Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas Part 2

A few days later we celebrated Christmas Part 2 on December 15. It would have been a day earlier but we didn't have it put together until then! My mom and I stayed up until almost midnight 2 nights in a row putting this together! All worth it...what a hit!



I spent a lot of hours looking at kitchens on the internet. Did you know there is actually a website called playkitchens.com? Crazy.

I knew I wanted something large so it would last a while as they grew...and there was plenty of space for them to each have their own space. This is two sided - kitchen on one side, laundry center on the other. They have already figured out that they can open the doors on both sides and throw toys thru to each other!



I have a pretty lengthy video of them seeing the kitchen for the first time but it was too large to post. Hopefully it will upload to our photo website. It's so funny to see their reactions as they tested all the doors and opened the packages of wood play food. Adam kept shaking the bottle of ketchup and trying to chew the lid open with his teeth!

Thanks, Grandma Marilynn!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Part 1

This year we broke up our Christmas into lots of small chunks. I think it worked great that way for the kids so they could enjoy a few presents at a time. To avoid an extremely lengthy Christmas post, I'll recap in the order they opened...

Our first gift opening extravaganza was on December 13. My mom was visiting and she brought presents from my half brother and his wife. While we don't see them often, they are always generous and remember the kids at Christmas and birthdays.

Sara got a play mixer that is both a stand mixer and a hand mixer. She does a lot of baking so this will come in handy.


She also unwrapped a blender that had an apple and a banana as accessories. Already whipping up an apple smoothie! The last gift was a toaster.

Adam is showing us his new chainsaw. It does make pretty realistic sounds. I'm not sure how many times he has sawed off my arm since opening the gift.


Apparently this is called a drill driver, not just a screwdriver, because of the various attachments that it comes with. I'm pretty handy as a woman but I'm sure I'll be learning some new lingo to keep up with my little man. Thankfully, Shannon found him a nice zipper tool pouch to store all the bits and screws that came with it.


His last gift was a jigsaw and the blade actually goes up and down when you push the button. He's showing some great multi-tasking skills here...might as well make a snack while you are cutting your boards!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Molar update

Sara has her final molar poking thru today! She got the other top one a few weeks ago. It has been a long road of waiting and seeing her chew on her fingers in the back of her mouth. No sign of the top ones for Adam yet.

Sara - 20
Adam - 18

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Another ear infection for Sara

For two weeks we have heard Sara say off and on "I don't feel good." She seemed perfectly fine. Although she was cutting her final 2 year molars on top. Maybe it's just a ploy to get out of bed.

Then she came down with a cold so we thought the "I don't feel good"s were associated with that. But still, she ate normal, played normal, slept normal.

A few days ago I finally had a talk with her and explained that she needed to be more specific. Tell me if your tummy hurts or your ears hurt or...something, anything to help a mama out! It must have sunk in because then she started saying "I don't feel good. My ears hurt." The next night she told us she was going to throw up and she needed a bucket. Still, she seemed fine, no fever, no tugging on her ears, no loss of sleep, no loss of appetite. Shannon and I finally decided to at least check in with the nurse and see what she thought. I hate being one of those moms that jumps to conclusions, especially when your child seems perfectly fine. The nurse thought we should go ahead and bring her in, especially since she was saying her ears hurt.

Shannon took her to the doctor yesterday and it turns out Sara was right - she has an infection in her right ear. I am glad that we called but it's so hard to know when she isn't showing signs of being sick. I guess I need to rely on the fact that my almost 3 year old knows and communicates to me...so I should listen. This is her second ear infection in just a few months. I'm hoping it's not a sign of what is going to be a really long winter.

Friday, December 9, 2011

First snow of the season

Well, technically, it wasn't the first snow...but it was the first snow that stuck on the ground. When they got up this morning and looked out the living room window, the kids were so excited to see a thin blanket of white covering the grass. Adam wanted to go outside right away. Considering that we were still in jammies and hadn't gone potty or eaten breakfast, I had to disappoint him by saying no. Once all the necessities of the morning were taken care of, we bundled up and headed out.


