baby shower #1.

This past Sunday, we got to celebrate a day that I never thought would arrive … my BABY SHOWER! *Cue all the tears, feels, emotions, and mush* I prayed for this day for so long. Like many of you, I’ve spent time in the bathroom at many baby showers collecting myself and wiping away a few tears, wondering if it would ever be my turn. Years passed and then suddenly, in the blink of an eye, last Sunday it was my turn and it was just as magical and special and miraculous as I ever imagined. It made the wait so worth it – the celebration on this end felt so rich and meaningful.

This first shower of ours was hosted and planned by my sister-in-law Monica, who did an amazing job from start to finish! (And I know she had a special helper in my mother-in-law Lori and my nieces!) I loved that I was able to be surprised with the details and felt so special and loved knowing how excited she was to plan this event. This shower was mainly Josh’s side of the family and family friends. It was so great to celebrate with those who have prayed for us for so long!

Here’s a peek at our invitations! The theme was “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”.

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The morning started off with so many nerves! I didn’t anticipate to wake up with so many butterflies in my stomach. Was this real life? I struggled to anticipate what my emotions would be, as well as manage what I thought others would be expecting my emotions to be. I was nervous to be the center of attention for an event that was waited on for years. Thankfully after some prayers and deep breathing, the butterflies went away and the excitement was full-on!

One of my best friends Julie came by in the morning to curl my hair for me, which was so fun. It loved being able to process through my thoughts with her and seriously, she does the best job with my hair. It felt a little like a school dance moment, as I slipped on my dress, her and her family oohed and ahhed. It was so sweet and I am thankful for her offering to come celebrate with me the morning of!

Here’s a running-out-the-door bathroom selfie of my shower look! The dress is from Pink Blush Maternity and was so incredibly comfortable! The navy and pink colors were of course an ode to baby boy and boy girl. (PS – If you haven’t already shopped Pink Blush or Pink Blush Maternity, what are you waiting for!? They are my favorite online boutique!)

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Josh drove me to the shower and got to see all the fun festivities before sneaking off to play pickleball with his brother and dad. We got to walk in to a house full of gorgeous decorations and very eager family ready to celebrate! Here are some of the gorgeous touches!

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The shower was over the lunch hour and we ate an amazing spread of soups (tomato basil, beef barley, and duck wild rice) and sandwiches (ham, roast beef, and turkey with delicious condiments and gourmet cheeses). The spread was completed with homemade potato chips and a lovely fruit spread. It was catered by Lake Elmo Inn and SO DELICIOUS! Desserts were yummy cupcakes, turtle bar bites, and coconut macaroons. SWOON.

In the invitations, Monica invited guests to participate in a diaper raffle and we were so blessed to get so many boxes of diaper to start off our unending need! Guest began to arrive and were invited to fill out “I Wish…” cards for babies and also, grab a Bingo card to begin filling it out for the gift opening. Everyone was visiting, laughing, eating and talking about different gifts that could be included on the bingo card. I still couldn’t believe this day was about US!

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When we transitioned to the gift opening, Monica and my mother-in-law started with a little game where they asked me questions and saw how my answer compared to Josh’s. Monica asked me all the questions first and then surprised me by popping in a DVD to see how Josh responded. It’s so special to now have these answers on film! Here’s the questions and how we both answered them (edited versions):

  1. What is Chelsea’s favorite pregnancy food craving?

C: buffalo wild wings (parmesan garlic)

J: buffalo wild wings (parmesan garlic with blue cheese dressing)

  1. What is one word that would describe Chelsea’s mood while being pregnant?

C: happy

J: appreciative

  1. Do you think your baby girl will be born with a full head of hair? And your boy?

C: yes / yes

J: yes / yes

  1. How many diapers do you think the babies will go through in their first year?

C: 7,000

J: 7,300

  1. How many hours do newborns sleep each day?

C: 15 hours

J: I think they just sleep and eat, so I will say sleeping 18 hours a day.

  1. Which baby items have you registered for that you believe will be most helpful?

C: Some sort of rocker/swing, like a Rock’N’Play or a Mama Roo.

J: I’ve heard the Mama Roo is pretty awesome.

  1. What aspects of motherhood do you think Chelsea is most looking forward to?

C: EVERYTHING.

J: Just being able to cuddle with the babies.

  1. What traits of Chelsea do you hope the babies inherit and don’t inherit?

C: My empathy or compassion. Don’t inherit my stubbornness to admit when I am wrong.

J: Her love of other people and caring about other people. I hope they don’t inherit her habit of not putting lids back on any jars or containers.

