Nov 30, 2012

Fragments for Friday: November 30


 
Sometimes things happen throughout the week that are interesting and blog-worthy, but they just aren't a full post. Fragments for Friday to the rescue! All of those random thoughts collected over the week can go in one place: Fragments for Friday.
 
Not a Myrtle and I are so excited so offer you the chance to link up and share your Fragments for Friday. So jot your notes and link up with us!
  • Today I am heading to the cardiologists office to get my 24 hour heart monitor. I'll wear it continually until I go back tomorrow morning for an echocardiogram. Despite knowing this is completely precautionary and unlikely to show anything wrong, I'm still anxious.
  • We set up an online guessing site to enter your expectations for Pip and Pop. We would LOVE for ALL of you to play along! Go to http://www.expectnet.com/games/CassBoys to enter your guesses. We are really excited to see your thoughts!
  • Our nursery furniture is painted - well at least the dresser and changing table! And, the crib slats have been dry-fit (assembled but not permanently attached). Crib progress is being made!! Somehow getting the nursery painted has really increased my impatience. I want to start assembling and decorating the nursery NOW. I realize I sound a little like Veruca Salt from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, but But BUT.
  • I have had the same dream every night this week. I'm always sitting in NICU on Christmas Day with the boys. Sometimes it is just me in there. Sometimes Casey is with me. I can always hear Christmas Carols playing trying to make the NICU cheery. This is NOT okay. I am only 30 weeks at Christmas, so too early for Pip and Pop. How do I tell my dream head that Pip and Pop aren't allowed to come until January? No more preemie dreams!
  • Remember when I first shared that I was pregnant and wrote that I'd still have non-baby stuff on my blog? I lied. But I didn't mean to! I just never realized that my life would be SO consumed with all things baby boy. And I certainly never thought it would start this early! I've been racking my brain for material for a non-baby/pregnancy blog post but I have absolutely NOTHING. Between bed rest, restricted activity, and taking it easy, I have done nothing blog-worthy in the past 27 weeks (eek!) since we got pregnant. I haven't done anything, made anything, or seen anything worthy of sharing. Probably because all of those require getting my very large pregnant belly out of bed. I'm tempted to apologize, but I don't really care. These boys have already become my whole life. My whole focus. My everything. And honestly, I'm okay with that.
  • Now that we've all accepted this whole list is about the babies, I am using the Rockabye Baby Pandora station and every time I put my phone on my belly to play them music, I get serious dance parties in my belly! So so fun! They never danced like this when I played them regular classical music.
  • I truly believe in the power of prayer and know that God listens and responds. He is all-powerful, all-wonderful, and all-capable. He is capable of infinitely more than infinitesimally more than we can even imagine (Ephesians 3:20). On my heart:
    • My brother finally got results back from his repeat MRI. He is now going for a second opinion. Continued prayers for him, his wife, and their two little girls.
    • Numerous twitter friends going through infertility treatments, pregnancy complications, bed rest, waiting for adoption or surrogacy, and the struggles of raising kids.
      • @BabyBumpAhead was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia yesterday. Her OB has told her to prepare for delivery of her (surprise gender!) twins within the next week. She is currently not quite 35 weeks.
      • Also, Kelley of @RNPhotoGirl has her FET tomorrow. After all of her heartache, I am praying so hard that she gets her Christmas Miracle.

Write your own Fragments for Friday and link up with us!


 

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Nov 29, 2012

Babies and Bruises

I spent a good chunk of today at my OBs office. I have a really sore and tender area on my uterus between my pelvic bone and belly button. It is in the wrong spot for round ligament pain or another musculoskeletal issue so it didn't feel "normal". I was (am) in so much pain and it kept me awake at night. Every time I twist, bend, roll, slouch forward, sit straight, or do anything that puts pressure on this area, the pain gets worse. And let's not discuss the pain level when the dog tries to climb into my lap and steps on it!
 
So off to see Dr. H I went.
 
It turns out that Pip has been hanging out in the same area with his head down long enough that the pressure from his hip rubbing has caused a bruise on the inside of my uterus!
 
Sadly, their is nothing that can be done for this. Unless Pip decides to move (and he has been happily kicking away in that spot for about 10 weeks, so unlikely), he will continue to apply pressure to the bruise and not give it a chance to heal. As he grows and gets stronger, it is more likely to get worse than better.
 
So, these boys are LITERALLY beating me up! Already little trouble makers!

 
Who knew the inside of your uterus could bruise?!? Not this lady. Consider my mind blown.


 

Nov 28, 2012

Ten Things to Teach My Sons

I have tried a few times to put into words how excited I am to be a boy mom, but nothing has ever seemed adequate. I just can't even tell you how excited I am to be having TWO little boys.
 
I spend a lot of time wondering who each will look like and what traits and attitudes they will get from each of us. Will one be more like me and the other more like Casey? Or are we going to have two mini-Cs running around? How similar will they be to each other?
 
I hope they are both strong, independent, respectful, God-loving little men.
 
I love thinking about Casey teaching them to hit a tennis ball, just like he taught me. He will teach them to ride a bike. He will take them to their first football game and teach them the rules.
 
But, these aren't the most important things Casey or I will teach these boys.
 
I stumbled across an article online called "15 Things a Mom Should Teach Her Boys" and really loved it, so I'm reposting it here. Most of the things on this list I think our sons will learn by watching Casey who is truly a great man (and had a great mom who taught him!). I am so excited to raise these little men and see the grown men they become.

