Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Few Things I Really Like Lately...

1). Washing my face with a baby wash cloth. Who knew it could be so refreshing?

2). Peanut Butter M&Ms. They are my downfall.

3). George W. Bush’s book Decision Points. He writes in a way that makes you feel like you are sitting in a room listening to stories. I also like all his nicknames for people.

4). Turning off the TV.

5). The Twisted Peppermint flavor at Bath & Body Works. It is all I can think about. And sadly when I went to buy some for myself, they were all sold out. It's gonna be a long 2011.

6). The Glee version of Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream. There's something about a male acapella group singing about their "skin tight jeans" just speaks to me.

7). Plastic Utensils and Paper Plates. When you are suddenly robbed of a simple pleasure, you realize how much you were taking it for granted.

8). Scarves and fingerless gloves. I am always cold.

9). The way Stephen and Annabelle hold my shoulder really tight when I am holding them. I love snuggling.

10). Christmas Ornaments as presents. They are my new favorite thing to give and to get!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Highlights of Weeks 10-15 in the lives of Annabelle and Stephen

1). Annabelle rolled over on Wednesday, December 1st! She is a rolly poley girl and had been flopping around for a few days. Wednesday night we were just maxin and relaxin and noticed that she was on the floor making these squealy grunting sounds while rolling back and forth. A few minutes later, she had managed to maneuver her way to her belly and then back on to her back. It was a very exciting night! We think Stephen has more girth and weight to maneuver so he tends to lay on his back still. I am confident his time is coming.

2). They are talking a lot. They respond to you when you ask them questions with “ahhs” and “eeees” and “ooohhs”. It is pretty cute.

3). They had their first Thanksgiving. We let Stephen try mashed potatoes and he seemed to like them, although I don’t think he can tell the difference between those and the rice cereal he eats every day.

4). They are eating baby applesauce with their rice cereal twice a day. We are thinking of moving them to three feedings a day soon. They are also consistently eating 6-8 oz/feeding instead of 4.

5). They moved from the pack ‘n’ play in our room to Annabelle’s crib in the nursery on Thanksgiving eve. This was a lot harder for me than it was for them. I liked having them a few steps away instead of across the hall. They still sleep swaddled and together though. I want to keep them together for as long as we can, mostly b/c they are just so freaking cute. Every night we lay them down side by side and every morning we come in to find that Stephen has maneuvered himself down so his head is under Annabelle’s chin. It is just precious.

6). They actually play with some toys. When they are in their baby play place they will grab the rings and rattles that hang down. Stephen also has a lovey that he always holds when he sleeps. It seems to calm him down. When we can’t find a lovey, we use a burp cloth as a substitute. He is not picky.

7). They are so much more responsive and interactive. Stephen loves to stand on your lap. He cries when he is “held like a baby”. He wants to be looking around, standing up, snuggling, and getting LOTS of attention. He is so much like me! Annabelle is so content and pleasant. Her features remind me of a precious moments doll. She is always happy to sit in her chair and watch with folded hands what is going on around her. She is very active. She loves to splash in the bath and squeals with delight all the time.

8). They had their first Halloween! We did not do costumes this year but we got cute pumpkin onsies with little hats and I think it was good. The day after Halloween we got their costumes for next year for $7 total. The cuteness factor of these will blow your mind and I am going t

What’s New With Mom

I Went Back to Work

The biggest event for me in the past five weeks is that I went back to work on Nov 16th. I was not really looking forward to it. In fact, I was pretty sad about it and I cried a lot beforehand. It is ironic b/c everything I said about having babies, “I’m scared… I’m not ready... Etc,” I said about going back to work. Just like having the babies, going back to work has been much better than I expected.

I did not realize how much I would appreciate putting on real clothes and going to be around adults during the day. I feel like I am a better mom when I am with them b/c I really appreciate each moment I get to spend taking care of them.

A lot of this is a testament to God’s grace. He has provided an awesome babysitter for them that we all LOVE so much. I am also thankful that I work for a company that made coming off maternity leave easy. Everyone was so kind and understanding and I appreciated that a lot.

I Started Running!

I have gone running twice since returning to work and worked out in the gym twice. The first day I was out for 30 minutes and ran for 22 of those! This is huge! I have not run in almost a year so I was expecting it to be a lot harder than it was. I am hoping to be able to run a 10K in April, a half marathon in June, and maybe maybe maybe the Marine Corps Marathon in October. I might be overly ambitious. We’ll see.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

10 Weeks Old!

I have been the mom of Stephen Michael Armstrong and Annabelle Rae Armstrong for ten weeks today. It sounds cliche to comment on how much time flies but OMG time fliiiiieeesss!!

The last two months have been insaaaannnee. Being a mom is a lot better than I expected it to be (I had extremely low expectations) and I praise God everyday for His grace to me.

