New Online Adventures

What’s being going on in our house lately….

So, I like to keep life interesting. It may not be super interesting comparing it to others but interesting to me, nonetheless. Lately, with all the laying around I’ve had to do and dealing with Little Miss’s misbehavior, I’ve had a lot of downtime to think.

Well one thing that I want to do is DE-CLUTTER. I realize this has NOTHING to do with online adventures but roll with me. I’m not sure I’m in the super nesting mode, yet, but I have this sense of urgency to get this house organized. I mean, we are about to bring another human being in this house. Getting rid of the junk seems more than necessary! In fact, even though she will be little, babies have SO MUCH STUFF! Thank goodness it’s not as much as the twins! At least that is what I am hoping for!

De-cluttering is underway in this house – slowly! Have kids? What organizational tools have you come up with to help with the clutter? Please help this mama out! 

Meanwhile, I’ve been keeping active with my business with Usborne Books & More. I joined this company May 10th of last year and it’s been a great experience. Lots of ups and some downs but I have learned so much! I never thought I would sell anything and then these books just fell into my lap. It has truly been the perfect mix of my educational background and my love for books! It’s been truly a passion of mine this past year and I cannot believe I’ll be hitting my year anniversary next month! Incredible! If you haven’t heard of Usborne Books & More, you need to! Of course, I’d be happy to talk with you about that! In the meantime, check out the website: https://g5484.myubam.com – we have amazing books from infant to pre-teen and I am currently reading one of our teen series, Conspiracy 365 and I LOVE IT! 

In conjunction with Usborne Books & More, I started this blog earlier this month! It’s been so fun and hopefully you all have been enjoying some of the writing. My husband thinks I’ll run out of things to say but I won’t, our life is too exciting for that! 😉 The blogging world is so different but I am loving having this virtual “journal” and being able to express myself confidently! Something I think all mamas need!

In addition to my online adventures, two nights ago I joined Rodan + Fields! Say what! I know. I know. I am either crazy or the smartest person on the planet. Haha! Maybe I’m a little of both! But that’s okay, it keeps life interesting. Now, first off, I never thought I would be apart of ANY direct selling company let alone TWO. However, these two companies are VERY different. Don’t worry, I’m not going to knock down your door with RF but I may politely ask if you want a FREE sample – you should say YES because it’s amazing! You will also get to watch the skin transformations like I did and become hooked! 🙂 I am pretty excited to get these products for the best deal possible and be able to share my skin care story with everyone. Quite honestly, I have been on the hunt (for awhile) to find something that I really believe will work on my face. And the fact that I have watched a few people with varying skin tones and skin types literally roll back time and look incredible, I want in! Who wouldn’t!?! 🙂

Truly, I have been watching RF consultants and friends since last summer make monumental strides to amazing faces. Now, I am FB friends with many people in many direct selling companies and I have seen a lot. There are many wonderful companies out there! But something makes sense with Rodan + Fields. Don’t worry, one day I’ll be able to articulate it! I’ve seen many transformations and I want that too. After fertility treatments, twins and now another rough pregnancy, my face is lookin’ OLD. Plus, just kids! Am I right!? And best of all, I can do this along side my first love, Usborne Books & More. So like my twins, they have to share time but that’s okay, it’s totally going to be worth it! 

Now, some of you may have just laughed as I am not yet 30 years old but it is what it is. It’s how I feel about my face. Just 5 years ago I could walk around with no makeup pretty confidently and now, I’m constantly putting make up on my face to go outside where there are other people around. Ain’t nobody needs to be frightened like that! Ha! I hate wearing makeup – truly. Maybe it’s the sports or the constant training for sports but I’ve just never really liked wearing a ton of makeup! I’ve seen some pretty amazing makeup from other companies and if you are looking for some amazing makeup, I can definitely recommend some. And honestly, I was soooo tempted to buy them but to me, it makes more sense to work on my actual skin, my canvas, if you will, in order for my makeup to do it’s job. Or, better yet, I won’t have to wear as much or none at all! Whoop!

I am so lucky that I have such a supportive husband that has cheered me on the last year with Usborne Books & More and now will cheer me on through Rodan + Fields! Don’t worry, this book lady isn’t going anywhere! 🙂 I’m just going to look WAYYYY better doing it! 🙂 Want to check out all the hype of Rodan + Fields? Check out the website here: https://www.rodanandfields.com/US/pws/rachelwebking

The fact of the matter is that our method of buying products is truly changing to buying from direct sellers and largely online. Come on, you know you shop on Amazon! Some of you may resist and that’s totally okay! However, there are so many AMAZING companies out there that you could be missing out on so it’s worth checking out!

