Thursday, December 27, 2012

Brenna's New Style

Not long ago, Brenna was convinced she was turning into Rapunzel.  She told us she was never going to cut it!  You can imagine my surprise when this conversation occurred one morning before school as I was doing her hair:

Brenna: "Owwww, Mommy.  You're hurting me!"                   (add in some more whining and complaining as I am brushing her hair)
Me:  "Brenna, you have tangles just like Rapunzel.  The only way you won't have tangles is if you cut it all off."
Brenna: "Yeah, let's do that then."

What?!  That wasn't really my point at all.  I was completely shocked she said that.  She continued to tell me she wanted short hair.  I told her about Locks of Love and how she could send her hair in to help make wigs for kids with cancer.  I explained to her that some kids are so sick that they lose all of their hair.  By this point, she had made up her mind to cut her hair.  When I asked her if she was sure she wanted to cut it, she told me, "Yeah, I need to give it to the kids with the sickness."  I thought that was very sweet.

The picture below was taken at her school Christmas party.  They made reindeer antlers using their handprints and one of the moms drew red Rudolph noses on all the kids.  So cute!  This was her last day of long hair before her hair cut that afternoon.

My mom is a hair dresser so we headed over to Nanny's house after school for the big cut. 

Her new short hair with her natural curl.

I love her new cut when I dry it straight and curled under in a little bob.  I think it looks so cute.  I wasn't prepared for how much older she would look with her new hair style.  She is holding her long ponytail here.  It was 10 inches pulled straight!  We are having way fewer tears when getting ready in the morning.  She loves her new short hair.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

San Antonio Trip

We went to San Antonio last weekend for a little family mini-vacation.  I love the Riverwalk at Christmas time.  It is lit up with thousands of lights draping down from the trees and the sidewalk is lined with the traditional white paper sacks with candles inside. 


Brenna loves staying in a hotel, so she was excited for weeks leading up to our little trip.  Our hotel was right on the Riverwalk.  You walked out to this patio and took some stairs down to the Riverwalk.  I attempted to get my kids to all look at me for a picture, but I wasn't successful.  Camdyn has mastered jumping recently and loves to jump now. At her last developmental exam, they were worried that she wasn't jumping yet. I told them I thought she would be jumping soon, and if she didn't, we would consider physical therapy again at that time.  Well, we thankfully won't be needing any therapy right now.  She wanted to jump down every step of the two flights of stairs leading down to the Riverwalk.  I told her we should walk down the steps and just jump on the last one, but she didn't agree and continued jumping down each step.  It was a slow process getting down those steps with her jumping down each one, but I was so proud of her!


We took a horse-drawn carriage ride downtown.  When we spotted this pink princess carriage, I knew we had to ride that one.  Cade didn't know it was girly; he just liked the "horsie", but Brenna was in heaven in the princess carriage.  All three of them loved riding in the carriage.  It was a little costly but definitely worth it.  The picture above isn't so great since we took it of ourselves.

The next morning the kids had fun on a much less costly ride.  I strolled them around the hotel in the luggage cart, and they thought that was pretty awesome. 

Before we left, we took a boat ride on the river.  The kids had seen the boats the night before and kept asking to "wide it, wide boat".  We tried to get a ride after we ate dinner, but it was closed for the night.  It worked out better to ride in the day because there was no crowd and the kids were able to roam around a bit and look out both sides.  We heard a lot of "wook Mama" and "wook Dada". (look)  They were really excited about riding the boat.  I think that was their favorite part of the trip.  I didn't realize it until later, but that was the twins' first boat ride. 

Camdyn is into making this silly face every time we try to take a picture lately.  I'm glad Daddy captured it because I do think it is pretty funny.  She thinks she is really funny doing this too.

Daddy had to tickle them to get real smiles instead of silly faces.

We almost got a picture with all 3 looking the same way. 

On Sunday, we went to visit some friends who live in San Antonio.  They just had a sweet baby boy named Dane.  A couple of weeks ago, we went to a live nativity, and we told the kids we were going to see baby Jesus.  At the nativity, we pointed out baby Jesus and talked a lot about baby Jesus, etc.  So, when we told the kids we were going to visit a baby, Camdyn asked me, "Go see baby Jesus?"  Sweet baby Dane has a lot to live up to!  We loved visiting with Erica, Randy, and their new precious baby, Dane.  Brenna adored him.  Speaking of babies, Brenna brought home a paper she made at school.  The paper said, "I would like to fill my stocking with ___________" and at the bottom they drew a picture.  Hers said "BABZ" (babies), and she drew three babies.  I sure hope she is talking about baby dolls and not real babies because Mommy already gave her a baby brother and a baby sister!

