Friday, July 11, 2014

What 2014 Has Brought

Holy cow, it's been way too long since I last blogged. I have been writing blog posts for two local stores so that was taking up much of my "creative juices / desire to write". It was a fabulous job and writing those blogs was so fun, but it did leave me less then interested to write towards my personal blog. But, I am no longer working for those stores so hopefully I'll get back to writing on here more often.

First things first - one of my last posts was a response I wrote about an article sent to me about infertility. You can read that here.

So, it is only right that I officially (by official, I mean blog official - the info is already on Facebook so that means it's official right? Hehe) announce we are pregnant!!

In late February we began treatment for an IUI (intrauterine insemination). Treatment consisted on both oral medications (letrozole) and shots (follistim) that I gave myself at home. After 10 days on treatment, we had an ultrasound to see if the medications were "doing their job". And they were...follicles were growing on both ovaries and looking good so far. I was told to do 2 more at home injections then return a few days later for another ultrasound. That ultrasound looked fabulous. So we moved to the next step which was to do another injection but this time the medication (ovidril) was to tell me body to ovulate and then we would return 24 hours later for the procedure. The next morning we returned to the doctor and had the procedure.

I continued to repeat Psalm 139 in my head that whole morning.

10 days later I decided I just had to take a pregnancy test. They told me to wait at least 2 weeks. Ha, yea right! You'd think that having gone thru fertility treatments to conceive both my babies, I would have learned a lesson about being patient...but nope. I woke up early that morning and just had to do it. 

When you have months and months of disappointment, you get really good at not getting your hopes up. You begin to look at taking a pregnancy test as "this way I'll just know that I'm not pregnant and I can start fresh with more treatment next time". You get really good and KNOWING you will not see 2 lines. 

Oh Lord you have searched me and you know me!

When we got pregnant with Lindley Belle, I waited till after our fertility doctor confirmed it before telling Craig. This time there was no waiting! I ran into my closet, dug thru my t-shirts looking for the one that says "BABY" with an arrow pointing to my belly. I found it, threw it on and ran downstairs to find Craig. Together we were shocked, thrilled and freaking out all at once. My very next move was to call the doctor so I could get my blood drawn. And later that day - it was confirmed! Between taking the pregnancy test and going to the doctor, I attended my weekly woman's Bible study at my church. During those 2 hours there I saw both my mom and my mother-in-law. But I kept a straight face. I even sat in my small group for almost an hour and didn't say anything - that was so hard because these precious ladies had been praying for me for months. We have been a 1 car family for 7 months and so my dear friend Bess was giving Lindley Belle and I a ride home from Bible study. And guess what? I told her!! I couldn't help myself - I just had to tell someone and she was perfect! :) And just 1 day later, after the doctor confirmed it, we told our families by Lindley Belle showing them her new book...which is titled "I'm A Big Sister". We sent this video to all my siblings who live out of town.

We know that announcing to family within a few days of finding out is not the norm. But in our case, everyone knew we would be finding out that week. In fact, my sister-in-law even texted me saying something like "I know you're finding out today" Not naming any name....Elaine.

The next several weeks consisted of many ultrasounds at our fertility doctor as we watching little peanut grow. Craig was not able to attend our first ultrasound at 6 weeks so my mom went with me. That was really fun! I took video to send to Craig though of course. 

Once we were ready to make it "facebook official" I asked my friend Jennifer to come over and take a picture. At that time, I was nauseous all day and throwing up 4-6 times a day, so I was not feeling up to taking a picture. But Jennifer is a fabulous photographer and was happy to come help me out. You can check out her website here! We posted this awesome picture to facebook and instagram.

I am now over 20 weeks along and feeling much better! I feel the baby move all the time and it's a constant reminder of God's work in our lives. We also found out 2 weeks ago if we're having a boy or girl....

(Disclaimer - Craig and I already knew - we found out at the ultrasound that morning)

There are days I still have to remind myself that this is actually happening. There are days that I am blown away by my lack of faith in that God would provide how he sees fit. My first pregnancy and now this pregnancy have taught me so much about the God we serve. I am humbled by all the ways he provided for this precious baby to enter our family. So many small and big details that only He could have orchestrated.

Our God is Greater.

