Author Archives: Toni

About Toni

Mom. Wife. Artist. I take care of the kids and pretend to clean sometimes. I can cook spagetti and I have never been arrested.

Week 29 (and a half)

We now return to your regularly scheduled programming by stating the obvious:

Everything does hurt and I am dying.

I am experiencing third trimester symptoms of an unspeakable nature. Things have taken a turn for the horrible. I’ve got a fancy set of compression socks plus an industrial-grade maternity belt sitting in my Amazon shopping cart because I’ve just accepted where I am in my life right now.

Backache combined with a complete inability to move without needing an oxygen tank got me like:

Except I’m too tired to shower.

Sunday night I was jolted awake by the mother of all Charlie-horses; I’ve never felt so much pain, and I’m pretty sure I gave Caleb a mini heart attack with my man screams. This morning I got one that wouldn’t quit no matter how much I flexed my foot (once I could reach it). My entire leg kept seizing up on me as I hobbled to the bathroom to pee for the 6,000 time.

And yes, I cried.

Digestion is annoying:

I’ve been able to regulate my blood sugar by diet alone, and I’ve only had to give up my breakfast bagels. Plus I eat more food more often–which is harder to do than it sounds.

Diabetes, I don’t sweat you.

In other news, life around our house has been fairly news-less. Boring even. Caleb’s been out of town and I’ve held down the fort with Jesus, and cereal for dinner.

We’ve been family-movie-night-ing it up this week with the DVD box set of all the Rocky movies, and the real question is: Why aren’t I naming my next son Clubber Lang?

The babies’ room is sooooo close to being all finished. I’ve washed, dried, folded, organized, and put away every tiny article of clothing into one of two dressers which a friend so graciously bestowed upon our family last weekend. I may or may not find the energy to work on a painting I’ve had in mind for these little ones–my plan is to work the mantra “Stronger Together” into some bright, bold, colorful shapes. We’ll see how it goes. I’m trying to decide if I want to make a mobile or just order one; the picky, miserly part of me is winning out and it looks like my creative streak will not be allowed to stop with a simple painting.

Well that’s really it. Bout to brace myself for another fun filled day of carrying a forty pound weight directly on my crotch, leg cramps, and the consequential nausea from, ya know, pain.


Too much

Well I stirred the pot yesterday with the topic of adoption (How is this even taboo? I still don’t get it) so today, cause I live my life one-quarter mile at a time, I think I’ll hit on super super fun fun large families.

And by large, I mean folks who intentionally or unintentionally have four or more children, because NO, PATRICIA, 3 kids is not even close to “a lot of kids”.

Let me begin by admitting this: I’ve actually only known one woman who had more than four kids. Heather was new-ish to our church. She was tall and strong and gentle and patient and super-pregnant, and she scared the ever-loving snot out of me. Not because she was scary (She was–is–lovely), but because she struck me as a mother flippin’ force of nature; so powerful, even in her moments of vulnerability during a bible study, or in the exhausted expression she sometimes wore–I sensed a calmness and a joy in her, as she mothered those 5 young kids like a boss, that I simply could not understand as I struggled to be peaceful with my tiny brood of three. I would watch her on Wednesday nights, in awe of how together and un-rattled she always seemed, and I would later make the comment to Caleb (more than once) “That will never be me; I’m not made for six. I can barely handle three.”

(I may or may not have also held onto a private superstition/unfounded fear that Heather’s six-kids-ed-ness would some how rub off on me somehow.) (AND IT DID!!!)

This mindset I clung to must have had God ROTFLing, because five years later here I am with numbers 6 & 7 on the way. I try to hold myself up like Heather and I set my jaw and get all determined in the eyebrows as my kids run circles around me; I can’t channel that sort of parenting-chi, and, truth be told, I’m still scared fresh ta death over the thought of being the mom with seven kids.

Seven. People talk. I understand. I get it. Four kids is a lot, especially knowing me and how frenzied and overwhelmed I so easily get. Iron-willed Arbor just about killed me; going for number five after that seemed crazy to everyone not in my immediate family. Well, it was also crazy to my immediate family and also to me, but, hey.

