Saturday, February 8, 2014

remember the time i didn't blog for 2 months?? and then i got pregnant??

you guys have to believe how i've missed my little ole blog. one day turned into twenty, & with problems uploading pictures & Christmas and a couple of major life changes...things happen. no blogging happens. but now i'm back. with some pretty big news.
first i'm gonna show you a picture of our littlest family member, then i'll tell you the story.


do you need to see it again to believe it?? kind of like the 20 bazillion times i needed to check the positive pregnancy test to make sure i saw 2 lines?? go ahead. gaze at that lil embryo.
whoa nelly. you probably know, shane & i aren't exactly a fertile couple. we haven't gotten pregnant the good old-fashioned way in over nine years. we had not just one but two fertility problems against us 5 years ago when we were struggling to get pregnant with our twins. "oops" babies just don't happen in our family.
until now. except I hate to call that lil nugget an "oops" baby. maybe a "bonus" baby. maybe a "holy cow we were so happy with 3 and I am 35 and only have 3 bedrooms" baby?? yeah, that sounds about right.
watching a second line come up on a pee stick early one tuesday morning, i instantly became the woman i used to hate. the "oops, i got pregnant (with my 4th baby, no less) & i wasn't even trying" lady. oh y'all, i used to hate her. that lady did not understand me, my problems, my plight. and now, i'm her.
when i called shane that morning to tell him i thought i was pregnant, his response was so classic shane. "awesome, we love kids. we love watching babies grow into people. do you want tacos for dinner?" i kid you not. the man said do you want tacos for dinner after being told we are fixing to add another member to our household. tacos!!
i called the fertility clinic right away to see if they would order me a blood test so we could verify the pregnancy & to make sure my hormone levels could support a pregnancy. they not only did that but have continued to monitor me & brought me in yesterday for a sonogram. i had been having some CRAZY hcg doubling times & they wanted to take a peek. i would be lying if i said i wasn't worried about another set of twins. ya know, just because 66 2/3% of my pregnancies have been twins and all.
we sat in the office at the texas fertility center yesterday feeling a bit incredulous. we talked about sitting there 5 years ago, fixing to go get a peek at our miracle baby (which turned out to be babies). i sat there just over a year ago, me pregnant again, with the two thrilled-and-nervous parents next to me as we waited to get a peek at their miracle baby (which turned out to be babies). so to be sitting there for a THIRD pregnancy?? it didn't feel real.
our sweet doctor came in & was wonderful. he labeled this pregnancy a "spontaneous pregnancy" & we giggled. it sounded kind of immaculate conception-like, thought immaculate it wasn't. we got a peek at that ONE tiny babe & got to listen to it's heart beating away & i couldn't help it as my eyes flooded with tears.
a BABY. ONE baby. my FOURTH baby when there was a very real possibility i was only going to have one baby. a baby that we didn't beg God for yet He brought into being for His glory. another chance to meet one of His good & perfect gifts.
so there you go. team watwood party of 6. i'm not going to lie & say i have been running around all thrilled & excited for the past 2 1/2 weeks. i am still a little fearful, & definitely still overwhelmed. but believe you me, this miracle is NOT lost on us. this baby is very much a wanted baby & is going to be welcomed into a family of so much love.
and yes, we had tacos for dinner.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

and another {week} bites the dust...

another halloween picture, seriously?? how sad is it that i have not blogged enough since halloween to post all of my pictures?? just a quick cutie of buzz & woody with their favorite spider-girl myla (a close friend of theirs from school--more like a sibling in terms of loving & fighting)...
and then a shot of my boys with mrs. susan. she is the childrens minister at first hewitt (where i work) & has been loving on watwood babies since 2005. love!
soccer, year 2 is in the books & all involved survived. year 2 went way waaaaay better than year 1 so now year 3 is a possibility :). the 3 kiddos next to liam (on the far left) are actually triplets-so 5 of the 8 are from only 2 families :). shane's starting line-up was always the twins + the trips!

my favorite picture of the bunch. sophie on crazy hair day. pretty crazy, no?? i thought it looked SO awesome & she was such a trooper for wearing it like this all day! to do it i straightened out a wire hanger, formed it over her head (secured with a couple of clips), and braided it around the wire. then shane cut off the ends of the hanger. it stayed like this ALL own little pippi...

