I am so excited to announce Dear Baby Bell is moving to www.dearbabybell.com. Please join me as I continue to share my thoughts, adventures with twins, and surviving my early 30s. 


Finding Comfort in the Uncomfortable

Thanks to the crazy Tennessee weather (and a couple toddler tantrums), I missed my regular Wednesday night prayer meeting with some amazing ladies. Have no fear. I spent time in prayer and studying yesterday, so I'm here now to share my reflections! Grab a seat. Have some coffee. Whatever. 

What do we miss when we hide within our comfort zone? 

Take the word "we" out for a second. What do I miss when I hide within my comfort zone? Personally, I feel like I have missed out on relationships! I'm so guilty of not reaching out to people from time to time who might need a little boost because... well... it might require me to *gasp* talk to a stranger. This is not something new. I've been a little on the shy side for as long as I can remember. Once I get to know someone, and I'm comfortable around them, I open up. I'm a sealed little mystery until then though. With age, I've slowly begun to push myself outside of my own limits. I'm not moving mountains by any means, but I'm definitely working on it!

When I'm stuck in my comfort zone (a.k.a my own little, peaceful, drama free world), am I missing the fullness of God? YES! God wants me to be comfortable being uncomfortable! I have to step outside of my little box and have faith in God. I realize this comes easier for some than others. That's what makes this world a beautiful place though! If we were all the same, what fun would that be? If we all lived in the same little comfortable box, how could we really accomplish what God wants us to accomplish? We wouldn't! We would all be stuck in own little comfortable worlds. 

When I decided to write about our infertility journey, I was absolutely terrified. When I hit the publish button on that super long post in 2013, my heart sank. I had prayed over it for several days and finally just took the leap. I was uncomfortable, but at the same time I had high hopes somewhere, somehow someone would read my words and it would be an encouragement one day. After that first post, the future posts became easier. It wasn't always rainbows and sunshine though. I did hit a few bumps along the way, but in the end I felt like I was being called to share my story. I realize what I did is not something everyone feels called to do! I'm not saying we should all air our personal business online. I am saying sometimes we feel called to do things we wouldn't necessarily think we would do. In my case, sharing all of my reproductive issues with family, friends, and strangers was what I felt I needed to do at the time. 

Here I am today. I've been tossing a few ideas around for where I want my blog to go and how I want to continue. I have a very special place in my heart for women who are faced with an infertility journey, women who are dealing with pregnancy loss, and just women who just need someone to be real with! [waving hello] With that being said, I am so patiently waiting for God to show me where to go from here. I have been feeling a tiny little tug at my heart lately to start a prayer group specifically for these special women in my life. Nothing fancy. Just a little group who gathers together once a month or so just to pray with and for each other. I SO badly wanted to be a part of something like this when I was struggling along my own journey, but I never knew how, where, or when to get the ball rolling. Doing something like this will be a bit out of my comfort zone. I feel a little anxious just typing all of this out, but... but... but if we all stick with what we are comfortable with and what makes us always feel warm and fuzzy, how can we experience the fullness of God's plan for our lives? 

Ponder on this with me for a minute... 
If you never step outside of the box, how can you ever really see the big picture? It isn't about me. It isn't about you. It is all about God. What does God want you to do? How can you use your life, your journey, your experience to help someone see God's greatness? 

Now put your coffee down and go be uncomfortable! 


I'll Hold You Tighter Today... and Always

I'll be honest. I do not even know how to write about this. 

I sat in a very familiar waiting room yesterday waiting for my name to be called. I've sat in that waiting room before as I held back tears of disappointment. My husband and I sat in that waiting room numerous times when we were pregnant with R&A. Yesterday I was surrounded by few women who were sitting with what I would assume to be their mothers... maybe? Perhaps they were future grandmothers waiting to sneak a peek at their little grandchild? I noticed a few college-age young ladies scrolling through their phones too. Then there was me... 

