Monday, September 29, 2014

A Few Things

I completely confuse myself. I have always been a self-proclaimed 'summer girl', but now that fall is approaching (slowly but surely), I am a major fan of the cooler weather. It is fan-freakin-tastic. I pretty much only want to wear plaid things and drink warm coffee. Is that so wrong?

Another thing that I've noticed about myself as of late: I apparently have commitment issues. Remember when I said that I'd do a Nashville recap from over a year ago (here)? I also said that I'd be doing this fun little 30 day fashion challenge (here), yet I have only gotten through a few days. I feel guilty about it - I really do. I have just been so stinking busy. 

Busy is good, especially during our two week wait. I am so ready to pee on a stick and see if our babies are growing steadily inside me. I have been publishing weekly blog updates about our IVF process, but I'm a little behind in typing them up. However, if you follow my Instagram, you'll get the latest news there. Basically: on Tuesday September 23rd, two beautiful babies were implanted in my uterus. Stick babies, stick. I am preggers until proven otherwise. Just call me momma Skinner to two beautiful babes.

Speaking of making babies (sorry for the awkward transition), Wednesday is mine & hubby's third wedding anniversary. Where does time go? It's been a whirlwind of a year for us, but we've learned a lot. Best believe I'll be writing up a post about the lesson that I've learned during year three of being a Mrs.
In other news, I am debating what I should wear to work on Halloween. I'm thinking either Minnie Mouse or Mary Poppins. What do y'all think??? I don't really have any special feelings towards Minnie Mouse, except I lurve her style. As for Mary Poppins, I grew up being obsessed with the movie.
Lastly, I want to make sure all y'all have a grandiose Monday. Therefore, here are some of my newest favorite funnies. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

IVF: Week 3

Disclaimer: I am blogging about my IVF experience in order to document everything that I've experienced during this process. I enjoy re-reading my previous blog posts, and since this is such a big step in our lives, I wanted to ensure that I wrote everything down for future reference. Feel free to read, or not.

September 10
I have definitely started to feel more tingling in my ovaries. Not cramps per se, just a sensation that I can tell follicles are being created. 

Today's ultrasound went great. I am currently on day 4 of treatment (which means that I'm on my 4th day of stimulation medication) and my body has already produced 10 follicles in total, 5 on each ovary. Praise the Lord! If you're not sure what a follicle is, it's essentially a "pre-egg", if you will. It still needs to mature and all that good stuff, but they're looking good.

Lupron 0.1ml
hMG/FSH 150iu (morning)
hMG/FSH 150iu (evening)

September 11
No updates

Lupron 0.1ml
hMG/FSH 150iu (morning)
hMG/FSH 150iu (evening)

September 12
I got a phone call about 2 hours before my scheduled appointment asking if I could come in earlier. My fertility doctor had to stay in surgery with another patient unexpectedly longer and wouldn't be able to see me. I was fine with going in earlier, but bummed I couldn't see my doctor. He knows me so well.

The doctor that I saw was very nice but totally scared me. He kept reviewing everything that hypothetically could go wrong: 1) we won't retrieve any eggs, 2) we could damage an organ, 3) issues with anesthesia, Etc, Etc, etc...

Long story short: I left the appointment in tears because I knew that my regular doctor would have been very strategic in how he brought up the risks to me. (He knows that I'm a major control freak, and that I worry about anything/everything possible.) I mean, I knew from the beginning that risks were possible, but this other doctor made me feel a sense of discouragement.

But, the good news: the Lord won out and my body doubled the amount of follies growing. I am going to trust in God. On September 12th, I had a total of 10 follies on my left ovary, and 10 on my right ovary.

Lupron 0.1ml
hMG/FSH 150iu (morning)
hMG/FSH 150iu (evening)

September 13
No updates

Lupron 0.1ml
hMG/FSH 150iu (morning)
hMG/FSH 150iu (evening)

September 14
No updates

Lupron 0.1ml
hMG/FSH 150iu (morning)
hMG/FSH 150iu (evening)

September 15
Today was my last ultrasound before our egg retrieval! I couldn't be more excited. In sum, my doctor said that I had 17 real good eggs. Seven on one side, and 10 on the other side. Plus, with my trigger shot that I'll take tomorrow, it will further help to mature my eggs.

