Friday, October 16, 2015

Infant and Pregnancy Loss Day 2015

Infant and Pregnancy Loss Day

In celebrating our first baby's life, here is a poem that I kept on my desktop throughout this whole year.

I didn't know how today would go. For the most part I was so absorbed with moving into a different position at work that I was honestly more frustrated by the time the end of the work day approached. Part of me wanted today to go perfectly but then again how can it when something so wonderful was lost? 

Ultimately it was a beautiful moment for reflection. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

Childhood Memories, Foster Care, and American Girl Dolls

Growing up with American Girl dolls was a huge part of my childhood.  I jokingly (sort of) titled this post with "Samantha was the popular one" because the historical line was such a big deal back in my day.  I remember everything from the Christmas that I received my first American Girl Doll, Samantha and I loved each girl's storyline.  I collected the books, outfits, everything.  I think it was also a big deal for my mom because as a little girl I had all of these adventures with my doll and when my mother was growing up, she did not have access to dolls and quality toys do to the poverty of her community.  She and I had gone down to the American Girl Place in Chicago a couple years ago because I never got to go as a kid.  I begged my parents to go and would tote Samantha with me to every visit to Chicago but no dice.  So going as an adult was still an almost overwhelming experience and during that time they archived Samantha (stupid business mistake) and brought her back last year.  However back to the trip to the American Girl place.  My mom saw this doll with gorgeous long blonde hair named Julie.  I could tell that in that moment my mom was a little girl again.  That is the magic of childhood and having that bond with toys that spark your imagination and playtime.  Two Christmases ago I was able to surprise her with the Julie doll.  

Thank you so much for my beautiful doll. It's the first one I've ever had.  I have tears in my eyes.

I loved that moment so much!  With my recent ectopic pregnancy I think I've become tremendously reminiscent of my childhood.  It's been a strange time because I have wanted to be a foster parent and now I feel like Ryan and I are now officially set in a situation where we can seriously consider that.  We have always wanted to adopt and with both our work with foster children and children from low income families, foster-to-adopt is one means that we are very interested in.  That's not to say that we won't try again later to have a successful pregnancy but I'm feeling really good about moving forward.

I started praying more and more about this situation and God refocused a lot of my quiet moments on my childhood memories and bringing that type of happiness to a child.  Ryan and I started bringing up the conversation of foster care again.  The next morning the director for foster care at DPHHS called me. It was this weird, divine intervention-like phone call.  He also called me when I was two blocks from DPHHS so I stopped in and picked up a packet of paperwork.  I was kind of nervous because Ryan and I had struggled in our conversations the last time we talked about it.  However, we've been chugging through all of the paperwork.  We had to come up with four references and we have so many couples and amazing people in our lives volunteer!  I'm feeling great about this process.  

I had this dream where Ryan and I took this little girl that we adopted who was probably 7-years old to the American Girl Place in Chicago with the rest of our family.  She was so cute and so excited as she picked out her very own American Girl doll.  It was this fantastic dream of our family's memories on this vacation with everyone.  I'm excited for what the future will bring.

I not only imagine playdates but sweet little girls dressing up as princesses and family vacations to Disney.  I know Ryan is going to be a phenomenal dad so it's all very exciting.  Even if a child needs a temporary home, I know we can provide that and are excited for that opportunity.  

As I've been going through this process, I came across this awesome organization created by a little girl named Becca.  Dolls for All is a great group that raises money every year to purchase American Girl dolls for girls in foster care.  This is a fantastic article about the work they did in 2013.  It seems like they can raise money for 18-19 new dolls and gently used American Girl dolls are also donated leading to a total of 32-33 dolls given to girls in foster care.  My childhood was so closely bonded to my adventures and imaginative play that I feel every girl should have a toy or toys that represent that for them.  Since Mattel has ultimately changed the branding of American Girl Dolls, I don't know if they have quite the same impact and worth, especially due to their prices but nevertheless, every child should have a toy that is that special to them.  

It's sparked an interest in me to do something similar for the little girls in my community here who are part of foster care.  I don't know exactly how to start.  Do I need to file official paperwork? I might start making a few phone calls on the topic because I would like to heavily work on fundraising and ultimately purchase the dolls for Christmas to distribute as presents.  Any tips or tricks for starting this would be marvelous!   

