Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Anson's Angel Tree Adventure!

Beautiful, Little Miss Elsa!
Dear Friends, Family and EVERYONE else, 

As a family, we have decided to take on the challenge of raising money for an Angel Tree Orphan this holiday season. What that means is that we now need to raise $1,000 for an adoption fund by the end of December, and we were assigned to help a precious little girl named Elsa. The kids are so excited, what a great way to teach our kids what compassion is all about, we can’t wait to successfully complete this challenge with them—with your help!

Elsa is just adorable! She turned 4 years old in August, and is incredibly charming, and sweet. Elsa has Down syndrome with the expected delays. You can learn a little more about Elsa, or donate to her fund here: http://reecesrainbow.org/86622/elsa

She currently lives with a foster family who have made sure she has a good diet, plenty of fresh air, and all the hugs she wants (she likes warm hugs)! But Elsa is ready to let it go and have a family of her own, and she deserves that! As we start this journey Elsa only has $25 in her adoption fund, let’s get that fund at LEAST up to $1,025!  There is no shortage of families wishing to adopt these children, only a shortage of funds to do so.  The more you are able to give, the better Elsa’s chances are of finding a forever family!

There are a few ways to help raise funds, and of course, I am asking for plain and simple donations of any amount, but—
  •  Give $5 or more and I will give you an “It matters to this one” bracelet.
  •  Give $35 or more and receive a beautiful photo ornament of Elsa to hang on your tree.
  • I am also selling some customizable, digital word art—emailed to you after your donation for printing and framing. (See album in our fb group for examples/prices, or request something and I will see what I can come up with!)
  • Businesses, we will gladly share your company on my blog, facebook group and personal page with any donations of $50 or more!
  • The kids are selling CANDY BARS for $1 each
  • We are holding a Bake Sale at Faith Baptist Church in Posen, IL on Sunday, December 7th before and after all services! (The kids are so excited to get busy in the kitchen and make money for Elsa!)
*With any donation or purchase, please send me an email at benandtricia10@yahoo.com so we can share it with the kids and, if applicable, send you your bracelet or digital print!*

To make this extra fun and involved for the kids, they have a giant Tree Chart that they are coloring in on their door AND we also created a video challenge—watch it here.
For every $250 we raise, one of the kids will get to pie a parent in the face! When we reach our goal of $1,000, all three big kids will get to pie us both again! Help them reach this hilarious goal and we will share the videos as we go! 

Donations are tax deductible, and remember, ANYONE can help by praying, posting to Facebook, Twitter, on your blog, and by sharing with friends and family!  
Please join and share our fb group:  facebook.com/groups/AnsonsAngelTreeAdventure  to keep up with all of our fundraising efforts and any new ways to help! Let’s do this, friends!

Donate through PayPal here: http://reecesrainbow.org/86622/elsa  or if you would like to send a check/money order, please see this page.

   Ben, Tricia, Noah, Callen, Haylee & Alyson! 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Bathroom DIY

Well, as many of you know, when I left for our little vacation with the kids Ben stayed home with a plan of renovating our bathroom--and finishing it by the time we got back. Well, that four day plan turned into a four week plan (and counting). Not his fault--let me clarify that. There has just been every bump, hiccup, wrong turn, and problem there could possibly be. We all stayed with my in laws up until yesterday, and we have finally moved back in with a functioning, but still not complete bathroom. We quite obviously went over our time plan, and unfortunately we went way over budget too. Times such as this influence creative thinking. ;)

While at my in laws, I was discussing with Ben's mom that we still didn't have a vanity mirror/medicine cabinet and I wasn't sure how we were going to get one. Later on, she came out of her room with a mirror that I had actually bought years before on clearance for super cheap. I must have accidentally left it there, and I completely forgot about it. It was rough--an ugly color and one corner chipped, but I had gotten for like .50 and figured I might be able to do something with it.

Finding the mirror now was perfect timing, and this was a little blessing that I needed in all this chaos. I really do enjoy a good DIY project, and I was able to use my fabric flower skills that I've honed from my little side business for this project as well. I'm really happy with how it turned out!

