An *Almost* 3 Day Weekend!

This is almost a three day weekend for me! We had parent-teacher conferences this past week, so late nights Tues/Thurs = just two hours of conferences this morning from 7:30-9:30 and then the rest of the day off! 
It has been ages since I posted, but life is so crazy busy that blogging gets pushed to last place. 

This past week has also been the Little Buffs Cheer Clinic with the high school cheerleaders I coach (well, with all three teams). Between conferences and the clinic, this week was nuts! I’m SO thankful for this three day weekend. 

Today I was finished with work at 9:30. I was supposed to take my van to get the door fixed at 10:30, but I really didn’t want to have to wake the boys from their nap (they get so grumpy when I do that!) and then go sit in the shop for 1-2 hours. Thankfully, when I called and explained my situation, they agreed to come pick the van up from my house and then bring it back – YAY! It worked out perfectly, they actually had it finished and back right before the boys woke from their nap. 

Then, B & C and I ran to Walmart. Some very generous past teachers/bosses/friends of Doug and I just sent us a gift card, so I was able to get some new pans + all the baking ingredients I had run out of. When we got home, my little sisters got here. They’re staying the weekend with us – so fun! We ate some lunch, a yummy EASY recipe I found on Pinterest, and then whipped up some sugar cookie dough while the boys napped so that it can chill until tomorrow. I’m trying out a new recipe and want to try a new frosting, too. These will be Halloween-themed cookies, but the recipes are a trial run for the cookies I want to make for B & C’s birthday party. 

ImageBrendan and Aunt Hope

This evening, I had to go to the high school football game so I could help with the little girls’ clinic. They were all so cute! Big thanks to my friend A’Lana for coming over to watch my boys! (Doug has been refereeing some high school games in the area lately, and that’s where he is tonight) Now, we’re watching Happy Feet Two and eating Halloween candy…so fun!Image

Tomorrow afternoon/evening we’re having some friends over for a Halloween party. The girls are excited, and so am I! We have a lot of cooking and cleaning to get done tomorrow, though! 

 

Life is so great – just busy!

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My Grandma Gerstberger

I miss my Grandma Gerstberger, my dad’s mom, very much. She passed away when I was eighteen, but I think about her frequently. 
As I was growing up, my grandma lived in Palisade, CO until my grandpa passed away (I was still very young). After that, she spent part of each year in Palisade and the other part in my hometown, Leoti, KS. 

Visiting my grandma in Colorado meant helping water her flowers, especially her rose bushes, climbing the big tree in her yard, bowls of fresh peaches with cream, riding our bikes up and down the road by her house, and spending lots of quality time with her. 
Her time in Leoti was even better, though, because we got to see her almost every day. I loved going to Grandma’s house after school and on the weekends. She always had something yummy to eat, and she wouldn’t listen to you if you said you weren’t hungry. When I was younger, we would play catch and whiffle ball outside. As I grew older, we loved to watch Jeopardy together and try to answer all the questions. Brutally honest, you could count on Grandma to tell you the truth. I remember joining band in fifth grade and arriving at her house with my flute, so excited. She commented, “I never really liked the flute,” yet she listened to me play and encouraged me to practice. If we got sick at school, we would go to Grandma’s house and sleep and watch TV while she took care of us; some days I wanted to fake sick just to spend the day at her house.

I spent at least one night a week with my grandma from 7th-12th grades, during the months she was in town, because of my church’s Wednesday evening classes. By the time class was over, it was silly to drive all the way home (I lived on a farm out of town) and then get up early to come back for school. I also stayed the night with her when I had other reasons I had to be at school super early: band trips,  Saturday wrestling meets after Friday night basketball games, etc. 
No matter how early I had to be up, she was up before me making a full breakfast. I’ve never been much of a breakfast eater, but you just couldn’t tell Grandma that! Eggs, bacon or sausage, and toast were all piping hot and ready for me to eat before I left. 

My grandma was a farm wife and mother all her life, and she knew how to do so many things. She could cook, bake, sew, crochet, embroider, and more. She was also a wonderful artist, and I’m so thankful to still have some cards she drew for me. 

