Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Adam's first haircut

Today was the day. He went in with scraggly hair. He came out a year older and me holding a baggy containing baby hair. Such a good boy as he sat on Shannon's lap. Not a peep out of him and he sat very still. It probably helped that we just came from lunch at The Pizza Ranch.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Little boy

How did this happen?

It seems like I blinked and when I turned around, someone snatched away my baby and replaced him with a little boy.

We were just playing around before bedtime the other night. For some reason the kids love to flop on pillows lately. So he was flopping and then decided to try to take his diaper off by himself. Such a help during changing time - mom you pull this off and then pull the clean one up like this. I don't mind unless there's something inside that I really don't need help with and then I wish he was in a straight jacket!

Look at how long he looks in this picture. Long. That's funny. Babies are long. I need to start saying tall. Toddlers are tall. The only constant is change, right? And that full belly. Reminds me of days in the NICU when he would get a distended belly and they would have to stop his feedings and wheel out the x-ray machine to see if there was a blockage. Now it's just a post-meal sign of a good eater!

Quite the good looking little boy if I do say so myself.

Sara's first word

Sara has been spending a lot of time making all different noises, moving her mouth around, and mostly as loud as she can! She has been absolutely infatuated with the dog lately - Ivy, or puppy. Every time she sees the dog she about jumps out of your arms if you are holding her. Her eyes light up, her arms start waving, and she screams. If the dog is panting when Sara is around, Sara starts panting. If the dog is licking, Sara starts mimicking her and flicking her tongue in and out of her mouth.

Last week she said her first word...other than mama or dada. I brought her out of the nursery and she pointed at the dog and yelled "UP!" Thankfully she was pointing to let us know what that meant or we would have thought that word was 'pick me up.' It's now a combination of either "up" or "pup". If she hears Ivy's collar jingle when she is in the laundry room, Sara just repeats "pup pup pup".

Video of Sara imitating the her tongue!

Ivy is on the other side of the glass doors. You have to listen close but this is the best I could capture of Sara saying "pup".

Strawberry shortcake

A few weeks ago I made the kids strawberry shortcake with the yummy strawberries from Roth Family Farms. They split a shortcake, got lots of strawberries, and even a little dollip of Cool Whip on top. I thought they would dig right into the bowls and just devour it. But as you can see from the video at the end, it didn't happen that way at all. They just looked at the bowls in excitement to start and then looked at me. Adam finally dug in and chowed down. Sara sat there for an hour, yes an hour. I believe my baby girl understands how to savor something.

Here is the beginning of our journey - 4:32pm

At 4:48pm, Adam was done and could have licked his tray clean. Sara looks like she has barely touched hers!

At 4:58pm, I decided it wasn't fair to make Adam sit in his chair just waiting and watching his sister. He was all clean and ready to get down and play. I moved the contents of the bowl onto the tray thinking that would help Sara speed up the process. She was just happy and content to enjoy slowly eating it one. piece. at. a. time.

5:27pm. Nearly an hour. Sara has eaten all she wants.

The video was really long so I had to split it in 2 segments. I just couldn't shorten it to a minute. It's funny because you almost have to watch it twice - once through focusing on Adam and then just on Sara, they are so different. For those of you who have extra time, enjoy.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Updated tooth count

Sara had another tooth break through on the bottom - that makes 7 for the girl. 4 on the top, 3 on the bottom.

Adam is holding at 6 but judging from his drool and crankiness tonight, there may be another on the way.

Chatty girl

I officially think Sara just likes to hear herself making noise. Animal sounds, beeps, goofy noises, lowering her voice, raspberries, tongue clicks, talking really loud...she is just chatty. After dinner one night last week she just started making noises and moving her mouth all around. I hope she didn't feel discouraged when we were cracking up laughing at her. I think Adam may have to interpret at some point.

Adam's new trick

When my aunt visited a few weeks ago, Sara picked up on her tongue clicking. Now Adam has been watching his sister enough that he has figured it out. He usually focuses more on things like climbing on/over things or riding a little bike. It does seem like it takes him a little effort, though!

Swim time

While my mom visited last week, she watched the kids Saturday morning while Shannon and I got pummeled at a paintball outing with my co-workers. One of the younger guys decided to divide the teams by age - the young guys vs. the old folks. So I shouldn't say pummeled because we won all the games but 2. Still, I took a shot to the head that smarted pretty good, and another to the shoulder that is now a pretty yellow and black color.

