Yes, I went Black Friday shopping on Thanksgiving. Don’t judge.

I know, I know.

People should be home with their families.  Those poor employees- having to leave their Thanksgiving tables to cater to the greedy mobs.  Another sacrificial lamb to the marketing gods.

But sometimes, a mom’s just gotta get out.

I don’t really know what prompted me to do it this year.  I don’t really have a lot to buy. There  wasn’t a doorbuster deal I needed to snag. Most of my shopping I do online.

But I just felt this motivating drive to get out there and be a part of it this year.  Yes, even willing to sacrifice my precious sleep.

I had one friend who I thought might be game for it, and thankfully, my instinct was right.  Now, I’m no glutton for punishment.  I didn’t want in on the traffic, the lines, or the crowds. I carefully plan all of my outings to avoid all that. But this time, I just wanted to go out without worrying about nap schedules.  Or eating schedules. Or making sure the littles in the stroller were content. Or packing snacks and toys and diapers.

No baby gear. Just a purse over my shoulder and two empty hands.

Maybe the appeal was that it was open-ended. Open-ended free time. Sure, I had to be home before my husband and the boys woke up (I knew I wouldn’t make it out that long anyway), but I had a few hours that were leisurely. Unrushed. My own.

I knew I could go shopping on any night after the boys were asleep, but this was an event.   This was a ‘thing.’  And these days, I don’t really get to be a part of too many ‘things.’ I just wanted to be a part of a Christmas event that so many people are a part of.

So, trying to capitalize on what I thought would be the most-Christmasy and least-frustrating option, we decided to go to the outlets. This outlet center, instead of a strip-mall, is more of a village, with all different streets and avenues, and a big center square.  This center opened at 6pm, so I was hoping it wouldn’t be a midnight rush when we got there and cause a Walmart-type insanity.

Well, the stars aligned. We arrived around 11pm. No traffic.  The parking lot was crowded but plenty of spaces if you didn’t mind walking a bit.  The weather was chilly but refreshing after being inside the warm stores. There was a festive crowd, but not overwhelming. We did not wait on line for more than 5-10 minutes in any store.  The Christmas decorations were already up – lights twinkling, Christmas music blaring, the big center square Christmas tree whose lights were perfectly timed to the music.

Sure, we took advantage of a few sales, but it wasn’t even about that.  I could have come home empty-handed and would have been just as content. It was about a relaxing night with a friend. Out of the house. A few hours that were unscheduled and unspoken for.

I hear all the time that, as a mom, it’s important to take care of yourself.  I get it. I understand. But logistically, how? This little wonderful life of mine that I love so much can be all-consuming.  We don’t have family up here, so all day long, it’s all me.

But in this case, sacrificing sleep and going out in the middle of the night was doing something for myself.  It wasn’t about the sales, the stuff, the consumerism. I know Christmas is not about the spending, the gifts, the materialism.

But being out there reminded me of the person I used to be, the person I don’t get to be all the time.  I wasn’t a mom or a wife – I mean, I was – I just wasn’t in those roles. I was just a girl doing some shopping with her friend (even if the shopping was for the boys).

And ironically, while the math doesn’t add up – getting to sleep around 3am and up again at 7 – that little break, that loss of sleep, actually gave me a little more energy for the next day – with my husband and with my boys. (That 2 hour nap I took on Friday while my boys were napping didn’t hurt either.)

It’s easy to judge people for Black Friday shopping on Thanksgiving. It’s easy to think that maybe they are superficial and materialistic.

But maybe it’s a family who likes to do this as a family, a tradition, a bonding experience. Maybe it’s a single mom who is hurting financially and really wants to provide a nice Christmas for her kids – and these deals are essential. Maybe it’s a dad that is working 2 jobs and this was the only time off he had.

Or maybe, it’s someone like me – a mom who has kids she adores – but who’s just gotta get out sometimes.

Photo Credit: Adams and Associates Architecture

 

I know, I know.

People should be home with their families.  Those poor employees- having to leave their Thanksgiving tables to cater to the greedy mobs.  Another sacrificial lamb to the marketing gods.

But sometimes, a mom’s just gotta get out.

I don’t really know what prompted me to do it this year.  I don’t really have a lot to buy. There  wasn’t a doorbuster deal I needed to snag. Most of my shopping I do online.

But I just felt this motivating drive to get out there and be a part of it this year.  Yes, even willing to sacrifice my precious sleep.

I had one friend who I thought might be game for it, and thankfully, my instinct was right.  Now, I’m no glutton for punishment.  I didn’t want in on the traffic, the lines, or the crowds.  I just wanted to go out without worrying about nap schedules.  Or eating schedules. Or making sure the littles in the stroller were content. Or packing snacks and toys and diapers.

No baby gear. Just a purse over my shoulder and two empty hands.

Maybe the appeal was that it was open-ended. Open-ended free time. Sure, I had to be home before my husband and the boys woke up (I knew I wouldn’t make it out that long anyway), but I had a few hours that were leisurely. Unrushed. My own.

