Turn On the Light – Free Harry Potter Printable

A free printable 8×10 or 5×7 Harry Potter art print for your home.

We’re big Harry Potter lovers in our house. I’ve wanted to add some Harry Potter inspired art to our home since we moved in. This has always been one of my favorite quotes from the books. Since I know a lot of my friends are also Harry Potter fans, I thought I’d share it for anyone else who wants to add it to their home!

Dumbledore Quote Art Print 

I’ve made these available in both 8×10 and 5×7 sizes. If you’re printing at home, you’ll want to use the crop marks to cut these down to the correct size. If you send it to a printer, they’ll cut it to size for you. 

I’d love to see how you style these in your home! If you share on social media, please tag me @elisecreates.

My Miscarriage Story: You’ll be in My Heart

Back in March, we went to the doctor for a 10 week pregnancy appointment and found out our baby’s heart had stopped beating at about 8.5 weeks.

This song has been on my mind whenever I’ve thought about our miscarriage since then. Now and forever more, the memory of our baby will be in my heart.

It’s really important to me that you know why I’m sharing this now. I want anyone else who experiences this to know they’re not alone. I needed and truly relied on dear friends who I knew had miscarried before or who had experienced pregnancy-related heartbreak. And, though I wished they’d never had to experience any of that heartache, I have been so incredibly grateful for their understanding, support, and love.

I think miscarriage needs to be talked about more. We need to know how common it is and eliminate any shame and secrecy involved. But it’s also a personal and intimate experience that nobody should feel obligated to share about, you know?

I’ve been fairly open about my miscarriage in personal conversations with friends, but I wanted to wait to share here until it felt right. One thing I’ve learned about grief (I mean, and life) is that so many things can be true at the same time. You can feel joy and still feel sad, for example. You can be hopeful and heartbroken. And you can be so incredibly grateful for people who care and also too tired to carry the weight of all the “I’m so sorrys”. And that is all okay.

My physical miscarriage experience

After finding out at our ultrasound that our baby had stopped developing, my doctor prescribed misoprostol— the medicine that helps your body complete a miscarriage.

From what my doctor had said and what I’d heard from a few friends, I anticipated being in a lot of pain with a lot of bleeding within a few hours after using the medicine. But three hours later, I found myself Googling and texting friends to find out if it was normal/okay for it to take longer. (I’ll save you the Googling: It’s not common, but it happens.)

The medicine is supposed to work within about 48 hours. I only experienced minor cramping and had only passed a few clots. I wasn’t sure if I had passed the baby though. When I went in for my follow up ultrasound, I learned that I had what they call RPOC (retained product of conception) and though I had probably passed the baby, there was more I needed to pass.

We went through the steps for my doctor to get approval for a D&C surgery (not an emergent surgery, so it required approval in our new COVID-19 world), but ultimately decided we wanted to try the medicine one more time before heading into surgery. So, I tried the medicine again. My results were similar to the previous time. But having seen my follow up ultrasound images, we knew there wasn’t much left to pass and my doctor and I both determined that it was likely that I had passed the RPOC.

After that, I had my blood drawn every two weeks for the next month, and then finally took a pregnancy test six weeks later — all to confirm my HCG levels were really dropping and my body was recognizing that I wasn’t pregnant any longer.

One of the harder physical challenges of miscarrying was my body still thinking I was pregnant. I should have been moving into 2nd trimester at this point and getting more energy and less nausea! But instead, I was no longer pregnant and I felt very stuck in the first trimester twilight zone.

My first period after miscarrying

When I got my first period following my miscarriage, I was prepared for it to be heavier. I was not prepared to finally experience the amounts of pain and bleeding I expected when I had taken the miscarriage medicine a month before.

I woke up in the middle of the night with cramps so painful I couldn’t move or breathe. I was having contractions/cramps that felt like being in labor. What happened next is kind of a blur, but I can tell you there was a strange popping sound, very large clots, and “blood flowing like water” — a description I had read a lot in my Google Miscarriage 101 course. The popping was a shock though. I’m grateful for mom forums and blog posts with similar stories because that wasn’t something I learned about on any professional medical source. (But my thoughts on the lack of credible miscarriage education are for anther day.)

