Jun 30, 2014

Favorites for June

It's the last Monday of the month and you know what that means...FAVORITE THINGS! It's time to link up with Andrea and Erika to share a few favorite things under $10.

Since it's June and very much summer in Texas I can't wait to share a few summer must haves.

 

Summer in Texas means sun. Lots and lots of sun. Last summer, I was introduced to MD Moms sunscreen wipes by the awesome folks at Isis and this summer with active toddlers I am even more obsessed. Trying to rub sunscreen all over an impatient, wriggling toddler is exhausting. I'm done before we leave the house! With these wipes, it's a breeze! When the Isis Center went out of business I stocked up on these and so paid less than $10 a pack. But, they are $26 a pack normally. I'm justifying including them because they are only $1.30 a wipe. A bargain!

 

Summer also means ice cream. Last summer I was dairy free for Davy. This summer I'm pregnant and overindulging! My current favorites are Talenti Gelato Southern Butter Pecan and Caramel Cookie Crunch. It isn't the cheapest ice cream choice but it is the best!

 

Also on my summer must list is a good book. I'm not sure I'll ever have the opportunity to read one again, but this month I finished a great book. I read Rhinestone Jesus by Kristen Welch and just can't say enough good things! I really love to read and hope that after Baby J arrives (on Wednesday!) I'll still find a bit of time to do it. If not, this was a great book it end on for a few months. Highly recommend!

 

Finally, I spent the week frantically getting ready for this little man to arrive. And all of the house and nursery projects are done!! (Minus hanging the rest of the train track in the nursery because I didn't order enough. And adding in a crib skirt that I never ordered. Oops!) It seems only fitting that I end with a favorite newborn essential: the wubbanub! We haven't ordered one for Baby J yet because we are going to first see if he is a pacifier kid before spending the money but BOTH of the twins love their wubs!

 

Jun 26, 2014

Bedtime with Two Toddlers

Sweet sleeping Davy.
 

We have been incredibly blessed with babies who like sleeping so the oft described bedtime battles aren't happening around here (yet!). Given how "spirited" my little Tripp can be, I don't doubt the power struggles will come. I just really hope he waits until Baby J (who I still CANNOT believe we will meet on Wednesday!) has consolidated some of his sleep so I am in a place to deal with the tantrums.

 

Yes. This adorable sleeping baby is a strong-willed little man when he's awake.
 

Our bedtime routine starts at 6:30 when we turn on the TV. Oh the horror! At around 6:30 the boys frequently start getting fussy playing but it's still too early for bed, so we tried TV to get some rest time. We started with DisneyJr and Sprout shows. No luck. My kids didn't even look up from the crying when the TV came on. Then one night Casey and I decided to turn on a show we like so we could quickly finish our dinner even though the boys were upset. We switched on Wheel of Fortune and our lives were forever changed. Our kids liked it! They don't sit and watch it (Neither of my boys ever seem to sit. Ever!) but they will look up and enjoy the sound if the wheel and the dings when Vanna turns letters. So, Wheel of Fortune helps us survive until 7!

 

The first time Tripp pulled to standing. He needed to see Wheel better!
 

Some nights we do bath time at 6:30, but with Casey working such long hours and getting limited time with the boys I try to baths in the mornings so evenings are for playing with Daddy!

 

Playing in the living room before bed.
 

At 7, we all walk back to the nursery. It's so much fun now that the boys receptive language skills are to a point where we can say "go to your room for night night" and they both walk from the living room to their room. I love this age! Once we are in their room, the boys get clean diapers, pajamas, and then we brush teeth. (Confession: Most Some nights we brush teeth. The boys actually really like their toothbrushes so I have no excuse for our total lack of consistency.)

After they are ready for bed the boys will play with stuffed animals, read books, and play with the few toys that have migrated into the nursery for just a bit. How long depends on how tired they are and how hungry Casey is! (We used to eat dinner before the boys went to bed but lately we have been eating after for a combination of reasons: I'm exhausted and not cooking, I'm too pregnant to be hungry and so don't want to cook, and Casey really cherishes his time playing with the boys which he can't do if we're eating.)

A bit before 7:30 (we don't live by a clock on this one) we put the boys in sleep suits and into their cribs. We make sure they both have their "things". Tripp needs his two blankies (one of which has Davy's name on it. Details.) and we give him a random wub. Davy needs the two dinosaur wubs (one of which used to be Tripp's but Davy got very attached) and we throw in an extra random wub. Davy also needs a large blanket to hug and bunch up like a pillow. We offer a big crochet blanket to Tripp too but it normally ends up on the floor. Both boys get a stuffed animal and a few random pacifiers.

