Change of Plans...

Well, I had planned to catch up on some bloggy things this weekend but didn't plan on THREE posts. I am crazy today.

Anyway, this is short and sweet for everyone rooting for Team Quinn.

We received a call this a.m. from our surgeon's office. We were "bumped". Awesome.

New surgery date is Tuesday, September 27th. We will check in on Monday the 26th at 8am for pre-op work up, so I assume the time will be early on Tuesday.

Catheter procedure remains on Monday, Sept. 19th. We are unlikely to be bumped that date so that seems firm at the moment.

For the rest of it, I am going to start writing in pencil in my planner because now it looks like a preschooler got a hold of it and scribbled in it with all of my scratch-outs and "redos".

But I'm not going to complain - remember my last prayer request? That the timing of the surgery be of HIS time, not ours. So if the 27th is His day for her, then let it be. Please just keep praying for His hands to annoint the scheduling and all of the medical staff that will come together that day for our little girl.

Love y'all,

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Ok, onto turtles.

Both kids talk up a storm. But we just can't understand what they are saying most of the time. Of course, we can understand the requisite "Mama, Dada, Hi, Bye, Axxx (Max), App (Nap), Nack (Snack)" and a few others. But most of the time it's just babbling as usual. And half of the time, I think it's twin language anyways.
As mentioned before, Ryan loves anything musical. In fact, if he is being super whiny, I can just turn our TV to the country music station and even without picture, he will just sit and clap and sway his butt. It's fantastic. And here's where I fully divulge where I fail as a mother: I absolutely stink at singing them "children's songs". We have the books & CDs out the wazoo for them, but half of the time, I don't remember the words and can't get the hand motions right, so I don't even try.

The other day I was trying to use this hand puppet thing for "Old MacDonald" - and for the life of me could not get the words right - and then just the coordination required to put the right hand puppet up at the appropriate time -- well, it was just beyond my mothering skills. I thought the first time I tried it and failed was because I had indulged in my glass of pinot grigio before their bedtime, but no. I am just bad at it. One more reason why I have a special respect for preschool and mother's day out teachers.
And mommy fail admittal #2: those songs drive me CRAZY anyways.
So, instead we listen to a lot of country and a good bit of worship songs. And my kids will probably go to school knowing every word to Blake Shelton's "Honeybee" and Jason Aldean's "Dirt Road Anthem" - but not one word of the "Wheels on the Bus." Awesome.
My point is that Ryan always has music in his head. A lot of his babbling is very sing-song and he repeats it over and over. I have no idea what he is singing, but he's very passionate about it. Quinn on the other hand, does a lot of exclamations and yelling her words, but doesn't sing them. She toddles over to me multiples times throughout the day to bring me something (a piece of string, a stray bean from lunch, a toy, a shoe, or anything else she can carry) and proudly exclaims some words. I think she is asking what it is, so mostly I just say "shoe", "book", etc and she toddles away happy with the answer. But she doesn't usually repeat it in full. She just will make the first sound of it "Baaaa" or whatever.

Lately, she has been obsessed with turtles. A few months back, the twins were given some little bath books, one that came with green turtles and the other came with pink pigs. Obviously the pigs were more for Quinn, but I'm pretty sure I am raising a little bit of a rough & tumble tomboy, so she loves the turtles. Whenever Matt bathes her, that's what she goes for first. So for a couple of weeks, he has been repeating the word, "turtle" over and over and over in the tub.
The other night he yelled for me to come into the bathroom during her bath. I was a little irritated because it was the final wheel on "Wheel of Fortune" and I was pretty sure I could solve and win my imaginary mini-cooper or thousands of dollars. I am nothing but cool these days.

 But he never asks for me during bathtime so I figured it must have been pretty important.

I walked in and he was "Listen...she can say "turtle"." Ummm ok. I think not. The child doesn't say big words - she doesn't even say "bubba" or "Ry" or anything for her brother.
To my great surprise, Matt held up the turtle and said, "Quinn, what is this?". She looked at him, looked at me, looked down, and in the sweetest, tiniest, but most grown-up sounding voice, she said "turtle." Clearer than a bell. Apparently she had said it 3 times before that as well.

I couldn't have been more proud. That is a BIG word for a little girl. I may have cried over that darn turtle. So there you go, Quinn - your first "big" word - "TURTLE". Good job!

