Monday, December 31, 2012

family picture sneak peak!

my friend lindsay (of lindsay hagblom photography) was so patient with our crazy family and wild evie and spent hours and hours to get all the shots i wanted. i cannot wait to see the rest!

christmas at the cabin, 2012.

Every year we go to the Olsen family cabin for a few days after Christmas. This year, with all the craziness that comes with twin newborns, we assumed we shouldn't go and planned to stay home for the weekend instead. However somewhere along the way Greg changed his mind and informed me we'd be going at about 10am on Saturday morning as he scrambled Evie's egg. I responding by texting him the list I keep on my phone of everything that's required to leave the house for more than 3 hours with 3 children under 2 and let him have at it (the list is AT LEAST 20 items long. I figured it would knock some sense into him, but he was feeling ambitious and I was feeling bored). 2.5 hours later we were on our way.

It was so nice to spend some time under a different roof and have help with the babies for a full 24 hours--Jennie and Margaret barely even let me hold them! I can't believe what a difference just one more person makes when it comes to managing my children. Maybe I'm just not good at it yet, but we're talking the difference between life and death. Sanity and suicide. I kid. But, it's huge.
It was a freezing, beautiful weekend at the cabin spent chatting by the Christmas tree and bundling up the kids to "play" in the snow (It was Evie's first time. She mostly cried). I'm finding I should never say never when it comes to what I will and won't do with 3 tiny kids in tow. We keep telling our families we won't be coming to this and that and then we get bored, get caffeinated and somehow show up after all. Sometimes I think my life might not actually be over. (wink)

I have taken this exact picture of Ty & Greg at least 10 times. I should compile all of them to prove it. They keep asking me to take it. You guys look SO COOL.

These babies. I am so in love. They are so worth it.

Friday, December 28, 2012

all i wanted for christmas.

1 sleepless night with Will & Nora who both had gassy tummies on Christmas Eve.
3 hours it took us on Christmas morning to feed, burp, change, bathe, dress, swaddle, soothe, pack, pump, dress, pack the car and get out the door.
9 presents Santa left for the kids under the tree
0 presents for Mom and Dad
2 houses to visit on Christmas day
3 exhausted Christmas kids
1 rockstar energy drink consumed by the husband
4 Diet Cokes consumed by the wife
1 Mother who passed out on her parents bed Christmas afternoon and could have slept FOREVER.
6 cousins Evie loved playing with all day.
4 Grandparents who spoiled and loved and made the day great.
3 perfect children all under one roof
10 million times I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.

This year for Christmas I didn't get a thing and yet, I got it all. I am married to my love, a guy who is patient and kind and devoted--who wakes up with me night after night to feed a baby while I feed the other. We live in a darling little house on a tree-lined street and my husband wakes up each morning and drives himself downtown to a great job that allows me to stay home and be a full time Mother. We are happy and healthy and safe and EXHAUSTED. Taking care of 3 little children under 2 is the hardest thing I have ever done. It is challenging and tiring and, at times, it feels completely impossible. And yet, I know it's for me.

This year for Christmas I had 3 perfect little children all under one roof. My little children; Evie and Nora and Will. I am so overwhelmed by how much I love them. I am equally overwhelmed by the number of diapers they all burn through in the course of a day.

I am so grateful for Christmas and for the opportunity I have to celebrate the birth and life of my Savior. I am grateful for the knowledge that He lives, He's aware of me, He loves me, He listens when I pray to Him and He gives me the strength I need to do hard things. Sometimes to even to do really hard things well.

That's what I'm aiming for. I'm trying to do this really hard thing well. And I am so grateful for the chance to try. For this little family that's all mine.

They are IT. They are the present. I have everything I've ever wanted.

**Nora came home the the Saturday before Christmas Eve! I wish I could personally hug and thank each and every one of you who prayed for her and thought of her and sent us your faith and love. I know it made all the difference. Thank you, thank you, we are so grateful to everyone who got us through.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

nora hattie.

This post should come AFTER one announcing the birth of my sweet twins. There is a timeline defining the month of November and many posts I should have written, but was too tired to write. That timeline would look something like this: Birth (joy), NICU (sadness), Nora comes home (elation), William does not (pain, guilt, exhaustion), Will comes home (ELATION!), Jess becomes an official full time mama to 3 little ones at home (joy, exhaustion and relief).

That is where the roller coaster should have ended. That is where I wanted to get off. I could have never anticipated another rise and fall like I have experienced since bringing my two babies home. Since that time we have fallen--and we have fallen hard and deep.

There is a song I love to listen to at Christmastime. It is beautiful and soothing and therapeutic. Today as I drove up to Primary Children's Medical Center to visit Nora I listened to it on repeat, held my husband's hand, and cried into the ice cold car window. Car rides are reserved for crying and home is reserved for Evie and Will and trying to be a good mother.

