Friday, July 26, 2013

30 for 30: 11-25

Let's see how many of my 30 for 30 I can get through this time. 
Carissa and Cliff surprised us in a fabulous way by coming over and hanging out Friday afternoon! Here's T thinking something akin to "Cliff? In my car? What's wrong with this picture?!" We all know sharing is not yet T's forte. 
11. Make memories. You can sleep later! This is something I learned in college. My freshman year, sorority pledges would regularly get kidnapped by fraternity pledges, and all the sorority sisters would then be called upon to come rescue them. I am ashamed to say I never participated in any of this, because it always happened super late at night, and I wasn't about to take a chance on being up all night over something so silly! (Sorry, girls!) Well by the time I was no longer a pledge, I totally regretted being such an old grandma of an 18-year-old. After that, I decided not to let memory-making opportunities pass me by and to be more spontaneous in general -- and it's a lesson that has served me well ever since!
Tamsie picked out this dress to wear to church on Sunday. Here she's modeling a pretty hair clip from JJ.
12. True friends stand all tests -- tests of time, distance, etc. Also, Romans 12:15 talks about rejoicing with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. I have found that it's hard to find friends who will be genuinely happy for you when things go your way, without a hint of jealousy, and that it's equally hard to find friends who will truly be there for you to help you out however you need it when you're going through something really difficult and you don't have much to give in return. Value the ones who are, and thank God for them constantly!
And here's E and her hair clip from JJ. We had to do a selfie -- it was the only way to get her to look at the camera!
13. You're never done making true friends if you open yourself up to it. I always say that God didn't give me sisters, but He has given me plenty of friends who may as well be -- and He just keeps adding to the number over time! When I headed to college, I was terrified of leaving behind all the friends I knew and loved growing up. Then Jane, Jenny and JJ came along. Then my sophomore year I thought probably all of my best friends were set at that point, then JT came along. Then junior year I figured I was halfway done with college and wouldn't make any more lifelong friends, and then Becky and I got to be really close. Senior year I was on my way out, and then Beth came along. Once I graduated, I was thinking that by then, all my best friends must certainly be set in stone for life. Then I met Carissa. And these are only the girls who were my bridesmaids -- there are plenty of other amazing friends that God has brought into my life over the years, way too many to list here! I've learned as I go that deep and lasting friendships are there waiting to be made if only I am willing to invest in them. Of course, new friends can never replace old ones, but who says they have to? My life is forever enriched and changed by all of these friends from different eras of my life!
Making elephant noises while listening to Daddy read
{As a side note, I received my share of grief for having 9 bridesmaids in my wedding, plus 2 who should have been there but had just had babies right before! (I remember telling my mom how many I would have. Shocked, she asked who they were, and then she said, "Yeah, I don't see how you could narrow it down any further.") Honestly, my only regret now was not giving bridesmaid status to a couple of other dear friends who totally deserved it.}
Riding around the house on a dark and stormy morning
14. Give people grace. Only God can truly fulfill you, so it's not fair to expect people to do what only He can.
Cookie-and-story time with Amma
15. Being a stay-at-home mom is glorious. I once thought it must be the most boring job in the world, but I am here to tell you it is anything but! I truly believe I am exactly where I need to be in this season of my life, and I'm so thankful to be able to do it.
The girls have been getting along MUCH better this week, which is a direct answer to prayer! There has been much sharing, and I think they're slowly learning to put Sissy's interests first. I'm enjoying it while it lasts!
16. Don't date someone you wouldn't marry. This advice served me well in my single years and saved me from a lot of heartache!
Leave them alone with Amma for any length of time, and don' t be surprised if they wind up rocking pirate hats when you return.
17. Make an effort to know why you believe what you believe, and have an open mind and a teachable spirit as you do so. Oh gracious, this is one of the most important things on my list! If you don't know what you believe, you'd better start trying to figure it out.
This is what happens when you ask them to smile: E ignores you, and T does this number.
18. Little children are such incredible blessings -- blessings that infinitely outweigh whatever messes they make or "disruptions" they cause, and they also serve as terrific reminders of what's truly important in life.
Here's E's smile later that afternoon. Lately one will nap longer than the other, so I'll get in extra one-on-one time with whoever's up first. This time it was E.
19. Admit when you're wrong -- even if it's right in the middle of an argument. This isn't always easy to do, but it's very much worth it!
This was the way our dramatic Thursday morning encounter with an enormous spider ended. T first spotted him on the ceiling and started to panic. I tried to get one vacuum hose after him, but he was too big for it, so then I got a different vacuum hose, which only knocked him down off the ceiling and onto this chair. I screamed, T screamed, E screamed -- it was intense! Then I chased him around the chair with the vacuum hose, and yet somehow he eluded being sucked away into oblivion. Finally he disappeared somewhere on the underside of this chair, so I just put the whole thing outside until Chris got home and it passed inspection. Let's be honest -- I'm still scared to sit in it though!
20. Forgive, just as you have been forgiven. 
Can you guess E's favorite color? ;)
21. Some things are worth being stubborn about; some things aren't. Know the difference.
This is their favorite food right now. All of this was consumed in one sitting, and they could have taken down even more, but I had to put a stop to it so we could incorporate a different food group into snack time. 
22. Anything worth having costs something. And I'm not just talking about material things!
Today they wanted their cottage cheese in bowls. T couldn't get it in her mouth fast enough with the spoon, so she set it aside and went bananas raking it in with her hands.
23. Know your limits, know when to ask for advice or help, and know whom to ask for advice or help.
E, however, prefers to be a little lady at times like this.
24. Be the person God made you to be, and accept whatever gifts He has given you with gratitude. Then try to find a way to bless others with them. Give them away to others, and give them back to Him. Be you! It's totally OK to be goofy and quirky if that's how He made you, and that's certainly how He's made me -- so I've learned to embrace it! :) The only thing that's not OK is not being the you He made you to be.

