Jul 31, 2014

Leaving the Church

They say confession is good for the soul. So I have a confession to make.

 

We haven't been to church since May.

I could say it's because I was pregnant. I could claim it's because of the toddlers. I could say we've been busy. But really, it's because Casey and I are just uncertain the church we have been at the last few years is the right place to raise our family. It's easier to not attend than deal with these thoughts.

We are currently praying and reflecting and trying to discern God's desire for our family. We know the church doesn't exist to serve us. We know we don't have to agree with all of the little things the church does as long as we theologically agree. The church isn't a country club that exists for its members. We know this. But, at some point it seems that the rumblings in our hearts and the discomfort we have is impeding our spiritual growth and our relationship with God.

It's hard to feel uncomfortable. It's hard to question. The church newsletter which currently reads like hipster digest with veiled inside jokes leaves us questioning. The current structure of lay and pastoral leadership leaves us questioning. For so many reasons, we are questioning. But, just questioning and feeling uncomfortable don't seem like valid reasons to leave a spiritual family. We want to love our church. But, we are uncomfortable with the nursery and don't feel safe leaving our kids there. Our concerns about the nursery make it nearly impossible for us to fully engage in worship. It makes it difficult to engage with the community of believers. We want to love our church, but we aren't sure it is the right place for our dairy-allergy family.

Since we desperately want to love our church again, we haven't started church searching. We aren't ready for the break up, so we haven't looked elsewhere. This means we aren't attending worship anywhere. As a friend who also hasn't been to our church this summer (for similar reasons!) put it "we're on a hiatus".

And to be honest, we don't miss church. By that I mean we don't miss waking up on Sunday morning to go sit in a pew, sing along with the band, and listen to a sermon. These things are all good and important and we know that to grow in our faith we need to get back to these things. But we don't miss them.

We might not miss worship but we do miss meeting with a community of believers. We miss the people and the connections. We need that time with other "Jesus Freaks" sharing in the heart of Christ. We need those connections with a church family. The Bible says “where two or more are gathered….” and we need to be a part of that.

We need a community. The best place to find community? At a church. We need to be in worship. We need to be volunteering to serve. We need to be attending bible studies and small group and Sunday school. We need to be involved outside of Sunday morning.

We need a decision. We can't continue staying at home. We are currently afraid to admit that this church we have loved for years isn't right anymore. This wonderful church where we have served and been served. This amazing church that saw us through the toughest years of our marriage while we dealt with the tears and heartbreak of infertility. This church we loved might not be the right place to raise our sons.

We need discernment. Something about our current church no longer feels like the place God is calling us to be. We need to hear God's will for our spiritual lives. The decision about what church to attend isn't our decision. It's a question of where God needs us to be.

We need a church home. Above all. We need to worship. We need community. We need a faith family to raise our children.

It's time for our hiatus to end. It's time to face this decision.

So I'm putting this out on the interwebs: in August we will attend worship at least once somewhere. I don't know if we'll go to our church, the parent church, or somewhere totally random. But, we will go somewhere.

 

Jul 29, 2014

Citrus Lane and a Favorite

It's Favorite Things time again. Once again this month I'm linking up with Andrea at Momfessionals to share a favorite thing under $10.

 

This month I'm finding this antibacterial hand spray from Honest Co. absolutely indispensable. With a new baby in the house, I'm very concerned with the twins dirty germy hands. But, at only 18 months old, I can't go ask them to wash their hands or even count on them rubbing their hands together for a hand sanitizer gel. This spray is perfect! A few spritzes and we're on our way. AND if you aren't an Honest subscriber, this hand sanitizer is now available at Target!

Yes. Another reason for my Target addiction!

 

It's also time to review our Citrus Lane subscription box contents again. Out of the box, this one doesn't appear to be a hit. I'm excited to work through the math and determine the value proposition though. Maybe it's better than it initially appears.

