Saturday, May 27, 2017

Things to Make Pregnancy a Little More Comfortable

Pregnancy can certainly be uncomfortable at times, but I'm not complaining!  The minor discomforts I've felt so far are well worth the two sweet babies growing in my belly!  

I have found a few things that have helped make me a bit more comfortable and thought I would share them today in case you are pregnant or know someone who is pregnant.  

Sleeping started to get uncomfortable pretty early on in my pregnancy.  After doing a bit of research online, I found quite an abundance of pregnancy pillows.  They all seemed super expensive, however.  I asked a friend if they were worth the hype and she said yes and recommended the Leachco Snoogle.  So I went for it and bought one at Bed, Bath & Beyond.  I used a coupon, which helped with the cost.  Let me tell you, after using it for a few months, I would happily pay well over what I spent.  It makes finding a comfortable sleeping position so much better!  Especially when you have to start sleeping on your side. 

With all the stretching my belly has been enduring, I'm happy that I found this lotion!  I'm well into my third container of it and I don't have any stretch marks yet.  (Though I'm sure I'll end up with some stretch marks being pregnant with twins.)  I think using this lotion has helped so far.  It's also helped any itchiness I've felt on my belly.  And I like the fact that it is 99% natural.  

After I started showing, I decided that I needed some new underwear.  I found some on clearance at Motherhood Maternity so I got a few pairs.  They were the kind that sit below your belly and I ended up hating them.  They would fall down as the day went on and it was super annoying to have to keep pulling them up.  So I tried these "fold over" underwear next, which I also found on clearance.  I think you are supposed to actually fold them over, but I keep them unfolded.  They still sit well under my belly button, but they stay up!   

I think the main reason I haven't gotten any stretch marks yet is because I drink water like crazy!  (This also means I go to the bathroom about every 30 minutes.  Oh well!)  Staying hydrated also helps keep contractions at bay, which I definitely want to do since these babies have lots more growing to do.  I love this water bottle because it keeps water cold for hours and hours and doesn't sweat on the outside.  The opening is also big enough to fit ice cubes into.

All my bras stopped fitting a long time ago.  So my mom took me shopping to find one bigger and more comfortable.  I ended up trying on this bra and love it!  In fact, I keep buying the same style each time I need a new size.  It is super comfortable!  It doesn't have an underwire, but does have some built in cups. I can also wear it under shirts with low necklines (why are most maternity shirts super low-cut?) and it just looks like I have a tank top on underneath.  

There you have it.  All I've figured out about staying comfortable while pregnant.  Hope these items might help out others!  

Friday, May 26, 2017

The Babies' Fetal Echocardiogram

The babies (and I) are continuing to grow big and strong!  Things are going very well with my pregnancy, which makes Adam and I extremely happy.  Our latest appointment with our maternal fetal medicine specialist was this past Tuesday, May 23, 2017.  Adam and I were both nervous about this appointment and ready to get it behind us.  This was the appointment where the babies would each have a fetal echocardiogram.  

An echocardiogram is essentially an in-depth look at the heart.  It is performed like a typical sonogram. The sonographer looks closely at the structure of the heart (the chambers, the valves) and the function of the heart (the blood flow).  With twins there is a higher risk of heart defects.  The fact that our first baby had significant heart defects also increased the risk of our twins having heart defects.  With all of these risk factors in place, Adam and I were trying to maintain positive thoughts, but were also worried that there was a very real chance that one or both of our babies would have heart issues.  

Earlier sonograms had been able to tell us that each of our babies' hearts had 4 chambers.  This was a relief and definitely helped calm some of our fears.  But the fact remained that there are lots of different types of heart defects.

It seemed like the echocardiogram took forever!  And my babies were being a bit ornery, which made it difficult for the sonographer to get all the measurements and views she needed.  After trying some different positions and drinking some cold water, the sonographer was able to get most of the views she needed.  As she was getting all the views and measurements, I was trying to compare each of the babies' numbers to see if any were wildly different.  With my lack of medical knowledge, I couldn't figure much out.  I was also trying to read the sonographer's facial expressions.  (On a side note, I think sonographers would make fantastic poker players, because I can never figure out what they are thinking!)

