Life on the crazy train

Trying to get off at the next stop…

So let me just say, life is CRAZY. I feel like I just paid for a one way ticket. But since we’ve had the twins – really since I was pregnant with them – we just sort of survived. Honestly, living like that daily BLOWS! I understand it’s a phase of life and we’ve had lots of fun as well but it’s still rough.

One thing I’ve always thrived off of is a clean work space. Well, now my house is the work space soooo not getting to the cleaning pretty much wrecked my world. But I’ve just gotten use to not being able to get to everything and I certainly don’t have large amount of hours to just clean anymore. The result: many things are left undone for a long time until we “get to them”.

Adding Miss Madison made it apparent that things needed to change. One thing I can’t stand more than anything were/are dirty floors. Our dog sheds so bad and it needs to be swept at least 2 times a week to make it bearable around here. But again, that never happened. The result: the clumps of dog hair and dust around. Great. It just felt so dirty. All the stinking time.

My therapist gave us an article to read about mental load and without going into super detail right now, it was so helpful to see how things at our house was really not functioning well for either of us. As a result, we instituted the following “schedule” that allows us to achieve household tasks daily so nothing (hopefully) seems super overwhelming. It’s not perfect but it helps us to know what we have prioritized as needing to get done that day. If I can’t get to the tasks during the day, then we tag team and get them done when the twins go to bed. It’s been so helpful.

Last week, when I was recovering from my surgery, we couldn’t get to anything besides the usual dishes and laundry (that’s a daily thing here). And even though I was ready for a more picked up house by the end of the week I wasn’t nearly as anxious because I knew we had this system in place to help us get back on track!

Saturday/Sunday
Linens freshened in rooms and bathrooms
Trash/Recycle Collection
General house pick up: counters, putting away things like laundry, rooms, etc
Bathe Dakota
Mowing
Grocery

Monday
Dusting and glass (lamps and surfaces)
Laundry – washing only
Getting boys ready for school

Tuesday
Floors – vacuum & swiffer
Laundry – folding only (put away as much as possible)
Kitchen cleaned

Wednesday
Trash collection
Bathrooms cleaned
Getting boys ready for school

Thursday
Laundry

Friday
Floors – swiffer & mop

Like I said, it’s not perfect but it definitely helps us maintain our home and our sanity a bit better! Hope this helps!

Rachel

When $20 makes you angry….

Bridesmaid dress shopping

So I’ve been thinking about this post for a week now…. Let me first tell want you that this might be a trigger for some of you. Then let me you I don’t take this post lightly. I don’t think I’ve ever been more angry about $20 in my life.

Let me begin….

Last Thursday was my DREADED dress fitting for my sister’s wedding. Now when I say dreaded I mean AWFUL. No one postpartum wants to be in a formal dress fitting at some bridesmaid dress boutique 8 weeks after having a baby. Let alone someone who gained 75 pounds in that pregnancy and still having complications from the delivery.

However, I was feeling pretty good that day. The scale showed 2.8lbs lost over the last week and well, I had to do this thing so might as well TRY to be okay with it.

When we arrived, the nerves set in. I just wanted to get in and out as soon as humanly possible. The lady doing my fitting was super nice. She gathered all the dresses for me that my sister had chosen and told me this was the ONLY size for each of these dresses. She didn’t tell me the size but talk about a RED FLAG. Instant worry. She told me that if the dress didn’t fit right that she would clip it for me if it was too big. 😂 I told her that’s probably not going to be necessary. I mean, she had to have known I wasn’t going to fit in the dresses but she was doing her usual thing and saying her usual stuff.

