Tuesday, November 25, 2014

It's a...


SURPRISE!!! We're not finding out the gender! CRAZY, right?

Reactions to this news have ranged from...

"It just seems so silly to wait! Why would you not want to know?"


"But how will I know what color to buy?"
(Ahem, pretty sure any baby can wear any color... just sayin'.)


"That's the way to do it! Best surprise of your life!"

So yeah, it seems like opinions are wildly split on this one. But John and I both agreed, years before pregnancy was even an option, that we were up for the surprise.

And when people say sassy things to us like, "I couldn't do that. How could anyone ever do that?" I've got two canned responses...

1.) It's what my mother did with all four of her pregnancies. It just seems normal to me. :)


2.) I guess we don't mind being patient on this one.

After all, we waited 2 years just to get pregnant, so this little practice in patience seems easy to me. Plus, I read somewhere that not finding out the gender beforehand can actually help during labor by giving you an exciting goal to push toward. (Literally and figuratively, of course).

"I'm only pushing because I want to find out if it's a boy or a girl, gosh darn it!!" Sounds about right.

PLUS, most of the baby stuff we get will likely be in neutral colors, so totally reusable when (hopefully) baby siblings come along. We're frugal like that.

And also, it's really just exciting and kinda magical not knowing. People guess all the time, which is a fun game! Most people actually say GIRL, while the Chinese gender charts (which I looked at for a good laugh) say BOY, so who really knows?

All I know is that we're excited to be having a BABY, no matter the gender. So a surprise it shall be!

Though, I can't resist. Would you like to take a guess? ...

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pregnancy After Infertility

Infertility changes everything.

In the two years we suffered, my body failing cycle after cycle after cycle, I watched my whole world change around me.

The way I interacted with others.

My relationship with God.

What I spent most of my time daydreaming about.

What I spent most of my time talking about.

What I spent most of my time crying about.

The amount of time I spent in a doctor's office.

The number of medications I took.

My willingness to undergo a diagnostic surgery.

My marriage.

What I ate.

My feelings toward baby showers and pregnancy announcements and big bellies and the diaper aisle at the grocery store.

Who I befriended.

My plans for our married life.

All of this changed instantly. Along with about 500 other things.

Infertility takes normal, happy-go-lucky life and turns it on its head, with barely anytime to breath between.

Thoughts go from, "We're going to be parents in 9 months!" to "I'm not sure we'll ever be parents" in a matter of 6 unsuccessful cycles.

What a sad, lonely, tumultuous time.

While there were still many fruits during our 2 years of infertility -- growing closer to God, trusting in His will more than my own, strengthening our marriage, and so on -- it was still very raw, real, and painful. And not at all what we had expected and planned.

So it should come as no surprise that infertility has colored this pregnancy too.

While we're over-the-moon excited, feeling blessed beyond belief, and so thrilled to have our dreams finally coming true, I can't shake the feeling that our time spent with infertility has changed the way I'm experiencing this pregnancy.

But actually, I think it's for the better.

While I don't love that I'm still absolutely afraid every single day, even now at 15 weeks, that we will lose our sweet baby, even though statistics say there's only a 0.5% chance at this point (I feel as if these fears wouldn't have been so strong if we had gotten pregnant right away, as we would have been living in a "la la la, life's so perfect, life's so easy" kind of world)...

And while I don't love that being pregnant means I've "crossed over" and unintentionally left all my amazing IF friends behind, still suffering, and in addition, that I may be causing more of their pain...

Now that I can look back and reflect on all we've been through, I do love many of the lessons that my 2 years as an infertile taught me...

Our infertility has helped me realize just how much of a blessing this baby, and any baby, is.

Our infertility also makes all my crazy pregnancy symptoms feel like a dream. Puking and migraines and low energy? BRING IT ON! I love it. These symptoms are nothin' compared to what life without them was like.

Our infertility will help us welcome any of our possible future pregnancies with only joy and excitement, (probably) even "oops" babies.

Our infertility has shown me just how precious human life is and, as a result, acts such as IVF and abortion hurt me to my core more now than ever before.

Our infertility gave us a completely different perspective on suffering, and now when John and I encounter suffering of any kind in the future, we will try to approach it in a much more spiritual way, more trusting of God's will.

Our infertility helped me realize that being "open to life" can take on so many different forms, so long as we're "open to God's will." I will never again look at a family of 2 and assume that's the way they want it, or that their lack of children means a lack of fruit.

Our infertility has also helped me be more compassionate toward everyone, especially those still in waiting. I will never forget our suffering. Even though it's not part of our day-to-day anymore at this point, it's still very much a part of us, and therefore a big part of how I'll interact with others.

