Letting Go

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Without going into details about the specifics of current circumstances, I’d like to share an excerpt from an old blog post. It reflects a bit of what my heart is feeling again today, and makes me wonder when I’m going to learn to stop obsessing so greatly over my plans, my timelines, my agendas, and start putting my plans in the hands of the Almighty.

“Oh Martha, Martha, you are so anxious and concerned about a million details, but really, only one thing matters…”

-Luke 10:41,42 The Voice translation

 …If God has taught me anything over the past four years, (and He’s taught me a lot) it has been that our plans are so fickle, especially when we are open to His movement in our lives. When we open our hearts to Christ, we open our lives to the unexpected. That’s the hard part of faith: relinquishing your plans and your will to that of Christ, and trusting that His ways are greater.

My timeline, and my entire agenda for my whole life, have not come to pass as I had planned. Instead, I’ve had to surrender my ideas of the way I want things to be. I have to surrender them again and again and again, day after day. Because, day after day, my flesh gets in the way, and I try to reclaim my future. I worry over it, plan for it, and then worry some more, before remembering the One I serve, and the One I profess to trust with my whole life.

God is constantly reminding me that until my plans and my heart are wholly surrendered to Him, my planning is in vain.

I can do, and do, and do. I can plan, and plan, and plan. And nothing will ever be accomplished if my focus and my heart are not staked in HIM alone.

True dependence is not simply asking Me to bless what you have decided to do. It is coming to Me with an open mind and heart, inviting Me to plant My desires within you. I may infuse within you a dream that seems far beyond your reach. You know that in yourself you cannot achieve such a goal. Thus begins your journey of profound reliance on Me. It is a faith-walk, taken one step at a time…

Sarah Young, Jesus Calling

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Essentials for Baby: The First Year

We have made it through the first year of Bonnie’s life! She’s contracted a few bumps and bruises, and even a busted nose along the way, but all in all, it’s been a successful year!I thought it might be nice to share a list of our essentials for this year. Hopefully this will come in handy for all of you who have babies that are a bit younger than Bonnie, or who are expecting to have babies soon!

Essentials for Baby---- The First Year

Always/Ongoing Needs: 

  • Baby thermometer
  • Nail clippers
  • Fever Reducer
  • Nasal aspirator
  • Board books, and more board books!!!
  • Sound machine- We use this one, set on white noise.
  • Infant Motrin, or pain reliever of choice
  • Soap/lotion/sunscreen- Look for each of these with as few ingredients as possible, or make your own.
  • Seasonally appropriate footed sleepers- As much as possible, we found these used rather than buying new.
  • A diaper bag that you LOVE- The cadillac of all diaper bags may be out of your budget (it is mine!) but once you decide on a budget, take your time selecting the right bag for you.
  • Diapers & wipes

* Good extras to have on hand are a portable sound machine, a back seat mirror,  and sun shades for the car.

* To help your baby fall asleep and stay asleep, I suggest covering his or her bedroom windows with aluminum foil and/or heavy duty trash bags. These things keep the sunlight out much better than blackout curtains.

At the Hospital

Nearly anything you bring for your baby is going to be an extra, rather than an essential, because the hospital does provide the essentials. So here is a list of “extras” that you may want to pack in your baby’s hospital bag:

  • Boppy pillow, especially if you’re planning on nursing.
  • Pacifier(s)- If you would rather your baby NOT be given the pacifiers that the hospital offers them, you could bring your own, and ask that they offer your paci to your baby, rather than the standard hospital pacifiers. There is nothing wrong with the pacifiers that the hospital gives; I just think they are big and ugly!
  • Blanket(s)- Again, the hospital provides these, but you may want to bring a special one, or one that smells like you.
  • Infant car seat- You can’t leave the hospital without this!
  • Going home outfit- The hospital even provides clothing for Baby, but it is really special to bring your own, special outfit for him or her to arrive home in.

Nursing Needs

  • Boppy pillow- You can buy the pillow uncovered and then pick a few covers for it. Etsy has a wonderful selection.
  • Breast pump- I used this one and had no issues with it.
  • Breast pads- Even though the washable/reusable ones are more comfortable, the disposables work much better.
  • Milk storage containers- I like these, but you can also use milk baggies.

* In my opinion, you can skip spending money on a nursing cover. Swaddle blankets are just as easy (or easier) to use if you feel the need to cover, which I never did.

