Friday, August 31, 2012

Weekend Links 8/31/12

Turning My Twit Around - Lysa TerKeurst
The Talk - Momastery
How to Live the Really Best Bucket List - Ann Voskamp
On (not) Raising Dead Beat Dads (an open letter to my sons) - Lisa Jo Baker
Right Mom/Left Mom episode 3: OBAMACARE! - Rage Against The Minivan

Food and/or Recipes 
Burger Tips for Labor Day - Food Your Way
Orchard Turkey Burgers - Iowa Girl Eats
Lime-marinated Flank Steak - Recipe Girl
Spinach and Mushroom Stuffed Shells - Cook with Sara
Smoky Caramelized Brussel Sprouts - The Mommy Bowl
Oatmeal Sandwich Bread - eat, live, run
Peanut Butter Nutella Swirl Chocolate Chip Cookies - Sweet Pea's Kitchen
Funfetti Cake Batter Dip - Julie's Eats & Treats  - My older sis made this the last time we were visiting. It is awesome. Like seriously so so good. We used graham crackers as spoons and went to town. Try it. 

Eating Disorder and/or Self Esteem
What is our True Worth? - True Worth
An Open Letter To The Girl In The Dressing Room - (in)courage
Recovery A-Z - ED Bites
Orthorexia: Too Much Of A Healthy Thing? - Huffington Post

Happy Labor Day weekend! Catch ya next week!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The tragedy of first position

Brandon sent me this video a few days ago with the simple question "You think Clara will be like this?"

Yes, poor daughter, this will be you in a few years if you inherit any of your momma's dance abilities.

I apologize in advance.

After all, I was only in ballet and tap as a kid for approximately 2.5 seconds.

But, precious Clara, even if you your dance moves mirror those of this little girl,well, I will still think you are pretty darn cute.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Our life, lately, in pictures

A few pictures to document a relaxing, fun, family filled week + weekend. . .

Love this serious look

Clara enjoys loves her one on one time with dad

Not quite sure how this head tilted straight back position is comfortable, but it seems to get the job done

Clara had a little get together last week with her friend, Audrey

Enjoying (?) some play time in the Bumbo seat. She looks thrilled, right? She looks a tad happier in the picture collage below.

Love this girl. Not sure if I posted this pic already but oh well. Melts my heart.

Brandon snapped this one while Clara and I were taking a nap. Love.

Me, Clara, Brandon's mom (aka Freckles) and Sophie @ Sophie's 1 year birthday party!

How cute is Sophie's birthday outfit?

Clara and Brandon's dad, aka Paco

We are the cool parents that give their soon to be four month old daughter ice cream.

We FINALLY made it out to Trader Joes in the Woodlands. Brandon and I LOVE Trader Joes and are so excited that Houston is catching on to such grocery store awesomeness. We would shop at TJ's in St. Louis all. the. time.

Clara clearly isn't as excited as I am to find the above Cookie Butter. . . a.k.a. delicious cookie dough goodness that you can eat by the spoonful straight out of the jar. I may or may not have done this within five seconds of getting home.

A little visit from Clara's cousin, Aiden

Clara (now) really enjoys her bath time. Seems to relax and calm her in the evenings.

Brandon thought it would be a good idea to spike Clara's hair after her bath. I'm not so sure.

Have a great Monday friends!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Weekend Links 8/24/12

Right Mom, Left Mom - Rage Against The Minivan
Wanting More - (in)courage
10 things You've Got To Know About Fear (and a giveaway!) - (in)courage
Why ever mother needs to learn to say "I'm sorry" - Lisa Jo Baker
The secret to a perfect home - Simple Mom
In which I write an entire post about laundry - Life Rearranged
35 things I have learned in my 35 years - Simple Mom
The Truth about Adoption, One Year Later - Jen Hatmaker

Food and/or Recipes
Thyme infused chickpea pizza crust - Find Your Balance
Sweet Onion and Spinach Burgers - So, How's It Taste?
Shrimp and Rice Casserole - eat, live, run
Banana Soft Serve - Brown Eyed Baker
Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip - the girl who ate everything
Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie - Cookies & Cups
Oreo and Caramel Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars - Recipe girl

Eating Disorder and/or Self Esteem
What Makes You Beautiful - True Worth
Why to Stop Fearing Being Caught in Your Underwear- Jamie Schulz
What does it mean to have a healthy body image? - Operation Beautiful
The Story on Self Esteem - Kids Health

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Where I belong

I notice there are certain times of year, or seasons of life, that make me think about my biological mom, more than others. This is one of them. Why I am not sure, but I do know that having Clara has definitely made an impact on how often my mind wanders to thoughts/memories of my mom. Becoming a mother brings about a whole new level of emotions, at least for me.