Afterwards, we went to wait in a conference room while Dr. Lu looked over the measurements and views. This was a difficult wait.  It brought back memories of us getting the devastating news of our first baby's heart problems.  Eventually Dr. Lu came into the room.  

After greeting us and asking how things were going, he reached for a picture of a diagram of the heart.  I about lost it at this point.  I knew he wouldn't need to show us a heart diagram if our babies' had healthy hearts.

He told us that the structures of each baby's heart looked great.  They had all the chambers and valves they should have and they all seemed to be functioning correctly.  He also said the direction and amount of blood flow was normal, as well.  

Then he reached for his pen.  He told us that they did find one minor issue with Baby A's heart, our son's heart.  He explained that every baby has an opening between the left and right side of their hearts called a Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO).  There's a little flap of tissue that will eventually cover this opening.  The flap of tissue is supposed to be flat and linear.  Our son's flap is more curved and sac-like.  The concern with this is that it might not close properly or if it does close, there might be an extra bit of tissue hanging around.  The official name of this is an Atrial Septal Aneurysm.  There is an increased chance of stroke later in life in people who have this type of defect.

The good news is that this particular defect is very minor.  There's a good chance that it will straighten out and close on it's own.  Dr. Lu said it wasn't a huge concern, just something we should be aware of.  His recommendation is for our son to have an echocardiogram once he's born to check on things.  

We asked what the chances were of him having to have some type of heart surgery and he said it wasn't anything we needed to be worried about right now.  He also said there's some controversy surrounding surgery to fix this defect.  Heart surgery itself poses a risk of stroke, so you have to weigh the risk of stroke during surgery with the risk of stroke later in life.  

So I am going to take Dr. Lu's advice and not worry about this right now.  Chances are it will fix itself all on its own and that will be the end of that.  Realistically, this is very minor.  Adam and I feel incredibly lucky that this is the only thing that came up during the heart echo.  We walked out of the office relieved and extremely grateful that our babies don't have any significant heart issues!  

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Good Thing Jazzy's Cute!

Remember how I said this in the last post

"The day lilies and hostas in our front beds are getting bigger and bigger.  Jazzy likes to wander around in them as if she's in the jungle.  She's chased out more than a few bunnies and squirrels.  Thankfully she hasn't caught any of them this season...yet."  

Well, I totally jinxed myself in saying so.  The other day I let Jazzy outside in the backyard so she could go play.  I can hear her scratch on the door frame when she's ready to come inside.  I heard her little scratching, so I went to the back door to let her inside.  I was greeted with this lovely sight...

I certainly wasn't expecting this and I am very glad I actually looked at Jazzy before I opened up the door! She wanted to bring that poor baby bunny inside!  Gross!!  Imagine if I hadn't paid any attention to Jazzy and she ran upstairs and hid that thing in our bed!  

I stood there for awhile trying to brainstorm what I was going to do about this situation.  (Of course I took a picture first to show her daddy how ornery she had been.)  I knew I needed to get that bunny away from her before she came inside or decided to start eating it.  I was trying really hard not to gag at this point.  

I finally decided to get some of Jazzy's poop bags to put over my hands like gloves.  I thought I could pry her jaws open and scoop up the baby bunny with one of the bags.  So I went outside with lime green poop bags on my hands.  Jazzy was so excited about her catch.  She was literally quivering with excitement and wagging her tail like crazy.  I did feel a little bad about the fact that she wouldn't get to keep her prized possession.  I am I very glad the bunny wasn't alive at this point.  

Once I got up the nerve to actually try to get the bunny away from Jazzy, I tried with all my might to get Jazzy's jaws open.  But she wasn't going to let that bunny go.  Then I tried to grab the bunny's legs and pull it out of her mouth, but the squishiness of the bunny was too much for me and I had to stop.    

This was so disgusting.  I wasn't sure what to try next.  So I went inside and called Adam at work.  He didn't pick up his phone so I left some crazy message that I'm sure he got a kick out of when he listened to it.  

