Monday, June 30, 2008

Pay it Forward Contest

I've decided to enter one of bloggerdom's classic fun things. A Pay it Forward Contest. And not just any Pay it Forward Contest, it's a great big group event!

The contest starts today (Monday, June 30) and ends on Friday.

Here's how it works. Leave me a comment here, let's make it easy on all of us. What fun thing would you like to see arrive in your mail box? [make sure I have a way of getting in touch with you if you win, (a link to your blog, e-mail, or check back here to see if you've won)]

Sometime after Friday, I'll randomly pick a winner. I'll notify the winner, and very shortly afterwords, I'll mail out a package of something fun. I'm going to do my best to pick things specifically for the winner, so it might not be a next day thing, I'll have to do my research. (Be specific in those comments and I may get your package out sooner!!!) If you are the winner, you host a contest of your own on your blog, paying it forward. (If you don't have a blog, and you still want to play on my blog you can! If you win, I'll select another random winner from my comments, and you can send them a gift, and the pay it forward will continue. )

Now, the group part, there is a great big list of blogs with contests on Swistle's blog. You can enter one or all of them.

Okay? Enter today, don't forget to tell me what you'd like to find in your mailbox!!!

(Oh, and BTW, that 100th post, well, I'll get it posted sometime before the 200th)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Together again, at last.

Okay, so I'm still 52 items short on my list of 100 for my 100th post, but...two years ago today, was a very special day.

Two years ago, my boys were reunited after sixty-eight days apart, they were finally co-bedded.

I remember the day so well. It was a special day for me too. My dear girlfriends were throwing me my postponed baby shower. It was a combined effort. I was supposed to have 3 showers, (I know! but there were lots of people REALLY excited about these babies) The first was to be in Sacramento, which I missed while I was in the hospital on bed rest. (sorry Shelley!) I attended it by speaker phone, and I enjoyed hours of video tape a few days later. After the early arrival of the boys, we postponed the other two showers until we were a little more confident that the boys would survive.

I went to the hospital early, because I certainly couldn't enjoy myself if I hadn't seen my boys, cuddled for a while and got pushed out of the NICU by my nurses, rushed home, changed, and enjoyed my day of being showered. The girls went all out. The house was decorated so cute, the food was very yummy, and there was wonderful company. Of course I spent the day talking about the boys, when we thought they might come home, etc. I was really overwhelmed with the love. (Thanks again for a great day, Maya, Suzanne, and Angie)

The party broke up, and Scott returned home. I can't remember exactly what he said, but it was something to the effect of "don't be upset" Alright, you NEVER say that to a Mom with babies in the NICU. My heart dropped. He quickly followed it up with the reason I might be a little upset. Our nurse Peggy had decided that this would be the day that the boys would be placed in the same bed. Can you believe that I missed it???? I still can't.

Peggy was so good about making sure things got done, even when people were a little nervous about it, she'd get right in there and say, what's the worst that could happen, or it can't hurt. I think she was going to be out for a couple of weeks and wanted to make sure they got co-bedded on her watch! It took a few minutes for them to adjust to another squiggly, wiggly thing in their bed, but once they realized that it was their womb mate, they both settled in and really started to thrive. Their events were fewer, they seemed calmer overall, and gosh it was just so darn cute to see them all bundled up together.

The bad news about co-bedding was that now we were only allowed two people bedside at a time instead of the four that we had gotten accustomed to, and on this weekend we had tons of people (all the Grandmas, Maya, you know, tons) in town who wanted to come to the NICU to see the boys. Our NICU had a strict policy that for each bed, you may have two visitors at a time, one of which must be a parent or guardian. When the boys were in separate beds, we had four visitor slots, three could be guests.

That was really the only negative. It was wonderful that the boys were finally well enough to be together, at last. This was the beginning of the long, and (what seemed to be) never ending homestretch. (is it possible for a homestretch to last two months?)

This is it, THE moment they were reunited.

Ryan mauling Evan.


Evan returning the love.

Friday, June 20, 2008

It's all in his head

They put the plastic wristband on my arm, just like the wristbands I wore until they fell off, two years ago. This time the band on Evan was on his wrist too, not on his tiny little ankle.


