Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Georgia's First Halloween - Kicking off the Holiday Season

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays and for me it usually is the kick off to some of the best times of the year, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Every year we go to a Halloween party hosted by some friends of ours.  Last year we dressed up as pregnant Ariel and Eric, I wore a black skeleton shirt that showed a baby mermaid skeleton in my belly.  I kind of got lazy this year, but I also thought it was kind of creative; we dressed the same but this year we included Georgia as our mer-baby!  I loved how our costumes turned out and luckily they took minimal effort on our part which is what I am all about right now.
2016 pregnant Ariel!

Georgia was a hit as usual & was in a great and happy mood for the party.  I custom ordered her onesie for Etsy and also got her bow from an Etsy shop.  I love that both the onesie and the bow can be worn again, not necessarily just as a Halloween costume.  I was so happy with how everything turned out given that I really didn't do much planning at all for these costumes.  For myself, this year I got (also from Etsy) a sweatshirt that matched Georgia's onesie.  It's funny how different we dress as adults & moms for Halloween.  I had come across a picture of myself in 2007 very scantily dressed, definitely nothing you'd catch me in today, funny how that changes!  Now I am all about being warm and comfortable.

We decided trick or treating will wait until next year.  We live out in the country and only have 1 neighbor so we don't get to pass out candy and don't really have anywhere close to home we can go.  I do have her in this adorable Love at First Bite onesie & fun bow, but I think we will probably cozy up to the fire and a scary movie at home this year.  Next year we will take her to town and probably drive around to grandparents and aunts and uncles houses, but I think this year we will pass.  I definitely miss handing out candy, but I am so looking forward to being able to take Georgia to town so she can trick or treat when she gets older.

Before we know it Thanksgiving will be here followed by Christmas!  We have family pictures coming up in a couple weeks and I cannot wait.  I've got outfits coordinated and we are definitely due for some new family photos.  The holidays are always busy for us as we run around to try to make an appearance at all of the different parties and gatherings.  This year will definitely be hard with Joe's dad being gone, one of our favorite Christmas Eve traditions will certainly never be the same without him, but I know that this will also be an extra special holiday season for us as well as we finally get to experience them with our baby girl in tow. 

Holidays in the past have always been extra tough, we are all too familiar with the pain that comes along with having empty arms during the holiday season.  As always, I just want to remind you that if you're still in the wait, if you're still struggling, if you're still on your pursuit, don't give up.  Don't let this time of year get you down, use it as fuel for your fire, let it motivate you, let it help you keep that determination you have.  We sat in wonder for 5 Christmases, then last year, we finally had our miracle on the way.  This year we get to enjoy the fruits of our labor as we experience our first Christmas as parents.  That being said, I will never forget how hard these upcoming months can be when suffering through infertility.  You are not alone & we are all here for each other as a community even more so during these times.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Georgia's Current Favorites

Wow you guys, these few months of Georgia's short life have been filled with wonderment as she continues to blossom and develop right in front of our eyes & at lightning speed!  These moments are so bittersweet because I can see her personality growing and I just LOVE the darling little soul this one has.  At the same time, it makes me realize just how fast these moments go by and how important it is to soak every moment in. 

I thought I'd share with you guys Georgia's current favorites (and some of mine as well) as we have bought new toys and acquired lots of hand-me-downs, and garage sale finds that have been such great purchases for the fraction of what we'd pay for them new.  I'd highly recommend sale apps like Mercari (use my referral code of JCDXMJ and receive $10 off your first purchase!) for buying used stuff and also selling the things you no longer use!  So without further ado, here are some things we are currently loving!

Hudson Baby Muslin Sleep Sack in Dream Catchers – I shared couple of IG stories with Georgia in this sack and I got SO MANY people asking me where it was from.  It's from Amazon (where else?!)  and although it's not Prime, it came quickly and was on sale for $10.00.  They have several other patterns and sizes.  I felt like Georgia was freezing at night in her bassinet or even when she slept in our bed, her cheeks and hands were so cold but she is not old enough to have a blanket to sleep with so I thought this would work well & it has.  I ordered 6-12 months and 12-18 months. 

Safety 1st Walker – I got this walker for $5 at a garage sale and it was probably the best $5 I ever spent.  My mom has the exact same one but in different colors & patterns that she also bought from a garage sale and Georgia definitely loves rolling around on our hardwood floors.  A brand new one goes for about $45 on Amazon.  I like this one because it has 3 different height adjustments and it plays music and has some toys on the tray they can play with.

