Saturday, December 8, 2012

God's Grace

God protected our lives today. We were following some friends on 476 South and swerved to avoid a desk or other piece of furniture that was broken across two lanes of fast-moving traffic.

Jeff did his best to keep control of the car and avoided flipping it. We ended up on the shoulder of the rode facing oncoming traffic.

No damage to the car or the people. Two cars stopped to check on us. We're all alive and thankful to God for his goodness to us!!!!

We made it to Longwood Gardens and a friend took this pic for us with her IPhone. We are ALIVE and well. We are thankful for our lives and that we are still here to celebrate with friends and family. I shudder to think about all the things that COULD have happened during those few scary seconds. We are blessed by God's protection in our lives.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Triumph! Being Mindful of What Matters

I had several profound thoughts tonight, but central to them all is the realization that the things that bother me about day to day life are evidence that I have been given gifts, charges in this life, for which I am responsible, and yet, those responsibilities are BLESSINGS.

I have been looking at it all wrong. Those piles of dirty laundry, that sauce-stained highchair tray, those chunks of mud tracked across my carpet...They're all evidence. They were left there, not as a slap-in-the-face affront, not as a sign of all things I have to clean up or some situation I have to recitfy, but as gifts of grace. They are breadcrumbs...a trail of love to follow home to where my heart follow back to that thought central to my existance...that I am here to glorify God, and that he has given into my care a husband, two-beautiful babies, a household and two cats.

Every ache in my tired body reminds me I'm alive to enjoy this moment for as long as it's given to me and I'm not getting any younger, so I better make the most of everyday I can still move!

That "evidence" (albeit dirty) that people I love, live here: pee-pee jammies and bedding for me to wash, mounds of dirty laundry and dishes, a messy playroom, crumbs and dirt on the rug, piles of little shoes, dirty hand prints on the TV and smudge marks on my lap top screen, the cat hair in my keyboard... it's all breadcrumbs.

Remember that you are blessed. Look at that mess with new eyes. It's beautiful.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Good Outweighed the Bad!

Yay for vacation! The good outweighed the bad! We spent time at the beach....

Toes in the sand as we walked to the beach...

The babies liked the ocean...

The first day we were there, we got down to the beach and caught the sun setting...

While we were there we visited Kitty Hawk....saw the Wright brothers ;)
 We also watched daddy go hang gliding....
and mommy got to look at some lighthouses!

It was a great time at the beach!

I'm Look!

Sooooooo. I haven't been on the scale in AWHILE, and the reason is...I know it's going to post a number that I don't want to see. I haven't exercised regularly since July. I fell off the wagon...hard. It's time to climb back on...kicking and screaming. Getting up in the morning is hard. It's harder with children. I've been eating bad things. Things that put weight on instead of help take it off. It's time to evict these now, unwelcome houseguests...the food I'm not supposed to be eating.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

It's the Most Apprehensive Time of the Year...

Sooooooo, I need your advice. Have you ever taken your small children on vacation?  I am preparing to do so...without a car top carrier and only the back of a station wagon to fill. Am I deluding myself into thinking this is going to work? How can I possibly pack up our circus and expect it to fit into one clown car? Are you laughing yet? You should be.

I can just hear the circus music now...roll tape of Jeff and I trying to pack up the car, speed up in places so that it looks like an old Benny Hill chase seen...minus the half naked women and police with their little cudgels and whistles...(and there isn't any chasing, only cramming, and more cramming)...

I have control issues, and I know that I must set them aside. I'm going to an unfamiliar vacation house, with people that I know but with whom I have never "vacationed", to a locale that doesn't have a washing machine, and I am bringing my familiar chaos to an unknown environment. I have lots of "What If's" and "Worst Case Scenarios" running around in my head. Most of them involve cranky children, exhausted, irritated and overwraught parents, ER visits to strange hospitals and defcon-worthy meltdown situations. Then there are simple questions that must be answered...

