The recent holidays were extra special for Bob and Pat Orr, of Camas.
They celebrated Christmas Eve with their two sons and daughters-in-law, as well as seven grandchildren.
The new additions to the family in 2014 were two sets of identical twins — Aiden and Nolan, born in February, to Tyler and Jessica Orr; and Ananias and Thaddeus, born in September, to Kyle and Lisa Orr.
Pat described Christmas Eve as busy, at Tyler and Jessica’s house in Salem, Ore.
“Dinner was fun,” Pat said. “The two oldest twins wanted to eat just as much as we did. The other ones slept a lot, because they are just three months old.”
Kyle and Lisa’s other child, Aviya, 6, had a great time playing with the older cousins, because her brothers are still so small.
Bob and Pat drive to Salem once or twice a month.
“We watched Aviya when she was a baby,” Pat said. “We’ll help with the new ones as well.
“It’s fun to be included and be wanted,” she added.
Tyler and Jessica are also the parents of Avery, 14, and Nate, 12.
Thanksgiving Day at Bob and Pat’s house included all seven grandchildren.
“I staggered back in the house after everyone left,” Pat said. “Jessica’s grandparents were there. We had a lot of hands for the kids and babies. The newest ones don’t cry much.”
She remembered watching Aviya with a pull cart in a hallway. Aiden and Nolan crawled after her. Each boy was wearing images of identical fox heads on their bottoms.
“She was squealing with delight,” Pat said, regarding Aviya. “You can tell we’re going to have fun and more squeals in the years ahead.
“What a joy it is to be grandparents,” she added.
Bob said Thanksgiving was very hectic. He did the cooking that day.
Bob likes to say, “God had a two-fer in 2014, a two-for-one sale,” in regards to the two sets of twins.
“They are just a joy,” he said. “A lot of other people think their grandkids are really cute, but these kids really are, and they have really good smiles.”
Bob then forecast the financial challenge that college will bring.
Tyler, a high school biology teacher, said monochorionic-diamniotic twins involve one placenta and two amniotic sacs.
This kind of twin occurs in about three out of 1,000 births.
“I tell my students it would probably be a better odd of me winning a lottery than of this ever happening again,” Tyler said.
“My parents went from having three grandchildren to seven in one year,” he added. “It’s crazy.”
Tyler said it has been helpful to share some of the same experiences with his brother and to have support.
“We talk about what it’s like to be the dad of twin boys,” he said. “It’s almost like being in the Volkswagen Club. To have something in common with someone, that makes it special.”
Nolan has a mole on his calf, so that helps the parents and grandparents tell him apart from Aiden.
Kyle and Lisa have assigned their twins colors — Thaddeus, blue, and Ananias, green.
Their pacifiers match the color scheme as well.
“We try to make sure at least one is dressed in their color,” Kyle said. “The boys don’t have any distinguishing features that set them apart from each other like a birthmark, so we use a dab of toenail polish on their big toes as a fail safe for telling them apart. We haven’t mixed them up yet.”
The twins love to talk, “babble” and laugh, he said.
“It can be a challenge when both babies want something at the same time, but our boys are so easygoing and happy that they quickly recover from being upset,” Kyle added.
The twins seem to echo each other and mimic their parents and sister when they smile, laugh or make noises at them.
Ananias and Thaddeus notice and will stare at each other occasionally.
“This holds their attention for a little while, or at least until they see something of more interest,” Kyle said.
He and Lisa started laughing when they found out they were having mono-di identical twins.
They were excited and elated, but no one in their families believed them.
“Tyler was convinced I was pulling a prank on him,” Kyle said. “We had to show them the ultrasound picture to get them to believe us. After the shock wore off, our families were both so excited for us.”
Lisa’s parents, Doug and Doris Donald, also live in Camas.
Kyle graduated from Camas High School in 1997. That same year, Lisa graduated from Washougal High School.
Tyler and Jessica received diplomas from CHS in 2000.