Thursday, December 29, 2005


Today was day three of the nasty stomach bug. Both girls took their bedtime bottle easily last night without any vomit or poop. They woke up this morning around 8:00 in fine moods and drank their morning bottles without incident. We started thinking we had weathered the storm. Wrong. Around 11:45 Holland had her first diaper incident...nasty... It continued throughout the rest of the day. Today her mood sucked too. She wasn't the happy and playful girl she was yesterday. I wouldn't be either. I called the doctor's office. They said there is a gastrointestinal virus going around that could last up to a WEEK!!!!! John said it best today..."I need a vacation from my vacation!"

Anyways, I Love Love Love these pictures showing some of the many faces of Holland and Eden. I'm working on getting some crying pictures but I'm just too much of a pushover to go grab the camera when they are crying!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A Holly Jolly Christmas

We had a wonderful Christmas this year. Last Christmas the girls on oxygen and still very small and fragile, so we stayed home away from the germy masses. This year we thought long and hard, but decided to take the girls out to all of the family parties. We went to my Mom's family party on the 17th, my Dad's family party on the 23rd, to my Grandma's house on Christmas Eve, to my Mom's on Christmas morning, and to John's family party on Christmas night. We kept them busy with a couple of missed naps and late bedtimes, but they loved every minute of it. I really think they are party girls in the making...just like their mama. They love to be out and about around lots of people. The more the merrier.

Santa came to our house on Christmas and the girls opened their stockings and a small gift early in the morning before we left for Nana's. Santa didn't spend a lot of money this year because he knew that Holland and Eden's families would go a little crazy buying gifts. He was right! The girls got TONS of new toys. They liked the wrapping paper, boxes, and tags most of all. Actually Christmas was just in time, because they were starting to get a little bit bored with the toys we had at home. Now it's time to clear out some of the old to make way for the new.

As much fun as we had spending time with our families, we are now paying the price... Both girls were sick today with a stomach bug. Diarrhea, vomiting, the whole deal. At least it's not respiratory. My nieces were sick before xmas with the same bug and it lasted for 24-48 hours, then they were fine. Funny thing is that they don't act a bit sick. They were up today playing, talking, and being their silly selves, then all of a sudden, SPLAT vomit everywhere. I'm not going to talk about the diarrhea in the bathtub because that's just gross. Everything has been cleaned and sanitized for today. Let's hope tomorrow goes a little smoother.

Here they are today. See what I mean? They don't look a bit sick. Just stand back because you don't know what might end up in your lap. Or down your shirt. Or in your hair. Or everywhere.

Monday, December 19, 2005

We Love Aidan

We love and miss our big buddy Aidan. Getting his card in the mail really made our day!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Crazy Babies

Since the pictures were down for a few days, I decided to make it worth the wait. This is my new all time fav picture of Eden. Isn't it hilarious??? That hair! If you look closely you can see her teeth. She had three finally pop through over the past two weeks.

Eden had a programming appt this morning that went AWESOME. She responded really consistently on every electrode we tested today and the levels on her map were adjusted accordingly. She should be able to hear many more softer sounds that she couldn't hear before. The audiologist told us that we could see more progress in her responses over the next couple of weeks. I think we have noticed more just today with her looking up when we call her name and trying to talk to us a lot more.

Holland let us know that she is too big for her swing this past weekend. We always put them in the swings when we are in the shower and they have been really good about entertaining themselves while we are getting ready. On Sunday Holland figured out that she can reach the floor and the outside poles of the swing, and that if she rocks herself back and forth she can make the swing go. She would get it rocking so hard that it would fling her back. She thought it was great fun. We took a video and some pics because it was likely the last time that she would be using the swing. She is getting HUGE!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Power Outage

The power went out when I was putting the lights on the Christmas tree Saturday night. So far we haven't been able to figure it out. The computer room is on the same circuit, so we are without internet access at home. The pictures will also be down until we can get things working again.

So sad... A whole day without pictures of my girls... How will any of us make it through the day???

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Let's Talk Hearing

Everyone has been asking about how things are going with Eden's cochlear implant, so I guess it's time for a hearing update. The truth is, there really isn't much to tell.

