Answers. Maybe.

Yesterday morning I had a follow up appointment to chat with the doctor about the blood work they ran last week.

As soon as my doctor came into the room, she had a big smile on her face and said, “I think we can help you!”


Everything she said after that was pure encouragement. She told me about steps towards my health and possible relief for the fertility issues I’ve been facing. She was positive and helpful. I’m so thankful for that.

It seems that my body is producing too much insulin. I’m not diabetic, but they’ll put me on the same type of medication that diabetics often use. On top of that, I’ll be on a pretty strict diet and exercise plan. The foundation of which is no simple sugars, very few carbs, lots of greens. I also need to be REALLY active at least 5 days a week. That’s the hard part.

When you sit at a desk for 8+ hours a day, and try to leave time in the evenings for blogging and such, it leaves a quite small window for the rest of life, ya know? Considering I have about 20 minutes of being at home on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from now until Christmas… that means maybe exercising on the weekends? YUCK. But I have a real goal. An awesome goal. A baby goal. So maybe I’ll be able to find the time.

The medication they want to put me on should help regulate my insulin production. But it’s most likely going to make me sick for two or three weeks. After the initial introduction of that stuff into my body, I should be able to stomach it. UNLESS I eat something high in sugar. Then I’ll probably get sick again. I suppose that’s motivation to eat right. Plus, there are some healthy foods that I just cannot get enough of. That will help. Like this little guy. This is my good friend, Okra.

The doctor also offered to provide another prescription that would boost fertility and is a very common prescription for women trying to conceive. We opted for skipping that medication now while we just wait and see how the first plan works out. But when she was explaining it to us, she said, “Now, this medication does increase the likelihood of twins.” Dave got a panicked look on his face. The doctor smiled and said, “twins can be a really great thing.” Dave’s response was, “Yeah. I suppose if you’re getting them into acting…”

So basically, the appointment went really well. I was thankful to have Dave there with me, I was thankful that the doctor had concrete things to tell me. Answers. At least for this point in the game. I’m hopeful and encouraged. And that’s never a bad place to be.


Cooking Challenge

Two things. 1. I am in a cooking funk. I’ve not made real food in a long long time. 2. I need to invent more recipes for my Project Life List #3.

I may have mentioned my love for all things food on this blog before. I love food. Grocery shopping, meal planning, chopping, cooking, going out to restaurants, food styling (yes, that’s a real thing) and eating. Obviously. Eating and cooking are stress relievers for me and I’m trying to break the eating as a stress reliever thing… so cooking it is! And one thing I absolutely love is inventing new recipes.

We had a band (Abandon Kansas… check them out; they’re really good!) staying with us for a few days a while back, and one night I decided to invent some sort of stuffed jalepeno, and make a jicama salad on a whim (I had never even tried jicama before.) Luckily both inventions turned out well… I’ve had my fair share of food disasters now that I’ve become more gutsy in the kitchen.

I’ve put a few quick and easy recipes on here before. You can find them by going to the bottom right side of the blog and clicking “recipes” under the “categories” heading. I would LOVE to beef up that category.

(I really did not intend that beef pun, it just happened. It’s in my genes. My dad walked around all day at Sea World when we were younger saying, “I see the manatees… but where are the womanatees?” You see? I’ve just been conditioned to ooze pun.)

So I’m trying to think of some new recipes to post. I cook mostly in the fall and winter for some reason and need a little August cooking boost. I eat out nearly every meal in the summer. All cheap food, which normally means all kind of terrible food. Thankfully there’s a Mexican hole-in-the-wall place just up the road from us where Dave and I can both eat for $9. How do you say, “WIN” in Spanish?

So, I’m looking to you, internet friends. What recipes do you want to see? Is there an ingredient you’re dying to use but you don’t know how? Did your doctor tell you to eat more greens, but you really REALLY hate greens and now you need to find recipes that hide them (not that I know anything about that…)? Have you tried 100 times to make cheesecake or omelets and it just isn’t working? I’m trying to eat better for myself, so healthy-ish, but still tasty recipes are what you will get most likely.

Disclaimer: I’m not an expert. I thought frozen chicken patties and instant mashed potatoes made a nice sit-down-dinner through the first year of being married. But I do watch a lot of food network, and I do have kind of a knack for cooking and recipe inventing now, in my opinion.

Here’s a GREAT healthy summer popsicle recipe to try before you start commenting with your food questions and ideas.

Blackberry Orange Pops

– 1 package of blackberries
– 2 oranges, zest and juice. (the zest is the outer bright part of the peel. here’s more info if you need it.)
– 1 tsp of vanilla extract. I have really strong vanilla – you may want to add more if yours isn’t strong.
– about 1/4 cup of cranberry juice. I used cranberry-pomegranate because cranberry is a bit too strong for me. Get the juice with no sugar added if you can find it like that. (I admit it is harder to find and a bit more expensive, but the fruit has enough sugar and the zest of the orange really gives it some sweetness.) You can leave the juice out completely from this recipe if you want.

Puree all the ingredients and pour it into popsicle molds or little plastic cups if you don’t have molds (free plastic shot glasses from a friend who works at a restuarant work really well if you cut the bottom off of one and tape it to the top of another, as pictured above.) Or put it in ice cube trays and use the cubes in some lemonade! I just thought of that and will be trying it as soon as I get home.

