February 8, 2017

Colby Christian Wood

Some of you may already know if we are friends on Facebook or you follow me on Instagram. But, on January 20, 2017 at 2:30am we lost our son, Colby Christian, at just over 14 weeks gestation.

I am not pregnant anymore.

I had a miscarriage.

We lost our son.

Those three statements have been the hardest thing to type, much less say out loud. I cannot express to you the level of emptiness and sadness I feel. I'm not sure I could even try to put it to words. If you've experienced a loss like this, you know what I mean. What's worse is we may never know why. The only thing that keeps me going is that it's not my fault and that Jesus will keep him safe until I can once again hold my precious boy.

I have had a wonderful support system around me, especially that first week afterwards. I'm not sure I'd be as "ok" as I am today if it weren't for my mom driving all the way up here from Georgia for that week. I don't think I could get through this at all without my amazing husband. And my closest friends have done their best to help me stay distracted when I need to be and be a shoulder to cry on when I need it.

I do want to thank everyone for your sweet words and prayers. It means a lot to me and Hubs. Especially those that call our son by his name. It makes him real and important to not just us. Even though you may not know what to say, there's not much anyone can say to make it better. But the simple "I'm so sorry" or "we are thinking about you" messages are perfectly enough for us right now.

A special thanks to all of those that lit a candle for Colby the day we brought him home from the funeral home that did his cremation. It was so amazing to see his light touch more than just our hearts.

Hope. That is what we have for the future. We have hope that we will be able to bring another light into this world that won't be extinguished so soon.


January 18, 2017

How Does Infertility Affect Marriage? A Research Project

Infertility takes a huge toll on a person. I've talked about my own infertility and what I've had to go through to get here. I've asked Hubs to write a little something about my infertility from the perspective of a husband:

Hello all, you all know me as the husband of Knock on Wood. Not too long ago my wife shared our story about the battle with infertility. I'm going to add my perspective on our troubles, and the toll it took on us and our marriage. First of all it was rough seeing all the negative tests. The depressed look on my wife's face cycle after cycle, and there was nothing I could say or do that would help. It made me feel helpless and useless. Our love life became monotonous because sometimes it was scheduled, and to be honest, there were times I didn't enjoy it at all. It was a very stressful time for us and I tried to just go with the flow. She just needed to feel sad, or be mad sometimes, so I let her. I listened and just tried to be there as much as she wanted me to.
Now that my wife is pregnant (YAY!!!!!!) Our relationship has been better, she's been more upbeat, and positive (even thought she's sick right now as I'm writing this). I have been learning how to feed a baby and change diapers with my new nephew around (I've never been around babies). I want to end on this note: despite this hard chapter we've gone through, I love my wife with all my heart, and I think we're going to be great parents.

And all of this leads to the question: How does infertility affect marriage/relationships?

Well, I'm taking a research class this session and I've decided to conduct my own little study. I know some of you, dear readers, have fought or are currently fighting your own war on infertility, so I am asking you to help me out. I've created a survey that is completely anonymous that will hopefully give me a better sense of a possible answer to this question. If you would complete the survey for me, I would greatly appreciate it. If you haven't experienced infertility, but know someone who has, feel free to pass it along those you know who would be interested in participating.

Have you ever participated in an study like this before? 

January 16, 2017

8 Things I Keep On Hand For Blog Photos

Blog Photos. You can buy them, get them from free sites, or take them yourselves (don't steal photos! That is rude). Over the past couple years I have been teaching myself new ways to take, edit, and stage photos for my blog and Instagram all with my iPhone. There are tons of tutorials for smartphone photography out there and you can get inspiration for staging from other peoples photos (especially on Instagram). I've been asked a few times what I keep on hand for my photos, so today I'm going to share my must haves with you!

1. White Foam Board
This is essential for flat lays if you don't already have a desirable surface that can be moved into the natural light. I get mine from the Dollar Tree, so when they start looking shabby, or the cats decide to claw it up, it's easily replaceable.

2. Trifold White Poster Board
Also from the Dollar Tree. These are good for using as a light reflector as well as a backdrop for smaller item photos.

3. Cute Office Supplies
Paperclips, pencils, pens, notepads, etc. I have a couple of different color sets that I got from the Target dollar section. They always have new stuff for each season. Dollar Tree also has some basics too, although they don't always the cute matching colors.

4. Calendar
For 2016 I got a clipboard calendar from Target. And this year I have a spiral one from the Dollar Tree. I use these (usually with seasonal items) for my first of the month photos on Instagram and have used them here on the blog as well for "currently" posts.

5. Fake Flowers/plants
Why spend money on real ones all the time? Especially if you have allergies or a super black thumb. For lots of my photos I have fake flowers and plants in them. The secret is to get ones that look more real than others. You know what I mean, some fake flowers actually look really fake, while others don't. What's great about them is you can store them and use them for several years. I get some from the Dollar Tree (you get lucky when they get in the new shipments) and some from Target, JoAnn's, or other craft supply stores.

6. Candles
Most of you probably have candles around the house already. Pull the ones you already have that match your color palette or season. Or you can get cheap ones at, you guessed it, the Dollar Tree. Walmart also has a nice selection that isn't terrible expensive either.

7. Mugs
We all have mugs because we all can't go without coffee or tea, amiright? These are a staple in blog and Instagram photos. They don't always have to be cute or have a nice saying on them. I have some plain white ones my mom gave me that I use a lot of the time. OR you can always save your Starbucks cup and use it for photos a few more times.

8. White or Light colored fuzzy blanket.
This is a new one for me, but I've been wanting one for a LONG time (I got one for Christmas). They are great for beauty product shots because the bottles won't roll away like they do on hard surfaces. I've seen them used a lot for those sitting-with-a-mug-and-computer/book shots. You know the ones. Check TJMaxx, Ross, and other discount stores for the fake fur rugs and blankets. Walmart and Target have the fleece blankets that have the cream/white fuzzy side like the one I have.

I like to grab little things I have around my house to use in photos as well. Like my elephants figurines, books, eye glasses, jewelry, tchotchkes, etc. Raid your house to find items that go with the theme of the photo you want. Did you buy apples at the grocery store this week? Put some in your photo! Have a giant bag of skittles (just me? ok... #pregnancycravings)? Pop them in a bowl and put it in your photo! Made popcorn for snack? Use it!

I also use my laptop and iPad in photos as well (and sometimes I use my iPhone and take the photo with my iPad). Use what you have already! You don't have to spend a fortune to get good photos.

I always try to use natural lighting when possible. It gives the clearest and brightest images and makes editing easier. And my favorite apps for editing on my phone are Afterlight (it's def worth the $.99) and a free app called Color Story. I use PicMonkey (they now have a phone app!) and Canva to make graphics for my blog. Both are free to use, but have paid upgrades you can purchase.

What do you keep on hand for photos?