Back to work blog post…

I am dreading going back to work tomorrow! Having two weeks off to relax and refresh was absolutely divine! Don’t get me wrong, there is a part of me that loves teaching. However, my heart just doesn’t feel into it anymore. Things at my school in particular have gotten very negative and now that I am building my business on the side, I really just want to be able to do that! Maybe one day Wildflower Photography can be full time, let’s all keep those fingers crossed!

Speaking of crossed fingers…I am so hopeful that our recent first round of IUI is sticking! Let me tell you, going through artificial insemination is a whole lot crazier than I expected it to be! There was five days worth of Clomid (hoping to up my hormone levels in order to release multiple eggs), an ultrasound to check my progress (unfortunately I only had one follicle this month), an injection to trigger ovulation (I was NOT able to give that shot to myself and I am thankful to have a sensitive hubby who helped with it, then 36 hours later was the insemination. The “big day” was a bit of an awkward experience! The doctor that performed the insemination asked if we wanted to keep the vile…the test tube that contained the “supplies.” Seriously, I said yes because I was giggling nervously, but what on earth am I going to do with that tube? Ha!

IMG_6469Sorry if this photo does freak anyone out…I am just trying to be as open as possible about the entire process! In the week since the procedure (a week which has felt like a month), I have been on an everyday roller coaster of thoughts! At some point during the day I tell myself that this is going to work and it’s going to be our time, but then I quickly remind myself that the chances are low and it’s not likely to work. Thus, I go up and down, up and down! I am not sure how women and couples have made it through all of this! It is much more emotionally challenging than I could have imagined. I am sure that I will feel differently if this doesn’t work. I am thinking that it will be a sad couple of days and then starting the next round will keep my mind occupied. We shall see!

So, most of my winter break was spent visiting family in Iowa, celebrating Christmas, and trying our first round of IUI. I am just now feeling all caught up after the holidays…and it’s just in time to go back to work! I have a few more blog posts in mind, and I am hoping to get those done in the next couple of days! I am going to share all of my recent Project Life pages, some of the home decorating projects we have done around the house, and my ideas for my PL process in 2013!

Maybe ’13 will be the lucky number!

 

Getting behind on the little things…

I get to be so tough on myself at times, it just astounds me. Why do we do that to ourselves? My priority has always been family and right now my family is just me and hubby. So, instead of stressing over little things that don’t matter as much, I have been really trying to make it a priority to spend quality time with Jas. To us quality time is out and about, off the couch, doing something fun, putting our phones away and on silent and not paying attention to anything but each other.

I think it was two weeks ago now (I forget with all the infertility craziness) we went downtown on one of the most fun dates we have done in a while: outdoor ice skating! I was surprised to find out that skating is free and it was only $2 each to rent the ice skates. We spent a couple of hours out in the chilly air skating around, joking and laughing! I am such a sappy romantic, but the twinkle lights all around the rink just sent me spinning! Here is a peek at our fun night out (all of these photos were taken with my iphone…I am still working on my iphonography skills!)

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The ice rink full of people and lovely Christmas lights.

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Us before trying to remember how to ice skate.

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His and hers rental skates.

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I loved this around the edge of the rink!

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A view of our downtown clock tower all lit up for the holidays.

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Also, this past weekend was full of Christmas activities! My Mom came over and we made cookies together while Jas was out of town! On Sunday I spent a lot of time getting most of the gifts wrapped, which felt like my biggest achievement in a long while!

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After getting all of those Christmas tasks done, I snuck away for a little ME time to do some scrapping! I only got two simple layouts done, but some is better than none, right? First, I wanted to include our updated portraits in our PL album and I made this layout using some inspiration from Lindsay Moreno!

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Then, I worked on Week 48 ( I am so excited to be “this close” to finishing an entire year using the Project Life system!!!) This week was full of errands, decorating, crafting and going out bowling after our Hometown Holiday Night.