for my 2 readers who may not know about the baylor blackout, baylor played OU at home last week & requested that ALL of their fans wear black. it was a HUGE game of two top-10 teams & excitement around town about like was like nothing i have EVER seen as a baylor fan! we did not have tickets to it but when they opened up their south end zone for seating we snapped up tickets for team harris/watwood & donned our black attire. it would have been fabulous if we had no kids with us & could see...but with 3 little kids, past bedtime, who couldn't see themselves so we had to stand & hold them (plus it was reeeeally cold)...things didn't go so well for team watwood. see liam laying on the ground in the pic below?? he actually SLEPT right there on the ground as well, so we decided to pack ourselves up & head home to tahoe trail. we watched a 41-12 victory in the comfort of our own home :).
lastly, sweet pre-K little baylor bears :). these 5 marched down the hall yelling "go baylor bears" & went to sleep that night i'm sure with visions of bryce petty swirling in their heads...:).

that's it for tonight. short & sweet. we are headed to the baylor/tech game at texas stadium on Saturday WITHOUT the twinadoes while they take a mini-vaca to grammy's :). soooo excited about thanksgiving & enjoying the cold weather that has come to town! brrrr!!!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

new mama advice

i am linking up with kelly's korner today to give some new mama advice. i just talked to shane though & got his opinion too so i guess it's more new PARENT advice, not just mamas, though i'm thinkin' not too many daddies are reading my blog ;).
i am so glad i have been a new mama twice because the second time around was soooo much easier than the first. it had nothing to do with the twins being easier babies than sophie (they weren't) & everything to do with the fact that once you've been there, done that, i feel like you are able to relax a lot more & just enjoy the ride!!
*one thing i would say to do is manage your expectations. i had wanted to be a mother my entire life & as i was pregnant with sophie would daydream about rocking her in her beautiful clean nursery all day, effortlessly breastfeeding her, & feeling totally fulfilled in my new starring role. reality was more crying over breastfeeding, so sleepy i couldn't see straight, & not feeling fulfilled by sitting around in frumpy clothes all day trying to keep my newborn happy. i am NOT saying to expect the worst, but just to know that you are not going to know HOW it's going to feel until you are in the throes of it & that HOWEVER you feel it's okay.
*piggybacking on how i felt in my first rodeo, i absolutely had PPD. if you suspect that is going on with you, PLEASE call your OB & make an appointment, call your family doc & make an appointment, tell someone. you do not have to feel like that!! and please know that you will not ALWAYS feel that WILL get better!
*don't be afraid to ask for help, & accept help when it is offered! shane worked nights when sophie was born & i remember one night we were at my parent's & shane got called in to go to work for the night. i started crying as we were leaving as i felt so overwhelmed by another night alone with the baby & i remember my mom saying, "let me help." i was too proud to accept her help & wanted her to think i could handle it, so i said no. how silly!! how much better my night would have been with her help!! when my twins were newborns, i begged her to take a month off work to help me every day :). it was 1000% better with her help!
*the best thing we did when the twins were newborns was to take turns at night. shane would take one night, i would take the next, etc. when it was "our" night we would be responsible for any middle of the night baby needs. you can totally do this if you're nursing, but your baby has to be able to take a bottle. when it was my night to sleep i would get up once in the middle of the night to pump, but it was so quick i never even woke up fully. you do have to have a really good husband to make this one work :). when sophie was tiny we would both end up awake every time she woke up because shane wanted to be helpful so he would change her, bring her to me to nurse, etc, but i think all it did was make us both tired.
*know how temporary baby-hood is. with sophie i was so busy anticipating the next stage that i never really relished in her current stage. with the twins, i knew how fleeting it was so i cherished everything. you WILL sleep through the night again. you WILL lose the baby weight. you WILL NOT always be changing 100 diapers a day. try to appreciate every stage.
*give yourself grace. LOTS of grace. it's okay if the baby weight is not falling off. it's okay if your house is a mess. it's okay if you stop nursing 3 months in. your baby will still love you in spite of all of these things :).
*i remember reading somewhere to not think about trying to lose the baby weight for at least 3 months. if you have extra time in those first 3 months, don't stress the workout, just take a nap. if you want to eat cookies during naptime, eat cookies during naptime. you are dealing with so many new stresses as a new mom, take the stress of weight loss off your plate. chances are by 3 months you will be getting a LOT more rest & will feel more like exercising, actually cooking healthy meals, etc. i stressed MUCH less about the baby weight the second time around & it really helped my mental status. AND, even without the stress, it still came off eventually!
*take some YOU time at least weekly!! i remember the grocery store felt like a vacation when sophie was a newborn. go get a pedicure when hubby gets home. meet a friend for coffee. go read magazines at barnes & noble.
*get out of the house!! your house can start to feel like a prison if you let it! go push the stroller around target. go sit at the park with your baby. at the very least, turn on some fun music, drive-thru starbucks & drive around for a bit. it is more tempting to stay home all the time, but getting out REALLY helps the mental status!
~i could probably go on & on, but these are the things that came to me the fastest :). oh, & take a LOT of pictures!! it sounds cliché, but OH how fast it goes!! i promise you will look back on the pictures of your teeny little blessing & do anything to cuddle them at that size again. don't blink :)!!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

