Saturday, September 27, 2014

Baby's Room :: Sneak Peek

Hey! Guess what! We are finally finished with all the painting in baby's room! Exciting, right?!

And guess what else! The dresser, changing table, and crib are all set up and ready to be filled with teeny tiny clothes, diapers, and toys! Double exciting, right?!

Do you wanna see a sneak peek? I had a feeling you would.

This picture shows you the color we chose. It's adorbs, and I love it more each day. It's actually a little more green looking than in this awesome phone picture. When we first finished the walls I was afraid I wouldn't love it because it was "too bright." At least that's what I kept saying. But as it's been there and I've seen it in all types of lighting, I've fallen in love with it.

And again, what else can I say about this guy? He put together that dresser and changing table with very little help from me. I just sat in the corner and watched him and talked the whole time. He's so great. And I love that when I asked him to stand next to his hard work, he crouches behind it like this.

There will be better pictures to come in the near future since the basics of the room are set up. We're thinking pale pink and a gold-yellow will be the other colors in the room. What do you think?

Friday, September 26, 2014

DIY Paper Autumn Crafts

Earlier this month I showed you my super easy and simple autumn mantel for the coming fall season. Hopefully it gave you a little bit of fall crafting inspiration that you can do yourself on the cheap. In fact, it was so cheap it was FREE!! I love when that happens.

Now I'm going to share the whole process for the crafts I made for the mantel. If you saw my DIY paper Christmas trees from last year's Christmas (super great quality pictures, you're welcome) then you'll see the process for the pumpkins is very similar exactly the same. That's why I didn't include any progress pictures for them. Just kidding. It's because I forgot to take any pictures. You're welcome, again.

In a nutshell, I picked out autumn-y paper from my scrap stash. Then I made a stencil out of one of the cardstock papers of a pumpkin shape. I would imagine just using a circle could work as well. I just thought the butterfly-type shape would sit more straight.

After cutting a million pieces of paper, I folded them in half, used some tape and taped the pieces together. I tried to line up the sides as much as I could, but I just had to trim some of the edges to make them look even.

Then I remembered that pumpkins have stems. I grabbed my twine, opened up one of the sides of each pumpkin, and made loops with the twine. Glue those in, hold them together for a bit. Then you're good to go. I think it would have been cute to add some vines or something with ribbons, but I wasn't that ambitious in the moment. Maybe I'll add them later on a day when I'm feeling particularly crafty again.

Now, on to the little leaf art thingy I made. I'm really not sure what this is called. Again, cut out strips of my autumn-y paper. Sketched and cut out the shape of a leaf. I wanted to do a maple leaf, but I knew my drawing skills weren't that advanced. I figured I'd stick with the tear drop shape.

Then I put that cut-out on top of the glued-down strips, and glued that down. I trimmed the whole thing a little bit because it was originally 12 by 12 paper. But I thought there was too much white space on the sides.

After trimming, I remembered I had some fun fall stickers and embellishments. I added those and here we are!

I love my pumpkins. They gave my living room just the right amount of autumn coziness. Even though it's been in the 80s and 90s this week. Boo. I hear this weekend is supposed to have more of a fall feeling weather-wise. Hooray!

What cool crafts have you been making? Or have you been decorating for fall? It's all so exciting and I can't wait to do some more in the coming weeks!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Autumn Mantel 2014

YAY! It's getting chillier outside, so I can finally justify starting some autumn crafting! And in just a week or two, I'll start some Harry Potter Halloween crafting! Anyone else as excited as I am for that?

It seems that Sunday mornings have kind of become my crafting days. And I'm fine with that at the moment. I find it relaxing and somewhat meditative. I loved this message someone shared on their facebook this morning.

A message from Dieter F. Uchtdorf
from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Since I'm all kinds of excited about fall, I wanted to change up my mantel in the living room. I'm not nearly as cool as those women that change every single thing on their mantel and surrounding area for every season. One day I'll be that cool...and I'll have stuff to even do that. For now, I just change a little bit to make it feel more fall-ish in my home. It isn't a huge change, but my home feels cozier already!

As you can see, I literally only changed what is sitting on the mantel. I did take one picture off the wall so I could put that little leaf craft I made this morning in that space. I really enjoy how the bricks of the fireplace are also an orange/red (painted by someone that previously lived here), and it just matches the fall-ness so well.

