Chapter 78: Family- Built Nail by Nail

What is family?  

To everyone, the term, "family" means and looks different. Which it should. Each person grows up with a family. Some small, some large. Some with multiple Mom's and Dad's and others with just one parent or grandparent.

Each family is different and it doesn't matter. What matters is that you show love and support to your family members as you travel through life.  Michael and I feel blessed to be raised in fabulous families. As I think of what a family means to me,  I want many of my own memories for our girls. The one thing I want MOST is for them to grow up in a family that loves them unconditionally. I want H&L to see it with their eyes and feel it in their hearts. I want them to hear it from words and share it with open arms.  We are given our family from God. He picked my Mom and Dad for me and Layton and Hadley for Michael and I.  I know that God will be with Michael and I as we start and continue traditions for our little family.

I believe that you can't make one person in your family your world. You must take each person God places in your life and build your world from it. 

Let the building begin.  
God starts it... we get the opportunity to build. Nail by Nail. 

Proverbs 22:6

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Ephesians 5:28
In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 
*Got that, Michael?! :) 


Chapter 78: Our First Cold/Memorial Day Weekend

And the winner goes to..... Layton!! (so sad!)

Well, we made it 7 1/2 months without a sick baby! 
Pretty darn good, huh? 

We have our first runny nosed baby 
(if this is the sickness that we have to get... I'd take it any day over ear infections/fever/throwing up.) Therefor, I consider us lucky! 

We are so sad to see this happy ALL-THE-TIME baby have sad eyes. It breaks our heart. Yesterday was the hardest for her, and I think she is feeling better now. She seemed like her happy self all afternoon. Tonight, the twins are with Lala and Pappa for a slumber party, as Michael and I are heading to Dallas to volunteer for Carry the Load. 
We have the 9pm-12am water station shift. 

Carry the Load is a 1700 mile walking relay march! A flag is being held as walkers walk from South Carolina to Dallas! 

Carry The Load is a non-profit organization helping people celebrate a meaningful Memorial Day by conducting a 20 hour event that honors veterans and active duty service members, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and their families.  

Happy Memorial Day
{Thank you to all that have served for our country} 

Chapter 77: Box labels printed... check!

"Should we sell? Should we move?
 Pray a little.. pray a lot...hummm...Let's just try!"

Our home went fast and God had his hand on and with us along the process. I told Michael after the twins were born that I knew we were going to grow out of our home faster then we expected. Well, we did! Remember this picture?
 Toys-R-Us took over our home... 
Laughing at all the comments. 

It doesn't hurt that one of my best friends, Lindsey Knight, is a Realtor, so she along with a few other friends gave us the push we needed to put the house on the market to sell. It is a fabulous time to sell! So, we jumped off the ledge, knowing that it could possibly be a bumpy road. We knew that our home would sell quick, it's a great house. It was finding a new home that I had been worried about.

You see, I have had my heart set on a neighborhood that I have loved for a long time! It had all of the checks that I had on my home wish list. Frisco ISD Schools, Stonebridge Ranch (love all the amenities), and the Frisco/McKinney area! It's a small neighborhood with a great park/pond/area for picnics. Basically.... perfect for raising children! I could see us jogging with the twins, picnics in the park, swinging at the playgound, and playing in the front/back yard. 

When we would drive through this neighborhood, we always had the "this is it" feeling. There were children outside playing and young families enjoying their neighbors in the yard. We wanted to be there... and THERE only.  I knew it would be hard. Michael said that we could get an apartment and wait for the perfect house to come on the market. (in THAT neighborhood) I was okay with that... not excited, but okay. 

Well, waiting wasn't necessary and neither was an apartment. God came through. We put our house on the market and had 6 full price offers in two days. Numerous offers asking above listing price. I told our realtor, Lindsey, that I didn't want to look at homes until ours sold. I didn't want to get my heart set on a home that we couldn't get due to not selling ours.  Ours sold... and the inspection process started. Just 4 days later a house came available in Aspendale! THE neighborhood. God send or what? 

We walked through the front door and it felt like home. It has a BE-U-TIFUL fireplace, (fireplaces are a big deal to Michael and I. I know, we are weird!)  Open kitchen to the living areas, perfect play room for the girls, and a extra room/full bath for guests.  The girls will one day have a Jack and Jill bathroom to share along with their own rooms. Last on my wish list was carpet in the living areas, so their sweet little knees can crawl around without being bruised. (our current home is all hardwood floors, (beautiful, but....poor heads for falls and knee's while crawling.)

