31 Days: Love Letters from Mommy, Day 14

Dear Ryan and Quinn,
Today we celebrate Quinn's real "New Heart Birthday". October 22nd will always be the day that Q got her new leash on life. September 27th was the date of her first surgery, but since we had a few, let's say, "glitches", the 22nd is the happy day.
Quinn, when I think back to that day a full year ago, I have such mixed emotions.
Relief - because they were able to figure out why you were not improving. We spent so many days between September and October not knowing exactly what was going on. We had NO idea that on October 21st you would be heading for emergency surgery for right heart failure the very next day, but we were grateful to have a solution.
Sadness - because the days leading up to that date were so filled with these feelings of despair -- not being able to just fix you and make it all better. I have never felt so helpless. And I never thought that in less than 30 days, I would send my child into life-threatning open heart surgery, not once, but twice. Signing those consents were torture.
And more sadness- Ryan. We had to be there for Quinn. We couldn't be fully present for you as you needed. You handled it with such grace. You had a host of loving family and friends looking after you but it killed me to spend consecutive 24 hour periods away from you.
Elation - Quinn, you are a SURVIVOR. You fought. You fought the good fight. And you won. 3 days after your surgery, you were awake and eating and smiling and cooing. My heart was so full to see comfortable again after being in pain for so many days.
Thankfulness - for all of those who prayed for our sweet girl. For all of those who brought meals. For all of those who cried with us. For all of those who laughed with us. For all of those who cared. We are beyond thankful and blessed by each and every one of you. We love you --- to the moon and back.
Grace - Only God knows. Only God knows what we will face. And only God can pull us through. With His mercy, we made it. I never thought I could and still can't explain how I survived it somewhat sanely. It's only God. Jer. 29:11
Thank you, Jesus, for our sweet little girl and sweet little boy. Only you know what we face in the future --- that is uncertain especially for Q. But what is CERTAIN - you hold us in the palm of your hand. Thank you for your love and mercy.
Love always,
Ventilator free - Oct 23rd, 2012

Sitting up, October 25th, 2012

Morning of October 24th, 2012

Blessed, December 2012
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31 Days: Love Letters from Mommy, Day 13

Yup, we are behind again. Or still behind. I blame the weekend. And an untimely dental appointment. At any rate, we keep plugging along : )
Dear Ryan and Quinn,
The other day I was reminded of the "high road".
We had an unfortunate run in with two (ok, I'll say it, kinda mean women) at HEB. Apparently I forced her to wait for 10 whole seconds while I waited for someone to pull out of a spot that was near a cart return. I always park near a cart return for y'alls safety so that I don't have to trek you across the parking lot AND so I can make sure you are safe once I return the cart. No big deal, right?
Well, these ladies thought it was a very big deal apparently. Such a big deal that they chased us all the way to the front doors of the HEB, where they proceeded to read me the riot act about how I was lazy and didn't want to park 10 more spaces away. I tried to explain my philosophy of not having you killed at the grocery, and they weren't having it. Instead of trying to reason with two angry women, I just stopped trying to talk and walked away.
And then I did something I wasn't proud of. And I'm still not.
I said (in a very loud voice) to you, "Ryan and Quinn, do Mommy a favor and never grow up to be that angry and bitter."
At the time, I felt ok about it. I mean, I was mad. And how dare they? And all the feelings of anger and unfairness got the best of me.
In the scheme of things, it wasn't a huge deal. I should have just walked away and shut my mouth.
It wasn't a Christ-like statement I made. And not something that I want to teach you. To always feel like you need to have the last word. Because you don't have to.
See, Mommy makes mistakes, too. And often. That's another good thing for you to know.
But maybe it was a good lesson for you that I messed up. Learn from me. Take the HIGH ROAD whenever possible.
There were always be people who say negative things, who do hurtful things, who cut us off in traffic, or try to bring down our days.
Our goal is to live life with joy and without resentment. And if we constantly sink to that level of bitterness that person is feeling, then we are no better off --- and in fact, bitterness can seep into our hearts.
The fact is, I don't know what set those ladies off that day. I don't know what is happening in their lives to make them in such a way. I pray that whatever it is that's bothering them (and surely not over a parking spot), is resolved and soon. For their sakes. And other people's at HEB.
But we never know the lives we are leading. So if someone is rude to you or unkind, do your best to smile (as difficult as it is), say "I'm sorry you feel that way" and move on. Living life like that - in the long run - is much more pleasant, although it may sting for a second.
That's not say you shouldn't stand up for yourself over a large injustice. No, that's not what I'm saying at all. Jesus didn't let people walk over him. So when you are truly wronged, then by all mean, say your piece (carefully, politely, and prayerfully). But if it's something small like a grocery run in, for the sake of everyone involved, let it go. Take the HIGH ROAD. Represent all that is good in a life with Christ.
All my love,

