Saturday, October 31, 2009

Trick or Treat! Charlie and Lily's First Halloween

Today Charlie and Lily went trick or treating! Well, sort of. They didn't get any candy, but they made two sets of grandparents very, very happy!

Last night, Joe, half joking, said that we should dress the babies up today and take them trick or treating at their grandparents house. He was surprised when I thought it was a great idea! The grandparents houses are germ free with no crowds, so we thought there would be no harm in taking the babies on their first non-doctor outing. So this morning we dressed the babies in their Halloween finest - a pumpkin onesie and hat for Charlie and a ghost onesie and hat for Lily - and after their late morning bottle we packed everyone up and headed out.

Our first stop was to Grandma Anne and Grampa Fred's house. Boy were they surprised when the doorbell rang and they found two of the tiniest trick or treaters waiting on their porch. The grandparents got in a snuggle, and then we were back in the car heading to see Crackers and Grandad Ron (might we add that it's pretty convenient that our parents live less than 2 minutes from one another and less than 10 minutes from us!). Both were thrilled to see their grandbabies, and Aunt Jill also happened to be over there visiting and got to fuss over the babies in their cute outfits. The babies, however, were less that excited by their first holiday and slept most of the time we were out, but Joe and I sure had fun!

Aside from celebrating the holiday, Charlie and Lily are doing great. Today was a wonderfully fun day with the babies, but we certainly did not forget about our Annaleigh. A few weeks ago Joe came across the Triplet Butterfly Wings blog. Rachel, the woman behind the blog lost her triplet babies in 2007 and now raises and releases butterflies in memory of other sweet angels. Joe contacted her and yesterday a beautiful yellow monarch was released in Annaleigh's name. You can see the butterfly and her tribute here.


Charlie and Lily were so excited for Halloween that they couldn't stay awake.

Our little pumpkin Charlie seemed to love his outfit.

It's a Boo Bug! Doesn't she look thrilled?

Ready for trick or treating!

Charlie and Grampa Fred discuss the World Series.

This was Lily at 5:00 am this morning. That is one WIDE awake Bug.

The babies weren't the only ones who had a nice day. Today was the type of day Roger loves more than any other. Leaves were falling and it was super windy. The perfect storm for window sitting!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Happy 4 Months!

Today Charlie and Lily celebrated their first birthday outside of the NICU - they turned 4 months old! Although there were no cupcakes this month, since there was no NICU staff to share them with, Charlie and Lily went ahead and celebrated with lots of bottles, a weigh-in and some tandem tummy time.

The visiting nurse came today to check the babies out and both got thumbs up. Charlie had put on 6 ounces since her last visit to reach 8 lbs 5 oz, and Lily gained 8 ounces for a total of 7 lbs 9 oz. The nurse's visit, however, threw off the babies eating schedule so somehow their feedings are sort of running into each other and I've been pretty much feeding babies non-stop all day. They've both been extra hungry lately, demanding bottles more frequently, and what Charlie and Lily want Charlie and Lily get!

This afternoon the babies got down on the floor for some dual tummy time. I accidentaly put Charlie in Lily's boppy and vice versa, so maybe that was why Lily was less than enthused with the playtime. Charlie happily raised his head and looked all around, but Lily slouched on the boppy and shot me half-hearted dirty looks until I picked her up. And then she demanded that I feed her. Again. Sigh.

Today I also received a call from the early intervention team. As it turns out, the babies actually do NOT qualify for assistance. While at first glance that seems like a bad thing, it's actually not. The babies don't qualify because their development is too good - they are right on target or a little ahead in all areas for their adjusted age. That makes us happy. The head of the team did promise that she would drop off information on milestones that the babies should be reaching in the next few months, and if I feel they start to lag behind we can start the early intervention process again. But for now we're on our own!

So that's what new with Chily! I'm heading out the gym (since gaining weight each week is a job I must leave up to Charlie and Lily) and I need to be back in time for the traditional reading of Birthday Monsters before bed!




