Thursday, November 20, 2014

Avery's Art: Port-A-Potty or Bear?

Oh my word. I haven't blogged in AGES. But this was too good not to share. I get to brag on my big girl's art work and share a funny conversation between Troy and me? WINNING!

Avery has been going to school on tuesdays and thursdays all day and she absolutely loves it. She is quite a talented artist, loves to color and paint, bringing home all kinds of projects every day that she has done at school.

Last week, she brought home a picture that was AWESOME. I knew what it was immediately. Her teachers always label her pictures, but this one didn't need it. Or so I thought.

I thought her picture was so awesome, it deserved the center spot on the refrigerator.

Troy came home from work and started unpacking his lunchbox (tupperware in the sink, uneaten items back in the fridge for another day) while I was getting dinner started.

I noticed him staring at her picture on the fridge.

Like, intensely staring.

I got all excited.

Natalie: "Troy, isn't her picture great?!?!"

Troy: "Um, I guess so. I'm not sure it should be on the fridge though."

Natalie: "What? What do you mean?"

Troy: "Well, it's a little awkward."

Natalie: "What are you talking about? It's a perfect bear!"

Troy: "Well, I hate to say this, but the only thing I see when I look at it, is what you see when you use a port-a-potty."

Natalie: "WHAT?"

Troy: "You know. When you look down the hole and there's just a giant pile of poop at the bottom of a dark hole."

Natalie: "Are you kidding me right now? You are looking at a perfect bear and all you see is poop?"

Troy: "SORRY! It's just unappetizing to look at right when I am opening the fridge to eat and all I can see is poop."

Natalie: "You are awful. You tell Avery how amazing her picture is right now."

Troy: (gives Avery a big throw up in the air hug) "AVERY!!! I love your picture! That is the best bear I have ever seen!!

Avery: "HE'S IN A CAVE"

Troy: "I KNOW! It's called a port-a-potty cave!!!"

Natalie: "TROY STOP"

I guess that's the difference between moms and dads. But here is her picture. It's great right? I've probably ruined it because I told you it's a giant pile of poop. Sorry about that.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Selective Reduction Procedure in Detail

When Dr. Adashek informed us that one of our triplets had anencephaly, Troy and I were devastated. I also had a horrible subchorionic hemorrhage that we found out was a result of that baby's placenta not being properly attached on my uterine wall.

If you need to catch up on our appointments and diagnosis before reading this (or a refresher on the order of events), you should. Our doctor explained all the risks or carrying the 3 babies vs. the risks of the procedure and he strongly recommended the reduction.


Triplet Update

Anencephaly and Subchorionic Hemorrhage

Waiting out the Hemorrhage

Doctor Update

Meeting with Doc about the Risks of Selective Reduction
This is the important one.

After we met with Dr. Adashek, he had set up for us to be his last patient of the day and our appointment was at 430pm. I remember feeling this overall sense of doom while we waited about an hour to be seen. You know how ob/gyns can be. Seriously, always running late. I had this horrible ache in my stomach and I was going back and forth between my heart rate skyrocketing and my respiratory rate racing.

They called us back into their largest room. Seriously big.

It started off with Troy, me, an ultrasound tech and an ultrasound tech student to observe. They did another ultrasound to confirm the bony prominences as markers for anencephaly and to measure the size of the hemorrhage behind the baby's placenta to make sure that it was stable (aka still there but the same size).

I was laying on an exam table and they pulled out a plank (it had the stirrups but they were tucked in) so that my head was at about 30 degrees up and my legs were straight out like a recliner.

After that was done, a nurse came in and stuck me for an IV and then Dr. Adashek stumbled in (he'd hurt himself in a soccer game).

He gave me a hug and then asked me, "What kind of drunk are you?"

I was like, "What?"

And he said, "When you and Troy go out for dinner and you get drinks, do you feel buzzed after 1 drink or after 3 or 4?"

And I was like, "somewhere between 2 and 3 drinks and I'm pretty set."

So then they shoot up my IV with some kind of sedative to make me relax. After about 2 minutes, I was like, "Woah, buddy. I'm a cheap drunk. I feel realllllllllly loopy."

And he was like, "Oh great!"

The way the room was set up, you could watch what the ultrasound tech was doing on a big flat screen TV on the wall. I immediately asked them to turn it off because I was watching my poor little baby squirm on the screen and I didn't want to watch her stop moving.

The people in the room during the procedure were me, Troy, the ultrasound tech, the student, Dr. Adashek, a nurse watching my vitals (blood pressure, respiration rate, heart rate, and oxygen sats) and also running my IV, and one other nurse who held my hand. Troy was standing behind my head. I had my right hand up over my head and my left elbow was bent with my hand resting next to my face so my belly was exposed. Troy was holding my right hand over my head and the extra nurse (basically there for emotional support) was standing by my left shoulder holding my left hand by my face. The ultrasound machine was directly to my right and Dr. Adashek was standing by my left hip.

The first thing they did was use a small needle with a local anesthetic to numb the entrance point for a bigger needle right above my belly button. Honestly, that hurt the most of the whole procedure. At this point, I pretty much kept my eyes and mouth closed during the rest of the procedure. A miracle for me, I know.

He told me what he was doing at every point so I didn't feel a need to ask any questions or watch. The tech kept the ultrasound on my stomach the whole time to see what they were doing with screen facing completely away from me and towards my feet.

