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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Settling Into a New Normal

The past 6 weeks have gone by so quickly, I can’t believe it’s already December! From now on, our life will be separated into Before and After the twin’s arrival. It’s hard to imagine life without them now, although we’re still working on our new routines with them. Something as simple as going to the grocery store requires a lot of effort! Any time we go out with them they both get a ton of attention, we’ll need to start adding time for when people stop us to meet the twins.

Samuel and Violet get more entertaining each day - the funny faces they make, the funny noises they make (coming out of both ends), their complete lack of coordination. Even at 6 weeks, we can already see glimpses of their personality. Samuel is definitely the cuddlier and calmer of the two. Violet is content to lay and observe everything around her and Samuel would like to be carried at all times.

I know what you’re wondering…am I sleeping? Eh, kinda. I get about 5 hours of sleep at night, but it’s broken up by feedings. The lack of sleep is what I worried about during a lot during pregnancy, I was pretty attached to my 8 hours every night. Surprisingly though, I’m doing really well…maybe it’s mommy hormones or something.

We’re enjoying every minute we have with them!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Violet and Samuel from Auntie Sarah's Perspective

Violet Elizabeth Hokulani (Heavenly Star) Williamson and Samuel Jacob Keikihiapo (First Born) Williamson, two babies who have stolen my heart…

My heart aches with how much I love these little ones… The anticipation of meeting Violet and Samuel has been well worth the wait. They are now 10 days old, and what amazing things can happen in just 10 days.. Here is “Auntie Sarah’s” view of the magical journey of getting to know these bundles of joy.

Here are a few things you may want to know about Miss Violet:

  • The first thing you will notice about Violet is her big, gorgeous eyes. Her eyes are a beautiful shade of a gray blue that just captures your heart when she looks at you...
  • Violet has a few nicknames, and one of our favorites is “Popeye.” She likes to stare at you with one beautiful eye. It is so funny! :)
  • Violet is already showing the beautiful hair gene – beautiful locks when she came out of the womb, it’s a Villaruel blessing :)
  • She does not like her feet being touched – if you choose to touch her little piggies, do so at your own risk…
  • Snorting is just a natural part of speech for Miss Violet, it helps her make her point that she is hungry, poopy, or tired.
  • Violet has the sweetest cry ever.. It has this slight raspiness to it that makes it even more sweetly pathetic :)
  • Violet is definitely a diva in training.. she is the more vocal of the two and is clear on what she does/doesn’t want and if you don’t figure it out quickly – she’ll be happy to tell you. :)
  • Violet is pure sweetness, and once you meet her your heart will never be the same…

Here are a few things you may want to know about Little Samuel:

  • Samuel is a sweetheart, tender, and even-tempered. He is the calmer one of the two.
  • At first glance you know immediately Samuel is a little boy. He has very masculine features, and is so handsome at such a young age!
  • Samuel is a little cuddle bug, he is content to be and stay in your arms as long as you’ll have him. I so enjoy snuggling with this little man…
  • Samuel showed early on that he has a tendency to want things quickly and easily (ie: milk = fast food, he is not a sit down and dine kinda guy, lol) – some would say this is typical of a boy? *Wink*
  • Samuel at times may actually prefer his fingers, or fists over the real deal – it is so cute seeing him suck on his little hands! :)
  • Samuel is not a big fan of having his clothes changed (and really what baby is…) but that is his least favorite part of the day and he tells you.. loudly.. :)
  • Now although Samuel doesn’t like to have his clothes changed – you better be quick to get that little tush changed. He will NOT have a dirty diaper! :)
  • Samuel will warm your heart and steal it right away…

These two little babies are heaven sent for sure. They have their own little personalities, and from the moment you see them you can immediately tell they are different – looks and all. Violet looks just like mommy and Samuel looks just like daddy.

Although my heart is fuller and bigger as a result of these two, it’s breaking into millions of little pieces knowing I am going to have to leave and not get to kiss their little faces, give them my little Eskimo kisses so I can feel their sweet little noses, change their little bums (and there was A LOT of that going on! Lol!), rock them to sleep, cuddle with them, enjoy everything about them… see every new little milestone…

However, I am excited knowing what loving parents they have, and what wonderful examples they have to grow up with. Amanda and Ben are special people, and Violet and Samuel don’t even know yet how blessed they are… Experiencing how they love their little ones in their first week of life has been magical… So many special memories to come!

Auntie Sarah will miss you Violet and Samuel – but I am just a Skype call away…

I love you sweet babies…

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What a great day to be born!

