Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Living For Today

Time. It's such a funny dynamic, especially when it involves our kids. 

One minute we are wearing dark circles (thank you concealer) and are utterly exhausted from waking up several times nightly to feed them, wishing beyond hope for four hours of consecutive sleep.....The next moment we are holding back tears as they suddenly become "independent" and want to tuck their own-selves into bed....

One minute our backs are hurting from holding them all day and we secretly wish for the day when they will walk, even if its just for a second...the next day they running in circles and walking on our hearts... 

One minute they are barely stringing words together and we wish for the day when they can talk and we can understand what exactly it is that they are whining about...the next minute they are talking up a storm and we feel the "baby-ness"slowly drifting away...

Something tells me that one day my heart will feel a deep longing for "today." 

It will long for the days when I felt so fulfilled knowing that I was needed when a child cried out for mommy in the middle of the night. 

It will long for the days when our children were safe in the four walls of our home, away from the distractions and temptations of the world. 

It will long for the days when our children's biggest worry was whether or not we had any more fruit snacks. 

A few things I know for sure...

"Tomorrow" it probably won't seem as important to have the house immaculately clean in case an unexpected guest arrives. I will long for crushed up goldfish crackers and puzzle pieces on the floor. 

"Tomorrow" it probably won't seem as important to finally have all the socks matched and all the clothes folded and tucked away. I will reminisce about the children pretending to iron a basketful of clothes on their fake iron.

Tomorrow it won't matter whether or not I have seen the latest Facebook status of a friend I haven't talked to since high school. I will be looking through old pictures and videos of our sweeties.

Lord please help me soak these precious moments in with my children. Help me to remember to not take them for granted. 

Tomorrow she'll be teenager and too embarrassed to hold mommy's hand. Today I'm enjoying the moments when she holds my hand and says "let me show you mom" when she goes potty. 

Tomorrow he will replace his toys with a video game or a tv show. Today I'm enjoying the moments when we play with dinosaurs and he points out "ceritops" (triceratops) 

Tomorrow she will have her keys in her hand and will be headed out with friends. Today I'm enjoying the moments when Brooklyn just wants mommy to hold her, which is roughly 65% of the day. 

Tomorrow he will tower over me and I will look up at him instead of down at him. Today I'm enjoying the moments when I cradle him in my arms and tell him I'd like a "rib sandwich," while I tickle his sides until  he starts to hiccup :)

Tomorrow she will be going to the movies with a boyfriend. Today I'm enjoying the moments when we pop old fashioned popcorn and I introduced her to treasured Disney movies. 

Tomorrow he will be away at college in his dorm room. Today I'm enjoying the moments when he asks for "mommy" to tuck him in. 

Take a deep breath mommies.

Hold your children. 

Put your phone down. 

Look into their eyes when they talk to you. 

You're not going to get everything right 100% off the time. No one is perfect.  But I'm willing to bet that if you rely on The Lord and you look to his Word for guidance, you just might get it right a lot of the time. And pray, pray, pray.  :) 

Leave the mess there and play with baby dolls and build forts. Later the mess will be right there waiting. This precious time with your children won't be. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Approaching age 2

I can't believe my two little ones will be TWO in a little over two months. What?! Where is all the time going?! That means we are almost halfway to preschool (if they go at age 4)....and that a year from now we will be half way to kindergarten....geez. Someone give me a chill pill already. :)

Brooklyn and Billy have been under the weather the past week. Brooklyn's nose started running on last Sunday and I could tell sickness was coming...Usually when one of our twins gets sick, the other one gets sick a few days later, and they share back and forth for a week or so until they are better. :) Welcome to life with two toddlers that are inseparable. Haha :)

Luckily, they are finally feeling better and are snoozing away right now without the assistance of mommy. When they are both sick, one of our twins sleeps like normal but the other one (who shall remain unnamed) has a really hard time resting. And s/he clings to mommy like no other. I'll let you guess which one that is. ;)

But alas, all is well again in the Helton household!

Billy and Brooklyn are growing so much right now. I looked at a picture of them from a year ago today and was caught off guard at just how much our "babies" have become toddlers. It tinges at my heart strings. I took them to my sister's hair shop last Friday and they got big boy and big girl haircuts. They sat in the chair with aprons on and suckers in hand, and did incredibly well. I think they enjoy being "big" kids.

