Archive for the Life Category

Nov 28 2016

Our Etsy Shop!

Hello Everyone!  It’s been such a long time!  We have missed this space and all of you!  We hope that you all are doing well and had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends.  A lot has happened with both of us since we’ve updated you last.  We both had baby girls who are now one and almost one, both of us moved into new homes which with kiddos is no small feat!   Last year, after both having baby girls six months apart we took a little break from blogging, as you probably noticed. We have continued to find ways to be creative, and that’s how our new business, Alivia and Lillie, was born… Inspired by our sweet girls we started making headbands and bows.

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We were excited to formally launch our business at a Holiday Open House a week ago and were so grateful for the wonderful turnout!  We’ve been working hard to get our Etsy shop up and running in time for the holiday season.  We are excited to say that it is now open!

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Our headbands are one size fits most and made with a nylon band that is very comfortable on your little ones heads.  Our Christmas prints are perfect for upcoming Christmas photos or for stocking stuffers.

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My Lillie girl is modeling one of my favorite bows….the Lillie bow!  This soft pink looks so darling!  And sweet Alivia is modleing our Cora bow.

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We have so many cute patterns! I’m loving this sweet pink and black and white combo!  Mix and match and create a fun color combo to add to your little one’s collection!

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We would be so honored to have you all check it out and if you have any feedback we would welcome that as well.  If you would like to email us your thoughts that would be wonderful!  Also, go check out and please like our Facebook page, so that you can be the first to know news about our Etsy shop! We are also on Instagram as well @alivia_and_lillie. We would love to have you follow us on our new adventure!  We are offering 20% off any purchase today for cyber Monday.  Enter coupon code CYBERMONDAY20. And we would love for your to share us with your friends!  We are so thankful for your continued support and encouragement.  We hope you have a wonderful week!

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Nov 13 2015

Thankful {Friendship}

One of the things I am most thankful for this year is friendship.  I am so blessed to have amazing friends who love and support me through everything.  They are a community, really…we get to do life together and for that I’m so grateful.  I think most people have some type of community they belong to, but not everyone has the type of friends that you can show your stuff to, the not so pretty, crazy parts of life to (That’s been me lately, the one who is showing all her crazy 😉 ).  The kind of people who pray for you, offer you grace when you’re not at your best, and ask to help you.

Before my second child, I had it more “together” and life seemed to go smoother, but isn’t that what community is all about?  Letting people into your real life and doing life together.  This season that we’re in has forced me to kick perfection out the window and to be more authentic with family and friends.  And honestly, it feels good to let people in.  Into the chaos, into the mess, into the joy and laughter that comes when you let go.  To know I don’t have to be perfect to be accepted and loved by others.  To know I will be offered grace when I mess up.  To accept help and prayers when I so desperately need it.

And this community of ours, has been a blessing in such tangible ways!  They have made meal after meal, offered to watch my kiddos, been a listening ear as I tell of my sleepless nights and motherhood woes, invited me for play dates, sent countless encouraging messages, texts, cards in the mail, checked up on me time and time again.  When I think about how well I am loved by my friends I just feel overwhelmingly grateful.  So this is really a heartfelt thank you to all my dear friends.  Thank you for your constant love and encouragement.

We weren’t made to brave this life alone.  We were made to live in community.

So go out there and find your community.  Go get yourself involved in people’s lives.  Find a church where you can dive in and get connected.  Find a MOPS group where you can be supported through motherhood.  Be an encouragement to your coworkers and let them encourage you.  Get to know your neighbors and do life with them.  Let people into your life, let them love you and love them back.

Happy Friday, friends!  Have a wonderful weekend!

Signature - Marissa

Nov 6 2015

Christmas! {An Advent Book}

Hi Everyone!