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31 Days: Love Letters from Mommy Day 12

Dear Ryan and Quinn,
This type of obvious rebellion and spite against your mother and her beloved team will only be tolerated until you are 3. You are so darned cute that I can't get mad now. But I love your enthusiasm, little man. Quinn, I need you to pick it up and start rooting for our Tigers. Gigi and I are counting on it!!!
May you always have team spirit (and go to college, whether it be that maroon one or the coolest one).
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31 Days: Love Letters from Mommy Day 11

We've almost caught up - maybe by this weekend, I'll be back on track! I know this thrills you as much as it does me.
Dear Ryan and Quinn,

I had a different letter in mind today, but given yesterday's news about Quinn's impending catheter, I'm switching directions. Right now my post about thank you notes doesn't seem all that important. (Oh, but trust we will go back to it!)

Actually, I don't even know what to write to you about this topic or how to convey what I am feeling.

Hmmm... great start to a letter.

Here's the thing:

My heart hurts. My heart hurts for you, Quinn, because you never asked for any of this "heart stuff". It just is. I can't explain it and I can't make it disappear. My hands as a mommy are tied.

My heart hurts for you, Ryan, because even at the tender age of 16 months that you were last year during Q's surgery, you missed your sister and cared about her. And that will only continue to grow. I don't know how I am going to explain later on why Quinn has to go through these particular trials and you don't.

Hopefully something that will always be evident to you is that your daddy and I have faith --- we have faith in a God who loves us with all of our heart. We have faith in a God who is just. We have faith in a God who knows all things, sees all things, and hears our pleas and prayers.

Which makes it hard to explain the "whys". I don't know why this happened for Quinn or our family. I don't know why any baby should have to undergo such a thing. But I do know that if I continue to go down that road and question all of the bad lots in life, then all I will become is bitter and broken.

This much I know. We live in a fallen and broken world where bad things do happen. Bad things happen to great people or sweet little babies. Family members are taken from us too early, children get sick with unfathomable illnesses, and loved ones deal with intense pain and suffering.

BUT I know that in the midst of that suffering, often comes good things. Lives are changed for the better, people are made new, great transformations occur. It stinks (that's my biblical term) that it's often at the cost of something terrible happening but sometimes that's just the way it is. I can't explain it. I'm not a scholar of the Bible nor a pastor, although I'm not sure it would matter if I were. I am sure they question the same things.

And I also know this much - there was a period in my life where bad things did happen and I didn't know God anymore or have a relationship with Him. And the suffering was worse. I DID grow bitter. I made even more mistakes. I became someone I didn't recognize or our family didn't know anymore.

Now that God is back firmly in place living in my heart, the suffering is that much more bearable. The sweet things in life are that much sweeter. The days are brighter.

And on the darkest days? God pulls back just enough of the curtain so I can see the promise of the light.

Oh, Ryan and Quinn, when you commit your life to God, He doesn't promise any easy road. Not everything will be butterflies and rainbows. But He does promise He will always be there, walking beside us, and carrying us when we need it. He hears our prayers, and although silence may follow for a period, they are being answered. His answers may be a little bit different than what you and I had in mind, but they are always for the best.

