Sunday, December 25, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Many Faces of Marlowe

Well, I guess I haven't had time to post much about our sweet, sweet Marlowe.  She's six weeks old today!  She hardly ever cries, and likes to watch her sisters run around.  She's in the 95% percentile for weight -- I'm guessing she's at or over 12 lbs by now.  Ha!  She still eats every three hours ... around the clock ... but I'm hoping that will start to stretch at night soon.  And if it doesn't, it's just a season, right?  I'll sleep in a few years. :)

As Marlowe's hair gets longer, it just gets more epic.  It doesn't lay down, it stands up.  And, of course, all those adorable newborn faces ... man, I love this kid!



Monday, December 5, 2011

Happy ... Halloween?

I stumbled upon this picture today and realized that I hadn't shared it with anybody.  Sure, I went into labor about 12 hours after it was taken, but that's no excuse.  :)

I didn't make costumes for the twins, but when I hadn't gone into labor by Halloween night, we put them in some tutus, gave them wands and called it good.  I think they were perfectly adorable.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Jingle Belles

I wish there was a way to send out virtual Christmas cards in the mail.  If I could, you would all be receiving this video.  Since there's not, I present to you: "Hadley and Leila: Jingle Belles".  You won't be able to keep a smile off your face.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

It's true -- on a whim, I gave the twins different haircuts!  Mostly, it was because I noticed that Hadley's hair is always in her face, while Leila's tends to stay out of her face.  So, I decided to give Hadley bangs!  Then, I cut Leila's hair so that it's at least an inch shorter than Hadley's.  (Don't look too closely ... I'm not a professional, and Hadley moved while I was in the middle of cutting.)  :)

My mommy heart is a little sad that my identicals aren't "identical" anymore.  But I'm happy that people will have an easy way to tell them apart.  And, you've got to admit, it's just pretty darn cute!

Three Under Three

You know I can't stay away from blogging for too long ...

I want to make sure everybody sees my "pretty maids, all in a row"! :)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Party of Five

I was doing well with twins+newborn for a little while ... but sleepless nights have taken their toll on me.  I'm going into "hunker down mode" until I can form a complete sentence without pausing in the middle of it.  :)  You might see me here on the blog every once in a while, of course.  Until then, enjoy some pictures of Marlowe's first couple of weeks at home!

P.S. Did you see my new blog header?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Marlowe's Story

For those of you who like to know the birth story ...

By Halloween night, I had been experiencing early labor sporadically for twelve days, even though my "official" due date wasn't until November 5th.  I was tired of the anticipation and the Braxton-Hicks.  That evening, we went to a fantastic first birthday party for our friends' daughter.  Leila must have eaten too much candy, because on the way home she threw up, and continued to throw up randomly for the next 3 - 4 hours.  Thankfully, she fell asleep around midnight and didn't wake up again.

As Tony and I were heading to bed, I mentioned that my groin and lower abdomen muscles had been really hurting throughout the day, and wondered out loud how long I'd have to put up with it.  Just another early labor symptom on top of all the other symptoms I already had, I figured.

At 5:30 am, I woke up to use the bathroom.  On the way back to bed, I had an extremely strong contraction, but chalked it up to early labor and laid back down.  I continued to have contractions until Tony woke up for work at 6:30 am.  I mentioned the contractions but said that he could go ahead and get ready for work.  By the time he was out of the shower, I asked him to stay home for a couple of hours so that I could decide whether this was true labor.  By 7:00 am, I was calling my sister to ask her to come stay with the twins while we went to the hospital.

We got to the hospital at about 8:00 am.  My contractions were three minutes apart and I was dilated to 6 centimeters, so at 8:50 am I was officially admitted.  We were taken to our labor and delivery room, where I almost immediately received an epidural.  (I considered doing natural labor since everything was moving so quickly, but Tony and I decided together that an epidural was the best decision for us, and in hindsight, I still think it was the best decision.)  As soon as the epidural had been administered, the doctor came in, checked me, and announced that I had reached 10 centimeters -- it was time to start pushing!  So, about four hours after the first contraction, and an hour after being admitted to the hospital, with my parents and another sister in the waiting room, we were having our baby.

I want to pause here and mention how different a single, vaginal birth is from a multiple birth that starts with a vaginal delivery and ends with a c-section.  I mean, obviously, that sentence speaks for itself, but I was truly shocked when there was only one nurse in the room with Tony and I for 99% of the birth.  She was fantastic, but I kept looking around, thinking, aren't there supposed to be more people here?  It was actually quite peaceful.

