3 Fun Baby Shower Games {For Those Who are Expecting and Those Who are Expecting to be Expecting}

My hope for this blog is that it is a haven of Christ-centered hope for women walking through infertility. But this is also a place where new life is celebrated… empty wombs being miraculously filled, and aching hearts being made new. Regardless of how or when it comes about, new life is worth celebrating, and praising God over!

So this post is for the women whose empty wombs have been filled. I hope you are soaking up every moment of pregnancy.

There is nothing quite as magical as experiencing the miracle of welcoming a new baby to the family, and if it is your first time, it can be both a rewarding and harrowing experience, especially in the months leading up to the birth of the new member of the family. New parents have friends and family to share in the journey, as well as to give them love and support at this time, and one fun way that family and friends show their support is through… baby showers!

Baby showers are a time-worn tradition, and whether or not you choose to throw one for yourself or have one of your child’s godparents throw one for you, it is bound to be a special event. Playing games at the baby shower is always a great way to make the event more fun. Here are some games you may want to play:

1. Daddy Relay
Being a parent requires a very special set of skills. From changing diapers to making formula, burping the baby, and dressing her up, it can all be frustrating for first-time parents – especially the dads! This game allows them to practice these skills, while pitting them against other dads. To play the game, secure some baby dolls – one for each of the participants – and some diapers, baby powder, baby wipes, baby clothes, and baby bottles. Set these up in stations across your house, and ask the dads to line up at the starting line, handing them one doll each. Have them go to each station and perform the set tasks on their baby doll: changing the diaper, dressing the baby, and feeding it in the proper position – complete with burping!

2. Baby Shower Bingo
With Free Bingo Hunter, there are now hundreds of online bingo sites that transform the game with varied themes, and custom bingo is always a big success. The game has been used in bridal showers and baby showers for a while, and all you’ll really need are custom bingo cards like the ones on Babbee.com. The cards have items you would often see at a baby shower, and the host draws bingo call cards from a hat. The first to complete a bingo pattern wins the game. This is one of my personal favorites.

3. Clay Babies
This is probably one of the most fun games you’ll ever play at a baby shower – and you might even discover that some of your friends have hidden talents in the process! All you need is some modeling clay – enough for all your participants – and some space for them to work. Give your participants some time, maybe 10-15 minutes, to create their own babies out of the modeling clay, and then pick which one you think is the best! You could have different categories too, such as Most Creative, Most Disturbing, Most Realistic and Most Lazy.

What games have you played at your baby showers?

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Expect the Unexpected: A Guest Post

Friends, I hope you’re curled up under your favorite throw, with a cup of hot tea, or coffee, or whatever it is you drink when you settle in to read your daily blogs. Because this is my favorite guest post. Ever.

I found Brandy’s blog, A Sweet Aroma, after she commented here for the first time, and I was immediately drawn to her spirit, her servant’s heart, and her love of her Lord.
As I’ve said so many times, I do not know the specific why of infertility… not in my life, and certainly not in any of yours. But I do know that God uses the unexpected to do the unexpected. And the unexpected that He brings about is always greater than we could have ever asked or imagined (Ephesians 3:20.)
God has used my family’s journey through infertility to bring so many wonderful people into our lives. Brandy is one of those people. And I hope that, after you read her post here, you’ll spend some time in her little corner of the world wide web, and get to know her a little better. Maybe God will use this part of her story to encourage you, as He’s used it to encourage me.

 

