BG3 (Fiona) Pregnancy Update!

We recently found out that little BG3 is a GIRL! Woohoo ūüôā It was fun watching her on the ultrasound. She was very active but not cooperative at times. The tech already saw the gender when she was doing her initial measurements and capturing the images, but when it came time to show mommy and daddy,¬†baby¬†was very modest…legs crossed, thighs closed lol….cause she’s a lady, after all. But we saw the girl¬†parts eventually. We’re thrilled for another sweet little girl to join our family. Miss Fiona Joy Griffiths is her name ūüôā

So, here’s the latest update (and if you missed the 1st one, you can read it here):

Due Date: July¬†23, 2016 (nothing’s changed here)

How Far Along: 19 Weeks

Next Appointment: March 10th

Gender: GIRL!

Total Weight Gain/Loss: About +10 lbs now (my appetite came back lol…and I’m lifting weights, so I’d like to think some of those lbs are from muscle)

Exercise: Yes! Now that I’m not miserable and puking all the time, I’ve started lifting weights with my husband, as I just mentioned. I’d like to start going for more walks too, especially now that the weather is getting nicer.

Stretch Marks: No

Swelling: No

Maternity Clothes: Yep, all the maternity clothes.

Belly Button: In, but changing shape a bit.

Sleep: What’s that? I have 2 toddlers.

Food Cravings: I can eat most things again which is wonderful. Still love my sweets and a good pizza. Newest craving though is Indian food.

Food Aversions:¬†Still not a big fan of chicken, but depends on how it’s prepared. Last night the hubby made a pesto chicken pasta and that was wonderful. I can also eat chicken in Indian food (like butter chicken for example), but chicken noodle soup? No thanks.

Symptoms:¬†Nausea/vomiting has subsided, but I’m still a crazy emotional mess, with acid reflux, fatigue, gas/bloating, various body aches, etc.

Movement:¬†Yes! I’ve been feeling the occasional little kick and jab for the past 2-3 weeks or so ūüôā

Labor Signs: Nope

What I Miss: The ability to sneeze without peeing myself a little.

What I’m Loving:¬†Feeling the baby move

What I’m Looking Forward To:¬†Her birth! Seeing what she looks like and what her little personality will be, how alike/different she’ll be from her big sister and brother, blue eyes or brown eyes, etc.

Best Moment This Week: Obviously finding out the gender and seeing her move all around on the ultrasound.

Words of Wisdom:¬†You’d think after this long I would’ve learned my lesson about Googling things. After the ultrasound I was concerned about what I THOUGHT looked like a very low fluid level (amniotic fluid) despite not being told that by anyone. Some of the images on the ultrasound just looked like Fiona’s poor face was right up against the placenta with little to no fluid in there. So I Googled it….bad idea. Turns out, I’m just a crazy person and everything was totally normal. GOOGLE IS THE ENEMY when you’re a concerned parent. (Yes, I know my husband works there). Just don’t do it, friends. Until you’ve heard something from your own doctor, you are NOT the expert…and neither are the people of the Interwebs. That is all.

Until next time, here’s Fiona saying “Hello from the inside!”

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The big gender reveal for the kiddos (and everyone else when we posted it) ūüôā

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Proud Wifey

I don’t talk about it much on the blog, but in addition to my husband’s day job at Google, he (we)¬†runs a production company called “Bitwise Productions“. It’s basically your “one stop shop” for live events. We do sound and lights (set-up and live mixing/audio engineering),¬†live music (The Duvets), photography (me!), etc. It’s a pretty fun industry and we’re in a prime location for it in the Bay Area. People love events and going “all out” with this sort of thing. We do weddings, corporate parties, speaking engagements and some bigger stuff like expos and conventions.