I sat in recovery Evan cuddled in my arms. The beeping monitors rang in my head transporting me back to the days when every beep, every alarm, caused my heart to stop for a second. This time the alarms were punctuated by Evan saying "no" as he kicked the pulse oximeter off his toe for the hundredth time.


I spent hours bedside talking to Evan in a cold hospital room. This time, he talked to me too.


I said, "I think we'd like to take our baby home now, He'll be much more comfortable at home". This time they let me pack up our things, and Evan, and walk out the door.


***********************

Being back at the hospital, knowing that Evan would be put under, knowing that he'd have an NG tube in, made the days leading up to his endoscopy really tough. I spent sleepless nights fretting over how Evan would cope with the stress of being in the hospital.

The procedure went well. They were behind schedule, but once we got in, it was quick. We spent several hours in recovery, because they didn't have a room for us. Evan was a trooper, he came out the anesthesia quickly, was scared, very scared. He cried, asked to be cuddled. Commented on the butterflies on the ceiling. Cried.

We moved into our room where Evan became more calm, but agitated. We hadn't changed his diaper since oh, 8 am. It was now 3 pm. This is where I changed into my tiger scrub Capri's courtesy of the post op surgical unit. (much better than the pee covered shorts I was wearing)

We then made the decision that it seemed silly to stay in the hospital over night, where no one would get any sleep, were Evan was miserable, when we were sure that we could keep the NG in place just as easily at home. (they put these sleeves on his arms, so he couldn't bend his elbows, they called them no-no's ) Where EVERY one would be happier. We called our nurse who then had to call the doctor to get the okay. Four hours and two conversations with our doctors, later we were on our way home.


We did doubt our decision, or at least I did all night. I worried that Evan would pull out his NG and we'd have to repeat the 24 hour PH study. I worried that the doctor would say, I told you so. It only took Evan sleeping through the night, waking up a very happy boy, full of his usual light, to make me sure of our decision. We rigged up a backpack system for his little monitor. and we spontaneously decided to go to the fair. Evan must have looked like this poor sick little boy in his arm cuffs, NG tube and funny little thing on his back. No matter to him, he had a blast. We even took off his No-No's with a half an hour or so to go in the test, and he didn't even try to remove the NG. Yea, Evan!!!


So the low down?


The doctor found nothing unusual. She took biopsies, which we will have results of in a few weeks. But there was nothing there. That means, this lack of swallowing? well, it's all in Evan's head.


Evan in his hospital bed, with his No-No's, his music sticks and of course Ringo.

Evan and Daddy share a cuddle and a song.
Evan at the fair, petting a cow, in his full gear.

**Ah, yes, the return to the hospital, much less traumatic than anticipated, however I still don't want to do it again for a while ever.
***And Ryan had a very lovely day being the apple of Nana's eye. I don't think he even missed us. Harrumph.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

These were taken on Saturday, but Father's Day looked pretty much the same. The boys have found the joy of the back yard sprinklers on a warm summer's day.



video

I'm not sure who had more fun, the boys or Scott spraying them down with the hose. This being Father's Day I thought I'd mention a few of the things that make Scott such a great Dad. You know I knew he'd be a great Dad, kids love him. We'd go out to eat and without fail there would be some little one, that would be fascinated with Scott. But watching him Father these boys, argh, makes me well up just thinking about it.

In the beginning, when we were caught between life and death. When we watched every breath holding our own, until we edged on blackouts, Scott was there. He read to these boys, he talked to them. He learned how to carefully change their tiny diapers, he learned how to wrap them and turn them over. As they got stronger, he learned how to give them baths, feed them, hold them and even play with them. He learned to stop watching the monitors and look at the color of those precious faces.

Once they came home, he learned a whole lot more about everything. He changed countless diapers, defrosted gallons of breast milk, fed babies in the middle of the night. He nearly killed me responding to one of the babies monitors beeps. (killed a little strong, but I certainly got a good hip check into the wall, got stepped on, and left to pick myself up in the dark)

He got up with Evan in the middle of the night until about two months ago, when he finally started sleeping through the night.