Sooooo, I got into the fitting area. I looked at the size of the dress – size 10. I’m usually a 10-12 but even my sister said the sizes ran small so I KNEW we were in TROUBLE. Like BIG TROUBLE. I tried putting on the first dress by stepping into it – uh that didn’t work. RED FLAG #2. I managed to wiggle it over my head and into my body. But it definitely didn’t fit right. I took one look in the mirror and I looked like an Umpa Lumpa. I told my sister she had to get into the fitting area because there is no way I’m looking into a mirror again or fitting into the rest of these dresses. She had to help me take the dress off. 😭

We tried on the second dress – the one she thought might be more flattering on me and it didn’t go past my shoulders. 😭 I literally had to hold it over my head so she could MAYBE see if it would work on my body 4 months from then. And it’s no slam at my sister, she was very kind and trying to keep me calm by reminding me I won’t look the same in 4 months but I couldn’t help but feel humiliated when she asked if they had bigger sizes. It just sucked. I knew this was going to happen. I was over it.

We were given a dress that was slightly bigger and similar style and it LOOKED HORRIBLE. We decided that she would have to pick the dress and hope to God that it would look good on my body come her wedding day.

Now, it was time to get measured. 😭 I survived that but then the lady had to tell me what size to order based on my measurements. My bust was sized 18-20 and the rest of me was recommended at a 20-22. 😱 She recommended the 20 since I’m actively trying to lose weight. I just had to suck that conversation up. It just sucked.

Side note: I want to be clear that the losing of the baby weight is important for me. The wedding definitely motivates me but for me to feel healthy and comfortable, I like being in a certain weight range. I may or may not make that by the wedding date and I’m okay with that as long as I’m trying and doing what I can, it will be what it is going to be. I’m thoroughly enjoying my activity and I feel overall it helps me be a better mom (once I get past the major tired). 

So because Madison needed to eat, we hung out and I decided I might as well order the dress while we wait. It’s not something I wanted to do so if I left without doing it I would probably forget as it’s not exactly on my priority list. I go to order the dress online and not only did I have to pay for the dress and taxes, I was being charged an EXTRA $20 for being PLUS SIZED!

Now let me tell you, I was fuming!

Here’s why: I’m most likely going to lose somewhere between 30-50 lbs between now and the wedding (hoping 50lbs but let’s try to be realistic 😉) so that EXTRA $20 might not be necessary. And in fact, I’ll be cutting some of that dress off in alterations so it’s like I’m paying double!

Side note: If I ordered a size 18 it would still be plus size. I would have had to move down to a size 16 to not be charged and I frankly wasn’t comfortable with that considering their sizing. 

Another reason and really the most important reason I was fuming was because WHO DOES THAT!?! Maybe it’s common practice at places and because I’m not normally plus sized I haven’t experienced it but what the hell is wrong with the clothing world?! Seriously, who charges people EXTRA for being a certain size?! Or charges people LESS for being the “right size”?  That’s just plain inconsiderate, horrible, and frankly discriminatory. And I know some of you are thinking, well extra fabric… Extra fabric my ass. It’s just plain dumb and no wonder we have eating issues in this country. Seriously.

To the women who have experienced this or experience this on a regular basis, I am SORRY. I am sorry the clothing world doesn’t value you the same as those in the “right size”. I am sorry that you were ever made to feel like you’re extra and needed to pay extra. I am sorry if you were ever made to feel so different for being YOU.

I have never been so appalled in my entire life.

Rachel

A long awaited update….

The past 5 weeks….

It’s been over 5 weeks since I’ve sat down and wrote. Boy, my heart and head needs this outlet. But how? How does mommy find the time? How does Rachel find the time?

Well for one, I’ve started this post one-handed while rocking a baby to sleep, the twins are coloring (hopefully just their papers – FYI, they colored their table) and Sesame Street is on. And realistically it might take several start and stops just to get it finished but that’s life these days.

So here’s a little update!

