Tuesday, February 23, 2016

What to do when your child hates school: 10 Ways to Make Learning Fun



Once upon a time, we had two little boys who loved school. They were both so excited to go to school and even do their homework. There was a point in time where we had to make up homework for one of them to do so he could be like his big brother. But then something happened: Second grade and now, third.

I don't know what caused it, but sometime during second grade, our eldest son decided he no longer liked school. He's naturally quite gifted, but doesn't enjoy the act of school at all. Basically, if he's not interested in it, he doesn't want to do it and if he isn't naturally good at it, he doesn't want to try.

As parents, we want our children to do their best and be happy, and in many cases, this means that we have to make them do things they don't want to do. School has been that thing for us.

I should clarify that our son has not ever tried to get out of school or made excuses not to go, but he's told us he doesn't like school. He has plenty of friends and every time I've volunteered in his class, it's obvious how much he's loved by his classmates. His teachers also adore him, but still, he doesn't like school.

I believe that education is one of the most important things we can give our children, so I want my children to be fully engaged in their schoolwork and dream big dreams. The last thing I want to do is cause my children to dislike school and begin to dread it. From a young age, I've loved to learn about all manner of things and to this day, I'd go back to school in an instant. In fact, I work in higher education, so I'm technically "at school" every day.

For a while, I chalked up this attitude about school to him being a boy and wanting to spend more time playing than doing homework, but then my thought process changed. I haven't ever wanted to be the mom who yelled to get her kids to do things and I certainly didn't want to start with this challenge, so I began to ask creative questions about school and the subjects he studied which turned into learning so much.

When we'd go upstairs to work on homework, we'd do some work and we'd do some talking. One of the things I found through listening to my son talk is that he really likes to learn. He's really interested in how things work and why they work. What he's not interested in is why he has to take timed tests on addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. As he told me, "No one will ever ask me to do this 'in real life.'" How can you argue with that?

I also saw even more clearly his hesitancy to work hard on things that don't come easily. To be honest with you, this has been the toughest part of our challenge for two reasons: I know how capable he is and I'm the total opposite (I really enjoy challenges). Seeing this trait in him at a young age really caused some fear for both my husband and me. When you have a child who does most things well without trying not want to try things that he doesn't think he can do well, it's hard to see. This trait is one that spills over into every day life like not wanting to tie his shoes or learn to ride his bike without training wheels, both of which he does well, but both took much coaxing.

Another thing that's shining clearer for us as he's growing is that he has some anxiety surrounding test taking. We noticed this even back in first grade, but it got a little worse in second and third grade. Thankfully, I think he understands how to handle this now and things are doing much better.

For me, being able to see why he seemed to be struggling was eye-opening and has given me an opportunity to try my best to make learning and school exciting for him. Yes, it's work. Yes, it requires preparation on my part. Yes, sometimes it's even frustrating. But I do it because first and foremost, I love him, and secondly, I want him to always love learning.

Homework time isn't usually as fun as playtime, but sometimes, it comes in a close second and maybe even ties. I've put together a list of 10 things that we do that make learning fun, engaging, and entertaining. I'm always looking for new and creative ways to make things fun, so please send your ideas my way.

1. Make stories come to life. At his age, he has a standard reading book filled with stories. Some of these stories are biographies which he tends to love. One of the things I like to do if he's read a story about a particular person is look up a YouTube clip of the person and watch it with him. I think it's cool that he's able to see something about the subject's life and it also helps him remember.

2. Repetition and writing are key. For some people, one of the best and easiest ways to learn things is through writing them multiple times. Each week, when he has his list of spelling words to learn, he writes them a few times. He'll learn a word and we'll move to the next word and then do both of those words again. You get the picture.

He and I have talked about how repeating things and writing them down really helps information to stick. He sees this too. In fact, this article from Business Insider talks about just that.

3. Don't focus on grades. One of the worst things you can do for a child's educational experience in my opinion is to focus on grades. Yes, I really want my kids to make straight A's, but more than that, I want them to learn. Sometimes, this means they'll bring home a B and that's okay. I don't expect my children to ever be perfect or make perfect grades, but I expect them to try their best and if that means a B, then I'm happy with a B.

