Monday, January 27, 2014

January Birchbox | 2014

A couple weeks ago, after going on a Daddy-Daughter park date that ended in a "mail walk" as we call it, Ellie came bursting through the doors with a bright pink box outstretched. 

"Mommy, LOOK what I haaaave!!!!" 

She knows how excited I get for my monthly Birchbox--it's kind of become a family affair. :)  She likes the anticipation as we open it up and explore its pretty packaging and colorful products inside.  When she was a baby she liked knowing if something was for eyes or lips, and would walk around holding them there on her face, haha.

This month, aside from my four beauty samples, the "lifestyle extra" I got was tea (I think there were three different blends).  But somehow I lost  them in my mess of a house.  They looked yum though!  Maybe I'll find them the next time I'm looking for the Apple TV remote... 
I really like when Birchbox started including each product's "how" instructions.  I remember one time using a clarifying shampoo as a daily shampoo, not knowing it was more of a once-a-month kind of a thing (thank you Kate, from The Small Things Blogs, for saving my hair on that one!)

Reparative Cream  |  Smoothing Night Cream  |  Eye Cream
I haven't opened these little guys yet, but I love that they're 100% natural and vegan.  My sis just said the other day that we might as well eat what we put on our skin, and that keeps resounding in my head anytime I put a soap or lotion on, haha. 

Fekkai Brilliant Glossing Cream
I am loving this Fekkai Advanced glossing cream.  I have frizzy hair, so this works great for lightly taming that frizz, while not being too heavy or oily.  And I love that it can be applied on wet OR dry hair.  Plus that size??  With only needing a pea-sized amount, this should last me a while. :)  Thanks, Birchbox!! 

Inika Mineral Eyeshadow
This INIKA eyeshadow is definitely a color I'd wear, and I really like what this product line is about.  Plus I've always liked the versatility of loose eyeshadows in general (wet or dry, layerable.)  [Tip: tapping the brush to dust off the extra, then "pressing" the brush into the lid tends to avoid it "spilling" under the eye.]  I'll have to swatch this color for you guys and show it in another post soon.

Nail Rock
This Nail Rock looks fun with all the trending nail styles right now, but the red and the glitter combined definitely seems like a way bolder move than I'd usually try. (Accent nail might be worth a shot... but even still not for an every day look--more for a special occasion.)  Maybe if I'd gotten the pink?  Except with teaching signing, I would imagine this would be SUPER distracting! :)

The background cards you see are perforated little cards that go along with Birchbox's theme for January--"It's Go Time!"  Check out their 20 Things to Try in 2014 "Go List."

What was your favorite thing in your January Birchbox

P.S. Today David and I have been married for 6 1/2 yrs. :)  In other words it's the day he answers the "How long have you been married?" question with "almost 7 years."  To my glass half-full husband, I love you. :)

Friday, January 24, 2014

Until then... {Being Proactive}

(this post is definitely girl talk--consider yourself warned)

In yesterday's post, I shared how gratitude helps me in this waiting phase I've been in.  I can't wait to give Ellie a little brother or sister.  But until then... there are some things that help me feel like I'm at least doing something toward growing our family. 

I have full confidence that God's timing is perfect; I'm completely trusting Him as Creator. 

So I feel like it's important for me to mention that these are totally not attempts to take control.  It's so helpful for me to feel like I'm doing my part, and by doing these things I'm able to have a good understanding of this whole process.  Instead of feeling like I'm doing something wrong, I can feel peace that it just isn't God's timing yet. 

{Being proactive...}
1)  The book What to Expect Before You're Expecting has been super helpful.  (They also have a website that might be worth checking out.)  I've read some articles on Baby Center's site that have been really informative also.

2) I get cheap ovulation kits from Target to test for an LH surge (can also get at the Dollar Tree, but I think this one was a smidge cheaper, and it doesn't take up as much storage space).  These tests let you know when the likely 24-36 hr ovulation window is coming.  (Sometimes this is frustrating because you're suppose to look for a second line that's DARKER than the test line, and it's like, "uhhh, is this one darker??") :)

3) I take my temperature every morning to keep track of my cycles and to look for patterns (what day I typically ovulate, etc.).  This information mainly lets you know you've ALREADY ovulated (your Basal Body Temperature will rise after), but it's still helpful when combined with other info. 

