Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Sibling Love

All too often they argue.

Sometimes, they even fight.

Lots of bickering can be heard.

And, occasionally a push or shove will cause a scream.

I wonder if I'm getting through,

If I'm teaching them to love.

I wonder if they'll ever get along.

And learn to share and cooperate.

But then, I look over,

And see this:

And I think, hey, it's going to be ok.

Precious moments

Etched in my memory.

Forever to be cherished.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Day in the Life 2014

For the past several years, I've documented what a typical day looks like for us. I love looking back and seeing how much life has transformed in just one or two short years. I know it will continue to change rapidly, so I want to keep up with these posts every year.

Here are the posts from 2012 and 2013

The day that I chose to document was Friday, April 25th. Fridays are a little different than the other days of the week for us, but all of our Fridays look about the same. And really, any day that we do an activity or an outing looks pretty much like this. 

Brenson typically wakes first in the morning sometime between 7:00 - 7:30am. If I haven't gotten up and started getting ready yet, I will go get him and bring him to my bed. He is generally a happy little guy in the morning, smiling and ready to go for the day.

If I still have to take a shower or finish getting ready, he will lay in my bed while I do what I need to do. On this morning, I took a shower while he hung out in my bed. After I got out of the shower and got dressed, we cuddled in bed for a while before starting our day.

Brianna and Brenson generally go to bed at the same time, but Brianna will lay in bed and play/sing/talk for up to an hour before falling asleep whereas Brenson will fall asleep immediately. Because of this, Brianna is usually more tired in the mornings. I had to wake her on this morning, and she wasn't ready to get up!

She hates bright lights in the mornings (and was wondering what I was doing with my camera in her face so early).

Before I woke Brianna, Brenson and I whipped up some blueberry muffins for breakfast and put them in the oven to bake. We make muffins about once a week.

Bren loves blueberry muffins and will typically eat 2 or 3 muffins!

I try to serve them something with their muffins such as applesauce, other fruit, or yogurt. They are hearty eaters, albeit slow in the mornings. Breakfast can drag out a long time if I let it!

After breakfast, Brianna will get herself dressed, brush her hair (I will pull it up or fix it later, but she brushes it), and brush her teeth while I help get Brenson dressed and ready. After he gets dressed, it's his job to take his clothes and Brianna's clothes to the dirty clothes hamper.

Depending on how smoothly the morning is going, the kids may have to wait 10 or 15 minutes on me to finish getting ready. During this time, they just play or read or sometimes watch Sesame Street. Brianna was reading this day.

She loves books!

When we're ready to go, I'll tell them, "Grab whatever you want to take in the car and line up at the door." They don't actually line up, but they will wait by the door for me. Notice Brenson grabbed his shades :-).

On Fridays, we go to our Mommy and Me Preschool Class, Fridays with Miss Shelly. We've attended this class for almost two years and my kids love it!

They learn all kinds of great things in this class. Each week has a specific theme around which all the activities are centered.

They always do some sort of movement activity. I'm not sure what they were doing here, but apparently it was fun :-).

Maybe running in place?

Miss Shelly's is over at 11:30am, and is in a town about 15 minutes from our house. Most of the time, we will stop and get something for lunch before heading home. Sometimes, we will even do a lunch date with other classmates, but this day we went through the Chik-Fil-A drive thru and picked up lunch.

The kids always get so excited when we pick up lunch to take home!

They love eating outside, and since the weather was beautiful it was a no-brainer. Chicken bites, fruit, and milk make a yummy lunch! And Mommy loves not having to worry about fixing something or much clean up!

After eating our lunch (I sit outside with them and eat while they do), I let the kids play on their swingset for just about 30 minutes.

They could/would play outside all day if I let them!

This is their favorite thing to do on their swingset, and they will get it going so high it scares me a bit. They generally get along great, and for that I am thankful!

While they play, I will often go inside and clean up the kitchen from breakfast and lunch. Our kitchen window faces our fenced backyard, so I can watch them closely while working at the sink.

After clean-up this day (which wasn't much since we picked up food for lunch), I sat down to make out a menu for the next two weeks. We do grocery shopping every two weeks, so I needed to make a menu and a list.

At about 1:15pm, we came inside, washed up a bit, and sat down to read books. I let the kids choose a couple of books apiece, then I choose two or three as well. We don't always make it through the whole stack, but we generally do.

We all love our reading time!

I try to have them down by 2:00pm for their naps. Brenson still needs his nap for sure, but Brianna is starting to sleep less and less. However, she is required to have quiet time in her bed whether she sleeps or not. She will usually sleep for at least an hour, though. While the kids are resting, I do a few chores, put on or prep dinner, pay bills, read, relax, get on social media, etc.

After they got up from nap (at around 4:00pm), I took photos of them with their projects they made at Miss Shelly's.

This day was a transportation theme.

I'll get them a small snack, and then they will play until Daddy gets home around 6:00pm. Sometimes I will play with them for a while, but around 4:45-5:00pm, I will start doing chores and cooking dinner.