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I liked this layout so much that I decided to use the same papers and kits for the entire month of December. That then inspired me to maybe make up my own kits for each month in 2013! Kind of like the new Studio Calico monthly kit, but my own version since nothing like that is offered for digital (that I know of…anything?). I was thinking of mixing the items I got with the Daily Digi Files with my favorite colors for the month, along with a few cards from the core kits and my favorite embellishments. I was just thinking that this would help make the album a bit more connected, as sometimes I feel like my pages get chaotic! I am also thinking of being extra brave with my 2013 album and putting papers behind the photos as a background instead of the typical grey…not sure how well I will stick to that plan!

My Little Secret…

So, throughout the last two years of hubby and I trying for a baby, I think I have been restraining myself very well. For the longest time we didn’t talk to anyone about it. I have also refrained from buying any of the cute items I have seen when out and about. At one point, I was thinking to myself that women make “Hope Chests” for when they get married one day, why couldn’t I make a “hope chest” for when we have a family one day? Is that completely nuts?

I never made the Hope Chest and I have not purchased anything! Not one item and that’s saying a lot because those little baby Christmas dresses and little baby sweater vests with ties are adorable! And who can resist that cute little Baby Bullet food chopper? Anyone would swoon over that right?

So, now that you know I have been figthing off a serious case of Baby Fever and winning…I want to tell you that I broke down on ONE item! When Becky Higgins put out the Baby Edition for Project Life, I just could not resist any longer! So, to help myself accept the news we got about Jas this week and help bring myself back up to a place of hope, I did something that some people might judge as completely ridiculous: I made a starting page for a future baby album.

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Left side: introducing ourselves and writing a personal letter.

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Right side: Talking about what steps of the infertility process we have been through so far.

I know that I am putting myself out there for judgement and that is why I was nervous to post this, but I am actually proud of myself for doing this and that is all that should matter. On the left side of the page I wrote a letter to my “future baby” telling him/her that I have been anxiously waiting and will never give up hope. It felt like such a release to get those feelings written down! And instead of always focusing on the negative, I finally wrote about the hope and faith that I have and it brought all those good feelings to the surface.

A while ago, it dawned on me that this infertility stuff is not something that I need to be embarassed about. It is not something that I chose, it is just one of the challenges that God has presented me with. So, that is when I finally started talking to people about it and writing about it. Now that I am more comfortable being open with our struggles, I thought I could handle adding it to a scrapbook. When Becky released the Baby Edition, there are a ton of journaling prompts about the pregnancy journey and getting ready for a baby. Well, in my mind, these two years of infertility are part of our pregnancy and journey and they should absolutely be included in our baby book.

Now, I am realistic, and know that there is a possiblity we may not have our own baby and may have to adopt one day. But in that case, I would still like to include all of this in the album to tell our future family how much we really wanted to have children! I want them to know that they aren’t even here yet and we love them and would do anything for them to get here!

December Daily Update

I am LOVING my first December Daily Project!! I am actually liking the pages so much on their own, that I may end up printing a separate photo book for it, instead of hiding it in the back of my PL. If you haven’t learned yet, I can just never make up my mind! Here is my second full page, with days 6 through 9.

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I think that Day 9 might be my favorite so far! I love the photo of my feet in front of the tree while chillin in my pajamas! I’m a nerd, I know!

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Here are the pages I have made for days 10 and 11, as well. I haven’t finished 12 and obviously haven’t done 13 yet, but once I do they will all go into the 6×6 square template!

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You have to love the red Starbucks cups! I like the snowman better than the bird…

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I ADORE this photo of my dog Hooch wrapped in Christmas lights! I know it was mean of me to make him sit there all covered in wires, but to be fair I did give him some treats! I just melt for that look on his face!! Remember…no kids yet, so my dogs are my babies!

{Not so} Merry Christmas News.

I will keep today’s post as brief as possible, because I am feeling a little down and don’t want to drag anyone down with me. I did, however, really want to document this change in status for my hubby and I, as it is an important step.