What should I put in our first-aid kit? How will bedtime be affected? Will somebody get sick and have to go to a strange hospital? Will they KNOW what to do there? Will it be the BEST possible care? Can I even allow them NEAR the ocean? What if one of the kids gets SWEPT out to SEA? What if they BOTH get swept out to sea, AT THE SAME TIME?!!!

And then there are the people with whom we are sharing our house. What if we RUIN their vacation?! What if I FAIL at a meal for some reason and they HATE my cooking? What if my DISRUPT their sleep?

"Oh bother," said Winne the Pooh.

Non sequiter. I know.

Bottom line: There WILL be chaos. There WILL be tantrums and crying....BUT there will also be MOMENTS OF JOY...even if I have to get out my microscope and FIND them. And THAT is why we are going on vacation. This isn't a vacation from "work" for me, but it's a change of environment, and THAT is what "vacation" looks like when you have small children. I will PURPOSEFULLY look for moments of WONDER and DELIGHT. I will BE DELIGHTED...hopefully, at some point.

We never went on vacation when I was little. I talked to my father on the phone this morning and regaled him with a portion of my litany of worries, and he said I am "doomed". (He WAS laughing when he said that by the way). Aye me.... I started to think I could end this post on a high note of HOPE and an Everything's-going-to-be-OK-You'll-see note of optimism. But I know better. I just have to reconcile myself to the fact that I will not return well-rested and relaxed, but more in the manner of a pile of rumpled laundry that has been tumbled dry on high heat, with a pair of sneakers kicking it over and over and over....until the buzzer finally sounds and it comes to rest in a shrunken, wrinkled heap, left to cool so that it's no longer too-hot-to-handle.

That's me. Too hot to handle. Riiiiiiiiiiiight.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Facebook Yardsales 101

Has anyone else discovered yardsales on FB (Facebook)? Now that I have, I've become a member of 4 local sites. You can usually find them by doing a search for "(insert town name here), yard sale".

It's pretty great! I've managed to purchase wicker porch furniture, and to nicely organize the girls playroom with FB yardsale deals. No having to pull over the car and park in a weird spot or to try and bargain in person. I'm saving gas, and flipping through online photo albums in the comfort of my own home. Do you think you might want to check out online yardsaling?  Shopping online can save you time and money, but it helps to know some of the lingo before you get started.

Most sites have standard rules so that things run smoothly and fairly. To begin, you need to be added to a yardsale group site as a member, often by an existing member but usually you can add yourself and then be approved by the site's administrator if membership is open. Once you are a "group member" you may be required to familiarize yourself with a site's guidelines. There are also some standard abbreviations you should be aware of and some that may be site-specific.

If you are "ISO" (In Search Of) an item, you can either post an advertisement on the site wall, i.e. "ISO: riding toys for toddlers" or you may even be able to post wanted items on a list or monthly document including your name and the items you are ISO so that the wall doesn't get too busy and it's easier for sellers to find your name and what you might be looking for in a timely fashion.

When searching among items on a site, you can flip through the photos of someones "album", or peruse the site wall and click on album links that will allow you to search the item albums of various sellers. If you find an item you like, click on the picture and you'll find a description of the item (usually with it's price and availability). Some sellers will say "make me an offer" if the price is readily negotiable. Others will list a price and you can make them a different offer. Still others will list items with a "firm" price. If you find a "firm" price, you can offer to buy it at a later time if the seller changes her mind.

Somethings are generally frowned upon. It's usually good to make a monetary offer in a "PM" (private message) so that only the seller can see it, and you should refrain from making idle comments under an item because it can cause difficulties in order of interest and with fairness.

If you "tag" someone under an item because you think they will like it, it's usually a "no-no" and you'll get emailed by the site administrator IF it's against the site rules. Only sellers are allowed to tag people under their items.  I was told this is so that there are no questions when it comes to who is first to show interest in an item. FAIRNESS is paramount.

You may check the comments under an item to find out if you are the first person to make an offer. An item may already be "PPU" (pending pick up) by another buyer, or you might be the third person in a line of people that are "interested in that item if it falls through". You can get in line by commenting under the item and the order of sale will be determined by chronological order of comments.

