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God has blessed me tremendously with an amazing husband, Doug, and two gorgeous little boys, Gavin and Joey. It has always been a dream of mine to have a large family but God may have other plans. I had a series of 6 consecutive early miscarriages when trying for baby #2. We are currently trying for baby #3 after our 7th miscarriage. I am faithful that God's plan is perfect, even when I am not happy about it. I love comments and meeting new followers so please don't be shy!

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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Facebook Goggles

Many of my friends have pointed out how Facebook, while a great way to keep in touch with old friends, can be a source of stress, anxiety, and disappointment. It is sometimes hard to see everyone else having the time of their lives, posting the highlights of their weekends, and sharing the adorable moments that their family are sharing. But, c'mon. Let's get real. It is time to take off the Facebook Goggles.

WHAT THEY POST:
My baby offered me a tissue! Aw!



WITHOUT THE FACEBOOK GOGGLES:
My baby offered me a tissue because I literally cried when I realized that I had to clean up this mess again. I can't keep up with this kid and if anyone ever dropped by for a visit I would be thoroughly embarrassed. This is actually what the house looks like on most days. Please don't call CPS.



WHAT THEY POST:
Red chili chicken and fresh picked asparagus!!



WITHOUT THE FACEBOOK GOGGLES:
While this is a pretty looking dinner, I overcooked the chicken. The kids wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole and my husband "liked the sauce" which is code for, "Not your best work, dear."



WHAT THEY POST:At the aquarium! Gavin had a blast!



WITHOUT THE FACEBOOK GOGGLES:
I am swollen, tired and annoyed. Gavin hasn't napped in 3 days. It has been meltdown after meltdown. I am not sure who this guy is but I am pleased that he is blocking the view of my gigantic butt.




WHAT THEY POST:He looks like he is plotting something! Whatever could it be?



WITHOUT THE FACEBOOK GOGGLES:Oh, yeah. He is probably plotting his escape from this play yard prison. I can't do anything without him getting into something so I have to cage him. Please don't call CPS.



WHAT THEY POST:Gavin is helping fold laundry! What a helper!

WITHOUT THE FACEBOOK GOGGLES:All of this laundry WAS folded about 3 minutes before this picture was taken. Thanks for the help, honey. By the way, whoever taught this kid to "fold" is in some REAL trouble.


The next time you find yourself envious of your online friends, remember that what you are seeing is really only what they want you to see. Everything looks better with facebook goggles on! I invite you to e-mail me your facebook post with and without the goggles! You might be featured in a future post! Maria@LifeLossAndOtherThings.com







Friday, July 29, 2011

Coach Multifunction Tote Giveaway!

(One of the things that I struggled with when I was surviving my miscarriages is wanting to get excited about being pregnant but not wanting to get excited about being pregnant. Anyone who has had a loss, knows what I mean. Other moms get to start planning nurseries, buying baby clothes, and generally make plans. I never wanted to plan past the next couple of hours, let alone months.

So, how perfect is this little deal? A diaper bag that doesn't have to be! It has all the functions, storage, and compartments that every mom would want in a diaper bag but it also serves as a fantastic school/work bag, carry on luggage, or when I was shuttling Doug to doctor appointments, tests, and hospital stays, it was perfect as a shoulder bag that carried my laptop, snacks, my wallet, and other essentials. (Please NOTE that my bag is NOT the one I am giving away. The giveaway bag is brand new. I am too in love with my own to give it away!) It is a fabric bag with one leather stripe around and leather handles. It also comes with a fabric/detachable shoulder strap. Also inside is a fabric changing pad/laptop lap cushion.
If you are pregnant, great! If you aren't, great! If you are dealing with infertility or loss, it is a perfect pick me up! I love that it is functional and full of potential. You can get this bag and not feel like you are going to jinx an early pregnancy. You don't have to walk into Babies 'R' Us, window shop, and leave empty handed. You can get this bag and know that if God blesses you with children, you have this base covered. If you start your period, you have plenty of room for pads, tissues, and Midol. If you are finished or not having children, then you get to travel and you can travel in style!
Before I explain how you can enter to win this bag, I want to thank my very dear friend G who let me spend practically our whole shopping day crying, venting, and releasing all of my bottled up stress, frustration, and tears. Shopping at Coach would have made me happier, but without the perfect company, I would have just been a sad lady with a kick @ss multi-purpose bag.

