Tuesday, October 27, 2015

This is amazing Grace. This is unfailing LOVE!

Time seems to move at such a rapid pace, but memories keep the past ever so close.  I have been reflecting on memories of my mom and memories of my childhood quite often lately.  Sometimes, memories that I thought were lost will spring to mind and a smile creeps upon my face.  I love when this happens, as if the past is trying to break through to the present.  One memory that won't leave my mind and is always breaking through to the present is the week that my family learned of the murder of my mom.  My mind has been kind to me, as all the bad stuff stays tucked away, and the beautiful blessings break through.

Have you ever stood before God and boldly prayed for a miracle?  Not just a miracle, but a timely one to come swiftly?  Prior to losing my mom, my prayer life was feeble.  It was the standard "thank you for this day", "thank you for taking care of me", "please help me on this test", "please grant me this promotion", etc.  Not to say that these prayers weren't valid, or even important, but they were mediocre in the way I prayed them.  I felt like a child begging their parent for the forbidden candy or dessert.  Always asking, but deep down thinking that I would most likely be shot down.  It didn't seem that I believed in the mighty power of our God, but routinely would pray anyway - again, just in the off chance that He might "grant my wish".  This was my honest perspective of my prayer life.  I think back to that time in my life as a "baby believer" and almost laugh at myself, for I had no idea how to tap into our Great and Mighty God.  I had no idea of His all encompassing power.  I was oblivious of how to boldly approach him - until the day came that I demanded to hear from Him.

As the details came forth about the murder of my mom, we realized that our family would not have a place to stay together during this turbulent time, since my parents home was considered a crime scene.  With family flying into town and nowhere to stay, I hit my knees.  I have never been brought to my knees in prayer.  I usually would pray as I lie in bed right before I drifted off to dream land.  This time, while on my knees and tears flowing down, I boldly approached the Lord.  I prayed that I NEEDED Him to provide for my family a place to stay.  That I needed this prayer answered immediately.  Not tomorrow, not in a couple days, but I needed an answer to prayer immediately.  Being a plan B type of gal, I had decided that we could stay at a hotel if nothing else worked out, but then I felt as though I was being pulled back into prayer.  I prayed again - "Lord, do not mistake me - I need you NOW."  That very day, I got news that a local family (who was about to leave on a week vacation) offered up their house to our family.  Upon entering their home, it felt as though a warm blanket had just been wrapped around me.  I sat in their living room, in awe of the quick response to my prayer.  As I looked up, I saw scripture painted on their walls.  I was in the presence of the Spirit and I felt it - I soaked in it.  During our time there, I sensed that my brother was really struggling, as my entire family was, but it was something that none of us were adequately in a position to really comfort him, as we were all struggling.  I was drawn back to prayer.  "Lord, I need you to send someone to help my brother - send them now!"  That day, there was a knock at the door and there stood a police officer.  He wasn't familiar to me though so I asked him how I could help him.  He mentioned that we was the Chaplain of a the police department of a nearby town and that God placed it on his heart to come check on my family to see if we needed anything.  Amazed at our Father's love and speediness, I stood there in a feeling of shock.  Yes, he could help.  "Take my brother and comfort him, please" I asked.  Later that day, he asked me if there was anything that I specifically needed.  I certainly did, I wanted to go to the police station to confront my dad and have him confess to me that he murdered my mom.  The problem was that there were 5-10 various media cameras in front of the police station.  "No problem, I can take you around the back entrance" he stated.  While in his car, he mentioned to me that he had lost his mom the same way I lost mine.  I had him pull the car over, and we both cried.  Rather bawled like babies.  God was so good to send me and my brother someone in a very difficult moment in our lives.  Someone who could 100% relate to us.  How good is our God?  During that week, God spoke to me in an intimate way.  He revealed to me just how big He is, and how much He sees us and meets us right where we are.  One of the nights spent in this home, I had a vision dream.  I clearly saw my mom holding 5 children.  This vision confused me and I disregarded it at first, until I gave birth to my 3rd child years later.  That vision was of my mom with her 5 grandchildren (my two nieces and my 3 children) - 4 of which were unborn at the time.  I believe it was a promise of a restored family life.