 

Davy showing how one properly uses a blanket as a pillow. Lucky little boy is going to be overjoyed with his Nano gives him his very own pillow!
 

The first five minutes the boys are in the cribs they each throw things out very happily so the crib contains the exact things they want that night. Weird right?

 

Getting their cribs just so before naps.
 

They are calm and happy from the moment we leave the room although it can take them up to 30 minutes to fall asleep. They happily lay in bed talking to their things and to each other until slumber catches them!

On a typical night they will sleep 12 hours (so until around 8AM) but have been known to go all the way until 9 when I will wake them.

 

A rare morning I let them sleep past 9. So peaceful! And then I woke them.
 

 

 

This post is the final in the One Year and Beyond series with The Not Quite Army Wife et al. Join in and link up!

 

Panic 4: A Baby Changes Everything

 

Having a child immediately rocks your whole world. (Not that I'd know. We never had A child. We started with two.) Babies change everything.

 

 

For 6.5 years of marriage, Casey and I were a duo. We had a perfect little family of three (because clearly Rory is family). But then, we added two new little people and the whole dynamic changed! The changes to our marriage and our relationship were difficult the first time around, in part because they were so unexpected. And they shouldn't be unexpected. We should have known that things would change. Marital satisfaction studies have repeatedly shown that having kids is one of the biggest stressors any relationship will ever undergo. Just think about how many marriages end shortly after the baby arrives and you'll recognize just how true this is.

Well, this time we know what's coming. In six days our worlds will be rocked. In six days we'll expand into a family of six! The dynamic will change again. Our marriage will change again.

This time we know what's coming and, more importantly, we know we can get through it together. So to call this a baby panic is perhaps a stretch. But it's certainly something we need to think about and be cognizant of again this time.

 

 

It's so easy for me as pas a mom to allow my whole world to revolve around the tiny little nugget in my arms. But that isn't healthy! Before we were parents, Casey and I were a unified pair sanctified in holy marriage before God. And that spousal relationship needs protected and prioritized. We've all heard the phrase "No one gets between me and my man" Well, it applies to adorable preemie twins. And it applies to their singleton baby brother.

Keeping the marriage going won't be easy again this time either. Knowing they are coming won't make the challenges less real. In fact, this time they'll be multiplied! Because we'll have three! (On that note if ONE MORE person tells me just how easy it will be this time since we'll only have one baby, I just might scream. We'll have three babies. Unless the commenter plans to take care of the toddlers for a while?!)

So, the challenges:

  • No more time! Casey leaves the house at 5:45/5:50 every morning. I'm still sound asleep. And the times I've attempted to wake up with him, he hasn't appreciated my efforts. He isn't his best self at that time and just grunts and glares at me. Casey gets home at 6 most nights, just as the twins are finishing dinner. This gives him an hour to play with them before we start our bedtime routine. We used to eat dinner during this hour, but lately it hasn't been happening. So, we eat at 7:45/8 after the boys are asleep. By the time dinner is over we are exhausted and have a dilemma: spend time together actively engaging in our marriage or go our separate ways to veg until bedtime. Most nights we do a decent balance of both, but this doesn't compare to the amount of together time we got pre-kids. And adding a newborn with a 24hr feeding schedule to the mix will certainly put a strain on the cohesive conversation and together time.
  • Prioritizing kids! We make cute babies. And man do I love these boys. Just yesterday Davy pointed to a plastic toy dinosaur on the counter and said "di-o-saaaar" and melted my heart. He's been imitating Casey and forming the sounds for a while now, but this was the first time he gave some comprehension of its meaning. Seriously, cute. Of course neither of my kids have a clue who mama is though. Tripp is determined to climb as well (better than?) his brother despite being quite a bit shorter and struggling to get his leg up on the furniture. He spent a good twenty minutes yesterday just practicing climbing on and off the living room ottoman. So endearing! But despite the cute, despite the neediness, despite the dependency I know we have to prioritize each other. A tiny new completely dependent little boy won't make it any easier.
  • Effects of sleep deprivation. Lack of sleep makes us both short, impatient, critical, snippy creatures who sometimes forget we're on the same team. When I'm fully rested and on top of my game it's easy to remember Casey has my best interests at heart, loves me, and to try to always give him the benefit of the doubt when something upsets me. When I'm tired, oh man! We still have low sleep nights around here, but it's nothing like the newborn stage. And I have a feeling the newborn stage will be harder this time because if the baby gets his best sleep from 6-10:30AM (like the twins did) I won't be able to sleep along with him because I'll need to be taking care of the twins! Chasing toddlers is exhausting. Chasing toddlers while sleeping baby hours won't leave me in the best mood in the evenings. And so I am going to really have to focus on remembering to give Casey the benefit of the doubt and remembering the awesome things he does rather than get snippy and critical.
We got through all of this once and our marriage is stronger because of it. And so I have confidence that we will do it again. But, I'm still nervous about all the ways baby boy three will shake the foundations of our family!

