Friday, March 14, 2014

Shop Closing & Available Inventory Sale List

As many of you already know, I'm closing my Etsy shop in preparation for our new adventure in life- a baby boy due July 4th!  I will continue to have my blog and have planned some new & exciting things in the future. So make sure to keep reading!

All items on Etsy are 65% off with the coupon code 65OFF.  The shop has been updated with available items, but I also wanted to post a list of inventory that is available for purchase directly through me as well. This list is comprehensive, so if it is available on Etsy, there will be a notation SEE ETSY next to the item. You can click the link to see descriptions, photos, etc. I will update the list as items are sold, so please check back often. If you are local, please contact me before buying so you don't have to pay shipping on Etsy or to arrange to pay another way. Feel free to comment if you have questions!

Thanks for all your support!!

Items for sale

**all cards come with envelopes unless otherwise noted**

1. "Thanks You’re Sweet” hand embossed cards – rainbow colors; 6 cards in a pack – 4 packs available (blank inside) SEE ETSY
2. Thank you cards hand embossed – rainbow colors; 6 cards in a pack – 3 packs available (blank inside) SEE ETSY
3. Fancy Black & white scroll thank you cards; 5 cards in a pack – 2 packs available (blank inside) SEE ETSY
4. Baby Feet Congratulations card; 2 cards available (blank inside) SEE ETSY
5. Wedding Bells Congratulations; 3 cards available (blank inside) SEE ETSY
6. Washi Tape Red Heart Mother’s Day cards; 6 cards available (blank inside) SEE ETSY
7. Washi Tape Blue Tie Father’s Day cards; 9 available (blank inside) SEE ETSY
8. Christmas cards SEE ETSY
9. Halloween cards SEE ETSY
10. Hyacinth Thank you postcards 5 x 7; 5 cards in a pack – 4 packs available SEE ETSY
11. Hyacinth Thank you postcards 4 x 5.5; 5 cards in a pack – 4 packs available SEE ETSY
12. Favor boxes; 1.75 inch x 1.75 inch x 1.75 inch (set of 12) SEE ETSY
a. White – 5 packs available
b. Black – 2 packs available
c. Kraft – 1 pack available
13. Cupcake toppers – all packs are 1 dozen
a. Blue & teal roses – 3 packs available $2 each
b. Bee, ladybug & heart (red & pink) – 1 pack available SEE ETSY
c. Pinwheel DIY packs – variety of colors – 13 packs available SEE ETSY
14. Cupcake wrappers – all packs are 1 dozen; variety of colors & patterns; 14 packs available $5 each
15. Temporary Tattoos – bugs and spiders (all colors) - $.15 per tattoo
16. Confetti – hearts & flowers; variety of colors & patterns; approx. 250 pieces each pack – 17 packs available - $2 each
17. Christmas tags – variety – 4 packs  $2 each
18. Thank you tags – 20 tags each pack
a. Red Heart Thank you – 4 packs available SEE ETSY
b. Purple Heart thank you – 3 packs available SEE ETSY
c. Skeleton key thank you – 1 pack available (15 tags in this pack) SEE ETSY
d. Cherry blossom thank you – 2 packs available SEE ETSY
e. Lotus Blossom thank you  - 3 packs available $2 each
19. Blank Cards
a. Autumn Triangles (5 cards in pack) -1 pack available (blank inside) SEE ETSY
b. Brown & pink polkadots (5 cards in pack) – 1 pack available (blank inside) SEE ETSY
c. Spring cards (2 butterfly, 2 orange, 2 green) – 2 packs available (blank inside) SEE ETSY
d. Brown & pink polkadot 2 x 2 inch cards (no envelopes!)  set of 6 – 2 packs available
20. Tags & confetti multi pack – 1 pack each available
a. Butterfly - $2
b. Autumn -$2
c. Green spring -$2
d. Orange spring -$2

Thursday, March 13, 2014

One Year Anniversary of the Loss of Our Little Lydia

The front of the sympathy card the hospital staff gave us

The day I delivered Lydia, I remember lying in the hospital bed waiting for the contractions to start. Terrified, the only thing I could think to do was pray. I prayed for comfort and peace.  I prayed for my husband-who had put on a brave face but was surely suffering inside. I prayed for Lydia, that God would accept her little spirit and keep her safe for us until we could be with her again. I prayed for my girls that they would be comforted. That they would somehow find a peaceful connection with this little sister that they would never really know in their earthly lifetime. I prayed that angels could be with me to help me do the most difficult thing I had yet to face in life.

