Family, Infertility and Miscarriage

miscarriage, fertility and the value of life

August 30, 2016


This post has been mulling around in my head for weeks. I feel as if the writing on this blog has been full of fluff and low on substance, lacking the meaty content that comes in waves depending on the season of life I’m in. Truth be told, seasons of shallow writing usually mean one of two things for me: things are going really, really well or things are going very poorly. Though this time, it’s a little bit of both.

Life is sweet right now. Ainsley is growing and changing rapidly and becoming so FUN to be around. She has a spunky little personality that keeps us laughing and smiling on repeat. And work is fulfilling for Joe. And I’m loving my new flexible work schedule that allows me to spend more time at home while still doing things that inspire me.

Life is sad right now. Because we miscarried for a third time last month, our second month trying for a second child. Because I hoped that this time around things would be different, easier and that I wouldn’t have to dig up all those old emotions and fears that I packed up and put on a shelf after Ainsley was born.

I didn’t share sooner because, as anyone who has walked a road of infertility and miscarriage can tell you that when you share about your fertility struggles the worst thing that someone can do is look at you with that look. The look, full of pity, that says, “I’m sorry you don’t have what I have.”

But I love you all. Some of you I know personally, others I know via e-mail and social media. Your prayers lifted us countless times over the years and I’ve been humbled by the kindness of strangers more times that I can count. In the year and a half since Ainsley’s birth I can’t tell you the number of strangers I’ve met who have told me that they’ve prayed for my daughter. It floors me every single time.

So, because you share in our joy, I’m sharing with you our sadness, too. Because I know that this blog is made up of readers who are my tribe of women. Women who have walked the difficult, weary road that only the fertility-challenged can understand. Women who have cared about our fertility struggles even if they haven’t experienced them personally.

To my fellow mommas and mommas-to-be who are trying to grow you family:

You are the bravest group of women I know. Every time you smile in the face of adversity or deliver a baby meal for a friend’s new baby or take a shot or pill or five thousand crazy vitamins and supplements, you’re brave. And when you choose JOY for others instead of bitterness, jealousy or envy, you’re doing kingdom work that is glorifying God.

I don’t know if our journey to our next (God willing) baby will be long or short, but I do know that I’ll need your support, and my desire is to provide support and encouragement for those walking this road with me. Longing for another baby while being deeply thankful for the amazing gift of the child that we do have.

Thank you for making this space such a supportive and safe space for me to share about our family. I’m so thankful for each and every one of you who read the words that I write.



Favorite Early Fall Old Navy Finds

August 29, 2016


Top: Old Navy Classic Chambray Shirt // Jeans: Madewell High Riser Skinny  //
Shoes: Coolway Open To Booties

While I love quality in my clothing for the most part, I have a fair number of pieces from Old Navy as well. Their clothes are trendy and adorable, and if you pick your pieces right, they can stand the test of time. You just need to know what you’re looking for. Over time I’ve found certain materials and styles from Old Navy just aren’t worth my time, while others are great values.

Their clothes for fall are SO good, you guys! From chambray tops that fit so well to fun, long-sleeved dresses, here are my favorite recent finds for fall.


Top: Relaxed Boat Neck Tee (Old Navy) // Shorts: American Eagle Tomgirl Shorts // Necklace: Natalie Borton


Dress: Knit Swing Dress (Old Navy) // Shoes: Coolway Open Toe Booties 


Sweater: Open Front Cardigan (Old Navy) // Jeans: Madewell High Riser Skinny // Shoes: Target

Food & Recipes

Strawberry Pie // Week 1

August 24, 2016


Last weekend I promised to make three pies for a friend of my sister-in-law. Sure, I thought, no big deal! But my pie-making skills (specifically my crust-making skills have gotten a little rusty and I realized quickly that I needed to use it or lose it. I had certainly lost “it.”

Being the stubborn one that I am, I made over 12 batches of crust (?!) and researched countless methods before landing on a recipe that that was easy, flaky, and perfectly delicious. I’ll share that method with you in a separate post (because if you’ve made pie crust before, the method might below your mind) but today I’m sharing with you a recipe for strawberry pie.

Consider Espresso and Cream your go-to destination for pie through the end of the year, because I’ve committed to making and sharing one recipe per week throughout the remainder of 2016. I want to get back into the kitchen, get back to this blog’s roots, and dust off my pie-making skills. A little culinary challenge is good now and again, right?