What direct sales companies do you love? Why do you love them?

Here’s to new adventures online,

Rachel

Boys vs. Girls

The pregnancy comparison

Well ladies and gentleman, I have made it halfway through the pregnancy with baby girl Webking and let me tell you, it hasn’t been an easy one. Now hindsight is 20/20 and God definitely has a sense of humor. But all in all, I can’t help but think about myself almost 2 years ago and I just want to shake my former self and tell her, it’s really okay! YOU WILL SURVIVE. 

So let me give you some background….. Now, if you have been following me, you know my husband and I took the road of IVF to have kids. Now because of this, when I actually did get pregnant with the twins I discovered I DID NOT LIKE BEING PREGNANT! So, you are probably thinking, “Well, how ironic is that? You put yourself through so much to get pregnant and then didn’t like it.” Trust me! I was shocked too! I had this image in my mind that pregnancy was fairy tales and roses and I would just sail through without complaints. I was so incredibly wrong and my poor husband (and the dog) paid the price.

Being pregnant for the first time and with twins was SO HARD – PHYSICALLY AND EMOTIONALLY HARD. I am 5’4” so there’s not a lot of room and I honestly had no idea how two babies would fit in there but they did. It is absolutely remarkable what your body can do! When I became pregnant I INSTANTLY had trouble with running out of breath! I made it a few weeks in and then I started throwing up. Then the heartburn showed up. Oh dear goodness, the heartburn was HORRIBLE. Then you couple that with a new mom, not knowing what was normal and what wasn’t, I basically suffered. I had some good friends that helped me try to get through the nausea but the heartburn was a different story.

To try to regulate the heartburn, I turned to TUMS. Don’t do that! You can actually make yourself sicker by taking too many tums and I found that out when I landed in the ER from uncontrollable vomiting due to HEARTBURN at 19.5 weeks. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, my heartburn was SO BAD I landed in the ER. My heartburn was so bad throughout the entire pregnancy, I would wake up while throwing up. My heartburn was so bad I had to stop eating anything acidic and too seasoned. I couldn’t eat bread sometimes. Okay, so I think you get the picture IT WAS BAD. I WAS MISERABLE.

So what’s the point?

My point is that I was feeling so terrible about hating being pregnant that I felt so guilty. Are you sensing a theme of guilt? Now, when I look back on it I don’t hate it as much, well maybe that’s a lie; I probably do but I strongly believe God erases mother’s brains from all the horrible things of pregnancy because WHY ON EARTH WOULD WE KEEP DOING IT!? But it’s not something I would consider doing again – the whole twin thing. Nope. No way. And luckily I do have some control over that – whoops, maybe I should take that back – God has a sense of humor with me and Nick. I TAKE IT BACK – I HAVE NO CONTROL! 

Anyway, fast forward to this pregnancy. Baby girl Webking has not given me the pleasure of experiencing the gut wrenching sickness and heartburn and I cannot thank her enough. But she hasn’t been easy. Why should she be? She’s a GIRL. You know having ONE baby after having twins was supposed to be EASY. I mean, that’s what people said to me anyway. You know, I’m going to stop listening to people because when it comes to pregnancy – PEOPLE LIE. They don’t do it intentionally but they do – it’s like this vicious plan women put together to help the world to keep reproducing. It’s terrible.

**possible trigger coming**

At around 16 weeks, I started to bleed. I NEVER had bleeding with the twins so I was instantly alarmed. I also didn’t feel very good – I was super crampy and started sweating. Something was definitely not right. I saw an OB in my doctor’s office and she did an full exam and told me to rest over the weekend and come back for my regular checkup in the middle of next week. Well, I made it to a sandwich shop to pick up lunch for myself, my mom and my sister and it started up again but way worse (in my opinion). I was sent to the ER. Luckily my ER doctor was a girl from my high school and I was so comforted by her taking care of me despite the whole her doing an internal exam on me. Anyway. I was again sent on my way with the same instructions. I did NOTHING on Saturday. I woke up early Sunday morning soaked in blood. It looked like a CSI crime scene in our bedroom. I do not think I could have been more scared in my entire life then in that moment. Another trip to the ER resulted in not many answers. How frustrating! I was pissed and worried. Not a good combination when you are pregnant. Can I get an AMEN?!? Even though I saw my OB the next day, I really didn’t get any answers until I saw the specialist.

