SWIM LESSONS

The twins have been taking swim classes and have completed six classes. When they first started, Natalie would not put her face in the water and they were both swimming with floaties. Now they both swim underwater without floaties and are working on different types of strokes. Natalie can swim across the pool under the water or above, Julian only likes to swim under the water. Natalie is also very efficient at swimming on her back; Julian still has some work to do in that area. As the teacher says if we put them together we would have a swimmer!

This summer they have really grown up a lot. Not only has their swimming improved, but they also have mastered characters and the setting of a story. The next goal I have for them is to learn how to spell and write their last name, they already do that with their first name. I have made up a song, but it may take a bit longer to master it. I also need to work with them on their phone number and zip code. Other than that I think they are ready for Kindergarten, which they will start a year from now.

It is just amazing to think about the progress they have made from their time in the NICU. I have not had them professionally tested, but from everything I can see they are not behind. Brian thinks they do so well, because I have stayed at home with them. I do not know if they would be more advanced if they had gone to a full time preschool, but to me it does not matter. I have enjoyed every moment of being a stay at home mom. I think it has gotten easier and easier as they get older in most ways. Mainly, I found if I can get 8 hours of sleep I can handle almost anything. There are those days that I have lost my temper, and have been ready for a day off, which for the most part does not exist for me. I mostly have to give the credit to the children, because they are just a joy. Overall, they are very well behaved, play well with others and are very thoughtful as well. This makes my life much easier.

I was at my brother’s condo pool taking care of my twins as well as his two children, when a girl came up to me to tell me what a good mother I was and that she hoped when she became a mother she would be like me. I took that as a great compliment. These days the highest complements I can receive are on my children’s behavior and now my parenting. As we venture out into public, it is an often occurrence, the twins are complimented on their looks. I have taught them to use their manners and thank the people, but have also told them the highest compliment they could receive is on their behavior and that our behavior reveals our true beauty.

“Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. “
Proverbs 31:30

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FACTS ABOUT MARIA

Stats: 24 lbs soaking wet (approximately 3rd percentile). Currently wears size 12-24 months, with a lot of 24 month items still being too big. Jeremy says she’s nothing but bone and sinew. Our pediatrician said she’ll likely only be 5’1” or 5’2”, which is about the size of her genetic mother.

Personality: much bigger than her frame. She’s feisty and funny, but will only show that side if she’s comfortable with you. She’s suspicious of new people and situations. She can be very helpful and sweet and likes to have things in order. She will make sure doors are closed as needed, that Grant has his water bottle and toys are cleaned up properly. She fidgets a lot and can have trouble relaxing. When she’s comfortable, she will show her funny side doing things like a silly monkey walk. Maria does things on her own time and terms. She does require alone and one-on-one time and likes to spend time with me coloring and working puzzles while Grant is watching videos with Jeremy.

Regularity: whenever she feels like it; no set schedule. After a massive poo one day Jeremy asked her if she just waited until she could wait no longer and she emphatically said “YES!”

Favorite shirt: cupcake shirt; I have to make excuses as to why she can’t wear it or hide it. She’s very opinionated about her clothing.

Musical tastes: anything that has a video with animals. She’s also into singing ABCs and Jesus Loves Me.

Favorite TV show: anything with Elmo.

Favorite books: Green Eggs and Ham and the Bible. We have a Children’s Bible story book that is written much like a love story from God that has great artwork that she loves.

Favorite sport: not really into anything in particular. Likes to ride her bike and push her baby doll on her bike. She’s not all that coordinated, so we’re not really sure how she’ll do with sports. She enjoys swimming so maybe that will be an option.

Favorite food: right now it’s watermelon aka “mo mo”; she’ll eat an entire small melon in one sitting if I let her. She’s also a big fan of broccoli, cheese, and popcorn aka “pop pop”. If we’re struggling to get her to eat something, we just start to move her food to Grant’s plate, and then she’ll eat it.

