Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

We've had a wonderful Christmas so far.  We still have three more family Christmases left.  We spent Christmas Eve at my grandma's house and spent Christmas day today at home.  The kids all loved opening presents.  Camdyn and Cade really understood what they were supposed to do with the presents, and they had a blast.  We enjoyed being lazy around the house all day.  I'll post some pics from our Christmas when I have more time.

I reflect back on last Christmas and am so amazed by where we are today.  Last year, Cade still had an ng tube at Christmas.  I clearly remember because we had to reinsert it in the middle of one of our family Christmases because he had pulled it out.  He was scheduled for g-tube surgery on Jan. 8th of last year.  We were still feeding the babies at midnight and 6AM and then every 3 hours throughout the day.  To say that I am thankful for all the progress they have made is a huge understatement.  I need a much stronger, more powerful word than "thankful".  Thank you Lord Jesus for all you have given us.  We praise you on Christmas and every day!

My good friend, Jennifer, took these family photos for us. 

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Appointments, More Appointments, followed by More Appointments!!!

I'm having one of those days.  The kind of day that just makes me want to pull my hair out.  Yes, I know I could have things much worse and all that jazz, but I'm still so frustrated with going to appointments. 

We went in this morning for an ENT to look at Brenna's tonsils.  She has had strep throat 6 times this year and several trips to the doctor for a sore throat.  We finally are scheduling a surgery to get her tonsils out.  At the appointment, the ENT took a look at her ears and discovered that her right ear drum is sucked in.  He was very concerned with how it looked and ordered a hearing test.  Luckily, the hearing test was done in the same office.  I had a wave of panic come over me when he said she needed a hearing test.  Flashback - I'm sitting in the NICU having the neo-natalogist tell me that Cade failed his hearing screening.  As I'm watching her sit in the audio booth, tears begin to fill my eyes, so I had to walk away.  I didn't want to scare her just because Mommy has post-traumatic stress from the NICU.  After the test, they told me that her hearing was fine.  Thank God!  The ENT said she needed a tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy, and a tube placed back in her right ear which should correct the problem.  She had tubes in both ears when she was a baby.

This appointment took 2 hours in which time the babies acted horribly!  They were tired of being there and just plain tired.  Trying to entertain one year olds at a doctor's office is not easy.  They want to push every button on all that fancy, high-priced equipment - not the best idea, and restraining them in the stroller only works for about 10 minutes.  I tried to tell them that Brenna always behaves so nicely at all their multitude of appoinments and that the least they could do was to return the favor just this once.  They didn't listen. 

The appointment was taking so long that we missed our other appoinment for Cade to get his Synagis shot.  I called to reschedule that appointment for this afternoon which means I have to wake the babies up early from their nap to get to the afternoon appointment.  So more fun awaits me!

Yesterday morning, Cade had an appointment to check his g-tube site.  The doctor said that a scar revision would be warranted.  The scar now looks bubbled up.  After the revision, it will just be a line (hopefully).  This was our second appointment to look at the site.  After the first appointment, they told me to wait 2 weeks to see what it does on its own.  I just called the secretary to schedule the surgery, and she told me we may need to come back in so the surgeon who did his g-tube surgery could take a look at the scar because he would be the one doing the surgery.  I told her I didn't see why it was necessary to have 3 appointments to look at a scar before scheduling the procedure.  Why is it necessary to have an appointment in order to make another appointment in order to make another appointment in order to eventually get a surgery that you knew you needed at the first appointment?!  It's crazy, and it frustrates me so much.

She went on to ask me if I wanted a quote of the price.  I told her he had Medicaid.  She told me Medicaid may not cover it since it was cosmetic.  The doctor had told me they would because it was from the g-tube.  It's not like he fell off his bike, and I want a pretty scar from that.  He had a tube in his stomach to eat (medically necessary)!  So, it's okay to cut a hole in his stomach, but it's not okay to want it sewn back up?  More crazy = more frustration!

Sorry about ranting on and on.  I know there are much worse things, and overall, we are very blessed.  I would just like for this medical world to make some sense for once.  Why does everything have to be so complicated when it doesn't have to be?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Flash Mob!

