Infertility Prayer Project:Sydney's Story

A few weeks ago I woke up to a couple of emails from different women who had stumbled upon the blog. Each of them had noticed my infertility tab and clicked on it &proceeded to read all the stories. One of those emails was from today's guest poster: Sydney. And her words and the encouragement she received from pouring over the previous women's journeys, has always been the whole point behind this project. It is a rather humbling experience to be able to hear from people who have been touched by a mere idea I had a few months ago, one that I never knew if anyone would even participate in. 

As always, if you or anyone you know would like to participate in the Infertility Prayer Project, contact me at and if you are wondering the premise behind the IPP, read more about

Now, onto Miss Sydney and her story in her words. 
Hey Friends!  I'm Sydney and I blog over at Bumps Along the Way.  I am a self proclaimed newlywed (2 years this August) and I am married to my amazing husband, Luke.  I am so honored that Maddie asked me to share my journey, and I have loved reading the other posts from The Infertility Prayer Project. 
From an early age I knew I wanted to be a Mama.  Just to think of having a little one calling me Mama give me chills.  It is something I have always wanted.  Something I knew I could not wait for.
Four months before our one year anniversary we decided it was the right time to get off birth control and just see what happens.  I wanted my body to be free of birth control for two months before we really started trying. 
After a few months I could tell something wasn't right.  I made an appointment for my yearly examine and I talked with my doctor on how I thought things did not seem right with my body.  She looked over my file and realized I never had a natural period.  Sometimes I would go months without having one while on the other hand I would have my period for months at a time.
She sat there telling me that I would have a hard time conceiving on my own without any medical intervention and that I had PCOS.  That's it.  That is all she said. 
She started me on Progesterone to induce a period as well as Clomid to hopefully grow follicles. 
 I left her office so discouraged.  I left confused by the lack of information she gave me.  I left heartbroken. 
After four months on Clomid, I was still not reproducing mature follicles. 
When I got home I told my husband how confused I was and that I just wanted more information about what was going on.  I was so scared of the thought of never being called Mama.  I needed answers sooner than later so I could be "fixed."
We decided soon after that the next best thing to do is see a Reproductive Endocinologist.  My RE is AMAZING! He made me feel like I was his only patient and was so personable with me.  We discussed several options and decided the best thing was to start progesterone to induce a period and then start a drug called femera to help with follicle growth.  I left my first appointment with such peace and understanding. 
Even though everything was great during our first month of treatments with my RE, we received a negative pregnancy test.  But, our hearts were not hurt.  We were on the right path and with a great team of doctors and nurses and we had to let go and let God. 
For the second month, we started the same rounds of medications.  I went for my monthly ultrasound, expecting to see several mature follicles just like the month prior.  Instead there were zero.  None!  What happened?  My meds were the same as before, why would I not get the same follicle outcome?  The nurses explained that sometimes our bodies get use to the medicine and we would have to really pump things up. 
We increased my femera dose and added injections to the mix.  I went back 13 days later for an ultrasound to find out that I had 2 very mature follicles and I was ready to be triggered to ovulate.  What?! 
About two weeks later, I was on vacation visiting family and felt like I had to test.  Three minutes later......We Were Pregnant. 
 Just like that, I was a Mama.  My husband was not with me and I couldn't wait to get him on the phone and tell him he could expect a life changing Christmas present this year.  Our sweet miracle baby was due December 7, 2013
Once I got back into town, I had my appointments to check my blood levels and they were awesome.  Now, all Luke and I had to do was wait 2 weeks to see our baby on the ultrasound. 
Seeing that sweet little bean was the most amazing thing in the world.  It's beautiful heartbeat; what a beautiful machine. 
Then the doctor got quiet.  Something you never want.  Our baby was measuring smaller in weeks than what it should have been.  He said he wasn't concern, but wanted to see me in a week to recheck everything.
We left concerned, but still positive that our baby was fine. 
The day of our rechecking I had an awful feeling.  Call it a Mother's intuition.  I felt like our appointment was not going to go perfect like we hoped. 
The nerves were setting in as the ultrasound was started.  No heartbeat.  Our doctor looked and looked just to make sure, but our baby was gone. 
This is something that is so hard to relive.  It is a feeling that I wish on no one.  I had just lost my Dad seven months prior, and I didn't know how I could deal with losing my baby. 
My husband was my rock.  I knew he was devastated with the loss of our child, but he was my strength when I needed it the most. 
Our doctor gave us the option of going ahead and scheduling a D&C or just wait to miscarry naturally.  He did say that there was a possibility of not miscarrying for another 3 weeks and that was something that I could not handle.  I could not just sit and wait around to miscarry my child, so the right decision for me was to have the surgery. 
I remember waking up from my surgery and crying.  Reality set in and my child was gone.  I was no longer pregnant and I would not be able go hold that miracle in my arms. 
Mother's Day this year was hard.  This would of been my first one as a Mom.  Something I looked forward to.  Even though I was only able to carry my baby for a short time... I was still a Mother.  I am a mother who lost a child very early on in my pregnancy and had to experience having a baby torn from my womb too soon.  I feel like no mother should have to relate to me.  But, we are all a mother.

