Monday, January 31, 2011

At Play

Just a couple of videos with Mary Louise and David playing. They have begun to dance to the music their toys play. David will press the music button, very seriously bop up and down until the music stops, then press the button again. They'll do the same if we turn on an Ipod or radio.

They also LOVE LOVE LOVE talking on the phone. The one in the video is one of 2 given to them by their great aunt and uncle for Christmas. If this phone intrigue continues, we're going to have to really sit down and think about communication devices in our house in about 10 to 12 years!

The first one was taken when they were having a bit of an off day - but I think it's cute anyhow. I keep 2 cabinets pretty much empty in the kitchen. They do have a few toys and some wooden spoons and measuring cups for play stored away in them, but these spots are saved for all things Mary Louise and David. If you listen closely at the beginning, you'll hear the, umm, new voice Mary Louise is trying out on occasion...

This next one is Mary Louise and David playing in one of the curtains downstairs...yes, we have chosen a paint color - we're just working on squaring away time to actually put it on the walls! Some things are more important right now playing in the curtains...

Happy Monday!!


Sunday, January 23, 2011

and so it begins...

Mary Louise and David were playing in their bath this morning. Mary Louise stood up, looked worried, pointed to her little frog potty and when perched upon it, actually USED IT!!! Yeah!!! This is the second morning in a row she has done this. She's so proud sitting there and "tells" me when she is done with a grin and a nod. Then we have our celebration...

A little trick Brent taught her a couple of days ago. Mary Louise and David have been lucky to have a little more two on one time with their daddy as we joined a gym and take turns working out. Brent therefore has taken over with the first half of our bedtime routine - dinner and bath.

Mary Louise and David are also learning to float on their own in the tub (hence the high water in the video). David did it this morning without any support from me!! We are looking forward to starting swimming lessons (in a big pool) in the spring or so. But for now, the tub is warm and does just fine. We are working on kicking, splashing, blowing bubbles, and floating currently. Progress is amazing!

Oh and the potty training?? I am very excited that some interest is being shown - but I'm taking things as they come - Mary Louise and David are definitely in charge of this area...and David's opinion of the potty foolishness? Yeah - he made his point quite clearly when he tinkled directly on the floor this morning. Then burst into tears and looked very upset that there was a puddle produced that seemed to come from him. Sweet boy. I hugged him, made a big show of cleaning up the spot and saying, "no harm done!" and diverted his attention by running the water for a minute longer - they both love to feel the faucet run over their hands.

Fun times - always something new happening!


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Saying Goodbye to an old old friend...

My sweet Tootle died today. I've had her since I was 13. She was wonderful - in an obnoxious, hilarious, barks too much and way too grumpy - dry sense of humor kind of way. She did what she wanted, always, to the end. She made her decisions, and stood proudly as they played out.

If a dog could have 9 lives, Tootle had 12.

I miss her terribly sweet girl, my darling friend, my first real responsibility, my love.

Rest peacefully Tootle head - thank you for so many years of companionship, loyalty, strength, and unconditional love.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Potty Mouth...

It's no secret at our house that it's been a rough week. Don't get me wrong, it hasn't been without high points of course...

We've done a little gardening...

Some much needed pet bonding...

and LOTS and LOTS of running!! (yesterday we did 7.25 miles!!)

But by and large, I've been a little tired, a little overwhelmed, a little off in general. So today, I decided to make the best of our Friday and cook a nice meal, spend time with the little ones, and get excited about a date night in with the hubster...

I decided on smothered pork chops, mashed potatoes from scratch and a nice salad. I set to work this morning - getting little bits done while the babies were in the mood so I could take breaks when needed and not get into a stressed rush. All was going really well...until...

I had everything cleaned, ready to be warmed after bedtime rituals came to a close. I was smiling. I checked the chops for, oh, I don't know - the 10th time or so - they smelled great, just about done...I tried to remove them from my beloved Le Creuset pan so I could really be ready to relax after dinner...they. were. stuck. Oh. my gosh. Some of the gravy had stuck and burned to the bottom.

I kept my cool - sort of - a little upset that things didn't go as perfectly as I'd imagined - but honestly, when do they?? I got what I could off of the pan - the dish (food) was by no means ruined - but I was definitely praying that the enamel on the pan was far less delicate than I'd treated it to be in the past.

The babies were playing at my feet...quietly...I should have known something was up - but I was too into the enamel on my sacred pan (seriously, I'm the first to admit how weirdly obsessed I am with Le Creuset - Brent gets me a piece here and there for gifts on special occasions. Yes. I like it THAT much.- I've also asked for a vacuum cleaner for my birthday before. Brent didn't have the nerve to get it - so my mom did. I suppose that makes me a bit cliche?? I can hear the fem-nazis cringing...)