My favorite thing about taking my temperature is I always know if I'm having a longer cycle.  (When trying with Ellie I had one that was like 52 days or something crazy! Fortunately it's been more regular since having her).  Knowing it's a longer cycle helps because otherwise I might wonder if I'm late and get my hopes up, or even take a test preemptively only to be disappointed when it's negative.

I also chart my temperature.  The What to Expect Before You're Expecting book has some blank graphs in the back to chart temperature.  Once I filled those up though (while trying to get pregnant with Ellie), I printed free charts online and charted them there for a bit.  Right now I have a note in my phone that I just titled BBT (Basal Body Temperature), and have been keeping track in there.  Other times I've written temperatures out in my journal or even on our bathroom mirror with a dry-erase marker, haha.

4) I track everything in my phone.  I've been using a calendar app that keeps track of my previous cycles' start dates and lengths, shows the four days that would likely be best to try, and notes when we have tried.  But when I updated my phone's software, the one I was using got deleted, so I haven't been doing this for the past two cycles.  My BFF just recommended this free one though, Kindara, and it looks pretty good.  Might take a little getting used to, but I like that this will keep track of my temperature as well.  I also noticed that What to Expect has a free app for tracking fertility as well.

Well there you have it... Remember this is stuff that keeps me from stressing.  Not recommended if it's too overwhelming! 

Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below or email me at

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Until then... {Gratitude}

My heart has been so filled with the kind responses I received from this post, (where I shared about grieving the loss of our baby and struggling to remain hopeful for another baby).  Thank you from the bottom of my heart...

When I'm trusting God, I have full confidence that He has another baby in store for our family.  And until then...  I'm finding helpful ways to keep myself proactive so I can endure the wait a little easier.   First is with gratitude--and in tomorrow's post I'll share the more practical things I'm doing to at least feel like I'm doing something toward growing our family.

(Keep in mind, the things below aren't helpful to use to try to comfort a friend who has lost a baby--saying things like, "At least ______," can be pretty painful.  Let her journey to find these things on her own...)

-I'm cherishing this one-on-one time with my peanut.  Being able to invest solely in her right now is a gift I can give her each day.  I know I'll miss this time someday, and want to remember how special it is.

-I've just been extra thankful for Ellie's life in general, after losing our little pistachio reminded me how miraculous each and every life is.  Being a mom is something I hope to never take for granted.

-It means a lot to me that my husband and I are in this together.  There was a period where David wasn't ready to try again after the miscarriage (from wanting to pay the bill from the ER and the emergency D&C), and that was especially hard for me.  So now I'm just thankful to actually BE trying.  Knowing that he wants this baby (almost) as much as I do :) means a lot, and even seeing his discouragement each month helps because I feel like he gets it, and it validates the discouragement I feel.  We can also encourage each other, be hopeful together, and talk about the roller coaster we're on with empathy and understanding.

-My baby is with Jesus and his Papa.  I'm so grateful our little babies are embraced into God's arms in heaven.  Being assured that I'll get to see my son or daughter someday (2 Samuel 12:23) gives me so much hope and fills my heart with even more love for that little one.  It's like, "Mama's coming for you little one!" :)  And it also comforts my heart to know that amidst the pain of missing my dad and missing my little baby--they're together.  It aches my heart that my dad didn't meet or get to know my Ellie Joy, so there's almost a sweetness to knowing he does know one of my little children.  (Don't you just wonder how they know they're family?  How I'll know which one is my child when I get there?  Amazing...)

I've definitely experienced first-hand why God talks with us so much in the Bible about being thankful in all things, and coming to Him with thanksgiving, etc.  It really makes such a difference in my heart.

What are ways that you stay positive while waiting for a baby--or waiting for anything you're longing for??

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

When to Start Signing

This is the first video in a new series!  I wanted to share everything a family would want to know before they start signing with their little one. 

Each video will focus on one aspect--from the benefits in signing, when to start, what signs to begin with, and how to teach your little one to sign.

