Summer Blues

Summer solstice posts flooded my social media feeds two days ago.  Kids are out of school, families are headed out 'on holiday,' as Hallie would say, and it's hotter than a sauna outside.  The twins have been out of school since mid-May so all of this is old news for us.  I have a love/hate relationship with summer.  I love warm nights, pool days, packing for vacation, lazy days and fun days with our friends.  I do not love this HEAT.  As a kid raised in Washington, we swam in ice cold water and hoped for sunny days more than we actually enjoyed them.  We laid out if the sun showed it's face for a few minutes here and there as clouds stole our warmth and even worse, our tans.  I will never get used to the south's the heat + humidity.  The combo is brutal.  So while we've been having a blast and have already done more than some do all summer, I'm already yearning for fall.  I may have even asked who was excited for Christmas at the dinner table tonight....  Aaron looked at me like I was crazy and the kids, well, they're excited for Christmas!  The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Two weeekends ago Aaron and I escaped the heat in California for our longtime friend's wedding.  We had an unforgettable stay with several of our closest friends and we soaked up the Californian sun, thanks to gorgeous days in the 70ies.

Upon return, we had a sick kiddo. Back to life, back to reality.  Grayson came down with fever for two days and shortly afterwards, Aaron caught a tummy bug, which found me soon after.  It wasn't awful for me, but I was the kind of nauseas you feel in the first trimester of pregnancy for three or so days.  Could have been worse.  By the end of the week everyone was back to par.  And then Hallie felt warm.  Here we are four days later, managing her fever, as well as a case of cabin fever.  There's no getting fresh air this time of year, unless it involves bathing suits and a body of water. But fever.  Maybe this is God's way of slowing us down, because we are known for going and going and going.... you get the idea.  We've read allllll the stories, built impressive Lego fortresses, created the entire animal kingdom of Play Doh, watched movies and napped.  Doesn't seem so bad as I write it out.  And while it's really not so bad, weeks like these make me miss the structure of the school year.  A reason to go to bed early, set an alarm and brush my hair. We signed the twins up for Vacation Bible School to help balance the lack of schedule, but so far only one kid made it to one day.  I was up bright and early Monday am to reserve H&G's walk in reservation spots.  I waited an hour, only to realize my debit card was left at home, and of course, payment had to be made before the kids were allowed to go.  My neighbor who has kids in camp saved the day.  It takes a village!  Grayson waited patiently with me, while Hallie stayed home with Daddy in hopes to join G for day two.  Day two neither showed up.  After day one G looked pretty bummed out at pick up.  His group leader said he cried after snack time wanting his mommy, ouch!  While I know this stuff is normal, I can't help but feel bad for him having to go to his first-ever day camp without his twin sister.  The twin bond is real.  So is the attachment.  We told him, if he really didn't want to go without Hallie, he could wait until she felt better and they could go together.  He was happy with that.  Grayson is shy and tends to stand back in big crowds, hanging with sister, mom or dad.  At church they are in the same group, but different cubicles.  At school, they are in the same classroom, but sit at different tables.  At home they are together all day, but sleep in their own bedrooms.  A little independence, but just a little for now.  I know they will need to become more independent as they get bigger and I will fully support and encourage that.  For now he's just 3 and if he wants his sister to go to camp with him, that's okay.

So as we mope around with our summer blues and slow days on repeat, I am thankful for downtime, even if it isn't by choice.  It's not very often I get to hold and snuggle my babies anymore so I'll gladly hold them while they're sick and consider it the upside of our summer blues.



Christmas was nearly 3 months ago, so I guess that makes me right on time for a holiday post according to my trend. We may have had the busiest holiday season this past year we've ever had. Despite my not working, I planned so many things for us to do, right in the middle of Aaron's busiest time of the year.  I am guilty of starting Christmas as early as possible. I wanted to decorate early, play Christmas music in November  and plan everything fun I have wanted to do as a family now that the twins are old enough. When I say everything, I mean it. We did Bass Hall, Christmas movies, Santa pictures, Christmas pj pictures, family pictures (yes, I'm aware I have a picture problem), North Pole Express, Prairie Lights, Enchant, visited the blue house from The Great Light Fight show and Mainstay farms. What was I thinking?!  We had a blast, but next year we will not be quite so busy. I'm not one to stress over he Holidays, but I did get worn out unnecessarily.

