Monthly Archives

July 2014

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Little Happies: A Birthday and Home Study

July 28, 2014

Welcome back to another round of Little Happies!

Want to join in the fun? Head over to Blessed to Be to check out what it’s all about and then start posting away.

This week’s posts may or may include many photos of a little lab puppy named Wrigley.

Sorry, not sorry.

Without further ado, here’s what made us smile this week:

{one}

WillandWrig.jpg

Wrigley meets William (our friends’ little guy).

I would say they were mutually fascinated with one another and it was too cute.

{two}

DSC03781

When Wrigley is awake, he likes to…

Play!

Or eat his tail.

Or jump on dandelions.

Or crawl all over us.

Or chew his Kong intensely.

But he’s only 8 weeks old so very much still a babe.

His playing lasts about 30 minutes max until….

sleeping.jpg

He passes out cold.

This guy can sleep anywhere but usually chooses dark areas such as under beds, under couches, under pillows, etc.

I’ll find him fast asleep in the absolute most random spaces.

Always makes me smile.

{three}

Our beloved friend Jeff Stephens entered the Dominicans this past Friday, July 25th, the Feast of St. James the Apostle.

We already miss him greatly and look forward to when we will see him again in God’s time.

Above is one (of the mannnny) Vine’s that Jeff and Jonathan filmed together.

{four}

header.jpgI had my first Stitch Fix!

It was a ton of fun and I am glad I tried it out.

I ended up keeping the white blouse and scarf and am very happy with those decisions! 🙂

{five}

birthday.jpg

I had a birthday!

We had a great time celebrating that day but the Little Happy lies in the cupcakes Jonathan made.

I just thought they were so pretty! 🙂

And you couldn’t even tell they were gluten free, thanks to America’s Test Kitchen!

{six}

rockies

Friday we were in Downtown Denver on set for a FOCUS video shoot.

While meeting people and asking them to be in our video, Jonathan met a nice family visiting Denver. They happened to have two extra tickets to the Rockies game that night and wanted us to have them!

Hours later, we settled into our seats and watched a great baseball game thanks to these kind souls.

{seven}

Our first Home Study meeting is TONIGHT!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

It’s the first of three meetings with our social worker at our agency and officially the LAST LEG in getting approved as an adoptive family!

As the meetings progress and more details unfold, I promise to do a big adoption update on the process, puzzle, and next steps.

Have a great week!

Marriage

Why NFP Awareness Week Gets Under My Skin

July 24, 2014

You may be thinking, “How can anyone get annoyed by NFP Awareness Week? It’s like the most harmless topic ever, right?” (NFP= Natural Family Planning)

Well I am here to tell you why.

You might be tempted to think I am just a crazy infertile lady getting on a soap box…which may partially be true. And I am taking progesterone currently, which could be making me ranty.

BUT I honestly think that even if I was a little fertile-myrtle, I would still be annoyed by some attitudes surround NFP today. No, not ALL NFP Awareness posts are annoying. There are definitely good ones. Just some attitudes that come through a few posts out there are what grate my nerves.

Sit back, relax, and let’s take a stroll into my thoughts…in numerical order.

{one}

Sts. Joachim and Anne’s Feast Day

It’s been said that this particular week was chosen for NFP Awareness Week since it ends on the Feast Day of Sts. Joachim and Anne, parents of Mary. I guess they could be chosen as patrons for the week since there definitely wasn’t any other method of family planning besides natural methods, if any, back in their day.

An attitude I’ve noticed around NFP, even in faithful Catholc circles (gasp!), is that it allows women to get pregnant when they want to and to avoid a pregnancy when they want to…which is more or less opposite of Sts. Joachim and Anne’s story.

Sts. Joachim and Anne battled bareness. “Tradition holds that these saints struggled with infertility and were childless for decades. Like other barren couples in Scripture (eg. Abraham and Sarah, Elkanah and Hannah), sterility was a great burden to Joachim and Anne and even a hindrance to their participation in community life. A story told of St. Joachim relates that he wanted to offer sacrifice in the temple but was turned away because of his childlessness. He retreated into the mountains to air his grievance with God, and during this time both he and his wife received an angelic prophecy of Anne’s pregnancy.”

