Thursday, June 18, 2015

Little Man or Little Miss + All Things Baby Thoughts!

Well hello! I haven't blogged in a very long time! There's some thoughts that I wanted to get down and I thought this would be the best outlet so here it randomly goes.

 I am 16 weeks pregnant since Tuesday. I can't believe I'm already this far along. It's been a long journey getting here. When we found out we were expecting again, a couple of days before the due date of our angel baby, we were ecstatic and just knew it was meant to be. I was super excited at our appointment this Tuesday because my blood pressure actually wasn't through the roof for the first time. I never have high blood pressure but every time I went to the OB I was scared they would tell me my baby wasn't alive. So what up 120/70-that's more like it!!! I really think I'm starting to relax and not be so worried but worrying is in my genes (thanks mom & dad) so I doubt it'll ever go away. Also we scheduled our 20 weeks ultrasound which is so exciting! We haven't seen the little peanut since 9 weeks when he/she was forming arm and leg buds.

After we found out I joined a group on Facebook for mom's due in December and I quickly became sort of envious of the "naive" moms who hadn't lost a baby. They didn't have any worries or concerns that we had. They still had the "it won't happen to me" mantra playing in their heads and here I am like oh it definitely could! I prayed so much in the beginning (and still do) and every so often I would have a dream about being at the doctor where they found the heartbeat and everything was good. I think that was God's way of telling me everything was ok. It gave me peace when I would worry.

Ummm what's my next thoughts? Let's talk about gender! So since our previous loss was a sex chromosome abnormality (remember Turner's Syndrome is 1 X instead of the normal 2) we were able to get a newer noninvasive blood test called Informaseq. This tests for the likelihood of common chromosomal problems like Downs Syndrome and Trisomies. Plus since our problem last time was the sex chromosomes we'd got the added gender portion to our test which is why we get to find out 4 weeks sooner! So they took my blood (to separate the baby's DNA.. How cool?!) when I was 13w2d and I got the results when I was 14w6d. That's pretty neat and quick! They told me that the baby had no risk for any of the chromosomal problems that were tested and baby is perfect with either XX or XY!!! But I asked them not to tell me the gender because we wanted to be surprised at our party, so we got the results in an envelope that I will be giving to Kayte when she gets here tomorrow!

Now here is where the sort of sappy is going to come in. Now that it's real that we will know the gender of our rainbow baby in 53 hours, I've been thinking a lot about it. God has so many wonderful plans for this baby! There's a reason he/she was put into our lives at this time instead of before. This baby is going to impact our lives so much and I'm so excited about it. I like teaching but I really think I was born to be a mother and now I get my chance. The love that I already have for him/her is incredible and I know I can speak for Andrew and he agrees.  It's been a long journey getting here and we still have a ways to go but I'm going to enjoy every minute of it.

I think the baby is a boy but I want a girl. I sincerely would be happy either way!!! Andrew was such a cute little boy with curly brown hair I can only imagine our little boy would look the same way. Since my dad never had a boy I think it would be fun for him and Andrew to do all things sports with him. But a little girl would be so precious and cute. I also picture Andrew with a daughter having him wrapped around her little finger. He is going to be such a good dad I could gush over it all day. Plus cute girl outfits and bows she will be so spoiled!

So stay tuned for the gender announcement THIS SATURDAY and details/pictures of our BaByQ Gender Reveal!!!

Monday, February 16, 2015

21 Day Fix & Shakeology

For those of you who don't know, my hubs and I are starting the 21 Day Fix+Shakeology today! I'm actually really excited about this program because it seems very manageable. I have never been one to go on diets or workout programs but I need to make a change. The containers are perfect and it's actually fun coming up with ways to utilize the containers. I don't think I'll ever get bored with it. This weekend we went shopping for our first week and spent $100.27. That is higher than I would have liked to spend but not bad at all. We did all of our shopping at hy-vee. Next time we will probably try out Aldis (anyone close to me will tell you that I'm a huge advocate for Aldi and they actually have a decent produce selection). I told Andrew it was nice because when we were checking out we looked like people who cared about eating healthy! That's another nice thing about this program is it gives you a lot of ideas on what to buy. Usually I have to come up with these things on my own but I just went down the lists of foods they gave us and wrote ones we would eat on the grocery list.