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Haircut & Shoes

Those two words really have nothing to do with each other, except that they are each a little milestone for the babies. And we like to keep things fair around here when recording milestones.

Let's start with haircuts.

For at least a month or two, I kept saying that we needed to get Ryan's hair cut. He was starting to get this overhang around his ears, a little tail (a VERY becoming look), and longish bangs that wouldn't do anything. And because his hair is super baby-fine, it didn't even curl or make a little cute frat shag. Although I don't think frat shags are that cute either.

Anyway, for one reason or another - perhaps because I really didn't want to have to cut his hair - we kept putting it off. Well, finally this past Saturday, we decided to pull the trigger. Of course, we just had to decide to go when everyone was getting their back to school 'dos, so we landed at Great Clips at about 5 in the afternoon to avoid the crowd. This was, of course, after Matt signficantly made fun of the outfit I put Ryan in for his big day (a precious smocked jon jon - which I found adorable).

Matt is not on the smocked bandwagon. In fact, I have been given a countdown to the last time Ryan will be allowed in anything smocked/monogrammed/custom made/anything but a jon jon. I am sad to say that once he turns 2, all things smocked are out. I blame this partially on a conversation we had with a couple we hang out with regularly. Her husband set the 2 year timeframe so "the kids won't get their butts kicked" and Matt thought it was a great idea.

To be honest, I don't think it has so much to do with what Ryan wears, as much as it does with the price of smocked anything. However, thanks to the regular auctions I frequent on Facebook, I have SAVED him tons of money. He just has no clue. But I will respect the 2 year timeline, mostly because I was not given a timeline for Quinn, so I still have the opportunity to play dress up with her. I guess Ryan will just sport the boring polo shirts and khakis for the rest of his childhood. Much like his daddy dresses now. So easy being a guy - not having to follow trends. Nice shirt, pants, shoes, done - classy. Must be nice.

I digress. As usual.

Anyway, with little sister along with support, we trooped into Great Clips with camera in hand and took over the place. I was a little nervous on how Ryan would do - I knew he would either be a rock star and take it like a man or go 180 in the other direction and have a complete freak out. Since he hates the sound of my hairdryer or the vacuum cleaner or anything loud, I thought it could be the 180. But I would be wrong. We set him on a little booster seat, they strapped a fun cape around him, and the hairstylist (barber?) went to work. Not one tear was shed. He moved around a bit which was to be expected, but mostly just sat like a big boy and did so well. He didn't exactly look thrilled - I don't believe he cracked a smile the whole time - but he didn't look devestated either. He was in classic "Ryan chill" mode. Quinn was way more into the whole experience and flashed huge cheese smiles the whole time. I think she really wanted to have her turn. Sorry baby girl, your peach fuzz probably doesn't need a trim for a good 3 years.

But because we like to keep everything fair & square, after the big cut, we headed out to purchase Quinn her first pair of big girl shoes. The kids haven't owned a pair of shoes since winter, and that was mainly for cuteness and not for necessity. And after I got tired of constantly putting back on shoes and socks that were haphazardly thrown off and discarded - we abandoned them both all together and have gone barefoot all summer. And who needs socks in 100+ degree weather? I figured if I was most comfortable in my flip flops or bare feet, then the kids were too.

Yet with Quinn walking proficiently now and the kids getting heavier, it's a whole lot easier to just carry Ryan and have Quinn hold my hand if we go out anywhere. So shoes seemed like the appropriate purchase since trooping your daughter across hot pavement in bare feet is probably frowned upon.

Because she's having surgery so soon, we did not go the expensive route and get the "good walking shoes" like Stride Rites or anything. We figure by the time she has the surgery and has recovered enough to be in public, she will have outgrown those. So we headed to Children's Place. Which most of the time I can find some pretty cute basics and matching outfits for the kids for super reasonable prices, especially since I usually have a coupon.

But their shoes? Ughhhh. Everything was glittery, sparkly, and just plain ugly. All I wanted was a basic pair of little slip ons or ballet flats in just a basic color like black, white, or brown. Apparently I was asking for too much. Even their black shoes had glittery stuff on it and a big fat shining heart. Yuck. We finally ended up with a pair of a decent color dark pink suedish-type shoes and then a pair of silver flats that I had to comprimise on, just because we can't wear pink shoes with everything. Or maybe we could. Maybe I just thought she should have 2 pairs.

