Gift Guide for HER.


I couldn’t help myself, I had to share an old picture of Baby K because THOSE CHEEKS!!!!

We have a tradition in my groups of friends to give gifts called “Favorite Things”. We wrap up a box filled with some of our favorite things from the last year. Everyone has different budgets for different people, so I wanted to share with you a roundup of some of MY favorite things for the year! I hope you find this fun and also, inspirational! As I started to pull link + images, I was SHOCKED at how marked down some of it is – well below the listed price below as we approach the holidays. Scoop things up fast – they won’t stay on the shelves long!

PS – I wrote this before Black Friday deals were going on, so the prices you can snag these for will be even BETTER! Whoooohooooo!

Happy shopping!

Under $15


Pottery Barn Plaid Alphabet Mug ($8)


Kate Spade Initial Notebook ($12)


Pop Socket for iPhone ($10)


Everyday Baking Dish $10

line a day

One Line a Day Memory Book ($10)


Anthrolopologie Voluspa Macaron Mini Candle ($13)

gilmore girls

Gilmore Girls tee-shirt on sale! ($8)


Urban Decay Travel Size Eye Shadow Primer ($13)


Crate and Barrel Ruffle Dip Bowl ($8)

Under $30


Blinc Mascara ($29)


Madewell Gemline Stud Earrings ($18)


New Morning Mercies Devotional ($23)


90 Degree By Reflex – High Waist Power Flex Legging – Tummy Control


Sephora Favorites Lashstash To Go Set ($28)


Mellanni Bed Sheet Set ($29)


Old Navy Canvas Tote Bag ($30)


Hope in the Dark book ($20)


Tarte Shape Tape Concealer ($27)


Native Travel Sample Pack (5 scents) $24


Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray ($22)


Exposed Spine Cloth Journal ($18)

Under $50


Hanna Andersson pajama pants ($30-43)


Plaid Electric Blanket ($40)


ESV Study Bible ($43)


BaBylissPRO Nano Titanium Travel Dryer ($34)


Loft Open Pocket Cardigan ($50)


Clinique Pretty Brow Palette ($34.50) 

Under $100


Ugg Slippers ($100)


Day Designer 2019 Planner ($64)


Earth Zane Slip on Sneaker ($87 sale price)


Kate Spade Initial Necklace ($60)


Down Comforter ($110)  – OKAY, I know this is over but this blanket was the best gift I received this year and I LOVE IT.

This post contains affiliate links that help support this blog and our family if you choose to use them for your purchases. I send you a GIGANTIC thank you if you do! 

fun news: we are moving!

This post is sponsored by Opendoor.

Pssst….. can I tell you something?

We are moving.


Stick with me here, this is a fun story laced with different ways we saw God in the small stuff.

So, when we moved into our current home, it was supposed to be the home we stayed in forever and ever. And then we had kids and realized there were a few tweaks that we’d like which would make life easier, like not having vaulted ceilings from the living room to the kid’s bedroom door and this little thing called MORE STORAGE.

I digress.

We imagined we would move when the kids were older, in school, when things like showings and packing would be “easier” and our home wouldn’t be so littered with toddler stuff.

But then it all started with a sentence, the one when your husband looks a little nervous to say what he’s about to say because he has no clue what your reaction will be.

“Hey honey, I have been praying about maybe us moving a little sooner than we planned.”

“No.” (Clearly I gave it a lot of thought.)

My reasons were limitless: we are entering into the quieter real estate season, the thought of packing up for showing was exhausting, the concept of keeping a house clean with 2 18-month old twins – impossible. Besides, just the mere consideration of actually selling the house and having to do all of the random tasks (carpet cleaning, wall patching, etc.) was just too much for this momma to think about.

He explained that it was a nudging put in his heart a few weeks ago and he decided to just start praying about it and in return, felt like God was beginning to encourage his heart that this was a good thing.

Gah, how do you argue with God?

I told him I still felt like this wasn’t the right time, but would join him and prayer and we’d regroup in a week.

