Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Hands On Preschool Pumpkin Activity

Today our preschool class cut into this mini pumpkin. 
I can't tell you how much the children's eyes lit up when I told them that we were actually going to get to see what was inside. 

I got some interesting guesses too...

4. A Bumblebee (?)

So we talked about pumpkins and how they grow on the ground. We even entertained the idea of pumpkins growing on trees! (just for kicks) 
We talked about the shape of the pumpkin and the color.

I had roasted some pumpkin seeds the night before. I wanted my preschoolers to have the chance to taste the pumpkin seeds after our activity. 

Each of the students had the chance to look inside the pumpkin and pull out some seeds. There were lots of giggles, "ewwws!", and smiles.

I left the pumpkin out for the kids to play with. They enjoyed putting it back together like a puzzle, and my classroom smelled like Fall. 

What happened afterwards? I took that baby home and turned it into pumpkin bread.

Yeah baby!

P.S. Here's the recipe I used.

The Memorial

Hello Readers,

Before we go anywhere in the memorial details, I just wanted you to know that Mike and I have both started healing. The pain of losing both of our babies will never completely vanish. Any mother or father who has suffered the same understand this. 
We believe that God planned our lives to play out this way and this is meant for good and his glory. God makes no mistakes. He always loves and cares and understands. I don't understand why he did this to us, but I don't need to understand. I just need to trust and obey my loving God.

Here we are at the hospital right before my surgery. The doctors and nurses were so kind and took very very good care of me. Mike and my parents stayed by my side and prayed with me right before I had to go in. While I was sleeping (thanks drugs!) I dreamed about my babies and heard the song "I'll Never Forsake You" in my dream. You can listen to the song by clicking here if you want. 

We contacted a funeral home because we didn't know what else to do. The man working that day donated his time and this urn for our babies. They were too big to fit into the heart I talked about in the vlog (my babies are overachievers!) so he placed them in this urn instead.
It comforts my heart to know that nothing can ever get to my babies. I had nightmares of wild animals trying to dig them up.

We honestly didn't know what to do in the pictures. Do we smile because our babies are in heaven? Do we cry because we're sad? It was kinda awkward, but I am so glad that we did take photos. I really needed something to hold on to.

We buried our babies with these two stuffed animals. I know that you can't take anything with you when you die, so this was more of a sentimental thing for me.
Giving my babies their first stuffed animals helped me with the healing process.

Sadly, this is the only ultrasound photo that we have of our babies. They aren't very clear because they just didn't feel photogenic that day. On their own, they looked great on the ultrasound...guess the sibling rivalry started early. 

I wish that I had asked the doctor to take a clearer picture the day we found out their hearts had stopped beating. I think that I was so in shock that I didn't think about it until that night.

I hung these two Christmas ornaments in the tree where our babies were buried. They represent the guardian angels by babies had, and the angels who are watching over my babies even now.

I took my babies inside and sealed them in a special vacuum bag with the stuffed animals. I wrapped them in the pretty gold fabric and tied a bow with red velvet ribbon. 

I then placed the little ones in a white box and tied that with green and white satin ribbon.

Next we started our memorial service. We had family and a few close friends gather on our lawn by the tree. My dad spoke about the assurance that we have of our babies being in heaven without a doubt. He talked about beginning to heal and the amazing love of our God.

Then came the hardest part of the memorial.
Right before we ended in prayer, I carried my babies over to the grave my husband had dug. I stopped and fixed the bows on the box and pretty much broke down. I knew that this was when I had to let the go. Mike placed a bottle of Bible verses at the foot of the angel and put his arm around me. Together we placed our babies at the foot of the angel.

We knew that our babies were in heaven and happier than they could ever be with us on Earth, but giving up their little bodies was the hardest thing I've ever done.

