Remembering David (Jan. 31st, 2010)

One year ago today we lost Matt's dad.

It's so hard to believe it's been a year since we last saw him or held his hand or heard his voice. We miss him every single day and make it a point to tell our kids all of the time about their very special "grandfather angels". When he passed away, I was just a minute pregnant, 18 weeks or so. But we were able to tell David the week he died that he would be welcoming a granddaughter and grandson into this world - and that one would be named for him, Ryan David Greenwood Clanahan. We still feel blessed we were able to share that with him & feel assured that he was comforted in some way by that news.

It's times like this when I don't even know what to say - even to my own husband. I've been there -- the first anniversaries, the first birthdays without Dad, the first Christmas, etc. But still, it's a very personal journey through those firsts and everyone deals with it differently. All I can say to my dear husband and his wonderful family, David was a great man, husband, father, and friend. I am so grateful to have known him for 8+ years and am forever thankful that he was here with us on Earth. He and Barbara raised 3 wonderful children who are very precious to me, most especially my wonderful husband.

And when we look at Ryan - we see Dave - our ever present reminder that legacies live on. Or "Baby-Poppy" as some people call him :)

Matt's Dad @ 3 years old (Flash forward to Ryan @ 3 years old!)

David, today we remember and honor your memory. We take great peace in knowing that you are out of pain and resting in the arms of our Heavenly Father. And to Barbara, Matt, Emily, Christian, and their families -- my thoughts are prayers are with you today and always. May you remember him today with more happy tears than sad - and take comfort in knowing how much he loved you all.

In Him,

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A Few Brief Things...

Peaches... much better. See Prunes.

We have now made our way through bananas, peaches, and parts of prunes (which have been put on a shelf for a rainy-constipated day). I sent Matt to the store today to pick up some extra fruits since we are trying to do this by the book (veggies, then fruits -each one for 3 days on ensure no allergies --- especially important given my allergic history, well... to all things).

My mom swears by plums, whole jars of plums, that I apparently would eat by the fistful - only I can't find them ANYWHERE. Any tips? What other fruits to try? I hear pears has a similar prune type effect that I am not eager to re-visit anytime soon. What else am I missing? Once we get through these basics, we can move onto the fun blends. And then eventually to normal foods which will be a treat.

And yes, these have been my days while Matt was offhshore. Oh, the glamour :)

We did have another first this weekend --- something that would be normal in most families I suppose at this point but we finally attended our first children's birthday party with family in tow. We had Q's doctor clearance to do events like this, as long as contact was minimal with other children & she wasn't placed in a daycare or nursery situation yet.

So this is reason #345 that I heart facebook - I reconnected with Libby through some random post I made about a Super Kroger opening near my house - and she was like "wait, where do you live?" Turns out these 2 long-lost sorority sisters (who both had the distinct "pleasure" (sarcasm) of being Treasurer)  lived about 15 minutes apart. Libby was such a support during our pregnancy and everything that followed with R&Q and such a pleasure to reconnect with again! I love her sweet & generous heart - and I love that bit of Louisiana hospitality and fun in the midst of suburbian Houston.

Anyway, it was her son G that turned 1 today & it was sooo nice to get out with our family  and "be normal". The kids were just kind of in awe a bit when we got there but soon settled in and picked out their favorite toys (Quinn - the exersaucer, Ryan - the floor & the toys on the floor :) ) . We had a wonderful time in that bit of normalcy. And I know that must seem a little exaggerated for all you parents who have taken your kiddos to parties since month 3, but it hasn't been a plausible reality for us until now.

Thank you, L&G for hosting us! I wish I had pictures but I am just lucky that I remembered my diaper bag. Oh, and I was holding a glass of pinot grigio the entire time as I celebrated doing "normal family things" :)

(And for the record, I am of course biased, but the babies did wonderfully!)

And we also discovered that Ryan is cutting his SIXTH tooth. 6. He just spits and drools everywhere. No wonder. And Q's eyes have been glassy all weekend but no fever, so I checked out her mouth - she's starting to cut at least 1 if not 2 that I can tell. Big weekend at the Clanahan house.

Did I mention that we ordered in sushi last night?

Living large, y'all. Living large. And loving it.

Great to have my Matt back by my side on dry land. Just where we like him.

In His Hands,

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The Magic that is Prunes

Pre-prunes (Ryan)

Pre-prunes (Quinn)

This morning was Prune Day #1. I took pictures and a video for Matt so he could enjoy breakfast time with us while he was offshore. However, I did not expect what followed.

Post-prunes (R)

Post-prunes (Q) This cracks me up - looks like she got into my 80's lipstick.

