We are officially out of the first trimester! I really felt like I got a baby bump this week (and not just from bloating). I took my first baby bump pic, but I think that people who don’t know me well would think that it is just my belly. Our little ones are currently about the size of peaches – 3 inches long – and their heads are about half the size of their bodies. It is amazing how much growing they have done in the past few weeks!
We decided that one of our first project would be to replace our front door – the actual door and the hardware. The door looked cheap, was missing weather stripping, only the deadbolt would lock (not the handle), and we wanted to add some color to the very brown house. We went to Home Depot to look at all of our door options. There were options including pre-painted, hard wood, and glass details. You can easily spend $2,000+ on a nice wood pre-hung door. However, since we were on a budget, we opted for one of the cheapest doors – primed steel with a small half circle glass feature. Home Depot didn’t carry any slab options, but we didn’t want to/feel we needed to replace the frame. If you do decide to go with a pre-hung door (as we had to) and don’t plan on replacing the entire casing (as we didn’t want to), make sure to measure the hinge location.
We opted for the recommended quart of Behr Premium Interior Paint & Primer in One. We picked “Flirt Alert” red in semi-gloss (satin was the other recommended option). We also bought a foam roller and angled paintbrush for the detail. After getting the door home, Derek measured the hinge locations. We then took the hinges off and used painters tape to tape the window and weather stripping. We put on the first coat of paint, and the door seemed to soak it up. After that coat dried, there was not even coverage and white was still showing through, so we put on another coat. When those 2 coats dried, we were disappointed that our door did not look like we expected. The gloss was not even and there were lines from the roller. We did some research and decided to use 220 sandpaper to sand the areas that had bad lines. On the next 2 coats, we also made sure to keep a wet edge, light pressure, and the right amount of paint. While our door is not perfect, it definitely looks better than after coat 2!
Struggles with painting steel: soaks up paint and shows lines from the roller
Solutions: use a foam roller, keep a wet edge (don’t over-roll!), use light pressure (don’t press too hard!), use the right amount of paint (make sure that the roller is evenly coated and roll out on edge of paint tray so it is not dripping). Sand down any awkward lines between coats.
We wanted to make sure that we documented the before very throughly, as this will be our first major home renovation. We own a house in Florida, but putting in new floors, fixing the fence, knocking down some walls, and lots of paint are pretty minor compared to this long-term home renovation project!
original hard wood floors with some water damage by windows
large family room
separate dining room
smaller and outdated kitchen (no dishwasher or microwave!)
walk in pantry with extremely small doorway
small enclosed back porch
1 full bath that could be reconfigured for better use of space
2 bedrooms (1 quite small but will work for a nursery!)
single pane non-tempered windows painted shut
some damaged sockets and non-grounded sockets
Kitchen from Dining Room
Kitchen from Pantry
washer and dryer hookups
long and skinny storage room
walkout to small patio space under 1st floor deck
knob and tube wiring visible in unfinished ceilings
Detached 2 car garage
1 door is set up with garage door opener but does not work
Our first project will be replacing the front door. We are planning to paint the front door bright red (the color red is said to bring prosperity and adds a much needed pop of color). We are hoping that our next project will be to refinish the hardwood floors on the first floor before we get our furniture moved in.
In January 2016 we made the move from San Jose to Seattle. I am sure it’s getting old for people in the Emerald city to hear that, so I like to make sure they know we were only transients in San Jose. We stopped long enough for me to get established in my new job before looking further afield for a city we could actually call home. For us San Jose felt like an embodiment of the movie “Office Space” as it feels a bit like perpetual suburbs and very little character. To add to that, the median home price is well over a million dollars, not something a young family enjoys.
The problem of course, is that we aren’t the only couple that feels this way. There has been a fairly large flight of people from California up the coast to cities like Portland and Seattle, which has driven prices up in those markets as well. We found out we were moving in October of 2015, just a week after our wedding. A couple of weeks later we were in Seattle looking for our Home (capitalization intentional). That first weekend we toured over twenty homes and were left feeling tired and a bit disappointed. It’s the reality of the market, but its still hard to face the realization that on our budget we would be looking at a home in need of serious TLC.
We wound up in a two bedroom apartment on Mercer Island, locked into a three month lease to give us a bit more time to house hunt. Every weekend from the time we moved, we were out on the hunt – often touring upwards of ten houses a weekend. All told we toured close to 75 homes and made offers on five. Each rejected offer was soul crushing. Before making an offer we had to imagine the house as a Home, and that took a real emotional investment.
We looked at houses all around the Seattle area, not caring too much about the area as long as the schools were good and the area felt safe. Eventually we found a home in the Renton area that had everything we were looking for. Incredibly it sat on an acre of land right next to a church and across from a new subdivision. It was an older home, with original hardwood floors and a ton of “character.” We began building our lives in this house in our imaginations and we liked what we saw!
We made an offer, and after some back and forth with the seller, it was accepted! But the fun didn’t end there. We still had to get by appraisal in order to get our loan in order. Of course that came back well under the offer and it was back to negotiations with the seller. Thankfully, they were willing to meet us half way and a couple weeks ago we came to agreement on the final price.