I was there for a follow up appointment for some postpartum issues. After I told the nurse about how much better I had been feeling mentally and emotionally thanks to some new coping methods and a bit of medication, I began telling her about my periods and how terrible they had become. If you have followed my journey for very long, you know I do not have a regular period. When I do have a period, it is typically very painful, heavy, and miserable. I had high hopes some lifestyle changes (regular exercise and some dietary changes) would help alleviate the symptoms, but after several months... it just wasn't working. When my doctor came in, I knew what we were about to discuss, but I silently prayed I was wrong. 

"You don't want anymore kids, right?" 
With my history, I knew this would come up. I have struggled with heavy, irregular, painful periods for almost 20 years.  I KNEW eventually I would have to have this discussion. I have been tremendously blessed with three amazing children. My womb brought three miracle babies into this world. Now we are faced with the reality that I will not be carrying anymore babies in my womb. At the age of 30, I sat in a room and heard the word "hysterectomy". I have joked with my mom for several years and said, "I wish someone would just take all of this out since it doesn't work right anyway." I was joking though. Now that I know I'm so close to that happening, it isn't funny. I'm 30. I.AM.30. 

My doctor did give another option before we go to the extreme of a hysterectomy though. He suggested an endometrial ablation. He also said he will go in laparoscopically (again) to clean up any endometriosis. There is a possibility I may have some fibroids causing some issues as well, so he feels these procedures will help. He was very straight forward when he told me this might not fix it. He said it will at least buy me a few more years before a hysterectomy though. 

I did not write this in hopes someone would offer me sympathy and say, "Oh poor Kari." Listen. I am a little overwhelmed by the fact I am facing this, but at the same time I am so thankful I was able to give my husband two beautiful babies. We both prayed and remained hopeful we would bring a child into this world. After a long, trying journey...We did. We were blessed with two at once. My reproductive organs do not function the way they should. In the bigger picture, I know taking care of this NOW will help me be a better mom and wife in the long run. It will be rough in the beginning for sure, but I am looking forward to living a life without heavy, painful periods. 

I'll leave you with this photo of my three little miracles. . . I'm squeezing them a little tighter this week. I know I beat all odds thanks to God and His amazing plan. God is so good and I pray He will be with us as we face what's next for me. 

To read about my last surgery here.


Worry Not

I'm a worrier. Surprise. Surprise, right? 
Last night in my Ladies' Prayer Group, we discussed the topic of worry and how God has called us NOT to worry. After reading through Matthew 6:25-34, I felt a slight sense of guilt. I feel like since becoming a mother almost 13 years ago, I have worried more. As the years have gone by, my worries have evolved and shifted. In the beginning I was worried I would not be a good enough mother to Gavin. As he got older, I worried for his safety. Now I worry about the world all three of my children are growing up in. I worry about if I'm teaching Gavin the things he will need to know when he moves out on his own one day. 

We are called NOT to worry though. So why do I worry about my children so much? Last night, I mentioned Ryker and his lack of fear. Ryker doesn't worry about anything. He will climb on top of an end table or try to jump off of the couch. He runs as fast as he can through all of the toys in the living room with no fear of falling. Ryker does not worry. Ryker is a child... a child who knows no matter what happens, Mommy or Daddy will kiss his boo-boo and "fix it". This is what God wants us to understand! There is no reason for us to worry. He will be there. He has it under control. "Can any one of [us] add a single hour to [our] lives by worrying?' (Matt 6:27). No. The key is to have faith that God is in control of a situation. 

In Matthew 6:34, we are called to "not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." What do we accomplish by worrying about tomorrow? Personally, I accomplish absolutely nothing. It is a waste of my precious time for me to worry about things I have absolutely no control over. I still find myself worrying though.  

It is no surprise I feel stretched very thin from time to time. Between keeping up with the twins, maintaining a household, being a wife, and co-parenting a preteen I wear many hats and have many important jobs. Right now, my heart is so consumed by my worry for Gavin and our relationship. He is at an age where I have to start letting go and allowing him to fail on his own. I cannot hover as much as I have in the past. If I want him to grow into a responsible adult, I have to start letting go. I have tried so hard to just cover him in prayer for the last few months. It might just be a phase, but I honestly feel like I'm losing him. I feel like my time with him is so so precious; however, he is at the age where he can decide what he wants to do (within reason). I worry he will resent me one day. I worry he and I will not have a very close relationship. I worry he will decide he wants to live with his dad permanently.

