Wednesday, July 18, 2012

18 Months on July 18th

In many ways it seems like just a couple weeks ago. In many more ways it seems like a lifetime ago. What I have figured out these past 18 months is that time is a funny thing. No matter how much time has gone by, my emotions, my love, my memories are all still there. There to remind me what was, what is and what I have to look forward to.

 18 months. What would she be doing? . . . What words would she be saying? . . . Would she like the water like her brother Justen? . . . Would she like to play dress-up like her sister Taylor? . . . Would she kiss my tummy and talk to the babies with excitement? . . . Would the babies even be in my tummy if she were here? . . . What stuffed animal would she insist that she took to bed with her every night? . . . Would she be ticklish? . . . Would she like to walk barefoot in the grass? . . . Would she like to swing? . . . Would she like to pick the “pretty yellow flowers” that grow in the yard much to Daddy’s dismay? . . . Would she have blonde, thick, slightly wavy hair and brown eyes?

 These are all questions that moms want to know when they’ve experienced a still-birth. More than anything for me it seems to be the questions. What would? Who would? Would she? As I look at pictures of her perfect fingers with little tiny fingernails I wonder if she would like to play the piano? Would she play softball? Volleyball? Or would she prefer dirt and trucks and the sandbox?

 Today as we “celebrate” Calleigh Joy’s 18 month birthday/angelversary I wonder these things. But truthfully I wonder these things whether or not we are triggered by a milestone or not. So today, after our normal activities were done (work, youth group, softball practice, etc…) we went to the cemetery and we remembered. We lit sparklers, sang “Happy Birthday”, and wished that things were different and she was here with us celebrating her year and half birthday instead of us going to the cemetery all the time. And now we are thankful for what we are blessed with. We are blessed with a beautiful daughter that we named Calleigh Joy that has brought happiness in to our lives!

 It does seem kind of surreal to write that last line. I remember exactly one year ago: July 18th, 2011 – when a friend of mine was so worried about the depression that had so deeply set in to my life, that she prayerfully and gently suggested I see a Christian counselor to help me work through those feelings. I am so thankful that she did. I look back at my “calendar journal” during that time and can look back and see myself spiraling out of control, then I can see how talking to someone who just listened, who didn’t judge my feelings, and who offered me practical advice and weekly homework assignments, truly got me refocused and pointed back towards God and His loving way for my life. Did my hurt heart automatically heal? – NO! Did my life suddenly become a bed of roses? - NO! Did my tears suddenly stop? – NO! (as a matter of fact I’ve cried myself to sleep more than one night this past week alone!) But it did help renew my hope and joy for living. 

Another thing that’s been on my mind a lot lately is my reaction to people when they talk about, get excited for and ask questions about the twins . . . DO NOT get me wrong! I love talking about them, and I welcome any one to talk about them with me!!! It’s just that sometimes I know I seem a bit “weird” when I speak about them. I feel a sense of panic rise up in my throat. I can’t really explain it, just that this pregnancy is so different. There are so many more emotions this time and they seem to randomly appear when I least expect them. I am trying my best to enjoy every day, but honestly I just want them here and healthy and alive. I want people to be able to ask questions, but sometimes I feel like a blubbering mess trying to explain myself and my seeming lack of excitement for Brayden and Payzleigh. If I have reacted in this way to you, please know that is not the case! It’s just sometimes more than my heart can handle at that moment to talk about showers, or what theme I’m doing the nursery in, or if I’ve started stocking up on baby things, when I haven’t even reached the point in this pregnancy yet that I lost Calleigh Joy. So as much as my mind wants to get started getting everything ready, my heart is not yet in that place.

 Again, I will reiterate – I do not want people to stop talking to me. I just want an understanding to be there in case my heart is having a particularly sore day! These twins are not Calleigh’s replacement! And I miss her more and more with each passing day.

 Peace and Love to All!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

1 1 : 1 1 = Twin Time

 For those of you who know me well, you know that I don’t hold any stock in wishes, luck or destiny. I do however believe that everything happens for a reason but that doesn’t mean that we should sit idly by and watch the world go round.

