Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Bonanza!

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you all have had the chance to spend time with family and loved ones this year and if you haven't yet maybe you will have that chance soon! We are very fortunate and have been celebrating with family for weeks now! We made hard candy early in December with Nana Jean and Grandma Winell and Aunt Abby all the little kids mostly just played with toys this year….next year we will have 3 two year olds and a 1 year old in the house so candy making will be fun fun! ;)

Uncle Jared brought Fitz a doughnut to munch on but Anders thought it was his for the taking so he just starting stealing off of Fitz's tray!

We also had an all day cookie baking extravaganza with my mom and sister and our munchkins. Trevor and Jenna were able to decorate this year which was fun to watch! They both had about 6-8 cookies that were designated as 'theirs' by the end of it because they were so 'beautifully decorated with saliva' ;) haha!

We also did some breads and puppy chow on our cookie making day. We've been informed by the committee (AKA: The boys) that next year we also need to include no bake cookies. Well our deal was that if the boys come along and watch the kids then maybe we'll add no bakes. Sounds like a fair deal to me!

Since the twins were only 1 month old last Christmas we didn't have to really 'celebrate' as an immediate family so this year felt more like their 1st real Christmas. Jared and I don't like to go overboard with gifts because we feel that gifts shouldn't be the main focus of Chirstmas but rather the birth of Christ. So with that in mind we try to stick to this plan:

Something you WANT
Something you NEED
Something you can WEAR
Something you can READ

We feel this is a great guideline for our family. I know that not everyone likes this plan but it's what we want to stick to.
This year because they are still so young we choose their 'wants' for them and got a blow up ball pit and push popper since they are walkers now!

They could care less about the clothes but I think what we got them are super cute outfits! Anders got little yellow corduroy pants and a blue and grey striped shirt. Joline got a cute navy dress with colorful hearts all over it and pink skinny jeans. Their books were more practical because I knew they were getting some fun ones from Grandmas and Grandpas so they got Calm-Down Time and Sharing Time by Elizabeth Verdick. We are working on both of these qualities right now. :D Their need gift was new silver wear for the table and splat mats for the floor because they are working on learning how to feed themselves with forks and spoons! Yikes. Most days this is a train wreck but I hope that we will make progress quickly.

I got an exercise ball for me and for them…they loved playing with Aunt Abby's when we were there so I decided to get one for us and it's a good tool for me to use too!

AND JW got me tickets to George Strait's farewell tour concert with Little Big Town in Auburn Hills on Valentine's Day!!! We don't go out very often and we really don't do overnights almost ever so this is a huge hit with me because what girl doesn't love date night?!

Well, off to tackle dinner with the twiners! Pray for me!? ;)

Blessings to you all as you ring in the new year!

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Life after 1

Here we are after reaching the 1 year milestone and I honestly feel like I just finished the marathon of a lifetime. There is something about that first year, a stigma, a fog, whatever, that calls to a first time mom and screams to her that she is in the race of her life to get them to 1 alive and relatively well rounded.

In this great land of the USA I think moms feel this pressure acutely. I think I told myself over and over that I wouldn't be one of 'those' moms who worries what other moms are saying or who pines over whether or not their children are reaching milestones at the proper times. But I can tell you that after a year I was that mom, I still am that mom, and I will probably struggle with this in many ways as we grow together as a family through the years. I'm not proud of that fact nor does it make me feel like less of a person it just happens when we least expect it.

As moms we desire to see our children thrive in all aspects and we want to get it right too. We want to be the mom who is a champion breastfeeder, the mom who can successfully make all her own baby foods from scratch, the chic mom who's son or daughter never looks unkept, or the mom who's child is completely content to sleep through the night or go down to sleep in perfect peace every time. Some of these things we will accomplish and some we just won't. It doesn't make us bad moms, it makes us who we are. We are families with flaws and when we are willing to forgive one another and to forgive ourselves for not reaching standards that perhaps we weren't meant to reach in the first place, then, just then, maybe life can happen. 