I think about all the Mothers who have had a child to hold at the end of their pregnancy, sleepless nights, and load upon loads of dirty laundry.  I hope they know how many of us in the world envy them. I have been though many pains in my journey to motherhood.  But I became a mother the day we decided it was the right time to expand our family. Even though my child, who we decided to name Hayden, is not physically here, I am still a Mother.  
I don't know anyone out there that would want to be labeled with infertility. When you are on this journey it is not a guarantee, it is lonely and is very overwhelming.  But it has made me a stronger person and I am closer to God because of it. 
Having infertility has made me incredibly humble.  It has taught me to learn to deal with things that I can not control and I must just "Let Go, and Let God."  If I can leave with you with any advice, I would say find support.  Support is key when it comes to infertility.  I searched online for days looking for women and couples that I could relate to. 
Of course I have the support from my husband and family, but it is so comforting being able to talk to other women that are in my shoes, going through the same testing, being hormonal because of all the medicines that we but in our body.  Someone who just knows.
As of now, my husband and I are still working with a great team of fertility specialist in hopes of having that little baby Edwards.  Our hearts are full and our hopes are high.  Please continue to pray for my husband and I for patience and strength as we continue our journey to grow our family. 
Thank you again Maddie for inviting me to share with the Infertility Prayer Project.  You are giving women like me the support of knowing that we are not alone in our journey.  My prayers are with you if you are struggling to expand your family and wishing tons of baby dust to you!


Thanks, so much for being a part of the project, Sydney. I am so glad I have gotten to know you a little bit these past few weeks and look forward to hearing the rest of your unwritten story.

Jumpin On A Train To Never Ever Ever Land

I have been seeing a few posts for the Never Ever link up and decided it would be a fun change from my normal routine.

I will never ever be happy when I go to a restaurant and they offer Pepsi products instead of Coke. Yes, I am aware I live in North Carolina, home to Pepsi. I do not care. I am a coke loving girl. Cherry Coke... even better. And to my husband who says they taste the same. "NOOOO"

I will never ever prefer cold weather to hot weather. I will take 95' and a 100% humidity over 50' any day. I would wear sweaters, skinny jeans and boots year round if I could. I love to be warm. True story. When Wiki goes to work...I may or may not turn the thermostat to 80' and then about an hour before he comes home...I turn it down. I do not feel bad about this. But, you know, let's keep this a secret. K? Thanks.

I will never ever be crafty. I mean, when I wrapped washi tape around a letter it was as if I had chiseled my own headboard out of a tree I chopped down that morning. My mind is very crafty...My hands...not so much.  Washi tape almost convinced me otherwise. But I came to my senses.

I will never ever and I do mean a scary movie. No thanks. I am so terrified when the Conjuring commercials come on that I turn the channel immediately. It makes me really pissed when I go to see a funny movie and there is a preview for a scary movie. Wrong on many levels, people.