Please note that I am not affiliated in any way with Coach. (Although I would LOVE to be! Hello important people at Coach. I will be your infertile spokesperson! Nothing says healing like a fine leather handbag!) All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this post or giveaway.

GIVEAWAY: one lucky winner will get a Coach Signature Stripe Multipurpose Tote (valued at $398.00 US) completely free!!! This giveaway is open to everyone on the list of places the USPS will ship to. Please click here to view the list and ensure you are on it.
How to enter: Leave a comment on this post for EACH entry telling me which entry you participated in listed below. Each comment serves as a "ticket" and will give you an opportunity to win! The mandatory entry MUST be done before any others will count. Giveaway is closed.
MANDATORY ENTRY: comment below and tell me what you do when you are having a bad day.
EXTRA ENTRIES:
  • Follow this blog publicly on google friend connect (right side bar) and comment saying you did so.
  • Like Life, Loss, and Other Things Worth Mentioning on facebook and comment saying you did so.
  • Follow Life, Loss, and Other Things Worth Mentioning on twitter and comment saying you did so.
  • Share this giveaway on twitter or facebook (1 entry for each. Both can be done twice a day. Be sure to comment each time!)
  • Comment on any of my other posts and come back here and leave a comment saying you did so.
  • Grab my new button and put it on your blog, message board signature, or web page and post the link in the comments. (5 extra entries! Be sure to comment five separate times if you do this.)
WINNER: Will be selected at random from the comments on this post. Each comment is like a ticket to win so be sure to comment separately for each entry. The winner will be selected using www.random.org which will generate a number at random that corresponds to the comment numbers. Winner will be selected on September 1st and notified via e-mail and announced on my facebook page. If the winner doesn't respond in 48 hours a second winner will be chosen. If the winner is not on the list of those who can receive shipment VIA USPS a second winner will be chosen. If you have any questions about how to enter or the giveaway please e-mail me at Maria@LifeLossAndOtherThings.com.

Now Closed!!!
Thursday, July 28, 2011

67 Tissues Later

For any of you who aren't Facebook fans, you should be. If you like me on Facebook, not only can you be informed of fan appreciation giveaways (20 dollar Amazon Gift Card will be going to one of my likers), you would also know the intimate details of my current downward spiral of emotions.

I was told by Doug's doctor to not try to conceive for two years. Two years! That is 730 days! Joey will be 3 years old. Gavin will be 5 1/2. But more importantly, I will be 37. An that is only when he thinks I can start trying. What if it takes a while? I know that that isn't a huge age gap between children but I am looking forward to having our children and then being able to start planning the fun family vacations when we don't have to worry about pregnancy, newborns, sleepless nights, and 18,000 pounds of baby gear.

I want more kids. Is this greedy of me? Some people have none and here I am being a big 'ol cry baby about only having two. I know that there are some of you out there who probably think I should be grateful for what I have and move on. Maybe you are right. But, right now, all I can think about is my grandmother. She had 6 children, is almost 99 years young, and all of her children are still living. I want what she has. I want to grow old and have children, grandchildren, and god willing, great grandchildren all around me. I love the two adorable little boys I have, but I just feel like I am missing big chunks of my future.

Now, let me get a bit depressing for just a moment. I have one other fear that I don't think I have ever voiced-even to Doug. I have mentioned that Doug is 8 years older than I am. Prior to Doug's diagnosis, I have had this lingering fear (or maybe realization) that Doug will probably pass before I do. I have never been good at being alone and especially with his current health situation, I am even more fearful of this. I want to have a big family so that if Doug goes before me, I am literally surrounded by family. I want to be just like Grandma who has so many grandchildren and great grandchildren that she literally loses count of how many there are.

I am really hurting right now. I am so confused, hurt, and sad right now. And on top of all of the heartache about more children, I feel incredibly guilty for feeling confused, hurt and sad. I want more than anything for Doug to be healthy and if I could trade no more children for Doug to never feel sick, to have a healthy liver, to feel how he did 5 short months ago even, I would do it in a split second. But, since no matter how many children we have, he will always have this disease, I want more children.

I feel like I am talking in circles. I am also realizing that this is going to be one of those post that is more for me than it is for you so I apologize for that. I just needed to write tonight without concern for typos, grammar, or even proper subject matter. I just need to cry tonight. I need to feel sorry for myself. I need to let the tissues accumulate next to me and just keep going.