I know that doesn't really answer the question of why things happen. Quinn, I wish more than anything I could give you an answer for that. Please, please never ever question God's love you for you  because He gave you this particular heart challenge. I don't even want to venture out there and speculate why.

But I will say this - sweet girl, your heart story has touched so many lives already and I fully believe that it will continue to do so. People who have never prayed before, prayed because of you. That is HUGE. It has shaped this family and given us an "outward perspective" when we may have tended to drift towards the "inward". Instead, we've learned how improtant it is to serve others as we've been served, to bless others as we've been blessed, and to pray for others as we've been prayed for. Mommy and Daddy may not have gotten involved in blood drives, heart awareness groups, fundraisers for hospitals, or other means of serving if it hadn't been for you. People have been blessed because of you! 

So while it doesn't seem fair that you should have this, we had a decision to make:

1. We could live with the resentment of the diagnosis and then the repercussions of the fear, bitterness, and loneliness of a life without God OR

2. We could take life as it comes, thank God for the miracles of technology and amazing medical staff, and be forever thankful for the grace and mercy of so many loved ones and friends who continue to lift us up.

And this is most important... while yes, this is an immense challenge in our lives - it is NOT our entire book, it's simply just a chapter. Heck, it may turn into 2 or 3.

But it does NOT define us, it does NOT define you, Quinn. Our lives have been blessed beyond measure. God has shown us so much grace in our life together. Your daddy and I both have wonderful jobs, we've been able to move you guys to a great neighborhood of loving people, we are surrounded by the most amazing friends, and we have YOU.

The two of you, my sweet Ryan and Quinn. The two babies that I never thought we'd be able to have. That my little friends, is the definition of grace and blessing.

"But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,  made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace,expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God" Ephesians 2:4-8

With all my love,



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Break in the 31 Days: A Quinn Heart Update

I'd much rather be writing some love letters to R&Q instead of this heart update today. However, I've had a lot of people ask about Q's heart MRI she had a couple of weeks ago and I FINALLY just got the results and was able to talk to the doctors. That in itself, is a whole other story, and one I won't choose to focus on today. Let's just say there was a whole lotta "Momma Bear" that came out of the woods this week.
At any rate, OF COURSE the doctor called right after we got over to my friend Ashley's house for a playdate/mommy happy hour. So I was a little off my game with 4 kids running around. But Ash threw me a notebook and a pen and I tried to concentrate. This is what we know:
(A little background: the MRI was scheduled because at Q's last echo, her cardiologist picked up that perhaps the narrowing her in her branch pulmonary arteries was becoming less on mild scale and more on the moderate to severe side. The only way to rectify this situation is by doing a cathether procedure, basically stenting out those arteries, much like you would do with an adult who's had a heart attack. It typically is a one day surgery and is definitely not open heart which is good news.)
The good news: the right side of Q's heart (which was formerly very stiff) is pumping along great and working very well for her body. The narrowing on her right side would still be considered moderate. Clinically and physically, Q is doing well and not in any danger.
The bad news: the left side is leaning more towards the moderate to severe narrowing. There's even a small area that they would consider pretty severe. Yuck.
What it all means: We are headed for cath sooner rather than later. And by sooner, thankfully I don't mean next week. Probably more in the 3-4 month timeframe. The awesome thing about all of these diagnostic tools at TCH's disposal is that they can monitor and assess constantly so that nothing is a surprise (or that's the plan). So basically this is a surgery that has to be done BEFORE any damage is done to her heart muscle. And we have a little time before that happens.
So the course of action is to run the MRI results past Q's brilliant surgeon, Dr. Fraser, and make sure he's on board. Then once they get the go ahead, we'll schedule with the cath lab and go from there.
Honestly, I am not surprised at this turn of events. It wasn't our timetable, but then again, heart children vary rarely follow our plans. Things happen and each patient is just so unique and individual, it's hard to predict exactly when things will crop up. I am just darn thankful that we have the best care so that Quinn can continue to maintain the best quality of life.
That being said, I know that cath (in the heart world at least), is worlds away from the worst-case scenario. But it's still my daughter. And I don't want her to have to go through one more thing. But that's not realistic. We know at some point she'll need more interventions, most likely open-heart, to repair that bad Pulmonary Valve, and who knows what else. 
So all I can focus on and invest my energy in is getting through this next hurdle. And if the past is any indication of the future, my strong little warrior will fly through this and recover much faster than her parents. : )
God is still good and Jesus is still Lord. We KNOW that to be unchanging and true.
Go Team Quinn!
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31 Days: Love Letters from Mommy Day 10

