Monday, December 20, 2010


That's right folks - identical twins. I had my first ultrasound at the doctor's office today and fortunately I think their tech is great since we'll be seeing quite a bit of each other. She said that typically she will do a growth scan on the babies every four weeks and possibly more than that depending on how things go. She also said that every time I'm at the office one of the doctor's will do a quick ultrasound to check the heartbeat since using a doppler isn't as accurate when you're trying to track more than one little one. I'll also start having more frequent visits earlier than a woman would if she were only having one baby. I'll learn more details on that next month when I meet with the doctors for the first time.

The ultrasound tech was able to tell pretty quickly that they're identical little babies. They share one single placenta and are in the same chorion together. She tried for a long time to find a membrane separating the two and while she thinks she saw one she's not 100% sure which at this moment isn't cause for concern. If we find out definitively at some point that there isn't a membrane separating them into their own amniotic sacs then we start to worry. Even so carrying identical twins who share a placenta has some additional risks. I won't go into detail about that here - no need to worry about it unless it becomes an issue at some point.

Both of them are measuring the same size which is fantastic. Baby A is measuring 12 weeks 5 days (6.31 cm) and Baby B is measuring the same (6.32 cm) According to LMP (last menstrual period) I am 12 weeks 6 days so they are measuring just perfect. Baby A had a heartrate of 165 and Baby B's was 159. It's still too early to tell whether they are boys or girls (although I do have a hunch ;) but we all agreed that we thought we saw 2 arms and 2 legs on each of them! Both babies were pretty quiet at first but by the time we were finished both of them were bopping around in there - it's the sweetest thing to see your little babies moving and grooving on the screen!

In other baby related news Elliot is starting to grasp the concept that there are babies in Mommy's tummy. I've had to teach him not to squish the babies since he's used to using me as a springboard to get where ever it is that he wants to get! He now tells them sorry, rubs my belly and gives them kisses. It melts my heart every.single.time. He can be a wild and crazy little guy but deep down I think he's a softy with a big heart. When we ask him how many babies Mommy is going to have he answers: "Two little babies!!" while holding up two fingers of course! Hadley still doesn't quite get the baby thing - I think she will have the hardest time adjusting to new little people in the house!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thrifty Thursday

I'll freely admit that I'm not always the best at being 'thrifty'. I love the idea of saving money and I know there are a lot of ways to do so - I'm just not always on the ball with that kind of stuff. But, it's a work in progress!

So, on this Thrifty Thursday I thought I'd share one very small way I save us a few bucks every month. All it takes is three ingredients and a container to store it in - all of which can be found at your local grocery store or Wal-Mart/Target. I make our laundry detergent - usually whipping up a quick batch once a month of so and have been doing so for close to a year.

What are those three ingredients you ask? There are several different 'recipes' but the one I make uses Oxy-Clean, Arm & Hammer Washing Soda & Borax 20 Mule Team. I mix equal parts of all ingredients in my cute little glass container and VOILA - laundry detergent. It takes me maybe 5-10 minutes total to make a new batch. I use a little condiment cup I found at Wal-Mart to scoop it out & measure it.

Super easy & each box of ingredients only costs a few dollars and lasts for a loooong time (and I do a LOT of laundry).

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

First Purchase

The other night we made our first purchase in preparation for doubling our number of kids. We currently have a stroller that we really do love but it's only a double which would leave Elliot and Hadley without a seat and free to get away from Mommy. In all honesty I don't know how often I'll get out on my own with all 4 kids but with our new ride at least three of the kids will be able to have a seat! We've been looking on E-bay for a little while to try and score a good deal and we finally found one! We got a Valco Twin Tri-Mode EX (in Brilliant Black instead of the color Petey really wanted) for almost $300 LESS than retail value and it's NEW and we got free shipping. I felt like a little kid at Christmas time. Here is a picture:

And I know many of you are probably thinking...'but this is still just a double stroller....while you are correct it is just a double stroller here but it can have different attachments added to it. Here is what it will look like with the third seat (wrong color stroller but you get the idea):
If we wanted to we could also add a platform in the back for another little person to stand and ride on that way. Petey has informed me that this will be our LAST stroller purchase but he's pretty excited about it as well. If the shipping info from the seller is correct it should be on my doorstep this Friday - just in time for me to roll it out over the weekend :)

We're hoping to not have to buy too many more baby things in anticipation of our new arrivals. We know we'll need another infant carseat and probably at least one more (maybe two) convertible seats so Petey can have seats in his car. Elliot will be starting pre-school in the fall (perhaps sooner) & he'll ride into town with his Daddy when it comes time for that. There are a few smaller items that would be nice to have another one of but we've accumulated quite a bit over the last couple years - if you ever have doubts feel free to come check out our storage room.....haha. And, if you feel so inclined you could organize it for me too. Oh, a girl can dream right?!?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

12 Weeks

Last night I made it Facebook Official that we're expecting again. It's our third pregnancy in three years which I think might qualify us as crazy! Lots of people have been asking me if this was planned or a surprise and I'm not really sure how to answer this question. First, I wonder if they're trying to glean some juicy bit of info to either confirm we are completely crazy or if we're just stupid about birth control. Second, I wonder if it's really any of their business and my answer to that is: 'No!' So, to any of you who might be wondering there's your answer ;)

Also, as many of you who are probably reading this know by now we are expecting twins this time. This came as quite a shock to us & we definitely had never planned to have a double blessing but we'll definitely take it! I will admit that I had a hunch something 'funny' was going on even before I had officially confirmed my pregnancy. I have been incredibly sick - not necessarily throwing up - and have wanted nothing but to sleep all.day.long. I've also felt really, really awful after everything I eat. With my other pregnancies there was usually something I could count on eating that wouldn't make me feel icky but this time I've yet to find that something. I also started sporting a baby bump really, REALLY fast. I knew it would happen early this time since it is my 3rd in as many years but even I was surprised at how soon I pulled out those maternity pants (6 weeks to be exact).

Petey & I and some of our family joked with us that it would be twins this time. None of us were very serious but it made for a funny moment when the ultrasound showed two little beating hearts. Speaking of ultrasounds...the one that completely changed everything for us this time happened on December 3. I had volunteered to be a model for a clinic here in town where they are training sonographers. I was 10 weeks and 3 days & figured it was a perfect opportunity for me to get an early peek at my little bean. As soon as they started and found the gestational sac I knew something was different. Soon enough I saw two different blobs (there's really not a better way to describe them at that age) moving and wiggling independent of each other. Baby A was measuring 9 weeks 6 days with a heartbeat of 187 and Baby B was measuring 9 weeks 4 days with a heartbeat of 180 which are pretty decent measurements for how far along I was. When the ultrasound was done they three people in the room prayed with me (while I was shaking). Petey had hoped to be in the room for the ultrasound but the kids were fidgeting so he took them out to the van to watch Mickey Mouse. Imagine his shock and surprise when I showed him the picture...... ;) I will be able to see the babies again next Monday at my actual doctor's office & that day can't come soon enough!

I'm hopeful as the 1st trimester comes to a close that I'll start to feel better and have a little more energy. I'm looking forward to feeling consistent movement from these two and to finding out whether they're boys, girls or a combination. Either way we know we have been blessed and while we may not understand why God has chosen us for this journey we know He has a plan which has been comforting in those moments when I feel completely overwhelmed at what's to come!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thankful November

A lot of my friends on Facebook have been participating in Thankful November. Basically, every day they are posting what they are thankful for. It's been really neat to see what some of them have had to say and it has made me think of what I am most thankful for. So, I thought I would sort of participate by posting it here, on my blog. Since November isn't over this will be a work in progress but here goes (in no particular order)!

