This is just my little blog on lots of big things. I'm 27 and happily married to a darling man that I'm honored to call my husband. I've been diagnosed with Stage 4 Endometriosis which has put a damper on starting a family. So here you will read about my struggles with my health, infertility, my relationship with my husband, and most importantly..my relationship with God and how day by day he is guiding me in a life that I'm proud to live.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Updates and such!

What a crazy ride IVF is. I thought I knew what to expect..wrong! It was more than I ever imagined. Three shots a day in the stomach, blood tests and ultrasounds in Clovis almost every other day, raging hormones, pills that you don't take orally (use your imagination), not to mention so much anxiety. But hey, whatever works, right?

August 14th I had the egg retrieval. I was nervous, as I am anytime I have to be put to sleep. But it was nothing compared to my previous five hour surgeries followed by three or more hours in recovery in and out of sleep from all the drugs. Nope! I was in and out of the OR in about half an hour, and only took me a few minutes to wake up and I wasn't groggy at all. In fact, the hubs and I left the hospital, went and had lunch in the Tower District, walked around a few shops until we couldn't handle them not having a/c, then we hit up Babies R Us and Target and went home. I was pretty bloated and crampy which they said was normal, but it didn't last more than a day or two. They retrieved nine eggs and fertilized them that day.

On the 17th, I had the transfer. This day didn't go quite as I planned. We had been under the impression that David would be allowed in the room as they did it, but that wasn't the case. I also was bummed that morning to find out that we only had three good embryos. The day after the retrieval, the doctor called and said out of the nine, four were continuing to grow and divide like they should. I was happy about that, as we had planned to transfer two and freeze two in case the first try was unsuccessful, or for a Baby #2 if it was succesful. It might sound strange, but coming from a Pro-Life standpoint, my husband and I were both praying for a lower number of embryos. We both felt uncomfortable knowing that sometimes you can get more than ten and freeze them. We knew we wouldn't use all of them, and had signed a waiver to donate them, rather than discard them. But we were concerned with what donating actually meant. Would they thaw them for another couple who was in worse shape than us, but then only use the "best quality" and discard the others? Would they use them for something we are against, such as stem cell research? Well, God answered our prayers and we were happy with four. But that morning when he said we only had three, I couldn't help but be upset. If transfering two didn't work, would I be confidant that our frozen single embryo would? I made the decision to transfer all three. I was given a lecture on the risk of multiples and had to make it known that I am totally against selective reduction. If God wanted us to have three babies, that's his Will.

So after going over all of this, they moved me into a procedure room. I had an extremely full bladder after they made me drink three water bottles and was quite uncomfortable. But I tried to stay relaxed as I didn't want these precious embryos entering a stressed enviornment. The transfer was very quick, and I was quite relieved when the Doctor inserted a catheter and I could feel relief as my bladder drained. Yes, the weirdest things make me excited. Although, not as excited as knowing I now was housing three embryos :) I had to say in the room for about 20 minutes in this crazy bed thing with my legs spread and tilted way up. Then I was moved into recovery where David joined me, and had to lay in a bed with my head down and legs up for about another hour. I was released and we went to David's mom's house so I could continue to lay down, per Doctor's orders. He got me a yummy lunch at Olive Garden and I slept pretty much off and on the rest of the day since I hadn't gotten much the night before due to nerves.

Well..let's fast forward through those almost two weeks of anxiety and wondering and craziness to August 28th. I'm sure you can imagine 11 days of knowing you have embryos in you but not knowing if they implanted is quite frusterating. Not to mention three days after the transfer I developed a bladder infection, which added to my stress because I was so worried it would cause problems.

Well..it didn't! August 28th we went to Clovis early in the AM for my blood test. About two and a half hours later we recieved the call..We're Pregnant!! Ahhh!! I was seriously shocked. I don't know why..I've stated before that I totally felt led by God to pursue this, and felt Him there with us during the whole process. But let's face it, I'm a woman, and when things don't go exactly as planned, it throws you off track. So with only having the three and none left to work with if it didn't work, David not being allowed in the room, the bladder infection, I had started to worry that this wasn't going to work. I don't consider myself a negative person at all. In fact, I've been told by many people that I'm quite the opposite, especially when it comes to all I've been through. However, five years after a miscarriage, three surgeries related to the endometriosis, month after month of excruitiating periods and not getting pregnant on my own or through milder fertility treatments we previously pursued..let's be negative for a minute..I haven't had really any positives in this department. So yes, I did start to believe towards the end that this wasn't going to work. But, after spending lots of time in prayer, I had found peace with it. I knew it was all in God's hands. Well..God certainly delivered, didn't He?

According to when the egg retrieval was, I should hit a new week in pregnancy every Tuesday. Since they were fertilized that day. So, as of today, I am five weeks and one day pregnant. Still very early, and yes, I am still quite nervous and concerned something could go wrong. But, I have to believe that God wouldn't bring us this far only to cause heartache again. The three embryos were an answer to our prayers in a way. We don't know how many implanted yet, but be it one or two or three..we don't have to worry about having leftover ones that we don't know what will happen to them. Of course I have always wanted more than one child, but if this only is a single pregnancy, well that is what was meant to be. Through the years of dealing with all of this, I had come to the realization that just one would be the biggest blessing of my life, so I couldn't ask for more than that. I still feel the same way, but with IVF there's always the possibility of multiples, and of course if we had had the two embryos left over, we would have used them to try for a second instead of donating them. But, this is what was meant to be. And I'm over the moon either way.



Wednesday, August 8, 2012

IVF Update

So yesterday I had my second appointment at the Fertility Center at Clovis Community. Well, technically my third, but my second since we've started the medications. David started giving me injections in my stomach (yikes) on the 1st of August until the 6th of August. So yesterday we had an ultrasound to see how my follicles (pre-eggs, if you will) are growing. Sadly, they aren't as big as they would like them to be at this point. So, we're doubling up on the shots. All of my medications arrived early last week and holy cow..I've never seen so much medicine in my life. So, I'll continue a higher dose of the shot I was already taking, and we're adding a different one that came with the shipment. Friday afternoon I will go for another ultrasound, and more bloodwork to see if they are growing. Please pray for us that they do! He said the issue is low ovarian reserve. They did a blood test three days into my menstural cycle in July to check on all kinds of stuff, and it did show low in that area. Reason being is my age (27?! I know right?! How the eff can 40 year olds get pregnant?), he said around 27 is when women stop producing good quality eggs. But obviously I've been producing good eggs long before, so they just need a lot of stimulating. So, we are praying hard that these medicines work. Did I mention they are super painful? Yep. But..the end result, if successful, will be more than worth it. Not to mention my cute husband tells me "Sorry baby" after every shot and gives me a smooch. Gosh I love him, even if he's poking me with needles.

I have to give a shout out to all of my amazing friends and family. Even before this process I've had such a wonderful support system. But after yesterday, wow. I was overwhelmed with the amount of texts, Facebook comments and messages I recieved. I am one blessed lady! So many people are pulling for us, I can only imagine how loved our sweet baby will be. Speaking of our sweet baby, my husband has been melting my heart lately. He is SO excited about having a baby. He even bought these pretty pricey pacifiers that are made by an orthodontist, wipes for the pacifiers since obviously they hit the ground a lot, and some ADORABLE little Winnie The Pooh vans (gender neutral of course). He's working hard around the house to get things ready, we both have big ideas for the nursery, we agree on ALMOST every name...and are just so excited to bring a little piece of us into the world. Our baby may not be conceived the "natural" way..but my goodness will that little one be so loved.

So..until Friday when we will hopefully have some good news. Keep us in your prayers! I have stated before, I have felt very led by God to do this process of IVF. I know he is with me at every appointment, and he's there when I need him. It's all in his timing, which can be so frusterating, but yet so perfect at the same time.

On a side note, today, August 8th, was my due date with our angel we lost in 2007. You are never forgotten little one. You were so very tiny, but you were a part of me. I know I will meet you in Heaven someday, and as much as it hurt, I take comfort in knowing you are in an amazing place, being taken care of by our wonderful Father.

Psalm 139:13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb.


I leave you with a song I have clung to for years. It's amazing, and I hope you'll listen.






Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Here we go..

The IVF ball is rolling..full speed! I started on birth control about two weeks ago, to surpress my ovary. (Still not used to that, I always say ovaries and then have to correct myself!) It's a pretty high dose of hormone, most birth control pills these days are low doses due to complications I'm sure you've seen on TV. It's also mixed with two other hormones, so you can imagine I've been very pleasant to be around lately. Kidding! I know I've probably been a totaly nightmare, but lucky for me I was blessed with an amazingly patient husband. He definitely deserves some kind of award..and probably more after this process is over. I have three more days left on the birth control and then I start the heavy duty stuff. When the pharmacy called me last week to go over all the medications and set up a delivery date, I was shocked at how many medications there were. I've done tons of research on IVF, including reading other women's blogs who have documented the process. So I knew to expect a lot..but it seems like it's more than a lot. I did have to do some blood work on the third day of my last period, at the beginning of the month. Some of it came back not so great, so I believe that is the reason for more medications. My prolactin (hormone made by the pituitary gland) was pretty high, and my ovary showed some signs of polycystic ovarian syndrome. But it's nothing that will lower our chances of conceiving, thank God.

We had our first of many appointments last week, with the doctor who will be with us throughout the process. I thought it might have been a good sign that the appointment was on July 17th (Disneyland's birthday!) and also, Alice in Wonderland was playing in the office. Yes, I can find the Disney in any situation :) The doctor is very optimistic that our chances are the same as anyones, the endometriosis and one ovary don't change anything. He's confidant that I will produce good quality eggs. They gave us kind of an idea of when the process might take place..I won't post any specific dates just because we are keeping that kind of private (as in close family and friends..which I know MOST of you are that anyway, so ssshh!) just in case things don't go as planned. I'm hoping on our trip to Disneyland at the end of September we can take a photo that I have in mind and announce good news fairly soon after! But yes, the procedure will take place before Disneyland..so as much as I'm looking forward to the trip, I never thought I would actually be hoping I can't ride some of the rides!