Because my body is responding so well, my doctor called requesting that I lower my FSH dosage. Instead of doing two vials of Bravelle (150 iu) in the evening, he wants me to only do one via (75 iu). For tomorrow's Bravelle dosage, I am to completely cancel the evening dosage, but keep 150 iu in the morning.

Lupron 0.1ml
hMG/FSH 150iu (morning)
hMG/FSH 75iu (evening)

September 16
It's my last day for stimulation (Bravelle) and suppression (Lupron) injections! My ovaries feel very full right now, however I don't have any major pains at all! Thank you, Jesus! Also tonight I will have my first inter-muscular shot (Novarel). EEK. I guess it'll prep me for the progesterone shots. We shall see how it goes. Finally, I will be starting my antibiotics. I will continue taking these until September 26th.

Just two days until our egg retrieval! 

Lupron 0.1ml
hMG/FSH 150iu (morning)
Novarel trigger shot

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Live Music Capital of the World

My entire life, I grew up in Central Texas. However, it wouldn't be until 2011 that my now-husband and I would move to the Live Music Capital of the World. Yep, it's true... Austin, TX is a pretty cool place. And in attempts (with good intentions) to get all of my blog friends to come visit me in Texas, I have complied a few things that are awesome about this city.

My favorite taco will forever be the green chili pork taco with avocado sauce on top. If you pair that with some of their Mexican rice, you will be in heaven. Lemme tell you. What's even cooler is that this place is an Austin original!

Although my lucky-dog-of-a-husband had eaten here prior, he only recently took me for brunch one morning. And I am forever changed. It was literally the best foods that I had ever put in my mouth. Plus, the atmosphere is simply perfect. It's totally up my alley.

What's better than learning a little bit o' history about Texas?

Husband and I have gone to countless concerts here, and we always have the best time! In fact, my most recent trip there was when I met Brett Eldredge. 

Another Austin original, this ice cream joint is where it's at! I am not sure why I enjoy it so much, but it's super creamy and just delish. I usually stick with the tried and true Chocolate.

I would be lying if I said that I've been to Hamilton Pool... but I want to! And that's gotta count for something. It's pretty neat that this gem sits in central Texas. I have heard great things about it, and since it's only a quick car ride away, I vote that I go very soon.

So have y'all been to any of these joints? What did you think about them? 

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Reintroduction

If we're being honest... I actually have a strong liking to silly online surveys and 'about me' thingymajiggers. So when I saw something similar floating around Blogland, I knew I had to jump in too. Here's a little get-to-know-me, or a reintroduction for my loyal followers who already know a lot about this little lady.

The Basics
Allison, 27, Austin
I have this weird trait about myself where I always assume people are exactly like me, and are thinking the exact same thing. I can't even give you a logical explanation as to why. Often times, I have to mentally tell myself: Allison, you are unique, and so are the people reading this blog post. Therefore, a few essential things (other than my name, age, and location) that you have to know about me are listed here.

"Quaint" describes my perfectly imperfect family of 4. My hubby Ross came into my life in 2006 and shortly thereafter, we began dating. We went to college together. Upon my graduation in 2009, Zoey Bear blessed us as our first child. She's a Shih Tzu, and she's practically a replica of me (except she's a dog). Then, in 2012 we decided to expand our little family by 4 [doggy] feet and we added Layla into the mix. She's also a Shih Tzu and definitely daddy's little girl. We are also hoping to expand our family even more in the next couple of weeks. We are currently undergoing In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and will be eternally grateful to God for however many kiddos he blesses us with.

I consider the following in my "work" category:
1) Full-time Academic Advisor
2) Full-time Wife
3) Full-time Blogger
4) Part-time Graduate Student

I'm definitely a homebody, so my preference is for being lazy, watching movies, cuddling, and napping. However, the tiny-bit more adventurous side of me enjoys country dancing with my hubby, trying new restaurants, and going shopping. 