 

Jun 25, 2014

June Citrus Lane Review

The last few months, I have blogged about our Citrus Lane subscription box contents and reviewed the value proposition. As I said in my April box review, in our months with Citrus Lane we have had boxes we loved and some misses. Before I am up for renewal, I need to decide if the monthly box subscription is worth renewing.

Read my May Review here.
Read my April Citrus Lane Review here.
Read my review from our first month as Citrus Lane subscribers here.

 

This month we received:

The total value of this box is only $27.79. It isn't as high as I would like to see the value, but it does make it a good value so I'm currently paying $15 a month. Just the wet bag (which I'm ├╝ber excited about) makes up most of the needed value.

 

If you would like to subscribe to Citrus Lane, use my link and you get 50% off of your first month and I get store credits so I can try it out for one more month! And, just FYI, this post does contain Amazon Affiliate links. So, I did all the work and linked directly to the box products for you and in exchange I make a few pennies.

 

25 [finish this]

For those of you who pray, please say one for me and my OB appointment today. As I've posted before, I am having cholestasis symptoms again this pregnancy and today is the day some decisions around that will be made.

But, in keeping with the "ignore all the bad things" tone my blog has taken lately, I'm linking up for this weeks Finish This post rather than delve any further into those emotions. Also -- get excited because today will be a two post day! I never posted my Citrus Lane Review yesterday so it will go up at some point today.

 

I have a quarter to use a pay phone, I call …. no one. Because having a quarter is the easy part. I honestly don't remember the last time I saw a pay phone! They took them out of the local movie theater. I don't recall seeing any at gas stations. Really, where would I find one?!?

Source.
 

I found $25 in my pocket, I buy … a Sonic Rt 44 something and keep the change for lots of days at Sonic. I have an addiction to Sonic. I don't always get the same drink. It isn't the tea or their soda fountains. I love the ice! In fact, last week I went to Sonic and ordered a Rt 44 ice water!

And because even I admit making a special stop to buy an ice water is weird, I documented it. #overgram
 

I have 25 minutes to watch anything on TV, I turn on … HGTV. Or Bravo. Or I catch up on my DVR! It's a bit old and now my summer shows are out, but you can get a glimpse into my TV addiction here.

A meal I can prepare, from start to finish, in 25 minutes or less is … chicken and rice, quesadillas, homemade sloppy joes, etc. Most if my go to recipes can be finished that fast. It's obvious that I'm no food blogger!

At the age of 25, I wish I had known … that someday we WOULD get pregnant. And not only would we get pregnant, we'd have three boys in 18 months! Our journey to get where we are was long, painful, and heart-wrenching. Knowing then it would eventually have a happy ending would have saved me a lot of tears. You can see our infertility timeline here.

If I drove 25 miles North from my house, I’d be in ... my hometown, McKinney!

 

Join in the fun and "Finish This," by finishing the above prompts and linking up your post with the hosts of this party: Nicole {Three 31} Lisa {Coastlined}, and Becky {The Java Mama}.

 

 

Jun 23, 2014

A Snapshot

The sickies continued in my house this weekend. Ugh!

 

Actually, it got a bit better by Friday afternoon.

I was able to get the laundry room all cleaned up (FINALLY!). You wouldn't believe the random things I found hiding in there. Or maybe your laundry space regularly looks like mine so you would? Maybe? Regardless, it's clean now! Woohooooooo! I went ahead and snapped a few pictures for the house tour, because even though laundry rooms aren't until the fall, I'm not sure when it will ever look like this again.

It was pretty great timing to snap a picture of the laundry because this weeks #mommyreality challenge is to show off your laundry room. Too bad I didn't snap a before shot. Because we all know it will eventually look messy again because that's just the way it is.

 

My not so messy laundry room!
 

I also cleaned all of the baby things (burp cloths, blankets, bibs, teeny tiny socks and shoes, etc.) out of the twins closet and have it all ready to go into Baby J's room just as soon as I figure out how I'm organizing it.

On Saturday the boys were exhausted and fussy but Casey and I were both feeling okay so the productivity continued. I started working in Baby J's closet and got it completely cleared of everything. It's ready to hold his teeny tiny things just as soon as I get everything washed and organized! Casey's Dad helped him knock out a few big tasks as well. They hung three lights in the house, got holes drilled in Baby J's dresser (because of course the old drawer pulls used non-standard spacing), and got the blackout curtains hung.




