Monday, November 30, 2015

Preggers II -- Twins: 31 Weeks


How far along?  31 weeks

How I am feeling?  A lot better this week -- I still get tired, but its amazing what five days of not working can do for my stamina and energy

How big are babies?  The size of pineapples... between 2.5 to 3.8 pounds and 15.2 to 16.7 inches long

Sleep:  Okay as long as heartburn isn't too bad

Boy/Girl, Boy/Boy, Girl/Girl Predictions: Two babies

Babies Nicknames:  Babies, or Twins 
  Best moment this week:  Last night, Hubby and Tracey Ann and I were cuddling on the couch, and Hubby and Tracey Ann started talking to the twins and kissing my belly, and it was just the sweetest thing.  I know we will have periods of adjustment when the twins are born, but I hope to be able to remember and treasure beautiful family moments, like the one last night when everything is perfect and everyone is happy and loving.

Food cravings:  Nothing specific.

Missing:  Life without heartburn
 
Movements:  Yes, although they are not as frequent any more now that the babies have less space.

Labor Signs:  Not as long as I rest and put my feet up

Comparison:  Here I am carrying Tracey Ann at 31 weeks




and here I am 31 weeks with the twins...
... and I like this picture better for 31 weeks, but I don't think you can see my belly as well


General Attitude: Trying to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel -- not the end of pregnancy but ten more days of teaching work, one more college lecture, and two more weeks of the college class and then I just have to focus on pregnancy and motherhood and nesting and preparing for our first family Christmas in our new home -- and in Colorado.

 What I am looking forward to this week:  Finishing my last college lecture... and hopefully getting our Christmas tree.

Milestones: We officially have family in the state, so if anything happens, my parents are about an hour away.  Starting next week, they will be staying with us, so we will really have reinforcements here to help.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Images of Our Thanksgiving

Images of Our Thanksgiving...

Ready for Grammie and Papa

Girl time -- a movie and popcorn... its getting harder to take selfies with the belly to work around

Listening to one of Papa's audiobooks

What's the news, Grammie?

Rifle Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning

I led the cheering section

My parents did well with Tracey Ann

Doing her share of the Thanksgiving cooking


Having fun in the snow


Mmmmm - pumpkin pie!

Our neighbor has beautiful Christmas lights up

Ready for the Michigan game



Hubby is missing from the pictures because he was out hunting in Wyoming again... trying to come home with an elk.  We missed him like crazy and are happy he is back home.  Here are his pictures from Thanksgiving...





 We hope you and your loved ones had as blessed a Thanksgiving as we did.
 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Rivalry Week

Today, Michigan plays Ohio State -- the biggest game of Michigan's season each and every year.

This awesome Saturday marks the end of Rivalry Week for College footbal, and it is a great one.

In honor of today's game, I have some stats on the Michigan game... and a funny football commercial.

GO BLUE!!!


... and a great football commercial...


Friday, November 27, 2015

My Letter To Macy's Regarding the Parade

 To Whom It May Concern Regarding The 2015 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade,

I have loved watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade for as long as I can remember.  Now, I have young children who are beginning to also enjoy the parade each and every year.  It is a fun and exciting Thanksgiving tradition for us, now spanning generations, as I know it is for many families around the country.

As I am now "the mom," I am not always able to give the parade my full attention for the duration of its airtime.  Unfortunately, I did manage to catch the Build-a-Bear float and accompanying song in this year's 2015 parade.

I am very displeased and disappointed with the choice of song performed this year on the Build-a-Bear float.  While Sofia Carson looked beautiful and was appropriately attired -- she, initially, appeared as though she would make a good role model for young children -- the parade's target audience -- until her song began.

"Rotten To The Core" is a horrible message to be not only condoning but promoting to children in a most public parade appearance and advertising campaign of the Holiday season.