Last night I spent a good chunk of time prepping for today. I don't think I will ever spend a great deal of time normally but I was excited to get our meals ready and start "measuring" out our portions. I don't know about you but I am a huge fan of ranch dressing. I dip almost everything in ranch and I knew it wouldn't be a healthy (or approved) food. So I jumped on pinterest and found a recipe for protein packed ranch! It's so simple, too. Cottage cheese, ranch seasoning packet, and vinegar. It's not Texas Roadhouse Ranch but it is actually pretty good. Now I can dip my veggies and salad without feeling guilty.  During the prep I also measured everything out and portioned all our meals/snacks for the day.

 The last update I have is I made and drank my first shakeo today! It was actually delicious. I thought that it wouldn't be very good but I liked it. We bought the vanilla flavor and I added peanut butter and banana. It was really filling. I was thinking this morning that I should have the shake in the evening to convince myself I'm having a "treat". I think the evening is when I will be more likely to cheat and that my curb any desire. Anyways, I am going to do my first workout after I get off. I decided not to do them in the morning because 1. I never like getting up early and 2. I wanted to workout at a time where I can make it a routine/more likely to do it. The mornings just isn't a possibility for me.


Friday, January 30, 2015

Family Organization

I don't know about your family but mine was struggling in the organization department. When my mother in law was throwing a Thirty-One party I knew this was my opportunity to tackle some organizing! I decided to purchase 2 Oh Snap Pockets in Black Playful Parade and then as a bonus I got the Zip-Top Organizing Utility Tote in Black Playful Parade for only $10 for spending over $35! I customized the Oh Snap Pockets with MAIL and ACTION. That way I could quickly through the mail in the "mail" one when I got home and then when I go through it, I can put important ones in the "action" one. Simple enough. Then on the bonus bag I put Anselmi Family. This one is a whole other post I will be putting up soon because it is going to be where I put all of our families important papers (like a family binder). Right now I have a hanging file sitting in and I will begin filling it shortly!

The Thirty-One items were the most pricey items but if you're doing this you could easily use alternatives like hanging baskets.
The cost: $65

Then came the fun part... trying to figure out how I wanted to do the layout on the wall. I took to pinterest and found these:


I used these as pinspiration and my starting point.  I knew that I didn't want to do chalkboards because I already have the chalk wall so I thought of ideas for whiteboards.  Then I came up with the a fun idea... did you know that picture frames can also double as a whiteboard!?  So I bought 7-4x6 picture frames for the weekly calendar, a 11x14 picture frame for the menu, and then a Quartet whiteboard calendar with corkboard.  These were all pretty cheap.
The cost: 
7-4x6 frames: $6.16
1-11x14 frame: $4.00
Quartet whiteboard calendar: $9.96

Next I bought wooden letters to paint and put in the corners of the picture frames.  The weekly frames got the first letter of the day of the week and then the large frame got menu.  While doing this I was torn between creating a menu board and a misc. board for anything.  I decided to do a menu and then if I need a misc. one I will do that later.
The cost:
Red Paint: $.50
Wood Letters: $2.97

The last of the items I needed to purchase was string and mini clothes pins to pin up pictures, invitations, gift certificates, etc.
The cost:
Red string: $.33
Mini clothespins: $2.48

Lastly the A sign and the love canvas were free because they were wedding gifts!  You could customize yours with any decor that you like.

TOTAL COST: $26.41!!!  This is of course before the Thirty-One but like I said you could substitute.

Monday, December 29, 2014

DIY Christmas Eve Photobooth

This year I was so excited to be hosting my first family holiday and our first Christmas Eve in our new house.  I wanted to make it extra special and began thinking of ideas.  I saw some pinterest posts and decided on making my own "Photobooth" for the night!  Here's how I created this project:

Items Needed:
Wrapping Paper
Green & Red Marker
110 lb. White Cardstock
Hot Glue Gun
*Walmart Photobooth Prop Kit

First, I made a sign to say Christmas Eve 2014 in the background.  For this I cut out an ornament I drew for each letter on cardstock.  I just used a cup to trace a circle and drew the hook on the top.  Then I wrote each letter in the ornament with green/red and traced it with the opposite color.

