Five on Friday

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Ladies, I am in Sunny (or rainy...) Florida right now! I'm visiting my family for a few days in my hometown and it's so nice to be with them. I seriously cherish the time I get to spend with them, especially my grandparents - sometimes living a few states away is tough! In just going to soak up as much love and Vitamin D as I can this weekend! 

One. I'm here right now. Home.

Two. Back in my actual home, we've had some nice days lately and A and I have been able to play with the dogs in our yard. I even got a little sunburned last weekend! And then the next day it was cold and rainy again: go figure. 

Three. I've had a breakthrough in the kitchen: I will never boil eggs again! A friend told me about this trick and it's so easy, it will blow your mind. Place eggs directly on oven rack (put a cookie sheet on the rack below juuuuuust in case one breaks), turn oven in to 325 and set time for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, put the eggs into an ice bath and voila! Perfect hard boiled eggs without the guessing game! 

Four. I spent two days this week watching Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt until there was nothing left to watch. Another Netflix win!!

Five. I switched my closet from winter to spring (Penny helped, naturally). We're not out of the winter woods yet but I had to have something to wear in Florida! And it won't be long until South Carolina is scorching, y'all! 

Happy Friday! 
Linking up with
 AprilChristinaNatasha and Darci

An update on me (and the baby fever that won't go away)

Taking things to a serious level today. But before I get into this, I want to say thank you. Many of you have been so sweet to think of me, pray for me and offer well wishes after reading about our sad time at the end of last year. And that is how I shall refer to it from now on because I am hopeful and determined that the sad time is behind us and we are moving into a brighter, happier time!

Because I never really wrote about my path to pregnancy before our loss, I'm going to start from the beginning and catch you up. Really put alllll my personal business out there because that's what we do, right?

Here's a timeline:
  • July 9, 2011: we got married!! Best. Day. Ever.
  • July 2013: we take a dream vacation to Italy. This is our last major "before babies bucket list" item: check!
  • November 2013: I take my last birth control pill. Getting excited!
  • December 2013: we officially start trying for baby Hamilton!
  • February 2014: I start "charting" (taking my temperature every morning to chart my cycle) and taking ovulation tests to make conception more likely. 
  • September 2014: I have a conversation with my doc about our attempt at baby-making. According to my charts, my luteal phase (the time between ovulation and a period) seems to be too short to sustain a pregnancy. My NP is skeptical that I'm ovulating at all and recommends I start Clomid if I don't conceive that month. (If you don't know what Clomid is, I'm a little jealous! It's a drug that induces ovulation for women who may not be ovulating.)
  • October 2014: I start taking my first round of Clomid that cycle. The side effects - hot flashes, mood swings, weight gain, acne - are just lovely. But totally, 100% worth it. 
  • November 20, 2014: I get the surprise of my life when, at the doc to get a Clomid refill after Round One, I find out I'm pregnant. I'm out-of-my-mind happy. I tell Alex that night when he gets home and we laugh and cry! We tell our parents a week later on Thanksgiving. 
  • December 7, 2014: at 6 weeks pregnant, I'm bleeding. I go to the ER and they tell me there's a 50% chance of miscarriage. 
  • December 9, 2014: blood tests for hCG confirm I am losing the baby and the pregnancy is not viable. I choose to have a D&C. 
  • December 10, 2014: I have a D&C. I am emotionally devastated, but medically, everything goes well.  
  • December 22, 2014: at my post-op, my OB tells me I have healed fine but the pathologist is concerned that my pregnancy may have been a partial-molar pregnancy. The only way to know for sure is to see how long it takes my hCG level to hit zero. In the meantime, she says in no uncertain terms that I cannot, under any circumstances get pregnant again until we know the pregnancy wasn't molar (a molar pregnancy can be harmful to the mother because in rare cases, cancerous cells can form. A pregnancy could essentially feed any cancerous cells, thus the rationale for preventing pregnancy). Needless to say, I'm crushed. She said I might have to wait 6 months or maybe even longer before we can try again, which seems like an eternity. 
  • February 2015: after several hCG tests, my levels have quickly returned to zero (the normal level of a woman who is not pregnant), thus indicating that my pregnancy was not at all molar. Praise the Lord! My OB gives me a Rx for Clomid again. Here we go: Round Two. 

