Monday, September 30, 2013

Fertility Drugs & Storks

I never thought our journey to conceive would be so....Inconceivable

I thought babies came from.... 

And not so much...

I mean, I know that they do come from above.
I know that no amount of tests, procedures or drugs can bring a baby into this life without it being part of God's plan. 

I guess I just never thought that I would be one of those women.
The women who aren't just inherently fertile
I thought I would be the other kind of woman...
The kind who can just pop out babies without much worry...

Obviously that was God's plan for them.
And more obviously, it is not His plan for me.

I had never really given infertility treatments much thought until, well, I struggled with it.
Do we try IVF? 
How far do we go?
How much do want to spend?
Do we want to adopt?
But most importantly, what can we do AND still be trusting in God? 

In the scheme of things, 2 years of trying isn't that long. 
However, with some previous medical complications, it does make one anxious... 
And with many friends having babies, it seems like it might never be our time.
And it really might not ever be our time.
But that doesn't mean that we cannot raise a family! 
Matt and I will adopt if we are given that opportunity. 
But we do want to try and have a little one.

A friend once told me something that really struck me, really touched me.
They told me that I was a very special person, that I was smart, gifted, beautiful.
That I had so many great traits and characteristics
That my husband did too, that we were both very wonderful
And then said, "the world needs more of that in it"
Why would we not want a little baby made from us? :) 
I pray that it is in our plan, because I would surely love it. 

So today, we start clomid.
It will be our first treatment. 
We have had tests and procedures, all which were normal and for the most part non-invasive.
(Although my husband might disagree, bless his is very loving heart)

So I have been wondering how fertility drugs, fertility treatments, fit into Gods plan...
My pastors wife told me that nothing will change Gods plan - in short, taking a pill will not help us get pregnant if it is not meant to be.
Perhaps we are supposed to be struggling through this, leaning on Him and finding strength and comfort in Him
Perhaps we do need a little help in the scientific part of baby-making, perhaps it's in our plan?
Although in the back of my mind, I think about Sarah, Abrahams wife.
Sarah had trouble trusting in God's plan for her.
She was impatient, she didn't want to wait for offspring, so she took matters into her own hands.
She had Abraham sleep with Hagar, and Ishmael was born.
She had trouble believing that God will fulfill his promises, so she plunged ahead with her own solutions.
And down the road, she saw the consequences of her actions. 
I do not want to take matters into my own hands... But am I doing that with fertility drugs? 
Or am I taking advantage of the medical advances that God has blessed us with?

Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you", declares The Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

For now, we will take things a step at a time.
We are going to try the clomid, and well, we will see what's next and decide if it is for us.

And in the mean time, we are relaxed, we are not stressed.
We have healthy bodies, compliments to The Lord! 
We have each other, we have our families, we have YOU!

So you really don't need to tell us, "Just relax, it will happen!"
Easy for you to say, not so easy to hear. 

And you don't need to tell us how your friend overcame infertility, because oddly enough she isn't me!

Nor do you need to tell us to just keep practicing...

And you don't need to tell me how fertile you are.... Gee, thanks....

You don't really need to say anything.... Just support us, pray for us, and be there when we might call upon you.
And share your babies with us, because it helps us while we wait. :)

Oh, and thanks for being patient with me... It's still a hard thing to go through
And remember, it's just my hormones talking! 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Apple Core!

Apple core! Baltimore! Who's your friend? Him!!!

What happened to good cartoons like these ones?! 

My dad, good ol' Donald Duck, and Chip & Dale taught me this game when I was just a kid, and I loved it when i remembered to use it!

My friend recently scored on a killer price for Washington Gala Apples, only 0.50$ a pound!
So I bought 115 pounds!
Let's just say that's A LOT of apple cores!
And the game doesn't work very well when I'm the one saying "apple core" and my hubby gets to be the "Baltimore" because he naturally chooses me as his friend.... 
And I don't like to pelt myself with half eaten fruit!
But I digress...