There I was… a 12 year old girl in my 6th grade Reading class. I remember the teacher handing out roles for the script we would be reading through over the next week or so. Though I don’t remember the title of the play or even my character’s name, I can remember so clearly one of my key lines: Expect the unexpected and the unexpected never comes.” 
It’s a funny little phrase when you think about it… a strange mesh of whimsical and philosophical. I had an affinity for it in the years to come and would use it often as a tagline in conversations. It wasn’t until high school that I started to realize the irony of it. Some things simply couldn’t be expected…. even if I tried. 
Sometimes the unexpected came like a knife in the heart. How could I expect that I would lose my father at age 16? How could I expect that my step-dad of 9 years would have an affair and turn my family upside down?
Other times the unexpected came like sunshine from the Lord. How could I expect for God to use me as a church plant intern 400+ miles from home? How could I expect Him to send me a country boy in the north?
I have natural tendencies to over-analyze and daydream… so if anyone could dream up the unexpected in life,  I would think it’d be me. But the reality I’ve come to find is there will always be an unexpected.
Why do I say all of this?
Here’s a glimpse into the last few years of my life.
After my Junior year of nursing school, God called me to leave all that I found normal. The Fall that would have been my Senior year, I packed up my southern self, left my college cheer squad, quit my jobs, withdrew from classes, and moved to DE to be a church plant intern. One year into that adventure, I was standing at the alter marrying a country man who loved Jesus and me more than I ever thought possible.
It was all so unexpected. But we were thrilled… we were ready for our life together to begin. We both felt led not to hinder the timing or the size of growing a family. Both desiring many (as in I want 10+) kids, we had hoped we’d start expanding right away.
We got married in October of 2013. In November, we expected that my period wouldn’t come. We expected that two lines would show up. We expected to make special Thanksgiving announcements.
When November didn’t quite hold such excitement, we expected surely December would lend itself to news of a special bundle of Christmas cheer. Though I was sad on Christmas Eve when it was confirmed my womb was empty, we expected January or February would definitely hold the baby we longed for.
Here I sit in the midst of let down #16, expecting that next month will be our month.
This wait was unexpected. Infertility… unexpected.
Why would God give us such huge desires for children?
Why would He have us long for an enormous family?
If He was going to make us wait, why?
I don’t know the answer to these questions. I have good guesses. Guesses that don’t even begin to take the pain away.
If I’m being honest, days like these I have to fight with everything in me to stay afloat. To take one more breath. To get out of my house to get groceries, let alone attend gender reveals and baby showers.
I could so easily retreat to my bedroom. Abandon my friendships. Harden my heart to the Lord. Honestly, somedays it’s what I’d prefer.
I know that I can’t see the unexpected and my expectations might be let down next month like every month before. But I can’t retreat and harden…. because there are promises made of what I can expect.
I can expect that God is with me in every moment of desperation. He hears every prayer, catches every tear (Psalm 56.8), and never leaves me in my despair (Psalm 46.1)
I can expect that God is using and will use this for His glory. As hard as it is to wrap my head around this, I know He has a purpose. His purpose for my life and everything in it is His glory (2 Cor. 12.10)
I can expect that He will work this out for my good (Romans 8.28). He will redeem this situation and will grow me through it (Psalm 147.3)
These are the truths, I am expecting. But even in those truths, my heart breaks, my womb longs, my soul grieves for what is not.
You can expect God’s goodness.
But still, expect pain.
You can expect His redemption.
But still, expect heartbreak.
You can expect His presence.
But still, expect longing.
The unexpected doesn’t make sense. We can’t prevent it and expect it. But what we can do is embrace it.
I didn’t choose infertility and I surely didn’t expect it but I know my God is good and I know that He is using it.
So through ugly tears, with a broken heart, and from an empty womb I will praise the Lord. 
 
I will expect His goodness even in the pain. 
I will expect His redemption even in the heartbreak.
I will expect His presence even in the longing.
 
I will expect that God will allow the unexpected…. to expectedly do all that He has promised. 

 

 

 

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Exploring Montessori: Montessori Baby Rooms

Many of you already know that Andrew and I plan on homeschooling our children, so because of that, and because I know how important the first several years of a child’s life are in regards to their brain and development, I read lots of learning/education/homeschool materials as I come across them.

The Montessori philosophy of learning is one that I’m only vaguely familiar with. Although I have mixed feelings about some of the specifics, the overarching theme is that children thrive on independence, freedom within limits, and a sense of order. Montessori encourages children to make the most of their environment, and use what is around them to develop themselves.

     Montessori floor bed round-up-- Montessori spaces for babies and toddlers

I agree that children (and babies) need freedom to explore and learn on their own, but I’m also a big believer in boundaries and limits, so we are choosing certain elements of Montessori to incorporate into our home, and adapting them slightly to fit our lifestyle, etc.

For babies, a big part of Montessori is creating an appropriate space for them to play, learn, and explore. The space should be safe enough for babies to be able to explore independently.This space should be simple yet stimulating. It should include toys made from natural materials, but not an overwhelming number of toys. We stray from this some, because Bonnie does have plastic toys; however, she does not use battery operated, noisy toys. The use of treasure baskets is a great idea that we’ve really enjoyed. Bonnie also really enjoys her mirror. One thing Bonnie loves that is not  “Montessori approved” is her jump up! But again, we aren’t strictly following every Montessori recommendation. That would actually be impossible since I don’t even know them all.