I know God will lead me but that doesn't mean that I won't hurt tonight.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dateline, The Price is Right, and My Vagina

Having a hard time seeing how these three things could all be in one post? Oh, are you ever in for a fun ride!?

At about the same time as Doug and I put a TV in our bedroom, my obsession with all things crime TV began. I like having the TV on for background noise but I learned that certain shows would prevent me from falling asleep since they were too flashy or entertaining. With crime TV shows, I could count on a few things. First, someone would be killed. The manner of death would fluctuate but the plot was pretty easy to anticipate. Second, despite the subject matter, the narration was like being read a bedtime story. A very creepy, mysterious, cliff hanger of a bedtime story. And third, if I was still awake by the end of the story, I could feel like I solved the mystery. Spoiler alert! It is either the spouse, the lover, or the lover's spouse. Mystery solved.

One night, as I was drifting off to dream land listening to the familiar story of a husband on trial for the murder of his wife, I heard something that made me sit up in bed. Despite the volume being turned to an almost inaudible level, I recognized a name from a friend in high school. It was a common name, but then I heard her voice. It was unmistakably the voice of a long lost high school friend. I sat up and looked at her and as she sat on the witness stand testifying about the forensics of the case, I saw her in the backdrop of our former school. I heard her laugh. I remembered everything. She was famous! Okay, really, she was only on TV for about 8 seconds but I have never claimed to be the most rational of people. I was so excited to see someone on TV that I knew, I was practically bouncing in the bed trying to wake up Doug so I could point her out. By the transitive property, I was famous too! Doug didn't seem to think so. He was mostly annoyed that I woke him up out of a dead sleep to tell him that I saw a girl I went to high school with whose name I had never even mentioned before in a conversation. I, on the other hand, couldn't wait to look her up on facebook and tell her I saw her on TV and ask for an autograph. Hmm... she never did accept my friend request.

When Joey was a newborn, Gavin and I had gotten into the habit of watching The Price is Right everyday at lunch time. Gavin likes to see the cars, motorcycles, and other prizes and I like that he is learning some important concepts like more and less, higher and lower, and higher order numbers. One day, as we were eating lunch, I began listening to the words of an advertisement about pregnancy and the desire to be a parent. I looked up from my turkey sandwich to see a big round baby bump, a beaming expectant mom, and then, I saw him. It was my fertility doctor. His face was looking kindly at me through the television and, all of the sudden, I felt bad for him. He looked like an afternoon injury lawyer, smiling reassuringly to sad and hurting people who wanted compensated for their pain. He is such a kind and authentic person and I felt like I needed to explain to all of Ohio that his office isn't a scam. On this weekday morning, sandwiched between a plug for life insurance and a blood pressure medication commercial, my doctor's face seemed misplaced. He is totally worthy of prime time advertisement.

Then my earth shattering, completely irrational, but nonetheless true observation took place. This man on my TV had seen my vagina. To be honest, it was a little awkward. I felt embarrassed. The whole world... okay just Ohio... but still... has now seen this man who has seen my vagina. But, just like the Dateline episode, I realized that by the transitive property, my vagina was famous too! Yep, my vagina is practically on TV twice a month now. Oh crap. There is the paparazzi.

I have finally called my RE's office and have an appointment scheduled for next week. I am looking forward to feeling like I am moving toward something. Between my upcoming appointment, the Organic Fertility Bible giveaway that is going on now, and the giveaways that are coming soon (including but not limited to pregnancy tests, ovulation tests, washable feminine pads, and one other very exciting item that I want to keep a secret until tomorrow) I am feeling good for being on cycle day 3!

Do you know anyone famous? Either a real celebrity or famous because they were a contestant on The Price is Right and played Plinko?
Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Organic Fertility Bible Giveaway

I was excited to receive a copy of the E-book, The Organic Fertility Bible, a week ago to read and share with all of you. This book is a wonderful resource chock full of information about the many intricacies of infertility. It outlines the numerous tests for both men and women that you may encounter while managing infertility. While, over the years I have learned about many of the various tests and procedures, this book includes many that I had not become familiar with. The level of detail is perfect for couples who are feeling lost in the lingo.