I felt so accomplished as I scrubbed the last of the brown crust off of the bottom of the pan. I dried it...babies still quiet...Mom still naive and unsuspecting...I turned around...

Note to self...

Do not leave a new container of Puffs within babies' reach...

Then turn your back for oh....5 minutes or so...

and for goodness sake - ALWAYS question when babies are quiet for ANY period of time!!!

Then it happened... I didn't really loose it - it was more of a release from a ghastly few days of restless and interrupted sleep, trying to catch up in my milk supply as the babies have gone off their solids again (they seem to be back on as of last night and this morning though), and fighting a week long loosing battle with a laundry beast that seriously could have swallowed our entire family never to be heard from again...think Hoarders...ok - that last part was a slight (SLIGHT mind you) exaggeration...

I said, "God dammit." As offensive as it sounds, I spell it out here to give the full effect of the moment. It wasn't really angry in tone - more of a loud, deflated sigh. The babies stopped smashing puffs into the floor, looked up at me and smiled. I must have forgotten where I was for a moment. But, there it was, my little reminder in the form of a tiny sweet Mary Louise sing song voice, "God dammit." She beamed, no doubt quite proud of her perfect, I mean flawless, imitation of her far from perfect mommy. I groaned. "Please don't repeat it again," I thought with my eyes closed.

She didn't.

I must MUST MUST clean up my potty mouth!!


Dry night!!

Mary Louise and David (and Mommy) woke up in a DRY bed this morning!!!! Yeah!! We tried the Target diapers - as we have access to a Target here so it was the easiest option for us...that, and a small package of that brand is $6 - so not much investment there. They are a bit bulkier than our usual Pampers - chosen because they fit the legs of our sweet little babes. They also make me giggle because when the babies walk / waddle, it sound like they are crumpling paper. Having said that, they worked beautifully last night! I thought the legs might be a problem as they definitely aren't as tight as the Pampers. I'm not sure how they'll do with a poop diaper, but Mary Louise and David rarely do that at night anymore. So this seems like a viable option for us.

There are some flushable inserts made for hybrid diapers that I may try - but they must be until then, these will do - it seems...

Yay for no more rushed and extra washes of bed clothes!!!! I think we'll keep our morning bath time though. Right now, it warms up the babies and gets them in a good mood to start our day. They are also learning to float in the tub - so most of morning bath time is actually water play time.

On Wednesday, David completely balked at nap time, so I let Mary Louise rest and opted to take a bath (myself). I lay back in the tub to wet my hair and when I sat up, David was standing there, having taken his diaper off, with his leg on the edge of the tub, wanting to get in! Ha! It was his second bath of the day...and he was to have a third before bedtime. But we had a nice time all the same! He kick kick kicked his little legs and splashed with his hands and floated while I held his head. He was so very proud - and I was happy to get a minute of individual time with him.

He has become extremely attached to his froggies as of late. We've never been able to leave home without them (for the weekend, etc.)but, lately, we can't leave upstairs without them. He has one in eyesight or in hand the vast majority of the day -and MUST hold one all night. (If you don't recall what his froggies are, they are NICU positioning aides - essentially bean bags with 2 arms that can be wrapped around the tiny patient). Anyhow, I'm not bothered by his attachment - just observing. During the day, it is more of an inconvenience if we don't have a froggie within night, it's definitely a necessity if anyone wants sleep!

That's the news for now. This round of Synagis shots went very well - no fever, minimal soreness, a fussy night - but that's a vast improvement to previous months. We're approved for 2 more months and then we're on our own...both exciting and scary!


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Word explosion!!

Mary Louise has been making great progress with speech!! Some words are much clearer than others, but I don't think I'm the only one who can understand her...

This one is not espcially clear - but I think it will hold a special place in the heart of a particular grandfather we know and love...

and this one - well, see for yourself!!...

We've been working very hard with both of them and the progress is truly amazing. We've had a bit of a rough time today as the weather has been very dreary and Mary Louise and David had their Synagis injections. David has been a little off his feed during the past 2 days as well so he's particularly grumpy. Their teething seems to have slowed - Mary Louise got her last 2 molars in over the past week and a half or so and tolerated it very well.

Their current weights are Mary Louise: 20 pounds!!!!!! 5.5 ounces!!!!!!! We have finally broken the 20 pound weight point with her!! David was 18 pounds 12.5 ounces. As I said, he has struggled over the past few days in particular with eating - but considering the fact that they've both conquered their first colds and ear infections, I'll say we'll just work harder over this month to make up a bit...we'll see - they are definitely in control of this one!


