Difficult Times Call For Simple Measures

As Covid has us up, down, high, low, and everything in between, we can start to feel like our sanity is slipping away.

And though it seems like all our favorite things have been taken from us and been replaced with fear and cabin fever, I have put together a list (with help from family & friends) of life’s simple joys you can still enjoy!

>Take a hot, relaxing shower or bubble bath
>Eat warm cookies with milk
>Jam to your favorite songs
>Call or text someone you enjoy talking to
>Take a drive and treat yourself to a coffee, ice cream, or fun snack
(bonus if its nice out and you can roll the windows or sunroof down)
>Crawl into fresh, crisp sheets at night
>Have a movie night and snuggle with your family
>Curl up with a blanket, beverage, and read a new (or old) book
>Bake something new
>Look at funny memes or videos
(this usually helps me if I’m in a grumpy mood)
>Look through old pictures and reminisce
>Find a creative outlet
>Take a walk and listen to a podcast
(currently listening to The Office Ladies)
>Rewatch an old favorite show from the beginning
>Sit down and write notes, cards, or letters to loved ones
(The TouchNote app lets you create fun postcards and cards and then sends them for you)
>Play with your pets
>Color a picture
>Sit on the porch or patio on a nice day and soak up the sun
>Play a favorite game (Clue, Monopoly, Yahtzee, cards, etc)
>Take a scenic drive through the mountains
>Paint your nails
>Do something nice or special for someone in your life

What are some more of life’s simple joys? Comment below with your own favorites.

Bringing Home Baby

Benjamin-12

I have worked with kids infant on up for several years (since I was 18), so I had an idea of what kinds of things we would need when we had our own baby. But there’s just some things you only learn as a mom. So here is a list of things that were very helpful in the first few months with our little guy.


1.Infant Lounger

lounger

We loved this thing! And he slept in it a lot the first few weeks. It says not to let them sleep in it in case they roll over, but since he wasn’t going to be rolling over the first few weeks, I knew it would be okay.

2.Hot Water For Bottles

hotwater

So we already had this coffee pot/hot water combo thing and it turned out to be AMAZING for making and heating up bottles/breast milk.
It makes the water hot really fast when you push the button so if it was a bit too hot I would put a little in the bottle and then fill the rest with cold filtered water from the fridge and it would be perfectly luke-warm.
If I needed to get formula or breast milk warmed up I would fill a cup with the hot water and let the bottle sit in it until warm enough.

3.Bassinet

We used the bassinet that goes in bed with you for the first few weeks and then switched him over to the bed side one. I was a nervous wreck the first few weeks about SIDS so having him right next to me in bed made me feel better. Then when I felt more comfortable, he went to the other one. Do what makes YOU feel most comfortable. Don’t let people tell you where they should be sleeping at a certain age. You know your child and what’s going to stress you out the least.

4.Owlet Sock

owletsock

This was another thing that helped me be less stressed. I don’t think I would have slept at all without the comfort of it.
It’s a little “sock” that you wrap around their foot. It monitors their oxygen levels and heart rate. You download the app and it will tell you what their vitals are. If something is not right, it will immediately alert you.
It also comes with a camera so when they move to the crib, you can see always see them and hear them. It comes with 3 different sock sizes to accommodate their growing feet.

5.Carrier

babycarrier

I have 3 different carriers and have used them all. The Boba wrap was great! But as he started to grow, I liked this carrier. It also comes with a hip seat which everyone in my family loves because it saves your hip, your arms, and your back! The carrier is for both front facing and in facing.

*Update: It can also be used as a back carrier!

6.Bouncerbabybouncer

This has been a hit with all the kids I’ve taken care of, as well as my own. Babies love to bounce! Mine learned that he can kick his legs to make it bounce by himself and entertains himself for 20-30 minutes lol Its great!

7.Bibs

bibsDrool and spit up have been a constant for us so bibs are a must! Or I’m changing his clothes A LOT. These Yoofoss bibs are absorbent, good quality, and cute. I like the solid colors best for outfit coordinating.

8.Pacifier Clips

870BE949-2026-4F2F-86D3-924E487EEE4FWe gave our kid the good old pacifier right away because I didn’t want him to be a thumb sucker. Get back to me on that choice in a few years when we’re trying to wean him off LOL
But, if you’re doing pacifiers these clips are a must! They will fall out of their mouths at the most inconvenient times. Liiiiiike, when you’re walking up the stairs and it pops out, tumbles all the way down the stairs, and then your kid starts crying.
Yeah. Life saver.

