Thursday, May 31, 2012

Danielle's Extended Family Photos

You may remember these guys......

That's my friend Danielle, her hubby Chris and her cute little lady Jayna. I went to high school with Danielle and her hubby too. Anyway, in December they contacted me about doing some photos for their holiday cards. I was more than happy to get out in the freezing cold (and really it was freezing that day) and photograph them because they are so much fun. I mean really, mustaches. How many times do you get asked to take family pictures with 'staches? SO MUCH FUN! I loved how those photos turned out!

Anyway, this spring Danielle (by the way, she is one of the gals that I blog with every week....Together on Tuesdays) asked if I could take some extended family photographs for her. This included her family, her dad and her brother's family. Well, of course I could take those photos! Here is a preview of how they turned out....

I hope they love their photos as much as I do. Have I ever told you that I feel privileged to make memories for people. I know that I treasure all the photos of my family and it just makes me feel good to do make these treasures for others. Thanks Danielle for allowing me to photograph your extended family!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

"You've Got A Friend In Me"

Well's not Tuesday and once again I'm late writing my ToT (Together on Tuesday) post. To all of you giving me the stink eye, I apologize. Really, I'm pretty sure that none of my faithful readers are giving me the stink eye. My people are nice. And I'm not really sure that I have any faithful readers anyway...and that's ok. Anyway, onto the topic at hand.........

This weeks ToT topic is, "How do you stay in contact with your friends?"

I love that I have friends that knew me before 1990. I love that I still remain close with gals from high school. I love that I have friends from college who knew me when I was trying to figure out the world. And I love that I have friends that I have made in adulthood and figuring out paying the mortgage, marriage and babies. You know what, I just love my friends. I like having a lot of friends, but I also really enjoy those relationships that I can really depend on. Those people who help pick you back up when you've fallen down. Those people who will be there in thick and thin. Those people who love you for being YOU.

I guess I'll start with the friendships that I've had the longest. They are cherished. I love all of these women like they were my sisters. Seriously, sometimes I'm not sure how I would survive without them. They are auntie's to my children

One of these friends, I met in Mrs Williams Kindergarten class. Yeah, we've stayed in touch that long. We email, we Facebook. We hang out regularly. Of course, we've had times when we have not remained as close. Such as college. We went to different schools and while they were near each other, it just wasn't practical to visit. We did email from time to time and catch up sometimes during school breaks, but the friendship wasn't the same until we were both living in the same city again. Eventually we started hanging out more and things were like old times we picked up where we left off. Oh and this time we were dragging our husbands into it as well! It's a good thing, they get along. Now we live like 5 minutes from each other, like we did all those years growing up. And we get to watch our kiddos grow up together. It's nice to have someone around that knew you before you were an adult. The person who knew the carefree child that you once were, who liked to sing to Beach Boys songs in the back yard.

Another one of these friends I've known since about 3rd grade. We met at church. She's one of those friends who I love dearly, but who I don't get to see very often. We keep in touch through Facebook (I know some people hate the idea of FB, but really, it makes it so much easier to stay in contact with friends). She doesn't live nearby anymore so I get to see her when she makes trips home to visit family. And sometimes, we just can't work out a visit even if she is home. I love the fact that she and I can have different views on things (particularly politics), but at the end of the day, we are able to put that completely past us and focus on the things we have in common rather than the things that we don't have in common.

Then, I have twins in my life other than the ones that I will give birth to in a couple of months. We met our senior year of high school and remained close throughout college by emailing frequently and making sure that we met up when we were home. Now that we are grown ups (YIKES) we are still close even though life has taken us in many different directions. One is an attorney on the north side of Indy, the other is a professor at a college in Illinois and as you all know, I'm a stay at home mom/photographer. We still email occasionally. The attorney and I will grab lunch every now and then. And the professor and I will try and get together when she is in town. One thing that we make sure we do is a Christmas Eve brunch. We meet up at a different restaurant every year and exchange a small gift. We sit and talk and laugh and eat. It's a time that look forward to every year. It's one of those can't miss events. And now that I have Georgie, she comes along too. She loves to see her aunties!

College friends. This is a tricky one. There are so many that I would love to see and talk to more often. But, there is a group of mine that I make sure to see every year. We all live in different places, Arizona, Chicago, Madison, Haiti and of course here in Indy. Some of us keep in better contact than others (the gals do a much better job shooting a message to each other then the boys) but when the holidays are drawing near, someone sends out that email wondering when we are going to try to gather. Several times we've met up in Chicago-which was kind of central since a couple of folks were flying into O'hare airport, one lives there, and the drive isn't too bad for the rest of us. Last year we met at my house. Instead of going out to restaurants and fighting crowds and traffic, we were able to sit around my house, play games, make dinner together and enjoy each other in a low key setting. Its always a good time to hang out with these folks and talk about stupid college stuff. It's also great to see where life is taking the rest of the gang. I love to hear about what they are doing and what life has in store for them.

