Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Happy Easter!

We had a great Easter weekend.  It started out with Brylee, Brenna, and Colin hunting for their Easter baskets in our yard.

Next, we drove to La Grange for Easter with Jim's family.  Many of his family members had not yet met the babies due to our winter seclusion, so it was exciting to get to introduce them to the whole family. 

Cade liked his Easter eggs. 

 Cade sitting with his big cousin, Blake.  I think this is such a cute picture.

Camdyn had to get her eggs after the egg hunt because she was napping during it.

Then on Sunday, we went to my Granny's house in Giddings.  

The babies were doing this during the egg hunt.  We put them down on this blanket on opposite sides, and they ended up all cuddled together.  So sweet!

Here's a picture of my kids and my sister's kids all together, but it didn't turn out so great since the sun was in their eyes.  As kids, Bridget and I took pictures every year on this same step at Granny's house.

We had a fantastic Easter weekend! 

Below is a picture of my new little helper.  Lately, Camdyn has been pulling up on everything, and she constantly wants to be in whatever I am doing.  She is so cute!

Stars of Mommy's Blog

I found these adorable bibs at Target that say "Star of Mommy's Blog".  I just had to buy them.  I would have bought Brenna a t-shirt too if they had had one.  These are too cute!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Just call me "The Word Police"

I love words- the way they sound, the way you can string them together to make a statement, and the way the right single word can express so much if used in just the right way.  Lately, I have been growing increasingly annoyed by the use of the word "miracle".  It's thrown about in the most common ways as if it means nothing.  I vented my frustration to my sister on this topic, and she replied, "What are you - the word police?"  Well, that got me thinking that perhaps there should be such thing, so I nominate myself as word police captain.  After all, someone needs to do the job!

Webster and I agree.  Here's his definition of "miracle":

1.  an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs

2.  an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment

Take for example, the latest article I read in the waiting room of the doctor's office.  The headline read, "Katherine Heigel's Miracle Adoption".  That got me hooked, so I flipped open the magazine to see what makes this particular adoption a miracle.  To my disappointment, the article shed no light on what was "miraculous" about it.  I am sure there are stories about adoptions that are miracles, but this is not one of them. 

You hear parents call their babies "miracles" all the time.  You might even argue that all creation is a miracle.  I disagree.  All babies are blessings.  We are blessed to be given precious gifts to love and cherish.  They bless us with their sweet smiles and contagious laughter, but their birth is not a "miracle" unless it is as the definition says "extremely unusual".  I, too, have a full-term daughter whose birth was (Thank God) not a "miracle".  It's not really something you want, if given the option.  Who says, "yes please give me an 'extremely unusual' birth or one that 'manifests divine intervention'"?  No thanks; we would all prefer to be given blessings instead that you get to take home right away instead of spending months in the hospital.

For those who idealistically still think that all creation is a miracle, let me say this.  There are approximatley 490,000 babies born every day worldwide.  Humans, animals, bugs, plants, and even algae all procreate.  It's not the least bit "unusual".

In my new role of word police, I will be handing out permits for those entitled to use the word.  Anyone who has had the odds stacked against them at any time may use it such as cancer survivors, tumor survivors, micro-preemies, babies born with defects, etc.  In addition, people who have tried to conceive for several years and who finally get pregnant or those with complicated pregnancies, you may use the word.  I know there are several more scenarios that merit the term "miracle"; all true miracles out there, you know who you are. 

Here's two great examples.  My friend Donna's baby Thurston, who sadly has passed, was the definition of a miracle baby.  He was only given a 17% chance of living, and yet he spent a year here on Earth.  Even though he passed away, he is still my ultimate definition of a miracle.  I've been reading another blog of a lady who had her micro-preemie son at 24 weeks on the bathroom floor.  The parents had to give him CPR until the paramedics came.  He is a miracle baby.

