Monday, September 29, 2014

Twin Pregnancy: 20 Weeks!

Today, I am 20 weeks pregnant with the twinbies! I'm so happy to have reached the milestone of being in the twenty-something weeks!

Here is how we're growing these days:

I gained one pound this week, putting my total weight gain at 6 pounds so far. At this point with Brenson, I had gained 7 pounds, and with Brianna I had gained 9 pounds. Since I weighed 3 pounds more this time than when I got pregnant with Brianna, I'm actually at the exact same weight right now as I was at 20 weeks with her. With Brenson, I weighed quite a bit more to begin with, so I was a good 12 pound heavier at this point with him. Since we found out I was carrying twins, I have expected to gain a lot more weight than with my previous pregnancies. It's kind of funny to me that I've actually gained the least with this pregnancy so far! 

Me pregnant with Brenson on the left, twinbies on the right:

Dr. N isn't concerned at all about my slow weight gain, but I've been reading a book (When Your Expecting Twins, Triplets, or Quads by Dr. Barbara Luke) that recommends someone for my height and weight to have gained 25 pounds by now! It talks a lot about how early weight gain will help your babies be a better/healthier weight at birth. I decided that I just need to trust my doctor, but it does concern me a bit. I, of course, want to do everything I can to help our babies grow and be born at a healthy weight. My appetite is healthy - and I am eating well - so I really try to not worry about it too much.

We have been working hard on getting our house ready to welcome two babies. I'll do a whole post on this, but Brianna and Brenson are going to be sharing a room for a while. Bren is actually moving into Brianna's room, so we're calling it the "big kids'" room, and we're making quite a few changes to it so that it is "theirs" and not hers. I just don't want him to feel too displaced. This week, Chris got it painted, I cleaned out toys, and moved all of his stuff into the closet (after much rearranging and purging). Chris also painted one of the shelves that he and my dad built last weekend, and we moved it into the closet to help with toy storage. Here is what it looks like:

We also have one for the closet of the babies' room, though it's not finished yet. It feels so good to have the big kids' closet all organized and arranged the way I want it.

My belly is significantly bigger at night than in the morning, and I am generally quite a bit more uncomfortable as well. It's nothing that is unbearable, but definitely different than being pregnant with just one baby! If I eat a big dinner, I am pretty much miserable. My poor stomach is just smashed already. I also have to use the bathroom a lot some times. Last night, Baby A was kicking my bladder as I was trying to go to sleep, so I had to get up to use the restroom 3 times in 30 minutes! I'm sure my water craving and consumption probably played a part in that, too. However, I have been sleeping well with minimal back and hip pain so that is nice for sure!

I had an appointment with Dr. N this past Thursday. I was 19 weeks and 3 days along at this appointment. Chris wasn't able to meet me there, so I dropped the kiddos off with my friend, Kendall, and went to the appointment by myself. My appointment was at 11:00am, and I was pulling out of the parking lot to leave at 11:30am! It was nice to not have a wait AND to have a quick appointment.

My blood pressure was 118 over 70 at this appointment. We did get a few photos of the babies, although it's a bit hard to tell exactly what is what. Baby A is low, laying horizontally across my abdomen just under my belly button. Baby B is high, with its head by the bottom of my ribs on the left side and feet right at Baby A's head. In fact, we could see Baby B kicking Baby A in the head during the ultrasound!

This is the back of Baby A's head . . . and part of Baby B's legs and feet.

A better shot of Baby B's legs and feet right by Baby A's head.

This is a slightly weird and creepy photo of Baby A.

Dr. N didn't spend too much time measuring the babies, but we listened to their heartbeats and watched them wiggle for a bit. He could see my cervix on the ultrasound and measured that. It looks nice and long (which is how we want to keep it for now!), and Dr. N said, "If I was concerned about the length of your cervix, I'd do a check. But, I can see that it looks good, so no checks for now." He had told me way back at my 15 week appointment that he'd start doing checks at the next appointment, but so far he hasn't. And that's just fine by me!

I did mention to Dr. N that I'm struggling BIG TIME with heartburn. I used to take a prescription acid reducer, but got off of it several years ago. However, heartburn is plaguing me again, so Dr. N gave me a script for it. I try to not eat foods that trigger it, but it seems like everything triggers it these days! We have another appointment in two weeks.

One last thing: We DO know each baby's gender! Dr. N predicted them for us way back at our 13 week appointment, although he was pretty unsure of Baby B at the time. At our 15 week appointment, he said he was sure of the genders though I didn't think it was too obvious. By our 17 week appointment, I could easily tell the genders as well, and it was confirmed once again at this appointment. We are thrilled to know, but we're keeping it to ourselves for now :-). Also, we have made some major progress toward deciding names. I'd say we are about 85 percent sure of Baby A's first name, and about 70 percent sure of Baby B's first name. We're still working on middle names. Both Brianna and Brenson have 2 middle names (Brianna Elisabeth Jo and Brenson Charles Jacob), and the twinbies will both have two middle names as well. It's pretty difficult to come up with two sets of three names that we not only like, but are meaningful to us as well. However, it is easier since we know each baby's gender! Any name or gender predictions???