Bonnie has her own space in the living room, since that’s our main living space in our house, but her special space is her bedroom. She seems to understand that her bedroom is hers, and we’ve already begun teaching her what kind of play is appropriate in her bedroom (reading, blocks, dolls, puzzles, instead of rough-housing, noisy toys, etc.)

Bonnie sleeps in a crib, but because we’ve had some crib issues lately, I am especially intrigued by the Montessori idea of the floor bed. According to the Montessori philosophy, the room should be tailored to the baby. Pictures should be at the child’s eye level. Shelves should be accessible for the baby, and safe for the baby to reach onto and pull up on. The idea behind the floor bed is that the baby should, again, be able to move freely and explore within the boundaries of his or her safe bedroom, rather than being confined to the limited space of a crib. With a floor bed, the baby’s entire room becomes his or her crib!

I am really torn about the whole floor bed thing. I can see the benefits of a floor bed, especially if the baby’s room is set up properly, but the safety and tight boundaries that the crib provides are also appealing.

Even though we are on the fence as to if and when we’ll ever switch Bonnie’s crib out for a floor bed, I have come across some really pretty, well-designed floor beds that are Montessori-inspired. I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorites with all of you, since searching for floor bed ideas consumed way too much of my free time over the weekend!

I love the weaning table and chair in the room below. This is something I’d love to use with Bonnie, but we don’t have the table and chair, whereas we do have a high chair, so we’re using what we already have!

Montessori floor bed round-up-- Montessori spaces for babies and toddlers

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There is not a thing I don’t love about this next room. The colors are so fun, and the room design is just genius.

Montessori floor bed round-up-- Montessori spaces for babies and toddlers

Montessori floor bed round-up-- Montessori spaces for babies and toddlers

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This bedroom is exactly to my taste, and it makes me want to get rid of Bonnie’s crib right this minute!

Montessori floor bed round-up-- Montessori spaces for babies and toddlers

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Montessori floor bed round-up-- Montessori spaces for babies and toddlers

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The idea of a floor bed for a baby is a bit unconventional, but I could actually see it working well for Bonnie. My husband and I have tossed the idea back and forth quite a bit, and may give it a shot. I’d love to hear feedback from any of you who have done this or plan on doing this with your little ones.

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Banana Snack Muffins for Baby {Grain free, Dairy Free, Sugar Free, Paleo}

 

In Wednesday’s post, I mentioned that we occasionally make Bonnie her very own muffins. These muffins are super easy to make, they are good for her, and she loves them.

One of the wonderful things about baby-led weaning is that you don’t necessarily have to make special food specifically for your baby. You can literally feed them whatever you are eating. And that’s what we do most of the time, but there are certain times when convenient finger foods, like these muffins, really fit the bill.

Banana Snack Muffins for Baby-- These grain free, dairy free, sugar free muffins are a perfect Paleo treat for baby-led weaning, and super easy to make!

Banana Snack Muffins for Baby

Ingredients:

  • 2 bananas, mashed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together, and bake in a greased muffin tin for 25-30 minutes.
  • This recipe makes 6 muffins that can be stored in the fridge for up to a week, or the freezer for up to 2 months.

Bonnie and I spent yesterday with my mom, who came into town late Wednesday night. The three of us went to GRS to see my RE, and several of the staff at the office. It’s so hard to believe it has been nearly a year and a half since I was a patient there. As we sat in the waiting room, waiting for my doctor to see us, it was so easy to remember the many times I was waiting for appointments there: ultrasounds, blood work, shots. It was easy to remember the times I arrived there feeling hopeful, and left there disappointed. It was easy to remember the times I arrived there in despair, and left filled with hope.

I remembered my last appointment there before having Bonnie, and hearing her heartbeat. Then I remembered my nine months of pregnancy, wondering if my baby would ever arrive.

And now I’m baking my baby muffins.

Crazy.

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What’s in Bonnie’s Belly {Baby-led Weaning at 8 Months Old}

As I hinted Monday, I’ve been struggling a little lately when it comes to the blog. I think part of the reason for that is I hesitate to post frequently about my life with Bonnie, because I don’t want to cause any of you pain. I know that, when you are walking through infertility, it can be so hard to watch other experiencing life with their babies. I know that when you come to my little corner of the world-wide web, you may not want to see pictures of my baby. You may not want to hear about my mothering moments. You may not care about what she eats, how often she nurses, or how many hours she sleeps at night.

