Wednesday, December 17, 2014

'Twas the Week Before Christmas

It has been really difficult for me to get any pictures of Evie lately. At least non-blurry, non-cheesy-face photos. She's always moving, hence her nickname "tornado". She's so beautiful but I can't do her justice in pictures. I think it's time to break out the SLR and do some things for Christmas (with Andy's help) because I don't want to forget anything about this special time in our lives - our FIRST Christmas as a family! But first things first - updates!

Evie is doing a lot better with her motor skills. She's starting to feed herself a lot more these days. Her Occupational Therapist says she has all the knowledge of what things are and how to do them, but can't translate it into her movements. She's "locked". We think it's because she has ADHD and has impulsivity issues so when we ask her to draw a circle, she knows what it is, but her hand just wants to go and she ends up scribbling. We're working with her on that. She has so much knowledge, though, that she tested above her age in speech. She knows all her colors and shapes and asks for them by name. She knows a cylinder! How cool is that? She's completely in love with My Little Pony and Frozen, and she LOVES to sing. It's hilarious and adorable. She's become incredibly affectionate and she's always looking for me and talking to me and being amazing. She loves to give me things for her brother, and she gives him kisses all the time. When she wakes up she calls for him "Hi Bwubber!!" and she always wants to touch him. If she thinks he needs a jacket she'll bring it over, or a bib or something. It's so sweet.

Andrew, meanwhile, is growing up so fast. He's started saying "mama" to go along with the "dada" and it melts my heart into a puddle of goopy mess. I get to spend time with Evie every night when he goes to bed, so whenever Andy is home to play with Evie, I try to spend some time with Andrew in his room singing andplaying  and working on skills. I just want him to have some special mommy time as well. He's such a sweet boy. He sleeps all night just about every night. He wakes up happy from every nap and every night. I put him in his crib smiling at night and he puts himself to sleep and wakes up smiling, too. He's crawling and can get to a sitting position on his own now. He's not pulling up but that's mostly because there's so little to pull up on. He pulls up on my shirt, and he tries on his toys, but they aren't stable. When I stand him up at a toy he will try to reach for things and take a step or two. He's not walking or standing on his own, and I get a little nervous about that, but then I remember he wasn't supposed to be born until March, and I wouldn't expect a 9 month old to be walking! But he's spot on for his actual age for most things. He's eating some little solid foods like puffs and teething biscuits. He doesn't like the texture of things like banana so we're just trying every day until he gets used to it.

Since this year is our first year as a complete family, I got them a ton of stuff for Christmas. I can't wait until Christmas morning with both our babies. We're doing Santa, and Evie is starting to catch on that Santa brings her toys, so she gets super excited about Santa and Christmas. It's just such an amazing time for family and togetherness and celebrating our faith. I feel so blessed, especially now, to have my sweet little ones, and the ability to provide a Christmas for them. To have a church I really like to take them to, and so many people who love them to celebrate with us. It's a nice time of year. Buuuut I still can't wait for the weekend.

Monday, December 8, 2014

A Holiday Ramble

As Christmas approaches, I'm finding myself in an interesting spot this year. I've been thinking a lot about my impending kidney transplant evaluation, and it's been a little depressing. I've found comfort in shopping to relieve the fear. So I may or may not have spent way too much money on my kids for Christmas. I decided to consolidate the boxes of gifts, and I kept pulling toy after toy out and saying "I forgot about this"! My mom encouraged me to take some of it back but I can't bring myself to do it. I want to give my kids the world, and I want to see them happy. It's not difficult to make them happy - I'm pretty sure we made children with souls of saints. I'm not sure how this happened except by the grace of God, but I'm thankful for it.

This weekend we went through the kids' clothes and toys and donated a gigantic box of things we don't need to Goodwill and to a local family who needs help. This week we're putting up the tree and decorating, and I was feeling pretty good about my chances of decorating the lower portion of the tree since Evie seems to have a better handle on "not everything is food" these days. But then this happened:

He's been "crawling" for a bit now. Or at least I thought he was, but it turned out that he was rocking on his hands and knees and then rolling over when my back was turned and then getting back on hands and knees. He's a little trickster. But now he really is crawling. He's incredibly unsure of himself, but has no problems lifting an arm or leg up to reach things, and he's most definitely not out of "not everything is food". So I guess we'll have to watch the lower branches after all.
My parents were over to watch the kids while we organized their rooms. My mom's one wish for Christmas was to get a picture of the kids with her and my dad. This is the best I could do:

At least Evie's finger is not in her nose. It usually is, and is followed by sticking it in my face and yelling "BOOGER". She's so lady-like. I let her play with my phone a lot and every time I take it back it's covered in boogers. Mom life is glamorous.