The specialist discovered I have a sub-chronic hemotoma (SCH) that was rather large. Because of the nature of my bleeding, my instructions were to rest as much as possible. Ummm, I have 1.5 year old twin boys. Ha! Anyway, to date, I have been able to rest as much as possible due to the help of my mom, husband, sister and really any moving body. I had my follow up scan this week and I was not surprised at the news. The hematoma was still going strong but I did learn it hasn’t really been enough time to reabsorb. Then I learned that I have a marginal cord attachment which basically means that the umbilical cord has attached itself on the side of my placenta rather than the center. This impacts the blood flow of the placenta which CAN result in a smaller baby. So, no matter what, I will be seeing the specialist throughout the rest of the pregnancy so they can monitor her growth. The third thing they are watching for is a placenta accreta. I am not going to get into the specifics of what this is because right now it’s not an official diagnosis but something we are looking for the next few visits.

So needless to say, both my pregnancies to date haven’t been easy for VERY different reasons. I don’t think I’m a fan of pregnancy but it’s a wonderful means to an end that I am grateful for because it is the most humbling experience I have ever been through. So if you are suffering during your pregnancy, do NOT feel like you are alone…. I’m right there with you!

 

Here’s to everything in between,

Rachel

 

Decisions

The road to IVF

The decisions Nick and I had to make after learning of our failed plan were not easy. You see, I was raised in the Catholic Church and very much still practiced my faith. As a Catholic, in-vitro-fertilization (also known as IVF), among other fertility treatments, are not accepted. In fact, they are considered morally wrong to engage in. I knew this, hence the reason we wanted to avoid it at all costs. And actually, at the time, I was completely against it. However, unless you’ve ever been faced with being told you have a less than 5% chance of conceiving naturally and your body is essentially working against you to have a biological child, please reserve your judgment. I’m not looking for a fight or an argument about “my sin” but merely just sharing how we got to that point.

In the next weeks (we really didn’t have time to make a choice as my condition was worsening by the second), we talked to a lot of people – Catholics, Protestants, priests, and people who went through the fertility process. My wonderful husband was willing to go to the ends of the Earth to make this happen for us and what was important to him was that we “gave it our all”; essentially “tried everything we could” to have a baby. If we still ended up with no baby, then we tried. We would look into other options, like adoption, if that was the path we were meant to be on. While what he said made sense and I just wanted to fall completely into that idea and not look back, I wanted to make sure my heart was in the right place. I wanted to make sure I would have no regrets. This was also an expensive decision and I was feeling super guilty I was the one that brought us to this place. I know it was out of my control, but the guilt was real.

While everyone was super great in listening to our concerns and helping us through this decision (as best as anyone could), we were directed to this great Catholic couple and via email she helped me more than anyone. She said TWO things to me that have stuck with me through these years:

1. Her and her husband made a decision BEFORE the IVF process started that however many children they were blessed with in the process, they vowed to transfer them all in their lifetime.

2. That no matter what they did as a couple, if God’s plans were for them NOT to have children, it won’t happen. Science is great but if science REALLY could circumvent God’s will, then everyone who went through IVF or fertility, in general, would have children.

Let me talk about the impact these two points made on us. The first one was right in line with how I felt about helping create these embryos. THESE EMBRYOS were going to be OUR CHILDREN and I couldn’t bear to not try to conceive them. I won’t go into every detail of the fertility process but many embryos are put up for adoption, abandoned, or given to science for testing. Neither one of these options were the paths that Nick and I wanted to go down so vowing to have however many children God will bless us with was something we felt we could commit to BEFORE we started. Let me tell you, we could have ended up with no children or eleven children, we had no idea! And even now, there are still no guarantees. 

