Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Finally my Christmas post! WARNING: This is SUPER LONG!!!!!

So I'm finally finished with our play by play of our First Officially Christmas as a family!! Our day was very overwhelming for both Terry & I as well as for the girls. If I could have changed any of it, the only thing I would change is the fact I didn't have the opportunity to take as many pictures or as much video as I would have liked. But other than that, I was a great Christmas!! I'm warning you in advance that this is super long. I use my blog as my own personal diary so I tend to over describe things sometimes.

We started on Christmas Eve with the girls opening up Terry's gifts from me. We decided to scale things down a bit this year due to financial issues but we still got each other little gifts. The girls were totally into ripping the paper to shreds! They were giggling and laughing while chewing on the wrapping paper. Alexis somehow found a way to use the boxes as things she could climb upon. She's a beast. We bathed the girls which they now love, thank goodness, and we all went to bed early because we knew we had a long day ahead of us.

Christmas day started like any usual day. I got up around 6:30, showered and got ready. I woke up Terry when I was done so he could also shower. We proceeded to get the girls dressed, fed & ready to head to Ga Ga and Pop Pop's house. (AKA Terry's parent's house) We opted to fore go the fancy Christmas dresses that we used for the pictures, since the girls hated the tights and they literally hate being in those dresses in general. Mine and Terry's new motto is "the simpler the better." So we went with the Christmas onesies and pants. The girls had breakfast, watched a little of their Baby First TV show and we packed up to head to Grandma's around 9:15ish. This was the first time that I had to use two diaper bags to take along everything we needed. I literally had been planning this trip for a week making sure that we didn't forget anything. I had lists going like crazy. You would think we were going on a major road trip when literally we were going 15 minutes down the street. I'm slightly OCD and I needed to make sure that all things were going to run smoothly. This entailed the packing of the presents in the car, the highchair, the food, the kids, etc.

We got to Ga Ga's house and unloaded the kids and the car, and we set up shop in the corner of their living room. Terry & I had a quick apple turn over and a glass of hot apple cider before the present madness commenced. This is one of the things I wished I had taken more pictures of. The girls had a mound of present surrounding them in the corner of the living room. I'm literally not exaggerating. There were probably close to 35 wrapped gifts that just circled them on the floor. Needless to say, not only was I overwhelmed but so were the girls.
Above two pictures: you can see Alexis digging into the wrapping paper. She was having the time of her life ripping the paper and tearing up things. We eventually had to stop her because it became more of a tear a piece of paper and then put it in her mouth routine.

The above three pictures are Addison opening her gifts. She was a little bit more delicate about it than Alexis, but she also enjoyed tearing things up. I love the last picture and I'm bummed that it didn't turn out better because this was Addison all day long. She would just look around and check everything out. It was like she was just taking everything in and couldn't believe what was going on. I know she was just overwhelmed but watching her take in the surroundings was literally priceless.

After gifts comes lottery and cheese time. Yes, this sounds like a weird combo doesn't it? Everyone gets lottery tickets in their stockings. We gather around the kitchen table, scratch our tickets and have cheeses, brie's, pate's and crackers. Terry and I took turns monitoring the kiddos while the other would scratch their tickets. I fed the girls their lunch in a quiet hallway of the house so the girls could focus on eating instead of the madness and Terry did his lotto tickets. Then Terry gave the girls their bottles while I did my lotto tickets. Terry was the big winner in the family this year! He won $500 on one individual ticket!! His total winnings were $573. I did fairly well with winnings of $76. Neither of the girls won anything on their ticket.

The girls went down for a short nap and Terry and I finished opening what presents the girls didn't finish. Let's just say the girls did very well for their first Christmas. They got lots of clothes, hair accessories, toys, a new toy box and they each got their first American Girl doll. Terry and I had to have a conversation about the American Girl fascination. As a new daddy, Terry was not familiar with A.G. Terry wanted to open the boxes and let the girls play with their new baby dolls. After explaining to Terry what A.G. is we decided that the dolls will be put on a shelf in the girl's closet until they are old enough to understand what they are. They have several other baby dolls that they can abuse right now. I think we've opted to return quite a few of their gifts and place the money into their college savings account. The girls are still too young to understand Christmas, and they have more than enough toys already. We don't want our girls to grow up spoiled and with a sense of entitlement so we have decided to pick two new toys for each girl and to return the rest of them. Trust me, they have SO many toys right now, they won't even know! Once the girls are old enough to understand the meaning of Christmas things will be different but for now it was just excess. Not that it isn't appreciated by any means!