And lastly, there are those friends that Nolan and I have made together as a married couple. Most of these people we go to church with and many of those we went to college with, but were not close with until now. We do have a group that meets about every other Wednesday. We share a meal at someone's home and socialize. We help each other with problems and listen to each others joys. We know that we can depend on one another. We pray for each other. Many in our group are not as fortunate as myself, they do not have family close and so we kind of act as each others family.

Those are some of my friends. I have lots of different things that I do to keep in contact with them. I love them all. I wish I saw some of them more often than I do, but life gets in the way. Sometimes work, relationships, families and all sorts of other things take our time and our social life just gets pushed aside. I'm glad that some of my friendships have withstood this and can accommodate the changes in my life as well as theirs. There is always a bit of work that must be done to keep these relationships. Sometimes its easy, like sending an email and sometimes its hard like rearranging schedules and driving for a few hours to spend the evening with friends far away. Either way, to me its worth it.

"We'll be friends forever, won't we Pooh?' asked Piglet. 'Even longer,' answered Pooh."

Make sure to see what DanielleMichelleCharlotte, and Sarah have to say about their friends and what helps them stay in contact with those special folks in their lives!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

26 1/2 weeks

26 1/2 weeks. To most of you that means absolutely nothing. Most of you aren't counting the weeks. Most of you have no idea what significance 26 1/2 weeks means to me. 26 1/2 weeks is when my world fell in tiny pieces and I had to find the strength to start all over. 26 1/2 weeks is when I heard "we can't find a heartbeat." 26 1/2 weeks is when I got to hold my baby girl who was on an ice pack. 26 1/2 weeks is when I became the woman who's baby died. And once again I find myself at 26 1/2 weeks.

While we were ready to be pregnant again soon after Violet's death, we weren't expecting it to happen right away. Seriously, it was a couple weeks after my OB told us that we could start trying again. You're kind of messed up for a little while after the death of your baby. There are so many things that you will never get to do. So many dreams that will never happen. And you also find out that nothing is ever certain.....not pregnancy, not life, nothing. Dealing with all of these emotions is intense and you never know when something is going to remind you of your baby girl. You never know when a song is going to come on that makes you sit at the kitchen table and cry because you miss her so much. You never know when someone is going to say something insensitive, they don't mean to and they don't know they are being insensitive, but you still want to yell at them. And anyway, getting pregnant so soon means that you get to process all of this stuff along with all of your fears about carrying another child. Do I wish that this would have happened a little bit later, nope. I'm glad that it happened this way.

Since I've been pregnant this time around, I have been waiting for 26 1/2 weeks to come and go. While I'm happy to make it to this point in pregnancy, its made me think a lot about reaching 26 1/2 weeks in my pregnancy with Violet. While I like thinking about her and my time with her, I don't like thinking about her death and the events that happened afterward. I don't like thinking about the feeling of her not moving and wiggling inside me. So, I've kept careful watch with these two little ladies. I've made sure to take time to feel them move every chance I get. I don't like thinking about the ultrasound when Nolan and I saw her still little body and there was no heartbeat. So, I was really nervous about my ultrasound this week. Even though I could feel my babies moving, it's just hard not to think about what happened before. My ultrasound was perfect and everyone looks great.

For a long time, everything revolved around my pregnancy with Violet. We would go somewhere and I would say, the last time I was here, I was pregnant with Violet. We would do something and I would say, the last time I did this, I was pregnant with Violet. And there are certain things that are really hard to do, like going back to the places that we went to the weekend Violet died. The weekend Violet died, Nolan's mom came into town and we went out to Ritter's for ice cream. Well, she was in town again a couple weeks ago and we went out to Ritter's for ice cream again.None of those things had anything to do with Violet's death, but it just makes you remember. And, the Saturday that I stopped feeling Violet move, we went to The Container Store. So what did we do last Saturday? At 26 weeks pregnant, on a Saturday, we went back to The Container Store. Really, this also had absolutely nothing to do with my baby's death. Your mind just goes to weird places and makes you think back to different times. And those are all things that I needed to do.....I can't live my life avoiding Ritter's on E Washington Street or The Container Store just because of this. And there are still places that I should visit. I think the hardest place will be going back to Traders Point. We were there for dinner and that is the last time that I remember feeling Violet alive. That one might take a bit of courage. I'll get there some day.....maybe when I'm not pregnant and emotional!