The tech and Dr. debated for a few minutes the best place to aim the needle to avoid puncturing another baby, another placenta, the hemorrhage and how to most easily get the needle to the baby.

He inserted a long needle into my belly and put the needle into the baby's heart. I remember he commented that this would be a relatively "easy" procedure because there was no abdominal fat to penetrate before getting to my uterus. Once they agreed that the needle was in the proper spot, he injected potassium chloride into the baby's heart to make it stop beating. I remember him saying, "I'm going to inject the medication now" and he kept jerking the needle around in tiny intentional movements...pretty forcefully while pushing down the plunger. It was kind of akward for me. I'm not sure how accurate they are able to get with aiming the needle directly into the heart with screen imaging, so I think he was jerking the needle around to make sure the potassium chloride was distributed to where it needed to be INSIDE the heart and not just into the heart wall or something.

I remember that I had asked him if he'd ever done a reduction that didn't work and the baby survived afterwards. He told me that it does happen if they don't wait long enough (5+ min after the medication is inserted) to make sure the heart doesn't start beating again but that it has never happened to him personally.

This part was the WORST part of the whole procedure. We all waited for 5 minutes. The nurse was stroking my hair back and Troy would occasionally squeeze my right hand. The tech, student and Dr. Adashek were all staring at the screen but making small talk. I remember being SO annoyed and pissed off during those 5 "waiting minutes."

A lethal injection was just put into my baby for it to die and everyone was talking about Dr. Adashek's private plane that he owns and the process to get his license and he told us a story about having a bit of a hard landing one time. It seemed like such petty, trivial conversation considering what had just transpired. I know they were passing time and trying to be nice but GOOD GOD. And Troy was chatting with him like it was nothing that we were waiting to making sure the baby didn't "come back to life."

Seriously. Longest 5 minutes of my life.

The clock finally passed 5 minutes and he was like, "Let's wait 2 more minutes."

I was dying inside.

Then he pulled the needle out of my belly and started telling me what to expect for the next few days. The actual procedure has the same risks of miscarriage as doing an amniocentesis, which people do ALL THE TIME. So that made me feel a little better that we weren't going to lose the whole pregnancy. Which I was terrified was going to happen. He said that a majority of people lose a pregnancy after a reduction or amnio as a result of infection from the insertion site of the needle, but he was very clean. The odds of losing the whole pregnancy were about 1 in 300. They wanted me to stick around for about 30 minutes after the procedure to make sure I was okay.

They answered all of my crazy questions. The baby that the reduction was performed on was located under my stomach on my upper left side. They said the procedure would have been more risky if it was the one on the bottom, right by my cervix because a cervix can be unpredictable during a reduction and it could start dilating if it recognizes that a fetus has died.

Since I had the reduction at 16 weeks gestation and the baby's bones were still the density of cartilage, as the other 2 babies grew bigger and stronger, they would essentially just grow into the space that the other baby had occupied. The baby would get (for lack of a better word) smooshed into the wall of my uterus as the other babies grew because it's bones weren't fully formed. After delivery of the babies, the baby and it's placenta would be delivered as "afterbirth materials" along with the other 2 placentas and put in bags as bio-material.

So when I wrote the story of Kinley and Caris's delivery and I talked about how long and hard they massaged my belly, it was because I told Dr. Adashek, "You better make sure that you get EVERYTHING out of there. If I'm doing delivery recovery and going pee and 'baby material' comes out on one of those maternity diapers, I'm going to be scarred for life." I was terrified that a teeny baby arm was going to come out after the babies were born. I literally had nightmares about it. Right before I started pushing Kinley out, I was like, "You are absolutely positive that nothing resembling a dead baby is going to come out right now? You promise me. Right now." And he was like, "I promise you. That baby we did the reduction on has turned into an unrecognizable blood clot. Do not worry about that. Now let's deliver your twins. Push."

We got home about 7pm and my friend Katie brought us a chicken macaroni and cheese casserole for dinner.

A piece of good news was also confirmed by doing the reduction. The horrible, scary bleed stopped almost immediately. By doing the reduction, Dr. Adashek proved his theory that the baby's placenta wasn't all the way attached to the uterus and that was the source of the heavy bleeding. Once the connection between the placenta and wall of the placenta wasn't needed anymore, the placenta detached that the blood vessel connections stopped bleeding. Within 2 weeks I was passing the clots from the bleed and it was completely over and they could barely pick it up on the ultrasound within a month.

My sister flew in the next day to keep me company on the couch because I was on strict orders to drink TONS of water and lay around for about a week. The strange thing is, I started feeling the babies move like THE DAY AFTER the reduction. It was like Kinley and Caris KNEW I was upset and they were trying to be like, "We're still here mom. It's going to be okay now."

Monday, May 12, 2014

You Googled What?

So, I have some running stats on the home page of the blog where I do all the behind the scenes and design stuff. Trust me, the blog that you see does NOT look that way when I write it.

I have a place where there are running stats on the blog. Like how many hits per day, the post with the highest number of hits, the countries that people are located in while reading the blog, and what operating system they use (windows, a mobile device, etc).

There is also a part that tells me what keyword/phrase they typed into Google/Bing/Yahoo to find the blog. There are some interesting ones. That make me laugh really hard. Some are super inappropriate. Some are useful.