  1. What traits of Josh do you hope the babies inherit and don’t inherit?

C: I hope they inherit his sense of humor and positivity. (forgot to reply to the don’t inherit part)

J: I hope they inherit the same work ethic that I inherited from my dad. I hope they don’t inherit my webbed toes.

  1. Which memory from growing up do you hope to recreate with your babies?

C: Making the little things an adventure, like going to the grocery store or cleaning up toys. My mom always made normal things extra special.

J:  Rough housing and playing with my dad. It was so fun to team up on dad and mess around with him.

  1. What are you most looking forward to about being a dad to a girl?

C: Having daddy/daughter moments.

J: Having daddy daughter times and making sure she knows how loved she is. I want to show her how loved she is and what it looks like for a man to care for her in her life.

  1. What are you most looking forward to about being a dad to a boy?

C: Having a little buddy to rough house with and hunt with.

J: Instill in him a solid faith and a strong work ethic, and what it means to be a real man. Not in the worlds definition, but what it means to be a man of God. And bow hunting. For both of them. And loving pizza.

  1. What aspect of being a parent are you most excited about in general?

C: Having the opportunity to raise kiddos to love Jesus.

J: It’s another way to experience love and to be able to love even deeper. It’s a different kind of love and I can’t wait to experience that.

As you can imagine, it was so special to hear Josh’s answers! I can’t wait to see him as a daddy to our human kiddos! (He’s such a great dad already to Cali!)

Next I opened gifts, and was so incredibly blessed with such special goodies! Monica asked guests to bring a book instead of a card, and I loved that we are able to get our kiddos library started off strong! (If you know me well, you know I LOVE books. Top  favorite things of all time. So these books are so treasured!). Our babies got such special practical and fun items. A huge thank you to everyone who blessed us so richly!

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Before I knew it, we were giving out hugs and saying our goodbyes! The afternoon flew by! Monica handed out lavender chamomile sugar scrubs stars as a parting favor, which is one of my favorite scents ever! It was such a lovely parting gift!

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It truly was such a wonderful day from start to finish! Josh came to pick me up and helped pack up the car. I smiled the rest of the night, so gratitude that we were able to celebrate this day, a day of God’s faithfulness! It was a dream come true in more ways than one.

When we got home, I finally remembered that I wanted a non-selfie picture of myself in my dress with my 25+4 baby bump, and of course by then, my hair had fallen, the sun went away, and I looked as tired as I felt, but still …. we had to capture the day and moment!

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Now, to my friends who are still waiting, hang in there. It’s h-a-r-d, I understand, but I’m believing that you’ll be the center of the party in the future and praying for that day to come soon for each of you. Keep the faith that your waiting will not be in vain. The wait will make the celebration even richer than you could ever imagine! And God will get so much glory!

Thank you to all who came out to celebrate. Our hearts are SO FULL. Thank you Jesus for the chance to celebrate these little lives!

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(left to right bottom) Colleen, Jeannie, Nancy, Meghan, Grandma Jones, Denise, Aunt Donna, Pam, Alicia, Emily, Katie, Gena, Diane, Lori, Kinsely, Scarlett, and Gabby. (left to right top) Patti Jo, Rachel, Lynn, Monica, Courtney, me, Mom, and Jeannie

 

friday favorites – april 24.

So today is Friday, which means TOMORROW I board a plane and head off to Hawaii with 2 of my close girlfriends and one of their hubby’s. AHHHH! This trip snuck up so fast, granted I know we only booked it 2 weeks ago. All of that being said, I have a suitcase that still needs packing, toes that need painting, and a whole lot of planning that needs to happen in 24 hours, so this Friday Favorites will be a little different! Today I want to ask YOU to share with ME your Friday Favorites! I have had a list going for too long of things that I would love to hear that other’s love, so please, take this week to go through this list and pick an item or two (or all!!) and comment below with what your favorite is! (Or as always, you are welcome to email me at trialsbringjoy (at) gmail (dot) com.) I can’t wait to hear what you have to share!

  • Favorite Mascara – I feeling like I can never find something that doesn’t flake too quickly but still adds volume. Whatcha got!?
  • Favorite Book (fiction) – What’s a great book that you have read recently? I need some new authors!
  • Favorite Book (non-fiction) – What are you reading that is teaching you a lot? I love Christian growth books and am starting to wind down on my to-read list. Build it back up!
  • Favorite TV Show to Netflix – I am planning on starting on season 1 of Scandal on the plane tomorrow, as I have heard so many things about how good this show is. That being said, I know there have to be other network tv shows that I have completely missed out on. Share what’s good! (And nothing too racy or profane please!)
  • Favorite Grilling Recipe – We just pulled our grill out for the season and I can’t WAIT to cook on it every night! What’s a favorite recipe you have where you just need the grill? A side? A main dish? Send anything over!
  • Favorite Essential Oil Combo – I know there are a lot of you out there who use Young Living Oils (or another brand). I adore diffusing mine and am always looking for a great, refreshing mix. I have been mixing orange + peppermint all week and am crushing on that big time. What do you like to mix!?
  • Favorite Meme – I am always looking for new funnies to include! Be sure to email me hilarious ones you come across!
  • Favorite Game – Josh and I like to play games at night and we are a little Yam-Slammed, Phase 10, and Golf-ed out. What’s another easy and fun card game we could learn?