I refused an epidural even though it was offered repeatedly.  I labored for 9 hours without pain medication because I felt somehow like I owed it to her to feel all the pain that came with her birth. I just kept praying that I could handle the pain and that I could be strong for her. In the moments leading up to her birth, the pain was intense. Yet, the room was so calm. It was so peaceful and beautiful.

I have never felt closer to God than when I am delivering my children and Lydia’s birth was no different. I felt so much joy at having been able to be her mother – even for a short while. And holding her tiny, perfect body in the palm of my hands, I knew that she will be part of our family forever. I was sad, but I left the hospital feeling so much peace and hope for the future of my little family.

And even though the subsequent months were devastatingly difficult, we are happy again. I am so glad that I didn't leave my family when I thought I should. I'm so glad for my Bishop's inspiration to direct me to therapy. I am so grateful for the way the Atonement has healed our hearts. I have come to realize over the past year that the help I so desperately pleaded for, and received, that night was far more reaching than the delivery room. Angels have surrounded me and my family and helped us through the darkest times we have ever faced. Heavenly Father did not take away our pains, but instead has given us the strength and grace to take our tragedies, learn from them, come closer to Him and each other and build a new life.

Elder Dallin H. Oaks has taught: “Healing blessings come in many ways, each suited to our individual needs, as known to Him who loves us best. Sometimes a ‘healing’ cures our illness or lifts our burden. But sometimes we are ‘healed’ by being given strength or understanding or patience to bear the burdens placed upon us.” All that will come may be “clasped in the arms of Jesus.” All souls can be healed by His power. All pain can be soothed. In Him, we can “find rest unto [our] souls.” Our mortal circumstances may not immediately change, but our pain, worry, suffering, and fear can be swallowed up in His peace and healing balm." (excerpt from The Atonement Covers All Pain by Kent F. Richards)

My happiness today is a product of His healing balm. It is what gives me hope. It keeps me going on the rough days. It helps me to have faith that all of life's experiences are not wasted or even coincidental. We are given all we need in life to be the person that God knows we can be.

I sit here today on what could be a depressing reminder of a tragic circumstance in my life, but its not. Because I choose joy. I choose hope and I choose to allow the Atonement to take this experience to cleanse my soul and purify my life. And for this, I look back on Lydia's existence as a precious gift. Today is a beautiful day!

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Miracles In My Life

photo credit: Kevin Tuck

When I was 10 years old, I was diagnosed with a serious and life-threatening disease. I was only the 2nd person in the world who had this particular disease present in this particular manner. I was given an experimental drug cocktail of anti-fungal meds and chemotherapy meds and luckily, it saved my life. However, I was told not to expect to be able to bear any children as the major side effect they expected was damage to my reproductive system.  It was something I just always knew, so it was never a big deal. I never hid the fact that I would never be able to have children from my husband.

When we were first married I had very vivid dreams of our life together. One dream in particular has always stuck with me. In the dream,  I was holding a little baby boy. He was a brand new, fresh from Heaven, little boy with olive skin and the smallest fluff of dark auburn hair. I was holding him so close to me and I was overwhelmed with this feeling that this was MY son. He was supposed to be part of our family.  He had a special purpose and it was my responsibility to take care of him and to help him be the man he needed to be. He was a special son of God. I assumed he was going to be adopted.

A few months after that dream, to our utter shock, I found out I was expecting our first child!! We didn't find out the gender before birth, because I was so sure the baby I was carrying was our little boy.  I had Hyperemesis Gravidarum, several bouts of pre-term labor which required extensive hospitalizations and finally delivered a near-term premie.  The baby was whisked away immediately and taken to the NICU to be assessed. It was a good 5 minutes or so before my husband and I realized we didn't know if the baby was a boy or girl. We were told it was a girl, and I remember feeling shocked, but not at all disappointed. She was our little girl that never should have been, that we fought so hard to get into this world. She was our first miracle.