Read my June Review here.
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:

  • My First Phone from Plan Toys I have seriously mixed opinions on this one. It is a high quality, sustainable, low-tech toy, which I love. But, it seems a bit young for my 18 month olds. I don't expect this toy to be a hit, but the boys still play with a Chicco infant phone and love holding it to their ears and having a conversation so perhaps this phone will get the same treatment. I'm interested to see if the boys notice that the "screen" of this phone is actually a magnifying glass. The phone is priced at $14.99 on Amazon.
  • Silicone Placemat from Oogaa Meh. Our boys don't do great with plates when we are out to eat and placemats are one solution to that. Another solution is to bring antibacterial cleaning cloths to wipe off the table and let them eat right off it. Much easier than lugging a placemat! Honestly, with two boys carrying a placemat was too much. With three boys, this will likely never even make it out of the box. Price to purchase is $12 on Amazon but I give it no value. Not age appropriate. Not useful.
  • Aqueduck Faucet Extender I'm pretty excited about this one! The twins aren't quite mature enough to stand in front of the sink and brush teeth or wash hands but I know it is only a matter of time. If I blink a few times they'll be doing these things and we'll appreciate a safe and easy way to help them reach the water. At only $9.73 on Amazon, I might have these all over my house if it works well!
  • Plum Organics Mighty 4 Pouch. With yogurt. Whomp. Whoop. Again, this months box contained food. Again, it had dairy. Again, I had to throw it away. No value. At all.
  • Sample Sized Sunscreen. I've said before that a tiny little sample bottle of a product doesn't do it fir me. That's not what I am paying for when I subscribe. And a tiny sunscreen that is MAYBE one application? Not a winner. No value. At all.
The total value of this box is $23.73, even less than last month's disappointing $27.79. Since I'm currently paying $15 a month, the math works, but once my promotional price ends and this costs up to $25/month (depending on how many months you prepay for) this would be really disappointing.

 

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.

 

Jul 25, 2014

friday

Happy Friday y'all! Excited to share a few favorites this week!

{---} I ordered FAR too many things this week and despite my Gap, Hanna Andersson, and Lands End orders all being placed on different days, all of my beauties should arrive at my house today. I just love getting packages in the mail! I'm eager to try on a few shirts that I'm hoping are nursing friendly. I nursed the twins for longer than I was pregnant and I plan to do the same again. Why is maternity clothes everywhere but stylish nursing wear so hard to find?

{---} Casey and I are so very blessed and know some truly Godly wonderful people. We have been showered with meals since James arrived and this has truly blessed our family. To have one less thing on our plates as we figure out this family of give thing is priceless. I don't even know how to thank these people enough. Seriously.

{---} Project Runway is back!! I'm not a fashionable person. I don't follow the latest trends. I don't read Vogue or any other fashion magazine. I'm the least likely person to love this show. But I do!! I wasn't immediately drawn to any of the designers but I felt like I should root for the boy from Dallas. My time on team Emmanuel Tobias was short lived though. He's already gone. Hmph.

{---} I've been a bit (okay a lot) absent from social media this week. I explained why last night. Worth a read.

{---} Also worth reading is this post by an amazing twin mama, Christian woman, and inspiration. Actually, you should just read Amber's whole blog. I feel like she writes directly to my soul. God is speaking inspiration to mothers (or at least to this mama!) through her writing.

{---} I took an abysmal number of pictures this week and have ZERO that haven't been posted already to add to this post. Oops. I guess I need to work on that.

{---} Scratch that. I have one. And it's perfect.

Cheers to Friday.
Let the twins pour you a drink!
 

 

Be sure to link up this Friday. I'm linking up with A Little Bit of Everything, Grace and Love, and Momfessionals for Friday Favorites as well as with September Farm and The Farmer's Wife for oh hey Friday!

Momfessionals

 

Jul 24, 2014

present.

I've been a fail blogger this week! Actually I've really just failed at social media in general. I didn't take very many pictures for Instagram. I posted nothing (other then Instagram photos) to my Facebook wall or Twitter timeline. I started two different time sensitive blog posts (this weeks #mommyreality link up on mommy life hacks and this weeks finish this link up) but didn't finish either one.

 

I spent this week being present with my boys and social media suffered.

