My Story: Miscarriages, Part 3

After my first miscarriage in December of 2006, I was disappointed, angry, and scared.

I was disappointed that the baby we had conceived would never be born.  I was angry that there was nothing I could do about it.  I was scared that it would happen again.

Yet, I was hopeful that the next time I got pregnant I would carry and deliver a healthy baby.

I took a pregnancy test on April 5, 2007 and it was positive.  I was excited, but guarded with my excitement because I was fearful that it would end the same way my last pregnancy did.

I called my doctor and scheduled an appointment for Wednesday, April 25.

I was so happy and hopeful when I made it to my appointment without any complications.  They confirmed that I was pregnant and that things were progressing normally.  I was still guarded, but my hopes were beginning to rise.

Until the next morning when I had some spotting.  I called my doctor and they said it could simply be from the exam I had the previous day.  They wanted me to go for blood work and an ultrasound on Monday, the 30th.

The ultrasound confirmed that I lost this baby too.

The ultrasound technician and the doctor were kind and sympathetic.  Again the doctor advised that I should wait a month before trying again.

All I could think was, why?!?  What am I doing wrong?  Am I causing these miscarriages?  Are we not meant to have any more children?

I was so grateful to have my son to focus on because without him I could have easily been totally consumed by my thoughts and my self-blame.

If you are going through the heartbreak of miscarriage and would like to chat with someone who knows what you are going through, please leave your email address in the comments and I will contact you.  

If you missed the first two posts of this series, please click the links below.

My Story:  Miscarriages, Part 1

My Story:  Miscarriages, Part 2

 

My Story: Miscarriages, Part 2

After our oldest child was born, there were many days that my husband and I thought that we couldn’t handle any more children.  Our son was a tough baby.  He was colicky.  He never slept, and by that I mean he would wake up 8 or 10 times a night and he only napped if we were in the car.  He was sick with colds, ear infections, and stomach bugs quite often.

I was working full time and he was in daycare which contributed to the poor sleep habits and frequent illnesses.

Some of you are probably thinking, “Well that’s just life with a baby!”, but as first time parents, we couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

He had a great personality and we loved being with him, but we really needed some good quality sleep.  Until that happened, we couldn’t considered growing our family.

When he was about 18 months, things started to get better and by the time his second birthday rolled around, we were ready to add to our family.

So when I took a pregnancy test on December 3, 2006 and it was positive, I was beyond excited!  Not only were we happy to know that I was pregnant, but we were also relieved that it didn’t take us long to conceive.  (It had taken us 18 months to conceive our oldest, but that another story for another post.)

I immediately started dreaming and planning for this new little life growing inside of me.  Then two days later, I learned that I would not be carrying this pregnancy to term.

I was devastated!  My husband was upset too, but it was different for him.  He hadn’t made a connection with the baby yet, but I had.  In two short days, I had so many thoughts about who this baby would be.  What (s)he would look like.  What (s)he would be when (s)he grew up.  I thought about everything that this little life could possibly be or achieve.

The one thing I never thought about was losing this baby.  The thought simply never occurred to me.

Yes I knew that miscarriage was always a possibility.  My first pregnancy was uneventful (until the delivery, which again is another story for another post).  I knew only one or two other women that had a miscarriage.  So miscarriage just wasn’t something I was worried about.

I called my doctor’s office.  They told me that I should go through a monthly cycle (so that I would have a LMP date to reference) and then we could try again.  They were polite but not very sympathetic.

Luckily I had my husband and my son to help me go through the heartbreak I was feeling.  Little did I know how many times I would need to lean on them during the next few years.

If you are going through the heartbreak of miscarriage and would like to chat with someone who knows what you are going through, please leave your email address in the comments and I will contact you.  

If you missed part 1 of this series please click here to read it.

Beets with Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil

My husband and I love beets! (Our kids are learning to love them too!)

We love them roasted.

We love them pickled.

And we especially love them served simply with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  Yum!

beets vinegar oilThis was my sad, little harvest of beets from my garden.  With only four small ones, they weren’t enough to serve on their own, so I added them to a pasta salad that I made.

DSC_0458Thankfully, our CSA is much better at growing beets than I am and these were in my share this week!  These are chioggia beets.  Wait to you see what they look like inside!

DSC_0464Here is my favorite way of preparing and serving beets.

Beets with Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil

Ingredients:

1 bunch beets
1 T white vinegar
2 T balsamic vinegar
2 T extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

1)  Cut leaves from beets leaving about 1 inch of the stems attached.

DSC_04652)  Place beets in pot.  Cover with plenty of water.  Add 1 T of white vinegar (this helps to preserve the color).