1. The kitchen? Not just for girls. Learn to use a stove.

2. If a girl tries to change you she doesn’t really love you no matter how much you want her to.

3. Shower daily, keep your nails trim and use deodorant.

4. A dutch oven is never funny. EVER.

5. It is NEVER acceptable to break up with a girl over the phone.

6. Understand how to use basic tools.

7. When you ask a girl, “Is something wrong?” and she says, “No.” She’s lying.

8. The job of a stay-at-home mom is equally as hard as yours.

9. Table manners. Use them.

10. You will never know a stronger pull than that of your friends trying to get you to participate in their wrong doing. Resisting makes you a man. Succumbing makes you a coward.

11. NEVER use your fists to solve ANY dispute. One wrong punch could take a life and it could be yours.

12. Condoms will save your life.

13. Never use the word gay in a derogatory manner. It’s ignorant.

14. Sexting is a federal offense.

15. Real girls do not look like Victoria’s Secret models.

 
I really love this list, but I want to edit some of it. In particular, I take issue with 11 and 15. Christ did say to turn the other check and that should always be the initial reaction to any dispute (even one that has escalated to fists). BUT, don't let someone beat the snot out of you without defending yourself. I have no idea where that line is, but I know it exists. Also, your future wife WILL look like a Victoria Secret model to you! Even if she doesn't fit the VS stereotype, you will find her the most beautiful woman you have ever seen.
 
 
 
Really though, that list just isn't mine and is missing some of the things I think are most important to teach my boys, so here is MY list. (Although, in reality these are all things I want my daughters to know too!)
 
 

1. A real man knows, loves, and relies on God. Pray. Be a spiritual leader. Know that God loves you. God is there for you (always and no matter what). God is with you.

2. Peer pressure is a powerful force and easy to give in to. It takes true character and courage to always do the right thing and not follow the crowd. This might (probably will) make middle school even harder, but it will serve you well the rest of your life.

3. Know how to use the dishwasher, oven, washing machine, iron, vacuum, mop and broom. And actually use them. Know how to balance a check book and save money. Know how to fold your own clothes and resew your own buttons. Be self-sufficient.

4. They are called "private parts" for a reason. Don't scratch them, hold them, display them, or adjust them in public. When you get older, continue to show respect for your "private parts". This means keeping them private until marriage. Even if she doesn't respect herself and says she wants to, you need to show that respect because you can't take that decision back. Always treat a girl with respect and never talk about her to your friends unless you are going to compliment or praise her. Your private life with her is just that, private. (And if you choose to ignore your dad and I on abstinence before marriage, please please use a condom!)

5. Please, Thank You, Yes ma'am and No sir, You're Welcome, etc. are all polite and always to be used. Show respect and use manners at all times. Always be kind and gentle toward all living things. Good manners ensure this. So open doors. Hold out chairs. Give up your seat to the elderly, disabled, and pregnant. Use full words (or even better, complete sentences) when someone asks you a question. Write thank you notes. Old-fashioned manners will never go out of style.

6. Shower. Wear deodorant. Wear clean clothes. The "sniff test" is not a way of deciding if something is clean. Take pride in your appearance.

7. No means no. When I say it, the discussion is over. When dad says it, the discussion is over. When a girl says it to you, whatever you are doing is over. (But you should never put yourself in that type of situation. See #5.)

8. Be strong and tender at the same time. It is okay for a man to show emotion. It is even okay for a man to cry. You will be the rock of your family and the leader of your family, but you must do so with tenderness and care, not just strength.

9. Friends come and go, but Family is forever. Treasure your family. This includes your brother, your parents, your cousins, your grandparents, and your aunts and uncles. These are the people you can always rely on and who will love you unconditionally. You were fortunate to be born into a big, close-knit family full of love. This does come with some strings. You were born into a big, close-knit family full of events and obligations. Be prepared to give up some weekends and time with friends for your family. Someday you'll be glad you did!

10. Your mom and dad love you! No matter what, I will always love you and be your mom. No matter what, your dad will always love you and will always be your dad. So hug us (even in public!) and know that we are always cheering for you. Sometimes our enthusiasm might be embarrassing and public hugs from mom aren't popular (see #2), but love us back anyway! This means picking up the phone and calling when you get older. We are probably missing you!

 
 

Anything you would add?

 

Nov 27, 2012

Week 27

Marination Time:
26w5d
 
Baby Size:
The Bump told us that Pip and Pop are as big as a rutabaga (which was the BabyCenter fruit a few weeks ago!), while BabyCenter says the boys are as hefty as a head of cauliflower (or approximately 2lbs, which Pip and Pop exceeded in week 25). His Boys Can Swim continues to say the boys are each as long as a man's work boot.
 
Baby Milestones:
Last week, Pip and Pop were getting closer to opening their little eyes and had fully grown eyelashes to protect those baby blues when they open them. Well, this week they are open!

Pip and Pop are now sleeping and waking at regular intervals, opening and closing their little eyes, and maybe even sucking on their tiny little fingers. They are continuing to take "breaths" by inhaling and exhaling small amounts of amniotic fluid and teaching their lungs the breathing movements they will need on the outside. In fact, they are capable of breathing (with medical assistance) on the outside. Their brains are continuing to develop brain tissue and getting more and more active as the synapses connect. I am trying to stimulate them with good classical music!
 
Symptoms:
Contractions - more frequent and now feeling them more. Dizziness, but not as bad. Tiny Bladder (Seriously. Every. Two. Hours.) Tired. No, make that exhausted. Trouble bending over. Shortness of breath and VERY easily winded. The walk to the bathroom from my bed at night feels like a serious workout. Tenderness/soreness on my left side (3ish inches above pelvic bone and 2ish inches in).
 