Oh - a little P.S. To the mother who commented about 6 month checkup eye exams for her sweet baby - Mary Louise and David have had full eye exams every 6 months since their surgeries. Their history with ROP is the reason they are checked so frequently. I'm not sure of your little one's history - but it would dictate your little one's eye exam schedule (if one is even needed at all). Feel free to email me with any questions about our cases!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Precious Moments

While at Mommom's house, Mary Louise's speech really took off. To date, she's said (more than once and very clearly) Chester, diaper, cat, hot, out, ouch, baba, mama, dada, and she can point to her eyes, nose, mouth, hair, belly, toes, and wave "bye bye" while saying bye bye. Way to go baby girl!!

David repeats sounds and occasional words, can follow all commands above, they both bring me diapers, wipes, throw things away, bring objects to other people (family members by name). David can say hot, out, ouch, cat, Chester, bye bye, baba, dada, and mama on command.

While visiting, Mommom made me a surprise salon appointment complete with hair cut, conditioning treatment and a manicure!! She watched Mary Louise and David while I was shamelessly pampered for 3 hours!! I got to the house, looked around, and asked Kyle if everyone was ok. It seriously looked as if the place had been robbed and ransacked...and it was eerily quiet. Kyle said, "everything's fine - Mom just let the babies play...ha." Mom came out of the bedroom where we'd been sleeping. She smiled, said, "they're both sleeping and I'm going to Zumba!" I picked up the mess and had a glass of wine.

This morning, we woke up at home. Though we miss Mommom terribly, I was antsy to get back into our routine. Morning bath time was wonderful - the babies played and played in the tub...

***an aside: We've resorted to a rather regular morning bath time in addition to our bedtime bath time out of necessity. The babies have out grown their diapers in (uhem) volume, but not size...their hineys are tiny! They regularly have leaks during the night and I don't want to wake them completely for a diaper change. They are very restless sleepers, but usually don't wake fully - just stir loudly...multiple times throughout the night. Anyhow, if anyone has a fix for this, please let me know - I haven't found overnight diapers under a size 4 - Mary Louise and David just made it into a size 2 diaper...***

When they got out of the tub, I massaged and dressed them. Then gave thanks that I can, in fact, stay home with them making moments like "morning bath time" possible in the first place - nevermind a wonderful, relaxed playtime for them. I prepared to pump. Mary Louise and David played in their playroom and found their scoot toys. Mary Louise has been scooting forward for awhile now, David zooms backward went FORWARD!!!! Yeah!! Go little guy go! He was so very very proud. It took an obvious effort for him to coordinate his legs but he did it!! What a moment for him!! I am so very proud!

Sweet babies and I went for a 5 and a half mile run this afternoon. Mary Louise sang almost the whole way. David napped a bit as he'd bucked morning nap time and was in a FOUL mood. It was overcast, so I was able to pull back the shades for a little while and peer down on was so simple and so amazing- we were all smiles.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

They CAN REALLY see clearly now!!

We made the trek to New Orleans yesterday to see our favorite eye specialist for a 6 month check. We hoped for the best, but as our last check up revealed that David has the beginnings of nearsightedness, I prepared for the distinct possibility that our sweet boy might need glasses at the ripe old age of 20 months.

Bottom line, at least he can one point, Brent and I attempted to make peace with the very good possibility that both Mary Louise and David would have significant sight and hearing damage.

So we muddled through downtown - always fun - parked in the tiny, low ceiling parking garage, I put Mary Louise (my ever-squirmy girl) in the front pack carrier, strapped the backpack diaper bag on, and held David on my hip. I felt as if I was donning army gear and going to the front lines for battle!

We waited our obligatory 2 hours (yes, hours) in the large, but always busy waiting room. We were called "to the back" right about the time I was going to start smashing Gold fish crackers into the chairs and floor MYSELF because that's how nutty I felt after wrestling and corralling 2 wild toddlers away from the strange man in the corner with 2 weeping, swollen black eyes, and the woman to our left with a very thick cotton patched taped over one side of her face...and let's not forget the multiple coughers, hackers, and sniffers who we passed on our way to the fourth floor.

Sweet David has a funny habit of putting his hand out to greet people - who naturally shake it in response. Not in a hospital my friends!!! Momma was on the neurotic prowl for dirty nails, questionable smells, noisy breath sounds - any indication of less than immaculate hygiene and health. Even so, one older woman slipped by my guard and shook David's hand when Mary Louise diverted my attention and let out a concerned yell about our ride on an elevator...

So to the back we went for the eye exams. The doctor's nurse remarked about how big Mary Louise and David are getting, asked about their overall health, etc. The doctor and his intern came in to say hello and after a little more waiting, drops were instilled to dilate the babies' eyes. About 30 minutes after that, the full exam was done.

Is it worth the wait to travel and wait for hours, and plan months ahead to see this particular doctor? Yes. Absolutely. Positively. Yes. He is a pioneer in his field and was head of the original research done in the 80's marking the switch from cryotherapy to laser surgery for ROP. This was and is still quite literally the difference between light and dark for our little ones. The success rate on saving eyesight in preemies soared when this and other changes in procedures were made - in large part by the doctor who did their surgeries and who follows them now. He is totally worth it. Reputation aside - the man actually has a rather delightful bedside manner and his enthusiasm for his work is not just refreshing but almost contagious.

