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My Favorite Blog Posts from 2018

Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year's Eve!  I can't believe how fast 2018 flew by, but then again, I remember when I was younger hearing adults talk about how much faster time flies as you get older--and I think I've reached that point in life haha!  

For me, there are two times during the year where it feels like a fresh start--the New Year and the start of school.  I'm excited about 2019 and what it holds for our little family.

But before that happens, let's look back at some of my personal favorite blog posts from 2018!



When I checked my analytics, my most popular by far were the ones that had to do with our infertility, miscarriage, announcing our adoption, and announcing our match!  I assumed those would be my most popular pages, too, so I wanted to share different ones.

This post was not only fun to write, but it was also really popular with page views.  I still am a fan of both types of leggings and still wear both all of the time!  


Ever since I got a hydrafacial, I randomly either hear about or read about celebrities using hydrafacial before red carpet events because of how much it makes your skin glow.  I'm not kidding when I say that my skin glowed for days after the facial and as a result, my make up looked so much better!  People at school who didn't know I had that facial commented on how good my make up looked--which is why I'm a believer in it!


Poor Dustin has almost no choice in the type of birthday party he has these days, and since this was his last birthday before being a dad, I went all out with a fun theme.  I did ask him if he wanted to go out to eat or eat at home, and if we were eating at home, I was throwing a fun theme.  Dustin loves the Braves (and watching them was actually fun this season!), so I threw him a baseball-themed party.  It was really fun and makes me really excited to throw kid birthday parties!


This reintroduction post written on January 18th was really fun to go back and read--it's crazy how much life has changed since then.....and how much my hair has grown ha!!


I wrote this post back in March and we still eat this dough ALL THE TIME!  I will say that it's better if you use self-rising flour instead of all-purpose flour because I ended up testing out both.  This is an easy pizza dough recipe that's ready immediately and healthier than others if you're doing Weight Watchers!


I hope y'all have a wonderful New Year and I'll see y'all back here on Wednesday!!

2018 Year in Review

Friday, December 28, 2018

Wow.  2018 was filled with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.  It really was a bittersweet year.

Am I glad it's coming to an end?

Yes.

I entered this year grieving and hopeful and wrote a blog post about it.  We had just experienced a failed IVF round for the second time.  I felt like my body had been put through the ringer with surgery, procedures, millions (what felt like) of shots, and weight gain.  I felt terrible, I was sad, and I honestly was not looking forward to doing another round of IVF.


trying to feel normal

After my second egg retrieval in October 2017 (which was actually my third round of stim meds because my follicles didn't grow big enough the first round), I told Dustin, through lots of tears, that I was not doing another round of stims again.  I hated how they made my body feel and I hated that I had to be so careful with everything I did because I was at such a high risk for ovarian torsion (twisting of your ovaries which is extremely dangerous).  It got to the point where I had to be careful even bending down to pick up something.

Entering into the new year, I knew that 2018 would be our last embryo transfer since we still had embryos frozen from that last egg retrieval.  We went to our doctor early January to discuss the next transfer and in hindsight, I'm really glad Dustin brought up to our doctor the fact that I had started mentioning how my lower back had been killing me.  Because I feel like she's such a great doctor who listens to her patients, she said if I really wanted, we would do another laparoscopy to get any endometriosis that may have returned since my last surgery a year ago.  That way I wouldn't ever have to wonder if we didn't do the surgery and I didn't get pregnant the next transfer that if having the surgery would have made a difference.

I had surgery again on February 9 and she said it was so bad that it looked like I had never had surgery before.  The only way to give my body a break was to get pregnant.


ready for surgery and to feel better!

And like I said earlier, I was not looking forward to another round.  I voiced that to my best friend and I knew that I had to change my attitude.  I prayed that God would change my heart and about two weeks before my scheduled transfer in April, my attitude changed and I was excited about this last transfer.


 right before they wheeled me back for the transfer


two perfect babies were transferred in hopes of having twins!

