Thursday, December 31, 2015

Approved

Our double-bassinet for the twins has been Tracey Ann approved:


Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Pre-Twins Bucket List

A few days ago I called a friend of mine who has twins this past summer to talk about the final few weeks of pregnancy.  She made it all the way to 38 weeks, plus one of her twins was smaller than the other, so they actually changed her 38 week due date mid-pregnancy to account for the smaller twin.  So, she was induced at 38 weeks, but about ten days later than her original 38 week due date.

As I mentioned in the post yesterday, I seem to be a little bipolar these days and some moments I feel like I really can hang in for the duration of this pregnancy, and I am really am sincerely glad that the babies are still growing and developing... and then a few minutes later I am full of self-doubt and overwhelmed at the idea of carrying the twins for a few more weeks.  This is a lot like running a marathon -- physically, I can do this.  Physically, if I couldn't do this, I would have give birth already.  The battle is mental.

So, I called my friend to ask how she, mentally, made it all the way to her 38 week induction date.

She recommended that I spend these last days or weeks really enjoying the time I have before two babies are in the picture.  She said I should do things I really enjoy and just cherish the time before my time is not my own.

I thought this was good advice and so I began to think about things that would be on my "Pre-Twins Bucket List."  Then, a few minutes later, I was doubled over in laughter because most of the things on my "Pre-Twins Bucket List" I cannot do because I am pregnant with twins.

My Pre-Twins Bucket List:
  • Go for runs
  • Make the most of the my time with Tracey Ann as the only child by building forts, playing out in the snow, getting down on her level to play, and doing special activities
  • Frantically settle into our home and move and unpack any and all of the boxes left to be unpacked
  • Go up to the new Glenwood Springs hot springs pools that opened over the summer and I haven't seen yet
  • Sleep soundly and through the night and sleep in every morning
  • Cook lots of meals for our freezer
  • Stay up late with Hubby watching fun movies and staring at our beautiful Christmas tree
The truth is, that would have to be my bucket list if I were not pregnant, and twins were just going to show up on our doorstep in the next few weeks.
 
Most of those things I cannot physically do these days, despite my desire.  So, my bucket list has become a little more modest...
 
My Realistic Pre-Twins Bucket List:
  • Treasure time with Tracey Ann as the only child -- whatever we are doing (lots of play-dough, books, playing doctor, and cuddling with cartoons)
  • Making sure my parents feel comfortable in their routine with Tracey Ann so that when the twins do arrive, Tracey Ann will have some consistency
  • Enjoying bedtime with Hubby without nursing two babies -- our end of the day cuddling and pillow talk
  • Trying to do a few house projects each day with the help of my mom -- unpacking a few boxes here and there, hanging a few pictures here and there and trying to have things ready for the twins
  • Enjoying the ability to say when I'm tired and then get off my feet or take a nap
  • Treasuring this Christmas break where all of Hubby, Tracey Ann, my Mom, my Daddy  and I are home together without the responsibility of two newborns... we are nesting, watching football, doting on Tracey Ann, and enjoying this time together as a family.  This time really is a gift.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Monday, December 28, 2015

Preggers II -- Twins: 35 Weeks

 
How far along?  35 weeks... on Christmas Eve... so today, Monday; 35 weeks 4 days.


How I am feeling? A little bi-polar, to be honest.  Some days I feel great and I'm so excited about all that we're getting done around the house and how much time I'm spending with Tracey Ann and the fact that the twins are still growing and devloping in utero.  Other days I have a much harder time keeping my eye on the prize and remembering what good news it is that I am still pregnant.  The twins are not ready to come out yet, and so in the womb is exactly where they should still be.  Although, I will admit, I don't think it has helped me that the doctors have had us on high alert to expect the twins since mid-October.  Really, I shouldn't really have been anticipating the twins until 36-38 weeks gestation... but the doctors had us ready and anticipating them since 26 weeks, so it feels like we've been on edge expecting labor for a really long time.

How big are babies?  The size of coconuts... between 4.2 to 5.8 pounds and 17.2 to 18.7 inches long according the internet.

Sleep:  Pretty normal given that I'm 35 weeks pregnant with twins.  So I'm up about 4-6 times a night... which I guess is great practice for being the mother of newborn twins and a toddler under two.

Boy/Girl, Boy/Boy, Girl/Girl Predictions:  I'm not sure... but we're getting excited to find out.

Babies Nicknames:  Babies, or Twins
  Best moment this weekI think the whole family is nesting... since Christmas Eve all of Hubby, my Mom, my Dad and I have been working very hard on the house every day getting as many projects done, boxes unpacked, and organization in place knowing that the twins could arrive any time and that each day we spend organizing could be our last before life is very different.

