Tag Archives: gardening

4.5 Weeks to Go!

26 Jun

I know I’ve been noticeable absent over the past 5 weeks.  I’ve been just living and being.  While I definitely don’t feel 100%, I don’t feel as bad as I was expecting to at this stage in my lupron therapy.  I had my second injection 3.5 weeks ago, which means my 3rd and final injection is on Monday afternoon.  The hot flashes, headaches, general lack of energy, and epic lack of focus have been my main complaints.  I don’t find myself being too much more moody than normal, and if I am, it’s usually because I’m not feeling well.

I still feel astronomically better than I felt when I was taking clomid last summer and a fair amount better than I did before my lap in April.  And I think that is absolutely ridiculous.  I’m looking forward to getting the lupron out of my system and just being healthy for a while.

What have I been up to lately?  We’ve had lots of house guests who have kept me nice and busy.  Jeremy’s aunt and cousin came for a few days at the end of May and his brother and his brother’s girlfriend were here visiting over this past weekend.  Getting ready for and spending time with everyone has been a huge help in making these past 8 weeks fly by.

We also put up our fence!  We had a little bit of help from one of our neighbors and Jeremy’s dad, but we put the whole thing up mostly on our own.  It’s not perfect, but it has made for some very happy hounds. We still need to trim the posts down.  It looks a little ridiculous right now.  It’s been so nice to have them out with me while I garden.
PicMonkey Collage

Speaking of gardening, I’ve put so many new flowers into my garden and a lot of the older ones are blooming.  It’s just beautiful!

I’ve been waging war against both the bunnies and the slugs, and for the moment I think I might actually be winning.  Lots of plants have been eaten right down to the ground, but I’m crossing my fingers they come back now.  My wildflower patch has just started blooming, so I’m expecting some beautiful pictures in the coming weeks.

I started teaching last week and it has already proved to be an experience.  It’s only 3 hours of actual teaching per day, but that on top of the lesson planning and grading AND the theory of writing class I’m taking AND the lupron has me feeling pretty run down at the end of the week day.  But, I love my students.  I’m especially fond of the 9th graders.  I hear most teachers hate teaching the younger high school students, but I just love them. They leave me with a smile on my face almost every day. 🙂

I have few other projects to share as well as an update on how our due date day went, but I’ll leave that for another post. I’ve got papers to grade! YIKES!

I’m getting antsy for these next 4 weeks to be over!!

19: Birth Control Optional.

23 Jul

I got up bright and early this morning to go to my CD 3 blood draw/ ultrasound.  I was having pain off and on all weekend, so I knew the cysts were still hanging around.  Getting put on birth control after the past month of craziness didn’t sound all that bad.  Especially considering my next period is due right around when we’re supposed to close on the house.   Yuck.

So I dragged myself in and got poked and prodded a little more.  Imagine my surprise when the nurse announced I am cyst free! 🙂  She said all the pain was probably just my body working to getting rid of them.  I’m relieved that we don’t have this hurdle to jump over anymore.  We can move forward with a monitoring cycle and (hopefully) get to the bottom of this.  No birth control.  Unless we feel like it. 😉

I’ll update on my blood work later.  They were checking base hormone levels and ovarian reserve today.  I still think it’s amazing that they can do that.  🙂

Honestly, I feel rather ambivalent towards the whole ordeal.  I know these are good things, but they don’t feel like they’re “good news” necessarily.  Just information I didn’t have before.  Maybe I’m finally learning to exercise caution when it comes to my emotions.  That isn’t entirely a bad thing.


The weekend was good.  I spent a good chunk of it trying to distract myself from my period starting.
My goal with the garden this year is to not let anything go to waste.  Last year, I wasn’t ready for the huge amounts of fruits and vegetables that the garden ended up producing.  I’m sorry to say that some of it went bad before I could figure out how to use it.  I canned a lot of tomatoes and jalapenos last year, and plan on doing the same this year, but I also wanted a little variety.  I got this book on modern canning for Christmas this, and started utilizing it over the weekend.