BTW, there are so many times when I read back over something I have written on this blog and think "that is so goofy! ARGH!" but really that's who I am, so I'm just putting it out there anyway!

E likes to fall asleep with her finger inside her paci. Speaking of, thinking of breaking their paci habits is enough to scare me into hysterics.
25. Never overestimate the importance of a good quality mom and dad. 

Whew! That's all I can handle today. Next time should be the last five! :)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

30 for 30: 5-10

Today I'm just posting recent pictures and continuing the 30 for 30 series along the way! I know this will be rather random, but that's just kind of how it goes around here sometimes!
This has become a morning ritual. T puts her head down so E will give her a head massage. It's all fun and games until E pulls her hair! It's just too tempting, I guess?
 5. A sense of humor makes everything better! Seeing the silly side of things has helped get me through many an odd situation in life. And that's all I'll say about that.

One of the girls' favorite pastimes is mixing and matching and rearranging all their Little People in their various vehicles. You never know what combo you'll see, but this particular time it looks like poor Eric is driving a pink SUV around... 

... with a baby in the back!

Congrats to Ariel and Eric, I guess?
  6. Marriage and kids (while not for everyone, of course) are nothing to be afraid of. Sure, they're enormous commitments, but when you're with a good match for you, and when your relationship is founded on Christ, there really is nothing to fear. Looking back on it, now that I'm a mom, I can't believe how very, very, VERY insistent I was on waiting for a long time after marriage to have kids. Of course, that changed over time, and we caught the baby bug. (Right when the prospect of a baby was seeming less and less frightening, I happened to catch a radio interview with Steve and Candice Watters, which pretty much helped me overcome the last of my fears. Ironically, Steve would eventually become my boss at my job in the communications department at SBTS and the one to whom I would turn in my resignation when I was getting close to having the girls!) So Chris and I were married a little over three years before T and E came along, and now I'm very glad we didn't put it off any longer!

However, pregnancy/childbirth is another story altogether. Be afraid, be very afraid!! ;)
I have been on some kind of a rug binge lately. We threw out the old nursery rug -- actually Chris, who is turning out to be quite the salesman, managed to sell it to someone with much greater cleaning abilities than I have -- and replaced it with this! E was so happy she was doing a little dance here!

The girls think that the rug has moon designs all over it, for some reason. Apparently the fascination with all things lunar continues. They point to the white circles and the crescent-looking parts of the design and say, "It's a moon! It's a moon!"

7. Treat others the way you'd really like to be treated. Of course, this SURE isn't original -- thank you, Matt. 7:12! :)
Tamsie named this elephant Boo (seen here with Evie). I found this out by asking her what her name is ("Tamsie!"), what my name is ("Mommy!") and what this elephant's name is ("Boo!"). Now she will go and bring me Boo on request, so it's apparently official.
8. Live to please God, not others. Stop thinking about yourself so much. No one else is, anyway! It's a dangerous thing to be a people pleaser, and that's something I can easily fall into if I'm not careful. Galatians 1:10 has been a key verse for me here: "Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ."
And here is T running around while carrying the bear that Evie has named Kiwi. I found out his name the same way, and it has also stuck.
 9. Time is precious, and it goes too quickly. If you realize that a job or relationship or anything you're in is not for you, get out of it as soon as you can. One of the best things I ever did was to quit a job that clearly was not for me and move to Louisville to go to seminary. Also, speaking of time, you make time for what you want to make time for. This applies to God, friendships, everything.
Carissa and Cliff came to hang out Tuesday afternoon! This is kind of what it was like with the three of them the whole time. You should know that T started out in the picture but had vanished by the time camera had flashed.


