Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Brenna's 1st Day of Kindergarten

Brenna had been looking forward to going to "big girl school" for over a year.  She was so excited when the first day of kindergarten finally rolled around.  She even told me, "It's okay, Mommy.  You don't have to be sad because I'm excited to go to kindergarten."  I realized I was the one who needed to be a big girl after she told me that. 

Here is my big girl on her very first day of kindergarten.

Brenna posing for a picture for Mommy by her locker.  She liked that it had her name on it.

After she put her backpack in her locker and found her name at the table, she just sat down and began coloring.  Long gone were the tears of her first pre-school days.  No tears in sight.  When I asked her if it was okay if I left now, she told me, "Yeah.  Bye Mommy.  Love you."  That's when I had to hold back my tears.  My baby is growing up.  I imagine it will be twice as hard when my baby babies both say, "Bye Mommy.  Love you." on their first day of kindergarten.

Brenna has had 3 days of school now, and she has remained just as excited as she was on the first day.  I'm taking that as a good sign that she is enjoying school.  I look forward to being able to volunteer at her school sometimes when the twins are at pre-school.  I wasn't able to be very involved at pre-school since I was taking care of the twins.  It will be nice to have the opportunity now. 

Camdyn hasn't taken sissy being gone very well.  Cade doesn't seem to care.  Camdyn has continually asked me "get sissy?" throughout the day.  I think she is either really worried about her or misses her a lot or maybe both.  When we passed by Target, Camdyn must have thought it looked like a school because she got really excited saying, "sissy, sissy, sissy".  It was so sad to have to tell her sissy wasn't there. 

2 Year Old Developmental Assessments

Cade and Camdyn had their 2 year old developmental assessments last week.  They are almost 2 1/2 now, but we just got aroud to the testing.  They were tested at their actual age of 29 months.  For some reason, "they" (whoever they is) have decided that at 2 years old they no longer adjust for prematurity as if somehow they have now gained back the 4 months in which they shouldn't have even been born and should be "caught up".  That term has always bothered me because full-term kids aren't expected to do any "catching up".  I digress.

They both did well considering they are being compared with 29 month olds rather than 25 month olds.  Last time they were assessed it was still on their adjusted age so they scored higher in all areas.  The assessent took 3 hours, so towards the end, they were both done.  When the tester asked them, "Can you show me the picture of the kids who are swimming?", Cade looked right at her and told her, "no" even though we both knew he understood the question and knew the answer.  Camdyn waved her hands signing "all done" and said "all done"! 

With what they were willing to do, they scored average in most areas.  Cade and Camdyn scored below average in gross motor skills.  I plan on having a physical therapy evaluation done, but I don't anticipate that they will need much physical therapy, if any.  Cade did score above average in fine motor skills.  He was determined to string the beads, and he accomplished it.  The only problem was that he was so fascinated with stringing the beads that is all he wanted to do.  As expected, Camdyn scored below average on expressive speech.  I have seen a lot of improvement in the past few weeks.  I've heard from other preemie parents that once they start pre-school that their language skills take off.  They are starting a two-days/week mother's day out program in a week, so I am hoping to see a lot of improvement.  They both are still receiving occupational therapy twice a month.  I think it really showed in their assessment that it is working because both of their highest scores were in fine motor skills/problem solving.  Camdyn will continue speech therapy weekly.  Hopefully, the physical therapy evaluation will reveal that they do not need PT, but we will see how that goes. 

Since posts with no pictures are no fun, here are some pics to show how they are doing exactly what 2 year olds do:

like enjoying lollipops

like getting into your mom's jewelry

like cuddling with your big sister on the couch

like fighting over whose turn it is to wash your hands

Preemie Power Kickoff Event

We attended the Preemie Power Kickoff event last weekend at the Dell Diamond.   The Preemie Power photo/essy contest is hosted by Hand to Hold, an organization offering support for NICU families and families who have experienced a loss.  Last year, Camdyn and Cade were the Preemie Power winners in their age category.  They won a wagon full of prizes and were given these adorable superhero capes.  We had a great time at the event and saw several of our NICU buddies.

