Monday, October 31, 2011

Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo!

Eliza was an adorable little princess for Halloween this year. Although she loved twirling in her pretty dress, she made it known that not all princesses enjoy wearing a crown.
This is Eliza giving me her death stare for placing a crown upon her head.
After much coaxing (and the promise of candy), Nathan and I finally convinced Eliza to wear the crown for a few minutes so we could quickly take some pictures.

Eliza practicing her model faces.
Cinderella and her pumpkin.

This is her saying she is "all ready" to go get some treats!
This dress was totally worth the 50 cents I paid for it at a yard sale!
She gave us a few smiles and then promptly threw the crown on the ground. I was excited we managed to get a few cute pictures before the crown meltdown. She was so excited to dress up and go out, and I couldn't help but smile as I watched her dance around in her costume. She was so happy!

Nathan and I then took her to the church a block away for the trunk-or-treat party. I stayed in the car, while they walked around to the various trunks. Nathan taught her how to say "trick-or-treat," and she would excitedly yell either "trick" or "treat" to the various people giving away candy.
After twenty minutes, she was pretty exhausted. This is the face of a child who is crashing after an afternoon of excitement.
I was already overdoing it by being out of bed, so we were fine with coming home early. It was a great  evening with our little princess!


p.s. I always thought the Fairy Godmother was saying, "Bippity-boppity-boo." Nathan was nice enough to correct me. How did I miss that? I've seen Cinderella a million times!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

31 Weeks

Another week has passed! I feel like celebrating every Sunday because it is just so exciting to be another week further along without any complications.  The final countdown has started, as we are down to five weeks remaining (if everything goes as planned). That's less than 40 days. Wow.

This week, I officially reached the "I am miserable and suffering" point of pregnancy. Joy! I never felt this way with Eliza; I was uncomfortable, but I would never find myself crying because I couldn't breathe or sit up without assistance. I'm to that point now, and I am trying my hardest to put mind over body. I find myself saying things like: "I'm okay," or "I can do this." It helps...most of the time.

Something that has helped me remain (somewhat) positive has been focusing on short-term, rather than long-term goals. By doing this, I find myself constantly thanking Heavenly Father for His blessings. Each night, I am grateful to have lasted one more day, instead of only giving thanks at the end of each week (I do that, too, but the daily gratitude is truly more fulfilling). 

At our appointment on Monday, I weighed 20 pounds more than I did the day I gave birth to Eliza. 20 pounds!! I can't believe I am still underweight, but I have certainly been working on bulking up.  Thank you all for the wonderful suggestions!

So, here I am at 31 weeks!
(And just so you know, my weekly pictures are about the only motivation I have to wear something other than pajamas, brush my hair, and put on a little make up. Kind of pathetic, but a girl needs something to look forward to. Perhaps it is a good thing I haven't lost all of my vanity?)

Friday, October 28, 2011

The WHAT on the WHAT does WHAT?!?!?

Proof that preschool is teaching Eliza tons of useful information.


She now knows all the parts on a bus and what they do.

I Get That All the Time

From time to time, I like to grow me out a beard. In the initial stages, it looks something like this:


As it grows in more I start getting comments of who I look like. I've gotten Mel Gibson, Tom Hanks, and Paul Giamatti (I know, right?). But now I can add another doppleganger to the list.

I was at preschool with Eliza and it was playground time. There's a little girl named Sunny who has always been particularly wary of me -- probably because I'm the only guy. Well this was the first week I was sporting the on-the-way-to-a-beard thing on my face, and I noticed Sunny trying to figure me out. She crawled out from a tunnel in the play thing and stopped when she saw me. She looked at me (which was a huge deal), so I thought "hey she's getting used to me" and I smiled really big at her. As I smiled, her eyes got wider and she slowly backed up into the tunnel she was coming out of.

I was pretty happy with our recent breakthrough until I saw her run to her mom and whisper something to her. Her mom came over and told me what she said . . . "Mom, I'm scared of Jesus."

Just wait, Sunny, just you wait:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

October 27th, 2009, 2010, 2011

Here is a comparison:

2009
2010
2011
Proof babies grow incredibly fast. (Nathan adds they also become increasingly cuter).
I'll admit: Eliza at this moment is pretty much one of the cutest things I've ever seen.