But that is my life right now. My days are spent at home. I am with her all day, every day. If I can’t share that part of my life here, then there’s little else for me to share. I shared some of my most intimate moments and thoughts when we were trying to conceive, and going through fertility treatments. I’ve shared thoughts on physical intimacy while TTC, my thoughts on going through infertility in my twenties, every detail of our IVF experience, my thoughts on pregnancy after infertility, and my thoughts on motherhood after infertility. It would be a shame not to celebrate the day-to-day of motherhood, the little milestones and memories that we make with Bonnie. Those things take up so much space in my heart, and I want them to have a space on the blog as well.

Since sharing this picture on my personal Facebook page last week, I’ve been asked several questions about recently is Bonnie’s meals: When does she eat? How often? And what?

Baby-led weaning-- BLW meal and snack ideas for 8 months old. Healthy, wholesome, and FUN foods that teach your baby to love real food

Bonnie recently transitioned to a new, bigger girl schedule. This means that she has dropped one nap, and is down to two naps a day. It also means she is eating a lot more food, and nursing a little less.

  • 6:30/7am- Nurse
  • 7:30/8am- Breakfast
  • 9am- Nurse and then nap
  • 10/10:30am- Snack
  • 12pm- Lunch
  • 1pm- Nurse and then nap
  • 2:30/3pm- Snack
  • 5pm- Dinner
  • 6:30pm- Nurse and then bed

*I nurse Bonnie on demand, within reason, so there are days when she will nurse more than what’s indicated above.

Bonnie does not eat grains, and with the exception of  goat cheese, she does not eat dairy either. Her diet consists of whole foods that are easy to prepare. She eats a lot of what Andrew and I eat, which means her meals are simple and wholesome. The most common foods we offer Bonnie are:

  • Fresh fruit. Her favorites are grapes, apples, and any kind of berry. She also likes bananas.
  • Steamed or roasted veggies (she prefers her veggies roasted in olive oil rather than steamed.) Some favorites are green beans, asparagus, sweet potato, and any kind of squash.
  • Mild guacamole. This is one of her favorites!
  • Scrambled eggs.
  • Organic chicken or ground deer meat.
  • Almond butter, flaxseed, chia seed (either in the form of a mini protein bite or in a “smoothie.”)
  • Healthy fats like olive oil, coconut oil, and grass-fed butter.

*We occasionally offer Bonnie muffins, stuffed with fruits or veggies. I think she’ll eat almost anything that comes in muffin form!

*As special treats, Bonnie loves dates and prunes. When she is ever constipated, we will put chopped prunes into her power bites (recipe coming soon) and she will have a dirty diaper a few hours later.

At mealtime, we will offer Bonnie 3 or 4 of the items listed above, and at snack time we will offer her 2 or 3. For instance, here is what Bonnie ate yesterday:

Breakfast:

  • One banana muffin (I’ll share the recipe soon)
  • One scrambled egg
  • Brussels sprouts

Snack:

  • Pea, pear, and spinach puree (We use Plum Organics, Stage 1 & 2. I also have frozen homemade purees that we use occasionally, but she prefers the Plum Organics pouches.)
  • 2 power bites (almond butter, prunes, flaxseed, unsweetened coconut)

Lunch:

  • Leftover homemade soup (containing ground deer, green beans, sweet potato, cabbage, okra, squash)
  • Grapes
  • Goat cheese

Snack:

  • Roasted zucchini
  • 2 power bites

Dinner:

  • Organic, grilled chicken (no seasonings)
  • 1 banana muffin
  • Roasted zucchini

Baby-led weaning-- BLW meal and snack ideas for 8 months old. Healthy, wholesome, and FUN foods that teach your baby to love real food

Because we are doing baby-led weaning, we do not necessarily offer purees on a regular basis, and we did not start her out with purees. They are just a special treat that we give her occasionally. They are especially easy if we are out and about and don’t have a good place to sit down and let her feed herself.

