Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sad Night

I just got home from the grocery store. Don't worry...I'm not going to tell you about any meltdowns or show you pictures of what I got. But something did happen that is heavy on my heart.

I just needed a few things, but I was by myself, so I was leisurely walking down the aisles. I noticed a young girl in one of the aisles and thought to myself, "I wonder if she knows she looks pregnant in that shirt." I know...that's not nice and I'm way too critical. I'm just being honest here.

So I finish my shopping and get in line and notice that same girl coming up behind me. The two cashiers immediately recognize her and say, "girl, we heard you're having twins.That is crazy!"

Excuse me? Did I hear that correctly? I got a knot in my stomach and tried not to pay too much attention, but had to look at her one more time. Maybe I was wrong about how young she was. Nope...still a very obviously young girl. I mentioned to her that I had twins and what a blessing they were. She asked if they were a handful and I replied, "Oh, yes! But they are a lot of fun, too." She'll know all about it soon enough.

But she won't know about it like I do. She won't know about it within the realm of a great marriage. She won't know about it with a very supportive husband. She won't know about it with the privilege of staying home with her babies. (I assume all of these things of course).

She'll know about it as she finishes high school, as she takes drivers education, as she grows up way too fast, and as she does it alone.

Her experience will most likely be night and day from mine: in a much harder, much lonlier, much more overwhelming way. I just can't imagine...she is really only a child herself.

I think about the frustration and exhaustion that I feel at times. I think about the times I have thought to myself, "Nobody deserves two babies at the same time....this is just too much for anyone to handle."  And I think about how toddlers always do what you don't want them to and never do what you do want them to. And I think about the messes, the fits, the screaming, the crying, the whining, the biting, the never ending workload.

But much, much more often than those feelings above, I look at my children in awe and think to myself, "Nobody deserves two babies at the same time...this is just too great of a blessing." And I joyfully watch them laugh and play and discover and learn everyday. And I just get lost in their hugs and kisses and cuddles and love.

I know she'll feel the frustration and exhaustion. I just hope she can feel the joy and the awe as well.

So tonight, I pray for her and for those sweet babies.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Alabama Part Two (Which was actually Part One in chronological order)

I think we have all recovered from the trauma that was our return flight home.

So let's focus on all the fun we had on our trip to Alabama.

I'm not going to lie. It was hard. Being away from home, traveling early in the morning and late at night, not having access to things like playpens, highchairs, and other toddler confinement contraptions, and most importantly: the absence of the MVP of my team: Dustin, all worked together to make this trip a little hard on me.

I'm spoiled, you see. At naptime, I just place my children in their cribs and I walk out of the room. Two hours later, they let me know they have awoken and I go and fetch them. We do this every day. They don't know how to go to sleep without their crib. And I don't know how to make them sleep without their crib. Same goes for nighttime routine.

We started our journey Friday morning about 5:00 a.m. We got up, got dressed, and got on our way to the airport to catch a 7:30 flight to Alabama.

Andrew was a true champ. I texted him the night before requesting that he wear a polo and get a haircut since people would be assuming that we were married. Much to my dismay, he sported his shaggy hair, did not shave, and wore bright pink tennis shoes and some trashy t-shirt. We totally looked like we went together.  I'm not shallow of course, so I didn't care :)

The trip there was totally uneventful. Andrew had Landon on the plane and I had Eli. You might remember my friend Sherri from the last post...she sat with me on the plane and I really enjoyed our visit. Dad picked us up, we hit the Chick-fil-a drive through and we were on our way to my grandparents house.

I love how in this picture Landon is driving his car all over Andrew, who is listening to his Iphone with his eyes closed.

The next few days were full of visiting, eating, playing, riding the lawn mower, swimming, watching movies, shopping, and enjoying being together.

Despite my instruction that, "there are no fits on vacation," we continued to observe displays such as this:

Much to my dismay, dad got the boys their first guns. It took them about 15 seconds to figure out how to shoot people dead. I think dad died at least 239 times over the few days we were there.

We continue to lead singing where'er we go:

Grandma and I planned our matching outfits :)

We worshipped with the church in Sardis Springs on Sunday morning. These people prayed continually for Eli and Landon throughout my pregnancy and their hospital stay. Their love and generosity during that time was inspiring. It was so nice to finally meet this sweet group of people.

We had a big family dinner Sunday afternoon. Eli, Landon, and I had to excuse ourselves early as they were catapulting mashed potatoes around the living room. I was not amused.

Out to dinner Sunday night before we caught our plane. At this very moment, a big storm rolled through and soaked our luggage and stroller, which were in the back of dad's pickup.

Thus, Eli and Landon had to push the stroller instead of sitting in it. Trust me...they were not disappointed.

Thankfully, dad and Katelyn got passes to go back to the gate with us. I needed all the help I could get at this point.

This is Andrew and Landon right after we landed in Dallas. It was about 1:00 a.m. Landon had been screaming for a good 20 minutes and then fallen asleep about 30 seconds before we landed. Andrew was SO done with me and my children by this point in time.

We stuck around Dallas on Monday to see Kristin and Madison (and to recover a little bit) before we made the drive home on Tuesday.

So that was basically our trip. A big thank you to dad, grandma, grandpa, Katelyn, and mom for helping me every step of the way.

