Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Getting Ready for FET

We have approximately one week until our FET cycle starts. There are a few things I've been doing to get ready for the cycle. The kids are weaned which was the biggest thing we had to cross off the list. I've also cut way back on my caffeine intake. I was drinking three cups each morning, and now I'm down to just one. When I hit up Starbucks I've been doing half-caf. Occasionally if I feel a headache coming on, I'll have an iced coffee or diet soda in the afternoon. 

There are no shots to take this time around, praise The Lord. I just have estrogen pills to take each day, and I've had those for over a month now. When I was pregnant with the twins I took gummy vitamins, which don't have iron, and my hemoglobin levels were lower than their usual low. I want to try and avoid that this time, so I've been taking Up and Up prenatal vitamins. They don't make me sick like most other prenatals do. Has anyone had luck with them holding up to morning sickness?

Twin pregnancy wreaked havoc on my body. The twin skin, wider hips and stretch marks I've come to terms with.  The complete loss of muscule definition I have not. I was not able to exercise from the start of our IVF cycle until we were released to my OB at 10 weeks. By that time it had been two and a half months since I had done any exercising, so walking was about the only thing I could safely do without getting my heart rate up too high. A few weeks of bed rest plus gaining 80 lbs meant I wasn't moving at all toward the end. My butt and legs paid for it. 

I am determined not to let that happen this time around. While weight wise, I weigh ten pounds less than I did at the start of the last pregnancy, I am still not in as good of shape. The kids are finally comfortable going to child watch at The Y, and they thankfully haven't had colds in over two weeks. That means we've been hitting the gym on an almost daily basis. In approximately 3 weeks, I'll be put on limited activity, pretty much no heavy exercise, until we potentially have a successful ultrasound. I want to make sure I'm in good enough shape that I can ease back into working out three or four days a week. That means weights and cardio 5 or 6 days a week for the next 3 weeks.  

Our RE's office recommends no alcohol from cycle day. That means I need to finish off all the beer in the house in a week. Thanks to a couple girlfriends, the wine is already gone. I have 8-12 random beers that need to be consumed.  This is a task I am looking forward too! Beer and season 1 of Veronica Mars tonight after the kids go to bed. 

That's how I am prepping for our FET. Nothing too fancy, but making sure all my ducks are in a row. The kids and I pray for their potential future brother or sister each night, and I of course pray for a successful transfer and pregnancy.  And that's it.  Now I need to wrap my mind around the fact that go time is a week away. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

The End of a Journey

2 years was my goal, and we made it to 20 months. 20 months of nursing my two twinkies is pretty good. I don't mean to toot my own horn, but I'm pretty proud of that accomplishment.

I shared all about our breast feeding journey in this post. For the 7 months of nursing that followed that post, there were many times I thought Harrison was starting to wean. He never did, and at 19 months I started weaning them.

They were still nursing 3 times a day. When they woke up, before naps and before bed. We decided to gradually wean by dropping one nursing every week or two. We started with their bed time nursing. We had changed their bedtime routine a few weeks earlier so that they nursed before baths instead of after. This made it super easy to just switch out nursing for a sippy cup with cow's milk.

They were all about the sippy cups and totally didn't miss nursing. The nap time nursing went next, and finally their morning nursing session. They weren't phased at all. They happily drink their milk while we sing songs and say our nightly prayers. They love drinking their morning smoothie while watching Mickey. Weaning hasn't affected them at all.

I miss the sweet quiet time we used to have in the morning while we wake up for the day. I don't however miss being tied down to nursing. I can take Excedrin again. I can have a glass of wine with dinner if I want. If I need to go to work, I don't have to work around their nursing schedule. Nursing them was absolutely amazing, but I'm glad we're done.

When we decided to put off our FET cycle, I considered postponing weaning a month, but I'm glad I didn't. I'm glad to have a month where my hormones are back to normal before we start altering them again. Plus, I had no idea how painful the first couple weeks would be. I assumed since we were down to only one session, engorgement wouldn't be an issue, but I was dead wrong. Thank goodness for Benadryl and sports bras.