Above three pictures: The girls with their new toy box. Terry accomplished several things on his "to do" list over the weekend and one of them was putting together the girls new toy box that Santa Ga brought them. Alexis refused to sit and pose for a picture on the box. She wouldn't look at the camera nor would she sit up. I think her favorite thing about the toy box is it gives her something else that she can use to climb up on to stand up. (see bottom pic) The girls are also wearing their new Mary Jane socks. It may be a little hard to see them in the pictures though.

One of the girls new toys (you can see it in the bottom picture on top of the toy box) is a Winkel Color Burst toy by Manhattan Toys. They absolutely LOVE this!! I have added a picture of it below, although ours is different colors. I can't tell you how much they love this! They will literally fight over it. Each girl grasping a loop and pulling to see who is the strongest. It's like their own little mini version of tug of war. This toy has also been flung across our living room on numerous occasions as Alexis gets super excited about playing with it. She will start waving her arms with it in her hand and then it flies across the room. It's still funny right now, until something gets broken.

So to finish up Christmas day, Terry and I loaded the girls up and went back home. The remainder of the family was going over to his brother's house but we decided that the girls really couldn't handle anymore excitement. See below picture of Addison: She just couldn't take any more and pooped out shortly after we got home.


Terry and I went home, played with the girls for a little bit and then put them to bed. Terry and I ordered Chinese food for dinner and we enjoyed a nice evening of sitting on the couch reflecting about the day. We feel so fortunate to be experiencing all these little milestones one by one.

One of my favorite parts of the weekend was making the girls first ornaments. This did not go as well as I had planned or did they turn out flawlessly but they will make the perfect keepsake. I decided that I wanted to make plaster handprint ornaments. I plan on doing this every year with the girls. Hopefully as they get older this will go more smoothly. Alexis decided that instead of giving me an impression of her hand that she would just dig her fingers into the plaster and squeeze it through her little fingers. I had to do her impression several times before I got one that resembled a hand. Addison did not enjoy this process at all. She didn't like getting her hands dirty or the way the plaster felt. Hers did turn out a little better but overall I'm fairly satisfied with the results. It will be fun to pull these out of the box every year and reminisce about the fun that we had creating them.


So I think that is the extent of my Christmas Post. I feel like I'm forgetting something pretty major?? Who knows? If I remember I will post it later. I'm still trying to figure out how to get the videos off the video camera. I can do it from my digital camera but not from our actual video camera?? Once I figure it out I will post those.

Hope you all had as enjoyable of a holiday as we did! This definitely will be one that we won't forget!!  Thanks to all of our family who made our first official family Christmas unforgettable!

Monday, December 28, 2009

We have a pro crawler & a climber!

Yes, I promise I will get to my Christmas post soon!  I'm working on it, but I have lots of pictures to upload and stories to tell.  Just wanted to share some short videos I took tonight.  Addison has mastered crawling!!  She finally got the hang of the one hand in front of the other concept and has officially become obsessed with chasing Jynxie our cat.  Alexis has become a climber.  She will climb up anything she can get a grip on.  She will walk along the couch while holding on.  She's actually attempted a few steps without holding on but quickly falls down.  She's got a lot of guts and I think she is going to walk before she perfects crawling.  Enjoy the videos!




VICTORIOUS!

I know this is crazy but I feel like I finally won a battle!  On 03-03-09 I had emergency surgery performed to place a cerclage in my cervix.  The anestheologist charged $560.00.  My insurance company paid 80% stating that the doctor was out of network.  No, when I was being rushed into emergency surgery I didn't think to asked everyone involved if they were in the Cigna network.  I also wasn't given a choice of what doctor to use, so I feel that this claim should have been paid as "in network" and at 100%.  I've been fighting this for over nine months and finally got my insurance company to pay the additional $112.00!!!

Victory #2...You may recall from a previous blog entry back in September where I mentioned that the anestheologist who performed my c-section charged an additional $800.00 after hours fee because he performed my c-section at 3:00a.m.  After arguing this charge until I was blue in the face I also got my insurance company to pay an additional $400 and the doctor agreed to write off the remaining $400 balance.

Yes, these are very minimal things but I feel like I have won a tiny little battle that I've been fighting for over 9 months.  Being left with over $20,000 in medical bills, I have to make sure that every penny is accounted for.

Yes, Christmas pictures and a blog entry with all the fun details from our Christmas hooplah will be along shortly.  My digital camera needs a rest.  It definitely got a work out these past few days!!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Our FIRST family Christmas Card!!

Pictures from Christmas to come soon! Need to find the time to download them and post them! Our card didn't scan to well but you get the idea.



Monday, December 21, 2009

WE HAVE SOME MOVERS & SHAKERS!!

