Friday, December 17, 2010

Here Comes Santa Claus Here Comes Santa Claus....






Well, we did it. We took the kids for their second ever encounter with Santa this week. Although we has to drive all the way across Austin just to visit the "real deal", we had a great time. You see, "Santa" i.e. the real deal in our book, hangs out at Lakeline Mall these days....same place as last year.

Jenna gave him the look over but seemed pretty comfortable sitting on old St. Nic's lap. Being the busy little gal she is, she didn't want to just sit around for too long. She did great though...no smiles but no cries or screams either.

Blake did great too. He was a bit cautious as we placed him on the lap of this large, plump, old guy dressed in red and with a beard of white sitting there talking to them. Blake sorta looked at him, looked toward us and tried to make up his mind about how he felt about mommy sitting him there and asking him to smile. What the heck is going on here, is what I imagined him thinking. Then is began to cry a bit after the pic was taken so I went to him and let him stand at Santa's feet. He didn't want to come to me. He turned around and gave Santa a big hug around his super sized waist and cried. It was as if he didn't want to leave his lap. It was realy cute. Santa was kind and calm, which helped a lot. He told me, "Hmm, I've never gotten that before...a cry and a hug, it's most defintely either one or the other".

We stood and talk to Santa a minute or two more then walked around the mall a bit. There was a veteran's group there that included one of our neighbors. He gave Jenna and Blake a dumdum sucker. Boy did Jenna go to town!! This was her first experience with a piece of candy, let alone a sucker. And to beat all, it was a blue sucker. She loved it. Her tongue, lips, hands and cheeks were blue. I called her my little smurf for the rest of the day. :) Blake was not interested in his, he was too busy "mall walking".

Oh yea, and Jenna's hair? Well, it was all spiffy until they played in the mall play area.....they had a great time.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

So very very grateful.......

I am sad tonight, very sad. I am also so very grateful. Grateful that my babies are healthy and well. So many of us take our health for granted. Some take their children's' good health for granted. Tonight I feel a tightness and torn feeling in my heart. I have just learned of a precious little girl who is losing her battle with cancer. She recently underwent a bone marrow transplant and her health continues to decline. She is in a very fragile state right now. She maxed our her ventilator and is now on the oscillator. I cry as I envision this horrific truth. Reading those words" "on the oscillator" brings back a very real feeling anxiety, fear and sadness. Blake was on the oscillator. This was one of the most terrifying things to witness while we were in the NICU. The oscillator, unlike the ventilator, does not inflate and deflate the lungs rather it keeps the child's lungs open with a certain pressure (PEEP), and vibrates the air at a very fast rate (up to 600 times for SECOND, yes, second!).The vibration helps gases to quickly diffuse in and out of the baby's airways without the need for the "bellows" action which may damage delicate lung structures. Seeing Blake on the oscillator was truly terrifying. Watching his chest vibrate, rather than seeing the up and down movement of natural breathing seemed very artificial....granted it was but witnessing your child lying there alive but seemingly otherwise as his chest vibrates is beyond heart breaking. It is a reality-filled slap in the face, seeing your child lying there in a lifeless-like state, the movement caused by the oscilator reminds your eyes that your baby is on complete life support.

I can not imagine what trauma this family is experiencing. I can not imagine the pain and exhaustion this little hero of a gal is feeling. It is clear that she is an extreme gal when it comes to being a fighter. I pray that this most deserving "baby" receives the miracle she so desperately needs. Please join me in praying for Aubrey Deno of Indianapolis. She is two years old but has the "fight" of a pro.

If there was one thing that Jason and I learned from our NICU experience, there were hundreds. One of the most amazing and incredible things that we learned was that even in the darkest of situations, miracles really can occur. Our amazing support system that included friends, family members, co-workers, acquaintances, friends of friends, nurses, spcialists, strangers, our blog followers and those who simply only heard of Jenna and Blake's fight for life all came together to send tremendous hope. That very hope was exhibited in various ways....from a kind word, a daily, sometimes hourly prayer, a hug, a loving gesture, a visit, a letter, an email, passing along our story and/or blog, positive thoughts and energy. Those very acts along with lots of amazing efforts by our medical team helped to see us through, day by day. That very hope for life and the strength of Jenna and Blake was so powerful. I can not sayoften enough, how we know in our hearts that hope and positive thoughts can help create miracles. There were a many times that Jenna and/or Blake's frail bodies, pushed beyond their limits appeared to be on the brink of giving in. Terrified, confused and forever changed, me, Jason and our supporters continued to be hopeful and continued to stay positive. I prayed and prayed. Many continued to pray. From that hope and from their sheer will, Jenna and Blake beat all odds....more than once or twice.

I write of power of hope and prayer, knowing that Aubrey also has an amazing amount of support from her family, friends, and strangers. I do not know this little girl personally but she has touched my heart nevertheless. I know that God is great, as I am witness to the amazing things that come from his and our positive energy. I pray that he feels Aubrey's time here on Earth is not over. I am confident that with him and with us who care for her and with hope, she will pull through....that her mommy, daddy and big sis will be able to see her smiling face for many years to come. Please keep her in your thoughts.

http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/aubreydeno

Positive thinking and hope creates a beautiful foundation for miracles. I truly believe this.

Tonight, I thank God/positive thinking and energy for the miracles Jason, Jenna, Blake and I have been granted. I pray that a miracle will be granted to Aubrey.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Fun at the Park





Here are a couple pics from our visit to Mafield Park. We met Mimi and Papa there for family pics. Jenna was a real trooper. She was not feeling well throughout the day but did well regardless. She found a light that she LOVED and just could not get enough of. Blake loved going through the leaves and following the peacocks. More pics to come but here are a couple.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Finally some new pics....

http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/jvFOYnX6yUZI9IrU_aB45w?feat=directlink

March of Dimes Ambassador 2011 Family Nomination Update

Here is the email we received from the MOD Executive Director.

Kim and Jason,

Hello, my name is Susie Carr and I am the Executive Director for the Austin Division of the March of Dimes. I wanted to take a moment to Thank You for applying to be the 2011 Ambassador Family for Austin. Your story is very compelling and I thank you for sharing it with us.

Our volunteer committee has reviewed all of the applications and have selected another family to serve in 2011. I would like you both to know that it was a very difficult decision and a very close vote. With that said, I would very much like you to consider applying again for the 2012 Ambassador. I truly feel that you would be great representatives for the March of Dimes.

Thank you both again, and I hope you have a wonderful holiday season.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Susie Carr
Executive Director

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Jason and I are so happy to have been nominated and truly feel honored. Furthermore, the fact that we are being considered for this "honor" again for 2012 is pretty exciting. We look forward to this year's MOD events, spreading awareness and continuing to share our story in hopes to give others hope.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

November is National Prematurity Awareness Month~My Article Re:Prematurity Awareness

November certainly is a very special month as it marks the start of the holiday season. Furthermore, it marks another very special time of the year. Novemner is National Prematurity Awareness Month. In an attempt to help spread awareness, I have included an article that I recently wrote. I hope you may take away a bit of otherwise unknown information, a bit of inspiration and a desire to join us in speading awareness.

I recently wrote this article to share with my fellow AMOM (Austin Moms of Multiples) friends and now would like to share it with all of you, Jenna and Blake's great supporters.

November is Prematurity Awareness Month-Please Wear Purple on November 17th.
Well ladies, here we are in November already. With November marking the start of a soon-to-be holiday season, November also marks a time of awareness, reflection, celebration, and rememberance.

Being a member of this wonderful group, we have all been touched and effected by prematurity in one way or another. Some of us have had a family member, co-worker, friend, or relative who has given birth prematurely. Some of us has had nieces, nephews, or cousins born prematurely. Moreover, many of us have helped support fellow members as they've struggled through challenging NICU journeys. And still, there are others of us who know that journey all too well as we watched our own children be born so small, so fragile.

Prematurity effects almost everyone at sometime in their lives. According to the March of Dimes, each week in Austin, 65 babies are born premature. One in seven babies are born premature in Texas. Furthermore, on average, 26 babies are born each week with a birth defect in Austin.

Thankfully with the help of the March of Dimes, more and more babies are born healthy. Those who are born premature are provided the medical attention to better help them conquer prematurity and fight against threatening long term effects.

