Wednesday, November 30, 2011

first snow.

We got our first snowfall last night.
And, boy, did it fall.
When we headed out this morning it was a ways past my ankles.
It was so beautiful with the bright sun and blue skies.
I love December snow
(and could totally live without January/February/March snow).

We also got our first Christmas card yesterday.
Snow and a Christmas card?
Is it possible winter is here?
I have to tell you, all the sudden time is flying.
Considering how slowly the first 17 weeks of this pregnancy went, 
the last 6 were gone in a blink.

I have a few goals for December.
Play a lot.
Christmas a lot.
Soak up every possible moment with my sweet girl.
And don't stress.
Not about presents 
or travel 
or babies 
or a clean house
or the fact that I probably won't get Christmas cards out.

Because its Christmastime!
And it only comes once a year.
And its awesome.

Monday, November 28, 2011

a series of fortunate events.

[Just finished . . . and this is the longest post ever. I should have split it up, but now it is done and I don't want to go back and redo it. Feel free to read in segments . . . like a good book.]

I'm not going to lie, I needed a vacay.
It seems that as a stay-at-home mom, where many days are similar, and some days are hard to fill, every few months its nice to have a change of scenery, and some other people to entertain your kid.
Cue Thanksgiving vacation.

The weekend before Thanksgiving, Chris's sister Becky came up to visit and brought Carly's big girl bed (an inheritance from his parents). We had MSU football tickets for that Saturday, so she offered to watch Carly and Chris and I headed out to cheer on the Spartans.

We were season ticket people at BYU, but Big 10 football is a whole different story in terms of craziness and prices. Then throw a kid into the mix, and we decided just one game a year would be a good tradition. This year we lucked out, and Chris's adviser offered us tickets. He has season tickets: front row of the upper deck, right on the 50 yard line. They were incredible seats, with nothing in front of us but air and football. We had a lot of fun, and the Spartans killed Indiana U. So while there was very little suspense, there was a whole lot of offense. Works for me.


Chris's days before Thanksgiving were shaping up to be busy ones, so Carly and I hitched a ride with Becky back to my in-laws house to start our vacay early. It is good we did, too, because Chris was on campus until 2 am and 11 pm, and got all sorts of things accomplished without a pregnant wife to cook for a toddler to chase around. We were willing to make the sacrifice, and go eat food that I didn't have to cook, and go shopping and see Breaking Dawn and play with aunts and puppies and swing with Papak and bake pies with Grandma.

Chris finally arrived Wednesday night and I sure was glad to see him. Before we knew it, Thanksgiving was here. Chris and his sister Jenny went on their traditional Thanksgiving run, then he was kind enough to walk laps with his massive wife. We had a delicious traditional dinner in the company of the sister missionaries, one of whom was German and tested Chris on his slipping language skills, and the other had my little brother as a district leader in their last area. I was kind of rooting for Elder T to be in my in-laws hometown come Thanksgiving time, but the sisters made for nice company, too. Carly was not a fan of the handshake thing, though, and tried her hardest to give them hugs and kisses.

[Sammie was really hoping my FIL would slip up and drop a massive amount of turkey.]

The day after Thanksgiving, our little family of 3 (errr . . . 5?) loaded up and headed down to Cincinnati for the day. Two of Chris's childhood friends/college roommates were home for the holiday. We all got married around the same time, and now all have kids they we haven't had the chance to meet, so we decided to go visit for a mini reunion. It was fun to see friends and reminisce on the good old days. Carly and Kaden are only two months apart. It took her a little bit to get warmed up to him, but by the time we headed back to Indy, Carly was asking "Where Kaden go? Where Kaden go?"

[some of the posterity from Roman Gardens #329]

After a big lunch of BBQ ribs and queso and chips, and lots of playing, we headed out to UDF to get malts. This is apparently a big event, and Chris's UDF chocolate malt brought tears to his eyes. Carly was a fan, too.

Then we bid farewell to our friends and headed to the nearby Ikea. I was dying to go because there were a few things I wanted to get Carly for Christmas there. I told Chris I needed 30 minutes and $30 dollars. Let's just say I doubled one of those estimates, and tripled the other. That store is way too much fun and so cheap. But now Carly will actually be getting presents from mom and dad for Christmas. I'm way more excited to give her her presents than to get any myself, but that is what Christmas is all about, right?

