Saturday, August 30, 2008

What Having Twins Has Taught Me (Part One)

I've always wanted twins. I remember during my first pregnancy, twenty years ago, lying anxiously on the hard table as the ultrasound tech pressed and proded, trying to make sure my little fetus had all the right parts. I had had to pee very badly, because back then you had to drink, literally, a gallon of water before you went in for your ultrasound or the techs couldn't get a good look. I'm not sure why. Did they have to look through my bladder at the little guy or what? I'm sure some of you know, and if you do, feel free to give us the answers. I digress. I remember poring over the grainy images on the screen trying to see if there were two (or four) of anything. I wanted twins so badly. At the end of the visit however, even though my fetus and I left the doctor's office with a clean bill of health, there had been a tinge of disappointment that there was only one baby in the sac. (Above is the end result of the grainy image on the monitor. Although there was only one, she turned out pretty nice, didn't she?)

During my third pregnancy, I had a dream that I gave birth to two lynxs. I was SURE this was a sign, a preparatory message of sorts. I studied dream interpretation and convinced myself that, surely, I was pregnant with twins. But again, after the ultrasound, I left with mixed emotions, glad that my fetus was healthy, but disappointed that my lynx dream had been meaningless. (Until I found this picture on Google images, I really had no idea what a lynx looked like. In my dream, I just knew they were lynxs. Thank you, Google.)

I experienced the same emotions with every single pregnancy thereafter. I even sometimes fantasized that after I delivered my baby, the doctor would shout, "Wait! There's something else in there! Okay, push, push....we've got another baby in here!" Nope, just a placenta.

My eighth pregnancy was different. Usually the first sign that God has sent down another little human to us was a late period and tender breasts. This time however, I hadn't been keeping track of my cycles, so I didn't know I was late. The first symptom I experienced was nausea and burping. I knew the feeling well, as it had accompanied me for at least five months of every pregnancy, but I was surprised it had come this early. I went to Walmart with five kids in tow, shouted over the crowd waiting in line at the pharmacy that I needed to know where the pregnancy tests were, tried to ignore the smirks and stares, hid the test in a triple-layered Walmart bag so John wouldn't see it, and tucked it in the back of our bathroom cabinet. When the baby had gone down for a nap and all of the other kids were working on their home school, I went into the bathroom, locked the door and did the deed. I sat the test on the bathroom counter, fixed up my pants and before I could finish buttoning them, a DARK pink line had already appeared in the window. I was shocked at the speed with which the test had registered the good news and I dropped to my knees right there in the bathroom to thank Heavenly Father, through tears of joy, for giving me this new opportunity.

Now, how to tell John. Any way I tried would be anti-climactic. When I had found out I was pregnant with Johnny (my seventh and his first), it was five days before John's 50th birthday and I had been planning for three months that I would tell him I was pregnant with his first child on his fiftieth birthday. Things worked out pretty well, right? I had put the test in two ziploc bags, placed this in a gift bag along with a bib that said "I Love My Daddy", packed it in my suitcase as we would be on vacation in Salt Lake City on his birthday and waited. The wait was excruciating. I felt like he had to be the first one to know and I thought I was going to burst. I wanted to tell anybody, even the grocery store clerk, but I kept my silence for five days.

That long night before his birthday, I had asked him if he would like to stay awake to receive his present at midnight. We had been driving all day with six kids and had retired to an air mattress in the basement of his brother's home and he had no interest in staying up until midnight to receive his present. I magnanimously accepted his decline and stared at the ceiling as he began to snore. Two hours and about twenty-one rotations on the air mattress later, the clock struck midnight and I quietly asked him if he was awake. He didn't answer, so I thougt that perhaps he was awake, but I had just spoken too softly. I asked him again, a little louder. Still no response. I thought I might tap him to make sure he wasn't awake. The taps turned into shoves and he finally responded that he was awake now. "Good," I said. "Now you can open your birthday present!"

...All righty then. My wrists are hurting from pressing against the laptop, one of the babies is crying, and I'm falling I will continue with John's reaction and other interesting anecdotes about my twin pregnancy soon. Surely you understand.

Oh, and remember to get your posts ready (or search your archives) for Homemaker Mondays! Mr. Linky will be up at 6:00 AM Monday morning. I will also announce the winner of the necklace and earrings, so good luck, everybody!

Related posts:
What Having Twins Has Taught Me (Part Two)

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Friday, August 29, 2008

Frugal Friday (Big Baby Blankets)

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Nothing says frugal to me more than a multi-purpose item. Rather, three multi-purpose items. Take a look at these beauties...

These are three baby blankets I had made for the twins. It all started when a friend of my mother's presented her with two large baby blankets to give me when the twins were born. They were much bigger than regular-sized receiving blankets and sported beautiful hand-crocheted trim my mom's friend paid a lady to add. The only thing that bothered me about them were the ducks. Now don't get me wrong. I like ducks. There are nothing wrong with ducks. However, because I enjoyed these blankets so much, they were ALWAYS with me, whether wrapped around one of the babies, thrown over my shoulder or folded over my arm on the way into church. One day as I sat looking at one particular duck taking a bath while wearing sunglasses, I said to myself, "Self, why couldn't I buy beautiful fabric, cut it to the size I want and pay the friend of my mom's friend to hand-finish the edges?" An idea was born and once I finally got up the gumption to go to Walmart and buy the fabric, my idea took wings.