SOOOO excited to hear what you guys come up with and share!

On a celebratory note …. guess who turned NINE on Monday!? Our sweet little Cali girl! NINE! I know. *faints*. I was feeling nervous as that number continues to creep up and took her in to the vet this week for an annual check-up, just to make sure things are looking good. GREAT NEWS! She’s a rock star and beyond healthy, so this Mama (and Dad!) are feeling super relieved to know she’s “in her prime” and has a long long life ahead of her still.

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Okay and I can’t leave you without some funnies!!

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Other than a Guest Blog post next week, I won’t be around too much on here which on vacation, however, I can’t wait to check back with you when I return! Until then, this girl is about to get her beach on in the gorgeous island of Kauai.

Me ka aloha pumehana! (Yeah, no I have no clue what this means, Google just told me it’s appropriate for a goodbye statement.)

friday favorites – april 17.

Whoa what a week! A fun week, but a busy week! It’s so hard to pick favorites when EVERYTHING was so much fun! I will do my best to filter best I can and save some other highlights for more stories another time. Love weeks like this. Perhaps it’s just that it is sunny and beautiful outside too? I swear everyday feels like a happy day when you don’t have to brush snow off your car.

Let’s go!

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Favorite Moment: Josh and I had a date night this week to see Damien Rice in concert and let’s just say it was amazing. I have been a fan of his music for ages and his concert didn’t disappoint. The whole show was him + his guitar + pedals. It was super scaled down, just the basics of music and his voice and he crushed it. I leaned over to Josh after the first song started and whispered “I’m going to cry!” to which he replied “Yeah? So what’s that now? 8 concerts in a row?” (I always get super emotional and cry at concerts. This doesn’t phase him.) Ha! But really it just goes to show you that music touches my heart in a crazy way. I know those who don’t have that kind of relationship with music might be shrugging right now and think I’m crazy and that’s totally okay. But really, the whole show was like being in a spiritual emotional bubble. Loved every minute.

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Favorite Lyric Line: The opening act for Damien Rice was a duo and truthfully I don’t know too much about them other than they were called Galagalactic and European, with rich, beautiful, heavy accent. It was all about the music and it was haunting and memorizing. Many of the songs didn’t have lyrics but one did and I love what I caught “The spiral goes both ways – should I climb or should I fall?” I loved the analogy of a spiral. To go higher, you have to crawl upwards, uphill, often feeling like you are moving in a repetitive motion, but you are going higher. The other option is walking down, deeper, easier on your legs as you let gravity help your decline, but when you go downwards, it gets darker, deeper, further from the top. I love the question posed – should I climb or should I fall? I think we all have this question to answer every day as we battle in our own lives – should we climb or should we fall? Life can go two ways, the spiral gives us options. What will we chose? (I wish I could find anything on this band because I would love for you to hear them but they barely seem to exist even on the internet.)

Favorite Surprise: My Grandpa Tedd surprised me with this travel guide for my Hawaii trip (8 days!!!). I had been doing research on good guide books and was shocked when he pulled it out! He was so thoughtful to go and pick it up and it has been a gigantic help to us in planning on stay. Thank you Grandpa Tedd for this kind and thoughtful gesture!

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Favorite Celebration: SO MANY CELEBRATIONS, I can’t just pick one! On Friday we celebrated my Nana’s 76th birthday with a big elaborate dinner at my mom’s house (which was amazing, as always!). We are so thankful that we were able to celebrate her life around the table, sharing how special she is to us. The dinner table held lots of laughs as well as we shared favorite birthday memories or confessions from our childhoods. Even Cali wanted to get in on the celebration fun.

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On Saturday I popped over to one of my best friends daughter’s 6th birthday parties and had so much fun celebrating with the kiddos and their moms. Can I just say everyone in life should watch a bunch of kids under 10 try to hit a pinata? It made my month. Hysterical!!!!!

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Cali's friends Mallory and Chloe even made sure she had some goodies from the party - a new collar (made from pipe cleaners HA!) and a felt chew toy. :) She felt loved.