He plays with the boys, and lets them do things Mommy would NEVER let them do. (go down slides head first, ahem) He enjoys every moment with them.

He sings to them. This is significant because well, because I love to sing, I love to drive around singing at the top of my lungs. Scott not so much. He once told me that singing interferes with his ability to enjoy and appreciate the music. To me, singing only adds to this experience. So, Scott has learned a ton of songs just so he can sing to these music loving boys. I should note that our musical repertoire is a bit unconventional. There's not a lot of kids music in the mix. Usually its something by the Grateful Dead, or the Eagles, or Elton John, or Lyle Lovett, or the Beatles. I love that the boys have requests, it makes me laugh to hear them finish the lyrics to Rocky Raccoon.

There are oh so many reasons why Scott is a special Father, most importantly, he is just here for the boys, role modeling, teaching, and loving.

Happy Father's Day!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Evan sees a dentist.

It's been a rough few weeks with Evan. His eating has been even more of a challenge than before. I've been spending an hour shoving food into his mouth, as he screams, fights and cries, and then spits out the entire bite. Rinse, and repeat, about a thousand times per meal.

Out of desperation last week, I cut out all of Evan's bottles. (except his before bedtime bottle) No more Boost Plus, and milk. All in an effort to make him feel hungry, in hopes that he might just eat something, anything. Or at least the battles might stop. Well, a week and two pounds of weight loss later, there was no change. Mealtimes were still battles.

Next straw to grasp at? Maybe it's his teeth! I noticed his gums still covering his molars. I thought maybe it's an infection! I managed to get him into see a pediatric dentist on Tuesday. He was not very happy to be visiting yet another doctor.


Well, $85 later, we now know, his teeth look great. We are doing a good job brushing, and there are no problems with his mouth that are interfering with his eating. And, we left a bit happier than when we arrived.
This week we have been quite busy with appointments. On the same morning Evan went to the dentist, his brother Ryan went to see the Opthamologist. (Evan's appointment was on Thursday) Because of our ROP we see the pediatric Opthamologist every six months. After our last trip, I decided that we had to split them up, the hysterics were way too much for just me to handle.

Splitting the boys up like this is interesting. We've only done it a few times, but each time I am profoundly shocked by how easy it is to only have one child. At the dentist, I was able to console Evan with my full attention. At the eye doctor, we played, drew, read books, just the two of us. I didn't have to divide my attention. I didn't have to keep one eye on Ryan. I didn't have to bring the stroller. I had one hand free as we were walking to and from the car. It's crazy how much easier one child is! I've always said that having one is having one, and having two is like having three, and that feeling just gets larger exponentially with each child, but there is nothing that can better illustrate that fact like having one on one time. Now I want to establish some fun one on one time with each of the boys. I don't want their only singleton time to be at the doctor's office.

From a medical standpoint. Both boys eyes are holding stable. They will still both need glasses in the future, but right now their eyesight is not hindering their development, so we will wait, and continue to be followed every six months. Both boys did so well at the appointments, there were a few tears, but for the most part, the drama was kept to a minimum.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Not my Mother's fried rice

I think all Asian families have fried rice as a staple. For my family we usually had fried rice on Sunday mornings, it was either that, or omelets over rice. My Mom would make it with left over rice, bacon, bologna, and onions. Although it is called 'fried' rice, my Mom never used oil, (who needs oil when you are frying bacon!) so the 'fried' in our fried rice was always the frying pan it was cooked in. My favorite part of the meal was the crispy bottom. My Mom would let it cook at a low heat until the rice got nice and brown, it had to be scraped off the bottom of the pan, yum, my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Ryan has found a obsessive love of rice. He loved to eat it off of my chopsticks. Now that he is asserting his independence, he eats it with his hands and a fork. Almost every day he asks for rice. I've taken to making HUGE batches of fried rice and freezing it just so I have some on hand. (I took a picture of the two frying pans full, but it doesn't look that appetizing so just imagine two large frying pans full of rice.)

Every time I make fried rice for Ryan, I think about just how different my version is from my Mother's.