Mostly, the things that come up make me realize the WEIRD things that people google.

1. Where is my ovary?

This is clearly an image search. With a REALLY high ranking on google images.

2. What is hormonal mess?

Me. Obviously.

3. How can I help my hormonal teenager daughter?

Great. I'm giving parenting advice to parents of teenagers. And I don't have any. This may be a little premature, all of you Googlers out there. Hit me back in 10 years. Hopefully never.

4. Dog balding with little black spots

That is related to Optimus's episode of alopecia. Poor guy.

5. Elective reduction risks

The is my MOST popular search word. The second is severe ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. Google image that my friends. I am pasted all up over that.

6. Purple sock vag

No comment. When did I ever talk about vaginas. And purple socks. People are freaks.

7. Nose pinch


8. Alien mucus

This is from when the babies were sick and blowing big snot bubbles the size of their heads.

9. Big hip bald ass

What the what? Again. There's some freaks out there.

10. Boobs without cloths

The had to be a pre-teen who didn't know how to type "naked chicks." Or spell "clothes."

Sunday, May 11, 2014

My Mom is Better than Your Mom

That's a pretty bold statement, but I feel pretty good about it.

Here's a list of reasons why.

1. She has the best fingernails ever. She tickles me when I flop down on top of her on the couch. Not like "haha," but so that I get goosebumps while she plays with my hair.

2. She cleans my house better than I do. Whenever she comes to visit, she cleans all the spots that I don't want to/think to clean. Like my baseboards. Or the inside of my washing machine. And she makes my bed everyday when she comes to visit. Cause you know, we gotta keep the spiders out of the bed.

3. She's a little crazy. But it's about good stuff. For example, she's on the organic cleaning materials thing right now and she's washing everything (laundry, dishwasher, mopping, bathrooms, dusting) with soapnuts. Seriously. It's a nut that you boil and it releases this oil into the water to make an all natural soap.

4. She gives me good book recommendations. I don't know many moms who will recommend Pure Romance or 50 Shades of Grey. Which brings me to the next point.

5. She lets me hack her amazon account whenever I want and download her purchased kindle books for enough reading material for 6 months. That's like $200 of free reading every 6 months. Score.

6. She sends me funny "pins" on pinterest when I'm having a bad day. She just gets me.

7. She loves my babies. I cannot tell you how much it means to me that she adores my Avery so much. There is nothing like watching your parents be better, more patient, more fun grandparents than they EVER were as parents. Seriously.

8. She tries so hard to eat healthy and watch her weight, but whenever she comes to visit, she makes all my favorite childhood meals that are full of cheese, carbs and butter. Yum.

9. She has been to visit 6 times in the 1.5 years we have lived in Vegas. 3 of those trips were completely unplanned and she bought her ticket DAY OF because I was having medical/emotional issues and I just needed my mom. Even though I live thousands of miles away, she still comes when I need her.

10. She lets me steal her stuff. And doesn't even argue. Shoes, clothes, jewelry, coffee cups. I just cram stuff into my bags when I visit. I haven't had the opportunity to in a while cause I haven't been home, but I'll be there in about 2 months. So hide yo' stuff momma. Sticky fingers is coming home!

11. Her hugs are the best. She really hugs you. And not just me. Strangers have told her she hugs the best. She really hugs you and she rubs your back and scratches while she rubs. None of that ass out/one arm/side hug crap.

12. She tells me when I need to take some time for myself. Read this as: She tells me when I look like crap. She tells me to go get my hair cut. Or replace my make up. Or exercise. HAHA let's be real...I just eat better and try to pump more.

13. She's not big on all. But for some reason, Valentine's Day is a HUGE deal to her. She has to make sure we know how loved we are. She always sends cards and candy and house seasonal decor. Cause I have an addiction to seasonal decor that she doesn't really understand, but she totally supports my addiction. That's what friends do. This is her Valentine's Day tree. She decided that she didn't want to put away her tree and decorated it for Valentine's Day.

14. She tells me when I'm being a baby. Or a bitch. Or to go eat something. Or being a crabby pants. Cause sometimes you need someone to tell you to suck it up, pocket the attitude, and push through. But she does let me vent to her first.

15. She's my bestest friend. I literally call her everyday. More than once. Sometimes just to tell her that I broke a fingernail and I'm annoyed. And if she doesn't pick up and I know she's home, I leave really really long annoying messages on their 5+ minutes. And instead of listening to them all the way through, she calls me back so she can hear my story first hand and interrupt to ask for more details.

I can't imagine my life without her. Happy Mother's Day.

Try and top that list. TRY!!! You can't. Cause my mom is more awesomer than your mom.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

One Year Ago

Exactly 1 year ago at my 12 week appointment, we found out that one of our triplets had anencephaly.

When I think back over the past year and everything we went through with the subchorionic hemorrhage, cerclage, and the bed rest, I think about how different life would be now if that baby hadn't had a terminal birth defect.

One thing Troy and I have kept to ourselves is that the precious baby we lost was a girl. That's right. 3 girls. We would have had 4 girls had everything been alright at our 12 week ultrasound.

A part of me feels sadness for the life that never was because of her neurological condition. But on the other hand, I'm so grateful that our twins are here safe and sound without any neurological or respiratory conditions, which would have been a high possibility with all 3. It feels like such a catch 22.