The twins: Well, now the twins are 2 years old! How did that happen?! We celebrated their birthday the first weekend of October. Right after their birthday we’ve been battling sickness: respiratory, ear infections, and nasty colds for all! I think we are finally on the mend there. They’ve continued to adjust well to their sister which is such a blessing. I really don’t think we’ve dealt with outbursts related to her, specifically. But they are 2 and boy, dealing with their own developmental growing pains can be particularly frustrating for Nick and me. I feel like some days the words of the day are NO, DON’T DO THAT, STOP TOUCHING THAT, QUIT CLIMBING, STOP HITTING, SAY SORRY, YOU’RE IN TIMEOUT, etc. Then other days I just tell them they will get hurt if they do X, Y, and Z and walk away praying they don’t actually get hurt. But just some days natural consequences are the best teachers. Right? Two 2 year olds are no joke and not for the faint of heart. Then couple a trying day with the twins with a fussy, refuses to sleep baby and you’ve got a recipe for wine by 5 o’clock or a Grand Gold Margarita from Pappasitos, especially if it’s a Wednesday (if I’m not so exhausted by then and I usually am). The best thing we did was give them this small playhouse for our backyard for their birthday! Now with the weather cooling down, we are using it more and more, like today.

Nick: He is so busy at work! David Weekley Homes keeps him busy but he was a champ altering his schedule while I was on c section restriction. It was a tough 6 weeks but we made it thanks to our tribe! My sister and my mom continually step up to the plate for us which we will always be so grateful for!

Madison: She is so amazing! It only took us 7 weeks to discover that she’s a tad caffeine sensitive so overall she’s sleeping much better during the day. She usually gets up just once at night, sometimes twice. Overall the girl gets a medal for giving us the best transition to a family of 5 as possible.

Then there’s me: Juggling the kids on my own is tough. I tell my mom I don’t know how she did it with seemingly effortless grace when I’m here feeling like a basket case. But isn’t that how it goes? I don’t remember my mom being super frazzled 24/7 but I do remember her being there. That’s what I want my kids to remember: me being there. I’ve officially been taking over taking the boys to school by 8am Tuesday and Thursday and picking them up by 3pm! I happy to report the latest we’ve been late was by 20 minutes! Other days we’ve been right on time and I’ve been on time for pick up! Talk about a mom win! 🙌🏻

I’ve been finally able to start working out and I’ve stayed pretty dedicated to getting back into the swing of things (slowly) and staying consistent. I’ve been really working on my eating and that’s stayed fairly consistent as well. I’m 7 weeks postpartum and down almost 25 pounds with about 50 more to go to pre-pregnancy weight. 😳 Can’t believe I just wrote that but it’s true. I would preferably like it to be gone by my sister’s wedding at the end of February so will keep you updated on the progress. I believe switching up my workouts and continually working on better eating habits will help me!

In other news and to slide into your prayers, I’ve also continued to have some postpartum bleeding complications. I feel like I’m finally on a road to getting some resolution but it’s been overall frustrating and stressful as I know this is not the normal progression after having a baby. I don’t want to go into super detail here but if you’re curious, feel free to message me!

Overall, life with 3 under 3 is so incredibly challenging.

So let me answer some of the most asked questions:

1. How is it taking care of one baby? EASY! And it helps she’s pretty laid back. But I rarely just have the baby so it’s still hard! Haha

2. How do you do it? LOTS AND LOTS OF THE SERENITY PRAYER but in all seriousness, you just do.

My side note to these questions: the twins are and probably will be constantly be challenging as we have two in the same developmental stage of life but definitely not two of the same people. It’s incredibly challenging and really, so much fun. But as they are learning to communicate more and more, things are getting “easier” but when that communication breaks down – SERENITY PRAYER IT UP because that’s all that’s going to save you!

3 under 3 is the way to be, 😂😂

Rachel

 

Motherhood….again

Differences and blessings

Well, it’s been awhile since I’ve written and honestly I have so many things I could share with you all.