Two Years Ago Today

I was uploading some new pictures this afternoon and thought it would be fun to see if I had any photos from a year ago today. I began looking and found only a couple of shots from 2010. I decided to go back to 2009 (when all I did was take pictures constantly of Eliza and anyone around) and found photographic evidence of a wonderful evening.

Eliza and I were with these people:



...and we were watching Fear Fest while enjoying delicious hot chocolate. My friends were nice enough to entertain baby Eliza and even managed to get her to sleep!
I remember feeling so normal that evening. I was with friends who loved (and still love) me, enjoying Halloween festivities and having a wonderful time. I began thinking and realized this night occurred during the time when Eliza was in the midst of colic (crying 17 hours a day), Nathan and I were unemployed and desperately looking for jobs (and even more desperately poor), and life seemed overwhelming most days. I think all of my blog posts from this stage of life were tragically depressing due to the stresses of life (sorry).

It's crazy to think only a few months later, our lives would take a dramatic upswing. Nathan and I were able to secure great jobs, and Eliza finally conquered colic. Everything became more manageable and life became immensely more enjoyable.

I remember hearing stories about people who said they would never change the hardest times of their lives because these were the moments that shaped them as individuals, couples, and families. I often found that hard to believe because hey- who wants to suffer? But looking back (and to be cliche), I am so grateful for the challenges Nathan and I experienced together.

We learned we could handle sleepless nights, financial stress, juggling multiple jobs, and sharing parental and household responsibilities. We learned to fully trust Heavenly Father and depend on Him when we felt we didn't have the energy to last another minute. We learned to maintain hope that things would change. And you know what? It's two years later, and all is well.

I love this quote by James E. Faust:

"In the many trials of life, when we feel abandoned and when sorrow, sin, disappointment, failure, and weakness make us less than we should ever be, there can come the healing salve of the unreserved love in the grace of God. It is a love that lifts and blesses. It is a love that sustains a new beginning on a higher level and thereby continues from grace to grace." 

I couldn't agree more.

I also know that surrounding myself with positivity and loving friends/people made a huge impact. I felt God's love through the kind actions of dear friends, through uplifting conversations with amazing coworkers, and even from inspiring blog posts. I firmly believe trials happen for a reason, and I am grateful for the opportunity they give us to grow and develop as individuals.

That being said, I definitely enjoy the upswings of life. I think I am good with downswings for now :) 

** Looking back at old pictures strongly reinforces my satisfaction with our new camera. I can't believe how much a difference it makes!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Counting Calories

That's right. You heard me. Today begins day one of strictly monitoring my caloric intake, but it's probably not what you think.

I need to be eating more. Lots more, actually. I should be consuming approximately 3,500 calories a day in order to maintain a healthy weight for these babies. And because I am slightly underweight (due to first trimester weight loss), I should actually aim for 4,000 calories.

3,500 calories!? 4,000 calories!?!? It blows my mind. I definitely haven't been holding back or dieting this entire pregnancy, but I feel a little stressed trying to find a way to eat that many calories.  One of my pregnancy books suggested 3,000 calories, which seemed overwhelming at the time. An additional thousand calories now seems impossible! If you know me well or have ever had the pleasure of being my roommate, you probably know I could live off of cereal and chocolate milk. Unfortunately, that doesn't cut it when one is pregnant (and especially pregnant with twins).

Because I depend on Nathan and Cheryl for all of my meals, I have been hesitant to ask for three courses a day, please! We all talked last night, though, and my wonderful family let me know it is quite ridiculous that I haven't asked for more. If I want spaghetti for lunch, they'll make it. If I need a meal after dinner, Nathan is all about cooking. Copious amounts of milk, yogurt, smoothies, cereal, and nuts will be supplemented with even more food.

Knowing my personality, I have to plan for my calories each day...or I may fall behind. I remain in bed throughout the day, which means I sleep more than I probably should and miss the opportunity to eat. So, Nathan and I are going to be vigilant about it.  After reading a number of articles that focused on the correlation between a well-balanced diet and healthy-sized twins, I felt extremely motivated to do more on my part. I know it isn't breaking news that one should eat more, but I think you know what I mean.

