Important Thoughts 23.0

23.1: Max is a crazy boy. Now that he can crawl, he doesn't want to hold still for anything. Christian and I have several times given up mid-diaper change and just let him scoot around for a while with a naked bottom. Nap time is worse, when he wants to explore his crib and smash the bumper down so he can look around his room. {You might think that means he's not tired, but he def-def-definitely is; it's the saddest thing to watch him patting his crib slats and sobbing at the same time because he's completely exhausted and yet just won't lay down.}

23.2: I decree that Maggie is the princessiest of princess babies. She likes to be held so much that she only just learned to roll over onto her tummy. {Seriously, baby? You are nine months old tomorrow!} She also has a very clear ranking system when it comes to who she likes to hold her. Mommy, obviously, is tier #1. Daddy falls into tier #2, and other relatives she knows qualify for tier #3. People she doesn't know aren't permitted to touch her at all, or look at her for too long. Her I-want-Mommy-all-the-time attitude is both frustrating and a tiny bit endearing.

23.3: We're so looking forward to the babies' first Christmas. I bought them Christmas pajamas {which I plan to make a tradition in our family}, but really did my best not to go overboard with presents. Really really. We're going to wrap up some extra boxes to make under the tree look extra special, and because we think that unwrapping boxes might be the most exciting part of Christmas for nine-month-olds.

23.4: I decided this year to make matching stockings for our family, and I love how they turned out. Despite my personal feelings toward them, I was surprised the reaction they got when I posted a couple pictures of them on Instagram. Mostly because they were super duper easy to make. Here's how it went: I bought some felt stockings at Target for one dollar each. I printed out our names in a font I liked, then pinned it to the inside of the stocking. Since the tops of the stockings are white, I could easily see through to the paper. Then, I backstitched through the paper and fabric together with embroidery floss. When I was done, I tore the paper off {carefully}, and voila! Done. Not that I'm done with the stockings yet; I have a few more embellishments to add. Embellishments that Christian thinks make Maggie's stocking look like it's more for Valentine's Day than Christmas. But whatevs.



When I first discovered that I was pregnant with newbaby, I wasn't excited. That's not to say that I wasn't happy, because I was. But excitement, the thrill that runs through your nerves and tingles in your fingers and feet like sparklers, I didn't have that. Excitement is the emotion you feel on Christmas Eve when your heart is bursting with joyous anticipation. When Christian and I were dating, and I knew I was about to see him again, I used to feel excitement so intense it was almost painful. My heart would race and I couldn't sit still and everything I saw seemed framed in golden confetti.

What I felt when I saw the two {two!} pink lines on my pregnancy test was much different. I felt calm, and a beautiful sense of peace. In our church, we associate that feeling with reassurance from the Holy Spirit, a confirmation that signals rightness and alignment with God's plan for us. It's the reason that I believe newbaby was meant to come to our family now, and not that Christian and I made a huge goofy mistake.

The thing is, after planning for and picturing newbaby, after imagining what our family will be like six months from now, I'm super excited. We didn't get to have a normal anything with Max and Maggie, and you know that perfect moment right after the baby is born and you get to hold him for the first time? I'm looking forward to that like crazy.

*motherhood photo by Oana Befort


Blogging Again & An Announcement

So, remember last year, you guys? Last year on Thanksgiving I posted that I was pregnant. A day later I threw in the fact that we were expecting twins. And since I hadn't shared anything about how we had been trying to have a baby for two and a half years, I didn't include any of my "finally! Finally! I'm going to be a mommy!" feelings in that post. In fact, my blogging was incredibly nonchalant considering my emotional state.

This year, I have another little announcement to share. So much has changed in our lives, but you may be surprised to learn my news hasn't. Yup yup yup, I'm pregnant again.

A couple months ago I started getting carsick while sitting in the front passenger seat -- that was my first clue. Then I started counting backward, and realizing that something didn't happen when it should have. Because of all the times before my first pregnancy when I would say to Christian, "I think I'm pregnant!" and then it would turn out not to be the case, I didn't say anything to him. I just handed him a positive pregnancy test one Sunday morning.

{I was also carrying Max at the time, and considered handing the test to him to give to Christian, but then I thought about how everything that Max gets in his hands ends up in his mouth. And, you know, I peed on that test. So gross.}

We've already started getting a few questions about this pregnancy. Questions like, "Was this expected?" and "Are you guys excited?" and the always-hilarious "You guys know how that happens, right?" To possibly forestall any of those questions ending up in the comments section, let me answer them here.

Firstly, no, we weren't planning or expecting to get pregnant. Like I mentioned, it took two and half years the first time. {Also, rounds of injections, fertility drugs, and a minor surgical procedure. IVF is rough, y'all.} So we were prepared for the possibility that Max and Maggie would be our only two babies ever. We also hoped that I would be one of those women who has a much easier time after her first successful pregnancy. We didn't anticipate that it would be quite so easy.

Secondly, yes. We are grateful that I'm pregnant again, and are happily dreaming about and making plans for newbaby. We know that life isn't going to be easy with two fourteen-month-olds and a newborn, but we also want a big crazy family, and it's exciting to see how that's beginning to become a reality.

Thirdly, geez, could you BE any more condescending? No, but seriously, I've read my fair share of books on fertility, so duhdoy.