There is ALWAYS laundry to be done! Always.

About a year ago, Chris put a clothes line in our backyard for me. I LOVE it! The kids always follow me outside to help me hang clothes on the line.

The time between 5:00 and 6:00pm is often a harder time of day. The kids are sometimes a bit cranky, and of course I'm trying to cook dinner and get it on the table. They will help some with cooking/setting the table or once in a while I will put a movie on for them, but there is often more fussing and fighting than usual. You would think that at 2 and 4 years old, they would have outgrown "witching hour", but not so much in our house. It has definitely gotten better, so there IS hope!

We try to eat fairly quickly after Chris gets home from work, so I try to have it mostly prepared when he walks in.

After dinner, Chris will usually play with the kids while I clean the kitchen. Sometimes, we'll go on a walk together as a family, and other times (although not often) we will run errands. This night, we had to run to Lowe's to get some things for a weekend project.

By the time we got home this night, it was pushing 8:00pm, so time to start our bedtime routine. We give the kids baths on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday unless they got dirty/stinky for some reason. Sometimes, we will read a few books before bed.

At about 8:15pm, we do our family devo and say prayers. Then, the kids get a drink, go potty, and we tuck them in bed. They are both GREAT sleepers, and unless they are sick, we don't get up with them in the night.

After the kids are in bed, Chris and I generally relax and wind down from the day. Our days are busy, but we are loving this season of life! As much as we love our kids, we do cherish our downtime in the evenings. Our recharge time is important so we can do it all again the next day :-).

Monday, August 25, 2014

Twin Pregnancy: 15 Weeks!

It's hard for me to believe that I'm writing my 15 week pregnancy update! I kept thinking that I was going to be 14 weeks along today, and it hit me on Saturday that I am actually 15 weeks along. I'm so, so thankful to be writing a 15 week update. 

This has NOT been a good pregnancy week for me. I'm not sure what happened? Last week was SO good . . . my appetite was back, I felt energetic, I only had two gagging episodes all week, and then just about as suddenly as that happened, it all vanished. I was sick nearly every day this past week. I threw up multiple times. I had a gagging episode at least once a day, but more than that on most days. And my appetite? If you've seen it, please tell it that I'm looking for it! 

The 15 week twinbies baby belly:
{Wearing non-maternity top and jeans}

On Tuesday, we met up with my sister and her daughter to play at a park. We've had an amazing summer with just a few (I think only 3!) days of triple digit heat, but that all changed this week! So, the high was forecasted to be about 100 degrees on Tuesday, but I thought I'd be okay. We met at 10am, and literally sat on a bench for an hour while the kiddos played. I drank the entire time, but it was just TOO HOT for me. I ended up throwing up after we got home and being down-and-out the rest of the day. On Thursday, I took the kids to lunch and then our plan was to run to Target to get some necessities. Lunch didn't settle well with me, so we ended up just skipping Target and heading back home. I think I just CAN.NOT handle the heat right now. 

Also affected by the heat has been my appetite. I'm normally a person who cannot eat when they're hot, and very little sounds appetizing to me in the dog days of summer. So, as great as it was last week to eat normal food and good portions, this week I have been back to struggling to find something that sounds/tastes good and that I can actually choke down. A couple things that had been settling well with me are mixed nuts and V8. I had been using that as a go-to snack until Saturday when I threw it up. So yeah, that doesn't sound so good anymore :-(. Due to loss of appetite, I lost a bit of weight this week. I'm about two pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight and beginning to worry about this just a bit. Well, really more than a bit. I've had a couple days where I've been really emotional about it. I know with twins I NEED to gain, and everything I've read says that I should have gained between 5 and 10 pounds by now. I'm just concerned with the health of the babies. Prayers that I can eat and keep food down are appreciated! I'd really like to be back up to my pre-pregnancy weight by 16 weeks, then hopefully this pregnancy will follow suite with my other pregnancies and I'll gain really well between weeks 16 to 24. 

Someone remind me of the above paragraph when I'm really packing on the pounds :-).

I've felt the babies move some this week. I think I've been feeling baby flutters for a few weeks now, but I'm SURE I have this week. That is the best feeling! I've felt Baby A quite a bit more than Baby B, but I don't know if that's because Baby A is more active or because of the way they're positioned. We have an appointment with Dr. N on Thursday, and I can't wait to see them! We may be able to find out the genders (I'll be 15 weeks and 3 days), but we've decided that if we do we're going to keep it to ourselves for a little while :-).

My skin this week isn't as clear as it had been, and I've noticed my hair is a bit more oily as well. I'm not sure what's up with that, but despite this I'm still on Team Girl & Girl :-). On Friday, I felt like my baby bump was {almost} non-existent, but on Saturday it was way more prominent. I guess it's just the way the babies were positioned? I'm not sure, but I'm ready to embrace the bump this time! I'm tired of looking chubby around the middle and want to look PREGNANT! 

