.:19:. This thing called “bond”.

 

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Alaina (left) + Hannah (right): 20 months

April 10th marks National Sibling Day (according to someone, somewhere). I like to jump on bandwagons sometimes and celebrate random things. But this to me, this isn’t as random as one might think. I truly think this is something to be celebrated. The blessing of a sibling is amazing. We are born adoring our family, defending, protecting, and looking up to them. We soon find our own identity, we make our own choices and at some point we branch out and form our own life and family. But we never forget where we began. We may have our differences, strong views and perspectives in life, we may even lose touch or drift apart, but something holds us together – a memory, a story, a person… weak or strong, we always have a BOND.

I may be a dreamer, as I imagine my girls will remain best friends for the rest of their lives, thinking about how they’ll make the news… “90 Year Old Twins, Still Best Friends” (as they giggle over tea and hold hands).  Of course, my husband and I will be 120 living in a glorious place probably learning about such news via SKYpe (get it?). ah ha, ok (and I will not be a retired comedian).


Since day 1, I have been fascinated with this world of twins.  How special it is to raise two at once.  Chaotic and challenging in it’s own right, but this unique bond is simply amazing. I really wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. I am always surprised, taken aback and even a little offended (but I get over that quickly) when I get those looks of “good luck” or “no thank you”, as if raising twins would be the most horrible thing ever. I’ll tell you, it is not. Watching them grow up together is really the best thing ever.

{the beginning}
I recently found myself reflecting back on day 1, when my girls came into this world together, well… 2 min apart.

After a shocking welcome, followed by gasping screams of “I’m here!!!” my babies’ fears seemed to subside when they were near each other. When I first held them together, it was beautiful… and when they made eye contact, as blurry and non-identafiable as I’m sure it was, I could see their heart rates increase on the monitors. As a first time mom, with preemies, and in the Special Care Nursery, I was actually scared “what was happening?”, but I quickly understood.

hospital girls

 

Eyes locked. hearts raced. hands touched. tiny coos emited from the mouths of two. two babes. sisters. twin sisters.

As I stared at two sets of tiny everything, my mind raced with wonder.

Do they know…

they lie beside a tiny shoulder they will someday cry on, another set of feet they will run and dance with, another mouth to chat and giggle with, hands to hold and hug each other with?

what fun they will have exploring this world together?

how much they love each other?

how much they’ve changed our lives?

{and the rest of their life}
I cannot predict their future, but I can pray that they remain beside each other. I pray they find comfort on each other’s shoulders when that time is needed.  I hope they can keep up with each other and wait for one another…even when one wants to go fast and the other wants to slow down. I hope they can speak the truth and advise each other while holding back words of regret. I pray they can support each other as they sometimes “learn the hard way” and as they make those big life decisions (college, career, love, family). Through thick and thin, good and bad.  Sisters, siblings, what a wonderful bond.

Watching my two innocent sweet baby girls grow right before my eyes, is more than a blessing, it’s an honor to be their “mama”.  I am determined to guide them together, teach them to love each other and always have each other’s backs. Partners in crime (to be expected), both of my social gals are beautifully unique; outgoing, silly, wispy strawberry blonde (Alaina) and timid, serious, clever, brunette (Hannah). It is so awesome to watch them teach and learn from each other as they explore the world in their own way. They had one another before I even knew them and I pray this amazing and unique bond will only strengthen throughout the years.

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tummy time + learning to sit is pretty fun with a partner.

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“I wub sissy” is a favorite phrase.

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Now, at almost 2 years old, I watch my once preemie girls learn to comfort and defend each other. With caution and delight I witness their precarious wobbly run as they excitedly chase one another. I can’t help but belly laugh along with them as they roll around on the floor or dance their little hearts out – clapping, screaming and stomping their feet ~ I’ve never seen such passionate little dancers. Waking up to their chit chat/giggle sessions is simply wonderful. And the hugging… Well, it may result in a tackle on the floor but it’s all good intentions!


This thing called BOND… I think they’re getting it.

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::Happy National Sibling Day::

.:16:. Parents “away” {first trip post-kids}

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As a new mom, my job description in life has really changed. My duties have been forever altered in order to manage the two subordinates I call my sweet little baby girls. They have relied on me to not only give them life but to give them me and all of me.  I’ve learned that in order to do this, I’ve needed to find ways to keep myself sane. Mom’s NEED this.  They need time with other women, they need actual alone time with their husbands, they need to sip on wine in peace and chug a coffee or two while indulging in some good-ole-fashion tv ;).

