Friday, December 30, 2011

On the road to baby H, trying to find peace

Well, it's the week after Christmas, 2 days until a brand New Year. I haven't been posting, because I've had very mixed emotions leading into this holiday season.

On one hand, I'm very sad that I'm not able to share the joy of the Christmas season and experience a new level of family with our own child.

On the other, with the stress of my job, our basement renovation and a broken sewer pipe looming over my head these past few weeks...I found myself secretly GLAD I don't have the added stress of a pregnant body or a demanding newborn to care for. Caring for 5-6 non-related children 10-11 hours a day takes it's toll and I enjoy closing the door on the last family to leave and returning to "grown-up" world for a few hours.

I mean, don't get me wrong...I love my job. My calling is to work with children, so it's a blessing to be able to work from home and get paid to play all day. And some days are easier than others. But, gosh some days suck the big one. When the 18 mo doesn't want to nap AT ALL that ENTIRE day, just happily yell at the top of her lungs...I'm not kidding she's HAPPY!!...which means no one else can nap well that day and poor me, gets no quiet time! (INSERT VIOLIN MUSIC HERE) Or when the 3 & 4 year olds simply don't get along. Oh, no, nothing is wrong, they just want to fight and whine and tattle on each other.

I started this Home Daycare business for a few reasons. I love working with children (check) I enjoy being my own boss (check) I like setting and adhereing to my own policies (double check) I can stay at HOME with my children and still earn a living to help support my family (missing check.) This last one is a little difficult for me to type out. I had so many visions of how easy it would be to start this home business, get married and start pumping out bambinos. It obviously hasn't worked that way. Three years (this past December) since I opened and still nada.

Hubby and I attended a mutlitude of family gatherings this holiday season, like we do every year and it was comforting and saddening that the situation is unchanging. I can't wait for the year that I get to hold my little one while we sing Christmas carols or open presents. I can't wait for the year that I can take pictures of my bundle of joy on Santa's lap, or giving thanks during Thanksgiving dinner for the blessing that is a gift from God. But it was comforting to know that my family and friends are still there regardless of our parental state, or lack thereof. It is nice to know that I can focus on others in our family without worrying about stretching myself too thin, financially, physically, or emotionally.

I took a step back these past 2 months and really looked at what emotions I was going through...I allowed myself to feel them, I embraced them at times. I became at peace about them. It's tough to have to wait for something I KNOW I am meant for. It's painful to watch others have what I long for. But I think it's small of me to envy theim their blessings. I've tried to find the strength inside myself to be STRONG enough to be HAPPY for others who are creating the memories that I wish so much to have. I know God has a plan for me, I trust that He understands my true heart and sees what I feel most desparately in my soul. I know that only He knows what the future holds. This holiday season as I laughed happily with my nephews & nieces, sighed with relief after the daycare Christmas party when I had no one to care for but myself, played Barbies & drew pictures wth my God-daughter & her sister, wept with despair at our lack of children to hold, railed with anger at the un-fair way it seems children are granted to those who aren't ready (by their own admission, I have to add) I found myself letting go and putting the answers into God's hands. I found peace after each emotion...I found joy in the small quiet moments on Christmas morning with my husband. I found happiness, that I didn't expect to find in my family and friends.

I haven't talked to Dr. M since October. I haven't had any more tests since my annual gyno visit in November. We took a few months to re-group and to re-connect emotionally with our individual selves and each other and we're willing to try again. We had the testing done to see if there is any major structural issues with both of us...we've gotten good & fair results respectively. I will give it another couple of months and then we'll move on with our process. I've started temping and charting again...purely for data.

I don't know how to explain...but I wasn't 100% sure 2011 was our year. I have good feelings about 2012.

Monday, November 21, 2011


This post is a bunch of photos. I'm not going to bore you with a tutorial...cuz to be contribution to this effort was minimal...more gopher, less worker. Needless to say, I am super pleased and proud of my hubby! Thanks to his step-dad and mom for helping us and giving up two FULL weekends of their time! <3 them!!!

Uh oh there's a hole in my house!

Men at work

Directions help

I helped a little!!! Yay me!
The "why are you taking MY picture" face

We can do it!
SOOO much better!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Purchased my new living room rug...