How I'm Changing:
26w6d
Bigger. Less round - lumpier and more assymetrical. More forgetful - seriously it has gotten worse! I go back to the cardiologist end of this week to run a few tests to confirm his diagnosis that my body is working hard and tired but healthy. (More here.)

I'll be back later to add a photo. I totally forgot to take one yesterday and right now this shirt doesn't cover enough belly for public viewing. Updated: photo added on 12/28
 
What I'm Eating:
Odwalla Chocolate Protein Monsters (when I can find them, Bolthouse Farms or Lucerne when I can't). Cheese. Red meat. Milk. Pumpkin Pie.
 
Annoyances:
I am annoyed by just how useless I am. I have things that NEED done like cleaning out my closet that are just taking forever!
 
Sleep:
Back to two hours at a time.
 
Missing:
My feet! I can't see them. And putting on socks is some serious acrobatics and quite the workout.
 
Belly Button Watch:
Been an innie all week! Victory!
 
What I'm most excited about:
My second baby shower is coming up on Saturday!! And then my final shower is Wednesday! These boys are already so so loved!
 
And I'm in the third trimester!! No more than 10 weeks until we meet Pip and Pop (and ideally no less than 5 weeks).
 
Previous Weekly Updates:
Week 26
Week 25
Week 24
Week 23
Week 22
Week 21
Week 20
Week 19
Week 18
Week 17
Week 16
Week 15
Week 14
Week 13
Week 12
Week 11
Week 10
Week 9
Week 8
Week 7
Week 6


 

Nov 23, 2012

Fragments for Friday: November 23


 
Sometimes things happen throughout the week that are interesting and blog-worthy, but they just aren't a full post. Fragments for Friday to the rescue! All of those random thoughts collected over the week can go in one place: Fragments for Friday.
 
Not a Myrtle and I are so excited so offer you the chance to link up and share your Fragments for Friday. So jot your notes and link up with us!
A corner of the nursery!
One wall is painted in stripes while the other three are taupe.
  • On Tuesday our drywall in the sunroom was repaired. Thirteen months since the hail storm that destroyed our roof the first time and five months since the hailstorm that broke every skylight in our house (6 of them!) and our house is finally back together! Casey painted the ceiling on Wednesday and it is ready to get pictures back on the wall and put the furniture back.
  • Let's talk dinner versus supper. Casey and I shared a rousing conversation about the usages of these words. He says they are synonyms both meaning evening meal. I say not. I say dinner is the largest meal of the day and so supper is only appropriate with a big lunch (then called dinner) and light late meal (then called supper). So Casey: breakfast, lunch, dinner and breakfast, lunch, supper are both okay and mean the same thing. Me: you have breakfast, lunch, and dinner or breakfast, dinner, and supper.
  • A few weeks back I pinned an adorable maternity Thanksgiving shirt. When I went to buy it, the seller wasn't willing to customize it for twins (sad!). I wasn't willing to pay $28+$5 in shipping for a shirt that I'd wear one weekend and didn't reflect both my boys. So, I made one myself! Happy Thanksgiving!
26w0d
Full of thanks.
(And by this point turkey, stuffing, macaroni and cheese, pie and thumb print cookies too!)
  • Our crib mattresses arrived this week! I totally spent time dragging the boxes around the nursery visualizing different room layouts and taking a few photos of different arrangements to show Casey. This method is a lot better than the cut-out paper squares I started with!
Playing with my furniture cut-outs.
I got fancier and switched to www.floorplanner.com
Then, I started just dragging the mattress boxes around.
  • I truly believe in the power of prayer and know that God listens and responds. He is all-powerful, all-wonderful, and all-capable. He is capable of infinitely more than infinitesimally more than we can even imagine (Ephesians 3:20). On my heart:
    • My brother finally got results back from his repeat MRI. He is now going for a second opinion. Continued prayers for him, his wife, and their two little girls.
    • Numerous twitter friends going through infertility treatments, pregnancy complications, bed rest, waiting for adoption or surrogacy, and the struggles of raising kids.
      • This week I would like to once again raise up @When20Meets30 who has had two cerclage procedures and been on bedrest for a few weeks now. At her appointment this week she was told her cervix has shortened even further to 0.38 at 21w. She is in the hospital until her babies are born. Prayers they stay inside until at least viability at 24w.

Write your own Fragments for Friday and link up with us!

 

 
 

Nov 22, 2012

Thankful 1.3

I'm joining in with Breanna (@breannadk) of www.createdfamily.com for Thankful Thursdays. Each day in November I am going to be purposeful about slowing down and thinking of something I am thankful for. My life is so blessed and all to often I forget to praise God for these blessings. I will be writing what I am thankful for daily and posting every Thursday in November.
 
November 1: My husband, Casey
November 2: My God
November 3: Amazing women, mothers, and role-models I know
November 4: My health
November 5: Other moms willing to share advice (in particular twin moms!)
November 6: The right to vote
November 7: My siblings
November 8: Viability for the Ps
For the full details of my first week of thanks check here.


November 9: Weekends with my love
November 10: Teachers and educators
November 11: Our veterans and active duty military (and their families)
November 12: Warmth
November 13: Prayers
November 14: Infertility
November 15: My home
For the full details of my second week of thanks check here.
 
 
November 16: I am so thankful to be pregnant with Pip and Pop. I already love these two boys with all that us in me - and we haven't met yet. It is absolutely amazing to think I will be counting their little fingers and toes and looking into their eyes in no more than 11 weeks!
"I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart" -- Jeremiah 1:5
 
November 17: I am so fortunate to have my perfect part time job! God really does work in us and among us. Not long after I realized returning to teaching and graduate school wasn't an option for this semester, I was approached about a newly forming Elementary Lead Teacher position for our Sunday School program. I work 10ish hours a week writing and preparing lessons for the kids of our church and absolutely love it!
"Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them." -- Mark 10:16
 
November 18: The nursery is painted!! We still have a bit of work to do repairing the drywall holes in the closet and reprinting their, but for the most part, it's done. And it's awesome! We are blessed with truly incredible friends who came over today and helped get it done. True friends are such a blessing and really something to be thankful for!
"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!" -- Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
Brad and Jenny helping us paint.
 
