Monday, November 24, 2014

Twin Pregnancy: 28 Weeks!

Today marks another big pregnancy milestone . . . 28 weeks! This is a big deal for lung development and for survival. So thankful to be here!

I had a lot of trouble taking a photo this week. I just didn't like any of the ones Chris took, so I kept having him take and re-take them. After at least a dozen photos, I finally settled for this one of the baby belly:

I gained two pounds this week, putting my total weight gain at 18 pounds. This is exactly what I had gained at 28 weeks with Brenson, as well. I gained a total of 30 pounds with Brenson (which I didn't think was too bad considering I gained 42 pounds with Brianna, AND Brenson weighed over 9 pounds!), so I may gain even less than that with the twinbies. I will for sure carry them for 3 weeks less than I did Brenson, so that will make a difference. 

I had anticipated having a busy week with the kiddos this week, but several of our activities were canceled or rescheduled which resulted in several stay-at-home days. I was thankful for the downtime as it is getting harder and harder for me to be on the go every day. We were still able to do several of our weekly activities, but I definitely rest in the afternoons while they nap when we have an outing in the morning. 

I had noticed that some days I feel very weak and fatigued, even to the point that my limbs feel heavy. It's a hard sensation to describe, but my arms would almost ache they would feel so tired and heavy at times. I decided that I need to make more of an effort to keep lots of protein in my system. I had been trying to eat protein with every snack and meal, but I was still feeling like I needed more. The problem is that I need protein that isn't too filling, and one of my go-to protein sources (eggs) isn't settling well with me right now. Anyway, so I decided to try Boost protein shakes, and so far that's working out well. I drink one a day when I start to feel run down and it has helped a lot. I also bought some protein bars, but I haven't tried them yet. This, of course, is in addition to my normal protein sources of chicken, milk, string cheese, peanut butter, beans, and nuts. I had read that women pregnant with twins should aim to get around 120 grams of protein a day, so it's something that I constantly work toward! 

I'm also trying to be better about snacking more frequently so that I don't get that run-down feeling. It's hard because I get tired of eating and my appetite isn't always great. 

Sleep is still good some nights and terrible other nights. Sometimes my restless legs really bother me. Sometimes I toss and turn because my hips ache. Sometimes I get up 3 or 4 times to use the bathroom and can't get back to sleep. And, sometimes I sleep just fine. I'm always thankful for the nights of good rest as I feel so much better the next day!

On Saturday, we ran a few errands, then spent the day working in the nursery and the big kid room. We ended up rearranging both rooms (Chris did all of the actual rearranging obviously . . . I just directed!), and I like them both MUCH better now. We also hung a few things on the walls in both rooms, and made some decisions about other decorating that needs to be done. I feel really good about where we are with that process and the progress that was made. Just having some big decisions made is great! We also set up the pack n' play in our room just to make sure that it was still in good shape. This got the kids all excited, and Brenson even jumped up and down and said, "I'm so excited for the babies to come!" He hasn't been one to express too much excitement, so it was fun to see him like that. 

I do think I overdid it a bit on Saturday though, because yesterday I felt horrible. I woke up at about 4:30am feeling extremely nauseous, and even had that stomach bile taste in my mouth that you get right before you throw up. Ugh. I ended up not going back to sleep at all as my stomach was just in knots. When Chris got up to get ready for church, he brought me a sliced apple and some peanut butter. I thought eating something might help. I couldn't even sit up in bed to eat I was feeling so bad, and eating didn't really help at all. I debated and debated about trying to get ready and go to church, but after eating a cheese stick and drinking a Boost and still not feeling better, I decided to stay home and rest. I ended up staying in bed all day! I did feel better that evening, but still very exhausted. I need to be more careful about how much activity I pack into the day. I'm nervous about how I'll do this week with Thanksgiving, but I'm just going to have to take it as easy as possible.

Several of my maternity tops are starting to get too short. I can't believe this is happening already! This was never a problem I had when pregnant with Brianna, but I did outgrow a few things at the very end of Brenson's pregnancy. I am truly blessed with the most generous friends, as one of my dear friends gave me about 7 tops that she had from when she was recently pregnant (although she never wore part of them as they still have tags!). They are a size larger than anything else I have, but that's what I'll need to get me through the remainder of this pregnancy. Because they are a size larger than what I normally wear, a few of them are a bit big on top (like through the shoulders), but at least my belly won't be hanging out of the bottom. I am SO thankful for her generosity because I really, really didn't want to buy any other maternity clothes. 

