Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Just another quick one!

I love that the kids will sit (mostly!) at their little tables and eat a snack together. They are so cute! Sometimes, they'll lean over and feed each other a piece of cereal. I'm sure that's not very hygienic, but it sure is sweet!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Like Mother, Like Children

There's no denying they're mine! Ha ha! The kids are finally starting to take interest in the TV, especially if there's singing going on. If there's no music, everyone but Zachary tends to lose interest pretty fast. Zachary would probably sit and watch all day long if I'd let him...which I won't! I don't remember what Reagan is pointing at. Probably a dog (woof-woof, as the kids call them), but it could be anything!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

So Big!

The kids are just getting so big! I hardly know what to do with them! Here they are eating out of plates and using forks and spoons! It's pretty nice to be able to just set a plate of food in front of them and let them feed themselves! You still have to watch them though. If they're not interested in the plate's offerings or if they run out of food, then the plate suddenly becomes a toy! Luckily, no one has yet flung one across the room like a frisbee, but they do regularly get dumped upside down or dropped onto the floor. It's a learning process!

And here they are showing off their climbing skills. They are now able to climb onto the furniture without anybody's help, and from there they can jump around or crawl from one chair to another, etc.

We have had to be VERY careful about leaving the TV trays out. The kids don't understand that they are not sturdy enough to crawl on. We also actually rearranged the living room (again!) so that climbing from one piece to another is not so easy. It seems that with every new skill the kids learn, we have to rearrange furniture to try to keep that new skill from causing great harm to one of them!

Speaking of harm, I could easily do a daily post just about the ways Thomas gets hurt every day. He is going to earn his childhood! The other day I caught his fingers in a drawer, and then he got his hand stuck in a door that Reagan was putting all her weight into closing! I was surprised that one didn't leave a mark! Today, as the kids were all filing into the playroom for their morning snack, Zachary went through the gate and then slammed it behind him, hitting Thomas square in the face. And on the way to naptime, he stepped on a hat and his foot slid out from under him, sending him crashing to the ground! There's no telling what will happen to him tonight!
Bring it on!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Choo Choo Wagon!

Okay, finally I have time for a post on the incredibly cool Choo Choo Wagon! If any of you read the Murray Crew blog, then you've already seen it (Check them out at 4tunate in the right-hand sidebar!), and they inspired us to ask for one for Christmas! And happily, Daddy Bud and KayKay got it, and we LOVE it!

Because it's so big, they had it shipped to us, and we actually got it in November. But it was technically a Christmas present, so I hated to post about it before Christmas. But that didn't stop us from using it! It's really the greatest thing! Here it is:

Daddy Bud pulls the kids across the yard

What I love most about it is that each child has his/her own compartment. We've tried pulling them in one big wagon before, and it was just so crowded for them, and they were always pushing each other and crawling around. Now they each have their own space (with a seat belt to keep them contained!). And it pulls so easy! I can finally take the kids for a walk all by myself!

It also came in pretty handy the week before Thanksgiving when we had so much company. Andy loved riding in the Choo Choo too! Of course, this meant Reagan and Jonathan ended up sharing a seat, which kind of goes against my everyone-has-their-own-space happiness, it was the only way they could all ride. And we rode in it like crazy that week!

Here is Jim pulling the kids at the park that week. We love our Choo Choo Wagon so much! I'm so glad we were able to use it before the weather turend so very cold! In case you're interested, the basic Choo Choo is the first two cars (blue and green). The orange cars are add-ons, so the size is adjustable for larger or smaller groups of kids. You can check out Step 2's website by clicking here!


Okay, perhaps I was a bit overly dramatic in my last post. There’s a reason I taught Creative Writing for five years! Sometimes the English teacher in me takes over, and I become more interested in writing a good story than in expressing the exact truth of things. Not that what I wrote wasn’t true, but just not in the overwhelming way I portrayed. I unwittingly painted a picture of having spent my younger days in continuous depression, which is far from the truth. Most of the time I was perfectly happy! When I look back on those days, my overall impression is a happy one. I loved high school and college! I’ve said so and meant it a million times, even though those are precisely the years of my life that I was writing about. I was a happy person. I’m still a happy person! I’ll bet there’s not a single person who read my last post who didn’t remember feeling the same way at some point in their life. I think everyone feels that way sometimes. I’m just sorry I made it sound like I felt that way all the time. I didn’t!