Of course I feel a sudden sense of freedom because I have reached some huge milestones in the lives of my twins.
-We conquered birth and the 'survival' stage of having premature, infant twins at home in the dead of winter. 
-I pumped my brains out and breastfed for 5 months to get what breast milk I could for them and when that didn't work I allowed myself to give them formula; not my original plan and it was devastating at first but it was the best thing I did for them and for me all around. 
-We figured out naps and scheduling of bottles and bedtime through a fog of sleeplessness. 
-We harvested and bought as much fresh produce as we could so that I could make baby food for them and it was A LOT of work but it was worth it and I'm glad I set that goal for myself-It's not for everyone so DO NOT feel bad if you choose not to. 
-We hired a 'nanny' -a helper that comes in twice a week for 5 hours at a time to help me get out of the house to run errands since I cannot drive due to my seizures. This was probably one of the biggest turning points for me. I can't tell you how much freedom it's given me to know that there are certain days every week that I can count on to get out of the house and see people (even if it's just the lady at the Meijer checkout)! haha! Sometimes we stay in but on those days I try to make the most of my nanny and let her take over the kiddos while I get stuff done around the house. I know she doesn't always feel like she's being useful to me but her extra eyes and hands are sometimes all I need to give my overworked mama brain a little break! :) 
-We cut out bottles one by one until finally just after their 11 month mark they were completely weaned! FREEDOM!! 
-They are both taking big steps towards being walkers! They will both take about 5-6  independent steps before a fall now but they improve a lot every day.

I don't make this list to make you focus on what I DID to say….'SEE you need to do it this way.' No, that's not my point at all. My point is, every mom does it just a little differently and its OK. Now, I'm not advocating that it's ok to do your own thing and not care for your child or only feed your kid ravioli from a can every night of his life. But you know what I mean. Let's be GOOD moms and let's not beat ourselves up because our kids don't look like they belong in a Pottery Barn Kids magazine cover or because they still have a hard time settling at bedtime (both of which my children struggle with daily). Let's keep working on things and praying through this journey of parenthood because it's God's strength and wisdom that will get us through even our toughest battles. 

"How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young-a place near your alter, O Lord Almighty, my King and my God." "O Lord Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you." 
Psalm 84: 1-3 & 12   

Sunday, November 24, 2013


This post is one year in the making. Some have taken to posting what they're thankful for everyday on Facebook and it's fun to read what everyone is thankful for but I have to be honest, I'm not very good at getting online every day or putting up a status update every day or even every week so when I contemplate what I'm thankful for I know exactly what it is.

I start with The Lord Jesus who washed me clean when I was 16 years old and has since been in the process of sanctifying me as I grow in Him. I am not a perfect person but I am His and in Him I am redeemed; without that none of what follows matters because He is the one who makes all that follows beautiful.

This year I am thankful for so many friends and family who held Jared and I in your thoughts and prayers over the course of 4 years of infertility. When we were broken and feeling isolated in our 'struggle' you held us up and encouraged us and gave us hope that no matter how it happened our dream to be parents would someday be a reality. Thank you.

Then when we finally found out that we would be parents you were there to scream and cheer for us, showering us with beautiful gifts and blessings beyond what we deserve. In addition, you cooked, cleaned, and again prayed us through 13 weeks of bed rest and in and out of hospital stays as we brought our little gifts home. Thank you.

I am thankful for the birth of my beautiful babies. Joline Alyse, you are spunky and smart and so full of life and I am so grateful for the energy that you bring to life.

Anders James, you are sweet and heartfelt and all boy with a curious spirit; I love watching you discover things.

I am thankful for my husband, who is always there, strong and steady and always willing to listen when I fall apart, which sometimes this past year was a lot! :) Oh how I am thankful for him! He is such a great dad and loves those kiddos with everything he's got and it is such a joy to watch him with them!

After we brought our little blessings home the help of friends and family didn't stop there you have continued to love, cook, pray, and support us as we fight through my battle with Epilepsy. Some of you have driven us many miles here and there and some have been listening ears when we needed to 'vent', some have watched babies while I had to have special tests done, some have even come over in the middle of the night to sit with the babies because I needed medical attention and not a word was said about it ever being a burden. Thank you doesn't seem adequate here. Jared and I have no words to say how much love we feel from all of you who have supported us through this past year.

