Saturday, December 31, 2011



Erin starts the new year off like a lot of other people and joins a gym. She begins a work-out regimen and is soon addicted to her "personal time." Carly falls on the ice repeatedly and spends most of the month with swollen bloody lips. Chris begins his second semester at Michigan State and is missed.


The family enjoys MSU's first snow day in 35 years. Carly hits the 18 month mark and finally manages to kick the bottle. She also enters nursery. Both milestones are met with very little resistance. After years of Erin's begging, Chris agrees to watch "The Way We Were" on Valentine's Day and begins to reconsider his choice in spouse.


The family spends Spring Break in Indiana, and Carly gets her first taste of the Indianapolis Children's Museum. Carly locks mommy out of the house. The family heads to Chicago where Chris and Erin enjoy a Blackhawks game from extremely good seats. Erin shows she is somewhat of a prophetess when she blogs about how life is nice and calm and she's sure something crazy will happen soon.


Baseball returns, and so does the sun. Carly looks insanely cute in her Easter dress. Erin and Carly abandon Chris during his busy finals weeks and head out west to party hard and attend the sealing of baby Shayla.


Erin and Carly's trip west is filled with fun and family time, but the girls are happy to be reunited with their man upon their return. Chris finishes one semester, and begins teaching classes in another. The family heads to Lake Michigan with friends for a Memorial Day mini-vacay and everyone gets roasted.


The family joins up with the extended T family for a beyond fabulous week on the Oregon Coast. Erin is drug away from the beach kicking and screaming. Carly comes home with a massive seal. Later in the month, Chris and Erin celebrate their 5th anniversary with a night away in Grand Rapids, where they go to the Gerald R Ford Presidential Museum (because they're cool like that), see Thor, and go out to dinner twice in one night.


The 4th of July is celebrated with a nice weekend in Chicago. Chris teaches classes. Carly loves swimming. Erin gets a positive pregnancy test.


Erin falls into a pit of aweful, uncontrolled vomiting. She tries a few different meds to control the situation. Carly spends a week at Grandma and Papa's house to ensure her survival. Chris and Erin attend a wedding that Erin doesn't really remember. The family does manage to celebrate Carly's 2nd birthday, and adds little Harpo, our beloved beta, to the chaos.


Chris goes back to school. Erin is no longer puking 5 times a day. Harpo gets fed occasionally. So does Carly.


Things are looking up! Erin goes off her meds. Chris is insanely busy. We go to a pumpkin patch and pick out four little pumpkins to represent our growing family. Two weeks later, we learn we should have picked out five little pumpkins: twins are on the way. Erin has an emotional breakdown and Chris leaves town for a conference. Carly is the cutest ghost ever ever ever and loves Trick-or-Treating.


Carly won't stop talking about scary ghosts and bats and owls and how they are "coming to the house to get Carly". Erin swears they will never celebrate Halloween again. The family celebrates the news that a girl and a boy will be joining the ranks. Thanksgiving is celebrated in Indiana, where Erin and Carly relax and get pedicures, and Chris spends most his time grading papers.


Chris completely disappears during two of the busiest weeks in the history of the world. Carly and Erin pass the time Christmas shopping, painting, and watching the Grinch. Carly switches to a big girl bed with only one rough night. She also becomes completley enamoured with "Green Eggs and Ham" and Erin is soon reading it multiple times a day. Erin is massive. Like, really massive. Christmas break finally arrives, and the family slides down the icy freeway to Chicago for Christmas #1, heads over to Indiana for Christmas #2, then enjoys time at home for Christmas #3. The family enjoys a little calm before the impending school-plus-twins storm.

The C Family looks back on a wild but wonderful 2011, and is very curious and excited to see what in the world will occur in 2012.

Happy New Year.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Santa looked a lot like Daddy.

