Spring Fever

I've been playing around with the layout and design of the blog today.  Can you tell I'm ready for spring?  We have snow/ice/sleet AGAIN today, and it's really making me long for the coming spring.  I just love when everything is so fresh and new...so green in those first few weeks of spring.  Last year, Addison and Mackenzie arrived right in the middle of those glorious early spring weeks.  Now, in just about two months, we will be celebrating their first year of life.  Is it just me, or was 2009 the fastest year ever??  I do love that their birthday is near Easter, so there should be no abundance of spring-themed party supplies!  I have a few details in mind for the party, but I have a lot more to do, so expect more birthday talk coming soon.

In the meantime, bear with me as I figure out exactly what look I'm going for on the blog.  : )  Have a great weekend, and if you're in north Alabama, try to stay warm!  (I'm going home to put on a big pot of potato soup...)


Baby Names

Today's question of the week over on Multiples and More is all about baby names.  Naming two babies was a bit more in some ways, but it actually worked out well because we each got have our favorites without having to narrow it down to just one!  I don't think I've ever gone into much detail about the names we chose, so here goes...

Mary Addison was named after Jeremy's maternal grandmother, Mary.  We have just called her Addison so far, but we have not totally ruled out calling her by her full double name.  I guess we should decide that soon so she's not totally confused! 

Mackenzie Ross was named after my maternal grandmother, Mamie Ross.  Actually, my mom and I both also share the middle name Ross, so Mackenzie is the fourth generation with her middle name. 

So how did we get to these names?  We started with the family parts of the names-Mary and Ross, and picked names that we liked along with them.  We definitely did not want "matchy" or rhyming names, but I did want them to flow well together.  After all, they will probably go hand-in-hand for the next 20 years or so!  I spent a lot of time saying names out loud to myself.  It just worked out that their first initials are the same...that wasn't necessarily intended.  We did name them before they were born; Addison was the feisty Baby A, and Mackenzie was the more laid-back Baby B.  I liked to rub them and talk to them individually when they were in my belly.

Other top choices for names included Mary Katherine, Mary Adelyn, and Maggie Ross.  It's funny, but we never spent much time on boys' names.  I said from the beginning that we were having girls, and I think Jeremy believed me.  The few times we talked about it, we couldn't really agree, though I liked Collin and Luke (and Jack, but Jeremy ruled it out!). 

I tend to like traditional names, though I realize Addison and Mackenzie are pretty trendy right now.  They are the names we agreed on that went with our chosen family names, and now I think they suit our little girls perfectly!


Giving Back

One of the first books I am reading in this new year is Crazy Love, by Francis Chan.  I have heard many great things about this book, but I didn't really know what I was in for when I began reading.  Chan is straightforward and hard-hitting, challenging Christians to stop living "lukewarm" lives and begin living the lives our God means for us to live.  I have been reminded again how great and loving our God is, and how sinful and undeserving we are.  And yet, He continues to love us and constantly desires for us to love him more deeply and passionately.  What an amazing God we serve!

While thinking about all the blessings I've received in this life, I can't help but be reminded of those who have so little.  Watching news coverage and reading reports of the catastrophe in Haiti just breaks my heart.  And yet, in the midst of it, there are stories about people stepping up to make a difference.  Have you heard about the sisters from PA who were finally rescued with 53 of their orphans?  How amazing are they??  One of Chan's points is that all of the amazing and wonderful things people do for others have to start somewhere.  We tend to say things like-oh, those sisters do amazing work with their orphanage in Haiti, but I could never do anything like that.  Why not, though?  All of these ideas start with people just like you and me... they just had the desire and the drive to take steps of faith and make a difference. 

In the midst of this tender-hearted streak I've been in, Jeremy and I watched The Blind Side this weekend.  It was my second time watching it, and I spent a lot of the movie just thinking about what an inspiring thing the Tuohys did in opening their home to a kid they knew virtually nothing about.  Could I do it?  I honestly don't know if I could.  Still, I continue to have this nagging voice telling me that I CAN do so much more for others than I do now.  It all starts with the small things, right?  I'm donating my money, I'm praying, but what else can I do?  I'm making a conscious effort to look for ways I can become more involved and give more to others, and honestly, I'm pretty excited about it. 

What are some ways you've become involved in your community?  If you had the means and the inspiration to take on a major project like the Haitian orphanage, what would yours be?  What cause is close to your heart?  You never know who you might inspire to begin something great!


Snow! And Books!

It has been unseasonably cold here in north Alabama over the last two weeks or so.  The lows on some days were in the single digits, which is pretty uncommon in January (or anytime, for that matter).  I'm not sure the temperature rose above freezing at all last week.  If it's going to be that cold, my theory is that there should at least be some snow on the ground.  Fortunately, I got my wish and we got a little bit of snow on Thursday.


Addison and Mackenzie did not get to go out and play in the snow, since they have had a cold for the past week or so.  I did bring them in a snowball to check out for a few minutes though...

Mackenzie's first snowball
Mackenzie, a little unsure...

Addison's first snowball
Addison, with her favorite fashion accessory hanging out of her mouth.  (It's one of those Livestrong-style bracelets...they LOVE to chew on them!)

I felt like a kid again as we waited to see if we would get to leave work early on Thursday, since the weather was scheduled to start moving in by lunchtime.  (Yes, it's crazy, but in Alabama we are pretty much unequipped to handle winter weather of any kind.  Thus, everything shuts down when there is an inch or two of snow or the hint of an icy road...I am totally okay with it, myself!)   We did end up getting to go home before lunchtime, and I came home and packed a bag for the babies and me to stay at my mom's for the night.  Jeremy had to work-unfortunately for him, law enforcement doesn't get to take snow days.  Why did I go to mom's?  Well, because there was a very important football game on tv that night and we don't have cable right now since we are only going to be in this rental house for a little while.  I couldn't risk getting snowed in and miss seeing Alabama play in the National Championship game!! 

