Tuesday, July 30, 2013

All The Things They May Have Never Done . . .

If all had gone according to plan, the twins would have been born in late July - maybe even early to mid July since it was a twin pregnancy.  My due date was July 30.  The twins were not informed of this and instead came 4 months early.  They turned 3 back in April.  April!  That seems like so long ago now that it's over 100 degrees outside.  It is still strange to even imagine they came that early!  

What amazes me even more is that strangers would not know these toddlers were one pound babies.  I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude that they had this outcome.  By all odds, it should not have been this way.  I have the strangest sense of "survivor guilt", for lack of a better term, that we had this outcome.  I know so many families who face so many struggles related to prematurity.  I pray for all the families affected by prematurity.

Although I no longer have post-traumatic breakdowns, I still think of their prematurity every single day.  Sometimes I smile.  Sometimes I say a prayer.  Sometimes I hug my babies tight.  On their birthday, due date, and homecoming date, I like to reflect on how far they have come and what an amazing story they will have to tell.

I remember to count my blessings for all the things they may have never done like:

ride around in a little car

act goofy every time mom tries to take a picture

play in the sand with your twin

look up to your big sis

pull your sisters in a little red wagon

eat a chicken leg at a July 4th celebration

ride a bike

play on a playground

dance in a recital

It's all the little things that make life beautiful.  I hope their story can remind others to be grateful for all of life's little blessings.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Country Kids

We live in the suburbs - in a beautiful neighborhood with manicured lawns and shrubs lining the streets.  We do love where we live, but I am so thankful that my kids get to experience the country life too.  I grew up spending the weekends at my grandparents' house checking for eggs, holding baby chicks, playing on hay bales, and taking tractor rides.  My kids get to experience a little of the country life when we go visit my grandparents and when they go back to our hometown to stay with their grandma and grandpa.  They are fascinated by it. 

Here my grandpa is showing the kids the new baby chicks.  They do have a much larger fenced in yard, but this particular momma chick became super protective (much like me when my own chicks were babes) and had to be separated.

Pa letting Brenna hold one of the baby chicks.

 Cade liked petting the chick but didn't want to hold it.  Camdyn didn't even want to get close.

The kids love going to their grandma and grandpa's house too.  One of their favorite things to do is to ride the buggy which means riding out with Grandpa to check on the cows.  At Grandma and Grandpa's, they also play in the sand box out on the deck, drive the little buggy around, and get really dirty!  Grandparents are great for that.  Mommy doesn't much like dirt, so they love going to Grandma and Grandpa's.

This picture was from Father's Day out at Grandma and Grandpa's house.

Brenna posing pretty on the pink tractor.  

We were excited to see this brand new fawn out there back in the spring. 

Brenna's class went on a field trip to a local farm.  Brenna told her friends that she has a cow, and it's name is Moo-y.  I'm certain they thought she was making it up, but it's true.  She owns a cow!  

Friday, July 12, 2013

Controversial Bill in Texas

Right now at our state capitol, our legislators are debating a bill in Texas that would ban abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy.  I'm not much of a political person, but this particular debate has grabbed my attention.  Only an unlucky few ever lay eyes on a baby born at 23-24 weeks.  For those of us who have been so unfortunate to have had babies at this early of a gestation, we know first-hand what these babies look like.  We know the pain they feel.  We know how they fight to live.  They are not clumps of cells.  

The problem with government is that everything has to be so right or so left when the middle is the answer.  In this case, this bill is just that.  It's a middle ground.  It doesn't say you can't have an abortion; it just says do it before 5 months!  The protestors are shouting that it's their choice, their bodies.  What about the choice of that baby inside of you?  A late term abortion would be just like me walking into the NICU and suffocating my baby born at 23 weeks.  Would they argue that is my choice?  On the other hand, you have the pro-life supporters carrying crosses and bibles and pictures of aborted fetuses.  Where is the middle ground?

Except for the extremists who make uneducated arguments, you can't deny that this a life.  Does this look like a clump of cells?  These are not gross pictures of aborted fetuses; these are pictures of precious babies.  This is what a 23 week "fetus" looks like.

And those "fetuses" turn into this.  Can anyone argue that this a life?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Potty Training Twins!