And while I knew Q had some tiny feet, I thought for sure by now, she would have moved into the big girl sizes - but no. Not at CP. She still wears the 6-12 mo baby shoes with tons of space at the end. How she walks in them is beyond me. Actually, once we got home, we made her practice, and she was so amazed by these sparkly things on her feet that she kept looking downward and tripping over herself. I am kicking myself that I didn't videotape that little gem because it was hilarious. But she's worn them a few times now, and the newness of the glitter seems to have worn off.

Anyway, here are a few pics from the big haircut day:

About to get started!

First cut - right off the top

A little more...

See, cheesey smile! Love that girl!

Quinn supporting her big bro

Where did the hairstylist go? (To go get the clippers, aggghhh - that made me nervous but R did great with them!)

Yikes, Mommy!

I just love her big ole eyes in this pic

Precious boy showing off the sides. To be honest, I think some of it was a little short but hair grows and he doesn't care!

All done!

Handsome boy!

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Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock...

Update: Since this last post, surgery date has changed. Catheter procedure will remain on Monday, September 19th. However, the actual open heart surgery was moved to Tuesday, September 27th. We will check into TCH on Monday morning, September 26th to complete all pre-op work ups. Please continue to pray for God's timing & His hands to be on the doctors, nurses, and staff at TCH. To God be the Glory. Geaux Team Quinn - we would be tickled if you would remember her on these dates by wearing green (our team color) or if you have a TQ shirt, throw it on :)

There goes the clock. Countdown to stage 1 of Q's heart repair. We are now officially one month out. September 19th we will check in for her catheter procedure and then surgery is still scheduled for September 21st. Just to recap for those who don't know: Quinn has a congenital heart defect called "Double Outlet Right Ventricle with Pulmonary Stenosis and Ventricular Septal Defect". She also has sub-arteries/veins that have formed due to the lack of oxygen pumping through her body. To be honest, when I see people I haven't seen for awhile, they ask how Q's surgery went. That's because this surgery  was supposed to happen MONTHS ago. But little girl has rallied and her sats have stayed constant (in the 80-82% range) so there was no huge rush to surgery until she got a bit bigger a little bit of weight on her.

But now we are getting to "go time". We are coming up to cold & flu season and the doctors would like to see it completed before then. And if she continues at these levels, eventually they will drop and she will go into heart failure. No bueno.

So I've had a few people ask specifically what's going on, so that's why I am writing this post.

This is what I know as of today:

We will check in on Sept. 19th for the cath procedure. She will have a catheter with a tiny camera attached inserted into her groin. She will obviously be under general anesthia (ughh why can't I ever spell that word - I need to go back and spell check that one) -- the procedure is scheduled to last 3-4 hours depending upon what they see. The idea is to give them the best idea possible of what they will encounter on surgery day. They have a general idea, given the multiple echocardiograms she has endured, but this will give them better pictures. She will be in recovery for at least 6 hours after & once they make sure she is eating, playing, peeing, all that good stuff :) - she will be released.

This is a change from what we originally thought and been told. The idea of having the cath and followed by the surgery 2 days later was that we would only admit to TCH once. Now we will go through the process twice. Likely, we will check out late on Monday evening, come home for the night, play Tuesday, and then check back in Tuesday night. They like for the cardiac surgery patients to be on their floor prior to surgery, especially if it is an early morning surgery. I was thrown off a little by this change of plans (remember, A-type!), but thinking about it, I think it will work well. It will be nice to come home, emotionally and physically regroup, even if it's just for 24 hours, before we check in for a what could be a potential stay of 2 weeks, give or take.

So that being said, we will be admitted AGAIN sometime Tuesday the 20th or early Weds the 21st for the actual surgery. For those who wanted to know more details, yes, it's completely an open heart procedure. It's estimated to be an 8-12 hour surgery, depending upon what complications, if any pop up. We will get updates every hour or two, which I will post here and on FB for friends and family who are following along. At some point during the surgery, they will have to actually stop her heart to rewire the main pulmonary artery and the right ventricle.  She will require at least one, if not multiple blood tranfusions. Thankfully, Matt will be able to donate directly for her, but it's still up in the air whether I will be able to or not (that's a long story).