Despite our business, we had a magical time and the twins soaked up every moment of Christmastime.  Auntie Sue was here for 10 days. We loved having her for the holidays. We spent one day with Mom and Sue making Christmas cookies ALL day. Grayson and Hallie were covered in frosting and sprinkles. Isn't that a kids dream come true? We had another visitor, but not from Washington, from the North Pole!  We kept our Elf-ing fairly simple.  They were thrilled by all things Elf and woke each morning, dashing around to find 'Joey.'  Hallie especially, liked Joey.  We watched the Elf movie and read the story multiple times a day. Grayson may have touched him a time or two.  Fortunately for Mom, a sick elf stays in bed and doesn't move so I'll have to remember this next year. As silly as it is, seeing their excitement every morning was 100% worth the trouble and silliness of it all.
The Thomas family Christmas is always our kick off Christmas.  Grandma made is as special as she always does, and Aunt Kathi and Uncle Tommy were with us for he first time in years! They moved back from Belize in the fall.  We aware SO happy to have them home!  Grandpa struggled a bit, his legs were hurting him and it was obvious he didn't feel well.  We later found out his siatic nerve was the problem.  He has been able to treat it and is feeling much better. Answered prayer!  We missed Ali, Jayce and Damuel, but they were home with newborn Andrew born December 10th. Cousin number 5!!!
We went to Christmas Eve service with Mike and Mom. Grayson slept the entire service and Hallie held her candle all by herself.  We celebrated with the Clarks at Sherry and Daniels newly remodeled home, gorgeous!  Good food, great company and gifts for the littles.  We headed home, jumped into our matching Christmas pjs and opened gifts with Nana and Papa.  Christmas my morning was awesome.  Grayson and Hallie were next level excited.  Grayson got the Batbot he asked Santa for and Hallie got her Arendale castle for Elsa and Anna.  Karlos's brunch was as delicious and beautiful as always.  It was so much fun seeing the toddlers play, open gifts as they start to get Christmas down.  Josh and Andrea surprised us with baby news.... number six!  I barely held it together.  So happy for their growing family.  Before gifts, Johnny played Happy Birthday, Jesus and danced with Hallie in the living room.  I will never forget that moment as long as I live.  Talk about a heart melter!  Jayce and Ali brought Samuel and sweet baby, Andrew. It was such a sweet day with our growing family, parents and great grandparents.  I was (happy) emotional all day!  Mom fixed a great dinner and we spent the rest of the day watching the twins play with their new gifts at Mom's. Hard to beat a perfect day like 2017 Christmas.

*My last two posts have been from my iPad so I'm sure the grammar and spelling errors are many! I'll sit down at my computer one of these days to correct and add a few courses.


Janusary has come and go and we are slowly trudging through February.  Nearly the entire US is fishing outbreaks of nasty flu virus.  It's been the worst year I can remember. I've never had the flu and as a family we are laying low in hopes to avoid getting it, again.... Hallie came down with the it at the beginning of December. She had strand A, and while it was terrible to watch her so sick, it wasn't as bad as it has been for others.  We've prayed this entire season for our health and for everyone else's.  I hope and pray the worst is over, and until then, we will avoid public places as much as we can.

In other news, I visited Doug and Rita's beautiful new home in Marana, AZ.  We spent the first night in Sedona.  I was excited to check this gorgeous place off of my bucket list and it did not disappoint!    We hiked Bell Rock, which had stunning views and really mild, comfortable weather.  It was a great, short visit and I can't wait to go back!  I loved getting to see the new life D&R have built for themselves in retirement.  Their new home sits on a beautiful golf course in the Sonoran desert.  What I loved most about Arizona were the colors of the desert; shades of greens, pinks and earth tones for miles. The vibrant colors of the sunsets were so dreamy!  Rita and I spent two nights walking the golf course; watching the sunset and inspecting the fascinating saguaros that dominate the course. Seven mountain ranges can be seen from their neighborhood which makes for great views from any angle. How lucky they are! Their days go something like this...  sunrise + coffee, pickle ball, maybe a nice hike,  swim + work out, possibly a mid-day nap, dinner, wine + sunset and early to bed.  I could easily adopted the laid back schedule. Doing retirement right! I look forward to bringing the family back when the twins are a bit older.  Aaron will never want to leave this golf/desert paradise, I can see it now!

We are in the process of planning our upcoming trip with Assurity to Sydney. We had hopes to visit the Whitsundays, but because of our limited time, decided to pass this trip.  Having r searched it, it is now at the top of my beach bucket list. The whitest sands, cockatoos galore and the Great Barrier Reef.  One day.  The list is long and continues to get longer!

In July we are so excited to visit the Majors in New Jersey!  This will be there first time fly and their first real trip to the beach after last year's vacation was cancelled because of the hurricane.

In the meantime, we will try and stay well.


A Thanksgiving to be Thankful For

It's the day after Thanksgiving and we are headed south to Conroe to see Mom, Mike and Dolores.  The very first time we visited, Dolores made us feel at home and like family, which we (sort of) are.  We love staying at her pretty house on the golf course, hot tubbing and visiting by the fire. The twins think MeMaw is the coolest, and she really is.