fall fun!

happy halloween!! oh what fun things we have been up to, & i have lots to share with you!! lots of nostalgia :).
nostalgia #1. check out these darling babies circa halloween 2009!! liam, miles webb, & a cullen who looks like he is SERIOUSLY irritated with me. the boys were my little RGIII's that year :). 

and now?? break my heart. the same 3 boys all (okay maybe not ALL ;)) grown up. how gracious the Lord was to give carly & i these boys to raise at the same time to raise as best friends, just as he gave us their big sisters 4 years earlier so they could grow up as best friends too.
nostalgia #2. CRAZY nostalgia. this is dorm room 257 in collins hall at baylor, which is where i moved into SIXTEEN years ago. gulp. we got to take the miniWatwoods trick-or-treating in the dorms at baylor last night, & i can't even explain what it felt like to roam the halls at collins. it smelled exactly the same. i told shane he could carry me into there blindfolded & ask me where i was & i would know i was in that dorm!! 

i even asked the sweet "new" residents of 257 if they would take a picture with my kids. they were most gracious as i am sure any residents of 257 would be. i lived here with my best friend kylie & it was a dream come true of MANY years of ours. if walls could talk. who we had crushes on. what sorority we wanted to pledge and (this is the really embarrassing part) if either one of us didn't get a bid we would transfer together to another college. we had a TV with rabbit ears in that room & a computer with a separate modem that made that horrible screechy noise while it tried to access the internet. i'm thinking these cute girls don't have anything like that :).

traipsing down the halls at collins. i pray sophie traipses these same halls as a resident in about 10 years, & maybe in 14 years the boys can walk the halls again during visiting hours :). while i am busy praying for this, i better add in prayers for scholarships!!

changing gears here, TOTALLY. my inner nerd comes out & i admit that i LOVE the show "19 kids & counting." they are a family on TLC (the duggar family) with (obviously) 19 children & they are strong, conservative Christians. i do not share every conviction that they have, but i do think they are full of wisdom, particularly when it comes to raising children that love the Lord. my kids LOVE this show too. i saw something online that michelle was going to be speaking at a conference last weekend in ft. worth & i HAD to go!! as soon as i pulled up i saw this (their RV--which is shown on TV a lot) & i got all nerdily excited because i knew they were inside. several of their children were hopping out & playing around but i felt too stalkerish to take their pictures :).

so i mosey on inside the building the RV was parked in front of, & who do i run into in the lobby?? jim bob duggar!! i got all sweaty & nervous but he was just standing there so i walked up to him & started chatting. i said a bunch of nerdy things (i mean what is there to talk about when you don't really know someone but you feel like you do?) & then i asked if i could take a picture with him. then i saw his daughter jessa coming down the stairs & asked if she could get in too! i talked to her for a minute after the pic, she was SO beautiful & gracious & oh how i pray sophie is as lovely inside & out when she is a young woman! lastly, i know i look SO ridiculously excited in this picture. i really need to learn to control my over-the-top excitedness.
i was nice & early & snagged a really close seat to hear michelle (the mom) speak. she is seriously the wisest, calmest, most inspiring mama. what a blessing to glean even just SOME of her wisdom!!