After the operation, it's really just a shot in the dark -- we know we will go to the CVICU for probably 2-3 days until they can remove her breathing tube. Then she will be moved to a more regular hospital room (that they call "room-in" for the parents to stay) for anywhere from 7-14 days - shorter or longer depending upon how quickly she regains her strength, starts eating, moving, etc. 

And then we will come home. We will lay low for at least 4 weeks after surgery to avoid any unnecessary germs and protect her immune system - and then prayerfully we will be back to our old tricks. There will be restrictions in how we lift her (not from under the arms, but almost a scoop position) because of the scar. And her play will be restricted - ummm k.

Honestly, I don't know how they will keep this little one down. I see her sprinting (literally, sprinting!) around this house, and I'm not sure that any sedation is strong enough for her. I warned the cath lady today that she is a tough bird, and that they typically have to double or even triple-dose her for just her echos. So I can only imagine how much medicine they will have to give her for the surgery and to keep her calm afterwards. But that's my fiesty girl. She doesn't want to stay down for long - so I know this won't keep her down.

So that's the basic plan of what's going on --- I wasn't planning on writing this until a little closer but I have had a lot of questions lately so I just thought I would give you an update. It was supposed to be brief, but if you've read this blog for any amount of time, I am rarely that.

On a personal level, we are doing ok over here. We are just trying to soak up both of the kids as much as possible. We definitely won't see Ryan as much during Q's surgery & recovery time, and our time as a family of four will be put on hold (for just a little while). And of course, we are loving on Quinn as usual. But I can't say that we are doing things too differently with them. We are just trying to prepare our hearts and minds. Thankfully (and thank you, God!), we don't have to explain this procedure to Quinn. That is one conversation that I am not ready to have.

So it's just on us - which is fine. We are parents, that is our job. To take the burden. BUT, we need to learn to pass that burden onto God and just give to Him. This is obviously where I struggle. I cling to it, I want control of it, and I want to take care of it. I don't know why I have such a difficult time entrusting that He knows best. I know (in my mind) that I have done everything possible to arrange the best possible care for Quinn & Ryan. We have lined up the best doctors possible, the best hospital, and we have the best babysitters of grandmas and aunts coming into town during that time.

So I KNOW I need to just give the rest of it to Him. Yet, I still find myself waking up in the middle of the night lately, yelling Quinn's name (seriously, that was TWICE this week) or waking up at 4am and unable to go back to bed. My subsconscious is trying to deal with all of this - because outwardly, really I feel ok about it. Going about our day, I rarely think of it because she's just such a hot mess (and I say that in the fondest of terms!). You would NEVER know that her heart was so different.  Yet, inward, in the dark of the night - that's where I have the hardest time.

So I suppose I am asking for this - it's hard for me to ask for prayers - but if you do pray, I pray for a few specific things:

1. Continued smooth preparation for Q's surgery - that the surgeon team of doctors and nurses would be preparing for her case and be ready for this little fireball!

2. For logistics - that the surgery occurs when it should. There is a chance we could be bumped if there is a more pressing case. Pray for God's timing in this.

3. For Matt and I's hearts and mind - may they be at peace. Be excited about the odds of our daughter surviving this surgery & recovery, and coming to peace that nothing is 100% guaranteed.  Let Him be enough for us and know that both of our children are just "on loan" to us no matter what-- that we may raise them in a way that would please Him.

4. I am sure there are other ways to begin praying -- pray as you feel led. Wear green if you like on September 21st for Team Quinn (our team color). I'd love it if you would circle it in your planner or mark it in your iphone or whatever (I am not fancy, so I would be a planner girl).

We love you all. Just wanted to keep you posted.

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14 Months & Milestones

14 months has come and passed and here I am finally sitting down to write this post. As each month passes, I am finding it progressively more difficult to get these things out on time, even though I spend an enormous amount of time on the computer because of work. Yet, by the time the evening comes and the babies are down, I am too exhausted to write or think, plus my husband doesn't really appreciate a wife who is on the computer for 90% of the time he is home from work. Can't blame him.

Anyway, here we go on 14 months...

