The 6 Week Weight Loss Challenge is Over… And has been for awhile.

It’s been so long since I have updated this website! I’m not doing so hot on this New Year’s Resolution huh? This summer has just been crazy busy. Every weekend we’ve had events. As much as I love summer… this one has just been non-stop and I’m ready for fall. Football, sweatshirts, tailgating, bonfires… it’s going to be amazing! Best of all, I get my weekends {and weekdays for that matter} back!!!

But anyway, back to what this post is about! As you have read previously, I have started this weight loss journey for real. And things have changed, for the better! I just haven’t posted about it… but that’s all about to change, I promise. I’m going to start at least letting you know where I’m at weight wise.. even if it’s just a number in the post.

If you are friends with me on my personal Facebook page, you probably already know the news regarding my 6 week challenge at Elite Edge Gym, however, if you are not… well here it is: I lost the 20 pounds!!! Not an ounce over or under… exactly 20 pounds.

I am so relieved, as if a huge boulder was taken off my shoulders. During the last week of the challenge, I only had 3 more pounds to go… which typically would have fallen off easily judging from the previous weeks, but for some reason, those pounds were sticking hard the remaining 6 days. And I really think it was stress related.

But in the end, I did it!! That is $300 I got back into my bank account. Seriously… it’s such an amazing feeling, knowing I accomplished my first real, hefty goal. In reward for my 20 pound weight loss, my husband told me I could purchase a pair of cowboy boots to replace the last pair I had to give a burial to on that dreadful, September day… So that following Saturday, that’s exactly what I did, I got a new pair of boots. And I couldn’t be happier with my first weight loss reward.

I’m still debating what my next reward is at the following 20 lbs lost, which I’m aiming to complete by end of August, beginning of September. My reward was going to be a new swimsuit… but at that point, summer will be over. And by next summer, I better be at my end goal & wasting money on a new swimsuit now {at the end up swimsuit season} seems ridiculous to me… so I am still deciding. If you got any ideas, please let me know! :)

Anyway!

I now also get to update my chart and pictures. I forgot to write down all the measurements for the 220#, so one column will be missing those… and I forgot to take pictures at the 210#, but you’ll get the idea. :) I promise I’ll start to remember!

Start 220# 210# 200# 190# 180# 170# 160# 150# 140#
L Bicep  14″  13.5
R Bicep  15″  14.5″
Boobs  47″  43″
Under Boobs  42″  39.5″
Belly Button  51″  47″
Hips  50″  47.5″
L Thigh  27.5″  24.5″
R Thigh  27.5″  25″

 

220 pounds

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Right now, as I type this post, I am soooooo close to 30 lbs.. so I’m about to update all these pictures and chart here in the next few days!!!  {Hopefully}

So now you’re probably wondering what I’m doing now? Or maybe no, but I’m gonna tell ya anyway. I got myself a trainer, named Michael Turner, for the next long haul. I met him at Complete Nutrition in Ankeny {while I was still with Elite} when I was getting more protein powder. He’s the manager there and helped me a lot and we just hit it off right away. Then he mentioned he was a nutritionist and trainer… so I kept his card just in case. And I am so glad I did!

He’s pretty similar to Elite in regards to the food plan {my macros are higher for what my body actually requires}, but it’s much more personal than the large group at Elite.

He actually pays attention; telling me how much to lift, counting for me to ensure I don’t miss one rep. And I actually come home shaking. And I love it.  We have so much fun even if I am cussing him out the entire time… which he loves! I absolutely LOVE lifting and my favorite part is when I hit muscle failure and I literally can. not. do. another. rep.

Clothes that haven’t fit in years are starting to look nice, or dare I say baggy? And people have and do notice a big change, which in my honest opinion, is the best part about this whole journey… I can see the tiniest of change, good or bad, but when it’s drastic enough that other people notice?

It’s awesome sauce.

So I’ll leave you with this for now. But look for another update next week… Good or bad, because I’m surprising Jason with an adult get away trip for our anniversary, and we leave Thursday… But I plan on at least running 2 of the 3 mornings {while everything is quiet} during our vaca. All this will make sense next week when I tell you all the dets! Promise.

And I’m hoping to have another photo dump post soon also! It’s been so long since I’ve posted my offspring!

Hopefully everyone has an amazing week and I can’t wait until next time!!

 

 

Happy New Year!

So how was everyone’s Christmas? Our family had an amazing time. We had multiple Christmas’s and our children are SPOILED! So am I for that matter. It’s so fun watching all the kids open their gifts. That’s my favorite part of Christmas is the giving and the children. And of course seeing family we don’t get to see quite as often.

I got a lot of things for Christmas that I asked for. Including some cool gear for snappin’ some photos, a work out bench, a new Kindle, & some tennis shoes!

One of the things I have been asking for {for the last few years actually} is a scroll saw.  I asked for the Ryobi Scroll Saw which would work fine for the random projects I have floating in my head!

But instead, my parents hooked me up with an industrial, beast of scroll saw! Complete with a giant motor and huge stand! This thing is awesome sauce! It’s still at my parents so I don’t have a picture of it yet, but once it’s in my grubby little hands, I’ll be sure to show you!

Apparently it was sitting at someone’s house {whom they knew?} and had not been used, just taking up a lot of space. So they gave my parents a super awesome deal, & well, the rest is history!

