Clara's Birth Story

My Mama heart honestly cannot even believe that I get to share this with you all! Those who have followed our journey know just how long we’ve awaited this very day. The day that our arms would be filled with a breathing, crying, perfect in every way little girl. And here we are!

After having two other normal births, I expected this time would be no different. But little miss had her own plans my entire pregnancy, and certainly showed us that at every turn.

She decided she was comfy being head up (breech), and despite me doing every crazy thing I could think of to try and get her to turn (even laying upside down with a bag of frozen veggies on my belly) she still wasn’t having it! So, at 37 weeks I went in for an external cephalic version (ECV) where my OB and another doctor attempted to manually turn Clara from the outside. OUCH! But, it worked! She was officially head down. Woot woot!

From there my OB and I decided that if Clara didn’t come on her own, I would be induced in just a few weeks. This was something I wrestled with so much, but I felt ready and completely at peace the morning we went in for the induction.

39 weeks 2 days, and a 4am report time to the hospital. Baby girl… here we come!!!

I remember pressing the elevator button for the delivery floor and just feeling a rush of what I can only say were literally a million different emotions. I let them sink in, kissed the hubby, and we set off to be checked in. We were so blessed to have a sweet friend as our delivery nurse. Amy, you are a Godsend and it was truly a gift having you alongside us the whole time!

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I was thankful to have already made pretty good progress going into the induction, but they still needed to start the pitocin drip. I’ve heard so many things about pitocin, and most are always bad, but my experience has never been that way. I needed it with my other two deliveries as well, so this wasn’t new to me which felt good. Especially on a day where I craved as much familiarity as possible.

They started the pitocin around 4:30am and broke my water at about 8:00am. I was able to catch a little nap in between there which was glorious! Once my water broke the pain was a lot more intense. I labored on the birthing ball and held on to hubby for a bit. Something I was SO grateful for. Around 10:30am I finally asked for the epidural. I turned on worship music and breathed through what was by far my easiest epidural! Thank the Lord!!

About two hours later, I knew it was time. 6 minutes of pushing, 3 contractions, and just like that, God answered my hearts biggest prayer.

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Clara Jayne entered the world!!!

Clara Jayne
April 24, 2019
12:50pm
8 pounds 3 ounces 20.75 inches

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A moment in time that literally felt like a dream.

You know those times where you feel like you’re watching yourself experience something… that was this moment! She came out with head FULL of brown hair, and the sweetest little raspy cry.

The moment she was laid on chest I felt like a part of my heart had been healed. The days leading up to my induction and honestly my whole pregnancy I was extremely nervous. So, to see our RAINBOW baby girl here and safe, felt like a weight was lifted.

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After a short time in recovery, we were wheeled over to the Mom and baby unit. We got settled in and were anxiously awaiting big brother’s arrival!

Seeing Samuel and Clara together for the first time made me a complete mess in SUCH a good way! He was instantly smitten with her and has been so sweet ever since. He loves his baby sis!

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Thankful, blessed, in disbelief; none of these words even begin to scratch the surface of how we feel. Holding our perfect little bundle in my arms as we left the hospital that just a year before, I had been in following our miscarriage with Ellis.

There truly are no words.

I cried the whole way to the car, and honestly there aren’t many days that the happy tears don’t flow over here!

Getting to bring our girl HOME is something we never got to experience with Savannah, but is what my heart has since been aching for. One life can never replace another life, but Clara’s certainly has filled us with joy again!

This… this moment is redemption!

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Clara's Nursery Reveal

“In God’s timing He restores everything in ways so good you could not dream them up yourself.”

This quote right here is exactly how I feel about being able to share Clara’s nursery with you all. While I have been and am definitely still extremely nervous awaiting her soon to be arrival, the completion of this room makes it feel that much more real. Those of you who have followed our journey know how much my heart has wanted to raise a girl, and how losing Savannah and Ellis has only intensified that desire. While Clara will never replace my other two daughters and the spot in my heart that they each hold, I know she will help heal parts of me that have been broken from loss.

When planning for her nursery I knew I wanted to incorporate Savannah and Ellis and have this room truly reflect all three of my girls. Savannah’s nursery was going to be peach and lace, and I had dreamed of lots of greenery for Ellis’, so naturally Clara’s is a mesh of them both! I incorporated special pieces that remind me of them in Clara’s room as well. Pressed flowers from our trip to Savannah, Georgia while pregnant with Savannah, butterflies and bunnies, and of course the rainbow print too.

When decorating a room, I like to start with my main inspiration piece and go from there. In this case, it is her crib sheet. I loved that it was a mesh of both the Savannah peach and Ellis greenery, but with a simple floral theme of its own. You guys know I love all things neutral and calm so of course I wanted to keep that vibe in her nursery as well, which is why the crib sheet is the ‘loudest’ piece in her room.

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When I walk in here, it truly feels too good to be true.
Welcome to years and years of wishes and prayers… Clara’s Nursery!

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I was blessed to be able to collaborate with two amazing shops to make parts of my plan for the nursery come to life! The first of which was Windows by Mellissa, who made our blackout roman shades for Clara’s room. I knew I wanted roman shades instead of curtains for two reasons; one of which was the rooms layout, but the second was to show off my husbands handy work with framing out the windows. (Great job babe!) So, I picked out the fabric I wanted from Hobby Lobby and Melissa made my vision come to life with these beautiful shades!

The second was Amber with Little Birdie Ink, who made our changing pad cover. I had been eyeing all the greenery covers so was thrilled when Amber was up for working together! The cover is incredibly soft and I love the bit of color it adds to her dresser. I did get some changing pad liners to throw overtop, because let’s be honest… we all know babies are famous for blowouts. But even still, I love that you can see the pattern from the front as well!

I will source most of the larger items below, but if you have any questions about where something came from you can always comment below!

Sources:
Wall Color- Asiago by Valspar
Crib
Dresser
Chair (we added a rocker attachment)
Pillow- At Home
Mirror
Lights
Stool End Table
Changing Pad Cover- collaboration
Roman Shades- collaboration
Crib Sheet
Shelving Brackets (spray painted gold)
Mobile- Handmade by Me
Initial Letters- Hobby Lobby

We reused Samuel’s old crib, dresser, and chair which definitely helped us out. It was nice not to have to re-buy those bigger purchase items. I always encourage everyone to check their local thrift stores/shop and swap pages for gently used items first before buying new. When pregnant with Samuel I scored the IKEA chair for almost 75% off and then chose to just buy a new cover for it this time around. Also, be patient… stores always run promotions and sales, even the bigger ones like Target!


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As we close out week 36 soon, I just ask that you continue to keep us and Clara in your thoughts and prayers! I cannot wait to bring her sweet self into this space and truly have all my dreams come true!

Thank you for letting me share with you all!

