PARTY #2 AND A VISIT WITH A DEAR FRIEND

One traffic jam and two hours later we arrived at cousin Gavin’s party an hour late. This was his first birthday and we were so excited to see him. I had to give Natalie a small bath before we walked in because she had insisted on taking a piece of pizza to go and then feel asleep in the car eating it. So needless to say, she had it all over her.

It was so kind of Gramps and Uncle Eric to come to the car to help unload. When Natalie saw Eric, she said “Daddy!” I had to tell her it was Uncle Eric not Daddy. Daddy was at the UT football game with skybox seats. Poor Daddy!

The theme of the party was trucks. Julian yelled out “digger” when he saw the streamers. Gavin’s Mom, Kim, made the truck cake for the guests and one for Gavin as well. I was very impressed! The twins were excited to see their cousins Alyssa and Gavin. Alyssa looked beautiful as always in her tiara of flowers and colorful skirt. Gavin was adorable in his first birthday shirt. They all had so much fun together in the playroom. Natalie and Julian are now able to really play with Alyssa. They loved all the toys and especially Alyssa’s great big doll house!

When it came time for Gavin to open gifts, Natalie and Julian just wanted to stay in Alyssa’s room and play. Eric, Brian’s twin brother, took the kids outside to play until Alyssa informed me that Julian was not sharing. She was right, Julian would not let go of the shopping cart that was outside. When we found a stroller he could push he then just wanted his green putter. No other putter would do. Note to self, never leave home without the green putter!

We hated to leave since we were all having such a good time; however, I could see things were winding down and we need to be on our way to visit my friend who is expecting twin boys. We had packed the car full of baby things that we thought she might find useful. For the next hour and a half Julian sang “Happy Birthday Gavin” over and over, with a few other songs thrown in as well.

By the time we got to Rogersville, they were ready to play. My college roommate, Tracy, has two children who played so nicely with Natalie and Julian at McDonalds while I got to chat away to Tracy. We do not get to see each other often, so it is a special treat when we do. Tracy’s children got to have a glimpse of what their life will be like in a few years when their twin brothers are old enough to play.

By 9 pm we were all tired and ready to go home. We arrived home a little before 11 pm and Dad was still not home. So I unpacked the car put the twins to bed then started washing dishes and cleaning clothes. It was a long day, but well worth the exhaustion. Just like having twins, lots of work, but so worth it!

PARTY #1

This past Saturday the children and I attended two birthday parties and visited a friend who is pregnant with twin boys. The twins and I were off at 9am to get to the birthday party at the Aquarium in the mountains by 10:30am. It said on MapQuest it would take me an hour and fifteen minutes to get there. I should have left at least an hour sooner. We did not arrive there until after 11am. By the end of the car ride, Julian was crying wanting out of his seat and I was a bit stressed myself. After parking I walked down three flights of stairs with two toddlers and three large boxed gifts. Then we had to walk up another flight of very steep stairs. Some very kind strangers carried both Natalie and Julian up the large flight of stairs for me. Without kind strangers I do not know how I would have made it this far in life!

By the time we got in we had missed seeing the divers and petting some fish. But what fun we had when we finally did make it in the door! Once inside I realized that I had left my camera in the car, but I just could not try and tackle all those stairs again.

I really wished I had my camera, when the director of the party asked who would like to pet a shark and Natalie said, “I do, I do.” I asked Julian if he did and he said, “NO!” When it was Natalie’s turn she decided it was not for her, so I got to pet the shark. The shark was under light sedation so we were not in danger!

The children then got to make penguin necklaces by layering different colors of sand on top of each other inside the penguin. The director helped Natalie with hers and I helped Julian. Julian put his necklace on right away, but Natalie wanted me to wear hers. Then we got to eat birthday cake while we waited for the pizza to cool. The three of us loved the cake and ice cream and enjoyed watching the birthday boys blow out their candles. The boys got such great gifts and Julian and Natalie were admiring them all. Once we ate pizza we were off to the next birthday party in Johnson City.

BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND TORNADOS

Grant and Maria have experienced a few more firsts this week. Over the weekend, they got a taste of their first vegetable. Our pediatrician okayed us to try some solids which meant I had to get to work in the kitchen. I’m not a bad cook; I just don’t enjoy it that much, so I stick to quick and simple things without lots of steps. Making baby food seemed simple enough so I’d been planning on making my own, rather than buying something premade. One, it’s less expensive this way; two, it’s healthier without all the extra junk that is typically found in a jar of baby food. Butternut squash was on the menu for the babies and I was successful in my first venture into making baby food. We bibbed them up and got to business. They reacted as I suspected – their faces turned upside down and they had no idea what to do. When Grant actually got a real taste, he visibly shuddered. Maria cried and proceeded to rub her face and subsequently spread squash all over it. Saying that they actually took in a spoonful is probably being generous, however, after nursing Grant’s spit up was tinged orange, so I know they actually swallowed something. Jeremy and I found the entire event pretty amusing and we might try peas next weekend. I suspect our results will be similar — just the color of the spit up will change.

On Tuesday, they experienced their first tornado warning. Working for the local electric utility company, you get used to paying attention to the weather. I was watching the weather and outage maps all morning and knew things had the potential to get bad. I was praying for all our line technicians who would soon be working to restore power across the state and I was praying that the storms would pass quickly with limited damage. I have to say that I didn’t like being away from the babies knowing something was coming into the area and got worried when a tornado warning was issued for our area. I called Jeremy and he was already getting the babies into severe weather mode. Over the weekend, we watched “Storm Chasers” and had a conversation about what to do with the kids during severe weather. Our house has no basement, so we discussed getting the babies strapped in their car seats and hunkering down in the center hall of our house. Prior to having kids, severe weather mode meant putting the cats in their carriers and placing them in the tub and leashing the dog and sitting with him in the hallway. Jeremy joked that he would just put Grant and Maria in the bathtub with the cats and close the door, but I advised against that since there is a window in our bathroom. Mom had stopped by to drop off some salad for me and ended up helping keep the babies quiet by reading nursery rhymes and rocking their car seats while Jeremy monitored the weather reports. Thankfully, in only a few minutes, everything passed through the area and we all survived. Living in the Ohio River Valley, I’m sure it won’t be their last tornado warning and hopefully they will all be a “non-event” like this one. One thing is for sure, though — our next house will have a basement!

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GIFTS TO REMEMBER

When my Mother died my friend who lives away sent money in lieu of flowers, as well as her Mother and her Father. She wanted me to get something that would remind me of my Mother. I thought about different things and decided on twins from the American girl doll collection. I know she would be so tickled that my twins would have their own special twin doll.

They are a boy and a girl just like Natalie and Julian. The dolls also look like them. We have thought of different names for the doll, but of course the children just call them baby. I thought we should name the girl doll Elizabeth Rose, after my mother and my friend’s last name. Then I wanted to name the boy Fay Garrett, also from my Mother and my friend’s maiden name. Brian felt this was girly and would not allow it. My Mother was named after her Grandfather; therefore Fay can be either sex. The names are still up in the air, we shall see what they end up calling them.

Julian often asks to sleep in Mommy’s bed and I tell him we can cuddle in my bed, but then he has to go to his own. So, it was so sweet that when he received his twin he said he could cuddle with it. I have also heard him telling his doll that they are going out to play golf and that he wanted him to build blocks with him. So for those of you who are concerned about a boy receiving a baby, he does want to do “manly” activities with the twin.

Natalie has also been playing with her doll and Julian’s too. She tried to take the boy doll to bed with her instead of her own. When I told her she had to take her own and not Julian’s she did easily give the boy doll over to Julian. I can see a day when she tries to completely take the boy doll and give Julian the girl. She loves to play with cars and trains as well as her Barbie. I guess this is what happens when you have twins of the opposite sex. They just end up playing with everything, just in a different way. Like when Julian was playing with a pan and lettuce. He used the pan as a bat and the lettuce as a ball. It is always interesting to see how they play.

What a joy they are for me to be with every day! They just laugh and giggle throughout the day together, of course they occasionally take toys from each other which causes tears, but I am glad to say that is not often! Now we are blessed to have two more very special toys to play with and to love. Thanks to the Rose, Garrett and Bruce family for such a wonderful way to remember my Mother.