I wandered around the house trying to figure out what to try next.  I got the brillant idea to try swapping out the bunny for another treat.  I got one of Jazzy's Liver Slivers, which is one of her favorite treats.  I found a big piece of it and went back outside.  I waved it in her face so she could smell it and thought she would just put the baby bunny down to eat it while I scooped the bunny up with my poop bag glove.  I guess Jazzy did not feel it was an equal trade.  She had no plans of giving up that bunny.  She just went to sit next to the door so she could bring it inside.  

I was really at a loss now.  I had no idea what to try next.  So I decided to take a little video of the ordeal to fully illustrate for Adam what went on.  

I thought for a minute that I could just leave Jazzy and the bunny outside until Adam got home.  But I was afraid she would try to eat it, which would be disgusting!  And she would have been out there for hours. So then I got the idea of asking one of my neighbors for ideas.  Since it was during the day, most of my neighbors were at work so I couldn't go ask them.  But next door to us is a sweet retired couple in their 70s or 80s.  I know they had had dogs in the past so I figured maybe they would know what to do.  

I left Jazzy in the backyard and knocked on their door.  Willard answered and I told him that I needed some advice.  I explained that Jazzy had caught a baby bunny and wasn't giving it up.  He told me that he and his wife Carol had seen Jazzy running around chasing something.  So I'm sure they also saw me trying to pry the bunny out of her mouth while wearing lime green bags on my hands.  Willard said he would be right over to help.  

So Willard came over wearing some actual work gloves, which made me wonder why I hadn't thought to do the same thing.  He somehow managed to get the bunny out of her mouth in a jiffy!  It was on the ground in front of Jazzy in no time!  He held Jazzy back so she wouldn't pick it up again, which meant I had to pick it up with one of my poop bag gloves.  I tried to just pick it up by the foot, but it was still disgusting. I gave her the Liver Sliver treat as a consolation prize.  I don't think she enjoyed it quite as much as the bunny.  

Willard said there might be a nest somewhere in the yard, so we wandered around to look for it.  We didn't find one, so we figured that the bunny had just come into the yard on its own.  Willard is my hero!  I really don't know what I would have done if he hadn't been around to help.  

After that debacle, I let Jazzy back inside.  Luckily there wasn't any blood or guts hanging out of the bunny so I didn't have to clean Jazzy up.  I think Jazzy had managed to break its neck.  But I gave Jazzy a fresh mint dental bone just in case.  And Adam brushed her teeth when he got home.  

As disgusting as the whole ordeal was, I can't be mad at Jazzy.  She was just being a dog.  And as Willard pointed out, there's one less bunny around to eat our flowers and plants.  It sure is a good thing that Jazzy's cute!     

Monday, May 15, 2017

A Touch of Spring

Spring is in full swing and I love it!  I thought I would share just a few simple ideas of how I bring spring inside my home and show you how spring is shaping up the pretty flowers outside of our home.  

In this post I shared the pots I planted and put out in the front of our house.  It's been just over a month and the flowers are really taking off!  Here's one of the pots on the front porch.  If you look closely, you'll even see one of the elephant ears starting to sprout in the middle of the pot!  

The giant pot on the driveway is growing like gangbusters!  


The pots on the front steps are blooming away as well!  Jazzy even likes to stop and smell the flowers from time to time.  

The day lilies and hostas in our front beds are getting bigger and bigger.  Jazzy likes to wander around in them as if she's in the jungle.  She's chased out more than a few bunnies and squirrels.  Thankfully she hasn't caught any of them this season...yet.  

My peonies are finally starting to bloom!  I love them so much!  

In addition to gawking at them while I'm sitting on the porch, I've also sprinkled a few throughout the inside of our house.  I stuck one in our half bathroom, along with some Mrs. Meyer's peony-scented soap.  

There's also one sitting on our entryway table.  

And I stuck one on the table in our kitchen.  It's sitting in one of my all-time favorite bud vases, which is actually just a tiny syrup bottle I got while eating pancakes at Cracker Barrel.  

I'm not the only one enjoying all the flowers!  Jazzy also like to gaze adoringly at all the blooms out of the front window when we're not outside.  And the cute little chalkboard sign reminds me to enjoy the sunshine each day.    

I hope you've been able to enjoy spring, too!  

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Nursery Reveal

I am so excited to share our babies' nursery with you all today!  While there are still little things here or there that need to be tweaked or added, the majority of the space is finished!  This space has quickly become one of my favorite rooms in our house.  Not only because it is for our sweet babies, but because Adam and I (with some help from our families) created the space together.

