Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Glimpse

Things are still a little crazy here, and I am still struggling to put together a cohesive thought. So, I will ration my creative energy and just give you a little glimpse of our past week.

Here is my "Push Present" from Bob

According to Wikipedia:

A push present (also known as a "push gift" or "baby bauble") is a present a new father gives a new mother when she gives birth to their child. In practice the present may be given before or after the birth, or even in the delivery room. The giving of push presents has supposedly grown in the United States in recent years. [1]

He graciously let me pick this out on my own. {I'm not sure if you're still supposed to call it a push present when the babes were pulled out instead of pushed. I digress...}

It is from the Vintage Pearl and is just perfect. Their customer service is fantastic, and they worked with me to help design the perfect charms for each of my blessings. (Notice I had to get all of Ryan Elizabeth's name on there...still a little controversial...)

We have a nanny! Hallelu-yer!
"Jack" - not pictured.

My cousin Mathers, who lives in Alabama, asked if she could come stay with us this summer to help out with all the chillins. Um...we said yes.

Our days continue to revolve around the little ones -- keeping them fed and clean is a major job!

{these are iPhone photos}

We are also harvesting our garden -- I use the term "garden" very loosely.

We have always wanted to have a garden but with our large deer population, terrible red clay, and expanding family, we knew it was unwise to dive into that task this summer. So we compromised and planted a few pots on our front porch. We have tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers.

Just call me Farmer Brown.

My babies are growing almost as fast as the produce.

Look at those big blue eyes. I think I'd rather eat him than the cucumber.

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Jillian Who?

People can't get enough of Jillian Michaels. Everyone is shredding away. My sister-in-law is a slave to Jillian and raves about the results.

But those biggest losers need to be very afraid of my new trainers.

These professionals mean business.

They never take "no" for an answer.

They are tough as nails.

And their yell makes Jillian look like a kitty cat.

They require me to stay on a strict diet -- 3500 calories and about 100 ounces of water a day.

The exercise plan is vicious. We train all day and all night. I have to run up and down several flights of stairs at their whim.

They are trying to break me.

I've been training with them for a little over a month.

After just 1 week, I had lost 30 pounds and was only 5 pounds away from my goal weight. Take that, Jillian.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

One Month

We made it!

I'm not going to lie. There were days (many of them) where I didn't think we would make it.

But I kept telling myself, if Kate Gosselin and the Octomom can do it, then surely there's a good chance I can do it too!

We have not done it alone. There have been so many people who have loved our family through this transition. It has been amazing - and humbling - to watch God orchestrate the masses to come help and encourage us. It's a reminder to me, an admitted control freak, that God sees each of our needs, big and small, and employs His unlimited resources to timely meet them.

Our Aunt Jenn stayed at our house during the week of the twins' birth to take care of Eveley and Caleb. Trust me. That is a HUGE job.

Then my sister Carrianna changed her plans so she could stay with me in the hospital. She took such great care of me and the babies, and she made that 4-day stay tons of fun too.

My mom stayed with us for 2 weeks. She did laundry, kept the house clean, cooked, played doll house with Eveley, chased Caleb, cleaned out my refrigerator (which had not been done since Caleb was born...when she cleaned it out then...), changed a bazillion diapers, helped with the twin's night feedings, and took care of me. Then she took Caleb and Eveley back to Tennessee for a week to help us ease into this new phase.

My dad made 2 roadtrips to our house, lived alone for 2 weeks while my mom was with us, and gave the kids the time of their lives in Tennessee, letting Caleb ride on the tractor, lawn mower, and in the back of his truck!

The birth of the twins has required everyone in the family to sacrifice and adjust. After Caleb and Eveley returned from Tennessee last weekend, we hunkered down and took this challenge head on. But it required a ton of energy - both physical and mental -to take care of everyone. My precious husband is even splitting the night shift with me so I am not completely exhausted.

By mid-week, Bob and I felt like we were at the end of our rope.

{This is where God steps in, again.}

Our dear friends showed up on our porch one evening with a bag of popsicles. He took Caleb and Eveley outside to play, and she held the babies while Bob and I were able to eat dinner together AND TALK! Then they brought in the older 2, bathed them, and put them in bed. The twins were ready to eat and go to bed themselves. It was a perfect gift of love at the perfect time! {And they came back two nights later to do it again!}

My church family and MOPS sisters signed up to provide us with meals through mid-July! Friends and neighbors are running errands for me and scheduling regular play dates for my older 2.

There are no words to tell you how blessed we feel to have these people in our lives.

I can only pray that God pours out an extra special blessing on each of them and that I will be sensitive to love others in their time of need, just as others have done for us!

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Monday, June 6, 2011

'Splaining the Naming

I must tell you that the most difficult part of this pregnancy was deciding on names for the twins. Call me crazy (some of you already have), but I really take the naming game very seriously.

From the moment we found out God was blessing us with twins, I knew that their names had to capture the significance of this great gift. Bob agrees that naming our children is a great responsibility, not to be taken lightly. But he did not agree on my name choices. I'll spare you the details of our discussions (spat of the century), but we were still in disagreement as I walked into the operating room.

My hope was that once he saw my body being cut open to birth these babes, he would be more deferential to my opinions. But I was wrong.

We asked everyone's opinions -- seeking advice from our family, the nurses, and any one who happened to walk by our hospital room. We were desperate.

For the first 3 days, they were labeled Twin A and Twin B. This was so confusing since our little girl (who was Twin B in the womb), beat out her brother for the first spot and officially became Twin A.

Fortunately, by Day 3, we had finalized the birth certificate paperwork and their names became official.

Let me introduce:

John "Jack" Kelsey Byrne

Jack's name held the least controversy, and Bob and I were in agreement pretty early on.

Bob's grandfather was John, and he went by the nickname Jack.

We gave Jack the middle name Kelsey to honor our great friend and mentor, D.A. Kelsey, an appellate judge in Virginia. Bob and I both clerked for him at different times (Bob for 2 years and I for 4 years) after graduating from law school, and he has had an enormous impact on our family.

When I began my clerkship, I was pregnant with Robbie. I was able to work from home 99% of the time and even took Robbie in to the office on occasion. He was one of the first people I called after Robbie's death, and we prayed together on the phone. Bob and I were honored to have him give the eulogy at Robbie's memorial service in Virginia. (a copy of the eulogy is on the sidebar). It is our prayer that Jack grows up to be a strong and fearless man of God and chooses to serve Him all the days of his life.

Ryan Elizabeth Synclair

Now for our sweet daughter. This is where the controversy began. I'll spare you the details of our spat and simply say that this is her official name.

Ryan is Bob's grandmother's maiden name.

Elizabeth is my mother's name, my first name, and Bob's aunt's name.

Synclair means “clear sign”. To me, the gift of these twins was a clear reminder of God's purposeful involvement in our lives. Although there may be times when He seems far away or silent, the truth is that God will never leave or forsake us and His love for us is incomprehensible.

We pray Ryan Elizabeth learns to trust God with all her heart.

I asked God for twins...for many different reasons. And He answered this prayer with beautiful Jack and Ryan Elizabeth.

We are so very blessed . . . . and so very tired.

{Don't let them fool you.}