Sep 28, 2012

Twin Boy Nursery Mood Board

I titled this post nursery mood board, but it isn't going to really be one. Had we not lost home TV and Internet, it might have been, but from my iPad I can't make any changes to my Olioboard. So, this is really more a compilation of inspiration photos and if you follow me on pinterest, you've probably seen them all already! This is a rough idea of what we have in mind, but we very well might go to the Consignment Sale tomorrow and fall in something with totally not like this at all. We reserve that right!
 

Colors:

We decided that with the lighting of the room that will be the nursery and our preferred house paint colors we would like to paint it a moody (but not too dark) gray. We are currently planning to use two nice masculine colors as our main colors: a dark blue (navy?) and a happy green (kelly?). Our hope is to emphasize one color for each boy in the room -- so one baby will have a blue sheet and a mostly blue mobile while the other has green sheets and a mostly green mobile. While we would like the bedding to match, we would ideally love to see the backs of the quilts reflect these two color codings as well.
 
We intend to use the green and blue scheme throughout life. While I don't want to be the Mom who overdoes it and always puts one child in green and the other in blue (I want them to be individuals and wear whatever color strikes their little fancies, not have a color be off limits because it already belongs to brother), I do intend to give one the blue lovie and one a green lovie, one a blue pacifier clip and one a green pacifier clip, one gets name labels with blue font, the other green, etc. In areas where separation is needed (or desired so I can know who to yell at for leaving their wet towel on the floor again) I will use a color per child. This will make life easier for me and them because we will all know who needs which shoes!
 
I will use an accent color in the room as well. I am leaning towards orange for the accent, but I'm open to red, yellow, or even having none if that is how the room ties together best. Both of my inspiration rooms (shown below) show yellow, but I think with our theme, orange might be better.

Theme

I have a husband who is OBSESSED with dinosaurs. I have absolutely no doubt that when we retire he will fulfill his lifelong dream of being a paleontologist and we will do one of those tourist trips where you get to go live in a tent and take part in a dig (Ugh. Me. In a tent. Ugh.)
In pre-school Casey read full (adult version) dinosaur encyclopedia. He knows A LOT of dinosaurs, even the obscure ones. Casey is assuming our kids will share his nerdy side (with me as their mom, it's a good guess) and is really looking forward to sharing his love of dinosaurs with our boys.
 
So, one of his only baby planning requests (made before our first Beta even) has been that if our baby (in this case babies) is a boy he wanted a dinosaur theme. Who am I to deny that kind of passion?
 
But, I prefer some of the clean lined graphic nurseries, so we are planning to combine a bit. We will find a very simple crib skirt and bumper (a neutral grey chevron maybe) with solid sheets (green on one, blue on the other), simple navy blackout curtains (we already own those!) and then bring in the dinos through art, accessories, and mobiles. If we can find a good modern dinosaur fabric, we might use it as an accent on the curtains and such. The fabric in the inspiration photo is actually safari, but it gives the idea.


Furniture

Casey and I chose the Restoration Hardware Jameson Crib a few weeks ago and Casey and his dad will be building those. They are hoping to finish earlier, but realistically think it could be as long as end of November/beginning of December before they finish.
 
We are looking for a secondhand dresser on Craigslist to buy. We want something with plenty of clothing storage for two fellows and made of good solid wood construction. We are willing to sand and stain to match the cribs when we find the right piece. Since we have a stain color in mind for the cribs, it would be difficult to buy a new dresser that matches so we might as well save money and buy secondhand.
 
We have a glider and changing table from my sister (yay!) that we will use. The wood tone is the wrong color and looking rough from multiple kids beating on it so we plan to paint these to coordinate. We haven't decided if these will be a nice dark navy or a pop of accent color or a neutral blend in shade of grey. We'll decide as the room starts to come together.
 

Accessories

After looking all over the Internet, I have found a number of things I really like for the room. Now it's just a matter of deciding which to buy! I found cute dinosaur art, pillows, rocking chairs, alphabet cards, mobiles, and wall decals. I found an idea for creating a name board. I found custom name letters with cute little dinosaur embellishments. I also love the idea of a library area in the nursery and would love to see a few dinosaur books on there!

Mood Board

Twin Boy Nursery
 

Buying All of the Things: Consignment Style

Along with these two new wonderful additions that will be joining our family in 2013 (we hope!) come a lot of things! It's amazing just how much stuff such tiny little people will need. In this series, I am going to walk you through our decisions as we are making them. We will talk cars, cribs, DSLR cameras, strollers, and other registry items.


This post is going to be a little bit different than most of the posts in this series because I'm not going to talk about any specific things we are considering or decisions we are making! Instead, I'm asking for your advice and feedback.
 
Tomorrow we will be attending a consignment sale here in town hosted by the North Dallas Mothers of Twins Club called the Twice as Nice Sale.
 
 
This is a large consignment sale where all of the items have been entered by mothers of twins or super twins. So most of the strollers are double strollers. Most of the cribs have a matching crib. Many of the clothes will have a coordinating sibling outfit. The nursery decor will have two sets of bedding.
 
We are going to the sale with an open mind about what we will find and even what we are looking for. I have been told by other Mom's that anything 30% of more off of retail is a good price for a consignment sale, but since I can get new items at Buy Buy Baby for 20% off that seems expensive to me. I doubt I will buy anything unless it is at least 50% off. With this in mind, I have obviously done a lot of registry research already (and even pre-written a few posts on registry items to post next week) and will write a post about our registries and where we chose to register.
 
At the sale we are hoping to find two big things: a double stroller and bedding to go with our nursery decor. So since I'm looking for bedding, I must have a color scheme and theme in mind for two boys right? Right! I do. Stay tuned for a nursery board for twins boys coming later! (I have lots of images but making a mood board is hard work!)
 
What I am looking for right now: leave a blog comment or send me a tweet (@LexyJill) with your best consignment deal.
 

What did you buy consignment that really knocked your socks off?