And finally, our infertility has helped me to try to put others first more often. I know that now my blog (and life!) has shifted gears a bit, many of you may have to look away from certain posts or on certain days or maybe even forever. Trust me, I know what a bump pic or a post about baby gear can do to a suffering heart. If you're hurting, please know that even though it seems I've moved on, a big part of me worries a bit whenever I hit publish on a pregnancy post. My thoughts and prayers are with you always.

(Side note -- If I ever write or say or do something insensitive (I'm aware, I'm not perfect :P), please please please let me know. This blog will probably look a bit different from here on out, but it is never my intention to hurt anyone.)

Whew! Infertility sure has taught me a lot!

And who knows... maybe I would have figured this all out even if pregnancy did come easily. I obviously can't say for sure because I never lived that fertile-myrtile life.

Also, it's worth pointing out that I'm most certainly not trying to say that couples who do get pregnant right away have no clue. I'm very happy to acknowledge that there are folks out there WAY smarter than me. If you already knew all this stuff, you rock!

I just know that infertility has changed me. And I'm ok with that.

Because, while it was hard to see all this while we were still struggling, hindsight sure is powerful. I've been changed for the better. And life will never be the same.

Praise God!

Stay tuned for my next installment, coming your way approximately 6 months from now, in which I discuss Parenting After Infertility. It'll sure be somethin'!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Little Happies -- One Last Link-Up, At Least for Now

Hi, friends!

After much thought and 37 Little Happies link-ups (dangggg, that's a lot of happy!), I've decided to put Little Happies to rest, at least for a while now.

While I love love love this link-up and love love LOVE reading about all the happy things going on in all of your lives every week, AND while I still think it's mega important to take out time to reflect on all the little joys in life, actually sitting down to type the posts has become a chore. Womp womp.

So, for now, we break.

BUT, I promise... Little Happies is not gone forever. I'll definitely write more LH posts in the future every once in a while, and include a link-up for anyone else who wants to join in, but it won't be a regular Monday thing anymore.

Also, PLEASE don't hesitate to write your own Little Happies posts whenever the mood strikes, even if I haven't created a link-up. We don't need a link-up to post about all the happies in our lives, right? :)

So yeah, I'll still be reflectifying on all the little joys in my life, and thanking God for each and every one of them, I just won't be posting them here for a while. In the meantime, if you're devastated at missing out on my weekly happies, you could follow me on Instagram and catch many of my happies there. Just sayin'. No joke, about 1/2 of my LH pictures come from my Instagram anyway. Catch me @stephschweitz if you're interested.

Until next time!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Stephanie's Recipes: Butternut Squash Quesadillas

The quesadilla.

One of God's culinary gifts to man. 

Cheesy, crunchy, flavorful. This south-of-the-border treat never gets old. Even this picky, food-averse pregnant lady is happy with a quesa-yummy in her tummy. Especially this quesadilla. Especially this time of year. 

Did you know that butternut squash is made for quesadillas? Yeah, didn't think so. It's not the first thing that comes to mind when you think quesa-stuffing. BUT, I promise you, it was made for this. 

I originally stumbled upon this recipe in a cookbook that my brother, Matt, and cousin, Sarah, put together a few years ago. Over the course of a month, they went to different family members' houses and had them make a few of their favorite family recipes. They took pictures and put all the recipes together in a cookbook, appropriately named Everything I Learned About Cooking, I Learned From My Family. This quesa-recipe comes from my Aunt Lorie and Uncle Rusty. And gosh darn, they know how to make a tasty quesadilla! 

But you won't trust me 'til you try it. So, go ahead. Throw this easy peasy, super autumn-y recipe together and then tell me what you think. Actually, don't bother. I already know you're gonna love it!

Butternut Squash Quesadillas

1 medium sized butternut squash
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups cheddar or monterey jack cheese, shredded
1 package of taco seasoning
5 scallions, sliced
4-6 large wheat or white flour tortillas

Preheat oven to 350. While the oven preheats, peel and dice butternut squash into 1/2 inch cubes. Put squash on oiled, rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until squash is tender when pierced with fork. 

While squash is cooling, mix black beans, cheese, taco seasoning, and scallions in a large mixing bowl. Once squash is cool, add to the mix. Stir until well combined.

Put about a cup of the butternut squash mixture on half of a tortilla, as seen below. 

Fold empty half of tortilla over filled half to create the quesadilla, then cook quesadilla over medium heat in a non-stick pan. Flip quesadilla after about 2 minutes of cooking and then cook for an addition 2 minutes. Quesadilla should be heated through at this point, but more cook time and flipping can be added if necessary. 

Repeat cooking process for remaining tortillas and butternut squash mix.