My Babies

Stephen Michael
is the big brother by two minutes. He was born at 10:54 on August 24th and weighing in at 6lbs 7 oz. His cry sounds like a whimper. He is my alarm clock in the mornings.
We call him "Squeak", "Piddle Brains", "Bitty Bubba", and "Mr. Man". He is the fussier one. He likes to be held a lot and is always curled up in a ball. He overtook Annabelle in weight by a pound at two months. His legs are quickly becoming little ham hocks. He loves to smile smile smile and he is just precious. He can almost hold his head up and when I put him on my lap he will stand up and gets this look on his face that seems to say, "I can do it! I can do it!". In the early days he always looked very concerned and worried. Right before he cries, he makes the exact same pout I make before I cry.

Annabelle Rae was born at 10:56 on August 24th and weighed in at 7lbs 6oz. Now she is a full pound less than Stephen. Her cry sounds like a long sigh. She is our sleeper. Once she falls asleep she is out like a light. When she wakes up she loves to stretch stretch stretch and makes faces just like her dad. When she falls asleep she fights it and cries just enough to make you want to pick her up and you have to remind yourself that this is her process. She has started smiling a lot too and she can say "Ahhhh" if you ask her to. She also sighs continuously in her sleep and it is super cute, even at 1:00am.

Having twins has been an adventure. It is very challenging and easy at the same time. I can't imagine not having either one of them. It doesn't feel real yet. It also doesn't feel too hard right now which I think is a testament to the fact that God's grace is sufficient for each moment. I know that I will look back on this season and say, "how did we survive that?"

Motherhood So Far
I was pretty anxious for the first three weeks. I felt insecure
all the time and always wanted to pass them off to someone else. I felt sick to my stomach most days, anticipating how I was going to survive when I didn't have Brian's mom or sister helping me every day. I was terrified and could not rest in just enjoying their newborness.

Sept 20th was my first official day on my own with them and it has gotten easier each day. I feel like we are in a good rhythm and schedule now. Stephen wakes us up in the morning and I groggily grab him out of the pack 'n' play and put him in our bed and snuggle with him until I fully wake up. Then I get Annabelle and let them both smile and snuggle and cry for a few minutes before going downstairs to nurse.

We watch the Duggars on 19 Kids and Counting every morning when I nurse them and, I have to say, I LOVE THAT FAMILY. I think I will devote a whole blog post to them later.

My second favorite time of day is bath time. I think it is b/c they are so content, quiet, and cute for those five minutes and then they smell so good afterward. My favorite soap and lotion are the Nighttime Bed and Bath stuff from Johnson and Johnson. I love love love it. Right now I am using the Burt's Beeswax shampoo and it smells like my grandmas house.

Nursing has been an adventure and challenge in itself. I have had ups and downs with it and at this point we are mostly giving them formula with two to three nursing sessions per day. It is the best I can do. I feel like it took the babies about six weeks to really get the hang of it and by then I was giving them more bottles so I think my supply had dropped. I say that if I can give the babies one feeding of breast milk in a day then I am a happy girl. I think the nursing time is really more for me than them. I don't know what will happen when I go back to work so we'll see.

I am anxious anticipating how I am going to do it when I go back to work. In the words of Pam Beesly Halpert, "How was maternity leave? It rocked. It rocked my a$$ off." It makes me sad to think that I have to give up spending my whole day with these babies.

It is kind of a paradox b/c each day I feel like I just wait for them to sleep so I can get my stuff done and spend a lot of the time they are awake distracted with Facebook, TV, laundry, and chores but the thought of not being with them for 6 or 8 hours makes me sad.

Even though I will probably enjoy adult interaction, getting out of the house, and putting on real clothes - I think it will be heart breaking each day to leave and sacrifice this special time. They are only small for such a short time and I hate that I have to miss parts of it. I am praying I can be able to stay home within a year so let's see how God provides.

As I said before, God has been so gracious to us this far into parenthood. He has blessed us with babies who are good sleepers and don't cry a ton. We have a loving family who helps us in more ways than I can count. I don't think we would be surviving so well without them.

I am going to try to start blogging a little more about being the mom of twins. I have thought of a few topics I could write about since I started writing this entry. Those things include:
-Why I Love the Duggars
-A Play by Play of August 24th
-Parenthood is Heartbreaking in a Good Way
-My Stomach Would Scare the Bejeezus Out of You
-We Moved!
-It Doesn't Feel Real Yet

So we'll see if I ever actually write about those.

Until next time,

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Funny, Ridiculous, and Inappropriate Things Said to Pregnant Jen

Being pregnant with twins, I am larger than your average pregnant girl. I passed the realm of "cute" pregnant months ago, zipped right through "large but normal" pregnant, and have settled into the stage of "OMG - Look At That Whale of a Girl, I Feel So Bad For Her" pregnant where I will probably stay until these babies decide to make their debut (which will inevitably be on the last possible day that they are allowed to stay in the comfortable condo that is my uterus).

