Saturday, January 30, 2010

Calling All Baby Necessity Lists

I have a friend who has already sent me her "Baby Necessity" list - a list of the things that she really loved, that were useful for her baby and recommendations on what to buy and not buy.  Another friend also asked me if I would like to have a copy of hers.

My answer is an adamant, "YES!"  So this is a call to all my mommy friends out there, if you have a Baby Necessity list or if you have any suggestions or guidance on what to buy or not buy, please, please send it my way.  We're having to buy 2 of a lot of things, so we want to make wise choices.  Your guidance is extremely valuable.

On an unrelated note, we got about 5 inches of snow last night followed by a bunch of sleet.  It's a winter wonderland here again, and we're all snowed in for the weekend (because Raleigh isn't equipped to handle snow like this).  Hopefully I'll take some pictures tomorrow.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Hello, Budget!

Jason and I have been lucky in our first years of marriage not to have to worry about budgeting too much.  This is mainly because we were dual-income and we're both fairly frugal and responsible with saving and searching for good deals on just about everything we buy.

Now, things are going to change dramatically.  At the end of May, I'm going to stop working.  Our income is going to be literally cut in half.  Sometime in July (probably), we're going to add two new members to our family.  Luckily, they won't be driving yet or asking us to stop at McDonald's every day, but they're still not going to be cheap.

And so we've started to look at developing a budget.  How much money should we save?  How much should we pay on our mortgage?  Should we stop making extra mortgage payments?  How much should we expect to spend on food each month?  Should we cut back on the money that we give to the church, charities and missionaries?  Should we cut back on our utilities and other recurring costs?  How should we budget for unexpected bigger expenses like having the cars fixed or plane tickets to visit family during the holidays (which is going to be something like $1200 or more per trip once the kids are over 2 years old!!)?

This is certainly going to mean some changes, and much more tracking of our expenses.  It will be easier to actually figure out what our real expenses are after I stop traveling for work and putting all of my reimbursed work expenses on my credit card. (Was that a work Pei Wei meal or a personal Pei Wei meal??)

And this makes me wonder how much we really need.  Do we really need this house?  Would I be just as happy in a smaller house?  Do we really need DVR cable (*gasp*)?  Could I survive in this wilderness without my iPhone?  I think we could probably live on much, much less and still be very happy.  It's not the stuff that brings joy to my life, it's the people.  And I can't wait to meet these two new people who are growing inside me.

We're starting to use some online tools for this.  If anyone else has any nifty suggestions on saving money or budgeting, please send them our way!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Wonderful News & Ultrasound Pictures

I think I may be happier than I've ever been in my life.  I'm overwhelmingly thankful to God for giving me these two healthy precious babies.  We had our nuchal translucency screening this morning, and both babies look good.  Their nuchal lengths are both normal.  I couldn't be happier.

The woman who did our ultrasound was wonderful.  She really talked to us for a long time, and we got to see the babies for what seemed like at least 15 minutes.  We got to see both of their little hearts beating, and we got to hear them for the first time.  It's just an awesome miracle to hear that.  And, of course, I cried when I heard each one of them.

We could see them both moving a lot, which was really fun.  Baby A was flailing his (her?) arms around quite a bit.  I was surprised that they both moved so much when they are still so small.

They are also both growing at a good rate.  Baby A is almost 6 cm long and Baby B is almost 5 cm long.  There seems to be a pretty big size discrepancy between the two of them, but the woman who did the ultrasound said that they are both within the normal range, so we're thankful for that.

And now for the pictures.  If you click on a picture, you can see it at a larger scale.

This is Baby A in profile.  I love this picture.  You can see the head, nose, and the little legs pretty clearly.  You can also see the cheek bone and jaw bone (the bright white spots on the head). 

This is Baby A from a front view - a lot crazier looking.  The eyes are actually lower on the head than you would think.  They're below those two bigger white blobs at the top.  You can see the cheek bone and jaw bone beneath that (the big white blob at the bottom of the head).  If I had good photo editing software, I would label it.  Maybe I'll try that on the Mac.

Baby A in profile - now stretch out a bit more as he/she was moving around.  Head to the left, body to the right.

Baby B in profile (head to the right, body to the left).  This picture is very cool - you can see him/her holding up their hand, and you can even see the individual little fingers (I think the hand is curled up) and the thumb sticking out toward the head (much fainter than the other fingers).