Wednesday is my transplant evaluation, and it's going to last all day. It's going to be interesting and whatever happens I need to keep it together and be the best mom I can be to these sweet babies.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Realization

I'm glad Christmas is fast approaching. I'm honestly going through a pretty difficult, anxiety-inducing time right now. I'm happy that I've chosen this time to avoid social media. It's been about 36 hours since I deleted the apps from my phone and my ipad, and it's already making me rethink my choices. It didn't take very long before I found myself idly scrolling to the Facebook app on my phone looking for the little red bubble that indicated I have notifications. I did this a number of times the first day. And I kept finding little blocks of time where I couldn't think of anything to do - time where I would have been reading Tumblr or Facebook. I kept reaching for my phone when I was with my kids, and I thought to myself "why don't I reach for my kids instead"? How many hours have I spent with my face in a screen while my kids played and watched TV without me?

So I'm pretty happy about this change right now. I'm not saying that I'll never be on social media again, but I wasted way too much time immersing myself in the lives of other people - often people I didn't even know - when I could have immersed myself in my own life. So that's what I want to do. I want to read books, exercise, explore, and show my kids everything.

And this? This is the season for it. Saturday we're putting up the Christmas tree and organizing the house. I'm wrapping gifts and I'm going to talk to my kids about santa and Jesus and all of that stuff. We have so many traditions and I'm happy to be sharing them with my family.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Twists, Turns, Bumps, and Bruises

Well life is good at throwing curveballs. I suppose nothing in specific happened, but I've been feeling "off" for a bit. I'm taking a break from social media and I want to start posting here more. This doesn't feel like social media to me. It feels like a place where I can say what I need to say, and hold on to memories I want to keep. Today is an odd day, though, so I may begin with a bit of a ramble.

The last few weeks have been tough ones with my husband. I know he has depression, but he's been so angry, and I don't think there's a whole lot I can do to help him since I can't control the depression. He misses home. He wants to be back in Philadelphia, and that's not in the cards right now. He hates his job, and feels hopeless about getting a new one since he's been trying for so long. It's a struggle to know what to say or do since I can't change anything for him. He has to do it himself but he's held so far back by depression. I hope medication helps him, but he's been sort of unbearable, so I hope it helps fast.

In the meantime I'm just trying to get through each day. My kidneys are getting worse, and I have the evaluation for transplant next week. I feel like I'm getting more and more tired and weaker by the day. It's a struggle sometimes to keep my eyes open as long as I need to. I make such an effort to be everything the kids need me to be, which leaves little energy left for everything else. I nap when they nap, I sleep when they sleep. I'm blessed with amazing sleepers, but I'm tired no matter how much sleep I get. I don't have the physical strength to stand for super long periods and do things. I get bursts where I can take the kids outside, and we can go shopping, but too much more is very draining. It's hard to accept how different life is now, and I hope and pray that it is my kidneys because if this is "normal" now I don't even know what to think.

I've been gaining weight back because I'm pretty depressed about it all. Most of my friends are too involved in their own lives to be there much for me, and it sucks, but I can't change that either. All I can do is appreciate the people who are there and make time for me no matter what. The list is short but it's full of wonderful people.

I have a number of great things to be thankful for, like my job, which allows me to work from home two days a week, and of course my children. As much as I don't want them to see a different mommy because I'm so weak, I still need their cuddles to make me feel better. Fortunately they're both ready and willing pretty much all the time. Evie is a random hugger and she insists on giving me kisses all the time now. Andrew gives me kisses too! They both love to laugh and play and they bring sunshine to otherwise cloudy days.

My parents have been trying to help me out more since Andy works very late some nights. It's nice, but the less Andy/parent overlap the better, and it causes stress for me when they are around each other too much. I wish I could wave a magic wand and make them get along but I can't, so all I can do is look at the good things around me. I've been spending a lot of time shopping for the kids and my family to take my mind off of things. I probably shouldn't, but I enjoy it, and I want to. Christmas is going to be really nice for my kids this year and nothing makes me happier. We're getting all the decorations out on Saturday and going through the kids' things to donate toys in preparation for the influx of new things. It'll be nice to have things sorted out, but again, Andy/parent overlap since they're coming to watch the kids for us.

In brighter news, Evie is talking up a storm. She sings and uses full sentences. She makes up little songs and games. She still adores Andrew, and asks for him as soon as she gets up every morning. He doesn't know what to make of her, but he's so sweet and good-natured. Which is exactly what we needed with Evie as.... I don't know... wild? As she is. They're a perfect pair, and Andy and I often discuss how incredibly blessed we are to have such amazing children.

Andrew is starting to stand, crawl, eat food, and do all of those things. He babbles all the time. I can't believe he'll be one next month. It's just gone by so quickly and I want him to stay little! But Evie's at an age I love, too, so I can't really complain too much. Here are the kids on Thanksgiving! Evie is with my mom.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