The girls have been crawling for awhile now but I was just able to capture it on video this evening. It's more like a crawl/plop themselves down but they can get from point A to point B now. Alexis is starting to pull up on things and stand. She pulls herself up on the couch constantly. I'm so not ready for that yet!! Enjoy!! Yes, my voice does sound really weird on these videos, I know!! The first video is Addison and the second is Alexis.





The ramblings of my brain....

So for those of you who haven't received our Christmas card yet, hold on to your seat!  We haven't forgotten about you, I'm just waiting on some pictures to arrive so that I can mail them out.  We had major issues getting our cards this year!  I was so excited to do our first family card and the dip shits at JC Penney's kind of put a damper on my excitement.  As you may know we had our family portraits taken the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  I couldn't decide on what pictures to buy so I bought a CD with all the pictures and the legal rights to the pictures.  Everything was set for me to pick up our CD the following Sunday.  I was super excited to go home and pick out the best pictures and design our card!  I get home and there are only 4 pictures on my CD???  HMM?  So I call Penney's and they assure me that they will fix the problem.  I return to the store the following week and they attempt to give me printed pictures of an African American family.  Yah, those pictures were not my family!  They promise they will get it right this time!  I return a few days later to an attempt to give me printed pictures of an hispanic family.  REALLY??  Is someone playing a trick on me??  I had to laugh but I'm also pretty pissed off at this point!  I got really hot headed after finding out that I wouldn't be able to have some photo gifts made in time for Christmas without having to pay an extra $45 for express processing and shipping.  I proceeded to contact the district manager of the portrait studio.  After 5 trips to pick up my CD, they finally got it right.  So now I'm just waiting on extra copies of pictures to include with some of our cards.  Rest assured, we haven't forgotten about you and you will get it soon!  I will post pictures of our first official family Christmas card, once i'm sure that they have been received by all!!

I'm finally starting to get excited about Christmas.  As I mentioned before I was super excited to do our card, and had that ruined.  I've been feeling like Christmas this year is more of a financial burden than it's ever been and I've just generally been feeling down about the holidays.  Why you may ask?  I have no explanation other than my own selfishness getting the best of me!!  I have everything in the world to be thankful for this year and after a reality check this morning I can't wait for my girls to attempt to open their gifts.  They are obsessed with tearing magazines and pages in books, so I'm thinking wrapping paper might be right up their alley?  Either way, I'm finally starting to jump on the holiday bandwagon and couldn't be happier!!
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Saturday morning I received an email from my friend Jody, a fellow preemie mommy of two.  This brought happy tears to my eyes so I thought I would share.  Those of you who haven't walked through our journey may not appreciate or understand it, but I thought I would share for those of you who know what we've been through.  Enjoy!!
PREEMIE MOM POEM:
HOW PREEMIE MOM'S ARE CHOSEN
(Adapted from Erma Bombeck)

Did you ever wonder how the mothers of premature babies are chosen? Somehow, I visualize God hovering over Earth, selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation.  As he observes, he instructs his angels to take notes in a giant ledger.  "Beth Armstrong, give her a son.  Give her Patron Saint, Matthew". "Marjorie Forrest, give her a daughter, and Patron Saint, Celia".  "Carrie Rutledge, give her twins and Patron Saint.....Give her Gerard, he's used to profanity".  Finally, he passes a name to an angel and smiles...."Give her a preemie". 

The angel is curious.  "Why this one, God?  She's so happy".  "Exactly", smiles God.  "Could, I give a premature baby to a mother who knows no laughter?  That would be cruel".

"But does she have the patience"?  asks the angel.

"I don't want her to have too much patience, or she'll drown in a sea of self-pity and despair.  Once the shock and resentment wear off, she'll handle it.  I watched her today.  She has that sense of self and independence so rare and so necessary in a mother.  You see, the child I'm going to give her has a world of its own.  She has to make it live in her world, and that's not going to be easy".

"But Lord, I don't think she even believes in you", said the Angel.

God smiles.  "No matter, I can fix that.  This one is perfect.  She has just the right amount of selfishness".

The angel gasps, "Selfishness?!  Is that a virtue?"

God nods.  "If she can't separate herself from the child occasionally, she will never survive.  Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect.  She doesn't know it yet, but she is to be envied.  She will never take for granted a spoken word.  She will never consider a step ordinary.  When her child says 'mama' for the first time, she will be witness to a miracle and know it.  I will permit her to see clearly the things I see - ignorance, cruelty, prejudice - and allow her to rise above them.  She will never be alone.  I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life because she is doing my work as surely as she is here by my side".

"And what about her Patron Saint" asks the angel, his pen poised in the air.

God smiles and replies, "A mirror will suffice".