 Today I can say that I am thankful for the struggles and the joys, the sleepless nights, the ups and downs of this past year. I am thankful because without it all I wouldn't be growing as a wife, mother, daughter & friend. I am a slow learner so thank you for your patience with me! ;) God gives us what we need every day to make every day count and some days I do well to make the most of that and honestly, other days I struggle to stay thankful but I am reminded all the time of the song "Lord I Need You" and the words...'I need you, every hour I need you, my one defense, my righteousness oh God how I need you.'

So I may stumble through this life and have ups and downs in this journey of thankfulness but I have so much to be thankful for and that is undeniable. Just this morning at church I was reminded of the verse in Hebrews 12:28 "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire." 
I do believe that God allows our lives to be 'shaken' here to remind us of the fact that this is not the kingdom we long for and we are not to get too comfortable here. We are to cling, by the strength He gives us, to the unshakeable in the midst of being shaken here; we will receive that unshakeable kingdom with Him in glory. I am so thankful for that. 

Tomorrow we celebrate the babies 1st birthday and what a beautiful day we had yesterday with friends and family. Here's a sneak peak:

SO as you celebrate thankfulness with your family this week and enjoy yummy food remember to be thankful for the trials that make us strong in addition to the victories that make us shout for joy! 


*Thank you to all of our talented friends behind the camera lens who have helped us capture this past year so that we will always remember these days no matter how crazy fuzzy the memories are in our brains! ;) Vision of Beauty, Stacie B. Photography & Kety Studios 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Marriage Challenge Day 11~ Hedges

What do you think of when you think of a hedge? Hedgehog, a bush, a barrier? Did you ever think about putting up hedges around your marriage as one of the most important things you can do to help your marriage survive and thrive?

Webster defines Hedge in many ways one of which I find particularly helpful in explaining what a hedge in marriage is.

Hedge: "The act of means of preventing complete loss of a bet, an argument, and investment or the like." 

Now, let's focus in on the fact that our marriage is an investment. It is something we put our whole self into seeking the greatest. We don't get married saying.... "I take you so that we can fall on our faces and choose not to try and fail completely." No, we say, things like "I take you in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad."

So what does it look like to put up a hedge around our marriage? First, we must believe that our marriage IS a valuable investment and it is precious. Realize that your actions to build strong hedges to protect your marriage is pleasing to God and he will bless it if you invite Him to lead the process!

Maybe you find yourselves running in opposite directions often, you don't eat dinner together anymore, life seems to be a constant fight, you or your husband work full time jobs, you watch too much TV, you are human! All of these are good reasons to think that we need hedges. (Especially that last one!) No marriage is immune to temptation so hedges are always necessary and always a good investment.

Here are some examples of hedges to get you started:
-Choose to stay away from movies/TV shows that encourage you or your spouse to lust after another.
-Make an effort to eat dinner together at least once or twice a week. (Start there and see if you can expand it as you go along)
-Share your thoughts and feelings with one another and choose not to share personal and emotional struggles with a person of the opposite sex unless it is with your spouse in a counseling setting. Women especially have to be careful not to become emotionally attached to other men. Sometimes we feel it's easy to share with a co-worker, someone at school, one of our kids teachers etc. but the truth is when we  share our hearts with these men and not our husbands we are putting our marriage under attack and we are conveying to our husband that he's not worth talking to. Maybe you've felt shut down by your husband in the past; pray first that his heart would be open to hearing what you have to say in a non-threatening way. Men often hear our problems and assume we're asking them to 'fix' something when sometimes all we really need is a listening ear-convey that to him.
-Making financial decisions together and not having 'his & her' money. Talk about your finances and become a team in handling the family's budget. Both sides may need education in this area there are wonderful resources for this. Dave Ramsey's tools are a great place to start.

'That's great, but my husband won't be on board with this!' If you feel like this is you then you can still make a plan to put hedges up on your end and tell your husband of your plans to protect your marriage then pray. Pray for yourself, that you would have the courage and wisdom to live out your faith and love for your husband in spite of obstacles and then pray for your husband that his heart would be softened by God's spirit and that he would see God's love for him and your love for him through your words and actions and get on board.

Verse: Proverbs 18:9-10
"One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys. The Name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe."

Yes, marriage is work sometimes but it is the most beautiful kind of work. If we are not willing to work at it we are destroying it. But we have hope that our God is our fortified tower, strong, never failing, and he will help us in the journey!

Blessings as you protect your marriage!

