Thursday, April 29, 2010

Days Like Today

I have come to learn, in my years and years of experience as a mother, that there are just days that are completely and utterly ridiculous.

They are just plain, old crazy.

They don't make sense.

The things that happen inside of that day shouldn't happen to people like me.

A nice, reasonable person like me.

Cuz you see...sometimes when I am raising twins I feel like my life is completely and utterly spinning out of control.

I mostly feel this way when they are sick. Like right now.

Let me give you an example...a glimpse if I may... in to our kitchen at 5:00 this evening.

Come along will you?

Now I must start off by stating that the day didn't start off exactly like I wanted it to. Grayson was up at 5:30 bleating like a goat from his room. He wasn't crying. He was moaning. Over and over and over again. He has a cold. This is how he handles it. In a completely selfish state in my comfy warm bed, I did not want to get up at 5:30. I just did not. But, there isn't much choice when livestock is residing right across the hall, so up I was.

The rest of the morning wasn't a whole lot better. I can't be too cold hearted here and say that it wasn't understandable, because G wasn't feeling well...but the only thing he wanted to do was be held by me. The entire morning. I love that. I really do. I know a day will come all too soon when my arms will not a place he will be frequently found...but see...there is another little boy. His name is Ethan. He is not sick (he was first and passed it on to his brother..always the sharer). He wanted a playmate. He didn't want me to sit still and hold his brother. He wanted me to chase him and stack blocks.

By 10:00 I was on the phone with a dear friend asking her if it was okay to ever have the thought of wanting to sell my children. She said at least every other day. So nice to know I'm in good company here. She truly gave me a little pep talk though. A little "hoo rah you can do it ma" kind of ditty - and I was feeling much better about my life and the chaotic mess that it is.

The rest of the morning and in to the afternoon really went well. It really did! The boys seemed to perk up, we played, read stories, colored, went was just pleasant and I thought to myself "This parenting thing is such a cinch! What was I having a pity party about this morning?"

Fast forward to 4:00. G woke up from his nap feeling miserable. Just a pathetic little lump of sick boy. He sat in my arms on the couch with his brother E curled up next to me. Ahh. I loved it. What I loved even more though, was having an amazing husband who took it upon himself to prepare and cook dinner tonight, all before he had to head out the door to class. Marvelous. I felt guilty though, - sitting there on the couch holding my sons while he ran around the kitchen (wearing my apron, and looking quite handsome if I do say so myself)...but as he pointed out, I was exactly where I was needed most. And so I sat snuggling.

And then dinner. Glorious dinner. Chris had made a delicious meal of chicken, black beans, corn, sauteed zucchini, and saffron rice. It smelled so good. I put the boys in their chairs and gathered up their meal. All was going so well. Conversation was flowing, food was being eaten, family time would have been rated a 10 by Bruno no doubt...

...and then Grayson started coughing. He really started coughing. This was after a full glass of milk and a plate full of food. He got a tickle in the throat that just wouldn't quit. You can maybe guess what happened next. Let's just say it wasn't pretty....or appetizing.

It was one of those moments where I stood there having no idea what to do. No idea where to start. No idea what to say.

As we started to tackle cleaning him up he decided that he wasn't through. There was more. My heart aches so much when I see my boys sick. I'm not that calm kind of Mom who just stands there and strokes their little heads.
I am that Mom who starts smacking them on the back, yelling their name as if their ears have been affected by it all, and desperately trying to get them out of their chair while forgetting to unbuckle their straps first.

Chris, on the other hand, is Mr. Daddy Cool.
He assesses the situation.
He gets a game plan.
He gets to work.

In the meantime Ethan wasn't too pleased that his plate was now empty and nobody was filling it back up again. Never mind the fact that his brother is covered in his dinner...Ethan's appetite was not damaged in the least!

By the time I stripped my son out of all his clothes, scrubbed his chair, scrubbed his tray, and washed the floor, my dinner was completely cold and I wasn't so hungry anymore.

It was put in the fridge for later (I ate it tonight after the boys went to bed instead).