Magnolia in the snow
I just love this magnolia tree in my mom's front yard, and I thought this picture of the snow turned out pretty nicely.

It turned out to be a great end to the week, as my team won the game against Texas to become the new National Champions, AND because of the icy roads we got Friday off to celebrate the big win start the weekend early.  Jeremy had already taken Friday off from work, so we unexpectedly got to spend the day together. (I could definitely get used to all these short weeks I've been working lately!)

While enjoying the winter weather and hibernating as much as possible, I've been getting a start on the reading I plan to do this year.  I've started both Crazy Love by Francis Chan and American Wife by Curtis Sittenfield.  I'm enjoying them both so far!

Now I'm getting really ambitious, and I've joined a new online book club started by some bloggers I enjoy reading.  Can I keep up??  I plan to try.  The first book they have chosen is The Help, which was on my to-read list anyway.  If you are looking for some good reads and what will surely be some great discussions, come on and join the fun here:  The Book Lushes.  Let me know if you join so we can discuss!


Help! Mealtime Questions

I have a couple of questions for all of you mamas with toddlers...  My girls are quickly losing interest in their bottles and seem to prefer solid foods instead.  The problem?  The pediatrician said they should still be taking about 20-24 ounces of milk per day.  I'm not too worried about the numbers-they barely took 24 ounces at their peak of dependence on the bottle-but they are hardly taking 10-12 ounces some days! 

Here's how their daily eating pattern goes now:  They get a bottle when they wake up (they usually take at least 4-5 of the 6 ounces I fix), and this one is not much of a problem.  They get breakfast (baby food, usually..sometimes cinammon toast if I'm eating it) around 9:00.  Then, sometime between 10:30 and noon, they get a second bottle, of which they might take 3 ounces.  Around 1:00 or so, they get lunch (a veggie and yogurt), then another bottle about 4:00.  How much they take at 4:00 varies, but it is one of the better bottles of the day, and they will occasionally take up to 5 ounces or so.  They eat solids again around 6:00, then get a bottle before bed at 6:45-7:00...of which they eat almost none (seriously, like an ounce or two).  I realize that's a lot of food toward the end of the day, but I don't know how to better divide it.  They have not figured out the sippy cups yet, or I would try giving them a little in their sippy cup with their solids.  Should I try that anyway, using their bottles? 

Tell me, how did your babies' mealtimes look around this age?  How did you make sure they got enough milk once they started eating more solids?  I'm open to any suggestions or advice!! 


Nine Months

Nine months old!!

As usual, the last month has flown by and has been even more fun than the ones before it.  It was a big month for all of us-we moved for the first time as a family of four, with another move coming up soon.  It is wonderful to be back in Scottsboro, where I am 5 minutes from work in the mornings, rather than 45.  My mom and lots more familiy are only minutes away as well, which is convenient when I need to run to the grocery store or when I'm on the verge of a mental breakdown.  : )  The babies adjusted amazingly well to all the changes.  We had a couple of nights of rough bedtimes, but they were back to normal after just a few days and are now as happy as ever! 

9 months
Speaking of bedtime, it has gotten earlier and earlier over the last several weeks.  Bedtime used to be around 7:30...we would have a bottle beginning at 7:00, then go to bed after that.  For the last two weeks or so, bedtime has become as early as 6:00 on some nights!  Thankfully, both Addison and Mackenzie still sleep until 6:00-6:45 in the morning.  I guess they are just needing more sleep these days.  I'm okay with it-I have a little more time to myself in the evenings and can still get to bed early myself.

big girls

Both girls are doing great and growing right on schedule!  They are eating LOTS of different foods now and even had their first grilled cheese when we went out to eat on Sunday.  They both liked it, and Mackenzie ate an entire half...minus the crust!  Bottles are suddenly the less-preferred method of nourishment around here, although the pediatrician wants to keep them taking in 20-24 ounces a day.  Their measurements looked good at the checkup this month...both are between the 19th and 23rd percentiles for height and weight, based on actual age.  Addison weighs 17 lbs, 5 oz and is 26 inches long.  Mackenzie weighs 17 lbs even and is 26 1/4 inches long.  Such big girls!

sissy love

I'm working on a post for each baby individually, detailing her personality and things going on in her life at 9 months, so hopefully I will get those finished soon.  I'm also beginning to think about their birthday party coming up in only three months!!  Have you seen any cute parties or themes lately??  I'm on the lookout for ideas.


Where We've Been

Multiples and More posed the question, "What are your greatest accomplishments from the past year?"  I decided to answer the question in pictures...

Our number-one accomplishment of 2009 is SURVIVING!  I'm sure all you other new mamas agree on that one, right?  We did much more than just survive the year, though...

We went from this:

the belly

to this:

hours old

to this:


unhappy mackenzie

Mama & Girls

From this:

mom and mack

and this:


To this:
and this:


We've been here:


and here:


and now,


we're here,

figuring it out

and there's no place I'd rather be.

Christmas girls

There were a few moments of 2009 that absolutely qualify as the hardest moments of my life.  But I made it- we all made it- and I, for one, came out stronger on the other side.  Was 2009 a challenging year?  Sure.  Was it rewarding and full of amazing, melt-my-heart moments?  Most definitely.

Here's to a life-altering 2009 and an even better 2010.  Happy New Year!