Monday, February 19, 2018

our raw, honest, emotional journey with secondary infertility.

I fought the Lord for a long time about this post. Months ago, I felt a tug on my heart to share about our journey with secondary infertility. Even though I vowed to write what the Lord laid on my heart when I began writing as more than a hobby, I'm ashamed to say I told Him "no" time and time again. I couldn't imagine putting one of the most heartbreaking times of our life on the internet, for everyone in the world to see.
But I'm here. I showed up. God led me here, with His hand in mine, after reminding me over and over again that our stories are not just for our own personal growth but to help others in their journey, too.

So I'm sitting in my tiny corner of the internet, almost ready to share the raw, honest, and emotional truth of our journey with secondary infertility.



I am a mother. I became a mother when my first daughter was formed in my womb and I’ve been a mother every day since then. I have felt little feet against my ribs, I’ve held a newborn in my arms, and I’ve watched my daughter grow every day. I’m so blessed that I could scream it from the inmost parts of my heart and it still wouldn’t be enough.

When the dream of a second child landed on mine and Kyle's heart, we were a tad terrified. To be honest, we still are. But we were excited. We dreamt of Lilli holding her brother or sister, bonding with him/her, and watching them grow up together.

We were so excited.

“There is a unique pain that comes from preparing a place in your heart for a child that never comes.” - David Platt

It took us a few months to conceive Lilli so I wasn't expecting it to happen right away. And it didn't. A few months passed with my womb still empty.

But we were still hopeful. We were certain it would happen soon, just like it happened with Lilli. Even when I struggled with my health, we were still hopeful.

We were so hopeful.

“Struggling with infertility is like dealing with the five stages of grief every month. You deny, bargain, get angry, cry, then, finally, accept. Then you pick yourself back up and do it all over again.”

But then a few more months passed, then a few more, and the pregnancy tests were still negative. Kyle and I started to worry. Maybe something was wrong.

So I went and saw a specialist. I sat in the comfortable little office, looking at the photos of hundreds of beautiful babies that the specialist had a part in bringing over into this world. I smiled, certain that our second baby would soon be on that wall.

Even though the doctor smiled back at me as we sat in her office, it didn't take her very long for her smile to break. 

"It does seem that there are some problems that are hindering your ability to conceive."

Her words were like a swift punch to the gut and just like that, my smile, my hope, my excitement - it was all gone. None of it made sense. I was pregnant once before, I have a healthy, beautiful little girl.

None of this makes sense.

Is this God's way of telling us that we aren't meant to have another baby?

It's been the number one question on my mind. Maybe we're not cut out for more than one child. Maybe I'm not a good mom. Maybe we're being selfish for wanting another. Maybe this is God's way of saying "no" and we just need to accept it.

Is it?

"God puts dreams in your heart that are bigger than you so that you will rely on Him and His power, not your own."

Even as I scheduled test after test after test, I can't say for certain that I feel we'll have a second baby. Do I still have a dream that we'll welcome a second child into our home, one way or another? Yes. But I have absolutely no idea what God has in store for our family and that absolutely terrifies me and excites me at the same time.

But I do know that whatever happens - if we raise one child or six - that my life is a reflection of God's perfect plan, and you can't get any better than perfect.

I know that whatever happens, I'm so, so unbelievably grateful for the dreams God has already made come true, including the ones I didn't even know I had. 

I know that whatever happens, I will always have hope.







Monday, February 12, 2018

valentine's day home tour

[ special note: This post may contain affiliate links. All opinions and thoughts are my own, all of the time. By purchasing products through these links, I may receive a small commission, however, your cost for the item does not change. I hope you'll continue to visit Littles and Life! ] 


"Without Valentine’s Day, February would be…well, January.”  
Jim Gaffigan


basket similar || table runner (favorite table runner I've owned)

I used to hate the color pink
I don't know why; I just did.

Then I had a girl and all of a sudden, there was pink everywhere and I couldn't stop it.

And now I kind of love it. It's not my favorite color but it's close. 

So when Valentine's Day rolls around, I find joy in walking around the house yelling, "You get some pink, you get some pink - everyone gets some pink!"

via


Ha ha, I'm only slightly kidding.

Keep scrolling for this year's Valentine's Day home tour!

Links to shop are under each photo.





jars similar



read more about essential oils HERE!


bowl similar 




read my book reviews HERE!


diffuser (LOVE this & definitely recommend) || globe similar

Do you decorate for Valentine's Day? I'd love to hear if so in the comments!