After dinner it was more couch cuddling, more goat bleating, and more crazy Ethan wanting Mommy to chase him around the living room. (If I didn't he would resort to climbing on top of the tables, so what choice did I have?)

All the while I feel this little girl kicking and flipping inside of me...reminding me that she soon will be making her arrival and wanting to share just a little bit of that Mama time once in awhile too!

After I tucked those little bodies in to bed tonight I looked at my disheveled reflection in the mirror. My hair completely falling out of it's stylish (haha) ponytail, my clothes covered in spit, snot, and tears (and who knows what else!), my 21 week pregnant belly sticking out through my shirt... and all of the sudden this smile just spread across my face.

Because it's true.

It is crazy.

I don't have it all figured out.

It doesn't always go the way I have planned.

It doesn't always look pretty

or polished

or refined

But it's my life.

They are my children.
This is where we're at.

How soon will they be grown and gone and I will look to my husband across the quiet dining room table and I'll say "Remember that dinner when..."?

But as for tonight. I will go and lay on the couch. I will remember that tomorrow is a new day.

And we'll see what it brings.

Monday, April 26, 2010

20 Weeks, 4 Days

This morning I had my detailed 20 week ultrasound. They checked for all those important little parts, and checked on the growth of Baby Itsy Bitsy to make sure she was growing okay.

She checked out just perfect!

Oh.My.Goodness. I can't tell you how much fun it is to be pregnant with one little baby! To focus my attention and love to my little daughter growing away there in my uterus.

She is just precious and I love her already. I want to squeeze her, and kiss her, and snuggle up with her face against mine...

Her little button nose was just so irresistible today during all those pictures. Her little fingers were tucked up under her little chin and she was just having a grand ole' time!

Everything is progressing just as it should be. She is measuring in at around 14 ounces right now - so we've almost got a one pounder on our hands!

Over half way there!
I had fun looking back on this post from my pregnancy with E and G to compare where they were (and how big I was!) around this same time frame.
I feel SO much smaller this pregnancy, and I can't believe I had gained 30 pounds at this point with the boys! Wowsa Big Mama!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Saying Thanks

On May 15th Chris, Ethan, Grayson, and myself will be walking to celebrate the healthy, vibrant lives of our sons.

We will walk to say thank you to the entire staff at the N.I.C.U. that did such an amazing job in the first hours, days, and weeks of Ethan and Grayson's fragile lives.

Some days the doctors and nurses get to rejoice as one of their patients is able to go home and be united with their families.

Some days though, they grieve with the parents and loved ones as they have to say goodbye to a child who barely had a chance to start living.

Chris and I never knew the emotions and the roller coaster ride that would come from being the parents of two little boys born at just 34 weeks. We will never forget the fears we had each day a we walked in to the N.I.C.U. wondering what news awaited us about our sons. Some days it was good, some days it was bad. We felt like we would take one step forward, and then take three steps back.

But now we look at this 16 month old sons here with us. Little boys who climb up on top of the table and smile these mischievous grins knowing that they shouldn't be up there. Brothers who love to chase each other around the house and squeal at the top of their lungs (especially when they're naked after their bath!). Little toddlers who are talking, singing, running, learning, and amazing us every day.

We are blessed beyond words that our sons are healthy and whole today. There are no lingering signs of their premature entry to this world, and we owe so much of that to the amazing care that they received.

We want to do our part to say thank you, but also do our part to raise awareness and raise money to help prevent premature births. To help prevent other babies from being hooked up to oxygen machines fighting for every breath. To help prevent other parents from having to witness their babies looking so frail and sick, and feeling completely helpless in knowing how to care for them.

If you feel led to make a donation to our team, please visit our team page. You can make a donation right there. If you would rather send a cash or check donation you can contact me via email and I can give your our home address.

I am happy to say that we have nearly made our team goal already. I set our team goal for $500 dollars and we currently have $445. I have only informed members of our family about our intent to walk so far, so all that we have raised has come from them. Thank you!

