Saturday, June 29, 2013

Babies by Number

We have been thoroughly enjoying the babymoon to the point that I have not shared much of anything about the girls’ birth.  Asher Evelyn and Eowyn August had a wonderful entrance into the world.  Here are the basics:

Born at 37 weeks
Day of delivery

June 19th

6:10 pm
Eowyn technically emerged first, but when Asher realized her sister was on the move she put her hands up like all the single ladies and they had to grab her too.  They were born seconds apart.

Eowyn weighed 5 lbs, 5 oz and Asher weighed 5 lbs, 9.6 oz

Zero NICU time

The whole experience was amazing.  We had great nurses and doctors, and the c-section went smoother than my first two.  We came home on June 22nd with both girls having passed all their tests and breastfeeding like champs.

I know we were covered in prayer throughout this time, and God is good.  We felt everyone’s prayers and the presence of God as every situation fell perfectly into place.  As the respiratory therapist said in the OR when we realized how well the girls were doing, “Of course they’re fine; they are warrior princesses!”  I think he recognized Eowyn’s name and was a Lord of the Rings fan, but he was right; they are warrior princesses, and we appreciate all the love and prayers sent their way.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

My 19th Little Thing

Recap:  I did increase my endurance after being released from official bedrest.  It was trial and error, which basically means I really screwed up and did too much some days and paid for it with insane contractions that are apparently not leading to birth.  They're just fun reminders that I really shouldn't be making laps in the HOA pool.  Whatever.

Week 19:  Teach Wren about money

We live in an insanely privileged area.  Appearances and keeping up with material things means a lot to some people around here.  I'm not entirely sure how we made this home.

Our goal has always been to steer our kids away from materialism and the allure of buying "stuff".  We rarely buy our kids anything, though you wouldn't know it if you came to our house.  They are showered with everything in the world by family, and that is okay.  It's just that we want their minds where money and materials are concerned to be in the right place.

This week at Target, Wren found a sticker book she wanted.  We said no.  She said, "Okay, no big deal.  I'll just wait for my birthday."  Her birthday is six months away.

Dennis and I felt kind of weird.  I mean, we don't let them get something when they go to the store, and they don't expect it.  It's exactly what we hoped for.  But still, waiting six months for a $6 sticker book?  What's the solution?

We figured it out:  Wren is going to start getting an allowance.  She's only four, but we've got everything ready to teach her how to allot money for giving, saving, and spending.  It's our first time doing this so we don't really know what will work, but here's the plan:

  • We are not connecting chores to allowance.  Basically, kids need to do chores because they live in the house rent free and they need to learn to manage money because it's a life skill.  We're not connecting the two.  
  • Wren will receive $4 every week.  The amount will increase as she ages, so she'll receive $5 a week when she turns 5.  From that, 10% will go to giving, 20% to savings, and the rest she can spend.
  • We actually expect Wren to spend her own money.  Of course, we will still pay to feed her, clothe her, sign her up for extracurricular activities.  Plus, D takes the kids on a Half-Price Books run twice a month because we never really refuse them literature.  But for toys, trinkets, dolls, items that are not necessities, she will have to use her spending money.  That's the only way this will work in teaching delayed gratification and in her deciding what's worth her money.  
We're new at this aspect of parenting, so we will see how it goes and if we need to change anything.  I'm excited because it means if she does want something, my answer doesn't have to be no.  It can be, "well, do you have enough spending money?" which is much more pleasant.  It gives Wren some ownership, and she's ready.  We think.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Family Outing

I am 36 weeks pregnant today.  Somehow, some way, this pregnancy will be over by the end of  next week, so we decided to spend tonight having a family outing before the girls get here.  We rarely go out to eat, but it was super fun.  Though I have vacillated between feeling great being off bedrest and feeling awful moving around or sleeping, there's never been a time Twisted Root and Paciugo haven't made me feel better.

Notice the marker on Sammy's face.  Further evidence of how low our standards
have fallen.  We call that artistic expression instead of lazy parenting.  

Like father, like daughter

Sammy dominating the train table at the mall.

In case you're wondering, this is pretty much the
only shirt I have that still covers my stomach.  It
gets washed a lot.

I don't know how much longer the pregnancy will last or if I will have anymore really feeling great days, but I am trying to focus on enjoying the moment and surviving until the girls arrive.  Sometimes it's easier than others, but I am grateful that we've made it this far.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Coming Clean

We’re in a pretty dangerous place right now.  It’s a food rut.  That’s right, we are in a rut with our food menu, and the side effects are starting to show.  We’re being unfaithful to our usually healthy diet, instead grabbing peanut butter on GF toast, GF mac and cheese (mommy food), and other questionable items that are not staples in our diet.  It’s a symptom of a food rut.  You start stepping out on the one you’re usually faithful to.