And of courseeeeee, God started dropping us small and big signs in ways only He can do and it quickly became apparent that this really was His timing and my stubborn fear of all of the what-ifs would be handled by Him. I won’t go into all the ways and reasons, but let’s just say after a week of us praying together about it, God gave us both not only peace, but excitement for this change for our family. We found the most perfect lot, just a few miles away, with land for the kiddos to explore as they grow up, and after putting money down, learned our new neighborhood is filled with families we know and love who just moved in. It makes me smile as I type this because He just reassured us so much and I love how personal He is.

Okay, now the part that makes this momma SOOOOO HAPPY.

Let’s talk selling our house.

Isn’t that always the overwhelming part? Josh came home one day and asked if I had heard about Opendoor. I hadn’t and he filled me in.

Basically, he explained, you contact Opendoor and request an offer on your house. There’s no commitment, you simply give them unique information about your house and then they look at market data to put together an offer . So Josh did just that, he contacted them and a day later, we had an offer. An offer we were really excited about. But it seemed too good to be true?!

We did our own research and once we felt confident their offer was really fair, we signed the contract locking in the offer. After that, Opendoor sent out an awesome team of people to our house and while we were home and playing with the kids, they went through and did an assessment. It was super chill and our home advisor was like “Don’t worry about cleaning and making everything perfect! This is the real Opendoor experience. So just let them come do their thing and don’t sweat it.”

So. Much. Freedom.

There were a couple things they said they would want to do after the house closed, like patch a couple dents our stair gate caused, and switching out this HVAC tubing that was needed due to a code change. They told us how much it would be (a few hundred dollars in our case), and then deducted that from our final offer. It’s all stuff we would have had to do anyways if we sold traditionally so the fact that they were offering to do it themselves made me a happy momma.

Josh and I keep looking at each other because it all seems too good to be true! You guys, we signed the offer and got to pick our closing date, and because we are building, they give us flexibility in changing the closing date as it gets closer if the new house isn’t ready yet. Also, at any point we have the freedom to cancel the deal, however, they are locked in, which alleviates SO MUCH STRESS about a buyer falling out at the last minute of a traditional home sale.

Best part?

No showings.

No cleanings.

No staging.

No strangers running through our house while we park down the street during naptime.

Because Opendoor is buying the house, they handle getting it list-ready once we move out (paint touch ups, carpets cleaning, a deep clean, etc.) and we just get to ENJOY the process of moving. They aren’t flippers, they are just making the process so much easier for families like ours.

Say what!?

Opendoor is new to the Minneapolis area and the timing clearly has been perfect for our family. Not only that, but I seriously think we are saving so much money doing it this way. (They also have markets in across the country in Phoenix, AZ, Dallas-Fort Worth, TX, San Antonio, TX, Las Vegas, NV, Atlanta, GA, Nashville, TN, Charlotte, NC, Raleigh, NC, Orlando, FL, Tampa, FL, Houston, TX, Sacramento, CA, Riverside, CA, Denver, CO, Portland, OR, and Austin, TX.

(I know they also work with buyers but haven’t lived through that experience, but it’s worth checking out if you are looking to buy a home in the New Year!)

So, I couldn’t help but share with you how God answered another prayer for us in making this move a more simple experience than we could have ever imagined AND giving me the chance to focus on what’s to come with the new digs!

Now, framing on our new house begins this weekend (eeeekkkk!) and of course I have to share a few pictures of the process thus far! The kids are SO excited to have some woods to explore and we can’t wait for what’s next! Stay tuned to the blog for more updates in the weeks to come.


12 Books of Christmas …. kiddo edition.


We LOVE books here. And wanted to start a tradition with the kids where they get 12 books wrapped and under the tree. (You can totally do 24 books, from December 1 – December 24th … but… well, budget conscious here, haha. Let’s stick with the 12 days of Christmas.)

I wanted to share with you 12 books we will be wrapping under the tree this year in case it inspires you to pick out any for you and your family (or grandkids … or niece or nephew!)

And keep in mind, you don’t have to do all of them – you can also grab one and wrap it with a pair of Christmas Eve jammies and call it a day!

