Friday, September 26, 2014

So what can change in 7 months?

A metric shit-ton, that's what. ;)

As of my last writing, I was unemployed, infertile, looking down the road at a surgery, and having a bit of sour grapes.


-I'm employed full time. I have a great job with a NPO here and love it even on the bad days.
-My surgery happened, and it was...something. Nothing life shattering or even truly helpful revealed. Everything looked fine. My cyst was removed, and apparently that + clomid was the magic potion because...

I'm pregnant! 17 weeks along now, with what appears to be a little boy. C and I are absolutely thrilled and can't wait to welcome him in March.

Being pregnant has caused a lot of feelings-I don't have the naivete I wish I did about pregnancy outcomes, and I felt for a long time like I was somehow going to jinx it all. I also am still very jealous of people who don't have issues getting to this point. But getting here has been great. Seeing baby boy on the ultrasound screen is the most amazing. Looking down and seeing the hint of a bump right in the midst of my scars is awesome. 

Hopefully I can begin to keep up at least a little better on this corner of the interwebs, I think it'll be nice to have a place to get the crazy out. :) 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Deep Thoughts with Jessica p2

My last post got almost two times the views of any other post I've written. I don't know know if it's just that I shared it on Facebook, or if something I wrote resonated with people. Either way... That was neat. And it's something that I worked hard on, even if it doesn't always show.

Since we left off, Mr and I have told our families what we are dealing with. While being "out" is somehow freeing, it's also a little nauseating. Since we're overseas, I had to do it via email. Waiting to see how everyone reacts is a little crazy for me. I keep triple checking email to see if I miss any responses, but I have to remember that there are few people who check their email as much as I do. 

In "let's talk about anything besides my uterus" news, Mr. is beginning the process of interviewing for commands. We are so thrilled for all the possibilities, and hopeful that things line up well for him. There is an outside chance that we will have to move... But we are both trying to not cross any bridges till we come to them. 

I was talking with a friend the other day about how things feel alternately insane and also like nothing is happening, and she summed it up perfectly. While I have a lot of big deals circulating in my head between my health/infertility, volunteer work, and possibilities with Mr's work.... My day to day is very slow. I do homework, occasionally go to emails, run an errand or two... There just isn't much to distract me from the big deals swimming around. I've started trying to declutter, which not only makes the apartment look better, it also makes me feel better. 

How do you stay occupied on a day to day basis? Are you a cleaner, crafter, or what?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Not My Story

I've spent several days mulling this over... which is the only explanation I have for my absence lately. 
I'm having a hard time with everything. Life isn't quite what I thought it would be. I thought for sure by now I'd have a kid. If not a kid, I'd have a job. And if I didn't have either of those, I'd be in killer shape and my house would be too.  

That's not my story.

I don't have a job. There are a few applications out there, but the opportunities here are few, far and in between. I don't have a kid either. There's an explanation for that too. I am not in killer shape, and my apartment is cluttered at best.  My story is a constant battle with those things and the lovely comparison-is-the-thief-of-joy demons that come along with it.
I went to the doctor recently, hoping that my cyst had gone away. That wasn't the case. I don't get to start Clomid. Instead, I get a laparoscopy and dye test with complimentary (I amuse myself) cyst removal.  I didn't want this to be my story. I didn't want to be the girl who needed surgery to get pregnant. I don't want to have the sad story of how it took so long to get pregnant. I didn't want to have surgery in a foreign country.... but that's my story. 

I've focused so much recently on all the things my story isn't. It wasn't till some prayer and great news from great friends that I got my head back on track. 

This past Sunday a ministry that I am a part of started discussing plans for Mother's day. Yes, we start this early. As I was listening to the plans, I realized that there is reason for my issues, and a reason for being placed on this council. I spoke up-I mentioned how awkward, uncomfortable, and downright painful church on Mother's Day can be. That if you are a woman of childbearing age sans child, you feel less than. That when they have all the moms stand up in service, a  piece of the infertile woman's heart drops to her stomach. That there are all sorts of people with issues with mother's day, and we need to respect those. Not everyone has a great relationship with their mom, or with their kids. Some mothers and children are no longer with us. 

 I was given the chance and I stood up for those women. The plans shifted, then, to be more kind and fair to all women. All because one person spoke up. I don't say this to give me some sort of praise for all I do-I do very little, and this was just a comment. But it was a comment that I was able to use to galvanize me into a better place mentally, and a more productive place.  So what is my story?