We were scheduled to have an appointment with Dr. N this past Thursday, but it was rescheduled for this coming Tuesday. I'll do my glucose test then, and - although he told me to anticipate failing it - I'm hoping I'll pass :-). It's a bit unbelievable to me that we only have 10 weeks left in this pregnancy. Eeeeeep! It's so exciting and so terrifying at the same time! Ha!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Twin Pregnancy: 27 Weeks!

Today, I am 27 along in this pregnancy with the twinbies! According to some books, this means that I am now entering the third trimester. Wow!

My baby belly continues to grow, grow, grow:

I gained one pound this week, for a total of 16 pounds so far in this pregnancy. I do feel like my weight gain has slowed down a bit, but I'm sure it's because I can not eat much at a time. This will be the fourth Thanksgiving holiday in six years that I've been pregnant. Generally, I'm pretty excited about this as I can eat guilt free, but this year I'm not feeling all that excited. I just know I have the potential to be miserable, even with just eating a little bit. 

This week has been one of some big changes around here, but all good things that are making progress toward getting ready for the babies! Back at the beginning of August, Chris and I made a list of all the big things we wanted to accomplish by the end of November in preparation for the babies. At the time, the list was pretty overwhelming, but we've slowly and steadily worked on things until now there are just a few {smaller} things left. And, for the most part, the things that are left are things that we want to be done . . . not things that really need to be done. That feels so good!

First, the bunk beds for the "big kid" room finally came in on Monday. We picked them out in the middle of August, and were told at the time by the saleslady to give 4 to 6 weeks for them to come in (they had to be ordered). I wanted them by the middle of October, so we went back and actually ordered them on the first weekend in September. Well, when we placed the order that weekend, we were told that it would actually take 10 to 12 weeks for them to come in. I was so thankful that we ordered them when we did! We moved Brianna and Brenson into their room together about a month ago, so we've been patiently waiting for their beds! After we get their room decorated, I'll do a whole post on their room and our decision for them to share. 

This is a photo I snapped on my phone, but we were very happy to finally have their beds! So far, they've done well with the transition, but I'll talk all about that in the full post I plan to do. 

Another biggie for this week is that we traded in our four-door sedan for a mini-van! It's been our plan all along to get a mini-van, but we've been waiting for the right timing. Thankfully, we were able to find exactly what we wanted for a great deal, and we are thrilled with it so far! It is a slightly used, fully-loaded Chrysler Town and Country with low miles. The one thing I don't love about it is the color. I'm not a fan of red/cranberry colored vehicles, and the car we traded in was pretty much this exact same color as well. However, we couldn't pass it up based on the color, so I'll just live with it :-). We had our first wintery mix/snow of the season yesterday, so we were able to break the van in well driving it to church in the weather!
Do you see my belly button poking out in the photo above? Sometimes it's worse than others, but it's definitely making itself known!

I have a major acne breakout that developed on the back of my neck and back this week. It's gross, but I'm thankful that it's not on my face! So far, my face is still clear. 

My bath towel no longer fits completely around my belly. So, there's that. 

Another biggish change that happened this week was that Chris had to go with me to do the grocery and cosmetics shopping. I know this sounds kind of silly, but I always take care of the list making and shopping myself during the day while he's at work. I generally do the shopping every 2 to 3 weeks, so it ends up being a pretty big trip (especially if it's been 3 weeks instead of 2). And, of course, I always have both kiddos with me when I go. Well, when I did the shopping three weeks ago, I really overdid it. And yes, I know that sounds ridiculous considering I was only 24 weeks along at the time, but it was just a lot for me to take both kids, do all the shopping, unload everything from the cart to check out, reload all the bags into the cart, unload them into the trunk, carry them into the house, and put it all away. As soon as I got it all done, it was lunchtime, then time to put the kids down for nap. By the time I got them down for nap, I was having some minor cramps and just feeling SO exhausted. Chris and I decided then that from now until the end of this pregnancy, he was just going to have to help me with the big grocery/cosmetics shopping. He is actually completely willing to take the list I make and go on his own, but I'm not quite ready to relinquish that control yet :-). I (like everyone probably) like certain brands of certain things, so I still want to go with him to make sure we get what I want. We went as a family and did the shopping on Friday, and it worked out really well. I was still worn out when we got home, but it was much, much better. Just having Chris there to push the {heavy} cart and load and unload everything was HUGE. 

