june crushes.

 

Happy June! This has been such a full summer so far! I don’t get to share updates often, so here’s a few summer highlights followed by our June faves and crushes!

  • I traveled with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law to Washington DC for our annual girls trip! Josh and his dad crushed the twin parenting game back home, and I so enjoyed the time away to refuel and adult! Trip highlights: seeing Waitress, yummy food I didn’t have to cook, lots of laughing, time to connect with family, and sightseeing!

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  • We made our first trip to the library to get library cards! They had a ball seeing all the books and other little people!
  • We started a Keto lifestyle in efforts to lose weight, gain more energy, and help with PCOS. I have been using this book for recipes and tipsand have found it INCREDIBLY helpful. Nearly 3 weeks in and it’s been going great!

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  • Kirsten and Logan got their first real bad bug which landed Kirsten in the ER and doctor’s office within a week span. I got it too, but good news is we are all better now!
  • Cali had her last day of school, hehe! (We LOVE our new letterboard from Rustic Rooster Home Goods … grab one on Amazon while the price is discounted and in the process, support a small business owned by our good friends Andrea and Ricky!)

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  • We celebrated Father’s Day, grateful that K & L have the best dad in all the land.

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  • My cousin Brittany and her husband Brad, and their 2 year old son Hudson came up to stay with us for a few days! The kids LOVED the time together. SO. MUCH. FUN.

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  • My sister entered her 3rd trimester and we are getting closer and closer to welcoming our NEPHEW into the family!

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This post includes affiliate links which means if you choose to use a link below to purchase something, our family will receive a small commission. In no way does this affect my opinions or crushes! I thank you in advance because twins ain’t cheap! :) 


Now time, for some June favorites! Click the bolded title to check out the links!

1) LifeDinnerPDF: My friend Maria from @RiaRambles shared this amazing tool (LifeDinnerPDF) her and her husband created and use for date nights and I LOVE IT. One thing Josh and I have learned quickly, is that if we aren’t intentional to keep up with our marriage, parenting together gets a whole lot harder. We love to invest in date nights and these PDF’s outline an awesome way to do that, whether it’s monthly or quarterly. Send it to your significant other and get a reservation on the calendar and CONNECT!

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date night in june!

2) Day Designer Monthly Planner: For those who use academic planners, I love this Target collab from Day Designer and Blue Sky Planners. The monthly is perfect for our family to keep out and share and it’s only $6.99. Hard to find in stores because it goes fast, but in stock online. This is my third year using it as a simply monthly planner in addition to my normal bulky daily one.

3) Soft summer feet: My friend Jana told me about this foot cream and these loose heel socks for sleeping and it has done WONDERS for my heels, especially in the summer when we are wearing flip flops and going barefoot more often. A little goes a long way and it has softened some ugly cracks and dry spots overnight!

4)My Soul Sings Out album: My church Eagle Brooke released a worship cd and me and the kids love singing along and praising Jesus! One of our favorites is “No Not Once.”

5) Starbucks at home – Keto style: My friend introduced me to this drink and I am in love! I make a big pot of Tazo Passion Iced Tea (grab the bags here for cheap!),and then add alittle lemonade Mio drops (find them here)and then I love to add some La Croix for a little fizz! (Berry is delish, but Tangerine is fun too! I don’t discriminate, they are all great!). OR to make it a Keto pink drink, sub the La Croix for a little heavy whipping cream! You may want a touch of Stevia to sweetened … or not! But it’s SO yummy!

6) Native Deodorant: Okay, months ago I reached out and asked for suggestions for a natural, well-working deodorant because mine was NOT cutting it. And you guys gave me soooo many suggestions, a repetitive one being Native! Well, months later, I’m here to say thank you! I have been using it for months now and it reallllly works. Paraben free, cruelty free, aluminum free, free shipping, and they even offer mini sizes perfect for your perfect or diaper bag … I have been so impressed. If you want to grab some to try – free returns if it doesn’t float your boat.

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Now onto the kiddos recent favorites!

1) Stack and Tumble Elephant: My kiddos got this toy for their birthday from family friends and it’s a daily staple! We have so much fun putting the rings on and taking them off (repeat x 1000) and making them fall off, and twisting the ears, and kissing it’s nose … they LOVE him!