Having two children who both put pressure on themselves to perform perfectly in different ways makes me even more cognizant of this. I am a typical Type A Personality and that trait of perfectionism is both a blessing and a curse. I don't want my children starting off their lives under pressure, so I will do everything I can to help them to know that their best is always good enough.

4. Look around your house for things that relate to what your child is studying. Anytime we go to the mountains, we come home with rocks. My grandfather collected rocks and passed some of those to us and my great-grandfather was a mining supervisor and some of his collection is now ours. A few weeks ago, our son was learning about the different types of rock, so we pulled out some of ours. He loved being able to match what he was studying with the rock he was holding in his hand. He was so excited about it that he asked to take a bag to show his teacher and classmates the next day.

5. Let your child use things that are exciting for him. One thing both of my sons love is a Sharpie. I love them too, so I don't have room to talk, but the thought of them playing with Sharpies makes me envision lots of long-lasting "tattoos" or some original artwork on my dining room table. But during homework time, Sharpie usage is allowed; in fact, it's encouraged. When he practices spelling, he uses Sharpies. Sometimes, he likes to do patterns with the many colors, so that adds another element of learning to the mix.

Another thing my sons like is the dry erase board. We have one on an easel and we use this during multiplication facts and spelling.

6. Play games. One of my favorite ways to practice spelling is using our Scrabble board or Bananagrams game. While we don't play Scrabble correctly, we use the board for him to spell his words. He thinks this is awesome. We've also made a game of adding up the points for each word (including some math) and seeing which word "wins."

7. Let your child tell you a story. When my son has a social studies test, I always let him take the lead in telling me what he's studying. Oftentimes, he shares so much information and gets excited talking about it. He's currently studying about the early colonists and he's taught me things. He's been telling me all week how the Boston Massacre wasn't really a massacre and only five people were killed. I obviously didn't pay attention in American History, so this was really surprising to me. I may have had to Google it to make sure I wasn't misreading his notes as he told me all about it!

8. Be patient. Patience is not always my strongest virtue. Many times, I am thinking "please just write the answer down and we'll talk in a minute," but I know that's not the best way to be. When it's homework time, I focus my attention on my child and employ patience. Sometimes, it's easier than others. I don't want him to feel like I just want him to finish up so we can play because I want to encourage him to talk and quite frankly, having a little time to just chat with him is one of my favorite parts of the day.

9. Help your child feel prepared. Whether your child gets nervous before tests as many do, or he doesn't, make sure your child feels prepared. Some weeks, I'll make practice tests for my son because I know that when he does a fake test at home, it makes him feel better about a test at school. I used to be bad about practicing a few spelling words on the drive to school on test day, but I don't do that anymore. I feel like it's added pressure. Just face it, practicing a spelling word a few times in the car at 7:15am is not good for anyone.

10. Praise your child. If nothing else, our children should be full of confidence. Both my parents and my husband's parents instilled healthy doses of confidence in the two of us and we're doing the same with our children. Show them how their hard work is paying off. Always let them know how proud you are of them about everything, not just school work.

As the boys grow older, I know we'll be faced with other challenges related to school. I know this particular challenge will continue to evolve as well. Right now, we're really in a good place. I can't tell you the last time either of our boys complained about having to do homework. We've established a really good schedule that works well for both us and our kids. I know things will change, but for now, I'm happy with where we are. In the meantime, I'll keep pinning ideas to make learning fun!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Regaining Speed



I shared earlier this month about our pregnancy loss. While I continue to have good days and bad days emotionally, one of the ways I'm working to feel better is to try to get back to normal in regards to running.

When we decided we were definitely ready to have a baby (after my Grand Prix win in 2014), one of the first things my doctor recommended was that I cut back on my speed. She encouraged me to continue to exercise, but said I needed to slow down. At the time, my typical training pace was less than 7 minutes/mile with a racing pace of an average around 6:30/mile. She suggested I start running 7:15-7:30 miles. This was hard. In fact, it was even harder than running 5:58 mile repeats!

Hesitantly, I listened and slowed down. I definitely didn't run this speed most of the time, but I did try to keep my pace around 7:00/mile. When this didn't seem to have an effect on my fertility, it was suggested that I run less. In peak weeks when the stars align and I can run as much as I want, I'd only run about 20 miles/week which is nothing compared to most runners, but for me, this was tops. I listened again and got to the point where some weeks, I wasn't even running 10 miles.