First of all, those of you that were praying for us and checking on us during hurricane Harvey… Thank you. I was pretty overwhelmed and stressed during that time as Madison could have made an earlier entrance to the world. But she didn’t. In fact, she was cozy until we got her out on our revised birthday August 31st! She was 7lbs 14oz –  not even close to the 9lbs I thought she was going to be! Haha! We were all surprised, including the doctor.

Secondly, still pray for us. It’s been a world of transition for everyone. The boys love their “issy” but they are just going through some tough toddler stuff right now. With the combination of a newborn and that, Nick and I are wiped out!

Now to the point of this post. I keep thinking about how motherhood is SO DIFFERENT this time around. I don’t mean a comparison between the two but I literally mean it’s a completely different experience. And I know, some of you are thinking (especially the ones with children), “Yep, every kid is different.” Well, while I’m sure that is so true. HOWEVER, this is the FIRST time I’m experiencing motherhood how it “should be.” Or, at least, what I envisioned it would have been with my boys the first time around. Madison was in my arms as fast as possible, she never left our sides the entire time we were in the hospital (except when she had to get help pooping), and she came home with us the moment I was discharged. Those 3 things alone made my experience in the first three days of her life magical for me. In the hospital, Nick looked at me and said “Rachel, why are you smiling?” I was looking at our beautiful baby girl and was just smiling but I didn’t realize it. That’s when I knew things were different. Really different. I was different. If you remember, I never had that with my boys and I carried that resentment with me the past (almost) 2 years.

Side note: I didn’t realize that I had carried it that long until Madison was here and all of a sudden I felt…. FREE. Happy. Joyful. Completely and totally in love. Not just with her, but with my calling to be a mother to her, my boys and our two other children in waiting. She made that happen for me and I am awestruck by her.

Frankly, before her birth, I was so scared to be back at Hermann after what I had been through with the twins. And even though she was full term and most likely, not going to be in the NICU – I’ve learned, you just never know. It was until she was in my arms almost 24:7 in that hospital that I believed she would stay with me. No one would take her from me and we would get to go home with her. That, my friends, is some kind of feeling I can’t even describe.

Madison is 2 weeks old and she’s still with me. We are connected so tightly I’m not sure I ever want her out of my sight anytime soon. That’s just the honest truth.

When the boys were 2 weeks old, we were preparing to MOST LIKELY take them home the next day (if everything went to plan and they past their tests). When I say I was traumatized by my delivery and NICU experience, I was. The nurses were absolutely wonderful but it didn’t take away the pain. I was depressed, angry, frustrated, sad, and every emotion in between. I refused to get back on medication until I was about 6 weeks postpartum. I rarely slept in my bed when the boys were in the NICU. I didn’t understand what was happening to me. I didn’t understand how I could be so angry when I was given the blessing of two thriving beautiful children despite their early delivery. Honestly, I can’t even begin to go into the depths of that anger. Some of it is very private and has nothing to do with my twin pregnancy but it affected my twin pregnancy. Hope that makes sense. And honestly that’s the beast of postpartum depression/anxiety, you just don’t know why some things are happening and why you are feeling the way you are feeling. It’s horrible. But can be managed with help. So if it’s happening to you, please get help. You’re worth it.

Fast forward to Madison, I made a huge effort to get CONSISTENT HELP by staying in therapy. In the last month of the pregnancy I resumed medication (Zoloft this time around) as I felt the “torture” of the end of pregnancy was screwing with me big time. And wow. It helped take the edge off during those last few weeks – not enough to make me smile all the time – but enough so I could sleep and cope. But the effects after pregnancy is where I’m really seeing the benefit. And I’m a better mother because of it.

I’ve been feeling great. Yes, I’ve had my moments because of being tired and my body healing from the surgery. But overall, I feel better. Now, I haven’t had a huge amount of time alone with all three kids yet, but when I have and even those things weren’t too bad. I definitely have to roll with things a bit more when I’m alone  with them while she’s so little and needing more of my attention but that’s okay. I’ve had to roll with a lot since having the twins in the first place so we continue on living the chaotic life. 😂

So sweet baby Madison, thank you for being here. You are such a blessing to our family.