I also think of my mom EVERY TIME I hear this song on the radio. Every time. And then I start to cry. Not usually tears of sadness (ok, maybe a little sadness) but tears of happiness knowing that she is in HEAVEN, hanging out with Jesus, waiting for me. Heaven. How awesome is that? Oh how easily I get distracted with the day in and day out of my life and to my never-ending to do lists. Then I hear this song and I am reminded of what is important and that this world, and all that is in it, is not my home.

I have one life.

Just one.

I have no idea how many days I have on this Earth.

Only my Creator knows.

I need to live each day striving for heaven because, honestly, getting there is my ultimate goal. That's the whole purpose of being here on Earth, right? Heaven is where I belong. Not here. Not in Houston, Texas. Heaven. When this, and only this, is my focus, I know not only is Jesus smiling down on me, but my mom is, too.

Building 429 "Where I belong" lyrics (source)

Sometimes it feels like I'm watching from the outside Sometimes it feels like I'm breathing but am I alive? I won't keep searching for answers that aren't here to find 

All i know is I'm not home yet this is not where I belong take this world and give me Jesus this is not where I belong

So when the walls come falling down on me and when I'm lost in the current of a raging sea i have this blessed assurance holding me.

All i know is I'm not home yet this is not where I belong take this world and give me Jesus this is not where I belong

When the earth shakes i wanna be found in you when the lights fade i wanna be found in you

All i know is I'm not home yet this is not where I belong take this world and give me Jesus this is not where I belong 

Monday, August 20, 2012

new look, new direction

A huge shout out to my friend, Megan, for working so hard on redesigning this blog. I have no idea how she did it (and so fast at that!). We all know it would have taken me three years to make all these changes she made in like two days!! Megan, you're the absolute best!

I am really excited about the new look.

Eating disorder and fertility related information is still near and dear to my heart, and I will continue to post on these topics as ideas pop into my head. I also want to start posting more generally in regards to our family of three, day to day adventures of being a stay at home mom with Clara, etc. Basically more about our life now, after recovery and fertility treatments.

So while the "heavier" topics might be more spaced out, I hope you guys will continue to read and follow us along on life's journey.

Until next time. . .

Saturday, August 18, 2012

still asleep

It is nearing 7:00am and Clara is still asleep. She went to bed at 10:00pm. She is going on nine hours of straight sleep. Nine hours. Enter hallelujah chorus. I am not sure what to do with myself. So I decide to document her longest sleep stretch yet.

Thank you God. Thank. You. God.

This picture is from yesterday, but cute nonetheless.

Ps - Working on redesigning the blog. Have no idea what I'm doing so thanks for your patience as I continue to tweak out the kinks. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Weekend Links 8/17/12

Close Calls - (in)courage
When it's ok to not be ok - (in)courage
On being offended - Jamie Schulz
50 tips for new moms - as shared by you - Lisa - Jo Baker
Why Parents Need More Sleep and How To Get It - Family Your Way

Food and/or Recipes
Maple Syrup Roasted Tomatoes - Saveur
Parma Rosa Pasta - matt and kara adopt
Spicy Fish Taco Bowls - pinch of yum
Healthy Cinnamon Roll Pancakes - pinch of yum
Crumb - Topped Apple Slab Pie - BH&G
Yummy Slice & Bake Cookies - The Pioneer Woman

Eating Disorder and/or Self Esteem
Favorite Chapter Hands Down - True Worth
If only you saw what i can see - (in)courage
Perfection: "The most grand and painful of all mirages" - WATRD

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Couch to 5K, or maybe not?

Lately, I have been walking with Clara in the stroller a few days each week. I have no reason why I don't go daily, as obviously these power walks are my only form of exercise, but I seem to always find something else to do, make an excuse etc. I did walk to TJ Max and Kroger yesterday, with stroller and Clara in tow, but I'm not sure that counts? Yes. . . I am that cool girl you see walking up and down the street with her groceries. I bet you are all jealous of my awesomeness.

Anyways, this morning I said enough with the excuses and decided to take Clara on a little power walk around Oyster Creek Park. I had my iTunes, water, and phone all ready to go. As we got going I started thinking about the idea of possibly branching out into different forms of exercise. You know, so I can say that I can do something other than just walk.

Options? Well, I stink at organized sports. Seriously, you don't want me on your team. Just ask my middle school softball coach. She would yell at me to slide into first base and I would yell back "Nooooo! I don't know how!!" I think I ended up with the "Most Improved Award" that year but I don't think it was because I learned how to slide. Swim? I won't drown but I am NOT a swimmer. And I don't even want to entertain the idea of aerobics or Zumba. What about a Couch to 5K program? Could I do that? Maybe I could! (Keep in mind I haven't run in, oh I don't know, five years). My mind was filled with thoughts like . .  . "Maybe Brandon will do it with me," or "My brother would be so proud," etc.

