About Us

About Us
Glenn and I have been married for nine spectacular years. We recently moved to Saudi Arabia, which is obviously very far away from both of our families. We keep this blog updated so we can stay close to our friends and fam and to keep a record of our family adventures. Glenn is enjoying his new job and I am loving being a stay-at-home mom. We have two sweet little boys, Tate and Finn and we love them to pieces every day. We also love date nights, good movies, good food, and being with each other!
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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Boys

What do you do on weekend mornings when Dad doesn't have to go to work?  
When you live in a house where all the floors are hard and your boys just need to wrestle.  Sometimes they end up wrestling on our bed.  And the wrestling quickly escalates from this:


To this:








Not a bad morning.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Pregnant with twins in Saudi Arabia

I'm 35 weeks pregnant and while it's certainly not been my favorite or most comfortable time of my life, I figured I should record it since it's my last pregnancy and it's been different from my first two in a lot of ways.
1st Trimester was so hard.  So so hard.  I started getting sick right around 6-7 weeks and I was so much sicker than I was with the boys.  I threw up almost everything I ate.  Nothing sounded good.  I got on Zofran at my 8 week appointment but it didn't make any difference at all.  Mornings were usually bearable but it got worse as the day went on and by afternoon I couldn't move from the couch without needing to run to the bathroom.  I was really worried knowing that the nausea lasted a really long time with my previous pregnancies, that I'd be that sick for the entire time but I got really lucky and around week 18 it started to taper off...and I got on some new nausea medicine called Diclegis which seemed to help a bit more.  I got really sick on the days when I forgot to take it so I have taken it every day pretty religiously.  I feel lucky every day that that awfulness didn't last any longer than it did.  So lucky.
When we went in to the Dr to see the baby at my 8 week appointment we brought the boys so they could see the ultrasound and we could tell them we were going to be having another baby.  So we all found out at the same time that we were going to be having 2 babies, not just 1.  We knew there was a small possibility and talking to Glenn afterwards, we both sort of had a feeling it might be twins, but we didn't really wrap our heads around it until we saw two little sacks with two little heartbeats.  Glenn immediately got so excited and started pointing out the babies to our boys.  Tate was thrilled and told everyone in the office and pretty much everyone he meets ever since, that his mommy is having twins!  Finny didn't really understand but he thought the baby pictures on the walls of the office were cute and started pointing at them telling us, "that baby is in mommy's tummy"  and then got really upset when we walked out of the building without any babies and said, "WAIT!  we forgot the babies!"  I'll be honest.  I cried when I saw those two little ones.  We'd been thinking about a big move to Saudi Arabia and the thought of two babies on top of that...or hey, even just on its' own, was a pretty overwhelming thought.  But as usual, Glenn's excitement and positivity is pretty contagious.  We started telling people a couple of weeks later and nearly everyone we talked to told us, "Oh, I've always wanted twins!  You're so lucky."  And you know what?  We really are.   It will be hard.  But having a baby is always hard.  This will just be extra hard.  And we Makechnies know how to do hard things.  So many people don't get the chance to have any babies.  I feel incredibly lucky to have been given the chance to raise two little babies and most days I feel ready to take on the chaos that will come with them.

2nd Trimester was much better health-wise.  It was pretty chaotic as we accepted the job offer with Aramco and got everything ready for the move.  Glenn was incredible, as usual, and organized and took care of so much so I wouldn't be stressed and wouldn't have to do too much work.  He's such a dreamboat.
At my 12 week appt. we took the blood test to see if the babies had any health problems and decided to see if they could tell the gender of the two babies as well.  A week later we got a phone call with the wonderful news that all of their tests looked normal, AND that we were having TWO baby girls.  Once again, Glenn's reaction was incredible.  He was thrilled and left work early to go shopping for our daughters.  He came home beaming at all the beautiful little girl things he found at Janie and Jack and proud as can be that he was going to have two little baby girls.  I was a little more daunted by the prospect of raising two kids who will be very different from the two kids I already have.  But there are a lot of experiences I would miss if I only had boys.  And the more I thought about it, the more I was so grateful that these two little girls would have each other.  One little girl would be pretty lonely in our family.  Our little girls are going to have a sister who are as close in age as sisters can get.  Our little boys love each other and have so much fun together and I'm so glad that our little girls will get to have our sweet boys as brothers and that they'll have a sister too.  Pretty lucky little ladies.