 
November 19: I am thankful for laughter. Tonight Casey and I sat outside on the patio at Ozona's and enjoyed a leisurely dinner and lots of good talk (politics, financial markets, and other nerdy topics) and even more laughter. It felt so good to laugh and enjoy each other's company. We weren't in a hurry. We had nowhere to be. We had nothing else to do. We enjoyed dinner and dessert and each other. And laughter, lots of laughter.
"Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”" -- Psalm 126:2
 
November 20: I am thankful for the amazing folks in our medical community. Today I met with a cardiologist and everything seems to be okay. I am so grateful I have a team of doctors working so hard and taking every precaution to keep Pip, Pop, and I safe. I am also thankful that The Great Physician is involved in my healing.
"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." -- Psalm 147:3
 
November 21: I am thankful that Jesus Christ came to earth to save me. He came to show the way to heaven. He came to teach us how to have an authentic relationship with Our Father. He died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sin. He paid the ultimate price so that you and I can have life eternal with our Father in Heaven.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." -- John 3:16
 
November 22: In its founding, Thanksgiving was a mass, a day intended to give thanks to God. The pilgrims breathed a sigh a relief that they made it through alive. They survived the ocean crossing. The illness. The massacres. They had food and supplies to survive the winter. It was a true celebration borne of relief, a truly pure foundation for gratitude. I am going to give thanks in advance for that attitude, which I am trying to foster in myself. I want to be better at breathing a sigh of relief. I want to celebrate where we are instead of fearing for the future. God has been with Casey and I throughout our infertility and this pregnancy. His healing hand has touched us. Our marriage came out stronger. We have two boys on the way. We are broker than we've ever been after paying for all of this, but we have each other and our savings will build back. Casey and I have survived and we are relieved! These baby boys have made it to viability and are heathy and big. Our nursery is going to be finished. We have car seats and a few necessary items to bring the boys home (and the rest can be bought later!). I give thanks today for the trials we've had and more importantly for the relief and peace we have now. On today, this traditional day of Thanksgiving, I am thankful for so much! My heart is overflowing with joy. I am surrounded by blessings!
"I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving." -- Psalms 69:30
 
 

"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever." -- Psalm 107:1

 
 

Nov 21, 2012

Week 26

Marination Time:
25w6d
 
Baby Size:
The Bump told us that Pip and Pop are as big as a head of lettuce, while BabyCenter compares their size to a cucumber. His Boys Can Swim continues to say the boys are each as long as a man's work boot. These boys are still measuring really big. While the image from The Bump says 1.5-2.5lbs is normal in week 26, most sites agree with BabyCenter that the average baby is closer to 1 2/3lb at this point. Pip and Pop were both over 2lbs last week! This puts Pip in the 97% for size and Pop in the 89%. For more information on how big the boys measured in their growth scan check here.
 
Baby Milestones:
Pip and Pop are getting closer to opening their little eyes. They finally have fully grown eyelashes to protect those baby blues when they open them. No matter what their eye color will be, the eyes are most likely blue at this point. Their final eyecolor won't start to come through for a few months after birth. The boys are also now taking "breaths" by inhaling and exhaling small amounts of amniotic fluid and teaching their lungs the breathing movements they will need on the outside. The boys are continuing to fatten up, a la Hansel and Gretel.
 
Symptoms:
Contractions. Dizziness. Tiny Bladder. Tired. Trouble bending over. Shortness of breath. Nauseous. Cramping in my abdomen area (higher than a menstrual cramp would be). Heaviness and pressure around my pelvis. Any tiny cut bleeds forever. A few nose bleeds. No lung space in my torso.
 
How I'm Changing:
Nothing new other than even bigger:
I saw the cardiologist this week and while my heart is working wrong, he didn't see any signs of an urgent problem. He wants to run a few tests to confirm his diagnosis that my body is working hard and tired but healthy next week. (More here.)
 
What I'm Eating:
Odwalla Chocolate Protein Monsters. Cheese. Red meat. Potatoes. Spinach. Milk.
 
Annoyances:
I am a bit annoyed by just how difficult this pregnancy has been on my body. I honestly wouldn't change a thing and cherish every kick and pain, but I envy all the folks I see with one baby and tons of energy and the ability to still live normal lives. Instead, I get days like Monday where my blood pressure and heart rate were both elevated and so accomplish absolutely nothing. Those days aren't fun.
 
Sleep:
I had one night this week where I slept FOUR HOURS without waking up. Seriously amazing! Can't even describe how awesome that was!
 
Missing:
I originally had nothing written here. Then I went to the cardiologist, and they kept asking about things I eat and drink. Repeatedly saying I don't drink any caffeine made me really miss a good cup of hot tea!
 
Belly Button Watch:
It is a bit transitory right now. Weird right? Most days it is a flattie. But, occasionally Pip (or Pop?) must move away from it and allow it to go back in just a little bit. Maybe I still have hope to avoid outtie-ness?
 
What I'm most excited about:
The nursery is painted, my mom and sister are coming next week to paint the dresser, crib mattresses have arrived and cribs are in good shape to finish soon. Our nursery is coming together slowly! Our goal had been first week of December. I think it is now pushed back a week since we still haven't chosen a carpet, but we are doing good!
 
