Sunday, December 27, 2009

Adam's gift from Santa

A tooth!

We were at my Uncle Bob's on Christmas Day and Adam started chewing on my Aunt Robyn's finger. She said 'I think he's got a tooth in there!' I was surprised because I had been checking every few days and didn't feel anything yet. We walked into the kitchen and grabbed a metal spoon out of the drawer and when he bit down on it, sure enough, you could hear a little 'ting'.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

First Family Christmas

It's hard to imagine that one year ago, our family was half the size, excluding pets of course.

I would have to say that so far this holiday season has been one of the best for me that I can remember in quite some time. What you see before you is a family in front of a live Christmas tree. To go a little deeper, you would discover that we had decided to forego buying a tree this year. We felt like our money needed to go toward essential living expenses. I decorated some other things around the house to be festive. And then we received a monetary gift from long-time friends in order to have a family Christmas tree this year. Quite humbling.

You can't tell from the picture but we also haven't bought any presents this year.

Some would say these would be signs of feeling empty. But it is actually quite the opposite. Shannon lost his job almost a year ago. We still have food on the table, a roof over our heads, clothes to keep us warm. The NICU roller coaster ride from the twins being born 3 months earlier was nauseating at times. Look at them now. To say we are blessed is an understatement of how I feel.

For me, I celebrate the holiday season by enjoying the decorated houses, seeing the first snowfall, sampling wonderful food, and spending time with family and friends. So far Christmas has warmed my heart.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Corn Flakes saga Part III

This just keeps cracking me up. I ventured to the grocery store today. Usually Shannon does the shopping but since I needed to restock food for the kids, I wanted to see what the selections were. Shannon copied down a list for me that he had started out of his PDA. I gathered all my things together and got ready to walk out the door and what was at the bottom of the list? Corn Flakes. Now that he is throwing out the Frosted Mini Wheats (generic, of course) he needs to replenish his stock.

I made it to WalMart, which was crazy busy with the holiday shopping, and had 2/3 of my shopping done before hitting the cereal aisle. Can I say, by the way, that there are way too many cereals to choose from? I always have a hard time making up my mind. Maybe it would be easier if I just ate one kind of cereal to eat, too. It seemed quite stocked except for one gaping hole on the bottom shelf. You guessed it - they were out of Corn Flakes!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A different pants issue

This afternoon I heard Adam waking up and went to get him out of his crib. There he was, laying face down as usual. I pulled the blanket back and what did I see this time? A fly and pockets. Silly mommy, a fly goes on the front of the pants, not the butt! Apparently I was really paying attention at the last diaper change!

The weirdness is over

Comment from Shannon tonight...

"Ya know, I bought the Frosted Mini Wheats thinking these shouldn't be too bad. They're frosted...

They're crap!"

So much for trying something different!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Historical household cereal moment

I am shocked.

I opened the cereal cabinet this morning and what did I see? Right next to the standard box of Generic Corn Flakes?

It's the running joke I have with Shannon that he eats so much Corn Flakes. When he comes home from the store with another box, I often say 'Aren't you tired of eating Corn Flakes? Don't you want something different?' He always tells me 'If I wanted something different, I would have bought something different.' Good point. Sure he throws in an occasional Corn Chex or Rice Chex, maybe even Rice Krispies if he is really pushing it. And he may enjoy a bowl of Captain Crunch, Crunch Berries, or Lucky Charms if it's in the house. I think he even tried Maple Life one time. But his staple is the Corn Flakes. Generic Corn Flakes. 'Because generic is the same as name brand - it all comes down the same conveyor belt, they just change the box.' Except for the Kroger generic, which he doesn't like.

And then this morning? There, nestled in the cabinet was Frosted Mini Wheats. Generic brand of course. 11 1/2 years we've been married and I don't think I have ever seen Frosted Mini Wheats in our cabinet. Weird. Very weird.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The freezer's empty

This picture makes me a little sad and at the same time it makes my heart beat a little faster with nervousness. This freezer used to be full to the top of frozen milk for the kids and was actually overflowing into another freezer. When the kids were still in the NICU, we had to purchase another standing freezer because we were running out of room to store both food and milk. I knew at one point that we would use the surplus of milk I had created. And we were intentional about using it before it would expire. For months we added the frozen milk to the food and cereal the kids were eating. I started my journey not knowing whether I wanted to breastfeed twins during my pregnancy, uncertain of whether it was "right" for me or if I would be up for the challenge. My whole world changed on April 2. When the nurse came in at midnight wheeling a breast pump behind her and said "We are going to give this a try." I said "Okay." Maybe I wasn't thinking clearly due to all the Mag Sulfate I was on. It probably would have been an entirely different turnout if she hadn't been so adamant. I spent hours in the nursery by myself, pumping while the kids were in the hospital - it was the best gift I had to offer them. I was blessed with abundance. Almost 9 months old and I am still nursing them. Now it's my goal to just go as long as I can. I'd love to be able to provide for them until they can have cow's milk. But knowing the freezer is empty and it's up to me...that's what makes me a little nervous. I'll keep getting rest, drinking water, and taking in extra calories. We'll ride it as long as we can.

Just hanging out

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Production date night

We had the opportunity to get away Thursday night and attend our church's annual Christmas Production. Well, the sneak peek of the final dress rehearsal anyway. Since we have been avoiding large crowds to protect the kids from illness, we've been taking a break from church (attendance of a few thousand people)...and that meant the Production, too. But then my friend gave us the idea of coming to the dress rehearsal.

Our next door neighbor came over to watch the kids. Although they could watch themselves by the time they are in bed and down for the night. She was glad she came 45 minutes early to catch them awake because when I put them to bed and then left for a few hours, it was pretty uneventful. Surprisingly, the kids traded personality places while she was here. Adam was pretty somber and didn't want to give up a smile. He was just really tired. Sara warmed up quickly and started smiling and bouncing up and down on her lap.

Even though it was just a few hours, we enjoyed getting away and seeing the program. It was really quite fabulous. A full set built to look like the front of brownstone apartments, multiple levels to stand on, families decorating the building and inside the apartments for Christmas. A family with a child even rode a surrey up the aisle and onto the stage with a Christmas tree strapped to the top. It amazes me the ideas my friend comes up with every year.

Shannon and I don't have too many opportunities to get out without the kids these days. It usually feels just a little odd to be back to the two of us. But nice to enjoy having a moment together.

Where's your pants?

Shannon knows when I go to check on the kids and he hears me laughing through the baby monitor, it's bound to be something interesting.

Yesterday afternoon Adam was making a bit of a fuss and not wanting to take a very long afternoon nap. I finally decided to give in. Sara was laying face up with her blanket on, sucking her thumb, amused by Adam's irritation. Adam was laying right next to her, face down, with his butt tucked in the air. I pulled the blanket off and that is what started my laughter. "Adam - where's your pants?" He just smiled with his thumb in his mouth. There, in a ball, at the end of the bed by his feet was a ball of clothing that he had wiggled out of.

Maybe that's partly why Sara is more mellow and less active - she's so entertained by Adam's antics that she doesn't need to come up with stuff on her own. Although last night she was all Sara at full volume. Shannon was getting her pajamas on and she was laughing so loud it was making her cough! Plus she is developing great abs with all of her lifting of the butt and wiggling it back and forth.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Mollenhauer family update

Our household seems to be running fairly well lately. Busy. Daily grind. Every day is like Groundhog's Day over and over again - no holidays, no days off, no weekends, no calling in sick. But it's awesome. The kids are such a joy. I think they love a schedule as much as I do. It does flex a little and morning naps go better than afternoon. But for the most part, you can just about set your watch to them. Well, they do know when I'm not home and seem to enjoy changing things around with dad or the twinsitter. They love more and more playing together. Sara is rolling over. Every now and then you catch an audible laugh from Adam. Very seldom do they cry. They are healthy and happy. What more could we ask for?

Shannon is dedicating his time to starting a new business - Trinity Technology Advisors. He is no longer working part-time at Menards in the mornings. And since he isn't looking for employment any more, he doesn't qualify for unemployment. He continues to teach single day computer classes for Illinois Central College's Professional Development Institute when they have a need. Oddly enough, he received a phone call from a company a few weeks back requesting an interview. They had somehow gotten hold of his resume, we're not sure how, and wanted to talk to him about how he might fit with their company. They are being proactive in these economic times and are looking to hire some top notch individuals that are currently available. We don't know where this will lead. It will either confirm that he should continue to follow his dream of running his own business. Or reveal that the business was a short-term endeavor and God will provide in another way. We both love the flexible schedule and having him at home. We'll keep you posted.