…and they NEED a vacation (so do Dads).

Our first trip as parents and first time away from the girls came with mixed feelings. Besides the overwhelming task of detailing my children’s daily routine/mealtime, there was more weighing on my mind… 1. We didn’t even plan it, so until we boarded the plane I wasn’t sure if I was dreaming.  I’ll explain later. 2. I’ve never been away from my girls for more than a few hours.  So, I was excited but also nervous to pass onto someone else, two toddlers – who are bursting at the seams to welcome us all into the world of the “terrible twos”. 3. My husband and I haven’t been alone and away together for a long time and I knew there would be a strange void without our girls but we really needed this. 4. We would be gone for just over a few days, and they were in great hands. But, I had an odd guilt about it. I almost felt bad that I was so excited to get away! Then, on the flip side I felt sad that they were missing out on this experience with us. I knew neither was true. If you can’t tell, I put way too much thought and emotion into most things in my life (ha). Can I blame that on being a mom?! …and pretend I wasn’t like this before I was a mom?! In the end, I was able to succumb and officially turn my out-of-office to “away”. Ok, my office is home and (as stated above) my subordinates are my little girls. Let’s just say I found a way to let it all go.  Sorry…for the song you’re most likely singing in your head right now.

Now, back to this vacation that we didn’t plan…

So, in the fall of 2013, I found myself on a regular schedule alone with two new babies. This became a redundant, exhausting, repetitive schedule and I needed to find something to keep me from going too stir crazy with two little ones. The Today show became my outlet. Specifically the 4th Hour with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb. As I chugged a coffee or two and indulged in good-ole-fashion TV, I found my sanity in the candor of these two women. I laughed at their crazy jokes, I (mostly) related to the topics of discussion and instantly became a fan! Such a big fan that I decided to submit an entry as a “Fan of the Week” in January of 2014.  Fast forward 4 months and I got a call that I was chosen as a possible winner! I couldn’t believe it.  I never win anything. I actually thought it was a joke at first. I even asked that over the phone in a slightly annoyed voice. Who would do that?! Well, it wasn’t a joke and before I knew it I was on Skype, on National TV with my girls, winning a free trip to Cancun from KLG and Hoda! I shared a cheesy poem I wrote (yada yada) and talked very fast through my nerves. It was a thrill!

see my poetry skills below.


 

Before the sun peeks out to greet,

I grab my little ones who are ready to eat.

Get out my yawns, stretching head to toe,

turn on the Today Show and let the coffee flow.

 

After diapers then comes bottles and the day begins.

The 4th Hour strikes and we are joined by our friends,

KLG and Hoda, sharing all the cool trends.

 

They sip on their wine and everything is fine

They laugh, they cry, and have such a good time.

I feel lucky to spend the morning this way

What an absolutely fabulous start to my day!

i love klg and hoda

Hannah on the left + Lainy on the right, one of the photos we submitted!

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Top: Just before we won… I had to quickly explain to Hannah and Lainy what was going on and that they needed to behave very well ;). Bottom: Just after we won and the girls were very well behaved!


http://sys06-public.nbcnews.com/today/klgandhoda/mom-twins-shares-poem-about-klg-hoda-2D79778628


 

Since then, we’ve been looking forward to this trip! The past year has been filled with much less than enough sleep, (possibly) dangerous amounts of coffee, way too many diapers, spit up stains, bumps, bruises, drool and much more. It’s so nice that we could mix it up a bit and include some sand, sun, ocean, beachy elixirs, relaxation and time to just sit and do absolutely nothing (ahhh). I am incredibly grateful and flattered to have been chosen and have the chance to go on a vacation that otherwise would have never happened!

While “away”, we were the typical parents concerned for our children as they most likely were having the time of their life with their aunt and uncle, cousins and grandmas. Yet, we still worried – are they going to be ok without us?, are they sad?, oh I bet they miss us! We called everyday and used FaceTime to see our girls (or their blurry little squirmy bodies). Everything was fine but we were now unfamiliar with not caring and letting loose like we used to. However, we quickly turned that around and enjoyed every moment the best we could… parasailing, snorkeling, sailing, kayaking, and thoroughly soaking up the sun. Our vitamin D intake had been depleted from our MN hibernation, and we were desperately in need of this recharge!

Well, we sure did love the little break and I think every couple needs time away to reconnect and just breathe together – while sipping a mojito (my favorite) with feet in the sand and a sun setting over the ocean. Or, anywhere in the world that takes you out of the daily grind and back to just being you two.

