Disney Fun

Monday, June 11, 2018

Our Disney passes apparently have an extended two more weeks before we get blocked out so I'm livin' it up Disney style! So what I thought was our last trip last week was not!









We're going to check out some other local theme parks over the summer since our passes will be blocked. Thinking about Sea World and/or Lego Land and/or the zoo! What are your summer plans?

Body After Twins

Thursday, June 7, 2018

It's the post you've all been waiting for...

A detailed post about how I got my body back after twins! I'm going to spell it all out for you and include all the dirty details. Yes, that means I'm telling you my weight at my highest and lowest! I'm going to go over what worked for me as far as diet and exercise goes. Get ready for a good read! And disclaimer: there's no trick. It was all good old-fashioned diet and exercise. Womp womp.

BEFORE: 2 months post twins weight:145
AFTER: 20 months post twins weight 124.8
20 pound difference!

Let's start at the beginning. When I was pregnant with the twins I gained 55 pounds. I started at about 130 and ended at about 185 (holy crap, I know!). I'm 5'4. When I delivered I measured 46 weeks pregnant (is that even a thing?!) and by the grace of God I really don't have any stretch marks. You can hate me for that but you win some and you lose some, right?!

34 weeks


37 weeks

36 weeks
 The week after the twins were born I lost 40 pounds (that's a lot of baby and water weight!). That put my weight at about 145. After the twins were born I exercised but I wasn't consistent and my diet was "I'm eating what I want because I'm breastfeeding twins." Neither of those worked for me.

My body doesn't play nice when it comes to breast-feeding. You see for some mamas all they have to do is BF and the weight falls off. My body is real cool and does the opposite. It hangs onto the extra weight till it's done nourishing children. I remained at 145 till I stopped breast-feeding the twins at the one year mark in August 2017.

Once BFing was behind me I tuned up the heat on my exercise and I settled in at about 135. Then the holidays came and I kind of just sat at that weight. I was eating dessert every night and feeling super yucky. I probably weighed 140 in the New Year.

In January of this year my gym (A Taylored Body) started a fitness challenge. I decided to enter with my best friend so we could keep each other accountable. We started by cutting out all desserts/sweets (not including fruit) for the month of January. I started losing weight (yay!).

In February we had a big cheat day to celebrate making it a month without sweets. We then vowed to only have dessert once a week. I also started doing intermittent fasting in which I abstain from food for 16 hours. It's not as hard as it sounds. For example, if I stopped eating at 7pm then I wouldn't eat again until 11 am. You can Google this but basically when you fast for 16 hours it allows your body to focus on burning fat instead of burning off food that is always in your stomach. I currently still do this about 4-5 days a week. Oh, but I am allowed to have black coffee while fasting.

In March I continued fasting, going to the gym, and eating my daily diet (see below). Once April hit I was at 130. When I got pregnant with Blair I weighed 127. My ultimate goal was to get to 125 which was still more than my wedding day weight of 117. However, when I got married I was "skinny-fat"... thin- but didn't have any muscle tone.
on our honeymoon
Two weeks before my fitness competition ended I changed my diet to try and squeeze out the last few pounds. My Fitness Diet is below. I knew this diet wasn't something I was going to maintain for life but the competition had money on the line so I wanted to go for it. I started losing the last few pounds and was thrilled!

In April On weigh-in day at the gym I clocked in at 124.8....HALLELUJAH! A few ounces under my goal... I was stoked! I celebrated with a big FAT donut haha. My body fat percentage dropped from 26% to 23% in 3 months and I lost 12.8 pounds. Below is a picture of my stats...


And my before after photos from January to April

Annnnd my donut celebration ;)




What I'm doing currently to maintain my weight
intermittent fasting (4-5 days a week)
dessert once a week
no alcohol (unless for a holiday or special occasion)
carbs only at my first meal (always whole wheat/grain)
exercise 5 days a week

Daily Diet
am fasting
black coffee
two over easy eggs on dry whole wheat toast
banana with one tablespoon all natural peanut butter
coffee with one tablespoon creamer
carrots and hummus or apple and 15 almonds or carrots and guacamole (individual serving)
any lean meat over a bagged salad (sometimes veggies on the side)
*I sometimes have a bite of my kids mac-n-cheese or I have one Oreo after dinner but I realllllly try to not do this. I don't want it to become habit.

Fitness Challenge Diet (2 weeks before)
am fasting
4 egg whites
1/4 cup of steel cut oats made with almond milk and cinnamon
apple and 15 almonds
protein shake made with almond milk
lean meat (fish is best) with cruciferous veggies or asparagus
*My trainer wanted me to eat fish and veggies for lunch also but I just couldn't do it. I ended up substituting my snacks for lunch because of my am fasting.

I do weigh myself here and there throughout the week to make sure I'm not having an upward trend. I'm 5'4 and am trying to stay around 125. It's my "happy weight." Yes, I could lose more and there is always room for improvement but it's all about balance. I don't want to be miserable "dieting" and not be able to have dessert/alcohol here and there but for me I can't have it daily. My body does SO much better without sugar. Sugar is my weakness! Diet in general is hard for me. I'm crazy disciplined with going to the gym but now I've realized that if my diet is clean then I don't have to kill myself at the gym. Diet is 80% of how you look...the gym helps that last 20%! That was a sad realization for me but an important one.

Let me know if you guys have any questions below. Again, this is what worked for me but everyone is different!

Playkids Explorer Learning Kit

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

With summer quickly approaching I'm looking for ways to keep my kids out of my hair learning ;). All joking aside, Blair LOVES school and I know she will enjoy some learning activities over the summer. I recently tried out Playkids Explorer Kits and the kids were obsessed! Playkids Explorer is all about personalized, hands-on learning. The kit included stories, crafts, and games which were a hit.


Our kit's theme was "space" and each one of my kiddos got a cute book about space featuring them as the main character. I love that the activities were age appropriate and my kids were truly engaged in what we were doing. 


Look at Cal checking out his personalized book!
Everly loved finding the pictures that I named.

Of course Blair loved the crafts but she also enjoyed the question/answer cards.

I loved being able to spend intentional time with my kids. I know they crave having my undivided attention. These Playkids Explorer learning kits allowed me to work with the babies while simultaneously checking to make sure Blair was following directions in her kit. Win-win!

Are you guys scheduling some learning time into your summer? What are some of your favorite activities? Be sure to check out Playkids Explorer!

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)