I use chicken breasts, organic green beans, organic carrots, and any other organic vegetables I can throw in there. I would never consider nitrate laden processed lunch meat! I do however make sure there is a nice crispy layer, and it is Ryan's favorite part too.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Maric Merry Making

Mary and Eric took a much needed weekend away from work and came to visit. The boys always have fun when their Aunt and Uncle come to see them.

On Friday, before we went to the airport, I asked Ryan, "Do you know who is coming to see you today?" He immediately replied. "Eik" I then asked, and who else? and he said "Mae-Mae" I think I had told them earlier in the week that Eric and Mary were coming to see them this weekend, but I had no idea that he could or would remember it! Shocked, I quickly sent off an e-mail to Eric and Mary telling them about the conversation I just had with their nephew. I thought I'd make those last few hours at work a little more painful!

We had a very busy weekend, punctuated with a lot of down time for naps and good eating.

Saturday started with soccer, Evan was again the first to the parachute, and I just love this picture of him it really captures the under the parachute moment.

Our twin friends from the NICU had their birthday party on Saturday, so the six of us went and enjoyed "Taco Man" and the bouncer and "Or" jello. (orange)

Every one was very tired on the way home.

I should mention that I was really impressed with the way the boys handled the day. I've been really compulsively anal strict about keeping the boys on a schedule, sticking with it even if it means cutting visits short, or going home early, etc. However, with our recent "Birthday season" (all of our friends were born around the same time of year, since most of our playdate buddies are friends from the NICU) parties have been scheduled during our normal nap time. I've been very flexible in working around this with a shocking amount of success. The boys have adapted really nicely to this flexibility. This won't be an everyday thing, I believe they are so wonderfully adaptable BECAUSE they have so much predictability and structure. It's that structure that allows them to enjoy the times when we are a little off schedule. I feel that the stability really makes for happier babies, but knowing I can extend time before naps, or go virtually napless, every ONCE in a while, makes me a happy momma. (now, bed time, that's a whole other ball game. Everytime I've tried to be flexible here, I've PAID BIG TIME.)


I LOVE this picture of Eric and Evan playing the piano. (it so looks like Evan is copying what Eric is doing) Evan just loves sitting at the piano and "playing". Uncle Eric even played some of his very favorite songs (Levon, Tiny Dancer) much to his delight!

Sunday we went to the beach (and Pizza Port) Evan delighted in this little sand crab that his dad dug out for him to see. He is so funny, he won't swallow anything he has to chew, but he'll pick up a sand crab, hold him, let him run around on his hand, and ask for more. Maybe I should serve him food still moving. Ryan touched it, but once was enough, he quickly dropped it back into it's sandy home.


video

We had so much fun chasing waves, digging in the sand and hanging with Eric and Mary.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Neglect

I've been very neglectful of my blog, and I feel bad. I'm not sure what has me in such a funk, I just find at night, when I have time to write, my brain feels all mushy and the thought of trying to put words together is daunting.

There is the 100th post that is looming (this is post 94). There have been so many moments in the past couple of weeks when one or more of the boys has done something or said something funny or adorable, blog worthy. And had 100 not been so close, I'd have stopped what I was doing and blogged a quickie so I wouldn't forget. But, alas, 100 is too near, and I have not even begun to work on it. In my pre-twins life, I'd have had it all mapped out and written at 75 posts. (of course pre-twins, what would I be blogging about anyhow?) Now, after twins? I've had a few thoughts, but no sooner do I have the thought and it's gone again. I've even thought about going against blogging tradition and not made a big deal about the 100th post. Not even mention it. However, I'm not the kind to go against tradition. Okay I am, but, it's a nice tradition, one I've enjoyed reading on countless other blogs. Oh and all of those really cute blog worthy items? Gone. I just tried to think of them, tried to find the scraps of paper they were written on and nope. No luck. My only consolation is, there will be more.

Have I mentioned lately how adorable the boys are? I love them more and more every day. This age is so great. They are so aware of their surroundings and are so excited to tell me what they see, know and understand.

