Friday, September 30, 2016

Sweet Babies { Weeks 34 & 35 }

Dear sweet little babies,

We are gearing down to our final few days, and I'm trying to get caught up with all things documented, so that we are ahead of the game for when you two make your appearance.

The last 2 weeks have been pretty uneventful, and for that we are extremely grateful. Not pushing myself to "get too much done" has done wonders at keeping you two inside. I rest when I can, thanks to your dear Aunt Courtney who is here helping (and who decided to job hunt/settle down in Washington) and amazing Daddy (who takes on tasks he usually doesn't take one). They're such a support to Mommy right now, so that you two can continue to grow and do your thing inside, before you come out. You better thank them with extra snuggles/cuddles when the time is right.

We got one last peek at you both the other day... The ultrasound was super uncomfortable, because Mommy had to lay on her back, and that is just hard to do these days... but we got some good looks at you both.

Baby A, you are head down... face down. So we couldn't even see your face (or check on your lip)... but, boy did the sonographer say you had a lot of hair. We'll see how accurate that is, when you come out. You are "in position". Your body kicks up towards Mommy's top right. You measured in at 5 lbs 12 oz... that was 1 week ago (so I'm sure you've gained even more sing then).

Baby B, you were transverse at the time of the ultrasound... laying across the top of Mommy, so that you and your sister were playing footsies together. You showed your face to us... and we saw the chunkiest of cheeks. You measured in at 5 lbs 6oz.

We started passing our NST appointments, FINALLY. It's so terrible difficult to get you both on the monitor at the same time... when one of you moves, the other moves, etc. So, the nurse decided to start monitoring you two separately, and that does the trick, even though the appointments take twice as long.

Tuesday we had one last appointment with Dr. Peterson (who may or may not be the ones to deliver you... it all depends on who is on hospital rounds).  He took a peek at you two with his ultrasound, to check on your fluid levels, and to check on the placentas. To his surprise, Baby B... you weren't transverse! You were head down, snuggled up to your sister... on Mommy's bottom left side (hence why in these pictures, I'm lopsided, and have more of me "sticking out" on my left side). You were sort of spooning your sister, and you seemed so super content. Now it makes sense why the day before, it looked like I dropped... it was because you did Baby B. Your fluid levels were perfect... and we even got to see you both practicing breathing like champs. Which is a great sign!

Because of the gestational diabetes, you two officially have an eviction date of 4 October. Tomorrow we hit your due date month, October... I'm hopeful that you two will decide to come on your own, so we don't have to have a pitocin party at the hospital. But either way... we will meet you two very soon.

Keep growing little ones... we are so thrilled to have you be a part of "us",

Daddy, Mommy, Charlotte, Marley, and Finn.
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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Dear Charlotte Wray { 9 years old }

Dear Charlotte Wray,

We can hardly believe that you are 9... how is that even possible? You're 1 year away from being a whole handful, and I don't think we're even coming to terms with this... yet.

What a year full of changes... more teeth, bigger feet, taller height (still have those skinny "mile long" legs"), new "do", new gymnastics triumphs, new place to call "home... in school rather than homeschooled, new friends, many more lessons learned (usually the hard way)... we could go on and on. But through it all, you've remained the Charlie we love and have come to know so well over the last 5 years. You're still the spunky, full of pizzazz, energetic, colorful, lover of life, kind of girl.

Your favorite color has changed quite a few times this year, the same way it always does each year.... currently, BLUE is your favorite, but purple comes in close second. You can eat and eat and eat all day long, and not gain any weight... we have no idea where all that food goes. Your favorite meal changed to beef stroganoff... you said "bye bye" to spaghetti and meat sauce a few months ago, and prefer your spaghetti with butter now (the same way your sister likes hers). You still adore gymnastics and working out... you have an awesome back handspring. You love to perform shows for us and "floor routines"... You adore creating. Whether it's coloring, painting, making books, etc... you're all in when craft supplies are involved. You still seek out adventures... exploring never gets old, something new is always discovered.