After digesting all of that helpful information, this book goes on to point out many lesser known contributing factors to infertility. While there was a lot of attention payed to the BPA in certain plastics, we may not be aware of the toxins in hundreds of products that we are exposed to every day. Many of these are linked to an increase of infertility as well as miscarriages. This information, while a bit tough to swallow, is important to consider. Not just for coping with infertility or miscarriage, but for our lives in general.

The book also clearly defines a diet that they feel will greatly improve fertility. I will warn you that the diet might be drastically different from what you currently eat. The recommendation is vegetarianism with the ultimate goal being a raw foods only diet. I can certainly appreciate this kind of lifestyle. I am even willing to see how this diet could likely lead to a very healthy lifestyle which always helps when dealing with infertility. As a farmer of grass fed beef cattle, I can't commit myself to this level of dedication.

If you are looking to try something new, that can really change your life, and may also improve your chances of conceiving and reducing your risk of miscarriage, this book has a lot of really helpful information. I like many of the ideals that this book talks about and it forced me to consider some other aspects of my environment that I now recognize needs some changes. This book introduces a really great program for those of you who feel ready to truly commit yourself to really making your body and lifestyle as healthy and baby friendly as possible. My opinion is that this book isn't necessary in order to get pregnant, because really, women all over the world are eating Big Macs and Taco Bell and getting pregnant. But, this book could really benefit one's lifestyle, health, and could also lead to a happy and healthy pregnancy! Now, who doesn't want that?!

Please check out their website where they offer a money back guarantee!

Not only was I lucky enough to get to read this book, I am lucky enough to be able to share it with one of my lucky readers!

Please note that I was not compensated in any way for this review. All opinions are my own! Thank you to the sponsor for providing the product for my review.
THIS IS NOW CLOSED
GIVEAWAY: one lucky winner will get a full copy of the Organic Fertility Bible (valued at $47.00 US) completely free!!!

How to enter: leave a comment on this post for EACH entry telling me which entry you participated in listed below. Each comment serves as a "ticket" and will give you an opportunity to win! The mandatory entry MUST be done before any others will count. Giveaway ends August 1st at 12:00pm EST.

MANDATORY ENTRY: comment below and tell me your age and how long you have been trying to conceive, when you will begin trying, or something else about you.

EXTRA ENTRIES:

  • Follow this blog publicly on google friend connect (right side bar) and comment saying you did so.
  • Like Life, Loss, and Other Things Worth Mentioning on facebook and comment saying you did so.
  • Follow Life, Loss, and Other Things Worth Mentioning on twitter and comment saying you did so.
  • Share this giveaway on twitter or facebook (1 entry for each. Both can be done twice a day. Be sure to comment each time!)
  • Grab my new button and put it on your blog, message board signature, or web page and post the link in the comments (5 extra entries!)

Honey... It's Time!

Nope. Not what you are thinking. It is time for an appointment. Despite the odds being against us with Doug's medications and the recent warning from the GI nurse practitioner about toxicity, I was still hopeful. Silly? Maybe. But, hopeful nonetheless.

Today I am on cycle day 25 (12 days past ovulation) and it isn't looking good. Plenty of negative pregnancy tests confirm that the cramping that I am feeling is an impending period. Just another in a string of 11 periods since the return of my fertility after Joey's birth. I was exclusively breast feeding Joey around the clock and after one night where he had a 7 hour stretch of sleep (a dream come true!), I was surprised to see 'ol Aunt Flo show up the next night. Ironically, Joey only had a night or two of long stretches of sleep and then went back to waking every few hours again. But those two nights were enough for me to start my cycles again.

I started charting again as best I could with a lot of sleep interruptions, but still was able to differentiate between pre and post ovulation. We managed to time things well right from the start and expected that we would be pregnant again soon. I had started searching the internet for information regarding breast feeding and risk of miscarriage. While I wasn't able to find anything that drew a direct correlation between the two, one thing that I did read from a number of different sources was that if you are already at a higher risk of miscarriage, it may be a benefit to not try to breastfeed while pregnant. Well, since I had always become pregnant quickly, I decided that I should probably move toward weaning so that I wouldn't feel the stress of a pregnancy and trying to wean quickly.