As always, I included my Amazon affiliate links below and so appreciate when you use them!

Day one: The first Christmas lift a board book

Day two: Merry Christmas, Daniel Tiger!: A Lift-the-Flap Book

Day three: The Spirit of Christmas

Day four: God Gave Us Christmas

Day five: Babies Love Christmas: Lift-a-Flap Board Book

Day six: Itsy Bitsy Christmas: You’re Never Too Little for His Love

Day seven: The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving

Day eight: Construction Site on Christmas Night

Day nine: Elmo’s Countdown to Christmas (Sesame Street) (Lift-the-Flap)

Day ten: Good Night Baby Jesus (Good Night Our World) 

 Day eleven: Little Blue Truck’s Christmas 

Day twelve: Christmas in the Manger     

Bonus suggestions of books we already have:

Usborne Touchy Feely Nativity (I can’t recommend this one enough!)

Curious Baby Curious about Christmas (Curious George touch-and-feel board book) 

Usborne That’s Not My Snowman

I highly suggest, if you are going to order, you do it sooner vs. later because prices seem to soar on holiday-related items the closer to Christmas you wait! :) Happy shopping, wrapping, and reading!






resolve: night of hope.


As some of you know, I recently found out I was selected as a 1 of 6 honorees for the Night of Hope with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association I. AM. FLOORED.

First of all, RESOLVE, for those who don’t know, is a nonprofit patient advocacy organization supporting infertility that is the crème de la crème. RESOLVE provides free support groups in more than 200 communities; is the leading patient advocacy voice; and serves as the go-to organization for anyone challenged in their family building. I love what my friend Candace said to me when talking about me winning this … “It’s like you won an Oscars. This is like the Oscars of the infertility world. This is a BIG deal.”

This honor stands for something so significant that it humbles me to my core.  Everything that I have been a part of over the years, from writing here to connecting people on Instagram and coordinating TTC Exchanges, has been genuine, authentic and done because I don’t think anyone should ever go through this heartache alone.

My purpose has never been awards, fame, or recognition, but simply reminding others that faith + infertility can co-exist, and that they are not alone. I am humbled to stand in line with the other honorees who are accepting awards this weekend, whose lives are drive with a purpose and a passion to help others facing infertility.

There’s a couple of ways you can get involved and support me in this honor, but first, I just need to say THANK YOU. It’s always been our community (YOU!) who have encouraged us to keep telling our story, who prayed us through the hardest days of loss and miscarriage and waiting, and who have always been open to hearing more about this struggle the 1 in 8 couples have.

First – a way you can help:

If you want. RESOLVE is asking my community to make a donation in my honor. $5 is all it takes! Of course it can be more, but if you in any way, have a heart to continue to help others who have stood in our shoes, this is an excellent way.

In addition, your donation is made in my honor and they will be sharing these notes and messages publicly (or privately if you choose!) at the gala, so I would LOVE to see YOUR NAMES up there. It’s one way I could literally have my people with me on this big and exciting night.


If you have ever been a part of an exchange, or read along our story, will you consider making a donation in my honor and sending me a little message to read at the gala? I literally can’t imagine anything better!

Second – a way you can join in:

RESOLVE will be LIVESTREAMING the ceremony and award presentation for friends, family and supporters who could not be in the room with us in NYC on Monday, 11/12/18.

*Note since this is a live event, all times are estimated* EASTERN TIMES

7:30 pm: Program Opening Remarks, Welcome, Video Presentation
7:45 pm- 8:30 pm: Special interviews
8:30 pm- 9:15pm: Hope Awards Presentation

Lastly, here’s a note from the president and CEO of RESOLVE, Barbara Collura:

“RESOLVE is proud to honor Chelsea Ritchie for the important work she has done through her blog and annual TTC exchange for people living with infertility and all those who are challenged in their family building journey. Celebrating these contributions makes the collective message louder and inspires others to get informed, seek support, advocate for change, and take action to reach resolution in their family building journey.”

