Sunday, December 30, 2012

26 Weeks, Tactfulness, and Other Updates

On Wednesday of this week, I was officially 26 weeks pregnant with our twins! I still feel comfortably far away from D-day (delivery day, that is) and although my doctor recommended that I pre-register at the hospital at 24 weeks, I'm putting that off. I just don't really want to think about the hospital yet! No offense to any people in the medical profession, but I hate it. I guess I'm glad it's there to serve it's purpose, of course, but I do not want to be the one in need. Alas, Jackie has said no to homebirth. The guy won't even cut the umbilical cord at the hospital so I don't think he could handle me popping out a couple of babies on the couch or something, ha ha.

So, the #1 question from people who don't know me is, "Wow, so, you're about ready to pop, huh?" The greeter at Walmart, the manager at Popeyes, etc. Seriously, when the manager at Popeyes asked me that a couple of days ago and I explained things to her, I thought her eyes were going to bug out of her head as she stared at my stomach! Really, people? Whatever happened to tact? Yes, yes, I know it's an unusual situation in today's society to be expecting your 5th and 6th babies but it seems I've heard lots of stories lately about people and their inability to put forth appropriate statements. From outright rude cracks about one's sexuality to blatantly ignorant comments about multiracial families, I wonder, shouldn't we be teaching this in school or something? Trust me people 98% of y'all aren't going to need to know what a gerund is but you do need to know how to talk to people without being offensive! So here's a little lesson in how to figure out what's going on with that gigantically huge pregnant lady.

Tactful person: "What lovely children you have and I see that you are being blessed again! When is your due date?"
Gigantically huge pregnant lady: "Thank you! I'm due April 3."
Tactful person whose eyes ARE NOT bugging out: "Oh, a spring baby. That will be nice. Do you know if it's a boy or a girl?"
Gigantically huge pregnant lady: "Well, actually, we're expecting twins! They are both girls."
The end. Please feel free to ask if you need any other guides to dealing with carrying on a decent conversation. ; )

Moving on, the #1 question from people who do know me is, "How are you feeling?" I am feeling great! I really don't think pregnancy has slowed me down any thus far. Okay, maybe I waddle up the stairs a little slower but I still enjoy long, full days of school and housework. I'm still picking up my (other) babies and doing all of the other usual stuff I've always done. Of course I am tired and sometimes achy at the end of the day but never overly so.

The only time I'm truly uncomfortable is when I'm in bed at night. I've been questioning whether I am even meant to be in a horizontal position or not. I absolutely cannot lay on my back. It feels like the babies are each trying to slide off different sides of me or something. So I lay on my left side until that arm goes to sleep then I put a hand under my belly and lift it up to turn over. Seriously, it needs to be lifted. I really cannot imagine what it must be like for the ladies who carry triplets or more. A woman's body is an amazing thing and I remember that each and every time I look at my flat little belly button. I don't believe I've gained a lot of weight elsewhere. In fact, I can still see ribs over my basketball belly which protrudes from clearly visible hip bones. It's kind of funny!

I still have a sweet tooth and can make a box of chocolate covered cherries disappear in no time but am trying hard to eat well and substitute (non-chocolate dipped) fruit for cookies and cakes. I'm drinking lots and lots of water and taking my vitamin supplements. I believe that staying active and eating well is keeping me healthy and pre-eclampsia free. I'm hoping and praying that I will not suffer from it this pregnancy but will be able to carry the babies until they decide to come out naturally. I'm also trying to prepare myself mentally and emotionally for the fact that that may not happen. There could very well be a c-section in my future, who knows? Only the Lord and I know that I can trust Him. Still, I pour out the desires of my heart before Him and know that He hears my petitions!

So here's my 26 week shot and in the words of a meme I saw earlier this week, "The word you are looking for is radiant." = P

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

24 Weeks

Today the twins are 24 weeks old! They are probably around 11 inches long and, according to the ultrasound I had yesterday, weigh approximately 1 pound, 7 ounces each. It is a GREAT thing that they each weigh the same. This is a good indication that they are sharing nicely in utero! Thank God for two placentas. (Add that to things you never thought you'd hear someone say.)