What do you do with 115 pounds of apples??
Apple pies! Applesauce! Caramel Apples! Apple Cider! Dried Apples! Apple Leather! 
The list is endless!
It wouldn't be fall if there weren't apples around!

My house has  been overtaken with a heavenly apple cinnamon aroma for the last week or two.
It's a fantastic fall smell :)
Whether applesaucing, applepieing, appleleathering, or applecidering, you must start in the same place - wash, core, peel and slice your apples.
And when you have 115 pounds to cook, this do-dad comes in handy!!!

It slices! it dices! Ok, so it doesn't dice, but it does core, peel and slice your apples, all in a few turns of the crank!
If you don't have one of these, I suggest splurging for one... They make cooking apples an easy task!
AND... They make apple SLINKIES!
Who doesn't love an apple slinky?!
It also is great for freezing your apples for later baking!
Just add your slinky apples to a ziplock with a tad of lemon juice and you'll be able to have "fresh" applesauce or apple pie all throughout the year!

Matt was highly impressed with his apple slinkies! 

Ok, so on to the recipes...
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-Apple Pie-

My favorite apple pie to bake is a crumb top apple pie.
It's not too sweet, that way you can add caramel topping to each slice as desired :)

Apple Filling:
5-7 apples, depending on the size of your pan (I use gala because that's what I like)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp clove

1 pie crust

Crumb Topping:
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup quick oats
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
7 tbs unsalted butter, cold

Combine your slinky apples with brown sugar, lemon juice and spices.
Stir to coat evenly - allow to sit while preparing crumb top.
Combine all dry ingredients for crumb top in a bowl - mix well.
Add your butter in cubes and blend with pastry blender until it resembles a coarse meal.
Pour apples into pie crust, then top with crumbs.  Heap both in the center so you get all that yumminess into the pie!
Bake in a preheated oven at 375*F for 1 hour or until golden brown.
Let cool, and then enjoy.
I mean it, go crazy, enjoy that sucker!! Add whipped cream, caramel, sprinkles, live it up! :)

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I make my applesauce in a crockpot, then can it.
You can easily make it on the stove, and you can just as easily store it in the fridge or freeze it instead if canning it.

Enough apples to fill your crockpot.
1 cup water
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbs lemon juice

Combine ingredients in crockpot and cook on low for 4 hours.
After cooking time has ended, stir apples - many will fall apart, but will not be smooth enough for applesauce.
Use a potato masher, food processor or immersion blender to purée apples until desired consistency.

Add hot applesauce to prepared jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace
Place 2 piece lids
Add jars to boiling water canner and process for 20 minutes

I do believe it is the tastiest applesauce ever.... Do try it!!

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-Apple Leather-

I feel like a little kid when I eat fruit leather... So yummy!


Line baking sheet with greases parchment paper
Spread applesauce about 1/4 inch thick
Bake in a preheated oven at 170*F for 5-8 hours, until leather is smooth and non tacky.
Peel, cut into strips, and store in ziplock or mason jar!

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-Dried Apple Rings-

These are my hubbies favorite!
And I'm ok with it, because they are healthy!!

Make apple slinkys but leave the peel on.
Dry in a dehydrator for 10-12 hours.

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When you have so many recipes to choose from, 115 pounds of apples sure goes fast! 
I wonder where I can get some more...
Plus i could really use some more apple cores, my husband deserves a good fruit pelting :)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Lumberjack Lindsay

Today we got our first snow... and its not even October!!!
First Snow = First Fire!!!

One thing I love about snowy idaho winters is sitting in front of a warm fire with a hot cup of tea and a nice cuddly cowboy by my side...

However... The warm fire is only attained by firewood, and plenty of it!  When it doesn't get above 10*F for a whole month, when the night time is 15 below, and when your only heat source is your fireplace, you sure do use a whole lotta firewood!
Thus, you need to have mounds of firewood ready to burn... And this is accomplished by logging trips to the high country!