A quick lesson in equipment... Eden has to wear a coil that attaches to her head behind her right ear by a magnet (this is the part that communicates with the internal device). She also has to wear a processor which is attached to the coil with a wire. There are two types of processors, a body-worn, and a BTE or Behind the Ear. The BTE processor is big for a baby because it attaches to the microphone piece that is always worn on the ear. Generally little ones wear the body-worn processor until they are big enough to switch to a BTE. When Eden was activated, the company that makes her processor (Cochlear) had not yet released the new version of the body-worn processor, so Eden ended up with a BTE that is too big for her to wear.

As you can see from recent pics, we've devised a way for Eden to wear her processor. The headband is actually working pretty well (aside, of course, from the crazy hairdo that goes along with it). It helps hold the coil in place so she isn't always rubbing it off on the floor or the back of the chair, and it holds the processor. We are still frequently adjusting her headband and putting the coil back on her head, but it is much better than anything else we have tried. Her body-worn processor came in the mail today, so I guess we will give it a try and see what happens. It might just be that the headband works out better anyway. The good thing is that we get to keep both processors, so there will be no waiting for the BTE when Eden is big enough for it. Of course, by then there might be new technology!

As far as the actual hearing, and Eden's progress, there isn't really much to report. We can tell she is hearing in subtle ways. She seems to pay more attention, she is a little bit more vocal, and she occasionally looks up or looks a bit surprised when she hears a loud or different sound. Eden goes bi-weekly for her programming appointments where they adjust the levels of her CI. We've seen a really big difference each time we've been to these appointments. Eden seems to have the hang of listening to beeps, and she shows clear definite reactions when they get to levels she can hear. It is really cute to see her look up at us when she hears something. You can just see in her face that she thinks it is a game and she likes the reaction she gets from us. Other than that, it's honestly been a little bit of a let down. Not that I am discouraged or unhappy about her progress, it's just that there's a big build up to activation day, then it takes a long time to start seeing results. I am very anxious for Eden to start responding to her name consistently, and even more anxious for her to start some consonant babbling (mama would be a great first word). It'll come. It is just gonna take some time. Of course, I was well prepared and expected this, but I am still ready for something more to happen!

Now a quick note on Holly. She is crawling more and more each day. Today she followed the dog around for a while and kept stealing his bone and chewing on it. Zippo encourages it by taking his bone to her and dropping it in her lap. He is very nice about sharing, and she is very nice about giving big slobbery open mouth kisses. Disgusting I know, but what can you do? They love each other. Holland is also wanting to pull herself up on everything now. She can get to her knees by herself, but needs a little help to get to her feet. It's coming along quickly now. Maybe a little too quickly. She is really reminding me of my cousin Abigail lately (Hi Abby!) because every time she is on my lap she is looking for my thumbs to pull up on so she can stand. Won't be long before I become a slave to her wanting to walk around the house this way. Holland has also become really interested in Eden's headband and processor lately. Today she tried to grab it and when I told her "no, no" she pretended to cry and hit Eden on the head then pulled her hair! We'll have to work on that. Little miss sassy pants.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Look Out...Here Comes Trouble!

It's official...Holly is crawling! Good-bye valuables, hello baby gates.

Thursday, November 24, 2005




My mom came over this evening to bring us leftovers from our family's Thankgiving dinner. She mentioned that she had checked the blog this morning hoping for a Thanksgiving post, and was disappointed not to find one. I told her that I didn't really have anything new to write about, so I hadn't gotten around to it yet. I think it was John who said something to the effect that I could write about what I am thankful for. I went through the whole day without even thinking about that... I have a LOT to be thankful for. I've been spending way too much time lately wrapped up in day to day life and feeling sorry for myself because life has been rough this past year. To cheer myself up, in the true spirit of Thanksgiving, I am going to spend some time writing about what I am thankful for.

I am thankful for my children. Before Holland and Eden were born we were told that 24-week preemies have about a 50% chance of survival. Sometimes I forget how very lucky we are to have BOTH of our babies. I never want to take their lives for granted. They are the most beautiful little girls I have ever met. Their spirit and personalities brighten every day. They have such character and are full of love and laughter. Everything they do just amazes me.