Food cravings:  Just food.

Missing:  Oh, let's not go here... instead let's say that, when the babies arrive, I will miss the feeling of them moving, squirming, and kicking inside my belly at the same time.  I will also miss Tracey Ann hugging my belly and using her new doctor kit on my big stomach.  She uses her stethoscope, tweezers, and gives me shots in the stomach.  It is really fun and sweet.
 
Movements:  Yes, and I love them.  Sometimes the jabs get a little rough, but for the most part, I absolutely love them and will miss them when the babies are born.

Labor Signs:  Well, yes but just enough to make us wonder each and every night if tonight might be the night... but so far the babies are still hanging in and loving live in the womb.

Comparison:  Here I am carrying Tracey Ann at 35 weeks... and by the way, I tried on this green dress to try to wear to church on Christmas Eve -- it did not fit.  Neither did the second Christmas maternity dress I tried on...



and here I am 35 weeks with the twins... in one of the few church outfits that did fit on Christmas Eve.


and a comparison shot, just for fun...
 

General Attitude: I'm trying to focus on one day at a time... I get overwhelmed when I think about another two and a half weeks of growing.  Usually when I think about one day at a time I can stay positive and encouraged.

 What I am looking forward to this week:  All the college football that happens in the week between Christmas and New Years... and hoping that if and when I do go into labor that it doesn't conflict with some of these great games.  I know, it's silly to think about... but at this point, the babies have waited this long to be born... could they give me a nice quick labor in between bowl games, please?

Milestones: Hubby and I toured the hospital again... not really because we felt we needed to -- we had Tracey Ann at this hospital less than two years ago, but we went by the Family Birth Place to drop off Christmas cookies.  While we were there, we met with one of the nurses and she familiarized us with the nursery and neonatal intensive care unit, should we need them.  We had been so focused on the good news of making it to 34 and 35 weeks in my pregnancy, that we were kind of naive not to realize that we might still be dealing with premature babies.  Tracey Ann was never in the nursery during our stay at the hospital... but depending on the needs and sizes of the twins, that might not be the case this time.  It was nice to learn the policies and procedures just in case we find ourselves with a baby or two in the nursery... although I am operating under the strong mindset that none of that will be necessary.
Thank you for your prayers in this journey.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Pictures of our Christmas Celebration

We had a wonderful Christmas Eve and Christmas celebration.

What a beautiful Christmas Eve service at our church.

Loving Christmas with Grammie and Papa!

Possibly one of our last pictures as a family of three -- Tracey Ann is really getting her "Cheese" down.

Santa Came!

Ready to open presents.




Tracey Ann got a Dr kit from her Doctor Aunt Becky... and she had her Doctor Papa to teach her how to use it.

Say "Ahhh"

Is Daddy healthy?


Is Tracey Ann healthy?


The surgery scissors are perfect for opening presents.

Wow, all this excitement is tiring.

We have been so blessed this year.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas from the Mountain Millers

Merry Christmas 
from the Mountain Millers 2015


Our Christmas Letter:


Christmas greetings to you from the Mountain Millers,
What a wonderful and blessed year we have had. To quote my husband, this has been a year of “Upgrades.”
·       In May we learned that Tracey Ann would become a big sister and we were thrilled to learn that our family would be growing – Upgrade and Praise God!
·       In June we were shocked and thrilled to learn that we were expecting, not one baby, but TWINS due in January 2016!  Tracey Ann will have a new challenge as a big sister, and our hands will be very full (three children in less than two years) but our hearts will be even more full and we feel amazingly blessed – Double Upgrade and Praise God! 
(To answer your question, yes, twins run in our families, and yet, that did not diminish our shock during our first ultrasound when the doctor told us to take a deep breath and then said, “That is one baby… and that is a second baby.”  We do not know the genders of the babies.  We loved being surprised with Tracey Ann and are excited to be surprised with the twins as well.)
·       With a growing family on our minds, the summer and fall led to many discussions about our future, and much to our surprise and blessing, we were able to buy our first home this fall.  We are now settled in Rifle and we have room for visitors!  I still cannot believe how quickly and smoothly everything came together and we have been busy settling in and preparing for the twins (and family) to arrive – Major Upgrade and Praise God!
Tracey Ann has amazed and brought us much joy this year as she has gone from being a cute, sweet baby, to an energetic, talking, walking, climbing adorable toddler.  She loves animals, playing outside and is trying to understand that babies are on the way.
Chris and I continue to enjoy our jobs in education and we are very happy settling into our Rifle community as homeowners.  Our animals, Lexie and Lloyd are handling the changes well.
In this broken world, we pray your Christmas is filled with the peace, hope, and joy of knowing that Jesus came to earth and died that we might have eternal life.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Preggers II -- Twins: 34 Weeks

 
How far along?  34 weeks... well, I actually missed this post from last week and tomorrow will mark 35 weeks, so I'm technically 34 weeks 6 days... but the picture is from 34 weeks.