By the way, luckily for them, the girls have inherited Chris's ability to tan, as you can really see on Evie here.

These days, if Carissa and I want to have legitimate adult conversations, we talk on the phone ahead of time! Not a lot of heart-to-hearts happen around these three, but the five of us sure do have a blast hanging out! :)
10. Don't overcommit. When you do, you're stealing a blessing from someone else who should be serving in the spot that you're taking up. I've done LOTS of overcommitting since having the girls, and I'm still learning my lesson here! But also, don't undercommit. When you do, you're stealing a blessing from yourself and possibly from others you could have served had you taken on the commitment.

That's all for now! I already have some more pictures for the next post, but I think this one is long enough! :)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Happy 21-Month Birthday, T and E!!!

Sharing a banana and their Daddy's lap and showing off their post-nap bedheads this morning
Dear Tamsie and Evangelyn,

Somehow I never did a 20-month post, probably due to the sheer busyness of June, but here I am with your 21-month recap!
I promise they were happy, but it was bright outside!
You have finally graduated to size 4 diapers. You are generally in 12-month clothes. However, some of your 12-month PJs are too small, but your new 18-month PJs are still a little big -- so I guess you're really somewhere in between! I'm thinking T weighs around 22 lbs and E is around 21 currently.
Two cars keep the drama to a minimum! Thank you, Grandaddy, for the second car!
Your favorite foods are berries, string cheese, cottage cheese (you can go through a whole container of this stuff in like 3 days tops!), goldfish, cheese bunnies, smoothies, eggs, chicken nuggets, apple sauce, sweet potatoes, carrots... OK, just about everything, I guess, except black-eyed peas! The best part is that you are asking for things by name these days, which really helps us out a lot when we're trying to figure out what you want!
Half the fun is getting out and in again and again....
As E demonstrates here!
You say silly little things all the time. Like a pack 'n' play is a pack 'n' box in your world. Mickey Mouse is often called Stinky Mouse. The book It's Not Easy Being a Bunny is just Easy Bunny to you. And E in particular loves to say "Thank you, baby!" when she gives you something.
T loves to feed everyone real food and play food. When she does, she opens her mouth really big and sticks out her tongue as far as she can. This picture in no way does it justice, but it's the best I could get at the time!
You are starting to make little friends! Both of you love talking about our neighbors Allie and Pierce. We hear about them constantly!
The girls love to help in any way they can these days. Here they are helping their Daddy put up groceries. They're also becoming really good at cleaning up at the end of the day!
You've pretty much mastered your letters and basic numbers, and you often come very close to counting to 20! You are also doing a great job learning your colors! Both of you know several songs, some of which I never even taught you (like "Baa Baa Black Sheep"), so I'm guessing you learned some bonus material at church or Mother's Day Out.
Friday we went to go see our friends Ashley and Cole, who just so happens to be the future husband of his Vafi twin of choice! ;)
You also love to dance! Tamsie will do a little dance on command.
Saturday we took them to a kids' event at a church nearby.  Both of them loved the petting zoo, but Tamsie refused to get too close to any of the animals. Evie, however, LOVED petting them and even fed them too!
Your personalities continue to shine more and more, and they continue to be VERY different! Tamsie tends to be a little less outgoing when around new people, and Evie is definitely the risk-taker of the two! Tamsie is learning to say "Evie's cup" and bring Evie's cup to her before taking her own. However, if one is going to steal from the other, it will be Tamsie every time, and Evie will come crying to us to tell on her sister! Also, it takes a lot to upset Evie, but when she's mad, LOOK OUT!
My monkey girl and her Daddy
Books continue to be the toys of choice around here, and the current favorites are Peter Rabbit and Caps for Sale. You love pointing your fingers and making the little noises the monkeys make in the book!
I wanted a close-up of Tams, and this is the best she gave me!
Both of you make my life considerably easier by keeping to the same schedules. I tell everyone that having twins must be a million times easier than having two at two different stages, because you entertain each other constantly, eat the same amount at the same times, and sleep at the same times. Some afternoons I'll have as much as a 2.5 to 3-hour break during your mutual naptime!
Here's the best close-up I could get from E! She looks so suspicious of the camera, as if she never has her picture taken - ha!
You are still obsessed with the escalators at the mall and start saying "escalator!" any time we drive anywhere in the vicinity of Wolfchase.
Oh so serious
You are speaking in more and more sentences. Of course we (like all parents do with their kids) think you're geniuses. When you do something particularly impressive, we can't help but thank the Lord for how well He has taken care of you, and for the way He continues to do so!
Oh so dangerous

In early September, Tamsie will go for more kidney tests. I can't tell you two how much I hate having this hanging over our heads, and how ready I am to be on the other side of it all. We're still praying that surgery won't be needed!
Silly girls
Of course, the two of you continue to get attention EVERYWHERE you go. I think you always will!
My mom found the deluxe wagon at Bargain Hunt, and the other one was mine that once stayed at my Grandma's house.
You LOVE playing outside!

