Friday, December 20, 2013

15 Months

This boy. 

This boy is FIFTEEN MONTHS. 

463 days.

He has eight teeth.

He is a big brother. Times 2.

He feeds himself and uses real silverware (most of the time).

He loves making animal sounds.

He helps change Annelise and Olivia's diapers.

He likes doing laundry.

He loves books and will sit and "read" them by himself.

He signs "please" "thank you" "more" "food" "milk" "light" "fan" and "book"

He verbally says "Mama" "Daddy" "ball" "shoes" "amen""ow" "ew" "yuck" and sometimes if you
ask him what his name is he says "Did-yun" (Gideon)

He loves giving kisses, hugs, high fives, and fist bumps.

He dances like a fiend.

His favorite song to sing is "Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes" or "Popcorn Popping"

His daddy is his favorite person in the world.

He gets sad when he doesn't see his Grandma every day and lets her know it the next
time he sees her.

He loves to splash in water.

He eats anything. Even gross things like pickles or salt and vinegar chips.

His laugh is infectious.

He is very meticulous and likes screwing bottle caps on and off, flipping light switches, and
opening anything with a cool clasp.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

all my eggs in one basket...

Or frying pan 

Did I ever tell you about the twin omens?


Well now you get to hear about them. All of them.

~I was born on October 18th---along with the DeMaster twins,  whose mother was my mother's friend. We were delivered by the same doctor.

 I'm the chub scout on the right

 This is Dr. Shahriari holding all of us

 my mom, doc, twin mama

~My best friends in elementary school were twins---Kalynn and Andrianna Cole. I scored big-time by having twins for best friends because that meant that I always got to have two of my favorite people spend the night instead of just one.

 Andrianna and me at my birthday celebration

Kalynn and me at the same birthday celebration

If you look closely, I have a black eye. Between that and the braces I was one hot chica!

~My favorite band in High School was comprised of twins---Tegan and Sara---here's a link to my favorite song from HS

~The twin omens were less obvious for a while but there was a hilarious incident in college where I went to a Tegan and Sarah show and danced next to an extremely handsome boy all night (yes, I said next to, not with <----that's not the hilarious part).  

Fast forward two weeks and I had finally gotten ahold of the owner of a credit card that Tiff and I had found on a morning run. The owner was coming to my apartment to pick it up. When the handsome boy from the concert walked in I almost choked, it was fate, right?? Wrong. He barely batted an eye. I obviously hadn't made as big of an impression on him as he had made on me.

We chatted it up for about 45 min., neither of us mentioning the concert, but I was dying to know if he was just playing it cool or if he really didn't recognize me. So I said "I know this is crazy, but did you go to a Tegan and Sara show two weeks ago?". 

He just looked and me blankly and shook his head.

NO?? But I absolutely knew he was there, and I had spent most of that evening trying to make sure that HE knew that I was there.

How could this be?? Had I gone insane?

Luckily he saved me by saying "Wait a minute...I think my brother, my twin brother, went to that show!"

I seriously thought he was messing with me but it turns out that two extremely identically handsome boys existed.  He promised to introduce me to his brother but it never happened. (Which I'm more than ok with because my extremely handsome husband is more handsome than both of them. combined. And that's a lot of handsome.)

~My sister Becky and I got married one day apart and shared a wedding reception. She married an identical twin! 

~Gideon and our puppy, Meisje share a birthday. We used to jokingly call them our little twinners.

~A couple of weeks before we found out about the twins I made breakfast and this happened--->
If you can't tell, that is 4 double yoke eggs! 4!?!

After which I promptly texted a pic to my mother which said "Good thing I don't believe in omens!!"

Now, I realize that not all of these things really count as omens, but you have to admit that it's pretty weird. Especially the double yokes. 

And just to add to the weirdness, this picture happened a couple of weeks ago while Rob was making breakfast ---->

It has kind of become our family picture. Please note that there is a big "daddy" yoke, a medium "mommy" yoke, a small "Gideon" yoke, and teensy twin "baby" yokes. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

never enough hours...

Ladies and Gentlemen,

There are truly never enough hours in a single day.