In the afternoon, we pulled out the kids pool they received as a birthday present and broke it in for the first time. Of course they loved it and even got to try out their new shades. Apparently Adam is softening his dislike for the grass.

Wagon ride

Sara has been doing leaps and bounds better with her mobility compared to a few months ago when the physical therapist assessed her with a 25% delay. She is crawling, pulling up to standing, cruising along furniture, and she is even showing more of an interest than Adam in walking with just a little bit of assistance.

Here she is pushing big brother in the wagon. It cracks me up that she is just leaning on the bar, like she's just going for a stroll through the grocery store...

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day - I need a hanky

I had a feeling getting ready for church this morning that I did not want to be there without a handkerchief. Northwoods always manages to do something on special weekends to touch people's hearts, and I expected to be a victim on Father's Day weekend, my second one since the kids were born. I was right.

Rod Simpson started singing "Watching You" by Rodney Atkins. It's a country song telling the story of a dad and his little boy who says an expletive from his car seat and when dad asks where he learned that, the son's answer is "I've been watching you, dad ain't that cool?"

Remembering my own baby book entry for first words and the lyrics of a song I've been singing to Adam once in a while, I get a truckload of reminder that the job of Dad is a huge responsibility. And on top of that, I've got a daughter at the same age who will be watching me to see how men should treat women and the qualities she will seek in a husband. YES, I WAS CRYING!

Knowing all of my own flaws, weaknesses, and bad habits, I've got a lot of "home improvements" to keep me busy as I work with JoLynn to mold these little hearts and minds to love God and love people. No pressure.

I'm just thankful we have two mostly happy babies who seem to love being around their parents for now. I know as they get older, we get less appealing to hang out with, so every day counts.

Friday, June 11, 2010

4 thumbs up for strawberries

Last Saturday I stopped by the Roth Countryside Produce stand just outside Morton. They had run out of strawberries, which was my main reason for stopping. It was nice to have some time to chat with my friend while I waited for more to be picked fresh. Thanks Melissa & Nic!

This is a video of the kids eating the strawberries less than an hour after they were plucked. They don't get any better than that! In Shannon's that an Iowa word? I have never seen Sara eat anything by the fistfuls like this during meal time.

You can try them for yourself but I think strawberry season is almost over. Look for Roth Countryside Produce on facebook to see what is sold fresh next. Better yet, just stop by and give a local business your business! 1811 W. Jefferson, Morton. Mon-Sat 9-3.

Cherry Festival

We made a brief appearance at the Washington Cherry Festival last Thursday night after dinner. Sara seemed to like the shades we borrowed for a few minutes, until Adam decided he needed a pair.

Peyton and Morgan had a good time on a couple rides, as well as a roller coaster. I think I heard little screams coming from that one!

The little petting zoo had some cuties - baby pot belly piggies...awh!

By the time we were ready for dessert, Sara was totally asleep. You have to be no nap, dead tired to konk out at a screaming loud carnival. Adam knew to nap a little in the afternoon so he could stay awake for the possibility of sharing mom and dad's funnel cake. He also had a bite of vanilla and strawberry ice cream. I think he preferred the strawberry but both made his legs kick up and down in excitement. Must be why he woke up at 8:00 the next two nights when he heard dad scooping....mmmmm mint cookie crunch. He does a little dance for that one! Momma's favorite, too.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Full tummy

We got done with dinner and Sara started patting and rubbing her tummy. So full!

Another first - the zoo!

Another outing on the list while aunt Robyn was here was our first trip to the zoo. Here is a picture of all the little munchkins that enjoyed the day.

Peyton, Sara, Adam, and Morgan. I actually asked Peyton if it bothered her that sometimes people called her the wrong name. Simply enough, she replied, "No I just say I'm Peyton." So cute. 4 years old and I can only tell them apart if they are standing next to each other or I remember which outfit they are wearing. Of course their mom can tell them apart in a picture when they are wearing exactly the same thing...and facing away from the camera. Serious mom talent there!

Hot day for the big kitty.

My little monkeys hanging out in front of the monkeys! Everyone practicing their leg stretches.

The new Africa section was really neat. Lots of cool landscaping and a neat wood bridge that surrounded where the animals were. Sara had been roaring like a lion a few days before our zoo visit. We tried to get her to talk to the big guy but maybe she was shy being face to face!

The girls saw this cute little house and wanted to go inside to play. Unfortunately, it was roped off and we told them they had to stand in front of it. It would make a fun little playhouse for them.

Hanging with the giraffes. Some day we will visit and Sara will realize it's the same as the stuffed animal that sings her to sleep every night.