Adam proved that garden implements can still be quite useful in the winter.



Sara loved seeing the tracks her snow boots made and that she was getting snow on her new boots. She asked if I had snow on my boots, too. For some reason, she liked making mitten prints in the snow!


Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas tree

Friday night we packed up the kids and headed to The Red Barn to buy our Christmas tree. This year we decided to support our friends by buying from their local business. We are so happy that we did...we got a nicer tree for less money with great service!

Saturday morning we stayed in our jammies and rearranged the furniture, cleared out all the kids' toys, and vacuumed. With Christmas CDs blaring on the stereo, the kids danced around the living room. After nap time we took a quick detour for the annual PMOT children's Christmas party.

Finally back to decorating in the evening. Hanging lights on a tree with 4 extra little hands to help was no easy task. Then I had the brilliant idea to make a popcorn string! Mistake #1 - making the thread so long that the kids kept getting their feet caught in it. Mistake #2 - a snack size bag of popcorn didn't go very far. But the kids had fun, until they get bored and started eating all the popcorn!






I love the style we picked this year. The needles are soft. It's only 6' tall but very round and has long branches poking out here and there, which makes it feel very unique.


Thankfully once they went to bed I could hang the ornaments by myself. Sara was awake first the next morning and she was so excited to see the rest of it decorated. It was still slightly dark outside and I had the lights on already. She just had to get a picture in front of it.


Once Adam woke up, she walked him around and showed him all her favorite ornaments.



Today has been a challenge getting them to leave the ornaments on. They keep taking them off to show me their favorite. Tonight the living room was completely dark and I heard rustling of the plastic under the skirt so I knew Adam was around the tree. All of a sudden the tree lights popped on and he said "there" all proud of himself. It may be a long few weeks...but for now we are enjoying our tree together as a family.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Twin hair salon

Welcome to the Twin Hair Salon...step right up, sit right down, and we'll both cut your hair so you can get out and back to your day in half the time! We're running a special now where we will only charge you twice the price! Need your beard trimmed, too? No problem! We have a girl who specializes in that!




Only a slight injury at the end. Shannon thought it would be a good idea to have Adam scratch his back. He didn't realize how strong Adam's nails were, strong meaning sharp. He was left with a blood trail from neck to waist!

Measurin'

Adam seems to have an obsession with tools lately. As he should, I suppose, since he's a boy, but why label? He got his hands on a full size tape measure. Shannon decided that wasn't the best thing to be carrying around the house so he found a mini one. Not wanting to feel left out, Sara needed one of her own, as well. Thankfully, we could accommodate.



I loved this photo. When I asked Adam how big Sara was, he said "She's skinny!"


I think they spent 2 full days measuring the entire house. Until Adam cut the side of his finger a little and then Dad decided maybe they should have a toy tape measure that wasn't so dangerous...and took them away. Ahhh, what's a little blood?


Monday, November 21, 2011

Turkey craft project

I have been trying to think of little ideas lately to do some craft projects with the kids. When my neighbor watched the kids a few weeks ago while I was at work, they made turkey hats together and loved it! While at the library story time last week, they had some free coloring pages of giant turkeys. Combine that with some tissue paper and a glue stick and voila! Colored turkeys with feathers.



They were so excited to hang them on the refrigerator with a magnet to show dad when he got home from teaching today.

What really cracked me up was seeing the difference between the 2 pictures. First, Adam was crazy with the crayon, while Sara took her time and made a few tiny scribbles here and there. She has started holding a pencil or crayon correctly in the past few days. And then there are the feathers. Adam barely crumpled them. Sara rolled them into a tiny ball and wanted to be so precise in gluing them on. Yikes! Another example of similarities to the mama!