Previous Weekly Updates:
Week 25
Week 24
Week 23
Week 22
Week 21
Week 20
Week 19
Week 18
Week 17
Week 16
Week 15
Week 14
Week 13
Week 12
Week 11
Week 10
Week 9
Week 8
Week 7
Week 6


 

Nov 20, 2012

Cardiologist Update

I spent the afternoon today meeting with a cardiologist. Interesting times. Honestly, seeing a heart specialist isn't something I want to have a reason to do, but I am so thankful I have an OB who is taking every precaution to keep Pip, Pop and I safe!
 
 
Basically, the cardiologist, Dr. S, repeated what my OB thought. None of my readings (EKG, heartrate, etc) are high enough to indicate an urgent heart issue, but my numbers are higher than he would like to see, even in a pregnant patient. Dr. S said my heart rate is a tinge higher than his "threshold" but that since I'm carrying twins and my heart is pumping for three it's probably no big deal. Whew!! That's what I like to hear!
 
As a precaution I will have an echocardiogram and wear a 24 heart monitor one day next week. Dr. S is so confident this is just precautionary that we didn't schedule the customary two month follow up even!
 
His overall opinion (which might change after the rest of the tests come back) is that my heart is working really hard but not showing signs of weakness. Dr. S said I should take it easy and listen to my body, which might mean self imposing rest time throughout the day (sounds a lot like the restricted activity my OB already has me on!). This should help with the dizziness and shortness of breath and heart pounding through my chest.
 
Woohoo for a healthy heart! Woohoo for great doctors taking really good care of Pip, Pop and I!
 

Nov 19, 2012

Democracy and Capitalism: Inappropriate Shopping Edition

I love holiday shopping and all that it entails. I really enjoy coming up with a great gift and then getting a good deal on it. I am not a 4AM Black Friday shopper, but I do enjoy the hustle and bustle of the day. Casey and I normally wake up and head to breakfast on Black Friday and will hit a few shops afterwards. We miss the lines and crazy product fighting, but we still get some great deals. While we love to find deals, we are very fortunate that we can afford to spend an extra $100 instead of staying up all night in line to get the doorbuster sale.
 
That said, I am so disappointed by the number of retailers choosing "Black Thursday" instead of Black Friday this year. It is taking all of the fun and holiday spirit out of the weekend. I felt disappointed last year by the number of retailers who chose to open on Thanksgiving Day and at midnight instead of waiting until Black Friday. Last year Casey and I drove by our local Best Buy around 8:00 on Thanksgiving Day on our way home from enjoying a wonderful day with our families and couldn't believe the hundreds of people already in line for the midnight opening! Those people all had to give up time with their families to do that! and the employees had to be there even earlier. This year, retailers like WalMart, ToysRUs, and Target are all opening the evening of Thanksgiving Day, meaning employees and consumers will miss spending the holiday with family.
 
Photo from google (click for source)
 
This is going to disproportionately effect lower income families. They are more likely to be the hourly employees forced to leave their family holiday celebration to work. Even though many will "choose" to work that day to get the holiday pay, for a struggling family during the holiday season this "choice" is not really one.
 
Our country is both democratic and capitalistic and nowhere is the tension between these ideals as obvious as Thanksgiving.
 
In a democracy, all people should be equal, but we know they are not. A lower income family is much more likely to miss Thanksgiving to get the new $200 TV (advertised at both Target and WalMart) than a higher income family. This is because that dealbuster television might be all they can afford. A lower income family is more likely to agree to work on Thanksgiving to get the holiday pay. I'm not referring to the truly poor here. I'm referring to lower middle class and middle class families.
 
Under a capitalist system, supply and demand rule. We are a nation of consumers who line up at doors to get good holiday deals. The stores offer the opportunity to shop and people do it. Workers are willing to supply hourly labor at holiday pay and retailers are eager to offer this new shopping experience.
 
Democracy says we are all equal. Capitalism thrives on competition and being on top. Retailers are willing to exploit the lack of equality (classism) to get the consumer's dollar.
 
So here is my plea: before you head out shopping on Thanksgiving Day or face the crowds at 5AM on Black Friday, do some research. Last year, Consumer Reports reported that despite all of the hype of Black Friday, it wasn’t the best time to get the lowest prices, in general. Many of the the Black Friday deals and door busters can be found cheaper online on Cyber Monday or on continuing sales at the retailers during the holiday season! In fact, Amazon prices are frequently better than Black Friday deals. The competition to get your holiday spending is intense and retailers are eager for your holiday dollars. There will be other sales and other price breaks. So enjoy your family and have a second slice of pie on Thanksgiving Day!
 
Shop Black Friday (or Cyber Monday) instead of Black Thursday!
 

Nov 17, 2012

Our Big Dinosaurs

I got to see Pip and Pop again yesterday during our ultrasound and check out their growth progress. They are still our big as dinosaurs babies!
 
At today's ultrasound the babies gestational age (time spent marinating) was 25w1d. The typical size for a baby in week 26 is approximately 760g or 1lb7oz. But Pip and Pop are far from typical!
 
Both already weigh over 2lbs! (Look at this BabyCenter chart for more information on average fetal weights to see just how big these babies are!) These are two big healthy baby boys! We couldn't possibly be happier that they are doing so well.
 
Pip is up a full pound from our last growth scan to 2lb4oz or 1,033g. This is an increase of 1lb (more specifically 443g), or 75.1% in just 24 days. Stated differently, in 24 days time Pip has shown 26 days of growth.
 