How I am feeling? From the best of my memory, at 34 weeks, I was very excited and felt very accomplished.  At 34 weeks, I had reached a big milestone in the twins' development that the doctors were excited about; I fulfilled all of my teaching obligations this fall and was now officially on maternity leave; and we had just received the great news that the babies were over 5.5 pounds each, which is wonderful!  Now, six days later, I am still feeling glad and grateful for all of the above... but I'm also getting physically pretty uncomfortable.

How big are babies?  The size of melons... between 4.2 to 5.8 pounds and 17.2 to 18.7 inches long... but at our appointment last week, we were told that one twin is estimated to weight 5 pounds 10 ounces, and the other is 5 pounds 11 ounces... and that was a week ago.

Sleep:  Well, the good news is, I am very tired at the end of the day... the bad news is I get up often to use the restroom, and have a hard time sleeping in a comfortable position.

Boy/Girl, Boy/Boy, Girl/Girl Predictions: Well, we now have decided on names for the babies if they are two boys or two girls... so I'm kind of hoping for either of those combinations.

Babies Nicknames:  Babies, or Twins
 
  Best moment this week:  We've probably had a lot -- Hubby and I took a little baby moon getaway for an overnight in Grand Junction while my mom and dad watched Tracey Ann.  It has been so nice to all be on Christmas vacation the past few days and get the house more and more ready for the babies.  Hubby and I had a Rifle date night and got to watch the movie ELF.  It is such a joy to watch Tracey Ann interact with my parents and play games and get into a routine with them prior to the twins' arrivals.  It was great news hearing that the twins are so big and growing so well... the larger they are, the more developed we expect them to be when they are born.

Food cravings:  Nothing specific... but I do get very hungry every few hours.  Food is very important to me these days.

Missing:  Oh, this is probably not a topic I should get started on.  Let's just say that I am getting very uncomfortable -- a level of discomfort I never experienced with Tracey Ann.  I have to remind myself many times throughout the day how important every day in utero is to both of the babies and how blessed we are that both babies are doing so well.
 
Movements:  Yes, and I love them.  Sometimes the jabs get a little rough, but for the most part, I absolutely love them and will miss them when the babies are born.

Labor Signs:  Well, yes... my body does seem to be preparing for labor.

Comparison:  Here I am carrying Tracey Ann at 34 weeks

and here I am 34 weeks with the twins...

and our favorite pregnancy picture to date:
 
General Attitude: I'm starting to feel ready for the twins to be born... although still trying to remind myself that they would still be premature if they were born now, and we want them as healthy and mature as possible.

 What I am looking forward to this week:  Christmas Eve and Christmas, and over a week ahead of Hubby and me home together with my parents and Tracey Ann.

Milestones: As I mentioned above, hitting 34 weeks was a really big milestone in terms of the babies' development, but also fulfilling all my teaching obligations, getting our home more ready for the twins, and having a baby moon getaway with Hubby are big milestones for us.  When you consider that we were told in October we needed to be ready for premature labor and delivery, I am just overwhelmed and overjoyed to think of how far we have come and the babies are still cooking.
 
Thank you for your prayers in this journey.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Monday, December 21, 2015

#ThankyouTaylor

I consider myself a realist.
My husband, an optimist, says I am a pessimist.
I have told him that considering me a pessimist is not a very optimistic way to see me.

All that being said, I am very skeptical of various movements on the internet.  I am not one to repost the "If I get 1 million share, my dad will stop smoking," or "If we get 1 million likes, my parents will get us a dog."  I just don't buy it.  I think if the dad intended to stop smoking, he would just do it.  If the parents were going to buy their kids a dog, they would but it.

A few weeks ago, I noticed a hashtag being reposted on facebook #delaneymeettaylor.  The gist of the post was that a thirteen-year-old girl in Grand Junction Colorado (60 miles west of Rifle) has terminal cancer, has been fighting cancer for years, and has the dream of meeting Taylor Swift.  The message was trying to get Taylor Swift's attention to either have a concert in Grand Junction, or just somehow get Taylor Swift to meet this girl, Delaney.

I really did not give the facebook post a second thought.  I didn't doubt that there was a very sick little girl named Delaney... but I had no desire to try to get the word out to Taylor Swift... because, from my point of view, word would never reach Taylor Swift.