In October, when I began Clomid, I pretty much stopped running regularly. I would run 2-3 slow miles every few days, but that was it. I even went for 10-12 days without running some. As soon as I saw that positive mark on the pregnancy test, all I wanted to do was sleep and daydream about my new baby, not run in the cold. Plus, I was a little fearful that running while early pregnant wouldn't be good.

All that to say, my fitness has suffered. I gained 2-3 pounds during the almost 11 weeks I was pregnant, but that's all gone now. Now, I'm dealing with getting back to the same level of fitness I'm used to.

My husband would tell you that it's not good when I don't run. I have to agree. Endorphins are real and my body needs lots of them.

Since I was cleared to exercise a few weeks ago, I've put together a mental plan to get back my fitness. I want to keep myself accountable, so I'm sharing it with you!

Goal: Run a 5K in 20:30 by March 1. Yes, I know this is really slow compared to my PR of 18:47, but it's a time that I feel is respectable given everything (hopeful for a baby soon) and one that will win local races.

When I first started back running seriously about two weeks ago, I could hardly hold a 7:20 pace for a 5K. It's incredible to me what 3 months of no speed or core work will do to your body! Here's my plan for getting back to where I want to be:
  • Run a 5K with breaks at each mile. This has been really helpful. I've been able to run closer to my normal speed for my second and third miles (my first mile is always slower) and have a break of about a minute to catch my breath. Not only is this helping me grow stronger, it's also giving me confidence. Initially, my 5K was up in the 23's. I got it down to 22 flat the week before we went to Disney. Last week, I ran my fastest in 21:17. My next goal is to get it below 21. I want to do that by next week.
  • Increase my total run distance. While TTC, my doctor advised me to just run 3-4 miles, nothing more. I ran 2-3 miles max, so now I'm creeping up to 4. After running a 5K, I've been adding .9 to the end as a cool down which gives me 4 miles. I'm happy to be able to do this. As of today, my fastest 4-miler was 28:21. I'm really, really happy with that.
  • Run a 5K without stopping. I don't like feeling exhausted after running a 5K, so the next thing I want to do is to be able to run a true 5K (without stopping) comfortably. I'm not worried about time on this one because I know it'll come. My main concern is comfort. I've gotten my time down to 21:34 on the road.
  • Include intervals. Intervals are so important. They hurt, but they're fun. I do these all different ways. Sometimes, I'll do .25 mile repeats and increase my speed on each. Other times, I'll increase my speed by .2 mph every half mile. Most of the intervals and repeats I've done have been on the treadmill since it's freezing outside.
  • Get back to core work. Y'all, I have been so sore since starting back core work. I've been using my 10 lb kettle bell to do a few things and man, am I sore. Situps are still a bit painful, especially with weights, so I'm holding off on those. I've also been doing pushups and pullups.
  • Yoga! I love the Tone It Up Girls. All of their videos are awesome, but currently, my favorite is the Bikini Body Yoga. This video really works you, but it's so relaxing. 
  • Squats. Squats are so important for that kick in racing. I haven't done these in way too long.
Do you have any tips for getting back in shape?

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Confessional Thursday | 2.11.16 Edition



I'm glad to have a place to add a few confessions! This week, I'm confessing...

1| I feel like today should be Friday. This week feels like it's lasted an eternity. I'm not trying to rush time, I'm just ready for the weekend.

2| I really like Valentine's Day. I know, I know it's overly commercialized, but I really enjoy the meaning behind the holiday. While my husband and I show each other love daily, I like having that special day designated as a day to celebrate our love. It's kind of like Christmas. I celebrate Christ each day, but there's something about the Christmas holiday that's magical.

3| I am in a funk. Since I shared about our pregnancy loss, I've found myself falling into a funk. For the most part, I'm doing ok, but to be honest, I put up a good front.

4| Cooking dinner is challenging when not everyone likes the same thing. I try to be really cognizant of what my family likes, but it's hard when you have picky eaters. I understand the struggle my mom must have felt.

5| I'm a really big procrastinator when it comes to things I don't really want to do. Those things include cleaning the bathrooms and filing papers.