I'm a Mexican food lover through and through. I could eat it all day, every day. More specifically, beans and rice are a necessity for happiness in this life. Another food that I am (unfortunately) obsessed with is donuts. In fact, let's just say that donuts beat out Mexican food any day. Sad, but true. My favorite donuts usually have sugar, sprinkles, and chocolate on them. However, when I eat 'applesauce donuts' from Round Rock Donut (they're famous, y'all), I feel like I'm being slightly healthy, so I count that as a win.
Actually, Shipley's "plain sugar donut" is my favie of all time

If leopard print was a color, it'd be my favorite color in the crayola box. Otherwise, all things blue consume my eyes when given the option between that and other boring colors. Speaking of blue, here's a sneak peak at our third anniversary pictures.

If I'm feeling frisky (and not worried about calories), then a Tall White Chocolate Mocha from Starbucks is where it's at. It's pretty much just sugar and milk with a skosh of coffee. I am okay with that too. On a more realistic basis, I drink brewed coffee from home, stuck in the freezer to get real cold, and then sipped through a straw. Mmm. However, you'll be proud to know that I haven't had coffee in a few days. My body is getting ready for baby(ies).

I'm a notorious window shopper. In a way, my hubby hates that. He's like "just find something and buy it." But I cannot purchase unless I fall head-over-heels for an item. But, for the times that I do shop... it's mostly online. I'm a huge fan of online shopping. Mostly because of two things: 1) ebates, and 2) convenience. 

My favorite boutiques:

My favorite stores:
Old Navy
Forever 21
TJ Maxx

How I Started Blogging
I remember how hard it was going from part-time work to full-time work after graduation in 2009. The days would carry on, and for me, it was a major adjustment. Like I said earlier, I like my sleep and being at home. So when I had no further commitments to school, and only had responsibilities from 8-5, I wanted to pick up a new hobby; something that would be productive and also fun. I magically found myself in blogland. 

What a blessing it has been. Not only for my sanity (ha) but also because of the connections that I've made with others. Moreover, I also like that I can be open and honest here in my little corner of the internet. I can talk about IVF. I can talk about how our recent photography experience for our anniversary pictures ended poorly. I can talk about my favorite brunch places. I can talk about Jesus. I can talk about whatever the hail I want to (as long as it's not defamation). And for that, I am thankful.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

IVF: Week 2

Disclaimer: I am blogging about my IVF experience in order to document everything that I've experienced during this process. I enjoy re-reading my previous blog posts, and since this is such a big step in our lives, I wanted to ensure that I wrote everything down for future reference. Feel free to read, or not.

September 3
No updates

Lupron 0.1ml

September 4
No updates

Lupron 0.1ml

September 5
I went to the doctor today. For some reason that is unknown to me, they wanted me to be on my period while they did the ultrasound. Cool. (sarcasm) That's probably entirely too much TMI. But if that freaks you out, feel free to 'x' out of this browser. All went well with my ovaries. The doctor said they are looking great! I am still only taking Lupron, but will begin stimulation medication on Sunday! At the end of the appointment, they drew blood to determine if my estrogen level was good. I found out later that it was exactly where they wanted it to be. Each time I go to the doctor, they will continue to draw blood to ensure that the levels rise appropriately.

Lupron 0.1ml

September 6
No updates

Lupron 0.1ml

September 7
It took Ross and I about 45 minutes just to figure out how to mix up the vials of medication. I am not sure how most fertility clinics are run, but since I am seeing my fertility doctor at a normal hospital, they didn't give us any instructions - which is fine, we're smart people - but it definitely took longer than expected to mix it all up and then administer.

Hopefully today my ovaries will start making lots of nice, mature follicles. 

Lupron 0.1ml
hMG/FSH 150iu (morning)
hMG/FSH 150iu (evening)
September 8
I had to work for 12 hours straight yesterday, so I didn't get home until pretty late. Once I did, we were finally able to do both injections. Hopefully it's okay that we don't do them at the exact same time every day. I will be going to the doctor on Wednesday and should have more information!

Lupron 0.1ml
hMG/FSH 150iu (morning)
hMG/FSH 150iu (evening)

September 9
No updates

Lupron 0.1ml
hMG/FSH 150iu (morning)
hMG/FSH 150iu (evening)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

How To Find Peace

Unbenounced to them specifically, my husband and I have been praying for a couple of people in our extended family. Not only that, but we have asked a few times that our Small Group at church also pray. After all, prayer is a powerful thing and can heal any situation. The reason I'm even bringing this up is because it's been on my mind, plus our pastor reaffirmed everything that I was feeling at Sunday's church message.