And that brings us to now!

Don't you wish sometimes that you had a crystal ball and could get a glimpse into your future? To know how the story unfolds, or even just read a few critical lines in advance? For anyone who has tried to get pregnant - I don't care if you tried 2 months or 2 years - you know it is so, so hard to remain positive month after month. That when baby fever hits, it is relentless. Don't get me wrong: compared to many women, I haven't been trying that long at all. There are women who have been trying for years to have a baby and I am in awe of those women and their perseverance. In my case, I know that God sent me that baby at that time to ease my mind, because I was starting to go crazy. No, really.

Trying for a baby is without a single doubt the HARDEST thing I have ever done. Harder than the trials of dating and eventually finding my husband. Harder than grad school and then trying to find a job at the height of the Recession. Harder even than dealing with my parents' divorce when I was in high school. Trying for a baby will test you in every way. It will try your emotional strength and maybe even your faith; it will affect your marriage (in good and bad ways) and friendships (jealously is a terrible thing); it will occupy your every thought, making work or anything else darn near impossible; it will hold your future plans hostage (want to plan a vacation? You'll play "what if" until you go nuts). But I know this is ALL part of His plan. So that baby that we lost served an incredibly powerful role: it showed me I could get pregnant. It helped me relax. And it helped make me more aware than ever before that God is in control and He holds the blueprints for my life - not me.

So for now, I am trying to stay relaxed. Trying to remember that God's plan is perfect. Enjoying this precious season in life of just me and Alex before we have a family. Because I know in my heart that it will happen.

And if you're going through something similar, please know you're not alone.

Onto happier times! Best best is yet to come!

Spring is here! {And other good things}

Friday, March 20, 2015

Well hello there, Spring! After lamenting about cold weather, exactly zero snow days (for Columbia, SC anyway) and dreaming of the colors and styles of spring, I think she made her grand entrance this week with a few beautiful days in the 70s and 80s.

Here's what I'm loving this Friday:

ONE. It shouldn't go without saying: today is the first day of SPRING and I'm so excited! Although it's a little chilly and dreary here today, the rest of the weekend looks like it will be nicer. I might even try to get some sun and Vitamin D in the backyard. Looking forward to putting out my sweet little Easter decorations this weekend and maybe even updating my front door container gardens.

TWO. My team and I nailed a huge event we had this week (on St. Patrick's Day) that we've been planning for about 7 months. What a HUGE relief to get that crossed of my list! Plus, all my speakers showed up, the food was tasty, the presentations ran on time, and the attendees were pleased. What more could I ask for? Now on to the next thing!

THREE. Let the Madness begin! My bracket has already been a little busted, but I think most have so there's that. My office has a March Madness pool that includes our significant others, so that keeps things interesting (like we needed another distraction at work). I've got Kentucky, Arizona, Louisville and Duke in my Final Four with Kentucky winning it all.

FOUR. I won this Aveeno gift basket in a raffle at a Junior League dermatology event this week, but I almost won 50 units of Botox. (The raffle drawings on either side of my gift basket were for Botox.) I wasn't sure if I was supposed to be happy or horrified if I'd won the Botox. Honestly. I'm 30 and all I hear is that if I start now, I won't need as much later...the question is, do I want to start at all?? Anyone had Botox yet?

FIVE. I'm two months in to being completely Gluten Free and I'm feeling GREAT! I've been completely off of steroids (taken to calm my Crohn's flare) for about 5 weeks and GF for 8 weeks and so far, no signs of a flare coming - knock on wood. It's been easier than I thought. And I can truthfully say that I have not cheated - not even one little bite of anything that I knew had gluten in it! I'm still looking for easy GF dinner and dessert ideas, so please share if you have any good ones!

