Monday, April 28, 2014

Graduation Weekend

My Daddy graduated again this weekend! He has now earned his Master's in Social Work! I am so incredibly proud of him for all of his hard work. He graduated with a 3.98 GPA (seriously, 4.0 every semester but one and I think he got gypped!) as a returning student, while working and doing internships. I also have to give a shout out to my mom, who obviously has been working this whole time, while maintaining a household to her exacting standards of cleanliness and cooking nearly everything completely from scratch. Oh, and did I mention that eight months of this was accomplished with the insanity of me and two kids living with them?! If I've never mentioned it before, my parents are two of the hardest working people I know. I'm so very proud of them both!

Dad's graduation meant a busy week for us all.  On Tuesday, the 22nd, I rushed around the house packing and after an early afternoon WIC appointment (which was completely fruitless, but that's another story!) the kids and I drove up to my brother's house in D.C. Wednesday morning I helped get their fridge cleaned out and the house picked up a little, and we loaded up the van and left for Ohio after my brother got off work.

Friday morning, we got up bright and early and headed to Cincinnati. Dad had to be there early to check in, and we wanted to only take one car so we didn't have to pay for parking. My cousin and her husband babysat the kids, so thankfully we didn't have to try to keep them occupied for hours while we waited for graduation to start! We found a coffee shop while we waited, and Miah decided he'd rather have this than a coffee.

 We were sitting facing at Dad's back as he crossed the stage, so this picture was the best I could get of him! He smiled the whole way across the stage.

That evening, we all went out to dinner at a favorite restaurant called The Pub. I had an amazing appetizer called "Cheese Bollocks", and Fish and Chips. 

Saturday Mom and I and the kids spent the morning at the Armpit (Walmart) and the Dollar Store getting stuff for Dad's party while Dad, Miah, and Heather went out to a shooting range. I know it's ridiculous, but those few hours of walking around had me exhausted! My mom ordered me to bed as soon as we'd gotten the kids down for naps, and she and the rest of the family spent my nap time setting up for the party. I felt guilty, since I generally help mom, but it was probably good for the rest of the family (cough my siblings cough) to step up and help out. It was a wonderful nap!

Quite a few people came, both family and friends from church and Dad's work, and my BIL did all the grilling.

My cousin Suz was able to come, but accidentally locked her keys in the car. Good thing my brother is an honest guy, because he jimmied that door open with some trash from the garage! I'd hate to know what he could have done as an alternate career if the Air Force hadn't worked out.

Oh, and did I mention that Suz is the first member of my family with whom I get to be pregnant?! It's so exciting! She's nine weeks ahead of me, and I got to feel her sweet baby girl squirming around.

What would life be like without my brother being goofy? He is, obviously, the only goofy member of our family. We were supposed to stick our bellies out, but Suz missed that part and just looks cute as ever. 

"Bopbop" (my dad) made Azaria a pretty hair bow out of a balloon anchor and the fingers of a latex glove. It made her day! 

We finished off the day with a rousing game of croquet! Uncle Nate won, with me following and Shane close after. 

Sunday was the last day of festivities. Miah turned 24 on Saturday but since that was Dad's day we celebrated on Sunday. After church we rushed off to the flea market, then we came home Heather made Jer a nice cake, we grilled up our leftovers, and spent the evening chatting and laughing and having more fun outside in the nice weather.

The last thing we had to do was take a picture with our family dog. We got her our second year back in the United States, and she's been a great dog. Amazing with kids, gentle, sweet, and loyal. She used to like to roll in dead deer, and never did learn to stay away from skunks and porcupines. She would bring home "treasures" to my dad--most memorably one of a pair of nice leather welding gloves. We went up and down the road but never did find out who it belonged to! She used to go hiking and snowshoeing with me, and later with my sister. When we moved away from our home in rural NY she went to live with my sister and her husband, and now she's 12 ( I think). She's in constant pain from cancer and I don't even know what all else, and it's her time. They'll be euthanizing her in two weeks. I am so glad that I got to say goodbye to her and that my kids have gotten to play with her throughout their lives. I really couldn't imagine a better dog! Goodbye Cadet, we all love you.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Weeks 14 and 15


At 14 weeks, the twins have hit about 3.5 inches and 1.5 ounces. Their kidneys are working now, so they can pee, and they are also learning to squint, frown, and possibly even suck their thumbs! 

Isn't it incredible what God made our bodies to create?! And of course, here's a little outtake from my "helpers". Shane gets what we're doing and enjoys it, and Azaria is always like...huh? Chew on a lemon? Ok mom, sure thing.

