When Worlds Collide

I've mentioned my friend Tiffanie a few times on here --- and perhaps some of you have seen me link up with her "Product of the Week" party on Thursdays. What you may not have known is we have never met in "real life". We've followed each other's stories, commented on our respective blogs, and sent emails. It's always a trip to meet someone outside this virtual world, someone you feel like you absolutely know, and a family you actually passionately care about.

Long story short (and you can read more about P's story on Tiffanie's blog), her son was diagnosed in utero with a very severe heart condition. Actually, so complicated and severe that they didn't know if he would survive birth, much less the very serious surgery that would soon follow. But God had BIG plans for this little man and he not only survived, but has absolutely thrived. He is a walking, talking, heart baby miracle.

So this is where the small worlds come into play --- my good friend Katie (who yes, I've mentioned here too before) went to high school with Tiffanie's husband. So she knew about their story and shared with me. And then as luck (or God) would have it, Katie's friend from college Lisa (who I connected with the same way & eventually met as well last year), was also at TCH with HER son, Field, having surgery the same day as little P. So I had the privilege of praying for these two very special families at the same time. And Tiffanie & Lisa got to meet and keep in touch. Then when it was our turn for surgery, all of these families in turn rallied and prayed for Quinn. Kinda amazing. No, actually really amazing. I love how God works.(And does any of that make sense??? ha)

Matt couldn't understand why I was a little nervous to meet Tiffanie, Mr. Gherkin (as she calls her hubby), and P. But there's this little safety in our blogging world --- and my stupid insecurities led me to wonder if she would like me outside just reading our stories, would we get along, how would our husbands like each other, etc, etc. I know, kinda stupid and a little "high school" for someone who's 32!

But I was also super excited to finally get to hug her and her sweet little miracle. Which I finally did last night. And all of my worries were wiped away almost instantly. Tiffanie is as warm, sincere, cute, and funny as she is on her blog. Her husband is such a nice guy and had a lot in common with Matt. And P, well, I just wanted to squeeze him all night (he didn't really want me to though!). He was just too precious.

And there was a moment last night when we were all just sitting around on a beautiful Houston night, sipping our drinks and eating delicious food, and watching all of our miracle kids play together - and I was just almost brought to tears. I never expected this journey and roller coaster we've been on, but it has brought some great blessings into our lives. Forever grateful for those.

And as is forever the case in our house as we rush out the door late with babies, booster seats, and food in tow, we forgot our camera. So I'm stealing this picture of P&Q that Tiffanie took. Quinn likes the younger men too apparently : ) At least she didn't try to kiss him too many times. Oh, that crazy daughter of mine.

Thanks, Tiffanie & co, for a great night and meeting up with us. We so enjoyed it and look forward to hanging out again. And to Katie, for always being the best hostess and terrific friend. Her house feels like home to me --- probably because Matt and I spent more than a few nights there during Q's surgery process : ) Love to you all!

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What's Happening Lately...Sorta

Well, what's been happening is a whole lotta not bloggin'. But it has been just that crazy. Not to mention I seem to have a crude case of writer's block --- I think of stuff to write down, memories to capture, milestones to remember, and then poof- I sit down at the computer and get pinged by a dozen work emails, interrupted by children who would like to be fed or something else incredibly demanding, or I just want to nap. Usually it's the latter and I have zero willpower in that department.

But here goes --- just some random thoughts and catch up with the Clanahan's. I also have a few pics to dump from my i-phone but I think I'll save that for another fascinating post. Or maybe not. Let's see if I can get through this post without someone yelling "Mommy" or "MEEEEEE!" 