Cali’s friends Mallory and Chloe even made sure she had some goodies from the party – a new collar (made from pipe cleaners HA!) and a felt chew toy. :) She felt loved.

Sunday brought in the Master’s, of which I only watch in order to eat our burger bar (a tradition set in honor of my golf and burger loving Grandpa) and for the chance to win the Masters pool, haha! In general, watching golf drives me bonkers but I actually enjoyed myself and had a blast hosting! Since Phil Mickelson was in my pool and the only one who had a chance really, I turned my house into a Go Phil! party, which I don’t think my guests were on board with. Ha! My Nana made the best oven fries and Josh grilled some killer burgers. My sister ended up winning with Jordan Spieth on her team, but Phil came in second place and that was fun. It’s not at all about the money though as much as it is having lots of laughs and cheering and egging each other on.

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I mean, come on, if you walk in under this banner, you HAVE to attend a "go phil" party. :)

I mean, come on, if you walk in under this banner, you HAVE to attend a “go phil” party. :)

And lastly, one more celebration I am looking forward to later tonight – celebrating my youngest niece Kinsley’s 3rd birthday together with a pre-birthday party! Josh and I are having our nieces over for a fun night of making homemade pizzas, dragging blankets and pillows out into the living room, picking a movie and spending time together. Kins is such a sweet and special little girl and we can’t wait to celebrate her. Love that munchkin so much!

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Favorite Recipe: In attempts to clean some half-used fridge items this week, I whipped together a yummy ham salad! Just have to share:

1/2 lb thin cut black forest ham (I love the Columbus brand as it’s gluten free with 0% MSG …. and also because you can get it at the Target deli counter)

1/2 cup (or so, start with less) mayonnaise

1-2 hard boiled eggs

1/2 – 3/4 cup sweet pickles (I ADORE the organic bread and butter pickles from Costco!)

a few green onions (optional)

Cut your ham into small chunks and throw it in a food processor. Chop it up finely and then add it to your bowl. In the same food processor, toss in your hard boiled eggs, cut into smaller pieces so it goes faster and your pickles (drained). Chop till similar size as ham. Add to your ham and then mix with mayonnaise. You may want more/less mayo so add in small amounts. Serve on a lettuce wrap or on crackers, also delicious on rye bread. Top with green onion rounds if you’d like! Delish!

Favorite Snap: Can I just say that Cali doesn’t always want to take pictures? This snap chat pic from earlier this week cracks me up. She was not interested in taking a picture with her mom. Glare city! HA!

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Favorite Funnies:

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Alright friends, hope you have an awesome weekend! I’ll leave you with this reminder I read in my notes from Storyline: “Stop stalking Jesus. It’s time to stop observing Him and His life and start interacting.” I pray that this weekend is more than just another set of busy days. I pray that this weekend brings you the chance to meet Jesus even closer, spend some time with Him and continue to live a life of interaction. Jesus isn’t just a Facebook acquaintance we watch from a distance. His ways, His words and His character should be far more known to us. So let’s go and seize the day and see what He has to show us! Sound good? XOXO!

friday favorites – april 10.

It’s time for Friday Favorites! Can I just tell you, I go throughout my week thinking “This will be on Friday Favorites!” every other minute and then I sit down to type and think “Ummm, I’ve got nothing.” I need to start keeping a list. Let’s see how this goes. :)

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Favorite Thing I am Looking Forward to: Josh and I got tickets for Christmas to see Damien Rice at a smaller venue and I am pumped! I love his music and he hasn’t toured in almost a decade. Can’t wait to make a new memory with my guy.

Favorite Spontaneous-Super-Exciting-Thing: I made up this category, haha! Buttttt *drumroll*, I am going to Hawaii! I know, I know, what!?! So long story short, one of my best friends Jana and her husband are going for a work trip of his. Since he will be working all day, me and one of my other best friends, Julie, will tag along, staying in their 2-bedroom condo and doing girlie things together during the day. Then at night, we will send the lovebirds off to enjoy their time together and have each other to hang out with. I NEVER ever ever thought I would be going to Hawaii before Josh retired (seriously), so the fact that it worked out for us to go in such a cheap way is beyond amazing! The timing couldn’t be better and I know this trip will provide an insane amount of laughter and soul-restoration. So, with all that being said, I just booked my ticket and now leave in 2 WEEKS for Kauai! Talk about last minute and spontaneous! If you have been before, please leave some fun things to do (keeping in mind our budget is small). Oh I am so excited!!!

Who'd have thought I would ever be able to actually GO to the place of my mug!?!?!

Who’d have thought I would ever be able to actually GO to the place of my mug!?!?!