Lily just doesn't seem all that thrilled to celebrate her 4-month birthday. I guess she's just used to be showered with praise and attention, regardless of the day.




Charlie seemed to enjoy wearing the hat.

Lily and Charlie are very good at making a LOT of laundry. Luckily for them, Nana is more than willing to come over and help fold! She even presses Joe's work shirts for him-- she's our own personal laundry service!


Charlie enjoyed story time with his daddy, even if daddy has had to wear a mask around the house for the last few days. Most likely Joe's just fighting off some major allergy issues but better safe than sorry!

Charlie loves Mommy! Pretty much the only thing that will calm Charlie down when he's upset is a good cuddle.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

And in This Corner...

So I had an entirely different title planned for this post, and then I snapped this picture of Lily and Charlie and had to change it! Just look at that right hook! I find it ironic that her outfit says "love" on it. I have no idea what Charlie did to upset the Bug, but I'm pretty sure he will never do it again.

The babies have been doing well since our last post. On Friday we had a visit from the Early Intervention team. The babies were evaluated in several different areas of development such as cognitive, speech, fine motor, gross motor, etc. Mainly I just answered a bunch of questions regarding what Charlie and Lily do and do not do. For example, do they hold their heads up for 5 seconds when on their tummies? (The answer to that is yes, if anyone was curious!) Then the occupational therapist did a few quick tests on them, like shining a light in their face to see if they would respond to it and shaking a rattle near them to see if they would turn towards the sound.

My answers and the babies responses were combined to give them a score of their development. Both babies scored in the 0-3 month range, which is on target for their adjusted age. Lily actually scored above the 3 month mark in the areas of fine and gross motor. For as long as I can remember, Lily has been bringing her hands together at her chest, and apparently this is actually a major sign of development, as it means that both sides of her brain work well together. Charlie is not yet doing this, so that one thing helped Lily outscore her brother. Regardless, both babies qualify for additional monitoring and support due to their gestational age, and we're happy to know that we'll have experts letting us know if the babies are on track.

This afternoon Joe was on Daddy duty while I went to my friend Jill's baby shower. He enlisted Uncle John's help so Charlie had a whole afternoon of male bonding. Lily was of course, showered with affection, but I like to think she was happy to have Mommy home for some girl time. Jill's shower was beautiful though, and I enjoyed meeting her sweet family who all read the blog (hi, ladies!). Jill is cooking a pretty little girlfriend for Charlie who is due the end of November. We better not show her the picture of him being beat up by his sister - that may put his manhood in question!

Charlie looks so cute in his Ducky towel from Great-Aunt Diane!

Lily is so pretty when she's not beating someone up.

A full couch! (And yup, there's yet another pair of awesome pajama pants. And don't forget the fuzzy purple socks and Rabies Awareness Fun Run t-shirt. I am so stylish.)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

3-3-3 and 2-2

I just realized that it has been three days since our last post! I don't think we've ever gone that long before. In our defense we've been busy! Today is a good date for an update though, because today Charlie and Lily are exactly 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days old. Adjusted they are 2 weeks and 2 days old. Neat, huh?

Anyway, on Monday we returned to St. Peter's, but thankfully just so the babies could have a follow up eye exam. That was quite the feat getting both babies up, fed, dressed, in their car seats and out the door by 7:45 AM. But we did it, and made it our appointment relatively on time (we were a tad late, but I blame that on traffic!). The appointment went well - both babies are still showing improvement but are not yet good enough to be cleared for good. So we'll return in 3 weeks for another check. After their appointment we took a brief detour to the NICU to use their waiting room to feed and change Charlie and Lily and to say hello to some friends, including one of Lily's favorite nurses Linda, who we never got to say goodbye to before we left. We ended up getting home about 6 hours after we left, which made it quite the outing!

