the twins’ birthday: a day in pictures

About a week before the twins were born, Frank snapped my last pregnancy pictures in my super fancy, extra-large hospital gown.  What can I say?  I’m a trend setter!  For anyone wondering why most of my smiles look so pained, all you need to know is that I had a scary cervix.  A very, very scary cervix.

 

 

Then there was the morning of the twins’ birth.  The first picture is of my mom and me and the second is of my mother-in-law and me.

Grandma Mary Kay and me

Grandma Sandy and me

Then, after wondering if Frank was going to make it to the birth – he arrived!!  Hurrah! (note to self: pictures of me lying down are not the most flattering…)

Baby Daddy and me

After sitting around for about 90 minutes, the doctor determined that it was go-time!

Ready to have some bebez!

After pushing for about 20-30 minutes, sweet baby Elliana was born:

Baby Ellie

And then just three or four short minutes later, sweet little Carrigan made her way into the world:

Dad and Carrigan

In just under an hour, our little family of two became a family of four!  Mom holding Elliana and Dad holding Carrigan:

Our first family photo!

 

Yo’ Mama’s Got a Scary Cervix

… and other tales of child-birthing.

At some point last week, all of the maternal fetal medicine doctors (MFM), OBs at my practice and neonatal intensive care doctors were monitoring my condition from the sidelines.  One MFM doc told a NICU nurse that I was the patient with “the scary cervix”.

Sure, I knew that things didn’t look all rosy from a cervical standpoint, but in my fight to stay positive about the situation, I didn’t really think that my hooha was “scary”.  Well, not scarier than usual.

Anywho.

On Friday I had some visitors and I started to feel badly by the end of their visit.  My blood pressure was rising, which is not typical for me, and I was just feeling “off”.  I tried to get some sleep before the 1 a.m. nurse shift change when they conveniently wake up all of the sleeping patients and get their vitals.

After the 1 a.m. check-in, I stayed up to wait for Frank to land in Denver.  Oh, did I not mention that Frank was flying?  We decided that since it seemed like I could stay in my current condition for a long time, it didn’t make sense for Frank to take time off just to watch me sit (not patiently) in a hospital bed.  So Frank was flying into Denver and landing at about 2 a.m. CST.

During our conversation I mentioned to him that I just didn’t think I would make it until Monday to give birth.  I just had a feeling.

I tried to sleep after talking to Frank, but I felt like I had to go to the bathroom a lot.  I kept getting up to go, and then didn’t feel like going.  Finally I realized that  I might be having contractions again (what can I say?  My contractions just didn’t feel like contractions).  I called my nurse, she started monitoring me on the fetal heart rate monitor and saw that I was having contractions every 3 minutes.  She stepped out of the room to call my doctor and the hospital OB.  The hospital OB made it upstairs and assessed the situation.  I was at 5 cm and the amniotic sac was definitely bulging.

I was going to Labor and Delivery.

But no one would say for sure that I was going to have the babies for sure.  So after asking multiple times if I should call my husband in Denver and not getting an answer, I finally just called him.  Within minutes, he was up and getting dressed and racing for a flight.

The doctor did a quick ultrasound and determined that the babies were both head-down (how did the second twin flip around again in such tight quarters???).  I asked for an epidural both because I had to have one since we were delivering twins and because I knew it would slow down labor and give Frank a chance to make it to the hospital.

My mom and Frank’s mom arrived and sat with me while the epidural set in.  Note: epidural pain meds are not fun.  I was pretty pain free for the next hour or two while we waited for Frank.  He landed in Milwaukee at 9:30 a.m. and ran from the airport to the car.  Once he was in the car, we talked about delivering vaginally or via c-section.  He told me he thought that I would regret not trying it vaginally and I knew he was right.  I let the doctor know that we were going to do a vaginal delivery.

At 11 a.m., Frank arrived at the hospital.

Once Frank was there, they decided to administer pitocin to kick start the labor since the epidural had slowed down contractions.  After getting the pitocin started, I started to feel all of the contractions in my cervix.

Before that moment, I couldn’t tell you where my cervix really was.  I could vaguely say, “my cervix is down there.”  But once the pitocin started in, I realized exactly where my cervix was and what it was doing.  I complained to the nurse, as I breathed through the contractions, that this epidural business was a farce.  She said, “Are you feeling pressure?” and I said, “NO.  I am feeling pain.”

