Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Let's Talk Names

Oh, baby names. Troy and I had a really, really hard time picking a name for Avery. On saturday mornings, I would get up with a baby book and my computer, and write down 5-10 names and their meanings. I'd eat breakfast, mull over some names, watch a movie, and google some "baby name" lists. I'd spend about 3 hours relaxing and brainstorming. Ahhhhh, weekends before children...

Troy would get up about 3 hours later (I'm an early riser), take 15 seconds to look at my list for the day and veto everything on it. Yep. This went on for about 2 months.

And if you read this entry, then you know how we feel about naming babies. So coming up with a couple names? TOTAL nightmare for us.

But then something happened. Instead of putting so much pressure on ourselves and turning it into a "discussion," we just would mention things in passing that we liked. We'd be watching a movie, reading a book, or driving in the car and someone would say, "hey what do you this about ________ ?" And if it was a no, the moment passed, no feelings hurt, no big deal.

We didn't want to pick names that were overused or on "top baby names of 20__" but we wanted something that was kind of a family name. We had a boy name picked out, but if you read this post, then you know how that turned out. Luckily, we settled on names almost 2 months ago.

Kinley Paige Barnes Caris Faye Barnes.

Kinley is a name we just liked. I initially wanted Kenley, but Troy thought it was too masculine and requested the vowel change. Life is all about compromise, am I right? Paige is his sisters middle name.

If you haven't read Pillars of the Earth or the sequel World Without End, I cannot express in one blog post how amazing these books are. The main female heroine character in the sequel is named Caris (pronounced like Ferris wheel, with a hard "k"). While reading the book, I remember thinking "I've never heard that name before." And then as the book progressed and I admired her loyalty, courage, and thirst for knowledge regarding medicine, I was like, "dude, she's awesome."

We settled on Kinley first actually. As twins, we wanted names that kind of "went together." Either both biblical, started with the same letter, etc. Instead, we ended up settling for having the same hard "k" sound. I suggested Caris to Troy and he was on the fence about it. We were watching a movie on the couch he was like, "eh, let me think about it." About 5 minutes later, I was like, "Don't you think Caris Faye sounds so cute?" Faye is his grandmother's middle name. And he says, "No way. I was thinking THE SAME THING! Done." Kinley and Caris it is.

We also already picked which baby is which. The baby on the bottom (baby A) is Kinley and the baby on the top (baby B) is Caris. Kinley seems more spunky in there and is always kicking and rolling. Caris is more laid back. It might be because she's on top doesn't have the opportunity to dance on my bladder, but for now, that's what we're going with.

How do you guys pick names? If you don't have kids yet, have you had THAT NAME picked out since high school? Did you and your partner fight about names or have them picked out before you found out the sex?

Friday, July 19, 2013

It's a Slow Growing Love

At church the last week, there was a guest speaker and he was speaking on how there are moments in your life that are true "God moments" where you feel him actually touching your life and putting miracles in place. And then other times, looking BACK at your life, it's a slowing growing miracle. Based on your circumstances at the time, the fact that you made it and are ok is a miracle. There are so many people who are disappointed with the path their life has taken, or their job, or their finances, or whatever. But then, when you look back at where you are now and where you came from, you can see that although it may not have been a "God moment" of epic proportions, your LIFE is a miracle and God has been there through every step.

On the way home, Troy asked me what my "big God moments" were in my life and I just sat there. "Uhhh, you go first." Troy said, "well the biggest one was the day Avery was born. I just felt so overwhelmed and overcome with joy. We wanted her for so long." And I just sat there in the car twiddling my thumbs. And then I said it. "The day Avery was born, I felt nothing."

Troy has known for a while, but I'm going to confess to all of you.

It's no secret that Troy and I have had fertility issues. Miscarriages, medications, doctor visits. At one point in our journey to children, having a family seemed like an achievable dream for other people, but not for me. I have always always wanted to be a mom. Ask my siblings or my parents. "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I said "a mom."