They have started enjoying going on little excursions during the day, so they will bring me shoes (that are often mismatched and in completely different colors and styles) and will say in an adorable voice, "Outside?" So if the weather doesn't permit playing outside, we load up in the car and take a trip around the block or we go on a trip to McDonald's (Shh, don't tell healthy mommies) to grab a small fry or chocolate cookies. Don't worry, I try to limit fast food to once a week. Silence the alarms.

Billy IV has learned to "jump" and is quite the acrobat. He is going to be a basketball start one day. Just wait! Brooklyn Rose has recently started saying "love you" when I say it to her.

I. adore. my. children.

Please give me a remote so I can freeze time every now and then. Just for a second I promise. I try to soak up every smile, every hug, every giggle....but sometimes I still don't feel like that is enough. I snuggle with them when we first get up, I sing to them a good morning tune, I throw balls with Billy, I wrap up babies in blankets with Brooklyn....but sometimes I still don't feel like that is enough.

I know this is a little much, but to keep things in perspective, most mornings I take a second to imagine Billy and Brooklyn being off at college one day, and it really helps me to live in the moment. I then proceed to give them one thousand sugars and tell them "I love you" a few hundred times. :) My time with my two little ones is so precious to me and so dear to my heart.

Just a thought provoking question for the mommies out there, but how many of you actually "play" with your children? I mean, like, taking a break from your household chores/putting down the phone or computer/"getting down on the floor and playing with them?" I try to follow the rule of thumb that in each hour, I devote 45 min of undivided attention to the twins for every 15 minutes I spend on a household task. This helps me to keep a sense of balance and to not feel guilty for taking time away from them to do things I need to get done. Is this always this case? No. But do I feel incredibly peaceful and at ease when it is? Yes.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Ordinary Expectations

The majority of us almost can't help but take things for granted. We are the lucky ones. The ones that have progressed thus far in life without any major hiccups, losses, and/or trials. We wake up each morning to a house with four walls, food in the pantry, healthy babies with sweet smiles and full bellies....There are so many moments and situations in our every day lives that we should praise God for, but so often, whether it be because of routine, exhaustion, a sense of entitlement, or whatnot, we count them as ordinary and lose sight of just how much God is working for good in our lives.

What are genuine blessings, we view as ordinary expectations.

Someone once told me those with the greatest faiths have faced the greatest trials.

I recently came across a blog entitled Avery's Bucket List which is about a precious child who was born with muscular spinal atrophy and whose parents have been told she will only live for approximately 18 more months. Here is a quote from her blog:

"Imagine you've been diagnosed with an incurable genetic disease and you are told you will not only lose your ability to walk and move your arms, but you will die between now and the next 18 months. What would you do?"

I spent an hour or so reading through her blog, with tear-filled eyes and an aching heart, looking at her sweet pictures, and reviewing her "bucket list" of things to do before she leaves this world.

Did you take time today to thank God for your ability to walk, to use your arms, to hold your children? Did you take time to pray about how thankful you are for the good health of your little ones? For their ability to zip through the grass, to reach out to you with open arms, to feed themselves their food, to give you precious smiles?

So many things in our lives we view as ordinary expectations.

April 27th 2011 was a devasting day for so many familes. The tornadoes that ripped through numerous states caused catastrophic destruction, particulary across the state of Alabama. A total of 208 tornadoes were confirmed that day. I was in Arab visiting my family when a few of the tornadoes touched down in areas in and around Arab. I have never been more fearful in my life. A tornado several years prior had destroyed a home a few down from ours, and flashes of that memory echoed in my mind as we put a mattress in the foyer and knelt together with our twins. Later that day, a family with a set of twins that share the same birthday as ours would lose five family members, including one of their precious twins. Through the grace of God, the other twin survived and went on to make a full recovery. This past Friday, on the anniversary of those tornadoes, I spent a few moments in tears thinking about that particular family, as our twins are the same age as theirs on this date last year (they are a year apart). So many people started that day like any other day, making coffee, grabbing a shower, heading to work...

So many things in our lives we view as ordinary expectations.

Take time to tell your spouse how much you love them today. Give your child an extra kiss and hug. Hold them a little longer before they go to bed. Write the thank-you note you have been meaning to write. Go enjoy ice cream with your family. Put down the computer and turn off the tv and focus on your precious blessings from our Lord.

May we never lose sight of just how much the Lord loves us and has blessed us. May we not take one single day for granted. May we love, cherish, and appreciate those around us in the way God intended us to do so.

