Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Beach Box

Awhile back in this potty training post, I mentioned how we were using the "beach box" (aka AquaDoodle) as a reward for potty training. Even though Kaden kept asking for it, I wasn't quite ready to give it to him yet. While we were in Florida in March, it suddenly occurred to Kaden that he had to tell us when he had to go potty. Ever since then, he's been doing GREAT on the potty. He tells us when he has to pee, and most of the time when he poops. Occasionally you have to catch him beginning the act of #2 and run him into the bathroom, but generally, he does pretty well. A couple of weeks ago he started waking up dry in the morning, and now we're done with diapers completely and just use a pull-up at night. 5 out of 7 nights he wakes up dry in the morning. I couldn't be happier with how smoothly things have gone with potty training. I guess it wasn't so bad after all! :)

Anyways, a week or so after we got back from FL, Kaden saw the beach box downstairs and asked for it. I told him that he could finally get his beach box because he was doing so well on the potty. He uses it all of the time and loves it. Plus, it only uses water and the water dries pretty quickly so it's virtually mess-free. Woo whoo! Congrats on getting your beach box, Kaden!
Painting/Drawing (I had to draw the snowman of course)

So happy to finally have his special treat for using the potty!

Concentrating on his painting/drawing.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


We decided to make a trip to Frederik Meijer Gardens on Saturday to see the butterflies before our membership expires at the end of this month. Kaden didn't like the butterflies last year and we were hoping he'd like them this year. Um, yeah, not so much. He was excited about going, but then once he got there he just wanted to leave and kept asking to see the other animals. I had to explain to him that it wasn't a zoo and butterflies were his only option for the morning. He got very excited when he saw a bird in the butterfly exhibit, and that's all he talked about! He wanted to be held and kept covering his eyes as we walked around. Kaden, Kaden, Kaden. I think it took us longer to drive there than the time we were actually looking at the butterfly exhibit. We didn't use our membership much over the past year and didn't think it was worth having, so we won't be renewing our membership again. I think we'll stick to the GR Children's Museum- much more fun and kid-friendly and WAY more to do than at the gardens.

Final stages of becoming a butterfly!

Daddy and Kaden. Kaden's face says it all.

Up-close shot

I got him to laugh while he was pouting :)

Nectar pods full of butterflies!

Clinging to Mommy and asking to leave

Final stop for a picture on the butterfly. Of course his eyes would be shut.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Spring Favorites

There's just something about spring that makes me want color in my house. Maybe it's the colors that appear outside as the snow slowly melts away, maybe it's new growth on trees and flowers. Whatever it is, I always try to bring color into my home into the springtime. It makes me happy and love my house even more! :) Here are a few of my colorful spring favorites from this year:

My adorable candlesticks I picked up for SUPER cheap at Marshalls. I love when I come across a great deal! I love this Robin Egg Blue color. They look especially adorable next to my lime green Etsy frame on my shelf.

I have an obsession with marker pens. I LOVE them. Must be the teacher in me. I'm always looking for new kinds, and even though I don't use them as often as I should, it makes me happy looking at them. I especially like displaying things in my Ball canning jars. I have to find some use for them in between applesauce making seasons! :)

Sweet colorful goodness.

I picked up this frame at Pier One awhile back, and finally got to creating it this past week when my energy decided to come back. I took some coordinating Stampin' Up paper and cut mattes for coordinating pictures. I love that when I get sick of the paper and photos I can change them up for the seasons. It looks fabulous on my wall (thanks to my hubby for finally hanging it so I could take a picture of it! :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Twin journey

As I promised earlier, I wanted to give some background and more of the full story for those of you who have been asking lots of questions! So.... here goes...hopefully I'll answer all of your questions!

The journey began on Valentine's Day when we found out we were pregnant. We were very excited, yet guarded since I had miscarried before getting pregnant with Kaden. I went through the rest of that day like a zombie- not sure how to feel about the news. I was queasy at night during our couple's cooking class, which I was hoping was a good sign. I called my doctor that day and they wanted me to go for bloodwork every 48 hours for the next week to check my HCG levels (protocol for people who have miscarried before). My HCG levels continued to rise, but at a very normal rate (not to the extreme like can often happen with twins).

The following week morning sickness sets in at full blast. It was like someone just turned on a switch. I was fine one day and NOT so fine the next. I'll spare you the details, but weeks 5-10 were not pleasant. Nausea, extreme fatigue, unable to keep up with life somedays, not knowing what to eat, not able to keep food down, eating in bed before I lifted my head off the pillow, etc.