I repaired the busted corner with some hot glue, sanded it a bit, then covered up the mirror and spray painted the frame. I did a primer coat, then two glossy chocolate brown coats. The corner I repaired still looked a little rough, so I decided to use some fabric I had on hand to make some little rosettes. Add a couple pearls, glue them on, and viola! My new vanity mirror that seriously cost me less than $5 to make! (Plus, the spray paint has a rebate, so I'm getting $2 back! Haha)

I just had to share my bathroom happiness for the week, and I promise that when we actually are DONE, done with the bathroom, I will share all of our before and after pics! :)

Love & Prayers,

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Traveling with Twins & a Toddler...

I might be a little bit crazy. But, crazy can be fun, right? Honestly, traveling by car, for 8 hours, with all three kids, for a weekend trip to Ohio may seem a little looney. When I step back and look at all that this entails, I almost second guess myself for even wanting to go. But then, I think of the fun we will have, the chaos that I know will ensue, and the memories that come from times like that.

Do I expect a single thing to go as planned? Nope.
And let me tell you friends, that is the biggest (and best) lesson I have learned as a parent. Especially since the twins made their arrival. I am a planner. A list making, budget crunching, time plotting, perfectionist of a planner. And, my kids have ruined every ounce of efficiency left in me. But you know what? That is ok. I made it ok. I had to step back and decide that every single time I made a plan, it would be ok if it didn't work out *just* like I thought. In fact, I basically plan for my plan to fail. Not that I am being negative--if you know me, I have a pretty easy time staying positive about just about everything; I prefer life that way. So, I guess instead you could say that I now pleasantly expect everything to be controlled chaos. And sometimes not controlled. But, that's ok too.

I do still plan--why? Because I'm not actually crazy. If I didn't plan anything, nothing would ever get accomplished, I would never leave to go anywhere, and the house would be similar to an episode of hoarders, I'm sure. So, I plan just about every aspect of everything, and then I just get to what I can. I make a list of chores for every day. Sometimes, the list is exactly the same the next day, or even better, it's longer.
That really irks me sometimes, but then I think, well, I survived. The kids are all ok, our house has not burned down, and I am sure to look back on my previously unproductive day & find at least one thing that each baby did that made the day worth it. That is my favorite thing to do. Soak up every moment and memory I can with my kids. Sometimes, that moment is as little as a goofy grin or noise that one of the babies made in between crying fits. Sometimes, it's even a little stinker of a moment with Noah when I'm disciplining him for the tenth time. And then of course, there are days that are just filled with new milestones and sweet times. It is very easy to overlook them all, though, especially if you are just worried about the plan.

God has given me these babies to raise, and I don't ever want to take them for granted. I don't ever want to take the responsibility of raising my children on as "a cause that I must bear", rather than a blessing and wonderful opportunity.
That is why I am taking these three monkeys on a road trip with my mom and little sister. That is why I do take them all out to shop or to a restaurant sometimes. And, that is why I will continue to plan seemingly overwhelming trips and events their whole lives. Because I love them, because God gave them to me, and because I want to soak up and experience everything I can with them.

Have I been a little bit of a basket case planning for this trip? Yep.
Will we have some difficult moments on this trip? For sure.
Will I be more exhausted than usual at some points? I'm betting on it.
Will we make memories and experience great things that we can't do at home? Definitely.
So, in my book at least, it's worth it all. 

Now, I leave you with a verse that I have always loved: Proverbs 16:9 "A man's heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps." 
God's got it covered, no matter what you think you have going on. He's directed every step I've taken, and will continue to, I just need to listen to Him. Sometimes that simply means falling back on His grace and moving forward to experience more with the children He's given me. :) 

Love & Prayers, 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Well, Hello Again!

Four months! I cannot believe it has been four months since I last wrote! The twins are all getting big ::sniffle!:: and so much has happened! Honestly, so much is happening all the time at our house now--which is probably why it has been this long, but I am here to say...
Hello Again! 

I actually really miss writing, it's a fun and very fulfilling outlet, so I've decided to give the blog a small facelift & continue documenting our journey as a family! Maybe, answer some questions that I get asked frequently, talk about how I parent & who I am. If you're along for the ride, that's great. If not, I'll have fun talking to myself! ;) 

To start off my new blogging journey, I present to you my latest creation: Noah's Busy Book! 