In addition to the praise above, said doctor uses no sedation and does not use a speculum to examine Mary Louise and David. Oh no, he can get in, out and see all he needs to see in a matter of seconds. He'll even examine them while they hug me and glare at him over my shoulder. In short, we kinda like him...

The reviews post check up were phenomenal!! Mary Louise's vision is right on considering her surgical history - there is no sign of nearsightedness. David's nearsightedness seen at the last visit has RESOLVED!!!! So BOTH babies are doing really well right now and have been cleared for a full year!!

We won't really know about peripheral vision limitations until a bit later. We can say that neither Mary Louise, nor David will qualify to be a pilot. We have also been well warned to have them avoid playing contact sports, specifically football, but also anything that would put them at a higher risk to be hit in the head / use their head (soccer) to hit something. They will always be at a higher risk for detached retinas and a contact sport would increase this risk - though the retinas can spontaneously detach as well. They will also always need a minimum of a yearly checkup with a full (dilation) eye exam.

After all was said and done, they did beautifully during a rough and busy day. Most importantly, they remain healthy, vibrant, and happy. I continue to be in awe and in love...


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Run like the wind!!

Ok - so maybe not quite like the wind - but we did do our best times yet!! Kyle and I completed our half marathon relay - and had so much fun participating! But the biggest surprise...


We won third place overall in the relays!!! Crazy right? (Oh - and if you're wondering, there were actually more than 3 relays - there were 6 to be exact so we did really have to beat a few people to get that snazzy plaque).

It was so amazing to see Brent, the babies and Mommom waiting (and grinning) patiently at the finish line. I ran the first leg of the relay which finished exactly at the half way point. Kyle was driven to the spot, and started from there and I was driven to the finish so they didn't actually get to see my run - but they were waiting just the same.

The babies did well. They were tired - a 7am start time meant we had to get up and going around 5am - that's early, even for the earliest of the early birds! David napped in my arms until his Uncle Kyle came through to the fancy finish line which was right inside the Civic Center!

The day was beautiful, the race, very organized with water stations set up every mile and countless volunteers directing traffic. It was truly a good time.

The route that I completed put me right in downtown. As I passed my pediatrician's office, elementary school, St. Matthew's church grounds, Scarlet Scoops where we used to get the very occasional ice cream cone, Lee's Education supply where, when we were *really* good, my mom would reward us with our choice of "wukbuks" (workbooks)...She used to let us do our letters, numbers, etc for 10 to 15 minutes per day - and the back of the books had stickers!!!(obviously, I thought the stickers were the coolest part!) The time limit always left us wanting to do more...After the education supply store, I grinned as I hit the half way point. It was cool - but not too cold, and sunny enough to be gorgeous, but not too hot. As I thought about coming around to the Civic Center again, my babes and husband waiting there, I knew I'd come full circle.

We did well, but most importantly, we had a boat load of fun out there!!


Friday, January 7, 2011

Gearing up!!

We're finally feeling better at Casa LeBlanc. The snot river has slowed to an occasional drip - though it's not stopping Mary Louise from trying out her new "talent" on any piece of clothing or fabric crossing her path. Seriously, that kid joyously blows her nose on just about anything! Consequently, I've had a few extra loads of laundry this week!

The mucous mob exit couldn't have come at a better time - it's RACE day tomorrow!!! Uncle Kyle and I are splitting a half marathon as sort of a warm up to do the full half marathon in a month. So, we'll see how we do!

David has cut some bottom molars this week - Mary Louise is working on her still. David is also working on his shortened frenulum again. He giggles and tries to stick his tongue out pretty regularly now - it's pretty neat to watch him work so hard - and have fun doing it.

I'll have more stories after tomorrow - and leave you with some Christmas photos!!!

From Ma Mere and Pop's cameras...
Christmas 2010

Christmas 2010 II


Monday, January 3, 2011

Here's to...

Here's to us my dear. My best friend, my's to our seventh year of marriage. Here's to our patient and kind love. Here's to more good times than bad, less sickness, more health, here's to more better and less worse...

Here's to our beautiful babies, here and gone. That they may know how much we care for one another, that they may feel and know our love for them and that we may be a solid example as our parents were and are to us.

Here's to our new year together - as a little family - that this may be our best year yet and that we may have many more...

But if we don't, here's to knowing that this, our love, our life, was not wasted. That it's extraordinary beauty has been acknowledged, cherished, loved. Here's to the realization that we are, in fact, some of the luckiest and most blessed - that we have chosen to live this charmed life together - and it is what we make of it...and together, we make it wonderful.

Much love and happy anniversary to my Brent(ie - Poo) - ha!