6| I want to redesign my blog. I stepped back from blogging for a while, but I've really enjoyed writing lately and want to spruce up my space.

7| I started to decorate the boys' bedroom upstairs probably a year ago (or more) and I haven't finished. We hardly ever use that bathroom, but still, I want it to look nice. I need to finish it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Flashback to the 90s

A few days ago, Kayla and I were talking about gifts for kids birthday parties which led to a conversation about toys we used to play with as kids. So many of these toys are making a comeback or have to be the inspiration behind some of today's hot toys. Having little boys, I haven't had the opportunity to purchase any of these for my house, but I have had fun picking up a few toys I loved for friends' kids.

Here are some of my favorites:


Puppy Surprise
Puppy Surprise Roxy Plush 


I used to absolutely love my Puppy Surprise. In fact, there are two Puppy Surprises, a Kitty Surprise, Bunny Surprise, and Pony Surprise in my parents' attic. I remember getting each of them too. Once, after being a really, really brave five year-old jumping off the diving board in the deep end of the pool, my mom bought me a Puppy Surprise for a treat and it had five puppies inside. I loved that you could buy individual babies as well. Anytime my mom and grandma would go shopping, they'd drop my granddad and me off at Toys 'R Us and he'd let me get a new baby.



Polly Pocket


Another of my favorite toys was Polly Pocket. I can remember playing with these during church with my friend and getting in trouble. I hope my mom still has all of mine!


Barbie Dream House


One of my favorite gifts ever was a three-story Barbie Dream House with an elevator that Santa brought. I played with this for hours. I loved getting Barbie dressed up to go out on a date with Ken. And of course, he'd pick her up in the red Barbie convertible!


Furby


If I remember correctly, my sister is the one who really got me into Furby. I can still hear the noise it made!


Tamagotchi


Please tell me I'm not the only person who had a Tamagotchi. I used to love this toy. I also discovered that there is now an app -- I may have to download it!


Game Boy



Another one of my favorites is the Game Boy. I still have mine -- it works! I got it out one day to show the boys, but they weren't very interested in it. I guess nowadays, kids have cool things like PSPs to play.

What are some of your old favorite things?


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Disney World Days 1-3 | Disney Springs, Magic Kingdom + Hollywood Studios

A few months ago, I found out I had to attend a conference at Disney World, so naturally, we couldn't pass up an opportunity to make a vacation out of it and take the boys for the week. We had a great time!

We live about seven hours from Disney, so we decided to leave bright and early on Sunday morning. We were on the road a little before 8, and a few restroom breaks and lunch later, we pulled into our resort, the Yacht Club, a little before 4 pm. I'd be lying if I said we weren't nervous about the long drive with the boys, but, y'all, they were so good! I don't even think we heard "when are we going to be there?" until we had made the turn onto I-4 near Daytona, which was only about an hour from Orlando.



The boys were so excited to be staying at the resort. It cracked me up how cool they thought the ice bucket was! When we travel, especially with the kids, we usually stay in a house, and when we have stayed in a hotel with them, I guess we haven't pointed out the "cool" stuff. It made me smile!

After our luggage made it to the room and we took a breather, we caught the bus to Disney Springs [formerly Downtown Disney]. The boys were really excited to go to the Lego Store and had a blast making their own race cars and racing them. We walked around a while and grabbed a quick bite to eat at Earl of Sandwich before going back to our resort.


  



As soon as we got up Monday morning, we rode the bus to Magic Kingdom. I really wanted to catch the opening show, but unfortunately, even with the first bus to Magic Kingdom, we made it a few minutes too late. The first ride we decided to do was Peter Pan's Flight. Choosing that ride for our first one was a great decision.



We also were able to hang out with my cousin Tammy and her son Cole on Monday. They live nearby, so it was great to be able to see them. I enjoyed catching up with her and the kids had fun playing together.




We spent the whole Monday in Magic Kingdom. Before heading back to the Yacht Club, we watched the Celebrate the Magic and the Wishes Nighttime Spectacular. Both of these shows were great!




On Tuesday, we decided to go to Hollywood Studios. Unfortunately, K.C. woke up feeling bad and got sick that morning. Kevin stayed in our room with him while Kaden and I rode the bus over to Hollywood Studios with hopes that K.C. and Kevin would join us.