Hi Everyone! Ben has commented on my lack of posting lately, so he decided to take matters into his own hands and write up a post for us before we head to the hospital. Thank you all for the prayers and well wishes, we'll make sure to get pics posted ASAP!

Here's Ben...

It’s the last few hours before Samuel and Violet grace this world with their presence…Sarah (Amanda’s twin sis) is cooking breakfast and it can be smelled all throughout the house. Poor Amanda probably can smell it upstairs and since she has to have an empty stomach, it’s got to be rough. Man, breakfast smells so good. I still can’t believe we’re having twins. The funny thing is, when I was a small boy, I prayed to God that he would let me have twins when I was old enough. When I told Amanda that she responded with, “what, are you serious?” I must say I have been pretty lucky through this pregnancy. No late night driving for cravings except for one trip to Carousels for a hot fudge sundae with no whip cream. Uh oh, Amanda just said “ok, one hour and fifteen minutes before we have to go.” I better wrap this up.

This is really cool. I know there are tons of twins in this world but how many of us can say “I have twins.” To top it all off, this house is going to be stacked with guns. Unfortunately yes, some of them will probably be pink. I can’t wait to go buy two little “Anne Oakley” .22 rifles. Right now I’m looking at a couple of Ruger 10-22s. But since those individually cost more than mine, they will probably only get the Wal-Mart special’s. Oh, and a pair of 50cc dirt bikes will look cool in the garage. I can’t wait.

I love and miss all you guys. I am so happy Amanda and I are about to be parents. This is going to be great and so memorable. I love you Amanda, thank you for making these last 9 months so easy on me.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Things I’ve Learned in 33 Weeks…

I know I still have some time left, but I’l like to share some things I’ve observed over the last 7 months:

  • If you see a cricket in the house, don’t scream when you’re 33 weeks along in pregnancy. It REALLY scares everyone else in the house (everyone’s reaching for the “go” bag).
  • As my tummy has grown in circumference – Ben’s sense of humor has grown too. We have found all sorts of new things to laugh at.
  • I miss belt loops.
  • Nothing like a looming and unknown deadline to get the butt in gear! In the last week we’ve painted the nursery, ordered diapers (LOVE AMAZON), picked up a guest bed, and started putting together other baby stuff.
  • Just because baby clothes use less fabric does not mean that they’re less expensive than adult clothing. I couldn’t believe it when I saw a pair of baby pants for $48! OK – they were absolutely adorable – but not that adorable.
  • My tummy makes a great shelf! I love the novelty of being able to set stuff on top of it while I’m sitting and proclaiming to Ben “Look, no hands!”. Gets a laugh every time.
  • I strike a pretty impressive profile, it’s always fun to see the shocked looks on people’s faces when I’m out and about.
  • I now know what heartburn feels like – and I hope I never have to deal with it again!
  • Who knew that I’d actually miss wearing my heels (the same Birkenstocks for 3+ months is no fun).

33 weeks now, what a journey so far! I’m so thankful to have had a complication free pregnancy so far. Our upright freezer is slowly getting stocked with my not-uber-healthy-but-really-easy-and-delicious casseroles for when I don’t feel up to cooking after the twins arrive. I know I’ll be craving a salad after about 3 days!

I’m preparing to transition all my stuff at work – I just wished we had more of an idea of when I’m going to be out. All I know at this point is, “I’ll be out for 3 months and it’ll start soon…could be 3 weeks from now, or it could be 6 weeks.” How’s that for ambiguity?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

It’s 8pm on a Thursday – do you know where your ankles are?

I know, I has been a while (long while), but I'm back! I’m 29 weeks as of Monday and am feeling really good! I’ve really lucked out so far, no morning sickness, no outrageous cravings or aversions (smell or food). But – my poor ankles! No matter how much water I drink, sodium I avoid and how often I elevate them…they swell horribly! They’ve disappeared, which makes for a lovely sight, especially during these summer months. By the way, July was the hottest summer on record in the DC area (so much for timing!). My ankles have become an entertaining topic at home and work, “Ooohhh, let’s see how big they got today”. Thank goodness for Birkenstocks!!

I’m back…and fully unpacked…from my visit back home to Washington State. My sis Sarah and my friend Lynette planned an amazing baby shower for me, which was a lot of fun. I was so thankful to be able to see so many of my friends in one place, even though it wasn’t long enough for me! The weather was gorgeous, sunny but not too hot.

Nursery is coming together. This means that the cribs and dresser are in the nursery but still in their original packaging. Luckily, I have some very generous and skilled friends that have expressed their desire to help me decorate their room (I’m so hopeless!). We plan on having them share a room for the first few years, I mean; they’ll have shared a very small place for practically 9 months so I think they’ll be fine.

