Organization and How I Value Time

I refuse to let myself watch the hype that is Marie Kondo. Not because I don't want to - I really do. But I'm saving myself for when I can really commit. I have kind of halfway started decluttering all parts of the house based upon what I've seen on social media: does it spark joy? If not - thank it and get rid of it. See? I paid attention to the cliff notes version.

The main area of focus for my sanity has been Kensington and Bennett's closet. Clothes shopping has always been one of my favorite parts of having a boy and girl. Basically, the kids have never been short on clothes and never will be. K and B share a closet (barely) that happens to be in my sewing/craft room. Eventually, that room will be one of their bedrooms but since they both sleep with us, I won't even worry about that right now.

We recently had an organizing specialist come over (super fancy, I know!) and she really got the ball rolling in this area of focus for me. Here are some pictures but let me tell you: the pictures don't do justice! Compulsively Claire labeled everything in the drawers, separated the clothes by size, removed things too big/too small so that I could sell, and completely restructured how I manage the kids clothes.
before   /   after

Just a look at one drawer in their closet

It's basically my happy place now. My goal is to declutter all over the house as much as possible before the twins arrive in August. I am working in really small spurts because although I'm not technically on a bedrest restriction or anything, my doc still wants me to take it easy (I s'pose that's what happens when you previously give birth to a 25-weeker). So, I do juuuuust a little bit each day and it feels so good.

Time is something that I really cherish. I don't believe that my time is more valuable than another person's but the way that I view it very likely is. For me, I give time to people as a form of a gift (or if I allow an organization expert to come in and do work for me, that's like me getting time back - which is a gift to myself)! The reason I'm bringing this up is because I had an epiphany on Sunday at church. Yadda yadda long story short: the sermon was about "what are you defending?" in relation to that thing sparking anger. Is it a righteous anger or a selfish anger?

It's probably true that my time is more of a comfort and selfish defense that I have. But it has a pure center to it (a righteous defense) - I promise you that. I want to spend my time wisely and give it where I feel it will flourish. One example of me defending time - maybe not so righteously - was while Bennett was in the NICU. I remember getting absolutely, irrationally mad when people would ask me to do things with them. In my mind, I would defensively be like, "what in the heck are you talking about? You think I'd rather spend time with you than my NICU son?" Ross always had to talk me off my emotional ledge and remind me that people just care about me and want to spend time with me. I can laugh about it now and see how everyone just genuinely just wanted a little sliver of me, but in the moment, I would get so worked up. Any other past NICU mom relate? No? Just me?

Well, Sunday's sermon had me revisiting those old feelings and looking more inward, which helped make it clear to me: time is something that I value extremely highly, perhaps more than others, and that is okay! I can now explain things that I could never explain before. For instance, I have never been a "play date" kinda person. I always longed to me that type of mom - I remember pre-planning play dates with mom friends when I was preggo with Kensington. But that's just not who I am. I would rather spend my time alone at the house with the kids, tending to what needs to be done in the home, and let my kids run freely without worry of them breaking anything or hurting themselves. Also staying in PJ's and no makeup is another major perk of not being a play-date-kinda-mom. If you're a play date lover, I applaud you! In another life, I would be more like you!

So yea, time. It's a whole thing for me that I'm finally learning to embrace but also get better at. If I ever seem defensive or possessive about my time, please extend grace. But also know that when you get my time, it's viewed as a gift from me to you with a cherry on top - and that I wouldn't wanna be anywhere else in that moment.

Food Talk and Bennett Update

I know it's been a week since I last posted, but I have been so crazy tired during this first trimester. Not sure if I'm making this up, but I'm guessing there are twice the hormones with a twin pregnancy? Even if not, I am telling myself that's what it is. Or maybe I've had one too many Girl Scout cookies and the sugar is draining me. My personal favorites are the Samoas, Tagalongs, and Thin Mints - in that order. Anyone else feel me on that?

The Girl Scout cookies haven't been my only craving lately (I swear, it's just this time of year that I crave them, so thankfully January is almost over). We went to Dallas this weekend for my niece's 2nd birthday party and on our way from Austin to Dallas, I made Ross drive me through Waco to get me Taco Bueno and then after Waco, I made him stop at the famous Czech stop (obviously) for some strawberry kolaches.
One thing that Ross and I always joke about is how good of eaters we are. And then, wouldn't you know it - we give birth to a son who has a feeding tube and has no clue how to eat.