Once we moved to Saudi and got a little more settled here the 2nd trimester wasn't too bad.  There have been a lot of adjustments and growing pains and I'm certain there will be many more because this place is very different from the US.  But overall, I think we're doing pretty well.
I feel very lucky that I've had uncomplicated pregnancies with my first two babies so I don't have a lot of concerns going into this one, except for the obvious that they are twins.  They've been growing normally and seem to have no issues.  I haven't had early labor so the fact that my appointments have been more spread out here, and that I've not been able to see a high risk doctor here, hasn't made me worry because I'm doing okay.  It would be nice if I felt like the practice cared about me or were maybe just a little bit more concerned about me with my two babies...but they don't.  But I'm doing fine, so that's okay.

I got in with a doctor who was recommended by a lady in our morale group and he's fine.  I'm constantly adjusting (lowering) my expectations in this country.  I know that I will be fine and the girls will be fine health-wise, but the bedside manner here leaves oh so much to be desired.  I really miss my doctor back home.  She was wonderful.  But we're here now and trying to adjust to the way things are done.  My biggest concern right from my first appointment with Dr. Ashour was whether or not he would let me deliver, or at least try to deliver my babies naturally.  The norm in the states, and I was told it is the norm here as well, is that if the presenting twin is head down we can try for a vaginal delivery.  Then sometimes the second twin turns on its' own, or the doctor can turn it since there's more room in there and the babies are so small, so it can be delivered the same way.  There are risks, of course.  If something goes wrong I could end up delivering one one way and the second via c-section and be hurting from everywhere.  And obviously if there were any red flags along the way we'd just do a c-section to make sure everyone was safe and healthy.  My doctor, however, has been trying to talk me into just opting for a c-section from my first appointment.  "Cesarean very popular these days.  Many woman prefer them.  It's called c-section by demand."  "Much less pressure on genitals.  Genital organs stay intact."  "C-sections heal much quicker."  "Much less risk involved in cesarean."  He's even told us kind of bogus stories about how our babies, in their current position (baby a head down, baby b is breech) could lock jaws on the way out and then it would be a very difficult emergency cesarean.  Bogus.
By far the most frustrating part of this pregnancy has been dealing with the Middle Eastern mindset in this particular scenario.  I feel really bulldozed and like my preference does not matter in the least.  My biggest concerns are that I've never had a c-section and I've been told that the recovery is much harder and longer.  I don't have any help after Glenn goes back to work so I need to be back on my feet as soon as possible.  And the other concern is that I would love to spend as little time as possible in the hospital.  I will most likely have to share a room and the thought of sharing a recovery room for several days with one or possibly several ladies and their babies and their visitors sounds absolutely awful.  I just wanna go home.
The bottom line really is, I would like to know for sure going into delivery that my doctor will try everything possible to keep me and my baby girls safe, while also trying everything possible to help me deliver the babies the way that I feel the most comfortable.  Unfortunately, I am pretty sure that if anything even slightly unexpected happens, my doctor will be reaching for a knife.  And that makes me nervous.  I wish I could just commit to having a c-section so that I would be able to plan on it and know it's going to happen.  But the more I think and pray about it, the more uneasy I feel about it.  I just can't commit and so I'm stuck feeling uneasy.  I know we'll be okay no matter what happens.  I just wish I had a plan I felt good about with my doctor.

3rd Trimester has been a bit harder this time.  I was able to get around just fine in the beginning, but the last few weeks have been harder.  I still do pretty much what I want to but there are days when it's too painful to get out much.  The babes have really pinched my sciatica and I've got these amazing shooting pains in my back and down my legs.  Also this time my legs and feet have started to swell.  I never dealt with that before, but it's so bad by the evening that I can't squeeze into my flip flops.  When I'm really puffy I have creases in my legs and feet where only chubby babies should have creases. It's gross.  Apparently all the extra weight of the babes is blocking arteries carrying blood back up to my heart so it just starts to pool in my legs and feet.  My blood pressure has been fine, so it's not scary, just uncomfortable.  Everything else that I had in my previous pregnancies by the end has pretty much been the same, just amplified.  Heartburn?  Yep, it's really bad.  Really really bad.  Sore muscles and back?  Yep.  Difficulty sleeping?  Yep.  But I think the worst of it has just been in these last few weeks so overall, I've been pretty lucky.  No early labor.  Just some Braxton Hicks.  No bed rest.  No being confined to the house, which would have driven me absolutely nuts.  It may be getting more painful to get out and about but I can still do it.  And now I'm just a couple of weeks away from seeing our baby girls.  I can do a couple of weeks.
We're in the last few days of Christmas break.  Tate's had a three week break from school and starts back this Sunday.  It's been awesome to have him home.  He and Finn play so well together and we've had such a great time playing at parks, going to play places at malls, playing with new toys.  It's been a perfect last fling with my two kiddos.  
This last weekend we got a bunch of things crossed off our getting ready for the babies list.  Moved the bedrooms around, washed bedding and bottles, got stools for Finny so he can wash his hands by himself and I won't have to lift him, found some slippers for me for the hospital, and got our hospital bag packed.  Last night I had Glenn hang up some little tissue paper balls over the crib.  My sweet friend Devony made them for me with tissue paper from my Southlands baby shower.  I wish I had more to decorate and make our little nursery cutesie, but it will have to do for now.  Our shipment is supposed to be in Kingdom on the 19th of January.  We're scheduled to have the babies on January 25th.  So we'll see what that means for our shipment.  We're still up in the air about when to have all our Rakah furniture moved out to make room for our furniture.  And we have no idea exactly when our shipment will clear customs and arrive at our house.  It could be an extra chaotic first couple of weeks with two new babies and our whole house to unpack.  Not to mention a few days or weeks of doing without furniture while waiting for ours to arrive.  It's all a little crazy but I keep coming back to these two bits of wisdom: "we're not going to die."  These first few months with twin babies may be completely crazy.  We may get no sleep and be ridiculously overwhelmed.  We may be eating takeout shawarma every night.  We may be living out of boxes and dust and mess.  But we won't die.  So we'll just survive it as best we can and learn to let a lot of things go along the way.  And the second bit is something I keep coming back to that has been told to me in a couple of different blessings from my honey throughout this process, "My children will be happy.  And as I focus on the happiness and well-being of my children, I will be all right too."  I have certainly found that to be the case thus far.  My boys have transitioned admirably to their new life here and when I focus on taking care of them, and focus on how well they are doing, I am okay too.

