Thursday, May 28, 2015

Baby Shower #3

Two of my good friends offered early on to host a shower for me and luckily they were able to collaborate to have one here. We already had one shower in Austin so it was nice to have one closer to home that allowed me to include some of my work girlfriends as well.

Thank you so much to Kaci and Kate for being fabulous hostesses. The shower was adorable, I felt so honored to be sharing that room with so many women, a lot of whom are mothers themselves. It was a gorgeous afternoon spent visiting and laughing and of course being showered with gifts. I cannot get over how loved our boys are already. Ben and I are both so grateful for everything we have received and all the love that has been showered on us and our littles.


Me with the lovely hostesses (Kate on left, Kaci on right)


Gorgeous food set up - and it was delicious too - so many people told me how much they loved the food at this shower and how it was the best ever. Kaci knows how to cook.


Onesie decorating station - seriously the cutest.




Mama-Mosa Bar - I definitely indulged in one regular and few virgin ;)


A few pictures of gifts being opened - Thank you to Jen for taking these and then airdropping them to my phone. That is an awesome feature btw, for all you I phone users. Seriously it's magic.





The infamous TUMMY TUB - thank you baby Addison & Ms. Tara for passing this onto the boys - we can't wait to try it out. It was also filled with some essential German baby goodies that Tara learned about when she lived abroad.



I was really excited about these cloth diapers :) 



Bumbo!! Thank you Felders :) I can't wait to see the boys sitting up and playing with each other in these.


I cannot wait to read this collection of Curious George to the boys! 


Ben was very excited about these polo outfits when I brought them home 
(frat daddy, literally)


Little Graham was the best helper when opening presents


We received some really cute customized onesies - my favorite were the "I rock" "I roll" combo above.


Gorgeous handmade quilt from Mrs. Cruddas
We have one for each boy.


Baby food maker - we will see how much time I have to do this but I'm hoping it can help save a little money here and there.


 The finished onesies hanging up to dry



Thursday, May 21, 2015

Top Ten Thursday

I am starting a new weekly post, hopefully I can make it last.

Today's Top Ten list is the top ten reasons I am loving pregnancy. This is secretly meant to help me stay positive this last month when I'm not actually loving pregnancy, but trying really hard to keep these babies cooking... reverse psychology works right?

1. I rarely open doors for myself, or have trouble finding a seat

2. I never wait in line for the teacher bathroom anymore

3. I can eat whenever I want, even in the library where it's strictly prohibited

4. I have an excuse to walk slow and sometimes be late for class, that hip pain #thestruggle

5. I have an excuse to put my feet up when I get home, and binge watch Hulu & Netflix

6. I have an excuse to order take out (swollen feet shouldn't be standing in the kitchen)

7. Basically I have a built in excuse for anything I don't want to do

8. Eating ice cream is encouraged - gotta get that calcium

9. I can talk my husband into foot rubs because for real, the swelling, ouch

10. Watching the babies move around - by far the best thing about pregnancy

What would you put on your top ten list for today?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Straight Shot of Honesty

Usually I read posts from expectant mothers about how they just can't wait to meet their little ones, or how they are so excited for them to make their big debut into the world. Rarely does anyone talk about the fear that comes with this huge life change. Maybe that's because they aren't scared, but to be perfectly honest, I'm nearing the due date of our boys and I'm terrified.  I'm hoping that in the next few weeks I settle into that feeling of anxious excitement but for now let's just call it what it is, it is scary. In an attempt to rationalize my fears and maybe get over them I'm going to list them below. 

All the changes - yes I knew it was coming when I got pregnant, but until now it was just oohs and ahhs and parties and showers. As we prepare for our boys to get here, it's starting to hit me... I'm going to spend the next few months attached to two tiny humans who need me for literally everything. That's a big responsibility. Don't get me wrong, I'm fully aware I signed up for this, but it doesn't make it any less scary. The best thing I can compare it to is the first time I went skydiving, yes I willingly decided to participate but when you're sitting in the plane about to jump out, it hits you... this is happening. Granted skydiving is temporary, this baby thing... it's life.

