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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Show Us Your Singles!!!!

** EDIT: This is now officially my most popular blog post to date!!!! YAY ALEX!! :) **

Hi to all you fabulous single girls coming over from Kelly's Korner!

I'd like to introduce you to my brother-in-law, Alex! He is currently 23 but will be turning 24 on the day before Valentine's Day, and he lives in Chattanooga, TN. 

AND he happens to be single at the moment, so now's your chance, girls!


I can't believe he's letting me do this, but I'm so excited that he is! You never know what could happen! ;)


Alex is seriously one of the sweetest and most caring and giving guys I've ever met. He's also very smart and hard-working, which is probably why he's single -- he takes his studies seriously and stays so busy all the time! He loves school and is wrapping up his pre-professional bachelor's degree in exercise science, and when he finishes, he will be going to physician assistant school. When he's not studying, he's working at a swanky Chattanooga restaurant.


Anyone who knows Alex knows he LOVES Florida State football! He even gave Tamsie and Evangelyn the most precious FSU cheerleader outfits ever for them to wear as soon as football season begins!


He's also a big fan of the New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Braves and Memphis Grizzlies. Not only is he a fan, he's also quite the athlete himself! He is outdoorsy and loves playing just about any sport, and he's also very competitive. He loves running and plyometrics.

Here's Alex with his sister Jennifer.
Alex is very kind-hearted, honest and genuine. He is very passionate and gives his all to everything he gets involved in -- including relationships. :)


Alex and his mama
Other things you should know about Alex: he's very loyal and an excellent friend. He's had most of his best friends (doubt they call each other that though! ha!) for years and years. 


 He also LOVES his family!! My husband Chris is about five years older than Alex, and they are super close and talk all the time. Alex is only 15 months younger than his sister Jennifer, and they grew up like best friends and remain so to this day. He's also very close to Jennifer's husband Tyler. He is an outstanding big brother to Noah, and he is crazy about his mama! 


Here's Chris's family at our wedding on June 14, 2008. Alex was the best man!
When we first announced that we were pregnant, his response was something like, "It's MY time now!" He had been looking forward to becoming an uncle ever since Chris and I got married (about four and a half years ago!!), and now that he is one, he is AWESOME at it! He even sent me a Mother's Day gift last year... how sweet is this guy?!

With his mama again
 Alex is the perfect Southern gentleman. He's always extremely polite and thinking of others first. He may be kind of shy at first, but the more you get to know him, the more he opens up, and he is so much fun to be around!!!
Jennifer and Alex
 Alex hopes to wind up in Colorado at some point and to have snowboarding as a hobby. In his free time he loves to travel and hopes to travel lots more! 

Trying to make a Noles fan out of Evie early on in her life!
 Alex is a huge fan of all kinds of music! Here are some of his favorite bands and artists: Jimi Hendrix, Deftones, the Black Keys, Mumford & Sons, Audioslave, 311, Korn, Kings of Leon, BB King, Coldplay, Dave Matthews, My Morning Jacket, Outkast, Rage Against the Machine, Matisyahu, Smashing Pumpkins, Sublime, the Beatles and Jim Morrison.

Alex gave the girls matching Valentine's Day pajamas! Tamsie is modeling hers here. He is so thoughtful! :)

The most important thing about Alex is that he strives to be a Christlike man and desires people to see God's work in his life. When I asked him what he's looking for in a woman, he said he would like her to be driven, motivated, honest, caring, and to have a great sense of humor.
"Tough times don't last; tough people do."

Uncle Alex holds a very sleepy Tamsie at Aunt Jennifer's wedding reception

Any girl who manages to capture Alex's heart will be one very lucky girl indeed! :) Feel free to comment here, and I'll get you in touch with him... OR if you're too shy, just send me an e-mail at vafitwins at gmail dot com. Can't wait to see what happens for him!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Happy Birthday to the Chris in our lives! plus a photo update

These have been busy days for the members of the Vafi house! Here's a quick recap, plus some pictures:

- Last Monday was MLKJ Day. Since Chris was off work, we thought it would be fun to take the girls on some errands. The only problem was that all the places we wanted to go were closed for MLKJ Day (duh!), so somehow or another we wound up at the AT&T Store so that Chris could officially break up with his iPhone once and for all. That's another story altogether, but suffice it to say that he is now sporting a retro pre-iPhone type of phone. You can make calls and text from it. That's it. The boy has never been happier. Alas, the AT&T Store just so happens to be one of my least favorite places on the planet, so I think I was even more bored than the girls were. When I'm bored, my iPhone (I'm still in a committed relationship with mine, you see) comes in handy for impromptu photo shoots, so here are some highlights:

They were kicking their legs to the background music. They haven't acquired decent taste yet, so they love just about everything music-wise. (E is on left; T is on right.)
Evie is smiling behind those fingers she's chomping down on. I think those one-year molars are finally coming in.
Here, Evie's making a classic Evie face.
Probably laughing at a random stranger who was saying, "Double trouble."
Finally managed to get a picture of what is known as "The Face" around here. It's Tamsie's silly face that she makes on request, and it is virtually impossible to photograph -- and yet I did it! YAY!
Evie is making yet another Evie face here. She's been making it for a while now. It's kind of her "I guess I'll condescend to be near this other crazy baby" face that she tends to make only when in the presence of Tamsie. When I saw this picture I couldn't help but think of this other one: 
See? Same face. She was probably even making that face in the womb, considering she would have still had about two months to go in the womb when this picture was taken, had she not made such an early debut.
We also got to stop by and say hi to my Grandma while Chris was off work that day. Here are the girls showing off their new big-girl car seats to their Great-Grandma.
 Later that day, Roy, Carissa and Cliff stopped by to hang out. That night we had dinner with a couple from our Sunday School class who are expecting twins in June!

Evangelyn!
- Wednesday the girls got a great review from the speech pathologist, who told us that we're doing great with weaning them off the bottle! They're taking their sippy cups well, and they seem to be staying plenty hydrated!

- Thursday was a big day: the girls went to Mother's Day Out for the first time! According to their teachers, they did great!! I'm in a discipleship group that meets Thursday mornings (which I'm so very excited about!), so the girls will be MDO regulars from here on out.

They also ate spaghetti for the first time last week and loved it, but the real hits of the meal were the green beans and sweet peas!

Another meal pic: Tamsie with a beard refried beans all over her face
 - Friday Mom and I took the girls to Carter's, where we met up with Carissa and Cliff. Mom kept the girls entertained while I did some speed shopping and took advantage of some major winter clearance deals, because it seems the girls are needing to go up a size! They're at this really awkward size right now where they're about a half an inch too short for the 18-month clothes, but only in the mid range of weight for 9-month clothes... which is why their pants have been looking so short (see pics in this post to see what I mean). So I grabbed a bunch of 12-month clothes for them, and we're hoping they'll tide the girls over til spring!

- Saturday was Chris's birthday!!! Now he's finally the same age as his cougar of a wife! We finished up our Carter's shopping Saturday morning, then went to see his sister Jennifer at her work, and then took the girls to Chick-fil-A. So far, like their mama, they're not big Chick-fil-A fans. They mainly ate the fruit we brought with us from home.

Breaking E's food into little bits

Tamsie was enthralled with the playground. She kept watching the kids play the whole time she ate, so we let them go play once they had finished eating. We had to call it quits when Evie, who is rather obsessed with shoes, kept saying, "SHOES!" and making a beeline for all the other kids' shoes. Gross!

Stuff that face, E!

Serious about lunch
 When we left Chick, we took T and E to the children's department of the main library. On Saturdays, therapy dogs are available for shy children to practice reading to, and we thought the girls would like to see them, along with all the books. Sure enough, the girls loved this sweet little dog, especially since they don't have one at home to play with! Showing them the books, however, proved a little disastrous, as they wanted to pull all of them off the shelves!


The dog loved the girls too. We think she also loved the Chick-fil-A food Tamsie had been wiping all in her hair. Again, gross!
My parents watched the girls that night so Chris and I could go out for his birthday dinner. We had such a great time, and now he can finally stop teasing me about being 29 -- although he loves reminding me that I'll hit 30 long before he does! :)

The girls are currently resting up. We found out yesterday that poor Evie has a double ear infection again, and Tamsie, who received a perfectly clear report at the doctor's office, is acting just about as pitiful as Evie, if not more so! I'm guessing it's a combo of teething and attention-seeking, plus that weird twin connection you always hear about?

