Monday, January 26, 2009

We have lots to say these days.

On the way to his solo Eye appointment, Ryan screams from the backseat while pointing to the empty seat next to him:
"My EVIE, My EVIE, where is my EVIE?"

While playing hide and seek with his brother, Ryan says:
"Evan-ee, Evan-ee, where are you? Come here!"

To his father about his glasses, Evan says:
"Put them in the case Daddy, put them in the case."

All day long, Evan singing a song from one of our new books(Thanks Angie)while holding/wielding a rake and a tennis ball:
"I'm a menace, I'm a menace, I play tennis, in my room, in my room."

When asked if he wanted to go ride the train in the park, Evan says:
"Yes, and I will probably see a windmill!"

Five Hundred Twenty Five Thousand Six Hundred...

times I've said, "Please don't take off your/your brother's glasses" or any derivation of the phrase, in the last 4 days.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Developmental Follow-Up part deux

Evan was supposed to have his follow up the week after Ryan, but he was sick. Sick boys do not test well. Evan does not test well. Actually I should say, in the past Evan has not tested well. He would get uptight, and nervous, feeling like he was going to be subjected to some awful medical procedure.

I've been working on Evan's "white coat disease". We talk about where we are going, what is going to happen, why its not a big deal, etc. So far so good. He's getting better, it also helps that we are not getting shots every month during the winter anymore!

We arrived at our appointment, and I mentioned that we are also going to be tested by the school district to see if we can qualify for any services, mainly we are looking to get into the program to continue OT services for Evan. Based on the 5 minutes our Nurse spent with Evan in the lobby, as he told her all about his morning, what his brother was doing, and that his daddy was not a work, Martha laughed at me. I then mentioned that Evan doesn't test well. He gets nervous and anxious in doctors offices, so therefore he doesn't really respond.

Within moments of beginning our standardized test, Evan did everything he was asked. Some of the areas I thought he would do worse than Ryan (puzzles) he was better. He also did complex imaginative play, something that Ryan would not. Martha kept laughing at me.

During some of the testing Evan, began signing some letters while singing the "Name Song", Martha laughed even harder.

It's a good thing Evan is starting to eat, because after he turns 3, he is going to be OT-ing us out of house and home. Even with insurance we are looking at $60 a week. (If anyone knows an OT in our area that might like a little freelance work on the side, send them my way.)

It is so wonderful, in so many ways, that both these boys are nearly caught up to their gestational age. There are still some delays in fine and gross motor, but these are some of the last areas where preemies catch up. And really I'd rather have them caught up cognitively than physically, it might give me an slight edge when trying to chase them both down. Even with my brain dulled by lack of sleep and constant mothering, I at least think I can out think two, two and a half year old boys, for maybe another few months.

E is for EATING

I've been hesitant to blog about this, because you know, as soon as you put it down, it goes away. So that sound you hear while reading this post, it is me knock, knock, knocking on wood.

Right before Christmas Scott got the bright idea to try M&M's with Evan. We've tried bribing him to eat with them before, but he wasn't interested (clearly not my child).
For some reason, it worked this time. He started swallowing them. Granted they had liqufied into chocolate spit by the time he swallowed, but he swallowed.

Since that day, Evan has been swallowing small, miniscule, sized bites of food. Even while he was sick and coughing, over the holidays, he continued to try to swallow bits. We were able to get him to swallow by offering M&M's if he did so.

While we were building our trains for Santa, Evan put a fist full of M&M's in his mouth and swallowed them all. All the while we were away, Evan had a great cheering section for his swallowing successes, which bolstered his ego, and made him excited to keep trying to get cheers.

This week Evan has really done some fantastic stuff. He ate one whole piece of penne. In 6 or 7 small bites, but that also means he has swallowed seven times in one sitting. At OT one day, he licked his plate clean. He's eaten bites of quesadillas, salad, cuban flank steak, raisins, cheerios, cookies, goldfish, and more.

He is certainly no where near sustaining himself on real food yet, but he is making progress. Two long hard years, weekly, and bi-weekly OT sessions, three times a day encouraging, and cajoling, begging and pleading. Cleaning up vomit as much as six meals a day, and we are finally making progress.

What is it? He finally wants to eat? He isn't as afraid anymore? He's outgrowing his memories? Or the healing powers of M&M's? I tend to think its those delightful chocolate candies that melt in your mouth, not your hands.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The eyes have it

Both Ryan and Evan were diagnosed with ROP, Retinopothy of Prematurity, in the hospital. Evan had two laser eye surgeries to halt the growth of the blood vessels in his eyes. Ryan's eyes regressed on their own. Since our discharge we have been closely followed by our pediatric Opthamologist.

For the last two and a half years we have seen our Opthamologist twice a year, knowing full well that at some point both boys would require corrective lenses.

Tuesday I took Ryan in for his appointment, and sure enough, this is it for Ry. We left with a prescription in hand.

I took both boys to see a pediatric Optometrist to get Ryan fitted for his new glasses. I may have made a slight miscalculation, or it's possible the boys take this twin thing too seriously, because when told he was not getting glasses, Evan lost it. He cried and cried, and screamed "I want my glasses" over and over again. I finally got him to calm down by giving him his sunglasses, but, we did have to leave the store we were in, and have a little time out in the car first.

