Luhvee Books: A Personalized Father's Day Gift

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Father's Day is approaching quickly and every year I try to find the perfect sentimental gift that my kids can give their superhero Dad! This year I made a personalized Luhvee photo book (with the help of Blair!) to give to Matt.

My brain is mostly fried so I loved that Luhvee did all the hard work for me! Their books come with pre-written prompts that I read to Blair and she helped me "fill in the blanks." She was so proud and excited to give it to her Daddy and it was so sweet to hear her tell him all the reasons why she loves him.

I added some special pictures of Matt and the kids which he really enjoyed. The photos printed clear and bright and the art work throughout the book is adorable. The hardcover option is super durable...perfect for reading over and over with the kids at bedtime!

If you are still trying to figure out a great Father's Day gift use code NATGIRL20 for 20% off your Luhvee book! I promise dad is going to love it!

Family Bike Rides with iBert

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Spring (or is it summer?!) has sprung here in Southern California and we definitely took advantage of it last weekend by taking the kids on a bike ride. We used our iBert bike seats and the twins loved it! Blair graciously allowed Everly to use her old seat ;) and iBert sent Cal a snazzy new red one! 

I love that the twins are on the front of our bikes so they have a great view; instead of looking at our backs the whole time. They loved the pretend steering wheel too! 

If you are looking for a great bike seat be sure to check out iBert!

A Birthday Party with Learning?! Well Hello, Snapology in Riverside!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

If you know me you know I'm a big fan of birthday parties. And now there are so many rad options for party locations (move over, Chuck-E-Cheese). I was recently introduced to Snapology and I just love their set-up!

Snapology uses Legos as the overall theme for their birthday parties. A Snapology expert runs the show for you so you can enjoy celebrating with your child. Plus, no clean up or decorating for you takes a lot of stress out of the equation. I love that Snapology lets you choose a Lego theme that fits your child's preference. Blair adores the Lego "Friends" at home and I know she would flip for a party involving that theme!

STEM programs are popping up all over and it's for good reason. Teaching kids about science, technology, engineering, and math are great footsteps towards getting them awesome jobs that they love in the future. The best part is that STEM learning usually happens through play. Check out these toys  and these toys for STEM learning at home!

If you or someone you know is interested in opening a Snapology in Riverside it would definitely be a hit! Especially on those warm summer days when the playgrounds are too hot.

Have you guys ever been to a birthday party where your kids learn something? Tell me about it below!

*This post is in partnership with Nakturnal. Opinions are my own.

National Infertility Awareness Week: My journey

Thursday, April 26, 2018

This week I wrote my infertility story for a brand. They asked me to write my journey down in 500 words or less. If you are new around here is my story in a nutshell...

"I struggled with secondary infertility for two years. Secondary infertility is uncommon because you have already been able to conceive a child without fertility treatment. My husband and I got pregnant on our first try with our daughter (now 6). We had no idea that we would be diagnosed with unexplained secondary infertility years later. I'll never know if my first born was a miracle (I mean all babies are) or if something happened in my body after giving birth to her that changed it. 
Me and my first born, Blair.
Secondary Infertility is hard for many reasons but one being that people assume since you had one kid you can easily have more. They make insensitive comments and ask when you're going to have more. I finally got to the point where my response would be, "Well, we have been trying for a couple years now....". And that would shut them up real quick. The other thing that makes S.I. hard is that you can't escape being surrounded by other moms , babies, and pregnant women. Since I already had a child I was stuck going to everyone's baby showers and stood by as I watched friends get pregnant with number two and number three. It was rough. 
progesterone shots given by my best friend

After a few miscarriages and every treatment under the sun; Clomid, Letrozole, IUI, and acupuncture, we went for IVF. There are so many ways to go through IVF and after much prayer we decided against genetic testing and only attempted to fertilize 5 eggs. I'll never forget the day the doctor called and said, "Only two of your eggs fertilized and are growing at a normal rate. Since you didn't do genetic testing the chances of both of them making it is slim." I sobbed. And sobbed. Finally the Lord gently reminded me that I only asked for ONE healthy baby and He had given me TWO. At that point I decided to trust Him and His plan and to be fearless. 
egg retrieval