By raising awareness, we too can make a difference. In an attempt to share my support in this endeavor I thought I would pass along some ideas that I have found from various resources....ways that each of us can help raise awareness. ~Share your story on the online NICU support forums.
~Share your story in pictures of your baby's journey and growth through the NICU. Make an album that you can share with others to help them become aware of the challenges that take place in the NICU. ~Blog about Prematurity Month or about your own experience with Prematurity. ~Email friends/family about Prematurity Month
~Honor a child by creating a virtual band in honor or memory of a child, an organization or baby on-the-way. ~Visit http://marchofdimes.com/prematurity/index_advocacy.asp to find more ways to help fight for preemies ~Wear purple (or a purple ribbon) on November 17th, National Prematurity Awareness Day.

Perhaps the easiest thing we can do to help raise awareness is simply to share....share your experience, your thoughts, your passion for helping all babies be born healthy.

Please join me on November 17th and add a little (or a lot) color purple to your attire. Let's join in raising awareness and in honor of so many of our smallest of heroes.

Thanks for listening.....

I received an email from the MOD family team coordinator. It stated that The March of Dimes is currently holding a "NICU Necessities Campaign". They are collecting donations (preemie hats, socks, and clothes, rocking chairs or gliders, disposable cameras, blankets, restuarant gift cards, swaddle blankets, Zakys, bouncers, journals and pens) for families in the NICU and will be making a delivery on November 17th. For more info, feel free to email Stasia Vance, the family team coordinator at SVance@marchofdimes.com or feel free to email me as well.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Sort, Sort, Sort...Stack, Stack, Stack

Blake is REALLY into sorting things these days. He can almost always be found with two of the same object (or at least similar), one in each hand....or if there are several of the same toy, he is trying his best carry them all at the same time. He is so funny, he tries to carry as many things at once as he can, using his little fingers to try and pick up just one more. The other day I heard him and Jenna giggling in the playroom. After a few minutes I peeked around the corner to find them in the middle of probably 100 wet wipes. They had found the wet wipe bag, opened it and were taking turns taking them hand over hand. When I went in to collect them, Blake had beat me to it. He had fistfulls of wipes in each hand and was bending over using his clinched fists and belly to try and pick each and every last wipe up. He then marched around the playroom and was talking up a storm. I only wish I knew his language-haha.

Jenna never ceases to amaze me, the way she finds THE smallest switch, button, or knob on just about everything and digs her little finger in to turn them. She notices the smallest and finest details on toys, in books, on clothing, furniture, anything and studies them intently. She has a real knack for details. She also knows how to turn the small switches on her toys that changes the play modes and volume (the ones that are intended for parents to turn down if desired). She has favorite modes on each of her toys that she wastes no time in coming behind you and letting you know by turning them to what she likes. She has pretty strong fine motor skills for her age, definitely one of her strengths. One thing has always been certain, she knows what she likes and does a great job of letting us know as well. She is very strong willed and independent and at the same time loves to sit in our laps for plenty of snuggle time. She still has a very silly side. She loves to be tickled and loves to just be silly. I've said it before and I say it again, she has THE best laugh. Jason and I are so excited that Jenna is very much her own litle gal and is pretty darn comfortable with letting others know exactly what that means. We think her personality will serve her very well later in life...perhaps quite challenging for us for the first 18 years. LOL

Today Blake did something that really amazed me. I brought out a wooden box that had red, yellow, blue and green blocks in it. I emptied it along side a pile of various other similar blocks. Blake hasn't ever seen these colored blocks before. He came over and started placing the red, yellow, blue and green ones in the box. He then grabbed a natural wood colored one and put it in, looked back at it as it lay there and reaches back in and takes it out. He proceeded to put the last green block in. Out of the entire pile of various blocks, he distinguished the four colors that "belonged" in the box. He then sorted the others into their own piles. When I look around the house and playroom I am constantly finding tidy little piles of objects, all nicely sorted. Two sippy cups sitting perfectly aligned on the window seal, four weeble wobbles standing proudly in line on the train table, two pretend phones sitting on a large foam block. When I give them snack in the playroom, I usually put cereal or crackers in small bowls and hand one to each. Blake walks over to Jenna's bowl and stacks his inside Jenna's and they sit there together sharing snack. Sometimes he dumps the cereal and cracker mix on the floor and puts the crackers together and then the cereal together. Jenna is usually really very patient with his insistance of "order". He has also been enjoying stacking blocks. He is able to stack about seven high of the large nesting blocks we have. The largest is pretty big and then each one gets gradually smaller. We have watched him work through some frustration and learning that some blocks are too small to have large ones stacked on top and that the block's open side cannot face upwards if he wants to stack others rahter than "nest" them. He seems to be getting a better understanding of these concepts as he is planning his stacks more accurately. We have a few VERY small wooden blocks. I found him today stacking them three high! These blocks are small enough to fit in his hand and when he closes his hand you can barely tell he is holding them. His hand-eye coordination is really picking up!

Proud mama signing off for now.
~The space on the site we use for posting pics on the blog is full. I am working on finding an alternative so that I can post somem LONG overdue current pics. Stay tuned.....

Ren Fest & Halloween

Well, this year was our 2nd Renaissance Festival Camp-Out with the kids. I have to admit, this year it was pretty challenging. Poor Jenna was not feeling well the entire trip. In fact, due to tummy issues, she was VERY uncomfortable and VERY irritable (understandably so). The whole week before she suffered from some tummy discomfort so hadn't slept well. The only thing that made her comfortable was to sleep in daddy' arms while we were walking around at the festival. Jason held her for over two hours as she slept in his arms. When he tried to put he in the stroller the pressure on her stomach was just too much so being THE best daddy ever, he held her as she slept. I pushed Blake around in the stroller. He LOVED to people watch. The festival was pretty packed with people so there was MUCH to see. We found an area that was off the beaten path a bit and let Blake walk around. We are teaching him that he needs to hold mommy or daddy's hand when out somewhere. This was only the 2nd time we've been out and have tried to teach this to him. He did really really well. Grandma bought them a monkey backpack that has a long tail that mom or dad can hold onto. While I am not a fan of the "kid leashes" , this thing is cute and for me is different. I plan to use it merely as a back up system. I insisted that Blake hold my hand while we walked around and I just put the end of the tail in my pocket as a backup way to stay connected. Sometimes he would hold one end of the tail and I would hold the other, he thought that was funny. While Jenna peacefully slept, Blake and I walked and walked and walked. Back at the campsite, they did well. Jenna enjoyed spending a lot of time in Uncle Duane and Choichi Kim's trailor, hangin out with the big kids. Blake enjoyed it too but found gathering and sorting things outside much more fun. All four of us slept in the queen bed in the trailor, which was a first. The kids have never slept with us in the same bed. Jenna was not feeling well still so tossed and turned. Blake woke a few times, sat up and looked around confused, then plopped back down. All and all the trip was a good one but was a lot of work. Jenna is at a stage where she still likes to crawl around and Blake likes to runa round so lots of time was spent making sure Jenna wasn't crawling into the fire or out os site while also making sure Blake wasn't running into the fire-haha.

We left Sunday (Halloween) and headed back home. We were all really tired from the fest. Jenna was still not feeling well. We did manage to go trick or treating to about four neighbors' houses. Blake was dressed up as Dracula, slicked back hair and all. Jenna was dressed up as Snow White, and what a little beauty! We let them play in the yard a bit while trick or treaters came by. Jenna decided it was time for bed but Blake was still working on sorting the candy from our treat bowl for the trick or treaters. He was also amazed by the fog machine we had in the front yard and blinking monster feet lights.

Jenna finally got some relief on Monday. She is back to herself and I am so glad to see her smile and hear her giggle again. While sitting on my lap the other day we were looking at a book with a cow on the front. She was touching and pointing at the cow's google eyes. I said, "Eyes" and she turned around with a huge smile and gently touched my eyes. I LOVE seeing her make these connections. I am so proud of her. And of Blake.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Nominated as the 2010 March of Dimes Ambassador Family

A couple weeks ago we received an email from the March of Dimes stating that we had been nominated as the 2010 March of Dimes Austin Area Ambassador Family. We are so excited and feel very honored. We were informed that there were a handful of families nominated and we were strongly encouraged to fill out an application. Stasia Vance, the Austin area family team coordinator, was the person who nominated us. She told me that they were looking for a high energy family with an amazing story of prematurity who feels passionate about their experience. That would certainly be us, I thought! She said that she was able to nominate a handful of nominees and immediately thought about us, our involvement over the last year and of Jenna and Blake's journey through prematurity.

