Always, Katie: August 2013

Thursday, August 22, 2013

the petites: Great Link Up for "Smaller" Bloggers!

I'm co-hosting the petites link up at Caravan Sonnet today!  Thanks, sweet Rebecca, for letting me party with you :-)  And welcome, anyone who is visiting from over there!  

TODAY is the fourth month of something that I am VERY excited about (and hope you will be too!)! I LOVE discovering friends in bloggy world and so many of my bloggy friends say the same thing! Today will continue a monthly link up {on the 24th of each month} for those of us that are known as small tiny the petites in bloggy world! This month "the petites" is EXPANDING. I have received numerous emails requesting that "the petites" include social media so here it is! If you are a blogger who has less then 400 followers via anything "blog related" then this is your opportunity to make some new friends, find new blogs, and discover others in the petite section of bloggy world! *smiles*

The only rule is that if you are linking up you are a blogger with less than 400 followers in the area that you link up (GFC, Bloglovin, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.)! (If you link up in an area that you are not a petite your link will be removed!)

While it is not required it would be great if you shared the button with others so that everybody can get in on the fun! {You can find the new code listed on the side and can adjust the size accordingly for your blog!}

You are not required to follow me but it sure would be nice! *smiles* IF you do become a new follower leave a comment so I can follow you back! 
You can follow me on pinterest by clicking HERE.
This month I am delighted to have two lovely ladies co-hosting with me! 

Rebekah from Creatively Beloved (who you might have seen hanging out on my sidebar) can be followed on Bloglovin HERE. And one of my dearest friends Katie from Always, Katie can be followed on Bloglovin HERE.
Please take a minute to check out their sweet blogs! You will be SO blessed by both of them!! 

If you follow them please leave a comment so that they can follow you back! Stop on over and visit other blogs and make some new friends who are other petites in bloggy world!

Would you like to co-host? I have openings for co-hosting in November. 
Send me an email at: caravansonnet (at)gmail(dot)com.

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Back to School! ...when that stupid stork is still absent.

Last year, around this time of August, I wrote a post about how infertile people experience "Back to School" time.  I shared it on my personal facebook page last week, and upon rereading it, it is still rather apt.  It is pretty hard to accept that another year has gone by, and we are basically no closer to being parents.
I've been googling a phrase over and over this week to see if any other infertiles out there were going through the same struggle this week that I am... I'm sure I'm not alone, but I couldn't find any other mentions of it. (2013 edit - found some more, will share).
Back to school STINKS! It stinks right up there with Mother's Day and Christmas! (Have you ever noticed how kid-and-parent-centric back to school commercials are?  It's at least as bad as Christmas! The one I love this year is from Meijer, where the boy brings his mom - a nervous new middle school teacher - an apple and tells her she'll do great.  I go back and forth beween beaming and wiping tears at that one.)

As a professor an educator's wife, it stinks because my summer of not sharing my husband with the university
his still-to-be-determined job is over (or will be soon... hopefully.  As in hopefully, the job pans out. We still don't know). As an infertile woman, it stinks to log on to facebook and see all of the pictures of cute little kids with backpacks and excited faces, all of the moms talking about how much they miss their little ones during the days now, and especially the moms who CAN'T WAIT to send their darlings back to school. For people our age, facebook has been overtaken by back to school!!

It's hard to feel left out of the loop, to not get to participate in the excitement, to not even be able to rock our baby and say, "At least we have a few more years until this one starts." It's hard to realize that not only do our friends have kids and we don't, many of them have had kids long enough for them to be starting school. Not only preschool, older grades with homework and multiple teachers! Will we ever get to stand in a school supply aisle and debate the merits of purple glue sticks vs. plain white ones? Will I ever get to respond to a homework question with, "I have no idea, ask your dad"? When am I going to get to use all of the awesome "pack your kids' lunch" pins I've pinned on Pinterest?!

It's especially hard when parents are griping that they cannot wait to send their kids back to school. I want to slap them and tell them to CHERISH the summers -- and every minute -- with their kids, because people like us would do anything to be in their shoes!

