Friday, April 28, 2017

Happy Friday!!

We had a busy, fun week at our house.  Everyone was feeling better and we got to do a lot of fun things.  The weather has been gorgeous so our yard got some much needed attention.  We moved a ton of landscaping rocks and by we I mean Kevin.  I encountered a GIANT spider and called it quits.  We've got fun plans for our yard and landscaping so it's exciting to get the ball rolling on those projects.  We're excited for the weekend even though it's supposed to be a rainy one in Indiana.

The BEST parts of our week:

// 1 //
I picked up this darling banner at Target recently.  If fits our donut loving family perfectly and I hunt it right above our kid table in the kitchen.

// 2 //
My husband's work schedule has been packed with conferences, wrapping up the semester, his research lab and travel lately.  So he sent me out on a solo date to do anything I wanted.  I headed to TJ Maxx (duh!), found some birthday presents for Olive, did some consigning and scoped out the flowers at Lowes.  When do you start planting your flower pots for Spring??

// 3 //
My three year old requested homemade pizza for dinner this week.  We got the ingredients at the store and she was thrilled to help me make it.  When it came time to eat dinner she said, "Actually I do not like pizza!"  Insert eye roll.  The rest of us enjoyed the delicious pizza.

// 4 //
It looks like Fletcher's room is going to be the first bedroom that is completely finished.  I finished his alphabet mobile this month and just need to take time to photograph the room.  It turned out darling and I learned that I really love decorating for a little boy.

// 5 //
Summer means my husband has a more relaxed work schedule, pool days, family walks around our neighborhood, seeing more family and friends and enjoying being outside.  So this warm weather has made us anxious for all things summer (minus the humidity!!)  We've been having so much fun with our bubble blower!  Fletcher learned how to operate it himself and he was thrilled.  Don't anyone else dare touch the start button when he's around.  He's doing great with his walking and Olive is thrilled that it is dress weather again.  Kevin and Olive also snuck out to Dairy Queen one evening to bring us back Blizzards for dessert.  Tasted like Summer!!

Polka-Dotty Place Week in Review:
Thank you for all of your kind, encouraging comments on my infertility story yesterday.

I hope you have a really great weekend!!

Linking up with

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Infertility: I Never Thought It Would Happen to Me

I never thought INFERTILITY would be part of OUR story.

(Mother's Day 2016)

We had no family history of infertility on either side and I just assumed we'd have a baby when we decided it was time.  Neither of us were in a hurry to start our family when we first got married.  We were living in Utah, Kevin was busy with graduate school and I was teaching and working on my masters. We loved being married and were really happy just the two of us.  We started talking about having kids more seriously seven or eight years into our marriage.  We talked about the changes, the good, the bad and mostly all the unknowns.  We prayed about all of it, decided we were ready and expected positive news quickly.

I've never shared our infertility journeys, but it felt like it was time.  I wanted to write out our stories so that I'd have it to look back on and so that the kids could read it some day.  It is something that strengthened our marriage and I'm thankful for that.  It was a hard time that we went through twice, but all of it has made us EXTRA thankful to be parents to two sweet kids.

Our Journey to OLIVE

(newborn Olive 5.29.13)

We excitedly decided to start trying to have a baby, but month after month no luck.  We weren't too discouraged until we hit the one year mark.  At my routine physical I mentioned that I'd been trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant for a year and my doctor said I should go see a fertility specialist.  I immediately felt broken and like something was wrong with me.

We were living in Utah and it seemed as though everyone and their mom was having babies.  I was throwing baby showers for friends and coworkers, but it just wasn't my time yet.  I was thrilled for them and envious at the same time.  I made an appointment and felt nervous walking into the fertility specialist's office.  I think I was still in shock that this was necessary.  Kevin was super encouraging and optimistic through everything and I always appreciated that.

I loved my doctor right away and she seemed super confident she could help me get pregnant.  She asked questions, did exams and then we started the process of tracking, testing and taking medicine.  It was daunting and not very romantic, but we did what we had to do.  I'd go in for blood work, take medicine, track cycles and repeat.  We'd adjust dosages and then repeat.  I was responding well to her treatment plan so that was encouraging.

May 2012
September - I got pregnant on my 5th round of fertility medicine!

My numbers were looking great each month and things were looking promising.  The doctor adjusted my doses each month as needed and we were paying close attention to everything.  The appointments were keeping me busy since I was also teaching full time.  I did my regular monthly blood work in September, got a great report from the nurse with a big wait and see!  I still remember that moment so clearly.  I was working in my classroom after school and I felt so much excitement after her phone call!

