Wednesday, March 12, 2014


The winter is finally over (I say with such a huge sigh of relief). This was a long one! Both girls & I were sick with one thing or another, non-stop from Thanksgiving until this past weekend. I think it was all the usual stuff that has been hitting everyone from coast to coast, but with twins (and 5 nurses and two roommates), you tend to pass stuff back and forth so it makes each thing last longer : ) Warm weather, sunshine and healthy girls are welcome changes to this Whitacre-Blanco household!

In other news: both girls are starting/have started school! Havyn's is a spanish immersion Parents-Day-Out program here in East Nashville (El Jardin de Los Ninos - a fabulous program, with fabulous teachers, and a director whose love for the kids is evident in everything she does). She was thrilled to be going to "school" with the other kids, and has really thrived in the loving environment there. Here's some "first day of school" pic's. Isn't she darling?
Havyn's teachers are phenominal. Here's one of them, Miss Amaia, posing with Havyn at the lunch table. (Havyn is too busy to smile for the camera because she's working on getting her entire birthday cupcake in her mouth at once) ; ) 
Ava Gray will be starting school too, once we figure out which METRO program she is assigned to in our area. We got to check out a few of the potential classrooms, and Havyn came along. Both girls REALLY loved the classrooms (can you tell?). It was encouraging to discover that there are so many wonderful teachers & schools out there who are doing such a good job with these young ones.  (Havyn's the one in the red shirt):
We are SO thankful that God has worked it out so that Ava Gray's nurses will be able to ride the bus with her to school & back, as well as be with her the entire time she's in the classroom. This is such a huge relief to me & an answer to prayer.
I'm also very thankful for the ways that our friends and family invest in these girls. Even out of the classroom, the girls are read to, played with, enjoyed, and spurred on to grown and learn and develop into the delightful little girls they have become. Our nurses have been hugely instrumental in helping Ava Gray to hit milestone after milestone (and all the therapists are telling us it's just a matter of time before she starts to walk - how huge is that!!??). Those same nurses have also stepped into Havyn's life as well - it is so amazing to watch both girls blossom in the presence of these amazing women who come into our home every day. 
Both girls really do love being read to. Here's Havyn's UB reading her a new book. I don't know if she's more enthralled with the book or the reader ; )
And lest I paint a completely unrealistic picture of our household, the girls ARE three now; testing out their independance, flexing their "toddler" muscles and challenging most everything that isn't their idea. My sister sent me this card ("The Force vs. a toddler), and it made me giggle. Isn't this just the way it is??
That said, God has given both my girls these truly sweet spirits, for which I thank Him on a regular basis. I wouldn't trade em for anything!!!
I'll be posting again soon (hopefully with pictures of AG's first-day-of-school!). Can't wait to see what's around the next corner!


And the Party was Pink


Most of you already know that the girls turned 3 this last week (March 7th). We had a big ol' birthday at the park with family & friends (we include our nurses in both categories).

It was lovely. And pink (Havyn's request). The Abuelitos, Rafael & Marie, decorated the pavillion for us & helped coordinate & serve cake (they are the sweetest grandparents you could ever ask for!)
For the 3rd year in a row, Uncle Bill & Aunt Joyce (UB & AJ) just happened to be in Nashville over the girls birthday weekend, and have been able to come to their party! Havyn adores them both, and kept Uncle Bill busy doing everything from playing Barbie's to helping her jump on her pogo stick. These two are such gifts to me, and to my girls....
Here's the problem with being super-cute: everybody wants to snuggle with you!
This was the weekend where I got to meet my sweet little niece, Flora, for the first time. She's a little heartbreaker!
 Ava Gray and her La-La (quite possibly her best friend in the world):
Ana set up & ran the "fishing for toys" event (Kristina narrated for the fishers & the fishee's). Here they are in action....The kids LOVED their toys (thanks Ana for setting all that up!). And Jonathan was the one to figure out how to make the  PVC pipe "ocean" barracade. Pretty cool, right?
 Havyn and her very best friend in the whole world at present: Gus Wonder.
 We also used the ocean set for a 2 minute puppet show (basically just a way to lead the kids in singing "Happy Birthday.") We had to use the puppet somehow because Havyn absolutely loves it (the puppet is pink, and a ballarina: what's not to like!?), and also because she's really into putting on puppet shows right now.  Thanks, Britt (& sweet fam!) for the puppet.
 And here's the kiddo's watching the show:

 And theeen, there was cake! (Well, little pink cupcakes for the kids, and big chocolate cake for the bigger kids aka "adults").
 See all the pink? Havyn was delighted : )
 Ava Gray was pretty stoked too:
After the kids got all wound up on the sugar, we took them across the street to the park playground to let them run it all off. Ava Gray opted for a nap in the shade of the pink princess tent that we had out. I hope all of you who came had a good time. I know my girls & I sure did! I love any excuse to see you all and catch up with many of you who have been such an important part of our lives. (Chrissie & Annie, we missed you: next year for sure!!!).

And let me just say that I am so deeply grateful for these two little 3-year-old girls. Their sweet spirits and feisty natures make me giggle and laugh and fall in love with them more and more each day. Here's to you, girls. May you have many more big birthday bashes with the ones you love, and the ones who love you, in the years to come! 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Growing Up Tall

Helloo. Again, it's been a minute since I've stopped by. Sorry about that to all of you who are far away and miss pictures of these two cuties I call daughters. Let me make up for lost time immediately and without fanfare (and I'll try to update you by way of little stories along the way):

Starting off with Havyn, caught in the act of filling Kristina's motorbike exhaust pipe with water. The bike now does not run. : )
 Ava Gray LOVES the water. Who knew!? I have a zillion other pictures of her having a blast, but you get the general idea : )
 Havyn is a little more "sticking to the sidelines" for now. Though just at the end of pool season, she did start jumping in! (Love it that she calls the things on her head, her "gobbles")
 We got to see Linda this year ("Deeda" to the girls). Here are the cousins enjoying storytime with their beloved aunt. : )
 And we have two new nieces!!! Jonathan's sister has an adorable 8(? - I can't keep up!) month old daughter named Ana Marie (pictured later in this post), and Linda is showing off Brian's new little beauty who goes by the name of Jean Katherine. Both of these girls are SO HAPPY and SO BEAUTIFUL! It's ridiculous : )
 Speaking of beautiful.......
 Ava Gray is starting to give us all kinds of grins & smirks and smiles. All of which melt our hearts!
 Here's my other beauty... Is it just me, or does she look all grown up here?
 Still trying to get her "gobbles" off:
 Almost there..... : )
 Okay, so a brief medical update on AG: see the protruding rectangular shape on her forehead? It's a dissolving plate that was helping to hold her skull in place as it fused back together (post-craniotomy surgery). This is at it's wildest-looking state. It's already dissolved so much that at present it's barely noticeable, and per her doc, should be entirely gone in a few more months. What is amazing to me, is that she is so breath-takingly beautiful even with that big block on her forehead. Oh, and regarding seizures and food issues: we're down to 2-3 seizures a month (each usually only 20-45 seconds long). Her anti-seizure meds keep needing to increase each month as she grows in height and weight. We may be changing some of those soon due to the side effects, but she's actually pretty stable, considering. Regarding food: she's loving it more and more! Her favorite thing is a plain ol' graham cracker, but tries & enjoys a lot of things and can drink a little from a small medicine cup. Her new "formula" (made up of real food vs. commercial formula) totally agrees with her. And about her progress in hitting developmental milestones: she is amazing us all! Starting to croon along with songs and music, yell when she's wants attention or is irritated with us, grab & play with toys of all kinds, sit up by herself and try to stand against furniture, get in fights over toys with Havyn, enjoy being read to, and having a ball in her new SleepSafe bed! (a $10,000 bed that insurance finally approved for her). Every day she shows us more of her spunky personality. And one of my favorite new developments: she is starting to kiss us back and even leans in to press her lips against our hand or face. Snuggle time with Ava Gray is the most wonderful thing in the world...
