12 Months

Bennett & Eliza are one! We celebrated their first birthday the weekend before Christmas. Our house was filled to max capacity with so many loved ones which made their Circus themed day extra special. The weather took a turn for the cold and windy, you really never know what you are going to get on a December day in Louisiana, but the babies knew no different and really had a fun time playing with friends and being passed around with lots of hugs and kisses.

This has been the fastest year. Parts felt really slow too. I still can’t believe they are ours. I packed away all the bottles, sanitizer, and bottle warmer recently and it was a little bittersweet. That sanitizer and I had a close relationship this past year! But really, that part is all over. I’m not going to lie I wanted it to be and we both were counting down the days for whole milk-instant pay raise! We also packed up and organized all of their clothes that they have grown out of but there is a small little gift bag holding preemie clothes inside that I couldn’t look at, or put away. So we are excitedly embracing all of the one year old fun coming our way, but also a little sad to say goodbye to babies.

Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas all fell on the last three months of their baby lives. They dressed up as a Dalmatian and a Firefighter for Halloween and were taken to two pumpkin patches, one where they got to pet a kangaroo! Boo at the Zoo with their PAIL buddies, Trick or Treat on sorority row, and we took them down our street to a few houses on Halloween night! They spent the night at LeLe’s for the first time away from us at 11 months, and did great! Early December we took them on their first road trip to see their Say Say for her birthday, and they were car riding troopers!  They sat on Santa’s lap this year, and I was very disappointed there were zero tears from either one. For some reason the crying pictures are my favorite… strange sense of humor, I know. Also in the middle of all of that, we did plays dates with our buddy Cole, went to several birthday parties, and did a Pancake and PJs Christmas party with our PAIL buddies. Will worked Thanksgiving and Christmas so we hopped from family-to-family-to-family around his schedule. The four of us celebrated our Christmas/Santa on December 26th. When your Dad works holidays, Santa knows right? We started some traditions that both of us remembered doing as kids- read The Night Before Christmas, wore Christmas pajamas to sleep and wore them all the next day, Will always had a toothbrush in his stocking so you better believe Santa delivered on that too! I think we’ll add leaving cookies out for Santa next year, skipped it this time around.  December 26th was a day that we have wanted for so long. That did not slip past us.

Bennett– Happy First Birthday to our best boy! Our Baby B. The clown of the house. Everyone’s best lil buddy. Easy laugher, easy crier, easy to entertain. First to sleep and first to wake up. New found friend of Elmo. Beeliner to the dog water bowl. Lover of attention- especially from the ladies- growler, shaker of all things. Biggest, sweetest smile. The LOUDEST boy around. One solid chunk of intense fun.

Eliza– Happy First Birthday to our best girl! Our Baby A. The ruler of our house. Will’s very favorite person and my lil shadow sidekick. The perfector of the pout, side eye, and soft smile. The swiper of all things especially from brother. The best cell phone and remote finder, no matter the hiding place. Into everything, noticer of all things, cutest laugh, steadiest, sweetest girl around.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

*photography by Claire Town

12 Month Favorites- Continue reading

Baby Steps 2016

I can’t let the year come to an end without posting about the annual Baby Steps!

Each year, the event is a little different and special in its own way, at the same time doing the best job of consistently focusing on the heart of Sarah’s Laughter- bringing infertility awareness and support to the area and never failing in giveaways to help couples in need grow their families. This year, the event was a 1 mile fun run on November 12th, 2016 held at Lamar Dixon. It reminded me a lot of the first year’s race because we walked in a circle around a lake (big pond? A body of water, however you classify it) At a point rounding the circle, you got a glimpse of ALL the people there in support of infertility and friends, you are left speechless at that very sight.

It feels like a big family reunion on Christmas Day. Lots of hugging and picture taking. Quick little catch ups from person to person. And never enough time! Can I tell you how much I love being a part of this group? Can everyday be a Baby Steps day?

