Week to Go

We are well into our third IVF round, and I don’t have a lot to say on it. I’ve pretty much resigned myself to simply moving through this and seeing what it holds. Egg retrieval is scheduled tentatively for the 6th. I’m not putting a lot of hope in this but there is hope, or I wouldn’t be doing this again. It is going to be what it is going to be.


Though I wouldn’t say, I’m completely calm on the matter. I did polish off an entire pan of brownies last night. Shane helped some, but it was pretty much a solo job. I’m also eating as if this is going to work. I’ve been doing the garden salad thing daily. It truly is a garden salad – it is all from my garden! I’m also keeping my protein intake high and keeping up with all those damn miracle supplements.

This has also made me feel like a horrible scientist going through this. In a normal experiment, you would change one or two variables plus have a control (I feel like a lab rat in a very messed up science experiment). For this third round of IVF, we have changed pretty much everything. Shane is on different meds. I’m on a high-protein diet. We are at a new clinic. I’m on levothyroxine for my thyroid. Shane and I are on 101 supplements that are supposed to cure infertility (I picked the ones that had at least some science backing to them). We are at a new clinic. Slightly new protocol. No fresh transfer and Lupron trigger (no OHSS in my future, hopefully!) If this works, I have no idea what variable was the magic bullet. If it all fails, well, at least I gave it all we had.

And I’ve previously mentioned that this is our last IVF round. I’ve stopped saying last. The word gives me heart palpitations. I don’t know if it is our last, maybe in a year, we will think a 4th round is a good idea. I simply can’t handle right now closing that door even if in all honestly, this is our last.





Rub A Dub Dub a Chicken in a Tub

One of the chickens has some bathroom issues. She gets a poop build-up on her back end. Google has not been very helpful, most saying that it is a chick problem and they’ll grow out of it. She hasn’t. One suggested a possible yeast infection. It is pretty much diarrhea that gets stuck in her feathers but doesn’t block her vent.

Following a mashup of Internet wisdom, the chicken got a spa day. She was cooperative but not pleased about having her butt stuck in a nice Epsom salt bath. I tried to explain that this is a luxury but she was not convinced.


After the bath, I made a chicken burito which in fact one day may be her fate (these are meat birds). By this point, she was pretty much game for whatever I had in store for her. Chickens are so much more chill than ducks are.


Since hanging out in a towel in the laundry room was going to take all evening and we both had other things we’d like to do, I turned to blow-drying my chicken. This was, in fact, her second favorite part of the whole ordeal, she even started preening for me.


She got some iodine on her backend before I stopped harassing her and allowed to go forge with her feathered friends (her favorite part). Hopefully, this works, and she won’t need a weekly bath though it wasn’t as bad as I feared.

Any other chicken folks have this problem? Any suggestions or tips on how to deal with this beyond Epsom salt baths and iodine on the rear?




Hiking in the Rain, Almost as Good as Dancing


A few weeks ago we mapped out fun things we were going to do this summer. This weekend we had scheduled a backpacking trip. As the date approached, the overwhelming sense of home and farm chores took hold, and the idea of prepping for an overnight backpacking trip seemed too daunting. I wanted to scrap the whole thing, but Shane pushed for it. I’m glad he did. On Sunday, we headed east of Fairbanks to do a short hike. The dogs enjoyed some quality time and getting to explore a new trail.

By the time we reached the top, a thunderstorm was rolling in. As the lightning started, we thought it best we vacate the iron mountain. Though not before a quick selfie.


I especially enjoyed the last bit of the trail where we walked through an old forest fire site. In 2014, over 700,000 acres burned in this area. It was somewhat eerie walking through the blackened trees.


We head to Seattle the first week in July. We are planning on doing several hikes in our downtime. A good way to escape reality for a bit.



Inch by Inch, Row by Row, Gonna make this Garden Grow

It is hard to believe it is already the end of June and we still have 23 chickens and four ducks living in our garage. The coop is well underway, and we hope to get the birds moved in before we head to Seattle next week, it will make it easier for the critter sitter and more enjoyable for everyone. We salvaged a ton of plywood from some crates from work but needed to remove the pallet framing. It actually took us less time than I feared. The plywood will be the walls and the 1x4s for roosting trees. I think the coop is large enough for some chickens and perhaps one day two goats. One day.

While the baby birds spend their nights in our garage, during the day, we have started to let them free range with the big birds. The chickens are a little leery of leaving the safety of the garage whereas the ducks head straight for the pool.




The chickens have also taken to emptying their entire feeder, making a huge mess. They’ve always been the clean birds compared to the ducks. It took us a little while to figure out why they were doing this. Shane had mixed their standard feed with rolled oats. They were digging the oats out of the normal feed to get at the goodies. We won’t be doing that again.

Everyting in the garden is going gangbusters including the weeds. I spent some time enjoying my tomatoes and lettuce while weeding. I started everything this year from seed, including the weeds. I’m pretty proud of myself, and it makes that kale taste oh so much better.


I was brought up in the generation right before the “Everyone is a Winner!” generation. I grew up in the “You can do anything you set your mind to” generation. Why do we raise children on such false promises? I know reality is a tough pill swallow but what is harder is realizing as an adult, that no matter how hard you work, some things you simply do not have control of.

It has been hard to accept that I truly have minimal control if I will be a biological parent or not. I have minimal control of becoming a mother. Period. It is out of my hands, and I know life would be easier if I could accept it. Not roll over and take it, but accept that which I cannot control.

I have a good friend that has been looking for a job post-graduation and the pickings have been slim. In an email, she wrote that she is “working on adjusting my goals so that they reflect things that I have control over.” Yes!

I’ve been standing in the crowd, watching my life unfold on the big screen and yelling, “This wasn’t part of the script!” How do you accept that you may not have your dream job after you spent years going to school? How do you accept that you may never be a mother no matter what supplement you take, what fertility procedure you do, or which adoption agency you choose? How do you accept this when you have been told growing up that you could have it all if you simply set your mind to it? Have I not worked hard enough? Have I not sacrificed enough of myself to achieve this goal? I’ve done everything I should have done and more, yet I’m coming to realize that you cannot truly have it all, no matter how hard you work for it. Life simply doesn’t work that way. I need to accept this and get back to living my life, even the parts I don’t quite accept yet. Time to set goals I do have control of.


Finding my Quiet

Last week, I went on my first solo run in months. It happened to be my first trail run of the summer. My mind naturally works fast. I have a hard time focusing on one project and even in conversations; my mind quickly leaves it and finds something new to ponder. Running is the one time I can quiet my brain down. I simply have to out run it. About a mile in, I’m breathing heavy, smiling deeply, and have found that zen yogis talk about. For me, I simply have to run hard to get there.

I need to work toward making more moments like this, outside of running. It is so easy to get caught up in life that you forget to simply be.

Embrace this moment
There is nowhere else to be
Find your Middle Ground

A hiaku from blog Find Your Middle Ground



A Childless Father

The first sign that I knew that my husband was going to make a great father was his fear of being a bad father. As we enter our fourth year of being childless not by choice and enter our 3rd round of IVF, I still see a pretty amazing father. He has already given his children more than many fathers will. While we cannot parent our children, he is not shy about being fatherly to others. As a paramedic, he calms and treats scared, hurt children too often. As an uncle, he plays the serious yet fun one. Who else would give a toddler a huge stick to beat a pinata with? That was his idea.


He loves to introduce them to his favorite pastimes such as skiing. He will patiently untangle them. When they are tired of skiing, he is willing to play sled dog, pulling the child behind him as they hold onto his ski poles.


He sacrifices his own comfort for kids he doesn’t even know. When teaching high school, I needed Elodea (an invasive aquatic weed) for my students. My husband put on his waders and went into a creek in October to gather it for them. In Alaska. He said it was cold but I wouldn’t know since I didn’t go in.


He is okay with being the bad influence to his friend’s kids. In fact, someone needs to be it so it might as well be us.

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We are there also to help out our friends with kids. Even though we were experiencing our first IVF failure, we agreed to watching a friend’s infant while he got his work schedule figured out. He looks so good with a baby.


Since we have yet to our own human child, our IVF puppy has won the lottery. All of our critters are simply spoiled.


So today, I celebrate fathers with children but also the childless fathers that do not get the recognition that they deserve. They help shape and nurture your children while they wait for theirs.