Looking forward to a great weekend and enjoying the springtime air!

Linking up with
 AprilChristinaNatasha and Darci

The best St. Pat's ever

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I'm doing a little Take Me Back Tuesday (is that a thing?). I'm taking it way back to 2007. Let me set the stage: I'd just graduated from undergrad at UF in December '06 and moved to Chicago in the middle of a blizzard in February like a crazy person.

Penny and I were living in the most adorable studio apartment in The Loop. I didn't have my car there - it was left behind at my mom's in Florida - and I walked or took the train everywhere. I was living the big city, professional life from the movies and even though I could basically only pay my rent and nothing else on my paid internship hourly rate, I loved everything about living there. I was only in Chi Town for a few months before returning to sunny Florida for grad school.
The view from my apartment. LOVE.

Penny and I have been through it all together! Ah, to be 22 again (and for Penny to be 2 again)
Just a few weeks after moving to Chicago was St. Patrick's Day. Everyone at work kept saying how amazing St. Pat's in Chicago was. I heard stories of a green river, green beer, green everything as far as one could see. I was pretty excited, and even more so that my mom and her friend Tom were coming to visit that weekend to see what the fuss was all about. 
Mom and I got into the festivities

amid the masses

Up to that point, every single St. Pat's of my life had been spent in Florida where it was warm enough to swim. We lucked out that March 17 fell on a Saturday that year but didn't get so lucky with the weather: snow. It actually wasn't all that cold (relatively speaking) and only snowed for a little bit but it was still a shock to this Floridian girl's system. 

The dying in progress
We got up early that morning and hit Michigan Ave with about a hundred thousand other people and headed for the river. I couldn't wrap my mind around how they were going to dye the Chicago River green but wanted to see them do it. The secret? Leprechauns in boats. Naturally. (Ok, maybe not leprechauns - who am I to assume?)

Me, Mom and Tom
Chicagoans get into St. Pat's like no one else I've ever seen. It wasn't difficult to find a green beer at 9am to accompany my coffee. There was actually an Irish pub on the street level of my apartment building and another just down the street, so that was convenient. I actually wasn't much of a beer drinker at the time so it was more about the people watching for me. And the people did not disappoint.

There were girls dressed up in tiny skirts and and homemade shirts that read "Erin Go Braless" among other more, er, scandalous things. How they weren't freezing their you-know-whats off, I'm not sure. There were men who'd been drinking all day a-la bachelor party style, ogling the minimally-dressed girls. Then there were a lot of people like us just trying not to step in the questionable puddle on the street (is that beer or...?) and get to the front of the next beer line. The closest thing I've seen to this city-wide party is a Saturday night on Bourbon Street in NOLA.

Anyway, suffice it to say: it was a ton of fun. I haven't had a St. Pat's that entertaining since, and I'd love to go back to Chicago for another round! (Would make a super fun girl's weekend or Bachelorette party!) In the meantime, I'll continue to wear my green every March 17 and reminisce about my days in the Windy City.


Weekending and GSD

Monday, March 9, 2015

Sometimes, you need a weekend to GSD (get sh-t done). While this wasn't necessarily the most productive weekend I've ever had, I do feel that I crossed a lot of my "to-do but don't want to" list.

My Fridays are now all about errands. I try it do all of my essential errand-running for the week on Friday when the masses are at work. Yoga, meeting the pest control guy, groceries, pharmacy, post office - all that fun stuff. 

Friday night Alex and I had a date night in: he grilled steaks and asparagus, I made GF Mac and cheese, and we had some yummy wine while watching Mockingjay Part 1 (finally). I read the trilogy several years ago so I'm a little fuzzy on the details: was it similar to the book, or did it deviate? All I know is they are milking this Hunger Games franchise for all it's worth. I thought the movie was alright and I'm glad we waited to Redbox it instead of spending a small fortune by going to see it in the theatre. 