Bought my new rug for the living room!


So excited...really can't wait to see it in place.

Anyways, that was really the big news of the weekend. Hubby worked all weekend, so I chilled after my busy busy week. (Brand-new baby enrolled at the daycare, and I always forget how "hands-on" 2 month olds are. She's beautiful and we worked it out by friday...I really think she'll be a great addition to our group!)

We did make it to Sam's Club for some bulk supplies and will go to hubby's grandma's 80th birthday party tonight. Hubby also gets to go hang with the boys for some Ravens vs Steelers action at the sports bar tonight. GO RAVENS!!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Basement Progress...

We have drywall up and mud slapped on the walls!!!! DH worked hard, with the help of our good friend Troy, every day after work to get this together. I helped as I was able, over the weekend, but hubby was so nice to let me focus on the rest of the house and get ready for a new baby to start in the daycare this past week. He knows how anxious I get, and I have to clean, clean, clean. 
The Den/Office

Family Room

Bar wall
The only section that isn't drywalled and mudded is the section in the photo above. This is the area where our sewer pipe exits the house. Unfortunately, we've noticed there is 'something' wrong with the pipe...AFTER it leaves the house. We've had seepage through the block wall down the wall, onto the floor. Luckily we have the wall open & nothing on the floor. Un-luckily, but perhaps to be expected, neither the contractor who did our original renovation (including dig-out, install and re-grade for the door & stairs we added) or the concrete contractor who did our outside patio are being very helpful to determine who might be responsible for possible damage to the pipe. We're getting the run around, kind of typical for the reno-contractor, unfortunately. Hopefully, though we can muster through and get 'er done before too long so we can wrap up this second reno quickly. I have plans, man!

We have decided to continue on in all other parts of the basement. I am excited that next week we can start putting primer on the walls.
Further to do items for our basement living space.
  • Finish up sanding & clean up
  • Clean the floor
  • Seal the cracks in the concrete floor
  • Prime the walls
  • Paint the walls
  • Install new LED lights in office
  • Replace new drop-ceiling tiles in office (to match family room)
  • Install vinyl floor planks in family room, office, and hallway (only leaving section referenced above bare floor)
  • Repair, paint & re-install trim
  • Order new rugs
  • Bring in FURNITURE!!!!!!!!!!!! (can you tell I can't wait to have my couch back?!)
We aren't positive, but we may have our living space back by the holidays. It all depends on how much we can get done in the next few weeks. Luckily I don't mind painting.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

On the road to baby H, HSG

Yesterday, I enjoyed a visit to the Radiology department at the Harrisburg Hospital.

I was pretty anxious. Ok so really anxious.

I've been lucky enough to have a pretty healthy life so far. I've never had to have x-rays, or broken bones, or surgery or anything. Well, to be fair, I did have stiches when I was 4 after taking a header into a corner of the wall. I can remember bits and pieces of that visit to the hospital: just slightly do I see the doctor's standing above me, and I remember screaming bloody murder, but I truly don't remember the pain or the feeling of the stitches going in.

So, walking into a hospital for this was a little unsettling. Something I knew I had to do, but anxiety inducing none-the-less. My mom drove down and went with me...while my hubby stayed home with the daycare kiddos. I'm so glad she was able to come with me. Just knowing she was there with me, eased some of my nerves & allowed me to be more open to the experience.

So, anyways to be technical: The HSG test (or hysterosalpingogram, or hystogram) is an x-ray of the uterus and fallopian tubes. This test is done between days 7-10 of your cycle, after mustruation has stopped but before ovulation.

