Merry Christmas! Once again, it’s been an eventful year for our household…especially since it started off with two of the very best gifts ever.
Geitra, Neil, and Amelia were thrilled to welcome our twin boys Gabriel and Adrian to the family on January 22nd this year. They arrived about a month early, and although they were small, they were blessed with good health and quickly gained strength. As a result, we were able to welcome them home just a few days after they were born. Our lives just haven’t been the same since–for one thing, we are B-U-S-Y! It took us a bit longer to find our new rhythm with the boys than it did when Amelia was born, but they both hung in there with us and waited patiently (usually) while we figured things out. Luckily, we had a lot of help from our parents, our friends, and our church family during the first few months. Bottle feeding was especially difficult, since their feeding reflexes were immature, but eventually we got them to start packing on the weight once their pediatrician suggested a special formula designed for preemies. By the time they were six months old, the boys would hoover down about 80 ounces of formula a day, which works out to a big Costco-size can of powder every six days — and does not bode well for how much these two are going to eat once they hit middle school. They’ve been making the transition to solid foods for the past few months and have been doing quite well — in fact, both of them have turned into little Cheerio junkies!
Regardless of the future in which they eat us out of house and home, life with these two little men is joyful. Gabriel just started to fully crawl today, as a matter of fact, and Adrian is still “combat-crawling” on his belly like he’s pulling himself through the mud on an obstacle course. Gabe has learned from Maggie, and often carries something in his mouth while on the move. Adrian has a regular circuit through the kitchen, and always checks to see if Mom remembered to pick up the dog dishes. They can also sit up by themselves, and they’re starting to pull themselves up on various bits of furniture. In short, they’re pretty mobile…and they take full advantage of it whenever they get the chance. Gabriel seems to be a bit more of a thoughtful explorer, sometimes finding an interesting toy and just sitting to play with it for a while. Adrian, meanwhile, loves crawling over, under, around, and through anything he can — highchairs, exersaucers, his brother…it doesn’t matter to him! They love it when you join them on the floor, rewarding you with two of the cutest smiles in the world — all the cuter for the veritable explosion of baby teeth both of them have coming in right now. And following an example we set with Amelia, they are in a early music, movement, and socialization class called Kindermusik. We manage to squeeze that in when Amelia is at preschool.
Speaking of the Big Sister of the house, Amelia is doing very well. She’s three-and-a-half now, and continues growing into a wonderful little girl who loves abundantly, spreading joy to anyone she meets with her beautiful smile and enthusiastic hugs. We introduced Amelia to a small daycare for several days a week during spring and summer — that way, she got a good amount of attention during the day while Mommy was home focusing on the boys. She adjusted well and started drawing shapes and tracing letters, and she really enjoyed bringing home the various crafts and pictures she made each week. She carried that forward into her first full year of preschool at our church — for which she also successfully completed the HUGE milestone of potty training! Her favorite pastimes include everything from Little People to Tinkerbell and her fairy friends, and from watching movies about Space Shuttle astronauts with her Daddy to cooking dinner or baking cookies with Mommy. She absolutely adores her little brothers–she loves to play and cuddle with them, and shares some of her favorite toys and buddies with both of them quite freely. Amelia is also a tremendous help around the house — fetching socks, refilling diapers, picking up toys, and doting on her brothers. She’s learned how to feed the boys by helping them with their bottles and giving them finger food (which she samples liberally herself). Amelia is also thrilled to be singing in the Little Angels choir at church, and she’ll have her public performance debut when she sings in the Christmas pageant this year!
As for Geitra and Neil, life doesn’t completely revolve around Amelia and the boys. Geitra is still involved in various activities at our church, including singing in the choir and participating on the curriculum committee for the children’s Sunday school program. She also enjoys participating in a Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) group at another local church. Neil is still working hard with Booz Allen Hamilton, where he manages a 20-person team doing systems engineering work in support of national defense systems. He also got a bunch of various “fix it” projects done around the house this past year, and still managed to read a decent number of books despite the number of pages he could read per day plummeting after the boys’ arrival on the scene.
Finally, we’d be remiss if we didn’t note the passing of Geitra’s Grandmother Bittinger this past year. As we join her family in mourning the loss, we are reminded time and again of the importance of family by all the help and support we’ve received from ours in the past year and a half as we prepared for the twins’ arrival (and the barely-controlled chaos once they were here), potty-training Amelia, and all kinds of other things. We are abundantly blessed by our family and friends, and we wish each and every one of you a joyous Christmas season and a happy and healthy New Year.
All our love,
Geitra, Neil, Amelia, Gabriel, and Adrian
P.S. Adrian stood up for the first time on December 22nd, and Gabriel learned how to do it from him the next day…watch out world, here they come!