Friday, December 29, 2017

Twin Preggo Life

As Christmas Eve I was 20 weeks pregnant with these two little babies. This twins pregnancy is everything like I expected (all the bagels, constant need to pee, maternity clothes, restless legs and pregnancy insomnia from the others) and nothing like I expected (nausea, and double all the symptoms I usually get). I've heard that twins pregnancies aren't two for the price of one, but rather two at once, and I can see why people say that. Thankfully I've had it pretty easy - tired and sore, but still very able to function. Of course, sometimes I need a nap to function, but that is pretty normal, pregnancy aside. I still love being pregnant - but man, it's work!

Both kids arms resting on the baby belly

Starting about two weeks ago I began to feel the babies - at first, it felt like it was just one baby, but this past week it's started to feel like two babies worth of movement. Still only felt on the inside but starting to feel mild tremors from the outside. This is always one of my favorite times - the movement feels like a little secret friendship between me and the babies. Weird to think it's with two though!

This, except double the babies.

So anyway, we haven't been sure on what sex the babies will be. At my first obstetricians apt we looked at the babies and one was shy but she could see that there was probably for sure a girl (and maybe a boy). At my next obstetricians apt last week she was pretty sure she was seeing a boy (and wasn't sure on the other). This helped me have time to adjust to this new possible reality. I'm used to girls. I have two. I watch my friends and sister parent boys and it always intimidated me. I have the clothes, I have the diaper cleaning down, I am used to it. More than that I grew up with only a sister. I don't really have experience of what it's like growing up with a brother. I love having a sister-best-friend and it was tripping me up that maybe the twins wouldn't have that. Anyways, silly fears but there they were.

In the past couple weeks people have been so encouraging about boy/girl twins - even ones that didn't know I was thinking about that. Most of the people I know though, with boy/girl twins, are still in the under 5 stage. I haven't heard about what it's like once they aren't babies anymore. On my weekly visit at my Mom's care home, one of the executives came up to me. She told me that she has 15 year old boy/girl twins and that it is the best. She said that it was such a gift because they always have similar interests and developmental stations, but also have diversity in their interests. They are able to be in the same classes, since there isn't a worry about them needing to have individual friends. They are both really good at relating to the opposite sex because of their twin relationship. She talked for almost 15 minutes telling me how awesome it is. The conversation felt like such a gift from God at just the right time.

We still didn't know for sure though. But now I can confirm, as of this past Friday, the 22nd, the ultrasound confirmed that I am carrying a girl and a boy! My sister and I arrived at 1:30 and didn't leave until 4:30. 2 and a half hours of that was straight ultrasound - lots to cover in a detailed ultrasound with twins! This will be the base marker going forward - every month we will have an ultrasound to see how they are growing and it will be measured from these scans.  The babies were very cooperative though and showed all their vitals - they are doing great. Thank goodness.

I didn't expect this anxiety. I didn't have it with the other two pregnancies. But knowing this is a higher risk pregnancy (just because it's twins) definitely is on my mind more than I expected. I am not overly scared on a daily basis, but it's always so so very reassuring when I get to see the babies in an ultrasound. I'm thankful that with twins pregnancies you get monthly ultrasounds (plus when I see my obstetrician she does a mini ultrasound each time - currently those are monthly also, but later will be more). It's so helpful for my heart.

Right now I'm 20 weeks but measuring at 28 weeks - I am so curious how this belly will grow! How big will I be? How big will the babies be? When will they come? They say most twins come between 34 weeks and 37 weeks - they could obviously come earlier but most likely in that window. So most likely sometime in April. I'm 5 weeks from viability, but I'm just praying we make it to 34 weeks (which would be exactly April Fools Day). Basically, there are some certainties (my doctor says they don't like to let twins go past 37 weeks, so we know they'll come by the end of April. Other than that there isn't much that I feel like I know - will I be able to deliver them naturally or will I need a C Section? Will they be premie or full term? Will I be on bed rest at all near the end? Will 4 kids, 3 and under, be as crazy as I imagine or crazier? Either way - I know we're supported and loved and so excited to meet these little babies.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Grief, and other midnight thoughts

It's 4am and I have been awake since 3am. I left my family dinner early while everyone was still hanging out because I was so very tired (like too tired for a social interaction, so that's obviously exhausted in my world since we all know I usually derive great life from social interactions). Paul packed up the kids for me, so I could take them home to bed with me with minimal effort, and he could stay and be with my family (so thankful for a husband that is willing to step in, AND wants to be with my family). I slept soundly at first but then woke to pee (#preggolife) and my brain will not shut off. It finally hit me that I was composing blog posts in my brain and probably wouldn't sleep until I wrote it all out. The thoughts were swirling in my mind and I couldn't rest until I released them. So here we are. 4am, on my couch, in my nightgown and robe, the room only lit by Christmas lights, blogging. 