When Charlotte was only 8 months old, I found I was expecting again! Sadly, that pregnancy ended in a miscarriage at 12 weeks. I was devastated, but determined not to give up. A few months later I was pregnant again with our second beautiful daughter. Again, I had complications. Several hospitalizations for Hyperemesis Gravidarum and pre-term labor and I developed gestational diabetes. We were told at 22 weeks we wouldn't make it through the night - we'd for sure deliver a baby who was not yet viable. Miraculously, I delivered her at 38 weeks. Amelia was full term and healthy. The entire staff was in shock. In fact, the doctor who cared for us that terrible night was on call the day we delivered. When she heard I was there giving birth full term, she came to congratulate us and asked to hold our second little miracle.

About a year after I had Amelia, I noticed I was having weird symptoms. My cycle hadn't returned, I was having hot flashes, I was losing my hair and I just didn't feel right. My husband and I had been talking about whether we wanted any more children, and I decided I would go see my OB. He had devastating news. I have PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and I wasn't ovulating at all. The doctor encouraged me to meet with an endocrinologist and the infertility group if we ever planned on having any more children. The endocrinologist told me I should just adopt. The infertility group told me just to take Clomid and I'd for sure be pregnant soon.

In the back of my mind, I kept thinking about the dream about MY little boy. I was determined to keep trying. We decided to try Clomid. A few cycles later I was pregnant! I had a miscarriage at 10 weeks - it was another baby girl. A few more cycles of Clomid and I was pregnant again! I miscarried twins - 2 more little girls. Another few rounds of Clomid and another failed pregnancy with a little girl and I was beyond devastated.

I thought Clomid would be the miracle drug and that we would get to take home a baby. I gave up. A few months later I found out I was pregnant naturally (!!!) This for sure this was our miracle and surely it had to be our boy! But about 11 weeks into the pregnancy I was told our baby probably had Down Syndrome. We were encouraged to do an amniocentesis which we refused due to the risks of miscarriage. We didn't care if this baby was disabled. It was our baby whom, for years we had been praying for. We lost Lydia during my 18th week of pregnancy. (You can read her story here and here and here and here)

After we lost Lydia, I was broken. Our family was broken. We finally decided to get healthy emotionally and spiritually. I went to counseling and my husband went to counseling. We re-evaluated our priorities and allowed Lydia's loss to motivate us to become a better family, to have a better marriage, and to become more devoted to God.

One day, after several months in therapy, I told my therapist about the dream about our little boy I'd had so many years ago. She told me to just explore the idea of thinking about having another and see where it would take me emotionally. By the time I went to my next session a week later, my husband and I had already decided we wanted to try one last time. We thought and prayed really hard and long about the decision and we just knew we needed to. The next month I began fertility treatments again. This time the doctors decided a better approach would be to do injectable drugs. After several failed cycles and two very large and painful cysts, I finally became pregnant!!!

I knew immediately something was different. I started vomiting a few days before I even took a pregnancy test. I just assumed it was multiples, knowing I had released 3 eggs. Our first appointment revealed, in fact, it was twins! We were cautiously optimistic. Our second appointment revealed the 2nd sac was not growing, and by 8 weeks, that little sac had all but disappeared. Baby # 2 was what they call a vanishing twin. Baby #1 was doing amazingly well! Measuring perfectly for dates and even had a heartbeat at 5 weeks and 3 days. The doctor assured us he thought this one was a keeper!

But I was so, so, so, so sick again with Hyperemesis Gravidarum. I thought since the pregnancy was no longer twins the Hyperemesis would disappear. Not so much. I was hospitalized in December right before Christmas for 4 days. I was miserable! I was vomiting dozens of times a day, losing tons of weight and severely dehydrated.  I begged not to have a PICC line put in for daily I.V. hydration. I begged them not to feed me via a feeding tube. My doctors had mercy on me and decided to try one last treatment. Amazingly, despite still feel completely and utterly nauseated all day long, I have not vomited in over 3 weeks!

And guess what? I'm now 20 weeks along (today!). A few weeks ago we found out another amazing miracle -  the baby is our little BOY! :) Words cannot describe the joy this pregnancy has brought into our lives despite the struggle it has been. Although my therapist pretty much nailed it all on the head when she said, "That's him. You already know him. And he was waiting to come until you guys could make some emotional and spiritual room for him. Look back on this experience in the future when you don't know how or why things are going the way they are / why timing is the way it is."