1. Mother's Day Out is going FANTASTIC. It has been so good for R&Q and so good for me as well : ) Although those 5 hours pass darn fast. At any rate, the kids both love it and barely give me a second glance as I leave. From the feedback I get from their wonderful teachers, they do really well listening, actually follow directions (what???!!!), and play wonderfully with the other kids. So warms my heart that even if I have a hard time getting a "please" or "thank you" here, they are doing it in public, where I suppose it matters! For Quinn, her report cards mostly say that she is a total doll, wants to be the class helper all the time, keeps up with the "big boys" without a problem, and is chatty and busy all.the.time. The only issue she's had lately is either rarely napping or only taking a 30 minute snooze. Which actually works out for me, because she usually crashes for another hour or 2 when she gets home. Ryan's feedback is that he is always sweet and cuddly, curious about almost everything, loves to play outside and read books, and has really come out of his shell the past few weeks. He's talking more and always takes great naps. His main issue is eating. The boy is PICKY and sometimes just won't eat at all - just will drink milk & water. But to be fair, he's used to having mainly "hot lunches" at home and is not a huge fan of lunch meat or anything else that I can send with him. So I try to stock him up on crackers, cheese, and peaches - things I know he will eat. Then he devours snacks as soon as he gets home!

Here are a couple of pics of the kids worn out on their way home from MDO, yay!

2. So the house has officially been on the market almost a month. We've had about 8 showings, all with mostly positive feedback. The main issue has been that our house unfortunately backs up to a fairly busy road (which wasn't nearly as busy 6 years ago!) But we still feel confident and did a little price adjustment yesterday so we'll see if that helps. I am SO tired of cleaning constantly in case we get a call for a showing. I literally have gone through twice as many paper towels this month, 2 containers of granite cleaner and 3 things of Clorox. FUN. If you know me at all, I am not a cleaner. I like things clean, but I do "surface cleaning", meaning baseboards and scrubbing shower scum is not my bag. Nor is vacuuming. Matt has always like to vacuum (did I score in that department or what?) so I never do. The other day we had a showing and I had a momentary freak out when I had to figure out how to turn the vacuum on. Turns out there's this handy little red button at the base. Hmmm.

So we'll see --- we are hoping that the next month will bring in a buyer and then we can get this show on the road! We haven't broken ground on the new place yet until we feel a little more positive about selling here. And it's a 4 month building process, barring weather. So now I am just hoping that we can be in the new house by mid to late fall. Here's hoping...

3. I believe we can now safely say we are getting entrenched in the terrible 2's. A little early for my taste. But we are dealing with multiple tantrums a day and plenty of time outs. It's interesting to see how they each get in trouble. For Ryan, I think he sometimes just "forgets" that he shouldn't do something and then knows immediately to stop. So he doesn't get timeout too often because the behavior doesn't continue. For Quinn, well, ... she's special : ) She knows exactly what she is doing, knows that it is wrong, and then she keeps doing it. And then melts into the floor and throws a fit if I take her away from it. Then her timeouts are used as "plotting" times when she thinks of what she will get into next. It's just such a science experiment to see their little personalities. I love them equally --- I love that Ryan doesn't want to disappoint and wants to be "good" and no matter my level of frustration, I love that Quinn is strong-willed and independent. Each set of their qualities will serve them well in life, and perhaps they can even learn a little bit from each other. Here's hoping!

4. We've had some GORGEOUS weather around here. Perfect for playing outside almost all day - and especially in the evening when Mommy is trying to get dinner ready and have a few moments of silence. And that's reason #2589 why I love my husband --- for the past few weeks, almost religiously, he takes the kids outside, blows bubbles, plays balls, whatever, as soon as he gets home from work. It's like HEAVEN to me. A thirty minute heaven, but wonderful nonetheless.

5. I am finding it more and more challenging to work from home, raise the kids, get errands done, house stuff, cook dinner, ya know, the works. It's such a balancing act. Most days I feel just torn --- knowing that I should have given the kids more attention and worked less, or on the days where the kids have my full attention, I know that I may not be on as top of my work as I used to be. But I know I will look back and I won't remember the times that I didn't meet that one self-imposed deadline, but I will remember if I told R&Q that "Mommy is too busy to read you a book right now". I'm still just trying to find my footing. Some days I am more successful than others. But we're working on it.

