Tuesday, June 30, 2009


After Ruthie's last eye surgery in December ( http://simplysullivan.blogspot.com/2008/12/good-old-vanderbilt.html )we had a follow-up appointment in March. At that point the doctor told us that Ruthie was still having some wandering with her eyes, but it was only about 10 degrees off from normal, which is not enough to have to do surgery again. We scheduled a follow-up for 6 months later. This past month I noticed Ruthie's eyes getting all funky again, so I scheduled another appointment. Turns out her eyes were deviating at about a 14-16 degree angle, but only when she was looking at things up close. Her distance eye alignment was perfect. Because she had no distance vision issues that ruled her out for surgery. They checked her for glasses and found that she needed glasses for looking at things up close. Apparently she cant see very well when trying to focus up close, so her eyes end up crossing. This was actually the third time they had checked her for glasses and the first time they came back with the diagnosis that she needed them. The past two times the outcome has been surgery.

Here comes the horrible parent confession. I prayed that she would need another surgery. That outpatient eye surgery is done in one day, it doesnt hurt her and we have it down to an art after going through it 2 times. A morning of outpatient surgery with anesthesia seems a million times easier to me than attempting to keep glasses on my toddler. AND keep glasses on my toddler when her twin sister gets a look at them. Surgery is sounding like a better option by the minute. Unfortunately, she didnt qualify for the surgery this time. (I just re-read that previous sentence and it sounds horrible, but I seriously cant get my girls to keep hair bows in their hair and I have to get Ruthie to keep glasses on her face?)

My afternoon was pretty much shot after finding out she needed glasses. We headed to the downtown office of Vanderbilt to get her fitted. I pull up to the free valet (I LOVE VANDERBILT) and picked up Ruthie only to see that she had gone pee all over herself and the carseat. She might as well have dumped a 2 liter of a beverage all over her. So, in the middle of downtown Nashville, and Vanderbilt, my child is standing in nothing but her diaper. Classy. I had sent my normal diaper bag with Maddie which meant I had no spare outfit for Ruthie. The only thing I had in my car was a t-shirt that they got from graduating swim class the day before. It was a child's small. I refused to walk into this eye center with a child only in a diaper, so I put the shirt on her, which looked like a dress but the short sleeves were long on her. She looked completely ridiculous. I knew that was the beginning of it about to get worse.

For future reference, a toddler is a horrible model to try multiple glasses framed on. I was quickly able to test the durability of each frame as Ruthie ripped them off her face and flung them across the room. Do you see why surgery was seeming better and better to me? No longer was a "cute" pair of glasses my priority, but instead which pair can survive in the slimy little hands of Ruthie. That brought me to the "EasyTwist" frames. Basically you can twist them, or in our case rip them off your face, and they go back to their original shape. SOLD!

We ordered them before we left for NY since they take 7-10 days to make. Ruthie needed bifocals which added a little more time to our order. I picked them up on Monday and began OPERATION KEEP GLASSES ON RUTHIE'S FACE.

We only worked with her for about 2 hours last night with them, and she did surprisingly well. I was told that once they realize they can see better with the glasses they dont rip them off.

I think the longest we made it last night was about 30 minutes solid. I am sure I will be chasing her around all day putting them back in their place.

They survived her playing with Maddie last night which is a feat in and of itself. The adventure begins!

Monday, June 29, 2009

26 Seconds

Here is 26 seconds of why I love having twins. (Excuse the horrible camera angle. I was peeking around the corner trying to not let them see me!)

Friday, June 26, 2009

These Boots Are Made For Walking!

The girls will be heading to Camp Hunt with me in a few weeks. Anyone that has been to Camp Hunt knows that a must-have for packing is rain boots. I have had the same pair of Camp Rain Boots since I was a camper, and I LOVE them. There is nothing worse than wet feet all day at Camp. And, there is nothing cuter than rain boots for little kids!

Ruthie, my shoe diva, insisted on wearing them when we got home.

She was all about showing the versatility of her new boots. You can climb in them...

slide in them...

and even take time to smell the flowers in them!

My parents have a fenced backyard that the kids can roam free in. The three toddlers (Jamison, Ruthie and Maddie) can usually be found outside most of the time. We keep an eye on them through the windows, but there really isnt much trouble they can get into. Then Ruthie came to the door like this...

crying and mysteriously missing a boot.

I figured she lost it climbing up into the playhouse, but when I went over there it was no where to be found. When I looked in the far corner of the yard I saw Jaime attempting to lock Maddie in the tool shed and thought maybe Ruthie lost it in her escape from her cousin and his evil plots. No boot in the shed. Of course she was wearing the green boots that blend in with the green grass. I combed that entire lawn and could not find it. I was completely perplexed.
I enlisted the help of my sister, who has a better eye than me thanks to Jamison and his "creative" spirit, shall we say. It only took a little over a minute before Katie and her eagle eyes spotted the boot.