Ryan, This is What You Are Up to at 14 Months:

- You had a pretty exciting 14 month milestone, little man! After months of showing little to zero interest in walking, you finally took your first steps all on your own. I had just returned from a much-needed weekend away in Dallas and less than an hour after I got home, you took your steps from the chair to the couch without assistance or prompting. It was a big moment! I looked at your daddy and asked him if you had been doing that all weekend and he said no. He could be lying though to make me feel better about not missing it, but I'd like to believe we both got to witness it. Since then, you've been working pretty hard at it, but only when you really feel like it. Now you can take about 8-10 steps between your daddy and me and you can stand up on your own (again, when you want to). You still prefer to crawl and your calloused knees definitely show that! But I am hoping in the next couple of weeks, you will make some big strides and just start going for it!

- You now are in a size 4 diaper and wear 12 month shirts and mostly 18 month shorts. Length-wise you definitely could still be in 12 month, but I feel like I squeeze your little belly too tight in those. So you wear "shorts" which almost look like capris for now until your little legs grow a bit (sorry that you may have gotten Mama's short legs). Your hair color looks like it changes daily but right now looks to be brownish with some blonde in it - and maybe a touch of red. And your eyes still remain bright, bright beautiful blue --- a gorgeous gift from your grandfathers.

- You stopped babbling constantly for a bit which worried me - until I realied you were putting all of your energy into learning how to stand up on your own and walking. Now you are back to your babbling fool self. Of course, most of the time I have no idea what you are saying but I am able to catch a few words here and there. "Appp" is the most popular - as in "nap". I still really like that.

- You are becoming quite the comedian. You will do anything if you know it makes us laugh. I have NO idea how you picked this up but you taught yourself how to sneeze on command. You seem to have a runny nose quite often (allergies, I think), and one day after you sneezed, I sneezed after you and said "Ahhh Chooo". Now, everytime we say "Ahhh Choo", you do a full-blown fake sneeze. It's awesome. And you crack yourself up doing it. You get all excited and end up with drool all over your shirt. We are still trying to get it on video b/c apparently you get a little camera shy.

- You still LOVE music. Not only do you do a full on booty shake, you have also started sticking out your leg and shaking it too. I don't know what that particular dance move is, but it's hilarious. You are so on rhythm that I don't even try to clap with you anymore because I think you are more on beat than I could ever be!

- You are still my sensitive little one. You get incredibly upset whenever your sister steals anything from you. You don't really try to get it back, you just cry. It's kind of sad but I'm trying to toughen you up, so mostly we just let you have your fit and you eventually calm down. So most of your day is spent trying to protect your toys or tupperware lids from your sister.

- You are incredibly curious and I still think you spend a lot of time thinking about how things work and why they are doing it. You will just stare at something forever and study it over and over. You are just like your daddy in that way. And you very much learn by example --- you will see Quinn do something and either decide it's an awesome idea or a very bad one, depending upon how Mommy reacts. Again, very much like your Dad!

- You love to play on the couch and arm chair but haven't quite figured out how to get down. It makes mommy quite nervous so we don't allow you on the couch much right now. But sometimes you figure out how to get up there on your own - yikes! Oh, and you both climb on the coffee table that we thought we had moved to the "safe zone". Safe zone, not so much. Thank goodness for shatter proof glass, just in case.

- We are prepping you for football season, so the other day we taught you to raise your arms up high in the air anytime we say "TOUCHDOWN". So you will do the touchdown sign and then clap frantically. You are going to LOVE football season. Except that we may have to get you some headphones since you do not like it at all when mommy yells and screams at the TV set. And I anticipate a lot of yelling with Crazy Les at the helm once again at LSU.

- You are still a good eater, but not very adventurous. We typically have to offer you something at least 4 or 5 times before you will touch it. When I give you something new, this absolute look of disgust comes over your face, even if it's something super yummy like a piece of donut or creamed spinach. You LOVE your milk though - I am constantly filling up your sippy cup. No doubt that your bones will be nice and strong!

- You LOVE having your teeth brushed. You just smile and laugh when I am doing it. You also still love your baths - but only when Daddy gives them to you. You are NOT a fan of mommy's baths. I think Daddy is a lot more fun and encourages you to splash everywhere. Mommy is admittedly more about efficiency rather than fun by the time bathtime rolls around :)

- I say it every month - but you are my cuddly little boy. Such a momma's boy and I wouldn't have it any other way. You love to lay on my shoulder and lately you have started patting my back as I am patting yours. It's times like that when it's so difficult to actually put you down in your crib. I just want to crawl in there and cuddle with you. Actually, I can't wait for the days when both of you guys can crawl into bed with Mommy and Daddy and take naps with us while football is on in the background. Sweet, sweet times to look forward to.