Love,

Rachel

Dear Madison

Happy Birthday – August 31st

To my dearest daughter:

Well, the day is finally here! I don’t think I will believe it until I actually get to see your face but it’s here. We just got the call at 8pm yesterday that we were going to meet you on Thursday. I instantly got excited and nervous and then wished I hadn’t walked so much to try to get you out on my terms. Haha!

I guess we are going to be two peas in a pod. Your stubbornness is something I am not looking forward to dealing with during your toddler and teenage years (maybe even your next few days) but it’s something that will push you to the greatest heights. Whatever you dream over your lifetime, I am confident you will achieve because of these personality traits you have.

How do I know this already? Because it is your stubbornness that has kept you safely in my womb throughout our “interesting” pregnancy journey.

I have to admit. I am so happy I will have my right ribs back and my heartburn will subside. I cannot wait to see who you look like!

Daddy is hoping for a red-haired, light eyed, darker skin beauty! We will see! But either way, I know you are chunky! 🙂

I’m guessing you’ll be almost 9lbs!

Can’t wait to show you off to the world!

 

Until then Happy Birthday,

Mommy

Grace

What I know now….

It was a little over 5 years ago I entered into the classroom for the first time. It’s crazy to think it was that long ago, yet, it seems like yesterday. Nick and I had just moved to Sugar Land, I was coaching a 10U select team with a seasoned and wise softball coach, and I had decided I would also help with the high school softball team when it came time.

At this point, Nick and I had barely been married a year; he transferred to a new city he had never lived in before and honestly he didn’t like it. I had already dealt with 3 deaths of people close in my life in the first 6 months of our marriage. We had bought our first house so we were also navigating new home ownership for the first time in the midst of all these changes. It was fun and hard. I was working over 70 hours a week trying to be the best teacher I could be and gone for the weekends with a traveling select softball team. Needless to say, I was busy. Nick decided to look for a new job 6 weeks after his transfer down with Chase Bank. Nothing really seemed ideal at this point. Our marriage was strained but at least we had each other.

Then, in the midst of it all, the following January,  Nick and I made the decision to take in his mother who needed our help. She was in really poor health, at the time, and we knew it was the right thing to do – no matter the timing. She has Parkinson’s and, at the time, she had this diagnosis for 10+ years but the condition of her health 5 years ago made it apparent that we needed to help, get her to see the best doctors we could in Houston and try to keep her alive. It was a really scary situation for everyone and not a very easy transition. Overall, we made it work and now she is in much better overall health. For the last year or so, she has lived on her own outside of Dallas. We couldn’t be more happy about her progress.

But this isn’t what my blog is about, really.

During all of this, at my job at a Christian school, I kept hearing this word: GRACE. I heard it a lot. I heard it a lot in terms of my teaching. You see, I am a tough teacher (or I was). But what I had a hard time understanding back then was how to get the kids to be motivated. What I really mean…. is I didn’t know how any student couldn’t love school as much as I did. BIG WAKE UP CALL.

My first year was R-O-U-G-H. I learned I’m the 10% of students that actually did what the teacher said as far as homework, studying, reading, etc. Now, I wasn’t the brightest student but I worked my ass off in school. I had a hard time motivating those students who weren’t like me as a student. I was young and so that presented another issue of authority – I was rigid and unwavering. The principal at the time was hard on me – really hard on me. I think he knew I was good but also knew I had a LOT to learn. So GRACE kept popping up in our conversations. I think by the end of that year I would have vomited if I had heard that word one. more. time. GRACE.