I haven't written about my mom in a while. Sometimes it feels like there isn't anything to say. She's still alive and still dying. People don't know how to ask about her because there isn't much to tell - and if I barely know what to say about it, then what more could they say? A family member at Christmas Dinner asked how she was doing, and as we talked he made a comment that stuck with me. He said that we were slowly saying goodbye. What stuck with me wasn't the reality of the comment, but what it made me feel. I don't feel like I'm slowly saying goodbye. That was years ago. We have been slowly saying goodbye for so dang long. At this stage I feel like I've said goodbye, this woman I visit every week is in no way the mother I grew up with. This woman I visit every week is not even the woman I got to know at the beginning of this disease. This woman is someone entirely different that I don't know at all, whom I see every single week and don't know any better. I've said goodbye - there's nothing left to say - she doesn't understand my words anyway. At this point, the goodbye's have been said, and there is this...purgatory. This waiting. 

You know when you run into someone at the grocery store who you know but aren't like THAT close with and you say hi and make awkward small talk and then go your separate ways, only to run into them like 7 more times in the store in different sections of the store? At first, you make more polite conversation, then it's a nod or acknowledgment of sometimes, and often by the end, it's easier to turn around and go the opposite way when you see them heading down your aisle. It feels a lot like that but with a bunch of guilt and sorrow. 


We had a care conference for my Mom about a month ago. This is when the staff all sit down, with the family members present, to review the patient and make a plan for the coming year, after reviewing where we are. My Dad and sister are great at being able to separate their emotion in that moment so that they can engage with what the doctors, therapists, nurses, and dietician are all saying without the emotion overwhelming them. This time I was unable to do that (again #preggoproblems). Thankfully there was tissue nearby as it was all I could do not to break down. During that meeting, the doctor and head nurse both took time in their reports to note for the file, and to us as the family, how special and rare and important our family involvement is. They said they haven't often seen family that loves someone so well, so regularly. It caught me off guard. I so often feel guilty that I only visit her once a week, and that I feel such relief when I need to be away on a Thursday and get to cancel. What sort of person would feel that? (that's the lie in my head). But then I am reminded of the reality that most of these residents don't have their kids and spouse visiting them every day, that I don't even see my healthy family every week. That it's something not ordinary to do what we do. The truth tried to emerge in my heart - I know it means something to be there with her even though it's harder than hiding - but the lies sound so much truer and are so loud. It's so much easier to believe that I am not doing enough, not loving enough, not right for this situation. As the reality and emotion sunk in for me, my Dad said in response to the Doctor and Nurse, "it's what anyone should do." And of course, he's right. Family should be there. But it's also true that this is the hardest thing I do in my life, and I'm pregnant with twins, working part time and staying part time home with a baby and a toddler. Those are some pretty demanding things. And yet this weekly visit is the hardest thing. I felt like it needed to be noted in the conference that yes, family should do this but not everyone knows how to push through and be there - it's not easy - and I'm not sure what it would look like in our family without God. I'm definitely sure I don't want to know what it looks like without Him. 

I visit my Mom every week for my Dad and sister. There's definitely a part of me that does it for my Mom - but really I could probably live with that guilt - I couldn't live with the guilt of leaving the burden of care for my Mom on my Dad and Jenna. So I go. I often think that motivation disqualifies me from being loving to my Mom, but I feel like God has been reminding me lately that it's still a motivation of love. Our actions and motivations matter - and what is true is each week I keep showing up. That counts. 


My Mom turned 64 on December 18th. As the years have progressed, birthdays get harder and more awkward. How do you celebrate? Are you even celebrating or merely marking the progression of time? When she turned 60 we threw her a big party in Port Alberni - she was still able to walk on her own decently, and engage, but the decline was very near. This year she was wheelchair bound, unable to do anything (as she has been for the past couple years). I was dreading this day. Our family was to meet at my Mom's residence with husbands and kids in tow (boy do the kids help in moments like this) and it just felt so forced. Then as we gathered, a breath of fresh air rushed in. Jinky.

