Wednesday, July 25, 2012


A few hours ago I was upstairs folding laundry and I heard suspicious whispers and giggles coming from the boys' room. When Charlie is sleeping the twins are under strict orders not to play in their room, since it is right across the hall from Charlie's and they usually have quite a difficult time playing quietly. I tiptoed down the hall and stood outside their door. More whispers. More giggles. I opened the door and saw two overturned chairs in the middle of the room, with both boys lying underneath them, chatting.
"Shhh! We're in our hideout Mom!" they whispered excitedly.

I didn't have the heart to enforce my "No Upstairs Play While Charlie's Napping" rule, and I snapped a quick picture as I reminded them to play quietly and ducked back out of the room.

It must be nice to have a built-in best pal - someone who walks like you, talks like you, looks like you, and laughs like you. Someone who has lived every single moment of your life with you, and came into existence at the exact moment in time that you did. Sure, these two rascals get on each other's nerves sometimes,  but the older they get, the more fascinating they are. What the two of them share is something so special, it's hard to put into words. When my doctor told me I was having identical twins, he explained that fraternal twins are the genetic ones. In other words, if twins run in your family, there is a chance you may have fraternal twins. Identical twins, he said, are a completely random occurrence. For no known reason, the egg randomly splits into two identical parts. They are, he said good naturedly, a random freak of nature. That is exactly how he described my boys, ten weeks along in my belly, as I sat there on the table shivering in my paper gown.

Here's how the Bible describes how my boys were formed: "Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother's womb... Body and soul, I am marvelously made! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I'd even lived one day." (Psalm 139: 13-16, The Message)

I rejoice in the truth that there is not one random thing about my boys, or any of us, for that matter. I love that God meticulously planned them into being. Before one minute of their lives came to pass, He knew about the hideouts they would have, the ways they would be so similar, the late-night conversations they'd share in the dark. He knew that they would stick up for one another, defend one another, and so often anticipate the other's feelings before the rest of the world had a clue. In fact, He planned it that way.

The other night Max had a nightmare and stumbled into our room in the middle of the night. After I'd whispered a few words of comfort he picked up his blue blankie and headed out the door, though he'd been told he could climb into bed with us.

"Where are you going?" I asked.

"Sam might miss me," he said, and walked back down the hall.

Born together. Friends forever.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mommy's a Hero

It's been a bit of a long day around here. It poured this morning and the whole backyard was soaked and soggy. Every time the sun came out and I urged the kids to get a life, it would either start raining again or cloud over, gloomy and gray. Charlie's got the sniffles and ditched one of his naps in protest. Then, to put a nice dollop of icing on the already-burned cake, Greg called at 6:15 to say the words every stay-at-home mom lives in fear of when she's waiting to hear the garage door go up: I'm. Running. Late.

I looked at the kids. They blinked back at me. The day was about to go you know where in a hand basket, and I was about to let it.

And then... I put the chicken back in the fridge. I said a silent farewell to my pre-beach diet. I got out the pancake mix and the griddle. I plopped a bottle of maple syrup in front of the kids.

Hey Sam, guess what's for dinner?

Did ya hear that, Max & Chlo?

And, just like that, Mommy became a hero.

When life gives you lemons... make pancakes.

"When we are caught up in the celebration of God, there is no room for negative living."
-Luci Swindoll

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Happy 8th Birthday Chloe!

My little girl is eight years old today! All day long I found myself looking at the clock and reminiscing about what I was doing at that exact moment eight years earlier. Such sweet, special memories of one of the best days of my life. We have started a tradition in our family of bringing breakfast in bed to the "person of honor" on their special day. Last night Chloe gleefully informed us that she would like hot chocolate, pancakes and bacon, orange juice, and a Dunkin' Donuts manager's special. Should I be concerned that my children know what the manager of our local Dunkin's has designated the "special," and that they ask for it by name?

Here's the birthday girl first thing in the morning, getting ready to feast:

She asked each of her brothers for a birthday hug. That's Chloe for ya.

We had a few special friends over for a birthday lunch, and had lots of fun.

After our friends left, Chloe and I headed out for a little "girl time." We went straight to one of her favorite places, the "butterfly salon," and she indulged in a bright purple mani/pedi. What a treat!

Then it was home for pizza, cake, and presents.

Here's her homemade Tangled cake:

Last year my sis and I decided to make memory boards after seeing them on a blog, and I am so glad we did - it has become one of my favorite traditions for each one of the kids' birthdays. It's so much fun to line up all the pictures and see how they've grown.

Here are a few of my favorites from Chloe's:

She and Daddy, on the day she was born:

 She and I on her first birthday:

As we tucked our eight-year-old into bed and watched the sun set on another milestone day, Greg asked me if there were any standout moments from her celebration. I thought for a few minutes. "Really, it's hard to pick a standout," I answered as we walked out of her room. "She's the perfect kid to throw a party for. She's happy and polite and easy to please. She appreciates everything you do for her, and loves the big things and the small things equally." She can never even think of a gift she might like - we have to think of things and then gently suggest that they might be cool things to ask for.

Happy birthday, darling Chloe. Strangers often tell me that you are a beautiful girl, with your long blonde curls and big blue eyes. I thank them and respond that the truth is, your looks pale in comparison to your kindness.

Monday, July 16, 2012


I am an old lady! And I am grateful for that. I had a phenomenal birthday full of sweet and simple surprises. Greg spoiled me and took the day off. My day started out with breakfast in bed, followed by a lazy morning sans kids spent drinking coffee and reading. In the afternoon he took the kids to TKD and birthday shopping, and I took a nap! How awesome is that? When they got home my parents came over and babysat so Greg and I could go out for a special dinner. Over wine and delicious food, we dreamt up a few dreams for my 37th year. Can't wait to see what God has planned! We came home and my parents stayed for the decadent chocolate cake he and the kids bought me. What a sweet, wonderful day. I am so grateful for my family, and blessed indeed.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Mad Max

I'm so glad five year old boys still look adorable in hooded bath towels.

  They also look pretty rad in sparring gear. Kee Yah!

Never a dull moment. Love this kid.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

VBS Date Night!

It's VBS week at our church and we're finding that the ministry extends way beyond our children! Greg and I dropped three excited kids off at 6:00 pm and then headed for downtown Pittsburgh with our favorite 13-month-old in tow. We found a great Mexican place in Market Square and enjoyed a walk through parts of the city with our little guy before heading back to pick up Chloe, Max, and Sam. It was so nice to get to hang out together... We never go to the city on our rare nights out because we don't want to waste precious time driving 30 minutes one way! Greg and I actually met when we were working as buyers for Kaufmanns downtown, and after we started dating we would go to lunch and happy hour all the time in the city with our yuppie friends.

It was a luxury to spend a couple of hours together reminiscing over great food and a sweet baby. Three cheers for VBS and all the selfless volunteers who make it happen!

Here's a few iphone shots of two of my favorite guys...

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Weekend at the Lake

We spent part of the weekend at Chautauqua Lake with Cara, Paul, Drew, James & Ethan and had a great time! We arrived Friday afternoon and roasted hot dogs over the fire, and then went out on the boat to watch the sunset.

Drew preparing to take a flying leap off the top of the houseboat.

The babies chilled...

the kids had a blast...

... and James rocked a scuba suit.

Later we made s'mores and hung out. We let the kids stay up WAY past their bedtimes and totally regretted it the next morning because we're such fun parents.

Saturday morning we woke up and went out in the kayaks, which the kids loved, and then went to a little beach that had a place to swim and a place to play. It was hot, but because we were right by the lake, it was breezy and bearable.

We had a wonderful time, and can't wait to go back!