Saturday, March 30, 2013


All I have to share are a few passages that keep coming to mind. I sure can't say it better than God's Word can anyway! It's a lot of reading I know, but if you've ever been to this blog before that should be nothing new to you! ;)

- This passage has been on my heart, because it shares about how the hope we have through Christ's resurrection gives us the power and strength we need to live:
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith -- more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire -- may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls" (1 Peter 1:3-9).

- I just love this passage:
"Have this mind among yourselves which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:5-11).

- This one puts things in context very well:
"Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, 'What does this babbler wish to say?' Others said, 'He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities' -- because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, 'May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what those things mean.' Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new.
     So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: 'Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, "To the unknown god." What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for "in him we live and move and have our being;" as even some of your own poets have said, "For we are indeed his offspring." Being then God's offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.'
     Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked. But others said, 'We will hear you again about this.' So Paul went out from their midst. But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them" (Acts 17:16-34).

{If you're like some of those who heard Paul talk about Christ and His resurrection and who wanted to hear more about it, and if you'd like to know more about what that can mean for you, please send me an e-mail (vafitwins at gmail dot com). It's my favorite thing to share about! :) ALSO, please e-mail me if you'd like to find a place to worship tomorrow. If you're in the area, I'd love to meet up with you at my church!}

I'll leave you with one more, which truly demands a response:

"Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?'"
John 11:25-26

Praise God for Easter, and happy Easter to all of you!!!

P.S. - For an excellent Easter-themed post, check this one out.

Friday, March 22, 2013

TGIF, y'all!

In no particular order, here's what I'm blogging about today:

1. You know something that saddens me? The fact that T and E will never have TGIF to look forward to on Friday nights. {Sigh.} Just wanted to throw that out there. Here's to hoping they have something equally magnificent by the time they're old enough to care. If not, we'll be borrowing from Carissa's enormous collection of old Full House episodes.

St. Patrick's Day at our house! E is in her signature color, and T is in blue.
 2. The girls cried and cried and CRIED yesterday afternoon, and I was extremely close to googling "spontaneous colic in 17-month-olds" when Chris got home and figured out what was wrong: Even though they had been eating at normal times all day, they were STARVING. Hello, growth spurt!! These are events to celebrate around here, since these two girls are normally just not that into eating!

Of course their outfits contain green. No, we could not justify shelling out the money to make them look like little leprechauns, so this will have to suffice. :) Plus, thanks to me they are partially Irish, so that should count for something, right?
 3. Nap time has not been so glorious this week. There have been skipped naps, generalized fussiness and much crying when I leave the room! Today I even dragged E to the pediatrician after much hemming and hawing, to rule out an ear infection, and instead I found out that she is perfectly fine! She is, however, TEETHING... of course... so I guess she's just taken it up a notch? I don't know! I'm glad she's fine, I just wish I would have saved the money. Now I'm wishing the pediatrician's office had like punch cards or Frequent Patient Rewards or something like that where you'd earn a free visit every now and then. Pretty sure we would have had like 10 free visits by now - ha! You know it's bad when the lady at the front desk sees you come in, laughs and says, "Oh, it's YOU again!"

Getting ready to go on a walk. E would rather play with my phone, which she refers to as "Daddy," I guess because she often sees me talking on it to her Daddy.
3. Please, spring, stop with your teasing and COME already! We took the girls to the playground last weekend, where they enjoyed the swings for the first time ever, and it was magical. And now this. Unfair!

I'm indecisive, so here's another picture that's practically identical to the one above.
4. On a deliriously happy note, we're consigning some old clothes at the Germantown United Methodist Children's Boutique this weekend, which meant I got to go to the presale last night! Y'all, I came home with several gorgeous new dresses for the girls, none of which cost over $5! I'm talking $2 and $3 for mint-condition smocked dresses! FABULOUS! Plus I found a fun wooden activity cube for the girls and a pink plastic vacuum cleaner (something I never thought I'd spend money on), which I'm kind of regretting buying now because it has suddenly become THE IT TOY the girls fight over nonstop. Oh well, at least they love it! And if you're in the market for 6-9-month girls' clothes that T and E once knew and loved, PLEASE go buy them so we can finance upcoming spring shopping expeditions! Yes!!
T smiles...