If you have any items to add, leave it in the comments!

A Faith Without Happy Endings

prairie-woman-at-sunset

As I lay here with the sun barely peeking over the horizon and my little miracle baby sleeping soundly on my side, I find tears wetting my eyes.
God has been faithful to me again and again. There have been days it hurt to hope. It felt so foolish. And yet I clung to little pieces of it because I knew God would show up somehow.

I am reading a book called Daring to Hope by Katie Davis Majors. She is an incredible woman who moved to Uganda at the age of 19 to run a ministry and has now adopted 13 girls. She says:

“In the wounding he has changed us, renamed us. He redefined redemption and beauty for me not as a happy ending, but as His presence with me, regardless of the ending.”

I had a happy ending in mind for my infertility but as hard as I tried, it wasn’t happening. I screamed and begged God to please give it to me. My heart ached. I didn’t know I could withstand such hurt.
I can look back now and see him there with me. See the people he placed in my path at the right times. See some of the orchestrating that can only be done by God.
I stretched and grew as a person, in my relationship with him, and in my relationships with others. But there were times I couldn’t even bring myself to talk to Him. And a very wise woman and counselor told me “it’s okay. You don’t have to right now.” So I didn’t. I acknowledged He was there and I put one foot in front of the other, but I didn’t have anything to say to Him for a while. And I believe he was okay with that. He continued to love me and to put my story together.

My earthly father became less apart of my life when I turned 12. Him and my mother divorced and we moved to Colorado. I remember feeling then like my world was crumbling. Something I never imagined could happen to my family. Up until that point I’d had a good childhood. I had always felt loved, supported, and stable. I grew up going to church and learning Jesus loved me. My parents created a safe and loving home. But people have free will, the world is full of lies and mistakes, and sooner or later we all experience disappointment. I am where I am in life because of good choices and bad choices. Some my own, some from other people. Before he suddenly died at the age of 54, we did find peace in our relationship.

Pain is not enjoyable. It is something we all try desperately to avoid. However it is inevitable in a world with sin. And it’s  hard to understand why things happen the way they do. Another quote from Katie’s book stood out to me.

“A faith that trusts him only when the ending is good is a fickle faith. A faith that trusts him regardless of the outcome is real.”

He doesn’t promise happy endings here on this earth. He doesn’t promise a life of material gain and success. He promises His presence with us through every joy and every loss. And the joy is so much sweeter when you know the pain of loss.

Well, Girl ~ A Book Review

There are so many quotes I would love to share with you. But I think it would be way better if you just read the book and experienced it yourself. So I’ll hold back and only share a few!

jamiAmerine

“Guilt is being sorry for something you have done. Shame is being sorry for who you are.”

Shame keeps us wanting and the enemy uses it to keep us stuck. Oh the freedom you can have in Jesus! He chooses to dwell in you! Do not be ashamed of who you are. If you are always focused on what you should be, you’ll never look up at the One who died for you and made you who are.

One of the things Jami talks about in her book is how we’re always “starting over”. If we fudge on our diet we tell ourselves we’ll start over on Monday.  And then we throw caution to the wind and eat whatever we want the rest of the week because “we’ll start over on Monday”. We tend to do the same with God. If we mess up we distance ourselves from him with the “I’ll start over on Monday” mentality. But we don’t need to do that! We don’t need to stop and start with God. He is constant and His love is constant.

We’re never completely happy with our weight, with our appearance, or with our wellness. Whether we’re perfectly thin and “healthy” or overweight and unhealthy, He loves you just the same. No more, no less.

While this is not what I would call a step by step weight loss program, it does provide you with a new way of thinking and feeling. And that in turn can be what you need to get over the yo yo dieting and loathing cycle.

“But while we are never separated from the love of God, if you add even a touch of the law, you are no longer experiencing grace. Grace is everything.”

Jami has a way of helping you to visualize and deeply feel the love God has for you. I found tears streaming down my face as I realized how much I was missing this. We’re so hard on ourselves. Saying things we would never imagine uttering to someone else. Jesus doesn’t think these things about me or you. 

