Today is Chinese New Year! It is the Year of the Sheep. JJ and AJ were born in the Year of the Pig, and DJ and MJ were born in the Year of the Snake. The kids dressed in outfits to celebrate their Chinese heritage and I took some photos. I am particularly proud of the one with all four kids smiling. That is no easy feat these days!
The babies have continued to develop and are both walking and running all over the house. Whereas previously with the older boys it was easier to baby proof our home, it is significantly more challenging this time to keep the boys’ small toys out of the mouths of these babies. However, similar to our experience when the boys became mobile, we are now feeling a bit cramped in this house we have been living in for five years. We spent the remainder of the summer shopping for homes and found a beautiful somewhat larger house sitting on more than an acre of land in a nearby neighborhood so the boys can continue attending the same school. We closed quickly and have spent the last several weeks painting and cleaning in preparation for a move in about a week.
As we approach Halloween and attend various community events, I have worked out a deal with the older boys that if they cooperate with a costume theme along with the babies at family oriented events, they are free to wear scarier costumes at other times and on Halloween night to go trick or treating.
The babies turned 1 year old July 1st, and the boys turned 7 on July 2nd. We celebrated by piling into the minivan with our awesome nanny Pat and her son to spend a few days celebrating in Orlando. We went to Epcot July 3rd and spent July 4th at Magic Kingdom. It was very hot and crowded but I am very proud of what we managed to accomplish despite our cumbersome crew of 8. The boys were just tall enough to have their first ride on Space Mountain!
DJ and MJ are definitely developing faster as full term babies than AJ and JJ did as preemies. They are eschewing the bottle in favor of solids and sippy cups. They are now both crawling, pulling to stand, and are awfully close to taking their first steps!
AJ and JJ finished a great year as 1st graders in the gifted program of their elementary school. They are spending the summer reading the Harry Potter books together with Josh and just finished the first volume. Watching them read together brings me full circle to July 2007 when Josh waited on a line at midnight for a copy of volume 7 and then went straight to the hospital to read out loud to AJ and JJ in the NICU. Some of the nurses teased Josh saying that he was spoiling the books for AJ and JJ by reading them the end of the series. But I have to believe some of their current fascination with the books has its roots in rudimentary memories of their Daddy telling them about Harry, Hermione and Ron’s adventures from outside their plastic isolette incubators.
Maybe we will take them back up to Orlando at the end of the summer to visit Harry Potter at Universal Studios!
In happier news, Josh and I celebrated our 17th anniversary on Monday, and DJ and MJ turned 9 months old Tuesday.
Compared to the insanity of AJ and JJ’s infancy, caring for DJ and MJ has been an easier experience. I think we can take a little credit for being more seasoned as parents of twins. We are also very fortunate that our awesome nanny that took care of AJ and JJ until they were 3 came back to help out with the new twins as soon as they got home from India. But I think the main reason things are going more smoothly has to do with the fact that this set of twins did not come 2 months premature. They have not had any feeding or apnea issues to be concerned about, and have been sleeping through the night since the end of September.
DJ is developing into a spunky little girl. She is crawling all over the house and is pulling to stand already. She likes to clap her hands and blow raspberries, which is cute until she does it while she is eating and ends up spitting all over whomever is feeding her.
MJ is possibly less mobile because he is a hungry boy and outweighs his sister by a few pounds. He is able to sit up and roll over both ways, so his preferred form of locomotion is rolling himself around the house like a log. But he is definitely more vocal! His babbling started out with “Bah bah bah” giving us hope that he might be trying to call out for us. But then it transitioned to “Blah blah blah…” so now we think he is just mocking us.
Despite the bustle of activity at home, AJ and JJ have been managing to do well in 1st grade, attend tae kwon do classes 3 times a week and go to Hebrew school on Sunday mornings. As twins themselves, I think they are accustomed to the fact that neither of them have ever had my undivided attention for long. They are adapting well to even more distracted parents and I am proud of them.
After working for most of the holiday season including Christmas, I was able to cobble together a few days off from work. We decided to take the opportunity to drive to Orlando for a quick family vacation.
We stayed at the Nickelodeon Suites Resort, which was amusing for AJ and JJ as they are currently fans of SpongeBob Squarepants. They enjoyed the 3D Movie Theater and the SpongeBob decorations. There were multiple photo opportunities to meet the characters at the resort, but the boys have reached the stage where they realize it is somebody in a costume and are rather disenchanted and uncooperative with such photos.
On Monday we attempted to go to the Magic Kingdom but were sadly turned away at the gates because they were filled to capacity! We were diverted to Epcot with a voucher for free parking and 50% off lunch so we made sure we made good use of our consolation prizes. As we had predicted, the park was very busy and getting around as a bulky party of 6 was not conducive to getting much accomplished. But we simply enjoyed the time together as a family and considered it a success that we even made it there.
Josh had to get back to work by Tuesday, so he drove home with the babies. I stayed in Orlando with AJ and JJ for two more days to allow them more time to enjoy the parks now that they are tall enough for most of the rides.
Now we are all back at home safe and sound. It was a nice vacation to mark the end of an amazing year for our family, and the beginning of a new one. In closing, we wish everyone a Happy New Year and we present our holiday card for 2013!