People talk about twins. Mia’s teacher informed her that twins rarely just “happen” and that I must have been on fertility medication. “No, no medication,” was Mia’s reply. “Well,” said the teacher, “That you know of.”

Seven kids is insane. It didn’t used to be, back in 1885, but now, it’s unheard of, and weird.

  1. No, I’m not trying to be the Duggars.
  2. No, I’m not uneducated or untraveled.
  1. Yes, I know what causes that.
  1. No, I haven’t had procedures or medicine.
  1. Yes, apparently I am quite fertile.

My body is not my own, and every few years or so, it be straight trippin’. Sometimes I have to stop and take stock and reflect on how I got here.

Here’s the breakdown of two decades’ worth of childbearing:

  • 1996: Had my first baby out of wedlock at the tender age of 15 (almost 16). Teenage Toni was not a planner (or even a thinker) in the mid-nineties; this pregnancy was a certified life-ending disaster to my sophomore-self…but Adult Toni couldn’t imagine a day without her spunky Cheyenne.
  • 2004: Talented Drunk College Toni gets knocked up on the pill (out of wedlock) (again). This pregnancy is glorious and I work full time and student full time and I walk everywhere and gain 60 pounds before giving birth to my sweet Mia.
  • 2008: Caleb and I wish and hope and pray for our next child starting five minutes after Mia’s birth; with nary a birth control pill in sight, Drunk Sad Toni fails at conceiving a child for three entire years before God sends us Merrick, who rocks our world by being born with a skull deformity that requires major surgery at only four months old.
  • 2014: The next six years are riddled with indecision and miscarriages as we try to navigate our way through adding to our family. Our hearts are full except for a little tug that tells us we’re not quite done yet; Cheyenne goes off to college and Arbor gets here after nine months of the worst freakin’ bleedy bedridden diabetic pregnancy known to man. She kicks my ass for the next…um…well…
  • 2017: We fill out paperwork to foster/adopt. We put said paperwork aside until after the back-to-school/softball season, and take certain measures not to get ourselves pregnant before we make any final decisions. Caleb makes a joke in front of company and Little Lucy arrives in June.
  • 2018: Lucy is so frickin’ presh, and Caleb would like to try one more time for a boy. I am up for it as long as we stick to a time frame, say…2 months? Plus I have just barely stopped breastfeeding and my hormones are jacked so pregnancy is probably not in the cards. I continue running and I plan for a half-marathon in November. Caleb makes a joke at our first ultrasound and we will be bringing home two more babies before Christmas.

I list these pregnancies individually because with each child, God has given me something beautiful and unexpected–even through my lost ones. I’ve tried to plan and I’ve failed; I’ve tried to prevent and I’ve failed. Each little soul I’ve been tasked with raising has been so extremely marvelous and unique that no matter the circumstances behind their conceptions, they were gifts, plain and simple, every single one. Not all of my children were meticulously planned, but I hope they have all felt cherished.

The world has great use for my blond spitfires, my brown-eyed sweethearts, and the strong son growing up smack dab in the middle of all of it. As for how I plan to handle this giant gaggle of kids? I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, including living and thriving in a state of permanent frazzlement.


I had a lady that I vaguely know spew unsolicited gossip into my ear yesterday and I’m still really upset about it this morning, so we’re totally going there.

The topic? Adoption, and why she thought a certain family should mos def not adopt. (The short & sweet answer being: they already have three of their own kids.)

And y’all know me:

I did not appreciate her opinion which I did not remotely ask for during a short grocery store conversation which I didn’t even realize we were having until homegirl dropped a rancid ignorance bomb on me STRAIGHT OUTTA NOWHERE.

Now, I have a certain amount of automatic respect for people older than me, but there are things that can be done or said to cause that amount to be drastically reduced. This was not merely an issue of old-fashioned points of view clashing with modern thoughts on adoption. In this case, adoption is simply biblical, encouraged by God Himself (if not literally commanded).

And I just could not keep quiet.

“Actually I see this in a very different way: I myself was adopted. Plus I have seven kids, so a four-kid family sounds like a cakewalk. I think what they are doing is beautiful and obedient. God will give them strength and patience.”