This was a pretty uneventful week. I was still in D.C., and extremely exhausted. In a way it was nice that I was in DC, because I was much less busy. In fact, I often took the route of easy parenting and let the kids watch TV in the morning, then we went for walks and to the park in the afternoon. For some reason, the guest bed at my brother's house (which was my twin bed as a high schooler) is the most comfortable place I sleep. I took an amazing nap while I was there! Over the weekend my SIL had some houseguests from Germany. They spent most of the time out sightseeing, but we enjoyed talking to them in the mornings and evenings. One the last night there their family had a BBQ out by a volleyball court, and the kids played in the sand there for a couple hours. They are the family of one of my brothers friends, and several more of his friends were at the BBQ. It was a fun evening, and not awkward since these friends come over nearly every time I visit. One of them has been in love with Azaria since she was an infant. It's pretty cute. One of the guys got a new girlfriend, who seemed like a nice girl but she did ask me if I knew how babies were made, and said she'd go live in a psych ward if she had to deal with two older kids plus twins. So, maybe not as nice as she first seemed. I laughed it off instead of being a smart aleck, as I'm sure I'll get quite a lot of not so kind remarks throughout this pregnancy. My friend Tara told me early on that the way people react isn't a reaction to me but rather how they would feel if they were in my position. So I don't usually take people's comments personally. She also painted me a lovely word picture of the fun I'll have with the twins, which was such an encouragement then and I'm sure will be during sleepless nights to come!


At this point the babies are about the size of an apple, 4 inches long from crown to rump, and about 2.5 ounces. Unfortunately we don't have an apple picture for you, because my apples were teeny tiny! I buy them small so the littles don't waste them when they get full, but there was no point in taking a picture of something smaller than lemons!

This was an incredibly busy week for me. I went back home for a week to go to a bunch of appointments before we traveled to Ohio. We drove home on Wednesday, and on Wednesday evening I had scheduled a tour of the Labor and Delivery ward where the twins will be born. When I scheduled the tour online the webpage said children were welcome, which was great and Shane got excited to see where babies are born. Unfortunately Nathan ended up having to fly that night, which I didn't know when I scheduled the tour, so I was going to have to take both kids and go alone. So, that morning I traveled home (and had several rude interactions with strangers, which I won't go into but it didn't have me in the best mood). I had to go to the commissary before I went to the house, then Nathan called and asked me to bring him a late lunch before he flew. Finally we got home and tried to get ready to go, but we were running late and I was pretty worn out at that point already. I got to the tour about two minutes late, but it was fine because they hadn't started yet. What wasn't fine, however, was that I wasn't supposed to have my kids there! Apparently you are only supposed to take your kids the last week of the month! They were both packed into the stroller with snacks and toys to entertain them, so after some discussion the nurse kindly said that we could try taking them, and I said I'd just leave if they became disruptive. I had a lump in my throat already--I was embarassed, and being tired never does anything good for me. So the tour finally started, and we all went to the elevators. I didn't fit with everyone, since I had the big stroller, and I said I'd take the next elevator. Once they got in and the doors shut, I pressed the button. Wouldn't you know, it opened the door back up? The nurse poked her head out and told me I needed to wait until they left before I pushed the button. I swallowed another lump of embarrassment tears, smiled at her, and nodded my head. It was an honest mistake; there are three or four elevators and I just thought it would call another one. I instantly decided that if every little thing was going to make me want to cry then I needed to just go home. I asked a nurse going up to let the L&D nurse know I would just reschedule, and practically ran out of there. Once I got to the parking lot the tears hit. I put the kids in the car with Shane of course asking me why can't he see where the babies are born, why, why, why? Then I sat there and cried for about five minutes. Pathetic, I know--extremely so, but I'm cutting myself a little slack here with double the hormones and a large side of exhaustion. I passed out that night at nine o'clock.

Thursday as part of my housecleaning and preparing to go to Ohio I decided it was time to switch my closet from normal clothes to maternity clothes.

Nathan, of course, made some smart remark about how now I'm getting all my nice clothes out. He hates my wardrobe! If I'm being honest, I do too. But there's always other places our money needs to go, and since I was losing weight I didn't want to buy things that I would shrink out of anyway. Now I just get to do that all over again! 

Then on Friday I had an appointment at the endocrinologist to see what's going on with my thyroid. My levels are still off, but only slightly, so they are going to check my blood work again in two months and monitor me. The Dr. said she believes it's pregnancy related and should be normal again soon. Whew! Friday was also our sixth anniversary, which we celebrated by doing absolutely nothing.