I wish I had learned more from her when she was still here. I learned some things, or at least kind of learned, when I was younger. For instance, one summer she taught my sister and I how to embroider; I remember stitching the tea towel I was working on to my shorts, by accident. My sister was always so much better at things like that, so I just let her learn and I did other things. I know that I can still learn these things, but it isn’t the same as learning from my grandma would have been. I wish I had learned from her when I had the chance. 

Grandma and I did have a few things in common, though. One thing was our love of reading. I have some very special memories of her reading to me when I was small; when I was older, we would give each other book suggestions. In fact, the week she died, I was supposed to go read to her. She had a stroke and was in the hospital, but the doctors were amazed by how quickly she was making progress in her recovery. I had been to visit her and told her I would be back to read to her later that week. She passed away before I got a chance to go back, and I will forever be sad about that.

I wish so much that she could have met my husband and my children; I just know she would love them. So often it is something small that makes me think of her: the ribbon candy she put out around Christmas, a box of chocolates, getting a letter in the mail (oh, how Grandma loved to get mail!), books – especially the James Herriot books, an episode of Jeopardy or The Price is Right, attempting to bake one of her recipes, or reading I Was Walking Down the Road, one of my favorite books to read with her when I was little, the very copy we read together so often, to my babies. 

 

 

At some point growing up, my grandma gave all of her daughters and daughters-in-law a large Bluebird of Happiness and all of her granddaughters a smaller one. I still have mine, and it perches in my kitchen windowsill, since I so often think of my grandma when I’m cooking or baking (even though my culinary skills don’t hold a candle to hers).Image

 

How very appropriate her gift, given several years ago, still is. 

Exhausted and Eternally Thankful

Recently, I’ve been trying to get my students to use more specific words in their writing. 
For example, rather than:
“He was mad.”
I’ve been trying to get them say things like:
“He was furious/outraged/grumpy/crabby/upset/enraged.” etc. 

Yesterday, I was thinking about how tired I was, and realized that wasn’t the appropriate word. “Exhausted” is a better fit. 

Once upon a time in my life before children, I used to sometimes think I was exhausted. To be fair to my old self, I really was a busy person who often ended up feeling tired. In college, for example, I worked on campus, took 15-20 credit hours per semester, was a cheerleader, and was active in my church/church group. I would get really worn down sometimes, but I always had the option of sleep sooner or later. 

In my life now, that is not the case. 

Exhausted, my friends, is that bone-crushing tiredness you feel when your eyes shut without permission. Exhaustion has hit me hard these past couple of weeks; it has been similar to how I felt when the boys were just a week or two old. They have been teething and now have colds, so they have been up A LOT at night. In addition, I have now caught the cold they have, so my body is even more wiped out. 

My best friend since we were ten and her boyfriend came to visit us this weekend. We loved seeing them, but last night I literally could not keep my eyes open. We were all sitting around visiting and they just kept closing. I’ve been going on 3, 4, sometimes 5, hours of broken sleep a night (1 here, 1 there), teaching, and coaching, and I’m to the point of “exhausted.” I’m so thankful that I don’t do physically difficult labor; how much worse it would be! I’m on my feet all day, but it doesn’t compare to hard labor.

Last night was another three hours of sleep, and not all at once, night, so I’m thankful Doug was able to watch the boys for a couple hours before he had to go to work today. I got almost two more hours of sleep!

Even when I am so very exhausted, and even somewhat frustrated with the boys for being awake AGAIN (although it is really not their fault), I am so very, very thankful for them. I wouldn’t trade my exhaustion for a life without my boys, not even for one second.
I am so often brought to tears of joy as I look at my sweet boys. I play Pandora lullaby stations while I get the boys ready for bed or a nap, and the songs they play frequently aid in bringing me to tears. “I have loved you for a thousand years, I’ll love you for a thousand more” and the lyrics to “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” are two that get me every time.

My children are such special, wonderful, beautiful, strong, smart little boys; I am forever grateful to be their mom.