The most recent one we did this past weekend was at the Santa Clara Convention Center for AOD 2016 (Animation on Display). We produced everything going on at the “main stage”. It was a 2-day event filled with quite the variety of performances (metal/rock, jazz/funk, rap, etc.) I might be biased, but I was pretty impressed with how everything sounded and looked. But I especially loved hearing so many people compliment my husband. One of the bands in particular, who play all over the world and work with the “best and highest-paid” sound engineers told him that his mix was the best¬†and that¬†they want him to run sound at their future shows¬†(whenever they’re allowed to bring their own sound engineer). That’s a pretty huge compliment…and I am one proud wifey ūüôā

It’s a testament to how hard-working my husband is and how he pursues everything he does with excellence. He does not settle for mediocrity. He doesn’t just want our company to be “decent” or¬†semi-successful, he wants to be the best at what we do. Is it worth all the time and effort to do it any other way? (Colossians 3:23, Ephesians 6:7, and one of his favorites that inspires his hard work, Ephesians 4:28-¬†working hard so that he can provide for others).

Anyway! Here are a some photos from the weekend. And if you know anyone looking for sound/lights/etc. for an event, please do contact us (klg@bitwiseproductions.com) ūüôā

Bitwise Productions AOD 2016 Animation On Display Bitwise Productions AOD 2016 Animation On Display AOD 2016 Animation On Display Bitwise Productions AOD 2016 Animation On Display Bitwise Productions Super Soul Bros AOD 2016 Animation On Display Super Soul Bros AOD 2016 Animation On Display Lotus Juice AOD 2016 Animation On Display Lotus Juice AOD 2016 Animation On Display Lotus Juice AOD 2016 Animation On Display Lotus Juice AOD 2016 Animation On Display

Valentine’s Day Stitch Fix Giveaway!!

Well Stitch Fix lovers, it’s happening again. I’ve collaborated with a lovely group of¬†bloggers for yet another giveaway. And this one is even BIGGER than the last one. Are you ready? We are giving away one $500 Stitch Fix Gift Card (FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS!!) This is huge. I’m so excited for whoever wins this!

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You enter below by following each of us on our various social media pages (for a total of 22 entries!) That’s it! Super easy. The giveaway ends at 11:59pm (Eastern time) on February 12th. The winner will be announced soon¬†after. Good luck!

Be sure to check out all the beautiful bloggers who made this giveaway possible (you’ll see their faces at the bottom) ūüôā

 

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My Closet Purge!

I posted a BEFORE/AFTER picture of my closet yesterday on Facebook and it seemed to be quite popular! So I thought I’d talk a bit more about it here. There’s a book called “The Magic Art of Tidying Up” that seems to be sweeping the nation (that’s probably an overstatement but it’s at least sweeping MY¬†circles: MOPS, Facebook friends, fellow Stitch Fix lovers, etc.)

To be clear, I haven’t actually read the book. So I don’t know all the “rules” of the method. But I know a few (and enough to get started). My friend Denise HAS read the book and explained the main “rules” to me a few months ago, and she’s the one who helped me out with the closet purge yesterday. She even took everything to Good Will for me after we were done!! She’s awesome ūüôā

Anyway! The main/most important things you should know if you want to do this:

  1. Do it by category
  2. Do it all at once (not a little at a time)
  3. Determine if each item “sparks joy”. If it doesn’t, it goes away.

So the first category I started with is clothing/shoes. Specifically MY clothing. I’ll get to my husband’s and the kid’s next.

We did it all at once, by gathering every single article of clothing I own and every pair of shoes…from all over the house…closets, dresser drawers, laundry, downstairs by the door, etc. and laid everything out on the bed. ¬†This was the most overwhelming part for me. The phrase “it’s going to get worse before it gets better” comes to mind. Had Denise not been there with me, I would’ve panicked and talked myself out of it because there was just SO¬†much stuff lol.

To determine if an item “sparks joy”, you go through each thing 1-by-1, physically hold it in your hands and ask yourself that question. To elaborate a bit more about¬†what did NOT spark joy for me, here are the types of things that got tossed/donated: Clothes/shoes that were falling apart/gross/missing buttons, ripped seams, etc. Clothes/shoes that did not¬†fit. Clothes/shoes that I’ve had since college and was¬†just sick of looking at. Clothes/shoes that didn’t make me feel confident/cute/sexy/etc. If I had to hesitate and¬†try to convince myself why I should keep it, then it was a “no”.