I could seriously build a house with this thing! Now that I can do so much more than a few tiny projects, my mind is really, really spinning with some cool thoughts… just need to get them down on paper some where…

Which reminds me, I have started probably 10 notebooks for project thoughts… but I always misplace them and start a new… some day I’m going to find that stash…

But anyways. Back to the point of this post.

 

HAPPYNEWYEAR

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I hope the Christmas hustle & bustle has settled down a bit and I hope you have managed to make room for all your new goodies {we are yet to be completed with that part}.

Have you thought of new resolutions? Are you even a new resolution-er? Are they work related or personal goals? Maybe you want to aspire to do something that you have never done before? Become a healthier you and push yourself to limits you never thought possible? These are where my goals are headed.

I’m not typically a new year’s resolution gal. Usually mine are your typical ‘lose weight‘ resolution. But, this year, I have a few with actual details. Not many, but enough to keep me working through out the 2015 calendar year.

With this past year, we had a lot of really high ups and some pretty steep downs in all different areas so I have to say, I’m excited to start fresh. Maybe just a normal year… with not too much excitement? Na. That’s not how we do things ’round here.

A) We’ll start boring. Yes to lose weight. I want to lose 80 lbs in a full year. Difficult, but not impossible. I asked for a weight bench {for Christmas} so I could start doing different exercises with that, including free weights. I love lifting. It’s the cardio that I’m not such a fan for. With the holidays and the busy season, I got hit hard and exercising just took to the back burner. At first I tried to fight it and worked hard at trying to work it in. But it never worked and it made me feel even more guilty and more of a failure than I would have if I would have just said, ya know, you’re not meeting your goals anymore anyway, let’s just put this on pause. Come the new year, you’ll see a new me. I bought Chris Powell’s book Choose To Lose and I’m about 37% done. {Kindle’s, turn out, don’t give page numbers, just percentages… which I’m not a fan of, but I can deal}. It’s such a good explanation of everything and he dumbs everything down for me. So much of it makes sense now. He is such a huge inspiration and I love his show. In fact, my whole week was just off if they post-poned his show for any reason. I can’t wait to get going again. So look for that series after the first of the year.

B) I want to teach my children to be more giving & to inspire them to show the path to their peers. Teach them that receiving is not everything & that giving has so much more fulfillment. Giving is what brings out the best in people. I feel this is important for our children to learn. The world is full of so much hate and I, as a parent, need to teach them how much good they are capable of, regardless of the situations. To look for the good in the bad. To want to make someone smile just because. To help restore everyone’s faith in humanity. So a big goal of mine is teach my children to give.

C) Blog at least twice a week. Monday and Thursday. I feel that for right now, is a good number. If I can fit more in, then great. But I won’t feel like such a failure if I can’t. To have a schedule is exactly what I need to get my life organized. And that’s part of this… I need a blogging calendar to help me organize my thoughts and posts. So I’ll be looking for one {on Pinterest} that fits my needs. I’m hoping if I can keep up my blogging schedule, I’ll be able to move my blog to the next level by end of year. But we’ll just have to see :)

D) Become a better photographer and start taking myself seriously. I would really like to further my skills but my doubts in myself are holding me back. I want to be able to contribute more financially to my family and I really want to do that with photography.

E) And last, but not least. To become a better person myself, in addition to becoming a healthier me. It may come as a shock to you, but I have my faults as well. {Please… please, settle down… I know, but stop with the surprised faces.} I have so many angles that I would love to work on. Including being quick to judge, being more thoughtful, and being a better wife and mother. Which are the two main areas of focus for me.

So there you have it, my 2015 goals. They will be work… but all for the better. For the much better.

I hope you all keep safe tonight and have DD’s!!!

Have fun smoochin your one and only at midnight! Whether that be your significant other or your best friend!! :)

 

learn from yesterday

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

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I hope with all the hustle and bustle you take a moment to remember what Christmas is all about.

I am so excited to spend our first Christmas as a family of 6, this year adding two very healthy baby girls. Making new memories and seeing the older two enjoying themselves. I love getting to see everyone and relaxing while watching all the youngster’s have fun.

I didn’t get to send out a Christmas card this year, it just wasn’t in the budget. So this will have to do ya’ll!

Here were our out-takes, it only took 5 tries.

Take 1:

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Take 2:

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Take 3:

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Take 4:

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 {Can you believe, this was our FIRST family picture since the twinnies were born? 9 months later. Sad. But true.}

Merry Christmas to All!! And to All a Good Night!!! Ho Ho Ho!

Children are like Sharks in Blood Infested Water

The title of this post may sound confusing, but if you are a parent of any kind… I know you know what I’m talking about.

Let me tell you a story. I have a weakness for Reese’s. I’m not much of a candy or dessert person, but oooooh those Reese’s… they get me every time. A week or so ago, during daycare, I found one in my kiddos’s Halloween Candy bucket {don’t judge me. You know you do it too.}, so I snuck it into the front pocket of my sweatshirt to save for a later time. I can’t eat it in front of them because then I would have to explain how I am the only one to get one, they don’t get candy right now, blah, blah, blah. None of which would make much sense to a 2 to 4 year old.