When will I sleep? Most moms I have expressed this fear to have been brutally honest with their answers. They have ranged from "You won't..." to "When you find the time..." to "When they go to college..." I guess I should be used to the no sleep by now, thank you pregnancy insomnia, but I've also been told that the non sleep of pregnancy doesn't compare to when they arrive.  How do you function and provide for two tiny humans when you don't sleep? I'm guessing lots of prayer and coffee.

What if I go into labor and their nursery isn't done, and I haven't prepped the cloth diapers, and I haven't even packed a bag yet?? This one I recognize is completely out of my control, the only thing I can do is start prepping as much as possible now and try to relax, but it is so much easier said than done. I also know there are so many people who will help us in the event that this does happen but my procrastinating self seems to keep putting off tasks as a way of denying the inevitable change that is going to happen.

And then there is labor, now that's one fear that is just there, I'm not sure it will go away. We recently started our prepared child birth class through the hospital I will be delivering at, and oh my word, the animated videos terrify me so I can only imagine the real thing. I've been praying for awhile for God to calm this fear, to take it away but it lingers. This probably goes back to my fear of having no control over this situation and all of the horror stories I've heard about everything that can go wrong. The internet is not my friend. I need to start trusting that this is not my story, this is God's story for my little ones and however they enter this world it's already been decided, complications and all. 

In light of all of these fears, I read something this morning that really hit home... I've realized I'm never going to be ready for childbirth, child rearing, etc. The most I can do is trust the one who is ready and trust that he made me to do this.

Ready is a lie & it steals all your hopes & dreams. & it paralyzes your feet from moving.
& it cripples  your heart from believing life is most beautiful when living in the unknown. 
 Don’t be ready, Be free.
 Ready is for people who trust in themselves,
Who want to live small & safe lives.
Freedom is for people who trust in the One who made them,
Who want to live lives too big to be ready for.
Credit for the quote here

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Peanut Gallery

image credit

The peanut gallery is defined as "a group of people whose opinions are considered unimportant." This definitely applies in pregnacy and I'm sure beyond, when people offer unsolicited advice or make comments that are utterly useless. Lately I haven't been getting advice so much as I have been getting comments from the peanut gallery and "well meaning" stares of disbelief/pity.

DISCLAIMER: While I understand that often people want to give a compliment or say something rather than nothing, I can assure you that some comments are neither helpful or encouraging.  When a woman is carrying around 10 lbs of baby in their belly, sometimes it's okay to just give that knowing look of sympathy or solidarity (if you've been there), or even better offer snacks, especially chocolate. Whatever you do, don't feel like you HAVE to say something, especially when you don't even know the person... 95% of the comments I receive are in line at the grocery store or from people at work that I have never talked to before.

Here is an example of some of the comments I've received in the past week or two...

"Ohhh any day now!"

Yeah... 6 weeks to go... Let's hope not.

"Boy they sure have dropped!!"

Have they? I couldn't feel the immense pressure on my pelvis and bladder... That must be why I pee 75 million times a day, thanks for clearing that up.

"You know you're not supposed to swallow the watermelon seeds right??"

This one actually made me chuckle... much more original than "Hey... give me back my basketball"  to which I now just respond with a blank stare.

"Oh honey, you look miserable...  and just look at those feet, ouch!"

Thank you for your honesty? and I would if I could... my view is currently blocked by my massive belly.

"How are you? You look exhausted."

Well looks like you just answered your own question.

"Really?!? Twins?!? You can't even tell, seriously, there's no way you have 2 in there!"

That's funny, sure feels like two when one dances on my bladder and the other nestles his head under my ribs.

Me: "Can I get some help to my car with these cases of water, I can unload everything else just not these"
Cart Boy: "Well how did you get them in the cart then?"

First of all, rude. Second, If you must know I slid my cart next to the tower of them and shoved them off one at a time while 5 people passed me and not one offered assistance, just stared at me like I was crazy. 