Next, I hot glued on the letter on small red/ green ribbon.  Evenly spacing them out on the floor before gluing them on.

Then, I hung up the wrapping paper in a location I thought would be best.  I measured out the wrapping paper and then cut to fit the door area I wanted it and taped it securely.

Finally, I taped up the sign!

*Ok now for the most important part-- the props!  For this I found a photobooth prop kit in the party section of walmart.  It was a birthday party kit so I threw out all of the birthday props and used their "sayings sign" to trace my own on the cardstock.  For these I wrote out my own that were specific to Christmas.

When it came time for the party we had a blast with this!  I took the picture and then cropped the sides to make it look like a photobooth picture (not my living room/kitchen).  Here's some pictures!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Our Lived Nightmare

I think writing about our miscarriage experience will not only be therapeutic but also educational.  Miscarriage is a very taboo subject that many people are uncomfortable with.  I want to break that silence and open up about what happened.  I'm not ashamed and I am proud to call myself a mom to an angel baby.  Miscarriage can happen to anyone at any point in their pregnancy.  1 in 4 pregnancies end in a miscarriage.  This isn't to try to scare you or make you worry, but purely to open your eyes.  After our experience so many women opened up to me about their own miscarriages.  I will be forever grateful for that because I wasn't alone.  The odds were in our favor to not miscarry and we still did.  Something like a 4% chance after seeing a heartbeat (which we did).  But not everything about our pregnancy was horrible.... Here's our journey :)

Andrew and I found out we were expecting on Friday, July 11th.  Besides my college graduation and wedding, this was probably one of the best days of my life.  I thought that I might be pregnant because I wasn't having the normal signs of my period.  I went to lunch with my grandma that day and I felt so sick.  I barely ate and when we were shopping I felt the need to sit down.  I told Andrew that I might be pregnant and he said we would take a test together that night.  But I just couldn't wait.  So I bought a test and I took it at home.  Within a minute the second test line showed up.  I couldn't believe it!  I was so shocked/excited I kept saying, "Oh my gosh!" and smiling A LOT.  I knew then I needed to do something special to tell Andrew, so I decided to go to the store to get some gifts.  (In the meantime, my mom called to ask me some small question that I can't even remember.  It was so hard to have a normal conversation when my mind was running a mile a minute.  I laugh about it to this day.)  During my drive I decided on the gifts for Andrew.  I bought the classic book What To Expect When You're Expecting and a gender neutral onsie that said "My Dad Rocks and My Mom Rules".  When I got home I taped my positive test to the book and put it all in a gift bag.  I was so excited for Andrew to get home!!!  I kind of bugged him about when he would be home lol.  When he finally got home I told him that someone dropped a gift bag off for him.  He opened it quizzically and was super confused by the contents.  Once I told him I was pregnant he said something along the lines of "Oh my gosh are you sure!?" and I was like, "Of course I'm sure!" He was so excited he gave me a huge hug.  We could barely contain our excitement to not call everyone and tell them the news.  But we wanted to wait until my appointment with my family doctor on Monday to confirm it.

My Monday appointment came and it was doctor confirmed that we were having a baby!!!  We told our families and our closest friends in the next few weeks and began imagining our lives as parents.  What gender do we think the baby is?  How will we decorate the room? (and of course all of this is in the midst of a move to a new house).  We were so overjoyed.  By my 5th week I met with my OBs nurse and got that whole process going.  She scheduled our ultrasound for the following week when I was 6 weeks and 5 days along.

Of course the google freak that I am I got kind of worried for the ultrasound.  What if there's not a heartbeat or the baby hasn't developed?  Google is never a good friend I've learned throughout this entire time.  But our appointment came and we went in for the ultrasound.  Right away we saw the heartbeat and Andrew and I both breathed a sigh of relief.  (Like I said those statistics go down!.. HA) We saw our baby's heart beating at a strong 122 bpm.  The baby did measure a little behind at only 6 weeks 1 day but it wasn't a concern at all.  We were ecstatic and we stared at the picture we got all of the time!