Friday, January 18, 2008


Once upon a time there was a girl who didn’t like herself very much. Oh, she had friends and she made good grades and she never got in trouble and she was happy as far as anyone could tell. But at night, when she was alone, she felt very plain and boring and unimportant, and she doubted it would matter for very long if she disappeared forever. Yes, people would notice she was gone, and they would miss her for a little while, but not for long. There wasn’t much to miss.

That girl was me. She’s not me now, but that was me many years ago. Now, don't get me wrong, I was a loved child. I have a wonderful family and I never doubted that they loved me or that my friends cared about me. And I wasn't suicidal or anything! I just had, for whatever reason, incredibly low self-esteem. Maybe it was the really, really big glasses I used to wear! Ha ha! It probably had a lot to do with my age. The teen and early twenties years are well-known for their high levels of drama. Anyway, what happened to change my life? That’s easy, God sent Jim.

I first met Jim through my friend Michelle, at her wedding actually. She married Jim’s friend Judah, and we were both in the wedding. It was a casual meeting, nothing special. But then a few months later, Michelle and Judah invited me and some of their other friends to go skiing. Jim was one of those friends.

We got to know each other a little better on that trip. We learned to ski together, neither of us ever having done it before. We kidded around, we talked, but it was nothing special. Until all of a sudden it was.

Our last night, we all went out to dinner together. As we were leaving the restaurant, Jim held the door as we all trailed out. I thanked him as I passed. As we were making our way cautiously across the frozen parking lot and back to our condo, he came up behind me, placed his hand on the small of my back and whispered in my ear, “Thanks for saying thank you. You’re the only one that did.” And then he was gone, off to catch up to the guys ahead of us.

It wasn’t a particularly profound moment. It wasn’t anything that anyone else would have noticed and smiled to themselves about or teased me about later. But it was a life-altering moment for me because in that instant, with that touch, suddenly I noticed Jim and I felt like I could be someone he might notice too, and I suddenly really wanted him to notice me!

As it turned out, he had already noticed me. Perhaps you saw that coming. I didn’t. I was too busy feeling destined for spinsterhood to notice his attempts to gain my notice all week long! Nevertheless, his persistence won out in the end.

So what does this story have to do with anything? Why share it with you today instead of more pictures of our beautiful children? Well, today is a special day. Ten years ago today, not long after the trip I mentioned above, Jim kissed me for the first time. It was a big deal for me because there weren’t a whole lot of kisses in my pre-Jim days.

And now, thanks to Jim’s love and support and encouragement, I no longer see myself the way I did back then. I feel beautiful and smart and interesting, like someone people will enjoy being around. I still battle my shyness around new people, but we’re working on it! Jim is such an inspiration to me, the way he draws people to him. He has been the greatest blessing God has ever given me. He makes me feel like I can do anything I set my mind to, and since we’ve been together, I have! It’s amazing how God can see exactly what you need, when you have no idea! He knew that Jim was what I needed in my life, and He brought us together. And I thank Him for it every day!

I love you, Jim! Here's to our next ten years together!

So Tired

Alas, the dreaded day finally came. We've officially dropped out morning nap! I've held onto it much longer than the kids have needed it. It was really hard to give up that morning alone-time, but I just had to face the fact that the kids no longer need two naps.

It has been an adjustment, but we are doing pretty well. I am managing to get some things done even with the kids all around me, and they are slowly learning that they don't need my attention every single second. It's a growing experience for all of us!

They get a little cranky before lunch, but perk up as soon as food hits their trays. By the end of lunch they are starting to really feel the effects of no sleep, so the afternoon nap now comes about 1:30 instead of 2:30. The only other change is the return of Reagan's end-of-meal drowsing. It's been a long time since anyone has fallen asleep in the highchair!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Joy of Reading

Back when I was pregnant and still working, I used to think, "I can't wait til I quit work! I'll get to read all the books I haven't had time for!" But then I quit work and didn't read all that much. Mostly I watched TV and wrote thank-you cards! And then the babies came, and there was barely time to eat, much less even glance at a book from across the room!

But sometime early last year, when the kids settled into more predictable routines, sudden;y I had time for myself again. Now granted, I spend a lot of my child-free time loading and unloading the dishwasher or doing laundry and picking up toys and books and socks, etc., but I also make time to do things I enjoy, like blog and scrapbook and spend time with Jim and READ!

