Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Adios, Mullet

My sweet Sophie has undoubtedly been blessed with a thick, curly head of fiery red hair. It's one of my favorite things about her, and it fits her ornery, explosive personality to a T. Ever since her hair started coming in thicker, the back has grown at a much faster pace than the front, leaving her with a party in the back and business in the front. Not the best look for a little lady. I have tried again and again to put them in pigtails or a pony tail, and the times I distracted her long enough to do it, it was darling. However, I only have so much energy and patience these days, so I concluded the best option was to trim it until I can more effectively bribe her to let me do what I want with her hair. :) I had heard that haircut places charge a ridiculous amount for kid cuts, so fortunately the sweet lady that has done my mom's hair (out of her home) for years said she would do it. She loved getting her hair cut about as much as she loves getting shots at the doctor, so needless to say I was sweating profusely after standing and holding her while she screamed her head off. Sweet Diane was so patient and did a great job trimming it. It still has the thickness and curl that I love about her hair, but without the Joe Dirt-ness. She even trimmed a few layers in the back so it would grow in more evenly. 

So while it was a bit traumatic, I'll call her first big girl hair cut a success. I wish I had taken a before so you could really appreciate how much better it looks, but this is all I could get.  

My mullet-free little beauty :)


Friday, May 25, 2012

Twins, Triplets, and The Zoo. Oh my!

This morning, we ventured to the zoo with our favorite triplets, the Coy girls, Kim and Amber and Brynn. This was our first time being back in awhile, and our first time back since the girls have learned animal names/sounds, so I was excited to see their reactions to everything. Other than their mom attempting to make it through the hot temps while 34 weeks pregnant, it was a fun day. I've also been playing around with our new camera and got some fun shots of the girls.

Not the best shot of everyone, but here's the triplets and us.

Mr. Grizzly Bear-perhaps the girls favorite animal we saw all day. They kept saying "Hi, Bear!" and "Roooar!" We even got to see him and the other bear jump in the water together and wrestle. Looked ironically like a scene you'd see at our house... 


Mama and baby

The trio checking our Mr. Monkey

This monkey was so great. He just sat and chilled next to the window forever and let us all gawk at him. The girls were big fans of him from their stroller; however when Sophie asked to get down and get closer, he really freaked her out. He was cute and kinda terrifying at the same time.

Hey, Mr. Monkey.

Pointing from a distance...

Brynn, Amber's cute little baby bump, Avery (I think), and the girls

This is Campbell's "I'm not sure about that giant monkey-looking thing in front of me" face...

Although it might be the last zoo trip I attempt until after the B man arrives, I'm glad we went!


Tubes: A Success

It turns out getting tubes is about as easy as everyone said it would be. The girls were so brave and did great. Hopefully we are on the road to NO more ear infections...

Pre-surgery play time at the surgery center. Can we get tubes every day?

Sophie went first, and when she left the room Campbell started crying and pointing at the door saying "sister, sister." Melted my heart. :(

I've said it once and I'll say it again, Sophie is one tough cookie. After meeting her and the nurse in recovery, she was groggy and kinda fussy. However after rocking her for a few minutes, she fell right back asleep for about 15 minutes, started to wake up and heard Mickey Mouse clubhouse in the background, sat up and started dancing to the music while drinking her milk. No lie! Never would have guessed she had anything done.

Poor CJ. She had a really rough time waking up from the anesthesia. She cried and squirmed while half awake for about 20 minutes. It was awful. I finally handed her over to Kyle as it was tough to keep switching positions with her with my big belly. She finally passed out (as did Daddy) for a bit after. 

By that afternoon, we were playing in the backyard and back to our crazy selves. Overall, we were so proud of our brave girls and how well they did!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cooking Rut

Lately my cooking habits could be defined as...nonexistent. Not only am I struggling with 2 rowdy monkeys who get rather, ahem, impatient when I cook a meal. I'm also fighting exhaustion at the end of the day when all I want to do is sit instead of stand and cook dinner. So it's been a lot of eating out and sandwiches around the Nevels house lately.