They are now patrons for couples longing to have the blessing of children in their marriage which means a great deal to me. Not only since we have infertility, but because I was born on their Feast Day – July 26th. They are my personal patron saints and have been all my lifelong since birth…so in many ways I feel like they have my back in this whole infertility thing and they are powerful intercessors for Jonathan and I.

I just can’t help but feel like they would sort of cringe at the general NFP attitudes of today…that using NFP to conceive always works out and that using NFP to avoid pregnancy always works out. They know to their core that it simply doesn’t always work out and would want more couples to simply surrender their fertility to the Lord no matter the outcome which is at the heart of NFP anyway.

They are happy to intercede for anything so I am sure they aren’t mad about being NFP Awareness Week patrons. I just want to steal them for Infertility Awareness instead. 🙂

{two}

“Because my body is a gift and that gift includes Motherhood” emphasis added

Oh really?

I don’t want to be too hard on the girl who said this, since MOST women’s vocation to marriage will include motherhood. But this phrase oozes with entitlement and the attitude that children are a right and not a gift. They are assumed to be had…and I guess most women can assume motherhood but even if those desires come to fruition this attitude is still dangerous since it lacks abandonment to God or an openness to a different plan.

{three}

“Because the ability to create life is a superpower that I’m proud to have.”

Spiderman represents all women who want to act like no one has any reproductive issues and that we are all just fertile superheros. I am The Hulk.

 

This phrase makes me, an infertile woman, feel like a nobody. I am a loser. I didn’t get the superpower. God forgot to give that one to me…or at least he allowed the brokeness in our world to shut my superpowers off and NFP doesn’t work for me like it does for you. Ouch.

The ability to create life lies in GOD’S hands alone, lady. We can be co-creators, yes, but its still 100% dependent on His will for our fertility. It’s not 50/50. If anyone is the superhero in reproduction, it’s God, the author of life.

Sure, it’s OK to be proud to have conceived. I think the better response would be humility…to be so humbled that God would bestow this gift within you that you simply overflow with gratitude like Our Lady.

Lastly, yes, the ability to co-create life is AMAZING and its part of our “feminine genius.” But not all women will bear children either by nature or vocation…so I think our REAL superpowers should be drawn from the fact that we are daughters of the Almighty King of Heaven and Earth. That Jesus Christ came and died for our sins and we are redeemed by His sacrifice…and we can GIVE LIFE to others by sharing that truth with them. That’s the only “superpower” that will last our whole lifelong and for eternity…and it’s not even our doing, it’s God’s!

{four}

 “I use NFP because I’m proud to be a fertile healthy woman!”

This statement, although I get where she’s coming from, make those women who are NOT fertile and healthy feel like they don’t deserve to use NFP. It’s as if it was only  created for these fertile healthy gals and not the broken ones, which just isn’t true.

Insert Hulk punch one more time.

{five}

Because we can’t PLAN our life and I dislike false claims that NFP (Natural Family Planning) provides this type of control.

I’m not the only one who’s thought about this.

This is what my life looks like when I try to control it.

 

There probably are women out there who end up planning every pregnancy and perfectly space their kiddos just right. I honestly don’t know many of them though. Verrrry little women have the luxury of planning all their kiddos precisely, fertile or infertile. I read this article recently and found it refreshing. Here’s a couple of her points:

“But here’s the thing. It’s actually pretty unlikely that you were ever going to have as many kids as I do. What I observe is that it’s MUCH more likely that you won’t have as many children as you’d like to have.”

“When I was a newlywed, it never would have occurred to me that I wouldn’t have just as many kids as I could possibly want. And I have. But I know enough now to not take it for granted. I’ve brought hundreds of prayer requests from readers along with us on our pilgrimages, and almost HALF of them have been prayers for a child, or another child.”

“But just know, from me, that if you turn up pregnant despite your best efforts, it’s likely to be the best thing that ever happens to you. Every single time. And if you don’t turn up pregnant, despite your best efforts, it’s likely to be the biggest cross of your life. “They” won’t tell you that. But you should know. So you won’t be worried about the wrong things.”

I know a LOT of women who have children. A few here and there are those “lucky ones” who have picturesque fertility and get to plan out every child and experience healthy pregnancy. A majority of the others either have experienced infertility (primary or secondary), miscarriage, high risk pregnancies, pre-term labor, unplanned pregnancies, extended delay of fertility returning while breastfeeding, and even continual pregnancy one after another despite adhering to NFP rules. Every one of those is a challenge that nobody plans.