The first thing we did when we got to Hollywood Studios was line up for Jedi Training. They let a limited number of kids train to be Jedi Knights each day, but before being "chosen," you have to wait in a really long line. We stood in line for over an hour, and thankfully, about five minutes before we got to the front of the line, K.C. and Kevin made it so that K.C. could go through training too. Our show wasn't scheduled to start until 5:10, so we had the whole day to explore.



There were a few fun Star Wars attractions we enjoyed. Kaden and Kevin loved the Star Tours ride (K.C. and I skipped this one since he hadn't been feeling great and opted for a funnel cake). We watched the Lights, Camera, Action Stunt Car Show, which in my opinion, is one of the most fun shows.

After lunch, we went to the Indiana Jones show. It's another of my favorite things at Hollywood Studios.

At 4:30, we took the boys to get ready for their training. It's really cool how they let the kids parade in their costumes to the stage for the Jedi show. Once there, they were each given a light saber and taught how to use it. Soon, Darth Vader and Darth Mal appeared and they battled the kids.










We rushed to catch our FastPass+ at Toy Story Mania as soon as our knights were finished. That ride was fun!

We were also able to make it to a showing of Fantasmic which was awesome!



The night ended after we watched the Star Wars fireworks. Of all the firework shows at Disney, we all enjoyed the Star Wars show more than any others. I'm not even a Star Wars fan (though I'm having to learn all about it thanks to my boys) and loved it. There's just something about that music that's thrilling!

We had a great first few days at Disney. I'll recap the second part of our trip later this week.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Why the Monday after the Super Bowl should be a holiday

It's Monday, the Monday after the Super Bowl specifically. And today, I've decided that the day after the Super Bowl should be a holiday, or at least, a day to go in late. Or, maybe I shouldn't blame the Super Bowl and just blame Monday for a slow start to my week. Regardless, here are a few reasons why the day after the Super Bowl should be a little different:

1. The alarm went off too early... and I hit snooze a few too many times which turned into us getting up at 6:45. We have to leave our house at 7:20 to get the boys to school on time. Thank you to my Belgian waffle maker that makes four at a time, two little boys who are usually quick to get ready, and a husband who makes mornings so much easier... everyday.

2. I didn't get to work out this morning. I stayed up late, way late, last night because you know, Tina Fey came on after the Super Bowl and well, I think she's funny. Then I went to bed and scrolled thru my phone way too long. All that to say, my 6:00am alarm to get in a few miles was snoozed, and with a really busy work day, I didn't have a chance to workout.

3. You need time to recover, specially from bad commercials. Each year, I look forward to the commercials during the Super Bowl. This year, there were a quite a few good ones, but also some that have me questing who the ad director is--> I'm talking you #puppymonkeybaby, which, at first view, looked really interesting and was catching (the point), but after seeing it a second time following the game, I was just disturbed. In my book, Apartments.com hit a home run with #MovinOnUp.




Friday, February 5, 2016

Five On Friday | 2.5.16 Edition

It's time for Five On Friday, one of my favorite posts of the week!

1. The kindness of others. Prior to blogging about the huge loss we experienced, only our family, close friends, and a few close work associates knew. One of my favorite ad reps stopped by Tuesday afternoon to let me know she'd been on my heart and left a gift. It's a beautiful silver bracelet with a "faith" charm. This simple act of kindness means more than she'll ever know.



2. Reading with my boys. I love to read and I love that our boys enjoy it. Kaden brought home a Magic Tree House book as part of his school's AR program. He was so excited that he can read these on his own now (K.C. has been reading them a few years and we have almost all of them, but Kaden can check them out at school now, so that's cool!). I had fun finishing the book with him.




3. Hart of Dixie. Have you seen this show? I am addicted. We found it on Netflix a few weeks ago and have watched an episode or two almost every night. It's funny and heart-warming at the same time.



4. Joanna Gaines FAVORITED my tweet! I don't tweet much (hardly ever). It's my least favorite social media platform of those I use, but after my conference last week and a chapter in Unmarketing by Scott Stratten) who actually REPLIED to one of my tweets, I decided I'd give it a go.
       Side note: If you'd like to connect, you can find me using the links below.





