Saturday, June 27, 2015

3 years old

On June 26th the little dragons officially turned three. 

We returned from vacation earlier this week and spent the last few days hurriedly recuperating, adjusting to being back home and preparing for Maisie and James' birthday party. They also had the final Early Intervention session and while neither officially graduated (both kids still have ongoing goals that we are working on), it was a huge milestone from a prematurity perspective.

Following their birthday party we are sufficiently exhausted. However, the little dragons seem to have boundless energy. Naps have been few and far between, and bedtime has been wild. Soon we hope to get back to normal.

***
I really can't believe that Maisie and James are three years old. It seems surreal in so many ways. They have made a lot of progress and are continuing - slowly but surely. 

The effects of their premature birth and the reasons behind it (pProm at 12 weeks with James) are still something we are reminded of. When we're at the park, it's when babies and toddlers as young as 9 months old outweigh our kids, walk and climb. It's when people don't think our kids are twins because at three years old, James is still unable to walk on his own and prefers to crawl. It's the unknowns associated with James and Maisie's medical conditions, and the measures we must take to support them. It's the fact that the kids are still wearing 9 month shorts and swimsuits at age 3; while this is great on the budget we can't help but feel like their growth is slow. It's when your peer group is limited, busy, and out of commission during winter months. 


And then there are the amazing times, which are definitely more frequent; when you remember that these are the kids that were given a zero percent chance at life and really are thriving. When the little dragons "meet and greet" every one at the grocery store, they say hello to the grumpy faced people until they break a smile and say something back. At the airport before the flight the little dragons sang and screamed at the top of their lungs; while we attempted to calm them down, we were so very proud that they were capable of such volume and lung power with all the complications they have faced. It's when they giggle and laugh so intensely when you join in, your ribs ache the next day. It's when they are stubborn and headstrong, reminding you that they follow their own path, in their own time and in their own way. It's the times when you witness the unspoken twin communication and bond - like Maisie giving James a lift up onto the couch, or James getting Maisie's blanket from her bed. It's the snuggles, the kisses, the shuns, the loves, the smiles, and the pokey elbows. 

We are so proud of the little dragons and every single thing they have accomplished these past three years. Maisie and James are resilient and determined individuals who are daily demonstrating new skills, interests, and abilities. They are thoughtful, kind, loving, wild, playful and compassionate. We can't wait to see what the next year will bring. Happy third birthday, Maisie and James. 


Sunday, June 14, 2015

Vacationing

We've been on vacation for most of June and it has been an adventure for sure. Jimmy is still at home and will join us on the tail end of our trip. We've been very busy in Washington with Grandma, Auntie Ca, Uncle Da and cousin Marri as they welcomed their newest baby into the family. 


The little dragons have been to Seattle before but for long weekends only. It has definitely been an adjustment for everyone learning how to keep a household moving smoothly with three toddlers and a newborn; ensuring they are all happy, entertained, well fed. It is not for the faint of heart, that's for sure. We are exhausted on all fronts. 

We've been very thankful for our accomodations, company, and the opportunity to be involved in such an important event. Our newest cousin is sweet and adorable and we absolutely love the cuddles. We will take every minute we can get!

***
We've gotten into a lot of shenanigans but have had limited time to report everything. Here's a snapshot of our trip so far: 

Being in Seattle, the little dragons had their first Starbucks (a smoothie).

James learned that sand does not make a very good snack.

Then Maisie tried and wasn't impressed. 

Maisie and Marri enjoyed dressing up together.

James acquired a "New Bainey" and now has both the new and "Old Bainey"; he also tried to adopt a pair of Marri's pajama pants that had the same pattern and material but we intervened.

We took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather and went to the beach to play in the sand; Maisie dug a huge hole and James described Lake Washington as a "big bathtub".

We spent an afternoon with our pProm friends - Advocate Brittani and baby Audri who is 20 months old and doing amazingly well since our last visit in August 2013. 