lastly, i had my thirty-somethingth (ahemthirtyfifth) birthday on monday & daddy took the kids to each pick out something just for me. i had to take pictures of my gifts with their givers because they were so proud! without further adieu, liam & his fishing game that we can play together...

sophie with her "smells like paris hilton" perfume...

and cullen with his cinnamon scented bead jar. what honeys these 3 are!!
one more pic for good measure. do you know who these babies are?? it's caroline & london, my surro-twins!! their mama texted me this picture today & i almost died of cuteness!! are they not the sweetest, happiest lil punkins?? the further away i get from my pregnancy with them, the more i cannot BELIEVE i birthed these girls (although my hair falling out in clumps reminds me) & the sweeter it is to see them thriving as a part of their perfect little family!! the joy is worth it, a million, trillion times over. amen.
that's all i've got tonight, dear ones. my heart is FULL!! blessings!!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

no excuses

 hi friends!! i have NO EXCUSES as to why i have not blogged in so long!! i would tell you that I've been busy, but that is so boring...who is NOT so busy?? frankly, i have just not sit down to blog...except, it's time!!
sophie had "twin day" at school last week & so her & lorelei dressed as twins...very, very, very fraternal twins. i am thinking sophie looks about 5 years older than lorelei here! to be fair, lorelei's mama is 4'10" (& a half!) & sophie's mama is 5'8"!!
oh, my li-li bugs. can i just tell you what this punkin said to me tonight?? i was in my room & I called him to come to me. he was in the kitchen & I hear him exclaim "wait! mama needs me!" and i hear the sweetest pitter-patter of feet racing to the bedroom. he comes to me & says, "yes, sweetheart??" melt my heart. i am probably never letting this boy get married & am keeping him for myself forever.

the return of the flat-billed hat. my sweet twinsies in a tee-pee at the zoo. i feel like their little preschool lives just get so full & we get so few days to just go & do whatever we like & enjoy each other. last friday was just that kind of day!! we picked up nana & headed to the zoo for several hours.  the zoo always reminds me of my last 8 years of stay-at-home momhood, & i #1)feel so blessed for that, & #2)kind of want to die that in a year & a half my boys start school & that part of my life is kind of over. blerg. baby #4, anyone?? or not :).

last friday night we had a wild & crazy night at CPR training for PDO!! after CPR, a group of us went for dinner & literally laughed until we hurt. we have an AMAZING PDO program & it is totally due to our fabulous teachers. i could find every synonym in the book for "awesome" & it would describe these ladies. love!

luckily, soccer 2013 has been a vast improvement over soccer 2012. i think this picture of protective big sister with her arm around her babiest brother is the sweetest. this girl is growing up before our very eyes, but she loves these boys to pieces.

the boys cheering section on saturday included grammy. these kiddos love grammy so much & the feeling is definitely mutual!! she treated us to a little mcalister's after the game (& no, we don't take the boys out to eat in thermal underwear. they were on under their soccer clothes which they stripped off in the car!).

what our life really looks like.

on monday the boys class at PDO took a field trip to the fire station. this little extrovert enjoyed himself thoroughly!! (no pic of culley on the fire truck because he was standing next to a little girl who was holding her skirt up too high-ha!)

don't tell anyone that these halloween outfits are actually pajamas! oops!

this brings us to today...donuts for dad at school. the boys were SOOO excited to have daddy at their school & to give him the little surveys they filled out about him with their teachers. liam said daddy was 80 years old & cullen said his favorite food was chili-ha! this picture makes my heart swell x1000. love this man SO much & these little boys he is training to be men as well.
i think this catches us up!! we are embarking on a crazy couple of weeks with a bunch of halloween  & my thirty-somethingth birthday. i promise, promise to get back to this ole blog faster next time!! get out & drink up this glorious fall weather!! xo!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

one big truth

hi friends!! I am linking up with kelly's korner & courtney defeo to share with you one big truth that God has taught me.
this photo is me & my PRECIOUS three-year-old. what you don't see behind my smile is the crushing pain i felt every day because of infertility. more than anything, i wanted this precious girl to be a big sister. to bear her a sibling. to carry life in my womb again. i begged, i pleaded, i cried.

