Sunday, October 20, 2013


Michael and I are celebrating six years of marriage today!  Each year we collaborate on an anniversary post and this time we decided to incorporate Jude & Sloane.  We each came up with six qualities of one another that we hope are genetic and therefore pass onto the twins. 


Jude and Sloane,
Your dad is so many great things.  I could make this post last for days, but I've narrowed it down to six qualities I genuinely hope made their way into your cute DNA. 

Your dad is so giving.  He is first to volunteer when someone needs help and never expects (or allows) anything in return.  I've learned to keep my mouth shut when we go to the mall because if I point to something I like, it will be a gift in the future (don't get any ideas, kids).  He will contribute to any cause and that is why we'll be receiving a large amount of Boy Scout popcorn in the very near future.  He doesn't even really like popcorn (unless we're at a movie). 

Your dad is the best listener I know... unless there is a sports game playing on the television directly behind you.  :)  I have discussed so many ridiculous problems with him and he's never once told me the problems are, in fact, ridiculous.  Sometimes he offers advice, other times he just nods encouragingly and lets me vent.  And once I'm done, he doesn't forget it.  Days or weeks will go by and he'll follow-up to make sure everything is OK.  Half the time I don't even remember the issue but he never forgets.  He is so thoughtful.

Your dad is hilarious.  He is not the class clown, he's the one making quiet comical remarks to the person standing next to him.  I'm so glad I get to be that person--one day you will be too.  When he smiles his eyes disappear (just like yours, Sloane)!  Life isn't always funny but it's so much better when you can laugh with your family. 

I realize this is quite different from the other traits, but it's a huge part of your dad's life.  While his expertise is soccer, he is a natural athlete and quite good at every sport he attempts (except for co-ed intramural softball, which is something we don't discuss).  I know a lot of his confidence comes from his athletic ability, which carries over to everyday life.  Not to mention he has fantastic legs. I'm sorry, that may be weird for you two to hear.  But it's true.

Your dad is a financial analyst, which means he deals with numbers and spreadsheets every day.  He is great at his job and loves what he does.  While his work is very left brain, his creativity outside of the office is what impresses me the most.  His thoughts and ideas are so original and he expresses them well.  He's a great storyteller and I love watching his eyes light up as he talks.  His stories about you two are by far the best.  

Your dad is so humble.  It drives me crazy sometimes because I want him to understand what a gem he is.  While I take out the trash and expect a standing ovation, he quietly goes about his business and never expects (or wants) a thing.  He is an outstanding husband, father, and friend. And if you tell him this he will smile shyly and compliment you back.  I'm not sure he's ever simply said, "Thanks."  Never, ever, ever take for granted what an amazing dad you have.


Your mother has mastered the art of two different types of jokes.  The overly cheesy so it's funny variety, and the sneak attack.  The overly cheesy is usually accompanied by an equally cheesy smile, or a laugh that would put the laugh track of a terrible comedy to shame.  The sneak attack will come at the end of a normal conversation and catch you off guard.  Sometimes you won't realize you've been had until minutes later, but if you recognize the situation as it's happening, she can't hide how happy she is with herself.  Both will bring a quick smile to your face.

Your mother doesn't lose.  I won't say she cheats, but rules were made to be bent.  You might scare a couple of friends early on with torn Candyland game boards or thrown Monopoly pieces (don't let her be the banker), but you could do worse than to attack everything in life with such passion.

We'll have to try to make a list some day of all the commercials that have brought your mom to tears.  Google had three in a row while she was pregnant with you guys.  However, she's not some sap that will cry at anything.  She's extremely loyal to her family and would do anything for them.  That includes you.  You're lucky to have her, so you can let it slide when she cries at a commercial about E-mail.  