So here's this week's belly shot:


Yesterday when the doctor came in to perform the ultrasound he said, "You got twins in there?! It doesn't look like it." I resisted the urge to tell him that I loved him and simply said, "Everyone else in the world begs to differ with you." Yes, I've gotten lots of comments lately about the size of my stomach. I guess it's kind of nice, actually, it starts a lot of conversations with strangers! I can't wait to see how it looks in a couple of months although I do wonder what in the world I'm going to wear. There's a brand of maternity clothing called "Two Hearts." I put on one of their shirts the other day and wondered if there's something out there for three hearts!

Other than running out of clothing options, I'm feeling great. I think I'm probably more active now than during any other pregnancy. Four kids will do that for you.

Speaking of active, the girls were practically doing aerobics yesterday during the ultrasound. I don't know if I've ever felt them move that much so perhaps they'll be performers someday--they sure were showing out for the ultrasound technician. Here's a picture of twin a. When it was taken, she was breech but before too long she turned and was transverse. There's still plenty of room for somersaults!

I love how you can see her little legs all curled up with sweet baby feet at the end!


I asked the ultrasound technician just to double check that they're definitely girls. She seemed somewhat offended and told me that Dr. Maupin is a doctor of maternal fetal medicine and that she herself had been doing ultrasounds for 20 years; they were not going to tell me wrong. She amused me and printed out pictures of their little lady parts so that I'd have photographic proof, ha ha.


Here's a shot of twin b. It's a little blurry but can you see her profile?


She is definitely a girl, too. = )


So since we know they are definitely girls and have only a few weeks left until they will make their debut into the "big world," I figure we should get busy naming them and preparing for them otherwise. EVERYONE wants to know if we've picked out names yet and the short answer is no. I do have a couple that I really like though and feel they will probably be what we end up with. At first I really loved Quinn for twin a since she will be #5 of our brood. I couldn't ever think of a great name to "match" it though. I don't want their names to be too matchy-matchy but I would like for them to go together. I considered Chloe and Bronwen (which I LOVE) but Chloe seemed to popular right now and Bronwen seemed too masculine for me. I really like feminine names but both Quinn and Bronwen, while lovely, are gender neutral so I ultimately decided against them.

I have looked for names everywhere. I've read countless lists and books. I keep an eye out around town since a New Orleans name would be wonderful (Jackie vetoed Calliope). Yesterday, I even thought how Skittle would be a cute girl's name but alas, I am no celebrity and probably couldn't pull off name my child after a rainbow colored candy. This morning I suggested River and Rose as a tribute to our new found love for Dr. Who. They are lovely sounding together but I worry we might spur some contempt between the girls naming them after his companion and his wife. = P

The names that I have liked and honestly considered recently are Isla (pronounced EYE-LA. You know like island without the "nd") and Everleigh. I think they go together and yet wouldn't necessarily overly bind them together. They are both "trendy" names right now so they wouldn't be the only ones with their name but they also aren't "popular" names so they wouldn't be a million Sophias, Isabellas, or Emmas (the top 3 names last year). As for middle names I think I like Isla Cerise (it means "cherry" and would always remind me of the craving I had while expecting them--chocolate covered cherries!) and Everleigh Jubilee. I have begged Jackie to name a girl Jubilee through every pregnancy and he has never liked it. Until now. All of a sudden he suggested it and has insisted that it be one of their middle names. I think it goes nicely with Everleigh. (Or should it be Everly or Everley? The "leigh" seems more girly to me and matches Keeleigh.)

I'm also thinking about baby bedding. I adore the owl theme that is so popular right now. There are several options using that theme and it would be super easy to find accessories but I've also seen a few bold, less typical designs that I like. Check out my Twins Room board on Pinterest and tell me which ones are your favorite. I'm certain I'll be adding more ideas soon!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Gender Reveal

On Thursday we had our "big" ultrasound. I was so hopeful to be able to find out the babies' genders. At both my 14 and 18 week doctor's appointment, my doctor performed ultrasounds and each time the baby on the right was turned in such a way that you couldn't tell. At 18 weeks we were 99% sure that Baby A (who is on the left) was a girl so I was eager to find out her twin's gender so we could tell everyone!

At this ultrasound, both the babies were laying across my stomach. Twin A was on her tummy nearer to the top. The ultrasound technician confirmed that she was indeed a she!


Twin B was more to the bottom and facing up so it looked like they were talking to each other. Thankfully she was compliant and we could tell quite easily that she was a she, too! She already behaves very different from her sister, however. While Twin A was calmly rubbing her hands over her head, Twin B was turning backflips it seemed. The ultrasound technician kept having to chase her around to get her measurements. No wonder I feel more movement on my right side!