The first person to make an offer under a picture will make a comment under a picture in a seller's album and may also offer to PM a seller and let her know he or she is interested.and want to make an offer. Case in point, I see a wicker chair online, the seller says it has a matching chair with it (not pictured). I can tell the seller I am "interested" by leaving that word as a comment under her picture and let her know I will PM her with an offer. We will discuss details in the private message. The seller usually tries to get back to me as soon as possible because she wants to sell her stuff and then you usually want to make a deal within 24 hours. If there is a lack of communication for more than 24 hours it's safe to say the deal may have fallen through. Some sites have time boundaries to free buyers and sellers from bad deals. Most sellers will let buyers know if an item is "still available". You may notice the words "item bump 1" or "item bump 2" etc. under something for sale. That means that the seller is trying to bring the item to the front page again for visability to buyers. There are often limits imposed on "bumping" so that sites don't get flooded with multiple bumps for the same seller's item.

Once you agree on a price with a seller (usually through a private message and NOT under the comments under an item) you can make arrangements to meet in public to make the exchange.

Safety tips: always meet in a well-lit, public place, and if you can, bring along another adult with you. My husband always does my meets for me. (I also refrain from selling things publically at his request.) NEVER give out your personal information, pay in cash and try not to get so attached to an item that you allow yourself to do something stupid to get it. That $5.00 grab bag of  babydoll clothes or that $2.00 sit and spin is not worth your life, or the lives of your children asleep in the backseat. Remember, you don't have to commit to buying something based on a picture alone. You may choose to meet a seller so that you can actually view an item in person. You might not be able to see those scratches on those "solid wood nesting tables" until  you get up close and personal.

There are so many deals to be had. Just don't be sucka. Know what an item is worth by looking it up it's online, retail value in advance. To make a fair offer on an item, it helps to know what it costs when you buy it "new". Above all, have fun! But don't get crazy...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mini-Weightloss Update

So....the last month I haven't been faithful in my exercise habits. I need to get back on the wagon. Here is a recent picture though.

And another...


So...I am still losing weight, albeit slowly. I've lost about 10 pounds since I started the Power 90...but I haven't been Beach Body faithful to eat healthfully and to work out. Sigh. Chipping away at it....

The good news is, I've lost another size. I went from a 16/18 to a 12/14. I got back into a large shirt instead of a XL and I'm wearing size 14 jeans, which is the size I was wearing when I got pregnant. I must celebrate the small victories, so I celebrate getting back down to this size, and I press on to size 12's!

17 Months

Bag of Tricks

So when you're traveling in the car with small children for an extended period of time, what do you bring along to feed them and keep them busy? What's in your bag of tricks? In our car, my twin 17-month-old girls enjoy their share of binkies, nicies, books, battery operated phones/books, and small, stuffed animals. We pack crackers or toasted o's for their snack traps, sippies, and fruit. We also do a fair amount of singing..."The Wheels on the Bus", and "Six Little Ducks" are our go-to songs.

For fun:
What's the craziest thing you've given your toddler to play with when you've been backed into a corner? You reach into your purse/backpack/man bag and you pull out...

Do you have any new tools to showcase that YOU use in YOUR bag?

Monday, August 27, 2012

First Trip to the E.R.

First trip to the ER the other day with Rory girl. Shannie was there too, and Daddy met us there. He gets bonus daddy points for leaving work to be with us. The girls were very well behaved and boy was I glad for Jeff being able to be there with us!

Baby girl fell off a chair and cut her head. The worst part was trying to hold a clean paper towel to her head to stop the blood.  Yeah...she didn't like that. Thankfully, it stopped quickly and rather than wait for our doctor's office to open after lunch, the decision was made to take her to the hospital. The cut looked like it needed stitches. Fortunately, glue was all that was needed. She's off and running!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Day

It's Independence Day, and I'm pressing on towards my weight-loss goals. Here's to trying to take back my independence from a diet consumed by sugar. I now admit that my main struggle lies in my poor diet. I consume too many calories, AND I am addicted to sugar and sugar subs. Even if I'm not downing cookies and bad snacks, I put sugar in my coffee, and it's in the yogurt I eat, and I comsume sugar subs in my Jello pudding snacks. My portions are too big, even though the food I eat is healthy.