This Side of the Rainbow

My Mama heart has been carrying this blog title around for months. I have even sat down to try and write this post countless times, and yet each time I am left speechless and incredibly emotional. I prayed so hard that when the day was right, the words would just flow.

There are so many things that people don’t tell you about being a Mom; add to that being a loss Mom, and then also a Mom to rainbow babies. There are levels of emotion that at this stage I’m convinced cannot even be described, yet I really want to try!

I’ve read countless posts about life after the loss of a child, and also those written about parenting our rainbow babies, but there is a space in the middle that I’m currently navigating that I feel isn’t as easily spoken or shared about… this side of the rainbow.

People who know us and know our story always say “you must be so excited!” And while our answer is of course “yes”, it is also “this is hard”. This side of the rainbow, the waiting, the anticipating, the re-grief and fresh waves of grief, and trying to navigate this new journey all while keeping our eyes focused on the sweet blessing that Clara already is is definitely a lot. A load that we are more than happy to carry and are of course blessed with, but a load none the less.

While I was pregnant with Samuel, our first rainbow baby, I experienced all of this but in a different way. When we lost our first, Savannah, my heart had been longing for her… a girl, all things peach and lace, hair bows, and ballet classes. So when we became pregnant with Samuel it was an entirely new journey with him being a boy. It’s almost as if the Lord knew my heart needed a completely different path at that time. I was able to shift my focus to all things boy and embrace the new role of Mama with a sweet little man who totally has me wrapped around his finger.

It’s not that that time didn’t surface intense re-grief for Savannah, because Lord knows it did! It was just different knowing he was a boy, and it may have honestly just been my brain trying to keep me from going down that emotion-filled road at the time.

This pregnancy, however, has been SO different. If you’ve been following along for a while now, you know we lost another sweet baby girl, Ellis, this past Summer. My heart could barely handle knowing we lost our first daughter, but to now know that we’ve lost two just completely crushed me. I started wondering if I’d ever get to experience life with a baby girl on this side of Heaven, and what that would even look like if it did happen. Enter, Clara! When we found out we were expecting again and that she was a girl I was honestly in disbelief, and then it hit… the fear. Knowing our history and that all I know is losing our girls terrified me and honestly still does.

Sitting here 31 and a half weeks pregnant with Clara, praying and holding my breath each day, this side of the rainbow is such a new experience. I struggle between wanting to cherish this time with her in my belly, and equally wanting her to be here and to hear her first cries.

The waves of joy and grief are unlike any I’ve felt before. I stare at Samuel and I know my body can do this; I am capable of birthing a healthy baby and bringing him home. Yet I will say, with Clara being a girl it is a whole different world, at least in my brain. All I know is losing our daughters, and not being able to bring them home. To me, that is a total dream, one that I have been confidently praying the Lord will allow to come true.

I’ve been getting to fulfill simple everyday hopes that I have had for 5 plus years now when I was carrying Savannah. Hopes like decorating a girly nursery. With every new thing added to Clara’s room, I get more and more emotional. Not about the room itself, but whose it is! Our daughter, who in no way will replace her older two sisters, but who will definitely fill our arms and days with the joy that God knows only she could bring.

My husband recently made this rainbow print that will sit on one of the shelves in the nursery. I love that it will forever remind us of this part of our journey, of the in-between, and all the prayers that went into getting to where we are now.

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“It is understood that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of any storm. When a rainbow appears, it does not mean that the storm never happened or that we are not still dealing with it’s aftermath. It means that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds. Storm clouds may still hover, but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy, and hope.”

There truly aren’t words to adequately express how grateful we are for the hope that Clara has already brought into our lives, and how excited we are to see God use her story to restore parts of ours that have been broken for far too long now. She will never be a replacement but instead the perfect addition. This side of the rainbow is hard, but seeing the light makes it all worth it!

Sharing the Love

Happy Valentine’s Day, lovely ones!!!

I realize today may not be the easiest of days for everyone; those who have lost a loved one, who are single, or those whose heart is simply missing someone important. I want you to know first and foremost that I see you, and am acknowledging you, especially today. Be gentle with yourselves!

That being said, I figured we could all use a bit of extra love today. And what better day to share that love with you all, than Valentine’s. That’s why today is GIVEAWAY day!!!!

Announcement time!!!: I recently became a Smallwoods brand rep! That in itself is something I’d like to celebrate! If you aren’t familiar with Smallwoods, I encourage you to pop over to their website and check them out. They sell a bit of everything home decor-wise; including custom wood signs and canvas prints. I have loved their products for some time now, and am extra excited to be on this venture with them not only for that reason but also because it means I get to share with you all as well!!

In honor of spreading some love today, I am giving away this adorable hanging canvas print!

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I absolutely love this piece and thought it was the perfect giveaway for heart day! This would be a fun addition to a nursery or kids room, playroom, or even just mixed in with your normal home decor. Super versatile!

The giveaway starts today and will run through Sunday morning! I will plan to draw a winner by Sunday evening. To enter, simply comment here on the blog or my Instagram post. (Extra entries if you tag friends on my Instagram post) Comment telling me where you’d like to hang the canvas print or how you’re spending your Valentine’s Day!

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If you get a chance, pop over to the Smallwood Home website and check out their sale! They are currently running 65% off all signs and free shipping. Woot woot!

I hope your Valentine’s Day is filled with lots of sweet moments (and maybe a bit of chocolate!)

GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED, AND WINNER HAS BEEN NOTIFIED!

DIY Magic Light Trick

As promised, I am about to share one of the simplest and fun DIY projects with you all! I’ve been following Nesting with Grace for quite awhile now and have been a huge fan of her “magic light trick” but have yet to find a place in our house that I felt it would work. Until now!!!

As most of you know we have been hard at work prepping our little girl’s nursery, when dreaming up this space I remembered this DIY tutorial I had stumbled upon almost a year ago! I knew we needed some sort of lighting in the nursery but I didn’t really want to have a lamp on her dresser/changing table. So… enter the magic light trick; which allows you to use remote control puck lights in sconces instead of having to hire an electrician to run power to them! Genius!

I went to work searching for sconces that would not only match her room and the style I am going for in there, but also something that wouldn’t break the bank. (Mama is always on the hunt for a good deal!) After looking at local hardware stores and online retailers, I ended up finding these (on Amazon of course) and instantly fell in love! They are the perfect neutral and even have a feminine vibe to them.

 
 

This project took less than an hour total and truly makes the room feel so much more cozy; which is always how I want our house to feel!
So, here’s what you’ll need:

  • Sconce(s)

  • Remote control puck lights

  • Wire

  • Wire cutters

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I ordered these battery operated puck lights from Amazon and actually already had the wire. I used 20 gauge jewelry making wire, but any wire would work! I knew I only needed 2 puck lights so went with this pack. (They do sell larger packs as well if you wanted to use them for under-cabinet lighting or something similar though)

 
 

Step 1- Cut and attach your wire/install batteries
Start by cutting a piece of wire longer than you think you’ll need, don’t worry we will cut the excess later. Then simply wrap the wire around the light socket a few times and twist the wire around itself to make it tight. Go ahead and open your puck lights and install the batteries; leaving the back of the puck light off for the next step.