"OMG, Twins?? Seriously you look so much better than some of my friends who just had one."

This one is a little bit two fold, I want to say thank you, but at the same time who are these poor friends you are throwing under the bus? Do they know you thought they were huge? Also, while I appreciate the boost in self esteem it could just be left at "You look great!" am I right?

Side note: I happen to have a long torso which means instead of them growing outward they just stretch out in there (hence the rib cuddling and bladder dancing) and why I might appear smaller than someone who is 5'2" carrying twins. This comment is also bothersome because no two pregnancies are alike so you shouldn't be comparing one woman to another. I'm not sure why we feel the need to compare or compartmentalize things either, but that's a whole other issue.

Moral of the story - when in doubt just smile and say nothing. Especially if you don't know the person. Or if you MUST say something to the mama in the grocery checkout line make sure it's encouraging like, "You look great!" or if they look exhausted a "Hang in there" would be appropriate. And if the cart boy above has taught you anything, offer help to preggos who seem to be struggling, it's hard enough not being able to perform mundane tasks, don't make us beg for assistance.

What are some of the best Peanut Gallery comments/questions you've gotten while pregnant?

Monday, May 18, 2015

May Mid Month Confessions

I'm a little late this month, but still excited to link up with Heather and Elizabeth again for mid-month confessions.



A few weeks ago, on my way home from work my Husband asked if I would grab him a soft drink at the gas station. This required me getting out of my car... which I was not about to do, so instead I drove past 4 gas stations and 10 miles past my house, to get my husband a coke at McDonald's just so I wouldn't have to get out of the car. I blame the fact that I can't easily get out of the car anymore without major assistance (thank you extra 45 preggo pounds), but if I'm being honest it's 90% laziness 10% difficulty. Needless to say we now have a fully stocked fridge to avoid this in the future.

Instead of being productive by organizing baby gifts and writing thank you notes I spent an entire Sunday with my feet up, checking Facebook, napping and reading blogs. I should also probably mention that on this particular Sunday my Father and Husband were hard at work remodeling the twins' nursery (post coming soon!). The main confession - I did not feel one bit bad about it. 

While my 7th period class was watching a movie last week, instead of grading I caught up on registries and answered a few important messages/calls. #teacheroftheyear

I am beyond over being pregnant but I am not quite ready to meet our little ones. I'm not sure if it's carrying twins that is making the 3rd trimester feel so long, or if it's just that it's May and I teach Seniors... either way #overit is my hashtag for everything.

I have about 12 pending blog posts but haven't found any time to upload pictures and edit them. Hopefully once school gets out I can rejoin the internet world.

WHEW! Feels good to get that off my chest ;) - Anything you'd like to confess this month??

Sunday, May 10, 2015

A letter to my Mom

Dearest Mama, 

First of all thank you. Those two words will never be enough to express how grateful I am for you and all the sacrifices you made over the years, but I'm hoping you know the true meaning behind them, just in case you need a reminder...

Thank you for taking care of me when I was new baby who depended more on you than anyone else.

Thank you for providing for me well into my adult years, much longer than I'm sure you anticipated.

Thank you for loving me always, even though I made it extremely difficult at times. You know when I would stomp up the stairs and scream "I hate you." Thank you for knowing I didn't really mean it.

Thank you for not liking me always, and for teaching me that some behaviors are just plain not acceptable.

Thank you for saying no, and sticking to it, especially when it probably wasn't easy and I didn't fully understand your reasons.

Thank you for setting boundaries for me and for teaching me life lessons, like "You don't have to be friends with everyone." and "Not everyone is going to like you, and that's okay."

Thank you for teaching me to be myself, and how to let loose every once in awhile. I may be very much like my father, but I like to think I get my spunk and sass from you. 



Thank you for holding your tongue when I made bad decisions and letting me learn from my mistakes.

Thank you for never saying "I told you so" when I eventually came crying to you after these poor decisions.

Thank you for modeling how to be a good wife, a good mother and follower of Christ all at the same time.