So, I gradually weaned over the next few months. Still not pregnant though. Now, here I am going on almost a year of perfectly timed cycles and I still have nothing to show for it. I don't know why I have been hesitant to call my RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist) but I think it is time. I am starting to think that there might be something wrong with me. Doug's medications would only have been a factor for the last few cycles.

While I wait for Dr. M's office to open on Monday morning, I am going to keep making trips to the bathroom continually doing the, "wipe and inspect" so that I can either say, "C'mon already!" or sigh and cry a little. I am ready to cry a little. I am ready for a plan. A plan to help me be hopeful. A plan to let me believe that I am at least moving toward something instead of jogging in place and getting winded for no reason.

In order to end on a positive note... check out my new button! Feel free to copy and paste the code (found in the left sidebar) into your own blog, website, or blog roll.
Saturday, July 23, 2011

All By Myself

Picture this. About 40 coworkers and you are at a dinner party. There is awkward but cheerful small talk happening everywhere. You are experienced enough to know that, at some point, the questions will eventually turn to family and how many children you have. When the response to that is "none" or even if you dealing with secondary infertility, or loss(es) this topic is enough to make you want to shout, "How incredibly insensitive of you to ask an infertile about family! Isn't it obvious that someone of my age has probably been trying?! Could you please return the conversation back to the price of gas? I don't even mind if you talk about how much it costs to fuel up you family toting mini van, but PLEASE do not point out that I have no car seats in mine!"

We complain about how isolated we feel but I think we do it to ourselves. Instead of opening ourselves up to the possible sighs, sympathetic pouts, and well meaning words of wisdom, we clam up and offer a quick, "Not yet." and a change of subject. Then we stew over how annoying and depressing these events are. Instead, why don't we give the 2 minute version of how we are struggling to have children? Share that we are managing doctor appointments and treatments to try to have a family and that we are very much hoping and praying for a family (or a larger one)? Let people see into our world of distress, sadness, and anxiety? Make this little world of infertility and loss a little less lonely.

My guess is that we fear that our stories will be quickly followed by stories of their aunt, sister, or cousin and how they had a loss, difficulty getting pregnant, or infertility. For whatever reason these stories are like nails on a chalkboard to us. Hearing someone trying to relate to us or our situations somehow feels pitiful, unauthentic, or even insulting. They talk about how their sister just needed to give up sugars and then got pregnant. In out heads we hear, "Sure. Sugar. Thanks. I'll give THAT a try. Sugar must be the issue. UGH!" Their cousin tried for years and then used some special vitamin and she got pregnant with TWINS! In our heads we hear, "Seriously? Shut up! No. Really shut up." Then, the aunt just had to participate in daily meditation and then they fell pregnant 2 weeks later. Our head tells us, "Oh yeah. Like I am going to go sit in some hippie circle, bang a few drums and think my way to pregnant. Did I mention to you how much I really hope that you shut up soon?"

After that dinner party we make our way home, contemplating picking up a second bottle of wine for drinking while watching Baby Mama for the 28th time. We decide against it and opt for picking up some really delicious munchies instead. After all there might be a baby growing in there and Doritos and Twix bars are less problematic than alcohol. As the last chip is eaten and the Twix bar is in hand, we head to the computer. The oasis of understanding, experience and commiseration.

We search for our options. We read about the fertility diets and the success stories. We learn about all of the fertility supplements that seemed to make the difference for so many others. Then we read about ways to calm ourselves and focus our energies to improve our fertility. We find these options to be inspirational. They give us hope that it might work for us too. We basically read the stories and solutions that those sisters, aunts, and cousins used, and for whatever reason, it is received better when it comes form Momma1234 or Infertile823. The exact same interventions just from "internet people" instead of real ones.

Why is this? I wonder if there is some feeling of uniqueness that we enjoy. In real life, no one could ever possibly know what I am dealing with but online, we aren't threatened by others. In fact, we band together to offer support, ideas, input and friendship.

I offer you a challenge. At the next dinner party, office event, or opportunity for the "kids" question to arise, tell the truth. When the inevitable words and stories that usually make us cringe are spoken, pretend, if you can, that they are being spoken by tryingfornumber1 or maybe mommyof6angels. See if you can hear them differently. We can only feel isolated if we chose to stand alone.


