Monday, October 20, 2014

Twin Pregnancy: 23 Weeks!

As of today, we are now 23 weeks along in our pregnancy with the twinbies! I will say that I've been feeling much farther along than I am, but this week I have definitely felt like I am closer to 30ish weeks. I'm sure that's because I'm carrying two babies at once!

 The twin baby belly:
If you think I look extremely tired in the above photo, that's because I was! I spent 3 days in Chicago on a trip with three of my besties this past week, and that photo was taken the morning after we got home. It was a GREAT trip, but I was EXHAUSTED by the time we got home. I will do a full post or two all about the trip soon :-).

Here is a photo we took of me while in Chicago. Isn't the foliage unbelievable?!? It was the perfect time to visit the city.

I took the photo below on Saturday evening, while on the plane flying home. We did a TON of walking in the city . . . lots of stairs, riding public transportation, being on our feet, etc. By the time we boarded the plane, my back was aching something fierce. I noticed each day that as the day would go on and I would get more tired, I would start to really arch my lower back while walking. I was extremely uncomfortable on the plane, but every time I looked down and saw the baby belly it made me smile. Love it!

With all the walking I did on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in Chicago, I was kind of surprised by a three pound weight gain when I weighed this morning! We did eat well while in the city, but we seriously walked SO MUCH. That puts my total weight gain at 13 pounds now. I think the babies are still in a major growth spurt (judging by how my belly is rapidly growing), and it makes me happy to know they are growing :-).

While on our trip, I had several people ask me when I am due or how far along I am. I always say, "I'm such-and-such far along . . . with twins!" I mean, I'm pretty huge so I like to clarify that there are two babies :-). The next question is generally, "Are these your first?" People tend to act pretty surprised when I tell them that I also have a 2 year old and a 4 year old! I even had people give up their seats for me on the "L" and on a city bus in Chicago, so that was nice. And you had better believe, I took advantage of it! My feet were swollen on Saturday night after flying, but I propped them up while sleeping and they have been fine since then.

I'm not really having any cravings right now. I made my way through most of a box of Twinkies (the kids ate a few), but I'm not feeling like I want to go buy another box. I am craving water throughout the day, so that's a good thing. Of course, drinking tons of water results in having to use the bathroom constantly, but it's worth it. I know it's so important to stay hydrated. We flew to Chicago on Thursday morning, then I drank Coke for lunch that day. Even though I had drank several glasses of water as well, later that afternoon (after tons of walking) I started to have some cramps in my lower abdomen. We were trying to make our way back to our hotel room, but I told the girls I needed to stop and take a break. We sat down at a Starbucks where I downed a bottle of water and immediately felt much better. Later that evening, I made sure to drink several more bottles of water (I think four?) before bed. I really think that I had gotten a bit dehydrated and my body was telling me about it. The girls were always so great to make sure I was okay and that I wasn't overdoing it too much, and I can't tell you how grateful I am for that!

Sleep is back to being much better than it was last week! I think it's partially because I was so exhausted on the trip, but I was sleeping better before we left, too. Each night before bed, Chris has been helping me do leg and back stretches. They have really made a difference with the restless legs and achy hips. They aren't very comfortable to do because if I lay on my back or fold my body up in any way, I feel like I can't breathe. However, they are worth it so I am going to keep at it!

One last thing, I went and got a pedicure early last week before my trip. I normally love having my toes done, but I kind of hated it this time. I'm very sensitive to touch right now (I also had my eyebrows waxed and that was horrible), so my feet were extremely ticklish! Also, she rubbed my calves and feet, and it just bothered me more than it felt good. I initially turned on the pedicure chair to rub my back as well, but turned it off completely after just a few minutes. I've gotten pedicures while pregnant before and can never remember this being an issue. However, I have to keep reminding myself that everything is different (more intense) with this pregnancy!

Today is Chris and my 13th wedding anniversary. We're not going out to celebrate or anything as I'm just too exhausted by the end of the day (officially no fun, I know). However, we ordered food in and are enjoying each other at home :-). Next week we reach the big 24 week milestone!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Mom's 60th Birthday!

My Mom turned 60 years old earlier this month. It's kind of strange to me because I remember her 40th birthday party pretty well (I was a teenager), and now she's 60? It seems to me like my parents should still be in their late 40s! 