The road to Pole Creek cutting zone and the coolest fence ever!

A few times in the fall, my hubby and I will venture up into the high country, into the forests, into the Sawtooth pines and cut us some firewood.
Ideally, we look for a spot that has multiple dead trees, either standing or down, and proceed to fall them if still standing, then limb them, cut them into 8ft lengths, and load them into the truck or trailer.
This is one exhausting adventure!

one load down... many more to go!

Although im not afraid to get down and dirty, these 8ft logs often weigh close to 200 lbs if not more! Matt likes to get the nice big and tall lodgepole pines.
The bigger the tree, the more firewood.... but of course the bigger the tree, the heavier the 8ft logs will be... Some so heavy I can't even think to lift them!
I like to fall the trees that are about 8inches in diameter, but even these in 8ft logs can weigh 150lbs.

Woodcutting is when a flatbed really comes in handy!

Needless to say, the day after our woodcutting trip we are pretty dog tired!
And sore... And bruised... And cut up!

Our last cuttin trip, Matt and I both cut through our jeans with the CHAINSAW!!
By the grace of God, we were both lucky enough to only tear a good hole in our jeans! Not even a little scratch!
Talking to our neighbors in this country, almost everyone has cut themselves with a chainsaw, so hopefully this was our turn and we escaped any real injuries!

so tired, but so happy its over! 

But you do knick your skin with the rough bark, twist ankles, get wood chips everywhere, get burned with a hot chainsaw bar, cover yourself in bar oil, you get the picture!

Matt and I, both armed with a chainsaw (mine is a 16in Poulan that I had before we got married... Wouldn't say it was the best brand, but come on... I had this when I was a single gal! Even Matt's friend said I was a catch simply by bringing a chainsaw into the marriage :) - My dad just gave Matt an18in Husqvarna that is a beast) we can really cut some wood! I'm not a huge fan of falling trees... My forearms are not quite cutout for the angles involved... So Matt falls them, I limb them, he cuts them, and together we load them.

hard to think about burning firewood when its 85* outside when your cuttin it!

We have a system, and for it just being the two of us we do a pretty good job!
My dad went with us a few times, and although he is a young 67, logging is hard on a guy his age! But it's nice to have his company, and an extra set of hands will never be turned down!

For this winter, we have about 4 cords stacked outside... It still needs to be cut and split, but that's what Matt's free time is for!! (Free time on a ranch.... Hahah, who am I kidding!?)
We have tags for 1&3/4 more cords... But we might buy more tags.  You definitely don't want to run out of firewood when there is 4 ft of snow on the ground!  We are praying for a heavy winter, and with a snowfall in late September, it sure looks promising!!

Matt and our 4 cords of pine firewood

Picabo!!! Get it?!?! oh i crack myself up!

It sure is a back breaking day, but there is something about working hard all day knowing you will have plenty of firewood to enjoy those romantic nights in front of the fire that make it all worth it! ;)
Or at least that's the line that Matt keeps feeding me...

The woodpile is also a favorite for the dogs... this is where they hunt an endless supply of
bunnies and rockchucks!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Boxer Dog

For those of you who have a boxer, or who know a boxer, you might agree that boxers are more like humans than their 4 legged friends, or at least mine is!

I have not met a dog with more nicknames...
Beastie Lou
Beastie Loonie
Tumor Dog (boxers get a lot of tumors)
U Dog
Chloe Bird
Bird dog
And the best part is that she responds to them all!! (Or none... Depending on her mood)

Boxers have such personalities!
They are so animated, so loving, so stubborn, the list goes on and on...

Boxers wiggle.
They do not wag their tails... They wag half their bodies!
Chloe, aka "U Dog", wiggles the back half of her when she gets excited... Which is pretty much all the time. She proceeds to wag her body into a U shape, always switching where her head and tail are, but always keeping both in perfect view. Her tail, or nubbin, often does not really wag... It kind of goes in circles or is so excited that it is just pressed to one side of her butt.