Crossing things off!!
One of the exhausted, fussy guys.
 

While we all worked, Casey's Mom played with the fussies who ended up taking TWO naps on Saturday because they just couldn't handle being awake. Dun dun dun....

Come Saturday evening, the boys were sick again! In fact, they were so exhausted they slept until 10AM Sunday morning! Casey was also struck low once again and by Saturday night he was in a really bad place and he was really getting concerned about dehydration.

We laid low on Sunday to try and give everyone a chance to recover.

Both boys. Still asleep at 10AM. Exhausted sick babies.
 

I did a few loads of laundry (and none of them ended up folded on top of the dryer! Go me!!) and ran to Target to look at baskets for Baby J's room. We all ate dinner in the living room (the boys first time!) so we could watch the World Cup game -- what a disappointing ending!

 

Dinner in front of the soccer game. A baby milestone!
 

And this is officially the most boring post ever so if you made it this far, I applaud you!

 

A Lavender Life

 

Jun 20, 2014

falling in pools, illness, nursery, itching

As I wrote yesterday, I haven't found time to blog this week with all four of us sick. So, some of today's five I intended to flesh out as full posts, but a few sentences will have to do!

 

[one]

We had a very eventful Father's Day weekend to say the least. On Saturday, Casey's brother and dad came over and knocked out some huge nursery tasks (painted the whole room, repaired the electrical for the sprinklers which awkwardly went in the nursery, and hung ceiling fans in the nursery and guest room). Then Saturday evening we went to Casey's brother's house to celebrate. The boys LOVED playing with their cousins and running around on the trampoline!

If I knew how to put videos into a blog post from my iPad I'd insert a really cute on here. But I don't know how. Sorry!

Casey showing off his personalized #1 dad tumbler.
Davy is loving him a Tervis straw in the background.
 

On Sunday we woke up and did "gifts" with the boys and went out for a family breakfast.

Then we headed to my brother's house for a second Father's Day celebration. And oh my. Seconds after arriving Tripp threw up all over me. We've been dealing with car sickness in Davy and so wrote this off as Tripp heading down that same path. After cleaning up, we headed outside to swim and the boys enjoyed the wading step with the little fountain for a bit. We sat them at the picnic table for a snack and decided they were actually hungry so we should set up for dinner. Casey went inside to get high chairs and I stayed outside with the boys.

Tripp got up from the table and started walking towards the pool so I stood up to follow him. As I was herding Tripp away from the water, I heard a splash and a scream. Davy was in the water!! I turned jumped in and had him out fast enough he never even coughed (so he never even swallowed water thank goodness!). Once I realized Davy was fine, I was terrified because while I was diving in the water after Davy, I lost track of Tripp! He was perfectly fine, but I was traumatized! I was so angry, so scared, so shaken that I wanted to just go home, but Casey talked me down and we got the boys set up to eat.

And Tripp threw up. Again. And again. So, happy Father's Day Casey!

I'd also like to point out that Davy threw up on me on Mother's Day. So it is disgustingly fitting that Tripp got me on Father's Day -- although it would have been more fitting if he had gotten his Daddy!

[two]

Sunday marked the beginning of a whole week of sick.

 

Tripp was afflicted Sunday evening, all day Monday, and Tuesday. By Wednesday morning he still had a low-grade fever but his symptoms were gone. As of Thursday evening, Tripp is still barely eating and fatigued but he is fever free.

 

Davy and I both got the tummy bug on Tuesday and started throwing up Wednesday morning. I was overwhelmed with a sick me and two sick kids and Casey leaving to go out of town. Casey called his parents to come over for backup (yay!!) and decided to come home himself. It's a good thing he came home - the tummy bug claimed it's fourth victim just a few minutes after he walked in the door!

Davy is completely refusing to eat and barely drinking. We are INCREDIBLY worried about his fluid intake and will probably be at the pediatrician in the morning. Our pediatrician wants a minimum of 4 wet diapers every 24 hours and Davy barely hit that today. He still has a fever, but no symptoms since Wednesday.

Casey and I are both still clearly sick although the worst of it was Wednesday. I have absolutely no idea how we would have survived this without Casey's parents! How do people without local family do this parenting thing?!?

[three]

In the midst of all of this illness, I am stressed about my dissertation. My goal was to be finished by the end of June, but I havemt had childcare the last two weeks and so haven't made ANY progress. I've worked during naptime and before the boys wake up here and there, but the reality I'd I need naptime for rest. Keeping up with two toddlers while pregnant is exhausting and I really need to rest during naptime. The idea that I might deliver before I finish with my rewrites brings me to tears! How will I write and edit with a newborn? I won't be getting enough sleep for coherent thoughts let alone intelligent analysis and coding! So so stressed!