 With that said, I have been increasingly attentive to the clock almost every day when it gets to 11:11. I am not “trying” to catch it there, it just sort-of happens almost every day. I am aware that this is the typical time where people make “wishes” and hope they come true, but for me it has been a time to spend in deliberate prayer for Brayden and Payzleigh. It started several months ago, before I knew exactly who or what gender they are. Almost every day at precisely 11:11 I would just happen to look at the clock. At the beginning I would smile because with the 11 before and the 11 after the colon it would remind me of the twins. Two Elevens = Two Babies. I know, that seems simple, even kind of silly – but anything to bring a smile to my face when my heart can so easily get overwhelmed with fear is, to me, a good thing!

 After a couple of times noticing 11:11, I realized that I was saying a quick prayer for the twins every time I saw the clock with the twin numbers on it. And from there a “tradition” was born! It has become my practice to “catch” the clock at it’s twin numbers and have a time of purposeful, deliberate prayer. Prayers for their development, prayers for their birth, prayers for their infancy, their childhood, and even prayers for their future. Prayers that their future spouses would grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior and so would Brayden and Payzleigh.

 Now, don’t get me wrong. . . I spend more time than these one or two minutes a day praying for them, it’s just that this “twin time” has become special to me. Where nothing else comes to my mind except Brayden and Payzleigh, no one else is prayed for during this special mommy-twin time. I will admit that sometimes I am busy and miss those “twin numbers” on the clock, but then I just stop what I’m doing and take the time to say a quick prayer for them and know that God always hears me, no matter how short and to the point it might be.

 “Never Once” (I love this song! Take a minute and listen to it!)

Standing on this mountain top
Looking just how far we've come
Knowing that for every step
You were with us

Kneeling on this battle ground
Seeing just how much you've done
Knowing every victory
Is Your power in us

Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful
God, you are faithful

With praying in mind, I will ask you once again to keep us in your prayers this week. Today is our 21 week mark with the twins, and later on this week we have more triggers and memories coming up. Wednesday is Calleigh Joy’s 18 month angelversary, and every day it gets closer to 27 weeks with the twins I freak out a little bit. Also, it’s been 3 weeks since my last doctors appointment and I don’t have another one until Wednesday, July 25th. (unless there’s a problem, then of course I’ll go in before that) But I haven’t gone over 3 weeks with out seeing them since my very first ultrasound way back on April 9th – and most times it’s only been one or two weeks in between seeing them! So, as you can see, prayers are definitely needed and appreciated!

 And here’s an answer to prayer – I have been feeling them move much more regularly. And most times I can even decipher if it’s Brayden or Payzleigh who is giving mommy a quick kick or jab, just to make sure I am keeping sane!   :)

 So, here’s to twin time. And I hope that I can continually find the time deliberately for each of these precious gifts that God has blessed us with!

Love and Peace to All!!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Twins' Reveal Party

Let me start off by saying that having a "reveal party" is a bit of a new thing for my family.  Way back when I had Justen, I did not even have ONE ultrasound, let alone get the chance to find out what we were having. With Taylor I had the one 20 week anatomy scan where they "thought" she was a girl, but told me to save receipts. With Calleigh I had 4 ultrasounds and they were almost a 100% sure she was a girl, but reveal parties were just starting to be popular around here. (At least I hadn't heard of very many at that time, but most of my friends are in the age group where there are not a lot of babies being born. . . )

Now we move on to the twins. Of course I have had more ultrasounds with them than I can recall unless I go back through the blog posts and count them.  Also, we knew a lot earlier that we were expecting them and shared with our friends and family right away - knowing that we would need all of the prayers and encouragement that we could possible get! And when we found out around 7 weeks that we were having twins, we were amazed at the amount of support we were getting! :)  We knew we wanted to do something for our family and friends that have walked this bumpy road with us, lifting us in prayer, encouraging us to keep going and to stay strong in our faith. We knew peoples excitement would continue to grow right along with these two precious little ones, so we decided to "go with the flow" and have a Reveal Party!

Taylor and I searched Pinterest and found a whole bunch of cute ideas for reveal parties and even a few ideas for reveal parties for twins! But after thinking about the week we were going to have with Taylor also in softball tournaments, we opted for easy, but fun!  

