Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Big Things!

Welp, it's time to come clean.

John and I have some big things on the horizon.

And no, I'm not talking about our baby due in May. While that certainly is a big thing, there are actually a handful of other big things possibly headed our way in the next few months.

First, John finally got offered an interview for that job he applied to back in September. And he went on that interview. And it went well. It was actually a 3-day long interview that included him being interviewed 14 times by 14 different physicians and giving a 1-hour talk on a topic of his choice. Eek! Talk about high stress! But I have every confidence that he nailed it.

And so now we wait to hear back from them.

Once we hear back, we have to decide... what comes next? Do we pick up and move to east Tennessee? Do we move right away or wait until after baby is born? Do we rent once we get there or look into buying a house? Do we even want him to take this job?!?

Lot's of up in the air details, folks. It's been crazy around here.

And in addition to that crazy, I've got my own crazy going on.

I've been accepted to attend a Creighton Model FertilityCare practitioner training in January outside of Nashville, and I'm pretty sure I'll be going. Eek!!

I've always been interested in becoming a practitioner, especially since Creighton and NaPro have done so many wonderful things for me, I've just never found the right time and I never thought there'd be a training close to Memphis. But then Sew posted about attending a training nearby and my interest was instantly piqued!

At first, I thought it was a long shot, especially with baby being due halfway through the 11-month training, and with training cost being kinda high, AND with the real possibility of us moving to another part of Tennessee (with no Creighton or NaPro presence) in the next few months. But the more I prayed and thought about it, the more I felt called. And so I applied. And now I'm going.

Which ALSO means that I'll probably be phasing myself out of my youth ministry job here real soon. Yikes!

So, a new job for me, possibly a new job for John, possibly a big move here soon, AND a baby on the way.

BIG THINGS, I tell ya!

Please pray for us as we continue to discern our next steps.

And if you know of anyone looking to learn the Creighton Model, consider sending them my way. After my training, that is. :)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

How We Told

I've been meaning to write about this for some time now, mostly just so I don't forget these special early pregnancy memories. As it is, I'm having to rack my brain quite a bit to draw out all the details. Let's see how this goes.

I should preface by saying we didn't do anything creative at all to announce our pregnancy. We were too excited. We just wanted to call and tell the everyone! And so we did. Sorry if that makes this post a little boring.

I should also mention that neither of our families live in town, so maybe that's why we lacked creativity in our announcement. All of it had to be done over the phone or FaceTime, so we were pretty limited by that. At least that's what my non-creative side wants me to believe.

The first person I told, aside from John of course, was my sister.

Actually, that's a lie. The first FIRST person I told, aside from John, was Emily over at Mama Holi. I was nearly going crazy waiting for my husband to get home from work and just needed to reach out to someone who understood pregnancy and infertility and the whirlwind of emotion when you finally get a positive test. So I emailed her and support ensued. It was just what I needed.

Then John got home, I took 2 more pregnancy tests just to be sure, and we spent the rest of that evening in shock and total elation.

Later that night, when we finally went to bed, I couldn't fall asleep for nothing. There was just too much excitement running through my brain. And when I finally did fall asleep, it didn't last for long. I was wide awake at the tip top of the morning, about to burst if I didn't tell anyone our news. So that's when I decided to tell our first loved one: my sister. I knew she'd be awake, so she was the perfect place to start. I called her and immediately just blurted out, "I'm pregnant!" Excitement ensued. We chatted for a while and then I told her to keep it hush hush since we weren't sure how long we'd wait to tell the rest of family and friends.

That didn't last long. We decided that we wanted to share the news with our families and close friends as soon as possible, so that this little life could be celebrated and prayed for immediately.

When we called my parents, they were out at a restaurant and couldn't FaceTime. I considered offering to call them back once they get home, but John thought they would suspect something was up. So I just went ahead and blurted it out and my poor mom cried in the middle of the restaurant. Ha! It was beautiful. This'll be grandbaby #3 for them, so they're pros when it comes to being Memere and Poppa. But that didn't stop them from being oh-so-excited!