Sunday, May 31, 2015

35 months old / NICU Reunion

Saturday was the bi-annual Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children's NICU reunion at the Denver Zoo. It was hot and crowded, but we got to see most of our favorite doctors and our very best twin friends L&L and K&C. The little dragons were very well behaved and agreeable with staying in their stroller. 

The little dragons got to catch up with the main man, neonatologist Dr Jeff Hanson. We definitely would not be here today if it were not for Dr Hanson being on duty a few crucial nights. He oversees an amazing team of physicians over at RMHC at PSL. They are world class. 

We visit the NICU whenever we get a chance but it is always nice to see how many families these amazing nurses and doctors come into contact with. It's simply awe inspiring. We wish we would have had more time with everyone but we will have to make time to catch up later. 

***

Maisie:
Book: Baby Beluga or Dragons Love Tacos
Song: anything by Caspar Babypants or Disney princess music
Words: Maisie is very talkative. Her favorite thing right now is to act out whole sections for movies and though she's been doing this for a while she is spot on. Her movie of choice is Frozen.
Toy: Little People and Water Wow book. 
Food: cheese, cookies, pancakes, waffles, eggs, avocado, fruit snacks, blueberries, bananas, muffins, beans, rice, tortillas, quesadillas, Indian food, chips, brownies
Animal: dog, kitty, monkey
Time of the Day: taking a "blath" or playing outside
Activity: climbing, jumping, twirling, dancing, and running
Color: blue, pink, purple
Clothing Size: 18 months, some 18-24 months. 18 month PJ's. Shorts are 9 months and up. 
Shoe Size: 5.5-6
Weight: 21lbs at last checkup on 3/2/2015. Home weigh in on 05/15: 21.5lbs. 
Height: 32 inches
Number of Teeth: 19+


James:
Book: Baby Beluga or Dragons Love Tacos
Song: The Globe songs (see below), Raffi, and Caspar Babypants
Words: while James is not as talkative as Maisie, he does know hundreds of words and can use them in sentences. He especially likes to describe what is going on with all of his toys, and where they are. 
Toy: The globe, big red ball, green ball and balloons
Food: grapes, meat of any kind, pancakes, waffles, snickerdoodles, chips, fruit snacks, peaches, applesauce, muffins, peanut butter, pasta, rice, pizza, chili, tortillas, cheese, quesadillas, Indian food. 
Animal: dragon or bear
Time of the Day: playing outside, especially basketball
Activity: putting away toys
Color: green
Clothing Size: 12-18 months, some 18-24 tops. 18 month PJ's. Shorts are 9 months and up. 
Shoe Size: 5.5, but with his fancy AFO's aka his "Green Ball Shoes" James wears a size 6.5-7 extra wide.
Weight: 20lbs at last checkup on 1/22/2014. Home weigh in 05/15: 20.5lbs
Height: 31.5 inches
Number of Teeth: 19+

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Time flies

Time has a tendency to fly by sometimes.  We have been busy with work and therapy, and also preparing for an upcoming vacation to Seattle. Our month is pretty busy before we leave, too. While we are very much looking forward to spending the better part of June on vacation, there is a lot of work that goes into making that happen from a logistics point of view. 


Luckily when we visit Auntie Ca we literally don't have to bring any of the baby/toddler stuff- car seats, pack and plays, feeding supplies, etc. She has it all and this makes it very convenient, and much lighter to travel with twins. We appreciate having a vehicle to use and a place to stay. 

That being said, this will be the longest time the little dragons are away from home and we think they will do pretty well considering we've visited several other times. The surroundings are familiar and they have built-in play dates with their cousin. What will be tough is integrating therapy and making sure we don't lose progress while we are gone. 

