With all of the craziness of traveling in the states and then coming back to the DR & with the start
the summer with G.O. I realized that I completely forgot to upload their final video! Oh the life of being a mom!
Today my little girls turn 11 months old. Just one more month and I will know longer be mommy to babies. In one month they become toddlers. I can barely even type the word "toddlers." At just the mere thought of it my heart starts pounding and my breathing begins to shorten as I begin to come to grips with the closing of this season. This era. This era that has completely shaken me and awakened my heart. The era of becoming a mommy. Of finding myself in something bigger than me. Of becoming closer to Jesus as I discovered yet another piece of His beautiful and wonderful creation of mankind. Yes, this era is coming quickly to a close. As I write this, I find it hard to hold back the tears. My babies are growing faster than I can keep up with and certainly faster than I am ok with. But, whether I cope or not, it is coming.
I am thankful for Jesus and His grace that covers me and helps me cope. I am thankful for my hubby, an amazing father and partner. I am thankful that though, it may seem like our lives are hurdling towards something we are not ready for, He is enough. I am thankful that the end of this era is really just the beginning.
Enjoy the 2nd to last video in our first year video series. sigh.
PS- Just in case you might be wondering what sort of fun things the girls might be up to:
Stella smacks her lips together to give kisses (she doesn't actually kiss you but she makes the noise and imitates when I kiss her!)
Amelia plays peek a boo with EVERYTHING. Her faves are her bib while she is eating and her blanky while she is drinking her bottle in the crib.
They know how to capture your attention and they will look to make sure you are watching them.
They love slides and teeter totters.
We walk (I walk, they are pushed in the double stroller) for 1 hour a day. They love it.
They stand on everything and are desperately trying to walk.
They say 'mama' 'dada' 'nana' 'rara' 'baba' and screech at the top of their lungs
Amelia is 28.5 inches tall and 22 lbs.
Stella is 27.5 inches tall and I don't know what she weighs but it is probably 21 lbs.
They always know how to make me laugh and they never pass up a time to be tickled or thrown in the air!
Thanks Papa and Grandma Liz for the UNLV shirts. These are the very first clothes the girls' ever got, before we even knew we were having girls!
I remember when I was younger (about 6 or so), being at my grandma's house (the one on Boca Chica!) wearing my Runnin' Rebels Cheerleading outfit and watching the games on TV with my family. I would cheer as the cheerleaders cheered. My family has been Rebels fans as long as I can remember, back in the famed glory days when Jerry Tarkanian was the coach. The even went to the Final Four and Championship games back in the 1990's. To this day, they remain huge fans, proud season ticket holders.
It meant a lot when my dad and Liz sent us a special package over a year and a half ago opening those special shirts for our girls! They were 12 month shirts and they are just now growing into out of them!!
PS- Someday I will hunt down me in my cheerleading outfit to post!!!
It was a perfect day created for us to celebrate and enjoy and bask in the beautiful sunshine of our lives!
We were able to go to church as a family for the first time in 3 weeks. The girls and I were getting over colds so this was awesome for us to all finally be healthy and feeling well.
Amelia waiting to go "bye, bye"
The afternoon was spent doing a few errands including a trip to pricemart where the girls rode in their first shopping cart together. They are getting so big, we can hardly believe it!
It's been heating up here in the DR and there is no better way to cool off that with a little pool action. We bought a kiddie pool last year for the girls long before they ever were big enough to enjoy it. One hot September day, we stripped them down to a diaper and thrust them into the water gently scooping water over their hot little bodies as they frantically flayed their arms about and pleaded with their cries for mercy... Yeah, we didn't try that again.
I know what you're thinking.
Totally newbies. I know. Thank you.
Even this time I was a little sceptic that they would like it. But, they sit up in their baby tub just fine and love to splash so we though this would be a wonderful addition to our family day plans on Sundays. (complete with margaritas for the adults!)
Poor teething baby!
This girl loves the water!
This photo completely captures my little girl Amelia. She is soulful and sometimes reserved keeping to herself. One second she is quiet and the next she is trying with all her might to get her sissy's attention. She loves to laugh, but not too hard. She loves to be thrown in the air, but not tipped over. She loves her mama and papi and lately has just wanted to be held by us. all. the. time. She desperately loves her sister. And we desperately love her. In the mornings I go into her room and she is at the end of her crib facing her sister's crib pounding the rails for Stelaa to wake up. I never mind a chance to snuggle with my little ones. Amelia continues to surprise and amaze me. Just when I think I'm starting to figure her out, I realize there is so much more to learn to her complex little soul. She is my cuddle bug. My first born. My sweet sweet Amelia. Oh how I love her so.