The whole time I was pregnant with Avery, I just basked in BEING pregnant. I did it. I was growing a human. I felt amazing. And blessed. And beautiful. And like I was fulfilling my purpose as a woman.

But after a miscarriage and multiple rounds of medications and finally getting pregnant, in the back of my mind, SOMETHING was going to go wrong. My mind was in a downward spiral. It was like, "yay! we're pregnant." And my mind would say, "I'm just going to miscarry." Then, "yay! She's here!" And mind would say, "she's just going to die of SIDS." My mind was desperately trying to protect my heart and make sure I didn't get attached to her because I was so convinced that I wasn't worthy of such a gift.

The day Avery was born was a total blur. They broke my water and started my pitocin drip at 9am. No epidural and at 11:07 (that's right, 2cm to 10cm in less than 2 hours...I almost died) Avery was born. Troy immediately started bawling. My mom immediately started bawling. And all I could think was, "dude, where's lunch? This is serious. Get a menu." I was starving. Isn't that awful?

I said all the right things and posed for all the pictures, but in my mind, I kept thinking, this can't be my life. I can't believe we finally did this. It was surreal. We had a baby. What's going to go wrong now? For 6 months, I waited. I waited for something to go wrong. I waited for her to die. I waited for Troy to be paralyzed in a horrible car accident. I kept anticipating something bad. And living on the edge of my seat.

But everything was fine. She was perfect.

Now I don't want anyone to think I had postpartum depression. I definitely did not. I think I was traumatized from such a deep desire for having children and then miscarrying while Troy was deployed. I just kept thinking that it was never going to happen, and then when it did, all my body wanted to do was protect itself from feeling that pain ever again. If I felt that bad from losing a pregnancy, how much worse would it be when I lost an ACTUAL baby? So instead, I built a wall around myself from Avery, so she couldn't hurt me when she died. Maybe I wasn't supposed to be a Mom. Maybe we were too aggressive with fertility medications. If God wanted me to be a mom, wouldn't he have given me the ability to do it naturally? Is he going to take her from me?

I look at her now and I cannot believe how many snuggles and late night feedings I spent just looking at her feeling detached and not letting myself love her. She is such a joy and so smart. I look at her face and I cannot believe the little parts of Troy or myself that I see in her. It's SUCH a miracle. My love for her was a slow growing miracle. I didn't have a "God moment" when she was born. I hate that I missed out on 6 months of love, but the feeling of it slowly washing over me has been more than I could have hoped for. It snuck up on me with no loud announcement or warning. God made no mistake. Troy and I are the perfect parents for Avery and we had to do the sowing before the harvest. Put in the work to get the prize.

I say this now because so many horrible things have happened this pregnancy. And now it seems that everything might actually be okay. I really hope that I feel that "instant love" and connection that so many people talk about. Cause I totally missed out the first time around. Knowing that this is MOST LIKELY my last pregnancy, I don't want to miss out on baby snuggles or take them for granted. I want to be excited to get up and nurse in the middle of the night because I'll know it's just mommy/baby time. I just want to feel SOMETHING other than pure fear and impending doom.

With Avery's sweet personality and attitude, it's so easy to love her. To think that I am growing 2 MORE people who will have different personalities and attitudes, it's a miracle. To think that one day, not too long from now, Troy and I will start nurturing 2 more little miracles that will one day talk to us, and have opinions, and give us hugs and butterfly kisses fills my heart with so much joy. I just hope that my mind and fear don't try and rob me of the joy of their infancy.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Pregnancy 1 and Pregnancy 2 - What's the Difference?

I had my "halfway" mark BIG ultrasound yesterday. CRAZY. I can't believe I'm more than 20 weeks. The ultrasound went awesome and there was a pediatric cardiology perinatologist there. That's a mouthful, huh? The babies hearts are perfect. The specialist and the ultrasound tech said that everything in my ultrasound was textbook perfect. Finally some good news :)

It's so easy to forget you're growing people when you just feel like you're getting huge. Then you have an ultrasound like that and it slaps you in the face that you're GROWING HUMAN BEINGS! And they're perfect!