I'm going to try to do a better job of blogging during the next six months until newbaby comes {I'm due in May again, isn't that crazy?}, but I have to admit that not blogging for the past 84 days has freed up some time. Or maybe I'm finally getting the hang of mothering twins? I guess we'll see how everything plays out.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

*pregnancy photo by Kelly Hicks Design & Photography


Stop! Mary Time.

How many hours do you get to yourself a day? Do you plan some "you" hours in?
Do you have any time to read/journal/craft/watch TV/etc? Or is it all about babies, babies, babies?
When Christian gets home to do you hand the babies off for some "me" time?

Oh gosh, you guys. I've been putting off answering this question for a few days, debating what to say. Part of me wants to just say how I feel right now, which is that I get no time to myself and I'm constantly overwhelmed with babies. The other part knows it wouldn't be fair to Christian or anyone else who helps me out. So I'll try to be honest.


I don't plan any me-time during the day; I don't really try to plan anything during the day. The babies aren't on a daytime schedule, so they sleep when they want to sleep and eat when they want to eat. My day revolves around them. I sometimes wake up and think, "It would be nice if I had time to do laundry today," and then when I have a free moment I'll try to fit it in. I do my best to be flexible, because if I plan on something like free time or accomplishing a chore, and it doesn't happen, I get incredibly frustrated.

The idea of "hours" to myself made me laugh; on a good day I'll get a total of two hours of baby-free time between 7:30 and 5:30 {when Christian's at work}. On bad days, when one baby wakes up just as the other goes down for a nap, I get zero hours. Zero minutes. As the babies have gotten older, and as I've learned to make better use of my time, I've been able to do certain necessary tasks {eating, getting dressed, making bottles} while they're awake. So I can survive the bad days, even if I'm exhausted at the end of them.


I sometimes read, although I usually save that for when Christian gets home and the babies are in bed, so I can enjoy it more. I've stopped writing in my journal {my last entry was supposed to be my birth story, but I never finished}, and I was never much of a crafter. I usually keep the TV off during the day, for the babes and myself, but when I have free time in the evening I often watch.


I used to feel entitled to handing off, not both babies to Christian when he got home, but the responsibility of being in charge. I didn't feel like I could expect him to do everything, but for some reason the idea of having someone tell me what to do instead of just having to do it sounded relatively relaxing. However, it wasn't fair of me to put such a large burden on him. Now we try to share the load.

If I desperately need a nap, he's good at taking over so I have the opportunity. If I have to get out of the house, he's good at making that happen, too -- I usually end up running errands to the grocery store, the library or Target that can't wait until the weekend.

My life has changed a lot since I wrote this post. I still feel overwhelmed at times, but I get through it. I love my babies, and every night I pray that I will find joy in raising them. And I do, constantly.


Conversations About Captain

I just wanted to add this little tidbit to last week's post about how we came up with Max' first name.

Before we brought the babies home from the hospital, I had to call and make an appointment with their pediatrician for a follow-up appointment. I explained to the scheduler about our situation, that the babies had been in the hospital but were coming home now. She then started asking me their basic info {names, birthdates, etc.} so she could put them in the computer. Maggie's information we got through no problem, but afterwards we had this conversation:

"And the other baby's first name?"
"His first name?"
"Yes, his first name."
"I'm sorry?"
"It's Captain?"
"Can you spell that for me?"

We now get those lovely automated messages from our pediatrician's office, reminding us of our appointment times -- the ones where one robot voice says most of the message, but a second robot voice jumps in for the names, dates, and times. Ours sound like this:

"This is a message reminding you that... a member of your family... and... Maggie... have an appointment for Thursday, August 21st at 1:00 pm. If you have any questions, please call..."

Because if people are confused about my son's name, you better believe robots are.


Captain Maxwell Plautz

How DID Max's first name come about? I'm pretty certain it was Christian's doing
but am curious about the whole story.

When Christian and I decided that our first son's first name would be Captain, we had an idea of the reactions we were going to receive. We knew a lot of people would think it was strange. Even worse, we knew the puns would start and probably cease only after a very long time. But I'm starting in the middle; I should start at the beginning.

The beginning is sometime during the summer of 1996, when my mother-in-law was extremely pregnant with Christian's youngest brother, Alex. {It might have started even earlier than that, with the creation of my father-in-law's brain, but for the purposes of this story I'm starting in '96.} Christian's parents knew they were going to call their sixth son Alex, but they also knew it was going to be his middle name.

They needed a first name; one that sounded good with Alexander. During the ongoing discussion my father-in-law suggested Captain, but this idea was immediately rejected by my mother-in-law. My mother-in-law has very strong ideas about what makes a good name, and Captain does not fit her requirements. They settled instead on Benjamin.


Fast forward twelve years. Christian and I were engaged in early 2008, and one of my favorite conversation topics was baby names. I remember that pretty early on we decided that none of our children would have names that started with P, because that would be like the cheesiest thing ever. However, the exact series of events -- when we realized we both loved the name Max, when we decided to give our first boy Christian's same initials, or when he told me his father's unorthodox suggestion for Alex -- it's all mixed up in my head.

I do remember that after Christian related the story about his dad and Captain, I said, "That is an awesome name." And he looked at me and said, "Are you serious? Because if you're serious, that would be really cool."

