Monday, April 29, 2013

Punday 4/29

I can't believe I forgot to do Punday last week! It just completely slipped my mind. /facepalm

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Why Renting is Better Than Owning

I don't know how it works everywhere, but I've been to two colleges (a community college and FSUPC) and they basically both had the same book buying then selling back cycle. You'd go to the bookstore and buy say, a financial accounting book for $255. Maybe if you were lucky you could get a used copy and save $50. Then at the end of the semester you would try to sell it back, only to find out they already bought back as many as they need. Or maybe a new edition came out with all the hip new accounting information. Or maybe the professor decided they didn't like that book and are using a completely different one next semester. For whatever reason you are now the proud owner of a $255 door stop. If you're really lucky, they might buy it back for a whole $25!

My last job before I decided my endo was too bad was actually at FSUPC's book store. While there they implemented something called text book rental. I used it a couple times and I thought it was wonderful! I'd definitely recommend it. I like to think of it as a guaranteed buy back, only you get the money at the beginning of the semester instead of the end. Rather than paying $255 and hoping to get $25 back for a net cost of $230, you can rent it for $28* (free shipping both ways). That's like selling it back for $227 which is just not going to happen. You won't even get that much if you sell it on Craigslist or eBay. 

Plus keep in mind renting textbooks is not like renting a car where you have to return it in the same condition you found it. Usually the standard for returning books is about the same as selling them back. Highlighting, underlining, and normal wear and tear are fine. Just no missing pages or water damage or things like that. If damage does occur or it's lost or stolen you can buy the book for the difference of what you paid and the retail price. So basically it's like you bought the book and couldn't sell it back. If you rent from you can actually add a type of insurance for 25% of the rental cost ($7 for the accounting book) which protects you from having to pay full price. In fact if it's damaged, lost, or stolen in the middle of the semester they will send you a new copy! This is something FSU's program didn't offer. The school I may be attending in the fall doesn't seem to have a book rental program of it's own, but that's okay because CampusBookRentals seems like it might be a better option anyway.

Another thing they offer but FSU didn't is something called RentBack. Basically if you own any textbooks that are in demand, they can rent them out for you rather than getting the measly buy back price from your campus book store. There are a lot of books DH and I have kept because we couldn't sell back (or the offer was absurdly low) so I am going to look through them and see if we can't put them to work for us. Each time they rent out your book you get 100% of the rental cost, minus the $19 it takes to ship, process, etc. The company does make $1.80 off your book but that's nothing really. Each book has a rentability factor represented by one to five stars as well as an estimated life span and current profit listed for you to consider before sending in any books. It's really quite neat!

One thing I really admire about this company is their partnership with Operation Smile, a charity that provides surgeries for children born with cleft lip or palate. From their website: "Every three minutes a child is born with a cleft. One in 10 of those children will die before their first birthday. The children who survive are often unable to eat, speak, socialize or smile. In some places, they are shunned and rejected. And in too many cases, their parents can't afford to give them the surgeries they need to live a productive life." How can you look at those precious before and after photos and not want to help them? CampusBookRentals has pledged enough to cover at least 1,000 life saving surgeries per year. Each time a text book is rented a portion of the proceeds is donated. Not only do you get to save money, but you get to help change a child's life.

*Price subject to change, all amounts are indicative of price at time of writing.

Disclosure: Compensation for this post was provided by CampusBookRentals. As a former college student and book store employee, the opinions are my own. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Appalachian Trail Part 1 Week 5

Notice the people at the top for scale. source
Name of trail: AT Part 1 - Georgia
Distance this update: 2.4 miles
Average distance: 2.3 miles
Total distance: 6.8 miles
Time this update: 1:07
Average time: 1:08
Total Time: 3:23
Landmarks reached: Long Creek Falls (pictured), Hawk Mountain Shelter

The improvement in my health is reflected in my stats for the past two weeks. I walked .6 miles more than the two weeks before, and did it in 4 minutes less! I was going to figure out how long it took me to walk each .1 mile this update vs last but that made my head hurt haha. I really am absolutely terrible at math, especially when time is involved because for some reason an hour is 60 minutes not 100. We really need a metric version of time. The Virtual Walk app includes seconds but I'm just going to round it to the nearest minute from now on so I don't have to deal with that.