Thankfully this was not in the Optometrists office, but a short drive away, this gave me time to plot and plan.

The idea I came up with was to get two pairs of glasses one for each of the boys. Evan will be needing glasses soon, likely in the next 6 months, keep the peace, to ensure that Evan doesn't take off Ryan's glasses every second, both boys got fitted for their glasses, and in a week, both boys will be wearing them.

They were so cute and extraordinarily well behaved. The Optometrist commented to me on how great they were, that two and a half year old twin boys don't normally behave so nicely. That made me feel great. (Especially after our incident earlier in the day)

I cannot wait for them to get their glasses. They looked so cute, and grown up in them. It killed me. Oh, yes, and there are no pictures of this milestone, because my camera is broken, and I forgot to lug our big one to the office. Sorry, my bad.
Trust me they were too cute for words.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

March for Babies

Ryan and Evan were born at 26 weeks.

During the pregnancy I did everything I could to ensure the health of my little guys. I was freakishly obsessive about my health. If one study showed something was possibly bad for fetuses, I eliminated it from my diet/lifestyle. I cut out coffee, chocolate, lunch meat, sushi (that one killed me), nitrates, everything and anything. Nothing was too much to sacrifice for these little ones.

None of it did any good. Twenty six weeks and two days in to the pregnancy, Ryan and Evan made their spectacular entrance into the world. In spite of numerous attempts by doctors to keep them safely in my womb, these two had minds of their own.

Sometimes that is just how it is. All the precautions, education and medical attention in the world can't always prevent prematurity. So much about why babies are born early is unknown. The March of Dimes is a wonderful organization dedicated to making sure that some day, every baby will be born healthy.

From their early work to find and develop a vaccine for polio, to their current work educating, funding important research in the areas of prematurity and birth defects, and advocating for babies...the March of Dimes is "dedicated to improving the health of babies."

Without the March of Dimes, the likely-hood that Ryan and Evan would be here with us today, is slim. In the 80's the March of Dimes funded research into Surfactant. A drug given to each of my babies. A drug that may have helped them breathe just a little easier. A drug that may have allowed their terribly premature lungs to heal just enough to keep them alive. A drug, that with out the support of the March of Dimes may not have been available to my precious (and many, many others) boys.

Why this March of Dimes PSA?

Well, my friend Lindsay, and fellow mom of preemie twins, recruited me to work on the Family Teams Council for the San Diego Chapter of the March of Dimes. One of our goals is to increase the number of Family Teams in our Chapter, and of course, the amount of money raised.

Putting my money and feet where my mouth is, we have signed up for the 2009 March for Babies.

Please join our team (Ostrem Family 2009)(come walk with us!), donate, or start a team of your own. Just follow the link here, or on the side bar, or on facebook, and stay tuned here for more info and progress reports.

Oh, and did I mention we have to walk 5 miles????

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I'm a little late to the party, and other ramblings

Some of you may laugh at me for this because I am so lame, but for others of you I want to share some wisdom that has never been shared with me.

On my Christmas list this year was a food processor. A nice medium sized one. I've owned the small two cup type and recently (last 3 years) used it often for grinding up chicken, or sweet potatoes, one breast or potato at a time...tedious, yes. So I thought hm, what thing do I sort of need, but would never go out an buy for myself because well, do I really need a new kitchen gadget? (I would always answer yes to that question, but Scott feels differently, he tends to go on cleaning binges and I find out when I go to use my jar opener that he has decided that it is unnecessary and absolutely needs to be thrown away, now.) Plus I've got pretty decent knife skills so until recently, (now that I cook in bulk and freeze multiple meals,) it's been easy enough to chop, dice and slice by hand. Any way, I was really happy to get my food processor and even more excited to use it.

So the other day I was at Costco and we needed cheese, as we always do in this dairy loving family. I normally buy the brand name version that comes in cute little 2 pound blocks, however, I'm feeling frugal ($400 in swim lessons will do that to me)so I decided to try the Kirkland cheese. The one that comes in the gigantic 5 pound block of cheese, which automatically makes me thing of the West Wing episode where they have the "big block of cheese day" Which was a great episode on a great TV show. If you ever have a few hours months to spare, I highly recommend the first few seasons of the West Wing. I personally watched every single episode, because I am like that, but some people tired of the series around season 4 or 5. I LOVE Aaron Sorkin, and I have watched all episodes of all his series even if I was the only one. He's doing the Facebook Movie by the way and I am really interested in what he comes up with.

Like I said in the title of this post...ramblings.

Okay, so what to do with a big block of cheese? Well, grate it and freeze it of course. I happen to be the proud owner of 3 deep freezers so there is never usually room in one of them for extra staples. I buy milk on sale (organic 1/2 gallons buy one get one free for $4) and freeze it. Anything else we might use in bulk, chicken, etc. if it's on sale, I stock up. (rambling)

So normally I would have had to grate all of that cheese by hand or freeze it in chunks for grating later (which is okay too). But with my handy new food processor, I grated 5 pounds of cheese in like 10 minutes. The hardest part was getting it into the baggies. Why didn't someone tell me how cool these things are?