I had a bit of an advantage I think. For the last year and a half I’ve been replacing my wardrobe with new clothes from Stitch Fix and Trunk Club. So I already knew that I had a solid wardrobe of¬†clothes that fit me, and made me feel good wearing them. So saying goodbye to everything else was pretty easy. It was just finally setting aside the time to tackle it all at once that was holding me back.

That’s where Denise came in! She’s super passionate about helping other people de-clutter so when I told her about my disaster of a closet and how I couldn’t even walk into my “walk-in” closet, she couldn’t wait to help me ūüôā

Really, my whole house is a disaster. We have a lot of stuff. And my husband and I both HATE clutter. We just have a hard time actually doing anything about it. Some people might not mind it, but it stresses us out and gives us anxiety. I don’t feel like I can relax and enjoy my home when I’m surrounded by STUFF everywhere lol. It causes tension and unnecessary stupid spats between me and my husband. Once the de-cluttering is finished, I happen to have another MOPS friend who’s a professional organizer and we are SO hiring her. It’s cheaper than marriage counseling ūüėČ

Anyway- here are¬†some more photos from yesterday’s project. I can’t¬†wait to share more with you all as we continue with the rest of the house! There’s still A LOT of work left to do. NOTE: this wasn’t even a full closet clean-out, as you can see I have a lot more than just clothes in my closet. But now that the clothing is out of the way, I can actually take care of the other stuff ūüôā

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Stitch Fix #18- Holiday Party Fix: Take 2

Last month, I received a “holiday party” themed fix (from Stitch Fix)¬†that sadly didn’t work out for me. Great dresses, just didn’t fit me well¬†or weren’t what I was looking for. So I decided to give them one more chance. Unfortunately, I STILL¬†didn’t find what I was looking for in this one ūüôĀ However, I did get a¬†statement necklace and I LOVE it!¬†So it’s not a total bust ūüôā¬†As with the previous fix, these are all really great dresses (and they actually fit well), but they just were¬†not what I wanted to wear to the party.

Also, I have to apologize…this has been a very crazy, chaotic week and I threw these pictures together really fast, didn’t have time to actually take pictures of them ON me, and the lighting is terrible because it was dark and gloomy outside during the¬†only time I had to take pics. I know that seeing a dress on the hanger is not the same as seeing it on an actual person. So, I’m sorry ūüôĀ But… this is still better than nothing!

I’ll start with my one keeper:

Item #1:  Jania Hammered Plate Necklace (BANCROFT)

Stitch Fix Review Jania Hammered Plate Necklace

This is definitely my kind of necklace. I love the “hammered” look. I love the gold. It goes with just about everything. Keeper!

Item #2: Talisa Dress (PIXLEY)

Pixley Talisa Dress Stitch Fix Jania Hammered Plate Necklace Pixley Talisa Dress Stitch Fix

This is the only solid colored dress I received. And the only one with lace detail. Both of which are a good thing. I had several solid-colored, lace detailed dresses pinned on my Pinterest board. But I didn’t like the shape of this one, particularly at the top. The top is very narrow which somehow gave it a less-feminine look in the shoulder area. Also, I don’t like this¬†particular lace detail and how it fringes on the end….like it’s falling apart. Not really the look I wanted. The necklace paired really well with it though!

Item 3: Lynnette Dress (MAGGY LONDON)

Maggy London Lynnette Dress Stitch Fix Maggy London Lynnette Dress Stitch Fix

I want to start off by saying, I really loved this dress! But I was on a mission to find the perfect dress for a Christmas party, and this wasn’t it. If I was just looking for a cute dress to wear on other occasions, this probably would’ve been a keeper. It was a soft, heavier material that flattered my figure well (of course it was a petite size- they listened!), and the print is really cool. I’d wear this with tights and boots and a cardigan and it would be super cute to wear in cooler weather. Or in the summer with black strappy sandals. Now I’m regretting sending this back… Let’s move on! Highly recommend this dress though.

Item #4: Caela Dress (PAPERMOON) 

Papermoon Caela Dress Stitch Fix Papermoon Caela Dress Stitch Fix

This dress didn’t really do much for me. It fit really well, that wasn’t the issue. Just wasn’t crazy about the style. The color is a pink-peach-nude sort of color and the black is a fish-net material. Overall, a little unremarkable. Nothing special.