1- My husband. First of all I feel so blessed that God put him in my life & had led us to where we are. I am very lucky to have such a great, hard working person to go through life with!

2- Elliot. Although we weren't planning on having a baby when we did (this statement is true on so many levels) I can imagine life without him. He is quite a challenge some days but it's been such a blessing and so cool to see his personality unfold over the last two years and to watch him learn about this world. He is such a passionate, strong willed little guy with a big heart.

3- Hadley. My precious. My beautiful little girl that God decided to bless us with a mere 16 months after one of the most intense moments in our lives. Again, it's impossible to imagine life without her. She can be such a drama queen but that giggle and that smile will get you every.single.time.

4- My parents. November 4 is their anniversary so it seems an appropriate number to recognize them with. They have helped us and supported us more than we ever could have hoped over the last several years. It is so cool to see how much my kids adore them. I am also very grateful to have an example of a marriage that has lasted as long as it has and that they still very clearly love each other.

5- Sleep. These days it seems hard to come by!! Daylight Savings Time gave me an extra hour & for that I am so very thankful!

6- Scrapbooking. It really is one of the things I truly love to do. It's a creative outlet & a way for me to express myself. It's also a very fun way to relive memories I've made with my family and friends and a cool way to preserve those memories!

7- Weekend getaways. Nov. 5-7 my mom and I were at a scrapbook retreat. While I missed the kids it was awesome to get away and do something I love doing without distractions, without crying, without having to cook or clean.

8-TV. This may sound awful but every day it buys me a little bit of time to check the computer and have some "me" time. Both Elliot and Hadley love Mickey Mouse and Chuggington and we've got gobs of each saved on our DVR.

9- DVR - on a related note from above..... This is the first time we've ever had something like this and it makes me wonder how I ever survived without it. Ok, not really but it IS super convenient. Going to be gone during your favorite show? No problem....set it to record! It is also great for kids shows. We have a stockpile of their favorite shows saved so they're only a click away. Sooo nice.

10- My phone. I don't talk on it a lot. Frankly, I'm not a fan of talking on the phone but it does allow me to stay in contact with a lot of people a lot easier than I otherwise would be able to. Texting is a great thing :) I'm also very thankful that it is an easy way to communicate with Petey while he's at work.

11- Internet. Without I truly would be living a very, very lonely life. Don't get me wrong there are moments I still feel pretty lonely but having the internet gives me that connection to people I otherwise wouldn't get to talk to as often.

12- Along the same lines as above...my IV girls. I joined the iVillage message boards when I was pregnant with Elliot as something to keep my time occupied during incredibly boring lectures at school. We didn't have internet at home so I really didn't spend much time on it. When I was in the hospital I did a lot of 'lurking' - meaning I read but didn't respond much. Now, 3 years later there is still a large group of us that is growing closer day by day. We've seen each other through so much and they mean a lot to me.

13- Christmas trees!!! They're beautiful and seeing one always puts me in the festive spirit. We've already put ours up and you can say what you want but I'm so glad! The kids love it and for the most part have been really good about leaving it alone.

14- Guilty pleasure shows. Currently my favorite is Make it Or Break It. Love it.

15- Hulu - for allowing me to indulge in my guilty pleasure show :)

16- Naptime. I may not always use it the most wisely but I'm thankful for that small break during my day.

17- Friends. What would life be without them!?!

****It's now the middle of December but I still would like to finish my thankful November post. Hope you don't mind ;)****

18- Being pregnant. Being able to nurture and grow a human is a unique gift & one that I'm so glad I've been blessed with.

19- Crock pots. Thank the Lord we can put food in, set it and leave it alone for hours. And then enjoy yummy food :)

20- Kristy from DBQ DHS. Thank the heavens she's been here to help me sort out this insurance/coverage debacle for this pregnancy. Knowing I'm covered has been a huge weight off my shoulders.