- You are such a fun, sweet, loving little man. And you are a little man now. You seem to look older to me every morning I get you up and while I am excited to see you grow, it breaks my heart a little. But I am thrilled that in a few months, we will be able to communicate better and have even more fun! Next up: your first hair cut --- you are starting to look a little shaggy. I keep meaning to get it done, but I also keep finding excuses to put it off. Part of me isn't ready to let that "first" happen yet. Love you, Ryan! I am so proud to be your mommy!

Quinn, What You are Up To at 14 Months:

- Well, 14 months has brought a big milestone to you as well, dear Quinn! Even though you started walking at 13 months, now you walk EVERYWHERE. You rarely crawl at all anyore. And you are pretty much on the run all of the time. It still kind of freaks me out when you come out of nowhere and pull on my leg and to look down and see you not crawling but standing. I am not used to this yet! You love to play chase with your brother around the kitchen. You run after him while he attempts to crawl away. You love this game. Sometimes he does not, especially when you "catch" him.

- Speaking of "catching" him, you actually do a full body slam on your brother and tackle him to the ground. He laughs at first and you laugh hysterically. And then he starts to cry, and you are still laughing hysterically. I think you are a little 19lb bully. At least to your brother. At Little Gym or other places, you are very friendly and motherly almost, patting children's heads and being sweet with them. At home, different story. Again, it's one of those times where I have to turn my head away so y'all don't see my laughter.

- You are in a 3/4 diaper and wear mostly 12 months in everything. I can still squeeze you in some 6-9 month stuff depending upon where it's from, but 12 month is a more comfy size for you. You mostly refuse to wear hairbows which drives me crazy. I have about 25 bows for you (no exaggeration) so I really wish you would wear them. However, sometimes I can sneak them on you, especially the supersoft headband- type -- and if you are distracted with other things like Little Gym, you will actually wear them! You have hair all over but it's not long, and a large tuft that stands straight up in the back. I am at a loss of what to do with it :) And some days it looks really blonde, other days a little more brunette, and still others, it's a lovely strawberry blonde. It's anyone's guess. Your eyes get darker every day - I think they are heading from hazel to more of just a brown. Still beautiful and big though!!

- You continue to be freakishly strong. You can crawl up on almost anything using your own strength. You are always resourceful, pulling pillows down to make a little cushion to bounce onto the couch with. You are definitely the little leader in this house -- you do it first and without fear, and your brother will follow. I wish you had just a tiny bit of fear in you so don't propel yourself off of something you shouldn't.

- You babble and talk all of the time. You are always bringing things up to me (things you have picked up off the floor that probably shouldn't be there or toys or books) and I always tell you what it is, and you toddle away satisfied knowing the answer. You are working on your "t's" right now. And you say "mama mama mama mama mama mama" over and over and over and over again. Careful what you wish for when you want your child to say "Mama" : )

- You had your one year developmental assessment from ECI this past week--- you really don't qualify except for this freak diagnosis that you had when you were a week old, but we continue with it because it allows us to have our awesome dietician who has been a lifesaver to me. Anyway, on your assessment, you scored at level or above on EVERYTHING. Except one thing. Self-help/adaptive. Apparently, since you still take 2 naps a day and cry because I wipe your face and hands after eating, you go down to the 13 month level (your adjusted age anyway) --- whatever, that's such a strange thing to me. Anyway, your cognitive skills and motor (both gross & fine) were awesome! That's such a gift from God knowing that you are going into surgery STRONG and BRIGHT. Yay, little girl!

- Today, you melted my heart. After y'all take your 9:30am nap, we get dressed for the day. Once we are all dressed, I carry Ryan out of the room and hold your hand to walk you out. Usually I have to say "Come on, Quinnie, let's go" and grab your hand. And today, before I could say anything, you just put your hand out to put in mine and my heart just about burst into a million pieces. It was such as simple thing, but HUGE at the same time. Oh, sweet girl.

- You are ALL personality - you love to laugh and you also love to be a drama queen on occasion. But I will say, for the most part, you are super happy and play independently so well.  It's when you get really silent that I worry :) I love you so much, sweet girl. Thank you for being such an amazing daughter.