The next few days were awful. My body felt weak and I experienced multiple moments where I thought I might pass out. I considered teaching my almost two year old how to call her dad or grandparents from my cell phone in case I did pass out, since it was just the two of us at home.

But as awful as that was, my body finally felt like it was completing the miscarriage process and moving on. Until that moment, I had felt stuck in that first trimester twilight zone. And I felt like a miscarriage imposter. Like I hadn’t experienced a true miscarriage and my body hadn’t done anything right, so I didn’t belong in that club that nobody wants to join. But I wasn’t pregnant either. And I hadn’t healed either.

I wouldn’t wish that pain or bleeding on anyone, but I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with gratitude that it finally felt like my body was doing what it needed to do and I could move forward.

Exactly a month after we found out we miscarried, I headed into town for one of my blood draws and then we went social distance shopping at Home Depot for supplies for a yard project. I was feeling the weight of grief and blood draws and a recovering body a lot that day. I went to hunt down (and sanitize) a shopping cart and spotted this little succulent. The pale pink felt like the perfect soft squishy baby color and, though I’ve never been much of a plant person, I needed something sweet, tiny, and alive to bring home. I don’t know why it felt so significant, but this little succulent is still in my kitchen making me smile.

Moving forward from miscarriage

Once my body felt like it was physically moving forward in all the ways I couldn’t control, I realized it was time to move forward in the ways I could control. I started with therapy.

Through my husband’s employer, we have access to what is referred to as “solution-based therapy”. I’m incredibly grateful for that access to therapy subsidized by the company, but my husband reassured me that if that wasn’t the right fit for me, we’d budget for therapy that was. Solution-based therapy is intended to be shorter term therapy where you focus on solutions and moving forward, instead of a long-term therapy relationship where you dig deep. (For the record, I’m a fan of both varieties.)

Lucky for me, this turned out to be exactly what I needed at the moment. The therapist I worked with provided a lot of validation, education, and solutions on how I could move forward and heal. She also helped me recognize that I was experiencing Parent Burnout. Which wasn’t necessarily caused by miscarrying, but miscarriage emotions sure were a lot on top of many other things I was going through– including burnout.

We talked a lot about the difference between self-care and self-maintenance. She said “You need a hobby that fulfills you that has nothing to do with work, parenting, or your marriage.” And I immediately said, “Well, my work IS my hobby! I design and I’m very passionate about it! It’s a creative outlet!” And she helped me understand that I truly needed something else.

She referred me to this article about self-care that has become a very valuable resource for me. Since our therapy session, I’ve put a lot more effort into true self-care. I’m taking an iPad lettering course that truly is just because I love it and want to improve my skills– not for work (even if it does benefit work down the road). I’ve also been walking on the treadmill three times a week and binge watching shows that I enjoy. (1 hour of my show! And my toddler playing mostly independently and not touching me!)

Healing from more than miscarriage

I don’t think I realized how much more healing I had to do. (Still have, grief and healing are both ongoing processes.) But I feel more like myself than I have for a long time, even prior to becoming pregnant or the miscarriage. So, for that, I’m grateful. I’m not grateful we lost our baby. But I do believe in silver linings. And I’ve learned that more than one thing can be true at once, like I mentioned before.

I can be healing and heartbroken. Grateful and grieving. Moving forward and always remembering. Supporting others and being supported.

I’m also grateful for the support I felt and continue to feel as we’ve shared this news with people we care about. When we first found out, we told only the people who had known we were pregnant– our parents and a few of my closest friends. As they prayed for us and cared for us, I genuinely felt some of the weight of my grief lifted. As if their willingness to share in our sorrow truly helped share some of the heaviness of the grief. And though the grief feels less heavy as time as passed, I continue to feel the strength of others as they tell us they care.

You’re not alone. Pin this for later when you need a reminder.