Favorite Addition: My new Ohio mug! My friend Margaret thoughtfully sent this over to me to add to my collection. Few things make me as excited as a new Starbucks mug – so thoughtful and SO fun! I love the red!!! Thanks again Margaret for your incredibly kind heart and gift. (Hug)

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Favorite Pens: These pens were gifted to me from my friend Amanda a few weeks ago and they have changed my journaling, Bible reading and page noting life! THE BEST! They write super fine and are shaded like a highlighter but don’t bleed through the page. The colors are great and the thin tip is perfect for underlining. Amanda – you hit the nail on the head with this thoughtful gift! LOVE THEM!

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Favorite Appetizer: This corn dip is one of my favorites to bring out for a party or get together. My Bible study girls enjoyed it last night and it makes a TON which means leftovers! You can make adjust it to your spice taste (I like it milder) or throw it in a crock pot if you like it warm. I will serve it with Fritos or tortilla scoops and it’s always a hit! (Also gluten free!)

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 can (11 ounces) yellow and white whole kernel corn, drained
  • 2 cans (11 ounces) Mexicorn, drained
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onions (optional because I forgot)
  • 1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies
  • 1 tbsp of hot jalapeños in a can (add more to taste if you like it spicy!)
  • Heaping 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • Heaping 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Tortilla or corn chips

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise and sour cream. Add the other ingredients, cover and refrigerate overnight. (Not required but it develops flavor as it sits). Serve with chips. Yield: 8-10 servings.

Favorite Tote: Shout out to Karen for sending this hilariously perfect tote my way! I adore it and can toss a couple books in and head off to a coffee shop. Winning!

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Favorite Quote:

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My friend Beth runs From Pallets to Parents, where she builds and creates beautiful pallet art for a purpose. They are working to raise money for their infertility journey and she blessed me greatly with this gorgeous piece this week! You have to check out their Facebook page and place a custom order!

But this message – Be You, Bravely – is one I love. We all have the chance each day to be us. Fully us. So often our insecurities or life distractions sneak in and suddenly we forget to be ourselves. Not only that, but we can forget to tackle each day with confidence, embracing the day and live ready to handle what life has in store. Ask yourself, how can I be brave today? What does that look like? How can I be true to myself while being brave? This pallet is a great reminder for me each day. Thanks Beth!

Favorite Cali Photo: Remember that time I made Cali wear my fuzzy socks as leg warmers? HA! I do!

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Favorite Easter Memories: Josh and I got to spend Easter with both of our families and really, as always, enjoyed our times together. We had a delicious brunch at Acqua with his parents, which included GLUTEN FREE French toast and Eggs Benedict (served family style, so don’t worry, I didn’t eat all of this.). Then, after a brief afternoon nap, had a relaxing late-brunch with my family, full of prime rib and shrimp cocktails. It was a special day to stop and reflect on Easter and why we celebrate. I love holidays!

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Favorite Funnies:

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Alright, that’s it for me this week! I am off to continue hanging out with my grandparents who are in town. (Happy birthday to my beautiful Nana!) See you all next week! In the meantime, send over some Kauai ideas AND some book suggestions! I love to read beachy-reads on vacation!

Me and Nana <3

friday favorites – april 3.

FRIDAY FAVORITES! Oh goodness, it seems like it’s been ages since I have done this! Let’s not wait, here we go!

Favorite Devotional Reminder: Today is Good Friday, a day that overwhelms me with its meaning and reminds me deeply of my need for Him. Last year I wrote this post and can’t try to do today justice with words, but I do want to share this one reminder that I read this week. Proverbs 31 Ministries had a special devotional this week called ‘Moving from Grief to Grace’ and reading it just tore through my heart is such a good way. This part in particular was that major ah-ha moment:

At one of my lowest moments, realization and remembrance flooded my heart and mind: God lost His Son too, His only Son. The Father knew my loss, pain and brokenness oh so well.

That revelation was like supernatural glue applied to bind my wounded soul. The lost, dark, broken part receded as God proceeded to heal my broken heart with His love and light.

How about your lost plans, hopes and dreams? Are you bitter? Do you want to be better?

Are you ready to lay your heavy cares at the foot of the cross … and leave that burden there, so you can step into God’s plans for you? Jesus promised, “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light,” (Matthew 11:30, NKJV).

God’s plan for His Son was not what the people hoped for and expected as they celebrated the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem that first Palm Sunday, then experienced His death on the cross by week’s end. They did not know Easter Sunday — His Son’s day — was coming.

Remember, friend … Sunday’s coming! Jesus arose from the grave by the grace of God to save and redeem us. He has plans for us that include a hope and a future, even when our plans are dashed and we can’t see beyond the overwhelming loss of now.