Monday, December 14, 2009

8 MONTHS?

How is it possible that my little girls turned 8 months over the weekend?  It seems so surreal to me!  Here are some random pictures from the last month.


Above:  Alexis listening to her Daddy sing to her.  He's singing "Brown eyed girl".


Above:  Addison laughing at Terry singing "Blue eyed girl".


Why can't I ever get a picture where both girls are looking at the camera at the same time?
Above:  Alexis (left) & Addison (right)


Above:  This picture was taken the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  Grandma and her girls!  Alexis left & Addison right.

Above:  Addison played just a little too hard.  This is one of my favorite pictures of her.  It captures her true sweetness and how she loves on everything from people to her Teddy Bears.


Above: Oh sweet Alexis!  Sometimes she just keeps going until she literally passes out.  One minute she will be talking and then a second later she's out like a light. 

Above: Alexis in her swing again.  Poor thing slept like that for about an hour.  She woke up with a nice red mark on her face.  But she took a great nap!


 Above:  We've officially had to rope off our living room.  As the girls start crawling more and become more interested in things other than their toys, we had to find a way to "corral" them.  Right now this is what our living room looks like.  I can tell we are going to have to come up with an alternative plan soon!

Above:  Just thought I would share the extent of our Christmas decorations this year.  We decided that since the girls are too young to understand Christmas that we would just bypass the tree this year.  But it was with great delight that I hung the stockings with care!  Ok, so If the stockings were "hung by the chimney with care"....wouldn't they be hung up outside?  Isn't a chimney outside?  Shouldn't it be....The stockings were hung by the mantle with care?  Am I just nuts?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Pictures with Santa!

We had the girls pictures done with Santa today.  I've been very skeptical about taking the girls to the mall to see the germ infested Santa there, but I REALLY wanted to have them photographed with the jolly man.  Our realtors who sold us our house have an annual photos with Santa brunch.  We decided that we would just pop in and pop out to get our photo.  Unfortunately, even with the best layed plans it wasn't that simple.  After major plumbing issues with our water heater this week, our plumber showed up extremely late to our house on Saturday.  I was thinking we wouldn't make photos with Santa at all!  I text'd my friend Sherri and she came to our rescue.  Terry had to stay home to deal with the plumber and Sherri and I loaded up the girls to see Santa!

I thought for sure that Miss Addison with her stranger anxiety was going to hate Santa.  She was the first to reach our for him.  She went straight for his beard!!  See below pictures!!



Addison successfully pulled down Santa's beard once & Alexis only tugged on it a few times.

To my delight, here is our first succesful picture of my girls and Santa!!  It almost makes me cry!  I've dreamt about being able to take my kids to see Santa for so many years!  My dreams are now a reality!  God is GREAT!!!  WE ARE TRULY BLESSED!!!




Friday, December 4, 2009

FOTO FRIDAY!!

Just thought I would share a few of my favorite pictures from the last week with you today.  All photo credit goes to my sister in law, Gretchen.  She took these when she was in town last week.  Enjoy!!


The Fam!!  Alexis on the left & Addison on the right.


This is a typical picture of me on my days off, minus the hair being done and the makeup.  Both girls love to be held right now and are very jealous if their sister is being held and they aren't!  Addison is in the pink and Alexis is in the Green.


Terry and Alexis.  I can't believe how much she looks just like him.  Even everything she does is just like him.  She's his little mini-me!


Me & the girls and my mother in law Linda.  My neice Lila is trying to pop in on the right.


I just thought this picture was adorable.  Gretchen sent this to me and it brought a huge smile to my face.  If only I knew how to use photoshop, then I could paste in my two girls.  Still a super cute picture of all our neices and nephew from Terry's side of the family.
Clockwise starting with Amelia on the bottom with her fingers in her mouth, Georgia (orange), Amelia (orange & green shirt), Oliver (blue shirt), Lila (blue striped shirt).

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thanksgiving Post!!

So, I just realized that this long blog post that I typed out on Thanksgiving never actually "posted"? Hmmm? I guess it helps if you actually hit the "publish" button to post an entry right? I guess it's better late than never.
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On this Thanksgiving eve, I reflect back on our year and can't help but shed a few tears for everything that I am eternally grateful for this year. Our year has had its share of ups and downs and more than our fair share of tears and heartache but it isn't without much to be thankful for. Where do I begin? These are in no particular order.

I am so thankful for the doctors and nurses at St. Vincent Women's Hospital in Indianapolis for their care for myself and my daughters. Without them, I wouldn't be here today nor would my precious baby girls. I feel an enormous amount of indebtedness to all of our amazing doctors and nurses. Especially, Lisa & Liz. They will forever hold a special place in my heart!