The crochet lady charged me only $20 to hand-crochet each of the 4'x6' blankets and as you can see, they turned out beautifully.

These are not your typical flannel or fleece baby blankets. I specifically purchased 100% cotton and had her crochet only one layer thick as I knew the babies would be swaddled snugly in these blankets during the heat of the summer. I bought three, so in case one needed to be washed, I would still be able to sport the other twin in his matching blanket!

As I said at the beginning of this post, these blankets are multi-purpose. Obviously, I use them to swaddle the babies, like this...

I also find that these are excellent nursing blankets. The babies are at a stage where they love to grab and pull every thing their little hands can reach, so it is very difficult to keep a blanket over them while nursing. These blankets are so long, though, that it is a challenge for them to pull it off if I have it draped behind my back. I either use them as a wrap while breastfeeding, like this...

...or they can simply be laid over the key components to ensure modesty, like this...

Other uses for these blankets:
-Impromtu tablecloth
-Sun shield
-Peek-a-boo toy
-I've even used them as a wrap-around skirt at the pool, like this...

I've often wondered what I would have done had I not known someone who could crochet an edge like this...

I'm sure I could have stiched on some kind of decorative add-on or simply folded the hems over and zigzagged them, but I sure do love her handiwork!

And there you have big, beautiful baby blankets!

If you liked this post and would like to join me here on a regular basis via email or other reader, please...
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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Vintage Thingies and Trash to Treasure

Come check out a bunch of other cool vintage thingies over at the Apron Queen's!

How I LOVE a good deal! In my efforts to decorate the guest room in the hacienda-style home we are building, my goal was to choose low-cost, thrift store finds. I had a GREAT time, even though I had the twins in tow, because my mom or John accompanied me at each shopping adventure.

Some of the things we found:

-The dinette set (purchased at Good Will and partially pictured below) - $70
-Each dish set (purchased in Mexico and pictured below) - $7
-Mexican blue vintage napkins (purchased at a thrift store)- 4 for $.99
-Bright pink cloth to use as a table cloth (purchased at Walmart and pictured below)- $6

and my favorite...

-THIS vintage brass taper holder (purchased at Good Will). Truthfully, I don't know if it is vintage or not, but it sure does look old and I love it! Its height makes a lovely statement on the set table. It even came with the white tapers! The price? $3!

Come and visit us sometime!

I am pleased to list this post @...
Diane's trash to Treasure Tuesday!

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(You'll be helping to pay for at least one of the nine kids' college tuition.)
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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Wordless Wednesday (We Love Bananas! ...oh, and candy, too)

I am pleased to list this post in Wordless Wednesday @... amazing site hosted by twin moms for us moms!

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I lied. I'm so sorry...

I told you I would have the picture of the Mexican necklace up yesterday. I lied. I didn't get to it. Please forgive me. So here it is...

...and a bit of a closeup...

This piece was hand made by Senora Laura and I thought it was gorgeous. It's a versatile piece that can be worn with so many different styles. I love jewelry like that! I also love the colors...the golds and reds...especially the reds; perfect for the upcoming fall and Christmas seasons. You may have noticed that I included the pair of matching earrings. Want to know how to win those, too? If you've included a post in yesterday's Homemaker Monday, just subscribe in a reader or by email (see top of left sidebar) and if you win, the earrings will be yours! If you haven't entered a post in yesterday's Mr. Linky, it's never too late, so go ahead and write something up or search your archives. I would also encourage you to check out everyone else's entry. There were some truly amazing tips and I can't wait until next week to show you my favorite post! Click HERE for the most recent carnival.

For more information on how to get in on this monthly drawing, click HERE and have a great day!

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Ruby Tuesday

This post is listed @...

...@ The Work of the Poet. Click the pic to see more wonderful ruby red photos!

This photo was taken in New Zealand by my husband. His talent in the field of photography and his love of gardening is one of the many reasons I love him!

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Homemaker Monday: 100% Whole Wheat Bread Machine Bread

Welcome to...

We're so glad you came!
If you're new and would like to participate in this carnival today, please check out the rules and regs HERE. Otherwise, enjoy YOURS, MINE and OURS!

YOURS: This week's "YOURS" was posted by RAE over at My Life on the East Coast. I loved reading this post because it reminded me that life isn't all about having an immaculate house and a completely controlled environment at all times. But what if the kids want to get out all the blankets and make forts?

Read what Rae does about that HERE. She even has an argument with herself, an angel on one shoulder, devil on the other so to speak. It cracked me up because I have had the same argument with myself all too often. I just never thought of writing it!
Rae ends her post by sharing some moments of familial bliss involving these...

and these...