There is a small armory of laughs from which your mother may draw at any moment.  There is a laugh combined with scoffing that comes out during reality television shows that she definitely doesn't watch.  When she's really caught off guard by something funny, a half laugh/half shout will explode from her lungs that will certainly make you jump.  When tickled, which she supposedly hates, her laugh follows a bell curve with strong laughter at each end and silent shaking in the middle.  They're all a lot of fun to be around, and infectious.

I hope that you are patient because your outfits on school picture days will see 5 iterations and you'll have to model them for her each time.  All kidding aside (no seriously, at least 5), your mother can plan anything and she has a unique eye that will provide some great birthday parties along the way.  She'll also be able to find the right mix of letting you be rebellious without seeing you walk out the door looking like part of a gypsy tribe.  Your English papers will see the most thorough proofreading of anyone in your class.  The downside?  Those rooms better be clean.

Your mom has pretty average feet.  Your dad has completely out of proportion, hobbit/ogre feet...or paws?  Sloane, you seem to be following in mom's footsteps.  I don't know how you hold yourself up on those things.  Jude, that's my bad.  It sounds like you're going to kick your crib through the wall when you wake up.  Barefoot water skiing sounds like fun.  

While this list was fun to compile, anything you take from your mother will be a blessing, and I'll enjoy trying to identify the different ways you both take after her. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

On My Current State

Jude and Sloane are about to turn one.

People ask how I'm doing.  I put a smile on my face and tell them about Jude & Sloane's birthday party, about their recent discoveries, about their hair or lack of hair.  I talk about each of these things because I won't--I can't--talk about the fact that my babies are no longer babies.

I'm not handling it well.

When Michael and I decided to have a baby, each month went by so slowly.  Once I was pregnant, time seemed to pick up a bit, back to the "normal" I was so accustomed to.  But once I held Jude & Sloane in my arms, someone hit the fast forward button and I've spent the last year trying to keep up.

When you have one child at a time you have a chance to take a breath and celebrate each milestone.  While it may be bittersweet, you know in the back of your head you will revisit this milestone with his or her sibling in one year, two years, three years, etc.  For us, we get two or three weeks and then... it's over.  Both rolled over.  Both crawled.  And as of today, both have taken steps.  Every first is a last.  Every sweet moment is over before I have the chance to let the newness sink in.  And while I'm not complaining--I am so grateful my kids are healthy and developing on track--I just want to hit the pause button.  Just for a moment. And maybe replay a few moments that were gone too soon.

I want my babies to sleep in my arms again.  I want to see them discover their hands, their feet, each other... for the first time.  I want to hear their sweet cries in the delivery room.  I want to see Jude's baby penguin hair stick straight up.  I want to see Sloane smile after being so serious her first few months. I want to watch my husband hold his tiny son and daughter in the crook of his arm.

I'm so grateful I was given the opportunity to experience each.

And now, I will continue to enjoy the small moments, push through the tough moments, and celebrate the big moments. I will make sure Jude & Sloane know they are loved through each of these moments.  I will make sure they understand how easy that is for me to do.

Who knew two tiny babies could change my whole world?  It's been the best, most refreshing surprise of my life. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Jude & Sloane | 11 months

Jude & Sloane are 11 months old!  There's no denying it--they look like toddlers.  It almost feels strange calling them "babies," though I plan on doing it for 60 more years.

This was a big month for both of them and I can't wait to tell you all about it! 

Our once timid (solid food) eaters now eat with reckless abandon.  I made the mistake of giving them a bite of my pumpkin muffin the other day and now anytime I eat around them they crawl towards me like zombies.  It used to be a little difficult to eat in front of them--it is now impossible.  However, I absolutely love that they are eager to try new things.  Gone are the days when I would beg each of them to just take a bite (and not spit it back out).