I had two early losses before I had my boys; two very early miscarriages. Pieces of my heart were missing, and some days sadness overwhelmed me. In addition to grieving for the children I would never know on earth, the babies who I only carried a few short weeks, I began to worry if I would ever be able to have children at all. I was bitter and heartbroken and I was so frustrated with mothers who complained of exhaustion. I thought, I would gladly be exhausted every day for the rest of my life if it meant I could have a child. I watched other mothers do things like push their child on a swing, or reprimand their child in a store, and I dreamed that some day that would be me, all the while I worried that it wouldn’t. 

After those two losses, my pregnancy with the boys was full of worry.
If you’ve miscarried, there is no more naive happiness your whole pregnancy. You are constantly checking for pregnancy symptoms, searching frantically for any blood you may have spotted – relieved when you see none but panicky that you missed it. Add to that worry the fact that I was pregnant with twins, and twin pregnancies are considered more high-risk in the first place, and I was secretly a nervous wreck for most of my pregnancy. By the grace of God, though, my boys made it full term and came home healthy and happy.

I am eternally thankful for them. 

There are, of course, still small holes in my heart where my angel babies should be. Brendan and Cason, my rainbow babies, did not replace them, cannot replace them, though they have made life so very bright and happy. On some level, I will always grieve for my angel babies. I cannot wait to meet them in heaven some day, but it is still difficult to have to wonder who they would be were they here on earth with us. Had my first angel baby stayed in my womb, he or she would be over a year old now. My second would be a year old very soon. God had a plan, obviously, because had either of those first two babies been born, we wouldn’t have Brendan and Cason. 

I am incredibly exhausted, most parents are, but I gladly accept this exhaustion because it means I have two perfect little blessings. It means I am a mom, and I am eternally thankful.

Dear Other Mom, I’m Sorry

Dear Other Mom in the grocery store today,

I was upset when I saw that there were no double carts left. I was even more irritated when I saw you pushing one, with your one child who looked far too old/large to be sitting in the little car that is the double seat. Glaring in your direction, I muttered under my breath about people being inconsiderate. What about people like me with twins? Or others with two young children? I grumbled, and I let it bother me most of the time I spent shopping.

In retrospect, though, I wonder if I was the one being inconsiderate.

I don’t know you. I don’t know your child. I don’t know your story.

Perhaps, as I originally assumed, your child can be a brat and you indulge his every wish.

Or maybe not.

For all I know, that boy that appeared to be much too big to sit in that cart needed that cart today for some reason or another.
Maybe he has special needs and you were simply trying to avoid a meltdown by letting him use the cart he wanted.
Maybe he is physically different in some way and cannot walk well, or even at all, and therefore he must ride in a cart, so why not that one?
Maybe you’ve had an exhausting day, week, or month and telling him he couldn’t ride in that cart was just not a battle worth fighting this morning.

No matter the case, the point is I don’t know. I don’t know your story, your situation, your life.

I’m truly sorry for judging you. I’m sorry that it took me all day to think the things I should have the instant I saw you and your son. I hope you didn’t see me glare your way; I’m ashamed of my lack of kindness.

Next time, I’ll do better.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.
– attributed to Plato, Socrates, or Ian Maclaren, depending on the source

Life as HoneyMrsMommyCoach + Family Photos!

My blog title is quite an apt description of my life. Hence the reason I haven’t blogged in quite some time. 

With school in full swing + Doug’s work schedule getting busier by the day, life around here is crazy!

The boys are teething TERRIBLY and it is taking FOREVER (or so it seems!) for them to come in! They’ve been drooling and gnawing on things for months now, but in the last two weeks it has gotten really bad. They’re up frequently and for long periods of time throughout the night, obviously exhausted but in pain. They’ve had frequent, horrid diapers so runny that we’ve had lots of leaks and I feel as though the hours I spent with them are spent mostly cleaning their little butts and wherever they’ve managed to spread the mess. I JUST WANT THE TOOTH/TEETH TO BREAK THROUGH! 

They’ve been getting up so much at night that I’ve had to go back to making Doug help me out. Last night, for example, we each had to get up twice. When I do those nights on my own, I get literally almost zero sleep. At least the past couple of nights I’ve gotten 4 – 5 hours, although broken into small chunks.