A few days ago I was driving the boys home from “Donut Friday” and I thought about all this. I laughed because ironically our daughter’s middle name is GRACE and I laughed at how fitting it feels to us to name her that. Because guys, 3 kids under 3! We will need the GRACE we can get. I realized in the car how I really didn’t understand the word, GRACE, at all until I had the boys. I was virtually screamed at until blue in the face my first couple of years of teaching about giving GRACE and it fell on deaf ears, again and again and again. To me, it was an excuse. A scapegoat. Instead of holding students accountable for their actions…. we needed to give them GRACE. I’m not going to lie, there were times where actions and consequences didn’t match up in certain situations and I vehemently disagreed with some decisions regarding GRACE being given but nonetheless I still didn’t fully “get it”.

I don’t know why it took until having my own children but somehow something clicked. I realized in that moment in the car that the reason I couldn’t understand GRACE back then is because I was trying to protect myself from feeling vulnerable. Seriously. I mean if you look at the snip-it of our lives the first year and a half of our marriage, it was insane. Nick and I went through a TON and honestly, we felt alone as a couple. Not many people our age were dealing with as many elements of life at once and so it was hard to relate to anyone. So, I really don’t blame myself for guarding myself like that but it was a HUGE factor in how my life has shaken out in the last few years.

Then, we had the boys and we are 8 days away from having this little girl and it clicks. I haven’t taught a full year of school in 2 school years (though I have started the last 2) and I finally get it. I get WHY I had a hard time giving GRACE when I walked through those doors over 5 years ago. LIGHT BULB MOMENT. 

I couldn’t give GRACE to them because I couldn’t give it to myself. 

Wow. What a heart stopping moment at 38 weeks pregnant with your 3rd child and your beautiful boys behind you. If you know me, you probably aren’t surprised. I am my biggest critic – TO A FAULT.

But how could I have given something to someone else that I didn’t experience to myself for myself? I couldn’t. There was no way.

How did having kids do change this for me? They show me it every day. Every day they give me GRACE. Every. Single. Day. Every day I feel it. I see it. I live it. I’m not perfect and pregnant me is FAR from perfect. But my boys (including my husband) love me through it anyway. They show me every day through their actions, their kisses and hugs at bedtime, when they help clean up their toys and even when they just want to snuggle.

They forgive me daily from my faults. They show me GRACE. And I will forever be grateful for that gift. Because when I step back into that classroom one day, I won’t be the same. I will still be tough but I can give something else (and probably more) to them that I have finally experienced from being a mother.

 

It’s the toughest job I’ll always love.

 

Rachel

A letter to my boys

Before your sister arrives….

Dear Andrew and David:

I have been thinking about this letter for a while now. I get choked up even thinking about it. I’m not really sure what to even say, exactly, but THANK YOU.

**Thank you for sticking in my womb when I wasn’t sure it was ever going to happen. It was beyond scary and exciting to know you both were in there.

**Thank you for growing in my womb amazingly the entire 34 weeks we spent intimately together. We didn’t have one major complication besides an early birth.

**Thank you for trusting me (and your daddy) to take care of you in the most scariest days of our life after you were born.

**Thank you for forgiving me when I was suffering from postpartum depression/anxiety and didn’t know if I could do this. Sometimes I still don’t.

**Thank you for teaching me how to overcome some of the hardest and darkest days of my life. I am stronger now because of you.

**Thank you for smiling at me even when I don’t feel like I deserved it.

**Thank you for loving me after I painfully have to discipline you.

**Thank you for your strength and relentless spirits because I know one day those will drive you to reach whatever dreams you have in your life.

**Thank you for being my first babies, my hearts. I will always treasure this time we’ve had together before your sister.

**Thank you for being born together. Watching you together is something magical. A privilege. You will make amazing older brothers.

Thank you for it all. The good, bad, and ugly that has come because of our new adventure as a family. I want you to know that no matter what happens in the next few weeks, you are my boys, my hearts, and the loves of my life. I have learned so much from you in the past 3 years that I ever could have imagined (and we are only beginning).

Just please continue to be patient with me (and your daddy). We have absolutely no idea what we are doing but we know we love you.

 

With all of my heart,

Mommy