~Feeling more than blessed~

.:14:. It’s a New Year {for PATIENCE}

 

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Tried to take a normal picture, then decided it was much easier to enjoy the moment.

As another year passes by and a bright + shiny year begins, I’d be remiss not to reminisce… Not just on the year that flew by, but also the year before that and many of the years prior.

There is something so raw and welcoming about a new year. An untouched palette, a fresh start, beginning anew. The chance to try it again, make things better, challenge, motivate, encourage and accomplish. We can’t wait to fill our plates (that are most likely already full). So, why am I looking back when a new year is about looking forward? Well, for me this new year is a stepping stone to the years ahead. It’s my way of responding to my past. We cannot forget or ignore the past but we can learn from it and improve upon it. I believe it’s so important to reflect on our history in order to continue growing. As I think about goals and “resolutions”, I laugh a little because I know (first hand) how easy they are to break and that it’s really just another year… This year is slightly different. I’m not changing anything too dramatically but I believe that what I want starting now, will uncover some beautifully dramatic results…

>>>PATIENCE<<<

2015 (and the years that follow) will be filled with “enjoying the moment”, caring less about a clean house and more about quality time, less concerned about keeping up with life’s fast pace and more about being thoughtful and thorough, less about feeling rushed and more about accepting my own preparedness and saying “it’s ok”.  It’s not that I wasn’t trying any of this before, but I just wasn’t doing it fully. I wasn’t PATIENT enough.

This will be a year of new experiences, new discoveries, new words, and even new teeth… By the way, teething is an experience I never knew took so much patience! I knew it would be rough.  It’s rough to see your children in pain, hear their screams and cries for mercy as they wait for their pearly whites to slowly break through their delicate baby gums.  Ok, now when I re-read that, I cringe and completely understand why we don’t remember this stage of our life… because nobody is that patient, especially a child who lacks the vocabulary and comprehension to tell you what’s wrong or understand when you say “it will all be ok…it will pass…you’ll be just fine my sweet little peanut”.  They hear gibberish and feel an excruciating pain that only time can fix.

This year is the start of so much for our family… the beginning of that dreaded thing called potty training (times two), learning to share and care, all sorts of growing pains, and probably interesting surprises I just can’t fathom at this moment ;). I hope that 2015 will welcome me and my family to a place we can finally call “home”, where we can settle into a new life, new neighborhood, new house with a real basement and an actual yard (ok, I’m getting greedy now). I’m not naive to the fact that the year ahead is going to be hard – just like the past year was and like next year will most likely be – it’s a sort of “hard” that I have yet to experience because every stage of parenting brings new challenges that nobody is really ever prepared for, even if you’ve had kids before.  Every child comes with very different instructions that require a unique set of skills in order to navigate, understand and develop.  Now, when I say that the year will be “hard”, I’d like to stay away from it’s negative conotation.  Of course it will be hard – – it’s parenting! However, I am determined to accept it and work through all of the craziness with strength, creativity, determination, a lot of humor and most importantly… PATIENCE.

I’ve discovered something about myself throughout the years. Well, I’m IMPATIENT.  I’m sure many can relate and those of you that cannot… I am assuming you are made of gold, your heart beats to the tune of Amazing Grace, and your feathers have never been ruffled because they are absolutely perfect.

To be fair – I’ve met some very patient people that have inspired me.  BUT, we can all use an extra dose or two of this highly necessary virtue called PATIENCE.  Hey, I’d love a RX but it’s not that easy. This is a virtue I’ve been seeking to attain since I can remember. Maybe it was when I was 8 and I secretly (shh don’t tell) found all my Christmas presents before they were wrapped, or when I was 17 and took my parent’s van out for a drive when I shouldn’t have and ended up with a nice dent, or when I was 20 and I lost my patience with a friend whom I believe did me wrong, or especially when I was ONLY 27 and began to question why I wasn’t a mother yet, and then of course a couple years later (29) when I found out I was going to be a mother of twin girls and pregnancy felt like a never ending story of aches, pains, fat feet and unflattering clothes!!  We all carry a lack of patience in some shape or form.  As a mother I’m noticing how important patience is to my itty bitty learners who stumble, fumble, destroy, break, and love so hard it hurts.  My actions, my reactions, and my love for my children and those around me are examples I am setting for this tiny fraction of the next generation I am raising.

PATIENCE isn’t just a resolution or a goal, it’s a must needed change for all and it will be my main focus, right along side my innocent little angels who need me to be PATIENT more than I’ll ever know.

 

“Children are the living message we send to a time we will not see.” ~ Neil Postman