Friday, December 30, 2011

J is for Jedi!

The girls' Aunt Alaina (who lives with us and goes to a nearby college) came home with a delightful gift for them last night.  She works at Barnes and Noble and found it on their Star Wars table.  They were so excited this morning to get a post-Christmas present!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time!

We had so much fun this Christmas!  The girls lit up our hearts with their excitement about each part of the season.  We had fun having my niece Hannah stay with us for a few days.  My sister Ruthie, brother-in-law Phil, and their daughter Hannah are missionaries in Thailand, and they were home this year for the birth of my new great niece (their first granddaughter) Ruby Fiona!  My nephew Jeremy (Ruby's dad) lives in Savannah, so I was able to meet up with Ruthie and Phil on their way back home and brought Hannah to stay with us for a while.  The girls loved having Hannah around, and it was a real blessing to Patrick and me as well.  She is such a sweetie, and a joy to be around!  My family is headed back to Thailand tomorrow, and I miss them already!  We spent Christmas Eve Eve having breakfast at my favorite breakfast place in Greenville, Stax Omega, with my niece Taylor and her boyfriend Tim.  The girls ate their weight in scrambled eggs and pancakes!  From there, we headed to my Mom's for a soup and salad lunch with the rest of my family.  It was a really fun day, and I even got to get out and finish up some Christmas shopping while my sweet sisters took care of the girls!  We spent Christmas Eve with Patrick's family and had a fabulous breakfast together, opened presents, and then had a yummy prime rib dinner.  The girls had so much fun!  We headed back home on Christmas Eve night and enjoyed Christmas day home together, just the four of us.  The girls got to finish putting the stars on their advent calendar, listen to Daddy read the Christmas story from the Bible, and eat a delicious breakfast with us.  We got them twin baby dolls.  One has brown hair for Evelyn and one has blonde hair for Naomi!  They also got Leap Frog alphabet fridge magnets, which were a huge hit!  They got cute coin purses from Thailand, a V-Tech laptop from Grammy and Pep-Pep, jeans, lots of books, and some artwork from their aunts and uncles.  They loved unwrapping their gifts, but they loved all of the tickling, hugs and kisses, and excitement of being around our family so much more!  Here are some pictures and a short video from the past couple of weeks and from Christmas day.  

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Loss and A Lesson in Love

In 2008, two days after Christmas, we lost our first baby.  We always remember this little one, but we think of him or her more at Christmas time.  I was about ten weeks pregnant when we realized the baby was not going to make it.  We were home visiting with our families for the holidays.  I had actually started bleeding on Christmas morning, but had called the doctor, and was just waiting and hoping everything was okay.  On the day after Christmas, I was in a movie theater with a few of my nieces and nephews and Patrick was out with his brothers.  After the movie, I went to the bathroom, and knew immediately that there was something wrong.  I called Patrick and my nieces and nephews waited with me in a hotel parking lot for him to come.  I learned later that he had put his hazard lights on and literally ran red lights to get to me.  I called my doctor, and they told me to go ahead and go to the hospital.  We got to the emergency room, and after some blood work and an ultra sound, it was determined that our little one had no heart beat and had actually passed away at around 5 weeks gestation.  We left the hospital and went to Patrick's parents house.  Both of our families were waiting there for us, and Patrick's Mom had packed up all of our bags for us.  I had really just wanted to go home with Patrick as soon as we could.  Our family prayed with us and cried with us, and we were on our way.  We got home around midnight, and I actually miscarried the baby the following evening.  We will always love that little soul that God blessed us with that year.  We would have carried that child for 1 week or 10, we would have cared for him or her for their whole life.  We know that God knows best, and we learned through the experience of losing a child, to depend on God more, and to love each other more deeply.  As we watch our two little girls experiencing the Christmas season this year, our hearts are filled with thankfulness and awe, for we know that each moment we are given to hold them is a treasure and a wonderful gift from our Heavenly Father.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Playing and Cleaning, Cleaning and Playing