One good thing about the hormones is I'm definitely putting weight back on. They told me the medication fools your body into thinking you're pregnant, and I can imagine this is what it feels like. I constantly crave all different kinds of food..mainly junk food, which doesn't make the hubby too happy but he deals with it. I wake up at weird hours of the night/morning totally starving and have to have food right then. At 4 am this morning for example, I woke up craving a grilled cheese. Like I HAD to have it. So I get up and make it, and David was in the shower getting ready for work. He was pretty surprised when he walked over to kiss me goodbye that I was wide awake sitting up and devouring a huge grilled cheese sandwich. Of course I fell back asleep soon after. On Saturday, I woke up around 6 am NEEDING to have breakfast burritos from McDonald's. I can't stand McDonald's, except for their breakfast. My husband has always thought it was funny with how picky I am that I'm obsessed with these things. I ate two, plus a hash brown. Yeah...I was at the drive thru around 6:15 am because I just couldn't stop thinking of them. I watched a little 7th Heaven, ate my breakfast, and fell back asleep. I also drink way too much chocolate milk everyday. Not your homemade, Hersey's syrup chocolate milk. No, I have to have the Producer's kind in the carton. So delish. Needless to say..my pants are a lot tighter in the rear area, and I definitely need some bigger bras (Can't complain about that!). David is definitely loving it though, he has been trying to get me to put weight on forever. Not that I refused to, I've just had a hard time keeping any on since my surgery last summer. But, I think we've found the fix!

I still need to blog all about our vacation last month, before I get even more wrapped up in this process.

We've also decided to use our video camera that we bought two years ago and have only used twice, to document the process. That way if..no..WHEN it works :) we have a lot of amazing footage to show our child. I probably will post a few of the videos to share with others who may be considering IVF or are looking for more information. I have one friend in particular whom it's looking like IVF may be her next step, but her and her husband will need to take out a loan to pay for it. So she's asked me to share anything I'm willing to with her so she has ideas of what to expect. I have to say, David and I are incredibly blessed to have my parents in our life. It's only because of them that we are able to do this, and either way, I will always be eternally grateful for the opportunity. But especially if we get the outcome we are praying for, I feel like we will owe them so much. So, summers spent at Nana's when he/she hits the terrible twos?! Potty training? It would only be fair to repay you in some way.. ;)



I'll leave you with a picture of my homemade tattoo. Kidding. There's a few verses from the Bible that I really cling to when I'm in certain situations. Such as doctor's appointments, surgeries, stuff like that. Well, there's one in particular that popped into my head the morning of our appointment. I'm not sure exactly why, but I decided to write it on my wrist while we were on our way to Fresno. Maybe this is a new habit and I'll have to do it for all of my appointments? 1 Samuel 1:27 "For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition that I made to Him".

Friday, July 13, 2012

Updates!

Well vacation is over and I have yet to blog about all the fun we had! Don't worry, I'll get to that pretty soon. Things have been super crazy since I've been home. Lot's of Dr's appointments of course and spending quality time with the hubs since I missed him so much. He even showed up at the airport with gifts and a sweet card for me. *Swoon*. The vacation stuff I will get to in the next few days..and this post will be short and sweet. But our exciting news..we're starting IVF this month! Woo Hoo!! I've already started some medications, I go for my first appointment with the Dr. who will be doing the procedure on the 17th, then I will start a lot more medications two days later and then sometime by the end of the summer I will be having our little Van Ingen embryos implanted! We are beyond thrilled and yet another thing we've been busy with. Getting our house ready for baby, and finances in order for when the time comes. I can honestly say we are both over the moon right now and it's one of the happiest times in my life. God is so good, and by surrending myself and my disease to him, he has let everything fall into place so perfectly. It was all in his timing and I wish I had trusted that so many years ago but I can't tell you how awesome it feels to know that I have and that He is guiding me through this whole process and reassuring me that everything will be fine. I thank him multiple times a day for all he has given me and continues to.

By the way, my friend told me about this cool site to make collages for your blog, I love it! I'm a huge collage fan so I had to try it out.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Disney Challenge #11: Favorite Love Song

Disney Challenge #11 Favorite Love Song

Have I mentioned how much I love the movie Tangled? I'm not sure I've shouted it to the world enough. But my absolute favorite scene from this movie is where Flynn Ryder fulfills his promise of taking sweet Rapunzel to see the floating lanterns, which at the time, she doesn't realize are for her, the lost Princess. It's such a beautiful scene. Can't we all relate to that feeling? Ok, maybe not the being locked in a tower for 18 years feeling, but the feeling of experiencing something you've waited years to see? For some it's things like traveling to Europe and seeing the sights there, having your first child, meeting the love of your life. Well for sweet little naive Rapunzel, she just wanted to see those floating lanterns. I don't blame her, I'm hoping somehow Disneyland will recreate that as some sort of attraction or in a parade or something. My husband isn't a huge fan of the "Princess" movies, but he did make my heart flutter when he told me how she reminded him of me in that scene because of how excited she gets. I'm known to maybe "over react" if you will, especially over little things that probably don't mean much to others. This scene also reminds me of the first time I went to San Francisco. With David. Everything was new..I loved taking it all in..

But while on the boat watching these lanterns floating, this is when they realize they're in love. They sing a song called "At Last I See The Light". I love it so. "All at once, everything is different, now that I see you". I relate to that lyric so much. I think the song is about being scared of loving, until you meet that right person. I can relate to that quite well. So this is my favorite love song. I started to post the video and then realized with this new setup, I don't know how. Help? :) Or just look it up on YouTube, if you've been deprived of the movie..


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Just when I thought I was done with getting diagnosed with stuff!

This is in no way a "woe is me" post. I try to update on here stuff about my health for friends and family who read my blog who I don't get to talk to everyday. Not to mention, it's not really something I want to have to explain to everyone individually. I can tell you this, over the past few months I have developed such an amazing relationship with God, that when I heard this news, I didn't react like the "old" Tiffany would have. I have accepted it. I have accepted that I'm seeing a great specialist who listens and didn't give me the run around. She knew after going through a check list that this is what I was suffering from.

If I go back to being a teenager, I had an unhealthy relationship with iced tea. It was all I drank. It had me running to the bathroom constantly. I also had to have two packets of Sweet 'n Low (sorry mom) in it, and lot's of lemon. After I turned 21 (Ok, ok, even before then), I was a poor cashier working at Harris Ranch who would enjoy relaxing after work with a couple of brewskies. All of these, had me peeing constantly. Pretty much all alcohol has done that to me, except vodka and white wine. The past year or so, it's gotten worse. I've always loved lemonade, limeades, those awesome Cherry Limeades from Sonic are my weakness. I love pineapple juice, especially mixed with Malibu. I love big glasses of orange juice in the morning. I love Gatorade when I'm having bad days and feeling dehydrated. But all of these things not only having me up and down to the bathroom all day and night, but I started developing terrible pain and pressure in my bladder. Urinary pain like you would get with a UTI, but when I would go to the Dr thinking I had one, the tests always came back negative with no bacteria in the urine. The pain and pressue got so bad, I decided to find a Urologist. She said I had every symptom of IC. Haven't heard of it? Here ya go..

Interstitial cystitis,[1] or bladder pain syndrome (commonly abbreviated to "IC/BPS"), is a chronic, oftentimes severely debilitating disease of the urinary bladder.[2] Of unknown cause, it is characterized by: pain associated with the bladder, pain associated with urination (dysuria), urinary frequency (as often as every 10 minutes), urgency, and/or pressure in the bladder and/or pelvis.[3]

The disease has a profound impact on quality of life.[4] A Harvard University study concluded, "the impact of interstitial cystitis on quality of life is severe and debilitating".[5] A Harvard Medical School guide states that the quality of life of interstitial cystitis patients resembles that of a person on kidney dialysis or suffering from chronic cancer pain.[6] The condition is officially recognized as a disability.[6]

It is not unusual for patients to have been misdiagnosed with a variety of other conditions, including: overactive bladder, urethritis, urethral syndrome, trigonitis, prostatitis and other generic terms used to describe frequency/urgency symptoms in the urinary tract.

IC/BPS affects men and women of all cultures, socioeconomic backgrounds, and ages. Although the disease previously was believed to be a condition of menopausal women, growing numbers of men and women are being diagnosed in their twenties and younger. IC/BPS is not a rare condition, however, IC/BPS is more common in women than in men.[3] Early research suggested that IC/BPS prevalence ranged from 1 in 100,000 to 5.1 in 1,000 of the general population. In 2009, new research (now known as the RAND study) revealed that in the U.S alone, between 3 and 8 million people have interstitial cystitis. Up to 12% of women may have early symptoms of IC/BPS.[7]

The symptoms of IC/PBS are often misdiagnosed as a "common" bladder infection (cystitis) or a UTI. However, IC/PBS has not been shown to be caused by a bacterial infection, and the mis-prescribed treatment of antibiotics is ineffective. The symptoms of IC/PBS may also initially be attributed to prostatitis and epididymitis (in men) and endometriosis and uterine fibroids (in women).

The most common symptom of IC/PBS is pain, which is found in 100% of patients, frequency (82% of patients) and nocturia (62%).[8]

In general, symptoms are:
Painful urination Pain that is worsened with bladder filling and/or improved with urination.[9]
Pain that is worsened with a certain food or drink.
Some patients report dysuria (burning sensation in the urethra when urinating).

Urinary frequency (as often as every 10 minutes), urgency, and pressure in the bladder and/or pelvis.
Some patients report nocturia (waking at night to urinate), hesitancy (needing to wait for the stream to begin, often caused by pelvic floor dysfunction and tension), pain with sexual intercourse, and discomfort and difficulty driving, travelling or working.

During cystoscopy, 5 to 10% of patients are found to have Hunner's ulcers.[10] Far more patients may experience a very mild form of IC/PBS, in which they have no visible wounds in their bladder, yet struggle with symptoms of pain, frequency and/or urgency. Still other patients may have discomfort only in their urethra, while others struggle with pain in the entire pelvis.