And though I was shockingly able to respond in a calm way, my heart is sickened over the thought of real live people with such negative attitudes toward, I dunno, seeking God’s direction in adding to your family plus providing a stable, loving environment for children in need to grow up with parents and siblings who teach them and walk with them in the ways of the Lord.

I am just…troubled. Don’t drag adopting couples in front of me.

  • I am adopted.
  • My best friends be adopting all the time.
  • Caleb and I would adopt 2 to 3 more children after these twins if we were so called. It ain’t off the table.
  • You cannot call yourself pro-life and then shake your head in disgust at couples willing to foster or adopt children no one else cares about.
  • Don’t like it? Keep it to yourself or take it up with Jesus and His Father God.

Here I am, living the first year of my drug-baby life up in the hospital, without parents.

And here I am with the woman who adopted me when I was well on my way to two years old. Check that malnourished build, that dehydrated melon skull, dem sunken eyes.

People told my parents that they were crazy, adopting a baby with so many health problems when they were perfectly capable of having their own biological children. I’m sure they even dealt with remarks like “you don’t know what kind of genes she has. What if she’s crazy? What if she grows up to be an addict?” (Joke’s on you fools: I am crazy!) I don’t know what their verbal response was, but their actions gave me the best dadgum mom and dad a kid could ever dream of having, and they gave me chance where there might have been none.

Adoption gave me a family, and a future, and a life.

And I can tell you that, growing up, I didn’t always recognize what I was given through their selfless act of love; I wasn’t the little well-behaved, beautiful wonderful perfect all-American daughter most parents dream of having.

But now, having been adopted through Christ, I can make the correlation between the blessing of having loving parents and an ideal childhood, and the blessing of being part of the family of God; both the very picture of the completely unearned and undeserved grace God wants to extend to all of us, both blessings that Satan goes to great lengths for us not to have.

And so, sweet lady, let me say with gentleness: it is a close-minded, damaging, worldly wisdom that leads one to make bold claims about the way other people should organize their families. According to that sort of logic, my friends have no business adopting children; I shouldn’t have seven kids; I shouldn’t have been adopted–maybe I shouldn’t even have been born.

But God’s way allows for miracles, rescue, and redemption; for hope and love. Where men cannot, God can. God will. GOD IS.

And y’all I am here for it.

28 weeks

I can’t believe I’m having twins.

I can’t believe I am having twins.

I can’t believe I am having twins.

This past week has been one whirlwind of non-activity. I’ve received an official diagnosis of gestational diabetes, which means I get to take a fun class with old ladies new to type II diabetes, nix my sugar and carb intake, plus prick my finger (*so fun*) five times a day. I can only hope insulin shots are not in my future and that I am able to control my blood sugar spikes and dips through diet. My high risk doctor called it two weeks ago, saying gestational diabetes was almost inevitable this time around, knowing I’ve had it before (with Arbor) and now being pregnant with twins.

Plus, as he pointed out, I am so dadgum elderly.

And it’s fine, because there are way worse things to go through than having to closely monitor my nutrition. I’ll prick my finger a thousand times a day if it means delivering 2 healthy babies in December.

That said, no sugar in my morning coffee does quite suck.

I went ahead and got my flu vaccine and a bonus shot to ward off pertussis; this is something the whole family will get to experience so that no one passes any dread disease to our newborns who will enter this world during flu season. New to me: winter babies, y’all! I’ve never given birth to anyone when it wasn’t at least 90 degrees outside.

I’m currently debating on whether or not to even have the kids (well, at least the littler kids) come visit the hospital, because all I can imagine is a certain 4-year-old licking public restroom doorknobs for no dang reason, and a toddler who is constantly putting her hands in her mouth after touching every germ-coated surface within reach.

