Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Waiting Room

I'm not good at reading while I'm waiting. Especially in a hospital waiting room. I always take a book along thinking I'll get some reading done during these "quiet" minutes. But my heart is anxious so I watch.

There's a group of people sporting the same t-shirts. They're wrinkled like they're brand new. One woman is knitting, and two of the men are busy on their phones. They're chatting and look like they're glad to be together.

I read another paragraph.

There's a man sitting to my right. He's all by himself. He has a red purse with him. I'm assuming he's waiting for his wife. The purse looks heavy as he totes it to the front desk to check on his wife.

I re-read the same paragraph.

Starbucks is right across the hall to my left. The line never seems to end. It moves quickly but people just keep filing in for their $4.00 coffees. Several walk past me with their red cups looking like lizards. Their tongues barely touching the edge of the lid. And then not. And then trying again. They're all anxious to sip their fresh beverage but they know, the coffee's practically scalding. The sign at the front register says so. And most of them have been burned before and know they'll regret it.

There's a woman sitting in the coffee area. She's wearing a red turtleneck sweater and is talking really loudly into her phone. She's shouting about how she feels like hell and can't seem to get rid of her hacking cough. I reach for my hand sanitizer kind of wishing I'd brought a mask.

The women from the group of t-shirts join around a table. I wish I could see what their shirts say. Out comes a deck of cards. They shuffle and deal. No one gives directions as they've all played this game before. The cards snapping together as they are shuffled seems so loud in this anxious little room.

I read another paragraph. I dig through my purse to find a pen to underline something that I should remember. I look around waiting for the recovery door to open with a nurse telling me I can go back to see my baby. But it's just another delivery guy. They sure get a lot of packages back there.

There's a woman in a blue vest at another table. She's right next to the free waiting room coffee. She's on her phone, looking through a book, writing, then erasing, then writing again. She pops the top off her pink highlighter and makes some marks in her book. I can't tell if she's working or studying.

I read on. This book is really good and I should probably read it when I'm not so distracted. This is some good stuff that I'm going to need to process.

A man wearing black dress pants and black shoes walks by. He's supporting the Hawkeyes with his University of Iowa jacket. He sits right next to the woman studying at the table. She doesn't even look up to acknowledge him. He sits with his head in his hands. She puts her work away and takes out her phone. It doesn't look like they know each other but it seems strange that he would sit so close to someone he doesn't know. Maybe they do know each other but have nothing to say.

Finally, I take my turn in the Starbucks line. I'm thankful for the gift card in my pocket. I order my coffee and two pieces of pumpkin bread. My baby will be hungry when I see him in recovery. He loves food so I know he'll appreciate this treat.

I return to "my" seat, glad that someone didn't take it. Now I become a lizard as I wait for my coffee to cool-off enough to drink. But it smells so good and I can't resist, and I sip burning the tip of my tongue just like I have so many times before.

The group around the table are giving each other hugs as the nurse updates them on their loved one. "No bowel resection." There are tears of joy and looks of relief. They seem more energetic as they shuffle and deal their cards.

I read over the words I've underlined. I read the next page and the next.

I look up from my book and there's a little old woman about two feet away staring at me. She has a hospital badge on so I ask her if she's looking for Caleb's mom. She looks confused. She asks if he had an MRI and I answer yes. I'm the one she's looking for. She gives me instructions to Recovery II as if she's said them a million times. I don't hear half of what she says but say thank you as I grab my book and coffee. I look over at the man with the red purse. He looks slightly defeated that he hasn't been invited to go to recovery.

I'm thankful to see my baby smiling on the nurse's lap as she rocks with him. I'm glad he took his little blanket. She hands him over and says he handled the anesthesia well and that I should sit with him for a few minutes before heading to our next appointment.

I sit on the recliner with my boy in my lap. My feet don't touch the floor and I probably look younger than I feel. I offer small bites of pumpkin bread to chubby hands and the look of delight is priceless. He refuses the milk in his bottle as he claps for more bread. I sit thankful for this chubby-cheeked boy.