On Thursday, Feb. 24 we had an early ultrasound, protocol for people who have miscarried before. Of course we were nervous, but also felt thankful we could have an ultrasound so early. Waiting and watching the technician do the ultrasound can feel like some of the longest minutes of your life. I finally asked, "does everything look okay?" She turned the screen towards us and said, "here is a baby, with a heart tone." What a relief! I asked (jokingly of course), "that's the only one, right?" She said, "Well, I'm not sure, I'm not done checking." She proceeded to show us another sac in my uterus. Um.... HOLD ON a second. She saw another sac. She said at that point she couldn't find anything in the sac and it was too early to declare it as a twin, but also too early to diagnose it as a vanishing twin. She recommended another ultrasound in 5-10 days to firm up everything. Andy and I left the appointment in shock, sharing this news with no one but ourselves. Seriously?!? TWINS?!? Wow. I have twins in my distant family, but I didn't ever think it would happen to me. At that point I was convinced that it was a vanishing twin and Andy was convinced we were having twins.

The following week (a week before I was supposed to have my scheduled ultrasound), I had a few complications and my dr. wanted to do another ultrasound to see if things were okay. Unfortunately, because it was so last minute, Andy wasn't able to make it to this appointment (I bet he'll never go into a meeting without his cell phone again!! :). As I again waited very anxiously for a few VERY long minutes, the technician turned the screen and said, "well.... this is Baby A with a heartbeat and this is Baby B with a heartbeat." I'm shaking at this point. I make her show me again, because I'm in denial. I say a quick prayer and thank God for those TWO surprising heartbeats. Wow. I wait as they call my doctor, and they change my due date again (still measuring a bit small, so now they put me at barely 7 weeks pregnant, officially due on Oct. 22). I walk back to my car, shaking, and call Andy to tell him the news. We're stunned. We're still very guarded, we think about the practical things like how we'll afford twins, where we'll put two cribs, and knowing that I won't be able to work at all in the fall. Lots of stuff going on in our mind, mostly excitement, though.

We had a scare after that where the Dr's originally thought we were having mono mono twins- both babies sharing the same placenta and sac, which is a very serious and rare twin pregnancy, with not so good odds of success. With thanks to God, a couple of weeks later they found a membrane separating the twins, meaning that their cords cannot tangle and affect their growth in serious ways. They are still sharing the same placenta, which means that one egg split into two and we will be having identical twins. Identical twins are not actually hereditary, so having slight twin representation in my family doesn't matter apparently.

Once all of the unknowns and scares of the pregnancy seemed a bit more stable, we decided we would tell our family during my spring break in Florida. We told our family and everyone was VERY excited. At first when we share the news, people aren't very surprised about the fact that I'm pregnant again, but when you drop the twin news, they're shocked. Our favorite part of these past few weeks has been seeing people's reactions. It's great! :)

So... long story short, we've been taking one week at a time. We are entering the second trimester this week, and are SO thankful that we've made it out of the scariest of the trimesters. We know that we have QUITE a journey ahead of ourselves with a lot of unknowns regarding normal twin pregnancies, but we're up for the journey. We're starting to actually believe that this is real and that we'll have 2 more blessings in our family in September or October, depending on how the pregnancy goes towards the end. We bought a minivan already (another post on this soon), and I'm gearing myself up for garage sale shopping, which has begun in full force this week. Kaden is starting to realize that he is going to be a big brother. We told him that mommy has 2 babies in her tummy, and he asked if I ate them. Usually we ask him what's in his tummy after he eats, so I believe he thinks I ate 2 babies. He must think his mom is incredibly weird. Kaden eats chicken nuggets and string cheese and mommy eats babies?!!? :) Physically I'm feeling 101 times better, mostly in the past week. The nausea has subsided, my energy is still not what it used to be (but better), I'm still hungry ALL of the time, and I don't feel like I'm going to be sick everytime I smell something out of the ordinary.... although I still gag when I brush my teeth and take my vitamins. Oh, speaking of vitamins- WOW. Twin pregnancies are way more demanding. It's amazing what vitamins and the amount of protein I need to get into my body to feel these twinners. Wow!

We are overwhelmed with thankfulness at this point. Today we got to see our beautiful blessings again (pictures below), and thank God for the opportunity to raise 2 more children. We couldn't have gotten through these past weeks without prayer and the strength that only God gives, and are so thankful we know that God has chosen us to bring these blessings into the world. Pretty overwhelming when you think about it.