Oh, my babies, I pray that God has such big plans for you. Each of you have your own characteristics, personalities, and special skills --- you are so unique yet bonded for life. And we love you each equally and more than you could imagine. Thank you for loving us and being such a light in our lives. Happy 14 month birthday!

I am so behind on taking and uploading pics but here are a few recent:

Quinn pushing Ryan on the swingset

Of course, she would climb to the top

Hi, pretty girl!

Trying to get them in the same picture these days is virtually impossible if you are by yourself.  This was the best I could do.

Or this one.

Playing with the water table

Always on the move.

Yup, who needs all that stuff in the water table anyway?

Sweet boy - it was getting past his bedtime. Keeping them up a little later is the only way I can take them outside so they don't pass out from heat exhaustion.

And it's pretty much time to go in - even at 7:30pm, we were still all sweaty and red-faced.

Definitely time for bed

Ryan hanging on for dear life at the Little Gym

Practicing our low bar skills

Ball time!!! Ryan usually just grabs onto one and holds tight even though there are about 50 balls rolling around. Quinn will pick one up and throw it away and go find another one.

Bubble time! Quinn is always fiercely determined at the Little Gym. Bubbles are no exception. And Ryan especially loves bubble time and gives this little whimper whenever we have to put the bubbles away.

Look at that chunk! She's definitely gaining weight despite all of her moving about. I can't remember if I already posted this picture on my blog or just on facebook, but I'm too lazy (tired) to go back and look so we'll just pretend it's the first time you've seen it.

Ryan happier on the bars this time! He loves doing somersaults on them!

Sporting our Aunt t-shirts from "Aunt Chris"

I love the expression on both of their faces in this one.

See - hair is getting long! Actually the back is the worst part - growing over his ears. I am not raising a kiddo with a frat shag at 15 months old :)

I just realized uploading these that I have been BAD about taking pictures lately. I'll take them for a day and then put the camera up for a week or two. My how things have changed since the "early" days when each month had about 200 pictures of them. But my 5 readers probably appreciate not seeing every one of those 200 pictures :)
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A Tiny Post

I have posts in my mind drafted that I know I need to write (hello, 14 month update & other milestones) but time and energy are escaping me. However, this precious picture was taken this past weekend and I couldn't help but post. Ryan & Katie are dear friends -- and Sweet C was born about 2 months and some change after the babies. I posted about it here. She truly is a miracle baby, just tiny, precious and perfect when she was born --- 1lb 14oz at 29 weeks gestation.

It's been a long road for K & R but they have survived it like champs. Their faith has been unwavering and Caroline has just thrived. She is still petite, but still absolutely precious and perfect. She was an absolute angel at her party --and we saw quite a few smiles and even caught a few giggles. Katie and I always say that Quinn and Caroline are destined to be BFF's because their personalities are so much alike. Both have been through so much this past year but their spunky, fiesty and lovable attitudes have carried them through.

They also have a bit of an affiinity for smocked outfits. I am sure it has nothing to do with their moms scouring the internet and facebook auctions to insure they stay fully smocked :)  Because of a bit of distance and work schedules, etc - Quinn and Caroline had never had an opportunity to play together before each other's 1st birthday.  Well, this past Saturday, we arrived at C's party, and they immediately started playing with each other - they had a ball until ADD (from my girl) took over. But this picture says it all.

I am in love with these two sweet girls and pray they will always be friends. And may they always know what miracles and blessings from God that they are.

And it wouldn't be so bad if Ryan decided that Caroline was a catch later on either :) But my Aggie husband and Caroline's UT daddy may have something to say about that.

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Finding Balance... Tougher Than I Thought.

I made the poor mistake this afternoon in my "spare" time to sift through some of the babies' early pictures. And sob. I don't remember them being that little. Not readily anyway. And then looking at their little 6 to 9 month pictures and how they were making milestones every day. Wow. Ryan had hair, but not much. And Quinn had none. And now she has some :)

I honestly don't know how we made it through this past year. It hasn't been hard per se, but it certainly hasn't been the easiest either. But certainly the most fulfilling year of my life.

But here comes the balance part. And we struggled with this in the beginning too, when Quinn was in the NICU for 7 weeks and Ryan was home with us --- how do you balance that? And still get dinner on the table? And have a husband who goes to work? And shower? But somehow we did it.