Never enough hours to stare into my children's eyes the way they deserve to be stared into.
     ~or to read them the stories I want them to know
     ~or to sing them all the songs that bring them such delight

Never enough hours to do the laundry and the dishes and the cooking.
     ~or to make a scrapbook 
     ~or decorate the house

Never enough hours to finish all the things on my "to do list" or to do all the amazing things not on that list. 

Never enough hours to spend with the man I've promised eternity to.

All I have are moments. Fleeting moments like this one. The house is quiet. I have one baby in my arms while the other sits in her carseat as I rock it with my foot. 

I know it sounds like a complaint---a greedy, selfish, naive complaint I want more time! I want less to do!  But what I'm really saying is this---I have enough.

I love my life. I love that my hands are full and my day is full and that my heart is full. I love that some days I spend too much time staring at Annelise and Olivia, or singing 'head shoulders knees and toes' with Gideon instead of folding the laundry. I love the time I get to spend with my mother and ask her advice and understand her perspective when I probably could (or should) be doing something else. I love that those hours disappear and leave me with sweet moments and memories from a day too quickly gone.

In yearning for more time what I'm actually saying is, I love what I have! 

The fact that there are never enough hours to do all the things I want to do means that I have an abundance of things that I am capable of doing, and isn't that amazing?

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Life is good!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

finding myself

Sometimes I get a little lost. Sometimes I see all the words on a page or on a screen and I want to lay claim to one of them. I want to be one of them. I want to walk up to someone and be able to say "Hello, I'm debbie and I'm a             " and I want to mean it with my whole being. I would love to be just a writer or just a photographer or just a teacher or just a florist or just a mama. 

Sometimes in this world of social media and labels I get lost trying to find a word for myself. I envy people who are so completely something. I envy those who can throw their souls into science or history or fashion or fixing things or athletics and be so wholly content.

I'm a dabbler.

I'm not particularly good or knowledgeable at any one thing.

I dabble.

I wake up some mornings and the only thing worth living for is the words on a page.

Other days I'm not complete until I can unapologetically throw myself into a sport or climbing a mountain.

Some mornings I wake up clutching a pencil, filled with the itch to draw out my soul in charcoal or pastel or some messy mix of mediums.

There have been days where my eyes were hidden by a camera lens---so completely hidden that I had no apprehension or fear that anyone could see me and somehow in those moments I became me.

I wake up with an ache in my heart to hold my babies and shape my world around them and the only word I need is "mama" and the only voice I need is theirs.

And yet on any given day I can cycle through the need to be dozens of different "mes".

I go through stages of fighting it. I think I've been told by the world that the me that loves sports isn't allowed to coexist with the me that writes poetry and that all of these different mes are a contradiction. But I live for these contradictions. When I try to choose just one word I feel incomplete...when I try to be only one of these mes I get lost.

So today, (for the hundredth time over) I'm choosing to embrace every different me that exists.

What do you live for? Are you happy with how you define yourself? Do you feel like you are seen for who you really are?

I hope that you will choose to embrace whatever "you" that makes you feel whole and happy. You deserve it.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A boy named Sue

I am of the opinion that names are special. I think that names shape a lot of what a person will do and become.  Give a kid the wrong name and he can be scorned for the rest of his life---which can either be seriously detrimental or highly effective in building character.

Take the song "A boy named Sue" . Kind of an absurd illustration of the point, but it works.

When naming my children I felt like they needed a name to live up to. I wanted them to be able to look at the meaning of their names and know that they were special, or to look at historic figures with the same name and say "yeah! I wanna be like him/her!". But I didn't want them to be run of the mill either.

During my pregnancy with Gideon, the first indication that he was a boy was the fact that Rob and I absolutely could not agree on boy names. We had a solid girl name we agreed on but it almost came to blows about boy names---and this was from the day we found out I was pregnant.

We prayed about it a lot. Sometimes we would even try to pray for our unborn baby using a name we had chosen, but it didn't ever seem right.

Then one day we were driving to Kristy's house and we were at the Debarr/Boniface intersection when The Beatles "Rocky Raccoon" came on. It has a line about "Gideon's Bible" and at the risk of being ridiculed I turned to Rob and said "I know this sounds weird, but I actually really like the name Gideon." and he agreed! I knew that Gideon was a strong Bible name and that his story was a hero's story so it fit our requirements. You can read the Bible story here.