I adore the wall color!  We went with Behr's Solitary Tree and I think it is perfect for this space.  Along with the green, we added lots of white and hints of gray.  

The cribs were bought on  (Thanks, Mom and Dad!)  Along with being solid wood and free of toxic finishes, they are pretty darn nice.  They can also be used as toddler beds and came with the conversion kit.  My sweet grandma got us the crib mattresses.  (Thanks, Mama!)  They were also ordered from and are nontoxic. 

How cute is this little corner?!  The glider came from Target and was kindly given to us by Adam's mom. (Thanks, Janet!)  It goes perfectly with all the other gray touches in the room, is covered in easy-to-clean microfiber and is super comfy.  The curtains were certainly worth the wait!  I ordered them from this Etsy shop and am super pleased with them!  Not only is the fabric adorable, but they are well made and feature a blackout lining.  I convinced Adam to hang the left side of the curtains well away from the window to help let in more light and make the window seem larger than it really is.   


We got lucky to find this dresser on Craigslist.  It is solid wood and in really good shape.  I added the changing pad, a wipe warmer and basket of supplies on top.  Now it's the perfect changing station!  It also offers lots of storage, which is nice. 

The cute little gallery wall above the changing table makes me smile whenever I look at it.  I included some baby pictures of both Adam and I so we can see who our babies resemble.  The Noah's Ark cross stitch was actually given to my parents by my Grandma when I was just a baby and I love that I can now hang it in my babies' nursery. 

Here's a view from the corner with the window.  We decided to keep the door wood so it would match the existing doors in our house.  The roomy closet is tucked away in that side of the room. 

The closet also got some love.  My dad gave it a fresh coat of white paint and it's already starting to fill up with cute clothes!  

I decided to hang up all the shirts, onesies, dresses and pajamas since there's plenty of hanging space.  I whipped up some size dividers using a cereal box and some paint to help organize all the different sized clothes we have.  

We were able to fit another dresser inside the closet, which offers even more storage.  The top drawer houses our son's pants, shorts and socks.  

And the second drawer houses the same for our daughter.  

The shelving in the closet now holds lots of diapers.  I have no idea how many diapers we'll end up using on a daily basis, but I figure this ought to at least get us started!  

The floor of the closet has a cute laundry bin that I found at TJ Maxx.  I'm sure that will get filled up rather quickly once the babies arrive!  I'm also keeping the boppys and feeding pillow in there for now.  

I'm loving all the other little details around the room.  The mobiles above the cribs are hung up and ready to be stared at.  We've tested them out with the window open and the fan running and they've held up to both.  

I also have a soft spot in my heart for the big ol' bin of books next to the glider.  I can just see the babies and I sitting in the rocker reading bedtime stories together.  

I love how the room is plenty cute for babies, but can easily be transitioned to a big boy or girl room as our kids get older.  There are some darling nurseries out there, but sometimes they are definitely geared more towards babies.  I'm sure that Adam and I will have our hands full in the years to come and we didn't want to create a room that we'll have to redo in a few years.

Even though the nursery is ready to go, I hope our babies don't get to see the inside of it for quite some time!  They still have lots of growing inside my belly to do!     

Monday, May 8, 2017

Behind the Scenes of the Nursery

The nursery is thisclose to being complete!  I am just waiting on the curtains I ordered from a gal on Etsy to arrive.  While I'm waiting on the curtains before I reveal our nursery on the blog, I thought it would be fun to take a peek at all of the hard work that went into this space.  

Let's take a look at where we started.  Here's what the room looked like when we moved in.  We knew that one day this room would be the perfect nursery mainly because it's located directly across the hall from our room.  It's a good size, not too big and not to small.  It has a roomy closet, perfect for storing all that baby stuff.  And it has a nice window to let in some natural light.   


When we were pregnant with our baby girl the first time around, we never got started on turning the room into the nursery.  We did put the baby gifts we received and some furniture we hoped to use in there.  But we never got to meet our sweet girl and the room never became a nursery.  For a long time we kept that door shut because it was just too painful to have to look into that empty room each time we walked up the stairs to go to our room.  