This year Bennett & Eliza joined us! Talk about full circle moment. Looking back on our journey, the first Baby Steps represented the thick of the battle, freshly out of the infertility closet and wanting and needing that IVF giveaway badly. Showing up to the race in full force with the largest team, Team Stickle backing us. At last year’s Baby Steps, we were excitedly and gratefully expecting Bennett and Eliza. It was a day that reminded us how good God really is, how asking people to help carry us through this struggle the year before resulted in our biggest blessings, our prayers answered. And this year, we showed up holding our two miracles who we wanted to represent hope and participated in the first ever Miracle March to start off the walk. I still can’t believe how quickly life has changed, where it is hard to remember what life was like without Bennett & Eliza. What I do remember, and what I will never forget is how long and forever that road felt.

I also got to hop up on the stage and grab the microphone for a second to encourage every couple struggling with infertility. To thank loved ones present, letting them know their support really does make a difference. To tell each couple, that on that day they won. They kicked infertility in the teeth. To offer them the perspective that they were leaving Baby Steps a winner, whether they had a giveaway in hand or not. I hope each couple left the race with resorted faith and the perseverance to keep believing God for their baby. Friends, I don’t think three years ago, at the first Baby Steps, I could have ever imagined getting up in front of that huge crowd and sharing my story. Me, who at one point could barely say “We want a baby so bad. But we’re struggling” God is funny, right? Whether I am the most qualified or not, I have such a heart and love for those walking through infertility and any opportunity I am given to share God’s glory, I’m in!

Here are a few pics! Most of them are Melissa’s because she is an awesome documenter and she said I could share. Friends, can I ask all of you to keep Melissa and her husband, Brad, in your prayers? I know so many of you care about her because I get asked for updates on her journey often. They have an upcoming frozen transfer in January. After a very successful IVF cycle/retrieval there is a mountain of hope right now that this is IT for them! And y’all, I’m throwing it out there because God can do exceedingly, abundantly, above- we are praying for twins!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

9 Months

I’m squeezing this post in on the last day that Bennett and Eliza will be 9 month olds. Still counts, right? Tomorrow and the next day (two different birthdays…) we will have  10 month olds on our hands and that is just CRAZY. Months 6-9 have been so much fun. This is such a cute age, my favorite so far. Filled with lots of firsts! At the end of July, they did swimming lessons. Which was probably the highlight of our summer. They both loved the water, especially Bennett. We have taken them to the park, the zoo, the pumpkin patch, out to dinner a couple of times (past bedtime and we stick to that bedtime!) They’ve gone on play dates, had their first ear infections- twins with ear infections not for the weak, swung on the swings for the first time, changed to their convertible car seats, watched their Dad finish the Warrior Dash, and have been strolled around the neighborhood and all sorts of errands too many times to count.

At 9 months, they have dropped their end of the day cat nap and take two naps- a morning and an afternoon. They are usually down for two hours in the morning and the afternoon is pretty hit-or-miss. Sometimes it can be a long one and sometimes its 45 minutes. The saying “twins don’t wake each other up” is a complete myth. Yes they do. Just not all the time. I have considered separating them during nap time, but haven’t followed through on that thought yet! They are both in 12-18 month clothes and size 4 diapers. They have also dropped a bottle (yay) and are down to three a day- which also means one load in the sanitizer- and three solids a day. They both love food, breakfast seems to be their favorite. I can see many “brinners” in our future, and Will and I are totally okay with that because who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner?

( Here are pics from months 7 & 8. When I get 9 month pictures uploaded to my computer, I’ll add a couple!)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Bennett– This little boy is a clown. The nurse at the pediatrician’s office called him that and it is just the perfect description of him. Always entertaining. He’s a good little buddy. A solid chunk with strong, strong legs. He smiles and laughs very easily. Is still very ticklish. And is LOUD. He is still demanding and will go from 0-60 when he does not like something, very quick tempered. On most days though he is much, much easier than he used to be. He eats like a champ- food is serious business. He has two cute little bottom teeth and just cut two on the top. He is still hanging on to his dark blue eyes and his hair is still sticking straight up. When he is sleepy he is very snuggly and rests his cheek on your cheek. He loves to clap, play peek-a-boo, blow bubbles, and be sung and read to. He is the happiest boy jumping in the jumper or running around chasing the dogs, or our toes and ankles, in the walker.

