe it.  Part of me feels like I should still be riding around in my '93 Mustang, blaring "Baby Got Back."  (Who am I kidding?  I still bump to "Baby Got Back," I just do it in a Camry.)  Still, I just don't feel like I am old enough to be an adult, let alone be in my last year of my twenties.

Sure, I have owned my own home for almost 10 years.  I have a good job.  I have a great family.  But, I know that my life is "missing something."  Expanding upon this week's earlier post about being honest with myself, I figure now is as good as any time to tell the blogosphere about my "missing something." 

I have a fertility condition known as polycystic ovarian syndrown (PCOS).  It is a pretty common condition that results in high insulin levels in the female.  The high insulin levels, and subsequent high testosterone levels, make it difficult for the woman to ovulate.  Ovulation is THE most important step in getting pregnant...well, except for that whole "conception" part.  Anywho, I self-diagnosed myself with PCOS with the help of a friend (Hey, Amanda!) and I was later officially diagnosed by a physician.

In the last six years, I have seen fertility specialists (also called "reproductive endocrinologists"), taken fertility drugs, had a cervical dilation performed, had a hysterosalpingogram (HSG), had one artificial insemination, and dozens of other tests and lab work performed.  Still no baby.  Clomid (the fertility drug that I took for eight months), made me a raging "B" and it made my hair fall out.  The cervical dilation hurt like hell.  And the monthly visits from Mother Nature were reminders of my unwelcome failures.

At any rate, when I pictured my life as a 20something, children were definitely in the picture.  I would have never imagined that I would be "That Girl."  The infertile one.  The one who, when people find out about her hardship, they frown politely and tsk-tsk at her unfortunate hand of cards.

Know what can make you feel like a failure faster than anything? Being infertile and working in a mother-baby unit. Okay, so maybe I'm not "infertile," but after six solid years of trying to conceive, it sure can feel like a barren wasteland south of my belly-button.

Even worse than the tsk-tskers, are the ones who think they know where I'm coming from, just because they tried to get pregnant for SIX WHOLE MONTHS!  Oh, the horror!

The fertility rollercoaster ride of the last six years has been exhausting to me and my marriage.  Although, it would be one boring rollercoaster considering the only "highs" that we have had are when we finally found the Clomid dose that made me ovulate and the one time (two months ago) when we had a positive pregnancy test...a false positive.  The rest of the rollercoaster ride has been one long "low" valley.

That being said, I'm not asking for pity.  I'm not even asking for kind words of advice.  I am just being honest with myself (and the three whole people who read my blog).  My battle with inferility has caused mental clutter.  It has made me feel like an inadequate excuse for a woman.  The most basic task women were given, to procreate, is one that I cannot seem to do.  Yet, all I see are women who can do it...and do it often.  Even more frustrating are the "ladies" (a term that I am using loosely) that can seem to get pregnant by just looking at a random male cross-eyed.  But, that is still my burden to bear.  That is my mental clutter that I have to deal with.  I don't know how I am going to do it, but I am going to QUIT thinking of myself as a failure just because I can't do one thing.  I am going to focus on the other things that I am good at and continue to excel in them.  I am going to banish this mental clutter from my mind because I am a strong and smart woman.

Now, I just have to find that damn dustrag.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Updates and Decisions

I started this blog in an effort to be completely honest with myself about where my pitfalls arrive in the realm of my homelife and personal life.  The last few months have been full of decisions, heartache, overwhelming joy/relief, and lessons. 

My sister married on June 16 and it was a big headache but we pulled it off smoothly.  The weather was perfect for an outside wedding, the music was awesome, and she looked gorgeous.

Mid-May held the planning flurry of the wedding shower that I hosted for my sister and her fiance.  (All during finals, I might add.)

May also proved to me that I was, in fact, smart enough to continue making a 4.0 GPA in my college classes AND work full-time AND be a wife AND a mother to my precious fur-babies.  That being said...

In the month of June, I made a huge decision.  I quit school.  Honestly, it was just too much for me at the time.  I was letting my drive to make good grades interfere with other things that I consider to be very precious to me.  I let my housework, my blog (which actually motivates me to keep my house clean), and my loved ones slip...all in an effort to stay near the top of my classes in grades.

I was commuting over 12 hours a week, between school, work, and home/errands.  I was exhausted.  I saw a rift in my marriage start and I realized that at the end of two years (when I would be graduating college), I may not have a husband to celebrate my college degree with.  And what good is a college degree if I can't share it with the person who means most to me?  A marriage needs love, yes, but it also needs time for the husband and wife to be just that.  A husband and wife.  Frank and I needed time to be together and enjoy one another's prescence.  And with all the hats I was wearing, my "Nurse" hat and my "Student" hat were getting the most wear.  But, my "Wife" hat was getting awfully dusty.  Not to mention my "Daughter" hat, "Sister" hat, "Granddaughter" hat....

My decision to quit school is one that many people do not understand.  I keep receiving well-meaning words of advice that, frankly, I just don't care about.  Yes, I know that I am still young enough to return to school in the future.  (But, I doubt that it will happen.)  Yes, I know that at the end of two years, I will look back and think, "I could have been done by now."  But, what would I sacrifice to be able to call myself a RN?  Furthermore, I am no less of an intelligent person or a good nurse just because I am "just a LPN."  I know what is important to me and I know that I made the best decision for my family and I.

So, back to my first sentence in the blog post:

"I started this blog in an effort to be completely honest with myself about where my pitfalls arrive in the realm of my homelife and personal life."

The very definition of clutter is:  "A confused or disordered state or collection; a jumble."  That is exactly what I felt my life was turning into these last four months...a confused and disordered state.  Sure, most people would say that "clutter" is just tangible things that are lying about in no particular order.  But, I disagree.  I think that anything that doesn't make you a better person or doesn't enrich your life is clutter.  Sure, a college degree would enrich my life.  But, at what expense?

Clutter can be anything.
  • The purse that you spent way too much money on that doesn't really meet your needs, yet you can't sell it in a yard sale for $5 because it cost you $50...and that's just not a good return on your money.
  • A crocheted throw that was made for you and your husband but is not, shall we say, your style.  At all.  Yet you feel obligated to keep it because someone close to you made it.
  • Your college education that is "expected" of you to complete, but you are afraid of the ultimate costs to your personal life if you continue.
The decision I made to quit school was a very difficult one for me.  I felt like I was letting everyone down by not continuing.  My brain was telling me something like this: 

"Heather, just keep pushing.  You have too much riding on this.  People expect more from you.  Don't let people down.  You made a B on that test?  What the hell is wrong with you?  You can do better than that!  Next time, don't sleep those two extra hours and study more.  Sleep is for sissies.  Weakness is for sissies.  Just keep pushing.  Push.  Push.  Push."

Now, who was I letting down?  All those people who should have my best interests at heart...or me?  Why did I feel like I had to keep juggling all my hats when I was so clearly unhappy.  And, what was this doing to my self-esteem?

I discussed my feelings with Frank and he told me that he supported any decision that I made.  By that point I knew my decision had already been made.  I was tossing my "Student" hat in the yard sale bin...along with my overpriced purse and that scratchy crocheted throw.