Superhero Camdyn making her grand entrance.

Superhero Cade with his Super Big Sis making their grand entrance.

Cade giving Spike, the mascot, a high five.  Camdyn wanted nothing to do with Spike, the balloon-making clown, or the dressed-up superheros at the photo booth.  It really spooks her when people are in costume. I wonder how Halloween is going to be this year for her.

Camdyn sporting her super cute Preemie Power t-shirt that they were giving away.  It says, "A Hero Before the Age of Zero."  How cute!

Brenna and Aunt BB showing off their new balloon butterfly wings.  I love that they gave Brenna a "Super Sibling" sticker to wear. 

After the celebration, we watched the baseball game.  The twins lasted much longer than I thought they would.  Camdyn was sure she was supposed to go on the field and play baseball with the grown men.  She kept saying, "I baseball" and pointing to herself and pointing to the field. 

I encourage all of you preemie mamas out there to enter your kids in this year's essay/photo contest.  In fact, I wish I would have waited until this year to enter because the grand prize this year is a trip to Disneyland.  Last year, there were entries from 29 different states and Canada.  It's a great way to share your story, inspire others, and raise awareness about prematurity.  To read more about the contest, go to

Cousin Fun!

I'm seriously behind on my blogging again, so it's time to play catch up.  A few weeks ago, our nephews came to visit for the weekend.  We made a trip to the Austin Children's Museum via the Metro Rail.  Cade loves trains (what 2 year old boy doesn't?), so he was really excited about riding the train.  Camdyn decided it was a bus and kept saying and signing bus the whole time.  It was nice to have some big boy help.

Blake, Cade, Brenna, Cole, and Camdyn on the train

Everyone posing for a picture that I made them take about 20 times and still didn't get a good one.

They had these chairs to show scale/size.  Camdyn is sitting in a chair that could have been a doll's chair.  It was so tiny, but she fit perfectly.  Everyone thinks I have kids in this order; few people think that Camdyn and Cade are even twins.

On Sunday, my mom met me at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema with my niece and other nephew.  We went to their free showing of Despicable Me.  Good thing it was free because movie tickets for 7 kids and 2 adults would be pretty costly.  I was so proud of Camdyn and Cade.  They made it through the entire movie!  We thought we would have to leave after 20 minutes.

I love that my kids are close to their cousins.  They had such a great time when Blake and Cole came to visit.  They took the longest nap ever after they left.  It's tough to hang with the big boys!

Monday, August 13, 2012

On a Night Like Tonight . . .

Tonight was like any ordinary night at our house.  I put some chicken tortilla soup in the crock pot earlier today.  I ran errands.  Daddy got home from work.  We both played with the kids.  He wrestled with Cade on the living room floor.  He tossed Camdyn high into the air at her requests of "high - more, more - high" as she giggled with delight.  We all sat on the couch - Brenna and Daddy watching cartoons, me and Camdyn and Cade reading books.  Daddy and I put the twins into their high chairs, filled their plates with chicken from the soup, and handed them spoons.  We prayed and heard that adorable echo from Camdyn and Cade as we said "amen".  We gathered around the table and all ate dinner.  At the sound of "all done" with hands shaking in the air to sign "all done", we cleaned the kids up, gave goodnight kisses, and laid them down in their beds.  Why do I write all of these mundane details?  I write them to remember how thankful we are to have these ordinary moments. 

I have battled with being able to recall our NICU times at my own will rather than traumatic memories flooding my thoughts at their own will.  Tonight and tomorrow I will look back because I want to.  I want to remember where we have been and how far we have come.  I want to recognize the gifts we've been given.  I want to give thanks for every ordinary moment.  

Two years ago on this night, Dr. Breed who we credit for saving Cade's life many times, proudly holds Camdyn and Cade on their last night at the hospital. 

Daddy talking to Camdyn and Cade just before their crib was wheeled out of the NICU down the hallway into our rooming-in room.  I love the "going home" signs in this picture.  The monitor is off.  For 133 days, we stared at that monitor willing the saturation numbers to go up.  The car seats are sitting there anxiously waiting to be filled with babies, picked up, and carried home!