Oh, a cute story. At Ikea, all the soft toys were 50% off. You know Carly takes her stuffed friends very seriously, so I thought maybe we'd get her a new one. We went around to all the bins. "Do you want to take this one home?" I would hold them up and ask. She would give hugs, but say no. Then we arrived at a bin of beagle-looking puppies. "Take that one home!" she said and pointed. I grabbed one. "No, that one!" she said and pointed. I went through about 7 or 8 different dogs. Mind you, they were all identical. Finally I reached the one. "YEAH!" she said and gave him a big hug and tucked him under her arm and walked off. I guess she knew he was supposed to be in her posse. Later in the car we were trying to name him. I rattled off about 15 names and Carly said "nope . . . nope . . . nope" to every one. Then Chris says "How about Buster?". "YEAH BUSTER! I love Buster!" Now we have Buster.

[Carly and Buster on our way back from Cincy.]

We drove back to Indiana that night, and got just enough sleep to head out on our next adventure.
Carly's first pedicure.

Chris's three sisters, mom, and I were having a girl party, and I was torn whether to bring Carly or not. I was a little afraid she would freak out, or get hyper and create all sorts of chaos. Turns out she was a pedicure natural. Don't know why I didn't expect that. She is quite the diva.

Carly was clear from the get-go that she wanted pink toes. But once we got there, the yellow started to sway her. I didn't really like the idea of yellow toes, so I found the best pinky pink I could, and she was sold.

[picking our colors. Carly got pink and mommy got dark purple.]

[a little nervous, but showing off her pink.]

It totally cracked me up that they did the works: soaked her feet in the "blue bath" (as Carly called it), shaped her nails, gave her a massage. It was the complete package . . . for a two-year-old. They had kid chairs with little DVD players and after Carly got used to what was going on, she was much more interested in Scooby Doo than in the foot massage.

[why is she touching my feet?]

Her toes ended up really cute though. And she made a point of showing off her "pink toes" the remainder of the day . . . and all the days since. In fact, later that day I went to put her shoes on and she freaked out when I covered her pink toes with socks. How dare I?

Then Carly got a sucker and sat back to watch her movie and mommy got a turn. I have to say, a foot and calf massage and a massage chair are just about all a sore pregnant lady can ask for.

It was a fun girl trip, and I'm glad I was convinced to take Carly.

Later that day we attempted family pictures and it went something like this:

Ha! No, there were some cute extended C family pictures, but the little C family had less success. We'll have to give it another go.

We ended our week-long vacay with Five Guys on Saturday night. I have a very special place in my heart for Five Guys. I try not to daydream about it on a regular basis.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving break.
It reminded me that everything is ok, and that everything is going to be ok.
Carly and I went to the mall one day, and I made my first twin purchase: matchy newborn hats.
It was therapeutic.
It was physical evidence of how blessed we are.
And that life is fun and exciting, even when it is crazy and scary.

Hope your Thanksgiving was fab.

Friday, November 18, 2011

an attitude of gratitude.

This week for Family Home Evening we talked about being thankful. I started to explain "being thankful" to a two-year-old, and, well, not a lot came to mind. It seems like gratitude defines itself. I finally said it means being happy when someone does something for you or gives you something and you need to tell them 'thank you'. Then we stressed how it is especially important to say thank you to Heavenly Father, because He gives us so many blessings. Carly proceeded to jump on the couch.

Then we made really fancy thankful turkeys by tracing our hands.

[Carly's turkey. She came up with it kind of on her own. I decided it is ok to be thankful for yourself.]

In times of stress and change and worry, it is easy to lose track of just how blessed I am. Its easy to dwell within myself, and forget how many things in my life bring me joy.

I am grateful for unpierced ears. As a little girl, I really wanted to get my ears pierced. My dad was against it, and always told me that when I was 18 and moved out of the house, I was welcome to pierce my ears. It made me mad as a kid, and by the time I was a teenager I just didn't think about it anymore. Since turning 18 and leaving the house, I think I have considered piercing my ears each year at my birthday. Earrings are fabulous and can really jazz up a simple outfit. But whenever I consider it, I know I never really will. My unpierced ears, in my personal situation, are a symbol of a fathers love. They remind me how lucky I was to be born to loving parents, who taught me and loved me and showed me the way. I am grateful I was raised in a better family than I really deserved.

I am grateful for a messy bedroom. I have some character strengths, and being an organized person just isn't one of them. It is something I have really tried to work on, but all too often my weaknesses win out. Even when I pull the rest of the house together, our bedroom often remains neglected. After all, no one really ever sees it, right? I am blessed to have the most patient, selfless husband in the world. He spends long hours at school and work, and comes home to super daddy duty. He loves me despite my endless weaknesses, and while he is a much neater person than I, he never complains about how my clothes are all over the floor or how I don't make the bed when I wake up 3 hours after he does. He gets me, and that is not always an easy thing to do. I can't imagine life if I had never found him. I'm grateful for my best friend.