6. I've had a lot of teeth and dentist related dreams lately. It's so bizarre. The first one, the dentist pulled out 10 of my teeth without pain meds because they were "bad". The second, my teeth just fell out. And then last night, I had a dream that I had my teeth polished and cleaned for hours. I have no idea why I feel the need to share that, but I'm pretty sure it means that my mind is working overtime at the moment.

7. While 2012 hasn't been the least stressful year --- I  have been incredibly blessed by a wonderful group of girlfriends who keep me sane. I know that I am not always the best friend in keeping up with everyone, but I am so thankful that I have people that I can call at the drop of a hat or shoot an email and know I will get back heartfelt advice and prayer. So thankful! These women are like family --- and I couldn't make it through everything without them! Or our "Mommy's Night Outs" : )

8. I think that's quite enough for now. I know I have more to update on the twins specifically and some milestones as we quickly approach their 2nd birthday in 6 weeks, aghhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!! How did that happen? But I'll save you from all of the words. Plus, naptime is over and mommy is back on duty!

Love to you all,
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We have a climber.

So we have a climber. And I'm not even going to pretend I am happy about it. I am not at all.

I'm sure if you've read this blog for any amount of time or know my family at all, you can guess who it is.


It all started early last week when we.had.just.run.out.of.complete.patience. and put her in "big time out" in her crib. That's a last resort time out punishment as we typically put her in the corner. But the corner had failed us at least 4 times, so Matt put her in the crib.

Later he came to tell me that when he went to rescue her from the pit of unimaginable hell, she was just waltzing around her room checking things out.


Well, we hoped it was a one-off thing and maybe she had gotten herself so mad and upset that she had an extra boost of energy to get herself out. She didn't do it again for 3 days.

Until I put them down for naps on Thursday and sat down working on training a new co-worker.

Then came the unmistakable knock on the door. Then the sound of books hitting the floor.

Ran in there and sure enough, that stinker was out. UGhhhh. Put her back in, told her to "STAY" (yeah, like that was going to work) and of course, she just did it again, and again, and again. And kept her brother up in the process. And since I was working, there wasn't a whole lot I could do at that moment. Finally, 2 hours after  her naptime should have started, she finally gave up and passed out.

And that night was much of the same. We finally ended up pulling out the crib mattress and Matt slept next to her on the floor until she finally fell asleep. Let me tell you how much fun we all are when there's no sleep in this house. Pleasantries and compliments were not exactly exchanged the next day. After scouring the internet for crib tents (OMG, places have stopped selling them and the two places left that actually carry them WERE ON BACKORDER), I made a dash in the pouring rain for toddler rails since I was scared to death she was going to get caught on a rung climbing out.

Of course, those did nothing to contain the beast that had just discovered UNTOLD FREEDOM. I was by myself that night as Matt was at a men's retreat, and I spent a good portion of the evening crying into the phone with my mom as my child screamed from the unfairness of it all and Ryan cried because he just wanted sleep already.

Me too, bud, me too.

The main dilemma is separating them right now isn't really a reality. We have to keep the house staged for selling and the other room is a guest room. So we are a bit stuck. After doing some research and talking to friends, we stuck her in the pack 'n play so we could all get some sleep and do some eval on the situation. Wouldn't you know it worked like a charm on Saturday night. And Sunday's nap. And Sunday night. So, sold. We are going to pack 'n play her for the meantime. I just don't think she is "there" yet on being able to stay in the bed, and although we could do the whole training thing now, I am just not there yet energy-wise. I need prep time. There was no warning for this madness. And if you know anything about me, you know my little a-type, anal retentivness wants to pick the day, pick the schedule and roll with it on my terms.

Roll your eyes. I know you want to. This is just a small taste of what the kids are going to do that's NOT in my plans. I get it. But for now, I'm granting myself a reprieve. Because carrying the child back to bed 30 to 40 times in a night doesn't sound appealing right now with everything going on. I know she will eventually be ready and so will we.