While I love visiting Boston and other parts of New England and it is pretty much my second home. I will never ever not be country girl from the South. Moonshine, big trucks, banjos and bonfires. Yes,

I will never ever be a beer drinker, even if I got tricked by making my blue moon milkshake that I could possilby like it a little bit. I was wrong. Even when I tried this blue moon cocktail..I could barely drink it. Bourbon any day of the week.

I will never ever not watch Sportscenter more than once a day. I may miss something and it could cost me a trivia game;)

Such a fun idea, girls!

and of course, lest you think I could let Taste Of Tuesday slip by, on my other blog, Thankfull Tummy, I am bringing you this.
Chocolate Coconut Cheeseball

Linking up with

Never Ever

NC Blogger Buzz

was this past Friday, it was my first "blog meetup" if you will. I have been on two 'blates' before, but this was my first event. It was put together by the lovely Ashley & Angela and it was at a local boutique. We had a really good time and it was fun to meet so many local ladies. Especially the few I had interacted with via bloggy land.

Love these ladies, so sweet!
and let's discuss how I seemed to forget the rule of thumb when taking a picture...arm out! I scream "Hi, Just call me awkward" in this picture. haha it's cool;)

My favorite part of the night was when we had speed blates. One minute per girl and we had one minute to answer some quick questions.

A few of my favorite questions were

Do you have a bloggy bestie?. and duh, of course I do, well actually a 'blestie" and it is the ever lovely Brianne from Being Bracco. and no big deal, this week is her birthday...go say "hi" if you haven't yet. She is way more interesting than me. I promise.

Another question I loved was "has a blogger inspired you" There has been too many to count. Blogging is made up of so many women who are constantly sharing their lives and in turn, a plethora of stories have made an impression on me. Since it was a minute and I didn't want to be too serious, I chose one of my other bloggy besties, Sarah from Tucker Up. Yeah, people...she is on a buying hiatus and is making do for this whole year with only what she already has in her closet. Say what...

And for the last question I thought was really fun "have you ever met anyone famous?" Ummm, I worked for ESPN for a few years. My list of famous people is rather long. And before I got crazy lucky and met my husband, my previous bfs were athletes. One played baseball and I met a few 'famous' people that way and I dated a football player in that probably every one of you know. He is pretty well known and we dated for almost two years in college. And he will remain nameless. I will let you all dream up scenarios as to who it is. Haha let's just say... beyond glad I married Wiki. He was a great guy, just not what I wanted for my life. Besides, I gained lots of weight since then and would be the 'fat' wife getting judged by every possible media outlet. People are mean. haha

Meet my new bloggy friend, Hannah, from Swirl of Cinnamon. She made tasty coconut and key lime tarts and they were wonderful! and because I am smart...I asked her to guest post, hello, of course I am bringing her goodness to you. I am no dummy.

then we had a guest speaker, Mary, the social media director for Clothes Hound, touched base on the best way to properly grow your blog. It opened my eyes to a few areas. Was so much fun and I already am anticipating the fall one!

On Saturday we had a dinner party with some friends and I watched Jackson that morning and so all my cooking was done over there. I made some pancetta/prosciutto mac & cheese.
My hair was still happening, after two days by Miss Elizabeth. didn't see a hair brush for three days. Messy Hair don't care.

Making a homemade 'alfredo' for the macaroni.

Made lots of whoopie pies and a certain little boy may have taken a bite out of more than one whoopie. Uh, huh...

Yesterday we went for brunch at Buku and then to see an afternoon show at the Rialto theater near downtown. It is an older theater with just one screen and they usually show more independent/less run shows. We saw the Way Way Back. Oh, my gosh, so good! Go see this movie if you get a chance.

Then we went shopping. Why is it that guys take way more time buying something than girls?!? I was over it halfway in;) haha

If you want to see the food portion of my weekend, head over to the Thankfull Tummy.