Friday, I oven dried a big batch of tomatoes.  It only got to 85 degrees out that day and it was supposed to be the coolest day we’ll have in a while, so I wanted to have the oven on all day while it was relatively cool out.  They turned out nice and caramelized.  I stuck them in freezer safe jars and froze them to use later.
Next, I added to my already impressive zucchini store, turning 4 zucchini into 14 cups of frozen pureed zucchini.  I currently have 22 cups of zucchini hanging out in my freezer.  I need to find more zucchini recipes.  The 2 or 3 dishes I use zucchini in are getting very worn out.

Yesterday, I canned apple jelly using the apples from the funky apple tree in my mother- and father-in-law’s back yard.  It came out really yummy and tastes like candy apples.  Definitely not bad for my first try at jelly.  It’s not as clear as it was supposed to be, but I used cheese cloth instead of a jelly bag, so that’s probably why.  I’m curious if I let it gel too much or not enough.
I’m a little afraid to open one of the jars. 😉  I suppose too runny or not runny enough, it should taste the same.
Canning foods makes me happy.  They typically last for long amounts of time, which is probably why I prefer it to cooking in general.  A complicated dinner is gone after a few minutes, but home preserved foods last throughout the year.


CD13? Maybe?

4 Jun

It’s kind of the same old, same old around here lately.  I think I’m around CD 13.  Maybe.  I don’t even care.  I’m doing really good about not thinking stressing out about it think month. 😉

I’ve been working out and am feeling sore, but good. =)  We’re doing ok with our dieting.  A lot more fresh foods and WAY less processed and sugary foods are being eaten.  I’m counting calories again, not so stay under a certain amount necessarily, but to really keep an eye on what I’m putting into my body.  Sweet and greasy foods are starting to sound bad.  They also make me feel noticeably worse if I do cave and eat something bad for me.  All in all, I think things are going well.  In another month or two, I think I’m going to be looking and feeling really good. 🙂

We’re still waiting on news from the house with the blue kitchen.  The seller accepted our offer right away, but the seller’s bank is taking their time.  I’m told this is normal for short sales, so I’m trying to be zen about it.  Our offer got sent to the bank’s negotiator last week.  I’m hoping that’s a good thing.   I really love that house.  I’ve decorated and redecorated 50 times.  In my head. 😉

I finalized my graduated classes for the fall.  The feeling is so bittersweet.  I always knew I would go to grad school.  You can’t do much with an English degree on its own.  I just hadn’t planned on it being so soon.  I enjoy school.  I enjoy the environment and the learning.  On some level, I think I even enjoy homework because it keeps me engaged.  This is probably another reason teaching is a good profession for me.  I’ll never have to leave.  BUT, my classes sound interesting and I’ve already purchased half of the books.  I’ll get a nice head start.

I’ve been in the garden a lot lately with the nice weather.  There are little, green tomatoes, peppers, and pickling cucumbers growing in, and the chamomile is getting ready to bloom. 🙂  I re-mulched my walking rows yesterday and am really happy with how it turned out:
I’m also seeing lots of praying mantises every day.  I was really worried about them, but they’re hanging in there.  They’re a whole week old and already catching lots of bad bugs.  I watched this guy catch a little fly yesterday:

I’m taking the rest of the week to get ready for the Aurora Green Festival.  Our store is going to beast this festival. 😉

Mantis Attack! ;)

30 May

The juicing is still going on.  I’ve lost 4 pounds so far and am definitely noticing that I have more energy.  I’m going to head to the gym tomorrow morning and see how it goes. =)

We’re still juicing for breakfast and lunch, but we’ve decided to eat raw fruits, veggies, and good proteins for dinner.  We grilled some chicken last night and added it to a spinach salad.  I think it was the best thing I’ve ever tasted. 😉  We also used the chive vinaigrette I posted about.  It was awesome!  I’m so glad I didn’t throw those flowers away.  They were beautiful and delicious! 😉  I might start dabbling more in homemade salad dressings so that we have more healthy options.

It’s been super nice here the past two days, so I’ve gotten out into the garden a couple times.  My sister and niece hatched some baby praying mantises (mantids, if you will) for me and brought them over on Sunday to get released into the garden.