Baby B in profile.  You can see that he/she is holding their hands up in front of their face.  You can also see the legs (probably crossed).

Baby B from the front - another crazy-looking shot.  Much more "alien".

Here are both babies in the same shot.

This is my favorite.  It's my new desktop background on my computer.  Baby B on the left and Baby A on the right.  Another great shot of Baby B's piano fingers.  If you zoom into the picture, you can also see Baby B's toes (B is on the left, remember) and Baby A's hand (fainter than Baby B's).

Aren't they just the most beautiful babies you've ever seen??

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ultrasound Tomorrow

I'm excited and nervous about tomorrow.  I'm excited because we get to see our babies on the ultrasound screen again.  It will be so wonderful to see their little hearts beating.

I'm nervous because I'm worried that they might find something wrong, that they might only find one heartbeat, that something will look sketchy in the test results...

So if you think about praying for us tonight or tomorrow, we would definitely appreciate it... all four of us would appreciate it.  =)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Size 14 - Sounds Better

I think I have solved the bridesmaids dress dilemma.  I called a seamstress (someone who had great reviews online) and asked her opinion.  She thought the size 18 would be overkill, and she told me to go to David's Bridal and call her to let her know how many extra inches of fabric were around my waist (or what used to be my waist) and my hips.  So I went to David's Bridal and even borrowed their little "baby bump" to try on underneath the dresses.  I wrote down the extra fabric inches on the size 14 and 16 and called the seamstress.  She said to buy the 14.  She's going to try to sew extra panels of another fabric (closely matching the color of the original dress) to the liner underneath.  She sounds like she knows what she's doing, so I'm hopeful that it will turn out ok.

Problem solved (hopefully!).

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Size 18???

So I went to David's Bridal yesterday to try on a bridesmaid's dress for my sister-in-law's wedding in May.  At that point, I'll just be exactly 6 months pregnant.  Unfortunately, I have no idea what size I'm going to be.  Here is what the dress looks like.

Now, one would think that that would be an excellent choice for someone trying to smuggle a large basketball (or maybe larger?) into a wedding.  Well, the problem is that under the loose chiffon is a fitted satin layer.  The chiffon, of course, is translucent, and then it has a fitted lining.

A size 10 fits me like a glove right now (3 months pregnant).  The 22-year-old stick-thin women at David's Bridal recommended that I get a size 18 and have the dress completely reconstructed (which the alterations guy said would be "very, very expensive").  Does anyone out there know anything about this?  I have no idea what size to get or how to get this altered to fit me.  I don't want to get it too small, but an 18 sounds insane to me.  I wonder if I could get a 14 and try to find extra fabric at a fabric store that closely matches the liner so that I could have panels added to the abdominal area of the lining.  I'm at a loss of what to do here.  Any seamstresses out there?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Not So Fast...

Just when I thought that my "morning" sickness (which is much worse for me at night than in the mornings) was starting to go away, it's been horrible.  The past couple of nights, I have just felt awful - nauseated, bloated, headache... no fun at all.

The worst part of this whole thing is not the discomfort itself, but how bad I feel for being such a lame wife and friend.  I just feel so bad sometimes that I don't want to move off the sofa or be in public.  Hopefully this will pass soon so that I can be the bathroom-cleaning, clothes-folding, errand-running, coffee-chatting, fun-loving wife/friend that I used to be.  Until then, all I can say is that I hope to be back to my old self soon!  I miss her.

But it's all worth it for my two babies.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Psalm 139

I got a wonderful email from a dear friend this morning about this verse, and just wanted to share it with you today.

God is good.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Nuchal Translucency Screening

We're having nuchal translucency screening next week (on the 28th).  This is a test for Down syndrome and other chromosomal problems.  We're excited that we get to see the babies in an ultrasound again, but it is a bit nerve-wracking to think of some of the possibilities.  This seems to be a standard test that they do with twins (I think).  We are praying for regular results, so if you think about praying for the four of us between now and the 28th, we would surely appreciate it.  =) 

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Starting to Feel a Little More Normal

Over the past couple of days, I've noticed that I feel slightly less nauseated and have fewer headaches than I did before.  I hope this is an indication that it's going to continue to get better as we slide into the second trimester.  I'm at 11 weeks right now - one more week to go before we're done with the first trimester!  My next ultrasound is January 28 (also my dad's birthday).  I'll be glad after that's over and we have new pictures of our bigger babies.  They are supposed to be about the size of limes. 