Potty training is going to be the death of me!  We have been training for a while now.  At first, I thought I would wait until both of them were ready and train them together.  For the longest time, Cade flat out refused to go.  We tried ALL the tricks, and nothing was working.  We went ahead and trained Camdyn without Cade.  She has the hang of it now for the most part.  She still has some trouble knowing when she needs to poop, so that's a lot of fun!  She is getting better though.  I decided that I was not going to wait any longer for Cade to be ready on his own like everyone tells you that you need to do.  I don't think he would be ready on his own for a long time, so I decided for him.  Once he peed in the potty a few times, he decided that was fun.  Now he wants to go all the time.  Today he pooped on the potty for the first time, so I think we are making some progress towards getting these twins potty-trained.

I never joined the multiples groups because I always thought twin "problems" are nothing compared to all the preemie "problems" we had.  I knew I couldn't handle the complaints or normal struggles that multiple moms would discuss in these groups.  Sure, I knew having twins was harder than having one child, but that paled in comparison to having micro-preemies.  Fortunately, we are at a point that many of our preemie challenges are behind us.  Now we have graduated to the normal struggles of raising twins, and potty training is a struggle!  However, having twins (especially boy/girl twins) does create some pretty funny conversations when potty training.

Camdyn (fussing and whining): Mommy, Cade fwushed da potty.
Me: Why is that a problem?
Camdyn (hands on hips, pouty face): It was MY tinkle!

* Flushing the potty is a reward for making something in it, and it's a big deal around here.

During dinner-
Cade: I have to go potty.
(Daddy takes Cade. Cade wants to go by himself.  Daddy returns to the table.)
Cade (running out of the bathroom): I make tinkle!
The whole family: YAY Cade!
Cade returns to the bathroom.
Cade (running out of the bathroom again): I make poop!
Me: Really ?!?!  Great job.  (I run to see.)
Daddy: Yep, sure did.  Way to go Cade!
Camdyn: My want to see Cade's poop.
Brenna: Oooooh!  Gross!

* Only Brenna was not amused by Cade's announcement of poop at the dinner table.  Geez!  Is this really my life right now?

So, while it is super frustrating to potty train these kids, it is pretty amusing too.

Brenna and Camdyn's Dance Recital

Brenna and Camdyn performed in their dance recital in June.  This was Brenna's 4th recital and Camdyn's very first recital!  Camdyn almost didn't go on the stage, but once she was out there she did great.  She dances all over the house non-stop and wants everyone to watch her.  I think the dark lights and stage lighting just scared her a little backstage. 

Mommy, Brenna, and Camdyn in the dressing room.

Brenna's class coloring while waiting for their turn on stage.  I just loved my little sailors and swimmers.  They were so cute!

Brenna danced a solo for the first time this year.  She worked really hard to remember her entire dance, and I was so proud of her.  She remembered it all, smiled, and said she loved dancing by herself on the stage!

Brenna's ballet class.

Camdyn's first recital.  She was the tiniest one out there, but she kept up.  I had to tear up a little as I watched her out there dancing with all the other kids.  No one would ever know that tiny little dancer in the middle only weighed a pound and that she spent 5 weeks on a ventilator.  There she is - my little ballerina - doing her arabesque.  Oh, how I wish I could have seen this precious picture of my micro-preemie in a tutu dancing with all the other 3 year olds.  Once again, I feel so incredibly blessed.

Brenna's Kindergarten Graduation

Yes, I know it is July and school has been out for a while now, but I'm playing catch up on the blog.  I have to include Brenna's kindergarten graduation.  I have to say that I think all the graduation ceremonies they do now in school are a little silly.  Isn't one expected to graduate from pre-school, kindergarten, 5th grade, 8th grade, and high school, for that matter?  Regardless whether I think it is silly, you better believe I was there to take pictures of the cuteness of all the kindergarten "graduates".

Here they are singing and signing some adorable song.  I was so glad that Brenna was in the front row so I could get pictures of her.  They were all very serious about singing their song.

My precious little graduate getting ready to walk across the stage.

Brenna receiving her "diploma" from her amazing kindergarten teacher, Ms. Hynum.

Heading over to stand with her class.

They even did a cap toss!  Adorable!

Brenna with Ms. Hynum.  I absolutely loved that Brenna got such an awesome kindergarten teacher.  I was so sad that Brenna was going to be away all day at school.  Children see their teacher more than they do their parents during a school day, so it's really important that your child is with someone she likes.  I hope her first grade teacher is just as great.

I love this picture.  Nanny did something to make her laugh which produced this great smile.  She usually has a fake smile these days in pictures, so I love that I captured the real smile.

Me with my kindergarten graduate.