Saturday, November 27, 2010

Growin' like weeds!

I thought I'd give an update on the babies' progress in growth...

They are now 28 inches (Mary Louise) and 28 3/4 inches (David) in height. Mary Louise is just under 20 pounds and David is hanging out just under 19 - still true to their 1 pound weight difference they've maintained since they were born (well, since they started gaining weight after being born).

They have had their first Synagis shots of the season after much fuss over their health insurance coverage...still battling it out for little David - but that is a story for another post! The shots went relatively well but were much rougher than last year as the dose is calculated by weight. Accordingly, each baby now gets a shot in EACH leg - 2 shots total. Their sweet little legs were so sore to the touch for about 2 days. I'm very thankful for the added protection this season, but I can't say I won't be happy when their last shot is done in March (they were approved for a shortened season of shots due to their almost immaculate medical history so they are receiving them from November through March - every 28 days)...

A little bit of medical trivia - in case you were wondering why the shots had to be given in 2 legs rather than 1...there is only so much medication that can safely be given in 1 spot on a muscle - typically 1 mL. (This is why many medications must be given in an adult hip rather than the arm). So, in this case, the dose of Synagis is calculated, then split and given in the most developed muscle a baby has - the upper thigh...and end physiology 101 for the day.

Their teeth are still charging through full speed ahead. Poor David was up every 15 to 20 minutes after midnight last night chewing on his finger. His tooth count is up to 4 molars on the top and 2 on the bottom. Mary Louise was just very restless - but slept for the most part. She has a tooth coming in on the bottom front as well as 2 molars that have pushed through at the top. I've noticed other "questionable" areas in the mouths of both of I don't expect things to calm down in the teething department any time soon.

Last night was momentous as for the first time, both babies tried out their new SIZE 2 diapers!!! They've been in size 1 to 2 for a very long time now, but Mary Louise's tiny tush was beginning to grow...and produce more than the little ones could handle. David is finally able to pull off (not literally) a size 2 so we made the switch. As of this morning, things in the diaper sizing department are working just fine.

Mary Louise is wearing mostly 12 month clothing and dipping into the 12 to 18 month supply pretty often. David is well into 12 month clothing -though his teeny tiny waist line cannot quite fill the waist in most of his pants. He spends quite a bit of time in overalls, and I am thinking Dapper Snappers will make their way into our household in the near future for our slim little guy as he will likely outgrow the length of his trousers way before the width!

Shoes: David is at the end of his size 2 Sperry's and can only wear them without socks. He can finally walk quite well in his size 3 squeakers - with socks. Mary Louise's size 3's fit perfectly...I noticed this morning that size 4 is considered a "preschool" size by many clothing companies!!!! (But I'm sure I don't have to tell you that she'll always be my sweet baby girl no matter what size shoes she's filling!)

I think that just about does it for a head to toe physical update!


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Gettin' out the good stuff!

We celebrated our Thanksgiving day with Mommom, and Uncles Kyle and Sean.

We kicked things off with an early morning Turkey Trot! Kyle and I are scheduled to run a half marathon relay in January and a half marathon in February so we jumped at the opportunity to pace one another for a day! After completing about 5 miles, and walking around the lake with Mommom, Brent - who is still recovering from some SI joint inflammation - and of course our darlings, we headed back to the house to pop the turkey into the oven and finish up cooking.

We had a bit of a mess yesterday when our deep freezer defrosted. Luckily, we were able to make the best of things and minimize waste when Father Jack came to the rescue by connecting us to a family in need to whom we gave some of the defrosted (but still cold) items to. I then cooked what I could of the rest (we have enough food here for weeks now!)

Today, I set up the crystal, the china and the silver for a really nice dinner service. It's the first time we've done such in the new house - and I was so excited! I love Thanksgiving! Which brings me to... thankful list...I am so very thankful for so many things...not the least of which are:

My family - Brent, Mary Louise, David, sweet angel Kuylen, my brothers, Mom. Without whom I would surely be lost in this world. They are truly the light of my soul and loves of my life and I am so very incredibly indescribably lucky to have them.