I have been involved in dance for over 25 years, and I don't think I have ever had as much fun as I did today.  I own a dance studio, and for Christmas, we did a flash mob in the mall.  You can't tell from the video, but we had around 45 dancers participate.  We had teachers, students, moms, and dads all dance together to spread a little holiday cheer.    You'll notice in the video a "booing" coming from the crowd.  They were not booing us.  A mall cop was trying to stop us from dancing (although I'm not really sure why - it's not as if we were causing any harm).  The crowd booed him just like you would hear from a crowd booing a referee on making a bad call.  It was hilarious!  We all kept dancing anyway.  We weren't going to let any humbugs ruin our holiday cheer. 

When we finished dancing at the food court, we decided to take our holiday cheer downstairs to the Santa line.  We figured the people waiting in the long Santa line would like a little entertainment too.  This time no mall cops attempted to stop us.  It was such a blast both times!  I'm sad it's over.  Hope you all enjoy our videos.

Monday, December 12, 2011

"Perfectly Normal"

We had our cardiologist follow-up exam last Friday.  At Camdyn's appointment last year, the cardiologist said she had a PFO.  He explained to us that it was not a problem, but it should be monitored with a follow-up exam in a year.  At the time, Cade did not have an appointment.  The cardiologist said we would check his heart at the yearly follow-up as well.

On Friday morning, we got dressed for our big appointment.  I had to include this cute picture of them in their only real matching outfits.  They have several coordinating outfits, but you can't do too many actual matching outfits with boy/girl twins.  My mom got these cute overalls for them.  The only way I could get them to sit still was by reading a book.  Cade is saying "Moooo" here.

Luckily, my mom was able to go to this appointment with us.  It helped so much to have an extra pair of hands. 

After we were already in the exam room, Cade decided to open the door and sprint down the hallway (naked) to check out the scale.

Back in the room, we opened the blinds to let the kids look outside for a while.  This appointment took about 2 1/2 hours from start to finish!  They checked their heart rhythms first and then did a full echo cardiogram on both Camdyn and Cade.  Trying to get two active toddlers to lay still to do this was quite a challenge.

(Look at my bony babies.  It looks like they could be on those commercials for third world countries' mal-nourished kids.  I wish they could put some meat on those bones!)

When you are stuck waiting in an exam room for an extended period of time, you have to find ways to keep toddlers entertained.  I turned some music on on my phone and we had a doctor's office dance party in the exam room only in diapers!  They were so cute dancing around.

After a very long wait, the cardiologist finally came into the room to discuss the results.  His opening line was, "I have very good news."  Well, that was something we never heard in the NICU.  It was wonderful to hear that.  He then told us that their hearts looked "perfectly normal".  I could barely believe my ears.  After heart surgeries at just 2 weeks old weighing just over a pound each, there I was listening to a cardiologist tell me their hearts were "perfectly normal."  He repeated it several times because I think he knew I liked hearing it.  Camdyn's PFO had completely closed, and Cade did not have a PFO.  I told the doctor I was so happy I could hug him!  He laughed.  He ended by saying we do not have to come back for any more follow-up exams.  Yay!  We get to check one more specialist off our list!

Thank you God for their "perfectly normal" hearts!

Partners in Crime

Twins are twice the fun AND twice the mess!    I think they plot together to find ways to make the biggest mess possible.  Their ability to destroy things around the house has grown as they have grown.  As much as we try to baby-proof the house, they find ways to get into EVERYTHING!

Mission 1: Pull all the toilet paper off the roll.  Cade's job - unroll the paper.  Camdyn's job - spread it all around the bathroom.

(Camdyn gets slightly distracted from her job while making the toilet paper into a hat.)

Busted as Mom walks in.  Camdyn, "Oh, hi Mom, would you like some paper?"

Mission 2: Open the pantry, pull the cereal box down, dump the box on the floor, and eat cereal off the floor.  Cade's job - all of the above.  Camdyn's job - wait until brother does all the above and join him in eating cereal off the floor.

