Friday, May 29, 2009

sorry - and a giveaway!

I know I haven't blogged in a while and I promise a real update next week, but, well...cheerleading tryouts are tomorrow and that's pretty much been all-consuming for the last two weeks! Expect more writeage soon.

Until then, check out Lewa's Designs for some awesome wall art! A Soft Place to Land is linking up to a giveaway of her cool stuff & I couldn't resist tagging along for the fun! Check it out!

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Peace of a Dove

Despite all of the craziness of the past week (2 preschool graduations, 3 days of cheerleading practices/tryouts, 2 last-days of school for my 3- and then 4-year-old classes, cleaning my classroom & new developments unfolding with the doctor's office), I've somehow managed to feel some sense of peace and calm (albeit nervousness) this week.

The graduations went really smoothly. Monday night's was the one for the 4-year-old class & it's definitely the more formal (and stressful) of the two. Everything went as planned (except for a minor catastrophe where the church had double-booked the chapel, which was our location...the choir had to be moved, which actually was a pretty substantial hassle for them). The 3-year-old's graduation was yesterday's actually not a graduation, but more an end-of-the-year celebration, since they're technically not going anywhere & will all be returning next was a really adorable way to end an otherwise stressful year filled with parent issues, poopy pants, and behavior struggles, which all, thankfully started to work themselves out with the proper diagnosis and assistance!

And then yesterday, I decided to email my nurse at the RE's office because I realized that since they hadn't bothered to tell us up-front that we would have to pay for the donor's meds out-of-pocket, or for our psych evaluations out-of-pocket (which had no real likelihood of ever being reimbursed by our insurance), they probably had some other things that they weren't telling us...boy was I right! ugh...I emailed the nurse under the assumption that the RE's office would be handling all charges for my donor's bloodwork and ultrasound, even via distance monitoring, due to the fact that it was for a study and they could simply handle the matter from one doctor's office insurance to another...I mean, since they hadn't given us an itemized list of costs & since we've never done a study cycle before and we OF COURSE have never done a donor cycle before, we would have no idea about any of this...especially since the doctor had told me at the original consultation that the only cost to us would be getting our donor tested, or about $2000. This is a cut and paste of my Q&A w/ the nurse...

Q: Hi - just another question about something I wanted to be clear donor will be doing her monitoring for the IVF study at a clinic closer to her home (not sure exactly where yet - still working on that). I will NOT be billed for the distance monitoring since it is in connection with the study, correct? I just don't want to get blind-sided with a bill or anything after the fact, as it has never been stated that her monitoring must be done on-site in order to be covered under the study. Thanks!

A: I’m sorry, but you will not be reimbursed for monitoring done at another center. You would need to pay them directly for any services done there. We would only cover monitoring for your donor that is done at RMA. Let me know if you have any other questions.

Regards, Jill

Needless to say, I'm pretty nervous about what this means for us...if the office charged us what they actually charge the insurance company, we wouldn't really mind so much, but considering how steeply they inflate their prices for uninsured billing, added to the fact that B could need up to 10 u/s & b/w...well...I'm wondering how the RE thought that this could POSSIBLY be cheaper for us than just any other IVF cycle. If anyone has any insight on this, please, please, PLEASE throw it our way! Otherwise, just pray!

But, yes. Despite all of this, I do still have a strange sense of know, that "peace that passes understanding." Understandably, my human self wants to worry, but somehow I just know that all of this will fall into place...

And this little nesting mama dove that I discovered (aka almost watered) yesterday in my hanging planter on the porch is a reminder of that peace...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

American Idol: FINALS!

I'm not going to do a song-by-song run-down this week, but I will do a "round winner" for each goes

Round 1: Kris for sure! Ain't No Sunshine was excellent
Round 2: Adam hands down! I agree 100% with Simon's comments for Kris...and Adam OWNED his song!
Round 3: The song was more in Kris's style of music (which I don't think is fair to Adam & I've said that in years past when both contestants have to sing the same song), so this is a hard call. Both guys were pitchy & I just wasn't a real fan of the song. I'll pick Adam because I felt more emotion from his performance.

