Newport Beach Christmas Activities

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Hip hip hooray for the holidays! One of my favorite places to visit during Christmas time is Newport Beach. They offer so many awesome festive activities that enrich all your senses! I narrowed down the activities to my top five favorites. Here they are in no particular order...

1.Polar Paradise: Singing, Santa, and the lighting of the bay along with sledding, ice carvings, and puppet shows. For more information click HERE.

Polar Paradise
2. Crystal Cove Tree Lighting: This historic neighborhood decorates their beach bungalows with vintage decor. They have an annual tree lighting and the amazing Beachcomber restaurant offers cocoa, cookies, and coffee too! For more information go HERE.

Crystal Cove Tree Lighting
3. Corona Del Mar Christmas Walk: This event offers fun activities for kids for FREE! Enjoy the bounce houses, petting zoos, live music, and Santa! More information HERE.

Corona del Mar Christmas Walk
4. Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade: This is probably my all time favorite activity to do. I just love how magical the boats and homes look all decorated for Christmas! While we usually hang out and drink some hot cocoa on shore this year I want to rent a duffy boat and get in on the action like we did below for my birthday. I'm dying to take Blair this year. I know she'll flip. :) More information HERE.

5.Shopping at  Fashion Island: I'm sure M is surprised this isn't my favorite Christmas activity but it is a close second! Nothing says "Christmas" like some high end shopping with a view of the ocean. For the ultimate shopping experience click HERE.

Fashion Island Shopping
I just can't wait to get down there this year for all the Christmas fun! Don't miss out on all the activities...dates and times can be found HERE.

Don't forget there are so many fun activities to do year round as well. Here are a few...

• Grab a milkshake at Ruby’s on the Balboa Pier
• Watch the fisherman on the Newport Pier reel in the catch of the day
• Witness the gray whales migrate on a whale watching excursion
• Catch the top body surfers in action at the world-famous Wedge
• Bike along the historic Back Bay
• Hike through Crystal Cove State Park after an infamous brunch at The Beachcomber
• Learn how to kayak and use a stand-up paddleboard for the first time
• Snack on a Balboa Bar while strolling on Balboa Island
• Show outdoors at Fashion Island because the weather is great all year long – pet friendly!
• Take in a sunset cruise in a Duffy Boat around the harbor, then dock and dine at the Cannery Restaurant
• Roam the beaches at Crystal Cove State Park and the historic beach cottages

(In)Fertility Friday

Friday, November 27, 2015

I feel like I could be posting about IVF every day because so much happens in one day! But I'll spare you. ;)

First of all you guys are awesome and so encouraging. I received so many sweet responses about my Costco Pharmacy story. Thank you! I'm just as blown away by God using her to speak to me as you were. :)

So here's where we are. I went to the new fertility clinic and LOVED it! It was seriously so amazing. The technology used there blows my mind and the staff there was so kind.

While I was there for my hysteroscopy the nurses chatted happily with me and I didn't feel like "just another patient." Maybe I was so engrossed in the conversation with them that that's the reason I forgot to take my underwear off for the procedure. Ooops! So embarrassing! I was on the operating table all ready when I sat straight up and declared, "Oh my gosh! I forgot to take off my underwear!" They all giggled and said it happens all the time (but does it really?!). The nurse handed me a glove and I shoved them inside. After that I held out the pocket in my gown and she shoved them in. Good times.

To say I was anxious is a huge understatement. My blood pressure was (drum roll please) 199/105!!! To give you some perspective a couple weeks ago while at the dentist it was 113/75. Holy smokes I am the definition of white coat syndrome. Confession: I'm nervous about this. I've never done it before! I'm so type A and it really shows.

Throughout the procedure the nurse offered to hold my hand. The radio in the O.R. happened to be playing one of my favorite songs, It is Well with my Soul, which calmed me down. The doctor was like a cheerleader telling me how strong I was being. It felt like crazy intense contractions and was pretty painful. I remember watching the TV monitor (because hey it's not every day you see your uterus) but having to close my eyes and concentrate on my breathing. The overall conclusion? My uterus is beautiful. There is absolutely nothing questionable in there and in fact the doctor said it doesn't even look like a baby ever lived there for 8 months! They praised me some more for having such a pretty uterus and then I was on my way to talk medication.

