Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A letter from Daddy to Grace & Jake

Written by Daddy to Grace & Jake for the 4th Birthday

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

4yrs Old

First, this is really my first authentic non sarcastic blog posting of more than 2 lines so forgive the choppiness and lack of flow. I have never written much, except in my journal to myself.

There are milestones we pass on the road of life that are very hard to describe. Adulthood is riddled with all kinds of surprises. Surprises that usually spring up right after declaring in my inner monologue that I am totally normal, things are going great and I have successfully maneuvered the obstacle course of life and now comfortably sit in the Captains Chair on cruise control. On May 1, 2006 I hit the brakes. The cruise control disengaged. The road ahead was in view. For the time being. But all of the pre-conceived notions I had about what the road was going to be like for me and Jenn were suddenly masked by a Tule-Fog.

The birth of my twins, Grace and Jacob, completely changed everything I thought I knew about......well, everything! I used to think I was tired. I used to think I was quite sane. I used to think everyone else just needed to rise to my level of understanding and discernment. I used to think Jenn was the noisiest human ever. I used to think I could handle having kids in stride, no alteration to my life necessary. Cause hey, it's me, James. The Wildenator. Mr. Easy Going. Mr. Gets along with everyone. Mr. Party-time. I used to think so many things that were/are not so. I used to think that basically, I was perfect. Nothing could have been further from the truth.

I remember that day. The birth day. The scheduled c-section. We were going to the Hospital. What could be so hard? We were gonna have 2 kids and we were gonna come home. No big deal. Notice, nothing is hard when I don't have to do it. Cause remember, I'm "James". I thought to myself, finally, we are going to have these kids. I would be able to see and touch them and bond with them as Jenn had for nearly 9months and everything would be fine. I would be able to sympathize and empathize with my wife on all levels. No worries. That would solve that gap. When they are hungry I will feed them. When they poop I will change them. Easy money. I felt good. I was very excited to finally meet them. I thought to myself, wow, this is a really grown up thing that is about to happen to us. Super. I was fine. I thought.

As people started trickling in to the hospital room, I suddenly shrank. I was getting very nervous. Very unsure. I didn't want anyone asking me how I felt because all of a sudden, I wasn't sure. I felt a bit nauseous. I felt like maybe I was about to give birth. Why was I so nervous? Jenn was the one getting split open. I had no problem with that. It wasn't me it was going to happen to. She was laughing, smiling for the camera and having a great time. Suddenly, my eyes felt like they were opening to the reality of what was about to happen.

We go in to the O.R. Now I actually feel ok for some reason. Maybe because I can deflect my emotions by calming Jenn as she gets gutted by the Doctor. I video tape the births with Liz, Jenns mom. 2:30pm, out comes Grace Elizabeth. My baby girl. My piglet. She is perfectly pink. Very fitting since that is her favorite color. Just ask her. She has a raspy, coarse voice and is crying and flailing. Hungry and cold no doubt. Probably stunned by the lights and the sensation of human hands holding her. Then, 1-minute later at 2:31pm out comes Jacob Alexander. My baby boy. My bubba. He is noticeably smaller. Not quite as pink but definitely as loud. He has these huge ruby red lips that look like a cartoonish exaggeration of Mick Jaggers. He is also crying, but his cry has a higher pitch and not so rasppy as his older sister.

Fast forward 4yrs.

Grace and Jacobs 4th birthday is here. The last 4yrs have been a whirlwind for me. In every sense of the word. Halfway through the 4yrs that we just fast-forwarded through, we welcomed our darling Caroline Marie, who is 24months younger than the twins. The joy these children have brought to our lives is immeasurable. So have the trials and learning experiences. I have seen myself transformed by the washing away of so much of my arrogant pride (unfortunately, not all of it yet; but hey, they're only 4 so there is plenty of time).

Fatherhood has exposed so many things I had sworn I had under control. My temper, my ability to be laid back, roll with the punches, hey no big deal. Basically, all of the necessary qualities of being a good parent. The character flaws that parenting exposes are humbling. They not only expose the flaws as a parent, but as a spouse. They expose qualities, positive and negative, related to everything about me. Me the husband. Me the son. Me the nephew. Me the friend. Me the employee. Me the voter. And then, ME! Me the Me! I eat the words and advice I gave to others before I knew better. I eat them with salt, pepper and some Habanero sauce, washed down with a blow torch. I do have a temper. I am not laid back. Little things are HUGE deals. WTF? I thought I had it figured out.