To have folks visit in general is wigging me out, and not just because of flu season. Twins! I’m already out of my element here. If I know post-partum myself–and I do–I’m gonna be an anxiety-ridden, greasy, sweaty hot mess, at least until I get a grip on breastfeeding and sleeping more than twenty minutes at a time, not to mention what a baby I am when it comes to pain management. (I’m lookin’ at you, horrible itchy stitches in my abdomen!) I already just want to rest with my babies and curl up with my husband and children in our cozy quiet home alone, maybe eat some cheese or something, I don’t even know.


Other 28 weeks with twins symptoms: restless leg syndrome without fail at bedtime, acid reflux, aching hips, mega-fatigue, dizziness, breathlessness, insomnia, sleepiness, hunger, loss of appetite, and what feels like horrible electric shocks in the crotch, probably because I got one twin crowding my lungs and another jumping maniacally up and down on every other organ. I barely see my knees when I sit down. It’s basically an awesome party up in here, and I’m enjoying it so much that I’m unmotivated to do anything else at all ever.

Thankfully, Caleb is a stud when it comes to cooking, cleaning, and taking a teenager shopping for jeans (which is not something I love doing even with the energy levels of a non-Preggo half-marathon-hopeful.) But I am scared…so very scared.

27 weeks

Crazy stupid breathlessness has pushed me over the edge. My doctor measures me at nine months pregnant, meaning that even though I am not quite seven months pregnant with twins, my belly is the size of a woman who is nine months pregnant with a single baby. Which got Caleb all like:

I’m convinced my little girl has wedged herself in my rib cage and does nothing but kick and twirl and also calmly squeeze my lungs like they were her own personal squishy toys. Poor son stays plastered to the bottom of my tummy–I occasionally feel him kick waaaaaay down low, but for the most part this girl calls all the shots in their shared environment.

Today I took my 3-hour glucose test (which means, yes, I failed my last one). So many little bitty pregnant girls named Brittany up in that lab–all of them teensy, all of them rollin’ through the door sucking Starbucks, shocked that their tests are going to keep them in the waiting room for an hour. “But,” one particularly hungry Brittany protested today, “I have a box of Hurts donuts in the car!” I almost lost my mind. I ’bout fell straight out when she brought the donuts in and proceeded to snack on them with her boyfriend, who, when not shoving sugar in his face, spent the majority of the hour literally baby-talking to Hungry Brittany and rubbing her pregnant belly–and actually, it was very sweet and I was just kinda happy to see someone enjoying pregnancy so much.

I was Hungry Brittany once, and it was glorious cause I sho ’nuff did pound donuts 30 seconds before any given glucose test and pass with flying colors.

To be young again.

Anyhoo, after a grueling 3 hours of waiting-room-chair agony plus an entire 12 hours of starvation, I hit up the first food-selling place I came to, which was McDonald’s, which I instantly regretted because 1) NOBODY and I mean NOBODY loves you like the people at Chic-Fil-A loves you, and 2) dem fries are sitting like a rock in my stomach and I’m rethinking life choices over here, because of the pain.

Here’s what’s been accomplished in this past week:

The twins have a carpet and two cradles and a double-stroller frame, all set up and ready to rock, thanks to my visiting sister-in-law Sam, who could not be more awesome. She also put together the crib in Lucy’s new sleeping space upstairs, and that’s a huge weight off our shoulders–one step closer to getting everything in position for two new babies.

Side note: Sam is THE strongest person I know and she’s gonna crush what life is throwing at her, I have no doubt. Whenever I want to be tough for something, I wear a bracelet that says “What Would Sam Do?” She inspires me. She makes me brave.

Also the nursery is 97% ready now because of her. My kids had a loyal fan at all their ballgames this week. Arbor had a spunky partner in crime and Lucy was freely handing out the cuddles by the time Sam had to leave. I can’t thank her enough for how she helped me this past week.

We got good family.

Mia’s just about done with softball. Merrick’s cross-country is wrapping up soon and he’s just starting basketball. Those big kids stay so busy but it works for now and I want them to have as much fun and freedom before December comes and the sports stop and it’s freezing and we’re all cooped up indoors listening to not one but two babies cry.

These early fall days are the best. The weather is perfect. I know it’s “the calm before the storm” but I’m just enjoying it while trying to get a good deep breath.