 

Eliza– She is still the sweetest girl around. She is all over the place crawling, pulling up, and has her hands in everything! Shoe strings, the dog leash, and licking the trash can (which gets relocated to the laundry room now when she’s on the move) are favorites to chew. She has perfected the soft smile and there is no shame in her staring game, still super observant.  She also has two bottom teeth and just cut one on the top with another one on its way. When you can get a laugh out of her, she has a deep, almost hoarse, belly laugh. She is an excellent swiper- always taking things from her brother. But you better think twice about taking anything away from her- huge meltdown will likely ensue. This girl loves to drink water like her Mama. Over the past few months she has really started to look more & more like Will. She is the happiest being in the middle of everything either being held, or sitting in a lap. Sometimes I stick her in her highchair with some toys on the tray while I’m in the kitchen so she can see- her LeLe said she’s practicing her lifeguarding skills.

6-9 month favorites Continue reading

Just Keep Swimming

This past weekend, life came full circle. I felt so honored to play a part at the Sarah’s Laughter Infertility workshop this year as a speaker. Sitting in that room with those couples, I was immediately brought back to when I first found the workshop years ago. After having an emotional breakdown heading to a baby shower, I realized I really wasn’t as okay as I had been trying to tell myself. Shortly after said break down, I heard about the upcoming workshop announced at a church service which is how I landed at that workshop a few years ago and how I would later join Sarah’s Laughter. On Saturday, I laughed and I cried throughout the time I spent with this group. Nothing will ever take away the pain and emotions of infertility. I was so proud to be there, so proud of Sarah’s Laughter, so proud to see graduates and current members there volunteering.  And I really think we all felt it, the hurting for a baby, the deep desire to become parents, the vulnerability of it all.

The workshop’s theme this year was “Just Keep Swimming.” I really feel like this year’s workshop takes the cake. Elisha Kearns who writes the blog, Waiting For Baby Bird was the keynote speaker. My friends currently in the group were super excited to meet and hear from someone that they find such encouragement from. There were breakout sessions throughout the day on loss, and for people interested in starting their own infertility support group. My friend, Kim, a family and marriage counselor, led a breakout session on keeping your marriage strong through infertility. I was so proud of her for getting up there (even after losing her house in the recent flooding) and offering such genuine advice and encouragement to couples. James Henderson led a session for just the men. I think this is such a needed thing! Yesterday, I caught up on the Sarah’s Laughter podcast and listened to the episode that he and his wife, Portia, recorded. Friends, it was good. I know he was the perfect person to lead the session specifically for men at the workshop, especially after listening to their podcast. I actually might just listen to the podcast again! Sarah’s Laughter Podcast, Portia & James The most unique part of this year’s workshop (to me) were the round table discussions (think speed dating) several tables set up around the room, each table represented a different topic (gestational carriers, adoption, perseverance in prayer, two different reproductive endocrinologists had a table, etc) Guests of the workshop could make their way around to the tables for a short little session. They received some very valuable information from such an expansive group of great resources. I can only imagine how much this helped people facing infertility. I think out of anything though, I was the most excited to see faces that I did not recognize. Their face might have been like my face a few years ago at the workshop. Not really in the deep end of infertility, but knowing they do not want to be alone. I really hope and pray each person, especially those sweet new faces, who attended left feeling understood.

I spoke about navigating through the sea of infertility.I wanted to share my talk with readers of this blog. Some of what I spoke about I have already written about in this blog. There are a few personal details/stories that I am not going to include (what happens at the workshop stays at the workshop right?) but I hope someone reading this finds the encouragement and that extra little push to just keep swimming.

Continue reading

Podcasting

slpodcast

Sarah’s Laughter has a podcast! Yay! In March, I felt so special to get to sit down with Jason & Beth Forbus to record an episode with my dear friend, Melissa. We chatted about our own personal struggle with infertility, how infertility brought us together as friends, and how to remain friends when one becomes a mom, and one is still in the wait. Friends, this was so much fun! I told Melissa, I was either going to get a case of the giggles, or cry. My hormones were still all over the place so it dangerously could go either way. And I actually did both! Thankfully, I’m not a glass case of emotions anymore. We talked SO much, in fact, Jason had to cut half of what was recorded! I really can’t wait to do another one and drag my buddy along with me- she doesn’t have a choice. And actually Jason and Beth don’t either. I have caught the podcast bug! I drank the Kool Aid.