Kinley was in the NICU for 4 days and Caris was there for 7. It would have been so much longer and so much scarier had I decided to carry all 3 babies as long as my body would allow, which probably wouldn't have been long since I went into preterm labor at 25 weeks. And I would have had to deal with the death of child after its birth and 2 very sick babies.

Looking back, I don't regret our decision to have the reduction, but I can't help but think about how our lives would be now had she been healthy.

If you read my blog post last year about our decision to have the selective reduction, you know that I was on the fence about blogging about it. Well, it's been a year and I finally wrote it. I still get questions about the procedure, how it works, if it hurt, what happened to the baby, etc and I finally wrote about it now. I'll be posting that this week, so if you want to read it, great, if not, you can pass that one by.

I got some interesting messages/backlash about the decision to have the reduction. There were many people who didn't agree with our decision and we lost some friends over it. I understand that this is a sensitive and controversial topic, so please just pass it by if it is something you don't agree with. I hope that by writing it, someone will benefit from the information or make an informed decision about their health based on this blog.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Anecdotes with Avery

I thought I'd start a series about funny conversations with Avery. She's hilarious and makes us laugh everyday. I thought we could share the joy!

The other night I am tucking Avery into bed:

Me: You are SO silly!

Avery: NO, I'm Avery Barnes!

Me: You're right. Am I Mommy Barnes?

Avery: No, you're Natalie Barnes!

Me: (laughing) Is Daddy Daddy Barnes?

Avery: NO! That's Troy Barnes!

We were making homemade cookies yesterday:


Me: Oh no, what happened?

Avery: I licked the spoon. I'm sorry.

Me: Why did you lick the spoon? Was it an accident?

Avery: I put it in my mouth. It's yummy in my tummy.

Me: I think we need to learn the difference between an accident and on purpose.

Avery: Yeah. It was good.

Me: I know.

Every night we say the EXACT same dinner prayer and let Avery fill in 3 things that she is thankful for. Normally she says baby Caris, baby Kinley, Optimus, fruits, or candies. It's 3 of those 5 things in various orders. 2 nights ago she said this:

Dear God, thank you for a pretty day. Thank you for Jesus, Cinderella, and Jasmine. In Jesus' name we pray, AMEN!

She opened her eyes and looked at us and Troy and I almost started crying. It was SO unexpected and amazing. I mean, she put Jesus in the same category as 2 Disney Princesses, but she also didn't say any of the 5 things that she normally says.

I looked at Troy and we both had watery eyes. Baby girl thanked God for Jesus. We talked about it later and I was like, "I heard her say 'Dear God, thank you for sending Jesus to die on the cross for me.'" Now, I know that's not what she actually said, but that's what I heard. And my heart was singing.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Snot Faced Kids

I was beyond blessed with Avery. She literally NEVER gets sick. She has been sick ONE TIME since she was born and it was a wicked bad cold and cough the week we brought the twins home and she was quarantined to the upstairs loft so she didn't get the babies sick.


I never had to use the booger sucker with her. Not once.

Forget it. Right now, the twins are bright green, snot faced little aliens. Like, you'd think we were killing them every time we suctioned out their noses. I've heard that with your first kid, they almost never get sick and then you have one or two more and someone is always sick. Well, that is proving to be true.

I keep thinking that they're awake, but really, the video monitor we have has such good microphones that I am hearing their little snorts and snores and grunts because they can barely breathe. It sounds like a pack of wild pigs in their room. With a cold mist humidifier. Which is making feeding them really fun. Whenever I try to nurse Caris, she has a complete meltdown because her nose is stuffy (even after using the evil booger sucker) and with her mouth sealed on my boob or a bottle, she can't breathe.

Has anyone seen the X-Files movie? I love that movie. Anyone? You know the scene at the end where Mulder saves Sculley from the alien ship in Antarctica? And she has started to turn into an alien and kind of looks like she's intubated with a giant mucus hose? Let me remind you...

Well, when we get the kids up from naps, the tip of their nose to their lips are pretty much SEALED with bright green boogers. They're smiley and laughing though. And blowing bubbles in their snot mustaches.

Of course I made the mistake of googling "infant colds" and I just need to stop googling infant problems. Inevitably, I am diagnosing my children with terminal illnesses when I google.

So now I come to you all as I am TOTALLY inexperienced with infant sickness. Tips for dealing with infant colds? Home remedies? HELP! My twins are turning into the X-files aliens and it's a little disturbing.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Avery Singing "What Does the Fox Say?"

I cannot get enough of this girl. I really can't. She is precious. And possibly tone deaf.

You may remember when I talked about her obsession with Ylvis last year. Well, now she sings the song. The video is kinda dark, but it's about her singing more than the fact that she's sitting on the couch in her Rapunzel dress, playing with stickers.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

My Valentine

For Valentine's Day this year, Troy was working midnight shift, so he worked from midnight thursday night to 8 am friday morning. I was working on friday and leave the house around 7 am to see my first patient at 8 am. But since it was his friday, he got off a little early (around 6am). On his way home, he decided to swing by Starbucks and pick up drinks for us. Here is our text conversation:

That was supposed to be a white chocolate mocha. Clearly my phone autocorrect, did not know what I was talking about. Silly iphone. But he knew me well enough to guess what I would have wanted after I didn't see his text in time.