When we were little, my dad found an adult praying mantis, who we named Fred.  Fred lived in a plastic tank in our sunroom and we fed him insects we found outside.  Then Fred laid some eggs. 😉 Oops.  Sorry, Fred.  But since there was no Mr. Fred, there weren’t any babies.  Fred lived with us longer than she would have in the wild and she was an awesome pet. 🙂  I always thought it would be neat to have another one, but insects make me a little more nervous than they did when I was 5.  When my sister asked if I wanted some for the garden, I was all over it.

Not even half of them will make it, but I counted 15 hanging out in the chamomile patch yesterday, which I think is a pretty good number.  They’re already bigger.  They’ll continue to molt until they reach their adult size, which could be bigger than Molly. 😉
 I saw a few earlier when I was planting this salvia for the butterflies and the bees.
 And, I put up a super basic trellis for the pickling cucumbers.  I wanted to try to grow them vertically this year since they really tried to take over last year.  The regular cucumbers aren’t big enough for a trellis yet, but these guys have little baby cucumbers all over. 🙂

Things are good around here for now.  I’m feeling good, and haven’t looked at a chart or a calendar in a week.  I don’t even know what cycle day it is.  It’s really nice.  I’m not nervous or stressed out like I usually am.  I’ve hardly even thought about making a baby this month.  Probably because I know it’s not going to happen.  I’m still ok with that though.  This has been a very much needed break that has me feeling a little more “normal” and a little more like me.

We had lunch with some friends over the weekend.  They had a baby in November and we hadn’t seen him yet.  I was pretty stressed out about it, but it turned out to be ok.  He was super cute and I can honestly say that I enjoyed him. 🙂
The most upsetting part about our lunch was being told that I’m different than I used to be.  It didn’t sound like a compliment.  I feel like I’m more of an adult than I was a year ago when we last spent time with them.  I feel that I’m more responsible and toned down.  I can honestly say that I’m far more equipped to handle a baby than I would have been a year ago.  It’s still sad to think that I’ve changed so noticeably into a different kind of person.  However, I’m more proud of myself than I used to be, so maybe it’s not so sad.

Also, Regina Spektor‘s new album came out yesterday.  She’s speaking to me. 😉  I’m awake, Regina, I’m awake!

Pink Vinaigrette.

21 May

I’m still hanging in there for now.  I had a nice chat with my doctor on Friday.  Apparently the on-call doctor misread my ultrasound and I have a bunch of smaller cysts that equal the size of a golf ball.  This makes me feel much better.  She doesn’t want to add any medications to my body right now since technically I could still be pregnant.  We’ll chat again about how to proceed once my period starts.  She wants me to take at least a month off from the clomid.  It’s really bothering her that I’m getting cysts on the lowest dose.  I’m honestly not too broken up about a taking a break.  Clomid is kicking my butt big time.
Jeremy and I decided that it will be a break from temping and ovulation sticks as well.  We’ll still try, but it’s going to be far more relaxed than it’s been in a long time.

I’ve been taking it easy for the past few days.  I’ve had a lot of pain in my lower abdomen, a lot of nausea, my boobs are killing me, and I’m hungry constantly.   Part of me is looking forward to my period starting because I know I’ll feel a lot better.
BUT, in the meantime, I’ve been catching up on some knitting.  I really burned out after Christmas knitting, so most of my projects have been sitting in my knitting basket in my office for the past 6 months.

I finished these socks on Saturday.  I used the Plymouth Yarn Stiletto that I found at the Chicago Yarn Crawl last fall.  I started these just before Christmas and I’ve dragged them around the country with us recently trying to tempt myself into finishing them.  It just took some time on the couch. 😉
 I’m working on some stranded color work socks right now.  It’s going so much fast than I remember it.  I had to retrain my fingers to knit English and Continental at the same time.  Out of control. 😉  They’ll be really pretty when they’re finished.

Finally, the hot, humid weather we’ve been having seems to have worked wonders for my garden…
My tomatoes and tomatillos are getting really big and strong and my zucchini plants have a TON of flowers on them.

I let the chive plants flower this year…
Once they were past their prime, I chopped the whole plant down so that it will flower again.  I’m freezing the leaves and I decided to try to make a chive vinaigrette with the flowers.
The vinegar is supposed to turn from clear…
To pink…
To pinky-lavender.
The lettuce is almost big enough to pick.  I think we’ll try this pretty pink vinaigrette once we can use our own lettuce. 🙂

Return of the Garden

11 Apr

Last Friday, we pulled the plastic off the garden.  It got left on for 3 weeks partially because I was worried it wasn’t done cooking and partially because we hadn’t had time to till.