I am grateful to live "in the middle of nowhere". I felt that way a little bit, when we contemplated moving to Michigan. Michigan? Really? Isn't that like the tundra? Do people even live there? But I love it here. Summers are beautiful, falls are breathtaking, and winter was really not any different than an Idaho winter. There are so many incredibly kind people here, and I feel blessed to have come here and made many friends so quickly. I'm grateful for a good ward and for playgroups and for a close little library and for monthly girls' nights out. I'm grateful that Chris is in a top-rated challenging program. He probably wonders why we chose the harder path sometimes, but we know this is where we were supposed to be, and so many doors have opened for him and his career in the short time we've been here. In today's world, the more employable you can make yourself, the better, and I am lucky he is willing to work so hard to make our life plans possible. We are so blessed that we were led to the middle of nowhere.

I am grateful for unlimited text messaging. I grew up with three brothers, but never felt like I missed out on having a sister. I had my mom, and she was every bit the mom and sister I could ever want. It is hard to be away from her, but the poor woman gets more random text messages all day then she probably wants. It is nice to always be a few buttons away to share random thoughts, funny stories, hard times, and, heaven forbid, a million different baby names. All the things we might we able to talk about if we were able to meet for lunch every week. I am grateful for my friendship with my mom, and the way it has taught me to form a friendship with my daughter. I hope she always trusts me and loves me the way I trust and love my mom. I'm grateful for moms and daughters.

I am grateful for the House of the Lord. We had the wonderful opportunity to go to the Temple on Saturday, and it was something I desperately needed. I think it is impossible to worry in the Temple. It is impossible to feel sad or stressed. It was one of the few times in the past few weeks when I have felt 100% calm and excited about the twins. Of course, I am excited, but being 100% calm is not an easy thing to achieve. But in the House of the Lord, I was reminded that I promise to commit my life to the Savior, and in my current role, committing my life to the Savior means raising these little spirits He sends to our home to follow Him. It is my calling, and if I have nothing else to give in life, I pray I can at least help get these spirits back to Him. In the Temple I was reminded that was my single most important job. And while that is quite the job, it put the worries about strollers and feedings and lack of sleep and two kids doing everything at once for their entire lives in perspective. And I remembered that I need to retreat to the House of the Lord more often.

Happy Thanksgiving.
I hope you have a fabulous week.
And get to relax.
And eat a lot of food.
That's my plan.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

the art of worrying.

Well, I'll do my best not to beat this having twins thing to death. But it is kind of preoccupying whats going on in my mind, so forgive me.

I went to the doctor today. It was our first visit since I found out about the twins (didn't see him after either ultrasound). It was nice to finally talk to him. I've been so worried about everything under the sun, and he has this attitude like, don't worry about anything unless it happens. He plans on a natural delivery at or after 37 weeks. That's it. I've been thinking of every extreme situation that might happen, and worrying about a c-section. But he said it really just depends on how the babies are, and at 20 weeks they were both head down. Who knows what will happen, and twins still have a 75% c-section rate, but it is really nice to have a doctor who acts and sounds like he expects everything to go routinely. It is a nice counterbalance to the pure panic I've had going on. Oh, and in case you're dying of curiosity, my tummy is as big as if I was about 33 weeks pregnant with a singleton. Which means it grew about 9 cm in 3 weeks. More panic. I pray my body can handle the physical strain that is coming my way.

Like I said, I've been stressing. But it is this weird stressing, where I find a way to worry about anything. We go to storytime at the library every week and this week the night before I was so stressed about what if we were late, or what if Carly didn't sit still and listen. Um, its storytime for little kids, no one sits still. I just worry worry worry and its making it hard for me to be happy in general. Yesterday I was telling Chris I was stressed because I couldn't think of anything I wanted for Christmas. For reals, it was stressing me out.

Then there are things I feel somewhat warranted in worrying about, though worrying won't fix anything. I've been thinking a lot about how I will be required to split time between my babies. When I found out I was pregnant, I was already worried about splitting time between Carly and the new baby. But now I'll have to split time between the two babies too. One of the most precious things about having a newborn, especially your first, is that you can just sit and snuggle and nurse and just drool over them all day long. That was such a sacred (yet very difficult) time with Carly. I look at parents at church with babies who pass the baby back and forth in an effort to take care of older kids and calm the baby down. We won't have that luxury. When I'm home, at all times one of my babies will not be held. I feel like I won't get the same experience with them, and it already hurts my heart to think of spending half as much time snuggling each baby.