Linking up with Sami, Funday Monday, Meg and Leann


1) Last Friday there was a boutique blowout in Raleigh, a bunch of boutiques were at the new Hampton Inn and the two ballrooms were decked out with goodies up to 75%off. Plus, there were free cupcakes and cocktails. I mean... hello.
 I scored these awesome finds for under $25, this is the back of the maxi dress. I die. 
and then when my night seemed it could get no better, I walked out to...
Food Trucks! Yum dee dum. 
I got bacon & cheddar on sourdough. life made.
I was able to run into a few bloggers and tonight Ashley from Dancing with Ashley & Angela from Head to Toe chic are hosting a blogger meet up. Super excited!

2) I was able to spend the night with my cousin to give her a break and a little sleep bc she has a brand new baby. It was all fun and games till she forgot to mention her sons favorite toy. Which I didn't notice as I walked into the bathroom.
Suffice it to say...I am still not over it a week later.
Luckily for her, Jake is pure sweetness and I love how Wiki looks holding him.
  My baby fever hit...a fever pitch;)

3) Wiki picked me up and we went for an overnight trip to a quaint little lake town near the mountains, Badin. We stayed at a historic Golf Inn & Resort. 
Nothin like a grape nehi and the open road.
and then on our way home we stopped by one of the many vineyards. 
One of the many reasons to visit Carolina, we have gone to over 15 and haven't thought of seeing half of them.

4) I decided to start another blog and I debuted it this week. My original premise behind this blog was to just share recipes. It became much more than that, but I wanted an avenue that was back to basics.
If you have a moment, check it out, especially if you like to indulge when you travel, there will be many tips and places to hit on this blog. The thankFull Tummy.

5) Last night my bestie and I went to see Wolverine. I mean, aside from Hugh Jackman being, well...Hugh Jackman, the movie was fabulous. You must go see it! And stay through the credits. Hint hint.

Those are my five things I am loving for the week. Hope you guys have a fantastic weekend. No travelling for us. I am so elated I cannot even tell you!

Linking up with

Blue Moon Milkshake

 Before I get to my cocktail today, I am also guest posting over at Bumps Along The Way, discussing my struggles with infertility and how I came about with the whole idea behind the infertility prayer project. I woke up to the sweetest email from her a few weeks ago, sharing her heart with me and I am so glad she found me, She is the sweetest and next week I will be featuring her story over here. So if you have a moment, go meet Sydney.

The idea for this came about a few months ago when the hubs and I were eating at Red Robin{ a rare occurrence because he has an aversion to chains} and as I was looking over their menu, I noticed a "blue moon milkshake" and I was pretty intrigued. I didn't order it but kept the idea in the back of my mind for a perfect time to make one.

When I had Wiki's birthday party, I knew that was the time. Since men were in abundance and I wanted something summery, but not just beer...this seemed the perfect compromise. For me anyways bc I abhor beer. and isn't it about me, even on his birthday? I will go with yes.. I also made the cheerwine daiquiri, but I wanted another option.

Here is what I came up with. 
{for 2 large or 3 medium servings}

3 cups vanilla ice cream
3/4 cup blue moon
2 oz cointreau
2 oz oj
1 cup ice

Pour all ingredients into blender and blend to your desired consistency. Top with whip cream and an orange slice. Enjoy.

I actually liked this. It was pretty similar to a creamsicle, but not overly sweet. And you can play around with how much you want of each ingredient. It plays all to your taste. 

All I know is I finally found a way to enjoy a beer with the mister. Score!

and since this blog has turned more into a lifestyle blog and away from my original blog premise, I have started another blog that will be solely based on food/drinks. If you follow me on here, I'd love for you to follow me on there also:)

                                                         The thankFull Tummy

Suits Is On & I Am

thinking of a bunch of randomness running through my mind. and so I may as well share it bc isn't that the whole point of blogging? To Over share? It's not? I guess I missed that memo. and so...

ten random thoughts on this Wednesday.

1) Suits is a fabulous show. and Ummm. Harvey Spector. Almost as hot as Wiki. almost.