I really love how the episode turned out (thank you editing!) First, I had no idea I talked that slow. Friends, y’all are so patient to listen to me. Second, I’m going to go back and take a tally of how many times I say, “you know” “um” and “so.” Beth explained how she usually does an introduction on each guest at the beginning such as, “she likes long walks on the beach.”  I told her, I don’t like long walks on the beach, I like to sit on the beach. No exercise involved. So, that’s where that came from, just to give some context!

I met Melissa at the Sarah’s Laughter infertility workshop a few years ago and we became fast friends. She is the peanut butter to my jelly, the selfie to my selfie stick. Infertility is a journey we both share, but there are so many other things we talk about and do together that isn’t centered around infertility. I love to go to worship concerts with her. That girl gets that side step together, step and clapping her hands going. I just love it. She really gets a kick out of life. I’m lucky to call her my soul sista, and so thankful that we have remained friends.

To listen to our podcast click here or subscribe to the SL’s podcast on iTunes! The next infertility workshop will be held in Baton Rouge on August 27th, to find out more information on attending click here
Since we recorded our podcast, I have discovered that there is an entire world of podcasts that exists! It is my new favorite thing to do. I wanted to share my two favorites (besides Sarah’s Laughter, of course) that I love, because if I included them all this post would be way too long!

The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey I LOVE this podcast. I listen to it when I’m doing dishes, folding laundry, or sometimes out walking. I’ve told a few friends this, but many of the episodes I’ve listened to, the featured guest has struggled with infertility in some way. And I don’t know why, but it still surprises me how many people are impacted by infertility. It isn’t the purpose of the show, but it is a part of so many women’s stories that it is a subject that is often touched on.

The Popcast with Knox & Jamie Friends, this show is hysterical. Jamie B Golden (different Jamie than the above mentioned) I just wish I could shrink her and put her in my pocket. The banter between the two is the best. I don’t have cable so a lot of the time I don’t even know what they are talking about, but I still get a kick out of it. I used to recommend Episode 138 for anyone who starts it, but last week’s episode has trumped it and is now their best yet. So subscribe to their show on iTunes and start with Episode 151.

6 Months

6months

Bennett & Eliza are 6 months old! Will and I are both enjoying them so much at this age. It takes a special kind of person to “love” that baby/newborn stage, and I don’t fit that category. I was so excited when they hit this month. I do get how it can be little bittersweet because half a year has already passed, but this is my favorite age as of yet, it’s really the cutest. I have a feeling from here on out I might say that each passing month.

At six months they both weigh 18 lbs, are in Size 3 diapers, and wear 6-9 month & 9 month clothes. Eliza is still about 1 1/2 inches longer than Bennett. And she has a gigantic head. They have started eating solids, taking water from a sippy cup, and are 100% sleeping in their cribs- no more naps in the rock-n-plays. They sleep about 11 hours through the night. Take a long nap in the morning and then two shorter ones. I have become brave enough to start taking them on errands by myself like the grocery store, or out to eat. And it’s always a better week (for all three of us) when we can make it to Gymboree or a friend play date!

Bennett: This little boy is a mess. He is ticklish, everywhere. Smiles and laughs very easily. But just as quickly will turn it into cries. Out of the two, he is still holding strong the title of the demanding one. He loves to be held and prefers to be engaged at all times. He has developed a slight case of separation anxiety from me and is hit or miss on how he feels about someone else holding him. He loves to be loud and is a huge fan of bath time. He wakes up with a ginormous grin and kicks like crazy. His eyes are still a pretty dark blue and his fuzzy hair in the back is starting to stick straight up.  B is finally, finally tolerating tummy time longer. He has found his feet and has started to sit unassisted. He hasn’t met a food he dislikes- carrots and apples/bananas are two favorites. And he has two tiny bottom teeth!