Item #5: Donie Dress (PIXLEY)

Pixley Donie Dress Stitch Fix Pixley Donie Dress Stitch Fix

This is another dress that I might keep if I was just looking for dresses in general. I love the print and the color. But it definitely BEGS for a belt to give it more shape once it’s on. And that’s exactly what I’d do if I kept it. Like the Lynnette Dress, I’d wear this with tights, boots and a cardigan (and a belt of some sort like I just mentioned). The material on this one is light and blousy and just sort of hangs there, instead of hugging your figure…so, needs help with the shape.

So what¬†did you think? Some great dresses, right? You might be wondering….so what WERE you looking for exactly then? If 2 fixes worth of dresses didn’t make the cut?! Well…I went with a classic little black dress! The first store I walked into (Macy’s), on the first rack I saw…was this dress.¬†I tried it on with a few other LBD options, but this was by far the best. I paired it with leopard print heels and sparkly earrings. I felt great in it! It was exactly what I was hoping for ūüôā

Sorry for the bad pics, but this is the best I got:

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Also, don’t forget about the Stitch Fix Holiday Giveaway I’m participating in with some other bloggers. Click the image below to check it out if you haven’t already entered. There are¬†2 days left!

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Stitch Fix Gift Card Giveaway!!!

Hi Friends! You all know by now how much I love Stitch Fix. They’ve taken my worn-out, juniors-style wardrobe and transformed it into an age-appropriate, trendy and sophisticated one. The best part, is that I didn’t need to shop for any of it myself! Personal stylists for the win, people! Okay, so let me get to the point of this post now (which you’ve probably already figured out by the title). I’m excited to announce that I have collaborated with other Stitch Fix bloggers to offer YOU (my readers)¬†a chance to win a $300 Stitch Fix gift card! $300!! Woohoo!

Enter below by following all of us on our various social media sites (for a total of 14 entries!) and then be sure to check out the other wonderful bloggers in the Stitch Fix community who made this giveaway possible! You’ll see their beautiful faces at the bottom of the post, which will direct you¬†to their blog.

Merry Christmas and good luck ūüôā

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A Blue Apron Review & Recipe

Back in July, after¬†Ivor’s accident and our miscarriage, we had a mealtrain account¬†set up for us for about a month. So for¬†a month I didn’t have to worry about meal planning, cooking or the usual amount of dishes to clean up in the kitchen afterward. It was wonderful. ¬†But at some point, the mealtrain ended and we still quite weren’t¬†ready for things to go back to normal. Cue all the wonderful convenient silicon valley services (though I realize¬†not all of them are exclusive to this area). Instacart. Door Dash. Google Express. Molly Maid. Freshly. Blue Apron. All things¬†I could arrange¬†from home, quickly on the computer, and have delivered to my door…I was all over it. As a mom, I love that sort of thing anyway, but¬†we became pretty reliant on it during this rough recovery period,¬†when all I had the energy and brain-capacity to manage was caring for my husband and kids. Food? No. Cleaning? No. Shopping? No. It was survival mode over here. I could write (and likely will) reviews for all of the services I just mentioned, but this post in particular is all about¬†Blue Apron.

What is Blue Apron?

Blue Apron is a meal delivery service that sends you all the ingredients necessary to cook a specific meal, which¬†is already planned and “perfectly” portioned to the serving size. I put “perfectly” in quotations because we thought it was a bit off once or twice¬†(more on that later). You choose either the 2-person or 4-person (family) plan, for either 2 meals/week or 4/week. You can skip deliveries at any time and schedule them for whenever is convenient for you. We chose the 4-person/4 meals per week plan¬†($8.74 per¬†serving).

Here’s a great overview video you can watch and then I’ll get into my¬†review of the service and an example recipe for you:

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*NOTE: it figures that the box I decided to use for this post got a little beat-up in transit. That is not the norm, and all the ingredients were totally fine. Moving on.