Sara's first braid

I recently made my very first attempt at doing a full braid in my baby girl's hair. Keep in mind, a braid expert I am not. In fact, I had never done it before. Now couple that with a 2 1/2 year old patient that doesn't understand exactly what "sit still" means, a twin of the same age who is a busy-body trying to steal the comb and the pony tail holder and you have 20 minutes of a mama wondering if she can really do this or not! All of that considered, I think it turned out pretty well. Even better my second time around. And, of course, Sara loves it and walks around telling everyone "I got a braid!"


Monday, November 14, 2011

White moons washing

We were scurrying around to leave for a short trip to Wisconsin last weekend. I caught the kids in a moment where they actually listened when I told them to go in and go potty...and they washed their hands!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Annual Trunk or Treat

A few weeks ago we went to our annual Trunk or Treat with our local twins group. This is a great trick or treating option for us because we all meet at a local park and line the cars up with our trunks facing in so the space is enclosed. Then we decorate our trunks, however elaborately we desire, and the kids trick or treat from each vehicle's trunk. It works very well for the little ones who will get tired of walking from house to house...and our neighborhood doesn't do much for trick or treating.

This year the kids were a prairie family traveling with their covered wagon. Shout out to our awesome neighbor for helping with the costumes!

By the way, I know the woman doesn't normally take lead on the horse, but you take it out of her hands. We tried having her "sit" on the back of the horse. She was definitely not interested in that. We tried having her sit on the front of the horse and Adam on the back. She just kept screaming "Adam get off..." Eventually you just concede!

Our decorated "trunk" this year. The covered wagon we re-used from a summer parade and then we built a campfire in the back of the Expedition.




A close up of our campfire - the winner of "best theme" since the decorations and the kids' costumes went together so well.


Look at all our candy!

It was a record-breaking year with 80 kids trunk or treating, which also means a lot of vehicles providing candy. We went home and separated it into stuff they could eat and a bucket for Shannon and I...which came in handy last night when our doorbell rang with 2 lonely trick or treaters who thought our house looked big and scary in the dark!

We considered carving our pumpkins last night but decided to pass and watch "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" instead. It was hard to hear most of it with Adam talking and walking around the whole time but I think they liked the experience. He must have been paying attention at some point...when we were having the last potty trip of the night, Adam drug our huge set of spa stairs across the bathroom and then lifted it and dropped it on his toe. When I asked him what he was doing, he said it was Clifford's airplane like Snoopy in the movie!

Follow up to the walk

Over 600 people joined us to celebrate the lives that have been changed by the Children's Hospital of Illinois NICU...and to mourn the lives that have been lost. Final numbers are still being tallied but the last information was that over $25,000 was raised.

The kids had a fantastic time at the Small Wonders Walk. Right inside the door we ran into Dr. Hocker, the head of the NICU. He was in the delivery room when the kids were born and commented how good it was to see that they were doing so well.

After a few snacks, we all headed outside for a group photo. It was a brisk, windy morning for a walk but as far as we could see in front of us, there were people.


And as far as we could see behind us, there were people.


Back inside, Sara was speechless to run into some princesses, one of which who let Sara wear her tiara.


Then we made our way to the face painting. Way too many choices for a 2 year old to decide. Adam finally settled on a tiger and Sara chose some flowers.







We tried to get a great big balloon animal but have to wait another year for that to be old enough. Off to play instead.


Lunchtime snacks and then it was home for a much-needed nap. Shannon and I spent a few hours outside moving some bushes and doing fall clean up.

For all of you who supported us with the walk, we say a deep thank you.

See you next year!

Friday, October 14, 2011

This is why we walk


Tomorrow is the Children's Hospital of Illinois' NICU Small Wonders Walk. It's not too late to support the NICU on behalf of Adam and Sara. If you are new to my blog, read my previous post about why our family supports the NICU so passionately.

Here is the link if you would like more information or are interested in donating.
http://www.childrenshospitalofil.org/body.cfm?id=549

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Out of the mouths...

Shannon recounted a conversation he heard over the monitor yesterday afternoon while I was at work. I was amazed and thought I would share.