To see the full marriage challenge go to:

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

{Little Pumpkins! }

Our pumpkins are 11 months old!! Getting so big around here! We have had a busy October and we can hardly believe that it's almost November already.

The month was kicked off with a quick trip to the UP for Jared and I to see some color and have a short vacation without the kids since we haven't done that (or anything much for that matter) since they were born. It was a brisk trip as we stayed right on the shore of Lake Superior in Grand Marais. From there we went sight seeing during our days. It was beautiful. We went to Jared's favorite spot (Pretty Lake) to see if we could catch any fish but alas we didn't stay too long as it was cold and I didn't have a very good pole. I did catch some leaves! I guess that's something.

Pretty Lake

But let's rewind a little...before we got to Pretty lake we went in search of the famed "Tank Lake" that I've heard so much about. Hmm. I'm beginning to think this lake doesn't exist. ;) So you don't just drive to these places on main street like you do under the bridge; you have to go on 2 tracks with your trucks and 4 wheel drive and maps and make sure you don't get totally lost. So we didn't get totally lost! We only got a little lost and ended up taking a slightly wrong turn on one of the 2 tracks and ended up at Pratt Lake instead of Tank but decided to get out of the truck to follow a path that looked like it might lead to something... Here's a few shots from that. :)
As you can see this goes no where. :) We were driving down this path until there was a tree we couldn't avoid so we stopped and got out to walk a bit. 

Beautiful color was worth getting lost! 
So after we got lost and then went to Pretty Lake to fish and then back to Grand Marais for the remainder of the trip, all in all, it was a good trip. We saw some beautiful color and enjoyed a nice long weekend kid free. I can't wait to bring the kids there though, they will just love it! Here are some shots from the sunset we caught on Lake Superior. This was taken along the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore just south of Au Sable Lighthouse. It was stunning.

Scruffy and all mine! <3
So enough about that subject on to the babies! Who are turning out to be not so much babies anymore... :( They are 11 months old now and getting to be such big kids. They walk along everything and try to stand on their own but so far no one has done it yet without falling right away. Soon enough. Joline now has 3 teeth on bottom and 2 on top and Anders has 4 on top and 2 on bottom. They love food of all kinds. Both have successfully dropped the bedtime bottle! Yay! So we are just down to 3 small bottles before their meals and then they are learning to master the sippy cup with milk at meal times. Once they can hold their sippy cups better we will drop another bottle. They are growing so fast!

We went to pick out pumpkins on their 11 month b-day! :) It was pretty cold but they stayed warm and cozy.

Carving pumpkins with Papa & Nana Parcels' the next day. 

Not the best picture but it was the best of what we got! :) Jared's pumpkin didn't get carved yet.  :( Boo. 
In other news...

This past Sunday we finally got our latest cousin! Little Zuri Sophia Vanderson was born and Joline couldn't be happier to have another girl cousin to play with! So far The babies have not met their newest cousin so we will hopefully have pictures for you soon when that meeting occurs! I did get to see her and she is absolutely beautiful! Her mommy even had a pretty hair bow on her head and she was just as sweet as could be during our visit. Congratulations to Dan and Abby and Big brother Fitz!

Well that's all for now, we can't wait to share all of the happenings for their big first birthday coming up!! Happy November!

God Bless,

Sunday, October 06, 2013


So we are dropping the babies night time bottle this week. We have been in the process over the past month of slowly reducing the amount that they get at night and now we've finally dropped it completely. Tonight was technically night #2, however, last night was different because they fell asleep in the car and then were transferred to bed so I'm not really counting that one. :)

Normally at night we would wind them down with a wagon ride around the property, then have a bath and get PJs on followed by bottle and books and then right to bed. So tonight because we had night church we went to the service where the kids played in the cry room and then they had their baths and I let them have their sippy cups with just a tiny bit of water while we were reading books (they weren't too interested in the sippy which is fine with me.) After a few books we put them down. Anders was out like a light as usual; no problems there. Joline, on the other hand, was not too happy. She cried and cried. We went back up once to soothe and reassure her that we are still here and we love you but bed is where you need to be now. We have done this since day one by picking them up rocking them a few minutes (not to sleep-just until they calm down) and then laying them back in bed. Tonight she fought the rocking and was downright mad! Yikes. She is my type A girl and she knows that something is different about her night time routine. We try very hard not to do things exactly the same every night because we do not want them to get 'stuck' on doing things a certain way. I do believe that a healthy dose of change is good for kiddos so that they stay flexible. However, this is hard. I hated that she cried for a while and that it was so difficult for her. It reminded me of when we cut night time feedings back when they were only 2 months old. Then it took about 3 nights to break them of the routine of the feeding so we will see how long it takes for this to pass. I know that she will get there like all kids do and I know that she does not need the bottle because, as I said before, we have been weaning them down slowly over the last month and they have been down to practically nothing for a few days now and have had no trouble sleeping.

