I just had to share the twins newest trick. Climbing up on the fireplace hearth. They are pretty proud of themselves for managing this, and I don't have the heart of say no when they flash me such winsome smiles.
Emma Jacob I think this is John, but I'm not positive.... (I was wrong...checked the PJ's)
Grace got an MP3 player and I-Dog that plays her music and has "emotions".
Christmas came and went so quickly. I wish Christmas Eve fell on Sunday every year. It was so nice to go to church and have a nice Christmas service with beautiful music. This Christmas Eve we went to the Parson's house after church and then had a ham dinner at our house on Christmas Day. We were at our own home for the first time in years, and it was so relaxing and joyous. So, here's my list of Christmas memories:
*wondering how the chapel was so packed that we had 4 seats for 8 people and hearing such a beautiful voice at church that I got goosebumps and forgot all about my discomfort.
*Grace telling me that Christmas was better than great.
*being able to video tape this Christmas, thanks to Jeff's Christmas present to me.
*watching the twins crawl on top of and over their presents but having no desire to actually unwrap them.
*seeing Garrett's excitment as he opened each gift.
*hearing Emma's giggle each time she got something she really wanted.
*feeling Jeff's lips on mine when he kissed me Merry Christmas
I hope the joy my children experienced this year is repeated each year. They really do bring the magic of Christmas home.
This is a picture of Grace.....she had the opportunity to carol at a nursing center and in a parade. Although she is MY caroler, she is not one of the carolers I talk about below.
In my mind, I have memories archived of Christmases past. This year, we had a caroling experience that will be held in that vault with other events that left me happy, thoughtful or nostalgic.
Last week we had a knock on our door in the evening. Emma ran and opened the door (even though she knows she's not supposed to) and quickly shut it and ran away. I heard singing and went to the door. There upon my doorstep were two families who had come to sing Christmas carols to us. They were obviously two musically inclined families because they sounded great. Really great. They even had accompaniment from what I thought was their car stereo. At the last song I peeked around the porch and saw that the trumpet I heard was live. The trumpeter was out on the street so that he didn't overwhelm the singers. It was pretty spectacular as far as caroling goes, and I'm thankful for those two sweet families who braved the cold and dark air in order to sing to my family. Oh, and did I mention they also brought really, really yummy smores?
This morning as I was unloading the dishwasher, Emma and Garrett came rushing in. They had a mystery on their hands and my super sleuths shared it with me. It went like this: Emma, "dad can't be at work". Garrett, "daddy no wear shoes, no socks". Emma, "and you know the most amazing part, mommy? He's not even wearing his work shirt". I told them that he was wearing another shirt and different shoes, but since they were so excited about solving their mystery, we called Jeff at work to make sure that he was in fact wearing a shirt, shoes and socks. (Just in case you're wondering, he was!)
These are the little conversations that make my days cheery and bring joy to my heart.
No, no one died, the results from Jacob's CT scan came in. Normal range. Not a huge surprise. But, I'm relieved all the same.
Update: The doctor called today and went into the report in more detail with me. Yesterday's report was from the nurse. Anyway, NORMAL, but his parietal bones are asymetrical. So, in 2-3 months I'll take him in for a head circumference check, but things look GOOD.
OK, I've decided that there few things worse than trying to get a family picture with 5 wiggly cranky children. So, to copy a few of my good blogger friends, take that into consideration if/when you get our family picture in our Christmas card. I say If because I'm not positive at this point if I'll get it done. I think I'll post the picture here in case I dont' get around to it. Then, all the hard work and grief we endured yesterday won't be for naught! :)
Jacob and John had their ONE YEAR well check this afternoon, accompained with 4 shots each. The weight gap has widened, and Jacob is now a half a pound heavier than John. Both boys are holding strong in the 10th percentile for weight and height (you'd never guess it by holding them though....they feel pretty solid) Jacob: 20 lbs. 3 oz, 28 inches John: 19 lbs. 10 oz, 28 1/4 inches
Jacob does need to have a head CT scan. His head circumference has gone from the 10th percentile to the 65th percentile in 6 months. John's (as the perfect control) has stayed on the same curve, so the doctor wants to see if something is going on, or if he has a big head. So, the question she asked is, "do big heads run in the family?" I'm not sure...I dont' think so? ..do they? anyone have that answer?
