29 May 2012

Ugh. Retail.

So, anyone who knows me knows I hate retail anything. After bday shopping for Laura I had to come home and scarf down some chocolate ice cream. Laura capture my choco-therapy session mid-bite :-P

To think that some ppl use retail AS therapy miss me really confused and scared for society today...

Aisle 1, B? C2? More confusing than the dewey decimal system, I swear. Why is the ice cream NOT next to the frozen pizza? Why are bday cards next to shampoo?! Why is the dollar section in the BACK of the store now vs. The front where it was LAST week and why are fresh donuts not fresh and what happened to self checkouts? That fad done? No one told me... Why are conveyor belts now round not linear? Why is the redbox outside when its 90+ degrees? I just... ugh. Retail.

Laura! I love you!!!!!! Happpppppy birthday!!!!!

28 May 2012

Memorial Day 2012 - At home and quiet!

I know. They are, in fact, all so terribly cute that you could just die a thousand deaths. We didn't do a thing today, unless you count a trip to WalMart. We live on the edge. Other than that, we had some great baked potatoes, did a little more around the house and just enjoyed a quiet Memorial Day!

23 May 2012

Bill Donohue’s Open Letter to Maureen Dowd

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My Dearest Maureen,
In today’s New York Times, you write the following:
“The church insists it’s an argument about religious freedom, not birth control. But, really, it’s about birth control, and women’s lower caste in the church. It’s about conservative bishops targeting Democratic candidates who support contraception and abortion rights as a matter of public policy. And it’s about a church that is obsessed with sex in ways it shouldn’t be, and not obsessed with sex in ways it should be. The bishops and the Vatican care passionately about putting women in chastity belts.”
I have a confession to make. While some may think you sound like a delusional weepy woman, don’t listen to them. You see, I was in on those meetings with the bishops when we hatched plans to stick it to women and sabotage the Democrats. 
We met over drinks. Plenty of them. Except for one bishop who said over time women could become our equal, all of us agreed that you gals need to be kept in your place. As you properly note, this means being subjugated to the lower caste, just the way we snookered Mother Teresa.
You are only partly right about the Democrats. In fact, starting last year our goal was to rig the Republican primary so that Romney would win. Why? Because then we could pull his Mormon strings without being accused of running the government. So far, so good. Just don’t tell Mitt.
We are obsessed about sex. Indeed, when I meet with the bishops, it’s the only thing we talk about. Admittedly, it sometimes feels like I’m at a frat party, but boys will be boys. There is one difference: at frat parties, chastity belts for women are never discussed, but with the bishops, nothing is more important. The goal is to make a “one size fits all” belt, one that is not removable. Velcro works for all sizes, but it comes off. Not to worry, my dearest Maureen, we won’t give up. That’s because, quite unlike the stately New York Times, we’re obsessed about sex.

22 May 2012

Twin Update!

Well folks, we're 8 weeks and some change with these little turkeys, and I'm feeling...okay? Still dazed, but starting to come around! We are already getting a lot of odd questions about the babies, so I thought I'd answer a few for our own records, as this is our family blog.

Are you seriously going to attempt to homeschool with 2 infant and two toddlers in the house? The short answer is "yes." Lucy will be wrapping up Kindergarten in the fall, probably right around Halloween. If we were to send her to public school, which we have discussed, she'd be repeating Kinder and spending muh of her year in a full-day setting doing things she's already mastered. As it stands, our plan is to finish Kinder in the fall and then take some time off until about February, when she'll start 1st grade at home. With two tiny babies (potential preemies) and two toddlers, we want to have the ability to limit germs and shut the world out if we need to, as we'll be welcoming two new babies during flu season and breastfeeding is anyone's guess. So really, sending Lucy to hang out with 30 random incubators all day long seems like a lot to work against. And then there's the whole "let's pack up 4 babies early in the morning in the middle of winter and then again during naptime to do the school runs" issue. Say wha?!? When 1st grade takes a maximum of 2 hours per day, I cannot see going to the hassle of "making things easier" by enrolling her elsewhere.

Are you going to find out the sex of the babies? Our initial answer was "no." But, we've talked it to death, and I think we've decided to find out for a number of reasons.

