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Wife, doggy-mother, Jesus follower, CANCER FIGHTER! Just enjoying each day as it comes and remembering what is really important - family and GOD.

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Hairbows or Bowties? Footballs or Pom-Poms?

"Sons are a heritage from The Lord, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them." Psalm 127:3-4.


Yes, our quiver will be on the way to being full. We are joyfully expecting two sweet little BOYS. 





Both Baby A and Baby B are very clearly boys! They are active and already picking on each other, even in the womb.

What a blessing these sweet, sweet boys are to their Daddy and I. He's so over-the-moon about having two little mini-mes, and I have to say -  I am too. Being that Justin is my favorite person in the world, I can't imagine anything better than two tiny little sidekicks hanging off his legs.

My boys - mommy can't wait to meet you (but I can wait a few more weeks, so don't get any ideas!).

A Long Overdue Update

Let me begin by saying if you make it to the end of this mini-book I just wrote, congrats.

Wow. I know it has been such a long time since I've updated. Almost 9 weeks, give or take.

A lot has happened in those nine weeks. 

First, I was just so sick during the beginning of the pregnancy. Honestly. I never really threw up, but I was nauseated all the time. Add to that unbelievable exhaustion and I could hardly function!

Then, around 16 weeks I turned a corner!

I finally felt human again. I wasn't sick, but starving :) I had a sudden burst of energy and we took advantage. Justin was super busy with football games, and we were gone a lot. We enjoyed the weekends and went out shopping, eating or to more football games when we could.

At 21 weeks we had our "big" ultrasound with maternal fetal medicine. We were both so, so excited! It was standard for our doctor to send multiple pregnancies to MFM for a Level II scan around this time. Not only were we excited to see our little peanuts, but to finally find out what they were.

We had big plans for the day. Justin took the entire day off as did I, and we planned to shop all afternoon for our little boys or girls. Plus, we were planning a big football themed gender reveal party the following weekend to announce the news to our families and friends!

The ultrasound started off great. We immediately saw the genders of our precious babies :) I thought Justin was going to crack his face from smiling so hard.

If anyone has had a Level II ultrasound, you know how long it is. They had to let me up between scanning Baby A and Baby B because I couldn't lay flat on my back that long. Soon, the tech was done and said she was getting the doctor (standard) to review the images and that they also wanted to check cervical length (again, standard - especially with twins).

The doctor came in and of course, I was a nervous wreck until he said the babies were both perfect and healthy. What a great praise! However, he said my cervix was measuring very short and also funneling, and that I would need to see my regular OB/GYN immediately.

Being our first pregnancy, neither Justin or I knew what was happening. The nurse told me to get dressed while she got a wheelchair and they would take me on upstairs to wait for my doctor to consult and decide what was next.

Again - we were still clueless! No one ever said, "Claire, we have to admit you straight to Labor/Delivery because you are going to need a procedure (or more) to keep your cervix closed." We had no clue until we got to the Labor/Delivery desk and they told Justin he had to go get me registered while I put on a gown.

Needless to say, the next minutes and hours were scary and stressful. I got changed and into a hospital bed while Justin went to admit me and call our parents. Neither of us knew what was going on or what was about to happen.

Justin made it back to my room and we settled in to wait. Finally my sweet nurse came in to find me in tears and explained as much as she could. Basically she thought I would be in the hospital for a few days and they were waiting for my OB to come examine me on her lunch break to decide what to do. 

My parents arrived shortly before my OB came in, and my doctor finally explained what was happening. Basically, they needed to examine me, start some fluids and antibiotics, run a few tests and decide/prepare to perform surgery to place a cerclage. She did a physical exam and tentatively planned to perform the surgery the next morning, depending on the results of the tests and another ultrasound. She did tell me I would be there a few days.

That being said, we live an hour from the hospital and were not planning on staying. Since my parents were there, Justin left to run home and get everything we would need. 

That evening was difficult. I was scared. We both were scared. All I wanted was someone to tell me my babies would be okay. Justin was such a sweetheart, and held me in the hospital bed while I cried and cried.

I was also terrified for the procedure. I've never been in the hospital until that point, and had never had a surgery and especially a spinal block..... I was freaked out.

That evening, we prayed together for both the babies and for our strength. For our doctor to make the right decision. Early Wednesday morning they took me to ultrasound and there was a slight change in my cervix. My doctor decided to wait and consult some other high-risk doctors, particularly those who dealt with multiple pregnancies. So my parents and Justin's, plus my sister and brother, ended up at the hospital waiting for a surgery that was canceled :) We decided that since the gender reveal was cancelled, we would just do it then. It was still a joyous moment telling them what the twins were.

Long story short, I had the cerclage placed successfully on Thursday morning. The procedure went well, and I did fantastic with the spinal. I had no issues and was up and walking within a couple of hours. Other than some bleeding and slight cramping afterwards, it wasn't too terrible.

So, where are we now? 24 weeks today and I have been on bedrest for three weeks tomorrow. The past two appointments show that my cervix has stretched somewhat and the cerclage is holding.

What do I need? Prayers. We need a lot of prayers. Today is a huge milestone, but these babies need to stay inside and develop much longer. Please pray, friends, that my cervix holds steady and that I don't have any pre-term labor issues. Please pray that I make it as far as possible at home on bedrest. We are taking this one day at a time. One week at a time. And I know with our God in control, we will make it.

He's never left my side. I know the reason I did so well in the surgery is because of Him. Justin prayed over me before I went back, and my doctor allowed him to stay in the room during the procedure. I felt so at peace the entire time. Even though I am scared, and the days are long, I know He will carry us through.

A few bump dates to catch up: 



16 weeks - feeling good.


17 weeks at my sweet cousin's football homecoming.


19 weeks - heading out for a date.


 23 weeks - heading to my weekly excursion to the doctor. My belly was measuring 29 WEEKS at that point!

Hopefully I will get back in the swing of things now. I do want to document this amazing experience.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Pregnancy: 15 Weeks



How Far Along: 15 weeks

Size of Babies: Oranges! I can't believe  I have two little oranges in my tummy.... No wonder it's sticking out.