Friday, February 9, 2018

five on friday

[ special note: This post may contain affiliate links. All opinions and thoughts are my own, all of the time. By purchasing products through these links, I may receive a small commission, however, your cost for the item does not change. I hope you'll continue to visit Littles and Life! ] 

five things that caught my attention this week:

→ one : daily basket || Thanks, Lindsay, from Lindsay’s Sweet World, for this genius idea about a daily basket! I’ve been losing my mind with all of our daily stuff, like my Bible, my current Bible study and book, etc., that somehow ends up everywhere they aren’t supposed to be every day. Thanks, Lindsay!



basket similar || bowl similar

→ two : the bachelor || KRYSTAL FINALLY WENT HOME. that’s all.

→ three : her view from home || I know I posted about this my last Five on Friday but I’m so excited I need to post about it again! My post, “Seven Things You Should Ponder Before You Ask ‘When Are You Having Another Baby?’” was published on the Christian website Her View From Home last month. It’s a huge honor and definitely gave me the boost I needed to submit more of my writing samples. See it HERE.



→ four : recent posts || Speaking of blog posts, did you see my most recent ones?
See "Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free Valentine's Day Cookies" HERE
and
Lilli's Toddler Room Reveal HERE.



→ five : plate wall || After finding a couple beautiful vintage plates that I just could not pass up (okay, I could have, but I reallyyyy didn't want to), I think I'm going to make a plate wall like this one in our dining room:

via
I'm trying to figure out the best way to hang them since I do have about six of them. I saw THESE on Amazon but I'm terrified I'm going to hang them and they'll fall down and shatter my heart, I mean the plates. Have you tried these or do you have any other reccs?


See you next week!


Linking up with Smidge of This.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

lilli's toddler room reveal

[ special note: This post may contain affiliate links. All opinions and thoughts are my own, all of the time. By purchasing products through these links, I may receive a small commission; however, your cost for the item does not change. I hope you'll continue to visit Littles and Life! ]

We did it. We finished the first room in our house touched by the fingers of renovation.

Ahhhh!

When we started renovations in our home, I decided to start with Lilli's up and coming toddler room (see the progress HERE) would be the best place to start since we already had our feet on the ground after we finished her nursery.

It seemed to take us forever because as soon as we started in her room I got sick, then we decided to rip all the carpet out of our house (literally all.of.it except our loft) and replace it with hardwood, then after all that, I ended up changing my mind on what I wanted.

Haha, story of my life.

But! We are finally, finally, finally done!


Lilli's nursery was floral themed and I really wanted to keep that floral aspect to save the floral "L" that I made her when her home was still my tummy. I kept most of her floral and gold items, just rearranged some things.

I saw the most amazing wallpaper on a friend's Instagram a while ago from B Darling and I knew right then that was the finishing touch that I had been looking for in Lilli's room. It took me forever to decide which floral decal prints I wanted and I ended up going with the Rosie Vinyl Set.


They took a while to put up but overall it was an easy job. It took Kyle and I a few hours to do and it was totally worth every second.



If you're familiar with "Miss Bunny" (Lilli's beloved lovey), then you know Lilli is pretty obsessed with bunny rabbits. When I saw this bunny sample from B Darling, I knew Lilli would adore having a "Lilli-sized" bunny in her room.


The first time she saw it, she ran up to it and kissed it! #momwin



Also, we're officially out of room for any more bows. Just kidding. There's no such thing.



Lilli's toy box aka the place where all the junk is that you don't see in these photos. 😌
I take after my mom when it comes to home decorating. I like to go big and go home. (See what I did there?) 
The only thing I love more than decorating our home is who I share it with. ♥



shop this post!

crib (similar) || crib railing (custom order) || wallpaper decals || wicker toy basket (similar) || rug (similar) || rocking chair (similar) || headband rack (similar) || shelves || curtains (similar) || piggy bank || lamp || floral artwork || diffuser || floral "L" print || gold mason jars || wicker basket (similar) || night light tree (similar) || wooden crates (bookshelves) || cream bow holder || flower crown || strength and dignity



 linking up with Lindsay for Welcome Wednesday! 




Wednesday, January 31, 2018

gluten-free and dairy-free Valentine's Day sugar cookie recipe

[ special note: This post may contain affiliate links. All opinions and thoughts are my own, all of the time. By purchasing products through these links, I may receive a small commission, however, your cost for the item does not change. I hope you'll continue to visit Littles and Life! ] 

Have you every looked at the ingredients to every Valentine's Day box of chocolates? I'll give you a brief description:

Ingredients: milk, more milk, double milk, milk chocolate, sprinkle of milk, milk.