Getting a picture of them together proved difficult because they were so wiggly and also because they're getting big (each girl weighed 12 ounces). Here's a somewhat blurry shot of them together, though. I pointed out their heads since it's a little hard to tell what's what.



We kept the secret the rest of the day then Thursday night we had somewhat of a gender reveal party to tell the kids and our friends. Jackie cooked a gigantic pot of chili (it's finally cold enough for it!) and we baked some potatoes and had corn dogs for the kids.

Everyone made their predictions. Keeleigh, Melissa, and Byron guessed correctly. No one guessed two boys! Most people thought girl/boy which is what I had thought all along.



After supper we gave each of the kids a cupcake. Keeleigh and Jathan got a Twin A cupcake and Ryland and Piper got a Twin B cupcake.







When they bit in they discovered pink filling indicating that they were getting two more sisters!





I'm so glad to have two healthy babies on the way and for the privilege of knowing their genders before birth so we can prepare. I've been scouring the Internet for baby names, cute bedding, and knitting project ideas. I can't wait to feel them grow in the coming months and to finally hold them in my arms! Children truly are such a blessing. = )

Sunday, November 11, 2012

NOBTS Holiday Market

I have signed up to participate in the 2012 Holiday Market at NOBTS and am so excited! Today I did a practice run setting things up since I have a *few* things and wanted to make sure they'd fit nicely on the table there. Want a sneak peak of what I will be selling tomorrow night?



5 different types of items on that table were made from things you probably would have thrown away!

I wanted to do this craft show because it's (hopefully) our last year here and this event has always been fun to attend. I also LOVE crafting! Oh and because I love a good bargain, I priced everything as low as possible, starting at just a quarter! In fact, there are 12 different types of items $5 or under. So, please stop by the HSC tomorrow night at 6 p.m., eat some Chick-fil-a, and visit my table. See you there!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween Crafts

Over Fall Break we took a little hiatus from our usual school work and studied the arts Halloween style.

The little kids each had a monster face a day to design. First we did jack-o-lantern mosaics.

  

Next they painted Frankenstein's monster and used buttons, stickers, and yarn to make him a face.
  
The boys painted their witches hat and face then glued on eyes, noses, and mouths cut from magazines (also a very fun thing to do on real pumpkins!). Very Picasso, don't you think?



For Dracula, they went freestyle and drew on faces with crayons.



The little kids worked on learning a poem together. We chose, "Five Little Pumpkins."



To help we did a craft to go along with the poem. First we gathered a few acorn and painted them orange. I made a gate out of craft sticks.



When the orange paint was dry we drew Jack-O-Lantern faces on the acorns.



Then we used our gate and acorns to act out the poem as we said it. Here Jathan is being the wind and the pumpkins are all rolling away!



One day the boys did a magazine scavenger hunt. I made a list of Halloween related pictures to find and handed them some copies of fall magazines. They flipped and flipped and snipped and snipped then glued all their finds to a paper for display.



  

And of course we couldn't go without decorating a pumpkin. We have a big pumpkin to carve but I got them these small pumpkins to paint to their hearts' desire.







Tada!



Keeleigh got to join in the fall fun, as well. She had a haunted house to color. On the back she came up with some adjectives to describe haunted houses and some adverbs to describe how witches, monsters, and ghosts behave.



She learned the folklore behind the jack-o-lantern and carved her own original from a turnip just like Stingy Jack the original "Jack of the Lantern" carried.



She also got to choose one monster, ghost, or goblin to research. She chose the Headless Horseman and made a lapbook about him.



I also found several worksheets online for Keeleigh to complete. One worksheet had her complete grid coordinates to make a Halloween picture, and she wrote a Halloween acrostic poem.

On Thursday of Fall Break we went to the pumpkin patch where the kids all got pumpkins.



 Keeleigh carved a face in hers.



And with Ryland's we cut the top off, added soil and water, and are waiting for the pumpkin seeds to sprout! Sorry, somehow I didn't get a picture of that. Weird, I know. = P



Keeleigh's pumpkin had a TON of seeds inside which we, of course, roasted for snacking! Yum, yum!



And that's what we did for Fall Break! So much fun!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Week's Worth of Pinterest Meals!