He got home with a few minutes to spare before I had to leave at 7 so we could chat about the night and the plan for the rest of the day (Optimus getting a hair cut, going to a friends house because they were on THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE!!!).

I went to work and Troy came up to meet me for lunch since Aurora was home with all the kiddos.

He brought chinese takeout, a box of chocolate covered strawberries, and a dozen long stemmed roses. No filter on that baby. They're just that pretty :)

I was definitely the luckiest girl in the hospital. He dressed up all cute too. Me in my scrubs and Troy in his khakis and button down shirt. On a date in the hospital cafeteria.

Normally, Troy and I go to Walmart on Valentine's Day and pick out a card for each other. We exchange them in the aisle of the stationary section, read them, and put them back in the shelving. 5 bucks for a card that you toss in the garbage a few days later is just not worth it to me. And it's way more fun to have a Walmart date on Valentine's Day. Haha.

So I'm not sure what possessed Troy to be all sweet and thoughtful this year, but I'll take it.

Ps. I didn't do ANYTHING for him to celebrate February 14. I went to work. And enjoyed him spoiling me.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Operation "Stop Eating Anything/Everything and Laying Around Nursing and then Expecting to Lose Weight"

Here we go guys. It. Is. On.

I decided to do this post after reading this post, written by my friend Ashley at Coffee, Cake, and Cardio. Could blogging about my eating habits and HATING exercise actually help me lose the baby weight?

Troy renewed our gym membership on thursday, February 13. We let it expire in October because we knew the kids would be born soon-ish (October 23) and the YMCA doesn't allow children in childcare until they are 3 months old. They will be 4 months next week and I went to the gym to exercise (rather than swim over the summer) for the first time since April of 2013. That is serious. It had been a LOOOONG time since working out.

Before I BLEW up and gained 31 pounds in 4 days from the ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, resulting in a paracentesis, where 5 liters of fluid were removed from my abdomen last March, I weighed 140 lbs. After that was resolved, my weight went back down to 146 when I found out I was pregnant. I got up to 192 while pregnant with the babies. So technically, I gained 52 lbs. I lost a bunch of it REALLY quick. Like within 2 weeks I was back down to 160. I weighed myself this morning and I am currently at 154. If you do the weight, I've only lost 6 lbs in 3 months. That's pretty bad considering the calorie output I'm getting with nursing these 2 hippos and being on my feet all day at work.

So in summary:

Pre-baby weight - 140
Last weight before delivering - 192
Current weight - 154

When I was losing weight from having Avery, it just MELTED off. The 140lbs is actually 10 lbs BELOW my pre-pregnancy weight with Avery. I was 150 when I got pregnant with her. Nursing is THE ONLY thing I did to lose weight. I ate normally with no dieting and was in smaller sizes by the time she was 2 months old.

THIS time, I was like, YEEEEEES NURSING IS AWESOME and I am going to lose so much weight nursing twins!! And I TOTALLY took advantage and have been eating whatever, whenever I feel like it. I figured that this is the only time that I'll be able to eat like this and not gain weight. Well, the jokes on me. Apparently, you can't eat an entire tray of Ghirardelli brownies and expect to lose weight. Or half a roll of cookie dough. Or an entire box of girl scout cookies. Or half of a pizza. It's a problem. And when I am making healthy choices (ie, dinner), I eat more than 1 serving of everything.

So, without further ado, my post baby body: Day 1 of Operation "Stop Eating Anything/Everything and Laying Around Nursing and then Expecting to Lose Weight"

AHHH MY EYES! It's winter. I need a tan. A couple weeks with the pool will change that.

It's actually not toooooooo bad. I made it out good without stretch marks. I definitely am NOT sucking it in or tightening it up. It looks a little better when I do. Not so much here though.

You can definitely tell this body was made for comfort and not speed. Holding and snuggling babies and not exercise.

So I went to the gym today and took Avery to play in childcare while Troy stayed home with the babies. I almost died. I was on the elliptical, which is normally what I do when I'm being lazy. It is the best place to burn calories and read. I just wanted to go and get into the swing of things, but again, the jokes on me. That's what I get for not exercising for almost a year. Eek.


1. Stop eating cookie dough out of the container
2. Exercise 3 times a week
3. Drink 100+ oz of water a day
4. Stop having 3 servings of dinner

I'll keep y'all updated. Sorry if I blinded you with my mushy, white body. That will change. Hopefully sooner rather than later. But you know what they say: 9 months to put it on. Give yourself at least 9 months to take it off. Or more. Whatever. I guess that means I have at least 5 more months.

Only 25% of my clothes fit and I refuse to buy a new summer wardrobe. This is Vegas. It's summer 9 months out the year. It's a problem. I really really need my clothes to fit.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Avery Developing her Fine Motor Skills

I'll be the first person to tell you that I am TERRIBLE about teaching Avery things. I generally have the attitude of "she'll learn it eventually and there's no reason to push her." As a result, Avery didn't learn her colors until about 2 months ago. She said that everything was orange. Not kidding. Troy and I finally were like, "ummmmm, what's her deal?" And then we realized it was because we weren't making a real effort to sit down and teach her.