0-3 Months

  • Swaddle blankets- I recommend swaddles from Moms on Call or Aden and Anais. We swaddled Bonnie until she was able to roll over, and it was no longer safe. But even when we stopped swaddling her, we kept using the blankets. We still use them almost daily.
  • Bottles- take it from a mom who did not bottle train, you will want to bottle train! When Bonnie finally started taking a bottle at ten months old, she used Dr. Brown’s bottles. We used plastic, but they also come in glass.
  • Infant car seat/ carrier and stroller- After LOTS of trial and error, I recommend the Baby Jogger City Select stroller. In order to make it a travel system, you’d also need the Britax B-Safe Car Seat Adapter and the Britax B-Safe Car Seat.
  • Crib/crib mattress/crib bedding/mattress pad- Bonnie has slept in her own crib, in her own room, since the first night we arrived home from the hospital. We had a bassinet beside our bed, but never ended up using it. I love that Bonnie sleeps well in her own room!
  • Rocker and ottoman- A nice rocker and ottoman are worth the investment. You will share so many precious moments with your baby here.
  • Moby wrap- It gets a little hot in the summer, but it is the perfect carrier for newborns.
  • Boppy pillow, or other nursing pillow of choice- Although I never used this much for nursing, Bonnie loved laying in it for naps (probably a no-no,) or laying on it during tummy time.
  • Tummy time mat- This is something Bonnie used multiple times per day from the time she was two weeks old until she was sitting up well, around 5 months old.

* You can also skip a baby bath tub if you are tight on space. A changing table is great to have, but I would not call it an essential. The only times Bonnie gets changed on her table are first thing in the morning and right before bed. During the day, she gets changed in random places around the house!

3-6 Months

  • Bumbo seat
  • Boba carrier- My husband and I both wore Bonnie in it. It is easy to use, and seems comfortable for the baby too.
  • Sippy cup- Finding the right sippy cup took even more trial and error than finding the right stroller! She does best with cups that have straws (our favorite is this one,) but she also does well with the Munchkin Miracle 360 cup.

* A fun extra for this stage would be rattles or other simple toys that encourage your baby to reach and grab.

6-12 Months

* A Thrive Market membership would be a fun extra for this stage. This is a great resource for healthy, organic, non-GMO snacks for little ones (and the rest of the family.) They also have body products and even diapers for your baby, as well as toothbrushes and toothpaste.

* Another fun extra for this stage is a Popsicle mold. Bonnie loves them and they seem to help with teething discomfort. This is the mold we use.

I did not include any toys in these lists (other than a tummy time mat) because every parent’s preferences for toys differ, and babies have different taste in toys also. Bonnie really enjoyed her door jumper, and still enjoys her push walker, but was never all that crazy about her other walker.   Now, at 12 months old, her favorite toys are her books and her “babies.”  She also likes her activity table (I LOVE this one, and it’s on sale right now through Amazon.) and activity cube. If I had to pick, I’d say she prefers the table to the cube.

I am astounded by our daughter each and every day. Watching her little personality bloom over the past twelve months has brought so much joy into my family’s life. When I pause to consider all that she has learned since she came into this world, I’m just in awe of our marvelous Creator. Children are miracles. There is no way around it; they just are.

(***I may have left some things off the list that other mommies would have included. I’d love to hear of any things you think are essentials for a baby’s first year of life!***)

 

 

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Twelve Months with Bonnie

I thought I’d be sad for Bonnie to turn one… sad at the rapid passage of time, sad that I no longer have a newborn, sad that I hardly have a baby anymore, but a toddler (almost!) But I’m not sad at all. Bonnie is learning new things every day. I’m so excited to wake up each morning and see what new thing she’s going to say or do! It is simply amazing how quickly babies learn at this age.

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In the past few weeks Bonnie has started saying: light, bottle, ball, boo, and uh-oh. She also says her own little versions of thank you, diaper, and more.  These all in addition to the words she already knew: Da-da, Mama, book, and dog.

And she’s learned to do some really cute things too. Sometimes when she hands me her stuffed animals, I will tell her thank you, and then hug the baby, while rocking back and forth. While I do that, I say “Mama’s loving the baby.” Now, Bonnie will pick one of her “babies” up, hug it close to her, and rock back and forth, and “love her baby.” This has made me realize how much she must learn from the small things I do each day without even thinking about them.

She can also tell us what sound a monkey makes (ah ah ah,) and she can show us where her ear is when we ask her. She also knows to “sit down” when we tell her to, and dances (although it’s more of a bounce) and claps to music.