I am so thankful that I was able to continue nursing them as long as I was. I wish I would have better documented their nursing through pictures. I have quite a few pictures of them tandem nursing as infants, but not of them as they got older, and very few of them individually nursing. My memories of nursing them will always be some of my favorite memories. I am so blessed to have shared those sweet moments with them.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

21 Months

Harrison and Brooke turned 21 months on Sunday. Usually I like to get their month posts up on the day of, but there was sushi, The Walking Dead, House of Lies and great friends that kept me from blogging. A pretty darn good reason to keep the computer tucked away if you ask me. Monday night, a bottle of proseco and a movie with The Rock kept me from blogging. Not nearly as good of a reason. I did make sure to get plenty of pictures on Sunday. 

Brooke and Harrison know a lot of words, and use a lot of words, however they rarely use them when it would help us understand what they want/need. They are very good at answering questions, we just have to make sure we ask the right questions. This often means there are tears involved until we get to the right questions, but we're getting along ok. I can see they have so many thoughts and opinions, and I can't wait until they are fully sharing them with us. I'm sure I'll bite my words and wish we were back to not talking all the time soon enough.

One of my favorite things verbally that they are starting to do is counting. We have been working on counting for a few months, and it started with pointing to a couple similar objects. Now they are counting larger amounts of objects and they are starting to say their numbers as well.  They can count to four out loud if you help start them off.  They also love to count things like kisses. Rob has started asking for a certain number of kisses at bedtime, and they think it's great. I do too.

They have both developed an obsession with babies. Mainly their baby dolls, but also pictures of babies or babies we see in public. Brooke thinks all kids are babies, so baby comes out of her mouth more often than any other word. They have started taking their babies to bed with them and the babies need to get hugs and kisses before naps and bedtime too. So cute!

The biggest change this month is that they are no longer nursing at all. (More on that in a later post) We dropped their last nursing session and now wake up with a breakfast smoothie and some Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Now that they get to watch TV on a daily basis, they ask for us to turn on the TV very often. When it's not Mickey, who they are now in love with, they watch for a few minutes and then go play. They like to have the TV on though. I've been trying to limit it to an hour or so a day, but it's really easy to let an hour turn into two or three. I will admit we watched Cars the other day, and when I say we, mostly I mean I watched it while they played close by. Harrison's interest in the movie was gone after he said car for the 527th time. 

Brooke has started to become very opinionated about what she wears. If she doesn't like something, she won't wear it or will throw a fit until I either take it off, or put one of her lightweight jackets on her. She would wear leg warmers and a jacket every day if I would let her. She would also accessorize with lots of necklaces and either no headband or at least two of them. She is in love with her snow boots. She knows how to put them on herself and will take them out of the closet and wear them around the house even if we're going nowhere. I'm pretty sure she's going to be my shopping buddy for life.

Harrison is still our little snuggle monster and is sweet beyond words. He has decided he wants to do things on his own and if I try to help him, he usually pushes me out of the way. It's hilarious to see. I also cry a little inside each time he pushes me away. He is still willing to curl up in our laps and read books, but he now wants to hold the book and turn the pages on his own. I know I say it every month, but I can't believe how quickly they're growing up and becoming little individuals. I still refuse to believe that they're going to be 2 years old in 3 short months. And now I'm going to go cry in a corner.

Happy 21 months, munchkins! 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! I am spending the afternoon at work which means that I tried to fit in as much V-Day fun in before nap time as was possible. Get ready for picture overload!

Last night I put together the kids' Valentine's goodies and filled their chair backers. They got a sticker and coloring activity book, crayons, necklaces, a rubber duck, dinosaurs, heart links and extra stickers for their activity books. We do two of everything when it comes to holiday goodies, so they both get the exact same things.

