Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A 30,000 Foot View

Right now I'm flying from Austin to San Jose, CA, for my very first trip to Apple headquarters. I'm getting to attend what's called an Executive Briefing with one of my education customers, who is considering a large 1:1 deployment for their middle schools. I can't tell you how excited I am to get to do this! I'm sure I'll have some fun pictures and stories to tell when I get back. 

I feel like these past few weeks I've had the chance to step back and view our fertility situation from a broader perspective. Starting over with a new doctor meant new testing, results, and having to accept that we need to wait for a bit. The whole point of changing doctors was to get a different set of eyes on our situation, and hopefully some tangible answers on why I can't seem to get pregnant, despite there being nothing wrong with either of us. Thankfully yesterday, I finally got a possible reason. Better yet- it's something that we think can be easily fixed- a thyroid issue that can be regulated with a very low dose of medication. 

Instead of letting our first doctor rush us into the IVF process (that likely wouldn't have worked given what we know now), I feel like we have a shot at trying to correct this, and just maybe being able to achieve pregnancy without having to go through the IVF process. Since the rest of my recent testing came back with all positive findings, I feel like at the very least it's worth waiting a few months to see what happens. 

Infertility is a beast, and the whirlwind of emotions really got the best of me. There was such a sense of urgency, coupled with monthly disappointment, that really put me in a bad place. Having stepped back just a bit, I feel like I can finally breathe again! The OCD/impatient side of me has totally accepted that for Jan and Feb, we get to just relax, and focus on having fun as a couple. No pressure, no daily temperature taking, no logging info in an app. Just me and Hank (and our four furry babies), and our life as usual. In fact, as a result of delaying IVF, we even get to take a fun trip to celebrate Hank's 40th birthday. So, bonus!

We're heading into the holiday season with a huge sense of relief right now, and I'm really looking forward to spending quality time with our families over the next week. Can you believe Christmas is just a week away?! 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Sweet Elise: Baking Lately

As much as I keep saying I'm going to take little breaks from baking, there are always projects that come up that I just can't say no to. I have certainly limited my number of baking jobs recently, and I think the result is that I have enjoyed working on these even more.


First up is this adorable little Pumpkin Smash Cake for a 1 year old birthday boy. He hasn't eaten much sugar in his first year, and his mom didn't want to overload him with his very own sugary cake. So I made a healthier version that turned out extremely moist and tasty. Made mostly with bananas, whole wheat flour and maple syrup for extra flavor, I was really happy with how this simple cake turned out. I topped it with a cream cheese icing that I only put in-between the layers. The finished product was a delicious and simple cake that any 1 year old would gladly sink his hands into.

The Holland House: Pumpkin Smash Cake

It only makes sense that a "healthy" cake be followed up by the mother of all unhealthy cakes- and there's none better than this Snickers Cake. The recipe is from Brown Eyed Baker, and it really is sinfully delicious (assuming you like salted caramel, peanut nougat filling and chocolate cake.) A lot of work went into this cake, as there are 5 different components. I made one cake for a customer, and a second to take to a party, and it was a huge hit for both. I will gladly make this one again!

The Holland House: Snickers Cake


I feel like it's been awhile since I worked on a really fun cookie order, so it was extra fun to work on two different baby shower orders. The first was for twin boys, both with names that start with H. I have made the "Cute as a button" cookie before from Bake at 350, but I thought it went perfectly with the monogram onesies.

The Holland House: Baby Boy Onesies

The second set is for a friend who I used to run with, due with her boy any week now. The party invitations were adorable, reading "Kasey and Roger's little man is on the way. Lace up your Chuck's or this very special day". Of course, there was the cutest pair of baby Chuck Taylors on the invite, so I had to incorporate those into the set. I was thrilled with how they turned out.

The Holland House: Chuck Taylor Baby Shower Cookies

I have some work travel coming up, along with the usual crazy holiday schedule, but I will be making a few orders of Christmas cookies. Hopefully I'm able to snap some decent pictures to share.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Counting my blessings

So I'm a little late on the "I'm thankful for" post, but I won't let that stop me from doing so.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, filled with baking, family time, yard work, and just enough relaxation. My mom cooked an amazing meal, and it's always nice to have the whole family together for holidays. As the extended family grows, we're having to find ways to be more flexible so that we can continue celebrating together. That's not always easy, but I couldn't be more thankful for a family who really puts the FUN in dysfunctional. Below is an outtake from our many attempts at getting good family photo (the real ones were taken in front of the fireplace). The look on Georgia's face is hysterical!

The Holland House: Awkward Family Photo

The Holland House: Thanksgiving Desserts

Besides the obvious friends and family, I'm beyond thankful for an insurance plan that is making our lives so much easier right now. Hank and I made the decision to switch fertility doctors, and we couldn't be more thrilled with our new one. We had a thorough meeting with her this past Tuesday, and are now in the middle of new rounds of blood work and testing to make sure we aren't missing anything. The new Dr. already caught an issue with my thyroid, and I'm feeling confident that we're in really good hands. I'm almost afraid to add up the cost of all the testing we've had to date, as I know it's already a large number that will just continue to grow. So when I only have to make a $30 co-pay for office visits, I say thank you to my amazing employer every.single.time.

There really aren't words to describe how thankful I am for my husband, and the fun and crazy household we've created otherwise known as The Holland House. We almost added a new fur baby to the mix a few days ago. He barely blinked an eye when I shoved a picture of a puppy in his face and started planning how we were going to make it work. In the midst of the fertility issues we're dealing with, he has been patient, kind and beyond compassionate to me. It seems like that should be a given, but I know about relationships that don't include these things. There have been days when I have taken out my frustrations on him, and he shows nothing but love in return (and a hug if I want it). It sounds so cheesy to say these things, but he is the best partner I could have asked for.

December is flying by already, and I'm hoping we can find a few ways to enjoy it before Christmas gets here. I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday, and found ways to be thankful for the great things in your lives!
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