Saturday, October 31, 2009

MenopurELY Painful

I started my stimulating shots yesterday!  Who else, other than people with infertility, would get so excited to begin injecting themselves with three shots daily?!  Well, the excitement quickly wore off after I felt the Menopur shot!  It, for some reason, was much more painful than Lupron, and by far more painful than Follistim (which isn't painful at all).  Plus, there are a lot of steps involved in prepping the Menopur for injecting.  I will make a video tomorrow morning to post, but today my camera battery died at the very beginning of the process.  I go in on Monday for blood work to assess my estrogen level and determine if we're on the right track or not with dosage.  I will probably also go in on Wednesday morning for an ultrasound and more blood work.  The RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist)'s office said that they still anticipate an egg retrieval around November 9, 10, or 11th despite the lowered dosage (They lowered my dosage due to the fact that I had a VERY high antral follicle count (try 50 in each ovary!!!!!) and they don't want all of the follicles producing eggs too quickly or I would over hyperstimulate).  The anticipated retrieval date is, of course, if everything goes as planned . . . 

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Delayed Birthday Gratification

I love it when my birthday lasts for weeks!  Today I received a cupcake from Jilly's cupcake bar on my porch from Shawnee!  It was a "Missylicious" cupcake, which I believe is vanilla cupcake with vanilla buttercream.  Shawnee is living in Kalamazoo, Michigan and orchestrated this cupcake delivery from afar.  Thanks, Shawnee!

Last Friday night, Katie took me out for a fancy dinner for my birthday!!  We went to a swanky restaurant in Clayton called Araka.  We ordered a couple glasses of wine.

Katie ordered butternut squash soup with a balsamic dribble on top to start:

I got a ceasar salad with "potato croutons" to start:

Then, I got a butternut squash-filled ravioli with a parmesan foam and crispy fried sage:

Katie got a pork dish with some apples and sweet potato gnocchi:

Me with my food (and my really cute new dress that I got from H&M, too bad you can't see the whole dress):

I'm also wearing my brand new necklace custom made by none other than Katie of Scarlett Garnet.  I will have to take another photograph of it for the blog, but it's a metal cutout of a turtle (my request, as the turtle is a Native American symbol of fertility).

Here is the lovely Katie:

Thanks for making my birthday stretch out over a week girls!!  It's more fun when you have little surprises to look forward to over a period of time!

Laduree's got nothin on these Macarons!

The 2009 October Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Ami S. She chose macarons from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course: The Desserts of Gramercy Tavern as the challenge recipe.

I was SOOOOOOOOO excited to do this month's Daring Baker's challenge: French macarons!! Ever since our trip to Europe in 2008, I wanted to make macarons. We visited Laduree at Harrods in London, and OMG! I fell in love with French macarons. There was one in particular that beat out all the others: salted caramel mmmmmmmmmmmmm.

I didn't want to get too crazy with flavors for my first try, because all I was really worried about this time was technique. I wanted to make sure that my macarons had "feet", and sure enough, I must have done something right, because there are feet!! I made pumpkin spice macarons with chocolate ganache filling. Delicious!!! I can't wait to experiment with other variations! I was so proud of myself and the way they turned out on a first attempt!

Here's the recipe if you'd like to give 'em a go:

Confectioners’ (Icing) sugar: 2 ¼ cups (225 g, 8 oz.)
Almond flour: 2 cups (190 g, 6.7 oz.)
Granulated sugar: 2 tablespoons (25 g , .88 oz.)
Egg whites: 5 (Have at room temperature)


1. Preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C). Combine the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour in a medium bowl. If grinding your own nuts, combine nuts and a cup of confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a food processor and grind until nuts are very fine and powdery.
2. Beat the egg whites in the clean dry bowl of a stand mixer until they hold soft peaks. Slowly add the granulated sugar and beat until the mixture holds stiff peaks.
3. Sift a third of the almond flour mixture into the meringue and fold gently to combine. If you are planning on adding zest or other flavorings to the batter, now is the time. Sift in the remaining almond flour in two batches. Be gentle! Don’t overfold, but fully incorporate your ingredients.
4. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a plain half-inch tip (Ateco #806). You can also use a Ziploc bag with a corner cut off. It’s easiest to fill your bag if you stand it up in a tall glass and fold the top down before spooning in the batter.
5. Pipe one-inch-sized (2.5 cm) mounds of batter onto baking sheets lined with nonstick liners (or parchment paper).
6. Bake the macaroon for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and raise the temperature to 375°F (190°C). Once the oven is up to temperature, put the pans back in the oven and bake for an additional 7 to 8 minutes, or lightly colored.
7. Cool on a rack before filling.

Yield: 10 dozen. Ami's note: My yield was much smaller than this. I produced about two dozen filled macaroons.

* I added a generous dose of pumpkin pie spice to the macaron batter, as well as a sprinkling on top of the baked macarons.

Catty Carvers

This week the "Catty kitchen" was to be held at Jenna's house!!  We brought over pumpkins to carve.  Jenna had set up a cute little Fall-themed spread for us to enjoy including muffins, nuts, and candy corn!
Jenna and Micah have a really cute little dachsund mix.  I found it quite hilarious when Jenna unwrapped a bone that was the same size as the dog for it to chew on.

Pumpkins were carved by all, and there was quite a variety:

Octavia was impregnated with a pumpkin baby:

Jenna was such a sweet hostess.  Here she is cleaning up after all of our messy carving:

She even put away the slimy pumpkin seeds despite it grossing her out:
Meanwhile, Kora drank cider and Faith contemplated the Crate and Barrel catalogue:
Whilst I video taped this hilarity:

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Shootin up some babies!

Here's a picture of all of my IVF meds for this one cycle:

And here I am giving my first Lupron injection. I plan to document the process all the way:

Anniversary celebrations

For our anniversary, Chris and I considered going to Pere Marquette again to stay the night.  But, because we had just had a lovely trip to Chicago, we didn't want to spend all the money (plus we have a wonderful new king sized bed of our own that we don't have to pay to sleep in).  So, instead we decided to go to Pere Marquette's AMAZING brunch that happens Sundays throughout October.  We invited our parents along (we had already done the romantic "alone" time dinner the night before).  The brunch had anything and everything you could ever want, including a bananas foster station!!

After brunch we went hiking at Pere Marquette State Park -- it was beautiful!!  Then, we all headed over to Eckert's to pick some FUJIS!!!!  My favorite!  

Mama and her apple

My dad and his "apple stick", demonstrating that it really works!
Bob for apples (ha!)

Apple stick in action
All the Fujis were on the ground!!!!  :(

We also got pumpkins, kettle corn, and Indian corn.  My dad pulled the cart and looked like a little boy doing so.  Here is the apple stick in motion (tilt your head 90 degrees counter clockwise):


My last year of my 20s has begun!  I must appreciate this youthful age decade while it's still here!

On my actual birthday (Thursday) we celebrated by going over to my parents' house after work for some cupcakes and presents!  My parents gave me a "Where the Wild Things Are" themed set of presents: the children's book ("for my future 'wild thing'"), a stuffed Max, the song "Wild Thing", and tickets to see the movie.  They also said they would pay for a dim sum lunch (my request).

After my parents' house, Chris and I went over to Jenn's house to celebrate with the Catty Kitchen girls.  They were so sweet and thoughtful.  Octavia made me brownies.  She even thought of the candles, and was so excited about them, she put them in while the brownies were still hot.  The results were pretty humorous:

Double sided candles and wax holes!  They were still good, Oc!
They also made homemade pizza, yum!  In addition to all of that they had a lovely basket of birthday gifts waiting for me and a beautiful 'Happy Birthday' sign strung across the fireplace.  I received a crocheted cookie, a box of parchment, 3 different types of flours!, cookie cutters, note cards, and a table cloth!!!  These girls are so awesome!  I failed to take enough pics, but you can see more a the Catty Kitchen blog by following my link to the right!

We also played Scattegories together!  Such fun.