The thing with Bennett is that from the get-go, we heard "whimpy white boy." In a sense, it's a super degrading term, but in another way, it's kinda sorta applicable so it honestly doesn't bother me anymore. Bennett has never been motivated. The boy will do something when he's good and ready, but not before then. Since he was born so prematurely (25 weeks & 1 day), he never got the chance to safely learn how to suck, swallow, breathe in utero. Long story short: he needed a more permanent solution to being fed (not just an NG tube which goes down babies noses) and that's why he now has the G Tube.

He got the G Tube TWO years ago and honestly it gives me so many emotions to think about. When they placed the tube, they said, "he'll be off it in a couple months." Then a couple months came and went. Next we heard, "he'll be off it by two years old." Well, the boy is 2.5 years old and there's no end in sight.
Our Bennett in a nutshell. Wearing cowboy boots and showing off his tummy. The cloth around his button is to protect his skin from getting irritated (like his mama, he has sensitive skin).

All of that being said, a lot has changed in the last 1 of 2 years in Bennett having a feeding tube.

  1. He doesn't throw up nearly as much as he used to. Which is a huge game changer. For about a year straight, he was throwing up daily, several times. This leads me to ...
  2. He can handle a slightly higher volume than he previously was able to. In year 1 of his feeding tube, he couldn't handle 2oz of Formula in any normal amount of time. Instead we were on a continuous feed (which is exactly as it sounds) just to help him get nutrition. Now, Bennett can handle 6-8oz of blended food within a 30 minute period.
  3. Bennett previously couldn't accept texture into his mouth. He would immediately gag and throw up. Now, he will try basically anything and has even started learning how to chew. But, he still doesn't swallow 80% of his food. Therefore, it just sits in his mouth and we have to scoop it out. 
One huge silver lining is that even in the process of having him dependent on the G Tube for nutrition, Bennett successfully learned how to suck out of a straw. Y'all - he can drink by mouth! Granted, he doesn't take in as much fluid as he needs, so we still help him out by giving extra water in the tube, but it's truly an incredible thing that he mastered the straw.

Another thing: not that it really matters to me at this point what people think about Bennett's unique eating situation, but you have to admit that he looks like he knows what he's doing in that video. He looks like a perfectly normal and healthy growing baby boy. What you don't see is us scooping the chicken out of his mouth after 30 minutes of him just sucking on the flavor.

The G Tube is an absolute blessing. But the biggest frustration Ross and I have with it is simply having to do double work. It's our responsibility to offer Bennett food by mouth EVEN THOUGH we know he's likely not going to swallow it. In addition to prepping food for him to try by mouth, we also have to blend his food to go through the tube (for nutrition sake). Bennett eats what is called Real Foods Blends which is basically packaged, blended food that the DME (medical supplier) sends us every month. We add in oils and fats to make it more caloric. Then, we put the food straight from a syringe into his belly. The Real Foods Blends are actual foods which are already blended up and are specific for tube fed patients. Funny story about that: a few times back in the day, we actually fed him these blended foods by mouth because we had no clue what we were doing. And to our surprise, Bennett liked the flavor even though it sounds awful eating blended up eggs, apples, and oats together.

There are some major benefits to having the feeding tube though, I will admit. My favorite though: giving medicine is so easy AND can be done while Bennett is asleep. If he's sick and sleeping, no problem - we just open the port and insert medicine. Boom. It really doesn't get any easier than that.
The last 2.5 years of Bennett's life has been a wild ride, but also wildly joy-filled too. He is the biggest fan of Mickey Mouse, smiles so easily, gives the best kisses on the lips, is friendly to every single person, recently started talking SO MUCH, and he sleeps 12 hours straight every single night. Now tell me what could possibly be better?

8 Weeks / I Was So Brave

Y'ALL. There are two babies in there.


Two babies, and three gestational sacs. Yes, you read that right. I kind of left that part out when talking about our current pregnancy. Apparently we were meant to have triplets but inside one of the sacs, the baby never started growing. We are confident that baby is already in heaven which completely eases my mind. How did that happen, you may ask? Well, out of the two embryos that we transferred back in December, one of the embryos split into two babies - thus creating three embryo sacs and two babies (but almost three babies).

We are overjoyed that God did this miracle of a work inside my uterus and extra grateful for the two healthy babies that we're already planning names for. I am just over 8 weeks and loving every split second of this twin pregnancy. Speaking of names, I have this irrational fear that someone who is further along in their pregnancy will name their baby the names that we've selected. Totally irrational, but I take my baby-naming very seriously.

