SOOTHING WAVES FROM OUR BEACH TRIP

This summer the twins have really loved the pool. On vacation they just wanted to go to the pool and not the beach, but we forced them to go to the beach as well. The twins that we went with on vacation go under the water and swim without any devices. Mine do not do that and I tried to encourage them to get their head under and move their bodies all at the same time. Julian would do each of those, but not at the same time. I am happy to say that Sunday night he went under the water, blew bubbles with his nose and swam! It was very exciting! He still had his life vest on, but his body was just as it was supposed to be. Natalie on the other hand will not put her head underwater and blow bubbles.

I am not looking forward to when they close the pool down in our neighborhood. It has been a wonderful summer with the twins and I do not want it to end. They love water just as my Mother did and I am glad they enjoy it as much as I do too! Today we are going to the pool where I grew up in Alcoa. It is wonderful memories of my childhood and I am so thankful I can share them with the twins. Who knows what new things they will do at the pool today.

LETTING GO

 

 

 

 

 

I did it. I sent the email I’ve been thinking about for a while now. We put our 10 remaining embryos back in the adoption pool. Jeremy and I discussed it last night and agreed it was the right thing to do. We couldn’t come up with any good, rational, non-selfish reasons to hold on to them.

Reasons for holding on to them:

• My fear that no one will adopt them because they are labeled “special consideration.” In some way I feel that I was protecting them by holding on to them even if we have no intentions of trying again.
• I’ll always wonder what became of them. Because we did an anonymous adoption, we’ll not know if anyone else adopted them or if any babies were born from them. Of course, through this blog and social media, if another adoptive family wanted to contact us, they could, and I think I would welcome it.
• Are we really done? My heart says yes, and I decided that if, for some reason, we change our minds in a few years and God wants us to have more children that are genetic siblings to Grant and Maria, their profile will still be available.

Reasons for letting go:

• I like symmetry and even numbers.
• We’re playing a man-to-man defense with two children.
• I don’t want another multiple pregnancy; but also can’t reconcile going through all the shots and hormones to transfer one embryo and limit the chance of a positive pregnancy. Plus, if it’s just one more baby it goes against bullet number 1 and we’d need to go for a fourth. (It’s not fun inside my head sometimes.)
• The cost of children…the possibility of private schools, college tuition, bigger house, bigger cars, etc. It all adds up and I would like to retire before I’m 90.
• If God sees fit for us to have another child He’ll make it happen however He sees fit…the “old fashioned way,” another embryo adoption, and or traditional adoption.

As the September cycle comes near, I know that couples will be receiving profiles. It’s been two years since we received our profiles and made the decision to trust God and go with the “special consideration” profile. For anyone who is reading this and is preparing for a transfer…PLEASE (shameless begging, here) consider one of these special profiles. Pray about it. Research it. Understand what you might be tossing aside out of fear. My first reaction was not to even look at those profiles…but God placed it on my heart just to type in VSD into the search on my computer and through that, I knew that there was nothing to fear and we would overcome any obstacles placed in our way. God proved faithful and gave us two healthy babies. Grant and Maria are PERFECT!

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ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE

History was made as we stood and saw the space shuttle go up for the last time. While we were waiting for the event, a bomb squad came by as well as police cars and helicopters overhead. This made for a very entertaining time. I am happy to say that even though a bomb was called in there was not one there. I did though, have my husband post on FaceBook that we were on the bridge just in case something happened and people started looking for us!

As I was waiting with the kids, I was also reading a book I had got from my friend Katina for my birthday. It was a book about friendship, but the neat thing was that as I was sitting there reading the chapter, one of the charters in the book was talking about the Challenger, the space shuttle that exploded in 1985. I had already been thinking about this, since I was in fourth grade at the time and saw it in class as it was happening. Things like that just stick with you, so I was praying that this shuttle would be a success and not have such a devastating ending.

Once it did go up I could not help but shed a few tears. It was an emotional time knowing that a part of history was ending. Surprisingly, the twins loved it and wanted to see it again. On the news that night we got to see it again and on our video too. After the launch we headed back to our condo to have some more beach time. I am happy to say we did not have traffic, it was a very smooth day.

The next day the Kennedy Space Center was open and everyone decided to go, including us. We got to take a tour and see the launch pad where the shuttle had launched from as well as many videos telling the history of the space program. I learned so much it just seems amazing that it ever makes it into space with so much that has to take place beforehand and be 100% accurate.