[four]

I also have a nursery to finish and a baby to prepare for. I have all of my newborn clothes back that I lent out, but still need to wash them all. The guest room is not in a state for my mom to stay in to help after delivery. The pool table is still the home for homeless things and hasn't been cleared. The craft room isn't as bad as it once was but still needs organized. I never bought the new baby a coming home outfit nor did I buy big brother/little brother shirts. I need to go through the twins closet and get out the burp cloths and swaddled and other newborn items. I need to get everything put away in the nursery. I need to clean the breast pump and get it ready to use. I need to pack hospital bags for the whole family. We need to install a third car seat. And all of this (and more on my master list) needs done during the short 45 minute spurts I can work during naptime!

[five]

To add to all the fun and whining in this post, my itching is getting worse. And of course, the effects of cholestasis on Baby J are potentially huge (stillbirth!) and increase dramatically after 37 weeks. So, in the back of my mind I have that to worry about and stress about too!

 

 

 

Join in and link up with A. Liz Adventures, Hello! Happiness, The Good Life Blog and Carolina Charm for Five on Friday!

 

 

Jun 19, 2014

Time

It's ironic that the One Year and Beyond post on "finding time to blog" is my first post this week. I had some great posts planned. A Father's Day update, a Nailed It post on my Father's Day gift, another post in my Panic Series, and another post for the Finish This linkup. But none of them are finished (yet).

I haven't found time to blog this week!

Before the twins were born I blogged my pregnancy regularly. After they were born, I managed to continue blogging by using my iPad and blogging while I pumped. And then they started crawling. And the blog completely disappeared. Around January, I started realizing how much I missed it. I missed that me time. I missed having an outlet to express myself. I missed the connections with other bloggers. I missed blogging!

So in February of this year, I picked it up again. And finding the time isn't easy, but it is so very important to me to have this time. So here is a typical night for me...

7:00 start bedtime for the twins

7:30 cheerfully exclaim that they are asleep! (Yay!)

7:35 Casey and I try to eat at 6:15 while the boys are awake, but lately Casey has been working late and I have had ZERO interest in food so dinner has been pushed back a bit. Not healthy, but it is what it is.

8:00 Watch a TV show with Casey. It's our nightly date night and time together! (lately we've been watching Boardwalk Empire -- sooooo good!)

8:50 A few chores and house straightening..ugh

9:00 Casey goes to the office to play video games while I head to the bedroom to watch a show and blog on the iPad.

So that's my trick -- I don't blog on a computer where I have to give it dedicated time. I blog on the iPad from bed at night. While multi-tasking and watching So You Think You Can Dance.

Occasionally, I don't finish a post on time and so I wake up a bit earlier and finish in the morning. I am very fortunate that my boys like to sleep and don't wake up until 7:45/8:00 (and happily chatter and play in their cribs for 15-20 minutes after they wake!). I wake up at 6:30ish most mornings to have a cup of tea and enjoy some time with God. (Lately I've been slacking on this time because I am SO exhausted. Pregnant with twin toddlers is no joke!) If I have a blog post that needs finished in the morning I push my wake up time to 6ish to get it done.

I know many people blog during naptime, but naptime is when I eat lunch, fold laundry, and lay down to rest myself. No blogging then - although I will frequently read blogs at naptime.

But this week. Oh, this week!

On Sunday at our Father's Day celebration, Tripp got sick. He was miserable Sunday night and all day Monday. On Tuesday he seemed a bit better, but far from well. Only, I started feeling bad. I thought I was just exhausted from taking care of one sick toddler while keeping up with a sick toddler. Nope. Wednesday morning Davy and I BOTH fell victim to the stomach bug. Casey decided to come home from work to help out and cancel his out of town trip. Not even 15 minutes after he got home, this virus claimed it's fourth victim in our family.

 

So basically this week I have washed puke from my hair repeatedly, done countless loads of laundry, snuggled my poor sick boys, cleaned nasty explosive diarrhea out of a highchair, cleaned vomit out of a highchair, done more laundry, and now I'm fighting to keep some water down because preterm labor is NOT in the plan (so dehydration isn't an option!).

 

Jun 13, 2014

I never knew how much I could love you...

My darling Casey,

This year on your (30th) birthday I walked down memory lane a bit with a post just for you. Well, I don't want you getting a big head or anything, but this one is for you too!