I reviewed the meds with my nurse and then she did an ultrasound to count my follicles. Nine on one side, twelve on the other I think. Everything still looking normal. She advised me that my last day of birth control would be Wednesday (11/25) and that I start antibiotics that very same day.

We had a HUGE snafu getting my meds and had to front $3,500 till they figured out our insurance which dropped the cost down to $450. I hate dealing with insurance so I'm SO glad M takes this on for us. There is no way I could do this without him. He even put gas in my car and got me coffee and a donut before my appointment! Such a love!

On Wednesday we got Matt's genetic tests back and discovered he does NOT have the same recessive trait as I do...woo hoo! Such an answer to prayer. We can now move forward with this whole cycle of IVF without having to wait for a probe to test our embryos. Bullet dodged.

So what's next?

I start giving myself gonal-f and menopur shots on Monday for a few days and then on next Friday they will do a blood draw and ultrasound to check my progress. I'm really toning down my activity level (read: walking) and things I'm committing to. "Just say no" is my new mantra. ;) Sigh. These posts are long, but I want a record of the madness. Thanks for hanging out.

Emotionally I'm still feeling anxious and excited at the same time. I'm continuing to guard my heart for fear that this may not work the first time (or ever?) but at the same time I'm looking forward to trying. We won't know unless we try, right? In the mean time Blair has been SUCH a love. Oh man the snuggles and sweet words are relentless lately and I'm loving it.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and some fun shopping Black Friday!

Thankful for Friends

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

I know there's mass black Friday posts going on out there in the blog world but to be quite honest I don't have time to scour all the deals and then make a "best of" collage. Or I guess I could have made time but it wasn't a top priority. Sorry about that!

Instead we got our Christmas card pictures back from Carrie Johnson Photography and I'm in love! I can't wait to post the real deal but can you just look at some of the outtakes! Swoon! Taking pictures with your bff as the photographer and your other bff's family is just too fun! Too bad it would be kinda weird to include her kids in our photo... ;)

I just LOVE seeing Blair in her "mommy mode" whenever a baby or younger toddler is around her. She's so funny how she likes to coddle them and get right in their face. She tickles their cheeks and tries to help them walk around. It makes me heart melt and gives me excitement to think of her as a big sis one day. Can't wait to show you our Christmas card pictures soon!

Freshly Picked Giveaway

Monday, November 23, 2015

I've been a fan of Freshly Picked moccasins since Blair was just a babe. They are the most precious keepsake shoes and I just love how they show how her feet have grown on the bottom of the soles. The moccasins are surprisingly tough and hold up well even in out door play. They are one of the only pairs of shoes that Blair doesn't throw a fit about when I put them on her. She loves how comfortable they are!

Freshly Picked was so kind to send me a pair. I couldn't pass up their "Let it go" moccasins and we had a chance to break them in at (where else) Disneyland!

Don't you just love the iridescent sparkle?!

Elsa and Anna even checked out her "Let it go" moccasins!
They even made her fall asleep. ;)
Merry early Christmas! Today I am teaming up with Freshly Picked to giveaway one pair of soft soled moccasins to a lucky reader! To enter you must follow me @natyouraveragegirl and @freshlypicked on Instagram. Head over there now for your chance to win!

(In)Fertility Friday

Friday, November 20, 2015

I have three little stories for you from this week. They are in no particular order (nor do they relate to one another) but they are good short stories. :) Enjoy!

Last night M and I were lying in bed with Blair while she was saying her prayers. They went something like this,
..." and we just pray for Mommy to have a baby soon...

(then in a whisper voice)... Mommy, is that what you are hoping for?"

