three

We are pleased to announce that we are expecting our third baby in May 2014!

Having children is certainly an… adventure… for us and for a long time, we weren’t sure if we’d have any children, let alone fulfill our hopes for a larger family.  We can scarcely believe that we’ve been so blessed with the twins and to find out that we are expecting a third is beyond amazing.

Since my husband is Frank the Fifth, we’ve been asked plenty of times whether we are hoping for a boy next.  We’ve talked about our hopes and desires for the next baby, and as cliche as it sounds, we would just be beyond grateful for a healthy baby.

We figure a girl is great because we have all the clothing, toys and so on that a girl could ever need.  And also – we know how girls work.  The dolls, the moods, the sensitivity, the giggles – and we love everything about having twin girls – so one more girl would be delightful!

We figure a boy is great because, well, we don’t have a boy and boys seem like fun! Wrestling on the family room floor, trucks (which the girls love, too) and other dude stuff seems like a good time for everyone.  Plus, it helps Frank have someone he can relate to on a manly-man level.  You know, passing the torch and what-not.

So far, I’ve had six ultrasounds, thanks to a pesky bleed and other factors, and the baby is growing right on target and is a super swimmer – jumping and kicking all over the place. This one reminds me of Carrigan. Carrigan was always jetting around her amniotic sack, giving her sister a run for her money.

We haven’t decided officially if we want to know the gender ahead of time.  There are few great surprises in life – the gender of your children being one of them.

Final

 

 

an open letter to other twin-to-be parents

Congratulations!

And, yes. Twins are hard.

I want to be all like, “what? twins? hard? for you, perhaps…”

But that’s not true.

Twins. Are. Hard.

Know it, love it, live it… and then get your peace with it and eat some chocolate and then get a little more peace with it and eat some ice cream… rinse and repeat as needed.

Twins are also awesome and for so many more reasons than dressing them alike (or in coordinating outfits) at Christmas.

Which is, of course, still awesome.

Obviously, what makes twins twins is that they are born at the same time (unless you’re these people, in which case, I got nothing). The beauty of first-born twins is this: they are equally adored and equally ignored.

My friends having their second babies lament that their first will feel put off and that their second will never feel the benefit of sole attention.

Guess what? Twins have no clue. From day one, they always had a buddy.  To make up for the shared spotlight, twins are given a lot of public adoration and attention at the mall.  I’ve gone out with one baby and was virtually ignored.  I go out with two? “OMG! Twins! I have friends that are twins! Do you know all of the other twins in the world? Are yours natural? Identical? SQUEE! Twins!”

Parenting twins also has a ton of built-in grace. Raising two babies simultaneously means that you realize at warp-speed that you are not nearly as awesome or as awful of a parent as you may have initially thought.

For example: Ellie is a lovely, delightful child who HAS TO have her mommy Now. And Now. AND NOW.  Forget you if you get in her way.  For like, 23 seconds I considered that her neediness was a DIRECT result of MY parenting. I thought, “I HAVE FAILED! BAHHH!!” I look over at her sister Carrie who walks into a room, hugs everyone and hollers, “HEY FRIENDS! HOW’S IT GOING?” And for another two seconds, while watching sweet Carrie charm her way into Grandpa K’s lap for a cookie, I think, “Man, I’m an awesome mom. I mean, really.  Look at that kid. I rock!”  …Reality settles in. Neither situation has as much to do with me as it does have to do with the girls’ individual and unique and lovely personalities.

This realization also allows me to go to play dates and trips the park and not go into a tailspin because Joey is climbing higher and Suzie is saying more words and on and on and on. Raising twins is a daily reminder of the uniqueness of each child.

Twins keep it real.

When you have two infants flipping you the bird because breakfast is late AGAIN because you just need two more seconds of sleep FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD, you kind of say, “forget the daily pictures of the kids in every outfit – I need a shower!” (and a drink and chocolate and ice cream and rinse and repeat as needed…).  You cut out the extra stuff – like organizing your diaper bag so that the bibs coordinate with the changing pad and your wallet – and you just make sure you have both babies when you walk out the door.

And your keys.

And your wallet.

And diapers.

And everything else.

While well-dressed, matching babies are totes adorbs and say, “I got this business LOCKED down” – it’s not the most important thing. Unless you make your living parading around your well-dressed, matching babies… in which case, I stand corrected.

Parenting twins means you figure out your most important things early on. The battles worth fighting.  The wars worth winning.

For us? Daily showers. Mascara for me, matching socks for Frank.  Snuggles with the girls. Walks to the grocery store. Trips to the park. Games of hide and seek. Bubbles on the lawn.

Were there nights where I walked the first floor of our house in endless circles with a baby in each arm singing “Fifty Nifty” and swearing whenever I messed up the order of the States? Yes.  Were there days where Frank and I bartered with impossible promises for an extra hour of sleep? Maybe.

But just as quickly as we were awash in the insanity of twin newborns with acid reflux, it was over. And nothing makes you more aware of your own humanity and mortality than watching your child grow up.  Singleton babies or multiples – you will blink and this time will be gone.