And a huge thank you to Andrew. He's SO patient with my children. He's not easily embarrassed. And he's up for anything. We just wouldn't have made it without him.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Nose-diving in a Burning Plane

The boys and I went on a little trip this past weekend. With the help of my brother, Andrew, we flew from Dallas to Birmingham, Alabama to see my dad, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. More on this trip soon.

After a full weekend, we loaded up Sunday afternoon and headed back to Birmingham to catch our 7:55 flight. The plane was delayed so we didn't end up leaving Alabama until about 8:40. I was a little concerned about Eli and Landon and how they would do, but after taking off, everyone was calm and quiet and I was so thankful.

Here are a few relevant details to keep in mind for this story:
* When flying, we have to split up because there is only one extra oxygen mask per row, so only one lap child is allowed per row. Landon and I were sitting right in front of Andrew and Eli.
* There were no less than 6 or 7 babies/small children on our flight that night
*  On our flight the previous Friday, I sat by the most amazing woman, Sheri (who I will refer to as my guardian angel). She was a tremendous help to us and throughout the course of the flight. We figured out that we also were on the same return flight, so she found us at the airport and sat with me again. I seriously love this lady.

Back to the story...We're on the plane and everything is great. Sheri is on my right and a really nice guy, Fritz is on my left. We have all become friends and talked the entire flight. Fritz was SO nice and patient with the boys. He entertained them, he let them crawl all over him, and he even let them kiss him several times. Seriously.Nice.Guy.

About 30 minutes into our flight, I feel the plane go slightly up and then it felt like we were going straight down. "Nose-diving" might be a little extreme, but please believe me when I tell you that we were descending very quickly. Sheri immediately looked over at me with huge eyes and said, "Something is wrong. We're going down really fast."

It was at this point in time that I quickly let Sheri and Fritz know that I do NOT handle crisis situations well. They both started reassuring me, but I could tell they were just as scared as I.

Soon after, the captain of the plane came over the speaker in a forced calmness, but a very panicked tone and said, "Flight attendants: secure the cabin. Fasten your seatbelts, stow your tray tables, and return your seats to the upright position. There is no time to talk."

Really? Was it necessary to say "There is no time to talk"? If I wasn't panicked before...I sure was now.  I held Landon as close as possible and he looked up with me with big, pleading eyes, as if he knew we were in danger. I wished so badly that I could have Eli with me as well, but I knew he was safest back with Andrew.

I prayed. I prayed as hard as I could. I didn't care what happened to me, but I was terrified that my babies would be hurt. It was the first time I have ever been scared for their lives and I now know that there is no fear like the fear of losing your children. I would die 100 painful deaths to keep them from hurting.

It felt like an eternity. The cabin of the plane was completely silent. I suspect that everyone was praying. The captain came on a couple of times trying to reassure us that everything was okay, but that we would be making an emergency landing in Mississippi as a precaution. It didn't feel okay. We were dropping so fast, I thought my head would explode.

We made a rushed and bumpy landing in Jackson, Mississippi. After landing the plane, the Captain came on again and explained that the cockpit had been filling with smoke and there was also a visual indication (of fire I assume). There were several fire trucks waiting for us on the runway. They quickly checked to make sure the plane was safe for us to evacuate and then they dumped us right out on the runway.

I had Landon, Sheri had Eli, Fritz had all our bags, and Andrew was helping someone in a wheelchair I think because he was far behind us. We got our stroller and headed into the deserted airport in Jackson, Mississippi. I have never been so glad to be on the ground. I couldn't stop kissing my babies.

We spent about an hour in the airport and then we boarded a brand new plane. The pilot of the plane came out to personally apologize and reassure us that everything was okay now. He offered to talk to anyone who was uncomfortable getting on another plane and said he understood that we were all shaken up.

Unfortunately for all of us, the fuel crew had already gone home for the night, so they had to be called back to work to fuel up our new plane. We waited a good 45 minutes on the plane, just sitting on the runway. Eli and Landon were less than thrilled. I was physically and emotionally exhausted. I have never wanted to be home so badly.

My favorite part of the night was when Fritz called his mom to explain everything (sitting right next to me on the plane). She asked him if he totally freaked out and he responded, "Actually no! There was this hysterical lady on my row and I had to keep it together so I could help her." I thought to myself... he has no idea what hysterical is if he thought that was it!

When we finally took off, whichever baby was sitting with Andrew just screamed and screamed, so we finally just broke the rules and got them both up with me. Trust me when I say that they were not the only ones screaming. It was quite late (11:30 ish) and all of the children were beyond tired. The sweet flight attendants just looked the other way. I think they realized that we had all been through enough that night. Poor Sheri and Fritz had to deal with two babies crawling all over all three of us. They were such troopers.

And speaking of them, I would not have made it through Sunday night without them. Sometimes it amazes me just how good people are. I hope they are very blessed for the way that they helped me.

So maybe "Nose-diving in a Burning Plane" isn't quite accurate. It was more like "Quickly Descending in a Smoking Plane", but either was nothing I want to relive again. I also do not EVER want to travel by plane without Dustin. It is just too hard.

And to be honest, I'm not in a hurry to get on a plane again, even with Dustin.

We finally got to mom's house about 2:00 in the morning. It had to have been the longest day I've ever had.

You know I couldn't let Sheri and Fritz leave without a photo. Here we all are in the Mississippi airport

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