I also have to say this is probably due to my burn out on all of the ole favorites. I'm over my pinterest recipes and feel like I've cooked chicken about every way imaginable. The crock pot not only sounds unappealing when it's 90 degrees, I feel like I'm also about 0 for 10 on the recipes I've recently tried. And all of my cook book recipes either take too much time or I'm just plain sick of.


Please feel free to help a girl out and give me your easiest, yummiest, fewest ingredients favorites. Even if it's a good brand of frozen meal you like. Seriously. I'm at rock bottom.

Tired Mom :)


Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Welp, it's official. One week from tomorrow both Nevels ladies will be getting tubes in their ears. It sounds weird to say I'm excited about my babies having a minor surgery, but if you had been through our life for the last 3-4 months, you'd be doing back flips knowing the end is in sight, too. More than anything, I'm just so happy that their discomfort will be gone and hopefully everyone will get more sleep around here...until the Burke-ster arrives that is. :)
So prayers that everything goes smoothly, and they recover in a snap like it sounds most kids do from this procedure. And then rejoice with me when my happy, sleeping, sweet little angels are back to their infection-free selves!


Monday, May 14, 2012

Eighteen Months: The Ugly

As I think every parent would agree, we all take in the good with the bad. However, sometimes we have to deal with situations that are just, well, ugly. Thankfully these are a pretty rare occurrence in our house, but they happen. I call these situations ugly because they just become so bad that they are comical. Here are a few ugly scenarios we all somehow made it through and afterward involved mommy either crying or laughing because it was just so ridiculous:
1. Doctor's Office Mayhem: Since February, we have averaged going to the doctor every 2-3 weeks because one or both girls has had an ear infection (we go to the ear doctor next week and will most likely be getting tubes for both girls). This in itself is ugly. If you've ever dealt with an ear infection, they are no fun. Times two, and trying to keep track of what ears are infected/who's on what antibiotic that week is really no fun. I would say the peak ugliness of this issue came one week when I was taking Sophie in for a suspected ear infection and Campbell was also fighting sickness. This particular day I had no one to help me with the girls at the doctor, which when they are both having to get checked out, gets ugly in a hurry. Sophie is my brave girl at the doctor, so I thought I'd have him look at her ears first. Cue Sophie having a ginormous meltdown/thinking Dr. Leveridge was trying to kill her. Campbell starts crying because Sophie is crying. So I'm holding down Sophie on the table while Campbell is pulling my shirt down causing me to reveal some massive pregnant cleavage to our poor pediatrician and screaming like crazy, too. Awesome. And did I mention Sophie is kicking the crap out of my very pregnant belly the entire time? Me going into labor at that moment would have really been the icing on the cake. I get Sophie calmed down and give her my phone to play with before he moves onto Campbell. Now Campbell is what we would call not-so-brave when it comes to the doctor. So naturally she begins her meltdown at this point. After listening to her/examining her, it's determined she has RSV. He wants to do a breathing treatment on her before we leave which involves me sitting in the room and holding a mask up to her face for 10 minutes. Are we serious? This was a ridiculous challenge in and of itself since she was pretty convinced whatever fumes were coming out of that mask were laced with anthrax, but keep in mind I now have another cranky ear-infected toddler to keep happy, as well. Our sweet nurse, seeing me in my pregnant, profusely sweating state at this point, offers to carry Sophie around with her while I do the breathing treatment on Campbell. I could have kissed her. Somehow we stumbled out of the doctor's office that day and made it to the car, feeling as though I barely escaped a bad episode of Jon and Kate Plus 8. I felt like I had just run a marathon then had the crap beat out of me with a baseball bat. On this particular day, I cried. Cried tears of utter helplessness. Tears that both of my babies didn't feel good and there was only one me. Tears of terror at the realization that I would soon add a third child to that chaos in the doctor's office. Tears of exhaustion from lack of sleep. Ugly. Just plain ugly.
2. Post Traumatic Bath Disorder plus Vomit: About a month ago, we had what Kyle and I now refer to as "the bath incident." The girls normally looove the bath. However, on this particular night, as soon as I put Sophie in the bath, she began screaming bloody murder. I immediately scooped her out of the tub and she instantly grabbed her foot. I noticed she had a small blister from where her shoe must have rubbed her foot that day. So we skipped her bath that night and decided we would just sponge bathe her until it healed. Three or four days later it had scabbed over and we thought she would be fine to take a bath again. Wrongo congo. Apparently just the memory of her incident several nights before was enough to trigger a meltdown. And when I say meltdown, the child refused to get within ten feet of the bath. You would have thought we were trying to bathe her in acid. Awful. So, no bath for Sophie again. The next night, same scenario. I told Kyle it was getting a little gross at this point that she hadn't bathed in approximately 5 days, and maybe we should try something else. Enter Kyle, holding a massive fit-throwing Sophie in the tub in his underwear while standing and Campbell looking up at him wondering what in the heck happened to our happy, fun bath time and why Daddy was standing half naked in the tub. After recovering from laughing hysterically, we somewhat got Sophie cleaned up. For about the past month, Sophie has made a slow recovery. She now will get in the bath without having a meltdown, but for whatever reason refuses to sit down. We have tried everything. Finally the other night, I decided to take charge and make her sit. For whatever reason, again this triggered a massive fit. After Kyle took her out of the bath and got her in her PJ's, she was still screaming like crazy. I got Campbell ready for bed and we took both girls in their room to put them down for the night. Sophie at this point is just exhausted, upset, and still screaming in her crib. I go to give Campbell her medicine and it must have gone down the wrong tube because it triggers her gag reflex and UP comes her milk and dinner all over her crib and my hands. Kyle whisks her out of her crib and into the bathroom in case she wasn't finished and to take off her throw up covered PJ's. In the process of taking off her shirt, the throw up gets all in her hair. I tell him to go and calm Sophie down so I can bathe Campbell...again. Then proceed to change her crib sheet, as well. Somehow we finally get both girls clean and calm and asleep. While this was definitely ugly. It was also hilariously ridiculous, and just one of those insane moments you have to laugh at. And we did.

