Tag: St Pete Beach

National Infertility Awareness Week!! #StartAsking

Hey All!

In case you weren’t aware, this week (April 25 – 30th) is National Infertility Awareness Week.  Obviously for us it’s a HUGE deal and even if you haven’t struggled with infertility, it should be a huge deal to you too!  One in 8 couples experience infertility issues. One in 8!  Yet fertility isn’t even taught in schools or even a required conversation at your annual check up! That is why you need to be your own advocate and #StartAsking!  Start Asking is this year’s theme – it allows you to be part of the conversation about infertility and ask….

  •           Your doctor about YOUR reproductive Health
  •           Your family and friends for the support you may need
  •           Employers for insurance coverage (treatments are only covered in 15 states!)
  •           Lawmakers to support infertility legislation
  •           For understanding for those who experience infertility

Let’s get the conversation started!! It’s time to start talking about infertility!  

 

 

Trust The Timing Of Your Life. Trust Your Journey.

Trust the Timing of Your Life. Trust Your Journey…this is one of my favorite quotes and I’ve really tried to lean on it during our infertility and adoption journey, but sometimes it’s just so hard to do!

As many of you know, we were matched with a new set of embryos and we made arrangements to travel back to the Czech Republic on January 30th. Unfortunately, I’m not writing this from the Czech Republic…the trip was cancelled 🙁

Three days before I was set to leave I went to one of my pre-trip doctor’s appointments.   These appointments are usually super quick – just a quick ultrasound to check your lining, they give you your results and you’re gone.  This time was a little different.  When the ultrasound was done I asked the tech what my lining was, she verbally gave me the results (Which were perfect…if you’ve been through IVF you know how crucial this is!) then asked which doctor I would be seeing that day.  I told her that I wasn’t seeing a doctor and that I just needed the printout to bring with me on my trip.  She left the room, telling me that she was going to go get the printout.  When the door opened the next time, it was the doctor, not the tech.  I immediately felt a pit in the bottom of my stomach.

The doctor told me that they found 2 small masses in my uterus and that she wasn’t exactly sure what they were.  Her actual words were, “They could be polyps, it could be scar tissue from your miscarriage, or they could be cancer. We don’t know.” At that point, I would have been okay with just the “we don’t know”. The pit in my stomach grew deeper.  They scheduled me for a saline ultrasound (it gives a better picture of what’s going on) and biopsy that afternoon.

My head was spinning when I left the office! I hadn’t asked yet, but had a feeling that they were going to cancel my embryo adoption trip.  I went home crying, grabbed Bill and then we headed to my next appointment.

The doctor did my saline ultrasound and biopsy in the same room she did the ultrasound to confirm my miscarriage.  I became flooded with emotions.  After my test she couldn’t confirm WHAT the masses were, just that they were indeed there.  She also told me that not only was I going to have to cancel my embryo adoption trip, but that I would need surgery in the immediate future as well.  Cue the tears, and surprisingly for me, anger. The doctor and nurse were trying to console me – “I know this must be tough, you’ve been through so much”.  Ummm yeah, I realize that.  I just wanted out of there.

The next few days were kind of a blur between cancelling all of my trip arrangements, communicating with my coordinator and clinic in the Czech Republic, getting my surgery scheduled, and the major pity party we were holding at our house! Canceling our trip and embryo adoption was hard enough, but now we were trying to wrap our heads around the fact that my health could be in danger and that I would be having surgery! It just didn’t seem fair, we didn’t even get to TRY this time, the chance was taken from us.  But infertility isn’t fair. Infertility is like the Grinch on Christmas morning, but honestly, I think infertility is an even bigger ass hole.

In order to keep going, we always eventually move onto the “what’s, next” mode.  Okay, so this isn’t going to work this time, what can we do next? When can we try again?  My doctor in the Czech told me that after he reviews my surgical reports and if all looks well that we could try again in May or June.  I know to most that doesn’t seem far away, but if you are in our shoes it’s an eternity.

So over the past few days I’ve been repeating, “Trust the timing of your life. Trust your journey”, trying, REALLY trying to have faith that there is a plan bigger than I can even imagine set in motion for me and my family. I’m going to be honest though, I’m not there yet, but I am REALLY trying.

We are still pursuing traditional adoption, but unfortunately we do not have the large amount of money saved up yet to pay upfront to work with an agency.  If you or someone you know or even a friend of a friend is currently looking for a family for their unborn baby, please think of us and send them our way.  Those of you that know Bill and I personally know that we have so much love to give and that it would really make our dreams come true to become parents.