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Some of her favorite things to do during the day are: eating, walking (holding my hand, of course,) playing in the sink or kiddie pool (as long as the water isn’t too cold), playing with her babies, and reading books. The girl LOVES her books. She has a basket full of them, and she will pick one out of the basket, thrust it toward me, and say “kk,” which, in Bonnie language means “book.” Then she will sit there and listen to me read it to her over and over and over. And then we do it all over again with another book. I love that she loves books, and I hope that, together, she and I can continue to develop her love of reading as she grows older.

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Although Bonnie took her first steps when she was about 10 and a half months old, she has not made ANY walking progress since then. I encourage her to walk as often as possible, but she will only take several steps before either falling, or throwing herself into our arms. Lately, she’s even regressed some, in that when I put her into her walking position, she just bends herself down to her knees and crawls, refusing to walk at all!

Another tough thing we encountered this month was a sleep regression. I really did not expect this, as I thought she’d have her sleeping habits down pat by the time she turned a year old. Thankfully, she only struggled with her sleep (mostly her naps) for about two weeks, and then settled back into her normal routine, after LOTS of cuddles, and a little tough love. We’ve been able to push her bedtime to closer to 7:00, and she is consistently sleeping until around 6am, although sometimes she will wake up a bit earlier, and sometimes a little later.

She no longer takes a bottle, and drinks exclusively from a sippy cup. This melts my heart because it makes me realize how far she’s come in just a few short months. Until she was well into her tenth month of life, Bonnie would not touch a bottle. I believe her relationship with her bottle has been a God-thing.

She nursed (exclusively) until she was ten months old. Around the ten month mark, I knew I needed to begin the weaning process so that Andrew and I could begin working toward our next frozen transfer. Once Andrew and I agreed that it was time to wean Bonnie, she began taking a bottle. I didn’t have to force it. The process was not long or painful; it was nearly flawless.

Once Bonnie began approaching a year old, I began to worry about how we’d wean her from the bottle, because she was growing fairly dependent upon it for naps and bedtime. But when she was just shy of a year old, she began rejecting the bottle in favor of her sippy cup. She stopped wanting to fall asleep with a bottle or cup, and the transition was natural, and initiated by Bonnie.

As silly as it was, the bottle was one of my biggest anxieties. I knew she could not be drinking 24/7 when the time comes to potty train, and I knew I did not want her thinking she needed to have milk in order to fall asleep. And overnight, she outgrew using a drink (from her bottle or cup) for comfort. Just another reminder that God knows our every apprehension, and cares about even our silliest of worries.

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We had a birthday party for Bonnie on Saturday, and it went really well. I was nervous because hostessing is not my forte, but Bonnie seemed to enjoy herself, and it was incredibly nice to have friends and family all gathered together, in one place.

I feel so thankful to have been able to spend nearly every moment of the past year with Bonnie. I cannot think of any way I would rather have spent my time.

It has been the best year.

 

 

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What’s in Bonnie’s Belly {Smoothie Edition}

Well, our next frozen embryo transfer is in the works, and although I’d decided not to blog about the process this time around, here I am mentioning it! I’m on day #6 of birth control and antibiotics, both of which are making me a little sick. The birth control makes me nauseated and bloated (it’s always had this impact on me,) and the antibiotic doesn’t agree with my stomach, so my appetite recently hasn’t been what it usually is, and as a result, I’ve been drinking lots of smoothies.

And Bonnie’s been loving them.

I started off just sharing my smoothies with her, and then she started drinking more of them than I was, so now I make her own smoothies each day. She has between two and three smoothies per day, each about 5 ounces. At first I was worried about her having too much, but she’s a growing girl, they are made of real food, and they are a wonderful way to ensure she gets her veggies (and fruit too, but she gets plenty of fruit with or without her smoothies.)

Here are what have been our “go-to” smoothie recipes over the past six days:

Healthy, wholesome, and simple smoothies for mommas, babies, and toddlers

1) Strawberry Avocado Smoothie

  • 2 Cups frozen, organic strawberries
  • 1 organic avocado
  • 1 Cup organic spinach or kale
  • 1/2 of a ripe, organic banana
  • 1 Cup unsweetened almond milk, or milk of choice

2) Green Pina Colada Smoothie

  • 1 Cup frozen, organic pineapple
  • 2 heaping Tbsp. unsweetened, shredded coconut (you can buy it on Amazon, but it is a bit cheaper through Thrive Market.)
  • 1 Cup unsweetened almond milk (you could also use breast milk, coconut milk, or coconut water.)
  • 1 Cup fresh, organic spinach or kale
  • 1/2 of an organic banana, sliced
  • 1/2 of an organic avocado

3) Pineapple Peach Smoothie

  • 1 Cup frozen, organic pineapple
  • 1 Cup frozen, organic peaches
  • 1/2 of an organic banana, sliced
  • 1 Cup fresh, organic spinach
  • 1 Cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • Optional: dash of honey and/or vanilla extract (Thrive Market has great prices on their organic extracts and honey, but Amazon is also a good option.)