My Dad pays for companions for my Mom for the times we can't be there. He visits most days, often twice. My sister and I each visit weekly. My mom's need for social care is larger than all of that - she needs at least three visits a day - we've noticed that she doesn't get as upset as she used to when there are people there in the morning, afternoon and evening. This was something as a family that we could not sustain (and we don't have a huge network here of people who know my mom since we moved a few years into her disease). My Dad pays for a few lovely women to visit with my mom. Most of the people we knew through church, but one woman (Jinky) came through an agency. She loves my mom just the way she is. She delights in my Mom. My Dad always said this but it wasn't until I witnessed it that I understood. She truly seems to enjoy her time with my Mom. 

On this Sunday morning, she was not paid to be there. She chose to come down to my Mom's place to celebrate my Mom. She brought cake and orange juice for our families. She brought gifts for my mom that were perfect. She came in singing a birthday song I had never heard before, laughing and talking. She braided mom's hair and made the moment feel like a celebration. Somehow Mom actually was able to engage - she was awake and smiling and aware. There were still hard moments but something shifted for that visit and it felt like a gift. 


Gift giving. As I grew up this was a source of growth in my relationship with my Mom. Having an almost Christmas Birthday meant she spent years having combined Birthday/Christmas gifts, so as an adult her rule was that we had to get her two separate and great gifts. Pressure! As I grew into being a teenager and later adulthood I started to understand my mom well enough to do this with great success. And then the disease really took over and everything changed. The woman I'd spent years learning was no longer there, and now the gifts needed to be entirely different. Come this year, I hadn't even bought her a gift because I don't even know where to begin, and I see how much of her stuff just sits unused in her room. I love that Jinky knew what to get my mom (slippers and a cozy blanket to match in dusty rose colors - my Mom's favorite). I also, finally, feel comfortable not working so hard to get my Mom a gift, knowing that time with her, and care for my Dad are two gifts I can give. 

Almost every year for my Mom's birthday we went to Chemainus Theatre to see a play or musical - my Mom loved this. It felt special and festive; she LOVED experiences. This year for my Dad's Christmas gift Jenna and I bought us tickets to Cirque du Soleil Kurious. My mom would have loved it, and it felt so special for the three of us to go just before Christmas together. I LOVED the show - it was better than I'd hoped for, and it was such a nice gift for my heart. It felt like all those normal years, just before Christmas, making a special moment. It felt like a gift for Mom, or in honor of Mom, as much as a gift for Dad. 


Sometimes I avoid writing about my Mom because I avoid thinking about my Mom and often avoid talking about her. Sometimes it's easier to not acknowledge it. Sometimes there isn't much left to say. Sometimes I just don't want to bore people with the same update, with the same feelings. Maybe they aren't bored and I am reading their expressions wrong, I'm sure it's often care. But it still feels like I don't want to put this on people. It's really brings down a party. And honestly, while it is hard and makes me sad at times, its not all the time. Most of my life is pretty great. 

This journey is constantly reminding me of my need for God. There are so many ugly emotions that this evokes, so many real and honest emotions this evokes. There are good things and bad things and all of it needs to be held in tension somehow. One of the truest things in my relationship with God is that so much of it is about tensions. Pastor Greg is always talking about this, it feels like. How so much of our faith is holding two seemingly opposite and true things together and being ok in the middle of it. When I face hard tensions in life, there is comfort in knowing that God is a God of tensions and He can handle the extremes. There is peace in knowing that the range of my emotions on this subject are held in tension with God. I can go to Him in all of them. There is peace knowing that I am not condemned or rewarded in my thoughts and actions here - I try to be obedient and loving, yes, but that isn't my salvation or my condemnation. My salvation is already sorted. This is part of living that out - of trying to be Christ-like in the midst of the reality of every day - the good and the bad. 


And with that, it it's just after 5am and my brain is finally settling down. Maybe sleep will come now. My dear husband has already agreed to take the morning with the girls and let me sleep - lets see if my pregnant body also agrees :)

Monday, November 6, 2017


I have been mulling over thoughts on parenting lately. This feels like a minefield! So many opinions. So many ways of thinking. So much room for misperception or judgment. Even the mere thought of writing about motherhood is enough to make me question if I REALLY want to open this can of worms online. Before I continue it is important to note that my beliefs for my life with kids are just that, about MY LIFE. This isn't to say you need to do it like me, or that I think my way is right. It's just right for me. If you chose to stay at home because that fulfills you, awesome! If you chose to work full time because that fulfills you, awesome! If you chose to send your older kids to daycare during your mat leave so you get to bond with your newborn, awesome! Whatever you do, great. I just know what works for me and my family, tied with the fact that we live in an expensive city and there are some realities we need to work around :) Some of you live far from your "villages" or families and that is a reality - there is no judgement if you can't raise your kids in a village because of circumstances or choice. With that said...