Every Christmas, Chris and I make sure to do a little Christmas in our home. We have done this since our first year together. We enjoy spending a "Christmas" as a little family, and I really cherish this now that we have Carly and life is more hectic then it has ever been before. Soon we'll be a big enough posse to stay home for Christmas day, but for now we are still blessed to be with one family or the other and have a mini Christmas at home. Granted, this means a lot of Christmasing, and I think it kind of confused Carly a bit this year, but she's 2 so she rebounded quickly.

My parents sent their presents to our house, and the night we returned from Indiana we prepped for Michigan Christmas morning. I've heard many stories from my parents of Christmas Eves spent assembling all sorts of gifts, and this year was our first go around. Chris and I put together the toy kitchen my parents got Carly. Have you ever heard the song "Santa looked a lot like Daddy"? I had it in my head for about 10 straight days, something Chris really loved, and that night as he assembled the kitchen, it seemed very appropriate.

[Chris manned the screwdriver; I applied the decorative stickers.]

[After assembly and set-up. I heart Christmas Eve.]

'Christmas' morning Carly came down and was very excited about her new "blanket with a city on it!" and even more excited about "my new kitchen!". In fact, she started playing with the kitchen immediately and we couldn't drag her away. We had to let her cook several courses before we could get her to open any presents.

[bringing mommy a sandwich.] 

I got Chris some new sweaters and pants and stuff. He need to be spruced up a bit now that he is teaching big time college classes. And he isn't returning a single thing. Go me. He got me . . . nothing. Can you believe that? The man know me well, and he knows 1) I love shopping, 2) I don't want any more clothes until I'm done housing two humans, 3) I heart Ikea, and 4) I'm nesting. So he got me a shopping trip to Ikea. We're going on Monday. I'm more than excited.

[Carly showing daddy the correct technique for optimal present-opening.]

Carly got outrageously spoiled this Christmas. With two sets of Grandparents and parents who got killer deals at our last Ikea trip, Carly ended up with 4 big Santa presents: kitchen, table and chairs set, road rug, and an art easel. Whoops. We decided to keep the table and chairs and easel in the basement until a later date, and after her fascination with the kitchen, we rolled up the rug and took it downstairs too. We'll spread the wealth out a little, and I'm sure a new prize won't hurt when the dynamic duo invade. But next Christmas we'll be more specific about limits, considering we'll have 3 kids and we don't live in a 6 bedroom house.

But she did get some fun little things too. I am a particular fan of the Melissa & Doug wooden "paper dolls". At this point, I definitely like them more than she does, but she'll grow into them, I'm sure.

[Mommy dressing the dolls; Carly wondering when she can get back to cooking.]

The twins were not completely neglected. Aunt Camie knitted two sweet little hats for them, and they are just the cutest things ever. I can't wait until those little heads are in the hats and not in my hips.

And my favorite thing I got Chris? A collage of mementos, ticket stubs, and little love notes from our five fabulous years together. I keep things like that in a little box, and saw this idea on Pinterest (of course, I can't take credit), and think it turned out really cute. I have little things like that from Carly's 2 years of life, so I want to make one for her too.

Yay for Pinterest, because I made my parents a gift with map hearts of important places in their lives, and made Chris's parents grandma and grandpa gifts . . . all ideas from Pinterest. We decided to go the sentimental route with our parents this time around, and I think it was a success. Especially since I'm far from crafty, and none of it required advanced skills.

[Phone pic, but it was seriously cute. I want to make one for us now.]

It was a nice Michigan Christmas, and I'm grateful we make the effort to spend this time together as a little family. We spent most of the day in our pajamas playing and cooking and enjoying time together. When it was over, I was 100% ready for Christmas to be over. We took down the tree that night, and I'm loving how big and clean our living room feels now. I always love Christmas decor, but I really love taking it down. Carly came down the next morning and was so sad: "But where did my Christmas tree go?" she kept asking over and over in the saddest little voice.

[Big towers from Carly's new giant pack of Mega Blocks.]

It was a truly wonderful Christmas season, and we are very blessed. I always struggle with January, and I'm sure this year will be no exception, but at the same time, we have a lot to prepare for and look forward to in the coming months. Chris and I talked about how it is funny because usually Christmas is kind of the "main event", the pinnacle of excitement. While this Christmas was wonderful, and I am just loving having my man home right now (please, school, don't come back too fast), Christmas was in a way another marker in time as we count down to this year's real main event. I'll give you two guesses to what that might be, but you'll only need one.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

a Christmas story.

Christmas Eve arrived and we got in our most festive attire to celebrate.

I have to tell you, I found these red shoes and Target and liked them more than a friend. Luckily, Carly shared my sentiments and wore them ALL DAY. During her nap they were on the table right next to her bed. They couldn't go too far. Nothing like a pair of red shoes.

It is a tradition in Chris's family to go out to breakfast on Christmas Eve, so we headed out to Cracker Barrel. There were pancakes and biscuits and gravy and eggs and sausage and chocolate milk galore. A ton of food is always a good way to commence holiday celebrations.

Carly was a big fan of the Cracker Barrel game, but the wait for her blueberry pancakes was pure torture for the poor girl.

We came home and spent the day napping, playing games, watching movies, and baking treats.

We played a great deal of Scrabble, though my pregnancy brain was struggling and my best word was "tinkle". Carly liked to sit by us and "play letters" with her own set. 

Carly was also a very helpful baking assistant.

At last, evening came, and Christmas Eve traditions got into full swing. The presents were brought down and organized under the Christmas tree.

Papa read the Nativity story. Red Baron and Towel had the honor of playing Baby Jesus and the swaddling clothes, respectively. Carly is so sweet with babies, and showed Baby Jesus lots of love.

Then there were Christmas Eve jammies and pictures in front of the tree.

And we all settled in for a long winters nap.

All day we told Carly that "tomorrow is Christmas" and "Santa is coming tonight". When morning came, she exclaimed "It's Christmas!" She caught on pretty well. Some crazy part of me thought Carly would stay in her pjs for present opening, and I explained that everyone would be in their pajamas. No, she insisted, she needed a dress. Of course. So we put on her Christmas dress. For the record, I did try to keep her in her pjs.

We came upstairs and Carly saw the presents and asked, "Where's Santa?"
I guess we didn't explain that he would come AND go before we woke up.

Present opening commenced.
First, stocking presents.

Then the big Santa presents.

And then the rest.
Carly was pretty funny, because she just wanted all the presents open. She wouldn't initially be that interested in what the present actually was, just what would come next. She liked the act of opening the presents more than the presents themselves. But that changed after all the presents were open. She loves her new Repunzel doll, which came with a matching dress-up dress. But I think the biggest hit may have been one of those little wind-up fishing games, where you catch the fish with a magnet fishing pole. Probably about $2, but she loves it and asks, "Wanna go fishing, mama?"

Chris and I were also very spoiled. I may be most excited about our video camera, as Carly does all sorts of cute stuff these days, and we've got two more subjects to film coming soon. Chris was pretty pumped about a bunch of new socks.

After presents, we got all dolled up and headed to Church. I have to admit, I was a grump about having Church on Christmas, but the music and talk given were beautiful, and I was grateful for the opportunity to feel the Spirit on the day we celebrate the Savior's birth.

Oh, Carly's Christmas dress. I have to admit, I'm obsessed with it. Labor Day weekend we went to Cracker Barrel and looked around at the little country store in the front while we waited for our table. And there was the cutest little Southern-style smocked Christmas tree dress. Our years in the South turned me into a sucker for cute smocking. I loved it, but we left without it. I have thought often of the dress in the months since, and every time I looked at Christmas dresses, they paled in comparison. So I got Carly a gray sweater dress and figured it would do the job when paired with those fabulous red shoes. But on Christmas Eve at breakfast, we saw the dress again . . . and it was 50% off. I used my charms on Chris, and we brought it home. I say  it was well worth it, because she looked so insanely cute. And its a little big, so she'll probably be able to wear it as a top next year. Oh, and we know we're having another girl, so Little Miss A will have one adorable Christmas dress waiting for her in a few years.

