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!

niaw: listen up.

 

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April 23-29 marks an important week in the infertility world, as it is National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW). I know there’s a lot of months and weeks out there for so many great causes, and this one is near and dear to my heart, as it’s a wonderful time for people to start talking, begin uniting, work towards educating others about what infertility is, all it entails, and who it effects. I am a blessed one – as our story has been public for many years and we have an amazing community around us following along, asking great questions, listening when we need it, and walking through the highs and lows with us.

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Let’s get real about infertility for a minute: Infertility affects 1 in 8 couples. Now, we throw numbers and stats out a lot in today’s society that they can begin to lose their power. But think about it. If you are sitting in a room with 16 of your girlfriends, there are 2 of them who are likely personally affected by infertility or secondary infertility. This reality doesn’t care what job you have, how much you want to be a parent, your income, race, or social status. It breaks the hearts of all parties involved and leaves many left wondering why me? Why can everyone else around me have 1, 2, 3, 4 kids and we can’t? Infertility may be woven into female diagnosis, male factors, or simply unknown reasons. It weaves in emotions like fear, shame, confusion, depression, heartache, physical and emotion ailments, jealously, brokenness, sorrow, anger, and immense grief.

When you are struggling with infertility, it isn’t a part-time battle. It wrecks your world, day in and day out. You are constantly caught off guard with triggers, whether it’s observing a mother and child at the store, watching tv and catching a precious, but heartbreaking Pampers commercial, passing a pregnant women in the parking lot, or receiving (yet another) baby shower invitation. Some couples choose to share their stories and other couples keep their battles private, suffering silently and feeling the immense need to constantly put on the “happy face”.

Now back to NIAW. RESOLVE is the association that manages this week ahead and the theme this year is “Listen Up”. (You can read all about their intentions for the theme in this link.) When I first heard the theme though, my mind didn’t jump to the need for legislature to listen up (although that is important). It didn’t jump to the idea that insurance companies or fertility specialists need to listen up, although again, important factors. My brain immediately recognized the importance of those around us – our intimate community – needing to listen up.

In a battle as tough as infertility, it is critical that we have the support of those around us – those who support us and those who are struggling themselves. Isolation will create only that, feelings of being alone. And with a statistic as staggering as 15% of couples struggling, you are anything but alone.

If you are reading this today as someone who has never been touched by the struggles of infertility personally, thank you for taking the time to increase your knowledge. As you go through life, it’s inevitable that you will cross paths with someone who is struggling with infertility and your desire to build your awareness is critical. Be willing to listen to them. Don’t force them to talk, but don’t minimize their emotions and feelings if they do choose to share. Do not use your time to offer advice. Telling someone that this is part of God’s plan, or that they need to relax and take a vacation, or that if they tried this herb/supplement/doctor/exercise/adoption agency, is NOT helpful. What this does is cause them to feel more blame, like they have caused their infertility, or are being punished for something, and despite your best intentions to offer them hope, will push them back into desiring to put up a wall and stop talking. JUST LISTEN.  Validate how hard this must be. Be interested, not uncomfortable, with what they have to say. Check in on them. Ask what you can do to help. Pray for them. Without your willingness to enter into the mess with us, we feel abandoned by those we care about.

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If you are reading this today and are newly diagnosed with infertility or are quietly struggling without sharing your story with anyone, know how truly sorry I am for you. Your heart is breaking and I wish there was something I could do to make it easier. Take the time you need to grieve. It’s okay to be scared and unsure of what’s ahead. Find a good doctor and be open with them. Sadly 91% of couples struggling with infertility wish they would have talked to a doctor sooner. Don’t be afraid to reach out – it’s your doctor’s job to listen and help. I encourage you to find someone to talk to – in real life or through social media (like instagram – it’s the best community out there!).  It’s a painful journey and without someone that can process with you and listen, the suffering will become unbearably heavy. I wish I could come wrap you in a blanket, offer you a cup of tea, sit across from you on a cozy couch and just listen. You deserve the right to share your emotions without judgment or opinions.

And lastly, to those of you who are public, who share your story loudly and ensure that others know about infertility, thank you. Thank you for advocating and being the voice of many. Thank you for bravely sharing your story. Thank you for putting yourself out there and opening yourself up to stupid comments, statements and stories. Don’t give up hope – keep up the good work! Because of people like you, there are others listening in who may not have otherwise. You matter and you are valuable no matter what your family looks like. Take care of yourself, offer yourself grace, and don’t allow yourself to become defined by your diagnosis. Try not to personalize the well intended “help” someone offers. Use it as a chance to help them hear what you are trying to say.

If you are reading this today, I challenge you to take a moment to pray for someone you know who is struggling. Perhaps there is no one that you know – in which case, can I offer up some of my friends to you to be prayed for? There are so many, but this week my heart is praying for C, E, J, C, C, K, S, J, K, C, N, G, A, and A. Pick a letter – God knows who they are, and pray for them. Each letter represents a couple still struggling, big time, with infertility and bringing a little one into their family. Your prayers matter. Pray for a healthy pregnancy to come their way, pray for healing of their bodies from diagnosis’s and illnesses, pray for wisdom for them as they navigate their treatment options, pray for peace to flood their hearts, pray for their spirits and their joy to be refilled, pray for their faith to be strengthened, pray for their marriage to withhold the stress of this struggle, pray for the medical team working with them and pray for those in their life that support them.

Ironically this year, Josh and I are celebrating NIAW with new lives coming into our family in the next 5-6 weeks, yet the reality remains that because of my diagnosis of PCOS, we will always be a part of the 1 in 8. My heart lies closely with those who are in this “club” with us and yet still, we know a number will never define us. We are not alone in the fight that we face, or the celebrations we have ahead. We are grateful for our Lord who stands with us in it all and fights for us, and for the most amazing community around us who have gone through so many ups and downs with us. You all make the difference, you matter, and you are a gift.

 

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