First week home with 2 kiddos

I have found that as a Mom there is so much external pressure; almost all of it is well-meaning (I have to assume it's well-meaning, or that's just discouraging). As a Mom/Women I have some very strong convictions on balancing priorities: work / church / parenting / self-care / marriage / other responsibilities. This is something I read a lot about, think/pray a lot about, talk/listen with others about, and talk/pray with Paul about. 

Friday, October 27, 2017

Morgan Family Photos 2017

For many years now, my dear friend Laura has been capturing my families moments and growth for many many years. Each time she does a wonderful job, and this time was no different. Except, that this really was her best work. I was so impressed. She has created a new photography style that is magical. It was a pleasure to work with her and see the results of her work.

I don't need to say much more about these photos - they really speak for themselves - cause she's amazing. Thanks, Laura!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Morgan Babies #3 and #4!

As the title implies, this is a baby announcement. And not just any baby announcement, but a twins baby announcement. Shocked? I know that we were!

Monday, October 9, 2017

A long time coming

Tonight I made Turkey Noodle Soup for the first time in years and it wasn't tasting exactly how I had hoped so I was searching my blog archives to find the amazing Turkey Noodle Soup I had made in 2013. I eventually found it but along the way I saw that I'd written 100-200 posts most years, until kids came along. Through pregnancy with Avie I was steady but then baby came and bam, it cuts way down. Heck this year alone I've written 3 times. It's October. That's pretty terrible. Ironically, I still think about blog posts, still write them in my mind, but between babies and working and having a life I can't seem to sit down and write. I miss it so much though. I miss rereading what has gone on in my life, I miss working through my thoughts and feelings online, I just miss all of it. So here I am. Turkey soup on the stove, a turkey sandwich in my belly and some blog thoughts swirling in my brain. I should be heading to bed, but I feel delighted to carve out a moment to write, to think, for myself. 

- I most recently blogged about Avelynn's closet bed and I'd like to happily report that it's working out super well. We had B in there for a while but now we have moved Avie over and it's perfect. I can easily open the baby gate and let her crawl in and I can also lay next to her easily - this was not so true in the crib :) Also B prefers the crib - she is sleeping better. It's been a win win. 

- I am falling more and more in love with my home with each passing day. Considering I so begrudged our having to move at all, let alone while I was pregnant, with a toddler, and working full time, into a home that cost almost double what we were paying. But I am now officially in love and can see how this house has suited us better in almost every way. It is such a blessing in so many ways and I am so thankful for it. Our bathtub fits our whole family, which makes for fun bath times. The family room and kitchen are attached so the girls can play and I can cook without worrying about them. Doors close strategically so that toddlers can't escape. The kitchen is big and beautiful and functional. The yard is great for kids. Over and over again I am thankful for this space. It fits my big, loud extended family, it separates out living spaces so privacy is possible even in groups. It's beautiful. 

- I am working 17 hours a week at my church and loving it. It's my dream job. I think that's the only reason I'm ok with blogging less - I know that my job is the thing that takes me away the most and I so love it. I never knew I could find a job so fulfilling. People talked about jobs in a certain way but it always alluded me, until now. I'm so thankful for it. I feel capable there, and like I make a difference. That's a pretty great combo. 

- I have been reading the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon once a year since I was 16, long before it was fashionable (or possibly appropriate for me to be reading). When I heard it was being made into a TV series I was excited and a bit nervous. Glad it wasn't a movie, a TV show made the most sense. Then it came out and the first season/book is a bit dark so it's taken me a while to watch it. Thankfully Paul ended up loving it, so we've been watching it together. Normally we binge any Netflix show but we've taken our time and it's been really enjoyable. We're finally into the second season now. But in real time, the third season/book has been coming out and it's one of my favorites. Plus one of my closest friends has been watching it now and I keep wanting to talk with her about it. So I have been watching season 2 with Paul, and also watching season 3 on the sly (with permission). It's been fun, to do both. And I'll say, most of the casting and story telling is spot on for the book, despite the fact that it couldn't be identical, nor should it. I love holding that in tension - that books and movies/tv can't be the same. It wouldn't work. Books, especially Outlander books, are huge. You can't capture it all - but you can capture the spirit of it. They have done that beautifully. 

