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I'm no expert on twins, but I have found some things that are saving my sanity and which the boys seem to be enjoying: "Reading Time" and "Quiet Play Time". Let me explain. Both boys are extremely busy and curious. We have about 10 hours a day together before Don comes home from work and really they spend a lot of the day (especially in the winter) kind of wandering around the house and looking for things to do. Toys still do not hold their attention for any more than 2-3 minutes before they are on to the next thing. Plus, they don't have much interest in movies or reading books together. I've tried coloring; it's not happening yet... all the tips of the crayons have been bitten off and I'm still finding shards in their diapers. So, all that to say, we have a lot of time to fill, and when the weather isn't nice, we don't have a lot of options!

Enter "Quiet Play Time". Let's be honest, this isn't quiet at all, it's more independent play time. I pack up a basket of special toys for each of them, with a variety of options like books, blocks, cars, musical toys, etc. Each boy goes into his own crib and gets his own basket and plays independently for a set amount of time. When I started this, they went for about 15 minutes before they got sick of it, and we've now worked our way up to 30-45 minutes depending on the day. I usually do this at the end of the day when I'm trying to pick up the house and make dinner, and it's been amazing. It helps me so much to feel more sane by the time Don comes home and I think the boys really enjoy it. It's the one time in their day that they aren't competing, either for my attention or for toys. They can build with blocks without the other one knocking anything over and they can look at a book without the other one snatching it away. They spend most of their day within 6 inches of each other (by choice!) so this is a chance for them to have some space. By the end of it, they usually have tossed all of their toys over the edge and are just bouncing and giggling together. One time they were giggling so much, I had to check and see what they were doing. Jacob was covering his eyes and playing "peek" with Josiah, which Josiah thought was hilarious. Not to be outdone, Josiah then proceeded to go through touching and naming body parts to entertain Jacob. They're pretty stinkin' cute. 

"Reading Time" has also been a bit of a life saver. Neither of the boys have naturally been that interested in books even though we've been trying since they got home. They just don't have the sit in them and it's hard with two. One wants to turn a page forward, the other wants to turn the page back, or one wants to close it entirely. One pulls it closer to himself, resulting in the other trying to pull it back, and I'm in the middle as the referee. "No, Mommy holds the book. No, Mommy turns the pages." 

So, for "Reading Time" I set the kitchen timer, put the boys on separate couches with a stack of books and tell them it's their special time to look at books and they can't get off the couch until they hear the beep-beep-beep. I also sit on the chair with a book and read, partly for my own enjoyment and partly to model it for them. The first time we started with 6 minutes and Josiah probably got up 7 times and whined the whole time. Each time he got up, I'd pick him up, put him back and say, "No, it's reading time. You have to sit on the couch during reading time until you hear the beep-beep-beep." We're up to 11 good minutes now (with the goal of getting to 15), and neither of the boys try to get down before they hear the timer. In fact, today Josiah grabbed a book and said "Read?" and then headed to the couch... his way of asking for the reading time. 

Having two little ones that are exactly the same size and into all the same things certainly has its advantages and disadvantages. Don says he's praying for another set of twins for this next adoption- I say I'm not so sure. Actually, I really say that as much as I love our little twinners, I can't handle another set! At least not yet.

Independence is a messy undertaking!!

In their little thrones. 

Making cookies.


Things I Don't Want to Forget

At almost 20 months, here are some things I want to remember. 

Both boys are in a "naming" stage. They love to say the words of everything they know. These words often come out in a very loud and excited manner (especially with Jacob). Picture all caps with about 10 exclamation marks behind them. CAR!!!!! BIRD!!!!!! You get the picture... Josiah loves to count things (only to two) and gets really excited when he sees "TWO!!!!!!!" of something. 

They're starting to put words together and you can see their train of thought, though they can't fully express themselves. Here are a couple of popular ones, with my interpretation: 

"Go. Car. Drive. Weeeee!" Meaning they want to go in the car, Mommy (or Daddy) will drive, and weee, it'll be fun! Picture huge smiles and driving motions... And by the way, those carts at the grocery store with the little car attached to the front- our new favorite. The boys get so excited you would think they were driving race cars! They spin the wheel with gusto, honk the horn, wave to the passersby, and yell "weee" when things get really exciting. 

Another conversation we often have: "Tree. Bird. Fly. Way" Meaning, we saw a bird in the tree and it flew away. Which we did. One day we watched a bird in the tree right in front of our window until it flew away and we've been talking about it every day since then. 

Both boys love to have their "belly out", and they say "bell out" a few times every day, meaning they want to run around in their diapers. After dinner, they strip down to their diapers (per their request), we turn up the music and they like to "dance", "run fast", and "play ball". Their favorite is rap music by LeCrae and Josiah will whine ("ehh, ehh") and point to the music player if we try to get any other music going. 

I'm fully aware that these are the kinds of details that are only interesting to me, but if I don't document them here and now, I'll never remember! So, please bear with me... 

Here are the little goofballs in action...

Copying Mommy... don't worry, I fished the little giraffe out of the garbage, and I think the boys are finally starting to understand what goes into the garbage and what doesn't. 


Adding Another

We've been busy around here, and not just with the boys! 

Some of you may remember that our adoption process started with spending two years with our first adoption agency, only to end up receiving the referral for our twins from a different adoption agency. 

When we switched agencies, we were able to go "on hold" with our first agency, meaning we could stay in their program and re-enter after the boys had been home for six months. This was a miracle in itself, since in similar cases we may have had to forfeit all of the time and money invested in our first agency in order to make the switch. The details of this are somewhat complicated, but I'll try to give the short version in order to show how much God is in the details.

As we had been waiting with our first agency and had continued to hit various delays, we decided to apply for concurrent family building with the intent to pursue a domestic adoption. We didn't know how long it was going to take to receive our referral from Ethiopia and we were anxious to adopt and add to our family. So, in the fall of 2011, we completed the application for concurrent family building and began the process for a domestic adoption. In order to fully move forward with the domestic adoption, we had to wait to be approved by our Ethiopia adoption agency because essentially we'd be pursuing two adoptions at once. 

The day before we received the boys' information, we got the notice from our adoption agency that we were approved for concurrent family building, basically meaning they approved us to stay in their program and enter another program as long as there was six months between the placement of the children. At the time, we thought this was going to mean pursuing a domestic adoption, but the Lord had other plans and the very next day we found out about our twins. How amazing is that?! 

So, we were able to go on hold with the first agency, retain our place in line (which was number 1 at the time), and re-enter once the boys had been home for six months. The six month mark was in January. 

As crazy as it may seem, and as busy as the boys keep us, we're ready for number 3. And this time it will be a little girl! When we were in Ethiopia for the boys, both of us started to feel a strong desire for a little Ethiopian daughter, and we've been thinking about her and praying for her ever since.

We've updated our paperwork and are currently waiting for our approval from immigration, at which time we'll be able to officially be put back on the list to receive a referral for a little girl. We can't wait! She already has a name and we're starting to make preparations. 

We know from experience that we could wait 1 month or maybe 12. We'll be number 1 when we're back on the list, so we'll be waiting for the phone to ring any day. 

I hope we won't have to wait long, but our experience has taught us that God's timing is perfect and he orders our lives and the events of our lives according to his good and sovereign will. 

As for the boys, they're just as happy and silly as ever. As I type this, they're just up from their nap and are busy "talking" and laughing in their room together. 

Here are some pics of our little beauties from a recent trip to Florida and some random ones from the last couple of weeks.