We placed them at the foot of an angel to remind us how well they are being taken care of right now. They are so happy, and they are together. They are walking and running along streets of gold. They are enjoying the fruits of heaven and if they are anything like me, they have fruit juice all over their faces and clothes. They never had a reason to cry or feel pain. They'll never need a band-aid or a time-out. They're living in a perfect place and they are so terribly loved.

I am so blessed to have Mike by my side. He loves me so much and he loved our babies. He is helping me heal while trying to heal himself. I couldn't have asked for a better partner in this life.

I miss my babies so much. My body is physically hurting from the surgery, but my heart hurts even more from the emptiness of my womb. I take comfort in the fact that my babies were not ripped from my womb, they were gently carried to the arms of my heavenly father. The first face they saw was his. The first voice the heard was his. The first love the experienced was his.

I might talked more about my grieving process, but dear readers please know that I've started to heal. I can't wait to share with you the joy of the Lord and the comfort that he gives me in these hard days to come.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Where are they now?

Our precious children will be buried on Saturday. We will have a short memorial with some close friends and our family.
They will be be placed under a tree by our home.
 Photos and more details will follow.

My last day with my babies

Dear readers,

I write this post with tears flowing and a broken heart. Today is the last day I have with my precious babies.

Yesterday morning I awoke with the joy of a child. It felt like Christmas morning. I was so terribly excited I could hardly keep myself in bed. I kept looking at the clock "is it time to get up yet?" I kept thinking. Finally the clock changed to 6am and I jumped out of the sheets and quickly got dressed. I picked out my favorite sweater and was smiling so much I couldn't hardly get an even coat of makeup on.

Today was the day I going to get to hear my twin's heartbeats. 

I made breakfast and stared out the window. I was waiting for my ride to the doctors. When they came I gave Mike and big hug and kiss and ran out the door. 

We took almost an hour at the doctors doing all the first time visit stuff. Millions of questions, taking my weight, measurements, family histories, blah blah blah. I just wanted to hear my babies for the first time. 

Finally the time came for me to get on the bed. Mike was teaching so my mom and dad were able to be in the room with me. We all stared at the screen with anticipation. The small talk and little jokes stopped as soon as we saw both babies on the monitor.

They looked so perfect.

The equipment at this office was much better than the one at my last ultrasound. I could see my babies in more detail on bigger screen. My heart was filling itself with love and my mother started crying with joy at the sigh of my twins. 

Then the doctor grabbed my arm. 

At first I thought she was trying to take my pulse and I thought "Well that's obviously not how you do it. Why does she want my pulse? I'm awake and right here!?"

She gave me a quick look and then her eyes went back to the screen. 

I knew something was wrong. I knew something was very wrong. I didn't want to hear what she had to say. I wanted to stop time right there and just look at my babies. 

"Brittany, I don't see a heartbeat"

Okay, so I lost one but the other's okay right? I was so desperate.

"There isn't a heartbeat for either one. I am so sorry."

My poor mother's tears changed from joy to sadness. I cried softly too but I grabbed her arm and said "Mom, look at me. They're in heaven now okay?"

That was the hardest thing I have ever had to say. I had to acknowledge that my babies were no longer growing, and they were dead.

We called Mike to come to the office right away and we were given a moment alone together. He walked in and I covered my face. I wanted to be brave for him but my wound was just so deep and so fresh. "Both of our babies are in heaven now" I said. He put his hands on his face and cried. I sat on his lap and held his head close. We wept together and told each other how much we loved the other. 

That was yesterday morning. 

Tomorrow the doctors will remove the babies from my womb. My body doesn't even realize that I'm not pregnant any more. I'm still having symptoms of pregnancy even though my babies only made it to 9 and a half weeks. 

I don't know why God did this. It wasn't like "whoops! she's pregnant and shouldn't be right now. I'll just take care of that." God specifically planned for me to conceive the moment that I did. He planned by twin's growth and then their death. Their lives were planned to be this long. Why? I don't know, and I won't go down that road. I'll never come back if I do. 