I recently saw a picture online with a caption that said "My 36 Week Miracles" under a picture of twins.  I read on to see what "miraculous" story they had.  They spent one week in the hospital and went home with no complications.  Are you kidding?  That does not remotely qualify as being "miraculous".  Babies born at 24 weeks have a 40% chance of survival, 25 weeks have a 50-80% chance, 26 weeks have a 80-90% chance, and 27 weeks have a greater than 90% chance.  I couldn't find the numbers on 36 weeks gestation survivability, but I am sure that it is greater than 95%. 

Think of other emotionally-charged words for a moment - champion, survivor, and hero come to mind.  People don't just call themselves these words unless they truly possess these traits.  I think the same rules should apply to the use of the word "miracle".   

Here's a picture of my two little "Miracles" who have earned their title. 

Sea World Trip

We had a rare opportunity to take Brenna to Sea World for the weekend with just Mommy and Daddy.  Grandma watched the babies.  Some of the students from my dance studio were cheering at a competition there, so we decided to make a mini-vacation out of it.  We spent the night in a hotel, went swimming on Saturday evening at the hotel, and went to Sea World on Sunday.  Brenna had a great time with just Mommy and Daddy.  I am always trying to think of ways to make her feel extra special too.  She has been such a great sport tagging along to all of the babies' doctor and therapy appointments instead of having park playdates and such.  I'm so glad we got to spend a special weekend with just her. 

We all enjoyed it, and can I just say that one kid is sooooo easy?!  We got to break out the SINGLE stroller.  I forgot how light and easy a single stroller is compared to our double and triple strollers!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Camdyn & Cade's 1st Birthday!

Camdyn and Cade turned 1 on April 5th.  We had their birthday party on April 2nd.  It was perfect!  For many of our friends, it was the first time they had a chance to meet our babies because of our winter seclusion.  The babies had a great time.  They loved looking around at everyone.  They also enjoyed eating on all the tissue paper and wrapping paper from their presents.  They have been enjoying playing with all of their new toys too.

Here's their super cute monkey cake!

 I decorated the table in half with a side for Cade in all blue and a side form Camdyn in all pink. 

They didn't really feel like smiling for the picture, but I think this picture is cute with Cade eating Camdyn's tutu.  I think he is saying, "Hey Mom, you've been wanting me to eat for a long time now but you didn't specify what." 

Camdyn's adorable bottom!

a family picture

Cade and Camdyn at the table.  Camdyn was fascinated with the balloon on her chair.

Bring on the cake!

Cade attacking his cupcake.  We all have seen pictures of kids smashing their first birthday cakes and making a huge mess, but for a kid with a former serious oral aversion, this is simply AMAZING!  Just a few months before their party, I felt sad because I wasn't sure if they would be at all interested in their first birthday cakes.  I thought that would be one more thing standing in our way of "normal".  So much to my delight, they both smashed their cupcakes like every other one year old and I was so proud!

Camdyn trying out her cupcake.  Overall, Camdyn was much daintier in her cupcake eating.

my Smurf baby - I love how his eyes match his messy face and fingers.

Twins = 2 X the mess

After a middle-of-the-party-bath, Camdyn and Cade opened their presents.

Happy Birthday to my sweet miracles.  You both amaze me every day!

12 Month (8 months adjusted update)

Camdyn - Camdyn is now crawling everywhere very well.  She has also started pulling up on things and even cruising a little.  Most babies are a lot taller than she is when they start pulling up on things.  She has a hard time pulling up on things like the sofa, etc. because they are too tall for her.  She pulls up in her crib all the time, and in the morning she is standing up and grinning at me when I come in their room.  It is so cute! 

She gained a little.  She now weighs 15 lbs. 6 oz.  She is still no where near being on the chart for weight, but she is in the 10th percentile for height on the regular one year old charts!

Feeding is still a struggle.  She is doing very well with baby food, but she still hates her bottles.  We've tried lots of different formulas to no avail.  She makes up her mind when she wants to take her bottles and when she doesn't, and when she has made up her mind to refuse it, there is no convincing her otherwise.

Cade - Cade is rolling over with ease now.  He can army crawl now but has to be coaxed to do it.  He is just so content all the time that he has no desire to go anywhere.  I really wish he could be a little more motivated to move.  I think Camdyn stole all of his motivation, and he stole all of her contentment.  He is getting weekly physical therapy to help with motor skills.