We had a great trip.  I love that we are able to go on a trip as a whole family now.  We've taken Brenna on several little trips since the twins were born, but they always stayed with Grandma or Nanny.  It's so nice to be able to take family trips now.  It feels so normal, and normal is so wonderful!  I would say we feel so blessed this Christmas season, but the truth is we feel so blessed every single day. 

1st Trip to the Dentist

Camdyn and Cade had their first dental check up two weeks ago.  I have been dreading their first dentist appointment since they were babies.  With Cade's severe oral aversion as a baby, I figured going to the dentist was going to be a nightmare.  Although he eats great now, I worried he may have some lingering oral aversion issues when suction tools got anywhere near his mouth.  He didn't have such a great relationship with those things in the NICU.  I also worried about the development of Camdyn's teeth because she got teeth so late.  I had no idea if that was a sign of anything bad.  As a preemie parent (especially micro-preemies who were on high dose steroids/antibiotics), you hear a lot about "preemie teeth".  Due to the steroids, antibiotics, and breathing tubes, some preemies' teeth are discolored, weaker, and/or more susceptible to cavities.  With all these worries in mind, I scheduled their first visit.  I braced myself much like I did with all their developmental exams, to hear news that I already knew but didn't want to hear.  Surprisingly, the appointment went far better than I expected.

Neither Camdyn or Cade had any qualms about the suction or water tool.  They kind of liked it.  They were curious about how everything worked and excited for their turn.  The dentist office calls this a "happy visit" which means they introduce kids to the equipment but don't really clean their teeth or take x-rays.  Camdyn and Cade both let them polish their teeth though and do an exam.  The dentist saw no issues with their teeth.  When I asked him about "preemie teeth", he did say that their baby teeth might not be affected, but their permanent teeth could still be affected.  We won't know until they come in.  But for now, they look good.  I was very happy that the appointment went so much better than I had anticipated.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Ellie the Elf

We have had constant illness in our house lately.  I think at least one of my kids has been sick since October.  We've had 4 cases of strep throat (Daddy included), 4 infected ears, chest congestion, and wheezing/respiratory infection. The girls have both had two different courses of antibiotics, and Cade was on the nebulizer every 4-6 hours for about two weeks.  Our last two winters were relatively healthy.  I'm sure that had a great deal to do with isolation.  I expected some sickness when the twins started pre-school and Brenna started kindergarten, but I didn't know it would be so constant.  I'm not complaining though because no one has had to be hospitalized, so if they can continue to get well with antibiotics/nebulizer, then I feel like they are finally building some immunity.  They are all well now, so hopefully they can continue to be well through Christmas.

I saw an elf with a nebulizer on Facebook and thought it would be so perfect for our Elf, Ellie, since our kids have been so sick. 

I just got our stockings embroidered and decided that Ellie should be busy at work since she was feeling better.  You can't see it in the picture, but she is holding a needle like she has been busily embroidering our names on our stockings.

Ellie brought the kids a little elf present - some adorable elf pajamas!


Blogger is finally working again.  I took a break from blogging because I wasn't able to upload any pictures, but now I can again!  I have to do a little catching up.

For Thanksgiving, we went to my sister's house. 

Nanny and Brenna

Here's what the women and kids do on Thanksgiving in our family.  We plan our Black Friday shopping.  We give the kids the flyers and tell them to circle what they want from the sale ads.  I remember circling things out of the Sears Wish Book at my Granny's house.  The kids won't know that there are any other toys besides the ones on sale for a long time!

We got my Granny to join in on the Just Dance fun.  I think she really liked it.  It was so much fun; we had everyone up dancing.  What a great way to burn off all those calories from the Thanksgiving feast.

We put up our Christmas tree the weekend after Thanksgiving.  The kids had so much fun looking at all the ornaments and "hanging" (stuffing them) on the tree. 

Brenna got to put the star on top of the tree.

Here we are before going to Brenna's Christmas social at school. 

Attempting to get a picture with the kids all looking the same way at this age is nearly impossible.  I love this one even if they aren't all looking the same way.  Daddy was doing something silly to make them laugh.

Friday, November 16, 2012


Has this day really come?  I can hardly believe it!  I am elated to announce that Camdyn and Cade have been discharged from ALL therapies - physical, speech, and occupational !!!!!!!!!!! (Yes, a zillion exclamation points are needed here.)

From the time they left the NICU until now, we have been going to therapy of some type.  We still have one more speech therapy visit to do final testing/discharge, but then we are done.  I understand that they may need additional therapy down the road, but for now, I'm celebrating!  What will I do with the time I spent driving them to therapy, waiting at therapy, doing therapy exercises at home, calling the insurance companies, appealing for more therapy visits . . . ? 