2) Ryan Braun annoys me. Give Matt Kemp the MVP from two years ago.

3)I just ate Wendy's chili with cheese and roughly 476 packs of hot sauce. Sodium overdose, anyone?

4) I love travelling. Love it, but after 7 straight weeks of it...I just want to stay home and go to church and have brunch!

5) I am beyond ready for football! My Saturdays, Sundays & Mondays are just sad. Plus, I can wear boots and people will not look at me like I am strange.

6) Ashley & Angela are hosting a blogger meetup this Friday and I am so stoked. I have had blates with both ladies and they are too sweet and am really happy to mingle with other bloggers. Even though...I am more just a girl who blogs and they are more legit...bloggers. haha

7) I just got a twitter. I had a perosnal one a while ago and never kept it up. A few observations from my first week: Blogger land is clique land and ummmm. I am old. I haven't noticed this reading blogs. Twitter, my 30 somethingness(cause isn't this what bloggers do, 'whatever age you are something' instead of just 34). haha, is way more apparent to me. It's cool, my cleavage still wins versus most 20 somethings;)

8) I may have a font obsession. I love fonts. Free ones are even better. Pinterest is spoiling. Speaking of pinterest. I keep checking it while contemplating my randomness. No, this is not one of my favorite fonts. 

9) I want to paint my guest room, but what I mean by "I want to" is, I want to blink my eyes and it is done. Any takers?

10) As much as I love pineapples and raspberries... I hate bananas. Probably more like abhor. But they’re so inexpensive to add to my smoothies. Conundrum.

See. Complete and utter nonsensical rambling for y'all today.

Linking up with Shanna

Malibu Soaked Pineapple Dipped In Dark Chocolate

because...why wouldn't you?! 

I have had malibu soaked pineapple quite a few times and always love it. It is refreshing and not too overwhelming. This time I also used pineapple fusion rum{a new bacardi that is coconut and pineapple flavored. yum.} One day I was just sitting around thinking of foods to bring to a party and this idea popped into my mind. I could marry drinks/dessert into one item. Less for me to carry to the party..

and let's not kid ourselves...less expensive than to have to make two separate items. Which I have a problem with. If you invite me to a gathering I can never decide what to bring and I usually come with a plethora. My Friends love it. My wallet...not so much;)

and seriously though...dark chocolate and pineapple. yes, please. right this moment!

This is really so easy! and quick. The one thing I recommend is that you buy somewhat 'good' chocolate. Quality is key in this simple recipe. and obviously if you prefer milk chocolate(why though?!) you could use that. and if you want to make this kid friendly, just abstain from soaking it in the rum:)

1 cup pineapple(cut up)
1 cup chocolate
1/2 cup rum

put pineapple in container that has a lid and pour rum over top, put lid back on, (shaking to make sure you have covered as much as possible) leave for at least 4 hours, but overnight is even better. When you are ready, drain the pineapple(and save that juice to make yourself a cocktail!!! hello, people!!! No waste) Melt the chocolate. I did mine in 30 second intervals in the microwave. Pat the pineapple down and dip in chocolate. Place on wire rack to set and then package up to take with you. 

Just be careful if you are driving. This things can be deceiving and are rather potent., 

and Elizabeth, who I nanny for and always does my hair, is doing a giveaway to celebrate moving to her own studio. I am attaching link to her facebook page, you just need to share the photo and like her page to be entered to win some awesome goodies.

Linking up with Ashley, Jessica & Mandy

This little day called 'Friday'

My week has been pretty fabulous.  And we have been all kindsa busy. For the first time I am being participatory in 7 quick takes. It may will limit my ramblings and we all want that. and yes, I linked up for fan Friday, you guys are welcome for my one paragraph about fandom. Guess what, I also watched the Espy's twice;)

1) On Friday night, we headed to this Italian restaurant next door to our house, we had heard good things, but never ended up going. Oh. My. Gosh. Life changing, people. I have been lucky enough to eat in over 15 restaurant that have been tabbed “top 50” places to eat in the country and I can, with zero qualms, declare that this was one of the top 5 meals I have ever eaten. Wiki ordered steak & it was tasty, but nothing like my pasta. I ordered blackened chicken and bourbon cream sauce. Oh my gosh. I may be drooling. If you live anywhere near the triangle Carolina, get to Bruno’s near Wake Forest. Do Ittttttt.