We followed our monthly scripted schedule which is anything, but romantic and waited to see if I got pregnant.  Spoiler alert: It worked and we were pregnant with Olive.  I stuck with the same doctor through delivery and had a really pleasant pregnancy.  I had some issues with high blood pressure towards the end, but ultimately it was an uneventful pregnancy thanks to starting the process with my infertility specialist.  She's been a dreamy 1st child and has taught me that motherhood is just as wonderful as I hoped it would be.

You can read more about that back in my 2012/13 archives:

Olive's Birth Story
Part 1 // Part 2 // Part 3

Our Journey to FLETCHER

(newborn Fletcher 3.29.16)

Given our infertility history with Olive, we knew we'd likely have to have some help getting pregnant a second time.

We made two big moves since living in Utah so we were now thinking about finding a doctor in Mississippi to help us.  I started by going to my regular obgyn for help.  I shared my history, gave her a print out of the timeline of my pregnancy with Olive and asked what she could do to help me.  I felt confident in the fertility medicine I used the first time and we went ahead and started that again.  Olive's doctor in Utah had told me there was no guarantee that I'd struggle with infertility again, no guarantee I'd need exactly the same medicine again and the second pregnancy could be different than my first.  So my super planned out self had prepared for things being different the next time.

We started the medicine again in October 2014.  I started going in to do my monthly blood work, testing and appointments again, but this time had to bring Olive with me.  It was hard to juggle the appointments and a little one.  Kevin was very busy with his internship and wasn't able to get much time off.  Thankfully, I had another great doctor that was more than accommodating when I'd show up with an 18 month old in tow.

October, November and December of 2014 were discouraging months.

My numbers were not reflecting my medicine and things were not working out like they did with Olive.  The medicine I had responded so well to with Olive was not working.  I knew this could happen, but the reality of it stung a bit.  My ob said given my history it was time for me to be referred to another infertility specialist.  I was disappointed and hopeful all at the same time.

It's hard to describe all of the emotions you go through throughout infertility.

I made my appointment at the big time infertility clinic that was very well known in Mississippi.  I met Kevin in the parking lot so he could take Olive.  My initial appointment was a couple hours long and I knew it wasn't doable to take Olive with me.  I was interviewed, examined, had blood drawn and then the doctor came up with a personalized plan for me.  He determined that I had Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and that was the cause of my fertility issues.  I was nervous the whole time and worried they'd end up saying we were going to have to do more than take some medicine to have a second baby.

I started a new, stronger fertility medicine and started tracking, timing, scheduling and making appointments again.  Kevin would tell you that this scheduling and hyper focusing on your systems was a bit exhausting.  Olive would come up with for blood work and I was always checking in.

January 2015 showed that I was not responding to the new medicine.  February - July of 2015 were a little more encouraging on the same medicine.  I was responding to the medicine so I was feeling optimistic.  Each month I'd go in, give blood, get good results, but still not be pregnant.  The doctor said he wanted to stay the course a little longer since my numbers were looking good.  July 2015 came and I did finally get pregnant for the 2nd time.  I feel like it was a bit of a miracle.  I hate to sound dramatic, but it really did feel like we could see our prayers being answered.

You may remember at this same time that we were selling our house in Mississippi, moving to Indiana and adjusting to another new city/job at this time.  When we got to Indiana, I found out that I was pregnant a few weeks later and had to find a new doctor right away.  I was so thankful for my doctor in Mississippi and was anxious to establish care in Indiana.  This was such a blessing to our family because I knew this last round - Round #10 - was my last shot at getting pregnant for a while.

It took TWICE as long to get pregnant the second time.  My doctor in MS had told me that after my last cycle in July of 2015 that I would have to come in for further testing/evaluation if I wasn't pregnant.  He said we'd need to come up with a new game plan for me to have a baby at this point.  I knew this would mean more money, more time and more details to pay attention to.  It was all really intimidating so getting pregnant with Fletcher on my last cycle was a HUGE BLESSING.  That isn't lost on me.

We had a happy, healthy 2nd pregnancy.  I still had high blood pressure issues that required extra monitoring, but everything worked out just fine.  We are super thankful to have Fletcher in our family.

My First 12 Weeks

Fletcher's Birth Story

Thanks for reading and following along with my family.
I really appreciate your support, friendship and encouragement here.

Did you know that this week is Infertility Awareness week??

If you are currently struggling with infertility, I'm so sorry.

I can easily come up with a list of sweet friends that I know are struggling with infertility right now.