Aftermath Tips for Newbies

Obligatory money shot:

25 weeks in. My twins are each the size of a cauliflower, allegedly…if cauliflowers are 5 feet long and made of lead, because dang it that’s how they feel as they press against every internal organ and kick every last nerve in my lady regions.

You guys, I have something to confess: I am like, really old. I honestly don’t think carrying twins would have been this hard fifteen years ago. I’m struggling but more importantly, I can’t even believe I’m struggling. Literally every part of my body constantly hurts so much. My Bell’s has not made a full return (THANK THE LORDT) but it taunts me from 5 p.m. until bedtime with a relentless twitching on left side of my face. My feet swell. My head throbs. I get winded beyond belief just combing my hair.

I am waaaaaay past my pregnancy prime, leading me to become a full-force advocate for child-birthin’ in your twenties and not a moment after.

That said, I still marvel at this giant growing belly, and I am so, so thankful for the lives inside of it. Watching this brother and sister flip and twist and thump–I can’t wait to hold them. I’m excited. I’m anxious. I’m humbled.

This number of children–7–it just feels right. So many times in this past decade I thought we were surely done adding to our family, not necessarily because it’s what we wanted deep down, but because of societal norms and expectations…maybe a little exhaustion. God had different things in mind for us, and it is so much better than anything we could have planned (or prevented) ourselves. I can’t imagine life without any single one of our precious children, including the two on the way, no matter how crabby a twin pregnancy at 38 years old makes me. Being with child (or children) is a blessing and I know it.

And that said, I find myself looking forward to the eviction of these babies from my body more and more everyday. For the first time in a looooong time, I’m nervous about the post-partum weeks: what will a c-section recovery feel like? How will I feed two babies at once? How will I hold or even have time for my other children? Who can I even turn to for parenting advice when Child 3 is aggravating Child 4 but Child 1 lives in Tennessee and Child 2 is too busy to help distract Child 3 and Child 5 has scaled the safety gate and is climbing the stairs while I have Children 6 and 7 attached to my boobs like leaches?

At this point I’m running out of people who have experience with large AND I DO MEAN LARGE families. (The secrets to child-whispering of this magnitude lies of course with my kindergarten teacher friends: y’all the real MVPs.)

In the meantime I will rest in what little knowledge I do have about those six fun weeks after birthing a baby; plus it kinda helps me to think maybe someone out there could use a little friendly advice from a seasoned post-partum-er. *warning to those who just don’t want to read about grodiness, cause post-partum things are not for the faint of heart, which is basically me, but I’ve had no choice.* Here we go:

So, you’ve had your baby, and that was both amazing and probably fairly suckish. Here’s what you know: all your uniquely female parts are embarrassingly sore (ALL OF THEM); your body is playing Texas Chain Saw Massacre without regard for visiting friends and relatives, weather, sleep schedules, and oh–the fact that the hospital allowed you to take a delicate newborn human infant to your actual home? Is blowing your already decimated mind. This is your life now. Prepare to be uncomfortable, and prepare to have NOT ONE PERSON CARE, NO, NOT EVEN ONE!

I have a loving mother and ride-or-die sisters, but they all live in what might as well be another planet. There’s no one to dote on poor Toni after childbirth, but I have learned to thrive, and by “thrive”, I of course mean “not die”.

1. There will be so much tons of blood: Sweet Lord, buy twice as much feminine supplies as you’re instinctively inclined to, and put it all in a handy spot in the bathroom. You just had a baby and now everything your uterus has saved up for 9 months is coming back to take its revenge. Stock up on defcon 5 pads; make peace with feeling like you’re wearing a diaper. Maybe even wear an adult diaper, I don’t even know y’all. Get you a 24-pack of cheap washcloths or handtowels because why not.

2. Have your Tylenol, and eat it too: OUCH, whether it’s from stitches down there, or from your boobs inflating eighty times their normal size, or–(and this is the one I always forget about)–the *awesome* uterine contractions you’ll get whenever you breastfeed: you’ll need pain relief. How long you’ll need it varies from woman to woman, baby to baby–but don’t try and be a hero. Get some medicine inside of you. Some doctors prescribe some heavy-duty drugs upon your leaving the hospital–I always found these to be a little overkill for me, plus I can’t afford to be loopy and out-of-it with 6 million kids running around. But I’m all about taking whatever works for you. Just don’t stay in pain.