The test is performed by a doctor, radiology assistant and nurse. You lie on your back with feet placed as you would for a pelvic exam. The doctor will insert a speculum to hold open the vagina to allow for a view of the cervix. They clean the cervix and insert a device to hold the cervix steady. Then they pass a thin tube into the uterus. As the radiology assistant takes pictures with the x-ray machine, the doctor injects a special dye through the thin tube into the uterus and fallopian tubes. The fluid will cause the uterus to stretch, resulting in uterine cramping. If the fallopian tubes are blocked, this fluid will cause them to stretch also, maybe causing pain as well. Images are taken as the fluid fills the uterus and tubes, they may ask you to turn from left to right to better grab pictures. If there is no blockage of the tubes and/or scarring of the tubes or uterus, the fluid will slowly spill out the ends of the tubes. After it does, it will be absorbed by the abdominal wall cells. After the test there are some minor side effects. These include, a sticky vaginal discharge (fluid draining), cramping, feeling dizzy, faint or nauseus, there may also be slight vaginal bleeding. There are some risks and/or complications to this procedure including allergic reaction to the dye, injury to the uterus or pelvic infection. Please discuss the symptoms for these with your doctor prior to the exam. Be sure to have someone drive you home after due to the possibility of some of the side-effects.

For my exam, I was instructed to take 400mg of ibuprofen 1 1/2 hours before the procedure to help alleviate any pain during the exam. I did, but it didn't help much. I have to tell you...the insertion of the tube and the fluid was painful. For me it was close to a 7 on the 1-10 pain scale (1=lowest, 10=highest). However, like I previously stated, I have never really had any chronic pain, trauma or surgery. I've never given birth, I've never had a broken bone. I don't really know what real pain is. So, when I was told there would be some moderate cramping, I just assumed it would be close in relation to my menstrual cramps. NOT SO! At least for me, this was the worst cramping I've ever felt...and I thought I've had some pretty bad ones. It was sharp, acute pain and seemed to last the ENTIRE time. I don't write this to scare anyone reading this, just be prepared for intense pressure and some acute pain. Feel free to tell them it hurts and squeeze the sheets/blankets. Once the tube is removed, for me the pain went away almost immediately. I did have some general feelings of spasms after, with some discharge and some nausea, but that was all VERY minor and didn't bother me much at all.

The results were positive and gave me much relief. My tubes and uterus are clear of any blockage and/or scarring. In fact the doctor was saying during the exam that the fluid was moving beautifully and everything was clear. The doctor performing the exam did mention that there might be a slight heart-shape to my uterus, but she hasn't seen enough of them to be definitive. So, I must wait to hear from my doctor after the radiologist has a chance to look at the films and write his report. I have been doing some research on a bicarbauate uterus, and there are some scary issues with that and pregnancy, but that is for another post when I have more information, including whether it is an issue for me or not.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

On the road to baby H, SA...

Aaron's analysis was scheduled for Tuesday October 25, 2011. I got a call from Dr. Mantione later that afternoon with the results of the test.

He said that it everything was fine. Not the best, but ok. At the time I was dealing with an upset baby (who wouldn't take her nap) plus a 16 month old who was doing everything in her power to wake everyone else up, so the conversation was short and sweet. I couldn't think of any questions at the time. Although, now I'd like to ask...

What exactly do you mean, "not the best, but ok"

What were the numbers and motility and morphology?

What can we do to increase/better these results?

Should we abstain for a certain number of days/hours between BD during the ovulation window?

What does this mean for our fertility? Does it increase, decrease or maintain our chances of conceiving naturally without assistance?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Weekend Planning...

3:33 AM on a Friday morning! this should be an interesting day.

Once again time for the Weekend Planning Blog Hop with Molly @ My Happy House. Here goes:

Work 6:30am - 5pm -- and try to survive & enjoy it on 4 hours sleep
30 min run/walk -- in an effort to begin some sort of workout regimen
Clean bathroom
1 load of laundry: wash, dry, fold, & put away
Clean daycare desk
Do one step of the Express Cleaning Challenge +

Sleep in --'s a to do. I'll need the rest I'm sure.
30 min run/walk
Do one step of the Express Cleaning Challenge +
1 load laundry: wash, dry, fold & put away
Mail gifts/clothes to niece & nephew in NC -- I got them souveniers from my vacation in August..yep it's October
Clean out nursery room (for daycare)

Do one step of the Express Cleaning Challenge +
Help sand drywall
30 min run/walk
Clip dogs' nails

I really am trying to take it easy this weekend. I've been having a stressful few weeks...and well this week hasn't been any exception. Next weekend we are *fingerscrossed* putting in our new that will be a very busy weekend.