The Night of Hope brings together more than 400 leaders and influencers in the family building community to “party for a purpose” and bring awareness to RESOLVE’s mission. Past Hope Award honorees include USA Today, Starbucks, Bill and Giuliana Rancic, The View, USA Today, National Public Radio, Self Magazine, CNN Anchor Alisyn Camerota, First Response ®, The Bob Woodruff Foundation, and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. 

Ummm, and somehow little old me fits in here!? This is truly an honor!

So the hubs and I are off to NYC this weekend to celebrate how God has blessed me with this platform and how in the midst of the trials, He truly has brought joy.

James 1:2-4: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”


holiday survival faves.


Welcome to the holiday season! (OMGEEEEE!) Cue all the holiday hoopla! Whether you are a Thanksgiving first then Christmas sort of person, or an “I’m-thankful-for-Christmas!” celebrator, we all know this time of year is pretty crazy. I thought I would share a few of my favorite things in my world that may help you not only survive the holidays, but also thrive with ribbons and glitter!

1. O Come Let Us Adore Him – an advent devotional – by Paul David Tripp. Full disclosure, I haven’t read this yet! But I have another devotional by the author and am blown away. I love having a specific devotional for advent each year (Waiting Here for You by Louis Giglio has been a past favorite!) and it helps me focus on the real reason we are celebrating the Christmas season. These books tend to sell out fast on Amazon (or the prices get jacked), so if you are looking to do something this advent season, now is a great time to snag one!

2. Holiday Survival coffee by Mama Java. I grabbed the snickerdoodle blend because, well, YUM. My house basically smells like heaven. One thing I love about this coffee is that it’s good hot or cold, rewarmed or room temp. Plus I like helping women started and run businesses!


3. Ebates. FRIENDS. I have told you before, if you are shopping online AT ALL, and not using ebates, you are literally throwing away free money. Use this link Chelsea’s link and sign up and once you make a $25 purchase, you’ll get $10 cash back free! Then start on before going to your shopping website destination and you will literally make a % back of your sales. It seems too good to be true, but it’s not. Then share your referral link with your friends! GO. SIGN. UP. NOW. I mean it!


4. Hanna Andersson Jammies. I love nothing more than comfy pajamas and even better, Hanna Andersson offers matching pajamas for the WHOLE family, dogs included! (Here’s ours from last year!). Snag some jammies for your crew during a sale and enjoy a fun new tradition! Plus they are the most comfortable pajamas in the whole world and nearly all my kiddos wear.

PS – Use the link above to shop or this one may offer an additional 20% for first time shoppers!

PPS – Use your ebates when ordering!

5. Fir Candles. I think anything is better when you have the mood set by scent. I love this Festive Fir candle from Target and nothing smells more like Christmas than when there’s a light aroma of pine in the air! (Also a super cute hostess gift for holiday parties!)

6. Something new for you! I know, right now is the time we buy for others, but I have found if I have 1-2 thing I LOVE to wear, it makes getting dressed + out the door for errands a ton faster! I recently learned of a super cute boutique on Instagram (hello free shipping!) called @DrixBoutique. I got this cute poncho top there which has been a go to for traveling, hitting up farmers markets, and running errands. It’s effortless, comfortable, and I want it in every color! You’ll have to check them out!


7. Michael Buble’s classic Christmas album. ENOUGH SAID.

What are some of your holiday survival must haves? I’d love to hear from you below!

This post contains some affiliated links which just means at no cost to you, you can help support my family and the mission of this blog by purchasing through my links. I thank you immensely! 

$10k fertility grant.

6Could you, or someone you love, use $10,000 to put towards fertility treatments? Are you interested in winning this grant by simply sharing your opinion from the comforts of your own home, in your sweats and without having to make a video or jump through any hoops?

If the answer is YES, keep reading!


FertilityIQ is currently giving away one $10,000 grant that can be used towards IVF or another fertility treatment and entering to win it is simple:

  • If you have seen a fertility doctor in the US, go to and click Evaluate your doctor.
  • Complete this anonymous assessment form on your experience with your doctor and clinic. What did you like? What didn’t you? What details can you provide to someone who is searching for the right fit for them?
  • After you complete your assessment, send in proof that you were indeed a patient to the email provide at the end of the assessment. (Think a screenshot of a portal log in, or forwarded email, or photo of a protocol sheet. Nothing confidential!)