I am so thankful we found great therapists to work with them and help them get to where they are today.  We will miss seeing them.  Camdyn now tells me, "I go tok Ms. Ju-wee" (I want to go talk to Ms. Julie), and Cade says, "I wanna go pway Ms. Debbie" (I want to go play with Ms. Debbie).  I think the kids will miss going to see their awesome therapists, and I know their therapists will miss them.  They've watched them conquer so many battles like going from 100% g-tube fed to eating everything and having hardly any words to full sentences!  I am so proud of them.

The kids are loving pre-school so much that I plan on adding an additional day.  They are learning so much and interacting with other kids.  I think at this point the best thing I can do to help with their development is to give them more opportunities to be around kids their own age.  Cade asks me every morning when he wakes up, "go school?"  I hope his love for school continues.

Camdyn and Cade love playing in the bean box.  We got this idea from their occupational therapist.  It's a big tupperware full of beans.  We've thrown in a lot of bowls, spoons, and little toys.  They love pouring the beans from one container to another and burying the little toys.  I don't let them play with it too much because it usually ends up like this.  Cade pours the beans out on the floor and sits in the box while Camdyn tries desperately to clean up all the beans that Cade continues to pour onto the floor.  Then I have to close the bean box because the rule is no more beans if you pour them out on the floor.  Poor Camdyn - she never gets to play because Cade can't follow the rules!

Camdyn had her own bout of mischief this week.  I discovered that her hair was cut yesterday morning.  She has about an inch long hair section sticking up right in the front. 

Me: Camdyn, who cut your hair?

Camdyn: Bubba do it.

Me:  Cade, who cut Camdyn's hair?

Cade: Cammy do it.

Her teacher told me she made a confession at school.  When her teacher asked who cut her hair, she told her, "my do it."  We've been going over and over that "only Nanny cuts hair."  My mom is a hair stylist.  Now, when I ask Camdyn who cuts hair, she replies, "Nanny cut hair."  I hope she can remember this because it took her 2 1/2 years to grow the little bit of hair she does have. 

This episode was further proof we no longer need therapy.  She had great fine motor skills to give herself a haircut!

I had to include this precious picture even though it has nothing to do with this post because it is too cute.  My girls love their new pink cowgirl boots from Nanny.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Guest Post

My guest post for this month is up on  Click here to read "Embracing the 'Elephant in the Room'".  Leave a comment over there for other preemie parents to read.  I'm sure we can all relate to the feeling of being out of place from time to time.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Our Little Doctors

I took Camdyn and Cade to visit the NICU today in their doctor costumes from Halloween.  I was waiting to take them until both Dr. Breed and Dr. McCormick were on call, so we could hopefully see both of them.

I walked down this hallway several times during their 133 day NICU stay.  As I would walk down this hallway, I remember feeling anxiety not knowing how they would be doing when I got up to the NICU.  Would the vent settings be up/down?  Would they be requiring more/less oxygen?  Did they gain/lose any ounces? etc.  Thankfulness washed over me today knowing that I would be walking right back down this very hallway with both of my babies after our visit. 

Cade visited with Dr. Breed first.  I think they have a special connection.  Dr. Breed was the doctor on call the day the twins were delivered.  He had a big job that day trying to save twins born 16 weeks too early.  He sat next to Cade's isolette through the night adjusting vent settings and administering the nitrous oxide treatment when Cade wasn't doing well even with the highest oscillator settings.  When Dr. Breed saw Cade today, he told him, "Boy, do I remember you.  We spent some quality time together."  If that isn't an understatement, then I don't know what is! 

I just adore this photo.  I imagine Cade telling Dr. Breed, "Hey man, you know that thing you did - saving my life - yeah, that was pretty cool.  Thanks a lot.  I owe you one."  Don't they look like they are in a serious conversation? 

We were able to get a group shot with Dr. McCormick, Camdyn (little Dr. McCormick), Cade (little Dr. Breed), and Dr. Breed.  We were lucky to catch them together.  These baby-saving doctors keep a packed schedule.  Sadly, there are always babies' lives to save. 

Dr. McCormick was only there still because she hadn't gone home yet even though her shift was over.  A nurse told me she was up all night with a baby who wasn't doing too well, and just minutes after we took this picture, alarms started ringing, and Dr. Breed was running down the hallway to Labor & Delivery.  I hadn't had any post-traumatic moments during this visit until I saw that.  I know that's how the scene unraveled the morning Camdyn and Cade were born.  I'm sure there was a call to the NICU stating NICU team needed, emergency c-section, twins- 23 wks 5 days gestation.  My heart sank for these new parents who were about to have a baby or babies in the NICU, and I hugged my kids a little tighter. 