I am way more excited about this little big endeavor than Noah is, but that is just how it goes sometimes. What is a busy book? Simply a book full of things to keep your child busy. Why take on this task? Well, I think busy books are adorable, a great learning tool, and a *hopefully* great occupier for little hands. So, me and my crazy mommy ambition created this thing and, boy, am I glad it's done! I'd like to say that I'll make one for each of my children, but in all honesty, the twins may end up fighting over Noah's--assuming it holds up long enough.
I have here an eight page, handmade, felt creation. It took me about two weeks of "off time" (whatever that is), and what I like to call "Mommy is insane crying babies and mischievous toddler time".  Catchy, right? :) I decided to only use things I already had on hand in my stash of crafting supplies so that this thing didn't cost time and money. Thankfully, I do have quite a lot of random junk. :)
Alas, I have finished it in time for our 8 hour car trip to Ohio. That, my friends, equals success. Don't ask me if I've showered today, though. ;)

Front and Back Covers--felt with fabric paint & a ribbon tie closure

First page!--Button flaps with a star & heart underneath

Second & Third Pages!--felt balloon snaps that are attached to the page with yarn & a felt "outfit" with suspenders that can be clipped & unclipped

Fourth & Fifth Pages!--felt shape matching, attached with velcro & a counting caterpillar made with felt, magnets and smashed bottle caps. All attached with yarn (that may get tangled, I know, but better than losing pieces all of the time).

Sixth & Seventh Pages!--a felt shoe with ribbon "laces" to practice tying (eventually) & my version of a simple abacus out of yarn & beads

Last, but not least, the Eighth Page! (and already Noah's favorite)--a simple zipper!

Thanks for stopping by! ;)
Love & Prayers,

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Better late than never! ;)

So, I figure I should actually update this blog since the twins have been here for a whole TWO WEEKS already! I planned on updating from my phone at the hospital but let's just say, that quickly descended on the priority list. And, I planned on updating the day we came home, but obviously that didn't happen either. I guess I've just been busy or something, haha! ;)

Most people know, but in case you didn't hear, Callen Daniel and Haylee Anne made their entrance on Thursday, October 4th, 2012. Callen was born at 10:49am, weighing 5lbs 15oz and was 19.5in long. Haylee was born at 10:52am, weighing 5lbs 1oz and was 20in long. Both babies are perfectly healthy and didn't even need to be seen by the NICU doctor, praise God!

I started having contractions at 12am that morning and I didn't even wake Ben up for a couple hours because I wanted to make sure they were consistent and the real thing before I got us all up to the hospital for another false alarm. Well, they definitely were not a false alarm, they kept coming, and after I woke Ben up we kept timing for another hour before we called my midwife. I was still not positive if this was "it" because the contractions weren't coming super consistently--they'd be 7 minutes apart, then 5, sometimes even 3 minutes apart, and then might go back to 7 minutes again. But, since I was already dilated to 3cm we went in and arrived at the hospital around 3:30am. (After stopping at DD so I could get my "last meal" of an egg and cheese croissant, haha)

I got all hooked up to the monitors and both babies were doing good, but, my contractions had started slowing down once again. This time, however, I was dilated to 5cm and 80% effaced. So, we decided I would try and get some rest and see what we wanted to do a little later in the morning. I ended up sleeping for a little while, which was much needed, and by 7am we met with my midwife and discussed what to do. Basically, they weren't going to send me home, that would be too risky, so we ended up deciding on breaking Callen's bag & having me try using the breast pump to hopefully get the contractions coming on stronger. My midwife was switching "off call" with one of the others at the office, and the other midwife and my doctor were seeing patients, but ready for whenever I needed one of them. (The office is just a couple minutes away from the hospital.) I also had the option to have them call the doula whenever I felt I needed her. 