Thank you for being my sounding board, my role model and in more recent years my friend.

Thank you for modeling for me what sacrificial love truly is.

Thank you for continuing to remind me every day that it is never to late to be who you want to be, or to discover something new, or to live life to the fullest.

                   

Mom, I am so proud to be called your daughter. I would be lost without your guidance over the years and I am truly blessed to have you. I cannot wait for our sons to meet their Yaya and pray that I can be at least half as good as you are at this motherhood gig.


So much love,

Your Only Daughter

Friday, May 8, 2015

How to Stay Connected During Pregnancy

This is one of the posts I wrote and submitted to the website MomQuery in hopes of becoming a regular contributor. My other submission was featured on their site which you can see here.
Hope you enjoy!

Image Credit

Staying connected during pregnancy can be hard; you are going through this tremendous change with your body and your emotions are running wild. It can also be easy for your spouse or significant other to feel left out. I know in our household, this was the norm at first. Here I was getting to experience the miracle of life growing inside me, and until Ben could feel the baby moving too, it sometimes seemed like he was stuck on the sidelines. I feel like if you are not careful it is easy to drift apart during those first few months. Below is a list of 5 ways that Ben and I have found to help us stay connected during pregnancy and allow for him to share in some of the little joys that happen along the way.

Craving road trips

It’s no secret that pregnant women have crazy cravings. I have been one of the lucky ones in that my cravings are not for specific combinations but more along the lines of “I want it, and I need it now.” We live in a small town and our house is off the beaten path, so it’s not just a quick trip down the road to find food. Luckily I have a husband who doesn’t mind driving across town to find the perfect chocolate milkshake or a box of oatmeal cream pies. These mini road trips have been some of our favorite times together since getting pregnant. When we are at home it’s easy to zone out in front of the TV or sit on our phones, but in the car we are able to unplug and just enjoy each other’s company.  This is a great time to have conversations about what the next year will look like or how life will change when the baby (or babies in our case) arrives. 

Just an example of a craving road trip success!

Designate a lazy day or date night

Pregnancy can be many things and relaxing is not even close to the top of the list.  Designate one day a week where you can be lazy together. For us, that day is usually Saturday or Sunday – we wake up slow, spend time making breakfast or go out to our favorite local diner. Then we usually spend the day accomplishing small errands, but most importantly, we just spend time together (this is also a great time to check some items off that ever growing nursery to do list). If we don’t leave the house, we spend time in the same room – even if we aren’t talking the whole time, we get the feeling of quality relaxation together. Tip: if you are going to designate a lazy day don’t have a set agenda for your errands or time together as this can add stress – just go with the flow and try to enjoy not being on the clock. If our week doesn’t allow for a lazy day we try to at least have a regular date night. This is something I think is so important to keep up even after baby arrives. Date night for us usually consists of dinner out or in and game of cards or snuggling up to watch an episode of our favorite show (currently: Downton Abbey).  Date night doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just make sure it’s quality time. 

 Unplug for at least 20 minutes a day

This one is a little bit harder to accomplish but you have to charge your phone/tablet at some point, right? I know that pregnancy apps and baby registries are so appealing and there’s always another article to read, registry review to peruse, or nursery inspiration to pin, but you will be so surprised by what you can accomplish in 20 minutes of quality time with your spouse. This was something that our mentor couple recommended to us during premarital counseling as a way to keep our marriage healthy, and if I’m being honest, we maybe accomplish it once a week on a regular basis. HOWEVER, even just once a week can help us stay connected. There have also been weeks where we were diligent and I noticed such a positive difference in our marriage and our relationship as a whole. If you can unplug and find a place that you can sit and just visit with your spouse – no distractions – it will help you feel recharged, energized, and most importantly connected. Only one rule to follow here: Don’t save your 20 minutes for dinner or bed time – make it a time that there is nothing else going on and you aren’t about to fall asleep because one of you will inevitably end up passing out mid conversation… and it will probably be the one who is using their energy making a tiny human.