After about fifteen minutes, I gather our things and give the nurses my sincere thanks as we head out the door. To another waiting room.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Our Twin Story: Part 1 - We're What?!

I really don't even know how to start this post. :) The twins' first birthday is coming up and what a better way to celebrate than to tell you our story...their story. But I have to start at the beginning of the journey.

In April 2010 we lost a precious baby boy, Elihu, at 15 weeks. The grief hit me like I'd never have expected and sent me into battle with God. I knew He had a plan but I wasn't ready to trust that it was a good plan. I didn't want to let go of my little boy. But God faithfully continued to pursue me and He so lovingly gave me Elihu's name. We had a heaven party to celebrate his little life in October 2010 and shortly after that we found out we were expecting again. Instead of falling head over heels for this baby I guarded my heart and I still regret that. I didn't allow myself to fall in love just in case it didn't work out...and it didn't. We lost that baby, Elliot, at 10 weeks. Instead of devastation and anger towards God I felt guilty for not allowing myself to be vulnerable to love. And I still hurt, just in a different way. I trusted that God had a good plan for my life, for my family and for my babies, but I felt lost.

I spent most of 2011 working on healing my body after medical procedures, sudden hormonal changes, thyroid issues. And when we got the "ok" to start trying again in November, I didn't want to. I was scared because I knew that if we lost a third baby I wouldn't be able to handle another pregnancy after that. But we went ahead and started "trying."

I noticed that my period was about a week late. I called Jonathan to pick up a pregnancy test on his way home from work. I peed on the little stick and waited for the full three minutes before was negative. And I was disappointed. I guess I was more ready than I had thought. But instead of being angry I cried out to God. And I mean, I cried. I finally asked Him that if it was not in His plan for us to have more children, to please oh please take this desire away from me. I was ready to give in fully to His will. I woke the next morning with swollen eyes from bawling into the night and Jonathan looked at me like, "What happened to you? Were you crying last night?" Yep, he slept through the whole thing. :)

About a week later, I still hadn't had my period so I thought I might as well pee on that second stick that came in our "two-pack" of pregnancy tests. I left the stick in the bathroom and proceeded to go about my day. About a half-hour later I went into the bathroom with fresh towels and saw that stick still sitting there. And it was positive. WHAT?!

I called Jonathan and told him to pick up another "two-pack" and come :) And they were both positive too. I made the official call to our OB and spoke to the nurse. The rule at our clinic is that you don't get to see the doctor until you're 12 weeks along, but since we had complications our last two pregnancies they let me in at 8 weeks with an ultrasound to make sure "something was there." What some awful words to hear. But we remained hopeful.

In fact, that night, a week after my last bawl-fest, I cried out to God again. I boldly approached His throne of grace and pleaded with Him to give us twins. I told Him that our desire was to have four kids and I didn't think that I would be able to handle another pregnancy if this one went well, let alone if this one ended the way our last two did. I pleaded for Him to let me keep this baby and to please make me pregnant with twins (they do not run in our family). I woke the next morning with swollen eyes and Jonathan looked at me and knew that I had been crying the night before while he was asleep. :) I told him that I asked God for twins. He looked at me like I was crazy. He told me what most people would've said if I told them about my prayers, that I should just be thankful for a healthy baby, that I was pretty gutsy to ask God for twins when I should just be happy to have a healthy pregnancy. I told my dear sweet husband that God already knew what was on my heart and that I wasn't afraid to come and ask Him for the "impossible."