This week, I am praying for God to just take those worries away. I pray He will help me face the challenges I have ahead of me as I try to co-parent Gavin. I pray He will give me the strength and understanding to accept the things I have no control over. 


Toddler Time & Snow Storm 2016

As many of you already know, Tennessee (and the rest of the East) was hit with a snow storm. I originally thought it would be so much fun to be "snowed in" with all three kiddos, but that thought was short lived. It was very, very short lived. We were not officially "snowed in" until Saturday. Gavin's dad got into town a little earlier on Friday than he had originally expected, so Trey ended up getting out and driving on the yucky, icy mess to take Gavin home. Trey LOVES driving in the snow. Me? Eh. Not so much. Trey did manage to make it home safely so I ended up snowed in with Trey, Ryker, and Averlee sans Gavin. 

On Saturday, I convinced Trey we should take R&A out to play in the snow. I had dreams of Ryker throwing snow balls, rolling in the snow, and giggling at how much fun he was having. I imagined Averlee would enjoy sledding and tossing snow in the air. In reality though...Ryker and Averlee hated the snow. They equally hated being bundled up, wearing gloves, and not being able to walk in the 4 inches of snow. As soon as we put Ryker down, he face planted into a pile of snow. Averlee fell over and couldn't get up, so she joined in on the snow hating too. Basically we spent 15 minutes bundling everyone up. We spent 5 minutes in the snow. We made a huge mess in the laundry room with all of our boots and wet clothes. I have high hopes next year will be better. One can dream, right? 

If there is one thing I wasn't prepared for, it is this : TWO BABIES LEARNING TO WALK AT THE SAME TIME. They don't walk in the same direction. They don't walk the same speed. They defiantly do not want to hold my hand as I lead them away from whatever they are currently trying to destroy play with.  Obviously I knew they would sprout some confidence and take off one day, but I didn't realize I would blink and that day would be here so quickly. It is here though. 

They are also starting to talk. Of course 90% of the time I'm the only person who knows what they are trying to say. The other 10% of the time I think they are talking in their odd twin lingo. Ryker loves to say "ba" for ball. He says "tak-ku" for thank you, and "mik" for milk. Averlee talks about "cat", "bite", and "momma" on the regular. 

We have almost made the full transition to table foods. Almost. I have a lazy day from time to time where I will sneak them some baby food because I can barely even think straight. For the most part, they get their fruits, veggies, dairy, protein, and occasional sweet treats in. It's a win for everyone! 


When I Wasn't Looking


Averlee took her first unassisted steps last night. She stood up, put her hands in the air, grinned ear to ear, and took her wobbly first steps. It was beautiful. It made me tear up. I was so very proud of her! 

I've never been one to make New Year Resolutions, but in an effort to organize my life and manage my anxiety, I decided this might be the year to make a few resolutions. One is to work on my own health and fitness (typical resolution... *blah blah*). The other is to live more in the moment and not let myself get caught up in the stress. 

I wouldn't say I've taken my time at home with the twins for granted, but I will say I've had a hard time shutting off my "working mommy" brain. I began working when I was 17 shortly after I discovered I would become a mom. I was in college and working until Gavin was 4 years old. Then, I began working full time. Those pay checks were so nice, but I was missing out on so much. I missed school functions. I was late for ballgames. I didn't get to help him with homework or stay home with him when he was sick. I felt so much guilt for missing out and not being present as a mother. I was doing what I had to do to pay off my student loans and save for his college though. I was doing my best. 

When Trey and I got married, I quit my great paying job so I could transition into a less demanding work schedule closer to home. No more hour commute. No more business trips out of town. No more meeting clients or co-workers to discuss business over dinner and drinks. It felt like a great move for our family and future kid(s). 

