Our Weekend In Pictures...sort of

So I mentioned last week that I haven't done a good job of taking pictures. I would like to say that I caught some great images this weekend and would have some wonderful pictures to post. Unfortunately, my children NEVER.STOP.MOVING. so pictures are becoming almost impossible. I did happen to catch a few with my i-phone, thus the somewhat questionable quality.

Did I catch some pictures of the kids running around like crazies at the Build a Bear workshop for their friend Grayson's 2nd birthday in their precious smocked outfits (cupcake pant set for Quinn and cordoruy steam boat for Ryan)? Nope.

How about Quinn shoving down at least 10 Chick Fil A chicken nuggets at the same party, plus one full piece of cookie cake? Nope.

Or the buddah belly she acquired afterwards. No again.

Or the twins all dressed up for their 2nd trip to the church toddler/preschool room now that we have a schedule that allows it? Nope.

I did manage however to catch these precious images when Matt was leading the youth at Bible study last night. While he was talking about the word of God, I was feeding my children oreos and letting them do this:

This is how we roll in the Clanahan house - keeping it classy, Ry Guy.

I don't think this is what Ma had in mind when she bought them these precious chairs.

First oreo experience. Most expectedly, Ryan took his apart and licked the cream and then sucked on the chocolate wafer part until it was almost non-existent. Quinn just shoved all the deliciousness in her mouth at one time, like she does with most sweet things. She is definitely my girl.

This past weekend we also had some handymen out to repair our fence and gate that was damaged by Ike - oh yeah, like 3 1/2 years ago. Our ability to procrastinate is unmatched. Anyway, this provided a good 20-30 minutes of uninterrupted entertainment for the twins to watch the guys at work.

And this? This is just gross. We finally cleaned out the kids toy bins to get rid of some of the newborn things that they  never use anymore. This was the before. I, of course, didn't take pictures of the after, but trust that it is so, so, so much better. Now they can actually see what they have to play with. And we made some room to finally bring in the Christmas gifts we bought them but never gave to them once we found out how much they got from our families. This year they will get our Christmas gifts (a golf set for Ryan, a Little Peoples race track thing, a stroller for Quinn, and 2 twin baby dolls) on Valentine's Day. I don't think we'll get away with that next year with Santa but this year it worked out : )

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Milestones & Mayhem

I don't know what my problem has been lately, but I haven't been able to put together a coherent sentence, much less a blog post. Massive case of writer's block and communication, which isn't a great thing for someone who works in communications and marketing : ) Anyway, I did want to record a few things for posterity and update y'all on what's happening around here --- potentially not the most entertaining but definitely things I want to remember for the kids.

Anyway, in no particular order - your exciting reading for the day.
  • Quinn said her first 3 word phrase this past weekend: "Look at that!". Clear as a bell and music to our ears. She was in the midst of opening up a fun gift from Ma who was in town and got really excited about some cute spring clothes. She is soooo my daughter! I was starting to get a little worried about the twin's speech because I know by now that a lot of toddlers are saying more phrases at this point. However, I am trying to get better about not comparing what's going on with other kids their age. It's ok to a point, but each child does their own thing on their own time. And I knew the capability was there --- they both babble incessantly --- but in "twin speak". It would be nice if they would let me in on the translation of that.
  • Ryan also put together his first phrase just yesterday: "See that!" Big, big deal for him since he is the more quiet of the two. Who knew that these little phrases could bring tears to my eyes? But I am just so proud of them and how far they have come. And now that we've had these breakthroughs, I have a feeling more and more are to come. First one who says "I love you" gets an extra deposit in the college savings account. Kidding. Sort of. : )
  • Quinn has officially "graduated" from ECI! We have only used their dietician sevices for the past year and a half or so to help Quinn gain weight for her surgery and then post-surgery to ensure that she regained and maintained. Well, the first month after her surgery, she not only got caught up but flew up the charts to a spot she's never been -- almost 18th percentile or so if I remember correctly. The next month, although she didn't gain weight, she grew a full inch in less than 4 weeks. Crazy! So happy for that --- and for my budget since she now fits back into her old jeans perfectly and even better than before. So we decided that this little one is going to grow just fine. She will probably always be on the small side, but hey, her momma 'aint huge, so what did we expect? 5'10 was never in her future.
  • Both twins have gotten much more adept at using their forks and spoons for independent eating. They do great with the forks at dinner and love, love being able to scoop their own yogurt. The cutest part: after they get a bite on their own into their mouth, they both immediately go "Mmmmmmmmm!". Does it taste better eating off a fork versus shoveling it in with their hands? Probably :)
  • We finally feel comfortable enough to bathe the kids at the same time if we are by ourselves. We are super, super careful and it takes some coordination, but they get such a kick out of being in the tub together. Ryan constantly splashes Quinn like any other mature little boy and Quinn uses the washcloth to try to wash him up. It's so cute. And they are both getting great at holding the toothbrush AND brushing their own teeth. I don't know how clean they get them so I always do a follow up, but mostly then do it on their own. Big kids :(

