5 Years With Twins

 November 2009: Spencer (age 4), me, Seth (age 4). Photo by Amy Jacobs Photography.

Last week, my twins turned five years old.

There was a period of time when I absolutely, positively did not think we would all survive the night, much less the next five years.

But, we made it.

Without a doubt the most fascinating thing about being the mother of twins is to look at each of them and “see” the same person but know the intricacies and preferences of each personality. I only hope and pray I adequately nurture and encourage expression of those personalities.

Nothing about parenting twins has been easy. Nothing. I would gladly and willingly throw myself in front of train to rescue my children, but good gravy, those little boogers drive me to the brink of insanity most everyday. In their super-cute and so-adorable-you-could-gobble-them-up ways, of course.

They are funny and smart and love their mother fiercely. They are addicted to chocolate and ketchup (not together, but I know they’d try it if I suggested it).

Most of my memories of the first two years of their lives revolve around Prevacid and acid reflux and carrying a baby in each arm and crying.

Lots and lots of crying. Them and me.

Mostly me. 

 Easter 2006: Seth (left) and Spencer (right), age one.

I don’t remember first steps or first words. I sort of remember first teeth. I vividly remember first days at Mother’s Day Out. (Thank you, Lord, for Mother’s Day Out.)

The highlight of their first year for me (as was with Susanna) was their baptism. The most special act of God’s marking them as members of his family was—and is to this day—incredibly precious to me. I’m so glad I remember the events of that day.

The last three years’ memories are muddy, also. But potty training success in one week (by God’s grace) tops the list. (Thank you, Lord, for quick potty training success.)

Sometimes I will grab their little “lovies”—smooched and rubbed stuffed animals—and just cuddle them. The lovies in those really hard early days were great sources of comfort for them. For me, the lovies still serve that role: a constant, abiding, and unchanging presence, even though the boys are more and more frequently becoming less attached to their lovies.

I am simultaneously heartbroken and ecstatic about that.

Next year they go to kindergarten. While it’s a bittersweet milestone, I’m not terribly sad (at least not yet). I’ve always said I’m not really a “baby mom.” I’m excited to see my little babies grow into rugged boys and responsible young men. Call me crazy, but I think I’m looking forward to the next few years.

Happy birthday, boys. So glad we’ve made it.

November 2009: Susanna (age 6), Seth (age 4) and Spencer (age 4). Photo by Amy Jacobs Photography.

Thanksgiving Day 2009 in Review

I am worn to a pulp but happy and full.

After last night’s marathon prepping/cleaning session, I worked this morning on finishing everything.

The meal was fantastic and my turkey turned out perfectly! Just as anticipated: tender, moist, flavorful. And my dressing? So savory! I made cranberry sauce myself and narrowly averted a sugar disaster. The recipe called for 1 cup of sugar, but I only had about 1/2 cup on hand. (I can’t believe I forgot to buy sugar!) I used brown sugar to make up the difference, and it was just fine.

I am continually amazed at a few things when it comes to hosting family and guests in our home for holiday meals:

  • I could wear my bikini (OK; you know I don’t really HAVE a bikini, but go with the illustration, OK?) while cleaning and cooking and I would still sweat like a pig. With a hot oven and people crammed in the house, I just about DIE of sweating.
  • When I am in the throes of cooking, preparation, and getting food on the table at a certain time, my children are ESPECIALLY needy, clingy, and underfoot. Moving a hot pan of something from point A to point B? There’s a kid right behind me. Balancing breakable dishes in my hands? Kid’s there tugging on my pants. Wanting food, drink, to watch a show, to ask for the millioneth time when we will eat—you name it and my kids are on it. There could be 15 adults within an arm’s reach and every child, every time, would find me, in the recesses of the house when I am engaged in some important and timely activity.
  • My father is LOUD. Very loud. Very, very, very loud. He’s a loud talker; a loud laugher; a loud cougher. And if you want to be heard, you have to be loudER than Daddy. And that gives me a headache. A lot.
  • BIG mistake: raising the issue of the Adam Lambert performance at the AMA’s. Big. Mistake. Somehow this comment digressed eventually to outsourcing American jobs to countries overseas. Huh? I have no idea. (Thanks, Chris.)
  • Wine. Wine is always a good idea at any family gathering. More wine? Yes, thank you.

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.

How Do You Do It?

I’m always looking for new ideas on time management, prioritizing, and efficiency.

As I’m writing more (both here and for $$$ in the real world), I’m finding it hard at times to balance my time among writing, home, work, family, church, kids’ school events/volunteering, and so on.

If you are a writer/blogger, I’d LOVE to hear from you.

How do you do it?

When do you write? And how do you prioritize your other responsibilities?

My problem often is that I get “sucked in” to other online temptations: reading/commenting on blogs, Facebook, and Twitter. When I have writer’s block, I’m all too happy to tackle the laundry or dishes; while at other times, I have a hard time unearthing the computer because it’s buried under piles of dirty clothes. Most of the time, I don’t feel like I have balance.

Any ideas for me? What works for you, your writing time, and your family?

I’d love to hear from you.

Meet Zoe!