My doctor has suggested I eat throughout the day, and I intend on doing just that! I feel great about myself every time I see I have gained weight. It's funny how that works :)

Oh, and did I mention my water intake has been bumped up to 100 ounces a day? Instead of 80? Yes, important stuff going on here, people. But, if you only knew how much I hated water, you would realize just how serious this is.

I just have to end this post by saying I am truly grateful these are the challenges of my today. I have the burden of eating more and drinking more. And while it may seem overwhelming to me (at the time), it's a pretty charmed life.

I'd love some calorie booster suggestions. Any milkshake recipes or ideas?

p.s. Last night, I adjusted my desired caloric intake on mydailyplate.com to 4,000 calories. The last time I used this site was in May, and my caloric intake then was 1,400 daily. Oh, how things change!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

30 Weeks

These boys are getting big! I am so excited to be 30 weeks pregnant today. Six more weeks to go!
Like I said in a previous post, each passing week feels like a small triumph. Physically, I'm feeling great and everything is going smoothly.

My mental and emotional well-being is another story. This past week, Nathan has been very sick. He had flu-like symptoms that wiped him out and then developed a debilitating canker sore (those things are the devil!). Due to the infection, it has been impossible for him to eat, talk, and even sleep. He has been miserable to say the least, and I have felt horrible watching him struggle each day. It has been difficult for him to keep up with Eliza, but he has managed without any help from me. Thankfully, my mother-in-law is amazing and able to lend a helping hand when needed.

So yes, I have "bed rest" guilt or whatever you want to call it. I see all of these things that need to be done, but find myself incapable of contributing in any way. Nathan and Cheryl take turns making meals, Nathan tends to Eliza, Nathan does the laundry and cleans our room, and what do I do?  Well, I'm pregnant.

I've complained about these thoughts of being a burden and feeling useless before, so obviously it is an ongoing battle. I constantly have to remind myself I'm doing something really important by laying down the majority of the day. Last night, I was reading one of my twin pregnancy books and stumbled across some thoughts from a fellow twin mother. She wrote:

"Do you feel like you are doing nothing for your unborn babies? Do some of the recommendations-to rest, relax, relinquish responsibilities and activities- make an expectant mother's job seem annoying passive? Don't look at it that way. You're not doing nothing; you're gestating. Right now, for you, that's the most important job in the world. You're doing whatever it takes to allow your pregnancy to continue as long as possible, to help your babies develop as optimally as possible, and to keep yourself as healthy as possible."

That's exactly what I needed to read. Thank you (again) for the book, Becky!

At the end of the day, the health and safety of these babies is ultimately more important that completing any chore or task. There is no reason for me to feel guilty because being pregnant is a full-time job. Thankfully, Nathan feels the same way and encourages me to stay down as much as possible.

"Staying down" also means not going to church. This morning, I felt guilty as I watched my family get dressed in their nice clothes. I told myself: "I could make it an hour." Well, after my experience today, I don't foresee many church meetings in the near future. As I sat on the hard, upright pew and struggled to catch my breath, I realized there was no reason for me to feel guilty about staying home on Sundays. That's what the book was saying, right?

I'm grateful for these twins. I'm grateful for my husband and the sacrifices he continually makes for our family. I'm so glad that I have amazing, supportive friends who text, call, email, and leave friendly blog comments. I know these remaining six weeks will go by quicker than we realize, and everything we have gone though to get to the moment of meeting our boys will be well worth it.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Psst...You're Staring

Earlier this month, the preschool class my mother-in-law teaches went to the local fair.  Eliza is in the toddler class for younger children, but Cheryl thought it would be a fun outing for our little lady. Nathan and I agreed Eliza would love the fair and were happy she was able to tag along on the field trip. It's definitely nice to have Grandma as the teacher!

This was the week I was strictly forbidden to do anything, so Cheryl made sure to document the outing by taking a few pictures with her iPhone. I was going through the pictures and stumbled across these gems:
Eliza with all the pumpkins. Cute.
Eliza staring at one of her classmates. It's not that obvious, is it?
Yes, yes it is.