My Dad turned 60 about a year and a half ago, and we had a small celebration for him. By celebration, I mean that my brother and his family, my sister and her family, and my family all came to visit for the weekend and went to a special lunch. We decided to do pretty much the same thing for my Mom's birthday. Only this time, my Granny was also able to join us. 

We ALL live in a different state than my parents, so when we all come to visit at the same time the house is pretty crowded and busy. My parents have a four bedroom house, so each family gets a room when we're all there together. Well, since my Granny was also there this time, that meant we were one bedroom short for Friday night (my sister and her family had to head home on Saturday evening since my BIL is a preacher). As a solution to the bed/bedroom issue, Chris and I brought our air mattress and slept in the living room with our kids. It was pretty crazy, and not really something I think I want to do again :-).

Chloe Jo and Brianna before bed Friday night

On Saturday, we headed to Lambert's Cafe for lunch. This place is a fun experience and the same place we ate for Dad's birthday. JT had actually been at a camp until late the night before, so he and Shawna met us at the restaurant. Due to the size of our group, we sat at two tables. 

Brenson insisted on sitting at Grampy's table (which is not where Chris and I were sitting). Here he is with Uncle Jeremy and JT.

And now on the other side of the table with Grampy, G-Jo, and Granny Tiger.

One of the most fun things about Lambert's is that they throw hot rolls across the dining room to whoever wants one. Unlimited hot rolls? Yes,  please! I always let Chris catch my rolls for me (because if I was trying to catch them they would undoubtedly end up on the floor!), but it's still fun to watch them being thrown!

This photo is too funny to me! I love these girlies!

After lunch, we went outside to take a few family photos. It's photos like this that remind me so harshly of Pappy's absence. We certainly missed him, but were so happy that Granny was able to be with us!

This is not the best family photo we've ever taken (it's kind of terrible, actually), but that's life with littles for sure!

My sister's little obviously wasn't feeling photos, either!

My brother and his wife now have two teenagers!

We all headed back to my parents' house for cake and gifts after lunch. We had ordered a cake for the occasion from a local grocery store bakery. When we picked up the cake that morning, we were less than impressed with how it turned out. I mean, look at the writing on the cake! You can't see it in the photo, but the words were actually written (scrawled?) in white icing, then traced over (sort of ) with purple frosting. It was also smashed on the front side when the bakery gave it to us. They ended up not charging us for it, but we were really disappointed in it anyway. AND, to make matters worse, it didn't even taste that great :-(.

We sang Happy Birthday to my Mom then had her open some presents.

She doesn't love being the center of attention, but she deserves it :-).

My sis and her family headed home not long after this, and the rest of us just spent the afternoon hanging out together. Brianna got some quality reading time with Granny.

When it takes years and years and years to have children, yearning to see your parents or grandparents interacting with babies of your own is something you think about often. These moments truly warm my heart because they remind me of God's faithfulness to my hopes and dreams.

Sunday ended up being a very busy day, as well. Shawna grew up in a super small, rural Missouri town about an hour from where my parents live. She has lots of family that still live out that direction, so when they are in town my brother generally preaches for the small country church where much of her family are members. This Sunday, my nephew JT was preaching part of the service, so we all decided to go to church with them to hear him preach. 

Jeremy and Bren before leaving for church:

Of course, we had to take some photos before heading to church.

Isn't this a great photo of my Mom and Granny? Their inside beauty just shines through them as outside beauty.

This is kind of a different grouping of people. Sometimes we have to change things up a bit!

We are so glad we were able to see my nephew preach and be at the little country church with our family. However, the church we attended is a little over an hour further from home for us, so we had a long afternoon/evening of driving after the services were over. The kiddos were tuckered out after our weekend!

Our sweet babies napped almost the entire way home (about 4 hours!)

I'm so thankful we had the opportunity to spend the weekend celebrating my Mom! Even though our family doesn't live close to one another for the most part, it's wonderful to be together several times a year. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Harvest Delight

Last week, we took one of our annual trips to the Pumpkin Patch. We generally visit three different patches each year, but this year I think we're just going to make it to two. The one we visited last week is called Carmichael Pumpkin Patch, and it's one that Chris and I would visit even before we had kiddos. We've gone every year since Brianna was born!