And now I find myself in a new re-balancing act. I've mentioned a couple of times that I am back to work part-time. Well, because of a few circumstances, it has been a little crazy in the work world, so more & more of my time has been devoted to that. The twins are sleeping a little less (although still 2 naps per day) but it's a given that I have to work some while they are awake. And what I do is kind of creative, so I need full-focus be able to write coherent articles that don't have anything to do with "poopies", "don't throw your cup one more time." or " stop harrassing your brother" (harrassing just may be too big of a word for 14 month olds but whatever. But I got into this because I needed this outlet - this creativeness as it may be. Brain functioning at a different level.

But for the past few weeks, it has been trying. I am stressed. When I want to play with the babies, I need to answer emails or get proofs out. If the babies are asleep, I am trying to clean up from their mess. When Matt gets home, I want to spend time as a family of 4, but most likely it includes trips to the grocery or dry cleaners (which I don't mind doing after being stuck at home all day) --- but I'm not here. We balance the feeding/bathing/sleeping thing pretty well (Thank GOD for my amazing husband who does it every night without complaint!), but then each of us do our own things to wind down. Usually me on the computer, and Matt maybe on the computer or in front of some dumb movie or TV show that I don't want to watch.

So struggling for balance between all of this. Am I giving enough love to Ryan during the day? Am I showing Quinn how much I adore her every day? Do I demonstrate my love to my husband every single day? Am I still a good employee and, for that matter, worth being employed?

I worry so much - probably too much. I worry that my kids are behind. I worry when they don't eat well. I worry that maybe I don't talk to them enough and show them colors & textures and everything they would be interested in. I worry that I don't read to them enough. I worry that they don't get enough bedtime stories. I read other blogs and I see what other kid are/were doing at this age --- and it stresses me out. I know I shouldn't compare. But should my child be able to go in and pick their clothes (with meaning)? Should they be talking like crazy and have a vocabulary of 10+ words? Because mine don't.

And maybe part of that is my fault. We are working on an efficiency system here --- how fast can I get your diaper changed before your sibling has a meltdown in the other room? How fast can we get through meals b/c we know there is another snack coming in 2-3 hours? I know I need to slow down and enjoy the ride. But that's hard to do, especially with two.

It obviously hasn't helped that we clearly live on the surface of the sun - and the temps have sky rocketed into the clear 100's. In all the time we lived in Houston, we've had a few 100 degree days, but most of the time because of afternoon showers or whatever, we mostly stay at 95ish with 145% humidity. Not sure what is worse. Dry heat of 100 or a sauna. They are both pretty bad since it's no weather for a baby/toddler to be out in, unless they are in a pool, and daytime pool activity is limited b/c well, I haven't found a float for 2. Yet. So we mostly stay inside, play with our Glad tupperware and Folger's Coffee lids and call it a day. Oh, the excitement. But it's not me I worry about - I can stay at home. I worry about the kids - their social environment, their exposure to new things... but time is limited, the weather stinks,  what can I do?

I keep thinking things will slow down and become super efficient after Q's surgery. Everyone will be older, they will be in more of a mode of communication (and Lord, don't ask me if I have taught my babies sign language - I've showed them a few things, but we are NOT pros by any stretch of the imagination), and more mobile. I will be able to sign up at the local gym and actually take them there so Mommy can sweat the stress out. I could do that now, but as it is, my nighttimes (as mentioned beforehand) are limited. I can't take them there now just b/c of timing of joining a gym and Quinn's surgery - and I have very limited energy at night to do anything but grocery, dinner for babies, dinner for us, hang with Matt, and bed.

And how do I balance all of that with me keeping sane? Somehow, I just think we will be ok - it will all work out, and I won't remember 4 years from now how stressed I was that Ryan doesn't like meat of any kind right now, and Quinn insists on feeding herself, even if it means she takes in next to nothing. I'm sure in four years, we will be looking a new balancing act, Pre-K, Kindergarten or whatever plus sports, dance, etc - and then whatever I am up to at the moment. I'm pretty sure this entire parenthood thing is a balancing act. Now I am just trying to adjust and not flounder -- or let my kids suffer in the process.

Always hopeful, even though this post may seem "down". We are GOOD. Just re-balancing.  :)

In His Hands,

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