Naturally, I decided to kick off this pie challenge with one of my husband’s all-time favorites, strawberry pie. He’s been begging me to make a strawberry pie all summer. My requirement: strawberry pie must always be easy and packed with strawberries. We’re talking a very high strawberry-to-glaze ratio since I really dislike Jell-o-type consistency.

Joe really dislikes whipped cream, but I can’t make a strawberry pie without it, so I made a stabilized version that allowed me to top the pie with real whipped cream in advance without it weeping/falling.

PS: I took the “cheater way” out with a packet of Danish Dessert in the filling. I’ve never made a strawberry pie this way before, but it turned out great and was the perfect glaze for the strawberries.

Strawberry Pie
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8 slices
  • 1 (9-inch) pie shell
  • 1 (4.75-ounce) package Danish Dessert Strawberry (see above for more details)
  • 1¾ cups water
  • 6 cups sliced strawberries (halved or quartered, depending on size)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  1. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the water and Danish Dessert mix together. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the strawberries to coat evenly.
  2. Pour strawberry mixture into pie shell and refrigerate for at least six to eight hours.
  3. To make the whipped cream: Place heavy cream in the bowl of a stand mixer or a bowl with a hand mixer. Beat whipped cream until soft peaks form.
  4. Dissolve the gelatin in the ¼ cup of warm water and stir to combine. Pour mixture into heavy cream and continue to whip on high speed until stiff peaks form. Spoon whipped cream on top of pie and store for up to 24 hours.



my thoughts on work and motherhood

August 22, 2016


This past weekend I spent time with my dear friend Laura, as well as some online friends turned real-life friends, including the other half of the Risen Motherhood Podcast, Emily. If you’ve read their blogs or listen to the podcast, let me tell you that they are both as wonderful in person as they are online. I’ve been so thankful for their perspectives, encouragement and the tough questions that they ask, challenging me to think about things in a new light. Trust me when I say we all need friends like that in our life.

Motherhood and work is a constant refrain in the conversations that I’ve had, how to find balance in it all and prioritize your family first and foremost. Taking the pulse of your family, understanding how your work impacts your family’s health and what role we as working mothers play in it all.

In today’s culture, it’s very unpopular to say that when you become a mom you have to make sacrifices. Before I had a baby I would have told you that I could have it all, and I darn well intended to keep up a rigorous, ladder-climbing pace of work. If my husband didn’t have to make sacrifices for work then why should I?

When my dad gently suggested that I might need to re-examine my priorities when Ainsley arrived, I brushed him off, irritated that he would even suggest such a thing. When people talked about making sacrifices for the sake of their family’s health, I rolled my eyes in disgust.

But over the last year my perspective has been greatly impacted. When Joe’s work moved us to Iowa, I decided to take the {very scary} leap into full-time freelancing, blogging and contract work. I was terrified about what that would mean for my career ambitions. But I sensed a need in myself to do less, to spend more time with our daughter and to find a work/life rhythm that worked better for our family than my previous 40 hour/week grind.

Soon after, Beautycounter fell into my lap and very unexpectedly became a much bigger time commitment than previously anticipated, freelance work picked up and blogging opportunities came more frequently. This winter, I was working close to 40 hours/week with only 20 hours of childcare. I was stressed, frazzled, and desperately seeking the ever-elusive “balance” we all talk about.

My health took a dive because I wasn’t sleeping enough, my emotional state was less than stellar and I felt the frazzled pace of our family life as I tried to do more than I really had time to do. Something had to change, but I was reluctant to give anything up. How could I say “no” to freelance jobs I had worked so hard to curate? How could I work fewer hours at business endeavors that needed me to keep them going? Why did I have to give things up?

My heart attitude, quite honestly, was stinky. Instead of focusing on our family as a whole, I was looking at the world through my eyes only. My priorities needed a little bit of re-calibration. Really, the question came down to what I valued and where I was spending my time.

Is being a working mom bad? The answer that I’ve personally come to, after prayer and study, is absolutely not! I love the balance that being a working mom creates in our family life. It lights a fire in me and allows me to stretch my creative muscles while providing income for my family. Ainsley learns independence and valuable skills like playing with others when she is at our babysitter’s house. Joe and I have interesting and engaging conversations about work and business and life that are fueled by our careers. Those are all good things.

But as a mom and wife, my family needs to come first.