5. Getting to run again. It's been nice getting back to my normal exercise. I'm not doing anything crazy, but I would like to race again soon. It's totally crazy, I'm sure, but I don't want to race again until I'm back to my regular speed. I had a few really good runs this week including an awesome speed workout of .25m repeats averaging about 1:28 each, so I feel like I'm good to go.




Thursday, February 4, 2016

Healing Through Loss


The image from my #First5 devotional on January 
A month ago today was one of the hardest days I've ever experienced, dare say, it was the hardest. There's really not an easy way to start this post, but it's something I want to blog about because talking makes things easier and I hope that it may be able to help someone else who is going or has gone through this same thing.

I've been a little quiet on my blog the last few months. Yes, life has been full and fun, but I've also taken a step back from one of my loves, running, which eliminates one of my frequent blogging topics. I've also been dealing with fertility issues and pretty much, consumed with those, and at that point, I didn't want to talk about it.

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For a while now, we've wanted to expand our family and for over a year, we've been hoping and praying it would happen soon [read now], but it wasn't working. The first approach my doctor gave us was for me to cut back on my mileage and speed and to eat a little more. I started doing that this past summer, and with a busy fall of soccer games for the boys and some work events I have several Saturdays a year, it was easy to not run "as much" and to not race with an easy explanation for why I wasn't. I was hopeful that cutting back on running would cause my body to do what it needs to do to allow a pregnancy, but that seemed to only make the matter worse.

In October, my doctor prescribed Clomid to help jump start ovulation (my problem). We assumed it would take a few months to get the dosage right, but on November 24, I found out I was pregnant. To say I was surprised and elated is an understatement. I went to the doctor (also a friend) the next morning to have some blood work done and everything looked great.

Not much after that appointment, we went for our first ultrasound. At that point, I should've been 6w5d, but only measured 6 weeks. That's not a huge surprise, especially that early in pregnancy, but with the fertility drugs, you would think it would have been closer. After the ultrasound, we talked with my doctor who was really encouraging, and scheduled another ultrasound for eleven days later to hopefully see the baby's heartbeat.

On December 21st, we went for our second ultrasound. I had a bad feeling almost from the beginning and at this appointment, we found out that the baby wasn't growing normally. I should've been almost 9 weeks, but the baby only measured 6w5d - five days of growth in eleven days - and the heartbeat was only 94. I haven't looked at that ultrasound photo.

After the ultrasound, we went back to my doctor's office to talk. We asked questions, got answers, and found ourselves in probably the worst place you can be in for this type of situation - waiting. We decided we'd wait for two weeks and on January 4th, we'd find out the viability of the pregnancy. I knew from my questions, there was a very slim chance that everything work work out ok, so I took those two weeks to pray for a miracle and prepare myself for things not working out as I hoped.

With this total change of events, Kevin thought we needed to tell our parents (we were originally going to tell them and our boys on Christmas, and keep the news a secret from everyone else until the first trimester passed). Having to tell your parents that they are going to be grandparents again but probably won't get to meet the baby is not something I ever thought I'd have to do or ever want to do again.

Thankfully, I didn't have to work anymore that week or the next, which was a blessing. With Christmas a few days away, I wanted to do everything I could to maintain a sense of normalcy and joy. I didn't want the boys to know anything was wrong and didn't want to look back and regret not enjoying the holidays. Of course, there was a dark shadow over everything in my mind and my heart was broken into thousands of pieces, but we made it through with God's grace and strength.

I was so sick over the Christmas holiday with a horrible cold and pregnancy symptoms, so for much of the week after Christmas, we just played with the boys and stayed home. I didn't ever have miscarriage symptoms, but my pregnancy symptoms began to lessen after Christmas. I even went out for a few runs at the end of the year.

The night before my big appointment, I got a message from my doctor that she was going to be having emergency surgery the next morning, but had left a lot of detailed notes in my file. She asked me to let her know as soon as I finished with the ultrasound.

The morning of the 4th, my sister's boyfriend's mom texted me to let me know she was working (she's an OB nurse) with the doctor my doctor wanted me to see if something happened over the holidays while she was out of town. She filled him in on my situation and he gave me instructions to be added to his chart.

As soon as we got to the office, I had an ultrasound. I asked the tech not to show me anything unless something had miraculously changed. I think, subconsciously, I already knew, but the moment I walked in the room, I knew for sure.