In the hospital, they often call painful things they can’t do anything about “pressure” because then you are not in pain.  If you were in pain, then they’d have to find something to do about it.  But pressure, well, that’s just too bad.

The anesthesiologist came back in, increased the pain medication and looked at me like I was crazy.  After he left, I told the nurse that I was still feeling a lot of pain.  Not pressure.  Pain.  In my cervix.

The nurse looked at me with the same confused look – how could I be in pain while on so much epidural medication.  She called the doctor in and after a quick check, he announced that I was complete.

What in the world does complete mean?  It means you are ready to push.

They gave Frank scrubs and started prepping me to go to the Operating Room because twins are never typically delivered without easy access to surgical equipment.

They wheeled me into the operating room and then told me I needed to scoot myself over to the operating table.  Excuse me?? I thought I hadn’t heard them right.  But I did.  So, me and my numb legs and giant pregnant belly scooted across the labor bed onto the operating table.

After everything was in position, I pushed for about 20 minutes and delivered Elliana and then 3 minutes later I delivered Carrigan.  Both babies were born screaming and generally ticked off.

Elliana was 5 lbs 10 oz, 19 inches long with tons of fuzz on her head.

Carrigan was 5 lbs 6 oz, 18 1/2 inches long with a little bit of black hair.

And they are doing awesomely well for being born at 32 weeks 5 days gestation.  No oxygen, no warmers and they are eating like crazy.

We are madly in love with them.

 

wait, what?

Some of you may know that I am currently hanging out at the hospital, trying to keep my legs crossed and keep the babies from spraying out alien-style.  For those of you who do not know that – I am in the hospital on bed rest and trying NOT to give birth.

And here is how this came to be.

I’ve been warned against trying to find all of the things that I could’ve, would’ve or should’ve done to avoid finding myself in this current situation.  It’s hard, as the primary care giver for your little ones, to not go down that path.  So hopefully, without too much self-blame, I can relate the story of how I came to be sitting in the mother-baby unit, still attached to both of my babies.

Since last Sunday, I’d been getting up way more frequently in the middle of the night, noticing that my stomach was very hard.  A few times, I was even up every 30 to 45 minutes, which was kind of concerning.  I realized by Tuesday night that the reason I was waking up so much was not necessarily to use the facilities as much as it was because I was experiencing abdominal discomfort.

Wednesday at work was fine – I put my feet up at my desk and cranked on some projects.  By Wednesday night when I arrived home, I was noticing that same tightness in my abdomen.  I told Frank to feel my stomach and he noticed it was really tight too.  So we sat on the couch for an hour and counted about 4 or 5 “contractions”.  They didn’t hurt, so I figured it was normal – after all, my uterus was measuring full term for a singleton baby.

Wednesday night was horrible.  I was up very frequently and had a hard time sleeping.  I eventually gave up and took a shower at 4:30 ish in the morning, with the intent of going into work early.  The shower seemed to calm things down, though, and I took a little bit of a nap.  Considering the tightness and how much I was up, I decided it was probably appropriate to see the doctor just to be sure that everything was OK.

I called the doctor, expecting an afternoon appointment, but instead, they wanted to see me as soon as I could get in.  Completely believing that it was just the usual case of neurosis for me, I decided to wait until 10 a.m. to go in so that I could get a few things taken care of at work.

The visit to the doctor’s office was pretty uneventful.  They hooked me up to the monitors and naturally, I didn’t have any contractions while I was sitting there (not surprising – mornings have been pretty quiet for me) and the babies seemed to be having a grand old time bouncing around.  The doctor did a fetal fibronectin test which predicts with 99% accuracy whether or not a patient will go into pre-term labor within the next two weeks.  She also checked my cervix and noted that while it was still long, I was dilated to 1 cm.  Hrm, I thought.  That’s kind of surprising.

Back to work I went.  I decided earlier that week to do all of my maternity leave debriefs a bit early, just because I am having twins.  Who knew that Thursday afternoon would be my last day in the office??

While I was sitting in my office, I noticed a few more “hard stomach” moments, but nothing crazy.  I went home to Frank and had some dinner.  Then he went out to visit with a friend and I settled down on the couch to write thank-you notes and watch TV.