And Ryan. Dude, I think he would just stay in the crib until age 12 if he could. He's just watched the action from afar with a bemused smirk on his face, like "glad it's not me, sucker." Just like his daddy. Learn from other people's actions. So I guess that would make Quinn like me. Yikes. I've heard the stories. Thanks, Mom.

But if he gets any ideas and leaps out of the crib anytime soon, someone will need to call in my Xanax stat.

My babies are definitely not babies. :(

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Easter Weekend - Part 2

After a late night (in terms of what "late  night" means to us now, which is like anything past 10PM) at Uncle B's & Aunt C's --- and a fantastic night sleep for all involved --- we headed to the RR to Ma's house. Ma was SUPER EXCITED about planning an awesome egg hunt for all of the grandchildren, plus Uncle Zeb's nephew & niece. And Ma completely outdid herself. She had tons of eggs scattered around the yard filled with yummy treats for the kids (animal crackers, teddy grahams, etc). Since the babies weren't exactly walking last year, this was their first year to hunt eggs. And Aunt Christina totally hooked them up with Elmo Easter baskets which were a huge hit.

I was so excited to see how the kids would react to the idea of the egg hunt. I correctly predicted that Quinn would take it VERY seriously. That girl was all business and picked it right up. Ryan took a little prodding and then eventually got into it. And then (as predicted again), he just decided to take a break in the middle of the action and was content with just rifling through his basket. That's my boy : )

After the kids finished the egg hunt, they did all sorts of fun activities in Ma's yard - swinging, sliding, playing with the water and sand table and in general, just having a ball. All in their skivvies, or diapers as it may be. Then we tried to settle them down for a picnic lunch outside but there was way too much excitement to actually eat. But the picture of them dining in diapers is pretty precious.

Because we had such a long week, my back was killing me, and we had to be back in Houston for Easter services at our church on Sunday, we hit the road pretty early. With the hope and prayer that the babies would crash and sleep door to door. I heaved a huge sigh of relief when they passed out before we could even get on the tollway out of town. However, that was blown about an hour later when someone (I won't say who) woke up screaming bloody murder. And didn't really stop for the rest of the trip. Nothing like a screaming toddler in a contained, moving vehicle to grate on your nerves. Sure was glad to get home and pour a large glass of vino to recover.

Here are a few pictures from Ma's house. Ma, thanks so much for everything you did - next time we will stay longer, I promise. We love you!

Q getting ready

Ryan scouting it out

Excited with bunny ears!

My beautiful and incredibly sweet niece, Riley

Cousin Ady - wearing the same dress Riley wore about 5 years ago : )

When brother gives up, you just take his basket
Get that one, Q!

Did I drop one?

Daddy coaching Ryan on this egg hunting thing

Ok, time for a break

Quinn's first capri sun. She loved it.

Naked picnic! This just makes me smile : )

Quinn at her naked picnic. I made this extra large so you can see her scar --- or maybe not! It has faded sooooooo much!

Ry Guy and Aunt Emmy. No one can make Ryan squeal and laugh like Em.
Drinking from the water table - yum?

Or maybe not?

Loving the swing

At the water table

Getting in the sandbox

 The next morning, we yet again loaded up and put the babies in their freshly washed Easter outfits and headed to our church Easter service. It was a wonderful service and great message --- and then of course, the traditional egg hunt afterwards. This time, we were a little slow getting out to the action (even though the toddlers were separated from the big kids), so there weren't a lot of eggs to be had. But they managed to grab a few and got a few "donations" from some other super sweet kids.

And yet again, for the 2nd Easter in a row, we also managed to take not ONE family picture. It seems the only pictures we get these days are just of the kids, and maybe one parent. But even that's rare. We just get so busy chasing them we forget until later. Ughhh. That's why I make sure we get professional pictures at least once a year so the kids will know we were around : )

Hope you all enjoyed a very blessed and Happy Easter. He is Risen!

