Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Party Time

this week (monday and tuesday) we had our first baby shower and then our doctors appointment to see how the LOtwins are doing.

the shower was so nice!!! the ladies from my church staff all got together along with some of my amazing volunteers from the student ministry to throw a party to completely spoil me and the girls. there was (of course) amazing food and literally five different flavors of cake. they really know the way to my heart...chicken salad from Newks and delicious cake!!! we of course had to play a few games, but nothing too unbearable (not the biggest fan of shower games, maybe because i hate always then it was present time. to say i was spoiled is an understatement!! all 32 guests brought the most amazing gifts. from personalized ruffled bloomers, to custom burp cloths, to the most awesome stack of diapers and wipes!! from the fun and whimsical to the practical and useful. not going to lie...i was completely overwhelmed! i am so blessed to have a family here that has loved and supported us through the last year and a half and is now going above and beyond to help us prepare for these twin baby girls!! if it had stopped there i would have been elated, but my friends ended the party by praying for me and for peter and for claire and annabel. it was awesome! to know that there are so many that are encouraging and supporting us, but also praying for us is amazing. i know that in 7 weeks our whole lives will totally change...we can use all the prayer we can get. it was a really sweet time of praising God for His faithfulness and blessings and asking for guidance and health! thank you so much to all that were there, y'all are the best!!!

yesterday, peter and i went in for a check up with dr. todd and an ultrasound to see the girls. they are getting so big! big enough that getting good ultrasound pics to bring home is pretty hard. but, as always, it is so reassuring to see claire and annabel moving around and to hear their heartbeats. we again heard that the babies were big, so i asked what that really meant. i asked if they are big compared to other twins or compared to single babies. answer: single babies. claire, who is transverse breech (her head is on my right side with her body going across to my left) and on the bottom is just over a week ahead in length and is weighing in just over 3 pounds. annabel, who is also transverse breech (her head is on my left side and her body crosses over to my right side) is just over two weeks ahead in length and weighs over 3.5 pounds. all of the other measurements and stats for the girls were great! i have had some seriously intense pain in the front of my belly and turns out annabel's long legs are pushing on my abs so hard my muscles are seperating. we are hoping that it does not lead to a hernia, but even so, it will be worth it! i am now up 24 pounds total. not too bad. my belly may not look huge, but there is no space left on my torso! boobs sit on my belly and my belly rests on my legs! this week i have noticed that i have grown out around a little (not just straight out). probably because they are both transverse!! dr. todd said the chances of having both girls turn to be head down is pretty low...that we will most likely have a c-section. the plan is to still go towards 37 weeks. dr. todd is hopefully that we can do that, but with their size, he is thinking they will come a little earlier. we are just praying for healthy babies and healthy delivery all in God's timing!! at 29 weeks, things are going great! we are really excited!! we are even going away for a weekend in february when peter gets back from his missions trip to honduras! woohoo...babymoon!

thanks for continuing to pray for all of us! we are definitely in the home stretch now...only about 7.5 weeks left!! here are a few pics from the shower!

blessings, ALo

some of the cute decor, including a really cute "blessings" board! 

top & bottom left:robin, she knows i hate being touched :) top right: abby and lindsey, two of my students. bottom right: jacqueline!!! a really sweet and thoughtful friend!! 
top left: casey, my cubicle partner...we are always giggling about something! bottom left: justine and awesome mom to paisley! love her! top and bottom right: rachel, my partner in crime and fellow mommy to be! student ministry is gaining three babies in just a few months! :)
right after the day short of 29 weeks!! 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Home Stretch

woohoo!!! we are 28 weeks today...3rd trimester!!! i cant believe in about 8 weeks these LoTwins will be here! some days it feels this pregnancy has just flown by, some days it feels like its dragging. usually those "dragging" days are because i have done too much through out the day. but really and truly, i feel great! here are a few quick little things about how things are going...