  • I was alone when I found out I was pregnant, and I was alone when I found out we were having twins. Trying to keep the sex of the babies a surprise during 30+ ultrasounds and with two different doctors seriously increases the odds that someone is going to slip up and tell us, and with that many appointments, I'll be doing many of them alone. We do NOT want to be apart when we find out if they're boys, girls or both, so we're going with finding out together the first time. 
  • With the number of kids we're about to have, we'd like some time to name them and start dreaming about their personalities. I'm a little afraid that the first days are going to be chaotic, so when they're born, I want to feel like I know them in case they end up whisked to the NICU and we have to spend time apart. 
  • Finally, Lucy is very anxious about the possibility of having brothers, and we'd like a little extra time to prepare her if we do ed up bringing home a (gasp!) boy. This way we'd have some time to do a little shopping, prepare a nursery and get excited about the thought welcoming testosterone into the family. As Lucy says, "they talk weird and they don't have any hair." Whew. I hear you, sister. 
Are you so super excited? In one word, yes. To make that answer longer, yes and no. We're SO excited about adding two babies to our family, and we're so excited about adding to the chaos. We love chaos and we LOVE babies. We are, however, concerned and nervous. This will be a high-risk pregnancy and there are a lot of things to consider and prepare for, so we're approaching each week prayerfully and patiently. We have a lot of doctor's visits, sonograms and potential hospital time ahead of us, so we have a lot of thoughts to juggle right now. Our OB is confident that there is no reason to be concerned and that things will sail along just fine, so we're going with that, but any time you have an increased risk for prematurity and low birth-weight, not to mention two babies in one uterus, there is extra worry. 

In short, BABIEEEEEES!!! We can't wait. Our next appointment is on June 14th for our 11 week visit, and we can't wait to put out an update! 

A dog's life for Claire

14 May 2012

Family Update. Wordy, yet informational.

I suppose it's only informational if you care about what our family is up to. The majority of the world does not.


Andrew is now in a new position with his company and is liking that a lot. I mean, it's only been a week and he spent most of that at a "conference," so he's still in the honeymoon phase, I think. He's starting to tackle actual things and seems to be doing well. It's a transition back to what he really excels at and enjoys, so I think we'll all enjoy a more satisfied husband around here.

What else has he been doing? Building firepits, moving furniture, changing lightbulbs, cutting the grass...really living the life. He also saw Avengers a couple of days ago, so that should keep him going in the excitement department until...August. Seriously. I think I may also have finally trained him on where dirty clothes go. A breakthrough.


Like you're not aware of the tumult and strife happening there.


Lucy is pretty awesome. When I tell her that I'm not feeling good, she says, "I'll be right there to rub your back!" Sweet. She is enjoying kindergarten and the whole homeschooling thing seems to have really clicked for her. She now understands the difference between homeschooling and "other school" and seems more willing to buckle down and get things done. She says she really, really hates learning to read from a book. I know. What does that even mean?? Today we got the big dry erase board out and I thought we'd try another angle. I started throwing words at her to test her spelling, and sure enough, she was jotting them down like an old pro, once I met her on her turf. So, I think we're going to use the dry erase board for awhile and see if the excitement of writing and erasing more easily helps the work to stick a little better.

Lucy's birthday was awesome, and I plan to post about that very soon. Or maybe I already did?? I have no idea. I need to check that out.

Let's see. Big sister is a fantastic helper around the house, and she just moves around like my little shadow, taking care of the loose ends and keeping me on track. She naps a few times a week, but we like to spend naptime doing "big kid" things and lying to Mo about taking boring naps. Lucy's a star where fibbing to her sister in concerned. She makes a huge show about not wanting to nap, and huffs and puffs and crawls into bed and really puts up a fuss for her sister's sake. And as soon as Mo's asleep, she's out the door and having fun with Mama. What a sucker that Mo is.


Molly is awesome. Molly is 3. Three-year-olds are so crazy. The one thing I know about three-year-olds is that they need very little to be happy. The unhappiest three-year-olds I've met are the ones whose parents try to provide too much variety for them. Molly has very few tantrums, because we put her in very few situations where she needs to step up and act like a big kid. I think that this is by far the most important thing I've learned about raising toddlers. We do the same things everyday. Our variety comes in the form of an exciting lunch or an out-of-the-ordinary playdate at one of two other houses. Molly really thrives on routine, and she has very few tantrums when she knows what to expect. It makes those several "new and different" events throughout the week much easier for her to handle. Molly prefers to sleep in the same thing every night, to exchange the same words every morning, to have a cup of orange juice in her Muppets sippy cup, to watch the same movie after breakfast, to play the exact same game she played the day before, you get the picture. So we do just that. We're pretty low-key anyway, so toddlers are happy here.