Just as I was thinking said thoughts I passed an early morning outdoor group exercise class. God must have a sense of humor because right then and there they all started a group run! All the runners would smile and cheerfully holler "Good Morning!" as they passed. Wow. Running must be so fun! They are all so energetic! So full of smiles! I kept at my power walk for a while and then decided, Ok, I am going to try this running thing. I made sure Clara was still sound asleep (I have no idea why) and then went for it.

And then I ran for 3.5 minutes. Without stopping. And felt like I was going to die.

I then I see this little face staring up at me.

"Seriously, mom? Are you really trying to run? I'm so confused."

"Oh my goodness you really did just try to run. I'm so embarrassed."

"I have no words, mom. All I can do is laugh."

And then I proceeded to power walk home trying to recover from my 3.5 minutes of pure insanity. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Currently. . .

Watching: alternating between theTODAY show & GMA. Can't wait for the answer to this question to be this show!

Listening to: the songza app on my phone. try it! no ads!

Feeling: thankful that Clara is sleeping SO well and typically doesn't even need to eat in the middle of the night. she still wakes up 1x a night but is able to fall back asleep within about 5 minutes (if we go pick her up & try to soothe her, which we do since it means she will sleep another 3 hours!)

Wanting: a massage and a pedicure. yep - that would be nice.

Needing to: go buy diapers. . . the six we have left isn't going to cut it. Oh and shower. It has been way too long.

Drinking: coffee w/ my beloved cinnabon creamer

Eating: life cereal mixed with frosted mini wheats, cinnamon roll flavor. paired with the above named beverage = heaven.

Reading: not currently reading but hope to read soon: healthy sleep habits, happy child & spirit-led parenting

Annoyed: that the Olympics are over. ok, not annoyed, but more bummed. i really got into the games this year.

Thinking: about dropping these bad boys off to the pharmacist.
 it's weird, but i have been hesitant to take them b/c of the sentimental aspect. all that hard work definitely paid off and now i have my little girl to show for it. 

you don't want to know how many needles/syringes are in these two boxes.
Craving: ummm what am i not craving? seems to be anything and everything these days. chips & salsa is always high on the list. how are my cravings more intense now than compared to when i was pregnant? weird.

Enjoying: smiles from my baby girl and watching her discover new things as she grows/gets older. she rolled over from her tummy to back last night during the olympic closing ceremonies!

Received: a sweet baby gift for Clara from our church friends, Ryan and Kathryn 

Planning: two trips this fall... going to Arkansas for Amy's wedding (Brandon's cousin) and also to Connecticut to visit my aunt, uncle and two cousins. Cannot wait. 

I stole this blogging idea from my friend, Wendi. Thanks, Wen! Hope everyone has a great week. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Fertility treatments, ethical dilemmas and frozen embryos

Disclaimer - This tends to be a very controversial topic, one where people have vastly different views and opinions on the matter. The post below describes how WE, as a couple, decided that fertility treatments were the right path for US to take as a family. It might not be right for you, and that is ok. 

There are many views out there regarding fertility treatments, especially from those who believe in a God who is in control of essentially everything, and that His perfect will, will always prevail. Some believers question if fertility treatments are "playing God" so to speak, and feel that undergoing treatment is showing a lack of faith in God's will/plan for their life.

I have heard these opinions from others all while going through treatment myself.

Makes for a very interesting discussion indeed.

I am a Christian and have full confidence in His plan for my life. Yet, I also was not able to get pregnant without assistance from IVF. If you are new to our journey click here, but in a nutshell a woman cannot get pregnant without growing and releasing an egg/eggs each month and well, my body wasn't doing either of those things. When I did get on injectable medicine to help with egg production/release my body freaked out and produced, I don't know, about a million eggs. In an effort to avoid our own reality show on TLC, IVF was the safest and really, only, option to conceive biologically.

Obviously we were comfortable with fertility treatments in general or else we would have not moved forward. So how did we become comfortable, some ask?

Here's the only logical way I can break it down for those who question how we "came to terms" with pursuing IVF. . .

I made a bad choice. Remember. . . anorexia messes with fertility. Please don't ever forget this minor major detail, especially for any of you who are reading and might be struggling with your eating, or lack of eating, habits.

Sometimes bad choices reap negative consequences. Sometimes these consequences are short lived while some are life long. For me? Only time will tell. But that is not the point. The point is that while God tells us we might endure a consequence for our actions, I do not believe that means we must remain stuck in the consequence itself.

I imagined God saying to me "Brittnie, because of your defiance and selfishness, becoming a mom is going to be a little a lot harder than you planned, but if you lean on me, I will walk with you through this next phase of life."

We translated that "next phase of life" to be each and every month we would undergo treatment.

