Worrisome Situation

A very upsetting story has brought worldwide attention to international surrogacy in Thailand. A straight Australian couple that had twins through surrogacy in Thailand allegedly abandoned the boy twin with Down’s Syndrome while taking home the healthy girl twin.

Baby Gammy, a boy with separated from his twin sister

Baby Gammy, a boy with separated from his twin sister

There is conflicting information about who knew what when. Regardless of what actually happened, it is clear that this surrogacy process was horribly mismanaged, and now the military controlled government in Thailand is looking into shutting down surrogacy as a whole because of this case. I am very worried for the intended parents with surrogacy in process over there. Given the amount of worldwide attention this is getting, I would not be surprised if there are is an international backlash against surrogacy.  I would not recommend starting any international surrogacy process anywhere right now.

Happy Birthday(s)!

The babies turned 1 year old July 1st, and the boys turned 7 on July 2nd.  We celebrated by piling into the minivan with our awesome nanny Pat and her son to spend a few days celebrating in Orlando.  We went to Epcot July 3rd and spent July 4th at Magic Kingdom.  It was very hot and crowded but I am very proud of what we managed to accomplish despite our cumbersome crew of 8.  The boys were just tall enough to have their first ride on Space Mountain!

July 4th at the Magic Kingdom!

July 4th at the Magic Kingdom!

DJ and MJ are definitely developing faster as full term babies than AJ and JJ did as preemies.  They are eschewing the bottle in favor of solids and sippy cups.    They are now both crawling, pulling to stand, and are awfully close to taking their first steps!

AJ and JJ finished a great year as 1st graders in the gifted program of their elementary school.  They are spending the summer reading the Harry Potter books together with Josh and just finished the first volume.  Watching them read together brings me full circle to July 2007 when Josh waited on a line at midnight for a copy of volume 7 and then went straight to the hospital to read out loud to AJ and JJ in the NICU.  Some of the nurses teased Josh saying that he was spoiling the books for AJ and JJ by reading them the end of the series.  But I have to believe some of their current fascination with the books has its roots in rudimentary memories of their Daddy telling them about Harry, Hermione and Ron’s adventures from outside their plastic isolette incubators.

Maybe we will take them back up to Orlando at the end of the summer to visit Harry Potter at Universal Studios!

9 Month Update

In happier news, Josh and I celebrated our 17th anniversary on Monday, and DJ and MJ turned 9 months old Tuesday.

Compared to the insanity of AJ and JJ’s infancy, caring for DJ and MJ has been an easier experience.  I think we can take a little credit for being more seasoned as parents of twins.  We are also very fortunate that our awesome nanny that took care of AJ and JJ until they were 3 came back to help out with the new twins as soon as they got home from India.  But I think the main reason things are going more smoothly has to do with the fact that this set of twins did not come 2 months premature.  They have not had any feeding or apnea issues to be concerned about, and have been sleeping through the night since the end of September.

DJ is developing into a spunky little girl.  She is crawling all over the house and is pulling to stand already.  She likes to clap her hands and blow raspberries, which is cute until she does it while she is eating and ends up spitting all over whomever is feeding her.

MJ is possibly less mobile because he is a hungry boy and outweighs his sister by a few pounds.  He is able to sit up and roll over both ways, so his preferred form of locomotion is rolling himself around the house like a log.  But he is definitely more vocal!  His babbling started out with “Bah bah bah” giving us hope that he might be trying to call out for us.  But then it transitioned to “Blah blah blah…” so now we think he is just mocking us.

Despite the bustle of activity at home, AJ and JJ have been managing to do well in 1st grade, attend tae kwon do classes 3 times a week and go to Hebrew school on Sunday mornings.  As twins themselves, I think they are accustomed to the fact that neither of them have ever had my undivided attention for long.  They are adapting well to even more distracted parents and I am proud of them.

Costumes for  Purim party at Hebrew school

Costumes for Purim party at Hebrew school

Play area at the local mall

Play area at the local mall


Rest in Peace

A few days ago news first broke that Fred Phelps, founder of Westboro Baptist Church, was on his deathbed. As usual, all sorts of internet commentary was offered. However, I was very disturbed by the number of LGBT people that suggested celebration and picketing of his funeral similar to the way his church members have picketed funerals of soldiers and other events to spread their homophobia. I find this type of schadenfreude similarly repulsive to his church’s activities. It is never classy to celebrate death, even if you resented the departed terribly. I have always wished upon the haters long life, in the hope that with age will come the wisdom of how wrong they were and maybe even an attempt to make amends. I can only hope that the report of Fred Phelps having been ex-communicated from his own church last summer is a sign that he may have had a last minute change of heart.

After Fred Phelps’ death last night, I am hoping that the LGBT community will exercise restraint and not display some of the same hateful grave-dancing that made the Westboro Baptist Church so infamous.

Rest in Peace

Rest in Peace

Our Whirlwind Winter Vacation

After working for most of the holiday season including Christmas, I was able to cobble together a few days off from work.  We decided to take the opportunity to drive to Orlando for a quick family vacation.

We stayed at the Nickelodeon Suites Resort, which was amusing for AJ and JJ as they are currently fans of SpongeBob Squarepants.  They enjoyed the 3D Movie Theater and the SpongeBob decorations.  There were multiple photo opportunities to meet the characters at the resort, but the boys have reached the stage where they realize it is somebody in a costume and are rather disenchanted and uncooperative with such photos.

DJ and MJ are happy to meet SpongeBob and Patrick even if their brothers aren't.

DJ and MJ are happy to meet SpongeBob and Patrick even if their brothers aren’t.

On Monday we attempted to go to the Magic Kingdom but were sadly turned away at the gates because they were filled to capacity!  We were diverted to Epcot with a voucher for free parking and 50% off lunch so we made sure we made good use of our consolation prizes.  As we had predicted, the park was very busy and getting around as a bulky party of 6 was not conducive to getting much accomplished.  But we simply enjoyed the time together as a family and considered it a success that we even made it there.

Family of 6 at Epcot

Family of 6 at Epcot

Josh had to get back to work by Tuesday, so he drove home with the babies.  I stayed in Orlando with AJ and JJ for two more days to allow them more time to enjoy the parks now that they are tall enough for most of the rides.

12/31/13. JJ and AJ's new favorite ride.  They insisted on going twice!

12/31/13. JJ and AJ’s new favorite ride. They insisted on going twice!

New Year's Eve at Animal Kingdom

New Year’s Eve at Animal Kingdom

New Year's Day at Universal Studios

New Year’s Day at Universal Studios

Now we are all back at home safe and sound.  It was a nice vacation to mark the end of an amazing year for our family, and the beginning of a new one.  In closing, we wish everyone a Happy New Year and we present our holiday card for 2013!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!