She loves her baby doll, “Baby” and her blanket. She has hoarding tendencies and will try to carry as much stuff with her as humanly possible. She must sleep with her hello kitty, dolly, Baby, pony, and two blankets. She’s still on her pacifier for sleeping and we might have to cut the end off of it to break her from it. Grant bit the end off of his and it was surprisingly a non-issue and he’s binky free. She is quirky and funny and can be very sweet in spite of her intensity. Some of my favorite times with her are when we play peek-a-boo. “Hide, Mommy!” she requests and then lets out a great laugh when I “unhide”. She has laugh that comes from her belly and seems like it leaps from her without control. Her face lights up, eyes twinkle and she sparkles.

FACTS ABOUT GRANT

I often talk about Grant and Maria together, because they were a package deal. However, they are two very different individuals and I thought it would be good to give each their own profile. Because he was born first and is alphabetically first, Grant will get the first profile.

So here are some facts about Grant:

Stats: 29ish lbs. These are 29 solid pounds. He feels more like 40. I think he’s going to be stout as he gets older; this might explain his massive box like feet. He’s going to need a strong foundation. Currently he wears anything from 24 months to 3T. It’s frightening how not big a 3T is on him.

Personality: sweet and silly and all boy. He loves trucks and balls and is rather destructive, especially with books. He’s quick to offer hugs and when he doesn’t feel well, he just wants to cuddle. He’s more of a follower than a leader, and can be rather stubborn with following directions and gets easily distracted. He loves to figure out how things work and gets a priceless smile when he figures something out. He does have a fiery temper that can get him in trouble when he doesn’t get his way.

Regularity: loaded diaper every morning upon waking. Without question.

Favorite shirt: red t-shirt with trucks on it. I bury it in his drawer and he still digs it out.

Musical tastes: enjoys guitar and drums. He loves watching music videos on YouTube with Jeremy. In the evenings before bed, they will often watch a couple. He recently got his first exposure to Weezer and Alien Ant Farm; he seemed to enjoy. His favorites are Hillsong’s With Us, Needtobreathe’s Signature of the Divine and Keep Your Eyes Open and Travis Barker doing Soulja Boy…variety is the slice of life, right?

Favorite books: Opposites by Sandra Boynton; he loves to say the last word of the book – “Goodbye!”, Elmo and Friends at the Zoo, aka ELMO ZOO!, Green Eggs and Ham, and Animal Sounds. He has all the sounds down and when he and Maria do them together, it’s hilarious.

Favorite TV show: Sesame Street. It’s actually the only one we’ll let them watch. Sesame Street can allow chores to get completed in relative peace.

Favorite sport: soccer and basketball, but baseball and football are not far down the list.

Favorite food: he’ll eat pretty much anything we put in front of him, but is particularly fond of any kind of berry. Loves carrots; ate one out of the dog bowl the other day. I suppose there are worse things.

He loves to climb and hang from playground equipment and thinks that water guns are the best thing on the planet. He tolerates the heat well and tans just thinking about the sun. His hair is almost blonde this summer and if we let it grow he has lots of curls. My favorite times with him are at night rocking him before bed and I say that it’s time for me to put him down he’ll look at me smiles and whispers “no”. So, we rock for a few more minutes.

WHO NEEDS FANCY TOYS?

Grant and Maria do not have a ton of toys. We have lots of blocks, puzzles, coloring supplies, Nerf guns for Jeremy, and a few outdoor toys. This was an intentional move on our part as we didn’t want our house to be overrun by toys and we both believe that less is more. There’s something healthy about not having everything you’ve ever wanted and having to use your imagination while you play. We have found that they often find more enjoyment in non-toys than toys themselves. Jeremy’s mom brings over a bag full of plastic containers that provide tons of opportunity for enjoyment. They can stack and knock over, turn them into rattles, make bowling pins, etc. and have a great time doing so. They also have a great time with a bucket of water and paint brushes while playing outside and Grant is now strong enough to use the sprayer on the hose, so fair warning to anyone passing by our place when the water is on.

With our move hopefully just a week away, we’re trying to pack as much as we can, but 4 little hands seem more like 40 so I needed to find a way to occupy them and still be productive. Since the boxes seemed intriguing and they are into crayons and stickers I thought that decorating a box would be a pretty sure bet. I was right…I just didn’t know how right. The box provided plenty of entertainment and not just for decorating; it became a trampoline of sorts and while it’s lost its usefulness as a box for packing, it’s still a useful toy. If you are looking to be a toy in the Wilson house, fancy toys need not apply!