I'm not above bribing. Every day, after lunch and dinner, Avery sat down at the table with Troy or me and we learned colors. With M&Ms. That's right. She was allowed to eat the candy if she got the color right. We gave her good incentive. And then she was constantly like, "can we do chocolate colors?" It took about 2 weeks of daily effort, but she now knows almost all her colors. The main ones anyways. She has a really hard time with things like gray, teal (or any shade of that kooky teal/green/aquamarine color) and marigold (where there's a fine line between orange and yellow).

She knows about half of her letters, but again, we aren't really pushing it. Like at all.

She recently got SUPER interested in coloring and drawing pictures. I could not be more proud of her tripod grasp on a pen or marker. It's gorgeous. She colors for at least an hour a day. Here are some of her pictures:

Her VERY first smiley face!

Look at that detail:

She colored this whole picture by herself:

I love how she colors the letters at the bottom. She notices the weirdest details to color. Most kids would color the dress and focus on the main part of the picture. Not Avery. She colors the spines of the books and the architecture in the background:

I helped color some of the blocks on the left side, but she colored the rest of this one too:

I just love it. She is actually out of pictures in her coloring book now, so I have to go get another book for her to start on. In addition, I want to get a handwriting book that is similar to Handwriting Without Tears especially since her grasp and control is so good! Here are few free downloadable pages if you are interested in how the program works. The program teaches numbers and letters using basic rules and funny directions for kids to learn the proper way to write. It starts with easy concepts first, like horizontal and vertical lines. So letters like E, F, L, T, and I are first. Once they master certain skills, it goes to other letters that are curved like C and O. Then it combines the 2 concepts for other letters like D, P, B, and G. You get the idea.

So anyways. Hopefully we can get some of those books and some blank lined paper to practice. As a side note, we enrolled Avery in preschool for the fall, starting August 26, 2014. She'll be going on tuesdays and thursday all day. Troy and I were really impressed with the school when we took a tour. The FIRST GRADERS were diagramming sentences and doing basic algebra (4 + X = 7) and Troy almost started crying. We were both like "ummmmm, what?!?!? We didn't diagram sentences until middle or high school." Crazy.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Putting in the Pool

We had our backyard landscaped in October of 2012. We only did 1/2 of the yard, knowing that we wanted to put in a pool, but we needed to figure out the financing at the time. Well, a year and a half later we are ready. We tried to refinance the house to pay for it, but it didn't quite pan out the way we wanted. We didn't want to take out a loan from the bank to pay for it, so we are now in a position to pay for the pool with cash outright! Dave Ramsey would be proud :)

We decided to build our pool with the same company that did our landscaping, especially since they already did the electrical drop BEFORE putting in the astroturf in our backyard to prevent digging anything up to lay it later:

We went and met with the company last week to finalize the design, some details, and sign all the paperwork. They had a really cool program that Sabrina (our designer) input all these pictures and measurements from our house to make a 3D mock up of the yard and pool. Going into to see the mock up design was cool because it reminded me of Property Brothers on HGTV where they show the people their choices on the 3D screen. It was really neat.

I had told her previously (at some meetings at our house for measurements) that I wanted some kind of tile design in the pool and she put in an octopus, which we are NOT doing. We picked 3 small turtles (one for each of the girls) that I'll show you in a bit. So picture it without the giant purple octopus in the deep end.

ps. That's supposed to be Avery sitting on the wet deck

The pool is 9 feet across and 26 feet long. The wet deck is 4 feet long so that we can put a beach chair in there, use it as a "baby pool" area, or whatever. We also asked them to put an umbrella sleeve in the wet deck so that it can be covered if there are babies in there or we are relaxing in some chairs.

You can see on the right, our 2 air conditioning units. The pool pump is going to go next to them and they are going to put a fence around the units so they are all blocked off together from the pool deck.

Here is what the pool looks like at night. There is the pool light in the deep end, which will be 5 feet. The way the pool is designed, we can advertise it as a "lap pool" as well because it is long and the left side of it isn't interrupted by any stairs or returns or anything.

We left the pool company after signing our contract and went to the tile place. The guy there was AWESOME. There was tons of border tile to pick from and instead of just letting us pick something pretty, he gave us tons of advice about what cleans the best, what looks the nicest, which tiles cheap hotels use (to avoid), which collects calcium or shows it the most and tons of other stuff. We also picked the color of our pool decking and some decorative tiles for in the pool (the little turtles).

Here is what the little turtles looks like in real tiles:

But we picked these colors:

We also decided to have a decorative tile to make the edges of the stairs and the wet deck in the shallow end, and the bench in the deep end. It looks like bubbles and the tiles are a royal blue. You can see where they would go if you scroll back up and look where the diamond tiles are on the edges of those spots in the pool.

We chose a light gray color pool decking because it's the same color as the window and door framing on our house. The plaster in the pool is going to be mixed to be a light blue so that the water looks more like the ocean than clear (which is white plaster) and we picked a border tile that is a similar color and texture to the bubble tiles that are going on the steps. I didn't get a picture of those because we changed our minds to that at the last minute. Here is a pic of the pool decking color next to our 2nd choice tile:

The misty gray color is the decking color. And just ignore the tile...we went with a darker one.