Not so few years ago, we fell in love. We had each other and time to enjoy. We slept in late, went on endless date nights, enjoyed brunches and late night movies. It was easy to make time for each other.

But now, it isn't just us anymore. I have the honor of sharing you with two (almost three!) little boys. You aren't just my husband. Now, you're a dad. You have gained a pretty impressive title!

Our parenthood journey is just beginning. But this year, for your second Father's Day, I'm sharing the top five reasons I love you even more now that you're a dad.

 

[one]

You WANT to be a dad. Our journey to become parents wasn't smooth or easy. But through it all, you never waivered from your desire to be a dad, in whatever way God chose to make that happen. Through the REs and treatments and IVF, you were always upbeat, positive, and sure of the goal. Your desire to be a dad is just as apparent now. I love to watch you being the best father and husband and partner you can be. You love our family and you are passionate about doing what you can to show your love to us. And we love you too!

[two]

You dove right in to parenting. In fact, you were visiting the NICU and interviewing the nurses and changing diapers before I was. You were involved with our boys from their first breaths and take your role seriously. You've done overnight feedings, took full responsibility for all bottle washing, walked up and down hallways on fussy nights, done more than your fair share of diaper laundry, and never complained. Parenthood is messy and hard work and you are right in the thick of all of it.

[three]

You prioritize us. As the sole breadwinner for our family it would be easy for you to fall into the trap of believing that your paycheck job is the most important thing you do. But you always make us your #1 priority and you are present and involved for all of the important stuff. You make it to all the well-checks and most of the sick visits. You make it to the ultrasounds. You shift your work schedule to make sure we know you are there for us. And we appreciate you!

[four]

You are my more patient, better half. When I feel like I'm at the end of my rope, when I lose my cool, when I feel like I can't do it anymore, you are always there to ground me . When the toddler tantrum reaches epic proportions you patiently referee. You are mister calm, cool, and collected. Even when your constant "it'll all work itself out" attitude drives me crazy, I know that it is a wonderful trait to have in my partner and a great trait for our boys to see in their father.

[five]

You make me want to be a better mom. Through your love, your patience, and your fun loving spirit, you inspire me to be a better person and a better mom to our boys. You complete our family. I never knew just how much I could love you until I saw how much you loved our boys.

 

 

Join in and link up with A. Liz Adventures, Hello! Happiness, The Good Life Blog and Carolina Charm for Five on Friday!

 

 

 

 

Jun 12, 2014

Exactly Two

Exactly two years ago today, Casey and I had no idea if we would ever have biological kids. We struggled to trust God.

Come away with me

Exactly two years ago today, we felt lost. We felt hurt. We felt confused. We were unsure of God's plan.

Come away with me

Exactly two years ago today, we woke up full of hope. We wanted to believe in God's goodness.

It's never too late

Exactly two years ago today, we were in awe of God's wonder and how successful our first attempt at IVF was going. We were given a 5% chance of success and making it to transfer day felt miraculous.

It's not too late for you

Exactly two years ago today, we prayed that God would walk along side us and guide us through the transfer process.

I have a plan for you

Exactly two years ago today, Tripp and Davy posed for their first picture for the embryologist.

It's gonna be wild.

Exactly two years ago today, I became PUPO or "pregnant until proven otherwise."

It's gonna be great.

Exactly two years ago today (and every single day since!), we prayed for these two little embryos to grow and develop.

It's gonna be full of me.

Exactly two years ago today, we began one of the best journeys of our lives.

Open up your hearts and let me in.

June 12, 2012 -- transfer day
 

And today, we are 34 weeks pregnant with those tiny blastocysts little brother. Two years ago, we never could have imagined we would be here. God is certainly good. His plan and His timing may not match mine, but His way is good!

It's gonna be wild. It's gonna be great. It's gonna be full of me.

 

Lyrics by Jesus Culture - Come Away

 

Jun 11, 2014

investments and red lipstick [finish this]

The best compliment I ever received … is a frequent comment from my husband: "I had to lock you up early. You were a too good investment to let go." We got married young, just a few months after I graduated from college at 21 so that first part is the simple truth. But calling me a good investment? I love that. First, it just fits my husband - the finance guy. But, more importantly, I love all that implies about the future! You don't invest in the present, you invest in the future. You invest in a retirement plan. You invest in the future of the stock market. You commit your resources to these things. You work at them and you look forward to the future!

Young and in love on our honeymoon.
Our whole future ahead of us!



Wearing red lipstick makes me feel … like a tramp. I know many women feel sexy or empowered in a bold red lip. I'm not one of them. I feel fake. I feel trashy. And so I don't do red. On my lips, nails, anywhere. I probably just haven't found the "right red" -- any makeup gurus want to give me some tips?

