Thursday, December 11, 2014

Finding Missing Puzzle Pieces

On my blog today I am going to be talking about infertility. I feel so strongly about this topic. After dealing with it for 3 plus years, I feel like educating individuals about it is important because those struggling with it need support and not unwanted advice about trying to conceive.

We often get questions about when Ava is going to be a big sister. We started getting questions about the time she turned 18 months old. We brushed it off for the first couple of years. It has only been in the last year or so that we have decided to be more open about it.

First off I want to share an introduction to our story of dealing with it. We were the typical college students, newly weds and poor. Prior to getting married we had decided waiting a few years to have a baby, seemed it would be the smart thing to do. We would both be done with school and be more established. Well we had a baby two and half years later after we married. Seems like the perfect timing right? Well what it doesn't say is it took 14 months to get the little miss her with the help of medication.

When we decided it was time for Ava to be a big sister. Our process of countless doctor visits, medications, ovulation test kits, negative pregnancy test, heartache, and tears started again. In April we referred to a specialist. I am not sure I could have truly prepared myself for all the struggles that come with infertility. The mental, emotional and physical stress of it is enough to drive anyone nuts. Infertility is this crazy roller coaster ride where everything is okay and you're doing well, and then bam it's the drop and you hit rock bottom and have to slowly pull yourself back together.  Slowly we started opening up and the more we did the more I realized we were not alone. Lots of couples struggle with it. Joining a support group  was one of the best things I have done to help myself cope with it.

We met with the specialist in June and a new plan was created, I left the appointment feeling optimistic. I just knew things were going to change and be different and I was excited. We had decided in April to take a few months off from medication and appointments (with the exception of the specialist visit). Our plan was to press forward with treatments in September. In the early morning hours of June 30th I woke up for the millionth time to use the restroom and as I laid back down, I knew I was pregnant and this time it was for real. I barely slept and woke up in the morning rushed to the store and deciding I couldn't wait took a test at Target (classy, I know). I saw those double lines and was shocked. Tears of happiness ran down my cheeks as I told Ava she was going to finally be a big sister. Then it hit me, I just took a pregnancy test at target with my daughter outside the stall. How do I explain that one?

I wanted to tell Bryce right away but he was in meetings all day and I did't want to tell him over the phone. So I decided to wait. In the meantime Ava told so many people, ladies at the gym her swimming instructor... So about 30 people knew before Bryce. I got a baby sitter for the night and took Bryce to dinner. I used the excuse of going to the bathroom to have our waitress put blocks on his plate that said baby. When they brought it out, he looked at me and his look said "I didn't order baby back ribs" and I started to tear up again and he caught on. Due to many people knowing we decided to tell people. We bought a blank puzzle and used it as our announcement. We shared it with close family and friends. It was a great month, things were finally looking up. We had a few ultrasounds, everything looked good and they referred us back to my normal obgyn.

There are so many different dynamics that play into infertility. The ability to create life is a miracle in its self. The are many causes to infertility and then there is also unexplained infertility where everything lines up as it should. I have met several people with different circumstances, but one thing I have learned is that because my situation is different does not make it less important or harder to deal with. That goes for every case and situation. When someone tells you about their situation don't tell them about so and so who went through the same thing and now has five kids. Each situation is unique with a goal of trying to get a baby here. It is hard for someone to understand something they have never been through but it is possible to be sensitive to those around you that are dealing with it.

One of the hardest things for me has been hearing other people announce pregnancy and then when the baby is born. It didn't really get to me until this past year. It didn't matter if I found out from Facebook, a blog, family or whoever the excitement was shortly followed by heart ached. It left me wondering when my prayers and longing for another child would be answered.

I had a special experience when a dear friend of mine told me she was expecting last fall (2013). She has also struggled with infertility. I was so excited and happy for her, but as she told us I felt that little ache in my heart that she had something I wanted. As I drove home that night I cried for many different reasons. As I asked again and again why me why this trial. I received the most peaceful feeling and confirmation that there was a child waiting to come to us at the perfect time. That the child would come when it was their time to be on earth.  I am so grateful for that experience it truly humbled me.

I started this blog post the last week in July to announce our exciting news. I had it all planned out at our 12 week appointment I would post this and it would finally be my turn to announce in a cute way. That's not what happened. After my last appointment with the specialist and everything looking good, it was about to change. We headed up to Idaho for a family reunion. We spent the evening at a carnival and went to get food after. I had been feeling sick and exhausted but didn't want to miss Ava's joy from experiencing the carnival. When we went to get food, I used the restroom and new things were not okay. I was terrified what was I suppose to do? I needed to tell Bryce but everyone was out there with him... Luckily when I came out no one was with him at the moment. We went to the ER and sent Ava with Bryce's parents.    