For some reason, I couldn't stop laughing. She just looks so curious! Growing up in South Carolina, I was surrounded by a diverse culture. So far, Eliza has been exposed to the culture of Utah and eastern Washington. Her face says it all....diversi-what??

One Pringle, Please

Eliza knows what she wants. Often, her determination is one of the most adorable aspects of her personality (sometimes it isn't when she is determined to watch more television or not to sleep).

Here is an instance of determination's cuteness:

I particularly enjoy how she shuts her eyes in order to savor every crumb of that chip. So Eliza.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

You Have it All Wrong

Nathan didn't appreciate a knowing look from me after I read this fortune out loud:
He instantly said, "Don't look at me!"...like I was implying something.

I couldn't stop laughing, but in my defense, I just thought it was a pretty cool fortune and was looking for some sort of validation from my husband. I wasn't insinuating that Nathan wasn't a treasure in the eyes of others. Honest.

Homemade Play Dough

Recently, I have seen several recipes on Pinterest for homemade play dough. I mentioned I was interested in making some for Eliza, and my mother-in-law, Cheryl, gave me the best recipe. As a preschool teacher, Cheryl tried a number of versions until she found this winning recipe. Today, she and Eliza made a batch, and I was extremely impressed with how wonderful the play dough turned out.

It took less than 10 minutes to make and was a big hit with Eliza, who enjoyed rolling the dough and stamping out shapes with various cookie cutters.


Here is the simple recipe:

2 cups of water
3 tbsp of cooking oil
2  1/2 cups of sifted flour
1/2 cup of salt
1 tbsp of cream of tartar
food coloring of your choice

Boil the water, oil, and the food coloring.* Remove from heat and stir in salt, flour, and cream of tartar. Knead thoroughly. Store in covered container in refrigerator. As seen in the pictures above, a food processor comes in handy with this recipe.

*To make things more exciting, Cheryl added nearly an entire, tiny bottle of green food coloring in order for the color to be very vibrant. She also added a few drops of lavender to give the dough a pleasant smell.

Additionally, the dough doesn't have to be stored in the refrigerator. It may last longer that way, but apparently a tightly sealed Ziploc bag is more than sufficient.

And there you go! After seeing how cheap and easy this play dough is to make, I cannot understand why anyone would ever chose to purchase it. I hope you (and/or your children) enjoy this recipe as much as Eliza!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fun at the Pumpkin Patch

Eliza's toddler class met at the pumpkin patch this morning for a fun little field trip. Because I was feeling pretty well and knew it wouldn't be a long adventure, I decided to tag along. One of Eliza's favorite Portuguese words is "ab√≥bora," which means pumpkin, so she knew exactly where we were going when Nathan told her. As soon as we let her out of the car, she ran straight to the field of pumpkins and surveyed her options.
She enjoyed running through the pumpkin patch and finally picked her pumpkin. The preschool received an amazing deal and the children were able to pick any pumpkin for just a dollar! We got a huge, beautiful pumpkin that we are excited to carve tonight for our family home evening.
I decided to wear an orange shirt, which maybe wasn't the best idea. More than one person commented that I should have put a jack-o-lantern face on my stomach, as it looked like a giant pumpkin. Awesome!!
Eliza slowed down for a few seconds and (somewhat) posed for pictures with Mom and Dad.

She then joined the rest of her classmates for a group picture:
They weren't too excited about staying still.
We also managed to get a family photo and a couple of cute shots of Eliza.


Eliza in a daze induced by too many pictures being taken.
On the way out, Eliza made sure to say bye-bye to the scarecrow.
She also made sure we took our pumpkin home.
It was a wonderful outing. I hope she enjoys carving the pumpkin tonight!

Monday, October 17, 2011

29 Weeks

Another week has safely passed, and I am definitely feeling thoroughly pregnant. The boys move throughout the day, and Baby A continues to move throughout the night as well.  Recently, I have been unable to sleep unless I am surrounded by a wall of pillows. Lucky for me, I found a fellow twin mom in the area who offered her body pillow at an amazing price.

I am now the proud owner of this amazing item:
Kind of a weird picture, but you get the idea.
Crazy, huh? It wraps around the front and the back. Nathan and I picked it up after my doctor's appointment, and I cannot wait to try it out tonight. I expect some amazing sleep!

