Friday, October 20, 2017

Oh Friday - October Vibes

I am in serious disbelief that October is nearly over.  I mean I guess I shouldn't be too surprised because when you pack you days full (by vacuuming everyday because of all the dog hair and cracker crumbs) and live life for a certain time of day, life tends to go by pretty quickly.  We've been making the most of our October and it really is one of our most favorite months of the year.


We've started on a pretty crazy journey this month! We are trying our very last option to having a biological baby...yep that's right we're doing IVF!! It's all been moving so quickly - which is good because it hasn't really given me time to think about it all πŸ˜‰ but also that we're getting that much closer to the end of this chapter.  IVF was in the talks before we adopted Ellie but our desire to become parents was too strong for the gamble of IVF not to mention my mental/emotional health was really thin.  So here we are 7 years, 2 daughters and one fallopian tube down and we are giving science a go.

one of many blood draws

all my meds

injection training

my nightly dose of injections

I first met with our doctor in the middle of September, then we went to Disneyland and I started on birth control, then I went in for a couple of uterine scans and blood tests when we came back from the Happiest Place on Earth.  Then it was time to go to my injections training and the arrival of a huge box of stimulation meds that I have to inject myself with 2 meds every night at the same time and starting this morning I have to add in a morning shot as well.  I've had some more blood tests and ultrasounds and everything is looking pretty normal.  I've been giving myself shots for 5 days and it's actually not as bad as I thought it was going to be...but I guess my morning injection is the real kicker so we'll find out about that in a couple of hours.


We've been hitting up the Pumpkin Patches pretty hard this month and I don't hear anyone complaining.  Our first visit was to the farm stand we've gone to the past 3 years, then the girls and I went to another local patch for Ellie's school field trip, then we went to a U-Pick patch on our favorite island that was completely empty and we paid on the honor system into their wooden pay box (gotta love country life), and then finally I went back to the local patch with the girls for the last nice day of the week!  I don't know what it is about all those pumpkins but they make my heart go pitter patter and I love that Ellie and Finnley love them too.

she picked the biggest pumpkin in the patch


Ellie comes home from school with the cutest assignments.  She is excelling so much more than I thought she would and I love that she is doing so well in Pre-K.  We tend to butt heads pretty hard at home when it comes to working on our letters or numbers but since school has started she has really acquired a zest for learning and actually wants to do her "schoolwork" with me!! Her school work is actually just those workbooks we picked up at Costco a few months back and she does so good with them.  I am so impressed and know that she is in the right place for her.  But seriously all her school work she comes home with is the sweetest...I'm keeping it all (because I'm a borderline hoarder apparently) and got a filing box to store it all in her closet.


Finnley turned 18 months last week and she is all sorts of adorable.  She is running around everywhere, climbing on all the things, and has multiple meltdowns throughout the day.  Finn is totally hilarious and makes the goofiest of faces.  She doesn't have very many words "Mama" and "Dada" are the most decipherable but she also says "Ella" for Ellie, "Milmil" in a very forceful tone for milk and "Ama ama" for animal crackers or just about any other kind of snack, and "woowoo" to make a car sound, and most recently she's started to say "uhoh".  She is constantly making faces and moves her tongue all around (and can roll her tongue) and makes all sorts of noises, so talking may be in her near future.  
Other notes about this sweet girl she has 16 teeth, is 33" tall and can suck down a pouch in under 3 seconds.  Her favorite things are cell phones, tv remotes, and all the breakable things πŸ˜’. Finnley now loves the bath and comes running when she hears me turn on the faucet, loves to splash and wash her hands in the dog water sink and is still very unsure of the goats.  She loves to help clean up (putting toys in baskets πŸ™Œ but also loves to shove all of her food off of her high chair when she's all done.  She throws herself on the floor multiple times a day in true toddler tantrum fashion and gets so mad about stuff but then in 1 second she's running around and a bowl full of laughter.  She gives her emotions hard and has started kissing us and just thinks its the best ever, I do too!


I dropped my phone the other day πŸ™€ which isn't anything out of the ordinary except for the fact that it cracked my it's going to cost $150 to get fixed or if I wait a few months (which I can) I'll have paid off more of the phone [we have the iPhone forever plan] and only have to pay back 1/2 of what I owe for the upgrade.  The crack isn't horrible, it just barely missed my camera (thank God!!) so I think I'll be fine with the crack for a while.  Anyways I had to take it to the mall to find out from the Apple store how much it was to replace and then to Sprint to find out what my options were and I happened upon H&M...seriously you guys they have the cutest things in right now for Halloween.  I couldn't help myself and I picked up this skirt and this top and then I saw this skirt and this top (similar, for mamas)...thankfully I have two girls so we can use these for a couple of years! And now I've looked online and I can't get over all their other cute stuff...why have I never shopped here before???

