Thursday, June 30, 2016

{iPhone Rewind} :: June

I gathered some snacks for our trip to Chicago. You would think that the twins were already here, but nope! These are all for mama :)

Date #18: Smokin' Hot Monogamy #wcsavethedate16

Sasha had her yearly checkup and was officially deemed an "old lady." She is doing great, but will have to start taking some supplements to help her ease into old ladyhood :)

Date #19: Houlihans + Steel City Pops with our Community Group #groupdate #wcsavethedate16

Our guest bedroom became the staging area for wedding prep, which I LOVE. Can't wait to celebrate with sweet friends! #callofdoty

Thrift shopping is the best! And BONUS: it still fit! That's a rare thing these days :)  #18w6d

Mike preached at his parents' church on Father's Day. I love this photo of the McCullough men :)

Showing off at the vet. Sasha will do anything for a treat :)

Mike got to preach at Mercy Church this month. It was fun to be with our sweet friends in their new facility!

Well over half way {for twins} and realizing I'm going to at least double in size before the end...but I wouldn't change a thing :)  #20w3d

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Infused Water Wednesday :: Blueberry + Lemon + Mint

Today's infused water recipe: Blueberry + Lemon + Mint

Ingredients {to fit in the Chilaqua 24 oz. bottle}:
  • Handful of blueberries
  • 1/2 lemon, rind removed, diced
  • 2-3 mint leaves, scrunched {to release the flavor}
  • 5-6 ice cubes
  • Filtered water

Verdict: Yummy!

I really like this one. It's refreshing and just tasted really good! I will definitely make this one again.

Monday, June 27, 2016

20 Weeks

How far along? 20 weeks
Days since transfer: 122 days
Total weight gain: +11.8
Maternity clothes? Yep! And I am already starting to outgrow the items I have...maternity sizing is a bit frustrating for me, so it has been a little bit of a challenge. So this is going to be interesting :)
Sleep: Still sleeping pretty well. It is getting a little harder to find a comfortable position, but once I find one, I'm out.
Best moment of the week: We got to hear heartbeats again at our OB appointment, which is always fun. Mike also got to feel the babies kick! It was brief, but he definitely felt it. And it was so fun to see his face :)
Cravings: Not really. Just trying to eat healthy.
Symptoms: Still feeling really good, just continuing to grow! I worked a wedding reception this past weekend, so my body is pretty achy and tired after that. I have spent a lot of time with my feet up since then haha. 
Looking forward to: A long weekend with my hubby. He is going to take some time off, and we will get to enjoy some good time together. We may start registering this weekend, so that will be fun!


Size of baby? About the size of a mango or a paper airplane :)
Development: Babies have grown a ton, and my uterus is starting to press up against my lungs already. They have stretched out and can now be measured from head to toe {instead of crown to rump}. Baby girl has seven million primitive eggs, and baby boy's testicles are forming. Babies are sprouting teeth buds, lips, eyelashes, and eyebrows.
Heartbeat: Still one of my favorite sounds, and still nice and strong! Both babies had heartbeats in the 150s.
Movement: It's still not consistent, but it is definitely unmistakable at this point. Mike even got to feel them kick briefly, so that was fun to share with him.
Gender: We're having a BOY and a GIRL :)

Isn't this shirt just so fun? :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Infused Water Wednesday :: Blueberry + Raspberry + Basil

Today's infused water recipe: Blueberry + Raspberry + Basil

Ingredients {to fit in the Chilaqua 24 oz. bottle}:
  • Handful of blueberries
  • Handful of raspberries
  • 2 basil leaves, scrunched {to release the flavor}
  • 5-6 ice cubes
  • Filtered water

Verdict: Refreshing {and it sure looks pretty!}

This was a good fruit-infused combination. I wasn't too sure about the basil, but it actually complimented the berries. To get full flavor, it's best to let it chill in the fridge and actually "infuse" it for a few hours. This would be a great Fourth of July drink!