Weight Gained: At the last appointment I gained 3lbs (in 13 weeks). I have a feeling I will be picking up speed!

Maternity Clothes: Yes, please. I have very few summer non-maternity clothes that fit. I'm planning on going through my fall/winter clothes this week, and I think I will have a few things that will work for a while. But in general, especially with pants, maternity clothes are the only clothes that are actually comfortable.

Sleep: I'm still exhausted but it seems to be getting a little better. Some nights I sleep great and others I will toss and turn.

Cravings: Nothing really crazy so far. I will get hooked on certain things and want to eat that all the time. Last week it was cream cheese and bagels. We will see what this week brings.

Best moment this week: Having some professional announcement pics shot today by our lovely friend Leigh Ann Colson!

What I miss: Energy!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Double the Trouble!

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. Ephesians 3:20


God has once again blessed us - this time doubly! Yes, we are expecting TWINS in March!

Now that I'm feeling human again (somewhat) I hope to start posting weekly updates and belly bump pics - because believe me, there is no denying two little babies are stowing away in here!

Just for fun - and because I think they are beauties, here are our miracles in 3D (!!!!) at 6 weeks and then a regular ultrasound from 11 weeks. Check back soon for more details!






Thursday, September 12, 2013

Positive


I wrote this post weeks ago - before we were ready to share our journey....

So. Thursday, July 11th is a day I will never, ever forget!

I went to get my first HCG test early in the morning. I was a nervous flipping wreck. Justin and I prayed together before I left, for peace and calmness.

I have to share this sidenote: We had prayed for the Lord to fill me/us with a sense of peace with the news, whatever it may be. Not minutes later, I received a text from a dear, sweet friend who had no idea I was going that morning for blood work, with the scripture from John 14:27, which states..

I am leaving you with a gift - peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid.
Now tell me that wasn't God's hand at work RIGHT THEN. How amazing when He answers us so loudly and audibly?

Anyway, off I was for the blood test. I was WAY too chicken to POAS (pee on a stick) so we really had no idea what to expect.  The few days before I had started feeling some symptoms, but I also was (and still am) on injectable hormones. So it was hard to distinguish what was what.

 I was also worried sick because SO many people had made comments like "Oh, I knew the exact NANO SECOND I was pregnant." Yeah right. Most people don't know until they miss a period. Maybe a few days before if they have been trying and are looking for symptoms. That is NOT the comment to make to someone who has gone through such a physically and emotionally trying process such as IVF. Which, by the way, completely screws up your body and your hormones. Most days I can't tell if I am coming or going, much less what is happening deep inside my body!

Needless to say, I was convinced that I a) should have felt "more" pregnant and b) was making up all the symptoms in my head because I wanted it so badly.

By 3:30 that afternoon, we still had not heard from the nurse. I was so nervous I was making myself sick and had to come home form work. I knew the doctors office closed at 4:00. Well, 3:50pm arrives and no phone call. We decided to call ourselves, and it went straight to the answering service! I was SO disappointed and convinced we would have to wait until Friday for answers. We debated going ahead and using a home pregnancy test, and I was starting to actually drift off into a nap when the phone rang.

I almost threw up as I answered and heard the nurse's voice! She immediately said "Did you cheat?!" to which I replied "What do you mean??" I was so nervous and confused, I didn't realize she was asking if we had already taken a home pregnancy test. Um negative! Too chicken over here. When I told her, she exclaimed, "Oh! I almost never get to tell anyone who hasn't cheated! You are pregnant. In fact, you are VERY pregnant!" Normal levels at that point would be expected to be around 100. Mine were 800something! WOW! The nurse was so excited, and went on to say it was either one very strong baby, or a good possibility of more than one, since they did implant two embryos.

We were shocked. I held Justin and cried tears of joy and relief, and thanked God over and over for performing another miracle for us. What a testimony of God's healing powers and miracle works we can share.

We ran to Cape to celebrate by eating at Pasta House - which sounded delicious before we went, but the food tasted AWFUL to me and I gagged in the parking lot. I will take it to be PREGNANT though! We bought my parents a cute book and a bib to give to them that evening. No one knew we were having the blood test that day, so we actually got to surprise them!

I should have gotten a photo - but was too wrapped up. My mom was speechless for the first time in her life. It was a wonderful moment.

Justin's parents and sister were on vacation. We ended up calling them and saying to FaceTime us because we had our kitchen painted (which was true) and wanted to show them. We made a big sign that said "We are PREGNANT" and taped it to one of the cabinet doors. Justin was slowly panning across the room when we heard his mom scream "OH MY GOD IT SAYS WE ARE PREGNANT!" Another wonderful moment!

We could not be happier. We are just overjoyed and so grateful for God's mercy!

I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him.
1 Samuel 1:27

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Infertility: Day 2

I wrote this post June 26, 2013.


So.

Of our 13 eggs retrieved, 12 were mature enough to be fertilized and 6 made it through the first day. We will know tomorrow morning if we implant on Day 3 or wait until Day 5.

I'm generally feeling better today. Not as much pressure and discomfort. I'm trying to drink 90+ ounces of water daily, so needless to say that adds to the discomfort. And I do believe I was up at least half a dozen times last night to pee. These little embryos are already dictating my schedule before they are even in my tummy. 

Yesterday I spent most of the day traveling home and resting. I am working from home this week (huge blessing) so that I can truly allow my body the time it needs to heal. Today I went into the office for an hour or so, and spent my day alternating between doing work and resting.

I'm anxious for tomorrow. I just want to know how many babies we have.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Infertility: Retrieval - Day 0

I wrote this post June 24, 2013.


Well friends, today was a big day. We were up and at 'em and at the doctors office by 7:30. We were called right back where they took me into pre-op. I changed into a gown, got comfy in the bed and was hooked up to the monitors. My heart rate was through the roof.

A quick selfie before going in:

The staff was great! I was a nervous wreck about the anesthesia and the IV. The doctor came in to talk with us before the procedure and explained what would happen. Then the anesthesiologist came in. He was not my favorite person people. I have HORRIBLE veins. Horrible. Thank goodness he had the shots of lidocaine. Which hurt like a b by the way. He had to stick me TWICE but finally got an IV started. By the time he was finished I was covered in hives and crying (just a few tears squeaked out). Not long after I kissed Jay and headed to procedure. 

