Friday, December 30, 2011

Coming soon, we think...

Hey girls,

Daddy just felt like writing you. It's after midnight now on December 30th night. It's now officially New Years Eve and It won't be long until you're here. Tonight was fun. I took some video of you guys moving around inside of Mommy. Audrey, girl you are bouncing! Slow your roll. Haha. Bailey, it's so cool to see your tiny little head and arm roll around. This is such a special moment in our lives. Mommy is about as pregnant as she's going to get. She's beautiful. I'm honored to be her husband. I pray you girls are sweet, lovely ladies like her. She is an amazing woman and you better appreciate her. If you take nothing else from all that I've written, love your mother and be thankful.

Mommy has contractions all throughout the day at this point in the pregnancy. Some really hurt. Others aren't as bad. That's per Mommy. You guys kind of push out in opposite directions. It can be tough determining what's a contraction and what's just you guys being rowdy. We're so anxious to have you here. It's not like we're going to lose anymore sleep than we already do. Mommy isn't sleeping. She can't really lay on her sides, or her back, or her stomach. She has seriously slept halfway sitting up. Whatever works. I'm in "ready" mode. I hear a bump in the night and I think it's go time. I hear grunts. I wake up. I lie awake and think about you and Mommy. Like I am doing right now. Mommy is trying to sleep and I'm too excited to go to sleep because you are coming soon (and college football is on).

I pray for you guys and Mommy. I love our family. We may not have all of the finest things and our house is going to be snug for a while but there's NOTHING we can't do. With God and hard work. We will go through every moment of it together. I'm sure Mommy will show you how to be a lady. Daddy will show you how to be a corny goofball (I'm good at that). You will never not feel loved. You and your brothers are everything to me and Mommy. I better lay down now. What if tonight's the night? I have to be of as clear of mind and focused as ever to make sure everything goes as smooth as possible. When it's the time... Know this, when I put down this tablet, I'm kissing the loves of my life through the love of my life's skin. I'll say your prayers with you. I hope you rest for Mommy. I'll be right there beside you. Goodnight my angels.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

35 Weeks

We arrived for our 2:00 appointment at 1:45. KARYN WAS EARLY!!! If you know her, you know that never happens. She left work earlier than she usually does because it's cold and rainy out. She was allowing extra time to be extra safe. HUGE shout out to her for this. So so so very proud of her.

We just thought to ask if her doctor's office validates parking. They don't. I joked with the receptionist that I was surprised we're not being double charged for parking since she's carrying twins. The lady joked back that I probably shouldn't give them that idea. We're sitting in this, all too familiar, waiting room with 8 pregnant women and 2 dads (including myself). With today's check in, I became Mayor of Ft. Sanders Hospital on Foursquare. About time. I plan on holding that title for a while. With us now on weekly visits and getting close to time for delivery, I will be here often. There's a lot of grunting from the pregnant women in here. It's not just my wife. I can hear 1 lady telling another that she's pregnant with her 1st and she's so uncomfortable. My wife is carrying twice the babies and a thyroid tumor. My wife is tougher than any woman I know. She's my hero. So proud of her. We're waiting on the nurse to call her name and they better hurry. She's holding in a full bladder, waiting to give a sample. I have a feeling it's going to look like her water broke in the waiting room soon. I went to the receptionist and they went ahead and gave her a cup and off she goes! I'm alone in the waiting room now hearing words like cervix and uterus from the women around me. It doesn't even bother me anymore. I'm a pro at this by now. I've heard it all.

We get called back and they weigh her and took her blood pressure. All good. They're doing a swab today to see if she needs antibiotics at birth. We've never seen this nurse before and she's not real nice. I guess they can't all be gumdrops. From where I'm sitting, I can see something that looks like a pipe cleaner, on the floor, hanging half way out from under the table my wife is sitting on. I will find out what that is because it's gross if it's used. Even if it's not, eww. Thought about testing my blood pressure while we wait. I didn't. You wouldn't believe some of the things I do in these rooms while waiting on the doctors. I don't do anything that doesn't make Karyn laugh hysterically. K is getting restless wanting the doctor to hurry up. If she asks me to push the nurse button on the wall one more time, I'm going to do it. She's getting uncomfortable sitting on the table. She's never comfortable anywhere, anytime, in any position, anymore. As you can imagine, it's painful. She is ready for the baby girls to get here. So am I. Not just for selfish reasons, either. I hate seeing my wife suffer. That part sucks but it's for a great reason. A great blessing.

The doctor came in. It's not Karyn's regular doctor. An older lady who we find out has twin 23 year olds. I feel like we're in good hands. She asked the normal questions, "How do you feel?"Karyn laughs. "Notice anything different? Are you sleeping?" Karyn laughs. I love this about my wife. She's very lighthearted. She could have rattled off a list like the lady in the waiting room. She didn't. I have to tell the doctor all of what ailes my wife. Like she has 1 swollen ankle. Normal. Babies could be just leaning to one side. Elevate and drink plenty of water. I won't go into all of our questions. Some were answered. Some weren't. Some are just wait and see. The first question the nurse asked Karyn was the most difficult to answer. "Are you ready?" .......... Are we? Probably not because nobody ever is. We're as ready as we're going to be. We've been preparing mentally while K's body prepares physically for weeks. The doc checked my wife's cervix. Still closed but said with both little ladies breached (head up high, feet down low), that would be likely. We're not really waiting on her water to break. It could happen but when her body says "labor time", it's time. They won't stop labor after 36 weeks. It's the doctor on call's call between now and next Wednesday, if it starts. We, of course, have mixed feelings. Want them to stay in there and grow as much as possible but not break Mommy in half. There's a lot of baby in there already.

We go back next Tuesday for the 36 week visit. AND ULTRASOUND! Will be cool to know how much Daddy's princesses weigh. If they stay in there that long. Karyn's holding up pretty well considering. She's tired a lot, as expected. She's not sleeping much at night. I never know where I'll find her crashed out. Couch or bed. The doctor today told her to try and sleep in the recliner. If that works, you know what that means... I get the bed to myself. I will spread my wings and sleep like I've dreamed about for weeks. Kidding (kind of). I will miss my little angels kicking ME through Mommy and of course, Mommy's snoring. We celebrated our new babies first Christmas and now we look forward to a new year... as proud parents of twin girls. We love you Audrey and Bailey and we'll see you soon! Praying often for our growing family. Thankful.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I Hope

I hope you travel. I hope you always keep your roots. I hope you feel blessed in your circumstance. I hope you find your truth. I hope I guide you right. I hope I never fail you. I hope you'll understand and forgive me when I do. I cherish every moment. I hope you know I love you. I hope you read this often. I hope you know it's true.

Daddy

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

34 weeks

We originally had an 11:30 appointment so I took a 1/2 day off. Karyn's coworker had made plans a month in advance to not be in the office but K forgot with so much going on. We changed our appointment to 3:30 so I had some time to waste around downtown Knoxville. I went to a little store called Mast. It's one of my favorites. I had a gift card so I took the time to finish up some Christmas shopping. Once I escaped the store (I say escaped because it is less than a week until Christmas and people are crazy), I decided to grab some lunch. So here I am. Eating sushi and writing this blog post.

This appointment is just a checkup and we most likely won't get an ultrasound. We do have a lot of questions. Karyn has been having a lot of painful contractions and so we want a professional opinion. She is as tough as nails so it's hard to gauge what's Braxton Hicks and what's really real. I truly believe the babies will be on their way out and she'll think it's gas. She still hasn't been sleeping much. Audrey and Bailey are trying to push their way out. I took a video of her stomach a couple nights ago and you can see the girls rolling around inside of her. It's an amazing sight. I don't see how anyone could see such a sight and deny the existence of God. It's such a miracle and I'm thankful to be a part of it.

I arrived in the parking garage at the hospital about 2:45. Still 45 minutes until our scheduled appointment. Karyn won't be here for a while. I usually just hang out until she gets here but since I've been fighting off a cold/flu, I will take this opportunity to catch a little nap.

The nap didn't happen but oh well. Here we are. In the doctor's waiting room. Waiting for my lovely wife's name to be called. With as much money as we're paying this place, they should at least offer wifi. I like to stay connected. It's 3:35 right now. There's a few other women in here. One expecting mother is rocking a shirt that says "Tis the season to be pregnant.". It would appear to be the case. I notice every pregnant woman right now. Mostly because I fear them. I don't care how insensitive it sounds, hormonal women are nuts. There's only one other confused looking dad so we're greatly outnumbered. Dr. Phil is on the TV again. It makes me glad I usually work at this time of day. His voice reminds me of a penguin in pain. Speaking of penguins... time to waddle on back. I'm hoping they want a sample from me because I have to pee.

They didn't want that sample. Of course. They were kind enough to let me use the restroom so we're both good to go now. They weighed my bride, took her pee sample, and sent us on to exam room 5. They checked Karyn's blood pressure. Looked good. We discussed contractions with our nurse. We struggle with what's a contraction and what's not. I asked if we could take one of the little machines home that monitor contractions. They said no. Probably best since they would charge us twice for it. Yes, I did say that to them. The nurse left and now we're waiting on the doctor. We're seeing a different doctor today. Karyn's regular doctor is on vacation. Better now than for the delivery. There's a good chance Karyn's doctor won't deliver the twins. It'll be whomever is on call when she goes. Karyn hasn't come to terms with this yet but she will. When it happens. She said she's going to have the babies on Friday, January 6. She says her doctor will be available then. No idea how she knows this but I believe her.