So while they were watching something on tv, I snuck into the laundry room to open my peanut butter milk chocolatey snack… waiting to be devoured by me. And suddenly I hear 8 little feet running towards the laundry room.

“MOM! What are you doing?!”

“Marissa!! Where are you?!”

“ISSA! Ah you?!”

So before I could even tear the wrapper, I was shoving it back into my sweatshirt.

5 minutes later… They had just headed down the stairs to the playroom. Perfect time. Brought out my Reese’s and was in the process of ripping the plastic and the basement door swings open.

“MOM!!! I bumped my head!!”

Followed by another tiny person. “I fell on my bottom!”

Okay, okay… shoved the dumb thing back in. But took a mental note it had to be eaten soon, because the wrapper was now ripped open.

A few moments later, they were back downstairs. Okay good. They should be fine for a few minutes.

I hurried up and took it out and started working at where the rip was. I could see the chocolate and my mouth was watering. I could already taste it as I chewed the edge first… then I eat the….

“MOM!! I am soooo thirsty!”

“Me too. I’m thirsty too.”

“Me too! Me too!”

What? I didn’t even hear the basement door open! I must have seriously been daydreaming about this damn Reese’s.

They decided they wanted to watch tv again. Fine… no biggie. But I’m going to the bathroom this time. Wahahaha.

I don’t even need to go. I just put the lid down and sit down. By this point, the chocolate has melted just enough it’s starting to get on my finger tips.  I finally got the Reese’s out of the wrapper. I’m looking for the brown wrapper that cups the Reese’s when the bathroom door flys open, hitting me square on the knee bone.

While I’m holding my breath, hunched over because clearly squeezing your knee and breathing in and out helps the pain go away… I use my other hand to put that damn treat back into my sweatshirt. AGAIN!

“Mom, what are you doing in here? Why are your pants on? Why are you just sitting on the toilet?”

Eh. The curiosity of a 4 year old. So.. I make my way back to the living room. I’ll just get to this damn thing later. At this point, I’m just contemplating eating it in front of them. And making them watch me eat the gloriousness they call Reese’s. But I’m not. I’m nice…. and  decide to wait it out.

I sit down on the couch and my daughter jumps into my lap. Landing directly onto the reese’s in my sweatshirt pocket. Then proceeds to wiggle all over… And I just close my eyes. I just picture my amazing treat smushed into a tiny billion pieces in my sweatshirt… what it really looks like at it’s present state.

That’s it. I head to the bathroom and LOCK IT! Take that all you tiny people! Try to get to me now!!!

I pull out my poor, poor, pitiful snack. And it is smushed. And let me tell you something. Since I can remember, I eat my Reese’s a certain way. Every time. I nibble off the zig zag edge. If there is only one Reese’s, I usually eat it from there. But if there are two, then I use my teeth to peel off the chocolate top. It usually comes off in a little sheet. Repeat the process for the second one. Then I put the two peanut butter sides together… so it’s like a milk chocolate and peanut butter sandwich. Like a double cheeseburger.

Well… when it’s smushed flat, there’s no removing that zig zag edge…. or peeling off the top chocolate layer. Or no double cheeseburger.

I just, instead, placed the peanut butter pancake in my mouth.. and ate it as a whole. It was a strange… strange feeling.

Now do you know what I mean? Literally, they are like sharks that got that sense of blood somewhere in the water. And then go crazy. And that blood, my tipsy friends, was my Reese’s.

They also turn into sharks when I’m trying to read a book and have a half hour to myself. When I”m trying to take a nice warm bath.

And another blood moment? When I’m trying to eat. I will get my food gathered, get my drink ready, my silverware all set up. And as soon as I pick up my fork to stab a piece of food… one of the twins cry. And I hate eating while listening to them whine or cry. I like to eat in peace and enjoy my food. This is why I normally don’t get breakfast and lunch while running a daycare. I mean. I don’t want to eat anyway… right?

Every time Jason and I have a few minutes to smooch, Moose instantly pushes his 150 lb body in-between us while someone pulls at our shirts because they need something. It’s seriously a group effort around here.

When you’re going to the bathroom and you hear a loud crash. You know the kind. The kind that just does not sound good… no matter how hard you try to imagine it was just a stuffed animal?

I can almost guarantee when I think I have a few minutes to myself, I either hear “MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!! I NEED YOU TO WIPE MY BUTT!” or they come running like bats outta hell.

But that’s just one of the many joys of children. Can you wait for the stories when my twins are walking…? OH, Lord help me and may the alcohol be plentiful.

My Family Whirlwind of a Weekend and Week!

Hello my Tipsy Sippy Friends!!

Jason and I have needed a day/night out for a long time, and it’s just difficult asking anyone because watching one baby and a 4 year old is hard enough, but my situation has two babies and a 4 year old. It’s hard for some days for us, let alone anyone not used to it.

But my in-laws are pretty awesome. My mother in law, Marge, now has 8 grandkids {7 girls, 1 lonesome boy} and is a nurse, and just has that gift with her grandkids. So while Jason and I, and his sister and hubby planned a tailgating weekend in Iowa City back in August… we decided to see if Marge would be ready to watch the Haley herd…. and our 150 lb dog Diesel. Right? I know… it’s a lot.

