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Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Coming to a Close

This has been one incredible year for Monica and I! I have said this every year since we've been married, but this year really was the best one yet! Here's a look at all the stuff that has happened in our amazing lives in 2012! If you see something highlighted blue, it will take you to a blog post about the topic!

January: We were supposed to start IVF but decided to push it back to March or further so we could have spring babies. We were still working hard at our Total Money Makeover journey of being debt free!

February: This was actually a very scary month for us and our family. I had to be admitted for 2 weeks of IV's. I had never felt that sick. It was a HUGE reality check. My PFT's had hit an all-time low. This was the first time I ever had gotten emotional about my CF since "growing up." The night before I was to go to the doc and be admitted, I actually lost it a little. Monica and I were sitting on the couch, just snuggling and talking. I had a moment where I let fear sneak in. I had been wheezing for a couple days, which I had never had happen before. I was coughing up ridiculous amounts of secretions, and feeling very crummy. I got scared. I started wondering how long I would actually have here on Earth. I knew I wasn't dying or anything, but began to really think about how long I actually would have. The thought of leaving my wife a widow is incredibly scary, and we were going to be going through IVF later in the year. This month brought many challenges. My relationship with God was strengthened. My relationship with my wife was strengthened. I had to overcome several mental & emotional hurdles that I had never encountered before. My cousin who was 3 was in the hospital and had to be intubated for respiratory problems. He was in the hospital for close to a month if my memory serves me correctly. It was a scary, challenging month, but we made it through by the grace of God and came out stronger on the other side!

March: Monica and I began running in late February after I was finished with my IV's. I was determined to change my lifestyle and make it a habit to exercise regularly. Monica and I started this blog in the month of March! I went to my sister's work, a daycare in Springfield, MO, where they held a CF Mini March, it was a blast! I admit I was fighting back tears seeing all these kids and workers do so much to raise money to fight CF! I celebrated my 28th birthday this month, I'm getting old :)

April: I had the privilege of getting to speak at the Missouri State Respiratory Conference about CF. It went phenomenally well and was a nice weekend getaway for Monica and I! We were going to start our IVF journey this month but decided again to push it back a little further after we calculated the due date if it worked. Might I add this was very difficult for Monica. She was very eager to start the process so we could begin our family. Especially after the month we had in February, but we kept praying and felt God would direct us to when the right time was.

May: In May I started taking Hypertonic Saline. Most CFers already took this medication, but I had not yet been put on it. I asked my physicians about it and they said yes you should definitely start taking it. They hadn't yet put me on it, out of worry that I adding another med would cause me to drop in my compliance. I began taking it though and I'm a believer!

June: This was the BIG month! Monica and I began our IVF journey! Monica started taking the pills this month, and the journey was off! We had received all the meds and had scheduled two vacations back to back to help lower our stress levels as we endeavored on our marvelous journey! On our trip to Florida Monica and I went to Universal Studios where I got selected to be a participant in their Fear Factor Live show! It was just like the real thing and very cool! I also was asked to talk to the kids of Barnes-Jewish Hospital workers on their annual Kids to Work Day. It was awesome getting to talk to all the kiddos, hanging out and letting them try on the vest and take some normal saline treatments!

July: Monica and I were enjoying our summer! We were still going through the IVF process, and Monica had started taking shots this month. We were having fun swimming and hanging out with friends! My brother-in-law was in town from med school so we did our usual tradition of chopping down a dead tree! It was a good, relaxing month!

August: On August 1st, Monica's estradiol levels were off the charts, over 3,000! Her egg retrieval was August 2nd where they were able to retrieve 14 eggs. Twelve of those eggs were able to be fertilized and 6 had made it to the following day! We started her progesterone shots that same day. Two days later and it was time for the REALLY BIG day..... embryo transfer! I gave another presentation about CF in Cape Girardeau, MO. A buddy of mine had gotten on board the running train with me and we were running 3 days a week, and I posted my fastest 5K time to date of under 30 minutes. After a very long 2 week wait, we received the phone call of a lifetime! We found out we were PREGNANT! Words we never thought we would hear! It was the best day ever! God is good!

September: We had our first ultrasound at 6 weeks. We found out that we were going to be having TWINS!!! We got to hear both beautiful heartbeats! It was another of many monumental days in 2012! I had made a new pal at work, and took him fishing with me and some buddies. I had purchased a morphsuit and had some fun trying to scare Monica in it! My buddy Matthew and I were continuing to run 3 days a week and had a very memorable run in a monsoon!