Don't get me wrong.. I love my friends' kids. Several of them, I've even "adopted" as extra nieces and nephews. I love watching them grow up, and absolutely expect that their parents will post pictures of their milestones, as they should, and as I will no doubt do if/when we're blessed with babies. It's just sad.

Anybody out there? Can I get an "AMEN"?
I know that the above sounds like jealousy, but there's a perfectly good reason for that.

We're jealous!

But also, we are sad - so very sad - that we aren't yet able to achieve this dream we have both had most of our lives.  We both love kids, we're both "educators" (he's an educator, I'm an educator-in-training, haha). We help/are learning to help mold other people's children... and we want to teach and train and nurture some kids of our own.  We're gonna make mistakes, we know that... but we really think that we'll be great parents. 

Fertile folks, please keep posting about your kids.  I've been accused of making people feel like they need to walk on eggshells, but honestly... we don't expect that of you, and I highly doubt most other infertiles do either.  But... when your infertile friend gets a little extra depressed, try on their shoes for a quick sec and try to be patient.  They love you, they're just fighting their jealousy and grief. 

Infertile folks... Tip number one: Netflix or DVDs.  The whole month of August, probably most of September.  If you can't go cold turkey, at least limit the time you're "captive" in front of commercials that are going to bug you.  Mute the TV and go get a glass of water.  It'll be REAL easy to get that super-healthy 8 glasses a day ;-)  Have some sewing or knitting or something handy so you can look down at it and tune out commercials.

Tip number 2: Facebook has this amazing little feature that is saving what little sanity I have left... the ability to uncheck "follow posts" on a person's profile.  I doubt you'll have time, patience or desire to do this with EVERY parent you know, but pick the worst couple of offenders (you know EXACTLY who I'm talking about, don't you?)... navigate to their timeline... up where it says "friends" (right-hand side, inside the cover photo), click on that, from that drop-down list, click on "follow posts"... the checkmark next to it should disappear, and so will their posts until you re-check that item.  The posts should die down in a couple of weeks from start of pre-return-to-school angst to end of the "kiddo did great at school."  Go back to their timeline, follow the above instructions again, except that you want to put the checkmark back next to "follow posts."  I do this after every.single.pregnancy announcement I see.  On good days when I'm feeling extra strong, I try to catch up on the most recent happenings with my pregnant friends, but at least I'm rarely subjected to, say, ultrasound pictures on the day Aunt Flo decides to visit.  ;-)

Tip number 3: Um.  There is no tip number 3.  I'm just trying to hang on through another couple of weeks of this stuff, and hoping that this time next year I have a ginormous baby belly!  Anybody else wanna give me a tip number 3.. 4... 5?
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PS: Here are some other blogs on the topic.  I was glad this year to be able to see that some other infertiles could relate and it was Not.Just.Me. ;-)

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Three Big Prayer Requests

  1. My sweet friend Rebecca, over at Caravan Sonnet, is in need of prayers.  She’s an amazing woman going through some brutal health struggles, and I know she would appreciate being lifted up right now.  She’s been a great prayer warrior for a lot of my needs, despite being so much sicker herself… she has the most generous heart!  Please, keep her in your prayers, and maybe even stop by her blog, get to know her and leave some love.  Make her smile :-)
  2. I went to the doctor earlier this week and got some blood work drawn.  I had a cyst rupture this weekend, but the resulting cramps haven’t resolved like they should have by now.  I am also extremely fatigued – I was lying in bed at 10:30 the other day, thinking, “13 or 14 hours until I can go back to bed.  Hopefully I can nap sometime in there, too” – before I’d even gotten out of bed in the first place!  And… maybe most disturbingly… I’m losing my hair.  And not in the cyclical, sometimes it falls out more than other times, give it a couple weeks kind of way.  I freaked a professional hairstylist out three weeks ago with how much came out in her hands when she washed my hair, and it is only getting worse.  My ponytails are about half the thickness that they used to be, and I could see scalp when my wet hair was combed straight last night (which is new).  The dryer lint trap is catching almost as much hair as lint.  Besides just being a typically-mildly-vain twenty-something and not wanting to lose my hair, I am scared about what kind of problems this could be a symptom of… I’ve done a pretty good job of not Googling it, but the doctor is checking my thyroid and adrenal glands.  Please pray that it is something simple-to-fix and reversible.
  3. Ethan is in the running for a new job!  He interviewed for it this past Monday with 11 other applicants, then had a call-back interview on Wednesday with 3 other applicants.  Then Wednesday night, they asked him to fill out an online questionnaire to determine if his personality is a good fit for the job.  And on Thursday, we found out from one of his references that he is in the final two!!  Then yesterday, we learned that they are moving some people around internally and may wind up with two positions instead of just the one.  We are really excited and encouraged, so please pray that this works out for us!  It just feels so close we can taste it!! 
Thank you for praying for these requests with us!  We're all feeling the strain, and really craving some good news and the chance to recuperate from some of this stress.