Luckily, the battery on our scale died, so I haven't been horrified by however much weight I've gained.  Ignorance is bliss.  I really need to get a new battery so that I can be sure I'm not taking in way too many calories.

I haven't been working out very much at all over the past month because I've felt so sick.  Over the past few days, I've started taking long, brisk walks (3-4 miles) and that feels good.  I'm still not sure about actually trying to run again, because the doctor recommended that I keep my heart rate below 140 (which isn't very high at all, considering I'm usually in the 160-170 range when I'm doing something aerobic).  I guess I'll be doing lots of walking.  I think a 70-year-old man ran by me today - made me feel like such a lazy bum with my "brisk walk".

Monday, January 18, 2010

Yoga Pants Are My Friends

I don't know that I'm necessarily "showing" yet, but my clothes are definitely getting tighter and less comfortable - especially my jeans.  Tighter clothes also tend to increase my general feeling of nausea, too.  So I've started wearing my Nike yoga pants.  They are wonderfully comfortable.  And they actually look kind of cute when I pair them with some cute black flats (as long as my shirt is long enough to hide the Nike logo on the waistband).

I'm not ready to start wearing maternity clothes yet by any means, but I am very, very thankful for my cozy yoga pants today.  My waistline can breathe a bit now. 

I'm looking forward to looking pregnant instead of just looking like I've had a few too many milkshakes.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Girlfriends' Guide to Pregnancy

I got a couple books about pregnancy even before I got pregnant (What to Expect When... etc).  But I got this book as a pregnancy gift (thank you!).  This is by far my favorite pregnancy book.  Vicki Iovine has a wonderfully entertaining way of writing about pregnancy from a more experiential (versus biological or medical) standpoint.  She had me laughing out loud on my plane rides to and from San Diego a couple weeks ago.  If you know anyone who is pregnant that you want to get a gift for, this is an excellent choice.  She can be a bit risque, so be warned if you have super conservative pregnant friends.  =)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Lucky, Lucky Girl

So in reading all of these pregnancy books, there are lots of jokes about how clueless husbands are about pregnancy and about how they're often not very helpful.  In my family, that is clearly not the case.  Here is a list of ridiculously sweet and caring things Jason has done for me (though he is always sweet and caring):

  1. Bought me flowers the day we found out we were pregnant, even though I was flying to San Diego the next day and he knew that they would probably die.
  2. Rented a movie for us to watch, and came home with Ruffles chips and french onion dip.  He remembered me saying how I had a craving for it a couple nights beforehand.  He always remembers the little things.
  3. I asked him to buy me a bag of pretzels on his way home from work so that I could take some to New York with us (they help my nausea).   Well, he bought 2 "pounder" bags of pretzels and another bag of chocolate-covered pretzels.  Wow.  I'm in love.
  4. Folded laundry 
  5. Washed our duvet cover because he noticed that it was covered in cat hair (and cat sneezes... ew).
  6. Bought me ginger ale, and frequently brings me a can while I'm on the couch watching TV.
  7. Cleaned the kitchen even more often than he used to, which was already pretty often
  8. Sifted the litter box, since I found out I was pregnant, he's done this regularly
  9. Not criticized me for ordering french toast with ice cream on top
  10. Told me that I'll be beautiful no matter how closely I'll come to resembling the Goodyear blimp
  11. Downloaded the What to Expect app and gone to my doctor's appointments so that he can participate in this entire, crazy process.

    I am a lucky, lucky woman.  My husband is going to be a phenomenal father.  I love you, Jason.

    Tuesday, January 12, 2010

    Babies Want Papa John's?

    So apparently my babies love Papa John's.  I swear I feel like I could eat the pizza (with the garlic sauce, of course) at least 3 times a week and not be sick of it.

    I'm not so sure that my waist will love Papa John's, though.

    Nothing Says Morning Sickness Like a New York Cab Ride

    Jason and I went to New York City over the weekend. He was being sent by SAS for a conference, so all of his travel and hotel was covered. We just had to pay my airfare for me to join him for the weekend.

    It was a fun weekend. On Saturday, we saw Times Square and went to a showing of Phantom. Then on Sunday, we walked to Central Park (in what was something like 9 degree weather!) and went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The museum was fantastic, but it's absolutely enormous. There is no way you could see the entire thing in one day. It's overwhelming. I kept having to sit down because I felt tired and kind of dizzy (thanks to the twins). On Sunday, we walked over 5 miles - all of it in below freezing temperatures. We ended the day with some delicious Thai food near Carnegie Hall and some cupcakes from Crumbs (which were honestly a bit underwhelming considering all the hype?).