I can’t believe we are into November already!  Christmas is right around the corner and I want to share with you a wonderful Advent Book that just came out this month!  It’s called “Christmas! The whole story of the God who loves” by Natasha Metzler.  This book is wonderful for the whole family and I love that it tells the story of Jesus’ birth starting at the very beginning in Genesis!  For each day, there is a very short (one minute) Bible story and a gorgeous illustration to go with it.  Below are some sample pages of the book.

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Kids will love hunting for a little bug that is hidden on each page!

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It reminds me a lot of the Jesus Storybook Bible that my family loves to read.  I really love how the author of this advent book shows how each story, even in the Old Testament, points back to Jesus.  The one word titles are very powerful.  I also love how every time the author mentions when God speaks she adds “Really great things happen when God speaks.”   I can’t wait to do read this advent book with my family this year, especially with how much my son loves Bible stories and is understanding more and more.

Here are some ideas I have for ways to incorporate this advent book into your Christmas season with your family:

  1.  This is a great supplement to an advent calendar.  It really puts the focus on Jesus.  Read the story first and then do your advent calendar.
  2. Read the day’s story at the dinner table before or after the meal and start a discussion with the family.
  3. Make a craft or activity to go with each day.  You can find lots of crafts to go with Bible stories through Pinterest.  We have really enjoyed these file folder games for preschool age kiddos.
  4. Act out the story with your family.
  5. Discuss, with your children, how the illustration on each page helps to tell that day’s story.
  6. Before reading the day’s story, show your children the illustration from the previous day and recap what happened.
  7. Use water colors to recreate the picture for each day or create your own picture to go with what stood out to you in the story.
  8. After reading the day’s story (for older kids) use the titles to say or write a summary or for younger kiddos, draw a picture.
  9. Each day when you read the story work on memorizing all of the titles of the chapters in order so that at the end you have a 25 word summary of the Christmas story.  This would be really cool to recite on Christmas!

Christmas!” is now available on Amazon.  Go buy a copy so you can start on December 1st!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

*affiliate links used.  Thank you to the author, Natasha, for providing me with a copy to review.  As always all opinions are mine.

Signature - Marissa

Nov 2 2015

Mondays

As a mom, Mondays are hard for me.  Coming off of two days with my hubby home and lots of family time I enter into a day that usually starts with a very tired mama, a whinny 3 year old, a fussy baby, an empty fridge, and a to-do list a mile long. This is all so overwhelming to me. I’m working on going to the Lord when I am feeling overwhelmed and burdened as a mom and you know what He meets me right where I am.  It’s not my first inclination to go to His word, but I desire it to be.  This morning I chose to start the day off with 10 minutes of reading His living word next to my little guy who was coloring.  In just those 10 minutes I received hope for the day.  I suddenly had more patience with my three year old, and we had a great time doing activities together instead of battling one another.  My crying baby who didn’t want to nap didn’t stress me out.  I simply offered up a breath prayer to God and asked Him to help me.  Jesus knows what I need on Monday mornings and it’s HIM. “From the ends of the earth I will cry to You, When My heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I” psalm 61:2

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I’m joining my sweet friend, Emily @joyfulmothering on Instagram (you can find me at @marissaramsland) as we work to live out #momsservingmoms. Share your tips, tricks, wisdom, recipes, thoughts, scripture, acitivites, and more using the hashtag so that we can all be encouraged. Will you join me? Let’s encourage each other in motherhood and let’s offer up prayers throughout the day to the Lord who is always with us and can get us through our Monday’s!  “Show me your ways O Lord, teach me your paths, guide me in your truths, and teach me, For you are God, my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” Psalm 25:4-5

I hope you all are having a wonderful Monday!

Signature - Marissa

Oct 30 2015

Giving Thanks

I’ve been a worrier all my life…just call me Nervous Nellie.  I think I’ve gotten better over the years, but it is a constant battle that I fight, especially since becoming a mom of two precious little ones.  There is always something to worry about and even when I am at my most content I feel it creeping back in and whispering “Everything is great….but…when will the other shoe drop?”  I am tired of living under the weight of worry and I have a feeling I am not the only one who feels this way.  But I’ve never known how to combat it; it’s almost as if I have no control over when my body starts to react in worry.  I struggle in the moment with practical ways to push out the worry.  I know in those moments I need to go straight to Jesus with even just a breath prayer of “Lord, help me drive out the worry that is in my heart and trust you.”