Little Tikes Snug N Secure Swing - this swing has been awesome & for $27 on Amazon you just cannot beat it.  My parents have it at their house and the have since hung it in the garage since the weather has gotten cooler, eventually it will go in the basement for winter as well.  And Georgia absolutely loves it!

These organic onesies from Estella.  The fabric of these organic onesies is amazing and so  soft!  I love the hot dog one, the avocado one, and the Old Soul one the best.  I also love their baby toys too.  Right now you can save 15% off your order with Ridley15 at check out as well.  

Vtech Turn & Learn Driver - this is probably her most loved toy right now.  It has all kind of cute songs that you'll undoubtedly be singing to yourself in the shower, at work, and in the car because you'll hear them so often!  Bonus, this is on sale for $12 right now on Amazon!  We got it from at friend for $5 (another garage sale win) and she's been obsessed with it!

What are some of your babies current favorites?

Monday, October 23, 2017

Georgia June - 8 Months

Our smiling babe is 8 months old today!   How this is even possible I do not know but here she is sitting up unassisted like a champ, eating tons of "real food", babbling like crazy, clapping her hands together, and just all around looking more and more like a big girl and less like a baby.

Every day it seems like she learns or does something new.  She's making all kinds of sounds, ba ba ba, da da da, etc. lots of raspberry blowing, grunting, and more.  She's a true source of entertainment and always has us laughing.  Seeing her little mind turning and her eyes watching in wonderment at everything is a truly amazing thing.  She likes to soak in everything in her surroundings.  Sometimes this causes other challenges like taking naps because there's just too much going on in her world to take time to sleep.  

Speaking of sleep, she's not the great sleeper she once was.  She's been nursing 3x a night sometimes, up fussing here and there, and very rarely sleeps anywhere but our bed anymore.  I am about 99% sure she'd be better off in her crib, I think we would both get more sleep,  however mama still isn't ready for her to be in a different room yet.  

We've been breastfeeding for 8 months now which is really amazing.  I know that this journey is going to be coming to an end in about 4 more months, but I am so glad that I've been able to provide this nourishment for her.  It does have it's frustraing moments, like when we have to go to a wedding and she isn't coming with, so I have to pump 2 or 3 times.  It's hard but definitely worth it in my book.  

She is also eating just about everything that we do (minus the oreos and potato chips of course) and the girl seriously loves food.  If she got anything from me, it is her appetite.  Everything from pancakes, eggs, and toast to avocado, pizza, french fries, raviolis, chili, and more.  We know that food before one is just for fun, but boy are we (and she) having fun with it.  She loves it all!  We still do purees as well too, squash with cinnamon and butter, sweet potatoes, peas, carrots, etc. and lots of unsweetened applesauce, but she really is loving participating when we eat, in fact if she is not participating with us, she gets mad.

She still has no teeth!  I'm guessing she is around 16.5-17 pounds now.  She just had her first half of her flu shot and she did feel a little under the weather the following day but she didn't even cry when they gave it to her.  She goes back for the second half in the middle of November and then will have a 9 month check up after Thanksgiving.  

Speaking of Thanksgiving, I am SOOOOO looking forward to the holidays with our girl!  I've got some gifts in mind I hope to be able to get her & I can't wait to take her to cut down the tree.  We are officially putting up the tree in the basement this year because we have a lot more room down there and I am so excited for it.  I know she won't remember any of it but it is going to be so fun watching her.  She will be just 10 months at Christmas time.  A few weeks after Christmas we leave to go to Punta Cana so we had to take her to get a passport a couple weeks ago.  She of course, smiled for her photo.  My parents and brother are coming so we will have lots of help and babysitters with us so we can hopefully enjoy some adult time & maybe a dinner to celebrate 10 years together.  

We have so much to look forward to in the coming months, up next is Halloween and I'm so excited for our costumes this year!  

Friday, October 20, 2017

Standing Up to Mom-Shamers

Warning, long post, long story, but absolutely necessary to call out bullies and mom-shamers so if you're sticking around for the long haul, thank you in advance!

If you follow me on Instagram or on my personal Facebook then you saw the drama the ensued last week when I found out a girl that I have had some issues with in the past took captions from my Instagram photos regarding a flu shot that Georgia had received and shared them inside an anti-vaccination Facebook group that she had me blocked from several months ago.  I had stated in a photo that Georgia was feeling a little under the weather after her shot & this girl proceeded to call me "dumb" and said "I feel bad for her child".  She claims that she posted it because I "targeted" her in the past about vaccinations which is not at all true. 

