Tuesday, August 31, 2010

David the comedian...

Though Mary Louise has played the brute for quite sometime, it would seem the tables have turned in the past few weeks with David striking back a bit at his (uhem) older sister...

And he may still have (many many) fussy moments, but David has been doing more than his fair share of giggling lately. Every afternoon, he has "giggle time". He hasn't been napping at all (despite my best efforts) so by mid-afternoon, I'm pretty sure he gets a bit delirious and goes through hysterical laughing spells...

So that's what's been happening around our house today!


Monday, August 30, 2010

Have I mentioned...

Mary Louise and David LOVED the beach?!


St. Augustine 2010

This trip included so many firsts for Mary Louise and David...it was their first trip to the beach, first time in the ocean, first time around sand, their first time to meet their great grandparents. They saw where my dad grew up, met cousins and other extended family. We made so many happy memories there - and survived the 12 hour drive there and back!

First time to St. Augustine 2010


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Summer 2010 pics and videos!!

I've FINALLY gotten a few photos / albums somewhat organized and hope to finish up today. Also, Kyle took a couple of fun videos during his visit...

Playing at home (prior to move) in July:
playing at the home - June / July 2010

Trips to the grandparents' - these are mostly at Ma Mere and Pops' place in MS. - while we were trying to sell the house!
trips to the grandparents! Summer 2010

The babies have definitely developed a fascination with the pets around here...much to the chagrin of our 10 year old dachshund, Chester (which by the way, his name is Mary Louise's first official word!!! - I had no idea how much I fussed at him until she blurted that one out!) Also in this video...David's froggie has a short cameo, as does David's extreme adoration of his Uncle Smee! They are playing in the kitchen - a favorite - they have 2 cabinets all to themselves full of kitchen odds and ends to "cook" with.

And finally (for this post anyhow), we were given a baby tent recently...David absolutely LOVES this thing! It is small and very light so I set it up in their downstairs playroom. It has been a hit from the get go! (I love that you see very little of David in this video - the tent just giggles and rolls every so often in an effort to "catch" Mary Louise)


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

You say "goodbye" and I say "hello"!

Mary Louise and David were in bed with me this morning. They were waking up and I was clinging to my last few moments of sleep. I had tucked them in with me about 30 minutes earlier when they started to stir in their bed (which by the way, things are going pretty well since we moved and put them in their own little room. They stay there the vast majority of the time though we are in and out if needed. Anyhow, we've stuck to it and I'm pretty excited that it's working out.) Mary Louise giggled and began crawling toward the foot of the bed. I said, "Mary Louise, come back up here please. This bed is too high for you to play near the edge." I motioned with my hand for her to come to me. She turned, saw the motion, smiled a huge grin and waved back at me - so proud and sure that she'd "gotten" the response just right!

So, Mary Louise can officially wave - and boy does she do it all the time. Brent brought them to running club on Saturday morning and said she waved proudly every time someone ran past. We went to the store today. Each time someone passed us, she would grin and wave.

We have been working on waving and saying "hello" or "bye bye" for quite some time. But, it seems to have just really clicked. She'll do it with or without demonstration now. David grins at everyone, but hasn't quite put the waving thing into action with anyone but me or Brent. All in good time...

Last night was a bit better. No one moved until 1am when David needed a little ta-ta-ing and I needed to pump anyhow. Things got a little hairy when both woke around 4am when Brent was to get ready for work. I did get them back to sleep eventually though and they slept until about 7:30 once they were sound. There were a few needs between 2 and 4 though. Overall, it was better than the previous few nights and pretty typical for what we consider to be a "good" night.

A few questions have come up in comments...

FINGER FOODS: I started out with chopped soft fruits - bananas, peaches (peeled), pears (peeled), mangoes, melons, blue berries - I would squeeze them in their mouths just enough to pop the skin which made it a bit easier for them to manipulate the berry in their mouths to chew, steamed veggies (carrots, squash, green beans)- steamed to soft but not mushy so that they could easily be handled, chunks of peeled potatoes - white and sweet, avocado pieces and tofu chunks - the firm variety.