We had to get Scotty a harness because he kept trying to coke himself with his collar. He gets so excited sometimes. He will even stand up and kind of hop on two feet trying to get to the squirrel or whatever. Whenever he'd try and get too far ahead of me he would make a kind of wheezy noise and eventually he would pause for a second and cough. The harness seems like a giant improvement. He can do that all he wants and it doesn't hurt him.

We also ran into a "Farmish Market" which is a farmer's market owned by some Amish people. I had no idea there were Amish here! The marker on the map is where the Farmish Market is. The land area of the map is about 6 square miles. Notice all the water? Yeah not much farming space around here. There is space to farm about 30-45 minutes from here (if you've got a small personal farm) but that seems like a long distance for someone to travel everyday if you're Amish. Maybe I just don't know enough about Amish rules.

Here is the map for the distance I "traveled" this time on the AT. The black X is where I left off last time and the white X is where I stopped this time.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Now accepting sponsors/donations!

The text of this post is copied from my new sponsor tab. Sponsor list mentioned is below the rates on that page. 

Someone once told me that the compassionate people in our lives and the ALI community might be willing to contribute financially to our goals of becoming parents. Right now the plan is to put any money received towards embryo donation. If that becomes no longer an option for whatever reason, it will be saved for adoption. Because I'm not totally comfortable with people just giving us money, I figured I'd approach it more like you are sponsoring my blog. Lots of blogs have sponsors, even if they are typically much bigger than mine! I'm not totally sure how the paypal button works, so if you aren't able to include name and contact information please email me at


< $5   - Name/link in Sponsor List and future baby book
 $10   - $ 5 stuff  + 200x200 ad in right sidebar for one month
 $15   - $10 stuff + one paragraph blurb in monthly sponsor highlight post* 
 $25   - $15 stuff + a sponsored post of your very own
 $50   - $25 stuff + 2 more months of $15 stuff
 $100 - $50 stuff + copies of each ultrasound picture if successful 

*If you're the only sponsor in a given month I might just tack on the blurb to another post.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Low Carb Blues

Some of you may have switched to a low carb diet before, but for those that haven't it really, really sucks. I think you have to go through some sort of detox like with meth or something. You feel terrible, you have no energy for anything, and are pretty irritable. Two crabby people does not a happy home make. I'm not normally a hungry person, in fact I often forgot to eat altogether, but now it's like I'm starving. I completely forgot it was Monday and didn't realize I missed Punday till today. Oops. Thankfully it only really super sucks for a week or two and then you start to feel better.

Last week I did go to the store and buy some wonderful lowish carb things to cook. However, I also noticed cookies were on sale buy one get one and they were only like a dollar! So of course I had to get them. It was weird though because they were called oatmeal raisin but but they tasted more like gingerbread. Anyway now the cookies and the soda bread are gone so I've officially gone down to the lowest carb I will. Man what I wouldn't do for a soft pretzel...

Last night we had tacos with low carb wheat tortillas. They had 5 usable carbs per serving where the normal ones are like 35 usable carbs. We got some of the regular ones just in case the low carb ones were nasty, but they were actually pretty good. They were thinner and more flimsy than normal but tasted fine. They're more like whole wheat bread (good) than whole wheat pasta (blasphemy).

As far as my endo goes I haven't noticed much difference between this week and last week. I only have four more days of this bottle of Aygestin so it's been about a month since I started it. I was always told it would take up to three months to feel better on birth control so I'm guessing the same goes for this. As long as there aren't any set backs that seems like a good time frame based on how I'm feeling now after one month.