As far as me, I changed jobs about a month ago and am working for our friend who owns a landscape business - Designer Concepts Landscape Architecture - as their Office Manager. Tuesdays I go to his home office from 9-3:30 and the rest of the week I work 2-3 hours during morning nap time and another hour or so in the afternoon. I have really enjoyed my time so far. We have talked about this off and on for almost a year and things finally fell into place. I look forward to providing input as the business grows and using my strengths to help make them even more successful.

A lot to manage, for sure, but we are working as a team to keep our home filled with love and running as best we can.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sara's rolling!

Finally, my baby girl has decided to start rolling over. For months, she has just enjoyed watching big brother Adam strut his stuff. I'd love to show you a video as evidence but alas, she has decided to roll in secret! I have only seen her accomplish the feat twice. All the other times, I walked away to do something and when I came back into the room, there she is on her tummy. I ask her what's going on and she just looks up at me, grinning, and then she giggles.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Photo worthy nap time

Come on, I couldn't pose the kids this well if I tried. How can I not snap photos like this?

Christmas pictures sneak peek

Once again we ventured to Sears today for a portrait session. Our last oh so fun time was at 4 months of age so 8 months/Christmas seemed to be an appropriate revisit. First let me say that shopping for coordinating boy/girl clothes was one of the greatest challenges I have faced recently. Saturday night the kids were asleep at 7:15 so I quickly headed for the mall. 8 stores and 3 hours later I wandered home, exhausted, unsure if anything I bought matched. I figured if I bought multiple options, something would work out and I would return the rest!

I must say that once we got the kids dressed with what I had settled on, I thought they looked darn cute. All would be well with the world if we could keep the spit from constant raspberries to a minimum, both kids looked at the camera at the same time, AND both kids smiled (in the same photo). I don't think the kids remembered that we had the same photographer as last time. Adam didn't care - he is excited to see anyone and started smiling right away! Sara gave him her typical 'and who are you again?' look!

So after an hour we did the best we could. Some shots turned out great. A few so so. One of Sara horrible as she hit the end of the time she was allowing us to pose her. Adam kept trying to sneak in a thumb suck - so funny. Sara would smile, then the light of the camera would flash, and her expression would turn to one of disgust. By the end, I think she refused to smile any more just so the light wouldn't flash. And both kids learned that it is extremely difficult to sit up on a slippery photo canvas as they kept sliding down into a reclined position.

Here are a few sneak peek shots of their adorable outfits...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Adam's developmental results

If you remember, we had an occupational therapist return to the house one month ago for a follow up evaluation of Adam. I thought I would share the results with you. The next step is that he will begin with Easter Seals' Regional Development Follow-up Program (RDFP) in January, which is when he is 6 months corrected age. He will go again at 12 months corrected, 18 months, 24 months, and then 36 months. Each time they will assess him and determine if there are any items that need follow up attention.

For this appointment Adam was 7 months old, 4 months corrected.

Behavioral observations - Adam was accompanied by his mother. Adam was happy and playful. He interacted well with his examiner. Adam was very vocal throughout the evaluation.

Adaptive skills (the evaluator scored him at 6 months of age) - Skills in this area include the expectable behaviors in your child's long-term development in self-care and self-regulation of body functions, such as eating, dressing, and toileting. Adam is now taking Stage 1 baby foods twice a day. He is breast and bottle fed.

Personal/social (scored at 5.5 months) - This area reflects how your child interacts with adults and children, how they express their feelings, self-concept skills, and how they are beginning to play. Adam shows a desire for social attention. He expresses displeasure and enjoyment for certain activities or situations. Adam shows awareness of his hands. Adam smiles and vocalizes in response to adult attention.

Receptive communication (scored at 5 months) - The ability to attach meaning to the speech of others. Adam turns his head toward the source of a sound outside his field of vision. He attends to someone speaking to him. Adam is soothed by a familiar adult's voice.

Expressive communications (scored at 5 months) - The ability to express thought and ideas through verbal and non-verbal means. Adam produces one or more vowel sounds. He babbles. He vocalizes to express feelings.

Gross motor (scored at 6 months) - This area examines your child's gross motor abilities, such as use of the large muscles for changing body positions, kicking, throwing, walking, running, and jumping. Adam moves an object from his hand to his mouth. He turns from his back to his tummy unassisted. Adam intentionally secures a nearby object while in a prone position. Adam sits with support for short periods of time. Adam presents with somewhat increased muscle tone.

Fine motor (scored at 5 months) - Includes hand and finger skills, as well as hand-eye coordination skills used for grasping, manipulation, and the purposeful release and placement of objects in relation to other objects. Adam holds his hands together at midline. He holds an object for one minute. Adam holds his hands in an open position when not grasping an object.

Cognitive (scored at 5 months) - Assesses child's ability to discriminate the features of objects (i.e. size, shape, color), the development of object permanence (knowing that someone or something is still there even when hidden), and the growing ability to relate objects to one another in an insightful manner. Adam follows a visual and auditory stimulus. He shows anticipatory excitement. He visually explores the environment.

In every area the therapist scored Adam 1-2 months above his corrected age. We couldn't be more proud of our little man!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Happy 8 months, kids

Can you believe the twins are 8 months old today? Crazy. I would never have guessed when I saw my 2 1/2 lb babies lifted across the delivery room to a warming table that now they would be giggling and laughing and rolling over and trying to crawl and standing and sucking each other's thumbs and blowing raspberries and eating food and developing personalities and sleeping through the night and....I will never forget seeing them the first time and saying "They're so tiny." I was just reading on a blog tonight about another set of twins that were born at 28 weeks. Their boys were a full pound less than Adam and Sara, were in the NICU over 100 days, and have undergone 5 surgeries. Once of the boys has Spina Bifida. I feel for that family. But at the same time, I have to say it makes me realize just how truly, truly blessed we are. God is good.

Current weights today:
Adam -- 15lb 3oz
Sara -- 14lb 11oz

A couple pictures from our photo shoot today. We have an appointment at Sears for Monday - maybe we can grab some with both of them smiling at the same time AND both looking at the camera!

My sweet Sara...for those of you that know us, Sara is currently like a mini-me with her personality. She is pretty somber when meeting new people. But when you give her a chance to warm up, you can hear her giggle and get to see this adorable smile!

My boy. Definitely a little Shannon - he smiles at anyone who walks in the room and is very social. Lately I have been calling Adam my little monkey. When I pick him up, he giggles at me, folds his torso in half, and tries to climb me. I remember the day the doctor told me he had a grade 3 bleed on the left side of his brain. He sure doesn't show any signs of holding back!

It's getting harder to keep him still for a photo!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Raspberries, raspberries, and more raspberries

All day long. One after another. Spit spraying in the air like a fountain, as it glistens in the sunshine streaming through the window. Does she tire? No way! I'm not sure why Sara woke up this morning with blowing raspberries on her mind. But she decided it was going to be her main focus today.

Yesterday she introduced us to the Sara Sway...a cute little dance that cracks us up every time we see it. As she is laying on her back, she plants her feet on the ground and bends her knees in the air. Then she lifts her butt up and sways her hips back and forth. And then she laughs right along with us.

Two monkeys in a crib

Surely it's not nap time. This is what the kids do when I walk out of the room! Notice Sara, the instigator, until she sees the camera pointing at her. And Adam...anything close to his mouth...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Crib dance

The past 3 nights Shannon and I have been amazed at how much the kids are moving in the crib overnight. (Yes, they are still sharing a crib!) We walk in the nursery in the morning, not sure what we will find, and just crack up laughing.

Saturday night we went to the Designer Concepts Fall Finale celebration dinner. Our friends the Hittingers took on the challenge to feed the kids dinner and put them to bed. They laid them in the crib as directed - Adam on the right side of the crib, Sara on the left, both leaning 45 degrees diagonally to the left. If you picture the face of a clock, their head would be between 9 & 10, their feet between 4 & 5. When we went to bed, I peeked in and they had rotated even more to the left. They were laying lengthwise in the crib, Adam was face down, snuggled next to the length of Sara. My mind did a double take when I walked in the next morning to find that they had turned a full 180 degrees.

Sunday night we again laid them in their starting positions. At 5:30 in the morning I heard a banging against the crib. Sara had rotated to laying lengthwise. Adam somehow was on her right, instead of her left, with his head pressed against the lower corner of the crib. He was on his tummy, with his knees tucked under him and his little butt in the air. His feet were by Sara's face. I just shook my head in disbelief, picked him up over Sara and put him back in his spot so we could both sleep another hour.