Thanks so much for your support.

Truly, just your reading and following along through the journey of the pregnancy, birth, and first year of their lives is huge support already. It means so much to us to know that there are people out there that love and care about us! Thank you!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sugar and Cinnamon

The title of this entry brought back a memory of my childhood. We had a few cows on our farm growing up (I used to imagine they were horses since my Father would never buy me one!). My brothers and I decided to name them. Their names were Cinnamon, Buttercup, personal favorite...Dead Meat. My Dad had warned us about the outcome for the lives of our beloved beasts, so it seemed like a fitting name.

I digress...

Cows are not the subject of this post.

Chris and I will be celebrating our 10 year anniversary next summer. (Woot Woot!) Quite awhile back we started planning and dreaming the vacation of all vacations for the two of us to go on and celebrate our marital survival bliss.

However, with the amazing news of our new B.G. (baby girl) coming to join our family later this year, we weren't thinking we'd be ready to embark on some grand getaway and leave her behind quite that soon....and so we will be wildly celebrating our 11th anniversary instead Lord willing!

So....all this to say, we decided to take a little mini-vacation now before I get huge as a house and life gets even more hectic with a new little bundle of loving and cuteness entering our family.

We decided to head to Washington D.C. for a four night/five day excursion. We often pass through the city in a mad rush getting to the airport and coming back home again. We had often said that if we could just have the time there is so much there that we would love to see and do....and so this time we did!

We didn't want to fill our agenda too full with tours and travels and treading. We let ourselves have most mornings to enjoy quiet time in our hotel room, eating breakfast in bed, watching the news, letting the sun pour in our room, and not doing anything that we didn't want to do! It was lovely. Just what we needed.

There is something just so good about getting away with that person that knows you better than anyone else on this Earth. When I hang out with Chris it is like I am hanging out with myself (and I love myself a whole heckuva lot!). It's just that kind of relationship where we can be completely quiet in the car and yet feel like everything that needs to be said is being said already. We are also lucky that we travel so well together. We like the same types of places, we like to do the same types of things, eat at the same types of restaurants, sleep the same length of's just nice.

It was also pretty nice to wake up this morning and be excited to get home and see our two little men! Oh my, we missed them all weekend long! We talked about them so often and talked about things they would have loved to have seen, loved to have experienced. But we also know that it's so important that we take this time for just the two of us. Uninterrupted, stress free, easy, just focusing on the two of's good.

It's also good to not take for granted the amazing gift of being parents to such incredible little boys. They are a gift. A blessing. We enjoyed such a special afternoon and evening together today. Wrestling, kissing, cuddling, reading, playing. It was just what this Mama needed.

And now some pictures...

The harbor in Old Town Alexandria

Chris and I on a boat ride across the Potomac

A very handsome tourist

We were so lucky to get such a good closeup of the Red Panda (haha- couldn't resist!)
And what we came home to...

Grayson wrestling with Daddy


Ethan snuggling

Arms full of my boys...just the way I love it

Precious Grayson John

Reading stories with Daddy

Sunday, April 11, 2010

When It Comes Down To It

I have had this feeling in the past few weeks that my life, the reality of it, has been shaken.

My Grandmother's terminal cancer and passing is the reason why.

As my head continues to spin over the realization that she really is gone, I have also been dwelling on so many things that I witnessed and heard about during the last days of her life...and even now after.

I mentioned briefly in a paragraph on my old blog about the last minutes of her life...but I have been feeling compelled in my gut to say more, to share more, because it doesn't seem like enough to just mention it in passing.

And so I want to share it more in depth:

My Grandma's 3 daughters were present with her when she passed. They were with her in her room when she died, and their lives have been forever changed because of it. They shared this story numerous times last weekend. They shared it during the reviewal service, at the lunch after the funeral, sitting on Grandma's porch last Sunday was so frequently shared, and even those of us who had already heard it were on the edge of our seats waiting to hear it again and again and again.

In this past week I have thought of those last moments they shared with my Grandma so many times. I will be in the middle of something and all of the sudden I will stop and think about it again.

