Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Welcome Archer Kayd Hess and Avonlea May Hess

Archer Kayd and Avonlea May Hess joined our family on July 24.  My water broke at home at 4:00 pm.  I called Greg home from work and we arrived at the hospital by 6:00.  My contractions were coming about every two minutes at that time.  The twins were born via c-section.  Archer was born at 7:21 pm and weighed 6 lbs. 9 oz. and was 19.5 in. long and Avonlea was born at 7:22 pm and weigh 6 lbs. 4 oz. and was 19 in. long.  The ultrasound had shown that Avonlea would be born first and that she was the bigger of the two, so the fact that she is the baby in both order and size was a surprise.  We were also a bit shocked at their size, especially since I was only 35 1/2 weeks.  They were both immediately sent to the NICU to regulate their breathing and blood sugar levels.  The doctor showed Archer to me for a moment after he pulled him out, and a nurse brought Avonlea over for a few seconds for me to see before taking her off.

Greg was able to take family and friends into the NICU a couple at a time to see the babies.  Unfortunately, I was stuck in bed and only got to see pictures.  Early the next morning after the spinal block had worn off, I was able to go nurse the babies.  And by later that morning they were cleared by the NICU and brought to our room.

The babies had a lot of visits from family during their hospital stay.  Pappy, Grandma Betty, Grandma Nancy, Aunt London, Aunt Sariah, Aunt Emily, Aunt Andrea, Great Grandma Roberts and our friend Susan all came to visit.

Palmer and Brody were also able to come see the babies, twice, and both times were so happy and excited about their new brother and sister. So far there hasn't been an ounce of jealousy.

Archer and Avonlea are very healthy and have very healthy appetites.  Right now we are trading off nursing and bottle feeding the babies about every three hours, until they are nursing well enough for me to try and nurse them at the same time.  The last couple nights have been pretty rough, as in I only got 2-3 hours of sleep.  Taking care of two babies is definitely a lot harder than taking care of one!  I am very grateful that they decided to come a little early so that Greg is able to stay home and help out a bit.  He will be leaving for a two week business trip a couple weeks from now.  Yikes!  Wish me luck.

I am recovering very well from the surgery.  The day after I was very weak; the nurses informed me that I lost a lot of blood this time, which explained the weakness.  By day two, I was much better and now I am very close to functioning regularly.  Although, I am be mindful not to do any heavy lifting, so I don't have issues with my incision reopening like it did after I had Brody.

We are thoroughly overjoyed with our new little babes!  We love them so much and are delighted to have them join Team Hess!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Last Month Pregnancy Photo Shoot

With each of my pregnancies I have made sure to have a nine month photo shoot with the family. This time around, I'm not quite nine months yet, but thought it wise to go forward with the pictures a little early. For sure, this will be my last month of this pregnancy though. My doctor said he would take the twins 2 1/2 weeks from now, if I make it that long. These pictures were taken yesterday.  At today's OB appointment, I measured 44 centimeters (I am 34 1/2 weeks, and both babies  measured large -  baby girl about 5 3/4 lbs. and baby boy about 5 1/2 lbs. at today's ultrasound). Can you say hello belly!?
Thanks going out to Sariah for taking the pictures and putting up with a couple ornery boys who did not want to look at the camera.  The family picture of the four of us holding hands where Palmer and Brody are being especially not-so-photogenic is actually my favorite, just because it is so them.  Here's to doubling that kid craziness in the Hess family, very, very soon!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Nursery for Two

It took me about a month, but I finally got the twins' nursery all sorted, organized, decorated and cleaned.  I don't know if it took twice as long to get the nursery ready because there was twice the stuff, or because I was twice as tired... probably both situations contributed to the very long process.  We already had the baby boy bedding (jungle animals) from our boys' past nurseries.  Grandma Betty generously bought most of the girl bedding (flowers and owls).  We were just barely able to cram two cribs, two dressers and a changing table (we already had all the furniture since Palmer and Brody were born so close together and pretty much required two nurseries themselves) into the small room.  It is definitely tight and cozy in there.  Baby boy's dresser is topped with baskets which contain baby toys and medical/grooming items, and there are some cute jungle animal prints on the wall above.  Baby girl's dresser has a basket of headbands (we received about 75 hand-me-down headbands!) and has hangers on the wall to hold her hairbows.  Strangely enough, baby girl has far more clothes in her dresser than baby boy, even though we went into this pregnancy without any baby girl clothes.  I myself, have only bought a couple pairs of pants for her.  Yet, after a lot of hand-me-downs, two showers, and going through the overly worn and stained baby boy clothes, we ended up with more girls clothes than boys.  I will not be surprised if that trend continues.  After all, girls are divas; in this case, even before they are born!

