Father’s Day weekend!

Happy Monday, friends!

I hope you all had the best weekend and Father’s Day! We absolutely LOVED celebrating Ben yesterday. He is our rock and keeps this family strong. But more on that later. 🙂

Today I’m linking up with Biana for her Weekending linkup, so let’s get to it!


Mom, we’re trying to eat pizza here, why do you insist on documenting everything?

We put one of our properties up for sale on Friday, so we spent Friday and Saturday there touching up paint and various other little things.  SOMEONE (I won’t mention any names…) thought it’d only be an hour or two, so we brought our kids but NOTHING to entertain them… They were troopers though, so, we took a lunch break at the park with pizza. I think that made up for them being bored out of their skulls for the rest of the day. haha!


and pizza for dinner too. Mom of the year today.

Finally leaving….and it’s dinner time. Yep, more pizza. Guys, try to keep up with my parenting game, I dare ya.

At least this isn’t every day life, right? At least that’s what I kept telling myself to make myself feel better.


We only ride in style around here.

My parents have had these hilarious old scooters for at least 10 or more years. Our kids LOVE them. Especially Elsie. As in, she asks to ride it multiple times a day. My sweet dad has two of them, so he told us we could borrow one for the summer. Made my kids LIVES. And Ben has so much fun taking them on little rides and running errands. These babies top out at about 30 miles an hour, downhill, so we’re really living on the edge here.


Not everyone can look glamorous working late nights…

And later that night…gotta get the work done! Being a “working mom” is no joke. And I only put that in quotations because my workload is not consistent. I mostly consider myself a stay-at-home mom, but I guess, I am technically a work at home mom, since I do accounting work and freelance writing. Gotta make those dreams come true somehow, and I’m a big believer of putting in the work to make your dreams a reality!


view from our backyard!

While I was working, it suddenly got really loud outside. Our city had their annual parade and carnival celebration that day (but we had to miss it due to getting our property fixed up), so we had kind of forgotten about the fireworks. Ben peeked outside and discovered we had a great view right from our back porch! A private firework show from the comfort of our backyard? Yes, please. It was so nice cuddling with Ben and remembering all the years we’ve spent watching fireworks together.


E is always happy to be our little taste-tester

Father’s Day! We made Ben breakfast, went to church, and all took quick little naps before heading over to my parents for a BBQ. Els apparently couldn’t wait any longer to eat, so she helped herself to some little snacks.


Father’s Day fun

It was a gorgeous night for a BBQ. Our kids had so much fun running around with their cousins and we all loved just being able to relax and hang out together.


Ben and his first-born

I just love this man! He is so fun, hilarious, and loves us all fiercely. The kids made him sweet cards and drew pictures and couldn’t get enough of his tickles all day long. I love that he plays with the kids so much and they never have to question how important they are to him. He goes out of his way to teach them and make sure they know what GOOD kids they are. My kids definitely lucked out in the Dad department!


I hope all of you had great weekends and were able to spend it with the ones you love! This week is going to be a busy one for me, here’s hoping I have the energy to get through it! (I should probably just install a caffeine IV now to keep me going….) See you tomorrow!

Friday Favorites!

Guys, I am SO ready for the weekend! Playing catch up all week is exhausting! It has been a great week, just crazy busy, so I’m looking forward to a fun Father’s Day weekend!

As always, I’m linking up with Erika, Narci, and Andrea for Friday Favorites!

Friday Favorites 01

Let’s dive right in, shall we?


I’m just thrilled I’m able to blog this week and past that terrible multi-day migraine. Last week was rough!



Could they be any sweeter? I love Broox’s arm draped across her. He is the sweetest big brother (when he’s not pestering her incessantly…brothers…) Her cheek is all pink because she got her face painted at our friend’s birthday party that day. They partied hard and fell asleep at their house. So. Dang. Sweet.



I am absolutely loving summer with these cheeseballs.  We have been having a blast together and I feel like we are getting into a good routine. I’m praying that it will continue to go well and this is a little preview to how it will be when we start home school in the fall!


In case you missed it, I shared the beginning of our infertility story HERE. My heart just aches for anybody who has had to deal with infertility in any way. I feel like I am one of those lucky ones who was able to get my miracles, but unfortunately, I know that’s not always the case. I will forever be grateful that I have these sweet babies.



This girl.  I mean, are you kidding me? Who wakes up looking this beautiful? Taelie Belle, that’s who! (Don’t mind the project in the background – I’ll show you that next week!)



We blew up our pool yesterday and the kids are OBSESSED with it. Like, it’s all they want to do, all day, every day. I’m anticipating some very tan kids by the end of the summer! I’m equal parts excited to have it set up and nervous about watching Els like a hawk around it.  A couple summers ago, we had a close call with drowning with Taelie (while I was LITERALLY 2 feet away from her, in the water WITH her) that still terrifies me whenever I think about it. It can just happen so fast. We’ve already had a serious talk about E never ever ever being allowed outside alone while the pool is set up (not that she is now, but we had to reiterate it!), and always making sure the sliding door is locked and latched. (She also can’t open this on her own, but again, for good measure.)


|bellenbrooks.com|Ben had the older kids one day this week, so it was just me and this chick all day.  We painted, went to the doctor (she passed her hearing tests!!), went grocery shopping, ate donuts, and just enjoyed some very rare one-on-one time together.