Ross, the computer and HTML guru that he is, created a spreadsheet of hundreds of potential twin names. He has it coded so that we each select the names that we like, and then once we agree on a name, it automatically moves to a short list of our favorites. We have a good list of boy names (but of course I have a favorite which I'm thinking will win - yay), but so far, we've only agreed on two girl names. We should know the gender of our twins in the next month or two - it all kind of depends on the genetic testing. If there's a "Y" chromosome, then clearly there is at least 1 boy, but there's no telling if there's 1 or 2 boys. If there are only "X" chromosomes in my blood, then we'll automatically know that we're having twin girls. We'll be doing the genetic blood work at 10 weeks and then the gender ultrasound at 16 weeks.

Kensington has me convinced that we're having 1 boy and 1 girl. From the moment that we told her that there were two babies in my belly, she just assumed there was a brother and a sister. She has also been super interested in caring for her toy doll lately. She is truly such a special girl and we're so proud of her for the role she plays as Biggest Sibling.
My hubby snapped this picture recently when Kensington was riding her bike. I showed the picture to her, and she said, "I was so brave!" From the very beginning, Kensington has brought so much joy to our lives. Her pregnancy was (so) easy. As a baby, she was 100% by-the-books and a complete breeze. And now as a toddler, she has always been such an obedient child. We're slowly starting to experience the fruit of our parenting labor and it's really rewarding to watch her say confident things like, "I was so brave!"

A little about our parenting style, now that we've been doing this for 3.5 years:
*we all sleep in the same room
*we don't believe in the "cry it out" method or sleep training
*we don't use physical abuse as a form of punishment
*when we're hurt or mess up, we ask God to heal/forgive us
*we let the kids play/make any messes they want, as long as they aren't hurting themselves or each other
*Ross and I ask the kids for forgiveness if we screw up in parenting
*we eat sugar and Taco Bell but also try to push more nutritious options when we can

I could go on & on, but I'll stop there. We are by no means perfect. Definitely not. But we try to do our best in raising the kids that we've been entrusted with. After all, that phrase of, "it goes by so fast" is absolutely true. It could've been yesterday when we were pregnant with Kensington. And now? She is a big sister x 3 and turns four years old in less than 5 months.

For those in a desperate season of waiting for children, I urge you to hold onto hope. And pray with expectation. And speak life. Turn to God and show Him your desperation. Plead with Him. I'm here to pray alongside you. It's been such a gift to have each of you during our waiting period and I am sticking on this journey with each of you in the waiting period too.

In the next post that I write, I hope to update y'all about our Bennett. As many of you know, he was born too early at 25 weeks and 1 day. We spent 5 months in the NICU. Now that he's 2.5 years old, I can't wait to share with you how much our baby boy has grown. It gives me all the feels that he is going to be a Big Brother too, especially because I swore I was done having children after his traumatic pregnancy/birth. I can't wait to share more about how Bennett has changed and what our life looks like now with an ex-25-weeker.

Currently

We did it, friends. We survived another week! I live for the weekends and am so happy to see Friday here. I am still busy getting things up and running around these parts of the WWW but we'll get there soon. Many of you know that I started blogging years ago and my goal is to share life updates with you but also I really enjoy writing light-hearted posts too. For now, here's a little bit of what I'm currently enjoying in my life.

Watching: NARCOS.
Ross has been trying to get me to watch Narcos for the longest time because he knows that it's totally up my alley. Well, I finally started. Apparently there are several different seasons, but I started on the newest one from 2018 involving Rafa, Kiki, etc and is based in Guadalajara. It is so good. Why did I take so long? Once I finish this season, I will plan on watching the other seasons.

Shopping: SEPHORA.
Okay so I am in need of your recs. I have a good chunk of money (Christmas gift cards) to spend at Sephora and I simply can't decide what I want. I am pretty sure of a new foundation that I want to try, but so far, that's all I've got in my cart. The problem is that I want one of everything but I'm trying to use my money wisely. Please share your favorite must-have items from Sephora!

Planning: THE TWINS.
I can't stop thinking about the two precious babies that are growing in my baby. I'm in a permanent state of nesting. All I want to do is get things ready for them. Ross and I are already brainstorming 2 boy and 2 girl names since we don't know the genders yet. With Bennett's pregnancy, we did not find out the gender and it was such a neat surprise at birth. We will likely find out the gender of these babies, but we aren't completely sure if we want to know or not. Kensington swears there is 1 boy and 1 girl, so we'll see. Other neat information about our babies: they are "Di Di" twins which means that they each have their own sacs & placentas. Thank you to each of you for being so supportive of us since 2014. It has been a journey to say the least. We're so grateful to have y'all pray and cheer us on.