Have I mentioned how nonstop busy these girls are?
Whenever you two are split up, you ask where the other one is until you're reunited again! You may drive each other crazy sometimes, but you truly do love each other.
I can't tell you how much they bless my life!
Girls, you are so very loved.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

4th of July

We have had a most spectacular four-day weekend! Thursday we went over to my Uncle Myron and Aunt Lauren's house for my family's 4th of July celebration. Friday we met our friends and neighbors Rachel, Allie and Pierce at the zoo, where we attempted to completely wear out the girls so that they would sleep well all the way to YaYa's house in Madison, MS. The trip down was quite the success, and we were so excited to see YaYa, Papa Herbie and Uncle Noah! We took the girls back home during naptime the following day, which was a little bit less of a success -- 2 hours of napping followed by an hour that seemed more like 10 hours of grouchy girls who kept saying "GET OUT!" which means "GET US OUT OF THIS CAR NOW!!" Today has been a good old normal Sunday, and now I think we're all refreshed and ready to kick off a new week! Here are some recent pics:

THIS is by far the most highly rated book around our house these days. They want to hear it over and over and over. If they haven't heard it all day, they will often refuse all other books we attempt to read them until they've heard this one. I can't even let them play with it on their own, because they fight over it constantly! Thankfully, the story ends with Peter Rabbit falling asleep, so I often use that as an excuse to remove it from the room entirely when we're done reading it -- "Sorry girls, Peter has gone to sleep. Remember?"

Actually, when I tell them that, this is the kind of reaction I get. 

(This is Tamsie.)
(By the way, in case you're wondering why I would ever dream of taking a picture of my girl at a time like this, it's because her facial expression here very much reminds me of one Jennifer W. and I used to make back in the day that became a classic inside joke with us. When I saw T displaying this face, I immediately had to text her a picture!)

Evie's quite the little lady. Here she is playing with her plastic lipstick that came with her toy purse.

T is very proud of the red, white and blue mess she has made!

OK, so she had a little help.

At Myron and Lauren's, T entertained herself by getting in and out of this box all the toys were in. When she was inside, it probably reminded her of happy times in her pack 'n' play, which she and her sister like to refer as the "pack 'n' box."

Just enjoying a nice sisterly chat.
By the way, they had their first actual conversation today (that we've noticed). It went something like this:
T: More milk!
E: No milk.
T: OK.
I'm sure it won't be long before they're discussing the particulars of nuclear physics and exegeting Pauline letters.

But for now, they sometimes need help getting up and down steps.
Twinnies. The only way I got E to wear a white bow for the 4th was to remove the yellow one from the table. She was only able to choose from a collection of white bows. :)

E really didn't want to sit still for this one. That's not a happy face, but a face of grudging obedience.

Model T

OK, I couldn't stop taking pictures of them!

Chasing after Daddy

Chasing after Sissy

Sitting in a chair like a big girl

In Mississippi, we went out to eat at a fabulous pizza restaurant! As usual, the girls particularly enjoyed licking every sprinkle of parmesan cheese off their plates.

None was wasted, if T could help it!

Saturday morning was spent in the pool at YaYa's. E's on the left, and I can't vouch for whatever T's doing.

The next set of pictures were taken by Mrs. DeeDee. I don't know how I missed getting any pics of the girls with her!! :( Here is Chris with Tamsie, and I'm holding Evie (yellow bow alert, of course!).

Once again, Model T
My sweet E. She currently loves saying, "Guess what?! I love you SOOOO much!" -- which she of course picked up from yours truly.
By the way, Happy 36th Anniversary today, parents!! I'm continually blessed by your amazing example.
Guess what? I love you SOOOO much! :)
Since I still have 27 of my 30 for 30 left to cover {and I totally just realized I subconsciously stole the phrase "30 for 30" from the set of ESPN documentaries Chris watches on Netflix every chance he gets... HAHAoops!}, I'll close out with the next one on my list:

4. Love genuinely, and never be afraid of loving too much. You only regret when you didn't love someone enough. This really is based on Romans 12 (which happens to be one of my favorite chapters in the Bible), which says in verses 9 and 10: "Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves." For example, I know sometimes in the moment I'll feel silly reaching out to someone I don't know very well to let them know that I am praying for them about something they're going through, but really the only times I've regretted something like that are the times when I didn't reach out and I should have. I heard from all sorts of people I hadn't heard from in ages back when the girls had just been born and things were all going crazy in our lives, and it just meant the world to me to know we were being prayed for by all these people and that they took the time out of their busy days to let me know. So often a word of encouragement or affirmation can go a very long way!