“‘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, NIV).

When I ache for my babies, this week especially, I will cling to the fact that God lost His Son too. God understands what grief feels like, what brokenness looks like, the intense feeling of agony. He also knows that Sunday comes … and I believe that Sunday WILL come for each of us in its own way. It may be how we think it will look or perhaps so much more than we could imagine.

This Easter let’s be comforted by the fact that He is in control and that His burden is light. Oh thank you Jesus.

Favorite Robe: I know this seems like a silly one, but I have always searched for the perfect robe. Not too long, not too short, not to bulky, not to thin. And, sound the alarm, I found it! I actually bought it several months ago at the Gap Outlet and tucked it away and completely forgot about it until a few weeks ago. Now that I have pulled it out, I am completely attached. If it was appropriate and acceptable to wear a robe in public, I would. The fabric is SO soft, it’s the perfect length and a great get-ready robe.

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Favorite Surprise: Remember how I told you guys about my Shoulders on Wednesday? Well, my amazing instagram friends put together the best surprise package for me that arrived yesterday and totally blew my socks off. It was filled with notes and spring goodies, insanely generous gift cards and so many treats for Cali (which she adored!!!), candies and things I love. They even thought of including some fun things for me to do with my nieces. I mean seriously, how amazing are they!? Gestures like this BLOW ME AWAY. I am so humbled to be a recipient of goodness and feel so much love. I just want to burst.

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Favorite Ministry: My friend Lynn from Sweet Birdie Blessings sent me this gorgeous necklace a month or two ago from her Etsy store and not only do I love the message it says, I love the ministry she has created! Her mission is supporting mom’s who have lost their baby due to miscarriage or stillbirth. She sends them a comfort package that contains tangible items to help them in the grieving processing as well as items to honor the loss of their child. She is in the beginning stages of creating these and sends them out as fast as she gets the items in. If you have any interest in donating any items, I know she would love it. (Items like Kleenex packs/travel tissues, lidded glass candles, pens, journals, ornaments, etc.). If you are interested in learning more, you can contact her at georgiaoates4 (at) gmail (dot) com. Her goal is to stock local OB offices with a container of these packages since many women learn about their loss at the doctor’s office. How wonderful is she!? Plus, this necklace is just such a blessing.

Favorite Night Out: My girlfriends Julie, Jana and myself checked out a new local restaurant, Bricks, this week and it was DELICIOUS! One thing I loved – everything on the menu can be made gluten free at no additional charge. Winning! Also, the fries are heavenly. Of course the best part was the conversation and the laughs that arose. So thankful for my girlfriends!

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Favorite Bracelet: My friend Abby sent me the sweetest gift this week – this Alex and Ani ‘scared dove’ bracelet (along with the softest pair of socks ever!!!). I absolutely love these bracelets and never justify buying them myself, so this blessed me in a big way! Thanks so much Abby for your thoughtfulness. I will always think of you when I see it, as well as the reminders of peace and faith.

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Favorite Thing I am Looking Forward to: My grandparents are coming up to Minnesota from Illinois next week and we are excited to spend some time with them! We will get the chance to celebrate my Nana’s birthday and play games, watch the Masters (okay, I might inadvertently nap) and enjoy their company. Watch out Minnesota, Nana and Grandpa Tedd are coming soon! :)

Favorite Devotional: I know I have shared this already on my Facebook and Instagram accounts but if you are looking for a new devotional, you have to check out Savor by Shauna Niequist. It’s a small page a day and offers a verse and portions of her previous books + new material. Worth checking out if you are looking for a quick daily read!

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Favorite Funnies:

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Oh and guess what else came this week!?! My #TTCLuckySocks exchange! My amazing partner Nikol went above and beyond and showered me with such amazing goodies! She blogs over at www.notjustabeautyblogger.com and just went through her 2nd failed IVF cycle. If you could, send some thoughts and prayers her way. She’s such a positive gal and gearing up for a SUCCESSFUL 3rd cycle. I know it’ll happen! She has been a total blast to get to know through this exchange and I just adore this whole box. Thanks new friend!

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I hope you all have a wonderful and BLESSED Easter! We are excited to celebrate with two brunches this year (wish our bellies luck!) and enjoy time with both of our families. I will see you next week for another post! XO!

friday favorites – february 20.

Repeat after me – 28 days till spring. 28 days till spring. 28 days till spring. We can do this.

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Favorite Dinner Date: Josh and I had the BEST dinner date to celebrate Valentine’s Day. The food was absolutely amazing (Acqua never fails to disappoint!) and it felt so good to sit for a few hours and talk and laugh and catch up. I am so grateful for this man. (Plus the basil mojito’s there are on point. Like, #winning.)