For the most part, people with interstitial cystitis will either have lots of pain and very little frequency or they'll have lots of frequency and very little pain.[11]

[edit] Association with other conditions

Some people with IC/PBS suffer from other conditions that may have the same etiology as IC/PBS. These include: irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, endometriosis, vulvodynia, chemical sensitivities [12] and anxiety disorder.[13] In addition, men with IC/PBS are frequently diagnosed as having chronic nonbacterial prostatitis, and there is an extensive overlap of symptoms and treatment between the two conditions, leading researchers to posit that the conditions share the same etiology and pathology.[14]

The presence of endometriosis has a strong association with typical IC findings on cystoscopy including glomerulations, ulcers, and reduced bladder capacity.[15]


Fun, right? Interesting how it's common in women with endometriosis also. So what's the outlook? Well, for now, I'm seeing a Urologist once a week for six weeks for what they call instillations. They run a small catheter into my bladder and fill it with a mixture of different medications. Not the most comfortable, but hey, whatever works. I also have to cut SO much from my diet. Nothing with citric acid, or course no citrus fruits, no caffeine (so long starbucks), no beer or any alcohol they say, but like I said vodka and white wine don't bother me, so in moderation they will be ok. The only fruits I can have right now are pears and blueberries which I love both but it gets old after awhile. They say tomato based products but I haven't had a problem with those. I love V8 and Bloody Mary's, but I figure it's best to stay away from them just in case. The occasional pasta sauce shouldn't hurt. But, it's yet another life long thing that I'll have to deal with. But, I'm a firm believer in God doesn't give us anything we can't handle. Sure, in the health department I've been given a lot to deal with it. But who knows, maybe it had to happen in order for me to draw closer to him? And I'm ok with that.




Tuesday, April 24, 2012

National Infertility Week

I learned today that April 22-28 is National Infertility Week. I think it's great that things like infertility and endometriosis are becoming more well known, and being supported. All of you know, infertility has been the greatest struggle of my life. It has brought me to my knees, it has made me cry myself to sleep, it has had me angry at God and questioning Him, it has caused stress in my marriage, and then caused me to rebuild my relationship with God which is now stronger than ever.




Being in my mid-twenties, I'm surrounded by friends who are either pregnant, or have kids, some even pregnant with second or thirds. I have seven female cousins all on my dad's side of the family who all have kids, some still adding to their families. I love being around all of my cousins and the kiddies, but I won't lie, it does make my heart hurt a little bit. Ok a lot. I'm not sure exactly why it is that I must go through such heartache. But I trust in God, that there is some sort of reasoning behind this struggle. Maybe some of it I have even started to learn. I definitely feel more positive about it. I don't feel as angry. I feel that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.



But one thing I've always known for sure, is that I was born to be a mommy. My heart still aches and yearns for a baby so much, so you can imagine that our child will be my world. My child will know on a daily basis how loved they are, how long we waited for them and how worth it it was, how much God loves them and what a beautiful and precious creature they are.




To my future Baby Van Ingen,
I hope you have my green eyes and curly hair. I hope you have your daddy's long eyelashes and olive skin tone. I hope you have his sense of humor, and my sense of fashion. I hope you will know everyday that you are our world. That you are our little miracle from God. I hope we laugh together all of the time. I hope you are better than your mommy and Uncle Kyle at eating your veggies. I hope you love that I will read to you everynight until you are probably too old for it. I hope you let those stories take you away to far away places full of magic in your sweet dreams. I hope that you will never be afraid to share your hopes and dreams with me. I hope you learn to play an instrument, your dad is learning and he will teach you. I hope you have a close relationship with your grandparents. They will be so over the moon for you. I hope that you will play baseball with your Uncle, even if you are a girl, he would love to teach you, and I'll leave it up to you if you want to be a Giants fan or a Yankees fan. I hope that you will come to know the Lord and how much He loves you. I hope we can read the Bible together and talk about it afterwards. I hope that you share your father and I's love for Disneyland and we have so many memorable trips there. I can't wait to see how your eyes will light up the first time you experience the magic of my favorite place in the world. I hope it will be yours too, but if not, that's okay. I promise to buy you Mickey ears and stand in long lines to get a picture with your favorite character, even if it means chasing them down like your Grandma has been known to do. I hope you let it keep you a child at heart, and that you will never be too old to ride Peter Pan with me. I hope it's your favorite ride, just like it's mine. I hope you share our love for music and love all kinds of it. I plan on playing lots of it to you when you're in my belly :) I hope we dance together. I hope we have summers filled with swimming, blowing bubbles, playing in sprinklers, beach trips with sandcastles and you feeling ocean water on your little feet for the first time, and ice cream cones. I hope you believe in Santa for as long as I did, and that I make all of your Christmases magical. I hope that you love birthdays as much as I do. I plan on making all of them special because your birthday will be my favorite day. I hope that you make me lots of art work in school, and pick me flowers from the yard for Mother's Day..or any day. But most of all, I can't wait to see you for the first time. If I'm crying a lot, it's not because of the pain. It's because of how long your daddy and I have waited for you. How much I've gone through to finally bring you into the world, which by the way, I will never hold that over your head in a bad way, I just want you to know how much you are loved. It will be the best day of our lives. I hope in these next few months we will find out you are on your way. Really grab on tight when you get in there. I will make it a very comfy place for you, I promise :)
Love,
Your Future Mommy




If you know someone who struggles with infertility, try to be a little more sensitive about things you say. No, you don't need to walk on eggshells, just know they have an acheing heart and appreciate it when people show they care. Hopefully soon I will be able to say that I overcame infertility and my blog will be filled with lots of pictures and stories about our little one. Until then, we continue to pray for this child to come to us, and to give us the strength through this process.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

National Sibling Day

Well, I'm a week late posting about this, but who's counting. Did any of you know that April 10th was National Sibling Day? I did. Of course, I sent my brother a message wishing him a Happy Sibling Day but I felt it was only appropriate that I dedicate a blog to this day.

I can still remember the day my mom and dad told me I was going to be a big sister. I was six years old. They had just picked me up from gymnastics class, and in that tiny first apartment we lived in I was was showing them some new move I had learned. I can remember them telling me that my mom was going to have a baby. I was so excited. I knew immediately that I wanted a baby brother. I remember my little friends saying "You don't want a sister?". I don't really know why it was that I preferred a brother over a sister. Maybe because I tend to get along better with boys than girls, but back then I don't think I knew that. That's something I've come to realize as an adult haha. I waited and waited month by month in excitement for my new sibling to arrive.

One Tuesday night, while in my regular routine of watching Full House at 8 pm, I remember my mom making some noises every few minutes. I kept asking her if she was ok and she said yeah. I went into the bedroom where my dad was getting ready for work, he worked the night shift. I told him "I think something is wrong with mom". So of course we all headed to the hospital. Because I was only six of course I wasn't allowed in the room, and it was late so there weren't any family members there that could watch me. So I got to be super cool and sit behind the desk with the nurses. I'm sure my mom would disagree with this, but I swear we were only there for like an hour and I remember hearing her scream a few times (Sorry mom, hope that isn't TMI..but hey we all know how birthin' babies goes). Then my dad came out holding this tiny, precious little baby all bundled up and told me "Tiffy, this is your brother". I was in love instantly. From the time they brought him home, I never wanted to leave his side.

Even in the mornings when I had to get ready for school, I would brush my teeth in the living room so I could go and sit next to him on the couch. I loved having anything to do with helping with him. My mom said I was such a "Mother Hen". Being an only child for six years, I don't remember really being lonely. I did have a cousin who was a few years older than me that I spent a lot of time with, and I had friends. Of course my parents were very hands on and we spent a lot of time together. But I had always wished for a sibling.

Then came the years where he was a toddler and could interact with me more. We probably tortured my mom way too much and would then go run and hide from her. We built what we called "Disneyland Parades" out of giant lego blocks, and paraded them around the living room. We spent hours watching Peter Pan and We're Back: A Dinosaur Movie. We counted down the days until our dad was coming home off of cruise. We watched Rugrats and Doug and shared big bowls of popcorn. We colored.

Of course, there came the years where the age gap started to show. After all, what does a 14 year old want to do with an 8 year old? There were lots of fights, breaking of the other siblings belongings, bickering back and forth on car trips, and let's face it, I was older so I got blamed for most of it. It's funny though. Now I look back on these times and feel bad. Like maybe I should have spent more time with him. From the age of 16 when I started dating until about 20, I became very disconnected from my family. I was hardly ever home once I got my license. I was always with my boyfriend at the time and his family. I feel like I missed out on a lot. It's something I still regret so much. But hey, the past is the past and we've all grown closer since.

Especially my brother and I. He's now 20, and I'm 27. He's one of my best friends. We've done so much fun stuff together. Conan O'Brien, Blink 182 Concert, Baseball games, Movies, Wandering the streets of Hollywood, Making fun of our parents (Hey mom, all kids do it..it's out of love!)..and so much more. We text each other everyday. We come up with hilarious things. Some not so nice, some just pretty immature for our age.

When my Dad retired in 2010 and they had to relocate to Tucson, I was pretty heartbroken. Of course because my family was leaving after I had gotten so used to them being here. But I also lost my buddy.

I'm looking forward to a trip to Disneyland in September with my parents and brother. This is something I've been longing for years now. I want so badly to experience another trip like the ones we used to take when we were kids before our lives change drastically in the next few months and years. I think in a way it's kind of a goodbye to our childhood, as my brother will be moving on to a career in the Army and I (God willing) will be starting to raise a child of my own.

One thing that really touches me about my brother, is how excited he is to become an Uncle. I love that he talks about things he wants to do with my future child (He hopes it's a boy so he can teach him to play baseball) and how it's going to be so fun to be an Uncle. When I told him that we will be pursuing IVF, he said "That's awesome. I'm excited".

Our future baby is already so lucky, not only does it have two parents who are longing for their arrival, Grandparents who will be over the moon, but an Uncle who may not show his soft side to most..but I can already tell being an Uncle will bring that out of him.

I miss my brother and everything we used to do together. But I look forward to both of us starting new chapters in our lives. Him with his college and possibly a future in the Army, and me becoming a mother. But I know we'll always be "buddies".