THAT’S IT. You are entered and come October 13th, you could be receiving an email that will change your life, or someone you care about, forever.

2 (1)

(Can you imagine being able to GIFT this to someone? Tears.)

These assessments are your way of giving back to the infertility community. It’s like having coffee with a girlfriend who has the inside scoop. When someone is looking for that next step, they come to FertilityIQ to read these assessments and make the right choice for them.


And, there’s also another way to win $2,500 by simply acting as a referrer! If you share about this contest with your friends who may be able to provide an assessment too, and they win after citing you are their referrer, then you get $2,500 to spend at your discretion! SERIOUSLY.

For all of the details, you can hop here. 

So to recap-

  • Go here:
  • Spend 10-15 minutes sharing your experience with a former or current doctor or clinic. (One per couple, one assessment per primary doctor you saw)
  • Do it by October 12th.
  • Share about it with your friends. (Feel free to share this post or steal an image!)

Every person who shares their experience on FertilityIQ is making infertility less isolating. YOU make the difference! It truly is empowering knowing that you can help others!


what it’s like: to beat infertility.

Today’s last and final What It’s Like post is written by me. And it was a doozy. It’s hard to articulate what it’s like to stand on this side of infertility, but here’s my best attempt. It’s beautiful and joyous and messy and hard and confusing and wonderful and transforming and glorious and challenging.


Beating infertility has meant being overwhelmed with gratitude. Jesus answered our prayers in His perfect timing. It’s humbling, really, because I am no more deserving than someone else still waiting. It makes me stop routinely, as in hourly, and thank the Lord because they are here. Kirsten and Logan are here. They are ours. They are tangible answers to prayers. We somehow got through the storm and while there was damage done, we survived. We get to rebuild.


Beating infertility means I parent different. Not better, but different. Late nights rocking a crying teething child provide me opportunities to thank Jesus that I have a child to soothe. I try to savor the little moments more. I don’t take these times for granted because I know not everyone has them, no matter how hard they try. I appreciate these miracles in a deeper way. The feeling of them in my arms is intensified because I remember too well what it was like not to have them in my arms.


Beating infertility has increased my heart of compassion for the infertility community. I now shop in the newborn section and I remember all the times I passed it with tears in my eyes, wondering when it would be my turn. I cringe when I hear a Happy Mother’s Day commercial, knowing while I now get to celebrate it, too many don’t and ache to.  I scan the rows at church during a baby dedication, looking for the couple whose hands are tightly folded together, with tears in their eyes, and I pray for them. I dislike events centered around children. I constantly wonder who is pained by it.

Beating infertility has taught me I can be happy and sad at the same time. I can celebrate the birth of my children and still remember the due date of our three miscarriage children. There are moments I see Logan scrunch his nose and wondering if one of his siblings would have done that too, or if Kirsten would have had a sister with little curls in her hair too. Joy and sorrow aren’t mutually exclusive emotions and I’ve learned to give myself permission to feel both.

Beating infertility reminds me God is faithful and has His own timing that I will never understand. I don’t know why it took us nearly a decade to get here, but the process has made me trust His goodness despite our circumstances.


Beating infertility has laced my relationships with feelings of guilt. I have “graduated” while others are still waiting and heartbroken. I struggle to find the balance of answering how our family is doing without spewing out too much joy in their faces. I have children. You don’t. I want to talk about them. I know how much this hurts you. I am so sorry. I’m still navigating this. What is a good balance and why don’t I remember the “right” things to say?

Beating infertility also means dealing with shame. There’s shame when I am tired and frustrated and need a time out from my kids. There’s shame I feel anything but gratitude when this is what we prayed for. There’s shame to ask others for help, because this is what we wanted. There’s shame in admitting motherhood isn’t as easy as I thought.