Colossians 3:15-17 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.

1 Corinthians 16:14 Let all that you do be done in love.

Dear Lord,
Thank you so much for my wonderful husband and for my two precious children. Thank you for providing me with a husband that works hard every day to support our family, who sets the alarm clock to get us up on Sunday mornings, who loves me unselfishly and tells me I am beautiful when I haven't had a shower and am in pajamas with no make-up on. Thank you for providing us with two healthy babies that we cherish, love and adore with all our hearts. They are the two biggest blessings of our lives. Please give them long and fruitful lives in your service. Please protect our family and help us to focus on you each and every day. May we always give you the glory. Amen.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Billy IV has always been easy on mommy. I can remember during the pregnancy, Brooklyn would be moving and moving, and he would pitter patter here and there but for the most part just floated around quietly and comfortably. I guess I should say though, in Brooklyn's defense, that she was stuck by a membrane the entire pregnancy and couldn't turn over. Bless her.

I remember one time, after reading a few absolutely terrifying stories about twin pregnancies (stay away from the computer at all costs if you are expecting), I became worrisome because Billy wasn't moving around a lot. So I teared up slightly and put my hand on my tummy ever so softly and told him mommy was worried, so if he could give me a high five or a soccer kick I would be so appreciative. Within seconds I felt a soft nudge right underneath my hand. He captured that much more of my heart in that moment.

When he was born and had to spend some time in the NICU, he would look up at you with the darkest of dark brown eyes and they would absolutely melt your heart. He is our "tough cookie." Even with the wires and the tubes, he rarely fussed. He had moments where he couldn't even keep 1 cc of milk down, and at the time I didn't realize how rough that really was, until I later saw preemies that were much younger keeping much more than that down. And then there was the time when we had to carry him to Vandy a few months after he was born in order to ensure all the bells and whistles were working correctly in his heart. Tough stuff for an mommy, and especially a mommy as sensitive as I am.

Billy absolutely adores big sister. Neither one of them can get too far without checking on the other one. If she starts to fuss during a diaper change he will bring her sippy cup to her, or if he sees her pacifier lying around he will bring it over. I adore their closeness. I think of moments in our own lives when we feel lonely or insecure, and am so thankful to know that they have been together from the very beginning, nudging each other in the womb, and now smiling, giggling, and playing together each day. They are so lucky.

Billy has been a good sleeper from about the age of six months or so. He loves his crib and typically sleeps so well at night. He is also independent and plays very well by himself. He shares toys exceptionally well and is very easily entertained. He is such a sweet soul. He gets a big grin on his face anytime Billy III gives me a hug or a kiss. If you think your kids aren't affected or influenced by your marriage relationship, think again.

When the twins were much younger and Brooklyn was more needy, he often made it seem as though I had the equivalent of one kiddo when it came to the amount of work involved because he was so easy.

As of a few weeks ago, Billy became much more of a mama's boy. He will often come to me during the day and sit in my lap, and he smiles and gives me sugars if I kneel down for one. Melts. My. Heart.

I can already tell that Billy is going to be the type of individual that thinks before he speaks, makes sure everyone is included, and is soft and gentle with others hearts. He is very much so a typical boy though! He spends most hours of the day throwing, shooting, and chasing basketballs or trying to carefully wrestle with mommy. The twins are, for the most part, night and day when it comes to their favorite toys.

Billy holds such a big piece of my heart. When I think of my greatest and most sincere moments in my mere 26 years, I think of a tiny figure in dinosaur pajamas, red hair and sweet smiles, giggles that turn into hiccups, hearing the word "mama", and precious hugs for no reason at all. You may have your daddy's looks Billy IV, but you have your mama's eyes! I love you so much!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Brooklyn Rose

And thou shalt in thy daughter see,
This picture, once, resembled thee.
~Ambrose Philips

I always make sure I include each twin in my blog posts so I don't feel like I am cheating the other and since I of course adore them the same amount, but I thought I would do this one specifically on Brooklyn (and do one just on Billy IV in the future). For those of you that don't know, she may in fact be the biggest mama's girl on this side of the universe. If you think I'm kidding, come spend a day at our house. It sometimes means a little more "work" (if you could possibly call what I do work) but is incredibly precious to me, and has been so good for my heart and soul.

Every single day, Brooklyn wants to be right with mommy, doing what mommy is doing.