My¬†review in a nutshell is this: This service is great for someone who actually likes to cook and spend time in the kitchen, but might¬†just be stuck in a meal-planning rut or doesn’t have time to shop. I heard¬†some negative reviews complaining that the prep time is just too long, so that’s something you should take into consideration before trying it out. It’s not a fast-food delivery service. It’s basically someone planning a meal for you, shopping for all the ingredients for you and then dropping it off at your house with instructions on how to cook it. It helps if you already have some culinary chops. I am blessed to have a husband with said chops. The prep time for him was usually less than they estimated. For the average home-chef, like me, I’d say the prep time was fairly accurate (only longer if¬†I got¬†distracted by my kiddos).

PROS: We enjoyed the variety of meals we received and thought the majority of them were really delicious (just a few duds that were kind of “meh”). Serving size was *mostly* accurate. There were a few times that the side salad was definitely not enough for 4 people, at least not in my opinion. But since we weren’t giving our 2 toddlers the salad anyway, it wasn’t much of an issue. For me, it made me enjoy the cooking process more and improve my skills. I loved having everything already portioned for me, in neat little baggies or containers, etc. with step-by-step instructions and photos. They even¬†have a few “how-to” videos if you need to work on some of your culinary skills.¬†Not having to meal-plan was also a huge bonus for me. I can browse recipes online all day and not see a single thing that looks good or that I want to spend the time to cook. With Blue Apron, I didn’t even have to think about it. And it might just be because someone else came up with it and it was being delivered to my house, but all their recipes sounded dang good to me!

CONS: Our only negative is specific to us and our lifestyle. Some of the ingredients are not things we usually buy (i.e. white rice, white pasta, white flour, white sugar, etc.) We do brown rice, whole wheat pasta/flour, sweet potatoes only (not white) ..and rarely, if ever, do we eat corn (and we got A LOT of corn in our Blue Apron meals for awhile). ¬†Granted, this service can’t cater to everyone in that way and some of you are probably rolling your eyes at me right now (“ugh, one of those health food snobs”). Yes, we try to eat healthy, is that so wrong? ūüėõ We¬†still ate it and enjoyed it, but for the most part, in our kitchen, we don’t do processed. Not a “deal breaker”¬†between us and Blue Apron,¬†but not something we want to do on a regular basis, that’s all. We’re currently “on a break” with them right now but still use some of their recipes, and make substitutions when we can. For example, we made their Shepherd’s pie recipe with sweet potatoes instead of regular (yes, we broke tradition). But it¬†was¬†delicious and I felt better about the overall nutritional value of the meal.

Ok, so here’s a quick photo-sample of one of the recipes: Stuffed shells!¬†Since the recipe is in that link and pictured below, I’m not going to write it all out. You can just¬†enjoy the photos to see¬†what making a Blue Apron recipe looks like in real life ūüôā

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If Blue Apron sounds like something that might work for you and your family, please let me know,¬†because I have 5 free meals to give away (meaning 1 free meal for 5 different people)! First come, first served ūüôā *UPDATE*- all free meals have been claimed. I will post again in the future if I receive more!

NOTE: This post contains referral links.

Trunk Club (Mens)

You probably know by now that I’m a loyal¬†Stitch Fix¬†customer and recently started Trunk Club as well (for the SHOES!) I’ve already shared the¬†first 2 reviews of MY Trunk Club experience so far, but I wanted to give you a peek at what they offer for men too (since they’ve been doing the mens things for awhile). Ivor has been a Trunk Club customer for several months now and has received some pretty awesome items. Shoes, button-downs, jeans, even special socks to wear with his shoes ūüôā

Trunk Club

Here’s¬†a general overview of how the service works:

  1. Sign up and complete your style survey
  2. A stylist will connect with you and  hand-select items for you based on your style, sizes, preferences, requests, etc.
  3. You’ll get a preview of all the items before they ship (with a chance to say “don’t send” a particular item, if you so choose).
  4. After the “preview” period is over, your items will ship to your door (for free!)
  5. You have 10 days to try everything on and decide what you want to keep. Send back whatever you don’t (free shipping!)
  6. Request a new trunk whenever you’d like!