Well those babies grew and they grew. We passed every week with a sigh of relief (my first born was premature) and cried when we saw/heard their heartbeats. We were told that we were having twin boys and then weeks later were told that they had made a mistake and it was a boy and a GIRL! My daughter at the time had been praying for God to change one into a girl (even though I told her this was not likely)...boy were her prayers answered! We had a few hiccups along the way; my son had a cyst on his brain that the doctors said was pretty normal (but STILL) and I had to put it in the Lord's hands. I had some preeclampsia too but I always went back to what I knew to be true: The Lord was in control. He is good, He cares for me, He created these babies, He knows what is best, He is trustworthy, and He LOVES me. 
our pregnancy announcement with twins

I tell my story to encourage others going through infertility. There are SO many emotions that come with it but I want to try and give people HOPE. Having hope changes everything."

I get a lot of people asking me detailed questions about my experience with IVF. I'm happy to answer questions but "mom brain" does get the best of me so if you want more answers click the "infertility" tag. Most of my IVF posts are from November and December 2015.

National Infertility Awareness Week: The Hardest Part

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Did you know 1 out of every 10 women struggle with infertility? It's national infertility awareness week and I wanted to be an encouragement to those who are currently in this unwanted season. 
our miracle babies
I'll be answering a few questions this week that may encourage or inform mamas currently in waiting. The original Q and A can be found HERE. And please,  if you have any questions please ask them in the comments and I'd be happy to respond! 

What was the hardest part of this journey for you?
 Oh goodness. There was so much! I think one of the hardest things for me was not knowing the outcome. I was so exhausted emotionally, physically, and spiritually. There were times that I just wanted to know if I wasn’t going to be able to have more kids so I could start processing that and healing and moving on with my life. 
With infertility there is so much waiting every single month. There were months that I got positive pregnancy tests only to discover that I would have a chemical pregnancy (early miscarriage) and would have to start all over again next month. I didn’t understand why God would give me that false hope only to take it away. I spent a lot of time angry at Him, questioning His love for me and His goodness. I doubted His plan for my life and felt forgotten by Him. My faith was rocked and I can truly say I hit rock bottom during those years. 
Infertility was all-consuming. There was not one moment that I wasn’t thinking about it (partly because you have to be so in tune with your body so it’s impossible to ignore). I felt as though my daughter was suffering because I was so focused on getting pregnant again and going to a million doctor’s appointments that she took a back seat. I found myself unable to truly enjoy things with her because I was so burdened by not being able to get pregnant. It was horrible. I hated that my time with her was spent with my heart being heavy in the background.
It was also painful to know that she so desperately wanted siblings and that I couldn’t provide that for her. I was so desperate to fix the situation and yet at the same time I was so overwhelmed because I knew it was out of my control. 
With infertility there is no control. You realize how helpless you are. In retrospect this was a good thing because it showed me how much I needed Jesus. I was/am helpless and can only get through this life with His strength!

Laundry Room Reveal

Monday, April 16, 2018

This year one of our my goals was to re-do the laundry room. When we moved in it had formica counter tops that were trying to look like granite but didn't. The sink was really run down and the faucet was ancient. We're still looking to add custom shelving above the washer and dryer and fix a couple other minor things (like the molding around the door that was damaged from the counter top install) but most of it is complete and I'm really happy with the space.

The space is also super tight and I couldn't back up far enough to capture it in its entirety so the first shot is from my phone...

We added a new door knob from the garage into the house and on the one inside which updated the space as well.

Garage Door Knob: Amazon
Interior Door Knob: Amazon
Sink: IKEA
Faucet: Amazon
Counters: quartz
Plant: IKEA
Soap dispenser: Target
Pulls: The Mine
Mirror: Lamps Plus
Shiplap: MDF board from Home Depot
Pendant Light: Pottery Barn
Key Holder: Pottery Barn (2007)

J.Adams Giveaway

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Spring is here and my sandals from last year are looking a tad sad. I teamed up with J.Adams and found some really cute (and super affordable!) shoes that take my outfit to the next level without being uncomfortable.

I love that they have a velcro strap so I can get them on quickly and easily. The peep toe is flirty and fun and the chunky heal gives me a little bit of (much needed) height.

You can enter here for a pair of your own by checking out J.Adams HERE and letting me know below in the comments which is your favorite style. Entrants MUST leave their email address with their comment. Winner will be notified in two days. Good luck!

*This post is sponsored by J.Adams but all opinions are my own.