E smiles...
5. The fun book I'm reading right now: Sparkly Green Earrings, by one of my very favorite bloggers, Big Mama! It's every bit as amazing as I knew it would be, and it's very hard to put down. LOVE!!
... and they both smile, while I'm sitting at my mirror in the playroom getting ready for the day. 
 6. The serious book I'm reading right now: Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. Yes, you may have seen me mention it on here before. It just takes me forever to finish anything these days, but this book is so fascinating! I know lots of people already read this book like two years ago when it came out, but in case you don't know anything about Bonhoeffer, he was one of the (shockingly) few leaders of the church in Germany who actually saw Hitler for the evil man that he was, wasn't afraid of him, and stood up against him -- and then paid for it dearly. Eric Metaxas is such a wonderful writer, too. He is actually hilarious in his descriptions of things sometimes, but without diminishing the gravity of the situation. Excellent read.
This happened this week. >:( Not a fan of the new street lights in the neighborhood, since they will now effectively cheapen my view of the night sky! I was telling that to Jennifer the other day, and no matter how I say it, it sounds textbooky, but there it is. Grrr.
7. The helpful book I'm reading right now: Don't Make Me Count to Three. The church gave me this book when we were preparing for the girls' dedication, and it is excellent. Discipline is becoming a very real thing in our lives these days. I'm hoping I'm not nearly as clueless by the time I finish this one.

T enjoys chips with her Daddy.
8. The book I'm reading with Chris: Shepherding a Child's Heart. Yes, it lives up to the hype so far. It is very good and very helpful!
E had to have one too.
"Where have these been all my life?!"

Pointing to my computer, where I have pulled up a picture of them with their Granddaddy. They felt like celebs.
That's all I have for now. I'm going to go encourage the girls to, you know, SLEEP during their nap time, rather than jumping and giggling and squealing and throwing stuffed animals. Or maybe I should try feeding them again, at the rate they're going! Either way, wish me luck!!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Everything Old Is New Again!

In the process of prepping for my series about how the Vaf and I came to be, I ran across a bunch of old pictures that I thought would be fun to post! Now, I must warn you: None of them are scanned. This is primarily for three reasons:
1) The days of marathon naps have come to a sudden halt, and now they're shorter than ever. If they happen at all. I'm not complaining though, because the girls are mostly better, minus some residual teething issues. Could we FINALLY be moving toward the one-nap-a-day thing?
2) I'm in the process of spending their short nap times reading three books. I know that sounds crazy, but that is what motivates me to get things read! I only let myself read a chapter in one before switching to the next book -- that way I'm constantly in a state of suspense, and thus more compelled to actually READ. Which I'm often too lazy tired to do otherwise. (And at nights with Chris, we're working our way through yet another book together... but I'll post more on that later!)
3) The scanner no longer thinks that my computer exists in reality. In fact, those two have been in a fight for quite some time now. I would say this is probably fixable, but please note my hesitancy to waste precious time fixing technical problems. I've always been this way -- look no further than the messed-up dates on many of these pictures to see what I'm talking about! :)

And so for all these reasons and probably more, I took the lazy efficient route and took photos with my iPhone. And that's what we have here. Also, they are really in no particular order. This whole thing is almost too random to handle.

Enjoy! And if you feel that you should have been represented in some of these, just know that I probably looked unsightly in my pictures with you... so this is what I've got! And this is why we're hot!

With JJ at the Spring 2005 Induction Night... I was abnormally with it that night when it came to remembering to take photos! Of course that's probably because I was all sentimental because graduation was looming on the horizon. 

Fall 2004 (NOT '92... stupid camera!) Getting ready for our Tiger Tunes flight attendant show with Jane

Fall 2004. My homecoming escort... isn't he the best ever?!  And if you don't know what a homecoming mum is, you've never spent any time at all in Arkansas or Texas. :)

Spring 2005. With the sister I never had, Beth, on her PC's induction night

With JT, Spring 2005

Jennifer's Bridesmaid Luncheon, Spring 2005
And again, because she looks like a proud mama in this picture 
WHY I HATE HIKING. Somehow JT got me to go hiking not one, but TWO, years in a row on our Tri Chi spring outing at Shepherd of the Ozarks. Caves hurt your head, y'all. And why am I so high up there? It looks like someone's head is at the level of my hand in the distance! What?! I'm certainly no giant!
This is actually the very next photo in my album. Anything for good old TJ, I suppose!

With JT on one of our notorious impromptu Little Rock Ad Fed-related runs! This was probably taken as the sun was coming up, after stocking up on such necessities as Frappucinos and all manner of candy.

Spring 2005, at the Ad Fed Student Competition in San Antonio: Miranda, me, JT. That trip was SO fun, despite the creepy hotel where we stayed... remember that, y'all?!