When I answered 'yes' she continued to pray the same prayer for me. That girl Melts. My . Heart. I just can't get enough of her. And I hear the Lord comforting me through her every time she says that sweet prayer. Writing about it brings tears to my eyes every time. She's precious. And she's honestly all I've ever asked for. Before any of this infertility ever happened I remember asking the Lord for just one girl. If that's all I ever had I would be content. He was so gracious to give her to me. She's such a gift.
A friend mentioned earlier this week about how when I say things like "When God gives us a baby" on my blog or Instagram it's naive and how I shouldn't expect that from Him. So here's the thing...I completely realize that we may never have another child. But what good does it do to lose hope now? When I say things about my future baby it's out of hope...not expectation. Surely there may come a day when we truly don't have any more hope of having a baby. But that doesn't mean I'm going to give up now. There are still options for us and I refuse to throw in the towel now. Until that day comes I believe He can and will bring us another baby. And if He doesn't? Well then I have eternal hope in Him regardless because He is my Savior.
Last Friday I showed up at Costco's pharmacy bright and early to pick up my birth control. Yup. You read that right. So weird, right? Anyway as the pharmacist was asking me if I had any questions on how to take it, I told her that it's been a while. I went on to say that it's actually for IVF and she stopped what she was doing and looked me straight in the eyes. "Girl, I know how you feel." Really?

She went on to tell me that she has two beautiful children from IVF after one failed cycle. She had opened the can of worms and had no idea. ;) So come to find out she went to the same clinic I'm going to and was so incredibly encouraging. She reminded me that God already has a plan for me. It may or may not involve more babies but a perfect plan none the less.

She told me that I need to stop fighting so hard for this and just give it up to Him. Without making any promises she guessed that taking this stress off of my own shoulders and placing it on His would have positive effects. We talked about how infertility has caused me to trust in Him and have faith in Him like never before. We also discussed the possibility of being a family of three forever and how to be content with that.

Meanwhile there was no one in line behind me (that never happens at Costco!) and I couldn't help but getting emotional. She came out from behind the glass window and gave me a hug. She told me she would pray for me and I promised I would return with updates. I'm convinced that God put Evelyn in the Costco Pharmacy that day just for me. I just know He used her to speak truth to me and bring me peace. His grace is everywhere.

And now for what's going on...

I'm on birth control, metformin, and a slew of vitamins. I go in on Monday for a hysteroscopy. That's basically where they check your uterus for endometriosis, fibroids, polyps etc. If I have any large things that need to be removed I go back in on another day to have them scraped out. Lovely.

Once we get Matt's genetic tests back that will determine how quickly we can move forward. If we win the lottery (insert sarcasm) and he does have the same recessive trait then we will have to wait to implant the embryos. Here why... the doctor would need to create a probe that is specific to both of our DNA. Apparently this takes up to three months to do. Then once the probe is made they would thaw our embryos and be able to test them for this genetic defect. If we both carry the gene this is most likely the reason why I have been having so many early miscarriages. Sigh.

On the other hand if his results come back and he is not affected by the same recessive gene then we get to proceed forward as planned like this...

The day that will be most difficult (as far as online resources tell me) is the egg retrieval day. I have to be put under anesthesia and post procedure can be quite painful. Of course this calendar is very basic. I get the crazy colorful IVF ones that say what meds I shoot myself with every day on Monday.

So much madness right? And now you know why I'm putting up Christmas decorations this weekend. There will be no time to do that as we get further into this and I want my life to be as stress free as possible! Is that possible during Christmas?! Ha ha. I'm grabbing all my gifts early and if you snooze on your request you just may not get a gift this year. ;)

OK to wake clock

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

We have been fighting some serious sickness over here in the Bushman house. First M came down with a cold that he's still fighting and now B has a gnarly cough/fever combo. Always a good time! I've somehow managed to escape it thus far. Maybe the germs know how many needles I'll be poking myself with this month and they feel bad? ;)

Before the germs invaded our house I bought this wake up clock for Blair. I had heard good things about wake up clocks and thought if there's any chance it can prolong my morning wake up call I'm willing to try it. Enter the best $30 I've ever spent.

This clock should be in every mother's stocking. Because let's be real, sleep is a gift to all moms out there. This clock lets us choose when B is allowed to either a.) start calling our names or b.) get out of bed herself. We use it in the mornings and at nap time.