Here is their story:

Throughout the evening on Saturday, March 27th Grandma appeared to be restless, perhaps even a bit agitated. She was one who often loved attention from her children and grandchildren. She loved us being by her side, talking with her, singing to her, reading her scriptures...but on this evening she just wanted to be alone. She had a restless night sleep. She was awake much of the night - sometimes talking, sometimes quiet, eyes sometimes closed, often open...

She was adamant the night before that someone would wake her when it was morning. She did not want to miss the morning.

She also the night before appeared to be carrying on a conversation with her sister Geraldine who passed away from breast cancer a few years ago. What my Mom heard from my Grandma was this: (paraphrased) "I'm pretty tired tonight. Okay. I'll see you in the morning."

Well, as the morning did come on March 29, 2010 my Grandmother was still with us. A hospice nurse had come by the house to check on Grandma. A frown was appearing on Grandma's forehead and her daughters were concerned that Grandma was experiencing some pain and discomfort. They stepped out of the room just briefly and let the hospice nurse check on her. Within a few seconds the nurse came out of the bedroom and said to the daughters "You have got to see the smile on her face! She is seeing something beautiful!"

The three daughters rushed in to Grandma's room. The way that they have described that smile in the retelling of this story is "radiant." Now my Grandma was a joyful person. Always an optimistic spirit. She was always smiling and laughing....but this was different. This grin was so wide it stretched across her entire face.

Grandma's eyes were wide open and she was looking up towards the top corner of the room.

With that radiant glow on her face Grandma began to make sounds almost as if she was watching a fireworks show on the 4th of July. "Ahhh..." "Ohhh..." She was amazed. Astounded by whatever it was that she was encountering.

My Aunt Barb asked her "Mom, can you see Grandpa?" (My grandpa passed away 26 years ago) "Yes," was her reply.

They asked her "Can you see your sisters?" (2 of her sisters had passed before her) "Yes," she replied again.

"Do you see your Mom and Dad?" She said, "Yes. Everybody."

The entire time her smile never left her face.

She then seemed to refocus back in to that bedroom. She looked at each one of her daughters straight in the eyes and held each one of their gazes for a long time.

Within 10 minutes from that time she took her last breath, and she passed away.

Now that does make a pretty incredible story doesn't it? It is a pretty amazing telling of the last moments of my Grandma's life.

But to me it has been so much more than that...

Now my Grandma has always been a woman of incredible faith. Every person that knew her was aware of how important it was to her. Everything she did, every decision she made, every obstacle she was always tied in to what she believed to be true.

She had no fear in her last 6 weeks of dying. She often told my Mom that she had no fear at all because she knew exactly where she was going after she passed away. She faced her death with bravery, with dignity, and with her head held high. At one point she even said "I didn't know dying could be so much fun!"

She also at one point in the past six weeks said this to my Uncle Eldon:

“Think about it. I am 88 years old. Going on 89. I’ve never been sick. The last time I was in the hospital was 50 years ago to have a baby. I had a very good marriage to a wonderful man. If I could have picked our six kids, and their spouses, and then the children from those marriages I would not have changed one person. God gave me that beautiful farm to live on for most of my life, and I’ve been able to enjoy it until now. All my affairs are in order. Now I know that I’m leaving very soon and I know for sure where I’m going. I have absolutely no pain and I have all this time to say my goodbyes. What more could I ask for?”

She also asked that the following verse be in her obituary:

“Surely goodness and mercy have followed me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

My Grandma put her faith in God her entire life. In the last minutes of her life her three daughters can clearly tell you that her faith in Jesus as her Savior did not disappoint her.

I have been so challenged by this story these past couple of weeks. Not that this is anything too new because my Grandma has always challenged me. She always pushed us to do more, to be more, to try more...all while loving us just as we were.

But I guess sometimes it's easy to dwell on the here and the now. What's for dinner tonight, what hairstyle should I try next, how many friends do I have on Facebook, what is Ethan putting in his mouth now???