If you liked this post, share it with others! If you feel particularly moved by it, leave a comment because I love feedback and discussion. Social media links are provided below and thanks for reading!
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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Little Fierce Experience: Ectopic Pregnancy

difficult pregnancy perspective
This pregnancy has been such a crazy ride for me and Ryan.  We found on the 16th of April with four Clear Blue pregnancy tests that we were pregnant.  The sheer joy of that moment is so amazing and I will never forget it because it was so wonderful and pure in its existence.  On the 20th of April we found out, what doctors believed, to be a miscarriage.  It was so difficult on us because you need more than one blood draw to see if your hcg (pregnancy hormones) levels are going up or down.  For a successful pregnancy you want them to go up and they actually went down.  The waiting was the most difficult part.  It took three days to come up with that result and from then on I needed to monitor my hcg levels on a weekly basis so that meant going to the medical group once a week for blood draws.  
The thing is, my hcg levels were going up.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Mamamor Dolls: Handcrafted Birthing and Breastfeeding Dolls

I recently came across Mamamor Dolls and I think they're amazing! I often feel that birth, especially in movies and the media, is made to be this atrocious event and that's not the case! I've been reading Ina May's Guide to Childbirth and it is incredible some of the medical cases that women have gone through or information that they've been told.  Ultimately the midwives of The Farm, the community that Ina May is a part of that help women birth naturally, is so unique.  They help women become in tune with their bodies and truly appreciate the birthing process.  It is so simply beautiful!

That is why I enjoy the Mamamor Dolls so much! They can be a teaching tool for midwives or doulas, a way to explain to a child the process of pregnancy and childbirth, or to help a woman understand her body or potentially the loss of a child.  It's such a lovely tool and you are helping to support a small business! So much good!!

This weekend is their Memorial Day Sale and you can get 20% off!

Use this code: weekendsale

If you liked this post, share it with others! If you feel particularly moved by it, leave a comment because I love feedback and discussion. Social media links are provided below and thanks for reading!
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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Little Fierce Experience: Las Vegas

Little Fierce Experience: Las Vegas

I recently had the amazing opportunity to go on my first TDY.  It's sort of like a business trip for my job.  Me, along with three other colleagues got to make it into a road trip of sorts down to central coast California.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Little Fierce Experience: Brush Crazy Farewell Party

Girl's Night Out!

My beautifully spirited friend Ashton set up a "happy TDY/going away" event at Brush Crazy.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Little Fierce Experience: Galentine's Day 2015

Little Fierce Experience: Galentine's Day!

I wanted to throw a party that celebrated the unique sisterhood and bond of women so I invited several of favorite ladies over for a Galentine's Day party.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Little Fierce Experience: Having a Miscarriage

Little Fierce Experience: Having a Miscarriage

Today marks one week since my miscarriage started. 

Today also marks one day since I submitted a paper for my counseling course on the topic of miscarriage.

My life is so filled with's ridiculous.

If you've followed my blog or know me in person, you know that I love babies and have had baby fever ever since I knew in my heart that I was going to marry Ryan.  So the prospect of having a baby is one that filled my heart with sheer joy.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Nashville by Inglath Cooper Book Review

I had the wonderful opportunity to review Inglath Cooper's 4-part series, Nashville.  I am a fan of the show Nashville, predominantly because I love country music and I have totally purchased songs off of iTunes as soon as I have heard a new favorite on an episode.  Telescope, both the acoustic and Hayden P's version are some of my favorites.  So when I was asked to review a copy of all four parts of Cooper's work, I was excited!  What I like about this storyline, even more than the show Nashville, is that the plot surrounds up-and-coming musicians.  They're trying to make their way in the heart of country music.  So although this book shares the same name as a popular show, they're really not alike.  

I brought this book with me on a recent business trip to Wisconsin and it was a fast read, taking me about 2.5 hours to get through a sizeable amount of the text.  Cooper's characters are engaging and what I really like about them is that it's fun for the reader to cheer them on as they make their way from renting an apartment with no furniture to playing at the Bluebird Cafe.

The storyline starts off innocently enough, a blonde girl (CeCe Mackenzie) is trying to make her way into country music.  She takes off in a beat up a car, with her guitar, lyric book, and dog.  Of course the car breaks down (epically), but it's almost divine intervention as she meets two Georgia men who are also in the business of making their way into country music.  Both of these guys played football back home while in college and it kind of reminded me of the real-life storyline of hunky musician Sam Hunt.