So tomorrow is my last day at 26 weeks of pregnancy with my twins. And I will be welcoming weeks 27, 28, 29, 30 and so on until these babies decide that they need to make their grand entrance to the world.

Ultrasound Update-In case you have no read this on Facebook, my ultrasound went great this week. Both babies doing great, with strong heartbeats. No signs of preterm labor at all. Baby A in the correct head down position. Baby B still breech, but that's fine. I go back to the OB at 28 weeks for an ultrasound, an appointment with the OB and my glucose testing!!! 

It's all about The Benjamins

For this weeks Together on Tuesday topic is do you manage your money. YIKES!

Cold hard cash, moolah, The Bacon, dough, Benjamins, dinero, buckaroos, smackers, bones, greenbacks, or chump change. No matter what you call it money is on all of our minds. Whether we are trying to make more of it, save more of it or spend more of it. Money makes the world go round.

Money can't buy me love and money can't buy me happiness, but it sure does help to have money sometimes. It's hard when you live in a way that you want to be frugal, you want to be responsible with your money, you want to teach your children good habits, and society is telling you that you need to buy more and spend more on things that you don't need. Why do we has humans want to have more than our neighbors? Why do we feel a need to keep up with The Jones'? Who the heck cares about The Jones' anyway?

Budget, whats a budget? This is not something that we are great at. This topic is kind of hard for me to write about. It's hard writing about something that your not good at and admitting your flaws to all your friends and family and then also sharing it with the world.

I talked it over with Nolan before writing about this and we decided that our budget style is fly by the seat of your pants. Could we save more? Yes. Could we spend less? Yes. Are we going into debt? No.Do we have debt other than our mortgage and student loans? No. Do we have savings? Yes. Are there plenty of things that we could manage more about our finances? Yes.

Our monthly budgets consists of Nolan (who is our resident accountant) looking at our credit card statements (we rarely use cash or checks, it's always the credit card) and letting me know that we need to watch our spending. So for several weeks we do a great job, but slowly bad habits come back into play. It's not that we buy a ton of crap, but sometimes we just don't watch our spending closely. We will spend more at the grocery than we need to, we will go out to eat more times that month than the previous month. Sometimes our spending is just more because there are things that we need to buy....last month's credit card statement was higher than usual, we also had things that we needed to buy that ended up totaling about $1000 and really, it was things that we needed, like the new compact car seat for Georgia. While the car seat was expensive, it was cheaper than 60 months of car payments. And buying that car seat actually saved us from buying a new car. In the long run, while we spent more money than normal for that particular item, it's saving us money.

Truly, we try to live a modest life. We don't buy things because they are the best, newest, most expensive things out there. We have a basic cable package. We love hand me downs and buy things second hand.  We get the free cell phones when we renew our package every two years. We have resisted upgrading our cell phone package and still keep the cheapest one that isn't even offered anymore. We don't have a texting plan. Sure we would use it if we had it, but by not having the plan we rarely send a text. Most months, its money saved. Both cars are paid off and while they are reliable, they are not fancy and not new. And we live in a small house that we can easily afford. It would have been really easy to justify a move to a bigger house since the twins are coming. But we decided to do some rearranging and make our current house work, for a least a couple more years.

We are also trying to teach Georgia some responsibility with money. We try to let her buy her own things. I think that she gets a sense of pride buying it herself and she can get whatever she wants as long as she can afford it. So whatever money she earns or gets for birthdays and holidays goes into her bank. Usually when we go somewhere special or go on a trip, we get that money out and she gets to spend it however she would like. Sometimes there are things that she just can't buy.....usually if it's a couple of dollars good ol' mom and dad will help out a little bit, but most of the time we make her stick to her budget and find something that she really wants instead of some crappy plastic toy that will be given to Goodwill in a few months.

So, while I say that we fly by the seat of our pants with our budget, we do have a certain dollar amount that we save every month. Nolan contributes to his 401K. His employer matches a certain percent of his paycheck that he puts into it. I don't know the details, but it's like free money and we would be stupid not to do that. Also, we have a checking account for our mortgage. Money from his paycheck is directly deposited into that account. We put more money in that account than we need just never know. Most of the time, we are able to let that build up and then it goes directly into our savings account. Sometimes we have to use the bills (which we had a ton of after Violet died....all sorts of testing. we have good insurance but they just don't cover 100% of everything all the time and it adds up), home improvements, car repairs....things that you don't really want to spend money on, but need to sometimes. And then sometimes we are able to take part of it and use it for fun things too, like our Disney vacation. It's always hard when the money dwindles down, but that is what it's there for.....sometimes for a rainy day and sometimes for fun days! There have been plenty of times when we have be so thankful that we have had some money saved.