Yay! Date caption is right this time! Here are JJ, Emily and I on our trip to New Orleans. Notice this was about 13 days(?) before Katrina made landfall there. It really was the end of an era, and we didn't even know it.

We had gone down to visit our buddy Ben, who was showing us around.

Graduation Day, May 2005. JT trying to tickle me... how rude! I think it's because I was crying though, and we couldn't have that in a picture. Especially since I wasn't even allowing the Vaf to be anywhere near the vicinity of my pictures that weekend. Am I the only one out there who deeply dreaded college graduation?!

If you're in this picture, I miss hanging out with you! LOTS! I think we're due for a reunion soon, right?

With my cousin Chris and Aunt Lauren on my graduation day

A sampling of old Barbies! My mom dug them out of her attic for an illustration our Life Group leader made in his lesson on Sunday. Oddly, it seems like Mom's old Ken has withstood the test of time much better than my Barbies have! 
JT and me at the Servant Leadership Retreat, Fall 2004. Those are Chis I'm wearing on my shirt, y'all. Just in case you didn't know.

Kristy! I miss this girl!!! This would have been at the Fall 2004 Planet Ouachita. I was supposed to be dressed like a Barbie (speaking of Barbies), and she was... Kelly Kapowski, I think?

With Tiffany (I miss this one too!!!) and JT at the Servant Leadership Retreat

Totally cheesing/posing for a friend's class project. Sorry for the ripples; like I say, I was just using my iPhone so this is the plastic in my photo album reflecting the light! Incidentally, this was the very outfit I was wearing that night that the Vaf first came to visit. I still have that sweater in my closet for that very reason... argh!! I can be such a pack rat!

PC '02 at Homecoming 2004. Love each of these girls!!

And back to induction, with Kat. Apparently this was a common dress motif at the time.

My caption already says it all. Spring 2005. Also it's pretty socially awkward that only the bottom of my jacket is buttoned. I kind of want to reach through the picture and fix it.

Amy!!! Fall 2004... I was taking this picture when I realized my album was balanced on top of the girls' book about twins! Isn't that special! 

Us four, the night before Jennifer's wedding
That's all for now. Must get back to my book while I still can!!!

Monday, March 18, 2013

How I Met Your Father, Part 5: How It All Began

Part 4
Part 3
Part 2
Part 1

Where was I? The Loop in the summer of 2004? So I went to the Loop, saw Chris, and...........
nothing happened. I mean I was shocked to see Chris after all that time, so that was pretty cool. We had fun catching up. I found out he never went to school in Alabama, but was instead at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago and had only come home to Memphis because he had to have surgery that summer. Of course, I relished the fact that I had actually been doing something moderately exciting that summer with Walk the Line, so I felt 15% glamorous casually slipping that into the conversation. He asked if we were going to Memphis Pizza Cafe with a bunch of other people from the Loop that night, and we told him we didn’t know yet. And that was it. When Rachie and I left, we decided to go to Memphis Pizza Cafe, because why not? I’d probably never see Chris again if we didn’t! We went to one that turned out to be the wrong location, so then we went to the right one and found some people from the Loop but no Chris. 

{I did mention this encounter to my friend Melissa at church. She asked me what his name was, and I told her, never dreaming that she'd know who he was -- and then she told me that his sister was her best friend!!!!!! Shock and horror doesn't even describe it - ha! Little did we know that the two of them were conspiring to get us together later that winter, but they never had to. We beat them to it! :)}

Oh well. I had lots to look forward to back at school that fall! It was my senior year. Not long after school started, it was time to start working on Tiger Tunes. I was also on the executive committee of Tri Chi, which was super fun, so I was in charge of planning our homecoming tea for current Tri Chis, their families and alumni (almnae? argh!). I was also working with one of my best friends, J.T., to be in charge of our Ad Fed team. Plus, Jennifer had just gotten engaged back home, so there was a lot to do as her maid of honor! (Not that I did nearly as much as I should have, but that's another story -- I was a clueless 21-year-old, after all!) Before I knew it, the fall semester had flown by. Becky had been studying overseas for the semester, so I stayed in Arkadelphia a few extra days to welcome her back to the country, and then I headed back home for Christmas break.