They have now been able to handle whole grain crackers, goldfish grahams, and whole grain cheese gold fish, whole grain bread and toast, I'll give them a wheat melba toast for teething - it turns to mush eventually and they can handle the bites, cheeses (cut in small pieces), and all of the things from the beginning - fruits and veggies- with the addition of skins on the soft fruits and grapes chopped in half.

I have tried various beans numerous times with little success. Mary Louise hates anything that even remotely resembles the texture of grits or white potatoes (though I periodically try things anyhow and every once in awhile she accepts a bite or 2).

PHOTOS: Kyle is coming this evening and I'm hoping he can show me how to free up some more space on my laptop so that I can down load the whole heap of photos I have been taking...I'll have some up ASAP.

CRYING IT OUT: ha - this has been mentioned to me numerous times. Believe me, with 2 babies and well, one me, they cry WAY more than I'd like them to when I'm doing my best not to let them. I feel it's important to meet their needs - all the time - even in the middle of the night. I've never known them to cry for no reason - even though sometimes, once I figure out what the reason is (fighting over a toy), they don't really like my reaction. They also have very different cries for given situations. They cry differently when hungry vs. a simple want for attention. I suppose I do Ferberize them to some degree during their naps when I know one is tired and I put them in their swing or on their palate. However, I know by the sound of their crying if they are going to calm or escalate...within a minute or so.

Mary Louise has a coronary artery fistula which is monitored every 6 months for size. It has been recommended by the pediatric cardiologist that we not put her in overly strenuous sport-like courses (i.e. soccer, gym, etc.) when she gets a little older without having her heart checked...by a specialist as she may not be able to handle the exertion well. Admittedly, the pediatrician feels differently - that the fistula is not likely to cause a problem. I choose to err on the side of the specialist - who has seen the babies and cared for them since their birth, and throughout their NICU stay and beyond. Accordingly, it is in the back of my mind that she should not be allowed to cry for extended periods (extended to me means more than 5 minutes) if it can be avoided. She does well with self soothing if she doesn't really need anything and I am satisfied that she has appropriate coping skills for her age and background.

David is not a self soother - regardless of encouragement. He does, upon occasion calm himself but is more likely to escalate completely out of control when left to cry. Once he passes a certain point, he will not calm without being caudal ed. He has had an extensive history of GI disturbances and relatively severe problems (perforation-repaired, complicated, communicating double inguinal hernia-repaired, and currently has a communicating abdominal hernia that we are hoping will resolve without surgery). In short, many of high nightly issues revolve around some sort of GI pain or moderate discomfort.

Couple their current issues with the fact that they were born under such extreme and traumatic circumstances and my feeling is that they are doing more than remarkably well with their coping skills and nervous system development.

Finally, I had an awful lot of time to "just be" in the hospital and I spent it hanging on to every movement, thump or tap of my little ones. I can say without a doubt, that even in utero, these kiddos were not sleepers. Kuylen was the only one who ever had periods of calm...

Anyhow, Brent and I have talked, at length, about the use of different methods to aid in Mary Louise and David's sleep. We tweak our routine regularly in an effort to provide the safest environment that (we feel) is conducive to their sleep. We would love (love love love) a full night's rest for ourselves, but feel we are doing what's best for our babies by answering them when they need attention. It's just what's best right now, for our house.

YAY! Uncle Kyle is here!!!


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A Moment Please Little Ones...

Well, I've finally reached a wall - maybe I've reached it before...Lord knows what I've been doing these past months - thankfully, I've written much of it down so I can go back and see for myself as I surely don't remember much of it!