Disney Challenge #10

Disney Challenge #10: Favorite Song

Man! This is a toughie! Ask my husband or stepdaughter..I'm pretty much known for going around singing Disney tunes here and there. I've been bugging my husband forever to buy me this super expensive cd compilation of all the Disney songs. I don't think it's the price that bothers him..it's the having to listen to it part. There's just so many songs that I love, that I grew up loving. But, I'm going to have to go with a song from the first movie I can remember getting totally obsessed over. Of course I mentioned in an earlier post, Oliver & Company is the first Disney movie I remember seeing in the theater and I still adore it to this day (Sheesh, by now it's apparent I love them all. Except those lousy direct to dvd sequels. Ick) but I was 4, and in the "Princess Stage" (Wait..did I ever grow out of that phase? Anyone?) and a movie called.."The Little Mermaid" came out. Oh boy, did I fall in love.

There's also a sweet story that goes along with this movie. While my mom took me to see it in the theater, a few months later when it came out on VHS I remember my mom buying it for me that day (Did she have any other choice?) along with a PJ Sparkles Doll. Yeah..we won't get into that story. Anyway, the day that I got this movie was the first day I was introduced to the man who would eventually become my father. I remember we had pizza and were all sitting at the table. There was a fork sitting next to my plate, and if any of you are familiar with Ariel, you know about her huge collection of "treasures" that she finds in the water that come from humans. One day she finds a fork, her trusty seagull friend Skuttles tells her it's a "Dinglehopper" and it's used for brushing your hair. Of course after just having watched the VHS and seeing the fork, I had the itch to say "Look mom! It's a dinglehopper!" and started brushing my hair with it. I think this resulted in my mom taking me into my bedroom and giving me a talking to about how forks aren't used for that and I needed to behave at the table.

The night ended with my future dad playing with me for hours, and me jumping on his lap and asking "Are you gonna marry us?". See mom, I knew what I was doing :)
So this is one reason why The Little Mermaid holds such a special place in my heart, it reminds me of the day that I think, we started to become a family.

So, maybe my favorite song is appropriate for my mom and dad..afterall, I know I was hoping he would kiss my mom and live happily ever after!

Disney Challenge #9

Disney Challenge #9: Favorite Original Character

Come on. Is there any question about this one? Seeing the sight of him walking around Disneyland brings me to tears. He's the one and only mouse I'll ever love (Well except for Minnie of course). Obviously, we're talking about Mr. Mickey Mouse here.

He will live on for generations to come, where as sadly I have noticed that a lot of other Disney characters may not. Every child, every adult knows who he is and what he stands for.

In the words of the man himself, Mr. Walt Disney..."I only hope that we don't lose sight of one thing - that it was all started by a mouse."

Please, let's never lose sight of that.




Disney Challenge #8

Disney Challenge # Favorite Villian

I know, I've seriously been lagging on this thing. It should have been done like..months ago. Sorry for keeping you all in suspense (haha). Busy, busy times lately and blogging always gets pushed to the wayside.

So..favorite villian? Hmm...that's a tough one. I'm gonna have to go with that mean guy with the hook for the hand. You know the one? Scared of crocodiles..has a pal named Smee..locked up Tink. Yup, it's Captain Hook.

Peter Pan will always be so near and dear to my heart as it's a movie my brother and I have loved to watch since we were kids. I think we watched it like twice a day everyday for awhile. It's my "go to" Disney movie for when I'm feeling sick, or having a hard time sleeping.

Of course, Captain Hook is a total jerk. But Yo Ho, Yo Ho a Pirate's Life For me..I kinda dig him :) Plus, I just love how the end of the story goes down. So unlike any of the other Disney movies where a Princess is held captive, or poisoned, or put to sleep. Peter Pan, along with Wendy, Michael, John, The Lost Boys and that awesome Crocodile all torture Captain Hook. But I bet you he's still out there looking for Peter..



Saturday, March 31, 2012

Endometriosis Awareness Month

Well, as most of you know (because I bugged everyone on Facebook) March is Endometriosis Awareness Month. As we are in the final day of the month, I thought I should post (not just because it's been awhile) my struggles with this disease, how much this disease has not only affected me since my teen years (before I was even diagnosed..Mom says she always knew) but affected the last three years of my life. It's affected my relationship with my husband, my friends, even my family. It's shook me to my core at times, it's had me hating life, it's had me so angry at God, and yet, in the past three or so months it's helped create a relationship with God that I wish everyone could experience. I'll end the blog with some recent updates with my health for those of who you don't know, and then I'll try to remember to blog more often, per mother's orders :)

It's been close to three years since I was diagnosed. Like I mentioned before, my mom says she always knew. It took a lot of visits to my Ob/Gyn in Hanford, a lot of ultrasounds, a LOT of months of him just telling me to wait it out and see if I would get pregnant (as this was something else we were pursuing and seeing him for) before he finally agreed to a diagnostic surgery due to the fact that I had a large mass on my left ovary. I was scared out of my mind to have surgery, but just knew I was going to get the answer I'd been looking for all these years. Obviously, yes, I was diagnosed. Thrown on hormones and told to come back every three months to see how I was improving. I wasn't. I was actually getting worse. But I had started back at work (after being out on disability for about 9 months due to Mono, problems that I can now say were due to the Endo, and some other health problems) and was hoping that maybe getting back into a routine, excersising daily, eating healthy might help my symptoms. It didn't. I was forced to resign from my position at the bank after having multiple fainting spells that were pretty bad. My Dr. wrote me off "indefinitely" until they could figure out exactly what it was. Well, pretty sure I knew what it was..but she was sending me to neurologists and things like that. Ultimately, the bank couldn't hold my position while I was going through all of these appointments, tests, trying different medications, ect. I understood of course, and knew there was no way I could even hold a job. Thankfully though, the disability through that company has really been on my side and I still recieve a monthly check. That has been such a blessing, even if it isn't what I was making, every bit helps.

So, I then started the quest to find a specialist. Not an Ob/Gyn. Their main focus is delivering babies, and I needed someone who was educated about this disease and was an actual surgeon. In March of last year, I was referred to one in Fresno by a woman at David's work who's daughter also has Endo. Just from going over pictures from my previous surgery, hearing all of my symptoms, and performing a "deep tissue" pelvic exam which left me basically lifting up off the bed, screaming and in tears, he knew my case was bad. I was scheduled for surgery that day, for about a month and a half later. On May 9th of last year, I underwent an almost five hour surgery of him cutting out this disease that he says I was "covered in" and was one of the most complex cases he's ever seen. I also once again had a very large mass on my left ovary. It took me a very long time to recover from that surgery. I got very minor positive results. Having sex was totally out of the option (My poor husband..and mom for having to read that part), but it was just way too painful. Might I add what a very patient and loving husband I have? That poor man ;) The left side was still in constant pain every day it seemed, my weight dropped significantly, I became more fatigued, and not because he didn't do his job. I was informed by him that it was Stage 4. The worst of all the stages. It would be a lifelong battle. Seven months past, periods continued to stay worse, left side pain got extremely worse, I basically was bedridden everyday it seemed. I decided to make a very hard choice, and have my left ovary removed.

When I came to him with this decision, he thought that he probably should have removed it in May, but in someone my age with no children, they do try to save them. But he agreed, it was probably beyond repair and not even functioning right anyway. So, on December 2nd..I said goodbye to that little bitch. Recovery was rough, but quick. I had I think one, maybe two periods that weren't bad, but as of now, I'm back to them being just as bad. It's something that I don't think will be fixed until I decide to remove all of those parts. Again, sorry mom, but I do once again have a sex life (Yay for David! Haha) as I don't have that constant side pain anymore, or any pelvic pain really until it is time for my period. I haven't actively tried to get pregnant, as far as timing it with ovulation and all of that just because I feel we went through such a rough patch with it before, that I don't want it to seem like a job. David doesn't deserve that, at least for awhile anyway :) I unfortunately do still suffer with the fatigue and dizzy spells, and have passed out a few times during my periods. I forgot to mention through all of this, the bladder issues I had been having since around the time I had that surgery in May of last year. Well, looking back, I've had them for awhile, it just got drastically worse. I've always, even since I was a kid, had issues with frequency and urgency. I also would get that terrible pain that only comes when you get the oh so fun UTI..but yet when I would go to the Dr. I would test negative for the bacteria in my urine.

In the past year, it's become very painful. My bladder aches after urinating, especially first pee of the day since it's been sitting for awhile. I wake up at least 4 times a night to pee, the "UTI feeling but not a real UTI" pain was a weekly thing. I started researching online. I found this disease called Intertisital Cystitis. I had every symptom listed. It is an auto-immune disease that attacks the lining of your bladder. It is very common in women with Endo. So, two weeks ago I saw a Urologist who was able to confirm that yes, I do have IC. It is yet another, uncurable, lifelong disease that as Wikipedia puts it "is a devastating and very painful disability". Oh yay. I had read months ago that "triggers" for IC are things like caffeine, citrus based drinks, drinks with citric acid, bananas, alcohol (Nooo!), tomato based products and a few others contribute to having "flare ups". So I started doing tests. I've always been a huge lover of anything lemon or lime. Lemonade, Strawberry Lemonade, those oh so delicious Limeades from Sonic (Oh Lord, how I will miss you)..I noticed that after consuming one of these drinks. I was peeing constantly, sometimes up to four times an hour, and the bladder pain and achy feeling would start as soon as it emptied. Same thing with caffeine. Alcohol..well. Beer has always done that to me. Tossing back a few beers with the hubby and some friends would always have me running to the bathroom all night, so I cut beer out awhile ago, before I even knew about IC. One of my favorite cocktails, a cheap one I could make at home, was Malibu Rum with Pineapple Juice. Thinking back to all the times I had them, it was the same thing, back and forth to the bathroom all night. So, I'm strictly a wine girl now. Whites only, as Reds seem to have a similar effect.