I worry about my general mobility. After having Carly, one of the things that saved me was the fact that we lived across the street from a mall and I could just pack her up in the travel system and go window shopping. Just getting out of the house was a huge emotional boost. Getting a toddler and an infant out of the house seemed daunting, but getting a toddler and two babies out of the house seems downright impossible. We're not going to be able to go anywhere. Ever. And I don't know if that is going to be harder on me or Carly. I wonder if I'm ever going to be able to go home again. Flying alone with a baby, I did. A toddler and a baby. Ok, maybe. A toddler and two babies? Ummm, no. We were looking for flights to go home for Christmas, and I never felt good about actually buying any. I thought it was because of the prices (which were high) but then we found out about the twins, and it made sense why I was getting the feeling not to fly at that point in my pregnancy. Its a little late when considering a twin pregnancy. So who knows when I'll get home, and while I'm grateful we have family within driving distance, it is hard to think how long it might be before I get back to Idaho.

And worst of all, our garbage disposal is broken. The kitchen sink is clogged and it is hardly draining at all. We don't think we can run the dishwasher because it is connected to the sink somehow, and can't hand wash very many dishes at a time because the sink fills up. And the maintenance men are backed up a few days because half of them are on vacation. My kitchen is a disgusting mess and we have no clean dishes. I honestly think if I could wash my dishes, it would release all my other stresses. Don't underestimate the power of a clean kitchen.

That's all.
Gratitude post tomorrow.
MSU football game Saturday.
Vacay starts Sunday (for me and Carly anyway; Chris has to wait until Wednesday).
Good plan.

Friday, November 11, 2011

friday fluff.

I dare say today may be the laziest day of my life.
We've spent is watching tv and playing with all sorts of things in all sorts of ways.
We have no food and I tried to find the motivation to get to the grocery store.
I asked Carly if she wanted to go and she said, "No, thank you."
That convinced me.

But it is 11-11-11 today which is kind of fun and makes me feel like we should do something significant.
Maybe we'll go get a milkshake tonight.
If we can scrounge together something for dinner.

[11-11-11 at 11:11. special moment in time.]

So, look at this cleverness.
We don't use a bumper.
It is a personal preference, but we do have a crib set and the bumper is of course the cutest part.
I wish they had this when I was having Carly and that I knew I wouldn't use a bumper.
Isn't that cute?
Love this pennant one.

And look at this, too.
I love it.
I think I'll be due for a necklace upgrade when the twins arrive.
And I think this would make a good "push present," don't you?
{I'm still waiting for a push present for having Carly. ha! 
Whenever I see something I want I tell Chris "It could be my push present!"}

That is literally as exciting as we get today.

Hey wait, I just remembered I vacuumed.
Carly didn't even cry and run away.
In fact, she held the cord for me.
Such a helper.
Looks like we were productive today, after all.

Happy weekend.
We are headed to Detroit tomorrow to attend the Temple.
Its been too long since we've been, and really too long since we've been together.
And we decided we better learn how to utilize teenage babysitters.
Fingers crossed Carly is an angel tomorrow.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

the best of both worlds.

Well guess what?

It's a GIRL!
And a BOY!

Yes, it looks like the C House will be enjoying the best of both worlds.

We had a wonderful experience at our ultrasound this morning. The tech took care of the important things right away, and checked for gender first. She checked Baby A . . . a girl. She looked just like Carly did. Then she checked Baby B, and wow . . . he was all boy. I could tell before she even said so. We are so happy about having another little girl, because we sure do love the one we've got now. And adding a little boy to the mix feels so surreal. What are we going to do with a boy? I don't know, but at least I won't have to worry about gluing a bow to his head.

Our ultrasound was long. I mean, you want them to be long, but it was really long. Checking twice the babies really is twice the work. But it really gave us a chance to watch the babies. I know they are still in utero, but we believe babies are born with personalities. Carly certainly was. Little Miss A was calm. She let the tech do her thing, and once put her hand right up to us like she was saying hi. Baby Boy B was really active and the tech said she had to chase him around to get measurements. We watched him open and close his mouth and cross and uncross his legs. I could have guessed that, because Triple B is on my left and I've spent many nights feeling the left side move while the right side is quiet. Miss A is lower and on the right, so she will most likely be coming first (which got her the "A" label in the first place). They already seem to fit the "big sister/little brother" mold, like he was teasing her and she was just putting up with him, and have a teasing but loving relationship. They kept their heads together the whole time. Every time she swept past their heads, you could see the two circles right next to each other. It was the sweetest thing. They love each other, and boy, do we love them. They both look perfectly healthy and are measuring right on time. They are both estimated to be about 12 oz, which is good because they are growing at an even rate. They are also both the size they would be if they were singletons, which is why their mama is ginormous.