I liked Simon's comment at the end about the point of the show being to find a "worldwide star" & I definitely think that Adam fits that more so than Kris...I love Kris, don't get me wrong, but he isn't the kind of guy that I can see selling out concert arenas or anything like that. I just feel like Adam has more of the "star quality" and sustainability.

I think that Kris is going to win (based on the fact that most of Danny's votes will likely go to him), even though I'm all about Adam!! They'll both have albums out in a few months, though!

PS - Carrie Underwood is still my favorite Idol EVER!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Ten things Tuesday (it's a long one!)

This has been a random week, so I figured I would post 10 snippets from the last 7 (or so) days...

1. I have fallen so far behind on my housework in the last two weeks or so. With all of the traveling that we've been doing, plus the business of school, plus cheerleading practices (for tryouts) started today, I've gotten absolutely NOTHING done!

2. Cheerleading practices started today for tryouts, which are next Saturday. I can't believe how sweet and talented some of the girls are, and then there's others who totally need to get over themselves in a BIG WAY!

3. Preschool graduation was last night for my 4-year-old class. They did a great job! They processed in to "Pomp & Circumstance" (which the parents loved) & then they sang two songs ("I'm a Graduate" and "I've Been Going to my Preschool") and then we presented them with their diplomas. For their gifts, we gave the kids tote bags, on which we stamped/painted a bee for each child in the class & wrote "So glad to 'bee' your friend!" The parents went nuts over them! They were filled with little gifts & things to do this summer!

4. Graduation is always bittersweet for me. On the one hand, I hate it because it is so stressful and there's so much preparation that goes into the program, which really only ends up lasting about 15 minutes (and then the reception, of course). But on the other hand, it is always nice to hear the positive feedback from parents to really know that you're making a difference for these kids...and I'll admit...I love getting little tokens of appreciation, too.

5. And I know, I's the thought that counts, but I think I win the prize this year for the tackiest teacher gift (because to me, a tacky gift tells me that you think I'm a person that likes tacky stuff!). I got a lovely "decorative faux flower" arrangement...It doesn't sound so bad, right? just me on this one. Honestly, a card with a heart-felt message would have meant so much more than something that I think someone re-gifted to me...I'll be donating it to the theatre department at G's school, for props.

6. My parents came down this weekend and we set out to Home Depot on Saturday to buy some edging pavers for our landscaping, as well as some fencing for around my garden (in hopes of keeping out bunnies and such, of which I luckily haven't seen yet). After we came home, my dad showed G what to do for the landscaping & we got to work! I'll post some pics of the before/after, as well as my garden at the end of the post!

7. On Sunday, we left early to drive down to DC (I had never been there before) to see the Phillies play the Nationals. It was neat to see the Capitol Building and the Washington Monument, even if they were both in the distance. And it was, of course, great to see the Phillies win a game to sweep the Nationals in a 4-game series. It did, however, make for a really long day and we were both exhausted when we got home on Sunday night!

8. While we were on our way home from the Phillies game, we stopped at a rest stop. It was there that I learned that if you don't know how to speak our language, the only words you really need to know are "I'm sorry, so sorry" and it gives you a free pass to cut in front of other people in line! I could NOT believe the nerve of this woman...she walked right up the line past everyone in our group, looking at us saying "Sorry, so sorry...I was in family...sorry, so sorry." As if, first of all, we had any idea what she was trying to say, and secondly that saying "sorry" gave her any right to cut in front of people who were patiently waiting their turn in line (and no, there were no members of her family or her group in front of us in line...apparently she HAD been in line & couldn't figure out what she wanted, so she got back out of line & just assumed that she could traipse back up to her original spot once she decided what she wanted!)