So, life right now:

Up at 6 after little sleep, get ready while Doug plays with the boys.
Take them to daycare and head to work. 
Teach my sometimes-awesome-sometimes-ridiculously frustrating-8th graders all day. 
MWF-coach practice until almost 6. Sometimes I take the boys with me. Usually, though, Doug picks them up those evenings.
T-TR- pick up the boys and come home. 
Bedtime for them is between 6:30-7:30, usually, so I barely get to see them sometimes. (Good thing they’re getting up so much at night! lol)
When they’re in bed I eat, try to clean up a bit around here, take care of Origami Owl stuff, grade papers, create lessons, and crash!

I love each and every thing I do, but life can truly be exhausting. 

 

On another note, we had family photos taken by my aunt when she came to visit. I just LOVE them! Here are a few of my favorites.

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The Aftermath

Carrying twins does something to your body. Carrying any baby changes your body, and carrying two at once can really do a number on it. (I can’t imagine carrying more than two!)

I was never Miss America material, but I was always pretty fit. 8 months after having the boys, I am still working on accepting my “new” body.

Some of what I struggle with is extra fat that I’ve put on (some probably post-babies!) because I haven’t been working out very consistently and I’m not a very healthy eater. I eat well sometimes, but then I turn right around and eat five cookies in as many minutes. (This never used to be an issue for me. I could eat what I liked and not worry about it. Those days are gone.)

The rest, though, is my belly. My belly of saggy baggy elephant skin. There is SO MUCH skin left that it looks like fat if you see it under clothes, and if you see it without clothes you might just throw up a little bit. That’s not to mention the stretch marks that look like a tiger took to my belly with its claws. I don’t mind them so much, though, because I never planned to wear a bikini again anyway. It would be nice, though, to not feel frustrated with how I look even when I put clothes on.

I’m in an online group of twin mommies. From them, I’ve learned a bit about this skin I have left.
1) It’s often referred to as “twin skin”
2) The only twin mommies in that group that don’t have it had preemies
3) It will never go completely away without surgery

Let me make one thing abundantly clear: I am SO INCREDIBLY THANKFUL for the fact that I was blessed to carry my boys to 37 weeks. They were born with zero medical issues and spent no time in the NICU, unlike many twins. I WOULD NOT trade my skin for preemie babies, and I know every one of those moms would gladly have a belly like mine to have children born full term. 

Now, having cleared that up, it is still very difficult to adjust to this belly of gross saggy skin. It even makes me less motivated to exercise/eat healthy and lose the other fat on my body (I say fat, not weight, because I weigh less than I used to but my body fat % is obviously different because everything jiggles and I just look bigger) because I know that no matter what I do, my stomach will always look this way. 

I think this is such a difficult adjustment for me for two reasons. 1) I used to be very fit and active and I’m just still not used to the person I see in the mirror. 2) So many women around me and society in general make it seem like I should have a perfect little tiny body again by now. (It’s been 8 months since they were born – what is wrong with her?!) My friend Sarah put it into words quite well the other day, I thought. She said, “We’re told we’re beautiful when we’re little, and that puberty is good, even though our bodies change, and then when they change again (for a great purpose) all of a sudden they’re ugly and embarrassing!” 

ImageWhen your belly stretches this far, some of it just won’t “snap back”

I‘d post a picture of the aftermath, but I don’t want anybody to lose their lunch 😉 (You probably think I’m kidding, but I’m really not. For instance, I was shopping for some new shirts one afternoon with my younger sister Hope. She is incredibly blunt and honest in her childlike way, and as she saw me change my shirt she asked me what was wrong with my stomach. I explained to her that having Brendan and Cason had made my belly look that way, and she giggled while she said, “It’s gross! Put your shirt on!” She did not say this to hurt my feelings, she is just honest.)