Apparently, on her way home to Tennessee for Christmas, Taylor Swift stopped by Grand Junction Colorado, specifically to Delaney's home to surprise her.


So much for my theories of realism.


I've never had a poor opinion of Taylor Swift... she seems to have a good head on her shoulders for the most part, although I don't know that I agree with her switch from Country to Pop music.  But what a special young lady she must be to take the time out of her schedule and answer the call, the plea, from a small town in Colorado to grant the wish of a very sick little girl.

I tear up every time I think about it.


God Bless You, Taylor Swift... and God, please heal Delaney and be with her and her family in this struggle.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

No Idea Part 2

Last week I wrote a post about being pregnant with twins and how, even though I have experienced full term pregnancy before... I had No Idea what it would mean to be pregnanct with twins... and how most people in my life also have NO IDEA what this is like.

After I wrote that post, I thought of some other things that are worth mentioning.
  • I have had to move the pedals on my car forward in order to be comfortable in the driver's seat.  Fortunately, the van we bought last summer has the ability for me to move the pedals forward without moving the seat or the steering wheel.  In my work car, where I cannot move the pedals, my stomach literally touches the steering wheel as I'm driving.
  • Around our house, there are a couple of spots that are tight for two people to pass.  If I am standing in the kitchen at the end of the counter top and either Hubby or my mom or dad want to squeeze by me, it used to be no big deal for me to step forward closer to the counter for them to sneak behind... now, I actually have to either turn sideways so my stomach is goes along side the counter, or I have to move out of the narrow space so they are able to pass
  • Hubby and I danced a few nights ago, which is such treat... but it was physically difficult to have to stand so far away from him while we were dancing
  • When I climb into a car, first of all, it is not easy to get up into the driver or passenger side, but once I get into the seat and settle in... it is very difficult to reach out and close the door behind me.  I have to use my arms and either pull myself forward using the steerling wheel or dash board in order to reach the door in order to pull it closed.
  • I have no lap.  Like, no lap at all -- to work on a laptop, there is not enough space between my knees and my stomach for my computer to fit.  When we go to church, and I would naturally set a program on my lap... or out to eat and I would set a napkin on my lap, they are both on the floor in a matter of seconds.  I have now begun laying a napkin over my stomach instead of my legs when I eat -- that's where food falls anyway.
  • I have learned to have a new normal for myself that, generally speaking, when someone asks if I need help -- I say yes.  Normally, my instinct would be to say, "No thank you."  A few days ago, I was getting out of my car, and my mom asked if I needed help.  I said yes I did, and when she came out of the car, she looked surprised at how little I had to bring in -- like perhaps I didn't really need the help because my hands weren't going to be that full.  I then explained to her, that I'm learning to accept help even if I don't have a lot to carry, because, if nothing else, it is helpful to hold someone's hand while I'm walking on the ice.  Help is a good thing -- and the fact I'm getting used to accepting it is probably a good standard for the fact I'm about to have two babies and one toddler.
A few days ago, I was chatting with a friend who had a little boy and then twins a few years later all of whom are in college now.  She said was commenting on how many times she was asked the same question and had the same conversation with people...
"Yes they are twins."
"Yes he is mine too."
"Yes, I have my hands full."
 
She said she wanted to have shirts printed that said,
 
"Yes they are twins."
"Yes he is mine too."
"Yes, I have my hands full... so could you please OPEN THE DOOR FOR ME!"
 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Christmas Spirit

The past two nights have been so wonderful for putting me in the Christmas spirit.

On Thursday night, Hubby and I went to his school's Christmas party -- which was fun and casual at a local Mexican restaurant.  My parents were baby-sitting Tracey Ann, and Hubby and I were both excited to have a night out together and celebrate the start "Christmas break" from school and my maternity leave, so when the party was over in faster than we anticipated, neither of us were ready to call it a night.

After checking in with my parents and hearing that all was well at home, we decided to go to dinner at a new restaurant in town.  But as soon as we arrived at the restaurant, saw a sign for a Family Movie Night at an old refurbished movie theater a block away showing the movie Elf.  The movie has started five minutes ago and Hubby and I quickly made the decision to postpone dinner and walk over to the theater and catch the rest of the movie.

It was a freezing night with snow on the ground and town Christmas lights everywhere, and it was so much fun to quickly walk that block with Hubby and arrive in the nice warm theater having missed only 10 minutes of the movie.  The family movie was a great deal and so much fun.  This is the first time in my life that when all the characters in the movie sang a song together, the viewers in the theater sang along too.  At the end of Elf, where the people are singing, "Santa Claus is Coming To Town," the whole theater was singing along.

