Monday, September 28, 2009

Speech Evaluation for Ian

This morning ECI came out to evaluate Ian for speech therapy. Most of it was questions to both myself & his ECI coordinator, Melissa, but some of it was also seeing what he would "say". His comprehension skills are on target. This means that he follows simple commands, can pick out an object when told to, eats well, & a few other things. He isn't pointing to pictures like they want him to but the fault lays on me there. I am going to pick up the slack & try working w/ all of them in that area b/c he isn't the only one that doesn't do that so much.

On the flip side, he was assessed at about 9-12 months in verbal skills. I knew that was coming. He vocalizes & says a couple of words but he doesn't make animal sounds & he isn't saying enough words to meet his milestones.

What was said is that we all believe he has the ABILITY to do it, he just doesn't have the NEED or the OPPORTUNITY to really vocalize as much. This is something we have all been talking about for some time. Gabi is our verbal baby. She is the spokesperson for the group. Another interesting piece of information is we think he is concentrating so much on developing his motor skills that this is where he is falling behind, verbal skills. Melissa said she will be curious to see what happens when he is finally comfortable w/ walking. I think she has a good point.

Anyway, Ian will get speech twice a month for 45 minutes at a time. I'm happy to get the service but wishing we didn't really need it. No shame in getting help though. No shame at all!

Their cousin Marie gave them these shirts & the kids are finally big enough to wear them! Super cute!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Gap Casting Call



Someone suggested that I enter Ian in the Gap Casting Call so I did but being the unbiased mother that I am, I had to enter all 3. The links are below. Yes, you have to register. If you don't mind doing that, we would really appreciate your vote. This is the 1st time I have entered the kids in any contest.

Ian Entry #1
Ian Entry #2
Ian Entry #3
Gabi Entry #1
Sofi Entry #1

You can vote once a day. PLEASE help us out!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

More pictures from the playground

Enjoy these pictures taken last Friday. Jane did a beautiful job!

This first picture is so representative of the hurdles we have jumped in Ian's recovery. He is standing alone, all alone. That is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.


Gabi & Ian standing together.


Ian & Gabi enjoyed the slide!




Mommy & Gabi (mini me)

Swing fun!



Sofi being the "serious" kid that she ISN'T.



All 3 playing!


Our attempt at trying to get a picture together. HA! It ended up in tears b/c all they wanted to do was go down the slide.


Miss Gabi


Ian being a GAP model.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Gabi Brag!

Since it has been raining, we haven't had the opportunity to go out & walk or play which is ok but that means Mommy has been reading more to the kids. Funny thing happened yesterday as I was reading the kids Moo, Baa, La La La! by Sandra Bounton. Check out the video. It shows everything!



Gabi is a smart little cookie. Since her 1st time to do it, she has repeatedly said the "No, no!" part of the book. EVERY. TIME. She has also been doing this with the Baby Einstein videos we watch. She will say the next word or sound before it appears on the screen. I know a few things about child development but didn't expect this to happen until they were about 2. All this has prompted me to count how many words she knows. So far we are well over 50 verbal words. This does not count the 20 or so signs she knows & the couple of Spanish words she knows. I think she is by far my linguist.

Somehow we managed to name her appropriately...Gabi loves to gab!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Going to the Playground!

It has taken us almost 18 months to finally get to the playground & I have to say it was a blast! The reason we waited so long is b/c we couldn't find a toddler friendly area. Our subdivision has a wonderful park/playground area but there are several reasons we felt uncomfortable going there.

1) No fence.
2) Right next to the main street in our subdivision.
3) No playground equipment for toddlers.
4) Would need 1 adult per baby w/ the above conditions.
5) Too damn hot!
6) Way too many mosquitoes!

For these reasons, we have delayed going. It's been a bummer b/c I have been DYING to take the kids but it was too difficult, UNTIL...our neighbor, Jane, was able to get us in to the neighborhood church toddler playground! Thank you Jane!

It is a perfect little playground, just the right height equipment for the kids to run around on. Great fence & benches just high enough for the kids to sit on. Jane made a call & we were set up to go to the playground on Friday. She came over at 9 am & we headed out. It is a short walk so we took the stroller as opposed to driving in the car.