“If there were any scenario where He wasn’t utterly crazy about you, He would have spared His beloved Jesus the agony of death on a cross.”

Boom! What a realization. I felt it down to my toes!

I believe you’ll find joy, humor, and peace when you read Jami’s new book. As Jami always says- Jesus be all over you friend!!!

*You can order this book through amazon, kindle, barnes and Noble, and most other book retailers.

 

 

Fun With Chalk for All Ages

Trying to get the kids outside to enjoy the weather? As they get older free drawing with chalk doesn’t always sound as appealing to them. But here are a few game ideas that will get them on board with chalk fun!

  • Candyland – Draw large squares big enough for standing on to make a Candyland board. Let the kids help too! Make each square a different color from the one it’s attached to and don’t forget the special candy squares. There’s the gumdrops, lollipops, peanut brittle, and more. We pick 3 or 4 to use. We also add 1 or 2 shortcuts. You can download a die to your phone or just roll a real one.
  • Target Board – Draw a target circle with multiple rings and values. Then use a bean bag or whatever you can find to toss from a designated distance.

 

  • Musical Shapes or Colors – Draw shapes or circles of color in a large circle, play music, and have the kids walk around. Stop the music periodically and call out a color or shape. The kids have to find it and run to it.

 

  • Draw bike or scooter lanes – Make winding paths for the kids’ bikes or scooters to follow.

 

  • Chalk Painting – You can make your own chalk paint by crushing up chalk and mixing with water. Then have the kids use paint brushes and rollers to paint the driveway/sidewalks with.
    image                  image

 

  • 2 square or 4 square – Draw 4 (or 2) connecting squares and have players bounce a rubber ball (kickball) from their square to another person’s square. The ball must stay inside the lines and only bounce once inside their square.

Hide from Grime, Movie Time!(Streaming Recommendations)

Hey everyone! It’s an interesting time in the world to say the least! As most of us are home all day now, I thought it would be helpful to give you a list of movie and show recommendations from the different streaming services.

These are obviously my own opinions of what is good but as you scroll through the hundreds of options, it’s sometimes nice to have suggestions. I have it broken down into movies and shows and then which streaming service you’ll find it on.

But first some humor because how else are we going to get through this? lol

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Movies:

Netflix

  • The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society
    -Takes place shortly after WW11. A book club on the island of Guernsey writes letters to a London female author. She is so inspired by their story that she travels to visit them and ends up creating memorable relationships. (romance & drama)
  • Julie & Julia
    -A young woman who admires Julia Child decides to spice up her uneventful life by cooking up every recipe in Julia’s classic cookbook. (comedy & drama)
  • Tootsie
    -A young male actor can’t get work so he decides to dress up as an older woman named Dorothy. Dorothy gets a gig on a popular show and things get sticky as she tries to keep her real identity a secret. (comedy & drama)
  • How To Be A Latin Lover
    -An aging latin man gets the boot from his sugar mama. He ends up living with his sister and her son who he hasn’t spoken to in a very long time. He tries to pull out all the stops to find a new female financial supporter so he can go back to living his lavish life. (comedy)
  • Ryan Hamilton Happy Face
    -A stand up comedian who doesn’t need to cuss or be dirty to be funny. He shares stories from his small hometown in Idaho, life in New York, gym memberships, and hot air ballooning. (comedy)
  • Always Be My Maybe
    -Reunited after 15 years, famous chef Sasha and hometown musician Marcus feel the old sparks of attraction. However, they struggle to adapt to each other’s worlds. (romance, drama, & comedy)
  • The Hundred Foot Journey
    -A chef and his family leave India to open a restaurant in France. A highly rated restaurant just across the street causes there to be conflict between the 2 restaurant owners. A funny and heartwarming story conspires. (drama & comedy)

Hulu

  • Under the Tuscan Sun
    -A recently divorced writer impulsively buys an Italian villa and embarks on a life changing adventure (romance drama)
  • Dog Days
    -This movie follows the lives of multiple dog owners and their fluffy friends. When their paths cross, their lives change in unexpected ways. (comedy)
  • Overboard 2018
    -Based on the original 1987 version, a single and hardworking mom of three and a selfish, spoiled, wealthy playboy end up in each other’s lives after he loses his memory from falling off his yacht.
  • A Simple Favor
    -This mysterious film features 2 young moms. Stephanie is a quirky vlogger and Emily is a posh career woman. After forming a unique friendship Emily disappears without a trace. Stephanie uncovers some interesting and disturbing things about the friend she thought she knew. A weird story but very intriguing -not for children. (drama, mystery, & comedy)
  • Instant Family
    -Inspired by a true story, Pete and Ellie end up fostering 3 siblings at once and must learn the ropes of parenthood as quickly as possible. (comedy & drama)
  • A Quiet Place
    -In this suspenseful thriller, a family must survive in silence to avoid alien creatures that hunt by sound.