The ambassador family will speak at fund raisers, various meetings and events and will be involved with raising awareness through the media. They will share their story and information about the impact the March of Dimes has had on thier lives. It is quite the commitment in that there are several speaking events. The family will also speak at the 2011 March for Babies to kick off the event.

Jason and I gladly accepted the nomination and sent in our application. We feel very honored to have even been nominated. If we become the 2010 Ambassador Family, our lives will get busier than they already are, no doubt about it. However, since our journey began we have felt it was important to share with other families, our experience in hopes that we can help support others. And more importantly we want to help provide hope. Afterall, the thing that kept us going was the hope we had of one day bringing our babies home, safe and sound. Gratefully, that hope lead to triumph and was our saving grace.

March of Dimes: "Miracles on 32nd Street" Team Update

This is L-O-N-G overdue....a final account of how our March of Dimes family team did on our first year as participants in the March for Babies.

Together, our team members raised $2,340!! Wow, that is pretty impressive I think. Our team ranked in the top 20 teams!! We are so grateful that we were abe to show our support this year and even happier that we were able to raise money for the organization that made such an impact on our family's life.

Thank you all who donated in our team's name, those who joined our team as walkers and everyone who continues to keep up with our very own "Miracles on 32nd Street".

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

"Jenna & Blake's Playhouse"

As I sit here on the couch staring at the computer with high hopes of getting back to posting on the blog, I am just straight up- EXHAUSTED. After playing with, reading to, wrestling with, tickling, playing peek a boo with, walking with, removing Blake from the table tme and time again from standing on the table, sweeping food off of the floor, cleaning faces and hands, changing diapers, kissing two bumped heads, managing temper tantrums, hugging on, juggling being climbed on by one while changing the other, cleaning two kids, myself and the couch of lotion from the bottle of lotion Jenna was playing with and spilled, stopping Blake from cholking on lunch, wrestling two toddlers to change their clothes, teaching, playing in the grass with, singing to and peering into the two most beautiful pairs of blue eyes you'll ever see....I am TIRED. That is probably just a snippet of our day today. Even with all of the exhausting things that go on day in and day out, the day still ends with a wonderfully warm feeling. I have two of the most wonderful kids!

Jason and I bought a playhouse off of Craig's List about a week ago. Jason power washed it and it looks great! We put it in Jenna and Blake's playroom. Both are really enjoying it. Jenna likes to go in there with a book or with a light up toy. Blake likes to get in adn open and shut the door and place toys on the windowsill. Today I caught him laying in there on his back just laying in there relaxing. The other day I saw Jenna laying on her tummy with her leg bent, foot in the air and "reading" a book. I think it is a good little "get a way" for them. I sometimes find them in the playhouse together. Today they were in there playing and giggling. Just love when they do that.

Well, beings that I can barely think straight right now I am going to keep this post short. Afterall, I need to get my "mommy-rest"......it's no longer beauty rest, it's mommyrest. :)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Two Little Stinkers August 13th

Boy do we have two little stinkers on our hands, haha. While hanging out with the kids this week they did so many things that made me think, "I need to write that down", or "I have to remember to tell about that". The truth is, Blake and Jenna are at a real fun age. They are just so curious and want to explore so much. The more they move around, the more they have to explore, the more they learn, the more tired Jason and I get chasing after them. It is so worth it though. And thankfully, we've gotten a few date nights here and there in in order to relax and refuel-haha.

One of their favorite pastimes is still jumping in their beds. Their cribs are still against the same wall and are within arms' reach of one another. They can often be heard and seen holding hands or reaching over while they jump in their beds, laughing and giggling all the while. No wonder they have such lean muscular legs.

Jenna has been very interested in books (can you see her teacher-mom beaming with delight right now? YES, I am!). She loves to thumb through and look at the pictures. We have several books with the different textured pages, those are her favorite. Her and Blake enjoy being read to. She has been more steady and has gained better balance when cruising along the furtiture and standing. She is so close to free standing, I think she just needs to gain a bit more confidence. Same goes for walking. She is perfectly capable, just not quite confident. Funny thing about that is that she is quite the dare devil when it comes to other things like being "thrown" into the air or turned upside down, or tossed around on the bed. She enjoys a little horse play and rough housing. Little tuff girl. Most of all, she loves to be silly. She has such a sense of humor! And her laugh? Oh, it is just THE best. You really can't help but to smile when you hear her laugh. It is a belly laugh that just makes you instantly go for more by tickling her, making funny faces or noises or tossing her in the air.

"Boogie", aka Blake, is certainly living up to his nickname. We call him Boogie because he is always on the go. He is our experimenter, scientist and toy tester. He is walking all over and can be pretty fast about it when he wants to be. He loves his weeble wobbles and anything that sort of moves in a silly manner. He is enjoying their play tunnel too. He climbs in that thing and giggles and squeals. I like to play peed-a-boo with him while he is in it because he gets such a kick out of going from one end the the other just to turn around and see me peering in at him on the other end. He has THE sweetest grin. When he smiles at you, his curls complimenting his handsome little face, your heart melts. He has a huge heart and is LOVES to hang out with his sissy. Sometimes he just watches her and when he sees or hears her laugh, he just smiles ear to ear. I think he enjoys Jenna's laugh too because after a while he just can't help but to join in, even throwing a "fake" laugh in order to join her fun. So sweet!

Ok, I am working on keeping up with the blog. Pics are soon to follow.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

~We're Back~

Ok, so it's been way too long since we've posted. Jason and I have just been really busy keeping up with two active toddlers. So much has happened and they have grown so much. It is going to take a few posts to catch up here....so here I go.

Jenna is as independent as ever these days. She has been a little chatter box, speaking her own words and very comical sounds. She LOVES to be silly and one of her favorite past times is to be tickled. Where is she ticklish? The question is where is she NOT ticklish. Haha. She is walking along the furniture and is working on her confidence to take the plunge and take a step on her own. We have tried to encourage her to walk by holding her hands and walking with her. Up until the last couple weeks, she simply bends at the knees and sits. Little stinker. Here lately, she will take a few steps while holding our hands. We've been encouraging and cheering her on. She seems to be occasionally trying her hand at gaining better balance. Another favorite pass time of hers is to jump in her bed.

Blake is walking ALL over the place these days. In fact, he has even tried his hand at speed walking, or running, if you will. He is still vvery laid back, happy go lucky, and is very curious. He spends much of his time taking toys over to the tile and dropping them to see how they fall, if they roll, what noise they make and so forth. He is loving having two of everything. One for each hand....often times this means he has his bottle in one hand, Jenna's in the other. Yes, taking things from Jenna has been the "norm" for some time. Jason and I are constantly getting onto him. He is starting to "get it" now and will sometimes stop when we discipline but then others, he goes over to her with a smirk on his face as her grabs whatever she has. Little stinker!

Well, this is only the beginning of my attempt to catch our blog up. I hope to find time to get on here more regularly again. Hope our family and friends still check in. :)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

One 17M old + One 17M old=2 Temper Tantrums in Stereo

Okay, so this post may be a short and sweet one. I have wanted to post on many occasions but the truth of the matter is.....we are REALLY busy these days. Having two active 17month olds is proving to test us in ways we only imagined. I have cared for and taught many children but it seems dealing with your own childrens' fits can, in some ways, be more challengeing.