The next day we were heading to bear lake. I didn't feel up for it and had no idea what was going to happen. Once again I didn't want to miss Ava's excitement of exploring Bear Lake. After a few hours I knew I was going to lose the baby. I was in shock and heartbroken. Bryce and I went home and left Ava with his parents. It was the most traumatic experience of my life, I have never been in that much physical and emotional pain. It was the longest weekend of my life. I saw a whole new side of me and it was not pretty.  

I was not prepared for the affects it would have on me in the days, weeks and months following.

I had nightmares for months following,, I would wake up drenched in sweat. I had a hard time sleeping for fear of what I would dream about. I would lay awake in bed and over analyze every single thing that happened.

I was more depressed then I have ever been. I have always struggled with depression but have always been able to manage and not need medicine for it. That changed, I always wanted to be home and not do anything. I canceled activities with friends. I wanted to be alone (that does not happen with a four year old). Luckily I have family and friends that care they brought us meals, helped with Ava and knew exactly what I needed. For them and their services I am so grateful for.

 I was angry with God so angry. For the first time since coming back to the gospel of Jesus Christ, my testimony wavered. I questioned everything I believed, what I knew, and what I wanted. I didn't want to go to church. For the first few months someone stopped me and asked about it. I felt like every lesson and talk was directed at me and how imperfect I was (in reality they had nothing to do with me). One of the stake presidency members got up in Elders Quorum and said you do not know where you faith lays is until you've gone through a trial. He was right and I am glad I was able to hear him say that.

 During the last three and half years it has tested my faith. As I have learned more patients and acceptance of our situation for what it is, I learned to lean on my heavenly father more in those moments where I just wanted to be a alone and hit rock bottom. I am so grateful for my heavenly father and husband for lifting me back up in those moments. I am grateful for their patience and kindness. I am so grateful the the loving grace that the atonement provides for me in times of need. I am grateful for our struggle with infertility, it sucks but I look at trials others are given and am glad I have this one and not theirs.

My intentions with writing this post is that others may know they are not alone. 1 in 6 couples deal with infertility. 1 in 4 women experience pregnancy loss. You are not alone.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Spell Book Necklace

For Christmas, I know it was a while ago, I made my sister in law one of these cute spell book necklaces. I saw that she had pinned it. So I decided to make one hoping she would like it. She did and so did a few other people. I found the tutorial at Ruby Murrays Musings.   

 Bryce really enjoyed aging the leather. 
  This craft calls for aged leather. I did not have any laying around so I bought some leather at Micheal's. To age it we poured a little rubbing alcohol on it. We (meaning the Mr.) let it burn for a few seconds. I Then sanded it and it looked aged. 

 What you'll need:

Small piece of scrap Leather, the more wrinkled and aged the better

Small scrap of Cardboard (Hard back of a notebook will do )

1 piece of printer paper

Scrap of decorative Paper

1 O Ring

a chain to put the book on

Gold Sharpie Pen (permanent marker)


Hot Glue Gun
Bull Dog clip/Bag clip
Needle (to punch a hole)
tape or printers tape

1. Take one piece of printer paper cut it into 1 inch slices along the width of the paper. Divide the paper up into 5 smaller pieces which should measure roughly 1& 3/4 inches  across. Make a big pile of these rectangles then fold them in half and squeeze them with a bag clip/bulldog clip. All of the folded 'spines' should be facing the same side and that side should be poking out of the clip.

2. From Cardboard cut 2 rectangles, 7/8ths of an inch by 1 1/4 inches, these will be the front and back of the book,the spine should measure roughly 5/8's by 1 1/4 inches.
-at this point I wrote Harry Potter Spells on a few pages. I think I did 12. 

3. Then tape them across the back leaving a hairs gap between the separate pieces, painters tape works best.

4. If you left enough gap you should be able to fold the cardboard into a book shape.

5. Taking a scrap of decorative paper, draw around the book cover, depending on how large a gap you left the measurement for this will vary. Add Double sided tape to the decorative paper and stick to the book cover, either side is fine.
6. Fold the book to give you a less flat book cover.

7. With a hot glue gun stick the wedge of papers folded 'spine' side down into the centre of the book cover, don't be scared to use a great big glob of hot glue, more is more in this case. Push down gently to make sure all the pages adhered nicely.

 8. Give it a little squish if you want your book to sit more closed, don't if you want an open looking book.

9. With Hot glue again take a scrap of leather and stick the outside of the book cover to it, you can trim round it once it's stuck, don't worry too much about the Leather looking rough or feathered at the edges, it's meant to look old right?
*make sure to make the leather piece a little big. 