The other day, I sat on my couch worrying about who knows what that I had no business worrying about and I decided to pick up “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young and… yep!  Look at what it said!  The Lord is so good to meet me when I seek Him and remind me of His truths.

“REFUSE TO WORRY!  In this world there will always be something enticing you to worry…So the temptation to be anxious is constantly with you, trying to worm its way into your mind.  The best defense is continual communication with Me, richly seasoned with Thanksgiving.”

Something really stood out to me when reading this.  The word “Thanksgiving.”

Being thankful can be an antidote for worry!  How have I not soaked this in fully before now?!  I started to look at scripture and sure enough it shows up over and over again.

-“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition with Thanksgiving, present your requests to God” -Philippians 4:6

-“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” -1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

-“always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” -Ephesians 5:20

This made sense to me.  Over the last year or so after I read Ann Voscamp’s “A Thousand Gifts” I have started to see my life more often through the lens of a grateful heart.  Don’t get me wrong, I am no where near perfect in this and there is a lot more work to be done in me, but I have seen a change in myself and I think my husband can attest to this as well.  So while I sat on the couch, instead of continuing to worry I started to think of things I was thankful for right in that moment and it really helped me and even turned my day completely around.  Along with claiming things I’m thankful for when I start to worry, I have decided to do what Ann Voscamp does and start a journal of things I am thankful for.  I am going to keep it out on my coffee table to add to it regularly.  And when I start to worry I can write down things I am thankful for in that very moment.

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Will you join me in challenging yourself to find things each day that you are thankful for?  I think it will completely change your outlook on your day, your circumstances, and your life.  Each week in the month of November I will be writing a post about something I’m thankful for.  I’d love for you to stop by the blog and comment each week with what you are thankful for and maybe even how finding things you are thankful for is changing your outlook.   I will also be sharing some things on Instagram.  You can follow me at @marissaramsand.  Awhile back, Alisa wrote a post about her thankful journal and made this beautiful printable as a great reminder.  I have it hanging in my house to be a constant visual reminder.

Free Thankful printable

If you would like this free printable, simply subscribe to our email list (right sidebar) and email us at allingoodtwine at gmail dot com and let us know you would like us to send you one.  I’d also love to hear if you are taking the challenge with me or how I can be praying for you!

Blessings,

Signature - Marissa

Oct 12 2015

Bedtime Routine Checklist

Any other mamas dread the bedtime routine?!  It’s that time of day when the kiddos all of a sudden have endless amounts of energy and go crazy as you are exhausted and need a break.  It usually includes pleading with them to pick up their toys, trying for 10 minutes to get them in the bath and then trying even longer to get them out of it, wrestling them to get their pjs on, and then once you finally get them in bed, you have to sing 50 million songs, tell stories, get water, take them to the bathroom again and then maybe finally you get to rest!  Whew!

This routine gets old really quick.  Don’t get me wrong, I love snuggling with my little man, singing songs together, praying with him and getting sweet kissses goodnight…I just don’t want the bedtime routine to be a long drawn out fight to get him in bed.  You know what I mean?!  So…I had an idea!

My little guy loves structure…in fact all children need it.  I was determined to make bedtime quicker and easier on us both.  So I made my son a bedtime routine checklist.  I simply made it in Word using clip art for the things that need to get done before his little head hits the pillow.  Then I laminated it, and put velcro on it.

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My little guy LOVES it!  He loves moving the checks to show what he has done, and is so proud at the end when everything is checked off his list.  It has made this dreaded time of night so much smoother!  And when all is said and done my sweet boy has been bathed and is sleeping in bed, the house is picked up and neither of us have shed tears…at least less often now 😉  It doesn’t always go perfectly, but it has drastically improved this time of day for us.  If you would like a copy of the checklist that I made email me and I will send it to you.

