Sunday, 24 February 2013

The Bump: 24 Weeks

Well, we're about two thirds of the way through the pregnancy already! Time, of course, continues to fly by, the calendar will soon be filled up with more ultrasounds, scans and doctors visits. We're also preparing for my mom to come, then my sister, and then the twins. (Hopefully in that order!)

How far along: 24 weeks today (Feb 24)
Development: Babies looked great at their recent ultrasound last week. One is slightly bigger (just over 550 grams) with a bigger uterine sack. The other is not far behind though at about 520 grams. Still plenty of room and fluid in there for both of them. All vital organs accounted for and strong heart beats.
Movement: I can feel daily movement and it's the best part of being pregnant, even when it keeps you up at night!
Weight Gain: Basically the only weight I've gained is baby weight (just over 1kg now)
Maternity Clothes: Most definitely! Finding comfy and weather appropriate pants is the most important. Funnily enough some of my maternity tops from Lucas are feeling a little short already!
Stretch Marks: Yup, definitely getting some new ones across the top of my belly.
Best moment of my week: Finally having the gender confirmed and seeing my little girls on the ultrasound.
Worst moment: Nothing really stands out, so I guess I've been having a pretty good few weeks!
Sleep: Pretty good these days, although I have been waking up a few more times for the past few nights. Kids are also generally sleeping well, so that helps.
Miss Anything: Actually being able to eat a full plate of food. I do really eat almost every two hours and drink tons of water.
Food Cravings: My sweet tooth is baaaack! Right at this very moment I'm craving cinnamon rolls and carrot cake with cream cheese icing. Both not available to buy ready-made here - so there may be some baking in my kitchen tomorrow.
Aversions: Coffee gives me acid reflux so I'm staying away from that.
Gender: Girls!
Labor signs: Nothing yet, thankfully.
Belly Button: So very far out already, and it has shifted a little to the right side given that the baby on the left is the bigger one!
Rings: On
Mood: Excited to get things ready, but also tiring a lot more easily.
Looking forward: Getting our guest room ready for my mom!

Want to read my other "bump" updates? 15 Weeks, 18 Weeks and 21 Weeks

Friday, 22 February 2013

Friday's Letters - An Unexpected Break

Some photos we took on our long weekend away. 
Dear Pre-school - I'm very thankful you are keeping the kids an extra four hours today so they can attend the Tropical Party. Mommy gets an unexpected afternoon off and the kids get a party - win/win!

Dear Mom - I am so excited that your plane tickets are bought! It's going to be so great to have you here to help with the kids. It will be the first time you've seen me massively pregnant in person. So glad you get to be here to experience a birth with me.

Dear Twins - I am loving how active you are and how much I can feel it. Nothing "alien-esque" yet - but I'm sure that will come pretty soon. I can tell which one is kicking and one of you is definitely more active at this point (but you also have a little more room in there - according to the ultrasound). Now we are onto the hard part of choosing names. Two names is hard! But I guess I could choose one and your daddy the other - that's fair right?

Dear Hubby - Thanks for helping so much with the kids naptime and bedtime this week. Most especially for convincing Lucas that he's not really "too old for sleeping (napping)". That way Momma got some much needed rest in the afternoons. I'm also looking forward to our lunch date today.
Falling asleep on Daddy's shoulder. 

Happy Friday! 

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Preparing for Twins - The Kids

It was Dec 28, 2009 when we found out we were pregnant with Elena - just five days before Lucas' first birthday. It's true - she was a little bit of a surprise! Since they were to be so close in age, I was quite happy to let Lucas keep a lot of his "baby ways" - I was not even going to attempt potty training before the baby came, he still used a pacifier and had a bottle of milk at night (and actually one in the middle of the night up until just before Elena was born - you gotta do what you can to get the sleep you need!) I figured it would be easier to care for two "babies" than to push Lucas to grow up faster than he was maybe ready for.