4) Almond Butter Berry Smoothie

  • Heaping Tbsp. almond butter (Again, Thrive Market is a good place for this, although I really like the consistency of Target’s “Simply Balanced” almond butter… not that consistency matters much once it’s blended into the smoothie!)
  • 1 Cup frozen, mixed, organic berries
  • 1 Cup fresh, organic spinach or kale
  • 1 Cup unsweetened almond milk, or milk of choice
  • Honey or organic vanilla extract for added sweetness

We buy most of our organic frozen fruit from Costco, but if we need something they don’t have we splurge on it at Whole Foods. Our Aldi also has organic frozen fruit, but their selection is pretty limited.

* You probably want to avoid honey if your baby is less than a year old. If it isn’t realistic for you to use all organic ingredients, then of course, just use conventional… non-organic fruits and veggies are better than no fruits and veggies!

If you have any favorite smoothie recipes, please send them my way, especially if they are packed with veggies. We need all the help we can get in the vegetable department…

Healthy, wholesome, and simple smoothies for mommas, babies, and toddlers

(This picture was taken during an early morning walk, while Bonnie drank her breakfast on the go! And I had to give a shout-out to our stroller, because I hate to sound dramatic, but it has changed my quality of life so much. I cannot recommend it highly enough.)

As for our FET, my Lupron injections, progesterone injections, and Estradiol should arrive at my doorstep tomorrow, but I will not start them for a few more weeks. So excited!

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Seven Things I’ve Learned This Year

Today is my birthday. I remember nearly every moment of my birthday last year, just waiting for sweet Bonnie to arrive (here’s the post I wrote that day… about waiting!) Since in three days, she and I will have safely and successfully  made it to the one-year mark (by “successfully,” I mean that no one has been seriously injured in any way, and she seems to be thriving in every way, even in light of my many mistakes,) I thought I’d share a list of things I’ve learned over the past 365 days.

Lessons Bonnie has taught me are woven throughout most of this past year’s blog posts, but today’s list is a list of practical lessons she’s taught me that could be applicable and helpful to any new or soon-to-be, or hoping-to-be mom:

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1) Expensive baby toys are not worth the investment, in most cases. Used toys are so easily accessible, and if you aren’t comfortable with buying a particular toy used, maybe just re-think getting that particular toy altogether. In our case, more often than not, Bonnie has loved the most random toys (or household items that aren’t technically toys,) like her used, $10 jump-up, but not cared much for things we thought she’d love, like this walker that was given to us before Bonnie was born.

Plus, other people will surprise you with gifts like clothing and toys for you baby… so just let them! That way you can focus on necessities, and maybe even some higher dollar items that you may not be able to count on others getting for you.

2) A nice rocker/glider and ottoman are absolutely worth it! We waited until Bonnie was eight months old before investing in a nice rocker, and practically speaking, this is one of my biggest regrets… I wish we’d had it from day 1! We bought ours from BuyBuy baby, where we were able to combine coupons with a sale. Because the ottoman was so expensive, we only got the chair. If our next frozen transfer works though, my single “big” purchase for Baby #2 will be the matching ottoman. I tried it out at the store, and it was heavenly.

3) A nice stroller or travel system is also worth it! We learned this the hard way after going through multiple strollers that neither Bonnie nor I liked. We finally purchased the City Select Jogger, which also turns into a double stroller with the addition of a click in seat. We got the second seat for free (a $170 value) when the store we purchased from was running a promotion.

We wasted a significant amount of money on strollers that we ended up consigning, either because Bonnie would not tolerate sitting in them, or because I could not handle pushing them, or both. She has literally never fussed about being put in the City Select. I can finally go on walks again without battling a fussy baby!

4) You might end up spending more money on sippy cups than you ever imagined. It seems like we’ve tried every cup under the sun (an exaggeration, but only slightly.) We finally found one that she does okay with (this one), and one that she LOVES (this one.) 