These three weeks since James arrived have just flown by and the days are running together. (The nights too - we're still trying to help baby James understand the difference between the two!) I barely remember the twins' newborn days (daze?) and I don't know if we will ever have another child so I want to treasure these moments. I want to soak up his newborn smell and his soft soft skin. I want to cherish the love the twins already have for "aa-aah" and the sweet things they do for him. I don't want to miss the moment Davy tried to shove his treasured dino wub in James' mouth to comfort him when he was crying. I don't want to forget Tripp sharing his sippy cup with aa-aah. Sadly, being present in the moment with my boys means I missed getting the perfect picture of these adorable moments. Heck, I missed getting any picture!

 

I did grab my phone in time to catch Davy offering his milk a few minutes later though!
 

I don't have all the answers. I don't know the best way to find balance. But I know I need it.

I don't know how to take care of the needs of three baby boys and find the me time to blog it out. I don't know how to nurse non-stop and still support all of my dear dear friends on Twitter. I don't know how to be present and interact with the toddlers and still find time to pull out the good camera and document it all. I struggle with this.

 

I spent this week being present with my boys and the blog suffered.

I write this blog for myself as a record of my memories and an outlet for my emotions. This is my "me time." I don't want blogging to fall away again like it did when the twins were itty bitty. I stopped bogging for so long that I lost the community I was in. I am starting to rebuild that and I don't want to lose the connections I am starting to form.

I added write three blog posts to my to do list for next week. I'm not going to attempt to get back to my daily posting, but it would like to post three a week. I'm going to try and utilize the blog section of my planner better and jot down ideas and things I would like to share with you all throughout the week.

I spent this week being present with my boys and Instagram suffered.

I love having photos of the boys. I love the low quality iPhone photos. I love the selfies with my babies. I love the pictures I snap with the good camera. I love them all!

 

Sweet moments that melt my nerd heart.
 

I don't want to miss making memories because I am too busy photographing to experience them. On the flip side, I don't want to forget these days because I don't have any pictures. I treasure the monthly photos I took of the twins and I want to do the same thing for James. I want to be able to look back and remember just how tiny my babies were. I want life to happen. But I want to remember it.

I can't put "take pictures" on the to do list. I can't put a number or a goal on this. I don't want to limit the photos I take, but I also don't want my boys to picture me with a phone in my hand at all times. I also want to make sure I use the good camera often enough to get better shots of their perfect smiles, Tripp's chipped tooth, tiny baby toes, and all the other things that make my babies my babies.

 

I spent this week being present with my boys and Facebook/Twitter suffered.

I found amazing community on social media at times I needed it most. I found an incredible support network of other women dealing with infertility. I found other mamas who were honest and open and real. I found other twin moms who have been where I am. I found a village.

I refuse to lose these women, so all I can do is try my best to steal moments here and there to check in. I know that for the immediate future I won't be as involved and supportive as I once was, but I can try my hardest to stay involved and connected so that when my life calms down a bit, I can support other women the way they have supported me.

 

But above all, I spent this week being present with my boys and nothing else matters.

 

My boys. Little for now.
 

My time with Tripp and Davy as toddlers is limited. James won't be a teeny tiny newborn for long. These weeks, days, moments are just flying by. If I'm not careful I will miss them. So, unplugging a bit and just being present is okay! Some days, being present is exactly what my family needs. It is exactly what I need. I'm going to have more days and even weeks where I fail at social media. But, I need to be present for my family or I'll miss something.

And as the song says, I don't want to miss a thing!

 

 

Jul 21, 2014

first try

Remember Wednesday when I posted it would be a while before I ventured forth with three kids by myself? Remember Wednesday when I explained why my confidence to take all three out alone just wasn't there? Remember this post?

Well, God certainly has a sense of humor!

Thursday night before bed Davy had a bit of a fever (101.5) so we gave him some Advil and prepared for a sleepless night with a sick kid and a newborn. Much to our surprise, he only had one wake up around 4AM and at that point his fever was gone.

Friday morning, Casey got up and headed back to work. Paternity leave was over and I was on my own with my trio. I thought to myself, thank goodness Davy doesn't have a fever anymore because that could make for a rough first attempt at solo parenting all three.

I thought too soon.

 

We nursed a lot Friday morning.
 

We had a great morning playing and figuring out our rhythm. Clearly we have kinks to work out (like the boys escaping the play yard every time I tried to nurse - and on Friday I nursed a lot!) but things were really good. My mom called mid-morning to check in and make sure I didn't need help and I told her I was fine. Because I was. My first try solo parenting three was going well.