One of the newer things we’ve been doing is letting Bonnie have a smoothie instead of a puree. A smoothie is always a fruit, a healthy fat, and a leafy green, blended with either water or breast milk. Some flavor combo ideas are:

  • Dates, chia seeds, cinnamon, spinach, breast milk
  • Apple, dates, kale, almond butter, water
  • Raspberries, avocado, dates, water

Baby-led weaning-- BLW meal and snack ideas for 8 months old. Healthy, wholesome, and FUN foods that teach your baby to love real food

We give Bonnie a sippy cup of water with every meal and snack she has. Moms on Call recommends giving a sippy cup of breast milk (or formula) instead, but Bonnie won’t go near her cup if it has anything in it other than water. I nurse Bonnie before both of her naps to compensate for the milk she is not getting when she eats. (Moms on Call has been my lifeline as a first-time mom, and I cannot recommend the books, videos, and schedules highly enough.)

Bonnie prefers feeding herself to being fed, so aside from the purees, we let her feed herself, which is fun, but so messy. (Sometimes we even let Bonnie feed herself the purees, because we are crazy and we like having various fruits and veggies smeared all over our floors, chairs, and walls.) There are days when she eats a lot, and days when she plays with her food more than she eats it. We don’t force it. If she is hungry and eats well, that’s great, but if she isn’t hungry, that’s fine too. I’d guess that about 50% of what we give her actually gets into her belly, give or take.

When Bonnie began nursing less, I initially felt a sense of loss, but it is so fun to watch her experiment with new foods, and learn to feed herself. It is such a natural progression, and although I still cherish our nursing sessions, I am so happy that she is enjoying real foods now too. I look forward to the next many years with her, and teaching her to enjoy and appreciate wholesome, unprocessed, healing foods.

*If you are considering baby-led weaning for your little one, but need a bit of inspiration, you might want to check out this blog post. It helped me a lot!

Baby-led weaning-- BLW meal and snack ideas for 8 months old. Healthy, wholesome, and FUN foods that teach your baby to love real food

 

 

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In Need of Rest

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

-Matthew 11:28-30

Well, here we are. It’s Monday morning, and I have not one thing to say.

I sat down to write several times over the weekend, and each time I found myself staring blankly at the computer screen. After the first few attempts, I began to feel frustrated, and a little defeated. But mostly, I just felt tired. So tired.

Here is the thing about being a mom, and many of you already know this: It is hard. Some days are really hard. Then there are lots of really hard days, tied together by really hard nights, and before you know it, it’s been a really hard week.

Here’s the thing about being a mom after infertility, and maybe many of you already know this too: You never actually want to say the words, “This is hard,” or, “I’m really exhausted.” You don’t want to say them, and you’re ashamed to even be thinking them, because you don’t want to be ungrateful; you don’t want to seem as though you are complaining. And you especially do not want to hurt the women in your life who want to be moms but aren’t.

Because as hard as being a mom can be, it’s a totally different kind of hard when you want to be a mom, but aren’t. That is a kind of hard that you remember well, and a kind of hard that you are so thankful to be on the other side of.

So when you finally do become a mom, and when you eventually have one of those really hard weeks, you feel guilty. You feel guilty for thinking thoughts like, “Man, I’d kill for a nap right now,” or, “I really wish my mom were in town to watch the baby so I could clean this pigsty that I’ve been living in.” You feel guilty for that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when you hear your baby crying when she is supposed to be sleeping through the night. You feel guilty for coveting a full night’s rest, because for years, you begged God for a child. You begged for a little creature who would interrupt your sleep, and turn your world upside down.

So even though there is a part of me that feels guilty, and even though no part of me wants to hurt any of you, all I really have to say today, after a hard week, and a hard weekend, is that I am tired. And as sweet as motherhood is, as much of a dream come true as it is, it is really hard.

And I should apologize to all the mothers I’ve judged over the past several years. The moms in front of me in the grocery store checkout lines who I’ve heard complaining about how full their hands are, or how tired they are, or how busy they are. I used to thing you all took your precious miracles for granted, that you did not appreciate what a great thing you had in your children. I used to think to myself, “When I have children, I will never complain.” But I kind of get it now. You aren’t complaining. You know what blessings your babies are. You love them with every fiber of your being. They are your world.

But even so, you are surrounded by sticky hands that need you constantly, sticky floors that need cleaning, unfolded laundry that needs sorting, dishes that need washing, meals that need planning, and bills that need paying.

And at the end of the day, you are just tired.

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Grieving After A Miscarriage: A Guest Post

miscarriage

I intended to cook and then post a recipe today, from this cookbook, and then remind you all to make sure you enter mine and Jessi’s giveaway before midnight tonight. I’ve been feeling under the weather this week though, and not up for writing much, so my sister has agreed to share some of her heart with you all today.