*If you save the original sippy cup boxes and paperwork, some kids’ consignment stores will take them. You obiously aren’t getting a 100% return on your investment, but at least you get something for the 20 sippy cups you bought that your child refuses to go near.*

5) Sleep training is absolutely NOT a one-time thing, because even for a “well-trained” baby, sleep regression is real! Babies have so much going on in their tiny brains and bodies, and they aren’t machines or robots that you can perfectly program. This means that sleep training is hard at 5 months, at 9 months, and at 12 months, but regardless, it is 100% worth it. It is a wonderful lesson for Bonnie, teaching her that Mom is in charge of nap times. But it is also a wonderful lesson in discipline for me. Because let me tell you, it does not come naturally at all. 

But a lot of motherhood does not come naturally. A lot of it does, but a lot doesn’t. For instance, when Bonnie fights me while I’m trying to diaper or clothe her, I hate having to hold her down and give her a firm “no.” I’d rather let her stay naked. Or when she is fussing for more food at snack time, when I know she doesn’t need it. I’d love to just give her food. But that is not what is best for her. What’s best for her is that she learn to accept the answer, “no,” and to respect those around her. When she takes a toy from one of the babies I keep, I’d like to just let her play with it, but instead, I tell her “no,” and “share.” When she grabs our dog’s tail and won’t let go, I secretly think it is beyond cute, but really, it is a perfect time to teach her “gentle.”

Sleep training has been such a good lesson for me in how to train her in so many other areas, and it has reinforced the importance of discipline, consistency, and routine.

6) Breastfeeding is AWESOME, but having a baby/toddler who is weaned is fun too! And weaning wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. It was emotional, but Bonnie took to it so well, and she is an incredible eater. Meal and snack times have also taught me the importance of discipline and structure. And feeding Bonnie has given me a renewed appreciation for wholesome, healing, and nourishing foods.

7) Time passes far too quickly for it to be wished away. Bonnie will be a year old in three days. This does not make me sad; it just makes me wonder where the time went.

There are so many more things I could add to this list. She’s taught me more about life than I could have possibly imagined a baby could teach. And she’s taught me so much about love. She reminds me each time I look at her of God’s grace and His hand in the lives of His children.

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Thrive Market {My Two Cents- Worth}

I think I may have mentioned Thrive Market in an earlier post, but thought I’d take some time today to expound upon my experience with it so far, because it has been a really good one.

Initially, I was wary of paying the fee to join the market for 12 months, particularly since there are at least five grocery stores that specialize in organic food within about a five-mile radius of our house. But their prices are unbeatable, and so is the convenience. Not to mention that their selection is HUGE. Seriously.

When I signed up for the month-long free trial, I assumed I’d probably leave it at that, and not end up signing up for the paid, year-long membership. But after placing two orders during my free trial month, the savings on products we’d be buying anyway, and paying more for, were undeniable.

Yes, I could hop in the car and go to any of the farmers markets/health food stores/ Whole Foods stores that are in our area, and I will still use Costco for organic meat and produce, but since I have three babies at home during the week, it is so much easier to be able to place the order online and know that my products will show up on my doorstep soon, and all I have to do is open the box! No getting tiny people in and out of car seats, no battling to keep everyone in the shopping cart, no tears… Plus, significant savings.

You do have to pay the cost of shipping, unless your order is over $50, in which case shipping is free.

I recently purchased a bottle of prenatal vitamins through Thrive Market for a fraction of the cost I paid for the exact same vitamins when I was pregnant with Bonnie. They also sell some essential oils, soaps, and other body products, in addition to diapers, baby wipes, a wonderful selection of toddler snacks, and that’s just to name a few.

The biggest drawbacks for me are the yearly membership fee, which I’ve already determined is worth it because it more than pays for itself in savings, and the length of time it takes to receive an order (a solid week, or even week and a half.)

But all in all, I’ve been thrilled with my experience with Thrive Market so far. It is like Whole Foods+Costco, but online, and with better prices! This would be a great option for someone who does have limited access to organic, non-GMO products, but it’s also a great option for our family, even though we do have access to those things.

We’ve been particularly conscientious regarding what we’re putting into and on our bodies now that Bonnie is eating real food so well, which makes Thrive Market a really great thing for us during this season of our lives. But even if you do not have children, if you have PCOS, and/or are hoping to increase your chances of conception through diet and other natural mechanisms, you may want to take a serious look into Thrive Market. They do a great job at making wholesome foods both affordable and accessible!

Thrive Market--- A review from a satisfied customer

*I do not receive any form of compensation for posting this review. The powers that be at Thrive Market have no idea I’m even reviewing their company. I’ve chosen to post a review because Thrive Market has been something that has made my life easier and a bit more affordable, so it is worthy of sharing! If you use the referral code to become a paying member of Thrive Market, I will receive a small kickback from that!