Dear Ryan and Quinn,
Can you do your mommy a favor? Could you just possibly, maybe, pretty please, stay as innocent as this for as long as possible?
I love everything about this.
The holding hands.
The friendship.
The trek to the park when we didn't have a care in the world.
Except when we were frantically chasing you down to make sure you didn't kill yourself on a slide that is pretty much only suitable for professional adult sliders.
Life is good, my little friends.
Love you always, to the park and back, a million times.
Love, Mommy
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31 Days: Love Letters from Mommy - Day 9

We're slowly making progress in catching up... but in the meantime...
Dear Ryan and Quinn,
In the chaos of your days,
When committments pile up,
And your planner is full of things important and not so much,
When you feel like you run a race against the clock,
And the world may be stacked against you,
When people beg of your time,
And you have no more time to give,
When emotions overrun your body,
And you need to give into the tiredness,
When you've done the absolute best you can,
And sometimes still can't hear the voice,
When your heart is hurting for those near and far,
And you don't know how to ease it.
"Be still."
Psalm 46:10
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

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31 Days: Love Letters from Mommy - Day 8

Dear Ryan and Quinn,
This is a letter that is just part one of 2 or 3.

Let's touch a bit on manners.
This momma is a big believer in good manners.
It should be always "Yes, ma'am", "No, sir" for everything.
Not "Yeah"
Or "Yup"
But "YES"!
"Please" and "thank you" and "you're welcome" are non-negotiables.
I'm proud to say (and I try not to brag too much on here), but you guys have those three down. It melts my heart.
Even when you are saying "More cookies, pleeasseeeee". (by the way, that usually doesn't fly). But totally adorable when you say "Open it, pweeaseeee" when talking about your play phone.
You definitely have "sorry" down as well and boht of you say it often. Not sure that you always say it appropriately (usually the person who was wronged says "I'm sorry" and I'm pretty sure that is not exactly how it works) But you are using the word.
Next up: lessons on what to call adults - Miss XXX vs Mrs. XXX vs Aunt XXX vs just XXX. I know, it's the south - it is all very confusing.
Next up: thank you notes -  key, key, key, and I will harp on you about writing them until you are 30 years old.
That being said, no "Yups" or "Yeahs" tomorrow, ok? All yes's or peferably yes ma'ams : )
Love you to the moon and back,
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31 Days: Love Letters from Mommy - Day 7

Yup, still behind. I think the only way I can catch up is if I post more than once a day. I am math genius like that. This one is short and sweet.
Dear Ryan and Quinn,
When you turn 18, you will be blessed with one of the greatest privileges of living in this US of A. A voting card. Use it. I beg of you. You are the FUTURE of our country. I will never tell you who to vote for, we never even have to discuss it --- but exercise the right.
Exercise your privilege.
Speak out and have your opinion of what you like about our country/state/county, etc.
Or what you don't.
This is a key election year and your daddy and I will be fully exercising our right to vote. It's too important not to use our voice.
And your voice IS important.
By the way, the two of you first voted when you were just 5 months old, in the pouring down rain, freezing cold for a November in Texas. Someone took pity on us and our double stroller and allowed us to cut to the very front of the very long line.
I am forever grateful and considering throwing you in the double stroller again this November, just because I know you don't like it and you will probably holler and scream until we leave. Maybe they will take pity on us again. And if they don't... guess what, we're still exercising that right to VOTE!
Love you always,
Your patriotic Mommy : ) 
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31 Days: Love Letters from Mommy - Day 6