I really did not want to have to rehash all of this, but I feel like when someone is bullying, especially behind a computer screen, and they've done it to numerous others, they need to be called out and when you bring not only me, but my child into the situation, then you will be called out in every way I can imagine, so I am going to share the story & the details here because I think that mom shaming and mom judging has gotten very ugly and now that I've been personally attacked (or targeted as this girl likes to say) I feel that it is my duty to make it clear that I don't tolerate this kind of crap.

I was very torn about vaccinations.  Ultimately we decided to do the Vitamin K shot in the hospital but we skipped the hepatitis and we skipped the erythromycin which is the goop they put in the eyes.  I did a lot of research to come to these decisions and with my husband and midwives on board, I am confident in our decision.  When it came to scheduled vaccinations I really was still torn, this girl was, what I considered to be a very good resource because her son had experienced a vaccination injury so I really did want her input.  She added me to this private anti-vaxx Facebook group and they gave me a lot of info on where I could research vaccinations.  I purchased and still use a book called The Vaccine Friendly Plan which I think is a great, non-biased, researched backed book that clearly explains vaccinations and why we did them to begin with and what this doctors recommendations are about them today. 

When it came time for Georgia's 2 month appointment, we decided we would follow the regular schedule of all vaccinations even though I had thought about delaying or eliminating some, we decided vaccination was best for us and for Georgia, we didn’t take any one else's opinions into consideration when deciding, we just chose what was best for US & HER.  So, we had her vaccinated and she handled them like an absolute champ, she had no reactions, hardly cried at all, and that's that.  I decided to post an update on Facebook that included her stats and the fact that we chose to vaccinate.  I specifically asked on the photo caption "no negative comments or judgements will be tolerated so please spare me", I was not starting drama, I was actually attempting to keep drama off of my post but of course, this girl immediately took it as me "targeting" her.  On top of that my aunt had commented "smart girl on the shots" in which this girl proceeded to exclaim that she thought she was being a smart girl too until her son went unresponsive after a vaccination, etc. etc. – Joe being the amazing guy that he is stepped into the comment thread to say that I had asked for no negative comments & asked that she stop.  The next day I had been blocked from all of her social media because the girl seriously cannot handle anyone that doesn’t see eye to eye with her.  If someone disagrees with her, it seems as though she immediately blocks them.  This happened literally, on April 25th, so around 6 months ago.

All had been quiet since then.  I really hadn't heard anything about her at all from anyone, but I guess that is because most of the people that I talk to, she has blocked for one reason or another (come to find out after this situation).  Honestly, I didn’t even really know this girl IRL, I had only ever seen her in person maybe 3 times when she dropped off some Scentys she had sold me and once at my nieces birthday party when I was still pregnant.  I really didn’t know much about her, she didn't go to the same high school, I'm not even sure how we became friends on facebook but she seemed to be friends with a lot of my friends and acquaintances, you know how that happens these days with social media.  But in REAL life, we do not know anything about each other, only what we've assumed or heard from others.  So even though she blocked me, it was no skin off my teeth because I really wasn't friends with her to begin with.  I thought it was sad and really felt like she blew it all way out of proportion.

Fast forward to last week.  I get a message from a friend telling me that this girl had shared my photo caption in the private Facebook group.  She said that my name was blocked out but she instantly knew it was me.  I immediately thanked her so much for being a good friend and letting me know this was going on behind my back in a place where I was unable to defend myself to this girl and the other mothers who were commenting negatively towards me.  I was also very thankful (and she should be too) that she did not share Georgia's actual photo because she would've had a big problem on her hands if that was the case.  When I got home I posted an Instagram Live video about the situation and then the next day, I very lengthy post on Facebook calling out mom-shaming, and eventually sharing her name on a screen shot I had taken of some nasty text messages she had sent me once she found out I knew what she had done.  Yep, I went there.  Funny thing is, before I ever shared her name I had an inbox full of messages asking me if it was this person & saying they had been blocked by her as well. 

Later in the day I had gotten some messages from her explaining to me why she blocked me in the first place which is because I "started drama with her about vaccinations" (which I didn't), I told her she must not have many friends because of how many people she had blocked because they don’t see eye to eye with her.  She then proceeded to tell me that my IVF friends don’t know the real me which really sent me over the edge.  I said fuck you and then blocked her number.  This really really pissed me off because you guys know that I pride myself on my transparency and honesty with my posts.  I share the good and the bad, fortunately for me I have a lot more good in my life than bad.  Maybe that makes it seem like I'm being fake because to her, she cannot fathom what it's like to be as happy as I am with my life.  I can't fathom what it's like to live such a sad, miserable existence where you bully other behind a screen, saying and doing things you never would in real life.  I truly feel like this girl needs help and maybe to get out of her bubble that she lives in. 