As a mother, I am appalled that Macy's -- the company that asked the question of American, "Do you believe in Santa?" and now reminds the public that, "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa," and to, "Believe in the Magic of Giving," would want to, in any way be associated, let alone deliver such a message.

Now, instead of campaigns like, "Believe in the Magic of Giving," and songs like, "Its the Most Wonderful Time of the Year," from the parade, I can expect campaigns and songs with messages like, "They say I'm trouble, they say I'm bad, they say I'm evil, that makes me glad"?

I hope you seriously consider the message with which you want to affiliate in the future.  What I take away from the parade this Christmas is that Macy's is changing with the times and encouraging children, 'You don't have to be good -- in fact, be downright rotten, and proud of it.'  This is definitely NOT a message I want my children to hear or receive any time of the year, but most especially headed into the Christmas season.  

I have come to expect better from the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade and want my children to grow up enjoying the annual tradition as I did.  If these sort of songs and messages continue, my family will no longer be participating in the tradition or taking our business to Macy's.

Respectfully,
Mrs. Brooke Miller

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Currently...

Currently I'm...
Loving:  The fact that today is Wednesday instead of Saturday... all last night it felt like Friday night and today should be Saturday.  It's not!!!  It's Wednesday!  I love that I have  five days ahead to get a LOT of work done and hopefully be ahead of the game come next week!

Reading/Watching: Well... Watching Dawson's Creek reruns, actually.  They are on Pop TV and I record them and then play them at night when I'm writing blog posts or working on our Christmas card addresses.  Reading the last chapter of the Child Development textbook from which I have to prepare the LAST lecture for the community college class that I'm teaching this semester... well, that's what I'm supposed to be reading -- I'm actually watching Dawson's Creek reruns at the moment.
 
Trying to: Keep a really positive attitude about the remainder of my pregnancy... some days I'm more successful than others...
 
Wishing:  For a joyful, fun, memorable Christmas season -- I LOVE the whole Christmas season and all the fun hustle and bustle and activities and I REALLY want this Christmas season to be just as joyful and fun as others despite my ever growing size.  I am excited to decorate our new home, do Christmas shopping, Christmas baking, enjoying the season with my parents here with us, taking Tracey Ann to visit Santa, and more!!!
 
Excited for: My parents to set up camp in our guest room indefinitely and HELP with everything -- our rambunctious toddler, our two lovable animals, our unpacking in the new home, our Christmas decorating, our twins preparations and more... How exciting to have family actually nearby for a little while!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Preggers II -- Twins: 30 Weeks


How far along?  30 weeks

How I am feeling?  Frankly, pretty overwhelmed.

How big are babies?  The size of cucumbers... between 2.5 to 3.8 pounds and 15.2 to 16.7 inches long

Sleep:  Sleep has sort of become a relative term... I nap in between trips to the restroom.

Boy/Girl, Boy/Boy, Girl/Girl Predictions: Two babies

Babies Nicknames:  Babies, or Twins 
 
  Best moment this week:  Our baby sprinkle was really a lot of fun with friends and family.

Food cravings:  Nothing specific.

Missing:  The ability to touch my toes with ease.
 
Movements:  Yes, although they are not as frequent any more now that the babies have less space.

Labor Signs:  Well... some cramping but nothing concerning.

Comparison:  Here I am carrying Tracey Ann at 30 weeks

30 Weeks with the twins
General Attitude: Didn't I answer this with "How am I feeling?" -- pretty overwhelmed.

 What I am looking forward to this week:  I am hoping to catch up on work for the college class I'm teaching and write my final lecture and the course final at some point this week.  It will feel really good to have that done.

Milestones: I don't know if its a milestone that I'm starting to feel overwhelmed instead of my usual gratitude and optimism... Not fun, but the truth at the moment.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Pictures Like These...

Pictures like these can only mean one thing...





We took this year's Christmas pictures this weekend...

Saturday, November 21, 2015

I Want To Remember...