Along with the grocery shopping, I've had to really slow down on the housework as well. I will have great intentions when I get up in the morning regarding what I want to accomplish for the day, but I just don't have the stamina to get a ton done at a time. I've found that if I work for a while, then rest for 15 or so minutes, then work for a bit, etc, that I do okay. I'm just really trying to listen to my body and not push it too hard. Our number one goal right now is for me to carry these babies as long as possible, so despite how frustrating it is to me, I just have to take it a bit easier than I'm used to. Of course, there's a lot of guilt for me that comes along with this. I hate that Chris works all day, then comes home and has to pick up the slack around here (although he's been great about it!). I hate that my kids want to go and do things, and some days I just have to say no. I hate that I just can't always do everything I want and need to do. 

Some days are just harder than others. They are harder than I anticipated they would be, and knowing that this is going to continue to get even more difficult is a little overwhelming on days like that. I had a few days of feeling pretty discouraged this past week. Saturday was one of those days as it was just a tough day physically for me. I didn't feel great (cold-like symptoms), and my body just ached. I had slept horribly the night before, but my body wouldn't let me nap. I felt very nauseous all day. Chris was pretty much solo parenting on his day off, the kids were begging me to play with them, and all I could do was sit around trying to breathe with two babies kicking me in the lungs. I'm not normally one to get emotional and cry about things, but I did shed some tears that night. We want these babies so badly - we prayed for them so fervently - and this pregnancy is an answer to prayer! It's our dream coming true, so I feel like I have no right to complain or be unhappy in any way. I even feel bad writing about it on here because I don't want to seem ungrateful for the blessings God has poured on us for even one second. But - the truth is - just because we're grateful and happy and wouldn't trade it for anything doesn't mean that it's easy or that there's never going to be hard times. I just have to keep trying to keep it all in perspective and see the big picture. 

After some tears and some prayer and a good night's rest, I felt exponentially better on Sunday. Praising God for that!

One last thing . . . today is my 34th birthday! My dream was always to be a young mom, so I never imagined that I'd be pregnant (with twins!) at 34 years old, but I am incredibly grateful that I am! I was 28 (turned 29) when I was pregnant with Brianna, and I do think that being 5 years older makes a big difference when it comes to how well the body handles pregnancy. However, I am thankful for the perspective and {hopefully} bit of wisdom that has also come with age. And, it's not like I'm ancient. After all, 34 is looking younger and younger :-). 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Halloween 2014!

Ever since having kids, our Halloween lasts pretty much a full week. Halloween was one of the {many} holidays that wasn't on my radar - except as Chris's birthday - before having children, but is now a pretty big deal. We don't do any kind of creepy, scary, or spooky things, but we sure do enjoy the other activities we do!

I decided that I wanted to do a literary theme this year for Halloween. However, Brianna really wanted to dress as a princess. Fortunately, I was able to convince her to be Olivia the pig from the Olivia books, while Brenson dressed as Max from Where the Wild Things Are.

Funny thing about Brenson: He will often get something in his head and there is NO talking him out of it. He decided that he DID NOT want to dress as Max. Instead, he wanted to be Peter Pan again like he was last year. I had already ordered his costume, so I tried repeatedly to talk about how great Max would be, how he would get candy, etc. But, he wasn't having it. There was no convincing him. Finally, Brianna told him that he could dress as Max and we would call him Peter Pan . . . and it worked! From that point forward, he was happy to be Max (and, he did allow us to call him Max), and truly was the cutest Max I've ever seen! I'm glad she knew how to get through to him, because I was failing miserably!

So, we kicked off our Halloween activities by attending a Trunk-of-Treats event that we go to each year. It was the Sunday before Halloween (October 26th), and is an event where our friends, Wes & Kendall, generally have a trunk. This year, their trunk was a chicken coop (SO cute!), and Wes, Caroline, and Julia were all dressed as chickens! Ha! They were adorable!