On December 28th, 2011 we walked into that OB clinic with a full bladder anxious hearts. The last two times I was in this clinic, they did not end well. The anxiety was almost choking me. I had to remind myself to keep calm and breathe. I couldn't look at the magazines of pregnant celebrities. I had a hard time being in the same room with all those pregnant women. I was so glad that Jonathan was with me. After waiting for about 45 minutes, my bladder that was full when I arrived was about to burst. My husband and I laughed, but not too hard, about me needing to empty my bladder just a little bit. The only problem was that I didn't know if I could stop once I started. :) I know this is weird to share, but there's a reason for it later. So I did. And it did not feel good. I emptied about half of my bladder and went back to waiting for my name to be called.

Finally, I was called back for our ultrasound. I may have looked calm but I was a nervous wreck. The tech left so I could change into a gown and I was almost to the point of an anxiety attack. Jonathan held my hand and prayed for me and our baby. I was so scared to see another lifeless image on the screen. To see a baby, with no heartbeat is horrifying. Praying helped to remind me who God is and that no matter what I knew God was in control and that He loved me. The tech came in and put that cold jelly on my belly. We stared intently at the screen. Eight weeks is pretty early to have an ultrasound so it was hard to see what was going on. The tech ultrasounded my belly for a bit and then said, "I'm going to need a closer look. Don't worry. It looks fine, I just need a better look." I thought she was lying to us and I was panicked. I was also mad that we were probably going to be charged for two ultrasounds because I needed a potty break earlier while waiting. I was allowed to empty my bladder and when I returned the tech started the second ultrasound. Jonathan and I returned to staring at the screen. And that's when I saw it. I looked at the tech and she smiled at me. I said, "Is that..." And she said, "Twins. You're having identical twins!"

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Funny Confession Ecard: I've been overthinking about otherthinking again.

I've heard the word shy defined as "a fear of social judgement." Introverts get energized from time alone whereas extroverts get energized when they're with people.

I'd say I'm about 75% introvert, which leaves 25% of me needing time with my family, my friends, my church, and ministering to students. But since I've been confined to the couch, the hospital, and my home, I've noticed that my introvert is taking a shift towards shyness. I'm becoming a recluse. It's even hard for me to write, which has always been an outlet for me, because I'm afraid of offending someone: making myself look pathetic or like a saint (I am neither). 

Introvert and extrovert are at war within. :)

My introvert is calling for space away from my littles - little hands, little spills, little diapers, little cries, little discipline-issues. There's no escaping people. I shower with the bathroom door open so I can hear any fights, any alarms beeping, any crying.

But my extrovert crying out for attention too. I miss worshiping with fellow believers. Sure listening to the sermon online is great, but worship is lacking without the people of God around you singing praises and crying out to God together. I miss my friends.

And then shy creeps in. Do I still have friends? Have I been replaced? Is it socially acceptable to talk about your struggles? Do people even remember who I am? What do they think about what I'm wearing? What about the weight I've gained since having the twins? Will people still think I'm funny? Did they ever think I was funny?

I think all of this adds up to leaving my heart open to a huge attack from Satan. Feelings of annoyance and frustration for my family. Feelings of jealousy and comparison toward people in my community. Feelings of inadequacy and insignificance creep into my soul. These are not healthy nor helpful feelings.

How do I battle this? How do I embrace the life that God has given me? How do I conquer my feelings and live with Truth in my mind and my heart?

The only solution is the Word. My husband often reminds me that those things, my doubts and fears, are not true. Those thoughts of insignificance and inadequacy are lies and I need to block with Scripture. Philippians 4:8 is one of those powerful verses that I need to meditate on when I have those negative thoughts and feelings. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

I am learning to accept that this is the journey that God has me on and there's no use in fighting it. I need to find joy in my little home and in my ministry to little hearts and hands. I need to acknowledge the significant role that I am playing in my sons' lives. I need to be at peace with the way God made me and that I have value because I'm His. This is no longer my life but Christ living through me and when I let Him fill me I will shine and there's confidence in that.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Today I Will Choose Joy

I need to repeat this aloud to myself multiple times a day.