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Step 2- Attach the puck light backing
Take the back part of the puck light and slip the wire ends through the 2 holes, then wrap them tight around one another. Be sure this is very secure as this is what will hold your puck light in your sconce. Then cut the excess wire leaving only a little extra that can easily be tucked in the puck light.

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Step 3- Screw puck light on
Carefully screw on the light part of the puck being sure it is attached all the way. Repeat all steps if doing more than one sconce.

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Voila!!!

Just attach your sconce(s) to the wall and stand back in amazement as you do the mandatory remote test! This particular puck light set has multiple settings. On/off, 100% and 50% power options, as well as a dimmer so you can actually manually select the amount of light you want. I LOVE this last feature so much, and think it will be perfect for middle of the night diaper changes and feedings.

You can see below the lights off vs on. I’m thinking it would be fun to show you how they look at night as well, so keep an eye on my instastories this week if you want to see that!

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I love how much character they add to the room and think they are the perfect lighting option without taking up any valuable dresser or floor space!

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It may have taken me almost a year to find a spot for Nesting with Grace’s magic light tutorial, but I have to say it was well worth the wait!!! I kept the rest of the room a secret in these photos, but trust me… the sweetest nursery reveal will be coming to the blog in just a few short months!

Be sure to tag me @theivynest and @nestingwithgrace if you add a “magic light” in your house!!

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I’ve been excited to share these few things with you all for awhile! It’s a super rainy morning here in Ohio, but honestly I couldn’t think of better weather to write in! Today’s WILW is a mix of practical, yummy, and just plain fun! Let me know if you’ve tried any of these or if you plan to!

This money saving app-
I’ve been using Ibotta for a few months now and have been pleasantly surprised how much money I’ve gotten back, especially from a FREE app! It’s super simple. Download the app, select your local grocery store(s) (Walmart and Target are even on there!), then scroll through the ‘current offers’ for your selected store and ‘add’ the deals for things you know you plan to buy! Once you’ve done your shopping, simply upload your receipt and watch your Ibotta account as your savings are sent back to you! You can always check the offers after you shop as well; just incase you ended up getting something you hadn’t originally planned on buying. Once you reach a minimum of $20 back in offers, you can withdraw your cash using either Venmo, PayPal, or by selecting one of their MANY gift card options! I signed up after a friend referred me, so I figured I’d pass it along for you all as well! Use my code: sndscan and you can get a $10 welcome bonus!

These dryer balls-
We decided to make the switch away from fabric softener (both liquid and the dryer sheets). I was on the hunt for something more skin sensitive and less wasteful. These have been just that! Super easy to use, just toss them in with your damp clothes. I’ve noticed our drying time has gone down, and our clothes are not only softer but they don’t have as much static. (Which is AMAZING! Especially right now with it being winter; everything is super prone to static) I know quite a few others who have made the switch away from fabric softener, and they actually use wool dryer balls. I’ve heard great things about those as well; and I definitely would have tried but I’m allergic to wool. I’ll link both options below for you though!

 
 
 
 

This yogurt-
Several of my favorite bloggers have been mentioning siggi’s yogurt on their Instastories; so I decided to give it a try! Plus, when your local grocery store has it on sale, how do you say no?! Anyways, after trying it… I am totally hooked! I compared it to my previous favorite yogurts and it has way less sugar, more protein, and less calories. I love the raspberry, vanilla & cinnamon, and the chocolate triple cream as a guilt-free special Mama treat!

This lip balm-
It’s the time of year where this is a total everyday necessity! Living in Florida, dry lips weren’t something I really ever had to deal with. Ohio on the other-hand is a whole different story when it comes to needed skincare. I use one of these everyday, honestly multiple times a day and love them! They moisturize quickly without being greasy (as I know some chapsticks tend to be) Plus they smell amazing!

 
 

This pillow cover-
Just about every pillow in our house is a cover; which is a MUST especially with a toddler! But, also is a super easy (and cheap) way to change up your decor. These are easily swapped and can be taken off for cleaning as well. I try and wait until the Hobby Lobby covers go half off, or at least use a 40% off coupon. This cover was only $8.99 when I bought it! If you were to try and go to HomeGoods or Target to grab a new pillow with the same look, you’d likely be paying $25+ and it may not be a cover. I love the texture this brings to the room, and it’s neutral which is always my favorite!

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I hope you all are enjoying your Wednesday so far! I for one am SUPER grateful we are halfway through the week already.
Thanks for following along!

Fresh Beginnings

Seeing as how we are just about halfway through the first month of the new year, I thought it was only fitting to pop over here and touch base with you all (while I try not to burn my mouth on my favorite hot chai!) I don’t know about you, but the holidays always tend to leave me with a scratchy throat and in a daze. I fully require a good two week rest period afterwards!

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Anyways, I thought it would be fun to start 2019 off by going back to the basics and laying the groundwork for a fresh beginning. It’s a different year, so why not start from the ground up! Which means sharing for the new faces around here, a bit about who I am and the inspiration behind my blog; The Ivy Nest!


My name is Rebecca and I am the face and heart behind The Ivy Nest!

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I am a believer. A decision I made around the age of 12 and one that drives everything I do. Knowing that I have a hope that is eternal, truly comforts my soul and honestly carries me through the tough days that so often come. My relationship with the Lord is one that I know I take for granted a lot. I am definitely not a perfect person, and I fall short far more than I feel comfortable admitting… yet I will. Thank goodness we serve a patient and gracious God who forgives me time and time again. My faith has anchored me through the storms of loss, and the grief that has followed. For that alone, I am forever grateful!

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I am a Florida born girl currently living (and loving it) in Ohio. I am a proud military wife to an amazing man; my best friend and high-school sweetheart. We’ve been married for almost 10 years, and to this day that is still the best decision I’ve ever made! We’ve learned that marriage is not for the faint of heart (and ours in far from perfect), but when you work hard and are transparent it is honestly so rewarding! Josh truly completes me in a way only the Lord could have orchestrated. Cheesy I know.. but it’s seriously the truth. Thank goodness for his calm in all of my chaos!

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We have 4 beautiful babies, and each of them have a story of their own!

Savannah Joy- About halfway through my pregnancy with her we found out that she had a fatal neutral tube defect and wasn’t expected to live after birth. We chose life, and I chose to carry her to term. A choice I would make over and over again. We met our beautiful daughter face to face at 40 weeks and 2 days on October 9, 2013. She may have only lived for a few minutes after birth, but she continues to impact our lives in unimaginable ways to this day. She broke me out of my shell, and is honestly why I started blogging in the first place. Her story deserves to be shared and I get to brave enough to do it.. what an honor as a Mama!