Yesterday afternoon I took the babies for a nice long walk in their double snap n' go. That is a production in itself - set up stroller, bring car seats into living room, unplug monitors, put babies in car seats, pick up one baby and monitor and bring to door, pick up other baby and monitor and bring to door, put one baby in stroller, put other baby in stroller...whew! Add that to pushing that big thing up and down hilly streets and you have a great workout! We went out again today since the weather was so nice. Charlie celebrates our walks by sleeping. During today's walk Lily was nice and awake, gazing around in a sort of confused fashion, as if she was wondering what the heck she was doing outside. And each time we went over a bump she shot me an accusatory glare. She's something else.

Today the visiting nurse came over to give the babies their weekly checkups. Lily finally broke into the 7 lb club, weighing in at 7 lbs 1 oz. Charlie flirted with 8 lbs but came in at 7 lbs 15 oz. The goal is for the babies to gain an ounce a day, and they each gained 9 ounces in 8 days so we're on track!

Our camera was lacking in new pictures that we hadn't already posted, so I opted to post their hospital pictures. These were taken right before the babies were discharged and I think they are adorable.

Okay, I lied. Here's one new pic - Lily in her car seat ready to go to her eye appointment. She always looks so baffled when we put her in here!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Chily

A few days ago my good friend Lauren emailed me and said she thought that Charlie and Lily needed a celebrity name ala "Brangelina." She suggested "Chily." I think she is brilliant. So I present to you Chily, rocking their adorable "Super Baby" and "Super Cute" outfits. These were gifts from a former student of Joe's and I felt they warranted another baby fashion show/photo shoot. As you can see, Charlie was enjoying being a model this time around. Lily...well, Lily was annoyed to have to share the spotlight with her brother.

Both babies are doing well, although yesterday and last night were a little rough. Charlie and Lily did not want to sleep for more than an hour or so at a time, and also decided that they MUST eat every 2 hours rather than the 3-3 1/2 hour schedule they had been on. Needless to say it made for a rough day/night. I was assured by many other preemie parents that this was normal behavior though and something they would move past within a few weeks. In the meantime we decided that we would just feed them whenever they want to be fed, no matter how long it's been since their last bottle, and cross our fingers that they decide to revisit the Land of Nod at some point!

On another note, thank you very much to everyone who voted (and voted and voted) for us in the Best Multiples Blog contest. The contest ends tomorrow (Monday) and it's clear that we won't be the winners. We almost don't mind though, because all of the blogs are deserving. However, since there's still time, if you are still in a voting mood we ask that you pop back over to the site and throw your vote to Multiple Baby Pileup. After losing her sweet baby boy Jackson, mom Megan started The Jackson Malia Fund for Children with Special Needs. After Annaleigh's death, the Fund was kind enough to send us a generous grant to help us out. We are so grateful for their support and can't think of a better site to win the contest prize money.

Today Charlie and Lily were treated to a visit from their great-grandparents Lucy and Freddie.


It doesn't get much better than this! (And feel free to be jealous of my totally awesome pajama pants. You know I look hot.)


Charlie is a stud, even when sitting in a girly boppy.

Princess Lily suffers through a bath.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Halloween Sneak Preview

My Nana works at Kohl's and a few months ago she pounced on a shipment of Halloween costumes and snagged two of the best for Charlie and Lily. This morning Nana was over helping me out (bringing me coffee, folding laundry, ironing shirts - how awesome is my Nana?!?) and we decided that it would be a good idea to try the costumes on the babies. Lily was less than thrilled and slept through the fashion show (although even asleep she is an adorable penguin) and Charlie was slightly annoyed with the whole thing (what a cute angry dragon he makes though). Nana and I, however, got a kick out of the whole thing. I snapped a few pictures and decided to share them to kick off the Halloween season. Now we just need to teach Charlie and Lily to say "trick or treat" and get Mommy some candy!



There may not have been a fashion show this evening, but there were a lot of cuddles after dinner. Lily and Charlie enjoyed ending their busy week with some Daddy time.

PS - Please keep voting! We're getting close! Thank you for all your support!