You're in the third grade now, in school... and just adore it. We're trying to get you all the resources you need currently in order to fall in love with learning and enjoy your time there... since your eyes and ears hold you back a little bit. You love your teacher, you love your classmates, and you love music class and P. E. ... A LOT. That doesn't surprise us.

Every year... on this day... I think about your biological mother, that we'll never know... the one that brought you into this world. We are forever thankful for her... and even more so to the Lord for watching over you those years that we weren't there. You are our world sweet girl... the one who made us Mommy and Daddy... a treasure that we don't take for granted.

We love you sweet Charlotte,

Daddy, Mommy, Marley, Finn, and the twins.
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Monday, September 12, 2016

Sweet Babies { Weeks 31, 32 and 33 }

Dear sweet little babies,

Oh you little trouble makers (although that's been recent for us)... you guys have been keeping us on our toes these last few weeks. Hopefully it'll calm down for the last few weeks... that would be really nice, if you could ease up a bit.

Things have been going great since that last ultrasound... haven't had another since, so we're not really sure how big you are... but Mommy is guessing around 5 lbs for each of you by now. We should know more size wise in about 1.5 weeks at the next ultrasound. You two have been spot on with growth, so... and right now you should be gaining about .5 lb a week.... which means, Mommy is feeling bigger and bigger.

Somehow I still don't have stretch marks, but my oh my how you to have "dropped"... I'm sure more "dropping" will happen... but you guys are getting tough to lug around everywhere. Mommy's belly band has been helping, but at times, you guys hate it, because it's pretty snug and you two don't like snug. You'd rather stick out. Not too much fits in the way of outfits, so I've been rotating about 4 tops these days. Trying to keep it minimal, because I'm hoping that once you two are out, my belly will drop a WHOLE lot to nothing. It feels like it's mostly babies these days. I did have to take off my rings.. they're tucked away until I can feel comfortable in them again.

I started NST (non stress test) appointments last week... during my 33rd week. The first appointment went "eh"... we were let go, after 1 hour of monitoring. You two are hard to monitor at the same time... and that's why our second NST appointment on Friday, landed Mommy in the triage. During the appointment, we tried to get you both in a spot (while sitting upright, which you hate) that you'd like, so we could monitor you at the same time... but in the end, Baby B... you wouldn't have any of it. Your heart rate kept dropping, and signs of contracting were present. When the nurse rolled Mommy over onto her right side, your heart rate stabilized, but then Baby A, your heart rate excelled, because I was putting too much pressure on you. Apparently, you don't like to be monitored whiled reclined or while I sit upright. So Mommy was admitted into Labor and Delivery, and they spent the next 7 hours monitoring the two of you. Once we figured out that your heart rates were fine while I laid down, you were good to go. But Mommy was still showing some light contractions (though she couldn't feel them). They felt more like pressure... right before one of you two usually move. Mommy was given an IV to hydrate, and then a steroid shot in the butt... They decided to "check" me, to see if I had any progression... Mommy measured 3 cm dilated at a -3 station. The doctors decided to keep Mommy for 2 more hours to see if dilation continued, or if that was Mommy's baseline coming into this pregnancy, since they'd never checked her before. Two hours later, your heart rates were still awesome, and when they checked again, Mommy was still at a 3cm... so they released me, and I was able to go home. On Saturday, Mommy had one more steroid shot in the butt (this is to help your lungs develop a bit more quickly, and to help slow down labor/contractions)... and when they monitored you on the doppler for 2 minutes, you two were just fine. Baby A you had a 145 HR and Baby B you had a 135 HR.

So, I have been on "light bed rest" the last 2 days... taking it easy, not doing much... lots of laying. I'm hydrating twice as much as I usually am, so I'm peeing about every 2.5 minutes instead of 5 minutes... but it seems to be doing the trick. No more pressure anywhere... except for the normal skin stretching pains (since you two are obviously growing like weeds). This seems to be keeping you two completely content... so that's what I'm going with. I'm not sure about these NST appointments... I think they're more stressful than they are non stressful.. so unless we can figure out a way to monitor you two while we are "comfortable in position"... I don't find them to be very useful. The nurse even said, it's so common to fail the NSTs... it just doesn't sound encouraging. So for now, I'm going to beg to only go to 1 NST a week, instead of 2... hopefully they can grant us that, so we can just continue to rest.