* this week i have been craving frosted mini wheat cereal
* i have been up to no good again...lots of baking! anyone have any requests?? i really shouldnt eat any more sweets!
* i am no longer doing full days of hair. last week after a full day i had braxton hicks.
* i have been pretty "homesick" (hence the post about mom) but was so excited when she called to tell me she is visiting in three weeks, i cant wait!!!
* my first baby shower is this monday...i have no idea what to wear!
* i am still working at the church, just sitting down a little more.
* claire and annabel have been moving like crazy!! i love that feeling, even when they make me slightly uncomfortable.
* i do feel like i am running out of room.
* they are each supposed to be about 15 in. long, but last time we checked, they were two weeks ahead in length. like dr. todd said, "huge babies"
* i measured my belly last is 47.5 inches around!
* my belly button is barely there...such a strange feeling/sight.
* stretch marks...yep! right now just on the front of my belly, but they are pretty bright!!
* i am now up 22.5 pounds.
* its weird when your big pregnant belly makes your "girls up top" look small!! lol
* my biggest complaint is heartburn, but that is more than manageable!!!
* i am still sleeping, but not as well as i used to.
* the nursery is coming together...lots of little things to do, but so cute, even if i say so myself (pics to come soon)
* i am so blessed and i cant wait to meet these girls...hopefully sometime after march 13!!

here are two belly pics from the last few days...
Sunday after church. 27 weeks 5 days
27 week 6 days (last night). my mom bought me this cute shirt, so i had to show her how it looked. i also colored my hair in the morning but chose to forgo makeup (a common thing now days)
here are a few pics from charlotte's birthday celebration...i forgot to post them last week.
2nd birthday balloons. we released our note balloons and kept the mylar.
mommy's note to her baby girl!
daddy's note to his sweet girl!
Charlotte's 2nd bday cake. it was pretty good! 
3rd trimeseter...i am glad to meet you!! lets get to know each other for at least 7 weeks!

blessings, ALo

Monday, January 14, 2013

I Learned from the Best

my mom is awesome. i think a lot of people could say that about their mom, but i really mean it. sure, we have had our ups and downs while i was growing up, but now she is much more to me than the person that grounded me for bad choices. there are so many things i could share, but this post would end up being really long. but, you know someone is awesome when more than one person says it...thats my many people think she is fantastic. here are a few VERY recent things that make me think she is awesome...

1. my mom taught me from an early age the importance of thank you notes. yes, it can be very time consuming. yes, it would be very easy to send a mass text or facebook message, but that just does not cut it. i know that over the next couple months i will write a lot of notes, but it is worth to express our gratitude to those who take the time, energy and money to spoil our babies. in fact, i sent out 6 notes just this morning. one of those was to my mom for gifts and cribs for the girls. of course, after i sent the notes out a package from my mom came. she sent a gift because she (obviously) cant come to a shower here in texas, but she was invited. lol. awesome!! thanks mom!!

2. my mom taught me to do chores right away rather than putting it off until later. of course, i do not always do that. in fact, if you ask most people, especially peter, i am not a good house wife. i hate doing dishes, i hate taking care of clean laundry, my car usually has stuff (bags, umbrellas, water bottles) on the seats, etc. although i have found, even if i hate to admit it, life is much easier if i follow what my mom taught me. dishes take half the time if you do them right away (before food gets stuck on there), my room looks better and is easier to navigate when i take care of i can easily find what i want to wear without having to iron anything, if i take care of clothes when they come out of the dryer. anyway, you get the picture. i did not make any real new years resolutions, but i am striving to do those three things (dishes, laundry, car care) much better this year. so far it is going well. peter and i are both happy about it! my life is about to be much crazier and if i can help myself out in anyway, i am all about it! thanks mom for helping us understand the importance of being tidy, even if it has taken me 30 years to get it!!! ps. if you have ever been to my mom's house, you will know how serious she is about it...there is never anything out of place and only dishes in the sink while guests are still there so they dont feel bad if she does them in front of them :)

3. my mom is a phenomenal cook/baker. i know she has probably had a few things that did not turn out or tasted a little off, but i cant really remember (except for these nasty chicken enchiladas that we had when i was in middle school, but i was a brat. i would love them now). as kids, we of course did not appreciate my mom and her cooking. i remember mom setting the timer for jonathan every time she made something with ground weird. now, you will regularly find me calling my mom for cooking advice, recipes, and just to talk "shop" about what we are making. i know that i love to help others by cooking/baking because that is what mom does. i love to celebrate with food, grieve with food, just love food. here is a link to a cake i made just this weekend. Ritz Carlton Lemon Pound Cake. peter was gone most of saturday. i know that he loves pound cake. so while he was gone, i decided to make him one. everyone that has had a piece has loved it. not too fruity or sweet, but very dense like a good pound cake. i didnt have whole milk and just used the skim milk that i had...still great. mom, thanks for being a great cook and for teaching me the difference between dried mince onion and real onion... :)