She actually seemed excited! So, the plans were official and went on the calendar.

And this past weekend was the weekend. And Jason and I were sooooo incredibly excited. It’d been months since we had a night without kids. And it was really starting to wear on us.

It started with Friday and my parents came and got the two big kids right at 3 pm, when Broden got home from school. And they went to the Pumpkin Patch. I was trying to pack all day, but it’s hard to pack when there are kids running around everywhere. During nap time, all those said daycare kids sleep in all the rooms I needed in. So I didn’t get much done during all those sleeping hours. I was hoping Jason and I, plus the twins could meet them there before the farm closed, but there was just too much to do. And it was borderline too cold for the twins anyway so maybe it was a good thing I wasn’t done packing. Luckily, they sent me a few pictures!

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I know there were more, but for some reason, they didn’t save onto my phone.

Then after they returned from the pumpkin patch and supper at the Pizza Ranch, mom and dad took Mr. Moose, our other 150 lb dog, & we headed to the in-laws so we could stay the night and leave early in the morning without having to wake up kids.

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We never thought we’d see the day we didn’t have enough storage in our Yukon XL. Seriously. There wasn’t enough room. Poor ol’ Diesel was crammed back there with crap. Traveling with 2 babies and 2 big kids and a giant dog the size of a small pony doesn’t leave much comfort traveling room.

Bedtime was early for all of us, and Jason and I were up at 5 to get ready. It’s reeeeeally ironic how easy it is to get up at 5 am for a weekend without kids vs. working out huh?

We were on the road on time! You put that on your calendar. We showered and got ready and were out the door on time.

The day was so much fun! It was so nice to just be care-free again. Not worry about time. Go where the wind took us! haha! It was supposed to be a crappy weather day, but it turned into a gorgeous day for tailgating, football, bars, and alcohol. Fun had by all.

Very interesting to people watch… very interesting.

Charity and I perfected our skills in flagging taxi’s down. And Jason and Kaleb perfected their skills in carrying broken coolers full of ice, a 30 pack, and 3 liquor bottles. IMG_4707

One wheel fell off & both straps for the backpack broke. All within hours of using it for the first time.

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That last bar was odd- the lights were red… I feel like all was missing was devil horn headbands and it’d would have made the pictures complete. But, it was fun playing pool and picking songs from the jukebox. That’s my favorite thing to do at a bar! I could drop an entire paycheck on the jukebox… not the alcohol!

We ate at The Vine downtown in Iowa City for lunch, and Old Chicago that night for supper, both were amazing! Very good food!

And stayed in quite the hotel. It was actually pretty decent and came with two beds. There was just an odd knocking noise that only went off at night after you turned the lights off. To get it to stop, you had to re-turn the lights on, and turn them off again. And it stopped every time… except for Kaleb. Poor Kaleb was just not meant to sleep that night.

It was so much fun. So. Much. Fun. I had to get up in the middle of the night and drink a gallon of water. Literally. It may have even been more than a gallon. But I felt great the next morning! It does help we were in bed by 10 pm.

My mom sent me this picture of Moose chill-axin’ in the living room, waiting for his walk with Grandpa.

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Then Jason had his appendix removed Tuesday.

Yup, you read that right. It was a crazy ass day.

All I remember Monday night was Jason waking me up about 2 AM asking if we had any tums or something for stomach pain. And I knew we didn’t. So I slightly opened my eyes.. moaned what I think was a ‘no’, and fell back to sleep before I could listen to his response. Then I woke up that morning and Jason was pacing the bedroom.

He notices I finally wake up and says “Marissa, I couldn’t sleep all night. This pain started at about 11-ish last night and only got worse from then on out. It hurts so incredibly bad. I literally paced the entire house all night because it’s the only that made it somewhat bearable.”

My thoughts were okay.. so he has to shit pretty bad. And so I told him. Go shit. You’ll feel much better I’m sure. Typical men problems right? Always something with their asses and/or stomachs.

He continued to tell me no, no, no, no, that’s not it. He knew that wasn’t it. Uh huh. Still not entirely convinced. And neither one of us are good with sympathy, or babying’ the other when one feels under the weather.

Then suddenly, he screamed “I’m gonna get sick!” And RUNS to the bathroom. One minute he was standing in front me, hunched over, and the next second he was gone. Just like that. And I hear him violently puking in the bathroom. For a good 5-10 minutes.

Hmmm…. okay, this is worse than a stomach ache or gas build up. But probably the stomach flu. But I had this uneasy feeling in my stomach about the whole thing. I started texting my bestie Kelley, who said it was either A) food poisoning or B) appendicitis. Well I knew A was out, we all ate the same thing the night before and no one else felt like that. B? Well, that seemed a little far fetched.

He came out and looked like hell.  {Well, who doesn’t after puking. But this was real bad} I decided to close that day, because if the stomach flu was that bad with him, I didn’t want any daycare kids taking a chance on getting it. But I still had that itch that something more serious was wrong.

When he came down and told me he was going to the Urgent Care a half hour before they opened so he could be first in line… I knew it was bad. Jason and I both, refuse to go to the doctor unless we are on our death bed. I remember hearing my dad say “I know it’s not good when Marissa calls me at work, begging me to come home and take her to the doctor.” Jason is the same way. But to show up before they even open? Yaaa. I had a bad feeling in the gut of my stomach.

