This sure has been a whirlwind of a year! I swear, it doesn’t feel like we did that much this year. Pre-baby days, I traveled fairly frequently. I always went on about 2-3 work trips per year (to various academic conferences), plus a trip or two to visit family, plus a weekend getaway or quick trip somewhere with Chris, a jaunt to Vegas, you get it – it all adds up. It feels like since we had the babies our traveling lifestyle has been haulted, but when I look at 2013 in review, it appears we were actually quite busy. See for yourself!

January 2013

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Somehow I never blogged about it (what?!?), but I also went on a quick trip to Vegas to celebrate my little sister’s bachelorette party! As soon as I returned, the remainder of the month was plagued with general illness on & off for weeks. If I had to pick the lowest “low” ever since the babies were born, this month would be it. After 6 months of absolute non-stop sleep deprivation, having to juggle work responsibilities, parenting, and having BOTH Chris and I be sick to our stomachs was just too much. We cried uncle, my mom flew out, and promptly caught our stomach bug – she ended up spending the majority of her trip in the bathroom, herself. It was AWFUL! Good riddance, January!

Almost forgot – I started the girls in daycare 2 days per week this month so I could go back to teaching in the classroom (which I LOVE and miss! I’m teaching online these days.)

February

In February, Chris and I reminisced on Valentine’s past as we ordered Pizza Hut and spent the night at home with babies. We also had our very first lunch outing with the girls since they were born (can you even believe??? They were 7 months old before we had our first lunch outing!!!) In mid-February Bailey got her “princess crown” (aka: cranial band).

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And even though some sickness from January persisted into this month (boo!), we also found ourselves getting out and about much more than in the early months of the babies’ lives. We went on several walks and started taking little trips to the park and had a lot of fun spending some quality family time together.

March

In March we continued going on little outings with the girls. I survived an entire weekend alone with the girls when Chris went out of town for a freemason conference and I took the girls to the Reid Park Zoo! I walked in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure (with Team Pam – shout out!), which was officially the girls’ first 5K since they went with me! We celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, which I have often referred to as our first “real” holiday with the girl. They were almost 9 months old and we were just barely (kind of) emerging from the extreme sleep deprivation that is the newborn stage.

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And we bought a new (to us) car! Still loving it! We also made another trip back to Austin, this time for my sister’s wedding (eeek!). While we were there, we took some bluebonnet photos of the girls and got to spend Easter with our family.IMG_7637IMG_7535

April

April went by in the blink of an eye! I think things were crazy with school – I was working furiously on my dissertation and still teaching. I didn’t blog much, but I did capture a trip to the biannual 4th Avenue Street Fair.

May

May was another busy one! My Mom came to town at the beginning of the month and we all got to be together for my first Mother’s Day! The real reason for her trip, however, was to watch me graduate!!!! (Side note:  my official graduation date was August 2013, and I didn’t defend my dissertation until June, so the walking-the-stage ceremony was all just kind of “for show” since I wasn’t really done yet).

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We spent actual mother’s day visiting the Tucson Botanical Gardens  and took the girls for their very first dip in a pool!!! They LOVED “swimming” (aka:  being held and splashing in water).

June

June was a very busy month for us! The girls “helped” (read:  watched) me garden, we went swimming more, we went to the Tucson Children’s museum.

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Later in the month, I successfully defended my doctoral dissertation (which means I finally “officially” graduated – whew!) we made a trip up to Utah to visit family and we celebrated as the girls turned one!!!

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While in Utah we also did tons of other fun things – like visiting the Utah Arts Festival, going to the Aquarium for the first time, and got to introduce the girls to all of their cousins (or second cousins??? My cousins’ & their kids).

July

In July we spent as much time as possible in the water – either playing in our homemade water table on the back porch, swimming at our friends’ house, going to the JCC splashpad,  or playing in the blow-up kiddie pool in the backyard.

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In addition to all the water fun, we celebrated 4th of July. It’s technically their second 4th of July holiday, but during the previous year the girls were only 10 days old and still in the NICU, so this was their first “real” 4th of July!

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We also continued having more fun outings! We went out to eat more frequently (side note – the girls LOVE mariachi music!), I took the girls almost weekly to meet our friends at the mall and to play in the kid play area, and the girls’ little personalities just kept getting bigger and bigger!

August

August was a whole different kind of busy! No out-of-town trips, but we were busy packing for our move this month (thank goodness – moved into a MUCH better neighborhood!) We still had lots of fun, though. The girls finger painted and played in empty moving boxes. We swam at our friends’ house some more, and we did some little science experiments (seeing how water and oil do NOT mix!). We learned that many of the grocery stores in our new neighborhoods have little cars on the carts for babies!

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We also spent a ton of time outside, as our new house has a cute little yard with actual grass (a rarity in Tucson!!!)

September

During this month the girls were becoming so much more independent! They were constantly on the go – exploring everything and they never wanted help with anything – they could do it themselves, thank-you-very-much! They also got into a fair amount of mischief, as babies will do. : )

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October

October was such a fun month! The weather started cooling off and we went on lots and lots of morning walks. We also made several trips to our neighborhood park, where the girls LOVED to swing.

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I made a trip with the girls this month where we left Dad behind. First, Chris’ Mom and Nana came out to visit us. Then, we the 5 of us (Chris Mom, Nana, me, B&B) flew back to Austin. While there, I celebrated with my little sister at her baby shower!!! (Yes – married in March, then finds out she’s pregnant and due in December! Wasted no time, huh?!). My Mom flew with me and the girls back to Tucson for a little visit and just a few days later it was Halloween! One of the most fun holidays we’ve had thus far!

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November

This month was a total blur. At the very beginning of the month, Chris was struck by a mystery attack of some kind. By the middle of the month, we still had no idea what was wrong with him. Long story short, the entire month was sucked into this mystery illness. I took very few photos and every post I wrote was about Chris’ current medical state.

December

The first two weeks of December were more of the same – all about Chris’ mystery illness. We never did find out what was wrong with him (the only thing his many, many tests definitively showed was an extremely elevated white blood count in his spinal fluid – indicating some type of infection). We went to the Mayo Clinic, found out they were out-of-network, and were sent back to Tucson. Fortunately, Chris slowly started feeling better and his level of infection slowly started coming down on its own. On one of his “good” days we went and picked out a Christmas tree with the girls!

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We also went to a fun Christmas party with the girls.

Chris’ doctor okay-ed a trip back to Austin so we headed back for a short trip (we usually go for a solid 2 weeks but this year only went for a few days). Both my sister and my sister-in-law delivered babies! First, my sis-in-law had a girl on Dec 2nd. Then my sis had a baby boy on the 20th. We got back to town on the 23rd and I was very excited to meet the newest additions. I wish I’d gotten pictures or video, because it was so fun watching my girls with their new little cousins. Bailey could not care less. But Brooke was SOOOO interested in the little babies! At first, she fussed and acted jealous, clinging to me and wanting attention. But then she really wanted to see the baby and would just stare and stare! So cute!

We had a great holiday with our family and came back to Tucson.

Today (New Years Eve) is my 30th birthday. I always thought this birthday would feel more momentous, but it’s actually been pretty tame. I spent the day hanging out with the girls and the evening lounging around, eating take-out, and watching fireworks around the world as each time zone has struck midnight. Not sure if I’ll make it to midnight in my time zone. : )

Although 2013 ended with a bit of a rough patch, medically speaking, overall it was a great year. The girls are growing by leaps and bounds and I am shocked and amazed with how they pick up new words every single day (it’s actually kind of scary – need to start watching my mouth more!!!) I can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store.

Hope everyone has a safe, happy, and healthy New Year!