I have only been put under any kind of anesthesia once, when I had my wisdom teeth out when I was 18. I do not do well with the feeling of being out of control of my body, and when he pushed the first round of medicine and I felt myself feel "loopy" I started hyperventilating. Thankfully they calmed me down quickly (or the sweet medicine did) and the next thing I remember is waking up in recovery. I asked Justin probably 100 times how many eggs they retrieved and what the doctor said. Apparently I was also very upset that I "paid $28,000 for these shitty pillows!" Um yeah, not sure where that came from. I was pretty emotional and in some considerable pain, but drifted back off to sleep for another hour or so. When I woke up I drank some juice and felt much better. I was so hungry when we left I demolished a bread bowl from Panera :)

I also, in my very groggy, still under anesthesia induced haze, told Justin to take a picture of me so I could put it on the blog. I was still so medicine-drunk I couldn't lift my head!


I slept all afternoon in our hotel and got up around 6:00 to shower. Justin's mom and sister happened to be in St. Louis today for her birthday, so we met them for a quick dinner. It did me good to get up and out.

I'm feeling better now. We are headed back home tomorrow morning, only to be back soon for the transfer. 13 beautiful eggs were harvested today. I'm praying for a call tomorrow that says 13 beautiful eggs fertilized and are on their way to embryos.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Infertility: 'twas the night before

I wrote this post June 23, 2013 in the middle of our infertility process. I knew that I would want to remember the details and that some day, someone else would be thirsting to hear what it was like to be in this place. 


Retrieval.  Yep, that's right folks. Retrieval! My body responded fairly quickly to pretty low doses of medications!

A week ago Friday I started with 225 units of Follistim. Mondays blood work showed I was already responding well, so they lowered that to 75 units and added 75 units of Menopur (the lowest dose).

By Wednesday, despite a nightmare HOUR it took for them to get maybe 1/8 a vial of blood, my estradiol levels were climbing. This Friday brought an ultrasound which showed 7 follicles on the left ovary and 13 follicles on the right, all at least 13mm! My estradiol level was over 2000. When the nurse called that afternoon she said they wanted me back Saturday morning for another ultrasound and bloodwork. The tech was great and told me immediately Saturday that I had 2 new follicles and all had grown greatly overnight! The nurse called us fairly quickly and said it was trigger time! My estradiol had soared to over 4000 overnight so all those follicles are ready to make eggs.

The trigger shot was fairly anticlimactic although the timing had to be impeccable. Justin injected it Saturday night at 8:30 exactly. It was a shock since it was IM, but not too painful.

So here we are. A mere 10 hours or so away from retrieval. I'm very uncomfortable at this point and my lower stomach is swollen tremendously. I feel like I already look a few weeks pregnant and clothing is very annoying! I've pretty much been wearing my robe in the hotel room unless we go out. We ended up staying in St. Louis since Friday and won't go home until Tuesday morning. It makes the most sense.

I'm also pretty nervous about the anesthesia. It freaks me out a little. But I know I'm in good hands. This whole process has been ordained by God since the very first appointment.... Really, since three years ago or so.

Here's to lots of eggs who fertilize and make stage 1 blastocysts! We are praying for a safe, quick and fruitful procedure that leaves us with some frozen embryos for future use. I don't think my girls or Justin's boys will let us down.

 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Infertility: Level Zero

I wrote this blog post on June 14, 2013 as we were right in the middle of the medication for our first IVF cycle. At the time I was uncomfortable sharing. Now I have reached a point in our journey where I feel others can benefit from our story. You can click on the tab at the top of the page for other posts.

We had our first doctor follow-up this past Wednesday to check my hormone levels after starting the Lupron shots.

But let me back-track a little. The last post I wrote was right when we started the injections. At the time I couldn't feel much of a difference physically or emotionally. What a difference a few days make! Geeze!

The shots themselves are going fine. I even got over my anxiety and we had to do two of the shots "on the road." It is hard to completely stop your life so that at 6:45pm (the time my alarm goes off to start prepping the shot) we can complete the injection. So, needless to say, we packed that baby up in a cooler and Justin injected me while I sat in the back of our SUV. Ha. It wasn't ideal but it worked and we were able to go on with our lives.

Monday of this week I really started feeling the side effects. I woke up with a monster headache, but I had court that morning. I stuck around home until right before I had to leave, and came straight back. By the time I got home form court I had a full-fledged migraine. Now, I am used to dealing with migraines. However, before I could take my prescription meds, lay down and be good as new within a couple of hours. This time around - not so much. I am on "pregnancy precautions" in regards to medication and the only medicine for pain I can safely take is TYLENOL. Boo hiss. If anyone has migraines out there, you STRAIGHT UP KNOW that Tylenol isn't doing anything. Ain't nobody got time for that mess.

Needless to say, around 1:00am Tuesday morning it finally let up enough that I could sleep. I slept in and came to work after lunch (well, really went to court) but Tuesday afternoon I still felt pretty crappy.

And then. The hot flashes came. Oh the HUMANITY of a freaking hot flash. I thought I was going to melt from the inside out. I was SO hot and flustered that I could not even remember how to PUMP GAS. Ya'll, I am not even kidding. I had a major malfunction and drove around the gas station approximately 5 times before I could get it together. By that point I was almost in hysterics. By the time I got home, I was in hysterics. And then, OF COURSE, the garage door wouldn't open. Now, that is not a big deal. For goodness sake, Justin was home. But it put me straight over the edge. I was in a full fledged ugly, hysterical, can't breathe, gasping for air cry by the time I called Justin and told him to open the garage. He thought I ran over Oreo. It was not pretty.

I ended up going in and Justin started a shower for me. By the time I got out of the shower I was back to myself, and I laid on the couch the rest of the night.

Since that point, the hot flashes keep on coming and I feel like I have been run over by a dump truck. My head still hurts and I am exhausted.

But hey, things could always be worse! Because the outcome of this will be a beautiful, healthy baby (or two!).

