Sunday, October 30, 2011

I Asked For It.

Life is a dream. I know you think I am only saying that because I am so sleep deprived that I walk around in a sleepless stupor every day, but truly, it is. Even when I went shopping yesterday (one of my last guilty pleasures, since C will be the doing shopping now), and the woman checking me out looked at my uncomfortable 46 inch circumference and said, "I'm sorry," I thought, I wanted this. I asked for it. It's my dream come true to be expecting A BABY, let along TWO!
This morning after a sleepless night during which I tearfully read the NICU chapter in my multiples baby book, I stumbled out of bed at 10 AM into the loving arms of my husband who told me how beautiful I looked. I finally made it into the shower and looked down to find a pristine bathtub scrubbed pumice stone to porcelain by my prince charming and that terrible ring around the drain that I firmly believed was permanent was GONE. I almost cried with joy and couldn't thank him enough for my clean tub AND my clean toilets! Alas, with the water softener, we won't have hard-water battles ahead of us, but six years of mineral water damage takes a little time to resolve.
I sat in church next to my hubby who gently rubbed my belly where little Cricket's head and bum are located. They respond to gentle touches and seem to like music also. Peanut kicked excitedly during some of the music. No, not making this up. Studies show that at this stage babies do respond to music and to light changes from natural light to artificial light.

This is my happily ever after, sure to be filled with tears and aches and pains and even heartache, but what fairy tale is free from those things? The wait has been worthwhile. The discomfort is priceless. Even the scars from giving birth will be tokens of the miracles with which we have been blessed. Every moment of this journey is splendid and magnificent, stretching my foggy pregnant mind in ways that I never thought possible. Here's to gratitude for the journey, no matter the outcome, no matter the struggles that lie ahead. Here's to my personal glorious storybook tale with prince charming and two wonderful little maidens on the way.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Penny likes to bully Kawi. It's a conure thing, I'm pretty sure. She is very sweet, cuddly, and very bossy and territorial. One day I found Kawi in the garbage can because Penny wanted his stand. Despite his attempts to ward her off, she continues to win the battle for Kawi's bathroom stand unless we intervene. Here is a video of her getting caught in the act of invasion:

Thursday, October 27, 2011


At Walmart while picking up taco shells for dinner tonight:

Woman in line behind me, cold turkey: Do you mind if I ask you when you are expecting?

Me to myself: If I say December, she may drop over dead.
Me to woman in line: Uh, I have twins, so, not until December.

Woman in line: Oooohhhh... I was going to say, either she's buying her last meal before she delivers or...

Me: Yeah, people used to look at my cute little belly, but now they just look worried when they see me.

Woman in line and cashier and others in line, laughing. As I walk off they all talk about how huge I am. Really, but it's nothing to get your feelings hurt over, it's just the truth.

Tonight, while getting ready for bed:

Me: So, help me understand what happened last night with the toilet paper...

C: Well, I meant to replace it, but then I just got busy and forgot. I didn't mean to...

Me: I know, that's why I thought I'd ask when I was calm and didn't feel like killing anyone.

Flashback to last night: Me, making my usual nightly bathroom run. No TP. Not even a square. Not even a cardboard roll. Me, marching through the bedroom, exclaiming to my very asleep husband at 3AM, "When the TP is OUT, you REPLACE it!" 

Bear in mind that this is after four very sleepless nights and much sleep deprivation. C puts dates on the air filters, oil filters, and water filters in the house and changes them right on time. This is a very considerate man who does not leave something undone because he's being lazy, but logic like that doesn't kick in for a paperless pregnant woman at 3AM.

C is running a 5K this weekend. Not running IN a 5K, but he's in charge of it. Organizing it. I helped out a wee bit and purchased a couple of items for him on my Walmart shuffle. It's fun to see him getting the route and supplies ready and I think he's enjoying it as well.

Well, it looks like we are getting our baby-friendly car tomorrow. One more item out of the way. Our bathroom remodel has been delayed due to a window mix-up. It won't arrive until next week, which sets us back a bit, but C will have time to tear out part of our fence to make room for the new shed, so it should work out okay. Everything seems to be moving so quickly around me these days, and I just move slower and slower.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My Little Kicker

I just might have one of these inside of me:

Remember Cricket? If you don't, this is her latest portrait, in which she was rather wiggley, so it didn't come out especially clean:

It was better than her sister Peanut, who we couldn't get a shot of at all. She was cuddled up behind Cricket, and right after the photo, Cricket turned around to cuddle Peanut as well.