    Amazon Prime

  • The Spy Who Dumped Me
    -After being dumped by her boyfriend who she finds out is a spy, a woman and her best friend become entangled in a hilarious conspiracy. Some strong language-not for children. (comedy)
  • The Birdcage
    -A flamboyant gay couple, Armand & Albert, who own a drag club have raised a straight son who is now getting married. He wants to bring his fiancee and her family to meet them but doesn’t want them to know the truth. Armand and Albert pretend to be straight, resulting in a hilarious performance. Some strong language-not for children. (comedy)
  • A Quiet Place
    -In this suspenseful thriller, a family must survive in silence to avoid alien creatures that hunt by sound.
  • Overboard 2018
    -Based on the original 1987 version, a single and hardworking mom of three and a selfish, spoiled, wealthy playboy end up in each other’s lives after he loses his memory from falling off his yacht.
  • A Simple Favor
    -This mysterious film features 2 young moms. Stephanie, a quirky vlogger and Emily, a posh career woman. After forming a unique friendship Emily disappears without a trace. Stephanie uncovers some interesting and disturbing things about the friend she thought she knew. A weird story but very intriguing -not for children. (drama, mystery, & comedy)
  • Instant Family
    -Inspired by a true story, Pete and Ellie end up fostering 3 siblings at once and must learn the ropes of parenthood as quickly as possible. (comedy & drama)

    Disney +

  • Three Men and a Baby
    -Roommates Peter, Michael, and Jack are all successful but unmarried men. Peter and Michael get the surprise of their life when a woman abandons a baby girl in front of their door. A letter reveals that Jack is the father, but he’s away traveling. They are forced to learn how to take care of her on their own but quickly find themselves falling in love with her. (comedy & drama)
  • Three Men and a Little Lady
    -The sequel to Three Men and a Baby. Mary is now 6 years old and Sylvia, Mary’s mother, is feeling it’s time for her to move on and give Mary a normal life. When Sylvia breaks the news she’s moving to England to marry her director, it’s a shock for everyone.
  • While You Were Sleeping
    -Lucy, a lonely transit worker pulls her longtime crush from the path of an oncoming train. While he’s in a coma, Lucy finds herself lying to his family about being his fiancee. Things get even more complicated when she finds herself falling for his brother. (romance & comedy)
  • Turner & Hooch
    -Detective Turner, an uptight and tidy man, inherits an elder’s dog resulting in household chaos and destruction. But the dog might be able to help him solve a murder case. (comedy)
  • Cool Runnings
    -Four Jamaicans dream of becoming olympic bobsledders, even though they’ve never even seen snow. With the help of their coach, a disgraced former champion, they set out to make their dream come true. (comedy)
  • The Odd Life of Timothy Green
    -An unexpected surprise arrives on the doorstep of a couple who can’t have children of their own.  (comedy, fantasy, drama)
  • The Three Musketeers
    -A man travels to Paris hoping to become a musketeer, one of the French King’s elite bodyguards. When he arrives he discovers that the corps have been disbanded. Fortunately, they refuse to lay their weapons down and continue to protect the king no matter the cost. He joins the rogues to expose a plot against the crown. (drama & romance)
  • Lady and the Tramp (live version)
    – Based on the animated version. A house dog and stray embark on an adventure and come to understand the value of a home. (romance, comedy, drama)

    TV Shows

    Netflix

  • Virgin River
    -A nurse practitioner moves to a remote place in northern California for a job with the town doctor. She’s trying to leave behind some painful memories but they seem to be following her. At first, things don’t go so well and she wants to leave. But she soon finds out there might be reasons to stay. (romance, drama, comedy)
  • AJ & The Queen
    -Robert, also known as Ruby Red, is dreaming of opening his own drag queen club. Unfortunately he runs into a big problem and finds himself on the run with an abandoned child who just needs someone to show her the way. Some strong language-not for children. (comedy & drama)
  • Call the Midwife
    -A moving, funny, colorful look at midwifery and family in the 1950’s East End London. It follows an eccentric, lovable community of nuns who are nurses at Nonnatus House.
  • Hart of Dixie
    -Dr Zoe hart from New York, feels out of place trying to adjust to life in a small southern town. But the town has its charms she’ll soon find out. (comedy & drama)

