three things: thanksgiving

Frank and I are so blessed and this Thanksgiving I wanted to spend some time reflecting on three big blessings

Thing 1: Family

My family – immediate and extended – is such a huge blessing.  My family is a collection of vibrant, fun, interesting people with very distinct personalities.  This means that life is always interesting!  Even between Frank and I, we are both very different people, but we really enjoy each other greatly.  We are both so excited to add two new little personalities to our family!  I can’t wait to see the little people they are and how they fit into our already personality-filled family 🙂

 

Thing 2: Friends

Frank and I have been so fortunate to have wonderful friends.  We have friends that are close by in geographic proximity and we have friends all around the country, but thanks to technology, we never seem to be far apart.

 

Thing 3: The Tough Stuff

For the past few years, I’ve realized how grateful I am for the difficult times.  Even though it’s rough, I’ve noticed that my faith is strengthened, my marriage grows and my friends become closer as we go through challenges.  I have a hard time expressing myself sometimes about how I’m feeling, so having this blog as an outlet as well as close friends to talk to about the things we’ve experienced has made it all the easier.  But without the difficult times, I wouldn’t appreciate the good times as much, either.

on turning 30.

Today I am 30.

On November 16, 1980 at 8:55 p.m. after 24 hours of labor, I was finally born.  My mom was quite happy to be done with the whole ordeal and to have a little baby girl.

I really don’t recall how I felt about the whole ordeal.  Probably annoyed.  I mean, I had a direct source of food, it was warm and I had never experienced having a dirty diaper.

And here I am, finally 30.

I don’t think most people say “finally 30”.  I think most people are like, “crap, I’m 30.  Best years, gone!”

But I think I was kind of born 30 ish.  I was a lame teenager.  I wore elastic waistband jeans and played the cello.  In college, I went to ALL of my classes and it wasn’t until I graduated that I realized that maybe I could’ve slept in a few more mornings.  Frank and I were married when he was 23 and I was 22.  We built our first house when we were 25.

Becoming 30 sort of justifies all of my middle-aged behavior and interests.

And I love it.

Hello 30, I love you.

19 weeks – halfway there!

Since twins are not generally allowed to go past 38 weeks, the 19 week point is technically halfway to our due date (March 28th, 2011)!  This is both very exciting and very surreal.  It feels like time has flown since we found out that we were pregnant until now, and with the holidays coming up, I know time will continue to fly by and the twins will be here before we know it.  This means that we have to really consider all the details about the babies’ room, what we need, etc.  And there are so many options!  It’s overwhelming!

What’s new with the babies: According to our friends at Babycenter.com, our babies are quickly developing their senses and may even be able to hear our voices!  The development calendars indicate that we should be feeling the babies move around now, which we have felt them move a few times, but nothing consistently.  The babies are each the size of a large heirloom tomato.

How I feel: I am still feeling pretty good.  I am starting to show (will post a belly picture later) and have gained a little bit of weight.  I am still tired a lot, taking naps when I can.  I manage to make it through the week without napping at work, but the weekends are ALL about sleep.  The tiredness makes Fridays the hardest day of the week for me – I really want to do something fun, BUT I am SO tired, I’d really rather eat some soup and go to bed.  I am enjoying as much sleep as possible now because I hear from other parents that there is not much sleep to be had later on.

Other thoughts: Sometimes it is very hard for me to emotionally and mentally grasp that I am pregnant, much less with twins.  There is a part of me that is still wondering, “is this really happening??”   I think I have normal fears that most expectant moms have, but sometimes I know that I am “spiraling” into a bad round of thoughts and probably need to take a nap.

Also, I found out that there was a set of twins born weighing a combined 27 lbs.  Yes, that’s right – a 14 lb and 13 lb baby.  So, it appears we have a new goal to pursue here.  I think that if we can hit the 20 lb mark, that will probably still be pretty news-worthy around here.  What do you all think??

17 weeks

What’s new with the babies: The babies are now about 5 inches long and their skeletal structures are hardening from a soft cartilage into bone.  I think that I’ve felt them both move, but I can’t be 100% sure.  The books and the websites all say that you should feel the babies move between 16 and 20 weeks, but I have to say that I’ve known quite a few moms that did not feel the babies move until they were past 20 weeks.