Video for Daddy

I have changed 6 poopie diapers (3 per child, we like to keep things fair & square in this house) all before 2:30pm. I think it's safe to say that I should have started the prunes when Matt was back on dry land.

And I think I'll just serve green beans tonight.

Excuse me while I get some fresh air.

I am a mom today more than ever. I realized that when Matt called from floating somewhere in the Gulf & instead of asking him about his day, I immediately told him that I was officially done with changing diapers and proceeded to tell him about quantities of poop of all things. Sexy marriage we have here.

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Remember that curve ball I spoke of???

So yesterday I wrote about our upcoming visit to TCH regarding Q's heart repair and mentioned that somehow a curve ball always seems to come into play.

Well, I wasn't wrong --- today we were thrown one, but in a really good way if that make sense at all.

 (And you'll have to forgive me if I sound somewhat delirious during this entire post. It was truly an exhausting day).

We started off the day super early since Q had to fast most of the morning --- I was trying to make sure she got in at least 2 bottles before the fasting time of 8am, but she truly wanted no part of my plan. Thankfully she took a good amount of oatmeal and bananas (which by the way, do not resemble in ANY WAY any banana I am familiar with), so she was somewhat satiated. I was also somewhat stressed out about the traffic situation getting down to the med center -- which on a good day takes us at least 30 minutes -- but given the pouring down rain, the continuing construction down at TCH and the congresswoman's arrival at Memorial Hermann, I knew it was going to be a little hairy. By some miracle, we made it down there record time, even allowing me a chance to score another diet coke before our appointment. Sweet.

As I mentioned previously, they needed to sedate Quinn for her echo which was quite the unpleasant and unwelcome experience last time. This time around I was a little more prepared but still not thrilled obviously at the prospect of knocking my daughter out - and Q was even less enthralled with the situation. Yet, she was a perfect angel during all of the prep stuff, even laughing and showing off her newfound skills of standing & bouncing. (And in an awesome twist of fate, our nurse's name was "Eugenie" -- that is Q's middle name, my middle name and my mother's first name and has been in the family for years, like over a hundred years. Although she pronounced it a little differently removing the french accent from it, I still thought it was pretty amazing. You would have to know how rare that name is to be as amazed as I was!) (And I just realized that I use an unreal amount of parentheses to share little "FF's" (fun facts) with you. My AP English teacher, Mrs. Presley, would not be impressed.)

Well, after Q was finished showing off her spunky little personality, she got hit with the "sleepy" medicine. Which doesn't taste good at all. Bitter apparently. Which she wouldn't swallow and would just spit it back in our faces or let it dribble down her chin. Maybe if my dietician saw that little display she would understand why my kid is so hard to feed! Nurse Eugenie just told me to wrap her up and cuddle and rock her with lullabies playing in the background. Quite frankly, it works wonders for my sleeping abilities but with fiesty child Quinn, she could care less. She is not a cuddler, rocker, etc. and never has been. I have never taken personal offense to it but today I really wished she would have just snuggled in for a slumber. Instead, she fell asleep for all of 10 minutes and as soon as we started to move to prep her, she opened her eyes WIDE and stared at us like "you idiots, I am not asleep yet.". So I tried rocking for another 15 minutes to no avail and then we had to hit her with the 2nd dose of the meds. Bless her heart. And I just realized the irony of typing that phrase.

Finally, she fell into a deep sleep (and could I just mention that I could watch her sleep that peacefully for hours??) She was so sweet and innocent looking and even let the paci drop because she was so relaxed. I just wanted to jump on the bed and hold her but obviously couldn't given all of the wires and probes and such. Oh yeah, and totally intefering with the echo. (The echo by the way is basically an ultrasound of her heart -- picture an ultrasound of your belly when you are preggers.. it's just like that, except it's just on the heart and focuses in on the blood flows, and specifically her pulmonary artery narrowing and VSD (hole in her heart))

Ok, so long story short - echo was finally completed, Q finally came to for a brief time to fight me over getting dressed again, then passed out on and off for the next 3 1/2 hours. Yes, we had to wait 3 more hours to see our doctor in a very crowded waiting room. TCH cardiac wing is an experience to say the least on Mondays. I tried to find a quiet little corner for us so I could at least chow down on the sandwich I brought with me and keep an eagle eye on Q to make sure she was still breathing after all that sedation medicine.

Of course, the waiting room filled up to capacity and I ended up next to a very loud mother with her even louder son, who kept threatning to give him away if he didn't behave. Or in the very least give away his pacifier. God no, don't give away his paci. Yet, you cannot truly get annoyed in a place like this --- all of these kiddos & families are dealing with very serious defects and/or diseases of the heart. If they want to run around like banchees, then I suppose they have earned that right. Although, I hope Q surely doesn't in a few years. We'll need to work on that.