Anywho, back to the doctor appointment. They waste no time. Which is nice. But seriously, I walked in, they sent me around the corner, and the lab tech said "take off your clothes and get in the stirrups." No hey, how are ya, have a nice drive? Ha. Wham, bam, thank you ma'am. The ultrasound looked perfect and my ovaries are resting just like they should. Blood work was also great, and my estridol level is basically non-existent. Which explains the whole acting like a maniac thing...

Stay tuned for more tales from the crib. Cript? What was that show? Whatever. I will be back with the rest of our story soon!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Infertility: Here Goes Nothin'

I wrote this blog post on June 5, 2013. At the time, we had just began the injectable medications for IVF. I didn't feel comfortable at the time sharing our journey. You can click on the tab above labeled infertility to see previous posts.

Well. We started the first of the injectable medications two nights ago.

Lupron is first. From what I understand, it will basically throw me into menopause.

Let me start at the beginning though. I was pretty anxious about the shot itself. First, because I have a huge phobia of needles. I panic at the thought of a shot or blood work. Doesn't work so well with the whole infertility thing, does it? Second, I was just unsure of how it would feel, especially being in the belly. I think the whole "unknown" was a large part of the anxiety.

The first night I had everything laid out and ready. Disinfected the counter. Put down paper towels. Got out the medication and syringe and alcohol wipes. We weren't really sure what would work best, so I decided to sit on one of our bar stools and kind of lean back while I held my belly "fat" pinched between my fingers. I numbed the area first with an ice cube. Honestly, not sure it was actually effective. But psychologically it made a difference :) Justin counted down and I closed my eyes and held my breath. He did great! I barely felt the needle at all. The medicine, however, burned going in. For about 30 minutes afterwards I could feel the area around the injection sight burning slightly and it was tender, but that was about it.

Last night's was even easier, I would say. Since I knew what to expect I wasn't nearly as apprehensive or anxious, and by proxy my body was more relaxed. Again, barely felt the needle - just the medication.

I can tell somewhat, even just after two shots, that something is happening with my body. I am having a difficult time sleeping and feel flushed at night. However, with it being this early in the game I am hesitant to say if it is actually the medication or just some nerves. I also am having some serious allergy issues which have me coughing and hacking every breath. So that may contribute!

I will continue to update on this journey. I know someday I will be grateful to be on the "other side" of infertility and need the reminders of how precious this journey was.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Christmas in July?

Today's topic for Jenna's commenting challenge is Christmas. I have not really even began to think about Christmas, except for the fact that since January I have been putting $30/week into a Christmas Club savings account!


Today's post is about sharing some of your Christmas gifts you already have in mind OR about your favorite Christmas gift.

I guess my FAVORITE Christmas was the Christmas of 2008. I was taken by total surprise with Justin proposed to me! Christmas is my favorite holiday ever. We had a tradition (even back then) which we still carry on to give each other an ornament every year. Sometimes it is something to do with the past year, or a favorite sport or hobby, or maybe just something that reminded us of the other person.

Anyway, that Christmas morning Justin came over to my parents house as usual to open gifts. He told me he had something I may want to open a little early because I might need it. {Sidenote - at this point I was convinced it was something electronic that HE really wanted}. However, when I opened the bag I saw this:




I was in such shock I didn't even get what he was doing! I finally realized he was down on one knee and I couldn't get any words out, until I finally started crying.

PS - Look how YOUNG we are!
Definitely my best Christmas ever :)

While we were engaged, my sister threw us a Christmas engagement party as well. Following our ornament theme, each person brought us a special ornament to hang on our tree. I love going through the ornaments each year and reminiscing about who gave us each one.



Definitely two of our most memorable Christmas experiences!

Like I said, I love love love Christmas. I love decorating, cooking, baking, watching Christmas movies, praying for snow, drinking hot chocolate. Everything about it. No doubt whatsoever - Christmas is one of my absolute favorite times of the year. Even when it isn't something crazy special going on!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Infertility: Stuck in the Middle With You

I wrote this blog entry in April. We had been trying naturally to conceive for about 15 months, to no avail and had met with the reproductive endocrinologist  creating a "plan." At the time I wasn't ready to share my story. By sharing, we hope our story inspires other couples to keep their faith and glorifies the work of our Lord and Savior.

So... We are basically stuck in the middle of this infertility journey. You see, we have "plans" and tests and schedules - tentatively. But right now, it's back to waiting.

I have started the hormones in pill form that I have to be on for at least 6 weeks. So far it's not too bad. I have noticed a few little side affects here and there, but I am sure that if I were on the hormone regularly for a longer period of time those would disappear.

It's kind of a weird sense of limbo we are in. For instance, when people are talking about summer plans - I know what ours are. They are shots and hormones and doctor visits and labs and ultrasounds. But I don't want to say that. I have been itching to do some summer shopping. But I know there's a good chance we will be pregnant!!!!! mid-summer. So it doesn't make sense to buy clothes that won't fit or be comfortable.

I can't really put it into words. Because we have this "date" I think there is a definite sense of excitement that we may be pregnant in June. But how weird is that? When you try naturally, there is always a sense of "oh, this could be the month!" that other people understand and relate to. However, in this case - it is odd to say "oh we're probably going to be pregnant in June." But not any other month. Haha.

I don't really know. I am so anxious to get things moving. I am so nervous about all of the medications and tests. We refuse to believe anything other than this will be successful. But there are so few people who know, and even fewer who actually express any true empathy (besides some really smarty pants comments that I won't discuss), that we are just living in our own little fertility induced bubble.

Pinterest

Once again linking up with Jenna at Jenna's Journey.  Today's commenting challenge is focused on Pinterest!


I love Pinterest. Who doesn't? But, I am probably close to the world's worst about actually TRYING anything I pin. It's more of a pinning hobby I have than anything else.

However, I thought I would share a handful of pins I have actually completed and loved.


First up: washing pillows. We tried this and it worked SO well. The pillows came out clean, white, and dried really nice and fluffy! 


