Since AJ and JJ were born, we have taken family photos periodically on birthdays and holidays. With the addition of DJ and MJ, these photos have become increasingly challenging to stage because of the number of moving parts.
Last week we had our photo session and I was initially displeased because of how restless MJ was throughout the shoot. Somehow, the photographer managed to capture a couple moments of relative cooperation. Of course the beauty of our children won me over and now I love the photos.
Looking over the last few family portraits I am struck by how much the kids have grown over the last couple years!
First Portrait as Family of 6
The household continues to bustle with activity, and 2015 is flying by.
DJ and MJ are halfway through their terrible twos. They have finally graduated from cribs into toddler beds. They were so excited the first night in their new beds, they couldn’t sleep!
AJ and JJ are doing well in the 3rd grade gifted program at their school. Extracurricular activities now include Hebrew school twice a week as well as as practices and games in a training basketball league.
We just got home from a weekend trip to Orlando. We went to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom. The weather was a bit wet, but the kids had fun regardless.
DJ and Nanny Pat under the big top waiting for the Dumbo ride
MJ meets Goofy
DJ developed an obsession with Frozen just in time for our trip
DJ with Princess Anna
The castle lit up for the evening celebration
Stage show in front of the castle
Me and my princess
MJ and I enjoyed the show.
DJ also loves Minnie Mouse
AJ, JJ and Pat’s son enjoy the fireworks
Family photo. We enjoyed free cookies and hot cocoa at the party
We went to Disney Quest the following day before heading back home.
We have spent the last few weeks enjoying the season. AJ and JJ decided on Harry Potter themed costumes this year. Last week we went to New Orleans to visit my sister and brother in law. They are always so great with the kids. I know they will make great parents. I’m thrilled to announce that they are expecting a bouncing baby boy due next year!
To replace my now obsolete page comparing international and domestic surrogacy, I have decided to put up pages about each of our two sets of amazing twins.
AJ and JJ are our first set of twins born through surrogacy in the Summer of 2007. Up until their birth we took turns visiting the surrogate Marie in California to spend time with her and her family, as well as prepare for the arrivals. Josh had in fact spent the weekend before they were born in California to attend the 32 week ultrasound and tour the hospital. Josh returned to our home in Florida on a red-eye flight early Monday morning, only to get that fateful call Monday evening that the babies had decided to make an early arrival! The boys were born premature at just over 4 lbs. each. We both raced back to meet our boys in the NICU Tuesday morning and instantly fell in love. Marie graciously agreed to pump breast milk to help the boys thrive in the NICU. We spent several weeks camped out in an extended stay hotel close to the hospital shuttling breast milk to the hospital every three hours to help the NICU nurses feed and care for our boys. I remember the NICU nurses fondly because they were so kind to us as a gay couple and helped teach us the basics of feeding, diapering, and not panicking when these fragile little babies starting crying. The boys were discharged from the hospital after they had grown to 5 lbs., and we returned to Florida where our parenting adventure continued.
We tried to juggle AJ and JJ on our own for the first few months, but with some of the preemie issues they had feeding and apnea, we felt our sanity slipping by the Fall. We met our wonderful nanny Pat, who has been a godsend for all of our children ever since. These preemie twin boys grew to have some typical speech delay issues, so they spent a year going to speech therapy before entering preschool. They have flourished since, and AJ and JJ are now working their way through elementary school in the gifted program. AJ and JJ have personalities that complement but sometimes clash. JJ has a detail oriented approach to life, and has turned out to be an avid gamer just like his Papa (me!). AJ is an easygoing kid and has distinguished himself as a bit of an athlete. He enjoys basketball, bicycling, and swimming in the pool at our home at every opportunity. They get along well most of the time, but their level of twin closeness naturally leads to occasional flareups as well. I foresee them sharing a special bond as twins and in their special circumstance for many years to come.
AJ and JJ having their first encounter “on the outside” before discharge from NICU. BFF’s ever since!
Summer 2015 – AJ is on the left and JJ is on the right in both photos
For more on our story, keep an eye out for a page about our second dynamic duo DJ and MJ to be posted soon. Our journey to become gay parents will also be featured in an upcoming book to be published early 2016. For more details, check out www.ericrosswood.com
Last weekend, we celebrated the end of the school year with a trip to Orlando. AJ and JJ were excited to visit Universal Studios to see the Harry Potter attraction on Friday. The whole family (with nanny Pat and her son) got to experience Gay Days at Magic Kingdom on the customary first Saturday of June. DJ and MJ got to meet the “mouf” that is featured on their diapers at Epcot Sunday. We had a great weekend and were glad that we even got to spend some time with some other gay dads we have met and become friendly with over the last year.