We put in an offer and it was accepted!! I was so nervous and wouldn't let myself get excited until the acceptance came through!
The Tennison's are moving! 
I prayed and prayed and prayed that were were making the best decision for our family. It is shown that we did! We will miss this adorable home that we brought out sweet little ones home to. But, raising them in this new home will be very special and more appropriate for our quickly grown family. I truly believe that God brought us to this decision. It was always something that Michael and I talked about. We would go back and forth, back and forth, on making a decision. Should we? no.. yes.. no.. yes.. We are thankful that this process was an easy one for us. Now, let the fun begin. PACKING! Don't you worry... the type A personality Ann Marie already has color coded box labels ready. Yep, that's right. I do! And I'm excited about it, too :). 

You know you like em'.

Thank you, Lord. 
You helped us get here... and you will guide us through this new adventure of Michael and Me with Layton and Hadley. 

Aspendale Neighbors: 
Watch out, the Tennison family is moving in!  Grab your boxes and head on over... we'll take all the help we can get. 


Chapter 76: Let's Sell?? SOLD!

 The Tennison's are moving! 

We love McKinney. 
We love the Stonebridge Ranch Community.
We love our home. 
Why move?

We need a bit more space to raise our precious little girls. We knew this was coming when our family jumped from 2 to 4.

Here are some pictures of the girls and I this past weekend. We had to be out of our home for showings.  

Yes, I darkened my hair. Yes, it's dark. But, I like it! 
Layton likes it, too! 

It was a success. We had numerous offers for our precious home. God blessed us with an easy road thus far in the home selling process. Let's hope finding one will run just as smoothly.
 Off to drive around with the twins on the house search!  
First stop-  Chicken Express for some SWEET TEA!

I know I'll miss this home! It's where we brought home our sweet little ones.


Chapter 75: Mother's Day 2013

You have filled my heart. 

A heart that I thought was full when you were born. Oh no... my heart surely has expanded to full compacity. This was my first Mother's Day and it was wonderful to be able to celebrate being a 

There are many things that one wishes for in life. One of my wishes was to be a Mom.  I wanted to be that Mom that had her girls in the biggest bows & ruffled dresses. Or that Mom that had her boys in cleats, with a bat, and ball in hand!  I wanted to be a school room Mom and the Mom that planned fun birthday parties. I wanted to watch little faces light up on Christmas morning and smiles as Easter Eggs were opened. I wanted so many wonderful things!  God granted my wish and man are there things that have changed. 
Just to name a few...
In the beginning, staying up countless hours a night to feed you two. (you now sleep great!!)  7 months and counting (who's counting?? Ummm, ME!) of pumping throughout the day so you littles can have breast milk. Getting up at 5:30am to work out.  Waking up early every day. EVERY weekend! *(I'm a sleeper, so this is tough!) Doing load after load of laundry. Worrying about absolutely everything, but knowing that you are juuuust fine. Sitting through Baby Einstein and Mickey Mouse Club. Cleaning up mess after mess, toy after toy.  Changing diaper after diaper....after diaper!
 Listening to your cry's and wanting to take ever fear and hurt away from you.  Looking at your sweet faces as you sleep and wishing that you'd wake up. Holding you tight and wanting time to stop. Spending time crossed legged on the floor as we read books and play with toys. Watching you grow and wishing you would stop. Yes, I have made sacrifices. But, what wonderful sacrifices they have been.

 I look back on the 5 years that Michael and I had without the girls, and granted they were great, but the past 7 months have kicked the last 5 years out of the water.  God had you each planned perfectly for us and in His timing.

{H & L:} 
I would do anything for the two of you. ANYTHING! The love I have is just wordless. It's the big, tear-filled, joyous love that you can only have for your children that makes you a Mom. That love makes me a better person. That love makes me a better Christian. That love makes me strong. That love makes me... "Mom!"

Your Daddy and I love you so much and we feel so lucky to call you our own. You are our dream come true. 