So both have reached the age/developmental stage of temper tantrums. Blake started about two weeks ago and Jenna started a couple days ago. Blake's usually comes on with frustration and just not being able to express himself yet. When we visited the doc for their 15month check ups, we described the triggers of his fits and how he reacts. He actually had a few fits while in the doc's office, so she saw them first hand. She think he is reaching frustration because he is yet to be able to communicate all of his feelings yet. Don't get me wrong, he has had a fit here and there when he is just mad or when we have taken something away from him that he should not have. He throws himself forward on the floor with his arms above his head, fists clinched, as if he has just been defeated and buries his face in the carpet. Then when he looks up he has THE most pitiful frown on his cute little face. Jenna's fits have usually been triggered by one of three things. The first being when her brother is invading her personal space, ramming his walker into hers or when he takes her toy. When he takes her toy, sometimes she just turns away and does something else as if to say, "Fine, it's not worth it". Other times she grabs it back or pushes him. Here lately, she has occasionally just thrown a fit due to being angry about it. The second trigger is being tired and wanting to be in her quiet, dark and calm room. The third being....it's something new, and well.......she just simply can. Yes, she can turn it on and off like the turn of a switch. She can be laughing one minute and SCREAMING the next. These are the times I think she is exercising this new ability....wow, I can REALLY make some noise and protest. I have to say that her fits have been a bit more trying the last few days because they are so loud and at times are so random and long lasting. I know she is testing this new "tool" she has added to her repoiture. hehe. Her tired fits.....fine. Her angry fits....usually consists of throwing herself back and then scootching herself back by digging her heels into the carpet and straightening her legs.. Her "I can" fits....nerve racking during the incident but pretty comical after they are all done. She scrunches her little face, sometimes throws her head back, and is ALL about the drama. She can belt out a screetch and then when she straightens her head again, she has a pleasant look on her face. It seems her fits are due to expressing anger, exhaustion or "just because I can". Did I mention her nickname from the first week she was born was "sassy pants"?

So typically our approach to their fits is to make sure they are in a safe place to thrash about and to simply ignore them. If the fit lasts for more than a minute, we intervene. I usually tell then I can see they are angry, give tehm a little validation, ask what is wrong and then try to distract them with a new activity.
Needless to say we have rounded a corner that has proven to be a bit challenging at times.

There have been other new developments too. Jenna has four new teeth on top coming in at the same time. I am sure this influences some of the current tantrums. She has been enjoying touching her brother's face and watching him a lot lately. She still LOVES to be tickled and sung to. She has been playing with her favorite ball that she likes to toss around and laughs when it bounces. She has been playing peek a boo and has enjoyed looking out the windows. Blake is walking more and more everyday. He has been doing lots of little experiments lately. He finds various things like big plastic coins, balls, just about anything, will take it over to the window seal or tile and drops it to watch it bounce or roll. He also will take his ball over to the tile and will bounce it. He has enjoyed testing different toys to see what they will do when he drops them on the tile.

Well, the kids are calling...at least I was able to get one day's post up. :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tuesday, May 25th 15 Month Check Up

Yesterday I noticed that Blake has a top tooth poking through now. So far he has four on bottom and one on top. Jenna has two on bottom and has had the one on top for about a month now. I just can't imagine them with a mouthful of teeth. It seems it is happening so fast.

Jason and I are taking the kids in to the pedi today for their 15month check up and shots.....albeit a month late. It's been a little challenging around here because they have both been sick. The day after Mother's Day Jenna started having a runny nose and fever. Blake started with the same a couple days later. They also had a cough that was pretty steady. Then last Thursday Blake's cough became worse pretty rapidly in the evening. He gasped for air, his face turned red and blue and would often choke. We would constantly be blowing in his face to stimulate him to breath. Neither he or Jenna had been sleeping well. This particular night we had him sitting in the swing so he would be upright and in hopes he woudl get enough relief to get some sleep. He went into a coughing fit and started choking. He then threw up quite a bit and started gurgling and choking on his vomit. Jason took him out and turned him facing downward and patted him. He was able to throw the rest up and breath. He finally gained his color back. He began crying and cried for nearly two hours following. We decided to take him into the ER. Uncle Adam came over and stayed with Jenna, who was finally fast asleep. We called "Aunt" Janice for advice on what ER to go to. As great as Dell childrens may be, we were not prepared to sit in the ER for
2+hours before being seen. We decided to go to Seaton Southwest. When we got there there was no one in the waitingroom. We didn't even sit down and were told to come on back. Blake was still crying and screaming. Long story short, our whole stay in the ER lasted nearly two hours. This is much better than waiting for two hours to even be seen. Turns out, he had an upper respiratory infection and probable ear infection.

PM~
Today's appointment went well. Jenna weighs 22lbs 10oz and Blake weighs 22lbs 12.8 oz. Jenna is 30.25 inches and Blake is 31 inches. They are both on track for all of their adjusted age skills and development. They both stand and are able to "cruise" along furniture, they eat mainly "table" food, are able to say mama and dada, use a sippy cup, drink whole milk, babble, etc. As all premies do, we are working on catching up to their chronological age skills and development. While they are on target for SOME of the 16month (actual age) skills, there are others that we are focusing in on. These include walking for Jenna, increasing vocab for them both, taking ALL bottles "out of the equation", and increasing their verbal/communication skills. These are all skills that other 16 month olds are working on as well. Dr.F is very pleased with Jenna and Blake's growth and development. She is impressed with how happy they are and with their level of interaction with others as well as the fact that they are eating just about anything we eat. Before we left, she said, "I know you guys must hear this a lot but these guys are truly amazing and look fantastic". Needless to say we were pretty proud. Then it was time....time for THREE immunizations. Sigh......luckily, as always, they were fast. Jenna was first. Daddy held her arms during administration then quickly scooped her up and consoled her. She was quickly calmed and fine. Then it was my turn to hold Blake's arms (the immunizations were all given in the thighs). Poor guy, when we laid him on the table he looked up at Stormy (our nurse) and gave her a big smile. She told him,
Oh no smiles poor guy, I'm sorry" and did the deed. He screams then cried a bit as I tried to console him. It didn't take long for him to calm down either. We are so glad those are over. We don't go back for shots again for another two months....sheesh, not long enough.

As soon as we got into the car, the kids were out! they slept all the way home then had a good nap once we got home. They are doing fine and were playing happily after their nap.

All in all a good report.

Friday, May 21, 2010

We've Got a walker on Our Hands!!!!

***more Catching up/"retro posting"***
Wednesday, May 5th
Today was an exciting one! This afternoon Jenna, Blake and I were playing in the playroom like we do everyday. Jenna was playing some "tunes" on her piano and Blake was moving from one thing to another. Often times while I am sitting in the playroom, they will go about thier business playing and from time to time will come over to say hello, to crawl on me or just come sit and play with me. Blake was standing and shaking a shaker then turned to me. I smiled and said hello and that is when he did it! He smiled and took two steps to me!!! Needless to say I was cheering like crazy and telling him what a great job he did. Then I picked up the phone to call daddy. He couldn't wait to get home in hopes he would later catch him in the act. Luckily, Daddy witnessed his son's first steps the very next day. While Blake seems to be focusing in on walking, Jenna certainly is focusing in on talking. She has been really chatty! I love hearing her little girl voice. She is so proud of herself as she babbles about the house. What a sweet and fiery little gal.

Throughout the next two weeks he would try out his new skill here and there, taking two, maybe three steps. Jason and I marvel each day when he takes a step here and there and to and from he and I. He still chooses crawing over walking but is practicing his new skills more and more.

May 19th
Ok, so NOW we have an official walker. Blake took SIX steps today! YES, SIX!!! He walked from daddy to me in one slow, toldde like manner. He took his time and balanced perfectly. Daddy and I cheered as if we were at the superbowl. Jenna looked on and smiled over all the excitement. Blake waved his arms up and down when he reached me and lunged into my arms. It was great! It felt as if he had just crossed the finish line. He is now regularly walking from here to there mixed with his old back up, crawling.

May 20
I took Jenna with me to Hobby Lobby for a little shopping today. Blake stayed with daddy. Jenna was enjoying our trip until that is, I was "parked" in one spot for what she percieved as too long. There is so much to look at at Hobby Lobby, afterall. Towards the end of our trip she started chatting rather loudly. We were looking at some gift wrap all the while she was carrying on with her "stories". When a man took a double take and turned back towards our aisle to get a look at Jenna. He said that he and his friend had heard her talking earlier and now again. He then proceeded to tell me how beutiful she is and how cute she sounds. Jenna and I thanked him and she gave them a big gorgous smile. I love having a little girl (and a little boy!).