Lots of fun at the zoo and it's a nice size for the kids. Adam was so tired he laid right down in his crib when we got home and fell asleep. Sara was decided she was too tired to nap!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


What a nice night for bubbles!

We had Peyton and Morgan running all over the yard!

Sara had us dying laughing. I don't remember what the conversation was about but Robyn had just gotten done making a comment about something and we heard Sara's little voice say plain as day "Yep." When she saw how much we were laughing, she couldn't help but giggle herself.

Adam was so amused with the bubbles floating by. Robyn caught one for him to take a closer look.

Our first swim!

My aunt Robyn came down for another visit last week and brought Peyton and Morgan with her. Both the kids loved seeing the girls. Adam caught them by surprise the first morning and grabbed them for a big hug! Boy did we get a lot done from Tuesday night to Friday lunch! Swimming, lots of outdoor play time with sidewalk chalk, bikes, and bubbles, a trip to the zoo, and Washington Cherry Festival. The kids got to try some new food - Adam ate everything we put in front of him, Sara usually either looked at it or licked it and moved on. We even managed to sneak in making extra food for me to put in the freezer - chicken pot pies, BBQ, spaghetti pie, cheesy potatoes, and 5 bean casserole.

Wednesday afternoon the weather cooperated enough for us to have a swim date - thanks Amy! She even took some great shots on her new camera phone. Makayla and Cora enjoyed playing with Peyton and Morgan. Sometimes they could tell the twins apart (P&M, not Adam and Sara!), a daunting task especially when they are wearing the same suit!

Here we are all dressed and ready to give it a try.

Initial reaction? Not a pleasant experience! The cold water didn't help.

Adam agrees.

They calmed down. I don't think Adam ever got really comfortable. He hung on to a little toy I gave him and just seemed to tolerate it.

Sara, on the other hand...


About a week ago, Adam took the next step on his way to walking. Shannon calls him "Dorf." Does anyone remember Tim Conway's Dorf character that got on his knees and has shoes in front of them to make him look really short? I always thought he was on his knees, anyway. Apparently after doing some research he was actually standing in a hole with the shoes in front of his knees and that is why he always stayed in one spot. Anyway...

Adam started "walking" on his knees. He can move around pretty fast. This is our earliest capture of it. I'm not sure why he doesn't just walk. I know, I will regret those words soon enough. He has great balance. He can stand for a long time without hanging onto anything. He can balance on one leg. He can swing his leg over a little bike seat to get on and off. Clearly displaying a lot of talent. But he just doesn't want to push it. Shannon and I practice with him, trying to get him to walk back and forth to us. Sometimes he amuses us. Sometimes he has spaghetti legs and collapses in a heap on the floor. Twice I have had 4-5 successful steps. Who knows, maybe Sara will walk first after all!

Also notice at the beginning of the video that Sara is crawling much faster at times. She still tries to pull my hair, though. I can't convince her to only pull out the gray ones. I thought she had that pincer grasp down pat but for some reason she pulls out a chunk instead of just a few at a time. Momma take so much abuse...

All fenced in

With the kids being on the move more, we have had to take measures to keep them "contained."

It makes it sound like we are fencing in wild animals...but that is what it's like sometimes! We thought we were doing pretty well keeping them in the living room. We can close our bedroom door, the nursery room door, and the bathroom door. Then we have sliding french doors that separate the living room from the dining/kitchen/stairs. That worked great.

For a while.

Then Adam figured out how to get his little finger in the crack of the sliding door at the very bottom. Sara would see him working on it and crawl over and just wait. Once he got it slid aside, it was like watching a herd of cows break down a gate!

It was fine for a while until we got tired of Adam tipping over the dog's water because we didn't get there in time. And then he moved on to eating the cat food. Digging through my Tupperware drawer isn't bad until you have to rewash all of them because they have Ivy hair on them from her shedding.

So we found these nice little latches to keep the doors closed. Drat!

"Sara, come on, I found another way out..."

And down the hallway they came.

It takes us a long time to research our baby options carefully and we put the baby gate purchase off too long. So while it was shipping, we decided to be creative.

Option A - FAILED! The table was too easy to push, even though it seemed quite heavy. I mean, it is a solid wood door. Table legs attached to make it a convenient coffee table.

Option B - FAILED! Maybe just a little weight will help. No such luck. I think they are like little ants - small, but unbelievably strong for their size, able to lift much more than you think they would be capable of!

Option C - FAILED! It slides too easy so maybe it needs some drawer liners to help it stick to the floor. Not child proof.