Last night was pretty crazy all around. The kids have been cranky lately as I think they are teething. Sara only slept 20 min for her morning nap, Adam 45. The afternoon wasn't much better. I nursed them their dessert meal and they were both in bed by 6:30. (I tell people they are eating 4 meals a day - breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. We still nurse together all 4 of those times and then they get food with breakfast and dinner.) Adam got up one more time an hour later for a bit, and Sara took the opportunity to hog the whole crib while he was gone. We shifted her back to her spot so we could lay Adam back down. When we went to bed, Sara had now turned completely upside down. Adam was perpendicular to her, with his head tucked in her stomach, and his body stretching out to the right side of the crib. What did the morning bring? Sara had shifted back to right side up. Adam snuck around her again and was on her right with his head in the lower corner of the crib. I think when we turn the lights out, he actually leap frogs over her!

And the amazing thing about all of it? They don't wake each other up with this middle of the night dancing they do!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Adam found his feet!

As if it isn't hard enough to change his diaper when he's trying to roll over on the changing table. Now we have to compete with the feet, too!

Saturday, November 21, 2009


After last weekend's visit from Aunt Robyn, we are sufficiently stocked up on baby food! While we were at the marriage conference, she cooked and pureed the acorn squash, butternut squash, and sweet potatoes we had bought. Why stop there? She noticed apples and carrots in the refrigerator and green beans in the freezer. We then made a trip to a cute little supermarket on the Washington square that has a great produce section and bought some asparagus, frozen peas, and a can of peaches and pumpkin. What a variety the kids have now! On the approved list - peaches, pears, bananas, avocados, apples, pumpkin, multiple squash, sweet potatoes, green beans, and peas. Waiting in the wings to try - carrots and asparagus. So far they have liked everything. The green beans and peas are a little harder to digest so they get that sparingly. Their tummies may be a little young yet for the non-orange items. It's a lot of fun to make them food and know exactly what they are eating. Plus, it smells really great when it's heated in the microwave. Shannon and I have commented a few times that the kids are going to get us to try some new things and expand our horizons!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Crazy week

Not much updating last week as our household was pretty crazy. I went in to work every afternoon as it was my last week working my part-time job before switching gears (more about that in another post). I gave 6 weeks notice and began training my replacement Wednesday afternoon!

My mom came down Tues-Thurs to help watch the kids while I was away. Shannon taught all day at ICC on Tues/Thurs, except Thurs was canceled last minute. Lisa came Tues & Thurs to provide another set of hands to help my mom with twinsitting and assist with household chores. Thanks for the tag team!

And it seems like Adam has been on an every other night sleep really good schedule. Friday he got up at 4:30 and didn't go back to bed until 6. I caught 20 min more of sleep and then jumped in the shower while Sara was awake in the crib. If I didn't get myself ready at that time, there wasn't any other window of opportunity. We quickly moved through our morning feeding routine to get ready for a pediatrician appointment. It was shot day. They did so much better than last time - tears but not unbearable. Thanks, Sue, for helping with the madness at the doctor's office.

So, at 7 months, the kids officially weighed in at:
Adam -- 14lb 10oz
Sara -- 13lb 13oz
We won't return again until January for a 9 month well visit.

After arriving back home Friday, I ate lunch, fed the kids, and headed into work for a few hours. Ran home, ate dinner, fed the kids, and left them with my aunt Robyn for the evening so Shannon and I could attend a marriage conference at our local church. It was quite the long day since we didn't get home until 11:30 that night. Thankfully, everyone slept all night. We headed back to the conference Saturday. More about that in another post.

Sunday night Adam decided to get up at 1 and again from 4-6. I laid in bed for 30 min before deciding he was still talking to himself and he wasn't going to fall back asleep. I think his problem that night was that Sara had turned sideways and he wasn't able to snuggle next to her. Entering the nursery I found him tugging on her leg and of course Sara slept through it all! I was able to nap another hour after that before getting up for the day.

Thankfully last night he slept all night so we will see what tonight brings!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

No Synagis for the kids

I posted earlier regarding RSV season and the harmful effects that lung infection can have on a baby born premature. Synagis is a shot administered once a month for 5 months during RSV season to combact the effects should they get RSV. The NICU had recommended to our pediatrician that the kids get Synagis shots. Dr. Neese's office called this morning and told me that our insurance company will only approve the shots if they are administered in the doctor's office and they do not do that in the office. So no shots for the kids--we'll continue to be on extra careful precautions during the winter season, especially with all the sickness that is going around. If you are visiting or considering visiting, please take extra care and refer to our previous post if you need suggestions.

As a side note regarding insurance - please be praying for us to figure out the best options for the whole family. Currently I have the kids on COBRA insurance through my previous full-time employer. With a new calendar year coming up, I want to make sure we make a good decision with our continued options. There is a possibility that the insurance could be changing due to an over 50% increase in the cost to the employer. Shannon has been trying to secure an individual policy but is struggling due to some doctor notations regarding is vericose veins. Even though they do not require surgery, they feel he is too much of a liability.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sara gets the spotlight

So many times I talk about Adam and his milestones while Sara just gets a mention. I thought it was time again for Sara to have a shining moment.

And now for some video...Sara just talking.

Standing with Shannon.

My favorite - cracking herself up on the changing table!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Thumbs up for avocado

Got the kids approval for mashed avocado this morning. 2 ripe avocados are the equivalent of approximately 5-6 jars of baby food. $1.49. Not bad. Variety is good. Maybe they will be less picky eaters than me, although I don't think I was necessarily picky as a baby, either. It was once I got older and had the option to turn up my nose!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Another assessment for Adam

An occupational therapist from Early Intervention did an in-home follow up assessment with Adam today. He had already received a physical therapy follow up but because the occupational therapist had to be reassigned, her appointment was delayed.

Side note: I knew she was coming today but I couldn't remember what time. We had the conversation while I was on my way to Minnesota and the envelope with my notes got thrown away! I had 1:30 in my head. Boy was I off when she rang the doorbell at 8:30. I sure was glad that I snuck in a shower at 6:45. But I'm sure it looked strange when I had a nice sweater on and pajama pants. My jeans were clean in the laundry room but I didn't want to wake the dog. Oh, well, at least I got a shower, especially since I didn't get one yesterday with the extra duties from Shannon being sick!

She was able to take a lot of notes as she watched Adam finish eating his breakfast. Or at least he tried eating - he seemed more interested in smiling at her and giggling! What a flirt! She noticed that he was social and smiling, as well as talking. Then she worked with him grabbing toys to see if he would put them to his mouth and shaking rattles. She got him out of his highchair and laid him on the floor. He quickly showed off his standing skills, as well as his new trick...when you pull on his hands while he is laying down, he doesn't just sit up - he goes right to standing. His challenge was then to see if he could sit without any assistance. He did better than I thought he would but was a little wobbly. And of course he had to show her how he could roll over to his tummy. This was the best I have seen him on his stomach - relaxed body and legs kicking rather than all spread out stiff. He was also reaching for toys in front of him.

We will receive the official assessment report in the mail. Her overall opinion was that he looked excellent. She felt in some areas he was on track for his corrected age of 4 months and some areas he was closer to his actual age of 7 months. She was very impressed with his tummy time - most babies don't like to be playing on their stomachs at this point. The concern she reiterated from the physical therapist was looking for strength vs. tone. Strength is the ability to perform controlled tasks, while tone is stiffness of motor skills and a possible sign of effects from his brain bleed. Examples of this were seen when he would sit and try to throw his weight back rather than allow his body to relax. And while he had good tummy time this morning, his tendency is to show stiffness.

When we visit Easter Seals for our first appointment in January, they will analyze this issue better. Over the next few months, we can work on getting him to relax while seated, as well as offer more tummy time while stretching for toys.

It's always exciting to hear the views of an experienced professional. I am thankful to have these interim assessments so any struggles Adam may have can be quickly corrected, eliminating residual issues from his IVH. He is going to have quite the story some day...

Applesauce is on the menu

It's almost like checking in with Culver's custard flavor of the day!

I really never thought I would be a mom who made her kids baby food. Just saying it like that sounds like so much work. And it's not that I'm a health nut. Anyone that knows me knows that I only eat a meal to get to dessert! Some days I get a few servings of fruits and vegetables in but never what is recommended. I think I just got intrigued by the idea, like saving money, and it's pretty easy. How hard is it to open your fridge, grab a few apples, peel, cube, cook, mash, and freeze. Homemade applesauce. And the kids love it - it's so cute to hear 'Mmmm' with every bite! Sara especially gets so excited with squawking and flailing her arms.