Daddy has been so amazing, taking on all of Mommy's tasks, while still doing his own. He's the best Daddy ever... seriously. He kept saying all weekend, "I don't know how you do it all... because I feel like I just can't." But, he did. He has been the greatest help, especially watching your other sisters and brother. You are just going to melt when you meet him... he protects us and takes care of us so so well. There's no one that I know that takes on the meaning of "Papa Bear" quite like he does. But for now, lets rest, so we can enjoy you even more when you come out and meet us!

Keep growing little ones... we are so thrilled to have you be a part of "us",

Daddy, Mommy, Charlotte, Marley and Finn.

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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sweet Babies { Weeks 29 & 30 }

Dear sweet little babies,

Well, we made it another 3 weeks since my last update. My goal so far has to get to 30 weeks... and we're in it to win it. My goal has now been updated to another number... but I'm taking it one day at a time... exactly how I'm going to take things when you two make your grand entrance.

After this week's ultrasound, Mommy "officially" has more baby in her, than she's ever had in her before (from your brother and sister's pregnancy). Not to mention, the extra fluids from the separate sacs, and the extra placenta. It's no wonder the aches and pains continue to happen.

Baby A... you're still head down, and ready to exit first. In fact, you're even further down than you've ever been... and you figured out a new placement for your butt, so you're super cozy. I hardly know you're around, except for when you hiccup for the 30th time each day... and that number is no exaggeration. We got to peek a little closer at your sweet face during this ultrasound. The first thing the tech said was, "Wow, good job Oklahoma for catching that cleft lip... it's SOOOOO small." So, apparently we are dealing with a tiny hook... nothing crazy. We'll know more once you're out... but, she also thought it was safe to say that your palates would probably be unaffected as well. Typically if someone has a cleft lip/palate... they have something else going on with their heart or kidneys... but, you passed your EKG with flying colors, and your kidneys look beautiful... They spent some extra time taking a look at you, but it was worth the minutes. You my dear... are around a whopping 4 lbs. 1 oz.

Baby B.... you decided to flip... again... you found a whole new place for your head (which is now transverse), and your butt is always up high on Mommy's right side... with legs dangling down... so it's a sort of strange 90 degree angle position that you're in. The tech was pretty impressed and understood why you pain Mommy so much. You're the one in the ribs, in the lungs, and everywhere else that murders her. Every time you flip, it feels like Mommy is in labor... so lets try and flip one more time (so you'll be head down)... and then let's not do that at all, anymore. We didn't get to see too much of you, because you were facing the backside of Mommy's body... but everything we could see, looked great and growing. You my darling... are around a whopping 3 lbs. 12 oz. Though the tech thought you might be more, her measurement wasn't as accurate with you because you were wiggling... a lot.

Everything else looked great... Fluid levels were fine, great cervix length... In 1.5 weeks, Mommy starts going to the hospital twice a week to monitor your movements. 30 minutes for each of you... so 1 hour appointments... not too thrilled about this. They won't let little ones it means lots of help from Daddy in order to get to these appointments, since he'll have to watch your brother and sisters. It'll be nice when you ladies finally show up, so that all of this can be over... and we can just enjoy you.

Keep growing little ones... we are so thrilled to have you be a part of "us",

Daddy, Mommy, Charlotte, Marley and Finn.
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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Planting Roots

The last year in Oklahoma... I really tried to branch out with photography. Don't get me wrong, I love photographing families/newborns/seniors/etc.... but, I wanted to try wedding photography. I love details, more than anything, so it's no surprise that I would flock this way. I was able to second shoot for some amazing photographers in the Oklahoma City area... Which was not only insightful... but FUN.