3. Drinks! : Swallow an ungodly amount of water every hour upon the hour. Even if it makes you have to pee fifty thousand times a day. Drink the water. Not the Gatorade. Not the diet soda or the sweet tea. Water. Buckets of it. It’s the drink of champions. Little kids in Mexico drink water. In Europe they have water in every home–in every room, actually. Helps your complexion. Helps your bowels. Helps you make milk. Shut up and do it. Don’t whine. Drink the water. Until you float away. Drink. It.

4. Go to the dang bathroom: don’t try to hold it, ever. If you don’t think you have to go, try to go anyway. You are a 5-year-old and YES you do have to try before you leave the house. If no one is around to hold the baby, put the baby in the cradle or on the freakin’ floor and go to the bathroom. The last thing you want is a UTI. I don’t want to talk about how I know this.

5. Back away from the sweets: folks for miles around will think you need dessert, and they would be right! But do not–I REPEAT, DO NOT–gorge yourself on the brownies and bundt cake and monkey bread and chocolate-covered strawberries all in one week. It’s a bad gig. Heck yeah, you want it, you crave it, and after a few solid nights of sleep deprivation, you deserve it…but your body will go absolutely loco, and you’ll hate your life and everyone in it. Do yourself a favor and eat like, so healthy: I’m talking salads with a side of bran, maybe a delicious carrot and flaxseed smoothie. Trust me, it helps. Your mind will be clearer and your colon will thank you.

6. Ya lil’ nasty: you will be so sweaty and gross and your hair will be falling out and you’ll be so sweaty and gross and everything will feel gross and it’s just all gross. You’ll be constipated and exhausted. You might be able to hold it together for company once a day, but at some point, you will feel like a gassy, oily Jabba and it’s not a good feeling. Take advantage of any extra hands you may have and get a shower once a day, for your sanitary sanity. See also: sweating in a cold shower.

7. Hormonal momo-fofos: Oh. Yeah. Crying. Sadness. Happiness. Crying. Tiredness. Burpiness. Crying. Elatedness. Joyfulness. Joylessness. Anger. Exhaustion. Weeping and crying. Gang’s all here! Expect and embrace a roller-coaster ride of emotions in the first couple weeks. Don’t feel bad. Even if you don’t know what you’re crying about, just cry. Laugh through the tears. (And y’all I’m talking about the baby blues, not post-partum depression cause that means is serious and it is lasting and you need to speak to your doctor and you should do that ASAP without feeling the slightest bit of shame.)

8. Sleep when the baby sleeps: and shower when the baby showers, clean when the baby cleans. This advice is not exactly practical when you have one or six other children at home, but if and when you can sneak in a a few minutes’ worth of naptime, then nap. Sleeping is solid gold–it’s better than cleaning, showering, or anything on Netflix. I know I know I know. I’m just saying if you can manage to sleep, do it. If.

9. Wet-T-shirt contest: You’re, um, leaking…breastmilk. From your boobs. Which are hard as rocks and ginormous. This is awkward and also wet and not fun and life is hard and those crummy little breast pads suck booty, cause no matter how often you change them, you’re guaranteed to end up with delightful giant milk circles on your chest, wherever you go but most assuredly in public places. This is THE icing on the cake. As if the gallons of sweat and adult diapers weren’t doing you in by themselves, you’re literally shooting liquid outcher boobs every five seconds. I love that my baby is getting breastmilk, except I hate breastfeeding with the white-hot intensity of a thousand burning suns–it’s too much of a sensory overload for this easily-distracted, anxiety-prone mom; but it matters not, cause boobs will do what boobs do in those first few weeks regardless of how you’re feeding your baby, which is spray people in the DADGUM EYE with milk when not kept under wraps. I’m not coordinated enough for nursing bras so my happy butt stays home with two washcloths shoved down the front an XL sports bra. This is comfortable me; figure out a boob plan that works for you.