Thankfully, the skin on my belly has gone down a great deal. That doesn’t mean it bothers me any less. This blog post is something I read on days I’m really upset. She puts into words EXACTLY how I feel about it! 
“When I blow dry my hair after a shower, I look at my body in the mirror, and the familiar internal conversation begins. First there is the still present feeling of surprise. That’s me? Then comes the uncontrollable feeling of disgust constricting my throat. But on its heels the thought: wait a minute, these scars are sacred, they represent one of the most significant stories within my story, something I don’t want to forget, and there, right there is evidence of my own rebirth into something more. But I hardly take a breath before my hands are moving to my stomach to stretch it out flat and make it look like a long-gone me. If I could just change this one part…”
—-read the whole post though, please. It is so beautifully written!

Shopping and getting dressed have changed immensely. I cannot wear shirts that fit my belly and feel comfortable with myself, so I buy more loose fitting clothing or shirts that are banded at the bottom but loose over the belly. I’ve had to buy bigger pants because the skin just couldn’t comfortably fit inside my old ones. If I want to look nice for some reason, if I’m really trying to look pretty, I end up in tears. Then I remind myself that vanity is a sin, I get up and put on my “fat sucker inner” as I call my spanx that I have to wear to even somewhat resemble my old self, and get dressed. 

Like I said just above, I KNOW that vanity is a sin. I know that, but I struggle with it. I struggle with wanting to look like my old self, but not wanting to go back to the days before I had my babies. I struggle with feeling ugly, even in front of my very reassuring, sweet, accepting husband. It is a daily struggle to accept myself for who I am and to remember that what I look like doesn’t really matter. 

It is also a struggle not to be jealous of and bitter toward mothers whose bodies can return to, or very closely to, what they looked like before baby/ies. Add this to the list of things about which I compare myself to other moms. 

My photographer aunt is visiting this weekend, and we are planning to finally take family photos. I don’t know what I’ll wear, and I’m sure I won’t love how I look. I keep remembering this blog post I read awhile ago, though, and I know I’ll be thankful we took pictures as a family.

In summary, I don’t have anything as beautiful to say as the author of “These are the lines of a story” did in the first post I linked tonight. She kind of took the words right from my mouth with a lot of what she said. 
I’m thankful for my boys, and I would rather have a gross belly than no babies.
I’m aware that this whole post is a first world problem that wouldn’t even be an issue if I didn’t have such an easy, cushy lifestyle. If I had to hunt my food and carry my own water every day, extra belly skin would probably never cross my mind. 

If you’re reading this post and you have twin skin, I want to tell you that it’s ok to not love it. I don’t think anybody does. Someday, though, we’ll come to a better acceptance of our bodies as they are now. (Alternatively, you can get a tummy tuck. Lots of women do that nowadays.) I’m more ok with it now than I was a month ago, and I’m sure in the next few years that acceptance will continue to grow. 

I also know that I’m smaller than many people I know, and they’ll probably be irritated by this post. Please realize, though, this post isn’t about losing weight; it’s about trying to accept a part of me that I can never hope to change without a very expensive, painful, elective surgery – a surgery I don’t want. And to those of you who say, “it’ll go back” or, “do more planks”: you don’t know what I’m talking about. Ask a twin mom. Or a triplet or quad mom. Or a singleton mom whose belly grew more than is typical.

It’s skin. I can’t “fix” it. And I will accept it. 

On the Move

CRAWLING!

My babies are crawling. Both of them, now, since Brendan started today. Poor Cason tried and tried for over a month, going backwards, then rocking on his hands and knees, trying to bear-crawl, etc. He finally mastered it just a couple days ago, and his speed is ever increasing. He doesn’t do the typical crawl, though. He kind of slides/scoots along sometimes, and others he bear-crawls. 
Brendan, who had zero interest in trying to crawl until about a week ago, started moving forward this afternoon. Because it is so new, it is still slow, but it is very methodical. Hand, knee, hand, knee, etc. 

I am SO PROUD of my big 8 month old boys. My heart just about burst with joy (as it does every single time they do anything, lol) to see them crawl. I am beyond thankful every day for my happy, healthy children. 

At the same time, I am a little bit sad. Every day they grow and change and it is so amazing to watch. They are such little miracles! But, every change brings with it the realization that my babies are growing up. Pretty soon, they’ll be able to walk, and run, and climb. 