Last week I was under the weather, and had to figure out how to keep the little ladies entertained/contained while trying to take it easy.  One thing I did was to close the kitchen door and put a gate at the other entry way and let them play in the kitchen while I did dishes or just sat in a chair and tried to rest.  They loved the change of scenery, and the kitchen was actually pretty easy to baby-proof.  As long as they weren't wearing socks, they got along really well on the linoleum, and I think they enjoyed having a little more freedom to roam.  What this taught me was that now that the girls are more steady on their feet, I can actually just take them from room to room and get things done around the house.  I don't just have to use their nap times to try and clean like a mad woman anymore!!  Today, they hung out in our bedroom while I cleaned our bathroom (I semi-baby proofed the bedroom first -- and then had to do it for real when I found Naomi teething on a wire hanger -- whoops!).  This was such a relief for me, and I have noticed that they are really able to get their energy out and satisfy some of that wonderful 14 month old curiosity about the world around them when they are a little freer to roam.  I call it their "free range chicken time"!  I think with having two at once, Patrick and I are not always jumping the gun to see the girls into their next stages of development and independence.  It feels safer and more manageable sometimes to get into a routine and just stay there.  I am learning though, that it is really important for us to step out there with the girls and to take risks.  They catch on really quickly, and they need us to foster their growth even if it all seems to be happening too fast for our comfort!  I have found such joy in having my girls "follow" me around while I try and take care of our home. Here are a couple of pictures from our photo shoot during Thanksgiving weekend (courtesy of TimAlina Photography) - I will be posting more later this week!


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Gobble Gobble!

Patrick and I hosted Thanksgiving at our home for the first time this year.  With Patrick's work schedule being pretty crazy, we decided it would not really work for us to travel for the holiday this year, so Patrick's family decided to come to us!  I was a little sad about not being with my family, but the girls and I were able to take a quick trip to visit with my family the week before Thanksgiving, and I was very thankful to have had that time with them.  

We had a very busy and fun weekend with our family.  They came on Thursday afternoon and left last night.  

We fried a turkey, and our lives were changed forever - So delicious!

Naomi and Evelyn sure enjoyed hanging out with their aunts and uncles and of course their Grammy and Pep-Pep this weekend!

I should have added something for perspective here, but these were the girls plates for the big meal.  They were actually on salad plates, and looked so adorable next to all the adult plates.  They tried everything, but I think it may have been a few too many new things all at one time.  Evelyn enjoyed eating off her Aunt Amanda's fork more than she did her own spoon, and Naomi mostly spit everything out when I'd get a bite in her mouth.  She did have a fun time making eyes across the table at her Pep-Pep!

I bought the girls these turkey headbands for their first Thanksgiving last year.  I was so excited that they still fit this year.  We had to be pretty creative to keep their little hands busy so they wouldn't pull the headbands off before we could snap a picture!

The girls were so helpful to their Daddy in doing up the dinner dishes!!

Some other things we enjoyed this weekend were going out for a birthday lunch for Patrick's Mom, going shopping at the mall on black Friday, and doing a family photo shoot on Saturday afternoon at Runnymede Plantation.  We are pooped to say the least, but are so thankful that our family came to us for this special weekend!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Day in the Life

I've noticed on some of the blogs that I read that people are posting their daily schedules.  I thought it would be fun to post ours, and I know it will be fun to go back and read this some day, so, here goes!