    Hulu

  • Bless This Mess
    -Newlyweds Rio and Mike decide to drop everything and move to Nebraska where Mike’s aunt has left him her farm. They quickly realize that becoming farmers isn’t as easy as they had hoped. (comedy)
  • Life in Pieces
    -Following 4 smaller families belonging to one big family, they discover that special moments add up to what life’s all about. Similar to Modern Family. (comedy)
  • Making It
    -A contest show for crafters! The best makers from around the country compete in a series of handmade projects they must complete in their own unique way. (lifestyle & culture)

    Amazon Prime

  • Chuck
    -A 26 year old computer geek has his life thrown into disarray after his friend, a CIA agent, sends him an email that results in the world’s secrets becoming embedded in his mind. (comedy & drama)
  • Parks & Recreation
    -Leslie Knope who works for her Indiana town’s Parks and Recreation department, is just trying to make her small town better. She runs into constant obstacles but builds friendships along the way. (comedy)
  • Downton Abbey
    -This historical drama follows the lives of the Crawley family and their servants in the family’s Edwardian country house. It begins in 1912 with the sinking of the Titanic. (drama & romance)

    Disney +

  • Pick of the Litter
    -Follow an adorable group of 6 puppies on their quest to become guides for the Guide Dogs for the Blind. (documentary)
  • Frank and Ollie
    -Find out the stories of famed Disney animators Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston who have been best friends most of their life. (documentary)
  • Be Our Chef
    -Angela Kinsey hosts this cooking competition between 2 families. The families cook up a themed Disney meal and a chef judges for a winner.
  • Disney Insider
    -Watch the magic behind the scenes of Disney stories like Mulan, American Idol, & the Animation Vault.
  • One Day at Disney
    -Discover the inspiring personal stories of the people behind the magic of Disney. Animal keepers, animators, and robotic engineers are just some of the amazing behind the scene stories.

Closet to Craft Room

Want a craft space but don’t have a whole room to dedicate to it? Or just don’t want it to take up more space that you don’t have? Convert a small sized closet into your work space!

My husband and I were sharing a room for our office/hobbies and it was feeling very crowded and chaotic! After some paint and an Ikea visit, we transformed the closet in that room to my craft space! And I LOVE it so much!

Here’s how the conversion went:

closetbefore

Closet Before

closetwpaint

I wanted to paint the closet wall something very bright and fun! I chose this blue-ish aqua color.

closetfinished

Finished

 

The drawers, shelves, organizers, and counter top all came from Ikea. My husband installed a bright light in the ceiling above and then an outlet above the counter space. I can now plug in my hot glue gun easy peasy. You could also close the space off with curtains if you wanted to be able to hide it away. Hope this gives you some inspiration!

Cookie Decorating Tips

Mario Brothers, Mickey Halloween, and Coffee & Donuts

7FE2C746-F67B-4B2C-AB0F-04E346F3F9E9

Christmas Cookies

A couple years ago I became interested in a cookie frosting technique called flooding. It makes your cookie look glossy, smooth, and flawless. As a baker this was something I really wanted to try! It started out as something fun to do for my own special occasions but ended in a small side business with a friend.

We started taking Mother’s Day orders and then the orders never stopped! I was so nervous in the beginning; stressing over every detail. It took us sometimes 16 hours to do 2 dozen cookies. I’m happy to report now that we’re more comfortable and confident, we have been able to cut that time in half 🙂

If you are interested in giving this fun cookie art a try, I have some tips to share with you!

Baking the Cookies

• You want a sugar cookie recipe that’s going to give you firm, thick cookies. You want them to keep their shape and be a good foundation for your icing art.

• Place raw cut out cookies in the fridge for 5-10 minutes before baking to help them keep their shape.

• Be careful of cutters that give you thin areas. For example if you had a margarita glass you wouldn’t want the stem to be too thin because then your cookie will break easily.