It's easy to not see the big picture, to not think about where all of this leads and what all of this means.

Some day we will all be in that place where my Grandma was two weeks ago today. We are all going to see our last day. We are all going to take our last breath.

And so it has challenged me on the days between now and then to really think about how I'm living mine. It has challenged me to think about the mother that I am to my sons (and soon my daughter!). What are we raising them to believe? Will they have this same peace, this same assurance that my Grandma did when it is their time to leave this Earth? Will I?

It has made me focus on the important things, and try to stop fretting about the little ones.

She has left some mighty big shoes to fill - and I think that all of us in the family are swimming in them right now.

We miss you.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Drum Roll Please!!!

Welcome to our new little family blog! Glad you hopped on over here and joined us. I would love it if you would become a follower of this blog. You can sign up on the right hand side of the screen. That way you can be informed whenever I post anything new and keep up with our exciting lives!

I really, really, want to do better on here about posting about the every day little things that occur in my life. Not just the things about my children (although they take up pretty much my entire life, and they are often times all that I really have to talk about), but if other things come up and I want to share my thoughts, feelings, cravings, or favorite pizza toppings - well then, I just might do that! begin...

Why don't we start with a little pregnancy update shall we??

I turned 18 weeks yesterday. I know this because I went to the Doctor and they told me. I have been so bad this time at keeping track of just how far along I am. With the boys I knew the exact week and the exact day, but this time I know a rough estimate of where I'm at, but then I let them tell me, just to make sure!

My cow shots are going along just fine. Chris's Mom is an R.N. and she taught Chris how to give me the shots. Nothing like having your rear end exposed in front of your husband and mother-in-law while they discuss where the upper right quadrant of my heinie is before plunging the needle in! I only have like 20 more shots to go, so the end is in sight. Ha!

I am continuing to feel fantastic. Heartburn has getting reaquainted with me again in the evenings around 9:00, but so far it hasn't been a problem for me to sleep at night and I'm not yet laying in bed with twenty pillows (give or take 15) propping me up to try and lessen the pain.

Just this past week I have started to feel the tiniest of little flutters. They are totally sporadic and very faint, but I'm just going to say that's what it is! I remember with the boys it wasn't until after 2o something weeks when I started feeling them.

And yes...we did find out the sex of baby #3! We weren't sure if we were going to or not, but Chris really wanted to, and I was on the fence. Well yesterday I had a quick ultrasound and the technician said that she could certainly get a good glimpse and picture if I wanted her to. I caved pretty quickly! She told me to turn away, so I did. She then took a picture of the little parts, put the picture in an envelope and sealed it up. I drove all the way home with that little while envelope staring back at me and I didn't even open it!

When I walked in the door after my appointment yesterday Chris, Ethan, Grayson, and myself sat down together on the couch and we opened it up. This is what we saw:

Chris and I both started to cry. We were completely thrilled and over the moon with the reality that a little girl would soon be entering our family! Ethan and Grayson just looked at us with these huge grins, and Ethan even covered his open mouth mimicking my response! Oh, if only they could understand what this means!!

I instantly had to call my Mother and all I could say was "It's a girl! It's a girl! It's a girl!!" She just cried along with me. What a gift a new little life is, especially during this difficult time of just losing her Mother and my Grandmother.

We would have been completely, completely, completely satisfied either way - but this to me is perfect for our little family. I'm excited to see who this little one is going to look like, will she have my lips like I share with my mother, will she have my sassy attitude that my parents used to love when I was a preteen, will she have dimples from her daddy?

I know that I am going to be a busy Mama. Trust me, I am already. I know that I will suffer from lack of sleep for a while. I will have moments where three under the age of two is going to seem like a bit more than I can handle...I am certain of it. But I am also certain that this little family of five is a HUGE blessing and gift. I am so thankful that I am being granted the privilege of raising and caring for three children! Bring on the houseful of laundry baskets, burp clothes, baby spoons, and teddy bears.

I can't imagine it any other way.


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