I believe that God is a good god. He is a great god who is almighty and he loves me more than anyone else could even love me. He sent his son to die for me. He knows what it's like to lose a child. He knows what I'm feeling. He knows why this happened. I don't need to know why. I just need to give Him thanks in ALL things, even this. I'm accepting his plan for my life and that goes hand in hand with his love and comfort.

Oh, the comfort he gives dear readers.

My babies are in heaven and they are together in heaven. How glorious is that!!! They skipped right up to the good part! Like reading the last chapter of a mystery book! 

Of course we are mourning. Mike and I have both cried so hard. I wanted to hold my babies so badly. What mother doesn't? I wanted to swaddle them and kiss their little heads. I wanted to feed them and wipe the mashed carrots off their faces. I wanted to dress them up and make them all matchy matchy. I wanted to watch them sit on the floor and play together. I wanted to hold them close while they reached up to touch me with their little chubby hands. I wanted to be a mommy. I wanted Mike to be a daddy.

But I know that my God is is good. I know that my babies are in heaven. I know that I will get to see them and hold them and love them, it just won't be right now. It won't be in 9 months. Someday when I'm dying and ready to leave this world, my babies will be ready for me in heaven. I know that I'll get the two biggest bear hugs ever. I can't wait for that day, but till then...I know that they are in wonderful hands. The hands of my God. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Cut down your grocery bill: lets save some money!

Goooood Sunday morning readers!
It's about 6 am and I am wide awake. Why not do a post on frugalness? 

When you're trying to save money, it's so obvious to cut all the extra expenses. Cable TV, all those paid for apps on your phone, going out to dinner three times a week. Those are all obvious things that people cut when they need to lower their monthly spending.

But what about groceries? Everyone needs those! How do you cut your bill and still have enough food for your family? I'm going to give you some of my tips and tricks that I use to cut out grocery bill way way down. 

I'm not an expert and I'm always learning from other frugal bloggers, but I don't mind sharing my own personal advice.

1. Make your shopping list while looking at the flyers. 

I always plan my meals and shopping list around what's on sale. If ground meat is on discount, then I plan tacos. chili, hamburgers, and things like that. Different meats go on sale on different weeks so you won't get stuck eating the same thing over and over. 

2. Write down brand names that are on sale.

Why did I want three boxes of Kelloggs cereal again? Oh yeah! It's buy one get two this week! 
Write down that key information on your list. If you're anything like me, its easy to forget why you're buying a particular brand. 

3. Only cut and print coupons that you will use.

Never ever cut out a coupon just because it's a good deal. If it's for an item you wouldn't buy anyway, then it's wasting money!

4. Stock Up

Now don't go all crazy on me and buy 200 packages of toilet paper. But if you see a great deal, like buy one get two on a package of english muffins, buy 2 and get 4 more! Freeze those puppies and you've just saved yourself some dough (ha ha, get it?) and an item off your next shopping list. 

I've also stocked up on cans of soup when they've gone on a super sale. It's great to pull one out of the pantry to add to a crock-pot meal or even when hubby needs a quick dinner. 

5. Don't buy on the spot.

This is such a hard one. I'm still mastering this rule. Imagine yourself pushing your cart with your list in hand and you've got a big smile on your face. You're doing great and you're saving money! Yay you!
Oh but something catches your eye.
It's those cookies you used to get when you were a kid. The kind Mom would always pack in your lunch. And they have a limited valentine edition with little heart sprinkles and pink frosting!
Before you know it you've got three packages pilled up in your cart next to the bagels.

Now stop and think. Is it okay to treat yourself every once and a while? Of course! Just don't let that little episode happen in every aisle okay?

So there are some of my top 5 tips for cutting down your grocery bill. I'm still mastering the art of frugal living, but I hope you found something helpful somewhere up there.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Ultrasound Surprise and Links for You!

Hello dear readers,

This may be old news to a few, but I simply must make an announcement on all of my media sites. 

I had my first ultrasound last week and was shocked to see the fluttering of TWO heartbeats!