At this point I started a classic "weekly bumpdate" that I sent to my closest friends and family.  This was fun and gave me an opportunity to use my chalk wall!  I would write down milestones that the baby was making that week.  Andrew loved when it came time to taking the pictures (not).  I was sooo picky about how I stood and looked lol.  I did week 5 through 9.  Week 9 was actually taken in our new house (chalk wall was definitely my first priority lol)!

The next couple of weeks go by and things start to settle down.  We closed on our house and began the moving process.  I wanted to wait to announce to "the world" aka Facebook until I was 12 weeks along but the excitement got the better of me.  When I was exactly 9 weeks we posted our adorable announcement (that I made myself lol) on Facebook.  I was so excited to do this and the amount of joy from everyone we received was amazing.  After the miscarriage I was beating myself up a little bit for posting the announcement on social media.  But like I said earlier a pregnancy can be lost at any point and you're never really "safe".  The support I received was definitely comforting, so thank you!

My next appointment was scheduled for August 28th.  I was 10 weeks and 5 days along at this point.  The night before my appointment I had a dream that the baby was a girl.  Up until this point I had had a few dreams about the potential gender but never a for sure answer.  But this dream was different and I knew that it was a sign.  To be continued…

I don't think I will ever forget the weather that day.  It was one of the gloomiest days of the summer.  Horrible rain and it was pretty chilly.  I told Andrew I didn't want to go to the appointment.  I think maybe I subconsciously knew something was wrong.  I dreaded it all day because it was in the afternoon.  But at 4pm we went to the appointment.  Our doctor said we might be able to hear the heartbeat on a doppler but that it might be too early so we shouldn't be concerned.  He tried for a little while but we weren't getting anything.  He said we would try an ultrasound in his office.  Andrew and I were actually excited because we didn't think we would get to see our baby that day!  We get all ready and he starts the ultrasound.  At first I wasn't too concerned and we just watched the screen staring at the baby that has grown so much since the last time we saw it.  It actually looked like a baby!  I then realized that he was trying to find the heartbeat.  He tried for awhile and my heart started pounding until he finally measured the baby and it was only 9 weeks exactly (which is almost 2 weeks less than where it should have been).  He then said something along the lines of, "I'm sorry but there isn't a heartbeat".  My mind was spinning.  I was in such shock!  He left and Andrew and I stood there crying.  The only thing I could think of was to leave.  I didn't want to be there anymore.  So we left the room and the doctor scheduled a 2nd opinion from the hospital the next morning.  We spent the entire night crying, praying, and hoping for a miracle.  We went to the appointment bawling.  I'm pretty sure the hospital staff thought I was crazy.  I could barely speak.  The ultrasound tech assured me that the baby probably was moving around too much and my doctor had trouble finding the heartbeat.  I knew that wasn't it, because we never saw it move.  We went in and I laid there while she began the same process as the day before.  I couldn't really see the screen so I made Andrew tell me what was going on.  He said it wasn't good and that she was getting the same results as my OB.  That's when I really started the grieving process because I knew it was over.  I had a missed miscarriage, which is a 2% chance of happening.  Don't you love statistics!?

This ultrasound appointment was so early that my OB's office wasn't open yet.  I called and sort of stalked him until he called me back.  I wanted to get a D&C that day to take the baby out.  I couldn't bare carrying my lifeless child until my body realized I wasn't pregnant and it decided to miscarry.  I wanted to begin to move on and to heal.  I went in that morning to my outpatient procedure with Andrew, my mom, Andrew's mom, and Andrew's grandma met us there.  It was the saddest day of my life.  The saddest experience of my life.  I seriously wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.  I don't think I would have been even emotionally ok if it weren't for the WONDERFUL nurses.  Everyone was so friendly and sympathetic.  One of the nurses even shared her own experience of a miscarriage that helped me, even to this day, so much!!!  After everything I went home around noon.  I spent most of the day crying and surrounded by family and friends who came to be with us.  It was nice to be distracted, I can never thank everyone enough for the love and support in those first few days.