 
 
 
 

Sep 26, 2012

The Big Sex Reveal

We saw the MFM today and we have big news:
 
 
We're seeing blue....x2!
 
That's right! We have two big, healthy, baby boys!
 
 
The MFM measured their hearts, the 4 chambers, and the blood flow and said everything looked just fine. She measured their brains, the fluid inside, and size of the various nerves and said everything looked just fine. Pip and Pop are both still measuring ahead of their gestational age and everything looks great! We are really proud of strong little fellows and their great growth!
 
I already told our cute story about seeing them in our Week 18 Update, so if you missed it, check it out!
 
And now, the Cass Boys:

Baby A (Pip)

Baby B (Pop)

PositionHead DownHead Up (Breech)
LocationLower LeftUpper Right
Placenta Anterior
(in front of baby)
Posterior(behind baby)
Weight9oz (244g)8oz (230g)
Ultrasound Age (Gestational Age is 17w6d)18w3d 18w2d
Size Percentile77%60%
 

Week 18

Marination Time:
17w6d
 
 
Baby Size:
The Bump says that in Week 18 Pip and Pop are now little sweet potatoes, while BabyCenter compares them to bell peppers. The average baby their age would be 5.5 inches and almost 7 ounces. Another way to think of their size is comparable to a small electric shaver, as explained to Casey by His Boys Can Swim. At the Maternal Fetal Medic (high risk OB or MFM) our Pip and Pop both measured ahead at 8 and 9 ounces.
 
 
Baby Milestones:
Pip and Pop are growing and moving! They twist, roll, change positions, flip, punch and kick. During our appointment with the MFM we saw Pip (Baby A) kick Pop (Baby B) and Pop respond by pulling its hands up defensively. So cute to watch! Apparently they are already fighting in there.
 
 
Symptoms:
Round ligament pain. Headaches. Bloody noses. Not eating. Trouble getting a good deep breath. Exhaustion.
 
 
How I'm Changing:
Still growing. Even though I can't really feel the babies moving yet, I am aware of big movements because I see changes in my belly shape.
 
 
What I'm Eating:
Red meat. Gatorade. Not enough.
 
 
Annoyances:
Nothing this week.
 
 
Sleep:
Doing better sleeping. Still always tired though.
 
 
Missing:
Last night, Casey's wine smelled so so so good. I almost gave in and drank a sip. But, if the MFM appointment had shown any issues at all I would have felt so so guilty!
 
 
Belly Button Watch:
Feeling smug and victorious that I still have an Innie. Have I mentioned that Outies creep me out a little bit?
 
 
What I'm most excited about
We know Pip and Pop's sexes!!! Just as soon as we have told our families I will post a blog update to let y'all know too!
 
 
Previous Weekly Updates:
Week 17
Week 16
Week 15
Week 14
Week 13
Week 12
Week 11
Week 10
Week 9
Week 8
Week 7
Week 6
 
 

Sep 24, 2012

Overwhelmed

When I thought about being pregnant, I thought about 9 happy months of pregnant glow while I picked out the perfect nursery, finished my dissertation, graduated, and it all ended with a natural, vaginal birth. I'd bring my baby home, I'd breastfeed with no issues and we would live happily ever after.
 
As soon as we learned we were having twins, I knew most of these thoughts needed to be put to bed.
 
I'm not getting 9 months of happy pregnant glow. I'm getting 8 months (I hope not less!) of anxiety and exhaustion. There is no second trimester energy or glowing skin. There is no chance at jubilation because I spent the first 10 weeks on some sort of bed rest or restricted activity. Now I live each day praying I don't have to go back on bed rest and can stay healthy. Speaking of being healthy, I have been had more illness since I get pregnant than in the years before. My poor overworked body doesn't seem to have time for an immune system.
 
We already know I'm not finishing my dissertation and graduating while pregnant. That would involve energy I just don't have! I'm completing 10ish hours a week, but 2-3 of those hours aren't productive because I keep redoing some of the same work in my models. I sincerely hope I will be able to finish and graduate after the babies are born because this is something I have worked really hard for, but I know I need to adjust my expectations.
 
I've already written about the strong likelihood of a c-section with twins due to my unwillingness to risk a "full birth experience" (which means delivering the first baby vaginally and then the second requiring a c-section). This delivery will happen at 37weeks at the latest.
 
But none of these things are overwhelming me. I've accepted all of them. I can handle being completely exhausted all the time and my total lack of stomach muscles due to the bedrest in the beginning. I don't need perfect glowing skin. My acne riddled 13-year old skin is just fine. I don't need the perfect nursery. Just a space to being my babies home to me. I have let go of my crunchy sides desires for an intervention free birth and the textbook breastfeeding experience. All of these things were easy to let go of in exchange for healthy babies. I am even excited to let go of these things in exchange for two healthy babies!
 
But I am overwhelmed by symptoms. I have been told repeatedly by my ENT and his staff that I made a mistake not seeing them sooner. The first nose bleed over 30 minutes warranted a call to their office or a trip to the ER. Allowing continued long bleeds wore down my nasal membranes and made their cure (cauterization) less effective. I know I messed up there, but the nose bleeds are my convenience not a huge baby health issue.
 
But what about the rest of the issues! How often should I be calling my OB about all the little symptoms? The chastising from the ENT has me not trusting my own judgement of the severity of symptoms.
 
I am exhausted and weak. This can just be an effect of twin pregnancy or it could be a sign of anemia. Worse, it could be a sign of gestational diabetes and ignoring it could put both the babies and I in danger. How so I know which it is? Should I even bring up exhaustion at my next appointment or am I overreacting?
 
I am having contractions. But I'm not so good at counting them. One twin book says that any contractions before 18 weeks are a huge issue and I need monitored. It suggests a home hook-up machine (HUAM) that can monitor the contractions and send the data to a trained staff. The other twin book says a few sporadic contractions are normal as long as they have no pattern, unless they start too early in pregnancy, but doesn't say what too early is. Mine started at 15w1d. I let my OB know about them that day and she said to drink plenty of water and lay down. Should that be my response every time I get them or should I be asking more questions? Maybe I should be letting her know every time I get them?
 