Pop is growing a bit slower and has increased 68.0% to 2lb1oz or 956g. Although Pop's growth relative to Pip's has slowed down a bit, given his overall size this isn't a concern at this point. Pip's growth is right on track with 24 days worth of growth in the 24 days between growth scans.
 
 

Pip

(Baby A)

Pop

(Baby B)

PositionHead Down (called Vertex)head resting directly on my cervix Sideways(called Transverse)head smushed towards my spine
LocationFairly centered (a tad left)Directly under my ribs
Placenta Anterior
(in front of baby)
Posterior(behind baby)
Weight2lb4oz (1033g)
2lb1oz (956g)
Average Ultrasound Age (Gestational Age is 25w1d)
27w0d26w2d
Size Percentile97.43%89.27%
 
With all of this new information, go enter your guesses on when the Ps will come and how big they each will be. The site says you have to register but it only asks you for an email address and password so that you can go back later and change your guess and so we can contact you if you win! Click here to go over to the game site.
 
 
 
And now a wee bit about me:
 
Because the boys are so big, I am measuring REALLY big. My fundal height is just over 35cm, which for a woman pregnant with a singleton would be right on track for 35.5 weeks pregnant. This means I'm measuring 10 weeks ahead. I was told to expect 4-8 weeks ahead because of twins - but I guess those extra two weeks are attributed to really big babies.
 
I am still not putting on weight. I eat steak 1-2 times a week. We add protein heavy red meat to almost everything. I drink two protein shakes a day (in addition to meals). I eat cookies with icing. Despite all of that, I am only up 14lbs so far this pregnancy. Once again, Dr. H made me feel better about the lack of weight gain. I am eating LOTS, often, and high calorie/high protein. The babies are doing great. I am supposed to just keep doing what I am doing.
 
My blood pressure is still being completely controlled by limiting my activity level and listening to my body. My cervix remains long and lean. I was told to just keep doing what I'm doing and listening to my body.
 
I am also going to go see a cardiologist for my heart rate stuff. Hopefully I can get squeezed in this week but because of the Thanksgiving Holiday I might have to wait another week. Update: I have an appointment for Tuesday. I'm nervous about going. What if something is wrong with my heart?! My dad passed away from a sudden heart attack when I was 18. Like me, he had low blood pressure and wasn't significantly overweight. I know this is probably just a precaution, but it is still a bit nerve wracking. Dr. H wants someone to monitor my heart rate and how high it is getting, particularly with movement, and verify everything is okay.

 
 
Such praises to God that everything seems to be going well! And continued prayers that the boys stay healthy and make it to a safe delivery date.
 
And now the fun part

baby pictures:

 
Pip is laying head down (vertex) with his face towards my front and using my cervix as a pillow. In the picture he has his little arms up boxer style: "Wanna fight?"
Pop is laying sideways across my ribs (transverse) with his head facing towards my spine. Since he is facing backwards, no cute profile shot of Pop today, but you can see his spine which is pretty cool to look at.
 
 

Nov 16, 2012

Fragments for Friday: November 16


Sometimes things happen throughout the week that are interesting and blog-worthy, but they just aren't a full post. Fragments for Friday to the rescue! All of those random thoughts collected over the week can go in one place: Fragments for Friday.

Not a Myrtle and I are so excited so offer you the chance to link up and share your Fragments for Friday. So jot your notes and link up with us!


  • We had a drywall repair person in this week to repair the hallway and sunroom ceilings from all of our leak damage now that the roof is (finally) no longer leaking. This means I can put the sunroom back together now and put all the furniture back on the patio! At some point the ceiling needs painted, but looking at our weekends I doubt we will be tackling that before the boys arrive.
  • I work part time in the children's program at our church, Munger Place. Each month our curriculum has a "Big Idea" and this week we used the big idea to create a monument to God using 12 "stones" to represent the 12 tribes, just like the Israelites did after Joshua led them across the Jordan River. I am in love with this monument the kids built!
  • We set up an online guessing site to enter your expectations for Pip and Pop. We would LOVE for ALL of you to play along! Go to http://www.expectnet.com/games/CassBoys to enter your guesses.
  • On Saturday, I said the boys names out loud in a conversation with Casey. Right after I said their names, both boys kicked at the same time. That never happens! Usually movement is one at a time. Of course, Casey is no longer feeling confident about our names and added a new consideration to the mix. Will both twins feel special if one has a family name and one has a random name we like? I think we are back to the drawing board! Naming a baby is really hard work! How did all of y'all pick your kids names?
  • I finished my thank you notes from my baby shower in McKinney and went to post office to buy stamps and mail them. After I dropped them in the post office mailbox, I realized I never put return address labels on them! I hope all of the addresses were correct because mushy pregnancy brain struck again.
  • I am seeing lots of holiday posts and photos of trees and decorations appearing on Facebook and Twitter this week.  I am beginning to wonder if I am going to regret not putting out any of our trees this year.  Maybe we should put out just one of them?  But, my reasons for not decorating are so very very valid!  We have so much to do between now and Pip and Pop's arrival that to spend two weekends (one up, one down) on decorations is really not our best use of time.  Remind me of this in two weeks when I am sad our house has no holiday cheer.
Our formal tree and Snow Village last year.
  • I have posted about my love of Odwalla Chocolate Protein Monster drinks before. This week I went to NINE (yep, that's right, nine!) different stores before I found any to buy. My normal purchase spots were both sold out. (One mentioned they were out because someone keeps buying 4-5 at a time -- meekly points to myself.) Not being able to find these is pretty much tragic. High protein, high calorie, taste good, stay down -- my perfect food!
  • During our multiples class on Saturday, I took a picture of Casey holding a baby. It is now my iPad background and every time I see it, my heart absolutely melts. I cannot wait to see Casey as a Dad!
  • I truly believe in the power of prayer and know that God listens and responds. He is all-powerful, all-wonderful, and all-capable. He is capable of infinitely more than infinitesimally more than we can even imagine (Ephesians 3:20). On my heart:
    • My brother got his MRI results back on Tuesday and his doctor is rescanning. So once again we are waiting. Prayers for him and his wife through this uncertainty!
    • A friend (my best friend's SIL) who just found out she is having twins!
    • Drake and Kennedy Gilstrap have both been released from the hospital!! These two sweet children have been on my heart and in my prayers constantly since the end of June.
    • Numerous twitter friends going through infertility treatments, pregnancy complications, bed rest, waiting for adoption or surrogacy, and the struggles of raising kids.
      • This week I would like to raise up @When20Meets30 who has had two cerclage procedures and been on bedrest for a few weeks now. At her appointment this week she was told her cervix is continuing to shorten and us now at 0.98cm at 20w pregnant (want it above 3cm).