So, they broke my bag, I started just one round of the pumping, and I started feeling pretty consistent contractions. They weren't too bad for awhile, so I didn't feel the need to call everyone in, but it really wasn't long before I started to feel the pressure start and then the contractions weren't so tolerable. I called my nurse in and told her I would like to have the doula called and then a few minutes later the pressure was getting worse. She checked me right away, and we learned that I was already dilated to 8cm and Callen was indeed right there & almost ready. She called my doctor and by the time my doula came in, my doctor was just a minute behind her and I was in the final stages of labor. All there was to do was get me through some more contractions & they were getting the surgery room ready for us to switch over to!

Basically, I went from 5cm at 7:30am to delivering both of them by 10:52am. That went much faster than I, or anyone, was anticipating. I was able to deliver without an epidural, or anything, praise God. I did not tear this time like I did with Noah, and after Callen came out, thankfully, Haylee came in ONE push. I won't lie, in my mind, I was praying and telling God I couldn't do it again after Callen came! I was so tired after pushing for him that I don't even think I fully looked up at him until after both of them were delivered. When Ben was telling me Haylee was right there and I needed to push again, I just wanted to cry. But, I waited until my doctor told me and another contraction started, and thank God she just came right out--basically all clean and everything! I'm just guessing that is because her water didn't break until I was delivering Callen, but it was crazy to see. It was a very weird couple of minutes just waiting for the second baby, I could come up with something fancy to say about it, but really all I could think about was how tired I was! haha 
There was some sort of minor complication with delivering their placentas--honestly, that was worse than delivering Haylee. I believe Haylee's placenta kind of ruptured or something after she was born, but my doctor was able to get both of their placentas out at the same time & there was no real complications. Although, that was not pleasant, it was definitely not as bad as it could have been!

After all was said & done, we all got wheeled back to the laboring room where I got to nurse them (together!) for the first time, and this was also when Ben took Haylee from me and fell asleep for over an hour while I talked with my doula. He sure must have exhausted himself. ;) haha 
We ended up with, in all seriousness, the largest and nicest room for postpartum. It had a separate little sitting area, with a second TV, it was just huge and very beautiful. Seriously nicer than some hotel rooms I have stayed in! The hospital was so great, all the staff was super kind and attentive, and we could not have asked for anything more. I even got a free massage the next day!

I did have some trouble getting Haylee to latch consistently, and I was up most of one night with my nurse trying to work with her to get her to eat because they were worried about her blood sugar and were testing it every two hours--just because she was so small. Thankfully, the next day the Lactation consultant came in and worked with us for almost an hour. I learned some different ways to hold her and some little things to get her to eat better. I was still having trouble with her on and off and I was pretty sore and unfortunately had some cracking and even bleeding, but we pushed through and my little miss is doing so much better now. Callen has eaten like a champ since day one--seriously he's a pro. Lol!

We were all released on Saturday, October 6th and we have had two pediatrician appointments since we've been home so, here's how things went. Callen was born weighing 5lb 15oz, when we left the hospital he was 5lbs 8.9oz, at his first appointment (5 days old) he was 5lbs 14.5oz, and yesterday he weighed in at 6lbs 2oz! Haylee was born weighing 5lb 1oz, when we left the hospital she was 4lbs 12.4oz, at her first appointment (5 days old) she was 5lbs 3oz, and yesterday she weighed in at 5lbs 6oz! They were slightly worried about jaundice for both of them, but they gave it some time (so we didn't have to go through the foot pricking and blood work) and yesterday the pediatrician was happy enough with their color and said not to worry. :) I did get a call back from the hospital pediatrician today, and on one of the broad spectrum tests they do, Callen came back as borderline. So, we just have to have that specific thing tested to see if it was just a false positive or if we need to look into it more. I truly am not freaking out about it, if he is positive for this disorder it is treatable, but for right now we can assume he is perfectly fine because false positives are common for the broad testing and he appears perfectly healthy. Prayers that it is just nothing are definitely appreciated though. :)

For those wondering how I am, I really am doing well. I was having a lot of cramping while nursing (expected), I was having a difficult time with the pain and stress of nursing (also expected), and I did get the PUPPPS rash on my stomach a couple days before I delivered, which ended up getting worse after delivery and spreading all over my body. BUT, I have lived on benadryl and hydro-cortisone cream and it is *almost* all cleared up now. Am I tired? Sure, but that is expected, and I am really not that bad. I'm home with my babies, so I tend to nap at least a little bit each day when Noah and the twins are napping. I really can't complain! :)