2) Little Tikes 4 in 1:The kiddos have been loving their bikes this summer! Bonus for us – there’s an adjustable handle and cup holder so we can strap them in and push them. Since they can’t reach the peddles yet, there’s a foot rest that comes off when they can. It will adapt itself all the way into a little trike for them as they grow. An investment but so well worth it!

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3) Matching shirts: Because is anything cuter than matching kids? Girls tank here and boys tee shirt here. We got to match our cousin Hudson too! So fun!

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4) Just a Handful of Olives:My kids love olives and I love throwing these Trader Joe’s packs in my purse to feed on the go (cut in half so they don’t choke.) .99 cents a bag and delish!

5) Declan Roe: We just found out about this adorable boutique that sells children’s clothes and also, donates 15% of profits  to IVF and adoption families. Check out these PRECIOUS outfits my kiddos wore this weekend from them!

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BONUS: Hanna Andersson jammies … because we just love the quality and well, matching. Lemon jammies are a must! Here’s a coupon for 20% off your order. Don’t forget to use your Ebatesto save even more (and if you’re a first time user, get a free $10 cash with this link!)

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Whoa, that’s long. If you’ve stuck around, thanks for reading!!!! I appreciate you! Sometimes I just need to brain dump!

Upcoming posts this summer in addition to the What It’s Like series:

– surviving exclusively pumping – tips, tricks, and how to manage.

– traveling guide for Washington DC

– tips for teething toddlers: what we’ve learned

– favorite books + resources for quiet time as a busy mom. What does it look like?

– marriage tips + transitioning into parenthood … as we celebrate 13 years of marriage next month!

Thanks for staying along for the ride!

we rock.

My hands are wrist high with soapy water. Exhausted, I start to wash the final load of bottles for the day. The house is quiet as we clean up the last few parts of our day before heading up to bed. I shift my weight and stretch my back. It’s been a busy day of activity and I am tired.

Your cry cuts through the sound of running water.

“Logan?” I ask your dad as he pauses by the video monitor.

You don’t wake often so we stop and watch you for a few seconds, wondering why you’ve woken, as your cries get louder. We both turn to go upstairs, but I move faster and trot up the stairs, creeping quietly into your dark nursery where your cries have pierced the silence.

Mommmmmmma!!!! You scream out, arms raised and I gently scoop you up, wrapping you in my arms the way a toddler would a teddy bear.

You exhale a gigantic sigh and your body goes limp against my chest. Your cries stop and you nuzzle into my neck as you breathe heavily, your arms wrapping against mine.

Shhhhshhhhshhhhh. I whisper quietly into your hair, stroking your back and feeling the weight of your body pressing into mine. I make my way to the rocker and sink into the plush seat, still holding onto you tightly and feel your tiny dimpled hands reach up into my hair, now in a mangled pony and your little fingers begin to twirl my flyaway’s.

We begin to rock.

You whimper a gentle moan of comfort and I instantly know how safe you feel here. I am your momma. Your safe place. Your calming force. I feel you get heavier and I savor this moment.

You, my sweet boy, don’t need momma like this often. You are a good sleeper and resist the temptation to pause during the day to cuddle. But here you lie in my arms and I breathe you in. It was bath night and you smell of lavender and baby shampoo. You are warm, just like your daddy, always running hot. Your fingers continue to play with my hair as I kiss your sweet little head. I marvel at how perfectly you seem to fit into my shoulder. It’s almost as if there’s a puzzle there and you are my missing piece.

A few feet away I hear your sister stirring in her crib, her hands fumbling to find the nearest pacifier and she goes quiet again as she drifts back to sleep.

I feel your chest moving up and down, breathing in my presence and slowly your fingers stop twirling and your arm drops limply on my arm. You are asleep and while I know I should move you back to your crib and go finish the dishes, I stay a little longer.

I want to memorize this moment. I want to memorize how you feel in my arms, how delicate you smell. As I press my lips into your hair, I want to always remember how big, yet tiny you feel in my arms. I squeeze my eyes closed, trying to remember what it felt like to be holding 4 pound 11 ounce you in my arms 49 weeks ago. It’s a blurry memory and I panic as I fear this moment becoming a distant moment too.