She is sleeping sound now and I am thankful. I love to see my little babes all cozy in their beds!

God Bless, Sleep tight

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Full FUN

Where did September go? It seems like this month absolutely flew by and I can't believe I'm already posting that the babies are 10 months old. We have had a full month here starting with birthday celebrations for Jared, Papa Dolph, and Dan. Papa Dolph turned 80 this year! What a blessing he is to us all and we are so thankful that God has given him to us! Thanks Papa for all the laughter and prayers and love you send our way!
Papa & Nana Dolph and the babies celebrating at Arnies in Rockford.
It's daddy's B-Day and we're ready to party! 
Then on to the middle of the month and we've been busy getting adjusted to cooler temps, prep for fall, getting to know our Nanny- Esther, and enjoying the fun of almost walking! These kiddos are everywhere! They pull themselves up onto every piece of furniture and walk along all the walls and cabinets to get to whatever it is they want. They pull their diapers out of the basket and have them all over the place. Playing with the drawers that don't have child latches on them (mommy needs these!) are a big hit right now. Oh and Teeth, we've gotten more teeth of course. Anders has 2 on bottom and 3 on top now and Joline has 2 on bottom and 2 on top. They both love brushing their teeth which makes mommy very happy!
Then we turned 10 months! Wow! I can't believe it.
Bright eyed and Bushy Tailed on the morning of their 10 month B-day! :) 

Big A. 
Miss Joline. 

This past week has been a busy one. I went to ArtPrize with my mom & dad while Jared stayed home with the kids because he has a deep fear of people. ;) lol Just kidding. Actually Anders wasn't feeling all that well so we let Jared stay home. Big crowds and cities aren't really his thing so he wasn't disappointed. :) We didn't get to see much because we went pretty late in the evening and by the time we made our way around the Ford museum, Rosa Parks Circle and The BOB areas we were hungry and it was dark so we stopped for a bite and then after tried to see a few indoor things but most of the venues were closing so we only got to see a few. Oh well. Maybe next year!
Dad & mom. Aren't they cute!?

Mom & me

lol my Fav. Just kidding! I think it was just fun. 

Fire breathing dragons oooh! :) It was super hot under that thing. Not really art as much as it was mechanics but that's just me thinking out loud. ;)

Live statue. He was kinda creepy but fun. The kids in the audience were having a blast with his ability to go long periods without blinking. This dude was a pro for sure. Fun! 

Wall of words. Loved this one. But I'm a word girl!

This one's for JW. His kind of art; it's made of grass, straw, mud, sticks...outdoor stuff. To top it all off he was propped up next to the river fishing. That's the kind of art Jared can appreciate! :) 
Then last night we celebrated my cousin Kevin's big day as he married his best friend and beautiful bride Emily! It was a beautiful ceremony and reception over looking Lake MI. Congrats to you both!

As we wrap up September and head into October we have much to look forward to. We are awaiting the arrival of another little one very soon. In the coming weeks we look forward to welcoming baby girl Vanderson to the family! Jared's sister, Abby is due very soon and we hope that she will not have to wait much longer! :) We are also looking forward to harvest parties and fall weather, pumpkins and all that comes with October.

Jared and I are hoping to get away for a quick trip to the U.P. just the two of us in the coming weeks to see the colors so we will see if that happens and when/if it does I will share pictures!

God Bless, Sleep Well,

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Breaking Your Own Rules

Well the time has come for me to break my own rules.... Don't freak, it's nothing serious! ;) Over the past (almost) 10 months with the twins I have been stuck to a schedule and a routine like no other. In my opinion, this is a necessity when raising infant twins. I do not know how we would have survived the first half of the year without set feeding times, or the whole of these past 10 months without set naps and consistent bedtimes and sleeping through the night. I am not a person who can run, run, run and then not sleep; I would be a monster!