I had an appointment with my CNM last week Thursday.  They finished my NT scan blood work data (checking for trisomy 18, Downs Syndrome, etc) and checked for the heartbeats with a fetal doppler.  Baby A (I think it’s a girl) was moving so much that she had a hard time tracking “her” down, but we did find it.  Baby A’s heartrate came in at 162 bpm.  Baby B (perhaps a boy?) is much more chill and the CNM found “his” heartbeat right away (150 bpm).

How I feel: Still feeling tired, but it’s manageable.  We went out for dinner last Friday with friends and I had chorizo and experienced my first case of HORRIFIC heartburn.  Like, epically bad.  I will not relay to you the subsequent events of the evening – just know that it was not pretty.  I am definitely showing at this point, but maternity shirts are still (as expected) quite baggy on me.

Other thoughts: We are in the early stages of trying to figure out what to register for and what we are going to need.  I look at the list and research a few things, then put it away and watch TV.  So yeah, it’s going to take us a while to figure it all out…. But that’s ok, we still have 21 weeks to go!

carbon monoxide poisoning

One of my dearest friends, Vicky, has been working diligently with her husband to move past the fall out of his affair that he confessed to about 10 months ago.  Watching them work valiantly to save their marriage, often struggling, but still persisting, has been inspiring.  Knowing Vicky as well as I do, and hearing her struggles and how she has turned them over to God on a daily, hourly and sometimes minute-by-minute basis, has been a powerful reminder to me of how I should live my own life.

I’ve had other friends deal with affairs, addictions and financial trials throughout their marriages.  We’ve known a few couples that have split over pretty big stuff.

This Friday on a local Chicago radio show (WTMX’s Eric & Kathy), morning host Kathy announced that she and her husband were separating.  She said that they still loved each other and were still friends, but for the sake of their family they were going to go their separate ways.  She said that they realized that they were not in love with each other any more and that life had gotten in the way and when the dust settled, they were friends and roommates and nothing more.

This revelation was very unsettling to me because as often as people we’ve known have gotten divorced, most were not explosive endings.  Most of the divorces seem to be the result of marital carbon monoxide poisoning.

Marriages are slowly poisoned over time because we don’t tend to them – we don’t feed them, care for them and keep them going.  Most marriages die a slow, torturous death and the final cause of death can barely be determined because there were so many minor causes that it’s hard to find just one that killed it.

I have been fortunate in my marriage because Frank’s frequent absences make it hard for things to be dull.  In spite of fertility treatments, pregnancy, work, etc – we’ve done a pretty OK job of keeping the marriage alive – but it could be better.  With the exciting prospect of twins in just five months, I know we’re going to have to work even harder to keep things interesting between us.  We’re going to need to go on dates and ask eachother questions and find creative ways to keep the romance alive.

I heard a pastor say once regarding scripture that presumed familiarity breeds unfamiliarity.  I think that sometimes I think I know everything there is to know about Frank, but we’ll be sitting at dinner or driving somewhere and he’ll tell me a story about his life or something he’s learned and it gives me new appreciation for him.

So here is my question to you: What do you do to keep things fresh in your marriage?

13 weeks

Today I am 13 weeks pregnant.  I thought it might be fun to start documenting what’s going on each week.  I’ll try to use the same format each week.  I will also try to include pictures – I actually have a little bump going already!

What’s new with the babies: The babies are 3 inches head to tush.  If we’re having a girl or girls, she already has 2 million eggs in her ovaries.  The babies now have finger prints.

How I feel: Great, but tired.  I still have some weird aversions to herbs and spicy foods, which is killing Frank.  I haven’t gained any weight, but I definitely have a bump starting.  It’s especially noticeable when I lie down.  Frank likes to talk to the babies, usually just saying, “Helllllloooo???”

Other thoughts: It’s still very surreal to me that I’m pregnant.  I go through waves of acceptance and disbelief.  Most of the time I am able to say, “OK, I am pregnant, this is really going to happen for us!”  But then there are times where it’s just more than my little brain can fathom.

Our experiences with fertility treatments has made me abundantly aware of the fact that life is fragile.  I know far too many women who have lost babies at various stages of their pregnancy, even well into the “safe” period.  I don’t take for granted the fact that we are 13 weeks along. I treasure that we have seen our babies on five separate occasions and they were always developmentally where they should be (or measuring big… which is another post for another day).  I love that Baby A was super active, propelling himself (or herself) across the sac, flipping over and sucking his thumb.  I love that Baby B was chill – stretching out, waving his arms over his head and relaxing.  I hope these sweet babies keep growing and thriving – we are looking forward to meeting them in person in less than 6 months!

on being pete campbell

For those of you who are not Mad Men fanatics, this will take a bit of ‘splainin’.  Pete Campbell is an Account Executive/Partner at Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Price – a fictional 1960’s ad agency.  If you’ve watched all of the seasons of Mad Men, Pete’s slimy ways have probably made you feel uncomfortable or dirty at least once – possibly twice – an episode for the past four seasons.