I am thankful to carry with me such a heavy influence courtesy of my dad and grandmother. I miss them dearly, but I carry them, along with Kuylen in my heart. They all continue to teach me life's lessons regularly.

Our home, our health, our pets, our lives.

Breastfeeding - it is one of the most difficult, trying, irritating, awful, wonderful, sublime, calming, exhilarating, and rewarding experiences I've ever had - and continue to have daily. Really.

The continued excellent health of our babies. Everything you do, Mary Louise and David, is the most amazing thing. ever. I am constantly in awe of your strength, perseverance, and determination. We were faced with perilous odds of ever even bringing you home - and had to make peace early on with the possibility of life long medical complications and horrific procedures. We were told that you may never breathe on your own, may never walk, and that IF you survived, you would almost certainly not be "normal". Today, every breath you take is a miracle, every step you take is the most beautiful and graceful thing I've ever seen. Your smiles warm my heart, your kisses balm my soul. You are perfect - more perfect than I ever thought possible - even without such dire odds. You are, in fact, phenomenal and I feel such a huge sense of privilege to watch you, teach you and learn from you every. single. day.

Much love to our family and friends on such a gorgeous holiday...and many thanks for your warm spiritual embrace now and then.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

While you're waiting...

So, to keep Brent from missing the goings on at home while at work, I send him daily videos, and photos - mostly with my I-phone. I uploaded the media's from the past few months - just after we moved into our new / old house...enjoy!

Iphone photos 2010

I am working on a post - but it's turning out to be easier said than done with Mary Louise and David "typing" and "editing" all the way through!


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

shuttin' the NICU door with Poop Fiasco 2010

We had our very last visit with Kid's Team today. To be honest, I thought we were done...until I received a message on the phone yesterday about a 1pm appointment with them today! Yikes!

Brent was able to get home just in time and off we went to see our beloved neonatologist...and a number of specialty therapists of course.

Physical therapy took one look at Mary Louise and David when the WALKED into the back area of the office and discharged them without batting an eye. Occupational therapy played with them for a little while, went over some goals for the next few months and explained the few little tid bits they needed to achieve to be "caught up" completely by the age of 2 years. She felt good about discharging them as well.

Then came the speech therapist...she is very nice don't get me wrong - but if there is one area of concern with Mary Louise and David, it's the fact that they do not yet *really* verbalize words YET. They make TONS of noise, repeat repeat repeat, have started to mimic certain sounds, they both say "bad Chester" consistently (poor Chester) and the occasional phrase "I got that!" here and there...but they don't have really clear words...they definitely understand what we are saying. They follow commands very consistently. Anyhow, expressive speech has been their "most behind" area for quite sometime now so I was anxious for an opinion on their progress.

They did BEAUTIFULLY!!!! They were evaluated to be "speaking" at a 19 to 20 month level. Their actual age skills are considered to be "emerging" and the therapist felt that I could simply continue to work hard with them at home and "they will be just fine"!! Yeah!!

A few things the therapist suggested did surprise me a little though...I have a pet peeve about baby talk. We speak to Mary Louise and David with "normal" adult, everyday vocabulary. The only thing we've even tried to change or simplify is bottle to "baba" and they sure haven't said that yet - even though I must say it oooohh an obnoxious 100 times per day. Ok, they've said it once or twice - but I certainly don't think it was because the word was simple. Our pediatrician agrees with our approach. I do use over exaggerated tones to keep their attention, but I feel that using proper grammar and pronunciation, teaches...proper grammar and pronunciation. The therapist suggested: 1. using more "baby talk" and simplifying requests and statements to 1 word only; 2. sending the babies to a day care or mother's day out program for more interaction with peers. Be still my heart. We agonize over simple everyday outings and have sacrificed for me to stay home with them for as long as possible. Surely it's needless to say that I nixed the day care setting immediately. About the baby talking, probably not - though I will pay more attention to the things I'm telling them and simplify the wording as much as I can.