I'm sure there are lots more questions I haven't answered, but I think this is enough for one post.

Now for the babes.... (I'm DYING to know what they are... I can't wait until we find out in May!!)

Isn't it amazing how much detail you can see at only 13 weeks?!?

The 3D image kind of weirds me out, but it's still pretty cool.

Adorable. And yes, they are literally on top of each other with only a thin membrane separating them. When Baby A moved today, Baby B bounced up like he/she was on a trampoline. It was hilarious. They were moving like crazy!!!

I could look at these babes all day.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Double the Blessing

I know the shirt may be a bit difficult to read, but hopefully you get the point. Kaden isn't exactly cooperative when it comes to taking pictures lately, so it was the best I could do. I'll keep trying for a better one in the days to come. I also had to make the shirt, because you don't exactly find ones like this in stores! :)

So yes, you read his shirt correctly. Kaden is not only going to be a big brother, but he is going to be a big brother TWICE. We are expecting twins in October! We are just as shocked as you probably are about the fact that we have two blessings in the making! :) This would explain the lack of blogging lately (thanks to those that follow my blog closely and actually pointed this out), the lack of communication in general, my lack of energy to do anything, and the general survival mode I've been in over the past 8 weeks since we found out we were pregnant. I haven't been feeling well at all, and I've just been trying to keep up with work and the daily tasks of life lately. There are lots more stories to share about our journey over the past 8 weeks, which I'll share over the course of the next week or two. For now, we wanted to share our news with all of you so you can share in our excitement with us!

For all of those who kept asking us when we were going to have another child- here you go. Bet you didn't expect the shocker of twins, huh? Neither did we. :)

Lots more blog posts on this topic to come. Oh, and Kaden is more excited about this than he seems to show in the picture. We're not quite sure he gets the idea yet. More to come on this, too.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Florida vacation

We went as a family to Orlando, FL again this year for Calvin's spring break mid-March. We had a fabulous time spending time with the whole family, sunbathing, swimming, eating, miniature golfing, and going to Sea World. Enjoy a picture review of our trip!

Breaking the news of our twin pregnancy to the family!

Dad is very surprised!

Kaden broke the news with his "Big Brother x2" shirt. He is happier about the news than he seems in this picture.

The second night we were there we went to Downtown Disney, walked around, got Kaden his first "real" Lego at Legoland and enjoyed ice cream as a family. Hopefully we enjoyed it because we waited in line for over 1/2 hour for it! Kaden seemed to enjoy it anyways! :)

I think Kaden's favorite part of the vacation was spending so much time in the pool. By the end of the week he was brave enough to swim on his "own" with a flotation device. Freedom for Mommy and Daddy and he was SO excited that he could swim on his own without holding on to anyone! We're excited to see him continue to develop his swimming skills this summer.

Swimming with Daddy

"Daddy, throw me!!"

Jumping in the pool to Daddy

Having fun at the splash pad at the community pool

Andy and Brian hanging out in the pool

Kaden playing with Uncle Brian in the pool

Not sure who liked Kaden's new squirter better- Daddy or Kaden! :)

Kaden chillin' in the pool

Swimming on his own from Daddy to Uncle Brian

Swimming in the hot tub

Of course, it wouldn't be a true family vacation if we didn't make crazy memories. You never know what to expect when you get all of us together. We had to find something to make our crazy Walmart food shopping experience fun, so Brian decided to climb in the shopping cart. Strangers in line were even taking pictures of him! :)

Kaden had such a fun time at Sea World. He LOVED seeing all of the animals, and hasn't stop talking about it since.

At the "Willy Show" wearing Mommy's sunglasses

Touching the stingrays

A long day makes for one tired boy. He fell asleep when we stopped for an afternoon snack. He was such a trooper all day!

Watching the baby dolphins with Daddy

Walking around with Grandma VDH

Watching the dolphins swim in the tank. His favorite part was when they swam by him and pooped :)

Family shot

The family enjoyed the log flume ride many, many times while Mommy and Kaden had to sit it out. :( Mommy was a bit bummed she had to sit out from the rides this year, but the pregnancy is definitely worth it!

Enjoying another show

Mommy and Kaden hanging out in the shade while the family enjoyed rides

Family picture with Willy. Kaden thought every whale was Willy since he loves the movie Free Willy, so we just went with it! :)

Large family photo

And of course it wouldn't be a family vacation if the guys didn't get to enjoy some golf.

And that's it. We had an awesome time, and who knows... maybe we'll attempt it again next year with the twins?!?