I have a lot of pelvic and anal pressure. I mentioned this to my OB at my last appointment and she suggested a pregnancy support belt, which has been AMAZING. It really helps a lot, but hasn't eliminated the pressure. The twin books both say this is a sign on cervical incompetence, so should I be more concerned? Bring it up again? Or accept that the belt helps somewhat and move on?
 
I could continue with a list of symptoms that could be something or could be nothing and have me feeling overwhelmed, but I'm sure you get the idea. All of these symptoms can be something or nothing. I can't text or call my OB about everything so instead I sit at home and feel overwhelmed worrying if I'm doing enough for my babies.
 
When I was talking to my mom about all of this, she said get used to it. I'll worry every day for the rest of my life!
 

Sep 19, 2012

Week 17

Marination Time:
16w6d


Baby Size:
 
The Bump and BabyCenter both say that in Week 16 Pip and Pop are now little onions or turnips, respectively. The average baby their age would be 5 inches and over 5 ounces. For the boy perspective, His Boys Can Swim, tells Casey that Pip and Pop are our little hockey pucks. They haven't been measured in a few weeks (and at that time were measuring ahead) so I don't know how big our two are exactly, but I do know we had quite the growth spurt this week!


Baby Milestones:
Pip and Pop are getting bony this week as the soft cartilage changes to bone. They are also getting a stronger and thicker umbilical cord as they rely more and more on the placenta. Sweat glands are starting to develop along with increased little baby fat to help with temperature regulation after they are born. We have 50 days until viability (24w0d on November 8) and 141 days until their last possible (and most optimal) delivery date (37w0d on February 7).


Symptoms:
Round ligament pain. Hunger like none other. (Four bowls of cereal for breakfast is totally normal. Right???) Headaches. Bloody noses. Not as bad since the bloody nose chemical attack, but still happening.

The chemical attack follow up seems to have made things worse. In fact, this mornings check-in with the ENT left me a bit nervous. He says my nasal membranes are too thin and blood volume is too high to try any other nose bleed fixes. I'm okay with that. I can live with some bleeding. BUT He also said too much blood volume puts me at risk and told me to call me OB. OB said not to worry and we'll do bloodwork next week at my appointment. I cant find anything online about too much blood volume when pregnant and without info and knowledge, I'm worrying!


How I'm Changing:
A lot more than I realized. From Thursday to Sunday this week, I grew a lot -- check out my funnily embarassing story.


What I'm Eating:
Who cares what I'm eating -- I'm finally interested in eating! I seem to have a huge preference for red meat. At the wedding on Saturday Casey chose the beef entree and I got the fish. I then ate most of his steak. Not sure where this love of red meat is coming from! Chicken still sounds awful. I am still forcing myself to drink a Gatorade every day.


Annoyances:
Tylenol. It is the worlds most useless medication!


Sleep:
I'm sleeping better. I still wake up multiple times each night to pee, but I fall back asleep much faster than I used to.


Missing:
I'm ready to be off pelvic rest! Sticking with the same answer as last week. Still feeling this way!


Belly Button Watch:
Feeling smug and victorious that I still have an Innie. Have I mentioned that Outies creep me out a little bit?


What I'm most excited about
I am really excited that we have made a crib decision and can't wait to finally have the room cleaned out so we can start making more nursery decisions! Once we learn Pip and Pop's sexes we can start really choosing bedding and other cute nursery things!


Previous Weekly Updates:
Week 16
Week 15
Week 14
Week 13
Week 12
Week 11
Week 10
Week 9
Week 8
Week 7
Week 6

Sep 18, 2012

Celebrate

Thursday night Casey and I joined my mom, sister, and brother and made the trek to New Jersey for the weekend. My family took an uneventful flight on American Airlines. Casey and I took advantage of all his Southwest miles and our companion pass so flew separately.
 
On Thursday afternoon, there were storms in Dallas and in Houston (our connection city) and our 3:30 flight to Houston was delayed until 4:45. Casey got the call from Southwest at 1:00. Due to his status, Southwest was amazing getting us re-booked on the 3:00 flight. We high-tailed it to the airport to make the flight!
 
When we arrived, the 3:00 flight was showing delayed until 4:30 and the 3:30 flight delayed until 5 something. We settled in at the airport and just hoped our flight from Houston to Newark would be delayed as well.
 
Around 3:00 we learned that the 3:30 had gotten another plane out of the hangar and would be leaving on time. Casey immediately got on the phone with A-List Preferred Customer Service at Southwest to try and get us re-booked back to our original flight. Sadly, it was too close to take off time so she couldn't help us and said go to the customer service desk.
 
With a line of nearly 50 to speak to the gate agent, there was no way that would happen before take off,so we decided to just go sit and wait. So much for the 3:30 flight!
 
We took two seats which happened to be near the boarding agent for the 3:30 flight. While we were sitting, we overheard him ask another Southwest employee if they could open up seating on that flight to anyone with a boarding pass since it had so many empty seats. She told him they could let people on for 6 minutes but the flight had to leave on time. You better believe we hopped out of our seat and make it to the boarding agent even before they could make an announcement. I have clue how, but we got onto the 3:30 flight!!
 
Who has ever heard of that? An open call for anyone with a boarding pass to get on the plane and they'd deal with getting everyone booked correctly after the plane took off?!?!
 
We made it to Houston in time to catch our connecting flight to Newark (which was only delayed by about 10 minutes so its a good thing we made it!)
 
When we arrived in Newark we were pleased to discover that our luggage had made it too! How amazing. Love Southwest!!
 
We took the shuttle to the car rental agency to pick up the stylish minivan we rented to fit 5 adults plus luggage. The minivan Hertz gave us smelled like smoke! It was awful! But they were really great about getting us into another vehicle (a Chevy Tahoe) and even throwing in free GPS for our trouble.
 