Brenson was very serious about collecting candy! Brianna enjoyed visiting a bit more like her Momma. Oh, and it was 90 degrees this day, so still very warm that evening. Poor Bren ended up getting super hot in his costume, but he didn't complain or ask to take it off. Trooper!

Along with the trunks, this event also has a variety of bounce houses for the children. We've never participated in this portion of the event before, but there was no getting out of it this year. Our kiddos love bounce houses, so we allowed them to play for just about 15 minutes. 

We did go ahead and take Bren's costume off for this since it was white!

As usual, we had a GREAT time and got a TON of candy. This is one of our favorite Halloween events!

The following Tuesday night (October 28th), we decided to do our family pumpkin carving evening. I love the our kids are old enough now (especially Brianna) to enjoy the activities and even remember them from last year. 

So excited to carve the pumpkin!

Brenson wasn't sure about cutting into his pumpkin :-).

For the first time, Brianna actually helped clean out the pumpkin goop. Love the look on her face :-).

Brenson thought he wanted to help, but when it came time to put his hand in the pumpkin he started crying, ha!

No worries, as soon as we told him he didn't have to touch it, he cheered up again!

We had patterns to cut, but Brianna decided she just wanted a standard Jack-o-lantern. So, we did it the old school way and just drew a face on our pumpkin.

Then, we started cutting out the pieces!

Chris and Brenson decided to use a pattern and carve a witch.

Brianna was very proud of our Jack-o-lantern!

I thought it came out pretty cute, too!

Of course, I had to compare the pumpkin to my baby belly . . . not too much of a difference!

Chris and Brenson's witch ended up turning out GREAT! I was impressed!

Chris can be a bit of a perfectionist, so I'm not too surprised at how well it turned out.

I think the boys officially won our boys vs. girls carving contest :-).

This is a tradition that we all enjoy, and it just gets more fun as the kids get older!

After carving our pumpkins, we always roast the pumpkin seeds. We all enjoy eating the roasted seeds, and pumpkin seeds are packed with good nutrition. It takes a while to wash and prepare the seeds, but it's worth it to us!

Brianna loves helping me wash the seeds.

After washing the seeds, we lay them out on a pan to spray with olive oil.

My baby bump hits right at the height of the counter top, so it makes standing at the sink really difficult for me. I have to lean way over and it causes my back to ache. So, this year, Chris and Brenson took over the task of washing the seeds. I didn't mind :-).

In the meantime, Brianna and I oiled and salted the first pan of seeds.

Brenson wanted in on the salting process, so he helped with the second pan.

Soon, they were ready to bake! We bake them at 250 degrees for about 2 hours. I like them very crispy, and they turn out perfect this way!

The next morning (Wednesday, October 29th), we wore our costumes to Library Story Time. All the kids in costume looked so precious!

I ADORE this photo of Max and Olivia laughing! My sweeties :-).

Listening intently to the story . . .

For our next activity, we went to the local festival in the town where my sister lives. This festival is called Boologah, and was held on Thursday, October 30th.

Max was way more interested in eating popcorn than in the candy! Ha!

This festival is held on Main Street of the town. Many local merchants hand out candy and there are a few games to play, as well. Don't you just love Max's tail?!?

Playing a few games . . .

Olivia and Chloe the Cowgirl had a great time!

Cutest cowgirl around!

My very favorite photo of Max! Be still my heart!

My sweet Olivia girl!

Love these three!

As our final Halloween activity, we wore our costumes to our Mommy and Me preschool class, Miss Shelly's, on Friday morning (Halloween day). 

Again, all the kiddos looked so adorable in their costumes.

Playing No-No Peeking.

It was hilarious that both of the kiddos sitting by Brenson couldn't help but pet him! His costume was very soft, and that tail was just irresistible to the other kids!

Miss Shelly had a special Halloween treat during this class . . . Halloween cookies!

Once again, we decided that eating a cookie in a white Max costume was probably not the best idea!

Daddy took the day off work to join us . . . we love having him in class with us!

It ended up being really cold on Halloween night, so we didn't go trick-or-treating again. Besides, we had more candy than any family needs!!! Instead, we stayed home and celebrated Daddy's birthday. I'm always feeling really done with Halloween by the time we participate in all our activities, but I am thankful that we get good use out of our costumes! I can't imagine what next year will be like with two more littles added to the mix . . . eeeeep! Thinking about it makes me so excited!!!