DSC_04683)  Bring to boil over medium/high heat.  Boil for 45 – 60 minutes over medium heat until easily pierced with a sharp knife.

4)  Remove beets from water and place on cutting board to cool.

5)  Once cool, cut off root end and leaf end.  Remove peels.  They should slip off easily, but if they don’t just use a pairing knife to cut them off.  Aren’t they beautiful?

DSC_04766)  Slice or cut beets into chunks and place in bowl.

7)  Add balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Toss to coat.  Serve chilled or room temperature.

DSC_0479I hope you enjoy this family favorite!

What’s your favorite way to serve beets?

My Story: Miscarriages, Part 1

As I sit here in a quiet house at 10:10 am on a Thursday morning, I can’t help but feel nostalgic.  The house is quiet because for the first time I have three children in school (4th grade, kindergarten and preschool) and my youngest is napping.

I’m wondering where the last nine years have gone.  It feels like just yesterday that I brought each one home from the hospital, yet it also feels like we’ve been a family of six forever.

I’m thinking about all of the wonderful fun we’ve had and all of the painful moments we’ve shared.

I wouldn’t change a thing about our family.  Nothing.  My kids drive me crazy sometimes.  Okay quite often.  But I wouldn’t trade any of them in for anything in the world!

However, I can’t help but wonder what our family would look like if I had known then what I know now.

I’ve had six miscarriages.  Yes, you read that correctly, SIX.

Each lost baby holds a special place in my heart.  Even to this day, I still mourn each loss.

I’ve been looking for a way to honor them for years and I think I’ve finally found it.  Over the next six weeks, I’m going to share their stories here on my blog regardless of how short that story may be.  (I will also share my pregnancy and birth stories of each of my children over the course of the next year around their birthdays.)

Their stories are part of my story.  They have shaped me into who I am today.  I strongly believe that everything that happens in life happens for a reason.  These lost babies help to remind me how precious my four children are.  They are a blessing, a gift, a miracle.

I hope that their stories will let other women who have suffered a miscarriage know that they are not alone.  I felt that way with each loss.  My husband was there by my side, but as much as he tried to understand he just couldn’t.  He didn’t know what it felt like to know that a person was growing inside you.  He didn’t know what it felt like to think that you are somehow responsible for the loss.

If you’ve had a miscarriage and are comfortable sharing, please comment below.  I would love to hear your story.  If you know someone else that has felt the loss of miscarriage, please share this with them so that they know they are not alone.

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

 

I made these Lemon Blueberry Muffins over the weekend and they are my new favorite muffins!  They are moist and have great lemon flavor.  I love the thick glaze that stays on top of the muffins and doesn’t run down the side and onto the counter top (not only is that a waste of excellent glaze, it’s also one more thing for me to clean and who needs that?)

You can also make this recipe into Lemon Blueberry Bread which is equally delicious, but I like the grab and go quality of the muffins.

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

Ingredients:
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup sugar
9 drops doTERRA lemon oil
2 eggs
1 cup whole wheat flour (I use a combination of freshly ground hard white and hard wheat flour)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Glaze:
6 drops doTERRA lemon oil
1 tablespoon butter melted
1 tablespoon milk (more if you like a thinner glaze)
1 cup confectioners sugar

Directions:
In a mixing bowl, beat together butter, 1 cup sugar, lemon oil and eggs. Combine flours, baking powder and salt; stir into egg mixture alternately with milk and yogurt. Fold in blueberries.

For muffins:  Fill well greased muffin tins 2/3 of the way with batter.  Bake at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes.

For bread:  Pour batter into greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 60 to 70 minutes.

Glaze:
Combine all ingredients mix well. Spread over cooled muffins or bread.

I hope you love these Lemon Blueberry Muffins as much as I do!

Please note:  When using essential oils in recipes please read the label and use only oils that are safe to ingest.  doTERRA Essential Oils that are safe to ingest are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG) and the label will state that they are safe to use as dietary supplements.

Original recipe by: https://www.facebook.com/nellsoldfashionrecipes

How to Save Money on Groceries

I have a confession to make.  I am normally an avid coupon user.  Our budget is tight and coupons are necessary to help me stay within our grocery budget, but this summer I threw couponing out the window and went way (and I mean way) over budget.

Why?  Well it was taking me at least an hour each week to prepare for my shopping trip.   That included creating the meal plan, writing up my shopping list and preparing my coupons.  (Don’t get scared off when you read how long it takes me to prepare for grocery shopping!  I’m admittedly unorganized, which is a big reason it takes me so long.  Organization is one of the many areas of personal growth that I am working on.)

The most time consuming part for me was the coupon preparation.  I was using coupon inserts and online coupons.  Every week I would have printing problems or I was unable to locate the insert I needed and would spend way too much time looking for it (this wouldn’t be a problem if I were organized!).