Yesterday we got the results from Jas’ second round of testing. It turns out that even though everything is working well for me, it isn’t for him. Without getting into any graphic details, he has high volume, low count and a very low percentage of ‘guys’ moving forward the correct way. What we were told for now is that we have the option to try a couple rounds of IUI using hubby’s ‘material’ or we could try IUI with a donor. The problem with using hubby’s ‘stuff’ is that our chance of it working will be lower than a normal IUI. I believe our doctor told us that the normal chance of an IUI working was 15%…not sure how much lower is lower for us.

Here is how I am feeling:

  1. Relieved that we finally know what is wrong. After two years of just hoping nothing was wrong, but having that dark feeling in the back of our minds, it feels good to at least know the reason behind our struggles.
  2. Sad to know that our chances of having a child that is 100% both of ours is very little. Jas told me last night that “it’s hard to wrap his head around the idea that even when we have a baby, it will just be (mine), not (his).” That broke my heart into little tiny pieces. I feel so bad that he has to go through those feelings.
  3. Scared to begin the process of trying rounds of IUI. A tiny little corner of my brain was trying to stay happily unaware of reality and thought maybe it would still happen naturally for us. But the full weight of reality has set in now and I am very nervous of trying the treatments. Only the future will tell…

I swear I am still working on projects! In fact, I just finished hubby’s christmas present album (JUST IN TIME to use the Shutterfly coupon…this little Christmas Elf saved $47 on his gift!) and I will share that when I get another spare moment. I am a couple days behind on December Daily and will work on that tonight. I am also still a couple of weeks shy of being current in my PL album…but hope to finish those by the first week of January! I CANNOT wait to order my 2012 digi album!! The anticipation is killing me! I also started a special little project for myself, that when I get up the courage I will share as well!!

I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday season and making wonderful memories in the small moments! Take care!

Podcast love!

I wanted to blog something today, because I was feeling the itch to write! But honestly, I have nothing big to talk about! I didn’t scrap anything new yesterday; in fact, all I did was shop! I can show a couple silly pictures from my shopping adventures!

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The sweater dress I was finally brave enough to purchase!

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Matching scarves I considered buying for my friend and myself.

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More scarves I considered, but didn’t end up getting!

What I really wanted to write about today…because let’s be honest, my shopping wasn’t that interesting…was how much I love the Digi Show podcast that goes along with the Daily Digi website! If you are a digital scrapbooker, then you would LOVE this too! If you are a member of the Daily Digi you get several themed digital kits (usually valued around $50) for $7.50! Along with that it comes with a “Playbook,” which is an ebook written about how to use the kits and new tips and tricks for digi scrapping! They also have a blog with daily inspirational quotes! I signed up in November and loved both the November and the December kits! Amazing!

I’ve also been listening to the podcast each week! I feel addicted because I check every day if there is a new one out or not! When there isn’t a new one, I simply listen to the old ones! I think they have sixty-some podcasts right now and I am not even a quarter of the way through! The ladies sit and chat about inspiring ideas and more tips for digi scrapping! If you like to listen to music while crafting like I do, then I think you might like listening to the Digi Show podcast and hearing what these wonderful ladies have to say!

I guess that’s all I really have to share right now! For me, it’s back to the grind and trying to teach my kiddos something in Spanish! Que tenga un buen dia… have a good one! And remember to enjoy the little moments!

The countdown begins!

Whew…that was a busy weekend! December 1st brought with it all the craziness of the holiday season! Our small hometown had a little Christmas festival and it was so much fun! Santa came in on a helicopter and dropped candy to the kids! I set up a little booth for my photography business and gave away a free mini photo session! I had lots of lookers and compliments on my work and lots of people take business cards. So, fingers crossed that I will get some business in the near future!

More importantly, was we put our Christmas tree and decorations up this weekend! It was a HUGE struggle for me! I was emotional to begin with, as we are waiting on results from my husband’s fertility testing. As we were putting up all these decorations and thinking about the season, I felt like I was just going through the motions. It is hard to face another holiday still childless. It doesn’t help that I am starting to get Christmas cards from family and friends and lots of them have new babies or announcing pregnancies. Sometimes I feel very alone in my struggles starting a family.