I have gotten lots of comments about my appearance and size in the past months. They are from random people, aquantainces, coworkers, and friends. Enough comments that I thought it warrented compiling them all into a shocking, hilarious, and slightly offensive treasure chest of "Things You Shouldn't Say to Pregnant Girls". So here we go:

-A lady at Target looked at me and said I must be ready to pop (which is pretty standard) and I responded with my typical, "Yes they could come any day but probably at the end of August". She asked, "Are there one or two in there?" (never ever a good question, seriously).
"Two," I responded.
She proceeded to say something else and then gave me a knowing/skeptical look and asked, "Are there really two?"
No. I am just lying to a complete stranger for the heck of it.

-Brian and I went to the Manassas Mall with his mom and within about 15 minutes I had at least six people ask when I was due, how many were in there, etc. I said, "I think the dress I am wearing makes me look bigger. I think it's the dress." His mom said, "Weeellll...I don't know..."

-Standing in line at McDonalds to get a drink and a lady came up to me and asked when I was due. When I said twins she said, "I thought so! Turn around and look at my dad. Dad! Dad! Look at this girl! She's having twins".

-Brian was coming back from the restroom and as two girls walked by him he heard them say, "Did you see that girl? She was HUGE!!"

-When I wasn't even hugely pregnant, I was told by a coworker that they were going to need to get a wheelbarrow to cart me around in. So I told my parents about it and then my dad started saying the same thing. I told him, "You know - that is actually not funny no matter who says it, even you."

-Since I work with another Jen, there was a period where I was called, "Big Jen" until I think people realized that it might be offensive. "Where is Big Jen?"; "Could you call Big Jen in here?"; "I was meeting with Big Jen"; etc.

-Another coworker told me (in front of our HR VP) that I looked like one of those balls that you could bounce stuff off of or that could bounce off walls. The HR VP looked at me and said, "You look beautiful" (she's a woman so she had some pity I think).

-I saw Grandpa Dave, one of my former coworkers who I LOVE and haven't seen in a few years recently. His wife looked at me and said, "You've gained some weight!" and I said, "Yep, I'm a little bigger." Dave said, "Shoot Girl! You havin' twins??" I figured he had heard it through the grapevine so I said, "Yep! A boy and a girl!" He replied, "Shoot Girl! I was just kidding with you."

-Probably my favorite so far was running into a friend at church where we had the following exchange:
Boy - Jen! You're HUGE!
Jen - Thanks. Thanks so much. Good to see you too!
Boy - What do you have, triplets in there???
Jen - Nope, just twins.
Boy - Oh Good, so there are more than one in there.
Jen - Yep. I'm not just carrying one freakishly large baby.
Boy - So Twins...that's gonna be HARD!
Jen - Yep.

I have had plenty of people say kind things to me so I am not posting this as any kind of a pity party. I just thought it would be enjoyable to have all of the ridiculous things in one spot to look back on some day :o) I will add more in the next few weeks if I get any.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Funn Fact #4 - James Haven Voight

James Haven Voight is Angelina Jolie's older brother. The son of Jon Voight and Marcheline Bertrand. He's the one she made out with at the Oscars and then said that she was "so in love" with her brother right now during her acceptance speech.

Recently I learned a few funn facts about Mr. Haven:
- His parents were going to give him the middle name Shiloh but went with Haven instead. Shiloh is one of his nicknames AND now the name of his niece Shiloh Jolie-Pitt.

-He became a born-again Christian recently and is or was a youth pastor at Rick Warren's Saddleback Church in California (which I have been to, btw).

-He is also on the advisory boards of the Global Action for Children and Artivist.

-He is rumored to be one of the driving forces in the recent Italy reunion of Jon Voight, Angelina and the kids.

It's crazy what kind of rabbit trails you go down during a standard google search.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Funn Fact #3 - The Impeachment of Clinton

If you were like me, you probably vaguely remember Bill Clinton getting impeached and vocabulary words such as Kenneth Star, Whitewater, Paula Jones, Blue Dress, and Linda Tripp. But I was in high school when everything went down and was way more interested in watching SNL skits of it than the real thing. This week I decided to find out what really happened from start to finish in the scandal that rocked the late 90's.

I found this link in my search which chronicles the whole torrid affair. Refresh your own memory here.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Funn Fact #2

Funn Fact #2

It turns out that Virginia celebrated Lee-Jackson-King Day for almost 20 years. It took that long for legislators to realize that celebrating the lives of Confederate Generals was incongruous with celebrating the life of a beloved Civil Rights leader. As my friend Kelly said, "that is the longest standing elephant in the room I have ever heard of."


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Funn Fact #1

I have decided that from now on, anytime I look up a random fact I will post it to my blog. I'm doing this because I am terrible at keeping my blog up to date AND I feel like you might be as interested as I am in things like, "What is Monica Lewinsky up to these days?" or "Who is the actor that plays President Allison Taylor on 24". So please enjoy my first funn fact.

Funn Fact #1
Kiefer Sutherland's real name is Kiefer William Fredrick Dempsey George Rufus Sutherland. He has his first given name Kiefer from the director who gave his father Donald the first movie role, Warren Kiefer. He also has a twin sister named Rachel. He also roomed with Robert Downey Jr. for three years when he first moved to Hollywood.