My story is about sharing experiences to create an easier time for all.

My story is about how one doctor can make all the difference.

My story is about how it's okay to fall down sometimes... and it's okay to stay down for a little while. 

My story is about how some of the smallest gestures make the biggest differences. 

My story is about volunteering.

My story is about being  empathetic.

My story is about never giving up. 

My story is about doing all I can for the people I know and love... and those I know and don't love.... and those I don't know.

What's your story about?

Friday, February 7, 2014

Award Winning Baked Potato Soup

Last Sunday, our chapel service had a potluck soup/chili cook off for the Super Bowl. It was a lot of fun, and yours truly took first place in the soup category! I made my Crockpot Baked Potato Soup. I've made it about a million times, and it is always a crowd pleaser.  It's creamy, smooth, and most importantly... Delicious.  Lucky readers... I'm sharing the recipe with you!

5 lb potatoes, peeled and cut in small chunks
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced (I usually do 4 or 5. Hubs is obsessed with garlic)
2 qt chicken broth
1 tsp season salt
1/2 tsp red pepper
1/2 tsp pepper
2 8 oz pkg cream cheese
For garnish:
Bacon, turkey bacon, green onion, cheese

-place potatoes, onion, garlic in crock pot. Top with seasonings, then pour in chicken broth. 
-cook on low 8 hours, or high on 4
- mash potatoes. I use an immersion blender, but have used a hand mixer before. You can also hand mash, if you like it chunky.I like my soup smooth, so immersion blender works great for me. 
- cut cream cheese into chunks and drop in soup. Put the crockpot on high for 30 minutes
- when done, give it another quick treatment with the blender/mixer/masher.
-serve! Top with garnishes and enjoy. 

This serves an Army, and I don't know the calories. ;) It's one of my favorite comfort foods and so easy too! It reheats well so no worries on all the (super delicious) leftovers!

What's your award-winning recipe?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


For the Mister's birthday, I surprised him with a trip to Bologna.  I know-it seems like a kind of weird location, but his fraternity traces their origin to Bologna so this was an absolute must see for us. 
We flew in Friday night, and immediately had an issue. Mr left his camera in our cab. :( We got one the next day, before our trip, but still. It was rough moment. Otherwise- our first night in was amazing. The hotel (Il Convento dei Fiori... Convent of the flowers) is an actual renovated convent. It is decorated in a beautiful modern style for the rooms, with the common areas retaining a lot of the old history. 
Painting of Jesus in the Breakfast Nook
Lobby Ceiling

We had a wonderful walking tour (thanks Mom!) on Saturday morning, followed by lunch at Eatly and then  Mr's walking tour to me of some important streets and gates. I don't know too much about why they are important...something about an evil Pokemon Pirate. (Full disclosure: I'm fairly certain there's more to it... but between what I can't know and what I didn't want to know.... as far as I'm concerned It's a Pokemon pirate)
Due Torri

Saturday night we had the BEST PIZZA OF MY LIFE. And I didn't get a picture of it or anything... just delicious pizza. Wood ovens are key y'all.  We ate it and watched Psych on his laptop.. it's the little things that make me realize I love him.

Neptune's Fountain

Sunday we chilled out. We window shopped, got our ornament, and relaxed some more. Another great dinner, and then packing up to head back to Germany.  Monday was another travel day.

This trip had such a different pace than our Paris trip. It was relaxing. It was simple. It wasn't a maddening rush to try and see everything! We just took it easy. Yes, there are some things we'd like to see if we go back, but we saw the absolute must-see's. I feel like we could easily do another 4 day in Paris and not see everything still.  It was a good juxtaposition for us. Bologna is definitely worth the day trip, if you are in Italy! The food was amazing (Better than Rome, in my opinion), and the scenery was great!
Arcades all through the city

We're taking February off from traveling. We're recouping and getting our act together. In March Mr's mom is coming to visit and we are thinking we'll take her on a quick trip to Luxembourg or Prague or something. Then in April Mister wants to rent a cabin... May I go to the states and we have the brigade ball, then July we both go to the states again! It's a crazy year we have ahead of ourselves. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

I'm so excited...

And I just can't hide it!