For me, that meant saying “no” to a few more projects, scaling back on some contract work, waking at a reasonable time and realizing that sometimes all the work won’t get done every day and what doesn’t get done will just have to wait. I’ve said “no” to working at night if I can help it in order to spend more time with Joe after Ainsley goes to bed. It means holding true to “work hours” instead of letting work seep into all the hours of the day.

Ultimately it means trusting God to bless the time that I do spend at work and the opportunities I turn down to prioritize my family. Believing that by making my family the first priority, that God will handle the rest. Easy to say but hard to actually do, right?

Joe and I both love the phrase, “Work will take the amount of time you give it.” We believe that to be true and try to live with that in mind.

It’s been hard for me to say “my family comes first” and really live that out in both word and deed. I’m thankful for a supportive husband who helps make this juggling act possible and is the greatest supporter of my career. I’m blessed to have work that allows me to set my own hours and choose to say “no” from time to time.

The life I’m living? Well, it’s nothing like the life I imagined it would be, but it’s far surpassed even my wildest dreams. Not because it’s shiny, pretty, me-focused or easy, but because it’s worthwhile, challenging, sacrificial and meaningful.


PS: If you’re looking for work that allows for you to provide for your family while also prioritizing your family, I would love to talk with you about Beautycounter. It’s been a huge part of why this shift has been possible for me, and I am always looking for new co-workers. ( 

Family, Food & Recipes

Fueling My Family

August 19, 2016


A couple posts back I talked about choosing the right vitamins for your family. Joe takes Vitamin Code Men from Garden of Life and we give Ainsley Vitamin Code Kids from the same company. Well, when the folks over at Garden of Life saw my blog post, they were so kind to offer to send some additional products my way as a thank-you. Let’s be clear, Garden of Life is in no way sponsoring this post, but I was so excited to receive the new products they sent to me that I couldn’t resist sharing them with you, too!

A little recap: As a family we try our best to avoid folic acid (a synthetic form of folate) and instead consume the folate, which is the non-synthetic form of folic acid. Many people in the US are (unknowlingly) unable to process folic acid because of something called MTHFR. I discovered I have it during infertility-related blood testing, and after that our whole family made the switch. Want to read more about why you might want to think about making the switch? Do so here. 

I think the world of Garden of Life because they are producing high-quality vitamins made from real, whole foods. Just look at the label of their vitamins and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Additionally, their vitamins contain folate instead of folic acid, giving them my family’s stamp of approval.

The two products they sent me were the mykind Organics Prenatal Once Daily Multivitamin and the Raw Protein & Greens. Here are my thoughts on the two!

mykind Organics Prenatal Once Daily Multi
Price //
$79.96 for a 90 day supply
Review //
I was previously taking the Seeking Health Optimal Prenatal, which I liked because of the types of B12 and folate that were present, but I really always disliked taking 8 vitamins a day, which was what was recommended. Since I already take a host of other vitamins, including fish oil, iron, a prescription folate called Metanx and several herbal supplements, taking 8 additional vitamins was always hard to do.

The once-daily format of this vitamin really appealed to me. Additionally, it contains iron, so it cut out my need to take another pill each day. Sign me up! I’ve been taking these for a week now and had zero adverse reactions and have been pleased with all the reviews I’ve read online. If you’re looking for a new prenatal, I highly recommend this one!

Garden of Life Raw Protein & Greens 
Price //
$35.96 for 20 servings ($1.80/serving)
Review //
You all are well aware that I’m a huge Vega fan. Their Protein & Greens is a staple in my diet and really keeps me going throughout the day. My usual smoothie combination at lunch includes a scoop of protein & greens, almond milk, ice, frozen banana, chia seeds and maybe a spoonful of peanut butter. Trust me, it will change your life. Or at least the way you eat.

Anyway, back to the Garden of Life Protein & Greens. I was a little skeptical because I adore Vega, but I was really impressed, yet again, with the product. It tasted on par with Vega, while having a slight edge nutritionally. They both have similar amino acid profiles and the same number of calories per serving, but Garden of Life has 1g fewer carbs, less sodium and less sugar while still containing 20g of protein per serving. I also really liked that it contains no xanthan gum, which can cause tummy issues for some people.

So there you have it! I love passing along products I love and use frequently, because I feel like word-of-mouth sharing is always the most trusted and appreciated. And these products definitely get my stamp of approval!


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