They're nursing four or five times a day, eating three solid meals, and dozens of Cheerios.  I'm still pureeing some food but am mostly giving them whole (cut up) fruits and vegetables, cheese (I think Jude has a slight allergy), and bits of pasta & bread (whatever I happen to be eating: muffins, pancakes, toast, etc.).  They've mastered the sippy cup and now want to drink their weight in water.  I'm really proud of how far they've come in the last few months, and am breathing a huge sigh of relief because I felt they were behind.  Turns out I will NOT have to pack a blender when they leave for college. Whew!

Not much has changed here.  They nap at 10a and around 2:30p.  They still wake up once during the night--sometimes it is midnight and other times it is 6a.  They're also starting the days a little earlier--typically around 7:30a.  Going down for naps can be frustrating.  They are both so chatty and as soon as I put them down they crawl towards the other's crib, stand up, and discuss the day's events.  They trade, steal, and drop pacifiers, so most days I'm in and out of the nursery multiple times before they finally fall asleep.  The good news is they love to chat with one another when they wake up so if I'm in the middle of something it buys me a bit of time.

Oh do these two love to play.  They are all over the place and can turn our immaculate playroom into a disaster in less than a minute.  One of their favorite "games" is to completely empty the toy box.  Sloane dives right in and recklessly throws toys over her shoulder--you'd think she was searching for treasure.  She also likes to do this with clean laundry much to her mom's chagrin.

They play quite well together and love to mimic one another.  If Jude claps, Sloane responds by clapping.  This is also true for when one coughs, which if you've heard an 11-month-old fake a cough, it's quite funny (think Zoolander and his black lung).  One of my biggest concerns: Jude is very powerful and doesn't know his own strength.  His favorite thing to do is lift his arms above his head and body slam the person closest to him.  When that person weighs 20 pounds, it's not pretty.  When siblings are different ages, the oldest can be told to "be gentle" and "soft hands," but in our case it's impossible.  I hate to get onto him because I know it's completely innocent and his way of showing affection, but we all have bruises and scratches thanks to our not-so-gentle giant.

We take daily walks around the neighborhood in the wagon--we all really enjoy the fresh air.  I will be sad when it's too cold to continue our walks (we're in Dallas so that is approximately two weeks of the year).

At the beginning of the month we went on a small road trip.  University of Tulsa had their annual soccer alumni weekend so we dropped Michael off in Tulsa and then continued driving to Fort Smith to stay with my parents for a few days.  Poppy and Gramsie saw firsthand how much Jude & Sloane have changed in such a short amount of time!  Michael had fun with his soccer buddies and getting the chance to sleep in for once.  :)

I "traveled" to south Dallas (Bishop Arts District) with my life group girls for a few days and had a wonderful time.  We rented a gorgeous house with fabulous gardens.  This was my second time to be away from the kids (first time they were 4 months).  I started pumping again so they'd have food while I was gone and was a little concerned because they've refused bottles for the past few months.  Instead, Michael gave them their milk via sippy cups and all was well.  It felt very strange to be responsible for absolutely no one but myself for a weekend.  I had a great time but was so excited to see my little family. 

As I mentioned above, this was a big month for these two!  Sloane went from two teeth to seven, started standing without holding onto anything for longer periods of time, and took her first steps!  She also started deliberately pointing at certain objects while saying "dah" (light in their nursery, any picture of Michael, and one of our Deep Ellum Film Festival posters). 

Jude is now standing without holding onto anything, balances on his belly on the base speaker, and had his first haircut.  He also chews on his crib--he taught Sloane to do the same--and has taken a keen interest in learning how things operate. 

Both love to play peek-a-boo and if either of us says "peek-a-boo" they reach for the nearest object and put it in front of their face.