That's my take on this weeks topic.....probably not the best role model, but I'm not in debt, I have money saved, I own my own home and cars. I usually feel like we are doing a lot better than most people our age.

Check out what DanielleMichelleCharlotte, and Sarah have to say about their budget. Maybe you and I can learn something from them!!!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sommers' Family Photos

I got the privilege of meeting my friends, The Sommers Family, for a photo session at Holliday Park. This was the first time I have done a photo session at Holliday Park, but it certainly won't be the last. I've been to this park several times to picnic and play, but never for work. It's really a fantastic place to wander around if you ever have the opportunity.

Here are some photos of this very cool family......

The happy family

The many faces of Maddie

The Man of the Hour.....Gibson

Aren't they fun? And don't they take great photos? Beautiful models, that is for sure! Thanks Sommers' Family for letting me capture your family in photographs. 


This is a Jack Johnson and Matt Costa song that reminds me of Violet.....sometimes I think about her being all alone and this is the song that I picture singing to her to make her feel better. Just so she knows that Mama and Daddy will be with her someday.

When you're so lonely lying in bed
Night's closed its eye but you can't rest your head
Everyone's sleeping all through the house
You wish you could dream, but you forgot somehow
Sing this lullaby to yourself
Sing this lullaby to yourself
And if you're waiting waiting for me
Know I'll be home soon darling I guarantee
I'll be home Sunday just in one week
Dry up your tears if you start to weep
And sing this lullaby to yourself
Sing this lullaby to yourself
Lullaby, I'm not nearby
Sing this lullaby to yourself
Cause when I arrive dear it won't be that long
No it won't seem like anytime that I've been gone
It ain't the first time, it won't be the last
Won't you remember these words to help the time pass
So when your lonely, lying in bed
Night's closed its eyes, but you can't rest your head
Everyone's sleeping all through the house
You wish you could dream but forgot to somehow
Sing this lullaby to yourself
Sing this lullaby to yourself
Sing this lullaby, sing this lullaby
Sing this lullaby to yourself

I also think about her singing this lullaby to me....when I'm thinking about her and need some comfort. Really it could go either way.

Here is the song if you would care to have a listen.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Together On Tuesdays-The Green Green Grass of Home

This weeks topic for Together on Tuesdays is - The Grass is Always Greener: if by some twist of fate you had the option to move to some wonderful destination, would you take it-or would you stay where you live now? What are some of the things that you love about where you live? What are some things you dislike, or some things that you wish you had in this area that would improve your quality of life? If you would take the get out and leave option-what are your reasons for leaving? Where would your destination be? If you stay-why?

Personally, I don't think that the grass is greener. I like living in my home town. I don't want to move anywhere else. I love being close to family and friends. I love knowing all sorts of things about the city where I grew up.I love finding out new things about this city too. And I'll say it, I'm proud to be a Hoosier! 

There is a country song that talks about the green green grass of home and ever since I heard about our topic for this week I've had Elvis in my head singing about the green green grass of's the link if you would like to have listen. 

Nolan always wonders how I know these random songs.....ask my mom and dad. Their love of old school country music and my crazy ability to memorize every song lyric I've ever heard makes my head filled with these songs. While all the lyrics of the song don't really ring true with me (you realize that the man is in prison and he is thinking about after his execution and being buried back at home), the phrase The Green Green Grass of Home just stuck in my head. 

Don't get me wrong. I love to travel. I love visiting new and exciting places. I love seeing all the sites. If I had endless amounts of money, I think that I would travel all the time. Traveling is different than living some place else. I think that is what makes traveling so great for me. When you travel, everything is new and different. It's not what you are used to every day. It's not the same old house, on the same old street, in the same old city. But at the end of the day, while it's always hard to leave my vacation spot, I always love coming home. I think that if I lived in some "cool" place, it would quickly loose it's splendor. 

I've lived in different cities. I lived in Goshen, Indiana for 4 years while in college. While not that exotic, it is certainly different from Indianapolis....I mean, how many people live in an area where there is a horse hitch at the Wal Mart for the Amish buggies (excluding all of you Mennonites that are reading this). 

There it is folks, in all it's glory!

I lived in Atlanta, Georgia as well. Nolan was finishing his masters degree at Georgia Tech when we got married. So off to Atlanta I went. It was fine. It was fun to live in the city. I liked finding new places to hang out and visit. I liked the winter much better than the winters here in Indy, but at the end of our stay there, I was ready to move back home. We still have plenty of great memories of living there and think back on our time there often. 

This is the old Ford factory that was turned into lofts. This is where we called home. 

