New Dining Table + Current Toddler Favorites

When we built our house, it just made sense that the formal dining room would actually be utilized as the playroom. It's smack dab in the middle of our house and we can do things in the kitchen/living room while also being able to monitor the kids in the playroom. Practicality is my husband's middle name and it just made sense to do it this way.

Fast forward to now and living in the house for 3 years, Bennett being 2.5 years old, and him still 100% G Tube dependent: our GI doctor highly encouraged us to buy a popup table that we can eat dinners at as a family. That way we could pop it up, eat, and then pop it down. How we've always done meals is by all sitting at the kitchen island (which is plenty large enough) because, again, #practicality. We did look into popup tables but ultimately decided that buying a dining table wouldn't be a bad idea. Ta-da! We're kinda loving it. And seeing 6 chairs for our growing family makes me smile. I can't believe we're going to be a family of 6, but I am soooo thankful. Anyways, hopefully this new setup will encourage Bennett to eat more by mouth. Plus, as practical of people as we are, it's really nice having a dining table to make memories at.
Also for fun, here's a little before and after. Sorry, Shep and Millie; I know the playroom was so cool but you can thank you Big Brother Bennett for the dining table. Just kidding :-) We actually are very happy with the change. What do y'all think?! Are we crazy for getting rid of our playroom while also expecting twins?
Changing the playroom back into it's intended use as a dining room meant downsizing toys - only sticking with Kensington and Bennett's most favorites - and moving the toys into their new room. Their room? That's another post for another day. But essentially, we're going to stop cosleeping soon (sad face) in preparation for Shep and Millie's August arrival.  Though I'm sad to end our cosleeping experience with Kensington and Bennett, I am excited for their new bedroom. I'll share details next month once we get the room ready!

So yea, toys. We own entirely too many, but of course the kids have been gifted so many neat things over the years. I was recently inspired by Elena at Baby Ridley Bump to share a few of our favorite toddler toys!

  • Our play kitchen is so chic and goes perfectly with our farmhouse feel of the house. The kids love to play pretend with it and it's definitely going to be with us until all of the kids have outgrown it.
  • Keeping with the same theme, K and B love grocery shopping in the pantry while using their shopping cart. Also, this is a great tool to use when kids are learning to walk. Bennett always preferred learning to walk with this shopping cart v. the other walkers out there for kiddos.
  • Another favorite toy of theirs is the Dyson vacuum. I personally love to vacuum around the house any chance I get (clean floors are my number 1 cleaning priority) and the kids are always grabbing their vacuum to copy me.
  • Little People figurines are a huge hit in our house. The kids play with them Stores sell a plethora of different kinds but these superhero ones are our most recent purchase!
  • Bennett was recently gifted some Magna Tiles for his birthday and they get played with every day. They're also perfect on our metal kid's size table since they are magnetic! 

Of course there are a million other toys that I could've posted about, but these are the ones that are tried and true and are good investment toys. Eventually, I'll do a post about our favorite baby toys especially since we're about to be back in that season again. We just sent a load of baby toys home with Ross' parents since they have tons of storage at their house, whereas we are full to the brim. Once the twins are a few months old and are more playful, we'll bring those toys out and see which ones they love the most!

Pregnancy Update + Gender and Name of Twins!!!

Alarm clocks run my world. I would never remember to take all of my medicines without those sounds going off every few hours. With IVF, it's not just a one time "we transferred two babies into my uterus" thing. There is SO much that goes on behind the scenes. We started taking medicine in October and well, obviously now it's February. I am still on medicines but I have been given the all clear to temporarily stop my Progesterone In Oil Intermuscular Injections. It's actually bittersweet for some reason. I think mostly because the injections gave me so much peace of mind: "this medicine is sustaining my babies" was always on my mind. But really, by 12 weeks (which is my gestation age), the placenta for both kiddos has fully taken over and the injections are not needed at this point.

Obviously there are two bum cheeks, which means only two spots that the injections can go - one on each side. Every other day we would alternate sides. There's a lot of heating-pad-sitting and oil warming but there is virtually no time for the bum to heal after stabbing 2mLs of oil into it every day. So I have knots galore and it will be nice to have a bit of a break. But please note: I would joyfully take the injections every day if it was necessary. I am just glad that I get a small break since they aren't needed for now.

When the twins turn 16 weeks gestation (conveniently on my 32nd birthday), I will start a new round of progesterone injections but these are called 17OHP or 17OH or 17-hydroxyprogesterone. Yes medical pregnancies are funky and you learn a lot of weird things. Anyways, this injection will go in the same spots on my body: in my muscles on each side of my bum. But they're just a slightly different branch of progesterone than the kind I've always taken with my pregnancies. I may even be at a lower dose than 2mLs.