She helps me wipe the counter, she helps me poor milk, she brushes my hair while I blow it dry, she helps me put lids on containers, she brushes her teeth while I brush mine, she tests the water coming out of the faucet for bath time after I do, she sprinkles cheese on casseroles before they go in oven, she starts laughing and/or smiling just because I am doing so.

Often as she drifts off to sleep, she will put one hand on my arm to make sure I am there, and there have been a few occasions when I nearly (and do) tear up thinking about just how much she loves and needs me, as all children need their mommies. That is a fact. I have come to learn that a mother/daughter bond is so special. It's hard to believe that I used to think I only wanted a house full of boys. God knows our needs much better than we do.

While I do want her to have independence, it brings hundreds of smiles to my face each day. Like hundreds of thousands of daughters, Brooklyn wants to be just like mommy. And with that comes some self-reflection, similar to what I wrote about in a blog a few weeks ago. If Brooklyn wants to be just like mommy, do I, in turn, truly want her to be like me? Am I showing her on a daily basis what truly is important?

When a drink spills on the floor after an earlier than expected start to our morning, how do I react? Before meals, do I take time to pray? I see her look at me curiously and inquisitively when I do. What does my expression convey and what do I say first thing in the morning? How often do I give reassuring hugs and kisses? How much time do I spend on her level, playing with dolls, exploring, looking at animal cards, walking her play doggy?

And beyond that....How I do treat friends that are my age? How do I treat family? Do I give to others or do I hold back? Am I a source of encouragement? Do I place emphasis on worldly desires or spirituality?

If you didn't beforehand, I hope you, like me, did (and continually do) a little self-reflection as a parent. May we never stop growing and maturing in our faith!

Brooklyn Rose,
From the moment I first saw you, I knew that I would be your mother first, but that secondly, we would be dear friends. You have brought so many smiles to my face and caused so many giggles in my voice. You have tugged at my heart and soul and have made me feel so loved and fulfilled. I can still remember talking to you when you were three months old, when you were crying as sweet babies sometimes do, and letting you know that mommy would always be right here for you, and it was as though you clearly understood me, and from that point on, you have been an absolute mommy's girl. Like when I was a little girl, you adore kittys, books, and babydolls. It is so precious to see you rock your babies and pat them softly on the back. Since you look so much like mommy, I can't help but sometimes feel like I am in a time-warp, watching myself at your age many years ago. Thank you for the way you say mommy, for how often you run to me with outstreched arms, for helping me with daily tasks, for the books you bring me to read to you during the day...I pray for you and brother every single night. I pray that God will help daddy and me show you His wonderful love, that He will give you a long and fruitful life in His service, that you will one day find a spouse that will help you in your Christian walk...May you always know that little brother and you are my world and that I love you both so dearly!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter 2012

On Sunday, the Helton Four enjoyed Easter by attending church and then going to Netty and Big Daddy's house for a yummy lunch. Netty made a delicious meal including chicken and rice casserole, ham, homemade mac and cheese, green beans, baked beans, corn on the cob, fried okra, rolls, and my favorite, grape salad. I probably missed a few menu times. I am always so in awe of her! I certainly over-ate and was miserable for a few hours. :) The twins wore their matching green smocked Easter bunny outfits. It is so much fun having twins and getting to put them in matching outfits (while they will still let me, lol). After lunch, it was already an hour past the twins nap time so we headed on home and they are going to hunt Easter eggs tonight. Might as well keep the holiday going! :)

I was laughing today looking around at all the twins toys around the house. The living room has literally been taken over by toys. Not to mention the kitchen area and their room. It won't be long before we'll have to join in with someone having a yard sale and sell some of their toys to upgrade to the next ones. Now that they are both walking well they are ready for tall/more advanced toys. I'm looking forward to hopefully getting them a tent, tunnel, sand and water station, and mini pool so we can spend some time outdoors when it warms up again. They LOVE the outdoors. They have been scared of grass until recently, but now they love it! Billy is as cool as a cucumber but Brooklyn will start squirming and moving back and forth if I try to get her up to take her inside. She is a free spirit and loves to roam in wide open spaces. (And has a tiny temper and is a little rotten ;))

Billy IV still spends several hours during the day shooting basketballs in his basketball goal and throwing/chasing balls all over the house. He is most definitely going to be a baseball or basketball player. He just has a genuine love for it. He is just like his daddy as a little boy. :) To be honest, they are each our mirror image when we were that age. Brooklyn loves books, kittys, and babies and those were the three things I was crazy about as a toddler/child. It is so funny to see how similar they are to each of us. All while we haven't encouraged one thing or the other.

