Thursday, July 29, 2010

And the Twins Are...


Well, we think they're both boys. Our ultrasound tech was confident that one was a boy and a little unsure about the other. When I look at the pictures, it does look like a boy. We have another ultrasound on the 16th, so we will be able to check again, and hopefully with more certainty.

Names are a no-go at this point. We had a boy name and a girl name, but if we're not going to be able to use those, then we will need to come up with some others. We've tossed several around, but we aren't sold on anything yet. And, family, we are fairly certain you will think the names we pick are weird, so be prepared. :)

Everything looked good on the ultrasound--hands, toes, fingers, heads, bellies, and hearts. Both were measuring about the same, which is great--there isn't one getting more than another. There were two placentas, two sacs, but this does not guarantee they're fraternal (however, they most likely are). If they are, indeed, two boys, we will not know if they are fraternal or identical until birth if we have a DNA test or can obviously tell them apart (we think it'd be cool if one was a redhead). It was fun to see them wiggling around and see how amazing the human body is--and the God who created it!

Here are some pictures of the little bundles of JOY:

Here is Baby "A": He/she (this is the one she was unsure about) was more cooperative than Baby "B"--wasn't nearly as wiggly and let us get some good pictures.

And Baby "B" wiggled so much, most of his pictures were blurry. Can you see his fingers spread out?

And here they are together: "B" is on the left, and "A" is on the right. "A" decided to wave for the picture. Can you see? "B" is blurry. :)

Thanks for indulging my proud mama's heart! I would have put all the pictures on here, but I am not that ambitious. :)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ideas Worth Stealing

My friend, Katie, has fabulous ideas. You should check out her weekly Tuesday Tip on her blog. As I've gotten to know her over the past couple of years (via the internet and a brief visit in an airport!), I've learned to steal as many of her ideas as I can. She is a few steps ahead of me, and she is way more organized than I think I will ever be.

Here is my favorite idea of Katie's: teach your kid to read.

That was something very intimidating to me. I wondered how in the world I would do that. She made it simple.

Starting at age 2, do alphabet flashcards until they learn to recognize all their letters.

At age 3, begin teaching them all the sounds of the letters.

At age 4, begin teaching them to blend letters and form words.

And BAM! your kid is reading before kindergarten.

I was a little slow on the uptake, but here's how it went for us.


He knew his alphabet already when I started although he would confuse similar-looking letters (b/d, g/q, f/t). At age 4, I started working on sounds with him. He learned all of those and started to blend letters into words. I quit for awhile because he seemed really frustrated. Right at age 5, I picked it up again, and in 45 minutes, he was sounding out words like a pro. He continued reading, and now we are flying through the kindergarten phonics and reading; so far, it has all been review! We will slow down once we come into unfamiliar territory. I am excited for that day to see him learn MORE new reading techniques.


At age 3, I started making sure she recognized all her letters. Then, at 4, when we started "school" for her three weeks ago, I started working on letter sounds. In three weeks and 5-10 minutes a day, she learned all her letter sounds. Last week, she started sounding out words. These kids have amazing brains! We need to take advantage of them!

So, Katie, thank you for encouraging me in this; it has paid off, and I am so thrilled that I got the opportunity to teach my kids how to read.

Now, Lucy may be a different story because she turns two right before the twins will be born. :)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Twins 101: Conversations

"I heard the great news! Twins!"

"Yes. We're very excited."

"Better you than me!"

"Are they fraternal or identical?"

"I don't know yet. We might find out at our ultrasound, but then again, we may have to wait until they're born."

"Does it run in your family?"

"Yes, I have some that are distant cousins."

"What about your husband's family?"

"Well, it actually doesn't matter if they're on his side of the family. For fraternal (genetic) twins, it has to be on my side because it means I released two eggs."

"Oh. Well, congratulations...I guess."

These are a couple of the real conversations I have had multiple times. Not everyone ended on a negative note, but I have had a few end like these. It never ceases to amaze me how negative people's comments can be, and they assume you agree with them so they're not rude at all. Yeah, right.

But I've had some good conversations as well. My favorite was with my friend, Caroline. We were in Tulsa for the weekend, and we went to visit our former church there. She walked straight up to me and said,

"This is the greatest thing you will ever walk into. This is something you will look back on and say that this is when it all began. This is a great blessing, and I am so excited for what God is going to do."