As always, it's been a while, but things have been pretty crazzy lately. My kidney function is declining and I have a transplant evaluation on December 10th. It's weird to have to think of wills and disability and life insurance and such, but I'm grateful that this kind of technology exists. Hopefully I'll have a living donor and the transplant will work. I'm just praying for that.
The kids are doing well. Evie is going to be starting preschool soon. It's for kids with special needs, but her needs are sensory, so they'll make adjustments for her hyperactivity. She's brilliant. She knows all her colors, shapes, numbers, letters, etc. She just can't sit still so hopefully the spcialized environment will help. Her language has picked up and she's talking and singing up a storm. The new educational coordinator at daycare said her speech was spot on, so that was pretty neat to hear. She's still such a joy to be around, and she's hilarious.
Andrew is growing like a weed. He'll be ten months old on Saturday. He's about 18.5lb now! He's sitting great and we've been catching him rocking on his hands and knees. Andy said he saw him actually crawl two days ago. He stands pretty well, too. He doesn't do a ton of babbling, but that might just be comparatively since Evie never stopped babbling as an infant. He's an angel. He sleeps great. He's an early riser but that's OK when he sleeps from 7-6.
I love the kids so much. I just wish I could be with them all the time!
We took them to get Christmas pictures yesterday. Evie was a tough cookie because she wanted to run, so we employed some special tactics to get a few pictures, but not much. So here's my favorite picture of each kid and the one we got together.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Catching Up

I suppose it's probably time to play a little catch-up. A lot has been going on in our house. The kids are growing up so fast. Evie's changing day by day and learning so much now that we've found the keys to her potential.

Andrew has been making leaps forward. He has two teeth! And didn't whine or cry at all. It's so much earlier than Evie got teeth. I looked in there and couldn't believe it. I took this picture right after I noticed the second one:

Evie has been pretty cuddly. She's SO into My Little Pony right now and every day on the ride to daycare it's "Music? Listen to pony songs?" and "My little pony my little pony..." singing. She's ridiculous. She can count to 20, she knows all her colors (and her favorite seems to be purple). She knows her shapes (even a hexagon!). She loves butterflies, rainbows, coloring, and being outside. Which is SO hard because I have nowhere to put Andrew and I can't run after her. Her vocabulary is improving. She doesn't always use full sentences, but she can. "I want a sandwich". "I like this". Once she even said "I'm gonna climb this fence". OK...

Because Evie is all over the place it's been hard to catch the two kids together, but Andrew's getting bigger and can sit up on his own! Which, as you can see, he likes. He's trying desperately to figure out crawling. Don't ask me how he got in the kitchen. I was feeding Evie and the whole floor of the house is baby-proofed so I let him just do his thing. When Evie was done she layed with him. It's not the best picture of her but both of them are looking! Andrew's in his signature pose, where he starts kicking his legs and wishing beyond wishes that he will move forward haha. Yesterday he was SO close but when he gets up on his knees he rolls over instead. He's only 8 months old and was almost 2 months early, so I don't expect him to crawl so soon but.. he's getting the hang of it and FAST.

We took the kids to the Fall Fest this weekend. Well, I did. Andy has been working nights and it sucks because it was a PERFECT night. We had a terrible time at the carnival and thought Evie would forever hate rides. I asked my parents to come to this and it was great. Andrew was a doll, Evie rode the rides and loved them, and she even held my hand and led me around to what she wanted to go on! She played the duck game and won a prize for her brother (shown below) and one for my dad (it was a plastic toy way over her age limit). She also splashed the water everywhere but hey, she tried. And her Popi won her a butterfly so she waved it around yelling "I GOT A BUTTERFLY" since they're her favorite.

I took the kids to my parents' house a few weekends ago as well and we got on the swings. Andrew... well... the jury's out, I suppose, but Evie loves it.

And yesterday she got her first real haircut! She's had bang trims and back trims, but this was a for real cut. It was almost down to her butt at it's longest but I think it turned out super cute.

I also gave Andrew his first real food yesterday. He eats purees. He had banana once because I put it on my finger and shoved it in my mouth. But he went to town on this teething biscuit. He was like "Wait, I can chew on this AND it tastes good"?

I guess there's not a whole lot else to tell. Andy's still looking for a day job, and I'm still at my job. I do get 2 days a week from home (instead of 1) starting next week and I'm really looking forward to that. It's a very long commute so I get 2 extra hours with my kids each of those days plus lunch!

Not this coming weekend but the next weekend, Andy and I are going to Ocean City for the weekend. My parents are staying at our house with the kids. It's going to be SO WEIRD to be away from them like that. I haven't been away from both kids overnight ever. When I first got pregnant I had a business trip, and when Andrew was younger my parents watched him overnight once. Never both. It's weird to think I should be able to sleep in in the morning! My kids are fantastic sleepers, but early risers, so I'm generally up by 6:30 on weekends.

Anyway, the day before we leave, we're taking the kids to the local orchard/pumpkin patch to take a hayride, get pumpkins, eat ice cream, and hang out at the petting zoo. I can't wait until Andy finds a day job and we can spend more time as a family because we're so in love with these kids, and every day I feel positively blessed by God. I guess you could say we're doing pretty well.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Growing Up Fast!