I am so thankful for the fact that the doctors at the hospital were wrong! While the first few days of the girls lives have become a blur to me, I can't help but remember the day that Dr. DeSanto came into my hospital room and told me that it was imperative that we have a "sit down meeting" with both parents as soon as possible. Terry had gone home to shower and sleep a little. When he got back to the hospital was when the doctor told us about Addison's massive brain hemorrhage and that they didn't think she was going to live. While I don't ever remember hearing those actually words..."your daughter will probably not survive", I'm reminded on a daily basis how fortunate we are to have her with us today. Yes, we have no clue what the future holds for our Miss Addison but I'm thankful for everyday that she looks at me with those huge blue eyes and smiles at me!

I'm so thankful for family, our parents, and especially my Mom. My Mom showed up unexpectedly from St. Louis shortly after the girls were born. I wouldn't have made it through those first few weeks without her. Not only did she teach me how to walk when I was a child but she was the one who forced me to get out of my hospital bed and put one foot in front of the other when I didn't think I had anything left to give. She taught me how to walk again when I literally didn't feel like I could. My world was falling apart around me and she picked me back up and made me realize that I'm a stronger woman than I ever thought I could be.

My amazing husband....How do I even begin to describe how thankful I am for Terry? Words cannot even begin to describe this. Terry puts up with me even when I know I'm the biggest witch in the world. He loves me unconditionally with no questions asked. He put up with me for ten weeks of bed rest and never once complained. He waited on me hand and foot and never even gave it a second thought. He is an AMAZING father!!! My girls are very blessed to have a great Daddy and I'm so thankful to have an incredible husband! While I'm not going to lie, the last several months have been very trying on our relationship; but I can't imagine anyone else that I would rather have walked through this journey with!!

I'm thankful for my four incredible children.....Addison, Alexis, Our two angel babies; one from a previous miscarriage and our Angel Triplet, baby girl Hope. Every morning when I look into my girls eyes and sing them our "Good Morning" song that I made up, it absolutely melts my heart. The smiles on their faces and the giggle that I get makes every step that we took to get here 100% worth it. Granted, if I had a magic wand and could have changed things I would have, but every ounce of pain that we went through to get these girls disappears when I hear them laugh or see them smile. Addison and Alexis, you make me a better person. Your laughter and personalities continue to amaze me. Every day with you two in my life I am eternally Thankful! I'm thankful for our two Angel babies who I know are in Heaven protecting their sisters, without them I'm not sure we would be where we are today.

I'm thankful for my support system. No one knows what it is like to lose a child(ren) unless you have been through it. NO ONE KNOWS what it is like to spend three months of your life living in the NICU unless you have been through it!!! No one knows what it is like to deal with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) unless you have been through it. For those of you who have walked this journey with me I am thankful!
Jody, for being my twin sister from another mother (Jody and I met on a webmd.com pregnancy message board)....for all the emails, phone calls, and general support I am thankful. I'm not sure what I would do without you some days. It amazes me how two people who have never physically met in person can have so much in common and have such a connection.
Sherri, oh sweet Sherri. My girls have one of the best adopted Aunts ever!! Your continued support through even the simplest of text messages means the worlds to me. God must have known what he was doing when he brought us together.
All my friends over at CLIMB (Center for Loss in Multiple Births). I don't know how to even explain how thankful I am for all of you. You make me understand that grieving is ok, even for a child(ren) that I never got to physically hold in my arms. You've helped me understand that dealing with PTSD is not my fault. You've helped me learn that I'm not crazy and that every parent who travels the NICU journey deals with PTSD in some form or another. For all of you, I'm thankful!!!
Trina, Courtney & Lauren, our next door neighbors.... Without them our first few nights at home would have been a disaster. Trina has saved us on numerous recent occasions when we just need a third pair of hands. I have no idea how we would have survived without them! I am thankful that you three are our neighbors!!!
And to everyone else, our family and friends who have supported us along the way I am thankful. It would be impossible to list everyone by name. Everyone who has said a prayer, read my blog, left comments of support on my blog, and everyone who has generally been pulling for our family since day one, I am thankful!!!

And finally, I am thankful for Our Heavenly Father who has allowed us to come so far in the last year. Without him choosing us to be parents of Addison and Alexis none of this would have been possible.....

1 Thessalonians 5:18
Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Hebrews 13:15
Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to His name.

Psalm 100
Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before His presence with singing. Know ye that the Lord He is God: it is He that has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name. FOR THE LORD IS GOOD; HIS MERCY IS EVERLASTING; AND HIS TRUTH ENDURETH TO A GENERATIONS.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sneak Peak!