Mission accomplished. 

Mission 3: Roll the laundry hamper from the laundry room into the office and proceed to scatter laundry around the office.  Side mission: Pull all cards and books off the shelf and scatter those around too.  Status: Mission accomplished.

Mission 4: Find the only tape in the entire house (an old dance critique tape) and unwind the entire thing.  Cade's job - unwinding and unwinding and unwinding.  Camdyn's job - watch as brother does the above.

Status: Mission accomplished.

Cade is most definitely the master mind in all destructive missions, but Camdyn is never far behind.  She serves as the trusty sidekick and accomplice.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

20 months (16 months adjusted)

The twins are now 20 months old.  I can't believe they are closer to 2 years old than 1!  They should be 16 months old which would mean they would be closer to 1 than 2.  I don't think I will ever get "adjusted" to the whole "adjusted" versus chronological age thing.

Our biggest news is that both Camdyn and Cade have been discharged from physical therapy!  They no longer need it.  We will follow up in 6 months to assess their development at that time. 

Cade has also been discharged from speech therapy.  He has been repeating so many words lately.  He surprises me all the time by saying a new word that I didn't know he knew.  I find myself saying, "did you just say ___?" several times a day.  His newest words are "barbie" and "bow" which I find very funny.  I guess that's what happens when you grow up with two sisters!  When Cade begins putting 3-4 words together, he will be assessed for speech therapy again.  At that point, it would be for voice quality.  Due to his vocal cord paralysis, he may have difficulty with certain sounds, etc., but the speech therapist was very pleased with his voice quality so far especially given his diagnosis.  He will continue with occupational therapy only at this time.

Camdyn has been making a lot of progress with speech as well.  She seems more confident in trying new sounds.  I can get her to say the beginning sounds of several words now such as "p" for "pig".  Before she wouldn't even try to make the sound.  It was as if she thought if she couldn't say it well, she didn't want to try at all.  I feel like once she becomes more confident, she will really start making good progress.  She has added several new words too and is beginning to sign more frequently.  This has helped a lot in her level of frustration.  She will continue with speech therapy and occupational therapy.

Both Camdyn and Cade have their cardiologist follow-up exams this Friday.  Please pray that everything checks out well.  At her appointment last year, Camdyn had an open valve that we were told several people have.  It does not affect the heart's functioning.  The cardiologist told us it only meant she would not be able to climb high mountains, scuba dive, or be in the military.  I am not too concerned about any of those things for her. 

We are enjoying this stage with the twins so much!  They are so fun now.  Their personalities are really developing.  Cade is busy destroying things on a daily basis.  His latest hobbies include digging in the trash can or recycle bin, pulling ornaments off the tree and breaking them, carrying our shoes around the house and hiding them, and splashing in the toilet.  He also loves to figure out how things work.  On a much sweeter note, he now occasionally will give hugs and open mouth kisses!  Camdyn is very particular and wants things a certain way (wonder where she gets that?).  She shakes her hand at us vehemently to inform us she does not like something.  Lately, she loves playing with dolls and enjoys dressing up.  It's so cute to see an 18 pound little girl pretending to be big!  Here she is with my robe tie as a scarf and my purse.  It would appear that I have a giant purse, but in fact this is a small purse.  She fell over a couple of times from the weight of the purse too, but she did not want me to take it off of her.

We started the Elf on the Shelf this year.  Brenna has had so much fun finding "Elfie" every morning.

We had fun making Play Dough Christmas shapes from cookie cutters.  Our attempts at Christmas shaped cookies failed miserably.  We ended up with blobs instead of shapes; however, our Play Dough creations were much more successful.

Cade was more interested in stacking the Play Dough jars.  I didn't even prompt him to do this.  I was so proud of his creation! 

Christmas Round 1:  We have so many Christmases that we had to start with our first one last weekend.  Here's a picture of the only other twins in our family.   We found them all sitting like this - a big sister and one of each set of the twins on each side.

Camdyn and Cade enjoying their new wheels.  

That's all that is new at our house.