Like when I hear matchbox cars being scraped across my hardwood floor. That is such a grating sound. I want to take good care of the things God has given me. And when I hear that sound all I can think about is the scratches that are being left behind.

So I say to myself, "Today I will choose joy."

I think about the little boy that is "driving" those cars. I think about how tender his heart is and how much fun he's having while he plays. I take the time to listen to him singing "10,000 Reasons" while he races cars back and forth over the floor. I remind myself that people are more important than things.

I also add "purchase a rug for the bedroom" to my shopping list. ;)

Wood floors are pretty trivial around here with the babies and the monitors and the tanks of oxygen. But sometimes a pet peeve can be even more irritating when it seems like we can't even "control" the small things. I am thankful for all my little boys and all the "excitement" that they can cause. ;)

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Desperate for More

I love Sally Clarkson. And I love her books.

I appreciated going through The Ministry of Motherhood along with Good Morning Girls. It was such an encouraging reminder that what we do at home with our littles is important and eternal. Our home and our family is our ministry. Whether I'm praying with my little boy after he's been disciplined to wiping yet another tiny hiney - I am ministering. God loves our mommy hearts and Sally's been so great at encouraging them. :)

She has a new book out, Desperate, that she wrote with Sarah Mae. I ordered my copy a few days ago, but am really looking forward to it. This has been a difficult season for me. 12 weeks of bedrest through the spring, spending 12 weeks of summer in the NICU, and being "trapped" in my house since August 8th and seeing no "relief" until RSV season is over at the end of May has been tiring on my heart. And it's been lonely.

But I've noticed something, there are a lot of lonely moms out there. Moms that are tired from racing around in their vehicles delivering one child to this and another child to that. Moms that have children with special needs that require more time, patience, care and understanding. Moms that don't have family nearby to help when you just need a 10 minute walk around the block to keep your sanity. Moms that feel the need to keep up a perfect home, decorated, clean and inviting, but too tired to have anyone over to enjoy it. There are moms who are exhausted from disciplining - oh, so tired.

We all love our children and would do anything for them but it's a tiring and often thankless job. We are desperate for more. We are desperate for God.

I'm so looking forward to reading Desperate by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson. And the authors are hosting a give away of a spa/mentoring weekend in Colorado Springs!! Make sure you head over to the Desperate website to find out how to be entered in the give away.  **contest over**

Thursday, December 20, 2012

My Baby Favorites

When we were expecting our first child, I have to admit that I was really excited to register for gifts. I'm sure it's that way with most first-time parents: the perfect stroller, the cute sleepers with matching hats, the blankets that will look cute draped over the new rocking chair, the tiny colored socks for every little outfit, the toys and music that will stimulate little brains to higher IQs.

This time around it's a whole lot different. We have boxes of clothes, sleepers and hats. We got hand-me-downs til the cows come home. This time we are focusing on the practical and not the cute, although, cute does have some weight.

The first thing I did was weed through the toys. We simplified it to a few boxes: rings and rattles, blocks, toddler cars, and balls. They are all plastic so they can be sanitized. Sorry, little fuzzy monkey rattle, you're not welcome here anymore. If I couldn't clean it properly, it went in the trash or the garage sale pile.

Next, I got rid of all the cutsie socks that matched each outfit and got plain ol' white and gray socks that actually stay on their feet. I was tired of finding matches, or not finding matches. And they were always falling off and getting lost.

Then I went through the clothes. Because the babies are hooked up to wires and tubes they can only wear onsies and snap-up front pajamas. That meant all the cute outfits with pants and matching onsies were out. I left them in the box and only pulled out the snappy jammies.

Now onto the new stuff we didn't use the first time around. These things have become our necessities amid the downsizing of all our baby stuff. We use this stuff every day and I am so thankful for them! :)

$269.99 at Target

I had planned on nursing the twins until they were a year old. But I never did get Zeke to nurse and I was only able to get Caleb to latch on a few times and then he didn't really get anything substantial. So I pumped. A. LOT. When I was in the NICU, I used the hospital Medela pump. And when I was at home I used the home Medela Pump in Style. It is totally worth the cost, but if you're in a situation similar to ours, insurance will usually cover the it.

