WHAT IF?

A friend of mine said that her pediatrician told her that your goal as a parent to a newly mobile child is to keep them from killing themselves. I had to laugh, but thought about how true this is. As mobility looms ever so intimidating on the horizon, I realize we have some work ahead of us in limiting the hazards within our house. We’re not going to be able to prevent every bump, bruise or fall, but I hope by taking some precautions like getting the coffee table out of our house will at least prevent a trip to the ER for stitches. Almost everyone who has spent any time in our house has removed a chunk of flesh from their legs after running against the glass top corners of the coffee table. I’ve labeled it a baby killer and plans for its removal are imminent.

Another thing this makes me think about is a question I often see on blogs from newly pregnant moms – “when will I stop worrying and just enjoy this pregnancy?” I’ve seen lots of different answers, but I think the real answer is never; no matter what, you will always have concern for the wellbeing of your children, regardless of their age. For me, in the early days of pregnancy, I was concerned about vanishing twin syndrome and it wasn’t until I was about 11 weeks along that I really started be confident in having two babies. I didn’t go public with my pregnancy until I was 14 weeks because I was scared that as soon as I told the masses, something bad would happen. So, I finally got comfortable enough to tell people when a week later I started bleeding and was horrified that I was having a miscarriage and was going to have to grieve publically. I found each opportunity to hear their heartbeats a wonderfully reassuring gift and was even more excited when I finally got to feel them swimming around. While it wasn’t always comfortable, it was reassuring to feel Grant’s head push up into my ribcage as he stretched out after his morning and afternoon naps.

When my sister-in-law was pregnant, we had a “viability” party with “V” shaped cookies and pomegranate “mock-tails” when she hit 24 weeks. I was happy when we hit the 24 week mark and also indulged in some viability cookies. I don’t want people to think that I walk around paralyzed by worry, because I don’t. However, always in the back of my mind is that “what if” question. When pregnant, it was “what if I miscarried” or “what if they come early.” Now, if they’ve been asleep longer than normal it’s “what if they stopped breathing.” One night during baths, Maria decided to dive headfirst off her bath sling and went under water…what if I wasn’t right there?

What’s the moral of all this rambling? It’s that our job as parents is to do our best to protect our children each and every day of their lives and to celebrate the little milestones. The “what ifs” are always going to be there and we aren’t guaranteed a life without trials, but in spite of this, we can always celebrate. Whether it’s the first positive pregnancy test, making it off the progesterone shots, getting through the first trimester, making it to viability, surviving an early birth, being surprised by an unexpected dive under water, or newfound mobility, celebrate.

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MAGIC KINGDOM DAY THREE

Last Saturday morning, we were at the Palace Castle eating breakfast with Pooh Bear and his friends by 8:30am. The breakfast was just delicious, with Mickey Mouse chocolate waffles and French toast that just melted in your mouth. It was an experience I’m glad we did not miss. Brian and I were excited about getting our photos with the characters; I am not so sure how excited the kids were.

Once we ate we were off to It’s a Small World, Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain as well as The Haunted Mansion. The twins were only able to join us for The Haunted Mansion, which scared Natalie so much we had to change her diaper after the ride. She had an “explosion” which is why she then sported Julian’s red shorts. It took both Patty and I to change her in a bathroom without a changing table! I could not believe they would even have bathrooms in Disney without changing tables!

Patty and I took the twins and Chad to ride the Merry-Go-Round then Brian, Jim, Ryan and the twins and I rode Pirates of the Caribbean. Brian and I then took the twins to ride the Magic Carpet and then we got to have our picture taken with Aladdin and his friends. Then we met up with the Cassidy’s again and they had gotten a snack waiting for us to get done with Aladdin. They gave Chad a bit of ice cream while he was asleep and he ate it. That was so funny!

When Julian saw Joel with a cup of ice cream he asked for some and he did not just want a bite, he wanted it all. Joel was the most gentlemanly man I have ever met at his age. He just gave Julian his ice cream without a fuss!! I asked him later if Julian ate it and he told me yes, he ate it all. I have made a mental note, that next time I see Joel I will be giving him a carton of ice cream all his own!
We were then off again to the other side of the park and Brian was in such a rush he would not let us stop and see the show that was going on at Cinderella’s Castle. But then right after we passed the Castle we saw the plane writing about God’s love in the sky. Patty said if we had stopped for the show, we would not have seen the writing in the sky! “Things always happen for a reason,” which is the motto of her life and now mine too.