Casey and I waited at Newark about an hour for the rest of the family to land and then began the drive to Ocean Grove, NJ. We arrived about 1:30AM. It was a really long day!!
 


 
Friday morning we walked through Ocean Grove to Main Street for breakfast and a stroll along the Boardwalk.
Boardwalk View
View from the Ocean Grove Boardwalk
Davies Bench
No visit to the Boardwalk is complete without stopping by the bench dedicated to my Nana and Poppop.
Bench Plaque
A closer view of the plaque.
Then, we enjoyed a lazy afternoon sitting around chatting and playing canasta before heading to the Rehearsal Dinner. It was great getting to meet my cousin's fiancee, Amy, in person! She is even sweeter in person than on Facebook. The rehearsal dinner was delicious and I seemed to finally have some of my appetite back: I ate two pieces of bread, salad, half of my steak, broccoli and potatoes! I forgot to save room for dessert though. Too bad - the creme brulee looked really good. Friday wasn't a particularly eventful day, but it certainly was a good day!
 


 
On Saturday we enjoyed another lazy Ocean Grove style morning and walked to Main Street for breakfast again. We walked to the beach and put our toes in the water and then wandered the quaint streets of town and saw Tent City and the beautiful Victorian houses in town.
 
That night we witnessed the beautiful nuptials of Rob and Amy and one incredible reception, complete with a choreographed first dance! I don't think I have ever been to a wedding with so many details addressed. The bathrooms had large baskets of extra supplies in case guests needed them, the table cards doubled as picture frames for the photo booth, the parent dances were accompanied by slide shows of Rob and Amy's childhoods, etc. It was meticulously planned and so much fun!
 
Rob and Amy saying vows.
It started with a cocktail hour as guests arrived and mingled. At 6:30 guests were invited to the balcony for the wedding ceremony.
First kiss as Mr. and Mrs.
The Newlyweds!
Afterwards, their was another cocktail hour, this time complete with more food than I can describe. Their was a carving station with steak flank and pork, a macaroni and cheese bar, a sushi bar (that even included vegetarian and cooked sushi options), a fruit, cheese, and meat display, a chinese station, etc. There were also foods being passed by waiters if you didn't want to walk to a serving station. I have been to many weddings that had less total food than this wedding served during cocktails.
 
Then came the dances. First, the couples first dance (seriously - take the time to watch this video! So good!) Then Amy with her Dad and Rob with his mom (my Aunt).
 
 

 
We still had a full sit down dinner after all of that! I went with my go to order, the fish option while Casey got the steak (who's surprised!). It's a good thing Casey wasn't hungry because my fish was delicious but once it came out what I really wanted was red meat! I ate most of his steak! Forget the appetizer, sides, or dessert bar (did I not mention a FULL dessert bad with probably 50 dessert options including a waffle bar, a chocolate fountain, cupcakes, pastries, puddings, etc?) all I want to eat is red meat!
 
We also had fun in the photo booth:
 
My Mom with my Dad's cousin (Aunt Joyce)
Casey and I being silly.
Siblings!
We also took a Davies women's photo with my mom, Aunt Ellen, sister, cousin, and I, but I didn't snap a photo of that strip at the reception and I'm not sure who took that strip home! I'll have to ask around and see if I can get it to share. Good memories!!
 
It was such a gorgeous wedding and I am so glad we were able to go celebrate with our family.
 


On Sunday we headed to Easton, PA (just across the river from Phillipsburg, NJ) and had lunch at my Dad's favorite pizza place, Colonial Pizza. The pizza is phenomenal but made upside down - ti goes crust, then cheese, and then sauce on top! After lunch we stopped at a park in Easton to attend a family reunion for my Dad's family. I was four when we moved away from New Jersey so don't know very many people in my Dad's family, but it was really really great to meet and greet them in such a casual setting right along the river. We had a really great time!
 


Sadly, it all had to come to an end and we had to leave the reunion early to head for the airport. We had an amazing weekend, but man did it wear me out! I spent Monday trying to catch up on sleep! Rory wasn't upset the weekend ended. She spent the weekend at the Vet so she could get her teeth cleaned and looked at. She came home with a sad looking shaved leg where the IV went in! Poor girl.
 

Sep 17, 2012

Attacking My Nose

Today I went into the ENT for a follow-up appointment. I've only had four brief nose bleeds since he cauterized 10 days ago, so I was thinking this would be a brief check-in. I thought that sounded like success.
 
Boy was I wrong!
 
The doctor started by numbing and looking up my nose. He said that I have a sinus infection and wants me on an antibiotic. I'm not feeling congested or sick and my temperature at the beginning of the appointment was lower than normal (97.9), so no fever. I have taken an antibiotic (amoxicillin) once during this pregnancy when I had an ear infection. However, I feel uncomfortable taking one for this without giving my body time to fight first. Medicines aren't good for babies are they? I have a message into my OB about this so we'll see. Maybe I'm overreacting.
 
Then, he looked at the nasal membranes and wasn't impressed. Apparently we disagree with 4 nose bleeds in 10 days being an okay number.
 
He surprise attacked again. With no warning, he cauterized again!
 
More chemicals up my nose.
 
More burning.
 
More pain.
 
Seriously, the ENT is not my friend. Every tool he has is an instrument of torture!!
 
So, after my torture session, I left the office for the short drive home.
 
As I was driving, I started feeling drips on my lips and upper chest. I looked down and I was bleeding! Through the medicated cotton ball the ENT left in my nose, blood was dripping on my (thankfully black) shirt!
 
I made a U-turn and headed back to his office.
 
Basically the ENT said my nasal membranes are so thin and so unhappy that this second cauterization may also not have worked. He put a differently medicated cotton ball up my nose and said to leave it in for a minimum of 12 hours - and as much after that as I can stand. With this in my nose, I can't drink for 1 hour (until 5:30) and can't eat for three hours (until 7:30).
 
I am uncomfortable, unhappy, and in pain. Again. And this time it is probably for nothing.
 