this "after" is me & the FIVE children i have born. 3 of them are mine; the newborns are not :). not only did God open my womb to bear our twin sons, but He also bore in me a desire to help another couple going through infertility. following His call, i went through IVF as a surrogate & delivered these gorgeous girls for a precious family this past may.

praising God today that there are always "afters." our painful "befores" are never the end of His story.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

disney world, take 2

ready for part 2 of our disney vacation. these posts have been a labor of love, as there are SOOO many pictures to sort through & SO much to say!! i know i will love to go back & re-live it all, though!
we stayed at the cabins at fort wilderness, which is a disney resort. while on your typical vacay i am definitely a loooover of nice hotels, the nicer the better :), as we scoured places to stay with our 6-pack (remember my mama came too), it became evident that the cabins would be the perfect way to house us all. the cabin had a murphy bed (a full) that was in sort of the living area, a full kitchen, bathroom, & bedroom with a full bed & set of bunk beds. then we rented a golf cart (an absolute MUST in my book) that took us from our cabin to the boats/buses, places to eat at our resort, etc. our resort actually had a lot of fun things to do (movies at night with marshmallow roasts, big pool with waterslide, etc) but we did not really have time to do them. our time was very precious & we wanted to spend every bit of it exploring disney world!! below is part of our cabin & soph on the back of the golf cart :).

probably the only bummer on the whole vacation was that sophie had to do homework. this was early one morning. she DID agree that it was better to do homework outside of our cabin at DISNEY WORLD than it was to do it at home, however :).
shane took the boys to breakfast with the some of the disney jr. characters while the girls were breakfasting with the princesses. they LOVE jake & were thrilled to meet him! however, after meeting him they came to shane very concerned & asked, "how come him no talk??" ha!

happy to meet daisy!! i was really shocked at how much the boys loved to meet the characters & get their autographs. so sweet!

this picture is terrible but I wanted to document maybe our favorite meal of the trip, the "hoop-de-doo review." the picture is everyone swinging their napkins around their heads. it was kind of musical theatre (?) with singing, dancing, & slapstick comedy. I did not know how the kids would like it but they LOVED it! the food was served family style--they would just come slap down buckets of fried chicken, rolls, ribs, beans, etc on the table. they also knew of my allergy, the chef came out to talk to me & brought me salmon, my own dessert, etc. this night was one of our highlights for sure!!
we were super lucky to score breakfast with mickey at the tusker house in animal kingdom. i can't say enough about dining with the characters--they make sure they come to EVERY table & will spend a good amount of time there with the kids, taking pictures, signing autographs, etc. they have an amazing way of making each kid feel totally special. during this meal they also had a "parade" where the kids were invited to march around the restaurant with mickey playing musical instruments. SO fun!!

outside of the tusker house at animal kingdom. i can't say how much i love this dear family that we have created.

this was one of the little snack stands we encountered. i just had to document how AMAZING it was to be gluten free at disney world!! i seriously have never encountered anything like it.

this was an attraction at animal kingdom where you ride around in this big all-terrain vehicle & see ALLLL sorts of amazing wildlife. admittedly i am not really an animal lover but i seriously LOVED animal kingdom. it was sparkling clean, tons of amazing animals, amazing. pretty much all of the disney parks were this way!!

soph & some hippos :)

the twinadoes gazing at some zebras...

these 2 are SUCH a pair. don't try to snatch culley from his daddy, he is DADDY'S BOY & makes no apologies. i am not sure what they were riding here, but it looks like it was enjoyed by this duo.

this was our last night at the magic kingdom & we were none too happy about it. we were waiting in line for the haunted mansion here, & i am giggling a little that liam looks as big as my mom :).

in line for space mountain. we seriously only had to wait in line about 5 minutes for this, as a fireworks show was also taking place & apparently everyone wanted to watch them. by the time we finished the roller coaster the line was HUGE! and soph's pose here is awesome, right ;)??

waiting in line to meet rapunzel & belle. i just had to take a pic because this is seriously how noo-noo we were all going. this was our last night here so we were trying to close down the park. we were seriously there until about 11 p.m., which is the latest my boys have ever stayed up. the hand in front of shane's face here is sophie's, by the way!

