Monday, June 30, 2008

Some serious thinking...and shoes.

Big news this week: Brett has been offered a position in the PhD program at UGA. I am so proud of him and excited for the opportunity. Now for the bad news- more time commuting back and forth. Brett graduates with his master's in December, and I was super-excited for him to move in our house full-time. Now it looks like he will be splitting his time between Athens and here. At least he is more than one hour closer- and we'll both officially be in the same state! I have at least two more years here in Warner Robins before my time commitment is up, and then it's big decision time. I have a few options:

1. Stay in the military. Go for the job at Fort Gordon that I've been looking at. Possibly be a working mom sometime in the sooner-rather-than-later time frame. 

2. Get out of the military and try to be a stay at home mommy for a while.

3. Get out of the military and find a civilian job. No clue what I am qualified to do, although I will be done with my master's in December, so that helps.

4. Go to law school, preferably at UGA. Put off the new addition for an indefinite about of time.

Quote of the week from Brett's dad, "Can't you go to law school and be a mom at the same time?" Followed by me laughing hysterically.


And to lighten up the mood of this post, here are a few pictures of the shoes I'm lusting for. When I pinned on (got promoted) last month, I promised myself a luxury pair as a present to myself. A few of the ones I'm looking at:


Monday, June 23, 2008

This has been a while coming.....

I've been reading a lot about the debacle surrounding home birth, and I really feel like I need to throw my two cents in. Regardless of whether or not you support home birth, you should be able to agree with the idea of a woman's right to choose her own birth plan, whether it involves a hospital, birthing center (independent or within a hospital), or home birth.  It's a basic right, but believe it or not, but there are people out there who want to deprive us of it.  A group representing America's OB/GYNs is pushing legislation to ban home birth- believe it or not. 

Although it will be awhile longer until Brett and I have kids, I've been doing a lot of reading on the subject, because I want to know my options. I refuse to believe that there's an all-encompassing "right" way to give birth- one that is "right" for everyone. I don't buy into the concept that the average birth is safer in a hospital, or that an MD is required to safely deliver a baby. Unfortunately, Tricare will make it somewhat difficult to have the kind of birth plan I want (first choice (if no complications): home birth assisted by a midwife and doula; second choice: birthing center independent of a hospital), so I feel like I need to be prepared to fight for what I want. And I'd rather do the research before I have incredible levels of hormones racing through my body and a timeline forcing me to figure it all out, thank you.

I'm not asking you to agree with me- I'm just asking that you do the research and empower yourself to make the decision that's right for you. 

Some good resources, if you're interested:

This website explains unassisted birth, which is amazing! I am in awe of these women. 

Here's the resolution from the AMA/ASSN. Click the top link to download.

Here's the response from Abby Epstein, Ricki Lake, and Jennifer Block. 

Some good homebirth info.

There are lots of good books and movies out there, too!

- On a side note, I think I am going to take on The 100 Pushup Challenge, as mentioned in Sally Ann's blog. On my last PT test I only did 35, and max is 42. The main problem I have is getting them done quickly enough, as we only have 1 minute. I figure if I can master the challenge, I will get fast enough to get max points. Pushups are such a pain to train for! Generally I bench press instead of practicing them, but I got in the habit of lifting for max weight instead of more reps. Right now my best is 135#, which I achieved in the desert the last time I was there. I just get bored doing the same routine over and over! I plan on going for 150# this fall. 

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Domesticity and the Vermonster

This post will be split into two parts: an update on my garden accompanied by one of my favorite recipes, and a musing on a "food challenge" on Food Network.

Part I:
I am soooo proud of my garden. I would never have guessed how much I enjoy working in it and watching my little plants grown from tiny seeds to fresh fruit and vegetables. Nothing beats the produce you grow all by yourself! When I went outside today to pick the ingrediants for homemade pizza, I noticed that I had some new "baby" plants. I have some jalapenos, eggplant, and even watermelon on the way! Here is a pic of the baby eggplant, which, incidentally, I have never grown before. 
Brett and I also made our own pizza. I say it was homemade, but in reality, we bought the crust at the commissary. All the toppings, though (beside the mozzarella), came from the garden.  They turned out delicious!