Speaking of the mama, I hit 20 weeks on Sunday. It is fun to celebrate half-way, though I'm probably a few weeks beyond half way since twins are considered "done" at 37 weeks. I feel like I've gone from the dreadful first trimester right on to the third. I've got a big belly, back pain, a numb tailbone when I wake up, and sore hips. And we're at 20 weeks. Its becoming very obvious that carrying these two will be a whole different experience then carrying one. But I get TWO at the end, so I'll take it. My nausea continues but it is what it is. Very similar to how I was with Carly. It is no longer debilitating, and I can for the most part carry on with eating and cooking like normal. Except chicken. Ew, chicken. We're expanding our meat horizons around here because right now I just can't do chicken. The exhaustion is what is really getting me these days. I. AM. SO. FREAKING. TIRED. All the time. But tired is better than vomiting, so again, I'll take it.

I feel a little like all of this is a bit unfair. These babies look healthy. We are getting a son and a daughter. So many people are offering so much help. I'm knocking on wood as I think this, but things are just good right now, even as my constant fear of preterm labor and bed-rest loom. I am just very very grateful for this wild and wacky adventure we've got going on. Very grateful.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

behind door number two:

A new car!

I've mentioned before we are blessed to be surrounded by incredibly generous people. Four of those people happen to be our parents. You see, we don't actually own a car. The beautiful little golden Honda Civic I've been driving around for the past few years belongs to my parents and is on perma-loan while we're in school. Well after our big twin surprise, we realized three car seats wouldn't fit in the back of a Civic and we weren't sure what we were going to do.

On Halloween, I got a phone call from my dad.
"Are you up for a visitor?" he asked.
"What?" I replied.
"I'm on my way!" he said.
"On your way where?" I asked.

My dad happens to drive a Honda Accord (at one point after my little brother left for his mission we had 5 Hondas for 4 drivers), which has a more spacious back seat. He offered to trade us cars so we could squeeze all three kids into one car. And, after checking his schedule and considering the impending winter, he decided that right then was the best time to come. So he hopped in the car and drove. From Idaho to Michigan. In a day and a half. Twelve hours one day, thirteen the next. Just to give us his car.

He came Tuesday night, spent the night, played with Carly Wednesday morning, and was off again by lunch time. He got home two days later, just before the first snowfall out west. Turned out it was perfect timing.

We sure liked having Papak here, even if it was only for a few short waking hours. I will admit making the actual switch was kind of emotional for me and I may or may not have cried. That Civic was such a good little car. I've grown attached to it. It came with us when we moved from Utah to Tennessee, then from Tennessee to Michigan. It took Carly home from the hospital, and Carly had taken to calling it "Carly's car". When my dad drove away Carly said "Papak taking Carly's car?" And I cried a little more.

But my new ride is pretty classy, I'm not going to lie. I feel a little self-conscious driving it. It is 5 years newer than the Civic, and has all sorts of upgrades like a jack for my iPod and a heater that works really well. And Carly has even become fond of it: "my new car!" she says, and gives it hugs.

I am lucky to have such an incredibly selfless and generous, though slightly insane, man as my father. We would be nowhere without his (and my mom's) generosity (literally, like we wouldn't have a car so we wouldn't go anywhere). Thank you, thank you dad! We love you and we're glad we got to see you. Carly was asking "where Papak go?" all day.

Our twins are lucky. Not because they are coming to me, but because they are coming to a fun daddy, a wild big sister, and a whole network of family ready to spoil them rotten.

Speaking of the twins . . . Wednesday is the big day. What do you think: two girls, two boys, or one of each? Cast your vote. I think its two girls, but would kind of like one of each. But I was also convinced Carly was a boy, just for a point of reference. Chris thinks it is a girl and a boy. Random people like to guess two boys, but I think that is because we already have a girl. I can't wait to find out. Like really can't wait.

Happy Sunday! Does anyone hate Daylight Saving as much as me? This getting dark at 5 is lame.

That's all.