9. We're having insurance woes again. We spent over $600 out-of-pocket for our psychiatric evaluation (ours and with our donor), which we were told we could submit to our insurance ourselves (because they are separate billing from the doctor's office, they couldn't do it for us). Mind you, our doctor's office IS in network, so one would naturally assume that any services required through that doctor's office (even under different billing) would also be considered in-network. Fast forward to yesterday when I got a statement from the insurance saying that they received our reimbursement form, but they will only accept $180 of the charges made and it will be deducted from our $250 out-of-network deductible! We will never even meet the rest of the deductible, let alone go over that amount so we're basically screwed out of our money...I'm emailing the RE's insurance ppl tomorrow to see if they can get this straightened out for us, as psychiatric appointments when coded correctly (as ours was) ARE covered under our insurance...ugh, what a pain!

10. And finally, more news about our IVF study cycle. We found out last week that our donor tested positive for one strain of Cystic Fibrosis. G has already been tested for the basic strains of CF & came back negative, but with this new development, and the seriousness of the disease, we think it would be best to go ahead and get the full screening (optional at this point), which includes 90-some strains. The nurse didn't foresee any issues, though, nor did she seem worried that we would find anything from the full panel screening. We also found out last week that there was just no way possible that we would be able to get the IVF done before B left for her vacation to Hawaii in mid-June. That means that we will have to wait until mid July to start our IVF cycle up...and I'm trying, once again, to be patient!

Here are the pictures....
This is sort of what the "before" looked like (this is the right-side landscaping & we were working on the left)

And this is the "after"

And my cute little garden! I've got tomatoes, carrots, radishes, squash & lettuce (and some marigolds to keep the animals away!)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

American Idol: Top 3

Judges Choice night!

1. Adam - Cryin' - I really loved Adam's version of this song. I thought he definitely did it justice (as Danny showed last week, Steven Tyler is tough to sing). I did NOT, however, like the back-up singing; it rang in my ears like nails on a chalkboard. I thought he shouted a bit throughout the middle (that's where I thought the backup vocals were competing with him), but overall, great performance!

2. Danny - Paula's Choice: Dance Little Sister - I don't know the original of this song, so I couldn't tell you if it is a copycat performance or if Danny made it his own, but I think that it suits the style of his voice very well. I thought the scatting/improv part was really jazzy in the middle, although I didn't like that the song's verses only seemed to center around a few notes. Good, solid, Danny-esque performance!

3. Danny - You Are So Beautiful - I really like how Danny changed up the song through the middle (respectfully, without mutilating a really beautiful song) & his voice matched Joe Cocker's really well...nice and soft! Danny's awesome!

4. Kris - Heartless - considering Kanye practically murdered his own song on idol several weeks ago, I would think that Kris could only improve upon it...I will say, however, that this doesn't really seem like his style of music, but I have heard an acapella version of this song by The Fray, so I am imagining that he will pick up the same vibe. I do like the guitar & he definitely sounds better than Kanye's digitized version. I love Kris but I think that his journey is ending tonight (no worries - off to bigger and better things!!)

5. Kris - Kara & Randy's Choice: Apologize - it's great to see him sitting at the piano. I think this style of song suits him perfectly & the range fits with his very well. It seemed a little pitchy here and there (but that could have been just because it was hard for us to hear the piano on our end). I think he sounds awesome & my only complaint is that maybe it sounded too much like the original.

6. Adam - Simon's Choice: One - The beginning of the song seems too slow, but I know that just means he's holding back a little. He did pick it up through the middle, but he verged on shouting at times. In general, I'm not a big U2 fan, so this song was just ok for me. I personally think this was one of his worst performances, even though I usually do root for team Adam!

I think that it could go either way between Danny & Kris, but I am guessing that Kris will go home tomorrow. However, if Kris sticks around, Adam probably has a better chance of beating Kris than he does of beating Danny.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Periods, Pills, Pregnancies, and Pity Parties

I'm always fascinated by the emotional stronghold that our lives' events seem to have over us at any given moment. For example, yesterday was a perfectly normal day & I was feeling pretty good about things. Everything is lining up for our IVF w/DE cycle & I'm thinking that "hey, yeah! I may actually get a chance at this mommy thing!" ...and THEN, I find out via FB that a friend of mine (who announced her FIRST pregnancy a couple of months after DH & I started trying for a baby almost FOUR YEARS AGO) just had her THIRD much as I love her (and I REALLY DO), Fertile Myrtles are the bane of my existence. I want to hate them. I guess sometimes I actually do...envy is probably a better word. I could never actually hate someone as sweet as her.