Cooper builds a trusting relationship with her characters as CeCe is almost embraced into this small family of two buddies.  Of course, there has to be a romantic storyline and I was almost disappointed that Cooper chose to go with what felt like the obvious choice (tall, dark, handsome).  I actually wanted her to go after Thomas Franklin ;).  However, the love interest is a bit tainted and Cooper does a really good job of keeping a realistic approach to it.  While I feel the relationships were really well done, Cooper does throw in some interesting plot twists that at times felt kind of like I was reading a Sims game but it was fun.  I really enjoyed how her characters chose to face adversity yet valued integrity.  I think that's a wonderful life lesson to include in young adult novels.  Cooper navigates some rather complicated relationships and scenarios throughout the four-part series.  The fourth part is especially complicated with a rather dark scenario, but again Cooper puts her characters through intense situations to let their character development be the focus.

This is a great read for the person who is looking to fall in love with a group of characters who are just genuinely good people.  You get to root for the good guys!  There is something so charming about this little family of three and you want to see them succeed and for everyone to be happy.  It's perfect for a plane ride or an upcoming poolside read. 

If you liked this post, share it with others! If you feel particularly moved by it, leave a comment because I love feedback and discussion. Social media links are provided below and thanks for reading!
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Friday, February 13, 2015

50 Shades of Grey: Topics of Consent versus Non-Consent

Y'all I feel so worn out by all of the media coverage on 50 Shades.  So much of it is inaccurate and thrives off of BDSM being an area of relationships that people are both wary and unfamiliar with.  I don't want this post to focus on advocating for the book series because I enjoyed them with a grain of salt.  The writing is terrible and I think E.L. James needed to do more research in terms of true and accurate BDSM relationships.  If I'm getting down to brass tacks, I think she may have amplified a few stereotypes BUT I also believe that it opened up conversations and discussions that you see today.  What concerns me are all the posts and articles that discuss abuse based on scenes from the novels that are taken out of context.  BDSM involves dominant and submissive relationships that people simply do not understand and it also involves a lot of research.  BDSM is NOT under any circumstances an abusive relationship.  To say otherwise is grossly inappropriate.  I don't believe that the book series is a good example of BDSM but I will use the book's contents to hopefully explain some of the topics.

1. There is so much communication.  Both partners (or multiple partners) are in constant communication to ensure that their partner enjoying themselves and are comfortable with proceeding.

2. Everything is discussed and communicated between partners.  BDSM involves checklists and scripts- you know what's going on or what could go on in a scene.  Grey actually sits down with Ana to discuss everything and puts it into a contract. They are actually able to discuss what they are and are not comfortable with, including the use or lack of safe words.  BDSM highly incorporates the use of safewords.  If Ana is not comfortable with anything, she is able to voice that and Grey will listen.

3. The submissive (sub) controls the scene.  It seems ironic (since it's the sub) but he or she controls the scene because if he or she is uncomfortable- where's the fun in that? BDSM is another form of pleasure and intimacy.  The articles I have placed down below are great resources to dive into those topics.

4. BDSM is not always about sex, it can lead into other areas of your life.  I think James went about this strangely with the book because I don't think people fully understand that BDSM doesn't have to be all about whips and chains, but simply control.  Christian does this frequently throughout the book without leading into sex, which people view as stalking.  I think James' lack of explanation and thorough use of research put people in an awkward place with understanding the narrative and the culture of BDSM. 

5. Your pleasure may not be someone else's pleasure.  I put this post together because I was really concerned with how easily people wanted to label 50 Shades as abuse- especially from so many bloggers and Christian websites.  That has been really frustrating because I've read the articles and I don't feel that they're sourced properly.  It just overwhelmingly seems that this is a topic that people are uncomfortable with it so they prefer to demonize it. 

With all of that said, you or I or anyone does not have to be into this.  That's the beauty of it.  This is one way to approach a relationship, but it's not for everyone.  I would just caution so many media outlets and bloggers from labeling it as abuse.  Especially since I keep hearing people say that they haven't read it or are garnishing their opinions from the comments section of an article who authors haven't read it.  

Here are some other great articles:

25 Facts About BDSM That You Won't Learn from Fifty Shades of Grey

Buzzfeed's Kink Video

My friend Nicole wrote a great article about Christian Grey and relating it to Christianity.

If you liked this post, share it with others! If you feel particularly moved by it, leave a comment because I love feedback and discussion. Social media links are provided below and thanks for reading!
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