I met with my MFM (high risk doc) last week and we chatted about a lot of options, but the injections + me being monitored frequently is the plan of attack. We have a few backup options, but hopefully this plan will get us there. A lot of doctors seem to believe my pregnancy with Bennett was just a fluke how it all played out. There was one problem after another. We're still hoping, praying, and believing for a full term twin pregnancy this time around.

A day after my MFM appointment, we got some exciting news: we're having Boy/Girl twins!!! Initially when we talked with my OBGYN about genetic bloodwork, we were going to do the Harmony test. Long story short: we had to go with another test (Panorama) and that test was able to look at BOTH fetal DNA rather than just look for a Y chromosome. It was also such a gift to learn that both babies are healthy with low genetic risk.
thank you to Alyssa Martin Photography for these images! 

Such a neat (and practical) way to complete our family: keeping the score even. And not to mention, we have a plethora of boy and girl clothes already so we're fairly set. That doesn't mean I'm done shopping though. I fully intend to buy several matching pink/blue outfits. In fact, about an hour after finding out the gender of the twins, I immediately bought their going home outfits: one pink and one blue. If that ain't believing for a healthy, full term pregnancy then I don't know what is.

Of course, most of you came to my blog today not to read about pregnancy updates, but to learn what our babies names are! After much thought (months in the making), we finally agreed on the perfect names for our babies.

Shepherd Beau Skinner (Shep)
Ruth Millicent Skinner (Millie)

It's such a joy to be able to pray for our babies with their specific names. And what is still sorta mind blowing to me is that I barely know these two souls inside my body, yet God knows them perfectly well and He knew what their names would be long before we did. Years ago when I would cry out to God, "please give me a baby!", He knew Kensington, Bennett, Shep, and Millie were on their way. But I had no clue.

Keep praying and believing and if need be, trust in God's design of medicine! Your miracle is coming too.

Potty Training Bennett + New TV Shows

My life is full of, "I'll plan it this way" but somehow things always go a completely different route. Just me?

For instance: my 2 year old son, smart as he can be, doesn't get enough credit from me. I had my plans on when we'd potty train. I know this is gonna sound wacky, but specifically, I planned to start the summer before he turned 4 (next summer!) since our Mother's Day Out program only requires 3+ year old kids to be potty trained. And the way that Bennett's birthday lands, even though he'll be 3 this fall, he must stick with the 2 year olds class for fall 2019 rather than the 3 year old class. In addition to wanting to wait, I really didn't believe he'd be mentally ready. So my logic was let's wait until next summer, right?

Well, Bennett proved me wrong. 
He started going tinkle on the potty randomly all by himself a few weeks ago. I am NOT ready for this. But it's the best kind of surprise because *he* is and that makes me smile. Everyone who knows me understands that I am #TeamDiapers for life. In fact, I was soooo reluctant to potty train Kensington too and waited until the very last minute with her. Thankfully, she learned how to really stinkin' fast. I guess that's the perk of waiting until the last minute.

Precious little Bennett sees his Big Sis and hears her exclaim, "I need to potty!" so now he says that and races to the bathroom with us. At first, I didn't believe him. But I thought for kicks and gigs, I'd put him on the pot. Sure enough, he tenses up in the cutest way, has a look of concentration, and begins to go pee. Mom victories are funny. I get so excited for my kids when they successfully pee on the pot. We shout, dance, jump, squeal, and make a big scene.

So yea, the kid doesn't know how to safely chew and swallow his food, but he can go pee on the potty. The irony of trying to plan things, am I right? Although he isn't fully potty trained by any means, I did buy him some Mickey Mouse undies this week and I'm hopeful that will excite him even more. I will likely make our house a "birthday suit zone" this weekend to give him a slight push forward in the training. 
Other happenings include me having pregnancy insomnia. Like, what? If there's something I've ever been great at, it's napping. Sleeping at night has never been one of my strongest qualities, but napping? Yes, I'm a pro. No clue why I'm experiencing this, but I am. When I can't sleep, I tend to just pull out my phone and watch something in bed. I have watched a lot of good stuff lately so I feel like I should share!

  • "Three Identical Strangers" on CNN
  • "Fyre Fraud" on Hulu
  • "Fyre" on Netflix
  • "Ted Bundy Tapes" on Netflix

Other shows I have thoughts on:
  • "You" on Netflix. SO BORING. How is this show getting so much rave? I gave it a solid 6 episodes and finally decided I was wasting my precious time.
  • "Abducted in Plain Sight" on Netflix. I refuse to watch this because everyone says that it's maddening and makes no sense. I don't want to feel that way after watching a show, so I'll skip out on this one.
  • "Smiley Face Killers" on Oxygen. I watched one episode last night and it was just so-so. I may give the rest of the episodes a solid try. We'll see. 

Watching TV has always been one of my favorite ways to de-stress. Usually when our TV is on, the Disney Channel is blasting, so it's nice when I can sit down and watch one of my shows, even if it's at 3am because I can't sleep. If you have any documentary or show recommendations, let me know! I may have seen it, but it doesn't hurt to share!