Monday, October 17, 2011

My New Bedding...

We have been working on our master bedroom decor for a looooong time now. I feel like it has been foreva and one day.

The problem lies in the fact that my husband and I while full of ideas lack time, knowledge and some tiny little item called motivation. To put it simply, we're kinda lazy. Yea, I said it. Gotta own your issues, right?
Well, I guess one step at a time...and we're making progress! Right now my handsome-not-so-handy hubby is hard at work installing drywall in our sad basement. ALLLLrighty-then! I can see some mudding and taping in our foreseeable future...not by US of course. Our good friend Troy is going to help us with that step...cuz we've heard that can literally make or break your room.

Anyway...I have made a few more baby steps on the roads to finishing our bedroom. Namely, I have finally found bedding in the colors and style that I wanted. It has taken me forever and a few instances that I almost ordered a boat-load of fabric and tried to diy my own. Whew, crisis averted there...I don't think that would have ended well!

So here it is.  

The throw pillows...which my hubby finds ridiculous...but I find adorable.
I also added two new panels to the window draperies.
PS Please ignore the paint swatches on the wall, our window ac unit, and our dusty nightstands! I'll have to add dusting to my to-be-done list.

Next for this bedroom.
• Install new windows
• Update trim
• fix trim (where dogs decided it looked tasty)
• Mount tv onto wall
• reinstall doors to the closet
• Install ceiling fan.

Weekend Accomplishments...

So last Friday, I attempted to begin to hold myself accountable for my lack of motivation and participated in Molly's (My Happy House) and Gia's (A Life In Progress) Weekend Plannign Blog Hop.

Here is what I accomplished this weekend!
Friday: I had to work my normal 6:30am to 5:00pm:
Supervise delivery of our new WINDOWS!!!! -they are beeee-uuuutiful! I can't wait until we can install them!!!!!
Deep clean the bathroom
Wash towels
Mop kitchen & bath floors
Make Garlic Chicken and Vegetables for dinner --hubby made chicken curry and rice instead! YUMMY

Saturday: Hubby worked this weekend and I woke up with another bout of this cold I can't kick...oh joy, week 2 of it.
Order new rug for living room-- decided to wait until it went on sale again, plus hubby isn't 100% sold
Change sheets in Master bedroom
Deep clean kitchen
Michaels run for daycare supplies
Wal-mart run for daycare supplies (and a folding footstool!) --mish mashed enough other supplies together, I didn't need to go! yippee
Farmer's Market
2 loads of laundry --happened on Sunday...still kinda counts right?
Dinner: leftovers -- therefore clean out fridge --hubby's brother & sis-in-law were in town with our nephews so we ended up at the in laws for fridge did not get cleaned out :( There's always Wednesday.  

Clean out Pantry
Install new organization systems for pantry (should be arriving on Saturday I'm soooo excited)
Replace pantry items in new organized pantry-- see the new Pantry Overhaul!
4 loads of laundry
Pre-plan Halloween curriculum for daycare
organize craft items & recycled items for crafts
organize daycare desk, clean, sort and trash
??Mow lawn -- this one totally depends on if it stops raining!
Dinner: Tuna Noodle Casserole

I am so proud of myself! Even with a cold, I still managed to accomplish most of my to-be-dones!

On the Road to Baby H, an intro...

On the Road to Baby H: A journal of our attempts to become parents, and our journey through infertility.

I am merging my two blogs. This one is my daily life and random home escapades. The second was my mostly private blog dedicated to our journey to become parents. I guess I've decided that since that journey is a significant part of our daily lives, it makes no sense to have a separate blog. So, I will be moving those posts over here over the next few days. The posts will be posted into their appropriate time frames of the timeline of this blog, if that makes sense. This was my introduction for that blog.

We are Jen & Aaron and we've been married since 2009. I work from home running my own daycare. Aaron works for the PA Air National Guard and is a federal employee during the week. We have two dogs and two cats and our lives are pretty busy between running my business, raising 4 pets and trying to turn our house into our home.
We've been trying to conceive since June 2009. It hasn't been successful so far and we're now at the point of talking to doctors to decide what our next steps might be. It's been emotionally draining and sometimes not pretty, but we both feel there are children meant to be in our lives and we're up to the challenge. We haven't decided what our final options might be...whether we are fully invested in ARTs, including IUI and/or IVF...but we are discussing and researching as much as we can.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pantry Re-vamp...