Within a few minutes of writing the notes, I noticed that my stomach was getting hard at regular intervals.  I logged on to contraction master and decided to just keep track of how many times I was contracting and for how long.  After two hours of writing thank-you notes and watching HGTV, I had a very consistent pattern of contractions/tightness every 4-5 minutes, with a few instances of less than 3 minutes.  The tightness was lasting 30-45 seconds, sometimes longer.  My doctor had told me if it went on for longer than an hour, to call… at two hours of contracting, I figured I finally had to face the music.

See, I hate calling my doctor.  Loathe it.  It seems like every time something like this happens, it’s after hours.  Blah.  I told the nurse about the situation and she said she would talk to the doctor and get back to me.

Thinking it would be a while, I called Frank to tell him the scoop and advise him that he should probably start coming home.  By the time I hung up with him, the nurse already called back and told me to head to Labor and Delivery immediately.

And of course, the only thing I hate more than calling my doctor is actually going to the hospital, especially when I’m not 100% sure that this “tightness” I was feeling was really “contractions” or just “typical twin pregnancy stuff.”  Ugh.  I mean, my uterus was measuring full term for just one baby – perhaps this was just all part of the joy of twins!

We didn’t pack anything because, really, I didn’t think I had to pack for an overnight stay.  I figured I’d go in, they’d tell me I was nuts, and we’d be home in time for the 10 p.m. news.

On the way to the hospital, I had a few more “tightness” situations.  We got to the hospital and of course, just like when you take your car to the mechanic, everything started feeling better.  By the time they sat me down in the bed in Labor in Delivery (in the ridiculous gown that opens in the back) and hooked me up to the fetal monitors, I was 100% sure that they were going to tell me not to come back until the babies were crowning.

I actually said that to Frank: “They aren’t going to let me come back until the babies are crowning.”

Funny story.

While I was sitting in the bed, feeling ridiculous, I was having contractions 3 minutes apart.  The OB on staff came in and did a cervical exam and announced that I was 3 cm dilated with a bulging sac.

I looked over at Frank and just said, “Well, that’s not very good.”  And Frank knew that wasn’t very good because we already took the class and because he’s a good husband, he remembered what effacement was and what dilation meant and well, a bulging sac just never sounds good.  So he looked back at me with wide eyes and nodded and we just sort of sat there, taking it in.

And then that’s when the craziness started.  IVs were brought in, I was unceremoniously turned over and given a steroid shot in my tush.  Then they started the magnesium and the contractions got worse.  They were, at some points less than 2 minutes apart.  The doctors wanted me to try to sleep and let the magnesium drip take affect, so they gave me an ambien, but the pain was pretty bad still and I definitely couldn’t sleep through it, so they gave me some pain medication.

I don’t remember sleeping a lot, but I think I got a few hours in.  At 7 a.m., the contractions were still 5 minutes apart.  We were getting nervous and still had four more hours until the next steroid shot could be administered to help mature the babies’ lungs.

Around 8 a.m., the contractions finally started to space out and we were able to breathe a sigh of relief for the moment.  They kept the magnesium going and finally, everything seemed to be moving in the right direction.

So let me tell you about magnesium sulfate.  It works because it relaxes your uterus – and everything else, too.  Also fondly referred to as “mag”, this delightful concoction makes it harder to breathe, blocks up your sinuses and generally makes you feel like a wet noodle.  Oh, and when mixed with Ambien, it causes hallucinations.

At 10 a.m., the perinatologist and OB came in to assess the damage.  They wanted to keep me on the mag drip until I had my second round of steroids to mature the babies’ lungs.  Then things kind of get foggy and blurry.  At some point, I tried to go to sleep for the night, but was having a hard time sleeping because I was so hot (another mag side effect) and I couldn’t breathe.  So they brought me a cool wash cloth and an Ambien.  Hello, hallucinations. I woke up several times that night trying to get out of my bed, unsure if I was pregnant and wondering if the monitors I was wearing were guns or … monitors?  I doused myself with a washcloth full of water, threw pillows on the floor and asked the nurse if I broke my water.  I also asked the nurse if I was having triplets.

The nurse thought I was hilarious.

On Saturday morning, the perinatologist and OB had a pow-wow and determined the side effects of the mag were far worse than going into pre-term labor and so they stopped the drip.  And then we started waiting again.  Over the course of the next few hours, the nurses slowly disconnected me from the catheter, IV drips, etc.  By Sunday, I was completely wireless and essentially contraction-free!