It made me think of getting pregnant and how everything has to be just right for it all to take place. Like the space program, it is hard to comprehend how embryo adoption is even possible. It all seems science fiction, but it isn’t! I am able to take my children on vacation thanks to scientists who spent so many years studying and experimenting that it just blows my mind. I cannot possibly think what is going to take place in years to come. I am reminded of what Julian told my Aunt Nancy he learned in VBS at our church. When she asked him what he was learning he said, “That anything is possible with God.” Not only did I see that in the science on vacation or in Haiti on the mission trip, but I am living it with my two miracles. Thank you God for blessing me so that I can be a blessing to others and I pray that you will be blessed today!

A VACATION WITHOUT THE PLANNING

When I got back from Haiti, the children had started VBS at my church. Each night the children went, Brian and I had a date night. I did not help this year since I was just getting back from my trip. One night Brian and I were talking about what we might do for vacation, since his dad was recovering from surgery, we knew we would not be going with his parents to the beach this year. So I decided to call my friend Susan and ask her what they were doing. Yes, I just invited my whole family to join them on their vacation! They planned on going to see the space shuttle launch and go to the beach. After praying about it and then talking with Brian about it we decided we would love to join them! This was around July 1, my birthday, and they were leaving July 5th!

One thing going to Haiti taught me is that you can just do something at the drop of a hat. So we did! Usually, I would have been packing our bags a month beforehand and making lists so I would not forget anything. Well, needless to say, I was able to get it all done without having a month to plan.

We were all so excited to be going with our dear friends to such a wonderful place and event. Brian drove the first day a little over half way and then we stopped for the night. The next day we made it to the beach by 1:30 and on the beach by 2! The twins just wanted to go to the pool, but we made them go to the beach each day as well. At first they would not get into the water, but by the end of the trip they were jumping the waves.

It was so nice to be with my family after being away from them for eleven days. I had really missed them, even though at the time I did not allow myself to think much about it. It was such a treat for me to have everyone together in one place, without Brian having to go to work or do anything else that separated us. I just wanted to hold them all very closely and not let them go!

The Thomas family that we went with has identical twin boys six months older than my twins. Natalie and Julian just love the boys and they all played so well together. My friend Susan knew the area well, since growing-up her family took her to vacation in the same area and to see the shuttle launches as well. It was not only nice to spend time with my own family, but them as well. Susan told about her times there with her family and her Mom who passed away 16 years ago. I thought, I hope my children have such fond memories of me and the times we spend together as Susan and I both have of our mothers. Susan’s Dad is still living and I wondered if he wished he could have come with them.

When I was in Haiti I missed my Mom so much; I guess when one is in distress they want their Mommy! For me, I just wanted to share my experiences with her, because I knew she would have wanted to know and would have been so interested in everything that happened. She also would have known so much about the country and would have educated me all about it. Not because my Mom’s passion was Haiti, but just because she was so smart she knew about everything (except as she would tell me many times, infertility)! My mother educated herself if she did not know something she would read about it and then share it all with me.
This is what I strive to give my children, a Mother who’s love of learning is contagious and that a vacation is not just about having fun, but a learning experience. That is why I was so excited to be able to take them to the last shuttle launch. I am so thankful to Stan and Susan for inviting us to be a part of their family time together. They gave me the opportunity to give to my children a piece of history!

SIBLING RIVALRY

The most recent issue of the National Mother of Twins Club magazine had a study published on sibling rivalry. Based on its survey, most parents of twins reported sibling rivalry being most prevalent among twins from ages 2-5. Often it was shown in the form of fighting, jealousy, hitting, shoving, and biting. I can say we already have seen all of those. Most common is fighting over toys or Jeremy or me. If you are attempting one-on-one with one baby it’s not uncommon for the other to throw themselves at you or, if we’re up in a chair, to try to climb in the chair or sit in the floor and throw a tantrum. It’s frustrating, but also makes me realize we do have to work to spend dedicated time with each baby.

On Monday, Grant wasn’t feeling well and went to bed extra early. I closed myself in the nursery with him while we rocked and I could hear Maria happily playing out in the hall with Jeremy. She was cackling and pushing a toy up and down the hall. I was worried she would keep him awake, but he wasn’t disturbed and quickly crashed.

