And then they were…FOUR?!

I blinked and my babies became toddlers who became small children. Weren’t they just born? Didn’t I just celebrate their first birthday? Didn’t I just write an open letter to them after their first year? WHAT IS HAPPENING.

Mommies and Daddies: Hold on to every single second. Cherish every moment. Document less. Just be. Soak in every moment. Hold their hands, kiss their boo-boos, snuggle with them every day. You blink and they’ve moved on to the next age.

Here are some fun facts about my boys:

micah:

1. He Is such a dreamer and has such a powerful imagination.

I love to quietly observe him. My Micah gets completely lost in his world of superheroes and toys. He goes on wild adventures, his imagination is seriously astounding. You can give him a box and he’ll turn it into an imaginary castle for all of his toys. He will envision a world. The TV stand becomes a cliff for the Justice League to jump off to save the day. He inspires me to imagine and dream on a daily basis. He is such a kid in the best way.

2. He takes an eternity to like anyone.

Micah is the kind of kid who won’t hand out his love for free. If you want him to be in your corner you have to earn his affection. He doesn’t smile for strangers or talk to them. If you want an in when it comes to his heart you better get to know him and be entertaining. Otherwise, expect stares and scowls. The best part is that once he DOES like you, you’re in for good. He’ll give out his million dollar smirks like they’re free candy. It just might take you a year to earn it.

3. He lives for the tease and likes to prank people.

I know I probably shouldn’t love this, but it’s actually funny sometimes. He likes to play jokes on people and trick them. I see it as someone who’s creative and clever. He does it to Josiah the most and Josiah HATES it the majority of the time, but he gets a kick out of driving people nuts at times and mostly Josiah.

JOSIAH

1. HE’S OBSESSED WITH MUSIC LIKE HIS PARENTS. AND HE’S REALLY GOOD AT IT.

Josiah loves the drums and is actually quite good at playing them for a toddler. He has his own kid set upstairs and will play hours on end and when he doesn’t want to go upstairs, he will play on the couch. My favorite Josiah moments are when I hear him humming loudly the songs that we’ve sung in church. On Sundays, he says, “Mommy are you singing today? I like when you sing” and my heart pretty much melts right into the floor.

2. HE WAKES UP HAPPY.

I’m not a morning person at all. Early bird catches the worm? Forget the worm. I don’t care about it if it means I can sleep for a few extra hours. That being said, Josiah wakes up with a grin whether it’s in the morning or it’s after his nap. He’s one of those kids that wakes up with a bounce in his step. He’s ALWAYS been a happy little guy even when he was a baby! It’s funny how they say that you can see the personalities of kids as babies because for my boys it was mostly true!

3. HE IS A MOMMA’S BOY AND LIVES FOR THE SNUGGLE.

My Josiah is a shameless snuggler. He will snuggle with me all day long without any apologies or cares. If he’s watching a TV show, he loves it when I sit close to him and hold him. He’s a momma’s boy through and through and I love it so much! Whereas Micah needs his space, Josiah is usually good with me being in his space and welcomes it. He also has a harder time when I go anywhere: “Mommy, don’t go to work! Stay with me!”

Guys, I LOVE THIS AGE SO MUCH. I don’t care what anyone says, for me, each age gets better and better. This stage is probably my absolute favorite. 

Here’s a glimpse of three through the year!

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First day of preschool was approached with mixed feelings by the boys.

They started to find their place in Sunday School and grew to love it! They love going to church and learning about Jesus.

 

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My babies started off as little shorties with their pants rolled up. By the end of the year, the same pants were high waters.

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One of their favorite activities is to play at the park together!

 

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Micah the model. I like this picture because he’s starting to look like a little boy instead of a baby. God help me!

 

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Dress up for school!

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For a school assignment, they had to dress up like old men! Another day in the books for preschool.

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New tradition – tree cutting for Christmas!

 

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This year they became more cuddly with each other. They’re super protective of one another and yell at anyone who goes against a brother. They have each other’s backs.