Saturday morning was very exciting at our house! This GIANT box arrived with all my goodies from The Container Store!!

Even the doggies were excited.

 My loverly organizing items.
 A couple lazy susans, Elfa cabinet pull-out bins, a clear packet bin and two LARGE shelves
Two small mesh stacking shelves and a cabinet door wrap rack.


My pantry started out like this:

 :( It made me so sad and scared whenever I tried to find anything.

 Everything was pretty much thrown in and un-findable.
 Scary! EEK!
 Door before:

After: Things are placed together by function, shape or size. Bottom shelf (from left)is for potatoes, onions and garlic, vitamins, boxes and packets of soup mix, granola bars and popcorn!

 Very top shelf houses two very large stacking shelves with roughly 16" of space under and between them. This allows me to prioritize items that I want to keep on hand, but rarely use.
(From Top) outdoor party supplies (placemats, napkins, paper plate carriers.
                  cookie cutters, box mixes for fancy biscuits and desserts, plastic forks & knives, extra wraps

Next is room for my canning supplies on right, my breadmaker on left, giant bottles of Italian olive oil, spices & honey...and hubby's protein powder finally has a home. (It used to migrate from shelf to shelf!)

Drawers for my baking supplies (on left) and my less used appliances: Food processor & blender) Even though I rarely use these two, I still want ready access for when I do want to make a milkshake(YUM!!) or shred up some veggies or puree some baby food for the daycare baby-lets!

Over here are my bulk items: (see those spices again) things like flour, steel cut oats, couscous, cornstarch, 10x sugar, pasta, rice, etc.
 And my piece de resistance: The door rack for my wraps, foil & plastic bags! They like hanging out with my aprons! **The pink one has a picture of a corkscrew and says: "my favorite kitchen utensil"** These used to reside in a drawer, which is now freed up for more useful items.

It might not seem like too much change, and that's true...we have tooooo many things stuffed in this tiny space, but I can actually see, and/or touch everything. That in and of itself is MAJOR! 

Hubby's job tonight after work is to sort & purge some of his hot sauces that he never uses and I should really purge some of my entertaining items (or find a new hiding space) but I think I will wait until another day to do that!

Now, I must return to cleaning my kitchen and folding laundry! Hope your weekend is going well!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Weekend Planning...

I really feel behind. Really, really behind in just about everything :(

So, this week I want to plan and try to accomplish a bunch of items on my to do list. AND I'm going to hold myself accountable. How? By participating in the Weekend Planning Blog Hop.
Let's get to it!
Friday: Is a full working day for alas not much can or will probably get done...but I'll try to:
  • Supervise delivery of our new WINDOWS!!!!
  • Deep clean the bathroom
  • Wash towels
  • Mop kitchen & bath floors
  • Make Garlic Chicken and Vegetables for dinner

Saturday: Hubby is working this weekend, and I've got my car back so I'm planning on getting a lot of errands done!
  • Order new rug for living room this one
  • Change sheets in Master bedroom
  • Deep clean kitchen
  • Michaels run for daycare supplies
  • Wal-mart run for daycare supplies (and a folding footstool!)
  • Farmer's Market
  • 2 loads of laundry
  • Dinner: leftovers -- therefore clean out fridge

  • Clean out Pantry
  • Install new organization systems for pantry (should be arriving on Saturday I'm soooo excited)
  • Replace pantry items in new organized pantry
  • 4 loads of laundry
  • Pre-plan Halloween curriculum for daycare
  • organize craft items & recycled items for crafts
  • organize daycare desk, clean, sort and trash
  • ??Mow lawn -- this one totally depends on if it stops raining!
  • Dinner: Tuna Noodle Casserole
 So, we'll see what get accomplished! It's a pretty ambitious weekend, me thinks.

Linking Up

Monday, October 10, 2011

Basement Progress: Purchases...

