Friday, June 27, 2014


Happy Friday! Wow, I can't believe how fast these weeks and this summer is going by. I feel like I have been keeping very busy but yet have so much to do on my never ending list- eek! I am hoping July will be a super productive month all around. 

I finally got around to organizing my pantry! I love having a large pantry but it is also a curse because I get so lazy about just throwing stuff in there and shutting the door. It is nice to have a countertop that is hidden away because I hate it when things clutter up my countertop! Most of the cleaning in the pantry just consists of putting things back where they need to go- under the cabinets or on the shelves and consolidating food items. 

I celebrated the marriage of a friend from my church small group this past weekend. It was beautiful and right by our house at Jester Park! It was such a happy day for her- to know that all the times we prayed for her to find someone to spend her life with that God was listening and now she is ready to begin her new adventure! We will miss her but are so happy to see what blessings await her in her new life. 

Baby Update!

I should start doing a weekly update post but I never feel like I have anything more to say than a blurb. This week I had to take my three hour glucose tolerance test at the hospital lab. This is the second time I've taken it as I passed before when I was only about 13 weeks along. The 3 hour test is soooo terrible and I dreaded it for days. I haven't heard anything yet so I am hoping that no news means good news (my office policy) but still keeping my fingers crossed. Here are some things that I thought helped survive the test:

-eat lots of protein the meal before your fast, and eat right up to the fasting time. I was taking my test at 7:30, so I had a late dinner of a big pork chop and some other protein and made sure I was full since I wouldn't be eating until almost 11 a.m. the next day.
-drink a ton of water! I felt like I was really dehydrated last time so I drank a ton the night before.
-bring a ipad and headphones and your favorite show. I am re-watching all of Mad me some Don Draper!
-dress in layers. When I start to not feel well (like during the 3 hour test), I get sweaty so this time I wore a sweater I could take off with a tank top underneath.
-bring a pillow. You will do lots of waiting around (3 hours to be exact) and it is good to be comfortable. 
-I also ate a quick meal at the hospital cafeteria right afterwards before leaving so I didn't have to drive home feeling woozy and I think that helped.

I felt much better this time (last time I threw up afterwards and was in bed all day felt like I got hit by a bus). I only had a headache and had enough energy to get some things done around the house. It is only a three hour test but it really takes the whole day! I hope this is the last time I have to do it!

Other than that, I've been feeling good. The babies are all up in my ribcage which is something new for me and makes it hard to sit or lay down comfortably but I am feeling very blessed to know that they are busy and active in there and growing well. I have another ultrasound on Tuesday to check growth so I will keep you updated!

Michael and I took an adventure to Union Park this week and had a fun time. He had fun playing on the rocket ship and in the wading pool while I watched from the comfort of a shady tree. We took a picnic lunch, rode the carousel, and had a nice little afternoon out the house!

It rained all day yesterday! I pulled my pots out to get some water and thought I would take a photo of my genius idea. 

And finally, I spent some time at school getting my little marching band songs ready for the fall. It takes a long time to cut them into small size and I wish I had an assistant! Luckily (??) I do have my own paper cutter just for myself in my office so that is pretty sweet. Every time I go in I realize all the things I have left to do so I think I am going in next week for a whole day- 8 hours plus not leaving until I feel accomplished. I have a hard time getting started on school stuff over break but once I get rolling I am very productive. Lots to do! Only about 11 weeks or less until the girls arrive! 

Have a great weekend! 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Ordinary June Days

I've been trying to get my real camera out more to take some photos of Michael around the house now that his days of an only child are very limited! He is such a sweetheart and I will never get tired of listening to him playing and inventing little games while I work around the house. He is at just such a fun age! 

We've been spending lots of time indoors but also trying to get out and about a bit too. Carrying one more bag is enough to send me over the edge with my pregnancy hormones so the big camera usually stays home. I can't even imagine what it will be like when the girls are here! Eek! 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Disney Book 2014

I finally bit the bullet and got my Disney Shutterfly book finished and ordered! 

I really liked the way my book turned out last year and so I wanted to do something similar (in the photo, last years is on the left, this years on the right). I chose a hard cover, 12x12 book with about 55 pages from shutterfly. I am very pleased with the quality! 

The back, featuring outtakes or photos that didn't fit on any other pages...I like the collage look! 