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Just another hard day in the life of a toddler.

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Micah became quite the little photo lover this year. This is his favorite facial expressions for taking pictures.

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Oh boy – you can read more about Christmas pictures gone wrong [spot the jelly beans?] in one of my previous posts!

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Snuggle king Josiah doing what he does.

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Most kids like their cider in a cup…not my kid.

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Love this picture that captures the dynamic of their relationship so well!

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By the spring, they were preschool pros and came to love school SO MUCH!

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A mommy surrounded by her handsome sons! My babes!

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Birthday party fun for one of our faves!

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They like to unwind with a cup of “coffee” and night time chats.

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Their first pair of Jordans courtesy of our dear friend Sabrina! They felt so cool and love their ‘basketball shoes for basketball!’ they remind me.

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Zoo hangs are our favorite!

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Probably my favorite Easter outfit they’ve ever worn!

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Good Friday they had to look sharp too of course!

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Long park walks and explorations became a really fun way to hang out for us!

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Probably one of my favorite pictures ever – Micah’s face says it all when it comes down to how much he loves his brother.

Prep's Pizza Ocean City, NJ

Pizza and glasses at our favorite pizza place.

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ZOO FUN!

 

Ocean City, NJ

Favorite family spot and the home of our vacation – Ocean City, NJ. This was after school when we all decided we needed some time at the boardwalk!

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Most happy by the sea.

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You’ve got a friend in me.

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I love how tan my boys get every summer! They are my little cookies!

 

Ocean City, NJ

Beach Vacation 2017.

Smithville, NJ

Riding through life together one mile at a time.

 

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The best I can get with toddlers. After all, they’re only…four!

 

What I Love About Being a Twin Mom!

There are so many reasons I love being a twin mom, but today I’ll share just a few! In January 2013, we found out we were having twins. I remember laying there looking at the screen, my husband out of his mind excited because he had always wanted twins, while I kind of stared in disbelief. Part of me was scared and part of me just didn’t believe it was happening.  Like truly didn’t believe it was true. 34 weeks later, we were parents to two little boys.

Being a mom of multiples is definitely an adventure! If you’re a parent, think back to those first three months. That newborn life. You know what I’m talking about. Picture it times two at the exact time! IT’S INSANE.

As crazy as it all was, double the diapers, double the tears, AND NEVER EVER SLEEPING for most of the first year, I wouldn’t trade it for the world! I love being a twin mom! It’s pretty amazing.

why I love being a twin mom:

1. Built in playmate.

It’s true what they say. When you are a twin mom, your kids are born with a built-in playmate. This means you don’t have to entertain your children 24 hours of the day. You can actually shower, brush your teeth, and sometimes if you’re lucky – you might even be able to use the bathroom alone. Maybe. Don’t push your luck.

2. You feel like a seasoned parenting pro sometimes.

Not going to lie. As a twin mom, sometimes I feel like a baller. I feel like the boys hazed us into a fraternity or something our first year. Near death experiences [RSV], time in the NICU, time in the PICU, gas issues, formula issues, skin issues, rash issues – we essentially lived at the doctor’s office the first year. If we didn’t go through it with one boy, we likely went through it with another. Also, we parented solo for the majority of that first year due to really crappy work schedules. This means that we were on our own doing double the work almost all of the time. Though I’m not interested in being pregnant again, I sometimes think about how easy it would be in comparison. Unless we had twins again.

3. double the love.

Ocean City, NJ

“Double the Trouble!” If you’re a twin mom, you’ll get used to people throwing this cliche at you. You might roll your eyes inwardly like I do. Yes, they can be double the trouble sometimes, especially if they’ve gotten into things they shouldn’t have or if they’re screaming at the same time. BUT, the best part is that you get double the love. Double the kisses, double the snuggles, double the affection, double the hugs, double the pride. For all of the crazy, listening to your babes tell you how much they love you in their squeaky little toddler voices = everything.