The problem with picking out your children's names more than three years in advance {a few months into our marriage we had chosen ten, in total} is that family members have more than three years to make fun of them before anything is actually set in stone. In our case, our family members had three years to doubt that we'd follow through. "Are you really going to name your son Captain?" was a frequent question. My sister even said, "If you name your son Captain, then your kids can't play with my kids." But we had our minds made up, and endless iterations of "Aye aye, Captain" weren't going to stop us.

Honestly, I hardly ever think about the fact that my son's name is Captain. {I think about it a lot less than I ever thought about Maggie's extra thumb.} We call him Max or Maxwell 90 percent of the time. The other ten percent Christian calls him Buddy, and I call him my Maxi-Bear.



{Zinnias from my walk with the babes today.}

So this is a post about what a big clueless dork I am.

As you may recall, I wrote a post asking for questions over a month ago. I made the comments on that post private, because other people did and it made sense {for reasons explained in the previously referenced post}. Since I have Blogger send me e-mails whenever someone comments on ye olde blog, I waited for the questions to pour into my inbox. None came, and none came, and none came, and I felt a little forlorn. No questions, not even out of courtesy or friendship or pity?

But no, not one. I contemplated whether I should call myself out for being pretentious enough to assume that people wonder anything about my life, or whether I should bluff it and answer pretend-asked questions {pathetic, I know}. Finally, last night as I was blogging because I just couldn't hold back the words that were in me, I had almost decided to pretend like the whole FAQ post hadn't happened at all. And then I saw it -- I had unmoderated comments waiting for my approval. I had gotten questions, and, dense as I occasionally prove myself to be, hadn't realized.

I apologize. I'm now getting my answers to your questions ready, and I'll start posting them next week. First up: the story behind Max's first name.

P.S. You better believe Christian made fun of me last night. "You clown," I believe, were his exact words. Christian also makes fun of me whenever I say "wherps," a deliberate mispronunciation of "whoops."

UPDATE: Christian wanted me to clarify that he's the one who came up with "wherps" -- it's not funny to make fun of the way someone pronounces something, but it is funny to make fun of someone who pronounces something the same way you pronounce it and act like they're crazy for doing so. When I say "wherps!" Christian is always quick to reply, "No. Nobody says that."


The Story of Our Yesterday


My Maggiebaby was born with an extra thumb. Christian told me, after he had been to see our newly born babies and as I was being stitched up post-delivery, that our girl had a tiny extra digit. I thought he was kidding, but he told me that he "was strictly instructed not to make any jokes at this point," which was good advice.

It was never a big deal to us, this extra thumb -- we claimed our right as new parents to call our daughter perfect regardless, and meant that description with all our hearts. Since then I've smiled to myself whenever I hear soon-to-be mothers and fathers wish for ten fingers and ten toes. Um, how about eleven fingers?

Chapter 1

Christian and I put off having this little thumb dealt with. At first, perhaps, because she was such a tiny baby and we couldn't bear the thought of her going through surgery. After that point I blame exhaustion, and the fact that it was such a nothing issue for us. We made a few "what has three thumbs?" jokes, and planned to show what would be embarrassing pictures to her future boyfriends, but otherwise almost never thought of it. Eventually, though, we made an appointment to see a pediatric orthopedist, and then scheduled surgery to have that eleventh finger removed.

It was at this point I began to worry. My Maggiebaby under general anesthesia? My Maggiebaby not allowed to eat anything after midnight? I prayed to allay my fears, and did my best to have faith.

Chapter 2

The night before her surgery, we kept Maggie up extra late in the hope that she would sleep longer. In the early morning I listened closely for her sleepy voice, and ran in to give her a pacifier every time she stirred. At 8:00, however, she was definitely awake, and we still had an hour before we even needed to leave for the hospital. When she realized I wasn't going to feed her, I found it necessary to employ techniques I had learned from mothers with colicky babies, and we vacuumed the living room for 45 minutes. She did a good job in her car seat, and waited patiently while I checked us in and gave out our insurance information. At 10:30 they took us back to the waiting area where I changed her into the smallest hospital gown ever made. I prepared myself to keep her happy for another hour and a half until she was scheduled to go back for surgery.

Chapter 3

My Maggiebaby, who before yesterday I might have described as "a little fussy at times," has proved herself to be a champion among babies. The sweetest, the best-natured, the absolutely most patient baby. Maggie was not taken into surgery at 12:15. Maggie was taken into surgery at 3:00. Our doctor was delayed by an operation that took much longer than expected. And my darling girl, my adorable firstborn child, who usually waits no more than five hours between feedings, was miraculously content with her pacifier while we waited. She dozed for long periods of time on her pathetically small gurney, occasionally waking and wanting to be held, or to watch TV.

At one point, when my patience was wearing thin and she let out a weak little cry, I began sobbing to a sympathetic nurse about how she hadn't eaten for fifteen hours, and should we just give up and go home already? I'm not ashamed to admit, I think my baby is a better person than I am. She is amazing to me.

Chapter 4

The surgery, once begun, only lasted 15 minutes. She didn't even need an IV, and thank goodness -- I've had enough of baby IVs. I was told it was a simple procedure that went well. She has one stitch, which is dissolvable and should fall out on its own. The bandage on her hand, the doctor told me, could be taken off at home if we felt it was too tight. We could give her baby Tylenol if we thought she was in pain.