We have names! Violet Elizabeth and Samuel Jacob. Violet comes from my great grandma and we just liked the name Samuel. Middle names were harder, I really like the name Samuel Adam, but wouldn’t want to give people the wrong impression by naming our son after a beer (a good one at least!). So, we decided to pass on our middle names.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sleeping in a Laundry Basket

So now that we’ve found out the genders (a boy and a girl if you didn’t know), it’s the unofficial time to start The Registry. Who knew this process would be so daunting (we didn’t do it when we got married)?! I’ve already admitted to my indecisive nature – so you can imagine my stress level when having to pick out what type of bottle is best. It’s Analysis Paralysis again, too many options I just get frozen. The only thing that keeps me going is the fear that the kiddos will end up having to wear towels and sleep in laundry baskets (we have plenty) if I don’t make up my mind!

I work for a smallish software company that’s mostly men – which can make for some entertaining moments being one out of a handful of women here and pregnant. Although my tummy is well on its way to becoming its own zip code, I’m still a fully functional worker. You wouldn’t think that was the case observing some of my co-workers though. I was loading some paper into the copier yesterday when someone had come into the kitchen and proclaimed “you shouldn’t be doing that!” and promptly scooted me out of the way and took over the task. I held back my most snarky remark, after all, he was only trying to help. I can only imagine what they’ll do in a few months time, I’m sure they’ll take one look at me and with wide eyes insist that I shouldn’t be moving too much.

The Belly seems to be growing at an exponential rate. I’m hoping that the growth pattern is more like a bell curve in which it’ll slow down by the end – but I have a feeling that’s not going to be the case. Ben thinks it’s funny that I’m starting to run it into things (opening the fridge, closing the car door, you name it), have I mentioned that I’m also spatially challenged? For your reference, in case you were wondering, I can still see my toes!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Last Day of “Not Knowing”

I’ve read, and been told, multiple times that a wandering mind is very common during pregnancy. At home it’s no big deal, unless you’re Ben and you’re mid-conversation discussing something important. At work, however, it’s really embarrassing! Imagine being on a call interviewing a solid candidate and all of a sudden, you have no clue what you were going to say next! Or, you just cannot get that word off the tip of your tongue. Thankfully, I have a lot of experience in laughing at myself, so I’m able to shake it off with a smart-alecky remark.

I told Ben this morning that I was starving today. His response to me was that I should sing to myself, “Don’t Stop Eating” to the tune of “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey. He knows my love of this long (best feel good song of all time) and I’m not sure how I feel about it now being tied to making sure I eat enough for 3. Ben doesn’t like the thought that I get hungry and could potentially starve the kiddos…Irrational Parental Fear #1.

A lot of time, during my aforementioned wandering, I’ll daydream about what it’s going to be like to have twins. I’m sure most of the parenting for twins is the same as with a singleton, but there are also a lot of challenges that are unique to raising twins. My mom wouldn’t often dress my sister and I in identical outfits growing up. I think this was important in encouraging our unique personalities, rather than being known as one entity – “the twins”.

Tomorrow is our 20 week appointment and we’ll finally know if we’re having boys, girls or one of each! We’ve been asked quite a few times, “what’s your preference?”. It’d be fun to have two girls, can you say Hello Kitty explosion? Two boys would save us a lot of headache in the drama department down the road. One of each would be a good balance. So, I’ll stick with the very predictable but honest truth, “It doesn’t matter, we just pray that they’re healthy.”

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tone Deaf

The twins have made their first assertive move on my food choices. No more super spicy food! They made that abundantly clear yesterday after I had indulged in some (a lot) of my bacon jalapeño dip on Sunday. It’s an unfair advantage, 3 against 1! That’s right, the twins and Ben…all three of them reminding me that my food choices are not all about me. Well, Ben was the vocal one, but the twins made their point better by rejecting everything I tried to eat yesterday morning, “We’ll show you mom”.

At 19 weeks it’s said that they can now hear noises while in the womb. Ben suggested that we start signing to them. Two problems though:

  1. I don’t know any good children’s songs (does Jack Johnson lullabies count?)

  2. More importantly, I’ve never been told I have a good signing voice (for good reason). As a child, I always wished that I could sing, but the talent never manifested. Hopefully the kiddos’ acoustics in the womb make them tone deaf.

I’ve found the perfect man-ccessory for Ben, it can used while hunting or taking the twins out for errands! I will only see a problem if they come home with camo paint on their face.

