This past weekend, we celebrated all four of the Quads' birthdays. (We call our four younger children the Quads.) Their birthdays are all within ten days of each other, so Mark and I have a big birthday celebration for all four sometime in the latter half of October.
Now, one may ask, how did that happen? Four birthdays within ten days? Therein lies a tale.
Esther and Aaron, who are turning 12 this year, were adopted from Nakhodka, Russia (near Vladivostock). when they were 6-1/2 months old. They had both been born in the same hospital in October 2002 within 12 days of each other, and in each case, their birth mothers relinquished all parental rights to the state shortly after their births. They then went to the same orphanage in Nakhoda (pictured below).
We first met the babies in April 2003, then we had to go back to Russia in May to complete the adoptions.
|Me holding Aaron (left) and Esther|
|Aaron and Esther, shortly before they left Russia|
|Me and Aaron|
Aaron was actually born on October 19th, and Esther's birthday was on Halloween. When we adopted them, we had the option of changing their birth dates, so we decided to split the difference and designate October 25th are their legal birth dates. At the time, we thought this might help to raise them as twins in case of awkward questions for them about their adoptions.
We adopted the twins because we thought we couldn't have any more children. So imagine the surprise when my former wife found out, not quite a year after we had brought the twins home, that she was pregnant with a boy. Levi was born on November 1, 2004.
|My dad holding Levi when he was about two months old|
Then, through a series of events, we ended up going back to Russia in the summer and fall of 2007 in order to adopt Annie, who had been born on October 23rd in Vladivostok. We met her when she was about seven months old.
|Annie's orphanage, outside Vladivostok|
|Me and Annie|
And so, that is how it came to pass that the birthdays of my four younger children are all within ten days of each other.
We had a good time this past weekend, starting off with a Dr. Who-themed birthday dinner. Then, each child had their own birthday cake of their choosing. The two girls opted for traditional cakes. Aaron, however, wanted a Texas donut, and Levi wanted a cherry pie.
|Aaron's Texas Donut*|
|Esther and her cake|
|Levi's cherry pie.|
|Levi and Buddha|
The next day, I took them all to Thanksgiving Point. I had been a bit apprehensive about this. I'm not really a crowds guy. And, like, I'm not exactly a *young* father. But my daughter, Rachel, came along to help and it was actually a lot of fun. After we paid a visit to the petting farm (which took the kids a while to warm too), we went to the Museum of Ancient Life. The funnest thing about this place was a big room where kids (and their parents) could make structures out of styrofoam blocks.
|Perhaps the funnest part for the kids was when they knocked it all down|
|Annie and Levi in the "river" playing with sand|
I am blessed with AMAZING children.
* All of the remaining photographs, as well as the lead photo, were taken by my daughter, Rachel.