Samuel David- Our handsome 3 and half year old rainbow baby boy! It’s so true that you don’t fully realize how much you need something until you have it; that is this boy! He fills my days with so much happiness and has helped heal my heart in ways I wasn’t even sure were possible. He loves trucks, reading, outer space, wrestle time with Daddy, and cuddling. Although, I know that last one won’t last forever so I soak it up while I can!

Ellis June- Our precious baby girl who we miscarried on June 27, 2018. After trying for almost 2 years we finally got pregnant with Ellis. This pregnancy felt different to me from the beginning, but I pushed my thoughts aside when we saw that perfect little heartbeat on the ultrasound. And just as soon as it felt real, we lost her. A pain my heart was not prepared to feel, and a hurt that definitely resurfaced grief from losing our first daughter Savannah as well. Ellis will forever be one of my greatest questions for the Lord, but until then we say “and if not, He is still good

Baby #4- Currently 25 weeks pregnant with our greatest answer to countless prayers, our rainbow baby girl; Clara Jayne!!! I’ve shared her name with our friends and family, but not on the blog yet. Clara means ‘light’, and we couldn’t imagine anything more fitting. We can already see the beautiful ways she has brightened up some of the darkest parts of our journey. Jayne means ‘gift from God’; and that Clara totally is! She is an answer to prayers that we’ve had in our hearts for years and years. A promise fulfilled and evidence that He truly does make everything beautiful in its time.

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I am a happy homemaker turned blogger and am blessed to be able to stay home and balance both! The Ivy Nest is truly a dream I have had for quite sometime, and in October 2017 that all came true in the form of this site! You can read about our namesake here. I started blogging as a way to release emotional grief after losing our first daughter and it ended up igniting a fire that spread into other areas of my life as well. My passion to share has led me here; my little piece of home on the internet.

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I am a super transparent person and definitely sensitive, I wear my heart on my sleeve and love to invest in people and their stories. I enjoy making our house a home; a cozy, clean, and comfortable one! (with a bit of much needed crazy) Candles and neutral colors make my heart happy, and I fully believe that beige is not boring! Sweet tea is my fuel of choice, and even better if it’s homemade and in a glass jar. I have a passion for home decor, love working with a budget, and recreating looks for less! I am a cat and plant lady… and yes both of those are a thing. I love raw and real emotions and spilling my heart. I know that life is meant to be lived and shared, and that was my hope in creating The Ivy Nest; that I could do just that and at the same time have a space to learn more about each of you as well!


If you stuck with me through all of that, you are a true warrior!!! I have so many fun things planned for the blog this year, and I cannot wait to let you all in more! Thanks for being here and greeting 2019 with me a little delayed, but never too late!

Peripeti Candles

I’m pretty sure I have never been more excited to share something with you all! I stumbled upon the Peripeti Candle booth a few months ago at a local vintage/craft show. I ended up picking up THE best woodwick candle, and started talking with Kate about a possible collaboration.

Well, here we are!

We’ve partnered up to share a bit more about her passion for creating natural and non-toxic home fragrances, my love of candles and shopping small, as well as leave you all with a special treat at the end!

You all know how much I love my candles and how often I share about them here and over on Instagram. As someone who has tried dozens and dozens of brands, I have yet to find something similar to Peripeti. My first was the woodwick Bamboo Linen scent. This will probably always be my ‘go-to’ because I love all things simple and clean.

Unlike other brands I’ve tried, the Peripeti candles fill your entire room, and attached rooms with long lasting scent, all the way down to the last burn! Kate shares it this way- “We pour our fragrance through the entire batch of wax. You may not know this but many established candle companies pour 75% of the wax unscented, they add the scent only to the top 25% of the candle. Ever had a candle that smelled for a couple burns and then you couldn't smell it anymore? That's usually the reason. We don't skimp on the scent, after all, that's the most important part!”

I just love that, and I will 100% vouch for this. My house has never smelled better! Kate recently sent me the sweetest happy mail ever and I thought I’d share a few of my new favorites from her line.

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Room sprays are something that are definitely new to me, but I have LOVED having this one! I mostly use it on our entry rugs, but it’s safe for the air and in fact is a non-toxic solution to air fresheners. They can be used almost anywhere; linens, garbage can, rugs, bathrooms, and the list goes on.

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Nothing snaps you into the Christmas spirit quite like the scent of evergreen! And let me tell you, between our fresh cut Ohio Christmas tree and this reed diffuser, our living room is bursting with the smell of the holidays! Reed diffusers are a favorite of mine, especially as a Mama. I have ours in the living room and for some reason our little man will leave this alone; whereas with my candles, he is constantly blowing them out and wanting to play with them. They are also a perfect alternative to candles in spaces that may not accommodate them well, such as nurseries, work spaces, or dorm rooms.

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This ‘leaf’ soy candle is easily at the top of my ‘to buy again’ list! It has found a home right by my kitchen sink. I seriously spend most of my day here, so I figured why not enjoy my time here too! Once again, the scent fills our entire kitchen without being overwhelming. It’s the perfect blend of fresh/green with notes of olive, clove, and lemon. (And just so we’re being honest, my sink is almost never empty with a toddler in the house!)

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As an added bonus all of the woodwick candles come in adorable jars with the prettiest lids!! Once my candle was done burning for the last time, I just stuck it in the freezer for a bit and the candle popped right out. Now I am able to reuse this cute little jar to hold bath salts! How perfect is that?!

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As a thank you for reading and following along, Peripeti Candles is offering 10% off your purchase as well as free shipping on orders over $45 with code: THEIVYNEST

Candles are and will always be one of my favorite gifts to give and receive. With so many products to choose from; from reed diffusers, woodwick and soy wax candles there truly is something for everyone!

While some of these items were gifted to me, the opinions in my post are completely my own.
I promise to continue to only share and support brands that I actually love and purchase on my own as well!

I hope you all will head over to Peripeti Candles and grab your last minute Christmas gifts or even something for yourself! And be sure to follow Kate on Instagram as well!

What I'm Loving Wednesday

As much as I thought I loved all things cozy before this pregnancy, it has now at least tripled! I blame the cold weather and the sweet tooth this little one has gifted me with. That being said, I thought I’d make this a cozy addition of What I’m Loving Wednesday, sharing a few of my most favorite cozy necessities! Here we go…

These slipper socks- At only about $16 they are well worth it! I am one of those people who are always cold, so especially living up North now these were a must! The perfect slipper meets sock combo for around the house. They have gripper pads along the bottom so are non slip, and they are plenty thick enough to keep your feet toasty warm. Plus, they come in so many colors/styles! I may just add another pair to my Christmas wish list.