It will be hard. Well, it has been hard. I started cutting these things out months before I was even diagnosed just to see how it would effect my body. It's hard to go out for drinks with friends and not indulge in my good 'ol Malibu cocktail, or a Midori Sour which I also loved. It's hard giving up Coca-Cola, and coffee, iced tea has always been a fave of mine (which I always added Sweet 'n Lows too which is a huge no no with IC patients. None of those artifical sugars are allowed), even a cup of hot tea I can't have. Don't tell my Grandma Blair that, please. They still have tea times back in Norwalk (They're from Ireland..it's what they do) and turning down a cup of tea..will earn you a not so nice look from that lady.

So..what is my treatment plan for this lovely new disease I will now have to deal with forever? Well, it includes a six week bladder treatment. Once a week we'll have to make the drive to Fresno (I'm so fed up with those by now), and I will get to say hello to my friends the stirrups. She will be numbing the urethra, then inserting a catheter to numb the bladder and fill it with medication. Sounds fun right? I'm pretty nervous about it, but am desperate for relief at this point. I feel like the ladies on those bladder control commercials where they can't partake in any activities with their friends or family because of their bladder control. I don't let it stop me from doing that, but I'm surrounded with understanding people who know that if we're on a road trip or whatever and I say we need to stop so I can pee, they know it's serious business. In fact, I have such great friends, that when we took a Disneyland trip back in October, they didn't mind all of my million bathroom trips :)

So..where do I go from here? I'm not sure. But I know in these past three years of dealing with Dr's, who, some of them didn't want to listen, ER trips, procedures, surgeries, invasive exams, a bajillion blood tests, medications, nervous breakdowns and yes, even therapy..I've learned that I'm a fighter. I won't let these conditions bring me down. I won't let them break me. They make me fight harder, and appreciate life more. Not saying I was at a point where I could have died, but let's face it, my quality of life hasn't been the best in the past, I did want to give up (not in a suicidal way..just give up and not fight back). All I know is that not only has it taught me so much about who I am, who I want to be, who's there for me and who's not, but it's brought me closer to God than I have ever been in my life. I decided, there is nothing I can do about my conditions. Crying and getting depressed isn't going to change it. It's only going to bring me down to a bad place that I've been once before and refuse to get to again. I sat one night on my couch and felt this overwhelming sense of peace come over me. I started to pray for strength, for understanding, for healing, for all of my relationships. God was quick to deliver. This was back in December, and I can't describe how much it has changed my outlook on things already. I read my Bible everynight, I pray a few times a day, a lot of times David prays with me. I am at peace with this difficult body of mine. God made me this way, and yes, while I have cursed him in the past, I know He has his reasons. He will not give me more than I can handle. In the past, I couldn't handle it. But now, I can. I'm positive about things. I know He is there by my side through it all.

So, are you wondering, where does a Baby Van Ingen fit in with all of this new stuff going on, like with the bladder treatments, the ovary removal, ect. Well, this is another thing that God has helped me with in so many ways. I can honestly say, I no longer sit and wonder "Why me? Why can't you just give me a baby? This isn't fair! Blah Blah Blah". No. I really feel that God knows my heart, he knows that being a mother is the most important thing in the world to me, aside from my marriage. He has helped me realize that..it's time to move on to the next step. I am confidant, because of what I have felt from Him, that this is going to bring us our baby we have waited so long for. We have made the decision to move on to IVF. My amazing parents are generously helping us with this decision, and I can't say when exactly we will start the process, it is in the near future. We do have a consult on April 17th just to meet with the Dr, have him look over my case, get the estimates of the cost, learn about what all I will be going through, ect. We also want to make sure that I'm healthy before we start the process. I currently am still struggling with weight issues, so I would like to get up to at least 100-105 lbs. I also have a severe Vitamin D deficiancy that my Endocrinologist is dealing with, and then of course the bladder treatments. Ultimately, I am hoping we can start the process in late Summer. Which could end up with me being pregnant at Disneyland in September, but hey, Tower of Terror can wait :)

I have an Uncle in Arizona who is a very spritual man. His daughter, my cousin Sarah is the closest thing I have to a sister. She has been right there with me since I began this new relationship with God. She told me that her dad confided in her a few months ago that one morning while he was reading this Bible and then praying afterwards, he felt God put it on his heart to pray for myself, David and for our baby. He said it was like God spoke to him and told him that we need to stay strong and that our baby is coming. I thought that was so amazing. Being as, I never really see him (He is divorced from my dad's sister and has been since 1996, but I still refer to him as Uncle Steve because I grew up with him, and he still treats me like family when I do get the chance to see him) and don't have a close relationship, but yet, God still put this on his heart. When I heard this, it brought me to tears. The next day, I realized how much God has already changed the way I'm looking at things. If I would have heard this say, a year ago, my initial reaction would see this as a sign and I would basically put all my hopes into this and think "Well that means it's true, it's going to happen!". I didn't think that way at all. I thought it was amazing and so beautiful, and I appreciate it beyond words can say. But because I trust in God, that he is leading me down this path, that he knows what's best, he is leading me towards eventually becoming a mother, and if he feels the need to put it on other people's hearts to pray for us, well than that's just awesome. But I can think rationally about things like this now. Thank you Lord.

So, as Endometriosis Awareness Month comes to an end, for the first year in a long time..I am at peace with this disease. Like I said, I refuse to let it break me. I have many people to thank for standing by me, for being my biggest advocates, my shoulders to cry on, my safe place. God, first and foremost. David, for being the most kind, loving, compassionate man I could have ever hoped for. Thank you for understanding. Thank you for not letting me give up, for picking me up off my knees when I just couldn't do it myself, for taking such amazing care of me after every surgery, and still finding me what you say as "The most beautiful woman I've ever laid eyes on" even afer having to change my catheter bags. For never thinking I was crazy, and for being my biggest fan at all of the Dr's appointments and never letting them try to convince me "It's all in your head". To my parents for always being there to listen, for helping financially in times when we've needed it, physically in times we've needed it, and emotionally in times we've needed it. For not thinking I'm crazy after all these years, and for loving me during the times when you may have thought I was :) To my best friend Marcy for being the Christina to my Meredith (You Grey's Anatomy fans will get that one), for always checking up on me, and even coming and beating on my door if I haven't responded to an "Are you ok text". Her and her husband are truly blessings in our lives, as our my parents, and many other family members I haven't mentioned.

I will end this by thanking all of you who have helped me spread awareness this past month, even some who have donated to the Endometriosis Foundation of America. I will have to add a picture to this blog later of me in a customized shirt promoting awareness. It's pretty awesome. I'm also posting lyrics to a song that fits my life with every single word..

I've been a walking heartache
I've made a mess of me
The person that I've been lately
Ain't who I wanna be

But you stay here right beside me
And watch as the storm blows through
And I need you

Cause God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
And for when I think I lost my way
There are no words here left to say, it's true
God gave me you
Gave me you

There's more here than what we're seeing
A divine conspiracy
That you, an angel lovely
Could somehow fall for me
You'll always be love's great martyr
And I'll be the flattered fool
And I need you
Yeah!

God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
And for when I think I lost my way
There are no words here left to say, it's true
God gave me you

On my own I'm only
Half of what I could be
I can't do without you
We are stitched together
And what love has tethered
I pray we never undo

Cause God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt
And for when I think I lost my way
There are no words here left to say, it's true
God gave me you, gave me you.
He gave me you.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

New Year..it is the start of my new life.

Since a few weeks before Christmas, I could feel God trying to connect with me. Just for the record, I have never NOT believed in God. Throughout childhood I can remember going to different churches in our small town of Whidbey Island, Washington. Once we moved to California, I don't remember going. But I never stopped believing in God and the stories I learned in the bible. I was never discouraged from going, as my mom is a believer, we were just a busy Navy family and didn't make the time. I started going to a church that was very different from any I'd ever been to in August 2005. It was a Southern Baptist Church here in Coalinga. I won't lie and say I didn't feel awkward when David asked if I would go with him. But I went, and I went a lot. I enjoyed it. I especially enjoyed other adults coming up to me explaining how glad they were to see David here with someone who treats him so well and they could tell he was really happy, where as before, he wasn't. So yes, to say that didn't excite me would be a lie. I was baptised in that church in August of 2009 and became a member. I helped do things like Night Light, Nursery Sitting, stuff like that. Then in Nov 2009 I had my first abdominal surgery to try and diagnose the endometriosis and I haven't been back to church since then. For awhile, I did kind of stray from God. I became very angry with him. Why can all these single mothers on welfare get knocked up and keep popping them out like nothing and I can't? How come girls who aren't even married to their boyfriend of a year get pregnant so easily and I can't? Why did I have to have that miscarriage? I should have my 3 year old beautiful child here with us now. Why do I have to go through all these surgeries with no resolution? Well..it hit me a few weeks before Christmas. I had my left ovary removed on Dec 2nd. I had a really quick recovery from it. The first 2-3 days were bad..but nothing compared to the one in May. My period came on time and was a bad one, but not as bad. I just started noticing things around me that I felt was God..that he wanted me back..and I felt the same way. I wanted the relationship that I had with him before. So I made promises to myself..I'm going to read my bible every night, I'm going to pray hard every night and pray for people you probably wouldn't expect me to pray for, but there's a reason for it. I want to be able to give all my frustrations, all my anxieties, my fears, everything...and give it to God.

Well let me tell you that after about three weeks of doing this..I can't even describe how much better I feel. Just about all things in general. But, of course when I pray I ask God that he give me some relief from all the pain that endometriosis causes, and I ask that he let my body heal the way it needs to heal in order for us to get pregnant. Well..my last period, which was last week, was one of the EASIEST ones I've ever had. Almost no hardcore cramping at all. Bleeding wasn't too heavy and I was able to be up and functioning. I felt this as a sign from God that my body is healed and a baby could possibly be the next step. Which is why I'm asking for his help for other things in my life as well. Because I know I will be an amazing mom, the things about myself that I wouldn't want my kids to know about like cussing, certain TV shows, movies or music that I like..I should be cutting back on those things. Not all of the stuff, but let's face it, a lot of TV out there is trash today and I've gotten suckered in. I just want to be the best mother I can possibly me. I want to set the example for my child. How many times do you hear parents say they hope their kid doesn't turn out like them? Well..that's sad to me. Of course I would want a better education for them than I did. I would've went that route but decided to stay with some stupid boy instead. But as far as my "being". The person that I am..I want my child to see me as a role model, someone they would like to be like when they grow up. So I'm slowly starting a process on becoming the woman I hope to be as a mother.
I can't tell you how much praying every night has so far changed my life. It's like 15 minutes alone with God where I just pray for my friends and family, of course others that I feel need it, and then I just start handing over my illness, my anxieties, my fears, my stress about whatever it is that day..and the list goes on. It does so much for me.