Since then, it’s just been a waiting game.  The doctors feel that we’ve cleared a major hurdle and probably have at least another week before the babies make their grand entrance.  This will let the babies’ mature further and spend less time in the neo-natal intensive care unit (NICU).

We’ve been so blessed with so many of our friends and family praying for us and thinking about us – it’s been such a boost!  While this whole situation isn’t ideal and has both of us a little bit ragged, we are both keeping positive attitudes.  Our doctors and nurses have been great and everyone has been very impressed with the babies’ activity levels and heart rates.  And if these babies miraculously stay in until 34 weeks, I’ll get to go home because the doctors will no longer try to stop labor if it starts again.

30 week update

Wow – I am quite behind in my updates and I have a lot to report!

What’s new with the babies? The babies are now head-down!  Hurrah!  Hopefully they stay that way and we can attempt a vaginal birth.  Now that they are head down (or vertex), I am feeling them move a lot more.  Our ultra sound tech was also able to see little hairs on top of their heads!  Sometimes the babies will get into an awkward position where they are actually sticking out of my stomach (it looks like their behind is bulging out) and I will push gently to get the babies back into place.  They are also very playful – if I push on their feet (I think it’s their feet…), they kick back now.

In other news, my uterus is measuring 40 cms, which is the same as a single pregnancy at 40 weeks.  Woohoo!  And we have 8 more weeks to go!

Stats:

Baby A – 4 lbs, 139 bpm heart rate, 2 weeks ahead

Baby B – 4 1/2 lbs, 137 bpm heart rate, 3 weeks ahead

How I feel: The pregnancy has been awesome for me.  I have energy, I haven’t been sick from the pregnancy and I don’t have a lot of discomfort.  Unfortunately, I managed to get a wicked cold/flu/sickness that is kicking my rear end.  I did great on Saturday for our shower (more like a FLOOD of gifts!!), but by Sunday I was a hot mess.  I slept for about 3 1/2 hours and woke up still feeling sick.  I managed to get into work on Monday for about 2 hours, but went home as I started to feel weaker and sicker.  By the afternoon, I was running a low-grade fever.  I took some Tylenol, but no dice.  By about 8 p.m., the fever was 100.2, which is sort of the “magic” pregnancy fever temp for calling your doctor.  Conveniently, the blizzard of 2011 hadn’t started yet (we were just enjoying a “pre-party” of 1-3 inches before the “big show”), so we were able to get to the emergency room to see a doctor.  We left around 11 p.m. with a prescription for Tamiflu and, thanks to the woman in the next sick bay, a renewed respect for the phrase, “Just say no to drugs.”

I took a sick day on Tuesday to try to recoup, but no dice.  By the evening, I was super-sick-feeling: chills, low-grade fever, severe congestion and ridiculous coughing.  My ribs are so sore from coughing!!  The good news is that the twins are doing fine and will likely be completely unaffected by this cold/flu/whatever.  As a matter of fact, whenever I cough, it seems the twins think I am saying “hello” to them and they kick me back.  Lovely!

 

27 week update…


 

Well, here we are… 27 weeks along!  According to my multiples books, I am already considered 3rd trimester for having twins.  Just 11 more weeks to go!!

What’s new with the babies: We had an ultrasound last week and the babies are measuring about 2 1/2 weeks ahead of schedule and are in the 90th percentile for size.  Whoa babies!  Everything looked great – great cord attachment, placental placement, heartbeats, kidneys, bladders, etc.  I am always relieved when we have an ultrasound.  We have another ultrasound in a month, which is quite a treat.  I guess there are a few perks to having twins.  The babies are measuring about 2 1/2 lbs each and according to our friends at BabyCenter.com, they are opening and closing their eyes, sleeping in regular intervals and sucking on their fingers.  In real life, these children are moving more and more.  Since they are both breech, I imagine them boxing because that is how wild my stomach looks while they are moving.

Stats:

Baby A – 2lbs 9 oz, 144 bpm heart rate

Baby B – 2 lbs 8 oz, 149 bpm heart rate

How I feel: The pregnancy is definitely starting to become a little bit more physically draining.  It is becoming increasingly important that I get my naps on the weekends and take a day off for just resting.  Other than that, I feel really good physically!  I am also starting to feel increasingly concerned about getting everything done before the babies get here.  From prepping their room, to making sure that the rest of the house is organized to accommodate all of the baby “stuff”, we are going to be quite busy over the next few weekends!