Despite the obstacles though, we pushed through and got our tree up! A friend was over to get some car parts from my hubby, and he brought his two little sons with! They are 4 and 6 and have lots of energy. When they saw the boxes of ornaments, they could not contain their excitement and wanted to help me decorate! Let’s just say I had to get over my OCD for this one! They are what, three feet tall? And this was the first time little people have helped me with the tree and I had to get over the fact that ALL the ornaments were on the bottom half of the tree! Hubby thought it ws hillarious…I fought the urge to move them all weekend long! Here is what our tree looked like in the end:

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I love taking photos of christmas lights and making them look like strabursts by changing the aperture on my camera (using a tripod and f/22) and this time I took it a step further and busted out my lensbaby lens. I usually don’t do well with the lensbaby, because it’s such a different look, but I got this photo and surprisingly LOVE it!

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After finishing all the decorating and business work on Saturday, I spent all day Sunday trying to be productive on my scrap projects! I am going to throw it out there…I am stressing about my hubby’s Christmas present! I am only half way done with his racing scrapbook and feel like I need to get it ordered SOON (like tomorrow)! We will see how I do on that one. I was more motivated yesterday to work on my Project Life and my December Daily.

Go figure, I completely changed my mind on how to structure my December Daily! I can just never make up my mind! I think it will be easier for me to include it at the end of my 2012 Project life album. So, I decided to use the 6×6 squares template and put four layouts on one page. Here is what my first page looks like:

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I also started the Day 2 layout, to be put on the second full page.

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I am much happier with how these pages are turning out and it seems like I can manage the project better this way. I am thinking of including my every day activities into the normal PL layouts (IE: outdoor ice skating, snow tubing, movies, work, etc.) and focus on the special Christmas activities in the December Daily (ornaments, traditions, gifts, etc.) I am very excited to see how this turns out!

I also got a couple of PL layouts done yesterday! I am still trying to catch up and hope to be all done by the New Year so that I can order my album as soon as possible! Right now, I beleive I am missing weeks 48 and this week 49 as well as extra pages for my trip to Las Vegas. Here is the left side of Week 44, when we made Jack-o-Lanterns for Halloween.

IMG_5885On the right side, I made a VERY simple page just so that I could catch up that highlighted photos from the weekend. I did two photos for Friday, two for Saturday and two for Sunday, journaled a little and called it complete!

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Lastly I worked on week 47. The left side has photos from the short work week and our trip to Lincoln over the weekend.

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The right side has all the exciting photos from Jason’s track championship banquet. This was a really exciting evening for him and I was so proud that he accomplished such a big goal for himself! Way to go babe, you had an awesome season this year!

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I also wanted to point out that even though I forgot to take any photos, I did do A LOT of cleaning out last week! I followed the Daily Digi reverse 100 challenge and the goal was to donate or get rid of 100 items that we didn’t need. I did NOT take on the kitchen, because that was just unreasonable! I did however clean out my closet and donate a lot of clothing, shoes and accessories. I also donated some plates and silverware that we don’t use. The biggest accomplishment was cleaning out the paper scrapping supplies that I no longer use since I am digital! I sent out large envelopes of goodies to six of my fasted Instagram friends that asked for the items! It felt really good to send those things off to ladies who will put them to good use! As I continue to clean out and organize, I hope to tackle the stack of DVDs that we don’t watch, the magazines that we don’t read and maybe some of the makeup that’s old or lotions that I will never get to.

I hope everyone is having a great start to their Holiday Season! Let’s put family first and make the most of the small moments in life!

Motivated Monday!

I always joke (usually with only myself) that Monday is really Motivated Monday. You know how most people say they hate Mondays? I am a bit different and generally dislike Tuesdays and love Mondays. I know, I know…I’m weird!

The reason I love Mondays is because I set my calendar up with Mondays as the first day of the week. Monday represents a BRAND new start and another week to try and accomplish something! I will be honest and tell you that this wave of optimism and motivation usually only lasts until Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon!