  • I received my first gash and heavy bleeding courtesy of one of my children. I've accidentally gotten hit in the nose multiple times, but never had actual blood flow. Anyway, Ry Guy got a little too excited about the new plastic plates that Ma got him. I guess he was trying to show me the plate and instead caught me across the brow with the plate. I am not ashamed to say that I almost immediately started to cry from the pain, so I kinda army crawled behind the couch so he wouldn't see my huge tears. I didn't want to break his sensitive heart since I knew he had not done it on purpose. When Matt came to check on me, the first thing he said was "Ok, we need to go to the bathroom and whatever you do, don't look in the mirror." Well, of course that set me in a panic, especially when I put my hand to my face and pulled it back to see it covered in red. Awesome. The plate caused a pretty decent gash just below my eyebrow and just because of where it was, it wouldn't stop bleeding. I think stitches were probably in order, but I had about zero desire to go sit in some ER for a few hours on a Saturday when we had family in town. So Dr. Matt ran to the store for some butterfly strips and professionally applied liquid bandaid (OMG that stuff burns like HELL) and patched me up with tape. Cute look. Like someone said on my facebook page, it's amazing that anything can be turned into a weapon in the hands of a toddler.
  •  The blood continues --- we had to take some more family pictures recently for an area magazine (they asked me to write an article about Q's journey and wanted some accompanying pictures). And you know how much I just LOVE pictures, right? (mild sarcasm). It's no easy feat to get 2 toddlers and 2 adults coordinated somewhat without looking like THAT family. So after much stress and a trip to the mall, I nailed down the outfits, actually got my make up done (what? Vanity much?) and we headed to a local park. Not 2 shots in, both babies busted it down 3 steps. Quinn came out mostly unscathed, but Ryan took a pretty good beating. Blood all over his forehead and nose with a pretty decent welt to go along with it. She assured us she could photoshop it out. I haven't seen the photos yet but hoping that's true. No more family pictures for awhile. I need a break. And shamefully, besides with my i-phone, I've been on an anti-camera kick in the New Year. I need to get on the ball but it seems I am too busy chasing R&Q than to take actual pictures of them.
  • A little more mayhem - we've decided it's time to move. This house has always been our "five year home" and then we planned to move on. Well, 2 babies later, who need to be separated at some point and would really like a game room (I mean, momma would really like the game room), it's about that time. We went crazy for about a week thinking we were going to put money down on a lot almost immediately but regained our senses and are truly starting the home search process. And not to mention, the prep-house-for-sale process. The former is exciting, the latter is a huge pain and proving to be somewhat costly. Guess I shouldn't have driven through the garage wall when I was preggers. Anyway, hopefully sometime this year we should be outta here and into something new or new to us. Should be interesting. We've never actually moved with stuff. In our first move to Louisiana, Matt's company assisted with the move but we virtually owned nothing but a few pieces of used furniture, clothes, and assorted wedding gifts. Our 2nd move to the condo was just down the road and again we didn't have many things at that point. And in the 3rd move to Houston, we literally had nothing. Just enough stuff to fill a Honda CRV - and it wasn't even that full. Thanks, Hurricane Katrina. So now, 6 years of acquiring, 2 babies and all of their stuff, whoa - this should be interesting. Matt doesn't know it yet, but even if we only go 5 miles down the road, we are totally hiring movers.
So that's a little bit about what's going on here. Chasing crazy toddlers who are wearing me thin, working when I can during naps, Little Gym classes, playdates, and then all four of us completely crashing at night. Life is busy, but good busy --- but I need a nap! Hopefully next time we "speak", I'll have some more exciting updates to share and heaven forbid, some actual pictures : ) (And perhaps that the kids had their first Mother's Day Out experience? We'll see!!)