Things went on as normal and I wasn't expecting a positive pregnancy test until my doctor's office called me and woke me up from a nap (should have know ha!) telling me I was PREGNANT!!!  She also told me my lab numbers were so high that we should expect a strong pregnancy and even a possibility of twins (we transferred two).  Literally the best day of my life.  All of my dreams of being a mother were finally going to come true.


after we dried our happy tears from the positive pregnancy phone call!!

And ironically, our baby's due date is today.  December 28.

I've dreaded today ever since we lost our baby girl on May 16. Actually, the entire month of December was hard for me because it was a month that I had envisioned prepping for our baby and wondering if I was going to make it past Christmas before going into labor. 

I wrote about that and processing through the grief here.

Fast forward to this summer, I enjoyed not having to fake it through school (I had to go back to work the last week of school after the miscarriage) and being able to cry whenever I wanted.  Dustin had to go out of town for two weeks for a work trip and I spent that time just doing whatever I wanted....like having lunch with my sister or walking at the park.

It was also during that time where God really worked on our hearts to lead us toward adoption.  You can read the entire story of that here.

announcing that we are adopting!

In mid to late June (I think the 20-something), we had our initial phone call with Faithful Adoption Consultants (FAC) out of Georgia.  I had done a ton of research on different consultant groups vs using an agency and ultimately Dustin and I both felt comfortable using FAC.  Through the recommendation of another adoptive mom, we used a local social worker to complete our home study.  We had been told to expect 3-4 months for that to be completed and ours literally took 5 weeks!


my first Facebook marketplace purchase!  literally the best deal I've ever found


We also celebrated Dustin's 33rd birthday and our 4 year anniversary during our vacation in Rosemary Beach!  Our vacation was exactly what we needed


breakfast one morning in Rosemary

In the meantime, we did a t-shirt fundraiser and people were so supportive of it.  I had set a goal of 100 shirts but I honestly didn't even know if we would sell 75.  We ended up selling over 200 shirts and I couldn't believe it!  Some of y'all, my sweet blog readers, bought shirts!  I was and still am so blown away by the support shown.  We did a few other fundraisers--a bbq plate dinner, a fundraiser letter, Christmas ornaments, mini photography sessions, a yard sale, a raffle, and we had a craft booth at an advent market.


my precious husband designed these shirts to represent our adoption journey

We went active late September and that wait time was a lot harder than I thought it would be.  The whole time leading up to becoming active, I was so excited to start seeing cases because I knew that meant that we could get matched soon.  But I wasn't prepared for the first few cases we got because as soon as I opened the emails and read the files, I cried.  It reiterated the brokenness of adoption and the tragedy from which it begins.  (I have a post planned on what it was like being "active" and the whole waiting.)

While waiting to be matched, I turned 31.




We were matched November 2 with a baby due late February!!  I've loved being able to pick up a few gender specific outfits and finish up the nursery.  We also bought some of the major things we will need when we travel to get the baby--car seat, stroller, diaper bag, bottles, etc.  


yay!
Christmas this year was really special since it's the last one with just the two of us.  As much as we really love it being just the two of us, we kept finding ourselves mentioning what it would be like with a baby next year 😊  I blogged about our Christmas yesterday!





Man, it's been a hard year, but God has been so good to me.  He has shown me that He gives me strength, grace upon grace, and the importance of Christian community.  I can't wait to see what 2019 holds for us!




Christmas 2018

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Happy Thursday!  Dustin and I had a really great Christmas with our families so I wanted to make sure I documented it!

We started Christmas Eve Eve (the 23rd) with a cookie decorating contest.  Dustin worked that day so I pre-baked sugar cookies for us to decorate.  I didn't have the time or energy to make my own dough and then use cookie cutters, so I just bought the tube of sugar cookie dough and sliced it.  Then I chose the best cookies for us to decorate...and compete against one another because let's be real, Dustin and I love competing against one another ha!
 I set us up stations at the table with everything we would need to decorate.



 Dustin did great!



 These are mine 🙈



These are Dustin's--he may not look it but he's very creative!  We did this instead of decorating gingerbread houses and we enjoyed it!