When I was allowed to go back to Recovery, she was in the arms of a comfortingly mothering nurse, sucking down her second bottle of Pedialyte. When I held her, she let me know just what she thought of the events of the day. All of the frustration and rage she had been holding back were now vented on me. She yelled until she suddenly fell asleep on my shoulder. I quietly packed us up, and as we were driving off the hospital campus, I cried again and said prayers of gratitude that the whole ordeal was over.


Maggie is doing well. She's been a little more sleepy than usual, I think is the biggest difference. Her hand seems a little sensitive when we pull it through the sleeves of her clothing, but she doesn't mind gnawing on the bandage when the urge to suck her thumb strikes. And now, ten fingers and ten toes -- that's what's important, right guys?


I'll Take Your Questions Now

I haven't posted in a month. Exactly, it's been one month since I last posted, and that is pathetic. One reason I've been a little slack is that I've been working on a new blog design for myself, which takes up all my blog-attention. Another reason is that if I ever sit down at the computer with the intention to blog, all that fills my mind are thoughts like "I should get the laundry started" {which, actually, I need to do today} and "I wish we had some doughnuts." I thought it might be helpful to me if you all let me know what you're interested in hearing about, and I could have a topic to focus my usually distracted brain on.

So, do you have any questions for me? Do you wonder how I make it through the day, what happens when both babies are hungry at once, or how we came up with Max's first name? Or maybe you have a question on a different topic -- my life with Christian, my religion, if I'll ever start up my Wishlist blog again. Ask away! I'll put together my answers, include some adorable pictures of the babes, and post them over the next few weeks.

P.S. I've made the comments private, so no one need feel embarrassed about asking me a question. Additionally, this means that if I get a humiliatingly small number of questions, I can supplement them without anyone knowing.


Testing Out Our New Camera

At my suggestion {read: insistence}, our family purchased its first camcorder earlier this week. I was worried that too many memories would pass by unrecorded, and that I would forget so much of my tiny babies' existence. I already regret not owning proof of Maggie's constant grunting, which she grew out of a couple weeks after coming home from the hospital, and which earned her the nickname "grumble monster."

As you can tell from the following video, I'm not really sure what I'm doing this first go-round, but on the other hand, there are some pretty cute shots of Maggie. {Maggie is my daughter, and I love her so much that I just want to carry her around in my pocket all day long.} Enjoy!


We Are a Happy Family

Christian and I are on our way down to Morehead City right now {I'm writing this post courtesy of Catherine's iPhone. Boy, does this keyboard take some getting use to}. Just three days after the twins were born, my SIL Elizabeth had her third baby. And while I delivered seven weeks early, Clark came right on time. Consequently, he's younger, but weighed a pound and a half heavier than both my babes combined at birth. I think Christian and I joked about little Clarkie being a tank a couple times too often for Elizabeth's comfort. {It was only because we were jealous of his chubbiness, LB.}

The purpose of our trip today is so we can be at Clark's blessing tomorrow. We would have gone in the morning, but 9:00 am church means we would have had to leave way early in the morning. We've never traveled more than 45 minutes in the car at one time before, so this is an adventure. Being together with family makes it worth it, even if this trip ends up being a screaming baby nightmare. Two hours down, and they've been sleeping peacefully so far. Cross your fingers the remaining hour goes by as easily and quietly for us!



Goodness. I keep meaning to post more often, and I keep getting sidetracked by other activities. Mainly things like feeding babies, feeding myself, and squeezing in my bi-weekly shower. There are even days when I think to myself, "I'm going to tweet today," and I can't even get that done. True story. {Although honestly, spending a fair amount of time on Pinterest takes precedence over Twitter every time.}

I have so many things I want to do every day. I want to clean my house. I want to plan the family get-together we'll have after the babies' blessing. I want to plant the flowers that have been sitting on my patio for two weeks, and I want to hang the artwork that has been leaning against the nursery dresser for just as long.

I didn't realize a lot of things before the babies were born, but I think mostly the thing that I didn't realize was how little time I would have left for myself. I crave time. I'm hungry for a few peaceful seconds to myself.

At this point, I'm going to make myself feel guilty if I don't add the caveat "I love my babies." I start many frustration-venting conversations with the phrase "I love my babies, but..." And I do love my babies. I love my babies so much, sometimes I think my heart will break. I love my babies so much, I just sit and rock them when I should be eating breakfast. My babies are wonderful and adorable, and with them in my life I feel more confident, strong, and more myself than I ever have before.

BUT I didn't realize how hard raising twins would be.

I keep reassuring myself with the words of other mothers, who have told me that the first year is the hardest. I tell myself, "this is just a phase. Enjoy your tiny babies now, and don't worry about everything else -- it will keep." And someday I will have time to myself again. Someday I will do more than just survive.


Family Picture

See my adorable eight-week-old babies? My SIL Catherine was kind enough to take a family picture before church on Sunday. {And I'm only now just getting around to posting.} Eight weeks before Sunday I became a mother. Eight days before Sunday I hit my due date. Can you imagine me pregnant with almost 14 pounds worth of baby? Holy cannoli, I would have been massive.

I'd like to make this post longer, but Max is calling.


One Month Pictures

For those of you keeping track, the babies actually hit their one-month mark on April 20th. I'm a little late with these pictures. And if you can do date math in your head {I couldn't, and had to pull out my trusty calendar to count the days}, you'll realize that "a little" means two weeks. I'm hoping that at this point, in whatever way I fall short in my life, and however short I fall, people will forgive me and chalk it up to the fact that I have twins and spend most of my energy keeping them alive.