Blake is walking quite a bit now. He even walks around while holding things, will turn directions and turn completely around. He is really getting the hang of it now. I am going to get this cuteness on video soon so you all can see.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Just a Thought

**I wrote this on May 15th but in an interrupted attempt to try and catch the blog up, I am just getting around to posting it tonight. **

A Year ago tonight, Jason and I were "rooming in" at St. David's in preparation of bringing our "newborns" home after 4 1/2 months of intensive care. It was our first full night together and the beginning of what we had been dreaming about for so long. To be with our babies, to be full time hands-on parents, to take them home where they belonged, in our arms on our couch, rocking them in our rocking chair as we lounge in our PJs. A flood of memories and emotions are turning over and over. I can see that night replay with much detail. I remember the anticipation as we waited in the bay. As we moved through all of the "formalities", the move into our own room couldn't come soon enough. The anticipation of having the kids all to ourselves, behind closed doors, no intruding monitors, no "good night sweet peas, we will be back in the morning", no sharing our "privacy" with several other babies and parents, nurses and doctors. I remember when we were finally settled into the room for the night, it was a wonderful, strange and new feeling. We hardly knew what to do with ourselves. Needless to say with them being "newborns" we didn't get much sleep that night but WOW, what a great night.

Tonight I'm sitting on my couch with video monitor close by (yes, even at over a year old, I still rely on peeking in on them quite frequently) as Blake and Jenna are sleeping in their cribs. I will continue to try not to take each night for granted as I have the opportunity to get them ready for bed each night, hold them, carry them upstairs and tuck them in and kiss them goodnight. So many a night we longed for this privledge and tonight it's been a year of doing just that. Life is wonderful!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

March for Babies & Birthday Party Pics

Thank you to all of our family and friends for your participation in this year's March for Babies. Today's event was AWESOME! Thanks for being on our team, "Miracles on 32ns Street" and for your phenominal support.

Here are a few pics from today's walk as well as some of the kid's bday party pics. In the next few days, I will be doing my best to post an update on everything that has been going on in the last two months. We have had some exciting things happening and some great times spending with family and friends.

Here are a few of the bday party pics. Just click on the picture.

Seussical Celebration



And here are a few of the March for Babies pics. Just click on the picture.

March for Babies 2010~ "Miracles on 32nd Street"

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Seussical Celebration

Wow! What a great and memorable day it was.

We had so many family members and friends attend Jenna and Blake's first (adjusted) birthday and one year homecoming anniversary party. It was great to have so many special people with us, as this was certainly a milestone that we still are taken back by. We have so much to be thankful for, relieved about and just plain happy about. We wanted to have a special party for the kids on the anniversary of their homecoming as well as to celebrate them turning one in January, and boy was it special!

The day started with lots of setting up of Dr. Seuss decor. The Cat in the Hat, Thing 1 & Thing 2, Sneetches, the Grinch, Horton, Dog, balloons, a candy bar, and so much more! Thanks so much to both moms, dads, sisters, brother-in-laws, cousins and friends for helping prepare the room. It turned out looking awesome!

Before I new it, Jenna and Blake's guests were arriving just minutes after daddy brought Blake and Jenna in. He stayed at home while they napped while we set up the "party room". Jenna and Blake wore their thing 1 and thing 2 shirts and red shorts. Jenna had red and white leggings on. Too cute!! The guests really started pouring in! It was so wonderful to have so many special people with us. So many people who gave us an amazing amount of support and care throughout the last year and a half. I have been looking forward to this day for a long time. It just seemed natural to throw a party to have our support

to be continued

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Simple Pleasures of Childhood

I have a lot of catching up to do on our blog. We've been so very busy the last month or so. It looks like the next three weeks will be much the same but I am going to try and get on and bring it all up to date. Until then, I just have to post this very cute video. Blake and Jenna's "Aunt Kelly" (uctually she is their cousin but we consider her their aunt) and their cousin Lance bought Blake and Jenna some "water balls" that have glitter in them. Both Blake and Jenna went WILD over them. this is their first experience with a ball that bounces. Until now we've only had some plastic balls that don't actually bounce. I am trying to edit a video of both of them watching daddy bounce them in which they were both giggling like crazy. I was able to edit and am posting one of Jenna until then.... Look and listen to the fun!!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Intro to Bluebonnets






While on a walk the other day, Grandma Patranella and I took the kids to a field of Bluebonnets just a couple blocks up from my house. I had noticed them the day before so had planned to take the kids over for some pics. I did remember to take the camera on our walk but didn't bring a "noise" maker/attention grabber. We didn't manage to get any pics of the kids actually looking up except for one of Jenna. Nevertheless, we got some good shots. Jason and I are planning on taking them to a field of Bluebonnets in the next week or so as well. Til then, this is what we got.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

"Baby Blues" Vision Check

The kids had another vision follow up this week. Jenna's eyes look great so will not need to get checked again for another year. YAY Jenna! We are sooooo blessed to be able to report that both kids' eyes checked out well. Blake was supposed to have his eyes dialted but I guess there was a lack of thought or communication in the office today. We waited for their appointments for over an hour then waited in the exam room another thirty or so. Once Jenna had her eyes checked and it was Blake's turn, he was checked out but after shinning some lights and having had a regular exam, the doc realized he should've been dialted for a more "exact" check up. He feels confident about his vision and about the healing/scars created by Blake's emergency eye surgery. So.....he said we could either wait for a year or come back in 6months for another check. I prefer 6months. I am a bit disappointed that this was overlooked but am reassured that Blake is doing so well that the doc isn't concerned. He said he is a bit near sighted and will likely have glasses in a couple years. My handsom little guy in glasses? CUTE! I am just so grateful that the laser eye surgery was such a success!

The kids did so well during the LONG wait and during the exam. Jenna spent much of the time being silly...squirmming around in daddy's arms and making silly noises...rasberries of all sorts. Blake sat very patiently in his carrier and looked around at the people and movement in the packed lobby. They are so well behaved-hehe. Now, J and I just need to be sure we keep them that way. ;)

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Little Taste Test








Jason and I took the kids out the other day to enjoy the Spring Weather. We've been doing so just about each day now. Every time I open the door to take out the trash or get something from the car, the kids just radiate to the closest vacinity of the door that they can reach from their playroom. So, we took them out to play on the ground. We have a layer of leaves and old dead grass blanketed over the yard right now that needs to be raked. There is some new grass peaking through. As soon as Jenna and Blake were placed on the ground, they were instantly happy to be out. Blake looked around and felt the leaves and grass and watched the leaves in the trees blow around. Jenna went right for the old grass and leaves for a taste. She was like a hoover vaccuum with those little hands, staight to the mouth. I would no sooner take the leaves from her mouth and hands and she would have already reached down for another handful. Over and over and over. Blake took a tiny taste test but I guess he wan't impressed with the taste or pointy texture in his mouth. He did however gnaw on the stem of one of the leaves for a bit. Jenna just kept cramming them in her mouth. I had to put her on my lap and offer a teething toy to keep her from stuffing herself like a pinata. Haha. J got some great pics of her stuffing her mouth.

It's such a beautiful day out again today. We are definitely going to spend much of it outside going for a walk and playing!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Snow Day Flash Back





Since I hadn't posted our snowday pics, I figured I would do it now. Better late than not at all. I think I posted about our day and promised pics. Well, we are talking about the gal who STILL has 20 Christmas cards WITH stamps sitting in the drawer. SIGH!! I am so tempted to send them since they havce pics in them and are stamped. So....family and friends....don't be too shocked if you soon receive a Christmas card. HA!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A Little Mischief







I was playing with the kids in the "free range" area, otherwise known as the livingroom. Jenna was playing with the "this toy is made of XZY material" tag thingy on a stuffed animal, which she is often found doing. Blake was looking around to see what he could get into. I had one of their exersaucers pushed to the corner of the room. I turned to get something just to turn back around to find Blake with half of his body between the seat part and bottom platform of the exersaucer....his head and one leg inside, his butt and other leg outside of it. My first thought was, "Ha, as soon as I turn for a sec. Man he is fast!" Then my second thought was, "Uh huh, let me see him get out of this one". I figured since he was kinda stuck in there he would end up calling out to mom for a rescue. Nope. He ended up crawling completely between the top and bottom platforms of this thing. He just sat under there and hung out for a bit. I grabbed the camera and got a few shots. Here they are.....