Life is hectic. It's crazy with two kids, amazing as those two kids may be. The truth is, I hit the kid lottery. They're amazing, and I feel like I can count the number I've times I've thought "I can't handle this!" on fewer fingers than I have on one hand. I've gotten a bedtime routine down even for when Andy's at work. 
 Evie is still dealing with her sensory issues, but she's doing so well. Her language has exploded and she's now forming real sentences like "I need diaper change" "I touch it!" and "Do you like chicken"? Sometimes it's tough to understand, but I think 85% of the time I know what she's saying, so now she wants to know what everything is. I hear "what's that" about a thousand times a day. She's completely obsessed with rainbows and butterflies, she's interacting well with other kids (which is SO CUTE) and she's ready to start potty training. I can't get over the leaps and bounds she's made. We had an appointment with Kennedy Krieger, but it was terrible. They don't think she is on the spectrum (which is good because I just don't think she fits there? and she's responding to the therapies for SPD) but they also don't believe in Sensory Processing Disorder. They want to label her with Social Pragmatic Communication Disorder, but that doesn't fit either. Her SLP was kind of appaled at how the visit went. They scored her way too low on her tests (which her SLP says is due to inexperience of the intern and making Evie wait in a room with nothing to do for an HOUR before testing her). She doesn't think Evie has SPCD or that you can even give it to a 2 year old. I agree, so we're going to go back for the second evaluation, but we're going to continue to treat her for standalone SPD since that's what she's responding so well to. She's amazing in daycare and I'm so proud of her. She has her toddler moments but generally she's super happy, especially outside. She's a bit of a daredevil so she's about to start gymnastics so she can learn to do the things to release her energy in a safe way.
Andrew is great. He's still not quite sitting up on his own at almost 7 months. He can do it, but only for a short time. He has the muscle strength but not the balance. I keep wanting to be worried, but then I remember he's a preemie and he's more like a 5 and a half month old than a 7 month old. His appetite is insatiable. He eats SO MUCH food and I can't wait until he's ready for finger foods. He's sweet and quiet and good-natured, though he's starting to make louder noises. He's interested in everything, especially bouncing and trying to "swim" on my knee. He's so happy most of the time unless he's tired. I CAN NOT believe he will be 7 months this week. I can't. The time has gone by way too fast. He generally sleeps 7:30-6:30 with 1 wake-up for about 5 minutes to eat, which is fine because he's still pretty small. I transferred him to the crib a few weeks ago, and he does pretty well. This week he's been waking up at 4 wanting to be with me, but I can handle a regression here and there. Plus I missed his sweet face and the way he has to be RIGHT UP AGAINST ME. He has a soft spot for his mommy for sure, and that's OK because I want to give him 8000 kisses a day. Usually I end up covered in drool because he's always sticking his tongue out, but I don't even care.

Andy has been doing well with Andrew. Not to say that he wasn't before, but he started working more nights and taking care of  Andrew alone during the day and they're building an adorable bond. We keep talking about a vacation we're taking in March and I can't wrap my brain around the fact that Andrew will be 1 then and Evie will be 3 because it just doesn't seem that far away. I don't really know what to do about that but I suppose I'll have to get used to it. What I can say right now is that having 2 babies is more amazing than I ever could have dreamed.

Monday, June 30, 2014

It's Been a While

Well it's been a while since I posted and it's been a heck of a time. A few weekends ago Evie wasn't feeling very well. She had a fever, but motrin was helping a lot. She was cuddly and clingy but in a few days she was OK. That Monday we noticed Andrew was really warm and had some spots on his face (which you can see a little in the second picture). The doctor said just to watch it, so we did. By Tuesday it was worse, but his attitude was great. He was his happy self. I was getting freaked out though so I took him to the doctor. The doctor comes in and he's smiling and laughing, so she looks in his mouth and looks at me and says "I did not expect to see that...." the kid has pustules in his throat because he's got a horrible case of strep and the rash is scarlet fever. She told me he's not allowed to get appendicitis because we'll never know he's sick. We started him on Antibiotics and took Evie in the next day? STREP. Then the next day I got a fever and sore throat, but the doctor said mine wasn't strep. The I start breaking out in these oozing sores. So back to the doctor I go and I have a staph infection!!! The second picture below is right before it got really bad and destroyed my face.

Last night Evie woke up after a half an hour screaming. We couldn't calm her down. I had to hand Andrew off to Andy and bring Evie into my room where she finally fell asleep after 11 curled up in my arms. She woke up a few more times crying but I was able to calm her. Motrin didn't help. She felt warm but according to the thermometer she didn't have a fever. She won't eat or drink. She shouldn't have an infection since she JUST finished a ten day course of antibiotics. We kept asking her what hurt and she wouldn't tell us, even though she knows the body parts. She seemed better this morning, but then when I dropped her off at daycare she screamed again, and I pray she naps because otherwise those poor teachers. At this point she's not feeling well and EXHAUSTED.

So needless to say it's been a tough time for us! No sickness is ever simple in our house. Now we just have to hope that whatever it is is not going to affect Andrew. Maybe it's molars. Who knows.

Andrew, for the most part, has been pretty happy. My parents went to Florida last week so he got to bond with his daddy for 4 days. They had so much fun and learned a lot about each other!

It's also been hot so I FINALLY got to take Evie out to play in her pool. She kept yelling "WATER! HAPPY!"

