After our evacuation down to Albuquerque (we arrived late Monday afternoon, June 27th), we stayed in our hotel until Thursday. Our first few nights with the twins were filled with several adventures, but I will share just a few in no particular order:
The twins had their first nights in a crib together! We brought our pack-and-play along for the trip, and they slept there together while we were in the hotel. We were pretty exhausted from getting up with them at night frequently, but they did great overall. They still sleep in this pack-and-play together today (six weeks later), but we’re not sure how long that will last since they like to huddle on top of each other now.
Explora! Emmy and Kaylee love this place; it’s like a little science museum for kids. We met up with a few fellow evacuees from church, which was nice for Emmy and Kaylee since they got to see some of their friends even though we were far away. As we had left Los Alamos, Emmy said “This is my town and I don’t want to leave!,” but she was finally convinced that all of her friends had to leave, too. Emmy and Kaylee had lots of fun cutting up paper that flies in the wind, playing in mirrors, and playing with Bubbles. I got to talk with my sister on the phone. The girls would have stayed all day, I’m sure, but pretty soon we were getting hungry and it was time to go to the airport to pick up …
Grandma Kath! She had planned on visiting us in Los Alamos, but since we were in Albuquerque we got to pick her up at the airport! We had fun with her at Fuddruckers where the girls got burgers and shakes, and I got an excellent green chile cheeseburger. Very good. It was nice to have a few extra hands to help with everything. When Emmy heard that Grandma Kath was coming, she said to make sure she brought her swimsuit (like you’d ever have to ask my mom to bring a swimsuit on a trip!).
The pool! The hotel had a pretty nice indoor swimming pool, which we thoroughly enjoyed. Uncle Christian, Grandma Kath, Emmy, Kaylee, and I (Alex) all enjoyed the swimming pool quite a few times. We had been to the swimming pool in Los Alamos the Saturday before and the girls were pretty scared about getting in the water, but once they remembered how much they loved the pool they wanted to go any free moment they had.
Target runs! Apparently pulling out everything in sight isn’t the greatest strategy when packing, but since that was done in a hurry a few things were forgotten. My mom went to Target with Emmy and Kaylee and I while we got a bunch of random stuff for the twins and everyone else. All throughout our time in Albuquerque we saw people we knew from Los Alamos, whether it was old neighbors (at Target) or former classmates and co-workers (in the hotel), as well as our previously-mentioned friends from church. Seeing them made things feel a little more like home, even though we were a hundred miles away from all our stuff.
Air conditioning! Sadly for Julia and the twins, they didn’t get to enjoy much of our adventures around town, but they did enjoy the air conditioning! I’m pretty sure she’d tell you that this was the best part of our evacuation. She and the twins (not to mention her parents) did an awesome job of keeping everything humming along as we all spent lots of time entertaining kids and planning out our next days of the evacuation.
Acts of kindness #1… Paul and Nicole Rhien, our friends from Los Alamos, had moved down to Rio Rancho (which is right next to Albuquerque). They were quick to check up on us as they had heard through Facebook that we had our twins, and that we were going to be in Albuquerque. Not only did they bring us a whole box of newborn-size diapers (they literally lasted us over a month!), but they also offered for us to stay in their recently-vacated apartment (they had purchased a home and still had a little time left in their rental apartment). Although the circumstances didn’t work out for us to stay in Albuquerque, we definitely appreciated the offer!
… and #2: For a second act of kindness, an unknown friend paid for a whole night’s stay in our hotel, and left us a well-loaded Target gift card! Talk about an act of kindness. Amid all of the stresses of evacuating and caring for newborn twins, we were definitely humbled that someone would do something like this for us. If that person happens to read this blog, I really want to say thank you. We saw many other acts of kindness on our trip, and it really touched me that amid all the chaos of life, there are lots of people who genuinely care not only enough to say they care, but they actually do things.
Doctors Visit! With our hurried evacuation, we worried a bit about how the twins were doing. They had slept really well on the way down to Albuquerque. In fact, they slept so long that I’m sure they missed their scheduled feeding. With all of the craziness and worrying about if their belly buttons looked right or were they jaundiced or anything, we were very impressed that Dr. Nichols made a house call! He and the other doctors from their practice had evacuated town as well, so he was covering the families that really needed a visit in Albuquerque. It was great that he could come and check the twins out and look at them. We joked with him that we rarely saw him under regular circumstances (our kids have been pretty healthy except for some big things – like this evacuation and Emmy’s birth). We joked with him that we wanted a reduced rate for the check-up since he wasn’t able to weigh the, but the joke was on us because the whole visit was free. Again, I’m very impressed with how they took care of us.
Moving on with our journey… Part of the reason to get the twins checked out was because we knew we might be headed north. My grandpa had been in hospice care for a little while, and things were starting to get worse. He passed away on Wednesday, June 29th, which was also the anniversary of his and my grandma’s marriage. He had been sick for quite a while, so we knew this was coming, but it wasn’t really easy to deal with this on top of everything else that was going on. The funeral would be the next Tuesday in Idaho, so we our big group (two twins, two girls under five, their uncle, mom, dad, a grandpa, and both grandmas) decided to make our way up to Utah, where we could stay with family.
Our trip to Utah will be continued in part three!