21- Mickey Mouse. He helps me to stay sane a lot of days & both of the kids love him.

22- An understanding husband. I've felt pretty awful all through November with this pregnancy but he's stepped up and done a lot for me, the kids and the house.

23- Christmas trees. Yes, we put our tree up early this year and I love it!

24- Hope Church. We've found a new church home and while we're still 'homesick' for Cornerstone some days it feels good to have a place to call home. It's even better to get to know people and feel connected.

25- Moms Group. What would I do without the lovely ladies of the Purple table?? I'm so glad I've gotten to know them!!

26- Pumpkin Pie. Holy hallelujah I love Pumpkin Pie.

27- Safe travels. To attend most of our family events we have to drive across the state. So far we've had safe travels. I'm hoping it stays that way!

28- Family. There is something very special about family get togethers and something very comforting. I love being able to get together with a group of people that has known me for ages and being able to laugh and have fun together. It's definitely a blessing.

29-Giggles. Who can't love baby giggles?

30-Maternity clothes. Without them I'd be in BIG trouble!!!

So, there you have it. Thankful November. Not necessarily profound but it's what came to me off the top of my head. There are so many more things I could list that I'm thankful for. Perhaps another day or even next year!

June 2010

A quick catch up post of things I can remember off the top of my head!

  • Continue to settle into our new house and unpack ever more boxes. Who knew we had so much STUFF?!? (and where did it all come from?) I'm secretly convinced the boxes were spawning and reproducing on the drive from Ames to Peosta ;)
  • On 6/5 my cousin, Stephanie, was married in Humboldt. Our ENTIRE family was there. It was the first time that had happened in ages so it was really cool to see everyone and catch up. We had a family picture taken as well - crazy how many of us there are now!
  • The day after the wedding some of us had brunch with my grandparents and then checked out Oleson Park Zoo and the splashpad in Fort Dodge. Elliot wasn't so sure about the splashpad business.....
  • Elliot turned two (6/9. We celebrated his actual birthday at home with a special supper of his favorite foods of the moment - mac & cheese, hot dogs, peas, and apples I think. He opened up a few presents from Mommy & Daddy.
  • We had his big birthday bash on June 19 at our house complete with a CARS theme. It was the first time a lot of our family had seen our house. Two of Elliot's little friends came as well - twin sisters Maddy & Kenzie Zylstra & little sister Kyliee. Their mommy is a good friend of mine :) Fortunately it was a beautiful day so we were able to spend a lot of time playing outside.
  • Petey's brother Dan stayed with us for a few days at the end of June before we all headed to Orange City for the 4th of July. He was on a month long vacation and drove all the way out from California. He put his skills to good use and built Elliot's new swing set which was a huge hit! We also introduced him to the Train Game which was another big hit!
  • My aunt & uncle from California were also out here around the same time as Petey's brother. We spent a few days together at my Grandma & Grandpa Haywood's doing all sorts of cool stuff!
  • Carl, Priya & kids were out here around the same time as Dan. Everyone came over to Peosta/Dubuque for a day to see our house & hang out. We checked out the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium which was a lot of fun especially for the kids! Unfortunately a lot of people suddenly got sick that night :/

Monday, October 18, 2010

May 2010

Playing catch up still & still no pictures. I want to get as much done as I can before the children pull me away.

  • Packing, packing and MORE packing.
  • Hadley starts using a sippy cup. Elliot is incredibly jealous of her little pink sippy.
  • The kids decorated pots with their handprints for the grandmas and great grandma's for Mother's Day.
  • We were able to see both of our moms for Mother's Day :)
  • GRADUATION!!!! (5/8/10) The day Petey worked so hard for finally arrived. Mom, Hadley & I sat with Charlie and Linda. I'm so proud of my husband!
  • We had a graduation celebration at a hotel following graduation. Mom's side of the family was there as well as Petey's parents. It was a fun time to sit back, relax, and catch up with everyone. Some of the kids went swimming.
  • Packing, packing and MORE packing.
  • Closed on our house (5/14/10)
  • Painted some of the rooms in our house.
  • Moved into our house! (5/18/10)
  • Cleaned our apartment out in Ames while the kids stayed with Mum-Mum & Papa.