Other thoughts: Since the babies are currently breech, and I’m not sure how likely they will be to turn, I am mentally preparing myself for a C-Section.  While it would be nice to not have a C-Section, both Frank and I will just be happy to have two healthy babies, no matter how we have to get them out.

 

 

25 week update w/ 24 week belly pic

I am a bit behind on the belly pics, so hopefully I’ll get a 25 week picture done this week.  Until then, this 24 week picture will have to do:

What’s new with the babies: The babies continue to grow and are more and more active every day.  It’s amazing to feel how strong they can kick now!  The babies are about 13 1/2″ long and about 1 1/2 lbs.

How I feel: I’ve started having heartburn and realize that I should start eating smaller meals and not eating too close to bed time – otherwise I experience disastrous results…   I’ve also had to adjust how I am sleeping to include more pillows and support.  And I’ve needed more naps.  Other than that – I feel great!  Oh, and awesome news – I passed my gestational diabetes test!  Hurrah!  I was legitimately worried about it since I have PCOS and was diagnosed with hypoglycemia a year ago.

Other thoughts: Time has really started to fly by.  We are almost done with our birthing classes at our hospital (they like moms of multiples to take the class sooner).  We only have 13 weeks to go, which at first sounds like a lot of time, but considering how fast time has gone so far, it seems like it’s just around the corner… The cribs and dressers are ordered and should be ready for delivery in the next month or so.  We’ve packed the month of January with projects to take care of before the babies get here – let the nesting begin!!

100 joys (#71-80)

What a wonderful Christmas we had!  I’m still recovering, so please forgive me for the lack of pictures.  I will also post a 25 week babies update tomorrow and, if I get my stuff together, there may also be a belly pic included, too.  Consider yourself warned: the belly is on the verge of epic (although, not quite legendary).

joy #71:

Frank was home for Christmas!  It was a little bit touch-and-go, but Frank was never called up to fly and so we were able to spend the entire holiday together.  It was such a wonderful blessing!  In the morning we went to my parents’ house to open gifts, then off the Frank’s parents’ home for lunch, and then back to my parents’ house for dinner.  It was so much fun to be able to do all of these things with Frank and it just made the whole holiday all the brighter.

joy #72:

Frank’s good friend from high school, Garrick, and Garrick’s girlfriend Kelly (sweetest girl ever), stopped by Frank’s parents’ house and gave us gifts for the twins.  They gave us a Dr. Suess book, movie and then “Thing1” and “Thing 2” tees for the babies.  It was such a perfect gift – Frank had been calling the twins exactly that for a while and we are excited for them to wear these shirts in a few months!

 

joy #73:

Every year, Dr. K (Frank’s Dad) dresses up as Santa.  I think the older kids might be on to him, but it was cute to see my youngest nephew look at him with terror amazement this year.

 

joy #74:

Yes, we had a white Christmas this year!  It was really a nice treat, especially since the roads were pretty dry and clear.

 

joy #75:

My mom made 20 lbs of prime rib this year – as per usual.  And it was soooo delicious.  The above photo is not her prime rib – I forgot to snap a picture.  Does it matter, though??  It was delicious, amazing, heavenly prime rib.  Nothing says, “Happy Birthday Jesus!” like a ton of red meat.  And twice baked potatoes.  And warm dinner rolls.  And mayonnaise salad.  Yeah, you might be judging me a little bit for loving mayonnaise salad, but I don’t care.  The only thing less healthy than mayonnaise salad is just eating the mayonnaise straight from the jar.  Thank goodness for lettuce leaves, right?

 

joy #76:

Yeah, that’s right, we did it.  We went to the Nordstrom Half-Yearly Sale today.  Frank was in desperate need of shoes for work (read: he no longer had tread left on his other shoes!), so we ventured out to The Mall with the rest of The World.  And I must say, it wasn’t half bad.  And, combined with the sale and coupons, we saved about 80% on a pair of shoes for him.  Victory was had.  Joy to the world, indeed.