Do you have any tried and true ways to make the bedtime routine easier?  Please share in the comments!

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Signature - Marissa

Sep 28 2015

Gender Reveal Party

Back at the end of August we had a little gender reveal party.  We kept it really simple, but it was so much fun!  We had my family and Todd’s family over to my mom’s house for the celebration.  The week prior I put together a few decorations to make it fun and festive.  Whenever I’m out and about and see fun party supplies (like straws, napkins, plates, ribbon, scrapbook paper, etc.) on sale I toss them in my cart, so I had nearly everything I used in my party supply cabinet.  The only thing I purchased was tissue paper for the tissue pom poms I made and flowers from Trader Joe’s.  I highly recommend starting a little party supply stash; it makes it so easy and inexpensive to throw together a last minute get together!

We started the afternoon with some refreshing lemonade, iced tea and yummy appetizer’s my mom made.

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When everyone arrived we did the reveal, because we just couldn’t wait any longer!  We went around and asked everyone’s predictions and passed out these “g” and “b” tags I made with my Cricut machine.  Everyone wrote their name on the back of the tag.  I plan to keep them for the baby’s memory box.  It will be fun to remember who guessed what!  We started with my 2 1/2 year old nephew (Marissa’s little guy).  He said “It’s a girl!” He then went around to everyone asking what they thought the gender was.  Every time he got to someone who thought it was a boy he said very adamantly, “No, it’s a girl!”  It was so funny and made me a little nervous for how he might react if it didn’t end up being a girl!  His little sister (my niece!) was born just a month prior, so I think he equates babies with girls!

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As you can see the majority of our family predicted a girl…Girl-9 and Boy-3

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Three days prior to the party, we had our ultrasound.  We had decided that we wanted to find out the gender with our family at the gender reveal party, so we had the ultrasound technician put the gender in a sealed envelope.  I gave the envelope to my brother so he and his girlfriend could make a poster announcing the gender.  They did such a great job!

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It’s a GIRL!

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Love this photo of my nephew running over to join in on the fun!  I think he was confirming that it was in fact a girl 😉 !

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After the reveal we had Italian take-out from our favorite local restaurant (simple and easy!) and my mom made a delicious salad to go with it.  We had planned to have dinner outside, but that weekend was SO hot!  We ended up eating inside, but sat on the patio for dessert when it got a little cooler.  I used scrapbook paper as place mats and made simple floral centerpieces in mason jars with bundles of flowers I bought from Trader Joe’s.  Forgive the grainy quality of the phone pictures, I didn’t have much light to work with!

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My mother-in-law made her Jell-O pudding cake.  It was so light and refreshing and tasted so good on a hot day!  The color of the cake worked out perfectly!

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We sat around candle light eating our dessert talking about girl names, nursery ideas, etc.  It was such a fun day and it made it so much more real knowing in a few short months we will be having a girl!

Thanks everyone for stopping by and hope you have a great week!

Signature - Alisa

Sep 24 2015

Big Boy Room

Hi Everyone!

Being a mom of two little ones has kept me very busy the past couple months!  I’m back today to share my son’s big boy room with you all.  I still can’t believe my little guy is big enough for a big boy room!  A few months after we found out we were pregnant with our second child I started dreaming and planning for my son’s big boy room.  We decided to keep the nursery where it was and move him to the spare bedroom.  I worked on his big boy room for several weeks all the while not letting my little guy know so that it could be a surprise.

He loved his big boy adventure room when we did the big reveal.  It was so fun to see him so excited and appreciative.  I really love how it turned out!

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We loved the bookcase in my son’s nursery (people always ask where we got it) so we ordered another one (just slightly different) for his big boy room.  It works great when you don’t have a lot of extra room for something like a book case.  We got it from pottery barn kids and waited till we got a coupon in my email.  Then we ordered it by phone and had it shipped to the store (free shipping) which also saved us money.