Cut quesadillas into four slices (we like using a pizza cutter for this), serve, and enjoy.

Pro tip: Top quesadillas with Frank's Hot Sauce for ultimate enjoyment!

Serves 4-6. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Little Happies -- Holidays, Henna, Hot Peppers (and a Little Bit of Fashion Too)

Hello, friends! And welcome back to Little Happies, the link-up in which we share all the little joys of life.

This week's Happies are brought to you by a modge podge of happy!


Pediatricians dress up as Mario characters and win the hearts of all their patients. 

(That's what the headlines would read if this one went viral.)

Above you see my husband and his team of residents dressed up for Halloween. Pretty awesome if I do say so myself. And he said rounds took foreverrrrr because all their patients and patients' families wanted group pics with all of them. How adorable!

But seriously, my husband's Wario mustache cracks me up most of all. 


Remember how I mentioned that Pumpkin Patch fundraiser a few weeks ago?

Well, PRAISE GOD, it's finally done! That means my hours will be shorter again, I won't have to work every stinkin' day of the week, AND I've got a successful fundraiser behind me. The teens raised lots of moolah for our youth group summer mission trip, so I'm super pumped about that. It makes it all worth it. But oof, that was a lonnnng month of work!

Here's what makes this one a Little Happy. We cleaned up the patch and moved out all the extra pumpkins this past weekend. I had a handful of teens show up to help and thank goodness for them! They made the work very easy on me. We also found ways to make the work fun, including moving the pumpkins into a giant pile by bowling them across the grass. And though there aren't goalies in bowling, we also had a teen goalie-ing and blocking the pumpkins / direction poorly bowled pumpkins into the pile. It made me smile. :)



Once a year, Memphis has an India Fest that we just have to go to. All the food, the dancing, artwork, and shops... it's always a fun time. I also splurge a little every year and get a henna tattoo. The artist draws on your skin with a thick lavender-scented paste which dries within 30 minutes. After 6 hours, you remove the dried paste and what remains is a really beautifully designed tattoo that lasts about 2 weeks. I'm definitely not a permanent tattoo kinda gal, so this is perfect for me. Plus, they're always so pretty! I can't help but stare at my hand all the time until it fades. 



Ok, so I know I'm mega-early on this one, but I decided to have a Thanksgiving feast at youth group last night and the teens loved it. Look at all the tasty food! I was in charge of the turkey, so obviously that meant calling up the nearest BBQ joint and ordering several pounds of sliced, smoked turkey. To be honest, I'm not usually a big fan of Thanksgiving turkey, but this smoked turkey was amazing. And easy. Win-win!

The reason for the early celebration was so that I could chat with the teens about making the whole month of November a month of giving thanks. We created little Thanksgiving bags so they could remember to write one thing they're thankful for each day, place it in the bag, and then hopefully include it in their prayers before bed. It's easy to remember to ask for things in prayer, not as easy to remember to thank, especially at that age. So, hopefully the bags will encourage them to offer prayers of thanksgiving more often. 

But if not, at least the food was good. :P


Stitch Fix part 8.

Eek! I can't believe I'm on my 8th fix! 

This time around, they sent me a maternity dress, cowl neck seater, maternity leggings, blue blouse, and heavy cardigan. 

The dress was cute, but already super tight around the chest and hips, so I figured it wasn't a good idea for a woman who's about to get BIGGER all around. Also, you might think that's a baby bump you see, but it's just the stripes on the dress and the ruching of the material that give the illusion of a bump. Still no bump here. 

The oversized cowl neck sweater was almost a keeper, but at the last second (seriously, minutes before sealing the bag of clothes to be sent back) I noticed the bottom of the sweater had an uneven hemline. Can you see it in the pic? Right in the middle of the sweater, the two panels don't match up. Perhaps it's part of the design, but it really bugged me as soon as I noticed it. Sayonara sweater!

The maternity leggings are AWESOME. Super high quality material and plenty of room for a big belly. Kept.

The blue blouse is hard to make out in the pic, but it had ruffles and a criss-cross tie up the front, plus cuffed sleeves, so it totally looked like a pirate shirt. Bummer, because it definitely had potential.

And finally, the heavy cardigan. It was way too big and bulky. Plus, John said it looked like the color puke. 

And that was that! I kept the leggings and am very happy with that decision. :) Also, overall I reeeeally liked this fix. The only thing stopping me from buying more was that things didn't quite fit right. Oh, and that one item had the asymmetric hemline. But I definitely think they have my style figured out now. Wahoo! Next one arrives in mid-December.


These musicians impress me so much. You've gotta watch all the way to the end though. Now that's dedication!

And that's all for this week, folks! Hope you have a happy one. Catch ya next time. :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...