Sara started stirring from her nap. He heard Adam say, "It's okay, Sara, I'm here." When that didn't bring the comfort she desired, she complained a little louder. Adam announced, "Mom, we need you - Sara's upset!"

I love how he looks out after his "little" sister.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

5th annual Small Wonders Miracle Walk

There are a few things that get on our calendar and stay there permanently. The Children's Hospital of Illinois Neonatal Intensive Care Unit's Small Wonders Miracle Walk is one of them. This year's walk is on Saturday, October 15.

2 1/2 years have gone by and some of the little details surrounding the twins hospital stay start getting fuzzy. But I will always remember the Thursday morning that I was supposed to have my 28-week doctor appointment and instead I was timing contractions 5 minutes apart. And I will remember the first time seeing my 2lb 12oz son across the room on a small bed with a team of people surrounding him and hearing the words "he's so tiny" being whispered from my mouth. My daughter matched my amazement with her 2lb 9oz cry. It felt like I was holding a feather the first time I cradled her, one week into her life. I will certainly always remember the 3am phone call that I got from Dr. Picah as I jotted notes quickly on a small yellow tablet beside my bed. Adam. Heart rate above 250. SVT. Of course I can close my eyes and picture standing next to Adam's incubator, Shannon on my left, facing Dr. Makwon, as he carefully explained the news that an ultrasound of Adam's brain revealed a Grade III IVH. Bleeding that had penetrated the wall of his brain. Follow up with Easter Seals would be certain. Risk of cerebral palsy would increase from 10% to 35%. And then the tears came as I sunk into Shannon's arms.

With so many things stacked against tiny little babies, there were 2 things in their favor - the best NICU in the country and the biggest God watching over them. Paired together, we have watched our kids grow from fragile human beings who needed medication to help them remember to breathe to running, giggling 2 1/2 year olds. Adam has graduated from Easter Seals and physical therapy with no signs of cerebral palsy. Both kids are solidly on the growth chart, developmentally on track with their peers, and talking up a storm! Not many days go by that we don't marvel at what they are learning. We know things could have turned out so differently if we weren't blessed by the team of doctors and nurses that were part of their journey.

That is why we participate in the Small Wonders Miracle Walk. Because we remember like it was yesterday. Because we don't want to forget where we have come from and how far we have come. Because we want it to be part of our kids' legacy.

Won't you consider joining us, in some way, in that celebration?

Here is the link for information about the walk: http://www.childrenshospitalofil.org/body.cfm?id=549

If you have Saturday morning, October 15 free, come on out and walk with us!

If you feel passionate about it, a financial gift would be greatly appreciated! Last year they raised over $28,000 that went directly to support the NICU by providing things like teaching opportunities, a computer for parents on the unit to share, and equipment. You can complete the registration form and mail it in as a "virtual walker", which means you will be walking in spirit and donating a gift. Please note "Team Project Little Mo" on the form. A second option that removes your anonymity is to forward your gift to either myself or Shannon and we will submit our total pledge gifts on the morning of the walk. Checks may be made payable to Children's Hospital of Illinois (CHOI).

Thanks for helping us say thanks!

Friday, September 23, 2011

New molars for Adam

Part of Adam's crankiness lately must be due to his last 2 bottom molars poking through.

Back to tied on the tooth tally. Just the last top 2 molars left for both of them. I've been waiting a long time to see evidence of them coming in for Sara. She's had her fingers in her mouth and actually told me her teeth hurt off and on for about 2 months.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Out of the mouths...

Both taken from last night's conversations...

We were discussing what medications the kids needed before bedtime. I called to Shannon and said "no honey for Adam, his cough is better." Adam argued "I need honey." Then he fake coughed twice and explained again how he needed honey. Shannon deemed him drama boy and now he is walking around telling us his new name.

A short time after I put the kids to bed last night, Sara got fussy. I went in there and it was pitch dark. Adam has been making me cover up the light on the wipes warmer lately. I'm not sure why but it feels like a cave and I can't see my hand in front of my face, let alone where the kids are in their crib to comfort them. I located Sara and picked her up to snuggle. Adam surprised me that he was also standing in his bed to see what was going on and asked "Why you crying, Sara?" Sara thought for a moment and answered "I don't remember."