Seriously, the ENT needs to quit attacking my nose. He is not my friend!
 

Sep 16, 2012

Funny Story: Growing Babies

On Thursday afternoon Casey and I headed to New Jersey for the weekend (more on the trip in its own post!). We parked in a lot at the airport with my door (passenger side) right next to a pole.
 
I should paint this scene better. Casey pulled all the way into a parking spot and it just happened the passenger door was near a post. It wasn't a big deal and I barely even noticed.
 
We returned home tonight and headed to our car. I opened the door to get in, and it wasn't even funny. My growing belly and I couldn't even begin to fit in. I tried sucking it in and holding my breath. I tried squeezing. Nothing worked.
 
In 3 days I grew enough that Casey had to back the car out for me!
 
I guess now I have an explanation for the almost constant aching and stretching pains I've been having. The babies must have had a growth spurt!
 
Grow Pip! Grow Pop! Grow Babies Grow!

Sep 14, 2012

Buying All of the Things: Cribs Part 1

Along with these two new wonderful additions that will be joining our family in 2013 (we hope!) come a lot of things! It's amazing just how much stuff such tiny little people will need. In this series, I am going to walk you through our decisions as we are making them. We will talk cars, cribs, DSLR cameras, strollers, and other registry items.
During our years of trying to conceive, I used to love sitting around and thinking about beautiful nurseries. I would pour over the Pottery Barn Kids catalogue and Restoration Hardware Baby catalogue and look at that great furniture and decor ideas. I knew this wasn't the most budget conscious furniture, but it was pretty and (I believed) well made so it would be worth it.
 
 
Harper Crib
Harper Crib from Pottery Barn Kids
Jameson Panel Crib
Jameson Crib from Restoration Hardware Baby and Kids
When we found out we were expecting twins, things changed. Spending $700-$1,400 per crib just isn't an option. Sadly, due to the huge crib recalls in 2010 and 2011, used cribs aren't a good option either. Too many of them are not up to safety snuff. I was also disappointed by the number of flame retardants and chemicals sprayed on cribs. Don't companies know that babies gnaw on crib rails? I don't want my babies eating that! So we started exploring other options.
 
The cheapest crib options come from Ikea. They are decently made with limited formaldehyde and chemicals and get pretty good reviews. I spent a morning at Ikea with my Mom scouting them out:
 
Before going, I liked the look of the Ikea Hensvik online. In person it is very feminine.
On the left is the Ikea Gulliver and on the right is the Ikea Sundvik.
When I got home from the Ikea trip, Casey was dismayed to learn they were white or natural. He's a woodworking hobbyist (he built my gorgeous dining room table) and really has a strong preference for stained wood over white. The Sundvik does come in a grey-brown stain that allows some of the wood grain to show through, but Casey wasn't impressed.
 
The Ikea Sundvik in the grey-brown stain. The design of the crib looks better in person, but is fairly boring.
 
So we kept looking.
 
We went to Buy, Buy, Baby, Babies R Us, Lonestar Baby, Target, WalMart, and other local boutiques but nothing was perfect and perfectly priced.
 
Organic cribs are all out of the x2 budget. Most of the low-budget cribs don't meet my stringent safety needs. Many of the BBB, BRU, and LB cribs were equal in price to those at PBK and RHB. The cribs we thought were good safety and price wise didn't fit our needed function/design.
 
Most of the cribs one the market today are 3-in-1 conversions. This means they start as a crib, then become a toddler bed, then become a full bed to grow with the child. Let's be honest, with twins I doubt we ever put two full beds in the room, so that feature isn't useful. In fact, we dislike that feature because it means one of the cribs long sides is higher than the other to act as the headboard in the future full bed. This means the crib needs placed with the long side against a wall. That's great with one...but with two?!? We did see some that didn't have the headboard issue, but they were frequently more expensive or in the modern collections which means painted.
 
We found one crib we liked a lot at Lonestar Baby in Frisco (seriously, if shopping or registering in Frisco is an option for you this store is AMAZING. I wish it was closer so we could do a registry there. Most helpful sales people of any store or baby boutique we have been to!). It was made by a company called Baby's Dream and features a patented "safety gate" which means the top 6 inches fold down on the crib without the danger of the old drop side cribs. It is solid wood construction, contains all metal for the hinges and hardware (no plastics!), a beveled hinge so fingers can't get pinched, has no MDF, no veneers, and no formaldehyde. At $529 a crib it certainly isn't the most expensive one we have looked at, but with the need to buy two car seats (at $200 each) a double stroller, two cribs, etc we would rather spend less.
 
BABY'S DREAM-OCEAN COLLECTION-ESPRESSO

So our crib decision:

 
 
 
We won't be buying all the things.
 
We'll be building!
 
Casey has been hard at work drawing plans, taking measurements, visiting baby stores to look at measurements on their cribs, pricing out lumber, etc.
 
My woodworking hobbyist husband and his Dad have already started sketches of cribs to be built end of September/October! We'll let you know how things progress towards the end of the month when the design is finalized and we start buying wood and constructing. If things go wrong and we end up in too much of a time crunch, we can always go back and the Baby's Dream Crib or an Ikea Crib later. Really, the babies won't be in cribs for the first few weeks anyway!
 
Our current plan is to base the crib stylistically on the Jameson with the same framing and detailing on the short sides. On the long side, we will base it on the Baby's Dream Crib to put in our own safety gate drop system. I am thrilled that we will be able to get everything we want in cribs for less than half of the price of buying them!
 

Sep 12, 2012

Week 16

Marination Time:
15w5d
 
 
Baby Size:
The Bump and BabyCenter both say that in Week 16 Pip and Pop are the size of avocados (so apparently no guac for me this week!). For the boy perspective, His Boys Can Swim, tells Casey to think of Pip and Pop as little studs! Or at least as little stud finders.
 