Can you see it? I will give you a close-up.
I have no idea what the three of them were doing around the fence, but there was the lonely boot. Leave it to a toddler to loose her boot in the most random place.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Together Again!

I was out in the kitchen when I noticed that all 4 of the cousins were in my parents bedroom. I peeped in around the corner and saw this.

Awesome cousin moment.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Today was the last day of of swim classes for Maddie and Ruthie. We took them at Vanderbilt, and with the help of Mark's mom, we were able to do the parent/child classes. Mark's parents live in their pool all summer, so we thought it would be a good idea to get the girls into some swim classes since they will be living in the pool with them when they are up there. Overall I would say that the class was a success. The girls were never afraid of water, so we didnt have to overcome that obstacle like some of the other kids in their class. The worst thing we had was that the girls HATED swimming on their backs. Oh! And the fact that despite it was an indoor pool the water was freezing!

I dont know how many of you have taken infant swimming classes, but it basically is you in the water with your child singing nursery rhymes and dunking them underwater when they least expect it. Granted, that isnt the way they describe it in their brochure, but that is the readers digest version. I think the best part about it is the consistency of getting them in the water and working with them on floating and getting their faces wet. By the end of the 9 lessons the girls both put their heads under water without crying. Progress!

Although I have previously posted that Ruthie is my little fish, I should be more specific. Ruthie is my little fish in a small pond. The girl likes her baby pool. Not such a huge fan of the big kid pool. Now Maddie on the other hand. That child is fearless!

She is all about the big pool. We put a lifejacket on her today and just let her go nuts in there. The girl was running and jumping into the pool all by herself. Well, I was in the pool catching her. I am not a completely negligent parent.

The best part was watching her on the stairs of the pool. She would get in, get to the second step and then just dive into the water towards me. They taught them in swim lessons to swim back to the side after they jump in, so she would turn back around and go back to the stairs to do it all again. I was shocked how well she did "swimming" on her own! I caught some video of it, but it is foggy for some reason, so it looks like we were swimming in the middle of a foggy day instead of a bright sunny day.

Hard to believe how big they are getting.....

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Take 1....and 2....and 3...

I want so badly to remember all of these moments. Really one of the only ways to do that is to capture them on camera. I was given advice while I was pregnant to remember to take pictures of the girls individually, as well as together. That way, when it is time for their Senior slide show they will actually have individual shots and not just shots of the 2 of them. The individual shots have been a lot easier to get, as opposed to the shots of both of them.

I know that it probably is this way with anyone trying to get a good picture of their two young kids. You feel as if it is the most impossible task. I have resorted to the technique of continually snapping pictures and hoping that there will be a good one in there somewhere. So, when you see a picture like this on my blog....

and think, "oh, what a good picture!" you need to realize that....

there was also this one with someone in the background....

this one where they are looking up at who knows what....

and this one with some one having their hand in their mouth, finger up their nose, etc.

My hard drive is filled with attempts at picture of the two of them.

What is also not helping the situation is that Maddie has decided that she "smiles" with her mouth wide open.

I just want to be able to bring out my camera and say, "Smile" and have the two of them stand next to each other (maybe even touch each other without screaming), smile and let me take a cute picture. In the mean time I will continue to fill my hard drive with pictures like this....

Monday, June 15, 2009

Elmo's Potty Time

Maddie is taking Elmo's Potty Time to a whole new level! She now enjoys watching it from her own potty in the middle of the living room with her Elmo slippers and Elmo doll.

Here is hoping that we can direct this obsession-like-behavior in a positive direction in her teen years.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


I believe that we, humans, were created by God as humans. I dont believe that we evolved from lower life forms as science claims. But, if I did believe in evolution from lower life forms, I think I have found the missing link!


I am telling you, this girl has got to be part fish!

I have yet to find her gills, but I think they will show up in this next growth spurt.

And, no, that is not her swimsuit. It doesnt matter what she is wearing, if the pool has water in it, she just dives right in with whatever she has on! She LOVES swimming!

While Ruthie lounges the day away in the pool, Maddie prefers to just play with water in her buckets.

She pretty much empties out the entire pool by the end of the afternoon, one bucket at a time.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Rub A Little Dirt On It

My kids tend to be slight drama queens. Especially when it comes to being "hurt". I put "hurt" in quotes because I dont consider it truly hurt if they stop crying when I offer them a snack or turn on Elmo. If Ruthie as much as brushes by Maddie, Maddie acts as if Ruthie has just punched her in the face. Because of this, I have picked up a few tricks.

