Just the Twins - Pictures 2013

As I mentioned during my 2013 Family Pictures post, we really didn't get any great pictures of the kids individually or even a great one of them together. By the time I got the family pictures I wanted, the sun was quickly going down and the light wasn't great. So EARLY this past Monday, I dressed up the kids again (they were THRILLED), to take pictures in 38 degree temperatures as a surprise for Daddy. I ended up having to ruin the surprise last night because of a surprise he was doing for his mom, so I had to show him the pictures. 

I am so glad they turned out well --- I just can't believe how grown up they look. Quinn's hair has actual curls - curls, people. This is a big deal. Most of it fell by the end of the shoot but it still looked cute. Ry Guy needs a little hair cut but his baby blues kill me. As we were looking at them last night, Matt turned to me and said, "Gosh, can you imagine what they are going to look like in a few more years?" AGHHHH, no, and pass the Bailey's. Cheers to you all and my little ones. Or not so little.

I mean, really. Is she 13????

Pointing out a truck driving down the street. What-ev. It's cute.

Yeah... this was at the end of the shoot. They were DONE.

They really look like twins here!

Merry Christmas from our "Clan" to yours!

In Him,

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Visit to the "North Pole" - Santa 2013

For the 3rd year in a row, I took the kids to Bass Pro's Winter Wonderland for Santa pictures and toy fun. We were sad that Daddy wasn't able to go with us but time was growing short and I was afraid by this weekend that poor Santa's "North Pole" would be overrun with little people. We had a special surprise we had to work on early Monday morning for Daddy's Christmas (he may actually still read this thing so I won't say yet what it is but hopefully it works out!), so we were at the wonderland by 10:05am. For the record, to be up, moving, and all dressed that early on a non-school day is almost like a Christmas miracle.

It also was a miracle that Quinn let me curl her hair. Which promptly fell about an hour later. Quinnie has some beautiful, shiny, blonde hair but dang! It is so fine and won't hold curl to save it's life. I am endlessly trying different combinations to keep her hair out of her face for school but inevitably they all fail and she comes home with an assortment of paint, markers, and glitter speckled throughout it every day. I am waiting for it to get a bit longer and then maybe, just maybe, I can learn how to braid it somehow. But I've learned a couple of things: first, I have NO clue how to "do" little girls' hair. I never can get a straight part to even make acceptable piggies. Second, fine hair is just impossible. I am used to my thick, coarse hair that just needs a little spray to be pulled back. Maybe it will grow less fine as she grows? As usual, I digress. Back to Santa.

Anyway, the kids were SO excited. They really "get" the whole Santa thing this year and it's so fun to see and hear. Now when they see something they want, they either say "Oh, I need to tell Louie! (our Elf)" or "I better ask Santa!". It's been great for bribing good behavior. Not going to lie.

Quinn looks a little hesitant in the Santa pics but she really wasn't at all. I think she just looks overwhelmed because of the "elves" shaking their bells and yelling (politely asking?) her to look at the camera. Our Santa has a rule of only one child on the lap --- apparently he has a bad knee --- but he's so realistic looking that we keep going back. And his pictures are free so you can't beat that.

After visiting with Santa, we played inside the Wonderland for a good 45 minutes. I will say Bass Pro knows what they are doing. All sorts of trains, remote control cars and "monster trucks", stations for writing letters to Santa and building Lincoln Logs... after seeing Ryan enjoy the train SO much, I was dang tempted to buy their electric train. Resisting, resisting. He has a huge assortment of wooden tracks and trains - I think we need to wait a bit on an electric one. Maybe birthday?

Waiting in line for Santa. They hadn't actually seen the big guy yet until the front portion of the line cleared out. This is Ryan getting his first glimpse.

Quinn's new diva pose. She does this half smile, head tilt thing all the time now. I don't know how to tell a 3 year old to look straight and hold your head up so we are rolling with this for now ;) And I'm pretty obsessed with her outfit. I've never bought MJ before but I've been shocked at how much use we've gotten out of the pieces. And they wash so well! Plus those pants are about the softest material - I wouldn't mind a pair myself for pjs :)


Driving monster trucks

Quinn loved herself some monster trucks. She loved ramming into her brother's car. Shocking.

Remote control cars - I had to drag them away from this activity. They loved racing each other.

I had such a great, relaxing day hanging out with these two crazies! They just make me laugh. After we finished up with the toys, we headed through the mall and passed by the Rainforest Cafe. Outside there they have a mechanical elephant and crocodile. They were enamored by the elephant and kept running to say hi to him. Then they made the mistake of doing the same with the crocodile except just as they were getting close, that little stinker kinda jumped and opened his mouth wide and snapped his jaws. I thought the kids were going to pee in their pants from fright. Clearly, I don't like to see them upset, but I couldn't help but sorta (ok, really) giggle at their horrified expressions. They ran away squealing and both jumped in my arms at the same time. For the record, each of them weighs well over 30lbs so my days of carrying 2 are over. Oh my. I am still laughing thinking about it. It's probably not that funny as you read this - maybe a "you had to be there moment"? On our way back to the car they avoided the front of the cafe entrance like the plague. Which may work out to my advantage because I hear eating there is overpriced anyway :)

We sang Christmas carols all the way home and I caught myself several times with tears in my eyes as I glanced in the backseat and see these wonderful little people so happy and singing their hearts out. My cup runneth over. It's the most wonderful time of year indeed and only promises to get better. Today is their class Christmas party and tomorrow is the preschool program.  I have a strong feeling that a few more happy tears will be shed between non and then. 

Merry, merry!