 
Baby Milestones:
This weeks biggest baby milestone is that Pip and Pop can now hear! By birth, the babies will be able to recognize our voices as long as we talk to them frequently. We've considered buying a pair of BellyBuds, which are headphones for the pregnant belly. Much brain research indicates the positive brain effects of music in utero. Sadly, belly buds aren't cheap for an item you only use for a few months -- $50 on Amazon! I would love to hear about your experiences with Belly Buds!
 
 
Symptoms:
Bloody noses. The end of bloody noses. Starting Braxton Hicks contractions. Headaches like you wouldn't believe (wake me up crying in the middle of the night style headaches).
 
 
How I'm Changing:
I'm apparently past the "is she fat" stage. Two people at Target asked when I was due this week! I was excited people can tell I'm pregnant, but that's an awful question to ever ask - what if you're wrong?!
 
 
What I'm Eating:
I'm still not eating a ton, but I am doing so much better than I was! I am doing really well at breakfast and lunch and okay at dinner. I'm still not dealing with hunger as much as I am force feeding myself, but at least I am now not grossed out that I am having to force feed every few hours.
 
 
Annoyances:
Nothing too bad this week. I mean, I was annoyed with the ENT, but I don't think that goes in a pregnancy journal.
 
 
Sleep:
I am still sleeping a lot and am frequently tired. I wear out after a few hours of activity. Luckily, just laying down seems to help during the day. I no longer need a full nap.
 
 
Missing:
I'm ready to be off pelvic rest!
 
 
Belly Button Watch:
It continues on as a line instead of a circle. Still an Innie!
 
 
What I'm most excited about
I am excited for this beautiful cooler weather. We went to the SMU home opener on Saturday and I can't wait to see our babies in little jerseys or little cheerleading skirts ready to cheer on the Mustangs! We walked around the Boulevard seeing all of the adorable babies and getting really excited!
 
We also walked around the Boulevard feeling really old. Instead of enjoying the fashion show (if you have never been to an SMU Boulevard it is all about fashion, dresses, and heels, not college ts) I kept looking at the young college girls wondering if their Fathers knew what they were wearing. The game was a white out giving all of the girls one last chance to show off the summer white dresses. But wow! No dress should be both sheer and short! Ever! No matter how great your legs are! And, with a white dress a girl needs to take some care choosing her undergarments. As I said, I felt old thinking these thoughts!
 
 
Previous Weekly Updates:
Week 15
Week 14
Week 13
Week 12
Week 11
Week 10
Week 9
Week 8
Week 7
Week 6
 

Sep 10, 2012

Chemically Burning my Nose

I have been struggling to write this post because it's really pretty gross, so if bloody noses bother you as much as they bother Casey you should stop reading!
 
I have been getting bloody noses for the past few weeks. Like bad bloody noses. At my 14 week appointment I asked my OB about them and she said the 5-7 a day I was getting is normal. I apparently never mentioned they were lasting 30ish minutes fairly frequently.
 
On Labor Day, Casey and I were laying in bed enjoying a lazy morning when my nose started bleeding again. And it wouldn't stop. Tissue after bloody tissue and still no stopping. After 50 minutes I contacted my OB. It finally stopped bleeding after 85 minutes. Seriously 85 minutes of aggressive heavy bleeding! My OB referred me to an ENT.
 
I totally forgot to call my ENT on Tuesday. Oops. Wednesday afternoon I called and they wanted me to come in the same day. Apparently, 30 minute nose bleeds aren't normal. Over an hour is really not normal. Sadly, they only had one appointment open and it was during a meeting I already had at church.
 
So, Thursday I went naively and trustingly into my ENTs office.
 
I met with the nurse and went over all my symptoms.
 
The doctor came in and put the numbing stuff in my nose so he could use his camera.
 
The doctor used his camera and said it looked like I had an open and enlarged blood vessel. He kept talking and grabbed another tool from his drawer.
 
The doctor just kept talking to me about pregnancy and if I was excited about twins. No mention of what was about to occur.
 
Did I mention I had no warning?
 
All of a sudden, it wasn't a camera in my nose and it HURT. He was chemically burning my nose. On purpose. I'll say it again in case you missed it. The ENT intentionally shoved chemicals up my nose to burn it.
 
Apparently this is what the cauterize word in the message from my OB meant.
 
They cauterize the blood vessel to stop it from being able to bleed.
 
I walked out to my car in pretty severe pain. It felt like I had been punched in the nose and my head had rebounded off a metal pole. I was hurting. The ENT said this was to be expected. Normally after cauterizing he prescribes strong painkillers and an antihistamine to clear it all out.
 

Sep 4, 2012

Buying All of the Things: A New Car Part 2

Along with these two new wonderful additions that will be joining our family in 2013 (we hope!) come a lot of things! It's amazing just how much stuff such tiny little people will need. In this series, I am going to walk you through our decisions as we are making them. We will talk cars, cribs, DSLR cameras, strollers, and other registry items.


We bought a car! Look at our beautiful new Buick Enclave. It's a crossover SUV on the outside and a minivan in the inside. The perfect world. Sadly, this picture isn't actually OUR car which isn't in stock yet and will be here soon. This is a photo of an Enclave in the right color from the Buick webpage.
 
As I reminder, here is Part One of buying a car, including our spreadsheet and a list of the features we were looking for in a car. The Enclave fits all of our needs and most of our wants!
 