We've been going through yet another sleepless phase- not that Mary Louise and David ever really sleep much - but there are periods in which they seem to teeter and toy with the possibility of sleeping - oh, I don't know - MORE THAN 3 stinkin' hours at a time!!! (yes, you do detect a bit of frustration there). For the past 3 nights, one (being David) or both have gotten us up just about every hour after midnight and every 3 hours or so before midnight. In short, Brent and I are both quite exhausted. In addition, they seem to be out growing...or loosing all interest rather...in naptime (dun dun dunnnn). They may take short naps (as in 20 to 30 minutes at the most) once (that would be 1 - not 2 or 3, but 1) a day but that's about it - well on a typical day anyhow.

It could be more teeth charging through. Along with sleep issues (namely, a lack there of), Mary Louise and David have been refusing solids, wanting more bottles, and seem to be reverting back to a wanting a few of their favorite purees - which they haven't wanted for months. The final clue that it's teething related is that Mary Louise hasn't had much trouble pooping in the past few days (somehow I know she appreciate me discussing her bowel habits in a public forum one day). The ONLY time she goes day(S) without at least mild constipation is when she is actively cutting a tooth.

Brent actually stayed home from work yesterday to help me with the babies. We were both so tired from their late night shenanigans that he didn't think he could safely make the 45 minute drive to the golf course. We had a really nice family day - and I'm so very thankful to him for giving us some much needed Daddy time!

This morning was very rough with Mary Louise and David wailing at 5:30am. Mary Louise napped, David did nothing of the sort. I was at the end of my rope and needed some air and a change of scene. We went walking - for 2 hours. Thankfully, the babies do well in the stroller for longer and longer periods so I am able to have a moment or 2 of "deep thinking" time while getting some exercise in the sunshine. (That's enough to turn up the corners of my mouth even on the most trying of days!)

I am also very excited about our newest mode of transportation...BIKING!!! A friend of a friend gave us a very nice double bike trailer that their family had outgrown. It is missing the piece that connects it to the bike currently, but as soon as we remedy that (and I, uhem, learn to ride a bike again...that "never forget" stuff is just bollocks!) we're off!

In the growth and development arena, Mary Louise now "gives kisses"!!! Well, I say, "Mary Louise, may I please have a kiss?" and she leans her forehead against my mouth. Ha - as it turns out, I've given that child so many forehead kisses, she's now leaning in for them! She is definitely calling David "Da" (with a long "a" sound) and has started to call Chester (our dachshund) "uh-der) while pointing at him. Today, she pointed to my nose and mouth numerous times on command and she and David both can put a number of shapes through the proper holes in their puzzle block.

David is my poor accident prone soul this week. His stats: black eyes courtesy of a face plant on the edge of a step (he hit the bridge of his poor nose - OUCH!) = 1; lumps on the head WITH bruising = 1; lumps on the head, fusses with Mary Louise, run ins with toys he didn't enjoy = countless and infinite. (Yes, I realize it's only Tuesday!)

They are both continuing their amazing progress with walking. Mary Louise appears to be choosing to attempt to walk more often in lieu of crawling - especially short distances(3 to 5 steps). She has also started to stand on her own rather than pulling up on things. David lets go of his supports each time he pulls to a stand and certainly isn't afraid to take a few independent steps with a huge grin.

Both Mary Louise and David have also mastered the use of a straw. They are doing really well with valveless sippy cups and can drink out of open cups when we hold them. They drink from a sports bottle as well and take bites of things now rather than having me cut everything into tiny pieces (when they actually want to eat!).

So, we're doing well. We could all use a nice rest - but we're doing really well just the same. Thanks for reading - and thanks to Mary Louise and David for allowing me just a moment to think this through...


Friday, August 20, 2010

LAST PT Friday!!

Happy graduation my lovies!!

Today, Mary Louise and David officially graduated from the Early Steps program! They each took a few steps for their therapist who was oh so proud of their wonderful progress.

We have figured out that Mary Louise likes to simply hold onto something while walking. (think little old lady clutching her purse) It makes no difference that the something typically doesn't offer any stability, it only seems to comfort her to have her hands full. I'll oblige if it gets her moving!

