Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Choos Choos and Tutus

We celebrated Cade and Camdyn's second birthdays last weekend.  We had to wait a few weeks after their birthday to have their party because our weekends have been so crazy busy.  I found these cute invitations on etsy and decided to do "Choos Choos and Tutus" as the theme after seeing it.  I thought the invitation turned out so cute.

I also ordered these adorable train shirts for the kids off of etsy.  They go in their birth order with Brenna as the train engine, Camdyn as a train car, and Cade as the caboose (by 1 minute).  I just love these shirts!

When we got to the park, I was really disappointed.  I had spent days making cute decorations for the party and had stayed up until 1 AM the night before preparing for it only to get there and realize I wasn't going to be able to put ANY of my decorations out.  It was cool and very, very windy - so windy that table covers wouldn't stay on and we couldn't even unwrap the balloons.  If you remember my post about Brenna's Rapunzel party, you know that I like to decorate for parties and make things look really cute.  Instead, the cupcakes sat in the tupperware I brought them in and everything else stayed stored in a big plastic tub.  My dad could see how disappointed I was that the party was not turning out at all how I had planned it.  He told me I should be happy because the important part was that we were having a party!  As much as I was disappointed that I couldn't have the cute party I planned, the important part was that we were there celebrating our twins birthdays.  They won't remember if it looked cute or not anyways.

Here Camdyn and I are waiting for the train ride.

Aunt BB with Brylee and Brenna

me and my mom with Camdyn making a silly face on the train

Here are the cupcake toppers I made for the cupcakes that were supposed to be sitting on a pretty cupcake display on top of a pink-covered table with balloons.  Just imagine the cuteness.

Here are the cupcake toppers I made that were supposed to be sitting on another cute cupcake stand on a blue-covered table with animal cookie trains lined up holding more balloons.

Brenna loved the train ride.

Papa making Cade giggle uncontrollably.  Cade has the sweetest laugh.

Camdyn trying to do flips like her cousin Brylee.  How cute is that with her tutu sticking up?

Camdyn fell asleep in the car as soon as we left the party.

At least the kids had fun with the balloons at home.  They played with the balloons for probably an hour!  They both learned a new word "boon" for "balloon." 

We reserved this train for our whole party to take a train ride around the park.  I think all the kids had a lot of fun riding the train.  We were happy so many of our friends and family were able to come celebrate with us.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Happy Late Easter!

I am getting really behind on my blogging once again.  I am just now getting around to posting Easter pictures.  We had a wonderful Easter weekend full of spending time with our family, eating great food, hunting eggs, and praising the Lord for all our blessings. 

Camdyn loves her cousin Cole.  Here she is giving him kisses.  So sweet!

Cole giving the girls a wagon ride outside at Grandma and Grandpa's house.

Camdyn enjoyed playing with the gravel more than finding Easter eggs.  At least this year she wasn't taking a nap during the egg hunt!

Camdyn and Cade hunting Easter eggs.  Notice Cade's cheeks.  He stopped to open every egg, examine what was in it, unwrap it if he could, and pop it into his mouth.  He ate so much candy he actually made himself sick - from the kid who wouldn't eat a little over a year ago!

Camdyn, Brenna, and Cade before church in their cute matching Easter clothes.  Too bad that it is impossible to get all 3 of my kids to look the same direction for a picture!

Jim's side of the family is huge.  He has 11 first cousins (I think I'm right on that).  In my kids generation, there are 14 second cousins plus one more due soon.  When we get together for family celebrations, there are usually over 50 people.  Here are some of the kids taking a ride out to the pasture to look at the cows while the Easter bunny comes.  Now that's pretty country!  Two more dads rode in the back of that truck to hold all the little ones down.

We spent Easter Sunday at my grandma and grandpa's house with my side of the family.  Unfortunately, my camera ran out of battery so I didn't get any pictures.  The kids had a great time hunting eggs for a second time, but the big hit was the pinata.  My mom sometimes gets crazy ideas, and she thought it would be fun to break an Easter pinata.  I told her I had never heard of that before and thought it was a little strange to do on Easter, but the kids loved it!  I guess Nanny knows best. 

As soon as we headed home, all three of the kids were asleep in their car seats.   All that egg hunting (and pinata breaking) was exhausting!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

We've enjoyed going to a few parks lately since the weather has been so nice.  I recently sold our triple stroller and downsized to a double stroller.  Here's our new wheels!  It is so much easier to push than that triple stroller.

This is our view when we walk to our neighborhood park.  You would think with a view like this I would go for walks daily, but sadly, we don't.  I have to be in the mood for a good workout because the park is at the bottom of this really steep hill.  Getting to the park is no problem, but getting back home is like doing a bootcamp workout.

I stopped by these flowers to attempt to get a picture of all 3 kids.  Cade was more interested in the flowers than cooperating to take a picture.

Then he decided to pick the landscaped flowers!  I quickly put him back in the stroller and gave up on taking a picture of the 3 of them.