For now, we are waiting for all the approvals from our HOA and we have to go get our neighbors to sign off on our blue prints because of the construction. We live on the corner lot and they are taking down a wall of our brick fence to bring in the back hoe to dig and the cement truck to pour. Once we get everything passed through our HOA (which our contractor handles) and they get all the permits we need, we will be a go for the pool building. We are hoping it will start the first week in March. They said it takes about 6-8 weeks to complete construction, so we are pretty pumped to get the pool in for the summer. Especially since the YMCA pool is so crazy in the summer with the camps and it's ONLY open from 12-5 everyday.

Avery loves the water, so we are pretty excited to get this all rolling. We already have that side of the yard completely fenced off with a self closing gate and it's state law to put an alarm on every door and window that exits into the backyard from the first floor, so it should be very safe.

We'll keep you updated with pictures and stuff as we start digging!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Torticollis and Physical Therapy for Kinley

I mentioned in a post a few months back that Kinley has a preference for turning her head to one side. The right to be exact. She likes to look to her right side and when she turns to her left, she keeps her chin tucked down. It's called torticollis and she got it from positioning during my pregnancy.

This is Kinley:

This is how Kinley feels about turning her head to the left. And an example of how she likes to sit. With her head turned to the right and tilted slightly down:

If you look at the picture below, some of the symptoms of torticollis are present. As a result of her right sided preference, she has a little flat spot on the back right side of her head. It is also pushing her right ear forward and resulting in an irregular distribution of the fat in her cheeks. So in the picture, you can see her right cheek (your left) is a little bigger looking:

At her 2 month appointment, right before Christmas, our pediatrician put in an order for physical therapy. I asked around a few months ago for a good pediatric physical therapy place in town because I had 2 friends who had kids who needed some therapy. My co-worker's wife works at a place in Henderson call Children's Therapy Center. It's a bit of a hike (about 45 min to get there) but it's worth it to see a therapist that I trust.

They are teaching us exercises to stretch her sternocleidomastoid muscles, anterior scalenes, and trapezius muscles. And how to strengthen her back muscles, which will help her relax and stretch out her neck.

Here is Kinley in PT with her therapist Leslie:

And she got her neck taped last week to assist in engaging muscles to prevent the head tilt:

Leslie says that she is doing better but her neck still feels a little "rope-y," as in the muscles feel like ropes and are tight. We've been going once a week for about a month and are expected to be able to start going once every other week soon. We are good at doing our homework. She has to do little baby sit ups, stretch some, sit up while we rub her muscles, and do lots of tummy time to strengthen her back and extensor muscles for her neck.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Breastfeeding Update, Cloth Diapers, and Back to Work

Aloha everyone. Long time no blog.

Last time I left you, breastfeeding was going pretty well and I was nursing the girls once every two hours. Well, about a month ago, Troy and I decided we couldn't handle the crying anymore. And the not sleeping. No one should be AFRAID to be alone with your kids. The babies were nursing every 2.5-3 hours, even at night and they were approaching 3 months old. They should have been sleeping longer and we were both struggling with the whole no sleep thing. And when they were awake they were crying all the time.

Basically, I would nurse one while the other one screamed (I still can't tandem nurse). The one I was nursing would fall asleep for about an hour. I would nurse the second one and they would fall asleep for about an hour. After they both woke up an hour later, they would scream and scream and scream until their next feeding. I would usually cave after about 2.5 hours because we couldn't take the crying anymore.

My boobs felt empty empty empty and they would cry and not latch on because my milk wouldn't come down immediately. Everyone was frustrated. We were tired and the babies were hungry. And not sleeping.

My solution?? Start pumping like crazy. I had to increase my milk supply. At the time, they were drinking 3 ounces each every 3 hours. If they could make it that long. To make sure they were eating enough, we started just bottle feeding my pumped breastmilk. We were able to figure out that they were SO comforted by the boob that they weren't nursing long enough and would fall asleep,

starving an hour later and not helping my supply grow because they weren't completely emptying my boobs out. By pumping, we could ensure they were eating enough and empty the boobies all the way so my supply wouldn't drop off.

While waiting for my supply to grow some more, we supplemented about 2 oz of formula per day, per child. I was sad at first because I want to exclusively give them breastmilk, but after talking to a friend of mine with twins, I realized, "I am not made to nurse a litter." I just need to do the best I can and make sure my kids aren't hungry. If that means supplementing with formula every once in a while, so be it. Every once in a while when we have a busy day, we'll bring formula out with us if we know we'll be gone for a while (going to church and then running errands for example) and then I pump when I get home, usually enough for more than one feeding per kid. Which is pretty great.

I have been pumping during the day and bottle feeding and only nursing for the middle of the night/early morning feeding. As a result, they almost immediately got happier, were sleeping from about 9pm to 5am (the feeding I would nurse) and then pump a full feeding for each of them before I go to work. If they don't wake up before I leave for work at 7am (which has happened), I can pump 18+ ounces. It's craaaaaaaazy! Women's bodies are amazing.

Overall, since I switched to mostly pumping, everyone is happier. It makes my life a little more inconvenient, but it's worth it. For our pocketbook and the babies immune systems :)

Call us crazy, but about 2 weeks ago, we started the cloth diapers. I wanted to wait until the babies were big enough to fit in the diapers so there was no leaking from the leg holes. I started Avery at 3 months exactly (when she was about 10-11 lbs) and I was really excited to start using them for the girls. We are using BumGenius pocket diapers with snaps and prefolds with Thirsties covers and snappis. Troy and Aurora (our nanny) do really well with the prefolds, but I am TERRIBLE. The prefold gets held together with the snappi and then the cover snaps over the prefold. Well, if you don't make sure that all the fabric is tucked in to the cover, the SECOND they pee, there are leaks everywhere and multiple clothing changes per day. I'm getting better at it, but there is a little more patience involved. The prefolds are definitely cheaper than the BumGenius, but I am still partial to the BumGenius. They were having a sale on and bought 15 more last week.