Today's video answers the question, "When should I start signing with my little one?"

I'll give you a hint... The answer is... now! :)  But I share what you can "expect" if you're starting at various ages--whether it's 0-5 mos, 6-10 mos, 1 yr-3 yrs, or 3-5 yrs. 

I mention some benefits in signing with your child at each of those different stages, but my next video will touch on a lot more of the benefits (answering the "Why sign?" question).

Hope this gives you some helpful information, and if you have any questions feel free to comment below!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Why I Love Granola Babies: Part 1

I'm so thankful a friend of mine connected me with Giselle Baturay, the owner of Granola Babies.  Granola Babies is OC's largest natural parenting boutique, and it's where I'm lucky enough to teach my Little Sign of Mine baby sign language classes every Friday. (It's located in Costa Mesa as part of the OC Mix--in the South Coast Collection.  You can check out and like their Facebook page here, and follow Giselle on Instagram under @granolababies.)
I think every time I walk in the store, talk with Giselle, or browse their website, I find another thing I love about Granola Babies.  (Thus, not being able to concisely write about its awesomeness in merely one post.)

Ellie's number one favorite thing about the store is their play area.  This is where you're guaranteed to find us every Friday after class.  Ellie can't WAIT to slip off her shoes and burst through that little gate. :)

And guess what?  Starting this Friday we'll be offering a craft time in here right after our sign language class that will be free for all families in my 4-week sessions. :)  Here is last week's craft:

Okay, so a little about this awesome play area...

Why do I love it so much (other than how much Ellie adores it)??  Each toy or activity is Waldorf-inspired to tap into little one's creative potential.  It's entirely eco-friendly and non-toxic.  It's relaxing (I've always been there during light traffic).  It's cheap (only 5 bucks for 9mos-5 yr olds).  And to top it off--it's adorable. 

So today I thought I'd take you on a photo tour around Granola Babies' wonderful, Waldorf-inspired art-based play area (the first one like it in our county!).

P.S. Ellie is in her jammies in the pics below cause it was our Bedtime-themed class that day! :)

Her first face--so proud! :)
This play area really is just an incredible space for imagination and creativity.  And it's open for drop-in play Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11am-4pm (at just $5 per child!).  For more details, check here on their website.

Ready to imagine, play, and create?? 

Use the hashtag #granolaplaying if you instagram your little one playing there!

Monday, January 20, 2014


I've always wondered when life won't feel so busy.  I think the answer is.. never.

So I've just decided to accept it.

Something I know will forever be a challenge of mine is TIME.  Being productive, not procrastinating, managing time well... all of the above.

With that, I know that the best way to keep myself on track is to have schedules.  I wrote about how David and I look over our weekly calendar on my "Your Life on Your Fridge" post here.  That helps a lot with knowing the MUSTS for the week--like scheduled appointments, dinner plans with friends, birthday parties, etc.

But what about all the other million things I need or want to get done in between those MUSTS?

This week I'm tackling some to do list goals by scheduling them into each day.  Things like washing our pillows.  Cleaning out the car.  Or finishing our Christmas letter (gulp.)

I like to think about goals in terms of "things I can get done in the morning with Ellie," and "things I want to focus on during nap time/at night after E's down."

If I set an actual time for something, that goes even better because I have a way to gauge how I'm doing with my day--just check it against the clock.  When time starts to get away from me, the schedule can pull me back and keep me on track.

Keep in mind, these are things that work with my struggle to stay on task.  This wouldn't be good to do if it leads to feeling pressured or constricted by the time.  I keep it flexible for myself--looking at it like it's approximate--and if I don't get something done one day, no worries--I just look and see where it can fit another day.  The idea is to intentionally take that time to look and plan how or when to get something done.

Quick example--I've noticed how much I struggle with replying to emails.  So that means I need to schedule a time that's uninterrupted to do that each day.  Like the morning before Ellie gets up.

To find time slots where I can fit things into each day, I decided to break down a typical day.  With this "template," I'll be able to find places to put things in, like "buy birthday gift," or "order pictures online," or "plan week's meals."

Here's the break-down of Ellie's and my typical day that helps me stay on track...