•Always make a couple extra cookies. You never know what will go wrong lol

• Always set your timer a little lower than what you think it will take to bake the cookies. Then check on them and increase time by 1 minute increments until they are slightly browned around the edges. This will cut down on burnt cookie accidents.

Icing Consistency

• When flooding you want the consistency around 8 seconds. This means when you drizzle the icing on top of itself, it should only take 8 seconds before it has melted back into the rest of the icing.

• For outlining and writing you want the icing stiff, but still soft. If it’s too stiff you’ll  have trouble getting the icing to flow smoothly.

• When using tips that make an imprint such as flowers and leaves, you want the icing very stiff or the imprint will lose its shape.

Decorating

• Immediately pop bubbles after flooding or it will leave holes in the icing. Use a toothpick if you don’t have the tool needed.

• When you need just white colored frosting add a couple drops of white instead of just leaving it colorless. It will give it a crisper look and help with color bleeding.

•If a color is too dark, just add some white food coloring to lighten it up to the desired color.

• Let flooded cookies dry overnight before adding writing or using edible markers to draw eyes, etc. Especially if the flooded color is darker than the writing color, it will bleed if not given enough time to dry. Also the icing will crack under the pressure when using edible markers so you want to make sure it’s nice and hard.

• Sometimes it takes time to find a comfortable position with your hand when using a decorating bag. If you find your hand is shaking or not able to be flexible, try different positions and use an extra cookie or napkin to practice.

• If you’re not great at doing fonts with icing, use an edible marker to write it first and then go over it with the icing. Try to use the same color marker as icing you’ll be writing with. If it’s a different color it’s more noticeable if your lines don’t line up exactly.

• See if you can use a cookie cutter you already have to make something new. This could save you from having to purchase or make a whole new cutter. For example in my Christmas cookies the Santa face was originally a bell.

Probems

Oil Spotting- this is when the moisture from your cookies soak through and create dark spots in your icing.

To try and prevent this I store my cookies on paper towels to soak up extra moisture. If oil spotting has occurred, the best solution is to let it continue happening so that the whole cookie just looks darker in color and you can’t tell there was spotting.

My final piece of advice is to just go for it! If you’re too scared to try things, you’ll never know if you can do it. And even if it comes out bad at first, you can always get better!

Happy Decorating!

If you’re just starting out, you can view this YouTube video of me flooding a wedding dress to give you a start:

~Baby Dreams~

ballerina

 

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

A question we often ask little children. There’s usually a lot of answers like policeman, fireman, ballerina, and princess. However my answer was always 2 things. I wanted to be a writer and a mommy. As I got older dreams of being a famous writer faded but I never wavered on being a mom. From an early age I was more of a nurturer. When my little brother would get turned away from sleeping in my parents bed, he just came to his big sister’s room. When he couldn’t sleep at night because our parents were going through a divorce, I would scratch his back and comfort him until he fell asleep. It’s just how God made me. A care taker.

Fast forward to getting married at 23 and being a mom was now a dream that would be coming true very soon! I couldn’t wait for the growing bump, the nursery, the stroller shopping, and the precious moments of excitement with my husband. He would kiss my belly and feel the kicks with me. It would be nothing short of blissful ♥︎

We decided to wait a couple years to enjoy married life as just the two of us and to save up for a house. We wanted to be smart about starting a family. The house came and we decided to start the process. After almost a year I finally got the positive pregnancy test. Phew! I was relieved that we were able to get pregnant because after 11 months of trying I was starting to worry.

After just a few days, the relief went away and fear settled in. I was spotting and it wasn’t going away. I became sick with worry and called the Dr.’s office several times to try and get in. I needed them to tell me everything was okay and I was worrying over nothing. I needed to hear a heartbeat. They kept telling me it was too early and I’d have to wait. The ultrasound appointment finally came and I just knew that it would make me feel better. I would see that baby on the screen. I was sure I was worrying over nothing.
However my fears came true that day. No baby, no heartbeat. Go home and miscarry they said. Call us when it’s over. I was in shock and terrified. How could they be so cold? To them, I was just another patient. Just another woman miscarrying. To me, this was a nightmare and I had no idea how to handle it. When would it happen? How would it happen? How painful would it be? Both physically and emotionally. Would I know when the baby passed? My head was swimming. I wanted to scream “NO! You’re wrong! This is my baby, my dream come true. You have to stop this.” Little did I know, this would be the first of many heartbreaks to come.