Have a happy weekend...I'll be busy waiting for my alarms to go off to give myself injections and head into the clinic for another ultrasound.

♥ Ashley

be sure to check out these posts:
the best ever Pumpkin Dessert
the best ever Pancakes
the Sugar Goblin

Friday, October 13, 2017

Friday Ramblings in October

Do you watch "This is Us"?  I adore that show and truth be told, even though I was a die hard Gilmore Girls fan I did not recognize Milo.  There I said it, my secret is out.  I can relate to this show on so many levels and maybe that's why I love it so much.  Loss of a child(ren), loss of a parent, adoption, and finding yourself.  Well if you do watch the show or not in the latest episode there was a line that just hit me. 

"There is no such thing as a long time ago; there are the memories that mean something and the memories that don't"

So I wanted to talk a little about the memories that mean something.

This time of year is filled with mixed emotions.  I love October and the onset of the holiday season. October is also known as Pregnancy and Infant Loss month, where remember all those who never were. So I am vividly reminded about my life 7 years ago.   In all honesty I'm not even sure how 7 years have already passed.  Thomas and I had started our medical intervention for our infertility.  We had already gone through an HSG and two rounds of clomid with no such luck.  In October of 2010, we added a trigger shot (HCG) to our clomid cycle.  We were filled with so much hope and anticipation, so imagine our excitement in early November when I finally (after 2 years) got a positive pregnancy test!! Then I miscarried with what was an ectopic pregnancy that ruptured and required emergency surgery to save my life.  Since 2010, I have suffered 4 more miscarriages one of which was another ectopic pregnancy that required emergency surgery to save my life.  It's been a rough road, full of emotions and all the hard stuff that goes along with losing a child(ren).
So I want to give out a virtual hug to all those Mama's out there who have carried a child in their heart and not in their arms, I feel you sister and I remember.

Another memory that "This is Us" sparks up are all the memories of my mom.  She passed away from a 15 month battle with brain cancer in March 2012.  Not a day goes by that I don't have some sort of thought of her.  She was kind and supportive, strict and judgmental, loving and an awesome cook.  My siblings and I were her life and much like me her main goal in life was to be a mom.  We didn't always make it easy on her but she rocked at it.  I often find myself in this parenting journey wondering how my mom did it.  I try to reflect back to my childhood and think about the person I am today and try to combine the two into how I am raising my girls.  Parenting isn't easy...and it's much harder when you do it motherless.

"This is Us" also speaks to me on a completely other level...adoption.  I know it well seeing as both of my girls are adopted.  I remember getting the call about both of them.  Ellie's adoption was so raw and emotional...we were still coming off of the pain and loss of pregnancies and my mom along with stories about birth mom's changing their minds that we couldn't breathe until she was ours and we were on our way home with her.  She has been the biggest blessing in our lives and the joy she brings to us in immeasurable.  Finnley's adoption wasn't without worry but it was seamless and perfect...we had Ellie to distract us but also the knowledge and experience of what to expect.  She has been the best addition to our family and brings so much laughter and hilarity to our lives.  Ellie adores being a big sister and having a little sister.  Watching the two of them together and their bond grow and develop has been so much better than I ever could have imagined.  This momlife is so much better than what I signed up for and while the days are long I wouldn't trade it for anything.

lately on the blog:
Pumpkin Crunch Cake the easiest pumpkin dessert ever!
Wheat Germ Pancakes and update on a classic
Ellie's 4th Birthday one of the hottest days of the year perfect for our "island girl"

♥ Ashley

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Fall Recipes - Pumpkin Crunch Cake

Y'all are in for some serious luck here.  It's no secret that we love ourselves some pumpkin here on the farm...pumpkin pie is Thomas' favorite dessert and I will often make him one for his birthday in June. Pumpkin knows no season in our house πŸ˜‰ but sometimes a pie can be more work than I'm in the mood for, good thing I have a delicious and easy alternative!

I'm sharing an updated version of my delicious Pumpkin Crunch Cake.  I've been making it for years and it just gets better and better every time. I originally shared it here and it seriously is easier than pie!!

First we need to gather up all our ingredients:

1 box of cake mix (I used vanilla but Spice Cake is my favorite)
4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 can pumpkin
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1 T maple syrup (optional)
3 eggs
2 sticks butter, melted

Next we need to get everything put together:

• Preheat oven to 350ΒΊ

• In a large bowl combine the condensed milk, pumpkin, pie spice, syrup, and eggs.  Mix together with a whisk until well combined.

• next in a 9x13 backing pan spray with cooking spray and pour pumpkin mixture into prepared pan.

• Next open box of cake mix and gently pour all over pumpkin mixture, spread out with fingers or spatula as needed to cover every nook and crany.

• Melt butter and pour over cake mix, use spatula to spread around a bit.