We got there & the kids had a blast, as did I. What a wonderful experience!

We tackled the slide first. Sofi was too busy running around to care about going down.



Then it was time for some swinging action.




Ian loved crawling on the bark!


The girls enjoying the grass.



The plan is to go every Friday which will be good b/c we are there alone. Thank God for great neighbors like Jane!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

"THE" RSV Blog Post

Yep, it's time. Time to once again remind everyone that although our children look absolutely normal, their prematurity still stands in the way of them being able to effectively fight a virus such as RSV or the flu. Honestly, last season wasn't too bad. Most people understood what our requirements were w/o a fight. This year, they understand that much better b/c of what we endured w/ Ian in January. It just goes to prove that no matter how careful you are, a virus can be easily transmitted from 1 healthy person & wreak havoc on a small child, especially one born 6 weeks early.

Here is last year's post, revised for this year.

People don't seem to really understand what sick means when we tell them they can't come over if they are "sick". What we mean is if you have the sniffles or the remnants of a cough or even a tickle in your throat, DON'T COME OVER! I'm not trying to be rude but the dr specifically told us that you have to be symptom free to come visit. I'm sorry but we are listening to her over anyone else.

Why is this important? Because our babies are preemies. No, they aren't small anymore nor do they look ill. They actually look like any other 18 mth old toddler at this point BUT their lungs are still underdeveloped & they still have a compromised immune system. This is very important to know b/c there is a virus called RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) which to us or a full-term baby, would not do anything more than just give us a cough & a runny nose, much like the common cold. For our babies, it can mean DEATH.

Why? Our babies lungs look very different from that of a baby the same age that was born after 37 weeks gestation. Let me show you a picture of what our babies' lungs look like compared to that of a regular full-term baby. The 1st 3 pictures are that of our babies' lungs (not actual but you get the idea). The 4th picture is that of a regular baby. Scary to see how much less our babies have compared to them!


This is another good picture to look at. As you can see, they used trees to explain the difference between a normal infant's lungs (left) & a preemie's (right). WOW!


Finally, this is a photo of the airway when affected by RSV. On the left is a normal infant & on the right, a preemie. You can see how much LESS airway is open in the preemie's picture. SCARY!


Once RSV has been passed to one of our babies, hospital stay is an almost certainty. Actually, they would probably end up in the PICU (Pediatric ICU). There is NOTHING they can do to help our babies except to give them O2 via vent (intubated) to help them breathe. Again, something we don't want to experience ESPECIALLY after seeing Ian intubated w/o sedation last year. VERY SCARY!

How do we keep our babies healthy? By staying away from sick people! You may not even know you are carrying RSV & if you come over & infect our babies, you would feel very badly afterward. Sorry if I sound so harsh but I have had to explain over & over again why it is important not to come over.

RSV is contracted through physical contact or vapor droplets in the air. This is why if Todd or I get sick, we will have to wear a mask anytime we are around the babies b/c obviously we can't avoid caring for them. RSV can also live on surfaces for several hours so you better believe I will be Cloroxing all surfaces at least once a day!

A new implementation this year is that people coming from crowded places such as schools, will be required to change clothing. We need to take the extra precautions b/c of what happened to Ian last year. If you would like to read more about what we went through, the link is below.

Ian & Post-Infectious Cerebellitis

Mommies, if you have experienced RSV w/ your little one, I would love for you to leave a comment so others can be educated from a 1st hand experience. I do not want my babies in the hospital. They started their lives there & I would like to keep them out as long as possible!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Colds all the way around :(

Yep, it sucks. Sunday it was all Ian. Monday it was all 4 of us. The only one spared at this point is Todd. At least one of us is healthy. Not only do we all have colds but apparently this is means that napping isn't allowed either. I haven't had a break in a while between the teething, colds, etc. Todd is being a doll & taking care of me this evening. Seems like Chinese takeout has become my latest comfort food. YUM! Isn't there a saying out there about feeding a cold? Well, I'm about to indulge.

Besides the miserable colds, we have been hanging out, already on official "lock down" for the fall/winter. The weather is getting tolerable again & b/c of the lack of napping, we have been going on 2 walks a day. It gives the kids an opportunity to get outside. Now, all I have to do is get rid of the ant pile that just formed in the backyard & we'll have some outside play time here pretty quickly.