4. last one for today. my mom loves to spend time with people. she loves to entertain (which helps that she is a fabulous cook), but she also loves to help other people. growing up we always adopted a family at christmas to help them out, always anonymously. we always supported missions, both short term and long term made it possible for me to travel to over 10 foreign countries doing short term missions. she generously gives to others through her church and other non-profit organizations. today, as i called to thank my mom for a gift (yes, i will send her a note) and to tell her i was making her favorite taco soup, she went on to tell me about what she and nate were doing. usually, mondays are spent a mission pointe (a local restaurant) with nate and grant (my brothers) and other friends. but today, mom and nate are going to help a single mom make it to bible study. this mom has 3 children under the age of 4, has no transportation, and lives in government housing. nate was a little sketched out, but my mom is following something that God has laid on her heart. she felt a pull to help this lady in a practical way. she and nate are leaving the comfort of their routine and life of plenty to go help a family that is just trying to make it sometimes. they are going tonight to take care of the kids and will see how things go, so they know how to prepare for next week. all so this other mom can go to bible study. how cool! giving back in the most simple of ways. i bet next week she takes food!! mom, thanks for making this a big part of who i am. helping other people enjoy life and grow their relationship with God just by being who you are is so amazing for me!!

i know that we are all who we are because of the influence of someone else in our lives, most likely our parents. i am so blessed that my mom has made a huge impact on my life, especially in such a positive way. it is exciting to see how i will respond to parenting claire and annabel because of my friend, encourager, supporter, sounding board, and shopping partner in crime. :) i love you, mom!!! good luck with those little kids tonight!! tell nate they are just preparing him for his nieces :)

tell your mom tonight how much you love much she means to you!!

blessings, ALo

Monday, January 7, 2013


this time 2 years ago, i was in labor. i am still somewhat amazed that it has been two years since we first laid eyes on sweet Charlotte. well, she actually came on the 8th, but i am sitting here thinking about it all right now.

a few things are still the same and some things are different, even from last year. of course things are different...i am pregnant...with two! we are still so amazed that God has given us a double rainbow! i think some of the emotional stress is gone because we have the hope of more children this year, but there will always be a part of us that will always be raw from the pain of saying good bye to our first born. i think a lot about the post that i wrote not long after we said good bye (its a gusher)...comparing this journey to someone that looses a finger. my heart no longer feels as though it is hemorrhaging. in fact, unless you know me very well, or read this blog, you may not see the scars of saying good bye. you probably dont even know that we had to do that. the scars do not surface as much as they used to. but they are there. i can see them, i can feel them, there are times of pain, but not at all as often or nearly as intense. until about this time. Charlotte's birthday.

its not just her birthday that bring back some of the pain, although, we will always wish she were here to actually eat her birthday cake with us! this year, some of that pain is resurfacing through the prayers i am praying for bekah and her babies. peter and i were just talking over lunch today how much it feels like how we prayed when we first prayed for Charlotte. it was like that when i prayed with lisa for jaxton, it was like that when i prayed with piper for declan. my prayers for claire and annabel are so different than my prayers for Charlotte and for the bell's babies. i am pleading once again for God to grant life. to give them full term pregnancy. i am praying for the irregular sac to become perfectly normal. for bekah's levels to continue to rise. i find myself waking up at night being able to do nothing more than pray and plead and ask God to be merciful and grant this blessing to bekah and trav. that all takes me back to our time with Charlotte. even up to the night we were in labor, peter and i were still praying that God would change things. that Charlotte's heartbeat would somehow come back. that she would be fine. that He would give us a miracle. we never wanted to say good bye.

today, i can look back and see so many things that have changed or grown because of our short time with Charlotte. my faith is much deeper. i am able to take a step in faith knowing that God will make the way possible if i just trust Him. my relationship with peter is stronger. our love for each other has reached heights some people never see in marriage. my time with family is much more sacred to me than before...knowing that this is the family God has given me to love and be loved by.

this year peter and i will release balloons when he gets home from work. then we are going to dinner and having birthday cake. birthday cake may be more because i just want cake and this is a good excuse. :) i did just finish painting my nails in "Charlotte purple" too. we will both still go to work, have a "normal" day to anyone thats looking on the outside, but on the inside will be thinking about my Charlotte and celebrating the moments that we spent with her two years ago.