To make a very long story a little shorter, that miscarriage ended up being a molar pregnancy. In a molar pregnancy the tissue that’s meant to become the placenta overgrows, becoming a mass of cysts. In some cases there is no accompanying embryo, while in other cases, a partially formed fetus is present. This is called a partial molar pregnancy. According to the Dr after doing a D&C they determined it was a partial molar pregnancy. Because of the rapid growing mass of cysts they had to scrape out, I was at risk for the cysts returning and developing cancer. We ended up at the Rocky Mountain Cancer Center to resume treatment. They were able to treat me with weekly shots of a low dose chemo medicine. Once I was cleared, we were ready to put it behind us and get pregnant again. This would be a distant memory and I was determined to make it a distant memory as quickly as possible.

Fast forward to 8 months later and we started seeing a reproductive Dr. to see if some fertility treatments were needed. I hadn’t had a cycle in 8 weeks but according to all the pregnancy tests, I wasn’t pregnant. He put me on Clomid and we did some IUI treatments (IUI stands for Intrauterine Insemination).
No luck.  I eventually found out I have PCOS. I went to another Dr. and tried more IUI treatments. We ended up doing 7 IUI’s all together. Nothing.

Well, it was now time to talk about IVF.
Oh boy. The big guns! Wow, we really thought we’d be pregnant by now. Were we really discussing IVF? We also talked about adoption. We went back and forth. What path do we take? We landed on IVF and sought out CCRM. This is a reproductive center in Colorado that is one of the top rated in the nation. Their success rates are very high! Women come from all over, even other countries to seek treatment from them. And they were right here in our own backyard.
Once we started the IVF process, we were overwhelmed but full of hope again! Our baby dreams would finally be coming true! We went through the endless tests, the medications, the hormones, the large amounts of money. It was all going to be worth it though when we heard that heartbeat and felt that baby growing!

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Prepping for my IVF retrieval

We had the IVF embryo transfer and waited 9 days for the results. The call came and the nurse said, “Congratulations! You’re pregnant!”
Sweet relief and ecstasy filled my body. This was it! All our heartache had come to an end. We entered the ultrasound room at 6 1/2 weeks pregnant, so eager to see that sweet baby. But instead, we were told there was no heartbeat. The baby had stopped developing.
We were shocked and confused. So confused. Why was this happening? The Dr. said it was a fluke. The eggs were healthy and I was pretty healthy. Besides the PCOS, there was nothing else that seemed to be in the way. After some more testing, they did find that some of my numbers were off in my blood. My blood was thicker than normal. So I was put on strong blood thinners. 2 shots in my stomach everyday that left nasty bruises. We crossed our fingers hoping this would be the answer. We did the IVF process 2 more times. Each time being told I was pregnant. And each time the ultrasound revealing no heartbeat.

I never blamed our CCRM Dr. He, unlike many other doctors we encountered, was very compassionate and sensitive with us. We knew he wanted us to be successful and grieved with us when we weren’t. He was knowledgeable, careful, and very good at his job. I would recommend him to anyone seeking treatment! In fact he and his wife went through IVF to conceive their own children. He understood the difficulty and the heartache.

I can’t tell you how devastating it is each time you get the negative pregnancy test or the news that the fertility treatment failed. It just screams failure at you over and over. And my sweet, strong, stable husband didn’t deserve this. He wanted to be a dad as badly as I wanted to be a mom. I kept thinking, “if he had married anybody else he’d be a dad by now. Hell, he might be a dad to 3 or 4 kids by now. But instead he got the short end of the stick. He got me.”
I felt shame, rejection, grief, failure. I had sacrificed so much and done everything in my power to make this happen. But still, here we were. No baby.
I had even held on to my faith, to God. I just knew if I kept trusting God and doing the right christian things, He would bless us. Everything I had believed in and been taught in church was all crumbling. My world was crumbling.

Our friends and family stood by while we went through each miscarriage, each failed treatment. They prayed for us, they cried with us. They even shouted angrily at God with us. I remember thinking God doesn’t care about me. I’ve dreamed of being a mom my whole life and He keeps ripping it away from me. Why would He do this if He loved me like He says he does?