Now that we are expecting twins, I'm ready for both the kids to grow up a bit and become a little more independent. I'm trying to prepare the kids in a few ways to make this new, crazy, upcoming twin baby stage a little easier. 

Potty Training
This was very high on my list as Lucas was getting pretty old for potty training and I knew I did not even want to have night time diapers on either of them by the time the twins arrived. Thankfully something finally clicked in Lucas' mind and Elena caught on super fast and we have been diaper free for almost two months now!

The kids have shared a room since Elena was about 8 months old. We usually put them to bed separately, to allow Elena to fall asleep before we put Lucas to bed. It worked for a while to put them to bed at roughly the same time, but since we've moved Elena into a toddler bed it is just too tempting for her to get out of bed if she is not asleep before Lucas comes. So for now their bedtimes are about half an hour apart (on a good night!) And after a few seemingly endless months of mid-night wake ups, they now pretty consistently sleep through the night.
Yes, they have matching toddler beds - we inherited them from a family with twins. So now we're all set for when our twins graduate from their cribs (if we're still in Brazil at that point!)
In general, they eat just about everything and are competent in feeding themselves. Funnily enough, it's usually Lucas who needs some encouragement and help. A little while back I wrote a post about how Elena was developing some good "big sister" habits (I think I was in the early, early pregnancy stage at that point!). 

From about the time Elena could sit up, I usually bathed the two of them together. Although for a while we only had a small baby bathtub in which case they would take turns. Now we have a nice big bathtub that can easily accomodate the two of them. I have started teaching them how to wash themselves, but I still do their hair. It is getting pretty hard to lean over the tub to wash them!

This was put in place before we got pregnant, but I am glad they are both in morning pre-school. It's given me time to rest and get things done without them, and we are hoping to be able to keep up this routine for a bit of normalcy once we get to the end of the pregnancy and bring the twins home.

Of course, we are still dealing with behavior and discipline issues, but I think that is never going to be "done" - we'll just have different challenges to deal with.

Now, if I could only get them to dress themselves, feed themselves, wash the dishes and do their own laundry - we'd be good! :)

How else can I prepare my kids for the twins' arrival?

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

If the shoe fits...

We are not good at keeping secrets. The only reason we waited two days to tell our immediate family we were expecting was because our sister-in-law was giving birth and we didn't want to steal any attention away from that. We told our close friends soon after, and church people knew by 8 weeks. Of course, then we came back the next week with the news it was twins! 

At our second ultrasound (13 weeks) the doctor gave us an "experienced guess" as to the gender of our two littles. Then, at the next one (18 weeks) only one cooperated and the doctor (different this time) confirmed Baby 1, but left Baby 2 as "gender unknown". 

Finally at our most recent ultrasound the doctor (same as the second ultrasound) confirmed what he had suspected the first time around....

We will have three girls and a boy. Poor Lucas. He is the oldest and will definitely be the protector of his little sisters, maybe a job he won't always appreciate. Of course, my dad immediately said, "well, now you'll have to have another one in a few years to (hopefully) even things out a little" and hubby added, "well, if we had twin boys...."

Um, I think I'm done, folks! 

So now, onto the naming and buying of matching outfits in pink.... 

Friday, 15 February 2013

Friday's Letters - I should have known

My hubby likes to down-play things and then surprise me later. For instance, just before we became engaged, he spent several days trying to convince me that the whole idea of engagement rings was out-dated and ridiculous - why did I need a shiny, diamond filled symbol of our love and commitment? Of course, he'd already bought a ring months before that my mom (who he hadn't even met in person yet) had already seen, thanks to MSN messenger and a web link. While I wasn't entirely sure if he was joking or serious about the ring thing, it did make our engagement "event" a lot more special.

So over the last few years, I've learned that I don't have to "remind" David of any big events or give subtle (or not so subtle) hints for upcoming occasions. I'd rather keep my expectations low and be surprised by his thoughtfulness. He doesn't disappoint. :) 

 I guess it also helps that I'm not too high maintenance? Ask David if he agrees with that statement. 