If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you may remember me telling you all that she was expecting back in the fall. I shared my thoughts, and the whirlwind of emotions I experienced after she shared her news with me. Then, a  month later, I shared the news that she miscarried. 

You were all incredibly supportive, and I received many emails asking me to let her know that you were praying for her. And now, three months later, she is doing well, but still walking through the grieving process.

Here she is with an update on where she stands today:

I miscarried naturally on November 15, 2014. Though God has given my husband and I a “peace that passes all understanding,” that doesn’t mean the pain has disappeared. It SURE doesn’t mean every single time I see a pregnant woman or a tiny baby I don’t think thoughts like, “That’s supposed to be me.” But it does mean that I’m able to cope JOYFULLY!

God tells us in James 4:14 that our life here on earth is just a “vapor that appears for a little while and then passes away.” I am, weirdly, finding great peace and comfort in this. I have ONE job, and that job is to conquer this “vapor” of a reality; then my whole family will be together worshiping Jesus FOR ETERNITY! 
That’s a super great thought, but sometimes life is still sucky…
Like I said, I miscarried November 15th. On December 24th my sister-in-law (my husband’s brother’s wife) announced that she was pregnant with TWINS. Please don’t get me wrong! I was and am very excited for both her and her husband. What didn’t excite me so much was the reaction of the rest of his family. 
There was not ONE glance in my direction. Not one side hug. Nothing to say, “Hey. We remember what happened. We know you must be grieving. We’re sorry and we love you.” 
Before you start thinking I’m being too sensitive let me just say that all the men in the room (aside from my husband) struck up a conversation about how, “If they are both boys I’m sure there’s medication for the parents.”
I could have died. It was all I could do to keep my mouth shut. SOME people in this room would KILL for two boys! Or one boy! Or one anything! 
Once we got through that ordeal things seemed to die down for a while… Until about 3 days ago when I got a “save-the-date” for a gender reveal party. I feel a peace about the passing of my baby. I promise I do, but that is different than having a desire to sit and watch 50 people revel in the glory of a mom-to-be that still isn’t me. 
I am NOT jealous. I am not mad. I also am not ready.
I am joyful in my own way. I’m STOKED to be an aunt to twins. I’m letting my sister-in-law borrow everything I had purchased for my baby’s nursery and I can’t wait to see it in action. I did feel a little weird about sharing something so personal at first, but then I realized that cousins share all the time. I’m so excited to find out what she’s having! I’m just not excited for this party.
I’m not sure when things will get easier or when the “readiness” will come. Maybe when I am holding a baby in my arms or maybe never. I do know God is good and has a reason for everything He does, and everything He allows to happen. I am thankful I got to carry my baby, even if only for a short while. I am mostly thankful that we will get to be together again someday. 
Be sure to check out Avery’s new blog when you have the spare time!
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Getting to Know You Q&A

So, Jessi at Life Abundant Blog (yes, the same Jessi who partnered with me on our Valentines Day giveaway) tagged me in a fun little Q&A post last week.

The rules are quite simple:

  • Copy the 10 questions and give your own answers in a post on your blog. Try to do the post within 2 weeks of getting tagged.
  • Tag 3 other bloggers to answer the questions. Link to their blog and be sure to comment on their blog to let them know that they have been tagged.
  • In your “getting to know you” blog post, link back to the blogger who tagged you.
  • Use the “getting to know you” logo in your post. You have Jessi’s permission to use!

So, without further ado, here goes nothin’!

Getting-to-Know-Bloggers-Logo-300x300

1. When did you first start blogging?

Well, technically, I started blogging my sophomore year of college, in 2007, but it was a private blog, and no one read it but my parents, literally. I’d always journaled, but in college I was so busy, that putting pen to paper was just not happening. I happen to be an excellent typist, and decided to blog in leu of journaling, simply as a way to save time.

I started this blog in April of 2012, when my husband decided to quit his teaching job in order to pursue chiropractic school. At the time, I had no intention of sharing any part of our TTC story, but oh, am I so glad I did! 

2. What inspires you to keep blogging?

The relationships Christ has brought into my life through this blog are absolutely priceless, and probably my main inspiration for continuing to blog. Second to that would be my need to write. It’s such a wonderful and cathartic way to decompress at the end of each day.