***
Here's a synopsis of what happened in the last week or so...


James had a diaper explosion in the night and got it all over his crib. Maisie is very much into chewing her fingers. They both love jumping and playing on the sunroom couch. James is obsessed with balloons. Maisie loves to wear her princess dresses- even over pajamas. James wore one of Maisie's princess dresses - and Maisie exclaimed "we are two princesses!" James and Maisie have been attempting potty training, no luck yet. Maisie orders food and then doesn't eat it- over and over again. James saw a picture of Maisie at Halloween and said "beautiful Maisie". Maisie and James have both picked up calling Jimmy "sexy Daddy" - although they will call him "Beardy Daddy" too. Maisie informed us that while James's favorite color is green, he is actually white. James told grandma, who was looking for her glasses - "your glasses are right there, on your head".  Maisie and James decided they work at preschool and make $2. 


Monday, May 11, 2015

Walking sticks

Mother's Day was very low key around here. We got more snow over the weekend (and for the record we're over it!) and stayed in without any major incidents occurring. Above else, we appreciate everyone staying healthy and staying out of trouble. They most enjoyed calling their Grandmas on the phone and wishing them "Happy Mothers Day". 

Physical therapy is a big part of our schedule currently. We are wrapping up Early Intervention and working with private PT for James. We try not to think about therapy as repetitive and monotonous activities without purpose; James especially does so much better if motivated by things he enjoys and is interested in. Maisie is close to graduating EI all together but still has some skills she is working on - mostly her clumsiness and coordination in gross motor. We are also working on directions and listening skills with both kids. 

James has made tremendous progress. He can stand for a few seconds independently and has taken a few steps. James spends more time walking with help or toys and is staying upright longer than ever done before. James mostly uses the shopping cart and the big red ball to get from one room to another. Another thing James is becoming really proficient with is using the "walking sticks". Sure, they look like plungers; James calls them walking sticks and likes to wander all around the house with his Bainey (blankie) around his shoulders while using the sticks for support. We help by controlling the top of the dowels and ensuring he doesn't tip over, but James moves them independently and very gracefully. He also does a great job getting up by himself using the sticks and standing in the middle of the room. 



Both of our kids are a little gravity challenged. They take tumbles, often, and this is something we continually work on. Sometimes falling is purposeful and they love things like "Ring Around the Rosy" and other games where they can fall down for fun. 

We try to make therapy exercises into playtime so there is more of a willingness to try new things and explore. Sometimes that is challenging with twins who often want to play with the same things yet don't want to play together. It's an ongoing learning experience for everyone. 

For example, Maisie loves to scare James into giving up toys. We are trying to teach James to stand up for himself. The other day James was fighting to stay in the car and use it as a jungle gym. Maisie kept trying to throw him out. James was not thrilled. 
James was much happier when Maisie lets him have the car. Maisie, however persists and was not gone for long. 
Now everyone's happy! Maisie got to ride inside the car, and James was happy to call Grandma AND push Maisie around. 



Thursday, April 30, 2015

34 months old

This past weekend we attended our 3rd March for Babies and it seemed to be bigger than ever before. We met many friends, old and new, and saw so many pProm survivors and their families that it was simply awe insipiring. 


We thank everyone for their participation and support of Team Little Dragons. They are here because of the technology spear-headed by the March of Dimes and  we love to be a part of this event. 

***
Every single day the little dragons inch closer to 3. They know when their birthdays are, their full address, how to count to 20+, the full alphabet, dozens of songs in entirety, and much more. Their vocabulary has exploded along with their expressive language skills and reading ability. They can identify most letters and their numbers, and even read the numbers correctly off of the pulse oximeter (eighty-six, ninety-nine, etc). 