I've also started to notice changes in DH's low testosterone symptoms. Some of them are definitely improving, others don't seem to have improved much, and it's too early to tell for the rest. Like I can't really tell if he's building muscle mass more easily or not. I am happy with the way things are going so far and can't wait to see how things go from here!

Pst! Hey you! Go enter my giveaway!

Monday, April 22, 2013

National Infertility Awareness Week

Most of you guys are already painfully aware of infertility and the struggles it causes, so I'm not going to make a big spiel about that. Instead for NIAW I posted a bit about our struggles on my Facebook and invited all my friends and family here, to see a side of my life that has until now been mostly hidden. So for those of you who have found your way here from there, hello! If you don't want to read a bunch of TMI stuff about my cervical mucous perhaps you can just read the summary here instead of reading back through everything haha. Of course if you want to read through everything, be my guest. I hope you will stick around, and please leave me a comment to let me know you're here!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Happy April ICLW!

No idea what ICLW is? Well it's this little thing created by Melissa of Stirrup Queens where people in the ALI (adoption, loss, infertility) community leave a bunch of comments for each other. It's pretty awesome. If you belong in any of those categories (including pregnancy or parenting after ALI) I hope you'll consider participating next month! The link to the current month's blogroll and sign up page is always on my side bar.

For those finding me through ICLW, hello! Thank you for stopping by! First off I'd like to point you toward my OPK and HPT giveaway, as I know everyone likes free stuff! =)

My name is Tasha but I've been going by FrozenOJ online practically forever. I live in Florida with my husband Josh and our yorkie Scotty. I was diagnosed with PCOS in 2006 and told then I would most likely need medical help to conceive. We were NTNP most of our marriage and almost started actively TTC a few times but what we now know was endometriosis always got in the way. I would often bleed and be in terrible pain for months at a time, have to quit my job, withdraw (or sometimes fail) my classes, we even had to withdraw an offer on a house once. Eventually I just stopped bothering to find a new job or continue my education and became a stay at home wife.

In 2011 I had an episode like that and our usual methods (birth control) weren't working. After seven months of nonstop pelvic pain I had a lap done and my endo was found. My OB/GYN Dr. E said normally she would have asked my DH to consent to a hysterectomy but she knew we desperately wanted children. So as soon as I healed, we officially started TTC! As far as we know I have never ovulated on my own so we hopped on the clomid train rather quickly in February 2012. I did not respond very well, only ovulating 4 times between then and December of the same year. We did conceive the third time but lost it quite quickly. We switched to Femara and didn't respond too that so well either. We also discovered Josh had some MFI issues and extremely low testosterone.

Unfortunately my endo is back with a vengeance and the medication I'm on for that makes conception impossible. Josh's testosterone therapy also makes him sterile. So the quest for a biological child is at it's end and no shiny loot for us. I think the new endo treatment is slowly starting to work, and I'm looking at taking two easy classes in the fall so I can perhaps assist my graphic designer DH whenever I'm feeling up to it. Once we know this is indeed working and I won't need another surgery (or possible hysterectomy) we are going to start saving up for the next great adventure, embryo donation! I hope you'll continue to follow along.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I fell off the wagon, broke my neck, and got peed on by a passing horse

Gus eating candy from Psych season 6 episode 16 Santabarbaratown

Ugh, so my "lifestyle change" isn't going so hot these days. I know with my PCOS we need to eat low carb. My DH is far heavier than he should be and low carb as always been helpful to him in regards to weight management as well. For a while we were doing pretty well, but not so much anymore. Not really since my endo started acting up. I just haven't been able to cook the way I know I should. For instance, yesterday my diet consisted of lucky charms, cranberry juice blend, boiled eggs, farfalle in cream of chicken soup, jello, and oatmeal soda bread. /hangs head in shame