Both Dr. McCormick and Dr. Breed were tickled with their costumes as were the nurses and everyone else we saw on our way up to the NICU.  Before we left, I had Cade and Camdyn give Dr. McCormick some cookies.  They weren't too excited about the idea of the cookies staying at the NICU.  They wanted to take them back home with us.  Dr. McCormick said she felt guilty for taking the cookies from them. 

a look back - After 133 days, we proudly toted our micro-preemie twins out of the hospital doors.

Here they are 2 years and 3 months later walking out of the hospital like big kids.  They have come so far.  I don't need Thanksgiving to remember to be thankful.  I'm thankful every day.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Fall Fun

I'm about a month behind on blogging, so this post is pretty long.  It should probably be about four different posts.  Looking back at all these pictures reminds me of how busy we were this past month, but we had so much fun!

Part 1 - Carving Pumpkins

Here the kids are ready to go outside to carve our pumpkins.  This is definitely an activity that is done best in diapers only!

Camdyn and Cade cleaning out their pumpkins.  Cade kept saying, "yuuuuuuck!" and Camdyn kept telling me "messy hands!" 

Brenna was more into cleaning out her pumpkin but her face in this picture tells you she was also a little bothered by the mess.

I love Cade's face in this picture.  Also, notice how Camdyn is holding her left hand out because it is messy.  I think they all had fun playing in the pumpkin goo (for a little while at least).  Daddy and I were left to clean out the majority of the 3 pumpkins.

Our finished products.

Part 2 - Thriller

My dance studio participated in Thrill the World the weekend before Halloween.  We performed Michael Jackson's "Thriller" downtown with several other zombies.  It was so much fun to see all the zombie costumes and to dance in such a large group.  I had fun making Brenna's ballerina zombie costume.

Our group of zombies.  You can see the dance here.  Our group is to the right center.

Part 3 - Halloween Parties

Jim and I went to a Halloween party with some friends.  We hadn't decided on a costume, so we decided to go as each other.  The funniest part is that Camdyn said, "Dada putty" (Dada looks pretty) before we left! 

Don't I look great with a goatee?

Camdyn and Cade had a Halloween party at school.  Camdyn and Cade were their neo-natologists for Halloween.  I had their coats embroidered with their doctor's names.  We plan on visiting the NICU to show them next week.  Camdyn is showing off the "punkin" she painted.

sweet hugs - This doesn't happen often!

Cade devouring his "cu-cake" and getting orange icing everywhere.

Brenna's school had a fall festival with lots of booths and games set up.  She wanted to go to the fortune teller booth, so we waited in a 30 minute line to do this.  The "fortune teller" was one of the teachers and it was all completely for fun.  However, there was something very creepy about it.  The "fortune teller" told her things like, "I see you are a good girl in school," and "I see you are nice to your friends" etc.  She also told her, "Be careful not to fall."  Then Brenna picked a prize - a witch finger.  After a few more games, we rushed to dance practice to learn the Thriller dance.  After dance practice, Brenna was chasing her friend around the studio with the witch finger.  Her friend fell down and Brenna tripped over her.  I didn't think much of it.  I figured Brenna was really tired from her busy day and was overreacting.  When she was still complaining about her elbow hurting when we got home, I started to actually believe her (bad parent, I know!).  I ended up taking her to the ER after she screamed when I tried to straighten her arm.  They did some x-rays and determined it was fractured.

So, Brenna sported a pretty pink cast with her Rapunzel costume.  We will not be visiting the fortune teller booth next year!

My neice and nephew came over to eat hot dogs and go trick-or-treating with us.

All the kids with Nanny.  Notice how Camdyn is clinging on to Nanny.  She was terrified of Colin's phantom costume, and I don't blame her; it was scary.  She is scared of so many things right now - balloons, puppets, clowns, anyone with a mask, and even our oven mitts!

Our little doctors going trick-or-treating in the wagon.

It was so much fun to watch them this year.  They understood what they were supposed to do and even said, "tri-treat" and "tank-oo", and they loved getting "can-ee."

Brenna enjoyed playing some games that a church had set up on the basketball court.  Here she is throwing darts.  Lucky for her, she's left-handed.

The kids assessing their candy collection.  

Cade wanted to open every "can-ee" right away.  I let him have a lollipop, and he was thrilled.

Camdyn wanted a "wo-pop" too.

Except for the fractured elbow, we had a really fun October!