It's pretty much like finding out you're pregnant all over again.
The fact that my body is trying to take care of three people right now is mind blowing. 

Here are some of my first thoughts.

1. I need another crib
2. Is the doctor playing me right now?
3.How am I going to fit two cribs in that room?
4. God, why are you giving me two kids! I'm a first time mom! Let me at least master one kid first!
5. How am I going to tell Mike?

All of these thoughts and more come rushing into my mind simultaneously. I can't tell you how hard I was kicking myself for not having Mike there with me. 

We are so terribly excited and our families and friends are thrilled at out double trouble news. 

You can follow the rest of my pregnancy story through Youtube. I upload a new video every week and try to capture anything important or just plain entertaining. 

I also have a tumblr account,

Just for fun, here's the video still shot from when Mike realized we were having twins!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Why I stopped arguing with God

Okay everyone.
Hunker down because this one might get emotional.

I’m planning on this being one of the last posts I make concerning my father’s cancer. I have some to terms with everything and I don’t see myself changing views before this is all over.
If you’ve been a friend of mine for a while, you know that my dad has been battling cancer for a while now. It started right before my high school graduation and has drug on for several years.
If you want to read any posts concerning my view on this war with cancer you can click here and browse through my other blog posts.

Cancer hits everyone like a brick wall. The wind is literally knocked out of you and your head starts spinning. Time stands still and all sound is gone. You stare at the ground and say over and over, “No, this is not real. No, this isn’t happening.”

But it is real.

It is happening.

Even though my dad is a born again Christian, and has assurance of his salvation, and knows 100% that he’s going to be in heaven with his Lord and Savior when he dies…cancer was a hard pill to swallow.

I’m a Christian too, and I know that I’ll get to see my dad again. I have that hope and trust in jesus. So why did it take me 5 years to be “okay” with it all?
I’ll be honest here. I did struggle with God. I kept asking “Why?” and “I don’t get it!” and even “He’s so good and he gave his life to serve you! Why are you hurting him! Why are you hurting me?”.

I said those things in my prayers over and over again. I struggled and wrestled with God.
People would ask me how I was doing…I always said I was fine, and then throw something in about my dad’s awesome attitude concerning the whole thing. On the inside, I was crying and confused.

I was told that he might only have a year left. I didn’t process it until the next day (worst day of my life). I remember being so frustrated at everything and being so on edge. My husband asked me if I needed to take a nap and relax a little. After he left the bedroom I screamed into my pillow so loudly. I must have fallen asleep after that because it was several hours before I opened my eyes again.

I asked my husband, “Why is it that I think he’ll live forever? It sounds so ridiculous out loud, but why does my brain think that?”. Mike said “Because God made people to live forever. And your dad will.”

If you know nothing about the Bible, know that God made a perfect world where there was no sin, death, sickness, any of that. Man’s choice to sin against God brought all that in. But our souls will live on forever. My dad’s soul will be in heaven and I’ll get to be there too! Forever!
When I was taking my pregnancy test, and waiting for that eternal 3 minutes to be over, I prayed. I prayed that if it was positive, that God would let my dad hold the baby.
I don’t know if it will happen here on Earth, or in heaven (as long as my baby becomes a Christian too), but I know my dad WILL get to hold and be with his grandchild.
He will get to share stories. He will get to enjoy their company. He will have a chance to love them.


Because our souls are eternal. That’s how God made us.

I’m finally done struggling and arguing with God concerning my father’s health. I’m at peace because I know that this isn’t the end. It’s only “till next time” for us.
It’s so easy for a Christian to nod their heads and shout “AMEN!” when the preacher says we’ll get to be in heaven forever and be with Christ and our loved ones. But it’s another thing to actually believe it, and allow that belief to completely comfort you.

My dad is still battling cancer. This could very well be his last Thanksgiving. I still cry a little, but then God puts a smile on my face as he reminds me that this is only “till we meet again”.