$9.99 for 50 bags at Target

When you're pumping a lot, you get a lot of milk. :) And I filled two deep freezers full of milk. That's right, two freezers. I was pumping every 3 hours for 30+ minutes and would skip the middle-of-the-night pumping. We started off freezing milk in little bottles we got from the NICU. But I was making so much milk that every time I pumped I would fill 3 bottles, that's 360ml or 12oz. And those little bottles took up a lot of space. I had used the Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags with my first son and they proved to work great this time around. It was a lot easier to freeze the bags flat so they stacked nicely in the freezer. The only thing that I don't like about them is when they're frozen, they can get holes in the bottom corners of the bag if you drop them on the floor or they fall out of the freezer. So, just make sure you thaw them inside of a zip-lock bag.

Then you have to feed those babies all that milk. :)

$20.59 for a gift set at Target
I had used Playtex Bottles with our first boys so I thought they would work perfectly for the twins (mostly because I already had all the stuff). :) But these guys like to keep us hoppin'. Zeke had a terrible time eating. I honestly felt like we needed to take him back to the hospital after the first 24 hours of having him home. I just felt like he didn't know how to eat. It was really hard to say the least. I was crying most of the time because he was so sad and hungry but couldn't eat. Then we got a recommendation for Dr. Brown's Bottles. I had never even considered them because of their cost, but they are worth every penny!! They've made a huge difference for Zeke: less fussing, less burping, less crying, less frustration, better flow, better eating, just better. :) They are little more difficult to clean because of the parts and small holes but each set comes with a special cleaning brush.

$12.89 at Target
And we had never needed to clean bottles before. We used to have a dishwasher and with the Playtex Bottles, we just tossed the inserts and bought new (not very frugal of us). We only needed to clean the nipples and we would just put them in a basket and pop them into the dishwasher. Since we have twice the bottles and a lot of bottle parts to clean, we decided to get a special drying rack for the bottles and it's been super handy to have. The First Years Spinning Rack was recommended by some friends and we love it. We also got a great bottle brush by Avent.

Sleepy Time

$59 at WalMart
Our babies are really good sleepers and this is something that we are so grateful for!! God has blessed us and given us a lot of grace and mercy this time around. Zeke was a little more difficult at first because he needed to sleep in an upright position because of his reflux. But we solved that issue with the InGenuity by Bright Starts Portable Swing and a Fisher Price Bouncer (which we already owned). What an amazing invention and the fact that they make portable version is even more awesome!! Zeke spent his first months at home in the bouncer and the swing. And now Caleb takes his afternoon nap in his swing. They're great to help with sleeping issues like reflux but it's also helpful when they have colds and need to keep their noses free from congestion. We do tilt the crib mattress so that helps but letting them take a nap in the bouncer or swing is even better.

$4.99 at Target
And our boys love their Philips Avent Soothie Pacifiers. They started with a super-mini-mini version in the hospital and have now advanced to the regular size. With our older boys we used the MAM Baby Trends Pacifiers cause they were cute and were orthodontic, but I didn't really know what to get. They used those in the hospitals they were born in so that's what we went with. I soon learned that they can get We did boil them regularly but they still seemed to get stuff in the little cracks and crevices. This time around our hospital used the Soothie and after doing some research I found out that this simple pacifiers are great cause they don't have any little crevices for germs and stuff to get stuck. We still boil them regularly but I feel a whole lot better on the germ-side of things. And they even make these cute WubbaNub Pacifiers that have the pacifier attached to a small stuffed animal so it's easier for them to put it back in their mouths when they're a little bigger. And they're cute. :)