Life with twins is always a crazy adventure. Life with twins plus being pregnant? A very tiresome, crazy adventure. Trying my best to let 2 little ones sit on my lap with my belly in the way, hoisting 2 little ones into and out of their car seats, cribs, high chairs, swingset, etc. can be exhausting, which any mom who has been pregnant with other little ones knows all too well. Add to that at least one girl waking up at night due to painful ears, and many days it's all I can do to stay awake until Kyle walks in the door. Lately, we've probably watched a little too much Dora and Elmo, spent a lot of tired afternoons all cuddled up on the couch together, and had more than a few play sessions that involved the girls crawling over my sprawled out body on the living room floor.

So there it is. The wonderfully good, daily bad, and occasional ugly of our life with two crazy monkeys. When you throw it all together, I'm blessed to say that the good usually rises to the top. It's impossible for me to look at their sweet smiles and precious faces and not feel overwhelmed with love for these two perfect little people.

I hope all of the moms out there had a fantastic Mother's Day and felt celebrated for the marvelous women motherhood makes us!


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Eighteen Months: The Bad

Wow. I've probably said it a million times, but we seriously have some toddlers on our hands. Every day seems to be a new "test" of some sort. Only with these tests, I've had no chance to study for them and am literally having to fly by the seat of my pants on how to handle them, momentarily freak out, and then later that night say something along the lines of "they're doing that already?!" to Kyle. A few weeks ago when I felt I was seriously getting out of my league with parenting, I ordered several parenting books and have almost finished both. The funny part? I still feel like I fail miserably at dealing with many scenarios that come up throughout our day. Here are some "tests" we are currently going through:

Distraught Sophie

1. Sharing. Perhaps if I had been a kindergarten teacher vs. middle school teacher, I would be better equipped at handling this. But the truth is, I feel like the world's worst parent when it comes to deciding who is in the wrong and how to fairly let each girl play with a toy both wants. After all, they are 18 months old and only understand so much. Most of the time I resort to taking the toy away from both (this seems horribly unfair to one of them), or ensuring we buy two of everything. Good parenting, right? ;)
2. Hitting. As stated previously, Sophie is my wild girl. Wild, head strong, stubborn, feisty...all these words describe her quite accurately. While I love her so stinkin' much for the little person she is, holy cow this girl gives me a run for my money most days. She has made it very clear that it is her way, or no way. While I understand this may be normal for a lot of toddlers, she gets mad. And I mean mad when she doesn't get her way. I wouldn't even call it a tantrum, because tantrums usually mean she is at least "giving in" and admitting she is the weaker one. She will usually resort to hitting or slapping her sister when she has something she wants, then screaming at the top of her lungs when she is told she can't have it and/or put in time out. You would think the time out would solve the problem, only Sophie has an extra 10 times the amount of stubbornness of your average toddler and will repeat the behavior until she gets what she wants (admittedly, this behavior is greatly exaggerated when she is tired/cranky/doesn't feel well). This makes mama want to reach for an extra strong margarita in spite of the fact she currently isn't allowed to have one. However, this is also when having twins comes in handy. I'm given temporary relief in knowing I didn't "create" this problem since Campbell has never had to be put in timeout once in her short life. I've definitely realized that every child has a certain amount of "nature" in them that must be "nurtured" into something more desirable at times.
3. Eating. Or should I say, lack thereof. I consider it a huge victory if I can get the girls to eat one good meal a day and a fruit and vegetable. What I continually don't get is how they can love a food one day (grapes, bananas, blueberries, sweet potatoes, spinach) and detest it the next. Or how they will eat anything and everything I pack for their lunch at school, but refuse to eat the same food at home (?!?!?). Or how they will not touch something I put directly onto their highchair tray, but then eat it in its entirety after I put it in a bowl (after dumping it onto the floor once or twice). We are also going through a phase where they now refuse to eat anything off of a spoon or fork unless they are the ones holding it. I realize this is all part of their growing need for independence, and I'm trying very hard to relinquish control in this department, but holy crap it's testing me.
4. They are starting to remember things. For instance, with the warm weather we've had, I've started giving the girls popsicles outside when we are on the back patio. After doing this several days in a row, I see Sophie run inside and I followed her all the way to the freezer door where she starts chanting "sicle! sicle!" She remembered the day before when I had gone inside to get one for them. Since we were about to eat dinner, I firmly told her no. Which resulted in one of her famous fits. I literally can't count all of the things this has applied to lately, whether it was me letting them play with something they shouldn't have in a moment of weakness (like my lipstick), or a snack treat, etc. They are starting to form memories of it all. And while, yet again, it's part of them growing up, it's also incredibly exhausting trying to teach them they don't always get what they want.
5. Pacifiers. Don't even get me started on this subject. They still have them. Some days more than others. In the war against pacis: Team Kyle and Stephanie-0, Team Sophie and Campbell-15,958. 

So there's the bad. I'm feeling a wee bit more encouraged in knowing I could come up with a lot more good than bad. Why is it that our children do so many wonderful things and fill our hearts with love, yet the few bad things thrown in there seem to eclipse them a lot of the time? Is this the never-ending struggle we will face as parents? 

Lately, as I've thought a lot about how to handle these troublesome situations, I was reminded of something from when I was younger. When I was in first grade, at the end of the year, I received the "Most Improved Student" award for my progress with my grades, reading, etc. To this day, I don't think my parents have made a bigger deal out of any award I have ever received. And given I still remember my dad having the certificate framed and put in my room, where it hung for probably an inappropriate amount of time, they must have really gone all out in their praise for me.  Now as a parent, I get that. Nothing creates pride in a parent more than their child overcoming an obstacle. After hearing at school that Sophie was having an issue with not sharing well/hitting/stealing things from other kids and dealing with this issue on a daily basis at home, I felt so defeated. However, I realized this will definitely not be the last time one of my children has to learn to overcome something, so we worked on it. And worked on it. And still have to work on it every day. When I picked her up a few weeks later and looked at her daily report to see her teacher raving about how well she shared and played with the other kids, I sincerely wanted to frame it and display it where everyone would see it, give her the biggest hug and kiss, and tell her how proud I was of her (and I did). I know this is a silly, seemingly unimportant issue and we will face many, bigger ones throughout both girls' lives, but it was our first official "obstacle" we had to get through as parents together. While it would have been so easy to get defensive and try to blame it on other kids/their teachers, etc., I'm glad that I swallowed my pride as a mom and accepted the challenge before us (something that is much easier said than done). 