4. The Unique Twin bond.

Twins have a really interesting bond. It’s actually pretty amazing. After all, they shared the same living space for quite a bit in momma’s belly! For my boys personally, they have always shared a room, they were in the same pre-school class together, and generally spend a lot of time together. The boys have inside jokes that are only funny to them and we don’t understand. They have made up words that they know the meaning to and we don’t. They have a love for one another that goes deep. Finally, They love hard and fight hard. I like to think they have a special twin connection.

5. Two and done.

I always had the desire to have a really big family. In fact, I actually pictured having five kids. I loved the idea of tons of noise and shows with big families were always my favorite. It just seems so FUN. Between infertility struggles to preemie life, my desire for a large family faded away. I feel really blessed that the boys have each other as brothers! People ask me often whether or not I want to have a girl. Honestly, I’m perfectly content with my two boys. I feel like with twins, you have the option to be “done” pretty early on because as twins, they each have a sibling already. That’s how it feels for me anyway!

6. double the blessing.

The best part of being a twin mom. Double the blessing.

As a person who struggled with infertility and had to go through infertility treatments, I’m so grateful to have double the blessing for what felt like a loss for a long time. I felt defeated and discouraged many times and when it came time for the boys to be born and there really were two, it was amazing to see God’s blessing twice over. When I look at them now, I’m reminded that they are a complete and total gift from God. And that truly is the BEST part of being a twin mom.

My Top 10 Places in and Around South Jersey to Check Out if You have a Toddler

Top 10 Places to Visit with Toddlers in South Jersey

I’m the momma to two very active three-year-olds who will be four this summer. As a teacher, summer is EVERYTHING! I try to make the most of my time with my boys and since they’ve been born, I’ve gathered some of my favorite things to do with them and my favorite places to go.  Majority of these places work fine in the spring, summer, fall, and even winter. This list is compiled with things that we’ve personally enjoyed in the past and recently. This is not an all inclusive list though, so share what you love to do with your little people! Most places, except for two, are located in South Jersey! All located in the TriState Area. Please comment and let me know what places you enjoy and what activities you like to do over the summer!

My Top 10 South Jersey Places to Visit if you Have toddlers

1. Ocean City, NJ – the shore.

By far, my absolute favorite place to go in the summer is Ocean City. Maybe it’s because as a teenager I vacationed here with my best friend and her family or maybe it’s just the amazing food – Ocean City is a win and when you have kids, it’s a double win. First off, the beach is reasonable and if you buy beach tags for the summer, you’re good to go. Second off, Ocean City is super family friendly and there is a lot out there for toddlers including rides, strolling the boardwalk, surrey rides, parks, and more. We spend out time on the boardwalk and beach and it’s our favorite!

Toddler Fun in Ocean City, NJ

2. The Cape May Zoo.

It’s FREE. FREE. FREE. You can make a donation of your choice if you choose. Cape May is a fantastic zoo for toddlers. It’s very walkable because it’s not insanely big. It’s perfect. On top of that, it has an awesome park for the kiddos! There are plenty of pavilions so you can pack a lunch or you can buy lunch there. It’s not far from the Cape May beach area either, so you can do a combo day where you spend half the day at the zoo and half the day at the shore. Score!

Toddler Fun at the Cape May County Zoo Toddler Fun at the Cape May County Zoo Toddler Fun at the Cape May County Zoo Toddler Fun at the Cape May County Zoo

3. The Philadelphia Zoo.

We are pass holders here because by the time you add the price of the tickets together, it makes sense to buy a season pass and reap the benefits: free parking, 10% off your food purchases and gift shop purchases, and free parking. This zoo was the FIRST real zoo in the US. It’s spacious, has tons of animals and sites to see, and is really easy to walk – though because it’s so big we bring the stroller just in case! You can spend a good portion of your day here!