Ever since I saw this idea on Pinterest, I wanted to try to copy it. I only have my point-and-shoot camera, I made letters that were way too big, and holy cannoli is it hard to get them both clean and awake and quiet at the same time, but I'm reasonably pleased with how this picture turned out. As a quick reminder, that's Maggie on the left, and Max on the right.

Christian's been teasing me lately that I've become a mommy blogger, and I guess it's true: my last six posts have been about the babies. It's hard not to talk about them when my world revolves around them right now. Besides, they're just so adorable with their round toes and neck rolls and pudgy thighs, it's hard to imagine that anyone would want to hear about anything else. {I might be a little biased about the perfection of my offspring}.


April Is the Best Month

Happy One-Month Birthday, babies! I don't have a lot to say about this month being the most rewarding and challenging of my life {though it has been} -- my brain is still catching up with the fact that I'm the mother of two children. When did that happen? For that matter, when did I get pregnant? After I got married, you say? I'm still not entirely sure I even got married, or started dating Christian. Christian? Christian who? You mean the guy who walks around looking like he's angry all time?

Basically, everything after 18 seems like a dream. My head can't quite believe the wonderful life I've been given. I'm operating as if everything around me is real because I think it's wisest for now; I have yet to be convinced I'm not just going to wake up halfway through high school Physics, wondering what the heck we're supposed to be learning about.

For the record, I love my babies like crazy. I tell them all the time that being in a family together is my most favorite thing in the world. It's so much my favorite, I almost forgot that my birthday is next week. My birthday was my old favorite thing.


Thoughts at Four Weeks Old

{Christian wanted me to make it clear that he was burping the babies in these pictures,
not choking them. Christian has proven to have excellent baby burping skills.}

If, four weeks ago, you told me that my babies would eventually be four weeks old, I don't think I would have believed you. While, looking back, those weeks seem to have gone by so quickly, another four weeks seems impossibly far away. I know I'm not the first person to have noticed this, but time is weird.

I have a love/hate relationship with how much the babies are growing. I love that they're healthy and getting stronger all the time, but I already miss how tiny they used to be. Max doesn't even fit into his preemie sleepers anymore. {The first time I put him into a newborn size, I imagined him saying "I'm a real boy!" just like Pinocchio.}

Our twins seem totally devoid of any psychic twin powers. They act indifferent to each other's cries, and oblivious to each other's existence in general. Mostly it's just like we got two kids at the same time. They are both very tricky, though. Often we'll hear them fussing and go in to check on them, only to find them fast asleep. Five minutes later, more fussing, we go up to check, fast asleep.

We've started reading books to the babies. They already have their favorite stories. Maggie loves "Guess How Much I Love You" and "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" {I think it's because she's also tiny and very hungry, and shaped not unlike a caterpillar still}. Max enjoys "Where The Wild Things Are" -- even though he thinks the Wild Things are a little bit scary, he likes how the boy in the book is named Max too.

Maggie has a tendency to go {you know, go} when her diaper comes off. If she goes number ones we call it a Maggie Special. Sometimes she goes numbers twos, and we call it a Maggie Super Special. The other day Alice got a Maggie Super Special all over her pants and on her foot. Kate and I thought it was hilarious. At least she can't say I didn't warn her -- I warn everyone who changes Maggie's diaper.


I Can't Believe It's Been One Week

Somehow it's been almost one whole week since we brought the babies home. Honestly, it feels like much longer. Our lives have changed so much, it's crazy to think about. While we love our babies more than we could ever have imagined, we didn't realize how exhausting it would be to take care of them. We're so grateful for everyone around us -- friends and family -- who have made this week in any way easier.

P.S. We went to the doctor today and both Max and Maggie have gained a pound since they were born -- can't you tell? I have a hard time keeping myself from eating their cheeks.


Why I Haven't Posted Thousands of Baby Pictures

I know I haven't posted in a while. Part of that is just the normal, I'm-a-new-mom busyness -- I don't have time most days to take a shower, so there's no way I have enough time to write a blog post. I've been walking around for the past two days in Christian's shirts and maternity leggings {which are the most comfortable things ever; seriously, it feels like I'm not wearing anything at all}, thinking that everyone around me smells like overcooked broccoli, until I realized that probably it was me who was stinky. Gross.

Another reason I haven't posted is that before Saturday, my babies were still in the hospital. Because they were born so early, they needed a little bit of help before they were ready to come home. For some reason, their hospital stay ignited this strong maternal instinct in me, and I didn't want to post pictures of them in isolettes, with their monitor cords and IVs trailing from their tiny little fragile bodies. I was so proud of them and how hard they were trying, and all of the progress they were making. I didn't want people to see their pictures and pity them, instead of seeing how amazing they are.

I know it might have been silly or misguided, but I really couldn't stand the thought of posting a lot of hospital pictures. Please forgive me. I'll work on doing better at taking pictures of their ever-fattening cheeks. Deal?