I knew I could go shopping on any night after the boys were asleep, but this was an event.   This was a ‘thing.’  And these days, I don’t really get to be a part of too many ‘things.’ I just wanted to be a part of a Christmas event that so many people are a part of.

So, trying to capitalize on what I thought would be the most-Christmasy/least-frustrating option, we decided to go to the outlets. This outlet center, instead of a strip-mall, is more of a village, with all different streets and avenues, and a big center square.  This center opened at 6pm, so I was hoping it wouldn’t be a midnight rush and cause a Walmart-type insanity.

Well, the stars aligned. No traffic.  The parking lot was crowded but plenty of spaces if you didn’t mind walking a bit.  The weather was chilly but refreshing after being inside the warm stores. There was a festive crowd, but not overwhelming. We did not wait on line for more than 5-10 minutes in any store.  The Christmas decorations were already up – lights twinkling, Christmas music blaring, the big center square Christmas tree whose lights were dancing and perfectly timed to the music.

Sure, we took advantage of a few sales, but it wasn’t even about that.  I could have come home empty-handed and would have been just as content. It was about a relaxing night with a friend. Out of the house. A few hours that were unscheduled and unspoken for.

I hear all the time that, as a mom, it’s important to take care of yourself.  I get it. I understand. But logistically, how? This little wonderful life of mine that I love so much can be all-consuming.  We don’t have family up here, so all day long, it’s all me.

But in this case, sacrificing sleep and going out in the middle of the night was doing something for myself.  It wasn’t about the sales, the stuff, the consumerism. I know Christmas is not about the spending, the gifts, the materialism.

But being out there reminded me of the person I used to be, the person I don’t get to be all the time.  I wasn’t a mom or a wife – I mean, I was – I just wasn’t in those roles. I was just a girl doing some shopping with her friend (even if the shopping was for the boys).

And ironically, while the math doesn’t add up, that little break, that loss of sleep, actually gave me a little more energy for the next day – with my husband and with my boys.

It’s easy to judge people for Black Friday shopping on Thanksgiving. It’s easy to think that maybe they are superficial and materialistic.

But maybe it’s a family who likes to do this as a family, a tradition, a bonding experience. Maybe it’s a single mom who is hurting financially and really wants to provide a nice Christmas for her kids – and these deals are essential. Maybe it’s a dad that is working 2 jobs and this was the only time off he had.

Or maybe, it’s someone like me – a mom who has kids she adores – but who’s just gotta get out sometimes.

Photo Credit: Adams and Associates Architecture

From Little Babies to Little Boys

So, that first blog post after you haven’t written in a while?  Sort of like running into a friend whose phone call you never returned…little awkward…not sure where to start or what to say, but every time you try, it doesn’t quite feel natural.

But here goes…

I don’t really have any reason other than the fact that I have twins.  That says it all really, doesn’t it? That’s enough?

But here I am, 10 months after my last post about the great nap dilemma (which we actually resolved pretty easily by splitting them up). That dilemma seems like a lifetime ago, and we’ve had a million other dilemmas to solve since.

So much of me laments that I wasn’t able to blog about all of these experiences with my boys. So many times I thought, “Oh, this would be a great story for my blog!”  But that’s as far as it got. I wish I had had it together enough to document all of this, but, on most days, I was just trying to be present with my boys and get us all to bedtime in one piece (them) and sane (me).

It has been quite a  ride – lightning speed, it feels like.  And there are so many different phases that, just when I think I’ve got a handle on this twin-mom-thing, they are out of that phase and into the next. They started walking at 13 months (James on a Sunday, Michael on Monday),  and I haven’t caught my breath since.  Not only are they running (literally) non-stop, so am I.  By the time we give them their baths and put them to bed, I am done. I mean, done. Collapse-on-the-couch-and-fall-asleep-by-8:30-done.  Some days it is such a satisfying done – that feeling when you’re exhausted because you’ve worked so hard and gave it everything you had. And some days it’s just plain exhaustion.

The boys are almost 20 months now, and goodness, they are all boy.  Non-stop energy from morning until night.  My house is a den of wildness, but can I tell you? Hearing them laugh and scream and watching them run laps around the house does my heart so much good.  It is the best sound in the world. I still haven’t forgotten the quiet house I would come home to while struggling with infertility.

I feel like I live in chaos on most days and I just can’t keep up, but I’m learning to cherish it. Picking up toys all over the floor in every room. Sweeping up food under the table countless times a day. Rearranging the furniture in my bedroom every day so Michael can nap in there. Climbing over babygates and rigging everything else to keep it opened/closed/baby-proofed. Watching them pull out every.single.toy and book as soon as I put them away. For a person that doesn’t function well in disarray, it can be challenging.  But I’m learning to embrace it. I’m daily and pointedly aware that every day I spend with them is one day less they will be my little boys.