9.23 - First haircut
9.25 - Stood alone for 5+ seconds

9.1 - Top right central incisor
9.9 - Top left central incisor
9.13 - Top right lateral incisor
9.16 - Stood alone for 10+ seconds at a friend's house (Jude applauded)
9.26 - Took two consecutive steps and top left lateral incisor
9.30 - Bottom left lateral incisor

Dear Jude,
Beautiful boy, you have changed so much this month!  I know all babies grow rapidly but I feel like you grew into a toddler overnight.  Your face has thinned out, as have your arms, legs, and belly.  You will still hug and cuddle, but only for a moment and then you want down so you can explore your surroundings.  I've put up several barriers to prevent you two from getting to certain areas of the house. I watch you study it for several minutes and then slowly but surely break through the barrier each time.   It is fascinating to see how much you understand at such a young age.

Your eating has improved dramatically this month!  No longer a picky eater, you happily eat anything we put in front of you and only get frustrated when I don't give you a bite of what I'm currently enjoying (I typically break down and give you some but it has made me realize I need to work on my own eating habits as most of the stuff isn't healthy enough for you). 

You are so very strong and while I stand amazed at what you can lift, move, and push, I worry about your little sister who turns into your personal punching bag.  I know you two are playing as you both laugh the entire time... until someone gets hurt.  And someone always gets hurt.  But sweet boy, when she cries you remove your hands from her immediately and I can tell you are upset as well.  I adore how well you two play together and pray your bond grows stronger each day.

I'm not sure how much you weigh, but you are wearing 12-18 month clothes and size 4 diapers.  You have 8 teeth and blonde hair (that no longer covers your ears or neck)!  Your dad and I took you to get your first haircut and it was such a sweet moment for us.  Miss Courtney babysat Sloane so we could make the afternoon all about you.  You sat so still in the chair and loved when she used the clippers around your ears.

I'm not sure why, but you've been waking up at odd hours during the night and only relax when you nurse.  Sometimes I am so tired I fall asleep in the chair, but other times I just stare at your sweet face, play with your soft hair, and spend time in prayer, thanking God for you and your sister.  I remember similar prayers during the middle of the night when you two were kicking inside my belly.  I remember thinking I couldn't love you more.  And now, sweet Jude, I realize it's possible.

Dear Sloane,
You really shook things up this month!  We'd about decided you were only going to have two teeth and then one popped up... and another... and another.  You now have seven teeth, little one!  It has made eating easier for you, though it never was much of an issue.  You are the queen of Cheerios and can clear a plate faster than your mom, which is impressive and also a little terrifying.

We knew you weren't far from taking a few steps, but had no idea how quickly it would all transpire.  From standing on your own for several seconds, to taking a few timid steps, to practically walking (this is cheating because it didn't happen until October 1, but you took eight consecutive steps, my dear!), you blew us away with how quickly you adapted to this new mode of transportation.

You are so observant--you received this trait from your Dad and Mimi.  While your brother is hands-on and focuses on what is in front of him, you look past that to the walls and ceilings.  You point at everything and I love telling you what it is you're looking at.  When you were a newborn and upset, Gramsie would give you a tour of our house and describe the same things you are pointing at now. 

You are mostly wearing 12-18 month clothes and size 3 diapers.  Your eczema is completely gone (hooray!) and you now have the softest skin.  You have long arms and legs and constantly point your toes when you're sitting down.  Several friends have said you will be a great ballerina one day.  I can already picture you in a tutu and tights and can't help but smile at the thought.   While your hair is still sparse on top, it is growing in nice and full in the back.  I can't get over how dark it is (especially compared to Jude's hair).  I think you're going to be a dark-haired, blue-eyed beauty. 

Sloane, you are such a flirt.  This has both of us a little worried.  When we are out and about you smile at every stranger--especially men.  I've watched even the unhappiest of men turn into a puddle when you flash them a smile.  Several strangers have stopped and said you and Jude made their day with your smiles.  I love that you two have the ability to brighten someone's day and hope it is a trait you carry with you always.  But seriously, the flirting needs to slow down a bit.  :)

You and your brother have made our family complete.  I love seeing the world through your eyes--you have taught me far more than I will ever be able to teach you.  What a sweet gift God gave us when he created you, our precious daughter.

Love you - Mom


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