So here we are, 17 days away from meeting our little girls.  I can't wait.  Every few hours I walk into their room, open the drawers full of teensy newborn clothes, (it still blows my mind that my babies might be small enough for newborn clothes!) and think about how fun it will be to love and hold my tiny little girls.  I do wish I had my rocking chair.  I wish I had my own comfy bed and mattress.  But we've made do this far.  We'll figure out what's coming next too.  Tate is so excited.  He can't wait to hold them and kiss them and talks about how much he will do to help us.  Finn has started to get excited too, though he's still pretty young to understand all the implications of these girls' arrival.  Sometimes when he is sitting on my lap, he hugs my belly or puts on hand on each side and sings, "rock-a-bye babies" to my belly while trying to rock the babies side to side.  It makes my heart smile.  What lucky little girls these girls are.

Overall, especially considering the move and the fact that we're having twins, this pregnancy has been pretty darn smooth.  Now we're at the end and just counting the days until we can move on to the next phase.  The starting to feel better, getting adjusted, loving our children while surviving the chaos, next phase.  Bring on the babies!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Ras Tanura

Just a couple of weeks after we arrived, Glenn took the boys to the beach up at Ras Tanura for the morning.  I had a massive migraine I couldn't shake and he decided to take them somewhere fun while the weather was still nice and left me home to rest.  They all came home talking about what a great time they had and how perfect the beach was.  I wish so much that I had been able to go.  It's a little too chilly now to venture out much in our swimming suits, but I'm sure it will be warm again very very soon.  
I love looking at the beautiful pictures Glenn took of their day together.  I realized that I had forgotten to post them on the blog and these pictures absolutely need to be in our family yearbook so, better late than never!

















 Man, I love my little boys.





Glenn did such a good job capturing their little faces and personalities in these pictures.  I'm so glad I was able to look through them and see how much fun they had even though I wasn't able to be there with them.