so bad, but oh so good
I feel like people are thinking, "You don't have a job, you don't go to school, you don't have kids, you don't volunteer, as a 'stay at home wife' the least you can do is cook an evening meal." I've really been feeling down on myself about this, and I have to remind myself that sometimes having endometriosis IS my job and I'm scheduled for overtime. Being constantly in pain and consequently drugged up is harder than you might think. Some days even just taking a shower and washing my hair is draining. I'm not lazy, I just genuinely do not have the energy to go grocery shopping or cook or even make a meal plan. Some days putting some Stouffer's mac and cheese in the microwave is the best I can do. And to be honest, carbs are freaking delicious. They are my comfort food. It is hard to tell myself no, you don't need a frosty with your spicy chicken sandwich even though I know for that little time I'm eating it I'll be happier.

Thankfully things aren't as bad as they were. I'm still in a lot of pain but I do think it's getting better. More times than not one tramadol is enough to deal with the pain. Sometimes I'm able to go the full 6 hours before taking another one instead of 4. Sometimes when I wake up I can go to the kitchen like a normal person and get my bowl of lucky charms before taking my morning dose. Sometimes I am feeling up to cooking, but because I've felt so bad before we don't have anything good to make. This is something I intend to change as soon as I'm feeling up to it.

Yesterday I looked through my recipe books and online and found a few recipes I can make big batches of. I really think this is key, at least until I'm all the way better. My DH really doesn't mind eating the same thing a bunch of days in a row. He is the farthest thing from a picky eater which works to my advantage. On days I'm feeling better I can make large portions of something for the days I'm not feeling so good. I'm also going to start making lowish carb soups to freeze in individual portions for days I don't feel good. That way we can also have a little bit of variety. I know I can do this.

I'm also going to try and add more physical activity when I can handle it. All the additional carbs and sweets I've been eating combined with a medication that lists weight gain as a side effect has not been good for me. I have a little mini exercise bike thing that fits under my desk. It's basically some peddles with a base to hold them up. I'm going to try and use it whenever I'm reading. It'll be at a slow pace until I know what I can handle and I know even peddling fast it's not a real workout but at least I'll be moving. So yeah that's the plan for now. I hope I am being realistic and not asking to much of myself. I guess I'll let you know next week lol.

As an aside, I can't believe I couldn't find a gif of Gus eating candy! I had to learn how to make my own. It's actually harder than I thought it would be, but hey at least it's out there for someone else to use now. I probably should have put it in full screen first but I didn't even think about that.

Oh and don't forget to enter my OPK and HPT giveaway!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

OPK & HPT Giveaway!

Even though we're not TTC anymore I still have quite a few left over OPKs and HPTs. They're just the internet cheapie kind but I figure if I'm not going to use them I'm sure someone else could! So I decided to hold my very first giveaway! Since I have so many I decided to do two giveaways, one now and then another one some time later. Not sure when yet, but I'll be sure to let you know. They don't expire till 10/14 but I'll definitely have the other one in plenty of time for the winner to use them. Both this one and the next will be for 16 OPKs and 8 HPTs. Since we are planning on embryo donation I've kept some of the HPTs for myself but I shouldn't have a need for the opks which is why I'm giving away more of those. The winner will be chosen on Towel Day!

Please forgive the dirty carpet and Scotty's feet, he really wanted to be in the picture!
Edit: I found out May 2nd is Baby Day so I'm changing the end date to then! This was originally super long anyway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Punday 4/15

Friday, April 12, 2013

Appalachian Trail Part 1 Week 3

This has not been going as well as I would have liked. Last week it was raining, then my chest was bothering me, then we had the wedding. This week I've been recovering from the wedding and again it stormed yesterday. Bah. So I think I'm just going to update every other week, at least during storm season. It's also getting hotter which is something I need to take into account. I am not a morning person and never wake up early unless I have to for a doctor appointment. Once it starts to cool off in the evenings the mosquitoes come out and they think I taste delicious. DH doesn't like me to go out by myself as night since 2/3s of the murders in our city last year happened in our neighborhood. The time I went today was perfect, so I think I'm going to try and go late afternoon before the mosquitoes come out. In a few weeks it won't really matter when I go since it'll be insufferably hot even at night.

