Weekend Snapshot: Fall Fun!

I haven’t blogged in awhile! Mostly because I’m adjusting to the new rhythms of life with fall back in the swing of things! I thought it would be fun to do a weekend snapshot of what our weekend looked like and an update on the Lopez Twinsies and what’s been going on in our neck of the woods!

Lopez Twinsies:

  • Slaying preschool: Amazing teachers, new friends, learning so much – I LOVE PRESCHOOL. I will miss this school deeply when they have to move on to kindergarten. They’re learning to read which is awesome and I feel like my babes are so loved.
  • Fiercely Protective of Each Other: Mess with one twin, you are messing with the other. “Don’t do that to him! That’s my BRUDDER [brother]…” this is a line you can hear them saying often. I love how they have each other’s backs.
  • Extremely Entertaining: If you want to be entertained, listen in on a conversation between four-year-olds. In the morning, Micah stands over Josiah’s bed shouting “WAKE UP JOSIAH! WAKE UP! THE SUN IS OUT!” We have unplugged the light in their room, removed the lamp, done all we can to try to keep it dark (room darkening shades) and buy us more sleep time in the morning. They are still up at 7 am or earlier every day. Yes, I know some parents are up earlier but what we wouldn’t trade to sleep until 8 or later!!
  • Fighting/Whining is Super Real: You haven’t lived if you haven’t listened to toddlers fight and whine for 48390284 in a row. This part of this age is not too fun! We have been working on how not to be a whiny baby all day long. They are still works in progress.
  • Snugglefests Going Strong: I’ve said it before, I’ll say it a thousand times. One of the things I love most about this age is the unrestrained, uninhibited love, snuggling, and just affection these boys shower me with. It hasn’t stopped at four (as it shouldn’t!) and hopefully it never stops. Love being a mommy to these two!!

 Weekend Snapshot: 

This weekend was really nice because it consisted of a lot of family time! Hubs and I can have a schedule that can be opposites at times, so it’s a really fabulous thing when we can be at the same place at the same time and dedicate time to some solid uninterrupted family time!

Friday night we decided to carve the pumpkin we got from on the boys’ field trip this week to a farm, which was a blast!

Friday Night:

Spent time carving the pumpkin, as mentioned before. The boys were super excited, even though daddy obviously did most of the carving. It was fun and a nice tradition that we started last year and plan to continue with them.

After pumpkin carving, towards their bed time, mommy got to catch up with one of her besties and have a night out which included in typical mommy fashion: Panera Bread and Target. AND I’M NOT MAD ABOUT IT. Praise Him y’all.

Saturday:

The boys and I spent some time meeting up with a friend and her daughter at a local park! They had the chance to walk through trails and explore which they love to do. This also gave Dad some time to do some things for work and around the house without having us all follow him all the time (which is honestly what we all do haha).

Sunday: 

Favorite day of the week for so many reasons! First off, it’s the day we have our church service. I love Jesus and love my church! Sundays are a huge highlight for my family. Today I had the opportunity lead worship, which is always a blessing! My highlight for this weekend though, was heading down to the shore with my babies. We told them that we had a surprise for them and were taking them to a “surprise.” After church finished and we got in the car and told them where we were going, THEY WERE SO EXCITED. Like their mom, the beach is one of their absolute favorite spots to go to and I knew this was probably going to be the last hurrah as the weather starts to cool down. I’ve written about it before but it is our fave!

We wanted to grab a bite at our favorite pizza spot, but we couldn’t get to it because it looked like the boardwalk had been torn up and it was blocked off around that area! Because we were starving, we went to Manco and Manco’s instead (which is our second favorite spot for pizza) and made do.

Manco and

After that, we went to grab some ice cream!

The boys decided they wanted to walk around on the beach. They insisted on being able to run into the water, which meant drenched jeans and rolled up pants, but they had a blast! It was such a breath of fresh air being able to take some time as a family and go to our favorite place. Especially before we dive into a really hectic week!

 

As the boys were playing in the sand and I was watching them play together, all I could do was just be GRATEFUL. Grateful to have a happy, healthy family. I’m a blessed woman.

Hoping to get back on the blogging bandwagon regularly again soon! Until next time!

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!

 

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!

7 Ways to Make Date Night Happen – No Excuses

Some of my favorite nights ever are the date nights that I have with my husband. As insane as life gets, whether the budget is fantastic or terrible, whether we “have the time” or not, Jose and I try to make it a priority to go on a date and have that time together without the kiddos. I wanted to share 7 ways to make date night happen regardless of your budget or busyness. For my husband and I, it’s really important!

Why?

Because before there were kids, there was US.

When the kids go to college, it will be US.