These lights- I discovered this brand last year at Target and haven’t looked back since! I love love love using “fairy” lights throughout our home decor and especially around the holidays. They easily add a bit of magic to the room without being overwhelming. These are battery operated which is great because you can use them anywhere and not have to rely on an outlet, plus they have a timer option which allows you to set it and leave them. (They will be on for 6 hours then off for 18) Perfect for use at night!

This heating blanket- Another purchase that we’ve had for over a year and are super pleased with. Going along with my constantly being cold, this was a must for staying warm during our Ohio winters. I use this blanket pretty much everyday in our living room so can easily say it’s held up super well! Machine washable, has six different heat settings, and an auto shut off after 10 hours.

 
 

This cookie recipe- Part of being cozy for me is having something sweet to eat or drink, and well… these are my kryptonite! Pairing two of my favorite things together (chocolate and peanut butter) really how could you go wrong?! This recipe is pretty easy and quick to whip up and makes A LOT of cookies. So, you may consider halving it (or freezing the extras) But trust me, you won’t be able to eat just one of these! You’ve been warned!

This robe- I recently shared this on my Instastories for Black Friday but I’m adding it to this list as well, it’s that good! Everything you’d want in a comfy robe and more. Plush, and long enough to cover the tush! Super warm and doesn’t have pockets. I know for some the no pocket thing may be a deal breaker, but for me it was a win. If I’m relaxing I shouldn’t need to have anything in my pockets. Just chill!

One more bonus thing for locals or anyone with access to a Meijer- this plush pullover! The brand is MTA Sport and I found it in the athletic clothing section. I tried so so hard to find a link to share with you all but couldn’t find it online anywhere. I have lived in this since I found it! It’s the prettiest blush color, sherpa lined, side zip, cozy pullover!

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We woke up to the most magical (almost completely covered) winter wonderland this morning.
Days like today definitely scream C O Z Y to me!

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Cranberry Orange Scones

Is anyone else beyond ready for the weekend? It has been so gloomy in Ohio this week, but we chose to embrace it today by staying in and making something extra sweet! Because let’s be honest, who doesn’t need a Friday pick-me-up?!

I have always been a scone lover, but for some silly reason I’ve been intimidated to try and make them myself. Until today! I figured, worst case scenario we end up with an inedible dessert, flour all over us, and a new funny memory. Either way, a win in my book!

Thankfully to my surprise, we ended up with the most deliciously sweet cranberry orange scones, and still got flour all over us (and the kitchen) which definitely made for some fun memories!

I found this recipe from Natasha’s Kitchen that seemed both simple to follow and the ingredients were mostly things we already had in our house. These could easily be used as a quick last minute treat or something to bake for your friends or neighbors!

Ingredients for Cranberry Orange Scones:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 Tbsp grated orange zest (from 1/2 orange)
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter, cut into chunks
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream + 1 Tbsp to brush the top
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 Tbsp coarse/raw sugar to sprinkle the top, optional

Ingredients for the Orange Glaze:
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice

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Head over to Natasha’s Kitchen for the recipe!

Overall, my first experience making scones was nowhere near as scary as I had built up in my head. HA! I’m pretty sure this just confirms that really good things can come from stepping out of our comfort zones, even if it’s something as simple as trying a new recipe!

They were a total HIT with my little man too, he literally couldn’t keep his hands off of them or the oranges!

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Fridays are meant to be sweet! So, if the day isn’t cooperating with you; do something to make it, even if that just means baking!

How to Miss Without Missing out This Holiday Season

It’s a known fact that the holidays are always tough when you’ve lost someone close to you; and even if they are just in a different state, we miss those we can’t physically be with. We almost can’t help but long to be with the ones we love this time of year. I swear it’s built into us!

Every time Thanksgiving or Christmas rolls around I feel like I am faced with these questions:

How do I remember who is missing without missing out on who is here?’

‘Is it possible to be thankful or joy-filled while still grieving?’

‘Will the holidays ever be the same?’

I am by no means an expert on grief, loss, or anything of the sort; but this is a topic that is super close to me. Through losing my Mom fourteen years ago, saying hello and goodbye to our sweet Savannah five years ago, and then miscarrying Ellis this past Summer, my heart has had to learn what it’s like to live through the holidays with that ever-present ache for something and someone more. While grief is definitely different for everyone, I believe that ache is the constant, and something we’ve all felt at one point or another.

How do I remember who is missing without missing out on who is here?’

I could probably have written an entire blog post on this question alone, but I’ve narrowed it down to five simple ways you can remember those you are missing this holiday season.

1. Speak their name- One of the best ways to remember those we’ve lost is to keep their memory alive. Share of the sweet moments you shared or a funny memory from the past holidays. Share about how thankful you are for them or their influence/impact on your life. I know for me, as a loss Mom, nothing makes my heart swell more than when I can share about my girls or when others speak their names.
2. Keep the tradition- If there was something special you did with your loved one during the holidays, keep it up. Again, only do what feels right for you in this season. This has been something that can be super hard at times for me, but I’ve also found great joy in this as well. I always make my Mom’s sweet potato casserole recipe, and continue to hang Savannah’s stocking (we’ll add Ellis’ this year too) Anything that you can do to bring back those special memories can definitely help with the healing.
3. Allow the emotions to surface- This is by far the most difficult I believe. When everyone around you is so happy, you of course don’t want to be the one upset. But it’s ok. Don’t force yourself to dwell on who is missing, but when thoughts of them surface, give yourself the grace to remember and allow yourself the time to work through whatever emotions that moment surfaced. As hard as this feels, this is honoring them!
4. Include others- As years pass, you are inevitably going to spend these special times of year with new friends or family members. I’ve found that including others in your grief can be incredibly helpful. Whether its sharing a loved ones favorite recipe, holiday song, or tradition, this can be the perfect way to bring everyone together. Be open and share what is helpful for you, I promise people will listen and will do whatever it is that you need to be comforted.
5. Miss but don’t miss out- Grief has a tendency to want to isolate us, to make us feel like we’re alone, or that we’re more comfortable when we are alone. As difficult as this one is, don’t miss out just because you are missing. Choose to be present with those who are here and choose to remember those who aren’t. It is a balancing act for sure, but one that I believe you will be happy you attempted.

‘Is it possible to be thankful or joy-filled while still grieving?’

Just sharing from my heart and experiences with loss; I do believe it is possible to be both grateful and grieving. I’ve shared about this a bit in the past, when I wrote about joy. The biggest thing I will say is that it has to be a choice. Being thankful and joy-filled after losing a loved one, especially during the holidays, in my experience is not going to come naturally. It will be a fight, a choice that you will probably have to continue to choose daily and maybe even multiple times throughout a day sometimes. And that’s ok!