But as he was walking out the door, he turned around, ran to the bathroom and started violently puking again. For another 5-10 minutes. I told him to hold tight, because I’m going to go get the girls up and pack them in the bus to take you to urgent care. I know he shouldn’t drive. But my hard-headed husband denied it all and before I knew it, he was out the door and gone.

The next thing I knew, he called me just shortly after the urgent care opened, and said “Hey, I’m on my way to ER, it is my appendix and they told me to get there asap. But I have to go, I need to concentrate on the road.” Click

Gee, thanks husband. That doesn’t put me in a panic attack or anything.

So I called my mom, made arrangements for her to watch the girls and headed to the hospital.

He was down in the CT Scan when I arrived. And when I told the nurses station who I was and whom I was there for, they made a point to tell me… “Your husband is in pain, he circled this tiny room over and over when he was in here.” Finally, they brought him back, gave him some more pain meds and were finally prepping him for surgery. And he was in so much pain. And nothing I could do would help. I hate that feeling. I hate having that feeling with my kids, my husband, or anyone at that matter. So I helplessly watched from the chair next to him. But it all hit kinda close to home. Driving to the hospital, the same one the twins spent the first month of their lives in. The hospital gowns, the iv’s, the nurses rushing in and out. And the bed… the transportation bed. You know the kind, the one that whisks you away into surgery with some sort of make-shift ladder that keeps you from rolling off the bed? It kinda all hit home for me. But instead of me and the twins being the patients, it was now my husband’s turn. Geez, Kensli and Broden are all we have left who haven’t been in Methodist hospital for whatever reason… hopefully we can keep them out of Methodist in the year 2014 and maybe even 2015….

But regardless of how much pain he was in, he still had a great attitude. I asked one of the nurses how would we know if the appendix burst? And she said, well the pain stops. It’s not an organ that’s used, so once it’s burst, it’s done causing pain. Well that makes sense when explained that way. But then my husband chimes in “Well, what are we waiting for, lets burst this fucker!” I immediately die laughing. The nurse, however, could not think of a single come back or response for that. She would open her mouth to start to talk, and then close it. Probably 5 or 6 times. Finally, she just started laughing and shaking her head.

Yup. I choose that man. I can always count on him trying to bring some sort of smart-ass-ness into a serious conversation.

I took a few pics… of course, one before, and one after.

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See, always keeping the mood light :)

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As you can see, surgery was successful, and we were sent home same day! Which made it so nice.  I really dreaded having to leave a family member in the hospital again. The doctor did say, of all surgeries, this is one of the best ones to have to do. I can agree with that.

During my stay in the waiting room. I got this cute little picture. My dad has a gift of putting the twins to sleep. Every. Time. Not that they are difficult. But they have had their difficult moments, and when dad is there, I just hand them off. “Here dad, do your magic.”  Shall we call him the baby whisperer??????? I bet my mom would have loved these skills when we were tiny babes! :)

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Is my dad not the cutest?

Jason’s still re-coopin’ but doing much better. We’re exactly the same in regards to healing though: We don’t have the patience. We don’t have patience for laying around for days at a time. I hurried my c-section and regretted it… I really thought I could be super mom just days after surgery… turns out… I am not invincible. But, Jason has been up and walking around the evening of surgery. Stopped taking his pain meds after a day and refuses to let me ‘help’ him. Eh. We are both so stubborn.

But. He is doing great now. He went back to work yesterday (Monday) and is helping his daddy-o today and tomorrow. Still sore if he stays in the same position for a long time. But doing fantastic otherwise.

Seriously… I had no idea such a surgery that seems so invasive (appendix is the same area as my c-section from how I understand it) can only have 3 teeny tiny little incisions.

I don’t know if you know this… but my family is tough as nails. No matter what is thrown our way… we fight back. My twins have fought the near impossible and my husband with an emergency surgery due to his appendix. That’s three of the 6 of us in one 6 month period.

Although we are tough… we cannot financially afford all of this.. so if this could be the end of our hospital stays… that’s be fantastic! So mother nature, God, Budha, or to whomever you look up to, let them know, they will not defeat our family.. but if they could please stop testing us… that’d be great.

Thanks.

The Haley Herd.

My Kensli Mae is 4 Years Old!

How on earth did this child pop outta my huhu 4 years ago?????  Look at the difference 4 years makes

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It seems like just yesterday Jason was learning to change a little girls diaper for the first time…

All while I smiled from the hospital bed :)

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I’m not going to boggle you down with a ton of writing. This is more of a birthday post in pictures. She is so damn smart, too smart for her own good actually! She can be so sweet, caring, and giving. But she can also be extremely stubborn, too motherly, feisty, and of course sassy!

She is absolutely beautiful and Jason and I are going to have so much trouble with boys in the future. I can see it already… {I looks up to my dream cloud and there I am cleaning my cross bow when her first boyfriend shows up….}

She loves dress up, dolls, make up, and hair just as much as she loves being outside, playing in the rain, stomping in mud, and {trying to} play sports.

The shit that comes out of her mouth is hilarious! She is incredibly smart, great negotiator, and very witty. I feel like she’s mature beyond her years. She doesn’t seem like she is just turning four. She acts like she’s 6 at the very least. Everywhere we go, I hear “Oh, How beautiful! How old is she? 6? 7?” Nope. Almost four.