The second point really hit home. We had no idea what we were really getting ourselves into and my naivety about the process led me to just believe we would have children. I mean we were going through all this and paying for it, why wouldn’t we have kids? Well, it’s about a 65% chance of conceiving when you transfer one embryo which is much better than what we were looking at naturally, but still not great. With the twins, we were looking at a slightly higher percentage of having one baby and a 25% chance of having twins. The process of taking all the medications and going through the procedures essentially had to be perfect to even get to the transfer of an embryo. What I am trying to say is that throughout the entire process, ANYTHING could have gone wrong. We could have faced financial hardship and not being able to afford the treatment which is in the tens of thousands of dollars range. My body could have failed to respond to the medications. The procedure to retrieve the eggs could have been unsuccessful. The combining of the sperm and egg could have failed and then the embryos themselves could have failed to multiply and grow correctly. Every single part had to work. Science is a wonderful gift but it’s not fool-proof. 

Nick and I confidently decided to go forth with IVF. The IVF journey is a beast and not one I will tackle in this post. However, we were blessed with 5 embryos. 5 children. Our children. Our family of 7. But this family of 7 has to wait a little bit.

Many people…..most people, go through this life not knowing how many children they will have but we do. We know. At that moment, when we got the call of how many embryos survived, we knew we had 5 beautiful children awaiting their lives with us. That knowledge right there was absolutely the hardest part for me to emotionally handle. You see, I knew I had 5 children but I could only transfer 2 of them the first time around. I was lucky enough that both the embryos took. But during that pregnancy (it was tough so I had a lot of down time), all I could think of were my other babies. I had a lot of guilt for not being able to have them at that moment. I know in my mind I couldn’t but it still hurt. I am their mommy and needed to protect them and I couldn’t. Now, I am sitting here feeling my little wiggle worm rolling around in my stomach – my 3rd baby. My baby girl. I couldn’t be more excited to have her with us now. But my heart is not yet complete. It hurts a little less this time around then when I was carrying the boys but it still hurts. It’s so unexpected how the pain of infertility continues to creep into my heart and mind. I have no regrets whatsoever.

Although, I am so excited to have the life I have with the twins and soon to be with little miss, there is not a single day that goes by I don’t think about my two children waiting for us. I always say to myself when I start thinking of them: “Daddy and I will come and get you one day. We will. We promise. You won’t be alone anymore. We love you so much.” In a way, it’s comforting because I feel like they are close but in another way it breaks me. And although it’s a pain I cannot even begin to describe and tears roll down my face, I know we will bring them home one day. That day, will be the best day of our lives because our family will finally be complete. 

 

Here’s to the loves of my life in waiting,

Rachel

Fantasy vs. Reality

Accepting change

Over the last 3 or so years, I have been seeing a counselor. Sometimes consistently and sometimes not. Usually when I am not seeing her consistently is when I really should be – funny how that works. In actuality, it’s really not funny. It’s actually pretty stressful for me when I take breaks for extended periods of time. Anyway, my counselor has been key in helping me sort through many of my life changes. I don’t know if it’s HER or if it’s just the fact that I have someone outside of my life to talk to; an objective person helps so much. If you haven’t tried it, you should!

Fantasy vs. Reality is a hot topic in our sessions. Fantasy – what you think or dream up to be in a given situation. Reality – the actual situation at hand. Some people can just roll with whatever happens in the reality even if it’s different from what they thought; whereas, others (**cough, me, cough**) have a harder time coping with the change. I’ve generally had a harder time adjusting to given changes in my life ever since I can remember. As I have gotten older, I’ve coped with some changes and have had harder time with others. I mainly struggle with the ones that have drastically changed from what *I thought* would be how life would work out.

For example, one thing that I thought would be easy would be having children. Isn’t this what we all think? At least, what we all think when we don’t have any perceived medical diagnosis, anyway? You get married, buy a house and have children. After all, it’s the “usual way” people do things. Now, I realize not everyone does this in that order and that’s totally fine. But this is what I thought it would be for me and my husband.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t that easy. Actually it was the exact opposite. About 3 years into our marriage and 2 years of no baby, I became suspicious of a possible issue. Nick and I were open to having kids but it wasn’t an intentional act of trying and tracking; however, I felt something wasn’t right. In the summer of 2014, after finally convincing my husband of doing some tests, we found ourselves at the Houston Fertility Institute at their Sugar Land, Texas location. We were told in our initial consultation that couples have a 25% chance of conceiving in their first year of trying (that’s WITHOUT any perceived issues) and then after that the numbers drop significantly: down to 5% per year and it lowers every year after that. Talk about a punch in the gut! We were in our second year of being open to children and BOOM, a scientific kick in the pants.