We did get to FaceTime John's parents, as they were home when we called, and after sharing our news the first thing my mother-in-law said was, "Is this an adoption thing?" Ha! Since we had been homestudy approved for a while, they knew that an adoption could happen at any time for us, so I think she thought, "We're pregnant!" meant that we were matched with a birthmom or something like that. It took some explaining, but quickly she came to understand that we were literally pregnant. :) And then they proceeded to be thrilled for us. Actually, I've never seen my father-in-law so giddy! It was adorbs. This'll be the first grandbaby for them, so definitely a cause for major celebration.

Over the next few weeks, we told all our siblings and close friends, and of course they were all thrilled. Again, it was mostly phone calls and us saying "we're pregnant!" and then lots of happiness, so they're not all worth detailing.

BUT! I do need to mention my sister-in-law's reaction, because it was probably the best of all.

We FaceTimed her and her husband and after dropping the bomb, her response, no exaggeration, was "SHUT THE F*** UP!" followed soon by, "NO F***ING WAY!" You stay classy, Auntie Kathleen. :P

Announcing a pregnancy is almost always met with SO MUCH JOY. But announcing a pregnancy after 2 years of infertility? ... That's cause for some serious expletives.

Let's just say we LOVED every moment of shocking the crap outta everyone.

Oh, and in case you're wondering... NO, we haven't put it on facebook yet. As far as I'm concerned, all the important folks know about Baby Schweitz by now, so no need to blast the news in faceland yet. But when we do, I'll be sure to use my creative side to make up for all the non-creative announcements we made in real life.  Perhaps something like this?

I kid, I kid. We're way classier than that. But it probably made you giggle, am I right?

Also... NO, I haven't told my coworkers yet. Call me crazy, but this is just a case of me not wanting tons of attention from work people. I'm getting to the point where hiding under baggy shirts isn't as easy now, so I imagine the cat'll be out of the bag within the next week or so. But up until now, I've enjoyed keeping this joyful little secret all to myself at work.

And there you have it. All the details of how we told our loved ones about Baby Schweitz. It may not have been the most creative or interesting approach, but it was honestly perfect to us.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

20 Gifts I Love to Give (or Get!)

It's that time of year again! Time to light the Advent wreath, sip hot cocoa, and drive yourself nuts trying to pick out the perfect gifts for your loved ones.

For some reason this year, John and I had our act together and (mostly) finished Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving. Pretty cool, right? Feels nice to be me right now. But that didn't come without a bit of work on our part. We sat and thought and thought and sat and browsed the internet and got annoyed with how long the process was taking, just like the rest of ya. Except this year we started gift brainstorming and shopping in October. OCTOBER, I tell ya. CRAZY, right??

But actually, who am I kidding? I LOVE giving gifts!! I love the thrill of finding that perfect, thoughtful gift for my special someones. And the joy and love they receive simply by opening our gifts and realizing we were thinking of them. Sure, it can be frustrating when you're stuck on that one relative who's nearly impossible to buy for, but overall, gift shopping and gift giving are two of my favorite things ever.

And I like to think I'm pretty good at it. (Not bragging, of course.)

So, for your shopping and giving pleasure, I give you some of my all-time favorite gifts to give (and receive!) with pictures and descriptions and links, oh my! Hope it's useful!

(Psst - If you're related to me and know you'll be getting a gift from us this year, you definitely want to skip the rest of this post. Spoilers ahead. Don't say I didn't warn you in all italics.)


This blanket is my favorite blanket of all time. True story, I own two of them and I'm giving two of them to loved ones this Christmas. Sure, it's a fair bit more expensive than your average fleece throw, but it's extra soft, very high quality fleece and all the patterns and colors are super cute.

Super saver tip - when Vera Bradley retires colors, they'll usually put all items in that color/pattern on a 30% discount. It's the best way to grab this item at a steal of a price. 

Subscription boxes

You all know I'm the Stitch Fix queen, but did you know I'm actually just an overall subscription box queen? And I think they make fantastic gifts.