In case this post is not long enough, and to keep future posts from being any longer, I'll just go ahead and share my videos now. Both girls love "reading" Baby Faces on their own. They've heard it so much that they have it memorized, so it's really hilarious to watch them. However, they will only do it when it's their idea -- and usually by the time I realize what's happening and pick up my phone to record them, they've stopped. Here I caught the dregs of Tamsie's rendition the other night -- not as good as it was before I started the camera, but you get the idea. My favorite is when she says, "STINKY!" Also, at the end of the second video you can hear Evie laughing the way she does when she's in a particularly silly mood. Enjoy! 
video

video

Friday, January 25, 2013

What Not To Say To a Parent of Twins

Disclaimer: The Vaf himself assisted me with this post, so if you think anything is too intense, forward all your e-mails to him. :)

As parents of twins, Chris and I hear it all whenever we take T and E out in public. Chris is forever teasing me about my habit of humoring just about everyone who tries to strike up a conversation, because he knows I just don't want to hurt their feelings -- often to a fault! He, on the other hand, will completely ignore an odd comment, or, if you catch him in the right mood, sass back something equally odd.

Well, after our many experiences out and about, we thought it would be fun (and who knows, maybe even helpful!) to compile a list of what NOT to say to parents of twins! 

But before I start, PLEASE take no offense if you've ever said any of these things to me! God has graciously given me the gift of mommy brain, in which I often can't for the life of me remember who said what anymore -- most of the time, anyway! And if I do remember, I don't hold it against you, I promise! :) I know I've said PLENTY of odd things to people in my time. Plus, we're REALLY thinking here of random characters who stop us at the mall, for example, and then proceed to talk our ears off. Also, I do realize that strangers are just trying to be nice and make conversation -- again, most of the time, anyway! Even so, I often find myself just wishing they'd give the tiniest bit of thought to their words before they get started! And for every weirdo we encounter, we also encounter three times as many genuinely sweet people whom we enjoy chatting with! OK, on with the list:

PREGNANCY-RELATED:
1) They say: "Wow! You're in your second trimester and you don't even look pregnant!" 
    I want to say: "Seriously? You mean I'm this rotund all the time?! I've got some serious rounding of the belly going on here!" 
    Because: I don't care who you are, the minute you find out you're pregnant, you start feeling way bulkier than you ever have in your life... particularly if you're having twins!
    What I actually say: "Aww, thanks."

2) They say: "Oh my gosh, you look like you gained 100 pounds overnight!"
    I want to: cry.
    What I actually say: *Socially awkward laugh* "Yes, I probably did."

3) They say: "Look at her, she's always eating. You can totally tell she's having twins!"
    I want to: go find a dark closet where I can stuff my face freely and anonymously. Or just avoid eating in public at all costs -- oh wait, that's not possible when you're pregnant with twins!
    What I actually say: "Yep, this being pregnant thing sure does give you an appetite!"

* MORAL OF THIS STORY: No comments on the appearance or eating habits of a twin preggo, unless you want to tell her how adorable she looks carrying twins. *

4) They say: (insert random twin pregnancy horror story)
    What I want to say: "Excuse me, do you have any home training?"
    What I actually say: "Oh gracious, I'm already pretty freaked out about this whole thing!"

GENERIC TWIN COMMENTS:
1) They say: "Better you than me!"
    What I want to say: "You've got that right! I'm awfully glad you don't have twins, with an attitude like that!" This is one of the few comments that really gets my goat.
    What I actually say: *Socially awkward laugh*

2) They say: "Oh my word, YOU have TWINS!!!! WOW!!! Oh my gosh!" followed by a series of appalled facial expressions.
    What I want to say: "Why on earth are you so shocked? You don't even know me! I'm a total stranger to you, and you know strangers have twins out there in the world!"
    What I actually say: "Yes I do....?"

3) They say: "Did you actually carry these children?"
    What I want to say: "No, like Sarah Jessica Parker, I decided to hire a surrogate."
    What I actually say: "Yes."

4)  They say: "You poor thing."
    What I want to say: "What?! Do you know how close I came to losing one or both of them before they came? They are incredible blessings. Please do not speak in that way, because you really don't know what you're talking about!"
    What I actually say: *Socially awkward laugh* 

5) They say: "Double trouble!"
    What I want to say: "Double your face!" {Sorry for the intensity, but we hear this ALL. THE. TIME. Like every time we leave the house!}
    What I actually say: "Nope -- double blessings!"