We felt confident that said treatments were another phase of our story and ultimately we could use it for good, to continue His work. What a privilege to share our experience with others, and encourage those who might be faced with the same scenario.

We also believe that God blesses our society today with amazingly smart doctors and technology for a reason. To use them when medically necessary! Praise God for IVF and the brains behind the entire process. We needed help forming our little embryo(s), and feel that God hand picked our doctor to help make it happen. I could go on and on about this train of thought in general, but I think you get the idea.

You now might be wondering, what about those seven little embryos that remain at the clinic? Well duh, we always dreamed of having eight kids, so that's an easy decision!

In all seriousness, should we struggle to get pregnant again in the future several of these embryos will be used to do another frozen embryo transfer (FET). And if that attempt is unsuccessful, or say it is successful yet then I miscarry, then we have more to work with as time goes on.

But if we don't ever use them or get pregnant imediately after another FET then what?

There are three choices given to a couple deciding what to do with their remaining embryos when not using them for their own future pregnancies.

1 - destroy

2 - donate to science/research

3 - donate to another couple

How did we wrap our minds around this specific, tender ethical dilemma?

We had to let go of our need for control and just trust. Period. If we believe that God's hand was/is all over the IVF process then we must continue to trust that His faithfulness will continue. After much prayer, we had to let go and let faith take over and feel confident in the direction and decision we felt Him leading us toward.

After all, His track record is pretty perfect.

Have you ever thought about fertility treatments and ethical dilemmas? If you have gone through fertility treatments, were the ideas presented an issue for you? Please (lovingly) share in the comments. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

Clara 3 months

How has August 2nd already come and gone? Is my little girl seriously three months old? Time is speeding by these days. I can now understand how other moms say that the days pass very slowly but the years pass so very quickly.

Here is Clara at 3 months!
August 2, 2012

Weight: 10 pounds 6 ounces! Moving on up!!

Eating: Continues to eat every 3-3.5 hours. Some days she is starving a little before the 3 hour mark and other days she can easily go 3.5. We just play it by ear! She continues to take a bottle well and this is such a blessing on days when I need to run some errands, have Brandon give her a bottle at night, etc.

Schedule: Eat, play/wake time, nap time (again, on a 3 or 3.5 hour  cycle).

Sleeping: Sleeping has improved dramatically since the last update! Praise GOD! She has given us several good 6 or 7 hour stretches at night. A few nights she has not even woken up to eat. The colic episodes have decreased which has made our home much more peaceful in the evenings/early morning hours. Again, praise God! We started her on reflux medicine, Prevacid, just to see if this would help decrease the night time crying. While we are not 100% convinced she has reflux, she has only had a few screaming sessions since starting the meds so for now we will continue to give it to her. She is now sleeping 90% of the time in a nap nanny, in her crib.

Development: The biggest change in development since 2 months has been her smiles!! She does not yet smile when prompted but will flash a smile randomly throughout the day. Totally melts my heart. She enjoys tummy time and lasts a good 10 or so minutes on her play mat. I try to do this several times a day. Her legs and kicks are getting much stronger as well as her arms and head control. I have tried playing Baby Einstein for her although not sure she is quite interested in it yet.

Adventures: Several play dates with friends and lots of fun with both sides of cousins. We have two trips booked in the fall, in September and October, which we are very excited about.

A few more recent pictures just for fun. . . 

Trying out the bumbo seat for the first time

This is the first picture where she made eye contact with me AND smiled at the same time!

Lazy Sunday afternoon nap

Woke up to this sweet face. . .

Until next time. . . Happy Monday!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Weekend Links 8/3/12

Going Through The Valley - True Worth
Where Motivation Ends and Discipline Begins - Work Your Way
The 1 Thing You Have Got To Know. . . When You Are Looking For Answers - Ann Voskamp
Why is there an impulse to blame victims in the face of tragedy? - Rage Against The Minivan
Comparisons will kick you in the teeth and hijack your dreams every time - Lisa Jo Baker

Food and/or Recipes
Monkey Bread in a jar - Eat, Live, Run
Frozen S'mores - Cait's Plate
Blueberry Cobbler - Brown Eyed Baker
Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake - Chef In Training
Cheesy Enchilada Casserole - Chef In Training
Roast Beef Sandwiches w/ Sundried Tomato Spread - So, How's It Taste?
Mexican Stuffed Shells - The Girl Who Ate Everything

Eating Disorder, Body Image and/or Self Esteem
"I Gave Up Everything For My Eating Disorder" - Fab Over 50
For Teenage Girls, Facebook Always Means Being Camera Ready - The New York Times
Like Mother Like Daughter: Eating Disorders Run In Families - TODAY Moms
Coming out of the (ED) closet - ED Bites

It's Friday! Enjoy your weekend!
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