The one day I did manage to go last week my phone shut itself off in the middle of the walk for some reason and my distance wasn't saved. I knew from my last update that I had been walking about 2 miles an hour, so I just put it on treadmill mode for about how long I had been walking before I noticed my phone was off. Looking at my time I wonder if it actually kept my time but not my mileage or something as it took me more time to go less distance these two weeks. Either that or I've just been walking slower haha!

Name of trail: AT Part 1 - Georgia
Distance this week: 1.8 miles
Total distance: 4.4 miles
Time this week: 1:11:10
Total Time: 2:16:21
Landmarks reached: Footbridge on the Appalachian Trail (pictured above)

X marks the spot I stopped this week. source 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Update on DH and a Wedding

DH went to see an endocrinologist on Friday. He's been there before as he had half his thyroid removed like four years ago and the doctor there is really nice. I couldn't go with him though as I had to go buy shoes. (Seriously, it was a shoe emergency!) From what I understand Dr. K gave him two options. The first one is the kind of therapy that will make you sterile and costs $20, the other is the kind that won't but will cost you $200. Yikes! Using GoodRX we could get option A down to $11 but option B was still going to be $160. The doctor gave him prescriptions for both so we could talk about it and decide what we wanted to do. We were hoping we would find a coupon like I did for Femara which made it super affordable, but alas we did not. When I read him the price DH's exact words were "F that!" so I guess the $11 one it is haha! Like I've mentioned before DH was never really on board for having bio kids so he would much rather save that $160 for embryo donation. We could probably freeze some of his sperm now just in case we change our minds, but we don't really see the need. Testosterone doesn't necessarily make you permanently sterile so if we do change our minds we could start restoring his fertility. I really don't think we will though. His first shot is on Friday.

Today will be two weeks since I started the Aygestin. I was told that this is the first milestone I have to reach for it to be working properly. If I start bleeding in the next few days I will need to have my dose increased but so far no spotting or anything. It feels nice not to expect AF any time soon, but of course I'm still cautious. I'm sure it will be a while yet before I break out the white pants. Even though it's supposedly working I'm still in a lot of pain. I'm not sure when that's supposed to get better but I hope it's soon.

I'm next to the bride, DH is standing with his back turned, and my sister is taking the professional pictures. 
Saturday was the wedding of my best friend since third grade. Not only were DH and I in the wedding, we had the honor of performing the ceremony with another girl Jess and I went to elementary school with and another friend of the groom. I got to sign as the official officiant and DH signed as a witness. She was such a beautiful bride and it was a very touching ceremony, I almost started crying in the middle of it! The groom accidentally said "I Jessica offer you this ring" and it was just so darn cute. I was okay pain wise until almost the end of the pictures, then it all kind of hit me at once. I was in so much pain even with my medication and I just wasn't sure what to do. I'm sure I looked like I wasn't having a lot of fun. I don't want to come off to their other friends and family like I wasn't having a good time but I didn't really want to explain the problem either. So there were some times I just disappeared for a while to a back room to breakdown and then tried to put on the bravest face I could.

At the end of the reception everyone left other than my family, the groom's sister, and the bride's dad and step-mom. The bride and groom ended up helping with a lot of the cleanup which I felt bad about. There was a lot of furniture and knickknacks set up in the ceremony/reception space that we had moved to set things up that had to be moved back. I'm afraid I looked lazy because there was only so much I could do but it is what it is. I helped as much as I could and that is what matters. That night I ended up taking two tramadol and a lortab because I hurt so much. I remember I had the same kind of problem at my sister's wedding in 2011. That was before my lap when I was suffering like I am now. Her MIL said some not very nice things to me about not helping as much as others which is why I think I'm so insecure about it. I am ready to be in a wedding where endo is not an issue. Now that I've recovered I have to catch up the 64 blog posts that have been piling up in my reader over the last week. O.o

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

From Left to Write: Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton

As you might have noticed, there's a button on my side bar saying I am a From Left to Write contributor. Well it's finally time to write my first post! From Left to Write is a book club of sorts, where participating blogs dedicate one post a month to which ever book was selected. Rather than writing a traditional review we are to supposed to write about our own life experiences using the book as inspiration. As a member I did receive a free copy for this purpose.