This year, some of my loved ones will be getting a 6-month subscription to the Cravery, a bakery that delivers out-of-this-world tasty cookies straight to your mouth door once a month. And another loved one will be getting 3 months of Birchbox, a box full of girly girl stuff (make-up, perfume samples, etc.) or manly man stuff (socks and colognes, etc.), depending on which gender you're buying for, of course.

If neither of these sound appealing, do some research on other subscription boxes. Seriously, there are a zillion options out there: wine of the month, bacon boxes, craft boxes, kids' toys boxes, and so on. A box to suit everyone on your list! And oh what fun it is to look forward to receiving a gift subscription box full of surprises in the mail even after Christmas is over. A great gift indeed!

A new hobby 

Similar to subscription boxes, how about signing up a loved one for an online class that could turn into a new hobby? I found some great ones for sewing, crocheting, and calligraphy. Actually, the calligraphy class I linked to is the one I took online several months ago! And just like subscription boxes, I bet there are a zillion others out there too. Happy hobbying!

Games for little ones

Alright, so we all probably played Candyland, Chutes & Ladders, and Kerplunk as youngsters, so this gift suggestion likely isn't all that inspiring. But, the main point I'm trying to make here is get games for young kids, not clothes or toys that have simple functions (light up, make noise, annoy parents) or more clothes. Games are interactive and keep the kiddo you're buying for smart as a whip! My niece loved getting Candyland from us when she was three, so you can definitely start 'em young. Get gaming!

Games for adults

And just like our favorite little kiddos' brains, our adult brains need some game time too. Two of my favorites are Pandemic and Bohnanza, and they're both great as two player games, so you don't have to have a crowd around to dive in. Pandemic is a cooperative game, so you play together instead of against each other, to rid the world of fast-spreading diseases. And Bohnanza is just a wild wheeling-and-dealing, extremely interactive game that involves silly puns and bean farming. Oh, and there's also always Cards Against Humanity for your more crass relatives. Or folks looking for lots of inappropriate humor. It's ridiculously, so inappropriately hilarious. Don't say I didn't warn you.


For your loved ones who love the kitchen, how about some awesome cookbooks? If you've got a friend who loves low-cal, low-fat yummies, checkout the Skinnytaste Cookbook. Or if your friend is more into decadent stuff (bring on the butter!), the Joy the Baker Cookbook is probably more her speed. For Sriracha lovers, there's the Sriracha Cookbook, which John and I own and enjoy very much. And for your friends who love science and cooking, I definitely have to recommend The Science of Good Cooking by Cook's Illustrated. That one explains how to cook any and everything to perfection and why certain cooking methods are better than others. Geeky.


Every family has a chocolate lover, right? I know it might seem like kind of a lame present, but these boxes of chocolate are 1.) so very tasty and 2.) pretty expensive. So it's a yummy splurge item, or basically, an item people don't typically buy for themselves but probably totally secretly want. And that, my friends, is what I think makes it a great gift. 


You don't know what bad spices can do to a meal until you've cooked with really good spices. My parents have been using Penzey's spices for years (like probably 25 years +), and a few years back, they filled our cupboards with these gourmet spices as a Christmas gift. We'll never go back to cheap grocery store spices ever again. 

Penzey's sells great gift sets like the one you see above, but you could also just pick out a bunch of your favorites or a bunch of the standards (oregano, sea salt, vanilla extract, cumin, etc.) and make a set of your own. And all at very affordable prices. 

We really like their chili powder, adobo chili pepper, sandwich sprinkle, and sunny paris seasoning (for fish), in case you were looking for suggestions. :)


What's that? You say your friends would rather grow their herbs and spices? Well, alright! Instead of Penzey's spices, buy them one of these... an Aerogarden! This is their smallest, most affordable design, which can grow up to three different plants at a time. But of course, there are larger, more expensive Aerogardens too. I just think it's a super neat toy and who doesn't love to have fresh herbs growing in their home all year long? 