But I have noticed some huge differences this time around as far and how I feel and work and clothes and food and weight, etc.

1. I am huge. There is no way around it. When I was 20 weeks with Avery, I was still in my regular clothes. This time, I have been in maternity clothes since about 12 weeks. Troy keeps joking that I am only a single family home right now but by the end I'll be a child care center...yay! This is me at 20 weeks with Avery:

And me at 20 weeks with the twins:

Big difference, huh?

2. I am SO much more concerned about my weight than I was with Avery. And I shouldn't be because this time I'm growing 2 people, not just one. With Avery, I gained a total of 31 pounds and was back in my pre-pregnancy clothes after about a month. I asked my doctor how much weight I should be shooting to gain and this is what he said: "It's always you skinny people who care about your weight. I don't want you to think about it. Eat when you want, sit when you want, do what you want. If you get OVER 200 pounds, we will have a talk." For the record, if I get over 200 pounds, I will have gained 54 pounds. So far I'm up 21. 1 pound per week thus far. It's just a SCARY amount of weight to me in total. Troy is constantly trying to get me to eat more, drink more, sit more. It's really hard. He was not this annoying with Avery.

3. Speaking of annoying, I am MUCH more irritable. My patience is SO thin. This may also be related to the fact that my "hunger timing" is really quick. As in, if I get hungry, STAY OUT OF THE WAY and feed me. I get "hangry." Hungry-angry. It was not that bad with Avery. In addition, if you know Troy, you know that he likes to give me a hard time, be a jokester, and is generally an easy going guy. I do not have patience for his little word games and teasing. I will kill you.

4. Dude. Being pregnant and having a toddler is no joke. With Avery, if I needed a nap, I took one. If I needed second breakfast or second lunch or second dinner, no big deal. I got time. I can run out and grab something. Now, it's like, my needs have to wait. Going to work is SO much easier than being home. All my coworkers and the rehab techs are so quick to help with heavy transfers or dependent showers. At home, I'm up and down off the floor, lifting her in and out of the carseat, on and off the toilet, bending down to pick up toys or other messes, moving laundry, etc. And Troy is at work, so I'm alone. Seriously. All of you moms who have multiple kids and are pregnant, you are my heroes. It is seriously hard.

5. ROUND LIGAMENT PAIN. Holy guacamole. I had NONE with Avery. Speaking of which, I had NO pain with Avery. Ever. Anyone who knew me when I was pregnant with Avery knew that it didn't slow me down, I never complained. It was just a phase to get a baby. I was like, "meh, what's the big deal? This pregnancy thing is EASY! I could do it a hundred more times." This time, the round ligament pain is absolutely CRIPPLING. And there is nothing I can do about it. My hips kill. The steps in our house SUCK. Hard. The good news is, I'm still sleeping awesome. WIN!

6. I had zero nausea with Avery. I had some food aversions, but nothing that made my stomach roll. I was lucky again. No barfing. But in my first trimester, I seriously could NOT eat, smell, or be around meat. Especially chicken. The shreddy texture of it was disgusting. And I normally LOVE fresh spinach. Yeah, right. GROSS. It just seemed mushy and smelled dirty. All I wanted in my first trimester was french fries and a double cheeseburger from McDonald's. Truth. I'm over it now. I can eat whatever and am a pretty low maintenance eater.

7. CLOTHES! With Avery, I worked full time and borrowed almost all of the clothes I wore. I wore a lot of Troy's clothes (I had to wear collared shirts to work and wore his polos) and only wore fun clothes on weekends. Maybe. Ok, just to church. Otherwise I just wore Troy's t-shirts and work out shorts. I am only working about 20-24 hours a week right now. With more down time and going out with Avery, that means I have to get dressed. I guess. So this time I have bought a LOT more clothes. I am also pregnant in Las Vegas in the summer. Which means buying more shorts and tank tops. Old Navy maternity clearance is my friend. Getting dressed is a lot more fun this time around. I bought a pair of maternity overalls. They're AWESOME. Unfortunately, I bought all the same sizes that I wore with Avery. They fit now...buuuuut give it about 6 weeks. We'll see what happens then. I just hope that I don't wind up like a beached whale, naked in my bed, wrapped in only a sheet because none of my clothes fit. Seriously, I have nightmares about it.