Enjoy the entire post HERE and thank you very much, Rae!

MINE: Our Daily Bread

This is the way we get our bread so early in the morning...

There as nothing I love more than waking up to the smell of freshly-baked bread. Well, there are a few things I love more, but not too many. And in order to combat the miriad unhealthy foods my kids are exposed to, we like to grind our own flour, with this...

Almost every night one of us puts these ingredients... our bread machine in this order:
1 1/2 cups raw milk (If you plan on leaving this is the machine overnight and you don't have raw milk, then use 1 1/2 cups water. We will add powdered milk in later. Otherwise the milk will could spoil. Raw milk doesn't spoil, but goes sour, which is okay when you're making bread.)
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons honey or molasses
2 teaspoons salt
4 cups whole wheat flour
(If you used water earlier, now add 1/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons powdered milk. Thanks for the reconstitution table, Hillbilly Housewife!)
3 tablespoons vital wheat gluten (you can get it at Walmart and I'll tell you about it in a minute)
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast, placed in a well dug into the flour, like this...

Vital wheat gluten in the key ingredient in making good whole wheat bread. It is the part of the flour that allows it to bind to itself. Without it, the bread can turn out crumby, literally, and who likes crumby bread? Check out how wonderful this loaf looks.

That's a compliment to the bread machine, not me. I just put the stuff in and the machine does all the work. You've gotta love modern technology!

One last thing. I store the paddle in the bread pan unattached to the pole in order to make sure it has dried completely. However, there have been more than a few times that I have put all the ingredients in the pan only to realize once it's too late that I haven't attached the paddle! I then have to carefully dig through the four cups of flour, try to find the paddle at the bottom of the milk and try to affix it to the pole. Not fun! Once my daughter did the same thing, but didn't realize it until after we got home from church expecting a warm and wonderful loaf for lunch. It smelled great, but when we looked into the pan, it was a cooked mess of boiled milk and flour still sitting on the top; utter disappointment after a long day at church!

I know I said one last thing before, but I really mean it this time. One last thing...Going back a bit, if you make sure to pour the oil into the tablespoon first, and THEN the honey, the honey will slip off the spoon like nobody's business, like this...

Hope you enjoy!

OURS: Now it's your turn! Don't forget to leave a comment. It's easier for me to enter you into the contest that way! And make sure to check out everyone else's post and leave encouraging comments for them. We all love comments!

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

By way of reminder...

...please join us for...

...this coming Monday! Just write a post about homemaking (a how-to, idea, recipe, tip or any other type of inspiration for us homemakers) OR search your archives for a homemaking post and enter it here in "Mr. Linky" any time on Monday. Do this and you will be entered into the Mexican jewelry drawing! I went to Senora Laura's home today and picked out a beautiful handmade piece for you! I will post the picture on Monday. "Mr. Linky" will be up at 6:00 AM MST Monday morning for all your early birds. I will be asleep or breastfeeding, but I hope to find some entries when I awaken! :)

Have a great weekend!

For more details, click HERE. Hope to see you there!

If you're still here, you get to read it...

The thirteen-year-old girl: Mom, can you go to the store and get me some pads?
The eight-year-old boy: Wow! You're going to be on the football team?!?

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Homemaking Tip o' the Day: How to Dress a Baby (or Two)

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...@ Rocks in My Dryer, am AMAZING blog everyone needs to see!

In my effort to publish posts that will be interesting to myself, my posterity, and anyone else who might view my blog, I have been interested in seeking ideas from other sources. One source I searched suggested that one can write a how-to post. I don't know how to do a whole lot of things well, but one thing I really know how to do quickly is to dress a baby. I know most of you who read this post will already know how to do this, but there are some who may not, and you may be entertained by this either way. This is what "works for me"...

I chose to chronicle the one-piece sleeper. I love sleepers because you only have to find one piece of clothing and never have to worry about socks falling off wiggly feet. Plus, they always stay warm in cool weather or air-conditioned rooms. Our models are four-month-old twins, Joseph (on left) and Hyrum.

Step 1: Believe it or not, it took me many years to learn that if you lay out the sleeper in preparation for laying the baby on top of it, he can't kick it off. See picture below.

Step 2: Lay the baby in the center of the sleeper.

Step 3: Put the baby's feet in the sleeper feet.

Step 4: Button up the legs so the chances of the sleeper feet being kicked off are even more remote.

Step 5: Put the baby's arms in the sleeper sleeves. This is the most tricky part of the whole process because little fingers can be bent. I like to spread open the sleeper wrist openings with the tips of my fingers, then grab their little hands from the outside and pull them through, that way I can control what goes on with their fingers. You can see from the picture that this step was successful, as they are still happily cooperating.

Step 6: Button the top button to make sure an arm won't wiggle out.

Step 7: Button the rest of the buttons. You may start from the bottom or the top. It's your choice!

Step 8: At this point, your baby is considered dressed, but if he is teething, you may want to add a bib to make sure the sleeper won't get soaked or you will have to repeat this entire process in three minutes. Happy dressing!