I don't usually make lists, I'm not sure why, so I thought it would be fun to extend myself somewhat and make a list of things I'm thankful for to wrap up this season of giving thanks. There is no order to my list, just random thoughts jumbled all together. I'm thankful: *that playing in the toilet is a phase children go through and it passes *for infant carriers-they have been a life saver with the twins *for a comfortable, reliable car that carries the whole family in safety everywhere we need to go, AND for DVD players in autos *for lollipops and the JOY they bring my children *for school-for the knowledge and enjoyment it brought me and brings Grace *for books-lots and lots of books-I'm happy with a BIG stack of them just waiting to be read on my nightstand *for the internet *for the Disney channel-Emma's best friend *for hospitals, doctors and nurses, who helped my dad when he had a stroke, gave my FIL a new heart, and delivered ALL of my babies *for high capacity washers and dryers *for disposable diapers *for Target and Costco, my one stop shops *for a warm toasty house when it's cold outside *for designer jeans-doesn't everyone look better in them? *for tall ladders so Jeff doesn't slip putting lights on the house and break his neck *for a good nights sleep *for the beauty all around!
John really wanted the cake Jacob enjoyed his cupcake......alot! One of our cowboys (Jacob)
They are ONE! We celebrated the boys first birthday with a themed party at Rachelle's house. We had a barnyard party that turned out really well. The twins wore plaid shirts, jeans and cowboy hats (for about 30 seconds, that is). We decorated the tables with bales of hay, toy tractors, cowboy hats and bandanas. Jeff and I made a barn cake that was somewhat droopy, but it's the thought that counts, right? Rachelle did so much to make the party a success, and I'm so thankful for all the time and effort she put into making it a memorable party.
Yesterday and today it snowed. Last week we arrived in Southern CA in our long sleeves and pants and sweltered in the 90 degree heat. Even though the bulk of my life has been passed in CA, I wasn't expecting the heat in late November! The second day we were there, I caught these shots of the twins that I just love.
Today I'm thankful for hearts. For people willing to give their hearts in death in order to potentially give life to others. I'm thankful for the gifts that Heavenly Father has given each of us, and for those who develope their talents. Today I'm thankful for those that studied and worked and honed their skills so that they can save others. I'm thankful for doctors and nurses and those in the healthcare profession. I'm thankful that my father in law recieved a heart last night. I'm thankful that each report we've received has been a good one and that if all goes well he has a new lease on life. I'm thankful for all the ways he's enriched my life.
Our dinner conversation was very interesting last night. It went something like this: Emma, "there is a boy in Grace's class that asked to sit next to her in computer lab". Grace blushing, "Emma!" Jeff, "who asked to sit next to you in computer lab?" "is he cute?" Grace, still embarrassed, "I'm not telling his name, but it starts with a C". Emma, "he likes Grace, and he dumped another girl to like Grace". Grace, very loudly, "EMMA!" Emma shrugs her shoulders and is pleased to futher add, "she told me in the shower". Jeff, "I know you told her that Grace, Emma doesn't even know what dumped means". Emma, "yes I do, it means broke up". Jeff, "this is going on in KINDERGARTEN?" Grace laughs, "daddy, I'm not in kindergarten".
What was mommy doing this whole time? DYING! So funny.
I can't stop thinking about the passage of time and that our little momo's are going to be ONE on Thanksgiving. I thought I'd post a few pictures of them "then" and "now"(OK, THAT didn't work, will try later) and share "our story" that I have posted on monoamniotic.org, a site that has been very important to me for over a year now. The members there (parents of monoamniotic multiples) gave me support and information while I was pregnant and now I go there and give others information and support. It is very fulfilling.