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Family Pictures 2013

Oh, how I LOVE picture day - deciding upon coordinating outfits, wrangle toddlers into said clothing, attempt to comb my hair and cover blemishes, and pretend like we are having a wonderful time. :) Needless to say, fall picture time is not my most favorite time of the year. Personally, I cringe thinking about having my picture taken so it's just uncomfortable. Not gonna lie, I usually have a glass of wine to loosen up prior to pictures. (Just one, Mom. I'm not sloppy in your Christmas pictures)

At any rate, it's a must every year because Lord knows if we didn't pay someone to take a pic of the 4 of us, it probably wouldn't happen. This year we got a couple of good family portraits but unfortunately the sun went down really quickly and we weren't able to get good shots of the kids together or individually. I'm so sad about that that, mostly because the kids were actually being really good. Gave me hope that future picture days wouldn't be so terrible. Or that I've learned bribery is the quickest way to a toddler's smile. Must rectify that situation soon. I'm sure R&Q will be thrilled.

 Anyway, here are a few of our favorites:

This is actually our Christmas card picture - I love the colors and look! Everyone is smiling AND looking at the camera! Miracles do happen.

I just think this one is hilarious. Ryan is great at smiling on command and is pretty natural about it. Quinn - well, my little girl is a little more dramatic and either ducks her face into her chest and strikes this little diva shy smile or just won't. Like you can't crack her. It's adorable and incredibly frustrating. Not gonna lie. So I believe this was our attempt to get her to smile naturally. Even Ry was getting in on the action, "Quinnie, say CHEESE!"

Honestly, I have no idea on this picture - I think that Ryan was delirious and being a dinosaur. Quinn kept jumping up and down while smiling which I'm sure the photographer just loved.

I'm totally in love with this one. My 2 handsome boys.

Let's not get too deep but I love this picture and what it represents. My two miracles, who have taken me on a journey (see the path - I know, cheesy) that I never could have expected - or dreamed it would be this good or so much fun. And we've done it all hand in hand. They are my life (along with this guy above and below of course :) Love you, Matty!)

So as much as I cringe getting these pictures done (please tell me I'm not the only one who gets incredibly stressed and frustrated!), I am always thrilled to have captured this moment in time of our lives. I could just cry looking back at our first Christmas pictures as a family of four when the twins were just 6 months old and could barely sit up. Now I can't get them to sit down. Oh, the time... can't go down that rabbit hole because you'll find me in a puddle crying somewhere. 

Merry Christmas, y'all, from our family to yours!

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There's good news...and then not great news.

First of all, I hate that my little blog has died this fall due to a number of circumstances. Main goal of 2014 is to bring it back to life. But that's here nor there at this moment.

Long story short - Q had her 6 month cardiology check up this past week. It was actually performed on 2 different days, thanks to a 4.5 hr back up in the echo room. So we rescheduled the actual echo for first thing on that Friday morning. She did wonderfully both days - amazing us both with her strength, bravery, and humor. Here's a quick pic:

Our cardiologist told us he would call mid-afternoon Friday with the results --- of course, doctors are human and by 7 I was pretty sure we weren't going to hear anything until Monday. I sent him a little email, something along the lines of "no news is good news?" with a precious little smile emoticon :) . I heard back from him fairly quickly in which he stated everything was "status quo" from her last echo and that he felt ok with seeing her again in 6 months. OUR 6 MONTH  HALL PASS. 

That's what we strive for as heart parents. 

Yet elation was short-lived. Not 45 minutes ago today (Tuesday), I got a follow up phone call from Dr. S. and upon review of the echo, reviewing her age and history, they want to do a repeat heart MRI. It actually is a 3-part MRI and takes upwards of 4 hours and requires for her to be put fully under the entire time. There are a lot of other details in there and what they are looking for specifically but I'll spare you. The main thing is they are checking out the Pulmonary Artery and it's ability to pump blood to the lungs, plus the right side of the heart, PLUS her pulmonary valve.

It was a tremendous shock to receive the call tonight. We know at some point, more intervention is coming. We just don't know when. And that's why we stand on edge with these appointments. Because I don't have the crystal ball that allows me to peek into her heart. 

This may seem a little dramatic for "just an MRI" --- but trust, for a toddler it is not. It's a serious procedure, requiring anesthesia, and all sorts of other concerns. The doctor recommended it for January/February as to not disrupt the holidays. We are ok with that and will likely schedule mid January. Last time she had an MRI, it was horrifying (I literally watched and held my baby's hand as she was put under and her eyes rolled back in her head. Unlike anything I've ever seen). 

Will you pray? Will you pray for this MRI to be completely diagnostic and just keeping tabs on what her heart is doing right now? Will you pray for Quinn to continue to be the brave warrior she has been? Will you (selfishly) pray for me to keep my spirits up? I know people are going through sooo much worse - but I had gone into this 6 month ignorance period and now I feel like I've been hit over the head again. I feel flashbacks to her open-hearts in 2011 and become scared to death.

Whatever the outcome, the God that I know is GOOD. And He is Faithful. And He hears our cries.

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Preschool 3's Pictures

SOOOOO far behind on posting. I have a multitude of reasons but blogging has just taken a backseat this season - and while I miss it, that's ok. So much to catch up on... Halloween, 10 year anniversary, trip to New Orleans, and so much more.

 At any rate, quickie picture post on the kids' school pictures. I'm kinda in love with them. And the kids almost look like they love each other :) So grateful for their special bond.

Q looks so protective. And the hand holding. Be still my heart.

And for comparison's sake - this was last year. Oh my, Quinn's hair has grown! Ryan looks a little less "baby" but I don't think he changed as much as she did. Precious kiddos.

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