Since her naps aren't always a full two hours anymore I tell her that she can look at books in bed or play with her Polly Pocket that I leave on the foot of her bed till the clock glows green. The first time we tried this and the light turned green she scared the crap out of me. I was home alone and suddenly heard a thud and someone coming down the stairs. I had forgotten she had the clock now to get up and my heart was pounding! I finally realized it was her and she was SO excited to show me her green alarm clock and turn the light off. It's really cute!

Mornings have been good too but not quite as productive as naps. Sometimes she will still call out our names before the clock turns green. Cue M stumbling down the hall to her room and crawling in bed with her till the clock turns green. I think that my ambitions were too high when I set her wake time at 8 am ha ha. We will probably have more success with it at 7:30.

I was not paid to write this review...I just genuinely love this product! Does your kiddo have a "ok to wake" clock?


Monday, November 16, 2015

Over the weekend we celebrated Thanksgiving with our friends! You know friends are the family you would choose. ;) The kids ran around like hooligans, the adults chugged sipped sangria, and my pants were unbuttoned by the end of the night. If that's not a successful Friendsgiving then I don't know what is!

This was actually probably our most cost effective party yet. We used a lot of items that we already owned (white candles, stump coasters, eucalyptus branches) and rented table cloths from our church for super cheap. I'd say it turned out really well!

I spy a wreath from Magnolia Market that I want for Christmas!

Annnnnd I erased the word "time" to fix it and then forgot to rewrite it in the madness. Whoops.

Our friends have the BEST deck/backyard combo ever!

Because look at my kid's grumpy face because I was taking her picture...



And gentlemen!
I seriously love our friends and am beyond blessed to have them in our lives! My heart is full.

(In)Fertility Friday

Friday, November 13, 2015

This post is going to be like de ja vu for me (and you I guess!). Here goes nothing...

     On Monday (day 21) I went in to take a blood pregnancy test so the doctor could ensure I wasn't pregnant before starting IVF meds. In the afternoon I got a call from the nurse saying I was pregnant. Insert huge eye roll here from me. My levels were at 24. I was to go in again on Wednesday to see if my levels were going up or down. Wednesday came around and I went in again for a blood test however in the afternoon the nurse called and my numbers were down to 12. No surprise here. This is my FOURTH chemical pregnancy which basically means early miscarriage. Matt's doing his part to get me pregnant but for some reason the embryo isn't attaching itself to my uterine wall. This could be due to thin lining or genetic abnormalities.

     Enter my genetic screening blood test results. Apparently I am a carrier for this recessive disease called Glutaric Acidemia Type 1. It's a very rare disease but a disease none the less so Matt has to be tested for it too. If we both are carriers then our child has a 1/4 chance of getting the disease. No bueno. When we get his results back we will know if this could be a reason for my miscarriages. If we both carry the recessive gene it is highly likely. And if he does have the gene we will realize that Blair is even more of a miracle!

     So what's next?

     As soon as I start my cycle in the next few days I go on birth control and start giving myself shots of Lupron. On day 6 I go in for my hysteroscopy which is where the doctor puts me under and looks at my uterus with a camera. If there are any problems (fibroids, polyps, endometriosis etc) he removes it and basically does some "spring cleaning" in there. Oh goody. After that procedures I'm not sure what comes next. One step at a time!

     Honestly, this miscarriage wasn't upsetting. I was prepared for it and wasn't feeling strong pregnancy symptoms anyway. The only upsetting part is still not knowing why this keeps happening. Unknown infertility is seriously the worst. There is nothing about IVF that guarantees that they can make the embryo stick. They do their best to try but no guarantees. That scares me. To think that this could be a HUGE waste of money. I say huge because it's still going to cost us around 7-10K per cycle with insurance (anesthesia, genetic testing, surgery center etc all aren't covered). But then there's the other side...we won't know unless we try. So try we will!

     There are two very strong emotions running through me:excitement and fear. I'm excited to think that IVF may take us to the end of our infertility journey. I'm fearful that it may not. With the Lord's strength I'm trying to be fearless. The fear takes away my hope and that's the last thing I need right now. Whenever I feel the fear rising up in me I remind myself to take one day at a time. Getting ahead of myself is often the source of my fear.