Dr. Visits

 Take them with you – especially if this is your first pregnancy. There is no better way to help your spouse feel connected and part of the process than to have them there when you are talking to your doctor or hearing the heartbeat of that sweet little baby. If your spouse cannot take the time from work to be at every appointment, make sure to fill them in when you get home (great conversation topic for those 20 minutes). Keep notes of what the doctor says and include them in the process as much as possible. Ask your spouse if there is anything they are curious about that you can ask the doctor while you are there. For us it is a little different because we have appointments every two weeks with twins so this has worked out really well. I try to schedule my ultrasounds around lunchtime and we get to make a date out of it. We go see the doctor and then go to lunch at one of our favorite dive restaurants. My husband has loved being part of the process in this way and it really makes him feel connected to the babies when he can see them on the screen. He looks forward to each appointment and I look forward to our time together afterwards when we get to visit in the middle of the day and talk about the babies; how much they’ve grown and all the information the doctor has given us.
 

Tummy Time

 No, I’m not talking about the kind where you lay your infant on his/her stomach to work on head control. I’m referring to your tummy. As soon as I started feeling flutters I wanted my husband to feel them too. I swore I could feel them kicking on the outside, but since they were only 16 weeks old, my husband couldn’t quite feel them yet. One thing I learned is that as soon as the babies started moving and I called my husband over they would stop. My twins are most active when I’m laying down in the evenings, so we came up with the idea for my husband to sit with his hands on my belly for at least ten minutes to try and feel them kick. Sometimes he will talk to them (which helps them move), and sometimes we will just talk to each other. It was definitely as awkward and weird as it sounds at first, but we got used to spending time together this way too. You can also make it less awkward by watching TV together and letting him rest a hand on your belly.  All the awkwardness will be so worth it the first time your significant other feels that little hand punch or foot kick. There is nothing in the world like sharing in that first moment together. I would say so far it has been the highlight of this pregnancy to see my husband’s face when he felt our boys move for the first time.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Baby Shower #2


The ladies at Ben's office were so kind to organize a shower for us. It was an adorable set up with a Dr. Seuss theme. Luckily they have a resident photographer or else I would have again missed out on having pictures to share again.

They held the shower at their office in the conference room and I was able to take a day off work after our 28 week appointment to spend the lunch hour with these awesome folks.  It was such a nice shower, and we received so many thoughtful and wonderful gifts. I am so grateful that Ben works in such a supportive environment and I can't wait to take the boys up for a visit once they are born.



It wouldn't be a celebration of twins without a Thing 1 and Thing 2 reference.


What a spread!!!


Funfetti cupcakes especially for the Dad to be :)


Homemade Dr. Seuss cookies courtesy of one of the ladies at the office - so cute and boy were they delicious!





Huge thank you to Laverna for writing down gifts and organizing such a beautiful shower




Ben demonstrating the proper use of burp cloths


I've decided these little polo short onesies are my favorite style.


So many cute outfits! We will have some well dressed little monsters.



Sunday, May 3, 2015

Baby Shower #1

This quilt will be part of the boys bedding - I just love the colors!

A few weeks ago we had our first baby shower, hosted in Austin by some wonderful family friends! Ben and I are so blessed to be surrounded by friends and family who love us and who will love our baby boys. We received some great loot, enjoyed some delicious BBQ and even better company.

Ben wanted to have a shower that he could invite some of his friends to, so we attempted a couples baby shower. It was actually a really great time and I think even the guys had a little bit of fun, but who wouldn't with BBQ, Beer, Poker and an archery station in the backyard?? I know we had a great time visiting with everyone :) Some pictures below.

Thank you to our hosts The Luths, The Schultzs, The Hagemans, The Bates and Victoria Lindner for such a great evening filled with love and laughter.

I am horrible at taking pictures but here are a few that some of the guests sent to me. 

 Our hosts made these adorable watermelon carriage displays!

 So glad these two ladies were able to make it!
Friends for 10+ years and counting :)


 Ben and  I with Jacob, Chelsea and Ashley!