And then, a family friend posted her FB status as, "I wonder if little J will have a baby brother or a baby sister?" I hate PG announcements via facebook, unless they're my own or some other well-deserving infertile...I'm a jaded, insensitive, calloused, double-standard witch, huh? Hmmm, yeah, I know...but I guess I've earned my stripes.

And then we get the wonderful news today that if AF doesn't show up by the 12th (as in next Tuesday), then we will have to postpone our IVF w/ DE until July due to my donor going on vacation (no, I'm not upset about that at all, I'm not THAT horrible!) in mid-June, and the clinic being closed until July 1. Is it a huge deal to wait one month, especially after waiting four years? I guess not, but I'm thoroughly sick of being patient...which I think qualifies me as being thoroughly impatient, but I digress. Plus, I'm worried that if we wait until July, I will miss it then, as well, because I'm in my cousin's wedding on the 11th (hopefully, though, by then I will still be on the pill & they can have more control over everything).

Finally, there is the matter of the study. I had naively assumed that because we were taking part in a research study, that we would not be responsible for any costs associated with said study. The doctor had said previously that the only cost to us would be in getting our donor tested (about 2K or so). Imagine my surprise when I find out today that we are in fact responsible for some of the meds needed for the study. Lupron, Doxycycline & HCG are not covered under the study & donor meds are not covered under my insurance. Granted, none of those meds are crazy-expensive (around $400 total) and we don't have to pay for stims (thank GOD!)...and I know, in the grand scheme of a "free" $12000 procedure (or $25000 if you consider that this is a donor cycle), well, I shouldn't be complaining and fretting, but I hate being blind-sided by anything, most especially money matters.

So there you have it! My depressing post of the week! Please pray for AF to rear her BEAUTIFUL head soon (the nausea and irritability are a good sign, right?) so we can get this party started!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

American Idol: Top 4

Tonight's theme: Rock & Roll

1. Adam - Whole Lotta Love - this style is definitely his genre (haven't I been saying he's like an Axl Rose??), even though he has done well with each new obstacle - and even though I do actually enjoy his scaled-back ballads, as well. He is absolutely meant to be a rocker. Theatrical, yes, but that's what being a performer is about (especially in the rock/metal genre). Hubby said that Kara must have been taking some Paula pills tonight - she was practically having an O in her chair.

2. Allison - Cry Baby - I'll preface this by saying that I am very anti-Janis Joplin, so hopefully she can make me like it - the good news is that I couldn't tell it was a JJ song anymore. I thought she sounded great and this was actually one of her better performances in my opinion, but still can't compete with the boys, IMO. She's definitely a rocker, as well.

3. Danny - Dream On - This is a really interesting/crazy song choice for Danny because he is SO NOT the rocker - I am a little scared about this one...ok, a LOT scared. I liked the soft & sweet part at the beginning (but it was a little pitchy) he going to scream it out like Steven Tyler???? Yes, he did...I think he just might get pulled through the wringer for that one. Definitely a tough song to sing & I'm not so sure he should have tried for the big finish, but if he's gonna go out, I guess go out with style...

4. Kris - Come Together - I love the Beatles & I think this is an ok song choice for Kris (despite the fact that he's not a "rocker" per se), but I'm worried that it isn't enough of a "musical" piece to really show what he can do. The song tends to hover over the same few notes. I think he sounded good & made the best of it. I really liked him playing the guitar. We commented that he doesn't seem like himself this week.

1. Adam & Allison - Slow Ride - great song for two great rockers! That was really great and they are absolutely veteran performers...the only thing I'll comment about is their outfits...I hate what Allison wears and Adam's pants make him look like he's in the circus!