So far, those are the big things I've noticed. I'm sure there will be more. Talk to you all very soon :)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Troy and Avery's After Bath Routine

Avery LOOOOVES bath time. And I'm convinced it's because she looks forward to this:

So thank you Aunt Kathy for the homemade kids towel...without which these nightly giggles would not be possible.

PS Please make 2 more. Please and Thank you.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Independence Day Festivities 2013

As a side note, there are some fires in the mountains pretty close to our house and they were raging huge on the 4th. I took this picture from the exit ramp on the way home. You can really see the smoke funneling up there in this photo. So pray for all the families who have evacuated Mt. Charleston and the firefighters up there.

On the 4th of July this year, both Troy and I had to work, so we didn't get home until about 530pm. I raced over to Carolyn's (our nanny) to pick up Avery and Troy got some BBQ stuff together. We are blessed with a wonderful small group from church that we have spent the last few holidays with. All of us are not Las Vegas natives and don't have family around, so we spend holidays cute are we?

For Easter, we had a potluck at our house. On Memorial day, we went BBQ'd at another couple's house and for the 4th we had another HUGE potluck with everyone at another couple's home in our neighborhood. It was a BBQ and everyone brought some meat and a side and we all kinda shared when everything was done.

I was the most impressed with the desserts, which the hosts provided. HOLY COW they were awesome. There was a Chips A'Hoy lasagna thing with layers of chocolate chips cookies dipped in chocolate milk and layered with Cool Whip and chocolate sauce. I died. It was awesome. There were brownies, fruit salad, and cupcakes where you could pick your icing of choice. There were a couple preggos there, so be assured, there were some seriously happy fetuses. And children.

After eating, we headed outside for some kid friendly fireworks. There were these things called "Pop its" that you throw at the ground and they make a cracking noise. Avery preferred to step on them. Poor girl seems to have gotten her coordination from her momma, so aiming and stepping at the same time was not easy for her...

The second she stepped on one, she would go chasing after Troy, who was holding her box, saying "more please, more please, more please" and making her best begging face. I mean, who could say no to that?

She loved it and went around stomping on the wrappers of ones that were already popped. She was actually pretty good at spotting ones that had been thrown, but didn't pop, so she sure showed us! Cackling the whole time. Love her.

No "in the air" fireworks were allowed. Hunter had bought a package of permitted ground fireworks for our viewing enjoyment :) The kids loved it! Avery kept wanting to run up to them... between Troy grabbing her shirt and the other kids holding her hands, we kept everyone safe. As of right now, Avery is the youngest child in the small group...but that will change soon because 3 of the 6 of us are preggo. Something in the water, huh?

As you can see, Noah kept trying to hold Avery's hand, but she would rip her hand away to get closer to the sparks...eeek! But look how cute all the kids are!

Here's a front shot of the kiddos all being sweet to each other. And Avery standing in the back, protected from running up to the fireworks.

We eventually pulled her into Troy's lap, which made them both very happy :) Even though after every firework, she would jump up and clap and say "AWESOME!!" Her Dad taught her that...he was so proud.

After the fireworks were over, everyone headed over to a neighborhood park for an HOA sponsored Independence Day celebration. I went home. I had to be at work seeing my first patient at 630am. Yuck. Too bad I forgot it was the 4th of July and apparently fireworks are involved. ALL AROUND MY HOUSE. So even though I had good intentions to go to bed early, it didn't really work out in my favor because people were celebrating. But that's okay, I got some good snuggle time with Optimus because he is terrified of fireworks. And Avery slept until about 945 the next morning.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday! Anyone else do anything fun?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Upgrading Builder Grade Items

When Avery came home, my stepdad flew with her. That brave soul. Thank goodness for direct flights, eh?