Monday, June 20, 2016

19 Weeks

How far along? 19 weeks {technically, with twins, I am already half way!}
Days since transfer: 115 days
Total weight gain: +9.4
Maternity clothes? Yep! I was blessed with several items to borrow, and I am so thankful that I haven't had to purchase much yet. I am a little nervous that the items borrowed won't last much longer, but we'll just have to wait and see.
Sleep: Sleeping pretty well these days. I am not taking as many naps these days, so it's nice to have some energy back!
Best moment of the week: Seeing our babies moving on the ultrasound screen and hearing that they are growing healthy and strong! We loved seeing all their tiny organs and their constant activity {even if they were kicking each other}. We also scheduled our maternity photos, signed up for our hospital tour and some childbirth classes, and got our nursery glider! Big week :)
Cravings: Not really. Just trying to eat healthy.
Symptoms: The back and sciatica pain hasn't been as bad this week, and I am so thankful! I can definitely feel myself growing though. There are times when I feel SO stretched out, like my belly feels so tight...that's usually about the time I seem to grow. My skin has been doing crazy things, and I have been breaking out for the first time since I was in high school {awesome}. And random funny thing: I had surgery on my belly button when I was first born, so it's kind of a strangely shaped/scarred innie. This week I noticed a nice white ring around my belly button, which is evidence that my skin is stretching {since it was skin previously hidden inside my belly button} haha. Pregnancy is WEIRD.
Looking forward to: Hearing our babies' heartbeats {again} at my OB appointment this evening. I am also helping with the decor at a sweet friend's wedding this weekend, so I get to play event planner for the weekend :)


Size of baby? About the size of zucchini or tomato, a Game Boy, or an African four-toed hedgehog :)
Development: Babies have gone through a massive growth spurt and now weigh 10 oz. and 9 oz. They have started to develop the vernix caseosa, which protects their skin from the amniotic fluid {to protect them from disease, and so they don't become baby prunes!} Their bones are hardening, and baby girl's uterus is already in place. Their coordination is improving every day, giving them better control over their arms and legs. They are practicing their facial expressions, including opening and closing their mouths, as well as sucking their thumbs!
Heartbeat: Still one of my favorite sounds, and still nice and strong!
Movement: With what we saw on the ultrasound screen this week, there's no mistaking the flutters and thumps I have felt the last couple of weeks. It's still not consistent, but it is definitely unmistakable at this point. 
Gender: We're having a BOY and a GIRL :)

Friday, June 17, 2016

Pregnancy After Infertility and Loss

After years of infertility and not knowing whether or not it would ever be "my turn" to experience pregnancy and life in the womb, it seems so surreal that we are anticipating the arrival of our twins. We are beyond excited, and are trying to enjoy every moment the Lord gives us. 

But there is something very unique about pregnancy after infertility. Achieving a long prayed-for pregnancy certainly eases the painful years of infertility, but it doesn't remove them. The constant, daily heartbreak and struggle are {hopefully} behind us, but the scars still remain. Infertility will always be a part of our story, a part of us, and it doesn't just disappear with a pregnancy. 

And there is something very unique about pregnancy after loss. We are beyond grateful for all that the Lord has done. While the weekly bump updates may be fun and cute, they are a tangible reminder to us of God's goodness. Every crossed milestone is not only an answer to prayer, but a deposit in our faith tank. But it is a daily battle to trust Him and to fight the fears that well up inside. Simply put, we know too much. We know all that can go wrong. We know how fragile life can be. We know that it can all change in an instant. We know there are no guarantees. 

We will forever be robbed of a blissful pregnancy, and as I talk with others who have experienced similar loss, the fear never goes away. Every twinge, every new symptom, every doctor appointment carries a new round of worry. I do pretty well until a few days before our check-ups. And then the panic starts to set in, because I know that this appointment could be the one that pulls the rug out from under us {again}. 