2. Danny & Kris - Renegade - the harmonies were amazing!!! It's very obvious (looks-wise) that Danny is not a rocker, but his voice actually matched that song really well & I thought he actually did better than Kris who ended up being a bit pitchy in spots. Really nice performance!

Bottom 2: Allison & Kris! (but really anyone's guess!)!
Going Home: Allison

PS - please make sure you check out my other post from earlier today! Major prayers are needed!

Real life

It isn't often that I blog about real life...I mean real, honest-to-goodness, knock you flat on your butt today.

I found out on Saturday that one of my students from my first kindergarten class (now in 6th grade) suddenly came down with bad flu symptoms last Tuesday. They couldn't pinpoint her problem, but by Saturday, they determined that she needed a liver transplant. Today, I found out that she is not doing well at all due to an infection that has spread. They cannot operate on her while she has the infection. She remains on full life support and the prognosis does not look good.

I am simply beside myself. She was such a sweet girl in kindergarten. She and her twin sister (both in my class) were so kind and helpful & always smiling. If she doesn't make it, she will be the second student from that same class to have passed away (the other was a boy 2 summers ago, who was killed in a car accident)...and that just isn't fair!

It just completely breaks my heart, yet there's nothing I can do but please, pray! Pass this on to anyone you know that is the praying type...or even if they aren't the praying type. Positive thoughts never hurt anyone.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Birthday: Part 2

Sorry for the delay! Without further ado, here is the second part of my birthday post!

On Thursday, I went to work as normal! I got a scrapbooking idea book & some scrapbooking scissors from my co-workers & then the kids sang happy birthday to me at lunch. My preschool girls also sang to me in the morning & one boy even found a little heart-shaped dude in my prize box, asked me what it said (Love You, Forever) and then promptly said, "oh, this is for you!" LOL Too cute.

As far as our appointments, things went really well aside from a couple of snafus...first, they had told B that her appointments would last from 9-9:30, 9:30-10:30, 10:30-11:30 & 1:30-3:30 & then we would meet up with them from 3:30-4:30 for the group psych eval. Apparently after her 9 Appt, they put her and C in a room around 9:30...over AN HOUR later, they still hadn't been seen & B went out to figure out what was going, there was some mix up and she wasn't supposed to have an appointment then AT she spent a friggin hour sitting there doing NOTHING with her husband and they could have at least been out reading magazines or something...

Then, they were at B's last appointment and they said something to the effect of "ok, so I think that's all until T & G get here at 2:30" and B stopped in her tracks because she knew that I was told & planning on 3:30. She called me & told me what they had said. Luckily, I was already at school with G, so we pawned his kids off (study hall) onto his co-teacher for the last couple of minutes before dismissal & we flew out of there, arriving just 20 minutes
"late" for the time that they had us scheduled. When the psychiatrist found out what had happened to us, she pretty much said that she was going to have to beat someone out at the front desk...especially after what had happened to B earlier in the day!

So, we got in there for the meeting, she asked us a few questions, said that it was evident that we had really been communicating about everything (she also noted that we would be surprised how much people HADN'T talked about before that appointment & how they
would sometimes be there for 2 hours hashing out details that no one had thought of, like what happens to unused embryos, how much contact/communication we will have, etc).

Before we left, I talked to B and she said that the nurse told her that that she could go on the pill as soon as we get the meds ordered up & we will be READY TO SYNCH UP! B said that the Dr. said that if we get it started ASAP, we could have retrieval done by JUNE 1st!!!!! I don't realistically think it will be THAT quick (I called about ordering meds, but the nurse I needed to talk to was out yesterday, so hopefully Monday), but if we don't get it started soon, we will have to wait until July because B&C are going to Hawaii, leaving June 15th!

So that's where we stand! I have an email in to the nurse to check on ordering the meds & then hopefully we can start up right away!

Oh yeah, and this is what I got for my birthday from MIL, FIL, SIL & BIL:

And this is what G is getting me: