Monday, October 31, 2011

this is Halloween.

I'm not going to lie.
I woke up this morning kind of Halloweened-out.
I feel like it has been going on for 31 straight days.
I think Carly felt the same way because when I told her today was Halloween she replied:
But she changed her mind when I told her she got to go Trick-or-Treating again.
Or as she might say "Trick and Ming-ming".
Next year my plan is to have a shorter, more focused celebration the week of.

We've been watching all sorts of Halloween entertainment. We still watch too much tv in the mornings, when I'm getting my barings straight, and I managed to DVR Halloween versions of Dora, Diego, Bubble Guppies, and Max and Ruby. We also rented movies from the library and enjoyed Garfield's Halloween a few times. See what I mean by Halloweened out? But Carly is really soaking it all in. All week she has been telling me about ghosts and monsters and bats. On Saturday the girl was talking my ear off about "scary bats that live in a dark cave and they are coming to my house!" It is pretty cute. She doesn't seem particularly scared, even though sometimes she will say "Oh! Thats scary!" Halloween in a strange holiday.

We did meet all the Halloween requirements this year though.
We carved a pumpkin.
Well, Chris carved a pumpkin.
The smell made me gag, and Carly was totally suspicious.
But Chris did a really good job making a "traditional face" as I directed him to.

[not so sure about those pumpkin guts.]

[finished product.]

Carly seems to like it now that it is completed. Whenever we go out she says "Its the Halloween pumpkin! Hi, Halloween pumpkin!"

On Wednesday Carly and I headed to the playgroup Halloween party. With that much sugar and that many kids, I didn't manage to take any pictures. The games were a little old for her, but Carly and another girl her age had fun knocking bowling pins over . . . sometimes using the blow-up pumpkin, sometimes just their hands. Carly had half a sugar cookie, then discovered the clementines. She ate 5 before I cut her off. That's my girl. But I was dying over that half-eaten sugar cookie.

I debated for a while on what Carly should go as. It is probably her last Halloween where she will have no preference, but it is also the first where she actually understands whats going on. I finally went with a ghost. I saw an idea on Pinterest and all together it would cost about 7 bucks. I put my limited craftiness to work, and voila: a seriously cute ghost. All week she has been perfecting her "BOO!" and it has become especially robust. She is a very convincing little ghost.

[a ghost and a pumpkin.]

Friday night was the ward Trunk or Treat. I ate about 10 bowls of chili, then we headed out in the freezing cold to make the rounds. She was a pro Trick-or-Treater. And you could tell she thought it was just about the best idea ever. She had a huge smile on her face and kept showing me her bucket and saying "Look! I got candy!" I love her sweet innocence.

[ghost Carly and chick Kennedy.]

[seriously spooky.]

And finally, we arrived.
October 31st.
This is Halloween.
Tonight we headed over to the house of some ward friends, had a quick dinner, and headed out on Carly's first real door-to-door trick-or-treating experience with a group of ward kids. In the future, I'll be the mom who sits at home and eats candy and hands it out to trick-or-treaters. But I didn't want to miss it when she is so young and cute.

[ghost and mummy . . . errr, mommy.]

[beautiful Halloween night.]

[doing her thing with one of the ward young women.]

I'm finding kids these days don't really say "Trick or Treat" nor do they say "Thank you." They just run around holding their bags out. We made sure Carly said both at every door. I just think it is polite, and I want her to know its about the tradition and experience, not about how much candy you can get (off my soapbox now). But she was seriously cute, and we let her go to doors without too many steps or other kids by herself. I just can't believe what a kid she is.

It has been a fun Halloween season, but I'm ready for some holidaylessness before we start in on Thanksgiving. And Carly's poor ghost tutu . . . after three celebrations, it barely survived the night.

Oh, and in case you were wondering . . . 

the twins were skeletons this year.

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

out of the fog.

[drooling over this little beauty. wish they'd let me sell plasma so I could save up for it.]

We've had an interesting few days. I spent Thursday in a complete haze, not truly processing our big blessing. Chris left for a conference dark and early Friday morning. When I woke up on Friday, my warm fuzzy haze was gone. I was left with nothing but panic. I cried by myself. I cried with Carly. I cried to my dad. I cried to my mom. I felt completely overwhelmed and incapable. Friday night Carly and I went to our ward Halloween party and a friend said to me that she thought that the Lord is really honoring my motherhood, because He wouldn't send this blessing to someone who couldn't do it, or to someone He didn't trust to do it. She doesn't know it, but she was an answer to scared prayers.

What is truly amazing is how quickly and smoothly questions are being answered. From cars to cribs to clothes, family and friends are quick to offer advice and help. I don't know exactly why I thought we'd be doing this alone. Because we definitely won't be doing this alone. Along with offers of material goods, we've had lots of offers to help, and have two grandmas already making room in their schedules to come be our twin team. We are so blessed to be surrounded by incredibly generous and loving people.

We feel calm (mostly). We feel at peace. We know these babies are supposed to come now, and they are supposed to come together. And if an angel came down and offered to send them 3 years apart instead, I wouldn't take him up on it. Because this is right. And now that we're out of the fog, we can keep on keepin' on and find joy in this crazy journey. Its strange to think this is our new norm: planning for twins, preparing to be a family of 5, and praying for 2 healthy babies.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

A and B.

The Story.

This morning I dropped Carly off with Chris on campus and headed to my typical every-four-weeks doctor appointment. It was all routine. I went off my anti-nausea meds, and have been doing better, but have still felt sick, so he said to go ahead and try the Unisom/B6 combo (which many of you recommended. thank you!). Then he went to measure my tummy. At 18 weeks 4 days, it was measuring 24 cm. "I feel so much bigger than with my first one," I informed him. Then, while listening to the heartbeat, he checked for 2. But he only heard one. He asked if I was 100% sure about my last period. I was 100% sure. He decided to do a quick "take a peek" ultrasound to see if my the dates were somehow off and I was further along then we thought.

I went into the ultrasound room. The tech squirted the jelly and asked if I wanted to know what I was having. Kill me, people. Yes, I wanted to know so badly, but Chris wasn't there, so of course I would wait for the anatomy scan. But she had some other information for me. "Well," she said. "That explains why you are measuring big. You have two babies in there."

[tops of their heads. took this on my phone, I'll scan more later.]

"Two babies?" I asked. Then I started hyperventilating and tears streamed from my eyes. To be honest, I wasn't totally surprised (something I'll talk about in a minute), but it is still completely life-altering to be told you're expecting twins. She checked them real fast and found my due date was about right. They both had beautiful heartbeats that were about the same heart rate, which is probably why the doctor couldn't hear two different heart beats.

They are beautiful. And there are two.

I headed out to the check-out desk to change my anatomy ultrasound appointment (since there are two, the scan will last twice as long). I informed the nurse and I must have looked shocked because she and another nurse laughed and said I'd be ok. Then she asked my name and I said "my name?" I honestly couldn't remember right then. She asked about a time for the scan, and I had to call Chris to see if it would work for him. Yes, Chris found out he was going to have twins over the phone. "There are two babies," I told him. We set the new appointment for one day earlier (November 9th . . . but, hey, a day is a day!) and we'll find out what we're having then. I'm going crazy wondering what they are, so by they I'll probably be certifiably insane.

I picked Carly up and shared the pictures with Chris. Neither of us had much to say. We are in joyful shock, and I've been in a haze most of the afternoon. As he strapped Carly in to her carseat I pointed out, "We can't even fit three carseats in here." The first of many realizations we'll be having over the coming months.

One Million Thoughts.

My head is spinning and my heart is full. I'm shocked, but not surprised. I have felt like there were two for sometime. Maybe it was wishful (?) thinking. I thought because I was so much bigger this time, and so much sicker this time, that there had to be a reason. But lots of people get big and sick and only have one baby. But something just kept whispering the idea of twins to me, and the thought wouldn't leave my mind.  I joked about it with Chris often, which is probably good because maybe it got him used to the idea. It got me used to the idea. I just wasn't that surprised when she told me. I'll chalk it up to the one time in my life mother's intuition was successful. I read online that only about 20% of mothers of twins report increased sickness. I'd like to think I'm a part of that 20%, because that makes the idea of someday having number 4 (maybe, in a long, long time) more possible. And don't think I haven't thought of this as "two for the price of one", because even if it sounds bad, I definitely have.

[sorry these pictures are kind of ghetto. 18 weeks with Carly (left) and the twins (right)]

That doesn't mean I'm not terrified. We thought we'd have one more baby in school and wait a while for number 3. We already had what we needed for a baby, so we could manage one more. Two more, at the same time, was in no way part of the plan. We have a car problem, and a bedroom problem (probably can't fit twins in our closet), and a supplies problem (we only got one infant carseat and crib the first time around, go figure). The logistics are enough to drive me crazy. So right now I'm just not thinking logistics. I'm just thinking about two sweet babies.

And then there is all the worry. I worry about the babies. They are healthy now (as far as we can tell), but multiple pregnancies carry an increased risk of preterm labor and premature delivery, bedrest, and other complications. I'm already worried about carrying these babies as long as they need to be carried. And then how are they going to get out? Good grief.

And I'm worried about Carly. Her world was already going to be rocked. She is the center of our universe, and she gets a whole lot of attention. How is she going to handle a baby invasion of not just one, but two babies? I don't want her to feel ignored. I don't want her to feel like I don't have time for her, or the babies are taking over. I always want her to know how much we love her and how she is just as important as the twins. I'm sure it will take a conscious effort, but I pray we can make the transition without too many bumps and bruises. She is my BFF, and I hope she always knows that.

More than anything, we feel joyful and blessed. It is still crazy to think about, and I don't think it has really sunk in, but for me, these babies are miracles. We have no history of twins in our families. It is just completely God's will, and that alone tells me we can do this. (Sometimes I have no idea what God is thinking . . . .). I don't know how we'll do it, but we will. And we'll have three beautiful children to make every day worth living.

Yay for babies.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

sweet things.

We just keep on keepin' on in the C House.
Chris has had the week from H-E-double hockey sticks and we are all counting down the days until things calm down after a conference he is going to next week. Halloween will be a celebration of many things.

Carly and I are hanging.
I've been doing better, and its a blessing.
Still sick and exhausted, but that's how I was the whole time with Carly.
I'll take it.
I am still on my meds, though, and hope to go off them this weekend.
Third try is the charm?
Fingers crossed.

We've had some sweet happenings around here though.

I found a cleaning schedule on Pinterest.
I've been doing it just over a week and love it.
Most cleaning schedules give you a million things to do a day.
This gives you one or two doable things.
I'm not much of a cleaner when I'm not pregnant, 
and you should have seen our house when I was really sick.
But I feel like the house has actually been pretty clean for a week.
Thanks once again, Pinterest.

I'm the world's worst baker.
I mean, I burn everything and make a huge mess.
Chris has even said I have a lot of gifts, but maybe baking isn't one of them.
But he also says when it works out, it tastes good.
But I baked this cake 10 minutes less than the recipe called for because of by burning history,
 and it is still well-done on top.
Serenity now.
Anyway, here's hoping it tastes good.
Deux has been begging for it all week.


The mom of one of Carly's nursery classmates told me the sweetest story.
She said their family recently got a beta fish, and let the little boy name it.
They asked, "What do you want to name the pretty fish?"
The little boy said, "Carly, because Carly is my favorite."
Then the mom said she thinks the boy has a little crush on Carly.
I thought that was the cutest thing.
There is now a fish Carly.
And human Carly is already attracting suitors.
Heaven help us.

[we love Cooper.]

On Sunday we were headed out to go to a trail for a Sunday walk.
Half-way to the car, Carly tripped and fell face-first into the choppy pavement.
The result was shredded lips and lots of blood.
I scooped her up and started rushing back to the house.
I put my hand under her mouth, and soon it was covered in blood.
Carly looked down and started screaming "Mommy's hand! Mommy's hand!"
She thought my hand was bleeding, and even though her mouth was hurting, 
it was my hand she was worried about.
Talk about an example of selfless love.
No wonder the Savior teaches us to be as little children.
She is the sweetest thing of all.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

four little pumpkins.

pumpkin patch
family visitors
cold wind
honey crisp apples
fall beauty

[can you believe how much she has grown? nearly a foot!]

And four little pumpkins:


Friday, October 14, 2011

a funny story.

Carly has three little chapsticks.
She carries them around in a little plastic Twins helmet.
You know, the kind you get soft-serve in at baseball games?
Anyway, she calls them "my make-ups", and I taught her how to put it gently on her lips.
Well, sometimes she is less then gentle and I end up wiping chapstick off her face and cheeks.
No big deal.

A few weeks ago I was doing my make-up.
Sometimes I let her look at my stuff while I do it.
Sometimes she draws on my neck with eyeliner and sometimes I forget to wash it off before we go to the store, but what can you do?

On this day she found my stick of green makeup that balances out red blemishes.
And she mistook it for her chapstick.

I wasn't looking, but she looked in the mirror and exclaimed:
"Oh, no! My face!"

I cannot remember the last time I laughed that hard.
And, yes, the real makeup was WAY harder to get off than the chapstick.

Happy weekend.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

quarter of a century.

Oh, yes, it was my birthday last week.
Twenty-five years old.
Doesn't that sound old?
And yet young?
Sometimes I still feel 16.
Actually, a lot of times I still feel like I'm 16.
Where has the time gone?

I suppose in my 25 years I've managed a happy childhood (ok, that was my parents' doing), formative school years with friends and fun, a college degree, a happy marriage to a wonderful man, and 1.4 kids. I'll take it.

My birthday was a fun albeit simple one.
Chris gave me the most superb gift I could ask for:
he came home for 5 hours in the middle of the day.
It was a dream come true.

[Chris took over the "this day in history" on my bday. he is so blinded by my charm.]

He came home after his morning class and we headed to Bob Evans for breakfast.
I still can't stop thinking about it.
And Carly downed 5 blueberry pancakes and a sausage link like it was nobody's business.
Don't come between the girl and her pancakes.

[in the zone. she didn't look up or make a peep the whole time.]

After that we headed out and perused a furniture store (its a long story, but no, I didn't get the couch I wanted for my birthday. poor me), then headed home and put Carly down and Chris and I just hung out. A novel idea. We'll have to try it more often.

Then Chris was off to his night class, and I took a birthday nap before Carly woke up and we headed outside  for a sidewalk chalk extravaganza where I was required to draw 5 kitties.

Dinner was my very favorite enchilada casserole.

No dessert.
I've found sweets make me sick.
I'm just not into them right now.
Isn't that sad?
I make up for it with chips and guacamole, don't you worry.

Then we settled in to watch the Penguins season opener.
Isn't that sweet they started the season on my birthday?
I thought it was a kind gesture.

[darling family portrait.]

Like my present from Chris?
A Sidney Crosby jersey.
Some girls gets flowers, I get sports apparel.
I was way excited and surprised because they are kind of expensive.
We have been really wanting to take a getaway trip to Pittsburgh and see a game, but with how sick I've been this pregnancy, the timing of the baby, and finances, it just wasn't going to happen this year like we hoped.
So this was a good replacement.

[the 2-year-old and the 25-year-old.]

I was actually spoiled with gifts, and have shopping money to get my fall style on whenever I have time to go by myself. One of my favs was this print from my sister-in-laws:

[lovely dark phone picture, sorry.]

I saw it on Pinterest, and thought it was so cute.
Of course, it will make more sense when we are no longer in Michigan, but you get the point.
Michigan has really become our home in a way that other places never really were.
We love it here, and I wanted a little memento of that.

That was it.
My simple yet fabulous 25th.
I am blessed.
Here's to year 26.

Monday, October 10, 2011

stick picking.

I seem to be experiencing early-onset nesting.
Its complicated when you have nausea, complete exhaustion, and nesting going on all at once.
It mostly ends up in me making Chris move furniture around.
But the good news is our living room is now rearranged, and it feels bigger, and the big window is no longer partly blocked and it lets in all sorts of Fall light.
The next step is a bookshelf-cube switheroo.
Carly's cubed shelf is coming downstairs and I'm getting bins to provide some toy organization.
And the bookshelf is going up to Carly's room in an effort to control her ever growing collection of books.

We are strongly considering putting the baby in our walk-in closet.
We measured and the crib fits in a way that would leave all sorts of room to spare,
and I could see it making a very cute tiny nursery.
I learned last time around that babies don't need nearly as much as you think they do.
I also learned that the more everyone sleeps, the better.
So maybe everyone having their own space would work best at the beginning.
We'll see.

Along with the nesting has come the desire for seasonal decor.
I pulled out our Halloween decorations on October 1st (practically a tradition).
But I was looking for some more Fall-y natural decor that could go into November.
That led us on a stick hunt.

I decided to collect sticks, though I didn't really know what fabulous craft I would do with them quite yet.
But turns out it was a perfect mommy-daughter-get-outside-no-more-Dora activity.
We walked over to our mini walking path forest area nearby.
Carly was an avid stick collector, even if some of her finds were closer to all-out branches.
We brought our treasure home and Carly instantly knew to dig in the dirt with the sticks.
Is that inborn?
By lunch time she was covered in dirt, leaves, and stick particles.
A successful afternoon.

The sticks sat on our front step for days.
It looked like we were going to build a campfire.
I wanted to do something, but wasn't feeling the energy.
I remembered a large glass vase I have, that I thought would be cute to fill with pine cones.
The sticks won.
A stick bouquet.

It looks nice and Fall-y on our kitchen table.
Though, Carly asks to play with a "big stick" every time we sit down to eat.

Oh, and I just thought of the irony of "nesting" and collecting sticks.
If I wasn't currently functioning with half my brain, I would think of something clever to say about that.

Alas, you win some, you lose some.