And now I should go to bed. I work tomorrow and normally have Paul to help me get the kids off to my sisters for the day, but he's got a shift of work that starts early. I need to be on my A game to a toddler and 10 month old fed and out the door by 8:20am. Here's praying that they sleep all night - dear Lord!

Friday, June 30, 2017

DIY Closet Bed

The world of blogging is full picture perfect DIY's and best laid plans. I had this dream of a closet bed for Avie - I even blogged about it. Then I did it and it exceeded my expectations. I picked fabrics and made pillows. I was so proud - sewing them at 9 months (and 3 days) pregnant. I loved them. I loved it. LOVED IT. Look, it's so pretty! And picture worthy. 

Pigtails and face pillows

Turns out Avie liked it too - so much that she pulled the faces off of both the pillows. Now it's a creepy white circle and a strange gray swirly pillow with lips. Plus she wouldn't sleep in it. It was too short. She's tall like Paul. So basically, the toddler ripped the faces off the cute pillows and wouldn't sleep in it. So yeah #pinterestfail. BUT the bed itself is great, and we added a safety gate to the front so it's a nice small crib with a sweet netting and garland on top.

Then the more we were thinking about it we realized that Avie is already sleeping funny and it didn't make sense to transition her from her crib bed  - she's not escaping from it and it's good to have her contained. Bailey needed to move into Avie's room, so we decided to move Bailey into the closet bed. It's been amazing. They are in the same room (and NO ONE BUT US IS IN OUR ROOM) and it's going well - they are in the same room but not on top of each other. It's slightly darker for B and Avie, the picky sleeper, gets to keep her regular bed. It was a stroke of genius. So so happy. 

Also they've been sharing a room now for 5 nights. It's been touch and go at times but mostly they've slept through the night #praisethelord. The only night they didn't was the night it was 31 degrees, the electricity turned off so the fans didn't work, and then the electricity turned back on and scared the girls. Rough night. We're good now though. Plus it's less hot. So that helps. 

And...on the plus side of all of this. I used the many many pillows that I'd made for the bed (and obviously weren't safe for a baby bed) and created a cozy sitting space in the bedroom for reading stories with Avie. 
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Monday, June 5, 2017

B's Birth Story

Last time it took me a month to write out my birth story - this time little B baby is just a day old and I'm already keen to get it written out, which goes to show you how different the two labours were (and how different it is to have a second baby)! My first labour was 4 days of labour, my second was 2 days. 20 minutes of pushing the first time, 8 minutes this time. The first time the pain felt it would last forever, as the days continued. This time, it all felt manageable and ordered somehow. From start to finish, this labour was proof that the second birth is often easier. Let me tell you about it.

Edited to add: Ironically, I am only now finishing this a month after little B made her way into our lives. Started out so strong, haha. 

Edited to add again: even worse, I finished the post but then took 4.5 months to get the photos uploaded to post #lifewithtwokids #momlife

My due date was Sunday, December 11th. Not much happened in the days following my due date. My Auntie Sandy came on Thursday the 8th. She was amazing. She cooked our dinners and took care of Avie in the day so I could work and rest. It was amazing. I felt so loved and cared for. During this time I had steady Braxton Hicks but no real contractions. Then on Friday the 16th I woke up with contractions about 10 minutes apart. Throughout the day they continued this way. Sandy left by 2pm, and I was scheduled to pick up Paul's mom at 3pm at the airport. Only an hour without additional help. Thankfully around 2:30pm Paul's sister Katie appeared to help, which I was most thankful for with the contractions continuing. We drove to the airport to pick Nancy up. Then we picked up Paul. We headed out for hearty German food for Paul's bday. We enjoyed schnitzel and spaetzle, beer and wine (non-alcoholic beer for me), through contractions, still 10 minutes apart. Eventually, we headed home and I was able to sleep all night. Contractions were 10 minutes apart through the night but not so painful that I couldn't sleep through them. It was only when I would wake up to pee that I would notice the contractions.

Out at dinner - last pregnancy selfie!

Cuddles after dinner with my first born

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Bailey's Newborn Photoshoot

I have a really talented friend, and a really cute baby. When these two things collide it makes for a great photoshoot and some fabulous pictures. These were taken when Bailey was just 10 days old. 

Avie and Bailey

The girls

Bailey and Dad - also Bailey looks like an old man here

Sweet sweet Bailey

Those hands!

Our new little family - two blondes, a beard and pigtails. 

So much love

Also! I blogged a while back about how to transition the room. So here we go - Avie's new floor bed in the closet. All the heart eyes. 

Avie in her big girl closet bed


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