I recently had lunch with the owner of the home that was lent to us during our time of need.  What she shared with me, blew me away.  She mentioned that while she and her husband were in the process of building this home (many years before the loss of my mom), her church prayer group prayed over the home and wrote Scripture verses on the cement foundation as well as the wood structure of the home.  While they were praying over the home, the Lord gave her a vision of her completed home with a big open door and many people coming in and out of her home.  People that she didn't know or recognize were flooding her home.  She heard a message from God saying "always keep your door open."  He was preparing her to keep her door open for our family.  He knew how He would weave this all together before the need was even there.  Isn't that incredible?!?!   She also received a message from God that her daughter's room would be a room where her daughter would have visions from the Lord.  Guess which room I slept in while staying in this home?  You guessed it....her daughter's.  

By hearing her story of the details of her home and the visions that she received, I can clearly see that God is 100% for us.  He already has all the details of our lives worked out.  He weaves all things together for good.  While evil took my mom from this earth, He already had a plan of grace and love to help me through the difficult time.  All I needed to do was ask - boldly ask.  He sees us all the time, every day.  He is a good Father, and desires us to come to Him and lay it all at His feet.  My prayer life looks dramatically different now.  When my husband and I were struggling to conceive, I boldly took that to the Lord as well.  I asked that He provide me with the desires of my heart.  Wouldn't you know, when we went in for our sonogram, there were 2 strong heartbeats.  A year after being infertile, with no fertility treatments or medical intervention, He provided a set of beautiful twins to us.  It was a complete miracle.  He is a God of miracles - yesterday, today and tomorrow.  

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

8 months of pregnancy in retrospect

As I officially approach the final weeks of this pregnancy, I am reminiscing on how easy this pregnancy has been for me and thanking the good Lord for allowing me to experience a "normal" pregnancy.

After my huge ordeal with twins, in which I experienced nearly every complication known to man in regards to the pregnant body, I was terrified when I found out I was pregnant yet again.  Fears of constant vomitting, weeks in the hospital, rashes, high blood pressure, bed rest, complications with baby, and other various things began to swirl around in my head and I really wasn't looking forward to doing it all over again.  I actually cried for a few days just thinking about the misery of my pregnancy experience.

Well, now that I have made it through to the 8th month of this pregnancy, I have to say that I am pleasantly surprised and grateful, and I think I now understand what normal pregnancy feels like.  It really isn't too bad.  In fact, I might say that it has been somewhat enjoyable!  I only experienced a short stint of morning sickness, a week of high blood pressure (due to me taking on a job that was too much stress), and some discomfort in this homestretch (which I am sure is totally normal).

I don't feel like I know baby Kamryn the same way I knew the twins at this time.  This is mostly due to the fact that I have been kept busy by the twins, our cross-state move, and fewer visits to the doctor and sonograms.  I don't even know what she looks like.  But maybe it will be a sweet surprise when we actually meet her in less than 4 weeks!  Now, if I could only get the nursery wrapped up, bottles and clothes washed and diapers purchased...I would be good to go!  Until then, I will enjoy my pregnant belly for the final time.  No more babies for us after this!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Mommy Dreams

Little girls often have a way of dreaming what their perfect adult life will look like.  For me, I remember dreaming that I would be married by 23 with 2 kids by 30, perfectly spaced out 3 years apart.  As I matured in age and reached high school graduation, my dream stayed the same but included more details, such as what my husband would look like and how my kids would behave.  By the time I was pregnant (before we found out I was carrying multiples), I would dream of a perfectly well behaved, Christ-like child who always responded to me with "yes ma'am" or "no ma'am" and of course obeyed my every command.  I envisioned how things would be for me as a mommy; how I would never do what so-and-so did with their child, and how I would hold everything together seamlessly without much struggle because I am a planner and always have been.  And of course everything would go according to my plan.

That, my friends, is called delusion!  How silly I was to think that I knew everything before "everything" happened.  I remember praying daily that God would bestow parenthood upon Kris and I.  After all, it took us over a year to conceive.  So you can imagine the joy we experienced when we first saw a positive pregnancy test, which was confirmed by the doctor.  I thanked God graciously and promised to raise this beautiful child to the best of my ability.  I still, however, thought that I was the one in control.  Until the day of our ultrasound and we found out that God has a serious sense of humor.  He had given us TWO babies.  "How funny", I thought, "are you punishing me?  You know I cannot handle two babies at one time.  This is not how my plan was to go.  Remember...I wanted two children, spaced out by 3 years, not 3 minutes." 