Oh sweet boy, you are my joy. Your smile reaches every part of your face and you continue to amaze me every day. I continue to run my hand over your back and wonder how long you’ll let me snuggle you. I’ve seen how fast this year has gone and I don’t want to take a moment for granted. These are the times we prayed for years to experience and now they are here and I feel like they are going too fast.

You flip your head and press your other cheek against my skin and begin to blow the tiniest spit bubbles and I smile at the noise. You are just like your momma, I’ve been told I blow spit bubbles too.

Thank you Jesus. I pray silently, feeling as if I am in a holy moment. After years of wondering if I would ever be a mom, this moment is sacred. I squeeze my eyes tightly as I remember the shots, the appointments, the phone calls containing bad news, the negative pregnancy tests, the positive pregnancy tests, the bleeding, the aching, the sorrow. I remember wanting to give up, but the thought of never having this was too big a risk. We pressed on and nearly a decade later, here we rock. Oh sweet boy, you and your twin sister are my miracles.

I hear your dad downstairs quietly banging around, unloading the dishwasher, and I know he is smiling, knowing I am getting these precious snuggles, snuggles we both savor and fight over, knowing how prized they are.

We continue to rock and I stroke your fingers, marveling at how big they have become over the months.

Who will you become? Your adventurous spirit has me nearly certain you will keep me on my toes all the time. Your curiosity will spark inevitable trouble and I know you will do big things in your life. I hope you always make time for me. I pray you never tire of talking to me, sharing your day with me, letting me hug you tightly and continue to smile at my silly dance moves. I pray the woman you fall in love with someday loves Jesus and our family, and I pray that I never have to worry about whether you know how loved, special, unique, and cared for you are.

A tear slips down my cheek and blends into your tiny blonde hairs. You are so little. You are so big. You are my miracle.

We rock on.

These are the moments worth more than gold. This is as good as it gets on this side of heaven.

So we stay here longer and rock.

And rock.

And rock.

This is my dream come true.

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photo by molly shields photography

 

what it’s like to.

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A few months ago I was lying in bed when an idea hit me. I wanted to read people’s stories, hear their voices, invite others into their world. I wanted to dive into words written by people just like you and me, sharing their passions, their journeys, and their lives.

Fast forward a handful of weeks later and here we are. My dream became a reality and I am excited to share that over the next 7 months, twice a week, we’ll have the chance to do just that – read other people’s stories here. Some of them are fun things – exciting life experiences or creative careers. Others are deep and heavy, challenging to read yet important to gain empathy and perspective on.

All of these posts will be written by real people, not necessarily writers, but people who are brave enough to open themselves up and give us an inside peek at a unique part of their lives. To those contributing, we thank you in advance for sharing! You are my hero!

I have always been passionate about people sharing their stories. Story telling welcomes transparency, vulnerability, and allows people the chance to say “me too”. And while there will be many you don’t or can’t relate to, I think reading others stories gives us a unique idea on how to support those in our lives who are walking in their shoes.

Every story matters. And I hope you are as excited about these next several months as I am. Help me cheer on these brave story-tellers, letting them know they aren’t alone if you understand their world, or congratulating them on the story they are living. Each of these pieces makes up a beautiful puzzle of real life. Piece we often don’t see posted on social media, stories that aren’t flashy or fancy or going viral, but that are real, genuine, heartfelt, painful, sacred, messy, and a triumph. These story-tellers are all warriors in their own way, undertaking either a passion or a burden with grace and perseverance, and letting us inside their walls. Let these stories remind you that no life is perfect and assumptions rarely tell the whole part of the story. I hope these stories inspire conversations and spark something in you to look at the story you are leading and find value in its ups and downs.

To get you excited, I wanted to share with you the topics that are ahead in this “What It’s Like to…” series. The diversity is abundant and I’d love to hear some of the topics you are most excited to read about!

Of course, laced throughout this series will still be me – writing as usual and sharing my world and heart, both about the messiness of infertility, motherhood, and the extraordinary amount of grace I need daily. So don’t go anywhere, 2018 is going to be a good blog year.