the boys finally getting to meet rapunzel. it was seriously SO funny to me how much the twins enjoyed meeting the princesses! they have kind of grown up watching them because of sophie. shane & i laughed about how little boys who had grown up with no sisters would have no idea who these princesses are, much less would they stand in line to meet them!!

team harris/watwood on our last night there. we were SO sad to leave!!

everyone loved the flying dumbo!! li-li is my lil sidekick.

liam crashed out in the stroller. the boys have seriously not sat in strollers in about 2 years but someone told us they were a must for disney. the one liam is sitting in i got for FIVE DOLLARS at HEB & we borrowed another one from a friend. we literally threw this stroller away at the airport once we got home, but it served it's $5 well. much, much cheaper to bring your own than to rent there. there is NO WAY the boys could have done all the walking we did non-stop for 4 days!!

sissy on a very fast carousel ride. this was the one ride mama sat out because it seriously looked like it would make me sick!!

still the last night. the miniWatwoods + cinderella's glass slipper. and holy cow does sophie's hair need brushing.

one last pic of the castle before we headed out. the architecture on it is AMAZING. just gorgeous.

like i have said before, our trip was truly magical. i don't have ONE bad thing to say about ANY part of our trip, any of the parks we went to, anything. we are DYING to go back in a few years but again, the kids ages for this particular trip just made it a once-in-a-lifetime kind of special. my few closing thoughts about disney:
*especially if you have a big family, GO IN SEPTEMBER. disney offers free dining plans if you stay in a disney property during september. so for the price of our cabin, all SIX of us ate free every day (2 meals + 2 snacks). the hoop-dee-doo review, had we paid for it, would have cost over $200 for the 6 of us!! but instead, it was free, as were our character breakfasts, etc, simply because we were staying on a disney property in september .
*on a similar note, we feared it would be really hot still in september, but we didn't notice it much. it is definitely hotter in texas plus they have just done such a magnificent job of keeping things shaded, air-conditioned, etc.
*we did not wait in hardly ANY long lines!! definitely a perk to going when the kids are in school. even when there was a line, they have it covered or shaded or whatever, air conditioner or fans on, stuff to look at or do, etc. so refreshing!!
*the food was GREAT!! i know i have gone on & on about the GF fare, but the "normal" food was awesome too!! plus there were plenty of healthy options as well. we brought some breakfast-y foods & ate that in our cabin but once we were at the parks we ate like kings!!
*4 nights was plenty for our kiddos, especially the boys. we went literally from the time we opened our eyes until LATE at night (though we did come back for a nap mid-day). soph could have handled another day, but 4 nights was perfect for the boys.
*thanks to an idea from my mama, i packed the kids clothes & pajamas in gallon-sized ziplock bags for each day. a bag would contain full outfit for the day + underwear & socks & would be labeled "Liam/Thursday" or whatever. then a nighttime bag would have pj's & a pull-up. one, they fit SO well in the suitcase that way but it really made our mornings so much easier. we could hand each boy a bag & there was no digging in suitcases, deciding what to wear, etc. then we also knew we packed enough. genius!!
*i was SOOOO impressed at my kids NOT begging for things while we were there!! we told them straight up they each had $50 to spend on souveneirs & that was it (plus my mom got them each a few little things). when they would pick something we took it out of their $50 & once it was gone they understood that & no begging or whining. they did AMAZING at this!
*having 3 adults to 3 kids was so so so so helpful!! we could have managed playing zone defense, but man-to-man was MUCH easier.
*my mom & i went to the dollar store before we left & made goody bags for the kids for the plane. they had gum, snacks, play-doh, crayons, coloring books, stickers, etc in them. they LOVED them both on the plane & even to play or color with in the room. great investment.
*i can't IMAGINE planning a disney trip for kids without a trip planner. we have a friend here in waco who is one & you do not even have to pay her to plan it for you!! we didn't have a clue which character dining was fun much less how to book it, how to book the trip for sophie to get made-over, what dining would be fun for families (like the hoop-dee-doo review), and so forth. she basically just picked a bunch of things she knew we would enjoy & booked them for us, then made us an itinerary for every day. let me know if you want her name--she did a bang-up job!!
*we feel so so so blessed to have had this experience as a family!! memories to last a lifetime for sure.