Friday, September 26, 2014

2014 Walk to End Alzheimer's

This past weekend, Brianna, my mom, and myself participated in the 2014 Walk to End Alzheimer's in the town where my parents live. This was our fifth time to participate in an Alzheimer's walk, but only the second time to walk in this town. It was a great success!

Our team was considerably smaller this year than it has been in the past (except for the first year we did it . . . we only had three team members that year, too). My sister was planning to participate, but had something else come up, so it was just my mom, Brianna, and myself. However, even with only a few of us walking, our team raised almost $1000 for Alzheimer's research!

Brianna was a registered walker when we had a team 2 years ago. However, she doesn't remember that (and we weren't able to actually walk due to pouring rain and lightening), but she was SO excited to participate this year!

My mom was our star fundraiser for our team!

I was a little concerned with how I'd do with everything being 19 weeks pregnant with twins. However, it was great. The weather was warm - but not too hot at all - and the walk is just over two miles long. I drank plenty of water and had no problems!

Our team name is Grey Wolf in honor of my Pappy that passed away last October. He suffered with Alzheimer's for over 12 years, so he's the reason we began walking in the first place. This was our first year to walk in memory of him instead of in honor of him :-(.

When we walked in this location 6 years ago, there were maybe a couple of hundred walkers and it was all pretty low-key. However, it has grown tremendously! There were nearly 900 walkers pre-registered according the website. It was really neat to look out across this grassy area and see so many people concerned with Alzheimer's research. This photo also makes me laugh a little because this water was SO tempting to all the children (which there weren't many) at the walk. There are three children with their hands in the water just in my photo! Brianna was no exception . . . she could hardly stand to be next to the water and not be in it!

One thing that was new this year were these memory flower pinwheels. Every participant got a flower and we could write whatever we wanted on them. There were four colors of flowers - each color representing something specific. The purple flower represented those who had lost a loved one due to Alzheimer's Disease.

This is Mom's flower. We took photos of them because at the beginning of the walk we handed them off to walk volunteers who "planted" everyone's flower in the grass. We could get them back once the walk was over, but we weren't sure if we could find ours in the sea of flowers. However, we were able to find all three! Brianna's and mine now reside in our flowerbed at home.

Before the walk began, there were several speakers. One speaker explained what each color of flower represented (purple for those who've lost a loved one to Alzheimer's, orange for those who support someone with Alzheimer's, yellow for those who are caretakers for someone with Alzheimer's, and blue for those living with Alzheimer's), and as he did he had all the participants with that color raise their flower.

As the actual walk began, it was really neat to see such a crowd of people walking. We walked down the street from the park and toward the local baseball stadium.

We were pretty much in the middle of the walkers with a large crowd in front of and behind us.

We were instructed to walk the perimeter of the baseball field as part of the walk. This was something we'd never done before and was really neat! The mascot was even out there cheering us on.

Like I said above, the walk was a little over two miles. There were tables set up along the way with cold water and snacks, and once we got back to the park, we had purple snowcones! I was a little warm at this point, so I really enjoyed that snowcone! Brianna did, too :-).

We didn't make it to many of the booths that were set up, but Brianna really wanted to have her face painted. Most of the booths take down immediately after the walk is over, but we made it to this one just in time. Brianna was the last one to get her face painted before they packed up. I'm not sure why those running this booth were dressed like this? Brianna was entertained by it though :-).

I want to say a sincere "Thank You" to all of those who supported me financially and otherwise so I could participate in this walk! It was a wonderful experience, and I hope to do it again next year!

After the walk, we did a bit of shopping (for the babies, mostly), then headed home and put our feet up! I was worn smooth out that evening! While we were gone, my dad and Chris worked on some shelving that I requested they make for the kids' bedrooms to help get our toys organized a bit better. I will definitely share photos of them when they are finished. I wasn't sure if I would take Bren with us on the walk or if he would stay with Chris, but he was insistent on staying with the "boys" and working in the garage. The boy LOVES tools and building, so he was super excited about their plans for the day. He's very proud of the shelves they built! 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Splash of Summer

Since yesterday was the official beginning of Autumn, I thought now would be a good time to round up a TON of photos from our summer and do a recap post :-). This year, it felt like summer FLEW by. Not only was I pregnant and quite sick for most of the summer, but we were also very busy! Aside from what you'll see in this post, we also took an almost two week vacation to Colorado (that I'll blog about someday, hopefully), and spent two weeks doing swim lessons (post to come on that, as well). 

Weather-wise, we had a perfect summer!There was a great mixture of sunny days and rainy days, and though we did have warm days, they weren't too warm for the most part. 

We love, love, love to play outside. The kiddos will often play while I read or take photos or just lounge in the sun. Look how beautiful our rose bush was this year! Thank you, rain!

Brenson's favorite outside toy is his lawn mower! The boy LOVES to mow . . . although I think we have more weeds than grass in our yard :-).

We have lots of kids that live in our neighborhood, and they love to hang out at our house. I don't generally mind at all! Any given day, we'll have as many as 6 or 7 extra kids in our yard.