But the time has come that one twin has started to pull away from 2 naps and while the other twin would be content to sleep as much as you let him, we are still trying to keep somewhat of a similar schedule for them both. SO how do you remedy this conundrum? I don't know. Honestly, I'm so clueless. I don't go to Mothers of Twins Clubs or chat online with other moms of multiples who have been where I am now and can tell me exactly what to do. The reality is that I have to learn to be flexible. I have to bend the rules and find what works. My rules. :)

So today instead of laying them down at their usual nap time around 10:15 I kept them up and fed them lunch around 11:15 and then their bottles at 11:30 (they normally get bottles at noon and then lunch right after) and laid them down right after bottles. They were falling apart eating their lunch and both were rubbing their eyes as they took their bottle but both went down good. My hope is that eventually we will be able to push lunch to a more normal time and then lay them down right after for a long afternoon nap. I don't expect that today's nap will be 3 hours, that would be awesome, but I have no idea if they will catch on right away to the one nap thing or not. How did you transition your kiddos to one nap?

We are also currently working on weaning the bedtime bottle so that they don't get 'attached' to that. They are doing awesome so far. We're down to 4oz and then we read books and then lay them down. So far so good. I think we will try next week to cut that 4oz and just give them their sippy cups to hold on to and suck on a little bit of liquid while we read books. Our pediatrician recommended that we replace the bottle with something familiar so we've chosen to do baths and books (not one specifically but all kinds) because these activities can, for the most part, be done at anyone's house and allow us to stay flexible with laying them down wherever we happen to be at bedtime. So far they are doing great going down at other houses in a pack n' play. We are very thankful for that. What do you do with your kiddos at bedtime?

So I will keep you posted on how this transition is going. I think more than anything I am learning so much and this process is teaching me so many things. Parenting has a way of showing you the most ugly things about yourself and then giving you the most beautiful gifts along the way. I recently saw a magazine cover that read "The life of Having It All Means Being Childless". I'm so glad that I don't "Have it All".

Friday, August 30, 2013

9 Months Already!?

Sippy cups, crawling, pulling up on furniture, fighting over toys, weaning from bottles, teeth teeth and more teeth, 9 months brings so much with it!

We are busy bees here and it is bound to get busier! This has been a full month for sure. The progression from 8 months to 9 has been a full leap and it seems in some ways they have jumped right out of the lap of 'baby hood' and into 'toddler hood'! ;) Was it the crawling or the teeth or the sudden interest in steps that did that?

Here are the stats from their Dr. Appointment: Joline is 28inches long and 18.7lbs. little lady has 2 teeth on bottom and getting 1 on top. She is still army crawling like a pro and loves to read books and watch Mokka run in the yard. So far she is not interested in the sippy cup but she at least tolerates it on her tray at meal times so here's hoping that she will put her mouth to it soon so we can start weaning off bottles sooner rather than later. :)

Anders..... is 29 inches long and 22.8lbs!! BIG boy! Nurse says she thinks he will be about 6'3'' or so. Jared is 6'4'' so that's not surprising. We'll see! He is crawling a real crawl all over and pulling up on everything; he even took some steps with his walker the other day! He's interested in everything big boy. He caught on to the sippy cup right away too. The kid loves to eat so that's no surprise. :) He has 2 teeth on the bottom and 2 coming on top. He still loves to be outside the most!

We had a lovely photo session with my cousin, owner of Vision of Beauty Photography, she does a fantastic job and we had a blast getting these shots. Thank you Lindy! You can view the pictures on her Facebook page here:

This weekend we are looking forward to a nice family get together with the Winells! Jared and the guys will golf in the morning to kick things off and then we will have a nice picnic in the afternoon on Sunday and hang out. Hopefully the weather will not be too sticky but just right. We do enjoy the warm weather but sticky is not our style! ;) I don't want to complain though because I am NOT ready for winter!!

So thankful for a Holiday week coming up. Although most everyone else will be going away camping and such we will be staying home but I am thankful to have my husband off this coming week so we can spend some much needed time at home and hopefully finish the baby gates and get things spruced up around here a little bit. These kiddos make it hard to stay on top of that job!