Shannon went to the store tonight to buy the kids more food. He came home with pears, avocados, sweet potatoes, and squash. I'm going to bake the sweet potatoes and squash tomorrow and let the pears and avocados ripen a bit.

Monday, November 2, 2009

7 month weight update

7 months today...

Adam - 14lb 10oz
Sara - 13lb 13oz

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Nursery clean up

I looked around at the nursery the past few days and felt like it was really cluttered--stuff on the shelves that we didn't need any more, an extra end table that we used to put the heart monitors on, and a 2nd rocking chair for when both Shannon and I would have to be in there feeding the kids. Seems a little odd to clean house a little. Those middle of the night memories seem so long ago. And was Sara ever really less than 4lb at home?! That's still crazy to me. So many people still have the impression that the cardinal rule is for the baby to hit 5lb to be released from the NICU. Here I was lifting 3lb 11oz Sara over the crib with her monitor wires that constantly got caught. Boy I don't miss those at all. Now that we are down to a changing table, a book shelf, a dad-made wardrobe closet on wheels, 1 rocking chair, and 1 crib, the room seems quite spacious! The kids are almost 7 months old and they are still sharing a crib. We'll stick with that plan until they tell me otherwise. So far they love snuggling together and don't wake each other up, even with all of Adam's rolling. It never fails - I walk in there in the morning and he is upside down with his head at her feet, all snuggled up next to her body. I realized recently that is how they were positioned in my womb for most of my pregnancy. Makes me wonder if that is why he seems to squirm until he finds that "sweet spot" again.

I hear them talking to each other in there so it must be time to get up from their nap and enjoy a little lunch!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

New food for today

Pumpkin! Tis the season. I looked through my cabinet and found a can of pumpkin. Why not? It's 100% pumpkin with no additives. Mix it with a little breast milk and you can slap it in a jar and charge 20 times the price! They loved it with no hesitation. I took my aunt Robyn's suggestion and made balls with a cookie scoop and froze it on a cookie sheet to store in a ziploc bag. From my estimation, I got 9 jars of baby food ($.50 each) out of 1 can of pumpkin (less than $1.00). Now that's being budget smart!

So far they like squash, sweet potatoes, peaches, pears, and pumpkin!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

RSV season

The pediatrician’s office called on Friday and told me the NICU sent them a letter that indicated they wanted the twins to receive Synagis this winter. Synagis was approved by the FDA in 1998 to help prevent serious complications from RSV infection in high-risk babies. Most people have not heard of RSV, respiratory syncytial virus, even though about 67% of babies are infected with the virus, which causes a lung infection, before their first birthday and virtually all children will have been infected by their second birthday. Dr. Neese had previously told me he didn’t think the kids would need it because they were too healthy but has now changed his mind upon the advisement of the NICU and the amount of illness that is circulating. It still needs to be approved by the insurance company and we should hear back within a week or so. Approval is key as each shot costs approximately $2,400! A home health nurse will come to our house to weigh the babies and administer the proper dose of a shot once a month for the next 5 months.

For full-term babies, RSV typically is not any worse than a common cold, but for preemies, the virus can be quite different. Babies born earlier than 36 weeks are at the highest risk for serious complications like pneumonia, bronchiolitis, and other sometimes fatal complications. In addition, RSV is thought to play a major role in the development of childhood asthma. During RSV season up to 125,000 infants and young children will be admitted to the hospital as a result of RSV infection. Sadly, about 2% of these children may die from complications associated with it. Our babies were born premature (28 weeks of gestation, which is 12 weeks early), are multiples, and had low birth weights; these are among the highest risk factors for contracting RSV and developing serious complications.

Preventing the spread of RSV is very difficult. Thus, we must be vigilant about keeping our children safe during RSV season (October through April). The virus is spread through physical contact such as shaking hands with an infected person, in the air via a cough or sneeze, or by touching an infected object. The virus can live as long as 6 hours on hands and up to 12 hours on surfaces such as doorknobs, telephones, faucet handles, counters, used tissues, or burp cloths, and it spreads very easily.

You may ask, “Can’t they fight it off and build up their immune system? Kids need to get sick, right?” The simple answer is NO. Since our babies were pre-term, they did not acquire the necessary immunities to fight off infection. If they contract RSV, they could be hospitalized.

We’ll be asking our visitors to follow a few guidelines to help prevent the babies from contracting RSV or any other illness. We ask that all visitors do the following:

  1. Please refrain from coming over if you are currently sick and have not been symptom-free for at least 5 days, if you live with someone who is sick, or have been in close contact with someone who is sick.
  2. When you arrive, please wash your hands with warm water and soap, and use hand-sanitizer as needed before touching the babies.
  3. Please, if it is possible, get a flu shot.
    If you smoke, we ask that you change your clothing and do not smoke prior to visiting, as a preemie’s lungs are very sensitive to smoke. Most RSV sites recommend against passive smoke exposure.
  4. If you are parents to a baby or toddler, please refrain from bringing them to our house during RSV season.

Unfortunately we will not be attending many events during RSV season. Our goal is to make it through this and the next RSV seasons without the twins contracting RSV or any other serious illness. Their lungs are still very fragile until they are 2-years-old. This website offers a great visual comparison of a preemie’s lungs compared to the lungs of a full-term baby:

Thanks for your help in continuing to keep our Wonder Twins healthy!

Friday, October 23, 2009


This video speaks for itself. All I can say is 'That's my boy!'

Adam's rolling

Video of Adam doing his favorite thing right now...

Even after bath time...he can't help it - it's so much fun!

And in the middle of the night - keep in mind the room was pitch black when I took this picture. Notice his legs through the crib slats. I could get a bumper pad but he would lift his legs over it. I could put them in separate cribs but that won't solve my problem and he doesn't wake Sara up!

What a nice day for a walk

Wednesday seemed like it could be one of the last nice days of the fall so why not celebrate with a walk? The kids didn't seem too thrilled and they were actually awake the whole time. I think Adam was a little frustrated I made him put on a jacket but short sleeves was a little too chilly and I knew he would kick a blanket off. I hope they enjoy the colors of fall as much as I do when they get older!

Back from our trip and settled in

Took me a few days to get situated after returning home from being gone a week! We were all excited to be together as a family again and enjoy our own beds. The kids did great on the trip 98% of the time! They napped the whole way in the car. We stayed in a fantastic hotel. They went for their first bus ride with Aunt Robyn as they caught the free shuttle to the Mall of America. Fortunately, they were a piece of cake during shopping so everyone enjoyed their day. Of course the kids had to get a little something - cute new stocking hats and soft little toys that krinkle - a pink bunny for Sara and a yellow duck for Adam. My cousin Emily and I enjoyed some time away during the Women of Faith conference and bought our discounted tickets for next year at Milwaukee. Saturday night was a trip, literally, as we were wandering around driving and trying to decide where to eat. They wanted to find this Italian place they had eaten at before but weren't sure where it was. After more than an hour, we arrived, only to hear Emily say the GPS reported we had driven 8 miles! Figures for a van-ful of women! Sunday morning we stopped at Yum! Bakery to buy some fantastic goodies. Seriously some of the best baked goods I've had in my life. And if you know me, you know I have sampled quite my share! Monday was a quiet day back in Lake Geneva. Tuesday we got packed up after a crying fit (due to a much needed nap) and I had to unload Sara from her car seat twice because she kept pooping! We attended my cousin Sheryl's mother's visitation/funeral and then headed home. The kids were very well behaved until right in the middle of the woman pastor reading scripture in quite the monotone - Adam yawned the loudest, most dramatic yawn I've ever heard come out of him! Apparently that is what he thought. Emily and I tried to hide our laughter. What can you do when you have kids?

So what can happen in a week?

Sara is her usual, chatty self - smiles and giggles and loves interacting with you. What a messy eater she is as she has now tried squash, sweet potatoes, and peaches. She likes them all but definitely LOVES peaches and says 'Mmmm' after every bite. It is a competition with her thumb to get the spoon in her mouth. She is growing stronger with sitting up and trying to stand at times. Usually it is on her terms and when she feels like it, though. The past few days she is trying to roll and makes it half way. She has reached the next developmental step Adam's physical therapist told us to watch for - reaching for things over/above her while laying on her back.

Adam continues to be a strong little boy. He mastered rolling onto his tummy while we were gone and shows off his talent at every chance he gets. If he is wide awake, he is pleased with himself and cranes his neck up like a turtle to play. But if he is sleeping, it just makes him frustrated. He hasn't figured out yet how to get himself out of the situation he put himself in. And I haven't figured out how to position him so he doesn't roll in the middle of the night and wake himself up. This morning we were up from 3:30-5.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Road trip

We are taking our gig on the road. I packed up the kids and half the house to travel to Wisconsin yesterday. Staying with my aunt Robyn for a few days and then Robyn and my cousin Emily are headed to Minneapolis for the weekend for the Women of Faith Conference. Robyn is tagging along as the Super Nanny!