 

Car Needs:
  • Third Row Seating: a very comfortable elevated third row
  • Easy Access to Third Row (I'll need to be climbing back there so I can see the babies on longer car rides): the second row is two captains chairs that easily fold forward to access the third row, but I can also squeeze between them to get to the back (with no car seat in the seat)
  • Movable Second Row (to ensure rear facers fit well): the second row moves forward and backward
  • Ample Cargo Space (for a big double stroller and all of the other THINGS we need): plenty of space, in fact one of the largest cargo spaces we looked at
  • LATCH system: LATCH is only present in the two second row captains chairs with a top tether in the center position of the third row
  • Rear View Camera: not the ideal rear view camera as it is small and displays in the rear view mirror, but the feature is there (if we upgraded to a vehicle with navigation the rear view camera could have displayed on that larger screen)
  • Heated Seats (we were spoiled by Debs and yes this is now a need): yes!
Car Wants:
  • Power Liftgate: yes
  • Remote Entry: and remote engine start which is amazing because the car automatically heats/cools to 72 when the remote start is engaged
  • Push Button Ignition: no to put the car into drive I will have to pull the key out of my purse (we wondered if waiting for the 2013 Enclave would get us this feature but according to our sales guy it won't - this feature is just not supported in the Enclave)
  • Navigation (I know my phone has this, but I would rather never have to look at my phone with the babies in the car): for an additional $2,500 we decided navigation just wasn't worth it but we will have on-star which means we can speak to a real person to get directions which will then scroll across the radio display
  • Air Conditioned Seats (I'm not a fan of the just peed my pants sensation of air conditioned seats, but Casey is): this feature wouldn't have cost as much extra as we thought (only $800) but it was difficult to justify even that small expense for something so unnecessary
  • Good Gas Mileage: the Enclave compares to any of the other crossover SUVs on our list with 17mpg in the city and 24mpg on the highway (not great mileage but consistent with its class)
For other people looking at cars, in the end we narrowed our choice to the Enclave and the Infiniti JX. Here is how we eliminated cars:
 
Infiniti JX -- We still like the Infiniti JX. It had every feature we were interested in, but since it is such a new car (released in April 2012) there are no dealer incentives or other pricing specials. While the MSRP of the Infiniti loaded the way we wanted it and the Buick loaded the way we wanted it are VERY similar, the final prices were not. Since we also really liked the Enclave and saw some advantages/disadvantages of each, even our Infiniti sales guy looked at our quoted price for the Enclave and said buy that!
 
Mazda CX-9 -- The Mazda had most of the features we wanted, but a few big drawbacks. It has NO latches in the third row. This isn't a deal killer since you can attach a car seat with a seat belt, but it was certainly disappointing. The third row of the Mazda was very cramped and uncomfortable for a full-size adult. The third row felt like it was meant to be kept folded down and pulled up when needed rather than actually sat in. Again, not a deal killer, but a drawback. The deal killer was the ride. Our sales person at the Mazda dealership said that the car we test drove was out of balance and that was why the ride was SO bumpy and SO uncomfortable. Whatever the reason, it was truly awful! I attempted to sit in the third row but all of the bumping was awful! We considered going to another dealership to test drive another Mazda, but due to the other drawbacks decided we just didn't need to.
 
GMC Acadia -- The Acadia was very similar to the Enclave but while the Enclave felt/drove like a luxury car, the Acadia felt/drove like a larger SUV. Due to some pricing specials on the Enclave for the options we wanted the payments on these two vehicles were VERY similar and the Enclave just drove nicer, felt nicer, and was overall more luxurious. Also, we're suckers for pretty wood which is in the Enclave but not the Acadia.
 
Chevrolet Traverse -- The Chevrolet Traverse is also on the same chassis as the Enclave and Acadia but down a "niceness level" again. It was missing MANY of our wants, including a power lift gate, which as we looked we realized was more of a need than a want. It also didn't feel as well built as the Acadia or the Enclave. We worried about the quality of the leathers and plastics used and how well they would hold up to the beatings of the hot Texas sun.
 
Hyundai Veracruz -- We never even test drove a Hyundai. It couldn't check off most of our wants. It also doesn't offer a rear view camera or heated seats which were both on our need list.
 
Kia Sorrento -- We drove to a Kia dealership and after seeing this car in person didn't bother test driving. With the third row up, their is NO cargo space. A single stroller wouldn't fit, let alone our needed double. For a family with onky two forward facing children where the third row was for the occasional time you have extra passengers, the Kia has great features for the money and a sleek profile. For a potentially neurotic new mom who wants to be able to see her rear-facing twins during long car trips during the next two years (such as family trips to Oklahoma to see family) this lack of cargo space was a deal killer.
 
Toyota Highlander -- The Highlander suffered from the same issue as the Kia. With the third row up, their is not enough cargo space! The Highlander had more cargo space than the Kia, but still not enough.
 
Honda Pilot -- The Pilot is another nice car we never drove. We struggled to get Honda dealerships to respond to our email requests for information. When they finally did, we were disappointed by the pricing on the Pilot. It's a good vehicle, but they are really proud of it!
 
 
We are really excited for our Buick Enclave to come in (they had to order it from another dealer) and start driving it! Sadly, they couldn't find a vehicle with our desired interior color, exterior color, and options in a300 mile radius. So, we had to settle for second choice colors, but I think we'll be really happy with it! We know this is going to be a great car to bring our babies home in and get us through the next few years.
 

For my Husband in Year Seven

Two days ago, Casey and I celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary! Well, celebrated might be a strong word. Maybe recognized is better... Regardless, we are now in our seventh year of marriage, and I am committing this year to better pray for my husband. I've talked before on the blog about my prayer life and the things I am praying for. I've also talked about some of my difficulties with prayer. Well, I am, going to work to enhance my prayer life and be more intentional as I pray for my husband.
 
I pray for him as a husband, a son, a brother, and a soon to be father. I pray that God gives him the strength and wisdom to be the spiritual leader of our family and guide us through this broken world. I pray that we will be able to work together and raise Pip and Pop to be true Warriors for Christ.
 
I pray for him as a coworker and employee. I pray that he has the convictions of a true warrior and the courage of the righteous to be blessed by his work and act as a blessing to others. I pray that he has the patience of spirit to continue toiling daily for our family and the Lord while he waits for God's eternal and perfect timing.
 
I pray for him and all of his relationships. I pray that he will continue to surround himself by solid Christian men who raise him up. I pray that he will continue to act as beacon of love and work as a fisher of men in those relationships where his friends don't have an intimate knowledge of Christ.
 
I pray that in the midst of pressures and stress he always seeks the Lord first. I pray that he allows the Lord to continually recharge him and his spirit during times of toil.
 