6) They say: "How nice! A boy and a girl! Now you're done." The girls are wearing very girly outfits, you see. I am their mother, after all.
    What I want to say: "What kind of mother do you think I am?! And thanks for making that call for me."
    What I actually say: "No, they're two identical girls."
    What Chris says: Either nothing at all, plus a head shake, OR "Which one of these boys is wearing a headband with a large flower on it?" AND "YES, we're done."

7) They say: "Aww, two boys."
    What I want to say: "Just because she's wearing a frilly blue dress does not make her a boy!"
    What I actually say: "Nope! Two girls."
    What Chris actually says: "Seriously?"

* MORAL OF THE STORY: Don't assume you know a baby's gender. Unless said baby is decked out in all things girly and headbands and riding around in a pink stroller. AND looking like a girl. Then it's OK to assume you're looking at a GIRL! ha! 

8) They say: "Can you tell them apart?"
    What I want to say: "Nope. I've tried hard, but I just can't do it. Each day, I assign one name to one of them and one to the other. It can't hurt anything, right? I mean, since they're so young and all."
    What I actually say: "Yes, they're pretty easy for me to tell apart."

9) They say: "Are they natural?"
    What I want to say: "Nope. Plastic."
    What I actually say: "Yes, they're identical and I'm pretty sure that the only way identical twins happen is naturally and spontaneously."
    What Chris would say: "Are you natural?" OK, he claims he would never say this, but I'm not so sure. ;)

ALL-TIME WEIRDO AWARDS:
* They say: "I know someone who has fraternal twins, and they are complete opposites in EVERYTHING. Their personalities are totally different, unlike yours, who will be the exact same, since they're identical."
    What I want to say: "How scientific of you."
    What I actually say: *Socially awkward laugh*
    What Chris says: "Huh?"

* And the winner in this category (and YES, this one has come up at least twice)! They say: "If I had twins, I would shoot myself!"
    I want to say: "You know, there's counseling for that..."
    What I actually say: Nothing. There's really nothing you can say. In fact, this comment is one of the few that actually makes me super angry!!!
    What Chris wants to say: "Are you missing that filter between your head and your mouth?"
    What Chris actually says: "Oh my."

COMMON QUESTIONS that are not weird, they just get asked A LOT:
* What are their names?
* How big were they when they were born?
* How much do they weigh now?
* How old are they?
* Who's bigger?
* Who's older?
* Who's more dominant?
* Who's the talker?
* Who has darker hair?
* How do you tell them apart?

PEOPLE WHO ARE PARTICULARLY CREEPY TO ENCOUNTER: 
* Anyone who gets in their face and/or faces. This happened to Evie once, and I think she was truly on the brink of tears. If the lady hadn't moved along when she did, there would have been a major emotional meltdown.
* Any particularly curious guy who's by himself and my age or slightly older.
* Random strangers who just start talking to us and won't stop.
* Random strangers who insist on touching the girls. It's flu season, people!! (And even if it's not -- weird! I, for one, have never had the urge to touch a random stranger's baby in public, so I really can't relate to this at all -- but I'm starting to think I'm in the minority here!)
* Random strangers who perform an on-the-spot personality inventory of the girls. "Oh, she's the loud one who will push her sister around, but her sister can totally stand up for herself." Uh, what?
* Random strangers who give me tips on how to tell them apart. "See, she has a rounder face, so you can tell her apart from her sister that way." Thanks for the tip. YES, this does happen.

