The day I first saw them on the ultrasound screen I couldn't really focus on their hearts beating or the blobs on the screen.
I was shaking so hard that the entire exam table was shaking. Clattering. I was grinning but I had tears streaming down my face. And they were tears of shock.
Not Jimmy. He had the biggest ear to ear grin I'd ever seen. A grin of pure joy.
For about 24 hours I couldn't really talk to anyone, I was still shaking. Twins? Four children?
Let's be honest. Four years later...I might still be in shock. HA!
But I got over the fear and read everything I could get my hands on. We bought 2 pack and plays, a double nursing pillow, boxes and boxes of diapers, binkies in 2 different colors, bottles galore...and prayed. Prayed that my pregnancy would be a healthy and safe one. And it was.
We prayed that they would stay in my belly for as long as possible. And they did. 36 weeks.
And the first year was a BLUR. Seriously...I look at photos from the first year and I don't even remember being there. I'm not exaggerating. J was gone for most of the time and the first year was a frenzy of feeding and burping and swaddling and rocking and spit up and SO MUCH POOP and ...truthfully...lots of crying. From them and from me. And from Harper and Sadie.
From the moment they were born they have stolen our hearts. They have changed our lives and our family in so many ways. Some we could have imagined and so many that we never in a million years could have suspected.
And today they are four.
We are so in love with them. They fill this home with pure joy.
I am in awe of the way that God shaped our lives in a way that we never could have seen. He had bigger and better plans than any we had.
This life is so full. Full of laughter and screaming and hair elastics and Barbie shoes and love. It's so full of love.
I just wanted to share some photos from our recent trip to Tuscany. We rented a house about 40 minutes outside of Florence (in Pontassieve) and it was one of the best experiences of my life.
Airbnb came through and yet again I stayed in a dream home. I won't travel another way ever again!
I'll be counting the days until we can go back.
we explored San Gimignano:
And of course...our beloved Florence.
I dream of the truffle fries at Zaza's. Yum.
The best part of the trip was that we got to spend it not only with each other...but with another family that we love dearly.
Many late nights filled with wine, laughter, and so much talking.
It was a beautiful experience.
I know that we need many more trips to Tuscany in the next year an a half. Next I want to visit Lucca, Volterra, San Marino, Saturnia, and Siena. I think Tuscany officially has my heart and wins the "favorite part of Italy" award.
There is absolutely nothing like a father's love. A good daddy makes you feel heard. They hang on your every word. They build you up, encourage you, wipe your tears, and hold your hand. They teach you how to throw a mean punch and a football.
They really listen. They know that if they want you to tell them the big things one day, they'll listen now. Because right now? Everything is a big thing. They clean up boo boos and sit at the kitchen table for hours working on math problems. They make time for you and you always know they love you more than words can say.
And the really excellent daddies even keep this up when their daughters are 37. They give really good hugs and whisper "I'm so proud of you" in their daughters ears. They send out-of-the-blue emails saying things like
I am so proud of you. You are the best of wives and mothers and don't let anyone try to tell you otherwise.
And these emails will make their daughter cry because every girl needs to hear those four little words.
So blessed to be surrounded by good daddies. The best daddies. It's a rare gift.
1. I started two half layouts and the first page of an album in the past two weeks. I didn't finish any of them.
2. This time of year terrifies me. These are the days I want to savor most, yet they go the fastest. Where are the days, weeks, months going? They fly. I can't keep track. And I don't like it.
3. I'm at this weird creative standstill right now. I have so much I want to do. I want to do more with this blog (I've had big plans for so long), I want to grow it, offer some things - not all scrapbook related, leave Typepad, go to WordPress, and so much more. And I just don't have time. I see so many friends and women doing amazing creative things around me. Elise, for example. That girl is my hero. I love her vision, her tenacity, her creative drive, her everything. But I just don't have the time right now. Or I can't FIND the time. Will I ever? I don't know. But there's so much I want to do and share.