We had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend celebrating with some great people! The BBQ has been officially broken in, as is the fire pit, lawn chairs and the AC. Thank goodness for the AC. While picking up supplies for the BBQ, Ben and I made a pass through the diaper aisle. We made the mistake of trying to calculate how many diapers we’d need to have on hand for the first month after they’re born. Better not share the calculation, it’s a bit scary. Not to worry though, Ben has committed to changing his fair share of diapers. Although, come to think of it, we did not define what he thought “his share” would be!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Embrace the Elastic…

I tried to hold out as long as I could – but I can no longer pass the Zip Test. The Zip Test is my self imposed indicator of when I am officially not allowed to wear pre-preggo pants any more. It’s frustrating since they fit everywhere but around the tummy (duh). The Belly Band has been my best friend. For those that don't know, and why would you unless you've already been pregnant, it's a elastic band that helps hide the fact that you're walking around with your pants unzipped!

In a moment of insanity I decided to measure my waist the other night…42.25”! That’s right; I’m slowly losing visibility to my toes. Goodness, and it's only been 17 weeks. So this weekend I will make the trek to the local Motherhood Maternity and try to find some pants that fit. Really though, how could they not fit, they’ve got 8” of elastic at the waist!

Today has been the first day that I’ve felt them moving around – which is so exciting! I’d really like to call Ben to tell him, but it may just give him a heart attack since my enthusiasm may be confused with panic after waking him from a dead sleep. So, to be prudent, I’ll wait until later this evening.

I didn’t realize this, but I’m very lucky to see the kiddos every appointment via ultrasound. My sis told me that they normally don’t do them every time. So Ben and I feel very lucky, we love to see them moving around on screen. And besides, I’m just now beginning to distinguish body parts. I was able to point out a leg and a butt this time. I love this ultrasound pic, it looks like one of them is either offering its thumb or trying to knock the other one out.

Monday, May 16, 2011

17 Weeks and Growing

Time is going by so quickly! I wish we were able to slow it down in order to really enjoy the process…and feel more prepared. I’m really looking forward to my doctor appointment tomorrow (I think one of the reasons Ben is happy I’m pregnant is because it forces me to go to the doctor). Ben hasn’t gotten a chance to see them move around on screen yet, so they’ll be making their performance debut tomorrow for him.

You’d be very surprised to learn that I have not started any craft projects for the babies yet. What?! Most of you would expect me to be knee deep in sewing patterns and knitting needles by now with at least 12 projects going. What’s causing this? I like to call it “Amanda’s Analysis Paralysis”, which is very similar to, but not the same as, Procrastination. The options are endless – so it becomes easier not to choose. You’ll see the symptoms of AAP in things like:

  • Home décor (no, we still have not painted and please ignore the 4 unfurnished rooms)

  • Baby Names (one of my nephews thought it was great that I was going to name them Thing 1 and Thing 2)

  • Nursery theme (they won’t know that plain white walls are boring, right?)

  • Baby stuff (do we want a side-by-side stroller, facing each other, traveling system…)

  • Daycare options (someone told me that we should be visiting locations now, yikes!)

If you really want to see me stress, feel free to leave me a comment on the 1,000+ other decisions that I’ve forgotten to mention. Thank goodness Ben is so decisive. Maybe I should send him to do all of the registering? On second thought, maybe I shouldn’t…I don’t think they will need their own archery or fishing set from Cabella’s for a few years.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Chips, Pickles and Moving Boxes

Well, the last 4 weeks have flown by! Our family is going through so many changes, I need to remember to slow down and enjoy these moments. Here’s a recap of what has been going on in the last 4 weeks:

  • We are officially “moved in” to our new house in Amissville. Now, I didn’t say “unpacked” – that’s entirely different and will take at least 6 months to complete.

  • I’ve reached the 15 week mark and am now showing, I’ve got one pic at 12 weeks. I found my camera last night so will try to get some recent and somewhat decent pics this weekend.

  • I can no longer wear pre-prego pants unless the waistband is made entirely out of elastic.

  • One of my puppies (Chloe) has made it out to VA!

We’re now living in what Ben likes to call “suburban country”. Let me translate that for you, decent land, nice neighbors close by, hellish commute and HUGE spiders. Can you guess what I’m most concerned about?

I was in the garage last night rummaging through one of the boxes when something skittered by my foot. I squeaked and Ben hurried out to investigate. I insisted I just saw a mouse – a furry body, long tail, fast. I hightailed it out of the garage and let Ben take over. A few minutes later, I was called back to the garage and Ben asks me, “could it have been a spider?”.
“No way, the thing was way too big to be a spider.”
“Take a look in between those two boxes…”

Sure enough, it was a spider – more specifically a barn spider. Despite my paranoia, I had to Google “spider with yellow black stripes on leg”. I’d like to say that I’ll get over that fear so I don’t transmit that to my kiddos – but don’t hold your breath!