I never used to like the 12x12 books because I felt like they were too big but now I really like them after ordering Trace's memory book in this size. My traditional scrapbooks are 12x12 size and this way they all fit on the shelf nicely together so I don't think I will go back to the smaller sizes unless it is a just for fun book or something. I also like the bigger book size because you can put a very large photo on the page (almost an 8x10 size!) that would be hard to do if you were traditionally scrapbooking. 

I used almost all of our memory maker photos in the book- so nice to see myself in photos! I may not look the best (I was about 15 weeks pregnant with twins during our trip) but at least there will be some evidence of me looking happy, young, and having a good time with my family. 

I think it is important to document special times like vacations because it tells the story of our family. I am definitely the family historian and even though sometimes I feel like it is ridiculous, I know that if I don't do it no one else will. In this digital day in age (and who knows what the future will hold!) I still think it is important to have big photo albums on the shelf to look through. I love looking back through my scrapbooks because it is like opening the door to the past and it is amazing the things you forget until a photo or a blurb jogs your memory. 

Shutterfly books are very fun to make and they are almost always running a 50% discount (if they are not, make your book and then wait for the discount to order, I get about an email a day with offers). What do you do to record your family's history? 

I think that should be the last Disney update for a while. :o) 

Saturday, June 21, 2014


Hi friends! We've had another great week here at our house. It is so nice being home every day and I loved how relaxed things are. However, I have been struggling with trying to wrap my head around some huge tasks (like...getting my house ready for a full slew of company, getting school things checked off, getting ready for baby, keeping track of appointments every week) so I made my own planner on a old notebook. I usually don't keep a paper planner because I have a zillion calendars at school but it gets harder once my schedule is more free in the summer. 

The good news is that it is helping a lot! I broke down the tasks into steps I need to do every day and it helps to see the whole week at a glance so I can keep my wits about me when I see what is coming up. Maybe that is weird, but it is really helping me keep things straight and out of my head. I really want to buy a new Erin Condren planner  but can't decide if I can justify a personal one for use all the time (especially at the high price tag!). They sure are cute! 

Did you know Princess Kate is having twin girls, too? I really wish I knew what she was naming them so I could steal her names...we are struggling big time with finding names we like and think will fit the bill. It is a big task to think of two first and two middle names! 

We had a great weekend last weekend! We went and saw How to Train your Dragon 2 and XMen at the drive in theater and it was a beautiful night. We picked up some pizzas, rigged up this week back of the SUV bed with an air mattress, and had fun meeting friends. Last time it felt like we waited forever but this time it seemed to fly by! Our friends left after the first movie so we all cuddled in the back for the second movie where we all promptly fell asleep. It was so cozy! I forced myself to wake up and drive us back home otherwise I feared we would still be snoozing there hours later--does that even happen at drive in movies??

Michael also had fun a local town parade and carnival. We were at the beginning of the parade route and he got SO much candy! It was ridiculous. They had this little carnival which was a huge rip off but worth it to see Michael have so much fun. Note to self- next year go on wristband day! 

And finally, we had a fantastic Father's day. Scott and Michael did a few hours of golfing in the morning and then we grabbed a Subway picnic and headed to nearby Big Creek park for supper, playing on the playground and beach time. It was a beautiful day and I'm glad we could spend it together as a family.

Hope you had a great week, too! Have a great weekend! 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Flower Pots

Hi Friends, I figured it was about time I entertained you with a riveting edition of what is growing in my flower pots! :o) You knew you couldn't escape me for long! 

I had a lot of fun buying plants and putting together my pots this year. I did go a little overboard but I also knew that I wouldn't be able to be out and about in my yard as much as usual (and this has proven to be true) so these guys help me get my gardening fix by just stepping out the door. 

I like this combo of coleus, persian shield and sweet potato. This is in a little pot but is filling out nicely! 

My trio that I tried to coordinate consists of several types of coleus including the fun and frilly kind, sweet potato vine, petunias and purple fountain grass. These are cheap pots that I reuse from some nice mums I had one year and hopefully the vine will grow over them soon so you can't even see the pot! 

By my front door I have two matching pots with sweet potato vine, petunias and purple fountain grass. I like the bright green vine and it is pretty showy- I don't think I've used it for a while out front. Someday I am going to compile what I did for pots every year but mostly it is a variation of the same thing!

And finally....the biggest grower of all! And the best photo I can get when I ask Michael to take a photo in front of my flowers. :o)

Have a great day! 

Friday, June 13, 2014


Happy Friday!

We have been loving summer over here and I just love how relaxed and carefree I feel. I am resting plenty but also doing some fun things with Michael. Unfortunately, I am not making very good headway on all the work I need to do at school. I am someone who thrives on structure and schedule and when I don't have one it is hard to get back into a routine! I will be working on that for a goal next week. 