After his graduation, Nolan would have moved off to California and pursued his game design career. He knew that I would be happier living in Indy, so we moved back here. He gave up his dreams to be with me, I guess that just show how much he loves me. Ladies, I caught a good one! Now, I would have gone with him anywhere he wanted to go. If he said there is no way he could ever be happy living in Indiana for the rest of this life, I would have packed up and followed him to the ends of the earth. I love the man that much. And to be honest, I probably would have enjoyed it, but I would have also desperately missed home. Now that I think back, I wish that we would have moved off somewhere when we were newlyweds. It would have been exciting to live in such a different place, at least for a little while. I probably would have wanted to move back to Indy when we began to think about having children. Hindsight is 20/20, they say, and I think they are correct. 

To wrap this up, while I hate too many days with grey skies in the winter, I hate humidity in the summer, I hate that I can't bike from my house to anywhere, I hate that public transportation is terrible here in Indy, I don't want to go anywhere else. This is my home and in the words of Dorothy Gale, "There's no place like home."

That is my take on the topic for this week. Keep checking back here to see what other topics we come up with for Together on Tuesdays. 

Now, remember to check out my other blogger friends and see what they think about the grass being greener. 
Danielle at My Peaches and Cream
Charlotte at The Dog Days of Life
and Sarah at justliving

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Horst Family Photos

My friend Sarah, who I met during my days at Goshen College, once told me that if I was ever in the Goshen area again that she would like for me to photograph her daughter. Well....low and behold, we were in Goshen for my hubby's great aunt's 100th birthday. So I emailed Sarah, told her we were going to be in the area and if she wanted to do some photos, we would work it out. Well, she did want photos and we did work it out. Here are a few of my favorites of the photographs that we took on the Goshen College campus!

I had a great time photographing this sweet little family. Hope you enjoy. 

West Family Photo Session

Not too long ago, my friend from church, Michele, asked if I could do some family photos. Uh, yea! She has the two cutest little guys. I was just so excited to capture them in photographs that they could enjoy for years to come. Here are a few of my favorites......

Michele, I hope you and Troy like the photos as much as I do! It was a pleasure to get to know your family a little bit better. 

To Celebrate Or Not?

It's Mother's Day. I am so thankful that I had a little girl rushing into my bedroom this morning to give me a card that she picked out just for me. And I'm even more thankful for the hugs and kisses she gave me too.

Not only do I think about how lucky I am to have such an amazing daughter, but I also think of my daughter that can't be with me right now. I live with the hope that one day we will see each other again and I will get to hold her and do all the things that I can't do with her now.

There were so many times when I thought about her today.....
-this morning when Georgia and Nolan brought me cards and gave me hugs and kisses, I missed Violet's kisses
-at church watching two babies who would be close to Violet's age smile and coo at each other, I missed Violet's smile
-driving to my parent's house for lunch and I realized that I forgot to wear my special Violet necklace, sorry kiddo, I didn't mean to forget!
-watching Georgia and my nieces run around the back yard laughing and playing together, I missed Violet's laugh
-feeling Violet's sisters wiggle and squirm in my womb, I missed Violet's wiggles
-now, back at home reading about others who are missing their babies today, I miss you too, Violet

I feel like sometimes maybe I shouldn't have those feelings since I am pregnant again already (with twins nonetheless) and I have Georgia. But just because those things are true, that does not mean that I don't miss my Violet just as much. I will always miss her and I will always long for her and my arms will always ache to hold her, no matter how many other children I have. I will always wonder what she would have been like, what her laugh would have sounded like, and what she would have looked like as a grown woman. Those things I will never get the privilege to know.

This is the second year in a row that I have been pregnant on Mother's Day. Last year I didn't even know that I was about 1 month pregnant with Violet. It was a few days later that I found out I was expecting. What a difference a year makes.

So while their are so many people out there celebrating Mother's Day, remember there are others who have different feelings on this day. They may be remembering their mother who has passed away. They may be remembering their babies that they never got to bring home. They maybe remembering their children that they never got the chance to watch grow up. They may be longing to hold their own child in their arms. They may be longing for their situation to change one day. Others may be suffering in silence because no one knows about their loss and how great it is. Hold them up and remember that today may cause them great pain and they might not feel like celebrating anything about today.

While I am desperately missing my baby girl, I choose to celebrate today. I do have many reasons to celebrate that others many not have in their lives right now. The best reason is that Georgia was so excited about today. I love her giving spirit. I also have a fantastic mother that I was able to spend the day honoring. If I can be half the mother she is, I am doing a great job. I have another fantastic lady in my life, my mother in law. I do consider myself lucky, she raised one heck of a son, she treats me like a daughter and she's a fabulous grandmother.

So today I celebrate those woman in my life and I celebrate the opportunity that I have had to carry 4 babies. I am proud that I have 4 daughters.... I have one running around like crazy right now (in her night gown and a princess crown), one in heaven who I miss everyday, and two in my womb that I can not wait to meet this summer.