Did you see the two crafts I made that are now gracing my living room? I already told you one a second ago. I'm sure you all know exactly what I'm talking about since you look at my mantel every single day, right? Oh. Ok, then I'll show you.

I love how these turned out! I really wanted to put a big bunch/pile of fake pumpkins on the mantel because I could use them all autumn long. However, we're always trying to save up for something, am I right? Right now, it's the little baby dinosaur in my belly. So I decided not to spend any money...and really I don't need to! I think these turned out great. However, I might go see what the dollar stores around here have in stock sometime soon to add to the pile. We'll see how much motivation I have later on.

I'll share how I made the pumpkins and leaf picture in a later post. (Although they weren't that hard and you could probably figure it out just by looking at them.)

What have been some of your favorite fall crafts or decor that you're going to add to your home this year?

Happy autumn crafting!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Our journey to bring baby to our family.

Just a warning that this post is super-duper long. I tried to break it up with pictures so it's not just a bunch of text on a page. I debated making it two posts, but it didn't make sense to break it up. I hope you enjoy reading about some of our journey to bring our sweet baby to our family.

I recently realized that I never really shared much about our journey of bringing baby to our family. I was ready to start sharing about our wait and frustrations with the world...and then we got pregnant! I still thought that it would be relevant to share our story because it's a serious and common issue that I don't think gets enough attention.

So here is Steve and Lynnette's story of bringing baby to our family.

We start in March of 2012. We just bought our first home and I was one month away from graduating with my bachelor's degree. It was such an exciting time of change and anticipation of what our future held. We had been using birth control for our first four years of marriage. Since I was about to graduate, and we had just bought our first home, we decided it was time to start trying to fill our home with the little pitter-patter of little feet on our wood floors. I make it sound like it was a snap decision, but we had been praying and pondering if it was the right time for us for a while. We felt like the time was right. And even though I think one will rarely feel completely "ready" for a family, we felt we were generally ready emotionally, financially, and spiritually.

My life looks so full of promise and fulfilled plans!
Also, that little girl thinks I'm crazy...

Well, as you can imagine (since I'm telling the story) it didn't happen right away. After about 6-ish months of trying, I told my lady doctor that we were trying but it hadn't happened yet. He told me that it can take many couples an average of between 6-12 months to actually get pregnant. The timing has to be just right and blah, blah, blah. I believed him and I still do. He said to let him know when it had been about a year of trying, and if it still hadn't happened he would tell us about some options for moving forward. I felt listened to and more confident leaving that appointment.

The year mark rolled around and hubby and I were getting quite frustrated. I think because my doctor had told me that at a year we would talk about options, it made me think that I was broken because I had hit the year mark with no results. Obviously, I'm not broken. It's just our journey. But at that time of frustration and confusion, I was upset. I prayed so much, and I cried a lot too.

I called the doctor and found out that he had gone to a different practice. Whaaaat?? I totally didn't know what to do. I ended up going to a different doctor at the same practice that had the soonest appointment I could get. (Luckily, I love that new doctor something fierce.) He did an ultrasound and told me it looked like I had PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). Uhmm, I had no clue what it was (I still can't really explain it fully), but the doctor didn't seem too worried that it would completely prevent me from actually getting pregnant. He tried a few simple rounds of Clomid to see if that would help make sure I ovulated at the right time. Nothing happened after a few months. He referred me and hubs to a fertility specialist in the area.

Our very first home!
Now, this is the part where it gets fuzzy. I think Steve and I were scared to go to the fertility doctor. I think we were scared that one of us would have something severely wrong that would completely dampen and/or extinguish our hope of having a family biologically. We weren't against adoption or other options, but like many couples, we wanted to know our options for biological children.

After nearly a year of putting it off, we went in for a consultation with the fertility doctor. I really liked him, which put my mind at ease. He told us that anything we do is up to us, and we don't have to do any tests/procedures/treatments that we aren't comfortable with. They put us in control of the situation, which felt great since we had felt like we were in control of nothing for the past almost 2 years.