4. In many ways I'm the mom I hoped to be and in many I'm not. Luckily I think that the ways I'm not are the ways that don't really matter. But still. I'm not the mom that ever does my girls hair in cute ways. I imagined braids and bows. Nope, I'm a ponytail girl. If even that. Silly, yes. But still something I think about.
5. I just finished Season 1 of Transparent on Amazon. If I thought I loved Jeffrey Tambor from Arrested Development...I truly had no idea how amazing he was until this show. He breaks my heart.
6. At least once a day I "lose" my wallet. Every single time it's in my purse exactly where it's supposed to be. And every time I can't find it. And my purse isn't even that big. I start flapping my hand around like a maniac, digging frantically... and my heart starts pounding and then I find it. Right where it was the last time I used it. Sigh.
7. I write things on my left hand as reminders to myself. I realize this is a little weird but I've been doing it my entire life. I didn't even realize it might be weird until I caught myself doing it the other day and said to myself "Self- I don't think this is something normal people do!"
8. I put my coffee pot on the stove without coffee in it all.the.time. And I'm always so confused when only water comes out?!?!?!
9. I want to write a series of children's books about coping with deployments. I envision the books as a mom and her girls going on adventures and becoming stronger+better while daddy is gone.
10. Those packages I told you about last month? Haven't been mailed yet. But they are now in the back of my van and I guarantee I won't be talking about the post office on next month's 15 confessions on the 15th.
11. J and I are going through a phase where we are watching horror movies. So NOT my thing. I have a blanket over my head the entire time. We don't really ever watch them, so there are so many to choose from. The other night we watched The Descent. I won't even tell you how many times I screamed. Seriously scary.
12. My hair is so thin. It actually really scares me when I imagine what it will be like ten, twenty, thirty years from now. Do any of you have this problem? Is there anything I can do? I haven't ever had super thick hair but I lost a LOT with each baby and now it's so so so thin.
13. We have been in this apartment one year and four months and we are STILL putting things up on the wall. We just added this map (saved up for and ordered MANY months ago- it's just been in a corner) to the wall behind our couch. I LOVE it. We still have many blank walls and bare windows. That's what the military life does to you, ha!
14. We've been using Essential oils to try to combat all of the sickies that usually happen around here in the winter. Cate has already been on steroids two times this year for her asthma and I do not want another year like last year (she'd already been in the hospital once by now). I don't know if oils really work (to be honest, I'm not convinced) but I figure it can't hurt. She takes Flovent 2x a day, Albuterol as needed, and Cingulair every night. I worry about her a lot. So I've been using the diffuser and rubbing oils on her every night. We shall see.
15. I know that today isn't the fifteenth and this is technically "15 things on the 17th" but it took me two freaking days to write this post. HELP!
Try not to be jealous of my wildly original post title. It took me a while to come up with it. I wish that last sentence was a joke. It's not.
It's been raining and dark for 3 days now. I feel like I'm back in WA. Sometimes it's cozy and lovely and sometimes it just makes me sad. This is how it will be for most of the winter so I'm trying to get used to it again!
I'm hosting a Thirty-One party right now. If it's your thing, check it out. The customer special is amazing- Medium and Square Utility Totes for seven.dollars. Seriously!!!
I have an open FB group for the party that you can join HERE...or you can just shop using this link.
Disclaimer: I'm receiving hostess rewards for this party. If that bothers you, then you can just shop without joining my party. :) I still wanted to share the freaking awesome specials. Because I'm obsessed with the Utility Totes. Nerd alert. :)
Just read Big Little Lies, it was really good. I'm addicted to surprise endings. I'm now reading The Secret Place by Tana French and I'm having a hard time putting it down.
As for the girls, they are in love with God Made Light. We love it so much that I will feature it in it's own blog post soon! It has a beautiful, sweet message and has already become a family favorite.
To 1989 by Taylor Swift. Yes, we preordered. Don't judge. My favorite is Blank Space. We have it on repeat around here.
The arrival of my Gossamer Blue December Memories Kit. I'm so proud of Lori. The kits just keep getting better and better, she's a rock star and it's a joy to watch her succeed.