I also was introduced to this video the other day...and I couldn't agree with it more. While I would never bash the church (and he doesn't either, check out his fb page) I do believe so many people are there for the wrong reasons. I won't lie and say I never felt judged in church, especially being in a second marriage and all. But when it comes down to it, I felt like I never was able to fully worship because I just didn't feel comofortable. I'm sure some of it is my own fault for worrying what people are thinking, either way, there are a lot of things that I just never understood about the way the church works. This video explains everything I have wondered and more.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

I have to say, this was my all time favorite Thanksgiving. I actually feel "homesick" for it..I want to go back to those wonderful five days spent with the family I adore oh so much. This was the first year that David was actually able to get the holiday off. Due to "won't be named" person in his department, she was only hired two days before him which meant she had seniority. She always requested the whole week of Thanksgiving and Christmas off. So unfair considering she's like in her 50's and her kids are all grown. And how insensitive to take up both holidays? There's other people out there with families, ya know? Alternate or something, sheesh. So we've never been able to have a big 'ol family Holiday with my big 'ol family :) She moved out of the department at the beginning of the year, which means my hardworking man now has seniority in his department and first order of business was taking time off for Thanksgiving and planning a trip to Arizona to my grandparents house. We've been looking forward to it ALL year. Of course my parents made the drive up from Tucson to Prescott, and my cousin Sarah who lives about 15 minutes from my grandparents stayed the night all the nights we were there with her kiddies who I love so much.

We left pretty early on Wednesday morning..about 2:15 am. The drive is about 8 hours depending on traffic. I didn't even bother sleeping that night, with so much packing to do and all, I just figured I'd stay up and sleep in the car. Worked perfectly, I slept pretty much the whole way. Sorry, probably should've kept David company..oops. We got to my grandparents around noon. My parents were already there and had Dunkin Donuts waiting. I can't stress enough my love for Dunkin Donuts. I'm deprived here in California, because we have NONE. I only get them in Arizona, Connecticut, or at JFK Airport in NYC before I fly out. SO unfair. Sorry to all you Starbucks freaks, and hey, I like them as much as the next guy, but I'd gladly trade them for Dunkin Donuts. Their donuts are bomb..the coffee is bomb. What's not to love? California, work on adding a few, k? It was so good to see my grandparents, parents and brother. I miss them all dearly. We hung out and caught up for a few hours, then Sarah showed up and we all hung out for the night. Had a few beers, and made it kind of an early night since we were all pretty exhausted.

Thanksgiving morning I was up pretty early. Arizona is an hour ahead of us, so it's rare to be up at 7am..but I was. Headed straight for the Dunkin Donuts :) Anxiously awaiting the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which I might add..was a huge disappointment this year. They hardly showed the balloons!! So instead, us "kids" meaning myself, David, Kyle, Sarah and Sharayah watched Crazy, Stupid, Love. Dinner was ready around 3 and oh my..was it delicious. Great Mamaw food, great time spent with family over dinner. Love it. We all were drinking wine with dinner, then my cousin and I upgraded to White Russians. That night we had fun in the living room with my parents and Mamaw. Dancing to some Johnny Cash and having some laughs. They also got the idea to pull out my Mamaw's 55 year old wedding dress and have me try it on. It fit perfectly and I felt so honored to be wearing it. She told me when David and I get remarried I can wear it and I for sure will because it's beautiful and totally my style. We definitely plan on renewing our vows as soon as we have paid off all our bills and have the money to do it no big, but semi-big. Funny though, how after 55 years, it's still stylish. Very classy..strapless and lacy with a little shrug to go over it. I even got a picture of myself in it with both my grandparents. Talk about a precious photo. I want to get it framed for them because they were both very touched by it. I'll never forget my Grandad's face as I walked into the room. It was fun in the bathroom trying it on, Sarah was helping me and it was funny, actually like a real wedding. Holding the dress up, adjusting me, zipping it up in the back. I got a kick out of it. I'm going to do a separate post of just the pictures, which unfortunately didn't take very many this trip because I was just enjoying a relaxing trip. This was the first time we've gone and been able to be there for that many days, it was just so nice.

Friday morning Sarah got to pick up her two kids who had spent Thanksgiving with their dad. It was hard not having the kids there for dinner, and I felt so bad for Sarah because it was the first holiday she's had to spend without her kids as her and her ex husband just got divorced in July. We missed Joseph and Emma there for sure. So, after she picked them up, David, myself, Sharayah, Kyle, and of course Sarah and the kids headed to try to do a little Black Friday shopping. My brother and I are movie hoarders and they had such good deals going on we wanted to take advantage. I'm missing New Moon from my Twilight Collection and Target had it for 3.99, I'm also a huge Modern Family fan but didn't start watching until the end of the first season and since I couldn't find the episodes online, they had the complete first season on sale for 12.99..down from like 38.99..talk about a steal. I also got The Blindside (one of my faves) for like 4 bucks, and The Princess Diaries for 5. I have the second one on dvd, but when the first one came out I still had a VCR so I have he VHS and my ocd kicks in with my Disney movies so I had to complete the collection. I also picked up some super cute Mickey PJ pants for myself, and my bestie Marcy for only 10 bucks. Successful Black Friday in my books!

After that, we took everyone to see The Muppet Movie..something I had been looking forward for a year since I saw some leaked pictures from filming and heard the plot of the story. I'm a huge Jason Segal and Amy Adams fan so that also intrigued me..not to mention who didn't grow up loving the Muppets. Kermit was always my favorite of course :) I think I need to watch the movie again though. I was SO flippin' tired that day. I was having a lot of pain the night before after we went to bed it started kicking in and I didn't sleep well at all so I wasn't focused and yes, I did nod off a few times..I'll admit it. Not because it was boring, I was just THAT tired. Friday was also exciting because we had more family coming up that day. My cousin Jen, her husband Alex, and their two amazingly adorable kids, Logan and Ava. Logan is my little Disneyland bud. We talk about Disneyland all the time. Yeah, he's 5 and remembers the exact name of all the rides, knows which rides are in what "Land", and can tell you what other stuff is near the rides. Super smart. Miss Ava is all about Disney Princesses, so yeah, I love hanging out with those two sweeties. But of course, with their parents too. Jen and Alex are super fun to be around and always bring fun games for us to play..after the kids go to sleep of course because they are pretty raunchy ones. Our favorite game is called "The Game of Things"..and I've never laughed so hard in my life as I do while playing that game with my family. Of course it was quite a few of us, David, myself, my brother, my parents, Sarah, and Jen and Alex..so a lot of funny answers and long times spent hysterically laughing, trying to guess who wrote what answer.

The next day, Saturday, I was very excited because again, more family was coming. My Aunt Pat & Uncle Bruce, and my cousin Megan, her husband, and their adorable son Evan who was just about to turn 5 months. I was so looking forward to meeting this little guy. I kind of hogged him a lot, but hey, I'm the only one without my own baby so I have a right to :) He's such a calm baby, never cried while I was holding or rocking him or playing with him. I was able to make him laugh so much and baby laughs warm my heart like no other. I was so happy I got to meet him. He's got to be one of the most adorable baby boys I have ever seen. We all went for lunch at Prescott Brewing Company and it was delicious and awesome to have to many of us together like that. It seems like we haven't all been together like that in so long. Every time I go to Arizona, I make an attempt to see everyone, but with everyone working and having kids, and not all living in the same city, the visits are usually broken up to see a couple of cousins here for a day or two in Phoenix, then visit with my cousin Sarah when we go see Mamaw and Grandad in Prescott since she lives about 10 minutes away. So it was nice to finally all be together, with my parents there as well. Lunch was delicious! We then went across the street and took a few family pics, let the kids play in the leaves, and headed back to Mamaw's. My dad made his awesome Tri-Tip Sandwiches (to die for!), and my cousins and I discovered a new drink. Whipped Cream flavored vodka, mixed with orange soda. O...M...G. It tastes just like an orange creamsicle. It's my new favorite thing. I want to buy a bottle again and try it with root beer. We spent that evening sipping down quite a few of those drinks (which don't really get you drunk by the way, just taste yummy. A little buzz but didn't last long), and playing Poker and Texas Hold 'Em. Mine and David's first time playing..Sharayah also played..and us Van Ingen's won the most. Woo hoo! We make an awesome team. We played another game of "Things"..this time there was A LOT of us so we didn't make it through a full round..but let's just say..the answers that night are ones that will go down in history. My family is hilarious and we don't really hold back.

Sunday was pretty bittersweet. Everyone left, and I had my usual hysterical crying fits. Everyone left at separate times which made it harder lol. But of course, saying bye to my parents and brother is always the hardest. So, I had to go downstairs and lay down for awhile for my anxiety attack to pass. David came down and just held me for awhile. Then we took Sharayah to the mall there so she could spend some birthday money. Unfortunately since the last time I was there, that mall has gone way downhill. It's still really nice inside because it isn't that old, but so many stores have closed. Hot Topic was still there and she was able to get a few things. My sweet husband bought me a Disney Plaque from Hallmark..it says "Even Miracles Take a Little Time - Cinderella". I think it totally fits my life..as far as the baby thing goes so it was a perfect little gift to cheer me up after being pretty down after everyone left. He also bought me a Mister Misty from Dairy Queen (my favorite and we have none around here). We went back to Mamaw's and I took a nap before they took us out to dinner. They took us to this beautiful restaurant that's in a casino up on top of a mountain so you can see the whole city from the the windows. I ordered stuffed prawns with lobster and some kind of tomatillo sauce and was really looking forward to it since Mamaw said it was really good. After I placed my order, about ten minutes later and they tell me they're all out. So I went with shrimp scampi which was kind of ehh. But everyone else enjoyed their food and it was very pricey so it's not like I was going to complain. I take that back, my food was good, but I have a lot of stuff I have to stay away from and I could tell instantly it wasn't going to agree with me so I could only take a few bites. But it was still a lovely time spent with my Grandparents. I was still super exhausted so I hit the hay as soon as we got home, David stayed up awhile talking with them. I love that about him. He really enjoys my family and can totally hang out with them on his own without feeling awkward. My grandparents (and the rest of my fam too) really adore him and that makes my heart happy.

