Two times the mom

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 14, 2006

By Adam Hammer, staff writer

Heidi Venem counts in twos: Two boys, two girls, two cribs, two toddler beds, two highchairs, two booster seats.

&8220;We’ve definitely outgrown our house,&8221; Venem said. &8220;But what do we say Josie? Lots of love grows in little houses,&8221; she reminded her three-year-old daughter of a saying the family has.

Being a mother to four children is not uncommon, however, this is not a common situation &045; Venem’s four children came from two pregnancies.

Josie has a twin sister, Jaiden. Josie and Jaiden’s one-year-old brothers, Jaxon and Jaeger, are also twins. Both sets are fraternal.

&8220;We’re lucky to have four,&8221; Venem said. &8220;There’s never a dull moment.&8221;

There were actually supposed to be five, but there was a miscarriage during the first pregnancy with the girls.

&8220;We thought it was going to turn out to be a bad day, but we found out there were still two more in there,&8221; Chris Venem, Heidi’s husband, said.

Having more than one child with their first pregnancy made their second time around much easier, Heidi said, although it was still a shock to find out they were having twins, again.

&8220;The doctors were quite shocked even,&8221; she said.

They waited to find out the sex of Jaxon and Jaeger until they were born. They already had two of everything from Josie and Jaiden, so the main preparations for caring for the newest additions to the family were already taken care of.

That’s not to say it’s all clear sailing as a mother of four children that are all within two years apart in age. Between 5 and 8 p.m. most nights is hectic in the Venem household. There are three shifts of dinner since the boys like to eat earlier than the girls. When the girls are finished eating, Heidi and Chris have their chance to get dinner.

By 9 p.m., the day finally comes to an end for the Venems after the kids are all fed, bathed and put down to sleep.

&8220;Just sitting on the couch isn’t something we get to do anymore,&8221; Vemen said.

Some of Venem’s friends and family ask how she manages to take care of two sets of twins and keep her sanity. She say it’s not bad at all. It also helps that Chris works in road construction and has the winter off to stay home and care for the kids. Heidi is a teacher at Southwest Middle School in Albert Lea and has the summer to be home.

&8220;We simply don’t know it any other way,&8221; she said. &8220;We just do it.&8221;

(Contact Adam Hammer at adam.hammer@albertleatribune.com or 379-3439.)