I moved the coneflowers, chives, oregano, and lavender, we rented a huge tiller for 4 hours, and then we Jeremy got to work.   We used black plastic this year instead of clear and left it out there for a lot longer.  It worked so well!  It’s been 5 days and we haven’t seen the return of a single weed.

I finished mapping my rows out and mulching my walkways yesterday. I added my tomato/tomatillo cages and built my strawberry bed out of reclaimed bricks.

We have a frost warning until tomorrow morning, but I’m hoping to get out and start planting Friday. 🙂

Meanwhile, I’m off to get some blood work done. yay…

Spring Fever

16 Mar

It’s 78 degrees and partly cloudy outside right now.  There’s the slightest breeze.  It could stay like this all summer and I would be perfectly fine with it.  I donned my bikini top and shorts and am working on my first sunburn of the year.  😉  Spring Fever to the max.

I’ve started working on my garden.  I missed my garden like crazy all winter.  I’ve decided it’s one of my favorite things to do.  Every time Jeremy applies to a job in a climate that will let me garden year round, a part of me always hopes he get it. 😉

My goal is to never use any chemicals in the garden.  Last year, with the exception of the scary ant invasion, I succeeded.  This includes weed killer.  Last year I used a sheet of clear plastic to cook the weeds and grass in the area I wanted to garden in.  My reasoning on using clear was that it would magnify the sun and make it too hot for the weeds to survive.  It worked really well, but this year I wanted to experiment with black plastic.  In theory, it should get really hot under there, right? So, I stopped at Home Depot on my way home from ESL class yesterday to pick up some black plastic.  1000 square feet of it to be exact.

I finished my garden plans the other night and am planning on using around half of this space.  My mother-in-law is going to take over the second half and we’re going to have ourselves a huge AWESOME garden! 🙂

Another thing we’re working on this year is planting things that will draw pollinating bugs to the garden.  I have coneflowers, dill, and lavender already, but the other night I ordered zinnias and a blueberry bush.  I think it’s going to be neat to see a vegetable garden with flowers mixed in. 🙂

One week until the urologist.  I’m trying not to go crazy in the meantime… Have an awesome weekend!

Here’s an updated post after we took the plastic off.

The Big “O”…

12 Mar

And by “O”, of course I mean ovulation.  😉

One of the main things we’ve been working on through my acupuncture appointments is to regulate my cycle.  Our goal is to get it to be as perfect as it can be.  Ovulating at day 19 and then having a 9-12 day luteal phase is not perfect.  Last month, day 17 was the magic number followed by 12 days of waiting.

I think I have proof, however, that acupuncture is really and truly altering my cycle.  Other than the crazy short and light period I recently had, this month, I managed to ovulate on day 12. 12. 12. 12. 12. 12.  For the first time since I started charting. 12. And of course, we were totally not ready for it.  I hadn’t started using my opk’s yet, as it’s a week earlier than I normally ovulate.  I think it’s safe to assume this month will be a wash.  I’m disappointed that we may have wasted a cycle, but at the same time, I think I needed a little break. It’s been a long 14 months.  Now I know for next month that I need to start keeping a closer eye on things.
Of course, next month could very well include clomid (YIKES!), and then it’s going to be all kinds of crazy.

Meanwhile, our weekend was good.  We went back to Oak Park for breakfast on Saturday.  We went to breakfast at The Buzz Cafe every Sunday when we lived there.  It’s been over a year since we’d last eaten there together.


They have the BEST pancakes. Mmmm!  The rest of the weekend was really relaxed.  I worked in the garden (the weather in Chicago has been so wonderful!) and on the quilting of my very first quilt.

I only have 13 more squares to do.  The end is in sight! 😉  I’m really getting the hang of my free motion quilting foot.  You can see my progress from the first square I did to the most recent one.  I totally regret choosing this pattern as my first quilt though.  Appliques are no fun.  In a couple years, I wouldn’t mind making this again and seeing how much I’ve improved.  I’ll post a picture when it’s finished.  Hopefully this week. 🙂

1.5 weeks until the urologist!