Still working to catch up - we'll get there : )  Hopefully I won't totally confuse myself between the actual date and the day of the letter. I'm awesome like that. I had to triple check this post title so pretty sure it will happen soon. At any rate, we are almost back to full speed around here. I think our biggest illness is a HUGE case of cabin fever, not assisted by the lack of school today because of some guy named Columbus. And then there's Q who is still coughing enough to keep me on my mommy toes - so I had to cancel our playdate with their friend Asher today. Hopefully tomorrow we can make that happen, otherwise I do believe we will all go certifiably crazy. Our big outing today consisted of the bank drive thru, the sonic drive thru, and whataburger drive thru. At least I am teaching the kids the value of a dollar before filling their little bellies with chicken fingers. Hey, it's Columbus Day - and everyone needs a little treat on a holiday as fine as this.
Onto the letter.
Dear Ryan and Quinn,
Here is one of the most important life lessons I believe I can impart on you.
You can never, ever say "I love you" too often.
It's simply not possible. And it's so darn important. That's why your daddy and I tell you every possible time we can that we love you. We do, and we don't want you to doubt that...EVER. I am sure there will come a time when it won't be cool for us to say it to you as you are walking into school or running up to soccer practice or going down the street to play with a friend. But sorry, guess what? We will still say it.
Your daddy and I tell each other at every possible turn that we love each other. We never end an email, text message, phone call, or a night without saying it. And then often we say it out of the blue. Yes, partially it's habit. And partially it may be the morbid reason "if I never talk to him/her again, I want my last words to be "I love you" ". But mostly it's because it's true - and to say it out loud, often, is a reflection of God's love for us to each other.
I grew up in a household where the "I love you's" flowed freely. Never do I remember a time where I was being tucked into bed without getting an "I love you". Everytime I walked out the door, it was always said, no matter what. Guess what I never doubted? That my parents loved me beyond measure. Your grandfather, BB, is gone now --- but for the quiet man he could be, he never held back on telling us how loved we were. So I never doubt for one minute that he isn't still loving on us --- just from a higher position with a better view.
I remember hearing a friend tell me a long time ago that her parents maybe said "I love you" three times in her life. And I recall going home that night and telling my parents and asking how could that be? Something that was so normal and natural for us --- surely everyone else did it and said it, right? Nope. Now, I don't doubt that her parents loved her as she did them, but to not have that firm verification, I do believe in a way it kind of crushed her spirit a bit.
So my precious children, never, ever doubt for one second that your daddy and I love you. Never doubt that you are loved by so many - family, extended family, and adopted family. I am so blessed to be surrounded by friends who constantly encourage me and tell me that they love me - and what a reassurance that is. In the end, we all just want to be loved and to give love. No family is complete without that love.
The first time you both said "I love you" back to me, my heart broke wide open. And the first time you told each other "I love you" made me weep with joy. And just today, when I was tucking you in for your nap, and as I always do, I turned out the light, and said "sleep tight, love you", you both repeated in perfect unison "Love you, mom" right back to me. I think it was the union of these small, perfect voices that got to me. I gently closed the door to your room, sat on the floor really still for a good 5 minutes while I let the tears flow freely. Tears of thankfulness, of prayers answered, of incredible sweetness.
Because "I love you" is so much more than 3 words. "I love you" is a promise, it's an action, it's a circle that cannot be broken, it's unconditional, and it is REAL. Tangible. And my children, just like with God, you don't have to earn His Love, you will NEVER have to earn our love. It just IS. It IS because you are ours (for our earthly time here anyway). You will never have to prove or beg for our love. You may do things later on in life that will disappoint us, but we will never take away that circle of love. It is unending, unbreakable.
So guess what? There's no escaping it. YOU BOTH ARE LOVED. Immensely. And one day when you have children of your own, should that be your path, you will understand the type of love that I am talking about (or at least attempting to convey). It is bigger than the 4 of us (well, 5 if you count Max and we love him too!). And guess what? If we live our lives with love and do things in the name of love, it's hard for us to go wrong.
I LOVE YOU. To the moon and back, at least 100 times. Forever and always.