Chloe's nub also doubles as a nose for Matts glasses

Boxers snore.
There should definitely be a warning label when picking out one of these puppies.
"Warning- do not be alarmed of the loud bear noises coming from your couch... It's not a grizzly, it's your pooch"
Beastie snores so loud that she kept my sister-in-law up all night when she was visiting and had to share the living room with her.  I've kind of grown accustomed to it I suppose, but last night she was exceptionally loud and kept Matt up for hours....
The night kind of played out something like this...
Chloe would snore louder than a lawn mower, Matt would yell "CHLOE!", silence for the count of 3,2,1..., Chloe would then begin snoring again, slowly building to the 80 decibal level, Matt would make me wake her up as she sleeps on my side of the bed, I'd lean over and pull her ear or whatever I could grab, she would then look at me with her eyes wide open and continue to snore just as loudly...
She can be sitting on the couch just sawing it off....
No wonder I sleep through Matt's 5am singing every morning, I sleep next to her every night...

 This dog can do some hard core sleeping

Must've been a cold day... she is very resourceful to use a pillow for a blanket :)

Boxers drool.
BirdDog even blows bubbles.
At dinner time, she will quietly come over to you and show off her waterworks.
She will start by blowing bubbles, normally one for each jowl.
Then the bubble will pop, which gives way to dribbles.  
Little droplets slowly dripping on the hardwood floor.
Then come the shoelaces.  Her drool will become more viscous and gravity will help her form long, and I mean LONG, strings of drool.
At this point, the best thing to do is wipe her off, or she will find something to wipe with, almost
always your leg... Yumm

and i really liked that shoe... 

Boxers punch.
Hence the name I suppose, but they really do use their front legs more than any other dog.
When a boxer plays with you or with another pup, they box.
And they are strong! Chloe has KOed me a few times...

Boxers are stubborn.
Chloe-Bell has selective hearing.  Heck who am I kidding... She just ignores me, plain and simple!
Especially if its before 7am or of there is any kind of wet or cold weather outside.
The first thing I do every morning is let my dogs outside to go to the bathroom.
Picasso is rippin and ready to go, waggin his tail at the door.
Beastie-Lou on the other hand, is snuggled up and ignoring your presence.
Whether she is still on her dog bed in the bedroom or if she has migrated to the couch sometime in the middle of the night, when you call her to go outside, she will simply look at you.  
Perhaps she will raise an ear in your general direction, but never will she willingly come to the door.
She will normally come by the 4th or 5th time you call her, or of course if drag her to the door.
And if it is raining or snowing outside, no sooner than you shut the door she will be scratching at it to come in. Boxers don't do extreme climates very well - see below.

Beastie-loonie is also stubborn when in comes to tricks.  When she was a young pup this dog could do it all! Sit, stay, down, roll over, play dead, crawl, shake, beg, she could even catch a frisbee!!
Now her talent list includes ...
And it's not because she cannot perform her old tricks but because she refuses to.
Unless you have a treat... Funny how she suddenly remembers it all...

She isnt the biggest fan of Facebook... i think she would like this blog post tho

Boxers own you.
By this I mean that they do not cuddle with you, they LEAN on you, they smothercate you.
When dogs lean on you, it is said by some that they are owning you.
I am officially owned by the beast.  She leans on me every chance she gets... And I let her get away with it because 1. I love her, 2. She is a spoiled Princess, 3. She is a great cuddler and 4. She weighs about as much as I do!

Here is chloe owning Sis... i know that smooshed feeling sis!

Boxers are loyal.
Chloe is my best friend... Tied with my husband and my lab of course :)
Although a bratty girl sometimes, she is always by my side, always with me.
She is the dog that will come lay her head on my lap when I'm crying, or lay by my side when I'm sick in bed.  She will lick the water that escapes the shower door and wait for you to step out so she can dry you off with her tongue.  She is so gentle and patient around babies and little kiddos, but can rough and tumble with my cowboy.  She is such a sweet soul.