I pushed for nearly two hours, which of course was exhausting.  (Although I will say that it wasn't stressful or worrisome.)  Tony was a fantastic teammate and support.  During those last few pushes, we both had tears in our eyes as we anticipated our little one's arrival.  Wait -- did I say little one?  Because we were all shocked when our HUGE daughter arrived -- all 9 pounds of her!  Marlowe Grace had a full head of brown hair, and was just gorgeous.  (Still is!)  I couldn't believe the difference between her and the twins, in every single aspect.  She was healthy, and there were no concerns about her in any way.  We were discharged from the hospital about 30 hours after we were admitted -- much better than the 16 days that the twins spent there!

Now, five days later, I feel so blessed to have had a healthy, full-term pregnancy with an uncomplicated delivery.  And even more blessed when I look at my three beautiful daughters and the man that I'm raising a family with.  Now, if only I was getting a little more sleep ... :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Welcome, Little One!

Tony and I, along with big sisters Hadley and Leila, 
are proud to introduce

Marlowe Grace VanHorn

November 1, 2011
11:36 am
9 pounds, 21 inches

Friday, October 28, 2011


We've just learned how to smile for the camera!
(Hadley pink and blue / Leila yellow and white)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

39 Weeks

The truth is, technically, that I'm not quite to 39 weeks.  But let's pretend that I am because I don't think my belly will change much in the next couple of days.  :)

As you can see, I've moved to "shirts that are too small and constant sweatpants" status.  Because who really wants to buy something that fits when your due date is only about 10 days away?  Also, it snowed today, which put me in a little bit of a shoe crisis -- the only ones that fit right now are flip-flops.  It's okay, I managed.

The stats: I'm 4.5 cm dilated and 80% effaced.  Which basically means nothing, except that labor will happen in the relatively near future.  I never thought that I would be restless like this.  When the twins were born prematurely, I longed for the experience of a full-term pregnancy, and it's true, I'm very thankful to be carrying this baby.  But she's HUGE!  And she KICKS!  (Sure, the twins were bigger combined, but they were weaker, and in general, it felt very different.)  And I've had various signs of "early labor" for almost a week. So now I understand what other women are talking about when they complain about discuss the end of a full-term pregnancy!  :)

The other side to my restlessness is that I cannot wait to meet this little gal!  What does she look like?  How big will she be?  Will she be easy-going or need lots of attention?  What's it like to have ONE newborn at a time?  I'm excited to move to the next phase.  And I'm sure you're anxiously awaiting the news that she's been born as well!  Shouldn't be too much longer!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Big Sister Backpacks

I didn't know if I was going to be able to write the post that I promised yesterday.  Last night, I had about 3 hours of mild, regular contractions.  (This is after a report from the doctor yesterday that I'm 3 - 4 cm dilated and baby is "nice and engaged" for birth.)  We cleaned up the house, packed our bags, put my sister (our "sitter") on call ... and then the contractions stopped.  After a night of sleep, the contractions are back, along with some other "early labor" signs, but nothing that makes me think Tony should come home from work.  I'm calling it "labor purgatory".  Am I in labor?  Am I going to have mild, regular contractions for weeks upon weeks?  Your guess is as good as mine.

So, as we get ready to send Hadley and Leila to Grandma and Grandpa's house for a few days after the baby is born, I want to show you the backpacks that I put together for them.  I've been thinking for a while that they would enjoy having backpacks (which will double as overnight bags when baby comes), but didn't want to spend too much.  Then I stumbled upon these nice ones, from Land's End, while they were having a great sale, which I combined with a discount and free shipping, of course.  :)

I made a little sign to go in the clear part:

Then, I wanted to include a new toy for their time away from home.  Using a Groupon (I can't actually remember which Groupon-type site I purchased it from), I got them each a Melissa & Doug Hide & Seek Board.  I haven't shown the boards to the girls, but I think they're going to love them.  And I love that they have hinges, so there aren't any pieces to lose!

Last, I purchased two cheap shirts at Walmart, and using the same design as the backpack signs, I made two iron-on transfers for the shirts.  My plan is for the girls to wear them to the hospital when they visit Baby Sister for the first time.  Darling!

So, all of those things are sitting in their new backpacks, ready to go, whenever the time comes.  Can't believe my babies are getting ready to be big sisters!  They're going to do great.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

And I Look Like I'm Trying to Steal a Pumpkin ...