I also shredded lettuce and made guacamole, all with a swift push of a button. Wow.

I can't wait to make some vegetarian lasagna, all that shredding of veggies, it will be so fast! So simple, so quick. This thing is AWESOME!

So I need to know what else can I do with this thing?


Out of the mouths of:

Evan: Evan was SHOCKED to see a blue door (pause for effect) on the BOUNCY.

Ryan: Wait, I have an idea. (runs off)

Evan: All of a sudden Evan woke up and there was a monster.
Me: A Monster?
Evan: A Ryan Monster, and he said "Wake UP!"


Ryan: Mom, ... (yes Ryan has gone from calling me Mommy, all the time to Mom. sigh. they grow up too fast. Thank goodness when he is upset he still calls me Mommy.)


Ryan: (The few mornings and afternoons before Christmas) Wake Up. It's Christmas time!!!!


I've got so much rumbling around in my brain to write about, but never enough quiet time, energy, etc. to get it out of my brain through my fingers.

I HAVE to write about Evan's EATING!!! New Year's Eve, and a couple of other things, but for now, I HAVE to go to bed.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Christmas Past...and so is New Year's and at this rate this post will be finished around Valentine's Day.

We had a very busy holiday week. Our 500 mile car trip was, let's just say, not pleasant. In the past we have made the trek in the evening and late into the night. The boys have their snack and are off to dream land. The transfer from car to bed has been made with varying levels of success, however the trip is usually filled with lots of sleep and peaceful time for the adults to read, listen to music, or gasp have adult conversations.

The last few trips have seen a sharp decrease in effectiveness, leading up to this year's disaster. Okay, I exaggerate, not really a disaster, but a trip, leaving me shaking my head, covering my eyes, and begging for children to fall asleep.

We had short naps and then, at about 10:30 we woke up and were raring to go. Evan has become quite a motor mouth. Talking about everything, anything and all the time. He was quite the instigator in the mayhem that filled our Odyssey. We were treated to about 3 hours of the little drummer boy, sung at full voice my Evan, with harmonizing vocals from Ryan. We also had several hundred renditions of the ABC song, A few choruses of Jingle Bells, and the singing of every kind of truck that passed the windows.

About an hour from our destination, the debates started. It went a lot better than the Vice Presidential Debates of 2008, everyone stayed on point.

Evan: Evan First
Ryan: Ryan First
Evan: Evan First
Ryan: Ryan First
Evan: Evan First
Ryan: Ryan First
Evan: Evan First
Ryan: Ryan First
Evan: Evan First
Ryan: Ryan First
Evan: Evan First
Ryan: Ryan First

You get the idea...this went on with "Evan go with Daddy/Ryan go with Daddy" and several other phrases, for the rest of the trip. Now, had it not been 12:30 AM, a good 5 hours past their bed time, it would have been pretty funny. (Even so, it was pretty funny.) I was getting more and more concerned with the lack of sleeping. Knowing full well that Evan was sick, and Ryan was due to catch it any second, knowing that we had a lot of activities planned, and knowing that they would not sleep in at all the next morning, and knowing that I was already exhausted, I knew this was going to be a long, long week.

There were several activities that made the highlight reel for us. The first requires that I mention that we are now members of two train museums 500 miles apart. Yes, with our two trips in one week, and the trip we took over the summer, we've paid for the membership (0r would have had we purchased the membership over the summer)

The second exciting activity was the trampoline place. It was amazing. There were trampolines all over the floor and the walls. The boys and their cousin Madison had a blast. So much so I had to take Evan back for another visit. (He is still asking to go back to the trampoline place.)

Oh, and yes, I only took Evan back. That day the boys couldn't agree on one place to go. Ryan voted for the Train Museum, and Evan the trampoline place, so we split them up. It was really fun. Each boy got our undivided attention, and they got to do the thing THEY wanted to do. I love this and I think we will make an effort to do things with them separately more often. Plus it's a piece of cake with only one kid! ( I found myself trying to parent random children I had so much extra time on my hands.)

We also went to the Zoo, "World Famous" it is not, but it was great fun. There was a ride on train, that of course, we rode on, and it was a manageable place where the boys could walk the entire time. Next to the Zoo is Fairytale Town, a fantastic place for little ones. Slides, things to climb on, play on, all based on Fairytales and children's stories.

More important than the places we went, was all of the time we got to spend with family. The boys loved having time with their Aunts and Uncles, Grand Parents, Great Grand Mother, and Cousin. For us, it was really wonderful to "show off" our little guys. They constantly surprise and amaze us, and it's nice to see other people's reactions to all the things we see everyday.

This age is so amazing, everything is absorbed so quickly, remembered and stored in those sponges they call brains. I'm so glad we are storing some great memories in there.

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The trip home wasn't as bad as the trip there. Except no one napped, and Evan talked the ENTIRE way home. I swear I don't remember what about, just that Scott and I laughed that he would be hoarse the next day. He wasn't.