I think the most bittersweet part about where we are now is that they really are out of the baby-stage and into the little-boy-stage. I LOVE watching them discover the world and learn every new skill. It is so fun to watch them figure out how to put the letters on the alphabet train or learn to build a block tower or put the wooden pig and cow and goat in the right places in the puzzle.  I love hearing James go, ‘Brmmm, brmmm’ as he drives his car around the house (and on my head). I love watching Michael sit on the floor, flipping through his peekaboo books, pointing to the pictures and pretending to read.

But everything they are learning to do is a another step away from being my babies. Every milestone we reach is time I never get back.

Every night when we put them to bed, I put my hands on each of them to settle them and pray over them.  And as I’m praying for them, it hits me every night how thankful to God I am for these boys. Even on our hard days, my heart aches with the love I feel for them.  They are happy, silly, good-natured, and funny.  I mean, funny. Every night when I pray, I remember again, even if it was a hard day, what amazing little guys they are.

It makes me sad that I know that they won’t remember any of these moments we have together: these moments that I love and enjoy so much, these moments where mommy and her boys are chasing each other around the house, making up silly songs about Mr. Peanut Butter and Mr. Cheerio, randomly hitting on something that makes us all laugh, like our own private inside jokes.

But I’ll remember it. Every day, I’m doing my best to imprint these memories on my mind. I know there’s not enough space in my brain to remember it all, to capture each detail forever.  But I’ll never forget the feeling of it.

How It feels when James grabs my head, smooshes his forehead against mine and bites my face, trying to give me a kiss.  How It feels when Michael comes behind me when I’m sitting on the floor and rests against my back. How It feels reaching back and holding James’ hand in the carseat while I drive.  How It feels  when Michael pushes his book at me and then backs in to plop in my lap so we can read together.

All of these moments that are moving my boys away from being my babies, on to being my little boys. But deep down, I know, as big as they get, they will always be my babies.

Yeah, so, that’s why I haven’t been blogging about my boys. We’ve been busy living.

(But here are some pics to fill in the gaps.)

easter-2015
Easter 2015 – March
1st-bday
1st Birthday Party – April 2
mothers-day-2015
Mother’s Day – May
port-jeff-june-2015
Walking, but still babies – June
july-4-2015
Happy Independence Day! – July 4
backyard-2015
Backyard Fun – August
box
Brothers being brothers – September
big-boys
Big boys – October
friends-2
Brothers and friends – November

The Joys of Napping Twins (Said No One Ever)

If I could just subtract naptime from the equation, I swear my life with my boys would be perfect. Most days are great.  They really are happy, funny, pleasant little guys.

But, dear Lord.  Save me from having to coordinate 4 naps a day for 10-month-old twins.

Continue reading “The Joys of Napping Twins (Said No One Ever)”

Our Twins’ Birth Story, Part 2

When I wrote Part 1, I never anticipated that it would be 4 months later that I would get around to writing Part 2, which is the real story.  I was hoping it would fortuitously land on a significant day, but I missed the 37-weeks-in-37-weeks-out thing and their 1st birthday is still 2 months away, so, well, the boys are asleep, it’s too cold to go food shopping, the husband is watching football….in my world, that means the stars have finally aligned to tell this story.

Continue reading “Our Twins’ Birth Story, Part 2”

Goodbye 2015, Thanks for Everything

I know I’m behind here (story of my life lately) for the looking-back-looking-ahead-tributes, but I just can’t move on to 2016 without giving a salute to 2015.

My typical reflections of past years usually end with a conclusion that the year was a mixed bag, full of ups and downs, lessons learned, la, la, la. On some level, that is true of 2015, too.

But, 2015 was a great year.

Sigh.

Continue reading “Goodbye 2015, Thanks for Everything”

Our Twins’ Birth Story, Part 1

Being pregnant with and giving birth to twins didn’t leave much time or energy to blog about the experience.  I find my memories getting fainter and fainter, here it is, as best as I remember it:

God was so good to me through this pregnancy.  I made it to 37 weeks, 1 day, which is exactly what the doctors wanted.  As far as mono-di pregnancies go, this one was textbook.  Every appointment, every sonogram was a good report.  More often than not, I’d hear, ‘Everything looks perfect.’

Perfect.  Who would have thought?

Continue reading “Our Twins’ Birth Story, Part 1”

The First 150 Days with My Twin Boys

image

It’s been five months since Michael and James (formerly Baby A and Baby B) arrived. I’ve heard people say that once you have kids, it is hard to remember life without them.  Well, I still remember life pre-babies, but I wouldn’t want to go back. Since having them, I feel like my life has been split in two: the first 41 years without the boys, and now, everything else after.

One of my least favorite sayings is, ‘Where does the time go?’, so, without actually saying it, I do find myself wondering the same thing.  There have been many times when I’ve looked at my boys and insisted they stop getting big.  Just stop. Right now. I promised them I would rock them and feed them and take care of them forever if they would just stay little.

It hasn’t worked so far.

Continue reading “The First 150 Days with My Twin Boys”