I am thankful for my husband. In July we celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary, and in October, our 12th anniversary as a couple. John is my very best friend and is always there for me when times get tough. He puts up with my moodiness, crying, and bitching, and loves me anyway. He is a strong, solid presence in my life through every up and down and I would be lost without him. In addition to that, he's really cute, really smart, and really talented. He's also an amazing father, and the love that he has for our girls makes me love him even more than I thought possible.

I am thankful for my mother. When I was in the hospital she was there for me every day and every night. She visited the girls in the NICU almost every day. Over the past 16 months she has continued to help me out anytime I need her. She watches my kids when I work and she finds a way to come to any doctors appointments when I need her. Sometimes she even cooks for me and cleans my house! My mother's love for me is unconditional and I only hope that I will be as good a mom to my own children. Thank you mom, for everything you do for me every day. I love you.

I am also thankful for my father, sisters, and brother, as well as my in-laws, and my amazingly cute and smart nieces and nephews. They are all so thoughtful and kind, and would do anything for us. I am beyond lucky to have such a wonderful family.

I am thankful for my friends. Most people are lucky to have one or two good friends in a lifetime. I am lucky to have many more. I still keep in contact with friends from elementary school through high school, college, graduate school, and work. I am surrounded by strong, smart women who listen to me, support me, and love me. They have continuously offered help in many, many ways. I am most grateful that I always have a shoulder to cry on. An occasional girls night out to lift my spirits and drown my sorrows doesn't hurt either:) I have the best girl friends!

There are other things in life that I am thankful for, such as the fact that we have good jobs and are able to have a nice house, and clothes, and money to live comfortably. I am also thankful for my health, and the health of my family. But most of all it's the people in my life that I am thankful for. Life is full of uncertainty, ups and down, and occasional boulders in the road. When you have people in your life to love, and who love you, I think you can handle life...whatever it may throw at you.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Due Date Birthday

This is one of my favorite pictures because it really gives some perspective and shows how far we have come. Going back through pictures today, and any day, makes me cry. I really can't believe how much we have been through. It's been a long road...

This is Holland (right) and Eden (left) on the day that they came home from the NICU, also their due date, November 17th, 2004.

Today's photo session... It's getting harder and harder to get good pics of the girls together. They won't hold still for a minute!

Today was a day for a little reflection. It was Holland and Eden's 1-year age adjusted birthday, and the first anniversary of their NICU graduation. My mom and I took the girls to the NICU for a little visit. We got to see two of the neonatologists, and a bunch of our favorite nurses and staff. It was fun to show off the girls and have everyone comment on how big (and CUTE!) they are. I'm sure that St. Joe's has the best NICU staff around. I can't imagine anywhere better that we could have been under the circumstances and I am forever grateful to them for all that they have done for my family. I know some of you are reading, and I just have to guys rock! Oh, and did I mention that my kids are DAMN CUTE???

Monday, November 14, 2005

Sign on Door

He, he... I love it!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Obsessive Hand-Washing

We did SO good last winter. We went almost 6 months without even a trace of a cold. It was really amazing, especially when you consider that the average micropreemie is hospitalized 2-3 times within the first year after discharge. Unfortunately, we just spent pretty much the entire month of October, and the beginning of November, sick. Three viruses in a row, starting with the worst one October 1st that ended with Holland in the hospital being treated for pneumonia. Her lungs seem to have suffered a bit more damage from being so premature and on the ventilator for so long, and she gets the worst of it. Eden handles being sick a little better.

I don't know why I can't seem to stay healthy. Before having kids, and even while they were in the NICU I was very healthy and rarely got sick. Something has changed. It could be stress, lack of good sleep, not eating well, or maybe a combination of these that's got my immunity down, but I can't take it anymore! It's so unfair that John NEVER catches any of it. He's always healthy as a horse. What's up with that??? He swears it is because he is a better handwasher than me. Maybe I could use a little of his OCD (okay, he doesn't REALLY have OCD, I just like to tease him).

We're on a serious mission now to get and stay healthy. No more fun and games. We're back on lockdown like we were last year. We'll be spending much more time at home without visitors. We'll only take company that has been symptom free for at least 48 hours, and anyone approaching the babies must WASH THEIR HANDS!