Chris and I have really started to talk about names. Well, really me more than him :-). He likes to wait until the last minute. Our plan all along has been to give our next baby a B name . . . that's why we called the baby we lost in January of 2013 B3. The reason for this is because I felt weird about having two kids starting with the same letter but not the third. I know people do it all the time, but I just didn't like the thought of it. Well, now that we're having twins, that gives us a lot more name freedom if we want it. We could choose a whole new letter, or even give the twins different letters, and it wouldn't be like one child is left out. So, we're doing lots of brainstorming. What do you all think? Should we stick with B names or go a different route?

I know I talked above about how this was a rough pregnancy week, but I'm still so grateful for every minute of it. I often thought to myself this week that I'd spend the rest of my pregnancy feeling like this if that meant two healthy babies to bring home in the end. Infertility and miscarriage are horrible, but they have given me a perspective that I wouldn't change. 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Easter 2014, Part Deux

It's funny to me to think about that before Chris and I had children, Easter wasn't even on our radar. We don't do any type of special celebration for it at church, and since we didn't have kids, we would often not even know it was Easter until the actual day.

Well, things are different now! During the past several years, we have celebrated with Chris's side of the family the day before, as well as our friends Ross & Tia on the day of. And of course, I've had to think about Easter baskets and such so it is a much "bigger" holiday for us now.

Brianna looked so pretty on Easter! I love our tradition of taking her photo in this rocking chair, but it won't be too many more years before she outgrows it *tear*.

It was a very cloudy/rainy morning, so the lighting in our living room was no good. Because of this, I tried to take a few photos outside as well. I was thrilled to get three good photos from our girl that tends to be very difficult to photograph!

And because I love comparison photos, here are pictures of Brianna from 2013 and 2014. Her little face is growing up!

Brenson is my easy kid to photograph. He looked SO handsome!

Love this little man!

His comparison photo just about brought tears to my eyes. I mean really, is this only one year's difference??? He was such a baby last year.

Our biggest challenge is always getting photos of both kids together. I had told them that they wouldn't get their Easter baskets unless they posed and smiled nice for photos, and {shockingly} it worked!

My sweet babies :-).

Here are their Easter baskets from this year. They aren't huge baskets, and I have a rule that everything they get must fit in the basket. It's so easy to get completely out of control with gifts, so I have to give myself limits!

Brianna's basket:

Brenson's basket:

We had them go into Brianna's room to wait while I put the baskets out. They were SO eager to see what this Easter basket business was all about.

These photos are blurry/no good but I love the expressions on their little faces! Precious!

This is a precious shirt I had my sister make for Brianna . . . love Matryshka dolls!

Brenson's shirt is super cute as well! And he LOVES it!

Haha! Mind blown?

After opening Easter baskets, we went to church services (like we do every Sunday). For the past several years, we've had a tradition of going to a "brunch" with our friends, Ross & Tia, at their golf club, then an egg hunt at their house. This year, our reservations for lunch/brunch weren't until 1:00pm, so we decided to go to their house and do the egg hunt first. It ended up not working out well for several reasons. One was that their baby, Sadie, had fought sleep all morning and was over tired/over stimulated. So Tia ended up staying inside with her trying to get her to sleep AND skipping lunch. Boooo :-(. It's so hard with littles, especially when their needs come first, but hopefully next year will be better! A second reason that it didn't work out as well was that our egg hunt ended up being rushed in order for us to make it to lunch on time. And of course, the kids were hungry during the egg hunt, so hopefully it will all work out better next year.

Despite all this, the kids did have fun hunting eggs!

I love photos of them running to get the eggs!

We had so many eggs - too many really - so all the kids got a basketfull.

Some of the eggs were "hidden" in interesting places . . . I'm pretty sure none of the kids could reach this one!

Brenson proudly showing off his find.

Chloe Jo's handle is about to break on her basket!

We've tried to get a photo of these three for the past three years on Easter, and this is the first time we've ever been successful. I guess that means they are growing up!

Our family:

Our kids were hungry . . . that's the reason for the long faces.

My sister's family:

Sweet Sadie was inside this whole time NOT sleeping. Bless her heart!

Isn't she so pretty?

Ross did come to lunch with us, but it just wasn't the same without Tia.

After lunch, the club also had an egg hunt. So, of course, our kids HAD to participate! This is actually a really pretty view of the skyline, but it was hard to see due to the clouds.

Something new at the club this year was that they had set up a little petting zoo. For most kids, this would be fun, but both Chloe Jo and Brenson were scared of the animals, ha!

It took a lot of convincing to get CJ to touch this one for the photo!

Same for Brenson!

They even let the kids come in the pen with them if they wanted. As you can see in the photo, Bren is trying to bail out but Brianna was loving being in there with the animals. Next year, however, that won't be happening! We ended up finding TWO little ticks on her back after we got home and changed our clothes for nap time. We had thoroughly checked her the night before because we had been out on Chris's parents' land and ticks are always a risk out there, so we really think they came from crawling in the pen with the animals. Ick!

Easter is such a fun holiday for us now! We love the traditions we have with our family and our friends who are family. We are incredibly thankful for the good memories!