Thursday, November 23, 2006

What I am Thankful For...

This was the third Thanksgiving in a row that we have spent at home. Before kids, John and I would go to my Grandma's in the afternoon, and to John's Aunt's in the evening. We would stuff ourselves with turkey and lots of yummy food, and spend time with our extended family, that we don't see but two or three times a year.

We had planned on bringing the girls to their first Thanksgiving parties this year, but alas, we are all still sick. So, I am feeling down, and we didn't have the Thanksgiving I was hoping for.

On the bright side, these pictures serve as a reminder of all that I have to be thankful for. I have a LOT to be thankful for.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Happy 2nd Due Date/Homecoming Day!

Two years ago today was Holland and Eden's due date, and the day that we brought them home from the hospital after 110 days in the NICU.

Last year on this day we celebrated by visiting the NICU to thank the staff, and to let them see how far the girls had come. I had hoped to make a tradition of it, but we couldn't go today because we are STILL sick:( At the beginning of the week, we seemed to be in an upswing, but today poor Eden has been hacking so much I'm afraid she may cough up a lung. So, instead of visiting the NICU, we celebrated by meeting Daddy for lunch, where Eden began coughing so hard that she ended up throwing up all over Daddy's work clothes! Luckily, we were seated in the back, far enough away from the other customers that I don't think we ruined anyone else's lunch. The good thing is that I think we are more bothered by Eden's cough than she is, cause she continues to be in a fairly good mood. I don't think I would handle a cough like that as well:) She's such a good girl.

So anyway, in honor of the girl's 2nd adjusted age birthday, I thought I would talk a little bit more about what they are like as two year old's...

Holland is really into walking and talking on the phone right now. Aunt Lizzie gave her an old flip phone that she has continuously been walking around the house "talking" on. You can understand a lot of the conversation, including "hi, bye-bye, and, who is it?". She always knows who she is talking to (usually Nana, but sometimes Kimi, Missy, Papa, or Daddy), and she always tells them it's "Hana."

Holland has an incredible memory. She can count to ten, knows her colors and shapes, and can identify every animal and the sound they make. She remembers everyone's name, including mommy's name ("Bebe"), daddy's name ("Don"), sissy's name ("Enid"), and her own name ("Hana"). She also knows the names of every one of her favorite television characters. We have a Barney book where Barney is leading a parade and all the animals are playing instruments. Holland can name the instrument that each of the animals plays, and if we see that instrument somewhere else, she will inform us as to who plays it (e.g. the squirrel plays the triangle). She is just now starting to get good at putting two words together like "hana turn" and "mama sit" and "hi o-pus (as she holds the phone to the octopus' head)." She also knows all the moves to many many songs and can supply a missing word in all of her favorite songs and stories.

Eden is a totally sweet, cheerful, silly, little girl. She has a great sense of humor and when she smiles you can see the joy in her entire body. She is quickly getting more and more responsive to questions and is saying more words all the time. Right now she can say mama, dada, more, all done, bubbles, up, what's that, hi, yes, woof, stinky, baba, and roar, clearly and consistently. She often repeats what we say, but it's not always clear to anyone except us:) I am really encouraged that she is answering our questions so much more lately. Like, I asked her today if she wanted a cracker, and she signed "more" then "eat." She signs and says "more" all the time now, which makes it a lot easier to understand what she wants. And, by the way, it's so frickin cute when she signs that I want to cry every time!!!

Eden is also enjoying "talking" on the phone, and has mastered the military crawl through her new tunnel. When we count she will repeat some of the numbers, and will pretend to count with her fingers. She likes things to be very orderly and makes up her own games which often involve lining her toys up in neat little rows. Eden also loves to color. She has to hold the crayon perfectly in her hand, and makes little marks like she is writing. She will look at the paper for any blank space, then deliberately goes to that space to fill it in. She is also particular about what color she uses and will throw every color until we hand her the one that she wants:)

You know, the word on the street is that preemies "catch up" by age 2, and this is the age at which doctors and therapists stop adjusting for prematurity when doing evaluations. Quite possibly, many or most preemies DO catch up by age 2, but many or most MICROpreemies do not. Even though my girls are beginning to do some of the things that 2-year-olds do, they are still quite far behind in many ways, even aside from the obvious physical delays due to the CP. One of the neonatologists at our NICU said to me that we should allow one year for each month they were early. H and E were born 3.5 months early, so they will not "catch up" until age 3.5 or 4. Even then I KNOW that the effects of their prematurity will linger. The effects on them, as well as on me.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Prematurity Awareness Month

November is National Prematurity Awareness Month, and November 14th is Prematurity Awareness Day.

Through the end of the month, donations up to $100,000 are being doubled by Mastercard (if you use your card), so it's a good time to get the most bang for your buck!

If you are interested in donating on behalf of the girls, their virtual bands can still be found here: Holland Mirabell and Eden Deanna

Brusha Brusha Brusha

I messed up. I went and wished the first two years of their lives away, and now look...she's practically a teenager!

I feel sad at moments like these, when my smooshy little babies seem too grown up. I feel sad because I didn't take enough time to enjoy them. Their babyhood was so full of overwhelming stress, anxiety, sadness, and worry that it was hard to keep my head above water. Looking back I wish I had been able to spend less time worrying over every silly milestone and had just enjoyed the little snickerdoodles that they were.

I just couldn't see it then, that I could wait until LATER to worry. Maybe that should be my new mantra, "I'll worry about it later." If I don't stop worrying so much I'm afraid I may blink and they will be grownups. And grownups just aren't that much fun!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Sesame Street Live: Elmo Makes Music!