Harrison went straight for the crayons and activity book and Brooke was all about the necklaces and heart links.

While they were busy enjoying their new loot, I got to making breakfast. If you follow me on Instagram (justjm03) then you have already seen my love for heart shaped foods. We did heart shaped french toast this morning and loaded it full of deliciousness. Between the layers were mascarpone cheese, Nutella and raspberries. After presenting them with their festive breakfast, I cut it up and they went to town. They love Nutella. Of course, who doesn't love Nutella?

After breakfast we played some more and watched Minirella and the new episode of Sophia. The kids had their smoothies later than usual this morning. Vanilla, pineapple, blueberry, spinach smoothies were on the menu today. Thanks to Target for the heart straws. They worked perfectly with their Tommy Tippie Take and Toss cups.

Before lunch they played with homemade play-doh. we started out with heart shaped cookie cutters, but they decided they needed all the cookie cutters. It may be time to invest in a roller and cutter set specifically for them. For lunch is was raspberry, cream cheese and honey sandwiches along with bananas and strawberry cremes.

Grandma arrived after lunch with a few little presents and cards for H and B. I made the mistake of trying to get them dressed and do a mini photo shoot on the Lovesac. They were not having it. They refused to look at the camera and Brooke threw a fit. I did manage to get two almost acceptable pictures. Maybe I'll have better luck after work. Lesson to be learned - Don't wait until right before nap time to try and get your kids to sit for photos.

We don't have anything special planned for tonight. Red beans and rice is in the crockpot for dinner. Maybe a movie and a bottle of wine after the twinkies hit the sack. I hope everyone is having a great Valentine's Day and enjoying time with the people, and pets, that you love.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Classes at the Y

Last week I shared a little video of Brooke jumping on the trampoline at tumbling class. When the video was taken they were just starting to get comfortable with class, and now they are all about it. So much so, that we'll be signing them up for the next session. The class is only $21 per kid and meets once a week for 7 weeks. Totally worth the minimal cost. The classes are at the Y, and even if you don't have a membership, the classes are worth looking into.

The class we participate in is a parent child class. It isn't super structured which is great, because the kids can do what they're comfortable with. Usually that means jumping on the trampoline. Each week there's different equipment out, and both H and B have taken full advantage of all of it. Balance beams, tunnels, climbing blocks, rolling mats, uneven bars, and a few things I know I'm forgetting. They like putting their hands on the uneven bars, but they aren't ready to try hanging from them yet. I actually think that's a good thing, as there's no way I want them asking to do the monkey bars at the park. I might cry when they're big enough to start doing those. (Excuse the crappy iPhone pics that follow)

This is some video taken over a couple different classes.  As you can see Brooke has gotten progressively better each week at jumping on the trampoline. She even likes to "practice" on the couch at home.

The kids have also been taking swim class and will be finishing their last class of the session next week. We've enjoyed this class more than previous classes, but I don't think they are getting anything more from swim class than they would from a weekly trip to open swim. They are getting better at kicking and blowing bubbles, but are mostly just interested in singing "Wheels on the Bus" and playing with the water toys. We'll probably be waiting another year before doing anymore classes, but we'll still be hitting up the indoor pool on a regular basis. These kids need to be lake ready!

One great thing about the YMCA by us, and maybe all YMCAs have this, is the jungle gym/play ground area they have indoors. After every class the kids can climb, slide, and run around until their exhausted. They've recently discovered the drinking fountain, so it's been slide, then drink, then slide, then drink and so on.  You get the picture.

What great classes are there in your area for kids? Any classes we should be participating in that are here in The Fort? These classes have been perfect at helping with cabin fever. I can't wait for all of this snow to melt. Warm temperatures are in the forcast. Bring it on!!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Valentine's Goodies

For about as long as I can remember, my mom would make us heart shaped cookies for Valentines day every year. We also always had candy in our cute homemade heart shaped containers. While we aren't jumping on the candy train quite yet, I do want to start some fun traditions with them, and festive cookies are perfect. We used my mom's sour cream sugar cookie recipe, while I'll share below, and a butter cream cookie icing. While I decorated, the ate cookies and icing. Pretty much how you'd expect it to go with two almost two year olds. 