You have one stylist assigned to you every time, and you can communicate with them via email (or even phone!). Your online profile can include a photo of yourself, in addition to all your measurements. There’s no styling fee, no minimum purchase! The average trunk includes 12-15 items and there’s no incentive to keep every item (no additional discount). However, since they send so many items you’d probably go broke if you kept everything, so I’m glad they don’t dangle a “keep all” discount! I think the point is to have a lot of options to choose from.

So here’s a peek into my husband’s most recent trunk:

Trunk Club

Each trunk includes a personal note from your stylist, item/price list, return label and 2 packing strips (to seal the box back up for return).

This particular trunk seemed to have a color scheme to it: blues and greys! I liked that.

Trunk Club

Here’s my handsome, bearded husband modeling all the items:

Items 1, 2 and 3: Perfect Oxford Shirt (J. Press), Graduate Jeans (A.G.), Otto Canvas Shoes (Tretorn)

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Item 4: Jacob Henley (Slate & Stone)

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Item 5: Classic V-Neck Tee (Vince)

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Item 6: Tournament Crew Sweater (Life After Denim)

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Item 7: French Terry Long Sleeve Crew Neck (Velvetmen)

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Item 8: Crinkled Stretch Box Check Sportcoat (JKT)

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Item 9: Long Sleeve Modal Henley (Vince)

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Item 10: Skene Two Tone Long Sleeve Crew (Theory)

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Item 11: Iker Cashmere Full Zip Sweater (Theory)

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Close-up of the pants, sport-coat and the special socks, which is Item 12 and 13: 2-pack Liner Socks (Tommy John)

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It’s interesting that he’s wearing the grey pants in some of the photos above and they look brown, but really…they are grey.

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There was nice detail on the inside of the Sportcoat, which he really loved but was quite expensive (the most expensive item in the trunk). The socks are special “no-show” socks to wear with the¬†shoes he got (but he already has a few of those already). He¬†ended up keeping the grey pants and the shoes.¬†The grey pants because he doesn’t have anything like that in ¬†his wardrobe yet and they’ll go with a lot of different tops he has.¬†The shoes he already has in navy blue and they’re his favorite ever, so he was pretty excited to get them in a different color.

There were other items he really liked in this trunk (specifically the “Life After Denim” sweater), but it wasn’t in the budget this month to keep anything else.

I’ve been really impressed with every he’s received thus far. Some if it is pretty expensive but his stylist works with our budget and does her best to keep the cost down. But overall, everything he¬†receives is high quality, well-made and looks amazing on him. He sometimes gets¬†a lot of t-shirts and seemingly “basic” items,¬†but the fabrics are INSANELY soft it’s ridiculous. Like I mentioned before, this trunk had a similar color scheme going on, but normally there’s a good variety. Over the summer he got shorts, polos, tees, button-downs, etc. in a variety of colors and styles. If I can convince him, I’ll get him to model some of the other items he’s received. But let it be known, that getting him to do just this one blog post is HUGE ūüôā

This service has been a life-saver for him (and me). He lost a lot of weight so he needed new clothes, but he hates shopping. And we have 2 small kids, so family shopping trips would just end disastrous. The convenience of a styling service has been the perfect solution for us. He looks dang good in his new clothes, and it requires very little time/effort on his part (or mine!)

Let me know if you have any other questions about¬†how everything works! And if you’re ready to try it yourself,¬†Sign up here!

 

*Disclaimer: this post¬†contains referral links. If you sign up and order a trunk (or a fix) using the link, we’ll get some credit- which is always appreciated! But other than that, we receive nothing for writing these reviews. It’s just fun!

 

It Sneaks Up on You

By now we probably would’ve made the announcement. Not just that we were expecting our 3rd baby, but our 3rd AND 4th. Twins! I’d be into my 2nd trimester now, passed the “risky” stage ¬†and ready to go public, letting the world know that the Griffiths twins were due to arrive mid-March 2016 and our life was about to get a whole lot crazier. They were due just before Gwen’s birthday, so for a very brief period of time, we would’ve had “4 under 3”. Can you even imagine?! It would be utter chaos. But I’d give anything for that chaos.