A few minutes later, the doctor called us to his office and talked with us about everything. One of the first things he said was that this is the Lord's way of handling something that wasn't going to be right. He kept making references to God and it just gave me so much comfort knowing we serve the same God. With a missed miscarriage like I had, there are no signs of a miscarriage - no cramping or bleeding - which causes it to be a surprise to so many. I was given the option to wait to miscarry naturally or to have a D&C. I choose to have the D&C and was able to have it that afternoon.

The people at the hospital were incredible. Not only were we dealing with this tragic loss, I was also anxious about surgery and being put to sleep as I've not ever been in the hospital. My nurse comforted me, the man who wheeled me back to surgery prayed for me, and the anesthesiologist bet me his house I was going to wake up! I found out later he is a big runner and he and his wife have had their fair share of fertility trouble. When I woke up an hour and a half later, the woman beside my bed in the recovery room told me how she had gone through the same thing a few years ago and birthed a healthy baby not long after.

It was crazy how much changed in that short surgery. Emotionally, I had been preparing for this since we found out on December 10th that the baby was measuring behind, but physically, I was still sick. After the surgery, I felt more like myself than I had in months. Getting the physical part over with helped the healing process tremendously.

The next two weeks were tough. I stayed out of work for a week and Kevin stayed home with me. I couldn't do hardly anything and tried my best to listen to the doctor's orders. My FIL cooked a huge pot of vegetable soup that I enjoyed almost around the clock, my parents brought dinner, and my sister made my favorite pie and kept me company before going back to Clemson.

Every morning, without fail, the Lord showered me with His strength. Whether I was reading a devotional or my Bible, what I read was exactly what I needed to read. I prayed in ways I've not ever prayed before asking for strength and hope. My soul was strengthened and my hope restored.

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Losing a child you've longed for and wanted your entire life before you've even had a chance to meet them is the most traumatic event. The moment I found out we were going to have a baby, I had all these dates and scenarios in my head. I was imagining what our beach trips would be like with our two boys and a big belly. I was wondering what I'd wear to my cousin's wedding. I thought about how awesome it would be that I'd be home bonding with our new baby and his or her big brothers for several weeks this summer before the boys would be back in school. I thought about how the timing of this baby's birth would work perfectly with my work schedule. I thought about how I'd watch my favorite summer Olympic events while snuggling my precious, sleeping baby. I thought of how my heart would swell when I saw my husband and our boys with our baby. I thought about how I'd do the nursery. We made a list of names. I thought about how we'd tell our families. But most of all, I thought about the incredible blessing the Lord had given us and how awesome it was all going to be.

Even though this child is not ours on this earth, I thank God for the blessing of this baby. It didn't turn out like I wanted it to, but He is still good. He is faithful and just. He gives mercy and peace. He's strengthened me and filled me with a hope that only He can give. He's watching over us and in His time, we will have a baby to coo over and snuggle with and love on.

Until then, I will praise Him.

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Three weeks ago, I had my follow up appointment. Everything looked great and I was told I could resume my normal lifestyle. I saw the same doctor who did my procedure and he suggested I have some blood work done in a few weeks, so I'm going to do that, but at this time, there's no cause for concern. The chance of a miscarriage again is no higher now than it was with my first pregnancy. Genetically, there were no abnormalities, so we have that worry put to rest.

Oftentimes, I've learned, pregnancy may cause your body to regulate itself. I'm praying that happens with me, but if not, I'm able to start Clomid again in a few months. We know it works!

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For now, we wait, we pray, and we hope. Our vacation last week could not have come at a better time. Being able to get away from it all and just have fun was so therapeutic. God is giving us exactly what we need to be able to get through this, and just as He's doing this, I know that in His time, we'll be blessed with a baby. My hope and trust is in Him!

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These verses/quotes have helped me tremendously. God is so good! If you don't have a personal relationship with him, I'm happy to talk with you.