Once we made it to the other side of the park, we rode Patty’s favorite ride, which is Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress. It was like a movie theater that would move you from one point to the next. You were to stay seated and Natalie kept getting up. An announcement was made to remind everyone to stay in their seat and then we had to hear one of the sections a second time. Near the end of it, Brian looked over at me and said, so we are hearing this again! I had to laugh, the rest of us knew we were hearing this a second time the first minute into the show. It had been a long day. We also got to ride Buzz Light Year, which Natalie loved and wanted to ride again even though she did not score any points.

Then we went to ride something else when we realized it was time for our dinner reservations. So we had to leave that ride and go to Liberty Tree Tavern. We thought they would have Mickey Mouse and the gang there since that had been the case when Brian and I went a few years ago when we were childless. I was a bit disappointed because I passed on some opportunities to see the characters throughout the day since I thought they would see them that night. But, I have to say, I think I was the only one that was disappointed. The dinner was good, with all you could eat thanksgiving type meal, but I would not do it again without Mickey and the gang.

By the time we got out it was time for the fireworks which we saw a bit of and then were off to ride The Many Adventures of Pooh, then Patty and I took the twins and Chad to ride Dumbo and then we met the boys at Splash Mountain to ride again as well then Space Mountain and then ended the night at Tomorrowland Speedway.

What a wonderful day we had, there were things we did not get to do, but we stayed until midnight and were so tired I am not sure how we all made it back to our room. That night I wrote a blog about our first day then fell into bed. I just wished I could have called my Mom to tell her about our day, she would have loved to hear about it all and then reminisce about the time she took me there as well. Then I thought that when Natalie and Julian take their children to Disney, I hope I will be able to join them!

WE DON’T HAVE A CHOICE

“How do you do it?” This is probably the most frequent question we get asked with regards to raising twins. I used to shrug my shoulders and reply that we didn’t know any different, but I think my new favorite answer is “we don’t have a choice.” This one usually results in some sort of “ah-ha” moment for the person asking the question. We don’t have a choice. We have two babies and we have to meet their needs. This has gotten easier as we’re better able to anticipate what their needs are and can tell their moods. Plus, we’re just faster at things like diaper changes, baths, getting packed and out the door, etc.

I do have concerns about how we’ll manage when they are both on the move. The days of putting them down and being relatively certain they’ll be in the same spot when you return are rapidly coming to a close. Maria has finally decided that she doesn’t despise tummy time and can roll across the room when put down on her back or belly. Grant does his “back stroke”, where he arches his back to see behind him and uses his feet to push his body forward. Thankfully, he won’t back stroke on the hardwood, so he stops when he gets to the doorway of their room. He has scooted under the cribs and under Maria’s feet as she’s jumping away in the jumparoo, so we have had to take a second to find him a time or two. I can tell they are both much more interested in getting around on their own and are using that motivation to try new things each day. Mobility will be a game changer, but I’m sure we’ll adapt as we always do. After all, we don’t have a choice.

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DAY 1 @WDW

We set off bright and early for the airport on Tuesday morning. We left our house at 4am, and Chad kept insisting that it must still be nighttime because the moon was out. All of the boys had anxiously been awaiting this trip, but no one was awake enough at that hour to show it, myself included. We made it to the airport and through the check-in process relatively smoothly. The only hitch was that one of our boarding passes had printed the wrong name, and we didn’t notice it until we were in line for security. Once Jim went back to correct this we went through security fairly quickly, and were headed to the gate to await the arrival of our plane.

Our flight time was estimated at being 2 1/2 hours, but we made it to Orlando in a little over 2 hrs. Marti and her family arrived about the same time, and we met up. It was so good to see them. It has been almost a year since their visit to our house, and when we see them, it is like we just pick up where we left off as if it was only yesterday. What amazes me the most is that Natalie and Julian are so receptive, and are so comfortable with us. I always anticipate them being shy with us because we don’t see them often, but that hasn’t happened yet.

We headed to the Disney Resort Saratoga Springs that we are staying at and checked in. It was approximately 11am, but our room was ready and available to us. We headed to it, dropped off our bags, changed into our swimsuits and were in the pool by noontime. We enjoyed a swim, relaxed while we ate our lunch poolside, and finished up with a soak in the hot tub, giving a new meaning to the phrase liquid lunch!

We headed over to Downtown Disney late afternoon to browse before dinner at Raglan Road, which is like an Irish Pub. My sister and brother in law, Cathy and Scott, met us for dinner, and over beer samplers, good food and company, we enjoyed our meal and ourselves. Chad, Natalie and Julian were exhausted at this point from being up so early, so they all fell asleep, Natalie and Julian on the way over in the stroller, and Chad at the dinner table! I wonder if he fell asleep from the company present or if he had a beer sampler of his own.