For some really crazy reason, I am just feeling geared up to take on the world this week! I am sitting here at my desk and just making mental notes and digital lists about what things I want to accomplish this week. To further ensure my dedication to the tasks, I thought I would blog them so that I feel some pressure to get them done! Here is my list of *hopeful* to-dos this week:

1. Thanks to the Daily-Digi for the 100 item clean up challenge, I am hoping to clean out some *stuff* that doesn’t serve me very well anymore! I am thinking of cleaning out the magazines, the DVDs, my bathroom drawers, and possibly my scrap room. Now that I have gone to digital, I don’t feel like I need all of my paper products and hope that some of my Instagram friends would like me to send them things later in the week!

2. Thanks to Pinterest I saw a 52 week organizational challenge. My first thought was “Oh, how great would that be to do in 2013!” But then motivated Monday took over and convinced me that I should at least do the last few weeks of 2012, because it’s never to early to start organizing! I looked at the list for this week and it talks about organizing formal china and everyday dishes. It couldn’t have been some easy task to start when silly Motivated Monday took over?!?! We will see how organizing the kitchen cabinets goes!

3. Get some type of Christmas decorating done! I tend to make unrealistic lists for myself, so I am going to say that if I get the Christmas tree up this week that would be a great start! That way, if I get anything done above and beyond the tree, that’s just icing on the cake!

4. Digi scrap mania! I would really like to get my Project Life album caught up this week! I think I skipped and am missing two or maybe three weeks. I think I could get that done in the evenings if I focus and stop watching so much TV. I would also like to get a lot closer to being done with my hubby’s Christmas present album. I feel like I need to get that ordered pretty soon to beat the Christmas rush! I think I have ten more layouts of racing to complete and that task is finished!

5. It’s important for me to make a conscious effort to find some time for me. This week I would really like to do a couple things that only benefit me and how I am feeling (as I have been battling the blues lately). I would like to drink more water each day, make sure to do my stretching every day and I would like to try a Yoga workout two or maybe three times throughout the week.

I am thinking even though Motivated Monday always gives me a crazy sense of super power, like I can do anything and everything, that the list I just made is reasonable. On top of sharing anything I get done with Project Life and Holiday Fun this week, I will try to keep you updated on how many things I get accomplished from this list!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Jason and I spent Thanksgiving with my parents and it turned into a low-key, peaceful holiday…which I am very thankful for! We spent the morning sleeping in and playing with our dogs before heading out to my parents’ house. I took a quick minute to capture our cheesy family photo at home, like we do each Thanksgiving!

 

The day with my family consisted of a delicious meal, starting a new family tradition, keeping up with some older traditions and of course, Early Black Friday Shopping. I didn’t have time to catch many photos of the food my Mom and Dad prepared, but I was quick enough to snap a picture of the centerpiece my Mom set out:

 

After eating, I convinced my entire family (Dad, brother and hubby included) to start a new annual Thanksgiving tradition. I believe I saw this idea on Pinterest and I just could not resist! We took a tablecloth that I had around the house and a sharpie (gasp!) and all filled a box with what we were thankful for this year, our names and the year. So, for now, only five boxes are filled with writing, but the goal is to add to it each year and fill the entire thing with the wonderful things we are thankful for in our lives! Here is what it looked like for us to start the tradition:

 

Then after we wrote our sentiments out in permanent marker, we headed straight into the older tradition of playing board games and eating pie all afternoon! This year it was Sequence, which is such a beloved game in our family that the board is literally falling apart where it folds in half!

 

Then, we were so full that we drug ourselves over to the couch and plopped down with the shopping ads! It is ever so important for my parents to plan out their evening of shopping! They need to choose what stores, what times and what items to grab first! I never knew this was such a big deal, but my Dad let me in on a little secret, telling me that Black Friday is my Mom’s “super bowl!”