Charlotte, daddy and i love you so much! we wish more than anything that you were here to celebrate your 2nd birthday with us! i know that you are having so much more fun in heaven...maybe i wish i was there with you then. :) you mean more to us than you will ever know. our lives will never be the same. i cant wait to see you, but i think your sisters need me here for a little bit. i know that you are looking down just as excited about claire and annabel joining the family as we are. of course, it would have been nice to have parenting practice with your first, but i am relieved that you are healthy and perfect and sitting with Jesus! i love you, sweet baby girl!! xxoo, mommy

blessings, ALo

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Big Year Already

this year is off to a crazy start!! some really great memories and some serious moments of prayer!

lets start with some of the fun memories...we ended and began the year with family!! it was so great!

over christmas we (peter and myself) traveled to michigan to spend some time with my huge family there. it was so great. it was chilly, but no such luck for a white christmas...even though it snowed in dallas...weird!! this year we were there a few days before christmas, peter left on christmas day (he had to work a few days that week) and on the 26th i headed south. being there early meant fun prep time before the big day and being the oldest of A LOT of kids, there was a bit of prep to be done. one of the highlights is always christmas eve at my grandmas southwick's house (my dad's side). its loud, there are kids everywhere, we play bingo, and everyone probably has more fun than needed :) no, it really is the best! the other highlight was pj/movie day at my brother jonathan's house. a few weeks before christmas, i had an idea of getting everyone coordinating pajamas for christmas and then helping to coordinate a fun family filled day. it was just my immediate family, but of course that was 21 people!! dad, jessie (dad's wife), me, peter, jonathan and whitney (bro and sis in law), kayla and carter (niece and nephew), grant and jim (bro and friend), olivia and brian (sis and bro in law), zoe (niece), my little sibs mamie, matilda, mila, maggie, edy, and jude and two extras, beal (jonathan's army bro) and michael (olivia's foreign exchange student). yep!! crazy!! 12 adults and 9 kids age 9 and under. we also learned that dad and jessie are expecting a new baby in september! whats one more when you have 10, right dad??!!? :) movie day was so fun! tacos, pizza, snacks, movies, lots of sugar and a few pictures. plus the kids got to open a really was so awesome!

on the 26th i headed down to marco island, florida to meet up with my mom and a lot of her side of the family...including most of my siblings (well, as grant calls us, the first batch: me, jonathan, grant, and olivia). florida was fantastic. it was warm, sunny, full of family, plenty of down time on the beach and just what i needed to recover from the cold i got in michigan. the best part of this week was the beach. we dont always go to the beach when we go to marco but with the nieces and nephew around plus michael from germany, we all ventured out. it was so fun to watch the kids play in the sand, find sea shells and to be able to lounge with the adults. second best was pool time! mom rented a nice house (not enough room for all of us at mimi and boppa's house!) with a great pool and hot tub (no i did not get in the hot tub...dont worry!) i even got to give zoe (almost 2) her first haircut out by the pool. it was so cute!! peter and i have both said a few times this week that we cant wait to retire and move to marco island! it really is one of the best places we have ever been! i am blessed to have made it a home away from home since before i was born...doesnt get much better than that!! thanks to my mom for making it so relaxing and was a great belated christmas and an awesome start to the new year!!

here are a bunch of pics...then scroll down to join in praying for a sweet friend of mine!
Carter was really excited!! :)

American Girl dolls!

LOL, typical Edy skepticism! 

Jude just wanted to be a little bigger. 