The moment Trey and I decided we wanted to have a child, we also decided it would be best for me to say home with him or her. As you know, it took us longer than we had planned to have a child. This made staying home even more important to me. I didn't want to miss out on all of the firsts! When we found out we were expecting twins, there was no question I would need to stay home! Daycare for two infants would be my entire paycheck! So the decision was easy... I would be a stay at home mom. Easy right? 

I love staying home with my twins and having the freedom to be there for Gavin when he has a school or sports event..... BUT.... For several months I struggled with not feeling like I had a purpose. I felt like a good day was defined by me taking a shower AND washing my hair. I constantly had family telling me I needed to "get away" from my kids and go do something else for a day each week. I felt like I wasn't making a difference. Sure. My kids were happy and healthy, but I always had someone chirping in my ear about things I "should do" or pushing me to leave my kids a few days a week. I felt like I wasn't a good enough stay at home mom. 

It is also important for me to note... I struggled silently with postpartum depression and anxiety for 10 months. I kick myself daily for not reaching out to my doctor for help sooner, but it is what it is. Honestly, it robbed me of a lot of joy. I reached a point where I wanted to completely isolate myself because being around others stressed me out. I'm doing much better now thanks to support from my doctor, friends, my mom, and my husband. 

So for 2016, I'm wiping my slate clean. I'm doing what I need to do to grow my relationship with my husband. I'm working on living in the moment and not worrying about what others around me think I should be doing. I spent so much of the twins first year feeling like I had to prove something. I felt so much pressure from others for me to go against what I was comfortable with. I felt like I had to prove that I COULD do this since I had so many people tell me I wouldn't be able to handle the twins by myself each day. I can. I plan to live in today and handle what is thrown at me... And enjoy each moment. This is MY job. I have 3 kiddos who depend on me, love me, and NEED me. I don't have to prove anything. I'm good enough. I'm doing the best I can. I'm loving my life and enjoying each day. This life is pretty amazing. Hectic and amazing. 


Twin Adventures - 13 Month Installment

Ryker and Averlee are 13 months old today! Do people say that? Or is it safe for me to just say, "They are 1" and leave it at that? Eh. They are 13 months. I must say, this is a FUN age, but it has also been a challenging age!

13 Months Old and dressed for church
Ryker is training for his first baby marathon I believe. He has two speeds. Sleeping and Running. There is nothing in between. He's either knocked out or he's running full speed ahead. He's still eating anything and everything we put in front of him. He has a total of 6 teeth (2 bottom and 4 top). He moved into his own room two nights ago. He loves to play with a ball, his bulldozer, his big brother, and his puppy, Harper. 

Never a dull moment with Ryker. He's quite busy! 
Averlee is still trying to decide if she wants to walk soon or not. I'm completely ok with her crawling for a little while longer since it is easier for me to chase Ryker if I'm carrying her versus chasing them both. I have a feeling she is about to take off though. She is such a picky eater! We still have to give her jar baby food from time to time because she refuses to cooperate when it comes to eating table foods sometimes. Typical girl. She loves to play with her tea pot, tea cups, and baby doll. She has even decided she can tolerate a small bow in her hair from time to time. *Score!* Averlee has 5 teeth (2 bottom and 3 top). 

Group photo...fail. 
As for me... I'm surviving. I've learned to just roll with the punches. There will be a day when I will be caught up on laundry. I will shower daily. My hair will not be in a messy bun. I will be able to read a book. I will have complete conversations with fellow adults. That day will not be today though. or tomorrow. or anytime in the next 4 years. I've learned WHEN to wave my little white flag and call my mom. I've allowed myself to admit when I need a break and it is completely ok for me to say, "I need a minute or 60 to myself". I went through a time where I felt so guilty for wanting some time by myself, but I now have no problem telling my husband he needs to handle things for a little while so I can take a breather. 

This is an adventure for sure. It is challenging. It is exhausting at times. It is rewarding. It is literally a dream come true.