 

joy #77:

So, as someone who has been CRAVING Papa John’s pizza, I wasn’t sure how I was going to like Domino’s Pizza tonight.  I mean, I have been eating Papa John’s about once a week – that’s how bad it has been.  But since I had a gift card for Domino’s Pizza, we figured we’d buck the trend and try it.  OMG.  I knew that Domino’s was re-working their pizza recipe (apparently they realized their pizza sucked) and their new pizza is FABULOUS!  Forget you, Papa John’s!  I’m loving me some Domino’s Pizza!  Even Frank was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed the pizza, too.

 

joy #78:

To celebrate Boxing Day, we boxed up all of our Christmas decorations and put them away.  Yes, that’s right, we are sitting in a Christmas-free zone right now, folks!  And I love it!  Christmas, and all of its trimmings, are wonderful up until 11:59 p.m. on December 25th.  As soon as the last carol has been sung, the last pound of prime rib eaten and the last present opened, Christmas feels instantly stale to me.  Instead of merry Christmas decorations, it feels more like clutter.  For the last 7+ years of our marriage, Frank thought I liked having the decorations up until New Year’s Day.  Truth is, I’d start taking them down Christmas night if it didn’t feel like I was violating some sort of sacred holiday law.  When I told Frank last night that I would love nothing more than to take down the decorations, his eyes grew wide and a smile spread from ear-to-ear.  So happily today we put everything away and it feels like we are living in a new house.  I love it.  Bringing in the new year in a fresh house is a delight, and dare I say, a joy!

 

joy #79:

Yeah, that’s right.  I’ll admit it.  Not only do I LIKE naps, but I LOVE them.  I need them.  There is no shame in my game.  These kids (and the holidays) darn near wore me out.  I took a strategic Christmas night nap from about 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., allowing me to be a descent human being to the rest of my family for a few more hours than normal.  I took another strategic 2 1/2 hour nap between shopping and taking down decorations so that I would, again, be a descent human being to my hubz.  I have NO idea how I am going to make it through the work week, considering how important these naps are seeming to become.  I am sure that I will survive, though.

 

joy #80:

I love reading people’s Facebook statuses.

I love the mundane updates: “Just ate dinner. Yum. “

I also love the vague updates: “Thank God that’s over!”  What’s over?   What happened??  Usually three or four people comment asking for specifics.  Their inquiries are often unrewarded.  The people who post updates like that WANT you to wonder.  So whenever you see that kind of vague update, they are probably referring to a herpes outbreak.  I mean, what else could they possibly be talking about?

Last, but not least, I love the social commentary status updates.  Like this one: “How low can reality TV go? Bridalplasty. Yep.”  It makes me feel good that I am friends with people who recognize the bottom of the reality TV food chain.  It is because of people like this that I think, “Hum, I should probably turn this TV show off because it is not socially acceptable to watch this…”  Who said Facebook couldn’t be an integral part of my moral compass??

 

100 joys (#62-70)

OK, this is going to be my epic joy post.  Grab a cup of hot cocoa and a warm blanket – it’s all joy, all the time!

joy #62:

Last night, as I mentioned before, we went to church for the Christmas service.  It is one of our most FAVORITE Christmas traditions in the K-Fam.  Because our church has 12 Christmas Eve services over the course of 8 days, Frank and I are always able to find a service we can attend, no matter what Frank’s schedule looks like.  At the last minute, we were able to include Al, Rose and Rose’s sister, Sara.  Seated way up in the 3rd balcony at Willow Creek, I was a little bit concerned that we wouldn’t get a good view of the service.  It turns out, being seated way up high was the BEST view of the service.  It was awesome!  The service included a drama that was the modern telling of the story of Jesus’ birth.  It was absolutely amazing.  When the Angel was telling Mary that she found favor with God and would be giving birth to Jesus, the song in the above video played.  It was absolutely magical!  The whole story was told with the underlying theme of “Don’t be afraid.”  What a joy to go to that service!

joy #63:

After church, we went to Steak ‘n Shake.  Now, I have to say, if I owned a restaurant within a 5-10 mile radius of Willow Creek, I’d definitely find out when big events were happening and then get prepared!  Unfortunately, that was not the case at our friendly neighborhood Steak ‘n Shake and they were just a bit overwhelmed by the crowd that came through their doors last night.  After waiting a while to be seated, and then waiting even longer for someone to come to our table to get drink orders, etc., Frank jokingly told our waitress that it was free shake night at Steak ‘n Shake if you had to wait more than 5 minutes for your server.  She laughed and then said, “Really? OK.  Free shakes and drinks then.”  And the shakes WERE free!  It was a Christmas Miracle!

joys #64-70:

Oh, how my family does bring me joy!