If there is one thing I have learned about Cricket, it's that she loves to kick. Every time we visit a nurse I warn them, "As soon as you put monitors on her, she'll kick them." They smile and nod, and then for the next five minutes all you can hear is Cricket kicking the monitor.

"You weren't kidding!" They say. That's my little kicker. Sometimes if I get my laptop too close to her while working, she kicks it too. I guess when you have limited space, you are willing to fight for what you have. No wonder Peanut is curled up at the very bottom of my uterus - I am not sure she had an option. At least they are in separate placentas, or who knows what we'd have.

For those interested in the latest belly shot, measuring 45" in circumference, here she is, although C claims that it doesn't do justice to just how big my belly is:

Finally, I think our newest hobby is spending money, only not on anything fun. We have most of the baby items, but now we are buying exciting items like new door handles, a water softener, a shed to make more space inside of the house, and remodeling supplies for the bathroom. Two days ago C sold his little Jetta, and we are getting close to nailing down our new-to-us baby vehicle. We found a car that is two years old, but only has 18K miles and is still under warranty. C's requirement is AWD for safety, and mine is V6 for gumption. The previous owner drove it just to work and back, so we feel lucky to have found something with minimal wear. While it isn't much for bling, it should be a reliable vehicle for years to come.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

No Sugar for Cain

Dear Mr. Cain,

I appreciate your enthusiastic approach to solving financial problems for the nation, however, let me say that it seems troubling that part of your solution involves tacking almost 10% tax on food. It seems unwise in my opinion to exacerbate the issue of poverty (an issue you should understand, given your childhood circumstances) by adding malnutrition to the mix. We already have enough people struggling to buy food for their families without inflating food taxes.

On that note, may I recommend a different financial adviser than a small-town Ohio banker to help solve the nation's debt problems? Were he a bit more experienced on these matters, he might have pointed out that low-income families would experience a tax increase of almost 85%, while most of us would see a 10% increase in taxes on average...except for the wealthy, that is. They'd be getting a pretty good deal with this plan. You are a mathematician, sir. Certainly you have to take these things into account.

While it doesn't take a rocket scientist to run this nation (which I respectfully recognize you have been), it does take a bit more thought than what seems to have been invested in your pre-presidential fiscal plans.

Best Regards,

Monday, October 24, 2011

Once Upon a Spoonful of Brewer's Yeast

This video hit disturbingly close to home.

Grandma was a nurse. When we visited her, she felt it was her sworn duty to detox us from the white bread and sugar we often ate at home. Do you know what happens when you feed a kid whole wheat when they are used to white? One word: fiber.

She had a glass blender on her counter in which she tossed ingredients like dandelion greens to make green smoothies. I remember her admiring a huge dandelion on a neighbor's lawn and asking for an instrument to dig it out of the ground so she could take it home.

Whenever we were grumpy or tired, she offered us applesauce, but it always tasted funny (due to the vitamin C tablets she crushed up in each dish). Her soybean (the primary ingredient in tofu) cheesecake often went untouched at family events, and candy or sugar of any kind was forbidden inside of the walls of her home.

Brewer's yeast was called "happy juice" in my home, because it made kids happy, er, at least those who would drink it. Yep, I was the kid who ate all of the healthy food and liked it. For those who don't know, Brewer's yeast is the primary ingredient in B Vitamin complex. I don't know about it removing warts like this video claims, but it often made you break out when you started taking it, and if you kept taking it, it kept your complexion clear.

Some of that healthy-stuff rubbed off on my dad. We had a capsule maker at home, and these were often filled with Barley Green, Bee Pollen, Golden Seal, or some other cure-all of the week. The handful of pills plunked down on the table in the video above was not an unlikely site, although we always maintained our own will on the matter.