David just wants to walk TO someone. He loves to toddle into the arms of myself or Brent. (and we are ALWAYS happy to catch him!)

To put things in perspective as far as their amazing development...the therapist said today that she has NEVER graduated a child born before 30 weeks prior to their 3rd birthday (at which point they don't actually graduate but age out of that program and go into the public school system). She has been doing this a number of years. This year, she has had a 25 week 6 day boy graduate before his 3rd birthday, and Mary Louise and David have graduated today - at 1 year adjusted, 16 months actual. Unheard of!!!

We are just so so proud of our little troopers and know that they can truly accomplish anything with their immense potential!!!

Wonderful news today!!


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

15 month pedi checkup

We made our trek up to the pediatrician's office this afternoon for Mary Louise and David's 15 month check-up - though I do realize most pediatricians check for wellness at 18 months, we still bring the babies about every 3 months to ensure proper growth, development and update vaccinations when necessary.

I must warn you, pediatrician visits are always a bit traumatic...for ME! Mary Louise and David usually do just fine but I typically find myself on the defensive end of the parenting stick..."yes, I am still pumping for them (even though you think it's unnecessary)..." "yes, they still eat at night (even though you tell me according to your growth chart rules and regulations that they shouldn't need to- they beg to differ and since you seem so happy with their weight and growth...)..." "no, they are not eating meat yet - their teeth just recently came in for goodness sake! But, we are trying - they are gagging..." "No, they are not taking vitamins anymore..." "yes, I still want to split their shots (even though the research is ambivalent to say the least)..."

Having said that, there are always (and I mean ALWAYS) remarks about how well the babies are growing, developing and "catching up" slowly but surely with their chronological full term peers.

Today was no different. They had 2 shots - the dreaded MMR and a Tetnus booster. They are almost done with their immunizations and will have the remaining ones at their next visit in 3 more months.

Mary Louise was 26 inches long (while squirming furiously and kicking and screaming because she was afraid of both lying on her back and the stethoscope). She weighed 16 pounds and 13 ounces - not too shabby! David was 27 inches long (pretty accurate as he was still) and weighed 15 pounds 13 ounces - ever maintaining their one pound weight difference.

They did really well - even with the shots - a few tears, some parental cringing, and some prophylactic Tylenol. Today (Thursday) they were extra clingy, with very mild fevers, some little bruises on their thighs - but nothing unexpected - or that we haven't seen before.

This afternoon, Mary Louise actually walked about 3 or 4 feet on her own - the most she's ever done!! David is regularly taking 3 to 5 steps towards us. They "talk" back and forth with one another - though we still haven't been able to decipher actual words, they do repeat similar sounds over and over.

Early Steps (the therapy program that comes here to the house) phoned yesterday (Wednesday). Our case worker (LOVE her!) said that their latest evaluation showed that they are "not delayed enough" to continue to qualify for the program. We will therefore have our last in home PT appointment tomorrow.

Their most delayed area is expressive speech (talking). The evaluation was based on their chronological age only - no consideration given to their prematurity. So, they did remarkably well considering all they've been through, but still have a way to go yet. I will of course continue to work with them daily and if our concerns increase, or their progress decreases, I can request a re-evaluation in about 3 months. We also discussed the results briefly with their pedi who wants to watch their expressive speech progress carefully. If not enough progress is made between now and 24 months of age, out patient speech therapy may be recommended. But, we'll cross that bridge if it comes. Mary Louise and David are still working hard with walking so hopefully, as they progress with that area, speech will follow.

Yesterday just about wore me out. Mary Louise and David didn't stop all day - which is typical - but my gosh - were they busy yesterday. The days' stats...pee on the floor - twice - David and Tootle. Onesie in the toilet - David. Full blown fits - Mary Louise, 3, David 3 or so. Onesie in the bathtub - David (he LOVES water). Memorable bumps on the head - 1 - David.