October: Monica and I made the BIG NEWS public announcing our pregnancy and shared a video of our IVF Journey! We had our 10 week ultrasound where we saw our twins move for the first time! Monica and I participated in the 9th annual Second Wind Lung Walk to benefit those who have had lung transplants. We had a lot of family and friends come out with us to support both us and the cause. I posted my fastest 5K time yet of 26:55. We started posting pictures of Monica's belly growth, starting with her 14 week pictures.

November: We had our 16 week and 18 week Belly pics posted! Monica and I were off to New Orleans, LA for 5 days where I was speaking at the AARC Congress, which is the national respiratory conference. We had a great Thanksgiving spent with our families!

December: We showed off our Christmas lights. We took pics of Monica's 20 week and 22 week pregnant belly. We had our 20 week OB appointment where we got to see our little Baby A and Baby B for the first time since 10 weeks! We threw a Gender Reveal Party where we found out we were going to be having 2 Boys!!!!

It has been a great year! I can only imagine what next year will have in store for us as we look forward to the birth of our baby boys! 2012 has been one GREAT year full of blessings! Thank you to all who have endured my long-winded posts and continued to come back time after time to follow our journey through this thing we call life! I hope you all have a wonderful New Year and a very happy, safe and healthy 2013! Love you all!

- Jeremy, Monica and The Boys!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Neti Pot & Rambunctious Babies

Well it's Thankful Thursday again! Another week in the history books! We all have so many things we can be thankful for. Monica and I enjoy taking the time to think of all the things we are thankful for! We would also like to give a shout out to Ronnie and Mandi Sharpe for getting us started on this awesome new tradition of ours! They have been doing it for quite some time and it's a fantastic idea! Check out their blog here!

Monica is working on a 3 tier cake for a party tomorrow so she will be passing on this week, unless she edits herself in later. A friend of ours just returned home from his 3rd(?) trip overseas with the Army, and his family is throwing a big shibang! Anywho, here's my list!

Jeremy's List:

I'm thankful for Neti pots! A lot of CFers use them from what I hear to help with sinus problems. I have never really had problems with my sinuses until I get sick. I just always thought it was part of getting sick to have really clogged sinuses, sinus headaches and some mild pain across the cheeks, between the eyebrows and across the forehead. I was talking to a CFer friend of mine who said she uses a Neti pot more frequently and especially when sick to help clear them out. Yesterday I felt pretty crummy. My sinuses were very clogged and hurting a little more than usual when I'm coming down with something. I say hurting only because I don't know what other word to use. To me hurting means you are in a lot of pain, but it was not bad at all. It was more annoying than anything. I went to Walgreens, bought me a Neti pot and used it. Whoo buddy! I like it! It worked really well! A little on the weird side, but effective! My left side cleared up completely and my right side felt much better. I'm pretty sure I have another polyp in my right sinus but that's another story. Today I feel much better. Hopefully I have diverted this cold!

I'm thankful for active babies in mommy's tummy! My boys have been moving and grooving in there! As I mentioned in our 22 Week Belly Pics post a lot of our family got to feel them moving over Christmas and I've gotten to feel them almost every day! I absolutely love it! Feeling the little "bumps" and rolling against my hand is miraculous! God never cease to amaze me with his creations! The way women can carry tiny little human beings inside them and the way they grow and develop is nothing short of a miracle! Feeling my boys bumping, punching, kicking my hands is my way of feeling connected to them right now. Monica is carrying them and gets to feel every movement, so I'm excited when I get to feel them too! I also could not be happier that my wife gets the blessing of carrying children! I love seeing her tummy grow and hearing her talk about them moving inside her! We are extremely blessed!

So what are you thankful for?! Let us know will you?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Belly Pics: 22 Weeks

Monica is 22 weeks pregnant with our twin boys as of last Friday! It's so exciting to watch her belly grow! I love it! We had a fantastic Christmas, spent with family and friends! Some of our family hadn't seen Monica in awhile and it was nice to see everybody and their reactions to her pregnant tummy! Her older brother, her sisters, her mom and several other family members got to feel our two little rockstars rocking out in mommy's tummy! The little punches and kicks keep getting harder and harder! It NEVER gets old for either us!

Enough about all that though, here's the long awaited 22 week Belly Pics!