I personally never got into the pill-ordeal, as exciting as it might seem, except to help fill capsules for my dad, and nobody in my family got into the bubble mushroom tea, although a woman I lived with did. That was just weird.  These days it's essential oils, which I still don't subscribe to, but to each their own. That's what makes this a free country, with liberty to follow health fads for all!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Of Diaper Cakes and Dimpled Feet

You know how after a long, hard day at work, you can't wait to take off some uncomfortable clothing item like shoes, or nylons, or other three-letter unmentionables? Yesterday I had the odd sensation of, "Whew! My workday is done. I can finally take off this enormous belly!" Only then I realized that I couldn't, see?

We have been the recipients of four lovely diaper cakes. As I have mentioned before, diapers are about to become as essential to us as lifeblood, so receiving diapers is a reasonably important event. The key is knowing how long a baby will be in a particular size of diaper, and since diaper cakes aren't something you can return to the store if you get too many of a particular size, one is always grateful to receive larger sizes of diapers.

Newborn size usually only lasts for about a week, and we have that one covered so far with several packages of newborn diapers and a newborn diaper cake. With twins they could be in that size a bit longer, but you get the point. Ah, but it's so much fun to buy the newborn items. I have been there, only now I "get" why newborn shower gifts, while popular, are not always the most helpful. Keep the tags on, because you might want to swap those clothes for a bigger size later.

Finally, while serving a mission I met a young couple who were expecting. The man was dashingly handsome and the wife was, well... big and somewhat puffy. I remember the woman sitting with her feet up when we came to visit, and showing us how when you pushed on her skin, it remained dimpled - er, dented. It just stayed like that. I left that area for a while and when I returned, there was their new little baby girl and a very skinny little wife. Water retention is a bear.

These days I find myself in the same boat as this young mother, big (as in people stare when I walk past them) and puffy. I have some very helpful individuals who seem to think that my puffy feet require some great advice about exercise during pregnancy. To these I gently and kindly mention that I was rather actively engaged in exercise until
A. I realized that it was causing contractions,
B. My feet and hands started to swell during the activities they have suggested, and
C. My doc told me not to.

I have thus far managed to suppress my inside voice that wants to say, "Dude, I'm not fat, I'm pregnant with twins!" Alas, those who have actually had twins often comment on how small and mobile I still am, and are impressed I haven't yet been confined to bed rest.
The secret to my success? I have an awesome husband who has voluntarily and willingly taken on (along with remodeling the master bath, yard care, and a list of other tasks) dishes, laundry, cleaning up after the birds, sweeping, vacuuming, shopping and more WHILE fighting a cold. He is often heard to tell me not to do anything that he can do for me, and to go put my feet up and relax. I tried to sweep the kitchen yesterday and was firmly chastised. What a nice guy. Can we say whoop? WHOOP! Whoop? WHOOP!!! Yep, I landed a winner. He's my hero.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Let's Face it...

Mom is planning another shower for me. She texted me and asked if 4:00 PM was okay. I thought about the expectations of a meal around 4:00, and suggested 2:00. Her response? She wanted to hold an elegant dinner for me. Well, so much for making her life easier. I have a feeling it will be full-blown antique crystal. I love the ancestral crystal. It's beautiful and elegant, but always makes me worry when we use it. Once we had one of the Lost Boys from Sudan over for Thanksgiving at her home, and he looked even more nervous at the paper-thin stemware.

It's a funny thing. With a mother who spares no effort at elaborate celebrations, you'd think that some of that would have rubbed off on me. My sparse household and holiday decorations say otherwise.

Today mom texted me: Are you on bedrest? People are asking.

Me: Not on bedrest. Babies and I are fine.

Why would people ask this, I thought. Then I went to church and heard about this person and that person who are already on bedrest, and are not as far along as I am. I guess me being almost 30 weeks along gives cause for concern.

The people at church are very caring. I am trying to learn how to cope with very caring. I once told my mom that I am no good at giving or receiving "there-theres." Some people love all of the attention, and want the world checking in on them and fussing over them. I am not of that species. I am not above asking for help when I really need it, but I am also not going to ask for help if I don't need it. I'll just leave it at that.