As with everything else in life, this phase too shall pass. And in the meantime, may God give all of us parents of toddlers enough strength and patience to endure it and enough laughs and sweet moments to make it enjoyable.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Eighteen Months: The Good

Today was the girls' 18 month check up, so I figured this was a good time to reflect on our lives with two 18 months olds (as well as the impending holiday this weekend that celebrates our work as mothers). This has been such a crazy age with them. It is so much fun watching them literally evolve into little people, talking, imitating, and interacting more and more with each other, their friends, and us. Kyle and I continue to be amazed and so proud of the little people they are becoming. Especially as we wrap up their first (half) year at mother's day out, and I hear their teachers rave about how wonderfully they've done and how much they've grown and learned. We thank God every night for blessing us with two healthy, sweet, growing, thriving little girls. We realize that not every parent gets to say that, but we do. And for that our hearts overflow with gratefulness. With that being said, along with the good comes the bad and the just plain ugly. So I've broken down this stage of our lives into three parts. For this part, I'll choose to focus on the good things that make my heart swell as a mommy (and keep me optimistic that we just might raise children that contribute positively to society one day):

Aren't they the sweetest things you've ever seen?

1.The girls now hug and kiss each other without us asking them to. The most precious part is they will both open their arms really big and say "hug" before giving one. Sophie is still an "open mouth" kisser, but Campbell has evolved into making this cute little pucker sound with her lips.
2. Campbell is turning into such a little lady. She loves playing with her baby dolls (and oddly enough, always has to be holding at least 2 at a time. Wonder where she learned that? ;), and loves wrapping them in blankets, putting them in Burke's swing or lining them up on the couch. Lately she will put her purse on her shoulder, pick up her babies, walk out of the room and say "Bye bye, see ya!" She also has started saying "tank you" after we hand her a snack/sippy cup, etc. without being asked to say it. She is such a sweet natured little girl.
3. Sophie shares her toys (most of the time). This may sound like something that shouldn't be a big deal, but if you had seen this child and her willingness to not share a few months ago, we have made serious strides in this department, and I could not be prouder of her improvement. Her teachers at school have even commented on how great she does at sharing her toys with other kids. Way to go, Soph!
4. Speaking of Sophie, this girl is definitely the comedian of the two. Her expressions and crazy antics crack up Campbell, Kyle, and I on a daily basis. Which is good, because it helps to balance out the insane amount of orneriness in her.
5. Campbell may or may not be showing early signs of being a future American Idol. This girl loves to sing. Like most kids, she loves it when we sing all the classic kid tunes (itsy bitsy spider, ABC's, skinamarinkadinkydink), but she sings all.the.time. If she's playing on her own, chances are she's humming or blabbing a song to herself. I have to say I'm also impressed at how well she stays on tune when trying to sing along with us. The other day she was playing with this little piano and was trying to mimic each note after she hit it. I was amazed at how well she did. A bit bias, but amazed. I've always said I will think it is hysterical if we have a child that has a good voice given how awful Kyle and I's voices are, but maybe little CJ will prove us wrong. Let's hope I'm re-telling this story one day after she accepts a grammy... ;)
6. The girls are starting to have some separation anxiety with each other. If one wakes up from a nap before the other, after about 5 minutes, whoever is awake runs to their door and bangs on it while yelling "Sissy!" and will have a meltdown if we don't go get her. It's sweet and kinda annoying at the same time.
7. They love to be little helpers around the house. Sophie's favorite thing to "help" with right now is cleaning. She will take baby wipes and wipe down literally every surface in our house. She also enjoys taking kleenex and wiping her nose (and has also been known to wipe her sister's or friends' noses, as well). Campbell loves to help me take clothes out of washer to put in the dryer. Although her love of slamming the dryer door shut sometimes interferes with this task. Sophie prefers to watch or cover the washer and dryer in Dora stickers.
8. In less than 6 months, we get to refer to the girls' age in years vs. months! It's the little things...
9. The girls have learned to say "Jesus" and will point at him in the books we read that have pictures of him. They also say "Amen" at night after we say our prayers. Just two more words in their fast growing repertoire, but we think they are pretty big ones. :)
10. The girls love being "nakey." They run around like crazy ladies when we take their clothes and diapers off and get giddy with excitement. I think it's hilarious and adorable. Kyle is a bit leery of how much they enjoy it (such a dad of daughters).
11. And lastly, the girls have started "announcing" when they "toot." As their mom and the sole influence on teaching them how to become well-mannered young ladies, you would think I would not encourage this behavior. However, I have the sense of humor of a 7th grade boy when it comes to toots and poop, so of course I explode with laughter anytime they do it. I'll do my best to stop encouraging it before middle school.