Monday, August 05, 2013


Finally finally some teeth are popping through!! We have had bouts of teething pains since around 4 months and I kept thinking...maybe this is it, and then nothing...UNTIL NOW! Both Anders and Joline have 2 teeth popping through on the bottom. They have been cranky, poopy, little stinkers for about a week and we have been up to our gums... in the Ora-jel and Tylenol. ;)

Today I can finally see the tops of those pearly whites. They are still too small to photograph but I will get some as soon as they are more visible.

Another development is that we are most definitely on the move now! Both are army crawling all over the place now and getting all over the living room/kitchen areas by themselves. A whole new world is opening up to them and my world is getting a lot crazier! But in all seriousness I'm super glad for this development because as crazy as it may sound, with twins, the development of movement and things that they can do on their own is a welcome relief for momma. This did present somewhat of a challenge only because we bought a house that isn't baby friendly at all in the area of stairs and railings but my super handy husband put his brain to the saw and worked up a fantastic baby gate for us!

  It still needs some sanding and staining but then it's complete. The netting is soft but firm so kiddos can't rip it or push through it. we also had to put the netting on our railings because our spindles are too far apart and rather than having to get out the saw to remove a head or something like that we just put the netting up. We have black accents throughout the house with the pine so that's why we choose the black netting. When the gate isn't being used it swings open and attaches to the wall so it's out of the way. We still have 2 more gates to build like this one but they shouldn't take long since this one only took about a day and now that we know what we're doing it will go fast. I'm so thankful that God gave me a husband who is a perfectionist when it comes to doing things the right way but also knows how to do all of these great home projects himself and doesn't mind my creative eye pitching in ideas. He even lets me help; what a guy! :)

In other news, we should be welcoming a new niece or nephew any day now! My sister and her husband are expecting their 3rd and he or she should be here very soon so we are anxiously awaiting the call. I cannot wait! I can't believe that my babies are already 8 months old and that my parents have 4-almost 5-grandbabies! Life goes so fast; why doesn't anyone tell you this!? Oh wait I think I was told I just didn't believe it. ;)

So until next time ~ Blessings!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Gadgets and Gizmos of Plenty

8 MONTHS!!! Wow, It's crazy that here they have been with us as long as I was pregnant. In some ways the pregnancy seemed to take so much longer and in other ways it seems like it has taken a lot longer to get to here with them along side of us. Either way, what an accomplishment for them and we couldn't be more thrilled!

So many new things are happening right now, they are getting their muscles and rocking and rolling all over the place and the race to crawl is on! They don't know they are in a race but Daddy and I have bets on who will be first. My bets are on Anders because he 'practices' more and is stronger but Jared says Joline because she's little and has less weight to move around and is flexible. We'll see. We need to come up with some terms for this bet...say dinner out for me or a new power tool for him?? ;)

This week we've been cleaning up and getting some things done around the house that have needed to be done for a long time. It feels so good to get things organized and put away that have been sitting in a corner since we moved in almost a year and a half ago. Its amazing how having 8 month olds who are a little more independent now is helpful for getting more done around the house. Soon they will be all over the place and we wanted to go through some of the house and 'baby proof' a few things too. We still have a lot to do in that area but I feel better already.

In addition to all that the babies are moving on to more sophisticated and 'big kid' stuff! Wow, how did that happen!? Last night we bought them a wagon. We went with the Radio Flyer Triple Play Deluxe.
First Wagon ride!! 

They absolutely loved it and thanks to all those who gave us Toys R Us gift cards way back when the babies were born we were able to get this snazzy thing for only $12.00! :) Thank you! This will last a long long time. it has 3 child seats, cup holders, the sun shade, and a huge storage basket in the back that snaps up when your not using it. It goes great in the grass and not too bad even in our sandy soil. I'm sure it wouldn't do well at a beach but parks and bumpy trails no problem!

