Monday, December 31, 2012

Clara's first gingerbread house

So I thought Saturday's post was going to be the last for 2012. But then Clara decided she really wanted to make her first gingerbread house. A few days past Christmas, but
better late than never right? Enjoy! And for real. . . see y'all in 2013!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

your top ten favorite posts + a years end thank you

I thought it would be fun to look back on y'alls top ten favorite posts, not just of 2012 (b/c let's face it, posts have been slacking ever since Clara entered our world. . . which means my time is consumed with my little girl and honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way!), but since I started this little blog back in May 2011.

Here they are, in no particular order:
Clothes in the closet 
What not to say. . . to someone dealing with an eating disorder, infertility or pregnancy loss 
Embracing the imperfect
My friend Wendi 
Nature Box Review + Coupon Code  (ha - I'm assuming b/c lots of random people stumbled on this post after typing in Nature Box in their engine search)
Is it possible to (fully) recover from an eating disorder?
Fertility treatments, ethical dilemmas and frozen embryos 
Change and the power of letting go
14 week pregnancy update. . . Lemon baby  (no clue why this was high on the list!)
My top ten interesting (& totally random) facts about acupuncture. . . so that you will become intrigued and want to try it asap

I started this blog as a way to reflect on eating disorder recovery as well as my diagnosis of infertility. Over time, especially since May 2012 when Clara was born, the blog has also taken on the role of documenting life with our little girl.

I am so thankful I have this little space on the internet that not only serves as a continual source of hope and healing for me (writing is therapeutic to me), but that also brings us together in community. I am so thankful for those of you who have emailed and reached out in faith, those of you who have shared your story behind the scenes. You are brave. You are amazing. You are so deeply loved.

As 2012 draws to a close I want to encourage you to have no fear . . no doubt. . . you CAN and WILL get through life's current challenges, whatever those may be. I am living proof of this promise. It will be hard, and the fight doesn't come without many bruises and tears, but if you keep living the faith and looking upwards, you will end victorious. You will find joy.

Thanks again for sharing along in my journey thus far. I am excited to see where 2013 takes this blog. I have a few ideas for the new year, although nothing completly hashed out just yet. Just ideas rolling around in my brain between diaper changes and baby cuddles. Of course, if there is anything you want to see more of, less of, etc, I am all ears.

Wishing you all joy and happiness as this year comes to a close and another year begins.

Excited to meet you all in 2013,

Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas day in pictures

We had a wonderful Christmas day at Brandon's parents house. Brandon's brother, Jay, and his wife, Jamie, and kids, Josiah and Sophie were there too. We did a lot of hanging out, gift giving, eating and just enjoying the day. 
Here's our day in pics. . . 

Paco and his granddaughters, Sophie & Clara 

Sophie trying to share her toys with Clara. . . precious

Clara was mesmerized by Sophie's baby doll

Josiah and I playing with micro-machines (that were Brandon's as a kid)

Sweet Sophie

Paco and Clara cuddle time

Brandon's aunt and grandma came over for part of the day. They gave Clara this little Bright Stars toy and she absolutes loves it. Makes her smile every time! 

Jo got a scooter (and a bike!) He had a blast riding around the house!

Somehow we didn't get a picture of our family of three, a shot of all three kids, or a group shot. Oh well. I feel so lucky to be apart of this family. So very blessed! 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Meeting Santa & Merry Christmas!

Couldn't resist posting a picture of our cutie meeting Santa for the first time!!
We got suckered into paying a fortune at the mall because someone (totally me) waited too long and thus all the free Santa photo ops were over and done with. The mall photographer wouldn't even give us five seconds to try to get a smile of of her, nor would he let me fix her shirt for it to clearly read "Santa loves me." I know time is money but seriosuly? You are charging $30 for a 5x7 photo that has advertisements all the way around the outside and therefore I am really only getting a 4x6. 
You think that they would at least give me a sec to crack a smile out of our girl. No dice. 
Ah well. . . it's cute nonetheless, and we couldn't not get a pic with Santa her very first Christmas. Here's to hoping that we get a scary Santa pic next year!! 
(Is it bad that I love pics where kids are screaming in Santa's lap??? Maybe don't answer that.)

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and much joy and happiness as we being a New Year!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Weekend Links 12/21/12

Little Drummer Girl - Momastery (absolutely love this!)
Giving back: four ways for children to be charitable this holiday season - Simple Kids
What to do with a broken heart this Christmas - Ann Voscamp
27 Creative Holiday Traditions - Start One This Year! -
Ann Currys Hashtag 26 Acts of Kindness -
Becoming A Happy Mom - Inspired To Action
On my heart: My Baby Is Not A Robot - Love, Matt & Kara (I can totally relate to Kara's words here!)