Ok – comment below if you have a recipe question, or if you just want to challenge me. Or, comment on the facebook or twitter link that sent you here. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

The "I" Word

I visited the doctor twice this week. Wednesday morning I went in to talk about the questions I’m having and hear about some possibilities for why I haven’t been able to get pregnant yet. Thursday morning I went in for a follow up exam and quite a bit of blood work.

I wasn’t really nervous going into it like I assumed I would be, and I know the prayers going up for me had a lot to do with that. Thanks so very much, if you were one of those praying people. I didn’t really even get overly emotional about it. Until my doctor said Infertility.

There’s a lot packed into that word. It doesn’t mean sterile, thankfully… but it’s still a little jarring. Some good friends have been asking about the appointments, and I normally say, ‘fine’ or ‘okay.’ I haven’t been able to digest it all yet, I don’t think. My emotions are little on edge, but I’m also a bit numb to it all. I’m not sure how those things coexist within me, but I assure you, they do. It’s like I’m on a bicycle, coasting down an easy hill. There are people on the side of the road telling me to enjoy my ride, and I am. But every once in a while I see a pebble in the road and then I just know it’s going to send me careening over the handlebars, and I have a small breakdown before I go back to coasting. It’s something sort of like that.

For my whole life I’ve been waiting to start a family. For about a year I’ve been waiting for a positive test. For another week I’ll just sit and wait while my blood is tested. When those results come back, hopefully we can begin to get me started on hormone treatments or insulin blockers or whatever else science has figured out to help women become pregnant. And then I’ll wait for all that to work. Lots of waiting, but I believe that my plan and timing for my life aren’t always the best things for me. I don’t always feel that way… but I do believe it. For now I just have to watch out for pebbles and hold on until the ride is over.

Short and Sweet

We didn’t have much time together this time around. Just one and a half evenings. But sister time is always a good thing. Even in small packages.

This is Emily’s “ok, I’m smiling… take the picture” face. Isn’t she cute?

And this is Christina’s “that camera is really close to my face” look. Also just so cute!
The pictures on the left were taken in the summer of 2003. The pictures in the middle are from summer 2008. The ones on the right are from summer 2010. I feel a tradition forming.

Customer Service

I feel that tooting my horn is a little necessary right now for you to really get the context here.

I am awesome at customer service. Seriously. If someone calls me and has the wrong number, I sometimes Google the place they’re trying to reach in order to give them the right number. Sometimes when we do our yearly surveys through the office, people will make additional comments at the end that say things like, “Ms. Hagen was encouraging and helpful. Outstanding customer service.” (literally) It is my best trait as an employee, hands down. The people I work with agree.

Ok, horn tooting done.

Yesterday I talked with someone on the phone who was worried about the package we sent to him. He didn’t have it yet, so I offered to find the tracking number and contact our shipping company, which is totally part of my job and nothing out of the ordinary. The shipment was on time and was scheduled to be delivered to him today. Which I told him. He sounded a little more aggrivated than he should have, but it was fine.

Today he called me just before lunch to say he didn’t have his package yet, to which I responded that the shipping company sometimes won’t deliver until afternoon depending on your place in their route, but that I had confirmed the tracking yesterday and the shipment looked like it was on time and in route. And yes, this is all boring, but here is the notable part.

He said, “what is a tracking number, anyway?”
I said, “basically it’s just a number that’s assigned to each pa…”
He said, “NO! Listen for a minute! I’m going out of town tomorrow! I need this package today!”
I said, “…”
He said, “give me the number.”
I did.
He said, “I’ll do it myself.”
I said, “ok.”
He was silent.
I was silent.
He hung up.

What the heck was that all about?

So I took my lunch break early and blogged about it because that’s how I relieve stress. It kind of worked.

The Magical Disappearing Weekend

This is a pretty common Friday occurrence. “Hey Steph. You look really lovely today. Cute dress. What are you going to do this weekend?” “Oh thanks, I got it on sale. Tons of stuff! I’m going to clean and go grocery shopping and build a birdhouse and finish my laundry and learn to play ukulele and take my husband to a movie and pen my memoirs….” as I walk teetering into the sunset.

And this is Monday, “Hey Steph. What’d you do this weekend?” “Oh… you know. Went out to eat every meal with my neighbors, watched movies on TV, took 4 naps…” as I smile uncomfortably, hoping they don’t remember my Friday plans.

I did sort of clean the bedroom. And I sort of did a lot of laundry. And I did get a couple of things from the grocery store.

Don’t believe a word I say on Fridays.

Friday Sun and Song

I got very little sleep last night. I was awake on and off for the last half of my allotted sleep time, so I’m a bit hazy. I’m hopefuly, as always, that the weekend will remedy that.

I have plans to overhaul my bedroom this weekend (which consists of doing obscene amounts of laundry) so it matches my newly totally awesome living room. I want to actually sew the pillows that I’ve had sitting in my craft room for about 6 months and decorate the wall above the piano… I’m itching to try one of those collection walls that are really popular right now. They’re just a mishmash of inspiration and lovliness, different frames and art styles and shapes, basically a wall installment example of what my soul tries to be. I’d also really like to drag Dave to the drive-in to see two completely cheese-ball action movies (The Expendables and Predators… basically a film example of what Dave’s soul longs to be) and hopefully do a little bit of sleeping and dancing tucked into all that fun.

This song makes me want to open the blinds, turn on the ceiling fan and dance around the living room all weekend. Please do watch it. Or at least listen to it while you’re checking your emails. Happy weekending, friends! – Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, “Home”