Friday, October 7, 2011


Our Church held it's semi-annual General Conference this past weekend.
Its always a chance to relax, escape from the world,
and hear messages from people we believe are representatives of God.

Our weekend involved some amazing apple cobbler, meals with friends,
and an incredibly well-behaved toddler.

Our internet went out 5 minutes after noon on Saturday.
I mean, the Choir was still singing the opening song.
Nice timing, right?

We ended up listening to the Morning Session on my phone, which did not make for easy listening.
Chris was playing with Carly while I lied next to the phone.
Its been a hard few months, and I needed this Conference.
Through the static I heard my favorite talk of the whole Conference.

And my very favorite one-liner, perhaps ever:

"This is a paradox of man: compared to God, man is nothing;
yet we are everything to God."
-President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, You Matter to Him, October 2011-

We are everything to God is now on frequent replay in my brain.
Because sometimes its easy to forget.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

one-third and a week.

I don't know if you heard, but my first trimester ended a week ago.
It's kind of a big deal.

We are now just over a third of the way there, and its amazing how time can simultaneously drag and fly. Being sick causes it to drag. Having a toddler causes it to fly. And I'm thinking the holidays will, too. I've officially decided March is the best time to have a baby.

I went to the doctor on Friday. It was a pleasant visit. There is nothing as heartwarming and reassuring as hearing that tiny heartbeat coming from your tummy. I always think it sounds like a train. I recorded it on my phone, and listen to it on occasion to remember why I'm doing this. That little choo choo train is why I'm doing this.

The second time around has been a different experience, for sure. With Carly, it was all-consuming. I mean, I was working full time at a desk job, and when things were slow I had nothing to do but dwell, especially after finishing my school work to graduate from BYU (how on earth did I do that?). This time around, I have Carly as a full-time job, and now that the sickness has been giving me a break occasionally, I even find myself forgetting I'm pregnant. Until I bend over to pick something up and my pants cut into my abdomen. With Carly, she was coming into our family and changing everything: how we'd live, how we'd sleep, how I would be spending my entire life. Our family was completely transforming around her. But Deux is coming into this already existing puzzle; he/she is just a missing piece.

Another difference? I'm showing. I started showing at about 10 weeks I think, maybe earlier. With Carly I was barely showing when I found out she was a girl at 19 weeks. I wore my regular pants up through I think 22 weeks. If I had maternity pants that weren't capris, I'd already to tempted to pull them out. This babe is making herself known much faster, but I hear that's normal the second time around. I was nervous about there being two in there, and at the doctor I said "Make sure there is only one heartbeat" and the nurse practitioner relied "Oh, I wouldn't be able to hear if there were two at this point." Thank you, ma'am, that's reassuring.

We find out if we're having a boy or a girl on November 10th. Way later than I wanted. I will be 20 weeks 4 days. I know, poor me. The doctor prefers to wait until 20 weeks to make sure and see everything in working order, so I guess that is good. And that way the sex will be more obvious if we get a peek. And that way Chris can actually go, since I'm waiting all the way until Thursday that week to get it. So while my bubble was totally burst after hoping I'd find out soon, I guess 5 more weeks won't kill anyone. I guess. The good news is we found a single boy name that we both really like. I've liked it but never brought it up because I thought he wouldn't. I texted it to him and he said "I actually really like that! Sounds like an archaeologist." Ha, whatever works right?

I also got my first awkward semi-rude pregnancy comment this week! Carly and I were at the second-hand store and I got her this little wagon for 90 cents (best 90 cents ever) and she was pulling it out the door. She kept looking back at it excitedly, and was walking really slow. But I just let her walk and do her thing. We got out of the way so a guy could pass us. He looked at her and at me and said "Well, if you don't have your hands full yet, you sure will soon." Ummm, thank you? That's very helpful.

Another exciting difference between this time and last (woah, I'm bouncing all over the place, sorry) is I've already felt movements. Carly I didn't feel until kind of late because a) I didn't know what I was looking for, and b) I had an anterior placenta. So this time it was fun to feel Deux just before 14 weeks. That is by far the most rewarding part of pregnancy, and feeling him/her earlier has been a nice tender mercy.

I've thought a lot about Carly as a big sister. The day we got the positive pregnancy test, I came out of the bathroom and looked at Carly and it was like all the sudden she was new in my eyes. She was a big sister, and her potential to influence her little sibling(s) for good is infinite. She is made of gold. She has an incredible soul and loving spirit and is just inherently helpful and caring. She is also fun and spunky. The very best components to make a big sister. Its like all the sudden my love for her has grown even more, not just because of what she is, but because of what she has to potential to become.

Cheers to a third of the way.