How long will our journey be?
Steve finally went in for his test, and his results came back normal and with flying colors. I had my initial ultrasound and they confirmed the PCOS and we talked about possible treatments and what the next steps could be. Again, they made sure I understood everything and then put the decision into our hands. It was spectacular.

We decided to move forward with the first treatment option they talked to me about - a round of Metformin. This was another pill to hopefully make me ovulate at the correct time. It is a pill that's actually used for people with diabetes, but they had found that it also makes women more fertile in some cases.

I waited the allotted time after taking the pills, took the ovulation tests on the right cycle days, and I still hadn't had a positive ovulation result. I called the doctor, and they had me come in for an ultrasound. The ultrasound showed that I had two eggs that were ready to ovulate, but they just hadn't made their move yet. They thought it looked like an excellent chance to try an artificial insemination to make sure it's timed correctly. This seemed like a quick decision, but I thought that if they thought it looked ideal, then we'd just go with it! So they instructed me on how to give myself this certain shot (totally can't remember the name of this treatment) and the rest of the procedure.

It all had to be perfectly timed, and I was stressed that something would be off by just enough minutes/hours/moments that this would fail. But I was also just hoping it went well, and even if it didn't work, I was hoping we'd have a positive attitude and move forward.

I had to stay up until like midnight to give myself this shot (can you believe that Steve wouldn't help a girl out and give me the shot?!). The shot was like the last effort for this cycle to make those eggs ovulate. Then Steve had to go in at a certain time the next day to "give his sample," and I had to go in a couple hours later to do the insemination. Luckily, nothing went wrong, traffic was great, and everything went off without a hitch. After the procedure, as I lay in the office letting gravity (and faith, hope, all my will power) do it's job, I felt at peace. I was prepared for whatever result was coming, and we would move forward with faith.

Was there hope on the horizon?
Then we waited. Of course, this whole time I'm just wondering what we would do if we had twins, since the doctor told us there were two eggs ready to ovulate. Whaaa?! Obviously, I wouldn't have minded having two lovely bundles of joy, but it was intimidating. I was trying to keep my hopes grounded in reality. I figured that this procedure is done very nearly to how babies are actually made, so I knew it might take a couple tries to actually conceive. I didn't want to think that just because we had doctors' help that it was going to happen right away.

After waiting the amount of days to take the test, it was that magical morning. The morning I get to pee on a stick. Ahhh, yes. It was definitely magical. Luckily, it was a weekend, so neither of us had to go to work. I was glad so then I wouldn't be extra happy and keeping a secret or extra sad and keeping a secret while I was at work.

After peeing and waiting those few minutes - which weren't that anxious this time because I was really tired and I had slept through them - I looked at the stick. I could not believe my eyes. There was a positive sign! I checked the instructions again to make sure I read them correctly, and then looked at the stick again. It was positive! I made Steve climb out of bed to come and see for himself. Mostly because I didn't know what to say because words were not forming in my brain.

Baby's first picture at just 6 weeks!

It was such an incredible feeling! We weren't expecting it to happen on that first try, so we were speechless! I called the fertility doctor on Monday morning, told them I had a positive test, and they scheduled me for an ultrasound and blood work to confirm my test. And above you can see our sweet baby's very first photo. Steve couldn't go, which was sad. But it was so great to hear the tiny little heart beat beating rapidly. Who knew something so tiny could bring such joy to our lives? After the doctor left the room to let me get dressed, I definitely cried some happy tears. It was really happening.

The doctors and staff at the fertility clinic were so uplifting and excited for us. They gave us a little bottle of sparkling cider, and a card they all signed. Like, seriously?! I never expected such love and support from a doctor, and it was so sweet to know they were thinking of me.

So here we are. Trying to enjoy every fleeting moment of this pregnancy. I love when Steve rubs my baby bump and gives me a hug. He's the sweetest ever, and I know he'll be such a sweet father to our little one.

And here is our sweet little one at her 19 week ultrasound. First of all, can we talk about the amazing technology we have these days?! I think it's so incredible that I can see that much detail so early. But she looks like a cutie to me, and we are so excited to meet her this winter!