3. How would you describe your personal style?

Hmm… How about ‘classic casual’? Or maybe ‘simple casual.’ I’m not super trendy (that would be my sister,) and now that I stay home with a baby most days, I am casual to the extreme! Don’t get me wrong though; I’m not a slob, and do like to look put together.

I wear scarves with nearly every outfit, and in every season, because they are an easy accessory, they cover low necklines, and they are great for a bit of added coverage while nursing too. I also have a weird thing with earrings. I have to have them in all the time, even if I know I’m going to be home all day. I just don’t feel like my best self without earrings!

4. What color describes your personality?

I’m gonna go with teal. No, not for PCOS awareness, but because teal is indecisive: it can’t decide if it’s blue or green. And I know that if those who know me best were asked to pick three words to describe me, indecisive would be one of them. It’s a curse, I tell you…

5. When you listen to music, what is your go-to?

I listen to praise and worship music almost exclusively. Now that I have Bonnie, I also throw some fun learning songs into the mix. 

6. What is the one food you cannot live without?

I go through food phases, so my answer to this question will be different depending on when you ask me, but lately, I’m going through at least a loaf of this banana bread each week.  A close second to that would be Mexican food. My husband and I both love it, and eat it at least weekly.

7. If you had a $1,000 shopping spree to use at your favorite store, where would you choose?

A flea market! Any flea market; I’m not picky. If there are no flea markets around, an antique mall or junk shop would also do.

8. When you were a kid, what were you convinced would be your career?

I honestly don’t remember ever dreaming of being anything other than a wife and mom. I know those things don’t really meet the career criteria, but that’s the only answer I have to this question. I’ve never been career-minded. Maybe that’s because I had a mom who was incredibly content to be a stay-at-home mom, and a teacher to us. Growing up, I wanted to be just like her. Now I’m grown up, and I still want to be like her in many ways!

9. What chore is your least favorite?

I don’t like Swiffering or mopping the floors, because it hurts my back. I also really hate handling raw meat, so when we eat it, Andrew has to take over that portion of the cooking. The smell and texture gross me out. I handled a whole chicken last week and actually got a little teary-eyed, because the poor thing looked so… dead. And chicken-y. 

10. Do you have any vacations planned for the year or have you already taken one?

I would love to take Bonnie to the beach this summer, but I just don’t see it happening. With Andrew’s being in school full-time, we don’t have a peace about spending our money on a vacation. We feel like we’d be being poor stewards of our resources, both time and money. Andrew does get a long break in June, and we are planning on taking Bonnie to the zoo here in Atlanta at some point during his break. Does that count??? 

This isn’t an official rule, but I think everyone should include a picture, just because. Here’s mine, of my precious family. This was taken the night of Andrew’s student clinic banquet:

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Now it’s my turn to tag three bloggers! I am choosing Brandy at A Sweet Aroma, whose blog I found after she recently commented here. I can’t get enough of her site. It is such an encouragement and a breath of fresh air!

I am also choosing Ann at Life Bubbles Blog . She is relatively new on the scene as far as TTC blogging goes, so I thought this would be a fun way for us to get to know her.

And finally, I am tagging Tiffany at Head Above the Waves. Her blog is one of my favorites, and I usually leave her space feeling either convicted, uplifted, or both! She is at a really exciting point in her journey to motherhood, and I cannot wait to see how her story turns out.

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This I Know

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After a weekend of celebrating not only Valentines’ Day, but also 8 months with Bonnie, my heart is so full. I often watch Bonnie in disbelief that she is here, and that she is ours. I find myself wondering, “Why me? What did I do to deserve such a wonderful, perfect baby?” And of course, I did nothing to deserve her, because that’s just not how our God operates. Praise Him for not giving us what we truly deserve.

As full as my heart feels, it also feels heavy after receiving several emails containing news from many of you who have recently gone through unsuccessful rounds of fertility treatments, or have had another natural cycle that has resulted in another disappointing negative pregnancy test.

I am so sorry for the hurt and loss that you are experiencing, many of you for month upon month, and year after year.

I don’t know why. I don’t know why you, or why now. I don’t know why not you, or why not now.

Except this:

While walking along the road, Jesus saw a man who was blind since his birth.

“Teacher, who sinned? Who is responsible for this man’s blindness? Did he commit sins that merited this punishment? If not his sins, is it the sins of his parents?”