Sara did seem a little disoriented after waking from her nap yesterday afternoon and realizing 'I don't think we're in Illinois any more, mom!'

Dinner was a bit of a challenge trying to feed them both in their Bumbo chairs. They kept leaning to one side, sticking their bib in their mouth. What a mess! But they both tried squash for the first time and that was a huge success! No hesitation from either of them.

Apparently the first day of a road trip is exhausting. Adam had jammies on and was asleep at 7. Sara by 7:30. A full hour earlier than usual. How did that go you ask? Fine except when Adam woke at 1:30. I nursed him for 10 minutes and he fell back asleep. Perfect. Until I laid him back in the Pack n Play and his eyes popped open and he said "Ooooohhh!" Crap! I spent the next hour plus holding him, rocking him, watching him look at things in the room, and listening to him talk to me. Finally he fell asleep at 3. Laid him back in the Pack n Play and he flailed around and his eyes popped open. I think some of it may have been that he isn't used to cramped quarters. He usually gets a full crip to turn upside down and get positioned next to Sara. So I laid him in the bed next to me and surrounded us with pillows.

Wonder what tonight will bring!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Happy dance!

For the first time in 2 1/2 weeks, Adam slept thru the night! That definitely warrants a happy dance! So it may be a one time deal because he was still sleepy from least it was 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep for me! He was up at 5:45 with a very empty belly--I could hear the milk hit the bottom of his tummy as I nursed him. Sara was stirring so I fed her, too, on my quest to get them back on a schedule over the next month. Adam was still sucking on his thumb hard and breathing heavy. I thought he might like some added breakfast since he had skipped a meal in the middle of the night. Happy dance again! 2t of oatmeal and a spoonful of peaches...that sounds like it could be a song! He seemed a little uncertain when I would give him a bite of the peaches by itself. I got a look like 'mom, am I really supposed to eat this?' I would smile at him, shake my head, and say 'yum!' All went well until the hiccups brought a little up. Once his tummy calmed down, he fell back asleep and I laid him snuggled next to Sara. They are still napping while I am enjoying breakfast.

Hopefully the rain will stay away and Shannon and I can get outside to do the work needed in the flower bed. Seems a little odd with frost on the ground right now!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Great day for a nap!

I thought I would post a couple pictures from the kids' great nap day after their shots. Adam is definitely the squirmer. Every morning I wake up I find him turned so his head is snuggled against Sara's tummy. Maybe I should just lay him that way to begin with and see if he sleeps through the night!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

6 month pediatrician update

The kids visited Dr. Neese today and, as always, we got a great report.

Adam -- 13lb 9oz, 25 1/4" long, 43cm head circumference
Sara -- 12lb 7oz, 24" long, 40cm head circumference

That's a 1lb 9oz/1.75" gain for Adam! No wonder he's hungry all the time. And a 15oz/1" gain for Sara. Adam's head size showed quite an increase on the curve this time so we discussed whether a head ultrasound would be necessary to see if there is anything going on. While this age would be a good timeframe to schedule one, Dr. Neese is not concerned because he had the same jump with his length and typically you look for head size growth to match height growth.

Compared to other babies his age, Adam is in the 1% for weight and 10% for length. Sara is 2% for weight and 4% for length. Gestationally corrected, Adam is in the 25% for weight and 50-75% for length. Sara is 25% for weight and 50% for length. Interesting to me that when they were born, Sara was 1" longer and now Adam is 1.25" longer.

He thinks they look 4-5 months developmentally and is very pleased with their progress.

We discussed food options and he suggested trying to switch them to oatmeal rather than rice because rice can make them constipated. This was certainly backed up by Sara great efforts ast night to poop - her face turned beat red whenever she would push and I thought she was going to pop a blood vessel! Since Adam has been on cereal for a few weeks he can start getting fruits and vegetables and maybe doing 2 meals a day instead of just 1. I talked to him about Adam being up in the middle of the night and he just said he's hungry because he's growing so much right now.

They received their 4 month shots today (3 shots in the thigh and 1 oral medication) and will go back for their 6 month shots in December. Adam cried but got over it quickly. Sara screamed and was not happy at all. More meat on her thighs doesn't help the pain! He suggested they do not need the H1N1 vaccination because of the other immunizations they are receiving. Shannon and I can consider it but we should get a flu shot for sure.

I did ask his opinion regarding keeping them inside more during winter months to protect them from illness since they were preemie. His opinion was the cold weather should not be an issue for them since they aren't newborn. But we should steer clear of some things during the cold & flu season. Church is about the worst place we can be and if there are large family gatherings for the holidays, we should just visit for a few hours rather than stay 3-4 days and definitely don't host a gathering at our house. Shannon and I will have to discuss Dr. Neese's thoughts and decide how we want to apply that to our schedule.

The kids are snoring in their car seats, still in their PJ's, and enjoying the Tylenol they already received before heading home. I snuck in lunch. Rainy day - good nap day!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

All about Sara

When I was rocking Adam back to sleep at 3:45 this morning (it's never good when he looks at you in the middle of the night with eyes wide open and starts talking to you..."ooohhh") I realized that a lot of the blog lately has been about Adam. Adam standing. Adam eating rice cereal. Adam's physical therapy. Adam kicking Sara in the crib. Adam not sleeping through the night. Adam rolling over.

What about Sara?

So this post will be all about Sara. It's like when I was in college and my mom thought nothing was going well. That's because I only called home when something major happened and something major usually meant something bad about my day. So with Sara, there hasn't been anything major - bad or good. Just plugging along one day at a time. But when I think about it, a lot of little things add up, too. It's just that I see the kids every day so I have to pause to celebrate when it's small steps.

First of all, I love that Sara's hair is getting longer. There was a while there that she was at that bald state and had Shannon's hairline. It's not as dark or as thick as when she was born but it's very soft and fluffy.

At this point, it appears that Sara's eyes will be staying blue. We find it interesting that we might have a boy that looks like Shannon but has my eye color and a girl that looks like me but has Shannon's eye color. And not really Shannon's color so far, either. His are more blue/green that can change color depending on his shirt. Sara's are bright blue, very vibrant when she looks at you and they sparkle. If her hair stays sandy brown like it is, that will be very unique.

Sara has been talking up a storm lately. And giggling! She loves to look at you and talk to you. Her eyes light up, her little lips curl into a big smile, she puts her hands together, and just talks and talks. Even looking in the mirror she can amuse herself for quite some time.

She finally decided a few days ago that she would like rice cereal. And not just a little - she usually takes between 11 and 14 teaspoons mixed with breast milk for dinner. Keep in mind that is after I have nursed her! Her mouth pops open like a little bird when she is ready for a bite. The trick with her is that from time to time, she wants to stop and suck her thumb. So I wipe her mouth a little so it doesn't get smeared all over and then let her suck away. When the thumb comes out, she's ready for another bite! Pretty good communicator.

We have recently seen Sara lean to sit up more rather than be slightly reclined in her high chair. She also helps when pulling to sit up and has started putting weight on her legs. Can't be a lumpling forever!

Let's see...what else is awesome about Sara? Oh yes - she is still sleeping through the night! She's usually asleep between 8-9pm and wakes between 6-7am.

That's my girl!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Adam rolls over

Sara got up early this morning and had breakfast with me while Adam took a little cat nap. He needed it since he got up twice in the middle of the night! So as Sara was winding down, I heard Adam start to make noises. Walking in the nursery to check on him, he had rolled over from his back to his tummy and had a big grin on his face!

Ready to start the day now, I got him dressed and decided since he was so full of energy, I would put him on his playmat for some tummy time. I laid him down and put his arms under him. When I let go, he flopped his arms down, stretched one arm straight above his head and rolled over from his tummy to his back. Just like that. No effort. Just decided today would be the day. What a big boy!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Crazy night

Who says twins are exactly alike?

8:00pm -- Sara heads to bed. Adam naps in the swing.
9:30pm -- Too many middle of the night feedings...I head to bed. Adam wakes up for a bottle.
10:30pm -- Adam heads to bed.
2:30am -- Adam has a middle of the night meal. Sara sleeps through.
5:30am -- Adam has early morning breakfast. Sara sleeps through.
7:15am -- Adam is chatty in his crib so Shannon gets him up to enjoy breakfast. I sleep in. Sara agrees.
8:30am -- Adam goes down for a nap. Sara? Still not up.
9:30am -- Both are starting to stir.