Christmas 2014

Christmas week began on Monday with a trip to our Rakah medical clinic.  The boys weren't feeling great and we went to see if they could diagnose pink eye.  The Dr. there was very nice but told us that we'd just have to wait because he couldn't tell if it was anything that could be treated yet.  So we hung out on Monday and by Tuesday both boys were super gunky eyed and we got on the first bus to main camp to get ourselves a Dr. appt. there.  There have been a bunch of illnesses going around camp so it was really only a matter of time before we caught something.  Luckily we got to the clinic early enough that we didn't have to wait very long for an appointment.  Glenn was able to come meet us there and help out.  He even got to come home early to help take care of everyone since I wasn't feeling well either.  The boys and I have had colds and just felt generally drained and yuck for a few days.  The doctor said Tate and Finn both had pink eye and what looked like cold viruses.  She also said that Finn had some fluid on one ear but that it hadn't turned into an infection yet.  Well, great.  
That night we had committed to be at a Christmas party and I was playing hymns for the singalong part so we went, Glenn stayed in the car with the boys while I played the piano at the party, then we went home.  The next day the boys seemed to be doing a little better and we decided to brave a Christmas Eve dinner party we had been invited to that night.  Tate had fun playing but Finn got fevery quickly and we ended up leaving early.  Poor kid.  
We got home and got ready for bed.  Then we put out our stockings and sat down to watch White Christmas, our Christmas Eve traditional movie.  Then we heard Santa's sleigh bells outside.  The boys were so excited!  We looked around and found that our Elf, Elfred, had gone.  Glenn went down the street to see if he could see where Santa was going and determined that he was headed to main camp first so we had time to hurry and get to bed before he came back to Rakah.  So we hurried upstairs, read our story, gave the boys all their eye drops and cough medicine and got into bed.  
When Glenn and I were heading to bed an hour later we went in to check on the boys and take Finn to the bathroom and he was burning up with fever.  The thermometer said 104.4 so I called Aubry, my personal on call medical professional.  Seriously, what would I do without her?  Even on the other side of the world?  She advised us to get him in a lukewarm bath...which ticked him right off, and give him some more drugs to lower his temp.  It helped and he went right back to sleep.  
Both kids coughed all night making it hard for all of us to get any sleep.  By morning Finn's fever was back so the poor kid was pretty subdued during all the festivities.  We woke up the boys and they found candy canes that Santa had left on their beds to let them know that he had come while they were sleeping.
Then we headed down stairs to check out what he had left for us.
The boys were very excited about all their surprises.  They both asked for surprises this year, which worked out very well for Santa.  He's good at surprises.  Finn's favorite of the day was probably his little M&M fan that he found in his stocking.  Probably because he was so hot and fevery all day!
Tate's face was precious opening each of his presents.  He was so excited every single time.
Finn was happy too but his face generally looked like this:
because the poor kid felt so lousy.
Santa brought Finn a nerf bow and arrows and Tate some race tracks and cars.
And each boy got a nerf gun in his stocking too.  Very spoiled, these boys.
Santa brought our family a few surprises too.  A Wii and some fun games to play.  We've made good use of them already, and I have a feeling that they will come even more in handy when the two little sisters arrive.
Most of the boys presents were books and games.  Tate also got some legos, which he started using immediately to build new creatures and inventions.  And Finn got some blocks, which he prefers to use as he would a ball.  Like most any other toy he has.  If it's not for throwing then what good is it after all? Glenn loved his present from Kenzie.

She painted him a red sox canvas.  Which was even more perfect considering he was wearing the very same logo on his t-shirt that morning.

Auntie Kenzie gave us all some very thoughtful gifts.  She gave me some pretty wall hangings and the boys got the perfect star wars toys.  Thanks Auntie Kenzie.
After the first few Santa gifts were opened Finny took up residence on one of the couches and pretty much stayed there the rest of the morning.  We brought him presents to open once in a while, but he was feeling pretty lousy and didn't want to move much.

It was a wonderful Christmas morning.  We were all very spoiled.  Me, probably most of all.  Which is becoming a trend.  Glenn is VERY good at giving gifts and taking care of me.  He knows that I've been a bit of a mess adjusting to life here and dealing with a difficult pregnancy and of course, anticipating the chaos that will ensue after the babes arrive.  So he gave me the perfect gift.  Something to look forward to and be excited about.  He's running the London marathon at the end of April and he got our whole family tickets to go with him.  At first I was excited, but pretty nervous about it considering that I will be alone for at least the marathon day with my FOUR children in London just a few months after giving birth.  But then I opened two more presents: itineraries for Aubry and Mallory to join us for a few days in London, and suddenly it was no longer stressful but incredibly exciting.  Aubry and Mal had both been planning to visit here after the babies arrived, but stinkin' Saudi very recently decided to not approve any more sibling visas.  I was pretty crushed and ticked about it, so when I found out that instead of them being able to come here, we just switched things around and we'll be able to play in London together, it made everything so much better.  Well done, once again my dear husband.  Well done.
After breakfast Glenn drove us to main camp and dropped us off at the medical clinic to get Finn checked out.  He had an ear infection and we left with a bunch of antibiotics to add to our daily regimen of cough medicines and pink eye medicines.  Good times.  Glenn went to work for a couple of hours while we were at the Dr. and then he was able to leave and take us home for the rest of the day.  Everyone took naps and then we just hung out for the rest of the day playing with new games and relaxing.  We had our traditional birthday party for Jesus on Christmas evening instead of Christmas Eve this year and talked about what we wanted to give Jesus this year.  Then we spent a couple of hours skyping with family before bed time.  
Our first Christmas in Saudi Arabia.  And in spite of all the sickness and being away from family and everything else that made this Christmas very unique, it was a really wonderful Christmas.  We spent all day together with our little boys and it was pretty perfect.