Zoe trying on her mom's ear muffs

Uncle Petey liked Carter's lincoln logs too!

the guys in their pjs


Dad, Jessie and the kids

Dad and his girls

"the original batch"

all of Dad's kids

all of the girls in their pjs

Christmas eve @ grandma's. these are just some of the grandkids/great grandkids

Christmas stockings

breakfast with my grandma!!! love her!!

do we look alike?? :) love you, dad!

Zoe and Uncle Grant in the hot tub

Zoe's first haircut!!! lol

Then Aunt Aimee painted her nails :)
Mom and her kids (except Jonathan, sad!)

grandkids and their Mimi

Mimi Reva, Boppa, Mom and the kids

I love my Mimi and Boppa!! So blessed!!
Group shot
My awesome hubby and me. LOVE him!!!
Uncle Petey with Kayla and Carter (aka Raphael) on the docks! 
Peter and Michael found a HUGE mollusk!!
Zoe and Carter on the beach 
the twins loved the sunshine!! 25 weeks 6days
so, yes, 2012 ended with fantastic memories and began with awesome family time. but, there have also been things that have kept me on my knees pleading with God.

bekah and i have been friends since she started dating my cousin while we were all in college. our friendship grew quickly right after peter and i were married and she and travis got serious. we went on countless double dates, ate plenty of penny candy, and shared real life together. peter and i both had the privilege of being a part of their bridal party and watching them begin their married lives together. we were so sad to say good bye to them when we moved to texas. but distance has not kept bekah and me from still being close friends. she even made a trip down here last spring to spend a long weekend with me. we did nothing but sit on the couch and watch both seasons of downton abbey (fitting that it started again tonight!!). bekah was a huge source of encouragement and support and one of our biggest prayer warriors when we were pregnant with Charlotte and ultimately had to say good bye (in fact, trav and bekah were some of the first people that we told we were pregnant with Charlotte). i got a call from bekah just before leaving for christmas break to tell me that she is pregnant! she also shared that this fall, she and trav suffered a miscarriage, but had never told anyone. when we talked before christmas, she asked me to start praying. no one else knew, but she was fearful of going down the same road as she did in the fall. i was honored to begin praying with them and the family that God was creating. bekah called me this thursday with some devastating news, doctors told her that she was most likely miscarrying again. we were all so upset. the ultrasound showed an irregular shaped sac and bekah had been bleeding. they were told to just wait. on friday, bekah and trav rushed back because she was hemorrhaging while teaching. during a second ultrasound, the doctor found TWO heartbeats!! there are still some concerns, but the dramatic change from thursday to friday is nothing short of a miracle and answered prayer!! bekah's hormone levels are high (indicative of twins, which is good) but there are still a few concerns. she will go back again tuesday for more lab work. please join me in praying for this sweet friend of mine!! i can not even put into words how much i love her and trav and how excited i am for them. i am certain that God has some incredible things for them through these two little babies. they are already capturing so many of our hearts at such an early stage!! i cant wait to give you an amazing update!!! :)

this is exactly what bekah posted tonight along with the picture:
Fall 2012: We had a miscarriage.
December 2012: We find out we're pregnant. 
Thursday: After some bleeding, the ultrasound shows an irregular sac, and we're told we're probably going to miscarry in the next few days. 
Friday: I leave school, hemorrhaging. Trav meets me at the hospital for an ultrasound. We find TWO HEARTBEATS and are told we have TWINS.
Today: We acknowledge God is a God of miracles, and there is POWER IN PRAYER. Please join us in praying for our two precious heartbeats.
We have two requests. 1) that my hormone levels continue to increase, which shows the babies are developing 2) that both babies (but especially the smaller one) continue to grow and strengthen.

We covet your prayers and admit we're scared- but leaning on the God Who will never leave us nor forsake us!

ps. cedarville university is a small liberal arts Bible college in ohio. while i was not the most popular girl in school, i did have a few close friends. of those that i would consider a friend, not just someone i knew from around campus, 5 of us have twins!! tiffany (lived across the hall and was in choir with me) brenna (my roommate), brittany (practically a housemate), me, and now bekah. something has got to be in the water!! especially because i am the only one that has had any "help" (fertility treatments) in the matter!

thanks for praying. thanks for being a part of my new year. i know that there will be a lot going on (especially in the next 2 months!!!) i really hope to keep everyone in the loop!! :)

blessings, ALo