My friend Becky started keeping a list last year of all the books she read in 2007, and at the end of the year was surprised and delighted to find that she had read 47 books! That got me to thinking...what a great idea! and I wonder how many books I read last year! Well, it's impossible for me to remember all the books I read last year. I'm sure there weren't 47 of them! But I do like the idea of keeping track of the books I read, so I'm going to do it here!

Last night I finished my second book for 2008, so here is my list of books for 2008. I will continue to add to this list as the year goes on, so feel free to click on the link in the What Mommy's Reading section if you ever want to see how I'm doing!

(Becky requested that I rank the books so you the reader will know if they are, in my opinion, any good or not. I'm not good at ranking things, but I'll leave a brief opinion for each one, okay?)

1. Shopaholic and Baby by Sophie Kinsella--the fifth in a hilarous series, I've loved them all!

2. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield--an excellent read, mysterious, couldn't put it down

3. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte--one of my all-time faves! I enjoy it every time I read it!

4. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis--another classic, I had never read it but thoroughly enjoyed it!

5. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde--the first in a series of very cleverly written books for anyone who loves literature, espescially British lit

6. Raising a Modern-Day Knight by Robert Lewis--a thought-provoking read for anyone who wants to raise godly sons

7. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver--this book really made me think about how the world sees me as a Christian, and how far I'm willing to go to do the work of the Lord

8. Whispers of the Bayou by Mindi Starnes Clark--an entertaining and easy read, interesting Cajan history interwoven with mystry plot

9. The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella--entertaining and funny, I enjoyed this book but not as much as her shopaholic series

10. The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gragory--a thrilling read if you like historical fiction and have an interest in the life of Henry VIII, or at least his wives and mistresses!

11. The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis--the next in the Narnia series, a good book, but not as good as Lion, Witch and Wardrobe

12. Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson--super-short classic that I had somehow never read, I found I knew a lot less about the story than I thought, and really enjoyed it, very thought-provoking!

13. Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson--a wonderful true story that proves one person can make a difference
14. Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge--a must-read for all women! I highly recommend it!
15. Love in the Time of Cholera--an interesting read, very digressive story, it was okay
16. Uglies by Paul Westerfeld--book 1 of a really fun sci-fi trilogy involvong a future society where everyone gets plastic surgery at the age of 16 to become pretty, before that you're an ugly, absolutely loved it! Be warned-cliffhanger ending!
17. Pretties by Paul Westerfeld--book 2 of the above trilogy, another great fun read, HAD to read it after reading the first one, loved it too!
18. Specials by Paul Westerfeld--book 3 of the above trilogy, loved it but not as much as the first two, was sad when it was over though, would love the story to go on
19. Mother Teresa by Kathryn Spink--an inspiring biography of an inspiring woman
20. Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire--an intersting sequel to Wicked, a good read but not great
21. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley--a classic, if you've only ever seen the movie versions, you'll be surprised by the book, it's not what you expect!
22. A Cry in the Night by Mary Higgens Clark--a nice, mystery that doesn't make you think too hard
23. Princess by Jean Sason--very interesting true story of the life of a princess in Saudi Arabia
24. The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian--a must-have, must-read over and over for every wife, in my opinion!
25. Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis--Narnia's 4th book, a good read but not as good Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe, I look forward to seeing the movie version soon, I feel like they must have changed it quite a bit to have made this story into an action-packed movie, but maybe not

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

18-month Checkups

It's hard to believe the kids are a year and a half old! Before I can turn around, they'll be two! The time is flying by so fast, but we're enjoying every minute of it! Well...most of the minutes anyway!

The kids are at a really fun stage, learning new things with every breath it seems. They always surprise us with some new skill. Most recently they've learned to buckle the straps that hold them into their high chairs. Thomas is especially good at it and likes to go down the line of chairs, buckling all the belts. Luckily, they haven't yet figured out how to unbuckle them!

They've also finally started saying some words! Hurrah! Most of them they say once and then we don't hear them again, but there are a few that are constant. They all say mama and dada and actually mean us. They can also all say hi/hey and bye, accompanied by waving. Zachary is particularly fond of these two words and loves to say Hey! to you from across the room. He'll say it over and over, waving the whole time, until he gets your attention. It's so adorable! Two other words we get often are more and done, mostly from Thomas. They also will say woof-woof when they see a dog (or a cat or often any other random animal!). Other words we have heard a few times are ball, dog, diaper, shoe, cheese, and I don't what else. It's hard to keep up!