As of yesterday, the Mr and I are no longer homeowners. After being on the market for nearly a year (just a few weeks shy), switching realtors after a horrendous experience(damaged our property and tried to blame us), and getting to the days before closing 3 times... The deed has been filed and It's over. I don't own property, I don't pay electric/water bills, I don't do any of that!  I miss North Carolina. I miss the house, but I am so glad that this is over and freed us up to now focus on paying down debts Dave Ramsey style. If you are in the Fayetteville area, I highly recommend Doug Nunnaly. He has been so wonderful and helpful- with never even meeting us face to face! 

Also, I'm adding some other pages to the blog. If you look up top, you can see a page that is devoted to our infertility journey thus far. I plan on adding others about our travels and potentially about sorority stuff. 

Here's to focus and goals in the New Year! 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Deep thoughts with Jessica...

As of Today, we have been in Germany for about 5 months.

What I expected when we got here was almost an instant community. I thought that since pretty much everyone was far from family, people would get the homesickness. The fear, the everything. As I've said before, being OCONUS is an amazing opportunity, but also one that is scary as all get out.  I figured that people would be so welcoming, that we would be able to make friends, etc.

To a degree, we experienced that. Our sponsors were gracious and amazing. They introduced us to our city, offered their apartment, phone, car, whatever we needed to get settled. Unfortunately for us, they also ETS'd soon after our arrival. 
 It's been a little more tough, but we've been surprised by every turn by people coming out of the woodwork. We're slowly making our little family here again. I forgot that it took me well over a year at Bragg to forge a community...and that it took 2 to make our family there. 
Here, I've relied more on social networking. It has definitely helped me keep in touch with friends and family. It also came with a downside for me.

Pregnancy/Birth Announcements.

They can be SO hard to read. It feels as though each announcement says to me "What's wrong with you? Person X already has 2 kids and they're just a year older than you.". Even though I know it's completely bonkers, I feel like somewhere out there is a pool of available babies, and that I am continually missing my chance. That these people are taking MY potential babies. 

Like I said, I know this is not the case. It has gotten much better with time and prayer and so much else. This truly has been a year of growth.  More on that later. 

For the more practical update: We have completed our first rounds of testing with Dr.W. C is fine, but it looks as though I have symptoms resembling PCOS(Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), but no official diagnosis for it just yet. Dr. W recommended we start Clomid to help me ovulate earlier and hopefully produce better quality eggs. We were all set to start this month, but found at the baseline ultrasound that I had a 1.25" cyst on the right ovary. Since Clomid stimulates your hormones/ovaries, it is highly recommended to not take it if you have a cyst as it will encourage it to grow larger and potentially do some major damage. 

So the first medicated cycle was a bust. We will try again next month, with hopefully better results.

Now that all that's out-Bologna was amazing! Recap to come hopefully this week. Though, classes have started now as well so it may be a bit.  Here's to being more intentional with the time I have!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Paris, Part 3

In which I recap day 3 and my angry feet. 

We didn't "do" much on Sunday. We were exhausted, my feet were starting to cry, and we didn't want to burn ourselves out. 

So after breakfast, we headed out for two stops: The Pantheon and the Louvre.

The Pantheon was important for me as two beloved authors are buried there (Voltaire and Hugo), and I was not disappointed. the history in that building is insane. This is also where the Curies, Monsieur Braille, and many others are laid to rest. To be surrounded by it is unexplainable. 

From there, we went to the Louvre. Travel tip: have a plan for the Louvre. It is MASSIVE. We were in there for hours and probably only saw like 5% of the art. Our plan of attack was to see the Mona Lisa first and get it out of the way. I know that sounds really calloused, but we had been told it was a let down (it is), and that portion of the museum is CROWDED and I don't do crowds. 

From there, we went and saw the Islamic art exhibit, and then Napoleon's apartments...chock full of lyre chairs, making my Alpha Chi heart oh-so-happy. 

At that point, ye olde dogs were barking and we went back to the hotel to rest before dinner.

Dinner was at Brasserie Julien, recommended by a friend of mine. It was absolutely amazing! Delicious food, great service...I was highly impressed. I got the Onion Soup (no need to say French ;) ), Lamb, and then brioche french toast. Mr. Got poached eggs/chestnuts, whole sea bass, and lime cheesecake (And scolded by the waiter for choosing a non-french dessert). 

After that, we explored. We wanted to say that we had seen the Moulin Rogue, so we popped up in that part of the city to take a picture, and immediately left. Mr was also in a play in college called Picasso at the Lapin Agile, so that was a must find as well. 