Jacob and John’s Story I thought I finally share my story starting at the beginning.I went to see a perinatalogist when I was 17 weeks pregnant to make sure that my baby (I had an ultrasound at 9 weeks that showed ONE baby with a healthy heartbeat) had a normal umbilical cord since my previous baby had a 2 vessel cord. I was very excited to find out if we were having a boy or a girl. Right when the tech put the wand on my stomach I looked at the screen and saw what I thought was a deformed baby. The head and the stomach didn’t seem to be connected. The technician looked at the chart, back and the screen, at me and my husband and said, “I thought you were here about a 2 vessel cord”. I said, “We are”, and she said, it doesn’t say anything here about twins. So, that’s why the head and stomach weren’t connected….it was two heads! My husband and I were elated. It was shocking news, but exciting. I started crying. The perinatalogist came in and starting doing the scan, but after a while said she was concerned because she couldn’t find a dividing membrane. I knew that that meant the babies must be identical, because I thought all identical twins shared the same sac. She said the babies looked great, and to walk around and get them moving so she could take another look to try to find a membrane. I walked around and went back in, very upset at this point because she said the babies only had a 50% chance of survival and that it was a high risk pregnancy, and if something happened between now and viability, there was nothing we could do. When she looked again, I saw the sweetest thing. My baby boys were holding hands. I knew then that we were not going to find a membrane. It was a very bittersweet moment. She looked at the cords and they didn’t appear entangled. We made an appt for a month later, and at that appointment a different perinatalogist looked for a membrane for a long time, couldn’t find one, and then looked closely at the cords. She pronounced them severely intertwined. At this point, 21 weeks, we knew we needed to decide what type of treatment plan we wanted to implement, and when we would start. Outpatient (5 times week NST) or inpatient monitoring (24/7), viability at 24 or 26 weeks. We met with a neonatalogist and decided that I would enter the hospital at 24 weeks. In the end, I just didn’t think I could live with myself if I didn’t do everything I could for these babies and something happened to them. So, at 24 weeks, I entered the hospital, and cried for 24 hours straight. Leaving my husband and 3 small children was the hardest thing I had ever done. My treatment plan consisted of 24/7 monitoring. I was allowed bathroom privileges and a 15 minute shower each day. If the strips were good, I could also have a 15 minute walk. My OB stopped in on rounds everyday. She followed the perinatalogists orders. At 25 ½ weeks we had a big scare. I went for a walk with my kids and husband, and when I returned, Baby B’s heart rate was in the 80’s and 90’s. They thought they were picking up my pulse, but it turned out they weren’t. They brought in the triage nurse who looked at the baby’s heart on ultrasound and she very matter of factly said, “The babies heart rate is very slow….look, it’s almost stopping”. It was terrible. So, we spent the next 10 minutes prepping me for an emergency C-Section and stimulating the baby so that he would move in hopes that his heart rate would return to normal. I will never forget hearing the nurse tell my husband over the phone that the neonatal unit had been alerted and that my OB and peri were ready to deliver if he didn’t recover. I remember praying and praying, “Please don’t let my babies be born this early”. Baby B did recover, and although he tended to keep us on our feet the whole hospital stay, he behaved enough that I was able to go to my scheduled date at 33 weeks 3 days. I was given one round of steroids at 24 weeks, and I had ultrasounds with the perinatalogists every 2 weeks while I was in the hospital. I was so scared about the C-Section and how my boys would do. Ultrasound had shown that Baby B had stopped growing appropriately in the last 2 weeks, so I was very worried about how he would do. The boys were born on a Wednesday, and that Monday they had said that if the C-Section was not scheduled, they would have taken them anyway because it looked like they weren’t growing well anymore. Jacob was born first and weighed 4lbs. 5 oz. John weighed in at 4lbs. 4oz. Surprise, surprise….the ultrasound was wrong about a weight discrepancy. The doctor said there were 8 knots in the cords and additionally, John had the cord around his neck twice. She said she had to do quite a bit of untangling to get them out. Jacob started of on CPAP but had to be ventilated for a day and a half, but John stayed on room air. John was supposed to go home after 15 days, but I think he didn’t want his brother to be left behind, so he would get lazy and not nipple all his feedings. The boys came home together after 19 days and have just thrived. They are our little miracles, and we wouldn’t change anything if we could.
I love this time of year....Definitely my favorite. It comes almost as a tradition to ponder all the things I am thankful for. So, while the twins are taking a nap, I'm going to take a shot at listing some of the things I am thankful for.
First of all, I'm thankful for my husband who loves me unconditionally and is a good man. He sacrifices a lot for our family, and works very hard to be where he is today. I'm thankful that he is willing to work 12 hour shifts (standing up) so that we can have a comfortable life and doesn't complain (much) about his aching feet. :)
Second, I'm thankful for my children and the joy they bring into my life. They are all miracles, and I'm thankful for my last two who really made me realize how blessed I am to have five wonderful treasures in my life.