I spoke too soon.

I put the boys down for their nap and Davy really struggled to fall asleep. After he fussed for a bit, I went in around 1 and he felt warm so I gave him Advil. When he woke up from his nap at 2:30 (too soon!) his fever had spiked to 103.6! (That's high. And for just after Advil, that's really high!)

 

It took 30 minutes to get them all loaded in and the bag packed!
 

And that's how I found myself loading all three boys into the car. And carrying the infant carrier with one hand while pushing the double stroller with the other all the way up to the pediatricians office.

 

Despite spending 30 minutes getting out the door, I left without shoes for the boys. Fail.
 

Luckily it turned out to be nothing. He has a very high fever and the "summer flu" so rotate Tylenol/Advil every three hours for a few days and go back for a follow up if he is still having on/off fevers by Tuesday. But, this pathetic face needed to be checked out.

 

 

So, fear conquered? Not quite.

But I did it!

I loaded all three boys up and got out of the house.

By myself.

Casey did meet us at the office to help keep the toddlers entertained because two little boys in the pediatricians office while we wait (and wait...and wait...) is rough stuff on the best of days so I wasn't solo for the whole outing, but I'm still counting it.

 

I'd follow up our Friday adventure with a weekend update, but I don't have anything to share!

 

We did a lot of snuggling.
 

We did a lot of book reading.
 

All the boys took baths.
But this one wouldn't sit still to show off his curly just bathed hair.
Even blurry I can't resist this happy face!
 

Not eventful. Not many pictures. But it was a pretty great weekend!

And today, I'm giving solo parent of three another try. Hoping today is much less eventful than my first attempt.

 

Jul 16, 2014

confidence for three

Casey goes back to work tomorrow afternoon so we have been trying to squeeze in all the things before his paternity leave ends. I know I'm not supposed to overdo it after the surgery, but I'm feeling pretty decent. I am not in pain. And I need to get out. I'm not going stir crazy. In fact, I could happily hang out snuggling my trio at home all day. This is to help give me the confidence that life and errands and outings are possible with three babies.

I need a confidence boost that I can do what needs done.

I've been home alone with all three for a bit, and while it didn't go well, I know that I can handle it. But, I don't know if I can load them all in the car and get anywhere. Like play dates. And MOPS meetings. And maybe a Bible Study this semester. So, we've done a few "practice runs" while Casey is around and we can do it together.

We successfully ate a restaurant. We successfully went grocery shopping. And yesterday we attempted a fun day.

After naps we loaded up the car and headed to the Perot Museum. I have a husband who absolutely loves dinosaurs (he dreams of being a paleontologist) and the museum has a visiting exhibit on the worlds largest dinosaurs. The museum also has an amazing interactive children's area with a campground, a water table, a produce market, a climb-able cityscape, snakes and other small animals, and a dinosaur dig. Fun for the whole family!

 

We looked at the dinosaurs.
Davy wasn't impressed.
We realized just how small we are when we stood next to the sauropod bone.
And then we headed to the children's area.
Tripp loved climbing the bridge. Over and over again.
Davy played at the water table. And no where else.
But we didn't get very many pictures before this happened.
 

Tripp was playing in the farmer's market and climbed up into the bed of the produce truck. Their were quite a few other kids up there too. And one of them (very unintentionally) pushed him. Tripp has pretty much no balance/coordination right now, so he fell down the three steps and slammed his head into the corner of the metal wall.

This photo is from a previous Perot trip, but it shows where he fell.
He was on the platform in the far right of the photo.
His head hit the green metal post.
 

Terrifying. My heart completely stopped when I heard his head clang against the metal. I'm not supposed to be picking up the toddlers yet (because of the c section) but I ran over to my baby boy and scooped him up. The monstrous goose egg and straight blue/black line showed up almost immediately. And just kept growing.