2)Jackson's birthday party was last Saturday and we went with a nautical blue and white theme. Thank you 4th of July goodies for being 75% off. As I was buying a few last items for the party…I got “stuck” in Target(poor pitiful me;) in the pouring rain that has been happening for, I don’t know…ever. And while I was waiting, I noticed the talenti sea salt caramel bars were on sale. And let’s talk about how I wish I had never bought them. Please go out and buy every box. Save me from myself..

3)On Sunday, we traipsed to Williamston for a horse showing. My aunt was showing her Vanner Gypsy and it was nice to hang out with them and my parents for the day. The horse is so beautiful and Shea has only been riding here for two weeks and they placed in quite a few categories!

4)Afterwards, we drove about another half hour to the lovely and charming town of Washington, NC. These pictures cannot even begin to do justice for the sunset we got to witness. Beyond incredible. We had a tasty meal with a view of the water.

5)Yay for all star break! I got to watch one of my favorite players, Mariano Rivera, pitch an awesome eighth inning. And oh, yea…it meant dinner with one of our best couple friends! It was a blast getting to hang out with them. Wiki and their son, Blake, had a grand ole time playing ‘bbq’ haha I am sad we only got to see them for one night. I am pining for off season already! She writes a blog herself and if you ever wanted to have an inside look behind the life of a ballplayer, check her blog out. She doesn’t update as often as she used to, but if you click through the archives, you can get a great perspective as to how their life “really is” All I know is our time together mainly involves tea, Target and cuppycakes.

6)I wrote a post about my thoughts on marriage on Wednesday…other than my ptsd post, I received more positive feedback than I ever have. Apparently you guys lap up marriage ideals;) if you haven’t read it, you probably should. Just sayin;)

7) Yesterday I was able to have lunch in Carborro at one of our favorite spots there, Southern Rail. It’s an old rail car, converted into a bar and restaurant. Their wings are amazing. The only downside is having to drive through the quaint and beautiful town of Chapel Hill, home to that school, you know the one, they wear that ugly blue;)

So this was my week. Tonight I am going to an amazing sale that a bunch of local boutiques are having and then I am headed to see my cousin and her newest baby! Baby kisses and then tomorrow Wiki and I are headed to Wilmington & Southport for the night  Or as some of you may know it as…where Dawson’s Creek, One Tree Hill, countless other shows/movies and oh, you know Safe Haven are/were filmed.
That was my week, how has yours been?

Cheerwine Daiquiri

Or as they like to reference it here, ‘the nectar of North Carolina” I wonder if Pepsi drinkers would disagree as to which is the more popular homegrown drink. I will chime in with my favorite. Coke. Oops, not a Carolina original? Too bad, still my favorite;) but Wiki loves cheerwine. He much prefers it to cherry coke or Pepsi. My feelings towards it are somewhere along the lines of ‘meh’ My brother in law loves it so much that we sent him a huge gift basket of it for his birthday.

Anyways, I was taking a quick stop in Food Lion(aka.. the worst grocery store in the world) and as I was running in to grab something quickly I spied
Cheerwine sherbet. Say what?! I stored this info in my trusty little good wife memory bankand around his birthday, pulled from the recesses of my thoughts.
I bought the sherbet with the original intention to make a cheerwine float. When I remembered I had cherry bourbon, I decided to make a daiquiri.

Truthfully…the cherry bourbon was too much, well…too much cherry. The next time I made it, I felt it needed the good stuff to really perfect this recipe. Plain old bourbon, rum, a little cheerwine and cheerwine sherbet is all it took. Oh, and obviously whip cream and a bourbon soaked cherry. I should mention that the second time, I loved it. Surprise surprise. As usual… plain ole bourbon makes everything better!