Ellies & Mommy's Day
6am - get up before Ellie to have coffee and some time to journal, read God's word, and talk to Jesus :)
6:30am - check emails and reply to two
7am - get dressed, brush teeth, wash face, contacts (while E eats cheerios and a banana on my bed with a show)
7:30am - get E dressed (potty, put pjs away, put laundry I did night before away in her closet)
8am - make breakfast
8:15am - Brekkie (do E's hair while she's still eating)
9am - wash breakfast dishes, empty dishwasher (put on music or a show on laptop to enjoy the time!)
9:30am - start load of laundry, tidy a bit
10am - Snack time for E while I do some sort of exercise (Pilates, cardio, or weights)
10:45am - E's rest time - put on a show (Signing Time) :)
11am - make lunch
11:30am - Lunch
12pm - craft or activity
12:45pm - E clean up toys                                                                                                  
1pm - Nap time (switch over laundry to dryer or hang dry)
1:15pm - my coffee and bagel time; read blogs; watch a show; browse Instagram
2pm - Work/prep for the week's Little Sign of Mine class
3pm - snack and craft or activity once Peanut's awake
4:30pm - put on a show for E so I can cook dinner
5:30 or 6pm - Dinner (take vitamins)  Then clear dishes together, put food away; E plays till bath (needs to put away toys before bath)
6:45pm - bath time
7:15pm - get E ready for bed
8pm - Bedtime for E

So there you have it.  It may not look loose, but it's fairly loose so I can have time for other things, too.  I also like to be ready to scrap things if a friend calls and wants to go to the park. :)

What next?  I have this schedule written down in a notebook on the left--and on the right I'm listing the things I hope to get done this week.  Then I'm going to go to the week's calendar on the fridge and jot down what days (and what time of days) I'd like to do each thing.

Do you have some tricks to helping you get things done?  How do you organize your time?  I'd love to hear!

Here's to a productive week!  Happy Monday. :)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Nude Pumps, Flats, & Wedges

My feet grew a 1/2 inch from my pregnancy with Ellie, so I've been trying to slowly get a couple pairs of shoes back in my wardrobe.  Starting with some nudes.

Nude shoes are the perfect accessory for almost any outfit.  You really can't go wrong with them.  They're a secret weapon in elongating your legs.  The key to finding just the right pair is matching it to your skin tone.

Suede and patent leather options give some diversity in styling your look.  Suede can be more casual (although keep in mind they're tricky to keep clean).  Patent gives a dressier, classic touch.

Below are some recent nudes I came across that I liked (though I haven't tried all of them on, so I can't vouch for comfort).

I purchased the gold-toed flats from LOFT (#6) and absolutely have loved them.  Comfortable with a fun touch makes them my easy go-to flat.

I also snagged the suede Express wedges (#7)--my first heels since having Peanut!--and have loved how they go with everything from a dress to skinny jeans.  (They're no longer available but I found a similar pair at Target.)

The ankle flats from Old Navy (#4), I picked up in blue--but I would've loved to grab them in their Clay Mate and Raspberry Twist as well!  They're on such an amazing sale right now I still might!  I like that the ankle strap can be slipped off or you can keep it on.

1. BCBG $59.95 | 2. Sam & Libby Dominique $39.99 | 3. Merona $29.99 | 4. Old Navy $14.97 ($11.98 with code EXTRA today) | 5. J.Crew Factory $79.50 | 6. LOFT $39.99 | 7. Express (no longer available)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Peanut Butter & Banana Muffins (w/ Cauliflower!)

One of my favorite things to do with Ellie is to bake.  She really makes a good little assistant if I may say so (and looks adorable in her Pottery Barn Kids apron her Auntie Linds got her for her birthday). 

And it's such a fun way for me to give her little responsibilities and teach her things like following directions in a recipe, etc.  She feels quite grown-up doing it. :)

I also love that it involves her in making her food--she tastes things along the way and makes a connection with it ("I made this!"), so there's a much better chance of her trying it and even liking it.