Honestly, I just feel very blessed. I had a natural, safe delivery of twins. They are both healthy and happy babies, and I got to come home with both of them just two days after having them. I don't think I could have asked for anything more. Thank you all so very much for all the prayers and love. It means so much to have my children so loved. <3 

P.S. Check out Sarah A Carlson Photography if you love the last two pictures as much as I do!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Past 38 weeks & a Game Plan

Well, I had my appointment this morning! Saturday was 38 weeks and full term for the twins. Unfortunately, I haven't really dilated any more, but my cervix is anterior now like my midwife noted on Wednesday. She did strip my membranes to try and get things going today. My nausea and things are signs of labor, but she said I'm definitely not in active labor now and is hoping this will start it. Worst case, I have an appointment on Thursday and tentative induction on Friday. She said I'm still stretchy and could be stretched to a 4, but my cervix is still not thinning or acting like I'm in labor now. So, hopefully I can get some real contractions started. It shouldn't take much to induce if we have to & hopefully this will do it. I have had some contractions since the appointment, but so far nothing strong or consistent.

My midwife was initially hoping that I was dilated more and said if I was that they would send me in and break my bag to get things going without meds. They do not expect me to go until Friday, but if I do, I think they're looking more at trying to just start things and see if labor will pick up on its own. I think if I just start contracting consistently, they will be willing to break my bag at any point this week. The only reason they will induce is if I want it, which is why we are not just jumping in today, because even though I am very uncomfortable I really want to let my body do this on its own. The only other concern is their placentas getting too mature. So, that could cause less than ideal oxygen flow for them during labor, but she said that waiting until the end of the week isn't concerning. 

So, for now, we are waiting (and hoping) that what she did today will kick start contractions and I can just go into labor on my own as planned. Otherwise, we will for sure have babies by Friday. Thank you for the prayers and please do keep praying! 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Just waiting!

Well, we had a doctor's appointment on Wednesday and I just had my last NST and ultrasound today! Basically, tomorrow is 38 weeks and everyone still looks healthy and in position. Callen had dropped even lower (my cervix is no longer posterior) by Wednesday, my midwife could tell just from the basic ultrasound, but I was not examined in hopes that I could hold out until today when my doctor gets back in town. Plus, I haven't been having contractions or anything, so there was no real need to check unless I wanted to be checked. After my experience with the fill-in doctor last Friday, I was more wanting to err on the side of caution and just try to stick it out for my doctor to get back.

That brings us to today! My NST went great, both babies are still moving and their hearts are nice and strong. I got quite a few comments about how great they were at the hospital last Friday too, haha. My ultrasound showed that Haylee is measuring just at 5lbs and Callen is measuring at 5lbs 9oz or so. Basically, their measurements are give or take a pound at this point. They are both head down still and everything looks nice and healthy for both of them. 

Honestly, I feel like having twins is a fine-tuned waiting game. Getting to 38 weeks was always a hoped for goal & we've done a lot to help ensure it, but now that we are there (well, tomorrow, but still) they want me to deliver right now! >.< Now, hopefully I will deliver sometime this weekend on my own, but if not, I have an appointment on Monday with my doctor and we will be talking induction. Whether that day, or later on in the week, I'm not sure. Basically, it is just not usually the best option to carry twins longer than 38 weeks so we have to make a plan. 

I am so very ready to be done now. I have been very uncomfortable, I have pain and pressure from Callen's head being so low, and I've been dealing with a whole lot of nausea for the last week. Seeing the babies looking so good and knowing they've had more time to get their lungs developed and gain some more weight is definitely worth it all. But, please pray that I go into labor before Monday! I was induced with Noah, and I did it with no pain meds, but I really do not want to re-live that experience while delivering two babies! The birth plan is great--I will have my OB, a midwife, and a doula, plus Ben. Everyone is on the same page and ready for a natural, epidural free delivery...just as soon as labor starts! I really feel like this waiting for labor to kick in again is more stressful than the actual labor, because I know what to expect the labor to be like and I know the end result can't be too far away! lol But honestly, just pray we get this ball rolling, I really can't wait to hold my babies! <3