Please don't misunderstand me. We have no medical reasons at this point to think something might go wrong. The Lord has been faithful to give us good news reports at every single appointment. All the facts point toward a healthy pregnancy. And we do know that God is good. He's not waiting to hurt us or cause pain. But as I have mentioned before, infertility changes you. Loss changes you. We have been through too much, we have experienced the pain and heartache...

Fear is not from the Lord, and the worry that creeps in is from the enemy. I constantly have to bring my fears before the throne, asking Him to help me trust Him and His sovereign plan. I have to remind myself of His faithfulness, and that our trust cannot be in good reports, doctors, or even our own efforts to maintain a healthy pregnancy. Because even if the next appointment does bring bad news, He is still good, and He is still in control. 

It's not all hard and scary, though. There are also some really great things. I find myself enjoying every minute of pregnancy...even the not-so-fun things. Morning sickness was a welcome relief. The discomfort and strangeness of pregnancy fascinates me, and is just a reminder of the Lord's answered prayers. The "oh, you're only XX weeks...??" comments {as they eye my growing belly} don't seem to bother me, and inside I am ecstatic that I get to say, "yes! I AM XX weeks!" I catch myself before complaining way more often than I would have before infertility and loss. Not to say I don't complain; it's amazing how quickly our hearts go there. But I am able to hear the gentle whisper of the Holy Spirit, reminding me about the gift I have received, reminding me of how I prayed for pregnancy {and all that comes with it}. How I longed for these precious days.

So as you think about us and rejoice with us over all that the Lord has done, would you also pray for us as we navigate pregnancy after infertility and loss? Would you pray that our infertility-weary hearts would be strengthened by His grace and love? That our babies would grow healthy and strong, and that we would get to parent them this side of heaven? That we would remember the amazing gift the Lord has provided for us and be quick to praise Him and offer grace to each other and others? And would you pray that we can carry our fears to Jesus and trust His sovereign hand over our lives and the lives of our matter what? 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Anatomy Scan

Today we went in for our second Level II Ultrasound with the perinatologist. Because our twin pregnancy is considered high risk, I will have several over the course of my pregnancy. Which I am ok with, because it means we get to check in on our babies :)

Today was our official anatomy scan. So they took some extra time to measure our babies' organs, growth, weight, and to make sure they had all their important appendages. It took a little bit longer because they were SUPER active and wouldn't stay still. The poor sonographer seemed to get a little frustrated because every time she would get close to getting a measurement, they would move. But we finally got all the info we needed, and it was such a relief to hear that our babies are measuring right on track and that all looks well! Strong heartbeats, all organs and appendages look good, and they are looking healthy. That's all this mama needs to hear :)

Mike snuck a photo while we were trying to identify which baby was which :)

The other piece of good news is that my SCH is gone! They officially lifted all of my restrictions, and we shouldn't have to worry about it anymore. Such an answer to prayer!

Baby A {Baby Boy}:
- Weighing 10 ounces

Baby B {Baby Girl}:
- Weighing 9 ounces

Oh, and the sibling rivalry has begun...we definitely got to watch them kick each other on the screen! :)

Infused Water Wednesday :: Watermelon + Coconut + Lime

Today's infused water recipe: Watermelon + Coconut + Lime

Ingredients {to fit in the Chilaqua 24 oz. bottle}:
  • 5-6 pieces of watermelon, diced, seeds removed
  • 1/2 lime, rind removed, diced
  • 5-6 ice cubes
  • 1/4 bottle coconut water
  • Filtered water

Verdict: Not a fan.