  Discovering these next two pins made my life great. I LOVE making my own laundry detergent and fabric softener now. It works so well and smells amazing! I can get about 4-6 months (depending on how much laundry I am doing) out of one batch, which costs about $40 total for the detergent and softener. 


  So there you have it. 

Three things I have pinned and actually completed! See you tomorrow for the 4th day of the challenge.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Favorite TV Series

I'm linking up again over with Jenna at Jenna's Journey. Today's topic is favorite TV shows and series.

I'm slightly embarrassed to tell you what is on my DVR. I have an addiction to reality TV shows that are probably considered ridiculous! In the name of the game, I'll fess up to what I'm watching now.

I always DVR Keeping Up With the Kardashians. It's so crazy and drama filled I can't stop watching!


I also love Tia and Tamera! I remember watching Sister Sister. They are funny and down-to-earth and its a pretty clean show.


My very, very favorite is Giuliana and Bill. Their story hits so close to home. I was so excited when this season came back on!


I also watch Sister Wives and of course, Duck Dynasty. As far as series go, during the prime time season we always watch How I Met Your Mother. I'm simultaneously excited and sad for this final season. I also watch Grey's Anatomy, although the last few seasons have been sub-par. We started watching Parenthood and Scandal  on Netflix, but I need to finish and catch up before starting the new season.

It sounds like I watch a lot of TV. Honestly most gets DVRed and I will watch on my lunch hour or on a weekend morning. I don't watch a lot of television during the evenings.

What ate your can't miss shows?

Monday, July 22, 2013

About Me

Today I'm linking up with Jenna over at Jenna's Journey for a blog comment challenge. Every day this week there will be a new prompt and I'm going to try and keep up!


Today's topic is "about me." I'm Claire, and I've been married to my jr. high sweetheart for almost two years now. I started blogging right around our wedding, and you can see all the details of that magical day on the "Our Wedding" tab at the top. Justin is the love of my life and we have been through so much in the thirteen years we've been together. 



Most recently, we faced the battle of infertility after trying over a year and a half to have children naturally. I just felt ready to start sharing this journey, and I am slowly posting about it. I blogged during the process, but didn't feel comfortable sharing until now. You can share in that journey by clicking the tab at the top.

I'm an attorney and my husband teaches 7th grace science and coaches. We live in our tiny hometown in Southeast Missouri and recently bought our dream country home. We have a precious puppy Oreo who is and always will be our first child. He is hilarious and I'm positive he's certain he is human.

My husband and my relationship with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ are the two most important relationships in my life. Closely following is both of our families and friends. We are so blessed. You will find me writing mostly about our every day life, and I share my heart for Jesus often.


You can follow me on Twitter and Pinterest. I love both! My Twitter is protected because of my job, but I will gladly add new followers.

I hope to meet some new friends and find some new blogs to follow! Please stay awhile and look around.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Infertility: Jumping In

I wrote this blog entry on March 20, 2013. We had been trying naturally to conceive for about 15 months, to no avail. At the time I wasn't ready to share my story. By sharing, we hope our story inspires other couples to keep their faith and glorifies the work of our Lord and Savior.

Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.” 1 Samuel 1:17


A week ago today, we had our first appointment with the infertility clinic. We are seeing a specialist in St. Louis, which is about a three hour drive from home. Justin was able to go into work for a couple of hours, which meant he only had to have a sub for half the day (his planning period and lunch fell during the time he was gone). That was great, because he is trying to save as many days as possible to carry over until next school year, in hopes that we have a BABY he would need to miss for :)

We arrived a little late and lost, but made it. I was so anxious. We walked into the office, paid (they don't mess around with the money, honey) and were immediately taken to a consult room. We did not wait long at all before a resident came in to speak with us. She was very nice and explained a lot of what the process would be. However, she burst our proverbial baby bubble when she very gently told us we weren't candidates for IUI - but IVF.

I knew deep down in my heart this was probably the case. But there was a large part of BOTH of us that had hoped and wished we could "get by" with IUI. Much less cost, much less invasive, much less hormone treatment. My heart sunk when I heard those words, and I felt sick when she explained the costs....

We had a lull in-between the resident leaving and the doctor coming in. I stared out the window aimlessly while Justin jotted down a list of questions. I was so thankful in that moment to have him there. For whatever reason I could NOT focus or think. I was in a state of shock I believe. Until that moment in time, I hadn't let myself really believe that we would have to undergo an invasive, expensive, timely procedure to get pregnant. I literally sat in that small room and pleaded with God to fill me with a sense of peace. To wrap us both in His presence, and to let us know this was what we were supposed to do.

Well, Dr. Kellar came in and I immediately like her. She went over some of the same things as the resident - then stopped herself and said "Honey, you have a look on your face that tells me you are upset. What can I do?" I just could NOT process what was happening. However, once again - Justin started asking some questions and I finally opened up and took in the process. We went through a timeline of what would have to be done, including some initial bloodwork and a couple of procedures to make sure there are no issues with my uterus. We talked about the medications and the costs and the actual procedures of harvesting the eggs and transplanting the embryos. And I felt it. A sense of calmness and peace. My anxiety settled to a normal level. I knew that He was in control.

Because I was in the perfect day of my cycle, they were able to test all of my hormone levels while I was in the office, along with running a few more blood tests that needed to be done. Yes, that meant bloodwork. I am NOT A FAN of needles (ha! guess I should get over that, huh?). I went with the nurse and immediately warned her - I am a hard stick and don't do well with the blood. Low and behold - my predictions were true. She and another nurse worked for a few minutes and could not get any of my veins to pop up. They decided I was dehydrated. What I LOVED is that they were so nice and patient - and said they would NOT start poking me if they did not know they would hit a vein and be successful. So, I drank about four cups of water and my veins popped a little. They finally had me to lay down and were able to slowly get all the vials of blood. So while it was a process - it was not painful, I did not pass out, and I made it out alive. Point to Claire.

Today the nurse called to let me know all of my bloodwork came back "perfectly normal." PTL. God answered a prayer! I know that we have a much better chance of success if my levels are where they should be. Thank you Jesus for hearing my cry.