So there you have it. The annoyingly wonderful, endearing things about our little sweet peas. Stay tuned for the bad and the ugly...


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Watch out, Paparazzi.

Happy Mother's Day/Anniversary/Birthday to ME!

We have officially purchased our first "fancy" camera! Ok, technically there are much fancier cameras out there, but I'm super thrilled about getting my hands on this Canon Powershot G12 (and special thanks, Ashley, for doing my camera research for me :) Not that our ole digital one wasn't great, I just was continually frustrated with the quality of pictures we were getting out of it, and with our growing family I really wanted a nicer one to capture all of the craziness in our lives. 

I'll be sure to do a post of my amateur photography skills once it gets here... :)


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Getting Closer

At 30 weeks and 4 days, we are officially getting closer to meeting our baby boy! In many ways, this pregnancy has gone by really fast, and in other ways, it's gone at a snail's pace. As pregnancy usually goes, it doesn't get any easier, and I certainly am not getting any lighter on my feet. However, it's been really great to experience a seemingly worry free pregnancy as opposed to my pregnancy with the girls, constantly being in fear of early labor and making sure I stayed off of my feet as much as possible. Gosh how I wish I could get off of my feet at my leisure these days and may or may not secretly hope a free nanny shows up at my house everyday at 3 pm, and tells me to go take a nap while she watches the girls and makes dinner. Know of anyone who would be up for that? ;) 
And speaking of the girls, they are doing more and more cute things with their baby brother. We have (we think) finalized his name: Burke Allen Nevels. Although since we've been calling him that for the past several months, Kyle and I both have agreed it would be too crazy to change it at this point. Not to mention, very confusing for the girls since every time they see my bare belly they excitedly chant "Burke! Burke!" As of late, they love to lift up my shirt to tell him "Hi", give him kisses and pats, and then pull my shirt down and say "night night, Burke." Even though I'm sure they will want to do anything BUT love on him when we gets here, it sure it cute for now. 
As for his room, it's finally starting to come along. We officially have the crib assembled, and I now feel more confident in where I want to hang things on the wall (as seen below his crib). His room has been a bit of a challenge since we felt the need to keep a bed in there for our frequent visits from family that live a few hours away. I also think it will be nice to have a place to sleep for nights he needs some extra attention. However, with such limited space, my organization skills have been challenged as to how best utilize the space we do have! I bought a slim chest of drawers to put in the closet to keep his pants, diapers, socks, PJ's, etc. But for the most part, I think I will be hanging most of his clothes/onesies for easy access. The bed will be our changing table. :) I'm going to *attempt* to make his crib skirt via a tutorial I found on pinterest that involves no sewing (iron on fabric adhesive), and velcro-ing it to the bed frame underneath the mattress. That way, I can change the length of it when it comes time to lower the mattress. For now, I'm going to not do a bumper since I think the crib looks great without one, but I may end up getting just a standard white one down the road. 
So for now, we are slowly nearing the point of being officially ready to welcome our little Burke! Although I feel that no one can adequately be prepared for three children under the age of two, I'm beginning to think I can do anything as long as I'm not pregnant! And please remind me I said this a few months from now. ;)
In the meantime, please keep our growing family in your prayers along with a continued smooth pregnancy for me. 

Happy May!