Brooklyn has started getting really good with her words, animal sounds, and needs/gestures. She has been meowing like a kitty all week and now tells me if she has had a poo-poo. haha She said the word car for the first time today. Billy now brings me his cups/bowls if he wants something more to drink or grapes and he gives me such a look of adoration when I get him this or that and he sees that I know what he wants. It is the sweetest thing. It must be so nice to feel so understand after trying to learn to communicate over the past year and a half. :) He is such a sweet soul. I showed the twins a picture of my mom and dad a few days ago and he got the kindest look in his eyes and on his face. He gives his cousin Gracie sweet grins and sugars. I think the twins would continually shower Gracie with sugars if I let them. Bless her. lol

Last Thursday night we had the twins and Gracie by ourselves for the first time and they all did so well. I was a little nervous about Brooklyn becoming jealous because she is quite the mama's girl, but it was as though she understood little Gracie needed to be taken care of. She sat at my feet while I rocked Gracie and then held my hand while we walked her back to the crib for a little snooze. It is rewarding to see your children growing and learning in these ways. Billy IV stayed close to Gracie during her visit and made sure she had plenty to do and was taken care of. I can tell he is going to be so sweet and protective of her. Gracie played and played and was so good during her visit. She was a breeze! Looks like we could have handled triplets. Umm let's not get ahead of ourselves!!! JUST kidding!!!

The twins are in a bit of a separation anxiety phase right now. Brooklyn has been in one for a few months but Billy recently joined the ranks. They both immediately start crying when we enter their Bible class room at church on Wednesdays/Sundays. Bless them. I know it will pass. So thankful that they have such good teachers! A shout-out to Jennette, Emily, Mindy, and Shelly!

Don't tell daddy, but Billy has recently turned into a tad bit of a mama's boy. I think it has been since our Arab trip two weekends ago when he spent lots of extra time with mommy. Sporadically during the day, he will suddenly come to me and put his arms around me for a few minutes, and then will give me sugars. I. eat. it. up. He has always been more independent (which I am appreciative of since Brookie is a little more dependent), but it is nice to seeing him loving on mommy so much. They have started fighting over sitting in my lap at certain times during the day and both were reaching for/whining for me at the same time during church yesterday morning. Bliss.

I love my two little ones so much! So thankful to be with them and to see all their little changes day by day!

Monday, March 26, 2012

16 month check-up!

Today was shot day for the Helton twins. I always get a little anxious before these visits, because while Billy IV handles them pretty well, Brooklyn does not. The last two shot visits, she has cried and cried and been so upset. :( Bless her. Billy IV is my tough little man and Brooklyn is our diva gal. :)

The doctor was very pleased with how the twins are growing. Billy weighed 20 lbs 5 oz and was 31 inches tall. Brooklyn weighed 21 lbs 6 oz and was 30.5 inches tall. I am very proud that their tummies are finally starting to "hang over" their pants a tad. :)

Billy IV was talking up a storm and smiling while the doctor visited with us. I love his level of independence and how easily he entertains himself. Brooklyn sat firmly in mommy's lap with her arms around me. Ha. Gotta love a genuine mommy's girl. There are true blessings to both scenerios. :)

Surprising (and thankfully), the twins handled their shots really well! They each only cried for a minute or two. I was SO relieved. It absolutely breaks my heart for them to have to get them but I know it is entirely necessary.

After their check-up, we treated them to the donut shop. The owner was so sweet and as we got ready to leave with our sweets in hand, she gave them each a donut hole to enjoy on the car trip home. They had glaze smeared all over their faces and little hands when we got home. It was precious.

We spent the day playing with toys, talking to our kitty, going on a long walk in our jogging stroller (LOVING this weather and being able to get out and about- I could see each of the twins dancing their little feet back and forth while we were strolling along), eating popsicles, and watching cartoons. I could tell the twins were a little uncomfortable tonight and were ready to turn it in for the night a little earlier than normal.

They are now sleeping soundly. :) All in all, I consider it a good day despite the shots! Tonight I was thinking about all our blessings and how thankful I am to have two healthy, happy one year olds. Thank you Lord for watching over our family! I don't take a single bit of it for granted!