He's a pretty happy guy. Almost always smiling. He's such a joy, this little one. So is his sister, but at 5 months he's happier than I would expect. I mean the kid is just all smiles.

And then there's this one with the eyes that are going to break so many hearts. She's so gorgeous, and such a sweet girl. I just feel bad for any boys she meets because it's hard not to fall in love with this face.

So things have been all around crazy, but we're doing pretty well. I hope whatever is bothering Evie goes away immediately! But other than that we're cruising along. I never really knew this would actually be my life. I'm so blessed, and so thankful to God for my family.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Mini Updates

This big boy is almost 5 months old and about to start solid foods. I can't believe the time has gone so fast. He's finally taking 5-6oz bottles and therefore finally napping. And sometimes sleeping OK at night. He's in a growth spurt so he's STARVING but prior to that he was sleeping 8pm-6am with 1 night waking, so that's not bad. He is so happy and just SUCH a joy!!

In other news, I'm about to start potty training Evie. I don't know what method to use, but she's ready, and I'm just trying to figure out if I want to let her run around without a diaper or use pull-ups so she can feel when she's wet. Too many decisions and my babies are TOO GROWN UP.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Pictures and How I'm Happy

I feel like I'm really settling into this mom of two thing. There are tough days every so often, but for the most part it's great. Sometimes I feel like I don't get to give Evie enough individual attention, but then Andy will offer to watch Andrew a while after work, or I'll get him to sleep so we can spend a quality bed time together. I can tell that she is feeling extremely attached to me right now and it melts my heart. I get to spend time with Andrew bonding when he eats and when she's in bed and in the middle of the night, but I can't leave him for long to play with her, so it's just great when Andy's not working (which has been a lot with school). She's definitely a momma's girl. Yesterday I went upstairs and she asked Andy "where is my mommy"? OMG! Today my parents called me and she said "Hi Mommy"! in the phone. I am just so blessed to have such an amazing daughter. And my son, too. I feed him and as he gets done with the end of his bottle he starts giggling and we just look at each other and crack each other up. We're so in love.

Evie absolutely adores her brother. She likes to rub his hair and give him TONS of kisses. This was the closest I could get to a picture of the two of them but I swear she loves him. 

We went to the park and I didn't get a lot of pictures, but my mom entertained tiny and he was pretty happy. He has the most adorable little laugh.

He's a Sox fan like us!

And here he is, just being cute. He's growing up so fast. He's in that lovely stage where he's always overtired and screamy, but Evie went through that too and it was short.

I can't wait until Andy has a 9-5 job because we seriously have the best kids and just to spend the weekends together is my goal in life right now. God's timing is miraculous and I'm so thankful.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Moving Right Along

I've been pretty terrible about writing in this blog lately. The truth is simply that life is busy (and tiring). I work full time and spend just about every moment I'm not working taking care of the kids. Really it's a wonderful way to live, I just wish I got more sleep! Andrew is 4 (FOUR!!) months old now. I can't believe how fast the time has gone. He's almost 12lb now, so he's still a tiny little guy, but he's huge to me since he started at 4lb 7oz and was under 4 at one point. The other day I put him in a 6m (albeit a SMALL 6m) set from Carter's and it fit him. Normally that would be the expected size but I was sort of (really) surprised since he's a preemie.

He's doing really well. He's trying so hard to roll back to front. He can do it, he just gets stuck on his arm sometimes. He's sitting better and better. When he's hungry in the boppy he does these baby sit-ups. I don't think he realizes he's doing it, but I'm less and less worried he won't be sitting up by 6 months like the doctor wants. It seems odd to me since his adjusted age will be just over 4 months, but if she thinks he can do it then I think he can do it. We'll be introducing solids next month which is pretty cool.

He generally goes to sleep at about 8. On a good night he sleeps until 6 and wakes up once. Normally he wakes up twice, so I'm tired, but it really isn't so bad. And he's pretty consistently sleeping at least 8-12 so I can relax and unwind a little since Evie is in bed by then too.

All in all, life with two kids is amazing. Evie is a fantastic big sister. AND she's caught up so much with her language. The SLP says she's gained a year in the last 6 weeks and if she was like this the first time she came out she'd have said Evie didn't need her help. Everyone says she'll be fine for kindergarten. Which is good because she's so smart. She sits there and counts and does colors and shapes. She's just such an amazing kid and she's gotten so cuddly. I get kisses and hugs and her brother gets showered with love from her! She's no longer crying when I drop her off at daycare, and she's startig to become engaged in the class. Every so often there's a difficult day, but for the most part I LOVE being a mom to two small kids. I'd have another tomorrow if my kidneys would allow it.

It's like a tattoo. Once you have one you just want more and more!