Grief over a miscarriage really does come in waves. You go several days in a row feeling pretty good emotionally, and then one little thing reminds you. “Oh yeah, my babies died…my womb is empty….well, this sucks.”

It’s nobody’s fault. Pregnancy is a wonderful thing to be celebrated, so of course we make fun facebook announcements and spend the next few days receiving a million facebook notifications with¬†“likes” and comments. Then again once when the big day arrives and you post that first photo w/the stats.¬†As I’ve been seeing those “due in March” announcements recently, I’ve been reminded. I wonder how we would’ve made the announcement…

I’ve also seen this image shared a few times recently and¬†found it incredibly moving.

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This sculpture is called “The Child Who Was Never Born” by Martin Hud√°ńćeka. Some things I’ve read on the Internet say it’s supposed to depict the grief and sorrow of a mother who aborted her child, and the unborn child comforting her/offering forgiveness. I don’t know if that’s the case or not- but it doesn’t matter. Any¬†parent who has lost a child (whether through miscarriage, stillbirth, or a¬†regretful abortion) can relate to this image. That’s the beauty of art, right? You interpret it through the lens of your own life and circumstances.¬†When I look at this¬†I see 3¬†little ones. The¬†first one we lost in April 2012- the one touching my¬†head, and our twins lost in¬†July 2015- I see them crawling around at my knees, looking up at me).

I grieve over having never met them. Never knowing who they would’ve resembled more- mommy or daddy. That they’ll never¬†get to play or fight with their crazy siblings. I’m sad for Gwen and Ivor baby too, that they just lost 2 siblings. Right around the same time I was miscarrying, Gwen suddenly took an interest in her babydoll. Rocking her and feeding her in the rocking chair, “I feeding the baby mommy”. And Ivor Baby who one day randomly gave the babydoll the sweetest, most gentle kiss, right on the lips. It¬†was out of nowhere. And it stabbed me in the heart. They would’ve taken such great care of their baby brothers/sisters/or brother and sister. In my mind, it was a boy and a girl. I’ll know for sure one day…

I am thankful for the 2 kids playing around me right now. Gwen is sitting at the table coloring and doodling, Ivor Baby is being his usual curious self, getting into things. They make the grieving process a little easier. They both distract me, and bring a lot of joy and laughter, which is incredibly healing. When we had our first miscarriage we didn’t have any kids yet. So that was wrapped up in the emotions of uncertainty “will we ever be able to have kids?” But we knew miscarriage was pretty common, and not “likely” to repeat itself, so we immediately tried again and then there was Gwen, less than a year later. And then Ivor baby, another year later! I didn’t think it would happen again, but it did. And so the odds increase.

Coming home from the most recent heartbreaking ultrasound, I told Ivor, “I’m not sure I can do this again”. Because in my head I¬†knew that the solution to never having to go through this again, is to just be done having kids for good. But my heart still very much desires another one,¬†and¬†so I was relieved when Ivor said that he wanted another one too and that he wanted to try again as soon as possible. But it’s scary.¬†I’m terrified to get¬†pregnant again because we¬†have no control over what happens. It could¬†happen again, even though my doctor says it’s still “not likely to repeat itself”.

So, we’re being courageous and not calling it quits just yet.¬†What happens happens. It’s in God’s control. For now, we still mourn the loss of our babies, love on the ones we do have, and just live life!

 

 

 

 

Yet It Did Not Fall

One of my favorite passages of Scripture, that I personally declared as the passage for our marriage (though of course it’s applicable to all of life really), is Matthew 7:24-27, “the wise and foolish builders.” It’s the conclusion to¬†the Sermon on the Mount where¬†Jesus¬†explains that those who put into practice all that he has said, will be like the man who builds his house on a rock. Well, instead of paraphrasing it for you, I’ll just copy it in full here:

24¬†‚ÄúTherefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25¬†The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26¬†But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27¬†The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.‚ÄĚ

Yes, I realize Jesus wasn’t speaking specifically of marriage here, but the illustration still works. You face a lot of crap in a marriage and if your foundation is weak, it’s likely to come crumbling down with a great crash. But if your foundation is strong, it can withstand the beating that is¬†sure to come.