 It feels like such a lonely place to be in, but I just want to encourage you that there are lots of people in the same boat even if people don't talk about it much.  I have been there and I know how challenging the process can be.  Feel free to email me  I have great contacts in Utah and Mississippi for Infertility doctors and would be happy to encourage you in your journey.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Playing with Wildflowers

(Olive's collection)

Our yard is bursting with blooms right now!  Our cherry tree is all decked out, violets have sprouted and there are plenty of dandelions.  My 3 year old thinks they are all beautiful so we went wildflower picking the other day.  I got out two big bowls and we headed outside.  We each filled our bowl with anything beautiful that we found and then compared our hauls at the end.

We spent at least an hour picking and collecting.  We'd give each other sneak peeks at our flowers, but did the collecting on our own.  The only rules were that we had to stay in our own yard, you had to be able to reach your own flowers, watch out for bees and put your flowers into the bowl so we could use them inside.  

This picture accurately describes what Fletcher thinks of grass right now.
What is this spiky stuff!?!?!

 The "beautiful yellow sunflowers" were her favorites :)

I collected mostly violets and Olive's collecting was more eclectic with pine cones, dandelions, cherry blossoms, violets, pine needles, etc.  First, we each laid out our collections and presented them to the other.  It was fun to hear her describe all of the fun things she discovered in the yard.

 Then, we got busy making things.  This was her bird with a pine cone beak, tail feathers and more.

We counted, sorted, lined up the rest.

Then we built a flower house together.

We really had a great time picking wildflowers together and will be sure to do it again.  The flowers were perky and lasted great for a couple of hours.  It was so much fun to examine them up close and get our hands dirty.

scissor practice cutting apart the flowers to create things
wildflower soup
making recipes
making shapes
spelling names with wildflower letters
compare/contrast wildflowers

What activities would you do with the wildflowers??

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Kentucky Derby Party

The Kentucky Derby is coming up on May 5th and 6th and I love all the festivities surrounding it.  Olive loves horses so I think we'll have a fun, low key Derby party at home this year.  I'm sure she'll want to do some pretend horse races of her own.  I wanted to share some of my favorite Derby recipes with you today so you could get some ideas for  Derby party of your own.

I promised you this carrot cake recipe last week and here it is!  I figured since horses love carrots, it was the perfect treat to include in my Kentucky Derby post.  My whole family loved these and have been requesting I make another batch ASAP.  

Carrot Cake:
1 cup sugar
1/2 c oil
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
1/2 t salt
1 c flour
1/2 t baking soda
2 t cinnamon
2 cups grated carrots

Combine ingredients starting with the sugar and oil.  Add in eggs and vanilla.  Mix in dry ingredients and fold in carrots.  Bake at 325 for 18-22 minutes or until the cupcakes are set.  Let cool.  You could easily bake this mixture in bread pans, mini bundt pans or as a layer cake.  Cupcakes are just my go to since they bake so quickly.

Recipes Yields: 12 cupcakes

Typically carrot cake is served with cream cheese frosting.  My husband doesn't care for that so I opted to make my Homemade Buttercream instead.  It was delicious on the carrot cake!

Kevin loves to make a good cocktail so it's fun to be his taste tester.  This Blush Lily was a delicious drink that would be perfect for a Derby party.  You can find all the drink details here.

How can you go wrong with a pie that includes chocolate chips and pecans??  You can't!  You can find the recipe here and I just know you'd love it!  I'm definitely planning on making one for my family for our Derby party and serving it with vanilla bean ice cream.

If making a pie sounds intimidating, then these pie bars are for you!  They're really easy and delicious!  You can find my recipe here

What are your plans or traditions for Derby weekend??

It's time to link up with my favorite Tuesday Talk ladies,
Southern Plate and Momfessionals!
Be sure to join us with your best post of the week.
Crystal at Hall Around Texas | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram  
Stephanie at Wife Mommy Me | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
Becky at BYBMG | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
Lindsay at Lindsay's Sweet World | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram
Sarah at Sarah E. Frazer | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram

Monday, April 24, 2017

April Recipe Round Up

I have so many yummy recipes to share with you today!  I did a lot of cooking this month so I hope you can find at least one new recipe to try.  We tried new things and had a delicious month.  We eat together as a family almost every night so it's fun to come up with a menu of yummy things to look forward to eating with everyone.  I think the favorite food of the month were the omelets with the quesadillas a close second.

I FINALLY figured out the secret for making omelets this month.  Usually I'd attempt them and then end up making scrambled eggs out of them because it didn't work.  Well, let me tell you the secret: Pour all of the ingredients into a hot skillet and let them cook.  DO NOT flip or fold your omelet until it is almost all the way cooked.  I always tried to flip it too soon.  It's got to be nearly all the way cooked before it can be flipped or turned.  You're welcome.
We each picked our favorite ingredients and had different omelets.  I did ham and sharp cheddar for mine and Kevin picked turkey sausage, onions, peppers and sharp cheddar.