I haven't been able to fully commit to any direction that I've wanted my photography to go in... mostly because of the constant moves and the fact that I've been (what feels like) eternally pregnant the last 4+ years. I've always known that I've loved lifestyle photography... and continue to document my daily happenings with the babes... but, I'm pumped to FINALLY be in a place (and a beautiful place at that) where I can settle down and plant some roots. Hoping to create a rhythm after the twins come (it might take more than a few weeks/months), so that I can start booking clients and sharing what I love with others.

Right before I left Oklahoma, I was beyond honored to photograph a wedding down in Texas for the sweetest couple. I knew the bride, from our time in Germany... she was in highschool at the time (yeah, yeah, I totally felt old knowing she was tying the knot). Her day was magical, and capturing it, made my year.  I knew once I started in this direction, that I wanted to create a "thank you" that reflected the type of branding overhaul I'd want my future business to reflect. I love an item that's tangible, hence the prints... I love a bit of my family, so I had the hubs cut/sand these awesome photo holding blocks.. and I love the nature element, hence the fern clipping from my yard. Simple and clean.

You'll probably notice some changes over here (on the blog), as I start a complete rebranding overhaul. I'm going to be seeking out someone to help bring all my vision, together into one place... a website that will link to my personal and professional blogs. It's going to be quite a ride... but I'm so ready for it.

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Friday, August 12, 2016

Sweet Babies { Weeks 27 & 28 }

Dear sweet little babies,

The last 2 weeks, surprisingly, have flown by pretty quickly... hoping the next few do as well... so we can start to get excited about your arrival. We are officially into (and then some) the 3rd trimester! We did it sweet girls... we made it to the final one. Whew. Knowing that we are that far along, gives me hope that you two will be just fine when you come out.

We had our first meet and greet with the doctor in the last 2 weeks. We will be delivering you two at Madigan Army Medical Center (unless something arises). Mommy's first impression of the doctor, is that he's super YOUNG... as in, "looks younger than your Uncle Joey" young. He assured me he's delivered many multiples before, but there's still this tiny bit of awkwardness. He calls Mommy "dear", like it'll give him a few years of aging or something... but it doesn't do the trick, he still has a baby face. One way or another, you two will be coming out... and with the amount of doctors that they have, we might not even have him in the end. We just pray daily for a safe and easy (as easy as it can be) delivery... and that's all that matters in the end. The nurses are beyond wonderful, and lets face it... they tend to be the ones that are with us the whole time anyways.

During our meet and greet, the doctor did a quick "peek" to check on you two, with an ultrasound. He didn't think I'd get an appointment in time to be seen for my normal 28 week check... so the next time we get a detail look at you both, it'll be when Mommy hits 32 weeks. He loved seeing you two... as soon as you both popped up on the screen, he had this huge smile on his face... it was reassuring to know that he loves doing what he does. He checked all of your fluid levels, and it all looked great. He didn't do any measurements, but he guesstimated that you both were close if not over 3 lbs... and then he shared some awesome news... baby B... you flipped! You're head down. So right now, both of you are head down... baby A of course closest to my cervix and still "in position". I didn't get a lot of screen time with you, but apparently we'll have 2 hours at the next ultrasound to check you two out better.

My belly, has been completely lopsided... that's all because of you baby B.... your butt and feet are on my top right side, and you stretch out as much as you can. Also, no stretch marks still! I have no idea how, but I'll take it. And lastly, my belly button FINALLY popped. It never popped with your brother or sister... but it has with you two. I'm also at my "biggest"... which hearing that at my appointment, made me cry... I had a little pity party after that appointment... I've gained the most amount of weight, and I haven't even hit the "grow by .5 lb each week" stage. OY. Just writing it out, makes me want to tear up again. Hoping it melts off as quickly as it was added onto my body.