I’ve watched so many people have children and literally put their love lives completely on pause. Not for seconds or minutes or even days or weeks, but for YEARS. Then the kids go to college and there are two adults who barely know each other. I strongly believe that if mom and dad are happy and the marriage is healthy, the kiddos will feel the ripple effects of that. I know many who idolize their children to the point where their children consume every aspect of their lives above all things and anything else (even God). There is no room for anything or anyone else. Friendships dissolve and more. I don’t want to be that way! So I’ve decided I won’t.

I’ve faced judgment and even criticism sometimes, because God forbid if you are having fun without your kids, what kind of person even are you? Um, a human being who likes to have fun without her kids at times so she can pee in peace and have dinner without sharing.

Plus, it’ s SO FUN to continue to go on dates and do things together one on one. It keeps the romance alive and reminds me of our early years all over again. Stolen kisses, inside jokes, laughing together at something when we’re supposed to be serious. This is the stuff that my kind of love is made of!

How do you make this possible, especially if you have kids?

  1. Put it on the calendar. Once it’s on the calendar, it’s a priority! Make it one.

Put it in your calendar like you would put an actual appointment. Treat it like you would treat an appointment with a client – except your spouse is even more important! Time with your husband or wife is a worthy investment in your marriage and should be prioritized.2.

2. Have a group of reliable sitters at the ready.

Vary your sitters so you have options. We don’t like to put all of our eggs in one basket. That being said, we don’t just let anyone watch our boys. Typically it’s my mom, my mother-in-law and two reliable college age girls from church who work in the Sunday School program at our church. My boys love their sitters and are familiar with them. In the same way,

3. Don’t use your budget as an excuse.

It’s really easy to write off date night because it’s not in the budget. Trust me, been there before! However, date night can still be fun and free. There are a ton of resources and ideas available on Pinterest. Some of my favorite things to do:

  • Watch a movie: rent one through iTunes, watch for free on Netflix, TV. I have even borrowed movies from friends – talk about budget friendly!
  • During warm weather, lay a blanket in the backyard, put on the firepit: talk, listen to music, stargaze, ask silly questions.
  • Read together: call us dorks, we love to read books together. We pick out a book we both want to read and go through it chapter by chapter.
  • Game night: we don’t do this as often, but back in the day we would play board games and get really competitive. Scrabble and Bananagrams were favorites.
  • Park: Going to a park, walking the trails or riding bikes while having a conversation is relaxing and easy to do.
  • Free Events: Look up what’s free in your area and you would be surprised!

4. If you can’t go out, date night in.

I’ve already listed a few ideas/suggestions that have worked for us. Feel free to borrow one or suggest one in the comment section!

5. Swap babysitting services with another couple for date nights.

We are in a bracket where a lot of our friends have babies/toddlers the same age. This is something we haven’t done but would be willing to do! I think it’s a pretty easy way to score a date night and to add a couple to your babysitting catalog.

6. Push guilt aside.

I know a lot of parents suffer from this! I think mom’s especially feel this type of guilt. Parents who feel awful for doing something without their children. I am NOT that parent, but if you happen to be, then realize this: it’s okay to have a night of fun without your kiddos. It doesn’t make you a bad person. A relaxed, happy, set of parents are better parents for their children.

7. Make FUN the priority.

Don’t get worked up over what doesn’t go right: keep in mind the primary goal of date night with your spouse is to have fun and enjoy each other’s company. I remember the days of dating during high school and the college years. I could literally be sitting next to Jose doing nothing, but the fact that we were together was just so NICE. As adults, life has only gotten more hectic as each year passes. It’s a beautiful thing to have fun and be reminded of where it all began.

My husband planned this one. After an obsession with Heartland, he took me horseback riding because I fell in love with horses.

Sunday afternoon date.

This date night we planned in advance. We bought concert tickets as our Christmas gift in December but the actual concert wasn’t until April 1st.

Couples date night out. This was something planned about a month in advance which gave us an opportunity to plan a sitter and budget accordingly.

A day at the beach is fun, cheap, and my favorite!

Even though the pictures you see are pictures of us actually going out – there are plenty of times we stay in! I guess I just don’t take too many pictures of those times! Ha!

These are some of my suggestions but I would love to hear some of yours! What do you and your spouse do for date nights? How often do you try to make date nights happen? Comment below!

 

 

 

Marriage Mondays – If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say…

You’ve heard the saying before:

If you don’t have anything nice to say….don’t say it all!

I don’t know about you, but I KNOW what my weakness is. I’ve always known it, even at a young age. It’s my tongue. My mouth. The words I speak.