I eat when I'm stressed. I eat when I'm bored. I eat when I'm being social. I like to eat.

I've been talking to my BB Coach, CariLee, who is also my sister, and I've decided to try and eliminate sugar and products that contain sugar and sugar subs from my diet. I'm also going to consume fewer empty carbs, and more high-fiber ones. I can't do NO CARBS yet. That's too drastic for me to try immediately, especially if I'm going to focus on eliminating sugar. I haven't made any great changes in my diet yet, and I'm not losing weight fast enough to satisfy myself. I know I could be losing more, but I haven't taken control of my eating habits.

I have to ask my husband to take my 30-day photos. I'm actually past the 30 days, having completed 37 workouts, but I've been away, and I only exercised three times last week, so I have to cut myself some slack. Even though my weight hasn't changed drastically, I have gained more muscle, I feel stronger, and I dropped a size. I'm in a 14 now, and sometimes they feel looser on me, so I'm headed in a good direction :) DOWN a size.

I'll post the pics once I have them taken. I'm still big, but I'm smaller than I was. I'm trying not to dwell on "what I could have accomplished, if..." and focusing on my small successes. I didn't gain this weight in 60 days, and I'm not going to take it off in that amount of time. Pressing on!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Beginning

Before Power90
Weight: 202 lbs.
Bust: 39" (across my breasts, around the back)
Waist: 42" (tape just under my belly button)
Hips: 43.5" (around the widest part of my butt and hips, legs and feet together)
Thigh: 26" (top of leg, acround the widest part of my thigh)
Calf: 18" (middle of my calf, around the widest part)
Arm: 13.5"
Neck: 14"

It isn't pretty, but I am taking a hard look at reality and realizing that I do not want to look like this anymore. I am sick of feeling tired (carrying around an extra 45 lbs. on my frame) and I want to keep up with my kids. Setting a good, healthy example for them is high on my list. I am really interested in losing fat and creating muscle. I want to fit into nice clothes again, and be able to comfortably wear something off the rack. This is my stomach after carrying the girls for 39 weeks and after not exercising those muscle in over a year.

These are my lovely back roles. I will let the photos speak for themselves now.

After having carrying twins for 39 weeks, and having them delivered via cesarean section, my body has gone through some changes. Between the weight gain (and partial, post-partum weight loss) and the fatigue of being a new mom, I've decided it's time to get serious about my weight loss, a whole 13 months after the birth of my girls.

I started my pregnancy overweight at 190 lbs. Two years prior, in 2009, I was at a healthy weight having gone through a weightloss program at my local gym. I think I weighed around 167 lbs. I was working full time and also completing my Master's degree. I was focused, under time constraints, and I was student teaching. My meals were planned, my time was scheduled, and I was at the gym regularly exercising with my wonderful friend Rachel. I post THESE pics to help motivate myself and to remind myself that I can get here again.

Now my sister is a Beachbody Coach and I'm beginning Power90. We decided that was better than starting with the more challenging and intense, P90X. Power90 will help me to ease into working out again and allow me to build stamina and strength after not having exercised regularly for so long.

Today is the first day of my 90 day experience. I'll let you know how it goes...

Monday, March 19, 2012

Funniest Commercial I've Seen in Awhile

You know it was a funny commercial when you remember the product/company. Target has come up with some funny ones! This one in particular! Try NOT to laugh. I dare you.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

C-Section 3/24/11 8:00 a.m. Thursday Morning

So, it's been nearly a year since my c-section. The incision has healed, the memories of that day have dulled somewhat and I am able to finally look back on that day as a rosey-colored blur. (sudden sound of a record player needle being forcefully drug across a vinyl record). Hold the phone. "rosey-colored"?