Thursday, October 15, 2009

Remembering the Lost


Today, Thursday, October 15, is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. The day was created to promote support, education and awareness for grieving parents nationwide and worldwide. So today, like any other day, we remember our gorgeous baby girl Annaleigh, along with all those sweet little ones who join her in heaven.

Throughout our entire trying to conceive/pregnancy/NICU/parenthood journey I have met many, many amazing women who have suffered devastating losses along their way. Their support and guidance has been invaluable to me, as we are all part of a club that no one wishes to join. I'm thinking of each and every one of their sweet babies who had to leave this world too soon.

Today is a day to remember, reflect and be incredibly thankful for your healthy, happy children. Hug your babies and send love to all the tiny angels watching over them.

We love you Annaleigh. Charlie and Lily are doing you proud - thank you for taking care of them.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Charlie's Rough Night (and Please Vote!)

Before I begin our regular post, I wanted to once again ask our readers to please vote for us! Our blog has been nominated for the Best Multiples Blog Award from one of my favorite website, The Bump. We are thrilled to be grouped with so many wonderful blogs. And hey, we want to win! We're competitive like that. Especially Lily. She's using this as an excuse to practice her campaigning skills for her future homecoming queen race. Plus, first prize is $1,000! Can't beat that! So thank you to everyone who has already voted, and to all those who will vote. The contest ends on October 19th so there's still time! VOTE NOW!

Okay, enough self-promotion. Let's talk about babies! As the title of this post suggests, our sweet Charlie had a very rough night last night. (I should apologize in advance to Future Charlie, who will be reading this someday. Charlie, I am sorry that I am discussing your constipation and poop on the Internet. I give you permission to now share something embarrasing about me online. Go ahead. I'll understand.)

Charlie has always been a once-every-few-days pooper, but as of yesterday it had been four days since he had gone and he was feeling it. He was fussy all day long, but by 7:30 last night he couldn't take any more. He started screaming and crying, arching his back and throwing his head around in discomfort. We held him, rubbed his belly, bicycled his legs, but nothing helped. I consulted my awesome friends on the private multiples message board I'm a member of and many suggested a little stimulation of the area with a Q-Tip or a rectal thermometor. We tried that, then called the pediatrician for other suggestions. They recommended the same rectal stimulation, plus giving Charlie and ounce of sugar water. We gave him the sugar water and did a little more stimulation and FINALLY, around midnight, Charlie pooped. Hooray! And boy was he happy afterwards. He celebrated by chugging 135 ml of fomula/breast milk and then lying awake in my lap, sighing happily and gazing contently around the room. He was so happy that he didn't want to go to sleep after that. So needless to say, it was not a restful night for any of us. But we are just happy that Charlie is feeling better. He pooped again on his own this afternoon and is in such better spirits today. It's nice to have my happy boy back! I think I may give him the ounce of sugar water on a fairly regular basis to help keep things moving so he doesn't get that uncomfortable again.

Miss Lily has been holding her own in the poop department, and this afternoon added her own signature move of peeing all over her clothes while her diaper was being changed. Thanks, Lily! I like to think she was just demanding a wardrobe change. After all, no true diva would be willing to wear the same outfit for 24 hours. Lily is proving to be a very alert and happy baby. When she was in the NICU we often remarked that there were two Lilys: mad and asleep. But at home that couldn't be further from the truth. The two Lilys we see are awake and silly. She spends a great deal of her time wide-eyed, making goofy faces and "talking" to herself. We could watch her for hours!

Yesterday the visiting nurse came and pronounced both babies nice and healthy. They had each gained 6 ounces during the week, reaching a total of 7 lbs 6 oz for Charlie and 6 lbs 8 oz for Lily. The nurse will be back next week, and on Monday we will take a trip to St. Peter's for the babies' follow up eye exams.

Tonight is a big TV night - Lily loves America's Next Top Model and Charlie can't wait to see what's cooking on Top Chef. I joke that Lily seems like a Gossip Girl type of baby, but when I had it on the other night it was Charlie who was craning his neck around to try to catch a glimpse. He really is Mommy's boy!