On to cravings, these have been very mild, except for last weekend. I got it in my head that I wanted potato chips and sliced dill pickles…together. Luckily we had both in the house and I was able to save Ben a trip to the store (which, is now 10 miles away). It’s odd though, because I now have no desire to eat either. Eh, I’m starting to learn to just roll with it!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Junk in the trunk…

No really, it’s gotten out of hand. I think if someone were to look in the windows of my Escape, I wouldn’t blame them for thinking that I was living in there. How do I fill up 31+ cubic feet of cargo space? Let’s look at the inventory:

• 2 scarves
• My nephew’s sweatshirt jacket (who lives in WA)
• New casserole dish purchased around Thanksgiving time
• Flip flops
• 2 records
• Fleece jacket
• Box of sunflower seed packets (Ben’s, I swear)
• Blanket
• Yoga mat
• Plus a few other misc stuff

Have you seen the size of those double strollers? They’re HUGE, especially if Ben convinces me to get a jogging one with off road tires. So I guess that means I better start cleaning out my car.

Someone told Ben about the Nesting Instinct and now he can’t wait for it to set in! “Around the fifth month of pregnancy, the "nesting" instinct can set in. This is an uncontrollable urge to clean one's house brought on by a desire to prepare a nest for the new baby, to tie up loose ends of old projects and to organize your world.” I’m doubtful though, anyone that knows me understands this instinct will have a lot to overcome. I want my kids to be neat and organized, so I guess I’d better get my act together and start setting a good example at some point.

12 weeks today, still no cravings and I guess I’ve completely missed the morning sickness ( whew!). Someone told me this means I’ll be having twin boys, old wives tale? Can’t wait to find out! I’m beginning to show a tiny bit, pics next week, promise.

Friday, April 1, 2011

When is it supposed to feel real?

I’ve officially hit 11 weeks now – but the news still doesn’t seem real yet. Maybe it doesn't set in until I start to get more of a "bump" or feel the first kicks. I’ve completely sidestepped morning sickness and haven’t had any cravings. Unfortunately, I’ve developed a food aversion to veggies and have now had to start putting spinach and garbanzo beans in my morning shakes to try and maintain a healthy diet.

Biggest difference is my appetite, I’m always STARVING! It’s sneaks up on me and I suddenly feel that I must eat now or heaven help my co-workers in the next cube. Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise, but it doesn’t take as much to fill me up…otherwise it would only take me about a week to gain the recommended 30 pounds.

Hardest thing so far? Being 2000+ miles away from my family and some of my closest friends. I’ve met some amazing people out here, of which I’m extremely grateful for. I miss my twin sis being able to just stop by. It would be especially helpful now, I feel like I need someone to be my voice of reason, are my emotions normal or just irrational hormones? Ask Ben – he will probably say irrational.

Monday, March 28, 2011

10 Weeks

We knew we’d make the decision someday – but someday just kept moving further and further out. After all, we wanted to be “prepared” before we started a family. There was always something else that would come along and clamor for our attention which put the decision off again.

At some point we realized (came to our senses), that we’ll never feel completely prepared. I personally don’t like the feeling that, no matter how many lists I write, there will always be something left undone! So, almost 8 years after getting married – we decided that we’re ready to try and bring a little someone else into the world.

Fast forward to 9 weeks along at my first check-up. I normally HATE going to the doctors, Ben can attest to that. Thankfully, I LOVE my doctor! I felt an immediate rapport with her, which is important because of…well…how well she’ll be getting to know me. She’s from Hawaii (same island and city as my dad) and went to school in California, so maybe I like her because she’s a kindred spirit from the west coast. Really though, let’s be honest, it’s because she completely understood my need for Spam and rice! By the way, there are NO Hawaiian food restaurants out here, unless I want to go to New York (which I just might do if cravings get bad enough).

Anyway – back to the appointment. As we’re starting the ultrasound, Ben is already peppering Dr. Chun with questions (I made sure to forewarn before they brought Ben in), Ben is pointing at something on the screen and she interrupts with an “Oh!!”. She’s got our attention now, is this a good or bad exclamation? “There are two in there, you’re having twins!!”

Needless to say, I was shocked (still am) – but Ben has been saying all along that he thought we were having twins. Of all things for him to be correct on!

We’re both extremely excited and thankful that we have such loving family members and friends to share this special time with. The next few months will be only the beginning of a wild ride, thank goodness I will be able to talk to my mom about her experience raising twins!

My sister has insisted that I start documenting with photos and I will comply – maybe next week though.