Surprise Visit

Today we had a surprise visit from Brandon’s 88 year old Grandma and his four aunties.

Please excuse the blurry pictures, I had my settings all off…beef stew on the stove made me in a big hurry and not focused! ugh.

Anyway, we had heard through the grapvine {Brandon’s dad} that Grandma wanted to come up and see us as she had never seen our house, so Brandon sent a text to his Auntie who was with his grandma and told her that we’d love to have them come up. Well, as luck would have it, all the Aunts were together and were looking for something to do with Grandma today, so their response was: “We’ll be there in two hours!” ha!

We ran around and cleaned up the house and luckily I had beef stew planned for tonight {come back on Friday, I’m sharing the recipe}, so when I headed for the store I just got a couple other things I needed and we had SUCH a yummy meal!! This salad and homemade beef stew…YUMMO!

My parents came over and ate with us also. We had fun sitting around and talking…my parents have never met a couple of the Aunties so it was fun to connect with them.

We also had this amazing Apple Crisp.

Please, do yourself a favor and run over here and try this recipe. I promise, you will thank me.

With Grandma.

Thank you for coming Grandma and Aunties!! we loved having you and was SO HAPPY you were able to come. The kids had SUCH a blast playing with you all. I wish I had thought to get a video of you all playing with the kids. It was SO CUTE!!! Thank you for the gifts. We love you all! xoxo

Celebrating Jacob’s 6th Birthday…Western Style

I know, I know, today is supposed to be Food Friday. Whelp, I have a recipe all photoed, and waiting to be edited, but to be honest, thanks to my late night of loading the sale items in the shop, I’m just too tired to do it. So I guess we’ll have to plan on next week. Come back, I think you’ll love the recipe! But I DO have all of the pictures editted from Jake’s 6th birthday party…so would you like to see those today? You would? Well, great! :)

*Warning: Heavy photo post!

When Jacob told me that he wanted to have a Western style birthday, I freaked out a little. I shy away from ANYTHING western…it’s just not me and I feel so out of my element with cowboy boots and country music, ha.  But Jake was insistent upon it, so a Western theme it was, and I actually had a great time planning this party! Brandon and I first hopped on pinterest to see what other people have done for a “Western” theme. We found a LOT of cowboy stuff, which was cute, but Jake was clear he wanted not a COWBOY party but a WESTERN one {I guess he thought it opened up the costume department a bit more for his friends? who knows….ha}. Anyway, we got really inspired when Brooke sent over Jake’s invites. Isn’t Brooke amazing?

Something about this invite got me super excited and I saw immediately what I needed to do. Call me crazy, but I knew I needed Pompoms. Yes, for a boy party. Throw your darts if you must, but he loved them {and I ADORED them}. :)

I really, really MUST learn to be a little better organized. The party started at 5 and at 4:30 I was still running around like a chicken with my head cut off finishing things up. For the record, I spent a LOT of money on Jake’s ice skating party last year, and we just didn’t have that kind of money this year, so I figured for a 1/3 of the cost, I could do the party at home…if I cooked all the food, made the cakes, etc. WELL…I did. I did it ALL. I mean EVERYTHING. Yup. Call me crazy. And that’s why I was running around like a lunatic at 4:30. ha.

ANYWAY, when a couple of the moms got there, I threw the camera at my friend Jenny and told her to start take pictures. She, and later Sara, did an amazing job of capturing the party. Seriously AMAZING. The only thing is I never told them I wanted a full shot of the room with the hanging the pompoms and didn’t realize that until I had nearly cleaned up the room Saturday morning. So here’s a somewhat idea of what the full room looked like. ha.

The pompoms were so much fun, I just loved doing them. I followed THIS tutorial if anyone wants to make them. They were super easy. I used pipe cleaners instead of the flower wire stuff they suggested and I got a huge pack of them from the dollar store. I figured the each pompom cost me $1. Not bad! :)

One more picture of the pompoms, this one from the night of the party. I love this picture. You can see the pompoms, you can feel the happy spirit in the place, and my boy is too cute in his costume. I think I may frame this picture. I am SO GLAD that his special night turned out exactly how he wanted it. And it felt so good as a mom to host all his friends and have everyone have a good time. Special memories for sure!