The point of all of this, all the details, the background of what went down, is that these types of things happen a lot.  I'm in some mommy groups on Facebook and although they are usually very helpful and very respectful, I see so much shaming, unsolicited advice, and moms just being downright mean to other moms for their choices.  It's typically someone asking for advice on decision they've already made, and then others who don't agree tend to come out of the woodwork explaining why it's a bad decision.  I've seen it being called "informing", but let's call it what it really is, JUDGING.

I am not saying in any way that I am perfect and have never judged someone before.  We have ALL judged and we all have been judged, we always will be.  It's just something that we should all try to work on in ourselves.  For me, I literally do not have enough time to worry about other moms and the decisions they are making.  I only have time to worry about Georgia and her welfare.  She is only 1 child, so anyone who has time for that kind of crap, I wish I knew where you got all this time from because I'd love to have some. 

In the end I know who I am, I know that the person that I portray online is an authentic person and who I am in real life.  My REAL friends and family can and will vouch for that.  I am so so thankful for all of the love and support that was shown to me when I shared this story on social media.  Even though many of my followers do not know me personally, you can tell when someone is being real and when they are being fake.  You all know that I have been nothing but open and honest about all aspects of our lives.  You know what our struggles are, you know what our accomplishments are, you know that I everything I do is for the good of Georgia and her well being and that I would never do ANYTHING to put her in any kind of harm.  You may not agree with my choice to vaccinate, or co-sleep, or breastfeed, but you know that my intentions are only for her good.  If you stuck around for this entire post I truly appreciate it. 

Have you ever been mom-shamed or judged for the choices you made as a mother?  Did you brush it off as we so often do or did you take a stand against it? 

Friday, October 06, 2017

Our Current Season

Lately I've been feeling pretty overwhelmed with life.  We have been extremely busy, we've had a lot going on with Joe's dad passing, our duties as matron of honor and best man in a wedding (bachelorette party/bachelor party planning, bridal shower, etc.), and all of the other events that we have committed to over the last several and upcoming weeks.  And don't even get me started on the Las Vegas tragedy, I can't even put words together to explain how that makes me feel, especially now having a child to bring up in this crazy world.  Joe's work schedule is quickly picking back up to 6 days a week now that harvesting has started, it's getting darker earlier and earlier, and I'm feeling like I have no time to get my "stuff" done each day. 

My weekly attempt to clean my house has been put on the back burner since Labor Day, I've got garage sale stuff piled up in the spare bedroom waiting to be put back, donated, or stored, I've got so much dog hair swirling up in the every corner of my house that if you didn't know, you might think I have a whole pack of dogs at home.  Time is absolutely flying and I feel like I'm falling behind on everything. 

On top of that Georgia has a new obsession, me.  Yes, it's sweet and I love that she is so in love with me, but that girl can sense me getting out of bed when she is in a dead sleep and it's an immediate and very serious meltdown until mama returns.  I've said this before, the Wonder Weeks app isn't always on point, but this time around it definitely is.  It currently says she "protests as dad or mom walks away" and it is 100% accurate.  She continues to fight me on sleep but we are improving.  Mama still has no plans to move her from co-sleeping/room sharing to her crib just yet. 

I officially had my first "bad mom" moment when I left her unattended on the couch on her boppy lounger, she rolled herself off the lounger and straight on the floor, luckily the play mat really softened her blow and I think it scared her more than anything.  It was totally my fault as I was trying to multitask & have dinner fixed by the time Joe got home, her diaper bag packed and ready for daycare the next day, and (what I clearly wasn't doing) watch her at the same time.  *insert palm to face emoji here* Of course this happened to her on the same evening that she was protesting sleep and food, but was exhausted and hungry…I couldn't help but feel terrible, but I was so frustrated with her at the same time I comforted her and handed her off to dad.  It was one of those nights where you're not sure if you're better off dropping her out the window or snuggling her to death because she literally can't even.