Many of you already know that we took the girls to get a family picture taken on Saturday.  On Thanksgiving I realized that this may not have been the smartest idea.  Taking two infants to the mall the weekend after Thanksgiving, What was I thinking?  I seriously stressed about finding parking, getting the girls dressed and making sure that we were at our appointment on time. To my suprise, we found a front row parking spot and the girls did super!!  I will definitely know for next year that we need to schedule our appointment prior to Thanksgiving or on a week day!  The portrait studio was packed but luckily we had an early appointment so they were still relatively on schedule.  By the time we left they were already running behind by about 45 minutes.  I'm fairly postive that it's our fault that all the appointments after us were postponed, but all and all things went great.  Some pictures turned out great and some pictures well, not so much.  Here is a sneak peak of a few pictures that will not be making the cut for our Christmas card. 


Above:  Me & Alexis.  I LOVE this picture!  Unfortunately, I'm limited to the number of pictures I can put on our card.  I love this picture of Alexis because it truly captures the essence of her sweetness when she's in the right mood.  Nicknamed the "Beast", we don't get many of these sweet moments captured on film!



Above:  Daddy and Addison.  Another one of my fav's that isn't going to make the Christmas card cut.  Addison wasn't truly feeling the photo shoot.  Afterwards, I realized that she was totally sweating in her little dress and that was probably what her issue was.  I just think this is a great picture.  It truly captures the way that Terry lights up any time he is around his girls.



And the final picture not making the cut, Above:  Alexis in white & Addison in red.  Ok, so it appears that Alexis is having another sweet moment by kissing her sis on the head right?  Not so much!!  Alexis likes to try and bite Addison's head or chew on her hair.  But in my opinion it's still super adorable.  These are the moments at home that I can never capture on film so I'm glad that we were able to get a few candid shots.

So stay tuned in the next month or so to see the best of the best and our first family Christmas card!!

Also, big THANKS to Grandma & Paw Paw Flanigan for helping us out this weekend!  We couldn't have made our photo appointment on time without them!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Dress up time!

For a Daddy who really wanted a boy, I have never seen a guy so happy to play dress up with his girls!   I had originally bought these outfits for our Christmas pictures that we are having done next weekend.  After much thought, we decided that we wanted to something a little more formal with the girls.  I still wanted to take some pictures.  This also gave us a chance to make sure our tights & shoes fit for next weekend.  I hope you enjoy these picture as much as we do!!  By the way:  Just wanted to give a little mention to the maker of these tutus.  Liz, fellow mommy of two beautiful girls as well, has a great shop called The Painted Daisies.  I recommend checking it out!






The above five pictures are Alexis.  She cooperated with the process but I'm not sure she was exactly having much fun!!






The above five pictures are Miss Addison.  She really liked playing dress up.  Even though we have yet to capture her beautiful smile on camera, she was smiling like crazy for us.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Shots & Sadness!

The girls received their RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) shots yesterday.  This is a four part shot to help prevent the girls from getting what in most infants would be classified as a bad cold.  Since preemies generally have undeveloped lungs at birth, they are more apt to get RSV which in micro-preemies can be very serious and MANY times leads to death.  We are being very cautious to keep the girls pretty much on lock down and at home right now.  Since it's cold and flu season, I'm very nervous about the girls catching anything.  Being around other children who have a minor cough or running nose can cause our girls to get very sick.  A lot of people don't understand that when a micro-preemie baby gets a cold, it's not the same as when a full term child gets sick.  While I've been doing my best not to treat my girls as "different", cold and flu season is one thing that I will not take lightly.  So I ask all of you who are getting "upset" per say because we will not be traveling to family holiday functions, or attending your holiday parties to please understand that we are doing what we feel is in the best interest of our girls.  I've done A LOT of research on RSV in preemies and this is something we just don't want to mess around with!!!  If you still feel the need to make your ignorant comments feel free to do so, but this is a decision that Terry and I have made together and we will not be changing our minds.  Sorry to be so blunt, but we spent years and years praying for these children and we will not let anything as little as being careless about cold and flu season take them away from us.
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Ok, so while the girls were at their pediatrician's office they were weighed.  For some reason I was expecting Alexis to be a lot heavier than Addison.  She just feels meatier.  But Addison is longer so who knows what I was thinking.  But here are their weights as of Tuesday, November 17th:  Addison  12 pounds 4 ounces and Alexis 12 pounds 10 ounces.
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After all that we have been through I hate to live in the past, but some things will always be a part of me and I feel like today is a day that I need to look back on the past and reflect on how truly blessed we are.  One year ago today (click this link to read) we found out that we were expecting triplets.  I will never forget the look on the faces of everyone in the room.  At that time we were still seeing our RE, so we had a nurse, a nursing student, the doctor, Terry and me in the room at the time of my ultrasound.  I immediately saw two sacks on the screen and when the third one popped up I thought Terry was going to pass out.  The doctor made him sit down before he fell over.  The doctor kept scanning the room looking at everyone.  She kept apologizing to us saying how sorry she was.  I was just ecstatic to be pregnant; I don't think it fully had sunk in yet that it was three.  Normally when we left our appointments the doctor or nurse would leave the room so I could get dressed and tell us to check out at the front desk when we were ready.  This day they all waited outside of the room to make sure that we were ok.  I got dressed and Terry just stared blankly at the wall.  When we were ready to leave the exam room, I opened the door to find the doctor and the nurse both in the hallway.  They walked us up to the front desk to make sure we were ok.  They asked both of us if we were ok to drive since we both seemed majorly in shock.  They all again apologized to us saying that they try their best to prevent high order multiples.  This whole day was very weird to me.  Looking back now, I feel like everyone at Midwest Fertility were angels in our whole conception process.  They knew that our family would be completed by two precious little girls not three.  While not a day goes by where I don't think about our baby girl Hope, I know that God knew what he was doing when he took her from us.  He needed her to help protect our two surviving triplets.  Without her, who knows where we would be today.  Every night when I put Addison and Alexis to bed, I thank God for knowing what was best for our family and for blessing us with these two incredible miracles.  I also thank baby Hope for keeping an eye out on her sisters. 
Baby Girl, You've been an Angel indeed!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