Ok, pictures…I’ll tell you details of the party at the end. :) Here’s the Desert table..

Hot Chocolate Station…the kids LOVED this!!!

S’mores Station…so much fun! I think the adults liked this more than the kids. :)

We served dinner for everyone….

Waiting outside to greet his guests… He kept running around shooting everyone. Ugh. What a warm welcome, yes?

Friends….

Ev. :)

When we moved into our house we had this dug out hole that we could not figure out what it was for. We even asked the neighbors, but no one knew. We finally decided it was a fire pit {still not sure if it was, ha}, so we used it for the first time to roast s’mores on. We LOVE it!! Will definitely use it again. Such a great way to spend a chilly evening with friends. 

Jake, Gramps and Jake’s new Hike America Stick from our good friend Roy. Never heard of Hike America? Well, you’ve probably seen them, if you’ve been to any national park. Hike America sources the walking sticks for most National Parks and hiking areas. Roy is the brain behind it and one of my dad’s dearest friends. Jake was so excited to get his own “kid size” version of it. Thank you Roy!!

Making him refuel. He was obviously thrilled about it, can’t you tell? ha. 

Probably his favorite card of the night. It sings the Chipmunk song. We can’t figure out who it’s from as it’s not signed?? ha. But he loved it whoever gave it to him. Thank you! :) 

Mumsy and Gramps gave him a basketball hoop. He was thrilled.

Yes, I made the cake. Scroll down for more info. :)

Favors. Super easy, cost about a $1 each. Brooke made the bifold toppers for me, I bought a pack of 30 small bags from Target, went to the dollar store and found the water guns, harmonicas and sheriffs badges were from Party City and the gold chocolate coins were from the dollar section at Target. Win win for everyone!

Whelp…that’s it! It was a successful party for sure! We had friends stay until nearly 11 that night and we loved being with everyone. Thank you to all who came and made the night so special for Jake. We were honored you joined us. We love you!

And no, I didn’t clean the kitchen up that night, for all you who were wondering if I followed my own rule after a big party. I actually allowed myself to go to bed and wake up to this:

It was worth it. :) Big hugs everyone. xoxo

Chocolate Cake: Barefoot Contessa HERE {and yes, I used the coffee buttercream, it’s amazing.}

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cupcakes: Barefoot Contessa HERE

Coconut Cupcakes: Barefoot Contessa HERE

Chili: Jamie Dean HERE {It was unbelievably good, and I don’t even like chili!}

Cornbread: Trader Joes

Salad: HERE {which I never served, ha, oops!}

Hot Dogs: Costco, cooked by Brandon :)

Pin It

Sale Items In The Shop…Spring 2013 Coming!

Anything listed “Sale” will not be returning for Spring 2013…so snag it while you can.

Also, our handmade Spring 2013 is scheduled to appear in the shop the beginning of February. Exact date to be announced. Our manufactured goods will shortly follow the handmade line, more info to come on those as well.

See you soon with some fabulous new designs. Can’t wait to show you. For sneak peeks, follow me on Instagram, I post some every now and then. :)

Want to shop? Click HERE.

Zero Stickers

So let me ramble here for a second…. a couple nights ago, I spent several hours looking through old pictures. It’s quite scary, actually, to see yourself many moons ago….so weird how you change over time. Actually very weird. I’ve always been one to worry about my weight. Always. But looking back at those pictures, I wanted to reach my hands through the old copies and wring my skinny little neck. What in the world was I thinking? Even after having Evy, I was still pretty little.

Me and Evy with our dear friend {and Evy’s Tree model} Kate. 

And here’s me after I had Jake. Can we say TINY? Brandon and I goofing off at a restaurant mirror.

So I keep thinking about how over the last couple years I have complained about my figure so very much. And boy, do I feel ashamed now. Especailly since I am now at least 10 lbs over what I have ever been. I think the moral of the story is this: it’s so easy to look down on yourself, but learn to love yourself at every stage in your life. Because you never know…things could be WAY worse.