Because veggies have been the hardest thing for me to get her to eat, I have absolutely loved the book, Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld.  This came out in 2007, and since then she's had a couple more cookbooks out.  You can check out her site, Do It Delicious, here--it has plenty of recipes, and some sneak peeks of her cook books, too. 

My first cauliflower puree food I tried was the scrambled eggs (which I loved!), and I think it was then that my sis-in-law, Molly, suggested we try the Peanut Butter and Banana Muffins.  So now I've dubbed these Molly Muffins. :)


Molly Muffins 
{Peanut Butter and Banana Muffins | Jessica Seinfeld | Deceptively Delicious}

Yield: 12 muffins (double recipe to make 2 dozen)

1 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar, divided
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 cup carrot or cauliflower puree
1/2 cup banana puree
1 large egg white
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Muffin tin 
Paper baking cups (or use nonstick cooking spray)
Large mixing bowl
Wooden spoon
Pot and collapsible steamer for steaming (you can also use a rice steamer or one of those pasta pots that has a drainer basket)
Food processor or blender
Measuring cups and spoons
Ziploc bag (we used the quart size)

 For your cauliflower puree, cut the florets off and toss the core.  Steam for 8-10 min.

Then, in a food processor or a blender, puree the florets for a couple minutes with a teaspoon or two of water.  You should have a nice, smooth consistency.  

For your banana puree, smash one large or two small bananas. (We worked on this while the cauliflower was steaming.)

Then just puree till smooth!

You'll be using 1/2 cup of the cauliflower puree and 1/2 cup of banana puree.  (Ellie and I have a system: "Mommy measures, and Ellie pours.") :)

We had a bit extra of the banana puree, so Ellie enjoyed a yummy snack while I cleaned up the food processor and prepped the rest of the ingredients.

Now, in your large mixing bowl, use a wooden spoon to mix together the purees with 1/2 cup of natural peanut butter, one egg white, and 1/2 cup of brown sugar. ( Oops, I only had 1/4 c. of brown sugar in this picture--I added another 1/4 c. right after.)

Now, stir till combined.  It helps to tell my little assistant to keep the spoon touching the bottom of the bowl and to go slowly. 

Now comes a really fun part!  To mix your dry ingredients together, you can put them in a Ziploc bag for your little one to shake up!

You'll need 1 cup of whole wheat flour, 1 teaspoon each of baking powder and baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

 Ellie was pretty mesmerized. :)  After shaking a bit I also showed her how she can turn the bag upside down and continue turning the bag as a way of mixing it up.

Now combine the dry ingredients with your peanut butter mixture and stir just until it's combined (it's okay that it's a bit lumpy--don't overmix).  

(I absolutely love her Pottery Barn Kids apron--it was a gift from her Auntie Linds.) :)

Lastly, add the remaining 1/2 cup of brown sugar and just give it two quick stirs.

 Now it's time to fill the muffin tin!  I have a stash of muffin liners so I let Ellie pick out the colors she wanted to use.  (Great time to practice little one's colors and talk about circles!)  Also--she loves playing with muffin tins and liners and stacking the liners, etc., so this is also a fun activity I'll use whenever I need to keep her occupied in the kitchen.

Bake at 350 for 15 to 20 minutes (toothpick inserted into center should come out clean.)  I think I ended up baking mine a little longer.

Shh, don't tell her there's cauliflower inside!

  Pretty sure she liked it. :)

Side note--for my husband and me we felt like the first bite took a little getting used to, and then we really liked them.  Possibly because of the whole wheat flour?  Not sure... But you definitely don't taste the veggie. :)  And they really are quite addicting!

Have you tried hiding purees in food?  What are your tricks for getting your kiddos to eat healthily?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Sign of the Week: CLOUD

This week's sign from the Signing Time Blog is... CLOUD!
(from Baby Signing Time DVD Vol 3: A New Day)

I also have a bunch of previous Signs of the Week in a photo album (viewable on my Little Sign of Mine Facebook page even if you don't have a Facebook account).

1) How to sign CLOUD:
CLOUD: Make two Cs, and hold them together side-by-side (away from you).  Then trace a puffy cloud as you circle them around and bring them back together (facing you).