The best investment I’ve made … is in my marriage. As I said above, an investment is anything you commit to in order to get a return. I invest my time, heart, energy, and full soul into my marriage and I reap a huge return on my investment! My husband is my rock, my love, my confidante, my partner, my co-parent, and my favorite person. I'm fortunate that I still get butterflies when I see him! But, marriage isn't about the butterflies or the feelings. My marriage is a covenant relationship, a full decision to commit that we both make every single day. Each day I choose Casey. I choose to love him, even when I'm not sure I like him that moment. I choose to help him and put him first even when I'm exhausted. I choose to listen and support him. I choose to work through any issues. I choose to walk beside him through life. Every day I choose to invest in our marriage and commit myself fully, even when it isn't easy.

Source



My best childhood memory … is hard to choose! I had a really happy, blessed childhood. I am so fortunate to have grown up in a family that spent a lot of quality time together. Most of my best memories are of this time as a family. We almost always had a backyard pool and the whole clan (plus friends!) would gather out back to grill and swim. This was so common that when my brother-in-law was dating my sister he referred to our house as the Miller Zoo due to the number of folks running around. We took big two week vacations as a family and frequent short camping trips. My favorites were to Mustang Island, a state park on the Gulf of Mexico just outside of Port Aransas. We hung out on weekends. My parents never missed a big event in my life. They were on the sidelines for all the soccer games and in the audience at every piano recital. On Sundays we would explore open houses (I come by my love of house snooping honestly!). I have so many great memories growing up and every one involves my family. I hope that Casey and I are able to provide an upbringing like mine for our boys!



 

Join in the fun and "Finish This," by finishing the above prompts and linking up your post with the hosts of this party: Nicole {Three 31} Lisa {Coastlined}, and Becky {The Java Mama}.

 

Jun 10, 2014

House Tour: Outdoor Spaces

The front of our house.
 
 

Come on in!

Or, actually, let's stay outside!

But before we wander around the yard, let's chat a second. Today is a huge day. It's ICP Awareness Day. I posted on this yesterday and would absolutely love if you would check out the post and learn about cholestasis. An itch during pregnancy can kill! So educate yourself!

And after that little PSA, let's wander.

Today on our home tour we're looking at our outdoor spaces. So far, you've seen our very child-centric family room, our kitchen, and our in-process dining room in this fun linkup with Andrea at Momfessionals.

Tripp and Davy loved watching the tree removal and the stump grinding!
 

As I mentioned on Friday, I'm a bit embarrassed by our houses total lack of curb appeal. We had a dead tree removed last week and so we have a gaping empty space. We have two dead bushes immediately in front of our front door. They got just enough new growth this spring we thought they might come back, but at this point it's clear they are dead. The squirrels ate my outdoor cushions and since I no longer can sit and enjoy the front patio, I completely forgot to replace them. Our grass won't grow under the tree - although a green weedish thing is. I didn't plant a single flower this spring/summer. We need mulch like whoa. (Actually this really needs taken care of ASAP to help keep things alive over the Texas summer!). Basically, our outdoor spaces are a mess!

We'll start in the front.

Our front door is framed by dead bushes and the pots I painted in 2008 that aren't big enough for their location and have chipped and worn. It doesn't help that they don't have flowers (or enough soil to easily add flowers!).
The bright spot of the entry is our pretty SMU paver.
 

To the right of the front door is the big front patio.

It's sort of odd to have such a large, non-covered patio in the front of a house but it is what it is! Pre-kids, I enjoyed sitting out here shaded and secluded by our towering (now missing) tree. The furniture currently can't be sat on because it has no cushions. Stupid squirrels.

In the bottom left photo you can see the huge gap left by our huge tree.
 

Now that you've all seen the used-to-be landscaped but needs work front yard, I'll impress you with the backyard. It's roughly the size of a postage stamp. The previous residents did fit a full-size swing set back there, but not much else. This house was built in the 1970s and it's 40 years of life, no one has put a shrub, a flower, a tree, anything, in the back yard.

The game room opens onto a small concrete patio that houses our oversized grill. We should have measured the patio before buying that behemoth because it takes up the whole space. Well, maybe not the WHOLE space. Also on that patio is a collection of random unused pots.

The grass in the side yard is lush and green, but immediately off the patio it refuses to grow.
 

Despite it's small size, the boys and the dog all love running around out here. But the boys favorite area is the courtyard. In the bottom left photo above, the courtyard is down that raised concrete path. You can also get to it from the sunroom.