As I listened to the familiar lyrics I realized, perhaps for the first time, that the song I love so much is actually quite sad. Like so many of the trials I have faced in my life--it is beautiful and it is tragic. And it describes how I feel right now exactly.

This is my winter song to you.
The storm is coming soon,
it rolls in from the sea

My voice; a beacon in the night.
My words will be your light,
to carry you to me.

Is love alive?
Is love alive?
Is love

They say that things just cannot grow
beneath the winter snow,
or so I have been told.

They say were buried far,
just like a distant star
I simply cannot hold.

Is love alive?
Is love alive?
Is love alive?

This is my winter song.
December never felt so wrong,
cause you're not where you belong;
inside my arms.

I still believe in summer days.
The seasons always change
and life will find a way.

Ill be your harvester of light
and send it out tonight
so we can start again.

Is love alive?
Is love alive?
Is love alive?

This is my winter song.
December never felt so wrong,
cause you're not where you belong;
inside my arms.

This is my winter song to you.
The storm is coming soon
it rolls in from the sea.

My love a beacon in the night.
My words will be your light
to carry you to me.

That is my prayer and my hope for my sweet baby Nora. I hope my faith will be a beacon in the night, I hope it will reach her and surround her and comfort her when she is in pain. I hope it will carry her back to me and back into my arms, where she belongs. I have had her home with me already, I know what it is to love her and care for her and wake up at 3am to the sound of her perfect cries. As her Mama, that is all I want to do. I have so so much, I am so blessed, and yet, I am empty without her.

This post should have come after one announcing her birth, and Will's birth, and really this post just shouldn't have ever come at all.

I am learning that it is a hard thing to be a Mother and to love someone so much. At times it feels like my heart is not inside my body. Certainly right now, it is not. Tonight my heart resides up at Primary Children's Nicu with a sick and sweet and perfect little girl named Nora.

**I know this post is vague and doesn't explain exactly what we are facing right now (Nora's diagnosis is NEC), but since this is my blog and my outlet, I decided to write what I want to write instead of what I feel obligated to write and tonight I just wanted to write about what I am going through. It is tiring to talk about Nora's condition and to explain her treatment and her suffering. Talking about it is difficult for me and it makes me incredibly sad. I know that most of you who read my blog already know what is going on with her and are praying for her. If you don't, feel free to email or call me or get in touch with someone in my family. Thank you for your prayers, from the bottom of my heart.

PS. Wintersong here.

Monday, October 22, 2012

i am for them.

My life has been so weird lately.

There have been days and weeks and moments during the past few months in which I haven't even recognized this life I am leading. There have been moments of trying to wrap my head around all the changes and get used to all of the new while letting go of all the old. Some days nothing felt familiar to me at all. Not the new house filled with unpacked boxes and sandpaper and clutter. Not the huge pregnant belly (39 cm now!) rolling and pulsing and keeping me awake at night. Some days I was certain the heavens had opened up and the sky was falling. (And some days my pregnancy hormones were just RAGING, so there's that.)

I used to live in a little 2 bedroom above the city and now I'm back in the very first house we've ever owned. I used to drink tap water from the faucet and now I have an ice maker and filtered water and there is room in the freezer for frozen food and really, WHO EVER SAW THAT COMING?! I used to be a mother to one. And now, even though I can't hold them yet, I have 3 children. 3 kids in less than 2 years is really never how I saw my life going. I am STILL trying to get used to the idea. I have struggled for a long time to feel excited. This is just me being honest about that.

Since the babes will be here in less than a month, and we are still living in an unfinished house, the husband and I always have a lengthy to-do list, so this weekend we decided to put on our worker pants and get some crap done. There were paint samples at Sherwin Williams and Home Depot runs and a happy little toddler eating popcorn in the shopping cart. I decided to tackle the nursery (aka the one room I have avoided at all cost because STRESS falls from the sky and knocks me dead the moment I open the door) first. Luckily my sweet sister-in-law Meg had helped me get started earlier in the week, and really, bless her, because otherwise it would still just be a room full of burp cloths and unopened packages and bags and bags of anxiety.

First I organized the closet, added an extra rod for the little guy in my life. Next I went through all the clothes I had been storing in plastic bins in the garage, hanging up Ev's old dresses and cardigans and the tiny pair of grey cords with a bow at the waist. One thing lead to another and before I knew it I was washing sheets and vacuuming and finally opening those bumper pads that have been sitting in plastic on the floor for so long.