Drywall is hard. I mean, it's not that complicated, but it's deceptive. Hubby and I are stalled with putting up the drywall. I mean like 3 two-foot sections in a week. Yeah...we suck :(

I guess there is something to be said for taking it one task at a time doing it right. 

About 13 more sheets of drywall to get through!
Still have tons more to do, but after a not-so-nice argument, we'll be taking it one sheet of drywall day at a time.   

We have purchased new lighting for the office/den. LED recessed lighting. {as well as a third dehumidifier (seen 3 pics up)}
And flooring suitable to a slightly humid basement. TrafficMaster Allure Ultra in Vintage Oak Cinnamon. (I'll be letting you know if it truly is as easy to install as the directions indicate, and eventually, if it is 100% waterproof. They claim it is, so if it really is that would be AWEsome!

Hoping for a bit more progress in the next week. I'm missing my couch, it's a little annoying to only be able to watch tv from my bed.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Monthly Goals, October...

I've seen a few posts regarding monthly goals. Since, I have a problem setting and finishing my own goals, I thought perhaps I'd give it another go-round in the form of monthly goals.

Here we go:
  1. Clean the dishes, sink and counters every night before bed for at least 4/7 nights per week.
  2. Help to install replacement vinyl windows
  3. Help to install, tape, mud, sand and paint new drywall in our basement living room
  4. Help to install new vinyl flooring downstairs
  5. Prepare and implement daycare curriculum 4/5 days per week.
  6. Eat out less - cook at home more often. (6/7 nights) --we typically do this anyway, but since the flood, we've been VERY, VERY bad at keeping on track.
  7. Find and interview an acupuncterist.
  8. Read 1 book not related to fertility or trying to have babies.
  9. Get ahead of laundry and maintain that level
  10. Bathe & brush my pups at least once a piece.
  11. Maintain my cleaning routine at least ONE FULL WEEK without fail! --this one will be H-A-R-D for me!!!
  12. Finish sewing my spare room curtains. They are pinned and just waiting for a hem.
  13. Bite the bullet & order new bed for Master bedroom.

Spare Room Reveal...

 December of 2008, our spare room looked like this.

I was just starting out with my home daycare, and this was to be our space. We were in this room for 8 months, but outgrew it quickly once I was state-registered and started caring for more than 3 kiddos. After we moved the daycare into the front room, (here & more recently here,) the room looked like this.

This room is the designated dumping ground for all things without a home. Since we rarely have overnight guests (if we do, it's usually my sister & her kiddos) I tend to "hide" things in here. Hoping that decorating and setting the room up as I want to use it would limit this behavior, I chose a color scheme that was to be bright and sunny. Colorful, yet relaxing. I created this design board

for reference and to help me make decisions regarding color palette and online purchases.

2. Dusty Yellow B13-2 by Valspar from Lowe's-color match to Olympic No VOC paint.
3. Fabric from
4. Pinella Bedroom Suite from Ashley Furniture Homestore (already owned, recycling from Master Bedroom)
5. Small silver & white drum shades, found at Marshall's
6. Black framed art, with black and white/sepia tone photos (these inspiration pieces were found at overstock, I think.)
7. 5x8 rug found at my local Target (couldn't find a link online) I bought two for $49.99 each)
2nd coat, I think, taken at night.

This is a full bed. We are planning to replace this with our queen, once we purchase a new bed for the master.

Draperies DIY'd

I really like how the sunlight comes in through the window here, if only I had the drawers in the dresser!

This photo DH inherited from his grandpa. It's taken near where he grew up.

$8 mirror, I spray painted glossy black. Originally from Marshall's

White & Black ruffled pillow (Marshall's)
Black square pillow (already owned)
Small Square pillow (DIY'd using an old pillow & Leftover drapery fabric.)

Dusty Yellow, color matched to Olympic No -VOC in Satin

This room is obviously a work in progress. Currently, it houses all of our odds and ends from our basement living room, as well as a few end tables and a twin bed.

There are a few things left to do.

1. Sew & install sheer curtains to create a bit more privacy
2. Install closet organization system
3. Find, buy & install ceiling fan
4. Touch-up & paint trim
5. Replace outlet & switch covers with white ones.