On Christmas Eve, we went to the Shaneyfelts for finger foods and presents.  We played Dirty Santa--and this year we played differently with dice...so much fun!!--and White Elephant.  Of course, I'm wearing my favorite sweater haha!!!



On Christmas, Dustin and I work up early (just kidding, I woke up early and then woke him up) to exchange our presents.  We give each other our stockings first and open those.  Dustin always does so good putting things in my stocking!



 He's excited to see what's in the big box!



 After opening all of our presents, we had to take our traditional picture in front of the Christmas tree!!


Then we got ready and went over to my cousin's house for the Wiley Christmas breakfast.  We've been doing this breakfast my whole life, and I asked my dad when it started and he couldn't remember a time when we didn't do it!  It started with my dad's parents (Gran and Popo) and their 3 kids (my dad and 2 aunts) and their spouses and children.  For my entire life, we've had breakfast on Christmas morning and we're still doing it!!  Now that Dustin is married to me, he says it's his favorite thing ever and looks forward to it every Christmas that he's off work 😂  I didn't get any pictures because we were having so much fun!

 Then we went to my dad's house to exchange gifts with him.  I got him that vest and hat he's wearing and he was really excited about that ha!



 Then we went up to my mom and stepdad's house for a late lunch and presents!



 My sister Rachel and me!

 Mom and me!  
(I'm used to crouching in every photo with Mom and Rachel lol!)




I hope y'all had a wonderful Christmas, too!  
T-minus two months until BABY!!

Friday Faves!

Friday, December 21, 2018

Happy, Happy Friday, y'all!  I'm going into today like...
 ...drinking that coffee because SCHOOL IS OUT!!!  Yeah!  We've all been counting down to Christmas break for a while now haha!!  I'm spending today running every last Christmas errand that I have to and getting it all done TODAY!  It's been a busy week, so the blog took a backseat and I'm so glad to be back today!


It's Friday and I'm sharing some of my FAVORITES with y'all today!

Dustin and I drive around and look at Christmas lights every December and I've dubbed it The Shaneyfelt Christmas Light Drive By.  This year we also drove by an "Enchanted Forrest" so obviously we had to get out and walk through it.  We loved it and can't wait to experience things like that through the eyes of a child 😊



Speaking of, the baby got a gift!!  One of my sweet students gave me a Christmas present and when I opened it up, it was a gift for the baby!  And perfect for us since we are big Alabama fans!  I can't wait to put the hat and mittens on the baby!!


My sister was the photographer at our cousin's wedding the Saturday before Thanksgiving, so she snapped a few pictures of Dustin and I dancing...
 Even the video my aunt got of us is me laughing the entire time.  You just have to see Dustin's dance moves to understand 😉



Love him!


And for my FAVORITE song of the week...
You've GOT to watch this!  I love all kinds of music--not just John Mayer and Led Zeppelin (just not country)!  I love the NPR Tiny Desk Concert series and this one was so good!


I hope y'all have a Merry Christmas and I will see y'all back on the 26th!

Friday Faves!

Friday, December 14, 2018

Happy Friday!  It's definitely happy because it's my last Friday to work of the semester!  My last day is next Thursday and that can't get here fast enough!!


Tuesday our entire school filmed a music video!  It was so fun and I can't wait to see the final product.  We had to wear something Christmasey--red and green or ugly sweaters and I went the ugly sweater route.


Except that my students didn't understand that it was an ugly sweater.  I had to explain that I don't like cats which made it an ugly Christmas sweater.  #7thgrade



My mom's birthday was Tuesday, so that night I changed out of my ugly sweater and put on my FAVORITE sweater!!!  I wish I had another one of these because it's the best sweater ever!!  I bought it when it went on sale for 40% off for maybe 4-5 days.  I would have bought two if I would have had another gift card because, you know, saving for an adoption haha!!  I'll buy another one next year 😜  Also, I'm wearing my "namesake" jean and they are on sale!  I'm a self-admitted jean snob and usually don't wear cheap jeans, but I like these!