The doctor came in. A lady we've never seen before. She saw that we mentioned contractions so she wanted to do a test that will tell us if she's likely to go into labor within the next 2 weeks. It'll be a couple hours for the results and we're not waiting here for them. They will call us after hours. I should be able to include the results before posting this blog. The doctor said Karyn's cervix is still closed so that's good news. She said the pains could be just the active twins instead of contractions and the main thing to look for is water breakage or spotting. We'll be on the lookout. That can be tough, Karyn said, because of middle of the night potty breaks. There are a lot of those done in the dark. What part of this whole process isn't a challenge? A wonderful, exciting, breath-taking challenge. We love it. Through ups and downs, we wouldn't trade a second of it.

We will now be making weekly doctor visits since we're getting closer. Next Tuesday is our next. Everything is going great. Keep those prayers coming. I will keep taking care of Mommy (when she's not trying to take care of one of us) while my babies grow stronger. Every day is a blessing. We're so thankful.

((Update: the nurse called with the results of the test to see if she's within 2 weeks of going into labor. She said negative. BUT with twins, it can change at anytime. We'll be on the lookout for her wetting herself (or other signs). That moment when we know. We'll keep you posted.))

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Anytime

We're getting close. We can feel it. Well, Karyn feels it and I sense that she feels it. It won't be long now until we have 2 new additions to our family. Recently, the twins have changed positions in Mommy's belly. They are a little lower than they have been. She's constantly getting kicked down low. Several times a day, I can hear her cry out from the pressure and the kicks. I feel helpless. As a man, I want to be a problem solver and right now, there's not much I can do. I can just try to make her as comfortable as possible. I try to. I'm happy to take on more responsibility so that she can relax more. I was massaging her legs when they cramped but I read that you're not supposed to do that. Something about possible blood clots, so I stopped. I was dreaming about massaging her legs and would wake up in the middle of the night and find myself doing it in my sleep. She said she didn't notice but I thought that was pretty funny.

Karyn isn't sleeping hardly at all. She's uncomfortable all the time but especially at night. When she does get comfortable, she's up all night peeing. She's hoping that Audrey and Bailey hurry up and come. I am as well but we also want them to be good and healthy when they get here. You hear a lot of stories about twins coming early and having to spend extra time in the hospital. We don't want that if we can avoid it. The faster we get them in their pretty nursery after they're born, the better. I asked the doctor if I could cut the umbilical cords but since it's a c-section that she will have, he said no. There's an issue with everything being sterile and they can't risk any unnecessary germs. I'm a pretty clean individual but I guess that doesn't matter. I understand.

My friends at work recently threw us a baby shower. It was awesome. I can't even describe how appreciative we are. My work family is a true blessing. Karyn was able to come over to my work so it wasn't just me, a man, sitting there clueless. Everybody talked about how beautiful Karyn is and how great she looks to be carrying 2 babies. She looks better than most women who are only carrying 1. I am biased but she is the most beautiful woman in the world and I'm proud to call her my wife. One of my best friends in the world, Nikki Kim, helped plan the shower and I can't thank her enough. It was a good mix of pink and my favorite color, orange. Nikki's mom actually took some of Nikki's stuff to make these cool lollipops from orange baby washcloths. They were so cool. There were plenty of cookies, candy, and a beautiful cake with 2 little plastic babies on top. The dolls were on top of little blankets with "A" and "B" on them. I'll probably include some of the cards and well wishes in this book I'm putting together for my girls. Again, thank you to those who participated. We love you guys.

I took the boys to the Maryville Christmas parade over the weekend. We had a blast and the boys got tons of candy that was thrown from floats. We're doing what we can to get in the Christmas spirit. We put up our family Christmas tree and even added a little ornament for Audrey and Bailey. We played Christmas music and sipped egg nog. This has to be the strangest Christmas season I've ever experienced. I don't mean that in a bad way. It's absolutely wonderful. Just different and strange. We're doing most of our Christmas shopping online so we don't have to have Karyn out moving around more than what's necessary. In a way, our situation feels like Christmas. As a child lays awake Christmas eve waiting on Santa to arrive. We too lay awake. We're waiting on our tiny little gifts from God. They will be here before we know it. I only wish someone could tell us how many "sleeps" until we get our gifts.

We go back to the baby doctor on December 20. The 34 week checkup. The one the doctor called a "win". We won't get another ultrasound until 36 weeks (if she makes it that long). We hope she carries them as long as she can, comfortably. It won't be long until I have my babies in my arms. I'm so excited! I know Karyn, Jay, and Isaiah are too. Our family is really about to grow. No news on Karyn's thyroid. There won't be until after the twins are here. Please keep our family in your prayers. We thank you.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Your Room


I'm sitting in your room
In this rocking chair
Thinking about you
Wish you were here

All pretty in pink
Dressed up for you
Sure hope you like it
We certainly do

There's a crib and some diapers
And your names on the wall
Some thingies from friends
Who knows what they're called

We painted the walls
Steam cleaned the floors
We're waiting for you
It'll all be yours

You are 32 1/2 weeks
Mommy's still growing strong
She looks so beautiful
In your future home

I picture you playing
With dollies and such
I haven't even seen you
But love you so much

I'll take care of Mommy
While she takes care of you
This rocking chair hurts
I'm leaving your room

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

32 Week Check Up

We have an appointment at 1. I got here at 12:44. I'm waiting on mommy to arrive. I'm sitting in the warm lobby staring out the window. I always try to go out and greet her and help her in when she arrives. We get to have an ultrasound and we want the doctor to check her cervix. Karyn has been curious to know if she is dilated. I too am curious. We are looking for any signs that "go time"could be close. I have a bunch of questions for the doctor. I always do. Things come up in between visits and I try to keep notes so I don't forget anything. We have a nurse line that we can call at anytime if we do forget to ask something. Thank God for nurses! They do more than doctors throughout pregnancies, truth be told.

My bride arrived about 1:10ish. We check in and sit down. The waiting room is decorated for Christmas. It's really calming and beautiful. It smells of pregnant women and anxious daddies. I love it. This is such a great feeling. The opportunity to go through this with my wife is such a blessing. God is great.

They call us back to the ultrasound room and have Karyn lay down and squirted a gallon of lube on her belly. The ultrasound tech looked at Bailey first since she was in such a great position. She looks so pretty, even in black and white. They measured her head and legs and all the good stuff. She looks great! She tried to scan for Audrey with Karyn lying on her back but she was all balled up in a sleeping position. With it being so cold and rainy outside, I would be too. The tech had her lay on her side and was able to get great pics of my beautiful Audrey. They scanned all of the good stuff and everything looked great! We were able to get pics printed of both the front of their faces and both of their profiles. I tried to get a pic of the tech administrating the ultrasound but apparently there is a rule against it. I took some without her knowing. I'm a bad boy. We finished up and Karyn got dressed and situated. They had her go into the bathroom to get a pee sample. While in there, I was chatting with the nurses. I found out they had Karyn scheduled with a different doctor. She's very particular about her doctor. I had her nurse check to see if we could see her doctor and they had an opening. Yay! I'm good for something.

The nurse came in and checked her blood pressure. It's good. Audrey weighs 3lbs 15ozs and Bailey weighs 4 lbs. Neck and neck still! Bailey has moved to the side a bit so now they're side by side. Both breach so 0% chance of a vaginal birth. It will be a C-section. That was expected and now it's guaranteed. They give us percentiles but they are based on 1 child being in the womb so we take them with a grain of salt.

We have to wait for the doctor for a little while since we weren't originally scheduled with him. While we waited we sent some pics to Nana and Grammy. We also chatted about what we saw in the ultrasound and how we like the other tech a lot better. This one wasn't as friendly. The doctor finally came in. Basically, my wife has 8 lbs of baby right now. That. Is. Awesome. The doctor was very impressed. They are exactly where they need to be. I told the doctor that she knows how to grow them. We asked him to check her cervix for our own piece of mind.

He left while my wife got ready (I moved my chair to the head of the bed for obvious reasons). He came back in and checked her. He said she's thinning but not dilated yet. I asked if intercourse was still ok. He said "It's up to you guys but 8 lbs of babies, you may need to be acrobats." LOL! He said at this point, we may want to avoid anything that would encourage contractions. So... No more of that kind of lovin. He said if we make it 2 more weeks, it's a win. 36 weeks is a HUGE win. That's what we are shooting for. healthy babies at (at least) 36 weeks. We'll be past Christmas and ready to bring our princesses home.

Wouldn't it be cool if they were the first babies born in 2012? I think so. Only God knows when they will come. I'm happy to let Him lead. I just want a couple healthy baby girls. I'm too excited for words. We go back to the doctor in 2 weeks. No more ultrasounds until 36 weeks (God willing). Keep those prayers going up! We need them.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Anxious


OK... Not gonna lie... I'm so anxious for my girls to get here. I know that they need to stay in there as long as possible. I'm just saying, for selfish reasons, I want to hold them. Kiss the soft hair on their heads. Tell them in person that I love them. Patience, Jason. Patience.