Eating Disorder and/or Self Esteem
Healthy Place - America's Mental Health Channel - Just discovered this site. It covers lots and lots of mental health topics both from the consumer and expert point of view.

Home and/or Organization
5 tips to have your kitchen ready for holiday hosting - TidyMom
the lazy gal's survival guide to better housekeeping - the handmade home
14 Household Cleaning Tips That Will Blow Your Mind - Babble
Reader Space: A Hallway To Love - IHeart Organizing

Banana Pudding (homemade pudding) - Rumbly In My Tumbly
Gingerbread French Toast - Pinch of Yum
Pumpkin Maple Cupcakes - Your Cup of Cake
Chicken and Three Bean Chili Verde  - So, How's It Taste?
Honey Jalapeno Cornbread - Iowa Girl Eats
18 Favorite Christmas Cookies and Bars - Mel's Kitchen Cafe
Sweet Potato Grits - Eat, Live, Run

What links are you guys loving? Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

finding calm in the midst of the storm

I can't shake the Sandy Hook tragedy from my mind. Every time I turn on the news and hear more coverage, and then glance down at Clara I start to cry. Every time I sit and rock with her I cry. Every time she snuggles up under my neck I cry. I cannot fathom what the parents of those 20 children are feeling. What they are experiencing. Cannot fathom. Brandon and I keep posing questions to each other like "Can you even imagine what it would be like to drive up to Clara's school after hearing such news, and then find out she didn't make it?"

Everyone seems to have their view point about gun control and/or mental health services and while I do hold my own opinions about both issues, that is not the point of this post.

Tragedies such as the one at Sandy Hook are not fair and certainly don't make one bit of sense. The only thing I know to do in times such as these is to cling to the Creator of Life himself. To find a place of stillness in the midst of the chaos.

Ive been starting every morning over the last few months by reading one or two chapters in Psalms. I have been highlighting verses along the way that bring me hope, peace and comfort.

I thought today would be a good day to share a few with you.

Maybe some of these will bring you a bit of calm, a bit of stillness, in the midst of our nations storm.

4:8 "I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety."

5:3 "In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation."

13:5-6 "But I trust in your unfailing love, my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me."

23:4 ". . . I will fear no evil for you are with me;your rod and your staff, they comfort me."

27:13-14 "I am still confident of this;I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord."

28:7 "The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped.

30:5 ". . . weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning."

30:11-12 "You turned my wailing into dancing;you removed my sackcloth and clothes me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent."

31:8 "You have not handed me over to the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place."

32:7 "You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance."

34:18 "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."

38:15 "I wait for you, O Lord; you will answer, O Lord my God."

40:1-3 "I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord."

There are so many more. . . this is just scraping the surface.

But I will end with this. . .

46:1-6, 10 "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fail; he lifts his voice, the earth melts... Be still, and know that I am God..."

We are not promised tomorrow. Every new day is a gift. One more opportunity to love on a child and show them Jesus.

Thank you Lord for this day, another day with my precious family of three.

Thank you for another day with our baby girl.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Weekend Links 12/14/12

It's been a long time since I have posted my Friday weekend links. Not sure why. Just got out of the groove perhaps? I'm sure y'all have been really bummed. . . on pins and needles wondering when I'd get back into the habit. (enter sarcasm)

Well . . . you're in luck today. . . Friday weekend links is back! Hopefully, to stay! :)

I hope, if you have some downtime this weekend, you can enjoy a little reading from around the web (Who am I kidding? Who has downtime this time of year???)

Anyways, here we go. . .

6 steps to a relaxed Christmas: decorate simply - Simple Mom
Why you really can be confident - (in)courage
don't add to it all - Naptime Diaries
Mary, the mother of God - Jamie Schulz
A simple way to bring peace to the dinner table - Inspired To Action (love this idea!! Pinned it)
When you wish you had a room of your own - a tribute to the spaces that moms create - Lisa Jo Baker

Eating Disorder and/or Self Esteem
I need you to know - True Worth
What I want you to know about eating disorders - Rage Against The Minivan
5 Reasons You Shouldn't Fear Talking To A Counselor - We Are The Real Deal
HuffPost Live on Pro-Ana - ED Bites (Y'all - this is real stuff. These sites really do exist. Makes my stomach churn like no other. If you have a second (well more like 25 minutes), please watch this video. Let's be aware of what's out there, on the internet, available to vulnerable hearts, minds and souls young and old.)

Crock-pot Potato, Barley & Canadian Bacon Soup - Iowa Girl Eats
Pineapple Chicken Teriyaki - Steamy Kitchen
Easy White Chicken Chili - The Girl Who Ate Everything
Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls - Eat, Live, Run
Red Velvet Santa Hat Brownies - Cookies & Cups
Chewy brown sugar cookies w/ brown sugar frosting - Cookies & Cups

Have a great weekend!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Clara 7 months

December 2, 2012
7 months old!
I say this every month but for real. . .  How is this possible???