Pumpkin head didn't want to be photographed apparently:
Saturday we went to lunch at LuLu's for the best dim sum in St. Louis, and boy was it!!

Dim Sum by the cart on "weedends"

Next time we'll have to try the "smootlies"

We all had a much better time than it would appear based on my mom and dad's expressions.
Just some of the items that we picked off of the trays that people were carrying around offering a huge variety of foods!  We ate green beans, snow pea greens, Chinese broccoli, fried vegetable noodles, marinated tofu, bbq pork, onion pancakes, pork dumplings, shrimp rolls, and fried shrimp.  I can't wait to go back to try more foods!
Chris loved it too, don't let that expression fool you!
Funny thing is, of all the people not smiling in pics, my brother was the one making funny faces in all of the other pictures I took of him . . . until I told him his pics were going on the blog.  This is a rare sighting: David smiling broadly in a picture!
Dessert cart?!  I'll have one of those, and one of those, oh yes, and one of those!
Pineapple bread thing
egg custard tart thing

Red bean paste pastry thing

After dim sum Chris, my mom, and I met up with Chris' parents for Where the Wild Things Are.  It was a great, touching movie.  All of us cried.  After the movie we ate dinner at Raccanelli's in The Loop.  Mmmmmmmm.

Then, it was time for me to go out on the town with my fashion-week diva friends: Katie and Garnet.  Katie and Garnet are the Scarlett Garnet jewelry making duo.  They were at Lumiere Place all weekend for the St. Louis Fashion Week.  Unfortunately, though, Katie was feeling really under the weather by the time I got there.  So, I helped Garnet pack up (I really wasn't much help), and then Garnet and I headed to a bar/club called Sleek in the casino where the Fashion Week after party was being held.  The night was fun and interesting, and fuzzy to say the least.  Let's just say I spent Sunday recuperating.
Twas a great Birthday!  Thanks everyone!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Here we go . . .

First type of injections for our first round of IVF start on Sunday . . . here's a very emotional video/song about infertility to start off this crazy medical journey (I don't typically like country music, but this song hits too close to home).

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Chris' parents had some Marriott points leftover from when they had a house fire and had to live in a Residents Inn for 3 months (or more). So, they decided to use up the rest of the points with a trip to Chicago and were kind enough to invite the two of us!

Chris and I arrived on a Friday evening around 9:30pm. We went across the street to a pub for a beer with Chris' parents. Then, we hit the hay. The next morning we got up to got to an awesome breakfast at Yolk.

I had such a hard time deciding on what to order -- their menu was vast! I ended up getting a DE-licious omlette with jalapenos and avacado and who knows what else. It came with a side of potatoes and some strawberry-chocolate pancakes!! Whoa, too much food!

Unfortunately I forgot to take pics until after we'd consumed most of the food. Here are my pancakes (Chris' fork stealing a bite):

Chris ordered the most amazing thing: French Toast made out of a pecan sticky bun with a caramel sauce!! O-M-G.
Chris' mom got an equally awesome thing: French toast made from orange bread with an orange glaze sauce. And his dad got a Monte Cristo! This place was worth the wait!

That day we went to the Art Institute of Chicago to see their new addition of the Modern Art wing. It was pretty cool! I love modern art. Then we took the new bridge that connects Millennium Park to the Art Institute and got our picture taken:

And stumbled upon this crazy sculpture in the park:

After that we went back to the hotel to rest a bit before dinner and a show! We decided on an Indian restaurant across the street from our hotel. It was really good!

That night we went to a HILARIOUS sketch comedy show called "Cupid Has a Heart On" performed by The Cupid Players, a group of comedians that our friend, Liz McArthur is good friends with. She is in other comedy troops with some of The Cupid Players. Definitely go see a show by them if you are in Chicago! It is well worth it.

The next day we went for a walk around Chicago. We stumbled across this huge interpretation of "American Gothic":

We took a lovely Chicago River walk:

We also met a friend, Belen, for cupcakes at Sweet Mandy B's before driving back to St. Louis for the work week!

A fun trip, as always when you travel to Chicago!