Just so you don’t miss a single post, be sure to be following me over on Facebook, Instagram, and click on the right hand side (desktop) or at the bottom (mobile) to sign up to receive emails with blog posts as they go live! We will kick things off on THIS Friday and I can’t wait!

Here are the stories we are going to get to tell and read about!

What it’s like to ….

  • experience Multiple Failed IVFs
  • raise a child with special needs
  • use an egg donor
  • to be a DIY-er and home style blogger
  • work in a NICU
  • Live Fully in Singleness While Still Hoping for Marriage
  • have endometriosis
  • experience depression
  • start a company
  • be a parent of a micro preemie
  • lose a parent
  • be childless not by choice
  • have a pregnancy with severe hyperemesis
  • have a spouse with a chronic illness
  • work and live in another country
  • navigate through infertility treatment while being a minority
  • have a traumatic birth
  • take a natural route to infertility
  • be on a reality show
  • go through the adoption process
  • raise a twinless twin
  • have male factor infertility
  • be a stay at home mom
  • be an entertainer
  • be given a Down Syndrome diagnosis
  • experience multiple miscarriages
  • be a dietitian
  • use a surrogate
  • experience a fullterm stillbirth.
  • be a police officer’s wife
  • be a fitness mogul
  • be a breastfeeding mother
  • have PPD after infertility
  • being a working mom
  • adopt an embryo Pt 1
  • donate an embryo. Pt 2
  • be on a reality show
  • go through the fostering process
  • throw a themed dinner party
  • have PCOS
  • be the husband in an infertile couple
  • have a cancer diagnosis
  • have an addiction
  • love someone who’s experiencing infertility
  • be a new mom when all your friends are new grandmothers.
  • be a military mom and step mom
  • experience secondary infertility
  • go through post pardum anxiet
  • experience a traumatic loss
  • be a single parent
  • be a high school teacher in 2018
  • be pregnant with a rainbow baby
  • be a military wife
  • experience a failed adoption
  • have a pre-viability stillbirth
  • beat infertility

Y’all ready for this!? I AM! Let the sharing begin!

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maternity pictures.

Warning: This post contains a whole bunch of maternity shoot photos and may be a trigger for those still struggling with infertility. Proceed with caution or skip over entirely. And know I am sending you BIG HUGS.

A few weekends ago, my dear friend Gina Zeidler came over into our home and gifted us with a full morning of maternity photos taken. For Josh and I, it was an unbelievably surreal morning. Gina is simply the best and turned what felt like such foreign territory and made it so much fun. We laughed, we cried, and we celebrated. It was such a beautiful time together. We are so thankful to her talent and generosity to bless us with these precious moments forever captured.

We will spare you from sharing nearly 200 pics, but here are some of our faves from the morning!!

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“Hey Mom, what’s going on with this bump?”

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This sign was the first thing Josh bought for the babies after we found out I was pregnant.

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This book is SO special. And a reminder of where our blessings come from!

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We received these onesies as a gift when we first shared our pregnancy news, as did we these gorgeous blankets made by Josh’s Grandma. These will be forever keepsakes!

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“Now what’s happening again??”

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Baby Twin bump at 28+4

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Our friend Kaylynn got us these perfect onesies! Can’t wait to put the little nuggets in them. :)

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From the beginning our hearts have been filled with so much laughter – disbelief and joy!

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My sister-in-law surprised us with these onesies – TOO CUTE! Womb Mates for SURE!

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My precious family of 5.

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Cali kisses for the babies!

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Hi Babies! Mommy loves you!

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Josh recently built our family this kitchen table and we love that it will now become the gathering place for so many memories, laughs, tears, devotions and meals.

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Every morning we get up and walk into the nursery and say “Good Morning” to Cali’s baby brother and sister. She’s going to be such a good big sister. :)

These photos are so US. We love that they were captured in our home, in regular clothes, with bare feet and coffee, water, and Cali close at hand. We are so incredibly blessed and don’t take a single minute for granted. <3


“Let the Adventure Begin” sign custom designed and made with love by our friend Ashley from Graced and Co.
Maternity Dress from Shop Pink Blush.

sneak peek: nursery, playroom + bathroom.