1 cup cheerwine sherbet
1 oz bourbon
1 oz dark rum
½ cup cheerwine(flat)
½ cup ice

Place all ingredients in blender and blend till desired consistency.
Pour in glass and top with whip cream and a cherry.

I used some of my bourbon soaked cherries. They’re really easy to make. Buy a bottle of cherries and pour out half the juice and fill with bourbon. Let sit and use as needed. Just, ummm, remember to mention they’re bourbon cherries when you use them in cocktails. Otherwise your friends will get to the bottom of their drink and eat their cherry. And chaos will ensue when they think your cherries have gone bad and are poisoning people;) Some girls just can’t handle their bourbon. hahahaha

****if you cannot find cheerwine sherbet, you could just use vanilla ice cream, a couple table spoons cherry juice(grenadine) with the bourbon, rum and cheerwine.

Musings On Marriage

 but first, a few weeks ago was our ten year anniversary party and I did a simple party with lots of touches of mint and coral and I knew I wanted an ivory dress and accessories to play up my colors.

I found this sweet dress at Ross for $17 it was so comfortable. I only wish I had been a little more tan, and oh, you know...a lot thinner;) haha

 Of course I had mint and coral toes...who do you think I am?!

and cause I know you want to see it...a few touches from the party;)

And these are a few thoughts on marriage. and let me start by saying that these are only what I have found works for us. I most certainly cannot speak to be a marriage guru. I hate the lists of "do this or don't do that" and they are seen as "truth" Each couple is different and we are all unique. So take this for what it is worth;) 

My first piece of advice...let your faith be at the center of your marriage. I pray for my husband and our future in all aspects....Jeremiah 29:11 is our life verse.

Do not adopt the philosophy of "If it doesn't work out, I can always get a divorce".

I just do not understand this thought process. Marriage is hard work, people!!! There are plenty of obstacles that will make their way to your blissful marriage path, do not make it easier for the doubts to creep in.

I fully realize that some marriages just will not work and I will never judge someone for taking that route. However, why get married if that is your mindset from the very beginning? It should always be the last option (and obviously there are exceptions, as with anything!) Just remember, if you're looking for your spouse to make you "happy" your marriage is always going to be playing catch up.

 Have friendships outside of your marriage.

Relationships with other people can actually strengthen yours with your spouse. I enjoy time with my girlfriends, being my own person and when I am with my husband, I am able to fully appreciate our time together. So ladies, please don't keep him from the intermittent "guys night" or "guys weekend" as long as they are 'behaving' themselves, why would you stop it?  Men need other men, just as we need girlfriends. If not, there are areas of our lives that will be lacking and can lead to bitterness.

 Do not bad mouth/disrespect your spouse to other people.

Wiki is late to everything. I mean everything. He is so perpetually late that his nickname in HS was "TYTT' as in 'Take your time, Tony" and it stuck. On the complete opposite spectrum, my personal mantra is "if you're on time, you're already 5 minutes late" I assume you can infer how well that works out for us.

It drives me bonkers and he knows it...but that is about the most anyone is going to get from me on things about him that are not all peachy. I may reference small things here or there, but I do not believe it is in the best interest of your relationship to substantiate claims as to why your spouse is a jerk or etc.

and here is my reasoning why...

 You may think after a row with your husband that you just need to vent to a friend...but by spilling too many personal tidbits between the two of you; things he has said in a fight, how you think he treats you, hurtful and hateful comments...your friend is formulating opinions about your spouse that are probably negative and may not be fair or even true.After all, they are only receiving one side to the story and based on your emotional state at the time, your view of the events and how things went down, may not be the most accurate. {this is very true if you're me and you know...have bipolar. haha)

Especially do not run to mommy and daddy. You are your own family now and portraying a picture to your parents that he is a jerk will be hard for them to remove once you have planted the seed! Grow a garden, not weeds.