I can't imagine what my thoughts must have felt like to our Heavenly Father.  He must have been so disappointed in me for feeling this way about His master plan for my life.  I can only relate to the extent of when one of my children disappoints me by disobeying.  I have to believe that God was much more disappointed in me than I have ever been with my children.

When the twins reached the age of 1, I thought that I had developed a pretty good plan and that everything was going accordingly.  They were following my instructions and schedule perfectly and I just knew that I was certainly not going to have to face the "terrible two's" if I kept up the hard work.  Oh silly me!  While my children are well behaved, for the most part, they are still normal children who get into things they aren't supposed to, fight me on the little things, and of course throw temper tantrums when they don't get what they want.  I, however, have been under the lie that I am to blame for this behavior and that somehow I am an unfit mother because my children aren't following my perfectly laid out plan that I established before they were born.

It has taken me months of personal frustration and unnecessary comparison of myself and children to my friends and their children, to finally realize that I am NOT in control of this life.  I have failed to ask the Lord how He feels about me and my children.  Or how He would instruct me over the hurdles of the day.  I have failed to step back and laugh at the unpredictability of each day with twins.  I have seriously failed in experiencing pure joy through my hardships.  I have allowed a lie of a "perfect life" and "perfect children" and "perfect situations" to overshadow my abundant blessings.

What I realize today, is that my dreams have not lined up with God's plan for my life.  And that is OK!  It is ok for me to be blessed with 3 children under the age of two, rather than having 2 children "perfectly" spaced out in age.  It's ok for me to change a dirty diaper on the couch, rather than on the changing table (of which I previously told myself that I would never do).  It is certainly ok for my children to be upset and act like 1 1/2 year olds, because they are children who don't comprehend things the way I do.  And is is ok for me to live a life that doesn't resemble the norm of what my friends are doing with their children.

Friends, if my lessons can do anything for you, I pray that they would encourage you to stop placing judgement on yourself as a mother, and to not place any comparison on your life to other mothers.  Sure so-and-so's kids always have the cutest bows and matching outfits and take perfect pictures.  While it may seem that your kids are unruly, always messy and can never take that sweet picture that you had hoped to capture.  I assure you that these things do not matter.  What matters is that you are happy, your kids are happy and your family is happy.  All other things aside....pure joy begins with the Father.  Knowing that He has a master plan for my life is all I need to remember and to let my dreams of the perfect life die.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

When all you can do is cry!

Moving from city to city is like second nature to me.  I have been somewhat of a nomad since I first left my parents' nest at the young age of 17.  The thought of the new city, new adventure, new people, and new experiences always excited me.  Of course I always moved when either single or married with no kids.  Yes, each move brought new challenges, such as a new job search, or finding a place to live.  But nothing was ever too stressful that it absolutely made me go crazy.

Maybe it's my pregnant hormones that are raging in this 6th month of pregnancy.  Perhaps it is the thought of moving with 2 toddlers and figuring out how to facilitate that.  Or maybe it's the stress of trying to find a new pediatrician, new OBGyn, and hospital to deliver this new baby, but I am about to have a mental and emotional breakdown.  Gone are the days of excitement over a new move and in rushes the fear of not being capable to handle it all.

As most of my friends know, I am a type A personality who likes structure and routine in my life.  I go a little nutty at the thought of the unknown.  My sweet husband is stressed about the normal things: his new job, finding a place to live, getting us moved to our new city, and making sure that I stay happy.  I don't think he knows about all the little things that a move with children entails.  I find myself running in circles, trying to figure out what takes the most priority. 

At the end of the day, I realize that I am a vastly different person than I was pre-children and my ability to multi-task has increased 10-fold.  But really, all I want to do is grab a strong margarita, sit on the patio and cry about the insanity of it all! 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

5 years of moving forward and pressing on towards a sweet life!

I once heard a saying "Time heals the pain."  I laughed.  In the midst of pain, time doesn't seem to be in the hurt person's favor; at least it wasn't in mine.  I am coming up on 5 years of grief....painful and very complicated grief.  March 26, 2012 will mark 5 years of time that has elapsed in my life without my parents in it.  When I think back to that dreaded day, I never would have imagined that it would take 5 years for me to reach the place that I have.  Nor would I have ever have dreamed that my life would be as sweet as it is without my parents.  Sounds contradictory doesn't it?  I thought so too!