Friday, July 22, 2011

An Herbal Tea Update

I posted a month or two ago about how I decided to start a herb garden for a homemade fertility tea. The ingredients are as follows:
  • German Chamomile
  • Nettle Leaf
  • Red Raspberry Leaf
  • Peppermint Leaf
  • Red Clover Leaf (actually already have this growing everywhere!)
  • Green Tea
  • Chaste Berry
For more information and detail about the fertility tea please see this guest post where Earon shares her journey and experience with herbs!

I ordered my plants and seeds and jumped right in as soon as they arrived! I ordered a number of duplicate seed packs and plants for fear that they wouldn't make the trip from Oregon to Ohio, and my extreme lack of prior knowledge with herbs. I was pretty convinced that if they showed up alive after 3 days with no water in a box with no sunlight, me transplanting them would likely kill them. Imagine my delight when I opened the box and they were in great shape. They were packaged superbly and looked like I had just picked them up from a green house up the road. I unwrapped them and marveled at the fact that 3 days ago, they lived on the other side of the country!
I transplanted all of the plants, Chaste Berry (Vitex) and Chinese Tea, into my containers that I had already filled with garden and potting soil. I used miracle grow thinking that I was going to be nursing close to dead plants back to health. In hindsight, I may have opted for organic potting soil.

A day or two later, I filled my Jiffy Strips with the same miracle grow potting soil and planted my Stinging Nettle , and Peppermint seeds. I was so excited that my Stinging Nettle (left) popped up about a week or so later! My peppermint didn't ever sprout. I was thankful that I had bought a second packet of seeds and tried again. Just a day or two ago, I noticed for the first time that we had little sprouts (right)!

The German Chamomile seeds were planted in a new flower bed in front of what will be Gavin's play area (once the grass is ready to go and we build the play equipment). I checked daily for any sign of life and I am ready to throw in the towel on the Chamomile. I had bought two packs but used both to cover the whole area. I will need to order more soon. I think our mistake was that we packed the dirt down (lightly) after distributing the seeds over the loose earth. The more I have read, the more I think our best bet is to gently brush the dirt around to lightly cover the seeds. Next time.
The clover is growing around us everywhere. I read that the best time to harvest the blossoms is when they are a deep purple, first thing in the morning before the sun burns off the dew. I went out last weekend to harvest the clover and was disappointed in how faded the blossoms looked. I picked some anyway just to experiment but plan to try again after this extreme heat subdues. Perhaps that is contributing to the less than vibrant blooms.
The Red Raspberry canes will be coming from my wonderful father in law who has offered to let us transplant some of his at our house. I love the fact that we will soon have plants that existed and fed my husband as a child. How wonderful is that? I look forward to bringing them to our house in the the fall. Granted, I won't be able to use the leaves of the plant until next year but, it is worth the wait!

<--Before
One Month Later-->










<--Before


One Month Later-->











For a first timer, I must say that I am pretty proud of myself! I am learning so much and even if I don't have a drop of tea to drink, I am enjoying learning about all of the medicinal qualities of these herbs and others. I will continue to post updates and herb info as I learn more and more! Thanks for joining me on this neat little garden activity! As always, I love feedback as well as tips, support, and advice!



Thursday, July 21, 2011

10 Minutes in the Kitchen

Gavin started playing soccer yesterday in the 97 degree heat. We were all so sweaty and hot when we got home that I was perfectly content just sitting in the air conditioning drinking ice water. Gavin, on the other hand was hungry despite having eaten dinner prior to practice. Tonight, it is supposed to be even hotter still. Since I know that I can anticipate Gavin's wanting a snack when we get home, I am planning ahead!

I made Strawberry Banana Freezer Pops! My boys love fruit and what is better than cold fruit on a hot day? Yep! Frozen fruit! I added no sugar or sweeteners. This is all about enjoying the simple fruits just frozen!

What you need:

1 LB Strawberries
4 Large Bananas
Blender, food processor, or food mill
Popscicle molds (paper cups and some sort of handle will work fine too)


Yep. That's it!

Puree the fruit in a food processor or blender until smooth (or chunky if that is how you like it). Then pour into your containers. I chose to pour the puree into a pitcher in order to make filling the molds a little easier. I used Popsicle molds but ice cube trays, or small paper cups would work fine too. You just need to be sure to add a handle of some sort.

Then freeze!

I love the fact that if these were any easier, I could have Gavin make them himself! I like to experiment with all fresh sweet fruits. Find your favorite combination! Any extra puree can be refrigerated and used as an ice cream topping or in a milkshake! Double yum!

