Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Happy 10.5-Month Birthday, T&E!!!

Dear Tamsie and Evangelyn,

I had every intention of writing this around your actual 10-month birthday (on the 12th) to commemorate what y'all were like at that time, but with moving stuff and house stuff, I figured a 10.5-month post was better than no post at all! :) That said, I DID think to take pictures of you on your actual 10-month birthday, so the ones here are authentically from 8/12. (Don't laugh. I take my victories where I can these days!) I also know that both of you were weighing around 15 pounds on your actual 10-month birthday. You've had a little growth spurt since then, though, so you actually look a little bit tinier in these pictures than you actually are right now!

 Here are some highlights from your lives right now:
All a-giggle, Tamsie in white hat and Evie in pink hat, squishing the NICU bear
 * For starters, you're eating more, and you're eating MUCH more easily! Consequently, mealtimes are now the least stressful that they've ever been. When you saw your doctor for your regular check-up, he told us that you no longer have to be on Neosure (high-calorie formula specifically for preemie babies) and that you're growing so well that you can be on regular baby formula now! Since you are such accomplished spitter-uppers, we decided to try Enfamil A.R. with you. I hate to get too excited after having been let down so many times in the past, but we think we may have found the magic bullet! You LOVE this stuff and have started sucking it down like crazy! You're eating more at a time too. Each of you are taking about 6 oz each time you have a bottle, which is about 4 times a day. I know most babies your age wouldn't be able to handle that little food, but that is the most you've ever been able to take at once! It's so exciting! You don't always finish your bottles, but you do more often than not, and when you don't, you come awfully close. You've even let people besides your dad and me feed you, which is also a new development! Grandma, Grandpa, and JJ have now successfully fed you! I am just thrilled, thankful to the Lord, and so proud of you. You're still on Prevacid for reflux, and Tamsie, you're still taking Bactrim to prevent UTIs. (Ummm, you're supposed to be. Lately your dad and I have the hardest time remembering to give you your dose before bedtime!)
I thought it would be fun to see what you'd do with your little hats.
 * You're eating solids four times a day now: once when you first wake up, with your Prevacid, and once between each of your bottle feedings. You pretty much love everything we've given you. Even the stuff we initially thought you didn't like has grown on you. Evie, you typically eat a little more than your sister does at each feed. When she starts letting us know she's done, you just keep eating and eating and eating.
"You mean to tell me YOU'RE the photographer today, Mom? Seriously?!" - T
T rolls her eyes. Disappointment is written all over E's face.
 * We bought you a play yard gate, and your grandparents got you a second one so that we could make it take up as much room as possible for you to play in. We have cushioned the floor with layers of blankets and even a duvet so that if you fall when you're trying to stand up or get around, you won't get hurt. Both of you can play in here happily for hours on end. We just put your toys in some boxes and let you go to town, and you love exploring everything! :) This is currently your favorite activity. However, I can't leave you unattended! Since you love being so close together, one of you inevitably attempts to pull up or stand on the other one... which results in tears and drama! An adult has to be handy to keep you from accidentally hurting each other.

 * Both of you are sitting well and crawling well. You crawl into various sitting positions, and you also love to stand. Tamsie in particular loves to practice standing ALL the time and is practicing letting go of whatever she's pulled up on! You love sitting on your knees and pulling toys out of boxes.

Plotting something silly
 * Evangelyn, I've always said you're going to be our little musician. Now you've started singing in a really high-pitched voice! It's so cute! You sing along with music sometimes. You also love to tap your arm in time to the rhythm if I sing the monkeys jumping on the bed song to you. You've also started whistling like Tamsie!

Talking, talking, talking = what girls do best!
 * Tamsie, you're our gymnast. You're always trying out new moves, and you're very flexible! You also loved watching gymnastics during the Olympics and would get to laughing sometimes.

They love feeling faces right now - especially each other's!
 * Your favorite words: "baby," "Granddaddy" (at least your Granddaddy claims to have heard this one!), "up," "hat," "hot," "mama," "dada," "YaYa," "baby," "baba," "ah-goo-ah," various consonant sounds. Both of you love clicking your tongues, and you're pretty good at it too!

I'm surprised Tamsie is taking this so well. Usually she can dish it, but she can't take it!
 * Your top two teeth are coming in, and you are NOT loving it! You've both been a little crankier than normal lately, and when I see your little gums, I know exactly why!

They fascinate each other.
* You've also been sick this past week. It has been sad! You've both coughed a LOT, and your faces have been all puffy. Your poor noses have been all congested, but thankfully you're feeling much better now. Your mama HATES it when you're not feeling your best.

Tamsie solo time with the NICU bear
 * You make each other laugh and smile a LOT!
This girl always has a lot to say!
* You talk to each other a LOT!

She loves her bear!
* Both of you love hitting your hands on tables and trays and giggling.

Done with the bear, but the smiles are back!
* As always, you LOVE being read to. Right now your favorite books are Hop on Pop, Colors, and Moo, Baa, La La La! As always, Goodnight Moon is your ultimate favorite.