Last night our families threw us a "Baby Sprinkle" with our friends in here in Rifle.

As I'm trying to remember the evening... I am just overwhelmed with joy.

Where do I even begin for what made this evening so special?
  • This was the first time my parents had ever seen Hubby and my new home
  • Mom Miller and I had been working like dogs to get the house to NOT look like we just moved in 6 weeks ago and I have been on serious activity restriction for half that time
  • We never had a baby shower in Rifle when we were expecting Tracey Ann... and so we hadn't really seen a lot of our friends in one place enjoying each other's company since we've moved here
  • The Sprinkle was completely casual, almost like an open-house, where people could just drop by for food, good company, and to see our new home
  • Children were welcome and two other families came with kiddos for a total of five kids under five -- one was a little baby only a week old.
  • The toddlers were so much to watch playing -- a four-year-old girl, her one-year-old brother, a boy who JUST turned two, and Tracey Ann who will be two in a few months.  They had SO much fun, and it was such a joy to see our new home filled with laughing, playing children.  We have sort of a circle in our home where you can walk from the kitchen to the family room to the dining room and then back to the kitchen in a circle -- I had no idea how great that would be for children!  These four little ones ran that circle with each other all night pushing and pulling different toys and sharing very well.  I loved seeing Tracey Ann right at home and right in the middle of all the play going on.  She handled the crowd so well despite being very tired by the end of the party and, to me, it was very clear she felt at home in her home.
  • With this party both our mothers were here along with my dad (Chris' dad was making his way back from hunting) and it was a lot of fun to all collaborate on an event together in our own home... and watch Tracey Ann with three of her four grandparents.  Never in my life do I ever remember more than maybe two grandparents present at a time... Tracey Ann is so blessed that she does see all four grandparents on occasion.
  • I think this is the first time Hubby and I have really REALLY ENJOYED our home since we moved in -- it is definitely the first socializing we have done in our home, and we are still in the process of making this house our home -- tonight it was our home, full of our friends, full of love, full of family.  What a perfect night.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Toddler Talk

Here are a few adorable Toddler Talk events of the last 24 hours that I want to make sure to remember someday:

Me: Tracey Ann, are you going to have two brothers, two sisters, or one of each?
Tracey Ann: PUPPIES!
Me: You're going to have two puppies?
Tracey Ann: Yeah!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
Tracey Ann and I were outside in the front yard and an older man came walking by with his little white dog.  He and I made small talk and Tracey Ann pet the dog, but I could tell he was having trouble hearing me.  Eventually I introduced myself and walked up to him to repeat my name and shake his hand.  I stuck out my hand and said, "Brooke."

He and I shook hands, and then I look down to see that Tracey Ann has followed me over to meet the neighbor... she stuck out her hand and said, "Brooke."

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Talking to Tracey (Lee)

My sister, Tracey (Lee), (not to be confused with my daughter, Tracey Ann, died in June of 2002 -- so 13+ years ago.

These days I do not actively grieve the loss of her or actively mourn her absence in my life... I did for a very long time, but time does provide the ability to carry on with life -- never to forget, never to stop missing... but to carry on without the one you love as best as possible.

That being said, there are now very distinct seasons in my life where I keenly miss her, and they always surprise me.

The last time I really keenly missed my sister was in the weeks leading up to my wedding.  I really needed her help -- not just with details of my wedding but helping me manage my family in all the excitement -- something only a sister would understand and be able to do in that sort of situation.

I missed Tracey when I was pregnant with Tracey Ann... but it was more general -- I missed that my child was not going to know his or her Aunt Tracey.  My sister, Tracey, never had children so I never found myself wanting to hear her wisdom or share her experience.

With this pregnancy with twins, however, I find myself seriously missing her and really wanting to talk to her.

I am physically able to do less and less every day -- and it is driving me crazy.  My mother-in-law is here right now taking care of things while Hubby is hunting, and my parents will arrive next week to help us from now for the duration of my pregnancy and weeks after the twins arrive.  They could be here three months or longer.