We've been waiting years and years to be able to officially call this room the nursery again.  Eventually we got tired of waiting and decided to start working on it with the hopes that it would jump start our family. Adam wanted to add a plank ceiling and crown molding, so that's what we got started with well before we knew the twins were coming.

Adam began by removing the old, ugly ceiling fan.  From there he installed some furring strips that he would eventually attach the planks to.  (He'll probably kill me for sharing shirtless photos of him, but I had to document the furring strips!)  Once the furring strips were up, they were ready for the planks.  This post has more detailed information on how to install the plank ceiling.     


From there, the planks went up.  This process was a bit tedious and took quite a bit of time.  We took our time since we weren't even pregnant by this point.  We got a few planks up and then we focused on other projects.  

Fast forward a year or so.  We found out we were pregnant with twins!  So Adam got busy on the nursery again.  He finished putting up all the planks and then wrote this sweet message before installing the crown molding.

Okay, I've sopped up all my tears.  We can move on.  

Then the crown molding went up.
Once the crown molding was up, Adam painted it white, along with the ceiling, closet doors, baseboards and window and door trim.  

From there, we had to pick the wall color and it was a little trickier than I thought it would be!  At first, we threw around the idea of gray.  But after trying out a few samples, we decided we just weren't gray people.  So then I decided on a bright, cheery green.  Adam was nice to me and agreed that was the perfect color all along.  A few other people I told about our color choice weren't so sure, but we decided to go for it.  

We ended up picking Behr's Solitary Tree and I am in love with it!  It's fun and energetic during the day, but calming and moody at night.  It's perfect for our babies' nursery!  

My parents and Adam's mom were super kind to help us with the painting!  (Thanks, Mom, Dad and Janet!) I didn't help out because I didn't want to be breathing in any unnecessary fumes, even though the paint we used had zero VOCs.  Adam and I have been super careful throughout my pregnancy, probably to the point of being a bit neurotic.  But that's okay.  We just want our babies safe and healthy!   


Once I receive the curtains and get them installed, I'll be back with a full reveal of the nursery!     

In the meantime, here's a fun photo progression of the nursery:

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Getting the Bathroom Ready for Babies

I am quickly learning that babies require a lot of stuff.  That stuff tends to end up in places all around the house, not just in the nursery.  My latest project in preparation for the twins' arrival was getting the bathroom ready.  Our guest bathroom will now be known as the babies' bathroom.

One thing that needed to be done in order to make room for the babies' stuff was to clear out the vanity cabinets.  There wasn't a whole lot of stuff in there, but it was slowly becoming a catchall for all the stuff that didn't have a home.  

So I cleared out the cabinets today, wiped them down and put in some contact paper.  The contact paper helps finish off the cabinets and makes them look far nicer than they did.  It was a little tricky to get my pregnant body maneuvered around to get it installed.  But with a few breaks and some creativity, I made it happen.  

I even lined the drawers.  We don't have anything housed in there just yet, but I'm sure we'll add some of the babies' toiletry items in there once we get them.  You know, things like combs, brushes, thermometers, baby medicine, and so on and so forth.  Eventually I'll get some drawer dividers to help organize everything.  But it doesn't make sense to get those until I know what exactly we'll need to organize.  

I did, however, use bins and baskets that I already had to organize the supplies that we do already have on hand.  I could have bought all new, matching bins, but decided to just use what I already had to save some money.  Since we'll have only one income soon, I figured I had better start getting thrifty where I can.  

Along with gathering and using bins and baskets, I also made some cute labels to help further organize everything.  It turned out pretty nice and definitely looks better than it did.  

I kept things like the humidifier and scale on the left side of the cabinets.  I put a basket of Jazzy's doggy shampoo and conditioner in the center, along with a basket that will eventually hold the babies' bathing supplies.  The right side now has bins with the babies' washcloths and towels, along with some extra toilet paper.  

Jazzy was happy that her products didn't get booted from her bathroom.  I have to keep reminding her that she'll still be our baby, even when the twins arrive.  

It's safe to say our babies' bathroom is looking more welcoming and organized.   

But the babies don't need to hurry out just to see their new bathroom.  It will still be waiting for them many weeks from now.