After writing yesterday about how we usually keep V-day pretty low-key, David arrived home with roses, chocolate and other goodies. One was a Subway sandwich, which is one of our favorite quick lunches (not available everywhere in Brazil). The other was a set of "Mommy" stuff - an anti-stretch line cream, a soothing gel for legs and feet (even more reason for a good foot rub!) and a sweet smelling perfume. Along with a sweet card of course. Can you guess what ILYMIW means?

So today I'm dedicating my "Friday's Letters" to my one and only Valentine, David - 

Honey, this year we will celebrate 8 years of marriage, and a decade of knowing each other. We've lived on three continents, experiencing the different cultures and countries where we each grew up. You are a faithful and constant partner, a loving husband and a wonderful father. 

There are too many things to thank you for, but I will mention a few - I love the way you can't resist the kids' requests for snuggles at any time of the day or night. You love to lavish them with toys and remember all their odd requests. I love to hear you explaining to Lucas about God, His word and making Jesus a real presence in our home. 

Thank you for making so many phone calls for me that I'd rather not make. Thank you for encouraging my various creative pursuits and reading my blog. Thank you for being a voice of reason and logic when it sometimes defies me or I'm tempted to rush into something. Thank you for surprising me. 

I look forward to many, many more years of surprises.



Thursday, 14 February 2013

When there is no Denny's

If we had our way, we'd celebrate this Valentine's Day with a big breakfast out at Denny's or IHop or another "breakfast" type place. With two small kids it's hard to get out for big date nights and I'm usually tired by the time we get them to bed anyways. So since the kids are in preschool in the mornings, a breakfast date is a great time for us to get away.

Unfortunately, we have no Denny's or IHop around here. Brazilians aren't really into the big breakfast scene. So we went for the next best thing, a nice Padaria (Bakery) where we could sit down for some fresh orange juice, croissants, sweet bread and cappuccino. 
A nice breakfast date, chocolate kisses from me to the hubs (but you can bet I'm going to steal a few)
and a shot of me at almost 23 weeks. 

February 14th is not Valentine's Day here in Brazil. We have actually just come off the famous "Carnaval" holiday, which happens right before the beginning of Lent. (We don't really celebrate Carnaval either.) It is a huge deal here in Brazil and we actually have another version of Valentine's Day on June 12th. While we are not big V-day celebrators, it's nice to do something small. And the June 12th celebration comes right around our anniversary (June 11) so we always do something to mark that day as well. 

It is quite nice to "celebrate" without all the commercialisation of the holiday. No stress, just time to enjoy each other's company in the absence of small (and continuous) voices, and talk about names for our babies. :) 

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! 

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Tips for a Twin Pregnancy

I know I'm only just over halfway through this pregnancy, and it's bound to get much harder in the last few weeks, but here are a few (only marginally serious) tips if you find yourself carrying twins...

1. Give up on the idea of 3 meals a day -
Especially in the first trimester when you're unlikely to be able to eat much of anything anyways. Just keep your crackers and water nearby to prevent / mitigate nausea.

Bonus - enjoy a few weeks of losing weight!

2. Eat as much as you can, whenever you can -
This means a spicy noodle bowl is totally acceptable at 10am or 10pm and yogurt and granola qualifies as a balanced lunch. I'm pretty sure after the first trimester your stomach has shrunken and migrated to a totally different place in your body. (Is this why we have a long intestine?) Also, get used to eating small, neat forkfuls; your 20 week belly means you're already sitting two feet away from your plate. (Otherwise invest in a serious bib or big napkin)

Bonus - you're learning how to stick to smaller serving sizes. Let's just not talk about the snacking habit you'll have to give up later if you want to return to a pre-baby body.

3. Don't get too comfortable -
It will make it that much harder to get up when you have to. I know you think that oversized comfy chair is going to feel so nice, but after ten minutes you'll need to shift position and all the wonderful cushioning around you is not going to help.