I think about them all the time. What they'll be like. Who they'll resemble the most (Say me. Even if it is Karyn, lie to me. This is the only time it's ok). I can't wait to see my beautiful wife hold our little girls. All of these preparations have me going nuts.

We're at 32 weeks and we go to the doctor tomorrow. I can't wait to see my baby girls. Even if it's only through an ultrasound. Seriously though, I would like the twins to weigh 5 1/2 - 6 lbs, at least, when they're born. I want them to be good and healthy. Karyn said, "That's 12 POUNDS of baby!!!". I can't argue with that! Haha. She's doing great. We'll see. Only God knows.

P.S. The names on the wall in the picture were painted by my wife's sister in law, April Faulk. How awesome are those! The butterfly is actually a rug. Fits perfectly there IMO.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Preparations

It's been a stressful couple of weeks at the Smith house. We're trying to get everything ready for our little additions. Emotions are running high. Christmas is just a few weeks away but its hard to focus on anything other than the pregnancy. So much to plan. My mom (Nana) and my sister in law threw Karyn a baby shower and to Karyn's surprise, her mom (Grammy) and sister came. They flew down from Boston for it. I know how special that was for my wife. Very cool that they could come. I want to say thank you to everyone who spent the time and money to help us prepare for the little ones. It means a lot. Our families rock. God and family are the greatest gifts. Even if you don't always get along, you only get one set. Sometimes you have to bite your tongue. Sometimes you won't be able to. When that happens, you ask for forgiveness and move on. Love your family but stand for something. You can always find common ground.

We visited the specialist for my wife's thyroid tumor a few days ago. There isn't a lot he could tell us. They really won't know until they get in there how serious it is. I can tell you, it's VERY serious to us already. Like someone told me, "It's only minor surgery if it isn't happening to you." That's the truth. My wife has kept her sanity through all of this better than I have. I worry a lot about her and our family. My faith in God is very strong but I am weak. I'm emotional just writing this. In the end, I know everything will work out and God has His plan. We won't go back to the specialist until after the babies are born and she has the surgery. Pray for my beautiful wife's speedy recovery. I know I will.

I don't think my wife and I have slept a whole night in weeks. It wears on you. I know what she's doing is special. I've been told (repeatedly) that I don't, and never will, understand what she is going though. This is true. Nobody does, or ever will, unless they have carried twins while battling a thyroid tumor. She's an incredible woman. The strongest that I know. While I have never felt the hormone changes, the leg cramps, and the constant pressure on my bladder of a tiny being (2 tiny beings), I've been there to support her every step of the way. I try to take as much responsibility off of her as possible. I even massage her legs in the middle of the night. I love her so much. We have a great relationship and I'm so thankful for her. People on the outside looking in will never understand it. I joke with her and she jokes with me. She's a little more private than I am. We even have our own ways of venting frustration. I sometimes look like a jerk to those not in the know and that's OK. I'm going to be me. There's a reason that my wife fell in love with me so why would I want to change it? I've always heard and am happy to share with my little princesses this bit of advice. "If it ain't your tail, don't wag it." It means to mind your own business because you never know what someone is going through and if you respond in a negative way, it could be the last straw. Instead, be supportive and offer guidance. That's what a Christian is supposed to do.

My friend and coworker, Darrin Perryman, knew I was having a tough week and sent me a message with a couple bible verses. Isaiah 41:10 "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." and Romans 5:3-5 "And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." Yes sir. That's what I needed. I often take the Word of God for granted. Sitting there looking at those words, and what they mean, gives me comfort. I'm so blessed. I've thanked God several times this week for all of these things that I was complaining about. Thank you Darrin for giving me the scripture I needed to get me back to where I needed to be mentally.

We've painted the nursery and set up the crib. We added some stuff to the walls but still have a lot to do. The rocking chair Grammy gave Karyn when she was pregnant with Isaiah has been placed in just the right spot. I can truly say that a lot of blood, sweat, and tears went into it but it's a labor of love. We have the boys settled in a room together and they're enjoying the bunk beds. Nana came over with my little sisters, Kayela and Kayelene, and they cleaned the carpets and helped Karyn organize the babies' clothes. So thankful for their help. My wife said it's like the Christmas parade getting you in the holiday spirit. The nursery has us in the newborn care giving spirit.

We go back to the baby doctor in 5 short days and we get another ultrasound. Yay! I'm excited to see my little dolls and find out how much they have grown. I'll keep taking care of Mommy and giving her lots of love. I'll keep saying bedtime prayers with the little ones in her tummy. I'll keep striving to be the best daddy I can be to Isaiah and Jason. Last but certainly not least, I will continue to trust God to guide me in the right direction to carry out His plans. Everything else will fall into place. Thank you for your continued prayers. They are appreciated.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Give Thanks Always


Very high on the list of things that I want my children to learn is gratitude. I want you to understand that everything you have and will have is a blessing. I try to lead by example. I pray that I do what's right most of the time and that you'll want to as well. We should truly value what we have. I've been blessed beyond anything that I could ever deserve and I'm thankful.

I'm thankful for salvation. I don't deserve what I've been given. The gift of eternal life. We all have that choice. He waits for us to make the decision. If we ask and profess, we get the greatest gift of all. I'm thankful He died for me. I want to make Him proud. I hope someday my children will be saved. It would mean the world to me. I would be so.... thankful.

I'm thankful for my country and those that fight for it. So many sacrifices have been made by brave men and women, who don't know me, so my family can live free. They give up the opportunity to spend time with their family so we can live without the fear that so many around the world live with. If my children ever decide to serve, I will support them. I would worry daily but can imagine the pride parents of military personnel feel. To the men and women of our armed forces, I'm thankful for you. I love you.

I'm thankful for my state and my home in East Tennessee. I'm surrounded by God's wonderful work. If you've ever hiked in the mountains, chatted with an "old timer", or watched the Vols play in the Fall, you understand this blessing. You will get to experience this, Audrey and Bailey. Never take it for granted. I'm thankful for it. I personally wouldn't want to live anywhere else.

I'm thankful for my extended family. I'm blessed with so many wonderful uncles and aunts. Cousins and in-laws. They all help make me who I am. I'm proud of my heritage and my people. We have a strong foundation and I'm glad I get to bring my children into the world to carry on my name. My blood. I'm thankful of the place God has placed me.

I'm thankful for my brother and sisters. Through our battles and struggles, we have become so close. An unbreakable bond that nothing can destroy. We have had and continue to have moments of disagreements but our relationships are firmly planted in love. I would die for them. One day girls, you will experience that. I can only imagine the bond between twins. Nurture it. The bond with your brothers should be equally strong. I'm thankful for the love. A special bond.

I'm thankful for my mom and dad and step-dad. Without them, I'm not much of a man at all. My dad instilled in me that hard work, and nothing else, will get you where you want to be. My mom taught me that love is real and to love a child is the best way to be a great parent and mentor. My step-dad made me street smart. To think outside the box and solve problems. It's where I get my "can do" attitude. I'm thankful for them. They're the best.

I'm thankful for my kids. Yes you, Bailey, Audrey... and Jason... and Isaiah. You guys saved my life. If I wasn't a daddy, where would I be? I don't want to know. Some people never get to hug their child. Or say their prayers with them. Or pass a football with them. Or even play dolls with them.. sigh. (Kidding... Can't wait!) I'm thankful for the opportunity to raise you and teach you how to be good human beings. How to love others and appreciate everything that's given to you. Work hard for it. You'll be even more thankful for it. You kids make me a better me. I'm so glad we get to add 2 more babies to our family. It's a true blessing and a great responsibility. I love you.

I'm thankful for my wife. She's everything that I'll ever need. She builds me up. I wouldn't be able to be the daddy that I am without Mommy. You should be thankful for her too. You guys are so lucky to have a mommy that loves you as much as she does. She makes sacrifices for me and you guys all the time. She's a rock and the foundation to our family. I will love and protect her until the last breath escapes my body. She means that much to me. I'm so thankful for her. I'm so blessed.

I hope I've given you a little insight into what matters to me. God, Family, Home, Children, and my beautiful Wife. One day, I hope my kids will be able to tell my grandkids all the many blessings that God has given them. Love everybody, be yourself, and always give thanks. As we sit down to stuff our face on Thanksgiving Day, I know what will be on my mind. Gratitude. Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

30 Weeks And Kicking

1:15 appointment for a check-up at the office we usually don't go to. Doctors these days usually have multiple offices and depending on the day of the appointment determines where you go. So.. here we are. We're at the point of the pregnancy where we'll have appointments every 2 weeks. That means we're getting close to the time that I get to see my little princesses. I'm sitting in the lobby of the doctor's office waiting on Mommy to arrive. Have you noticed this trend yet? Mommy is always late. That's ok though. She's worth waiting for. If Audrey and Bailey are like Karyn, they won't be delivered until June.

