Monday, January 18, 2016

Hawaii Part I

This past December Chris and I found ourselves on a little island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. From the fresh fruit to the beautiful green mountains, Hawaii is a little slice of heaven. 

While we were there, we had the privilege of doing a sunrise photo session with Cait Schlabach Photography. Besides our wedding photos, which are less than great, we have no "real" photos of us. Don't get me wrong, we have selfies for days. But we wanted something a little more special to hang on the wall. I never knew when I booked this session, that we would be capturing some of our fondest memories. 

Cait produced the most beautiful photos and was incredible to work with, I truly couldn't be more thankful. 

If you happen to be visiting Hawaii or are lucky enough to call one of those magical islands home, do yourself a favor, contact Cait and allow her to create a gallery of your most cherished moments.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Best Soft & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie

I am a chocolate chip cookie enthusiast. There are few things I love more than a gooey, chocolate-y chip cookie. To be honest, I could eat the dough and be completely satisfied, which may be why I love this recipe so much. Even after you bake the cookies, they still have that perfect doughy taste. They're phenomenal, trust me. 

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cups light brown sugar, packed lightly
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (or more) cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 325F 
2. Mix flour, baking soda, cornstarch and salt in a large bowl
3. In a separate bowl whisk butter, brown sugar, and sugar together until smooth. Whisk in egg then yolk and finally, vanilla. 
4. Combine dry and wet ingredients with spatula. 
5. Fold in chocolate chips
6. Cover dough and chill for at least 2 hours (this is key!)
7. Remove dough from fridge and defrost for 10 minutes
8. Line baking sheet with parchment paper (wax paper works too) 
9. Roll dough into tall balls, about 3 tablespoons of dough each
10. Bake 11-12 minutes and then remove from oven and allow cookies to bake on the sheet for 10 more minutes.
11. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool (or just dig in, no judgement here) 



Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Waiting on God

It has been 3 years but often times feel like 300 since my husband and I have been trying to grow our family. In early 2013, a little more than a year of being married, we decided that it was time to have a baby. We had no idea about the roller coaster we just boarded. 

In April, we found out that we were pregnant and shortly after lost the baby. Grieving this loss was a very long process, I struggled with all the common questions: Why me? Was it something I did? Of course, the only answer I found was to wait and trust in the Lord during this difficult trial. 

After 3 months, we started trying again. A year and a half passed and we still weren't pregnant so we began fertility testing. My blood work, my very expensive blood work may I add, was fine. There were no real issues that they could see. However, after many ultrasounds my physician spotted a large mass on my uterus. So we scheduled surgery. Right before my surgery, I found out that I was finally pregnant, naturally. WHAT! I was beyond thrilled. Unfortunately, this baby went home to be with the Lord and their sibling. I was devastated but in a way had restored hope, I was able to get pregnant on my own, praise the Lord. Well, we moved forward with the surgery. They found two polyps and the mass tested positive for a fibroid but was also filled with endometriosis. It's very confusing, the human body is incredible, that's all. After the 3 month waiting period we were given the OK to start trying again. 3 months rolled around and well my husband was sent on deployment for the next 8 months, bad timing to say the least. 

He finally came home in September. My doctor prescribed me clomid but we had a trip planned to Hawaii so we decided to wait until December to take it. About two weeks before our trip, I was having lots of cramping, I instantly knew what was happening. I went to the ER and told them I believed I was having an ectopic pregnancy. By the end of the week, my trip had been cancelled and I had been given two doses of methotrexate. Hear me out, sitting in the Labor and Delivery Unit and being given a shot that ends the life in your body has to be the most unnatural thing a woman can go through. I lost it. I honestly don't remember much from that night besides that without my husband I couldn't have made it through the next few days. This loss felt different. I felt hopeless and empty. I felt like the one thing I was designed to do, I couldn't. I felt robbed and angry. The list goes on. 

The good news is this, the Lord never gave up on me. I was sinking but as soon as I put my eyes back on him, I began to feel his presence and power. My hope began to restore. I found an online infertility group that is Christian-centered, I got back into the word of God, and did a lot of praying and soul searching. 

I know that God is not done with us. I believe that I will be a mother eventually. I don't think that I would have this desire if that was not in God's plan for me. However, His timing is perfect, whether I understand it or not. 

So I continue to pray. Seeking the Lord's will and searching for a clear answer about my next steps in this journey. 

If there are any woman struggling with infertility that would like to join a christian-centered group, please feel free to leave your email below and I would be happy to share the information with you. 


Monday, January 4, 2016

Sunday Recipe: Quick & Easy Monkey Bread

Monkey Bread

Almost every Sunday night, our family gathers at my mom's house for dinner. It's always the perfect end to a busy weekend. Since this little tradition has started, I have been given the honor of dessert duty, which I truly love. It gives me an excuse to bake something unhealthy and test out new recipes on a very bias audience. This weekend was hectic and time was limited so I whipped up a quick and easy monkey bread. The best thing about this recipe is that any leftovers can be enjoyed in the morning with a warm cup of coffee! 

1/2 cup brown sugar
2 sticks of butter
2-3 tsp. cinnamon 
3 cans of biscuits
1 cup of sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. Combine white sugar with cinnamon in gallon ziplock bag and shake well
3. Cut biscuits into fours
4. Put each piece of biscuit into the cinnamon/sugar mixture
5. Spread coated biscuit pieces out in bundt pan evenly 
6. Melt butter with brown sugar
7. Bake for 35 minutes
8. Allow 30 minutes to cool before putting it on a serving dish
9. ENJOY! 

Notes: I cut off a small piece of butter from one of the sticks and coat the bundt pan with it to reduce the bread from sticking to the sides. 


Saturday, January 2, 2016

A Fresh Start

Hey there, 2016!

While there were many sweet moments in 2015 that I hope to remember forever, I couldn't be more excited to welcome a new year and a new blog. 

I started The Story of Him & Her shortly after Chris and I got married in 2011 to share mini-life updates with our friends and family. So much has changed in the past four years and that little space just didn't suit me anymore. It is time for a fresh start, a new place to document bits and pieces of my life.

Thanks for joining me on this exciting new journey!