Within a week I had 4 (not 1 but 4!) incredible women come to me and say they felt God telling them to offer surrogacy to me and my husband. They wanted so badly for us to be parents and didn’t understand why this was happening. But they knew God had given them the gift of fertility and that He wanted them to offer it to us.

BAM! There it was. I felt it clear as day. This was God telling me, showing me, that He did indeed love me and care about me so very deeply. He put this strong desire in me to be a mom for a reason. He had plans for the future of our family.

My beautiful, compassionate, amazing, selfless, Christ-like, and dear dear friend Liz is now carrying our baby. She has been sick and nauseous and tired beyond belief carrying that little miracle and yet she still shows nothing but happiness to do it. The connection we have is unexplainable. She is giving my precious baby life! Something I could not do. It is a gift we will never be able to repay to her. She is a true example of Christ’s sacrifice for all of us. A gift we will also never be able to repay.

After 6 years our baby dreams are finally coming true. We’re having a baby boy! And that little boy will be loved so deeply and so gratefully. He will know how much he was prayed for and desired. He will know it took a whole village of people to get him here.

And he was always part of God’s plan.

Beforeyouwere

 

Benjamin-22

Low Carb Dinners

I’m a carb lover. I’ll admit it. Give me all the bread, pasta, potatoes, and fried foods! Gimme Gimme!
But don’t really because I’ll be miserable and bloated afterwards. If you’re looking to cut out carbs like I am, here’s a list of dinners (that then make good leftovers for lunch) you can enjoy but without the carbs. Links posted below the pictures.

Turkey Sausage & Veggies– I used a few different vegetables than what was listed in the recipe including sweet potatoes in place of red potatoes. Still turned out delicious!
tukeysausage&veggies

Link:One Pan Healthy Sausage and Veggies

Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms With Bruschetta– You’ll be surprised at how filling a portobello mushroom is! This is my go to stuffed mushroom recipe.
StuffedBruschettaMushroom

Link: Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms With Bruschetta

Zucchini Lasagna– Replacing lasagna noodles with long zucchini slices may not sound like a good substitute but it actually is! And you won’t feel guilty afterwards.
zucchinilasagna

Link: Zucchini Lasagna

Bell Pepper Nachos– These are amazingly good! I wasn’t so sure I would like them but I LOVED them

Link: Bell Pepper Nachos

Creamy Parmesan Mushroom Chicken– One of our favorite meals because the sauce is so creamy and flavorful! The chicken turns out nice and juicy too. Plus you get to feel good about throwing in some green spinach.

Link: Creamy Parmesan Mushroom Chicken

Chipotle Pulled Pork and Southwest Cabbage Slaw– The pulled pork is marinated overnight and slow cooked in the crock pot. Topped with the cabbage slaw it adds a perfect topping flavor.
*You could eat it with a low carb corn tortilla or no tortilla at all

Slow Cooker Chipotle Pulled PorkSouthwest Cabbage Slaw | Whole30 recipes | paleo recipes | vegetarian recipes | perrysplate.com

Link: Chipotle Pulled Pork
Link: Southwest Cabbage Slaw

Grilled Fajitas – Grilled veggies are one of the tastiest ways to eat them. That summer grill flavor just can’t be beat! Grill your peppers and onions along with the chicken for that great sizzling restaurant fajita flavor.
*Eat with a low carb corn tortilla or lettuce cupBell pepper halves and red onion rounds on the grill.

Link: Grilled Chicken Fajitas

Sausage Alfredo With Zucchini Noodles– This is a super fast meal to make! You use already cooked sausage so you’re just heating it up in the skillet along with zucchini noodles and then adding some flavor.
Sausage Alfredo with Zucchini Noodles (Low Carb, Keto, THM-S) #trimhealthymama #thm #thms #keto #glutenfree #lowcarb #zucchininoodles #alfredo #sausage #sausagealfredo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Link: Sausage Alfredo With Zucchini Noodles

 

 

 

 

If you’re also looking for some low carb sides here are a few ideas:

  1. Sautéed Asparagus
  2. Creamy Mashed Cauliflower
  3. Roasted Broccoli
  4. Zucchini- steamed in microwave and topped like a baked potato (butter, salt, pepper, shredded cheese, sour cream)
  5. Salad – other than traditional you can mix up cucumber salads, chickpea salads, corn salads, or avocado salads