Molly is full of funny stuff. Her speech is just ridiculously cute. She said "aldigators" and "geebras" and "panna bears" are her favorite animals and that "peenbuddadewwy" is her favorite food. So. Darn. Cute.

The one thing I LOVE about Molly is how much she appreciates the world around her. We went for a walk tonight and these are the things she observed: "That puppy is SO CUTE!" "The sky is SO BLUE!" "That grass looks so fun!" "I found chalk in my seat and it's blue and magic and it turns into fairies!" "That's the popsicle house and they are SO NICE!" "Mama I love the stroller SO MUCH!" "Mama, I am just SO TIRED!" "Mama, I am going to take a BIG NAP!" Everything is SO and HUGEST and MOST and SUPER. Molly finds everyday to be the BEST day, and I love that. She just assumes that everything around her is something better than it really is, and that the entire world is just sitting here and waiting for her to enjoy it. We should all live like that. I can honestly say that I am reliving childhood through Molly. Every single day is SO GREAT.


Claire is...the boss. Claire actually screamed and punched Lucy so hard that she fell over in church the other day. Thank goodness we were at Saint Sunday Party. Half the adults there were doing that.
Claire is...enthusiastic.
Claire is...joyful.
Claire is...loud.
Claire is...calculating.
Claire is...thoughtful.
Claire is...the first genuine redhead we've met around this house.
Claire is...exhausting.
Claire is...like a tiny primate.
Claire is...strong.
Claire is...chubby.
Claire is...soft.
Claire is...the cutest person in the world.
Claire is...the proud owner of FOUR teeth.
Claire is...a new walker.
Claire is...always smiling.
Claire is...a joker.
Claire is...in a family that adores her.

13 May 2012

Mothers Day @ The Park (Photolog)

Happy Mothers Day!
We Love You!

Note: Lucy and I disappeared to watch the teenagers at the skate park next door for a little while (hence the abundance of Molly/Claire photos)!

11 May 2012

All Done Begging.

On Wednesday, the nurse from my OB's office called me and told me that my progesterone was low and that it could put the twins in danger. They started me immediately on progesterone treatments. Within seconds I was Googling and begging God to spare my babies. I just wanted Him to keep those tiny, perfect heartbeats strong and alive.

I've been through a lot of emotions this week. Mostly desperation and depression. How could He even think of taking something so precious from me?

My thinking is slowly changing. It's not God who's robbing me of my precious babies. It's me, who's robbing God of my trust and faith. It's the Devil, who's robbing me of my peace.

Maybe the babies are just fine. Maybe they're not. Maybe I'm going to have perfectly healthy twins come November. Maybe I'm not. There is a reason that there isn't a window into the womb.

I already have three perfect blessings, and I don't even deserve those. Does someone with so little faith deserve to bring up three small souls? This voice inside me keeps saying, "You of little faith...don't you know by now?"

Out of every tragedy comes some sort of beauty. Out of every potential tragedy is the opportunity to grow. As I sit and cry, I keep those opportunities so far from me. As I give God conditions and try to make deals with Him, I know that the only prayer He really wants to hear is, "Thy Will Be Done."

I'm all done begging. Done begging for more. Until I learn to appreciate the mere fact that I'm alive, I really don't see that I have a place to beg. How can I start begging when I never even give thanks for what's in front of me in the first place?

I am still bothered by the way the nurse really didn't give me too much to go on. It was clear that she thinks we're going to lose the babies. That's rough. But I know that a number is just that, and that those heart beats were a good sign. From here, all I have left is trust in God. And much to the chagrin of the Devil, I do trust in Him. A lot.

09 May 2012

Waiting Game.

I've miscarried before. It was awful. No one likes finding out they're pregnant, getting all excited, talking about names and then finding out that you're not going to have a baby after all. In plain English, it sucks hardcore.

My first miscarriage was not a "bad" one. I took a pregnancy test and went in about a week later for bloodwork. When they saw that my HCG was very low, they did a sonogram and there was nothing there. Like nothing at all. My HCG was probably only high enough to just tip a pregnancy test. It wasn't a hard loss because it was very plain to see that while something recognized that I was pregnant, we didn't even have so much as a blink of something physical to miss. This pregnancy is very different in that we've seen our babies, and that is really a "no turning back" point for me in my devotion to my unborn children.