The last time my parents left home to live with a child indefinitely because they were needed was when my sister was diagnosed with cancer in January of 2000.  They went to Minneapolis (where my sister lived) in January and they essentially did not come home until May.

Tracey loved animals and had an absolute zoo at the time to the tune of one dog, two cats, and 8 or 9 exotic birds.  As Tracey's focus changed to fighting for her life and resting between doctors appointments, hospital stays, and bouts with chemotherapy and radiation... my parents lived at her home doing anything and everything that needed to be done.  

My dad did medical research, spent hours consulting with countless doctors, and offered medical advice while my mom took care of all of Tracey's animals and handled all of the day-to-day household chores.

I had never really thought about it before, but it must have driven Tracey crazy to have been in that situation.

Here she was 37 years old, and yes, I'm sure she was completely grateful for everything my parents were doing... but in addition to feeling physically lousy, and having no energy, she was living with her dad and his wife while watching them do all the household chores she usually did... and, if I know Tracey, she did a certain way.

I am overjoyed that my parents are coming to help, and I KNOW I cannot get through these upcoming weeks of pregnancy without them... but I'm also a little apprehensive about living with my parents again for three or more months.  That is a long time.

I really want to talk to Tracey about this.  It is one thing to spend three months with my parents when I am myself and can run my own house, and go out to the grocery store, and take Tracey Ann out for walks... but it is another story to know that there is less and less I can do every day and my mom and dad will be taking over my household duties while I sit around and watch them.

I really want to hear what my sister has to say about this.  I want to laugh with her about the paradox of being so incredibly grateful... but also really nervous because my parents are about to take over my house.

I want to rejoice with her about the different circumstances that this time they are coming to help for the upcoming birth of twin grandchildren instead of helping a child who is fighting cancer.

I want her advice on how to cherish this time with my mom and dad because it will not last forever and we rarely all live under one roof.

I want her to empathize with me when I complain about how little I am allowed to do when there is so much I want to be doing because she understands how frustrating this is.

I miss her... and really, I don't care what we talk about... it has been too long, and I just want to talk.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Preggers II -- Twins: 29 Weeks


Okay... can I just say, I don't really feel so enormously huge until I see the weekly picture of myself... and then I really feel like quite the elephant.  Am I really walking around this THIS belly every day?

How far along?  29 weeks

How I am feeling?  A little slower, a little more sore... a little more frustrated with my restrictions, but also very blessed.

How big are babies?  The size of acorn squashes... whatever those are.  Another website said butternut squashes, so whichever you are more familiar... between 2.5 to 3.8 pounds and 15.2 to 16.7 inches long.  One of my weekly pregnancy emails said that the babies will triple in size from now until the end of pregnancy -- well, that would be wonderful, but I can't IMAGINE how large and immobile I will be at that point.

Sleep:  I sleep pretty well but Hubby is hunting this week, so I never sleep as well when he's gone.

Boy/Girl, Boy/Boy, Girl/Girl Predictions: Two babies

Babies Nicknames:  Babies, or Twins 
 
  Best moment this weekI had a really great doctor's appointment this past week where we received the best news we have heard in months regarding my pregnancy.  The doctor is thrilled with how well I'm doing this far along in my pregnancy and says that each week that I'm not in labor or requiring medical interventions really is a huge milestone that we need to celebrate.  She also said once I make it to 32 weeks, I can plan to have the babies at our local hospital and not in Denver.  They don't want me to have the babies as early as 32 weeks, but at least I can work with my local hospital from that point on.  Praise God!

Food cravings:  Nothing specific.

Missing:  The ability to be on my feet and active as many hours of the day as I would like.  This week I can definitely tell that I can be active for one or maybe two activities... and then I have to rest and get off my feet before I can try another one.
 