In Him,

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Product of the Week: Life Planners

Yay, it's "Product of the Week" time again! I had so much fun last week looking over everyone's choices for their products. I encourage you to go take a peek today and see what's being featured.

And seeing that I am experiencing writer's block like never before, this at least allows me to get a post out there for the things I am loving right now : )

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This week (well, actually since I got it back in September), I am LOVING my Erin Condren Life Planner. And when I say love, I mean heads-over-heels, can't live without, take your breath away, kind of love. Ok, so maybe that's a little strong, but seriously this planner just makes me smile.

While I have the technology to be able to set appointments via phone or computer, I still prefer the old-fashioned method of writing it down and crossing it off. I love to see what my week looks like, scratch out appointments, write in new ones --- and for my a-type persona, plan in advance effectively.

Monthly pages so you can see what's happening any particular month - oh, and it comes with stickers to mark special occasions like wedding, birthdays, parties, and more!

These are the weekly pages - separated by morning, day, and evening. So much space for one day - I love it!

Plus, are these not adorable? I love the personalization and fun features. And I love that the pages are easy to flip through on a nice spiral that never gets stuck. I keep my planner right by the phone on our counter and everything, and I mean everything, goes in that bad boy. I even have Matt jotting down his plans now so it's truly a family planner. Oh, I love, love, love.

This is actually the design I got. It suits me perfectly and has my favorite color combo. But they have tons of others.
I loved it so much that we gave no less than 4 away for Christmas gifts this year. I think they liked it, but I don't think anyone was quite as nerdy as I am about mine. I did hear a rumor that my mom carries hers to and from work though --- and when I called her the other day to check on some plans for March, she said "Hold on, let me check my planner."

Oh, be still my heart. ha : )

Go check them out! Plus her site has all sorts of yummy other things --- personalized cases for i-phones (hello, Matt!), stationery, desk calendars, and more. Enjoy!

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Product of the Week - Pineapples & Pickles blog link up

My friend Tiffanie is hosting her first-ever blog "party" if you will, where every Thursday we will post our "Products of the Week". She's done it on her own for awhile now and she always has fun, unique stuff featured (which she's not compensated for - she just happens to love the product!). Anyway, now we can get in on the action and post what we love right now. Make sure you visit her page to grab some other fun ideas!

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This week mine is Moroccan Oil. I was first introduced to this awesomeness about a year ago from my hairstylist. Actually, he gave me a freebie because he was running so behind one day and he felt badly. It was a sweet little free deal, considering this stuff 'aint cheap. But it's soooo wonderful and lasts a really long time.

I have naturally wavy/kinky/random thick hair and I have been trying to grow it out forever. But it seems it would always reach a point where I would just get irritated and cut it all off just to start again. But now I have been committed for well over a year and it's finally starting to pay off. And I can thank this little beauty for it. You would think it would make your hair totally greasy but it truly doesn't. You just simply add a small, dime-sized amount to towel dried hair and dry/style as normal. It serves to help keep it straight by closing in the cuticles and moisturizes at the same time. Now my hair doesn't get all of those frizzy fly-aways, even on the most humid days. And it smells yummy! Highly recommend. They actually have a whole line of products by my SAHM budget doesn't really allow for that splurge. If you've tried any of the other stuff, let me know what's worth it and what's not!

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Austin Family Christmas 2011, Part 2

Well, it seems only fair for there to be a "Part 2" to the Austin Christmas, considering Dallas had 3 parts. But in all fairness, we were in Dallas longer so there was more to record.

And in all honesty, this morning I was organizing pictures and found these from our last day in Austin. So technically, they would have worked perfectly in yesterday's post. Especially when talking about "Shadow". Here are some more fun Austin pictures and THEN we will close out 2011 - and I can hopefully purchase my 2011 blog book. And my 2010 one as well. Perhaps the one from 2009, too? I'm a little behind.

Quinn playing outside at Ma's

Ryan running from "Shadow"

Quinn loves to slide

There ya go!

Oh you know, just hanging with "Flamingo"

Quinn can actually throw the ball pretty well - when she's not stealing it from her brother and running away.