                              Baseline                                                                        22 Weeks

                              20 Weeks                                                                         22 Weeks     


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Generosity & Moving Babies

It's another week to stop and reflect on all the many things we can and should be thankful for in our lives. Life can get crazy busy and it gets so easy to overlook all the things in life we can be thankful for. So let's get to it folks! Here's what Monica and I are thankful for this week....

Monica's List:

I am thankful for movement! We learned at our last ultrasound that both placentas are anterior. This means they are between my belly and the babies. My doctor said that was the reason why I hadn't been feeling them move very much up until that point. She told me as they continue to get bigger I will be able to feel them more and more! Well this past week that has been the absolute truth! I feel them move everyday, for most of the day! It is the most AMAZING thing! I pretty much smile every time! :) So far it's looking like A is going to be our rambunctious lively one and B is going to be more chill and calm. It seems like baby A never stops moving and only every once in a while do I feel a slight bump on my right side from B. Matter of fact ...A keeps bumping me as I type this! lol! Oh man...I have a feeling that boy is gonna keep us on our toes!

I am so thankful that Jeremy has been able to feel them too!! We were both so excited for that day to come! He has felt A at some point every night for the past several days! I'm so thankful God has given us the gift of our twin boys and we get to bond over them! It makes me feel even that much more close to my hubby knowing that the boys are a mixture of the two of us! It is such a miracle!

Jeremy's List:

I'm thankful for the generosity of others! It's no secret that Monica and I are extremely blessed, which I think is an understatement. Monica and I just purchased a 4 door vehicle a few weeks ago. It has been running like a champ! It's such a nice car and we're extremely grateful for it. I'm a dork when it comes to cars. I like to do little stuff to them to make them "cool." Every vehicle I've ever owned has had tinted windows, an aftermarket head unit (radio), subwoofers, and an eyebrow (tinting or vinyl across the top of the windshield). Dorky I know, but I like it. Money has been exceptionally tight around our home with buying the new vehicle unexpectedly (we were not looking to purchase a car, it was a great deal and fell into our hands, couldn't pass it up). We had to pay taxes and license and insure it. We just got our car insurance bill for the next 6 months, which now has 3 cars on it. So what we set aside every month to pay it is not enough and we'll have to scramble to sell her old car so we can take it off. Anybody looking for a 2000 Toyota Solara? :) Anyways, I said all that to say this... we had two people give us a total of $150 so we can have the windows on our new car tinted. They said it was for the babies so they didn't have to deal with the bright sunlight, lol! So now we'll be able to tint the windows! Normally I would use the money for necessities or to pay down debt like we do with all our extra money, but it was insisted upon by the givers that the money be used as intended.

Also, this past week, we were given a total of $200 that is supposed to be designated to purchasing stuff for the babies! Monica and I have been too busy to shop yet and were very excited that we now know what we're having and can shop appropriately. However, as I said, money has been snug. Now thanks to 2 people, one who we know and have thanked and the other who is anonymous, we can shop for our boys. These 4 people will never know what their gifts mean to Monica and I. It's extremely humbling and makes me feel bad to an extent knowing that they worked hard to earn that money to turn around and selflessly give it to us. We are extremely grateful, and so will our boys be someday!

I think I've rambled enough for a day. So.... what are you thankful for today?! That's not a rhetorical question either. Share your thoughts and comments! Have a great weekend and Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Honesty is the Best Policy

I could make a HUGE list of the reasons why I love this man.......
He makes me laugh like crazy!! He is unselfish, kind, tenderhearted, Godly, upright, sweet, romantic, level headed, smart, compassionate, caring, generous, giving, optimistic, humble, organized, hard working, forgiving, loving, easy going, fun... the list could go on and on...
Reason # 546 ;) is that he is HONEST! I could come up with several stories to back up this trait in my husband, but today I will only share one.
Jeremy and I were recently Christmas shopping at Jcpenney's and we found several things we wanted to buy. I don't remember what the total was but Jeremy gave the girl cash. She handed him his change and he paused for a second. I hadn't realized anything, but he noticed that she gave him too much change back. She typed in that he had given her more cash than he had. (As you see above, another reason why I love my husband is because he is smart! He is quick with numbers and noticed it was wrong immediatley. I didn't notice a thing. LOL!) He then nicely explained to the cashier that she had typed in that we gave them more money than we actually did... so it was too much money back. He helped her figure out the right amount and it was a difference of $8 or so. Would Jcpenney ever have noticed that measly $8? No, probably not! But Jeremy knew it was too much change and he made sure to do something about it.
Jcpenney is doing this thing right now where they give away these little buttons when you buy something. There is a code on the back and you enter it in on the website to see if you won anything. I have gotten several of these this season and they have all been "sorry try again's". But of course! The cashier thanked Jeremy for his honesty and said, "Here, have a few extra buttons! I hope you win something for being honest!" And guess what?!! Yep, we won $20 to Jcpenney! Not only did God pay back his honesty, but he doubled it! That's how God works! He is always faithful! Luke 6:38.
I am so proud of the man I get to call my husband! They say, "Don't marry a man unless you would be proud to have a son just like him!" My prayer for our boys is that they will be Godly men of strong character and integrity. That they will love God first and love others before themselves. That they will be kind, caring, generous, humble, hard working and strong men of God...... just like their daddy! One thing is for sure, I sure am a blessed blessed girl!!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Twin Gender Reveal!