Last, but certainly not least, we saw our dear Dr. B (the neo). He was very pleasantly surprised with their progress and kept saying how good the babies look. He took a quick listen to their breathing, watched them play for a time, and gave us his wonderful blessings as he agreed to discharge us as well!! (His exact words were, "you've done a GREAT job. your babies are fine! We just need to get you (meaning me) to loosen up a bit!") Nice right?

After just over 2 hours of evaluation, Mary Louise and David were more than ready to get strapped into their car seats for the ride home. Of course they fell asleep on the way...OF COURSE THEY DID!!! since they haven't slept in ohhhhhh about a week and a half. Why not? It was only 1 hour before dinner, bath and bed time! So I woke them as I took them out of the car...of course they were both in FOUL moods. In addition to the obvious irritation of being disturbed while exhausted, they are still teething and consequently still going back and forth with stomach upset and constipation (right now, David is with constipation and Mary Louise is happily coasting through some mild stomach upset - which, considering her usual bowel habits, would mean she is pooping regularly without complaint - it's just a little on the unformed side.

**A sidenote, the doctor asked if I was still blogging or if I'd shut this thing down. I told him that I was keeping it going. He asked how long...I told him that I'd continue until the babies asked me to stop because I was embarrassing them (in truth, that may be the time I make it a private blog instead!). So, do you think the comments above would hurt my case with the teen Mary Louise and David? ha!**

Back to the story...

After failing miserably at a high chair feeding, I opted instead for a change of scene and put the kiddos in a warm bubble bath - and went back to feeding like we did "in the old days". It worked quite well actually. They finished almost all of what I brought upstairs! Then Mary Louise made (dun dun dunnnnn) the poop face...I took her out of the tub, put her on the toilet...she looked at me and laughed. I helped her to sit there for another minute or so, but nothing. I put her back in the tub, she made the face, I put her on the toilet, nothing. This happened 3 times before I put her back in the tub one last time to soap her up. She made the face and immediately followed it with a,"pffffooot!" I was a little stunned, as was she - but I checked and it was all air...

Then it happened...

With no other face or sound, a brown torpedo literally shot out of her rear and went "plop" in the water. Now really stunned and fumbling to get both babies out asap, I was too late. She was still going. I grabbed her and put her on the toilet. I scooped one of our, umm, unwanted tub guests out of the water and transferred it to the toilet. David came to the front of the tub (he had been playing quietly at the back) to see what the commotion was about.

It was as if we were playing out one of those dramatic movie scenes in which everything goes in slow motion for the pivotal snafu. I tried to grab David but lost a bit of my grip on the slippery Mary Louise. She fell in the toilet - rear first so she couldn't move at all - and began to SCREAM hysterically (I can't say that I blame her). I very quickly wrapped David in a towel and turned my attention to Mary Louise.

I took her out of the toilet - to find that she'd been, umm, smeared with "the funk". Oh. my. gosh. I cleaned her up, ran a fresh tub of water, broke out the Clorox wipes and went to town on the poor poor bathroom.

David's wheels must have started to spin sometime between poop plop and smear because just as I finished cleaning up mess #1, he decided to add a little fun of his own. Though not as exciting as his sister, by the end of it all, I'd had quite enough of the poopscapades to last for quite some time.

Oh, then Brent came home from the store to, "see how we were doing." Stinker. Pun intended.

To date: David is simultaneously cutting 4 top molars and Mary Louise is cutting 2 at the top and has 2 very questionable spots at the bottom...I don't normally ask this, but if you think about it, could you please send us a little peaceful, healing prayer for our family this week? (ha)


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

This is how we...

This is how we climb the stairs...well, Chester got in the way a bit - but David always has issues with the second flight...

This is how we swing at the park...for now anyhow!

And THIS is how we Dance Dance Dance...this was this morning - Mary Louise is a morning person...David, not so much (note his amazing bed head!)


Sunday, November 14, 2010

No Sweat!

Well, the week has been, umm, interesting? and today has been no different...