How's a girl supposed to indulge on Valentine's day when she can't have dairy (or gluten)?

I'll tell you how. With these beauties right here:


Gluten-free. Dairy-free. Delicious.

Not to mention, they're so pretty, are they not? They're almost too pretty to eat.

Almost. 😉

Before I get started with the recipe, there are some important notes I should make so you don't end up with a cookie disaster (I may or may not be speaking from experience):

→ I highly recommend using Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 gluten free baking flour (buy it HERE) because that is the flour I used for this recipe. Most gluten-free 1-to-1 flour is made the same but use at your own risk.

→ I tried making this recipe egg-free (using a flax egg) but I did not have success. Like, at all. I'm able to have eggs in my obnoxiously limited diet, so I made the next batch with eggs. If you cannot have eggs, I would add a little more flour to balance the flax egg. Also, if you use flax, there will be little flecks of flax (say that ten times fast) in your white cookie mix. You have been warned.

→ Sugar cookie dough can be a pain in the butt to work with. I have found I had the most success slightly warming the shortening in a glass bowl before use by microwaving it for about 30 seconds. This is just to warm it to make it easier to mix, not to melt it. Don't melt it. Don't do it.

→ I did not make my own frosting for these because the frosting I found (Aldi, I think?) was dairy- and gluten-free. I'm not making my life harder than it needs to be.

→ You do not have to chill this mix before baking. I know. It's wonderful.



Ready for the recipe?! Me too!

gluten-free and dairy-free Valentine's Day sugar cookies

ingredients

→ 1 cup shortening (heated in microwave, see above note; I use THIS kind.)
→ 1 cup white sugar
→ 1 egg
→ 1 tbsp vanilla extract
→ 2 cups Bob's Red Mill 1-to-1 gluten free baking flour, plus extra for rolling dough
→ 1 tsp salt

directions:

→ Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
→ Using a stand or hand mixer, mix together warmed shortening and sugar until creamed. Mix in the egg and vanilla.
→ Add salt. Add the flour a little at a time until mixed together. The dough shouldn't be super sticky but it shouldn't be crumbling to the touch either. If it's too crumbly, add more warmed shortening. If it's too sticky, add a little more flour until it has reached desired consistency.
→ Flour your counter (or surface that you want to cut cookies out on) and roll the dough flat. Using your cookie cutters (similar to mine HERE), aim for about 1/4 inch thick, or if you have no internal sense of measurement like me, the thickness of the dough is exactly how thick the cookie will be.
Carefully (I'm not kidding) transfer the cookies to your baking sheet. Bake 8-15 minutes. The thickness of your cookies will determine your time; start with 8 and go from there.
→ Let cookies slightly cool on baking pan, then transfer to a wire rack or another sheet of parchment paper to cool completely. Cool completely before frosting.


That's it! This is one of my favorite cookie mixes so far to make and they are so easy to change for any holiday.

Let me know in the comments if you made these and what you thought of them!

Recipe adapted from here.

pin for later!





Linking up with Lindsay's Sweet World for Welcome Wednesday!







Friday, January 26, 2018

five on friday

[ special note: This post may contain affiliate links. All opinions and thoughts are my own, all of the time. By purchasing products through these links, I may receive a small commission, however, your cost for the item does not change. I hope you'll continue to visit Littles and Life! ] 

I have some super exciting (writing) news this week, so let's jump right in!

five things that caught my attention this week:

→ one : headphone headwrap || So a few weeks ago, I had a friend on Facebook post a photo of her kiddos wearing a headwrap/ear warmer contraption that held headphones in them for quiet listening via the iPad/iPhone. I immediately wanted to get one for Lilli for times that we let her use the iPad to watch a movie but we don't want to hear the movie, or anyone else for that matter. I told Kyle about it and he said, "I'm pretty sure you could make one of those."

So obviously, I had to try.

This was the end result:


What do you think? It worked so well and I know we're going to get a ton of uses out if. They have some pretty cute options on Amazon, too, like THIS unicorn one and THIS fox one!

→ two : charlie puth || I have been obsessed with Charlie Puth's music lately! I've been listening to his album "Nine Track Mind" on repeat. My favrotie song at the moment is Dangerously, coming in a close second to One Call Away.

→ three : sweaters || My love for sweaters lately has kindaaa been a little out of control. My go-to outfit on most days is an oversized sweater and jeans. I've scored some really cute sweaters this year and I think I'll be really sad to see them go when spring rolls around. I'm really loving THIS knit one (how cute is that heart?!), THIS off-the-shoulder one, and THIS oversized one!