This was the scene at 7:15 this morning when Shannon went in. Adam was talking to her 'Sara get up and play with me!' Sara kept trying to tell him she was still sleeping. That was evident because once the wrestling match was broken up, she went right back to sleep.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Happy birthday dad

One day late as far as the blog goes but we all wished Shannon Happy Birthday yesterday. Birthday kisses all around - although mine are a little more on target than Adam and Sara's. It is so much fun to see the kids enamored by Shannon. They know his voice and love to hear him talk about his day. When they see his face, theirs lights up into a big smile. I always thought he would be a good dad but he has certainly far exceeded my imagination! Always willing to jump in and match any duty I have tackled...well except nursing, of course. Sara tried a long time ago but it just left her frustrated. And I don't think he has tried trimming fingernails yet. But easy things like laundry, snuggles, feeding them bottles, and rocking them to sleep. Harder things like waking for middle of the night feedings, getting them dressed, comforting them when they cry, cleaning spit up, and giving them a bath. Challenging things like gross poopy diapers and feeding them rice cereal. He handles them in a unique way different than me but without him, our partnership wouldn't be complete, and our kids wouldn't be thriving as much as they are.

So Adam and Sara Mak say you're awesome dad...and I think you are pretty great, too!

Happy 1 year of life!

October 2.
6 months old.
26 weeks and 1 day.
14 weeks and 1 day according to the doctors.
1 year since their first day of life according to us.

We haven't talked about it outwardly on the blog yet, just hinted at it, but the kids are IVF babies. In-vitro fertilization. And 1 year ago was when the doctor placed Shannon's sperm inside some of my eggs and stored them in a dish. Now some may argue that isn't really life. True, it isn't a set of lungs breathing in and out or a heart pumping blood through a body. But when you get a picture of what started as just an egg and a day later it is multiplying into cells, you know something is going on. As far as we are concerned, that is life. And to know that is how the kids started, then entered this world 12 weeks early with no fat and paper-thin skin, and are smiling and developing today...well, the whole thing is humbling. What an awesome journey. We will share more on another day but for today, I just wanted to celebrate the day. And to say thanks, God, for making our long-time dream come true...x2!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Are these your first grandkids?

How old do I look, really? I mean, I know I look tired. Especially lately with getting up in the middle of the night with Adam. But something happened that I never thought in a million years would happen. I was at Pella "window shopping" with Dawn - scoping out options for her log cabin project. Sara was fussy so I got her out of her car seat and was holding her. And then it happened. The salesman, who is an older guy, turned to me and said "Are these your first grandkids?" Are you kidding me? I replied, "These are my kids!" I'm sure you can image I had some shock in my tone of voice. He's probably one of those people who makes a comment like "when are you due?" when a woman isn't pregnant. Probably best to play it safe and not say anything to avoid future embarassment!

Rice cereal for everyone

Sara finally decided last night that she wanted to try rice cereal! Instead of pushing it all out with her tongue and playing with it, she swallowed and opened her mouth for more.

After just 3 bites, she had to take a little cat nap. But then woke up and took a whopping 7 teaspoons! She turned out a little messy but not too bad. Her preference was to take a few bites, then suck her thumb to get all the good stuff off, and she would pull it out and open up for more. I am wondering if hunger has been the cause for her fussiness lately. We are getting close to the timeframe for a growth spurt. So far it has perplexed me why she has crying fits, and I mean crying that comes on quickly to the point that she has tears and is choking. That is so not like her. At least she continues to sleep all night.

A few nights ago, Adam and I had quite the go-round with the cereal. After every bite he wanted to put both hands in his mouth, along with the bib. So I have tried a new approach - holding both his arms down! It's just a matter of figuring out the best way to rest the bowl on the table, spoon with one hand, while blocking his chest with the other arm. Works much better! He must be going through a growth spurt as well. 2 nights ago during a 5-hour span in the evening I nursed him 2 different times, he took 3 teaspoons of cereal, 9 oz from a bottle...and still got up at 2am for an extra meal. Last night I nursed him 2 times, he took 11 teaspoons of cereal, and 5 oz from a bottle. At least he didn't get up at was 1:45! He has only had 2 nights in the past 8-9 days that he hasn't gotten up for an extra meal!

Can you see the cereal on his right eyelash?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Adam's bedtime antics

Adam trying to break out of his crib!

Adam are you kicking your sister in the head?
NNNnnnnnoooooo!!! :)

Bubble bath

Since we had a before-bed bath the other night, I thought it would be good to break out the night time bath and lotion. Pour a capful in the little baby tub and voila - bubbles! Sara loved it! First thing she did when I placed her in was splash her hand in the bubbles and wipe it on her face, look up at me and smile. It was so cute! She just giggled and played the whole time...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Adam's physical therapy results

Adam's physical therapist visited our house yesterday for a follow up appointment to evaluate his development. We were pleased to see it was the same person who conducted the initial appointment. Shannon thought it might be a good idea to even have her assess him a third time in December before he starts at Easter Seals. This would provide a comparison of a consistent assessment vs. introductory assessment by Easter Seals. We will get her opinion on that.

In a nutshell, she thought Adam looked great. If you remember, she had 2 main concerns at her last evaluation. The first was the torticollis on his right side, which means he had a significant flat spot on the side of his head. This was probably due to his reflux issues earlier on and turning his head away from the location of his stomach. Our assignment was to get him to lay on his left side instead, which was difficult at times and we had to prop a rolled receiving blanket behind him to help with that.

Fabulous news - she said the shape of his head looks great and if she didn't already know he had an issue, she wouldn't have guessed.

Her second concern was the weakness on the left side of his neck, which was partially related to the torticollis. Previously he was not able to turn his head from side to side on either his back or stomach. Our assignment was to have floor/tummy time to encourage him to turn his head to the weak side. We also let him have tummy time looking to the left to stretch those muscles and strengthen them.

Again, her evaluation revealed no further concerns.

She also tested his ability to sit up, grasp items, stand, push up while on his tummy, turn his head toward the direction of sounds, and whether his "walk" reflex was developing. In all of these areas, he was rated in the 2-3 month age - right on track. As we talked about Adam's leg strength with standing, she wants to make sure Easter Seals differentiates strength vs. tone. It isn't good if he is always stiff-legged so we should look for him to flex his legs and use them in different ways.

Our next assignment with Adam is to continue giving him time on his tummy to work on his upper body strength. And time on his back to encourage him to reach up (to midline) for toys. As adults, it is a very easy task to lay on our backs and reach up for something. But for a baby, gravity works against them and it is actually quite the challenge.

Healthy boy!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

25 week weight update

Home scale last night --

Adam 12lb 12oz
Sara 12lb 8oz

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Living room madness

I was just sitting down at my laptop getting ready to put in a few hours of work before the kids wake up and glanced in the living room - it just makes me laugh. Why is that? Let me tell you the current contents of our space:

1 couch
1 oversized chair
1 lazy boy recliner
1 rocker TV chair that sits on the floor
1 basket of clean clothes to fold
1 side coffee table
1 CD rack
1 entertainment system with no TV in it (moved upstairs)
1 small table with my stereo on it (moved out of the entertainment system)
1 large screen TV brought from Shannon's parents
1 Bumbo chair
2 small baby chairs that sit on the floor
1 infant swing
2 "dome" beds the kids can nap in
1 play mat
1 standing toy center the kids can lay under
1 basket of toys

*whew* Good thing we have a big house! No wonder people used to laugh at us and ask why we built the size house we did for just the two of us!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Adam's bottomless stomach

Monday night it felt like an all night feeding marathon with Adam! I nursed him at 4:00. He was still hungry so we gave him 3 ounces out of a bottle at 5. Then at 7 he was doing the heavy breathing and rooting. Between 7 and 10:30, I nursed him again and he took 9 ounces from a bottle. Then he got up at 4am for another nursing! Now keep in mind that I have 2 kids to feed and not just Adam - how is a body supposed to keep up with that?!

So last night I thought I would give rice another try with Adam. I made it a little thicker and he ate all that I made. Rice at 8pm, jammies, nursed, in bed at 9:15. Slept until 8!

Sara isn't doing too bad herself. She slept from 10:30-6:30. I would say they definitely qualify for sleeping through the night. Do I wake up in a panic? Nope. I wake up feeling like it's so good to get some sleep!