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These vintage plane printables were free!! Can you believe that?!  I found them on pinterest and they were my inspiration piece for the room.  I didn’t want to be limited to airplanes so I decided to go with the “adventure” theme.  Finding free printables online is a great way to save money when decorating.

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I love how his gallery wall came out.  I ordered this National Geographic map from Amazon.  It was a great price and the colors were perfect.  Another great way to save money when decorating is to shop your own house.  I already had the clipboard, frames, and hanger and along with the free printables (sources below) this gallery wall was very inexpensive.

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He may be in a big boy room now, but there is still a place for Kermi 😉

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Many of the things I used in his big boy room I had in his nursery.  It saved me a lot of money by using some of the same colors in his adventure room.  I used navy and green again and added orange and brown.  It looks like a totally different room, but I was able to use many of the same things.

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I love decorating my home with things that have a history or special meaning.  The bear lamp was made by my mother-in-law’s parents.  They were skilled potters.  My son has admired this lamp for a long time at grandma and poppy’s house so he was very excited to see it in his room!  The little orange plane in the picture above was in my brother’s room growing up.  And the little gray metal tool box on his dresser was my dad’s.

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My little guy is so proud of his big boy room and loves to show it off to everyone who comes over.  It was a lot of fun to design and put together this room and a big thanks to my sweet hubby for all his hard work as well!

Source List:

Toddler Bed- given to us by a friend

Bedding- Target

Curtains-Target

Dresser and night stand- Ikea

Adirondack chair- World Market

Book shelf-Pottery Barn Kids

Wooden sign with verse- DIY tutorial here

White picture frames-Ikea

Rug-Home Goods

Map-Amazon

Navy blue lamp-Home Goods

Navy blue stars-Home Goods (spray painted navy)

Fabric banner- DIY fabric from JoAnn’s

Bear lamp-made by my mother-in-law’s parents

Drift wood sail boat-Home Goods

Large metal L- TJ Maxx

Free Printable Sources:

-4 vintage sketch airplane posters –How To Nest For Less blog

-Adventuring- Couple Jones blog

-I Can Do Hard Things- Lemon Squeezy blog

-I Love You To The Moon and Back (printed in black and white)- A Bubbly Life blog

-Be Strong and Courageous- Gracelaced blog

-Let Your Dreams Take Flight- Happy Go Lucky blog

-Adventure!- I Rock So What blog

Check out my Big Boy Room Pinterest board to see where I got my inspiration and for more ideas on an adventure room.

Hope you all have a great day!

Signature - Marissa

Jul 27 2015

My 2015 Summer Reading List

Last year I shared my summer reading list so I thought I would do the same this summer, even though we are well into July and I’m not sure I will get much reading done with a new baby. 😉  My goal is to read more and look at my phone less while feeding my little one….easier said than done!  I loved that I got some suggestions from you all last year too!  I read “Sparkly Green Earrings” after several people recommended it and I liked it a lot.  Great read if you are a mom.  I laughed a lot and could relate to what the author Melanie Shankle described.  Here is what I’m reading this summer:

1.  The Nesting Place-This is a quick and easy read with lots of inspiring pictures of home decor…my favorite!  Myquillyn challenges us to stop trying to create the perfect home and just create a place where you and your guests can be comfortable to be who they are.  She gives great tips on how to create a space that you love on a tight budget…even when you live in a rental.  I love how she says “It doesn’t have to be perfect to beautiful.”  Loving this book!

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2.  Sacred Chaos-Spiritual Disciplines For The Life You Have– I’ve been reading this for a while and little at a time and loving it!  Tricia Rhoades is the wife of the pastor where we go to church and she is a wise woman!  This book is meeting me right where I am at as a busy mom of two (a toddler and a newborn) and craving to deepen my relationship with God amidst the chaos that is my life right now.  The chapters are short, which I love, and packed full of meaningful insight from Tricia.  At the end of each chapter there are exercises you can do that don’t take a lot of time, but that can draw you closer to Jesus.