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31 Days: Love Letters from Mommy - Day 5

Yup, I am still behind. But I WILL catch up! Maybe my posts will fall into November, but oh well, right? It's only my a-type personality that it kills : )
Dear Ryan and Quinn,
Today I have been reminded of JOY. Live each day of your life with joy. Whether the day has not gone the way you thought, you are just plain ole busy, or have received bad news, find the JOY. Admittedly, I don't do a great job at this. Your daddy is much better than I. But I am working on it and Mommy will always be a work in progress.
The perfect example is a story I am writing about parents with triplets. Whoa, and I thought twins was difficult - I love you guys, but can't imagine one more. But you know what? Those parents can't imagine one less. Because each child has brought just so much joy into their lives. And they cherish that every.single.day. It has been invigorating and gut-checking to write about them because I realize just how much I get caught up in the day-to-day, schedule madness, etc and I don't stop to realize all the joy in our household.
A few examples from just today:
1. Walking into your room today to "rescue" you for breakfast and you both scream out with glee, "Hiiii!!!". And then when I say "Hi, baby!" to each one of you, you respond back with "Hi, baby!". It's beyond melt your heart, precious.
2. Making construction paper "punkins" today while daddy was at church since we were all under the weather. We made a few different ones, including ones we gave as thank you notes to our sweet neighbors who blessed us with gifts the other night. Loved that time together - just sitting and coloring and chatting about colors. Quinn, you take your crafts VERY seriously and color with strictness. Ry Guy, you are an "anything goes" kid, could care less about the color and you just roll with it. So much fun.
3. Playing "soccer" with the balloons that Daddy blew up the other day. Btw, Mommy still rocks at balloon soccer. It had you in such fits of giggles that I was dying.
4. Bathtime - usually this is Daddy's job but he was unavailable, so it was just me. And I had such fun, just letting you splash, rub shampoo in each other's hair, make silly faces, and then put on the most comfy pjs ever. There is nothing like the smell of clean babies/toddlers. Nothing. Pure joy in all 27-28lbs of you.
5. Going outside to tell the moon and stars good night. Even though you couldn't see them, we still told everything good night. You both were so excited, as you are every night. It is just so inspiring. And then the way you both ran up the stairs to bed and virtually jumped into your cribs, well, that is JOY in my heart : )
I pray you always find JOY in every day. And thank you for being my reminder to find the joy, even on the days where Mom doesn't feel well or doesn't feel like she has been a good mommy/wife/friend/employee. There is always joy to be found. And much of it is because of you two.
Love you much,

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31 Days: Love Letters from Mommy - Day 4

So I am behind a day (or now 2 or 3) already in the challenge but unfortuantely Wednesday night we were hit HARD by illness abound. Thursday we spent 2 1/2 hours at the doctor while they ran tests, did xrays, etc. As it turns out Ryan has an ear infection, plus a virus that is causing him hives --- first ear infection for either child in 2 plus years of life. I'd say we've been lucky.
And Q, poor Q, she was hit hard with a high fever and cough - so much so, that my non-stop, all action girl, actually spent the majority of 2 days on the couch wrapped her nap mat from school. My poor bugs. And as it always happens, Momma went down the drain too and woke up with almost 103 temperature this morning and sinus pressure that makes my eyes fill as though they were bugging out. So there we go, my round of excuses. Now onto Day 4....(just pretend it is Day 4)
Dear Ryan & Quinn,

Today was your Daddy's THIRTY-THIRD BIRTHDAY!!!! He officially sounds older to me for the next 6 months until I turn 33. At any rate, I thought today's letter to y'all should focus around your daddy and what you can learn from him. There will be days that you won't want to listen to either of us or believe we are not "with it", but trust, you have much to learn from your wise father. I woudn't have married him otherwise : ) So here are just a few:

1. No matter what, always love Jesus. Your daddy is first, and foremost, a believer. And everyone who comes in contact with him knows that. He is not in your face about it, but you can see the peace that resonates around him because he knows whose he is.

2. Always have a generous heart. Your daddy is one of the most generous and thoughtful people I know. He always thinks of others and their comfort before their own. He goes out of his way to love on others and to make sure they are taken care of.