 During our months of battling fertility treatments, I called out to God everyday with questions. I shed tears of anger and sadness. My focus now to turn my calling out into praise. We so easily lean on him when we're in the valley. Isn't it strange how sometimes we forgot to praise him when we're on the peaks. Lindley Belle, and this new sweet baby are my constant reminder that he was faithful in my pain and so I must also be faithful in my joy. He is the creator and only He deserves the praise and honor for giving me my babies. 

Stay tunes for a blog post about our sweet baby's name!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Meal Exchange Group!

A couple months ago I mentioned to my friend Bess that we should start a meal exchange group. One of my goals for the new year is to meal plan better and work on having meals in the freezer. And Bess is 39 weeks pregnant with her 3rd baby and works from home, so some help in the dinner department sounded great to her. A couple weeks later she and I were at the zoo with a few other sweet  mommy friends and I took that opportunity to ask them if joining a meal exchange group would be something they would be interested in. Everyone agreed without hesitation! At that point we had 5. But the number 8 sounded good to us so we threw out a few names of other mommy friends who we thought might be interested...I went home and emailed them that day. Within 24 hours we had our group of 8!

Between the 8 of us we have 10 kids under the age of  9...with 2 more babies arriving very soon. And 8 of those 10 kids are under the age of 4! Some are working mommies, some have infants at home, some have husbands that travel a lot.

So (with the help of Pinterest) I came up with our game plan:

1. Set a date & time for our exchange
2. Agree on 8 recipes (because there are 8 in the group)
3. Each mommy pick which recipe she would "assemble"
4. Make that recipe 8 times (writing the meal name & cooking instructions on each container)
5. Bring 7 of those meals to the exchange night
6. Enjoy some wine and mommy time
7. Go home with 7 different meals!

Last night was our first exchange!
Yoga pants & sweatshirts = the mandatory attire :)
I also served some wine and a yummy hot pepper jelly cream cheese dip.
Mommies unite!

We're excited about where we can go from here! And who knws - maybe next time we'll have more mommies joining in the fun!

Some things we did that was helpful:

1. For this time, we did all chicken meals - that way we could all stay within a similar budget.
2. We let each other know when chicken went on sale at certain stores.
3. We stayed mindful of allergies and family eating habits - that's why everyone had to approve the list of recipes before we began picking which to make.
4. This time, we did all crock-pot friendly meals - we have said that we can get fancy with our meal selections later but for our first time, we kept it simple. 

Where I found this month's recipes:

The Frugal Girls -
Six Sister's Stuff -
Mama:Inspired -

Hawaiian Chicken
5 breasts
1 can pineapple
1 jar of Hawaiian BBQ sauce
Add 1/2 cup water when it goes into crock pot
Cook on LOW for 4-6 hours.

Peach Chipotle Chicken
5 chicken breasts
One 18 oz. Bottle Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Chipotle Barbecue Sauce
1 jar Smucker’s Peach Preserves {18 oz.}

Chicken Cacciatore
5 chicken breasts
1 (26 oz) jar of chunky vegetable-style spaghetti sauce
1 zucchini, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 sweet onion, chopped
Cook on LOW for 4-6 hours.
Serve with cooked spaghetti noodles and parm cheese.

Maple Dijon Glazed Chicken
5 chicken breasts
1 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Cook on LOW for 4-6 hours (or HIGH for 4 hours). Sprinkle with fresh or dried rosemary for serving.
Barbecued Chicken
5 chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce
1/4 cup honey
2 tsp yellow mustard
1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Cook on LOW for 4 - 6 hours.

Salsa Chicken
5 chicken breasts
1 - 15 1/4 oz can corn, drained
1 - 15 1/4 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 - 16 oz. jar of salsa
Cook on LOW for 4-6  hours. When done, take 2 forks and shred the chicken and mix all together.
Wrap on tortillas for serving.

Teriyaki Chicken
  5 chicken breasts
1/2 bag of baby carrots
1 red onion cut in chunks
1 can undrained pineapple chunks
2 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
1/4 soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
Cook on LOW for 4-6 hours - serve over rice.

Orange Chicken
5 chicken breasts
3/4 cup Smuckers Sweet Orange Marmalade
3/4 cup of Sweet Baby Ray’s Original BBQ Sauce
2 tbsp. Soy Sauce
Cook on LOW for 4-6 hours.