SO, my doctor called me today and said that I have low progesterone. All I remembered was that when I miscarried, they put me on progesterone. So I freaked. Full-on hysterics. I totally lost it. All I could think was, "I saw their hearts beating two days ago and now they're in danger. I am going to die from hysteria."

It turns out that low progesterone and low HcG are two totally different things. My last pregnancy was HCG-related and probably a matter of very delicate balances at that point. This pregnancy is past that point. Now we're into progesterone territory. HCG helps the embryo develop and because they saw two beating hearts, they didn't test for HcG, because that was clearly working fine. Once you have heartbeats, they're not worried about numbers doubling. Progesterone is what takes baby from embryo to fetus and helps keep the pregnancy in the womb. It thickens the uterine lining and prevents your body from expelling the pregnancy. My babies are getting very close to crossing over and depending on my body to keep them in place, so progesterone is getting more important as the hours crawl by.

We have reasons to be hopeful that everything will work out. I started progesterone supplements tonight, which will help add enough to keep the pregnancy going, IF everything is okay as it stands today. Because we saw the heartbeats, the risk of miscarriage is significantly lower. That's a really good sign. And, some women do carry a pregnancy into the second trimester with mysteriously low progesterone and no supplements. At this point, it's a waiting game. We're waiting to make sure the progesterone climbs and that the babies can "cross over" to using their placentas without complication. We have an appointment this coming Tuesday to check on the babies again and will probably do another round of bloodwork. I plan to do nothing but sleep until then to make the time pass quickly. My nerves are pretty shot right now.

I am still moderately hysterical, but this is in God's hands. If he sees fit to bring our babies to Him now, who am I to question His plan? In the meantime, I hope that His plan is to put them into our care for many, many happy years. I am, as always, His trusting servant.
I am still working through this. I seriously just can't get my head around the thought of going from 3 kids to 5 kids in a snap.

Here's the thing. 3 kids is normal. People do that sometimes. 4 kids is okay. Some people are still crazy enough to do that.

But 5? That's a game-changer. I am fully aware that many people have upwards of 4 & 5 kids. And that's great, but a lot changes when you become a large family.

Selfishly, we wanted to wait for #4 for at least a couple of years. We were hoping to do a little traveling and get Claire potty-trained. Now don't get me wrong, we always delight in the Lord's plan. Always. If it's not in our plan, we amend our plan quick. So we have 3 in diapers? Whatever! But for me, it's going from "normal" to "large" without praying and considering it. Wow. I mean, we're thrilled to pieces, but 5 kids is a big deal when you were a 3-kid family just days earlier.

Travel? It seems like a pipe dream now. I guess we could take some of them, but travel is going to be pricey. It'll have to be road trips, which is fine with me. I'm a domestic gal. Let's do road trips!

Diapers? It'll have to be cloth. THREE kids in diapers is pricey. I'll just double up on cloth and get better at laundry. I will, however, changing over to Bum Genius.

Food? We usually go through a loaf of bread in about 3 days. Now it'll be a loaf of bread for a meal.

Party invitations? Well that will be handled one of two ways. "Honey, should I add the Cookes to the list?" "Well you could, but I thought we wanted this to be smaller party." OR "Honey, should I add the Cookes to the list?" "Yeah, add them. At least we'll have a full house if no one else shows up."

School? Private school is definitely out, and while homeschooling is still a desire, we need prayers to discern the right choice.

Carseats? How do we fit 5 carseats into 5 car seats? Lucy will clearly need to be able to jump in and out of her seat like a firefighter, as she'll be our number one paci-grabber. But putting Molly next to twins would be like giving Lenny a litter of mice. And Claire on the bench seat would be a little disastrous. I need a diagram. I also need a carseat budget, as it's time to retire the old carrier and we need to do some adding and replacing. 4 kids in carseats and one in a booster. That's a TON of compressed styrofoam. Ohhhhh the chemicals!!!

Bedrooms? Handled. Adding baby #9 is where that will get tight.

Nursing? I have no expectations, there. Either we do or we don't.

Co-sleeping? Well I think that's probably out of the picture. They can co-sleep in their crib!

Housekeeping? Out of the question.

5 children with 4 under 4, is bananas. BANANAS, I tell you. 

A beautiful soul painting!