Lastly, we headed over to the neighbors tonight to chat for a few minutes while their daughter was out playing basketball. Adam follows their son around like a puppy dog. He just adores Kyle. Kyle got out his "new" used golf clubs and Adam was helping retrieve the balls. At some point, we overheard Adam say "I'm freakin' out!" I'm not sure what it was about but we did a double take and asked him to repeat it to make sure we heard him right!

Another one from last night that totally cracked me up was at dinner time. Shannon had some water go down the wrong way and was coughing and sputtered out "I'm choking." At the same time, the timer went off on the oven. Sara totally ignored the urgent choking and piped up "Time for brownies!" So my daughter...

First ear infections

A week and a half ago the kids started with runny noses. That was a Wednesday. I thought it was just allergies but when Adam's turned yellow the next day, I knew better. When Sunday came, I was trying to decide if I would take the kids to the doctor to make sure nothing more serious was going on. Adam's nose was yellow and green for 4 days and they had low-grade fevers off and on the entire time. Many nights they were sleeping terrible. One night I was up from 12-1:30 with Adam and numerous times after that until they got up for the day. Another night I was up every 40 minutes from midnight to 6am. Yesterday Sara was up for the day at 4.

Anyway, last Monday came and Sara hadn't slept well overnight. I moved to the couch with her at 5. At 6:30 she tossed and turned and moaned and cried. I should have known by the moaning - it's usually a sign. She threw up all over me. While Shannon rocked with her and I showered, she threw up again. Thankfully, we got in with one of the doctors that morning. Adam had a diagnosis of just wait it out, even though his nose was awful. Sara seemed better other than her tummy and she had an ear infection in both ears. I was quite surprised because she wasn't showing any other symptoms. Antibiotics for Sara and she goes back on the 26th for a recheck of her ears.

Both seem to be feeling better now, with the exception of the high level of crankiness. Holy cow. Sara is napping better or at least napping. She had 5 days in a week's time that she didn't nap at all and then couldn't even stand upright by the time bedtime rolled around. But she keeps getting up for the day at 4, 5, or 6. Some have asked if she is ready to cut afternoon naps so she sleeps longer. If you saw her, you would disagree with that. We have tried pushing bedtime a little later because they don't need quite as much sleep but it's such a battle because they get so tired.

I would have to say the past week or two are some of the hardest I have had in a long time. Lack of sleep...or extremely interrupted sleep...is wearing on me and I just feel behind on everything because of the schedule being off. Welcome to the world of being a mom of 2 year olds, right? Then with twins, I'm not sure what the multiplier would be but it's definitely not just double!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Out of the mouths...

Yep, another update on the classic things my kids say. Honestly, I could have this post every day and list multiple things. I'll keep it to the best of the best so as not to bore you!

It's interesting to me that I noticed last week that the kids are now conversing with each other. I guess I never noticed that they weren't before until it was different. For example, at the dinner table, Adam said "Sara's crying." She turned and looked at Adam matter of factly and replied "No, I'm not."

Yesterday Adam found our video camera tripod in our bedroom, hauled it out of the corner, and started setting it up. Then he began giving Sara instructions--"Sara, stand here. I take picture of you. Say cheese." She complied, smiled, and said "Cheese!"

If you know me very well, you know I don't like discussing "bodily functions." But this one has to be my favorite from the past week. Sara tooted in her high chair very loud and very long. I looked at her and she had a big grin on her face. Adam exclaimed "Oh my, Sara! Say excuse me."

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

One tough cookie


To my son...

So many times I do a double take to see what you have gotten into or what you are wearing. You make me smile. You make me giggle. I pray that you will always throw care to the wind and be your own man, following the path God has laid for you.

Even if it means you wear a "one tough cookie" shirt with your sister's daisy hat!