Movements:  Yes, and they are a lot of fun... but when one starts to flip upside down or roll over and then the other one responds by flipping or rolling, it is really cool to feel but it becomes a little uncomfortable.

Labor Signs:  No, thankfully... but, when I have been on my feet and overly active, I definitely have a tightness in my uterus, which I try to alleviate as quickly as possible by getting off my feet.

Comparison:  Here I am carrying Tracey Ann at 29 weeks

29 Weeks with the twins -- officially to the point where my dresses are getting a little too short in the front...


General Attitude: Very grateful for how well I'm doing with the pregnancy, and very grateful for the help that God has sent us as I am able to do less and less around the house and with Tracey Ann.  Hubby has been traveling last weekend and this weekend, and we have had a dear friend, and then my mother-in-law come to stay with my while Hubby is gone, and there is no way I could be here, caring for Tracey Ann alone without their help.  It is totally humbling to have to ask for someone else to carry Tracey Ann, or make her dinner, or vacuum my house, or bring me a cup of water but I also know that we are so completely blessed that we have people in our life that will drop what they are doing to come and do all of those things during this time when I am so restricted in what I can do.

 What I am looking forward to this week:  Our families are hosting a baby sprinkle for us this week for our friends in Rifle and I'm really getting excited.  The party is at our home so that friends can see our new house... but a LOT has to get done between now and then.

Milestones: My belly button is now an "outtie" -- which it never became with Tracey Ann.  It got really really flat and was the same level as my stomach, but it never actually pushed out.  Now, it has.  Also, my maternity dresses are getting a little short in the front...

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Unlike Anything

In my opinion, being "very" pregnant is unlike any other milestone in life.

Throughout a person's life... we'll use my life, as example, many milestones have occurred, and a perfect stranger, generally, would have no idea about them just by looking at me.

  • I have experienced accomplishments like graduating high school, college, graduate schools, etc.
  • I have gained employment and been excited about new jobs
  • I have bought a house
  • I have lost family members
  • I have had my heart broken
  • I have made mistakes I wish I could take back
  • I have adopted animals
  • I have fallen head over heels in love with my husband
  • I became engaged to be married
  • I had what was, in my opinion, the most beautiful wedding that has ever occurred
  • I have had arguments with my husband
  • I have learned a great deal about love and marriage with my husband
 ...
 
All of the above events occurred without the average person on the street knowing what was going on in my life.
 
Now, yes, when Hubby asked me to be his wife, we told some perfect strangers that we were newly engaged, because we were so excited...
And, the weeks before and after my wedding, I probably told everyone I saw that I was getting married, or had just gotten married...
But, the stranger did not know I had excited a major life event just by looking at me -- they knew because I shared something with them voluntarily.
 
Well, preparing for the arrival of a baby is unlike any other milestone in life -- every person I pass on the street, I see at work, or I waddle around at the store knows a life change is coming my way.
 
I was aware of this when I was pregnant with Tracey Ann, and I know people mean well.  I am one who often will comment to a woman who is pregnant and inquire about her pregnancy -- when she's due, how she's feeling, if she knows if the baby is a boy or a girl.  But, I will say, I have a little less patience for strangers' well-meaning comments with this twins pregnancy.
 
For starters, I still have over eight weeks of pregnancy left... and yet, the average strangers thinks I am at or beyond full term.  I am okay when people ask me when I'm due... then I am able to tell them, "Not until January... I'm expecting twins."  But some people just take it upon themselves to tell me I must be past my due date... or that the baby is coming any day... or that the baby has "dropped."
 
I really do know these people are being sweet, and are just excited for what they can see is a big change coming in my life... but I will admit I am getting tired of every person I pass to literally be able to see how close to this life change I am, and then talk to me about it.
 
But, from what I understand, strangers will be commenting on my twins for a very long time... so I suppose these well-meaning inquiries are just preparing me for that.
 