With Annelise and Olivia it became even more complicated. I had decided long ago that my first girl would be named Evelynn. We would call her Eva. That name was everything I wanted for my first little girl---it was beauty and meaning and love all wrapped up in one word. God named his first daughter Eve. Our first would reflect that. I didn't really give Rob a choice about that one, it was law---she would be my little Eva.

The moment I saw two heartbeats on the screen I knew that would change. How could I choose which little one to give a name so rife with meaning? These girls needed names of equal importance, but equal individuality.

Annelise incorporates two important things about our lives.

1. Ann is Rob's oldest sister's name and Elise is his youngest sister's name
2. Annelies is the full name of Anne Frank. We love the Dutch people and since we met in The Netherlands we found it fitting.  (We changed the spelling to help out with American pronunciation)

Olivia is a name I have loved for a long time. It has hebrew roots meaning "peace offering from God". It is also the name of one of my great-great relatives. Her story is a hero story in its own right but long---maybe I'll share it another day.

Who were you named after? What does your name mean? Has it changed the way you live?

They love each other 

Sunday, October 27, 2013

One Month

Having babies that spent time in the NICU is a bizarre thing.

On the one hand, you know they have been alive and kicking for a full month. On the other, they've only been home for 2 weeks so it seems like they are only 2 weeks old.

But that's beside the point.

The girls are doing incredibly well. They are growing and cooing and crying and pooping and doing all the things that babies are supposed to do.  Annelise has grown a full inch and gained 1lb since birth and Olivia has also grown a full inch and has gained 1lb 5oz! It will be interesting to see how big they are by the time they reach their original due date on 11/12/13.

Speaking of due took me almost 3 weeks to realize this, but the girls were born on Gideon's original due date!! I kept thinking "who's birthday is September 27th? did I have plans on September 27th? what is so special about that date???" I'm not joking. 3 whole weeks of thinking that before it clicked. I'm going to blame it on pregnancy brain. Even though I'm not pregnant anymore. But technically I'm still supposed to be, so it counts.  

I love my little family. 

Friday, October 25, 2013


Annelise and Olivia are already conspiring against me...

I will be minding my own business, reading a book or looking at pretty things on the internet, when all of the sudden one (or both?) of the babies starts moving around and crying. I can definitely hear that at least one is moving and fussing but by the time I get to the pack-n-play and look over the edge to calm said baby down, they are both frozen! No signs of fussiness.

So then I sit by the pack-n-play until I am confident that the fussiness is over but as soon as I resume my activities it will begin again.

How do they know?

P.S. Annelise really loves to snuggle Olivia and occasionally things like this happen:

Yes, Annelise is sucking on Olivia's pinky. The best part? Olivia doesn't mind at all.

P.P.S. The only way I can tell them apart (if they are not right next to each other) is by their right ears. And we put nail polish on each of their big toes so that if we forget which outfit/blanket they are wearing we will still know who is who. I thought I would be able to tell them apart without looking at their right ears or their toes, but my mom got them dressed yesterday and then brought one baby in to me to see if I could tell who she was and I failed. But I knew I had failed as soon as I looked at her right ear. So as long as they both don't go all "Van Gogh" on me I should be fine. 

                    Olivia                                                                                              Annelise

See how Olivia's ear has a little kink in the top? That difference is my saving grace. 

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Ok, so I have an extreme problem with favorites. Please, please, please, don't ask me what my favorite anything is...except color. You have permission to ask me what my favorite color is, but you do not have permission to make fun of me.

My favorite color is grey. But you can't spell it 'gray'. My favorite color is grey...with an 'e'. Somehow it is important that it be spelled that way.

But I digress...

On any given day, at any given time, if you ask me what my favorite anything is you might get a different answer (except color. favorite color=grey). If you ask me in the morning what my favorite type of food is, I might tell you Italian. If you ask me in the evening, I might tell you Thai food. If you ask me about my favorite book I will likely tell you about what I am currently reading, unless I don't want to get into it and then I will tell you The Little Prince. If you ask me what my favorite season is on four different days, you will get four different answers. Get the picture?

The thing is, I am always 100% convinced that I am being 100% truthful. And yet I don't even think about the fact that yesterday my answer was different.