Their verbal skills are a little behind the average, but we aren't concerned. Not yet anyway! It's not unusual for multiples to have speech delays. They definitely find ways to communicate, even though they don't have words for what they want to say, and their comprehension is amazing! I'm always talking to them just about whatever we happen to be doing at the moment and am surprised and delighted when they respond in some way that lets me know that they actually understand what I'm saying. They are great at finding things that are lost. I'll say something like, "Does anyone know where Zachary's sippy cup is?" and minutes later one of them will bring it to me! Reagan led me to a missing laundry basket the other day.

In addition to working on developing our verbal skills, we are also working on learning to eat with spoons and forks. See pictures below, and I imagine in several posts to follow!

Anyway, here is a rundown of new weights and percentages. However, let me say Reagan and Thomas had their checkups before Christmas and right after our bout of RSV and they (especially Thomas) didn't eat well at all the whole week or more leading up to this visit, so I can't vouch for these being a really accurate reflection of their normal weights. They are accurate for after a week of fasting! Jonathan and Zachary didn't have their checkups until 2 weeks later.

22lbs even, a mere 7% for weight
He's also at 7% for height, which I don't normally mention, at just over 30 in tall. He is the smallest of the four, quite noticeably so when you see all four of them together. But he makes up for it with cuddliness! Jonathan loves to snuggle and be held and gives great hugs followed by a huge smile. Such a sweetheart!

Still the biggest, Zachary now weighs 25lb 7oz. He's a big boy, although apparently still smaller than the average as he only hits 40% with that weight. He's a full inch taller than Jonathan, but that only gets him to 25%, so he's also short for his age. Zachary has learned to use his weight to his advantage when playing with his siblings, often dragging them to the ground and then lying on them so they can't get up. He laughs and laughs, and usually, but not always, his victim does too!

Our reigning princess maintains her second-place standings in the weight category at 23lb 5oz which puts her at 45% (when compared to other girls) even though she is smaller than Zachary. They are almost the same height, but that makes Reagan perfectly average for a girl. Poor boys! She is the happiest thing, smiling all the time, unless you are trying to take her picture! But she's also quite a little mischief-maker who loves to snatch her brothers' toys and run off with them, cackling with glee while the afflicted brother is either reduced to tears or inspired to run after her!

Thomas weighs (or did at the time anyway) 22lbs 8.5oz which puts him at 10%. Like the other boys, he is short for his age, barely taller than Jonathan and only 8%. Thomas is a spitfire if ever there was one! He is always moving, even strapped in a chair, he's bouncing or swaying or rocking. The child cannot be still! He's easily frustrated when he can't figure something out and will throw an impressive but short-lived tantrum before usually returning to the frustrating task and trying again and sometimes again and again! He almost perpetually has a bump on his head from falling down or running into things. I don't think he can pass by a piece of furniture without running into it! Still, he's the cutest, funniest kid, always making us laugh. And he will jabber at you in the most intelligent way, as if he's really saying something that you ought to understand because he obviously does!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

2007 Posts

Partly because I saw this on another blog (not Becky's, but what a thief I am!) and partly because I've just recently learned how to do the links and I'm kind of excited about it...

Here are links to some of my favorite posts from 2007. Not all of them are actually about 2007. Some of them are early posts when I was writing about 2006. Just click on the link!

The Pregnancy
Thomas in the NICU
Mt Rushmore
Games Babies Play
Mean Games Babies Play
And the Walking Award Goes To...
A Total Infestation

Reflections on 2007

I'm stealing from my friend Becky again! It won't be the last time! I don't feel too bad though because she stole the idea from someone else first!

2007 is gone, and although I'm mostly focused on what 2008 holds for my family, I think it's good to also take a moment to reflect upon what we did in 2008. So here is a list of firsts we encountered in 2007...

What We Did in 2007!

1. Discovered Mobility--This year the kids learned to crawl, climb, cruise, and finally walk! It was a big year for physical development, leading up to the current state of chaos we now exist in. The kids are always running around the house and you never know what they're going to get into next! Every day is an adventure!

2. Started a Blog!--In Jan of 2007 I wrote the first post for this blog! I have loved having a blog! It gives me a creative outlet and allows me to share this precious and amazing family with the world!