FINALLY - what you have probably been waiting for through all of that nonsense... we finally met with our doctor, a good almost 2 hours late (not his fault, there was a transplant that pushed back everyone's schedules and all the rooms were blocked up). If you'll recall, the plan that was laid out in October-ish was that Q would like have surgery around 9 months of life and this was supposed to be her "pre-op" visit and be presented to the surgeon team this Friday. Well, surprise, surprise. That won't be happening.

And for good reason. She is doing so well. So well in fact that they want her to continue to grow and give her heart the best chance possible to only go in for one repair. If they did it now, it still may be iffy that Pulmonary Artery would be large enough to ensure a lasting, life-long repair. And since her 3 previous echos show that her PS (pulmonary stenosis) has remained unchanged and not worsened, her stats remain stable in the 83-85% range, and overall she is doing well, they want her to keep going. And going, going, going. All the way to a year or beyond. Apparently, most DORV babies (about 80%) have started showing signs of worsening PS by this time or earlier and that's why the 6-9 month of life timeframe for surgical repair is typical for most DORV babies. However, 20% are like Q and the PS just remains stable and it allows the babies more time before being thrown into a surgery. Go Quinn. Go God!

So whoa, talk about news that just threw my head and my head's schedule book into a tailspin. Of course, and I knew this would happen, I had already subconsciously planned out our spring and how it would look like when Q had her surgery soon. But obviously I am THRILLED for Quinn and what this means for her recovery and her potential to have only 1 lifesaving sugery. The timeframe we are looking at right now is late summer/early fall. They will DEFINITELY do it well before cold/flu season goes into full effect -- so I guess we are thinking late August or September now. Summer is difficult to get surgery space and surgeons because of all of the school age kids having their "tune up" surgeries or more elective time frame surgeries - bless their hearts on their summer break :(

We also had the surgeon discussion again - I reminded my cardiologist that there is one for our family at this point. He remembered and in fact had spoken to Dr. Fraser just that day about us and he remembered  Q's case from a few months back (and not to mention the previous emails and conversations with one of my besties, Katie). I guess the difficult part is this.... in the world of CHD's, Q's particular case of DORV is not the most complicated out there. TCH has several highly qualified & respected surgeons on board that would all be wonderful. Yet, the way I look at it, it's pretty black and white. My daughter's defect, the most severe or just simply a "complicated, different heart", still requires surgery. An 8 to 10 hour surgery. Where they stop the heart and alter the blood flow to her arteries. For that kind of surgery, I want the BEST. And by the best, I just mean the guy who is the most experienced with performing all types of CHD repairs and has seen just about everything. I think it's only natural that Matt & I  would want that for Quinn. 

Thankfully we have a really good rapport with our cardiologist - he's a younger type guy and pretty easy going and open to talk to. We laugh and joke a lot when we see him which is nice, but he also knows his stuff. Anyway, I think my cardiologist may have made some comment like "Meagan, can I remind you that Dr. Fraser is the Chief of Surgery over all of Texas Childrens? He's pretty difficult to get into because he does a lot of travel and performs most of the extremely complicated cases."

Given our rapport with said cardiologist, I believe my response was something of the sort (mostly joking of course & please forgive my slip of the tongue), "Dr. S, I could give a damn if he was the Chief of Surgery for the entire city of Houston. He is the best with this kind of stuff. Period. I want the best for my daughter. Fight for him. Pull whatever strings you need to. Play my best friend card. I don't care. Let's make it happen. If my job for the next 3 months until we see you again is to work at fattening up my daughter, then your job is to make sure Dr. F continues to remember Q's case. Period."

Whew. That was coming from a momma who desperately needed a diet coke and who had been cooped up in an airless waiting room for way too long. But the sentiment was right - my mother hen instinct just kind of took over.

(And here's my disclaimer again - if we end up with another surgeon, I will be happy because I know it will be orchestrated from above. And I know that each surgeon on that team is simply amazing because if they are a part of the TCH cardiology team, then they HAVE to be. It's that simple. But I'm going to fight like hell to get the one I want first. Then we'll let the pieces fall where they may.)

So as a wrap up to the long, and as promised - delirious post, we go back to the cardiologists sometime in April for just a check up - no echo thank goodness! Then we have been given the ok (assuming her stats remain stable) for a family vacay in June - yay! After the short vacation, we will see the team again one last time before her surgery date. The idea is that Q will be presented at the beginning of the month and then our meeting in June would be with both our cardiologist and the surgeon. Surgery would likely follow in August or September. So we'll see what happens. Everytime I lay a plan out in my head, it's blown to smithereens. I think that's God's little way of continuing to remind me that the only thing that matters is His Plan, His Time, His Child.