Jesus replied, “Neither. His blindness cannot be explained or traced to any particular person’s sins. He is blind so the deeds of God may be put on display.”

-John 9:1-3

Here is what I do know, without even a hint of doubt:

Our God is greater.

He is greater than our fear.

He is greater than our heartbreak.

He is greater than our doctors.

He is greater than our diagnoses.

He is greater than our medication.

He is greater than our timelines.

He is greater than our plans.

He is greater than our dreams.

He is greater than our negative pregnancy tests.

He is greater than our quiet, empty nurseries.

He is greater than our long, tear-filled nights.

He is greater than our biggest disappointments.

He is greater than our wildest expectations.

He is wiser than statistics.

He is healer of our bodies.

Healer of our brokenness.

Healer of our hearts.

He’s the holder of our dreams.

He’s the keeper of our desires.

He’s the knower of our futures,

and He is Lord over all these things.

Your story, even the hard, messy chapter entitled Infertility, serves a Kingdom purpose. Count yourself blessed, even in your heartache, because those who mourn will be comforted. (Matthew 5:4)

Count yourself blessed, because you do not stand alone. You stand with these women. You stand with the same God who travelled the road of infertility with these women, thousands of years ago. The same God who made much of their struggles, and used them for His wonderful purpose and glory.

Childless, infertile, barren…. So that the deeds of God may be put on display. 

“He is blind so the deeds of God may be put on display.” -John 9:1-3

His gifts are coming. I do not know what His gifts will look like in your life, but I know they are on their way, and I know they will exceed your grandest dreams.

“Take great joy in the Eternal. His gifts are coming, and they are ALL your heart desires.” -Psalm 37:4

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Eight Months with Bonnie

Bonnie is such a happy, content, sweet girl… Even when she is teething! She’s also very friendly and social, which makes me think she is going to be far more outgoing than I ever was. She must get that from her daddy. Both her smile and her cries melt my heart, although she is not much of a crier at all, especially since she’s mastered the whole sleeping thing.

She is down to two naps a day, both about an hour long. I really love that she’s only taking two naps now, as it really frees up our day, and not so much of it has to be structured around naps. Even apart from naps, Bonnie has outgrown her 6-8 month schedule, and has worked her way into a new schedule. It literally happened overnight. I could sense that she was ready to drop the third nap, so after struggling with that nap for a few days, we spent a day transitioning to a new schedule, and she took to it beautifully. It is amazing how much babies can tell you without being able to talk! Without her third nap though, she has been going to bed around 5:30 or 6 at the latest, and sleeping until between 6 and 6:30am. I am thrilled that she is able to sleep for such long stretches at night, but I do wish she’d stay up a little bit later so that Andrew could spent a little time with her before bed in the evenings.

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Since Bonnie is awake for longer stretches between naps during the day, she is able to spend significantly more time eating and experimenting with new foods. She will eat almost anything we give here, but especially seems to love this banana bread. If she sees the bread while she is eating something else, she will be fussy until I give her the bread. It’s hysterical, but also kind of alarming that she already has such strong food preferences.

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Eating more does mean that she is nursing less. She only nurses about 4 times a day now, whereas, just a week ago, she was nursing about 7 times a day. I have seriously mixed feelings about this, and even cried over it the first day. But I know it’s the natural progression of things, and watching her learn to eat new foods is really, really fun. Each time she eats a snack or meal in her high chair, she drinks some water from her sippy cup, and she saves breastfeeding for first thing in the morning, before both naps, and right before bed.

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Bonnie is still wearing size 9 month shirts, pants, and dresses as she has been since she was 6 months old. But for the sake of length, she wears 12 month onesies and footed sleepers. She is so long and tall! It will be interesting to see how long she keeps that up! Overall, her physical growth seems to have slowed down. I am so happy about this, because from birth until about six months she was growing so quickly we could hardly keep up.

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She has such big, blue, expressive eyes, and something about them makes her look older than she actually is. Something in them makes me think that she will be wise, and I pray every day that she will be. I pray that God will grant her wisdom, and I also pray that the fruits of His spirit will be made manifest in her life even at a young age.

On Thursday we are taking her to GRS to see my doctor and nurses there. I am beyond excited to see them again, and for them to see her! I anticipate they will be seeing me as a patient again in the not-so-distant future, but for now, Andrew and I are both soaking in every moment with Bonnie Claire.

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