Finally, this morning we went to the escrow office and signed away our lives for the next 30 years. Closing will be on Monday and then we take possession! Our journey is just starting, but its already been a lot of fun with some heartache thrown in as well. We are excited to move and get to the actual renovations.
After our initial excitement at the ultrasound, I went back to my pregnancy guide: What to Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel for some more information. Unfortunately, it seemed like the chapter on twins focused more on the increased risks than the increased joys. Or maybe it was just that I was freaking out and read the chapter with that mentality. Either way, after talking to a neonatology doc friend and my obgyn and re-reading this chapter, I realized yes there are slightly higher risks. However, it still isn’t usually considered a high risk pregnancy. Also, there isn’t a lot that I can do as the momma, so I might as well not stress too much!
Obviously the cost is higher with twins! While we don’t need 2 of every item (What to Do When You’re Having Two is an awesome resource to help with this), there are a lot of items that are more expensive for twins (hello double stroller!) and that we do need two of (hello two expensive cribs for once they roll over and can’t share!). Baby Bargains estimates that parents spend about $7500 on a child’s nursery items, clothes, diapers, food, toys, seats, carriers, etc. from birth to age one. This doesn’t include medical bills or child care costs! Our medical bills are also little bigger because we have ultrasounds almost every month to measure babies’ growth (as fundal height measurements don’t work for multiples) and my cervix length (cervical length can help predict early delivery).
Pregnancy symptoms may be worse. I think I have actually gotten pretty lucky in this regard. I have had nausea and indigestion, but it is nothing like some of my friends’ and family’s experiences. Fatigue and fetal movement baby also may be increased.
Higher risk of miscarriage and premature delivery. 20-30% of twin pregnancies result in vanishing twin syndrome (the miscarried twin is reabsorbed by the mother). The usually occurs in the first trimester and women over 30 have a higher likelihood. About 59% of twins arrive early, and my doc said she would induce if we get to 38 weeks (although she said that is not very likely). The key is that the babies stay in the womb long enough to get to a healthy weight and lung development.
Risks to my health. Preeclampsia (high blood pressure) affects about 25% of moms of multiples, gestational diabetes is slightly more likely, and there is a slightly higher risk of placental problems.
Possibility of bed rest. Some doctors prescribe bedrest to try to minimize the risks to mom’s health and to keep the babies in the womb as long as possible. My doctor said that she prescribes it on a case by case basis, but the current research says that bed rest is not necessarily helpful to keeping the babies from being delivered too early.
Labor and delivery may not go as smoothly. 40% of twins are vertex/vertex (heads down), and this is the easiest way to have a vaginal birth. However, sometimes Twin A and/or B isn’t vertex, and a C-section might be necessary.
When I was younger, I always said I wanted twins. Did I really know what I was wishing for?!
Sibling love. As the oldest of four, I love having siblings. Growing up there was always someone to play with, and as we got older, there was always someone to go out to eat with. Our babies will have a sibling to play with from day one (or whatever day they actually start playing)!
We get many more ultrasounds than a singleton pregnancy!
Our babies are fraternal and di/di (dichorionic/diamniotic), like 76% of twin pregnancies. This is the least risky type of twin pregnancy because the babies each have their own chorionic (this eventually forms the placenta) and amniotic sacs (Types of Twin Pregnancies).
Join a parenting group. I have looked into groups for parents of multiples, PEPS, and local Renton groups. It seems like you can find all of these types of groups in major cities. Just a heads up, most do have fees, though.
Let them be individuals. We have already started thinking about how to cater to our babies’ uniqueness as twins while still encouraging them to grow as individuals. We know it will probably be tough but its important to us that our children grow up as independent people.
Buy from consignment sales. Many of the baby items you won’t use too long, so why buy a new expensive item? The multiples groups in Seattle all have semi-annual consignment sales with toys, maternity and baby clothes, strollers, chairs, etc.
On Friday February 26, we were excited and nervous to finally visit the doctor for an early ultrasound. I was 8 weeks and 6 days along; I had suffered from indigestion and nausea, Derek had suffered through my restless nights and mood swings, and the dogs were used to me laying on the couch in the fetal position. Derek and I were definitely read to see our little raspberry that would make these past 2 months and future 7 months worth it!
The doctor’s office didn’t make us wait too long, and we were quickly ushered into an ultrasound room by the tech. Almost immediately she said, “Well it’s a good thing you two are sitting down because you are having twins!” I laughed out loud. Derek and I had joked about having twins, and growing up, I had always wanted twins – a boy and a girl. Derek and I were both still excited and in shock, as we watched the tech check out each baby. It was an incredible experience to see both babies, and we were thankful to find out they had healthy heartbeats and sizes.
We decided that it was time to tell our families. While our parents knew we were expecting come September, our siblings and extended families still were in the dark. Most of our family members took some convincing that yes indeed we were actually having twins. Only about 4% of babies in the US are born as multiples, and twins tend to run on the maternal side! While, I am predisposed to twins due to genetics (maternal Great Grandma Goodendorf’s mom was a twin and paternal Grandfather Kimutis had twin sisters), we do not have any of the other factors (Factors that Increase the Odds of Having Twins). On Friday evening, the reality of the pregnancy, risks of multiples, and the cost of multiples set in.