Misc Info: Still doing well without the reflux meds. Some of her favorite activities include reading books, playing in her Johnny Jump Up (although she doesn't jump yet, just kinda slides and glides around), playing with this toy, and going on walks in the stroller.
Look who no longer needs her car seat adaptor!!

Eating: She takes a 5.5 or 6 oz pumped bottle every 4 hours during the day. She gets baby oatmeal w/ a fruit in the morning and a vegetable + fruit in the evening. She doesn't seem too picky when it comes to baby food... loves everything so far, even the green veggies. Since last month I have introduced peaches and blueberries and she is totally a fan. I would say her favorites are sweet potatoes, carrots, bananas, blueberries and applesauce. I might try adding a 3rd meal (around lunchtime) at 8 months. Moms out there.. . when did you introduce an afternoon meal?

Sleeping: I never thought we would get to this point but. . . Our girl is sleeping, all night, every night. She has slept consistently, all night, for the last two and a half weeks. She goes down 7:30-8pm and will sleep until 6-7:30am. Some night she will wake about 4-4:30am, I will give her a bottle, and then she usually goes right back to sleep or occasionally will play in her bed for a while and then conk out after an hour or so. The key here is that she usually doesn't get too fussy when she's putting herself back to sleep.  She can now self soothe. Can I get an AMEN? Thanks Ferber and thanks Clara for giving us this precious Christmas gift. The dark circles under my eyes thank you.
I never thought we would see this day!!

Schedule: Her schedule has shifted slightly since 6 months.
She now typically takes 2 naps a day (instead of 3) as her wake-times have increased in duration. She can now go 2.5 hours between naps and 3 hours from last nap until bedtime. On days when she wakes at 6am she might need a 3rd nap to get her all the way to bedtime. . . we just play those days by ear. We still follow the eat - play - sleep philosophy and it seems to work well.

Development: We have several tests and consultations lined up as there are some concerns with her rate of development (physically, socially etc) and her head circumfirance (quite small). I plan to give a more detailed update, but I'm going to wait until we have some solid answers. Could take a long while. In the meantime, thanks for keeping Clara in your thoughts and prayers.
Her two bottom front teeth (central incisors) have officially made their appearance (actually first showed at 6 mo) and I think she's teething again as she's showing all symptoms. 

Adventures: We had a great Thanksgiving holiday with my family. Clara loved being with her cousins Avery, Austin and Aiden. My niece, Avery, was in heaven loving on Clara for those few days. Avery is so amazingly sweet with Clara. Always wanting to hold her and cuddle her. Avery spent the night at our house one night while she was here (usually stays at my mom and dads). This is her reading Clara a bedtime story. I posted it on Instagram (brittbburn).The left pic is Aiden (5 yrs old) with Clara. Somehow I never got a pic of Austin. Next time!

We are excited for Christmas!! Will have lots of Christmas pics to post next month.
SO excited! Here's our tree - all 3.5 feet of it. :) Don't judge - it only takes 10 minutes to put up and decorate, and 10 minutes to take down. Thankyouverymuch.

Brandon and I have a tradition of buying two ornaments every year for our tree. We've built up a nice ornament collection this way. This year we got an airplane for Clara since we have traveled so much with her during these first 7 months. We had it engraved underneath. It says "Clara's First Wings." And then it says "10 Flights in 7 Months."

We also got an angel ornament in honor of Clara's fraternal twin that we lost on September 27, 2011. My friend  Allison did this to honor the baby she recently lost, and I thought it was a perfect way we could also remember our sweet angel.

Merry Christmas everyone! Praying God's blessings on all of you as 2012 draws to a close, and we embark on this New Year. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Is it possible to (fully) recover from an eating disorder?

The question "Do you think full recovery, from an eating disorder, is possible?" has been posed to me several times. It is something I have thought about, a lot, over the last few years. 

There are two trains of thought when it comes to eating disorders and recover (and probably any addiction and cooresponding recovery for that matter). 

1. One has the ability to fully recover. You recover, move on, and never deal with your disorder again.
2. One will never be 100% recovered and thus will always have some lingering effects, regardless of how big or small these effects might be. Basically, you will live with your disorder your entire life.

A New York Times article states "It is difficult to define recovery from an illness that has both physical and mental dimensions." This is very true. Very, very true. 

The article expands on this idea. . . 