I'm probably making it seem like I'm doing a lot of complaining and that all my child does is whine & protest, however this is just one bad evening compared to dozens of good and fun nights that we typically have.  Sometimes it's hard not to focus on the hard times, sometimes I have to remind myself that Georgia is a growing and developing 7 month old baby who is going to have bad days just like the rest of us.  I have to remind myself that this is just one season of our lives that is going to quickly pass and I'm sure, like many of the other seasons we've experienced, I will miss it. 

Despite the hard nights, watching Georgia grow is truly amazing.  She's making new noises and babbling like crazy.  She loves to eat all the food, and wants bites of everything that mom and dad are having and of course we oblige.  She's had everything from pears and avocado slices to pizza, pancakes, pasta noodles, toast, french fries, fried ravioli, and more.  She is still nursing for the bulk of her meals, but I can tell that my body has already noticed she started solids because my supply has dropped a little bit.  She is sitting in the cart like a big girl at the grocery store and Target rather than riding in her carrier.  She loves to roll, she loves to sit, she loves to stand, and I'm hoping we see some crawling soon.  She spends a ton of time in her walker and her exersaucer both of which she loves.

As much of a challenge as these last few weeks have been and although there have definitely been some frustrating moments, that's what parenthood is about.  I know things will get much more challenging and there will be much harder times than we are experiencing now.  We are very blessed with a (mostly) happy and healthy baby.  I'm slowly learning to let things like cleaning and laundry go longer than I ever would have before kids, I know I could probably get it all done but it would come at the sacrifice of time and moments with Georgia and that is certainly not something I am willing to give up because time is flying and she is changing so much right before our eyes.

Are you embracing the current season of your life?  Even the tough times are worth embracing and there is almost always a silver lining to be found in every situation. 

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month.  It's a very tough subject and is often considered taboo to talk about.  A lot of people don't know how to approach it but I can promise you that anyone who has experienced the loss of a pregnancy or child is never not thinking of them.  Although it can be hard to talk about, it's important that their names are said out loud and that they are not forgotten. 


I, myself have experienced a miscarriage.  It was extremely devastating to lose a pregnancy that we worked so hard to achieve.  It was my first time being pregnant and it happened after our second IUI cycle in 2013.  Although it was a very early pregnancy loss, (by my 3rd beta the number had plummeted & and I experienced the actual miscarriage) it was one that gave us so much hope.  We knew that there was a possibility that I could get pregnant and I was so certain that it would happen the next cycle.  Unfortunately it took 2 more attempts at IUIs, 3 fresh rounds of IVF, 3 frozen rounds of IVF, and an egg donor before I'd ever get pregnant again, but that first baby, that little glimmer that I had in my belly for that short time gave me fuel to keep going for 2 ½ more years before I'd get pregnant again.


One of the most alarming statistics that I've ever heard being in the world of TTC and infertility is that 1 in 4 pregnancies ends in miscarriage.  You may not know who, but a woman you know, more likely several women you know, have experienced pregnancy loss, or maybe even infant loss.  I know being in the world of infertility I have seen much more loss than I ever imagined that I would, failed cycles, early pregnancy losses, still born, and even infant loss and it has been absolutely heartbreaking to watch.  But from much of that loss has come rainbow babies, lots and lots of rainbow babies, my own included.


A Rainbow Baby as many of us know is a baby born (or adopted) after the loss of a previous baby due to miscarriage, still birth, or death in infancy.  A rainbow baby symbolizes the rainbow that typically follows a storm.  It's that miraculous gift that finally comes after all of the devastation that we endure.  That is not to say that your loss should ever be forgotten, but rainbow babies represent a renewed sense of hope and overcoming all of that devastation.  I think for some it can certainly be an extremely emotional concept and territory. 


Our rainbow baby Georgia took more years and more work than I could've ever even fathomed way back in 2013 when we lost that initial pregnancy.  I had no idea the path that would lead us to her would lead us to egg donation from our known donor, that was a concept that never even crossed my green, na├»ve, way of thinking when I was first thrown into the world of infertility.  Now I am thankful every day and want to shout our story from the rooftops if it would educate & help just one person. 


We are so very thankful for the opportunity given to us by our egg donor.  We will never ever forget the potential babies that might've been.  Although I really only experienced one miscarriage by definition, there were 9 other embryos transferred that were also potential children, any one of those could've stuck around to become our child/ren, however, we know that Georgia is the baby we were MEANT to have.  She is our wonderful, beautiful, smiling rainbow girl and she will always be a shining symbol of love and determination to us.  Not only for the month of October, but every day, we will remember those babies lost too soon, we will always wonder who they would have been. 
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