After dinner, we went to see Cirque De Soleil La Nouba, which we thoroughly enjoyed. We’ve seen it three times on past trips, but it never gets old. There is so much to see during the performance, all of it amazing. This was the Baileys’ first time, and they loved it as well. Afterwards we strolled through Downtown Disney and walked back to our resort. At that point we got the kids ready for bed, exchanged a few presents, and called it a night. Our trip is off to a great start.

Tomorrow we are headed to Epcot.

EPCOT

On the second day of our trip we went to Epcot. When we first walked in we saw Daisy Duck! The twins love the show Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, which Daisy is on, so that was a great start to the day. Unfortunately, I had forgotten the autograph books at the hotel, which Maggie and Cassie (cousins of the Cassidy boys) gave to each of the kids. So we did not get Daisy’s signature.

Then Patty took the twins to ride a Nemo ride which she said Julian cried on because he was scared and started asking for me. The rest of us went on Mission Space. I should have had a clue this ride may not have been the best choice for me since they had barf bags beside each person! I really liked the ride until the end, when I decided I would not do it again, but I am happy to report I did not have to use the bag.
After that it was Patty’s turn to ride and I took the kids to see the Fairies. Tinker Bell was there, but shortly after that she had to take a break, so we just got our pictures made with the other two fairies. Chad did not care to have his picture made; in all honestly I am not sure mine did either, but he was a real trooper! I took pictures of us walking and I felt like I had to drag Chad. When we got back to the strollers he wanted to sit in his and he went to sleep. I texted Brian that Chad was asleep, he said none of them were surprised. When they returned from their ride, Patty decided that he was sick and she thought he needed to go back to the room.

Brian and I got to have a mini-date when we went on a ride all by ourselves. Patty and Jim stayed with the kids. Julian asked for a popsicle and Natalie asked for popcorn. Patty said Jim rushed to get Julian’s popsicle, “which he would not have done with one of his own.” But Jim did get to benefit, since he was eating it when we got back. It seems to me that Natalie and Julian had already figured out how to work the system to benefit them!

The adults and older kids got to do another ride with Patty: “Soarin.” This was a hang-gliding flight thru all of California which was Brian’s favorite ride. Patty then headed back to the room with Chad, while the rest of us went on the ride about living with the Land. It was a boat ride that told about what scientists are doing to help produce food. We even saw a nine pound lemon! The twins seemed to be amazed by it. Then we were off to Mexico The Grand Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros. It was another boat ride through the pyramid-shaped Mexico Pavilion in which Donald Duck was lost.

Then we walked through Germany where we saw Snow White, but we did not wait in line for a photo with her, which I regret since that is Natalie’s favorite Princess. Since it was the first day, I thought oh we have time, but time at Disney runs out very quickly we learned. We then headed to eat at the Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room. It was an excellent meal. Natalie was asleep through it, but Julian was awake. He was a bit fussy, since he should have been asleep, but he just could not miss the excitement. I wish Patty and Chad could have joined us for that, but they had their own meal on the patio in the hotel room. We were all glad we got to try a Scotch Egg. Nothing brings more excitement to a bunch of boys than a Deep Fried Hard Boiled Egg.

We then continued to walk through the different countries that Epcot exhibits. In Japan we got to see Japanese Taiko drummers, and then in the United Kingdom, the boys found one of the guys from the Beatles to sing with. While we were in that store, I saw that Pooh and Tigger were there, so we got to visit with them for a bit. Looking around at all the shops was lots of fun, I could have stayed several days just in all the shops. We decided not to stay for the fireworks, which Jim said, is one of the best he has ever seen, and just headed back to the room to rest up for the next day at Magic Kingdom. It was a lovely day, we just hated that Chad got sick. We were all hoping he would be better so that he could enjoy the rest of the trip!!!

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FIRST DAY AT DISNEY

Our day started at 4am after a night of a sick dog and Julian falling out of bed! I am glad to say that the day greatly improved. When we headed out of the house, Natalie noticed that it was still dark outside and wanted to know where the sun was. She said “We have to find the sun. Where can it be?” I told her it was on the other side of the world, which we looked for the rest of the morning.

We kept them in their PJs which was very helpful going through security and then dressed them once we got to the gate. They were very excited to be on a plane and Julian said “We are going to visit my friends, the Cassidy family.” He was overjoyed to be in a plane and loved takeoff.

Once we got to Orlando we met the Cassidy family in the airport. It was so nice to see them and how they had changed. Patty has grown her hair out a bit and the boys have gotten bigger. Jim has stayed his funny self, still giving me a hard time. A bus took us from the airport to the hotel, Saratoga Springs, and Patty and I chatted the whole way there. Joel held Julian on his lap while Natalie and Chad fell asleep after such a long trip on mine and Patty’s lap.

