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...

video

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!

Sara
Adam
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 hours...now 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!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sleep

Wow what a great night of sleep I got last night! Believe me? If you add it all up, 5 1/2 hours is great considering they are only 4 months old. But when you break it down that I slept from 11-1, 2-4:30, and 6-7, not so great. Some nights are actually a good stretch but last night happened to be especially hard. No wonder I couldn't subtract 72 from 76 at work and get 4.

Give us a call if you want to take a turn at the middle of the night shift! ;)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

4 month dr apptmt

Well, close enough to call it 4 months. August 2 will be 4 months. 17 weeks. 5 weeks gestationally corrected. So many numbers to keep track of! Speaking of numbers, our pediatrician appointment a few days ago revealed a new milestone - Sara has surpassed Adam in weight!

Adam - 9lb 10oz, 21 1/2" - A 10oz, 1/2" gain over 16 days
Sara - 9lb 12oz, 21" - A 1lb 3oz, 1" gain

So while Adam was in the 0.7% range for his birth age at the last visit, he has now dropped to 0.04%! And Sara was 0.24% last time and she has jumped to 0.71%. It is typical for girls to grow faster than boys in the earlier stages of life. To look at their weight on a preemie growth chart for their gestationally corrected age, they fall in the 50th percentile.

Dr. Neese thinks they look fabulous. As a reward, we get a month free from doctor appointments! No issues really. He was fine that we took Adam off his monitor. As far as Sara's gas processing, just keep working on it. I have read that sometimes eating dairy products can cause excess gas in babies when you are nursing so I am trying an experiment to cut out all dairy. Dr. Neese informed me that it will take 4 days for me to get it out of my system so after Wednesday, I'll let you know if it seems to help. It will be worth it if she gets some relief and it will help the parents who have to get up in the middle of the night to ease her discomfort. Hard, though, cuz I love dairy...cheese, milk, ice cream, yogurt, cream cheese, did I mention ice cream?

I asked what the next steps are with feeding them. He was impressed that they are nursing so much, sleeping so well, and taking 5-6 ounces when they do have a bottle. Some say to start cereal when they are 4-6 months. Others use a 15 pound mark as an indicator. He said to watch for signs that their neck muscles are developed more. When they can hold their head up with greater control, it is also a sign that the muscles inside to process foods are developed as well.

We also decided it was time to give them their 2 month shots. He thought about waiting until they were gestationally 2 months but he wants to make sure they get enough shots in before winter to get them good and protected. So they received an oral dose, 2 shots in the left thigh, and 1 in the right. I was surprised how well they did. No crankiness. A little more sleepy but they still maintained their regular feedings schedule of about every 4 hours.

We talked about how they are holding their head up more, smiling & interacting, making baby noises, and Adam is putting quite a bit of weight on his legs. His response? That's not 5 weeks! How awesome. That means they developmentally fall somewhere between their actual age and their corrected age. That is so good to hear, especially with Adam. I was holding him in the middle of the night as he was wearing his "Mommy's Little Prince" PJs. I had my hand on his head, rubbing it like I often do, and wondering what is going on inside that head. Are you developing okay? Is your brain going to work around any damage? I wish I could see inside.

As for Sara, my biggest concern with her is that her hairline is starting to look like Shannon's! All the dark beautiful hair she was born with is quickly falling out, and not growing in at the same rate. But it's still a little thicker above the ears and around the back of the head, which almost makes her look bald. Adam's hasn't really fallen out except his bald spot and it is getting noticeably long on top!

Sara was in her dome last night looking at the toys velcroed to the side, reaching for them and giggling. It's so much fun to start hearing them make noises!