Dear 25 year old Amy, at 36, I can show you NEED TO DIET. Stop complaining.

So with that thought off my mind, let’s talk about Jake for a second. Part of his ADHD 504 plan classroom modifications is to break the day up into small parts and work towards success in each individual area. Since ADHDers have a hard time working on long term goals, his modification plan is full of short term goals to encourage excitement with his learning. His day is split up in three blocks and he is assessed accordingly. His behavior is monitored three times a day, and he gets a sticker on his take home paper for each block that he accomplishes his main behavior goals: sit quietly, doesn’t distract others, and raises his hand to speak {just saying these three goals makes me giggle as if you know him, these are HARD things for him to do! ha}.

Since implementing the plan, he has always gotten at least one sticker. But yesterday his take home paper came home looking like this:

Zero stickers. Awesome right? ugh. Before we got Jake diagnosed, a good friend of mine who also has an ADHD boy told me, “Living with ADHD is REALLY, REALLY hard. I don’t care what anyone tells you, it very difficult.” I remember thinking that it couldn’t be THAT bad.

But it is. It really, really is.

It’s very hard to have to make special modifications for your child that you love so much. It’s so very hard to see that is he is JUST NOT capable of behaving like everyone else, no matter how hard I try to help him. My friend was right, living with ADHD is extremely hard.

Yesterday when he came home with zero stickers, Jake and I had a chat about his day. Thankfully, he is still really young and doesn’t understand that his behavior is extremely annoying. {ha}. And thankfully, our school is so wonderful that being sent to the office isn’t always a bad thing, just a support. Our principals are awesome and always positively redirect Jake, so that’s helpful. But as a mom, hearing your kindergarten student was sent to the office prompts visions in my mind of my future high school student practically living there, if he continues at this rate. Honestly? It’s enough to make me want to lay down and have a good cry. Yup. it does. Go ahead and judge, but it’s the truth.

The last couple days I have felt the Lord nudge me to read about Elijah. And this portion of scripture jumped out at me:

 ’Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.’ I Kings 19:3-5

Dear Elijah: I love you. If you read the entire context of this scripture, you will read about how before this laying down and dying incident, Elijah has the miraculous show down with the 400 prophets of Baal…where God hears Elijah’s prayers and sends fire down to devour Elijah’s offering, all while the 400 prophets of Baal’s offering sits untouched. You see how God delivers the people out of drought through Elijah’s prophecies. You see miracles, signs and wonders coming from Elijah…but at this point, Jezebel threatens him, saying she will kill him. He is alone. He is the last prophet left. And he is frustrated. And he runs.

Thank you Elijah. Because now I know, it’s not just me that feels like doing that from time to time. Dear readers, I’m not stupid…I know what it may look like over here. Social media puts such a deceiving twist on people’s lives. Things look WAY better than they really are. But the reality is I often feel like Elijah {probably more often than not}. Like last night when I got Jake’s take home paper back. Or when I step on the scale in the morning. Or when I get a business situation that I have no idea how to deal with. I feel like Elijah. The thoughts that go through my mind sound like this:

Parenting is too hard

Marriage is so tough

Manufacturing is way too difficult, I should quit

Living for God is not easy

I want to quit.

If you have some time, read through Elijah’s story in 1 Kings, it will really encourage you. My favorite part is when he spends 40 days walking up the mountain to where God is. And when he gets there, the Lord says to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”. HA. I love it.

After Elijah complains to Him how faithful he’s been but now he’s about to be killed, God sends him back. But not without showing Elijah His power through the wind, the earthquake and the fire. And not without telling him that He had seven thousand people who had not turned to Baal. He was not really alone.

Here’s the reality of the situation: when you are on the Lord’s team… NOTHING MATTERS.  It doesn’t matter how down you feel about yourself. How much you question your purpose, or how often you feel like quitting. Because even when I go to Him feeling like laying down and throwing in the towel…He is still there asking me, “Why are you here?”. I love that. Because He sees the end of the story and knows it will be exactly how it’s supposed to be and how HE planned it….success, regardless of how we feel about it. And everything really will be alright. Just ask Elijah.