In Him,


Easter Weekend 2012 - Part 1

This Easter we were blessed to spend time in Austin with both sides of our family. My mom and Steve traveled down from Dallas to spend time with Blaine & Christina, and since we were already planning on Easter in the RR, it worked out perfectly!

We ended up leaving a day later than we thought --- life was just too crazy. Both Matt and I had incredibly busy work weeks and then with trying to pack, get the house ready for showing, and actually out the door, it proved too much. And of course, I had to keep up my reputation as a medical freak of nature. A few days before, I was holding Ryan when I had to sneeze. Trying to be a good mommy, I turned my body so as to not get snot in my son's face. Lovely image, right?

Anyway, I heard a little pop and then felt excruciating pain. Super fun. Well, the pain dragged on and then on Thursday, we had a last minute house showing. In my hurry to get the two kids and the dog into the car, I wasn't careful and tried to toss Max in at a weird angle. Pop again. Pain again. Ooops.

By that evening, I could barely move and once the kids went down, I headed straight to our local ER (not like a hospital ER, but more than an urgent care) down the street. Which I have already visited for a variety of random reasons, ie: slicing my wrist open on a green bean can lid and getting an infection, double ear infection, ovarian cyst, and now this.

As it turns out, I somehow popped a rib out during the initial sneeze and it kept popping out. Who does this??? This girl. After administering some pain meds and muscle relaxers, a friend of mine picked me up and dropped me at home, loopy and out of sorts. And this is where I have the best husband ever... the hospital faxed over my prescriptions to the 24 hour ER closest to us, which really wasn't close at all. Since I was in no condition to drive, he left at 11PM to go get my prescriptions. And of course, when he got there, it was going to be another 30-45 minutes, so he headed to the Denny's for a late night snack of biscuits and gravy. 3 hours after his dinner. Gross. To each their own. Anyway, he finally got my prescriptions and back home well after midnight. Needless to say, we were both pretty exhausted the next day but rallied to clean house and pack everyone up again. But this time, I had to be super careful - no lifting over 5lbs. So obviously I was a tremendous help.

Our first stop when we got to Austin (after a horrible last hour in the car - Lord, traveling at this age can just be hell if you time it just wrong, which we did) was at my brother's house. It was the twins' first time to spend the night at Uncle Blaine & Aunt Christina's and I'm not sure they anticipated the amount of junk we need just to survive a night : ) But they were incredibly hospitable and of course, Christina, our resident creative member of the family, went all out on beautiful Easter cupcakes, yummy pretzels dipped in white chocolate, and amazing Easter Elmo baskets full of goodies for the kids. And Blaine and Mom went to work on the shrimp and crawfish boil (our first of this season). Soooo good.

We also had the awesome opportunity to meet a very special little boy --- E was born was a CHD as well, just a couple of months after the twins (his parents are good friends with my brother). I've followed his journey on facebook and through my brother, so it was so great to finally meet this little man in person. R,Q, & E kept each other thoroughly entertained that evening --- when E wasn't being attacked by my daughter who just wanted to smooch with him all evening. I'm sure that had nothing to do with us egging her on.

A few pics from that night:

Quinn and her serious look

Ryan woke up a little teary from his nap but he rallied later on!

Running through the fields

This is "E". I love his shirt - he was already scoping out Quinnie

E and his daddy (as a momma, this picture almost makes my heart stop)

Ry Guy still needing some snuggles

Finally, happy boy!

Have you tried to get a picture of 3 tired toddlers and actually have them smile and look the same direction?

My little agressor going in for the smooch

And yet again. Yikes. God help us all when she's 16.

Quinn jumped up on the stool and helped herself to one of Aunt Christina's cupcakes. Nice. (Oh, and that bow was an Easter gift from Gigi that matches a PRECIOUS new swimsuit. If you know my child, even swimming requires a bow.)

Ummm, NOOOO. I didn't do it!

Ok, busted. Nothing but class around here.

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