‘Will the holidays ever be the same?’

This one tugs at my heartstrings and every part of me wants to give you a fluffy, feel good answer, but I won’t. Loss changes us, and in turn touches every single part of our lives. So, no. The holidays won’t ever be the same, but it doesn’t mean they can’t still be filled with some of your greatest memories! I have found that the harder I try to keep things the same, the more unfulfilled I am. True joy has come only when I’ve allowed my losses to transform our holidays and shape them into something new.

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I so wish, more than anything, that I could fill the void in each of our hearts this holiday season. But I also take great comfort in the fact that I know I’m not alone in missing someone(s) a little extra these next few months. It’s ok to miss, just try your best not to miss out on what’s in front of or beside you this holiday season.

I’m remembering and celebrating your loved ones with you!
Happy Thanksgiving!!!

What I'm Loving Wednesday

This candle-
As most of you know, I am a huge candle lover (and a bit picky at times!) I get hooked on my favorite brands and sometimes find it hard to venture away from them. However, a few weekends ago I attended a local vintage/craft show and stumbled on the Peripeti candle booth. I love love love wood-wick candles and the crackle they give off, so was super excited when I saw that they carried some! I had a hard time deciding on a scent but ultimately settled on a classic- ‘bamboo linen’. I’ve been thoroughly impressed with the quality of the candle, and how the scent fills our entire home, not just a single room.

Trader Joe’s Blondie Bar Mix-
As the holidays and winter are fast approaching, I’m always on the hunt for a few quick desserts to whip up and these are perfect! I love making things from scratch, but let’s face it- we don’t always have time for that… enter Trader Joe’s box mix! HALLELUJAH! These are super quick and easy to make, plus my little man can help make them in the kitchen too. Double win! I do edit the recipe just slightly by not adding quite as much butter as it calls for and they come out perfect!

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This diffuser-
While I wouldn’t say I’m a frequent oil user on myself, but I definitely enjoy them in our home and this diffuser helps with that! I was on the search for something neutral that would go with our decor, so this was perfect. There are multiple colored light options, and it doubles as a humidifier as well. Easy to use and clean, and has a safety auto shut-off to prevent it from overheating incase it runs out of water. If you’re looking for a few blends to start with, we love lavender+lemon+peppermint as well as eucalyptus+lavender.

These Bathroom Organizers-
We recently started a mini Master Bathroom reno and I have since been determined to keep that room more organized. I went searching for these plastic organizers but found that they were quite pricey when bought individually at retail stores. Of course, Amazon to the rescue!!! This set of 6 were only $14.99. I use them to hold everything from bobby pins to makeup, and hair products. They stack nicely and have allowed me to keep those drawers a lot more organized and clean!

 
 

This Texture Spray-
While I am still a huge fan of the MONAT products, this texture spray has no equal. My hairdresser would use this every time she styled my hair and I fell in LOVE! First of all, it smells amazing. I love the lift that it gives my hair no matter how I style it and the way it helps to soften the curls when I decide to go that route. Definitely worth a try!

This Liquid Lipstick-
Totally random discovery, but I have been obsessed with this liquid matte lipstick by Covergirl lately! I have the “current nude” and “ballerina” colors and both are the perfect neutral. Just enough to know you have lip color on but not too dark. They are matte so aren’t tacky or sticky at all. I will add a little gloss on top sometimes just to change it up, but it can definitely be worn without it!

 
 

Travel Tray GIVEAWAY!

I recently collaborated with My Travel Tray and it’s been one of the best things I could have ever done!!! My Travel Tray created an on-the-go cup holder and plate all in one, and they were sweet enough to send me a few to test out. To say we fell in love would be an understatement!

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The trays are 100% food safe, BPA/PHT/PVC free, and the best part…they are top rack dishwasher-safe! They include a removable cup holder adapter so it’s sure to fit in a variety of places. Travel trays come in about 13 different colors plus limited edition colors as well. I chose to keep things neutral (SURPRISE SURPRISE!); from left to right: white, beige, charcoal.

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With the holidays fast approaching, this would make a perfect (and practical) gift for your kiddos or even a family member! We’ve used ours at the grocery store, in the car (both up front with me and one in Samuel’s carseat), the stroller, and my favorite: TARGET! They fit perfectly in the free drink holder cart attachments from the Target Starbucks. WIN WIN WIN! I attached mine facing the outside of the cart just to give Samuel more arm room, but for little ones you could definitely have the cupholder and tray facing them on the inside of the cart.

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Over the summer I took my little man on a month long road trip, and these were my saving grace! We used them to hold our on the go lunch or snacks, but I also used Samuel’s to hold his markers or crayons that he was using at the time. It totally saved my sanity from having to constantly search my van for lost markers or caps, and he got to be a bit more independent which was nice!

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You can order your travel tray here or they do have some colors available on Amazon as well.

 
 

We have enjoyed our trays so much, that I would love to gift one of my readers with one too!!! To enter, simply comment here or on my IG post and share what you think would end up on your Travel Tray the most. For me, its normally my breakfast or snack as I head out the door!

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I’ll announce the winner Sunday evening, so be sure to comment before then!
Happy *GIVEAWAY* Friday!!!

GIVEAWAY HAS CLOSED!
Winner has been notified :)

Seasons

Sometimes this blogging thing takes a back-burner as life around me races on. For a long time I would beat myself up over that, over the missed deadlines or goals I set for myself. I’ve been learning this Fall though that just as the leaves change, so do we; as God calls us through different seasons of life for a reason.

Losing Ellis shattered my world and the story I thought God was writing for us this Summer. The ‘shattered plan’ is something I thought I’d somehow be used to by now, yet once again it caught me off-guard. As hard as I tried to fight these new plans, God continued to gently push me down this unfamiliar path.

If you follow along on social media, you know we are currently expecting again. A blessing I’m still not even convinced is real. We are equally excited and nervous as we anxiously await April, and a whole new season in our life. I took a big chunk of this Summer off from blogging which in turn allowed me to process my emotions without feeling the weight of my own deadlines. (Because we all know, grief knows no timeline) Working through losing Ellis and the hopes we had of welcoming her into our arms and instead, transitioning my mind and opening my heart to the fact that come April we will have a new little someone to look after.

I always have the best intentions of keeping up with writing, but LIFE. If I would have written that sentence a few months ago, I would have seen it as an excuse. Yet, God used this Summer season to teach me that taking time off and allowing emotions to surface can be of far more value than keeping up with the social media or blogging expectations I’ve set for myself.

This song by Hillsong has spoken to me immensely through the last few months (hence the blog post title) God has brought us through some of the darkest seasons, and yet there is always a reason. We never see it when we’re in the midst, but eventually He brings things full circle and we’re able to see glimpses of His promises fulfilled in the seasons that follow.