I finished Baby Wise this morning. I had it on Kindle on my iPhone, so it has been my sleepless night reading for the past couple of months. One bit of advice I really appreciated was this: don't have family come to visit (as in stay with you) until babies are 2 weeks old. That way, you have an established routine and you are confident with what you are doing, and you can counteract their well meaning advice. A friend shared a perfect example of this with me, so I am a believer.

Finally, you should know that my waist has grown almost 20 inches. 20 inches, and still two months to go! C is a bit astounded that a human body is able to stretch like this, supportive and kind as he is. I just hope I don't have to buy more maternity clothes. This is getting expensive.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Past Week Prep:

I picked up the stroller yesterday, and the changing pad. Did I mention that my box of 84 diapers will last a week? Times 52.

I bought jersey sheets for the crib. Six of them.

A friend gave me a bag of used clothes and I sorted them by age, and then thought about buying bins to keep them organized.

I had the car seat inspected. The inspector was very pleased that we bought the big seat rather than the infant carrier because they grow out of those tiny things so fast, and they are supposed to be rear facing for two years! Did not know!

I scheduled an appointment to meet a pediatrician. Did you know you are supposed to have a pede before the babies are born? I did not know these things...

I ordered a mobile online at 5 AM this morning. It's a Tiny Love Developmental mobile, but much cheaper on Amazon. Brain stimuli = good for babies.

I also found my baby monitor:

I know, I am such a nerd for loving a baby monitor that let's my Skype my girls.

I really need to do something besides prep for babies... okay, my next entry is going to spotlight our bathroom remodel.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Of Caesar and Stretch Armstrong

"The Caesarean section operation did not derive its name from the fact that Julius Caesar was supposedly born in this manner. It was called Caesarean because the Roman, or Caesarean, law demanded that when a pregnant woman died, her body could not be buried until the child had been removed. The law also stipulated that a Caesarean section could not be performed on a living pregnant woman until the tenth month of gestation. Ancient physicians were unable to save the life of the mother in such cases, thus the procedure was rarely performed. We know from ancient sources that Julius Caesar could not have been born by Caesarean section, because his mother lived to be an adviser to her grown son."

Two things that a pregnant woman should not do while her husband is out of town:
1. Read about C-sections in her pregnancy books and
2. Discover that she has acquired stretch marks.

As it turns out, my odds for a C-section are reasonably good. 50% good, in fact. I am starting to stare that fact in the face, knife and all. There are some positives here. First, women are often disappointed because they can't tell when the actual birth happens. By talking about it with your doc ahead of time, you can request a narrated surgery so you know the moment each child is born. Second, you can request that the drape be dropped for a moment enough to see your little one after it is removed from the womb, and then ask that the little one be handed to your husband (who is allowed to sit behind the drape with you) so you can at least see him holding the baby/babies even though you won't be allowed to hold them until after the surgery is complete.

There are some other considerations as well, but I am trying to look on the bright side. I have been slated for a vaginal delivery, but my little Peanut has six weeks to rotate, and has been in the same position for the past six weeks. While I am hopeful, I am not an idiot. SIGH. The last part of the chapter encourages one to focus on all of the beautiful happy times and years ahead rather than the mode of delivery, so that's good advice. Envision the beyond moments. I have a pretty awesome imagination, so that will come in handy.

It's been a few weeks since people have seen me, so at my shower there were plenty of big eyes looking at my expanding belly. I'll have to put some pics up soon. Did I mention that I had to get more maternity clothes because I outgrew the ones I had? I am no longer the "cute" prego lady, although everyone still tells me how great I look, I am now the ever-expanding prego lady. People just look at me and say, "Twins, right?" Thankfully I can confirm that.

With all of this expansion, I have been very diligent with my collagen/elastin/vitamin E lotion regimen for stretch marks, only I somehow forgot my underbelly. Wise to look in the mirror as you lather up with lotion, friends, because my underbelly got missed and it shows. I wonder if women in the bible ever worried about stretch marks. I just have to remember: that section of my body may look a lot worse when it's over, scar and all, so I just need to let it go. I have better things to worry about.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Penny Encounters a Penny

Shower Power

C's grandparents added this new piece of artwork in their bathroom. I think I love it.