And then there's this little girl. While sissy is a little more calm, reserved, and cautious, there isn't much caution in this little one's actions. When a door opens she is fast underfoot trying to escape. She loves to be tickled, kissed, and thrown up in the air and held upside down. She cries when it's time to get out of the bathtub. She loves the water. Oh, and this girl can talk. and scream. yep! She loves to hear herself scream. They jabber all day long. She loves to be held, but she holds you out at an arm's distance. She is independent. There is no stopping this one. My girls are so much alike, yet so very different and they both remind me so much of myself in incredibly different ways.
It's breathtaking to think God did this. We did this.
I know not every day will be perfect and special and wonderful and filled with moments that create such warm memories in our hearts. I really do get weepy when I think this first year is about to come crashing to a halt and I can hardly remember where it's all gone. I love my little ones so much more than I ever imagined I could love and I seriously wonder how much more infinite is our heavenly father's love for Amelia and Stella. I pray that they feel his presence each day loving them and wooing them and molding their little spirits into girls who will fully worship and commit their lives to Him. That was my prayer on our most awesomely wonderful Sunday!
They are 10 months old. Tomorrow. My heart is a little panicked, I must admit. Weren't we just figuring out how to strap them into their car seats properly for our ride home from the hospital? Me, sitting next to them holding their little 5 pound 4 ounce bodies still in their car seats, propping them up with blankies- those car seats really seem dauntingly scary with a little itty bitty peanut inside of them.
We took them home and stared in amazement at our little amazing creatures as they flinched their little arms and fingers and looked all around, seeing the world for the first time.
We stared for about 5 minutes and then ensued the never ending list of diaper changing, bottle feeding, singing, rocking, playing, cleaning up, walks to the park, Praise Baby, teething rings, and oragel and my perpetually full cup of coffee... and here we are today, me slightly sorrowful, as I realize this season is quickly coming to an end.
The first year. I know we are still 2 months away, but I am keenly aware that it is right around the corner. I hope my heart can take it.
We are putting up baby gates and growth charts and they are eating puffs, crawling all over and Amelia can even stand up in her crib and against objects. We've rapidly been baby proofing our little house. And above all, we're trying to soak in all of these "lasts," for we surely know the inevitable is happening.
They are growing up. And I am finding myself praying a lot more, crying out to God in the stillest of moments and in the chaos of it all to protect their hearts, to watch over them, that they would be secure in sensing the Great Author of their lives as they develop their personalities and that we (the parents) would be Christlike examples of what it means to walk in the ways of the Lord. Not to be perfect, but to walk in His truth, and love, and grace.
Oh Lord, how I long for more of you. How I need your peace today. Thank you for our precious gifts and for entrusting them to us. Give us wisdom to guide them.
Our girls have been super fussy. For a month. We worked tirelessly to get them on a routine and got them back to taking good naps (thank you AnneMarie for your help!!) and even got through letting them CIO at night. We saw the light at the end of our sleepless tunnel.
Until the colds.
And the teething.
And the puking.
I've been so exhausted and whiny and generally frustrated lately. To say I needed a Jesus intervention would be putting it lightly.
And then add sick, pukey, teething, non-napping babies.
I decided we all needed a trip to the mall yesterday, in hopes that the car ride would put them to sleep.
But, thankfully being pushed around in a stroller by mama did the trick. After about 20 minutes they were out. I put blankets over the visors so they could sleep undisturbed.
**Note, if you are ever out and about and happen to see a sleeping baby under a blanket in the stroller, it is not OK to come up to the mother and quite loudly ask if you can look at the baby while you are already lifting the blanket and cooing at said sleeping baby... or babies. Not OK!
I admit, I was wallowing. I don't do it very often. In fact, I get quite irritated by people who habitually whine. It's very tiring for me to listen and not just jump in and tell the "whiner" what they should do to rectify their situation. I have been known to block friends on FB who have a propensity towards whining. I just can't take it.
So there I was wallowing and forcing smiles at each person who passed by and insisted on lifting the blanket to peer at my sleeping girls. I bought their Christmas dresses for this year at a whopping $11 a piece. I was finally finding some sanity in my day in the form of festive colored material, beads, and yummy smelling candles.
And then it happened.
I walked into the last store on our adventure and maneuvered my giant double stroller around the tiny earring shop and as I was leaving, yet another person decided to stop me. He was maybe 16 and worked at the store.
Our conversation went something like this:
Boy: you have twins?
Me: Yes, I do.
Boy: Fraternal or identical?
Me: Fraternal girls.
Boy: Can I look?
Me: sure (forced smile)
As he lifted up the blanket a noticeable joy washed over him and he turned to me and said...
Boy: I had twin brothers. They died as babies. God bless all three of you. They are precious.
Me: (stunned) Thank you. God bless you too.
I walked away in a state of shock wondering if that conversation really truly had just happened. I played the words over and over again in my head "I had twin brothers." "God bless all three of you." "The died as babies." I kept translating in my head what he said in Spanish to English over and over again. I knew I heard him right.