I hate having to be the handwashing gestapo, but I hope everyone will be sympathetic and understanding. It is just too hard on me and on the babies to be sick. They don't eat or sleep well, and they require a lot more care in general. That would be hard enough. When you add in me feeling like total crap, it just creates a mess.

I guess I just gotta do what I gotta do. The girls' health is my number one priority. It is one thing when you have a normal kid who gets a cold and gets over it. It's a whole different scene when you have to worry that your kid is going to end up in the hospital because they can't breathe with every little cold that they get. I can't take it. We need to do better...

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Keeping it Light

Here are some adorable pictures of the girls laughing at their Daddy. I have all kinds of sad, depressing posts running through my head, but I'm just not up to it right now, so I guess I'll try to keep it light. I just spent three days at a conference in Lansing. It was the first time I have been away from the girls for a whole entire day since they were born! I didn't know if I would be able to do it, but I actually enjoyed the time away. Lucky me, I have some great friends who live in Lansing who let me crash at their house (Thanks Donna and Tim!). Donna and I actually went out to a movie last night. And I got to sleep through the night 2 nights in a row, without listening to a baby monitor. It's amazing the difference that you get in the quality of sleep! I do get to sleep through the night at home, but it is a different kind of sleep when you are taking care of babies.

The girls had their 15 month appointment with the pediatrician on Monday. John took them with my mom's help. It was the very first doctor's appointment that I didn't go to! I did arm John with a list of questions and told him the info that I wanted him to write down for me. Holland weighed in at 17 pounds 4 ounces, and Eden at 15 pounds 2 ounces. I really thought Eden was closer to 16 pounds, but oh well. The doctor was pleased with both of their growth, and they are continuing to move up on the charts approaching the normal curve for their actual age. Holland is actually on the charts in head circumference, and length, and is pretty close in weight. Eden has further to go. Who knows if she will ever truly be on the charts for her actual age, given that she has the cards stacked against her. Children with CP are generally smaller and have a harder time gaining weight than other kids. I would just like to keep them in the same size clothes. What a pain it will be to try to keep track of two different sizes!

Both girls are learning so much and showing off new tricks all the time. Holland has about 4 words in her vocabulary. She says "mama," "baba" (which could mean bottle or baby?), "getcha, getcha," and "kisses." She also makes kisssing noises with her mouth, clicks her tongue, blows rasberries, and chuckles "hahaha" when we do it to her. She loves pictures of babies, baby dolls, and Eden, and wants to give them kisses and pat them on the back. Eden just recently learned to pass Cheerios from her hand to her mouth, a big accomplishment that we were eagerly anticipating! She is also holding her own bottle on occasion. Her newest and favorite trick is what we call "ojitos" (means small eyes in Spanish). This is what we say when she squinches her eyes up at us. She will do it in response to us, or just to be cute and get our attention. She also continues to do a lot of imitation, such as nodding her head yes and no, opening and closing her mouth, and pointing her index finger and shaking it around. Eden loves her toys. Right now her favorites are two maracas (one in each hand that she bangs together), the Bobble and Giggle Pals, and the Roll-a-Rounds Turtle. She is very systematic in her play, and likes to pop up one animal at a time, and take out one ball at a time, then we put them back in and she does it all again:)

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

A Happy Hearing Halloween

As you can see, the girls were ladybugs for Halloween. I LOVE Halloween. I am so excited to have kids now because I can live vicariously through them. I love getting them dressed up, and I think that trick-or-treating is the most fun ever. This year we took them door-to-door to a few of our close neighbors. Just to show them off really. And so we could eat all the candy! I can't wait till next year. We're already coming up with ideas for costumes. There are so many cute things you can do with twins!

Eden had her big day yesterday. She was hooked up and turned on! Activation days one (yesterday) and two (this morning) went very well. It was cool, and exciting, but also somewhat anticlimactic. Before turning her on to the outside world, she was hooked up to the computer and the audiologist presented beeping sounds and we all watched and looked for any kind of response. Eden was really good and sweet, and she played intently with her toys. Occasionally she did look up at us when she heard a sound, and that was really cute and exciting and we all made a big deal out of it. Once she was turned on and could hear us talking she really didn't seem to care or notice one way or another. We knew this would be the case because in hearing years she is a newborn. I haven't met a newborn yet who responded to my voice! So now Eden has three ages...her actual age (15 months), her adjusted age (11.5 months), and her hearing age (newborn). I am anxiously awaiting any overt sign that Eden is hearing us, and will report back to all of you with the news! For now, we will be going to the Cochlear Implant Center for weekly Speech Therapy with Ellen, and bi-weekly Programming and mapping with Eden's Audiologist Brandi. After a while, as we see how Eden progresses, the follow up appointments will become more spread out. We plan to continue with Auditory-Verbal Therapy over the next few years.