We celebrated the end of Michael's swimming lessons last week with a fun day at the pool for just me and him- complete with a McDonalds picnic outside beforehand. It was a beautiful day and we stayed for a while at the pool. I can definitely tell he has improved his skills and seems more confident in the water. 

As mentioned in my last post, we were at my grandparents last weekend to celebrate the life of my aunt Karen at her funeral. It was nice to visit my grandparents house for the weekend as I used to spend a week here every summer growing up. It is a part of my childhood and I am happy for those memories! It is nice to know that some things never change. :o) 

I was glad we traveled the 4 hours to see everyone. I knew everyone would like seeing Michael and he was big entertainment for all! He is the only great grandchild on this side of the family so he is pretty special. 

I've been trying to plug away at cleaning out the closet in our guest room which used to house all my boy clothes. I took in some stuff to a local consignment shop and the rest to goodwill. It was fun to go through the clothes again and remember when Michael or Trace wore things but overall I don't feel too attached to anything. I kept some special things but just tried to remind myself that it is impossible to keep everything. I bought lots of Michael's clothes from consignment stores or sales so it is not like I have a ton of money invested in his wardrobe or anything. Plus but the time he was out of baby clothes everything got a lot of wear and use and wasn't in great shape. I am pretty sure I got rid of 15 bins of clothes!! 

Side note for anyone curious, I also saved some blanket sleepers in every size (even if they were boy themed), all the ISU gear, and lots of infant clothes in gender neutral colors- sleeping gowns, swaddle blankets, etc. 

My potted plants have really started growing! I have them all on my back deck and it looks like I may have gone slightly overboard this year. It does make me immensely happy and I like having them by my back door so I can water them regularly. I also did the pinterest diaper in the potting soil trick and while I was skeptical at first, I do think it helps retain moisture. Some of these might be moved to the lower patio soon but for right now I am loving all the pots in once place! 

We have had a beautiful week of weather here in Iowa- in the 70s every day and cool at night. It has been absolutely perfect and I love being able to go outside without being too hot. I know it won't last so we've been trying to soak it up as much as we can!

Have a great week!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Remembering Aunt Karen

My Aunt Karen passed away on May 25th from a long battle with cancer. I wanted to just take a minute to write some things about her...yes, this blog is a place for me to share about my life but it is also like a living scrapbook for myself and it is space where I like to record things that are important to me. 

I've had a hard time with hearing about Karen's death and I think it is because she will always be linked to Trace's death and also my mom's accident. Right after Trace died is when Karen found out she had a form of lung cancer and would only have a few months to live. It was a big shock and hard news to deal with when you are already in the pits of grief. Also my Aunt Karen is who my mom was visiting in Mexico when she had her accident- it is also about the last time Karen seemed to feel good and things went downhill pretty quickly after that (only about 6 short months ago). 

Despite everything, Karen went on to live for over three years after her diagnosis and I was proud of her for living out the rest of her life the way she wanted. I think that is a brave thing to do and something we should all strive for. I asked my mom if she thought Karen had any regrets about her life and my mom said very surely- no, she did what she wanted and lived her life the way she wanted. I think that is good advice for all of us. How often do we not follow our hearts or our dreams because we feel scared or confined to the lives we already lead? 

This photo was taken two years ago before my brothers wedding and I was so glad that Karen came out to my house for a breakfast and a visit. I love this photo of her because even though she is battling cancer I thought she looked very happy and full of life. I know it is one of my grandma's favorites too so I am happy that I could bless someone with a photo (something that is important to me!). 

Mom and Karen in Mexico before her accident. I love this photo! I am so happy my mom decided to take this trip even though it ended in a bad way. She had never traveled by herself anywhere and I do think she deserved a vacation just for herself! 

When I was 14, a freshman in high school, I took a trip to NYC with my mom, aunt Karen and my grandma. We had a really fun time in this kind of a spur of the moment trip led by Aunt Karen. It was one of the only big trips I had taken before college and the first time I flew on an airplane. It really opened my eyes to a world that was bigger than my hometown and inspired a love of musical theater (we saw 3 shows in 4 days!). Karen and I had fun buying berets and fake oakleys from guys on the street (they were a good deal!). We stayed at the Marriott Marquis on Times Square and I would love to go back someday. 