2) Watch Rachel sign CLOUD & print the flashcard on the Signing Time Blog here.
And watch Ellie sign it as she sings a classic Winnie the Pooh song here!  (2 yrs)

3) Signing Activities: 

- Point out clouds while on walks outside or when you come across them in board books.

- Sing and sign along to Winnie the Pooh (see Ellie's video above).
- Go outside and talk about types of weather.  "Is today a sunny day?  Or a CLOUDY day?" (Use same sign for the word CLOUDY since Sign Language shows a concept, not a specific variation of a word.)
- Make a cloud craft by drawing cloud outlines on construction paper and letting little one glue cotton balls to it.

- Check out the Rachel and the Treeschoolers website (Episode 1, "A Rainy Day" is all about weather!)
- Download your free weather-related "Rachel and the Treeschoolers Activity Guide" (just need to register for free)
- Enjoy this preview of one of the songs from the Rachel and the Treeschoolers DVD ("A Rainy Day"):

4) Today's Challenge: Go for an intentional signing walk and use as many signs as you know as you and your little one explore together.  Some examples... GRASS, FLOWER, TREE, SKY, SUN, an of course--CLOUD!

Happy signing!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Grieving, Fear, & Hope

I feel like these three things (grieving, fear, and hope) have had a hold on my heart like a three-man tug-of-war since Sept. 4, 2012, the day we found out we had lost our baby.  I've weighed whether or not I would share about this on the blog... and how much to share, or when to share it...

I've never really been one for hiding things or being guarded.  Probably because I've experienced so much grace and strength whenever I've been vulnerable.

It's probably just that I've had this expectation that I would be telling about this on the other side of things.  Kind of like a "bad-news-but-wait-here's-the-good-news" kind of thing.  So I've been waiting... and waiting... in anguish... and after waiting some more, I figure it's just time.

Okay here goes... When David and I got married in 2007, I remember wondering how our family would grow.  I had no reason to doubt, but I wondered if I'd be able to have a baby.  I mean, you never really know till you know, right?  I wondered if it'd take us a long time to get pregnant.  I feared that we'd miscarry our first--or even worse that we'd have several miscarriages.  I wondered if we'd have some kids of our own, and then maybe adopt a little one, too.

Then I got hit with baby fever after we'd been married about two years.  David didn't feel ready yet, so I (tried) to wait patiently for him to get on board.  And I still remember how excited I was when I found little baby socks at the bottom of my Christmas stocking in 2010--his way of telling me he was ready.  (I still have the notes and the necklace he tucked inside them.)  Precious, right?

Well it was seven looong months of trying before we became pregnant with our precious and spunky Elizabeth Joy.  Ellie is 2 1/2 years old now, and man was she worth waiting for.  I knew God had a little baby planned just for our family, and I tried to console myself during the days, weeks, and months of waiting with just that--that I wanted the baby HE had for us, even if that meant having to wait for His perfect timing.

See what I mean?? :)  Our joy...
Then, having grown up the youngest of three girls with about a two year age difference between each of us, I crossed my fingers for the two year age gap.

So we were beyond thrilled when, on July 22, 2012, we saw the positive lines on the test--after having just decided the month before to try!  We were on cloud nine, dancing around singing "two years apart, woot woot!!" We kept exclaiming to each other--that day and for days after--"Are we really doing this again?  Wow, here we go.  We're really doing this..."

Driving up to the hospital where we had Ellie was so surreal and exciting--to get to be going through something so special together again...  Then hearing that little heartbeat made it that much more real and wonderful.  We were even celebrating our five-year anniversary just a couple weeks later, so we got to enjoy a bit of a "baby moon" on our weekend cruise.

After seeing sweet baby #2 for the first time.
Ohhh, but how quickly things turned upside down at our ten-week ultrasound... I can't even describe the numbness and shock that took over when I heard our nurse-midwife say she wasn't seeing a heartbeat.  No matter how much I'd known it could happen--feared it would happen--or prayed against it happening during that first trimester--it had happened.

We lost our baby.  And for those who have gone through this, you know what I mean when I say that I lost a bit of my heart that day, too.  A part of me that just can't be filled till I see my son or daughter in heaven someday...