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heading out for my 12th valentine’s day date with this hunk!

quick restaurant selfie.

quick restaurant selfie.

allllll the food we ate. bacon ketchup. GF clam chowder soup. plenty of sugary goodness.  All of it, delicious.

allllll the food we ate. bacon ketchup. GF clam chowder soup. plenty of sugary goodness. All of it, delicious.

his and hers bread. (gluten free and regular -- the best treat everrrrrr)

his and hers bread. (gluten free and regular — the best treat everrrrrr)

Favorite Flowers: Trader Joe’s had these gorgeous purple wax flowers on sale at $2.99 a bunch this week. Nothing says SPRING COME SOON like a little bit of flowery life in the house. I have a feeling they will last a while too.

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Favorite Quote: “I want to cultivate a deep sense of gratitude, of groundedness, of enough, even when I am longing for something more. The longing and gratitude, both. I’m practicing believing that God knows more than I know, that He sees what I can’t, that He’s weaving a future I can’t even imagine from where I sit this morning.” –shauna niequist-

Remember how my last cycle got cancelled due to overstimulating? Well, I should have started a new cycle weeks ago. And I didn’t. No, I can assure you, I am not pregnant. My body just decided to revolt, shake things up a bit, make me wait a little longer and storm the castle of confusion.

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We waited and waited. Did some checking, took a monstrous PIO injection used to induce a cycle and then waited some more. Well, even the inducing didn’t work. (And let me tell you, it makes you feel awesome. Um, not.) So on Monday I zipped over to my clinic for some bloodwork and another ultrasound, all showing that my body is truly just trying to be rebellious without a real cause. Yes, a few smaller cysts here and there, but nothing too exciting or unusual for me. So with that news, the doctors plan is just to start another Letrozole (Femara)/IUI cycle and see what happens. They cut my meds down by half, started the letrozole on Monday and finishing tonight, and I will go in next Tuesday to see what’s going on.

Okay, all of this ties back in to the quote, I promise.

So after my early morning, 7-something appointment, I stopped over by Starbucks to make my grocery list and menu for the week. Well, my ‘quick list-making stop’ evolved into a quiet and relaxing morning, watching the snow fall down around me, making me feel like I was in a snow globe, while ingesting the beautiful words above.

Coming out of the appointment I felt pretty apathetic but Shauna’s quote reminded me a few things – one, that I am to be fully and completely grounded in Him, grateful for life even when I am longing for more. It reminded me that God IS weaving a future, even when I can’t see the other side. It reminded me that it’s okay if we can’t see the other side from where we sit right now. (In fact, if we could see the other side, it would omit the need for faith.) It reminded me that above all, regardless of what is going on in my life, that I want to develop into a person of deep gratitude and surrender to the One who holds my future in His hands. And in order to develop into that type of person, I have to focus more on trusting Him then I do on what I am longing for.

I am so thankful this quote lined up with the messy unknowns of another cycle, helping to re-root myself in Him. Let’s do this.

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Favorite Date: I got to have an auntie/niece date with my oldest niece this week, and goodness, did we have fun! First of all, how do kids grow up so fast? Scarlett was chatting away and playing jokes on me and using her big, bright, beautiful imagination in ways that awed me. We stopped for lunch, visited a treasure store (aka a thrift store where she, unfortunately, chose a porcelain bell as the most prized treasure she ever did see. I have a feeling I will pay for this one day when I have children who are out with their aunt, hee hee!), and then spent time chatting over coffee at, where else, Starbucks. I love this peanut. Please, stop growing up.

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oh you know, just passing notes at the table.

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“this is the best thing I have ever had.”

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“i love ringing this bell.”

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oh this little girl just melts my heart into a million pieces.

Favorite Reminder: Wednesday was Ash Wednesday and I have to admit, I can fall into the routine practices that seasons like Advent and Lent can offer. In trying to be more intentional, I ordered the She Reads Truth Lent devotion book in hopes to focus more on what Lent means. I loved the introduction and how it defines lent: “Lent sets aside time for believers to focus intently on that action which is at the crux of our faith – drawing near to the cross of Christ and resting in the shadow of His sacrifice, glory, and forgiveness.”

I shared online that my prayer for myself is that I use this time of Lent to be intentional about returning to the cross, repenting and mourning the reality of my sinfulness, and remembering the precious gift Christ has given me. I pray that this season becomes more than just giving up something, I pray that we can all press pause and remember just how much we need the cross. If you are looking for a great devotional to use, follow along on shereadstruth.com or download the app. The website offers free devotionals/scripture readings daily while the app charges $2.99 for the plan for its app-functionality. It’s not too late to start.