Monday was when we had to hit the road..so we got one more yummy Mamaw breakfast, spent a little more time with them and said our goodbyes. We met up with Sarah and Emma in Chino for lunch at a Mexican place. She's always someone I have a hard time saying bye to because we're really close. So we decided the day before when she left Mamaw's that we would meet for lunch on our way out. We weren't in a hurry since David had the next day off. So we had a good lunch, and then hit the road. It always seems so much longer on the way back. But we left AZ at about 1:30 and got home at about 10. David and spent the next day just relaxing and I got him to watch ET with me.

All in all, it was such a great trip and Thanksgiving. I love and adore my family so much and just wish we all lived closer. When I have kids of my own, I would love for them to grow up with my parents close by, and with cousins they can play with. Maybe someday. But both myself and David and Sharayah all said what a great time we had. I'm so glad also that Sharayah went and got to meet a lot more of my family. We can't wait to plan another trip very soon! Maybe this summer.

Saturday we head off to Bakersfield for our first Van Ingen Family Christmas get together this year. We'll be at my Father-in-Laws and his new wife (who is awesome by the way) and my sister in law and her husband and their four kids will be there as well. It was a blast last year. I'll just have to be careful this year and not get too rowdy with all the girls since I just had surgery two weeks ago and still have quite a bit of pain. We'll have Christmas with us and the kids here in the morning, then they will go to their mom's. So David and I will get to have the evening to ourselves and cook a yummy dinner together and cuddle and watch Christmas Story. Then we'll have another Van Ingen Christmas a few days later at David's mom's, again my sis in law and her family will be there as well. I should mention they live in the LA area and don't see them often so we enjoy getting to spend some Holiday time with them. Here's to Holidays with our families..there's nothing like it. We are so blessed. Picture posts to come soon!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Long time, no blog!

Gosh it's been forever! So much to write about! Birthday, A trip to Arizona, surgery..it's been crazy for the past two months it seems. So I'll have to divide it up in a few posts since I kind of need to get to bed soon as I have two appointments tomorrow. One is super early in Visalia, the other late in the afternoon in Fresno. I can't wait until we can move out of Coalinga and not be so far away from everything. I swear, even when I just have one appointment in Fresno it turns into an all day thing. Anyway, so I'll start with the most recent event. My surgery on December 2nd. I had a really hard time deciding if I should go through with it. Even though it was stressed to me numerous time about how "horrific" my left ovary was, and how I was in constant pain almost every day, a lot of times to the point I couldn't hardly get out of bed..I still couldn't bear the thought of not having two ovaries and doing something to decrease my chances of getting pregnant. I had a lot of talks with my cousins in Arizona who are like my sisters, my mom, my Aunt, a few of my friends, David and even my stepdaughter about how it was the right thing to do. I have to say, I have an amazing support system of family and friends, I am blessed to have them.

So, on last Friday, I went through with it. The surgery was scheduled for 1 pm..but I don't think I got wheeled back to the OR until about 3. Typical for afternoon surgeries I guess. Normally I'm the first one so it's always right on time. I have to say, this time was kind of nice. I didn't have to do the bowel prep the day before (WORST thing ever by the way), and didn't have to be to Clovis Community until 11 am, which meant I got to sleep in and just have kind of a relaxing morning. The surgery lasted about two and a half hours. The waking up from surgery was the worst experience I've had by far. I literally woke up screaming and crying from the pain. That's never happened before. The other times, I just wake up and already have enough pain meds in me to not be that uncomfortable and then they'll give me more once I wake up and eat a cracker and drink some juice. I felt like this time I didn't even have control over the screaming and crying. It was just coming out of me like the Excorcist or something, haha. They gave me a ton of stuff through the IV and finally it started to dull the pain. It took forever for them to let David back there. I pretty much always ask over and over for my husband and I could tell I was bugging this certain nurse but oh well, I need my sweet guy by my side.

I wasn't in recovery for as long as last time, I think because it was Friday and late in the evening they kind of rushed me out of there. I was in there for about three and a half hours I think. I even had some visitors! Our friends Kenny and Alicia drove over to sit with me in recovery which worked out good because David had to go take my prescriptions to be filled before the pharmacy closed so I wasn't alone when he left. Only bad thing is they make me laugh a lot so it kind of hurt. Alicia thinks I'm hilarious after surgery (She was at my first one) when I'm all hopped up on meds so she was totally enjoying all the weird things I was saying, and my attempt to steal one of the nurses Minnie Mouse pens. Another thing that was nice about this recovery was they left my catheter in for me to be able to use for the next two days. I have other issues with my bladder, aside from the endometriosis, which make it impossible to empty on it's own after anesthesia. It was terrible the last time because it was filling up so fast but I wasn't able to get any urine out. Talk about painful. Finally after cathing me twice, they left it in. So this time we made sure they didn't take it out after surgery and sent us home with all the stuff to empty and for David to remove it. We left the hospital around 9pm, and my boo stopped at Wasabi and got me sushi for dinner. Even after puking in the car ten minutes before, I was still hungry..haha. Luckily, I had started to feel sick while they were wheeling me out so they sent me with two puke bags just in case. I would be pissed if I puked in our new car. All the pain meds they had me on made my stomach pretty queasy, but I was fine once I puked. (Don't you love how detailed I am? hehe)

We stayed at my mother in laws house Friday and Saturday just because we like to be close to the hospital if there's any complications. Those first two nights were the worst with pain and I had a hard time getting a full nights sleep. But I am doing better now. Still pretty sore. I have four incisions, and two little holes that look like drill holes. I don't know what they did through them, I've never had those kind before so I'll have to ask tomorrow at my post op. They're healing great though. I also started my period on Saturday which surprised me. It's been a bad one, but hey, aren't they all? Lots of cramping and heavy bleeding, but honestly, I'm actually glad it came. I was worried my cycles would get all out of whack with the removal of the left ovary. So, I'm hoping they stay on track. My Dr told David when he came out to talk to him after surgery that the left side was very bad, and he's glad I decided to do it because there was nothing else left he could've done for me to fix it. The right side looks perfect, and they only found a few spots of endometriosis which they lasered out. Last May I was totally covered in it. So it's very encouraging to hear that as of right now, I don't have endometriosis to prevent me from getting pregnant. I mean, yes I have the disease, and yes it always grows back, but right now I'm clear of it. He was very confident that I will be able to get pregnant fairly soon.

So, as soon as my period stops, and the soreness on my tummy goes away..it's serious baby making time :)))))

This may sound totally crazy, but I told David the other day, I feel like my ovary was like a demon or just something evil in my body that was doing more than causing intense pain. I can't really explain it, but I feel really different mentally since surgery. My mind just feel so much more clear. I feel more positive and upbeat. I feel more appreciative of things. I actually KNOW I will get pregnant where as before I was starting to give up. I was kind of miserable in more ways than one, and I don't feel that way anymore. I feel like this is a fresh start at everything. I attribute this not only to the surgery, but also I think God has a hand in it. It's not a secret that the past year or so I have kind of strayed. I feel him in my life right now so much more than I ever have, and I want to get back to having him in my life. I've also decided that in order to prepare for our future baby, I'm going to start taking steps to just be better and more mature about things. I want to be the person I'll be when I'm a mother. Which means I probably really need to stop cussing so much and maybe cutting a few trashy tv shows off my list. I want my child to grow up in a warm, nuturing and healthy home. My husband used to be really strict about these things when his kids were growing up. He has since changed a lot, I mean we still don't allow Rated R movies to be watched with them, or certain tv shows, but he knows he took things to the extreme and doesn't feel that extreme about it anymore.

I definitely don't want to take it that far..hey..I love my Friends reruns (and he even watches with me), my Real Housewives and Kardashians but those aren't really bad, and I wouldn't watch them with my kids anyway. But there are a few shows and movies that I won't be indulging in anymore. I just want to be a good role model for my child, I want them to stay innocent for as long as possible, and know the difference between good and bad. I know a lot of people talk crap about the Duggar Family, but I have to say, I totally admire them. The parents, and all of their kids are just so happy and such a strong and loving family. They have this amazing relationship with God and they trust that he will provide for them, and he has in so many amazing ways. They also give back in so many ways as well. Both David and I have said we would love to live that way. Not with the 19 kids..but you know what I mean :)

Anyway..I've totally rambled beyond my surgery here, but hey, that's what I do. Like I said, I feel in a way this is a second chance at so many things for me and I'm excited about it. Here's to 2012..and to soon to be Baby Van Ingen (Okay Mason, or Zooey..or Noelle) haha. Because yes..I know that he or she is coming. Soon.

Birthday & Arizona posts coming soon..

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

People throw rocks at things that shine..

Currently obsessing over Taylor Swift's new song, "Ours". Anyone who knows me knows I'm a HUGE Taylor fan. I don't think there's one of her songs I can't sing word for word. I love how she captures emotions and love so perfectly in her songs. She writes them all herself and I think she's amazingly talented, and such a great role model for young girls..there aren't too many of those these days. (Hello Kim Kardashian and your 72 day marriage).