For your friends who love tea, spoil them this season with some tasty tea from Teavana! You really can't go wrong with any of the flavors, but we highly recommend the Cocoa Caramel Sea Salt, Zingiber Ginger Coconut, Youthberry, White Chocolate Peppermint, and Blackberry Mojito. Two ounces (the minimum purchase for each type of tea) is plenty to make lots of cups of one flavor, so mix and match a bunch for a full-on tea crazy experience. Or buy just two ounces to keep it affordable. It's up to you, gift giver!

Teavana also has lots of fun gadgets and gizmos for tea-making. Like this tea-maker that strains super easily. However, we do not, I repeat, DO NOT recommend buying any of their tea gift sets. From what I can tell, they save their worst teas for the sets. Ick! 


This lip goop is the perfect stocking stuffer. It goes on thick and stays on forever, leaving lips super moist and happy. Great especially for the winter time. I've never met a better lip gloss. 


Don't let the name throw you off. This palette of eye shadow is pure wonderful. So if you have any make-up fans in the fam, keep this gift in mind. The shadows are high quality and the colors are so perfectly standard and neutral, you can create tons of lovely looks. Also, there are two other versions of the Naked palette, one with more flashy colors and one with more rosy shades, so if you really want to shake it up, take a look at those too! 


These earrings are my jam. I actually have two pair: one in mint and another pair in clear blue. I wear them every stinkin' day and they always make me feel glamorous. If your friend has her ears pierced, buy these for her. She'll love you for it. 


So, I don't own these pajamas, and actually, I don't own many sets of fancy pajamas, so maybe that's why I think these'd make a great gift... because I want them for myself but I'm not willing to splurge on them. But again, just like the See's chocolate, isn't that what makes a great gift? Items you wouldn't buy for yourself but totally want? Anyway, these come in lots of different colors and they just look so dang comfy. Totally a spoil-the-heck-outta-your-loved-one item. 


Another good item for spoiling. LL Bean makes these suuuuuper comfy slippers for both men and women. And plus, they've got a wicked good name. :) New England, REPRESENT! 


This was the gift I never knew I wanted and now can't live without. John bought these for me last year and can I just say... what a world of difference they make! Not having to take off your finger-warming gloves to use your touch screen in the cold? YES PLEASE! They have tons of versions out there, not just leather, so find a pair that fits your budget and start giving away to all your favorite smart-phone-using loved ones. They'll love you for it.


These headbands. Swoon! Available for adults and children (including newborn babies... I DIE!!). But if you want 'em for Christmas, you better order now. It's not a large company (as in, I think there are only 5 or so women sewing up a headband storm behind the scenes), so order soon to make sure they arrive before Santa's supposed to. 


For your book-loving buddies, this service is fantastic! Once a month, they can download one book-on-tape and listen at their leisure. John and I had this subscription for a short while and we loved how affordable it was compared to buying books-on-tape via Amazon or other books-on-tape services. So if you have friends who like to read and who also spend a lot of time in a car or workout and listen to headphones, this is a great way of merging their desire to read with their likely lack of available reading time.

Oh, and in case you're looking for a suggestion for a clever and comical science fiction time travel novel, check out To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis. Genius. And a great book-on-tape!


Luxury for your hands. It's another one of those I-won't-buy-it-for-myself-because-it's-a-splurge-but-I'd-adore-it-if-you-gave-it-to-me items. I especially love the original scent (click on the white dot). And I especially especially love that it's made in St. Louis and made of (almost) all natural stuff. Luxury, folks. 


And finally, if you're a DIYer, like I very occasionally am, check out this great tutorial for a homemade yarn wreath. Very affordable, easy to follow, and the results are something to be proud of! Why, yes, I made that yarn wreath pictured above, thanks for wondering!

And that's a WRAP.

(Get it, get it? 'Cause you have to WRAP your presents?)

So now, dear friends, it's your turn! Can you recommend your favorite gifts to give (or receive)? I'd LOVE to hear your suggestions. Especially since the start of the 2015 shopping-for-Christmas season is now less than a year away. Don't think about it. :P

None of the above links are affiliate links, and using them to purchase will not gain me any moolah, aside from the Stitch Fix link, which will earn me $25 in credit toward my next Fix if you use it. All links are solely meant to help you get your Christmas shopping on. :) Happy shopping!

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