When we got to the hotel we quickly put on our suits and headed for the pool. Natalie and Julian were excited to see Donald Duck in the splash pad area and wanted to go do that first. The water was a bit cold, so I had thought the pool would be a bit cool as well. I was surprised that it was heated and just perfect. It was so nice just to relax a bit after going, going and going to get ready for the trip. We all got in the hot tub as well. Jim made the commitment that he would like to stay in for I think he said 15 years. It was very hard to get out and head back to the hotel, even though we were looking forward to dinner and a show.

We went to an Irish pub for dinner and I had fish and chips while the twins slept in their stroller. Chad even fell asleep at the dinner table, which I think we all could have done. The food was just great, but it was just so exciting to be with them as well as Patty’s sister, Cathy and her husband Scott. At dinner Brian quizzed us about our first trip together in Richmond in regards to the name of the restaurants we ate. We all got the first one, but none of us got the second one. It was a great time to laugh, have fun and now even remember old times together.

Once we ate we were then off to the show “Cirque du Soleil. It was just amazing. Little girls dancing(?), men performing tricks on bikes, jump roping, tight rope walking, juggling, and much more. There was not any time to blink, many things were going on at the same time and all of it was a sight to see. Brian said it was like the Impossible becomes possible. Once that was done we were walking out and Natalie said, “Mommy that was fun!” I think we all could agree with her on that one.

Next up was Downtown Disney. Julian cried to ride a horse, which we did not do, and Natalie ran around nonstop. The Cassidy boys had fun at the Lego shop and then we called it a night. When we got back to the hotel we handed out gifts we had brought for each other. Patty cross-stitched the children the most beautiful pillow cases. One has a little girl praying and the other has a boy with a cross as well as the words “Now I lay me down to sleep.” They are just perfect! Then she made me a table runner that matches my china “Old Country Roses.” She is so very thoughtful and talented to boot! The kids also got books that Chad thought he had outgrown as well as a Thomas the Tank plate with matching silverware. They were excited beyond words.

The men fell asleep before the kids, so Patty and I put the pull-out bed together and I got the twins ready for bed. We were all very tired after getting up around 3am. How people do that every day I do not know! But when it is for vacation, it is just very exciting. This has been a great day to the start of a very magical trip.

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HAVING FUN

Brian and I have been trying and get the kids to go to sleep on their own, so on Valentines night we put them in their room and closed the door. To our delight they did not cry or fuss about it! Julian did come into our room and we told him he had to stay in his room, so he went back. We love to hear Julian and Natalie talk and how they enjoy each other so much during their alone time at night. I do prefer to hear them till 9:30pm instead of 11:30pm, which was the case this past Valentines evening. The last thing I heard Julian say over the monitor was “I will do that tomorrow.” I had thought Natalie had asked Julian to do something for her. After I went into his room and discovered all the stuffed animals all over the floor as well as Natalie’s shoes, I realized that they would be cleaning Julian’s room “tomorrow.” The next night went a bit better with Natalie falling asleep at 9:30pm, but Julian unplugged the monitor, so I had to go in and get him. When we get back from our trip we will try this all over again!

I decided before the trip I wanted to take pictures of Natalie and Julian’s rooms so that Patty and her sister, Cathy could see the gifts they gave them in their rooms. I am glad I did this before they decided to have a party in their room until 11:30pm, so at least I had a before and after shot.

Getting ready for the trip has involved lots of packing and cooking for me. The kids and I have made Mickey Mouse cookies for the Cassidy family as well as Patty’s sister and brother-in-law. We made sandwich cookies and then sprinkled them with Mickey Mouse sprinkles! Of course I could not go without taking them fudge. So I made chocolate, chocolate butterscotch, chocolate peanut butter and cream sickle (orange and white for the UT Vols).

Making the cookies reminded me of the first time we met the Cassidy family in Richmond. I had made cookies for them then and did not know at the time how they would be received. Some people do not allow their children to eat sweets and I did not know if they did or not. Now I know so much more about them than if they eat sweets or not. It is so nice to see how our relationship has developed over these three years.

I have been praying about the trip and asked Brian to pray as well. His response was, “Do you not expect the trip to go well?” Of course I expect it to go well, we are going to Disney World, where “Dreams do come true!” However, I also know that nothing in life is worth doing without the blessing of the Lord. So it is my prayer that this will be a time for fellowship, deeper relationships with God as well as each other, and for those around us to see the love of the Lord shining through each of us! Thanks be to God for this time together, but most of all for His love for us all!