I love her so much, she is literally my world.

Happy Birthday to my very beautiful Kensli Mae!

He really enjoyed holding her and watching his movie! ha

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I know they aren’t perfect, but it’s my first time with a real photo shoot and than editing.

Happy Birthday to my beautiful 4 year old!

Photo Dump!

I feel like I am finally a free woman!

Our weekends {for the most part} are free again. My little bro got married on the 20th plus family was in town for that. This past weekend was Kensli’s 4th birthday party {bday post tomorrow!} and the Color-A-Thon fundraiser walk was yesterday.

I didn’t get many pictures of the wedding. Since I was a bridesmaid, my husband was the best man, and I also had to make sure the flower girl was dressed and ready to go {not to mention the twins…} my phone was tucked away for most of the happenings on the day before & wedding day. But here is what I did get!

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Mercedes, at Signatures in Altoona, was amazing! I will definitely go back to her! Well, she did Kensli’s nails and my up-do. I loved her!

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She was pulling the ‘Marilyn Monroe’ pose! Kinda….

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Then some photos from the day or so after… just too cute for words!

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A few from her birthday party! I was busy running around chit chatting, I didn’t get much of a chance to take pictures :(

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And last, but not least, the Color-A-Thon Fundraiser Walk for Jason’s Aunt’s school

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Now I’m ready to be free… Have weekends off here and there and can do fun things for my little family {or gigantic, depending on how you look at it} instead of everyone else.

Kensli’s Birthday Post is posting early tomorrow morning! Can’t wait for you all to see it, she’s changed so much.

Love and Toodle-o’s!

Twinnies are 4 Months!

I have some chunkers on my hands! And I love each and every roll! And they are 4 months old now!!

They were 4 months on July 14th, and don’t ask me how many weeks that is. Because I don’t know. Sue me.

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Seriously, do they look like they were preemies? Absolutely not! Everywhere I go, I’m told how big they are, and they’ve never seen twins that big, and look at those giant rolls! Oh I know! They weren’t always this big. But we are sure fortunate.

{And this is an extremely late post. I have been working on this post since the week of July 13th and I’m just now getting it done. That’s how busy we have been over here at the Haley household! So you’ll be getting another one of these in a few weeks…Sorry!}

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See, they do cry! 

They seriously melt my heart every single day. I just can’t believe how blessed we are. It still amazes me we have TWINS! Sometimes when I look at them or think about the day I found out at that first ultrasound, my heart drops just as it did that day.

It’s just a crazy ride.

{Side note}

But ya know what I am tired of hearing?

“Ooooh! TWO babies??? Are they twins?” No dumbass, I found this baby in the parking lot and decided to keep it.

“Oh, my aunt’s brother’s wife had twins, a boy and girl!” I. Don’t. Care.

“Are they identical or fraternal? Ooooh, all the twins I know are fraternal.”  Yes, they are freaks of nature. Take a picture.

“Wow, they are identical huh? So are they two girls, two boys, boy and girl?” Well… being identical… they have to have the same private bits!

“I have a set of twins myself, they’re 15 now, I promise you’ll get thru this.”

That last one… that last one is really starting to infuriate me. Are you trying to tell me I look stressed? Or look like shit? Ooooor what? I find this journey actually pretty easy. My babes are perfect. They don’t cry {unless they are hungry, then they go from happy-go-lucky to HAngry}, they sleep about 8 pm to 8 am now, give or take an hour. They don’t need paci’s. They love to just chill with ya.

So ma’am, who feels the need to tell me your life story because we have this one small connection: I know I will make it through this. Because we’re doing just fine now and have completely enjoyed them since birth. I personally, think this is as easy as having just one baby. There isn’t much difference, except it is double the time in baths and feedings. I’m sorry you apparently lived through hell, but I am not. But thank you for your concern and assuming I have the same path as you.

Anyway… back to my sweet, sweet babes!

We had two appointments for the girls the week of July 14th. Their normal 4 month check-up and Zuri’s cardiology appointment.

Both appointments left me smiling.

The first appointment was much more relaxed. My cousin Avery came with me and was a huge help in holding a child here and there or the diaper bag. She’s kinda awesome, and I can’t wait to have her as a babysitter!!

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Well, we found out Zuri is now 15 lbs 4 oz and 25 inches long. She jumped from 25th percentile to 95th!!! Take that preemie status!

Varah is 13 lbs 15 oz and 24 inches long. And she also jumped from 17-20th percentile to 75th!!

Ya… you wouldn’t know they were preemies would you? And now that Varah is getting chunkier, they are starting to look much more identical. I used to be able to tell who is who the second I look at them. But there’s been a few times now that I had to do a double take {Shhh, I don’t admit that often}.

I took these at that appointment because I couldn’t believe how much they look alike! Finally! Can you tell who is who?

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Zuri is on the left, Varah is on the right…. were you correct?

Then later that day I snapped this shot of Varah, she had a bubble mustache!

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On Thursday, Zuri had her follow-up appointment to the cardiologist because she has a hole in her heart {murmur} that she received from the TTTS when they were still in the womb. Since she was the one taking all the nutrients and fluid from Varah, her heart had to work over time, a lot of over time. Which is what caused the hole.