Write your own Fragments for Friday and link up with us!



Nov 15, 2012

Thankful 1.2

I'm joining in with Breanna (@breannadk) of www.createdfamily.com for Thankful Thursdays. Each day in November I am going to be purposeful about slowing down and thinking of something I am thankful for. My life is so blessed and all to often I forget to praise God for these blessings. I will be writing what I am thankful for daily and posting every Thursday in November.
 
November 1: My husband, Casey
November 2: My God
November 3: Amazing women, mothers, and role-models I know
November 4: My health
November 5: Other moms willing to share advice (in particular twin moms!)
November 6: The right to vote
November 7: My siblings
November 8: Viability for the Ps
For the full details of my first week of thanks check here.
 
 
November 9: I am thankful for Fridays and the excitement of a weekend with Casey! I cherish the time we spend together. Our relationship has changed DRASTICALLY since I became pregnant (see: pelvic rest) and I know it will change even more after the boys arrive, but our love remains strong. There is no one I would rather hang out with than him.
"My lover is mine, and I am his." -- Song of Solomon 2:16
 
November 10: We spent today in our "Preparing for Multiples" class and I am so thankful for wonderful educators and people who are willing to share their knowledge. Our instructor today is an author, nurse, doula, and lactation consultant and was a treasure of information specific to twins. I have been fortunate during my life to be touched by a lot of really great teachers and educators. Teachers and professors are really special people!
"Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; If service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching;" -- Romans 12:6-7
 
November 11: I am thankful for the brave men and women who serve our great nation, both present and past. These individuals sacrifice so much, from time with their families during deployments to the ultimate sacrifice of their lives to protect each and every one of us. They provide us safety and freedom and their contribution cannot be repaid. I am also thankful for the families who support their soldiers. They go months not seeing their loved ones and keeping things together at home. They also sacrifice.
"Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." -- Joshua 1:9
 
November 12: I am thankful for a warm fire on this cold night!
"If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?" -- James 2:16
 
November 13: I spent today finishing all of the thank you notes from my McKinney baby shower. Writing them brought tears to me eyes as I thought about all of these amazing folks who are supporting us, praying for us, and wishing us well. I truly believe in the power of prayer and am so thankful for every voice petitioning God on our behalf. I know it is because of you that I am carrying these two baby boys and because of your prayers that Pip, Pop, and I are all doing well.
"When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I'll be there." -- Matthew 18:19-20
 
November 14: I am thankful for my infertility. I know that sounds weird. Why would anyone be thankful for such a miserable awful trial? I am thankful that because of the depths of that pain, I strengthened my relationship with Christ. I am thankful for the new dimensions it gave to my marriage with Casey. We are a stronger family for it. I am thankful for the compassion and empathy I have learned from the infertility community. Infertility changed me and I am grateful for the person I am and have become!
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance." -- James 1:2-3
 
November 15: I am thankful for my home. Days like today, with contractors in and out repairing the drywall from our crazy leaking in the spring, are harder to be thankful, but I live in a great house! We are so fortunate to have a roof over our heads, a comfy bed, heat, air conditioning, etc. The small inconvenience of paying to have repairs made shouldn't detract from gratitude!
"By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches." -- Proverbs 24:3-4
 
 

"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever." -- Psalm 107:1

 

Place Your Bets

We want you to join in the fun and excitement of welcoming Pip and Pop to the world. So let's play a little game!

Head to http://www.expectnet.com/games/CassBoys and enter your guesses for Pip (Baby A) and Pop (Baby B).


It asks for your guess on gender (we've told you this one already!), birthdate and time, heights, and weights. You get one guess for each baby (but you can use your email address to edit your guesses as the due date draws closer). Also, a few hints pop up after you click enter guess.


I know some of you reading are friends I sadly don't keep up with very often anymore -- come out of the anonymous blog shadows and place a guess! We would love to hear from you.


As if the fun of being right isn't incentive enough, there may be prizes involved!
 

Nov 14, 2012

Buying all the Things: Baby Monitors

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 quickly made the decision that we wanted to use video monitors not just sound monitors. For the first months sound only is plenty, but when we are worried about little flying squirrels going crib to crib we will appreciate the video! We considered the AngelCare motion monitors that sound an alarm if baby stops breathing and are supposed to be a comfort against SIDS to use for the first months, but it didn't take much looking to see that they don't make a difference in SIDS rates and give off a lot of false alarms causing parents to panic and waking the babies. They are also not advised for twins in the same crib, which we plan to do for the first few months (which is also when SIDS risk is highest).
Once we made that decision our next choice seemed easy. Rather than deal with yet another gadget, we wanted the video screens and alerts to appear on our iPhones and iPads, devices we already keep up with. It seemed much easier than having to keep track of another small little monitor and carry it around.
 