Monday was my normal OB appointment. The twins look great, I look great, the kids acted great while we were there and Shane was excited to see babies. It was the cutest thing, we got to see one of the twins sucking its thumb!

We also saw that the twins are spooning each other, and got a picture of their heads all cuddled up close. One baby is lying down, and the other baby's head is on the left.

Monday evening we had a very special appointment, the kind of appointment where you get to see your babies and find out their genders! Happy anniversary to us!

Unfortunately for you all, you have to wait to find out until I get it confirmed at my next ultrasound. The tech said she was sure, but it was very early to find out so I want to double check!

Finally, Tuesday was our absolutely fruitless WIC appointment.  In the morning I rushed around, finishing laundry and packing, and finding all of our paperwork to take to the WIC appointment. I loaded the car and we headed out early. It was a good thing I was early, because I went to the wrong goverment building and had to go to a different one. Of course, by the time I got there I was five minutes late, but they didn't mind so I filled out some paperwork and we waited. The waiting room there has some fun toys and books and Shane was being such a social butterfly enjoying the other children. It was so sweet! Finally it was my turn and I took all my papers to the lady...who told me that my proof of income was not acceptable because Nathan is military and I'd have to reschedule (again!) and come back with a different paper. Now mind you, when I called to set up this appointment I asked specifically if this was what I needed, and I was told yes. Cue frustration and embarrassment, load the kids in the car, shed a couple tears, and make the long drive back to DC. Ugh.

So if you were keeping track, that's twice in one week I cried for no good reason, and I'm not a person who cries often. Apparently it's a nice cocktail of exhaustion and hormones. I wasn't like that in my other pregnancies, but I guess that second baby is sending me over the edge! 

Sunday, April 20, 2014


Our Easter was very laid back. I sometimes feel that Easter is too much of a second Christmas, but my goal is for the kids to know more of the real reason behind the day. That being said, it was a busy week and I was too tired to take them to any big egg hunts or celebrations anyway! 

I decided that morning to make cinnamon rolls, and I let the kids help me measure everything into the Kitchenaid. Unfortunately this is an oil free vegan recipe, not a kitchenaid recipe, and the mixer just ruined my dough. Not only that, but while I turned around for two seconds to put something in the sink Azaria tossed a metal measuring cup into the bowl and the mixer got stuck, so now it's messed up and making a funny grinding noise. Sigh. I had to toss it and I was frustrated enough that I told the kids we were just having cereal! But, they were disappointed and I had promised so I whipped up a batch by hand, got it in the oven, and we finally ate breakfast at lunch time! At least they were delicious!

Mmm, cinnamon rolls, applesauce, and almond milk. Littles approved!

After breakfast we had a nice warm bath, and then I pulled out some spring stickers. I had to peel them for Azaria, but Shane can do it himself.

Azaria thought she needed to smash the stickers on.

We went to church that evening, I wish I'd remembered to take a picture because we happened to all wear purple just like last Easter! After church Nathan took us out to a pizza joint he'd been wanting to try. It was better than cooking an Easter dinner! (Plus we'd had Easter dinner on Friday night with our bible study group.) Happy Easter! Christ is Risen!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

13 Weeks {4 Days} -- Second Trimester!

Mac N Cheese are almost three inches long now--about the size of a pea pod! I got someone really cute to give you a demonstration of just how big a pea pod is, against the growing human pea pod. The twins have fingerprints now, and if there's a girl in there she'll have about two million eggs in her ovaries. They should also each weigh about an ounce now. And, hooray, I hit the second trimester! Here's to some of that famed second tri energy making its way into my weary body. This toddler and preschooler are running me ragged. But just look at how cute the preschooler is! When I took these pictures we were busy having a picnic on Auntie and Uncle's back patio, and Rari couldn't be bothered to leave her grapes to hold a pea pod. So you just get my little man with his precious man hands. The kids have really loved eating out there since we've been here this week.  

I'll probably do my longer updates every other week or so for now, at least while things are uneventful. It's crazy to think that in about five and a half weeks I'll be halfway through this pregnancy. Something funny I've noticed lately is that my belly button is burning. It stayed in with Shane, but became flat with Azaria. I remember it burned and tugged for WEEKS until it felt like something gave way that was attaching it, after which it didn't really hurt any more. Now if I cough too hard, or if I twist a certain way, my belly button burns like it's getting ready again. I've already noticed it becoming a little shallower. It's crazy how quickly things are happening between it being twins and being my third pregnancy. And, in the most MOST exciting news, I felt movement! The first time I was 100% positive was Friday, then I felt it once again Saturday and a couple of times today. Woohoo!