After Church came naps, movies, games, and pizza.

[Papak snuggling with Red Baron.]

[Repunzel and Carly watching Repunzel.]

It was a nice Christmas.
We are blessed.

Monday, December 26, 2011

let the festivities begin.

{It probably won't come as a surprise, when you take into account how insanely adorable our child is, to hear that we took about 8,000 pictures over the last week. So I decided to cut our Christmas festivities (which are still continuing, by the way) into a few different posts. Enjoy.}

We left Lansing on the 17th. Chris's weeks from h-e-double-hockey-sticks were [mostly] complete, and the plan was to head down to Chicago for the annual extended C family Christmas at Chris's grandma's house. Now, it had not snowed for probably two weeks, and I didn't even think to check to weather. So, of course, we woke up to snow. We headed out anyway, and fishtailed down the freeway. Our 3 1/2 hour trip took nearly 5, but we made it without ending up in a ditch, which not everyone could say that day.

Chicago Christmas is always a fun event. Chris is the oldest out of a big gaggle of teenage/early twenties cousins, a majority of which are girls. There is a lot of food, and a lot of fashion. As the only little child, Carly gets a lot of attention. And I get a lot of relaxation.

[Carly checking out her stocking at Baga's house.]

[waiting for her turn to open her present.]

[checking out Baga's loot.]

After a weekend in Chicago, we headed to Indiana. We spent the week playing, sleeping, eating, decorating sugar cookies, singing Jingle Bells, and even made a visit to Santa Claus. Chris also spent a few days and a late late night finishing up a major paper, but we erased that from our memory bank.

[Despite appearances, Carly loves filling the bird feeders with Papak.]

Can I just say . . . the world is coming apart at the seems. We went to visit Santa at the mall. Now, I'm not a huge "visit Santa" person, and don't have a single childhood memory of doing so. But we got a classic picture of Carly screaming on Santa's lap last year, so I thought maybe we'd get a happy one this year. And Carly kind of gets Santa this year, so I thought it would be fun and get us in the jolly spirit. But, no. The mall required us to pay $20, the price of the minimum "package", if we wanted to take a picture with our own camera. There is something wrong with that. And the line was taking forever because the parents were making their kids pose over and over again and looking at the picture on the computer screen. I understood, because these parents were paying at least twenty bucks, but it was so commercial . . . all about the picture, not about the experience. So I decided to stick it to the man, and not take a picture. Instead, we'd just talk to Santa. But I was disturbed by the world my daughter is growing up in. 

[pictures while waiting in line were free.]

[can't wait to see Santa!]

When it was our turn, Carly marched right up to Santa with no fear. She handed him her towel and said "This is my white towel. It has red stripes on it." He looked highly confused and said "Oh!" in a very nice way. But he didn't ask what she wanted for Christmas. So I suggested she tell him.
She said, "Presents!"
"What kind of presents?" he asked.
"Christmas presents!" she responded.
And then she was done.

So Carly introduced towel, requested Christmas presents for Christmas, and then headed out. The whole thing took a whopping 30 seconds. Yay, for Christmas spirit. At least it makes for a funny story.

[Chris's sister may or may not have snapped a paparazzi picture from a distance.]

After nearly a full week of playing and waiting, by the time Saturday rolled around we were ready for the main event.

[to be continued . . . oh, the suspense.]

Saturday, December 24, 2011

O Holy Night.

I woke up too early the other morning, and couldn't fall back asleep.
My hips hurt.
My back hurt.
And my babies were moving.