We kicked off the holiday week seeing the movie Star with Mom and Tracy. It was fantiastic! The story of Jesus' birth told through the donkey that she road to Bethlehem on.  The morning of they had Christmas photos taken in their jammies so they were cute as can be at the movies with their Christmas jams on!

Wednesday was another big day. Mom took us to Rudolph at Bass Hall.  Mom felt good, the production was perfect and the kiddos loved it. Grayson didn't move he was so fixated on the stage. Last year, we also went, but they weren't as excited by it. We plan to make it an annual trip as long as they are into it. It was a magical day.  Grayson picked out a nutcracker ornament and a set of Rudolph figurines with all of the characters.  He has toted them with him everywhere. He loves the Abominable Snowman this year. Last year he was a little scared of him.  Hallie picked out a ballerina ornamanet and a stuffed animal from Rudolph.  G is convinced the snowman narrator is Mrs. Clause. Cracks us up.

Later, we celebrated Karlos' birthday. The twins picked out gifts for her. Grayson chose a Batrman ornament (surprise, surprise!) and Hallie picked out a small snow globe. I hope they enjoy giving as much as receiving! We had a nice time with the family, the kiddos played in Grammy and Big Daddy's room until everyone was wiped out.

Thanksgiving morning was sweet and relaxed.  The twins played with their new toys while I cooked and cleaned, listening to Christmas tunes, of course. Aaron watched football and we headed to the Thomas' around 11:30 for an early feast. Dinner was outstanding, maybe the best Thanksgiving meal of my life. That sound a dramatic, but it was that good! Sadly, Ali, Jayce and Samuel weren't able to come, because, Samuel was up all night sick. Grammy had to work, boo! It was a great day. Livy and the twins played hide and seek, played Grandma's piano and chased each other around until they were wiped out.  I felt very blessed leaving their house, she makes every holiday so special.

At home, Aaron turned on the Cowboy game after putting the tree up.  I slowly decorated and the twins napped and played.  Hallie woke up late and wanted to help me put ornaments on the tree.  She made little ornaments out of green pipe cleaner and proudly put them all over the bottom of the tree. She loved hearing about each ornament, especially, our wedding ornament and her and Grayson's first Christmas lockets.  They are both having a hard time following the no touch rule and we've had a few casualties, but they are just so excited by it all, it's hard to be upset. If they take after me at all, we will be a house full of Christmas lovers! Our outside lights went up earlier this week so we are fully festive at the Clark household!

Next week we see Santa, my fingers are crossed Grayson will be excited without any tears!

The kiddos are currently reading and being as good as can be and we are halfway to destination MewMaws house! I just asked them what they are thankful for. Grayson sai Batmand and Hallie said,
 Mommy and Daddy.

Our week has been super special, and I am thankful for so much.
I can't forget that the newest baby will be here in less than a I think. He deist have a name just yet. Baby fever has started to st in, I think a new nephew will be the pe fof Ctre.


Long Overdue Catch Up Post

I am slacking!  Life has been B.U.S.Y.  which will likely make this one of those long posts.  I don't share or publish this blog, but I hope to have it made into a book for Grayson and Hallie one day, or at the very least, someplace for them to come and read about our life as they get older. 

We had the BEST summer, full of vacations, THREE year old birthday celebrations and a visit from our Washington family.  Sadly, our big vacation was cancelled due to Hurricane Irma, but we were just thankful not to be one of those affected by all of this seasons terrible storms.  We have prayed heavily over these areas.  Sadly, these tragedies, like in Houston and Puerto Rico, are reminders of how lucky and blessed we are. 

Lots of exciting milestones this summer!  Turning three, potty training, moving to big beds and starting pre-k!

I/we survived potty training twins and am thankful to never have to do it again!  Overall, they did great, but there were lots of accidents, tears and frustration.  We had to be trained in time to start Pre-K and waited until the very last minuted and I mean the very last...  Hallie showed interested several months back, but didn't want to commit, and Grayson was completely freaked out by having to control his little body in ways he never had.  We did the '3 day' method.  I'm using the word 3 very loosely.... but here we are in October with only a few accidents and a little more independence.  We did it!

We celebrated their birthdays at Great Wolf Lodge - so much fun, yet so exhausting!  We also had a small family party at Mom's house.  It was perfect.  No stress, no entertaining and I was able to focus my attention on the sweet birthday girl and boy.  This was their first year to get really excited and tear into their gifts.  They were showered with love, princesses and superheroes, and we enjoyed every second celebrating our gifts.  Daddy and Mommy secretly re-did their rooms and surprised them with big kid beds in princess and superhero themes.  So much fun for us and for them.  Bye cribs!