     Taking one day at a time has eased much of my stress. God tells us not to worry about tomorrow and I'm holding on to that! You can be praying for M and I to have wisdom. We have lots of decisions coming up and I would love clarity. Prayers for M in dealing with insurance. Prayers for me in remembering my doctor's appointments and which medications to take each day while raising a toddler. Prayer for my heart if this doesn't work the first time. And ultimately prayer that I find my joy in the Lord regardless of if our family grows or not. I truly think he has something big planned for us. I refuse to believe it stops here.

     I've been more aware of my blessings lately than ever. Mostly just marveling at Blair. I wonder how in the world she is here. She is truly a miracle and I'm beyond thankful for her. I have a daughter. She's healthy and beautiful and she lights up my life.  Some people never receive the blessing of a child and my heart grieves for them. I will never take her for granted and I praise God for his mercy and goodness.

So if you have littles then squeeze them extra tight this weekend! They are a gift! Thank you for your constant support. I love my readers!

Life Lately

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Lately I haven't been doing many "blog worthy" activities. Maybe it's because I go to the doctor literally every other day as we prepare for IVF? We're just livin life over here but sometimes those pictures are just as fun to look at. This is what we've been up to this week!

1.Making cookies with Dad

2. Updating her gallery wall with her flower crown and ballet shoes
See previous progress here here here
 3. Purchased an adult coloring book and markers! Stay away, Blair,  stay far away!
 4. Went on a sweaty sunny hike with my best!
 5. Dragged Blair along in her pjs. Donuts for the win! And do you notice how she's clasping her hands?! I die.

Just in case you need a good laugh here's my Mom confession...

Earlier this week Blair got a cut under her eye from running into a tree branch at my parents house. She had a pretty nasty scab and I decided Neosporin should be used to avoid scarring. Turns out I couldn't find the Neosporin but I did find some hardly used Nipple Cream. After reading the package, "heals dry, cracked nipples, soothes and protects" I decided this would be the next best thing. So there you have it...nipple cream for the win. Oh, and it's healing beautifully if you were wondering. ;)

And that's life lately, friends! I have a doozy of a post for tomorrow to update you on my week of infertility. I'm already exhausted thinking about writing out all the updates but I'm determined to document our journey so write I must! My Mom and I are off to Disneyland tomorrow with Blair and I can't wait to check out all their holiday decorations! For now I'm off to spend some quality time with my new coloring book and Fixer Upper. ;)

They are...

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

BOYS! We found out last weekend that my brother and sis-in-law are having twin BOYS! They already have a little guy who will be 19 months when the twins are born. Blair still remains as the only little lady among all the grandkids and she's surely not sad about that! She's such a little mama and I can't wait to see her with her new cousins next spring. I still can't believe I'm going to have twin nephews! Life's about to get a little cray for them but so full of blessings too!

Jack and Landon we already love you so much! You have one little lady who is quite excited to meet you!

Feshly Picked Warehouse Sale #2

Monday, November 9, 2015

Over the weekend I had the awesome pleasure of shopping at the Freshly Picked warehouse sale in Orange County! My friend and I left our kids with our hubbies and made the 45 minute drive to Lake Forest. We arrived at 7:20 and the doors opened for us at 10:20. Three hours is a long time but it flies when you are with your bestie! (And no kids!).

The last time I went I was able to be the first group of people to shop but this time we were the second round. And it does make a big difference! When it was our turn we split up...she grabbed neutral carryalls and I grabbed hardsole moccs in the smaller sizes, but there were so few to choose from (it was almost only the pizza print...blech). We snagged the last two small pairs for our littles and then I also grabbed the next two sizes up as well. There were plenty of crib moccs and I even got crazy and grabbed some of those in neutral colors too. Here's to being hopeful! Or here's to giving my friend's some really good gifts at their next baby shower. ;)

Oh hey Susan!
My haul.
Out celebrating my Mom's bday!
Next time around we plan on arriving earlier so we can be the first wave that gets in. One girl was there at 3:30 am! Straight cray. Next time we plan on rolling up at 6:30 am. Is it kind of nuts? Yeah. But I LOVE FP and at 50% off it's totally worth it! Oh, and just a little heads up...a FP giveaway is coming up here very soon! Happy Monday!