Beating infertility gives us a heart to pray regularly for those who need our prayers. We wouldn’t be here unless it was for the community of people who gathered around us and prayed for these moments. Someone came up to me today and asked if my husband was Josh. When I said yes, her eyes filled with tears and she said “I don’t know you, but I have been praying for you for years.”


It’s taught me to pray for people that don’t know I am praying for them. I get to be a part of their team without them even knowing it. I get to be a part of their story and watch God work.


Beating infertility has complicated my identity. For years I was that infertile girl. Now I am a mother. I am now responsible for two little lives. I have had to learn in a 180 degree manner how to be completely unselfish. I have had to give up things I love for two little ones I love more. I am the best version of myself and the worst version of myself. I at times miss the things I used to have time for, yet wouldn’t change my life for anything. I am still trying to figure out how to be Chelsea when all my roles and duties have shifted.


Beating infertility causes me to wrestle.  I wrestle with emotions that come with someone’s pregnancy announcement, even though I have had one myself. I still have to suppress the cringe when someone says they got pregnant without even trying. My heart aches at baby showers, wondering who in the room is hurting, struggling with infertility or secondary infertility. I don’t know if I will ever “get over” the tenderness. I still am uncomfortable.

Beating infertility has made me cherish the hard times. A 3 a.m cry is music to my ears. We have babies in the nursery. A difficult c-section recovery, complete with the need for a second surgery, was embraced, because it meant I had children. A baby with a cold is a gift. I am the one who gets to comfort her and sit in the steamy shower with her. It takes me way too long to get out of the house (and entails so much sweat), but I get to walk around Target with my children. They are here.

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Beating infertility has taught me to my need to trust God as a parent. I have to admit, our infertility journey causes me to resort quickly to feelings of anxiety and fear when it comes to worrying about the future. The emotions of grief and loss threaten to steal my joy and I am afraid I am going to end up back there. Because of this, I have had to put into action the commands of Philippians 4:8 and spend my time focusing on “…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, excellent or praiseworthy…”.

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Infertility tried to break me. I can truthfully say there were so many days I didn’t think I would be here, yet here we are. I am finally a mom on this side of heaven. Thank you Jesus for Kirsten and Logan!

“Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Psalm 30:5

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19


Hi! I’m Chelsea, creator of this blog, Trials Bring Joy, and co-author of In the Wait’. I’m a Midwestern girl who loves connecting with others about infertility, motherhood, and living authentically. I’ve been married to Josh for double-digits years and recently welcomed twins, Kirsten and Logan, to our family after nearly a decade of waiting and loss. I love a good cup of coffee, a cozy bookshop and mindless reality TV. I co-authored a devotional called  My heart finds joy in untangling the trials in life and allowing God to help me find beauty every day. You can connect with me on Facebook and Instagram @chels819. I absolutely LOVE connecting with each of you! 

PS – Check out the other contributions from this series, including What It’s Like: to experience multiple IVF cyclesraise a child with special needsuse an egg donorbe a DIY-er and home style blogger , be a NICU nurse,  Live fully in singleness while still hoping for marriagesuffer with endometriosis. experience depressionstart a company, have a micro preemie,  lose a parent, be childless not by choice, have a spouse with a chronic illnessfund raise for fertility treatments, have a traumatic birthing experience, take a natural route with infertility,  be on a reality show, go through the adoption process, have male factor infertility,be a stay at home mom, be an entertainer,  be given a Down syndrome diagnosis for your child , experience multiple miscarriages, have a surrogate, experience a late pregnancy stillbirth, be a police officers wife, be a working mom , be a breastfeeding mother, have weight loss surgerydonate and adopt an embryo,  be on a reality show, go through the fostering process, throw a themed dinner party , have PCOS, have had a cancer diagnosis,be a high school teacher,love someone who’s experiencing infertility, be a step-parent, be the husband in a couple experiencing infertility , experience secondary infertility,experience postpartum anxiety,experience a traumatic loss,be a single mom,have a child born with cancer, be pregnant with a rainbow baby, and experience a failed adoption