We also went to a new park in Round Rock for a playdate.  We met up with some friends for a birthday celebration playdate.  This new park is the coolest park ever!  It's called Play for All Abilites Park, and it is designed so that kids with special needs can play right along with other children.  The playscape is wide enough for wheelchairs/walkers, they have handicap-accessible swings, merry go rounds with backs (pictured below), and tons more.  They have a sensory play area with all sorts of different textures, shapes, rollers, etc. There is also a music area, a sandbox, and a little town.  It's like an amusement park, and the best part is it's free!  We will definitely be visiting this park frequently.  The only problem is that my kids want to do it all right now and end up in three different directions!

Brenna, Cade, and Camdyn on the merry-go-round.

Cade pushing Miles, his NICU buddy, in Bryce, his preemie friend's, car.  From laying in isolettes across from each other in the NICU to this.  How cute (and awesome) is that?

This picture should be titled "Little Miracles".  From left to right, Patrick (25 weeker), Cade and Camdyn (24 weekers), and Bryce (24 weeker).  Perhaps it's my "preemie mommy heart", but this picture melts my heart.  All these little miracle babies sitting here at the park enjoying the beautiful day.

Just for fun - These aren't park pictures, but they are too cute not to put on the blog somewhere.

My cute little dancer ready for dance class.

Mommy's little monkeys.  Camdyn has learned a new skill.  She surprised me the other day.  I had just changed Cade's diaper and turned to set him down on the ground.  I turned back around to the changing table and there she was - sitting on top of it!  She had climbed all the way up by herself and was ready for her diaper change.  You can't tell from the picture, but the changing table has a bottom shelf, a middle one (where Camdyn is hanging out in this picture), and the top one.  I'm not sure how to babyproof a changing table, so I guess I'm going to let it be a jungle gym!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

More "-ologists"

The twins exploring the doctor's office. 

Today the twins went in for their 2 year well-child exam.  I was expecting to go in and talk about how great they are doing.  My only concern was that we needed to get a follow-up swallow study ordered for Cade to see how he is doing swallowing/aspirating.  I think he is doing much better.  I would like to know if he can start drinking from straws and open cups safely.  My other hope was that Camdyn would finally reach the 20 lb mark. 

Camdyn did not reach the 20 lb mark.  She is 19 lbs. 11.5 oz.  She is no where near the 3rd percentile line shown on the growth charts.  She is well below it in what would look like a negative percentile if such thing existed.  In fact, she is now further from the 3rd percentile line than she was before; however, she has gained weight.  She has gained one pound in four months.  Due to her numbers, she was diagnosed with short stature.  This means she is below the 2.5% on the growth chart.  In other words, she is little bitty.  Our pediatrician referred us to an endocrinologist to check her hormone levels, etc. to make sure everything is working properly.  

We discussed her speech delay and the drama I have had with getting our stupid insurance to cover speech therapy.  Our ped wrote the following notes in Camdyn's charts, "I think that it is extremely concerning that the coverage feels in direct conflict with my clinical judgement that indeed she does have a history of CVA and despite her history should not be treated any differentially than another ICH patient."  He has referred us to a neurologist to check if her speech delay and expressive speech problems have anything to do with something in her brain.  I think and hope that this is just a precautionary measure.  I also think he is just trying to help us get some sort of neuro diagnosis to help with getting our ridiculous insurance to cover speech therapy for her.  How's that for crazy?  A mom actually WANTS a diagnosis for her child just to get her the help she needs.  It's absurd.  It shouldn't be this hard to get help for a child who was born 16 weeks early weighing only a pound who suffered from a brain bleed.  In fact, I don't know if I have ever heard anything crazier!

Cade weighed 25 lbs today.  He is between the 10-25% for weight, and nearly at 50% for height. 

In addition to the news that we now are adding 2 new "ologists" to our list of "ologists" we have seen, I found out that both Camdyn and Cade have ear infections.  I had no clue.  They weren't pulling on their ears or anything.  I guess they have developed a high tolerance for pain.

Let's take a look back.  We have seen neo-natalogists, otolaryngologists, opthamologists, cardiologists, pulmonologist, gastroenterologists, audiologists, and now endocrinologists, and neurologists.  (not to mention PT, ST, OT, development specialists, and pediatrician)  I joked with my sister that the only kind we haven't seen is the "big toe-ologist".  As soon as I said it, I thought I should take it back before someone breaks their big toe!  I am aware that we are very lucky even if we have seen all these doctors.  Overall, my twins are very healthy and doing extraordinarily well for being born so early.  I know things could be so much worse; I just feel overwhelmed by it sometimes.  I think that is probably pretty common among moms of micro-preeemies or moms of children with special needs.  I don't know how we all don't go crazy all the time dealing with doctor's offices and insurance!