Here’s the thing about Pete: Pete knows what he wants and he goes after it.  He doesn’t always take a path that you or I would prefer – he sometimes turns to manipulation or blackmail – but everything he does is because he wants to be The Ad Man.  The other thing to know about Pete is that he is an account executive (basically a client schmoozer) who fancies himself as a creative.  He is NOT a creative.

That all being said, here are my thoughts on Pete:

On Trying Too Hard: Pete wants to be an Ad Man. Desperately.  He “acquires” all of the things that he thinks he needs to portray the image (wife, apartment downtown, etc), he reads all of the “right” books, he does all of the networking.  But at the end of the day, he often just comes across as trying too hard.  It’s awkward to watch and difficult to like.  It conjures up at least a half dozen memories of stupid things I’ve done or witnessed other people doing.  I think about my first presentations when I worked in advertising or remember terrible sales pitches someone delivered to me.  I shudder at the memories. And I watch Pete and think, “Am I trying too hard? Am I making myself into a person I wish I could be or am I becoming a person that I am meant to be?”

On Taking Shortcuts: Pete regularly tries to find shortcuts, but his shortcuts always come at a much-too-high cost.  Sometimes it’s his own integrity that takes a hit, and sometimes he even jeopardizes family relationships for the sake of authenticating his place in the ad world.  I’m all for taking risks, but the things he’s willing to risk sometimes seem too great considering what he is hoping to accomplish.  How often do I sacrifice a long-term item for a short-term goal?  What are my trade-offs?

On Being Authentic: Pete says a lot of crap to get what he wants and hides a lot of things he does.  There are a lot of things Pete sweeps under the rug, including affairs and a baby with another woman.  Watching his character operate, the amount of baggage he’s carrying around is almost palpable.  It’s like he’s teetering, on the verge of falling over under the baggage’s oppressive weight.  And yet, if you asked him, he’d probably ask, “Baggage?  What baggage?”

from the history books: enchanted

Last night I watched Enchanted, one of my favorite movies to watch.  It’s one of those movies that when it’s on, I can’t help myself.  The movie reminds me a lot of Frank.  No, it’s not because Frank channels Patrick Dempsy with his dashing good looks and pragmatic approach to life.  Nor is it because Frank often introduces me the way Prince Edward introduces Giselle – “Giselle is my love, my heart’s one true desire!”

Enchanted reminds me of a truly K-Fam Thanksgiving experience.  Back in November 2007 Frank was a jet Captain on the Dornier at the now defunct Skyway Airlines.  As per usual, Frank was at the bottom of the seniority list, meaning that he was working holidays.  I decided that I would accompany him over Thanksgiving on his trips so that we could spend Thanksgiving together.  On Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, we went to Cleveland. Skyway actually put the pilots up in a somewhat decent hotel which was close to a very nice mall.

One of Frank’s favorite things to do is walk around a mall. This is surprising because he does NOT like to shop.  He enjoys stopping at stores that have nice smells or kitschy items with limited uses (ie. Brookstone, Spencers).  We walked around the mall for a while and then decided to go see the movie Enchanted. We thoroughly enjoyed the movie.  I remember walking out of the theater holding Frank’s hand, feeling light and free.  We had dinner at the Macaroni Grill and drew fun pictures on the paper table cloth and enjoyed being together.

The next day, Thanksgiving, we flew back to Milwaukee and then up to Appleton.  We stayed at the Raddison Paper Valley in downtown Appleton.  We arrived at the hotel at 2:30 in the afternoon and saw, to our amazement, a huge Thanksgiving buffet set out!  Victory!  We approached the hostess stand, all of our bags in tow, and asked the hostess for details on the buffet.  She told us they were taking it down.  Oh, the looks on our faces!  We pleaded with her – can we just go through once and get some Thanksgiving food – we are far from home and won’t get a real Thanksgiving!  Nope.  She wouldn’t budge.  As we walked by the buffet on the way to our room, we watched them throwing out entire cakes and pies.  Oh, how we wanted to weep right there!