Monday, April 28, 2014

3 Months Old and an Updat

Parenting 2 children is definitely a skill that takes some time, but for the most part I think I'm doing well. Sometimes I feel like Evie is missing out on mommy time because Andrew needs me so much, and that part is hard. I have to hold him a lot and she comes over to lay on me and I put my arm around her and try to explain to her that Andrew can't do anything for himself so I have to. She doesn't seem torn up over it, but she has g otten extremely cuddly (which I like). She's always laying in my lap, hugging me, snuggling into my sides, and generally being a sweet mommy's girl. Andy took her to the store yesterday and she was saying "mommy mommy" the whole time! She's still not happy with daycare, but I think things may improve. We finally got to talk with the people from the Infants and Toddlers program, and they said she has a sensory processing disorder. Right now I'm thinking it is THE sensory processing disorder (SPD) because she fits it so well. Now that I have her program in writing I can bring it to daycare and go over everything with them so they can put her in the best classroom and make sure they're not expecting things of her that she can't do. Children with SPD are often gifted in intelligence, but their sensory integration dysfunction causes problems with motor skills and things. We're working with Evie and have gotten her some things to help her so she can be caught up to the other kids in fine motor skills for kindergarten.

Her speech is picking up a lot. She says all sorts of words and phrases now, but it's still not enough. We still need to take her to Kennedy Krieger for an official diagnosis and make sure her SPD isn't part of some other disorder. My guess would  be that it's standalone, but we need to know for sure so they can put her program together. At least I now know why she's always standing on her head and throwing herself around and just so crazily full of energy. Why she doesn't color (she can grasp the crayon, but she can't push down hard enough to make marks) or use utensils. An Occupational therapist is coming to work on these things with her. The thing is she's smart - she counts and does colors and letters and things, but we cant sit with her and work on learning because she can't concentrate, so hopefully these things will help with that. And hopefully once the daycare folks understand her behavior, they will stop acting like she's being the "bad" kid. It's not behavioral - it's neurological. And they can work with her on improving her skills as well.

Andrew is doing well. He still rolls front to back, and he can roll back to side. He smiles a lot and can bat at toys. He LOVES laying on his play mat talking to his octopus. He's just such a joy to be around. He does not sleep well, though. He's still doing 3 hour stretches, which means I have to get up and do everything, put him back to bed, then fall back asleep myself, so I don't get 3 hour stretches. It's tough because I am so exhausted and yesterday I thought I would break down. This has been going on for over 2 months now, but because he's so little, he's not ready to sleep longer. He's just now a little over 10lb, and experts say at 11 they start to be able to sleep better. He just needs a ton of calories to put on weight. But mommy needs sleep desperately. Hopefully he will start sleeping better soon so I can catch up. I'm a mess right now. But looking at that sweet smile every morning reminds me how worth it it all is!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Daycare Woes

After some more evaluators came to the house, they decided that Evie has a sensory processing disorder. Difficulty processing multiple stimuli. Which basically equates to ADHD, but they don't want to call it that in a 2 year old, which is fine, but I will refer to it as such because it's easier and I'm lazy. They recommended daycare for her so she gets more interaction with other kids and structure. I put her in daycare last week. She goes Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and she hates it. She screams when I drop her off and she cries on and off all day. They keep telling me that ALL kids do that at first. I have friend whose daughter cried for months. But it's making  me question my decision, and is the hardest thing I've done as a parent so far. It's so incredibly difficult to leave Evie there knowing she's miserable. She knows I'm going to come back by now, and the rooms are filled with kids, toys, and books, but she doesn't want to be there and I don't know why. I'm hoping she'll adjust but right now my heart is pulling at me to just yank her and keep her at home. But she's going to have to go to school eventually, and I don't want her doing this in kindergarten. I really am beside myself. Am I doing the right thing? I don't know. The state agency says yes. My heart says no. My head says she'll get used to it and start to have fun. I guess time will tell. It's only her second week and she had 4 days off so she may have thought she didn't have to go back. But she does. And I'm just praying it helps her and she starts to enjoy playing all day.
Andrew is doing well. He's been a little snotty and still doesn't sleep well, but he's such a doll. My parents kept him last night so I could sleep, and he kept them up all night, but that's just what he does because he's little. He'll adjust to life on the outside soon enough. He's such a wonderful little person. He's rolling over, and holding his head up well. He doesn't talk much, and really loves being on his mommy, but I enjoy it because one day he won't anymore. I just love to kiss his sweet head and cuddle him.

I love my kids so much. It's a challenging time for us but we're getting through it and I think if Evie can warm up to daycare we'll be in a pretty good place.

This is Evie arriving home after her first day of daycare. She was happy to be home.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Back to Work and Other Updates

Well, once again it's been a while since I've posted. A lot has been going on, and I think I'll break it down by baby this time.