Daddy laying down with Cade and Camdyn during one of the many feeds.  Notice the feeding pump in the corner of the picture.  This struck me as picture worthy when I realized that for 4 1/2 months we were not able to lay beside our babies.  We were able to hold them in the reclining chair.  This just looked so normal to me (minus the feeding pump) that I had to take a picture.  We spent all night feeding the twins.  A representative from the medical supply company came to train us on how to use the pump.  She "demonstrated" with nothing actually in the pump and made it sound so easy.  I think she probably never actually used one.  We had to go ask the NICU nurses, but since they weren't familiar with this kind of pump, they didn't know either.  We eventually figured it out, but it took us an hour to prep it and then clean it when the feed was over.  With feeding every 3 hours and the feeds taking 2 hours with two very nervous parents, we did not sleep!  None of that really mattered though because we were finally taking our babies home!

Cade and Camdyn ready to go home.

And now these two cutie pies are sleeping peacefully in their beds.  They ate dinner (by mouth!) and will not need to eat again until breakfast!  Mommy and Daddy get to sleep all night and the tubes are long gone.  Wow!  We have so much for which to be thankful.  God is good - really, really good!


So, I'm finally getting around to blogging our Disneyland trip.  We had an awesome trip.  We spent 3 days at Disneyland and jammed as much as we could into those 3 days.  Here are a few of my favorite photos from our trip.

Brenna and Daddy on Mater's tow yard tractors.  This ride was so cute. 

This is what Brenna's face looked like on almost all the rides - full of wonder and excitement.  I am convinced that 5 years old is the perfect age for Disneyland.  Everything was real and magical to her - not to say that 33 is a bad age to go either! 

The highlight of Brenna's vacation was meeting her favorite princess, Rapunzel.  She was speechless.  I loved watching her face when she met Rapunzel.  Priceless.

We loved Cars Land.  It looks just like the movie!

We had to ride the tea cups.  It's classic.

Brenna and Mommy on the trolley going down Main Street.

I love this picture of Brenna.  I think she looks so beautiful.

This was absolutely adorable.  The princesses taught the little girls how to wave like princesses, perform a royal curtsy, and twirl like a princess.  Brenna is in the front row for her princess lessons.  Too cute!

After our 3 days full of fun at Disneyland, we headed back to my sister's apartment in San Diego.  The next day we went to the beach and just took it easy.  Brenna loved making sand castles with Daddy.

On our last day in San Diego, we strolled along a boardwalk, ate yummy pizza by the water, and browsed through some cute shops.  We had a great trip.  Our next trip to Disneyland will be a lot more to organize with the twins going along.  Good thing they don't yet know what they missed!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

We're Still Here

We're still here!  I promise.  We took Brenna to Disneyland a few weeks ago (post coming soon).  We had a blast, but since we've been home, I feel like time is flying by. We returned knowing that Brenna had been complaining about her ear hurting.  When we went to pick up Camdyn and Cade from my mom's house, she told me Camdyn had been saying/signing "hurt" and pointing to her ears.  I made an appointment the next day and found out Brenna had an ear infection and Camdyn had double ear infections.  Welcome home!  We medicated everyone and the ears got better.  Then this past week, Brenna was telling me that her tummy hurt when she walked, and she was running fever.  After giving her Tylenol regularly, her temperature spiked up to 104 at which point I freaked out!  I packed all the kids up into the car and headed to the ER.  That temperature was way too high for my comfort.  Maybe it's the micro-preemie mama in me, but I'm not taking any chances.  They ran several tests and found nothing thankfully.  It was a bad stomach virus.  She continued to run extremely high fever through the next day, but it finally broke.  Fortunately, she did a good job of not sharing her germs with the rest of us.

I could say that all the sickies around here are to blame for my lack of posts lately, but the truth is I'm pretty addicted to this show that's been on (the Olympics).  I stay up way too late and spend far too much time watching it.  It will be over soon, so I will get back to more regular posts.

My second post as a guest blogger on is up today.  I describe my struggles to attempt breastfeeding my micro-preemies. 

I'm off to watch a little more Olympics for the night.