With my first and second pregnancies I was pretty laid back and easygoing about the whole thing. Mac and Cheese are making me a lot more uptight! I spent every day from the time I found out there were two until I just saw their hearts beating at my last appointment worrying about losing one,  thinking about all of the bad things that can happen in multiple pregnancy that aren't as frequent in a single pregnancy. When I was pregnant with one baby, my mentality was "hey, this is what your body was meant to do. You're good at it. You are blessed to have healthy, relatively easy pregnancies. You got this" I think I need to spend more time telling myself that now. I have two healthy looking babies in two sacs with two placentas, which is the least likely to have problems of any kind of twin pregnancy. I have grown two healthy children with good weights and uneventful gestations. And, frankly, God gave me these babies and it is His job to decide what happens with them. I keep dwelling on all of the verses I know about worrying and how it profits nothing. Unfortunately, I am human too and the human side of me has a little too much head knowledge about the medical aspect of things. I believe that our minds are especially powerful in pregnancy, and so I keep telling myself that I can grow 5 pound babies, with wonderfully healthy lungs, and I can make it to 37 weeks. Anything beyond that is a bonus! Positive self talk, and the knowledge of plenty of monitoring to come, are putting my mind to rest. I'm also not nearly as concerned now that I've gotten through the first trimester unscathed, since that's when you are most likely to lost a pregnancy. Praise God for those flickering little heartbeats!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

12 Weeks {1 Day}

I had my second prenatal visit today. I found out that at this practice they don't even bother to try to check heartbeats with a Doppler, they just do a brief (VERY brief!) scan to look at their hearts beating. I didn't even get a picture, but it was such a huge relief after a month of worrying about losing one or both babies to see two little hearts beating away in there, and two extremely squirmy little babies partying in their extra large uterus. I'm back to the medical model of care, which is a really nice way of saying that the doctor I saw was pretty rushed and abrupt. I see every doctor in the practice, and then I can choose whichever one I like best to see for the rest of the pregnancy. When I go into labor, however, I just get whoever is on call. My next appointment will be at 16 weeks, then 20, at which time I'll have a detailed growth ultrasound. Then at 24 weeks, and after that I go every two weeks to the doctor. I'll also have a scan every three weeks to make sure both twins are growing at the same rate and one is not sucking all the nutrients from the other.

Here a photo of fraternal twins, which ours are (not identical--each have their own sac, umbilical cord, and placenta)

From The most dramatic development this week: reflexes. your baby's fingers will soon begin to open and close, his toes will curl, his eye muscles will clench, and his mouth will make sucking movements.  In fact, if you prod your abdomen, your baby will squirm in response, although you won't be able to feel it. His intestines, which have grown so fast that they protrude into the umbilical cord, will start to move into his abdominal cavity about now, and his kidneys will begin excreting urine into his bladder. Meanwhile, nerve cells are multiplying rapidly, and in your baby's brain, synapses are forming furiously. His face looks unquestionably human: His eyes have moved from the sides to the front of his head, and his ears are right where they should be. From crown to run, your baby-to-be is just over 2 inches long (about the size of a lime) and weighs half an ounce.

How far along: 12 weeks, 1 day
Size of babies: Two limes!
Total weight gain: 0
Stretch marks: All of my old ones! Just from Shane, I didn't get any new ones from Azaria but I expect that will change this time.
Maternity clothes: Pretty much exclusively. This belly grew FAST!
Sleep: Okay. I'm so tired all the time but I have been for the past three years so whats the difference. I usually wake up about twice to potty, and several other random times just because I'm pregnant I guess. Could be better, but it will be a lot worse in the end!
Movement: I don't think so, but I expect to feel something soon!
Food cravings: None
Food aversions: I've had some food aversions in the first trimester, but nothing that made me really sick. That is, up until this week! I have felt pretty nauseous and unable to do anything this week, but hey, how can I complain since I've only had a week of it instead of three months!
Genders: I don't know. But I am guessing one of each.
Labor signs: None, and I'd like to keep it that way until at least 36 or 37 weeks!
Belly button: In. But a little shallower
Wedding rings: On and normally loose.
What I miss: Good sleep. Energy
What I'm looking forward to: Going to Ohio later in April for my dad's graduation WITH A MASTER'S DEGREE!!!
Best moment of the week: Seeing two little heartbeats and two little squirmy babies!
Worst moment of the week: Feeling sick. Ugh.
Weekly wisdom: Sleep as much as you can. Plan your life to have twins before any other children so that you can actually have time to rest. Oh, wait, that's not in your control. Never mind.
Verse: Matthew 6: 25-27 "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?"