April 22, 2014

Easter Recap

This Easter was extra special for a couple reasons.  First of all, because this year we had Silas with us.  For the last four Easters, I have been telling myself, "For sure, next Easter you will have a baby." Well my Easter with a baby finally came, and it was so nice to experience the joy of Easter holding him in my arms, without the heaviness of infertility weighing down my soul.  But, ALSO, it was special because it was my birthday. Nick and I exchanged Easter "baskets" early in the morning before he had to head out to help put together the grand event at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. Nick knows my love language...Reese's Peanut Butter eggs. Silas and I, along with 2 of my sisters, my future brother-in-law, and my nephew all met Nick at church for the 9:00 service.  He even got to sit with us until he had to head down to start baptizing people.

We had fun in the photo booth after the service....

We spent a little bit of time at my grandma's house after church, but all of our phones were dead, so we didn't get pictures there (sad face). We came home and gave Silas an Easter basket filled with beach toys. The Easter Bunny kind of sucked this year and scrounged up some presents that Silas has already played with to put something together for him (sounds a lot like Santa). Next year he will do better, I am sure.

                                                            And then, I got to open my birthday present....
I am so excited for this! Now I just have to learn how to use it.
But, more than anything, I am thankful for a savior who lives.
Happy Easter to all!

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April 18, 2014

Good Friday

"Teach me, O Lord, to glory in my cross. Teach me the value of my thorns. Show me how I have climbed to You through the path of pain. Show me it is through my tears I have seen rainbows."
-George Matheson

A woman stopped me at the beach last week.  I was cleaning the sand off of Silas, getting ready to leave. She tentatively approached me, afraid of offending me, and asked if she could talk to me about adoption. (I guess it's pretty obvious that Silas is adopted.) She told me that she and her husband have been dealing with infertility and are thinking of switching gears to adoption. She shared her heartache and the physical and emotional pain she has experienced in her infertility journey. I told her we also walked that road and how I know those feelings well. She expressed genuine surprise and relief at hearing that someone actually understood what she's going through. Infertility is such an isolating experience, and I could sense how alone she feels. But I also saw hope and excitement in her eyes, as she heard our story and saw for herself how beautiful adoption is and that she is not alone in her struggle.  I gave her my information and I haven't stopped praying for her since. 

And there it was....glory in my cross and value in my thorns.

My worst days as a parent are a thousand times better than my best days dealing with infertility.  The sleepless nights are far more bearable than the many nights I cried myself to sleep, only to have to wake up to the same reality again. There are definitely hard days with parenting, but our infertility journey puts those days into perspective.  Just like every other parent, we have to deal with the sleep training and the crying and the baby who won't nap, or who wakes up every hour of the night or who just needs to be held all day. And I'm sure that the list will get longer and harder as he gets older.  And this all could seem so terribly mundane and tiring and HARD, if I had not been given the time to realize just how badly I wanted it. The days of struggle have made me grateful...more grateful than I would have been without them.

Through my tears, I have seen rainbows.

"May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world."
Galations 6:14

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April 9, 2014

Coffee/Wine Bar

We have this little patch of wall, right between the pantry where our kitchen ends and the doorway that opens up into our living room.  It's kind of an awkward size space, so we have played around with different things there since we moved in.  A little while ago, I discovered that our wine rack fits perfectly in the space, so we have had that sitting there since.  But, the wall above the rack was pretty blah, and needed some sprucing up.  Nick found a bunch of reclaimed wood on craigslist, and it sits in our garage waiting for inspiration to strike.  Well, inspiration struck recently, and Nick decided to piece together some of the wood to create the perfect shelves.  We made a little coffee bar on top of the wine rack and put coffee/tea related items on the shelves.  Nick also drilled some hooks into the lower shelf so that we could hang mugs from it.  And voila, we've got ourselves a wine/coffee bar.  Come pick your poison.
I am also happy to report that our backyard is blooming, which means I get to have fresh flowers all around our house!

