Arie's fourth gotcha day and twins' 7 month update!

What a celebratory day it is in our house! Today marks not only the twins' seventh month, but four years since John and I scooped up our little Arie and drove away from his orphanage forever.

If I were to write a report card comment about Arie I would give him that coveted line, "Arie is a joy to have in class!" Arie is a joy to have in our family. I often tell him I feel like the luckiest mom in the world to call him my son.

Arie is in Kindergarten now and is proving to be a smart little man! It is November and last week at his parent-teacher conferences his teacher told us that he has already met all the academic goals for kindergarten! Wow! I think this is mostly due to his attending a developmental kindergarten program last year. We are happy to have him in a Montessori classroom so his teacher will keep providing him opportunities to work ahead of grade level where he is able. Socially he is still a kindergartener and suffers from "chatterbox syndrome" so this allows him to be challenged academically while giving him room to grow socially in an age appropriate setting. I know its not genetic but John and I joke that he takes after his dad in the talking department!

Arie's primary interest right now is arts and crafts. He is into making "books" where he staples a bunch of pages together and colors on each one. He also loves to draw rainbows, which, incidentally, was what he chose to be for Halloween! He also likes to build things with legos, duplos and blocks and he seems to enjoy math too. He is constantly grilling me and John with addition and subtraction questions.

My favorite thing about Arie right now is watching him be a big brother. He is so sensitive to the babies' needs. I remember the first time he heard one of them cry in the hospital he became quickly concerned and in a panicked tone turned to John rushedly begging, "DAD! You have to help him!"

He has now adjusted to the frequency of babies' cries (as we've explained that is how babies communicate!), but he is just as eager to soothe them. He will dance and make faces to see them giggle and sing songs to soothe them. On our recent road trip to New York City, both twins were crying in protest of their carseats and I was singing upbeat tunes to try distract them from their distress. When my efforts failed, Arie chimed in from behind me, "Let's try 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.'" Whether it was the calmer melody or the fact that Arie had joined in on the chorus, the babies finally relaxed and the crying ceased. Arie is so proud when he is able to help with his brothers!

He has also been extremely patient as the twins' needs often come before his own. I'm so thankful for that and often tell him so. He also has proved somewhat cunning as he has used these opportunities of parental inadequacies to his advantage on more than one occasion. A few months ago he had become enamored with the idea of chewing gum, something I rarely give him. During one of the twins' naps he got a little loud and when I reminded him to use a quiet voice he paused, got a *lightbulb* look on his face and slowly replied, "You know, if you give me gum my mouth will be busy and I won't be able to talk and wake the babies up."

Well played, son. Here's your gum.

We had so much fun exploring New York City with Arie last week. We traveled there for his aunt's wedding where he was the ring bearer. He looked quite handsome in his outfit and handled himself wonderfully! Exploring the city was so fun with him as he was amazed by the skyscrapers and, Arie's personal favorite, roundabout doors or "spinning doors." He was amazed by the masses of people, especially at night, wondering where they could possibly all be going. I love that he still so easily expresses his sense of awe and wonderment!


Our babies are seven months old! Something about seven months feels liberating to me, I think because we have crested over the mountain of the challenging first year with twins and we are making our way down the hill. Some things remain challenging but others have gotten so much easier.

Most notably for me is that the twins can express different emotions. No longer are all their cries essentially the same leaving me guessing as to what the problem is, rather they have distinctly different expressions for sadness, fear, anger, and frustration. As a mom I have felt this makes parenting easier. It is also so much more fun to see them express emotions like surprise, wonderment, excitement, and happiness! Through these expressions I am seeing more of their specific personalities comes out.

Ira is my little watcher. He is intent on taking in the world around him. When I put him and Roman beside each other, Roman gets to work playing or eating or whatnot and Ira will sit memorized by his brother's activity. He also watches me closely for cues as to how to respond emotionally in a situation. He is just like Arie in this way, very emotionally intelligent. If I laugh, Ira laughs. If I'm frustrated, Ira gets a look of concern on his face. If I do anything sudden like sneeze or cough, Ira is stunned by it.

Ira is also the more social baby. He doesn't have separation anxiety yet and loves to be held by others! He is very quick to laugh or to reach out and touch the person's face. When I take the twins to church in the stroller and people stick their heads over his seat to say hello, Ira grins and balls his fists in happiness!

Roman, on the other hand, usually cries in this same scenario. My boys are so different. Roman is also a very happy baby, but he is the shyer of the two. If I am holding him in a crowds, he leans into me and will burry his face in my neck for comfort. I don't hand him off to people who are strangers to him because I know he will cry. He has a tender heart my little Roman!