I must say in general the attention the girls bring us is sweet -- but when you're out with them, you can guarantee you'll get plenty of attention, one way or another! Sometimes if I'm in a hurry to get some shopping done, I do feel like I'm cutting people off, and I feel bad about it -- but I'm not sure what else to do. I will add that gone are the days of heading to the store looking like a complete mess, because I know I can't really go unnoticed pushing around a double stroller! A lot of times I'll just stay in, because the introvert in me just isn't up for it all. Or maybe I just look like a complete mess. But one thing's for sure: It is truly an experience and an adventure every time we leave the house! :)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Things around here are really looking totally different than they did a month ago! Everything is changing so quickly with our little girls that it's getting hard to keep up. Here's what I'm talking about:

* They play downstairs just about as much as they play in their playroom upstairs. (At least when Chris is home. When it's just me, keeping up with two runners at once is a little much!) Thus, this:
Cubbies for their little books! And yes, I do realize that after-hours iPhone photography leaves a lot to be desired, but this gives you the general idea. I do think I'm going to replace that pink drawer with another brown one, but then it will look pretty good, I think! Also, that's our coffee table in the foreground -- and I know you can't tell here, but it's devoid of any decor or books whatsoever. Baby-proofing has left virtually nothing untouched around here!
* BottleWean 2013 continues. (And I know most babies their age have long been weaned from bottles, but these girls have had to overcome a LOT of obstacles to get to where they are with this! More on that below.) At this point, they're on 100% whole milk, mostly taken without oatmeal and in sippy cups. However, we have the speech pathologist's permission to give them a bedtime bottle and one during the day, if necessary. The whole thing is reminding me of the intense old days of logging every little bit they take, except this time it's in ounces, not CCs!

Keeping tabs on the amount of liquids they take at every opportunity. [And oops - today's the 20th!] Thank heavens I have no iconographic coding system like I did last time around, back during the height of their bottle aversion days. There was a time when there were all manner of notes and details beside each entry, and smiley faces or sad faces depending on how the feeding went that time. There were even tears for when they'd cry during feeds. This time it's much simpler!
When we went to the pediatrician for the girls' 15-month check-up on Friday (which went GREAT, by the way -- minus the non-fun aspect of shots, of course!), he finally gave us the OK to stop having set bottle times. The girls are finally eating like big people! It's just a LOT for a mom of former preemies to take in! I mean, this was once a MAJOR, MAJOR deal:
Tamsie's first bottle EVER, given to her by her nurse, Mrs. Lynette, back at the U of L NICU!
You see, the girls were on feeding tubes for weeks back when they first arrived on the scene, and then they had to demonstrate feeding cues to their nurses in order to finally get to attempt the bottle, and then they had to work up to taking their milk consistently. It was a frustrating time for Chris and me, because just when it would seem like everything was fine for them to come home, they would drag their little feet in learning to take those blasted bottles for all of their meals. Once they came home, we couldn't let them go longer than a set number of hours -- I think it was four -- before we'd have to feed them again (because they were sooooo small). That means that even if they were sleeping soundly in the night, we'd have to set our alarms four hours past their last feed time to wake them up and feed them. UGH! Then we went through the nightmare of the reflux/bottle aversion ordeal, and then we overcame that, by God's grace, and now we're finally weaning off of bottles altogether. Now I still get so scared they're going to lose weight or be malnourished in some way or another, but they seem to be getting to where they need to be... slowly but surely. It is a LOT for this mama to handle, but we're getting there! Most of all, it's just weird to be free of the every-four-hours bottle schedule that we've been on since the NICU. 

Whew! When I say these girls have come a long way, I'm not kidding! Thank you, Lord!!! So when I get frustrated that Tamsie is only taking teensy sips out of her cup at meal time, it really helps to step back and think of how much easier our trajectory really is becoming as time goes by. 

* Today we also finally got them some convertible car seats! Babies 'R' Us is having a great sale where you get a big discount for trading in your old car seats, so we cashed in on that business today. What's really odd to me is that the car seat we bought will stay with them until they outgrow booster seats in the car altogether, and it's made for babies as small as 5 lbs! Pretty sure back when I was pregnant, that wasn't an option -- I mean you HAD to start out with the infant seat first, right? 

Speaking of -- I'm starting to feel like I was pregnant back in the stone ages! I mean, my girls grew up with Bumbo seats: 

and Nap Nannies:
... both of which are now probably only available on the black market, since they've been recalled over the past few months. Crazy!

* They're also quickly moving up to size 12-month clothes, primarily because of their length! They are in the less-than-fifth percentile for weight, one is in 15th and one 25th for length, and both are 70th percentile for head circumference -- which makes me laugh!

Well here are a few pictures of my growing-up girls (and YES, I know they're still little bitties -- they're just acting so much bigger all of a sudden!):

Evie models her ongoing obsession with getting herself into and out of boxes. Lately it has ramped up even more than usual. Who knows -- she's probably just trying to find a little space of her own after sharing everything with her sis all the time!