As a mom, I wonder sometimes how I would cope if I were to lose one of my babies. But I couldn't comprehend losing two. And it happens everyday. I don't want to be that person living on "what if's" or in fear of what might happen or always complaining about our current situation and wanting to be somewhere further along than where God has us. Right. Now.
That boy won't know the joy he restored to me in that 30 second exchange. How my heart ached for his mother and for him. Here I was wallowing and complaining because the children God had blessed me with were having a hard time getting teeth in and with their reflux back in full swing they have trouble eating. It's not their fault. It's not God's fault. It's just what it is. Yet, somehow, I knew all of my issues yesterday had little to do with the external, superficial circumstances of our girls teething and refluxing and had more to do with me learning (still) to cope with all the failed expectations I had for my life. God has given me something so much more beautiful and wonderful than my dreams, so why do I struggle with disappointment? And why do I take it out on my family and on God? Satan always seems to find a way to creep in to steal my joy and give me false hopes of a life I could have had.
In that moment I decided to choose joy. It is not an easy thing to do when we'd rather complain or question God for what he has or hasn't done for us or in our lives. I realized how much more I need God in my every moment, in my head, and on my lips, woven throughout the moments of my day, so when I find myself embittered with my situation, choosing joy becomes second nature. Not a trip to the mall!
And really, who could not choose joy, when these are your babies! As promised, here are the photos from our recent photo shoot with Goody! Special thank you to Goody for taking pics of our family and for the Krauss' for letting us use their yard!
Surprise! Amelia Grace!
Look at that big ol' belly! Don't you just want to give her a raspberry!!
Alan calls this her mischievous face!
Oh I love loving her!
Stella Natalia! This little pistol is my joy!
She loves life!
Isn't she amazing?
So sweet! They are looking at their papi I think!
Could this not be the cover of a greeting card? Who would not be happy to get a card with these chubby bunnies on the front? I would be in heaven!
They love to play together! And steal each other's toys!
I see you and I love you sissy.
Sometimes I catch myself still questioning if all of this is real. Do I really have two amazing, wonderful, heaven sent little girls? And I feel God quietly answering in the stillness of my heart, "yes, you do. And I sent them just to you."
I love our family, and all the joys and struggles that come along the way.
We've been through a lot in such a short amount of time. I love you Alan.
These girls love them some papi!!!
They really are double the joy and I really am double blessed.
Remember this post... Perhaps Amelia is more like me than I originally thought!
I caught Stella with no clothes on just sitting in front of the mirror which happened to be propped up against the wall in the dining room... ok, not really, but I thought the idea was a lovely little impromptu photo! Now I need to get Amelia's done too!
My sweet little girls! Love love love spending time with them today! And do you know who I super love? Alan! Yesterday, he watched the girls while I went out for 3 hours by myself! I shopped for fun Dominican trinkets to send to South Hills for their mission wall, bought some real cheap but super fun earrings, had a macadamia nut cappuccino... it was lovely! Today, he let me sleep for 2 hours while playing with the girls. I woke up to them crawling all over their papi and laughing at each other!
Here's the verse I am holding tightly to today "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28
I recently blogged here about sending our girls' clothes to Haiti, with love, for those less fortunate.
I had the opportunity to visit a small fishing community on the Northern Coast of Haiti in January, called Phaeton. Click here to read the full story.
One of the biggest blessings from that trip came on our first night in Haiti, we crammed into the church and were surrounded by beautiful worship. I looked to the left and saw this little beauty.
Instantly I caught site of her dress. It was one my mom bought the girls. And now this little girl who was unable to choose where she would be born or the outcome of her life was wearing my sweet little girls' dress. I couldn't help but be choked up. My greatest desire for our girls is that with every ounce of their being and every day of their lives it would glorify God.
She is precious isn't she?
Everyday her mom brought her to visit and she was wearing a different dress or onesie from our girls.
My heart was tremendously full!
And so I continue to ask... on behalf of those we work with... those without a voice to share...
We are blessed to be a blessing to others! How can you give and bless someone else?
We are currently collecting baby clothes!
When our girls outgrow them, off they go to Haiti! Of course we will take any sizes smaller too and send them right away! Leave me a comment if you are interested!
It truly happens in the blink of an eye. I hardly can remember these last seven months- a blur of smiles, tears, coos, spit up and dirty diapers! The girls turned 7 months on Christmas day and it truly was a sweet gift to see them taking in everything around them. They sit up with just a little assistance and Stella says "ma ma ma ma," and "ba ba ba ba." Amelia says "da da da da," "ya ya ya ya," & "ga ga ga ga." They got their first colds in the states too- not fun, not fun!
Enjoy their 7 month old video and all the joy they bring to our lives! 8 month video will go up next week... can't believe it!