April 2010

Ok....back to blogging business. This will probably be pretty quick and have zero pictures - you'll just have to grin and bear it I guess.

Quick highlights:
  • Hadley started eating some solid food. Well, we tried anyway & it was quite apparent she was NOT eating off a spoon for us. So, we kept life simple and just gave her bottles. Obviously she's survived.
  • As the weather got nicer we got out more. The kids had fun at some parks in Ames.
  • Easter. Cornerstone Church did a fantastic drama. My parents stayed at our place. The kids had a blast opening their Easter baskets & we had a yummy meal. Elliot hunted for eggs outside our apartment.
  • Elliot spent a Valentine's weekend at Mum-Mum & Papa's. They made and decorated sugar cookies, he played with the animals and had a good time.
  • Hadley had her 6 month pictures taken. They turned out fantastic!
  • Elliot is obsessed with putting on hats.
  • We head to Orange City/Sioux Center for Grandma Bidwell's birthday celebration. It was a great time spent hanging out with family.
  • We start to box some of our stuff up. It goes super slowly, I get discouraged, and put it off ;)
  • Petey is extremely busy with school work and trying to get it all done before the end.
  • We discover we can check cameras (nice cameras) out from ISU. I spend a lot of time snapping pictures of the kids. Well, mostly Hadley since she couldn't get away as fast as Elliot.
  • We took graduation picture of Petey & Jess around campus.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

March 2010

March came in like a lion....and stayed that way! Our schedule was pretty packed in March with everything from birthday parties to buying a house. Look out - this may be one loaded post!

The "quick" recap:
-The four of us plus my parents traveled to Sparta, WI to celebrate our Godson Matthew's 1st birthday.
-Hadley had her first experience in a pool. She was not impressed at first but quickly warmed up to it and LOVED it!
-The day after Matthew's party we traveled to Dubuque to look at houses & attend a few open houses. We found one house we absolutely LOVED & put an offer in even though it was way out of our price range. Thankfully that deal fell through leading us to our amazing realtor & the perfect house.
-Elliot got really sick for the first time. The poor little man just layed on the couch and stared :(
-Petey turned 25. Elliot was sick on his b-day but, as a surprise, Alex & Wanda plus Jim, Jen, Val & Kyle came to celebrate with us at Hickory Park a few days later.
-The kids & I made Daddy a dog from Build-A-Bear for his b-day.
-Elliot & Hadley stayed with Mum-Mum & Papa while Petey & I went house hunting over Spring Break.
-Petey & I had 3 days to find a house in the Dubuque area & on the second day we achieved success!! At the beginning of the day our options looked pretty slim - either a house out of our price range or a house that would land us in the middle of a nasty divorce. After a second viewing of each our realtor found "the one". It hasn't been listed yet but a former co-worker knew it would be soon & talked the owners into letting us see it. Ten minutes after we left we'd verbally agreed to a contract & less than two hours later we got our house! Petey & I went out to Red Robin to celebrate :)
-We spent a night at Adventureland Inn with friends Jennifer, Amy & their families. Elliot was excited to see his little girlfriends. It was a blast to hang out together again & Petey was finally able to meet them.
-Hadley had her first taste of baby cereal & a few other solids. She was not impressed & we quickly realized she wouldn't let us feed her off a spoon. We put food on hold for the next few months.
-Petey's workload at school really picked up and he was constantly busy.
-I got my new double stroller & put it together all on my own - I was THAT excited! We love it and I don't know what we would do without it!
-Elliot played in a McDonald's playplace for the first time - he wasn't too sure what to make of it.