Do you have a favorite summer treat?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My Kid Wants a Hooker!

Gavin (3) making conversation while going potty:




"When I am older, I will be able to get a hooker too."





You can imagine my relief when I figured out that this was the "hooker" he was referring to!



Tuesday, July 19, 2011

An Update with a Preview of What is to Come!

For those of you who are following my TTC journey, we decided to go for it despite the nurse's statement about Doug's meds. We both figured that if God wanted us to get pregnant than He would see to it that it happened. If I miscarry or have a child with an issue, that won't make that baby any less wanted, loved, or gifted to me from God. So while we technically have a shot at being pregnant, I am not feeling hopeful. One would think that given that information, I wouldn't be excited to start testing, right? Oh, how excited I am!

A very awesome company has sent me a variety of pregnancy tests (and ovulations tests) to use and review! The only thing more exciting than free pee sticks is being able to host a giveaway of free pee sticks for YOU! So, in the next few days, I will start busting out my pee cup, dipping like mad, and sharing all of my thoughts with all of you! I hope very much to share a positive test with you but, if not, that doesn't mean you guys shouldn't get a shot to turn both lines pink!!! Be watching in the coming days for this amazing pee fest and opportunity for you to join in the fun! If you don't follow me on facebook and twitter, you should! You will get the earliest updates for this and upcoming giveaways!

Since I am so rarely in any pictures,
I thought it was time to show my face.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Good To Know You


Have you ever felt like you should know God better than you do? For a long time, I used to feel a little ashamed. I felt like I should already know Him by this point in my life. I was afraid to admit to people how very little I knew of God. I didn't want to ask questions for fear of not understanding the answers or being looked down on for being so immature in my knowledge of Him. So, I decided to fake it. Pretending, as best I could, to appear as if I knew God was how I moved through life. I put it on a list of things to do but for the reasons I already listed, that kept getting postponed. Then, God, in His mysterious ways, made it apparent that the time to get to know Him was upon me.

I know that getting to know God may seem daunting. It doesn't have to be. Here are 5 simple things you should do to start, continue, and strengthen your relationship with God.

Pray. If you were dropping off a gift at a friends house, you wouldn't just look at the address, climb into your car, and drive around aimlessly, right? You would consult a map, get directions, or use a GPS. God is the ultimate GPS system, so ask Him for directions.

Listen. Asking God is only half of the equation. You have to be listening for His response. Be open to hearing His directions to guide you along the way. There may be a variety of alternate routes all leading to the same destination, but some may have rougher roads. His voice, if you are really tuned in, will always take you down the path He has chosen for you.

Read. Have you ever played a game without reading the directions. You play for years and years and then one day, you sit down with someone you have never played with before and they have a whole different set of rules they play by. It is really hard to figure out the real way. Life is the same way. So many people just start playing the game of life without ever cracking open the instruction book. It isn't too late to get a handle on the real rules of the game. You might think it will dull the game but, I promise, the intricacies and beauty that you never knew existed will be exhilarating! God provided us with all of the instructions in the Bible. Take a peek!

Share. One you start your relationship with God, share it with your friends, family, and neighbors! If you had the best recipe for apple crumb cake, you wouldn't keep that special treat all to yourself. You would take it to parties, make it as a gift, share the recipe over coffee. Do the same with God!

Think. Think about Him. Invite thoughts of God and His word into your heart, mind, body, and soul.

Don't put it off for another day. If you are reading this, it might be one of God's mysterious ways of saying, "Now is the time. Know Me."
Friday, July 15, 2011

Flashing Back to the Birth Day


In honor of Joey's first birthday I thought I would share with you all (in some cases-again) the birth story of my Joseph. I knew he was going to be big but that wasn't enough to convince me to not do this the natural way. Well as natural as possible considering I had to have an IV of pitocin to induce labor, was attached to monitors for 12 hours, had my bag of water artificially ruptured, and was told not to push when I needed to push. But, even with all of those things, going through with labor and delivery without an epidural was, perhaps, one of my most proud and defining moments of my life.

When I was at my OB's office for a annual pap a few months ago, I had the opportunity to ask her what the biggest baby she ever delivered was. She said she had delivered and 11+ pounder before but it was by c-section. She admitted that the largest baby she ever delivered vaginally was my Joseph at 10 pounds 3 ounces! I will take that badge of honor and run with it! I love my big 'ole baby!