I remember it like it was almost a year ago, I'll admit the details are a bit fuzzy, but I do remember that I didn't initially heal correctly, and that I ended up having to follow up with my OBGYN and have a visiting nurse come to our house on several occasions to clean and check my incision, which ended up "healing by secondary intent". Jeff did his share of irrigating my incision with sterile water and mopping up the ensuing ooze with gauze. Delish.

My OBGYN assured me that it wasn't my fault that it hadn't healed right. I had feared that I had somehow busted open my own stitches by moving around too much against medical advice or perhaps during my battles with constipation (thank you narcotic pain killers). Honestly? The worst part about my c-section was the constipation! But let me begin at the beginning.

It was Wednesday the 23rd of March and I was at the hospital for my final non-stress test. My friendly tech had strapped three heart monitors to my torso (one for me and one for each baby) and one of the babies had an irregular heart beat, indicating stress, so they decided to send me up to the maternity floor for further observation. I'm so glad the tech decided to do this. It was the right move, even though I didn't have my husband or my hospital bag, I did have my cell phone, and Jeff was able to come and bring everything I needed.

They hooked me up to the monitors again in a triage room on the maternity floor and my doctor on call from my OB practice came in to consult. For awhile they didn't know if they were going to send me home and have me come in the next morning for my csection as scheduled, or whether they wanted to do the csection that night OR whether they would keep me overnight and then do the section the next morning. They decided to keep me overnight for observation and to do the section in the morning as planned. We were able to do all our admission paperwork that night, including giving the attending nurse the names of our twin girls. It was so exciting to say them out loud to someone, because we had been keeping them a secret. It helped to make the whole experience seem vivid and real. After I was settled in alternate overnight accommodations, Jeff went home so that one of us could get some sleep and I was alone to contemplate my life changing forever in just a few hours. I hoped Jeff was able to sleep that night.

I looked at my belly in the bathroom mirror and thought about the scar I would have to mark the occasion. I laughed to think it would complete the "face" of scars across my torso. I had two breast lumpectomies that look like eyebrows over my chest, my belly button nose, and now I would be adding my smiley-faced csection scar to the mix. My mommy scar... (Now that I think of it, I also have stretch mark sideburns....)

Early the next morning, Jeff arrived and we donned our operating room garb. Jeff and I had some time to ourselves before Dr. Shah came in to see us before the surgery. Jeff looked handsome in his green hospital scrubs. He would have made a hot doctor. (He got to bring them home by the way) We sat there nervously excited and smiling at each other. I was nervous about the epidural, but my eyes were on the prize...getting to see and hold the girls!!!

Jeff wasn't allowed in the operating room until after my spinal block was in. (At my hospital, all the sections are done using spinals. It is the quickest way to free up the operating room.) I had met the anesthesiologist earlier in my hospital room along with his nurse anesthetist. I walked to the OR from my hospital room and got up on the operating table. The room was buzzing with people getting ready for the girls and for the operation. It was one of those moments in your life when you are the star of the when you get married, or when you are at your wedding or baby shower. People are expecting you with real anticipation.

There were several nurses buzzing about getting the incubators and tools ready as well as those assisting doctor Shah.  It was a bit intimidating that the operating table looked like one of those tables you see inmates get strapped to when they are getting a lethal injection. The spinal however, was uneventful.

I sat on the bed with my gown open in the back and it was COLD in that room. I leaned forward against the nurse anesthetist for support (I had imagined it being Jeff, but no husbands allowed yet). All my experience with needles during my infertility treatments and researching on paid off. I wasn't scared of that needle. I almost welcomed it. Almost.

Once that spinal was in, things started happening. It was showtime. There was a director in that room and people started talking and moving. I was guided around onto my back on that table and then they put up the screen between me and the impending cutting. They gave me the option of lowering the screen when they took the babies out and I gave an emphatic no to that. Hubby wanted to watch though, and he did. The nurse anesthetist was a bit abashed when Dr. Shah started cutting and he hadn't seen her do a test to make sure I was numb. He turned his attention back to me and explained that if I needed the anti nausea meds that he had them ready to put into my line. I just needed to ask for them. Well, that happened soon enough and he immediately pushed the plunger and within a few seconds the sudden nausea from the spinal was gone and I could focus on what was happening on the other side of the partition. I asked Jeff for the play by play.