All of our babies have been miracles. And yet, I think the biggest miracle of all is that Heavenly Father has given us, through our trials, an assurance and a hope that one day perhaps, we will see Him as He is. One day, hopefully, we will be like Him. And one day we will be with Lydia and all of our babies again.

So on this Valentine's Day, please remember the loved ones in your life, but also now and forever please remember the one who first loved you for He has brought many miracles into each of our lives.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Loss of Our Lydia: How My Girls Are Coping & Another Life Lesson

Charlotte is a very clever girl. From the moment I found out I was pregnant, she was constantly asking me, "Do you have a baby in your tummy?" I would try to play coy and be vague - not wanting to confirm or deny until we knew the pregnancy was going to stick. "Why do you ask?" I'd say. She'd respond with, "Because your tummy is getting bigger" or, "Because Mommy's with babies in their tummies are tired a lot from growing the baby and you are always so tired." She's also super observant.

Once we hit the second trimester, we announced the news. Jubuilant cheers could be heard echoing our apartment walls for weeks. Every morning she would rush in and kiss my tummy and say, "Good morning, little baby!" And then she'd ask questions. Sometimes they were technical questions, "Can the baby hear us? How big is she now?" Sometimes emotional questions, "Will you still love us if you have a new baby?" My favorite question was, "Does it hurt you when the baby eats?" She thought babies had teeth and the baby was biting me on the inside. We had a long discussion about umbilical cords and how they brought food to the baby. She thought it was the coolest thing she'd ever heard and she told all the kids at her preschool the next day. Shortly after that conversation, she announced she was going to be a doctor when she grew up. We weren't the least bit surprised.

And then the most tragic thing that could possibly happen, happened to all of us. Lydia died. I walked in the door from my 18 week appointment, tears streaming down my face into the arms of my sweet husband. We cried for a few minutes together without any words as I'd already called ahead with the bad news. I went back to the bedroom and laid down and cried some more while Jorge took the kids to get pizza.

When my husband returned with the girls, I was still laying in bed, mostly exhausted after having cried for the better part of 2 hours. Charlotte immediately climbed up in bed next to me, laid her head on my tummy and she wept. After about 15 minutes, she wiped her tears, kissed my tummy and looked up at me. "It's ok, Mommy. Jesus is holding our baby now. He'll take care of her, I know it." Oh, the simple sweet and sure faith of a child!

Another invaluable lesson losing Lydia taught my family: "...become as little children... Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3-4).

My girls have a concept of death and belief in heaven. We have taught them about God and His love for us. So, in response to the questions about how my girls are coping with this devastating loss, I say, as well as I expected them to.

We've explained what happened to Lydia. (How ironic that the very thing that was so fascinating to my girls about how Lydia could grow in my tummy became the very reason for her death.) We read books together about child loss. Our favorite book is Something Happened by Cathy R. Blanford. We allowed the girls to talk about how they are feeling. We've had super hard days where we have wept on the floor just holding each other. We've had great days where we are able to talk about how much we love Lydia and how mush we miss her.

But my favorite days are the days that they comfort me with their sure faith. It's almost as if they give me permission to love her and believe all the things we've taught them about God and His goodness. Lydia did exist. She is our baby. She's part of our family now and forever. God is good. He loves us. We are His children. And if we are willing to humble ourselves, becoming as little children, allowing ourselves to have the slightest bit of sure faith, we can be healed.

Thank you again for another amazing lesson, Lydia. We miss you.

Friday, October 4, 2013

October 2013 FREE Printable: Mini Halloween Bingo Game Set

This week I'm taking a break from all the heavy & emotional stuff and posting October's FREE printable instead.

I created a Camping Bingo game for my daughter's 5th birthday earlier this year. She loved it and has been begging me to create a "spooky" Bingo set. So, October's FREE printable is a Mini Halloween Bingo Game set. Hope you have as much fun playing as my kids are!

Included in this festive printable are 5 game boards and the call pieces. To get, right click on the image and save to your desktop. Then print. Printing on standard 8.5 x 11 inch white card stock or cover stock recommended. Cut along the dotted lines. Enjoy!

If you download, leave us a comment and let us know what you think!