If nothing else is gained from me writing this, I hope it brings to light at least a tiny bit of attention to infertility in general. Obviously, I wasn't completely infertile in the true definition. However, it's a problem that invades the lives of so many on so many different levels, yet we won't talk about it. Once people in my life knew about our situation, people came out of the woodwork to show support and encouragement. There were those people that didn't understand and gave unnecessary advice, but there were people that loved me and understood my sorrow, however short-lived it may seem now. Please know that there are other people who are in the same situation and can give you support in your time of frustration and sorrow.

Here are couple blogs I loved reading. These two women (even though they probably don't know I think so) are really amazing and I loved reading their posts. I still read them now because I feel connected to them. I should probably make sure they know that. ;)

Laura is so cool, fresh, and I love looking at her cute crafting adventures: Laurel Lane
Elisha is real and has cute funnies on her blog about infertility: Waiting for Baby Bird

Sunday, September 7, 2014

24 Weeks :: Belly Progress

It is crazy to see this belly! It happens so gradually that it just seems normal. Then when you look back at your first picture, you realize just how much you've changed. And then you realize that this is the point where you start to get even bigger. And I can't imagine it at this point. It weirds me out.

Yes, you read that correctly. We've been listening to Christmas music on a regular basis for the last month at least. Normally I'm the grinch that says there may be absolutely NO Christmas music in my vicinity until the day after Thanksgiving. However, since she's due really close to Christmas, it's all we can think about. We're just extra excited!

And in case you are like me, and somehow forget what you looked like's a reminder.

I just keep thinking I'm not really as big as I think I look. But I am. It's really exciting, and I love feeling her grow in there! I just never realized the difference until I put the two pictures next to each other.

I hope you have a great week this week!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Painted Plank Wall Decor DIY

I consider this project only partially DIY. The cool thing these days is to find pallets, take them apart, and make amazing and cute things from the boards. Well, that intimidates me. So when I found this unpainted plank thing, I totally got it because I knew it would be lovely in my home. And it would be easy to paint and make awesome.

I went out to the garage and found all the paint sample jars I had purchased over the past year or two. I crossed my fingers and hoped they were still paint and not blobs of gross. After some vigorous shaking, I had four different paint colors.

I started by doing every other plank, let those dry, then did the other planks. I did tape off the planks I wasn't painting just because I didn't want the hassle of other colors showing through. This was the easy part. I thought it would be difficult because I had to do some paint color mixing to get the shades light enough to match what I wanted.

I'll have you know that, no, I did not mean to have that streak of lighter color on that second plank down. But if you saw this in person, you'd see that a couple other planks are kind of streaky because of the mixing of colors. I didn't mix well, and I didn't wash my brush between a few colors because I was hoping it would become a teensy bit streaky. In my experience, I like things best when I just go with the flow instead of trying to plan out every tiny detail. Plus, that turns out to be a lot more work.

The next part was the difficult part. I wanted a word on this, something different than "home" or "love." I enjoy things that say that, but I have other objects like that in my home already. Plus, if I'm making this myself, I might as well make it personalized to us. After making a list of nearly 20 words/phrases, I decided to go with something a little bit silly. But it's still something I love.

As you can see, I went with "be amazing." I was having a real dilemma choosing between "be happy", "be brave", or "be amazing." And then I was having a dilemma about whether this would sound like it was an order instead of something inspirational. I'm hoping people see it as uplifting. I guess I'm in my house most of the time, and I get to decide. I mean, I live here, right?

The writing is not even close to being beautiful and perfect, and I don't care much. As it hangs there, I might do some touch ups if something keeps bugging me over and over. But sometimes the most imperfect things in my home are my favorite.

I love how it's pretty understated. My walls are a light gray color, and the colors in the living room are shades of gray and blue and brown. I already have other things that are extra colorful that stand out. So I just wanted this to fill that spot by my stairs with something sweet. I think it turned out perfect!

Hooray for nesting! Am I right? If it hadn't been for my sudden urge to want to craft something while Steve was out with the scouts, I don't think this project would've been finished for many moons. Let's be honest, I originally bought that plank thing last summer. He he.

Did I mention that baby's room is getting the last coat of paint this weekend? Then I get to share our progress and ideas for the fun stuff with you!

I linked up this project over at DIY Show Off. This is the link to That DIY Party. I'm still never sure I did the link correctly. Hopefully it all works for you! But please check out the other cool things people made over there.