We experimented with a new Christmas venue this year, and I think it may just become tradition.
You may remember last year, when we attempted Zoo Lights, which is a stunning display, but freezing cold. Our kids couldn't handle being up on the windy hill where the Zoo is located that late into winter, and spent the majority of the evening crying. We went back and forth on whether or not to try it again this year, but ultimately decided on going to Portland International Raceway instead.
The big selling point was that you get to stay cozy in your car and drive around looking at beautiful light displays. Yes please.
So we bundled up in our jammies with blankets and lovies, and Daddy even made us hot cocoa!
All ready to go!!
We drove slowly around the winding raceway and took in all the displays, which were pretty impressive!
The kids loved the lights, and Dave and I loved that even though it was drizzling outside, we stayed dry and warm inside the car =).
It feels like it's been forever since I've written.
I don't quite know what I have to say tonight, but it simply feels like it's been too long since I've cleared my head and documented our life on the ol' blog.
Where to start...?
Things have been a little nutty around here.
We found out two weeks ago, quite unexpectedly, that the clinic I work at will be closing at the end of the year. As in, the end of this month. I've been granted a position elsewhere in the hospital that will start as soon as this one ends, for which I am incredibly grateful. But, it's made for a crazy two weeks at work.
Also about two weeks ago, my best friend's husband called me out of the blue and asked me if he bought me a round trip ticket, would I be willing to fly to their state and surprise her at her baby shower?? Um, YES.
So, I was in New Mexico for four days.
It was all kinds of fun.
I got to surprise my friend and spend some much needed time with her.
So, so, SO good for my soul. And I'd like to think hers too =).
But the getting there - and back- was a little stressful.
Have I told you that I hate to fly?
Like, HATE it.
Also? I hate to leave my babies.
But who turns down a once in a lifetime opportunity like that? Not this girl.
So I prayed a lot and popped a few anti-anxiety pills and last Friday morning I boarded a plane, trusting my babies would be perfectly fine at home with their Daddy and the pilot knew what he was doing.
I took our laptop with me, anticipating I'd take time to write or surf the web during layovers at various airports.
Then, during my first layover, as I started to dig my laptop out of my carry on, I glanced up at the giant flat-screen TV in the waiting area and saw the headline "BREAKING NEWS...SHOOTER AT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN CT".
And that was that.
My laptop never opened, and it remained shut the rest of my trip.
I knew that if I was going to remain calm and able to enjoy my trip, I could not become immersed in the tragedy unfolding. I simply could not hear or know about it while I was so far away from my own babies.
After all, I do live less than five miles from the Clackamas Town Center shooting that had happened three days before I left, so I was already on high alert anxiety-wise.
So I offered up a silent prayer for whatever was occurring in Connecticut, and thumbed through my People magazine instead.
I got home late Monday night, and spent Tuesday lovin' up on my babies. I missed them so much! It was great to have them at an age where they can tell me all about what they did while I was gone. Dave made them this "calendar" so they could keep track of their days while I was away...
Pretty cute, huh?
Which brings us to the last several days of this week...gearing up for Christmas, winding things down at the office, and simply being Still. Well, being as Still as time allows. Perhaps a more appropriate wording would be hunkering down. When tragedy occurs, such as that in Connecticut, a reverence usually follows. A sort of silent recognition for all that so many are going through right now. As well as a desire to be near my family. To be off the computer, and engaged. Grateful for the mundane tasks of folding laundry and washing dishes, as it means I am Home, and there is no tragedy occurring here.
With the Tree up and the house decorated, Christmas is in full swing at our house!
Luke and Abbey are so into every part of it this year, and I'm trying to soak up the Magic through their eyes.
We've been reading Christmas books every night before bed, wearing our cozy Christmas jammies, and rapidly filling up the calendar with fun events and outings.
I've got most our Christmas shopping done, but I'm going to wait until closer to the 25th to actually wrap presents and put them under the tree...I feel like the less time the twins have to stare at brightly colored packages under the tree, the better chances of not giving into two-year-old temptation =).
One big thing left on my December to-do list is create and order our Christmas cards. I need to get on that so both so I can send them to friends and family, and so I can participate in Faith's Christmas Card Carousel! We are ordering our cards through TinyPrints this year. I haven't used them before, but they have some super cute options for really reasonable prices! (Right now they even have free shipping with promo code: FREESHIP12.
I always love creating our Christmas card and then comparing it to previous years...our little family changes so much over 12 months! I love receiving cards from friends and family too. I found a fun new way to display them this year (thank you, Pinterest) and love that they serve as a decoration now too!
Last week we celebrated Thanksgiving with our families. It was a wonderful weekend. The twins did great and LOVED being showered with so much attention, so many fun people to play with, and so many new toys and books to see at our grandparents houses.
As I look through these pictures, I can't help but be humbled by how generous our God has been to me. Two and half years later, I still can hardly believe I have twins. We have twins. I have an amazing husband, who loves me so completely and encourages me every day, and together we have these two beautiful, smart, funny, healthy children. We even added a sweet dog this year! We have a cozy home...it may be small, but it forces us to be a close family =). Both David and I have good, stable jobs. We have so much extended family, that it's impossible to see them all in one weekend - what a blessing.