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Favorite Cali Picture: She certainly was not barking at anything right before this. In fact, she too looks confused as to who was yapping at a blowing leaf. (*eyeroll*)

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Favorite Funnies:

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And finally, congratulations to Kristin H. for winning the giveaway for the gorgeous Wishbone + Gem necklace! We are necklace twins, so fun! Thanks again to Crystal for sharing your talents with my readers!

Until next week – xo!

friday favorites – february 6.

You guys – your overwhelming support and validation over my last post – relapse – reminded me of why it’s SO important for people to be open, vulnerable and authentic. Thank you to everyone who connected with comments and love. I don’t know whether to feel comforted by or cry over the fact that well over a 100 of you reached out and said ‘me too’. To everyone who understands this feeling, I am so sorry. I am so sorry you have felt this too. Now, I urge us all, don’t get stuck. I know it’s hard, so hard, but please, promise me you will keep moving past the anger. Anger is sticky. Anger is flammable. Anger is toxic. Anger has to be dealt with and is okay to feel, but after a point, we have to dust ourselves off and move past it because otherwise the anger will consume us and we will become permanently bitter. When we begun permanently bitter people, then infertility wins. And under NO CIRCUMSTANCE do we give infertility that power. Stay strong friends and thank you for meeting me in the dirt and reminding me that the roller coasters of emotions are okay.

Now onto Friday Favorites!

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Favorite Flashback: This Jimmy Fallon ‘Saved By the Bell’ sketch this week was the ultimate ‘flashback’. I mean seriously, the original cast members are in their 40’s and they were looking GREAT! Such a fun blast from the past.

Favorite Instagram Pin: Wahhhhh! A few people tagged me so that I saw the new show line made by Sahnda Marie Kids. I mean, look, mini Starbucks Velour shoes. If my heart didn’t already ache for tiny baby things, it’s now official. Aching and loving. If only I could justify this purchase. SO CUTE.

Favorite Tip: I have yet to find a brand of gluten free breadcrumbs that I love for cooking so I make my own! SO EASY! I just buy a bag of gluten free bread (I use Udi’s), throw it on a cookie sheet and toast it in the oven, leave it out for a while so it’s nice and crisp, and then pulse it in a little food processor. I sift out the larger pieces and reblend them until all of the toast is finely powdery. Store them in an air tight container and season as need for each recipe. Sometimes I just add a little salt, or some italian seasoning or leave plain – I make up a batch in bulk and it’s fast and easy and has the same consistency as real breadcrumbs.

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Favorite Date: I got to spend some quality time with my sister this week which was just the best. We took advantage of a groupon at a local bistro and then roamed the mall while catching up. I am so blessed to have a sister who I can have deep, real, meaningful conversation with and our time together just filled me up. She really is amazing (and beautiful).

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Favorite Cali Pic: Cali’s Auntie Bella (yellow lab) drives her a little crazy, but she wouldn’t of course fully admit that. Cali’s hilarious little diva attitude has her thinking that Bella  should play by her rules and I actually think Bella gets a kick out of that. This weekend there were two pictures that made me chuckle – the first, Cali and Bella outside. This was taken right after Bella and Cali got tangled up walking and Bella tried to sit on her. The camera came out, Bella turned into a perfect sitting angel and Cali stood there like “what the heck just happened mom?!”

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The second picture is from when Cali was sitting on the stairs at the cabin and Bella came down to the top of the stairs and wanted to pass her. Cali just wasn’t having it and was completely irritated by this big dog trying to take her stair space. This series made me chuckle.

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Favorite Selfie: I found this awesome fur hat in Josh’s dads truck (SO WARM!) and being the weirdos we are, a husband-wife selfie had to occur. I love this guy.

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Favorite Meal: We got to eat halibut cheeks this weekend, caught from an Alaskan trip Josh’s dad was on and whoa, they were delicious! They tasted like crab claw meat and I am drooling thinking about them right now. SO GOOD. And clearly gone fast because I only got a picture of the last one.

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Favorite New Friend: Wednesday night I got to spend time with my girlfriends, hanging out around the kitchen counter, painting nails, eating snacks, laughing so hard. Finally around 10:30 or 11, we pulled ourselves from the counter and snuggled up on the couch to watch Man in the Moon when my new BFF, Bentley, came over to snuggle with me. I mean, seriously, if Cali only knew, she would be so jealous, but we won’t tell her now will we?

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Favorite FunniesIMG_0035

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That’s it! Hope you have an awesome weekend. I’ll see you next week for our first Q&A series post, plus the first of three February giveaways! YAY! Until next time …