My apologies to all those who have been anxiously awaiting this post to find out what we're having! Especially you John! Sorry to keep you waiting man! It was an action packed weekend! A very busy action packed weekend. I wanted to be able to put the video of us cutting the two cakes on here. So.... here it is!

We are overjoyed to hear that we're having two boys! There was a little sigh inside each of our hearts, in hopes that we would have at least one precious little girl, but it's all in God's glorious hands! His plan for our lives includes 2 boys! As a man, of course I think it's awesome that I'll have two little buddies, my two sons, to teach how to fish, to swim, to ski, to play sports, to workout with :) I can't wait to meet our two precious boys! OH, I almost forgot to mention.... I felt them kick for the first time... definitively! It was incredible! If you haven't experienced it I don't know how to put it into words. It was so amazing! As I mentioned in a previous post, both placentas are anterior, which means they are between the babies and Monica's stomach. This is why we haven't felt much movement until now.

That's all over! I felt Baby A! He is on Monica's left and is breech, which means head up. So his head is on her left and just above her bellybutton line. He was punching away in there! There were 4 or 5 definite punches! We almost thought we'd be able to see her stomach poke out they felt so strong! Then it felt as though he was rolling onto his side or something. It felt like a small stick running across the tip of my ring finger several times. My guess is his little forearm was waving back and forth. It gets more and more amazing everyday. To know that I just "touched" one of my boys for the first time through mommy's belly is priceless. I got to feel more movement tonight, and I must say.... I can't get enough! I LOVE IT!!!

Here's a few pics from our party! Enjoy!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Gender Reveal & Planning

Well it's that time again! Another week forever recorded in the history books. It has been a GREAT week for us. How about we get straight to the lists!

Monica's List:

I am thankful for ultrasounds also (check out Jeremy's post below)! What an Amazing week it has already been so far! I can't wait for tomorrow night! We are having a gender reveal party to publicly find out the sexes of the twins with our close friends and family. As Jeremy said in our 20 week ultrasound update, everything went wonderful at our ultrasound! I could have sat there watching them all day!

I am so thankful for the two miracles that God has placed in our care! We will forever treasure and protect His children! We know that they belong to Him and he has lent them to us for this short time on Earth! We will do our best to raise them with a love for the Lord and for others. We sure are going to need the Lord's help and I pray he guides and directs everything we do! Last year the first thing on my Christmas list was a baby! No lie! haha! I don't know why, but I had started to prepare myself for the fact that it might not would ever happen though. It was the number one thing I desired, but in my head it was kind of a joke too. I knew the huge amount of money it was going to take to just ATTEMPT to get pregnant, it just seemed so unattainable. In my wildest dreams I never would have imagined that Christmas this year I would be almost 23 weeks pregnant with not one... but two beautiful babies! When God pours out a blessing He always exceeds anything I ever could have hoped or dreamed for! Double the blessing as we say! :) God is good... and I am just thankful!!

Jeremy's List:

This week I'm thankful for ultrasounds! We have been really spoiled and have gotten to see our two little munchkins a lot. More than with an ordinary pregnancy. We will get to see them a lot more too since we're having twins. I can't imagine not being able to see them. Back in the old days before ultrasound technology you had to wait all 9 months before ever seeing your baby! I know that's all people knew so they didn't know what they were missing, but I do and they really missed out! :)

I'm thankful our twins cooperated for the ultrasound technician. As I mentioned earlier this week, the tech had no problem telling what they were and I'm thankful she could see! Kind of would have thrown a wrench in our whole gender reveal party idea if they hadn't cooperated. Lol!