That's my 10-month Tamsie!
* Both of you are incredibly squirmy and wanting to get into everything all the time. I had to enlist your dad's help for these pictures, and even then, they were hard to get because you didn't want to sit still!

Evangelyn and the NICU bear
* Your current sizes: size 3 diapers, size 6-9-month in clothes. I'm finally getting ready to sell your old clothes at a kids' clothing sale, and it's actually making me a little sad to part with them. (Your dad doesn't get it - ha!)

She's my shy girl.

Clearly I couldn't get enough pictures of this sweet girl and her bear!

I love my sweet E!

Last week, Evie stayed home sick, and Tamsie got to ride in a grocery cart for the first time ever!!! Yes, I know that most babies have been riding in carts for a good long time by now, but I'm a paranoid mom. (Shocker.) I left their cute little seat covers in Louisville and picked them up when we went to get our stuff last week... so now the girls can finally ride in carts! Tamsie had so much fun!

JJ came over and got to meet the girls for the first time ever! Unfortunately, I did not get a picture of her with them, but while we were chatting, I looked over to see that Evie had gotten into this box all by herself! A little while later, JJ realized she was out and crawling around her play area - so she got out all by herself too! I am sad I missed watching her do this, but I just couldn't believe she did it without any help! My girls never cease to surprise me.
You are both absolutely precious, and I am so thankful to be your mama. I love watching you grow and learn new things each day! You are both such joys, and your dad and I love you more than words can express. 


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

We Need a Holiday!

So this is the longest I've ever been away from the blog. I have missed blogging SO much (I really do enjoy it!), and I do still need to do a post for the girls' 10-month birthday (which took place a week and 2 days ago) - but things have been crazybananasbusy around here. When I first started working on this post last night, I was camped out in a hotel room in Nashville after a long day of overseeing the packing of all of our earthly possessions that are not currently at my parents' house in Memphis - if that tells you anything about how things have been for us! We also officially said farewell to our first house and to Louisville just earlier in the day yesterday, so it was certainly one big emotionfest of a day. First, two teasers from the girls' 10-month birthday, and then I'll get on with the update:
Tamsie with her big Tamsie grin

Evie, raising her eyebrows 
... and a picture of a painting I made at a Sunday School girls' night out event last week (which was SO much fun):
Memphis skyline, for those unfamiliar with it - in honor of our homecoming!
 ... and now on to some pics from our trip! Chris and I wanted to inaugurate the first of our family-of-four vacations with a fun trip this summer. After much debate, we thought we had decided to take them to the beach... but then all we could think about was how on earth to keep the girls from eating sand and all the money we'd spend on stuff to entertain them... and what an expensive year it's been already (you know these girls didn't come cheap!)... so we weren't totally sure what to do. Then, the house sold and we needed to get back up to Louisville to oversee the moving process, and it hit us: Let's go to Nashville, then Louisville, then back to Nashville again on the way back home! And that is precisely what we did. It was a whirlwind of a vacation, and it was honestly a LOT of work... but it was exactly what we needed! It was FANTASTIC to be together, just the four of us, hanging out and having fun in between getting stuff done!
Hitting up Panera on the way to Nashvegas: T grinning from the back and E riding up front
T taking an afternoon nap in her car seat - an event that has become somewhat of a rarity these days! She and E seem to find plenty to do in the car besides sleep!

You always know you can't be far from Kentucky when you start sharing the highway with these guys.

Our first part of the trip was spent at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, which turned out to be a brilliant idea (despite the presence of Shrek throughout! Shrek = my absolute least favorite movie character of modern times. ARGH!! If I have any say in the matter, T and E will be blissfully unaware of his existence for as long as I can help it!)! T and E were in absolute amazement at all the pretty waterfalls and plants and the constant bustle of activity around them, and we had a great time toting them around all over the place. If they needed anything at all, our hotel room was just right there, and there was plenty to see and do. And eat. Christie's Cookies are on-site, and these just happen to be the best cookies I've ever paid money for (yep, Mrs. Fields, I said it)... and I consider myself to be quite the cookie connoisseur! :)

This is a little area on a walkway that goes underneath a waterfall. I was trying to get a picture of T and E's faces as they watched this, but unfortunately it was too dark to get a good shot. They truly loved this, though! :)

Thursday night we took them on a boat ride at the hotel. Yes, for those who don't know, the Opryland has a river that runs through an atrium, and there are boat rides. The girls LOVED it, as you can see on T's face here! 

She was just staring at everything, trying to take it all in! We even got to see the two ducks who live at the Orpyland, Ben and Jerry, camped out under a little plant for the evening.

E couldn't get enough of it either. She decided to get pretty vocal during the trip, making all sorts of (happy) Evie noises, but that's another great thing about taking babies to the Opryand: it's already so loud with all the waterfalls that it's really not a big deal if your baby wants to exercise those newfound vocal cords! Everyone on our boat loved the girls. The tour guide told us that she thought Evie must have been serenading her!

Evie taking in some quality Daddy time post-serenade while waiting on an elevator.

The restaurant below, Cascades, is where we had breakfast the second day of our trip. It was delicious! 

They love them some Opryland Hotel.