We have a new furry family member, Zoe. She’s 8.3 pounds, a Bichon-Shih Tzu mix. We got her from a family in Shelbyville.

Chris and Zoe

We are incredibly excited to have her. She has fit in so well with our family. She’s so patient and sweet with the kids. Susanna, especially, has taken responsibility with Zoe, taking her out and putting food in her dish.

We learned that her birthday is May 30, 2007. On that day, Chris and our dear friend and pastor, David Filson, were burying our sweet Sassy in our yard. Sassy was our little Peke-a-Poo for about 9 years. She died of a congenital heart defect.

This is the only picture of Sassy that I could locate quickly. Fall 2006.

David told us that “Zoe” (the name she had been given) means “life” in Greek.

She has breathed new life into our family for sure.

Fun at Mimi and Papa’s House

Seth is wearing Papa’s firefighter helmet. Papa is a retired Metro firefighter. Very cool!

Spencer’s turn in Papa’s helmet.

What a treat! A day with Papa and Mimi. The boys love to ride on Papa’s “tractor” and go to his “barn.”

Spencer (left) and Seth in Papa’s tractor.
August 2008

So cute you could gobble them up!

Playing on Papa’s “tractor.” Seth on the left and Spencer on the right. I think they really look alike in this picture.

Better Get Started!

Because I’ve been running behind on life since—oh, I don’t know—fifth grade, I’ve decided this year I’m going to be ready for the upcoming fall season.

I simultaneously embrace and dread October, November, and December. The fall is full of fun activities, but it’s also the busiest time for our family.

So, I woke up the other day and it hit me that Halloween would be here soon. Then, Thanksgiving. And, oh no, Christmas. Last year my Christmas cards and letter were mailed weeks after Christmas. I figure if I get started NOW—in the middle of August—maybe I’ll get them out by Christmas Eve.

I want to do something really cute for the kids this year. I need your help to vote in another poll about your favorite costume idea. I’ve thought of Princess & Two Frogs; Princess Leia, Yoda, & R2-D2; or Dorothy, Lion, & Scarecrow. If you have other “combo” ideas, I’d love to read them in comments section.

OK—then, next I need to start preparing Thanksgiving dinner. And, Christmas shopping? Wrapping?

Ugh. I better get started.

First Day of Kindergarten

Today my first-born began her school career. Susanna went to Kindergarten.

It was a wonderful day. Chris and I walked her to her class, and she was so eager to begin her day. She was reluctant to even stop at the front door for pictures. “Come on! Let’s go, let’s go!” she said.

She looked adorable in her standard school attire (they don’t call it a “uniform,” per se).

Chris and I stayed for the “Boo Hoo” breakfast, designed to help parents make a clean break from their children.

But I’m not really sad. I’m excited. I have always loved school. It’s crazy, but it’s as if I get to live vicariously through my kids’ school experiences. I love learning new things, having new experiences, and meeting new people. Susanna gets to do all of that now! She has a lifetime ahead of learning and that’s exhilarating to me.

Chris described it well. It’s a feeling of “no turning back.” We’ve hit yet another milestone of parenting. The preschool years have passed.

The absolute highlight of the day: Susanna has her very own locker
with her name posted on the outside.

Susanna and her teacher, Ms. Sullivan. It’s going to be a great year!

The Really Grand Grandparents

Chris and I are so richly blessed to have loving, supportive, and generous parents. They have given over and again of their time, love, and money to our family. I’m convinced we could not have survived new babies, household emergencies, and automobile catastrophes without them!

Mimi, Papa, Nana, and Papa are a tremendous encouragement to our family. They are “grand” in every sense of the word.

Papa and Mimi (Bill and Linda Bernard) and
Nana and Papa (Frances and Hugh Parker)

The Van—Part 2

So, the van did get cleaned out (I know you all were waiting with bated breath to hear about what gross things I uncovered under the piles of trash), and as far as I know I didn’t contract any disease or anything.

But I was really kind of forced into it because the van had to be TOWED away this morning.

Seems the transmission is about to go. We think.

We are so blessed that my dad knows every mechanic that undercharges for services within a 50-mile radius. So, we do what it takes to get our vehicles to Bedford county for repairs. This, of course, also comes with my dad’s watchful eye, which is always helpful.

So, today, Daddy and Ray (the tow-truck guy who is also my sister’s neighbor) came and got the van.

Mama and Daddy were so very, very gracious to loan us their GIGANTIC-I -feel-that-I-need-to-be-playing-shuffleboard-and-hitting-the-early-bird-specials-at-the- senior-citizens-center Ford Mercury. Not that my parents have ever played shuffleboard or eaten an early bird special, much less attended any event with a “senior citizen” label. But still. This car is huge and really does scream, “old retired people with lots of money.”

I took the kids out for a spin this afternoon. They really enjoyed it, once they stopped fighting and I threatened to go home. “Will you PUH-LEEZE stop fighting and be quiet and just listen to the music on the radio? Can we do that?” (Do I really have 15+ years of this left????)

We went to the pharmacy, bank, and Sonic for slushies. I liked having the cold air blowing in my face, singing along to 80’s favorites on the radio, and not having to get anyone out of the car.

I (heart) the Mercury.