3. Did it Alone--Jim and I both learned to take care of the kids by ourselves this year. Naturally, this is something singleton parents do often immediately, but we were blessed with loads of help to tend all the babies, and they had been around for months before either of us really had to do alone. Now, I keep the kids by myself nearly every day, and Jim has taken care of them by himself too. I'm proud of us both!

4. Became Literary--Jim and I joined a book club this past year. Well, I guess, started a book club is more accurate, but I have to give Michelle credit for it being her idea in the first place. She said we should have a book club, and Jim and I made it happen! There are 6 of us total, 4 girls and 2 guys, and it has been really fabulous! I love that Jim and I are reading the same books and then getting together with friends to discuss them. I think it makes us all feel smart, which is something I don't feel much of the day..."Look a doggie! Do you see the doggie? Where is the doggie? What does a doggie say?"

5. Turned One!--As you probably know, the kids celebrated their first birthdays in 2007. Read all about it here!

6. Returned to Church--We were pretty reclusive throughout the kids' first winter/RSV season, but as Spring arrived and our potential for serious illness faded, we braved the outside world and starting going to church regularly again. Well, as regularly as we could anyway! What a joy it has been to worship God with our church family again, to fellowship with them, to sing and pray and hear the Word of God in a church setting...while the kids played in the nursery! Ahhh, so nice! Unfortunately, nursery care only covers us until the kids are 2, so we'll be starting "church-training" soon. That is, bringing 1 child with us to worship while the others are in the nursery, to start getting them used to somewhat appropriate church behavior. We'll see how it goes!

I could probably go on and on, but this is getting long already! It was a big year for firsts! I look forward to the firsts that 2008 holds for us!

What did you do in 2007?

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Volunteer Victory!

A little belated--but congrats to the Tennessee Volunteers on their Bowl Game victory!

Go Vols!!!

Christmas in Memphis

We trekked across the state to Memphis for Christmas this year, only our second time to ever do it. The car ride did not go quite as smoothly as 6 months ago. They just didn't sleep as much this time. Nevertheless, we survived the ride with some help from the portable DVD player and quite a few goldfish crackers!



It was so great to get to spend a little time with my nieces. Kinley is getting so big! And Kallen is just adorable! Aren't they beautiful?

All the cousins!

The kids got some great new toys. We didn't have any trucks or cars and very little that was truly girly until this Christmas. Thanks everybody!

We also got to see Uncle George and Aunt Nancy--always a joy!

Jodie hosted a brunch at her house Christmas morning for both sides of her family. What a full house that was! 13 adults and 10 children, I think. Here are some of the kids, picnic-ing in the floor. I was both surprised and pleased by how well my kids ate from the floor. I really expected them to be constantly snatching food from the other children's plates, but they didn't really. They were very good. Maybe they were overwhelmed to be around so many kids who are bigger than them!

Here Jonathan and I are with Juli, our amazing Memphis photographer who took all those great shots of them when we visited this past summer!

The whole family!

We always stop at Opry Mills Mall when we pass through Nashville, to give the kids a break from the car. On this trip we discovered a new aquarium store or restaurant or something that had this great aquarium out front. The kids were entranced! They loved it!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Happy Birthday Tyler!

Happy 1st Birthday, Cousin Tyler!

What a cutie! Yes, Cousin Tyler turns the big One today, and we wish him a truly wonderful birthday! He's always a joy to have around--seriously one of the happiest babies I've ever known! We love you, Tyler!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Belated Merry Christmas!

Better late then never right?

Here is our final Christmas picture! It took 2 days and 94 shots to get this! We hope you like it!

From our family to all of you out there with an interest in our lives: We hope you had a very merry Christmas! May God bless you as He has blessed us!


Fever. Runny nose. Cough. Nope, not the! But not today. I'm better now. But this was a good description of me on Sunday. I still can't believe I had a fever! I don't think I've had a fever in fifteen years or more! Maybe I caught RSV! Ha!

Anyway, I felt awful. Much too awful to deal with four toddlers all day, or at all for that matter. So Jim had to take over as super-parent for the day, and I have to say he did a fantastic job!

He changed every single diaper, provided three healthy meals plus snacks, handled playtime and naptime, fights and falls. He did it all! And I think the kids yelled a lot less than they normally do for me! I could hear them through the bedroom door when I wasn't asleep, laughing and playing together and having a great time!

All that and he still found time to make me homemade chicken noodle soup! It was so good! I have the sweetest husband ever!