Miss you baby Violet. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

24 weeks and still counting

I am currently 24 weeks 4 days pregnant with these twins. Needless to say, this pregnancy is vastly different than my other two. I am tired all the time. I usually nap at least once a day, those of you that know me well, know that I don't usually nap...but I have to rest. My stomach is so squished that I don't really want to eat all that much....occasionally, I get really hungry, but most of the time I eat because I know that the babies and I need all the nutrients we can get. I'm not sleeping well. I probably get up at least 5 times a night to go to the bathroom. Its really hard to get any good sleep that way. That's probably the reason that I nap during the day! I have restless leg syndrome due to pregnancy. For some women this is a symptom. Crazy, I know. I just want to move my legs all the time. If I have been sitting or laying down for too long I feel like I'm going to go crazy if I don't move them. I have found that not taking my allergy medication (which can cause pregnant women to have symptoms of RLS) and walking around the house before bed helps my legs. I am getting leg and foot cramps at night. Again, walking around helps. But between the leg cramps and peeing all the time, I feel like I'm up half the night.
BUT, while this pregnancy is completely different, I wouldn't change a darn thing. I love the fact that these babies are moving all the time. I love that I'm having two babies, even though it's going to be hard until we get some sort of routine down. And I love that I get to see these babies via ultrasound every two weeks. I feel blessed that I get to see them on the big screen, moving around and showing their stuff.
Today, we had our 24 week OB appointment and ultrasound. Once again I had to have a full bladder (I think that this is so the picture comes out clearer, I don't know for sure) and once again, I had to wait past my appointment time for my ultrasound. Do they not know that I am pregnant with twins? Do they not know that I have two babies sitting on my bladder, kicking me in the bladder and just making it painful to stand up because all the weight shifts towards my bladder? Anyway, at least this time it was only about 10 minutes instead of 30 like it was the last time.
We head back to ultrasound room (by the way, I'm sure that I've mentioned this before, but this is the same exact room where it was confirmed that Violet was no longer living....we got to see her motionless body on the big screen.....this is where we sobbed and our worlds fell completely's bittersweet to go back to this room because I know that these babies are still living, but it always makes me think of the photo of my dead baby girl and I don't know if I should be happy that I am getting to see these living beings or sad because I don't have Violet with me's all confusing). After laying on the table and exposing my extra large tummy, the tech squirts the warm goo on my stomach, which makes both babies dance around. The first thing she does is show me each baby and their beating hearts. I don't know if she normally does this or if its just because she knows that I lost my baby at 26 1/2 weeks. I don't really care why she does it, it always makes me feel better. Even though I feel both of them moving and kicking, once I see the beating hearts, my mind is put at ease. By the way, these ultrasounds have gotten a lot easier to go to since I've started feeling the babies move. Before I would be ready to puke by this point. I was just so sure that we were going to start the ultrasound and she would not find a beating heart on one or both of the babies.
We always start off checking out Baby A's body parts. It's confirmed, ONCE AGAIN, that Baby A is a female. The tech takes all sorts of measurements and photos of Baby A. Everything is measuring right on track. Baby A measures at 24 weeks 3 days (according to my LMP (look it up if you don't know...I'm not explaining it) I am 24 weeks 4 days. So we are on track. Baby A weighs in at 1lb 9oz. What a champ! All the organs looks great. We were able to hear her heartbeat. Nice and strong, about 140 BPM. Baby A is head down still, which is where she needs to be later on in pregnancy, but if she stays that way, I'm fine with that. Baby A gets an A+ for today's check up.
On to Baby B. It was also confirmed that Baby B is a girl. Baby B is measuring at 24 weeks 2 days, again on target. Baby B also weighs in at 1lb 9oz. Most likely, as the pregnancy goes on, the babies will not weigh the same, but for now they do. All of Baby B's organs look good. Her heartbeat was also great, about 146 BMP.  Baby B is in a breech position, but we'll take what we can get. She's got plenty of time to flip around.   In my opinion Baby B also gets an A+, but I'm her mom so maybe I'm biased.
Also, my cervix was checked. If you don't want to hear about my cervix, please move on....there are no signs of preterm labor and it is measuring 4.9. Anything above 3 is good. Now I get an A+ for this visit. So glad that we are all doing our jobs and doing them well.
After my ultrasound, I had to wait  to see the nurse practitioner. When the medical assistant took me back, we headed down the dreaded hallway. Then she said you can put your stuff in room 15. Ugh, it was the room where we couldn't find Violet's heartbeat. Don't they know not to put me in this room. No, they don't know. And that's ok. There are just some things that I have to deal with that most people don't even think about being a big deal. And, I just have to get past some of these things in my mind.
The NP came in for our visit and of course she was the same NP that I saw the day Violet died....the day that I was just coming in to hear the heartbeat to "ease my mind." Then she said to me, "I know that I've seen you before, but let me take a look at your history to refresh my memory." Well.....she looked at my history and then said, "Oh you lost a baby in October. OH, that's why I know who you are!" I didn't want say, "um yeah, you're the one who told me my baby was dead." So, we talked about that a little bit and she got caught up on everything. Then she took my belly measurement and made a comment about me measuring really big. I was thinking, "I get it, I'm huge right now." Then she looks at my chart again and says, "Oh! You're having twins." Hmmmm, didn't she look that over before she saw me? Guess not. Oh well, it was still a good visit and we got some good looks at our babies and got nothing but good news.
On a side note, Nolan and I were talking about the size of these babies and we were realizing that we've held a baby this small. We know what this small looks like. It will forever be burned into our minds what this size of baby is like to cuddle. Violet weighed 1lb 10oz, just 1 small oz more than her sisters. While we know how small this is for a baby, we also know how big that is to have two babies this size in my womb.
This 24 week visit made me think about my twins and what the future holds for them and our family. But it also made me think so much about Violet. Violet's 24 week appointment was the last OB appointment we had. I'm looking forward to many more OB appointments with these twins and much more good news as this pregnancy progresses.