Can you tell that I'm trying to catch up on some blogging before the baby comes?  I want to show you something really fun (to me, at least!), but my camera battery died, so that will have to wait until tomorrow.

A few days ago, I went to a pumpkin patch with a couple of ladies from Moms at Twilight (not to be confused with some kind of fan club for the movie!).  All of us had a blast -- the kids played with the pumpkins, in the wagons, and on the tractors.  I thought you might enjoy the pictures, so I'll leave it at that!

Monday, October 17, 2011

37 Weeks

Here we are ... 37 weeks, no end in sight.  :)  Baby Girl weighs about 6.5 - 7 pounds now!  How in the world did I carry 10.5 pounds of babies the first time around?  She's in my ribs constantly, I can't take a deep breath, I'm not sleeping well, I need help getting up from the couch ...

Enough complaining.  I'm keeping my eyes on the "prize" as much as I can, looking forward to her arrival!  I'll continue to keep you posted as things progress!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ring Around the Rosie

Hadley and Leila have only held hands with each other a couple of times, and I've never been able to get a picture of it.  That's why it makes my heart happy that they've started to play "Ring Around the Rosie" with each other by themselves.  Absolutely adorable.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Bear Hugs

Watching their imaginations and creativity develop is one of the things I love the most about watching my girls grow.  The twins were given teddy bears when they were in the NICU.  (I'm not actually sure where they came from ... a charity, I think.)  Until now, they've "bearly" (ha!) even noticed them.  Lately, they've been carrying the bears and their baby dolls around more.  Yesterday, Leila brought her teddy bear outside, which meant that Hadley needed hers, too.  They promptly started showing them all the things that they like to do outside.  And apparently, Hadley wants hers to learn how to ride the lawn mower.  :)

Happy "Octobear"!  ... I couldn't resist ... :)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Forever Blowing Bubbles

We just got back from a quick trip to Kansas.  Tony's grandma passed away, and we went back to celebrate her life and spend time with family.  Great-Grandma Myrna Elaine is Leila's namesake, and I'm so glad that she and Leila got to know each other for over two years.

Tony has today off as well, and we're spending it by pretty much doing nothing.  Except Hadley and Leila -- they've been quite busy.  Enjoy!

Monday, September 19, 2011

33 Weeks (and a comparison shot)

This week in pregnancy is very significant for me.  Today, I am 33 weeks, 4 days pregnant.  I delivered the twins at 33 weeks, 6 days.  Assuming that I make it a couple more days, I am now entering territory that I've never experienced before -- the last six weeks of a full-term pregnancy!  Sure, I was carrying over 10 pounds of baby when I delivered the twins, so the weight won't be new for me, but I'm excited about (okay, dreading, too) those STRONG full-term baby kicks.  I'm excited to be able to say "okay, baby, come any time!  You're healthy enough to stay out of the NICU now."  And I'm sure there will be a little confusion for Tony and me when we go to the hospital to deliver.  There's not going to be 20 doctors and nurses in an operating room with us when we deliver?  You really will let her stay in our room right away?  Weird.

Anyway, just for fun, here's a comparison photo of my two pregnancies for you.

Left: My very last twin pregnancy photo.  33 weeks, 1 day
Right: Yesterday. 33 weeks, 3 days

It doesn't look like there's as much of a difference in size as I thought there would be!  And I've got six more weeks?  :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Big Sisters

As I started writing this post, this was how Leila was entertaining herself.  Pretending to sleep, with Lavender and her blanket, outside on a bench.  She stayed like this for about 15 minutes.  Goofy gal.  :)

As long as I'm showcasing my beauties, here's one of Hadley from about a week ago.  Those blue eyes just steal my heart!

And I can't resist sharing this one!  Isn't it hilarious?  It reminds me of those old-fashioned photos where nobody smiles!  All that's missing is the showgirl dresses and Tony holding a rifle.  :)  Tony was just imitating the girls, but I have no idea what was making them so serious.  Ha!

And here's the point of my post: Tony and I have been really busy around the house lately.  We've moved and redecorated three bedrooms, with everything that involves, and there's always laundry to do, dishes to wash, and grass to mow.  Plus, I'm pretty much beached by now.  :)  The twins have had to entertain themselves a lot (which of course is great in small portions, but maybe not in huge portions), and I justify it by thinking that we have to get all of these other things done before the baby comes.  While that's true, I realized in the last couple of days that we're only going to be a family of four for a couple more months.  I need to soak up my "baby girls" during this time, because their world is going to be rocked when Little Sister arrives.  *sigh*  When did my baby girls become big girls?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

twinkle TWINkle

I'm sure every child achieves this milestone at a different time, but one of the happiest parts of my days right now is that Hadley and Leila have started singing.  Tony and I sing all the time, and they watch movies with songs in them, so they've picked up a lot of songs, but right now all they really like to sing by themselves is "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star".