Right now, I look at my husband and children and see a life that is beautiful.  I see something that was given to me by way of blessings that can only come from above.  I see myself as a strong, confident, independent woman who trusts herself, the Lord, and her husband.  On March 26, 2007, I was a lost, broken, scared, and very lonely woman who never thought that by loving the Lord and placing all my trust in His hands, would I ever emerge from the ashes as a wife to a supportive and loving husband, nor a mother to two beautiful children.  I thought myself to be unworthy.  Because, after all, who would want to marry someone who had such a dramatic and tragic event take place?  I remember crying out in desperation to the Lord, saying "Please God, take care of me.  Please make me strong enough to endure the pain that my heart aches with.  Please remove the images and the memories of this horrific event from my mind so that I can see life with fresh eyes.  Please heal me.  Heal me from the inside out and show me what I can be."

Time heals pain.  It does.  But so does the Lord.  In fact, had I never turned to the Lord on this very day and left it all at His feet for Him to pick up and make whole, I am quite certain that my life would look strangely different at this 5 year mark.  I have visions of me being in a rehab facility, or strung out on drugs just trying to numb the pain, or worse....dead. 

I recall the day that God brought Kris into my life.  I would have never met my husband had my mom not tragically lost her life.  It was by way of a blessing that the Lord moved in my life and brought me to Kris.  At this time, I was taking many kinds of pain killers and anxiety pills, drinking a bottle of wine a night, shopping my pain away, and living life by way of survival.  I had even contemplated suicide.  This man, my husband, walked in and helped me save my life.  He convinced me that I was on the road to being an alcoholic, that I didn't need ALL of the medications I was taking, and helped me to see through the fog and learn to rely more on the Lord than I thought I was.  You see, I prayed every night to the Lord after loosing my mom, and felt as though I had not received an answer.  I was impatient.  Kris was a blessing to me that God brought into my life to take care of me and turn my heart back to Him and teach me patience.

I recall the day that I married this man.  Without my parents in sight, and with a lot of pain and hurt of missing them, I walked down the isle to the best thing that happened to me since the last day I spent having lunch with my mom.  I recall the frustration and agony of not being able to get pregnant when we wanted to, and thinking...."God, I have been through enough....please allow me happiness."  I remember the loss of a baby thinking that my body wasn't equipped to be a mom and I was inadequate.  Feeling rejected and alone and hurting from the void, I turned again to the Lord and sought His comfort.  It was my husband who had reminded me that God has His own plan and that I needed to trust it.  And then I remember finding out I had sustained a pregnancy and it was twins.  Both Kris and I laughed at God's humor.  I remember the tearful nights of juggling the twins and thinking "I just can't do this without my mom."  And then woke up one day to a new found confidence within myself that allowed me to trust my motherly instincts and learn that God was beside me through it and Kris and I weren't alone through the journey.  I remember the day that we found out we were pregnant again.  That was a funny day!  Kris and I knew that against all the 99.9% odds, if we were indeed pregnant, then it was because God believed that we needed another blessing in our lives.  And I look back at it all and think of the fullness and happiness that has occurred along the path of these 5 years.  All without my parents. 

Indeed, these 5 years have been the most fulfilling, blessing filled, awe inspiring, and action packed years of my life.  It saddens to me to think that I felt myself unworthy of love.  Unworthy of happiness and unworthy of a healthy and happy family.  Back on March 26, 2007, I could have never imagined life moving forward without my parents.  I certainly couldn't imagine the life I have now.  Through the happiness of the past 5 years, there have also been many personal struggles of grief and agony.  Learning to deal with the raw emotions while "in the moment" has been my biggest accomplishment thus far.  At the 1 year mark, I was incapable of functioning as a whole person.  I thought that after 1 year, the pain would be gone but I had largely underestimated grief.  At 3 years I thought it was silly that I was still needing to take the day off work to regroup and handle my emotions.  I had largely underestimated grief.  At 5 years, I still struggle with the emotions, but I feel that in this past year, I have learned the value of dealing with something, rather than emotionally reacting.  I have learned that nobody has answers but the Lord heals the hurt.  I have learned that even my husband doesn't have the capacity to meet me where I am with my pain, but God does every time.  And I have learned, above all, that life moves on.  Indeed, life moves on.  During my journey of grief over the past 5 years, many times have I wanted time to stop ticking.  Many times have I wanted to go back to the way things were before that tragic phone call.  But now, I see that my beautiful blessings would have never come, had I been stuck in the past and not pressed forward, through the pain, through the muck while desperately seeking the love and comfort of the Lord.  I am so happy that God transformed my life.  I am so thrilled that He thought me worthy of a husband and of children; that He blessed me with trials deep and wide enough that I would seek His heart with wreckless abandonment and cast out all other temporary methods of happiness; that He would teach me and grow me and encourage me to be the best wife and mom that He knows that I can be and that He would heal me from the inside out.