Another fun time was when Scott and I visited aunt Karen in Montrose, CO. She was working as a snowshoe guide at Telluride Ski Resort and invited us out for spring break in 2007. We planned the trip very last minute but I am so glad we did. She called me and said she wanted us to come visit and I was like, "now?? In like two weeks?" and of course that is what she meant so Scott and I booked our plane tickets and headed out. We enjoyed ourselves with free ski passes for three days and a beautiful place to stay at her home she built with her former husband. I am so happy we did that as we got to spend lots of time with Karen and Richard and got to know their lives in Colorado. 

I will never forget the morning when Karen and I went snowshoeing in the mountains and she looked so beautiful and at peace in the snow. 

I wanted to include the obituary in the local paper that was read at her memorial service this past weekend. I thought this was a good place to put it so I don't lose it! 
Karen died peacefully at home with her loving husband Richard Walters on May 25, 2014. She will be dearly missed by her family and many friends.
Karen was born in Postville, Iowa, on Aug. 14, 1962. She graduated from high school in 1980, but two serious accidents resulting in a broken jaw and broken leg temporarily interrupted her college career. After graduating from CSU in 1986 she moved to Arizona to work for Motorola. She moved back to Colorado three years later to complete a Masters in Telecommunications at Denver University in 1993. She worked in telecom software development for 4 years and then became a founding employee of Peak Software Solutions. Karen often said that being included in the Peak adventure changed her life.
Karen lovingly cared for her first Golden Retriever, Sarah, for 18 years. She found her second golden, Sundance, after moving to Montrose in 2005. Most importantly, she met the love of her life, Richard. She and Richard hiked and mountain biked the Colorado mountains, and camped and fished the high lakes accompanied by Sundance and Richard’s lab, Bridger. Karen was a true partner in Richard’s construction business, Hogback Builders, where she managed the bookkeeping, billing, and customer relations. They realized a dream together and bought a condo on the beach in Punta Mita, Mexico, where they mountain biked and SUP-boarded. Karen continued her outdoor pursuits for as long as possible throughout her illness, even when practicing yoga on the deck of their home in Colona was all she could manage. Her family and friends in Colorado plan a celebration of her life on June 28, 2014.  All are welcome to attend. 


Karen will definitely be missed by me and my family and her life and battle with cancer is an inspiration to me. She said that she loved to look at sweet Trace's newborn announcement and was comforted by the fact that she would get to meet him in heaven. We don't know what time is like in heaven but the years might seem like seconds and hopefully we will all be reunited someday. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Twins

We have been trying to wrap our heads around the fact that we are expecting twin girls for a few months now and I figured it was time to share some details with you. We have been really hesitant in sharing because although we are over the moon excited for our big blessing, it just seems too good to be true 

After Trace died, Scott told me he wanted to have another baby right away, no matter what. I felt like if we had another baby right away it would seem like we were just trying to replace him and it just didn't feel right with my heart. I felt like we should wait-if Trace was still here we wouldn't be trying to have a baby when we had a 5 month old, right? I just didn't feel emotionally or physically ready. 

So late last summer we found out we were pregnant and it unfortunately ended in a miscarriage. I haven't shared this before because it was pretty hard for me to deal with, especially hitting at a stressful time with the beginning of the school year. I began to have a lot of self doubt and wonder if my job was too stressful or if I was too unhealthy or maybe this was it for our little family. It was as really big step for me to even want to try again-I wasn't sure if I was ready to make myself vulnerable by trying again. It is easy just to not try so you won't get hurt again especially now that I can't view the world through innocent rose colored glasses that everything always ends well. It made it a hard fall for me and I definitely had a lot of "why me?" moments especially combined with my mom's accident. I was beginning to be at peace with the idea that I would be okay with being a family of three...even with just Michael, that is still a nice family. 

After a few months of healing from the miscarriage we found out we were pregnant again at the end of January. This pregnancy was different from the beginning- I was very sick almost immediately and very tired just after finding out at about four weeks. I felt like it was too soon to be feeling so pregnant and so I wondered if something was wrong- maybe I was really way further along than I thought or something? Anyway, I tried to hold it together for the first ultrasound at 8 weeks where they confirm the heartbeat and pregnancy and to see if things were going well. I was very nervous for the ultrasound and holding my breath to see the little heartbeat on the screen when the nurse said right away- congratulations, you are having twins!! What??? 

I was in complete shock but there it was up on the screen, two little gummy bear babies. TWO. Plain as day. Wow, wow, wow. If there were ticks on my timeline where it seems like time stopped and my life took a new direction- this would be one of them. Twins. Two blessings. Two little heartbeats. Wow. 