When I was in middle school, I once got out of a situation where a girl wanted to fight me. She was taller than me, bigger than me, and would undoubtedly beat the tar out of me EXCEPT, I had a secret weapon. My mouth. So I hurled insults her way (not something I’m proud of as an adult!) and when it was time to “fight” she was nowhere to be found because I embarrassed her. I don’t say this as something to be proud of, but to emphasize the fact, that even at a young age I knew I could use words to hurt people.

As an adult, the more I learned about words and the power of the words we speak, the more I realized the words I spoke had weight, power, and could affect a situation or a person positively or negatively.

Now picture a girl whose weakness is her mouth in a relationship with a person who is hot headed and is also known for his mouth. Guys, it wasn’t a good combination. Jose and I spent the first few years of our relationship arguing a lot and using our words to hurt each other. The thing with the words you speak is that once you say them you can’t take them back and hurtful words are so painful and wound so deeply. If I asked you right now to tell me something someone said that hurt you, you could distinctly give me a specific incident and person. We remember these things.

This is why I want to tell you something I’ve had to learn myself in marriage.

When I don’t have anything to say that’s going to produce fruit in my marriage, sometimes the best thing to do is to BE QUIET.

As in literally, zip it and not say anything at all.

Here’s the thing – I know there are times where you will have to have difficult conversations within a marriage. This is a reality that’s inescapable and healthy. What I AM saying is this – if what you are going to say is not going to produce positive fruit in your marriage, don’t say it.

In this post, I’m talking specifically about those low blow moments. You know what I’m talking about. Those moments where you have something you can say that will really hit your spouse where it hurts. Maybe it’s a weakness, a vulnerability that’s been shared. You are so angry or mad and you just want your spouse to know it, so you prep your ammunition and are ready to aim. My plea to you – don’t.

 

Our first year of marriage, in the middle of an argument, Jose used to simply stop speaking and leave the room. At first, I was even more livid, “I’m talking to you! I’m trying to have a conversation with you! What are you doing?!” I would call after him. He would later explain that he just needed to step away from the situation until we could talk calmly about it. Oh, it would make me so irate because I wanted to talk about things RIGHT NOW and resolve it RIGHT AWAY. As time has gone on, I’ve appreciated how much it has saved us from a lot of pain! Eight years in, we don’t walk away from each other in the midst of hard conversations, but we have learned to guard the words that we speak to each other.

I love what James has to say about the words we speak:

“In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.” James 3:5-6

I love how it keeps mentioning “fire.” One terrible word or conversation can cause a world of pain and destruction. This can be avoided if we guard our speech and the words that we speak to our spouse.

I’m not telling you that anytime you get into an argument you need to physically run away from each other! When we were newlyweds,  we were learning how to fight fair.  We had to actually give each other some physical space for a few minutes or a half hour or so, then reconvene when we were calm. I’m glad that being married almost 8 years; we’ve come such a long way and don’t have to do this every time there’s a disagreement. We’ve learned that we respect and love each other enough to protect each other from words we might regret.

So if I could share anything that has helped me:

  1. If you’re ticked off, don’t try to force a conversation in that moment.
  2. If you have to give each other a few minutes, do it. Don’t force it in that exact moment, BUT…
  3. Refuse to go to bed angry with each other (Ephesians 4:26).
  4. DON’T SAY INSULTING THINGS YOU WILL REGRET.
  5. Talk to your spouse when emotions have calmed down and you can be reasonable.
  6. Your words matter and will be remembered. They also can HURT and create a deep wound so PROTECT each other by refusing to engage in trading insults.

Here’s the thing – all couples have disagreements at one point or another. If you’ve never argued with your spouse, you are a magical unicorn and can I please have your autograph? The point is this – when you know you are on the verge of saying something destructive and life killing, ask yourself if it’s going to produce positive fruit in your relationship in the long run.

“A truly wise person uses few words; a person with understanding is even-tempered.” Proverbs 17:27

xoxo

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.

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!

Dearest Naptime…[An open letter to the love of my life]

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Dearest Naptime,

I don’t know if I tell you often enough about how I feel about you, but here it is. I met you about two and a half years ago or so. When you first waltzed into our life, I had mixed feelings about you. Would you stay? Would you go? Were you here to tease us or would you make a permanent residence in our lives? At almost three years, you are still here. For this, all I can say is…

I love you.

Naptime, you are rather glorious to me. When you arrive, I enter into this happy place where I can actually…wait for it…drum roll please…GET THINGS DONE. It’s quite amazing actually.  Naptime is a magical little land where the dreams of a mother come true. During naptime, ANYTHING goes.

I think to myself. Should I get things done? Will I clean? Will I sleep? Will I read a book? Will I watch my favorite television show? Will I call a friend? WHAT WILL I DO? Typically I say, I will accomplish a ton. Reality hits though, and there I am laying on the couch, hair in a bun, chips by my side thinking to myself, “I think I will just soak in this quiet.”