The ward shower was great today. I think one of my favorite parts was the words of wisdom shared. They were very touching, It was so nice to hear and read the kind words from so many sisters. Tonight I finished half of the thank you notes for the many kind and generous gifts. I hope to get through the rest tomorrow. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

This n' That

I listened to Kawi as he spent 5-10 minutes making nose-blowing sounds in his cage this week. I think my pregnancy sinus issues are getting to him. Also, when we are outside on the hammock and a scary butterfly floats by, Kawi uses my huge belly as a barrier to hide behind. See what I've been reduced to?

I am beginning to understand what a bowling ball feels like, both when eating and sleeping. Today I knocked a container of pineapple tartar sauce onto the floor when getting up from a restaurant table, and it splashed onto my pants. I just kept walking, and cleaned up when I got to the car. Also, I totally get what a hamster ball feels like. Rolling is the best (and often only) way to get out of bed these days, and sometimes I think those kicks and wiggles sabotage my efforts to move in the right direction.

I have a rational fear of getting stuck on the floor and being unable to get back up. This week while buying paint for the fence, C called my cell phone. I explained that I should be able to help with some of the painting, and he suggested I spend time in my garden instead. "Er, bending over is a little difficult for me these days..." I explained while a crowd of people at the paint counter looked on. At the grocery store this week, the clerk smiled at my bulging belly and said, "Anytime now?" I smiled back and told her I still had more than two months to go.

Today I had the safety department show me how to install our car seats, and I came to the conclusion that they are NOT going to fit in our car.

Unless we both want to kiss the dashboard, that is...

We have been looking at Crossovers for options already, but this conclusion moves the priority up a bit on the backlog of projects to be completed in pre-baby time including a shed, a bath remodel, a water softener, fence painting, and {I wish} a deck??? Okay, so the deck just isn't going to make it this iterative release. Somehow a garbage can enclosure made it onto the list, due to additional space needed in the garage. So be it, but C, you are not off the hook with that deck forever. You say it's my project, but as project manager, I hire you as lead contractor. So there.

Tomorrow is my baby shower and I'm not sure what to expect. Sure, I have attended showers before, but of course, never for me. They can be lots of fun, but since I am the primary president of almost 100 children, the children have also been invited to the shower/celebration of our baby girls. I can honestly say that I have never attended a shower with children in attendance, so it will be a new experience. There will be no juicy breastfeeding or child-birthing stories shared at this shower, I assure you. Also, I am usually the one planning events for other people, so oddly, I feel a little uncomfortable just showing up to something being held on my behalf without any effort on my part. These are very kind people, and I am sure it will be a wonderful experience.

Well, that's all my mushy brain can contribute for now folks. May all good things come your way!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Late Night Rendezvous with Technology

3 AM: I wake. I reach for my iPhone to play a few rounds of glass blocks to help lull me back to sleep, but this waking is fatal. I am up for the count. I Skype my friend who just moved to the Philippines on my iPhone, and she decides to Skype call, which is great, minus the sleeping man in bed with me. I get up, throw on a polar fleece for decency, and can't figure out how my phone can Skype call out, so I ask her to call again. There on my phone is her bright, beautiful face lit by daylight. I hunker down in the living room for a savory chat, catching up on her new accommodations and even getting a tour of the view from their high-rise apartment by her husband. Nobody afraid of heights should live in that building! I showed her the crib C put together the night before, and then she got off to make dinner. It's just really cool to have a friend to talk to at 3 AM!

I decided to eat a swatch of breakfast, and settled down to do some work. I worked on some rather tedious but critical verification, and then decided to post a job on Facebook. Since the majority of my time on FB is used to connect and network with others in my industry (yes, I do LinkedIn as well), I had several responses to my job offer even in those wee hours. No doubt those in my industry are saying, "It's just like her to post a job on Facebook." What can I say, I network with some real A-Players, and what better way to gauge interest in a position than reach out to those you know are competent and capable? The results exceeded my expectations.