Even with their counter productive snacking, we still wound up with a few fully decorated cookies.

In addition to baking, I also wanted the kids to make some valentines to send to a few of their friends and cousins. We bought a package of cards from the dollar spot at Target along with some valentines stickers, and we got to work.

This was a lot of fun for them, and super easy. We took two afternoons, one for coloring and one for stickers. We included some stickers and heart confetti in the cards along with a Valentine's message. I love that they aren't anything fancy and that the kids got to spend time making them.

Their cards are all ready to go, along with some cookies for our favorite ladies at work.

While Rob and I don't really celebrate Valentine's Day, I'm excited to get to celebrate it with the kids. We are eating heart shaped everything this week. Cookies, sandwiches, french toast, donuts. If I can cut it into a heart, I will.  I hope everyone has a great Valentine's Day with the loves!

Sour Cream Sugar Cookies

1 cup butter (room temperature)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 to 3 cups flour

1. Cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs.

2. Add remaining ingredients, and mix until combined.

3. Chill for at least 30 minutes. 

4. Pat/roll dough on a heavily floured surface. Cut with cookie cutter or shape gently.

5. Bake at 375* for 8 minutes.

6. Cool and ice with butter cream icing.

Notes : These cookies are delicious, but they are difficult to work with. They are great for basic cookie shapes such as hearts, stars or circles. They don't work well for intricate shapes or cutters. The dough is very sticky, even when cooled, so you will need quite a bit of flour for rolling them out. I used this icing recipe, but any butter cream recipe will do.

Happy Baking!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Random Ramblings

This last week has seemed crazy busy. Even though I am only working three afternoons a week, it really changes the way our lives work on a daily basis. I am seriously in awe of all you full time working moms. I don't know how you get it all done. Accomplishing work, grocery shopping, the kids' classes, and if I'm lucky a few work outs through the week all around naps and bedtime is quite the feat. No more pushing off grocery shopping until the next day if someone is in a mood. Yes, I was totally that mom with the toddler who screamed for 20 minutes while we finished grocery shopping last week.

Since my blog has been severely neglected for the past week, we're going to play catch up on a few things in one post.

The kids started swim and tumbling classes in January. We're three classes in now, and I think we're finally hitting our stride. The first week of tumbling class Harrison threw a fit half way through class and refused to participate. Brooke has been less than thrilled about swim class up until this week's class. She does fine and then as soon as we work on back floats, she looses her shit. One week she wouldn't stop crying so she and I had to sit out for the fun portion of class. No "Wheels on the Bus" or alligator jumps for B.

We have decided to wait one more month before starting our FET cycle. It makes more sense timing wise and financially to wait until March. I am the matron of honor in my brother's wedding which is in August. They live in Seattle which means almost an entire day of travel. Pair that with having to be in the wedding and "vacationing" with two two year olds. It makes more sense to be early to mid second trimester as opposed to late second trimester. This is of course all assuming that our first attempt works.

Yesterday we were hit with another round of heavy snow. I haven't heard what the actual totals were, but it was somewhere around ten inches. I do pretty well driving in snow, but ten inches over a sheet of ice, I was not prepared for. I had to stop because a neighbors car was parked in the street, and then I couldn't get going again. After cursing at myself in the front seat, quietly so the kids didn't hear. our awesome neighbor helped get me moving and then plowed my driveway so I could get the van back in the garage. So much for my great snow driving skills. The kids and I baked some cookies to take to our snow saviors and then stayed inside until our neighborhood was plowed.

Rob has the day off today which means I may be able to catch up on a few things before heading into work this afternoon. Or, I may just enjoy some fun time with my loves and leave the dirty floor for another day. I hope everyone is having a great week!