Rachel had heard that the Loop was having a special Christmas edition December 21st (how’s that for memory skills? :), so we decided to go to it. We actually joked about running into Chris again, although we knew it was pretty unlikely! He had mentioned that he hardly ever came home to Memphis anymore (like even for holidays) back when I had seen him the summer before. So to the Loop we went, with a few more friends in tow, and before the night was over, we had indeed run back into Chris... although a slightly more mangey version of him! He had an interesting little hairstyle going on, and he was unfortunately rocking something akin to a goatee... but he was still Chris. One of my friends later said, “That wasn’t the guy, was it?” and I admitted that it actually was, but that something wasn’t looking right about the old fellow. However, I knew that a haircut and a shave would do wonders for him... ha! (And I was right. Sure enough, a few weeks later he asked me about my feelings about the goatee, and I said, "Ummmmmmmm, not my favorite." It eventually disappeared after that!)

That night, a bunch of people were heading to McAllister’s afterward, and once again he asked if we were going. We told him we were and teased him about how he didn’t show at MPC last time and that he’d better show this time... and he did! At McAllister’s we talked and talked, and he asked for my number -- finally! And when he did, not only did I give him the digits, but I also double-checked that he got the right number. Because that doesn't look desperate at all.

Sara was there that night, and she was trying to get the whole group to go see a movie together two nights later. Chris was all about it, and so was I. And then there was an ice storm, which, you know, brought all of Memphis to a screeching halt. Sara called to let me know they were all still planning on going, but then my parents refused to let me get out in it. She offered to come get me, but they weren’t budging: they did NOT want me out in the ice that night. So the night went on, and then a few hours later, Chris called and asked why I hadn’t come! I told him why, and he asked if I’d like to go get coffee with him. “You don’t understand -- they won’t let me leave the house!” I told him. So he asked if he could come over and hang out. I gave him directions, but he completely misinterpreted them and wound up going waaaay far from my parents’ house, on the other side of town, in the ice. He finally called for help, but it was past midnight, and therefore Christmas Eve, before he even showed up!

When he finally made it over, I was watching my Tiger Tunes video. (Yes, video! Totally dating myself here!) We talked and then wound up watching Seinfeld -- DVDs, I think :) -- I'm not that old -- but mostly talking through that. He didn’t leave until sometime around 7 the next morning! In fact, he stuck around so long that he wound up meeting my dad while he was on his way to work that morning. Before Chris left, he asked me if I’d like to go on a date with him, and, without thinking, in my exhausted state I replied, “Yes! I haven’t been on an actual date in a year!”...... because, once again, that's the kind of thing guys like to hear when they ask girls out. UGH! But the good news is that he doesn’t even remember that I said anything but “Yes!” (Of course, he also doesn’t remember 99% of what I’ve been writing about this whole time, but that’s another story altogether!) 

Now our dating relationship was pretty rocky at first, and I for one certainly never thought we would last. We quickly discovered that we were very different, and our values and ideals were also very different. However, as we prayed through each issue we encountered, consulting God’s Word, we came to realize where we were wrong, and we grew closer together. By February, after driving all the way to Memphis to take me out for Valentine’s Day, he declared his love for me. I wasn’t an easy sell, however, and I didn’t say “I love you” back to him until that August!

By the time May rolled around, I was still so unsure we'd last that I asked him not to come to my graduation(!!!). After all, I didn't want him in my pictures if we weren't going to be together much longer. But something happened that summer. Both of us were back in Memphis, and we had a fabulous time together! We'd go on dates and hang out nearly every day. I'd never had so much fun!

Well to make a long story slightly shorter, Chris wound up going back to Chicago that fall for school, and lasted there all of about two weeks, if that. He had grown a lot in his walk with Christ that summer, and he no longer felt right about being president of his fraternity -- and then, the more he stayed, the less he felt comfortable being a part of it at all. He decided the best thing he could do was to make a clean break with his life up there and move back to Memphis... which he proceeded to do while driving through the remnants of Hurricane Katrina. Those were some pretty nasty remnants, and he had no cell service -- so I was a nervous wreck until he arrived back in town! After taking that fall semester off to work and save money, he transferred to the University of Memphis (go Tigers!) in the spring of 2006 and graduated a year later. On September 22, 2007, he proposed to me at the place where the Loop used to meet, and then on June 14, 2008, we were married.

Chris, I love you so much more than I can say! Every day you make me laugh, and you have challenged me in so many ways. I can't imagine a better husband for me or father for our girls, and I am so thankful for you!! And also, I think we have a pretty cool story -- just as I'd always hoped to have. :)

At the apartment I shared with Jenny my senior year. He came to OBU over his spring break and went to a Tri Chi dance with me that night. Not sure why this looks like it was taken in the 70s!