I can see the promise
I can see the future
You’re the God of seasons
I’m just in the winter
If all I know of harvest
Is that it’s worth my patience
Then if You’re not done working
God I’m not done waiting

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As much as I’d love to promise you all consistency, I am instead going to promise transparency moving forward. Life is busy, messy, complicated, and beautiful all in one and I promise to write about all of it; all while continuing to give myself the space and time I need along the way. To say that I am grateful for this blog and all of you would be an understatement. Thank you for your encouragement, and for continuing to follow along through all of life’s seasons. Stay tuned in the coming week for some Fall favorites and even a GIVEAWAY!

Frozen in Time

Do you ever wish you could just freeze time?! I swear the older I get, the faster the days and years pass. It's gloomy and rainy here in Ohio, so I thought it was the perfect day to cuddle up with my favorite blanket and quickly pop over to share some of the family photos we had taken over the weekend! 

Family photos are definitely an investment, but for us, it is almost a non-negotiable! We've had our fair share of sessions done over the last few years and it is always so nice to be able to look back on them and instantly be drawn back to that stage of life. It truly is the only way to freeze time, even if just for that moment. 

This was the first session we've had done in Ohio and while I will always miss the beach and those sandy toes, I have to say I am SO loving all the greenery here. We met our photographer at one of the local metro parks right around the corner from our house and despite the rainy weather earlier in the day and having to avoid the occasional mud puddle, we honestly had the best time having these moments captured! 

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Those of you who have followed our journey for a while now know that we always try and incorporate our Savannah bear in some of our pictures. Well, last week I took our little man to Build-a-Bear and he decided to make an Ellis bear. So, now both of our sweet girls can be remembered. Needless to say, my heart was a puddle on the floor when we got these photos back!  

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We cannot thank Shelley enough for the amazing job she did and for the priceless memories she captured for us! She was amazing to work with I'm pretty sure my little man was a tad smitten with her and her sweet baby bump! If you are local or ever find yourself vacationing here and in need of some new pictures, reach out to her! https://www.shelleyfarophotography.com/
None of this was sponsored, we paid for our session- but when I find a good thing, I have to share ;)

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Thanks for allowing me to share and for following along. Now, this Mama is going to try to knock more off her 'to-do' list before little man wakes up from his nap!
Happy almost Friday! 

One day or day one?

Does anyone else kind of love the first of the month? For me, there is just something about starting fresh that always seems to help my brain re-focus on what's important and scale back to the basics. 

Losing Ellis opened my eyes to a lot of things, but one of the biggest so far is how important it is to care for yourself. I heard about "self-care" so much after losing Savannah, but for some reason, this time around it is hitting me harder. (Probably because I have a busy little man with me 24/7!) And while I obviously wouldn't trade that for the world, it is definitely more difficult to have that "me time" or the time to process through things.

Life gets busy and we often forget how important it is to take that time for ourselves and to re-center our minds on the things that truly matter. So, I thought we could hold each other accountable this month. Lord knows I need a buddy... or a bunch! I'm going to try to do something "just for me" each day this month. It will most likely be something small, but nonetheless, something that I am intentionally choosing to do, and that will bring joy.  Let's call it the #justforyouchallenge

Grab a friend and take a walk, swing through Starbucks on your way to school drop off, buy the dress, finish that book you've been reading, take a bath (and drink the wine!), go sweat it out at the gym, or take a night to simply unplug and recharge. I know as a Mama, it can be especially hard to find even five minutes, but we need to do it! I've learned that you can't pour from an empty cup. 

One day or day one. You decide.

I'm starting today. I actually woke up before my alarm (which hardly ever happens) and spent some quiet time with this devotional. If you are looking for a new one I highly recommend it! 

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I'm going to do my best to share each day on IG either on my page or in my stories what I did that day for the challenge. Tag me in yours as well! Jump on board and start August out the right way.

 Day one starts now!

And If Not, He's Still Good

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A few months ago, we saw those prayed-for double pink lines, the darkest I've ever experienced. I was literally overflowing in that moment with JOY... pure joy, and even in disbelief I couldn't wait for our little blessing! My heart SO wants this to be a different type of announcement; it actually aches for it to be, however that is not the story God has written for us at this time.

It is with the heaviest heart that we share that while we were expecting, sadly we miscarried. A month ago today, we went in for what most would consider just a procedure, but for us it was our sweet baby's birthday. We decided to do genetic testing afterwards and through that we learned that we have another little girl!

Ellis June Hurtley

Ellis means "the Lord is my God" and is also the square in Savannah, Georgia where the kids can splash around in the fountains. Those of you who have followed our journey know how special Savannah is to us, so we thought it only fitting to tie the two together. June is simply her birth month, and for that reason it will forever hold a special place in our hearts. 

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There truly aren't words to describe all of our emotions these last few months, and to be quite honest I'm not sure I've even begun to scratch the surface of most of them. We have been praying to be pregnant for over a year, and just knowing that we now have two girls in Heaven is enough to make this Mama really wrestle with God (and believe me, I definitely have!)

I am thankful through all of this though that we do serve a God who calls us to come as we are; broken, confused, sad, discouraged, lost, angry, you name it. Psalm 56:8 has been at the forefront of my mind since Ellis. It says-

"You keep track of all my sorrows,
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
    You have recorded each one in your book."

There is something so comforting to me knowing that the Lord keeps track of all my sorrows, and even goes as far as to collect my tears in a bottle and record each one in His book. The same book that He has written all of Ellis' days.

"Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."
Psalm 139:16

Sometimes it is hard to be transparent and let our emotions surface when faced with grief. Yet, the Lord knows. He sees each tear that falls. This honestly shook me when I let that sink in. I'm a crier, so the idea of ALL my tears in a bottle is something I won't ever forget. 

I never realized that you could feel multiple emotions at the same time until now, after losing both Savannah and Ellis. It's bittersweet, and a wrestle of anger and peace, that I think this side of Heaven I'll always have. We are so crushed and our arms ache and yet there is this peace knowing we will see them both again. 

I wanted to write because miscarriage is so common and yet is still something so few people talk about. While I definitely know I'm personally not ready to dive all the way down into those deep emotions just yet, I at least wanted to open the door a bit, share this part of our story, and tell you all about our precious Ellis June! I am a Mama of three now and will always say that moving forward. 

A special thank you to all of those who have walked with us these last few months and for all of your prayers as we continue to work and process through our loss.

I am so thankful for each of you!

In Oceans Deep

So, last week I did a thing.

Something a few years ago I could honestly say I'd never do... but the story was too great of one to hold on the inside. I'm sure to some this is just a super small, insignificant tattoo; but to me these simple three words tell of a whole journey. One of great love, cherishing moments, the pain of loss, and choosing joy in the midst of it all. 