A lot of people have said, how can you cloth diaper 2 babies? Well, we'll see how it goes. I did it with one so with a few more diapers, we should be able to keep the same laundry schedule and keep going with two. BUT I don't do any of the kids laundry. Including diapers or bedding. Which is seriously amazing. Aurora is fully on board with the cloth diapers (she used them with her kids) and does at least one load of laundry on days that she's here (3 days a week). So having extra help really makes a difference. I do Troy's and my laundry and bedding, but having Aurora here for all the kid stuff and kitchen stuff makes a huge difference in terms of time makes our quality of life better and our laundry hasn't gotten out of control. Yet.

I am also officially back at work and on my mutually agreed upon schedule at work. I work on mondays, fridays, and saturdays all day. I used to just work whenever I was needed, but now that there is more going on at home, having a reliable week to week schedule just works better for us. And for hiring our nanny.

I've gotten a ton of questions about how we found her, agreed upon pay, "extras", and hours.

We registered on, which is how we found Carolyn, our nanny before we had the twins and she moved away :( Having had luck on the website before, we decided to give it a second go. We placed an ad with our requirements, hours, level of experience, days/hours needed. We had about 35 people apply and only interviewed 3 people. Everyone we interviewed was over 50. We really wanted someone with experience with multiples and with multitasking/running a household. It is easy to get overwhelmed with 3 kids under three and I frequently have freak out moments. I was hoping to hire someone that wouldn't feel that panic, and I felt pretty confident that hiring someone under 30 who didn't have their own kids could get in over their head.

We ended up hired Aurora. She is from the Philippines, is almost 60, has 2 children and her mother lives with her as well. She has tons and tons of experience and great references. She tutors children with special needs and we could tell she wasn't intimidated by watching 3 kids under 3 years old. She has a very gentle, calm spirit and so far, the only issue we have had is that she can let Avery boss her around at times. Aurora is here for 10 hours a day, from 7am-5pm on mondays, fridays, and saturdays and she has come for occasional other things like date night or when we met with our pool contractor (!!!!!!). So far things are going well with me being back at work. She will do dishes, empty the dishwasher, make baby food, cook for Avery, do all the kids laundry, vacuum common areas (ie. areas the kids hang out), change kid bedding, and clean up all the toys/books that Avery hurricanes through in a day.

I'll be back with an update about the pool this week :) We are waiting for the HOA to approve the plan and for the permits for engineering. We are hoping to start digging in the next month so that the pool is up and running by Avery's birthday!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Santa Train in Boulder City, Nevada

One of the things that has been hard about Troy being in the military is that (many times) during major holidays, it is not possible to be with family. Since we found a church and joined a small group, we have basically spent the holidays with our small group.

Here is Easter.

Here is the 4th of July.

The Christmas season was no different. One of the other ladies sent us a list of things to do for the holidays around Vegas and we decided to check a few things off the list this year and tackle more of the list next year. A lot of the things on the list are free and some of the others aren't, but a lot of the money goes towards a charity or organization in the area that assists with veterans or individuals with disabilities or something.

Here is the list for anyone in Vegas who may be looking for things to do that are kid friendly during the next holiday season:

Our small group got together on a saturday and headed down to Boulder City (about 30-40 minutes from our house which is on the WAY northwest side of town) to ride the Santa Train.

Our boarding time was 11am and the ride was a total of about 45ish minutes. It went out and back (it wasn't a loop, just reversed back the way it came). Santa comes and walks through all the cars with his elves during the ride. The train cars were pretty cool, all old style and looked like something out of a movie.

Here is Avery (looking like a hot mess) holding her ticket:

This is the inside of the train. There were 5 cars. 4 of them looked just like this and one was an "outdoor" car. With the new babies (only about 6 weeks old at the time) we decided on an inside car for sure. Sorry about the picture size...I couldn't figure out how to resize them for some reason.

And here's Avery and the babies on the train, waiting to get going:

And a group shot of Troy, Avery, and me. I'm sad I couldn't resize this because it's hilarious.

And here's the kids from our small group. There are 2 twins boys (can't tell you how nice it's been to have friends with twins since ours have been born), another girl, and Avery. Avery is the youngest, but all the kids seems to get along pretty well despite their age differences.

Santa is on his way back with the elves leading the way and talking to everyone.

And I was SO impressed with Santa. He would sit or crouch down with EVERY single kid and have a 2 minute conversation with them. He was really really sweet and Avery was SO interested in him. She had already talked to Santa that week at the mall, but she didn't seem to care/notice that they may have been a little different. She also remembered to ask him for her pink bicycle. Again.

Overall, totally worth the 5$ per person to ride. There was a museum at the train station and some kids crafts and hot chocolate and popcorn but we had to duck out after the ride to get lunch and get Avery home for a nap before a meltdown happened. I am hoping to tackle more of this list (especially the free stuff) next year.