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SIX-MONTH CHECK-UP

Grant and Maria are getting big! Over the last month, Grant has really packed on the weight and I was curious to see his official weigh in today. He’s tipping the scales at 14 lbs and 3 oz and is 25 ½ inches long. Maria is 13 lbs 8 oz and 25 inches long. When looking at their adjusted ages, Maria is in the 50th percentile with weight and 75th with her height. Grant is around the 25th for his height and weight and for his chronological age isn’t on the chart yet, whereas Maria is at about the 10th percentile for girls.

Many say she looks bigger, but once you hold both, it’s obvious that he’s the thicker one. Her cheeks and chunky legs make her look like she would weigh more, but Grant is much more solid. He’s been working on developing a gut, where Maria has a slim tummy with abdominal muscles that are easily visible when she does her baby v-sits. She’s sensitive about maintaining her girlish figure, so don’t mention the fact that she has “cankles” unless you want to see her cry. Our doctor commented on how tall Grant’s head is… “look at how much head he has above his eyes!” This must be another reason Maria seems bigger; her body is longer. Grant has his extra half inch in head height instead of body. Jeremy is making use of their ever-increasing weight and decided that Grant makes an excellent dumbbell. I think we should parlay this into a series of workout videos for the busy dad. Perhaps it could be a way to start a nice college fund.

Jeremy and I can’t believe they turned 6-months old on Sunday. We were looking through pictures from July and August and are amazed by how fast they are changing; each day they learn something new and in no time they’ll be walking and celebrating their first birthday. Jeremy has preemptively said goodbye to our 30s just in case we miss it. Before we know it, they’ll be 10 and we’ll be 40…blink again and we’ll be sending them off to college.

BOO AT THE ZOO WAS SO MUCH FUN

Boo at the Zoo was so much fun. The children enjoyed being with their friends and seeing all the festivities. Smokey the Dog, the University of Tennessee mascot, was there and Julian just laughed and laughed saying, “Look at the doggie dance!” Lots of people were dressed up but I have to say the elephants were a big hit with my children.  Julian got an elephant mask and Natalie received a giraffe mask, which they both found fascinating.

Their outfits were a hit. Everyone thought Julian looked so cute as a chick magnet and then thought it was perfect when they saw a chick (Natalie) with him. Their friends were so cute as well, they are identical twins and were dressed as Woody, from the movie Toy Story.

It is so nice for my children to have these boys as friends. Julian told me the other day that he wanted a picture of them on our fridge. We have lots of pictures of people on the fridge and he is right, we need one of them as well. Julian loves the ABC song and wants me to sing it often. Yesterday he said he wanted Jack and Regan to sing it too. I thought that was so sweet. Often times when Natalie sings the ABC song Julian will fuss and tell her that it is “his” song! Natalie also likes to sing Twinkle, Twinkle.

They have so much fun in the mornings singing and talking back and forth in their beds before I go and get them up for the day. It is such a special time to hear them interact with each other. They are such a blessing to me and I just pray they will be a blessing to others as well.

TIME FOR BOO AT THE ZOO

Tomorrow we are going to Boo at the Zoo with our twin friends. Their first Halloween they were pumpkins then the next one Julian was Tigger and Natalie was Piglet. I thought of many different things I wanted the twins to be but I found a Thomas the Train outfit I was sure they both would love. Patty had given Julian a book about an engineer that came with a hat and scarf, so I thought Natalie could be Thomas and Julian the engineer. Neither one of them wanted to be Thomas. So that is what I will be this year and Dad will be the engineer.

I then came home with chick outfits. When I brought it home for Julian to try on he just cried and cried. Brian said it was like the Christmas Story movie where the little boy got a bunny outfit for Christmas and his Mother made him wear it. So I decided I was not going to be that Mother, and would not make Julian wear the chick costume. Instead he is going to be a chick magnet while Natalie is a chick.

I found an iron on that says “Chick Magnet” and then I made a few chicks to put on the shirt as well. I hope they will both cooperate with these outfits, but when I tried Natalie’s on she just did not want to put the hat on. It will be interesting to see how they do this year.