My Senior year of High School yearbook quote has come back to haunt me time and again. “We plan, God laughs.” I have NO CLUE why I chose it then. What plans had I really seen altered at age seventeen? That superficial relationship with some boy that didn’t pan out and was unhealthy anyway? The point of that quote though is that being “in control” is typically an illusion and we can’t plan our lives…or our fertility a vast majority of the time. We can make informed choices about our sexuality and the rest is up to the guy upstairs.

I’m gonna stop there even thought I could keep on going. Five points are enough and I have likely scandalized a majority of you anyhow…because how could I not *LOOOVE* NFP like a good Catholic wife?

Moral of The Story

NFP in and of itself does not make me angry. Neither does the fact that it has an Awareness Week.

Jonathan and I use the Creighton Model of NFP to try to achieve pregnancy (for nearly three years) and will continue to do so. It also happens to be a form of NFP that allows doctors to see what is wrong with my cycle so we can get closer to possibly achieving a pregnancy. Very cool indeed.

What I dislike are potential attitudes I’ve absolutely seen in some articles during NFP Awareness Week and even in conversations about NFP in gerenal. Attitudes of entitlement, power, control, and manipulation.

At the end of the day, NFP is healthier for women than artificial contraception. Duh. It’s a really cool way to understand a woman’s biological makeup and cycle. It’s a method that allows women to get a peak into their reproductive health and identify problems that may exist. It’s in line with Church teaching at it’s core since it doesn’t disrupt the sexual act or manipulate fertility in any way. It’s truly unique and hands down the safest, healthiest, and best method of making informed reproductive decisions out there.

BUT…

Motives matter. Using NFP like contraception can be dangerous. What I would like to see during NFP Awareness Week is not secular reasons why women should replace contraception with NFP. Or articles that attempt to defy similar pro contraception posts. That misses the point entirely.

I want to see the heart of the matter explored – That God is ultimately in control…of our lives and that includes our fertility. That human life is not something to fear but to embrace. That the sexual act is sacred and is filled with potential to co-create with God when He chooses.

I want more articles about THAT. Less articles that try to sell the Church’s teachings as a replacement for contraception and more about WHY the Church elevates sexuality to such heights so as to protect it with something as simple and natural like NFP.

Money

My First Stitch Fix!

July 23, 2014

Have you heard about Stitch Fix yet? Here’s a basic rundown from their very own website: stitch fix If you know me well, you know that I love love love things that save me time. I admit it, I am very swayed by convenience, as you can see by my love of eMeals. I really dislike the all-too-common shopping trip that ends up with me buying nothing because I couldn’t find anything I liked.

Time wasted.

I leave feeling frustrated and frumpy.

Gross.

Enter Stitch Fix.

It originally attracted me because:

1. I wouldn’t have to actually venture out into the retail jungle to hunt for clothes that may or may not work.

2. I could personalize the items based on my actual style preferences.

3. I could try items on in my own home WITH items I already own. No more buying a one-hit wonder shirt that goes with nothing else in my wardrobe.

4. It’s $20 for a go-around but that money goes towards any purchases AND it’s 25% off if I order all five items, an incentive for my stylist to get me great items I’ll like.

5. I get 3 days to decide if I like the items and try them on with various clothes already in my wardrobe…not 14 seconds in a fitting room with bad lighting.

So, with great eagerness and excitement, I placed my first order.

Would I love it? Hate it? Find that it was worth it? Discover it was a waste of time?

I filled out my style profile and my Pintrest board with my favorites and waited with baited breath for my first Stitch Fix box….and it arrived TODAY! 🙂

Help me decide what to keep!

stitchfix.jpgItem #1 Gilli: Dawn Jersey Chevron Print Maxi Skirt $58

chevronskirt.jpg I love Chevron.

I also love the comfortable fabric of this skirt.

Lastly, I love the color.

If you can’t tell, BLUE is my fave color and I asked for it in this fix! Good job Kathleen!

It’s a tad thin (see through in some light) so wearing a slip was necessary. Not the biggest deal ever. Buuuut is this a $58 skirt? I quickly googled Chevron Maxi Skirts and found some comparable ones for about$30-$35….hmmm.

Item # 2 Yumi: Quin Eyelet Details Fit & Flair Dress $98

dress.jpg This dress has super cute detailing on the neck and skirtline. It also fit really well and was decent on length (although 1-2 inches longer would be more my style).