We settled on mini cupcakes, thinking that no one would want two regular sized ones, and found cute liners that had pink, yellow, blue, green and purple baby feet on them. We baked up the butter mixes and when they were cooled we poked a hole in the middle, stuck the tip of the frosting in and squirted a little bit of blue in half of the cupcakes and in the other half we filled them with pink!  Of course we had lots of offers to help us with the cupcakes, but we politely refused - knowing full well that these "helpers" were only looking for gender information before it was the proper time!

Next it was time to frost the top and add the green and yellow A's and B's on the appropriate cupcakes!

The next day was the party.  We had found these cute little pink and blue miniature clothespins and thought it would be fun to have the guests choose when they came in depending on if they thought it would be two girls, two boys or one of each.  

So when sides were chose pictures had to be taken!  Here is the 'two boy' guesses:

The 'two girl' guesses:

And the biggest by far was the 'one of each' group!  When we got to this group we made them pick which one they thought was the boy and girl by putting their guess for Baby A on the top and Baby B on the bottom: 

A couple of families had other things going on, so when they got there we had them make their "clothespin predictions" and took their pictures individually:

We had decided on a green and yellow theme with the frosting, plates and napkins until everyone bit in to their cupcakes.  We had watermelon, fiesta pretzels, and my aunt Sharon made home-made ice cream. 

Then it was time to pass out the cupcakes and bite in to "A" first:

It's a BOY!!!!!

Then we had everyone bite into the "B" cupcake at the same time:

It's a GIRL!!!!!

We also decided to share the names that we picked out for these two little babies, so others could be lifting them up in prayer by name. We had a collage made of some ultrasound pictures with their names that we gave to each set of grandparents.

I have had several people ask me where/how we came up with our names, so even though it's not too terribly exciting I'll let you know!  We had already decided on two girls' and two boys' names with a number one name for each in case it was one of each. 

Our number one girl's name: Payzleigh Hope Calleigh Belew
About the time we started trying to have another baby I read in our local paper about some older folks here in Palmyra that had their great-granddaughter Paisley come to visit them.  I immediately fell in love with that name!  Of course I had to be different and change the spelling around to fit in with the 'leigh' spelling that we started with Calleigh. Payzleigh doesn't have a fantastic meaning like Calleigh does, all I've found for it is "a pattern of fabric", but sometimes you just have to go with what you love!   Hope is what we've been hanging on to, so it seemed fitting to use as a middle name and a good friend of mine's daughter's name is Hope (she is in heaven with our CJ) so I wanted to used the name Hope.  We also thought it would be fitting to used Calleigh as a second middle name that we won't necessarily use, but will be there as a tribute to CJ. 

Our number one boy's name: Brayden Oliver Belew
Brayden was actually Calleigh's boy name and I still loved that name. We wanted to stay with the 'en' spelling at the end to keep with the 'Justen' theme.  Calleigh's middle name would've been Jaxen if she was a boy, and since then I had fallen in love with the name Oliver.  Last summer, when I spent time working part-time at Mamasita's I waited on a family with a little boy named Oliver and wanted to use that name ever since.  Corey and Taylor weren't as set on it as I was, so we compromised and used it as Brayden's middle name! 

Our number two girl's name: Nataleigh Ruth Joy Belew
I love the name Nataleigh, especially spelled using our 'leigh' theme! Ruth was my grandma's middle name, and Joy as a second middle name to honor CJ.

Our number two boy's name: Graysen Jaxon Belew
We just liked them all, and of course the 'en' at the end to keep with the boy 'en' theme!

There you have it! Not too exciting, but fun!  :)  
Peace and Love to All!!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

And They Are . . . BABIES!

So, every time I would say to Corey, "I can't wait to find out what these two are", he would say to me, "I know what they are - they are babies".   It happened so much that when random people would ask me if I knew what they were I started to reply, "they are babies".

So - - without further wait, we would like to present to you our babies!  :)

 The baby formerly known as "BABY A":

 Is a . . . .

And his name is . . .

Brayden Oliver Belew !!!!!

And the baby formerly known as "Baby B":

Is a . . .

And her name is . . .

Payzleigh Hope Calleigh Belew !!!!!

We feel blessed beyond measure and can not even begin to tell everyone how much your thoughts and prayers have meant to us!

I will update everyone very soon on the fun reveal party we had today - but right now we are running out the door to get to Taylor's CHAMPIONSHIP SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT GAME!!!!  Go Panthers!

Love and Peace to All!!