Our water table is always popular (yes, even with the older kids).

Because we had so many days of "cool" weather, we took advantage of our annual passes to our local zoo! The drive from our house to the zoo is only about 25 minutes for us, so it makes a GREAT outing.

Haha, my kids love this little bench in the Rainforest exhibit at the zoo.

The flowers were seriously SO beautiful for the majority of the summer!

It costs just a little extra to ride the train around the zoo, so we do this about every third visit. It's a great opportunity to rest our legs and have a snack :-).

One of my kiddos' favorite exhibit is the elephants. I think they're pretty interesting, too!

This photo is from another zoo trip . . . we're standing in front of the painted African dogs, but you can't really see them.

I think I took this photo before we went to the chiropractor one day. I thought it was too cute to leave out!

This was Memorial Day weekend . . . all dressed for the occasion.

Like I said above, we did have several rainy days this summer, which is a huge blessing! What better to do on a rainy day than finger paint?

During the second week of June, we had Vacation Bible School. Chris and I are both very involved in this activity, so it's a super busy week for us. Our theme this year was Running with Jesus. I helped design and decorate the hallway.

On this side of the hallway, my sister and I cut out these silhouettes of runners. We were thrilled with how it turned out!

We set up this Water Stop in the auditorium. We also made balloon trees (so easy and cute!)

On the water bottles, we put these labels:

Chris has been our VBS director for probably about 7 years now. He does a great job, and the kids love him!

He always dresses the part, which is pretty amusing to everyone :-).

I taught the 4 and 5 year olds this year. In my classroom, I made this fun balloon tree. We had a great class!

Brianna :-)

Chloe Jo :-)

Brenson :-)

I snapped this one night while Bren was singing. Love this little face!

One of the kids' favorite activities include a song we sing where they get to take turns going to the front. Can you tell Bren was thrilled?

Brianna sees this as an opportunity to perform and be a clown . . . sigh.

Our friend Tia had her nephews from Louisiana for the week. My kids have ALWAYS loved Tia's nephews!

One day during VBS week, Tia and I took her nephews, my kids, and her baby to the local Air and Space Museum. We had never been before, and honestly I wasn't that impressed for the price.

Brenson really enjoyed climbing in the planes and exploring.

Here he is in a simulator.

Gabriel pretending to be an astronaut.

Terrance taking a turn.

Brianna kind of hated the whole thing. I'm not sure what was up with her that day, but she didn't enjoy the museum much. Silly girl.

See the look on her face? Oh, and Brenson insisted that he wear his airplane shirt to see the airplanes :-). I've trained him well!

Trying very hard to fake a smile.

In addition to several solo trips to the zoo, we took several trips with friends as well. 

Riding the train :-)

Riggins and Christie:

This day, we met our friends Caroline and Julia at the zoo.

They are about 21 months old.

Watching the meerkats . . .

Brianna tries to be such a little mother to C and J, but I think they enjoy each other for the most part.

We also have annual passes to a local Children's Discovery Museum, so we visited there about 4 or 5 times as well. 

This exhibit is really neat . . . the children use real paint rollers and brushes to "paint" this little wall. It lights up in different colors when pressure is applied to it.

This room also has tons of "bricks" with which to build various things, and miniature wheel barrows to haul the brick around.

Our library story time takes a 3 month summer break, but our Mommy and Me preschool class does not. So, we were still able to participate in structured learning with Miss Shelly.

My littles LOVE her class!

Because of the cooler weather, we didn't spend as much time at our local splash pad as I had anticipated. However, we did have a few fun days there!

At the very end of July, our cousins JT and Kaylee came to visit for a few days. They are 14 and 13, so it's kind of hard to come up with activities that everyone will enjoy. This year I decided to try tye-dye! It was a hit!

We invited Lisa and Chloe Jo to join us. I was going to do it outside, but it poured rain this day so we ended up in the garage. It worked out well, but made for cluttery looking photos.

Ready to dye those white shirts!

JT took the process very seriously.

I was right in the middle of my "I'm sick all the time with morning sickness" phase, but I felt pretty good this morning.

Helping Kaylee with the rubberbands.

Giving JT a few tips . . .

It took Kaylee a while to finish her shirt, so her brother was helping her.

Lisa spent her time helping the little girls.

And I helped Bren for the most part.

At one point, Bren decided he needed to squeeze in JT's chair with him :-).

Chloe Jo and Brianna's shirts proved difficult to dye because they weren't 100 percent cotton. Therefore, the dye didn't want to soak in. Lesson learned!

After dying the shirts, we put them in ziplock bags to "set" for about 6 hours.

Then, I washed and dried them. This was the final product. So fun!!!

Before Chloe Jo went back to school (she started Kindergarten this year!), we took a zoo trip with her. It was a HOT day, but so fun. I'm telling you, we made good use of our zoo passes!

Of course, we also had lots of outside picnics and popsicles,

quick trips to the park for picnics and play,

and days spent at home just being plain silly!

It's been a GREAT summer, despite me feeling sick and tired for much of it. I can't say enough how thankful I am to get to spend my days with my littles, soaking up every minute with them!