The problem with this age is that the girls understand the concept of the camera and run around to my side of the camera as soon as they see it, to see the pictures.  So it's really hard to catch them in a moment where they're willing to be the subjects.  That's why this video was taken on my camera phone, and it's the best I've gotten so far.

(Two side notes: please ignore the missing buckle on Hadley's seat.  And if you're willing to come help us look for it, we'd be grateful.  :)  Also, yes, Hadley is teething, as you can see by her chewing on her strap.)

On a related note, can anybody tell me when you can tell if your child will be able to carry a tune?  Right now it's not looking so good.  :)  But it's a joyful noise anyway!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

31 Weeks

Another few weeks has come and gone ... only just over 8 weeks to go!  And that's IF I get to my due date.  I'm assuming that, since Baby has been measuring big this whole time, that she'll come a little early.  But either way is fine with me.

For those of you who are wondering about my health after last week's drama, Baby and I are both doing great!  It's like nothing happened.  We couldn't be more thankful.

We've been spending Labor Day weekend at home.  This morning, we were surprised to see that the hot air balloons from the annual festival were floating right past our backyard!  The twins LOVED them -- they were yelling and jumping, and we stayed outside much longer in the fall weather than we should have, in our pajamas and bare feet.  Also this weekend, Tony's been refinishing a dresser that will go in Hadley and Leila's room, and after that, we're done with the "big" projects that need to get done before Baby comes.  Though, I've still got lots of decor projects in mind!  I'll be sure to do a blog on both of the kids' rooms when I get them done.

Enjoy your extra day off, if you get one!

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Morning At The Hospital

As always, I want to keep a record of our family on the blog, so that we can reminisce about those moments when we've nearly forgotten about them. So, even though many of you who read this already know what I'm going to say, I'm going to write this for the permanent record now.

(Yes, I did blur some of this information. I have no idea what pieces would be needed to invade my privacy.) :)

I'm 30 weeks pregnant, and yesterday morning, my left hand went numb. It spread to the wrist, stayed that way for about 10 minutes, and then left. I quickly asked Dr. Google :), which said that it's not unusual for pregnant women to have nerve compression during pregnancy for a variety of reasons. So, I went on with my day -- visiting my parents at their house. While there, I started getting a migraine, which is not unusual for me. My migraines include seeing big bright spots of light before the actual pain comes, which I did get, but also dismissed as normal. I took some headache medicine and moved on. Then, about an hour later, my right arm, up to the elbow, went numb, and again stayed that way for about 10 minutes.

Since it was a weekend, I just made a mental note to call my doctor in the morning. Before I could call this morning, I started having some 'bloody show' (won't go into too many details!). So, I called right away, and based on my past 24 hours of symptoms, was directed to go to the hospital right away for monitoring. Tony came home from work, we dropped of the twins at my sister's (thanks, Becky!), I had two contractions on the way to the hospital, and that's when I lost it. I was scared to death, and unreasonably guilty, blaming myself too soon for having a body that can't carry babies full-term.

Once we got to the hospital, though, the whole tide seemed to change. (It's no coincidence that we had dozens of people praying for us by now!) I was hooked to a fetal monitor for 30 minutes, with only one small contraction during that whole time. Baby was moving normally and actively. Lastly, we had an ultrasound to look at my cervix and placenta, which both looked totally normal. (We also got to see Baby Girl's face, which was a nice little boost in our day! No pictures, though -- sorry.)

Regarding the numbness, it is probably migraine-related or pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel. It should go away after the baby comes. And nobody we talked to has an explanation for the bloody show. Just a pregnancy mystery! (And answered prayer, of course.) Thank you for your prayers and support! We're thankful to be back into "monotony".

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Things I'm Thankful For In This Moment

(in no particular order)

* The smell of my new Paula Deen Mango Chutney 3-wick candle (which I got for $3!)
* Children who played happily and didn't interrupt at all while I made my grocery / coupon list this morning
* Children who are laying down for their naps but who are currently talking across the hallway (and two closed doors) to each other :)
* The little body parts that I can see moving around in my belly
* An unplanned visit from my parents yesterday (which also meant that I got to see my sister)
* Tony. And if that's not self-explanatory, I'll add "a husband who loves his job, his wife, his children, his hobbies ... and doesn't mind working nearly every evening on 'baby projects'."