Oh, and YES, he actually got out of that "bind" all on his own...crawled right out.

And our own little Miss Sass Pants? The other day I was watching my soaps and Snoop Dog was actually performing on it. Jenna was strolling around in the walker and all of a sudden she "walked" it over to the T.V. and started watching Snoop. My girl loves music.....think she may be a HUGE fan of Snoop! She sat and watched for the entire performance.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Late night thoughts

Tonight's Top Five Things I Love About My "Babies"
5~I love your laugh.
Jenna-your laugh sounds like it starts from the tip of your toes and continues all the way up to your bright little face. I adore you!

Blake~your "always ready to giggle" laugh is just so fun-loving. You are such a happy go lucky little guy.

4~I love to hear you "talk".
Jenna~I love how you look when you say "dadadada". You have a loving sparkle in your eyes and a tender hearted grin everytime you start rattling off dada's name. You always appear to be so proud of yourself and say it in such a tender soft voice. How could you not have daddy wrapped around your dainty little pinky?
Blake~I love your "sleepy talk". Your "guggle guggles" and "goygle goygles" are just TOO darn adorable. I remember when you first started saying these "words", most often heard when you get really tired. I just wanted to bottle up some of those moments and hang onto them forever. I was so releived to finally get them on video after several attempts. Those guggle guggles are dead giveaways and can be interpretted as "mommy and daddy, I'm REALLY tired".

3~I love how you love your brother/sister.
Jenna~While it is clear that you are very content with being "independent" and doing your own thing at times, I often catch you going to your brother and putting your hands on his face to love on him. I also catch you talking to him from your crib, looking through the slats to wake him up for some company or most recently standing in bed on your tippy toes to look over the top into his bed. It may not aleays appear so, but you do keep tabs on where he is. It is clear that you love being his sissy and love to make him laugh.
Blake~I love the way you LOVE your sissy. You feel she is the bestest of pals. You want to play with her always, know where she is at all times, console her when she is hurting and protect her too. I love the way you insist on holding her hand when we go for walks. And the times she just does not feel like it, you always have your hand resting on her arm or leg. You are born a natural great brother!

2~I love your personalities-both a bit similar but also so different than the other.
Jenna~strong, determined, sassy, sweet, silly, great sense of humor, you know what you want, not afraid to tell us what you like and don't like, very social but enjoys your own time too, independent, focused, at times not easily impressed, at other times you encourage and pull out the silliness in mommy, "tickle junkie", a bit of a princessness about you (in a sweet little girly girl way)heroic, happy.
Blake~strong, determined, social butterfly, funny, always looking to have a good time and share a laugh with anyone who shows any potential of getting involved in your laughing antics, a go getter, patient, compassionate, protective, empathetic, you have the "teddy bear" lovability about your, heroic.

1~I love the way you love mommy and daddy.
Jenna~One of my favorite "us" times is when you are settling down for sleep and I am rocking you. The way you look up at me and reach up with fanned fingers and so lightly run them through my hair. You look at me as if I'm the best thing since sliced bread. Well, honey, let me tell you. You are so much better than sliced bread has ever or ever will be. I know this is your way of telling me you love me.
Blake~I absolutely adore your morning greetings. I love the reaction we get when we walk into your room after a full night's sleep and "seperation" and you get so overwhelmed with excitement. It is as if we were being reunited after years of being apart. First its a squeel, then a giggle, followed a shaking free of some of the sheer joy of us being there and as we reach for you, you have that open mouthed grin that reaches from one ear to the other. I have never been a morning person. But let me tell you, if that greeting does not set your morning in the right direction, you're just flat out incurable. "Little boogie, sometimes I feel like I can't contain my feelings for how wonderful I think you are either! Love it, Love it, Love it!!!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Welcome March! Come on Springtime weather!!

Okay, so it's been a while since we've posted and here it is March already!
We've had a busy month. As you've read in the last blog entry, the kids were sick. Turns out they both had a virus-hand, mouth, foot-YUK!! Jenna turned up with symptoms first. She had fever and tons of red spots/rash ALL over. Some appeared to be chicken pox at first. Thankfully, that wasn't the case. Blake started showing symptoms about two days later. With him though, he had higher fever and much fewer spots. They both had sores and blisters in their mouths and throats. Poor things were miserable. Blake's throat sores were so bad, he just cried and fussed when he tried to eat. I'm guessing they contracted this virus from our visit to the play gym. :( Jenna's lasted for about five days and Blake's lasted a bit longer. Once she felt better, Blake was about three days later in getting over his. However, he experienced congestion and icky runny nose for several days after. Jenna had a bit of that too. While they were sick, they didn't sleep well at all. They were so miserable and only found comfort in our arms, especially when they tried to sleep. Needless to say we got in TONS of snuggle time. It took quite a while to get the kids back to sleeping through the night. They got used to sleeping with one of us so that was yet another challenge to overcome (for them and for mommy). Is it hard having twins? My answer is it's only hard when they are both sick at the same time. THANKFULLY, Jason was able to stay home the entire week to help me. Both kids demanded comfort and attention 24/7. I am not sure how I would have kept it togehter if iw as on my own on this one. I'm glad they are well and back to their happy selves.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Under the Weather

Well, with the exception of low fever once, Jenna has managed to stay well from the time she got out of the hospital last May to yesterday. Jenna started having fever yesterday and is still experiencing it tonight. Jason and I chalked it up to teething all day yesterday and lastnight b/c of the usual signs~lots of drooling, tender to the touch, her desire to chew on different things. She has not ate much, is very uncomfortable and irritable and hasn't slept all that great. Today she broke out in a rash. LOTS of red bumps all over. She was also tugging at her ear a bit. I called the nurse and was advised to bring her in. Turns out, Jenna definitely has a viral infection. She has bumps in her throat too. :( It is in the early stage so we don't know what kind yet. The bumps do resemble chicken pox at its very early stage but the pedi assured me that she really does not feel that it is. We are to keep an eye on her bumps and send her pics tomorrow as a f/u. How nice is that? I probably won't have to turn around and take her out of the house to go tto the pedi again tomorrow, thankfully. Poor Jenna has been miserable. She just can't get comfortable so Jason and I have been holding her quite a bit. She has napped best while being upright in our arms. She has been very snuggly and has wanted extra comforting. I can't wait til she feels better and we can see that pretty smile of hers again!

So far, Blake has been fine other than being real concerned for his sister. Jenna has had a different tone in her cry and at times it has alarmed Blake. He has always looked after her and has always shown concern when she cries a painful cry. We keep reassuring him that she is ok. Because we have rocked her a lot today he has clearly been lonely for her in the play yard. We have gotten down to play with him of course but he keeps looking to her.

Did I mention how wonderful it is to have twins? And how great it is to have a boy and a girl at the same age at the same time? Truly awesome. They have been exhibiting lots of "twin" behaviors. It is late so I will share twin stories soon. I need to get rest while they are both sleeping peacefully.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Blast from the Past-Our little Valentines



This top pic is a scan of the Valentine that Blake and Jenna made for us last year (thanks to Anna and April). It was such a great surprise. And it couldn't have been given to us at a more perfect time. A month into our NICU stay, we were ready for a breath of fresh air. This is one of my favorite keepsakes by far. Just look at those tiny feet. And to think they were even smaller at birth.

I decided to make a comparison print of their feet today. (Just click on the pic and you can get a bigger view) Even though the placement of their feet is flip flopped on today's heart valentine, you can see how much they have grown. Look at Blake's BIG "paw". And Jenna has the cutest dainty "toody" still today.

Just wanted to share.

***I added to the previous two posts. Please revisit the "March for Babies" post for more info***

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Jumpy Gym Play Date by Day Bubble Bath by Night











We were invited to a playdate by some "old" friends. Two of Blake and Jenna's NICU nurses, Heather and Daun, invited us to join them and their daughters (who I will refer to here as) "L" and "R" at Jumpy Gym this week. Heather and Daun took amazing care of the twins while they were in the hospital getting big and strong. Heather was pregnant with "L" and was due a week before Blake and Jenna's due date and Daun's little girl "R" was born four months before Blake and Jenna were born. Being close in age made for an excellent play time.