I did try Sara on rice last night because she eats quite a bit in the evening, too.
First bite, "Hmmm" - curiosity.
Second bite, "I don't think I like it" - frown.
Third bite, "I don't like it, get it out of my mouth!" - screamed!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Happy Birthday to me

I can't believe how quickly another year passed. This time last year we were still trying to get pregnant - what a difference a year makes! All in all it was a good day for my big 3-6...yeah, yeah women don't share their age. The kids were very well behaved, except when Sara woke up from her nap crying and crying. We couldn't figure out what was wrong - Shannon snuggled with her, rocked her, walked with her, changed her when Adam freed up my lap, I tried nursing her as a last resort. That was it! I wouldn't have guessed that since she had eaten every 2 hours for the previous 2 feedings! Doing a little growing of her own I guess.

Thanks to those of you who thought of me and sent a card, email, text, etc. If you know me, that's what I'm content with!

We capped off the evening with our friend, Dawn, picking up the kids to twinsit with another friend, Michelle. Shannon and I enjoyed an attention-free meal at Texas Roadhouse and a great flick - All About Steve. Dawn and Michelle enjoyed an evening of the Adam and Sara show! Although my woman's intuition was keenly in tune when Shannon excused himself to go to the bathroom at the restaurant and I had a sneaking suspicion that he was doing one of those birthday announcements where the staff sings to you or something dumb like that. So when he came back from the bathroom, I told him he better not have done that. He tried to distract me by changing the subject, which of course doesn't work with me. I get attention every time I go out with the twins now so I was hoping for an evening without that. He said that was a very good point and called the waitress over to cancel what they had discussed!

Last but not least, the kids slept until 6am...and so did can put a bow on that gift any day!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Rice cereal for Adam?

Wednesday night I tried Adam with rice cereal before bedtime. It seems like in the evening, we can't keep him full and have been supplementing with bottles for a few weeks now. Dr. Neese suggested he may be ready for cereal - he is sitting up in a reclined position and his neck muscles are fairly strong - so I gave it a try. His first attempt he was quite the champ! His tongue spit some of it out but for the most part, he kept it in and swallowed it. No icky faces like he didn't know what was going on. No fussiness except when the spoon was empty.

Last night didn't go as well. We did evening bath time. With Shannon working at Menards in the mornings and it being so chilly, I thought we would wait until later for the help and warmth. So he got a bath, new jammies, and then sat in his high chair. I made extra since he finished it all the night before. I guess it could have been that he wasn't as hungry but he kept pushing it out of his mouth with his tongue. And he must be used to hearing me respond to a good meal at dinner time because I would put some in his mouth and he would smile and say "Mmmm"! Thank goodness for waterproof bibs...but I think we will try again in a week and see how his tongue reflex is doing.

I haven't tried with Sara yet. She has quite the strong neck but seems satisfied with just nursing or a bottle at night.

Bustin' out of jammies

I officially retired their 0-3 month sleeper pajamas last night. When they would stretch out, they couldn't straighten their legs all the way and poor Adam was sleeping with toes curled at the end. It's so funny to see them in clothes that are too big again. Really, though, I'm surprised they aren't that much too long. More in the arms and body for Adam. He must have long legs. So I think I will go through their closet today and pull out any onesies that are quite a bit shorter than the others. Brands vary in sizing so there are usually some that get too small and others are still okay.

I'm looking forward to the fall sale sponsored by the local twins club in a few weeks. It will give me a chance to pick up a couple gently used items at a great price to supplement their wardrobe. The past week or so has been a challenge with the unseasonably cool weather. Who would have thought I would be digging for long-sleeve shirts for them in August? But when it gets down to 50 and only up to 70, you gotta dress the part. I've tried wrapping Adams legs in a blanket when he's sitting in a chair to keep him toasty but he just doesn't go for it. I turn around to walk away and he already has it kicked off and on the floor. Must be like his dad - no tight blankets on his feet, gotta have room to move!

Alarm needed again

I had stopped setting the alarm clock for a few reasons. First, the kids were sleeping so well through the night that I didn't want to keep getting up to check on them and interrupting my sleep. Second, my body was getting in tune to hearing their noises when they were awake and hungry. Adam would grunt as he squirmed around or cry a little. Sara would make a cute squeaking noise to say 'I dropped my paci and I can see it just out of my reach!'

Now it's a whole different ball game.

They have found their hands. I would say they found their thumb but that's pretty hit and miss. Adam does better with scoring on that one. Sara, she sucks on any finger or part of her fist she can get close. Shannon described it the other day as she had just finished eating a big plate of barbeque ribs and was licking every finger clean.

So instead of the usual noises that I was used to hearing when I woke up, now I hear lick lick lick lick...suck suck...lick lick...suck suck suck suck...lick lick lick lick...suck...lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick lick...suck...suck...

Now when you pair that with sometimes they do it because they are hungry and sometimes it's just to soothe themselves. It takes a new level of intuition to tell the difference by evaluating the strength of the suck and the speed, or fervor (I love that word!).

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Off the charts

5 month pediatrician appointment today - wow time flies!

Adam - 12lb, 23 1/2" -- 2lb 6oz gain and 2" in 1 month
Sara - 11lb 8oz, 23" -- 1lb 12oz gain and 2" in 1 month

It is so crazy to me how big they are getting. Looking at their actual age on the growth chart, they are almost off the chart on the low end. But looking at their gestationally corrected age, Sara is almost off the charts on the upper end! For actual age, Adam is just getting on the chart and is in the 75th percentile for weight and 75-90 for height. Sara is in the 2nd percentile for actual age and 90th for corrected! Everyone swears Sara weighs more because of both sets of her cheeks and the extra rolls on her legs but Adam's height stretches it out.

Other than that, Dr. Neese thought they looked great. They have been sleeping 8 hours overnight - who can complain? We can test them with rice cereal and breast milk. If their tongue just pushes it out then wait 2 weeks and try again. Babies have a reflex that their tongue rejects things until they are developmentally ready to handle it.

It is really a great feeling to know that they are doing so well. As a parent, I guess the love we shower them with is helping them thrive. Adam agrees...apparently Shannon is fascinating while he is eating a salad and hamburger!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Car seat adjustment

Yesterday when I put Sara in her car seat to go to church, I noticed the shoulder straps were coming out of the seat at about armpit level. I was shocked! When did she do all that growing? At this age, they should be shoulder height or just below. So in the afternoon Shannon took it apart and raised them up a notch. Of course since Adam is taller, we had adjustments to make to his seat as well. When you see them every day, it's hard to notice those gradual size changes.

I was just thinking this morning that it's so nice to do a quick morning feeding and put them back to bed without having to put them in a chair or hold them for 30 min so they can digest. I think some of that is my huge decrease to dairy but it is also their stomachs getting better at digestion. Sara continues to burp so loud at times that you can feel it in your chest and her eyes pop open in surprise! We also celebrate that you don't have to hold Adam perfectly still after a meal because his reflux is such an issue. He still spits up at times but that is usually because he is fighting you, wanting to stand, and that works his tummy up a bit. He has been working on standing for a month now and is getting less wobbly. You should see him - he always look so proud of himself! Sara, you ask? I believe the Michelin rolls are slowing her down. She has the stronger upper body. We try to challenge each of them in their own way...but it is really nice to see how strong Adam is. We plan on taking him to all of his Easter Seals appointments through the age of 3 but so far we think he is going to amaze us...'brain bleed? Mom, no big deal!'

Friday, August 28, 2009

Anonymous donor

I was at work Wednesday for my monthly financial meeting and the girls in the department convinced me to stay and go to lunch to celebrate a co-worker's birthday. While we were at Olive Garden, we noticed multiple missed calls from the office so we checked in to see what was going on. They said the messages were actually that they were trying to reach me to say that I needed to stop back by the office before going home. Someone had left a package for me and they really wanted me to get it. I was hesitant because I had been gone a while and wanted to get home to stay on the twins' feeding schedule. I thought maybe it was a gift for the kids and I could pick it up when I was in the office next week. They called back again to say it was very urgent that I stop in and the gift was for Shannon and I.

When I pulled up in the parking lot, one of our Customer Service girls walked an envelope out to me. It was just a plain white mailing envelope that was addressed to Shannon and I. The return address was also our home address. She told me an anonymous person dropped it off and told them not to give any details. It turned out to be an envelope of cash! I was shocked. First of all, I'm not sure how someone knew I would be at work on that day or at that time. I had just confirmed that meeting the day before. I didn't recognize the handwriting. Maybe it was actually someone from work. I don't know. $255 is what was inside. That seemed like such an odd amount. I kept it in the back of my mind wondering if God had a reason for giving me something so specific. And yesterday I sat down to update my finances for the month. $255 is the exact amount of our food and housewares budget that I typically take out of the ATM for the first paycheck of the month!