With those decisions made we had three main options: (1) install IP security cameras and purchase a monitoring app, (2) use iBaby monitors which come with an app, or (3) use the Smart Baby Monitor by Withings which comes with an app.
 
Casey was in charge of researching all three and since we plan to hardwire the cameras in (as an added precaution so they don't lose wifi signal) all three options seemed like they would work and get pretty good reviews. All three were also really expensive. Especially to buy two cameras!
 
The Withings cameras have all sorts of bells and whistles (temperature and humidity, a light show, etc) and price at $299 per camera. Ouch!
 
The iBabies have less bells but would be sufficient and get good reliability reviews when hardwired and price a bit lower at $199 per camera.
 
The cheapest option seemed to be using security cameras and setting up our own home network. So Casey got to work researching how to do that and which cameras were best. This option would run us about $100 per camera plus we would need server access if Casey wanted to access the video feed while he is traveling for work and we would need to purchase an app from the App Store to use for viewing.
 
Before Casey got too far into the research process, we went to a consignment sale hosted for and by twin parents. We found a set of two iBaby monitors for $100! The price couldn't have been better! It was one of the three we considered! It was meant to be!
 
So we bought our monitors and went on our merry way. See, y'all thought we put TONS and TONS of thought into every decision. (And we do -- but sometimes we make impulse buys after that!) In this case, we just got lucky.
 
A few weeks back, we used one of the baby monitors to spy on our dog, Rory, when we went to Oklahoma for a 24hr trip for a baby shower (I really need to write a post about this shower - I have some great photos!). She wasn't very interesting! She slept on her pillow pretty much the entire time we were gone. So the still images we captured from the video monitors are pretty repetitive, but here are a few:
 
Photos during the day, at dawn, and during the middle of the night.
Decent view in all three lighting conditions.
We learned cameras need placed closer to the subject though.
Across the sunroom was too far to get a clear view of her.
 

Nov 13, 2012

Week 25

Marination Time:
24w5d

Baby Size:
The Bump told us that Pip and Pop are as big as cauliflower, while BabyCenter compares their size to a rutabaga. His Boys Can Swim moves on from an over-inflated football to describe their size this week and now says the boys are each as long as a man's work boot. I thought I had an ultrasound this week to check how Pip and Pop are growing, but a recheck of my calendar shows it is just a check-in with no scan. Sad news.

Baby Milestones:
Pip and Pop are fattening up - of course, I can't write this without thinking of the old witch in Hansel and Gretel fattening up the kids! They are trading in their long, lean figures for a bit of baby fat. This will help smooth out their wrinkled skin and give them the cute plump newborn baby look.

Symptoms:
Painful uterus. Contractions. Tiny Bladder. Tired. Trouble bending over. Nauseous. Crazy, crazy amounts of cm. Cramping in my abdomen area (higher than a menstrual cramp would be). Heaviness and pressure around my pelvis. Any tiny cut bleeds forever. A few nose bleeds.

How I'm Changing:
Rounder and bigger again. Strangers keep asking if I'm going to deliver in the store (umm...weird) and when my delivery is scheduled for (scheduled? Doesn't baby normally choose that?). I'm not THAT big yet people! These boys need to keep on growing for at least another 5 weeks and hopefully another 12 weeks!



By popular request, a return of the low quality iPhone self-portrait. Take a look:
24w5d



What I'm Eating:
Red meat. Fruit. Milk. Odwalla Chocolate Protein Monsters. Green Beans. Cheese.



Annoyances:
I literally can't bend over. I don't know how they have shifted or moved, but I cannot physically bend anymore. Sitting straight in a chair is difficult and uncomfortable too.

I'm also very frustrated by how rarely I feel Pop move. Pip is a kicker and a wiggler and I feel him all the time, even with an anterior placenta which should be absorbing some of the movement making him harder to feel. It makes me very uncomfortable that I don't feel Pop very often. Is everything okay in there?!

Sleep:
I am sleeping very fitfully. Really struggling to stay asleep and fall back asleep after I wake up. I complain about this every week, but I have to confess I'm not doing anything to fix it. I like sleeping in my bed next to Casey so I haven't tried any of your solutions like sleeping in a recliner. I just complain.

Missing:
This sounds silly, but I miss "my shows" (said in Nana's Scottish accent!). Our DVR is really backing up and most of what is on it are my shows not our shows. I used to watch these in bed while Casey spent an hour or so winding down on his computer. I keep falling asleep and never finishing shows so our DVR is backing up further and further. I know that after the boys come this is only going to get worse so I'm trying to decide which shows to just stop recording.

Belly Button Watch:
We're changing words here...Flattie. It's not an innie anymore. UhOh! This is making me a bit nervous. Have I mentioned I think outties are oogie?

What I'm most excited about:
We spent Saturday in class learning about multiples and how to prepare for multiples. I know it made everything much more real for Casey, and resulted in a picture I just can't stop staring at (seriously go look at the pic on that post!h. Every time I see this (which is a lot because I made it my iPad homescreen) it just melts my heart. If a picture of Casey and a doll is doing this to me, how will I be when I see him holding our babies!!

We also have friends coming over on Sunday to help us get the nursery painted! Eeek! Casey and I got two of the five stripes done on Saturday night and are going to try and do the other stripes this week so on Sunday we can get the main Walsh completely finished!

Previous Weekly Updates:
Week 24
Week 23
Week 22
Week 21
Week 20
Week 19
Week 18
Week 17
Week 16
Week 15
Week 14
Week 13
Week 12
Week 11
Week 10
Week 9
Week 8
Week 7
Week 6