I'm thankful that as of tomorrow around 7:30pm Monica and I will know if we are having boys, girls, or one of each! I am big time into planning. I plan EVERYTHING! I always have a plan! Which can be difficult sometimes when God's plan is different from what mine is. Guess you're gonna have that though. We will finally be able to start planning! We will be able to pick out names, plan a theme for the nursery, start buying outfits we like, and start actually working on the nursery! Right now it's a second bedroom with some baby stuff in it. Can't wait to get to work on it!

Finally, on a small note, I got some new shoes. I'm thankful for them. I like the brand Etnies. The shoes I have, I've had for 3 years. They're rough looking but are still comfortable and fit. I'm pretty tight with money and didn't want to spend money on a pair of shoes for myself. I found a pair online for $40 with free shipping! It's the little things that make life great! Thank you God for the little things!

So what are you thankful for this week eh?!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Our most exciting post yet! 20 Week Twin Baby Pics!!

We had our 20 week ultrasound today! It was a monumental day in the Parks household! Both grandmothers were in attendance, and it was incredible. So where do I start?

Today they were checking for many different things. They were checking the size of the babies, the position, measuring all the developmental markers to make sure they were growing and developing appropriately, checking for any deformities, checking Monica's cervix (awkward to talk about maybe but they checked it out), and looking to see what gender they were!

Baby A weighs 12 ounces and is currently breech (butt down). Baby B weighs 13 ounces and is vertex (normal, head down). They measured their humerus bones, femur bones and their skulls. Every mearurement came back spot on for a 20 week baby! They looked at their kidneys, stomachs, bladders, heart, aorta, brain, ventricles of the brain, and brain stem. All looked spectacular! They checked to see if they had cleft palates and other deformities, which all came back negative!

The ultrasound lady was a dream! She has been doing ultrasounds for 30+ years. She was very informative and taught us a lot along the way. She showed us all kinds of things! She didn't rush through it, but took her time and we got to see the babies a lot! We saw them moving and kicking, and at one point, we watched Baby A kick Baby B in the head!! Don't make me come in there you two! lol! I'm gonna have to start discipling already :) It was awesome to say the least! Monica was like a kid on Christmas Eve last night. She could hardly sleep in anticipation for today! They were very active little boogers!

We learned why Monica hasn't been able to feel much movement and why I haven't felt anything hardly.... both her placentas are anterior. Which means they are in between her belly and the babies. They are kicking and punching away at the placenta, but momma can only feel the real big ones. Poor placentas.

They checked Monica's cervix, which the lady said looks very strong and could support another 2 babies in there! She's got one strong cervix! Which means as long as everything else goes smooth, the risk of premature labor is minimal. With twins, it is always more common, but because she has such a strong cervix they said they don't anticipate that she will go into to premature labor. I always knew she had them good birthing hips! Just kidding! Hahaha! ;)

We told the tech when we went in that we did not want to find out the sex of the babies.... yet. We asked her to put the results in an envelope for us. After she did the full ultrasound and checked her cervix, I asked her if she knew what they were yet, and she replied "Oh yeah, I know what they are." Monica asked if she was certain or had to guess, to which she replied "Honey, I've been doing this for 35 years, I know what they are." Lol! We had no idea she had even looked! She said she had already printed pictures too! She's good this lady!

Afterwards a doctor came in to talk about the results. She asked why we had to do IVF, and we told her it was due to my CF. She asked my mom about our family history, how I was diagnosed and such. Which on a side note, was partially due to my older sister Christa who my parents lost around 8 months of age. She had CF, and when I was born I had a bowel obstruction that resulted in having to have an iliostomy and reversal 2 weeks later. The bowel obstruction was the initial indicator. We told the doctor we had Monica tested and it came back negative. She was happy to hear that we had her tested. While she was talking to us, asking about us and more about my CF, she did another ultrasound and looked at them some more. Afterwords she told us some amazing news!

Monica and I still always have had, and probably will have a slight fear of our kids being born with CF. She could have some rare gene that doesn't show up on genetic testing yet. Afterall they find new ones all the time it seems. The doctor told us she was looking for several early signs of CF. I was completely unaware they could even look for things like that. She told us there are several that they can usually see on ultrasound that will give them an early indicator the child may have CF. She told us that NEITHER of our twins had ANY of the indicators!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I cannot tell you how exciting that was to hear! Praise the Lord!

Oh, and in case you were wondering why we had her put the gender results in an envelope, we are having a gender reveal party this Friday! Which means Saturday be looking for a post about what the sexes are!