The reason I bring this up is because this morning I was absolutely convinced that the stage that Gideon is currently at is my very most favorite stage of babyhood yet. But this afternoon I found myself saying that the stage that Annelise and Olivia are at is my favorite.

preferred before all others of the same kind.

^^^^By definition that is impossible. Little tiny baby snuggles and sweet baby breath and desperate-one -finger-hand-holding are totally my favorite things about being a mommy BUT lip smacking kisses and big boy cuddles and playing catch and learning words are my favorite things about being mommy and both of those statements are entirely maybe my favorite thing is just being mommy?

I dunno. Just don't make me choose. I'm happy that I have so many different favorites.



^^^That is the desperate-one-finger-hand-hold and if you have ever experienced it, you would know that it is the best thing ever.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


I am now twenty-six years old.


How did this happen? I swear that just yesterday I was picking out my outfit for my first date. Just yesterday I was ditching school to go to Barnes and Noble and sit in their comfy chairs and read books I couldn't afford. Just yesterday I couldn't imagine anything more important than whether or not I was a starter in the next basketball game.

That was just yesterday, right?


Yesterday I woke up with three kids in my bed. Yesterday I picked out an outfit for my first post-pregnancy date with my husband. Yesterday we bypassed Barnes and Noble on the way home from our date because I didn't have time to look at books I can't afford. Yesterday I couldn't imagine anything more important than whether or not my children had eaten well before bed.

You know what the funny thing is?

The new baby smell now trumps the smell of books.

Every time I go on a date with my husband it feels just as exciting as that first date I ever went on.

I now do most of my reading while my babes are sleeping (which is when experts tell you to sleep--ain't nobody got time for that!)

Ten years ago I would have never imagined the life I have now, or the things I find important. But I can honestly say that I love it.

My boys are precious.

Check out those cute outfits!! I am going to have so much fun dressing these girls.

Morning cuddles.

Sometimes the only way they will calm down is if they are cuddling each other <3

My little boy is getting soooo big!

Gideon likes to help calm down the girls...he pats their backs and rubs their hair and he'll even help put their pacifiers in!

Grandpa had fun babysitting for our date night.

And now a joke, compliments of my good friend Nikki:

Q: Why is the ocean so grumpy?
A: You'd be grumpy too if you had crabs on your bottom!

Monday, October 7, 2013

One Week

**I started writing this on Friday, which marked one week for the girls. Obviously it's the longest post ever, but there are pics at the end!

One week ago today our precious little girls were brought into this world. Just thinking about it brings on a torrent of thoughts and emotions and memories that will be hard to put to paper, so please bear with me.

Remember my post last Tuesday about how happy I was? Well, the next day was one of the most stress ridden days of my existence. It started out the same way Tuesday had; I was on a high from recognizing all of the amazing blessings Heavenly Father had given me. By midday I was still feeling pretty great about everything, but by 4:30 when Rob called I was in shambles and I didn't know why. I couldn't establish full sentences. I was just sobbing on the phone even though nothing had changed since the day before. Of course, Rob, being the amazing husband he is, dropped everything and came to the hospital. And my mom, being the amazing mother she is, took care of Gideon so that Rob could come to my rescue.

I thought I was going insane. How could I feel this way if just the day before I was on cloud nine? The girls were doing well, we were surpassing all odds and I should have still been elated. Was there something wrong with the girls? No. Was there something wrong with me? Not medically speaking. Had anything spurred me to feel this way? I certainly wasn't getting emotional about the episode of Storage Wars I had been watching. 

When Rob arrived I just kind of looked at him through my tears and laughed. I felt ridiculous. I've always had trouble showing my weakness to people; especially the ones I love. And this didn't even seem like weakness---it just seemed like the onset of insanity. So he climbed into my tiny bed with me. And he held me. And he laughed with me (and maybe a little bit at me). And he comforted me until the nurse came in.