#1. When witnessing something that looks like it has the potential to be an injury, but no blood, automatically turn away as if you didnt see it. This works 85% of the time in preventing the crying from being "hurt"

#2. When witnessing something that looks like it has the potential to be an injury, but no blood, act like they have just won the Super Bowl by jumping up and down and clapping. They will think it was a fun game that they fell flat on their faces 85% of the time.

#3. When witnessing something that looks like it has the potential to be an injury, but no blood, get them to rub a little dirt on it. Not literally, but get them to buck up. I usually say something like, "She barely touched you, you are fine", etc. This one is not always as effective as the previous 2, but sometimes I am just so frustrated with them for being so much drama they get spoken to like I would an adult that was whining about something.

With all of this in mind, I will continue on to our afternoon yesterday. Both of the girls were a little fussy from not having a great nap. There was drama in every little touch, trying to share, etc. I had them outside on the deck playing in the kiddie pool and the backyard. Maddie tripped over one of the buckets and immediately began the crying drama. I went straight to #3 because I was at the end of my rope with them. This was one of the cases where it didnt work effectively and the crying got worse.

Then I saw it. Blood. Blood all down the front of her shirt. All tricks go out the window once blood is involved. Turns out that little Miss had landed face first on one of these baskets (Exhibit A)

and the plastic edge of the basket cut her all the way across her chin from cheek to cheek. Here are a couple things I learned from this injury.

#1. Wounds on the face are impossible to get to stop bleeding

#2. 20 month olds wont keep bandages on

#3. There is no good way to bandage a wound under your chin that goes cheek to cheek

So this is what we ended up with.

The child went to church looking like she had plastic surgery earlier that day and was taped up for recovery. We had to tape on the band aid so she couldnt pull it off. We went out later and got some liquid band aid and put that on, so she looked like this today.

That liquid bandage stuff is amazing!

So, maybe not my most shining moment as a parent, but I take comfort in knowing I am not the only one out there that it has happened to!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Turning a mountain into a backyard

This is our house.

To say we live on a hill would insinuate that it is a casual walk up to our front door. That would be a lie. I firmly believe that the contractor that built this house 20 years ago looked for a mountain, excavated a piece out in the middle and built our house. I am honestly shocked we dont have to follow the baking instructions for living in higher elevations sometimes. It is a cardio workout just to get the mail. Dont even get me started on mowing the front lawn.

When we moved into this house, there was a family of 5 living there. They even had a swingset in the backyard (they took it with them when they moved). Mark insisted on only buying a house that had a garage basement, which limited us in our selections. We loved the inside of the house and we were just married. Kids were not even in our discussions. Kids lived here already. It must be a kid friendly house.

I know now that we have a driveway of death if our children ever try to ride their bikes, big wheels or rollerblade down it. It will result in an instant trip to the ER, guaranteed. Didnt think that one completely through either.

Now, onto that backyard with the swingset that was "kid friendly". I have no idea how in the world the family before us anchored that swingset down. Remember how I said we were built into a side of a mountain? Well, the mountain continues upwards to the heavens in our backyard. Exhibit B, ladies and gentlemen.

and Exhibit C.
The dead grass and erosion is due in part to the 2 boxers that have run havoc back there for the past 5 years. Needless to say, no place for a swingset or even a viable place for my toddlers to go in the backyard without tumbling to their certain deaths.

So, what was our solution?


1 Bobcat, 2 workers that didnt speak a lick of English, pallet upon pallet of retaining wall block and a month later.....


Because the grade from one side of our yard to the other was so different they had to terrace the backyard into 2 levels. It worked out well for us since we have the "upper lawn" for the kids and then the "lower lawn" for the dogs to run around. That also means there is no dog poop up where the kids play, which is a huge bonus. Blow is a picture of the "lower lawn" for the dogs. We are still in grass growing mode on that section.

This backyard has changed my life. I am a new woman! The girls and I are out there all the time as long as it isnt raining. I can not even imagine what my summer would have been like without being able to let them go out there and run around.

Now building the playset...that is another post in itself!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

My future is so bright...

I have to wear shades!

Summer has finally arrived here in Middle TN. With summer comes some pool time and summer treats. I bought a little kiddie pool for the back deck, which the girls love. I have found them in there several times with all of their clothes on. This will be a little of picture overload, but this was from the first day we were out in the pool, and they both were looking so cute! I was shocked that they both kept their hats on, but they both loved their hats this year. Big change from last year!

I decided to brave the mess and let them have popsicles since they were already going to need a bath from the layers of sunscreen I had put on them. It looks like they have inherited Mark's skin type and not mine, so they actually tan...even with 70+ SPF.

I am so excited about nice weather and being able to get out of the house them! If for nothing else at least for some interesting blog posts!