So yes. Twins are hard. But if you are fortunate enough to parent twins (or triplets or quads…or you know, a bunch), the blessings are multiplied as well.

Good luck and Godspeed.

 

produce

I have issues with produce.  I wish I didn’t have these issues.  I have friends who love produce – who cannot get enough of berries and apples and veggies!

But I… I have issues. Confession time:

 

Produce freaks me the freak out. Selecting even the most basic fruit in the store makes me break out in hives because I live in constant fear of Getting It Wrong.  Bananas. Seems easy enough.  But I hesitate because do I want all yellow bananas?  What if I don’t eat them fast enough and then they get mushy and get TOO banana-ey? What if I don’t have time to make banana bread with the mushy banana and then, bam, I’ve lost that banana?  Or, what if I buy them too green and have to wait a few days and then when they are JUST turning yellow, open it up and find out that it’s still just a bit too firm on the inside? I mean, I’ll eat it anyway, but I won’t like it as much.

And peeps, that’s just me and bananas.  Strawberries.  They all look great in the carton, but on far too many occasions  I’ve removed the top berry to find a hairy, moldy, nast-tastic strawberry lurking in the center.  And then I start wondering, “Well, has that strawberry contaminated the other strawberries?  Are they all secretly going moldy and then, you know, what if I don’t wash the strawberries well enough??”

Tomatoes seem to be easier for me, so we eat a lot of those.  Raspberries are the same issue as strawberries, plus, they really need a lot more rinsing and inspecting. Pineapples are responsible for the pesky frown lines in my forehead.  As are melons.  Grapes used to be easy, but then I’ve had a few icky batches and now I furrow my brow in their general direction, too.

Do NOT get me started on lettuce. First of all, I know the bagged lettuces are bad.  I’ve read the articles about the lettuce bacteria found in the prepared salad bags that will eat your face off in the middle of the night. But that, to me, is less scary than getting a thingie of Romaine lettuce.  There’s like, dirt up in the romaine lettuce.  You have to really clean those suckers.  And even then, I find myself picking through my salad wondering if I got it all…

NOT FUN.

Once I get through the screening process and the washing process and the prep process, I find myself LEERY of the final product. Uncertain of whether I’ve made the right decision and having bitten into a few too many items of produce that just didn’t taste right, I am slow to chomp down.

I’m more likely to be OK with produce at a restaurant – far more confident in someone else’s ability to select, clean, prepare and serve produce than my own. Tell me all you want about kitchens in restaurants – and I’m still more likely to enjoy their produce than my own. It’s sad.

In an effort to do better with produce, I’ve started purchasing most of my produce through Peapod.  They do a nice job of picking out produce and I’ve had far fewer misses with their selections than with mine.  Even still…

You know what I’ve never wondered about?  Chocolate. Maybe I should just focus on my strengths. Do what you know, you know?

woops

On Saturday morning, I decided that I would go for a nice, long jog. It always clears my head and helps me think. At mile one, I took a dive and scraped up my knees and hand. Niiice. Way to go, Em.

I went home Saturday night and hung out with Frank. It was nice to have some FK and EK time. Sunday we went to church and then went down to the lake to spend the day relaxing. This morning, Frank and I had breakfast and I came back down to P-Town to see Dad and help out around the house.

Dad had a terrible headache today, likely the result of brain swelling due to the substantial stroke he suffered. On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the worst pain he’s ever felt, he was at a 9. After hounding the nurses several times, he was finally given 2 tylenol. After that didn’t take the edge off, they came back with 2 vicoden. They also took him over to the ER for a CT scan. My poor dad!!! First they had to move him from his bed onto the stretcher. Two women moving a 200 lb 6’3″ man off of a bed and onto a stretcher does not go smoothly! Then they jostled him down to the elevator, onto a van and across the street, where the jostled him onto a CT scan bed and then back on to the stretcher for the return ride. Poor guy had a terrible headache and then was bumped around for almost an hour!!! Fortunately the vicoden (vicodin?) finally started to work. Phew!!

fast

Two things – one, this month has gone by fast! Holy cow. I can’t believe that tomorrow is 10/20. No way.

Second, tomorrow night I am going to fast and pray. There are some pretty big things on my heart right now relating to a few areas of our (mine and Frank’s) life. If you read this and have time to pray for me tomorrow, please pray specifically that God will provide direction, that He will provide us with discernment and wisdom with regards to a few responsibilities. That’s somewhat vague, but that’s what I can share now.

Thanks!!

Thoughts

Thoughts on the Pope.

1. It is easy for me to forget that in other parts of the world, freedom of speech and thought are not tolerated.

2. If Islam is going to take over the world, you’d think they would be more confident about it and remain undeterred by comments from a Pope. Instead, there are protests, shootings and violence. That does not sound like a group of people who really have faith.

3. Yeah, the Pope knew that his comments were going to anger Muslims. And yet, they are prooving his point by responding with violence.

Vay-cay!

Frank and I had the most amazing vacation Thursday, Friday and Saturday. We flew into Denver early on Thursday morning and caught a shuttle down to Colorado Springs (referred to as The Springs by the locals). We picked up our rental car (a red Dodge Caravan with “all the bells and whistles” – which thankfully did not include kids) and headed off to Pikes Peak.