The attendant in the children's area told us she was calling someone. We assumed she meant an EMT and so hung around and waited. Imagine our surprise when a security guard showed up. She asked if she could go make a photocopy of a driver's license and get started filling out paperwork for the incident report. Casey and I were so so disappointed in the museums response. We had no interest in filling out a report. The incident wasn't over yet! We didn't know if Tripp was okay. All we wanted was medical attention for our son! Needless to say, we refused to give the security guard a license or fill out her paperwork so we could head to the emergency room.

 

Even bigger goose egg in the car on the way to the ER.
Playing with toys in the ER.
 

At the emergency room, Tripp was given the all clear (but it took HOURS to get out of there!) and he is doing much better today.

We learned an important lesson though: When it comes to head injuries, danger signs are: an injury that goes in instead of out, vomitting, and passing out. If your toddler cries right away and doesn't vomit, he/she is probably okay. (Although I, personally, would probably still get a head injury looked at!)

I also learned that I am no where near ready to take three kids out into the world.

My "I can handle being a mom of three and still do fun things" confidence building trip didn't work.

My confidence wasn't boosted.

In my heart I know the boys and I are going to be just fine when Casey goes back to work. I know we'll figure it out. I know it will all work. God entrusted me to mother these three miracles and He will help me do just that.

I also know Tripp hitting his head had nothing to do with us having three kids. I was right there next to him. It could just as easily happened to a parent there with only one child.

But, despite all those things, I think we'll be weekday shut-ins for a little while and only go out on weekends or when I have help!

 

Jul 15, 2014

House Tour: Nurseries

 

It's that time again! I'm back continuing on our house tour. We've been slowly wandering around the house and so far I've shown you our very child-centric family room, our kitchen, our in-process dining room and our in-need-of-love outdoor spaces in this fun linkup with Andrea at Momfessionals. Today we're going to wander back towards the bedrooms and look at our nurseries.

Yes, nurseries. Plural. For those of you popping in for the link up, we have 18 month old twin boys and a week old son. Three boys in 18 months!

Our family of five!
 

 

I can't believe I've never shared pictures of the twins completed nursery on the blog before. I shared a number of in progress shots, but never the completed room! I'm guessing I was waiting for it to be completed. At this point, it has been 18 months and we still haven't gotten the frames all hung (or even purchased!). I actually thought we might get it done while Casey was on paternity leave this week. Ha! I had forgotten how tiring a newborn is! No work like that has occurred!

As with every single room in our house, these rooms are both works in progress!

 

 

So, let's wander down the hallway to the big boys room...

The boys room as it is laid out now.
The room layout when they were smaller.
 

Some details.
 

The hutch then and now.
As you can see, the books have migrated all over the house!
 

Things to be hung.
 

Sources:

  • Cribs: built by Casey (designed to combine the genius of the Baby's Dream safety gate with the beauty if the Restoration Hardware Jameson Crib)
  • Changing table: used by my sister (refinished by my mom and sister)
  • Dresser/Hutch: CraigsList (refinished by my mom and sister)
  • Bedding/Curtains/Mobiles: Jill McDonald's Adorable Dino
  • Dinosaur Heads: DwellStudio
  • Dog Bed (turned kid bench!): built by Papa Mike (Casey's Dad)
  • Afghans: knit by Aunt Jennifer
  • Name signs: made by me for the boys first birthday party
  • Baskets: HomeGoods
  • Hanging Dino Light: online somewhere! I can't find it anymore but it was an odd webpage and shipped direct from China
  • Any others you want -- just ask!
 

 

And now moving next door into James' room...

View from the door.
 

The crib and bedding.
 

The dressers on either side of the window.
 

Some details.
The frame arrangement should have train track going through it to complete the room border, but I didn't quite order enough. The pieces came while we were in the hospital but haven't been hung yet.
The black train (bottom left photo) is actually a humidifier!
 

Fun little bench.
 

Sources:

  • Crib: Baby's Dream Safety Gate Generation Next Crib (refinished by a friend of my mom's, Jan O'Reilly)
  • Dressers/Hutches: CraigsList
  • Bedding/Floor Quilt: ordered from etsy sellers; fabric is from the Scoot Collection by Riley Blake
  • Poufs: Target (don't you remember the drama to buy them!)
  • Mobile: made by me! Tutorial to come at some point. I'd say soon but I make no promises!
  • Baskets: HomeGoods
  • Bench: Target
  • Any others you want -- just ask!
 