I have/would pay $100 for a great dress that I plan to get years of wear out of so that didn’t bother me too much. The waistline was flattering and overall the material felt very high quality.

However, it’s Kelly Green…which is a hesitation but I am not sure it should be. I own other items in Kelly Green so why not a dress? I think I also might be hesitating because I basically have this dress but in Teal. So I wouldn’t be filling any noticeable wardrobe gaps – does that make sense?

Item # 3 Octavia: Emily Lightweight Chevron Infinity Scarf $32

scarf.jpgAgain, loving the chevron.

I also have an obsession with scarves and asked specifically for one in this fix.

This scarf is more or exactly the scarf I have wanted and ALMOST bought on many occasions. The one thing I might change is wanting it to be Mint in color…but how does the Navy look? I think at this point I might be nitpicking a good thing and practically all I wear is Teal/Mint so I should likely have a tad more variety.

Item #4 41 Hawthorn: Coco Swiss Dot Lattice Detail Blouse $74

whiteblouse.jpg Love this blouse. It fit well and I have been wanting a blouse of this fabric for quite some time now. The detailing is beautiful and it made me feel fancy. Since it’s white, it more or less goes with everything I own.

But $74 worth? This is a girl who hasn’t spent more than $100 on clothes in years, literally. I think I am having sticker shock from that reason alone.

Item #5 – 41 Hawthorn: Vicky Colorblock Trim Silk Blouse $88

blueshirt.jpg Again, it’s that material of blouse I have been wanting for a long time. I love the colors, length, and fit. I could see this being a fun and bright addition to my wardrobe that could be dressed up or down.

But again, $88 worth? I really loved it but felt tempted that I could find the same thing at H&M for a quarter of the price. Yeesh.

Here’s my overall takeaway from this first Stitch Fix:

Did I fall in love with every piece?  I’d happily wear every one of those items but my fave was the white blouse.

Was it fun waiting for my first fix? Yup. I even sneaked a peak at my items online before they arrived in the mail. I only got text of the items in the box but of course I googled the items and found photos in advance. Made me even more pumped to try things on!

Were the items overpriced? Probably…but there is a cost to quality, convenience, and my sanity. I wouldn’t do this monthly but every now and again I feel it’s a fair price for their services. This first time around I did it for my birthday and asked family to consider gifting towards any items I loved, that way it won’t hit our budget so hard. Attaching the fix to something special made it even more fun! 🙂

Will I do this again? Yes! No idea when but I am sure someday it’ll happen. I would love to see my stylist get even better with my feedback.

I hope this review provided you with basic information about Stitch Fix and some fun alongside my first fix. If you ever consider doing a fix yourself, please use my referral link Stitch Fix provided to me, as it will credit me $25 when your fix ships! In NO WAY do I write this review simply to get referral credits but it is something nice Stitch Fix offers for customers. The referral credit in no way, shape, or form changes my thoughts/comments about Stitch Fix. I am a firm believer in only promoting things that I personally enjoy and love. Remember, I hate wasting time…so no way would I waste my breath on something I didn’t think was great and worth trying even once.

Have a great week and please leave your feedback about the fix in the comments below!

Help me decide what to keep/what not to keep!

Uncategorized

Little Happies: A Visit From A Friend

July 21, 2014

I am back on the Monday Little Happies track, linking up over at Blessed to Be!

It’s been a packed week with many happy memories I am glad to capture here so I can’t forget!

–one–

collin

Don’t get mad at me Collin…

I found this note saved on my computer. It was saved under a folder entitled “random” which indeed this document was.

A great random, since it put a smile on my face that I have such a thoughtful and sneaky little brother.

–two–

photo 2I attended my very first concert at Red Rocks!

I had a friend in town and she invited me to come see Gregory Alan Isakov and a few other bands. The venue was awesome and the concert was a good time. I hope we go back someday!

–three–

photo 3

Got this baby for $12.99 at Costco.

I love Orchids and had one in the past but killed it off. I really hope I care for this one well since it’s beautiful and abundantly flowering!

–four–

wrigley2.jpgThe left photo is Jonathan attempting to “wear” Wrigley. I think both of them enjoyed it.

The top right-hand side was Wrigley after I began to sing “Let it Go” from Frozen. He hid. I had no idea I could be so scary!

