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!