Lily loves showing off her new bib!

Chunks is feelin' no pain after two good poops!

Vote for Us - Best Multiples Blog Award!!


Our blog has been nominated for the Best Multiples Blog Award from The Bump! The winning blog receives $1,000! We are so excited and honored to be in the running. If you have a second, please VOTE FOR US at The Bump!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Quiet Columbus Day

Who knew Columbus Day could be so much fun?!?

Last night Brooke and I realized that Charlie and Lily were acting a little funny. Both of them were having a hard time with their bottles, they didn't want to sleep much, and they fussed when they weren't being held. Add to that the fact that Charlie hasn't pooped in a few days and Lily sounds extra reflux-y (yup, I invented a word) and we've got all the makings of somebody getting sick. It's been less than two weeks since Charlie came home and just one week now since Lily came home, and in that time the babies have gone from a calm, routine environment where nobody but nurses bothered them to a place where there is always something new happening. Everything from our pets and our relatives to always being with each other has gotten to be maybe a bit too much for them. So to combat this, we decided that today was going to be a "quiet day." No visitors, no new experiences, and no unnecessary stimulation.

And I'm happy to report that today was an absolutely wonderful day! We did nothing but spend time with them. We even closed the window shades and swaddled them up and had a legit nap time in the middle of the afternoon; both babies napped quite soundly for about four hours, which is a first. Brooke even tried to feed both babies at the same time. She propped each of them up on their boppies and used folded up blankets to prop the bottles. It seemed to work quite well. Lily had some major reflux afterward so we need to do it again to see if it was the position that caused it or if it was just a coincidence.

Our nights have been getting better. We've both managed to sleep more than the first few nights while the other manages feedings and diaper changes. Two nights in a row now we've both managed to get at least five consecutive hours of sleep. Add a cat nap during the day to that and we're not quite sleep-deprived. Let's hope this keeps up!


Lily is really doing well with her Tummy Time. She seems to be getting some muscle in her neck and can now hold her head up for more than a few seconds on her own.


This is the life!


Charlie loves mommy. Mommy loves Charlie. It's a match made in heaven.


This is how they napped today. Brooke and I were both giddy with happiness when we saw.


This tandem feeding thing may actually be possible....

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We had hoped that the glow worm would help soothe them to sleep. It didn't.

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This just makes me happy.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Routines

It's been three days now since we've last posted and I can honestly say that there just hasn't been time to sit down and write a new update. People have been telling us again and again how busy we were going to be once the babies were home and now I can say beyond any doubt whatsoever-- they were so right!

Lily and Charlie are doing so, so well here at home. They're taking their bottles as close to regularly as possible, and they're sleeping between meals most of the time (except in the middle of the night, when the both seem to be quite nocturnal). Their alarms go off occasionally, mostly when they're eating, but the episodes have never lasted more than just a few seconds. Most of the alarms are caused by loose leads or loose wires and a little readjusting is all we need to quiet them down.

Brooke and I are adapting to our new lives better than we could have expected. Brooke spends her days with the babies. She usually has to handle two or three feedings by herself while I'm at work and most of the time Charlie is okay eating an hour or so after Lily, which makes things easier for everyone. Between meals, there's usually just enough time for baths and tummy time, and then the whole process starts over again.

As for me, coming home from work is just about the greatest thing in the world. I rush home, wash up and change my clothes, and then spend my evenings, nights, and early mornings with my babies. And even though I'm not exactly sleeping as much as I'm used to (or much at all), I think it's safe to say that I couldn't be happier with my beautiful family.