There's so many of her songs that remind me of David, of my family, my friends, and I just love that. This one in particular reminds me of the beginning of our relationship..and how a lot of people were so skeptical about it. For really ridiculous reasons, like our age difference (who cares!) and the fact that I had recently split with my ex husband. I think we both got called "adulterers" at one point. Which is totally ridiculous considering David had been seperated for like almost two years when we started dating, he didn't leave his ex wife for me, or any other woman. It was a mutual decision to divorce. Nor did I leave my ex for David, or see him before we seperated. In fact, I was the one who was cheated on in that relationship. I guess if the people calling us that were uber religious bible thumpers than yeah, technically us both being legally married (which come to find out, I never even was legally married..Ha!) and dating someone else, yeah, it's adultery. I don't agree with that, but to each their own. All I know is, it amazes me how people can be so hateful and negative about people who are obviously so much in love. Love should be celebrated and admired. I love seeing other couples who are so much in love, and I thank those who are always complimenting our relationship and how lucky we both are. I think the best compliments I've ever recieved are from David's family. His mom, dad, and both of his sisters have actually thanked me for loving him. His mom especially is always telling me how she loves seeing her son so in love, and seeing him being treated the way he deserves. Well, it's my pleasure :)

The stakes are high, the water's rough..but this love is OURS..



Friday, October 28, 2011

Disney Challenge #7

Favorite Sidekick..






This guy is AWESOME. He's hilarious, has oodles and oodles of pizazz, and is Robin Williams. It's so much fun to watch him switch from character to character, especially during the song "Friend Like Me". Plus, he's central to the plot. He makes Aladdin a prince, saves his life twice, and is a good friend. Of course he works to the evil side for a bit, but that's not his fault. He still tries to help Al out from the bad guys side and is the best friend a person could ask for.

I also ADORE the Aladdin show at California Adventure..I swear it's as good as a Broadway production..and the Genie is awesome in it, and so hilarious!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

How we spent our 5 Year Anniversary...

I felt very spoiled this year. We usually always do something for our anniversary, I think there's only been one year where we didn't take a trip because I was recovering from being extremely ill. I felt like I had almost a whole week celebration this year!

The morning of our anniversary was a Saturday, and I woke up to a delicious breakfast in bed from my husband. Biscuits and gravy (My absolute fave!), a mini cheese and mushroom omelet, hot tea and a fresh fruit smoothie. Plus a beautiful letter and card from him. We hadn't really planned on doing anything that day since we had our Disneyland trip planned and all. But after breakfast he decided he wanted to go to Fresno for some shopping and dinner at our favorite sushi place, Wasabi. Of course, I wasn't going to argue with that. We snuggled in bed and watched a few episodes of "How I Met Your Mother", then got ready to go. Of course, me being me, I love any excuse to put on one of my fancy dresses so I did just that. We had a lot of fun shopping, David got some new shoes and bought me a super cute hoodie and of course our dinner was amazing as usual. We always leave there totally stuffed and satisfied!

Sunday we relaxed most of the day and watched football, but also packed and got everything ready for our trip. We planned on leaving at 5am Monday morning..and I'm proud to say I was fully packed by 3pm on Sunday afternoon, and we left at about 5:15am on Monday. That has to be some kind of record for me :)

I think I probably only got like three hours of sleep..I was just WAY too excited! So when my alarm went off it wasn't too hard for me to jump out of bed and start getting ready. We were out the door at 5:15 and off to pick up Todd & Marcy! Woo hoo! Marcy brough along her six disc set of Disney Classic songs so we could set the mood. I'm sure our hubbys loved that! I think they're both used to it, considering how big of Disney freaks we both are. It's not very rare to hear me singing some Disney tunes while cleaning the house. Gotta make it fun!

We got to the park at about 9:30..and because our friends are like VIP Disneyland members, we got free parking the whole time we were there. Score! That saved like fifty bucks! Souvenir money, of course! Being the Disneyland fanatic that I am, I had our first few rides planned out. Normally I'm not the type to do that kind of thing, but when there's new rides with huge lines, you gotta do a little planning. In our case, the new Star Tours ride in 3D was just recently opened, and now that they have those handy dandy Fastpasses, we headed to get those first, and then..Space Mountain "Ghost Galaxy". They do it up for Halloween, but I'm old school and missed the "real" Space Mountain. Still fun though!! Next was the Finding Nemo submarines which are so cool. Then it was time to head back to Star Tours, and I must say, it's AWESOME!!!

The tram ride is always exciting to me..especially on the first day!


Messy hair from Space Mountain..but VERY excited for the new Star Tours!!


It was in the mid 80's that day, so we decided to cool down with Splash Mountain. Of course being the smallest, I had to sit in front and I got drenched! The hair definitely went up after that one!


I don't like being wet..


So after spending all day at Disneyland, which closed early due to a Halloween Party thing, we headed over to California Adventure. I was QUITE excited for this as The Little Mermaid ride recently opened, and let's face it, girls like me have been waiting 20 years for that one. With the whole Halloween Party going on at Disneyland, California Adventure was pretty much a ghost town that night so we walked onto every ride, which is always exciting. The Little Mermaid was everything I hoped it would be, just wish it was a tad longer, and maybe a little bit more of an explanation on how Ariel becomes a human at the end and marries Prince Eric. Other than that..beautiful and amazing!

Of course we hit up Tower of Terror a few times, and I got forced on the "Fun" Wheel..because my husband wanted our friends to hear how deathly scared of those swinging death cages I am. According to Todd, I sound like a rabid chihuahua. I later was rewarded with a big stuffed Dumbo that my husband won for me in one of the games on the boardwalk. Ok, I guess going on that thing was worth it then because he's so very cute!



Sure, it's pretty all lit up at night. But don't you dare get in one of the swinging ones. Go for the stationary!


Our first night ended with a fun dinner at the ESPN Zone in Downtown Disney. Best cheese fries ever, and the baseball games were on, major plus! Of course, I had to see the Yankees lose that night and hear the whole place cheering. Oh well, there's always next year! We were dead tired after dinner and I couldn't wait to snuggle into bed and get up early for Day 2!

Day 2 started off a bit rainy, but cleared up by afternoon and was pretty warm again. We hit up Fantasyland first thing, got on my favorite ride first, Peter Pan! Then of course Dumbo, Snow White, Pinocchio, Small World, Mr. Toad..and couldn't forget the Casey Jr train! We were rockin' the Mickey Mouse panchos too. Luckily it cleared up in time and they went ahead with Mickey's Soundsational Parade. I was very excited for this since some of my favorite characters were included, like Mary Poppins, who I've never seen in a parade before. Of course Rapunzel was there too with her tower and all that hair. It was a really cool parade, and we camped out for a bit before so we had great seats on the benches in Main Street! I was definitely in my happy place with my churro and watching the horses and trolleys go by as we waited.

It's my girl Rapunzel!


Mary Poppins & Bert!


After the parade, we hit up the Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise, Matterhorn, and then headed over to California Adventure to wait in line for another new ride, Goofy's Flight School, and then line up for World of Color. Oh World of Color, you are soooo amazing. I could watch it every night we were there, but of course there's other things to be accomplished :) I was quite excited they added Tangled into it. I think I squealed a bit and David gave me a big squeeze from behind. Yeah, everyone knows I'm kind of obsessed with that movie. We finished off the night with dinner and drinks at Red Robin.

Day 3 was definitely RAINY! The panchos were back on, and this time they were on all day. I didn't even bother straightening my hair this day, I let it be wild and curly. No use in trying to look cute when it rains..plus it meant sleeping in extra :) We were prepared with warm clothes and umbrellas, so we didn't let the rain get us down. Plus, the park was super empty this day. We walked on practically every ride. But, some stuff was closed which was a bummer. Tea Cups, Alice in Wonderland, Storybookland, and Thunder Mountain were all closed. But, that just meant we got to back the next day! Score! We spent Day 3 basically just doing whatever, we hit most of the rides up for a second time, or in the case of Tower of Terror, fourth time, and that wasn't even the last haha. We did Indiana Jones of course, and Roger Rabbit which was cool, I hadn't been on that one in years as it's always been closed for some reason the last couple of times we've been. We spent time in the stores, Marcy and I both drooling over all the cute stuff. Especially the Disney Dooney & Bourke purses..(hint hint for anyone shopping for my birthday or Christmas. I want the black princess one!!). We rode Toy Story Mania and Monsters Inc over at California Adventure, and also got a good look at Cars Land while riding the stationary cages of the Fun Wheel. Of course the rain was all up in our faces, but it was actually pretty hilarious. We rode the train all the way through Disneyland which I don't think I've actually done before. Normally we just ride it from Toon Town back to Main Street. But this time we rode it from Main Street, back to Main Street and then got off in New Orleans Square to go on Haunted Mansion again. After a fun filled rainy day, we headed back to the hotel for some hot tub time for my aching body (Yeah I'm like an old lady, my bones hurt when it rains!), followed up by warm showers, dry clothes and dinner at Buca De Beppos. Such a fun time at that place, and great food!!

Day 4, and the last day is always bittersweet. We woke up to beautiful weather though which was great because that meant for sure the stuff we missed would be open. So we headed to Thunder Mountain first, what a great ride to start the day off! Then over to Fantasyland for Tea Cups (4 of us in one trying to all spin it was quite hilarious), Alice and Storybook Land. Oh and the Tiki Room of course!! I also always have to do the walk through of Sleeping Beauty's Castle, it's so magical. Then of course, my usual photo op in front of the castle, and a stop at the Snow White wishing well.


My very own Prince!!


One of the many reasons I love him..because he poses for photos like this with me!


Look who I found!


And look who else!


Mom, I know you're super jealous since she dissed you all those years ago..


So, I took this picture for you :)


Tower of Terror!!


More Tower of Terror! I'll never get enough of this ride!



I had such a blast on this trip. Not only was it the best way to celebrate five years of marriage, but it was also so much fun sharing the experience with my fellow Disney Freak, Marcy! We're so lucky to have such great friends like them. Definitely one of my favorite Disneyland trips ever!

It will always be my favorite place (Even ahead of Disney World, which I've also been to), it's near and dear to my heart for so many reasons. I'll never forget the first time going with my parents and my brother. This trip definitely made me long for a family trip with them sometime in the near future!

Here's to many more Disney memories down the road..hopefully someday soon with my own little Disney Freak :) Yes, my child will have no choice in the matter!

And here's to five years of marriage with the best husband I could have ever imagined. Thank you for everything you do, and for making this one of the most memorable trips ever. I look forward to many more anniversaries and fun times. May we be as happy as Carl & Ellie. Even our bumps in the roads are adventures with you my love. Except somehow I know we'll get to our very own Paradise Falls in the end..