We were giving him a tour of the house when he got here and I started mentioning things that I wanted to do/change/upgrade and he pretty much decided to take lead on that while he was here visiting for a week.

First, we got some hardware for the kitchen cabinets. I cannot say how much I have been bugging Troy to do this. I probably said something about it once a week for 6 months. I think that could fall in the nagging category...

Here is what they looked like before:

They're pretty and all, but just looked super unfinished. And my baking cabinet always had flour/oil/greasiness on the door from grabbing the edge of door rather some hardware.

Troy and I headed to Lowe's to pick some out and settled on some brushed silver handles. We picked out another set initially, but when they told us they'd have to special order them because we needed 45 of them, we were like "um, well what do you have in stock?" The special order would take 9-10 days and my stepdad was not going to stay that long to give us a good kick in the rear and get it done. So we picked something that we could take home that day.

SO MUCH BETTER! The kitchen feels SO much more finished and after having them in for 2 weeks, I don't know how we lived without them for almost a year. Seriously, it changed my life. So much less cleaning and wiping down of cabinets. Those dark cabinets would leave wicked handprints on them. With the brushed metal, you don't see any fingerprints. YES.

They made an easy, breezy template for installation and to do all 45 handles, and it only took about an hour.

The other big upgrade made was the light fixture in our downstairs full bathroom. It was seriously gross because I always wanted to dust the bulbs. You could see every speck of dust on them. I have hated it since we moved in. I don't like the exposed lightbulbs and hope to upgrade the other 2 bathrooms very soon. It makes the room feel so much more homey and nice.

I didn't take a picture of the actual fixture, but here's the picture of the twin in Avery's bathroom upstairs. It makes me cringe. Seriously.

I LOVE the new one. It was designed where you pick out the globes that you want for the fixture. We already had extra globes in our garage from another project (the chandelier in the dining room) so we saved money there :)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Adding a Bedroom (and Property Value) to Our House!

If you remember back about a year, I shared this post about buying our house. We bought a new house and are the first home owners/occupants. However, we bought standing stock because we weren't willing to wait 3-4 months for the house to be built. The downside to that choice was we didn't really get to pick any of the fixtures/options/paint etc.

The people who "built" our house backed out of the house at closing and that's how we came to see the house. That couple had picked all of the options for the home. One of the upgrade options on the blueprints (you can see below) was turning "bedroom 2" right off the Master's suite into a "Master retreat." They chose to do that. Troy and I knew buying the house that that was wasted square footage for us. We are not people who hang out in our room. Ever. We don't have a TV in there. We don't want a home gym (gross) and neither of us work out from home. We have a loft upstairs for another hang out area/TV area, so this master suite was literally a room that we never went in. Optimus used it the most because he slept in a chair we had in the corner.

We began talking soon after moving in about what situation our family would be in to wall that room in again. Having more kids was one of those options. Our guest room is downstairs and living in Vegas, we knew we would have lots of visitors (and we have). It was important to us to keep our kids/noise away from guests and we didn't want them to share a bathroom with kids toys, diapers, and toddler pottys in them. So we knew that if we were going to have 3+ kids, we definitely wanted to wall in the room.

Some people would LOVE this space as a master retreat. We just don't need it. We are definitely living room couch loungers. As far as resale/rental potential down the road, most people that we know have 2+ kids and we know a few families (HI BRIE) who might be moving here and want to rent a house with lots of bedrooms. So we're hoping that having 5 bedrooms makes that a selling point for the house as a resale or rental.

Which brings me to the next point. We are having twin girls. Yes, they are sharing a room. At least for a while. The other bedroom in the blueprint (bedroom 3 in the corner) we are reserving for a future Aupair/guest room. We have a credit at a furniture store and in the next few weeks, we are going and getting unstackable bunk beds for the twins in the future, but for now, those can be used for a nanny or as a guest room. Aunt Kathy...we are doing this while you are here. YAY furniture shopping!

We wanted the twins near us and far from Avery (she has the room over the garage) for noise purposes. So the girls are getting the new room right next to us.