See - "Shadow"

Back in the playroom

The bond continues

Ady - and teeth!

Whatcha baking, Ry guy?

This is blurry but I love the bubble Quinn had on - courtesy of Gigi!

Waiting to open presents! Again!

Ma and Grandma Goober

Me and Ma

Uncle Zebbie and Ryan - he looks beat again!

I forgot the mention that one of the hit presents, especially with Ryan, was sunglasses! As opposed to last summer when the kids would not keep them on to save their lives (and eyesight) at the beach, they were loving their sunglasses. Ryan wore them all the way home, even as he crashed. He pretty much thinks he's hot stuff when he's wearing them.

See - I so cool : )
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Austin Family Christmas 2011

After we finished the Anderson family Christmas saga, we had a couple of days recovery time and then it was time to unpack and pack again - this time headed for the Hill Country, sort of : )

What we have learned through these little trips --- no matter how little time you are going, you still need the same big things for the babies. Pack 'n Plays, portable high-chairs, toys, diapers, utensils, sippys, and the list goes on and on.

And I think I even uttered these words to Matt when he asked why I packed so much for the babies each time:

"Because I don't know what they might want to wear on that particular day."

Really??? They'd be happy in pjs. Probably happier. But since they are my living dolls at the moment, they will wear what I am in the mood for them to wear. Terrible, right?

That's what I say about my packing. Not my kids packing. We are all in deep trouble.

Anyway, we departed for Austin a few short days after getting back from Dallas. It should not have been a big deal drive but the kids were very cranky all the way there. 30 minutes of crankiness I can handle, it's the 2 1/2 stretch that starts to get under my nerves. By the end of the trip, I was literally flipping crackers over the front seat of the car to see who could catch one.Fun for me. Maybe not so fun for them. Mom of the year right here. I am sure my award was lost in the holiday mail.

We were pretty packed to the gills, but not as much to Dallas. Thank God. We could actually see out of the back window which is a lovely safety feature.

Anyway, we arrived to Matt's Mom's (Barbara) late afternoon and shortly thereafter the rest of the family arrived. We all caught up and the babies had some time to rediscover their newly cleaned out and "baby safe" playroom before we went to dinner.

Playing with the cousins and the toy kitchen

Quinn, Ady, and Riley - apparently it takes 3 to cook whatever they were making.

Ryan downing his "drink". Looks eerily familiar to how mommy does it.

Not to be outdone, there's Quinn chugging away.

Pretty Riley!

It's been a big Christmas for the babies. Multiple dinners out with mommy and daddy. And this one I knew would be smooth because of all the extra hands. Anyway, we headed down the street to this place called "Juniors". I guess it's a restaurant/bar? All I kept thinking was that line from Sweet Home Alabama...

"You have a baby. In a bar."

Yes, yes we did. Two of them in fact. They enjoyed the music.

Well, Quinn really enjoyed it, enough to go dance around with cousin and Mommy, and a couple of strangers. Ryan enjoyed the music but was so tired, he kinda went baby catatonic.

In the process, we rediscovered Quinn's love for french fries - yikes, thanks TCH! - she ate a HUGE adult portion, plus a quesdilla, some of my chicken breast, and would not touch any of the veggies. Awesome. Someone was on the holiday diet. And after all that, she went and danced it off. Evidence below:

Uncle Zeb with Ryan

Uncle Christian and Ady

Grandma Goober and me (Matt's grandmother & an extremely special, special person. She is the only great-grandparent the children have. She is such a wonderful, warm, and loving person - such a treat to have her in town when we were there!)

This is what Riley did 80% of the night - just played and played with Quinn and carried her around. Quinn didn't even mind. These two have had a special bond since the beginning. They just love each other - I pray that Quinn will always look up to her big cousin.

Tired Ryan. Shortly before catatonic state.

Everyone smiling. Except Ryan. I mentioned he was done with Juniors, right?

Sweet little Riley and me

Aunt Stacey and Ady

Riley shaking her groove thang

Quinn was the hit of the dance floor. Here she is dancing with a random woman at the bar - I mean, restaurant that happens to serve a lot of alcoholic beverages and has 2 bands on the weekend.

Quinn and Riley had to go check out the outside band. They were too fun to watch. Especially since Quinn had her squeaky shoes on and would "squeak squeak" everywhere. At least I knew I couldn't lose her.