When I got home, I spent over an hour on the phone to schedule appointments with the neurologist and endocrinologist.  It turns out they have no appointments until August and November.  Well, that's just great!  So, we sit around not knowing if something is wrong, not getting the diagnosis we need, just waiting for 6 months to be seen by, get this, not an actual neurologist or endocrinologist, but instead a nurse practitioner.  What a great healthcare system we have!  Can you tell I'm frustrated?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Mighty Fine Time

We went out for dinner on the twins' birthday at Mighty Fine Burgers.  They have a great outdoor playscape and patio.  I thought that would be where they would choose for their birthday dinner if they could tell me.  My sister, brother-in-law, and niece and nephew also joined us.  I couldn't help but think of them laying in isolettes with breathing tubes as tiny one pound babies and marvel at how they were now climbing the playscape, sliding with their cousins, and eating burgers and cupcakes.  Amazing!  I have so much for which to be grateful. 

Cade sliding with his cousin, Brylee

Camdyn playing peek-a-boo on the playground.  She is saying "boo" here.

Time for burgers and cupcakes.

Cade trying to blow out his candles.

Camdyn with her cupcake.

Camdyn enjoyed playing with her cupcake.

Cade loved his cupcake and made a huge mess with it! 

Crazy Aunt BB with Camdyn.  (I'm not sure who had more breakdowns on their birthday - me or Aunt BB.  She called me to wish them a Happy Birthday first thing in the morning and left a tearful message I could hardly understand.  I'm so lucky to have such a wonderful family who have been just as invested in the journey or our former micro-preemies as I have.) 

Helping Cade up the ladder.  He thinks he can do it by himself, so I have to try to make sure he isn't attempting it without me knowing.

Camdyn and Mommy.  Look at that happy smile!  She also thinks she can do everything by herself.  My brave little babies make it hard to take them to the park safely.

How sweet is this?  Cade, my lovey boy, is ready to give kisses to his twin sister, but unfortunately, she wants nothing to do with his kisses.  I guess he should just save all those kisses for Mommy!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Happy 2nd Birthday!

Today is Camdyn and Cade's 2nd birthday.  To look at them today, one would never guess they had such turbulent beginnings. Aside from being smaller than other 2 year olds and having fewer words, they are every bit doing what 2 year olds do - making messes, climbing on everything, throwing tantrums, fighting with each other and on the flip side, playing with each other, giving hugs and kisses, and being as cute as can be!  Brenna and I sang "Happy Birthday" to each of them today in the car and when we were done, they were both signing and saying "more" with big smiles on their faces.  They loved it and wanted us to sing to them again.  We sang "Happy Birthday" the entire way to Brenna's school this morning.  What I would have given two years ago to see a video clip of them today smiling and clapping along to us singing to them on their 2nd birthday!  Pure joy.  My heart might explode.

I thought this year April 5 would be easier for me, but I now think it may never change.  Every year, I will have these dichotomous emotions - my heart being so full, so thankful that I can't imagine feeling any happier and my mind racing back to that horrible day when they pulled two tiny, nearly lifeless little bodies from me sixteen weeks early.  Today as I watched the clock change, I couldn't help but think of that moment two years ago.  In my mind, it's like an out-of-body experience.  I'm watching from above.  I see the doctors and nurses surrounding me.  I see the team of neo-natalogists and NICU nurses with two isolettes lined up to the left of the operating table.  I hear someone tell Jim that "Dr. Breed is the best neo-natalogist.  He has a wall full of plaques.  This is who you want to take care of your babies."  I'm thinking, "I don't want anyone to take care of them.  Put them back.  They aren't ready for this world yet."  The babies are pulled from my body.  I can't see them.  I can't hear them.  Jim says he heard them make a soft, purring sound.  I heard nothing.  I look to my left trying to get a glimpse of them.  All I can see is the isolettes being rushed out of the operating room.  I know they are in there, but I can't see them.  It would be over a month until I would hold them in my arms.

I think all of this as the clock changes.

                                  (Camdyn's time of birth.)

(Cade's time of birth.)

(On a funny note:  You would not believe how many people ask me if Cade was born first since he's bigger!  When I tell these people that Camdyn was born first, they look stunned.  Why is it so hard to grasp that the order in which twins are born has nothing to do with their size?  I just think it's funny - although not as funny as people who ask if they are identical.)

As we get out of the car to drop Brenna off at school, I scoop up all 40 pounds of my babies, who I suppose should now be called toddlers.  I can't believe it.  From a combined weight of 2 lbs 10 oz to two armfuls of kids!  I can now pick them up, kiss them, and hug them whenever I want.  I am blessed.

Happy 2nd Birthday to my two little miracles!

1 year old

2 years old

Cade at birth

1 year old

2 years old

A big thank you to all the medical staff who have taken such great care of Camdyn and Cade.  We will be forever grateful to you all.  Thank you to all our friends and family who have supported us along the way and prayed for our babies.  Most importantly, we thank God today and everyday.  He has blessed us abundantly.