I suppose I should publish this before I write a book - I'm just so excited to be able to puke up my mess of thoughts again!


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Well, it's hard to believe...

But we're back on track - WITH the internet - in the new house. We signed papers to go under contract with our little house yesterday and are set to go to act of sale in about a month. After 2 months of fooling around with moving, buying and selling, it seems we are moving slowly in the right direction.

We are in the new house and settling into some sort of routine...that by no means is to imply that we are settled, but we're making tiny bits of progress daily with the unpacking and setting up. I'm always surprised with what Brent and I can accomplish given 30 minutes of time together when we know that the 30 minutes are so hard to come by. Under the gun, we can make some serious headway with projects and moving!

Mary Louise and David are simply amazing! They are just starting to take a few steps regularly and can stand freely for relatively long periods (a minute or so). They are eating table food multiple times daily - mostly fruits and veggies still though we have tried tiny bits of baked or boiled chicken breast with little success so far. They eat tofu if you're wondering about protein and take in about 40 ounces in their bottles daily (approximately 25 to 30 of breast milk with the remainder being whole milk). They are wildly strong in will and muscle but have had their moments with upper body strength...

Mary Louise was crawling on the brick patio when her arms gave out. She did a bit of a face plant and won 3 nice brush burns on her poor little noggin as well as a nice purple bruise for most of last week. Was my little wild woman phased? Only very briefly - until she saw the dogs on the floor and decided that they were much more exciting than fretting over a few bumps on the head!

We had an absolutely wonderful time in Florida (St. Augustine) with Granny and Papa and cousins.

Sorry - must run - nap time (I hear) is just about over! Just when I think I can't possibly get any busier...


Tuesday, August 10, 2010


A fun video of Mary Louise and David playing together "doing laundry". We are doing well moving into the new house. We have been her a few nights now and are settling into oir new surroundings. Though we still have not sold the old house yet , we continue to have lots of lookers so we remain very hopeful that it will sell very soon. We do have most of our things at the new place now and the babies and I are back in town for good ( sans Internet for now much to my chagrin). The cable company is set to mosey on our way on the 16th so we are counting the days right now...amazing the it wasn't all that long ago that I couldn't care less about having the Internet . Ugh! I miss my blog rambling!

Hope everyone is doing well!


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Disconnected...(insert frowny face here.)

Well though my promise of being in touch still stands, it's not quite as easy as I'd hoped. Our Internet is down and we are in the middle of moving to the new house. The majority of the moving is happening this weekend and we hope to be functioning there by Sunday. The Internet service,however, will not be connected there until the 16th. So, I am beginning to simply type blog entries on my desktop and post themes soon as I can. C'est la vie. Blegh. And sorry!!

Oh and blogging via phone is quite tedious. 3 cheers for full sized key boards!!!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Eagle has landed...almost...

So much has happened over the past few weeks!!! I can't believe I've been without an internet connection for so long! We've been visiting family in St. Augustine, Florida and will be heading back to the house today...

1. We did in fact close on our new house and plan to move in another week or so though we're taking our time as we still own both houses (no offers on the old one yet).

2. The babies did very very well on the over night car ride TO Florida, not so well on the way back - but we survived, so we'll take that.

3. The babies are just wild about water. They loved loved loved the beach, and ocean as well as the pool.

4. Mary Louise and David are officially taking proper bites of soft or crumbly foods - mangoes, potatoes, toast, crackers - they are doing exceptionally well with eating!!

5. One of the MOST exciting moments of the past 2 weeks happened on the morning of the 29th - DAVID TOOK HIS FIRST STEPS!!!!! Perhaps even more special - they were right into his daddy's arms. I'm so excited for him - and for Brent for having such a huge part in such an amazing milestone!

...more later - just wanted to drop a quick line to say that nothing is wrong - and I'll be in touch!!

Thanks for hanging in there with me!