A Happy Announcement

These pictures were taken about two minutes after Max's birth, which was about eleven minutes after my life changed in the most amazing, miraculous way. Christian and I couldn't be any happier to be parents; our babies are perfect. I kind of thought it would never happen, like the human beings people kept telling me were in my belly actually only existed in my imagination. After a few days of seeing their tiny faces, getting to smell their wonderful downy little heads, and feeling their fingers wrap around mine, it's starting to sink in. I love them so much I can hardly stand it.

P.S. We call the boy-face child "Max."


This Is My Life Right Now

I've been talking to a lot of people recently about being on bed rest. People are interested in hearing about bed rest, and I'm interested in interacting with real-life humans, or basically something other than my laptop. {Even though I love my laptop -- it's a huge lifesaver. And not like a huge candy Life Saver, although that sounds kind of good right now.} So I thought I'd try to explain what life is like for me, 32 weeks pregnant with twins and on modified bed rest.

Point 1: I don't sleep well at night. I get up between six and ten times every night to use the bathroom -- remember how the nurses in the hospital told me to keep hydrated, but also empty my bladder right away? At least it's easier than trying to sleep through contractions. Add in the fact that I'm generally uncomfortable, meaning that I switch my sleeping position a lot. This constant up-and-down-and-roll-over routine isn't very much fun, but it is {I rationalize} readying me for nights with new babies. I'm also grateful that I get to sleep in my own bed, next to my very own husband.

Point 2: Bed rest can be boring and frustrating. People say, "Do you watch a lot of TV? That sounds like fun. I wish I could watch TV all day." While watching TV might indeed be fun for a whole day if you were on vacation, it's not enjoyable as a lifestyle. I try to instead spend my time on activities that are more productive -- crafts I can do from the couch, correspondence, working with blog designs, reading, and cultivating my taste on Pinterest {my new favorite site}. I make to-do lists of things that need to be completed before the babies come, and figure out who could help me with each task. The more active my mind, the fewer emotional breakdowns I experience. I try to remember that if I'm not getting anything else done, at least I'm always gestating, which is the most important thing I can do.

Point 3: I like to get out more than ever. I think you'll understand that staring at the same four walls all day can start to feel a little stale, and I enjoy getting out of the house when I can. My sweet mother-in-law took me to get my hair cut yesterday and then out to lunch, and {even though it turns out I locked myself out of the house in the process} it absolutely made my day. Christian has been very considerate about staying extra-late at family dinner, which we now attend every week, because I want to be around people; I'm trying to convince him to drive me to a friend's house 40 minutes west of Raleigh so I can attend our monthly game night.

Point 4: People are awesome. Christian and I are surrounded by wonderful friends, family, and members of our ward who have been just so kind and supportive. We have dinner brought over at least twice a week, we have family members who regularly come over to visit with me and make sure I'm not going crazy, and friends who offer their help in whatever way is needed. My dad didn't mind the other day when I called to ask a question and ended up keeping him on the phone for 15 extra minutes, because I needed to talk to someone.

I only have a few more weeks to go, and I'm doing it for two of my very most favorite people in the world. Really, it hasn't been so bad, especially when this is my view:


Book of Mormon Goals & Neon Crayons

Christian is doing an excellent job helping me reach our New Year's goal of reading the entire Book of Mormon again before the babies come. He created and printed out a calendar to track how many pages we should have read by the end of each day, and is even letting me color in the days with crayons. You can't tell from the pictures I took {I went more for interesting than informative}, but we haven't missed a day so far!

There's a good chance the babies will end up coming before our scheduled finish, which is set for April 15th. I told Christian he could read me the last chapters as I'm in labor in the hospital, but I think we all know that I don't know what I'm talking about when it comes to labor. I might end up throwing things at him if he tries to read to me. And really, as long as we do our best, I'm going to consider this endeavor a success. {Mostly to the credit of my awes-credible husband. I don't brag on him often, but I wanted to take this opportunity.}

One final thing I've realized while coloring in the calendar: I seriously hate neon crayons. I try to pick out the colors I use randomly, while still not using the same ones too often, but I feel like 50 percent of the time I come up with a neon color. And I hate neon crayons. They don't look nice with other crayon colors. Mostly they don't look nice at all. Why does Crayola even make them? I think next time I go to color in a few calendar squares, I'm going to pick out all of our neon crayons and throw them away. And then I'll bias our children against neon crayons.


Christian Took This Picture Yesterday

And I like it. I wanted at least one good picture of me while I'm super-pregnant, and this is exactly what I had in mind. I didn't want to pay a photographer, I didn't want hearts over my stomach, or anything baby-themed. Just me sitting and looking happily pregnant -- I think Christian did a great job. He's pretty good at getting me to smile.


Some Serious Stuff

This is my serious story about the past few days, if you'd like to know what's been going on with me, and why I keep talking about bed rest on my Twitter account. Since this post covers a few days, it's pretty long -- just be aware.

On Monday I was going about my usual day, being pregnant and working on my little blog design business and trying not to call Christian too often. I had in my mind that I would stay pregnant for about another nine weeks, and I was excited that we were in the single digits of weeks left.

Then something happened. I'm not going to say exactly what it was, because there are certain things I don't feel the need to publish on the Internet {like images of my uterus or pictures of my naked pregnant belly}. If you're curious, feel free to send me an e-mail; I don't mind telling people, but I do like to maintain some semblance of privacy. So this thing happened, and I felt like it was something that I should maybe be concerned about, so I called Alice to ask her what I should do. I often call Alice when I feel like I need to talk to someone right away; she's good about picking up the phone. Alice told me to call my doctor. The doctor said to come in so they could check me out and make sure everything was okay.