→ four : bath time || Did you see my post earlier this week about my favorite bath time essentials for toddlers? If not, see it HERE.


→ five : guess what?! || I saved the best for last! I am so excited to announce that tomorrow, Saturday, January 27, my blog post 'Seven Things You Should Ponder Before You Ask 'When Are You Having Another Baby?'" will be featured on Her View From Home, a faith-based, down to earth, relatable online magazine. Be sure to check it out tomorrow morning and let me know what you think! ♥



See you next week!


Linking up with Smidge of This for Five on Friday.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

eight bath time must-haves for toddlers

[ special note: This post may contain affiliate links. All opinions and thoughts are my own, all of the time. By purchasing products through these links, I may receive a small commission, however, your cost for the item does not change. I hope you'll continue to visit Littles and Life! ] 

Bathtime has always been one of Lilli's favorite times of the day.


Okay, maybe not always. But definitely in the past year or so! I think her favorite part is seeing how much water she can get on the floor before I pull the plug. 😉

But for us parents, bathtime isn't always easy. It can be boring using the same five bath toys over and over (and over) again, frustrating trying to wash growing hair (best trick ever down below, though!), and stressful spending a small fortune on bath toys that end up either on the floor or in the trash by the end of the week.

So today I'm bringing you my absolute favorite bath essentials for toddlers that I have personally tried and loved!

→ the bath hat || Okay I have to start with this one because 1) I'm sure you all are wondering what the heck I put on my daughter's head and 2) it's been my most favorite bath essential ever. I actually saw this dang thing on a post that someone shared on Facebook a really long time ago, before Lilli was even thought of long time ago. But I do remember laughing and telling Kyle, "That looks so silly. Who would use that on their kid?"

......

Just add that to my 100+ list of things I would never do as a parent.


Anyway, this hat is seriously one of the best things we've ever bought Lilli. It stays in place, keeps her hair out of her face, and most importantly, keeps all the shampoo and water out of her face. If you have any problems washing your babe's hair, I'm serious. Buy this. Right now.

See ours HERE.
Shop our shampoo HERE.

→ a bath mat || There was once when Lilli was first learning to sit up that she got a little too happy, causing her bottom to slip on the tub and she fell backward, hitting her head on the back of the tub. It scared the life out of me (first-time mom over here) so we immediately bought a nonstick mat. Not only does she not slip anymore, but it makes cleaning the bathtub easier. And it's super cute. Triple win.

See ours HERE.

→ bath crayons || Lilli really loves to color and she just thinks its hilarious that we let her color on the tub walls! Bonus: these suckers last forever. We're still using the ones we bought last summer.

See ones similar to ours HERE.

→ measuring cups and anything to dump water into || In a pinch for some bath toys but don't want to run your naked baby to Walmart? Grab measuring cups and some bowls, plastic glasses, or whatever can hold water from your kitchen! Out of all the bath toys we have, this is Lilli's favorite activity.

THESE measuring cups would work great, as well as THESE cups and THESE bowls!

→ bath bombs / bubble bath || Because obviously colored water is way more fun to play in. Unless it's brown. Then it's no fun at all.

Moving on.


See kid-friendly bath bomb options HERE.
Shop our bubble bath HERE.

→ foam stickers || Did I also mention that Lilli loves stickers? These are a great option for kids that love sticking stickers all.over.the.place.

THESE zoo ones are adorable; THESE dinosaur ones are fun; THESE letter ones are awesome for a little extra education thrown into bath time.

→ bath toys || We tend to stay away from the most common bath toys: rubber mold-hoarding ducks and other animals. We tried the hot-glue trick which worked for about two days. But they are some really great bath toys out there that are more fun than getting squirted in the face by the evil yellow duck.

THIS basketball hoop would be so much fun; I love THIS fishing toy; I'm definitely ordering THESE pipes for Lilli!

→ bath towels || Raise your hand if you've ever been victimized by a toddler while trying to get them out of the bath. ✋ We have found that have a cute towel waiting for her after she gets out of the bath suddenly makes her forget we're torturing her. Usually, anyway.

THIS unicorn one is adorable (and it's 20% off right now!); THIS shark one is perfect for little gents. Or if you really want to make them feel special, robes are really freaking cute. Check out THIS great selection!

What are some of your favorite bath items for toddlers?! I'd love to hear them in the comments so I can check them out!


pin for later!




Linking up today with Lindsay's Sweet World for Welcome Wednesday!