Mom and I came and stayed here once a few years ago to see the Rockettes. I'm pretty sure our room was one of the ones at the top of this picture with the windows looking out over the atrium. It was Christmastime, and it was so pretty!

Evie often prefers to ride around in her stroller with her feet propped up. Sadly, by the time I thought to take a picture of it, she only had one up - but she is still hilarious with her little serious face!

Riding Evie-style

When we left the Opryland, we went to Louisville and stayed at our (old) house for a few days leading up to Packing Day. It is an odd thing to stay in your own house on vacation! I took these pictures of our luggage in our own bedroom, just because it was such a bizarre feeling to be staying like guests in our own house! 

Here are some highlights from the Louisville segment of our trip:
* Getting to visit with Vickie.
Vickie is one of my dearest friends, and I am so blessed that we became so close during my time in Louisville. We worked together at the tutoring center and went to church together, and she is one of the best friends a girl could ever ask for. It just did my heart good to hang out with her. Here she is with Tamsie, who likes to think of her as "Auntie Vic" (said in Vickie's posh English accent, of course)! 
* Getting to hang out with Josh, Chrissie, and Sophia.
We met Chrissie and Josh through our small group at church, and they are fabulous friends of ours. I am sad we didn't get a picture of all of us together, but at least we took some of the kids! Sophia is now 13 months old, and she enjoyed hanging out with T and E. Clearly they think she's pretty cool!
* Getting to hang out with Mark, Kara, Silas, Jonas and Finn. We all met up for brunch at the greatest breakfast place in Louisville, the famous Wild Eggs! Unfortunately I took no pictures to commemorate the occasion, but with two sets of baby twins and a two-year old between us, it's kind of amazing that we even were able to sit down and eat while having quality conversation - which we so were! :) If nothing else, parenting has made the four of us some top-notch multi-taskers!

* Getting to hang out with Kristen and Anthony, "the Californians," as we call them. We caught up over Skyline chili (their first-ever taste of Skyline!), and then the guys played soccer on the Wii while Kristen helped me sort through my closet and ultimately part with a collection of wonkified clothing I had no business holding onto in the first place! Chris says I am a total pack rat and borderline hoarder (hello! total insult!), so sometimes it just helps to have a nice objective third party help me sort out the amazing "can you believe I bought this cute thing in college?!" from the "yeah, it's totally believable that you paid $4 for that thing." ("Yes, Shelby, I know that's soft, but I'm sure you have plenty of other soft tops!" and "Well I don't know about Memphis, but, uh, in California... you really don't see that kind of thing!" were some of my favorite lines of the night.) I really can't say how much these two precious friends mean to us, and I'm so glad we got to spend some time with them.

Kristen and Evie, who really took to her.
We wish we could have seen everyone, but we thought we did a blasted good job considering everything going on this weekend. It was so much fun!!

* Getting to visit some of our NICU nurse friends. I wish we could have seen all of them, but it was so good getting to visit the ones who were there. I know I've mentioned it before, but we had the BEST nurses we could have asked for. They loved seeing the girls, and all of us loved seeing them! :)

* Seeing this sign in our front yard. So it's not a SOLD sign just yet, but it's close enough for my purposes!
Obviously this one was taken from the passenger seat of the car. I spent lots of time there with the girls in their car seats  behind me while Chris ran loads of stuff from the house to the van.
So what now? The relocation company should be buying the house from us soon now that we have a buyer, and then we can close on our new house - which should be in about 2 weeks! :)
* Being pleasantly surprised by the girls' ability to keep themselves entertained throughout Packing Day.
Evie was such a good sport.

So was old Tams, although she wasn't shy about letting us know when she was bored.

Sweet Evie smile
I don't think this was a highlight, but it was odd seeing our house all boxed up:

The girls in the kitchen, watching the movers. Once it was almost time to go and they were bored with all the toys they had access to, they started throwing their Wubbanubs (which we then washed and put on top of their car seats). At that point, Chris gave them some coffee mugs to play with. That, folks, is what it came down to.
living room

bedroom... leaving the curtains behind

nursery... definitely taking those curtains with us!

my favorite tree in our yard, the dogwood by the garage

You were one marvelous first house.

Last night, we wound up back in Nashville again. The girls were ready to get out of their car seats and play.  Here it's Tamsie's turn to smile...

... and now it's Evie's! She stayed busy trying to pull tiny books out of that box next to her hand for a loooong time.
After a certain point last night, all Tamsie wanted to do was this. She woke up this morning 2 hours earlier than normal coughing intensely for about 5 minutes straight. After she kept it up periodically as we got her and Evie ready for the day, and once Evie started joining in, we made the executive decision to cut our vacation short and get the girls to the doctor stat.

So this is what the last day of our vacation looked like: Tamsie tearing the sheet on the exam table to shreds and Evie pulling on her dad's ear.

These are the silly characters I live with.
And I love the three of them more than I can express. Turns out the girls have a virus... so this makes it the second time they've ever been sick. Looks like we'll be hunkering down for the next few days until they're all better!
It's good to be back, and it will be even better once we get settled into our new place! And it will be EVEN BETTER when our Louisville friends come see us!!!! :)