I'm not going to ask questions to try to find out who the person is. If they wanted me to know, they would have told me. It must have been someone who knows of our situation - that Shannon has been unemployed since January, I am now working part-time, and we are raising twins. But if the person happens to be checking in and reading this, thank you for blessing us with free groceries for 2 weeks!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hungry boy

This video proves Adam will eat just about anything in sight sometimes. Notice his shirt...

Industrial strength no longer needed

April 3, 2009 - August 5, 2009
552 pumping sessions
16,560 minutes
276 hours
11 1/2 days

110,764 mL
3,692 ounces
462 cups
29 gallons

Sunday, August 23, 2009

"Help your kids find a good mate!"

Don't you think that is about the strangest advice you would hear coming out of someone's mouth upon seeing twins?

We were out running errands yesterday and, of course, attracting a lot of attention. While at Sam's Club, we came across an older couple. The wife, in her British accent, piped up and asked if the kids were twins. When we affirmed her guess, she pointed to her husband and responded, "My husband's a twin!" He leaned in and said, "Help your kids find a good mate! My brother's wife killed him at 50 and I'm 72. Of course, if I would have lived with her she would have killed me, too. He should have put her back on the boat!"

We just laughed. If you can say it was a laugh. Kind of that nervous response like 'did I just hear you correctly? How exactly did she kill him?'

I would have to say it was the strangest encounter we have had so far!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Morning, mom!

Adam on left, Sara on right

Could there be anything sweeter than a morning greeting like this?

Gosh the kids have changed so much. We were just talking yesterday about how they are looking at us and interacting. If one of us leaves the room, they follow us with their eyes. How humbling that another person is so enamored by us. As adults, we really have a lot to learn from a baby about showing our true emotions. When you grow up, you guard yourself and don't usually express how you really feel. But kids, they are just authentic all the time. They laugh at you, smile at you, snuggle up close, and watch you intently. You know without a doubt just how much they care about you and are fascinated with you. Wouldn't it be nice if we all stepped back to our childhood just a little and reached out to someone with that charm. Adam and Sara would like to challenge you to that today. Smile big...laugh hard...let someone know!

Family values

We have thought from time to time about what is important to us that we can kind of use as a creed for what we believe in as a family. A benchmark, if you will, that will guide the kids as they grow up. I was reading the Bible to Adam while nursing yesterday - it's got a little more meat than the TV Guide! - and came across Titus 3:1-2. It's basically a list of values. I think it's a pretty awesome start and the only one I would add to the end is "Don't lie!"

-- Be subject to rulers and authorities
-- Be obedient
-- Be ready to do whatever is good
-- Slander no one
-- Be peaceable and considerate
-- Show true humility toward all men

Spontaneous Thursday

Shannon found out on Wednesday that he had a 2nd interview scheduled for Thursday and needed to travel to Davenport to meet the person. During that time, I had a NICU meeting I wanted to attend, so we were thinking of who could babysit the kids. We thought we would be creative and ask Grandma and Grandpa Mollenhauer if they wanted to watch the kids in Davenport for a few hours. Of course they jumped on the offer - who would turn down seeing grandbabies! But then they decided that since it would be raining in their neck of the woods, they might as well drive the whole way and spend the day with the kids. Now that Grandpa George is retired, they can be flexible and spontaneous like that. (Well, he's retired from a paying job with set he just gets to work on what he wants around the house!)

Shannon's interview went well. Hopefully the process will go faster than it has since his 1st interview with the company was 2 months ago. Even better that he was able to bring home Whitey's milk shakes! My meeting got moved to today so I was able to get a few things done around the house instead. The kids enjoyed bath time with Grandma Sue, and I bet Grandma enjoyed it even more! Grandpa George installed our new under the counter toaster oven and helped Shannon make a little more progress on the deck. Feels good to get some more things accomplished.

They couldn't believe how much the kids have changed in just 2 weeks.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Weight update

We used our home scale from Grandma Mollenhauer to check the kids' weight for bath day on Saturday. Apparently Adam eating everything in site and getting extra bottles lately has paid off. He decided his sister shouldn't weigh more! So at 19 weeks they are now...

Adam 10lb 10oz
Sara 10lb 4oz

Adam still looks so skinny compared to Sara. Must be that extra inch or so in length.

The past few days Sara has been sitting in her chair and really sqwawking at little toys hanging in front of her. It's quite comical! We'll have to post the video feed. And then last night, I went to bed and I heard the same noise and assumed it was Sara again. Shannon called to me from the living room - that's Adam!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Adam's outie :)

Well, it finally happened. Adam's outie deflated. He had quite the belly button protrusion, we thought mostly from having more tummy issues in the NICU. It was really weird - you would push on it and could hear fluid and air gurgling inside. Kind of creepy, actually. The doctor said it was part of his intestine wall and would go away probably in the next year. But low and behold, Saturday evening we changed his diaper and it wasn't sticking out any more. And it seems to be staying flat.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Right on schedule

I know, I can't hardly believe I said the "S" word. The twins are 18 1/2 weeks and we may be stumbling on a pattern, or as much of a pattern as you can have with tots that small. My last blog revealed a better night's sleep last Tuesday, stretching from 11-3:30. Wednesday-Friday they stepped it up a little to 11-4. Saturday night was 11-5. And last night was 10-4. I couldn't be more excited to get 6 consecutive hours of sleep. The evening seems to be the time they are most awake, as well as most hungry. Especially Adam. Over the weekend I fed him at 6pm, then 8:30. He was still hungry so we gave him a bottle at 9:30 and he drank another 4-5 ounces...and then woke up at 12:30 for another snack! I feel a growth spurt coming on!

In other news, the kids made their second trip to Iowa this past weekend for a family wedding. We were thrilled they slept through the wedding and didn't interrupt Candice's big day. And we ventured to the reception for a bit to visit with Great Aunt Marlene and meet a few other new people. Shannon gathered stats on the other babies in attendance and got a chuckle when he learned the baby that was much bigger than the kids was 1 1/2 months younger and 5 lbs heavier!

We are starting to get Grandma and Grandpa Mollenhauer's house stocked with some essential items so we don't have to pack as much when we come. It's nice to get assistance with keeping the kids occupied and of course they don't mind giving the kids lots of squeezes. Sara loved her snuggle time with Grandpa George and probably would have snoozed right through a feeding if we would have let her. And Adam was quite content rocking with Grandma Sue.

My mom had spent the weekend with Ivy so we didn't have to board her and she loved the extra attention. Unfortunately she is acting out a little and showing her jealous streaks. So the kids got to see all the grandparents in one weekend - you won't hear any complaints from them!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sleep, Part B

I already wrote about Sunday night being hard. Monday night wasn't much better. I passed out from 10:45-11:30, 1-3, and 4:30-7. That's why it really doesn't surprise me that I almost fell asleep while driving to my hair appointment the other day. I know, I'm sure a lot of you parents reading this are saying yep, get used to it...been there done that. I realize I'm not experiencing anything other moms haven't already, just voicing where I'm at right now.

I analyzed what might be different the past few nights compared to those 4 really good nights we had last week when I thought just maybe we had a pattern going. All 4 of those nights, they were awake right before bed and playing with toys, they had a "snack" about 8 or 9, got into PJs, and then Shannon fed them bottles between 10:30 and 11:30. So we gave it a try. They slept in their high chairs during dinner. Then we got them out and had stimulation time with some toys. Sara had a great time laying in the dome just staring at these rainbow colored stuffed toys and sqwaking. Adam hung with Shannon and practiced sitting up and standing on his legs. He is getting so strong. Sure enough, about 8:30 he was hungry. 9:30 PJs went on and we started bottles. I was hoping to go to bed while Shannon fed them both since he had gotten a nap that afternoon but Adam was too hungry. So we had family time in the nursery. It was worth it because they both ate well, then went right to sleep, and we were both in bed before 11. I didn't get out of bed or wake up once until 3:30 - praise God! I nursed them at 4:15 and they went right back to bed. Let's see if we can do that again!

They were having some terrible gas pains after breakfast, especially Adam, but it was probably from that broccoli I had with dinner. Oops! We had a little snuggle time under a blanket in the recliner hoping the warmth of our bodies would break it up and help it pass easier. Must have helped because he is out like a light right now.

And how is my refraining from dairy helping Sara? I think it has eased her comfort quite a bit and we even gave her half the doses of mylicon yesterday. Now I just need to find a balance to maybe get just a little dairy in during the day - I really miss it! Did I mention I'm not eating ice cream? Just when Shannon had bought my new favorite mint cookies & cream!