Toddler Fun at the Philadelphia Zoo

4. The Garden State Discovery Museum or Please Touch Museum.

I LOVE the Please Touch Museum. It’s a bit pricey at $19 per person (unless your child is 1 and under). HOWEVER, they offer $2 admission on the first Wednesday of each month from 4 pm to 7 pm. My husband and I like to arrive as soon as it opens. By the time we’ve gone through the whole museum and are ready to leave, that’s when it’s starting to get busy. The $2 fee on the first Wednesday of each month from 4 pm to 7 pm is unbeatable at that price, so if you’re on a budget that would be a good time to check this place out. The Garden State Discovery Museum is cheaper and discounts on Groupon are frequently offered. If you don’t feel like dealing with Philly traffic or driving into the city, The Garden State Discovery Museum is a fun spot too!

 

Toddler Fun at The Garden State Discovery Museum

5. Storybook Land.

This place is essentially designed for toddlers and for small kiddos. It’s a load of fun, lines were short when we went in the summer, and it’s not hard to access/park. Tickets are around $23 if you buy them online and are a bit more at the door! I would choose Storybook Land over a place like Six Flags any day of the week. It’s not as packed and my boys could pretty much get on anything. Also, it’s themed after different classic children’s stories. FUN!

Storybook Land in Mayslanding, NJStorybook Land in Mayslanding, NJ

6. Sesame Place.

In my opinion, if you’re going to go, summer is definitely the time to go! They have awesome an awesome water park! We took the boys here for the majority of the day and we were pooped! Check out my post about Sesame Place for more detailed information about our experience here!

7. Parvin’s State Park.

Located only fifteen minutes away from where we live, we love going to Parvin’s State Park. There are plenty of nature trails that we explore as a family and so many outlets where the kids can skip stones, dip their feet into the lake, and even bicycle. One of my favorite places to go and best of all it’s FREE. I think they charge in the summer to swim/go in the beach area, but I wouldn’t know because we never go to that part.

8. Sahara Sam’s or Diggerland.

We have done Sahara Sam’s in the past but haven’t checked out Diggerland yet, though according to my friend’s, it’s a must. In fact, Diggerland has made it into Redbrook and some other magazines as a destination to check out on this side of the coast! I can speak for Sahara Sam’s and say that we had a fun experience here over the summer. It is an indoor and outdoor waterpark. It’s best to get here early because it gets really packed with different groups and camps coming through. I felt like there was enough for my boys to do at their age and the pool was fun because we could swim with them.

9. Smithville

Smithville is a really cute little historic town located in Atlantic County. When we go here with the boys, we spend maybe about two to three hours here tops. It’s not geared towards toddlers but we still have fun here! It’s quaint, cute, decorative, and a good place to hang for a few hours and do breakfast/lunch/dinner. My kids get a kick out of the ducks that walk around. There’s also a carousel and train rides. They also have different activities and events, so check out their calendar. Price wise: free. Can’t beat that.

10. Adventure Aquarium in Camden, NJ

This is a new one for us! We literally have JUST had the chance to check this place out. You can spend a good portion of your day here and your little ones will have a blast. This aquarium has plenty for the boys to see and do and they absolutely loved it. Price wise, it’s pricey! $28 per adult and $21 per child. As a teacher, we get discounts through ticketsatwork.com which saved us $30 from the total bill. Definitely worth a visit!

Toddler Fun at Adventure Aquarium Toddler Fun at Adventure Aquarium Toddler Fun at Adventure Aquarium

This summer I’m looking forward to creating new memories with my family and also discovering new places and things to do while revisiting some of the things we’ve done in the past! What about you? What’s your favorite summer activity or place to visit? We love to travel and I’m always looking for new places to check out!

“So Do You Want More Kids?” and other “Fun” Questions

When I was dating Jose for awhile, the line of questioning was as follows:

When are you getting engaged?

After we were engaged, the next question was:

When are you guys getting married?

Shortly after we were married the question was:

So when are you guys having kids?

*Insert struggle with infertility here which made for a really ‘fun’ time of questioning*

After we had the boys, TWINS might I add [this means two babies came out of my belly]:

So when are you guys having more kids? Don’t you want to try for the girl?