My wife finally arrived and we headed up to the office. This waiting room is much smaller than the other office. Less people too. It looks like an older crowd too. Not too many expecting mothers. Unless they're expecting grandmothers. Hope not. Eww. Karyn picks up the first magazine she finds. It's called "AKA Mom". I need to buy her a subscription to "AKA Always Late" but I digress. While she reads, I type. It's what we do. I feel like I should be mayor of the OBGYN waiting room by now. We sit here, hearing name after name being called, waiting to hear the magic words; "Karyn Smith". We finally do.

They call us back, weigh my bride, give her a cup for the pee sample, and sit me in a room. The room is tiny and the stirrups take up a lot of space. Hopefully we won't need the stirrups today because where I'm sitting would be awkward. No 3-D glasses would be needed if you know what I mean. They told us that she's gained about 15 lbs since the 1st visit. They checked her blood pressure and it was good. Glad they didn't check mine. I'm a little on edge today from lack of sleep.

She joins me in the room and takes her usual spot on the exam table. The doctor comes in shortly after. We listen to their heartbeats. They sound great! Karyn had mentioned to me that Bailey switched positions. The doctor confirmed it by touch. We'll see for ourselves at the next ultrasound. Everything is going as expected. The doctor asked Karyn if she's been keeping track of contractions. She said no. He wants her to. She won't. That's the only way to tell if she's going into early labor and we want the babies to stay put as long as possible. The doctor said we're at a critical time. Some twins come at 30 weeks. Every 2 weeks that she makes it after this point is a blessing. Our next appointment is December 7th. We'll have an ultrasound and get to see Daddy's princesses.

To my little angels: I talk to you every night and I already give you lots of kisses. I've been saying your bedtime prayers with you. I can't wait to hold and kiss you. Stay in Mommy's belly as long as you can so you'll grow good and strong. Besides, your brothers are waiting on you and they can be quite rowdy. Be easy with Mommy. You guys have been kicking her hard. I know this because when she has her belly against me, I can feel the kicks too! It's really cool, actually. I love you more than I could ever say. Hugs and kisses from Daddy. Xoxoxo.

Friday, November 18, 2011

"Grammy-gram"


Audrey and Bailey – Your Daddy asked me to write something to you for his blog which is totally dedicated to the both of you. You won’t understand anything about the blog for quite a while, however; as you grow into the beautiful girls that you will become, you will understand more and more about the special gift that your Daddy has given you!

I am your Grammy Faulk! I live in Massachusetts with your Grampy which is way too far from you! I am your Mommy’s Mommy (yes she does have a Mommy too)!

Even though Grampy and I haven’t met you yet, we love you both so much and are so excited to meet you in just a couple months! As I think about you every day, I envision what you both will look like but actually have absolutely no idea (only God knows that right now). I do know that you are very beautiful, cute, and precious. Your Daddy calls you his little princesses and his angels! I used to call you Cutie and Patootie but now that you have names, I love to call you by your given names!

Grampy and I pray for you every day! We pray for so many things for you. We pray that God will keep you both safe and healthy (before and after you are born), that you will be good to Mommy since there are two of you to feed and take care of, that you will love your family, and we are already praying for both your mates (shhhh don’t tell Daddy)! Most importantly we are praying that one day you will both receive Jesus as your Savior and love Him with all your hearts! That is the most important decision that you will ever make in your lives! We love Jesus so much and we want you to love Him just as much! And guess what – Jesus loves you even more than Mommy, Daddy, Grampy, Grammy, Nana, Pappy, and Papaw all put together! That sure is a whole lot of love!

When your Mommy was a little girl, she was so cute! She had the most beautiful long blonde hair that was always fixed up so pretty! She was usually very shy (until she really got to know someone – then look out)! She was extremely smart and very competitive! She was the tallest in our family. Since your Daddy is tall, I’m pretty sure that both of you will be tall also, just like your brothers! The funniest thing I can remember about your Mommy was that when she was about 3 or 4 years old, she loved apples but when she ate them, she wouldn’t eat and swallow the peels. She just chewed them up and kept them stored in her cheeks for hours just like a squirrel does with nuts! I guess she didn’t like the peels even though they were very good for her! Your Mommy grew up to be a very beautiful lady and I know that one day you will both be just like her!

Grampy and I are going to come visit you soon after you are born. We very excited to hold you, snuggle with you, feed you, sing and talk to you, and help take care of you! Your Mommy will be hurting for a while after you are born so after your Daddy goes back to work, I will be there to help Mommy! I am so excited and can’t wait! We need to let Daddy have his time with you first because once we get there, you will be all ours!!!!

Well little angels, I better stop writing now or Daddy might run out of room on the page. I love you both so much and will see you both in a couple months!

Grammy

Monday, November 7, 2011

A note from Daddy


Hey girls! Thought I would write you a little note and tell you what's going on at this point in your development. I get a newsletter email thingy that tells me how much you probably weigh and what's happening with your tiny bodies. How you're getting more fat (it's a good thing). How you're about 2 lbs (like a cauliflower). You are 2lbs 4oz. You sleep and wake. Open and close your eyes. Suck on your fingers. And I bet you hear Daddy talk to you. I sing Rocky Top to you. I tell you both how much you and Mommy mean to me.

Mommy is doing a great job. She's taking care of you and she rarely fusses. I know that what she's going through isn't easy. She's very good to our family and loves you very much. One day you will look back and realize how special Mommy is. I pray that you appreciate her. We will try our hardest to help you become the type of lady that your mother is. Can you tell that I love her? One day, someone will feel about you the way I feel about Mommy. When you're 30 and start dating.

You girls still have some more baking to do before you arrive but I can't wait to hold my little ladies. I will kiss your little heads covered in soft hair. Comfort you when you cry. Wipe your tears.. and your butts. I will strap you in your car seats and drive slow enough to annoy a 90 year lady. I will squirt formula on my wrist 5000 times after warming your bottles to ensure it's the perfect temp. I will be there for you and I can't wait.

We have a great support system around us that lets us be us. We couldn't do it without our moms, especially. The wisdom and diapers. The advice and tiny pink wardrobes. The knitted blankets filled with all kinds of love. The love you'll get when Daddy and Mommy go back to work. Nana and Grammy love you girls (and your brothers and even your parents). I've asked them to write a little something for you two angels. Both have agreed and there is nothing better in this world than advice from women like them. Cherish it and them. Not many things that I'll teach you is as important as this.

OK.. time for me and Mommy to wind down the day. Time for you girls to listen for Daddy's voice. You'll probably just hear mumbling so I'll give you a hint of what it'll say, "Audrey.. Bailey.., Daddy loves you."

Friday, November 4, 2011

Crash Test Babies

8:30 appointment at the baby doctor. 27 weeks. It's going by so fast. It seems like just yesterday that we found out we're expecting. I was in my truck typing the above words when I got a call from my wife. She had a minor fender bender. It's a rainy day and anything can happen on Alcoa Hwy. A 20 year old girl slammed on her brakes in front of her and Karyn ran into her. All parties involved are fine but of course I freaked out a little. Who wouldn't? I was worried about her and the babies first. All seems fine. Then I'm wondering how we're going to be able to afford insurance for THREE women drivers one day. Scary thought.

Karyn arrived and we went on with the appointment. After all, we get to see the twins today! We've been waiting for another ultrasound for a while. I want to dote on the twins. All women in the waiting room except for me. Thats a lot of hormones, and frankly, I'm scared. What if one of them starts crying? I'm praying the nurse calls us back soon. Karyn left me and went to the restroom (of course) and now I'm all alone in the corner typing away.


Karyn came back and rescued me. The nurse called her name and back we went. My poor wife was crying over the wreck and me trying to comfort her just made it worse. The nurse that weighed her is expecting as well. She asked if she's ok. Karyn told her she was. They sat us in a waiting area and brought my bride a bottle of ORANGE drink for the glucose test. She had to chug it down within 5 minutes. She had it down in 1. Now we wait for an hour before being able to complete the test. I have her laughing at this point. It's a gift. We're waiting in a little room watching the "Today Show". Matt Lauer is talking about traveling the world. He better have car insurance.

Now I'm starting to be all emotional like my expecting wife. Seeing her cry makes me want to cry. She's reading a parenting magazine and I'm talking to you, dear reader. They finally called us back to a room for the ultrasound. The babies look great! Heartbeats are great. Audrey was playing with her foot when she wasn't kicking Bailey in the head. They can't measure their length because they're all balled up. They weigh 2 pounds and 4 ounces at this point. They are exactly the same size. That's incredible to me. The nurse doing the glucose test came in while we were watching the babies and took some blood from Karyn's finger. The results of the test were great! Everything is going well! Thank You God!