Nothing is too hard for God. Ever. {Even zero stickers.} And for that I am so very thankful.

Big hugs friends. xoxo

Happy 6th Birthday, Jacob!

Today this cutie turns 6. And I can’t stop crying.

How can my itty bitty baby boy be SIX?!? Before I know it, he will be 18 and not wanting me to hung and kiss and snuggle him. Pretty soon, he’ll have a wife of his own to snuggle with, and a couple kids…

Thinking like this makes me want to cherish EVERY SINGLE MOMENT with my boy. Every little second when he drives me nuts, I need to remember that I’m going to blink and he’ll be gone.

Today I keep thinking about that little baby that was handed to me on January 18, 2007, at 2:15 PM. He had a little old man hair-do and a wrinkled up face, but he stole my heart…instantly. There was no doubt that God had something great in store for him. Thinking back over the years, I see how God used Jake to change me…make me a better person, and see HIM in everything in life. Yes, I believe with all my heart that God used Jacob to help me understand our Heavenly Father’s love for us. It’s powerful how He does that.

So today, sweet baby boy, as I make your birthday dinner and cake, I will be praying for you. I’m praying that you give your whole heart to Jesus, that you let Him guide you in this terribly confusing world and that you know with all your heart…without a shadow of a doubt, that your mommy and daddy love you with everything inside them.

Happy Birthday Jacob Brandon Wollmer Miraflor. You Rock.

xoxo

Please Don’t Flush Your Diapers

So, we have an ant problem. Like a HUGE, ant problem. Ugh. I hate ants. They are so pesky and how in the world do they find things like they do? Seriously..I’m always so shocked to see a random single ant crawling around. Where’s it’s colony? Oh, right! It’s a scout! And that’s when I immediately kill it. I know, I’m horrible and inhumane, but I pay the mortgage here not the ants {or the foxes, or the raccoons, or the deer…}.

ANYWAY, pest control came out again today for the THIRD time in a week. Right. Third. Pretty sure our pest control thinks we are slobs for all the ants that live here. I can’t figure it out either, as with all the cleaning out and organizing I’ve been doing, I can promise you there isn’t random food hanging around. And to the pest control’s credit, they did get most of the ants…but for some reason, they keep coming back around the microwave/brick area, which means I had to pull EVERYTHING out, clean every single item that was in the drawers {pretty sure the drawers needed to be cleaned out to begin with, ha, yikes}….

That last drawer there is the final drawer to go into the dishwasher. Ugh.

So Anyway, today, while our house was getting bombed Brandon and I went out and ran a bunch of errands for Jake’s birthday on Friday. So I’ve got to ask everyone…have you ever been to Party City??

What in the world? I have NEVER, EVER been to a party store like this. EVER. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been to a party store, but this is the mother of all party stores. Although it was a bit overwhelming, I do have to say it was pretty cool. I was in such awe with the whole place that couldn’t find anything in the five minutes I had to get what I needed {the overwhelming part}. The poor guy at the front counter had to put up with me asking over and over, “Excuse me, where can I find _________?”. Pretty sure he hated me by the time I was leaving.

After our trip to Party City, I ran over to Target. While in the restroom I saw this sign.

What?!? I’m sorry, I’m so confused…who does that? I can’t even figure out how that could even possibly work? I mean, does a diaper even fit down a toilet? I’m just trying to wrap my mind around this one. ha.

Anyway, on behalf of Target, please don’t flush your diapers. ha. 

After Party City we came home and put together Pom Poms.

I’m kinda addicted to them, actually. I bought a bunch for the studio last week and then decided they would be a great decoration for Jake’s party. So I bought a couple from Party City {the light blue ones} and then I did a little research on pinterest and found a great tutorial for them, so I went to town making them myself. And mine turned out to be $1 each, instead of $4.50 each. Score right?

I thought it would be a bit silly to do a tutorial on them since so many people online have done such a great job, so here’s the tutorial I used {HERE}. The only change I made was I used pipe cleaners to twist, not the florist thing-a-ma-jigs that I couldn’t find anywhere. ha.

Before I close, I have to tell you about the desks my nieces and I redid….