Evangeline is doing well. She's such a happy girl and growing like a weed. She's in the 95th percentile for height but she's skinny. Probably because she's boycotting almost every food right now. I can get her to eat grilled cheese, pasta, egg beaters, and kix. Sometimes fruit pouches and yogurt if she's feeling saucy. I guess the big news is that the pediatrician had a few concerns at her last visit, so we got her evaluated. If you know me in real life, I ask that you please keep this part quiet. Someone from the state came out to do the evaluation in the areas of gross motor skills, fine motor skills, social/emotional, speech, and problem solving. She was fine in gross motor skills, but behind in the others (mildly except for fine motor. She's doing some things from her age group, but not enough to count as a "solid foundation" of 24 month skills), and the woman said she could see why the pediatrician was concerned about Autism spectrum disorders. We spent most of that day crying and just wondering why Evie would have issues. We knew her language was lacking a bit, but to think there was some big, underlying cause? We weren't expecting it. The next week the Speech pathologist came out (I'll refer to her as SLP) and did an evaluation, and we came out with a much better feeling. She said in her opinion, Evie has a simple speech delay. She said she doesn't have any of the big markers for autism spectrum disorders that she can see. She admitted that Evie doesn't follow directions, but she does think Evie understands. In her words, Evie is a "strong, independent female". She wants what she wants period. She said she has a big personality and is going to be a lot of fun to work with. She encouraged me not to stifle her, and to let her develop into an even stronger little girl. What was particularly interesting is that she was telling me phrases Evie was saying left and right that I didn't understand. She said she was certain of it because she's dealt with speech issues for so long. So I'm sitting there thinking Evie is seriously behind. Meanwhile she's sitting there counting "one, two, three!" and saying "ready, set, go!" and "Want that!" among others. She said Evie's saying a lot of phrases, she just wants to work with her on single words (which I've noticed she's already picking up on). I feel a lot better about that. I think we connected pretty well and she honestly believes it's just a delay. Woo hoo! We do have an occupational therapist coming to help Evie with some fine motor skills though. Andy and I think she has ADHD (which Andy has) and she has trouble concentrating to learn some of the skills like eating with utensils and using a cup. It's easier to use a sippy and eat with her hands and she doesn't have to focus on it. We'll see what they say on Thursday.

One cool thing about everything is that I've started really trying to pay more attention to Evie's language and so I'm picking up more of her words, which makes her happy, and helps me to translate for other people. She's also turned into a much more affectionate child. I can't say what's brought that on but I love it. She comes up and hugs people now. If I'm laying on the couch with my eyes closed, she comes up and curls up next to me, or puts her face on my face. She'll snuggle close and we'll give each other kisses. It's magical. And she adores her brother. When she comes downstairs in the morning the first thing she does is look for him. "Baby?" she'll ask. When she finds him she'll say "Hi baby" or "AWWWW baby"! She wants to snuggle him but he's little so I have to keep her away. She doesn't understand and it makes me sad, but he's still pretty fragile. When I pick him up and put his face to hers she gives him kisses, hugs, and just generally gets happy. She's such an amazing big sister.

Lately she's started to full on run very fast, jump with both feet, dance more, climb more, and try to help me with getting dressed and undressed. She knows when she needs a diaper change and is getting to the point where we can start with the potty. She starts daycare next week, which the SLP suggested to help with her speech. I think she's going to love it and she'll learn from other kids as well. Plus right now she gets too much TV since I have to take care of Andrew, so she'll get a lot more outside time and special activities. She's just such a joy to be around and I'm so blessed to be her mother!

Andrew is doing well. He's almost ten weeks old and up to 8lb 4oz. He can roll front to back! He holds his head up pretty well, too. He does not sleep very well. He's small, and he should only be 3 weeks old, and sometimes he acts like it. He's very sleepy, so he'll start eating and fall asleep before he gets enough, so he's hungry again in two hours. I'm exhausted because I don't get much sleep at night, but I'm getting used to it. I started back at work today and I'm still awake, so that's a positive. I think when he gets a little bigger he'll sleep OK. I do hope it's soon because I could use 3-4 hours at a time instead of 2. Unfortunately, like Evie, he has reflux. It was also causing trouble as he'd thrash and scream while eating and it hurt too much to take a decent amount of food. We started him on Zantac, and he's been doing much better.

It sucks so much to be away from my kids after spending so much time with them, but I know Evie is going to benefit so much from daycare, and it makes me appreciate being with them when I get home even more.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

2 Years

Yesterday was Evangeline's second birthday. I cannot believe my daughter is 2. The truth is, she and her brother are the best things that ever happened to me. I love them more than I could ever express in words. Evie is just the most beautiful, sweet, smart, funny little girl I've ever met, and I can't believe how quickly the last two years have gone by. She's my best friend, and I am so lucky that I was chosen to be her mommy. When I look at her, everything that happened to lead us here makes sense. God's timing makes sense. Because she was meant for us, and we were meant for her. That's the only way I can explain it. Here are a few pictures of my sweet baby.

And as a little update, Andrew is doing well. We're not getting a lot of sleep, but it could be worse. He's so sweet and is just such a good baby. I'm still adjusting to having two kids, but it's really been better than I imagined it could be.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Still In The NICU

I can't believe it's been over two weeks since Andrew was born. It's insane how quickly the time is going by. He is still in the hospital. He's been doing great, but he's small, so he has trouble gaining weight and maintaining his temperature at the same time. He's been in a crib instead of the isolette the last few days, though, and still gaining a little, so we're headed in the right direction. I just want him home so badly. He's such a sweet boy. He just sleeps and squirms and eats and poops. He almost never cries or fusses. We're so blessed to have him, and also that he's done so well. He hasn't had a feeding tube or anything. He's just little. I'm staying with my parents right now because the house had stairs which were painful, and because he works and I can't lift Evie right now. With the C-section I just couldn't chase her like I needed to. I'm going home in a few days. It's been so odd that I have been sleeping well and such. Like.. I have a new baby. I should be sleep deprived! I know I will be when he gets home. He needs to eat every 3 hours since he's so small. We can't just let him eat when he is hungry or he'll sleep through his feedings. I'm trying to enjoy the sleep while I can get it.