They gave us a paper to measure movements, a registration form for the hospital, and a list of pediatricians. The moment is approaching. We are so excited and blessed. Our little angels are growing right on pace. This is the time when we have to be ready to go just in case. Our next appointment is in 2 weeks. We'll have more ultrasounds and we're considering doing the 3-D. It would be an extra appointment and we're going to be here plenty. Keep sending those prayers up. They're working. Daddy's little angels (Mommy's little crash test babies) are doing well.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Doting on my little angels


We took a trip to my grandparents house this weekend, as a family. We celebrated my grandfather's 95th birthday. My dad cooked a Thanksgiving style meal since everyone probably won't be able to get together at that time. My grandma is pulling through her latest health problems (Praise God!) but she's still not 100%. Grandpa is doing as good as can be expected. He's sticking around for Grandma. I couldn't be prouder of them. They are what we all should be. The world would be a better place. We had a great time. The boys behaved, which was nice. Karyn was a champ. She took it easy and relaxed. I could see Grandma doting on her. I told my (smart and beautiful) wife that, and she asked what "doting" meant. That cracked me up. I asked my brother "Uncle Brian" to back me up that it's truly a word. He sided with my wife. I had to prove it. I need people to understand the word so they have a way to describe me once the twins get here. I'm "dotin", as we say in the South, already.

I said something the other day and it really got me thinking. I said, "If you've ever listened to your child count to 100, that's 1 minute 40 seconds (or 5 minutes) that you did right with your life." That made me stop and think about how I don't regret 1 single second that I've spent with my children. When I'm with them, I know what I'm doing is real. I'm teaching them how to be. How to grow. Molding them. We all screw up as parents in some fashion. There's no instruction manual. You do the best you can, pray, and have faith that what you did was just. I love my children more than I could ever explain to anyone that cares to listen. A father's love. If you've ever held your child against your chest, "fixed a boo-boo", or coached your kids team, you know what I'm saying. I'm so proud to be called "Daddy".

We went trick or treating on Halloween. Isaiah was a skeleton. No, really. We bought him a costume. Although he probably didn't need one. He is so skinny. Jay went as Super Mario. He was hilarious with his big mustache. I took the boys door to door while Karyn followed in the "Swagger Wagon". We walked up to one house where a little old lady stood half way out of her screen door and talked to a couple kids already standing there. I heard her say to the kids, "I have a bag of candy in here but I don't know where it is. I will give you DOUBLE the amount if you come in and help me find it." Um.. stranger danger, anyone? The two kids went in and my wonderful sons sat down in the chairs on her front porch with another loud mouth kid. I asked what they were doing. They said "waiting". A couple other kids started walking toward the porch where the boys were sitting and the loud mouth kid yelled, "YOU DON'T WANT TO COME HERE, YOU HAVE TO WAIT!" The other parents and I cracked up. The little old lady popped back out the door with the two kids but.. no candy (I told the boys it was probably raisins, anyway). I won't mention the face-plant Isaiah did at the next house when he jumped off the porch into the grass. That's between him and me. He was ok though. He got up and made sure he didn't drop any candy. Holidays are always special.

Karyn is doing a great job. She's holding up as well as can be expected carrying TWO babies. She told me today, "Women who carry 3 or more babies are my new heroes!" Two is very impressive too, honey! Her back hurts her. It gets worse as the day goes on, of course. I read something today, though, that said that laying down a lot isn't real good for her body either. I don't know how women do it. Better you guys than me. She's growing a lot. Unfortunately, so am I. I bet I've gained 10 lbs since she's been pregnant. I eat when she eats. She eats ALL THE TIME. It's good for her and my growing girls. We go back to the doctor this coming Friday and I can't wait to see Audrey and Bailey via the ultrasound. I may try to reach through the screen and start dotin' on Daddy's little girls.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hormones...

What a wonderful thing pregnancy is. The beauty, the miracle of bringing a child into the world. It's not all fun and games, though. Any woman who has given birth and any man who has lived with a pregnant woman, knows what I'm talking about. Something that directly affects the mood of the pregnancy, is a woman's raging hormones. She can't help it. A pregnant woman's body is a wonderland. It does things that no other body type does. Hormone levels are all out of whack with my expecting wife. One child can do some damage to a lady. Two babies change everything. Double trouble!

I'm no expert and don't claim to be. I'm just writing about my own personal experience and my observations. Living with a pregnant woman is hard work and I know I'm just as much to blame as anyone. I got her into this situation. I know that. I wouldn't change a thing about it. I'm so excited about my beautiful princesses arriving soon. Every day is a new challenge though. You're never fully prepared for most things. Yes, I am a father of two children already but every pregnancy is different and there's no way to compare one with another.

The other night, my lovely wife started crying over something that normally wouldn't have phased her. It wasn't anything that I saw as a big deal but I comforted her, nonetheless. It's difficult as a man to see something bothering your wife and not having any way to fix the situation. I wanted to kiss it and make it better. I know that's not possible. In the end, all she really needed was to vent and for me to listen. I'm not a perfect father or a perfect husband but I try to be the best I can be and learn from my mistakes. Sometimes, that's all you CAN do.

I understand that the hormones are only going to get crazier as we go along. This amazing woman, I'm blessed to call my wife, has been so awesome carrying our babies. She has the hormones (and emotions) of THREE females and has dealt with it so well. I think if you asked her, she would tell you that I've been supportive. I have work to do. I can, and will, continue to improve. I'm learning more and more every step of the way.

Someday, I will be able to give some advice to my sons on what to expect living with a preggo lady. I will tell them that patience is a must. You WILL be challenged. Never forget that no matter what you think you're going through and how bad you think you have it, your wife has it worse. She's the one with the changing body. She's ALWAYS uncomfortable. She can't stand up comfortably. She can't sit down comfortably. She can't lay down comfortably. Sleeping is almost impossible for her. She pees nonstop. We may have to replace our toilet if she gets much bigger. Kidding. Sort of. She has taken it all in stride. She's doing a fantastic job. She is one of the strongest women I know. That's why it's so hard seeing her so emotional. Normally, Karyn isn't a very emotional person. She's very even keeled. This part of the journey, like everything else, will pass. She'll always be my rock.

To new fathers or expecting fathers, a little advice. Take care of your wife. Love her unconditionally. Even when things aren't going the way you expect them to. She's just as, or even more, lost and confused as you are. Everything you feel, she feels x10. Understand that what she's going through for your family is the greatest blessing on earth. An experience that's beyond our understanding. Even the fact that her blood increases by 50% while pregnant is baffling to me. Be nice. Even when she's not. She can't control a lot of her actions but you can control your reaction. Hold her, kiss her, and let her know every second of every day that you love her and you are there for her. And you better actually be there for her. With these raging hormones, there are a lot of judges that wouldn't convict her of murder. Think about it.

Continue to pray for me. That God gives me the wisdom that I need. Most of all, pray for Karyn. Two girls growing inside of her is stressful enough. Dealing with the thyroid issue just compounds things. Being away from family and friends who are out of state is very hard for her. She needs all the prayers that she can get. I pray that she has very little stress in her life right now. For the safety of her and the babies. We have a strong family. Friends and family that pray. With God, ALL things are possible. Even me surviving this pregnancy with all limbs intact. I really want that to happen.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Registering for the twins...


Ah the joys of registering for a new baby or two. It can be so much fun picking out stuff you would love to have but will probably never get. You end up finding stuff cheaper or given to you by someone slightly used. And I think that's fine for the most part. A couple of exceptions, of course. I have a thing about open containers of diapers and wipes. Call me nuts but there's something about knowing someone else wiped a butt and handled the pack after. No thanks. There are some items we're buying used. It's expensive having a baby. TWO babies are on a whole other level.


If you've never done this, this will hopefully give you a little glimpse into the process. You take the fun little scanner that they give you and ring up items that are needed. You then enter the quanity of the items that you need. Then you are given a link to distribute to friends, family, neighbors, ex-girlfriends, and non-profit organizations. Ok, I made up the last few. They buy the items needed baby shower style (l'll explain baby showers in a future post. I actually attended one. Awkward but enlightening). This process help new parents financially and gives women the opportunity to bond over shopping. Everybody knows that men hate shopping so not many men take part unless their wives make them. The expecting father knows he should step up and help out with the registering part. If he's a good man he does it. I did it. Not bragging. Just saying.


I found it to be interesting seeing all of the new products they have now that they didn't have even 5 years ago. They mass produce baby video monitors. So you can watch your baby sleep from another room. That would even work for teenagers until the room was no longer visable through the pile of dirty clothes on the floor. I have sisters. I know. Guess that would be an invasion of privacy, I suppose, but it would've kept me out of some trouble. Our room (me and my brother) wasn't a room, it was our fortress and lab.


We registered at Target for several reasons. The products there seem to be a little better quality. I'm confident there's no lead in the baby bathtubs. They're reasonably priced. Last but certainly not least, they bribed us with a $20 gift card. We're frugal. We have to be now. Sugar water and mayonnaise sandwiches aren't that bad. Joking. I hate sugar water. I saw a lot of cool things while shopping. A lot of "I love my Daddy" and "Daddy's little girl" items which I will promptly be buying two of very shortly. Still looking for "Daddy's little tax deduction" and "Why is Daddy crying?" shirts.


