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

 

Juggling

Being ENOUGH is a four letter word….

Do you ever feel like you are juggling a million things at once? This was definitely my life last week. Sometimes I feel like pregnancy alone is enough to juggle but then add in the twins, the dog, my husband and anything else I happen to be doing and life can quickly seem out of control. Life can be overwhelming and instead of enjoying life we are trying to survive life. Then everything you usually do with ease and grace now seems like it’s mediocre. I feel like between everything I had going last week I barely saw the kids. I mean they were there – but SEEING them is a whole different thing. Insert mommy guilt. 

But thank goodness for Mondays! A brand new start to the week. A brand new week to make better than the last. But I’m still juggling. Aren’t we all? I’ve already started the day off getting the kids up and ready for school, visited a friend who just had a baby, popped in a frozen pizza, checked in on my book lady business, did some book lady leader duties, talked a little skin care with my mom, sister and sponsor, had a couple of phone calls and now sitting to write the blog post. Is the pizza ready yet? See all that juggling! It’s really incredible when I write it out all on the screen. Yet, somehow we, moms and caregivers of anyone, tend to not give ourselves enough credit for what we do on a daily basis. In fact, we largely feel like we didn’t do enough or worse, that we aren’t enough. 

That reminds me of this video I saw on Facebook this weekend about how we, moms, don’t feel like we are enough. I wish I had saved it to post in here. The video was moving for me because lately that’s how I have been feeling. Not enough. Are you feeling this way? That’s the Devil y’all. Telling us we can’t do something. Or we shouldn’t do something for ourselves.

I would take a guess that this is a DAILY struggle for many people – not just moms. But how debilitating. That thought of not being enough can literally freeze you in time. Isn’t that what the Devil wants from us? Not to be everything that God intended for us to be. Not reaching our full potential. Even when we are reaching our potential, sometimes we have guilt for even doing that! It’s a vicious web we weave ourselves in! 

Well, I’m here to say YOU ARE ENOUGH.

When you feed the kids chicken nuggets for the 3rd time this week instead of a home cooked meal – YOU ARE ENOUGH.

When you haven’t taken a shower in 2 days and the house is a mess – YOU ARE ENOUGH.

When you pour that glass of wine just a tad before 5pm because it’s just been one of those days – YOU ARE ENOUGH.

When all you want to do is go to a hotel to sleep because you’re one more fight between your kids away from a mental breakdown – YOU ARE ENOUGH.

When you have one of the best days with the kids and get everything on your to-do list done – YOU ARE ENOUGH. 

When you spend way too much money on something that makes you incredibly happy – YOU ARE ENOUGH. 

When you stay up late watching movies with your husband and know you’ll pay for it the next day – YOU ARE ENOUGH.

When you spend anytime making sure YOU are taken care of – YOU ARE ENOUGH. 

 

YOU ARE MORE THAN ENOUGH. 

 

Here’s to being enough today and every day,

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

 

“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

The Journey Here

The blog.

The journey here hasn’t been an easy one and not one I could even possibly share in one blog post. But here I am. Blogging! Who knew? It’s been on my mind for a few months. You know when you are bugged over and over by a thought but you brush it off? Yep! That’s this blog. Then something amazing happened. I connected with an organization called Caiden’s Hope (we will definitely be talking more about them throughout this blogging journey). Using my side biz with Usborne Books & More, we partnered together to raise funds for their organization (more to come later, promise!). One thing led to another and by the power of the Holy Spirit, the founder of the charity asked me to start this blog. BAM! The little thought was no longer brushed off and now 1 month later, we are here! This blog is intended to relate to a number of different journeys we are all on – marriage, kids and everything in between! It’s everything in between that life happens, am I right? So, take this journey of life with me…. I promise it’s an exciting one!

 

Until next time,

Rachel