Got it, God. Working on it. Pleeing for your patience with me.

And thanking You for your incredible faithfulness in supporting us on this journey. You have never left Quinn's side - and that's the only way I can explain how very GOOD she was during a very difficult day. You must have provided her some kind of peace because Lord knows, her momma wasn't doing a great job at doing that. Thank you, my sweet Lord & Savior for not forsaking or abandoning us. Knowing Jer. 29:11 is true today more than ever.

In His Blessed Hands,

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Baptism Pictures

Here are a few pictures of the babies' baptism on Christmas Eve...

The family - Ryan at some point lost his socks.

With Gigi

With Gigi, Steve, Aunt Lacey & Uncle Rykert

Q - who was soooo good during the entire service

Ryan and Daddy

Poor baby was starting to get sick at this point :(

With our Pastor who prayed endlessly for these kids.

What a special moment to have these children dedicated into the Hands of our Lord and Savior. We are so grateful to God that He has entrusted us to raise these precious children of His.

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A Few More Pics...

I'm trying to be better at putting pics on here and not just on facebook, so here are a few new ones... and yes, the obnoxious barrage of pictures continues. I don't even apologize for it. :)

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Quick Update... Just in case you were wondering. Which you probably were not.

I've had several people ask why I haven't updated recently (well, actually it was just one but whatever). Anyway, what can I say? The New Year has started off somewhat strange - I've felt out of sorts for whatever reason. And it didn't help that I came down with an awful case of the flu last week (yes, after just bragging about not getting sick when everyone else in the house did). Matt was able to help me for one afternoon, but for the most part I was just trying to survive the days with two increasingly active babies.

 I felt like just about the worst mom that week --- I was so exhausted and achy and not to mention I wanted to touch them as little as possible to avoid giving it to them... so I just would let them play on the floor and watch from the couch buried under blankets, robes, and hoodies to ward off the chills. Fun stuff. Thank goodness neither child got it - they had just finished their 2nd dose of the flu shot the Friday before so I guess it worked. Thank God!

So this past week was spent catching up playing with my kids and just enjoying them again. And then there was the mounds of laundry, organizing, cleaning, paying bills, and the other joys of being a SAHM (which I really do love by the way). Thus, I am behind on my blogging, chatting with friends, emails, and just about everything else. Life happens, I guess. Working hard this week to catch up!

Anyways - quickly -  this is what else we have been up to. The babies were given the go ahead a couple of weeks ago to start solids besides just rice cereal. It's been such a kick to see their faces. Some things they have really liked (Quinn LOVED peas & Ryan LOVED green beans) and other things not so much (neither kid was a big fan of squash). But even though it has proved to be pretty time consuming, especially during the morning feeds when I am on my own, it has been so much fun to watch. It also is making me very excited that one day soon I can toss all these bottles in the trash and get them on a 3 meal a day schedule with us. Oh, and I have a countdown clock until they are a year old when Matt and I will get a massive pay raise in the form of chucking the Good Start for whole milk. Just about 4 more months!!!

Another little update - we've had people asking about Q's surgery date. Bottom line is we still don't know. However, we head down to TCH tomorrow (for the first time since October, praise God!). The plan is for them to do all of her pre-op work ups like an echo, EKG, xrays, etc. We will meet with our cardiologist and discuss the results. What we are anticipating is this - that she will be put on the schedule with Dr. Fraser (crossing fingers!) for sometime in the next month or two. She should now be just about big enough for the full repair so anything beyond what she gains now is just gravy. Her stats have continued to remain stable so unless her echo shows a big surprise or something, that should be the plan. Or at least the plan I have in my head based upon my last conversation with the cardiologist.

 Yet, I feel like I am always thrown some sort of curve ball so I am trying to prepare myself mentally for tomorrow. And I'm also going to try not to cry like I always do at these appointments. I really am not too emotional about this surgery on a daily basis but the reality always hits me when we are back in the room talking about it with him. And now it's becoming even more real. But since we have known about this for almost a year, I am getting pretty eager for Q to be able to put this behind her. She's a tough cookie and she has the best doctors and care you could ask for, so I know she will be just fine. And I know that God continues to protect her and has allowed her to simply thrive these last few months.

As soon as we have a date, we will update y'all with that ---my best guess is that we probably won't know for a week or 2 more, depending upon how long it takes to secure the surgeon's schedules and allow for Q to be presented once again at their weekly meeting.