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Those of you that have followed our journey through losing our daughter Savannah know that we've clung to the song "Oceans" by Hillsong. We even often refer to it as Savannah's song now, and I love that our friends and family know exactly what we are talking about.

If you haven't heard it, I'll link it here. This is one of my favorite versions.

This song came on the radio pretty frequently during my pregnancy and the lyrics seemed to speak to my heart in ways that honestly not much else did at that time. When I went into labor I even played this during my epidural. I remember mouthing the words through the contractions and clinging to the phrase "in oceans deep, my faith will stand". Even as I type this I am instantly brought back to that day and those emotions.

Throughout these last few years without Savannah, I've continued to be amazed at how these lyrics have stood the test of time and never fail to snap me back into those moments with my girl.

They say that grief is like an ocean; vast and never-ending, yet coming in waves. I can honestly attest to how true that is. The parallels between this song and our journey are not lost on me. The first verse alone I feel like describes our time with Savannah- 

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

The Lord chose us to parent our sweet Savannah, He knew each one of her days before she was even born (Psalm 139:16), and yet He called us. Seriously... what an honor. There have been so many unknowns, so many times that my feet certainly have failed, and yet He has met us in each of those. In those deep oceans, the times that the waves of grief could have easily swept us further away, He has been there. 

I never want it to sound like this has been easy for us, because it hasn't. Even when we see God's hand in it all, we would of course trade anything to have our little girl back. 

I've never been anti-tattoo, I just didn't ever have anything that I felt like I wanted on my body forever; then I carried Savannah. These last five years I've felt the weight of her story being carried on the inside, only being able to share about her when it naturally arose. I had two main reasons for getting the tattoo; first- for myself. To have that forever reminder that even though Savannah isn't here with us, she lived and I am her Mama. And second- I hope people will ask, and I'll get to tell them of one of the greatest little loves I've ever known and of a God who even 'in oceans deep' meets us there.

This last week as my husband and I went to get my tattoo I thought I would be so nervous, and while I was, there was equally this peace that filled me. I kept my mind focused on Savannah the whole time and definitely let my emotions out when it was finished. If you are local to Ohio, Scott at Black Cloud Tattoo is amazing. He did my husband's Savannah memorial tattoo as well and we are so grateful to him for helping us have permanent reminders of our journey. 

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I have to be honest, this is one of the hardest posts I've written. This has definitely surfaced a lot of emotions for me that are sometimes in the background instead of the forefront. Difficult not because I don't want to share or don't have the words, but because this is probably one of the biggest pieces of my heart.

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I am so grateful I am able to share (even when it hurts) because it keeps Savannah's memory alive, and I hope, each time, you are able to get a better glimpse into who I am. So, thank you for allowing me to spill my heart with each of you!

Cinnamon Waffles

Good morning (or rather almost afternoon here!) We are still in cozy clothes and decided to make our favorite cinnamon waffles from Emily at Half-Scratched today. Does anyone else just love a super slow morning? They don't happen too often over here, so when they do I soak them up. I thought I'd quickly pop over here to share this waffle recipe with you all! You can thank me later, they're that good! ;)

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The best part is that the recipe uses ingredients we almost always already have on hand! WIN!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 to 1½ tsp cinnamon (or more to taste)
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1¾ cups milk
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 egg whites
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Head over to Half-Scratched for the recipe!!!

This makes quite a lot of waffles so we actually freeze the leftovers! I'll make a batch and then use the quart or gallon sized freezer bags to store the rest. We then just pop them in the toaster when we're ready and it works out perfectly. We rarely buy store bought waffles because these are SUPER easy and so much better! I'll link our waffle maker here for you guys.

 
 
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I follow the recipe exactly and was so thankful I read Emily's note about leaving the waffles to rest so they crisp up. Who doesn't love crispy waffles, right?! Also... I'm not normally a caffeine person but lately, I've been loving this cold brew from Califia Farms. I pour it over a ton of ice and actually mix in extra almond milk. It's delicious, and totally necessary some mornings!

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One more thing.. local Ohio friends- Meijer has blackberry cartons for $0.98 this week!!! YUM!!! None of this is sponsored, just wanted to share with you all (and you guys know I love a good deal!) 

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I hope you're having a sweet Tuesday! 

When Things Don't Go as Planned

I've had this draft started for a while now, but found in the wait to post that the title became that much more true. I had every intention of having this published by Mother's Day, but just as life would have it... things didn't go as planned. 

As some of you who know me personally know, Mother's Day is always a struggle. There are so many aspects that hit hard on days like yesterday. I miss my own Mom who I lost as a teenager, I long for my almost-five-year-old little Savannah, as well as doing my best to juggle the joyful moments my handsome little man brings. All of that on any given day is enough to handle, but then life throws you a curveball and adds a hard date on top of it. 

May 13, 2013, my husband and I sat in a high-risk doctors office to have an ultrasound done. I remember everything about that exam room, the technician who quickly left without a word, the doctor who came in and told us that our sweet baby girl would not survive after birth, and the fear that hit me like a ton of bricks in that moment. 5 years ago our world was rocked and we quickly realized that we are not in control. 

Savannah taught me so much in her little time with us, and her life continues to teach me things daily. One of the greatest by far though is that more often than not, things don't go as planned. This is typically perceived as a bad thing... my hope today is to break that thought though. 

I'm sure if we could all write our own stories we would write them without trials, pain, loss, grief, regret, or heartbreak. Of course we would!!! Because let's be honest.. those all stink! I read this quote the other day that stirred up a whole new set of emotions for me.

Sometimes we have to let go of the life we have planned, to have the life that is waiting for us.
— Joseph Campbell

This instantly made me think of Proverbs 16:9- "In their hearts, humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps." I am incredibly guilty of holding tight to the life I believe I am promised, the ideals of this world, and basically the 'picture perfect' story.  I have this death grip on "my plan" and am always so caught off guard when things don't go as planned. When in reality... all I have are ideas, not promises. 

I have learned through my little girl's life that there can be beauty in the unexpected; the moment your plan changed, the moment you got thrown a curveball, the day you thought things were falling apart. I challenge you to think that perhaps they were actually just falling into place. Again, of course none of us would write our stories with hardships, but I guarantee you we all have seen some sort of beauty come from them. 

To the Mama who is sitting with empty arms today longing for her little one, the ladies who are struggling with infertility, the ones who celebrate their Moms in Heaven, those who are fighting to have relationships with their Moms, and those who have chosen to not take on that role... I see you. You are brave. You are strong. You are admired. There is a plan. 

I can't promise you what your story is going to look like, but I know that there is a plan even when things don't go as planned. 

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
— Jeremiah 29:11

The days are hard enough without us putting pressure on ourselves to have them all planned out. Let's stand together and encourage one another to embrace the curveballs this life often throws at us.

mothersday

Be gentle with yourself Mama, you've got this. This day is for you!