I have been guilty of this line of questioning myself. It’s rather obnoxious though, isn’t it? Just a tad? Yet, I wanted to share my thoughts especially on the last one.

I will admit, I always without a shadow of a doubt thought that I would have a girl. I thought this because I knew that for the life of me, I was as girly as all get out. I wanted life to be sprinkled in glitter and covered in pink. I sulked for awhile when I realized I couldn’t paint my entire house pink and all of my rooms pink, because marriage is about compromise isn’t it? Just trying to paint a picture for you. Literally. I also figured God knew I wouldn’t even know what to do with boys. However, a day before the ultrasound to determine gender, I had a dream and woke up knowing with all that was within me, I was having boys. And it was OKAY. Better than that, it was an amazing blessed. I was pregnant with twins, healthy, and the boys looked fantastic.

When they were born, they stole my heart and I never felt sad, bummed, or like I missed out on something. Yet, people didn’t wait long before the question:

“So are you guys going to try for the girl?”

My heart is full, content, and COMPLETE with my little boys. I am a boy mom and proud. My house is chaotic, full of superheroes, sports, and lots and lots of wrestling. I am open to God’s plan, but feel completely fantastic about where we are as a family at this point in time!

That’s all folks.

Expectation vs. Reality – Christmas Pics 2016

Christmas pictures. When some people hear this phrase they feel excited as they anticipate taking family pictures and choosing from a variety of lovely photos. When I hear this phrase, I feel…slight dread. You see, I am a twin mom of two toddler boys. Getting two energetic little guys to stay still, smile, and pose for an indefinite amount of time is nothing short of mission impossible.

Still, I put my best foot forward and decided to do a portrait studio this year if only for time’s sake. My favorite picture takers are my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, who typically take our Christmas pics but I decided to give them a break since my SIL is preggers. So, off we went.

On the way up, JoJo was in a bit of a mood. “This was a bad idea, wasn’t it?” I asked my husband as we drove along, regret lacing my tone. He shrugged in resignation and sighed, “We’ll see.” When we got to the place, all was going well it seemed. Both boys were playing with some of the toys left out and having a good time. TOO good of a time, I started to notice.

“Um, do you think it’s going to be easy to get them out of this section to take pics?” I asked my husband nervously.

“I don’t know…” his voice trailed off unsure. Uh-oh.

So off I went in search of reinforcements. I.E. bribery tools, I.E. candy. After I purchased some favorites, it was our turn. Immediately, Josiah wasn’t having it. He started to cry and my hopes of an easy picture session were dashed. The more we tried to get him to smile, the worse it became. I went in for the reinforcements, grabbing the jelly beans and offering them up as a token of peace in exchange for pictures. Here’s the thing – Josiah didn’t want to let go of the jelly beans. So he didn’t. So they were in literally the majority of our pictures because we’ve learned early what battles to fight and knew this wasn’t one of them.

Josiah – One.

Parents – Zero.

Meanwhile, Micah was striking a pose like he was David Beckham, being a complete ham for the camera.

Nonetheless, the pictures appropriately captured what being a twin parent of three years old is like and overall, I’m happy.  We did get some pretty good ones! But I had to laugh because of expectations vs. reality. Here’s what I expected….

Here’s what actually happened:

Here were my expectations…

Here’s what reality delivered.

Thank goodness we can laugh about it! Here’s to another Christmas session checked off the list.

And here are some of the solid ones:

Until we meet again, photographers.

Tattling? Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That.

So I recently have had a love/hate relationship with this stage of the age of THREE. Oh, there are so many things I LOVE about this stage. But gosh, there are some things that I literally can’t even deal with. I think this may be super specific to raising twins.

THE.CONSTANT.BICKERING.AND.TATTLING.

#doesitEVERstop

#noSeriously

#helpmeJesus

The boys have been at a stage where they love each other so much than two seconds later are airing out each other’s dirty laundry to us. We are the lucky recipients of their complaints which are super logical and include statements such as:

“Mommy, Micah said chair. MOMMY, MICAH SAID CHAIR!”