And I don't know why or how, but as I worked on all of it something inside of me changed for the better. Suddenly I was having BABIES. And I don't mean to suggest that I didn't know that already (duh), but suddenly the onesies and the burp cloths and the two little cribs with the marshmallowy soft bumpers were meant for babies. My babies. For the first time since I found out I was having twins I could see their little faces. For the first time I could imagine holding them and nursing them and falling in love, all over again. Finally it wasn't just stress and anxiety and oh-my-gosh-i-will-never-sleep-again, but actual anticipation and excitement and joy and love.

I haven't had any problem admitting to others that I am scared. 3 kids in less than 2 years will not be easy (people like to tell me this as if I don't already realize it). 3 kids in less than 2 years is not what I ever expected. 3 kids in less than 2 years just might kill me dead. Since the moment I found out I have been unsure about whether or not I am the right girl for the job.

Which is why I am so grateful for this weekend. For the fact that somewhere in all the folding and washing and preparing I found myself again. I smoothed the sheets and packed away the diapers and turned on the little striped lamp that sits on their dresser and I finally felt it...These babies were meant for ME. They were meant to be mine. I am the one given the task of loving them and raising them and yes, probably losing my mind with stress because of them. But, it is mine and mine alone.

They are for me and I am for them. And I can finally say it and mean it all the way down to my toes...


Thanks for your email addresses, I've been getting them and am planning to make the change soon.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

another one bites the dust.

Hey peeps. This blog will become private sometime in the next few weeks, definitely before my twins are born. Hopefully that change will inspire me to blog more regularly again.

You know the drill: Please get your email address to me if you'd like to continue reading these rambles.

I'll make an updater blog you can follow in Google reader to help make things easier, too. Holler.

PS. Comment moderation is on and I won't post your email address. Thanks!

Friday, September 21, 2012

hey jess, you're showing.

That's my favorite thing people say these days.  

Wow, you're popping out now! or Jess, you're starting to look pregnant. Of course they are teasing me because I am huuuuuge these days and even bigger than I was when I gave birth to Evie less than 2 years ago. Which is kind of scary considering I still have about 8 weeks to go.

Carrying twins has been an adventure, both good and bad. I am so grateful that they are doing well so far (knock on wood) and I haven't been put on bed-rest or sent to the hospital or been given any reason to worry about them yet. In that aspect, it's been a better pregnancy than my first and I know I am so lucky to experience it, but it is also exhausting.

Carrying around this enormous belly while simultaneously carrying around my not-yet-walking Evie Jane has been brutal at times. I have back pain like I didn't know was possible and by the end of the day my entire body just throbs from the weight of the 3 of them. Thanks to the stresses of remodeling, and the fact that my sweet husband is gone every day, all day, as well, it's also been a much more emotional pregnancy for me. I get scared when I think about adding TWO MORE babies to the mix and I wonder if I can really do it, a thought that has brought me to tears many times. (It should also be noted that the thought of two more sweet blonde babies to love and hold also brings me to tears, so it's not all nervousness).

Luckily, we are almost done with our kitchen remodel and will definitely be settled and moved before the babies come, which is a huge relief. I used to think that having a husband who was a grad student on top of work was difficult, but now I can't wait for the days when school, work and babies is all we have to worry about. Funny how life brings you perspective that way.

More than anything, I am SO grateful for that hard-working husband of mine (and for both of our families who have helped so much and literally saved our lives) because our kitchen is looking amazing and I feel like the luckiest girl in the world that it's mine! Can't wait to share the before and after pictures soon.

29 weeks

PS. I asked G to snap a picture of my belly after church last week since I only have a couple of them and he LAUGHED OUT LOUD just as he took it. That's right--the sight of me standing sideways like this with my enormous belly on display made him laugh. LOW POINT.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

a proper goodbye.

Today I am missing Jack and Toby.

What good little men they were. What sweet little dogs. I get update emails from Aunt Evie in Colorado and I can't help but smile and laugh and cry a little bit, too, when she tells me about their new lives and adventures and experiences out there without us.

It still feels like they belong here with me. It still feels like they are mine. I loved them and cared for them and babied them for almost six years and it still breaks my heart that I couldn't give them what they deserve forever.

I was out of town when it happened. It was for the best that way. Greg called me the night before, SLC to California, and told me he was nervous about handing them off the next day. For weeks and months I had been ignoring the sadness I felt over the situation, pushing down the pain, but when we talked about it that night suddenly every tear and heartache I had inside me came spilling over. I couldn't speak or move or catch my breath, it seemed. I so badly wanted to be there with him to say goodbye one last time. I wanted to breathe in Toby's little frito-lay head and rub J Bubba's fat belly. I wanted to tell them how much they had meant to me, how they had saved me so many times, been exactly what I needed. I hoped that they knew. I hope they still know.