Early in the summer I decided that time was a more precious commodity than money, so I stopped using coupons and I’m glad I did.

But now it’s time to get back on the couponing bandwagon and get back to staying in budget!

How am I going to do that?  With Grocery University (presented by Money Saving Mom) which includes:

  • 19 audio MP3 files
  • 40+ page printable workbook
  • BONUS: Rock-Bottom Price List

Even though I’ve been couponing for years, I’m learning new tips and tricks as I go through this audio program.  I’m so very excited to finally have a price list!  I’ve wanted one for years, but never had the time to create one.

Can you benefit from Grocery University?  YES!  Whether you are just starting out with coupons or are a seasoned pro or anywhere in between, Grocery University is for you.

You will learn how to make the most of a meal plan, how to organize your coupons, how to maximize your savings and more!

Grocery University is available for purchase now or you can wait until Tuesday, August 19th, for their “Crazy, Can’t Miss One-Day-Only Sale”.

Your purchase will be available for immediate download so you can start your grocery savings right away!

Happy Couponing!

(Please note:  This post contains affiliate links.)

5 Sanity Saving Changes I Made This Summer

As the school year was coming to a close in June, I was excited at the thought of having all of my children home for the summer. However, I knew that with all of them home all the time, except for a couple of weeks of camp and a few small trips, that my life had the potential to be pretty stressful.

So over the last six weeks, I made five changes that have saved my sanity in certain areas. Some of these changes are permanent and others are for this season of life.

5 Changes

1)  The Buddy System

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve left the house with all four kids and five minutes into the car ride someone needs to go to the bathroom or when we arrive at our destination I realize that someone is missing a shoe and of course we are usually running late. I was watching 19 Kids and Counting one day and the mom was talking about how difficult it was for her to get everyone out of the house on time, so she implemented a buddy system where each of the older kids are responsible for four younger kids. Brilliant!

I paired up my oldest son with my middle son and my daughter with my youngest son. The older two are responsible for making sure everyone has shoes and anything else they need to bring with them. My oldest son also is responsible for making sure my middle son uses the bathroom before we leave (my youngest son is still in diapers).

This has worked surprisingly well. I simply say “buddies” about 10 minutes before we leave and everyone knows what they need to do. Getting out the door on time and with everything we need has been wonderful.

2)  Shower in the evenings

I prefer to shower in the morning. I like that clean, fresh start to the day, but now that my 18 month old is tall enough to open doors, taking a shower in the morning when I’m the only adult home is simply too stressful. He leaves the bathroom and gets himself in all sorts of trouble. I now shower in the evening when my husband is home and can make sure everyone stays safe. It’s also a nice way to unwind at the end of a long day.

3)  Assigned dirty laundry to my oldest son

We live in a two story house with our washer and dryer in the basement. For a family of six it’s not exactly ideal, but it’s what we have. I decided to assign the task of bringing our dirty laundry to the basement to my oldest son because it was getting too difficult to carry the laundry down two flights of stairs while making sure everyone else was safe on the stairs (my children like to follow me where ever I go in the house!). He is responsible for bringing it down every morning. This is working well as long as he remembers to actually do it. :) Knowing that all of the dirty clothes are near the washer when ever I can sneak down there to start a load sounds like a small thing, but it’s one less thing that I have to worry about and in my book that’s a huge sanity saver!

4)  One load of laundry every day

I’ve heard this suggestion many times over the last few years, but I didn’t see the benefit of it until I actually tried it. I used to do several loads in one day and the clean clothes would get dumped on my bedroom floor. Everyone would dig through the pile to find what they needed until I was able to devote a couple of hours to folding clothes and putting them away. I usually needed to do a few more loads before I found the time for folding. But now when I do one load of laundry every day, I’m able so sort it and put it away the same day! No more digging through piles!

5)  Dinner at 5-ish

My husband and I make it a priority for our family to eat dinner together almost every night. There are exceptions, such as when my husband has to work late, but most nights we are all together. Somewhere along the way, we decided dinner would be at 5. Most nights I was frantically trying to reach that (self-imposed) deadline and getting stressed out because someone was crying or someone else needed a diaper changed.

Earlier this summer I realized that I was putting all of this stress on myself unnecessarily. I made the decision that I would start dinner at 4:00 every afternoon. If someone needs me, that’s okay. Dinner can wait. Some nights things go smoothly and dinner is on the table at 4:45 and other nights it’s 5:15 because one of the children had a melt down that needed to be dealt with.

There are still a couple of weeks of summer left. What sanity savers will you implement so that you can make the most of your time with your children before they go back to school?