That is a loose translation, but exactly what I heard.

Speak life to people.

If you say you honor life, respect life, and protect life, then SPEAK LIFE.

Speak it over your children, over your home, over your spouse, over your family, over your friends, over the Body of Christ, over the sucky circumstances in your life, over the amazing circumstances.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Appointment and Disappointment

We had our first appointment with the OB/GYN yesterday. Everything went really smoothly, and I was not required to repeat all the lab work and exams that I had already done at the Health Department for my midwife risk assessment. That was nice.

We really liked our doctor, even if he was a bit chatty. Once they find out your husband is a doctor, the conversation can kind of stray! It was fine, though, and we feel really comfortable with him as our doctor. He is very confident in his own abilities, and he was confident in ME. I really like that kind of support--especially when it comes to birthin' babies. Because really, I am the one who does all the work anyway. :)

The disappointment was that we did not get to have an ultrasound because he doesn't do them in his office, so we have a separate appointment to have that done next week. In the future, I will have ultrasounds every month to check on the babies and make sure they're both getting enough to eat. These appointments will be right before my doctor's appointment, so I won't have to make the trip twice. Thank you!

We got to hear their heartbeats. It really might be one of the most beautiful sounds in the world. To hear two was comforting--I'm glad they're both okay in there. I've felt them flutter around a bit, but at this stage of the game, it isn't regular enough to gauge anything by it. My blood pressure is stellar, and so far, my weight gain is great. I'm right where I should be...hope I can keep it that way. :)

We ate Indian food last night for dinner since we were in the city, and it was delish. But there was this obnoxious woman who came in to do a take-out order. She was talky-talky and passive-aggressive, and it was so sweet because Dave caught my eye and said, "I love you so much." I laughed. I guess he's glad I'm not as neurotic as that lady. :)

Well, stay tuned for a post on Twins 101. The facts, the myths, and the common questions that I get asked almost EVERY day.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Diseases, Books, and My Exciting Life

Not too much has been happening here...well, nothing exciting anyway.

Last week, all three of my kids had hand/foot/mouth--a nasty virus that has sores in those three body parts. Lucy was the worst, and it was miserable. She didn't sleep well (translated: we didn't sleep well), and she was just very fussy. I am so thankful they are all better now.

We had a friend who is a missionary in East Asia come stay the night with us this week. It was nice to visit with her and hear about what God is doing in her part of the world. He is really moving among the church there and is drawing more to Himself.

I read another book by Wayne Jacobsen--So You Don't Want to Go to Church Anymore? It was really interesting. Too many thoughts to go into here and now, but I will say, I agreed with far more than I disagreed with. It is not a proclaimer of house church or no church or anti-traditional church. It is all about US as THE CHURCH living in community with one another--transparently and honestly--loving people and making Jesus our focus instead of buildings, programs, classes, methods, or men. It was very encouraging, and it is exactly what I needed to read right now. I do recommend it.

I'm reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett right now for book club. I am loving it so far. It is really well-written, and I can tell it is going to be one of those books that I am going to want to own. If you're wondering, it is about some black maids in the 60s who have been raising white children for years as nannies, but they are also discriminated against by their employers. A white woman comes along who wants to see change, and the three of them together embark on a journey of change during the civil rights era.

Lucy starts speech therapy next week. I am glad. However, in the last month since her evaluation, she is already saying new words and trying oh so hard to say many more. I'm very happy for her. We're still trying to decide whether we want to pursue developmental therapy. We really feel like the speech will help her in her weak developmental areas. I am hoping she does really well with speech in the next three months, because once I hit my third trimester, traveling an hour twice a week for therapy just may not be reasonable--it just depends how well my pregnancy is going.

We go to the doctor I found on Monday. We are very excited. We are not expecting to see their genders because I will be almost 15 weeks. It is possible, but I am not getting my hopes up. We are very thankful for the doctor we found. He is so reasonable and kind and supportive. Now we just have to pray all goes well and that the babies stay head down throughout delivery! :)

Well, that's about it for me. I hope your week is going well!!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

School in July...almost as fun as Christmas in July

School has officially begun at our house.

You say, "It's only July, Amanda. Stop and smell the roses."