Alright, enough babbling from me, here's some pics from our appointment today!

Baby A

Baby A: Spine and little butt!

Baby A: Back and you can also see the heart, the stomach and the little pelvic bones

Baby A

Baby B

Baby B: spine and little baby butt!

Baby B: Look at those little feetsies!

Baby A: On it's side

Both their heads, side be side... kind of

Baby B: Back

Baby B: Belly shot, if you look close you can see eyes, nose, and little teeth buds

That's the cutest darn ear I've ever seen!

Friday, December 7, 2012

20 Week Belly Pics!!!

Here's the 20 week belly pics! They're growing!!

20 Weeks
18 Weeks

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Mom car, Apps & Movement

It's Thankful Thursday time! Alright alright! Alright alright alright! Another week has past and is recorded in the history books! Now is as good a time as ever to kick back, relax, and reflect on all the good things in our lives that we're thankful for! Let's get started shall we!

Monica's list:

I am thankful I now have my own "mom" car! It isn't a new car... but it's new to me so that's exciting! We both have two door vehicles so needless to say when we found out it was twins we knew we were going to have to get different vehicles. My "new" car is a 2002 Chevy Malibu with only 30,000 miles!! It is the nicer LS version with all the added stuff and is in pristine condition! And.... I still have a sunroof!! Yeah!! ;) An older lady was the one selling it. She bought it brand new and treated it like it was her baby... you can definitely tell! It is older but everything still looks and runs new! We are going to be driving this car for a long time! Brand new vehicles are not personally a priority in our financial plan and goals. I feel like God blessed us in giving us a car we could afford, and that is just about as close to new as you can get (for a used car). Haha!

I am also thankful for my sweet hubby who had to jump through hoops to get everything settled and ready for me to drive my "new " car. He has taken car of all the inspections, licensing, insurance, and I haven't even had to think about a thing. He has hit several bumps in the road trying to get it all settled. :(  I am so thankful for a man that loves me so much and spoils me! He takes care of more things in our lives than I could list and I just couldn't be more appreciative! I really got a good one!

I am thankful for my Bible app! God's word is really precious to me and I can tell a difference in my life when I make it a daily priority. I love having it at my fingertips anywhere I go... in the car, on my lunch at work, when I'm waiting on something... I just love it!

I am thankful for movement! I have been feeling flutters for quite some time now but the movements are becoming stronger and more noticeable and often. I LOVE IT and just can't get enough of it! God gave women such a gift in being able to carry children! It is such a miracle and I could never express my gratitude that I get to experience it! I just can't wait for Jeremy to really feel them moving! I'll say it again, GOD IS GOOD!!

Jeremy's List:

I'm thankful for our new "parent" whip! Monica already eluded to our new ride, but I would like to add my 2 cents, lol. When I knew we would have to sell our vehicles and buy two different ones, it stressed me out. We are sooooo close to being debt free I can taste it (minus our IVF debt)! We haven't had a car payment for 2 years! I was really hoping we could sell ours and replace them with no additional debt incurred. That did not happen. I'm realistic and knew that to get something reliable and in halfway decent shape we'd have to spend a little. My blazer is on it's last leg I believe. Both our vehicles have over 190,000 miles, which means they won't sell for much. When we learned of this Malibu, I was reluctant at first. I didn't want to spend what they were asking. Once we saw it and drove it, we agreed it was definitely worth every penny. The bank wouldn't loan us the full amount, so we had to drain our savings to make up the difference, but we have the car! The sales tax and licensing was considerably less than my initial estimate as well, which will help the pocket book! Overall we have a great vehicle that should last us for another 150,000+ miles!

I'm thankful for frozen pizzas! I almost always eat a frozen pizza on my days off. I always have a to-do list a mile long on my days off and I get in go mode. I love that i can be working on stuff around the house or doing my treatments, pop a frozen pizza in the oven and have lunch 15 minutes later (we have a convection oven, it's the bomb! Cooks really fast!) They aren't healthy by any means, but I LOVE em!

So.... what are you thankful for today?! There's always something! Take a little time and think about it. Maybe say them out loud to remind yourself of some of the things you're thankful for! It only makes you crazy if you get caught! :) Have a great weekend everybody!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Twin Update & Christmas Lights

We had an OB appointment today! Everything is going great! Mommy Monica's blood pressure was good, and everything is going awesome! Mommy has been gaining appropriate weight (hardly anything). I'll let her give you the number if she so chooses. :)

The heart rates were 154 and 138. I was thinking we were having 2 girls. Can't really say why, it was just a gut feeling, but the difference in heart rates has me holding out hope that I may get my dream come true... 1 of each! As I've said in previous posts, I know it's all wive's tales and doesn't mean anything, but I'll put 0.43% trust in them and hold on to hope of 1 of each! Whatever God has planned is perfect for us!