May 1, 2006 was the twins birthday. It was my re-birth day. I am now 4yrs old. They are 4yrs old. So far, they have aged, matured, learned and become better 4yr olds than I. It's hard to teach an old dog new tricks. They are the best teachers ever! The laughter, the yelling, the crying, the shots to the nuts 24/7, being puked on, pissed on, crapped on, smacked in the face as I sleep, kicked, punched, pulled and defied at every step of the way. And thats just the wife :~) (couldn't resist some sarcasm). The one liners, the tantrums, the stubbornness, the mess. Holy Mackerel, the messes. The laundry, the dishes the peeing in the beds. The pooping in the baths. The sippy cups. The diapers. The diapers. I forgot to mention the diapers I think. The loss of sleep. The stress of finances. The toll on my relationship with my Jenn. The fighting, the biting, the breaking, the ripping, the tearing, the tattling, the constant requests the second you sit down. A lot of these things playing out multiple times per day. Caroline, almost 2yrs old being cast into the mix and voila. You have a man brought to his knees. (my wife takes the brunt of most of this btw, just to be clear. not sure how she does it with such grace)

Sometimes, in stark contrast to how I felt in the opening paragraph, I feel like I am the only INSANE person on earth. Unable to deal with the demands of fatherhood. Unable to reserve an ounce of compassion for my wife. Unable to roll with the fast pace and changing routines. Unable to be a great employee. Instead, being brought to my knees is a positive I have decided. I have risen this morning and knelt before God. I thank you God for giving me this wonderful family. I thank you for entrusting me with their care, nurturing and health. I thank you for teaching me through these children. For allowing me to experience all of these blessings and the hardships that come with them.

I think about what my life was like before. What I was like before and I am wondering, what on earth would I be doing right now without all of these gifts? I would have continued on a selfish and arrogant path. Learning few, if any of these hard lessons. Taking for granted and criticizing others experiences with no real knowledge or experience of my own. No idea of what real and true love is and can be. There are a lot of things listed above that could be construed as negative. They are not necessarily. They are life. They are my life. They are what makes this experience so unique and so rewarding. The opportunity to grow, to live for something larger than myself and to care for, guide and simultaneously come under their submission.

Some days, I am up and some days I am down. I make a lot of mistakes as a father and a husband. A lot! But my wife and kids love me anyway. Despite the fact. That is pure love. That Agape love that God has for us even while watching us fumble through life. That love that I am learning to have that I never thought possible.

There are only 4 things I know are not mistakes. My marriage to my wife. And my 3 kids. 2 of whom, I will share a 4th birthday with. Grace and Jacob. You are the lights of my life. I am honored to be your father. Thank you for everything you have taught me and continue to teach me through your lives.

Happy 4th Birthday to you, Grace and Jacob. And to me, for that matter.

I love you,


I posted the link to his blog posting earlier, but wanted to copy the written words so that when I turn this all into a memory book, the words will be there ;)

I am honored to be his wife

My husband wrote this in regards to the twins birthday coming up on May 1st.  He is an amazing writer!

Hands down, I am the luckiest woman to be married to him.  Eat your heart out ladies...he's mine ;)

James's post.


Monday, April 19, 2010

A milestone for Caroline!

Just a quick note:

Caroline went pee pee twice in the potty on Friday!  Whoo-hoo!!  Then on Saturday, I was getting her ready for bed and changing her diaper and she told me she had to go pee pee!  She was actually listening to her body and knew she had to go potty!  She is such a smart cookie!

James & I are breathing a big sigh of relief just for the mere fact that we *might* be able to get another out of diapers soon!  Seriously, the cost of having 3 kids in diapers is just amazing! 

Grace is now completely out of diapers except for night time.  Jake is just starting to get the idea and hopefully in a few months he will have the hang of it.  As of right now, I think Caroline might beat him!!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Mama and Bubba Day!

Today was an awesome day!  I got to spend the whole day with Jake, just me and him. 

I'd been planning it for a few days now and I wanted to take him to see 'How to Train Your Dragon'.  I was trying to find reviews to make sure it wasn't too scary for him.  Couldn't really find anything on it, so if you are looking to take your 3 or 4 yr old, I think they will be just fine!  In fact, seriously, parts of Snow White are scarier than this movie!!

So we left a little early to get lunch before heading in to the theatre.  His request was corndog-on-a-stick.  And of course who am I to deny him ;)  He looks pretty happy about it to me!

We found our auditorium inside the theatre and walked in and we were the only ones there!  So we went all the way to the top, right in the middle to get the best view!  More people began to trickle in, but for the most part, it was pretty empty.  Then, lady came in late and sat right in front of my son!!  Seriously!!  He can barely see over the seat in front of him and you come and sit down in a 98% open theatre and sit in front of him???  People never cease to amaze me. 