“Mommy, Jojo said dinky. MOMMY, JOJO SAID DINKY!”

In which our responses have been super patient and along the lines of:

“Guys, no one likes a tattle.” [From Mom]

 

*Ignore and avoid eye contact in hopes that tattler will become distracted and not tattle.*

They have fought long and hard over toys, over what shows to watch, over what clothes to wear, down to the pajamas. Connor McGregor would be proud. These parents though? Not amused. This has felt especially long and drawn out now that we are forced inside due to the early darkness and colder weather we’ve gotten. Because they are together in a closed space known as home, they are in each other’s faces all the time. img_0846

Evidence as follows:

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The highlights of this age?

They apologize to each other and to us, kiss and makeup.

Their vocabulary has exploded out of the park.

They are easier to take places and when we take them out, it’s usually a blast.

I JUST NEED THE BICKERING TO END. AND THE CONSTANT TATTLING. NO ONE CARES THAT JOJO SAID “BLUE.” The end.

Okay bye.

POTTY TRAINING UPDATE. Progress! Finally!

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If you’ve been following my blog you’ve read this post and this post, where I bemoaned the difficulties of potty training and how I failed because I basically didn’t really try. Well, over the summer, my awesome neighbor offered to help me train them on her days off, which happened to be the week before they were going to start preschool. Since she works at a preschool and has experience, she had amazing tips and pointers and came over to help me train them. So we went to work.

The strategy was:

  1. Put their potties in a separate part of the house, away from the TV.
  2. Time them every five minutes and have them sit on the potty.
  3. While they are sitting on the potty, read them a book. Make the time that they’re sitting on it “fun” and something they can look forward to.
  4. Time them sitting on the potty for five minutes. Five minutes on, five minutes off. You can increase to ten minutes, fifteen minutes, half hour, etc. as you see they are getting the hang of it.
  5. Rewarded them with something they don’t typically get to eat – jelly beans.
  6. Let them run around the house naked in the meantime.
  7. Be consistent, don’t give up, be prepared for accidents.
  8. It’s okay if they don’t poop in the toilet right away, it takes time.

I give all credit to my neighbor and her encouragement and willingness to help! It really is awesome having another set of hands and just someone to encourage you when you feel like giving up. She was great.

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We are a long way from where we started in the best way. I would say one is pretty much totally potty trained and the other is 85% there!  THIS MAKES ME FEEL LIKE WE ARE GROWING IN LEAPS AND BOUNDS. And I’m so proud, thrilled, emotional because they’re just not babies anymore. One wears pull-ups but stays dry the majority of the time, going on the potty while the other is in his underwear now all of the time. Hooray!

The thing with having twins is that they encouraged each other! This helped and I think going to pre-school and watching all of the other kids do it pushed them forward in a big way.

This whole potty-training thing is a journey! It is imperfect, messy, crazy…but we are well on our way!

My encouragement to you:

  1. Don’t give up like I did right away.
  2. Don’t be discouraged.
  3. Be persistent, steady, consistent.
  4. Dedicate several days, or a week to this completely.
  5. Realize, they will go eventually. Don’t be hard on yourself.

These are the things I wish I told myself! But I’m really thankful that I had someone to tell me these things! But we have progressed, and for that I am proud!

 

 

How a Vacationless Summer Became the Best Summer of My Life.

This summer has been the best summer I’ve had so far. We are into August now, and I can see the end of the season very clearly. I’m a teacher and the kind of teacher that starts to think about school, her classroom, what the year will look like starting in August. It’s also caused me to reflect on my summer. I’ve come to a conclusion.

THIS SUMMER HAS BEEN THE BEST SUMMER EVER.