Who is ready for a sneak peek of our nursery, playroom, and babies bathroom!? We are so elated that we have been able to take an upstairs den, my old library/office, and guest bathroom and turn them into spaces for our babies to grow up in. And while we still have a few final details to finish, we just can’t wait any longer to show you! (And truthfully, the final details are low on my priority list as my belly grows and my eyes have a greater desire to be shut then opened, hehe!)

So without further ado …

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Here’s a peek from the doorway! We went with a mint, navy, pink, white, and gold theme … how’s that for a variety!? Haha! But we love the way it turned out. We feel like it’s complementary to both genders but also a serene, peaceful place to sleep.

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(Photo by Gina Zeidler)

Cali is ready for her brother and sister to arrive! Every morning we walk into the nursery and say hello and good morning to the babies. She now stops at the door before we head downstairs if I forget.

(And YES, when they start climbing and moving, we will rearrange the cribs so that there isn’t any risk factors with the in-between space between the two.)

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Our glider also is a recliner which is HEAVENLY and I am certain will be used and appreciated for the long nights ahead. It’s sooo comfy!

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The bins at the bottom are SO useful as we are realizing BABIES HAVE SO MUCH STUFF.

IMG_2082Our dear friend Janell blessed our family with these gorgeous hand crocheted blankets + matching elephants. Both of these bring us so much joy and we couldn’t love her more for loving our kids as much. How cute are they!? (You can follow her work on Instagram at @littlevernfieldcompany)

IMG_2080Our friend Ashley Dumler from Graced and Co custom gifted and designed this gorgeous piece of art for our family and we couldn’t love it more. For so long, we were on the journey towards parenthood and now we are ready for the ADVENTURE of parenthood. You can be encouraged by her heart on Instagram at @ashleydumler or check out her website and shop at www.gracedandco.com.

Josh spotted these mobiles and they are perfect! As a hunter, he noticed immediately that our daughters mobile has does on it, with bows in their hair, and our sons mobile has bucks, with antlers on top. It’s a detail I never would have noticed but one that we both love. Also, they play the song that my teddy bear as a child played, which is a fun thing to pass on.

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I love how the lighting turned out in here. We are able to add a little gold glimmer to the ceiling and it’s so pretty when it’s on. We have it on a dimmer as well so we can control the brightness.

IMG_2083This wall is kind of boring, as it’s just our dresser and changing table! This is one spot that still needs a lot of organizing TLC because I just don’t know how to best organize all of it! I have to nestle our wipes warmer in somehow and rearrange some of the not-every-day items … I wanted something simple above it like a mirror because every baby I know loves seeing a glimpse of themselves!

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We replaced the boring white knobs with gold glass knobs and love how it finishes off the dresser!

View More: http://ginazeidler.pass.us/ritchiematernityamenCali has definitely claimed this pouf as her own already haha. (Photo by Gina Zeidler) I really like having the pouf vs. a glider ottoman because with the chair gliding, it helps me control the amount of “swing” I have going on. It’s super light weight and can easily be moved to the side too when the recliner goes up.

A special thanks to my girl Lindsay over at frillsanddrills.com (Instagram @frills_and_drills) for helping us create a room mock up to try out different styles and colors … she made life so much easier!)

And now onto the playroom! This room is right off of our main living space and we are thankful we have a spot like this.

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When you walk into the play room, this storage space is to your right and houses everything from extra bankets to toys to books and other misc items! You can see the babies already have a few stuffed animals and trinkets to play with! :)

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A wall of storage … we love the natural light that comes in! I still want to find some art for the left hand side, as well as cover the top in foam with the fabric on top … on the list! :)

IMG_2069Josh and I put up these sticker wall decals to invite some friends to the party! :) We love how it turned out!

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As a book lover, having places to display their books was a must! We will routinely swap these out for new ones they have. Already I have read most of these out loud to Cali/Josh/the babies. They are all SO cute!

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We have a chair in the corner (that I need to recover) and this is the view from it.

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We found this changing area on clearance and have heard it’s super nice to have a changing station on the main floor as well. I need to finish organizing it and adding a spot for the wipes (a small shelf on the wall? Any other ideas?). The green basket next to it I plan to fill with some snacks for me to nibble on while breastfeeding/pumping.