 You are my everything! Thank you Lord for giving me my wish. You gave me two... and for that I give my everything to you.
I love you my littles,


For those women who have gone through sadness through miscarriages, infant loss, or infertility, please know that I pray for you daily.  I know the struggles, tears, and frustrations that come with trying to conceive children. Sometimes we wonder why God takes so long to answer our prayers.  They will get answered! He is with you along your hard journey. Every journey has a end. A end that is with Him. But, your journey will be blessed.  It just may not be in your timing.  We do not know why God puts us through this hard walk of life, but I truly believe that our experiences only make us stronger. Lift your hands to him and He will lift you through these tough trials. Please feel free to email me personally if you need someone to talk with about these struggles. May you find patience and peace in this difficult season. 
 For the Bible instructs us to "Be strong and courageous...for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. 
He will not leave you or forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6
Just knowing we are not going through this season alone offers a peace that cannot be found anywhere else.


Chapter 74: 7 Months Old

little ones...
you are 7 months old

Hadley McKee

Weight: 15 lbs 2.5oz 
Feedings: 1 bottle of Mom's milk / 4 bottles of formula (6-7oz)
Clothing: 6-9 month onesies 
Sleeping: 7:30pm-6:30am
Napping: 3 times a day (30min-1hr)
You fall asleep with a pacifier and drop it after a few minutes. 
Size 2 diapers
Teeth: You have TWO teeth!
You love to sit!! You are super alert. When I lay you on your belly on our bed, you burry your head and then look up and smile! Your giggle is contagious. I smile just thinking of it!    

Layton Aaron
Weight: 15 lbs 11oz 
Feedings: 1 bottle of Mom's milk / 4 bottles of formula (7-8oz)
Clothing: 9 month onesies
Sleeping: 7:30pm-6:30am
Napping: 3 times a day (30min-1hr)

You are a pacifier sleeper who also LOVES to hold onto your lovie blankie. It's precious!  
Size 2 diapers (you will be moving up to 3's soon!)
Teeth: We think one is beginning to poke through
You pull on your sisters bow, ears, onesies, arms....everything it's cute! You love her!
You are the happiest baby ever! E-V-E-R!

You both have started to copy one another. It-is-ADORABLE!
One will cough, the other coughs. One blows bubbles, the other blows bubbles.
 I love joining in on your fun. 

My wish for you 
as sisters

{listen without interrupting}
{speak without accusing}
{answer without arguing}
{enjoy without complaint}
{forgive without punishing}
{promise without forgetting}



Chapter 73: Big Girl Food

{Our New Family Adventure: Big Girl Food} 

We had so much fun with this new adventure. We started baby food around 5 months with the girls. We did rice cereal first and slowly added a veggie in every other night. We haven't done many fruits, as I know once we introduce those we may be in trouble. I took on the task of putting on my chef hat and making the girls food. Puree peas, carrots & sweet potatoes have been super easy! I mix in breast milk to add a little familiar sweetness. 

As the girls turned 7 months old, I thought we could try big girl food! 
This was our first experience with... 
cheese puffs!
Man... it sure was messy, but the girls LOVED them. They chewed all over these yummy little things. Layton is still warming up to the idea. We have tried banana flavored puffs too. 

The girls have taken to food great.  I am making it, which is fun (at times)! I know it is what is best for their little bellys! Nice and fresh... but, I'm not gonna lie, we do have a few containers of baby food in the pantry as sometimes it's just easier! 

Here are few pictures of Layton and Hadley enjoying a baby cheese puff for the first time.  Please don't judge their messiness! 
We have fun at dinner time.
 Girls: This is cute for now... when you are older, we will learn table manners. 

please excuse the peas...

Check out these precious wrist rolls...


Chapter 72: Growing Girls

H & L, 

This 6 month of having you two in our little family has been OH SO much fun! You have grown so much and I love every bit of it. 

You both have: 
-learned to sit up
-learned to spit your food (I laugh.. it's messy, but FUN!)
-learned to sleep 12 hours
-learned how to play independently
-grown two teeth (Hadley) 
-enjoy reaching out to touch (grab-their-fur) Hondo and Sophie
-started to grab one another (I can't wait to watch you grow up together!) 
-continued to laugh, giggle, and coo
-loved the schedule we have you on 

Mom and Dad have:
-put away your baby swings (yay)
-let you cry it out at night to help you learn to self soothe
-enjoyed watching you grow
-constantly thank God for the two of you!