I had actually never tried coconut water before, and I found it to be extremely sweet. I originally made this recipe with all coconut water, and it was pretty bad. So I poured out all but about 1/4 and filled the rest with regular filtered water, and that cut the sweetness tremendously. I still didn't love this recipe. Perhaps it would be better with some actual coconut in the infused basket, instead of the coconut water. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

18 Weeks

How far along? 18 weeks 
Days since transfer: 108 days
Total weight gain: +8.8
Maternity clothes? Yes, but I can still wear *some* of my normal clothes. Maternity jeans are hilarious...but SO comfortable :)
Sleep: When I wasn't working this past week, I was sleeping haha. I am also not getting up in the middle of the night as much, probably because I am just so exhausted.
Best moment of the week: I'm pretty sure the thumps I have been feeling are actual baby movements. We were in church this weekend, and I definitely felt some thumps during worship time, which was really sweet and fun :)
Cravings: Nothing really. Still loving my kale salad though.
Symptoms: I have started to have some back and sciatica pain. The extra weight distribution is making a difference, for sure. But other than that, I feel good!
Looking forward to: Our ultrasound on Wednesday. We have another Level II with the perinatologist, and we are so excited to see our babies again! 


Size of baby? About the size of a sweet potato, a croissant, or a sugar glider
Development: Babies' facial features are coming together, and they can now yawn, hiccup, and swallow. Eyelashes are growing in, and they may even have some hair coming in. Fingernails and toenails are also coming in.
Heartbeat: Hearts are beating up to 150 times per minute...we get to hear them again on Wednesday!
Movement: Babies are punching, kicking, and thrashing around inside. I think the thumps I have been feeling are actually baby movements!
Gender: We're having a BOY and a GIRL :)

Thursday, June 9, 2016


This past weekend we headed to Chicago! Mike was asked to officiate a wedding, so we decided to go up early to enjoy some time in the city. We slept in on Friday because we got in so late the night {morning?} before. After a weather delay on our flight, a long wait for our luggage, the crazy rental car line well after midnight, no room for us at the hotel and having to move to another one at 1:30 am...we needed some sleep to recover from our adventurous travels :) 

But once we got some rest, we headed out to explore the city. Mike's only 2 requests for the trip: a Chicago-style hot dog and a deep-dish pizza. So we made our first stop at a tiny hot dog stand in the Ukrainian Village.

They take their hot dog condiments seriously.

We then headed to Millennium Park. It was a beautiful day, and we enjoyed walking through the garden and seeing Cloud Gate and Crown Fountain.

I love all the fun architecture!

Babies' first trip to Chicago! :) #16w4d

Because the weather was so nice {and we had already braved the crazy traffic and paid a small fortune for parking}, we decided to walk down to Navy Pier. As we got closer, we could feel the cool breeze coming off of Lake Michigan, and it was SO nice. We grabbed a couple of floats and walked down to the end of the pier.

 It was Navy Pier's 100th anniversary, and they had a new ferris wheel for the celebration. We decided to take a ride and check out the views.

We had walked a lot already, so my sweet husband parked me in a safe spot to rest while he walked back to the car to come pick me up. I didn't realize how tired I really was until I sat down, so I am so thankful he takes such good care of {all 3 of} us. To top off an amazing day, we enjoyed dinner at Pizzeria Due.

We had such a fun day together enjoying the city. We considered the whole day a date day extravaganza a la Chicago :) #wcsavethedate16

And then it was time for the wedding weekend festivities! Mike met the Judges at a family camp in Colorado when he was in college. They became close and have kept in touch over the years, and Mike Judge has been an amazing mentor as he has loved, encouraged, and discipled {my} Mike. His daughter Morgan got married, and it was so fun to spend the weekend with this sweet family for such a special celebration.

They got married outside under a huge tree, and it was so beautiful and unique to their artist personalities {she is a photographer, and he is a potter}. Mike did an amazing job with the ceremony, and we were so thankful to be a part of their day.

Sweet {and growing} Judge family. Alex will be getting married in September :)

First dance as Mr. and Mrs. Hoogland!

Father Daughter much fun!


We had an absolute blast in Chicago, and we were sad to leave. But we are so thankful for the sweet relationships the Lord has provided to us. It's their turn to come to Dallas, so we hope to see them soon! :)