Option D - Worked for a while. Needed more stuff. In case you can't tell, that's a pack n play, a 24 pack of Diet Pepsi, and a large container of cat litter.

Option E - Ultimate success! Extra tall. Non-climable (we think). Self-closing door that swings both ways. Have you ever seen 2 kids so happy to be contained? Believe me, there are moments that the novelty wore off and they just want out. Mostly when they are hungry and trying to get to me fixing dinner.

What really cracks me up is when Sara is behind the gate pulling on it and roaring like a lion. That's her new noise. Still unable to capture it on video. Apparently she doesn't perform on command. Even funnier is when she roars too long, and ends up coughing because her throat gets a tickle in it.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend in Iowa

We packed up the kids and headed to Iowa for a stay at Shannon's parents over Memorial Day Weekend. It had been quite a long time since we had been there so Grandma and Grandpa were very excited to be hosting. The kids had a great time exploring new territory. It's amazing how you can spend hours cleaning and getting ready, only for Adam to find the one toothpick hidden under the couch! They had a few struggles sleeping, which is to be expected. Adam learned how to take his pack n play mattress apart. The high chairs worked great. Good food, good fun.

Saturday evening we had a little cookout and a few close friends and family stopped by to catch up. They couldn't believe how big the kids had gotten in almost the year since our last visit. Shannon's sister, Auntie Adonna, was there for the day. It was nice to have some extended time before she had to drive the few hours back home. His aunt Marlene and uncle Frank stopped by, as well as uncle Clarence, and cousins Steve and Julie. Newlyweds Candace and Justin arrived. Candace is pregnant with their first baby so it was fun to hear about their journey and chat about any questions she had.

The weekend flew by but we had a really nice visit.

Shannon with Sara, next to his sister. Adam with Shannon's aunt Marlene.

Sara with Auntie Adonna. Adam got his snuggle time in the morning.

What a nice looking family...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Good to have you home, my boy

June 1. Adam's discharge date from the NICU one year ago. Finally, both my babies were home together! On the exact day that my aunt predicted. But I don't think he would have made that if Shannon and I hadn't gone and "rescued" him. The only reason he was still in the hospital at that time was because he wasn't consistently taking his full feedings. One nurse would have good luck. Another would say he just didn't feel like eating. Yep, that was Adam. Why work hard to bust out when cute nurses are doing everything for you? It seems my boy was smart from a very early age! So Friday morning, May 29, 2009 we woke up and said "let's be there for every feeding." No more discussion was needed - we were both on the same page. We felt like establishing consistency in his feedings would help push him over the hump and get him home. This meant coordinating child care for Sara who was already home, making a detailed schedule of who would take which shift at home and which shift at the hospital, planning time to eat and sleep, and staying on my pump schedule. They were still on a 3hr feeding schedule so we decided one person would stay at the hospital for 2 feedings and then the other person would rotate in. Shannon slept in the truck in the OSF parking deck for a bit in the middle of the night. One night our friend, Dawn, came for Sara's midnight feeding so one of us could sleep while the other was with Adam. She said it was so odd to come into a quiet house, wake a baby, change her, feed her, put her back to sleep, and leave - like Sara was taking care of herself! All of our efforts paid off and Adam was discharged on Monday, June 1, 2009.

We had quite the roller coaster ride in the hospital with him. Heart issues from his PIC line migrating too close to his heart and setting off a rapid heart beat over 250 beats per minute. 2 blood transfusions. Numerous feeding issues that led to various tests and more x-rays than we can count. Premature development of his eyes. And his Level 3 IVH brain bleed. Typically, 28 week preemies have a 10% chance of getting cerebral palsy. His IVH increased that to 25%. All of that roller coaster riding and no one would ever look at him and know. The slight tone he still has in his legs is undetectable to the untrained eye. He has gone from Mr. Inactive in the womb to Mr. Busy all the time. 6 teeth, smiling all the time, and on the verge of walking. It's so funny to watch him play, always trying to figure something out. He'll wander off to do something, then mosy on back for a little snuggle before heading off to play again. Just last night I went in the nursery before bed and there he was - face down, thumb in, knees tucked to his chest, and his little butt in the air.

Adam, it has been quite a year having you at home. You run me ragged some days but I wouldn't trade it. You are unique from your sister and I am so honored to have a front row seat to watch you grow. I will be your biggest fan! Just like when you were born, don't let a challenge stand in your way! I love you, my boy. Momma's little monkey.

Adam on his first day home from the NICU...