At one point the courtyard was a cute romantic spot with a bistro table for two, the hot tub, hanging lamps and lights strung. Now it's all baby. It is still home to our hot tub, but the strung lights now act as a clothes line for hanging cloth diapers. The bistro table has been replaced by a picnic table. It is finished off with a playset, a pool, and a water table.

We are out here almost everyday playing. It is contained, baby safe, and most of it is covered/shaded from the afternoon sun. Also, I can sit in the air conditioned sunroom and see every inch of it while the boys go in and out (On non-water days. I'm too neurotic to be inside if the water table or pool have water.) Basically, it's a perfect play space.

I have foam mats under the water table and the spot the pool goes because the wooden deck can get slick. I love the carpet under the playset and have thought about moving it to the front patio and putting foam playmats under the playset instead.
 

I called our dining room a work in progress. Our yard, needs work. But honestly, it isn't next on the project list. Hopefully by next spring we will at least have addressed the empty hole from the dead tree and removed the dead bushes. I have lofty goals thinking we'll do all that by spring!

 

Jun 9, 2014

Cholestasis


Tomorrow, June 10, is ICP Awareness Day.
ICP stands for Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy and is a liver disorder during pregnancy. I had it when I was pregnant with the twins and their is a good chance I have it again this pregnancy, pending lab results. I'm itchy. And uncomfortable. And with a reoccurrence rate for ICP of 70-90% (depending on which study you read) I probably have it.

Many women have ICP horror stories of doctors refusing to acknowledge itching could be a problem and never testing for cholestasis or even worse, refusing to run the test when the mom specifically requests it.

My story isn't one of those horror stories. I started itching before Christmas at 28ish weeks pregnant with the twins. The evening of January 1, 2012 I texted my OB to ask what over the counter medications I could take for itching because I was increasingly miserable and unable to sleep. She told me to come in the next day for blood work. When the lab results came back (which takes a while!) it was confirmed that I had cholestasis. I was 30 weeks along. I got started on Urso immediately and did find some relief. My OB along with my MFM were debating the appropriate time to deliver the twins given this complication when my water broke at 33 weeks. (Read about my diagnosis here. Read my full labor story here.) This pregnancy my OB has been equally wonderful and responsive. I had baseline bloodwork at 12 weeks and have had it monitored ever since. I still have to worry about the potential complications, but I know I have a great medical team taking care of Baby J and I.

Pending the results of lab work, I might be delivering in just three weeks. Eek!

 

So, what is ICP?

ICP slows down the flow of bile acids in the body until they build up in the blood stream. Having bile acids causes a ridiculous itch that is unlike any itch you have ever felt. It radiates from inside you. You want to peel back your skin to scratch internally. I heard of a woman who used a cheese grater on her own legs. I never reached that point, but I did reach a point of itchiness where her actions didn't sound crazy because pain would be preferable to the itch.

If you are itching during pregnancy, tell your doctor! Itching is the main symptom of ICP and for many women (myself included) it's worse at night. Other symptoms: dark urine, pale stool, jaundice, preterm labor, right upper quadrant pain, nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite, and mild depression.

Itching might not seem like a huge deal, but some of the repercussions from ICP are. (And when the itching is making you cry and stopping you from sleeping you'll think it's a big deal!). ICP is most commonly associated with higher rates of stillbirth (much much higher), premature labor, fetal distress, meconium passage, and maternal hemorrhaging. Of these, obviously stillbirth is the scariest. But, with management and treatment the risk is lowered to be the same as any no complication pregnancy (about 1%).

Currently, treatments consists of using a medication commonly referred to as Urso to manage bile acid levels and delivering early (no later than 37 weeks). The only full cure for cholestasis of pregnancy is delivery.

This condition is rare (1 in 1,000 pregnancies) and not a lot is known about it. Doctors don't know exactly what causes it but are researching hormones, genetics, and environmental factors. More research is needed!

The Itchy Moms at the Dallas ICP Awareness Event.
 

To support that goal, the amazing women at ICPCare started ICP Awareness Day and had events all over the country. I am lucky to live in a city that had an awareness event and our whole family met up with other Itchy Moms at Klyde Warren Park on Saturday. We had a great time sharing stories, offering support, and letting our babies play in the children's park.

It sounds silly, but the support I got from other women online who had ICP and knew how I was feeling was invaluable at a really stressful time. The chance to meet some of these women face-to-face? Priceless.

Tripp was a bit unsure at first.
 

Davy went straight in.
 

Families at the event enjoying lunch,conversation, and raffles.
 

Davy liked the playground.



Tripp warmed up to the place and was shrieking in joy.
My handsome boys!





 


For more information on ICP visit ICPCare at http://www.icpcare.org