Together On Tuesdays-TRADITION! Tradition!

So, you are supposed to imagine me singing, "TRADITION! Tradition!" If you don't know where that comes from you need to listen to Fiddler on the Roof. They sing an entire song about tradition. Today's Together On Tuesday topic is about a an event, that we either currently participate in or one from our childhood and how this has shaped us into the person we have become. 

This topic was a little bit difficult for me. I felt like Winnie the Pooh when he's sitting there with his hand on his forehead saying, "think, think, think!"I was able to come up with a couple of things that our family does annually that I would consider a tradition. So, here we go.....

For the past couple of years, I have made the trip up to Goshen, Indiana for the MCC Relief Sale. The Mennonite Central Committee, or MCC, holds relief sales all over the United States and Canada. If you would like to know more about the relief sale here is the MCC site and this is the site specifically for the Michana Relief Sale (which is the one that I attend)

Here is the deal with the relief sale, Mennonite churches donate can be quilts (there is a huge quilt auction that is amazing....those quilters sure have a lot of talent), baked goods (personally, my favorite part is buying breads and sweets to take back home), or random items, like antiques, that can be sold in an auction. The money that is raised from the items donated goes to help those suffering from natural disasters that happen all over the world. And, it's not just selling the items listed above, there are tons of other booths set up around the Elkhart County Fair Grounds selling handmade items, food (a lot of the local churches will sell yummy food that we look forward to every year....mmmm, apple fritters!), and there is even a booth that sells delicious cheeses (that's always another spot that I hit up). 
Also, before the relief sale, churches do something called Penny Power. They collect pennies and that also gets donated for disaster relief. It's amazing how much money is collected from just pennies! It just shows that if everyone donates a little bit, we can make a big difference. 
We have gone to this as a family and Georgia and I have gone with friends. We are able to meet up with folks from church who have also made the drive up from Indy, college friends that either drive in for the event or that still live in Goshen, and we get to see Nolan's family that lives in the Goshen area. It's a fun day and the best part is knowing that the money I've spent is going to help someone who really needs it. 

Another tradition that we do always as a family is go to The Covered Bridge Festival. Nolan, Georgia and I go with my parents and last year my brother's family joined us for the weekend. The festival is always in October, so sometimes the weather is amazing and sometimes is bitterly cold. It's always a bonus when we have sunny, warm days. 
First, we usually leave on Friday and head to my parent's cabin in Clay City, Indiana. We usually just hang out there for the evening, cook dinner together and have a good time sitting by the camp fire, playing games and talking. On Saturday, after a big breakfast, we head to Bridgeton for the festival. This is the smaller of two festivals that go on in this area. All along the way, there are garage sales to stop and check out. That is the best part for me. I love to look at other people's junk. I find it so interesting to see what other people have collected over the years. Sometimes there are great finds (one year I found an antique vanity and bench for a reasonable price) and other times there is just a bunch of junk. 
Once we get through the garage sales, we turn down this winding country road and head to the festival. Once we get there and park it's usually lunch time. I always get the same thing, a hot ham and cheese sandwich. This sandwich is made with real ham, not just deli meat, Colby cheese and thick slices of bread. I usually end up sharing this with someone because it's so huge. After lunch comes the shopping. The festival has tons of booths set up selling all sorts of goods. Usually these are handmade items or antiques, but there are several places just selling cheap crap like 10 pairs of flip flops for $5 or something like that. I'm more interested in the handmade items. In addition to loving other people's junk, I also love to check out what people can make themselves. 
Before we leave for the day, we make sure to stop by the Amish booth and get some Whoopie Pies...a box of chocolate and a box of pumpkin, please! If you don't know about Whoopie Pies, you really need to check them out. They are so good. And the Amish also have a homemade pretzel booth. These are the BEST pretzels ever. They are not like the pretzels you get at the ballpark or the mall. You actually see these young Amish ladies making the dough and rolling it out into pretzels and then baking them to perfection. Preztels are another thing that I adore. I know, I like food! 
We head back to my parent's cabin, tired and weary. Sometimes we are all so tired that we just turn in fairly early and other times we stay up laughing and talking. Either way it's fun. 
Sunday we make another big breakfast. After our feast, we get to work. It's the perfect time to close up my parent's cabin for the winter. We get all the linens out to take home and wash, we sweep the floors, and my dad and Nolan usually do something to the water lines so the pipes don't freeze over the winter. Another cabin season has come and gone. 