Saturday I got up and went to yoga in the morning while A packed up, readying himself for two back-to-back tournaments with the team. I swear I won't see him until April. Okay, not quite, but it feels like it. March is by far the busiest month of the year for collegiate golf which means I'm single-dog-momming it for awhile. 

After Alex left, I decided to work in the yard since the weather was absolutely gorgeous. What was going to be a quick rake turned into practically a backyard overhaul. I guess I was feeling motivated, because I ended up hauling about 15 wheelbarrow loads of leaves and such to the curb and before I knew it, I'd been at it for 3 hours. A warning, ladies: 90 minutes of hot yoga followed by 3 hours of intense yard work will leave you dehydrated. Fortunately we had some Gatorade so I avoided the worst (I know - that was really, really stupid not to drink enough water out there. Lesson learned). 
in case you needed to see my giant pile of  yard trash
After attacking the back yard, the girls and I watched THREE movies on Netflix. Three. In a row. I never, ever sit down and watch movies while doing nothing else and it was quite nice to relax with some wine.
maybe I should say that I watched movies - the girls napped. 

Penny is looking might dapper! Me notsomuch
Sunday was another errand and house stuff day. Like a fool, I'd made an appointment for Penny to be groomed Sunday morning at 9, not even thinking that it would be extra tough to get up because of the time change. So we - Penny and I - struggled to get out of bed and bust it up to PetSmart by 9. I thought I'd hang out near there until she was done because there are a lot of stores in that area. Another poor choice - nothing opens before 11 on Sunday. So instead I spent some quality time with my iPad in Panera.

In the P.M. I sweated my butt off at yoga and was energized after my class so I decided to handwash my car (added incentive: it was warm and sunny! A perfect day).

Sunday evening was spent updating all my clocks in my house - a task that takes 5 minutes but is such a pain, honestly. I was also preparing for the next two work weeks which will be pretty grueling by knocking out some personal to-do's (bills, ordering wedding gifts, etc) so I wouldn't be tempted to do that stuff at work. I love when I get to work on Monday feeling ahead of the game, don't you?


Five colorful outfits for Spring

Friday, March 6, 2015

Who else is pumped for the time change this weekend?? Yes, my fiends: Daylight Savings Time begins Sunday morning. The extra hour of sunshine will be SO wonderful - I'm looking forward to leaving work in the daylight!

In the spirit of springtime (even though the weather doesn't feel so springy right now), I put together these ensembles. Won't be long now before it's time for pastels, prints and cheery pieces.

One. Nothing says Spring like Lilly

A Lilly Spring

A Lilly Spring by klhamilton featuring estee lauder fragrances

Face it: no one does spring like Lilly Pulitzer. I love this dress - I've seen it with tights, a vest and boots, and with Jacks and a Murphee scarf. I need to get my hands on one! 

Two. Flare jeans are BACK

Flare Jeans are Back

Flare Jeans are Back by klhamilton featuring a stainless steel bracelet

I mean, allegedly they are. I don't make the rules. All I know is they are so flattering and while I love my skinnies, flares are so fun to wear and make your legs look so long. 

Three. Wedding season is upon us!

Springtime wedding

Springtime wedding by klhamilton featuring a tory burch purse

At least it is for us in the South. I hope it's not quite wedding season for my friends in the North with all that snow on the ground. I'm hunting a dress like this for my cousin's wedding in Florida at the end of April. 

Four. Work wardrobe needs an update

Work Basics

After wearing lots of layers all winter and nothing but black pants and wedges, my cardigans, black slacks and shoes are worn out. Currently hunting a new go-to pair of work pants and comfy black wedges that I can wear all day. And I've heard charm bracelets are back, which is cool since I'm fairly certain I still have a few from high school somewhere.

Five. Rainy days ahead

Professional Rainy Day

Now that I have my Hunters, I'm looking for ways to wear them even when I need to look polished for work. I'm in love with this shirt and scarf combo! Now if it would just rain :)

Now I'm ready to bust out the spring clothes and go shopping! Happy weekend!


Linking up with
 AprilChristinaNatasha and Darci

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