Holland has big news to report too...she can get herself to sitting from her belly! She has a really funny way of doing it. She pushes herself back with her hands until she is doing the splits, then brings her legs around. It looks like a really impressive gymnastic move. Unfortunately her PT says it isn't such a good idea, and let us borrow some HipHelpers to help her learn a more developmentally appropriate pattern. My mom is going to make her some in a variety of colors. Holland has generally low tone and her legs tend to froggy out into a W when she tries to get on her hands and knees. This will hold up her crawling and walking for a while, but she'll get there with a little work. Knowing that she will have no problem doing all of these things eventually, I am in no hurry for her to crawl. Holland is a pistol, with a very strong will, and we are in trouble once that girl can get around!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Sleep Deprived

Here we are getting ready for bed. We have a nice bedtime routine that includes pjs, bottles, breathing treatments, books, and songs with all four of us. This is the fun part. It's the part where they are actually supposed to go to sleep that has recently become a BIG problem. Not with Eden...she's a peach as always. Holly, on the other hand, has become a real stinker when it comes to sleeping. We have been so lucky when it comes to sleep. Lucky to the point that maybe I got a little smug. I read some of your blogs and talked my friends through it, thinking to myself "oh poor them, it must be so hard when your baby won't sleep and you have to let them cry." I, of course, figured I would NEVER let my baby "CRY IT OUT." I wouldn't have to. They are such good sleepers. So much for that...

I am sure Holland's current sleep issues are related to her being sick. In the hospital with pneumonia at the beginning of the month, then sick again with a cold and ear infection a mere three weeks later! When she is sick I spoil her, I'll admit it. I don't let her cry. I attend to her every need and let her sleep in my bed. So, through it all it got progressively worse. We went from putting her in her bed and having her fall asleep with absolutely no problem, to having to pat her back, then rub her back for longer periods, then singing and rubbing her back, then picking her up and rocking her, to bringing her to bed with us when all else failed. We have truly created a monster. Now she is feeling better and I am stuck trying to undo weeks of damage. She starts crying the minute we leave the room, and none of the usual tricks are working. She won't stop crying until we pick her up and bring her to our room. Even then, she doesn't want to sleep. She wants to play, or just rolls around moaning and fussing every few minutes.

I imagine this would be difficult for any parent. It's even harder on us given all that our babies have been through. I never want them to cry. It kills me. It makes me cry. But nothing else is working. Being a parent is SO HARD!!!!!!!!!!! How the heck am I supposed to know what to do?

Friday, October 21, 2005

Mess, Mess, Mess

I really wonder how people do it. How do you manage to take care of your kids AND keep your house clean??? I used to be so good, maybe even a little anal about the cleanliness of my house. I wouldn't have ANYONE over unless it was spotless. Now it's just a wreck. I can't seem to get it together. AND we have home visits from 2 physical therapists, as well as Eden's teacher, audiologist, and speech pathologist. They see my house in shambles.

I was watching The View yesterday, and there was this lady on who just had her 16TH KID! Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I admire this lady. I think she is crazy. But she did seem to have it together. I can't even imagine it. The two I have seem to occupy every moment of my time.

When I do have a second to relax, that's just what I want to do, relax. Sometimes I take a nap with them. Sometimes I just veg out and watch TV. The very last thing I want to do is clean house. Or make phone calls. Or do laundry. Or cook. Maybe it is possible, but you would have to be completely busy every second of the day. I just can't do that. I like to take it easy and enjoy my time with the babies when they are awake.

I want to kick back with a glass of wine, or a mug of mocha, and a good book or movie when they are asleep. I don't want to clean house. How do you mom's out there manage? Is there some secret I don't know about? Please let me in on it! I could use some pointers.