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. Exodus 14:14

Remembering God's faithfulness in the past lets us embrace the difficulties of the present and the uncertainties of the future. Whitney Capps, First5

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory! Ephesians 3:20-21

The joy of the Lord is my strength! Nehemiah 8:10

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in You. Isaiah 26:3

I have made you. I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. Isaiah 46:4

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19

May the God if hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, to that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit! Romans 15:13

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

January 2016 in Review

January was a good month as far as goals are concerned. Here's a look at my January goals:

1. Read one book.
I read two books in January! Both totally different, but both very good.



What I Talk About When I Talk About Running is a memoir by Haruki Murakami. If you're not a runner, you probably won't appreciate the book, but I enjoyed it. It's a relatively quick read and I found it interesting to read about his training and his thought process.



I also read Last One Home by Debbie Macomber. This is the first Macomber book I've read and I loved it! I can't wait to read more of her books.

2. Clean out the cabinets in our laundry room.
I am so happy to report that this is done! Not only did I clean out the cabinets, I totally reorganized the laundry room and filled a box to take to Goodwill.



3. Organize our closet. 
My husband deserves all the credit for the completion of this goal. If he hadn't started going through dress shirts (and finding nearly 50 to donate), I don't think this would've gotten started by me. I still have way too many clothes and shoes, but having a more organized and cleaner closet is great!

(My husband has a few hats!)

4. Cross train.
Have you ever heard of the Tone It Up Girls? If not, you're missing out! I follow them on Instagram and decided to try one of their YouTube videos. Their workouts are easy to do at home and work! My favorite is this Bikini Yoga Flow video. I'm surprised at how inflexible I am. In February, I'm trying to do yoga twice a week.

5. Read my Bible and pray daily.
I did this. I don't know why I always list this as a goal because it's something I do anyway, but it's a nice reminder to check up on my spiritual life.

6. Start saving for Christmas. 

7. Try a new recipe each week
I tried a ton of new recipes in January. My favorites all came from Ree Drummond's The Pioneer Woman Cooks cookbook.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Warby Parker | Fresh, New Spring Designs

If you're anything like me and have poor eyesight, the thought of wearing glasses every day makes you cringe. I've worn contacts since high school and can count on one hand the number of times I've actually worn my glasses in public. But that was before I was introduced to Warby Parker.

Warby Parker was founded to offer stylish, sophisticated eyewear at a great price. Not only does the company offer high-quality prescription eyewear, it also makes a monthly donation that is used to provide training for men and women in developing countries with the skills they need to give basic eye exams and sell glasses at a reasonable cost. Warby Parker is working to positively impact the over 703 million people worldwide who don't have access to proper eyecare and glasses, one pair at a time.

This Spring, Warby Parker has introduced three new frames and seven colors as part of its Spring 2016 line.

My favorite new pair is the Kensett in Whiskey Tortoise. I love tortoise and it looks great with everything whether you're going to work, out to dinner, or just doing things at home.


Oliver is a little out of my comfort zone, but I think these frames are so cute! I also love the maraschino as it will make my spring wardrobe pop!



My other favorite pair is the Burroughs in Canton Blue. I love the shape of these glasses as well as the bright color.


One of the best things about Warby Parker is it offers a free home try-on. You can pick up to five pairs of frames and the company will ship them to you for free. Simply try them for a few days and ship back within five days (courtesy of Warby Parker). I can't wait to try on some!

**The opinions expressed in this post are mine alone. I was not compensated by Warby Parker for this post.**

Monday, February 1, 2016

February Goals


I can't believe it's already February! This past month was a blur! I had a successful month meeting my January goals (recap to come tomorrow) and have a few goals I'd like to accomplish this month.

1| Read two books. I really enjoy reading and have two books I'd like to read this month: Unmarketing and The Choice.

2 | Get back to my regular exercise. I haven't been able to work out much lately, so in February, I'm looking forward to getting back to my regular exercise routine. I'm also eyeing a few races for my return to racing.

3 | Clean out my kitchen cabinets, bathroom cabinets, and workout room/office upstairs. I'm trying to spring clean room-by-room which is much easier and less-daunting.

4| Decorate my office. I've had my current position for almost four years and my office still doesn't look like I'd like it to. My goal this month is to decorate it.

5| Try at least one new recipe each week. This past month, I really enjoyed cooking and I want to continue this trend of trying a new recipe each week. I'll share my favorites from January soon.

6| Get a massage. We have a gift certificate for a couples massage and I'm ready to book it!

7| Make our Disney album. 

What are your goals for February?