On hikes, she is the dog you can always count on to be right at your side

Chloe will be 13 next year... And still going strong.
Although she has a tumor, it is benign and is now just a special part of this crazy little dog.
I'm not sure if I'll ever get another boxer after Chloe, because she is so special to me.
But I'm so happy she is here with me now.
She has totally made me a boxer lover.

Love her!


These pics aren't chloe, but they SCREAM "I'm a boxer!"

This is Layla, my friends adorable pup

One boxer or two?? You decide


Loyal Babysitter - id pay top dollar for sure!!!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Eensy Weensy Spider...

crawled on my face this morning.

You see, when you live on a ranch, you have lots of creepy crawlies.
We are surrounded by field after pasture after sage brush after creek etc etc
And therefore, we really have a plethora of ants, wasps, mice, rock chucks, rattle snakes, even frogs!
And PLENTY of spiders

And they are all here year round!!!
You think they would die or at least disappear during the winter months... but no, they just move inside.
Inside my HOUSE!
Last winter i opened my closet to find a little frog staring back at me... cute little thing.. just a bit odd to find in your closet.

The mice and the spiders all migrate indoors so that they dont freeze to death
And they think our house is the perfect place. Im not in agreeance with them...

I can do ants, bees, beetles and flies
I can do frogs, snakes and lizards
I can even do rock chucks (thankfully they have taken over the neighbors house and leave ours alone)
But i cannot and will not do spiders... ever!

I have this theory that i seem to proove over and over
The lady that is terrified of spiders is ALWAYS the one to find them on her, to sleep with them, to step on them, to get bitten by them
My husband never has spider bites! Leave it to me to wake up after a good nights sleep covered in spider bites, and then later find the little sucker on your pillow!!!!! EWWWW!

In my ranching experience, i have...
Towel dried my body with a spider
Swallowed a spider in my midnight glass of water
Shared a sweatshirt with a spider that then proceeded to crawl out of my hood and down my face
Cuddled with a hairy spider in my bed (that of course thought i was mighty tasty)
Rode around moving cows with a spider in my boot until it crawled up my leg all the way to my knee
Walked through a very strong and sticky spider web that had been built overnight in my laundry room, only to find that there were about 20 babies now on my face!

I hate killing spiders, because this means i have to get close to them! And they can jump!
They can even fly! (ok, so they cant fly, but i swear some of them move really fast - towards you!!!)
Lucky for me, my husband is one heck of an arachnid assassin, and i dont have to kill very many.
But when he isnt around, i have to take things into my own hands... and i find some pretty creative ways to kill them.

I have killed spiders with ...
Hairspray from across the bathroom
The remote control (needless to say i couldnt watch tv until matt got home...)
Windex - note that this is not very effective, but better than nothin!
a newspaper, the classic spider killing mechanism - although i swear they arent as heavy as they used to be now that everyone reads the news on the internet!
The spray hose on my kitchen faucet - man that thing can shoot far!
And of course, a shoe - sandal, boot, high heel, slipper - you name it, ive used it!

Worst spider thats been in my house?
The one that was on the toilet seat in the bathroom...
I had to hold it for what seemed like forever until Matt saved the day... and saved me from having an accident at the age of 26

Worst spider ive come in contact with?
Also the ugliest and scariest - a red jumping spider who decided to hang out in my car.
She came out of hiding while i was driving on the I5; she slowly and creepily crawled across my dashboard.
I wasnt anywhere that i could pull off the road safely, so i had to keep driving and just watch her walk around my car.
She finally reached the part of the dashboard that was directly in front of me, and she decided to just terrify me by sitting there, all red and hairy and gross...
When i found an offramp, i pulled off and stopped as quickly as i could, only to watch her crawl into the A/C vent...
Needless to say the rest of my 16 hour drive made me a bit anxious!
Although it sure kept me awake, knowing the spider was lurking in my car, just waiting for the right moment...
About a week after her disappearance, i found the little stinker dead on my floormat.
Although im sure she laid eggs and they are just waiting to hatch... heebiegeebies!!!