Oh, and by the way, my surgery is scheduled for Monday, February 8th, so please send me all the good vibes you can!!

xoxo – MichelleTrust the timing of your life

Resolve Walk of Hope – Tampa

Come out and see us this Saturday in Tampa at the Resolve Walk of Hope! The Walk of Hope recognizes the many ways in which families are built, supports local support services and programs for the of women and men living with infertility, and raises public understanding of how the disease of infertility impacts families nationwide. For those of you that don’t know our story, my husband and I have struggled with infertility for many years and have now chosen to go down the path of adoption, so this organization is near and dear to our hearts!  A portion of the sale from each of our cupcakes will go to Resolve, so come out, and enjoy some amazing cupcakes while helping out a great cause!  If you want to take it one step further, you are more than welcome to join our team and walk with us – it’s a just a mile and you’ll be handsomely rewarded with cupcakes at the end 🙂 Contact me for details!

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Etsy Shop is FINALLY Open!

Good Morning All!

I don’t know about all of you, but I get horrible insomnia around a full moon – the upside?  I FINALLY finished our Etsy shop!  I’m still working on building out the “shop” side to our blog for the cupcakes, but one shop at a time, right? 🙂  For now, our Etsy shop sells wish bracelets (we hope to add more).  We decided to do wish bracelets because OUR wish is to have a baby, so we thought we would try to make your wishes come true too!

The shop is bare bones right now, so excuse the “mess” lol. I got it up and running real quick after reading an article from salesforce on the important to these creative marketplaces. All proceeds go directly to our adoption fund and once we reach our goal, we will keep the shop open and donate a percentage of the proceeds to another family on their adoption journey!
If you are interested in purchasing the bracelets in bulk for your own fundraising purposes, please get in touch for bulk pricing.
xoxo – Michelle

Gimme S’more

Hey All!

I have three words for you – Oh. Em. Geee!!  Our Gimme S’more cupcake is currently our featured cupcake. This little beauty has a graham cracker crust, topped with a moist chocolate cake, topped with creamy marshmallow frosting and a little chocolate square.  Pretty much like heaven in a jar!  If s’mores aren’t you thing, don’t worry – we can do almost any cake/frosting combo for you, along with a custom label, ribbon and little bamboo spoon.  $3 each or $30 for a dozen (min purchase ½ dozen).  Did I mention that we deliver locally?  All proceeds go directly to our adoption fund.  After we meet our goal, we will continue to keep the shop open and donate 5% of our proceeds to a family going through their adoption journey!

Gimme S'more

We also have our Facebook page up and running (just barely!).  If you get a chance stop by and give us a like – www.facebook.com/HopeStrengthAndWine 

We are still working on the shop portion of our site – I PROMISE it will be up soon!

xoxo – Michelle

 

Cupcakes in a Jar

Hey all!

So I’m super jazzed up (yes, I went there) about our cupcakes in a jar!  We’ve been so blessed that we can use the proceeds from these cupcakes to go towards our adoption costs!  It’s really a win-win.  You get an adorable yet delicious portable cupcake and we are one step closer to our fundraising goal!  Check out the cute cakes we made today!  You’re hungry now, aren’t you?  That’s okay – just get in touch and you can have your very own yummy snacks!Cupcake in a Jar

The Universe Works in Mysterious Ways!

Hi All!

We had our second fundraising sale yesterday at the St Pete Beach Rec center. We want to thank EVERYONE that came out to stopped by to see us! It was also awesome to meet so many new people and hear their adoption journeys. The kindness of strangers makes our hearts so happy! I know we say this all the time, but we really can’t do this without you all, so thank you, thank you, thank you!

Back to the sale…It was a community sale, so we REALLY had our hopes set high as far as traffic at the sale.  Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans…it rained pretty much the whole time!  Our sales weren’t quite where we wanted them to be and we didn’t hit our fundraising goal, but hey, we did make some money, so that’s a good day in our books 🙂  Here’s where the Universe(God)stepped in…although we didn’t have a lot of traffic, almost everyone that stopped in loved our baked goods, especially our cupcakes in a jar. We brought them as more of an add on item, not thinking that they would be such a huge hit!

 

cupcakesSeriously though, whats not to love about them, they’re so stinking adorable and delicious to boot! We ended up with multiple orders before the day was done and after posting them online, we ended up with more and more orders through the night! We went from feeling like the day had been a bust, to feeling so blessed and overjoyed. Someone is definitely watching out for us!

We’ve been making the cupcakes for years for friends and family and now we can make them for you too!  Our online shop will be open this week, but if you want to place an order before then, just reach out to me on Facebook or on our contact page here.

Thank you all for your love and support!

xoxo – Michelle & Bill

Surrender for the Magic

Good Morning all!  I hope that everyone has had a nice and relaxing Labor Day weekend!  We’ve taken the time to relax a little, work on some side projects, and met up with family last night for dinner – all in all a good weekend in my books!