"If, for example, a patient reaches “normal weight” — which researchers define as either 85 or 95 percent of a person’s ideal weight — and starts menstruating again, she would be considered to have recovered in most studies. But what if she still weighs herself daily, monitors her calories with a vengeance and obsesses about food and the size of her ankles? Or, as is often the case, moves from anorexia to bulimia or binge-eating disorder?" - Source 

See how this gets a little tricky?

How do you define recovery for an issue that is soooooo amazingly complex?

I don't think there is a black and white answer. And I think, in a sense, recovery looks a little different for everyone.

So what does it look like for me?

It's looking back on my darkest days, and the behaviors that accompanied me during my darkest days, and asking myself "ok, so where am I now?"

We Are The Real Deal also wrote a post on this concept called "Full Recovery from Eating Disorder is Possible. 

Like the author's experience in the blog post, there are several components that had to fall into place before I could say, without a doubt, "Yep - I'm recovered. Fully. No doubt." 

Here's a few that immediately come to mind...

I knew I was fully recovered when. . . 
  • I stopped weighing myself on a daily basis. (Which later translated to a weekly/monthly basis)
  • I stopped measuring my food. 
  • I stopped obsessing about what I would order when we went to a restaurant. 
  • I no longer felt a sense of accomplishment when I turned down one of my fear foods.
  • I no longer felt a sense of accomplishment when I ate less than friends or family. 
  • I no longer had food on the brain 24/7. (Side note- It is quite ironic how one, who is so scared of food, can think about food. day. long. I could dedicate an entire blog post to this irony.)
  • I could eat one of my fear foods and not dwell on it all day long. 
  • Guilt was no longer associated with food. 
  • There was no longer good vs. bad goods - but instead more of a balance.
  • I could sense my stress starting to build, yet was able to manage it in other healthier ways, besides controlling my food intake.
  • Good days vs. bad days were not determined by my weight. 
  • I stopped associating a set number on the scale with being "fat" vs. "skinny"
  • I was able to consistently set appropriate boundaries with other people, when necessary.
  • I no longer limited myself to a black and white, perfectionist way of thinking.  
  • I no longer got my self worth or self confidence from the size of my jeans, but rather from my Creator and Savior.
  • I once again found joy in eating a variety of different foods.
  • I started saying yes to social outings that involved food, rather than saying no because I was too scared of what I would have to eat.  
  • The first first thing I wanted to do each morning was grab my coffee and Bible and talk to my God, rather than weigh myself (all alone, in the dark, in my bathroom).  
If I kept thinking, I could probably add more.

Now. . . This doesn't mean that I will never again feel fat, never again step on a scale, never again second guess eating that second piece of double fudge cookie cake, or never again have a day when I struggle with body image. I think these things just go hand in hand with being a woman, or a human for that matter. Take the most self assured person around and I guarantee they have days when they don't particularly like the extra dimples on their thighs, or they order the grilled chicken instead of the fried just because it's the healthier option.

Do you get what I'm saying here?

If I turn down dessert it's just because I don't feel like having dessert. Or maybe I'm full. Or maybe I want to have some dessert when I get home. If I order a salad for my meal that just means a salad sounds good at that time, not that I have fallen back into my disordered ways.

I can say these things with confidence. Because I have come that far.

Praise God. Praise His holy name.  He has brought me up out of the pit and set my feet on new ground.  Much more sturdy, solid ground. I'm living proof of Psalm 40:2.

So there you go. That's a little bit about how I view (my) recovery.

What about you? For those of you with an eating disorder past, do you consider yourself fully recovered? Or if you have struggled in another way, what does recovery look like for you? I would really love to hear other people's thoughts on this topic. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Make Christmas Count 2012

It's that time of year again. Pumpkins and turkeys have been carved, fall decor has been put away, and thus begins the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season. I absolutely love this time of year. I really do. It is my favorite for a lot of reasons. I love the music, decor, lights, overall feeling of giving that is in the air, our three foot Christmas tree (no lie), and I even love the 10 degree cooler Houston weather, although I'd be lying if I told you I didn't wish it would get just a liiiiiitttttle bit cooler.

The change in seasons brings a change in opportunities that are laid before us.

Are you looking for a way to get involved this holiday season? Have you been looking for a "different" way to give back this Christmas? Yearning to feel like you are a part of something bigger? Searching for a way to really, truly touch the life of another individual?

If so, then I encourage you to take a few seconds and read this blog post from my friend, Aja.

Aja is highlighting an opportunity called Make Christmas Count 2012 It's really cool. Like, really really cool. To think that you and I could spend five minutes (literally) of our time, today, and impact the life of another child. Like truly touch another little heart.


I'll say it again. . . that is pretty cool.

Thanks, Aja for spreading the word. Every little decision we all make has the ability to work towards a greater good. Together we all can make a drastic difference. So, let's make that difference this Christmas. 
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