Although shy, Roman is more of a "doer" than a "watcher." He is quick to reach for toys and wants to explore the world around him. I think once he can crawl he is always going to be on the move! He is quick to express himself when he does something like drop a toy or if I am taking to long to offer his next bite of food at mealtimes (and I am always taking too long for his liking!).

Roman is starting to move by rolling around, although he can easily go from his back to his belly but for some reason struggles to move the other way around! He is not very good at sitting yet. Ira can roll but he is so content he does not seem motivated to do so very often. He is a stronger sitter and can last a couple minutes in the "tripod" position. I bet this next month will see them both sitting unassisted. Maybe they will attempt to crawl, but I am kind of hoping they wait until after Christmas for that so I don't have to keep them away from our tree!

I don't have official weights on them but Roman is sitting somewhere around 20/21lbs and Ira 17/18lbs. They are both little chubsters! They love to eat and are enjoying exploring new foods!

Sleep-wise the twins maintain their differentness. Ira has been sleeping great this month, waking up once or-rarely- twice in a 11 hour night. In the same time frame Roman will wake up about 6 times. This sleeplessness is definitely the hardest part of parenting for me and I am looking forward to sleeping through the night someday! I'm thankful to have a supportive husband who gives me the opportunity to sleep in the mornings and nap when possible. The twins are finally napping on a pretty consistent schedule although their nap lengths vary greatly from 45 minutes-3 hours. They usually take 3 naps/day. I am looking forward to loosing the third nap in the not too distant future!

No teeth yet from either boy although Roman has had many symptoms pointing that way. Any day now??

Our highlights from the twins' sixth month were Halloween and our trip to New York City for John's sister's wedding.

Pumpkin Carving with Grampi
Arie and I started talking about his Halloween costume in September. We've always had Arie wear a store-bought costume but this year since Arie is so into arts and crafts I thought it would be a good challenge for him to make his own (with my help). Unfortunately I did not take into account another phase which Arie is going through which is a mix of indecision and FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). For weeks every costume idea had him agonizing over whether it was the right choice and switching his mind. Finally the Saturday before Halloween John and I loaded up all three boys to drive to a craft store so Arie could choose things to make his costume. We had landed on him being a lion and we were going to buy yarn to craft a mane.

On the drive to the craft store Arie changed his mind a dozen times and by the time we parked he had thrown his body halfway out of his carseat groaning, "I JUST DON'T KNOOOOOOW!!!"

In hindsight this makes me laugh but at the time I was all, "ARIE. DECIDE!!!!"

So after circling the store a half dozen times without a decision, I made up my mind for Arie.

"Okay let's go get the yarn for the lion costume. End of story."

In the yarn aisle Arie resignedly looked for "lion colors" when he came upon a spool (is that what yarns come in?) of rainbow yarn. His eyes got big and he gasped while exclaiming, "MOM! I CAN BE A RAINBOW FOR HALLOWEEN!"

Finally! A decision! And one he was excited about! So John took the babies on a little walk around the parking lot while Arie and I dreamed up how to best make a rainbow costume. We gathered our supplies and $30 later (Ouch! Defiantly did not save any money making it ourselves!) we were at home working on the costume. Here's the end result:

I'm so proud of him for showing off his creativity with this costume!

Ira and Roman were a giraffe and a lion, wearing costumes I had picked up second hand back in August. Someone commented that we could have done a Noah's Ark theme. Too bad I wasn't more on the ball to put that idea together! John would have made a great Noah.

Last week we took a road trip to New York City where John's sister Amanda celebrated her marriage to our new brother-in-law Eddie. We had a fantastic time! The drive to New York City is about 13-14 hours from where we live. We split the trip into two days, staying overnight at my parents' near Toronto which is about halfway. While I would not recommend going on a two day road trip with six-month-old twins, it truly went so well. All three kids were awesome in the car and John and I managed to mostly stay positive with them and each other.

We had a day of free time which we used to explore Central Park. What a lovely park in an awe inspiring city! I hope we can go back someday when I'm more well rested. Like I mentioned last time, I'm so exhausted these days I can barely remember what happened yesterday. But we took some pictures and by looking at them it seems like I was having a great time. ;-)

I am thrilled to be entering the holiday season. I feel all kinds of giddy and sentimental emotions as we approach our first Christmas as a family of five. Last year I decorated our tree feeing nauseated and joyful because of my pregnancy and this year we will have two little babies watching us prepare to celebrate our Saviour's birth. This advent is going to feel holy to me in many ways.

Until next time,


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