• Then pop the pan (carefully) into preheated (350ΒΊ) oven and bake for 60 minutes.  When it comes out the top should be golden brown and the pumpkin mixture set.  Set aside and let cool.

For the frosting drizzle:

3 T cream cheese, softened
1/4 c butter, softened
1 T milk
2 c powdered sugar

Using an electric beater mix together ingredients until smooth and spreadable/pourable consistency...may need to add more milk.  Then drizzle all over pumpkin crunch cake, slice and serve.  We love it cold out of the fridge but is also delish at room temperature!

This really couldn't be any easier or more delicious! Make it this for you or your loved ones tonight, you won't be disappointed!

♥ Ashley

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

{Travel Diaries} Disneyland May 2017 - Day 2

This had to be the quickest trip to Disneyland we've had as a family.  We only spent 2 days in the park but we filled them full.  To see what we did on Day 1 go here

Right in the morning we made sure to see as many characters as we could. As usual Ellie was 100% on board and loves them all so very much.  Finnley on the other hand was not impressed and really didn't want much to do with them at all...including the Princesses.

My favorite thing about this picture below is that Finnley is just a complete mess, it cracks me up because we took Halloween pictures at JCPenney back in October 2016 and she was dressed up as Snow White and hated it then too...Poor Snow!!  And then get a peek at Ellie in the background, she is so embarrassed.

After our character meet and greets, the weather was on our side and not painfully hot so we waited in line to go on the Storybook Land Canal Boats and both girls were so excited.  I love this ride because you get to catch a glimpse of various Disney Film lands and it totally makes me want to re-do our yard so that we can have mini Disney lands in our yard!!

We couldn't get enough boats so we made our way to "it's a small world".  This is one of Thomas' favorite rides (it was the only one he would ride on his first trip when he was 5) and truth be told, I don't miss it if I don't go on it...but when you have small children it's generally a good bet.

Over to Critter Country and we got to meet up with Winnie the Pooh and friends.  We just missed Tigger, so Ellie got to give him a high-5, and then we accidentally pushed our way through to meet Eeyore and Pooh (they were supposed to be done with the group in front of us...oops) As long as Finnley was attached to one of us she seemed to be okay with meeting the characters.

We also got to watch Belle on Stage!! If you remember from our previous trip back in December we got all settled and they started the intro and then....they had to cancel the show.  Ellie was devastated and she didn't understand why we didn't get to see Belle.  Well on this trip the Beast let her out of her room and we were very entertained by her story.  The two gentlemen that helped her tell her story are comedic and the show is great for all ages.  Ellie was captivated for most of the show and Finnley needed snacks the whole time.

We knew that we wanted to meet Moana and get a stellar picture with her for use for Ellie's Moana birthday party, so we stopped by the Disney Store to get a costume for Ellie and we could not have scored a better Moana!! We managed to get chosen for first in line, Finnley fell asleep in the stroller, and Ellie was just completely start struck - she was most concerned of the whereabouts of Heihei and Maui though!! haha

We made our way back to the park entrance after a few rides and Ellie got to walk around the Square with Minnie Mouse and another sweet.

Meanwhile Thomas and Finnley were in line for Mickey Mouse so we met up with them just in time to get a few moments with the Mouse who started it all.

Over to DCA for our fastpass to Toy Story Mania, this ride consistently has at least a 60 minute wait.  It's an interactive ride and so much easier to play than Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters over in Tomorrowland.

The benefit of the Park Hoppers is going from one park to the other to avoid the crowds and maximize your time in the parks.  We had plans to go and do some more rides after I ran into Starbucks for an afternoon pick me up, but then I found the best spot for the Electrical Light Parade that I parked the stroller and hung out with Finnley while Thomas and Ellie were hitting up the bathroom.  You know you've fallen into the Disneyland Rabbit Hole when a self proclaimed "I don't like Parades" parks it on the curb 2 hours before the start of a parade...yep that was me and Thomas was so impressed.  I sat with the girls on the curb while he did his fastpass for Indiana Jones and then he came back to take Ellie on the roller coaster and a few more rides in Fantasyland.  There were two super nice girls sitting next to me on the curb and they offered to keep our spot for us so that I could join my family and go on a few more rides before the parade started.
Finnley and I made our way to Fantasyland for Snow White and to shake our heads at the ridiculously long line for Peter Pan...and then we had to book it back to our seats for the Parade.

We barely made it in time.  The Disney Cast members were telling the girls who were saving our seats that they couldn't do that and we were 3 minutes away from them taking our stroller and giving up our spot!! They are serious about their parades in Disneyland!  The parade was everything we hoped and remembered it to be.  Ellie adored the entire thing and Finnley was mesmerized by the whole thing.  Check back soon for some more photos of the parade!

♥ Ashley

Previous Disneyland Trips:

December 2016
February 2016
September 2015
February 2015