In the words of our pastor, you cannot have peace without God. It's just not possible. However, with trust and commitment to the Lord, peace (aka unity) can be reached. This excites me and reminds me, yet again, how powerful God is.

And let me also say that I am not seeking unity/peace for myself. Because as an imperfect human, I have many flaws - one of which is holding onto the anger when people have wronged me. Rather, I am seeking unity/peace because it's the right thing to do, and because I know that it's what God wants. Hence, Matthew 5: 23-24

"Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift."

Thankfully, there is an easy process that you (and of course I) can follow when seeking peace. Whether it's seeking peace among people... seeking peace among an illness in your body... or seeking peace among a trial that you're going through. It goes like this:

P = Proactive (Make the first move)
E = Empathy (Put yourself in their shoes)
A= Approachable (A gentle answer turns away wrath - Proverbs 15:1)
C= Cooperative (Do everything that you can do)
E= Enlarge (Be the bigger person)
When our pastor spoke about cooperation, I looked at hubby and said, "that's your favorite word, isn't it?" He smiled. My hubby, more than anyone else I know, firmly believes in cooperation. But even people like my husband have conflicts in their life that they can't control. The key to this whole thing: do what you can do; at least you can come to God with a heart knowing that you tried.

Also, oddly enough on two separate occasions this weekend, I heard the phrase: The most mature person will make the first move. I totally believe that. That's because it clearly shows that you're setting your pride aside, and willing to abide by the law that God commands.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday Favorites

Favorite moment of the week:
My husband has been sorta hush-hush about what he bought me for our upcoming third anniversary (despite him most likely knowing what I purchased him). However, the fact that he's has put so much thought into my gift makes me love him that much more. I am so blessed that I don't have to share him :-) #mine
Favorite inspiration of the week:
Philippians 4:6
Favorite workout song of the week:
Hideaway by Kiesza
Favorite news of the week:
My body is responding perfectly to the stimulation medicine and as of Wednesday at 11 AM, I had 10 beautiful follicles. I will be heading to the doctor again today, and then also on Monday! I am hoping they just keep on growing to be healthy and mature! I am so blessed. 
Favorite TV show of the week:
I'm so glad that Sons of Anarchy (SOA) is finally back on TV. However, I'm pretty sad that it's the final season of the series. I can't handle all these shows ending. Breaking Bad is dunzo... True Blood ended for good... and now SOA is having its final hoorah. 
Favorite red, white, and blue of the week:
I am a devout believer of freedom and am certainly proud to be from the US of A. It's difficult to think about what happened to our nation on September 11, 2001, but we've come so far since then. I saw the below image on Pinterest and was very touched. Praise God for helping our nation overcome that terrible day.
Today I'm linking up with Amanda!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

IVF: Week 1

Disclaimer: I am blogging about my IVF experience in order to document everything that I've experienced during this process. I enjoy re-reading my previous blog posts, and since this is such a big step in our lives, I wanted to ensure that I wrote everything down for future reference. Feel free to read, or not.

August 27
Today I finally got to start my first IVF injection! The dosage for the next twenty-one days is 0.1ml of Lupron per day. According to this website, Lupron is said to essentially "shut down" the body's reproductive hormone system. It gives my body a chance to remain calm before the stimulation injections begin. Luckily, the syringe for Lupron is teeny tiny and no big deal. Throughout our IVF, my hubby will be administering all of the shots because I just can't look.

Although the box says that it's a 14 day kit, I will actually be taking it for 21 days. Since I only received 14 syringes, I plan to call my pharmacy and request that they mail me more.

Additionally, today I start baby Aspirin (daily) per my doctor's order.
August 28
I bruised from the first injection last night, but it's all good. Also, I called my pharmacy and requested that they mail 7 more syringes to me since my prescription calls for 21 days instead of 14.

Lupron 0.1ml 

August 29
No updates

Lupron 0.1ml 

August 30
No updates

Lupron 0.1ml 

August 31
No updates

Lupron 0.1ml 

September 1
Cycle Day one

Lupron 0.1ml 

September 2
Our 7 additional syringes arrived today. I should be all set for my 21 day injections of Lupron.