Naptime – you are especially my favorite when you decide to hang out for two hours or so. Sometimes even three. Because you allow me to regain my sanity. You give me this time where I don’t have to share my cookies. Where I can pee in peace. And, if we are getting wild over here, SHOWER ALONE. It is a rather magical relationship we have.

There are days though, where you don’t show up. These days are sad days, followed by lots of tears from both mother and children. I realize that you don’t show up in everyone’s life, which is why I so eagerly admire your awesomeness. Like Sam Smith once sang, “Won’t you stay with me…?” Naptime, you are a good, good thing. Don’t ever leave.

For this – I must say: thank you. Hang out with us for awhile. Until the boys are in college, I’m thinking? You’re the best.

Sincerely and with lots of love and well restedness,

A Happy Twin Momma

Potty Training Struggles are Real. Part 1.

My husband and I have a goal of trying to get the boys potty trained over the summer. How is it going, you ask? Well, it’s not really going at all. I “tried” to potty train them once before and it didn’t get anywhere. I think our trying efforts need to be stepped up.

We have one who is willing to sit on the potty for a few minutes at most. Meanwhile, the other has literally ZERO interest. Zero as in refuses to sit on it at all. To get him to sit on it, would be to force him with tears and crying. I keep reading that that particular method isn’t effective and it’s the last thing a parent should do.

The hubs and I decided we would absolutely go for it full fledged on the fourth of July. He had off from work, and we could do it as a team effort. We were determined. Game faces? On. So we get up, and we are pumping each other up equivalent to football players pumping up their team players.

Me: “Are you ready to do this?”

Him: “YEAH!* [Insert fist in the air] We have this! We can do it!”

So we bring out the potties and attempt to try the naked method where you let them run around naked and have the potties on hand. This epically FAILS from the start. We have one crying because he doesn’t want to be naked. We have the other one loving the idea of being naked. Maybe TOO much? There are lots of tears involved. When Jose and I can finally stop crying (ha – just kidding, almost) I decide that I know what will do the trick. Buying two new Mickey Mouse potties. DUH, why didn’t I think about this before? This will CLEARLY solve the problem. So I shoot off to the store to buy one. After three stores, I locate them, bring them home joyfully and look at my husband knowingly. *Wink wink* Problem solved. Mickey Mouse potties will do the trick.

Um. It didn’t work. Not even a little bit. The boys were excited about these “toys.” Excited about taking them apart, standing on them, and flushing them but sitting on them? NO. One tried for a few minutes, then was completely over it. The other? Nope, not interested at all. After two hours of pleading, trying to convince, bribing, and coming up with nothing – we looked at each other.

Me: “Do you want to go to the beach?”

Husband: “Yeah.”

The end. And the potty training saga continues. Stay tuned for more updates.

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Pants DOWN, diapers on.

 

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God’s Grace in parenting.

 

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Some days I feel like  I need an extra dose of God’s grace when it comes to parenting.

Do you ever have moments where you are impatient with your little ones? Annoyed? Frustrated? Visualize me answering this question with my hands up, jumping up and down, all while shouting, “oooohhhh MEEEEE! YES! YES!” Am I alone in this?

Do you ever have days where sometimes your impatience or annoyance shines through? Or when you want to shout back, “NO, I DON’T WANT TO SHARE!” and throw an adult tantrum towards your toddler? Or maybe even a time where you have snapped, blown a fuse, or had a melt down? I have a feeling I’m not alone. Because after all, we are parents. And if you are a parent of multiples, you probably feel this even more so.

Right now the boys are at an age that I actually LOVE, but there are also some things that I don’t love. For example:

  • Tantrums – I get it. You don’t want it. Geeze.
  • The word no on speed dial and repeat – I’m convinced one of my boys has selected that word as his favorite in spite of his rich vocabulary of other words that are more magical and wonderful than the dreaded “no.” YES. How about that kid?!
  • Pickiness – grilled cheese, pizza, eggs. All of the ingredients for a well-rounded diet in the eyes of my toddlers. One of my guys will actually smell it, stick it in his mouth very briefly, and then say “No. I don’t want it.”

And in these moments where I want to scream, pull out my hair, or curl up in a corner and cry. I need His grace. Outside of these moments, I still need His grace. Parenting my boys is TOO PRECIOUS of a job to do without it. I need it daily.

Every day I reflect and think – “Wow. God chose ME to be the momma of these two precious guys. He knew that I would have what it takes. That I would have what these boys needed from a mom.”

I am overwhelmed by the privilege and honor it is to be a mother and to have a job that is so important: molding and shaping these guys into men of God who love Him relentlessly. And I am thankful for God’s grace to do it.

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. – Ephesians 4:7

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. – 1 Corinthians 12:9