But this isn’t meant to be a sermon on marriage or a declaration that it’s that simple, or a “hey look at us, we’ve got it all together” post. I just want to share a little deeper about what life was like during the¬†most recent “storm” that hit our “house” and give thanks to God that¬†it’s still standing!

Looking back on the last 5 years of marriage (and it’s only been 5!) our hardest times seemed to draw us closer together, but this time especially. I’m grateful though, because I know the opposite could’ve happened. Renovating a house together during our first year of marriage, living out of 1 room and doing dishes in the bathtub. Job and financial struggles. Moving away from our family, across the country and basically starting a new life together. Suffering miscarriage #1. Having 2 babies 14 months apart. And now, an accident and another miscarriage- losing twins. All in 5 years of marriage!

So here’s just a little glimpse of what life has been like recently…

You may have heard the overview of injuries that Ivor suffered after the accident: broken collar bone, 2 back fractures and a spinal cord contusion in his neck which caused nerve damage, but you might not realize the effect of those injuries on his daily life. In the beginning,¬†he was in so much pain, it took a few days before he could even stand or¬†walk for more than 10 minutes. The nerve pain was debilitating. He had a hard time feeding himself. He needed help going to the bathroom. He couldn’t bathe himself or get dressed by himself. Getting him comfortable was a constant struggle and he still has yet to get a good night’s sleep. So for the past month or so, but especially in the very beginning, he was as dependent on me as our 2 kids are. (And I can now say that I know that man more intimately than any other person on this planet. Helping your spouse go to the bathroom is something you might expect to go through in old age, not this soon.) But who can expect or predict things like this? Life is going along swimmingly and then you hear screeching brakes in the form of a phone call from a number you don’t recognize, with a sinking feeling in your stomach when the person on the other end asks, “are you Ivor’s wife?”

It could’ve been so much worse. I am thankful that my husband is still alive. And not paralyzed. But I will still rightly recognize the last month or so as being really sucky and really difficult. It’s easy to dismiss things and¬†try to make yourself feel better by comparing yourself to others worse off than you. There’s nothing wrong with a little perspective, but you can still have perspective and valid feelings of grief for whatever it is you’re going through at the time.

Anyway. I wish I could say that I’ve handled every moment with grace and self-sacrificing love. But that would be a self-righteous lie. There have been several times over the course of the last few weeks that I’ve wanted to scream “FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, CAN I JUST GET 2 MINUTES TO MYSELF WITHOUT SOMEONE NEEDING ME????” (and all the moms of world said “amen!”) After all, I was miscarrying at the time too. I was going through my own personal struggle of grief over having life begin and end inside my body ….for¬†the 2nd time. And dealing¬†with the emotions of having and losing twins. But I barely had a moment to dwell on those feelings because of everything else going on. Because of Ivor’s injuries, he was unable to help me with the kids. I’m used to being on my own with them during the day while he’s at a work, but not¬†24/7. It’s been exhausting (to say the least). Single parents- you have my utmost respect and admiration.

“Do everything without grumbling or arguing” (Philippians 2:14)? Fail. I’ve grumbled. I’ve argued. But God’s mercies are new every morning, and each day He has given me a renewed, supernatural strength to care for my family. And has reminded me what a privilege it is to be needed, and why I do what I do for my family. It should not be out of obligation or duty (though, it is my duty), but the motivation should be out¬†of love. Oh, I’ve had my weak, selfish moments. But I’ve also had a full heart absolutely bursting with love for my husband and our kids- where taking care of them wasn’t even a question in my mind. It was automatic. Not a burden. Yes, I took vows and take them seriously. So of course I will care for my husband when he can’t care for himself. But I also do it because I love that man, and I want to take care of him. It’s a much better feeling, personally (and to those who are receiving it), when you’re fueled by love, and not obligation. And that is a daily prayer of mine as a wife and mommy because it doesn’t come naturally. Any good that I’ve done for my family, all the right attitudes I’ve had- – – it’s not because I’M so strong…it’s because I have a strong God holding me together. And it’s only by the grace of God that this “house” is still standing.