I finally wandered back to bed around 6 AM, just in time to hear C's alarm go off as I snuggled in next to his warm sleepy self. The next thing I knew he was dressed for the day and leaning close for a prayer and a goodbye. As he left the room I excitedly told him about how Bruce showed me the golf course and sunset in the Philippines, and how Becca told me all about how things were going. "Go back to sleep," he said softly, and I did.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Baby Ethics

Crib Craze
It's amazing how many people suddenly weigh in with opinions when you are about to have your first child. With twins, one of those ethical dilemmas is the crib. I can't tell you how many people have adopted a stern and serious look when I mentioned that the "cribs" were arriving (we pick them up today - YEAH!). They proceed to ask if we are going to keep the twins in separate cribs. Sigh. These cribs convert into beds, and since twins can't sleep together forever, we purchased two of the same, with plans to use one for as long as we can. Why people feel the right to know this, or have some opinion on how our babies sleep is beyond me. The naughty me wants to say, "Crib? They are going to sleep in our dresser drawers for the first few months."

Bottles and Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is another issue. Indeed, I never considered NOT breastfeeding, and would be devastated if I couldn't, but with twins, it's completely logical to me to pump into bottles in addition to skin-to-skin. I really don't care what anyone else thinks about that. They will still get tender loving care and the best nutrition possible (and others will get to help feed them), but the minute you mention the word "bottle," the reaction can be rather interesting.

With a mother who was a pioneer in La Leche League at a time when breastfeeding was considered taboo, one would think that she would be the one turning up the heat, but not so. Thanks, ma, for helping change the world for the improved health of infants at a time when health professionals didn't get it. Now they really get it, and all of that hard work has changed the landscape of infant nutrition! Also, thanks for committing to never judge someone's feeding choice. That's just commendable for one who was on the receiving end of so much criticism for breastfeeding and laying the foundation for women to breastfeed in public without being charged for indecent exposure!

Alcohol vs. Drugs
We attended our last prenatal class last night. I am sure C asked over and over in his mind why I wanted him to come to that class with me, but there he was, tending to one of our two baby dolls as if it were the real thing. Later he explained, "I just wanted to prove to you that if I can hold and take care of a fake baby for 2.5 hours, I can take care of a real one for at least 10-15 minutes!"

He leaned over after the first two hours and said, "I am bored out of my mind, and the answer to every single question is, 'it depends!'" I laughed because he was right.

When he later mentioned that he never heard the answer to how augmentation impacted breastfeeding, I said, "You were sending an e-mail when she gave the answer. It was, 'It depends.'"

When discussing the ability for Rx drugs to cross into breastmilk, the lactation specialist comforted everyone by explaining that very few drugs do cross over. C, who appreciates a good controversy asked, "What about alcohol?" Everyone in the room stared, including the lactation specialist. She sternly mumbled something about all of it crossing over. My public self wanted to deflect the searing stares by explaining that neither of us drink alcohol, but I just absorbed it all with a sigh. C wasn't impressed with the "alcohol-bad, drugs-good" message conveyed in the meeting, since prescription drugs are abused rather prevalently in our culture.

Parenthood sure opens up a can of rainbow colored worms, and while we are huge advocates for privacy, we are also learning how to adapt to the varying opinions floating around about what's right. A good friend put it like this, "They are your responsibility, so while everyone else will have an opinion, it's up to you to make sure your babies get what they need."

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Forever Preparing


Imagine spending twelve years preparing for something that never happens, and when it is finally about to happen, you feel so incredibly unprepared that preparation becomes an obsession. With only months between today and the day that your whole life will change, you find yourself running through the veritable checklist that will inevitably not include some essential item.

To make things worse, it will be wintertime, you will have two babies susceptible to RSV season, and you likely won't be very mobile for the first two or three months. Talk about life changes. You don't only want to prepare for the first few days, but rather the first few months.

You have in your arsenal two huge boxes of wipes, but diapers? You aren't sure how big they'll arrive or how fast they'll grow, so you aren't sure how long they'll be in newborn diapers, and how many should you have? A box of 84 diapers won't go very far with twins at 16 diapers a day. That's only like a week's worth of diapers! We are talking about $25/week for diapers; that's $1300/year! Holy Guacamole! Don't tell C, though. That's just frightening. I am already celebrating the day we are potty trained.

Oh, and did you know that the average time for twins to deliver is 35 weeks? That's Thanksgiving. That's a little over seven weeks away. Oh my. So here's to happy swooning over our lives drastically changing in just a matter of weeks.

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