6:30 a.m.  Get up, shower, and partially get myself ready.
7:00 a.m.  Patrick gets up to get ready for work.
7:30 a.m.  Let dog out, feed pets, heat up bottles (the girls have been up for a while at this point usually talking and playing in their cribs - if they're not so happy, I go in and change diapers and put them back in their cribs with books or other toys until I am ready with their bottles).  Patrick goes in and says good morning to the ladies and then heads out to work.
8:00 a.m.  Get girls up, change diapers, and give them their bottles - after the bottles, we play in their room for a bit, or on tired mommy mornings, I lay on the floor of their room with one eye open watching them play until I can motivate myself to get up and get their breakfast ready!
8:30 a.m.  Feed the girls breakfast which consists of oatmeal mixed with fruit and a half a jar of pureed squash and lots of puffs!  I usually try and eat while feeding them.
9:00 a.m.  I do ABC or animal sound flashcards with the girls and then I move their highchairs to the living room to watch Sesame Street or Eebee's Adventures.  At this point I usually eat if I wasn't able to while feeding them and unload the dishwasher.  
9:45 a.m.  We head back to the nursery and I get the girls changed and dressed and they play while I stock up the changing table, change crib sheets, or put away their laundry.
10:30 a.m.  Morning Nap!  I usually finish getting ready at this point and then work on laundry or dishes.  Sometimes I am lucky at this point and am able to talk to my BFF who lives in Seattle while she's on her way to work.  Sometimes I have to take a shower at this point because I didn't get up early enough or the girls woke up earlier than normal, it just depends on the day.
12:00 p.m.  I get the babies up from their nap if they haven't woken on their own yet and give them their bottles.  I change their diapers and take them to the kitchen for lunch which is usually a PB&J, a jar of pureed peas, cut up cheese, yogurt, and puffs or baby mum mums.  Sometimes I get to talk on the phone to my BFF who is in my same time zone while I feed the girls lunch and she is on her lunch break from work!
1:30 p.m.  I put the girls in their stroller and go for a walk and then to our neighborhood playground to let them swing in the baby swings - they love this, and it is a good point in the day for me to get out and get some fresh air!
2:30 p.m.  Afternoon Nap!  I usually eat lunch and check email/facebook at this point or talk on the phone with my Mom or sister - I don't do as much housework at this point just because the evening is long and there is a lot to do with getting dinner, baths, and bedtime.  I do usually make sure the dishes are squared away and do any meal preparation that I can.
4:00 - 4:30 p.m.  I get the girls up if they haven't gotten up on their own and give them bottles and then we play in their room for a bit.  
5:00 p.m.  I give the girls dinner (pasta or soup or some of our leftovers, green beans and fruit and maybe a pumpkin muffin or teething cookie).  Usually Patrick comes home halfway through the girls' dinner.
6:15 p.m.  Patrick plays with the girls while I clean up from their dinner and sometimes get our dinner started.
7:00 p.m.  Bath Time!  Sometimes I do the baths and sometimes Patrick does them. Either way, it takes both of us to get the job done.
7:30 p.m.  The girls get their last bottle and we brush their teeth and say goodnight!
8:00 p.m.  The girls are down and we either start dinner or finish what I got started earlier in the evening.  
8:30 p.m.  We eat dinner and usually watch something on Hulu or Netflix - right now, we're completely obsessed with Mad Men!
9:30 - 11:00 p.m.  We clean up from dinner and either continue watching TV or we do our own thing until we go to bed.

So, there you have it!  This is of course a normal day where I don't have any errands to run and Patrick doesn't have to work late.  We are currently transitioning from bottles to sippy cups (NOT an easy task!), so eventually the girls will go straight from waking up to their highchairs with their cups of milk.  It's amazing how much the schedule changes based on the girls development!  Hopefully I can do this more often to compare how far we've come.  

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sickity Sick Sick

Patrick and I both had a 48 hour stomach flu this week...sickity.  The girls were due for re-check for their ears tomorrow morning, but we had to go in today because Evelyn had a fever last night.  She has another ear infection, and Naomi has fluid in her one ear, but it's not infected...sick sick!  We will get through this, right?!  Oh, and this all has happened on an election week which is one of the worst times for Patrick to miss work.  Looking forward to a long weekend relaxing with my husband and babies!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Not In My Favorites

I went to open a new tab online today, and my own blog wasn't listed as one of my recent or favorite places visited...maybe the blog should have been called "80 Or So Days Of Wonderful"!  Well, the blog, as with all the other things in my life, need my attention and my discipline in order to work.  I have always struggled to be disciplined with my time, and I find that I get distracted and discouraged pretty easily.  Distracted + Discouraged = Recipe For Disaster!  I will not beat myself up over this, I will give myself a break, and I will try harder.  This blog is important to me.  It is a creative outlet and a way for me to chronicle the good things that happen each day.  Our lives get busy and hectic, things happen that hurt us, we hurt each other, we lose sight of what's important.  We get sick, our pets seem like a burden, there are worries about money, work, and household tasks.  These difficult things are a part of our day to day lives, and sometimes they seem to outshine what is important.  Sometimes I feel so bogged down by them, I don't want to do anything.  I become idle.  It is important for me to write about this because I need to remember that this is all part of our story.  All of the difficult things and all of the wonderful things are in cahoots to make us see how very much God cares.  All of it is such an important process of building character and making us stronger.  So, today, a Monday, I purpose in my heart to push through my tendency toward being undisciplined, distracted, and discouraged in order to love myself, my husband, and my children, and to allow God to be our constant reminder of the wonderful that is in each moment we have together.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze

Before the babies got sick, which seems like an eternity ago, we headed over to a really fun pumpkin patch and corn maze.  Corn mazes are special to Patrick and me because the first time we ever held hands was in a haunted corn maze!  I was completely terrified and grabbed Patrick's hand, and he was completely freaking out because we were holding hands!  I love that, and I love fall because it is the season when Patrick and I began dating and falling in love!  We so enjoyed taking Naomi and Evelyn and watching them take everything in.  Such a fun family outing!

They had a petting zoo, but it was hard to get the girls close up since they were in the stroller.  Next year, we're going to have a hard time keeping them from climbing the fence!

The girls each got a precious mini pumpkin from the pumpkin patch!  They also got lots of hay stuck in their tights - I wanted them to stay in their church clothes so that I could get good pictures - yep, not winning any mother of the year awards with that one...

Patrick navigated us through the corn maze in less than 30 minutes - they had told us it would take at least 45!  We had hungry girls, and Patrick was on a mission!

Glad to finally get this posted from our special day.  We love experiencing so many firsts with our little ones!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sick Babies + Sick Parents = :(

Starting on Tuesday with Naomi's runny nose, our family went into sick mode.  Both the girls have had fevers and bad stuffy noses, and Patrick, Alaina, and me have all felt pretty cruddy.  This weekend has been really restful, and I am hoping for a healthy week ahead.  Something positive about the babies being sick is that they are super cuddly and needing to be held.  We haven't minded that one little bit!

Monday, October 17, 2011


Yesterday at church three little children (two sisters and a brother) were baptized.  Patrick and I are still new to the church, so we didn't know the family, but it is always special to celebrate this special occasion with a community of believers.  I found it odd that the Pastor kept directing his comments toward the father and grandmother, and I wondered if maybe this was a single dad and maybe the grandmother was helping him.  Then the pastor referenced Michelle, who I figured was the mother.  Michelle didn't stand up during the baptisms, and I wondered if maybe she was sick or too pregnant to stand or something.  After the baptisms, the pastor said that whoever wanted to come forward and pray for Michelle could come at that time.  We were sitting in the back of the sanctuary, so I was never able to see Michelle during the service.  After everyone prayed, I finally laid eyes on her.  Michelle's husband handed Michelle her purse and began to push her in her wheel chair.  He turned and thanked everyone, but Michelle was too weak to even look around.  Her hair was very short, and looked to be growing back in.  I watched as this sweet husband and daddy wheeled his bride out of the sanctuary followed by their three beautiful children.  The pastor confirmed through a short prayer for the family that it was cancer that was taking Michelle's life.  He went on to explain that it was a high priority for Michelle to be able to see her children baptized.  I don't even know how to sum up this experience, except to say that seeing that young family being affected in such a brutal way made me soften up to my husband, to appreciate what we have, and to spend the day thanking God for the little moments we have together.  Seeing those three little children, not any older than 8, 5, and 3, being baptized into the family of Christ Jesus was a precious reminder of the hope we find in Him alone.  Hope that can outshine the most horrible shadow of sickness and death.   

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Stand In The Place Where You Live

Carpuls and Tunnels

Patrick had carpul tunnel surgery a couple of weeks ago, and the first thing he wanted to do when we left the surgical center was to head to Best Buy to get the latest Transformers movie on blue ray!  After that, we went to Perkins to get brunch - we will take any opportunity to go on a date!  Thanks to our amazing Mom/ Mother-in-Law/ Grammy for coming and staying with the girls so I could be with Patrick on this day.  Thankfully Patrick is recovering well, and will be out in the garage playing the drums again soon!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Playing Catch Up!

Well, a lot has been going on in our household over the past couple of weeks.  The day after the girls' party, we celebrated Patrick's birthday with his family - usually there is a big celebration for all of the siblings together, but it didn't work out this year - I think this made my Mother-In-Law a little sad, and I thought of how difficult it must be to not be able to get all your kids together to celebrate their birthdays, which is why Naomi and Evelyn are NEVER allowed to leave us!!  Kidding, kind of...