Though we have by no means reached extreme measures, we know what happens when we get tired of the same old recipes but do nothing to change it: we crave other foods, naughty foods, foods that are less nourishing and more just addictive and something to shove into our faces.  Thankfully, our kids can’t have 90% of these foods, so D and I are way farther off the deep end than they are.  But we are sinking, snacking on gluten-free junk and aiding each other in our addictions.  I could go into a million reasons why this has happened, some which sound extremely valid, but I’m going to skip to what we’re trying to do to fix it:

New recipes:  This is the best way out of the rut.  Find new recipes that look yummy and are good for you.  This week D created a deep dish Mexican casserole that was AMAZING.  I’ll post the recipe and pictures this week.  We are trying this from PaleOMG this week. 

Cookie cutter shaped chicken:  Cookie cutters are not made for chicken.  However, when my kids started rolling their eyes at every chicken cutlet they saw, I took extreme measures.  Chicken shaped like a heart, star, or flower topped with bacon, mushrooms, broccoli, and spinach and called a sandwich?  Everyone got on board with that chicken.

New good GF products:  A very enthusiastic sample woman at Whole Foods attacked us trying to get us to buy Royitos salsa that boasted only four ingredients.  Upon closer inspection, it was actually gluten free.  And it is DELICIOUS.  It’s also very hot and you will need to have water very close at hand when you eat it.  We put the salsa on Dennis’ Mexican casserole creation, and greatness was born.  Sometimes to curb a sweet teeth, you just need to eat something so hot you can’t taste anything else for two days.  And I mean that in a good way.

The doctors are praising me for eating so much and gaining so much weight, and I am honestly doing a lot of that by means I don’t love.  I know it will stop when the girls are born and I no longer have to get grilled at every appointment about if I’m placing any unnecessary dietary restrictions on myself because, just a reminder, your kids are kind of tiny.  And I am honestly looking forward to food being a bit more straight and narrow.  The recipes and products we’re trying so far don’t make me worry that giving up dairy and GF grains and sugar (always the stinking sugar) again will be a hassle.  They are making me look forward to it.  

Thursday, June 6, 2013

My 18th Little Thing

Recap:  The kids enjoyed purpose-based learning and play all week.  I didn't finish our homeschool plans for the year, but I have a good start.  Here are pics of some of their fun:

Train created for every Little Person figure in our house.

Wren pushing her boat around the block castle/farm.  We also
used the blocks as counting toys.

Week 18:  Increase endurance while resting

Due to the great appointment today showing Asher and Eowyn looking awesome and being over 4 pounds and the fact that I am over 35 weeks pregnant, I was put on relaxed bedrest.  My specialist's instructions were that I can move around, but don't go crazy and sign up for a Zumba class.  God bless her for thinking I could even dream of taking Zumba with an extra almost 50 pounds on my body.

I was instructed to still rest, and I really don't have a choice.  The added weight, the six weeks on bedrest, the overall physical craziness it is taking to continue this pregnancy have taken their toll.  I have no endurance. I walked Sammy to sit in our special chair so he could deal with his big feelings after a tantrum a couple of days ago.  The walk to and from the special chair convinced me that unless his big feelings led to someone bleeding, I wasn't making that walk again.

Sure, I can get around, but I feel it.  I feel it majorly.  My OB has warned me that c-section recovery will be more of a trial this time around because of the toll the bedrest has taken on my muscles.  She's encouraged me to do as much as I can in a very limited way to try to build myself up to make it better later.  Limited is the key word.

Seeing how bad I am at balance, this will take some work.  I feel I will want to sleep all day or I will want to attempt to take up jogging.  There has to be somewhere in between, and I need to find it.  I will err on the side of caution and go slow and easy, mainly because I really have no other gear right now.

Here are some pics of today's awesomeness:

35 weeks, 1 day
Eventually, I will block the whole door.

Asher, we think.

Eowyn, we're pretty sure.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Trying New Things: Decluttering

I am actually a big fan of decluttering.  I can't stand having items in the house no one uses, and I'm not the kind of person who keeps something because it might be useful one day.  It needs to be useful today or it's gone.  Except books.  Books I hoard.

I had a blind spot where magazines were concerned.  Every month between "Suburban Parent", "Dallas Child", "Frisco Style", "Living", "Natural Awakenings" and all the other magazines that land in my box or that I grab for free, I was becoming quite the magazine hoarder.  The problem is I read most of them the first day they are in the house then keep them because there are two or three articles I want to reference in the future for information.  This was taking up too much space.

My new plan worked much better.  As I'm reading a magazine, I flag articles I want to keep and come back to cut them out when I finish.  I made a bulletin board to keep the articles on so they are easy to reference.  If the articles are many pages long, I just staple them together and place them in the newly organized file cabinet.  This way I can recycle the magazines and not have to find places to put them.  Plus, there is a much better chance I'm actually going to look at the articles I was interested in because I know where they are and can see them.  Keeping 50 magazines, I never went back and looked at the information I was once interested in.

Overall result:  Good and much more practical

Also, just for fun, here's a link to another song on the Asher and Eowyn playlist.  It was a Pandora discovery last year, and I love it.  It's haunting and perfect and the voices of the singers mesh in a unique style.