Lord, I know this pregnancy is such a brief season of my life and I am beyond blessed by these two lives you have entrusted to Hubby and me.  Help me to have a blessed and joyful heart when strangers talk to me.  Let me show them You and not my human nature.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Fun Name Post

It's harder than you think! No using Google. 
Every answer must start with the first letter of your first name. 

Name: Brooke
Animal: Butterfly
Boy's name: Buddy
Girl's name: Bethany
Color: Blue
Movie: Bewitched
Something you wear: Bra
Drink: Bud Light Lime
Food: Banana Nut Cake
Something you find in your bathroom: Bathtub
Place: Bahamas
Reason to be late: Bull Shit... oh, I'm sorry - excuse my french.  Balderdash!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Murphy's Law of Parenting...

Murphy's Law of Parenting...

When you are seven months pregnancy with twins and your husband attends a work conference and is away from home for three days and two nights, your one-year-old will inevitably have her hardest and worst two nights of sleep she has had since you've moved to your new house.  She will refuse to sleep, be up throughout the night, and throw uncharacteristic tantrums.

The night your husband returns, with full knowledge that he is on Daddy-duty indefinitely to make up for the rough nights that Mama has had, your one-year-old will easily fall asleep at 8:30pm, and sleep soundly and peacefully through the night without so much as a peep or a sneeze.

... And as the mother, you're not really sure if you are glad that she is sleeping soundly or furious that she's not throwing the same tantrums for your husband that she threw for you for the past two nights.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Preggers II -- Twins: 28 Weeks


How far along?  28 weeks


How I am feeling?  Pretty well and more comfortable and confident with this point of my pregnancy and listening to my body.

How big are babies?  The size of eggplants... between 1.5 to 2.5 pounds and 13.6 to 14.8 inches long

Sleep:  I sleep pretty well but I do get up many times a night to use the restroom

Boy/Girl, Boy/Boy, Girl/Girl Predictions: Two babies

Babies Nicknames:  Babies, or Twins 
  Best moment this weekFriday and Saturday -- Hubby and I were both home both days and I feel like our home really came together in those two days, plus I didn't over-do it.  We had two young guys from our church come by and help Hubby move some large furniture that he couldn't move by himself (and I could not help him move) AND our cleaning gal paid us a visit.  Our house literally made a huge leap from "nice place" to "actual home" in a span of those 48 hours.  We now have two guest rooms where company can crash when needed, and Tracey Ann's room and the twins' nursery look like actual places where a child a sleep safely and feel comfortable.  One of the reason it was such a great moment was because I wasn't expecting our house to look this good until my mom arrives in a few weeks.  I had accepted that very little else can be unpacked until some reinforcements arrive -- well, they did arrive, but God sent helpers other than my mom and much sooner than I expected.

Food cravings:  Not anything specific at the moment..

Missing:  The ability to pick and carry Tracey Ann as much as I would like (and she would like)
 
Movements:  Yes, and they are a lot of fun... it seems to be getting pretty crowded in their little cacoon

Labor Signs:  No, thankfully... but, just to keep an accurate account of what's going on, Hubby and I met with a specialist this past week who came up from Denver and she seemed much more calm about my pregnancy than my doc up here -- and rightfully so because she handles high risk pregnancies all the time.  She said there is about a 50% chance that I will wind up in Denver at some point to try to control preterm labor or to have the twins... but we just have to wait and see how my body handles these next eight weeks of pregnancy.  She said the fact that my body is not in preterm labor yet is awesome, and a really good sign.

Comparison:  Here I am carrying Tracey Ann at 28 weeks


28 Weeks with the twins



... and for comparison



General Attitude: We're learning how to be very positive while keeping a flexible, wise plan in place.

 What I am looking forward to this week:  Well, I think just every day I can be here at home with Hubby and Tracey Ann with the twins safely in utero is wonderful and worth celebrating.

Milestones: I'm offically in my third trimester... and larger than I was at full term with Tracey Ann