Reading: THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW. 
Well, I haven't actually started reading it yet but I did check it out from our library today. I got myself a library card and basically the possibilities are endless. Also my bank account thanks me for not buying a plethora of books on Amazon that I will read once and then never touch again. It's amazing how many books I came across today just by browsing our local library. I snapped pictures of the books I want to read next. Anyways, I'm super excited to jump into this book asap. Leave your recommendations for favorite books of yours!

Excited: ORGANIZATION.
Organization has always been something that I've been a fan of. I love to keep order, write every little detail down in my planner about our schedule, lay things out nicely, make lists, etc. It's kinda my thing. Since becoming a mom, I've definitely sacrificed some of my preferences in order to keep a laid back atmosphere in the home. But lately, I've decided to make it more of a priority - in a healthy way of course. My mother-in-law gifted us a session with a professional organizer (fancy right?) and she is coming over next week. I am excited to brainstorm ways with her to make our house more presentable for my own sake. In the meantime, I took it upon myself to make our pantry more easy on the eyes. I am so happy with how it turned out!

IVF Pregnancy #3: T W I N S

Not only am I back to blogging again (yay!), but we are completely overjoyed to share with y'all that we are pregnant with TWINS. Yes, you read that right: T W I N S! As many of you know, we only get pregnant via IVF due to Unexplained Infertility. In 2014 after doing a fresh cycle, we ended up with 6 beautiful embryos (5 day blastocysts).

Two embryos were immediately transferred in 2014 (fresh transfer) and we got pregnant with our precious Kensington. Eight months after Kensington was born, we decided that we wanted another baby in our life. In 2016 we transferred two more embryos (frozen transfer) and got pregnant with our angelic Bennett. Neither of those times were we expectant to get twins; I think we just desperately wanted a baby and didn't think to specifically pray for both embryos to stick around. Anyways, after both of those transfers, we still had 2 embryos left, which brings me to...

This pregnancy: I'll share more later in detail for those who don't know - although many of y'all do! - but our pregnancy with Bennett was very complicated and ended in a traumatic birth. (But rest assured, he is doing awesome these days)! I was pretty distraught after having such an intense labor/delivery so I knew I wouldn't be ready for quite a while for any more kids - if ever again. However, all along, my husband was pretty adamant that he wanted our kids close in age and he was ready for more when I was.

After talking about it a lot on occasion (it took us 2 years to talk about, in fact), we finally decided that we'd be ready for our final Frozen Embryo Transfer at the end of 2018. Not only for insurance purposes (an unexpected blessing to find out that Ross' insurance pays for 90% of fertility treatments) but also because I felt healed enough to proceed forward.

With the first two transfers (Kensington and Bennett), I followed all the old wives tales (ex: eating pineapple core) in the books to "ensure" I'd get a positive pregnancy test. For this transfer using our final two embryos, I really felt at peace with whatever would happen, so I opted out of doing all the old wives tales. The one and only thing that I did differently this time was to NOT use the restroom right after our transfer.

For those who don't know, in order to transfer embryos into your uterus, doctors require that you have a full bladder. It somehow help to guide the catheter into jusssst the right spot if your bladder is full. Well, as you can imagine, you generally need to pee pretty bad afterwards. With our first two transfers, I immediately went to the bathroom since I just couldn't hold it any longer. However, this time was different. I had remembered our nurse telling us (years ago, no less) that twin pregnancies happen more frequently when you don't use the restroom immediately after an embryo transfer.

So I thought, "Hmm... I'll give it a whirl." And while the old wives tale turned out to be true in that regard, I don't think it's the very reason we got pregnant. I attribute God, prayer, and His design of medicine for the reason we got pregnant with twins. Ross and I were very intentional in praying for both babies this time. We also asked our friends, small group, and family to pray specifically for that too.
Kensington (3) and Bennett (2)

Tears have been frequent lately. I have been crying so many happy tears ... and some anxious tears too - if I'm being honest - but mostly happy, joyful tears! We're excited to be due in the middle of August and are expectant and prayerful for two healthy and full-term babies to complete our family.

In the next month or so, my doctor wants me to do genetic testing, which may also indicate the gender of the babies - it's not guaranteed though. In addition to seeing my OBGYN regularly, I'll also be seen by a Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor. It's likely that I'll be on injections for the rest of my pregnancy, which really stinks, BUT I am happy (without complaint) to do whatever it takes to help my babies reach full-term.

In unrelated news, I am working hard on getting the blog up and running with my new template and all that jazz. Thanks so much to each of you who stuck with it, even though I went MIA for quite a while. In the next few posts, I'll try to update y'all on other happenings in our life (I also want to hear about what's new with y'all!) and of course some more lighthearted posts too. Hugs to each of you! It feels so natural to be back here typing away.