10. Accept the help: Do your church girls send meal trains? This was foreign to me during the aftermath of my first three children; by the time Arbor and Lucy rolled around, I had an army of church ladies behind me, ready with the most delicious meals I’ve ever put in my mouth. I didn’t have to cook for three weeks. I had to freeze food for crying out loud. This is most helpful when you got your hands full of crying baby, and the older kids are roaming aimlessly around the house wondering if they’ll have to resort to cannibalism before mommy realizes that all that’s left in the pantry are Kix crumbs and canned mushroom soup. Accept meals and accept any other help that may rear it’s beautiful majestic head: mother-in-law wants to clean your bathroom? GEEZ Let her. Random friend starts folding baby laundry on your couch while she’s visiting? Have at it. BFF offering to take your three-year-old to the library for two hours? Yes please by all means and thank you and I love you forever til I die. *ALSO* allow the hubster to take care of the baby. I know we’re all modern women and we say we want our husbands to help out, but two seconds into any diaper change and we’re throwin’ ‘bows trying to show him how to “do it right”. I’m public enemy number one. But guys–the dudes got this. They can change, dress, wrap, feed, rock, walk, cuddle, calm, soothe, and shush the babies, if you let them. So let them. Let the men do the things. Ask the man to do the things. The man will do the things, and he will do it like the straight dad boss he was made to be–while you take a nap.

I leave one last piece of advice for you, and it’s so important that I can’t simply relegate it to just a number on a list: hold your baby. Just hug her. Snuggle her. Let her fall asleep in your arms. Smell her little sweet baby head. Go on and nuzzle her with your nose. Rock her. Cradle her. Don’t let anyone say “you’re gonna spoil that baby.” Punch people who say that to you.

How many times in your life are you gonna have a newborn baby? Even if your number is seven, it’s still not enough. One day we will be little old ladies in nursing homes and remembering the times when we were the holders of babies, and we will wish we held them more.

This is an incredible time. Babies are special. You are honored with a gift from God in the shape of a tiny human being, and it won’t stay tiny for long. Love on your baby as much as you want to.

I cannot wait to love on mine.

Month 6.

Week 24: I love my life.

I love the yard. I love my chicken. I love the husband and the children and the wildness of our schedule and the lack of sleep and all the friends and the church.

Everything is roses and I have twins growing in my tummy which is infinitely cooler than anything I’ve ever done ever in my life; far more amazing than the time Michael Jackson came over to my house to use the bathroom.

The Oklahoma heat is finally calming the junk down after a long muggy summer. Arbor seems to be coming out from that (2-year-long) phase we do not speak of. Lucy is nothing but smiles and giggles and flirtatious eyelash-batting. Mia and Merrick are eating $300 worth of groceries every 3 days as they play every sport known to mankind. And Caleb is mostly in town being his hilarious wonderful self.

My belly is huge and life is good.

The babies kick hard now. They are a jumble of thumps and kicks and twirls–I can never tell who is actually who. They both move so much.

I’m obsessed with getting their nursery done within the next month, since with each passing week I get more and more exhausted. I have some genuine concerns about my future physical limitations, and all I can picture is Caleb rolling me over in bed to prevent bedsores and infections, maybe scrubbing me with a mop. A time is fast approaching when I will simply stop leaving the house. I am so very afraid of my size potential.

My Bell’s Palsy is trying to make a comeback, which is of course awesome because my self esteem doesn’t suffer enough from the double amount of space my thighs now take up. I’m trying to “rest” it off, which (I think?) is actually helping. Yesterday the entire left side of my face ached and my food tasted like penicillin; today I’m feeling only minimal twitching in my eye. I’m hopeful. It’d really be awful to have photos taken of my newborn twins and me with my half-slumped “not impressed” face:

I can feel my face twitching and wilting and then nothing and then it’s all good after a full 45 minutes’ worth of sleep at night, and then with the twitching. At this juncture Bell’s is probably a suckish nightmare from which there is no escape; I’d rather not deal with it. But if this is my path then I will walk it with dignity and a kickass pirate-patch over my eye.

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