So that’s our week! Happy Friday, everyone!

Our infertility story – part 1

Sorry again for the long absence. If you saw yesterday’s post, you know I was dealing with and then recovering from a ridiculous migraine that lasted for 4 1/2 days. I’m so relieved to be done with that and feeling back to myself!

Today I wanted to shake things up a bit and start talking about our journey to have a family. This is something so many people struggle with, sometimes silently, and it can feel really isolating. Obviously, as you know, I have three kids. I am one of the lucky ones who was able to figure out what worked for us to have kids. If you haven’t yet, and that is something you want, please know my heart aches for you, and I’m praying for you.

Because, this is such a long story, I’m going to break it into a couple parts. Once they are all posted, I’ll link to them here, to make it easy for you to read all at once.

My story is a little different than many, but we’ll get to that soon. Let’s just go to the very beginning and start from there. When I was 19, I started getting really bad cramps whenever my period would come. I would go months without having a period, so I didn’t really think too much about it, until the cramps would come. It was unbelievable pain. Just excruciating, like I was being stabbed repeatedly in the stomach, over and over again, and then at the same time, someone was twisting the knives in my belly.  Great fun. A few years prior to this, we had found out a close family member had endometriosis, only her symptoms were SO much worse than mine. I kind of shrugged it off, until my trip to China was right around the corner, and I needed to go to the doctor to make sure I was healthy enough to leave the USA and go to a third-world country for a couple of months.

After meeting with the Doctor, she told me that she was 95% sure I had endometriosis, based on my symptoms, family history, and personal medical history. She told me that because I was so young, not trying to have babies, and it was an invasive procedure to determine if I did, in fact, have endometriosis, she didn’t want to put me through that at this point. She also told me, that if we had that diagnosis, I would be required to inform our insurance company and that it would raise our insurance costs. And since I was in no rush to get married or have babies right then, and my main symptom was uncontrollable pain, it didn’t make a lot of sense to try to get an official diagnosis. She did inform me, however, that she would be absolutely shocked if I were able to have kids ever. She told me that the tilt/shape of my uterus was not ideal for growing babies, I very rarely ovulated (which is why I hardly ever had periods), and my hormones were imbalanced.

This was a little disconcerting, but if we’re being honest here, I didn’t really believe her. I kind of just figured that this was a diagnosis they just threw around to make me not feel like such a baby about my painful cramps. No, you’re not just a wuss when it comes to pain, yours are much worse than normal. If we tell her this, she can blame it on something other than low pain tolerance. Plus, remember, I knew someone who had first hand experience with this condition. I had never passed out or been unable to walk because of the pain. Clearly I just needed to toughen up. (Although for my own pride’s sake, I would like to insert here that I actually did have a fairly high pain tolerance — I had to hip surgery when I was 11 and prior to that, my bones would literally rub against each other and you could hear them grinding. After surgery, I endured a year and a half of physical therapy every. single. day. I was no stranger to pain.)

I ended up going to China and living there for nine months, rather than the original plan of four. And, while my periods continued to be sporadic, the pain also continued to increase with each one. There began to be days when I literally could barely walk from the pain. I would take as much ibuprofen as I could and it wouldn’t even touch the pain. I began to look pale and sickly anytime the cramps would hit.

By the time I got home, I decided I needed a second opinion. I was already going to multiple doctors trying to figure out my heart issues that had risen while I was in China (I’ll talk more about that later — that is a story in itself), and I figured, why not add one more doctor to the list? Well, unfortunately, this doctor said the same thing, only he pushed to do the scope to confirm the diagnosis. I didn’t want that. I don’t know if I thought it would be easier to not know for sure or if I still just thought it was all in my head and I was being a giant baby, but I still refused. He told me that I would never be able to have kids, and I should start getting used to that, now, before it was an issue.

During this time, Ben was serving a religious mission in Hong Kong. We emailed each other, so he knew a little bit about what was going on with me, but I never went into too great of detail. Partly because I knew it would worry him and I wanted him to focus on what he was doing, and partly because I was still in denial myself. Of course I would be able to have kids one day! My mom had six kids for heavens sake. Her mom had six healthy kids (and four miscarriages). My other grandma had seven kids. My oldest sister had already had four kids by this point. Clearly we were a fertile family. Other than the pain of periods, I obviously had nothing to worry about…


I’m so sorry to stop right in the middle, but, like I said, this is a long story. Luckily for me, we now know it has a happy ending, but at this point I still wasn’t sure.

Join me tomorrow for Friday Favorites, and we’ll pick back up with this story next week.

Well, that was unexpected.

Guys! I’m so sorry I have been MIA for the last week and a half. I get migraines all the time but last week I was hit with a massive, lingering one that literally didn’t go away for an entire week. I could hardly eat, I couldn’t look at any time of screen without it getting a million times worse, and I was completely nauseus. I’ve been in recovery mode from that THIS week, trying to get my house out back together and getting everything take care of that I couldn’t do last week. So, allll that to say, I’m back! I’m sorry. I missed you guys! I had so many fun posts planned too, but I have never had a migraine like that before and it simply couldn’t be helped. It is what it is.  Thanks for checking in on me and my little blog while I was gone. It means the world to me that this little site is growing so much!

I’ll be back tomorrow with a personal post about our journey with infertility. I hope to see you then!