But in that crazy first appointment, we found that the hole is pretty small and too small to do anything about even if it never closes. Well today, we learned the hole has closed!!! No more murmur! And he told us he doesn’t want to see us again! Fine by me, good riddance… cocky doc.

They are shooting above and beyond what any doctor has told us and I couldn’t be more thrilled!

Zuri~
You are something else. You have started talking and really working that mouth of yours. The smiles are constant and your eyes almost disappear sometimes. You can now do tummy time like a champ and hold your head high. You’ve become so strong when sitting up and you’re starting to love it! You just watch all the crazy kids around you with wide eyes, taking it all in. Your checks are doubling by the day. Massive and kissable! You may only weight a 1 1/2 lbs more than your sissy, but you feel like you weigh 10 lbs more when picking you up after Varah. You now wear 3 month clothing, but those are tight. 3-6 months are right around the corner. I’m still stuffing you in size 1 diapers because we have soooo many and I don’t want any to go to waste! 2’s are definitely your actual size, but 1’s will do until we run out. You are starting to actually stay awake after bottles. And your drama queen ‘tude is starting to show :) I mean that in the most loving way possible girlfriend! When you are hungry, you wanted your bottle 10 minutes ago. And you will scream bloody murder until it’s in your mouth. But you are so much fun, and everyone adores you and those chunky cheeks!

4 Months Z

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Varah~
You maybe slightly behind sissy developmentally, but you’re right there. You have now started moving your mouth and tongue like crazy and talking is coming real soon. I have heard a few baby talks but nothing concrete. You have the most innocent look about you, especially when you smile with your eyes and your lips widen from ear to ear. You are my relaxed twin, who can handle hanging with the padres for awhile while we make your bottle, lay you on the play mat, or chit chat with you. Your cheeks are catching up with sissy’s and are just as sweet and kissable as Zuri’s. Now that your are growing bigger, filling out, getting chubs on your arms, legs, neck, and belly, you are starting to look identical to your sister. There have been a few times I have had to do a double take!! :)  But not yet have I got you confused with her. You are your own person and I love that about you. 

4 Months V

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They’ve started the pouty look… Lord help me.

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And look at where they started…

First time together since birth

July 4th Weekend

Happy {late} Birthday America!

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How did you celebrate the most famous birthday of all? I tell you what, I need a day just to recover from the 3 day weekend… phew. But July 4th is my favorite holiday of all! No stress from purchasing presents for people and guessing what they really want that’s in your extremely small budget. No running to 8000 houses in a matter of two days. No figuring out how to fit the 100 new toys your children got into their already over-stuffed bedroom. Just fun, family, and fireworks. And alcohol.

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{Proof my twins aren’t always sleeping and smiles}

I love fireworks, always have. But what I love even more now, is watching my children watch the fireworks. And seeing their love for the show is as much as what mine is. I. Love. It.

Although, we had 3 late nights in a row. Literally, the kids were up tip at least midnight Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. We finally got home Sunday around 8:30 and finally got to just sit down.

{And PS. Some of these pics are with my cell phone… so clearly not near as good of pictures. Buuuuut still cute enough to share :)}

It started Thursday night for us. My Grandma, Aunt Tammy, Uncle Todd, Jacob, and Jordan all stopped by at the daycare to come say hello since they were finally in town, and they wanted to see the twins for the first time! Well, they gave Kensli a new 4th of July dress and she was super stoked to wear it for fireworks! She looked so adorable.. like a little big person!

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We took the kids to Prairie Meadows to meet up with some friends and to watch the fireworks. We all had an amazing time. We got there about 7 pm, so we got to chill for a good 3 hours before the fireworks started. But it was worth it. Us adults got to chat and watch the babies while the big kids got to run around and do whatever big kids do.

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And the fireworks were soooo awesome! It was an excellent show. Kensli sat in my lap during the light show and just was in awe. I had more fun watching her than the fireworks… and fireworks are my favorite. After each firework, she would scream “This is so cool!” or “Mom, that was butiful!” or “Mommy, I love that one”.

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She did not want to take the above picture. Can you tell?

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Even the twins watched! Boy were they wide eyed as they listened to the Booms and giant bright lights! It was too cute. And of course, hanging with my best bud and her fam is always a treat. Living 45 minutes apart makes it some-what difficult to get together. And she works nights and weekends and daycare during the week. With 4 children. A very busy family. So I take advantage of any oppurtunity  that presents itself that we all can hang together.

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It took an hour to get out of the damn place though. Eh. Traffic sucks. And of course, on the side of the building we were parked at, they decided to have one ways only. But of course, had no signs, no traffic conductors, no cones, no nothing to let drivers know that. So it was just chaotic.  However, we did make it home at midnight….

And you can see how much fun they had:

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Friday was the bomb digity! My Aunt Pam and Uncle Scott have a July 4th party every year. And we go every year. Because it’s awesome sauce!  Uncle Todd, Aunt Tammy, Jacob, and Jordan all come into town, and my whole Campbell’s side of the family get’s together.