And here we are today.  24 days later.  Throughout these 24 days I have experienced emotions all over the place.  Sadness, anger, guilt, forgiveness, peace, but the questions are ALWAYS there.  Why did this happen to us?  Why couldn't we have a healthy baby?  What if this happens again?  What if we can never have a healthy baby?  Was this my fault? (even though most miscarriages are chromosomal - up to 70%)  It was hard for me to deal with the fact that I would never get to see, hold, or hear my baby.  I was bad and would search the hashtag of what week pregnant I should be and see these pictures of the joy I should be experiencing.  I searched 11 week ultrasounds to see what it should have been like.  Like I said, google is never your friend!  It took me at least 2 weeks before I didn't cry at some point during my day.  I didn't want to be around a lot of people because (as I described it to Andrew) the "kicked puppy look" I got hurt me.  It think the worst feeling I felt throughout all of this was that I let everyone down.  I know it's crazy and no one thinks I did but I felt that everyone was so excited about this baby and I let them down.  I'm sure so many who have experienced a miscarriage can relate to this.  This is still something I fight with daily.

But then there was some light at the end of this dark tunnel.  We had our baby tested for genetics to see if that answered the cause of the miscarriage and it did.  We were lucky to actually get an answer because many parents don't get that closure.  We found out that our precious baby girl (remember my dream…) had Turner Syndrome (Click here to learn more).  This is when a girl only has 1 X chromosome instead of the usual 2 and accounts for 10% of miscarriages.  I was reassured by my OB (and of course google) that this was a random event and that this wasn't passed to our baby genetically from us.  Relief and happiness are what I experienced when finding this out.  Of course I never wanted to be in this situation in the first place but I am glad that it isn't something we have to really worry about in the future.  That it was just a case of bad luck.  I am also happy we found out the gender of our baby.  I wanted a girl really bad.  Everyone (including myself) thought I was having a boy.  But knowing makes her more "real".  She isn't an "it" anymore.  She was a person, she had a soul, and she was loved by so many people and will be for eternity.  I believe that we will see her again in heaven.  God has healed her body and she is in the best place.  Our future children will know about their big sister and she will watch over our family.

I am an advocate for my daughter, who never got a voice.  I am telling "our lived nightmare" in hopes to help other women by breaking the silence.  Never take your children for granted, tell them you love them, and hold them often because I never got the chance.

“As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation -- either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.” -- Martin Luther King Jr.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day for Fur Baby Moms

I haven't posted in a long time but I have been busy with end of the school year stuff and the married life! Well anyways Andrew has been saying that he was going to get me something for Mother's Day because I'm Brody and Addy's mom. I though that was cute but I wasn't getting my hopes up because he also said he was going to get me a birthday present, which didn't happen (love you Andrew!). Well today is Sunday and I asked him what he got me... And he said he didn't get it. Lol which is ok because I don't need anything.  He said what he was planning was to put the dog's handprints in clay for a keepsake. How adorable! The fact that he even came up with the idea to do that is really sweet.  So after that I decided to get online and look up a recipe to do that. I found out that is was SUPER easy.  Here's the recipe I used:

Handprint (and in my case Pawprint) Clay Recipe
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup salt
3/4 cup water

Mix flour and salt together.  Add water slowly and mix together until it forms a good ball.  Knead the dough a little bit (but not too much that it turns tough).  It is sticky so I used more flour when it was on a surface.  Then shape it to how you want on a plate.  Gently press hand (or paws) into the clay.  I ended up cutting the edges around it with a pizza cutter to form a square shape rather than a circle.  I also added B & A above their paw prints and 2014 below them with a knife.  Bake in the oven at 200° for 2 hours.  Flip over and bake for 30 more minutes.  And there you have it!

It turned out so adorable!  And I'm going to call it a gift from Andrew because after all, it was his idea right??!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Taco Bell Addict

Finding new things to make for dinner is always a chore.  I feel like Andrew & I eat the same things every week!  Tacos, spaghetti, enchiladas, pizza... so I have be on Pinterest trying to find fun new recipes that we will both like.  Here's the latest gem I found and made!

It was a big hit with Andrew & my parents!  Enjoy! ~Brooke