I ADORE them. I’ll do another blog post on them at a later date to tell you what I did to them, but let me just say, I adore Annie Sloan paint. That is all.

Good night friends. xoxo

I Got A Facelift…and Some Updates

Well, not me exactly, but my blog. :)

And oh my word….I love it. LOVE LOVE LOVE the new design. If you are reading from a reader {such as google}, or from an email subscription, I would love for you to hop on over and check out the new look. I think you will be so excited for our little blog. We look fabulous. Brooke, my graphic designer, really outdid herself. And not to mention the amazing photos by my brother in law, DASO photo. Seriously, the whole combo is simply stunning. Click on the header to see the whole thing…and be sure to check out the category buttons over to the right. Brooke is genius! :)

I’m so sorry I have been MIA recently…not that anyone is actually paying attention, ha. I have so much to catch you all up on…such as our Disneyland trip, our Christmas, some great vacation stories…but I have no idea if I’ll ever get around to blogging about them, so just trust me when I say, we’ve had a wonderful holiday season.

We’ve also been very busy. While the shop is shut down, I am doing my best to organize my life a little. I am a firm believer that the first step to success is to be pretty organized, and to be honest, last year was a crazy year for me and my organization skills, while already subpar, definitely became non existent. The poor studio was a disaster! The last couple weeks my girls and I have been tearing apart every nook and cranny and putting them back in the proper places, tossing things we don’t need and buying things that we do.

We’ve painted chairs, hung decorations, and Brandon built us some tables. Even my dad has come over and helped out by painting a little. We are nearly done and I hope to {finally} take some decent pictures of the studio so you can see where we create.

But the studio isn’t the only place I’ve been updating, I also cleaned out my pantry, which, if you follow me on Instagram, you probably already saw….

I am a horrible pantry keeper, unfortunately. Things end up being stuffed in and often I am finding things months later that I didn’t even know where there. NOT GOOD. With my New Year’s resolution weighing on my mind, I am striving to be much better with what I buy and simplify a little, so I took some little metal bins that we didn’t need in the studio and used them in the pantry. WOW…I know it doesn’t look a lot better, but it’s amazingly easy to see what I have now.

And while we’re speaking of my New Year’s resolution, I updated our budget. Last year was, as I stated, a crazy year, and unfortunately, I did not give the attention needed to our finances like I should have. I really, really want to wise in that area, as I’m sure you all do. Last week I poured over our books and set up a budget I feel will really work for us. As coincidence would have it, I’ve had more budget conversations with friends lately than I have in a really long time and I realized that I’m not the only one who is trying to find the proper way to manage their finances. I have always had a system, but sticking to it is probably the hardest part {amen, everyone?}. So in order to hold myself accountable…I am going to share with you my budget planning soon. Obviously I won’t let you in on all the hard numbers, but I am going to have Brooke make a downloadable of our budget worksheet so if you are looking for a good budget format, you can use it too. In my mind it’s useless to go to all that work if you can’t share it, right? :)

Speaking of budget, are you a small business or blog that has a budget for advertising? We would love to have you advertise here on the blog. We have a unique group of loyal readers who are interested in learning about new shops and blogs. We have two size ad spaces available…

along with giveaway and review options, all at very reasonable prices. I also do a blog post introducing all new sponsors once a month, which will include all your contact info, such as your website, facebook page, twitter, etc. You can find out all of our stats, pricing and information HERE. We would love to have you join us!

In closing, I owe you all some Evy’s Tree shop talk, especially regarding our manufactured goods. I will fill you in on that and much more later this week, but let me say this…manufacturing in the beginning is slllloooowwww going. Almost to the point where you want to pull your hair out kind of slow. It’s safe to say we won’t have the manufactured goods here this month as originally planned, but they are coming very soon and I think you will love what we have. I will designate an entire blog post to it this week so you are all in the loop. In the meantime, we WILL have a small handmade Spring 2013 line this month for you. I am SO EXCITED about the handmade Spring line. First, remember this big time seller:

After many, many requests, the Grace Wrap will be making a comeback.  Plan on seeing the is one coming your way with the rest of the spring items the end of this month.