I also made one of my favorite recipes tonight. Blueberry Pudding Cake is a recipe my grandma and I found in a Country Woman magazine a longggggg time ago. Brett's mom's blueberries are ripe (mine aren't yet) and he brought a quart-bag full. I'm going to take it to work tomorrow. I find bribery a very effective way to make sure lots of people attend my briefings. Here's the recipe:

Blueberry Pudding Cake

2 cups blueberries
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon lemon juice

- Combine all three and pour into a greased 8" x 8" pan. 

3/4 cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk 
3 tablespoons butter, melted

- Combine and pour over blueberries. Spread to even consistency.

3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch

- Combine and sprinkle evenly over batter.

1 cup boiling water

- Pour over all. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45-50 minutes. Best served warm!

* If you try it, make sure and let me know what you think. 

...... and here's the finished product!

Part II: The Vermonster!
It's a huge sundae (20 scoops of ice cream plus a multitude of toppings) available at Ben and Jerry's. You can check out the specifics of it here. Bottom line: I plan on taking on this behemoth the next time I'm in Atlanta. I am confident that I can take on the monster and win! 

Oh, and a final thought. Has anyone seen the previews for Le Premier Cri? If not, you can check them out here. Looks like it's gonna be amazing! How cool will it be to see how birth is viewed/practiced/interpreted around the world? I mean, it is the original UNIVERSAL experience. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Every woman should know about this!

A couple months back, based on a friend's recommendations, I read a book called Taking Charge of Your Fertility. Although I previously believed that I was well-versed in the human body, the fertility cycle, etc., this book opened my eyes. I could not believe how much I didn't know. 
I think everyone knows at least one couple who has tried the Rhythm Method, and we all know the jokes (what do you call someone who uses it? a parent!). But did you know that there is an all-natural form of birth control out there that can be as effective as traditional, hormonal birth control? It's called fertility awareness. Fertility awareness is like Rhythm in that you track your cycle, but it's WAYYYY more effective because it is individualized to you! Rhythm fails because it assumes that all women have a 28-day cycle, with ovulation occurring on day 14. But did you know that very few people actually have a 28-day cycle? Even fewer actually ovulate on day 14! Too many women are taking the pill for what they believe are irregular cycles.  A "normal" cycle can be significantly longer or shorter than 28 days, as long as it occurs for roughly the same amount of time every month. That is, you could have a 35 day cycle or a 20 day cycle and be perfectly normal, as long as those dates are relatively consistent. 
So how does you do know when you are fertile (i.e. when to either abstain ((if you're a hard-core Catholic or just want to go that route)) or to use a back-up method ((condoms, withdrawal, etc)) )? Your body will actually tell you! You can gauge your cycle in a few ways. Some women chart cervical mucus (CM). Others chart basal body temperature (BBT- or the temperature when you first wake up). Did you know that nearly all women will notice a significant change in their BBT, based on what part of their cycle they're in? I sure didn't. Still others check for the position of the cervix. Probably the most effective of all is a combination of all three. There are plenty of websites out there, too, that can help you. I personally recommend Fertility Friend. It lets you chart your info digitally, has features that alert you to fertility signs, and lets you compare your chart to those of other women. 

The way I see it, here are the advantages/disadvantages to Fertility Awareness:

- inexpensive (free, actually, after the first month)
- doesn't interrupt "the moment"
- no hormone-induced side effects
- you learn to know your body!
- when you do decide to conceive, it will be much easier because you'll already know your cycle
- no withdrawal period from hormones
- no worry about antibiotics messing up your birth control
- can be used for contraception or conception

- you have to wake up at the same time every morning (if you do BBT)
- you have to be willing to get down to the nitty-gritty (if you check CM)
- the "human error" factor is there
- no STD protection (of course, I'm assuming you'd ONLY do this if you were in a monogamous relationship)
- you do have to learn the techniques/method, which takes some reading

Bottom line: Does fertility awareness take more work than popping a pill or putting on a patch/Nuva Ring? Yes. Is it worth the 5 minutes spent charting? Definitely.

If anyone has questions/comments, I'd love to hear from you. 
Oh, and Taking Charge of Your Fertility is a must-read for ALL women, not just those interested in fertility awareness. You'll be amazed at what you didn't know before. 

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Fun weekend!

I don't feel like writing in complete sentences right now, but I will suck it up and spit this out. This post will be ramble-y, but you'll get the drift.

