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!!!! :)

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