 Like I said, the most wonderful thing..
 Her hair is also developing some spunk and attitude of it's own:
 Her beautiful little hand:
 Checking out what's going on with camera-crazy mama:
 Aaaand, pushing herself up to sitting:
Ok, it's official, you just keep loving them more and more. It seems impossible, but then it dawns on you multiple times in a week that you love them more today than you did the day before:
And here's a funny story. Havyn loves maps. A lot. (Thank you Dora-the-Explorer). This is Havyn. At the zoo. This was her pose as she pored over the map. EVERY 3 STEPS. She would consult with it, figure out where she wanted to go, then look up and point in a direction and declare loudly, "we go THAT way!" And you can't see it, but she's surrounded by bemused fellow-patrons-of-the-zoo. When we go, its like we are our own exhibit. "Map Girl"
 Here's AG sporting a little "Bam-Bam-on-the-side" look:
 And Havyn sporting the "you-can't-see-me-if-I-can't-see-you" look:
How Nashville is this pic? Both girls love to sing and dance (AG does it from a sitting position, but still!) We have some rockin dance parties around here.
East Nashville is a pretty fun place to live. Here we are attending the local "Tomato Fest." AG hates it because it's hot. Havyn loves it because she gets to eat ice cream. : )
Thankfully we have friends who live right near all the festivities and we got to cool off in their backyard.
 So my girls have these best friends. That are my age. Here's Ava Gray with one of them:
And a little shot of Ava Gray and her teeth. Which she is now using to bite people. On purpose. And then smirking afterwards. Not good. Not good at all. Especially as I'm tempted to giggle each time at the spunk in this little one that wasn't even supposed to make it....
And see the legs on this girl? They are both in the 90th percentile for height and weight, towering over most 3 and 4 year olds. This is awesome, but also daunting to those of us lifting them! : )
And here is the promised picture of our second new niece. Ana Marie. Almost always smiling, and radiating such sweetness. We love her!
 Did I mention that we also love sand? Digging our toes in it, building castles with it, eating it....
There's a new water park in town that we just discovered a few weeks ago. Both girls happily spent hours here until "fountain season" closed. Eagerly awaiting next summer!
(This was the day we first discovered it, so we weren't dressed for it. Not that it dampened our spirits in the slightest!)
Pulling a Mary Poppins:
Okay, this next series shows what happens when AG decides she's done with my incessant photo-taking:
 But then she forgives me : )
 And we kiss & make up...
 Sigh. She's slays me!
 Here's another cute pic of our niece Ana Marie, and her sweet mama, Lily.
Oh, then I finally gave Ava Gray a decent haircut (the last time I tried, I butchered it, and all AG's nurses banded together and forbade me from getting near her again with scissors). This time, though, it turned out pretty cute : )
Here we are on the walking bridge downtown. There's such a beautiful view of the city from here. If you come visit us, we'll take you there!
 (Still wet from the water park that's located just underneath the walking bridge):
Another thing we got to do recently was visit Brian & Susan & Rose & Jean in Chattanooga. Here are two cousins. Exploring......
 Combining a little piracy and exploration....
 And Ava Gray got in on the dressing-up too! When we first put this hat on her, I thought she was annoyed and trying to get it off her head (which is her usual response to hats and/or anything else that touches her head). It turns out, she was just trying to get it perfectly situated so she could model. (Notice her "I feel pretty!" pic below?). Yes, Ava Gray, you are adorable.
Okay. I could go on, but it's really, really late and I've got to call it a night. That's a pretty good update, though, right? If you want to peruse a few bonus pictures, you can check out the post just before this one. And if you're craving more details, just give me a call!

Much love,