So... We are scheduled for the "orientation" which is basically a four hour class on how to do all the injections/hormones/shots and a crash course in the process, along with a couple of other procedures to check on my uterus, in May. If all goes well, we could be pregnant THIS SUMMER.

I know God is in control. He will make everything fall into place. He will align what needs to be aligned. He reigns.


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Thoughtful Tuesday: Prayer Changes Everything


Prayer.  It does change everything.

Forgiveness is difficult. And I am not even talking huge, can't even fathom, life altering instances where forgiveness may be darn near impossible.

I am talking every day. I am talking being ignored or pushed aside when you need a boost. I am talking those times when someone makes you feel so tiny and insignificant. Or when your feelings are hurt. Maybe the times when a person makes a snide comment or remark that just toasts your grits. Maybe it is the times that a person says nothing at all when you really just want them to acknowledge your existence.

Our preacher spoke about this on Sunday. Forgiving. Jesus died on the cross to forgive our ULTIMATE sins. Yet, it is our human nature to hold onto every little time a person has wronged us. Like I said, I am not even talking those huge, life altering instances. You know, those instances like being NAILED to a cross? Jesus still forgave us. He forgives us every. single. day.

Each time we don't give Him the time we should, He forgives us. Each time we push Him aside instead of reaching up when we need a boost, He forgives us.  Each time we feel tiny and insignificant, and are wrapped up in our own humanly tribulations instead of laying our worries at His feet... We are forgiven.

All we have to do is pray. Ask. Simply toss it up and say, "Hey God, I am human down here and I am sorry.  I know I should give you more time/glory/honor/praise and I really screwed up today. Please help me to carry out your message and be a steward of your kindness." And guess what? HE FORGIVES US.

Why is it so hard to extend that grace to others in our lives? I will be the first to admit that I struggle with that. I laid in the bedroom floor just last night and thought about this person who I often struggle with forgiving all the little things. How she sometimes makes me feel so small and insignificant, discarded while something (anything) better comes along until she needs me once again.

Why not just pray? Pray for our relationship. Pray that God help me to do whatever it is I need to do to strengthen this relationship? Pray He changes ME, not her?

I don't know... Like most other matters out there, this is easier said than done. But it can't hurt, right?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Lately

We have definitely not been on our normal schedule these last few days, spending a significant amount of time in St. Louis for some personal things.

The little free time we had was spent focused on one thing: Krispy Kreme. I became addicted all over again. Boy, did I make good use of the fact that we were literally 5 minutes from one, too!

Day 1:

Night 2:


I am so so glad to be home. I love our new home. It seriously makes me so relaxed and happy to walk in the door. It's extremely peaceful and I feel so much closer to God living here (in the country). Despite  being 3 hours away from Krispy Kreme. Although we brought plenty home to keep us satisfied a few more days!

I'm hoping that we are finally going to be home this weekend to work on this house. At the top of my list are painting/decorating the master bedroom and painting the kitchen. I am so excited to do our master bedroom. We are going with a coral & grey theme. A light grey wall color and a silvery-grey comforter set, with coral sheets and accents. I have an awesome DIY project that I will have to share as well. Going to paint an old dresser bright coral for an accent piece!

I know slowly but surely the house will come along :) Maybe by the time Kelly over at Kelly's Korner does another Show Us Your Life on homes, I can link up! I think I will post some of our bedroom inspiration in a separate post. I always like seeing how other people pull rooms together.

Anyway, I'm piled up on my couch, belly full from a yummy meal my Momma made and delivered to us, wrapped in my favorite robe after a nice, warm shower. This is the LIFE!

God is SO good.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11


For reasons I have yet to share on the blog, this verse is speaking so loudly to me tonight. The Lord has planned our future since we were a mere glimmer of life. I have seen His work in my own life so clearly as of late. I know that He holds me, and Justin, our marriage and our future in His hands right now.

I know that within a few weeks, we will have great news to share. No matter what, I know that we have done everything in our hands. It's now up to The Lord, who promises plans of HOPE and prosperity!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Big Updates!

Wow! Sorry it has been SO long since I last blogged. I am sure my tens of followers are so worried that I have been quiet.

Well - it has been for a good reason. After almost a year of trying..... we FINALLY sold our house!

We moved into our DREAM home over Memorial Day weekend. I have to say - I was pretty anxious and nervous about moving. However, it turned out to be a fairly "easy" adventure.

If it hadn't been for our wonderful family and friends, I don't know what we would have done. Justin's parents helped us load a full trailer load on Thursday evening, and showed back up Friday morning to load another. So - when we got the go-ahead so start moving, we already had THREE large trailers loaded and ready to go (Justin and I had loaded another a few nights before and stored it in my parents garage). It was a hilarious little caravan making the trek out to our new little piece of heaven.

Needless to say, within a few hours Friday we had almost everything moved from the old house to the new. Saturday a whole new crew of help arrived and we got most all of the major items arranged and put where they needed to go!

Now - I will be honest. We are still living out of boxes and the basement is a wreck. But, I couldn't be happier.

I will be back soon with some pictures. Let me just say - its a beautiful little "farmhouse" style home on a great piece of land with COWS in the backyard. Woo!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Random Monday Thoughts

Not much substantive here. Just some thoughts.

This next month is going to be absolutely insane. INSANE I tell you. We've got so much going on at home. And work is redonk. I literally have 5 hearings on ONE morning coming up. Three of which will require some serious lawyering. Not that the others won't.... But they aren't contested.

I booked the very first family vacation for my side of the family today. First as in ever. The whole fam damily (um, that auto corrected to farm family first. Which may be closer. We are a freaking funny farm most of the time.) is headed to Destin, FL in August. So excited for my Mom and Dad! This was my baby bro's idea - I just executed the details.

We packed about 15 boxes thus far. What I have learned from this experience is the following:
1. I love dishes. Dishes of all kinds. But particularly anything Fiesta Ware.
2. I could throw some absolute baller parties with the amount of serving dishes we own.
3. When we registered for our wedding, I obviously thought we had a much larger ghost family living in our home, because I sure as hell wasn't registering for a normal sized one.
4. Bubble wrap does not go very far.
5. Packing is boring.

