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Easter in Us

Happy Easter! Christ is risen!

This Easter we took advantage of the holiday to take a new family portrait—finally! Since the birth of the twins we’ve been longing to get ourselves together enough to capture our family of six. The occasion eluded us until yesterday when we finally went for it.

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Setting up a tripod and setting down a weaved mat in our grassy Yaounde background, we did our best to keep everyone’s focus fixed on the camera while I remotely snapped away via my phone. The portrait we settled on among the dozens and dozens of attempts is the one you find above and now featured on our about page, so you know it’s official. Had we known at the time that Poppy was making a kissy/fish face we (probably) would have encouraged her to go with a more natural expression, but after half an hour of trial and tribulation, yea a test of parental endurance, we throw up our hands and say, “Well, that’s our family. That’s us. Good enough.”

We now offer you a few outtakes, just to give a taste of what we went through to get to the point where we were ready to settled with the best of the bunch above.

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Should have hired a beast of burden

Flying (Part 1)

Posing behind Uncle's van full of our luggage.

Posing behind Uncle Simon’s van full of our luggage

I gave up watching in-flight films roughly four and a half years ago.  We took Poppy on her first long haul flight when she was 18 months old.  We went to the UK for Christmas and I vowed never to fly with a toddler again.  Too bad we had to fly back to the US shortly after!  Flying with young children is a little less stressful, especially if they can focus on a game/film or colouring for a time.  But the constant interruptions are still endless.

So, you can imagine my nervousness when we faced a very long flight with one connection thrown in for good measure.  Firstly we had to get through the airport to simply get on the flight.  I had the winning formation laid out in my head:  one twin to one adult, strapped to.  Big kids in big stroller, or running along side.  Two large rucksacks, one large camera bag, one leather satchel, a rolly suitcase and two mini rucksacks in blue and pink stuffed with kinder egg toys and random bits of toot deemed irreplaceable.  I was at the point where I almost needed to sketch it out on paper just to believe it was even slightly possible.  I’m trying to think of more ridiculous things we have done as a family but I think this may have trumped the lot.

Should have hired a beast of burden

Should have hired a beast of burden

We got to the airport in plenty of time to check in our 13 (maxed out to capacity in every conceivable way) bags.  Plus the TWO car seats and a smaller umbrella stroller. It was quiet and we walked straight up to the check-in desk. We said a brief farewell to my parents (trust me it’s better that way) and headed off holding our breath.  It was, however, a complete breeze.  I’m not blowing my trumpet or calling myself Super Mum but if I didn’t believe in God I would say that the stars were all aligned that day.  We got to our gate and Drew and the kids went off to find a bite to eat.  By this time we had put both twins in the stroller and they were fast asleep.  Not too long later we were boarding.

To be continued…

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Bringing Home Bundles

Yesterday–the same day that we sent out an email newsletter announcing the twins and that they and Mummy should be home any day now–well, that very yesternight as Poppy calls it, was the very night that everyone was discharged. If home is where the heart is, and we believe that’s spot on, then for the past eleven days, our home and heart have been divided between a Greater London flat and an even greater removed hospital room. Bringing back those bundles yesternight brought our home and heart back together.

Because I’m authoring this post the morning after, you know that we survived. All it takes is one night to come to the following deeply profound, earth-shattering observation: the thing about having twins is that it’s two babies.

The MaustsOnToast are now and forevermore (!) six: Daddy, Mummy, two girls, two boys.

You see Poppy putting the finishing touches on baby George’s hat while Henry looks on quizzically and Florence does what parents hope newborns do best. The twins very compliantly allowed themselves to be positioned into their protective auto pods before being inspected by a well-girthed nurse. Now picture time. Hats on, straps tight, tray tables in the upright position, Poppy then barks at big brother, “Henry! Stand behind your baby!”

Thank you for standing behind us!

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Patients

Is a patient someone who is patient or someone who suffers? Being patient often feels like suffering, so perhaps it’s a bit of both.

Children are uniquely positioned to instruct parents in the ways of patience. Parents must slow down, relax, refocus, refocusing expectations to those that will best benefit the child.

Teaching a child a game is a good example. The child has to listen patiently while the parent patiently explains how it’s going to go down. The child won’t like the idea of not being able to enter immediately into the game; the parent knows, however, that learning the rules makes for a better experience in the long run. After all, you have to know the rules before you can break them.