After the movie, we went back the new restaurant and ordered carry out as they were closing.  The restaurant proprietor remembered us from earlier and asked how the movie was and was happy we had returned.  We really love living in a small town and Thursday night was a perfect small town Christmas date night.

 Then, Friday, we watched White Christmas as a family -- Hubby, Tracey Ann, my parents, the unborn twins and myself, all in our beautiful family room with our big beautiful Christmas tree, safe and warm and happy.  Tracey Ann even enjoyed dancing and clapping to some of the songs, which was such fun to see.

My parents and I sang along to many of the songs, and Hubby danced with me to the song, "The Best Things Happen While You're Dancing," which Tracey Ann loved (and so did I).

One week until Christmas and these are very special moments and memories in our new home, before the twins arrive, with my parents, and as Christmas approaches.  It really is the most wonderful time of the year.
 

Friday, December 18, 2015

Best Decision

Five years ago today I made the best decision of my life when I agreed to marry my wonderful Hubby.


He asked me to marry him on a snowy day on Vail mountain on a black diamond ski run.  He pulled out the most beautiful diamond ring I had ever seen... and held it above the 16" of fresh powder snow we were skiing on... and I think I said, "DON'T DROP IT!" even before I said Yes.

  

Thank you for asking me to be your wife, Hubby.

 
You are the perfect match for me.  We make such a great team, and we are a good balance for one another.


I can't believe God has entrusted us with a beautiful little girl... and the new blessing of two more babies on the way any day.  I am so glad you are my partner, my spouse, my husband in this crazy, wonderful life and through these new blessings and challenges.

 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The True Followers

This Christmas, God has been revealing new things to me about the Christmas story that He never has before... and its still not perfectly clear in my head (like so many big truths and revelations from the God of the universe... my mind cannot quite grasp the whole thing) so forgive me if this post isn't my most clear.

The true followers in the Christmas Story are the shepherds and the wise men.

I have listened to the Christmas Story for three decades now, and read and studied and heard lessons from many different perspectives of the story and things to be learned and applied to my own life.  But, I have always tuned in more to the events in the lives of Mary and Joseph and how their obedience and faithfulness to God's plan was to be applied to my life.

It is true, Mary and Joseph, are very note-worthy and virtuous people in this story, from whom much can be learned.  They each accepted God's plan for them, in a very scary and tumultuous time and accepted callings for which they were not equipped, but God equipped them in all ways at the proper time.  There surely are a great number of lessons to be learned from Mary and Joseph -- and, as a woman and mother, it is very easy to identify with Mary, especially as an expectant mother during the Christmas season.

What I have overlooked for years, however, is that the shepherds and wise men, not Mary and Joseph, were, in fact, the first followers of Jesus.

Mary and Joseph accepted God's calling for them, and they each knew they had been given a very blessed and high calling... but I think each of them were still learning and still pondering what this blessing meant and how this child would be the Savior.  Not to mention, each was a young newlywed, and a first-time parent learning how to provide for one another and their newborn baby during a very dangerous time in history.  Although I cannot know, I do not think these young parents were worshiping their baby upon his entrance into the world any more than all first time parents marvel and stand in awe of their first-born baby upon his or her entrance into the world.

The shepherds and the wise men, however, they followed Jesus.  They worshiped Jesus.  They literally fell to their knees before a newborn baby -- one of the most helpless creatures in the world.

Mary and Joseph obeyed God when things maybe didn't make perfect sense... but these shepherds and wise men did the incomprehensible -- they traveled miles and miles to see a newborn, to which they had no family connection -- not even Jesus' grandmothers came to visit him when he was born -- and then, upon finding this one, specific newborn babe (which I'm sure there were at least a moderate selection of newborns at the time), they fell to their knees and worshiped him.

They worshiped a newborn.

Not only could this "Savior", this "King of Kings" -- even if He was that, not grant them wishes, He could not give absolution, He could not bestow land or forgive debts -- He was a newborn!!!  He could not even talk, or walk, or hold up His head.  Of all the Kings to worship, to bring expensive gifts, these first followers groveled before a baby that could do nothing for them.

I have never thought about this before... I have learned that God called the highest, wisest kings AND the lowliest, loneliest, uneducated working class to witness this miracle... but I never thought about the actual actions and faithfulness of those who were called -- both the wise men and shepherds.

They really were the first followers of Christ; The first worshipers of Jesus; The first to choose blind faith over any reason for the sake of The Son of God.  

Talk about a lesson and example to apply to my own life... yes Mary and Joseph's lives make good examples, but the wise men and shepherds obeyed, followed, and worshiped.  That is the example I want to emulate.