I had a small panic attack while I was getting ready to go to the doctor -- one of several I would have over the course of the next few days.

Once I got to the doctor's office, around 2:30 in the afternoon, we did an ultrasound and a quick exam. The babies were both fine, with healthy heartbeats, but I was dilated a centimeter. My doctor wanted to be sure I wasn't having contractions, so she sent me over to Rex Hospital. I called Christian and let him know what was going on, then went up and got settled into my room. I had another small panic attack when I saw that I was in a room that also contained one of those hospital baby beds. I really didn't want anything to do with that bed for several weeks. Christian arrived shortly afterward, which helped calm me down.

I was hooked up to monitors, which kept the nurses informed that the babies were still healthy, but also told them I was having contractions that I couldn't feel. Having contractions when you're only 28 weeks along isn't a good thing, and I got a shot to stop the contractions. I got another shot of steroids to help the babies' lungs develop {just in case}, and then I was moved to another room, where it was assumed that Christian and I would pass the night. We ate dinner, we watched some TV, we went to sleep.

I woke up in the night, around 12:30, because I was feeling something I thought might be more contractions. I called the nurses and they hooked me back up to the monitor. Sure enough, I was having contractions that I could feel this time, and they were starting to get painful. I was moved to another room, and put on an IV of magnesium sulfate. The doctor was concerned that my contractions weren't stopping, so she made arrangements to have me transferred to UNC, which has a good NICU {just in case}.

I had another panic attack as I was being loaded into the ambulance and we drove away from Rex. It didn't help that Christian was supposed to be following us and I couldn't see his headlights.

I arrived safely at UNC early Tuesday morning, around 4:30. It was a little funny to Christian and I {just a little, though -- enough to make us smile at each other}, because just a couple days before we had joked about how we would feel if our children were born in Chapel Hill, and if it would be like on 30 Rock {even though 30 Rock isn't funny anymore} when Jack's daughter was born in Canada.

Once at UNC, I was hooked up to more monitors, given more magnesium sulfate, checked out by more doctors. We got a few hours of sleep, until about 7:00, when doctors started wanting to talk to me about C-sections and epidurals {just in case}. When it was determined that I was still only dilated one centimeter, and my contractions were slowing down, I was moved to a different room. My fifth hospital room in 24 hours.

My contractions continued to slow down throughout the day, especially after the nurses told me that I needed to keep myself hydrated, and also go to the bathroom often {full bladders bring on contractions}. I was hopeful that I could go home soon on modified bed rest, and remain pregnant for at least a few more weeks.

We spent the night on Tuesday, and then had an ultrasound scheduled for Wednesday morning. The ultrasound was, first, to determine how far along the babies were developmentally {just in case}, and second, to see if my uterus would allow me to go home. It turned out that the babies were healthy, if still very tiny -- just 2 pounds and 5 ounces each -- but my cervix had shortened, from 23 millimeters on Monday to 13 millimeters on Wednesday morning. All signs pointed to a prolonged hospital stay for me.

A little while later, after I was back in my room, a doctor came in and said that since this was my first pregnancy, they weren't sure how relevant it was that my cervix was shortened. If I had a history of pre-term labor, or if I had delivered other babies early, then they might be more concerned. As it was, I could go home on modified bed rest. And I did come home. And I'm so happy to be home.

I'm grateful that these babies are still inside me, because I don't think any of us are ready for them to be born yet. I'm grateful for Christian's company and support; I'm grateful that he has the priesthood and was able to give me a blessing. I'm grateful for the Spirit in my life, and for the continued comfort, peace and reassurance that I've been able to feel over the past several days. I'm grateful for everyone who has showed their love and concern for us. I'm grateful that I can be at home.


Happy {Early} Valentine's Day!

A couple days ago Christian asked me if I wouldn't mind getting my Valentine's Day present on Saturday instead of Monday. Always excited at the idea of getting presents, and even more eager at the prospect of getting presents early, I quickly agreed. He came home with a bouquet of roses, and I was happy. I love flowers.

However, as we were driving home from Wade's handball game, Christian started digging in his back pocket, and handed me an envelope. Inside was a coupon book made out of notebook paper and duct tape, which I thought was adorable. I started flipping through {after Christian corrected me as to which side was the front}, and was charmed by the coupons for one kiss, one hug, one high-five, and one back scratch. The next sent me reeling. "One laptop computer." Say whaaaaaat?

He outdid himself again. He spoils me, and I love him for it. I love him for a lot of things, and this isn't the most important, but it did make today very fun. Thanks, Ace -- you're my favorite.

P.S. When picking out a laptop, my requirements were "a good one that comes in yellow," which didn't make the selection process very easy at all. In fact, the Best Buy employee we talked to seemed like he had no idea what I was talking about. How hard is it to understand "I want one that's pretty"?

P.P.S. Just now I turned to Christian and said, "Isn't this fun? Both of us on our laptops? If we ever chatted online, we could talk to each other through the computer." And since we're re-watching Oceans Thirteen, he said, "It would be quieter."


