Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Transitioning to Spring

We are finally seeing somewhat warmer temps here in Illinois and it's been amazing!  That along with the longer days (although I seriously curse daylight savings time) has really been putting me in the mood for getting my wardrobe ready for spring!  In Illinois spring can mean a lot of things and mother nature an be in all 4 moods (seasons) in one day so having a variety of versatile pieces is important.  Some days it may start out 20 degrees and by the end of the day could end up in the 60's with a mix of rain and sunshine or even snow.  The spring season is an absolutely crazy and unpredictable time of year as far as the weather is concerned in this part of the country.

I recently collaborated with Pink Blush and decided that a couple of transitional pieces would be best for me to highlight.  They have so many amazing pieces, a lot of which work as both maternity clothes and non-maternity pieces that can be staples in the closet of any woman. 

I picked this short sleeved floral print peplum top that is seriously buttery soft and stretchy and has LOTS of room for growing.  It could easily transition into a maternity top or would be perfect for any kind of outing where you might be stuffing yourself full and need something a little flowy and forgiving.  I paired it with leggings but the dark red color would look amazing with either a light or a dark wash of denim too.  And just to be safe, throw a cardigan on over it when you're not sure what mood mother nature will be in.

For my second piece I thought, "date night" or something that could easily go from day time/work attire to night out attire.  I love this lace detailed black top.  First, you can't go wrong with black.  It flatters literally everyone.  Second, the material is so soft.  The sleeves make it perfect for a little cooler of a day but you could easily pair this with black or denim shorts to make it into a fun outfit for a cooler summer night.  This is an outfit that I would wear to work and then could easily meet up with the girls for a glass of wine or head out to dinner with the hubby for a date night without having to change in between.

I absolutely love both of these pieces and soooo many others from Pink Blush.  Their selection really caters to everyones style and they have so much to choose from.   I love that so many of their pieces can work for both maternity and non-maternity and that most of them can be dressed up or down.  I am all for versatile pieces that I can create different looks with.  Thank you to Pink Blush for sponsoring this post.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Georgia's Story


One of the most important things to consider when choosing to use a donor to help build your family is how to go about telling your future children.  There have been studies done that prove the importance of telling them from a young age and not witholding any kind of information from them about their genetics ever.  I firmly believe in this and the importance of telling donor conceived children from a young age.  First and foremost, not telling them is simply saying that there is something to be ashamed about them and we all know that that is so far from the truth.  This concept can be really hard for donor recipients to wrap their heads around.  It takes time and there are always going to be parents who just don't see it this way and keep their children's story under lock and key.  But for us, and so many other donor recipients, we take pride in our story and I know for me, I want Georgia to understand and own her story just as much as we do.  We want her to know that every single thing that we did in our journey through infertility was for her, and was from a place of love.  

I know that our story is somewhat unique and having a known donor has many benefits, one being that we are able to keep in contact with each other, have an open relationship, and really become an extended family to each other.  Despite all of this, I have always found it very important to begin telling Georgia her story from a young age.  Looking at pictures of our donor and her family, teach her their names, and eventually beginning to explain how she came to be have all been part of the plan and from the beginning I knew that I wanted to make a photo book for her so she would have pictures to look at before she could understand words.  

This year I decided that it was time to create her book and gift it t0 her for her second birthday.  I was so lucky to be able to work with Artifact Uprising to create the perfect book that would help us tell Georgia her story.  The process of creating the book was insanely easy and it basically turned out more amazing than I ever could've imagined.  I chose a blush hardcover 10x10 book that ended up being about 50 pages.  I chose the layout for each page and really loved how I could customize it and change it up as much as I saw fit.  I wanted to add my own personal touch to the book by hand writing the story myself so I didn't add any text through their customization, I ended up leaving enough space on the pages to be able to write everything myself. 