PS.. we will be having a bunch of grace wrap giveaways next week… will you join us? :)

Regarding the shop reopening: I still have quite a bit of sale items, especially in kids sizes, so I will reopen the sale section with a bunch of items on Monday, January 21. The new Spring items will be announced, but most likely the following week. Please remember: all Spring 2013 items will be FULL PRICE. Our Save Evy’s Tree leftover hoodies are all gone and we are now resuming our regular programing. If you want a good deal, I suggest you snag one of the sale items coming next week. :)

Oh, wait, one more thing! Several days ago I made a call out on our facebook page to photographers…asking to trade some Evy’s Tree items for product photos. WOW!! You guys!! I have over 50 emails from photographers willing to work with us. I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t even think I would get five!! And you all are amazing photographers!!! So what to do now? Well, obviously, I don’t need 50 photographers, so I compiled a list of you all and will definitely contact you in the future if the need arises. I have contacted the ones we are going to use {I only needed 2 or 3}, so if you didn’t hear from me that means I cataloged your info and will reference it in the future. THANK YOU so much everyone for being so amazing and willing to help us. I sincerely am blown away by how many of you wanted to work with us. There are no words to explain my gratitude. I love you guys!!!!

Whew…I guess that’s it! Did I cover enough for you? So sorry for such a lengthy post. To recap:

  • Our Blog got a facelift! Click HERE to see it.
  • The Shop is shut down, but the Sale Section will reopen with items on January 21
  • We are now accepting advertising on our blog. Click HERE to check out all the info.
  • Need a photographer? Check out all these amazing ones HERE.

Love you all! xoxo

Camera Shots Courtesy of Evelyn

Well, it’s back to the grind over here at the Miraflor casa. School has resumed and it is time for me to start getting back to work. Not that I haven’t been working…we have been deep cleaning out the studio this past week and I hope to take some pictures of our progress mid week sometime. I am so excited! Brandon has built me several new tables, the girls painted chairs, I have cleaned out cabinets. I feel like I can take on 2013 with confidence now! I’m sure you all know how that feels. I also have accomplished a bunch of other great little projects around the house that make me feel more organized. I hope to share those with you this week.

Yesterday we went to our favorite restaurant with Mumsy and while there Evy started shooting away with my phone camera. She’s actually getting better as before she would say, “Say Cheese” and then take a picture of the chandelier instead of the person. ha.

So here you have…me, and a couple other random things…unedited and photographed by Evelyn.

And a couple of REAL random ones….her coloring paper…..

And Mumsy’s hair. ha.

She’s getting better, huh? I rarely let her play with my phone, but my mom hands hers over all the time and she said she spent 45 mins two nights ago cleaning out her camera and deleting all Evy’s random pictures and videos. Perhaps we have a budding photographer on our hands? :)

Big hugs everyone! Welcome back to reality!

xoxo

Choose Joy: A Guest Post On Surviving Infertility and Adoption

Happy New Year Friends!! I hope you all had a safe and exciting end of the year. Us Miraflors just laid low..we were SO TIRED from our Disneyland trip and Christmas. Are we the only parents who can barely keep their eyes open now a days? Sheesh! Anyway, I pretty much summed up my New Years feelings in this post, hope you had a chance to read it. 

I hope to catch you up to date on our holidays later this week and after I am able to finish all my end of the year duties for Evy’s Tree….so today, I want to start the year off with discussing a topic that I know many of my personal friends struggle with. I hope Emmy can inspire and encourage you. And I hope you sincerely think about attending the Choose Joy event. Please be sure to contact Emmy with any questions. 

Love you friends! Take it away Emmy….

* * * * * *

I’m Emmy, I’m 35, and I’m infertile.

Wait, let me back up.  I’m Emmy.  Amy has been so sweet to allow me to invade her space for the day.  I own Much Ado About You {where I used to sell printed day planners, and now I just sell printables}, I occasionally blog {Confesstions of a Paper Freak}, and I incessantly Instagram {@itsjustemmy}.  I am married to my high school sweetheart and as of this year we have been together for more than half our lives.