Some pics for your viewing pleasure...

Sofi is dancing here. She loves to dance (as does Gabi).


This is one of her w/ milk all over her face. I managed to capture the smug look on her face.


Gabi is full of funny faces. This is one I got of her while drinking her milk. This is a "typical" Gabi face.


Gabi checking to make sure her bow is still in her hair. LOVE IT!


The kids absolutely love this little table that Tia Julie gave them. The only problem, they don't love it for its intended purpose. Check out the series of photos of Ian.

Hmmm, Mom. Do you really have to take a picture of me & what I'm doing?

I don't really like the table right side up.


Much better upside down so that I can sit on it. Spanks!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Can't catch a break.

Yep, he is sick again. So far he has a runny nose. Poor kid's nose is all red. Now, I have to share that I am really anxious (not in a good way) b/c this is how the flu started in January. All I did was take him to the pediatrician's office to get blood work done which was a wasted trip since they didn't do it there. All we had to do was GO & he gets sick.

The runny nose started late yesterday afternoon & he has managed to not have a fever until this point but again, I am holding my breath. I don't want the girls to get it but a cold is a cold & they are in contact w/ one another all day long. What are the odds? Anyone actually know?

On top of this, the kids woke up at 6 am, a wee bit earlier than normal. Gabi was also crying at about 11:30 last night so I had to get up & check on her. This broken sleep & not enough of it for the past week is getting to this momma.

I know, what won't kill us will only make us stronger.

The kids were actually sitting quietly together. So cute! (Um, I don't normally dress the girls identically but I was doing laundry.)


Ian & Gabi chillin' on the floor together. They were giggling so hard!


Ian feeling Daddy's 5 o'clock shadow.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sign Language

I think I need to write a whole blog about this b/c it deserves some attention. In this house, we have been signing for the basic needs (milk, more, water, eat, all done, play, bath, sleep, & a quite a few more) since the kids came home from the NICU. It started w/ milk. We figured that would be an important one since that was all they had for the 1st 5 months of their lives.

As we introduced solids, we started signing the word eat as well as "all done" & "more". I think these were the most important b/c they could tell us if they were full or wanted more.

Now, don't think that my kids were signing from the beginning b/c the truth is I waited a long time & was very patient to finally see a real sign. It was Gabi & the sign was milk at about 9 months old.

Just like verbal language, it takes a while for them to connect the sign to the actual meaning & then get proficient in using them. It has been an amazing process to see unravel. Ian, being that he hasn't really busted out w/ any real words except mama, dada, & da (which he uses for every other word in the English language), knows more words in sign language than he does English. This is very important to me b/c that tells me he does know how to communicate & understands the meaning of language & communication.

Gabi has gotten extremely good, able to sign things such as mommy, daddy, friend, chair, & swing as well as the other words we have taught them all. This has been done w/ help from 2 videos, both are Baby Einstein & go through all the major signs. They are entertaining & I have been able to learn along w/ them.



How do we do this? We sign every time the action occurs. For instance, any time they got a bottle, we would sign milk before, during & after the bottle. Same thing w/ eat, more, all done & any other sign I can remember along the way. We are expanding our vocabulary & I am having to learn new words.

I need to get more videos of them signing. Here is a picture of the kids at the table & Sofi is signing for milk.


I honestly think this is part of the reason we don't have as many temper tantrums. They are able to tell me when they need something to drink or if they are hungry. It is great! I would recommend this to any new mom & dad out there.

By the way, did you notice how many hits I have???? Over 200,000!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Blood draws suck.

I had to take Ian today to get his blood drawn. It was the 2nd most awful experience I have been through since they were born. The 1st was seeing him intubated without sedation. That alone was a nightmare come true. Today made me cry. I don't cry when my kids get pricked or get shots. I know it is necessary & they normally get over it quickly. Not this time. He wailed & wailed & wailed. To the point where he yanked out the needle. There were 3 of us holding him.