$12.99 at BabiesRUs
The other thing that we've really been thankful for is the Summer Infant SwaddleMe wraps. All of our boys have appreciated the comfort that swaddling provides. We used flannel blankets with our first two and they worked well but they would bust out of them so quickly. The SwaddleMe is great!! And I wish I had had time to make a bunch of my own. The key is their Velcro straps. They help keep the baby wrapped tight. Not only did it provide comfort for the twins, but it also helped keep their hands away from their faces. We learned in the NICU that babies put their hands to their faces to comfort themselves. That's all well and good, but not when you're on oxygen. They've pulled the oxygen tubing out of their nose and ripped the stickers off of their faces - OUCH! So the SwaddleMe wraps have been super helpful with sleeping, keeping them oxygenated, and protecting their skin.


$29.99 at Target
I would love to have extra helpers around the house all the time but we have been restricting visitors because of the germ-factor that comes with fall/winter. So, we've used the wonderful Boppy Pillow to act as another pair of arms. :) We use them in the living room on the couch to help with feedings - I hold and feed one baby while the Boppy holds the other one; we use them in their cribs to help sooth one baby while I rock the other one in our glider. We had one from our when our big boys were babies and a friend graciously gave us hers since she was finished using it. There are all kinds of cute slipcovers (which get washed a LOT around here) but I'm sure if you like to sew you can find some ideas on Pinterest and make your own.

$99.99 at Target
I am in love with our stroller!! It is probably my favorite thing we've gotten this time around!! We were gifted by some friends the Baby Trend Universal Double Snap-N-Go Infat Car Seat Carrier. We had a really hard time picking out a double stroller. We had a front-to-back stroller that we used with the big boys but traded it in for a Sit-N-Stand but I knew that wouldn't work for two car seats. We really debated getting a side-by-side jogger (and we probably will get one later) but heard that the side-by-side wasn't the easiest to get around. I knew that we would need a lot of room for their monitors and oxygen tanks so when we saw the Double Snap-N-Go we were pumped! And then when we got it in the mail our high expectations were confirmed with an easy assembly. It is very light-weight, fits almost any brand of car seat, and holds all of our gear. It's a great stroller and we are so blessed to have received it as a gift.

$5 at Bath and Body Works

And one thing we CAN'T forget is the hand sanitizer!! Did you know that Bath and Body Works now makes full-sized hand sanitizers?! We have the pocket-sized sanitizers in almost every bag and pocket we own. There are many different scents and if you're not into scents, they have unscented as well. And they always have some seasonal stuff of which we are currently enjoying. We are never without our sanitizer.

So that's my review of our favorite baby items. As the babies get older I'm sure there will be more fun finds that I'll let you know about. And I already have some things that I'm looking into getting this time around including the Beaba Babycook, the IKEA Antilop Highchair (I heard they stack!), and the Baby Trend Navigator Stroller. If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave a comment. :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bye Bye Food Dye E-Book

Hey everyone! I'm proud to annouce that Brooke at B in Real Life has created an e-book of all the information on living dye-free. You can download it now so you have the information handy if/when you decide to live without food-dyes.

Also, Brooke is starting a new blog

And I will be a regular contributor!! We will be sharing more information, stories, recipes, grocery lists and all sorts of fun that comes with dye-fee livin'. Please make sure to check it out!! Thanks!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Photo Limit Reached

So I've been wanting to update you all on our lives but there's something that's keeping me from getting that done....I have reached my photo limit. :P

I'm not quite sure what route I'll be taking on this dilemma. There are a few options: moving my blog to another host, paying for extra space, removing old posts/photos, blah. I've been wanting to get back into bloggin "full time" but keep hitting snags along the way. I love having pictures on my blog and people probably enjoy that more than the writing. ;)

So, I will be back. :) I have lots to tell you: the story of our sweet babies, why we are a "Pampers" family, little DIY Christmas decorations, what I've been reading, and just things that float around in my brain all day. Thanks for your patience as I figure out my next bloggy steps.