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What’s in Bonnie’s Belly {Grain free, Dairy free, Sugar free Breakfasts for Baby}

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Now that she is no longer nursing, Bonnie is eating SO MUCH. There are some days I feel like I can’t keep up with her appetite! She doesn’t eat a whole lot at a time, but she eats so often throughout the day… as in, five and six times!

Her favorite foods lately are bananas (she especially loves them with almond butter,) grilled chicken, eggs, and raisins. She also loves smoothies, which thrills me, because smoothies are the only way she eats most vegetables, and they’re also an easy way to make sure she’s getting enough protein and fat.

Bonnie is usually ready for breakfast the moment she wakes up, and breakfast is one of Bonnie’s biggest meals. When I am rushed or unprepared, I can always serve her scrambled eggs with a side of fruit, and she’s satisfied. But we also have several other “go-to” meals that Bonnie and I can both enjoy together.

1) Hot n’ Creamy Pumpkin Flax Cereal- This is especially good on a cool morning. Bonnie loves feeding it to herself from one of these pouches. 

2) Smoothie Bowl- Basically a smoothie, but thicker, and with fun toppings. The possibilities here are endless. Again, she loves feeding this to herself, out of her pouches, but she will also eat it from a spoon, with a little help from Mom or Dad!

3) 4-Ingredient Pumpkin Pancakes- These are so good, and so easy! You can also make a big batch, freeze the extras, and then thaw them when you’re ready for them.

4) Paleo Egg Muffins- An easy way to stuff little ones full of protein, good fat, and veggies! Eggs are some of Bonnie’s favorites.

5) Banana Snack Muffins- Bananas are another favorite food of Bonnie’s. These are easy to make, and also easy to freeze and then grab on the fly.

Since Bonnie typically wakes up for the day around 6:00/6:30, I usually make breakfast in the evening, put it in the fridge, and then heat it quickly in the morning while Bonnie is drinking her bottle. This way I don’t have to wake up earlier than her in order to have her breakfast ready.

If any of you have healthy, toddler-friendly breakfast (or lunch or dinner) ideas, I’d love to hear them!

And speaking of toddler, I cannot believe that Bonnie is creeping nearer and nearer to toddlerhood. After sending out her birthday invitations earlier in the week, I sat down last night to make her this:

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I really wanted to have a sign like this to use for her 1-year old pictures, but I didn’t want to spend the money to buy one. To make Bonnie’s, all I had to buy was the $9 foam board. I used metallic permanent markers, some blue paint, a pencil, and an empty frame that I already had on hand. There are certainly some imperfections, but overall, I’m pleased with the final product!

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First Birthday Party Invitations

I’ve not shared any new posts recently, because my spare time has been very limited, and I’ve had so few words to share anyway.

Bonnie is growing and changing every day. I’m exhausted at the end of the day from having a houseful of babies all day, every day.

I kind of cannot believe that we are preparing for her first birthday party. By that, I mean that I absolutely CANNOT believe it’s been a year since she was born. I also mean that I CANNOT believe we are throwing her an actual birthday party. I’m so not a party person. I prefer small, low-key, quiet, and quaint. But my husband is the opposite, so we’ve compromised by planning a small party for her.

We settled on a bumble bee theme, simply because the play on words is too easy and fun to pass up. I made the invitations and printed them on thick card stock. Here is a look at them, with our address blurred out, of course.

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I’m filled with amazement each time I reflect upon the last year of our lives, the first year of Bonnie’s. She has lived in my heart forever… I dreamt of my own little girl even when I was just a little girl myself.

Motherhood is sweeter than I dreamed, more challenging than I dreamed, more emotional than I dreamed, and more all-around wonderful than I could possibly have imagined.

This time last year I was counting the days to Bonnie’s due date. This time the year before that I was mourning the failure of our second IUI, planning for our third. I never would have believed that our third IUI would have been unsuccessful, and that we’d end up pursuing both a fresh IVF cycle and a frozen transfer.

But what a difference a year, and then two, makes.

My life and my heart will never ever be the same. God used infertility to change me. He used fertility treatments to change me even more. And He’s using Bonnie to change and challenge me every single day.

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Eleven Months with Bonnie

Before Bonnie, I think I thought that loving someone more every day was just an expression. Yes, I love my husband now more than I did the day we got married, and I love my parents more deeply than I probably did growing up. But I have not been aware, every day over the past many years, that my love was growing. It was more like I just woke up one day, years later, and knew that I loved those people more then than I had in years past.