Lupron 0.1ml 

Love Yourself

Hello, my name is Hormone and I am filling in for Allison today.

Okay not really, but let's just pretend for a split second that I'm not completely an emotional wreck. These IVF hormones aren't joking around. I've been totes-magotes emo and super sentimental lately. I am pretty sure that I'm annoying everyone that I come in contact with. It's mostly because anything and everything makes me tear up OR makes me sound really cheesy. 
For instance, my colleague and her newborn stopped by to see us at work, and I pretty much cried (but not literally... just inside my heart) after she left because I kept thinking to myself, "he is seriously so perfect, and a gift from Heaven." It was neat holding a miracle. I love that God sends us little reminders of all that He is capable of!

On a Blog-tember note, and because I'm feeling an overwhelming sense of cheesiness, I declare that all y'all should list out (in my comment section) a thing or two that you love about yourself! Plus... that just so happens to be today's prompt for Blogtember, so I will join in on the fun too.

1. I love... the way my hair volumizes very easily, despite having extremely thin hair.
2. I love... my organization skills.
3. I love... that I smile a lot.
4. I love... that the little things in life mean the most to me.
5. I love... that people can trust me.
6. I love... that I'm an 'open book'.
7. I love... that I believe in a scripture-based marriage.
8. I love... my HTML skills.
9. I love... my ability to memorize song lyrics rather quickly.
10. I love... that I have big brown eyes.

Now that all is said and done, I have a final sentimental (and hormone-induced) thought to leave you with:
If that's not the creepiest thing in the world, then by golly, I don't know what is. But the point is: love yourself!

Monday, September 8, 2014

My Experience: Pure Barre

Last weekend, I had my very first Pure Barre experience. The first time I had ever heard of Pure Barre was from my pal, Jessica, who now owns a studio herself in Texas. I honest-to-goodness have never really been the type of person to work out. I used to just watch my weight, and then cut back on the calories if I started gaining lbs. Anyways, now-a-days, I work out. And I actually enjoy it. To my surprise.

Typically I do treadmill intervals or the Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred, but my curiosity of this PB craze led me to try out my first class. I am going to give my raw feedback - the pros and cons - in case any of you are interested in it as well!
Spoiler alert: although my experience may not have been 100% superb (due to customer service reasons), I am totally a fan of the workout itself. In fact, I plan to put this, this, and this on my Christmas list. (I'm not lying either... someone better buy it for me! In fact, hold on a minute while I send husband the blog post link for today.)

Okay, I'm back. Anyways, here's the down low on my experience:

* It's a seriously amazing workout. It was fun and there's just something about the movements that makes me feel like a woman. That sounds so silly... but it's true. 
* There was great, up-beat music. I liked how the instructor would change the song based on what type of exercise we were doing at that specific moment.
* The workout burns a lot of calories. I used muscles that I didn't even know existed. Upon leaving my first class, I could tell that I had burned a lot of calories.
* The sticky socks that they sell there really did help. Since there are a lot of stretching type of moves, the sticky socks help you to stay in place. I continue to wear the socks when exercising at home too. I think they're a genius sell!

* The price is scary. It costs $22 per class, or close to $2,000 a year for unlimited classes. Of course they run specials too. I saw one in Austin for $100 which included unlimited classes for 30 days. 
* I felt judged. One girl in the class (whom was not an instructor) not-so-kindly told me that I was doing a move wrong, and the way she said it really irked me. I was quite open about telling people I was a newbie, so I figured people would just let me learn as I went. Nope - this chick knew what she was doing, and she expected perfection from me.
* I wasn't wearing Lululemon. Everyone there (no lies) was wearing designer workout clothes. Me? I get my workout clothes for dirt cheap at Marshall's or TJ Maxx and I'm not even embarrassed about that. Sure, I'd love some workout gear from high-end stores, but let's be real: ain't nobody got time for that when you're spending $10,000 on IVF.
* Customer service. The girl at the front desk gave a great first impression, but everyone after that sort of dropped the ball when it came to the customer service at that specific location. 
Overall Impression:
Despite my 'cons' list being more text-heavy than my 'pros' list, I am IN FAVOR of Pure Barre. I seriously loved everything about exercise movements. I'd like to try the class once per month. However, more ideally, I would like all the equipment to do from home. Hence why everything is on my Christmas list. But really - I would just feel more comfortable doing the moves from home so that way I'm not giving all my monies away, and so that I can wear whatever knock-off brand of workout gear that I want, without feeling judged.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Chemicals Be Gone

Fridays around these parts of the World Wide Web call for things that I am loving. 