Please pray for the wisdom of the doctors on the timing for her surgery and let it be His perfect time for her. Pray that if she is not assigned to Fraser for whatever reason, that Matt & I will have full confidence and rapport with the new surgeon (I know they are all wonderful). And please pray that Q's echo and appointment goes well tomorrow with little or no surprises. They have to put her under briefly to do the echo and last time they did that, she was so disoriented and out of it the rest of the day. Pray that she recovers quickly from the sedation and is back to my babbling, fiesty girl by evening. Thank you as always to my prayer warriors for your constant prayers for our family. We are blessed beyond measure!

Here are a couple of recent pics of the kids. I have some fun new videos but Matt has to update me on how to download from our new camcorder to the computer. So for now, here's a few...

Just chillling

Ryan was not a fan of the rocking chair :)

Q chowing down

R not so sure about the peas

We sit now (well, we "tripod" but still!). Pardon the outfit. Guess who dressed her that day? It wasn't mommy....

We like sweet potatoes much better!

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Flashback Videos

So Matt was going through our camcorder and finally categorizing some early videos of the babies. I started watching every single one of them and was absolutely mesmerized about how far we have come, especially little Quinn. Here are a couple of their early ones, followed by the most recent Cotton Bowl face-off. Unbelievable to both of us how much they have grown and thrived. This is God's work in action and proof to me that He is still in the business of making miracles.

Ryan at 1 day old (June 4, 2010)

Quinn at 1 day old (June 4, 2010)

And 7 months later.. Cotton Bowl Face Off

Gig 'Em, Tigers! :)

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A House Divided - Cotton Bowl 2011

For 9 years, Matt and I have waited for the day that LSU would play A&M. It used to be that our teams had quite the rivalry, but it's been YEARS since they've played each other.

Finally, our football dreams came true and they met last night in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.

Ironically, any other year we would have made the trek up I-45 to whoop it up in the Big-D, but with the twins around this year, we decided to stay put in Houston.

We were going to throw a big party in honor of this momentous event, but at the last minute we just decided it wasn't going to happen. After a crazy December with my surgery and long recovery and having hosted both Thanksgiving & Christmas here, and then the subsequent colds that followed for everyone (except me for once!), it just seemed like, well a lot of work.

So instead we had a relatively calm day, save for the occasional trash talking - mostly from me via facebook. Then we met my friend Ash & her son J up at a local wing joint for an early dinner with the twins, and headed home shortly after the game began to watch it from the comfort of our living room. I will say I was COMPLETELY outnumbered at the restaurant - the ratio of A&M to LSU fans was at least 10 to 1. Not incredibly surprising considering Houston seems to be a mecca for "former students" --- and any LSU fan worth their salt were probably drinking it up at any number of cajun type restaurants or the Big/Little Woodrows areas around H-town.

Anyway, a game like this certainly called for dress up for the babies. And Matt's sister Emily came through in spades with the cutest "babies divided" outfits. So precious - thanks, Em!

Most of you probably already know that after a relatively scary 1st quarter, my Tigers came through and showed the Aggies how to play SEC ball with the big boys (sorry, I couldn't resist). The second half of the game ended up being even a little boring but it was still fun to watch it with my husband.

It should be duly noted that towards the end of the game, Matt went and put on his LSU 2007 National Championship tshirt, because and I quote, "It was the only shirt I could find." Now that boy has at least 2 drawer fulls of neatly folded tshirts in all matters of color and graphics. I am not sure where his head was on that one, but I'm pretty sure the Former Student Association could potentially consider that a very serious case of treason. Either way, it was amusing to me.

Unfortunately, I don't have photographic evidence of him jumping ship, but we did "manage" to take, oh 35 pictures or so of the babies last night. Here are just a few. Consider yourself lucky that you didn't get the entire album.

And may I add, GEAUX TIGERS!!!! Can't wait for September. Let the countdown clock begin.

Quinn in her precious "baby divided" outfit. It was chilly, so she had to wear jeans with it but you could still see the ruffles.

Ryan and his sweet laugh. I was jumping around like an idiot to get him to smile like this while Matt took the picture.

Geaux Tigers and Gig 'Em, Ags!

Ashley and me. Ash is due in a couple of months with a sweet baby girl - can't wait to mee her!!!

The family divided. Just for the night.

I cheated and put them in Tiger gear all day Thursday.

This is actually an old picture from when they were about 3 or 4 months old. Quinn just looks plain scared and Ryan looks all tough.

My brother and sis-in-law gave Ryan this outfit when fball season began. How prophetic it turned out to be!

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