I had to calm him down b/c they only got 1 1/2 viles of blood & we still had another 4 to go. Then they brought a 4th person in to help. Needless to say, I wanted to kill them all. I know they were doing their job but the look in my boy's eyes was enough to make me want to take them all out w/ 1 foul swoop. He screamed bloody murder the whole time we were there as well as part of the car ride home. When we walked through the lobby, everyone had a sad face knowing what he had gone through.

Blood draws suck. They sucked the life out of me today as well as enough blood to make any lab tech happy for a lifetime. Hopefully we won't have to go through this again.

Have to add a PT update...they came to assess his ankle stability today possibly for braces but he passed w/ flying colors! No ankle braces for my boy! Another small victory in his recovery from cerebellitis. YAY!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Bonnafided Bow Heads

My girls, that is. Ian, not so much. It all started w/ our playdate on Friday. Miss Lizzie was wearing a pretty white bow & I honestly expected them to tear it off her pretty little head. I waiting & waited to no avail. It seems as though the girls observed just how cute Miss Lizzie was w/ a bow in her hair so I decided to give it a try in the afternoon, during our walk as they don't sit together which means no ripping bows out of each other's hair.

They did well w/ them in. I took them out & thought that maybe we could add bows before walks so I could "advertise" as well. You know, the best way to draw customers is by putting those bows in! Ok, not sure but either way, sounds good.

Well before going on the walk, Sofi reached out to the bow holder & whined for one. Then she proceeded to place the bow in her hair. Not really but she tried & that's what counts. So I asked if she wanted it in & she bent forward anxiously awaiting the bow.

Since Sofi had one, Gabi had to have one b/c there isn't anything in this house that is for 1 baby. 1 for all or all for 1. That is our motto. Actually, their motto. Since Saturday, they now go up to the bow holder, point & then put their head out so I can put one in. Is this suppose to happen at 17 months old? Oh, Ian isn't even interested. Gender identity has started.

They were on the run the whole time I tried to get pictures. Grrrrrr.



Saturday, September 5, 2009

Ian is WALKING!

Yep, it is true. Our boy is officially walking. He has been practicing steps for a couple of weeks now but today he really showed us he can walk. He is far from being proficient but there is no denying that he can walk. We are so proud of his perseverance! God answered our prayers once again!



The cut off for being officially developmentally delayed is 18 months. We beat it by a month. WAAHOO! Take that neurologist!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Playing, playing, & more playing!

I've been packin' in the playdates, as many as possible before we go on lock down for RSV/flu season. Yes, we are going on lock down again this year. It should be the last year though. That is a whole other blog though. We have decided to keep a couple of mommies as playdate partners b/c they follow the same strict guidelines we do for the fall/winter season.

Yesterday we went to Susan's. She also has triplets. They are 10 mths old. Super sweet kids! Susan & I have been friends for about a year & a half now. It has been great having someone close to my age going through similar things. We really get to talk & understand each other's perspective.

Here is the gang playing in her living room.


Mia & Ava


Love this pic! Boys will be boys & triplets will defend one another. Andrew & Ian are about the same weight despite the 7 mth difference in age & they were "fighting" over a cup. Notice my girls coming to the rescue? Susan & I just sat & watched the boys pulling the cup from one another & yelling. It was a hoot!


This was our febble attempt at getting a picture of the 4 of us together. HA! My kids are wiggle worms.


Today, Adrienne & Lizzie came in to see us! They had an hour & a half drive too! We really appreciate them taking the whole day to drive out to see us. I honestly wish we lived closer. Unfortunately, I didn't get a whole lot of good pics. I'm going to have to rely on Adrienne & get hers. I think the kids did spectacular together. (Yes, Adrienne. I'm not lying.) The only problem, wish my kids had taken a longer afternoon nap. Eh, can't win every time.

Adrienne consoling Miss Lizzie & holding Ian at the same time. I suppose she got a little taste of my world ;)

Miss Lizzie petting Checkers. Man, is my cat a patient cat. She lets all the kids love on her!


Gabi hanging out on the scooter.


I promise to put better quality pics when I get them from Adrienne. We've had a very busy week but we like it like that!

Oh, have to let everyone know that Ian is standing more & more on his own! He will stand for a couple of minutes! I think his PT will be very happy w/ his progress.