My hubs is addicted to the show Fringe. It scared me. I have a hard and fast rule - I only watch romances, comedies, or romantic comedies. Maybe a little drama thrown in. But nothing scary, freaky, sci-fi, spooky, creepy or stupid. I think Fringe is borderline freaky/creepy. It sure isn't romantic comedy.

I worked until 7:30 tonight. Came home and packed some dishes up (imagine that). If you looked in the cabinet you couldn't even really tell. But I packed 4 boxes.

I am obsessed with toast with cinnamon sugar butter, eggs in a forms, and oatmeal. For any meal. Not necessarily all together. Can be separate or two of the three. Although all three sounds pretty yummy.

Some times I wish I were a teacher if for nothing else, to have summers off.

It really infuriates me when people make snide comments and like to pretend they were joking or being sarcastic. Um, no. That's called being a witch. Guess what? It's rude. Go figure.

The allergies are making my eyes itch so bad. Hopefully the new glasses are in soon so I will be able to wear glasses instead of contacts and also be able to see.

The end. Happy Monday peeps!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Rainy Days

It has been raining for two days straight. Literally. It's affecting my mood y'all.

We have some pretty big changes on the horizon. It's exciting and scary all at the same time. Things we've been praying frequently and whole-heartedly for are all starting to come to fruition. It's amazing to see God's hands at work.

In the midst of all of this, I'm a little sad by the behaviors of some of those closest to us. What should be such a joyful time for us gets dampened by the negative Nancy attitudes of others. It's so silly to let that affect my happiness, but I wear my heart on my sleeve and always have.

I will never understand choosing to miss out, purposefully ignoring, consciously being hateful to your loved ones. Especially in a time of joy. But I know that bitterness and jealousy are pushing the behaviors. I also know that one day, those behaviors will be regretted. However, when is enough enough?

I am excited to share the changes as they happen... So much to be thankful for.

Until then, anyone have any boxes? ;-)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Newbies

I'm linking up today with Kelly's Korner or 20-something's with no kids who blog. I love that she did this link-up because I think she made a great point. There are lots of connections for young moms but not many for those of us who aren't quite there yet :)

Anyway, if you are stopping by - heeeeeey! (Imagine that in a slow southern twang) I'm Claire, late twenties, married to my Jr. High sweetie Justin (or Jay) and live in a very tiny town in southeast Missouri.

I'm an attorney by day. I have two degrees in social work as well, and focus a majority of my practice to providing high-quality legal services to women who are victims of domestic violence. It's a pretty stressful job and sometimes takes quite the toll on me.

I'm a follower of God, a striver to become more connected to His word each day. I believe with all my being that Jesus died for my sins so that I can have eternal life. I'm blessed to be married to a Godly man who leads our spiritual life and family.

I love watching Jay coach sports and spend a lot of time at his games. His students all become our "kids" rather quickly and I am their den mother as they like to say. We have a precious pup named Oreo who I know God created just for us - because there is no other way we'd have a dog so perfect for our personalities.

Life is changing for us, and I'm excited and nervous for what lies ahead. Stick around because I'm sure to share more of this journey soon.

Also, you can click the links above to read all about our wedding and also some pretty thoughtful posts on my favorite quotes and scripture.

Please say "hello" if you wish, and I can't wait to meet y'all!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Making Marriage a Priority

I don't often blog about our marriage. At least nothing too serious or in-depth. I feel like it is sacred and something I shouldn't just put out there because it's not just about me. But a group of bloggers have been doing a weekly series on marriage and I felt called today to chime in.


Right now, I'm sure many could argue that it is easy to make our marriage a priority because we have no children. However, that does not mean that LIFE doesn't get in they way.

I work 40+ hours a week, full-time at my job plus I am now taking private practice clients as well. I also volunteer weekly with a Teen Outreach Program group. Justin is a teacher and coaches three sports. Right now he's thick into baseball season. That means this week alone he has four games, three of which are away. Plus practice. Plus trying to take care of a home, cook, clean and have a social life. So it would be very easy to push our "us time" to the side and not make it a priority.

But peeps, my marriage is my TOP priority behind my relationship and faith in my Lord and Savior. And let me say that when we are blessed with children, we have both already made the conscious decision that we will FIGHT with the devil to keep our marriage a top priority.


How do we do this? I make his likes and passions mine and vice versa - to an extent. Justin loves coaching. I enjoy watching him live out this passion. I try to make as many as his games as possible to show my support. I do anything I can for his team because they are MY team, too. I like to talk. Justin knows this (as does anyone else who is around me). We've recently started going for drives some evenings just enjoying nothing but the sound of our voices.

My husband comes first. Period. It is healthy and needed to have outside relationships and I have a wonderful collection of friends and family that I love hanging out with. But I make the choice that my husband (and our children one day soon) will always trump my to-do list. If we have had a crazy week and no time together, that means I try not to schedule anything but "us" time on the weekend. Does this always work? Heck no! But the point is - we both know that the other tries. It's obvious through our words and actions each day that we are working on making the other a priority.


We may have random date nights or date days. Sometimes we just run to the neighboring town for a quick dinner out. About once a month we will spend the day out shopping around and maybe hitting a movie. But what I make sure of is that my husband knows, without a doubt, that there is no one more important to me than him.

I'm sure some may say this is old fashioned. Some may say its unhealthy or ridiculous. Some may disagree. But I lay my head down each night and wake up each morning knowing that I have a partner in life who always tries to put our relationship at the top. Sure, we may fail some days. It's not always pretty and easy. I know that as we enter different seasons of life, we will have to adapt and change. But that's okay. We've got this.




Friday, April 5, 2013

Random Brain Dump

I think I may be in a little bit of a blogging funk. A lot is going on, but it is not all "stuff" I feel like blogging about yet.

We had a very nice Easter. We went to Church and then went over to Justin's Grandma Jo's. Our church had an Easter breakfast and Easter Egg hunt for all the children, but we chose to skip that part this year. I don't necessarily think it was purposeful, but I don't know if my heart would have  really been up to it. The service was very nice, however, and it was good to be there.  Justin's Grandma Jo always cooks up a plentiful meal, and it was soooo good! I ate so much! After eating, the "kids" had an egg hunt, and then the adults had one. I put kids in quotations because Justin hunted with them. Ha!