As in the twins room, I would like to frame and hang James' Native Texan Certificate and a few cute prints and photos in an arrangement. But, we'll see when it happens!

 

I know that I'm biased since I designed them, but I am in love with both of these spaces. They are exactly what I envisioned and I couldn't be more pleased with the spaces my kiddos call their own. I'll treasure these next few years of cute themed bedrooms before the boys develop preferences and opinions and want to hang posters (ick!) on their walls.

 

Jul 13, 2014

Week One

So many bloggers do a weekend update on Mondays. It's really pretty overdone, right? Much cooler is to do a full week update to make up for not blogging all week!

These are all things that I intended to do full blog posts about and probably should do full posts about, but it just isn't going to happen. So prepare for bullet and photo overload!


  • Saturday (July 5) we were discharged from the hospital. The twins stayed one more night at my moms house so we had the night to settle back into the house, get unpacked, and remember just how frequently a newborn wakes up! It was great having that bit of time to ourselves to soak up the small fry.
Hospital discharge day.
Leaving the hospital!
A glimpse into the newborns schedule!
  • Even better than a night without the twins was Sunday with them! My mom brought them back home before lunch so we had all day to play together and let them get acquainted with James. The boys had so much fun at my mom's place and really loved her fish pond (with no fish because they would boil in the Texas sun). (Don't ask how we know fish can boil in her pond.)
"Fish" pond fun!
He looks so big!!
  • Once they were home, they were FAR more interested in him than they were at the hospital. They love to "pet him" and help him "wock, wock, wock." We have always said "aa-aaah doggy" to help them remember to use sweet hands and pet the puppy. We have been using the same phrase for the baby and it seems to be working pretty well (unless James is in the swing and then the boys wock him hard enough to give the poor baby whiplash and occasionally maul him with not so sweet hands or even the occasional shovel). Sadly, we haven't gotten a single picture of the three boys together! Things to work towards...
  • On Tuesday Casey's parents came over for a bit to hang out with the twins while Casey and I took James to his first pediatrician appointment. He weighed in at 6lbs13oz, so still below his birthweight (of 7lbs3oz) but above his hospital discharge weight (6lbs10oz). The pediatrician confirmed what we already know: James is a perfect little boy!
  • Wednesday, the small fry turned one week old!
  • Also on Wednesday, we ended up at my doctors office because of some funny business with my incision. It turned out to be nothing, but it was worth getting checked out. Afterwards, we stopped by my mom's house for lunch and Tripp completely melted. He was terrified that we were leaving him again! The separation anxiety we have avoided for so long struck in full force this week. Darn!
  • Thursday we got out of the house for a few hours and enjoyed the playspace at the Galleria and walking through the mall. I was sad that the best picture I got was this blurry shot, but that's just life with toddlers! Luckily Casey got a few better ones!
  • Saturday Casey and I were superparents! We did all the things. We fixed our sprinkler system - a huge accomplishment that has needed done for a while. Okay, so we didn't fix the sprinklers, but we arranged to have the guys here who did. Totally counts. I also got my daily load of laundry into the washer -- but that's as far as it made it. Our washer broke partway through the load and left the clothes sitting in a basin full of water. Casey worked on fixing it (and realized he can't do much until he can buy a part on Monday) while I hand washed the load of laundry and got it into the dryer. I also managed to make dinner from scratch, a rare thing the last few weeks! I'm tired just typing all that we did!
  • Sunday, Tripp and Davy celebrated 18 months! I feel like they were just born and somehow they are already toddlers!
My big boys!
My 18 month olds with their "di-o-oar"
  • We also had Casey's brother and his family over on Sunday to meet James. It's such a huge change being able to introduce the newest member of the family so quickly! No lockdown for premature babies! We didn't realize just how different having preemies was until now having a newborn. It's a completely different experience and we are feeling clueless like first time parents!
  • While they were here, we asked them to take a picture of our family, the first of the five of us!
Love.
First photo attempt and J spits up.
Out his nose.
Perfect shot of Casey and the twins but I'm looking for a burp cloth to clean up the small fry.
One of many out takes. Photographing toddlers isn't easy!