Yesterday, the babies attended a birthday party for their friend Allie. She turned 2 and they had a celebration at a local park. Brent and I hemmed and hawed about going - because we didn't know how big the party would be, and of course we didn't want to put the babies at high(er) risk for catching a bug with the weather in mid-change once again. But, we thought we'd pass by, if things were going well, we'd stay - you things by ear.

I am so very glad we went!! Brent and I just love Allie's parents and have become good friends with them at church. Our crazy kiddos compete each Sunday from the back 2 pews to see who can attain the high notes in each song, who can get out of the pew between Mommy and Daddy's legs first and make a mad dash up to the front, and of course, who can burp, and toot loudest, or make the stinkiest of the stinky diapers. So, church is fun...more about that in a minute.

We popped in to find that it was a fantastic, simple, comfy party - mostly older children who could care less about our babies - and the grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles of the sweet princess birthday girl. The babies had a blast! The weather wasn't very nice out so we were in a very large gameroom - empty - so perfect for Mary Louise and David who quite literally ran around in circles the entire time. David and Allie played a game I like to call "rearranging the furniture" in which they pushed the folding chairs around the room together. David is just fascinated with Allie and always seems quite happy and content to play next to her...maybe that would be because she tends NOT to steal anything and everything he tries to play with, uhem, MARY LOUISE. I must give Mary Louise and David pats on the back though - they refused birthday cake and ice cream and instead went straight for the fresh grapes and strawberries in the fruit salad! Way to choose little ones!

We went home after the party for dinner and bath time - and to play with the wonderful party favors - BUBBLES!!! Off to bed after that - Mary Louise and David slept well...until 5am when the real excitement happened...

They were awake - and not just any awake - they were awake "for good" awake. Nonetheless, Brent and I tried - oh how we tried - to ignore the "for good" factor and just rest our eyes for a bit. But to no avail.

Mary Louise and David played until about 8am and I finally got them to nap for a little while. Brent left for church as he is in a breakfast cooking group and it was their Sunday to cook prior to the main service. When the babies woke, they were WILD.

I got them to play for a bit while I got myself ready and put out their clothing. David got angry and in a fit, threw himself into the crux of the closet door where it is hinged and gashed his forehead. I cleaned him up - actually, he was more angry than hurt as it was a spot he had bumped earlier in the week on the brick patio - so he essentially re-opened the almost healed scab.

I put band aids on the area, he pulled them off...but it kept him busy. I somehow managed to get us dressed, out of the door, and into the church just after the service started (perfect timing with babies - cut 5 minutes off at the beginning and a few off at the end and there is a slight possibility you'll all make it through the service without getting more than a mild stink eye from the unfortunate soul sitting next to you!)

Once in our seats, Mary Louise and David did quite well actually. They ate snacks, they actually stayed in our laps most of the time, and they didn't try to make a run for it down mid isle...UNTIL...David decided things were just going too smoothly and suddenly opened his mouth to let out the.most.frustrated.yell I have quite literally ever heard from him. Without warning! As the whole congregation, no doubt just as surprised as I was about the commotion, turned to stare while I walked through the back doors, David got really restless...there were only a few minutes until communion so we piddled around outside until I saw people lining up through the window.

Usually, just walking up to the front in enough to keep the babies occupied for the minute or so it takes to receive communion...of course this time was different. With the babies' increase in mobility, their fascination with stairs has become an obsession. David spotted the 3 steps up to the alter a mile away, started to wiggle and began to whine. I let him down to hold my hand and scale the steps. He did so with gusto - grinning all the way. The line stopped at the top, but David wasn't ready to stop. He tried to pull away so I quickly scooped him up. Wrong move Mom...David started to flop like a 20 pound fish out of water. He kicked and bucked his head so furiously that he head butted the girl in front of us in line. We were on the alter, people in front of us, people behind way to discretely exit stage left...Fr. Jack looked up, grinned at me trying to wrestle my bucking bronco into submission while he yelled, and said, "hang in there Heather, it's almost over."

We made it through the last few minutes of the service...but not before Mary Louise ran up a side isle as the procession headed to the back. It was a circus - and we were the main attraction. All I could do was smile and exhausted smile, and feel some sense of accomplishment for just making it through.