PreSchool has officially started and I am happy to report they love it.  It helps that their two friends, Kingston and Channing are in their same class.  They are attending Preschool on the Creek (Rush Creek's pre-k program) on Tuesday's and Thursday's.  Miss Cindy is a wonderful, cheery teacher who clearly has a special heart for our children.  Miss Grace is the teacher assistant and is equally lovable.  Their first day was exciting and nerve racking all at once, but they did really well (despite a potty accident - oops!)  Hallie seems to be more excited about going, but Grayson walks in to class with a smile and is always happy after class despite being exhausted.   Neither care to nap at school.



Mother's Day 2017

Every year on Mother's Day I am overwhelmed when I look at the beautiful women I am surrounded by.  I'll never take for granted the cards and flowers I get to buy for these special women or the calls I get to make to say thank you for being a blessing and role model to me.  This has been a season of ups and down for the health of our family.  It seems to be one of those seasons where one there is one thing after another to worry about, but in the midst of it all, I find myself thankful.  Thankful for each one of the special bonds and relationships I share with the men and women in our family, whether they are near or far.  I realize not everyone has a support system like our family does.  Not everyone has an army of people to worry about, love and be loved by.  So today, I choose to rest my worry in the arms of Jesus just like He asks us to.  I will instead, focus on being thankful and present.

As for being a mom myself, I still can't get over how blessed I am to be Grayson and Hallie's mother.  Being their mom is the greatest gift I could ever ask for.  God has granted me with more than I deserve.  Nothing can prepare you for the love of a child.  That love grows everyday, just when I think I can't fall deeper in love, I do.  It's the little things, the joy, the cuddles, it's the hard days.  Motherhood is my greatest honor and the best job in the world.

Hallie and I kicked off MD with her first mani/pedi.  She chose a light pink shade with sparkles.  I was so proud of her as she sat perfectly still in the chair admiring her newly painted hands and toes.  Her face during the mini-massage was priceless, I am not sure if it was bewilderment or disgust, but it was pretty hilarious.  She didn't know what to think of the sugar scrub being rubbed over her cute little feet.  Grayson melted my heart later in the afternoon when I came in the door and he ran to me with his arms outstretched, yelling, "Mommy!  We got a surprise for you!"  He was tickled to have a present for me.  Daddy helped pick out a study bible that I have been wanting and Hallie picked out yellow daisy's.  I love my family.

For Grayson and Hallie

Grayson and Hallie,

In life, we are constantly reminded that we are not promised tomorrow.  We are, however, promised as believers of Jesus to spend eternity together.  I rest easy at that thought.  If I were to leave this world early there are so many things I would want you to know.  Most importantly, I would want you to know that you have brought me more happiness and joy than I ever knew possible.  I loved my life before having you.  I had a fulfilling career, your Dad as my best friend, our faith and church family and an army of loving friends and family.  You could say we had it all.  We did, but then you two came along.  There is a common saying that once you have a child or children you know what it feels like to have your heart live outside of your body.  That's what loving you feels like.  My heart lives inside of you and your daddy, and of course with the Lord.  The love is so big that it is hard to put into words.  I can't begin to tell you how many times a day I stop and look into Grayson's big blue eyes or at his joyful grin and think, how lucky am I?  Hallie gives me a kiss on the cheek, puts her head next to mine and closes her eyes and says, 'ahhh, I love you Mommy.'  It's heaven on earth, you two.  You melt my heart time and time again.  You were perfectly made by our Creator and I am in awe of His creations.  If ever I doubted my faith in God, all I have to do is look at my family and know, science can't explain this love or these beautiful souls who have captured my heart.  I want you to know that I will love you no matter what, under all circumstances and forever & ever.  You and Daddy are the greatest gifts I'll ever know.  I am far from perfect, and will make mistakes along the way, but you will never have to doubt my love for you.

Watching you grow is nothing short of amazing.  You are both so smart, thoughtful and so much fun to be around.  I love to watch Grayson use his big imagination in the world of superheroes.  There is a lot of discussion around Batman, Superman, Spider-man and occasionally the Hulk, too.  You're giggle and smile melt my heart everyday.  A few days ago while Hallie was sick you crouched down, put your little hands on your knees and said, 'how ya doing, Little Lady?'  You absorb everything around you and even when we think you aren't paying attention, you are!  Lately, you haven't wanted to eat what we serve you, unless it's fruit or something sweet.  We are seeing your stubborn side!

Hallie, you are sweet and smart as can be.  We have enjoyed watching your 'performances' as you sing "Let it Go' and make up your own songs standing on the fireplace.  Princesses and dollhouses are your cup of tea these days.  You're independent and catch on quickly.  This week you spelled your name for Dr. Prater and she asked if you were really just two, rather than 3 or 4.  You impressed her and were so good for her.  I laughed when you asked to go back to the doctor later in the day.

Day in and day out, you fill my heart and life with love and joy.Being a mom is special, and being a mom of twins is something I am so proud of and thankful for.