Here is the before view of the room, from our bedroom into the "retreat":

Here is after the wall went up:

And this is as the room is now:

If you stand on the other side of the wall, in the new space, this is what you see. You are looking at the new closet:

Standing where the closet is and looking back towards our room, here is the before:

And this is with the wall up. We are starting to get stuff moved in there and out of Avery's closet. It's a bit of a mess. But you get the general idea. We are sticking with the Eric Carle theme of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" like Avery's nursery. We really loved it and it's gender neutral. The wall stickers have made it through 3 different rooms now and are still plenty sticky. Definitely worth the money :)

Here is the before angle looking from the window to where the new doorway went in:

And after with the new door:

And here is the before picture from out in the hallway where the door went in:

And here is the after:

We are really happy that we decided to put the wall up and the doorway in. If we had the option to build our house instead of buying standing stock, this is what we would have picked anyway, so I'm glad we went ahead and changed it. And it's nice to start nest a little bit for the girls :)

We still have a little furniture rearranging to do. We ended up getting rid of Avery's crib because it was a drop arm (and she's a climber) and it didn't convert to a toddler bed either. We wanted something for the 2 girls that was would be 1) safer and 2) have a longer lifespan of use for them. When we get the cribs we will be doing a little furniture jenga in there to figure out the best arrangement for a dresser, 2 cribs, a glider, and a bookshelf. When everything lands in it's final spot, I'll get you guys an update.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Avery is Home and We are Loving Life

Woooweee it's been a while since I posted. Sorry about that.

Avery came home on June 19th and we were very very excited. Troy was on midnight shift the day that she came home. He had worked from midnight to 8 and got home around 930, with intentions to sleep for a few hours before we picked up Avery and my stepdad from the airport. But then my brother called (he was on TDY to Nellis for a deployment training) and asked if we could go to lunch. And Troy was too excited to sleep. So to help pass the time until reunion time, we spent a few hours with Tyler.

Then it was time to go to the airport. Troy made Avery a sign. Yes. Troy did. I had nothing to do with this. At all. I think that other people thought that we were welcoming home a deployed soldier or something. Nope, just our 2 year old. And there is Tyler photobombing. Typical. And Troy's eyes are a little scary. Sorry about the poor quality iphone photos.

This is my first hug with Avery. She came down the escalator sitting between my stepdad's legs on one of the steps. She stood up right at the bottom and jumped into my arms, IMMEDIATELY talking and talking and talking. About what? I'm not really sure. Just long winded babbling with an understandable word every 15 words or so.

We took a family picture in baggage claim too. Troy insisted her sign be included.

We have been spending lots of time at the pool. Sometimes at the YMCA (it's a little crowded there some days), some days we went to our youth pastors house who has a pool, and another day we went to my friend's neighborhood pool (MUCH less crowded). Avery has one of those puddle jumper life vests and is getting more confident in the water. We've been reading a lot and Troy and Avery do puzzles a lot. We've had a couple play dates and I don't think Avery remembers her friends initially, but seems to warm up to people quickly, so yay!

Troy took a bunch of leave when Avery came home and he got to spend almost 2 weeks home with her, which was amazing. I worked for about half of that. Speaking of which, I worked a 40 hour work week last week. It's the FIRST TIME I've done that since before Avery was born. I was feeling pretty awesome about it. Troy was making me go to bed at 830 every night, which was annoying at the time, but a good choice.

I'm glad Avery decided not to squirt her mom, holding the iphone...

Avery has been GREAT in her big girl bed. She hasn't gotten out once. She goes right to bed at night and sits in bed yelling for us in the morning until we come get her. A couple people have asked how the edge of the bed "noodle technique" is working and so far, so good. She hasn't rolled out of bed in the middle of the night. My only complaint is the the noodle will slide off the edge and get caught in the elastic of the fitted sheet so you have to push it back up onto the edge of the mattress. But other than that, it seems to work well and is certainly cheaper than buying a rail. Win-win.

Seriously, I just want to watch her sleep stalker style. She's just so cute.