... and a million more. But I also have a million things to do, so I'll close. What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

In Which I Complain

I thought this pregnancy would be easier.

It's not high risk, and I'm not carrying twice the amount of baby that a normal pregnant woman does.

Here's what I think I forgot to factor in: during my last trimester, I was on bed rest with the twins. It's not too hard to lug around a baby belly if you're on the couch! Also, this time around, I have the twins to chase WHILE lugging around the belly.

I'm currently at ~30 weeks, so I feel like immobility and exhaustion this time around are setting in too soon. Not to mention rib-kicking. :) Yesterday, I had Braxton-Hicks contractions about every 10 minutes (sometimes more) if I was on my feet, which scared me to death. I cried when Tony got home because I don't feel like resting is an option with 2-year-old twins. Just attending to their basic needs earns about five minutes of rest at a time.

But how can you complain when you look at those faces? :)

Anyway, as fate would have it, the girls got out of bed somewhere around six times before they fell asleep last night. Which means even evening wasn't very restful. Then, for whatever reason, they woke up three times in the night. (Both of those things are incredibly unusual, and I'm hoping they don't become a habit.)

On the bright side, their restless night means that they're still sleeping at 8:15 am, and I'm taking advantage of a little quiet time to have some "me" time. And, for you worriers, I'm going to call my doctor if those B-H contractions continue into today.

Here's to a better day / week / month / trimester! :)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

28 Weeks

Hello, third trimester!
I haven't compared belly sizes of the last few belly shots, but I can officially say that I'm not bigger than the twin pregnancy anymore. Which is a relief. But baby girl did reach my ribs recently, so I'm still uncomfortable. :)
Speaking of my first pregnancy, I went on bed rest with the twins at 28 weeks, so I've been thinking a lot about that recently. I'm so thankful to be experiencing a normal, healthy pregnancy. On the other hand, I wouldn't mind being told that I HAD to spend my time on the couch for a while! I can't say I'm looking forward to lugging around a full-term baby belly while chasing the twins in a month or two!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Twin Beds / Bed Twins

We moved Hadley and Leila to "big girl beds" this weekend. I was nervous, since I really enjoy my sleep! We're using two borrowed bed rails, and two pool noodles under the sheets, just to prevent falling out in the middle of the night. This is the picture I posted on Facebook on the first night.

"What we're doing right now ... and it's going as well as it looks. First night in "big girl" beds!"

It took the twins about 1 1/2 hours to settle down that first night. They got out of their beds three times, figured out how to open door knobs, and poor Hadley finally fell asleep on the inside of the door while trying her hardest to be a good partner in crime to Leila. But there was no crying, and after we settled them in the last time, they slept until 6 am.

On night two, they were exhausted from the night before PLUS being out of the house all day with terrible naps, so they feel asleep right away and slept for 11 hours. I didn't even check on them.

Last night, Leila got up right after we shut the door, played with the door knob for a few minutes, and then we didn't hear anything else. A couple of hours later, as Tony and I were getting ready for bed, I went in to check on them -- I wanted to make sure that Leila hadn't fallen asleep on the floor. Sure enough, Leila's bed was empty, but she wasn't where I expected! This is the scene that I found -- both girls asleep in Hadley's bed.

I'm sure you can't even imagine the size that my heart swelled to when I saw them sleeping together like this. They haven't slept in the same bed as each other since they were three months old -- I didn't even think they would want to! They slept together all night, and got up at 6:30 this morning.

Now, I just have to figure out how to get them to sleep a little later. :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

It's A Slippery Slope

We just ended a lovely couple of weekends with Tony's family, who were here on their annual vacation. We're always sad to see them go. Hadley and Leila really enjoyed their grandparents, uncle, aunt, and cousins as well. They learned all of their names and played hard, all day, every day. I'm expecting some long naps as they recover!

Here's a video from a couple of weeks ago that I've been meaning to share. Here's the transcript:
Hadley: (fake) Ow!
Leila: You okay, ya ya? (I don't know what that last word is.)
Both: *laughter*
...and repeat...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

24 Weeks

Here's a look at baby girl and I at 24 weeks!

I can't decide if I've forgotten how active babies are in the womb, or if this one is crazy active compared to the twins (or if the twins would have moved around this much if they had any space to move around!). Anyway, little gal moves around a ton -- sometimes for several hours at a time. I'm sure I'll miss it when she's born!