They had blankets made out of the softest materials on earth. This one I saw may have actually been made from the soft fur on the back of a baby tiger's paw. Probably wasn't. We found lots of pink and purple stuff for my little princesses. Not a big fan of the purple but the pink stuff, I dig. All and all, it was a good experience. We got tired and we had Isaiah with us. Shopping with a 5 year old is challenging. Can only imagine what it'll be like shopping with twins. We don't want to. At all. So hoping people buy us stuff simply so we don't have to go the store with 4 kids. It is awesome having the family and friend support system that we have. We thank God for them. Even if you don't take part in the shower festivities, please keep praying for our growing family. The economy stinks, but prayer is priceless. But here's the link just in case... ;)

http://www.target.com/baby/registry/PyI9k_yZJ2en99PMGKDJuw

Friday, October 7, 2011

23 Weeks and 2 Days

Sitting in any waiting area at a hospital can be interesting and at worst, dangerous. I'm sitting here waiting on my lovely wife to arrive. She's late. That's normal. Just saw a guy with his son on a leash. He was just pulling him to the left and pulling him to the right. I fully expected him to start barking orders like "sit, stay, and roll over". He didn't at least as long as he was in front of me. I am fully opposed to the kid leash thing. They're not puppies. Let the kid walk, dad. He needs you to lead him by example. Not a leash.

This is our 1st baby doctor appointment since we found out we're having two little princesses. We (I) arrive on time for our 9:30 appointment and they call us back shortly after. They weighed Karyn but she wouldn't tell me what it said. I went on back to exam room #7 while she gave a urine sample. It smelled like a restroom in Mexico. Had to hold my breath at first. I got used to it after a few minutes. The nurse came in and checked her vitals. She said my wife has a good strong heart... I know.

I really do play a part while I'm here. I remember all the questions we come up with in between appointments. Often times, I'm asking questions for my wife which can be awkward. She has a LOT on her mind so I want to help if I can. A lot of the questions are about girlie parts and such. I'm learning though. With twin girls on the way, I'm going to need to learn a lot in a short time. I'm trying. I asked the nurse if we can be certain Twin A and Twin B can be identified at birth so they can be appropriately named. You know... The whole Audrey/Bailey thing. She didn't know but said she would find out. I'll keep asking.

She's gained 13 pounds since our first visit in June. Seems like forever ago and she seems like she's grown more than 13 pounds. I've gained more than 13 pounds. Seriously. We sat for a good 20 minutes in our exam room listening to a couple doctors chat about a c-section of another lady. Come on fellas. Save that for the break room. I'm trying to keep a pregnant lady, sane. It must seem like I'm not paying attention to the untrained eye since I'm always on my phone while we're here. If I don't take notes while we're here, I will forget details. I don't want anything getting left behind by my brain. It's working overtime.

There's been a baby screaming in the next room since we arrived and my head hurts. I want to go over and pick that kid up. I think they may frown on that if I did. I suppose I should be getting used to hearing it since we're not too far away from having TWO screaming kiddos at home. Still, pick up that kid and give it what it wants. Please.

The doctor finally came in and listened to heartbeats. Checked Karyn's thyroid. All is as expected. No ultrasound today. He told my wife to eat lots of fiber but I won't tell you why. She's also supposed to be drinking lots of water. That's up to her to do. You know what they say about leading a pregnant lady to water.. or horse. Whatever. He told us what to look for with contractions so we know if it's labor. He went into detail about what delivery could be like but it's all speculation at this point. With multiples, there is so much that we won't know. We do know that it's unlikely that the delivery will be scheduled. So any of 7 doctors could possibly deliver the twins. Karyn wants her doctor to deliver but it doesn't matter to me. The nurses do all the work anyway.

Not a whole lot to share from this visit. Though Karyn may say I've shared plenty more than I should. We go back to the doctor November 4th. We'll have another ultrasound then and we'll do the glucose test. We'll try to keep you posted along the way. We are so busy right now. It's tough staying sane. One thing is for sure, mommy's belly sure is getting lots of kisses. Can't wait to hold my little girls.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Swagger Wagon and other updates


It's official. We're old. We are now the proud owners of a mini-van. The Swagger Wagon. Karyn has spent the past couple of months searching for vans and she finally found one she liked. It's a 2003 Mazda MPV. We were looking at Honda but in the end, this one fit our needs. It's not too big, not too small, and it rides great. It has an outlet in the very back for Jay to be able to charge his iPod. Rear A/C control to keep Isaiah busy. Two captains seats in the middle for the twins. Perfect. We're as excited as people who own a mini-van can be. I never thought Karyn or I would be driving a van but here we are. We don't have a choice if we want to go places as a family. We are soon to be a family of six and cars/suv usually only seat 5 unless there's a 3rd row seat. Usually suvs with a 3rd row seat guzzle gas. Now if Karyn will let me paint it like the A Team van, I'll be happy.



Grammy and Grampy (Karyn's parents) are coming into town this week for her brother's ordination. We have several things planned for their visit. There's really never enough time to spend with them since they live so far away. We're excited to see them and I know Karyn can't wait for someone, other than me, to rub the magic belly. She's getting big and pictures don't do it justice. You have to see her in person. She's 21 weeks now and growing. None of her old clothes fit her anymore. She is beautiful and now there's even more of her for me to love!



We're getting bunk beds for the boys. Scary thought. My brother and I always shared a room growing up and bunk beds were always our favorite. I preferred the bottom bunk and being older, I got it. My sons already have began arguing over who gets the top bunk. I think Jay will win since he's older and less likely to fall off climbing up. We still have to get the bedrooms "twin ready" and we're running out of time. Our schedules were already busy and now they're jam packed with "to do" items. It feels like we never stop moving. We'll rest when we retire, I suppose. I don't know about Karyn but I plan on golfing. A LOT when this 8-5 life ends.



We go back to the doctor for the twins on October 7. That will be the beginning of the bi-weekly appointments. That means we're getting close. Between October 7th & the end of the year is the period where we have to monitor Karyn for signs of early labor. With twins, the risk is always there. I will be taking bets on how many times we go to the hospital for Braxton Hicks. I'm a bit overprotective and I'm sure I'll be in panic mode everytime she grunts. She grunts a lot. Like a sasquatch with a bellyache and it'll only get more frequent. She's doing great under the circumstances and I'm proud of her.



When I said prayers with Isaiah last night at bed time, we prayed for the twins. We asked God to bless Audrey and Bailey. Isaiah said "Hehehe, Bailey." I asked him if he likes the name Bailey. He said "Yes!". I asked if he liked the name Audrey, he said "Meh." I guess you can't win them all. Both boys are very excited and anxious for their sisters to get here. I know they'll be great big brothers and look after the twins. I just hope they learn quickly that girls won't always laugh at their farts like brothers do. Poor girls. We'll keep praying for them.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Audrey Lynn & Bailey Kaye

Twin A & Twin B now have names! Audrey Lynn & Bailey Kaye. A & B. Fitting, we think. I know I had talked so much about Caroline but how could I name only one of my princesses that? We thought since they're twins and these names end in "ey", it would be perfect. We both love these names and agree that this is the right choice. We may never agree on two other names. The middle names are after mine and Karyn's moms. Laura Lynn & Janis Kaye. After all, we wouldn't be here today without our moms. I can't even begin to tell you how much my mom has meant to me. I will try though.



When I was a baby, I was sick a lot. I had tubes in my ears, my tonsils removed, and diagnosed with epilepsy (I outgrew it). There were a lot of nights when my mom would sit up all night with me and comfort her crying baby boy. She worked two jobs at times to support us after her and my dad divorced. She did her best to keep me out of trouble and when she failed, she was there by my side until I was back on track. When I've been at my lowest points, one thing has been constant. "Mommy". She instilled in me this love of kids and family. I wouldn't be the man I am today without that woman in my life. When myself, my brother, or my sister had friends visit our home, they all called my mom, mom. She's given birth to three kids and has adopted three more. She is what I've modeled my parenting after. She's a wonderful Christian woman and her prayers mean the world to me. I'm blessed and honored to have one of my daughters named after her.


I want to tell you about Karyn's mom but instead, I'll let her tell you what she's meant to her. I'm proud of the woman my wife is and I know a lot of it comes from "Mother".



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*Note from Karyn*



My mom was always our glue. I don't know how else to explain it. My dad was in the ministry and always had an extra job or two, and with 4 growing kids at home, my mom had a lot to keep up with. Yet she would never let you see it. When the ministry called my dad elsewhere, she packed up everything and followed him without a second thought or complaint. We didn't have annual vacations or expensive clothes but my mom was the one who taught us those THINGS aren't what matters; and showed us what did. God, then family, then others. I never felt like I did without. She did what it took to keep us in line and made sacrifices so we wouldn't go without. She taught me the importance of being a lady, showing respect, and biting your tongue. She's the strongest woman I know.. she's our glue. Now our daughter will share her name.


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So that part of our journey is done. On to the next part. In four short months (or less), we'll be preparing to welcome Audrey and Bailey into the world. We can't wait. We have a lot to accomplish before they get here so we better get going. Thank you for your continued prayers and love.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Daddy's little girls


I'm speechless. As you know, that's not like me. We found out Friday that the twins my wife is carrying are both girls. Daddy's little girls. We had an 8:30 appointment and arrived a few minutes early. They checked all of my wife's vitals and weighed her. Everything looks good. We go into exam room 5. An ultrasound room with a large flat screen on the wall to project the images seen on the monitor in front of the nurse performing the ultrasound. She said she's been doing ultrasounds for 20+ years so I'm confident in her expertise. She has Karyn lay back on the exam table and squirts 2 gallons of liquid on to her swelling belly. It caught her off guard because it wasn't cold. They keep the liquid in a warmer.