That is when my anxiety started to make sense. She showed us the heart rate strip and Baby B (Olivia) had had three significant decels and wasn't looking very good. Doctors were called. An IV was placed in the case that we were going to deliver. I was told not to eat and I was giving a "rescue dose" of steroids for the girls. Everything seemed to happen so fast, and yet not fast enough for my liking. I turned up the volume on the heart monitor and couldn't help but keep my eyes glued to the strip. After 9.5 weeks in the hospital I had become pretty adept at reading the outcomes and I also felt like I knew the rhythm of my girls hearts. My doc wanted to just sit and wait it out to see how the girls would react to everything and that was the hardest part. Eventually everything quieted down and the emergency feeling of it all faded, but I was still on edge. Rob stayed the night to provide some comfort for me and we tried to watch television to take our minds off of it. Needless to say, I did not sleep much. Through the night the girls had some decels, but by and large they were insignificant.

The next morning Rob went to work before we were able to meet with the doctor, so my mom made sure she was at the hospital to help me and support me while I spoke about options with the doc.

Dr. Posner came in as chipper as always, and assured us that he believed that the girls could make it until 35 weeks (which was still a week and a half away). He did, however, let me know that if I felt like I was done that we could deliver. I was incredibly torn. Did I take the advice of my specialist or did I risk the chance of jumping the gun and having the complications of prematurity? We had already made it past our original goal of 32 weeks, so that was comforting, but I didn't want to wait around for another emergency situation. I told my doctor that I was going to consult with my husband and that I would pray about it and let him know. It was then that he decided to tell me that he was going out of town for 3 days. Seriously?? How could he leave right when things felt like they were getting intense??

I spent the next couple of hours conversing with the Lord and analyzing my feelings. I wanted to make sure that I was not going to make a decision based on my weakness. I didn't want unwarranted stress or anxiety to make my decision for me. I called Rob at work and we prayed together over the phone. I honestly felt that my breakdown the night before was Heavenly Father's way of directing Rob to be at the hospital with me when things got scary, and I knew that Heavenly Father would direct us to make the decision that would be best for our precious girls---His precious daughters.

As I saw it we had three options:

1. We could schedule the csection for Friday morning before my doctor left town
2. We could schedule the csection for Tuesday morning when my doctor came back to town
3. We could wait it out until October 8th, our original scheduled csection date

If I've learned anything about my personal relationship with God it is this---He is more inclined to answer my prayers if I come to Him with a solution and seek approval rather than just asking His opinion.

When Rob arrived at the hospital after work we prayed about it one more time, then we talked over our options again and decided to go with option 1. When we prayed yet again to seek approval I was filled with a sense of peace. Heavenly Father had entrusted us with His precious girls, and He was going to help and protect them.

We then called our Doctor and let him know that we would be seeing him the next day.

The morning was a whirlwind of preparations. I felt so calm and yet excited at the same time. I knew we had made the right decision and I just couldn't wait to meet my girls! My mom and dad were able to come down to the hospital beforehand and we took a couple minutes as a family to pray and have a spiritual moment before they took me away to administer the anesthetic. I hated that Rob wasn't allowed in the room for the spinal, but he joined me soon enough.

In the operating room everything was very relaxed. Dr. Posner was great at explaining every step of the procedure and Rob was absolutely enthralled by the process. We chitchatted and made jokes as the doctor made the incision, and suddenly he said it was time. He told me I would feel a "little bit" of pressure (which really felt like both he and Dr. Pan were sitting on my stomach).

Before I knew it he was holding Annelise over the sheet so that I could see her. She whimpered but didn't cry out like I had expected. Apparently she had a bit of fluid in her lungs and needed some help working it out. Olivia, on the other hand, came out with a wail. My parents were waiting in the hallway and they said they could hear her above everything else.

Then came the cords. They were twisted together so tightly that it was impossible to distinguish one from the other. At the top, nearest to where the cords were connected to the girls, was a giant knot. It was crazy to hear my doctor, a well known specialist, utter an exclamation of surprise as he held the cords up. He was shocked at their condition and amazed that the girls had done so well. After he finished sewing me up he had one of the techs grab his phone and he took pictures with the cords like a proud schoolboy.

I am so grateful that my little ones made it here safely and I can't wait until they get to meet Gideon and join us at home!

 The Miracle Cords!

My first time meeting Olivia

Holding Olivia's hand

Meeting my sweet Annelise

 My girls holding hands (they did that all by themselves!)

Grandpa holding Annelise and Grandma holding Olivia

Lola and Olivia (sorry about the lighting--they were a little jaundiced)

Papa Tony and Olivia