1. This skirt.
But gurl, you know I didn't pay full price. I am sorta obsessed with all clothes from Red Dress Boutique, and when I saw the skirt below, I wanted it. But, like a good little girl, I waited. Then on Labor Day, I saw Jane Divine Boutique offering if for half the price, plus 30% off, plus free shipping. I about died and went to heaven. Come to momma, skirt. P.S. It's still in stock with sizes small & medium. The brand is Flying Tomato. Just duh. Pure perfection.
2. Our upcoming photo shoot.
Thank God my husband enjoys making this girl (points to self) happy. Because here in another week and half, we're doing our annual anniversary photo shoot. I can't wait! In past years, we've done more rustic themes, but we're switching it up this year and doing a very Austin-y photo shoot featuring this beautiful blue wall. If you're curious, here's a quick look at our first and second anniversary photos.
3. Reduced use of chemicals. 
If you really knew me, then you'd know that I am honest-to-God a perfume addict. I am not exaggerating either. I am truly addicted to perfume. Well... for the sake of making my body as "clean" as possible for our upcoming IVF procedure, I haven't worn perfume in over a week. That's a major victory in my opinion. Plus, I have been working out 4-5 times per week and attempting (key word: attempting) to eat less sugar. But let's face it, change does't happen overnight.
4. Getting closer.
Your continued prayers are sincerely appreciated. I can't express exactly how much they mean! As soon as I publish this post, I will be heading to my doctor for my first ultrasound since beginning IVF medications. I am really looking forward to the progression forward! Praise God! Also, I currently have this quote up above our dining room table, right above the IVF meds.
5. A little humor.
This one hit home. Don't you agree? "You don't say..."

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

I'm A Rebel

I can't wait to be a momma! We are well underway the daily shots that leads to mommahood in the end. My husband is a champion. He really gives shots well. Thank God for him, because there's no way I would stick myself with a needle. No way. My first doctor appointment is this Friday and I'm most def excited. That means we're one step closer! I am gonna kick "unexplained infertility" in the @$$!

Speaking of kids, as a wee one, I was a bit of a handful. God bless my parents for dealing with me. However, there is one thing that continues to stick, and I don't see it going away ANY time soon. It's slightly irritating to others, but it makes me feel empowered. It's the trait of rebellion. 

Yep, I am a rebel.
I only look innocent

Tell me that I can't do something, and I'll prove you wrong. And on the opposite: try to "make me" do something (regardless of if I actually wanna do it or not), and I will absolutely not even consider doing it. I'm a bit feisty in that way. And I kind of like that trait about myself.

For example: let's pretend that you are having a Valentine's Day party in exactly one week and you really want me to go. You called me and told me all the details, and I say that I'll think about it. As Valentine's Day gets closer, you start hounding me about it, aka pressuring me. Finally, 5 days later, I tell you that I can't go. I explain that I still think you're a great friend and that I hope you have fun (even without my presence). The wrong thing to do would be to ignore me from here on out because you're butt hurt that I didn't do what you wanted. Heaven forbid consideration of my time and my schedule. Thoughts in my head:

"With that reaction, you just proved why I don't always enjoy being around you."
"At least I was honest and up front with you. I could have made up a lame excuse."
"Maybe you should try a different tactic instead of pressuring me. You may be surprised by the outcome."
"I am too busy with school, church, work, my husband, housework, etc."
"Maybe I just don't want to go."
"Or maybe I would like to have a lazy day on the couch."

Like, I said ... rebel status for sure.

On a completely unrelated note, here are some exciting things:
1) I finished online defensive driving this weekend. Yay me.
2) Pure Barre kicked my booty over the weekend. I was such a newbie. More on that later.
3) My work week is only 3 days long.
4) My hubby and I will be celebrating 3 years of marriage in less than a month. I love love.