Well, yes, that is true, but I think I will wait to stop and smell the roses when the babies arrive in the winter. We started early so that I will be able to take some time (a couple of months) off when they get here.

Sam is in kindergarten this year. We are doing A Beka Phonics and Reading, Bob Jones Math for K5, and Handwriting Without Tears. It's pretty low-key, takes 45 minutes to an hour a day. And Sam is zooming. We are doing two phonics lessons a day right now because it is all review for him (because I did Hooked on Phonics with him in the winter). The math is all review too, and I think it will go faster as I get a feel for the teacher's guide and how much I want to put into each lesson.

Maryn has a packet every day that I made for the whole year. I bought those ginormous workbooks from Sam's Club (at Joanna's suggestion!!! THANK YOU, JO! BEST IDEA EVER.). I ripped out all the pages and made packets for each day and stapled them together with coloring sheets from the many coloring books we have lying around the house. She is proud of herself for getting to do school too. I am also doing the Hooked on Phonics with her as well. She is getting all her sounds down right now.

We are also doing a bit of Bible memory as well and discussing the meanings behind the verses we memorize. It is amazing how quickly kids memorize.

It has been great so far. I'm very proud of both of them. The hardest part so far has been finding things for Lucy to do. I don't do school during quiet time/naptime because I need that time to unwind or nap. She doesn't quite have the dexterity for coloring yet, and her attention span for TV is way too short. If you have any ideas for a nearly 20 month old, I will gladly take them. This girl is way too busy and into everything!

Well, naptime is over; this post is too. :)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Plans and Open Hands

Planning for the birth of a baby is challenging, especially when you already have children. Planning for the birth of TWO babies (at the same time!) is even more challenging and ESPECIALLY when you have three older children.

I have felt every emotion possible this past week: happy, overwhelmed, excited, thankful, scared, nervous, and a little loony.

I have comforted myself with the knowledge that God has chosen this for our family. He has blessed us with this amazing gift of two children at once. He is wise. He also knows how pressure draws us closer to Him. Trusting Him in this will be a lesson all in itself!

Right now, I am trying to decide which doctor I will go with. I am doing my best to research them ahead of time instead of doing several interviews since we live an hour away. It hasn't been really easy, and some offices have been more cooperative than others. I've called hospitals and talked about their policies for multiple births. I am still waiting to hear back from a couple of doctors.

I want what is best for my children. I want them to be healthy, though I know that isn't a guarantee or a proof of God's goodness. He is good no matter how healthy they are. I do want to plan the best possible situation for them to be born in. I feel that if I fail to plan for the best possible situation, then it will certainly NEVER happen. Things may not go the way I plan, and I know that, and I'm okay with that, but if I don't plan for the best, then that reality is not a possibility.

I am daily reminding myself that I am not in control. I don't have to be in control. I don't know how early they'll be born. I don't know how much they'll weigh. I don't know if they'll nurse well. But if I don't take care of myself, then the chances are, they'll be born earlier, weigh less than they should, and probably struggle with nursing. So, wouldn't I be foolish to not prepare for the BEST and take care of myself?

I think the same thing goes for my birth plan. I want to have a vaginal delivery. It is statistically the better option for both mom and baby. I want to work towards that. I realize it may not happen. One of my wiggly children may decide to turn some funny way at the last minute. I know that. I am prepared for that.

I want to have a natural birth if possible. The fewer medications in my body=the fewer medications in their bodies. It is also an amazing experience for all involved. My experience with Lucy was so amazing, and the bond and connection we shared was very different from my other births. Do I love my other children less? No. Absolutely not. But the experience has changed our relationships. I can't deny that. I don't need to defend natural childbirth--there's a plethora of information that shows how much better it is for mom and baby, breastfeeding, and postpartum recovery.

I have already felt the criticism of others for wanting to plan in this direction--as if I would totally disregard my children for what I want. That kind of judgment goes straight to my heart--that I would prefer myself over my kids. I will do what is best, and I trust that the Lord will give me wisdom and discretion for each situation.

In the meantime, I will continue to search for the best doctor and hospital for me and my babies. I am so thankful for a husband who supports me in my decisions and who isn't afraid to tell me if something makes him uncomfortable. We are in this TOGETHER, and we will press forward in this adventure regardless of the criticism.