10. Now for the fun part, I used a Sharpie in Gold with a fine tip and made a rough edge of Gold around the outside of the book cover.then smudged it with my finger to age it a little. To give the spine more definition take the Gold pen make a rough line and smudge it gently then add some small Gold dots, smudging again if it looks too crisp. These books are teeny tiny so unable to add a legible title or writing to it I made tiny dots of varying heights and smudged them. I just thought about where any text would be and put the dots there. 

11. Punch a hole through the cover preferably with a needle, put o ring in and the necklace chain.

The total cost was $11.00, they sometimes sell for $30.00.  

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Monday, February 3, 2014

Valentine's Day Bunting

I love  bunting banners. They just make me happy. I don't really have any Valentines day decorations. So I wanted to make something. I saw a Valentines Day bunting banner on pinterest, but decided I wanted to do my own thing. 

I went through my craft stuff found some red, white and black paper. I went through my buttons and found some sparkly buttons I got for a project I never did. I then had the idea of cutting up some paper grocery bags for the back. Next up was my search for ribbon and I found some old lace. I am not sure how that piece of lace went unnoticed for so long. I just love lace.  

I have some old templates that I used to make the hearts and triangles. 

You will need
3 sheets of paper
a heart template or just use a cricut 
3 paper bags
a triangle template or cricut
Some sort of buttons
glue or two sided tape (I used tape)
Lace, string or ribbon
a hole punch

I put the bunting up by this quote on the wall. I think it went together nicely. 

1.) Once you have everything gathered trace the hearts and triangles. Once you have them traced cut them out.
2.) Glue or tape the hearts onto the triangles. Place your buttons in the center of the hearts and glue.
3.) Use a hole punch and evenly punch holes in the top two corner areas of the triangle. Except for the first and last triangle. You will only put on hole on each of these triangles to help connect the bunting.
4.) Connect the bunting with lace. You could choose not to use the hole punch and run lace across the top or the back. I did not have enough lace for that option.
5.) Find a spot to display your cute bunting.  

Friday, January 31, 2014

Homemade Laundry Soap for HE Machines

I was at an activity the other night and someone brought homemade laundry soap.
I have been wanting to this for a while. I was so excited that it was a recipe that can be used 
on HE (high efficiency) machines. When I came home that night 
I realized we were almost out of laundry soap. Perfect timing, right?

I got the Mr. on board with it and bought the stuff. We did this as a family activity. 

You will need the following to make this.
1 (4lb) Box of Borax
1 (3lb 7oz) Box of Super Washing Soda
2 (5.5 oz) bars of Fels-Naptha
5lb baking soda
Essential oils for smell if you choose (we did not use this.) 
Something to put the laundry soap in

The bars of soap looked like cheddar cheese. 
We had to tell Ava it was not and that she couldn't eat it. 

1.) Grate the Fels-Naptha soap, use a cheese grater. Ava helped with this part. 
Once it is grated you can put it into a blender or food processor. You do this to make it as small and fine as possible. We used the blender first and it just clumped together and then we added baking soda to see if it would help. It did a little. My blender kept getting really hot and the soap started melting together at the bottom. So we moved it to the food processor and only put a half a cup in at a time. This worked so much better. You can see in the picture above that the plate has the clumped soap from the blender and then what it looks like in the food processor. Maybe my blender is just a crappy one, I am not sure. I would definitely use the food processor first.  
2.)Mix all the powders  into a bucket or tub a ware. We used a Tupperware 
that fit nicely on top of our washing machine.  
3.) Mix the Fels-Naptha with all the other powered stuff. Mix well.
4.) Use 1 to 3 tablespoons of laundry soap per a load. I have tried 1, 2 and 3 tablespoons and I just prefer 1 tablespoon. 

Here are some benefits of making your own laundry soap.

  • If you do use essential oils, mix the powders and then split it in half. Put twenty drops or so of your favorite essential oil and mix it. Then add the other half of powered and mix it well. 
  • It is suggested that you mix however many tablespoons (you choose to use) of laundry soap with a little water before  if you are using an HE machine. I put the laundry soap directly into the main wash spot of our front loader and have not had any problems.  
  • The smell of the laundry soap in the tub a ware is strong. This had me worried at first. By the time you wash and dry the clothes it does not have a strong scent. It is a light clean smell, which I like. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Infinity Scarf for Little Girls

My friend Breanna invited me over for a craft night. She said she wanted to teach us how to make arm scarfs. I was a little nervous at first but agreed. Ava was at Michael's with me and this is the yarn she picked out. 

For this craft you will need
  • two arms
  • scissors 
  • 2 skeins of yarn, I only used one and cut it in half because it was for Ava. 
    • A chunky quick knit yarn (wool ease is the best)
    • It should to be a 5 or 6 weight

Ava loves the scarf, she wears it all the time. 

Here is the video we used from Find the Silver Linings

In the video she does 10 to 12 stitches, I only did five because it was for Ava.