Joey's Birth Story complete with high quality labor and delivery pictures compliments of Just Us Two photography.
Joey at one year old!
Thursday, July 14, 2011

Feeling Frisky?

Anyone that watches TV has probably seen the ad campaign for a certain male... uh... assistance medication that says that the medication allows you to be ready for action whenever the mood strikes instead of taking a pill and being ready in an hour or however long it takes to have its effect. The commercials make me laugh every single time. I have decided to do a commercial vs. real life situation when it comes to getting frisky.

Commercial: Couple outside raking leaves. A leaf falls into the hair of the woman. Man gently plucks said leaf from her hair. There is a twinkle in her eye. Then the look that insinuates that they are going to have some private time and just as we are starting to feel like voyeurs, the deep voice warns us of all of the possible side effect including heart attack and stroke. Then, we see a very satisfied and happy couple walking hand in hand. Awww how fantastic!

Real version: Couple is outside raking leaves. Leaf falls into the woman's hair. Guy doesn't notice. Woman brushes said leaf from her own hair. Then after both are hot and sweaty from their yard work, the guy gives the woman a little playful pat on the butt. The woman demands to know why he just did that since she assumes that he is probably saving her from a mosquito or some other creepy crawly bug. When the man gives her the little nod and grin move, the woman, who feels incredibly grimy and dirty says, "Are you serious? Now? I feel disgusting. And you don't exactly smell yummy either. Maybe after we get cleaned up. Plus, I am really hungry. Lets get cleaned up and have some dinner. Maybe later tonight I'll feel more up to it. Plus, don't we have to go to the hardware store to get paint?"

Commercial: Man and woman are painting the interior of a house. After a little playful painting of each others noses, their eyes shine and without a doubt we know what they are planning on doing. The guy's voice warns us of the side effects as they show the couple heading to another off to another room. Sure makes painting look like a lot of fun!

Real version: Man and woman are painting the interior of a house. They paint all night long until they just can't take the fumes any longer. They shower, eat some carry out dinner and then complain about how badly their necks hurt from looking up at the walls. The woman reluctantly gives the man a back massage as they discuss their upcoming camping trip. They retire to their bedroom and fall asleep quickly.

Commercial: Man and woman are on a nature hike. They are walking hand in hand and flirting playfully. They reach a quaint clearing in the woods and then... the twinkle... the side effect guy... then the content smiles.

Real version: Man and woman are enjoying a nature hike. They come to a clearing in the woods and the man suggests that they have a bit of fun in the middle of nowhere. The woman says, "If by fun you mean you want to give me a once over checking me for ticks then that would be great. Not to mention, I am pretty sure that is poison ivy over there. Plus, between your bad back on this rough terrain and me not having the opportunity for a shower for another 24 hours, I'm not sure that would be a good idea. Plus, the campfire beans we had for lunch aren't exactly sitting well and I am a little preoccupied with finding a place to dig a hole. Maybe when we get home?"

Commercial: Man and woman are cleaning up after dinner. Woman is standing at the sink doing the dishes and the man saunters up behind her. She looks over her shoulder, makes eye contact, and manages to turn off the water while romantically kissing him. Voice over guy is again warning of the 200 side effects and then the satisfied smiles.

Real version: Woman is cleaning up after dinner. Man saunters up behind her. Without looking up from the baked on food she is scrubbing from the crockpot, she hands him a towel. The kids start asking what is for dessert, and reporting that they are still hungry despite refusing to eat a bite of their dinners. There is a pile of laundry taunting them from the corner of the room. They do the team approach and get the laundry done just in time to get the kids into the bathtub and into bed. Then, they wait for an hour or so to make sure the kids are asleep. By the time they are tiptoeing to their bedroom, the baby starts stirring. They agree that instead of risking waking the baby tonight, tomorrow might be a better day for getting frisky. Plus, they were both still recuperating from their camping trip last weekend.

Now, keep in mind that if the woman is ovulating and trying to conceive, any of these scenarios are completely likely. She will probably be willing to get frisky at any time, any place, without a shower, with GI distress, with a sink full of dishes, and with a baby crying. Maybe these drug companies should team up with the makers of ovulation tests. Now there is a commercial!

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