It was a bit challenging getting the kids out due to the wet and cold weather. Luckily, Jumpy gym isn't even a half mile from our house. We got all bundled up and were on our way. Once we got there and as soon as I got them out of the stroller, Jenna and Blake immediately went over and crawled into Heather and Daun's laps as if to say "hello old friend". After meeting the girls and saying hello, Jenna immediately started going from one toy to the next making herself right at home. After a few minutes of Blake looking around at this big playroom and at the other kids and mommies, he too started exploring. They had such a blast. They really enjoyed interacting with "R" and "L". Blake and Jenna are very social and are not in the least bit shy about saying hello to other kids or mommies. In fact, they were often found crawling into other mommie's laps to say hi. Guess they are little social butterflies in a lot of ways.

It was so nice meeting precious "R" and "L" and to catch up with Heather and Daun. It was great to be together under much more pleasant circumstances and to be doing the "mommy thing" with some friends.

Blake and Jenna had a blast! After a while, Blake realized he had lots more spcae to explore and to put his crawling into motion. As soon as he realized it, he took off. He started at one end of the gym all the way to the other in a crab like crawl, all the while making a "hmmph hmmph" noise. It seemed as if he thought is was in the Winter Olympics the way he was so into the task at hand. He had a ball! Then, when Jenna took note of what was going on, she started doing the same. Mommy? Well, mommy was getting a good look at what is in her near future.....trying to keep up with two toddlers! one going one way, the other the other way. Whew! and I think I'm getting a work out at the gym? Ha! At one point Jenna and Blake met up in the middle and crawled parallel from one end to the other. It looked as if they were racing. I actually got a little video coverage of it. I'll have to see about posting it. It was fun to watch.

We definitely look forward to more playdates with "L" and "R". AndI'm sure the kids would love to go back to Jumpy Gym!!

After a full day of playing, it was bath night. The kids are really too big for the baby tub these days so we have been bathing them in the kitchen sink. I like it much better since I can stand instead of leaning over. The kids enjoy baths, especially bubble baths. At one point Jenna put a bath toy in her mouth and when she pulled it away she had a bubble moustache and goatee-so cute! During Blake's bath, he had lots of bubbles in his hair so I made him a bubble afro. Here are a couple pics of both.

Til next time, have a good one!

Monday, February 8, 2010

March For Babies 2010

Jason and I are excited to report that we have formed a team for this year's (March of Dimes) March for Babies. The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. There are half a million babies born too soon each year. Of those half a million, 50,000 are micropreemies. Like Blake and Jenna, micropreemies are babies born under 3 pounds and before 28weeks.With chapters nationwide and its premier event, March for Babies®, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.


This year, our team, "Miracles on 32nd Street" is walking in March for Babies on May 8th. Our name originated from Blake and Jenna's birth place (St. David's Hospital located on 32nd Street) and because we feel that Blake and Jenna are living proof that miracles do really happen. After a very long 122 days in the NeoNatal Intensive Care Unit, both Jenna and Blake became healthy and were able to come home with us.


We are so grateful to have had you all as our support system during a most difficult period of our lives. We would be honored to have you join us in showing our support for the March of Dimes. For those of you who we have not yet met but have followed our journey through our blog, we thank you. We gladly invite you to join our team as well. And if you are viewing our story for the first time, we would be happy for you to join us in showing support to other families.

If you would like to show your support but are unalbe to attend the walk, you can still be part of our team! The walk is 3.2 miles long and starts at Auditorium Shores on Riverside. It is a stress-free event in that you can walk, jog, run at your own pace. Furthermore, you can walk any amount of the distance. You will witness many groups of family and friends walking in honor of thier children, nieces, nephew, grandchildren, cousins, friends. We hope that you will join us in celebration of Jenna and Blake and in hope for other families.

Please visit our team website at:

http://www.marchforbabies.org/s_team_page.asp?seid=1373878

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Jason or I via blog, email, or phone.


**For more information about the March of Dimes or March for Babies, visit marchofdimes.com

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Cart For Two-"Priceless"

Ok, so Costco has THE best shopping carts for carting around two kiddos AND a cart full of things.

So, I decided to take the plunge and venture out to Costco with the kids today. It required a bit more planning than usual with it sprinkling off and on all day. But....with needing to buy formula, wanting to get the best deal, and the kids and I having cabin fever, it was time! I was just hoping the whole way there that we wouldn't experience a torrential down-pour once I got them in the cart. I took the kids to Target one day a couple months ago b/c, again, we ran out of formula quicker than i thought we would. It was a mess! I had one baby in the front seat and the other in their infant cariier in the actual "cargo" part of the cart.It didn't work out well for a couple reasons. One beings that I had to practically hold Jenna in the front seat cause she wasn't quite big enough at the time to sit in the seat on her own. Then, I had to try and stuff things in the tiny spaces of the cart that were left over after loading the kids in it. Months ago, I had seen a woman in Target with two toddlers in the "seat" of one cart. Luckily for mom, they were small enough to have their legs in one leg hole each. At the time, I thought, ha, how clever! Now however, while I still think it was clever, I now also know when you have two, you HAVE to find ways to make it work. Being clever, or creative, is a must at times-haha.

As I was saying, kuddos to Costco! If I didn't know any better, I'd bet they designed their shopping carts with parents of twins in mind! ;) Sure, the whole cart is "super sized" which in turn makes the "front seat" larger, but to beat all, they have FOUR leg holes! AND two safety belts! SIGH.....nice. And Blake and Jenna fit in the front seat just right together and even have some room to grow. Okay, perhaps the highlight of your day would SEEM to beat mine, but this added "freedom" with shopping and getting things done is priceless to a mommy with twins!



Friday, January 29, 2010

FlashBack Friday~January 29, 2010

Today's FlashBack pics were taken at the end of January 2009.

This one is of Jenna. One night Jason went to put his wedding band on the kids' hands for size comparison pics. When he put it on Jenna's hand, we quickly realized that her tiny hand fit right through the band and dangled loosely on her wrist. Her little arms were so thin, that his band slid down to her elbow. I like this photo because it reminds me that sometimes the greatest love comes in the tiniest of packages.










Jason took this second picture a couple weeks after Jenna and Blake were born. I like this one because he captured a very quiet moment I was having with Blake. Even though I wanted so badly to reach in there, pick him up and bring him to me to hold and love on, I treasured every moment I was able to spend with him.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

In a Much Better Place

Thankfully, January is proving to be a much calmer and much less stressful one than last year's. Last year at this time, we had just received news of Jenna having experienced a bilateral IVH, or Intraventricular Hemmorrhage (brain bleed). We were completely taken back, shocked, and afraid for what this might mean for our little girl's future. The thought of Jenna having to struggle even more than she already was from her emergency arrival, broke our hearts. Her bleeds were that of grade three, meaning she was experiencing enlarged or swollen ventricles in her brain. The news was devestating. We were told that she was at considerable risk for having cerebal palsy or other dev delays. We took the information, asked questions, did research, listened to her possible prognosis and prayed harder than the nights before. The doctors were very caring, empathetic and patient with all of our questions. Dr. Su, Anna, April, Janice, Rhonda, Beth and a few of "our" additional, wonderful care-takers remained positive and hopeful. I remember one particular evening, Anna and I were takling, tears in eyes, and she told me, "Don't ever underestimate little Miss Jenna Lou" (that was Anna's nick name for Jenna) She is going to be fine". We were so scared about the unknown.We had so many of you, our family and friends on our side....on Jenna's side. This is part of the post I wrote last year.....

We were told last night that Jenna in fact has grade 3 bleeds on BOTH sides of her brain. She received another head sono this AM to check for continued bleeding. The preliminary appears to be the same. The final will come back later today. Please, please, please let the bleeding have stopped.

So many emotions............questions..............uncertainty..............conerns.