The bottom right is after I quieted down. Wrigley turned around and slowly began to poke back through to see if I was done singing.

–five–

photo 1

I got to visit the Celestial Seasons Factory with my friend Katy, who was in town visiting. Free tea!!

If you are ever in Boulder, CO I highly recommend this Factory Tour – especially the Mint Room! 🙂

–six–

Katy and I had all sorts of adventures this week! 🙂

We hiked St. Mary’s Glacier and the last 200 yards to the top was all snow. We got nearly to the summit when we saw some potentially evil clouds brewing nearby and since two people have been killed in Colorado by lightening this past week, we opted to descend.

We used our tennis shoes as skis and more or less surfed down the mountain. There is likely a technical term for that…anyone know?

–seven–

DSC03727

This weekend we had company over and they brought us this sweet house-warming gift along with these phrases:

“Bread… that this house may never know hunger. Salt… that life may always have flavor. And wine… that joy and prosperity may reign forever.”

How clever and kind! I was very touched and am grateful for their thoughtfulness – especially for that Cinnimon Raisin GF bread…since 1. It’s hard to remember who’s GF anymore these days, and 2. I have always wanted to get that flavor but couldn”t get myself to splurge for it!)

–UPDATE–

THAT CINNAMON RAISIN BREAD THO!

Just devoured two slices and can’t wait for more.

–eight–

Capture

Another evening this weekend we had friends over to play the Dominion Hinterlands expansion game.

Nerds to the core.

Not ashamed.

It was an awesome expansion!

 

Marriage

Hello! My Name is Wrigley.

July 20, 2014

Wrigley, meet the world.

World, meet Wrigley.

He is a 7 week old English Labrador Retriever and is 100% adorable.

We are HUGE dog lovers and basically vowed that as soon as we were no longer renting, we would get a dog. We are very excited for this addition to the family!

The next couple weeks will be filled with training him and house breaking this little guy. I am sure he’ll do great since his temperament is sweet, laid-back, and eager to please. The goal is to have this little guy totally trained before we adopt so we can work on that whole transition to parenthood thing without worrying about Wrigley chewing my shoes to pieces. We’ll see how that goes! 🙂

wriggles.jpgPS – For those curious folks out there wondering how we came up with the name Wrigley – I wanted the name Brinkley (the dog from You’ve Got Mail) but Jonathan thought it was too cliche, which it totally was. He happens to be a huge Cubs fan (since his dad grew up in Illinois) and Wrigley sounded sort of like Brinkley but was far more original. 😉 Settled.

 

Marriage

Happy 1,000 Days of Marriage!

July 19, 2014

I thought Friday was just a regular ole day.

We had a friend in town who I saw off in the morning. Then I got cleaning and puppy-proofing the house.

Midday I realized I needed some music in my life to spice up the monotony of cleaning, so I called Jonathan to inquire about where our wireless bluetooth speaker was located. This was the conversation that ensued:

Jonathan: “It’s upstairs on my nightstand.”

Amanda: “OK, great. On my way there now.”

Jonathan: stammering sounds…silence…mumblings…”Wait! It’s actually down stairs in the storage closet…inside that white bookshelf…in the bottom cabinet.”

Amanda: “Oh. Alright. I’ll go there instead.” (Not even thinking that it would actually be WEIRD to place a frequently used speaker in a storage closet cabinet)

I got down to the storage room and pulled the light string. I opened the bottom cabinet and found this:

photo (5)It was a very heavy container filled with….you guessed it, $10.00 worth of pennies. All I could do was laugh at how easily duped I had been. What a sneaky, creative, and thoughtful guy!

Some of you may remember Jonathan pulled something just as creative on our 500th Day of Marriage. So this trick was right up his alley and I am so grateful for him.

It’s these little things that make marriage a true, undeserved gift and joy. The intentionality of another person expressing they choose Y.O.U. to love with everything they’ve got.  It’s a reflection of how God does this to each of us every. single. day. in the little things.

Pretty cool to ponder.

To celebrate, we grabbed a bite to eat at Piggin’ Out Bar-B-Que and it was A-MA-ZING!!

photo 1

Then it was off to the Pet Supply store to grab some essentials for our pup’s arrival TOMORROW!!!! 🙂 Stay tuned for some really cute pics of our little dude.

Last but certainly not least, we watched The Lego Movie to end the evening.

photo 2