SUMMER FUN WITH THE BAILEY’S

This summer has been jam packed with activities. As a family we try and visit Dollywood Splash country several times a month, like we did for Father’s Day. With such warm temperatures, anywhere with water has been the place for us this summer! Vacation Bible School has also been a big part of our summer. The twins attended three different ones and wanted to know this week if we were going to another one. They enjoy going to them since they do not have preschool in the summer. They sing all the songs and really soak up God’s word as they bring it all into their daily play time. It is really such a blessing to see how they enjoy learning the word of God.

July is also a month of many birthdays and celebratory activates. Mine is the first, which is Canada day, in honor of my Canadian Mother! The fourth of July, is also a big time in my family. We got together with extended family for fireworks while swimming in the pool. Julian has decided he wants to be a “fireworks guy” when he grows up followed by a “zip line guy.” I have tried to explain to him that zip lining is not a career choice, but a hobby. Julian does not seem to care, he still considers that a great job to have when he grows up. I did tell him that when he gets old enough we will go together.

Another celebration this month is cousin Alyssa’s birthday. We were invited to a family birthday party for her as well as a kid’s party! We all had a great time eating cake, cake balls, ice cream, icee’s, and many more wonderful treats! We also got to honor, our friend, Sasha, on her birthday as well, with a fun day at Doe River Gorge.

At the end of this week we will also be celebrating and honoring the life of Brian’s grandmother, who passed away this past Sunday. She was just one day shy of her 100th birthday. I will be speaking at her funeral and have been thinking about her life and what I will say. It is a great honor for me to speak about such a fine Christian woman, but even more of a privilege to call her family. I have learned so much from her walk with the Lord and look forward to teaching my children about her love for God as they have a better understanding of what it means to be a Christian. What a role model and a legacy she leaves behind for all of us to honor. As I speak at her funeral, I cannot help but wonder, who will be speaking at mine one day. Will it be Julian or Natalie’s child’s wife or husband, if I am blessed to live that long. Will they have such fond memories of me and my walk with the Lord? At times like these I often have to look and see where I measure up and make necessary changes in my own life, so that my own children will be able to say “her children rise up and call her blessed,” Proverbs 31:28.

IS IT CHRISTMAS YET?

What a great weekend we have had. It was my birthday and we celebrated at my sister’s house and then went to the Alcoa pool. When I grew up I went to that pool almost every day. It brought back lots of wonderful memories. Julian wanted to go off the diving boards as well, but I told him we would have to ask his swim teacher before we did that. The twins are taking swim lessons and are doing great. Natalie can swim across the pool with her head above the water, which is what the teacher wants. Julian swims under the water and does not want to put the effort it will take him to swim with his head above the water. So I am hoping his desire to go off the diving board will entice him to work harder.

The other day Julian checked the weather on the phone and said, “It has three numbers! That means it is a lot, lot hot!” Yes, here in our area it has been a lot, lot hot! Patty’s sister sent a care package for the twins with books for them to do on hot days. Those days are currently here! Julian asked the other day if it was Christmas yet. Natalie also asked how many days were left before Christmas morning. We may all be wondering that due to this unusually hot weather, but the weather has nothing to do with the twins countdown.

On Friday, when we got the care package, we went out to get the ingredients in the Princess cookbook to make butterfly cupcakes. We are looking forward to making some wonderful princess desserts. So bring on the hot days, we are ready to cool off with treats and swimming!

ANSWERED PRAYER

We’re preparing to move which means lots of packing and purging on the horizon. I started cleaning out our desk and came across a prayer journal that I started when I went to Poland in the fall of 2008. Upon my return home I wrote sporadically for several months. When turning through it I came to the following entry dated September 23, 2008: “I got some foster care information from my cousin and my heart isn’t really there. I don’t know that that is the direction I’m being led to go. I was touch by two families bringing their adopted children home from overseas. I still seek direction with adoption – international, embryo, domestic…provide guidance for our lives. Also help me to have continued peace and patience with Your timing in my life.”

360 days later we had our embryo transfer that resulted in Grant and Maria. I’m so very thankful for answered prayer.