I had some requests for Christmas light pictures so I thought I'd do one better and video them, along with a live shot of Mommy Monica's belly! Plus you have to see my twinkling bushes in action!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thankful Thursday: Taco Salad, Christmas Lights & Cooking

Happy Thankful Thursday yo! It's that time of the week where we sit back and reflect on a few of the countless things we could be thankful for! Another week has come and gone, which means we're that much closer to finding out the gender of our twins! I'll stop there so as to prevent rambling and move on to the real topic of this post.... thankfulness! What are you thankful for blog readers?! Here's our lists:

Monica's List:

I am thankful for taco salad! I don't know that I could get enough of it right now! It tastes so good! I've already had it twice this week for dinner! I try to sneak in as many tomatoes and as much lettuce as possible to get in even more of my veggies. These kids may just come out with a taste for taco salad if I keep this up! :)

I am thankful for the Christmas season! I just love everything about it! The music, decorations, holiday cheer, buying gifts for others, food ;), togetherness... most of all I am thankful that Jesus humbled himself and came to the Earth to die for my sins! This is one that is hard for me to wrap my mind around! I can't imagine giving my child for the sins of the world! I am so thankful for the sacrifice and will never truly know the extent of the price He paid.

I am thankful for a smooth pregnancy! People often ask me how I feel and the answer is always, "I feel great! I'm just me... with two babies growing inside of me!" I hear about women who have had such difficult and hard pregnancies and it makes me realize how fortunate I am! I really don't have a thing to complain about! I don't physically feel all that different from before I was pregnant. Sure my body is growing (in more places than one), I have been having some decent leg cramps that wake me up in the middle of the night (anyone have advice on those?), and after a long day at work I may be a little more tired now than I was before... but I have energy, haven't been sick, I am not moody, I am happy, I am not craving sweets or "bad" food... the list could go on and on. I had more of a sweet tooth before I got pregnant. That alone is so wierd to me but I'll take it!!! I know things are going to get more difficult in the next few months as my belly gets huge! But no matter what I refuse to complain! I have been given the most precious GIFTS, gifts that I have prayed for for over 4 1/2 years! I am blessed and will continue to just be SOOO THANKFUL!!

Jeremy's List:

I'm thankful for Christmas lights! I love decorating the outside of the house with Christmas lights! Monica has to keep me grounded or I'd go CRAZY! We saw a 12 foot tall inflatable snowman at Garden Ridge last week.... I was SOOOOO excited! I didn't get it though. :( Next year! I love to put up lights though! Monica likes simple, one color, classy, elegant.... I like loud and in your face! Our house is not a loud and in your face house.... yet! Little by little I keep adding to my arsenal every year. This year I had probably 5-6 strands of lights die on me. It would have cost more to replace all the burned out bulbs than replace them. I am moving to all LED's! YEA! Anyway I love doing it, and when I'm finished I will post a picture of the finished product on here for all to see.

On a side note, my neighbor was asking Monica about the lights on our bushes. They are LED's that have 20 different lighting patterns on them. Right now I have them on "Sparkle." Our neighbor said they're the talk of the neighborhood! :) Everyone keeps asking him if he knows where I got them. Makes me feel good! :)

I'm thankful for a wife that can cook! I really was genuinely concerned about this before I got married. I'm a picky eater, and like certain things. I never lived on my own and so never really learned to cook, other than the very manly skill of grilling! Monica is an excellent cook! She takes it upon herself to make me expand my horizons when it comes to eating. I'm really glad she does this! I don't want picky eater kids. I've learned that I really like grilled asparagus with some EVOO, garlic salt and black pepper. Anyway, I'm thankful that my sweetheart can flat out cook! She'll make it a cake that will knock your sock off with it's looks and taste too!

Lastly I'm thankful for the success of our Indiegogo campaign that a friend of mine suggested we start. It has been doing really well. It's humbling how many people have helped by sharing and donating to our cause! If you wouldn't mind after reading this, click the link below or in the top left corner of our blog, watch at least the first 8 minutes of the video and copy/paste the link on your Facebook/Twitter/Google+/Pinterest/email/wherever! Thanks everyone!