We went on to do some testing. I was having feminine issues with my cycle anyway and during “that time of the month” having a lot of pain. Anyway, the results from my tests weren’t good. I had stage 3 to stage 4 endometriosis. According to Mayo Clinic, endometriosis “is an often painful disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus — the endometrium — grows outside your uterus. Endometriosis most commonly involves your ovaries, fallopian tubes and the tissue lining your pelvis. Rarely, endometrial tissue may spread beyond pelvic organs” (http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/endometriosis/home/ovc-20236421).

I don’t think I could have been more devastated. This is not what I dreamed up, remember? This is not how it was supposed to be for us. This made our chances of having a baby even less. Unfortunately, if we wanted to do any fertility treatments it could and would make the disease worse as it feeds off estrogen in your body; so, if we did do anything, we would be taking the risk of making this worse for us. We just weren’t ready to take that risk. In fact, we were actually trying to avoid it as much as possible. I was 25 years old – this shouldn’t be happening. 

Nick and I opted for me to undergo surgery to remove as much of the endometriosis as possible so we could possibly try to conceive on our own. Here’s the deal: endometriosis grows microscopically so anything they could see and remove, they would but it didn’t mean I was necessarily in the clear. It’s constantly growing. So following the procedure, I would have monthly injections that would essentially put me into menopause to try to reduce the legions as much as possible. I wasn’t too excited about it. Surgery, in general, is usually pretty rough for me – I’ve had a few in my life to know the general gist of what would happen post-op. My body takes forever to get rid of the anesthesia.

The laparoscopic procedure was slated for 90 minutes. The doctor would blow my stomach up with air so they could see the organs and be able to manipulate them to burn off the legions – hopefully without damaging any other organs. The worse part of it was that my ovaries had huge cysts on them. Taking those out wouldn’t be easy and in fact, it would be so important for the doctor to be precise as to not damage my ovaries further. Every time they take a cyst out, they would be taking part of my ovary (not enough to cause permanent infertility but that was definitely a risk). Then, there’s the whole we “really don’t know what it will be like until we are in there” uncertainty and you always hope it’s better than the doctors expect. 

Little did I know this 90-minute-you’ll-be-back-on-your-feet-in-3-days procedure, turned into blowing my stomach up a second time and a 3 hour procedure. Of course, I didn’t know any of this until I woke up from the surgery. The whole 3 days back on your feet was a LOAD OF CRAP. It took me well over a month to feel “normal” again. You know that fantasy vs. reality thing I was talking about before – yep, I was not happy. In fact, I was angry. Well, let me take a step back – I was very glad the doctor took her time – I had such a bad cyst on my fallopian tube that had she not taken her time, I could have lost it or woken up with a cut open abdomen. So, I am very thankful that. But I was still mad. I was so uncomfortable for weeks! Have you ever had gas pumped in your stomach for any procedure, IT IS AWFUL! Again, this is not what I was expecting. And I had a very hard time accepting that.

Honestly, this whole time I had a hard time dealing with the reality of what was happening and how this was my fault. My body’s fault. Nick, in no way, made me feel this way – this was something I was personally dealing with. In fact, he was amazing during this process. I think if you are the one with the diagnosis in the relationship, it’s normal to have these feelings. But it still sucks, to say the least.

By September 2014, I was on those menopause shots. Okay, again – totally not fun. Talk about a wild roller coaster of emotions, literally. But this, again, was our best chance to combat the endometriosis from growing back quickly and to potentially start trying when all this was over. A medically induced menopause at 25 years old – that was really hard to wrap my mind around it. I wasn’t supposed to have a cycle while on this medicine…..until I did. THAT WAS AWFUL. If you’re a girl, you know an unexpected period isn’t fun at all. Nope. Not at all.

After 3 months on the shots, I had an ultrasound in December 2014 and I was devastated. The cysts had grown back. Not as big but they were there which meant the shots really didn’t help. Maybe they did a little bit but the cysts were there. THE CYSTS WERE THERE! SERIOUSLY WHAT THE HELL! I was screaming inside on that table. I felt like I had put my body and my mental health through absolute torture the last 6 months! For what!?!

Nick and I ended up right where we didn’t want to be…..

Facing the biggest personal and financial decision of our lives…..

Here’s to everything in between (including the crap),

Rachel

“Sisters, sisters….

…..nothing can come between sisters”

I am the oldest of 4 kids in our family. I have one sister, who is 16 months younger than me and then 2 younger brothers (4 years and 8 years younger respectively). I always wanted an older brother but that’s just not how life worked for me. Instead my parents brought home this sister. 