Most outings are tough on Mommy... people exclaim, "Wow, you must be due any day!"... "No... no I'm not." I don't even add in anymore that I'm having twins... because, really, I shouldn't have to explain my size... or waddle... or... anything. I was however super thankful to the woman who stopped me in the middle of Target to tell me how radiant I was... I shed a little tear, and let her feel my belly, per her request. I then shared with her that she felt 2 babies in one place... and she hugged me and thanked me for the insight. She said that I "made" her day... but really, she made mine.

We had a couple days of growing pains... but we are back to feeling "okay"... Sleep is still hard to come by, but I'm trying to exhaust myself, so that when I do lay down, I can fall asleep more "easily"... if that's even possible. For now, we're taking it one day at a time...

 Keep growing little ones... we are so thrilled to have you be a part of "us",

Daddy, Mommy, Charlotte, Marley, and Finn.
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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Every Bit Of It...

Moving out of our house in Oklahoma feels like such a blur now. Weeks have passed... and we've been so occupied by our new "home", that I feel like I haven't had much time to reflect on the fact that we have closed the chapter on our time there, in our first "home".

Our.first.home... the place where we grew in size by more than double. Though we've made "homes" everywhere the Air Force has sent us, those were all rentals... this place was "ours"... even though we know ultimately, it was HIS... He provided/entrusted us with this place for the last 3.5 years... and we loved on it the best we could.

When we found out we were moving to Oklahoma, while in Korea, we decided (with the help/aid of some friends) that Choctaw was the area that we wanted to live in. Without even visiting, we just had a "feeling" it was our type of place... country-esque living near the city, Oklahoma City... and super close commute for the husband for work. After a few weeks of house hunting online, and not entirely impressed with what was available to buy (we were, after all, moving right in the middle of winter)... we decided to take the plunge, and build our first "home" in a neighborhood, where some friends of ours from a previous assignment, were building their first home as well (except, they were on the final stages of building... so they had lots of great information to send our way). They helped scout out plots of land, and we FINALLY decided on the one, just off of a "feeling" that it was the one, and because the contractor at the time said it had the MOST BEAUTIFUL oak tree on it, and no other tree in the neighborhood compared to it. So we started to build our home all the way from Korea... we had about 2 months left there, and I had just found out I was pregnant (with Marley)... 

We were super excited to get to Oklahoma, to see the progress of the house... and when we got there, we were a little surprised as to how much still needed to be done on it. We rented a tiny apartment in the meantime, and visited the house (what felt like) daily... We started working on the yard before it was even ours. After 3 months of temporary living, we finally signed paperwork and moved into our home on March 21, 2013. 

We spent the next few weeks before Marley's arrival, finishing up projects that were on our "wishlist" for the house. We landscaped the front yard (created flower beds that to this day contained some of my very favorite blooms), painted the fireplace white (it was the same red brick color of the outside of our house), had the hubby create a bench seat in the master bedroom and shelves throughout the house to hold books, knick knacks or become photo gallery walls... and of course, spent a good amount of time in the neighborhood pool "floating" trying to not feel pregnant. 

We added Marley to our clan in July of 2013... and Finn in August of 2014... Charlotte became a homeschoolin' kid, mastering Kindergarten-2nd grade and crazy amazing at gymnastics and figured out it was her "passion in life"... We finished our backyard, creating a garden that flourished throughout the years and a ginormous yard for the kids to run, play and jump (spent countless hours on the trampoline) in. Lifetime friends were made (some military, some not)... and a home church was found. Friends/family from near and far came to visit... and we were able to show them all that we came to love about Oklahoma. We survived a deployment, and countless TDY's (times where the hubs was gone for a few days at a time)... and celebrated immensely the day we found out that he was hired for a position in the ANG in Washington (where we could plant roots and never experience a deployment again). We watched our babies grow... only to find out we were expecting 2 more... 

We packed out of our first "home" the last week of June 2016... said our final farewells, relived memories on the front porch as we had our final supper (pizza). It was a beautiful home, for the short time we lived there... and pray it becomes a place that holds tons of memories for the new homeowner. There's not a day that will pass, where we will ever regret living there, or forget how much we loved being the first residents of that house. We more than enjoyed every bit of it... 
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