But with Bonnie, I can literally feel my love for her growing. Every day. The more time I spend with her, the more I learn about her, the more I watch her learn, the more I look at her, the more I love her. My love for her literally grows every day. It is so real and so life-changing. And absolutely heart-wrenching… in the very best way possible.

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It seems like so much has happened over the past month of her life. It has been nearly one month now since I’ve nursed her, and she is taking a bottle like a natural, even though she and I know that’s not the case at all! She’s also a wonderful crawler now, even though she was a bit late to the crawling scene. She took her first steps about a week ago, and thankfully, I was able to capture them on video, because she’s barely taken another step since! When I try encouraging her to walk, I can see her thinking about it. Her wheels turn, she considers the risks (falling, of course,) stick her bottom out, sits down gently, and crawls. She is so careful, and her movements are quite meticulous and methodical. She gets that from her mom.

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She has dropped down to one nap per day, and although I was nervous about the transition, it’s been really nice so far. Instead of taking two small cat naps per day, and fighting both of them, she goes down easily for one nap (around 11:00) and sleeps for about an hour and a half. I’m hoping she’ll learn to stretch that nap closer to two hours. Otherwise, her schedule is nearly the same as it’s been the past couple of months:

  • 6:00/6:30- Wake up
  • 7:00- Bottle (usually about 4 ounces, although I offer her 6)
  • 7:30/7:45- Breakfast (finger foods, usually eggs and a banana or eggs with pieces of avocado)
  • 10:30- Snack time (finger foods, and/or the occasional fruit & veggie pouch)
  • 11:00- Book, rocking/singing/praying, 4 ounce bottle, NAP
  • 12:30/1:00- Lunch (finger foods, and sometimes an applesauce pouch)
  • 2:30/3:00- Snack time (finger foods, 4 ounce bottle)
  • 5:00- Dinner
  • 5:30/5:45- Bath
  • 6:00- Book, rocking/singing/praying, bottle (between 4 and 6 ounces,) BED

She is such a happy girl, and the more mobile she becomes, the happier she gets! She loves books, her mom and dad, and all dogs. And I mean, she loves dogs. If we ever encounter a dog on our walks, her whole face brightens, she reaches out of the stroller, and says “dah.” It’s the cutest. Seriously. She can also say her own versions of bye, Mama, Daddy, and book.

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The entire time I was pregnant with Bonnie I walked several miles per day. I credit my easy labor and delivery to all the walking I did leading up to Bonnie’s birth. (That is, if you call 14 hours of unmedicated back labor “easy,”  if you call delivering a baby “sunny side up” with no meds, less than thirty minutes after arriving at the hospital “easy.”)

So it’s really ironic that Bonnie has never enjoyed our walks. She doesn’t like being strapped down, and frankly, she’s a stroller snob. But thanks to good old Craigslist, we finally found a stroller that she LIKES! We’ve been walking just a mile or two after the other babies go home in the evenings and it has been wonderful. I’ve missed walking so much, and I’m thrilled that Bonnie is finally coming around to one of my favorite past-times.

One of her favorite past-times is being in the water: baths, sinks, pools, you name it. She is really enjoying her Sunday swimming lessons, and my dad built her a little water table, which he is bringing today when he comes for a visit! It’s been a month or so since we’ve seen him. I don’t know about Bonnie, but I cannot wait for our day together!

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Every month with Bonnie gets better and better. I’m so thankful for such a happy, healthy, altogether lovely, precious baby. I’m just blown away by her each and every day.

Bonnie

 

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A Letter to My Daughter on Our First Mothers Day

I’ve been thinking and praying hard on what to post on the blog in honor of Mothers Day. For the woman walking the path of infertility, it is one of the most difficult days of the year. My first thought was to post a tribute to all you mommas-in-waiting, who have had to be so strong for so long. But I really cannot stand the idea of revisiting the pain of my Mothers Days gone by, when this is my first Mothers Day in so long that is blissful, happy, and so full of joy. I do not want to ruin that by focusing on anything other than my sweet baby girl.

My Mothers Days over the past several years have been characterized by waiting, aching, longing. And this year is completely different. Instead of waiting for a time when I’d carry a precious babe in my womb, and hold her in my arms, I’m wishing I could rein in the time that seems to be passing all too quickly, and cherishing every fading, beautiful moment.

After being so clueless as to the right thing to write, on one of the loneliest days of the year for the barren woman, I decided to simply stay quiet on Mothers Day, and not to post anything at all here on the blog.

But then I read this mother’s tribute to her baby on their first Mothers Day together and thought, “Okay, I can’t not write Bonnie a letter on Mothers Day. It just has to happen.”