Cade lost a whole pound this last month.  We think it is because he has been tube fed a lot less, and we are going more on his hunger cues to feed him.  We expected some weight loss but not a whole pound.  Now I am fattening up all of his food with oils, avocados, etc. too like I do for Camdyn.

Cade has made significant improvement in eating.  His feeding therapist, who he sees weekly, is awesome.  I am just so overjoyed that he is actually eating now!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

March of Dimes' March for Babies

Jim and I will be strolling all 3 of our beautiful children in the March of Dimes' March for Babies on May 7th.  Last year when the march was going on, our babies were just tiny micro-preemies in their isolettes.  I remember anticipating the time when we would be able to just do normal things like push our babies in a stroller.  All we were able to do at that time was stare at our babies through the glass of the isolette and hold their tiny fingers.  I am thrilled that we are able to participate this year and raise money for more research on prematurity.  Please support us in our efforts to raise funds.  The donations are all safe and secure.  If all 100 of my blog followers could just donate $5, we would reach our goal of $500.  Please donate what you are able to for this cause.  The research and medical advancements saved our 24 weekers lives.  Years ago, our outcome would not have been the same.  I am walking to celebrate my babies lives and to raise money for research that may save other babies lives too.

Help me reach my goal!Sponsor Me at March for Babies!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Happy, Happy Birthday Camdyn & Cade!

What can I say?  What a year!  That seems like such an understatement to describe what our past year has been like.  Maybe there is no one sentence to sum it up.  It has been - miraculous, heart-wrenching, stressful, tearful, joyful, worrisome, amazing, celebratory, busy, CRAZY!, and so much more.  This year is one of those years that becomes a benchmark in your life - the kind of year that you measure everything else by - things that happened before and things that happened after.  The journey of this year has made me see everything in different ways, appreciate life so much more, and thank my God for the miracles He has sent me every day. 

Camdyn - I type this while you are sitting on my lap trying to push the buttons on the keyboard.  I love you so much!  I feel so blessed to have you in my life.  You are a little ball of energy, feistiness, and determination, and you have been since you were a tiny 1 pound baby.  I can already see my personality in you.  Nothing stands in your way - not even the 39% chance of survival they gave you at birth.  I have loved every minute with you.  You have a smile that is contagious.  I love watching you meet new milestones and discovering your world.  I can't wait to see you grow into a beautiful young lady.  I love you my sweet, miracle baby.

Camdyn at birth - 1 lb 2 oz

Camdyn - 1 month old (The first time I held you.)

Camdyn - 2 months old

Camdyn -3 months old

Camdyn - 4 months old (Your big sister loves you so much.)

Camdyn - 5 months old

Camdyn - 6 months old

Camdyn with Cade - 7 months old

Camdyn - 8 months old

Camdyn - 9 months old

Camdyn - 10 months old

Camdyn - 11 months old

Camdyn with Cade - 1 year old!

Cade-  My sweet, sweet boy!  I love you so much.  You have worried the heck out of Mommy and Daddy many times.  Your NICU stay was pretty scary at times.  We feared we might lose you several times.  We are so blessed that you had the strength to hold on.  We have watched you struggle to overcome many obstacles, and we are so proud of you!  You are my cuddle baby.  You love to cuddle, and Mommy loves to cuddle with you.  You are much more laid-back than your sisters.  You have the sweetest laugh ever and the most beautiful blue eyes.  I love you my miracle baby boy.

Cade at birth - 1 lb 8 oz

Cade - 1 month old - (This was Mommy's first time to hold you.)

Cade - 2 months old

Cade with Camdyn - 3 months old

Cade - 4 months old

Cade - 5 months old

Cade with Camdyn - 6 months old

Cade - 7 months old

Cade - 8 months old

Cade - 9 months old

Cade - 10 months old

Cade - 11 months old

Cade - 1 year old!

Happy, Happy Birthday to my two precious MIRACLES!  You both have been such a blessing!