And guess what? We didn’t even go on vacation or do anything spectacular to be quite honest. In fact, this year we purposely decided we weren’t going to go on vacation so we could spend money and save money for house projects. We wanted to paint the house (mission accomplished), and we are going to be getting our basement waterproofed in a few weeks. We decided that because of this, we wouldn’t go anywhere crazy or do a big vacation this year. And…

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But really though, I have gotten to spend so much quality time with my boys, doing whatever our hearts feel like and it’s been soooo good. We have been able to bond in such a special way, and I know this year it will be the hardest when it comes to going back to work. So let me share with you some of the reasons I thought this was our best summer yet.

Why My Vacationless Summer Became the Best Summer Ever:

  1. We saved money.

This was key. Normally when we go on vacation, there is the expense of actually paying for the vacation (even if you pay for it in advance, it’s still money) and also the cost of spending money while on vacation, which can add up quite a bit. Because we weren’t spending a ton on a big vacation, we were able to save money and put it towards things we wanted/needed.

2. We didn’t stress.

Because we didn’t have anything major going on, we could relax, let our hair down and just embrace the present and each day. There wasn’t any significant planning to be done or anything like that. I am not one of those ultra and amazing #momgoals kind of moms who loves to plan/organize. I would prefer to drink a rootbeer float while in my fuzzy pajamas with a book in my hand. So the fact that there wasn’t much to be planned was wonderful.3. We went to the beach a billion times.

3. We went to the beach a billion times.

And by a billion times, I probably mean a trillion times. No, truly we have been at the beach AT least once a week and likely twice a week, sometimes three times a week. This has been glorious on all levels. Minimal clothing for all, shoes optional. I can live like that.

4. Completed and are in the process of completing house projects.

We set some goals for ourselves this summer. We wanted to complete two projects. The first was painting the house; the second was waterproofing the basement. The first we completed, the second we should have completed by the end of this month. When we decided to opt out of a major vacation this summer, completing some house projects played into this.

5. Took tons of day trips.

Storybook Land. Beach every week. Cape May Zoo. Philadelphia Zoo. Shopping here and there. Hung out with my mom on her days off and went out and about. The benefit of these is that at the end of the day, we went home. Boys slept in their own beds and still felt a semblance of their routine.

6. Had a laid back summer.

Being a mom of twins, two toddlers who are the exact same age and are very active boys, I welcomed the opportunity to have a very relaxed summer.

After saying all of that, next year, we have decided we will definitely take a vacation. We are in the talks of actually taking two, one local and one out of states. The older the boys get, the more fun it is because we can see their reactions, what they like, how they are enjoying it. Summer 2016, you have been good to us. And I still have a few weeks left to enjoy.

Most of all, I’m so grateful that God has given me this special time to enjoy with my babies who are now little boys, and not so much babies anymore.  Here are a few pictures from our vacationless summer.

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Vacation Bible School was a great way to kick off the summer fun!

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Masterpieces. Obviously.

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They have nothing on my hula skills.

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Birthday fun at Ocean City! The last week of July, literally everyone from our family has something to celebrate. What a FUN week!

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Even Josiah would agree. The summer has been pretty legit so far.

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Beach day…again, with some of my favorites! The #lopeztwinsies aunts!

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When your husband isn’t as photo-ready as you are but you still make him take a picture anyway. We had a date day at the beach. Ocean City.

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Fourth of July last-minute decision to go to the beach…again!

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Fourth of July after party with their favorite cousin. It wouldn’t be the 4th without a little BBQ. Even the rain can’t drown out the fun.

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My sweet little guy has been coming out of his shell lately. This summer he has become bolder and less shy.

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Cousin hangtime.

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Celebrated our seven year anniversary!

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Lots of Rita’s water ice and Ocean City beach time.

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And more beach time. This was supposed to be boardwalk time that turned into beach time. Hence, the full clothing.

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Babe.

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Sunkissed. They like to wade in the water, JoJo prefers to be held. Of course. And he’s the heaviest.

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We planned to just hit the boardwalk, but the kids wanted to “see the sand.” Which basically means, they want to go on the beach.

 

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JoJo is obsessed with his cousin, two peas in a pod.

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This picture melts my heart.