My thoughts wandered to another expecting mom.
I thought of Mary, the mother of Jesus, riding a donkey, of all things, all the way to Bethlehem.
I just can't imagine.
I couldn't even make it through the entirety of Sherlock Holmes without going to stand in the back of the theater.
Oh, the things mothers do for their children.

She was a very special mother.
And she had a very special Child.

I'm thinking of them tonight.
I hope you are too.

We hope you have a very Merry Christmas.
Lots of love.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A little bit about the little bits.

Here we are, approaching 26 weeks. I probably have just 10-12 weeks until these kids make an entrance. I'm hoping right at 37 weeks. I'm not sure my emotional and physical state will last much longer than that, but of course I want the babies to be full term. And 37 weeks happens to be Chris's Spring Break, which would be incredibly convenient.

I went to the doctor today. I'm now on a schedule of going to the doctor every two weeks, with an ultrasound every other visit. Its a nice little perk, getting to see the babies more. But it means a lot more time spent in a doctor's office. And since each ultrasound takes about 45 minutes, it also means it is impossible to take Carly with me. Thank goodness there have been no shortages of offers to watch her.

The babies are so big! They don't even fit on the screen anymore. Oh, they grow up so fast. They are so cute though. We saw Baby Boy cross his arms in front of his face a few times, like "No pictures, please" and Little Miss put her hand up to her mouth. A thumb-sucker like her big sister? I hope not. Baby Boy (on the left) is wrapped around my left side and his legs go across the top of my tummy, so he's the one who keeps putting his rump in my ribs. And Little Miss is down tucked away on my right, probably to blame for the serious pain I've got going on in my right hip and lower right side of my back.

[was harder to get good pictures this time, but how cute is baby boy's nose?]

But they look great. They are both just under 2 lbs, with Little Miss at 1 lb 15 oz, and Baby Boy at 1 lb 13 oz. Meaning they've both gained over a pound since we last saw them. Wowzah. One of my main worries lately has been that they would grow unevenly. But they are doing well, and the doctor said since they each have their own placenta, that isn't a big concern.

They are also both still head-down, something my doctor thought was great. He said at this point we'll continue to plan on a normal delivery, and that the babies usually come less than a half an hour apart. I have to admit, the thought of delivering two babies back-to-back makes my head spin, and I have split feelings. I kind of got used to the idea of a scheduled c-section, and all the "conveniences" that come along with it; you know, actually showering before you go to the hospital (which I hadn't done for 2 days when I had Carly . . . . oops) and knowing exactly when the babies will come. Of course, I also had a lot of concern over it, as a c-section is a major surgery requiring major recovery. I actually had a wonderful birth with Carly, with a labor that lasted 12 hours from start to finish, a lovely epidural, and not-too-extensive pushing. But my recovery was long and drawn-out and far from smooth, and that is something I was thinking I'd get to avoid. But honestly, the more I think about it, I just figure there is no easy way to get a baby out (or two babies!) so I'll just go with the flow and know that luckily Heavenly Father knows how every baby is supposed to enter this world.

Not much has changed for me. Normal all-day nausea and really tired. Getting bigger and bigger. Having a hard time sleeping these days, since my side goes numb or my hips hurt or the stabbing round ligament pains. Pretty much your standard third trimester delights, just a bit earlier. I've actually come to find the whole thing fascinating and quite amusing. With Carly I remember often thinking "it is amazing how the female body was designed to do this" and now I often tell Chris "the female body was just not designed to do this!" It is a fun, very unique experience. That's how I feel right now. Catch me on a bad day and there is a chance my attitude will be different. I've also begun to grow out of the maternity clothes I wore with Carly and borrowed from a friend, which cracks me up because we're still two weeks out from the third trimester. The whole thing is just beyond fabulous. For reals.

Today after I picked Carly up, I told her I went to the doctor to see the babies. She said, "No two babies, just one baby. A boy baby." I said, "What about the girl baby? Don't we need her too?" "Yeah," she replied, "we need girl baby too." She's right. We need them both.

For the record, we love them a lot.