Friday: Hit up Tiger Town Tavern with Brett, Stevo, and his friend. Dave showed up! AWESOME. We also ran into the couples (Christy and Ryan and Eve and Brent) who were getting married the next day, plus their bridal parties. So we got to see a ton of people I haven't seen in a while. So much fun!
- Also made fresh salsa from my tomatoes, onion, jalapeno, green pepper, and cilantro, plus some store-bought lemons (their juice, I mean). Delicious!

Saturday: Went to Eve and Brent's wedding. It was like a high school reunion for Brett because there were so many Seneca HS people there. We had fun and the ceremony was beautiful. 

Sunday: Church. Lunch at Dyar's with Sarahann. Lounged on the lake allllllllllll afternoon. Somehow avoided sunburn (for the most part). Chuck and Savannah swam the whole time and slept the whole way home. 

- Yay for rain! I got home from Clemson tonight and didn't have to water the plants. Picked the first of the zucchini tonight, plus more cucumbers (the pickling kind), some raspberries, strawberries, and tomatoes. Going to have to start making dill pickles this week, plus I'd like to make peach preserves. Brett's going to bring blueberries from his mom's trees this week so I can make blueberry breakfast cake. Yum!

- Why can I never remember my cloth shopping bags when I go shopping? I'm always standing in line when I realize it, too. Will make renewed effort to remember them. 

- I am behind in my homework. I swore I wasn't going to go this route this semester, but work has been crazy. I WILL catch up this week before Brett gets here.

- Planning for Braves game on Friday. If anyone will be in Atlanta, let me know and we can get tix together. 

Upcoming post: the now infamous softball incident of last week, plus a personal diatribe on fertility awareness for b.c. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hooray for Tuesday!

Top reasons why today is an amazing day:
1. The guys are here to fix the air conditioning!
2. I found the TJ Maxx receipts I thought I'd lost so now I can return those wide-legged jeans that seemed like a good idea at the time.
3. My garden is doing awesome. Picked the first of the cucumbers today, and it looks like I have some habanero peppers ready, too. 
4. I was expecting to wake up super sore from my first real trip to the gym in a while yesterday, but I actually feel really good.
5. The new iPhone is coming out next month...and I'm getting one!
6. I found some awesome new running music. If you need motivation or are just looking for something to help pass the time, check this out. Nothing like hearing Navy SEALs yelling to get the most out of your workout! The jodies also seem to help with my breathing. 

*You can buy it on iTunes

Monday, June 9, 2008

A super-fun weekend!

This past week has been really crazy. Brett drove down on Wednesday, and I had physical therapy. Tricare has apparently decided that I have had enough physical therapy, so I am resigned to a lifetime of "zombie finger." Let's hope it improves on its own with time.  On Thursday I only worked a half day, and got home in time to finish packing our tailgate supplies. Scott and Millie got here around lunch, and we took them to our favorite spot in Warner Robins (Saigon Noodle House!!)  Then it was time to head to Atlanta for the concert!

We made it to Atlanta at around 4:00 and parked the car. The Scott and Tara met us there with their supplies. We set up camp and immediately the drinking/people spotting began. I swear to goodness, you will see things at a Buffett concert that you will never see anywhere else.  Tara claims she saw Kenny Chesney and proceeded to chase him down for a picture. I throw the bullshit card on that one.

Long story short, the concert finally started at 8:00. Lots o' drinking, dancing, and Jimmy music followed. I was disappointed that he didn't play any of the "ballads" that I love, but he did play "Big Ole' Goofy World" which was cool. We had a blast and everyone returned home safely. Here's to a few Jimmy virgins who are no longer and to many concerts for years to come!

For a set list, see

* Certain details of this event have been left out to preserve the integrity/pride of the individuals described above.

On Friday, Brett and I decided to head to the Braves game, even though we had just driven to ATL the day before. We got on StubHub and managed to get some kick-ass tickets, 3rd row up from the field in left. Of course, I would have preferred to have an unadulterated view of Jeffrey in right, but no dice. We did get to sit with a whole group of friends, and despite the outcome of the game had a good time. Lauren and Cliff's little girl Emmie is too adorable for words (baby lust in full force ensued.) The fireworks show after the game was amazing! 

Random note of the day: Bring back the old Iron Chef! Iron Chef America sucks in comparison. How was Battle Corn even a challenge? I also miss miss Iron Chef Sakai and his crazy concoctions. Cod and vodka ice cream with fried fish skin, anyone? 

Upcoming blog: a fitness resolution/breakthrough plus some awesome running music.