I pray for my husband because I love him so dearly. He is an amazing husband, my perfect man, a loyal best friend, a compassionate listener, and already showing what a wonderful dad he is going to be. I pray that he will continue to be this man and act as the first example of a Father's love for Pip and Pop so that they can better understand the overwhelming love of The Heavenly Father when the time comes.
 
After six years of marriage, I understand him better and love him more than I ever have before. And I know that in my prayer life I need to be praying for him daily. What prayers do you offer for your significant other? How can you be better praying for people in your life? I'd love to read posts on this, so consider leaving a link in the comments.
 

Sep 3, 2012

Week 15

Marination Time:
14w4d
 
 
Baby Size:
The Bump says that in Week 15 Pip and Pop are the size of navel oranges weighing in at about about 2.5oz. BabyCenter agrees that they each weigh about 2.5oz, but uses an apple as the comparison fruit. For the boy perspective, His Boys Can Swim, tells Casey to think of Pip and Pop as baseballs. Go Rangers! We had an ultrasound this week and I wasn't a fast enough write to catch all of the measurements that were taken including head diameter, head circumference, and waist circumference. For each baby, these measurements were used to calculate the baby's weight and gestational age. Both babies weighed in at an estimated 3oz and at 14w0d measured 14w4d and 14w5d respectively. Pip and Pop are growing great! They both also had great heart rates at the appointment in the 150s.
 
 
Baby Milestones:
This week the babies will keep growing bigger and getting stronger. The babies are getting more are more proportional and now the legs are longer than the arms. The bones are working so get stronger and more supportive. They are also going to get even MORE active. I can't wait until I can feel them move! I've had a few odd sensations that may or may not have been movement, but I am really excited for all of this increased movement to be positively identifiable. Even though I can't feel it, it is exciting to know about the baby yoga class going on inside of me!

 
 
Symptoms:
Bloody noses. So so many bloody noses. Tired. Nipples hurt. Never hungry. Cramping/Pelvic Pressure.
 
 
How I'm Changing:
I'm feeling a lot bigger than I did even a week ago. So far most of the size is centered at my waist and the scale has held steady since OHSS weight.
 
 
What I'm Eating:
I am still not doing well with the Dr. Barbara Luke method of eating for multiple gestation. I struggle to eat in normal quantities and have to force feed myself every two hours because I kow it is what the babies need since I don't eat much at a time. After meeting with my OB I am no longer as nervous about this. She said that since the babies are doing great and growing (and are even big for their gestational age!) this just isn't a concern right now.
 
 
Annoyances:
I was starting to feel really annoyed by the frequency of the cramping and pelvic pressure I was feeling, but Dr. Halderman recommended a pregnancy support belt and that tiny strip of elastic fabric under my abdomen works miracles! Seriously amazing! I still get cramping and pressure, but no where near as often!
 
 
Sleep:
I am still tired a lot and wear out quickly from walking or activity. On a happier note though, two nights ago (Saturday night) I slept 9 hours straight without once waking up to use the potty. That is the best night of sleep I have had since June!
 
 
Missing:
Lunch meat. It just isn't the same heated.
 
 
Belly Button Watch:
It continues on as a line instead of a circle. Still an Innie!
 
 
What I'm most excited about
As I said above, I am really excited to feel them move! I am also excited for fall: football season, chili season, boot season, State Fair season, etc. I really love fall. And football. #PonyUp
Me at 14w3d sporting my pony gear!
 
 
Previous Weekly Updates:
Week 14
Week 13
Week 12
Week 11
Week 10
Week 9
Week 8
Week 7
Week 6
 
 

Sep 2, 2012

Six

Today we are celebrating our sixth anniversary with none of the fanfare of our fancy 1st anniversary cooking school weekend in 2007 or our week in Napa for our fifth anniversary in 2011. None of the romance of our first celebration as homeowners for our second anniversary in 2008 when we bought a huge grill as our gift to each other and ate a candlelit grilled dinner using our china, crystal, and silver. No expensive jewelery like my first anniversary diamond studs or fifth anniversary right hand ring.

In fact, this year we aren't taking a trip. We aren't exchanging gifts. We don't have a fancy reservation. We didn't make it to the butcher shop to buy the perfect cut of lamb. In fact, we aren't even going to be together for most of the day.

But that doesn't change how much I love this man. It doesn't change that he is the perfect man for me and our babies.

Since starting to date in April 2003 and getting married in September 2006 or relationship was tested. Since our wedding, the trials and tests haven't stopped. But they haven't stopped us!

We have been through so much together from my dad's funeral in July 2003 after just 2.5 months of dating and my subsequent emotional breakdowns that entire fall semester. We survived Casey's decision to graduate college in three years for financial reasons and the pressures of him taking so many course hours at a time. We survived me working 100-120 hours week at in investment bank. We survived me quitting my job and taking a year to find myself. We survived my ankle surgery in 2008 and the months of bed rest and recovery that went with it. We survived my decision to return to school for my PhD. We survived Casey losing his job at a mutual fund in 2009 after the financial crash. We survived 6.5 months of unemployment living solely on my part time teaching income and savings. We survived Casey working full time while completing his MBA and CFA. We survived Casey's job frustrations. We survived infertility and the horrible stresses that puts on any marriage. We survived failed cycle after failed cycle. We survived my sobbing in the closet because I couldn't bare to see him comforting me again because I knew it was my fault. We survived failed medicated cycles and IUIs. We survived an inconsiderate doctor. We survived bad odds that seemed insurmountable.

The key is, we survived.

And even more importantly than just surviving, we have thrived together.

Marriage is worth the work. It is worth the effort. It is worth every challenge. It is worth every fight and argument. It is worth it because it means I will continue to face life's challenges with Casey at my side!

Six years later and I would marry him again in a second. Six years ago I married my best friend. We have been through so much together & are ready to face our next challenge together: parenting twins! I love Casey Cass more today than I ever have before and I know my love for him will continue to find new highs.

Happy anniversary my love! Here is to many many more!