 

Jason and I are not really into the Black Friday shopping at all! We like to go to Michael’s on Thursday night and get a new piece for our Christmas village each year, but that’s about it. This year we were oh-so-brave and ventured to Walmart with my Mom for the “first event,” where Mom’s goal was to get two crock pots, a stick vacuum and several boxes of Rubbermaid containers. I happily stood back and took some photos of the action while Jason took video! I was quite taken back by all the action! Mom even made friends while waiting in line and they all made a plan for how best to grab the crock pots (one gentleman was to grab the boxes and they would all hand them back in line until each had their carts full!) Who knew?

You learn something new every day, I suppose! Jason and I are heading to Lincoln tomorrow for his championship banquet for dirt track racing! When I am back and things calm down (hopefully!) next week, I am super excited to scrapbook Thanksgiving and share my newest pages! And maybe somewhere in there I will decorate for Christmas…remember, I am trying my absolute hardest to stay upbeat and in the holiday spirit!

Have a great day everyone…make the best of each moment and make sure to document them all!

 

Project Life Week 46

Since my job gives me four day weekends now, I have been able to get a lot of work done on Fridays for my photography business as well as many house work chores done on Saturdays. For once, I have had some free time on Sundays, which is an amazing thing!

So, yesterday I sat down at the computer very excited to get some digi scrapping done and bam-creativity block! I get so frustrated on those days every now and then when I just cannot think of anything cute to do on my pages and I end up not liking the finished products. The good thing about digi, is that I can save the PSD file and come back to it later if I want to re-do it. I ended up scrapping a little, then going to eat a snack, scrapping a little, watching a movie, scrapping a little, folding the laundry. Needless to say out of an entire day, I got VERY little scrapping done! I also chose to jump around a little bit. Currently I am not done with weeks 44 or 45, but I wanted to start with this week first when I was working yesterday. Here is what I did get to:

Week 46, left side:

Week 46, right side:

Let me interrupt my display of PL pages to tell you how much I LOVED the last Twilight movie! I think the production improved tremendously from the first one and I thought the twists at the end were shocking! Call me a Twi-nerd if you want, but I enjoyed the movie very much! I think they did a great job of making my husband and I laugh, cry, gasp… I could go on and on, but I won’t submit anyone to that!

Here is what I started to work on for Week 45 (the week of Election day and my first time voting). I just could not come up with something I liked for this page, so I decided to leave it, not finish the right side yet and move on. I also can’t decide what to do, because the right side would be the weekend we were in Vegas. I am wondering if I want to include a few extra pages in the PL album or make a separate album. Decisions…decisions…

Next thing I wanted to share today are the few December Daily pages I have created! Remember the “plan” to keep it simple and not use many embelishments? Ya, that went out the window as soon as I started shopping for digitial supplies and saw all of the cute Christmas Kits that are out! I think I spent a good $25 bucks on digi supplies for Christmas! Ooops! Well, here is what I came up with for my title page with a lot of inspiration from my Instagram friend!

And here are my first two pages without any photos yet:

For a couple of days last week, I felt very excited for Christmas to come. I saw the crafts on Pinterest, decided to do my December Daily album and hubby and I came up with our list of holiday related activities. Everything seemed like it was going to be magical again. And then this weekend my cycle started over AGAIN! I’m telling you that trying to conceive can suck the fun out of everything! Without being too much of a Debbie Downer, I just wanted to document the fact that I am not looking forward to yet another holiday without a baby. Just in case anyone else is feeling the same way, because I think many people might be going through this! I am seeing all the cute new familes at the malls and the preggo mamas going out to lunch and it’s hard to stay positive for myself. I so want to do the Christmas pajamas tradition, and watch Christmas cartoons with a little one, and do the Elf on the Shelf, and have a little person shout with excitement when we turn the Christmas lights on. There are so many little wishes in my heart and I am barely holding out hope that it will happen one day.

Alright, I think I got my point accross without completely depressing everyone! My main goal is trying to find the magic in the small moments throughout the season and really enjoying my time with my hubby and family.

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