Bowling Ball Day: The Ten Year Anniversary

Today is a pretty special day for me. If you’ve never heard of Bowling Ball Day, welcome. 🙂 It’s likely that that means we’re new friends. Here’s the short version: 10 years ago today, a bowling ball fell off the top of a flag pole on my head. And I’ve celebrated this day ever since.

It was March of 2007, my second semester of college. I was visiting some friends in Tremonton for spring break. My friend, Christina had suggested that we go to a privately owned park called “Marble Park”. She insisted the barbed wire collection was a must-see. So, we went. The park is a sculpture park featuring a lot of cool things:  swings made from old tractor seats, chairs made from barrels and wheels, and the infamous barbed wire collection. We decided to gather the group together for some pictures. We all climbed up onto three platforms. My friends Ashli, Mac, and I stood on the middle platform which had a flag pole coming out of it and was about 5 feet tall.

Ashli and I on the platform with the flagpole.

While taking the pictures, we noticed that the flagpole was kind of wobbly. It had been cemented into the platform, but looked as though it had come loose over the years. Mac started pushing on it, and just as I said (teasing, of course) “wouldn’t it be funny if I fell off?” a bowling ball fell from it’s perch on the top of the flag pole and onto my head.

If you look at the top of the flagpole in the background, you can see the bowling ball in its prongs.

I was knocked unconscious and fell off the platform. (This is a good thing because otherwise, it’s likely that I would have tried to catch myself and could have broken my arms.) Once on the ground, I regained consciousness, had a seizure, and threw up. (Lime green throw up, because I’d had Jones Green Apple Soda. TMI? Sorry.) My friends called 911 and explained that I had been hit on the head. “By what?” the operator asked. After looking around to find the culprit, Ashli eventually said “Um, a bowling ball.”

I was taken in an ambulance to the Bear River Hospital where they were worried about my spinal fluid leaking into my brain, so I was then lifeflighted to the University of Utah Neuro Care Clinic. One of the few moments of all of this that I actually remember happened in the helicopter. I remember watching the propellers start to spin, and one of the paramedics closed the door on my arm – so my arm was trapped between the door and my stretcher. I looked up at him and said “um, my arm…” and they quickly opened the door again and placed my arm on top of me.

The physicians at the Neuro Care Clinic determined that I had a severe concussion and my skull was fractured from front to back. You know how babies’ skulls are in two parts when they’re born and that’s why they have a soft-spot? I essentially just broke that open again. After four days in the hospital and eight staples in my head, I got to go home. I was on Loritab for a week, and then I went back to school. A few weeks later, I went to have my staples removed and the doctor told me I was doing surprisingly great and the concussion was gone. To this day, the only lasting damage is the quarter-sized scar on top of my head.

So, that’s the story of Bowling Ball Day. I love celebrating this day because it makes me feel special. Knowing how many people came to visit me in the hospital, prayed for me, took pictures with posters and sippy cups (long story) for me really just warms my heart. And knowing that, by some miracle, I didn’t die – that’s something that makes me feel things I’ve never been able to truly explain. Some of it is simply gratitude for the blessing of being alive and for feeling like I have a purpose for still being here. And also, in many sacred ways, this experience brought me closer to God. I believe in angels. The ones here on earth and the unseen angels that I believe were there 10 years ago.

Oh, and also, it’s pretty funny. I mean, who does this even happen to?

silent battles

I’ve mentioned in recent blog posts that life has been hard for me lately. Honestly, it’s difficult to explain why it’s been hard because it’s a lot of things and it’s a lot of mental things. It’s dating, it’s work, it’s self-esteem, it’s acne, it’s growing up, it’s not wanting to grow up, it’s a whole lot of learning things about myself that I didn’t realize before, it’s failure, it’s overcoming weaknesses and discovering new ones, it’s healing, it’s holding on to hope, it’s letting go of things that need to be let go of… and that’s just the beginning.