I started with one of our wedding photos.  I wasn't sure how far back I wanted to go with our relationship so I figured a nice wedding photo to open the book up to would work perfect.  I wrote it in the words close to what she uses today, referring to myself as mama just as she does, and daddy just as she calls Joe.  I told her that after we were married we wanted a baby right away and we tried and tried but we couldn't get pregnant.  I told her that we had doctors help us and shared some photos of piles of needles, me having surgery, and negative pregnancy tests.  I know so much of that she won't understand until she is much older, but I want her to be able to visually see what we went through.  

I then went on to explain how I our donor came into our lives and shared some pictures from our first trip to Georgia when we met Amy and her family, and our second trip when we did our transfer.  The bulk of the book is actually a documentation of my pregnancy  If you've been around for awhile you remember I did the chalkboard updates similar to Jessica Garvin so I put a lot of those photos into the book and talked a lot about my pregnancy and how I felt during our gender reveal, shower, and all of the aspects about pregnancy I didn't know if I'd ever get to experience.  

I shared our maternity photos and the details about how I went into labor and her birth along with some photos of her in her first few months of life and then I ended it and wrote about a full page on the very last page about how much she was wanted and how important she is to us and the rest of her family.  I never ever want her to think that she wasn't wanted or was a "second choice" - I truly believe that the universe placed us on this journey specifically to become parents to her and I hope that she can believe that too.  

One day I hope that Georgia can really understand and appreciate all that we went through for her.  I know it will take her into her adult years before she really really gets it, when she desires herself to become a mother, that is when she will really understand.  But I know that this book will help her to start learning all about who she is and where she came from.  It will teach her about the selfless gift and sacrifice made to us by a total stranger (at the time) who felt a calling to help us it will teach her about the love between her parents and how determined and driven they were to overcome one of the hardest obstacles they would ever face, and it will teach her that she was wanted by so so many people besides just her mom and dad.  

I hope that this can help someone who may be struggling with this part of their journey or someone who is unfamiliar with this kind of journey and maybe is curious as to if and how we go about telling our donor conceived children.  To me there is really no better way to tell them their story than by giving them something like this that can help them visually see it at a young age, and really grasp it as they get older.  You don't need a known donor or any photos of them to tell your children their story.  If you're looking for a high quality, beautifully crafted place to make something like this for your own child (or a wedding, or a baby book, or any kind of photo book I'd definitely check out Artifact Uprising.  I wanted a book that would stand the test of time and be something that Georgia will be able to keep forever and maybe read to her own children one day and I am certain that with what I was able to create for her she will be able to do that one day.

If you ever have any questions about any part of the donor process including life with a donor conceived child, please feel free to reach out to me.  I am always happy to answer any questions that I can based on what I have learned from my experiences as a donor recipient and parent to a donor conceived child.

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Georgia's Two Cool Birthday Party

I can't believe our sweet girl is TWO already!  Where has the time gone?!  I've said this a hundred times but it is so crazy how slow time went when we were in our wait to be parents.  Now it is absolutely flying and its so bittersweet to see our little girl growing up so quickly.  This year I decided to do a "Two Cool" themed rainbow party for Georgia and I love how everything turned out!  

My SIL made the cake and cookies and killed it as always.  Our balloon garland came from Paper Boy Party on Etsy and I absolutely loved how it turned out and it was not much work at all!  Georgia had an absolute blast at her party and totally fits the stereotype of a two year old.  She has been so full of sass lately but also so sweet at the same time.  She's talking up a storm and some of her favorite words are "sink" (Frank), "kitty", "wash", "sorry", "mama", "daddy", "Harper", "Reesey", "banana", "cookie", and so many more.  I took her to her two year wellness the other day and she weighs 29.5 pounds which puts her in the 80th percentile for weight.  She was 34" tall which put s her in the 60th percentile for height.  She's wearing 2T clothes now but I don't expect they'll fit her for too much longer.  