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This is one special detail in our playroom that we love. Years ago I had seen a sign similar and sent it to my sister-in-law, who remembered and had one custom made for boy/girl twins. We LOVE it.

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This is another special item in our playroom. It’s a beautiful rocking bear made in Poland that my grandparents had set aside for many years for us. It’s incredibly unique. It’s sturdy and soft, made from a gorgeous wool, and we love the special touch it adds to the playroom!

And we are SO excited to share that our beautiful finished PRAYER PUZZLE that SO MANY OF YOU participated in, is now framed and ready to be hung above the changing table in the playroom. We absolutely love that you will all be a part of our daily life – your prayers have been instrumental in our miracle and we feel so incredibly blessed that each of these thousand pieces have had a sponsoring friend/family/stranger committing to praying for our babies. This is my favorite thing ever.

And last up, the kiddos bathroom!

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This room was pretty easy to transition as it was just adding some splashes of color.

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We know it will be a little while before bath toys are used, but we are ready! :) We just need to put their baby baths in this tub but know we have a little time!

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I am still trying to figure out what will be handy to have easy access too. Most of their bath items (washcloths, towels, etc) are organized under the sink.

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A few little fun details. This “For this Child…” sign comes from a gift I received. A friend, Jessica, nominated me to win this, and I won! A special thanks to @august.and.april for this beautiful gift! And the music box/snow globe was a special gift from my grandparents that we got the day we shared we were pregnant. So special!

Truly, every time we pass one of these rooms, we can’t help but pinch ourselves because our home FINALLY has rooms with real, live babies coming its way! It’s so surreal and we can’t say THANKS enough to everyone who has so generously helped us fill them with goodies, clothes, diapers, toys, and practical items for the kiddos. We are so grateful.


Nursery: Cribs, Dresser, and Recliner – Buy Buy Baby, Baby Bedding and Crib Skirts – Sweet Jo Jo Designs (available on Amazon), Pouf – The Land of Nod, Storage Unit – Ikea, Bins, Artwork and wall decor (other than custom sign), pillow, lamps and side table – Target, Chandelier – Cost Plus World Market, Dresser Knobs – Home Depot, Black out curtains – Pottery Barn Kids, Laundry basket and garbage can – Home Goods, Mirror – At Home.

Playroom: Changing table – Buy Buy Baby, Storage Unit and Book racks – Ikea, Bins and curtains – Target, Lamp shades – At Home, Playroom wall art – Home Goods, Wall Decals – Amazon.

Bathroom: Shower curtain and green rug – Ikea, Blue Rug – Target, 2 set of bathroom prints – Hobby Lobby. 

(surprise) baby shower #2.

I’m falling behind on my blogging! Eeeeek! Expect a few baby-related posts to come your way over the next few days as I play catch up. :) One exciting thing to celebrate – we are officially into our 29th week! YAHOO! Here’s a little pic of the baby bump from this afternoon.

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Side note – thank you all SO much for all of your prayers support, encouragement, and messages sent our way after sharing the news about our little girl’s IUGR. I am so pleased to share that our appointment last Thursday went awesome, and both her and her brother passed all of the tests with scores of 10/10. (Essentially they go through 5 different “tests”, each being a pass/fail worth 2 points. They each have to score 8/10 or above in order to go home as an “all good!”.)  Our next testing day is tomorrow (Friday) and we hope to have the same results!

Now, time to dig in and share about a SURPRISE Baby Shower we were thrown on March 12th by my sister! Josh and I always attend church at 2:00 pm on Sunday, and little did we know, while we were at church, my sister Courtney and her fiance Dave were over, turning our home into a celebration zone!

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Our sneaky decorators!

A surprise shower, you ask? Well, traveling hasn’t been possible for me this pregnancy, and Courtney wanted to give both my friends and family in Chicago (where I am from) and my online community throughout the US, a chance to celebrate with us, even though I couldn’t be with them all in person. She got a hold of my Christmas label list and sent my people this adorable, sweet card.

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So little did I know, so many of those we care about, were in cahoots with her, sending cards, books, and special presents to celebrate us. SO SPECIAL!