At this 5 year mark of grief, I can now choose to celebrate the life that has unfolded because of the loss of my mother's life.  It was once said to me "it was as if your mom had to die so that you could live."  This saying made no sense to me at the time it was spoken, but it makes the most sense now.  I am finally capable of living my life and being happy in it, without asking "why did this happen to me?" or "how will I ever move on without them?"  Sounds crazy that I would have a sweet life after tragedy?  Trust the Lord, and He shall provide you with the desires of your heart! - Psalm 37:4

Friday, November 4, 2011

Beep Beep...1 year comin' through!

I have to admit that I am pretty emotional just thinking about the twins 1st birthday coming up next month.  I can't believe that this year has already passed us by and I wonder where the time went.  Of course I know that most of the time I have been in a constant state of "zombie" with all the sleep deprivation, effort to make sure I am not screwing up my kids' development, and worry over the normal first time mom things.  But when I look back over the past year, I see many blessings.

We went from spitting up to growing up in the blink of an eye.  Just when I was getting the hang of double feedings in the middle of the night and juggling two helpless infants, they started sleeping through the night.  Just when I began to enjoy laying them on their backs on the play mat and making silly faces in an effort to evoke those precious giggles, they learned to roll over and away from me.  Just when I was so happy that they could now sit on their own and I could place a few toys in front of them and they would be content for an hour, they learned to crawl away and get into everything else.  Just when they started eating my homemade baby food (which I was so proud of), they demanded food that was easy to pick up with their hands (showing me just how independent they were becoming).  And just when I thought I had mastered the art of containing mobile twins in the "baby corral," they learned how to climb out and escape.  Yes this past year has blown by and has been marked by great milestones that seem to only have lasted but a moment in time. 

I am constantly humbled by the amount of love that I have for these precious beings and it makes me understand just how much our Maker and Creator loves me and my children.  I love the fact that each of my children is completely unique.  And I love watching them develop into their own person.  When I take them on an outing with me (which let's admit it, is rare because of the enormous amount of energy it takes to haul two infants around), I almost always have one or two people come up and ask me the general twin questions: "Are they twins?" "Are they identical?" "Is it a boy and a girl?" And while my answer is "yes they are  boy/girl twins," they are definitely not identical. 

I love the calm nature and contentment that Knox demonstrates.  He has always been the "easy" one from birth.  He continues to amaze me at his gentleness.  My favorite thing to do with him is sit him on my lap and sing to him, while he plays with me hair.  He doesn't pull it or play rough with it, but rather, he runs his fingers through it.  He lets his sister sit on him, take things away from him, and bang toys on his head without even a cry (which is something that we are in the process of disciplining for).  While he is calm and sweet, he is total boy, full of grunts, growls, and curiosity for adventure.  This past year watching him develop has been so amazing to me.  When he was born, he weighed all of 4lbs 14 oz.  He was the smaller of the two and, well...he gave Kris and I quite a scare.  He was born nearly lifeless.  Yes, he was breathing and his heart was beating, but he wouldn't move or cry.  When lifting his arm of leg, it would fall back down completely lifeless.  I never heard my son cry until the next day when he was ready to eat.  We were told that this was normal of B/G twins and not to worry, but as a parent, you can't help but think that there is something wrong.  With much prayer, Knox was absolutely healthy.  He came around and showed me that while he may have been passive at birth, he is a fighter and a lover.  Which I am sure will make for good husband material one day in the far FAR future!

Kaitlyn has been developing into a very strong willed little girl who definitely knows what she wants.  I like that about her.  She is full of life and energy and can never sit still.  From the moment that she learned to move, she hasn't stopped moving.  She explores everything and isn't really afraid of anything.  I began singing a song to her when she was still an immobile infant that goes "Katie Bear, Katie Bear, I love you.  Katie Bear, Katie Bear, I love you.  I love you in the morning and in the afternoon.  I love you in the evening and underneath the moon."  Sung to the skidamirinkidinkidkink song.  She absolutely loves it.  She revels in the fact that I am singing especially to HER.  She lights up and it is one of my most favorite things to do with her.  She is so much like me that it is scary.  She is a total girl who loves to see herself in the mirror and be adorned with love and affection.  She loves to be doted on and loved on.  Her favorite thing is when daddy strokes her face lightly.  And I have to admit that it is one of my favorite things that Kris does to me!  She is the more assertive of the two and is always in Knox's space and business.  When she was born, she was 5 lbs 9 oz and was the bigger twin.  She came out of the womb screaming and hasn't really stopped using her vocal chords since.  We secretly think that she likes to hear herself.  She is a joy and a handful all at the same time and I think we will never have dull moments around here because of her.