So this letter is my heart right now, in this very moment. It is not intended to cause any of you anymore pain than you’ve probably already been experiencing this weekend. Rather, it is intended to capture mine and Bonnie’s relationship as it is right now. Because this time is so, very fleeting.


A letter to my daughter on our first Mothers Day--- Motherhood after infertility

Dearest Bonnie,

It used to be that Mothers Day made me sad. It made me sad for myself, and it made me long for the children I wondered if I would ever have. It made me envious of all the mothers who were celebrating with children of their own. It was a painful reminder of the children I ached for, but did not have.

 But this year is so different.

 My heart still hurts for the women in my life who are where I’ve been in years past: Longing for the child that is, statistically, an improbability. Staying home from church, restaurants, shopping malls and public parks, because they just cannot bear being reminded of their empty wombs and quiet nurseries.  

But my heart is also incredibly full… Full of the joy that you’ve brought me over these past eleven months, and full of gratitude for my Savior who granted my heart’s desire when He gave me you.

 Some of our days are very long and very hard. You are teething, and your nose is running constantly during these spring months. You don’t nap much at all during the day, and we rarely get out of the house since we are busy taking care of two other babies. Yes, the days can be long. But the moments, weeks, and months are so short. I’m holding on tightly to each and every one of them.

 You are crawling, and even beginning to take some of your first steps, so you don’t need me as much as you did just a month or two ago. You are sleeping through the night, so you don’t need me at all at night. You can eat finger foods all on your own, so you don’t need me to feed you. You are taking a bottle, so you don’t need me for nursing. How I miss the days when you did! And don’t even get me started on cuddling… You can barely sit still long enough for a diaper change!

 Except when you want to read. You love to cuddle up with a good book! When you crawl over to me with one of your favorite books, and scramble into my lap, my heart swells with pride and wonder. And I love the way you can say “mama” now, and the way you reach for me when I walk into the room, or crawl toward me when you miss me. I am so proud of the way you are growing and learning. You are a different baby than you were eleven months ago, when we brought you home from the hospital as a calm, helpless, wrinkly newborn.

In years past, Mothers Day has been about me: my infertility, my emptiness, my brokenness, my loneliness, my failure, my heartache.

But this year, I’ve realized that Mothers Day is not about me at all. Instead, it is a day to celebrate you and me, together. And mostly, it is a day to celebrate our glorious Savior, because were it not for His grace in my life, you would not be sitting on the floor at my feet right now, chewing on Biscuit’s dog bone (something I should really stop letting you do.) You are my constant, beautiful, crazy reminder that we serve a God who is able to do more than we could ever ask or imagine. Because you are so much more than I ever could have hoped for, and more wonderful than I ever could have imagined.

 A letter to my daughter on our first Mothers Day--- Motherhood after infertility

Every negative home pregnancy test, every needle, every blood draw, every invasive ultrasound, every penny… They were all beyond worth it for the joy of having you in my life. You are my own, personal ray of sunshine. You are the light in my life, and apart from salvation, and apart from your dad, you are the best gift I’ve ever been given. I love you more than my words can ever fully express.

 And if I teach you one thing in the coming years, let it be this: As much as I love you, we serve a Savior who loves you even more. My love pales in comparison to His. It is my deepest prayer that you will come to know Him as your own Savior at a young age, and that you will live the rest of your life according to His love for you, and yours for Him.

Being your mother has already been the greatest honor of my life. And even though you’ve been on this earth for only eleven short months, you’ve been in my heart for so much longer, and I’ll hold you close there forever; closer than you will ever know.

 And no matter if your Dad and I have several more children or none, you will always be very special, in a very special way. Because you are the daughter who made my dream of motherhood come true. And you are more, and you are better than I ever could have dreamed.

Always,

Your Mama

A letter to my daughter on our first Mothers Day--- Motherhood after infertility


“You can no more predict the path of the wind than you can explain how a child’s bones are formed in a mother’s womb. Even more, you will never understand the workings of the God who made all things.”
-Ecclesiastes 11:5, The Voice translation

If you came here today looking for a post about infertility and Mothers Day, you might want to read my post from last year, which you can find here. 

“It occurs to me that faith involves buying into a story-an overarching narrative that makes sense out of the universe and our part in it… Our relationship with the Hero is what gives us purpose, dignity, and HOPE… I am confident that God owns the narrative and that these unwelcome times are in His capable hands.”
-Ann Spangler, The Tender Words of God (Can’t recommend this devotional highly enough!)

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