I feel like we have so many balls in the air that I may drop them all at any time. But such is life. There is so much going on. I am hoping for a low-key weekend of nice weather and some yard work.

I am also hoping, on a completely unrelated topic, that people realize how their attitude and sometimes selfishness can effect other people. It is like so many just live in their own little world, never thinking about how their actions and comments (or lack of) can really touch someone other than themselves. It's a little disturbing. I think that some people just lack an awareness. For example - saying about 500 times in ONE short amount of time "OH that's because I am a MOTHER" can really grate on my nerves. I get it. You are. I am not. Whatevs. Or how's about the experiment I am undertaking called "let's see how many times you make an attempt to talk to me without me making contact FIRST OR you needing something?" Yeah, that's going splendid. My hypothesis is correct. Rarely.

On a brighter note, every morning this week I have woken up early and done a devotional and read some scripture and prayed. This morning I also watched an episode of Joel Osteen that I had DVR'd. It makes such a difference. I just feel better and definitely more grounded in the Lord when I start my day off right. I promise. Despite the entire paragraph above of complaining. Have to get it out though :)

Here's to some sunshine and warmer weather!

Monday, March 25, 2013

BlogLovin'

I'm devastated that Google Reader will be no more. But - I guess since it won't, I will make the switch now to bloglovin'. Follow me now!

A Chord of Three

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Family Weekend

This was a weekend full of family. Saturday Justin, my mom and I drove to Cape to meet with my sister Miste and niece Ella. Ella's 10th birthday was Friday and she wanted to go shopping in St. Louis for her present. A little diva! She in particular wanted to go to the American Girl store because she had convinced my Mom, "Coy," to buy her bitty baby twins.

Ella managed to convince her Justin to go with her. To the American Girl store. Justin, who at this point says his beard is 1 1/2 reed lengths. She has how wrapped around that finger for sure. I had to giggle at the slight of a very manly man following her (and me) around the store pretending to be interested.

Having lunch with Abby Marie.

I can't even lie. I was so excited! I want to have a little girl just so I can relive American Girls. I had Molly when I was younger. She is a historical doll. And, from what I could remembered, the only one  who hasn't been retired that were original to my time. Haha. It was such an awesome store and no doubt a little girls dream.

Needless to say, Ella walked out with two bitty baby Asian girl twins, SIX bitty baby outfits, training pants for the babies, and hair accessories. She is one smart cookie bringing Baba, Justin AND Coy along.

Ella says this will be Baba and Jay's future.

Today, we went to Cape to church with Miste and Clay to see our sweet Sam as today was his Confirmation. I was so very proud of him. To see my baby boy openly profess his faith and publicly accept Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior was overwhelming. We just love him so much and he is turning into such a sweet spirited young man. Though according to his parents he is a typical teenager :) However, he knows that Baba and Justin will be there always and no matter what.



We are just so blessed to have these two wonderful children in our life and a great family to boot. This weekend was busy but full of love!

Friday, March 22, 2013

SUYL: Pinterest!

Today I am linking up with Kelly's Korner Show Us Your Life! It is all about the best website ever - Pinterest! Who doesn't love Pinterest?

I thought today I would share some of my latest pins. They are pretty random!





I love these colors! I think grey and yellow with pops of bright colors are super sophisticated but still cute for a baby's nursery.




All dog-lovers unite!




Let's be honest. Who doesn't have these days?! Ha!




I have been looking for ideas for my niece Sophie's 3rd (!!!) birthday. She is all about the Princesses right now. I think this shabby-chic, vintage inspired princess theme is ADORABLE without being over-the-top or cheesy.


Source: rstyle.me via Claire on Pinterest


I think my southern sweet tea would taste SOOOO much sweeter in these! Anyone? Bueller?




I did this and it worked. Fantastically! I need to do it for the other pillows on the guest beds.

Follow me on Pinterest by clicking on the link below or by clicking here!

Friday, March 15, 2013

SUYL: Vacation

Once again, I am linking up with Kelly's Korner Show Us You Life. Today is all about favorite vacation spots!

Last year was what we dubbed "the year of fun" and believe me - it was! We rang in the New Year in the Carribbean, went to Disney World in April, and went back to the beach to Destin, Florida in May. What can I say? We took advantage of every vacation possible!

Instead of writing a blog post trying to condense all that travel down into one - I will include the links from each!

**And as I went back, I realized I never recapped our Honeymoon! What was I thinking?**

Here are a few pictures. We went on a 6-day cruise to Ochios Rios, Jamaica  the Grand Cayman Islands, and Cozumel, Mexico. Despite all the problems cruise ships seem to be having now - we loved it.













Moving on to Disney World. Let me just say - NOTHING tops the magic. Nothing. Nada. I can't wait to go back. Again and again and again!!!!!! Everyone should go to Disney World once in their lifetime - and I am a big BIG advocate that everyone should go once as an adult without children!

Magic Kingdom
Hollywood Studios & Animal Kingdom
Epcot

If we could go back right now, I would drop everything and RUN LIKE THE WIND people. I don't run - so you've got to understand how much I love me some Disney!

We have also visited Destin, Florida twice now with Justin's family. We stayed both times at the Emerald Grande which is right on the boardwalk. You take a little boat to a private beach. I really love the area and would go back in a heartbeat! There are lots of great restaurants and shops right there - so really, you would never have to get in your car (if you drove) and if you flew it would be no big deal!


We just really enjoy vacationing. We feel that we work very hard for our money - and this is how we like to spend what little extra we have! 

I am feeling a little sad that, with what it looks like our future holds in regards to becoming pregnant, I don't think we will manage a vacation this year. At least not this summer. I am sure, however, it will all be worth it. Justin promises me a "babymoon" when we finally ARE expecting - so I can wait!

Oh - we have also traveled to Gatlinburg, Tennessee for vacation. We had a blast! Definitely more of an outdoorsy type summer vacation - we white water rafted and also ziplined. WAY out of my comfort zone!