3. Work hard to the best of your ability. Kids, your daddy works so hard. And it's not for him, or for his gain in the company. He works so hard for YOU and for us. So that we can have the life we envisioned, one that I can stay home and work part-time and be with you. He is 100% humble about his accomplishments, but has made so many strides within his company. Hard work, dedication, perserverance, and ability to problem solve goes a long way.

4. Be quick to apologize. Lord knows, it takes momma a sweet forever to say that I am sorry, but your daddy says it in almost an instance. Partly because he's not a huge fan of controversy : ) but mostly because he just wants peace, peach in the household and peace amongst us. We have such few hours to all spend together and it's not worth fighting about. He's always been good at just letting go. A good lesson for all of us.

5. Enjoy and live in the free time that we have. Guys, our lives are fast and furious. Mommy & daddy work, you go to school, playdates, Itty Bitty City, etc --- and our time at home with just the four of us is very quick - maybe just 2-3 hours. But your daddy soaks in every single second of that 120-180 minutes. He plays with you from the moment he walks in the door, takes you outside to play with chalk or your cars, helps Mommy get you ready for dinner, bathes you, then watches our last cartoon of the evening, most nights reads you 2 or 3 books, and then we all go tell the moon goodnight and head to bed. He takes every single second to be with you from 5:30-8:00ish. For someone who has been up to provide for us since 4:30PM, you have no idea how blessed you are. How blessed we all are.

Happy Birthday to the best husband and father ever. We love you so much. I know there will be so much that R&Q will continue to learn from you over the years --- even if they may not recognize it until they are 30 : ) YOU are our HEART!

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31 Days: Love Letters from Mommy Day 3

Dear Ryan and Quinn,
I think as parents we often think of ourselves as the "teachers". But I would say that is wrong. You guys have taught me more in 2 years and 4 months than I have learned in a lifetime. I could go on and on about that - but the thing that stands out most in my mind is how you've taught me to appreciate the little things.
You are AMAZED at the most simplistic of things - new flowers you have never seen, a balloon, a "punkin", the moon, the stars, any new noises, a "chug chug" (ie: a dump truck), a hot air balloon on the way to school this morning. I love your excited little faces and your realization that you know what said object is. I love that I can understand you now : ) And it's such a precious reminder of making me look around and see the small little pieces instead of rushing to the next big thing.
As parents, we always want to make sure you have everything you need --- so sometimes we overbuy, overpromise, over-everything ---- when really you are just happy with the little things. The little things that as adults we are too busy to look at or appreciate. But you guys have forced me to slow down and notice the green on the trees or the "roar" sounds of the lawnmower. You love just being in cozy pajamas more so than the supposedly outfits I force you in every day. Gosh, I love you so much for that. You return me to planet earth on a regular basis.
May you always appreciate the little things that God has blessed us all with. May your amazement with the moon, stars, sky, and sun always remain. You seeing and appreciating all of that clears my head of all the "junk" that clouds it on a regular basis. And gosh darn it, I'll say it --- you both are so smart : ) So proud of you and the way your mind works. Love you always.
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31 Days - Day #2 Letters from Mommy

Dear Ryan and Quinn,
When your daddy and I first found out we were having twins (once we got over the initial shock), my immediate thought was "best friends forever". Y'all are so lucky to have each other. I pray that you will always be close, respectful of each other, and love always.
Right now you are at the cutest stage where you take care of one another. Quinn, you are Ryan's little caretaker. You always make sure that he has his trucks, shoes, and water. If you see something you think would make him happy, you run over, grab it, then shove it in his face : ) Of course, you also torture him endlessly and like to take back what you've just given him, but we're working on that.
And Ryan, you are so thoughtful with Quinn. The other day she was yelling that she wanted her blankie from her crib. So you ran to the gameroom, emptied out a box that typically holds the refrigerator toys, brought it back to the room in an attempt to rescue "blankie" from the pack 'n play. I just sat there in amazement that you would do something so caring without even being asked.
As you grow older, I hope you will always be just as loving and considerate. Of course, we expect the occasional fights and tormenting, but as a whole, I pray you will always watch out for each other. Your Uncle Blaine and I are so fortunate to have a close relationship. To this day, we speak at least a couple of times a week and I know that no matter what, he is always there for me and I for him. We have grown to be more than just brother/sister, but truly best friends.
Family is first (after God), my little ones. Don't let silly things come between you. As we all get older, relationships become more complicated, but never forget who has been by your side since the very beginning. Cheers to best friends for life!