Not pictured are the many, many diapers packed under their cribs. We have stocked up since realizing that they will go through a whole package of diapers in a day and a half (that's about 20 diapers a day)!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Celebrating Freedom with Friends

We spent July 4th at The Nelson's enjoying a barbeque and fireworks. It's an annual event that they kindly invite many ward members to.  We always have a blast eating and chatting with friends while the kids run around, play water games, eat snow cones, jump on the trampoline or play on the swing set.  When it gets dark we all move out to the circle for an amazing fireworks show.  Jon Nelson is a fireworks fanatic!  Every year he drives to Wyoming to get the best fireworks.  They are always huge, loud and very impressive, and the show usually lasts a couple hours.  What fun, what fun!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Recipe - Blueberry French Toast Casserole

I just pulled this casserole out of the oven for dinner tonight.  I love blueberries.  And with my currently pregnancy cravings that love has turned into somewhat of an obsession!  We have been buying blueberries in bulk from Costco every payday.  Blueberries have made a common appearance in pancakes, salads, and desserts for the past several months at our house.  This dish is pretty filling, so it makes a great breakfast for dinner meal (Greg's favorite!).  Enjoy!

Blueberry French Toast Casserole

12 slices bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
8 ounce package cream cheese, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 cup fresh blueberries
12 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
1/3 cup maple syrup

1 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup water
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon butter

Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. Arrange half the bread cubes in the dish, and top with cream cheese cubes. Sprinkle 1 cup blueberries over the cream cheese, and top with remaining bread cubes. In a large bowl, mix the eggs, milk, and syrup. Pour over the bread cubes. Cover, and refrigerate overnight. Or make in the morning and cook that evening for dinner. Remove the bread cube mixture from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before baking. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cover, and bake 30 minutes. Uncover, and continue baking 25 to 30 minutes, until center is firm and surface is lightly browned. In a medium saucepan, mix the sugar, cornstarch, and water. Bring to a boil. Stirring constantly, cook 3 to 4 minutes. Mix in the remaining 1 cup blueberries. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes, until the blueberries burst. Stir in the butter, and pour over the baked French toast.  (We pour the syrup over each individual piece as needed instead of the whole casserole because it makes a lot of food, and we want the leftovers to not be soggy.  Also we LOVE the syrup, so we like to double it to make sure there is plenty to go around.)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Eight Months Pregnant with Twins

Uncomfortable. Hot. Worn Out. And very, very large. That is me, eight months pregnant with twins.  Pregnancy with twins is taking on a whole new level at this point. But besides those expected side effects, the pregnancy is still going really well. My doctor was watching me closely for preclampsia, however my stats took a turn for the better and as of the past month, I am out of the danger zone.  I am very much looking forward to the day that our sweet baby boy and baby girl will make their arrival. I am 33 weeks right now. The average woman of twins delivers at 35 weeks. I am considered full term at 36 weeks, and hoping I can talk the doctor into scheduling a c-section at 37 weeks if I make it that far. Greg will be going on a two week business trip the day after I am 38 weeks (the current day the doctor is considering scheduling my c-section.) So hopefully only 2-4 weeks from here on out.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Prince and Princess Baby Shower

My sisters threw me a baby shower for family and friends. It was prince and princess themed. London went all out with the decorations. The tables were boy or girl themed. She served croissant sandwiches, a super yummy punch and Betty provided a fruit and vegetable tray.  London had specialized cupcakes made, pink and blue ones welcoming the prince and princess. There were also little party favor carriages filled with pink and blue sixlets and a chocolate molded crown for the guest to take home.

We played two games: a Disney princess trivia game and a castle building game (each table designed and made a castle out of frosting and sugar cubes). Then I opened gifts. Once again I received a lot of really nice presents for the babies. We feel very blessed and loved by all the support we've been given in preparation for the arrival of our twins. Thanks London, Sariah and Betty for the great shower and all your hard work! Everything was just lovely.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Boys Can Craft Too

My boys love to do arts and crafts.  In fact, they work on some type of artistic project just about every day, whether that be coloring, scrapbooking, handmade cards, play dough, modeling clay, painting, pipe cleaner jewelry/animals, etc.  I myself love to craft, so I find it quite delightful that I get to share this hobby with my children, regardless of whether they are male or female.  Here are the boys proudly modeling their latest art projects.  Notice they are still in pajamas, which just goes to show how excited they were this particular day to craft.  They were happily gluing foam together before they even got dressed for the day.

Spider Killer

Palmer said the following to me this morning: "There's a spider downstairs. It's really, really big!" And then a few moments later, he came back to report, "Mom, I got my shoe and I hit the spider.  And I hit it again and again and then it died.  Then I got a tissue and put it in the toilet.  I flushed the toilet, and it went round and round 'til it was gone! *pause for effect*  It was really scary!"

My hero!  I just hate spiders.  How lucky I am for brave little boys who kill them for me.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

She's About to Pop Baby Shower

My friend Martha, along with some other ward friends, threw me a baby shower.  The theme was "She's About to Pop."  The decorations were darling!  Everything was baby pink and baby blue.  The refreshments consisted of Pop rocks and other candy, push pops, cake pops, and gourmet popcorn.  There were also chips, dip, chocolate drizzled fruit kabobs and drinks in mason jars.

We played a couple really fun games.  We guessed who was who in baby pictures and then played a trivia/dare game (which explains some of the silly poses by my guests in these pictures).  I received a lot of super cute baby gifts from my friends in the ward, many even brought by gifts who could not make it to the shower.  I really do love our ward family and being surrounded by these wonderfully supportive and fun women.  Thanks for the great party girls!