Eliza: She is our sweet girl. And such a nosy rosy. She quietly watches everything. Out of the two, she is still holding strong the title of the chill baby. She loves rolling over, turning herself upside down on her boppy, and scooching on her back. She is a little snuggler like her brother, but mostly when she’s sleepy. She is an easier one to pass around a room of people who want to hold her, but every once in a while feels a little bit of stranger danger. She loves to give kisses and anytime she is next to her brother she finds his hand to hold. She has been saving her best smiles and giggles for the dogs these days who she loves to notice and reach out to touch. She found her feet at five months and has recently been putting them in her mouth. No teeth yet, but everything goes straight to the mouth! She shares the same favorite foods as her brother along with avocado, but isn’t a fan of peaches.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Continue reading

Meet Cookie

Cookie

 

We have added a new member to our crew! Meet, Cookie.

On March 3rd, 2016 we said goodbye to our sweet Sassy Stickle. I know in the past, I said when our IVF cycle got cancelled I had never cried so hard in my life, well I take that back. I cried for two days straight and then got a major cry headache that I had to ask my mom to come take care of the babies because Will was working and I was out of commission. She was my very first baby. She was a HUGE fluffy and perfect part of this family. If I did not have the babies, this would have landed me in therapy, and I promise you I am not being dramatic. Her absence is still majorly felt. Night time is tough because she’s not down at our feet snuggled tight for the night. I am not sure I can ever get another small dog to love that much. I just want to hold her one more time.

Enter Cookie. Without Sassy, Roux was a little lost. Not that they necessarily rolled around and played together, but Sassy was the boss lady and together they were good companions. Roux lost her leader. I don’t have as much time to step outside and throw the ball with her for hours, but I do leash her up for all the strolls with the babies. Her days at Camp Bow Wow have also come to a pause for right now. So she was a little sad and in need of a buddy. Will suggested the idea of getting another dog either medium sized or the same size as Roux to be able to play with her and get all of that energy out. We saw a cute scruffy terrier/lab puppy up for adoption at the local shelter so we decided to drive out there just to “look” When we pulled up, I spotted Cookie outside playing in one of the shelter’s yards. I pointed her out to Will, “that one is so cute!!! Let’s see if we can look at her.” I’m a sucker for a scruffy dog. She wasn’t the puppy we were there to see. Crazy enough, as we stepped into the entrance of the shelter a Gymboree family was there and in that very moment making the decision to adopt the puppy we were there to see! Looking back on it, this worked out exactly the right way. We are in no position to take on a puppy and all of the responsibilities that come with it, mainly house training. That puppy was not the right dog for us, but it was the perfect dog for that sweet family. And Cookie came home with us.

I do not think you can ask for a more low maintenance dog. She is so appreciative of being a part of our family, I can just tell. She’s a little unsure of some things, like coming inside. I don’t think she’d ever seen a TV because she was very cautious of ours for a little while. She is more comfortable spending the majority of her time outside. And we have a huge backyard for her to enjoy. She does come inside for small chunks at a time and is less restless than she was when we first brought her home. Will built a cute little picket gate across our driveway to fully close in our yard. Roux is the queen of running up and down the street like a mad woman so we fixed this little issue when the babies were born. Shortly after we got her, Will was wondering out loud the logistics of leaving the house with Cookie in the backyard and opening the gate/closing the gate to leave the house. I told him I really don’t think we will have to worry about her trying to escape. And sure enough, we don’t. She is happy to stay put in the place she belongs.  Most importantly of all, Roux and her are the best of friends. They play, all day long. Roux loves her. And she loves Roux. She is such a sweet and affectionate girl. And she’s really, really cute. She can even wear her ears two different ways, down or perked up & over. I think it will take me a little longer with this one. Even though it was, and felt like, a very fast decision, I know it was right. The owner who surrendered her cited the reason being she needed a better home. And I can confidently say we can, and have, given her that and she completely deserves our love. She is our Cookie girl.

 cookie2

I updated the About Me section of the blog. Stop by to check it out, it was long overdue!