Watching them grow individually is great, but watching them grow together is something that not many moms get to experience and I am so blessed and grateful that I was given the opportunity.  They truly have a bond between them that I am in awe of.  They are not calm and content unless the other is somewhere nearby and they are most comfortable holding hands or touching each other in some way.  I love watching their love for each other as friends and siblings emerges.  And I am proud to be able to say that I am a super TWIN MOM!

While this past year has blown my mind, I am sure that this next year will be so much fun filled with first words and first steps.  I am so happy that I trusted the Lord to direct my decision to stay home with them because the time goes by so fast and I haven't had to miss one milestone or special moment that I can't ever get back.  While I may complain from time to time that it is very overwhelming (which trust me...IT IS), it is so very much worth every exhausting day, sleep deprived night, and tearful moments.  I can't wait for the next exhausting year!!!

Happy 1st Birthday (in less than a month) to my wonderful, beautiful, amazing gifts from God...Knox Dereck and Kaitlyn Donna.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Trip to CA with twins: One month out

Today is exactly one month to the date that Kris and I will embark on our most challenging twin parent adventure thus far.  We are flying to CA with the twins to meet my extended family and celebrate an early Thanksgiving.  I am extremely excited for my family to meet my husband and twins for the first time.  However, me being the extreme Type A person that I am, my planning brain has already kicked into full gear (think lots of lists). 

I have done my homework.  I read multiple blogs about flying with twins under one year of age.  Of which, many scared the dadgum pee out of me.  I read the FSA website guidelines on security with infants.  I read the airline guideline about flying with infants.  And after all that reading, I sat there...a bit frazzled and overwhelmed.  But after collecting myself and reminding myself that I am a strong woman, I proceeded to list making. 

No joke, I have made 5 lists.  1) The "diaper bag" list (one diaper bag per child - each with its own list).  2) The "Checked Baggage" list.  3) The "Carry On" bag list, complete with "his" "hers" and "theirs." (each with its own list).  4) The "What can we absolutely NOT forget" list (including pacifiers, favorite books, cameras, video recorders, etc...).  5) The "In Case of Emergency" list, complete with diaper explosion tools, throw up incident preparation, and fussy baby aversion (benedryl/tylenol).

To minimize our juggling abilities and provide for a sane trip, we have decided to only take the bare essentials.  Thankfully for us, we are staying with my aunt, who is a grandma of 3 children under the age of 3 so her house is adequately equipped with all the baby goodies (pack-n-plays, car seats, double stroller, formula, diapers, and wipes).   So, all we really need to bring are the items needed for a smooth flight.  I have never blown through a box of Ziplock gallon sized bags so quickly in my life.  Those things are a twin mom dream. 

A few tips that I learned from fellow twin mom travelers:
1)  Bring a spare change of clothes for babies AND adults for the plane ride.  You never know when puke or poop will wind up on ya!
2)  Bring plastic rings (you know the kind that loop together and hang off of the car seat).  This way, once you board, you can pull out the toys and attach them to the plastic rings.  Then attach the rings to the tray table so that you aren't digging and searching on the ground for the beloved toy and avoid a tantrum.
3)  Backpacks and wearable baby carriers make for a hands free walk through the airport.
4)  Forget the cute wipe case or the convenient travel wipe case....bring a stack of wipes in a Ziplock bag.  One diaper explosion alone will exhaust all wipes from a travel wipe case.  Be prepared for at least 2 diaper explosions.
5)  Be patient and channel your inner twin mom super powers of juggling, multi-tasking, and just plain awesomeness.

I'm looking forward to figuring out and mastering my packing abilities.  I'm sure that my Type A-ness will shine in all its glory when trying to fit 4 individuals clothing into ONE large suitcase.  <sigh> Long gone are the days of having a whole suitcase for my shoes and matching accessories.