My life is changing so quickly these days, sometimes I hardly recognize myself. For the most part, I try to be positive and excited about the road ahead, but in quiet moments all alone, I also feel a deep sadness over the loss of the life I thought I would have; a life where I could handle my kids and my dogs and everyone fit on the sidewalk together. I thought adding another baby to the family would be a simple transition, a minor change of pace, and then the ultrasound showed two beating heartbeats instead of one and it felt like nothing would ever be the same again.

I know that we made the right decision. I know she can care for them in a way I won't be able to anymore. I know that my time and energy and love will be swallowed up whole by my 3 little ones and I know there would have been nothing left for those sweet dogs waiting patiently on their bed in the corner. I know they will be happier in their new life, that our new life won't leave enough space for them in it. My heart tells me all of this, and I know we did what is best.

But that doesn't mean it isn't unbearably sad.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

month nineteen.

Dear Evie Girl, You are 19 months old!

Here's a glimpse into your little life and personality at 19 months.

At this age, you are such a little ham. You love attention, you love to be funny, you love looking at yourself in the mirror and making eyebrows at people. You love taking pictures and watching videos of yourself. You are happy, happy, happy and so much fun to be around. I hope you never lose that aspect of  your personality, because you bring sunshine to everyone around you.

You love to talk and you NEVER stop doing it. You are getting really good at mimicking phrases we say and you love to carry on pretend phone conversations, conversations with your babies or read books to yourself out loud. Yesterday was a hard day for me and I was upset when your Dad came home and you heard him kindly say to me "are you okay?" and ever since then you've been tilting your little head, looking up at me with those big blue eyes and saying "yew otay?". You are constantly copying us like that, it's hysterical. Besides the usual words you've been saying for months, some of your other new favorites are ball, happy, please, nose, toes, and every variation of Mama you can think of (you now say Mama! when you are demanding something of me, Mom!? when you don't know where I am and Mommy when you are just being sweet. Mommy is my favorite).

You still love animals. Reading about them, talking about them, seeing them and going over their sounds are your favorites. You've got the greatest little "meow!" for a kitty and the funniest "quack quack!" for a duck. You know all sorts of animal sounds, but those two are your favorites.

You are starting to get really interested in body parts and are learning where your nose, eyes, mouth, ears, belly button and toes are. You love to point these parts out on other people, too and will point and say "nose" when someone picks you up and you can see them face to face. You love to look at your belly button and then Mom's belly button and then laugh (for obvious reasons, Mom's belly button is an outie these days).

You still love babies and are so sweet with yours. You will find your little doll, say "baby!" and then make this little "ohhh ohhh ohhhhhh" sound (that I guess is supposed to be your interpretation of the way a mom talks to a baby?) and rock and pat baby on the back. You love to pretend to feed them, brush their hair, give them baba's and wrap them in dish towels before you tuck them away in my kitchen drawers (that one's my favorite).

You still aren't walking, but you've made a lot of progress this past month. Before we went on our trip to California, you were still so stubborn about even walking with me holding both your hands, and by the time we got home your attitude had changed a lot and you seemed to want to try again. This week you've been walking next to me just holding one of my hands or even one finger and you are doing so well with it. It's crazy to me that you can do that, but you still aren't brave enough to even try to stand up by yourself? You are much more capable than you realize and still need to get over your fears. We love you just the way you are, but don't crawl forever, okay?

You are a social little thing and that is what makes me most excited about these twins on the way. You love to have friends, play with others and wave and smile at every little person you see. You are going to be such a good big sister and I know you will be so happy to have two little playmates all the time (you get really bored with just me). I know there will be a lot of drama with 3 little ones so close in age, but I can't even imagine how much fun the 3 of you will have either. I'm so happy for you to have your little brother and sister coming soon.

You went to Nursery at church for the first time a month ago and you loved it. I thought you would do fine going and you did. You are so confident and friendly you thrive in situations like those and hardly notice when we walk out the door. It made my heart ache a little to peek in on you and see you sitting in the corner playing with the dolls by yourself or at the snack table eating goldfish crackers and nilla wafers. I am not ready for you to grow up just yet.

You are a busy body and you are constantly into everything all the time. You follow me all around the house and make messes in whatever room I'm in. You are obsessed with the kitchen drawers and spent months opening the lowest one, taking out all the dish towels and spreading them all over the house. Since I'm kind of a neat-freak this wasn't my favorite. Finally I realized that I could probably teach you to put them back when you were done with them and you would stuff them all back in and shut the drawer before crawling away. Now it is basically "Evie's drawer" because you are constantly storing your little treasures in it. When you opened the drawer tonight as I cooked, I saw a few books, a doll, a leaf, a tube of my lipstick, a sharpie, a piece of Tupperware and a rubix cube in there.

You are such a sweet, funny, loving, beautiful, smart and special little girl. You make my life better and happier in every way and I couldn't ask for anything more than you. We love you so much, Evie Janey.

Love, Mommy