I came across a photo on Facebook that I just HAD to share with you all!

Overplanningkillsmagic

“SURRENDER is not about letting go of action, it’s about letting go of outcome”

This struck such a chord with me because if you know me, you know that I LOVE a plan!  I make plans for my plans, no really…lol! In my head I think, “How am I going to get what I want if I don’t make a plan for it”. Bill on the other hand is a, “Don’t worry about it and it will all work out” type of guy (which can drive a girl like me crazy)!

I think a lot of us fall into this planning pattern, especially when going through fertility treatments and the adoption process. You have dates for appointments, dates to start/stop medicine, dates for intercourse (sorry dad).  You plan when you are going to test, how you are going to save money, what your next step will be if plan A (and B, C, and D) don’t work. When we were doing IVF, we would plan our whole life around our cycles – to a certain point you have to.

So for me, this was the perfect reminder to take a big deep breath in and try to let go of some of the control, because in reality this whole process is not in my control.  I am right where I need to be in my life right now.  There is a bigger plan out there for me that I have no control of and I need to surrender and let the magic happen!

xoxo – Michelle

Photographs for a Cause!

As many of you may already know, Bill and I have a photography business that we do on the side (www.mybphotos.com). For those of you that don’t know, ahem, we do photography, give us a call! 🙂 We photograph everything from babies to engagements to weddings and beyond!

Throughout the year we offer our very popular mini sessions. This fall we will be doing an exclusive series of mini sessions as an adoption fundraiser!

These sessions are great for family, maternity, children, couples, pets or even just yourself!

Just pick a date, and e-mail us for availability. These sessions fill up fast; so don’t hesitate to grab your date! We can’t wait to see you!

If you’re social, will you please help us? Spread the word by “sharing” this post across your social media and within your sphere of influence. Thank you so much!

Thank you for your love and support!

xoxo – Bill & Michelle

mini session adoption

Top Tips for An AWESOME Adoption Fundraiser Yard Sale

The first of our TWO fundraising yard sales was held on Saturday and it was a HUGE success! We had people donate stuff for a few months leading up to the sale. We finally got to the point where we felt like we were living in a hoarder’s house (minus the cats and garbage), so we decided it was time for our sale!

We blasted through our first fundraising goal! Here’s how we did it and how you can do it too:

  • Get as much stuff as you possibly can. Have people donate like crazy. Ask for donations on your blog, on Facebook, Twitter, at work, at church, etc. We had so much stuff.
  • Organize your donations as they come in!  It will make it SOO much easier the day of when you are setting everything out!
  • Make an eye-catching Craigslist ad. We even linked from our Craigslist ad to our blog so people could learn more about us and why we were raising money.
  • Place items strategically near the curb for maximum visibility. We had a bedroom set, some retro chairs, and some other furniture we put near the curb. It all sold.
  • Make bright and bold signs and put them on every street corner and in your neighborhood. You can’t have too many. We went the silly route on a few of our signs and we actually had people stop just because of our signs, AND they ended up buying!

  • We had a big poster board sign out explaining that it was a fundraiser to help us adopt a child. Because of this, we had multiple people give donations and even come back with items from their own homes that we could use in our next sale…total strangers. We were blown away!
  • We wore matching t-shirts, so it helped the shoppers identify us and know who to pay!

tshirt

  • We didn’t price ANYTHING.  We accepted donations only – telling people to pay what they felt was fair and that no reasonable offer would be refused.  For the most part this worked wonderfully!  We had a few people offer some really lowball offers, but the people that paid more than double what we expected made of for this and far exceed the lowballers.
  • This may sound silly, but don’t forget to eat and keep hydrated!
  • We boxed the leftovers back up and will be holding another sale September 12th, at the city wide garage sale at the St Pete Beach Rec Center.

There are a few things we would have done differently that we will definitely be doing on September 12th!

  • Set up a lemonade, soda, water, or coffee stand and possibly sell baked items. It was HOT, like heat stroke hot, on the day of our sale.  It wouldn’t have made a TON of money, but it would have made some and would be a nice touch for all of our thirsty shoppers!
  • Have help setting up and taking down! Bill and I seem to think we can do it all…lol..and after all we DID set up and take down by ourselves, but we were rushed and exhausted. It would also be smart to have a few extra “staff” (don’t forget the matching t-shirts) to help out at your sale.

Our yard sale was absolutely exhausting, but, thanks to our family and friends, it was absolutely worth it!  We will be ready to go again on September 12th, so if you have some items you’d like to donate, just let us know 🙂

Xoxo  Michelle

 

 

 

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