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Friday, August 9, 2013

Thoughts on Turning 26

I turned 26 on Wednesday, and I’ve had a few rambling birthday-related musings....
  • My day included a lot of good food. Ethan got my favorite doughnuts for us for breakfast, and then took me to Skyline for lunch. After his parents got off work, we went out for dinner at one of my favorite restaurants and had a delicious Carrabbas meal. There was cake, too, but we were all too full after dinner and saved it for the next day’s dessert. :-)
  • One of the highlights of my day was the Facebook love I got. Over 100 of my friends wished me a happy birthday, in comments and private messages, and I was DELIGHTED to have conversations with many of these. A lot of people are a little bit snarky about Facebook birthday wishes ("they wouldn't have even KNOWN it was my birthday if Facebook hadn't told them!")... but I don’t get that! Yeah, 95% of the people that wrote on my wall or messaged me wouldn’t have known it was my birthday if it weren’t for Facebook, but they still took a few minutes of their time to pop over and leave a little love when they found out. They could’ve ignored the notification. But they chose not to. And that means a LOT. All day, I just felt LOVED.
    via Utique
    • 26 sounds so much older than 25, and I’m glad of that. I agree with Jennifer Garner’s character in “13 Going on 30” that people take you more seriously when you’re in your 30s… so I can’t WAIT to be 30. As long as I have a baby first. Really, getting an early-enough start on baby-making so I can have a couple before the biggest fertility decline (of my already impaired fertility) starts around age 35 is the only reason I have for clinging to my 20s. ;-)
      • Part of my celebration was a nice, leisurely browse through JoAnn Fabrics (which I missed terribly while living in SC) with my darling and patient husband. I got a ball of one of new Sashay yarn colors, and two pieces of pretty, silky fabric with which to make summer-weight scarves for myself. So… three new scarves, some assembly required :-) I have been looking for great deals on summer scarves, but just couldn’t bring myself to pay $10, 15, 20 (or WAY more) for one. But these two pieces of fabric (TOGETHER) cost me $7.05. BooYah!
      • Ethan got me the most beautiful aquamarine necklace… I’m so glad he’s amazing at finding great deals, because it lets him spoil me ridiculously, while staying within our budget. ;-)
        • On a related note… I love being treated like a princess. Is that bad? I hope not.
        • His birthday is six days after mine, and I can’t waaaaaaiiiittttt for it to get here!! The picking out gifts, baking a cake, and surprising and celebrating the love of my life is such fun! Yay!
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        Monday, August 5, 2013

        4 Things Your Christian Friend with Depression or Anxiety Wants You to Know

        I was first treated for depression 5 or 6 years ago, but have probably been dealing with it and anxiety since I was little.  A lot of people don't believe in depression or anxiety, and I have encountered this attitude, unfortunately, the most in Christian circles.  If you have a friend who is a professing Christian who also claims to have one of these extremely common mental health problems, these are the things they probably want you to know.