Grace is such a good girl. She is getting so grown up. She wakes up to her alarm clock, makes her bed, gets dressed and brushes her teeth, does her hair for the most part, and THEN wakes me up to adjust her hair and fix her lunch. I'm so thankful for the extra sleep this allows me, for never having to worry if she'll get up or be late, and for such a self reliant daughter.
Emma helps me all day long with the babies. She brings so much sunshine into our home, and I'm so thankful for that.
Garrett.......he just makes me laugh. All day everyday. I'm thankful for all that he does to help me each day, and if he didn't wake up asking to go to the park, I'd feel like something was missing. I am thankful for this conversation which has kept me laughing for hours. It went like this: "Garrett, do you know what daddies name is?" Garrett replies, "yeff" (we're still working on pronunciation ) mommy asks, "Garrett, do you know what mommy's name is?" Garrett sweetly replies, "poop".
I'm thankful for Jacob and John. They are so much fun to be around......they are so happy and have such ready smiles. They remind me daily how blessed we are to have them safely here and thriving.
I'm thankful for the forum this blog gives me to record thoughts and actions that are meaningful to me and for the opportunity it provides me to be introspective. I especially thankful it records my thoughts and then spits them out looking so professional.
MORE of a thankful heart: I'm thankful for my dad. He is a great person and taught me so many important things growing up by example. Some of the things he taught me was to be responsible, on time and prepared. He also taught me how to manage money (DON'T waste it), and how to have an even, easy temper. Because of him, I was able to overhear this conversation: Grace talking to her grandma: "we were going to grandpa Scott's for Thanksgiving, but we don't know now". pause "I think it's because he put his dog in the freezer".
I'm thankful for my siblings. They've each added so much to my life and we've shared so much together. I'm especially thankful for Rachelle who has always been there for me, always will be and is one of the best people I know.
Yesterday Emma and I spent the better part of the day at Doernbecker Children's Hosptial in Portland. Emma had an appointment to see Dr. Seldon, a neurosurgeon there about the possiblity of having "tethered spine". Dr. Seldon told us that her MRI looks good, but the imagining they use now does not always show the part of the spine that could be tethered. This could mean she has minimal tethered cord syndrome. So, we are back to the urologist for one more pressure test. Emma will have to be sedated ONCE again and see what this new test will reveal. If there are problems with the nerves in her bladder, then she would be a candidate for spinal surgery which untethers the cord. This syndrome and surgical intervention is HIGHLY controversial (it's THE hot topic in the neurosurgery field)! So, after Emma has the bladder test we will know whether or not Emma has another appointment with Dr. Seldon or if we are back to square one with the urology department. The GOOD news is that with her daily medication she has stayed infection free for 3 months now.
I have been thinking a lot recently of things that can happen in one day....a few things happened today to illustrate these changes:
1. I looked out my window and was amazed when I saw our Japanese maple. I thought the trees had all peaked. There are ALOT of Japanese maples up here, so it's like having fall twice. Beautiful. I have to share a few pictures of what will be here and gone soon.....
2. It also happened in one day that I looked in the twins mouth and beheld new teeth. Jacob has two teeth on the bottom, and one on top. John has one tooth on bottom and one on top.
3. I was going about my day when I heard Hannah Montana singing, "you say, you say" on the Disney Channel and Garrett singing it back to her. Garrett is really beginning to use his words.
Grace had an issue with a little girl at school that needed teacher intervention. The intervention went well, and the little girl had to tell Grace, "I assure you, that will never happen again". We've adopted that as our new family motto.....now if Grace does something I don't think is appropriate she has to tell me, "I assure you....." and it cracks me up every time.
Is there candy in there? Thinking about candy? With thoughts of lots of candy on Halloween night... Jacob... Garrett As many of you know, Garrett has been our "late" talker. His pediatrican actually thought he was a little delayed with his speech and gave us a referral to speech theraphy. We decided not to take him to speech theraphy yet, that perhaps he's just a little lazy with his enunciation. This morning we decided that WE were right.
Garrett had a melt down about something very close to his heart and managed to scream over and over again, "mom, where you put my candy?" as clear as day.