We started with Twin A. She's the one closest to my wife's cervix. She measured her head, her fibula, and we looked at her face. We could tell that her nose and lips are normal. We got to see the blood flow to her brain and the arteries in the umbilical cord. It was incredible. The nurse asked if we wanted to find out the sexes. Uh, yeah. How could we not? We're expecting twins and have two boys at home. She proceeded to scan Twin A's backside. I asked what we're looking for. We're looking for something or nothing. The only ultrasounds I've seen so far always have something. This one had nothing. IT'S A GIRL! I have chills writing this. We're having at least one girl. Karyn won't kill me. Yay! She told me that morning that I better wear my tennis shoes because "If they say two boys, you had better run." My wife is the constant joker. Not really but she has her moments. I wore my tennis shoes just in case. The nurse spent about 30 minutes after we found out the sex of Baby Girl A scanning and measuring and listening to her heartbeat. I was in awe. Baby Girl A was beautiful. As beautiful as an ultrasound can be. As beautiful as we can imagine her to be. I was ready to know about Twin B.

She moved over to Twin B and starting scanning. Heartbeat, measuring the head, measuring the bones, cord, and spine. All look great! It felt like an eternity waiting to know. We turn our attention once again to the backside. Once again.. There. Was. Nothing.... IT'S A GIRL! Wow! She's beautiful. TWO girls. Daddy's little girls. Two little Karyns. Fantastic. Incredible. Shocking but then again, not. We had prepared ourselves for whatever we may find out. I don't think we fully expected the news but were thrilled. How exciting. I wanted to keep watching the little movie stars on the big screen but I also knew I had to let the Grandmas know. I texted my mom and emailed my mother in law (at the exact same time , of course). I just said "GIRLS!!!". Then I posted "Daddy's little GIRLS" as my status. I may have temporarily broke the internets because my phone blew up. I had to turn it to silent so we could finish with the ultrasounds.

The girls look great! They both weigh 10 ounces and one measured at 19 weeks and 1 day. The other measured at 19 weeks and 2 days. They are neck and neck. That's exactly what we want. They're both getting the nourishment they need from Mommy. During the ultrasound we noticed that Baby Girl A kept kicking Baby Girl B in the head. Not cool Baby Girl A. No fighting with your sister! It's too soon for that. There will be plenty of time for that when you are teenagers. Ugh. We will be raising two babies, two two year olds, and two teenage girls as some point. Pray for us.

I'm so happy and excited! I don't really know what to expect. I know how little boys are. I know about baseball games, football, scrapped knees, and wrestling. I don't know a whole lot about hair bows, dresses, and make-up. I just know from what I've seen growing up with 5 sisters (2 older, 3 younger) and from watching my brother's daughters grow up. He has 4 daughters and my older sister has a little girl. They make me excited about having daughters of my own. I'm pretty sure we're going to need a house with 6 bathrooms. I'm pretty sure I will run off any possible boyfriends when they're teenagers. I'm positive they're going to have me wrapped around their tiny fingers. It's a new chapter in this Daddy's book. A new story to be told. A story that's kind of hard to tell when Daddy's little girls leave him speechless.

Friday, September 2, 2011

I Am Tennessee


Here it is. Football season. My favorite time of year. My favorite team is the University of Tennessee Volunteers. I was born a mile from the stadium at Ft. Sanders Hospital. So were my sons. My dad took me to my first game when I was 3 years old and I've been to too many games to count. I've taken both of my sons to games every year since they were 3. I love everything about it. The Vol family is indescribable. My friends and I always tailgate in the same spot. Sweet real estate right in the shadow of Neyland stadium. We all grew up going to Vols games. We've been coming together on Saturdays since Clinton was president. We all (our base group) have kids. My buddies, Charlie, Cliff, Richard, James, and myself. Last year, we had kids who played every level from grasshopper football all the way up to a Sr Lineman for William Blount (Cliff's son, Wildfire, AKA Justin). Most of us have played some football as some level at some point. We all live this game and BLEED ORANGE.

I thought about writing this post about what the Volunteers mean to me. my game day experiences. The thrill of the team running through the T, The Vol Walk, Salute To The Hill, Vol Village, Tailgating, Rocky Top sung, in unison, by 100,000 people. Then, my friend Nikki forward me an email. It was written by an unknown (to me) author. I read it at my desk. I had chills. Eyes teared up. It was about me. And you, Vol fan. I thought it was absolutely beautiful. So I decided to post it here. If anyone knows the writer, I want to shake their hand. I will still write my own someday, but this must be shared. Go Vols!

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I am Tennessee

I am Tennessee. I am the 30 year old couple coming back to campus for the first time with both little ones in tow. One wears her orange and white cheerleader outfit; the other wears #16 even though he's too young to understand why.

I am the 50 year old man who hoped no one saw tears in his eyes when the T was formed by the band. I was too choked even to sing "Rocky Top". For a moment I felt foolish and then I didn't care. God, I love this place.

I am the 60 year old woman meeting her freshman grand-daughter who is now the 3rd generation of UT students in our family. Despite my age, I'd strap it on Saturday and hit someone if it weren't for my gender and this blasted arthritis.

I am Tennessee and I have always believed I was different. You can see it when you look up into the stands. My orange is not the same as Florida's or Auburn's . But the differences go much deeper than my colors.

Read my creed. What other school has one? I genuinely believe in these things.To be a real Tennessee man or woman speaks of character, not of geography. All are welcome to walk though my gates, not just the wealthy or the elite.

Georgia and Alabama may have their nations, but we have always been family. Make no mistake, we loathe defeat, but even in defeat, we would rather be a Tennessee Vol than anything else.

We are family and you are the sons of Heisman, the sons of Majors and Neyland.You come from a long line of brothers whose names include White, Gault, Wilson,Manning, Shuler, Nash and Mahelona. It is a great heritage.

So this Saturday, when the warm ups are over and the prayers and amen spoken,when you hear my thunder growing in the stands above you, when you stand in the tunnel and the smoke begins to form, listen for my voice when you run on to my field.

Behind the frenzy of the shakers and deafening roar, I will tell you something in a whisper you may miss. I will be telling you that you are my sons and I am proud of you for the way you wear the orange and white. I am telling you that you are my sons and I love you.

Tennessee is so much more than a state or a school or a team or a degree. It is something that, once you have experienced it, will live inside of you forever and become a part of what makes up who you are. It is driving into town on a game day.

You may have come from hundreds of miles away and as you get closer and closer to the city limits, you feel it rising inside of you. Other cars on the highway proudly display their Orange and White flags or magnets or car tags, and you honk and wave at them, because, for that one day, you are all on the same team.

It is the smell in the air and the ritualistic act of tailgating...catching up with old friends, making new ones, and invitations from perfect strangers to try their ribs or watch their satellite TV showing all of the day's important match-ups...of course, all being secondary to the one that will occur in the great cathedral of Neyland Stadium later that day.

It is the Vol Walk...where you might just see 300 pound men overcome with emotion and weeping with pride, because you have come there to cheer them on. As they walk by, you might exchange a glance with one or two of them, and you can see it in their eyes...it is going to be their day.

It is the students...dressed in their best, because going to a Tennessee game is like going to church for Tennessee people....you show the same respect as you would if you were in God's house. Those students remind you of the days when you were walking in their shoes and Tennessee was your home...but then you realize, in many ways, it is still and always will be HOME. It is that lump that rises in your throat when the band plays Rocky Top as the"T" is formed.

It is walking around on a "foreign" and sometimes hostile campus. You are easily identified (Tennessee people always are) and the enemy jeers and shouts things at you to mask their feelings of intimidation. But just then you happen upon a friend you have never met before. You know they are your friend by the colors they wear or the shaker in their hand. You exchange a "Go Vols" and a confident grin, because he/she knows what you know.

It is when your heart leaps with every touchdown, field goal, sack, and interception...because those are our boys. And win or lose, they will always have our un-dying support. After all, it is those boys that you are really there for and not a coach or a logo or a trustee or a president.

It is the complete and utter exhilaration of walking away victorious over a worthy opponent...that feeling of pride and accomplishment as if it were your own feet that had crossed the goal line scoring the last points yourself...that feeling of wanting to scream "Go Big Orange" at the top of your lungs and hug complete strangers...and then there is the ultimate high of defeating your most hated foes from across the state.

No words can describe what this feels like, but you know because you have experienced it. It is the sheer agony of defeat as the last minutes tick off of the clock and you realize that all hope of a victory is gone.

You feel like crying and maybe you do...then you hear the faint sounds of a cheer that grows louder and louder...."Its Great To Be A Tennessee Vol."

It is knowing that year after year, no matter how things change in our hectic lives, you can always come back to "the Loveliest Place on the River"... the place where you came from...your home.

It will probably look a little different and there will be new names on the backs of the jerseys, but deep down, no matter what, it is still the same. You still love it as much as you always have, because Tennessee is as much a part of you as your arms and your legs and the orange blood that runs through your veins.

And, finally, it is the feeling you have right now as you read these lines....the anticipation inside of you, because you know its almost time....Its about to start all over again...but then it really never goes away, does it?