And speaking of her sis, here's Tamsie with one of her favorite toys -- this little babydoll. She pulls its hat off and then brings it to me so I'll put it back on again. And then, of course, the whole cycle just repeats itself... until something else catches her attention. Which usually is about 15 seconds later.  :)

"Sis or mirror? Mirror-image sis, or mirror image?"

Tamsie isn't as into the box thing as Evie is. Literally.
Ugh, sorry.

K, time to get out...

She is her mama's daughter: she looooves her bracelets, even if she has to improvise them with her stacking rings!

 Hope y'all have a wonderful holiday tomorrow! I'll be enjoying having Chris home with us, and we'll be spending the afternoon and evening with friends! Much love, y'all!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Evie Update

Yesterday morning, Chris loaded Evangelyn up and took her to LeBonheur East for her long-dreaded kidney test to make sure that she doesn't have what Tamsie has. She has never shown any signs of having it, but the doctor told us that she's very likely to have it since Tamsie does, and if she does, we need to be treating her for it.

Right before the doctor at the imaging center started the test, he warned Chris that since Evie's identical twin has the condition, that it's pretty much a given that Evie would have it too. As he was testing her, he said, "Well, she beat the odds! She's perfectly clear!" Praise the Lord!!!!!!! Thanks to all of you who have been praying for a good report! We are crazy thankful that her kidneys are completely healthy!

Last night while I was drying my hair, she came in and did a little celebratory dance to "Billie Jean," but of course, by the time I turned on the camera, the best part of the dance was over. Still, what I did get is pretty fabulous:
video
(I apologize for the general messiness -- I guess this is a reminder to ALWAYS keep things neat and tidy, because you never know when you'll have to video your kid being especially cute!)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Happy 15-Month Birthday, T and E!!!


This was the best picture I could get this month that included both of them and their NICU bears! However, they made it clear that they wanted to hold their books, not their bears... so this is what happened. It was also impossible to photograph both of them in their chairs at the same time, even with my mom and dad helping me out! 
Dear Tamsie and Evangelyn,

What a day! BottleWean 2013 has officially begun around here, and it is not going well so far. It all started last night when we ran into your pediatrician and his family at dinner. He is so incredibly sweet and a very gifted doctor, and he and his wife have twins, too, so he totally speaks from experience when he gives us advice! His wife is absolutely precious, and I loved getting to talk to a fellow mama of twins. I truly believe there is such a neat bond of sisterhood between mamas of multiples -- at least I've had an instant connection with every one of them I've ever met! Well, while I was chatting with his wife, your dad was chatting with him about transitioning y'all to whole milk. He told us we can definitely start the transition -- yay!! You're finally big enough! So today you've been taking 3 parts formula, 1 part whole milk. We started out with sippy cups, and that just didn't go over well, especially with one of you (T)... which surprised me, since you take juice and water so well in sippy cups. Of course, when you have issues drinking something, I automatically have flashbacks to last year's bottle aversion crisis... which can lead to panic attacks (no, really!) if I let it go on for too long. So for now, we're phasing in the whole milk... and once you get used to that, we'll try phasing out the bottles again. 
The girls were ridiculously hard to take 15-month pictures of! All Evie wanted to do was read her books. She couldn't be bothered with modeling for the camera!

Tamsie gladly demonstrates how they are into everything! The random object on the left is a puzzle piece she had been toting around until she discovered a cabinet door just waiting to be opened!
So as you nap peacefully, dreaming of the good old days of predictability and bottles and formula, I will write about what life is like with the two of you right now! After a rough-patch kind of morning, it sure does help to take a step back and see how very much you've grown and changed all in the past month!
Tamsie in her PJs from Uncle Alex
* For starters, both of you are walking like little champs, and even running, so of course you're into EVERYTHING! Your dad and I have been working overtime trying to babyproof the house, because you increasingly demand more and more freedom and play space! You stay nonstop busy, and I must say I'm generally getting the best sleep I've ever had in my life, because I'm so worn out when my head finally hits my pillow -- AND because y'all are sleeping so well!