    This is my French toast with ice cream breakfast.  It was amazing.  I can do this because I'm pregnant, right?  
    At least I didn't actually eat the entire thing (though I bet I could have if I really tried hard).


    Here I stand with a statue of Latona and her children, Apollo and Diana.  
    I'm sure I'm going to look exactly like this with my two angelic babes.

    Monday morning, I took a cab to Laguardia. I get extremely motion sick whenever I'm in anything that I'm not driving these days. So, needless to say, the cab ride was NOT fun. Those drivers are insane - weaving in and out of traffic, nearly driving on the sidewalk, running over pedestrians. I'm just glad I got to the airport without vomiting in the back of his cab.

    Monday, January 11, 2010

    Dad Says Baby A Looks Like Me

    My dad thinks that Baby A looks like me. And he sent me this picture:

    Friday, January 8, 2010

    How Many??

    We went in for our first ultrasound this past Tuesday. I was excited, but I was also nervous. Some part of me wondered if I would get there and they would tell me that I'm somehow not even pregnant (which is clearly impossible with the ridiculous amoung of so-called "morning sickness I'm having... which does NOT only strike in the morning). I also worried that they would say that something was wrong with the baby.

    The doctor started by taking us through all the standard questions about morning sickness, asking me about my diet, talking about my work travel, etc. Then we finally got to the exam. Jason and the doctor were both in a position so that they could see the ultrasound monitor but I could not. I could see that the doctor had some kind of look on her face, but I wasn't sure what it meant. She finally turned the monitor so that I could see it, and told me that we were going to have TWO babies. TWO BABIES. I just started crying, out of some combination of excitement, relief that they were not aliens, and pure fear that I somehow had to carry two babies.

    It was overwhelming to see their little hearts fluttering on the screen. I only saw one of them beating. Jason said he also saw the second one. I was too busy dealing with my hysterics to catch all the details. =)

    So I am a mother of two. I have no idea how I'm really going to pull this off, but I'm so thankful for my two little babies. Every now and then I talk to them. "Ok, guys, let's go face the day!" Of course, we still have no idea whether it's guys or girls or one of each.

    All that to say, we're going from a family of two to a family of four in about 6 or 7 months. That still seems surreal to me.

    Here is Baby A:

    Here is Baby B:

    Here is a pretty fuzzy image of them both in the same shot:

    Telling My Parents

    We found out that my parents would be visiting us over New Year's, so we decided to wait until then to tell them in person (though it did feel really weird to have them not knowing for a couple of weeks).

    They drove up from Georgia to see us. They frequently drive for two reasons: 1. they bring their little dog, Mikey and 2. they either bring me stuff from home (yearbooks, piano music, etc) or Dad is bringing a bunch of power tools to help us with our latest home improvement endeavors.

    I thought of fun way to tell them about our baby. My brother and his wife are due to have their first child in June 2010, so we knew that my parents would be over the moon when they heard that they would have TWO grandchildren born in 2010. We went out and bought two baby picture frames. In one, I put a sign that said: "Coming soon! [insert my brother and his wife's name for their baby] Smith - June 2010". Then the second one said: "Coming soon! Baby Fox - August 2010". Here is a picture:

    Mom pulled the first one out of the box and opened it. At first, she thought that it might be about our baby, but then she read Baby Smith on it and realized it was for her other upcoming grandchild. Jason and I were just looking down at a puzzle that we were putting together. I coudln't even look up at them without smiling and giving it away. Then Mom opened the second one. As soon as she read it, she dropped it on the table, screamed and hugged us. I think we all got a little bit teary and hugged.

    After about a year of trying to have a baby, it's fun to be able to share this blessing with our parents.

    Telling Jason's Parents

    So none of my posts are correctly dated, if you haven't figured that out yet. I'm backlogging and trying to catch up with present day. Sorry about that. I wasn't totally inspired to blog until I found out that we're having two babies. Wow.

    Because we found out the week before Christmas, we decided to tell Jason's parents while we were in Indiana for Christmas. It's just more fun to tell them in person than over the phone. We tried to think of a cute way to tell them, and we decided that Jason would give me a gift with some baby caps, blankets and onesies.