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One of my favorites of us

My boys are about to have a sister in about 4 months (I still can’t believe it) and there is just something about having a sister that is the most frustrating, at times, explosive, and most wonderful experience I have had in my life. I hope the boys feel the same with maybe a little less explosiveness but let’s be real, she will have TWO older TWIN brothers almost just like her daddy. I couldn’t be more excited her and nervous for them. Ha ha!

The explosiveness. When I think about growing up with my sister, I think about her stealing my clothes and being a BRAT. Seriously. I would have to label my clothes to get her to stop taking them. I would get so mad. And she still took them. 😦 Why did it matter so much? Well, I’m sure it’s all about territorial things when you are growing up, right? I wasn’t the only one dealing with this I am sure. I’m also sure I was a brat too but this is my version of the story, right? 😉 Then when things really got crazy between us, my dad would sing us the song from White Christmas Sisters (Check it out here if you don’t know the song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=trD3Kqf-g0w). Man, that would really get our blood boiling! But I guess it would get us to stop for that moment. So parental mission accomplished.

Did I mention she always ALWAYS got away with everything too? I mean life couldn’t get more unfair! Maybe she was just better at lying and hiding what she was REALLY up to – I have no idea but she seemed to NEVER get caught. Me, on the other hand, ALWAYS got caught. I was ALWAYS told I needed to be a good example. Totally UNFAIR. I mean she had younger brothers too!

I don’t think there could be two people living in the same house that were SO OPPOSITE from one another. She was into architecture and modern looks. I am more into history and traditional looks – we still are today. I mean, when it came to almost anything, we had a different outlook on everything. I’m sure our parents were so exhausted from dealing with us by the time my brothers came along – I don’t blame them. They’re probably still recovering. 😉 

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She still makes this face now.

Anyway, as we got older and I mean, out of college, things were better between us – not great but better. I guess the whole growing up thing really helps. Plus, I was living in Dallas and she was finishing up her Masters with Texas Tech while living at home. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right? 🙂 She was very helpful when it came to planning our wedding festivities and she was so supportive! To be honest, I was a little surprised, at the time, at how she listened to what I wanted and she was there for everything. It was really neat and memories I’ll keep forever.

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At one of my bridal showers

But really our relationship took the next level of understanding was when I was finally pregnant with the boys. I say finally because that wasn’t an easy process (we will get to that later in this blogging journey). In the weeks leading up to the boys being born, she changed. She grew up. My little sister literally grew before my eyes. I don’t know if that really happened and maybe I was the one who really changed but I saw HER for the first time. I understood her for the first time. We were really friends for the first time in our lives. The sister thing clicked with us and it was magical. 

In the photo to the right, I was doing my usual thing laying on the couch (I was so incredibly pregnant and miserable) and she wanted to take a picture of her with her nephews – so sweet. I had no idea that when the boys were born, next to my husband, she would be the rock in all of our lives. 

The boys were born at 34 weeks and lived in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) for 15 days at Memorial Hermann Medical Center (again, another part of the story that we will definitely talk about later on). While we were there, I’m pretty sure she came every day – the days run together when you are in the NICU so I have a hard time remembering exactly. Lucky for us, she worked in the Houston Medical Center so visiting was easy for her and it was helpful for me to have another adult there just to get my mind off the babies (well, as best as anyone could) and pumping and all the healing that needs to happen after a c-section.

These pictures were taken early on in our stay at the hospital. Some of these memories make me laugh because she was SO AWKWARD holding them and trying to feed them. Now, to be fair, the boys were very tiny so everyone had to learn how to hold them a little differently. So not only had I watched my sister grow up, I was watching her become an aunt and hopefully one day training her to be a mommy. It was beyond the neatest experience and I know when this little girl comes, she will have a better handle on her (I hope). I hope we all will. 🙂

We came home from the hospital and my sister, with the help of my family, had cleaned and rearranged everything to help us transition better. In the days after the hospital, she continued her aunt journey with us. She lives in the Heights so it’s not exactly around the corner. But whenever she made it to Sugar Land, she would stop by. This was the best time because I got a break and the boys learned who she was and to this day, she almost makes weekly trips to see us. 