Worst spider ever?
The one that you see but dont kill... the one that gets away...
Makes my stomach churn and my skin crawl just thinking about those guys!

I think i should invest in a blowtorch... that would be the ultimate spider killing machine
Although my log cabin homestead would probably burn like a matchbook...

My advice to anyone who might come visit us?
Always shake out your towel, always shake out ANY clothing item, and always check your shoes!

Im getting better at sharing my life with them... I just hope they all move out someday soon
Or that they all turn into Charlotte... if wilbur could live with her, i think i could too

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Do you have any concerns?

They come in all shapes and sizes
Some work with disgusting things like feet - Podiatry 
Some work with amazing things like eyes - Opthalmology
Some work with wonderful things like puppies - Veterinary
And others, work with very awkward things - Gynecology and Urology

Whatever they chose to study, they all seem to ask the same question.
"So do you have any concerns or any questions?"
Its a great thing to ask, considering that you are likely at the doctors office because you either have a concern or a question, or both...
BUT, this polite and seemingly harmless question really stresses me out...

I really  have to remind myself that the MD or PhD that follows their name is NOT because of their psychology degrees!

Although they are indeed asking this question in order to try to help me, they are in no way prepared to answer the questions that come into my head....

Questions like...

Aren't I a little young to be having baby-making issues?

Why is it that people who shouldn't procreate have 5 kids and others who would make amazing parents can't have kids?

If a cow laughed, would milk come out her nose?

Do you think I'm related to Bill Gates, because there is no way my insurance is going to cover that!?

Is marriage really supposed to take this much work?

If a pig loses his voice, is he disgruntled?

Why do I have all the patience in the world for yuppie old clients at work but none for the ones I really love?

I'll be 27 next month, am I supposed to feel this decrepid so young?

If Matt goes completely bald, will his license still say that he has blonde hair?

Why doesn't someone tell you when your young and stupid that your mistakes will follow you the rest of your life?

When my husband and i both talk to our 5 dogs in the craziest baby-voices, does that have anything to do with us not having babies?

And why do we talk to things that can't answer back?

Why do I have names, nurseries, outfits, strollers, etc all picked out for my children when I'm not even pregnant?

Will I even know how to be a mother when I didn't have my own mother growing up?

Should my husband really produce 3 loads of laundry a week?

Why does ranching cost so much but pay so little?

Is wearing cowboy boots with yoga pants a fashion faux pas?

Is it ok if my husband has to make himself breakfast when he wakes up at 5am and I'm still snoozing?

Have ex-cowboys become deranged?

Does my husband know how much I really love him?

Will my mom ever know how much I miss her?

How can God love us the way he does?

And finally...why are Trix only for kids?!

I could go on forever, but I think you get the point.
No one living this life knows what they are doing. We can all be guided through it, whether it be by parents, friends, The Lord, self help books, etc, but no one knows the answer to every question, the solution to every problem.
We have to jump into life - feet first or head first because who knows what's right - and hope that we made the right choice. We have to have faith that the good Lord knows what's best for us, and that we will find happiness and joy if we only trust in Him.
I may never know the answers to my questions above, and yet I'll be ok.
Matt and I will either have beautiful babies or we will have wild and crazy cowboy lives together... Or maybe BOTH!
I know that my life will be fun and exciting and hard and captivating, that I will experience great joy and that there will also be struggles beyond anything I can imagine...but I know that in the end, I'll be ok. Because i know a God who loves me. Because i have a family who cares for me. Because I am married to the kindest man a woman could ask for... a loving, hard working, handsome cowboy who would do anything for me... Even see a urologist...
And now that he has, I need to stop worrying... I need to stop trying to forge my own path and let God lead me down the one he already paved for me.

I just really wish I could find the MapQuest for it!!!

Everything will be o.k., no butts about it