She makes 59 look good!!!  And she's also really embarrassed in this picture because she had no idea they were going to put that hat on her!



Best picture Dustin got of me 🙈  
I've got to work with him on his photography skills.



Rachel and I met up for coffee Wednesday afternoon after she worked PRN for hospice and I get done with school.  LOVE coffee dates with my sister!!



My small group got together Wednesday night for our FAVORITE Things Christmas party!!  We ate good, had Emily's famous cheesecake, and each left with 4 presents--it's such a fun tradition we've started that I'm always looking forward to each Christmas season!



Yesterday was my dad's 65th birthday so we celebrated at my house!!  I cooked supper and Rachel had the cake made to look like his new Medicare card--yay for retirement!!!  We had a fun time celebrating dad!  He's excited about 65--retirement and his first grand baby!!!



And just for fun, Tuesday morning lots of school systems (except ours) delayed for the freezing temps and ice on the roads (remember, the South isn't used to this!!!).  We had a freezing fog and I snapped this as I was headed to school and Dustin was taking out the trash.  No filter--it's really gray out there haha!  And Dustin might have to start his own fashion blog 😜

Christmas Home Tour 2018

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Merry Christmas!!!  I cannot believe we're only two weeks away from Christmas.  I need these next two weeks to slow down and then I need January to speed by haha!  

Last night was my mom's birthday dinner, so as soon as we got home from that, I snapped a few pictures for this blog post.  This year, I didn't go all out on Christmas decorations, so you'll notice everything is pretty bare minimum.  I've gone all out before, but I just wasn't feeling it this year.  BUT next Christmas we'll have a baby so you better believe I'll go all out on decorations!!

And quick side note:  We chose not to send out Christmas cards this year in order to save that money for the adoption.  If you typically receive a card from us, you won't this year 😩 We'll be back at it next year!!

Now, let's get to the home tour!  I didn't get a picture of the front of our house because it was freezing temps last night haha!! So, y'all come on in!
 I set up my Willow Tree nativity in our entry way along with a small tree that has battery powered lights and a little candy dish holding kisses!



 Here's a quick picture of the front door.  You can see the lighted garland we have around the door and the wreath has lights on it too.  We've also got two small lighted trees flanking either side of the door too, and I am traditional and still put candles in the windows.  I love that look so much.  You can also see the two red buckets I stick out on the porch when we have deliveries--I want to treat the people working hard delivering packages.



 To the left of the entryway is the dining room and I'm just trying to ignore that this year haha!  I just stuck a runner on the table and used colored balls in the dough bowl.  Next year, I'll do a little more like I did last year!



 I've got some of my mother-in-law's Christmas Villages on the sofa table (one with a bulb out still).  I LOVE looking at Christmas villages and my aunt used to do a huge one growing up and I was always so fascinated!



 The one difference this year in decorations is the tree!!  I had to get a new tree because our old one literally would not stand up straight.  Last year, no matter how many magazines we stacked under the base, it leaned so bad 😂.  I've been wanting a flocked tree forever, so I found one that was a great price!  I'm not totally satisfied with how the tree turned out this year, but decorating a tree is expensive!  Next year I'll buy a little more decor and make it how I want.  This was partly my inspiration!



 I realized today that we're missing a stocking because Dustin has already taken mine and filled it.  I won't see that again until Christmas morning haha!!  I hope I'm not sounding like a broken record to you, but I keep thinking about how next year we'll have THREE stockings!!!  I think I'm going to get them from Pottery Barn and get them monogrammed!



 A little snowman on the side table


The next couple of pictures are from the kitchen....I still need to get a backsplash up.  I had picked out a tile and then Home Depot discontinued it...ugh.


 And I have my Christmas candle and soap next to the kitchen sink.







 I love putting a tree in our bedroom.  I've kept it just lights and I love the look it brings.




That's it for this year!  Next year, we'll have a small tree in baby's room to add!  And hopefully we'll get our upstairs tv room together so I can add a small tree in there, too!
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