When someone is diagnosed with cancer, that challenge has a label. It’s google-able and people have heard about it before. They may not understand what it’s like to go through that trial, but it’s something they’ve heard of before. When someone has cancer, you can post about that on Facebook and ask for help – and thank goodness for that! I’m grateful for the lives that have been blessed and the prayers that have been answered because we know how to ask for help when someone has cancer.

But that’s the thing. Sometimes we have trials that aren’t google-able. Sometimes there is no easy label for why life is hard. Or maybe it’s something private that you don’t actually want to talk about. I know some brave people who talk about their challenges with infertility. I think people who share their struggles with cancer are incredibly brave too. I also have learned that sometimes there are brave people fighting silent battles that they don’t understand, can’t label, or aren’t really prepared to open up about. Sometimes there are battles that are so innately internal that you really can’t tell people about them. And the more time I’ve spent thinking about this “silent battles” concept, the more I come to realize that a LOT of us are going through these times in life and maybe we don’t know what to do.

I feel weird telling people that life is challenging right now and not being able to really fully explain why. I tell some close friends/family a little bit, but there are so many deep factors to why life is hard for me right now and I don’t even understand half of them. So, hi, life is hard. I’ve got a whole lot going on inside of me and I’ve got no label to tell you why.

But I want people to know that my life is hard. I feel selfish just typing that. The phrase “misery loves company” comes to mind. But I think it’s much more than that. Honestly, I think sometimes we need to cry out and say “Hey! You people that care about me! I am not sure I’m okay right now and I need help.” Actually, I think we spend a lot of time crying out messages like that – I think our bodies know how to get that message out when we’re not ready to admit it. I’m sure you’ve seen lists of “signs of depression”. They’re filled with things like fatigue, over eating, under eating, insomnia, over sleeping… you get the point.

I think the world has taught us one giant lie that needs to be torn to bits and destroyed forever. That lie is this: “Asking for help is not okay/means I’m weak.” Perhaps it’s phrased differently in each of our minds. Any way you say it, it’s a lie. We were put here on earth with other compassionate humans for a reason. We can ask for help. We were born into family units with people who love and care deeply about us for a reason. We can ask for help. It’s OKAY to not be okay. It’s OKAY to let people know you have flaws. It’s OKAY to need help.

I let myself do this thing where I say “I’m fine, it’s okay, I’ve got this” for a long time until I’m crying in my car on the way home from work and it’s all I can do to think of something I might be able to eat without feeling like I’m going to vomit. I’m learning that I’m allowed to ask for help before I reach this point of desperation. I can tell someone I’m struggling before the tears come. I’m allowed to get support from friends and family any time I want. I’ve learned that all you have to do is ask. People LOVE you. They want to support you and help you be okay. We’re not here to work through all our challenges alone. It was never meant to be that way.

Ultimately, I’ve also been learning how to turn to the Savior. It’s okay to need Him. It’s okay to ask for divine help. In fact, we are promised “ask and ye shall receive”. He wants to run to us, to succor us, to heal us and bless us. I think I re-learn how much I need to rely on the Savior almost every day. In my favorite Holland talk of the day, Elder Holland says “When He says to the poor in spirit, “Come unto me,” He means He knows the way out and He knows the way up. He knows it because He has walked it. He knows the way because He is the way.” Up and out is exactly the way I feel like I need to go.

I also want you to know that I am okay. I have moments where I want to scream out and cry out and tell everyone that I’m not okay. Those are real. But I also have wonderful, blissful, joy-filled moments where I feel peace and I know that I am okay and that things are going to be okay and I know I’m on a beautiful path. I’m finding that there is a lot more joy in the struggle than I ever believed there could be. Slowly, I’m starting to realize that there is a lot to be learned from the hard times and even from making mistakes. I have to remind myself, but I think that deep down I actually do know that being vulnerable, taking chances, going off of gut feelings and moving forward (even moving forward feeling like you have little to no sense of direction) is a lot more like progress than staying safe in your comfort zone and not ever risking anything. And through all of the scary, vulnerable, not okay moments, it really is always going to be okay.