Here are the latest photos of Andrew with daddy, me, and being held by his mom-mom just chillin'. He doesn't look as small to me in pictures as he does in real life, but trust me, he's small. Though he is up to 4lb 10.5oz!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Birth Story

It has been almost a week now since Andrew was born at 33w 4d. I'd been in and out of the hospital a few times, and we knew my run as a pregnant lady was coming to an end. 

I got up on Monday morning (1/13) and I didn't feel well. My BP was high, and I knew I needed to see the OB anyway, so I made an appointment for that afternoon. I finished working, and went met my mother at the office. Andy was home with Evie but we figured I'd end up at the hospital so she wanted to come with me. He sent me straight away, and they decided pretty immediately that they were going to admit me because my BP was out of control and my kidney function had declined way too much in two weeks. They gave me steroids and tried to buy 24 hours to get Andrew time to get the full effect of the medicine. They scheduled the c-section for Wednesday at 4:30, but in the middle of the night they woke me up and told me they wanted to do it at 7:30AM instead. Andy couldn't get there by then, but the nurse said she guessed my numbers were getting worse and worse, so they moved it up. I told them I would not do it without my husband, so we waited until Andy arrived. He had to wait for my parents to come to watch Evie, so he got there at 10, and they immediately had him change and wheeled me back.

They didn't want me to go through labor and put any extra stress on my kidneys, so we went straight to a c-section. It went much better than last time. The anesthesiologist was great, and it only took 1 try to get the spinal in, and I could breathe. I actually got to pay attention to what was happening, and he was very responsive and able to stop my nausea when I told him I felt sick. It didn't take long to get little Andy out, and he started crying which made me happy. I asked Andy how little the baby was and he said "He's pretty small"! He went with the nurse to take pictures of him, but he only got to stay a few minutes because they had to hook him up to all the machines, so he came back to sit with me. That was nice because it started to get so uncomfortable so he let me squeeze his hand and talked me through it. He kept telling me how well I was doing, and at one point the doctor said "OK I'm putting your uterus back". Uhm.. ok... great to know it was out. But I knew it was getting close to done. The worst was getting my tubes tied. It was hard to sign a paper that said "I consent to be sterilized" but we knew it was the right thing to do. We can't risk another pregnancy. the procedure was extremely uncomfortable. It felt like they were just pushing my organs around. 

Once they finished they wheeled me into post-op, and I got to recover there for a bit before moving to my room and puking all over myself. But that happened last time, too. I couldn't get over to see little Andy that day because I couldn't move and had a catheter, so I just slept and saw him the next day. At that point we had discovered that my kidney function was still getting worse, and my BP was not leveling out. It was consistently 200/100 and my creatinine continued to go up for a few days. Finally with a ton of extra medicine we got my BP to stabilize, and my kidney function stopped getting worse, though it's really terrible now. At this point, with me, we are just waiting to see how my kidneys shake out in a few weeks. We are hoping my body realizes I'm no longer pregnant and I gain a little function back, but only time will tell.

As for Andy, he's great! The doctor warned of "wimpy white boy" syndrome. Apparently caucasian males have the most trouble when born premature, but he's been defying the odds. He was on CPAP for one night, but then he didn't need it anymore. He also pulled out his feeding tube so they just let him eat from a bottle and he did it. His IV came out today, and the only thing he still needs to do is gain weight so he can regulate his temperature. He's only 4lb 3oz right now, so he needs some fat so he can stay warm. He's spending most of his time just sleeping away happily in his isolette. 

It was so hard to leave him today. I cried and Andy held me. I get to see him every day, but it's hard to leave him in a hospital when I could spend most of his feedings with him in my arms and I can't now. But it was also hard to be away from Evie, and it's nice to get to hold and comfort and love on her again. I'm going to see little Andy in the morning, but I just need to bring him home. I can't wait to have my family with me. Big Andy was amazing this week. He's not good with dealing with change and he really adjusted and did everything he could for me while I was terrified in the hospital. 

This is the day he was born - the day I didn't get to see him when he was on CPAP. Evie just poked and said "baby". She will understand more when he's home.

This is the first time I saw him. He was breathing on his own but had a feeding tube which he promptly ripped out. You can kind of get an idea of how little he was by the size of my hand. He was 4lb 7oz at birth but was closer to 4 here, and maybe a little less.


This is Andy yesterday. He looks like a normal-sized baby, but he's not. He also looks exactly like Evie did when she was born. I love this sweet face. I can't believe he'll be a week old tomorrow!