Those are a couple of things that I do with my family, what about yours? Do your traditions involve as much food as mine? Remember to check out what DanielleMichelleCharlotte, and our newest blogger to join our group Sarah have to say about their traditions. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Weekend Update-Visits From Far Away and Celebrating 100 Years

This weekend was jam packed full of many things going on and so many people to see.

I had a photo shoot in the morning with the West Family. I'll blog about that later when I have some photos to show off. They are such a cute, laid back family. It was so fun to photograph them. We went to a really fun and cute park that Michele recommended, so Nolan and Georgia came along too. I will be going back there again, to play and take photos. Thanks Michele!!!

We headed home to wait for GRANDMA to visit from Kansas! We were all very excited to see her for this surprise visit. We found out that she was coming the Sunday before. When she got here we let her rest for a bit, then we headed out to dinner at PF Chang's. YUM! We were so glad that we were able to take her out for an early Mother's Day dinner.

We feasted on yummy spring rolls, lettuce wraps, fried rice, a spicy shrimp dish and a chicken dish. YUM!

After dinner we needed to walk it off so we headed directly behind us to The Fashion Mall to get a little bit of exercise. We went in through the Saks Fifth Ave entrance and looked at the things that we could never afford to buy. I'm not really sure that I would want a $700 purse, even if I had the money to buy it. I might be too afraid to carry it around!
We were able to get a walk in, although, I'm pretty sure that I held the group up a little bit. By that time of day I am usually moving pretty slow, especially after a big meal like we just had. But no one in our group seemed to mind our stroll.

After dinner and a walk, some ice cream was in order. Off to Ritter's we went to get some frozen custard to top off our great evening together.

After a delicious breakfast made by my wonderful hubby, we headed up to Goshen. This was the real reason for Grandma's trip to Indiana. You see, Great Aunt Lois was having a 100th birthday party. 100 years, WOW! We were so happy to be able to celebrate this special day with such a sweet and wonderful woman. Now, while she is weak and speaks very softly, there is still a bit of sparkle in her eyes. It was great to see her and all the people that came to her open house to celebrate her life.
We were also able to visit with some extended family while we were there. I was able to show off the twin bump! AND, Grandma's sister Brenda, gave us some great finds from around her house.

This skirt was made for Aunt Brenda by Georgia's Great Grandma Evelyn and Great Aunt Lois. Grandma had a good time looking at the pieces of fabric and remembering where they came from.....some where from clothes that Grandma had as a child, clothes that Great Grandma wore and many other things that held special memories. 

This is a quilt made for Aunt Brenda's baby doll. I believe that she said her name was "Betty." I don't recall if she said who made it for her. I'll have to remember to ask!

This is a quilt made for one of Aunt Brenda's children. I believe that she said Great Aunt Lois made this for her. I love the little owls, so sweet!

Another blanket from Brenda. Can't remember who made it or who it was for. It sure is beautiful. 

This was something that both Grandma and Brenda remember from growing up. It looks like it should have been a pillow case, but neither remember if there was ever a pillow. They just know that it was always around their house. They are assuming that their mother or grandmother made this. We are going to hang it in the nursery. LOVE IT!

So after visiting at Brenda's, we started our late night drive back to Indy. It's always nice to visit and catch up with family that we don't see very often. 

Today is the day that Grandma has to make the long drive back to Kansas. We were sad to see her go, but so glad that she was able to spend time with us. The next time she visits, hopefully we will have twin girls to snuggle and cuddle with too! 

Goodbye Grandma! Safe travels back to Newton! See you this summer!!!