When we arrived home from church, our home was decorated, snacks were out, and both my parents and Courtney and Dave were ready and waiting to yell SURPRISE and jump into celebrating these twins. It was such a surprise and so incredibly special!

Here’s a few pictures!


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And both my mom and sister, in attempts to making it feel as shower-like as possible, took the time to WRAP all of the gifts in cute baby shower paper which just added such a personal and special element to the celebration.

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“is all this for me!?” -cali

 

It was so fun to open each card and read each note and see the names of those who really made a point to celebrating us. We read each note out loud and both Josh and I were just so blown away by the kindness and generosity of those who care about us and these babies. It also was SO fun to be able to have Josh there to go through each gift with me and have him help too, especially since most baby showers are mom-only. So he equally got to enjoy all of the special moments! We spent a lot of time giggling over the tiny little everything and passed gifts around, my parents and Courtney and Dave oooohing and ahhhhing over the softness of this swaddle, or that blanket, or laughing with us over a book title. It was so relaxed and laid back, really such a perfect way to spend an afternoon!

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We got such a kick out of this book “Fraturtles” that explains what fraternal twins are to a pair of twin turtles.

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Everything tiny, like these little robes….yes please!

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SO grateful to have gotten one of our car seats!

We were so blessed by each thoughtful item sent and knowing that so many are celebrating our miracles with us. THANK YOU to each of you who participated … we were so blessed by this beautiful display of love and generosity.

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Time to get out the selfie stick and capture this special day! Wish you all could have been here in person to celebrate! 

10 ways to keep your relationship thriving.

View More: http://ginazeidler.pass.us/ritchieminisession2015

When EmpowHer reached out to me to see if I was interested in writing a piece about how to keep your relationship thriving through infertility struggles, the answer was a resounding YES! Because I have seen time and time again how the stresses of infertility can impact a relationship. Add together all of the elements of the struggle, the emotional, financial, hormonal, physical, and spiritual stressors, and if you aren’t careful, you have so many ingredients for conflict.

So, I happily dove into writing a list, 10 ways to make your relationship thrive, which you can read by clicking this link below:

Trying For a Baby? 10 Ways to Keep Your Relationship Thriving

(And by clicking and reading, it always is a great way of letting them know you enjoy reading what I am writing, hence continued gigs, so thank you!)

But continue reading here… because there is a #1 that I wasn’t able to include in this list and it shouldn’t surprise you … the best way to make your relationship thrive through infertility or ANY struggle, is to make sure that it’s rooted in Christ.

Without Jesus as the center of your marriage, conflict will give the devil a foothold to sneak in and cause so much distress. We have to keep in mind who created marriage – God! Which means your relationship is a spiritual relationship that works best when the two of you are connected with Jesus, taking time to walk with Him, read His Word, pray together, and seeking His will for your lives. When we ignore putting Him first, we ultimately are ignoring the one who created marriage and knows how to best make it work.

So, as you go through and read my list, keep in mind that yes, all of those things will help you create a thriving relationship, but nothing will help you THRIVE and SURVIVE more than Jesus.

Josh and I find it crucial to get to church together every weekend, taking time to talk about the message and engage in worship together. We love serving together, volunteering in our church cafe and giving back to the church. We know how important small groups are and throughout our years, have participated in ones separately and together. Right now we are both in Bible Study Fellowship (BSF), him doing the men’s only class and me in the women’s only class – both doing the same study, so we have a chance to talk about what we are learning. At night we take time to pray together. We certainly aren’t perfect by any means, but we truly try to make it a priority to keep Christ at the center of our relationship and in our choices. When you take the time to put God in the daily parts of your lives, it becomes easier to bring Him into the big stuff. It changes the way we talk to one another, the level of love and respect that we show each other, and keeps our goals in check with what we feel He wants for our family.

Not there with your spouse today? That’s okay! It’s as simple as a daily prayer, asking God to help become the center of your marriage. One book I have loved is Power of a Praying Wife, which has helped equip me on how to be praying for Josh daily. But there are so many great books out there for couples to read together! Like this one, this one, or this one.

Happy reading!


Photo taken by Gina Zeidler