Bonus - think of this as training for when your kids won't let you sit still for two minutes. (If you already have kids, enlist them to help you get out.)

4. Keep moving -
This ties in to #3. Even standing still for 10 minutes will make you want to seek out a comfy chair, and we all know how that ends. Be prepared to turn over at least ten times a night to prevent unbearable hip/back pain. Install something / someone to help with this and the replacement of your mountain of pillows.

5. Stay close to the bathroom - 
Seriously, it's like I have the bladder control of a toddler. (Which actually works out pretty good in my case since I'm finishing up potty training my little girl - it's like having an internal 15 minute alarm. Every time I go, she goes too.)

6. Enjoy it!
- Think of it this way, it's like a BOGO sale that you didn't know you were getting (although I am very thankful to have found out very early in the pregnancy - 7 weeks)
- Looking pregnant from just about the moment of conception. No awkward "is she pregnant or just putting on weight?" stage.
- People always love it when they find out you are having twins. They say things like, "wow! double the fun" when what they really mean is, "I'm glad it's you and not me!"

And just for kicks, here are a few funny twin pregnancy shirts I've found online...
                          via                                                  via                                                       via              

                           via                                               via                                                    via 

Any other twin moms out there have some good tips for me?

Sunday, 3 February 2013

The Bump: 21 Weeks

Do you ever get that feeling, "I can't believe this is happening!"? Usually it accompanies the highs and lows of life, the really bad things and the really good ones. Every couple of days it hits me again that we are having twins and I think, "I can't believe this is happening!" In a good way, of course. :) Even with pretty frequent ultrasounds (we've already had three) it is hard to believe there are really two babies kicking around in there. Time is flying by and I'm trying to get a lot accomplished in the second trimester so I can rest a lot at the end, to keep these babies in as long as I can, but be prepared if we have an early delivery. Our goal is to hit 36 weeks (full term for twins).

How far along: 21 weeks as of today (Feb 3)
Development: Babies were looking good at our last ultrasound, and we got an approximate weight of already 200gms each (almost half a pound). They are both developing right on schedule and have similar heart beats, measurements and weights. It's always best for twins if they are growing at roughly the same rate.
Movement: Finally starting to feel their movements every day. The one on the top (side) doesn't have as much space for movement as the other.
Weight Gain: Just weighed myself today and have gained 2 kilos (4.5 pounds). After losing in the first trimester, this seems pretty good.
Maternity Clothes: Definitely. Some pants/skirts I can wear below the belly, but pretty soon it'll be time to get out the real serious stuff.
Stretch Marks: I think I saw a few new ones this week.
Best moment of my week: Going to the beach with my brother, hubby and kids. It was a beautiful sunny day and my big boy conquered his fear of the waves!
Worst moment: Having to wait in a long line late at night and keep the kids under control in the airport saying goodbye to my brother as he returned to Canada. Made me think twice about traveling internationally for a while!
Sleep: Pretty good, although it's taking longer and longer to turn over at night, and I need to do that at least a few times to prevent hip/back pain.
Miss Anything: Being pain free. It's just starting to get uncomfortable at times.
Food Cravings: Everything. My sweet tooth is also coming back, but I'm going to have to keep it in check!
Aversions: Not really. Have had coffee a handful of times, but I still prefer tea these days.
Gender: Ah - well, at the ultrasound only one baby cooperated, so we know that one is a girl, but the other remains a mystery until our next scan in two weeks!
Symptoms: Feeling really good these days now that I'm not sick anymore. Just starting to have some back/hip pain.
Labor signs: None
Belly Button: Halfway out.
Rings: On
Mood: Energized!
Looking forward: Totally unrelated to pregnancy, but looking forward to seeing my sister-in-law and her baby boy who I haven't met in person yet!

And even though it's not really a fair comparison considering we're having twins this time, here's how my other two pregnancies looked at 20-21 weeks:

Want to read my other "bump" updates? 15 Weeks and 18 Weeks.
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