A Massive Post About Clothes

One of the things I've been looking forward to about {finally!} having these babies in April is getting to kiss their roly-poly feet. The other thing is losing baby weight and being able to fit into normal clothes again. I'm only slightly kidding -- I really do daydream about my ideal spring wardrobe, and how I could be such an awesome, cute yet practical yet really really cute mom in new clothes. Indulge me in my fantasy world for a few minutes, and let me share what I've been thinking. I'm loving reds, blues and yellows right now, and I've been trying to focus in on clothes that would really work for my new life with babies. Behold, my brainstorm:

1.  Several {not nine, but maybe like three} button-down tops. I'm especially in love with the red & blue plaids. My reasoning is, they're easy to move around in, the buttons provide easy nursing access, and they're cotton, so it's no big deal if I get them dirty. I also think that they could be a quick go-to outfit for when I have five seconds to get dressed in the morning. Add a few accessories {belt, statement necklace, scarf}, and I'm halfway to an awesome outfit.

2.  Stylish and comfortable flats, so I won't look awkward pushing around my tandem stroller or running after kids at the park {I have the tendency to look awkward just while walking in heels}.  I'd also love a pair of gladiator sandals, so that my feet don't get sweaty in the summer, but I couldn't find a picture of ones that I like.

3.  A couple of cardigans to add some color and pattern. I don't know how long I've been drooling over the idea of a red cardigan -- maybe since last Valentine's Day? It's probably about time I got my hands on one.

4.  A few pairs of skinny cropped pants. I can't imagine taking care of two babies in skirts, and it's hard to find shorts that are both cute and modest. I love the idea of cropped pants because I can quickly roll up the cuffs as the weather gets warmer, and they definitely fit the magic bill of fashionable + easy.

5.  A pencil skirt in a bright color. {Ooh, and I would totally pair it with this blouse.} This is just because I am head-over-heels in love with the teal pencil skirt that I have now; I wore it to church constantly before I got pregnant.


6.  A couple of floaty cotton dresses, just for fun. I can barely keep myself from purchasing the first two {the main thing holding me back is the fact that I don't know what the heck size I'll be after the babies come, and I don't want to splurge on an adorable dress just to have it not fit me}. Obviously these would be impossible to nurse in, so they're less practical and more eye candy. A girl can dream, right?

Thank you {those of you who stuck around} for sticking around and sharing my dreams with me. Thinking about the future makes the present better, even though the present is already pretty darn awesome.


Important Thoughts 22.0

{image via weheartit}

22.1:  Mostly I don't hate eating the powder that accumulates at the bottom of a bag of cereal, and I actually kind of like the sawdust-y texture it lends to my last bowl of Cheerios, but the Frosted Mini-Wheats powder is a whole different story.  For one thing, there always seems to be about half a cup of it, which is way too much.  For another, it's basically straight-up sugar, and while I can feel healthy eating Frosted Mini-Wheats the normal way {because of the fiber}, I can't feel healthy when I've dumper half a cup of additional sugar in my bowl.  I normally wouldn't find this topic very interesting, but I just finished off our box of Frosted Mini-Wheats this morning, and it's on my mind.

22.2:  I need to do better about blogging.  Most of you, if you follow my blog closely, have probably already noticed this.  Know that I have also noticed, and have resolved to do better.  On the other hand, most of you, if I follow your blog at all, could do with posting a little more often as well.  Out of the forty blogs I have listed in my blogroll on ye olde sidebar, 28 belong to people I know; however, out of the ten that have been updated most recently, only one belongs to someone I have actually met in person.  Mostly this leads me to the thought that we are not good bloggers, guys.  But I think we can do better.

22.3:  Being pregnant is different than I thought it would be, and I now understand why people have been asking me if I was "uncomfortable yet."  At first I was like, "you mean is it irritating that I have to go to the bathroom all the time?  Because that's not so much an issue for me."  But I get it.  I am now uncomfortable.  I have a hard time sleeping, I have a hard time moving around, sometimes I have a hard time sitting and watching TV.  My knees hurt, my back hurts, my hips hurt.  I think all the discomfort has to do with the forty extra pounds I've gained in the last several months, but I could be wrong.  All that being said, I love being pregnant.  I love feeling the babies kick inside me {this has not yet become uncomfortable to experience}.  I love buying tiny things for them to wear.  I mostly love knowing that once Christian gets home, our little family is all together -- that is awesome.


First Happy List of 2011

1.  Eating grapefruit in slices like an orange.  I love a big fat juicy chunk of grapefruit.  Babies like it, too, although I don't think they care what shape the grapefruit is in when I eat it.
2.  Feeling the babies kick as I'm falling asleep.  I tell Christian that they're sending me messages, most of which are to "give Daddy kisses."
3.  The big sunny open space in our living room, now that the Christmas tree is gone and our second couch is upstairs.
4.  How every time I tell my hilarious sister-in-law Catherine about a sale going on at Loft, she says, "Ummm... I totally went there today."
5.  Random references to Harry Potter -- they make me laugh.
6.  Planning things I want to get done before the babies come, like read the whole Book of Mormon with Christian again, and plant hydrangeas in front of our house.
7.  Wearing fun accessories and bright red lipstick, which make me feel pretty instead of just huge.
8.  Deciding not to compare myself to other people anymore.
9.  My heart skipping a beat {still} when I hear Christian opening the door as he comes home from work.  It's the best part of my day.
10.  Realizing that after about three years, I finally understand most of Christian's family's inside jokes.

What's making you happy today?