Such a fun evening ---and lovely to be able to actually have plenty of hands to hold the children so we could enjoy our dinner and adult beverages. A rarity if it's just Matt and I with the twins out to dinner. They are just at that age.

Anyway, Stacey also shared with me a wonderful story that brought tears to my eyes. As I mentioned, Quinn and Riley have always had this special bond. I never even thought about how it would affect Riley when Q had surgery --- she's old enough to understand (7 yrs) that Quinn was going to have a big surgery on her heart. And of course, like it would be for any 7 year old, hearing "surgery" and "heart" probably really scared her. Anyway, apparently before Quinn's first surgery, Riley gathered up every single piece of green that she could find in the house - costume necklaces, bracelets, etc. She then took those green trinkets to school and passed them out to all of the kids in her class so they would all be wearing green on surgery day. Oh my. That sweet, thoughtful little one.

And then on the day of her surgery, Riley had a very tough day. Stacey had warned her teacher that Riley may be upset that day and explained what was happening in here in Houston. At some point, she got really sad so her teacher took her out in the hallway to talk about it. So Riley cried and talked about Quinnie - and the teacher cried as well, hearing her story. At that point, the teacher asked Riley if they could pray together - for little Quinn to be strong. And so they sat in the hallway and prayed together.

Just picturing that vision in my head still brings tears to my eyes. What a special teacher she must have to be so incredibly understanding --- and then to pray with Riley? In a public school? Amazing. As a sidenote, the stories I continue to hear about what people did during Q's journey and how they prayed just blows me away. I've said it over and over, but truly we are so incredibly blessed that God placed all of these people in our lives.

Ok - so moving on.... the next day the babies were so exhausted that they slept an hour later than usual. Score one point for Juniors. The weather was GORGEOUS in Austin that weekend and we wished so much we had brought the twins' stroller to roll them around in downtown RR. Instead though we let the twins play outside which they loved. Barbara has a pretty large backyard and a great little swingset so that was a total  hit. At some point in the time outside, Ryan discovered his shadow.

Well, he was just amazed and perlexed by his own shadow - and especially confused when Daddy's shadow came up behind him. He kept trying to run from it which was hilarious once we figured out why the heck our son was turning multiple circles. And then he decided that he should talk to his shadow. So he would stand at the fence and tell "Shadow" what exactly was up. Pointing his finger and everything. I almost peed in my pants laughing so hard. He was so serious and intent on getting rid of "Shadow". I'll guarantee one thing - I bet Ryan is my child who will have an imaginary friend.

Later that night, everyone returned to the house to feast on brisket and ribs courtesy of Christian and open Christmas presents. If you'll recall from my Dallas posts, my family takes a sweet forever on Christmas morning. Too long for me. Well, Matt's side of the family is the exact opposite - it's a fast and furious, better keep up or you'll miss it, kind of Christmas. Presents were being tossed and passed like nothing I've seen before. As soon as I would open something, I had another gift in my hand.

The next day I went through the gifts as we were packing up and had myself another little Christmas, as I didn't recall or see half of the things that were being opened at the time.

But that's why families are special - different traditions and even different gift-opening tactics : ) Either way, it's fun. And the twins of course got some really neat stuff and I have a few gift cards burning a hole in my pocket. Super fun night - and another late one for the twins. At this point I was wondering if they would ever get back on schedule or if they would think after all their hard-partying in Dallas and Austin was the new norm.
The next day we got everything packed up again (we are such packing pros by now), watched part of the A&M game, and then hit the road. Thankfully we timed it just right so the twins AND mommy crashed all the way back to Houston. I can't tell you the last time I slept almost door to door like that but it was awesome.

So that's the Austin wrap up. So blessed that we got to see everyone over Christmas and spend some true quality time with all. And the twins have since recovered from the craziness and got themselves back on schedule. They are STILL taking 2 naps a day and we will keep it up until they finally decide to drop the morning one. But as it stands right now, they soooo need that morning nap and I think they just like their afternoon nap. I know we'd have a little more freedom to go places if I could just push them through but selfishly, I get a lot of work done during that morning nap and that's typically my shower time as well. So I'm really not in a hurry to let it go. We'll see what happens over the next couple of months.

So closing out 2011 with this post - kind of sad but ready to take on 2012 headfirst : )

In Him,

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