Maisie:
Book: Baby Beluga
Song: Maisie is really into Raffi right now. She also likes Disney Princess songs. 
Words: She is very much into the "I want" phase currently. 
Toy: Currently clothing. She really likes sparkly dresses. 
Food: cheese, cookies, pancakes, waffles, eggs, avocado, fruit snacks, blueberries, bananas, muffins, beans, rice, tortillas, quesadillas, Indian food, chips, brownies
Animal: dog, kitty, monkey
Time of the Day: taking a "blath" or playing outside
Activity: climbing, jumping, twirling, dancing, and running
Color: blue
Clothing Size: 12-18 months, some 18-24 months. 18 month PJ's. Shorts are 9 months and up. 
Shoe Size: 5.5-6
Weight: 21lbs at last checkup on 3/2/2015
Height: 32 inches
Number of Teeth: 19+



James:
Book: Baby Beluga or Hop on Pop
Song: The Globe songs (see below), Raffi, and Caspar Babypants
Words: James likes to describe what is going on with his ball collection, where they are and what they are doing. 
Toy: The globe, big red ball, green ball and balloons
Food: grapes, meat of any kind, pancakes, waffles, snickerdoodles, chips, fruit snacks, peaches, applesauce, muffins, peanut butter, pasta, rice, pizza, chili, tortillas, cheese, quesadillas, Indian food. 
Animal: dragon or bear
Time of the Day: playing outside, especially basketball
Activity: putting away toys
Color: green
Clothing Size: 12-18 months, some 18-24 tops. 18 month PJ's. Shorts are 9 months and up. 
Shoe Size: 5.5, but with his fancy AFO's aka his "Green Ball Shoes" James wears a size 6.5-7 extra wide.
Weight: 20lbs at last checkup on 1/22/2014
Height: 31.5 inches
Number of Teeth: 19+





Monday, April 20, 2015

Two little dragons jumping out of bed

Maisie has been able to climb in and out of her crib for a while. She also likes to climb in and out of James's when the mood strikes. Luckily her attempts to do so are few and far between; most likely she has been dissuaded due to a few accidental falls out of the crib during prior escape attempts. She has never been injured thankfully but Maisie now has a steady appreciation for the right time and place to "monkey around". 

When Maisie sleeps she is wild, thrashing and flailing around, asking for waffles, pancakes and "big ones" aka brownies. She has to have a collection of stuffed animals or toys with her at all times. Currently she has Mickey and Minnie, Nipa/Peepa/Teepa, a Winnie the Pooh book, baby doll, and of course her favorite blanket "Silky/Fuzzy". 

James is the polar opposite of Maisie. He is definitely not as bold with escape attempts and to be honest, we still have not lowered his crib to the bottom setting. He enjoys throwing out his blankets and pillow, listening to "Globey" play music, untying his "Marri Blankey", playing with the blinds, and chewing/sucking on his most favorite blanket "Bainie". 

When James sleeps he is very still and barely moves an inch. He will roll onto one side, Bainie in mouth and stay there for the remainder of the night. James is old faithful and has done a great job adjusting to wearing his SMO's (supra malleolar orthotics) and knee immobilizers at night and naps without a complaint. 

James has never, not even once, made an escape attempt. That is, until this past weekend when he brazenly attempted to rescue Globey off of the dresser. James fell out of the crib, landed in a laundry basket full of clothes, tipped it over, and managed to trap himself inside (it fell next to a wall and the opening was blocked). 

James fell and yelled loudly. Jimmy was the first to get to him and couldn't locate James for a few moments. He wasn't in the crib and any other obvious locations. Another cry for help led Jimmy to determine that James had indeed fallen out of the crib and into the laundry basket, knocking it over and trapping himself inside. Jimmy pulled the basket upright, grabbed a pretty shaken up James out, and set him back to bed. Needless to say, he did not succeed in acquiring Globey but he has not attempted to escape again. 

***
With these two little monkeys/dragons jumping out of their beds, we know the time is coming where we will have to move to toddler beds. For us, that time is not yet. We have a few options until then, such as moving their mattresses lower and even to the floor. For now, the cribs are the safest place for both of them. However, before we know it the little dragons will be ready for big kid beds and all the responsibility and lack of sleep that comes with it.