We've only been eating baby spinach for our salad greens this month.  It's the cheapest dark green lettuce option at Sams and it lasts way longer in my fridge than mixed greens.  I made an Easter Salad with all of my favorite Easter foods.  It was delicious with Honey Mustard Dressing.  Ken's is my favorite.

black beans (drained & salted)
your favorite salsa
sharp cheddar cheese
tortilla shells
+ all the fixings (sour cream, more salsa & guac)

Load everything onto your tortilla shells and toast each side.
Super easy and Super yummy!!

I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago called Black Bean Fan Club with all of my favorite black bean recipes in case you're a black bean lover like me :)

2 bags of boil in a bag white rice
1 chopped onion
1 chopped carrot
1 c frozen peas
soy sauce

My family loves fried rice and this was an easy side to whip up at home.

I bought a bag of Sweet Potatoes at Sams and they were HUGE.  I halved them and baked them for sides this month.  I washed them, cut them in half, drizzed on olive oil, sea salt and cinnmon.  They were amazing with a sprinkle of brown sugar at the end.
 I also added craisins to a pouch of quinoa for a side and it was delish!

I made a big batch of crock pot shredded chicken and we had quesadillas several times this month.  I just buy one bag of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and put them in a crockpot frozen for 6 or so hours.  Shred them and then add taco seasoning.  Two ingredients and it's delicious!
I add onions to Kevins, make plain cheese quesadillas for my kids and then chicken and cheese for me.  I always use sharp cheddar cheese.

We picked up these premade crab cakes on super sale at Meijer this month.  They were tasty and it was a really easy dinner.  I'd love to learn to make my own crab cakes, but for now the premade kind were delicious.

Have you tried any new recipes lately??

Now I'm starving!!  Which recipes are you anxious to try???
I'm linking up with 2 of my favorite cooking ladies today
and we're all sharing our best recipes from the month.

Linking up with Southern Plate

Katie @ Cup of Tea
New Recipes to Try April

Whitney @ Come Home for Comfort
What We're Eating April

Head over to their blogs to see what delicious meals they are sharing this month!
 We've also started a Pinterest Board called
New Recipes We've Tried and Loved!
Be sure to check it out and get some great ideas for meals at your house.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Friday Faves

Happy Friday!!  I hope you've had a great week.  We had a pretty good one, but I'm ready for the weekend.  My kids have colds so no one has been sleeping as well as usual.  BIG NEWS... Fletcher started WALKING this week!!  I'm in no hurry for him to grow up, but crawling around outside is hard on his little legs.   I posted a super cute video of him walking to his big sister on Instagram (@polkadottyplace) this week.  He's pretty proud of himself.  We have some friends coming over for dinner tonight and I think we are grilling.  I'm also hoping to get lots done around the house this weekend since it's supposed to rain.

Friday FAVES from the week:

// 1 //
I've been loving plants more and more the last couple of years.  I used to be notorious for killing any plant that came near me, but I am learning how to care for plants.  I'm currently admiring my neighbor's gorgeous tulips and gathering succulents for a little kitchen window garden.  I'm hoping to head to Lowes soon to check out their plant selection.

// 2 //
We made it to Rural King this week to check out the chicks!  It was so much fun to go around and see all the different varieties.  They were sold out of bunnies, but we still had a fun time eating popcorn and strolling through the store.  Fletcher was definitely more excited for his snack than for the chicks.

// 3 //
I did a whole Hoppy Easter post earlier this week, but I had to include a few more fun moments from the weekend.  We dyed eggs and Olive did most of the dipping, we ate a nontraditional Easter meal of burgers and then I made some delicious carrot cupcakes for dessert.  Stay tuned for that recipe soon because they were AMAZING!


 // 4 //
I just put together a large box of accessories and shipped them off for swag bags at the Bloom conference in SC.  It sounds like it's really going  to be an amazing event for moms so I'm thrilled to be included.  There are so many pretty things in my shop right now.

// 5 //
We headed to Sams to scope out the Summer items.  I've been looking at Puddle Jumpers for Olive
and have been going back and forth on them.  I think she would do really well with one and I know I'd be happy knowing she had it on when I take both kids to the pool by myself.  Do you have one you love??  At what age did your kids start wearing them?
 Also, any day that involves soft pretzels is a good one :)

 Fletcher had his 1 year well check this week and is doing great!  He's in the 95th percentile for everything and he started walking this week.  He was so sweet at the doctors office and had tons to say to the doctor.  It's always encouraging to hear that your kids are healthy and doing well.

Polka-Dotty Place Week in Review:

I hope you have a really great weekend!!

Linking up with