I hope you all had a magnificent long weekend filled with fun, family, friends, and some relaxation! Our family certainly had some new experiences, and overall an excellent time filled to the brim with greatness.
The drive to Arkansas is typically a 5-5.5 hour drive, but with all the kiddos in tow, and the extra stops we made, it turned into a 7 hour drive. Our pit stops were a welcome diversion, and the boys were able to stretch and goof off for a little over an hour.
Emmett and Owen were absolute angels in the car, much to my surprise. They didn't cry or fuss; they were content just sitting and watching DVDs. The older boys, on the other hand, were a bit of a handful, though once we were about 2 hours into the trip, they FINALLY settled into it. We made a stop in Texarkana to eat and play.
And the twins went shoe shopping for the first time. They picked out some handsome little tenny's, too.
I learned that taking all four boys to town is like trying to herd kittens. Ethan was a huge help with keeping them corralled, mostly because all three of them ADORE him, and would follow him into a cave, I'm sure!
Once we made it to Little Rock, we attended a class at Harding University, and I answered some really great questions from Harding Physical Therapy students. They are a sharp group of young adults, and I was impressed with the professionalism and respectful curiosity about the twins, and our journey ( medical, spiritual, and emotional).
The next day, we took the boys to Burn's Park, and let them at it for nearly 2 hours! All four boys had a lot of fun playing with one another. If the temperature had been more agreeable, we would have probably stayed longer! Unfortunately, it's as hot in Arkansas as it is in Texas.
The swings proved to be a love-hate relationship. They didn't like swinging at first, and then they loved it, and then they hated it again. However, by this time, it was nearing the end of our time at the park, and they were hot and tired.
After the park, we took them to Target and let them pick out a toy for the first time ever. (Grandma has to spoil them rotten at her house, much to my chagrin.)
On Saturday, we stayed home, and my family came out to visit and take pictures, and eat, and swim. It. Was. Amazing. Just like it used to be a few years ago when we could all gather together for holidays and special occasions. It was a long time coming, and it certainly didn't last long enough.
On Sunday, Dave spoke at Sylvan Hills Church of Christ about how God has strengthened our family bonds, and our faith, and how when we felt like we didn't have an option other than to trust God, that's all God asked us to do. And that's all we have to do.
After the service, we went back to the house and spoke with a few news agencies who wanted to know more about this huge milestone for our family! Thank you Sarah from "The Leader" newspaper, Alexis and Brian from KATV ch7, Astrid from THV11, and Jonathan from Fox 16. It was such a pleasure to meet you all!
Sunday evening, we made a surprise appearance at my Aunt Laurie's church, Central Baptist Church in Sherwood, AR. What a blessing!! We will be planning another trip to visit this church and probably at least one other hopefully sooner rather than later!
We spent Monday morning packing and Monday afternoon/evening traveling back home. Dave travelled with the three little boys, and I had to pick up Ethan from his dad's on my way home. Dave told me, "it's the most difficult, time-consuming, crazy thing I've ever done trying to get those three boys where I need them to go all at the same time! I don't know how you do it everyday!!" And let me tell you, I smiled a grin of utter pleasure knowing that he got to experience the crazy that I live every day. HAHAHAHAHA!!!
By the time we arrived home, I was absolutely exhausted from caring for the boys 24 hours a day for 5 days. I am grateful for the help that we have, and for the sleep that I am still catching up on. It was a difficult trip for ME, but one that I would do again in a heartbeat, as long as I knew I would have reinforcements waiting for me when I returned home!
3 good things:
1.) having such a supportive loving extended family, including wonderful in-laws. Ya'll made it totally worth the work!!
2.) Seeing the all the boys experience "firsts" with each other. First time to play at the park together, first time to go to the mall together, first time to travel to Arkansas together, etc.
3.) coming home to a crazy, socially-deprived-for-5-days cat. (He's part of our family, too!)
And 4.) experiencing the mercy of God everyday of my life. I don't deserve any of these things.
Be blessed, and take care, ya'll!!
And one more request, I am in a cooking rut. If you have a delicious, easy, family friendly recipe, I NEED it!! Please share it!
"The Leader" article - http://arkansasleader.blogspot.com/2015/09/top-storymiracle-of-conjoined-twins.html?m=1
KATV 11 coverage - http://www.katv.com/story/29971066/previously-conjoined-twins-visit-arkansas-for-the-first-time
Fox 16 coverage - http://www.fox16.com/news/local-news/once-conjoined-twin-boys-make-first-visit-back-home-to-the-natural-state
THV 11 coverage - http://www.thv11.com/story/news/local/sherwood/2015/09/06/conjoined-twins-make-their-first-visit-home--arkansas/71828338/