However, we are extremely hopeful and optimistic. Our little girl has already shown us how strong she is and was deemed "feisty" and "spunky" the first day she was born. The way we look at it, she is a real fighter. The power of positive thinking and prayer, I believe, can sometimes be the best healer. Thank you all for your continued prayers. We can really use the support.



From that day, Jason and I listened to our hearts, "listened" to Jenna, and became more focused and stronger. With help, we used our uncertainty and fear to fuel hope and optimism. Jenna (and Blake) had already shown us the previous 12 days, how much they wanted to be with us, showed us how strong they were and what fighters they both were. This day last year, our little girl, showed the "spunk", "and feistiness" that we had come to know of her within the first week of life. She showed us what real strength is....strength that was not overshadowed by a tiny, fraile, weak body but by will power, desire and love, and that beat all odds. She did not give up. She not only beat the odds but she met and surpassed our biggest hopes and dreams. We dreampt that one day we would look at Jenna and see that nothing physically or mentally, was holding her back. That it would take minimal intervention to help get her there. Jenna had other plans. Thankfully, what Dr. Su and others had told us about how sometimes at this early stage of development, the brain could do some "re-wiring" and overcome the trauma that she had experience had become the case for Jenna. The brain is an amazing organ indeed. This very resilence paired with Jenna's strength, has provided her with an amazing outcome. As I sit and watch her today playing and giggling with her brother, smiling and saying "dada", I can't help but to beam with joy. I am so very grateful that we are in a much better place today.

Thank you family and friends for your love and support, positive thoughts and energy. Like Jason and I, Jenna and Blake made it through and kept faith with your help. Sincerest thanks for being a large part of the start of Jenna's healing that day.


~As you can see, some days, this blog has become a bit of a journal for me. I hope that one day Jenna and Blake will read this and learn of the amazing journey their first year (+) of life has been so far and that they know the heroism that they have shown their mommy and daddy. You guys are OUR heroes. We love you.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Blake and Jenna's 12Month Check up and Shots

Jason and I took Jenna and Blake for their 12m check up today. The kids were so good, even having had their little fingers pricked for blood work and get FOUR shots.

The weigh in....
Last year on this date, Jenna weighed 1 pound 7 ounces.
Today, she weighs a whopping 19 pounds 4 ounces! Can you believe it?

Last year on this date, Blake weighed 1 pound 7 ounces.
Today, he weighs a healthy 19 pounds 8 ounces! It's amazing how much things can change in a single year. Still too difficult for me to "wrap my brain around it" sometimes.

For growth, we have two reports to share for each. First in comparison to 8/9months, or their adjusted age group. (this would be considered their preemie growth chart in a sense)
Jenna is in the 70-75th%tile for height/weight.
Blake is in the 50th%tile for height/weight.

The second report, being their percentile on the 12m (full term) growth chart.
Jenna is in the 25th% for height/growth.
Blake is in the 10th% for height and growth.

Pretty darn impressive for two micropreemies huh? We are sooooooo very proud of them. This means that as far as growth is concerned, they have quickly caught up to their (full term) 12m peers!

Now for the rest of the news. Dr. Fasci is very pleased with their growth and development. She said she would not guess they were preemies by their appearance or behaviors. She was very pleased to hear that Jenna, too, had been released from physical therapy last week. She says that she looks great with her movement and tone and loves that she is "talking" so much. She also said the same about Blake. When we told her that the kids were standing and that Blake has sttod a few times on his own, she was delighted. She proceeded to tell us that for her, they are truly miracles. Just the fact that they are doing so well, are so healthy and are exhibiting a much faster "preemie catch up" time. I thank God each and every day that we were not only granted the most precious gifts with having Blake and Jenna but also for how incredibly well they continue to do.

Dr. Fasci also reported that Blake and Jenna have nearly completely caught up with their 12m full term peers! She reports that they look and act just like any other 12m old. She reminded us to continue to keep in mind that they are preemies and to continue being conservative through RSV and flu season, given their chronic lung disease and medical history but that she encourages us to trade out deeming them as 8month babies for 12m toddlers. That excited me so much and makes me sad too. The saying that kids grow too fast has proven itself to me a hundred times over in the last 6months or so. When they were struggling to put on a single ounce per day to make it to 2lbs, 3lbs, and so on, in my mind, they couldn't grow fast enough. Once they came home, they grew and grew and grew. And here we are now.

Feeding....It is well over due that Jason and I introduce table foods to Blake and Jenna. Again, we were going off of their adjusted age and feeding them accordingly. We've been feeding them baby food twice a day and cereal at night....bottles through out the day. No table foods as of yet besides a little mashed potatoes, oh, and whip cream(thanks Aunt Donna, she gave them some on Thanksgiving). Dr. Fasci suggested that we get a nutritionist and feeding specialist in to evaluate the kids. Not due to any concerns, just to help fully evaluate beings that they were intubated a couple times and were on feeding tubes and ventilator for some time. She feels that they will be off of formula completely by about 15months. They aren't quite ready for whole milk yet until we introduce and regularly feed table foods and would like to see their formula intake decrease. We can start with mashed potatoes, green beans, yogurt, cheerios, gerber graduates. Also, another goal is to regularly use sippy cups. We've given the kids sippy cups from time to time, but again, I think Jason and I were going along with their adjusted age and were maybe holding them back a bit. with the sippy cup transition. So.....mommy went grocery shopping and is pulling out the sippy cups, the cheerios and graduate puffs, yogurt and other "yum-yums". Jason had a great suggestion the other day. He wanted to know what I thought about starting to have dinner together all four of us at the table. That way, it will get them used to sitting and eating while we do, in prep for when they are feeding themselves. I think its a great idea and will establish "family time" early on. Oh, and then there is the benefit of getting them used to it so we can go out to dinner once in a while. ;)

Oh, yes. Then there were the shots and blood test. They got their finger pricked for an iron test. Then they received their flu booster, the H1N1 vaccine, Synagis and one of their12m boosters. YES, poked 5 times!!!! Poor babies. Luckily, Brian is very fast about it all. We had already been in the office for about an hour and a half and the kids were falling asleep. I held Jenna, she was first. I tried waking her up to avoid a very rude awakening. After several attempts with of poking, rubbing and talking to her we just had to do the deed. Unforunately, she was rudely awaken. It is so difficult to hear your child cry like that and keep from crying yourself when you feel so bad for holding them down and "allowing" this to happen. She cried big crocodile tears and then just sort of layed in my arms and gazed at my hair. It was so sweet, between the exhaustion and let down from the rush of surprise and pain, she moved about very slowly reaching up and brushing her fingers through my hair back and forth. Too sweet!!! Jason held Blake for his shots. I think Daddy and Blake may have shared some tears. At least it appeared that Jason was holding an empathetic tear back. Blake cried for a bit and moaned an unhappy moan for a bit. Once we got them settled down, we packed up and went home. Total time spent at pedi appointment time for twins....2 hours. I am sooooooo glad Jason is able to (and insists on) taking them with me. The kids are so lucky to have him as their daddy, and I am for having such a great partner.

All in all, the day went very very well. We go back in three months for their 15m check and to get the remaining boosters. I am so happy to report more wonderful news and pray for continued good health and development. And finally, we want Blake and Jenna to know how very much we love them and of how very proud they continue to make us. We love you "Boogie" and "Chuchi Fruits"! ;)

Jenna's First Zoobie

As Jason posted yesterday, Jenna now has a pearly white little gem of a tooth! Again, Jason is the one who discovered this exciting bit of news. Jason and I noticed that Jenna was chomping down especially hard on her teething toys the last few days and the "drool faucet" opened to full flow. The day before I reached in Jenna's mouth to check her gums and she immediately started crying. Poor gal was in some discomfort so I let it go. The next night while I was running an errand Jason sent me a text sayiing, "I know why Jenna wouldn't let you look in her mouth. Yep, she cut her first tooth." Once again, there I am in some random store with tears in my eyes. SIGH, oh brother! I was so excited to see her when I got back home. Jason said he could see a raised area with a tear and a little hole. Still today, you can barely see it but it has certainly cut through. I'm quickly realizing that we are moving from baby to toddlerhood. Although, you will often still hear (and read) me say baby. I think I am going to hang on to that one a bit longer. ;)

Congrats Jenna....one step closer to sharing McDonald's french fries with mommy!