I've heard so many times from other moms the stories of trying to calm or hush a wild child in the middle of a crowded but quiet a church...always the same. It is always a description of inner panic, profuse sweating, flushed cheeks, utter humiliation, "please baby calm down before Momma actually pukes from the nervousness"...ugh! there's no way to turn that feeling off when it happens, but it does help to know that others understand, they've been there...and they not only empathize with you - but typically find the situation hysterically nostalgic.


Friday, November 12, 2010

A picture worth...

I don't know what this picture is worth. It's amazing. It's terrible. It's fantastic. It's bizarre. It's of my dad's the garden just feet away from the now charred to the ground church...

From Drop Box

I have no idea about the scarecrow...but I thought the photo worth posting...


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sweet! Molars!

Mary Louise and David have been quite a handful lately...and not in an especially good way. This week has been particularly rough. They are either constipated or a little on the tummy upset side of things - nothing in the middle no matter what I do. They have been WILDLY clingy. They fuss - even when I'm doing my best to hold and console and re-direct and whatever else I can think of to do.

But the really weird that they have been EATING. I mean eating like crazy! But not really for anyone but me. (ok - so only Abbey and Brent have tried - but they simply turn up their noses and will not have any part of the meal). They don't want just anything either - they have gone back to baby food. They have gone back to eating like mad in the bathtub, during their playtime. They have gone back to the somewhat mindless eating of their first cereal and "try one veggie at a time for 3 days before choosing a second veggie" days. I definitely wouldn't mind the eating...if it weren't for...

THE RETURN OF HORRID REFLUX!!!! Oh my gosh. Projectile, full force, not so baby vomit all over them and me 3 or 4 times this week. Today, I gave a second dose of Zantac - they were so miserable!

Why? Why is this happening?

The evil teething monster has holed up in our guest room and refuses to leave. They both have 2 molars (each) charging through. I'm sure there are more on the way - those that are poking through are on the top, but there are a few balding and questionable spots on the bottom.

When they first started to cut teeth, they cut all 6 that each of them have over about a 1 month time period so I am mentally preparing for a similar trek.

Sweet babies, I wish I could make the discomfort go away...but in the meantime, I'm aiming to find a way to take caloric advantage of these lovely appetites! (hopefully, with a little extra Zantac on the side, they can keep a few of their eating tirades in check!)


No going back...

I found out first thing this morning that my beloved St. Matthew's Episcopal Church burned to the ground in an absolutely devastating fire last night. The church was built in the late 1800's and known throughout my home town for it's beautifully constructed cypress gothic style architecture, and gorgeous stained glass windows. I just can't believe it's quite literally all gone.

I went to school there from age 4 to age 13. I went to church most Sundays with my grandmother (for whom Mary Louise is named). Brent and I were married there. It was a place of peace for me, for my family, for so many. It was more than a building...and more than a place of worship. It was absolutely, and without question, part of our family. This place had a soul that could be felt no matter what religion or creed one practiced.

I know that any church is made up of its people. But this place, was. sacred. The people were (and are) amazing. But this was a place that I could go - without anyone there - and sit for hours. Just sit in awe of its serene beauty.

Brent and I had our wedding ceremony inside the church itself and I am both proud and sad to say that we were the only couple ever to have our reception just outside with a tent dropped under the historically protected oak trees. It was beautiful, it was comfortable, it was what a wedding reception should be - a fabulous celebration - and a great party!

There was a kid in my family attending school there for 21 years. Everyday there was one of us there, my grandmother was there - volunteering in the library. She took us to school everyday. She doctored all of our scraped knees courtesy of the rough and tumble playground. If we were sick, we need not look farther than a few hundred feet away - she was there. It made St. Matthew's our "other" home. I would happily follow her into the church after school hours to "pick up the linens" which she would take home and wash in her special concoctions made specifically to get all of the church ladies' lipstick stains out.

In recent years, St. Matthew's church served as host for the only baby shower I had - with triplets in tow. They prayed more prayers for this family and those babies than I can even wrap my mind around. My dad's and grandmother's funerals have both been there.