Slightly disheartened, but determined to have a lovely Thanksgiving anyway, we went to the hotel bar, hoping that they may have some Thanksgiving fare.  No such luck.  I think Frank had a hamburger and I had a chicken sandwich.  Regardless of the lack of Thanksgiving themed food, we had a wonderful time watching football in the bar and talking with his First Officer.

Later that night, we decided that we wanted dessert, but room service didn’t have anything good, so we found a vending machine and shared a Three Muskateers bar and a Rice Krispy Treat.  Oh, it was bliss!  Almost like having French Silk Pie… but not quite…

It is one of my happiest memories of us.  We had such a nice time celebrating Thanksgiving together and I am so glad we did it!  Considering that Frank is back at the bottom of the seniority list again, perhaps we will try the adventure again this year, but maybe in a more exotic location, like LA or Puerto Rico!

summer lovin'

Those of you who know me in real life (IRL), know that the K fam has recently been soooo excited to announce that Frank is now flying out of a Milwaukee base instead of an Atlanta base.  Milwaukee (MKE) is roughly 1 1/2 to 2 hours away from our home, whereas Atlanta requires a 45 minute drive plus a 2 1/2 hour flight.  And, if that isn’t fun enough, Frank had to allow three or four flight options, just in case he got bumped or a flight was canceled.  On his way home, he would often be running from concourse to concourse trying to find an open flight – and that was often after an 8-10+ hour day of flying.  Sometimes he wouldn’t roll into our driveway until after 1 a.m. after starting his day at 6 a.m.  With travel to and from Atlanta factored in, Frank was averaging 6-7 full days home per month.  Needless to say, it was rough, but we made it work.

Actually, I look at it as a little feather in our cap that we made it work so well.  For all that we’ve been going through while he’s been commuting to Atlanta for the last year or so, including fertility treatments and a miscarriage, the fact that we are still so in love is a blessing from God.

TOOT TOOT. (that’s me, tooting our collective horn)

While I was prepared to continue having a long-distance marriage for a while longer, we were soooo blessed when Frank won the bid for the Milwaukee base earlier this summer.  Thanks to this new base, Frank was in training to fly a new aircraft which resulted in him being home on WEEKENDS!!  This is a rare occurrence, indeed.  As a result, we hosted a dessert and cocktail party this summer, we had a holiday together (4th of July!-note – because of his seniority, we do not usually expect to have any holidays together), we went to Summerfest AND the Wisconsin State Fair (two of our favorite things) and generally did weekend-type couple-y things.  I LOVED every minute of it.  Frank is almost done with training – he is finishing up initial operating experience, which basically means he is flying with a very experienced captain who will later sign off that he is a capable pilot and set him free for regular flying.

So it has been a good summer in the K house this year.  We have felt abundantly blessed with this new base and look forward to more time together this fall!

long distance love

So… Frank is a Pilot.  This means he is gone for days and days.  It also means that we experience much of our relationship over the phone.

Example conversation:

Emily (E): Sooo, what else is new?

Frank (F): HMmmmmm.

Long pause.  You have to be ok with long pauses when carrying on a marriage via phone.  You have to give the other person a chance to “buffer”.  Buffering is when their brain catches up with their mouth.  The reason that their brain and mouth get out of sync is because they are playing Bejeweled Blitz online.  (Darn you, Mother, for showing us that game!)

E: Yeah?

F: So, yeah, well, I’m still listening to that zombie book on CD.

Background info: Frank has a love/hate relationship with zombies movies/stories.  While he hates, hates, HATES being scared, he can’t help himself when it comes to Zombies.  He’s like Bubba from Forest Gump, “There are zombies that run fast, zombies that run slow, zombies that swim, zombies that dance and zombies that can be frozen and thawed…” and an hour later, I’m drooling on myself, stabbing myself in the face with a pencil and wondering if I, myself, am a zombie…

E: aaaaaaahhhhhrrrrrggghhhh.

F: Whatever. So anyway, zombies –

E: No, that was me gagging at you.

F: Oh, so you weren’t making a zombie noise to scare me?

E: No!  I was groaning that we are STILL talking about zombies.

F: Well, cuz zombies make that moaning noise, so I thought you were trying to scare me.  Well anyway –

And he’s off and running on to his next part of the zombie adventure.  Something about under water zombies that getcha when you’re swimming.  Which, unbeknown to Frank, gives me a whole new arsenal of things I can terrify him with…

Not only is this a zombie, but it's also what I look like when I'm listening to Frank talk about zombies...