And, I also realize that in certain circumstances, you really need someone to talk to. Life is full of mitigating circumstances and will never be black/white. Just tread carefully is the gist of what I am saying. You don't need to promote the visual of a perfect marriage, but you don't have to put it all out there either...

and if you are anything like me, if you ever said something out of annoyance to a friend and then they agreed with get all defensive. haha You know the rule, he is my husband, he may drive me crazy, but if you even hint he is anything less than perfect...I will throat punch you. Ok, not really, but I would want to, which is why I never give anyone a reason!

 Remember...we are different!

We were in a small group at our church shortly after we were married and one of the books we read excerpts from was titled "Men are like waffles and women are like spaghetti" We didn't read the whole book, but there were particular topics that made perfect sense.

The premise is this- Women are like spaghetti in the way that all aspects of our lives are intertwined and you can't tell where one begins and another ends. If we are in a fight with our friends, it effects our home life and in turn, we bring it with us to work, yada yada.

Men are like waffles in the way that they are able to compartmentalize. Each box is completely separate: Work is work, friends are friends. etc.(and while in certain instances, this isn't true, I am straight up doing a generalization here;) I remember one specific chapter pertained to when men are in their own little world and their wife will ask "what're you thinking about?" and the man will respond with "nothing" and of course the woman then makes it her duty to discover what they are thinking about when, in fact, he really was thinking of absolutely nothing!

They are also fixers. and when we have problems that cannot be easily fixed, they can sometimes come across as being insensitive, when they just want to fix it and if they can't, they want it to go away. And sometimes, all we want is compassion. Talk to your spouse!

It has been ten years since we read this book, but I will never forget the time a few years ago... we were on the couch and Wiki was being quiet. I kept harping on what was wrong, what was he thinking, etc when he became exasperated and quipped. "I am in my waffle box and it's empty, completely empty!!!" Well then...Lesson learned.

 Be their biggest fan!

Men like to know that you're proud of them. I have not always been the best at this. I never stopped to think about the pressure that is on my husband and his job and the need to "provide" for our family. He works so hard and while I sometimes hate the hours he has to work, I know he is doing it for our future. He is a man of hard work ethic and character. When he annoys I readily inform him, probably more than I should and I am purposely trying to spend way more effort to let him know the things I love about him and how proud he makes me. and due to my illness...I have a man who stayed when most would have left and I am often awed by the love and compassion he has bestowed upon me when I least was deserving. But isn't that what love is? If someone only loved me in the way I deserved...I would be in trouble.

 Remember that loving someone is a choice

. and if you want your marriage to succeed, choose love. There is absolutely no one on earth who is capable of stirring up the feelings/emotions in me that my husband is. No one can infuriate me as quickly as he can and no one can make me laugh like he does. and when he makes me laugh when I am angry..that makes me even madder.

There is nothing like marriage to bring you to the realization that it is indeed possible to love someone completely while simultaneously hating absolutely everything about them. He has brought me to the point of being completely enraged and 15 minutes later happily discussing our dinner plans. We have fought and we have made up too many times to count...because we chose love. You will go through phases, sometimes you will have the "pitter patter heart stirring" love, then it will be the "tag team, we're in this together love" and it tends to go in circles, don't give up when it seems broken. 

Choose to surround yourself with people who believe in you as a couple, and want the best for you. This is pretty simple, but can be powerful.

all I know is that marriage is the hardest endeavor I have ever undertaken and it is the most worthwhile. At the end of the day, I love him and he loves me. And we did this with major, and I do mean major, hurdles being thrown our way: illnesses, the unexpected & tragic deaths of three people, long hours at work, infertility, my PTSD and bipolar. I do not always like my husband...but I love him more than anything. and that is what choosing love looks like. and we are in a perpetual state of learning each other. 

As I stated, each couple is different and not all marriages are going to work the same. What works in your marriage? What is the best advice you have been given?

and that's my two cents, however right or wrong it may be...

Linking up with Sarah, Shanna, Your Whims Wednesday, Rolled up Pretty, Pleated Poppy

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