In January 2016, she became the godmother to Andrew when the boys were baptized. In March, she treated Nick and I to the rodeo for my birthday – a much needed night out. By April, she was on our first flight with the boys to Ohio to see family! I mean, pretty much when we need her to be there for us – she is and usually without a complaint (except for missing some sleep 😉 ).

When she transitioned jobs over the summer of 2016, she spent the time off she had with her nephews (me too, but let’s just be honest about who she really wanted to see). We went to the Houston Zoo and the Fort Bend Discovery Center and we probably did others things I can’t remember. It was so fun and I loved the fact she wanted to spend time with us when she could have done a million other things. Her aunt-y heart is so big – I know she will have room for more. 🙂

On July 11, 1989, my sister, Rene Louise Hoelker was born and I had no idea how she would rock my world but I’m glad she did. I didn’t know that when my parents brought home this little sister of mine that we would grow to have this special relationship. I truly believe all those fights (yes, even some physical ones) and all the misunderstandings brought us to this point of friendship. This sisterly friendship is one that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

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Rene’s Graduation from St. Agnes Academy May 2007

“Lord help the mister that come between me and my sister
And Lord help the sister that come between me and my man”  — Sisters, Bette Midler

Here’s to everything in between,

Rachel

It Takes Two

The blog name.

When I was sitting down trying to name this blog, all I could think about was “it takes two.” I don’t know why but I was instantly reminded of the song with Tina Turner and Rod Stewart (see the YouTube video of their music video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mzDQbmtPZ0). Then my brain jumped to the 1995 movie with Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen It Takes Two. If you’ve never seen this movie, it’s pretty cute (check out the information here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0113442/) . It’s funny how our minds go back to memories with just a phrase. Okay, let’s really get to it!

It takes two. What does this mean? Really mean?

First, it reminds me of marriage and that when you are married or in a committed relationship of any kind, it takes TWO people in it all the time. That’s pretty hard and possibly unreasonable. I mean, after all, we all are human and have our own individual needs. And sometimes YOU JUST CAN’T GIVE ANYMORE, right? We’ve all had those moments. We feel defeated and at the end of our rope. But the beauty of having the other person there with you is that, usually, that person can “pick up the slack.” For instance, I’m currently pregnant with our little girl and we have 1 1/2-year-old twin boys – talk about a madhouse – unlike the twin pregnancy, I’ve encounter some slight complications, making me even less than available at times. (Don’t worry, everything is fine). In my physical absence – I’m there but not there, you know? – my husband and mom have picked up some major slack. Growing a human is NO joke! And I’ve done this before. I couldn’t imagine doing it alone like some women do – it just reminds me how lucky I am to have that support system.

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This is us being silly showing “our” bumps with baby girl last weekend at 18 weeks!
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Our biggest support system, our family!

Secondly, it reminds me of friendship. Not everyone is married or in a committed relationship, I totally recognize that. But everyone should have a friend. Someone to lean on and that can lean on them because I personally couldn’t imagine living this life alone. Life is so amazing that it shouldn’t be lived alone. I hope and pray that each and every one of you at least have one friend that can do that for you. Married or in a committed relationship or not, find that friend and keep them – they are worth having in your life. I’ve been so lucky to have had some good friends in my life. Some have come and gone and come back again which makes those relationships even sweeter. The best thing about raising kids with your friends is that they slowly become friends (or at least you hope). Even though I’m married, I don’t know what I would do without my friends – especially the ones that totally empathize with me when I’m just needing to vent or being completely unreasonable (especially now). To be around people who just plain care about you, no matter what, is so special. **Disclaimer: I couldn’t even put pictures or name all the friends we have in our lives that we are so grateful for so please don’t be offended!**

Thirdly, this reminds me of my boys. Maybe it’s the whole Olsen twin thing, I have no idea. I just know I couldn’t imagine life with one of my boys or the other. My twins complete each other. They are the best of friends needing and deserving of one another and it’s the most magical experience I’ve witnessed in my life. I hope they continue to live their lives as the best of the friends and have the most amazing relationship for as long as they live. Even now, as I am writing, they are playing and laughing (sometimes fighting) with each other and it’s the best! I don’t even know what we will all do when baby girl gets here but it’s sure to be a lot of fun!