Now that doesn't mean that they are perfect. OH, NO. Not even close. We are just now starting to assert ourselves in some not so cute ways. Ryan has been verging on temper tantrums of late. Right now they are just crying fits, no kicking, no flailing, in fact when he gets really worked up and upset he comes charging at me with all his strength (and I have to tell you the first time this made me nervous, I thought I was going to have a bite taken out of my shoulder) throws his arms around me and gives me a huge hug. He knows he is out of control and just wants to be held until he can calm down.

Ryan has also been having some problems with sleeping. If you call waking up at 3 or 4 AM screaming for 30-60 minutes, falling asleep briefly and waking for the day at 5 AM a problem. I myself, find it to be a HUGE problem. This seems to be working itself out. I think I've neglected to get him adequately exhausted during the day. (In an effort to save on gas, we've limited our big outings that had him running around for 3 hours a day, to one a week. Today we spent close to 2 hours at the park, I'm testing my theory.) Either that, or all his health issues have him out of whack. Or, there is the old adage, when kids are going through big developmental changes, their sleep cycles are disrupted. (If this is the case I expect him to recite Shakespeare, or work a quadratic equation soon.) Any of the three I'll take, as long as I can fix it or if it rights itself in the next couple of days, 'cause we are all pretty tired.

Evan has been a real pain to feed again. He's had a couple of great moments where he's swallowed a Cheerio or two, or a grain of rice, or a minuscule piece of pasta (think pin head), but for the most part it has been a battle of wills. I asked him today if he knew where he got his stubborn streak, he said yes. I asked him, Where? Yep, you guessed it. "Mama" he says with a big grin on his face. Didn't I tell you these kids are really aware?!?!?

The good news is that we FINALLY have the scope scheduled. June 19th. The bad news, we go of the Prilosec tomorrow. So if it is really helping in ANY way, feeding (and possibly sleeping) for the next two weeks is going to be really fun. (read unbearable) Although feeding was difficult this week, he still managed to gain a half a pound, and he is weighing in at 26 pounds, which means, time to get tough. After the scope, if all looks good physically, and his PH study comes back normal, all these eating problems are in his 97th percentile head.

Ah yes, and Evan has been consistently telling me he has poop in his pants, and he even told me once that he was about to go. I failed to react fast enough, and it became a 'pip' before we could get on the potty. Ryan love sitting on his potty and playing with himself exploring the mechanics of relieving himself, however, he has yet to produce anything. Evan is more than willing to sit on the potty in a diaper, but is not yet comfortable being nay-nay on the potty, which makes it a little difficult to properly leave a deposit.

(I should add that we in no way were intending to start the naked on the potty phase now, we are just in the "getting comfortable" with the potty phase. But there is a certain excitement that comes over you when your child looks at you and says "poop in paw-paw" and you ask if he has poop in his pants, and he says "no, in paw-paw". That would make any parent go sprinting for the potty to throw their child on it to see what happens, right?)

But even as I sit here an type all the bad stuff. I have a smile on my face thinking about seeing their shiny little faces tomorrow morning. I can't wait to see them, as long as it's after 6 AM.

Ahhhh, Motherhood, is there anything that resembles bipolar disorder more?

Monday, June 2, 2008

A visit from Iowa, via Sacramento


Over the weekend we had a wonderful visit from Grammie Abby. Grammie is Scott's Dad's Mom, and the boys Great Grammie. Grammie came out in January and we had a blast so we had big plans for this visit.

Of course we had to start our Saturday with soccer.

Are these boys just too cool or what?

I'm really proud of Evan, up until a few weeks ago, he was deathly afraid of the parachute...
not the case anymore. He was the first on, and the last off. Sometimes with that one, it's just a matter of letting him find his own way. If I tried to force him, he'd still be wary.

We tried to pose for a picture with Grammie, this was the best we could do with two squirmy boys.

We spent the afternoon at the park, the boys loved "blasting-off" up over the fence, scaling the huge climbing wall, and running themselves silly. And running Mommy just plain exhausted.

And running Mommy just plain exhausted.

It was so nice to have Grammie and Boppie visit. The boys thrive on company. They love all the extra attention, you know because they are so neglected normally.