Monday, November 26, 2012

My Motivation

Motivation: A motivating force, stimulus or influence: Incentive, Drive

Different people all over the world are motivated to do different things. After all, that is how things progress. Motivation is one of the the driving forces behind innovation and invention. People are motivated to make things work better or more efficient, to challenge themselves, to win, to prove someone wrong, to make possible the impossible.

People are motivated to lose weight, to get in better physical shape, to become healthier.

People are motivated to excel at their careers.

People are motivated to make a difference in the world.

Motivation comes from various sources.

My motivation comes from God and my family. For the last 3 months I have doubled the amount of treatments I do. I have been running 4 days a week (except the last 2 weeks because of New Orleans and Thanksgiving) for a minimum of 3 miles each time. Today I went back to the clinic since I began the endeavors of becoming healthier.

My FEV1 went from 61% to 64%.

My initial reaction was almost that of disappointment. I had to catch myself. We can allow those feelings, those emotions to take over and ruin us. I had an increase in my PFT's. They went up, not down, and did not stay the same. Although it was not the increase I was looking for or expecting, it was an increase nonetheless. My doctor was happy, which makes me happy!

That 3% may be small, but it is that much more lung function that I have. Which interprets into that much more time I will get to spend with my wife, my twins (whom I CANNOT WAIT TO MEET) and my friends and family. That in and of itself is motivating!

Every time I lace up my running shoes and start to run, I think of my wife. I think of my twins. Every single time I run, I tell myself "This is for them, you push yourself the best you can.... for them." It's that simple. That's how I have been able to get up at 5 am before work and do treatments, and run when my legs hurt and I'd rather be a couch potato. I remind myself who it's for.

Lastly, I have peace. I have a peace that surpasses all understanding. I know that as long as I am doing my part to stay healthy, God will do His. His plan for my life is far better than anything I could dream up on my own. There is a peace in knowing that. There lies my motivation. To be on this earth as long as I can to be with my wife and kids, and see God's will unfold in my life. All I have to do is my part. Pretty simple when put that way isn't it?

My goal is to see and FEV1 > 70% by this time next year. When I was looking at my PFT record, I noticed that I haven't blown a 70% since 2008. There was one fluke a year and a half or so ago where I blew exactly a 70%. Both PFT's before and after that one were not close to 70%, so I write that one off. We'll see if I can accomplish it.

This kind of post is not my usual fashion, but it's what is on my mind. That initial flash of disappointment was replaced with joy and a feeling of accomplishment. I feel the best I have in a long time! Hopefully this post will help motivate some of you to go stronger and more diligently after your own goals!

So..... what motivates you?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

18 Week Belly Pic

We're officially 18 weeks pregnant with our twins!!! Everything has been going great so far! Monica has been having a few "growing pains" here and there still, and it seems like the day after these pains, her belly sticks out another inch! Not literally, that is an exaggeration.

The twins woke her up for the first time a couple nights ago moving! I know it's not fun to be woke up in the middle of the night, but it was exciting for us! We're are also pretty certain I got to feel them move about a week ago.

Every evening we usually sit on the couch for a little while after dinner, talking and watching a little TV. I always sit with my hand on her belly just in case! I had been thinking I was feeling some rolling around in her tummy, but it's really hard to tell if it's your own hand slightly moving or the twins because it was so subtle. We were just watching TV when all of a sudden there was a little "boop" on my ring finger just below my first knuckle! Monica and I both looked at each other as soon as it happened and in sync said "Did you feel that?!"

It was the tiniest little bump, but we both felt it! It was awesome! I cannot wait to feel more! Not a day goes by that I don't think about holding them, kissing them, staring at them while they sleep, and all the other stuff new parents do with their newborn babies! We are so incredibly excited! In a little over 2 weeks we'll know what they are too! Make sure you check back on December 15! That's when we'll post what gender they are! For now, here's our baseline, 16 and 18 week belly pics!

P.S. Sorry for the lighting. We will have to start taking them in the evening.

18 weeks

16 weeks

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Trouble 1 & Trouble 2 hit The Big Easy!

Saw these outfits and couldn't resist! They're just plain ADORABLE!
Monica and I went to New Orleans, LA two weekends ago! I was giving a presentation at the national respiratory convention called the AARC Congress. The presentation went spectacular, and we had tons of fun! Here's a few highlights of our trip!!


Gotta get me one of these!

Had to try some Gator meat! It was GOOOOD!!

YEA St. Louis......MO