I thoroughly enjoyed my day with my son! And he, thoroughly enjoyed his life size popcorn that he almost finished by himself!! 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Great friends

On Saturday we had some friends over, great friends!

There was much laughter, much food and, most important, homemade Sangria!!

One couple brought their daughter and our other friend brought her daughter.  It was a mad house!  A noisy, mad house and I loved every second of it!  I loved hearing our kids play with the other girls and having such a good time.  Just like the adults ;)

The company was fantastic and we all had such a great time!  It was one of those moments in life where you stop and take it all in.  Just how very fortunate I am to have such great things in my life.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Spreading the word!

MckMama is giving away an iPad...but that's not all!  She is a smart cookie!  She knew we would all be interested in an iPad, but she very cleverly tied it to Compassion's Child Sponsorship Program.  For every $5.00 you donate to this cause, you will earn one entry into her giveaway. 

This is an awesome thing she is doing!  So far, she has raised over $20,000.00 in one day!!  Go MckMama!!!

Please click on her link and help these babies!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Remembering Maddie

This post is very hard to write.  It has been one year since sweet Madeline Alice Spohr passed away.

This child changed my parenting in so many ways.  In the past, I would be quick to shoo away someone so that I could finish the dishes or so that I could finish folding the laundry.  Not anymore.

She makes me stop and think.  I think how her mother would do anything to have her at her feet wanting her to help color or read her a book.  Then and there, I stop what I am doing and give that attention to my child.

However, I am not perfect and still at times get frustrated with my lack of patience.  I am only human and do my best to keep things in perspective.

Today was the day many of us, who knew Maddie through her Mother's blog, had dreaded.  We knew how hard the day was going to be for Heather and Mike.  And yet, there is nothing we can do to relieve that pain.

Maddie, you are missed by thousands and thousands of people!  Your sweet smile.  Your beautiful blue eyes.  How I wish things would have turned out different for you and your mama.

We love you and you will never be forgotten.

God bless you Maddie.

Great Expectations for Jake pt. 2

Yesterday went fantastic with Jake's IEP meeting! We could not be more pleased. And for a number of reasons.

He has made huge strides from where he was a year ago! Just huge! He is ahead of his class in academics! Go Jakey! His vocabulary has improved vastly! He uses 6 to 7 word utterances in sentences. This is huge considering he didn't speak a word until he was over 2 years old!

The only area that we are all concerned about is his high activity level. Him being able to sit still is really hard for him. BUT, it has improved and the teachers feel that with this, his last year, they will be able to get him where he needs to be and that he will be able to go to Kindergarten on time with his sister! Whoo-hoo!! Such a huge relief, I can't even tell you!

Aside from all the good news we heard, the one thing that James and I felt most comforted by was how the teachers spoke of him. The love they have for him is undeniable. They can't help but smile when we share funny stories of him. He is sooo charismatic and has a smile that could warm the coldest heart.

What's not to love??

I love you baby boy and I am soo proud of you!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Great Expectations for Jake

Tomorrow is an important day in our household.

I have a meeting at Jake's school with his Speech Therapist, Occupational Therapist, and his teacher. This is the annual IEP meeting where they will tell me the strides he has made and where he still needs improvement.

Fingers crossed, they will tell me that they think he will be ready for Kindergarten next year. That has always been a possibility, that they will hold him back a year b/c socially he isn't ready. I'm honestly unsure myself if he is ready. I'm hoping another year, this his last year of intensive therapy, that he will be ready.

I probably wouldn't be THIS worried about it if he wasn't a twin. But what I fear is that they will hold him back and Grace will go on to Kindergarten on time. Then, forever, the stigma will be placed upon him. Questions like "you have a twin sister, but your in a different grade? why??" I sooo don't want that for him. Kids can be very cruel and I just don't want to start him out on a negative footing.

Intellectually, he is off the charts! He can spell and write his own name and he isn't even 4 yet! That is awesome! He knows soo much, but socially is where he struggles. It is REALLY, and I mean REALLY, hard to get him to sit still and not jump around.

We have friends that have a cabin in Tahoe who invited us to come up with them and spend the weekend. We did, and honestly, we decided that trips as a family should be just kept to that for now. Jake has outbursts and they aren't things we can control. And when a kid wakes up at 5:30am every morning and can't sit still and is REAL loud, it gets real old and we felt really bad for our friends. I know they said, 'don't worry about it". But that is so hard to do when it is your kid. When we are home, it is a different story. We are use to his outbursts and such and can tolerate them better than an outsider.

So, hopefully this last year, he will learn how to sit still and listen a little better.

Wish us luck tomorrow!