Summer of 2005

Even though I wouldn't officially say it, I was pretty smitten with the Vaf by the time I took this picture in New Orleans. I had gone on a trip with my friends JJ and Emily, and I happened upon this random store in a mall there and felt the need to take a picture for the Greek man in my life - ha!

Wedding day!

Friday, March 15, 2013


As I type this, the girls are launching into what will probably be another marathon nap session. This week has been full of those! See, Tamsie is not feeling well, and Evie is... Tamsie's twin. So if T wants to sleep extra, generally E will as well.

E earlier this week during one of those marathon nap sessions I speak of. I often find her like this, with her hair sticking out of her crib during naptime! So silly!
It has been the same with their eating habits this week too. T hasn't been feeling like eating much, and neither has E -- even though E seems to be feeling fine! This twinniness, as we call it, manifests itself in several other ways too:

E hanging out with her Granddaddy and her copy of Romeo and Juliet from her Aunt Carissa
 - They are working on their own version of Twinspeak. It's real, y'all. This is how it happens: you'll start noticing that you're hearing the same word coming from both of them. (Usually it's a word you've heard them pronounce properly plenty of times before.) Then they'll say it to each other over and over while giggling. The most recent one has been "chee-yah-bah-bah." We couldn't figure out what on earth it meant, but we knew it meant something to them since they say it all the time! After much detetective work on my part, turns out it means "Cheerios!" They also call each other Diddy sometimes instead of Sissy, although they are fully capable of saying "Sissy." I think they're trying to make P. Diddy (or whatever he goes by these days) proud -- you know he is a father of twins and all! (These days I really know more than I should about famous twins and which celebrities have twins!)

T, however, prefers the Cheerios (or Chee-yah-bah-bah) book! 
- One can sense when the other isn't feeling well. It's a true story! The other night, E was upstairs with me and T was downstairs with Chris. All of a sudden, E went from playing and having fun to crying uncontrollably, which is very strange behavior indeed for my even-keeled girl. She ran over to the gate and looked downstairs sadly. About the same time, I heard T crying downstairs, so I scooped E up in my arms and we went down to investigate. Turns out, T had just gotten sick! How did E know?!

Tamsie and her Amma, as she calls her
 - We think they're still exhibiting various behaviors unique to each of them due to the tumultuous way they entered the world... like the way teething has taken a much tougher toll on T than it has on E, for example. Chris and I aren't totally sure about why this is, but we wonder if it's not related to the effects of Twin-to-Twin Transfusion on them. When they were still inside me, right before they were born, E was the one who had it tougher, the one who was in distress. She barely had any blood at all in her body when she was born, because T had taken the vast majority of it (not intentionally, of course!). She was nearly a pound smaller than T, and she was so white that her NICU nurses called her "the ghost baby." They also told us that she had been forced to become VERY tough in order to survive what she went through inside of me, and that it made her mature a little bit faster than T in those early days. Now when T was born, all of the blood and nutrients that she had taken from E had caused her blood to become as thick as sludge, and she was very swollen and red all over. All at once, where she had been close to thriving inside of me, she had to adjust to being in a lot of pain and suffering. She didn't take to it well (I mean, can you blame her?!), and we were told that even though she was the bigger girl, she was the one fighting harder than E once she was born. We know it's purely speculative, but we think that's potentially why she takes pain a little harder than E does even now -- although they're both champs in my book, of course! :)

Hanging out with one of their favorite people ever: their Granddaddy! My friend Tiffany made these tutus for the girls back before they were born. Now they fit perfectly! :) 
- We often catch them sleeping in mirror-image positions. Sure, it could be a coincidence, but still... it happens A LOT.

Playing together with "SHEPS!" as Evie calls her shapes. (E is on the left; T is on the right)
 - When one doesn't feel well, the other one tries to share her paci (gross, I know, but you can't deny the cuteness of the gesture), and she'll often pat her sick sissy.

They're getting pretty good at this!
 - Even when they're not sick, they usually eat and drink about the same amount. I mean, they might randomly have a huge breakfast one day and polish off about half of their cups of milk, and then eat a ton of banana at snack time but maybe skip the puffs today. It happens so often that it's kind of freaky. In a good way. :)

They're even getting good about playing together without as many confrontations... for now anyway! :)
- They make each other laugh more than anyone else can.

I love their twinniness!! One of the things I pray for regularly for them is that they grow to appreciate the special gift God has given each of them in a twin sister. They really are treasures!