    I opened the present on Christmas after everyone else had opened all of theirs (we had the fun of watching our niece and nephews open up all their goodies). I opened the package and started saying, "Oh, what cute baby clothes!" They looked kind of confused, and then Jason's dad asked,"Is this an announcement?" We told them that it was, and much screaming and hugging followed.

    They are so excited for us. Jason's mother has even started knitting us a baby blanket before she found out that we had actually conceived our little one.

    Thursday, January 7, 2010

    Welcome to Morning Sickness

    The day after I found out I was pregnant, I felt great. I ran 5 miles. This was going to be a breeze. Right.

    The next morning, I left on a 6 AM flight to San Diego for some meetings and my company's holiday party. Up to this point, I haven’t had many pregnancy symptoms. The first night I spent in San Diego, I woke up every hour or two feeling nauseated. I didn’t actually vomit, but I felt like I would probably vomit soon. All night, I thought that I probably had some kind of mild food poisoning.

    Then it occurred to me that this was morning sickness. The next morning, on the way to the office, Cindy and Diane were in the front of our rental car talking. I thought I was going to have to ask Cindy to pull over because I was getting sick headed north on the 5. I thought I was going to lose my breakfast on the side of a 12-lane highway. Luckily, I made it all the way to the office, though I didn’t eat very much that day and felt pretty bad for the rest of the trip.

    I have now learned that so-called "morning" sickness does not occur only in the morning. It goes all day, up until I go to sleep (usually with a headache). What is so surprising to me is that my sister-in-law (who is about 2 months ahead of me in her pregnancy) said she had virtually no morning sickness whatsoever. How is that fair??

    December 14, the Day Everything Changed

    Jason and I have been trying to get pregnant for just under a year now. It has been a year of some unexpected trials. At least I though that things would just work themselves out immediately and that we would probably get pregnant very quickly. But that’s not the way things worked out. Month after month, I would be disappointed by the negative pregnancy tests.

    After a few months, I got a prescription of Clomid. I did not expect it to work during the first month. I guess I didn’t want to allow myself to hope to get pregnant, only to be disappointed again. So by not expecting it to work, I was thinking it wouldn’t be so much of a let-down. (For the record, I'm not so sure that that's an effective strategy to avoid disappointment.)

    I took a couple pregnancy tests after my period was late. Both of them were negative. Even though I thought I had prepared myself for that, I was really disappointed. At about day 40, December 14, I went ahead and took one more test before calling the doctor’s office to get another prescription. The test showed two very clear pink lines! Impossible! I could not believe it. I think I still didn't let myself start to believe that I could really be pregnant.

    I ran some errands that day. When I went to Walmart, I bought another test just to be sure. Lo and behold, I am finally pregnant. I was somewhere between shocked and elated… alternating between incessant smiling and crying in joy. Jason called me that morning around 11. I had been trying to think of some witty, cut e way to tell him the news when he got home from work that night (something involving an Ohio State onesie that I would somehow manage to get my hands on in a mere 4 hours). While we were talking, he asked me if I had taken another test that morning. I immediately started crying and told him that we were pregnant! He was very excited, seeming much calmer about everything than I was feeling.

    We found out that we're pregnant on December 14th. We seem to be consistent at having gigantic life changes happen in early to mid-December. We got married on December 10, 2006. We moved from Los Angeles to North Carolina right around the same time in 2009. And in 2010, we found out that we're adding the newest member to our family.

    We needed to decide when we were going to tell our parents. Because we’re going to Indiana this year for Christmas, we decided to tell Jason’s parents while we’re there. My parents were going to come to visit over New Year's, so we decided to tell them in person then.

    We had life group that night. Jason and I discussed whether we should tell them so early, because I was only 6 weeks along – not even halfway through the first trimester. Most miscarriages occur in the first trimester. We decided that I would probably explode if I didn’t tell them. After the discussion that evening with our group, I told them all that we were finally pregnant. All of these people had been praying for us to get pregnant. God answered our prayers. I feel so blessed.

    I called the doctor’s office to make my first prenatal appointment. They said that because my insurance was changing, I would have to wait to get the new insurance information before making the appointment. So my first appointment will be in early 2010.

    My First Blog

    So I've never written a blog, mainly because I never thought that I really had anything interesting enough to write about. Well, now that has all changed. We have started a great new adventure, and I think it's worth writing about (at least to give me an outlet to write it all down, and I'm much more likely to type than I am to actually write anything with a pen). So the first few posts will be catching up to the current date. Bear with me (or with us). =)