The grief overtook us, especially after the traumatic miscarriage itself (which took place a couple weeks later and is a whole other story).  The finality of it all burned... There had been some moments between the doctor's visit and the actual miscarriage where our hearts started to mess with us.  Still protecting the little one within me and having no physical signs of miscarriage, we hoped there had been a mistake.  That the radiology tech had been wrong.  That our little one still was in there healthy as can be...

But seeing and holding that little 9 week and 5 day old baby... whew... Counting his ten fingers that would never clasp my hands...  Looking into those eyes and wondering what color they would have been... Then together with David burying our little one with a note from his mommy and daddy in a special place, and having to walk away...  The meager hope had been indefinitely shattered.  There was a hollowness in its place.

But God gently gave us renewed hope.  I held on to a verse a good friend helped us see (2 Sam 12:23), believing we would get to see our Pistachio again someday.  [Ellie was our Peanut, so David had jokingly referred to our second baby as Pistachio.]  And I thought back to the time my mentor and close friend had lost her baby years before.  We'd always said, looking back, that if they hadn't gone through that miscarriage we wouldn't have our precious Isabella, whom she became pregnant with just a couple months after.

I clung to that hope--imagining that we would become pregnant with our third baby soon and that I'd be able to look back with somewhat of a mended heart knowing that we wouldn't have received the blessing to know our third child without suffering the loss of the other. (Does that make any sense?  I know it sounds kind of weird.  It certainly doesn't lighten the pain in any way, and of course this is only with the truth in mind that we would still know our heavenly baby someday.)

But along this journey of grief, that hope has had to change.  March 30, 2013 came and went--the day our Pistachio was due--and there was no new life.  No consolation to the timing of our lost little one.  And the pain just seared...  I had really thought I would be pregnant by then.  I had hoped for it all throughout those tragic 40 weeks that would've been Pistachio's full term..  But I was kept in a season of waiting.

Baking is good for the soul... I made these Pistachio cupcakes to commemorate what would've been our baby's birth-day.
Backing up a bit, if you asked me the month after our miscarriage how we were doing, you'd probably be surprised to hear that though we were utterly heartbroken, we weren't devastated.  And I think that was because of the strong sense of hope we felt amidst the grief, as well as the the firm trust we had in God's sovereignty and His ability to redeem, and definitely the gratitude that we held for our Ellie.  The fact that we were still parents, and that at least that wasn't lost, kept me afloat.  (I almost felt like I wasn't allowed to be as devastated as couples who miscarried their first.  I felt for their pain more than ever before.)

But now?  Having lost our baby 16 months ago...  And still not being pregnant.  Oh man is it devastating.  Seeing that temperature drop again yesterday morning, confirming that my cycle is again on its way rather than the longed-for positive pregnancy test...  It crushes me more than I can say.  WAY more.  More than I even try to let it--because I have that HOPE coursing through me and that ultimate belief that GOD KNOWS.  He knows how ginormous this desire of my heart is, and He loves me SO dearly.  He is sovereign and GOOD and faithful in His promises.  He is so deserving of my trust as He carries me through this painful time.  He is ready and willing to take every single worry and fear from me and let me rest in His peace.  He has a plan for our family, and it is good.  I know this with all my heart.

Then how can I still fear that we won't be able to have our own baby again?  How can I still lose heart, no matter HOW many months go by where I find out I'm not pregnant again and am hit with yet another blow as though I'm miscarrying another baby?  I have seen Him bring children to couples who were told they most likely wouldn't ever be able to conceive.  I have known four beautiful friends who have lost little ones around the same time as me who have gone on to become pregnant, and two of these have even given birth to their precious girls already.

I know that hope in Him is stronger than my heaviest fear.  That He can comfort me in my grief and will one day reunite me with my little baby, where we'll be Home--where there is no death or tears or pain.

But man, that tug of war lives on.  This time of waiting is excruciating.  I miss our little baby like nothing else...

So with each month, each week, each day... I find myself surrendering my grief that I'm not yet pregnant, releasing my fears, and asking Him to replace those things with HOPE and TRUST... in His good and perfect will.  But oh man is it a daily battle...