Then it was a quick stroll back to the hotel to get ready to leave. We left the next afternoon, after a morning shopping at Galeries Lafayette and Printemps. Of course, I left Paris with more macarons... *insert dreamy sigh here*. Can't get enough of them!

It was an amazing birthday trip that can not be replicated! I felt so blessed to have that time with Mr and to get to see more of the world. I'm looking forward to our next trip- this weekend (!!) we are headed to Bologna, Italy for Mr. to nerd out over Kappa Sigma history for his birthday!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Paris, Part 2

In which, I valiantly attempt to recount a whirlwind day of sightseeing. 
SO! Day 2: we start out with breakfast at the hotel. I had signed up for their frequent stays club (Only requires your email address) and that got us in for free breakfast for our stay, as well as a coupon for dinner at the hotel restaurant. Of the two, I think breakfast was the better deal. ;) 
After breakfast, we went back up to our room to wait. My mom had booked a tour guide for us as a birthday present, but we were unsure of where/how to meet him. We figured that waiting in the room was the right choice, and were rewarded with a phone call from the concierge shortly thereafter letting us know the guide had arrived!
Scott was great, he was recommended by the guy my mom had originally wanted (Michael Osman), and I think he was perfect for me and the Mr, especially seeing as he's an actor and all!
After a quick brainstorm-we were off! By the end of the day, we had seen: St. Chapelle, the Conciergerie, Notre Dame, Pont des Arts(Lover's lock bridge),  Les Invalides/Napoleon's Tomb, Arc de Triomphe, and the Eiffel tower. PHEW!
St. Chapelle

Notre Dame

Altar of Notre Dame

Winning Nativity Scene in Notre Dame

Back of Notre Dame

Napoleon's Tomb

View from the Top of the Arc de Triomphe

View of Paris from the Eiffel Tower
We crisscrossed Paris easily thanks to the visite passes, and made it in plenty of time for our 5:00 PM Eiffel Tower ride! There was so much history and so many things learned from our trip that to begin to write it all would be to begin the blog post that never enjoy the pictures instead. ;)  My two tips for sight seeing in Paris: Vistie Passes and Musee' Passes. The former lets you get around easily, the latter pays for itself. Many sights and museums participate, and just by going to the Louvre and Notre Dame it pretty much is cost efficient...except with the pass you get to keep going places without spending more money!
After that, it was a quick jaunt back to the hotel for dinner in the hotel restaurant. We were pretty unimpressed by everything but dessert. The service was pretty poor (We deduced it was because we didn't speak French, as we watched those who spoke it around us get excellent service), and the food just felt like it was trying too hard. I did try foie gras, and it wasn't bad! 
After-dinner lemon Madelines
Mr.'s Chestnut flavored dessert (Complete with edible gold...because Paris)

My apple dessert with the best sorbet EVER in the foreground.
After all that, we collapsed in bed and tried to prepare ourselves as much as possible for day 3: The Louvre and the Pantheon. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Paris, part 1

Phew, what a weekend! I hate that it's taking so long to post these, but Mr. also took about 900 pictures.... and I'm not exaggerating.
We left early Friday for Paris. Luckily, we live just uphill from the train station, so we walked down and got on our first train. This one just took us from Wiesbaden to Frankfurt. Then, we had about 10 minutes to hop on our next train- from Frankfurt to Paris (Est). 
We sprang for first class, and I feel it was worth it. We had extra leg room, we had a light meal delivered to our seats, and it was generally quiet. 2nd class was more crowded...think typical coach on an airplane, and no meal. There was an on board restaurant, but the Mister says it wasn't very good.
We arrived in Paris around 1, and had a little issue with figuring out the train system. After walking to Paris (Nord), We eventually figured it out and bought Paris Visite passes, which are definitely worth it! We were able to travel by metro anywhere within Paris as frequently as we wanted for 3 days. It definitely made a difference in our ease of sight seeing that's for sure!
We eventually made it to our hotel, and set our bags down and headed right back out. We wandered around the area our hotel is in, enjoying just seeing sights. I did make sure to stop for a birthday treat- macarons from Fauchon!

After all this, we had a dinner at Cafe Marco Polo, which was just okay. It won major points for convenience... it's right across the street from our hotel (Concorde Opera Paris) I got steak frites- delish! Mr got scallops, which he claims were delicious.

We got crepes for desert, but I forgot to grab a picture. ;) We went to bed early, which was perfect for our insanely busy day two... Coming tomorrow!
Au revoir! 
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