Almost 11 years ago I got pregnant for the first time.  Nathan and I were so excited, and immediately started planning that child’s future.  We were thinking of names… wondering if it would be a boy or a girl… hoping its due date of December 26th would not mean we were going to have a Christmas baby.

But just a few days later I started bleeding heavily, and knew in an instant that that baby was gone.

We had only just begun trying to get pregnant, but I had so many friends experiencing infertility and I begged God to spare us from that roller coaster.

Our doctor told us that since we were so early in the pregnancy I would not need a D & C, and that technically I could get pregnant as soon as my next cycle.

Which I did.

That pregnancy was such a relief, and I vividly remember thanking God that I was never going to have to walk that long and painful road of infertility.

A year after Beau was born we decided to start trying for a second baby.  We wanted four, so we thought we’d better get going!

God had different plans for our family.

The next six years were spent going from one doctor’s appointment to the next… from one surgery to the next… all in an effort to figure out why my young and seemingly healthy body was not working.

I have Endometriosis, a condition that basically destroys your body from the inside out.  During my final surgery my doctor made the painful decision to remove both of my non-functioning fallopian tubes, hoping it would increase the chance of my third and final IVF {invitro-fertilization} treatment being successful.

The next month we had our final IVF procedure.  It failed.  We were done.

We were physically {well mostly me on that one}, emotionally, and financially spent.  The chance of a natural pregnancy was eliminated with the removal of my tubes.  I was officially STERILE.  It is still strange to say those words.  I am a woman that cannot do what I was created to do… bear children.  That is a very strange reality to be faced with.

I spent seven dark years in the thick of my infertility {I say “my” infertility because the issues were mine… with another woman my husband could have had more children… more salt in the wounds}.  For some of those years Nathan and I were not on the same page.  He didn’t understand my desperation for a child when I already was a mom.  Those years I struggled with a deep loneliness that I had never known.  It is so hard to explain what infertility feels like to someone that has never experienced it, but the bottom line is… IT SUCKS.

However, God also used those seven years to challenge my character and bring me to a place of total trust and reliance on His plan for my life.  I came to a point where I had to say, “God, I love you and I trust you, and I know that {while very different from mine} Your plan is the best plan for my life.  So even if I never have another baby I will praise you and be thankful for whatever it is that you call me to do.”

And I really was at peace.  Without tubes I no longer had to live in two week cycles, wondering if each late period was the one.  I had an incredible eight year old that was the joy of my life, a loving, supportive husband, a thriving business… life was good.

Now since I have already babbled on for quite some time {and probably lost most of you} I will leave this next part of the story short and sweet {if you would like to read the whole story, you can find it here}.  Through miraculous circumstances, in March of 2011 we brought home the most beautiful baby girl that looks nothing like us.

And in the instant that I met her I understood every no that God had placed in my path.

If you are in a season of not understanding the circumstances of your life, please be encouraged that someday you may understand and even appreciate the painful path that you are walking.

Since experiencing infertility and adoption I have a heart for encouraging hurting women.  Several months ago I felt a calling on my life to do something to help other women that are experiencing similar trials, and the Choose Joy event was born.

Choose Joy is a one-day conference in Southern California for women and couples that are experiencing infertility and/or desire to grow their families through adoption.  I have somehow convinced several other women from all over the country to come and be a part of this event.  We have speakers on topics such as “God’s Heart for the Hurting; Waiting Hurts, Waiting Perfects”, “Having a Heart of Hope: Overcoming the Hurt of Infertility”, “The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly of International Adoption”, and much, much more.  My desire is for this to be a day of connection and community, and for women to open their minds to the plan that God has for their family.

The event will include a luncheon and a dessert, and at the end we will be raffling off a cash prize to help someone grow their family.

Tickets are on sale for $30 through the 25th of January.  {After that the price goes up to $40, so don’t delay!}  Please visit the website for all the details on the location and schedule, bios on each speaker, and to register for the event.

If you aren’t experiencing infertility, statistics say that someone you know is.  Please pass this website on to your friends or family that could use some support.

Thanks for reading my story.

XOXO,

Emmy