        1. This is a chemical issue, not a “heart issue.”
        I am not depressed because I don’t fully trust or lean on God. I am depressed because I am genetically predisposed to a serotonin/norepinephrine imbalance. I practice Psalm 55:22*, and trust in Proverbs 10:25*… but I still have to weather the storm.
        2. Situations can exacerbate our symptoms, but we can be completely content in our lives and joyful in the Lord… and still suffer from depression.
        Please don’t assume that we are not thankful for or mindful of our blessings! We ARE! Often when I’m having a rough depression day, I am not upset about anything specific. In fact, I can have an amazing day filled with lots of good, happy things… followed by an evening under the depression blanket. Maybe it’s because the good events of the day tired me? I don’t know, but I promise – I am always thankful for what the Lord has given me.
        3. Many of us thank God for the wisdom he gave the doctors who developed the medications that make our lives easier.
        I am continuously thankful for the inventions of insulin and Wellbutrin. Both have given me the chance at a normal (or near-normal) life, and I consider them very close to equal in their importance to me. And I believe with all my heart that their availability to me is due entirely to God’s gifts of wisdom and inspiration to the developers.
        4. I did not bring this on myself.
        See John 9:1-3*. Please don’t assume that my illness (the depression/anxiety, diabetes, PCOS, etc) is a punishment for my sins. The cool thing about grace is… my punishment was taken care of a couple thousand years before I committed my first offense. Yours was, too. Can I get an “AMEN?”
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        * All passages are from the New International Version of the Bible.

        Psalm 55:22 - Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.

        Proverbs 10:25 - When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever.

        John 9:1-3 - As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.

        Thursday, August 1, 2013

        August Pinspired: Denim, Denim, Denim!!

        Today is my favorite blogging day of the month - the Pinspired link-up!  Yay!!  As always, thanks to Shay, Shaeffer and Mel for hosting and being awesome :-)

        Little bit of up-front disclosure... with all the moving and stuff, I modeled and Ethan photographed these outfits in one day.  :-)

        Toward the end of June, I bought a denim button-down shirt that I figured could double as a jacket and a shirt.  There are some adorable denim jackets floating around the internet right now, but I wanted the flexibility that a button-down offered.  Yesterday, I shared a bunch of my inspiration outfits from Pinterest, almost all of which I can approximate from my own wardrobe.  I wore a few different outfits during July, even though I never took the time to take pics, and this is my new favorite article of clothing!  It's soft and comfy, and so versatile!

        Without further ado...

        I love this outfit for the dressing-down of the skirt.  I love wearing skirts and dresses, but always feel like I'm too dressed up for day-to-day when I do, but throwing my denim jacket on over one feels a little more casual and less fussy ;-)

        Here's my version, that took with some bizarre color cast that I couldn't 'shop out of it for anything!  But, the skirt IS black and white, I promise!!

        Yay pink sparkles!! I don't have this cami, but ohhhhmygosh, do I ever want one like it!!  I do have a fun pink tank top that I paired with my favorite white shorts... the weirdest thing about this tank, though... the color NEVER looks pink in pictures.  I've used different cameras, inside, outside, flash, no flash, lots of photoshopping... I don't know what's up with it, but imagine a slightly dusty rose.

        • Denim Jacket
        • White Shorts - Lee's, at Kohls a few years ago.
        • Pink Tank - Kohls
        • White Flats - Had 'em since high school!
        • Jewelry - Always, Katie.  (My necklace is light blue on one side and light pink on the other, with a silver awareness ribbon charm in the middle, for infertility awareness.  I can do something similar in any awareness color you want, too!)
        And lastly, for now,

        This picture has become sort of creepy to me now, because facebook KNOWS I looked at it, so it's taunting me from my sidebar now.  Creepy.  But still cute, and totally comfy.

        • Denim Jacket 
        • White Shorts (same as above)
        • Black Shirt - I have no idea!  But it came with the (detachable) layered necklace. :-)
        • Brown Belt - Kohls a few years ago.  Love it dearly.
        • Black sandals - Sonoma, from Kohls last year.  They had them in pink and nude, and maybe white, too.  Not as comfy as my hand-me-down Easy Spirits (which are usually my go-to black sandal), but slightly more fashionable, haha!
        I had every intention of taking more outfit pictures today (I've gathered pieces from my wardrobe for - I think - 14 of the 24 outfits I shared yesterday)... but I had a wonderful and much-needed girls' crafty afternoon and evening with my best friend, baked a cheesecake for my mother-in-law's birthday, and possibly broke my thumb.  The one-handed typing is getting annoying, so I will maybe (or maybe not) attempt to show more outfits later.  For now... it's 1:30 in the morning, and I'm headed for aspirin, icepack and beddy-bye!

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