This is the espresso maker that we have.  I've never had a cup of espresso from it, but I have steamed many cups of milk with it, and it's never done me wrong.  And, Nick says the espresso is excellent.  So, I highly recommend it if you are looking for a nice, but more affordable option.  And it is now $60 cheaper than it was when I bought it!

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April 7, 2014

Some Baby Favorites

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9

I thought I would do a post about some of our favorite baby items so far in Silas's first 7 months.  I'm not including any of the essentials, like a stroller and a car seat. (But, if you are looking for a recommendation, I love mine!) These are just some items that we have found very useful.

1) Evenflo Johnny Jump Up Doorway Jumper--This is probably the favorite for all of us.  Silas loves his jumper.  And, when I am rushing around in the morning trying to get ready, I love it too.  Nothing can keep him occupied longer than jumping around in this thing.

2) VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker--This one goes right along with #1 for Silas.  He is not walking yet, so he doesn't use this as a walker, but he LOVES playing with this while he is in his jumper.  He can reach everything easily that way. There are a lot of fun features on it, and it teaches colors, shapes and numbers. We set it in front of him, and he plays to his hearts content.

3) myBaby Soundspa Lullaby Sound Machine and Projector--This is great for nap time and nighttime.  There are 3 different lullabies and 3 different sounds (ocean, rain and heartbeat) plus 3 different projections.  Silas loves to watch the different projections on the ceiling, and the music and sounds are soothing for him and for us. (We have this travel one too, so at night, we usually have one in the nursery with Silas and one on in our room too.)

4) Cuisinart Baby Food Maker and Bottle Warmer--This thing has come in handy from day one. We used it as a bottle warmer for a while, until we realized that Silas doesn't really care what temperature his bottle is, he just wants it NOW! But, now we are using it as a baby food maker, and it is so great!  It steams and purees all in the same bowl, making the whole process fast and the clean up super easy. I am loving making baby food thanks to this handy appliance.

5) WubbaNub--You can get this cute little pacifier with just about any animal you want.  We got this particular one because it looks like our Belle, and I am always on the lookout for things that remind us of her.  (Silas also has the giraffe.)  Aside from the cute factor, these pacifiers are very functional.  Silas has been able to grab ahold of the stuffed animal since birth, so it helped him get the pacifier back in his mouth if he lost it.  They are also great in the car, because if you have to reach back to put the pacifier back in baby's mouth, it's easy to find.  

6) Infantino Squeeze Station--We just started using this, and I am having so much fun with it.  After we've made the baby food in our food maker (see #4), I use this little mechanism to get the baby food into pouches.  This is so much cheaper than buying the already made pouches in the store, and Silas prefers these pouches over eating from a spoon.  To go along with it, I also have this and this.

7) Sakura Bloom Pure Baby Sling--I love this and am so sad that it is getting very little use these days.  I used it almost daily when Silas was still small enough to not kill my back.  He got way too heavy way too fast. (Why do they have to grow up?)  There are some alternative ways to wear this for older children though that I want to try, because it is so cute, and I am just not ready to put it away yet.

8) Mixie Formula-Mixing Baby Bottle--This has been a life saver for us.  For anyone using formula, I cannot recommend this bottle enough!  These are a bit too expensive for us to use for all of our bottles, but we have 2 of these for our nighttime bottles.  At 2 am, it is so much easier to just be able to push the tab on the bottom of the bottle, shake it up and pop it in baby's mouth. No making bottles in the middle of the night….yay!  They are also great for when you are out and about.  

9) Inglesina Fast Table Chair--My aunt just got this for us, and it's been fabulous.  We pop it onto the overhang of our kitchen counter, and Silas will hang out, happily dangling his feet while we work in the kitchen.  It's also great to take with us anytime we are traveling or going to someone else's house.

Just for fun, I thought I would include a few pictures of Silas using some of the items from our favorites.
So there you have it.  Our favorite baby items.  What are some of your favorite items for baby?  I'd love to know!

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April 6, 2014