I bounce back and forth between being an uber organized meal-planner and a fly-by-the-seat of her pants microwaver. A couple of weeks ago it felt like we'd been in a rut, scrambling to come up with last minute meals so I hit up my Invited to the Party in My Tummy board on Pinterest for inspiration. What followed was  a week of busy chopping and mixing, trying new ingredients, and chowing down! Not all of the recipes were worth the effort and there were a few I will make changes to next time. Here's what I cooked.

The Winners

In no particular order...

So, this picture looks awful but I forgot to take a pretty picture before we SCARFED it all down. If you need a pretty picture, definitely follow the link to the recipe. I really loved this recipe; it was savory and homey. The recipe called for poultry seasoning or sage but I chose to add both. I also had some mushrooms that needed using so I threw them in there, too. We ate it with biscuits and corn on the cob. This one's a keeper.



This was a super simple recipe that my mom suggested I try. All you do is mix up a can of pumpkin and a box of yellow cake mix. I was not so sure that was going to be tasty enough so I added in some chocolate chips. I saw another recipe that suggested you smush a little Nutella in the center, and I think that would be divine. It would probably also be yummy with nuts or cranberries mixed in.

My kids were skeptical about trying these but quickly ate them up. I saw a quote earlier this week from a kid who said something along the lines of grown ups get away with eating cupcakes for breakfast by calling them muffins. I definitely thought these leaned heavily to the cupcake side but, heck, lets call them muffins!

Those white flecks? That's where I got tired of stirring because the batter was so thick, ha ha!


I cannot tell you how much I loved this meal. It was completely and totally delicious, and you need to try it. It really only serves about 4 so if you have a big family (or want leftovers for lunch!), definitely double the recipe. 



This chicken salad made a delicious lunch! I omitted the avocado and cilantro simply because I don't like them but think I might leave in the avocado next time because even though this had a lot of tasty ingredients, no single thing had an overpowering taste. We used flour tortillas to turn this salad into a wrap, crunching the chips up over the top before wrapping up (crunchy tortilla strips would be great for this). 



These were a delicious side item! I probably added more cheese than what the recipe called for because I like them really cheesy. I think they would also be yummy with some wild rice instead of all white rice. 

 


Loved this but would definitely make one change next time: all that brown rice was a little too much for me. If you're used to eating brown rice, I'm sure you'd love it. If you're used to white rice, it's going to taste a little too "healthy" for you, ha ha. Next time I'll probably do half brown, half white. Other than that, we loved it! Oh, but I did add more cheese than it called for. Because we like cheese. = ) It was delicious served with a dollop of sour cream on top and scooped up with tortilla chips. 



A while back we got some baked potato soup at Outback and loved it. So, the girl who posted this recipe said, "Outback ain't got nothin' on me!" I'll try it, I thought. Outback, it ain't, but it was still really easy and pretty good. I think it would be good with chunked up red potatoes instead of simply frozen hashbrowns but dumping a bag of hashbrowns in there was pretty easy. = ) Serve it with your favorite baked potato toppings and mmmmmmmm. Jackie did mention that it wasn't all that filling. It might make a better appetizer or side rather than the entree. We liked it, though!




Sorry, no picture for this one (check the link, though). Another two ingredient sweet treat! This was totally easy and totally delicious. I loved the pineapple flavor and was delighted to see that you can also mix it with other fruits; I'm trying blueberry today! Just put a dollop of whipped cream on the top and it's perfect.

The Loser


This was a Martha Stewart recipe so I really would have expected better. The meat wasn't bad but it had a lot of ingredients and took a good bit of time to prepare. Apparently, I pressed my patties out too thick so it took forever to cook, and we were all starving by the time I finally got it on the table. The onion gravy never thickened for me, and it was VERY onion-y. Overall, I just didn't think it was worth the effort. Perhaps if I toned down the onions in the gravy and got it to thicken, this would be a good freezer meal but don't make this unless you have a good hour to prep this one item. 

We served it with the broccoli cups and baked potatoes so the night wasn't a total loss. And, hey, with a week's worth of new recipes one loser is pretty good in my book.


The Jury is Still Out


This spaghetti sauce is in the crock pot for tonight. I haven't tasted it yet but, let me tell you, it smells heavenly! I found myself wishing that I had more veggies to put into it, though. It would be great with zucchini or eggplant or mushrooms or all of the above tossed in. I can't wait to try it tonight!



What Pinterest (or otherwise) recipes have you tried lately? Do share!