Our appointment with the perinatologist was great and everything appears to be going wonderfully. The boys are exactly the same size and weigh an estimated 2 pounds 12 ounces. This means there are still no signs of twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, which is an amazing blessing. Additionally, both babies are head down, and I am hoping they continue to stay put for the next few weeks. The doctor said we were all doing "swimmingly," and I really couldn't ask for a better adjective to describe our current status.

So, here I am at 29 weeks.
I am so big that my belly button has officially popped out (that never happened with Eliza, so it really grosses me out). I saw Eliza staring at my belly this weekend and suddenly, she lifted my shirt, grabbed at my bellybutton, and shouted, "Got your nose!!"

I cried....but then I laughed because it's pretty funny that my two year old thought my bellybutton was a nose.

And then yesterday, I was handing Eliza some goldfish and dropped one. I looked on the ground and side to side, trying to find the missing goldfish. Eventually, Eliza noticed it resting safely on my protruding stomach and said, "There it is!"

It happens. I'm glad we have Eliza around to make this pregnancy entertaining.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Visitors!

Earlier this week, Nathan and I were lucky enough to see a few of our dearest friends. Ben, Megan, and their son Noah came to visit Othello and were nice enough to stop by our house a few times. Ben and Nathan have been friends since the third grade and have an amazingly ridiculous friendship. For instance, when Ben calls, Nathan answers the phone in a strange voice and says things like: "Thanks for calling Taco Bell. How can I help you?" Ben plays along expertly because that is just the kind of friends they are.

I feel incredibly lucky Megan and I get along so wonderfully. It means we can talk about things we care about rather than listen to Nathan and Ben go off for hours. Coincidentally, my good friend Beckie grew up with Megan, so I knew I would love her once I met finally met her (we spoke on the phone for hours about ours husbands, pregnancy, life, etc. before we ever met).

We did the typical things people do with friends: talked, ate pizza, laughed, watched a movie, played with our kids together. It felt great to hang out with people who love us. We've been away from our friends for so long (three months feels like forever) that I've started to forget how incredibly normalizing it is to be social.

Provo friends, SC friends, all friends....I miss you.

Before the Harvill family left, we made sure to take some pictures of Eliza and Noah together. They were such an adorable little duo:

Eliza is trying to figure out what Noah is doing with his hands. 

Eliza thinking about giving Noah a kiss. She would get a few inches away from his mouth, but never went in for the final kill. Too cute.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lookin' Good!

Check out these well-dressed individuals:
On Friday afternoon, Nathan became the proud owner of a brand new suit.  Now, this may not seem like a big deal to many of you, but this was a huge event for me. I say "me" (not us) because I have been begging Nathan to buy a decent suit for the last two years. His response: "I'm fine with what I already have."

What he "already has" are a plethora of vintage suits from a variety of thrift stores. Although he always looks sharp, I have never seen him wear a full suit that matches. It's his style to mix things up (which is fine and all), but what woman doesn't want to see her husband dressed to the nines?

Additionally, all of Nathan's previous suits were too short in the arms or the legs. It's hard to find a vintage suit that fits perfectly. His new suit has been expertly tailored for him, and it certainly makes a huge difference!

I think Nathan was a bit surprised he actually liked the suit (it was a gift to his mother, wife, and grandmother that he even wore it), but as he left for church, he said he felt like "a million bucks." He made sure to add a vest and tie that he liked in order to preserve some of "his style." He was able to maintain his personality and look amazing in something he wouldn't normally wear. Success!

Speaking of dressing well, Cheryl and I decided we would put Eliza in a fancy dress for church (to match her dad and all). Nathan has never been fond of Eliza wearing overly girlie dresses because he feels they are unnecessarily uncomfortable and mostly worn for the enjoyment of the mother. However, Eliza is now old enough to want to wear pretty things, so that changes everything. Right?

I pulled out a pink little dress with a tutu (a gift from our friend Tina), and Eliza's eyes widened with excitement! The white tights, mary janes, and little hairbow made the outfit even more adorable.
She twirled and danced around the house. She was so proud of her pretty dress.
Pushing her Barbie suitcase. She rolled it all the way to church.
Dressing well can do amazing things to your self-esteem! Look at these happy faces!