It's good to stop and focus on all the amazing things in our life. I'm always grateful for my family, but sometimes I get so stuck in (and overwhelmed by) the day to day grind of things that I can forget just how grateful I truly am.
Money is tight right now - but we have enough.
Our house is messier than I'd prefer it to be - but we have a home.
My kids are in a very busy season right now - but I'm so, so grateful they are healthy enough to keep me on my toes.
I work at a Children's Hospital, and I see sick and terminally ill children every single shift. One year in and it has yet to become routine to me.
I pray it never does.
Each and every single time I see a family pushing their child in a wheelchair, or a bald little baby toddling around with IV's in her arm, I am nearly forced to bow my head and say a prayer for strength for that family, and for thanks for the health of mine.
It's a good reminder that sometimes the very things that overwhelm me the most are the things I should be the most grateful for...
Like these two busy little turkeys...
We stayed at GrandDad and Grannie Annie's house, and so did Auntie Mem!
Auntie Nessa came over to hang out too...
My Dad and Ann's birthdays fall over Thanksgiving weekend, so we got to watch them open their presents, which is almost as fun as opening them ourselves...almost.
That night before bedtime, the Aunties and GrandDad snuggled in to watch "Ice Age, Christmas" with Luke and Abbey...
The next morning, we got up and climbed Auntie Mem like a jungle gym...
And posed for some pictures...
Then we headed over to Grammie and BopBops for a big Thanksgiving meal!
Our little family...
My attempt at a picture with my babies...did I mention we are busy these days?
The cousins at the little table...
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving as well!
Abigail love, love, looovvveeesss Spaghetti. She always has seconds and often thirds when I serve it. The other night, she had two of her own plates, and then went ahead and finished off Brother's plate too...
This past week we made the transition from cribs to toddler beds.
Some might liken this to a transition from Babies to Toddlers, but it my mind that's more of a personality and ability kind of thing. And Luke and Abbey have been Toddlers for quite some time now.
I'd planned on keeping them in their cribs for much longer - simply because it's much more convenient for us to be able to have a contained spot for them, as they share a room. But Luke kept climbing out. He figured it out one day, and climbed out every time after. I guess I just figured I'd rather have him climbing out of a toddler bed then hurling himself -albeit deftly- over a high crib railing.
Since our "conversion" consisted of simply removing one side off their crib, it was done without much pomp and fanfare. In fact, in an unprecedented rookie-like move, I did it on a night Dave had a late work meeting and wouldn't be home until well after bedtime. This was a stupid choice for a lot of reasons, but the main one is the kids go down wayyyyy better for him than they ever do for me.
But whatever, we made it. I laid on their floor while they drifted off, and then snuck out of their room. Abbey woke up a few times during the night, but was quickly oriented and fell back to sleep. They woke up at their normal time Friday morning (around 7:30ish) and called out from their beds.
I'd call that a success!!
Nap time yesterday and today have been a little more difficult, as the freedom has proved too tempting for Luke. He keeps climbing out and playing with toys. A few stern warnings and he makes his way back to his bed.
Last night when Dave and I went to check on them before we went to sleep, we found several toys in each of their beds... =). But hey, they fell asleep eventually, right?
Actually, to all three sets of granparents houses we went!
Last Friday afternoon, the twins and I loaded up our backpacks and went on a road trippin' adventure!
We are so lucky that all our grandparents live in the same city, and it's only about an hour away.
First, we stopped in to see Poppa Bruce and Gaga Donna. (the kids came up with Gaga all on their own, and it's totally stuck.)
We had so much fun playing with their toys!!
Then we stopped at Grammie and BopBop's house. I forgot my camera in the van, so I didn't capture any pictures. But we had a nice visit!
Our final stop was at GrandDad and Grannie Annie's house. This was the main part of our Adventure. We were going to stay the night there!
A few days before our trip, Luke and Abbey got this special book in the mail...
...it was SO cute. It showed us lots of pictures of where we were going and what fun things we could do during our stay.
We loved playing with all the toys, like the camera...
...and dress up clothes...
After dinner we took a bath and got ready for bed. All three of us were planning on sleeping in the same bed. It took us sweet forever to settle in, but eventually we all fell asleep.
The next morning, Grannie Annie had new toys out!
Sweet boy looovveess his boots!
Grannie Annie and Sis made a tent =)
After awhile we got dressed and headed to the park!
I think the park may have been the highlight of our trip! The kids had so much fun, and their favorite part was collecting chestnuts. They were so excited to bring them home and they still enjoy them today...
(Abbey's are on the chair in a pile=-) )
Thanks so much to all the grandparents for letting us come destroy play in your homes! We are so lucky to have you!!!
Hmmm...where to begin?? I have been married for 10 years to a wonderful man, and after more than 2 1/2 years of waiting, hoping and praying, we were blessed with the most beautiful twins! Lucas and Abigail were born in March of 2010 at 38 weeks. God has been so gracious to us. We also have 2 adorable cats who tolerate us because we continue to feed them. I love Jesus, my family, my friends, a good cup of coffee, the beach, sleeping in, sunshine and witty banter. I choose to describe myself as "passionate" about most things. I can turn almost any moment into a kleenex moment, but that's ok... because I would rather feel too much than not enough, ya know?