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First time to the Philadelphia Zoo for all boys in this fam, husband included.

And the summer isn’t over yet. I love summer.

Our trip to the Philadelphia Zoo!

Last week, my mom and I spontaneously decided to take the boys to the Cape May Zoo. We had a great time and amazing weather. It was in the eighties, but missing the nightmarish humidity that had been plaguing us for the majority of the summer.

When I came home and bragged  told my husband about what we did, he said he wanted to go to the Philadelphia Zoo on Saturday. He hadn’t been, and it was killing him that I was having such a blast with the boys while he toiled away at work. Sorry, not sorry. Just kidding. Kind of. When I looked into pricing, I saw it was a little pricey, BUT membership wasn’t bad at all. We decided to become members for a year! Membership benefits include free access to the zoo for a year, free parking, and 10% of all merchandise and food. Not bad at all!

We had such a good time. The weather was humid and muggy, but we got there as soon as it opened on Saturday (I’m a stickler for getting to places early and when it opens since I hate crowds!), so it was perfect. We brought the stroller, but took the boys out and let them walk around with us most of the time.  We made sure they didn’t fall into a gorilla pit (rest in peace Harambe) and needless to say, it was uneventful in that way! Hooray!

The Philadelphia Zoo is a gorgeous zoo with such a variety of animals and historical fact alert; it’s the nation’s FIRST zoo. One of the millions reasons to love Philly . So if you haven’t visited it or if you don’t live around here, take an East Coast vacation and add this place to the list of places to check out. We plan on going for a date day as well sometime soon, so we can actually read the signs and take a minute to slow down. If you have toddlers, you understand that spending more than five minutes at an exhibit is probably not a possibility. Still, a fab time was had by all.

It was also a first for my husband AND the boys, so it was cool to see them all experience the zoo in that way. We stayed for a few hours, and once it started getting super muggy, peaced out. All in all, a successful day.

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Then they were THREE! A prayer for my boys.

As my boys turn THREE today, this is my prayer for them. Originally wrote it in my prayer journal, but wanted to share!

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Dear Lord,

Thank You for the privilege of parenting not one, but TWO miracle babies. Thank You for the surprise and gift of raising two boys. Two boys that are so clearly filled with purpose and destiny. I know without a shadow of a doubt, that the plans that You have for their lives are special, unique, and beautiful. I pray that my babies would love and pursue You every single day. Let their lives speak of Your miraculous power. Let their hearts love You and love people purely. Let their hearts be filled with a desire to serve you and to serve others.

My Josiah. For Josiah, I pray that you would use His strong will and determined attitude for good things and for YOUR purposes. I pray that Josiah would stand strong against things that are wrong and that he would stand for JUSTICE and freedom for those that are oppressed. That he would be a voice for the voiceless. I pray that He would sing songs of hope and songs that bring joy. I pray that when he plays instruments, heavy hearts, and broken hearts are made whole.

For Micah, I pray that You would use his sensitive, gentle spirit to comfort others. I pray that he would uplift those that are broken. I pray that He would have compassion that burns for the forgotten. I pray that Micah would see those that are ignored by society and offer them that hope that He has within. I pray that Micah’s ability to listen and observe would translate to a person who hears others and leads in humility.

For both of my boys, I pray that they would have an unshakeable bond and brotherhood. I pray that they would be loyal to You and to each other. I pray that they would be men of courage, integrity, and valor. Let them pursue You relentlessly and love You wholeheartedly. May YOU always have first place in their lives. Give them favor with You and with men. I pray that they would dream HUGE God-sized dreams with no limitations, and run after them, accomplishing more than we ever have in our lifetime.

I thank You for the gift of Micah and Josiah. Thank You for choosing ME and entrusting me with the amazing opportunity to raise these boys. Continue to give me the grace I need to parent two world changers. My heart is overflowing. I love You.

In Jesus Name,

Amen

 

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I have truly loved this age. Here’s to onward, upward, and seeing what THREE holds in store for us!