We drove a little over an hour to Toldeo for the show. Luckily we timed it just right so the girls would sleep on the way there, and at least get a little bit of a nap.

The girlies absolutely LOVED the show, and stared at the stage with rapt attention the entire time. It was better than TV.

We didn't get a lot of smiles and laughing like we had hoped, because they were just so awestruck by the whole scenario. After about the first three songs, Holland started to lighten up a bit and did flash a few smiles and clapped at the good parts. She was oblivious to US the entire time, but that's pretty typical for her. She would little by little edge her way up the isle to get closer. I really wonder if she got away from us, if she would even notice that we were gone! Eden would occasionally look back at us to check that we were seeing what she was seeing. She would also get excited and point to something on the stage that caught her attention.

All in all, fun was had by all and I think two is a great age to start doing these kinds of things. Especially if you are still young enough at heart to enjoy it yourself! John teased me saying that I enjoyed the show even more than H and E, cause he noticed me dancing and singing along. Let me tell you, I would have been dancing (even more) in the aisles except that nobody else was! Hey, I'm always up for a good party!

Better Enough

Today is the Big Day! Wish us luck on our Sesame Street adventure:) The girls are feeling "better enough" that there is no way we will miss it!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

At Least We Voted

I've been trapped in my house for the past two days with sick kids...again. The evening was a complete bust as far as eating goes. The girls wouldn't eat one bite at dinner, even though I made their favorite (hot dogs and green beans). Then they wouldn't drink their bedtime bottles either. It's amazing the amount of stress I feel when they won't eat. My mental health directly correlates with the amount of food that my kids ingest in a given day. On top of that, poor John came home from work early because he is sick too!

They HAVE to get better quick. I've got so much to DO! I really need to go to work tomorrow and Friday. We're supposed to meet our friend Alana for the first time on Thursday, and Saturday we have tickets to see SESAME STREET LIVE!!! Get better SOON girlies!!! Please?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Domino's Farm

Friday, November 03, 2006

Fashionable Growth

Yesterday we participated in the second annual NICU fashion show, Fashionable Growth: Something to be Thankful For. The girls modeled at last year's show. This year mommy was a model also. Daddy was happy to participate, but wasn't into modeling the fashions. I cannot imagine why not??? Notice in the pictures how he appears to be hiding behind his baby? He didn't notice until after the show that his fly was down the whole time! HAHA! Luckily there was no evidence in the pictures:)

We had a great time connecting with other NICU families, as well as some of the doctors and nurses that we have gotten to know so well. One of our neonatologists and our pediatrician participated with their three girls. They have a daughter who is the same age (adjusted) as Holland and Eden and it was a lot of fun to see them playing together.

The clothes were absolutely beautiful. I modeled three outfits from V2V in Ann Arbor. One was a "family" outfit, one a "Girl's Night Out" and one "holiday" outfit. I loved all three, and would have bought them, except that they were totally out of my price range! I guess that's what is fun about a fashion show. You get to wear awesome clothes that you would never wear otherwise! I couldn't even buy the girls their family outfits. I especially LOVED Holland's first outfit, but the combo would have cost over $150.00. The tights alone were $32!!! I just bought 6 pair of tights at Target for that price:)

Holland was a total ham. She is not afraid to be the center of attention. The funny thing is that she won't really talk to anyone, but you can tell by her behavior that she loves the attention. She shrugs her shoulders, and swings her arms. When we were up she clapped for herself and didn't want to leave the stage! It was pretty funny.

Eden has given up taking naps. She thinks naps are for babies. The result is that by about 6:30-7 at night she is totally spaced out. She was really interested in everything going on, but wouldn't talk to anyone or give us any smiles. Doesn't matter though, she was gorgeous as always.

I've recently joined the Family Advisory Board at our NICU, and have helped a tiny bit with planning for the fashion show/silent auction and the NICU reunion. I've only been to two meetings so far, but plan to get more involved over the next year.

We had our reunion last month on October 8th. It was actually our first reunion, because last year Holland ended up hospitalized with pneumonia and we weren't able to go. It was a lot of fun to see all of our NICU mates. There were two other sets of twins, and one little boy at the reunion that we spent quite long time with in the NICU. Interestingly, one of the little boys has a cochlear implant like Eden:) In the pic above you can see H and E with the two other sets of twins.

Holly was a total ham at the reunion too. She wanted to be right in the middle of all the activity and wasn't afraid to jump right in. I love to see her playing and interacting so well with other kids. They are so cute and have all come so far.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

What are you Reading?

I've been tagged by Kellie for a meme, so here goes...

1. Grab the nearest book. If you are currently reading something, that'll be fine too.

2. Open the book to page 123.

3. Find the fifth sentence.

4. Post the text of the next 4 sentences on your Blog along with these instructions.

5. Don't you dare dig for that "cool" or "intellectual" book in your closet I know that is what you were thinking!

6. Tag 5 people

"The room was filled with everyone in New York he wanted to know, the babble of their happy voices rising tantalizingly, their elusive eyes glancing around for people they wanted to know. The tall room was wood-paneled, its back wall of windows overlooking the wonderful garden. Justy and Orinda had put tiny white lights in all the trees outside, and in the hedge. It was like a fairyland."

~ Rona Jaffe, Mazes and Monsters

Kellie, I am actually the world's biggest procrastinator, but that wasn't bad, was it? I would'a done this sooner, except that I didn't get home from my conference until yesterday and hadn't had a chance to check my blogs!