I sat on the couch with Jeremy, enjoying a few minutes of not having to do anything while watching Maria. I figured it would go on for a couple of minutes and she would move on to something else. But I was wrong. For the next 35 minutes she ran laps up and down the hall, laughing and talking all the way. She didn’t get frustrated when she got stuck and never once threw her toy. She just went back and forth, back and forth. Jeremy commented that she never has this opportunity to just have something all to herself. Normally, Grant would interject himself, either by stealing said toy or by just stopping forward momentum by being in the way. But not now; she had it all to herself….and she was thrilled! She eventually tired and was ready for bed, but not without breaking a sweat. Baby Girl might have logged a mile if we had a pedometer on her.

More than anything, this was a reminder that they both need some alone time and while that isn’t always easy to accomplish, we’re going to have to make it a point to give each one time alone, even at this young of an age. They will enjoy it and appreciate each other more when they are reunited. Maybe it’s a special trip to the store with only one or taking advantage of an early bedtime for the other. Whatever it may be, they need to enjoy time as an individual and not always as a twin. While, I can’t imagine life with only one, sometimes each needs to be treated as if they are the only one in the world.

THE FIRST OVERNIGHT

I spent my first night away from the babies since they came home from the hospital 14 months ago. I guess it’s fitting, since I returned to work a year ago this week. I had managed to avoid any overnight travel since I was early in my pregnancy, but this was pretty much unavoidable. I am on the negotiating committee for one of our unions located in the western part of the state and we knew that the probability of me having to be gone a night or two or three was pretty high. I was excited when we were proposing a 6 month extension to the contract and, if ratified, would limit my time away this month. I was even more hopeful that I wouldn’t have to be gone any nights and we would get what needed to be done in just one day, however, that wasn’t the case and the bag I packed came in handy. I guess I really could have driven the two hours from Greenville to my home and back again the next morning, but I didn’t feel it was worth the risk of extra time on the Western Kentucky Parkway. Alas, Jeremy was home alone overnight.

My mom stepped in to help with baths and bedtime, as well as the early morning bottles, and my breast pump and I spent some extra time together (gag!). Jeremy and I checked in via text message throughout the day and it sounded like everything was well under control. I managed to leave Greenville around 4:00 on Tuesday afternoon, which meant I would be home in time to play with the babies before they went to bed. I called to check in on my way home and Jeremy held the phone up to each baby so I could say “Hi.” Jeremy said Maria got a huge smile on her face and Grant’s eyes just got huge as he listened to me.

After a treacherous stormy drive home, I walked through the door and Maria said “HI” about five times. Grant just smiled and I sat on the floor as we played and Maria showed off her latest skill of walking about five rapid steps before falling face forward. She’s so proud…but can’t quite get the grasp on slowing forward momentum.

Come January, I’ll likely be gone multiple nights as we go back to the table with the union, and I’m thankful we had this trial run. I missed Jeremy, the babies, my pillow and other comforts of home. I think they missed me, or maybe they just missed drinking from the tap. In any event, I was glad to be home.

THINGS THAT MAKE ME SMILE

After one of the cruddiest weeks ever, I find it’s important to turn my mind to the positive and think about all the good there is in my life and the world around. I have been blessed more than I could have ever imagined…here are a few things that make me smile:

• Maria’s growl and fake laugh. She’s a quirky kid…and what makes her funnier is that she takes herself so seriously and doesn’t even realize what a goofball she is.
• The way Grant’s eyes sparkle when he’s trying not to grin behind his pacifier.
• How proud the babies are when they learn a new trick. Maria has started standing unassisted and taking steps. Grant is walking. He walked across the house Friday night.
• Grant walks with his legs straight like Dr. Frankenstein’s creation.
• Maria’s crawl. She looks like a little jerky windup doll.
• The way Grant’s eyes tick after Jeremy spins him around in circles. It’s all he can do to hold his big melon head up.
• The way they laugh at each other when they wake up in the morning and are talking between cribs.
• The fact that Jeremy will go out of his way at the grocery to find a special treat for me after a rough day…and that he cooks and cleans and does a wonderful job as a dad.
• A perfectly timed worship song on the radio reminding me how deeply we are loved by our heavenly Father. He’ll never let go.