Taking pictures with the NICU bear did not work out so well this time... the girls wanted to get into their books, and nothing was going to stand in their way!
You're also learning what "NO" means -- and I've made both of you cry many times by saying it intensely. (You just laugh at me when I'm not intense enough.) It's sad but necessary! 

"Stop flashing that crazy thing in my face and just let me read, Mama!"
Both of you are wearing size 9-12-month clothes, size 3 diapers, and size 3.5 shoes. You weigh about 18.5 lbs. The nursery workers at church get a kick out of watching you run around after each other, because you're so small in stature that you just don't look like you should be doing everything you're doing!

Singing!
Like virtually everyone else on your Grandaddy's side of the family, the two of you are turning out to be quite the performers. Both of you get really excited when I help you sing and do the hand motions for "Itsy Bitsy Spider," "Skin-a-ma-rink" (yes, your mother is a child of the '80s), "Pat-a-Cake," and any other random song with motions that I can find to teach you. You're also quite the singers as well -- sometimes when I'm feeding you your meals, I keep Pandora on, and you never know what kind of song will come on. Last week, you sang some "shoops" along with Whitney Houston, taking your mama by total surprise, and you danced along to some Justin Timberlake, and today you were singing "uh oh" along with Beyonce.

Future Readers of America!
* As these pictures show, books are your favorites! I spend lots of time each day reading to you, and you love spending your time downstairs pulling books out of boxes (a less than desirable storage solution, I know) and flipping through the pages. Your favorite book of the moment is ABC, Look at Me! which came in from the Books from Birth program. In fact, epic battles ensue over who gets to play with that book, if it ever accidentally winds up in your play area. And yes, this is ironic, considering we have two copies of the thing (since both of you are registered for the program) -- yet that doesn't stop you from finding ways to fight over both of them!

This is what it looks like when Tamsie walks by barking like a dog, and when Evie sees her coming and holds onto her book extra tight to keep her from stealing it!
After all, E knows there's nothing like a good book!
This past month, both of you have started TRYING to count and sing the alphabet song! Of course, you're not quite there yet, but it's hilarious to hear you try to count over your monitor as you're going to sleep. Both of you chime in together, and it sounds something like, "Tooooo [because you start with 2], teeeee, uhhhhhh, fiiiiiii...." I think 5 is your favorite number, because both of you love belting that one out when you get to it!

Talking to her book
OK, on to something else....
* Your vocabularies are expanding every day. This month we've heard words like chair, pants, shirt, socks, shoes, star, sheep, baa, woof, meow, hoo hoo (owl sounds), up, down, bear, shhhh, book, Hop Pop (what you call Hop on Pop), pig, oink, that, hat, back, arm, eye, bird, deer, moo, cup, cape, pup, Sissy, bath, tickle.... I know there are more, but here are a few! You also know some baby signs, and you've started telling me when it's snack time by signing it to me!

Tamsie and that mouth she gets from her Daddy. I think we were doing Itsy Bitsy Spider here, and the rain was coming down.
* You have silly senses of humor, and you both laugh all the time. For example, Tamsie, you love to toss your paci overboard when you're in your crib, and then when I get down on my hands and knees to get it for you, you reach out of your crib and pat my back and laugh at me. When y'all start dancing to a song and I start laughing, you start laughing too. You crack each other up constantly, and when I ask one of you where Sissy is, you hug her and smile really big and say, "SISSY!!!!"

Itsy Bitsy Tamsie
* You're getting really good at following commands. Sometimes I even catch you commanding your baby dolls to "burp!" and then patting them on the back... or the foot... or the belly -- whatever it takes to get the burp out!

Back to the books

"Ooooo!"

Sleepy face
Partners in crime


Sneaky T
E loves to throw that tin around! She looks for it in that cabinet any time she's in the kitchen.
Cleaning up after them is a full-time job... literally!
Hanging out in their expanded play area upstairs... notice the new safety gate behind my dad!
They love playtime!
Tamsie and her tunnel
I left some tennis shoes out in the living room, and they kept pointing to them and saying, "SHOES!" Finally, Mom put Evie in them. She thought it was grand, until she realized she couldn't get very far in them!
Tamsie and her Mommy at Great-Grandma's house
Girls, I love you so much!! Every day I think of how blessed I am to hear your sweet voices call me Mama! I can't wait to see what this next month has in store for you!

Love,
Mama