Familial joy #64 was my sweet niece singing tonight at the Christmas Eve service at the church that Frank and I were married at.  With her white-blond hair and cherubic smile, she melts everyone’s hearts.  And of course #65 was my nephew who gets taller and cuter every time I see him.  He’s my first-ever nephew and has a special place in my heart.

#66 and #67 are my sister-in-law Kathryn (or K2; K1 is her sister Karen) and her husband Dave.  As the parents of my dear niece and nephew, of course they are a joy!

After church, we moved on to my Uncle Steve (#68) and Aunt Judy’s (#69) home for some delicious homemade corn chowder and general merriment.  My cousins Meghan (previously mentioned as joy #40) and David (#44) were also there, along with my siblings (Caitlin, Andy & Sarah – also previously mentioned joys in a variety of places).  While we were there, nearly everyone got to feel the babies kicking, which I would like to call joy #70.  It’s one thing for me to feel the babies moving around, but it’s such a delight when others get to experience it, too!

100 joys (58-61)

So much joy, so little time!

Today I will go in chronological order:

joy #58:

What to you may be just an innocent bottle of concentrated orange drink is, in fact, one of my least favorite beverages.  Sure, it has undertones of the McDonald’s orange drink I remember from my youth, but unfortunately they do not serve it with chicken nuggets and french fries that I would prefer.  I will know in a few days if I passed or failed the dreaded gestational diabetes test.  But, I count it as a joy because we made it to 24 1/2 weeks with the twins and I get to take the test.

 

joy #59:

I am not the world’s best story teller.  I think ALL of the facts are important and sometimes I forget the order in which things occur.  So I often find myself backtracking mid-story to share what I think might be an important part of the story so that the punchline makes sense.  Frank is often victim of my long, winding, nonsensical stories.  He tries really hard to stay with me when I’m telling the story, but then, after about 5 minutes of meandering, he finally can’t take it any more.  He nods, gestures and generally tries to cue me to wrap it up.  Unfortunately, that only derails the story further as I cannot multi-task while story telling.  The result is that I eventually slow down the story and forget where I am at while I’m trying to read his physical cues.  The result?  A great many Emily stories that end with, “So, uh, yeah, I just thought you’d want to know or something.”

 

joys #60 & 61:

Mr. Al and Ms. Rosie went with us to church tonight.  It was a wonderful service and it was great to go with friends.  It’s awesome to see how much they love each other and I really enjoy seeing their marriage in action.  They are truly a sweet couple!

100 joys (54-57)

I’m such a joy-slacker.  I totally thought I’d have more time to document joys today, but instead took a 3 hour nap… Which, really, probably counts as a joy… I just don’t have a picture of it!

joy #54:

Big time joy today – it’s the first game we’ve gone to this season where the Hawks brought in a W!  We were both very happy with the final score of 4-1 over the Predators.  I would’ve been happier if there had been a really good fight on the ice.  You know, the kind where gloves come off and the players hold each other up while beating each other senseless (because if you go down, the refs can break it up).  Even if the ice girls (wannabe figure skaters who shovel excess ice shavings during breaks while wearing nearly nothing) decided to rumble, that would’ve counted.  Oh well.  There’s always next year!

Go Hawks!

joys #55 & 56:

Meghan and Mark.  Mark and Meghan.  They are both truly joys for us.  We both love hanging out with them and having “drinky-poos” (although, my “drinky-poos” have been non-existent for the past 6 months or so…).  They are a fabulous couple and are getting married in March 2011.  Frank and I are honored to be a part of their bridal party and we hope that the babies do not decide to make an appearance AT their wedding.  Some things (water breaking, woman in labor) are not really meant to be a part of a wedding album…

joy #57:

Yeah, so my hubz is one of my biggest joys most of the time – it sort of goes without saying.  He’s just awesome!  Today we did our K-fam tradition of having a nice dinner downtown and seeing a Hawks game (GO HAWKS!).  We went to Carnivale for dinner beforehand and really enjoyed ourselves.  We talked a lot about how the twins will be here in only three months… maybe less… I think it’s really sinking in!