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3.  31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom– Arlene Pelicane is a family friend of my husband’s family and she has also spoken at my MOPS group.  She’s a great writer and I am so honored to be apart of her launch team for her new book!  It comes out August 1st so look for it soon!  Life as a mom is wonderful, but it can be crazy, hard and draining too.  “31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom” gives encouragement and wisdom to moms.  Arlene’s book is broken down into 31 daily readings and each ends with an action step to take.

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You can watch the book trailer here.  And if you pre-order the book anytime in the month of July (you have just a few more days) you can get these 3 free gifts:

10 Pesky Questions

Struggling with questions like “Can I watch just one more show?” or   “Do we have to go?”?  Arlene answers these questions and 8 other pesky common queries in   this helpful resource.

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Whether you had your baby last month or twenty years ago (ha!), Arlene will help you rid yourself of a few baby pounds.  This eBook is easy to read and easy to implement!

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My Happy Chart is a place your child can write their tasks (i.e. homework, make bed, dishes…) and then check them off as completed.  I suggest paying a nickel or dime for every check completed without you nagging.

Find out how to get these free gifts when you pre-order here.

4. Breathing Room-Letting Go So You Can Freely Live– My husband just bought this one for our Kindle because it was on sale for a great price.  Normally I love the physical book in my hand so that I can make notes, but I had been wanting to read this one for a while and couldn’t pass up this sale price.  I had read Leanna’s book Found Art and loved it!  Looking forward to diving into this one, cause let’s face it we all need a little breathing room…at least this mama does!

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So what are you reading??  Please share in the comments of email me.  I’d love to get some great suggestions!

Happy Reading!

Signature - Marissa

Jul 23 2015

“B” Is For…

B Is For Baby

“B” is for…Baby Bloom!  

We are so excited to announce we are expecting a baby this December.  I’m almost 18 weeks along and it still doesn’t feel real!  Todd and I have prayed, dreamed and hoped for this little baby for so long.  We feel so blessed and grateful.  It’s funny, out of all the months in a year I think December was last on my list to have a baby.  But, it’s just another example that God has His own plan and His timing is perfect.  I’m due December 26th and it’s a sweet reminder that this is God’s precious gift to us!

For those of you who hope to have a little one of your own, but have experienced miscarriages, or are struggling with infertility, etc. you are not alone.  I’ve been there.  It took us a while to get pregnant and once I did, I went through two miscarriages.  The journey is long, lonely, painful and weary, but don’t lose hope.  If I have learned anything over these past couple years it’s that God is faithful and He is so good.  He has a plan and it is far better than any plan we could dream-up on our own.  Put your faith and trust in Him and in His timing.  I still need to be reminded of this.  Fear creeps in and I have to remind myself to give all my worries over to God.  He is in control.  He brought me to where I am now and He won’t abandon me now.

I hesitated sharing this part of our story because it’s so personal, but my prayer for those with a similar journey is that you will find hope and won’t feel so alone in what you are going through.  I strongly believe in the power of prayer and I’d love to pray for you wherever you are in your journey to baby.  Feel free to send me an email or leave a comment below.  You don’t have to leave your name.  There is also healing in sharing your story and I encourage you to talk to someone about it.

So, I think this explains my absence from blogging a bit!  I had a rough first trimester.  I was on bed rest for a bit when I found out that I had a subchorionic hemorrhage, which praise God went away on its own.  I had no energy and bad morning sickness, which was more like all day sickness.  Now that I am in my second trimester I am feeling better and can’t wait to meet our little peanut.  We will be finding out the gender mid-August, so we will keep you posted!  Thanks to all of our friends and family who have prayed for us during our journey to baby.  We are so excited to soon be a family of three at the end of the year!

Signature - Alisa