This month the book is Afterwards: A Novel by Rosamund Lupton. I really enjoyed it especially since it was written in second person which is a bit unusual. I struggled a bit with what I would write about as I don't have any kids, I've never been in any disaster on the scale of a fire, I've never had an out of body experience, I don't know much about private schools in England... I just couldn't relate very much. Thankfully near the end of the book I found my answer, something I could relate too so well I just had to share. As such there will be some spoilers but I'll try to be as vague as possible since this is a mystery after all. =)

In the book a fire is started at the main character's children's school and her daughter is fatally injured. The police suspect arson and now the mother and her police officer SIL are on a quest to find out whodunit. When the culprit was reveled* the mother just could not believe it. She had suspected domestic abuse within the culprit's family, but definitely not from the culprit themselves. She was supposed to be the abused most definitely not the abuser!  The mother is in such shock and cannot rectify the person she has known into the person she is.
As they speak it's as if a painting-by-numbers portrait is being filled in, one color at a time.
But I won't look at their vicious portrait of my friend.
Because [culprit]'s known [daughter] since she was a girl of four. She's heard me talk about her and [son], all the time. She knows how much I love them.
She's my friend and I trust her.
I can't add this to what has happened.
I can't.
In the end the mother comes to the conclusion, "I have never known her." This is real to me. I know what that's like, not from the mother's perspective but as the culprit's family. I cannot count the times I have heard similar disbelief when I speak about my dad as he really is. You see, my dad is a sociopath.

My father literally doesn't have a conscience. He doesn't feel empathy. He is cruel to those he is supposed to love while appearing to be "The World's Greatest Dad" to the outside world. He painted a picture of our home life with him as the victim all the while mentally abusing us. People always took his side. Somehow if I would mention what was really going on, I was mistaken. I was acting out. I was being deceiving. People could not imagine my dad the way I knew him so I must be the one lying.

When he started messing around with a girl only a year older than me and my parents got divorced, somehow my mother was the bad guy. When she took him to court for not paying child support she was a greedy you-know-what. When she made a fuss because he wouldn't tell her the address to his studio apartment where my little sister was sleeping in the same room with some random male roommate, she was being nosy. Even though he told everyone he worked with that he only had two daughters, he bought my older sister a car but wouldn't give me a $50 loan, he insisted on going to the girl I mentioned above's high school graduation even though I was required to be there as a member of the band, I somehow broke my father's heart by removing him from my life entirely. If we happen to be in the same place with other people around, he still acts all pitiful because I won't give him the time of day. It's disgusting and other people won't see it because then they have to admit he's been working them too. People like him aren't supposed to exist, and if they do they are the serial killers taking lives of other people's children in far off places. They aren't here, hiding in plain sight. We don't know them. If we did, we would be able to see through them because we aren't as gullible as those other people. Admitting that someone who has been our friend is actually a monster makes our world a very scary place and people are reluctant to even entertain the idea.

Having lived this I try to keep an open mind. If someone tells me something about a friend that seems out of character, I don't automatically believe them but I don't dismiss the possibility either. It might be hard to believe someone I care about is secretly viscous but I know sometimes they are. I won't take someone's side in an argument just because I've known them longer or believe I know them better. I wish more people would have done that in my own life.

*It turns out she wan't the real arsonist anyway but the fact is she could have been, people like her are the "bad guys" everyday, so I still thought it would be a good jumping off point.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Punday 4/8

I found some really great ones this week! So many that even posting 10 I still have 6 for next week. Hope you like them! =)