In order to save time & have a larger number of pictures available for viewing I'm linking to my March 2010 album on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2046596&id=110901854&l=2470af9111

February 2010

It seems I've been remiss in updating the blog. Really that isn't earth shattering but here I am to continue my re-cap of 2010.

Photos of February will have to wait due to an error on Blogger :/

From what I recall there weren't any HUGE happenings in February but here are a few snippets of what did go on:

-Hadley is 4 months old
-Hadley starts to hold her own bottle once in awhile (this was a short lived phase)
-Elliot insists on having "one for each hand" Meaning...if he has a sippy cup he must have two, if he has a cracker he must have two, etc.
-Elliot made and decorated V-day cookies with Mum-Mum & Papa
-We wait to find out whether Petey will have a full time job with LabStrong when school is over.
-I made my 1st batch of homemade play-dough. Elliot had a blast smearing it all over himself.
-Elliot starts his love affair with hats - putting them on, taking them off, putting them on & repeat.
-We enjoyed watching the Olympics. Elliot especially thought they were awesome!
-Hadley had her first finger painting experience.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

January 2010

Daddy with Elliot and Hadley - he's their favorite :)
Kisses for Sister
My Precious is 3 months old!
This was and is a pretty common scene - isn't his mad face adorable?
Elliot playing Wii Tennis with Daddy
2010?!?!? Holy cow!

A few highlights:
-Celebrated New Years Eve in California with the family. Petey & I spent msot of the day in San Francisco checking out Alcatraz Island. We left on New Years day so it was a very tame celebration - I think most of us were actually asleep at midnight ;)
-Petey starts his final semester at ISU in the concurrent degree program - meaning he was both an undergrad and a grad student
-Petey begins working as a TA (teaching assistant). He also continues his part time work with LabStrong
-Elliot tried a sucker for the first time ;)
-We spent a weekend in Orange City and were able to celebrate Amber & Richard's wedding. (Amber is Petey's cousin)
-Several baby items were retrieved from our storage unit (jumperoo, bumbo, etc.) for Hadley. Elliot decided he still needed them. He can almost always put a smile on your face :)
-Elliot spends some time with Mum-Mum & Papa & Mommy & Daddy get a much needed break. Hadley isn't too demanding at 3 months of age. (3 months?!?!?)
-Elliot shows his skills on Wii Tennis :)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

December 2009

December, as you can imagine, was a crazy busy month. Here are some highlights and a few pictures:

-Elliot is 18 months old
-Hadley is 2 months old
-Elliot & Hadley go to Hilton for the first time - to watch the ISU women's VB team in the NCAA tournament
-Petey finishes up his last fall semester at ISU as an undergraduate
-I stopped pumping milk for Hadley
-Big preparations were made for our trip to California - this may have to be a post of it's own!
-Christmas celebrations with all of our families

Little Miss Hadley getting ready to go out & brave the cold! LOVE her little hat :)

We had some crazy snowstorms and blizzards. ISU actually shut down and gave Petey a day off from classes which was fantastic! This is just one picture - it doesn't show just how terrible it was. We lived in a protected alley too & we still were buried in.Elliot & Hadley hanging out before bed. She isn't much smaller than her big brother!

Been Awhile

Needless to say this blog has been neglected. Several times I've thought about posting an update and I know that I could do it pretty quickly and easily but the sheer amount of things I feel like I need to post about it overwhelms me and I just can't bring myself to sit down and do a half hearted job. Well...no longer. I'M BACK!! :) I feel like I've said that a couple times before so this time I make no promises to be a regular poster - just that I do plan on catching up on the last 6 months. SIX MONTHS?!?!? Holy wow....this may take awhile. Bear with me.

I'm planning on making each month it's own post & jotting down what I can think of off the op of my head. It may not (& probably won't be) everything but hopefully there will be some pictures scattered throughout. First up.......DECEMBER!