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Oh Austin, My Austin

We're heading to Austin, arriving Tuesday night and returning home on Sunday evening. Aaron goes to work; he'll be meeting with some clients and exhibiting at a conference. I'll be visiting family and friends. My parents, brother, grandpa, and several cousins live in Austin, and a lot of close friends from high school live just over an hour away in Waco (including Amanda, Adam & Brooke). In addition to seeing some of our favorite people, we're also hoping to hit a few favorite spots, like Kerbey Lane and El Chile. And Aaron turns 28 on Saturday - his first Texas birthday!



After about one year of marriage, I discovered a love of cooking. (Before that, we ate a lot of pancakes and pasta for dinner!) I enjoy how a daily necessity can turn into a chance to work with my hands and get a little creative. I try at least one new recipe a month, and if we really like it I add it to a repertoire that I pull from for monthly meal planning. Here are two new additions to our regular dinner rotation, a pair of southwest-style recipes that I adapted from Everyday Food magazine. (If you do not have a subscription to Everyday Food, get one! BEST RECIPES EVER! Easy! Tasty! Really, go subscribe now; I'll wait...) I modified both of these to make them less spicy, because I have the mildest tastebuds ever formed on a human tongue.

Southwestern Corn Chowder (serves 2-4)
1 tbsp butter
1 green onion, thinly sliced, white & green parts separated
1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
dash of cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano
salt & pepper
1 potato, peeled and diced
10 oz frozen corn
1 can low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup milk
shredded cheese (cheddar, Colby, or Monterey Jack)

In a medium pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add white part of green onion, carrot, cayenne pepper, & oregano; season w/ salt & pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 2 minutes. Add potato, corn, broth, & milk. Bring to a boil over medium-high, then reduce to a simmer. Cook 15-20 min., until potato is easily pierced w/ the tip of a knife. Divide into bowls, and top w/ remaining green onion and cheese.

Black-Bean Tostadas w/ Corn Relish (serves 4)
2 limes
2 green onions, thinly sliced
10 oz frozen corn
3 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
8 oz Monterey Jack cheese, coarsely grated
4 flour tortillas (6-inch)
1 can black beans
1 avocado

In the morning... Squeeze limes into a medium bowl. Add green onions, corn, 1 tbsp oil, salt & pepper; toss to combine. Cover & refrigerate. In the evening... Preheat oven to 475F. Arrange tortillas on a baking sheet (use 2 if needed); brush both sides w/ remaining 2 tbsp oil. Rinse & drain beans; sprinkle over tortillas. Top w/ tomatoes & cheese. Bake until golden & crisp, about 10 min. (If you use 2 baking sheets, rotate them halfway through.) While tostadas are baking, pit, peel & dice avocado; toss w/ corn relish. Top tostadas w/ corn relish.


Hello, Bloggy

What's this? Oh, gee, is it my blog? Hmm, what do you do with those things again? Oh, you write on them? Somewhat regularly? Well, how 'bout that?

I've been wanting to write all week, but I've been prevented by a combination of a busy work-week and a bit of blogger's block. In lieu of writing something any of you might enjoy reading, I give you two lists. But they're interactive lists!

List one: Exciting blog links for you to click! (Wait! Don't click yet! Stroke my ego and finish reading my post first!)

  1. Amy is triggering tonight for her first IVF!
  2. In Search of Morning Sickness has 2 embryos on board for her first IVF!
  3. GLouise has welcomed home her baby girl (via domestic adoption)!
List two: Blog topics on which you should vote! Let me know what you'd like me to write.
  1. my desire to be a young parent
  2. the literature discussion group I lead for homeschoolers
  3. being a daughter of infertility myself
  4. our upcoming trips to Austin, TX and Mackinac Island, MI
  5. my five-year college reunion, and why I am not attending (see #4 above and add in a healthy dose of fear of man)
  6. the one who has moved in on the turf of Thelonius
  7. cooking/recipes
Cast your votes! Read the links! Don't throw rocks at me for a dull-ish blog post!


False Alarm

A negative test and the barest hints of spotting this evening...Oh well. This is the first time I've ever truly (without precursor spotting) been late to start a new cycle, so it was nice while it lasted. Somehow, it makes the possibility of conceiving someday seem a little closer.

O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you. ...for you, O Lord, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer. (Ps. 38:9,15)


I Know It's Probably Because My Hormones Are Weird After 4 Solid Months of IVF Meds...

...and I haven't kept track of anything at all (no temps, no cycles days, nada) since the bad news about IVF #2 on July 31, but assuming that I got my period a few days after that negative result and that my clockwork 25-day cycles haven't gotten wonky...

(whispers) I'm about one week late. Will test tomorrow.


Of Breaks, Doctors, and Insults

After the failure of our second IVF, I mentioned briefly that we're taking a break from treatments. We felt the need to step out of the whole sweep of infertility treatments for a little while, to have relief from the hormones and the appointments and the hopes and the disappointments. Between our dizziness on the infertility merry-go-round and our plans to travel this fall, we have decided to wait to start another IVF attempt (the 3rd of 4 covered by insurance) until January. We're in complete agreement on this, and we feel pretty peaceful with it. I've even (mostly) managed to break two-and-a-half years of the habits of keeping track of my cycle, trying to time things just right, counting the days until we find out if we have to start all over again. It's been surprisingly easy.

Another factor contributing to this break is a slight change in insurance. The doctor who originally gave me the referral to Dr. Peppy, RE, is no longer seeing patients from my medical group. To be honest, I'm not all that sad to be leaving this practice. After all, this is the doctor who misread my initial progesterone test, who told me that I will get pregnant if I just want it badly enough, and who forgot to perform a routine exam that I had to complete before starting IVF. Not exactly an infertility whiz... However, leaving his practice means I lose my referral to Dr. Peppy's office, where I really like the staff (although Nurse Answers, Wendy Wander, and my phavorite phlebotomist have all left for either maternity leave or stay-at-home-mom-dom). I'd prefer to continue infertility treatments with Dr. Peppy et al, because they know my history and are willing to work, albeit reluctantly, with our ethical convictions. So, a treatment break gives me time to find a new doctor, sort out the insurance, and get a new referral.

Reasons #1 and #2 for this treatment break I like; they are of my choosing, under my control. Reason #3 I am not so fond of; it tempts me. When Dr. Peppy called with the negative results at the end of July, she said that she wanted us to take a break. Why? Not because IVF takes a toll on the body, mind, and heart. But because she essentially thinks our two IVF failures are our fault and that we need to take a time out to think about what we're doing. She didn't say that in so many words, but she said that we're not giving them much to work with by restricting the number of eggs to fertilize, and that IVF isn't for everyone. In response to her comments, my heart inclined towards anger and bitterness. How dare she blame us for this? And who is she to tell me what to do? I even found myself tempted to accuse God, saying, "Lord, we've obeyed you! You were supposed to show these unbelieving medical professionals how you bless those who honor you and apply your Word to infertility treatments! How do these failures and Dr. Peppy's scoffing accomplish that plan? This is so unfair!" Thank God for providing a way out from these temptations through his words in 1 Peter:

For this is a gracious thing, when mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. ... If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. (2:19-20; 4:14).

We take this break, so that we can rest. We take this break, so that we can work out logistics. And we take this break, because this is how God is currently calling us to endure in the face of unjust suffering. We have been insulted for the ways we have sought to follow Christ, and that makes it all the more a gracious thing to follow in the footsteps of our Savior.