We left the office dazed and confused and honestly the news is still sinking in. Every time we have an ultrasound (I think we are up to 8 now) it still amazes me that YES, there are two babies in there and they are growing and healthy. 

The girls are monochorionic/diamnioic twins which mean they share the same placenta but have two separate sacs. When twins share a placenta it always means that they will be identical and the same sex. It also means that somewhere very early in development, the fertilized embryo spontaneously split into two. To have mono-di twins is riskier on top of an already riskier twin pregnancy because they want to be sure that both twins are growing well and one isn't stealing nutrients from the other (hence my extra monitoring). 

So that is where we are at! We are at about 24 weeks and things are going well. Although I feel like I have been pregnant forever, we know that we still have lots of time to keep the babies cooking. I keep telling myself that my job is to grow two healthy babies and if that means my house is messy or I don't look beautiful, so be it. They girls will be here no later than the 2nd week in September (delivered at 37 weeks) so we are over halfway done with only 14 weeks left to go. It seems like right around the corner and also a lifetime away. I am very, very thankful that school is out for the summer so I can work on resting and being stress free. :o) Fall is definitely not an ideal time for a teacher to have a baby but I am now seeing the blessing of having an extra 3 months of resting before the babies come. 

My favorite part of this pregnancy has been sharing the news with everyone and seeing their reaction. It was so fun to share the news with my coworkers at a school staff meeting and seeing everyone freak out and then to see the news travel to my other school and have old coworkers stop me to tell me congratulations around town. And of course, watching our facebook blow up when we announced it online. We are just over the moon blessed and we are happy we can share the good news with people we care about. 

I have been feeling really good lately and I thank everyone for your prayers and words of support! We are feeling very thankful that God is still providing for our family and he is still raining down blessings on us even though we have been through some rough times. It is a true testament that we have no idea what the future holds and what God has planned for us. 

I promise to keep you all updated the rest of summer until the babies arrive!! :o)

Friday, June 6, 2014

Happy June!

Happy June! 

Wow, I can't believe a new month has started feels like we were just beginning the month of May! I hope that the time continues to fly by and we are soon at the beginning of September so we can meet our baby girls! 

I have been enjoying the slower pace of summer break and especially being home with Michael more. He is fun to have in the house with me and is good company! 

He is an especially good helper (like making strawberry shortcakes-with an extra big scoop for himself!)


 I've been up to school to work for a few hours this week but when I went back yesterday they were doing my floors so I might take a break next week and just work at home. I feel like I am making a dent in my to do list but each thing crossed off seems to create two or three more bullets on the list. At least it is getting my brain going by thinking about all that needs to be prepared for a semester leave. 

We had another good ultrasound appointment this week and the girls are growing well with each other- only showing an 8% discordance in weight which is pretty good for twins. They are very busy girls (feeling lots of kicks!) and it is fun to see them on the ultrasound screen! I am about 23 weeks along and will continued to be monitored at the perinatal center to keep an eye on growth although they told me to keep doing whatever I'm doing- which at the moment is lots of resting on the sofa (and daily naps!). 

I celebrated with a stop at a local coffee shop that I don't get to very often because of its downtown location but now I have an excuse to stop there since the perinatologist office is also downtown! 

My most favorite part of being home with Michael is just listening to him chatter or sing away while he is playing and I am doing housework. He is very good at entertaining himself and I try to encourage it....usually if I get him started on something he will do a good job playing for a while. 

We also had a session of swimming lessons at Clive Aquatic Center this week and Michael passed the preschool level! It was fun to see him progress through the skills in just a few days and it was a good experience to have private lessons. It was more expensive than a class but I didn't have to worry about him not listening when other kids were around or thinking he was there for playtime (which sometimes happens with my friendly boy!). I think I might register him for a class later in the summer to reinforce the skills he learned since it was a good way to get to get out of the house and to the pool! 

Michael also had his first night of bam-bam baseball (like wiffle tball) last night. He did so great and we were very proud of him! He was a good listener and was very friendly to his teammates. Scott and I have been practicing with him at home and I hope that he inherits his father's natural coordination and love for sports (and not his mothers poor hand-eye coordination and indifference towards participation!). We are playing in Grimes for the month of June and then might sign up in Granger for the month of July if he wants to keep playing and I feel up to it. I will have to take my real camera next time- I felt out of place in the mamarazzi that was out in full force at their little practice! :o)

Have a great weekend! 

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