Love forever


7 months old

Two years old
Love always,
P.S. Today is a very special day --- it is your Gigi's birthday!!! She is such a special woman and she loves y'all so much. She looks at the moon every night, as do we, and we always wave "hi" to Gigi. Big hugs and kisses, Gigi! Mommy is so lucky to have a mother like her. If I can be half of the mom to y'all as she is to me, then I think we will do just fine : )

When you were in mommy's bellly

And now : )

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Twin Sumo Wrestling

I just want to say that all of this was a HIGHLY supervised activity. Please don't call CPS. They obviously were having a good time. So was I. : )
Never a dull moment.
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31 Days: Letters from Mommy

Ok, so there is this thing buzzing with all my bloggy friends hooking up with "Nester" on 31 days IN A ROW of posting for the month of October. You pick one topic and post on that every day. Whoa. Never mind that I've never really read "The Nester". I love the idea and I need a new challenge to reinvigorate my blogging.
Now, I have no idea if I can keep up with it but I sure am going to try. As I was doing my devotions this morning, the topic finally hit me. I am not a crafter, so I'm not going to post 31 days of Pintrest projects (God bless all of you who do - I know where my gifts lay), I don't have a lot of "Mommy tips", and I don't have 31 days of crockpot meals. But what I do have is 31 days of things I want to tell my children.
Since they are only 2, our conversations are somewhat limited. So this is the perfect way to communicate to them and maybe one day they will be bored enough to sit down and read what Mommy wrote them long, long ago. Probably when blogger & wordpress are out of existence.
What I can't commit to do is post it to "The Nester's" site everyday or make a fancy blog button. (If anyone wants to make one for me, I'll gladly accept the help though!) So this will just be for me, and for those of you who happen to read my blog from time to time. I don't really know where this is going to go - I think some days may be scriptural, some just funny things, some "life lessons", and if I can find my camera, maybe some pictures ---- and I have a feeling I'll probably learn more from writing them than they will reading them later on - or I'll be reminded of what is truly important. Added bonus.
Dear Ryan and Quinn,
Yesterday, our pastor (the one who baptized you and has prayed for you since the day you were conceived), spoke about Psalm 139:14: "I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."
Guys, do you know how TRUE that is??? YOU BOTH are wonderfully made. Do you believe it to be so? Our God had a plan for both of you when He created you. He created you in His image. He loves you so much. More than even Mommy and Daddy. And He wants you to know that promise. Never, ever doubt for a second that you are anything less than a precious child, a precious child of God. Never doubt for a minute that He loves you, no matter what you do, or how you may misbehave, or make mistakes. Mommy and Daddy make mistakes too (but absolutely infrequently and we are almost always right, never forget that : ) )
And Mommy has questioned for so many years how He could love me. So many years of self-loathing. But she has His Love. She does. Daddy does too. And you don't have to earn it, you don't have to do good works to receive it --- it just IS. That is the blessed promise - the very definition of Grace. We don't deserve it but He loves us so much, that He gives it to us.
No matter what you may encounter, I pray that you never look in that mirror and see anything less than the beautiful child you are. I don't mean beauty from the outside, for that is fleeting (although you both are beautiful to me!) - but God's beauty shining from the inside.
I love you so much and have from the day that He knitted you in the womb. (ooh, crafty reference!) You are my little reminders that God is still in the miracle-making business. You are each perfectly made, just the way He intended.
Tomorrow will be less sappy but felt I had to kick it off on a heartfelt note. We will be talking about poop in no time : )
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