She still has an amazing appetite as always, he loves to watch TV, play with play-doh, paint, sing baby shark, dance to baby shark, twirl around, take care of her baby, and torment the cat and dog.  She loves to put her coat and shoes on, get dressed, take baths, and do puzzles. We have been cooped up in the house for what seems like forever and we cannot wait to get outside!  I know that we are going to have sooo much fun this summer and we are ready for some warmer days!  

Two is definitely going to be a challenging year for us.  She is seriously a wild child in every way shape and form.  She is super sweet and friendly, she says hi to everyone we pass in the store and would probably go home with anyone.  She is no stranger to temper tantrums and meltdowns and we argue about a lot of things already, probably just a glimpse into the future I'm sure.  She rarely listens and has been in timeout a few times now but she is very sincere in her apologies and will easily make up for her mistakes with a kiss and a hug.  We just love her to death and she amazes us every single day.  

totally spelled "birthday" wrong here and had to have them redone!

Monday, March 04, 2019

Easy Teeth Whitening at Home

If you're a parent you know how hard it can be to get things done for yourself.  We often times put ourselves on the back burner and tend to put our families first.  I know for me I do because I can never seem to find the time to take to do certain things for myself.  Getting my hair done for instance takes a lot more planning and coordinating than it did before I had Georgia.  One of my favorite quotes and things I try to remember as a mother is "you can't pour from an empty cup" basically meaning, taking care of others requires taking care of ourselves too.  

Once the responsibility of a tiny human being became my norm, I learned quickly how hard it would be to do the simplest things that I clearly used to take for granted.  Every "quick trip" to the store practically became a carefully orchestrated marathon that took hours vs. deciding on a whim I needed something and "running in" quickly to grab what I needed.  The point is, once children come into our lives, finding time to do certain things becomes a challenge.  

One of the things that we can do for ourselves that is actually pretty easy is teeth whitening!  For me it was something I needed desperately to do but just couldn't justify the cost of having it professionally done and I knew it was something I'd rather do at home.  My teeth were definitely due for a refresher.  I hadn't whitened them in a few years and being a daily coffee drinker & a red wine drinker my teeth were definitely stained and in need of some TLC.  

With Smile Brilliant I was able to achieve a whiter smile in just a matter of a couple weeks.  What I loved about it was that these weren't sticky strips that you struggle to fit on your teeth only to have them slide off.  With Smile Brilliant you actually get a mold kit sent to you so that your trays fit your teeth perfectly.  The kit also has whitening gel and desensitizing gel which is applied after each session.  Once you make your molds you send them in a prepaid package and within about a week you have your own trays as long as there are no issues with your molds.  

Smile Brilliant recommends whitening at night before bed so each night I would put my trays on before I put Georgia to bed.  It worked best because the trays are left on for 45 minutes to 3 hours max so I'd put them on about an hour before my own bedtime and basically forget they were even on while I would put Georgia down.  Then I'd apply the desensitizing gel for 15-20 minutes before going to bed.  There were a few times that I whitened during the day, I just made sure that I didn't eat or drink anything for about an hour after and I stayed away from red wine & darker foods while I was in the process.  For coffee I would drink iced and through a straw so that it didn't hit my teeth as often. 

Although it did take a little commitment, I liked how easy the whitening process was.  At first I was a little nervous about all of the steps of the process and if I would actually be able to commit to it, but overall it worked out really well and I am happy with my results.  I think the hardest part was making the molds and even that part of it turned out to be pretty easy.  You just have to read the directions first and take your time.  I did end up with a little gum sensitivity which is totally normal in the teeth whitening process.  I was able to put Vasaline on my gums before I put my trays in and that protected my gums from the whitening gel and helped with the feeling I was getting.  You can also use coconut oil to protect your gums if need be.

like I said, I needed this bad.

This was one of those things I decided to do for myself.  It made me feel better about my smile and overall more confident. It was a fairly easy process and a fairly easy way to practice a little self-care while still doing my job as a mom.  I am so excited to be giving away a whitening kit to one lucky winner.

Click here to enter the giveaway!
You can also save 15% off a kit of your own with code

Tooth Whitening Gel

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