When my body started being moved around when they were reaching in and trying to get at the babies, I knew we were close to meeting them. It was pretty fast. They told me not to worry if I didn't hear them cry at first. Aurora was born a minute ahead of Shannon. Here is our first family photo...

That's Aurora (born 8:15 a.m.) on the left and Shannon (born 8:16 a.m.) on the right. Both 19 inches long. Rory was 6 lbs. 8 oz. and Shannon was 6 lbs. 6 oz.  Proud papa and mama!

The longest part of the procedure was being stitched up by Dr. De Brakeleer. That took about 45 minutes or so. Jeff followed the babies to the nursery and I hung around in the OR until I was ready to be transported to recovery. When they lifted me to a gurney, they rolled me to my left to get the sheet under me and I glimpsed all the bloody equipment and gore left over from the surgery. It was like something out of a horror movie. (I remember wondering who had to clean up after us and not envying that job). Then they wheeled me to my recovery room. I was still numb from the waist down. They covered me in warm blankets and put this unusual water-filled body blanket balloon around my lower body to keep me warm and keep circulation going. I kept thinking about the babies and anticipating getting to hold them and breast feed them. I was a bit jealous that Jeff got to hold them first and that he was with them now and I had to wait...but then it was my turn....

That's me. Holding my two miracles that I never thought I would hold. And they are real.

My momma holding Shannon

Rory (pink) Shannon (yellow)

My daddy holding Rory.

Aurora Jane

Shannon Ember

Life On Ice

I have one source of sadness in my life that weighs on me nearly every day. Ironically, it's also a source of hope. I have seven, cryogenically preserved babies, well, technically, three blastocysts and four zygotes. The blastocysts are at the pre-embryo stage and the zygotes are newly united sperm and ovum.
As far as I'm concerned, I have seven children that have yet to be born, and it's so hard to have to wait to see if I'll be able to try and give life to all of them. It costs several hundred dollars per year to keep them safely frozen and tucked away for another day (that I pray will come). For us, it's a matter of being able to financially support a larger family. I know how much I love the two I have, and I long for the ones I cannot touch and hold.

News Reel

So, I realize that since I gave birth almost a year ago...I haven't really posted what it's been like being a new mom to two, fraternal twin miracles. My mind's eye is replaying highlights from our first year together as a family, and I smile, I cringe, I cry and I rejoice when I think of specific moments along the way.

The sleeplessness, the first cold, the early morning feedings, THRUSH, shots, boogers, cleaning up messes, sterilizing bottles, laundry, the first time we thought we might have to take a kid to the ER, the first road trip to my parents' house in NY, watching Jeff assemble the jumperoo and the exersaucer, trying to find places to put things up high so the kids can't reach them, rearranging our living spaces to accommodate them, taking baby gates up and putting them down, loss-of-containment-diaper changes, wrestling match diaper changes, preparing for family pictures, forgeting to take things out of the diaper bag that should have been taken out sooner than they were... the list goes on and on. It's life and it's beautiful.

Here's a few shots from our recent family photo shoot.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Facebook Hiatus

Facebook and I are on a break. We've decided to see other people. No longer will I spend hours posting pics, reading your status or checking my messages. I may even now have time to be creative, although I feel like I haven't been creative in years. I don't really sew, or craft or quilt, but I'm learning how to cook and bake.

I joined a cooking club a year ago to motivate myself to have to learn new recipes from various cooking genres.  I admit I haven't come very far in the creative, cooking arts. I think it's because I care more about spending my time and energy on the twins. I do like this site I found on Pinterest. It's called and it's cah-RAY-zeeeeeeeeeee! If you like food, you have to check it out. It's rows and rows of photographs of mouthwatering food.