At Pikes Peak, we experienced a torrential downpour, a fantastic display of lightening and thunder and hail. As we rode the cog railway up the side of the mountain, the weather cleared up. On the ride up the mountain, we saw the smallest town (Ruxton Park, pop’n 2), old fur trappers’ cabins, and a clearing where an old hotel used to stand. When we got to the top, it started to snow! Crazy!!

We came back down the mountain, stopped at our hotel room, changed and went to downtown Springs for dinner. The dinner we had downtown was absolutely amazing!! I know, The Melting Pot is a chain, but it was our first time going there together. The hostess sat us in a private, two person booth – very cozy. Dinner probably took over 3 hours, but it was awesome. We caught up on a great variety of things, reflected on the past 3 years of marriage and just enjoyed eachother.

While we sat there, it helped me get some great perspective on a huge part of who I am. I love spending time with Frank – he makes me laugh, we have great conversations and a wonderful time together. He is strong, smart, quick-witted, funny, kind and fair in all things. He is such a huge blessing – I feel so grateful that we are together, life partners, roommates – whatever you want to call it 🙂 He is truly my better half.

The next day (Friday) we went hiking at Garden of the Gods. We made up a few dances based on rock climbing terms. I’m sure Frank would prefer that I not share those terms and motions with the general reading public, but I assure you, it was good stuff.

Later Frank and I drove up to Denver to see Greg Proops (sounds like Poops with an “r” in it). He was hilarious! We had the best time!!!

Thanks, Frank, for a wonderful vacation!!!

who am i?

I have had this blog for over 3 years – it is little more than a conglomoration of events, snippets of feelings and a few opinions. It’s not much of a diary and it’s really not a very good journal. I look back on my earlier posts like they were written by someone else and I think they are kind of funny – but sad, too, because I wish I had retained a little bit more of that person before.

At my current job, I feel like I am standing on a beach as the tide is coming in. As I am standing here, grains of sand are sliding out from under my feet and I am getting dragged further and further out to sea. I want to laugh it off, I want to pretend like it’s not big deal, yet at the same time, I notice subtle changes. I notice that I fear being wrong, that before I think something through, I panic. My new mantra has been “work the problem,” because I found that I have been sucked into “panic first, figure out who made the mistake, panic some more, figure out what the problem is.” I realize that I admire my dad more and more the longer I work. I know everyone loves their parents, and I have to say, I know my parents are human, but my dad is a compassionate bulldog: he figures out what’s wrong, works through it and follows up on it later. I wish I could be more like him.

I noticed that lately I have been driving ahead of the headlights. I have been anticipating problems way too far down the road and trying to resolve those along with the problems directly in front of me. I realized that I never end the day with a good stopping point – just another commitment that I am usually already late for.

I also noticed that I do not make my marriage the priority it ought to be. This is heartbreaking to me because there is no one on this planet I love more than Frank. He is, hands down, the most amazing man I know. He is patient and direct. He makes me a priority. And he loves me unconditionally. It doesn’t get much better than that.

So yeah, I have some things to work out. I wonder how much more I’m going to allow myself to be shaped by my job. I wonder how much more I will give up, how much of me can be checked at the door. I work with some great people, I don’t want to shortchange that at all. It’s complicated.

And yet, it’s not so complicated. It’s just a little 3 word question: Who am I?

And I am pretty sure that who I am is many things, but it can be best summed up by the order of my priorities – which should be 1) God, 2) Husband, 3) Family 4) work. It’s just that sometimes pesky number 4 gets ahead of the list. So easy to explain in theory, so hard to practice in life.

That’s all.

the next great American novel

I am going to write the next great American novel and it is going to change national perception about milwaukee. Yeah, that’s right – beer, brats and cheese no more, this fair city is going to be known for her hard working citizens, beautiful lake views and vibrant night life. Well, the night life isn’t quite like NYC, but we have some great festivals. And people. This novel is going to rock.

Here we go:

Once upon a time, there was a girl who dreamed of moving someplace warm and exotic, south of the Mason-Dixon line. Instead, she moved to Milwaukee. And she loved it.

I think I need a little more work on the opening, but it’s a start. Maybe I should pick a different intro than “once upon a time.” It seems a bit cliche and somewhat overdone. like the dinner I made the other day. Ha.

Second try:

So yeah, in about 2004 there was a girl, me, who wanted to move south to Cowboy country. I never, in a million and a half years, would have thought I’d be living in Milwaukee, but here I am. And I love it. But not more than ice cream. That would be sacriligious or something.

Okay, better. Not really. 🙂

oh, baby!

Congratulations to Jeff and Amy S who just had their first baby! She is a little girl named Lucia Raye (not sure how they are spelling it) and was born at 3:30pm yesterday. We are so excited for both of them and they are our first close friends to have a baby, which is very exciting. But it also means we are now very old. Ancient.

How quickly I dive into depression. 🙂 Ha.

Anyway, I was looking around in the Bible for a verse to sum it all up, and this is what I found in Luke:

15People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. 16But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

That sums up our excitement.