We always go on a weeknight as it's less busy at this time. We chose a Tuesday night this year, and when we got there, our twin BFFs were there, too! This was completely random, as Kendall and I hadn't even talked about taking our kiddos to the pumpkin patch, let alone what day we were going. It was a fun little surprise! Of course, getting a good photo of all four of them is next to impossible! This was the best we could do :-).

What's one of the best parts about running into someone you know at a place like this? You have someone to take your family photo! I adore this photo that Kendall snapped for us!

Our pumpkin patch photos are some of my favorite every year, so I have a rule that we get good photos first, then we get to play and see the animals, pick pumpkins, etc. This was the first year since Brianna's first trip (at 7 months old) that getting good photos of the kids was seriously so easy. They are both old enough to be cooperative for photos for the most part! I did tell Chris that as easy as it was this year, just think of what it'll be like next year when the twins are here. He said that next year will probably be fairly easy compared to the year after that, ha!

My sweet girl is growing up so fast.

This boy is seriously the most photogenic child.


These were the first four photos we took. Can you believe that?!?

And, I love this one that's a bit more close-up.

For the first time, I even decided to attempt a photo of both of them. This was also the first one I took! 

After photos, we grabbed a wagon. One of Brenson's favorite things to do at the pumpkin patch is to ride in a wagon and to pull a wagon!

It was a beautiful evening! The lighting was perfect, and I'm so glad Chris took these next two photos!

After looking at our photos from this trip, I remembered that Chris took a very similar photo of me with Brianna (while I was pregnant with Brenson) three years ago. Once again, can I just say that I'm carrying this pregnancy so much better than I carried him? Love both of these photos, though!

This year, both kids really enjoyed the little haybale maze that was set up for the littles. Brianna raced through it time and time again. 

Brenson was a bit more cautious, but he also went through it multiple times. At the end of our visit, they even asked to go back to it and run through it again.

At one point, Brianna grabbed Brenson's hand and was practically dragging him through the haybale maze. Poor guy, haha!

They were also fascinated with this scarecrow in an outhouse this year. Sigh. This is so typical, though . . . one photo is great of Bren but Brianna isn't looking . . .

. . . and this photo is great of Brianna but not-so-much of Brenson.

Carmichael's has lots of animals to look at, feed, and ride. That's one of the reasons we love this pumpkin patch! This whole area was full of pigs . . . stinky, nasty pigs. Of course, the kids thought they were great!

Brianna loves to feed the goats and sheep. She's a pro these days!

Brenson didn't really want anything to do with touching or feeding the animals. It's okay, bud, I feel the same way!

Bri took a particular liking to this goat :-).

Even this big sheep didn't intimidate her!

Daddy really wanted Brenson to experience feeding a goat. He was so hilarious about it! Here's a great video!

Love my big girl!

Chris has a video on his phone that he took at the pumpkin patch last year of Brenson pulling Brianna in a wagon. Brenson LOVES to watch it over and over. On the rare occasions that he's allowed to play with Chris's phone (mainly in the car to keep him from falling asleep when we don't want him to), we will hear him playing that video over and over again. So of course, he had to pull her in the wagon again this year. Here's a video.

Soaking up these simple moments with my sweet little man.

Last year, we let Brianna ride a pony for the first time. And of course, the child remembered! Pony rides cost extra - and generally we skip anything like that - but we decided to let her do it again this year. MUCH to our surprise, Brenson also wanted to ride an animal. At first, he said he wanted to ride a camel, but quickly changed his mind when he saw how big they were. I was really reluctant to pay for him to ride anything because I know how he can be about that sort of thing. However, he picked out "Shadow" to ride, and rode him like a champ!

Not only did he ride, but he enjoyed it! Smiles the whole time!

Brianna chose to ride Sugar, and later told us it was because she had purple straps. Of course :-).
We'll probably continue the tradition of allowing the kids to ride. They truly enjoy it so much!

Chris snapped this photo of Bren on my phone, and I love it. It just captures him.

On our way out (after choosing a few pumpkins to buy and take home), the kids decided they wanted a photo with this scarecrow. Okay :-).

Then, Brianna wanted to take a photo of Chris and me. I was shocked to see what a good job she did! There were several other shots she took, but this one was by far the best. Brenson also attempted to use the camera, but I think all of his photos were of the ground :-).

This is truly one of my favorite outings we do every year!!!