What does “It Takes Two” mean for you? Is it marriage, friendship, family or something with your kids? Regardless, like most things in life, you need a buddy and if you don’t need a buddy, you want a buddy. It’s like the whole women going to the restroom together. It’s so NOT necessary but it’s fun. You continue to talk or switch the conversation to something more scandalous or definitely not table appropriate. I keep thinking of my friend Michelle, we probably had the most unusual bathroom experience I’ve had with another lady but that’s for another day. 😉 But you understand what I mean…Having that partner in crime gives us someone to share our lives with.

It truly “takes a village” but personally, I want the village. I need the village. The bigger the better because life is so much better sharing it with others. 

Here’s to everything in between,

Rachel

So, who are we?

Background into us….

The journey into who we are is a LONG one. I’ll start with college. To go back any further would be way too long. But don’t worry, I’m sure my life will come out in pieces as we continue our journey together.

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This is me in 2007. These pictures were taken almost 10 years ago to the day!
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This is Nick in 2007. We met on a bus ride to Illinois.
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Baseball and Softball rode ONE BUS 18 hours! Why? Don’t ask me.

I met my husband, Nick, in college at the University of Dallas. He was on his 4th college following his dream to play baseball and he was the cutest, most rough around the edges type guy. I was there being my studious self and playing softball. Do I believe it was love at first sight? Not really. At least, not for him. 😉 Nick left UD after a year and off to LeTourneau University where he finished college and baseball. Fast forward to my last year of college when we FINALLY dated and had TONS OF FUN. One year later we were engaged and the year after that we were married on September 3rd 2011. I would say “Well, the rest is history.” Isn’t that what people say right about now? Maybe so but little did we know our lives were about to get a little more crazy.

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Our Engagement Pictures
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Our Wedding Day 9/3/2011

We started our married lives in Dallas, Texas. I was finishing up my teaching certificate and then became a nanny; Nick worked at the Mesquite Championship Rodeo and then got a job at Chase Bank. We weren’t making much and lived in a small apartment but we enjoyed life. Sometimes we look back and wish we could get away and go back to that “simple” life. Funny how perspective changes as you get older.

By August of 2012, we headed to Sugar Land, Texas (my hometown). I found a job teaching World History at Fort Bend Christian Academy and Nick transferred with Chase Bank. Ya’ll it was complete divine intervention that brought us back to Sugar Land. I applied for every job under the sun in Dallas and only one job in Sugar Land. YES ONLY ONE. I got ONE CALL BACK from this ONE JOB I applied to in Sugar Land! So off we went! 

This is really where the fun begins! Anyone a teacher out there? Talk about a whirlwind of a first year of teaching! That’s a whole another blog entirely but I have never had more heartache, pain (quite literally), and lessons learned in one year of my life (so far). I was also coaching a select softball team AND helping with our high school team. I look back and think WHAT WAS I THINKING! I think I may have come close to having a major panic attack a few times.

While I was doing all that, Nick decided he needed a change and found a new job at Frost Bank. While we were going through all of those transitions, we ended up taking in Nick’s mom. She was living alone and things were rough (to say the least) all the while trying to live with Parkinson’s. According to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (http://www.pdf.org/about_pd), Parkinson’s is a “is a chronic and progressive movement disorder, meaning that symptoms continue and worsen over time…..and it involves the malfunction and death of vital nerve cells in the brain, called neurons.” She had this disease for about 10 or so years by this point but due to some unfortunate circumstances, her health was taking a turn for the worse. She lived with us beginning Jan 2013 through the summer of 2014. In that time, we found specialists in Houston and successfully got her on a new plan. We also bought another house actually in Sugar Land and we all moved in early 2014. We eventually moved her into a town home close by from that summer of 2014 until November 2015 when she moved to Greenville, Texas to live with her brother. She is doing fantastic now!

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Archannette, Nick’s Mom

But let’s get back to the story, we had bought our first house in a new city in Richmond Texas, I was in my first year teaching, coaching two softball teams and became a primary caretaker to my mother in law. Nick was learning a new job, learning a new city, and also the primary caretaker to his mother. Oh, did I mention he had to live in San Antonio for 8 weeks for training at Frost Bank during all of this! In 2014, we moved again to Sugar Land Texas and we adopted our dog Dakota! WOW! When we look back on this time in our lives, we don’t have ANY regrets but ya’ll it was SO HARD. Don’t forget, we were also in our first years of marriage! That honeymoon phase ended REAL QUICK.

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Dakota, when she was a puppy.

 

Are you tired yet? We are just getting started….. 😉

Here’s to everything in between,

Rachel