I was lucky enough to finally bring Mary Louise and David to church there over the summer. The church had completed the meditation and memorial garden just outside under the trees and I put David on my dad's bench and took photos.

It is truly one of the first places I think of when something wonderful, or something tragic happens, when I need a little peace, support, understanding, guidance...

I will miss my dear family member and quiet friend. I hold my precious memories close and tight and am nothing short of devastated to know that there won't be any more...

Prayers and peace to the family and friends of St. Matthew's Episcopal church and school tonight...and for many nights to come.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Precious Moments


David was taking a nap upstairs and I was downstairs with Mary Louise. She looked at the baby monitor, pointed and said, "Dae Dae? DAE". I told her, "that's right baby. David is sleeping. Do you want to give David kisses?" She grabbed the monitor, pressed the screen against her forehead, and looked up at me and grinned.

Mary Louise has taken up cleaning as of late. She grabs any type of cloth available and scoots around wiping anything within reach - sometimes spots on the floor, sometimes the seat of a chair or the baby gates...but today topped all when she walked up to me with a baby wipe and proceeded to wipe MY face with it. My little momma...

This evening, it took me 2 hours to put David to bed. Oh that's right. 2. hours. He was lying down, I thought he might be sleeping, he started to scratch the pillow next to him because his nails on the fabric make noise. He grinned, opened his eyes, looked at me and laughed. Out loud.

Mary Louise and David have both started to dance. On command.

David has hung from all of the top drawers in the kitchen this week - and by hung I mean dangle, swing, full monkey style least we know the drawers are sturdy. His new favorite activity is to stand on the bottom rung of the baby gate and pull back and forth on the bars as if we have him locked in a cage - all while yelling - but not usually an angry yell, more of a "look at what I can do!" yell.

Mary Louise woke a little while ago and wanted one of us to keep her company while she was attempting to go back to sleep. Brent had to switch out with me because her hair was just the most hysterical thing I've seen all day. It was sticking up in "Something about Mary" fashion and would not lay down no matter how many times I tried to smooth it.

Every time Brent tells Mary Louise, "no" or tries to redirect her when she's exhibiting undesirable behavior, she gives him a hug. I'm not kidding. That baby girl has her daddy under her thumb and she's not even 2 yet!


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mini Vaca...

That's what we called last weekend. I signed up a while back for the Little Voo Du in Baton Rouge and we decided to make a weekend out of the trip.

We drove out on Friday - it was an awful drive taking 4 hours rather than the expected 2 - but once we finally made it to our hotel, things settled down quite a bit. Brent found a great room for us! It was more like a full condo than a hotel room really with plenty of room for us to mill around and store my bike out of the way.

After a good night's sleep (I know...hard to believe but we divide and conquer in 2 queen beds when we stay in hotels these days so the babies sleep sound and snug), we got ourselves together and went to the zoo. Brent's childhood friend Jay met us there with his 2 boys and Mommom ended up joining us a bit later! We had such good day there. The weather was beautiful and after walking through the main parts of the zoo, the kiddos got a little restless in their strollers. So we decided to sort of park in a green space and let them run around a bit. They had a wonderful time!

We had a really busy afternoon / evening with a few errands and picking up my race packet for the next day.

Sunday, we muddled through getting ready (always a difficult feat at 6am) and made our way to the race. Kyle and I participated together again in another short duathalon (run 2 miles, bike 10 miles, run 2 miles). This time, the route was along the levee in Baton Rouge.

We both cut a number of minutes off of our previous times and both did very well in our age groups with Kyle getting first in his and me getting fourth in mine!

During the race, Mary Louise, with Mommom's encouragement, actually pet a horse on the nose! There were stables along the park property where the race began and a young girl happened to be riding along the fence where the family was waiting for Kyle and I to pass. It apparently didn't take long to coax Mary Louise into touching the sweet stead on the muzzle. I'm so proud of her for breaking out of her little shell a bit!

So, all really went well - and I'm back to training! Half marathon coming up in February!!