I am so incredibly excited for this life with my boys, but I will miss their tiny baby stage. Image

Playing in their room

 

Saturday!

I really enjoyed today!

Doug and I were both home, so we played with the boys this morning and just relaxed. Then, for lunch, we went to a Mexican buffet place here in town. The boys did so well (they’re doing much better in situations like that these days, now that they can eat a lot of what we do and can sit up well in the high chairs at restaurants) and the food was very good!

Then we went to Walmart and got a ton of groceries. We like to stock up on the things we eat most frequently so that we don’t have to run to the store every night or even every week. 

This evening we spent more time together as a family and I baked some quinoa/egg/veggie breakfast muffins to eat this week & froze some for future use. Then, while I got the boys to bed, Doug grilled some chicken and sweet corn. We made this recipe we saw on Pinterest. It was yummy! 

I had decided earlier this evening I was going to bake a double batch of these sugar cookies that I made a couple weeks ago for our family reunion. They were a big hit there, and they’re delicious with or without frosting. So, I had gotten the butter for it out so it could warm to room temperature and then went on about our evening. By the time I got the boys bathed and in bed and Doug and I ate, it was 8:30. I quickly did the supper dishes and mixed up my dough, but since it was a double batch I’m still baking away at 10:30. I’m on my last pan, though! I’ll take some cookies to work Monday and freeze the rest so we can have them whenever we’d like some cookies. 

I’m exhausted (Cason didn’t sleep well last night, as usual) and can’t wait to get in bed, but I have a sinking feeling Cason will probably wake right when I get to that point 😦 

Sometimes he sleeps pretty well, though, so I guess I can hold out hope! 

Ahh….Inservice

The past three days have been spent in inservice meetings. To be perfectly honest, some of these are completely worthwhile and wonderful (like when my principal gives us time to meet with our colleagues and plan, since we have to stick to roughly the same schedule) and some of it is, in my opinion, quite worthless. 

It is frustrating to have so much work to do in your classroom, so many lessons to plan and create all necessary handouts/rubrics etc. for, and so much worthwhile information that needs covered, but be stuck sitting and listening to a two hour presentation that could have been summarized in twenty minutes. 

On the plus side, we’ve had an hour-long lunch break, which does NOT typically happen when you’re a teacher. 23 minutes. That’s how long lunch lasts at my school. There is a 4 minute passing period first, during which you walk your students to lunch, and a 4 minute passing period after, so that you can get to your room. 23 minutes, then, to walk to the staff room area and heat your lunch (if you brought something that needs heated) eat it, and use the restroom/anything else you need to do. This year, though, I’m SO LUCKY! I have my plan time in conjunction with lunch, so I’ll be able to eat at my own pace 🙂 I’m very, very excited! 

Tomorrow and Friday are work days. This means that will finish getting my classroom ready, work on lesson plans, and type up assignments etc. that I’ll need at the beginning of the year. This is not to say that I haven’t been spending hours on these things already. That hour long lunch break from the past three days, for instance, has been spent quickly scarfing a sandwich and then working in my room. 

The boys are doing wonderfully at daycare, as usual. They just love our daycare provider and other kiddos there, and they’re always so happy when I go to pick them up. Plus, she’s awesome and sends pictures to me via text so that I can stay updated on them throughout the day. I am SO thankful for her!

Brendan is a toy hog. He will take any toy within reach and keep them for himself. The boys have a big square activity table that is currently on the ground (we’ll put the legs on when they’re walking) and today Brendan had it pulled up onto his lap and away from Cason. Ornery boy!

Cason is SO SO SOOOOOO close to crawling! He has moved forward an inch or two a couple of times; I give it a week or two, max, and he’ll be going! He also started babbling today, saying “ba ba ba ya ya ya” which only Brendan had done to this point, so I was happy to hear it coming from Cason. 

Speaking of Cason, this is the second night in a row that he has gone to sleep at typical bedtime (between 6:30-7) and then gotten back up within thirty minutes. He, like yesterday, just filled his diaper and is chewing on a small, stuffed cow that “moos” when squeezed and staring at me. So, I’m off to clean his poopy rear and get him to go back to bed.