November 17 is PREEMIE AWARENESS DAY!!



Ok, this has been a very difficult blog for me to write. I have so much that I want to say and I can't seem to find the right words. I've debated about giving a bunch of statistics about prematurity, copying the generic blog from the March of Dimes (MOD)website etc. etc. Instead I've decided to share more of our story with you. Here I go....Hope I can encourage at least one person to help out with the March of Dimes.

The morning of April 12th 2009 will be permanently etched into my mind. While this sounds strange to say, since a lot of the details seem foggy to me now, I will never remember the fear that I had that day. Would my babies survive? I already had one previous miscarriage. I knew that if our girls survived I would only be bringing two of our three triplet's home from the hospital. I didn't want to accept the fact that my water had broke. What had I done wrong? Why was this happening to me? How could I fix it? To this day, I still have no answers. The doctors assure me that I did nothing wrong and that prematurity is unexplainable 95% of the time. I was determined to keep my girls in. I layed in my hospital bed all day barely moving an inch because I didn't want anything to cause my girls to be born prematurely. Nearly 20 hours later the pain of the contractions was unbearable. I remember laying in my hospital bed that evening thinking that I was about to give birth to three babies that didn't stand a chance. I was only 28 weeks pregnant why was this happening?

Without the research done by the March of Dimes, my two surviving triplets would not be the healthy baby girls that they are today. I owe my heart and soul to the people who have helped developed the ventilators, c-pap apparatuses and all the other fancy equipment that was used to bring my girls back to life. Yes, I have never shared this information, but our little Addison was "jumped started" several times that early Monday morning. If I hadn't been a nosey mom and was reading her chart in the NICU I would have never have known. I'm not sure if that is information that I really care to know, but it makes me appreciate the MOD's and all our amazing NICU nurses and doctors even more. Without all of them our precious daughters would not be with us today.


Above is Addison on day 3 of her precious life.  Still fighting on the ventilator.


Above is Alexis.  Hating her C-pap.  Day four of her life.

I would like to encourage each and every one of you to visit the March of Dimes website at www.marchofdimes.com and contribute if you can. I understand a contribution is not possible for everyone.  If you are unable to contribute financially we ask that you please just say a prayer for someone you know with a premature child.....someone who is struggling through the NICU journey right now....or for the team at March of Dimes that their work continues to be funded to help fight the unknown of premature births.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monetize?

Just wondering if any of you ladies out there Monetize your blogs?

If so, I'm curious as to how much $$ you actually make off of it? None of the FAQ's on blogspot give me any idea if it is just pennies or if it is a substantial amount.

I'd be curious to hear from everyone as to how much you make from your blog?

If you don't want to share publicly through a comment please feel free to email me at cardinalsfan0718 AT netzero DOT com

Saturday, November 14, 2009

NO WORDS NEEDED.....

Ok, I know I titled this no words needed but of course I had to add a few. This video I took on my phone so the quality is not great but I had to post it. Terry is making the girls laugh by blowing raspberries on their neck. It's the sweetest sound when they laugh!! Enjoy!


video

Friday, November 13, 2009

7 MONTHS!!! Happy Friday the 13th!!

It seems so hard to believe that our little sweeties are seven months old today.  It seems like just yesterday I was standing by their isolates in the NICU.  Last night when I was watching Addison sleep after I fed her, her bedtime bottle, I couldn't help but think to myself how incredibly lucky we are to have two amazing little ladies.  We are very blessed that they continue to thrive after all they have been through.