We've also moved on to better bibs and trays vs. the high chair tray. So they now sit in the high chairs pulled up to the table so they can munch along with us and they are enjoying everything we enjoy only smaller. So far we have not found anything they don't like to eat! These kiddos are hungry hungry hippos! For bibs we went with the Baby Bjorn Soft Bib because of their easy clean up and adjustable neck so theses things will last as long as the kids will need them and I love that they have a pouch at the bottom that is always open to catch stuff. I had been using cloth bibs with pouches but the pouch was no good because it didn't stay open so we ended up with stuff all over their laps and most of the time I had to strip them down to a diaper to eat. When you have 2 babies to be changing all the time that is not a fun way to spend your time. :) We also decided to save our table a little and get wipeable trays that can also go with us when we go out to eat so we went with Summer Infant Tiny Diners. These trays are wipeable, with suction cups on the underside so it doesn't slide around on the table, and it also has a pouch to catch food at the end. We love them and the babies are happy to sit at the table with us. I don't have a picture of this uploaded yet. Maybe next time.

I know you're probably, this girl spends a lot of money on her kids! But actually I got really good deals through Amazon on all of the above and because I have these things now I will save myself money in doing laundry with regular bibs and hopefully this will keep our table nicer for longer. :) So my logic is spend a little on things that will save you money in the long run. Thankfully, the bibs come in a 2 pack so of course I got generic colors! ;)

SO proud of my little kiddos and how big they are getting. It is all going so fast. Can't wait to see what changes will happen by next month! I'm sure they will be huge!

God bless, Sleep well,

Monday, July 08, 2013

Memory Machine!

Ok ok.... Here's the post you've been waiting for. The Memory Machine is the 1984 Starcraft T1000 truck camper Jared and I bought a couple of weeks ago. I know what you're thinking...."Are you crazy!?, What are you going to do with something that old?!, is it disgusting!?." Well the answers to your questions are finally here. No we're not crazy, we're going to camp with our retro, cool camper, and no it's not disgusting! :) So here are a couple of snapshots of the Memory Machine (we've affectionately named it that. ;))

Welcome! Here are the curtains my Mother in-law made for us! Isn't that a fun fabric!?

The chaos of cleaning it out. It's a "pop-up" style so there is canvas on the top half with a hard top. 

The kitchen has a stove, sink, fridge, and handy cupboards for storage.  Here's a view of the sink and stove after clean up. 

This stuff worked wonders on the wood work throughout. The eventual plan is to paint the wood panels but until then I wanted to spruce it up with what I already had on hand. Old English Scratch Cover for Dark Woods worked great! 
This is what all the cabinets and cupboards looked like before. Chipped, scratched, ugly. 



After. This is my spices & cans cupboard, it's awesome! I want one in my kitchen at home. Slides out and has just the right space for cans and spices.

I lined all the drawers with easy clean-up & pretty printed vinyl.  

Chest of drawers for clothes and storage. 
Now, The biggest question in this whole thing was how was I going to sleep 2, 7 month olds safely because it wasn't big enough to have 2 pack n' plays set up and the twins are not used to sleeping in the same crib so they had to be separated some how. They are used to sleeping in the same room so that wasn't an issue but separating them physically was a bit of a brain teaser.

This is what we came up with...
The Noodle Bed! 
Maybe you've seen the posts on Pinterest about using a pool noodle under a fitted sheet to keep a toddler from falling out of bed? Well, I thought how can we take these materials and make them baby safe and twin friendly? We decided to stack them 4 high on top of each other. Drilling holes into them, we stabilized them with wooden dowels and long bolts. Those bolts were then screwed into the table and bench seat under the cushions and the separators were secured to the wall via a bathroom curtain rod stuck into one of the noodles and then the connector was screwed into the wall just like it would be if it was being used for it's actual purpose. We had one pesky corner that stuck out funny so we cut one of the noodle pieces that we had left over and screwed that onto the wall to keep Anders from hitting his head on it. Voila! Baby bed via pool noodles! :) You know you want to sleep in that thing, look how much fun they're having! ;) Making memories for sure.

So that's the Memory Machine! I don't have more pictures right now because I forgot to get pics of the outside and our bed set up. But don't worry, I'm sure there will be more memories down the road documented.

In other news... WE HAVE EGGS!! Our chickens have laid 7 eggs today. This is our second round of chickens since Jared and I have been married (6 years this weekend!) The babies don't get it but Jared and I are pretty excited about having fresh eggs again. We've been without fresh eggs since last fall!

God bless, Sleep well,