Patrick didn't want regular icing on his cake, he wanted a cream puff filling type of icing.  I looked up some recipes for cream puff filling, and it actually turned out really well - I topped it with raspberries because the man loves raspberries!

This is Patrick's sister Alaina.  She lives with us and goes to a nearby university.  We love her, and were excited to share this yummy pink lemonade cake from Strossners Bakery in Greenville, SC!  Patrick's parents brought it down for her because it's her fave!

We started on whole milk!  Wow, this has been quite a challenge.  The girls aren't really fans of the ice cold beverage, but we're taking it slow, and they'll get it soon enough!  I am trying to remember the "wonderful" here of them learning something new, and trying to be patient as they get used to this change!  The picture above is of one of Naomi's many attempts at not actually holding her own cup!

The girls were wearing t-shirts representing two of my life's greatest passions - Strawberry Shortcake and cupcakes!  :) Oh, they are getting so big, and are just doing so many funny things.  The picture of Naomi was taken during nap time.  She woke up twenty minutes early from all of her naps last week, and, after I got over myself, I was really able to enjoy the time with just her - getting to look out the window and talk about how the leaves are changing.  The one of Evelyn is just a classic Evelyn face!  OOh and we even found some green striped socks to match Stawberry's! Little Evie keeps us in stitches with her CONSTANT babbling and silly, silly faces!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

September's almost gone...

The month of September is FULL of birthdays for our family!  Patrick and all of his siblings, my Dad, brother, sister, niece, and nephew, both of my best friends, Evelyn and Naomi, and our dog, Flurry! Also, our anniversary is in September.   I have a strange sadness when the month comes to a close...I think it's a combination of all of the celebrating being over and the thought of the holidays being just around the corner.  I am excited about getting to do more cooking and decorating for the holidays this year!  We actually have a mantel for me to decorate in this house, so I am coming up with come ideas for that.  

The girls' birthday party was this past Saturday, and it was so much fun!  It was everything we had wanted for our girls.  We had about 30 or so people here - sweet friends and family who had traveled as much as three hours to make it - love them!  I will be posting pictures later, but for now, here is a video of the babies enjoying their cake.  They hadn't taken a morning nap (just jumped in their cribs through nap time), so they were pretty exhausted by this point in the day.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Second Year!

Yesterday was Naomi and Evelyn's 1st Birthday!  The days leading up to their big day held mixed emotions for Patrick and me.  It truly is astounding to us that their first year is over already!  We are so excited to see how far the girls have come, and are excited to see what this second year will bring.  Here are no less than one million pictures to commemorate this very special day!

 Oh, you poor swollen lady!  You don't know it now, but tomorrow morning when you arrive home from a failed attempt at picking up bagels for breakfast, you will go into labor and your life will change forever and your cankles will go away and you'll get to meet the most fabulous set of twins in the history of twins!
Hello, we are so excited about getting to meet our twins today, we have no idea what kind of sleep deprivation we are about to endure over the next year, we have no idea how much we're going to grow together in this new role as parents...we're too little!

 This picture makes me howl with laughter no matter how many times I see it!  We had to actually deliver the babies in the operating room as a precaution in case one of them had to be delivered by c-section.
 See that pretty lady on the right?  She's my sister, she's our doula, she's amazing...oh, and we didn't need to have a c-section!
 This is what I spent the first six weeks of motherhood staring at...
 We had a special birthday breakfast on the back porch - Naomi found a leaf!
 Hi!  I'm a big one year old now, so I get to eat outside in my jammies!
 Outdoor furniture is awesome!
 If you ask the girls how old they are, sometimes they hold up one finger, and then we clap, sometimes if you ask them how old they are they just clap!  Yay!
Eebee's Adventures!  It's their favorite show right now, so they got to watch it on their birthday morning.
Baby A and Baby B hats from the hospital...they were so, so silly while I was trying to get pictures - taking off each other's hats, throwing their hats on the floor, trying to grab the camera - wow, I love them!

Well, happy birthday to my sweet baby girls! I can't imagine my life without them and they have certainly brought about a whole new kind of wonderful to our family!