Unknown Author... But it's all of us Vols fans, isn't it?
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Go Big Orange!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Light at the end of the tunnel

I wrote a blog post while on the airplane to Oklahoma. I didn't post it. I was upset at Karyn's doctor. I felt like she wasn't getting the care she deserves. The specialist that she's seeing for her thyroid tumor is on vacation and we're anxiously awaiting news. Any news. Something that will tell us where we stand. When she needs to have surgery. I blasted the doctor pretty good. It helped me to get what I was feeling off of my chest. It was hateful though, so I didn't post it. Karyn got a call on Monday from her OBGYN. He had received the results from the specialist office. He wants us to wait until after the babies are here for surgery. The tumor is "active" but slowing progressing. I still lean toward a second opinion but I know Karyn trusts this doctor and so do I. He's not going to take any chances. The specialist will continue to monitor things during the pregnancy and she'll have surgery after the twins are here. Keep praying for her. Pray for her doctors too. They have a big responsibility and they are only human. I sometimes get a big head and think we're the only couple on the planet expecting. We have to do things in God's time. I trust Him to protect her and the twins.

I just got back from a work trip to Oklahoma. It's a trip where we visit customers that are several months past due on their mortgages. We visit when we have no other contact with them. It can be a little scary at times but the overtime is good. With twins on the way, any extra money coming in is a good thing. We were chased by dogs, ignored by some customers, and cussed by others. It wasn't too bad though. I've been on worse trips. I missed Karyn and the boys a lot. I could tell they were as excited to see me as I was them. I love to travel but coming home always feels great. I don't think I'll be going on anymore work trips this year. Karyn is getting pretty far along now and I want to be here to help. Football season is here too so my Saturdays are taken. Don't judge me unless you've been to Neyland in the Fall. There's nothing, anywhere, like it.

Karyn's car was totaled out by the insurance company from the hail storms we had in April. It's a blessing and a curse. We're happy to have that piece of poop paid off but finding another vehicle is tough. I think we're going with a mini-van. Neither Karyn or myself are excited about a mini-van but it's needed for a family of 6. We're trying to find a reliable one at a reasonable price. It seems that most in our price range have higher mileage than we would like. Once again, we shall pray. I've mentioned a station wagon to Karyn but get the "stare of death". I don't think I could talk her into it if there was one available that baby-sat while you grocery shopped. It's a no go. A short bus would use too much gas. Mini-van it is. The search is on. We may have to rent a car for her until we find one. They're calling us to schedule a pickup of her car.

We're a little more than one week away from knowing the sex of the twins. I can't wait. We're both very excited. Karyn is now 18 weeks. It seems like forever since we found out we're expecting. This will be our next big mile marker on the road to delivery. Karyn is doing a great job of keeping her sanity. I can't (and won't) even explain everything we've been through in just the past month. It's been a roller coaster ride of ups and downs. Our emotions have traveled a bumpy path. We'll continue to be a rock for each other and lean on God. We pray. When I feel anxious or overwhelmed, I get quiet. I've had several people check on me since I haven't been my outgoing self. I'm ok. It just feels like I'm in a haze sometimes and just coasting through. My brain shuts down and I run off of instinct. Work has been a nightmare lately. They keep adding stuff to my duties and while I appreciate that they trust me to take on more, I can only do so much. I don't want to get burned out. I love my job. I just have to balance everything. Easier said than done, I suppose.

Thank you to everyone for your continued prayers. I know there's light at the end of the tunnel. I feel like we're the ones in the birth canal. Hoping someone will pull us out and smack our bottoms soon. Ok, maybe we could skip the spanking. I think life has given us enough of those for now.

*Note* I've posted 8 times a month, every month, since starting this blog. August will only have 7. It's a good reminder that sometimes what you DON'T say is just as important. The missing blog post means something too.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Back to the country


It's been a little while since I posted. It took some time to get caught up from our trip to my grandparents. The trip was incredible. Better than I could have ever dreamed. Everyone had a great time spending time with everyone. Dad took the grand kids on a ride on Grandma's golf cart. They seemed to really enjoy that. They got to feed apples to miniature horses, they caught lizards, frogs, praying mantis, and they got to see a black widow up close. It's fun getting back to the country. Back to nature. What kid wouldn't love being outside with all of the animals? The bigger kids (me, my brother, my sister, and our spouses) had a great time as well. Me, my brother, and brother in law took turns target practicing with my AK. My uncle Steve has a huge farm and there's a corner set aside to shoot stuff. It's amazing how relaxing that can be. I had left my clip at home so we had to manually load the shells in one by one. It didn't seem to bother anyone. Isaiah got his first chance to shoot a rifle (with my help, of course). He was thrilled. Spending time with Brian and Matt makes me want to schedule a "Man's Weekend" every year. I know several families that do it and I will make it happen, if possible.

Karyn stayed indoors as much as possible. The A/C is just too great to pass up for a pregnant woman. I can totally understand that. That allowed time for bonding with my sister and sister in law. They seemed to have a great time chatting with Grandma and watching Grandpa sleep in his favorite recliner. It was a lot of fun seeing reactions to the kids bringing their latest capture to show off. My Grandma isn't a big fan of things that crawl or hop. My grandma awoke Sunday morning to a frog in her sink. Not sure how it got there. We're going with "He found his way there on his own." Who knows. My family of four (plus two in the oven) stayed at their house. My brother and sister got hotel rooms. This gave me a chance for some one on one conversations with Grandma. I cherish these and I always will. I'm sure I'll write all about it soon.

Grandpa looks great. Last time I saw him, he wasn't doing so well. With the help of physical therapists and regular nurse visits, he's back on the right track. He sang a song to my brother. A catchy little ditty about something. Every morning he gets up and finds Grandma to give her a kiss. She said he does it every morning and every night before going to sleep, he touches her on her shoulder and says "I love you.". Inspiring. He talked to me about coming to East Tennessee some years back and visiting Norris Lake. He remembers catching all the blue gill. They loved him there and he was told to come back fishing there anytime. He was allowed to fish in a spot that you're not usually allowed to fish in. The game warden allowed it. Must be the Smith charm but we do get some pretty sweet perks. My grandpa worked hard in his life. He was in the Army. Horseback. People have come from Fort Campbell to interview him about his time in the Army. I haven't had a chance to see the interview yet. I will track it down, though. Grandma told me of how she "stole" him. They went to church together and he was seeing another girl. She went up to him and gave him an ultimatum. The other girl came up to him after church service and asked if he was coming with her. He left with Grandma and the rest is history. 68 years of marriage later and you can tell they still love each other the same. Absolutely priceless.

I went to the Titans game with my brother in law and had a great time. Karyn took the boys swimming with my nieces while we were gone. I picked them up after dropping Matt off.We all joined back up on Sunday for breakfast before hitting the road back home. My dad will be going back to Brazil in the next week or so. We're back at work. I've called Grandma a few times since we left. I miss them already. I can't wait to go back. Maybe the twins will be here by then. I saw a picture there of my cousin Ben holding his twin babies. One was 4 lbs 2 oz and one was 4 lbs 5 oz at birth. I haven't seen Ben in forever but we used to get in trouble together. We once set one of my grandparents' neighbor's houses on fire with stray bottle rockets. To which my grandma defended us with her life. She told them it wasn't us. No way. He and I need to catch up. Life does go on. Way too fast. Enjoy your family while you have them. Once they're gone, they're gone. Only memories survive. I have so many great stories to tell my kids about my family. I'm so proud.

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Karyn's doctor's appointment for her thyroid has been rescheduled. We were planning on knowing where we stand on urgency of surgery. As of now, we're still in limbo. If we're going to do it during the pregnancy, it has to be soon or it won't be as safe. She's still having issues with breathing and her throat feels scratchy. We were able to get the doctor to approve a temporary disability tag for her. At least she won't have to walk very far from her car to get where she's going. We've been feeding her cravings of Dunkin' Donuts, funnel cake from IHOP, and lots of fresh fruit. I know how badly she would like a Starbuck's right now but she's able to resist the urges for the well being of the babies. She is a wonderful mother and I'm so proud to call her my wife. Isaiah is getting used to kindergarten. He has a first year teacher and she seems to really love him. He's a lot more tired at night since he's been at school all day. We'll call that a win. Jason is loving 5th grade so far and seems to be doing well. He's a typical boy. Always coming home with bumps and bruises. I love my boys.

We've started the process of "nesting". We're trying to clean every inch of this house like it's going to stay clean for the next 4-6 months for the babies' arrival. We stay so busy with everyday life since we both work full time jobs that it's hard to keep up. I have a bunch of projects to complete before they get here. Repairs, painting, and shelf building to name a few. We'll get it done. There's a lot of stuff that I write that doesn't end up in this blog but will end up in the book I make for the twins. I can't say enough how much I appreciate the support of our friends and family. Our life wouldn't be possible without them. The counseling, the prayers, and even the shoulders to cry on from time to time. I thank you.

Oh and it's 13 days until FOOTBALL TIME IN TENNESSEE! I'm sure several posts will be dedicated to the Big Orange. It wouldn't be a blog from my perspective without it. Trust God. Love your family. And Go Vols.