I just had to check...the girls birthday won't fall on Friday the 13th until they are 3 and it won't fall on Easter until their 22nd birthday.  Good to know!!

So here are a few things about the girls this month:

Addison:
Our precious Addison has seriously found her voice this month.  This morning I was laying in bed listening to her babble away.  She has the sweetest little voice.  But she also does have this seriously funny growling noise that she makes occasionally that doesn't sound as sweet but is still hysterical.

Addison is not a big fan of peas, but she loves carrots.

Still wearing size 1 diapers except for at night we need a size 2 for extra absorbency.

Still mainly wearing 3-6 month clothes, but sometimes a 6 month sneaks in there.

LOVES her baby doll, which was a gift from my Cousin Kandi.  She will hug it and drool all over it for long periods of time.

Alexis:
Miss Alexis continues to be our wild child.  She is a totally wiggle worm and is constantly moving.  She has a smile that can brighten and room and isn't afraid to share it with everyone.

Alexis will eat anything and everything.  It's hard to feed her because you can't get the food in her mouth fast enough.  She doesn't seem to "love" peas, but she still eats them.

Still in a size 1 diaper except for at night we use a size 2.  Same as her sis.

Still mainly wearing 3-6 month clothes.

LOVES her "tea party" exersaucer.  We purchased this from my boss & his wife since their super cute daughter, Kingsley didn't enjoy it much.  If you ask Alexis if she wants to have a tea party she gets super excited.  (see below pictures)
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Last night I decided to break out my baby beaba baby food maker and give it a try.  LOVE IT!!  We received this as a gift at one of our showers.  Let me tell you....being as frugal as I am, I probably would have never purchased this for myself.  But this will be a total money saver for us in the long run.  Basically what this is, is a glorified food processer with the word baby on it.  But I still love it.  It cooks/steams the food for you and in the same container purees it.  I have been saving my used Gerber plastic baby food containers for this purpose.  Here is what I figured out last night: 

(8) 2 packs of Gerber plastic containers of carrots X $0.98 each=$7.84 plus tax
Yields a Total of 16 containers of carrots for $7.84
Total cost per unit=$0.49

(1) bag of carrots from the grocery store=$0.98
Yields a Total of 16 containers of carrots for $0.98
Total cost per unit=about $0.07

Yes, this does take a little bit more time, but in the long run it's healthier for the babies eating non-processed foods as well as we will save $$. The girls will be trying out their homemade carrots today for lunch.  If they like them, I plan on making a huge batch of carrots, peas, spinach and green beans this weekend.  I'll let you know how it goes.  My only wish is that the baby beaba was slightly bigger so I could make more at one time.  Since we have "double trouble" we obviously need double the food.
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As promised here are a few pictures of the girls from their opthalmologist appointments.  Obviously, these were taken prior to the doctor coming in.

Above:  Daddy & his girls.  Addison left & Alexis right.


Above:  Addison.  Love, Love, Love those chubby little cheeks!!  And she is totally getting so much hair these days.  Before long I will be able to put little barrettes in her hair! YEAH!


Above:  Alexis (aka little Terry)  Doesn't she look just like her Daddy?  She is getting more hair as well, but not as much as her sister.


We've really been working on the girls motor skills lately.  I.E.:  grabbing for toys, following objects, sitting up etc.  The bumbo chairs help with the girls practicing sitting up.  It's really been hit or miss with them.  Some days they like them, other days they despise them.

Above is Alexis and Jynxie the cat.  As you can see Jynxie is always so careful not to step on the girls blankets or play mats.  Alexis has become obsessed with Jynxie and cracks up laughing every time she sees her.  Alexis will see Jynxie and immediately try to crawl over to her.  Some days Jynx will lay there and let Alexis abuse her and yank a fistful of hair and other days Jynx will run and hide.  It's pretty cute to watch!  Addison usually couldn't care less about the cat.

Addison in her bumbo chair.  Not the best picture but at least she is looking at the camera.


Above:  the girls chillin' in the chairs.  Alexis on the left & Addison on the right.



Above:  Alexis having a tea party.  This picture is from the first time she was in it.  She still wasn't quite sure what to think of it.  But now she totally LOVES it!!


Above:  Addison in our other exersaucer.  This one isn't as fun but we still use it on occasion.  The girls definitely favor their tea party exersaucer.  This picture was from the first time we put Addison in it.  She wasn't quite sure what to think.  It took her a few minutes to realize that she could and was supposed to stand up in it.