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All my family Jessica and Brett’s family on the other side also are there! {We all grew up together and just consider each other cousins. I even call their Grandma J ‘Grandma’.} Everyone loves getting together and just wants to have fun and holy cow is fun had by all. And food. Fun and food. And alcohol. Fun, food, and alcohol.

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I absolutely adore this picture.

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Soo close…. {cough::cough.. Brett!}

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There we go! Aren’t we a good lookin’ bunch??

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Then we decided to push our luck… and this was the best we got. But hey, this here group is amazing, and what you see here is us. Take it or leave it friends!

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There is always a giant slip ‘n slide, baseball, water balloon games, and squirt guns. Water usually gets everywhere. But it’s cool. There are only a few rules. A) Don’t hit great grandma’s. {This was made by a great-grandma} B) Don’t hit anyone holding a baby C) No water in the house. Seems pretty fair right? Fair and simple. Easy for kids to remember… including the drunk big kids.

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Jason and I {and the kids} stayed there with Scott and Pam’s kids Brett and Jess, along with their significant others Emily and Nate. As people started high tailin’ it outta there… we all kept the party going. But don’t worry… I’m sure we were super entertaining… {Sorry Aunt Pam and Uncle Scott}

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Ha! I wasn’t going to put that last one in there, but it cracks me up every time I look at it… and it’s my blog. So. Sorry Jess and Nate :) Love you both!

Nate was determined to do some fire crackers and Broden was right there with him. They were like two kids waking up on Christmas Day. Hilarious!

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This would have been so excellent if it weren’t blurry… but I loved it enough, I decided to post it anyway!

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The kids were out as soon as we got in the car. I believe we left about 10:30-11ish. So by the time we got home and kids in bed; it turned into another midnight night. But so worth it.

Saturday, we all kinda slumped around and did nothing. Until about 3. Then we started getting around to head to Kelley and Jared’s in Indianola. Us girls got food ready and took care of the tiny humans. While the men took the two boys {Broden and her son Trenton} fishing about a mile or so away. Trenton was the only one catching anything until…. Until Broden caught a giant snapping turtle!! Saaaaay whaaaaa! How scary! Can you imagine going in to lift the ‘fish’ out of the water and then HOLY SHIT!!!!!!! Something just snapped at you!!!!!!

Then they came home, we all ate some delicious steak and veggies, and started a bonfire! Seriously. We had a bonfire in July. And we were cold and sitting close to the flames. Since when are bonfires comfortable in July? Oh well, I love bonfires so it was glorious! I was extremely tired from the two nights before, and mix that with a little bit of alcohol and I may have fallen asleep at the fire.

Sunday morning, the Campbell’s had a wedding shower for my brother’s fiancé, Megan. It worked out perfect because everyone was in town! It was so nice! And I loved hearing about everyone’s first kiss :) {You can only imagine all the juicy details with all those first kisses}

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After the shower, Jessica and I decided to go for some cheese dip and Margs… and just chit chat and bullshit. It was long over due! {Seriously, we need to get together more often Jessica!} But it was soooo much fun! And turns out… a waiter that used to work at Jason’s and I’s mexican restaurant here in town, now works at the one Jess took me too… ya. He asked immediately “Pitcher of margaritas?”

… Damn it…  {Hang head in shame} “Yes please.”

Then Sunday evening we headed over to my Grandma Campbell’s to say good-bye to the Rastello family and order pizza. I hate saying good-bye to them… I really wish they lived closer to us or just here in Iowa would be fantastic! But it sure makes it fun catching up and seeing them when they are here. We try to make every second count!

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And that’s a wrap on my weekend! I hope you had an eventful and super fun 3 day weekend!

Love and Toodle’os!

Happy Anniversary to my Handsome Husband!

Today marks our two year anniversary!

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It was such a fabulous wedding! We got married at the Lake of the Ozarks and it was one of the greatest weddings I have ever attended… and maybe I’m biased :)

It was suuuuuuper hot that day. I believe someone told me it was 107 degrees and the wedding lady said it was the first time in history there wasn’t a breeze. But regardless, everyone was champs and we had a glorious time.

We’ve actually been together 8 years next month… almost a decade!

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He actually surprised me Saturday night with a date night! Just us two. He had my parents all lined up to come watch the girls about 5 and we took off. It was such a wonderful night. And so needed…

We started with the Olive Garden because we had some gift cards we finally got to use!

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Then we headed downtown for the Arts Festival. I love the arts festival. Once we walked around that once, we met up with my cousin Jessica and her boyfriend, Nate. We seriously love them! Two of my favorite people ever! We always have a great time and just spend the entire night laughing. Seriously. All of us together = AWESOME SAUCE!

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Anyway, once we got together with them, we decided to hit up a bar with pool and play a couple times. And can I say, I totally rocked the first game? Surprised all of us… even me!

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{Haha! This one cracks me up! Sorry guys…}

Afterwards, it was time to head home to relieve the padres.

It’s been quite the ride with this handsome man. Who knew we’d end up with 4 children, 2 dogs, and purchasing the perfect house to hold us all. I love this man more than words could say. I don’t know if anyone {other than my parents} could put up with my random moodiness, my crazy ideas, my creative side that requires stuff everywhere, my lack of cooking skills, and my random thoughts of the day the way he does. He is my other half and makes me whole.

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I love you Jason Paul, and here’s to many more years!