So we are basically trying to get into a routine. Charlie and Lily like to keep us on our toes though! For example, last night Charlie had a diaper blowout that resulted in poop on his back, legs and arms and earned him an emergency trip to the bathtub. Brooke got to handle that one, which was really only payback to her for sleeping through Lily's early morning diaper blowout the day before. I encountered this mess at 5:00 AM and called repeatedly upstairs to Brooke (who was in bed) for help. She replied numerous times, "Okay, be right there" but never came. It was only after I had Lily all cleaned up that I went upstairs and realized that Brooke had never even woken up and, in the morning, had no recollection of even talking to me. So we're getting into the routine of new parent exhaustion too! But one thing is certain: every dirty diaper and sleepless night is well worth it!

Yesterday morning I was surprised at work to find that my co-workers had planned a surprise "celebration" for me. They were careful not to call it a "baby shower." I was totally shocked by the whole thing, to say the least. I've known for years that the people at FTHS are very special, but the way that everyone has helped me through this past year has been beyond anything I could have expected. And what's more, there were as many people there at the "celebration" that I didn't know as there were people that I did know. All of those "strangers" told me that they've been following this blog and going through the journey with us. So to all of you, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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When Lily is hungry she is quite entertaining. And apparently I'm mean enough that I would rather video my daughter making cute faces than get a bottle ready for her to make her happy.

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Every now and again, one of the babies seems to get into an especially good mood. He/She will smile a lot and look around and give the impression that all is right in their world. Luckily, I had the video camera on Charlie during one of these moments.


Tucker is getting used to his new pack members. Today we found him laying in the back room with a pile of baby clothes.


And here's Tucker keeping an eye on The Bug.


Today I realized that the Cuddles and Naps Division can bring it's act onto the computer! I showed Charlie the joys of playing computer games. Some fathers dream of molding their sons into athletes-- my son will be a nerd!


Uncle John is learning quickly how to help out with the babies. He and Rebecca even took an infant CPR class today. We're so lucky to have the help!


My friends at school who planned the shower collected lots of money from our coworkers and then went and bought a bunch of Babies R Us gift cards, which my supervisor then tied to a mini Christmas tree. It was very creative.


Our favorite gifts from the shower were personalized baby outfits for Lily and Charlie. Aren't they great?!? Thanks Jamie!


And here's the cake! Nothing starts the day off right like a cake at 8:00 in the morning!



Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Brooke's First Day

Since I had to go back to work today for the first time since Charlie came home, Brooke started her temporary career as a stay-at-home mom. Luckily, she had plenty of help to ease her in to the job.

First, Nana (Brooke's grandmother) came over to give an extra set of hands to help out around the house. Then the visiting nurses came to check up on the babies. They weighed them (Charlie is at 7 lbs! and Lily is at 6 lbs 2 oz) and took temperatures and answered a few lingering questions about minor concerns. It's really nice to have them come, if for no other reason than simple peace of mind. We got so used to doctors and nurses being around the babies 24/7 so it's nice to have medical professions come give us some reassurance every now and again.

By the time I got home from work, Brooke had managed all the feedings by herself and had given both babies sponge baths. She had given both Tummy Time and held each baby for as long as possible. In short, she was exhausted. Lucky for me, too, because after being away from them for so long (for the first time) I was anxious to get my hands on my babies. So Brooke took a nap and I spent my evening cuddling with my little loves.

Sleeping has been a little bit of an issue. We're still trying to figures out what is best in terms of late-night feedings. We started to stagger their feedings a bit so they're not eating at the exact same time any more, which should make it possible for one of us to get a few consecutive hours sleep each night. So far we're doing well, but I guess the test will really come after we've been doing this for a few months. Not that I'm complaining-- this is an issue I've wanted to have for a long, long time!

And now for some pictures (and videos)!

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A few days ago I posted a video of Charlie doing nothing but looking at the camera, so to be fair I'm not posting a video of Lily doing nothing but looking at the camera.

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Lily's first Tummy Time! We're supposed to put them on their stomachs for a few minutes each day to help them build up strength in their necks and backs.

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Oh, how we just love to see them together, even if they're slapping at each other!


Charlie was not a big fan of his first Tummy Time.


Lily, however, was happy as could be on her belly.


Poor Uncle John had to wear a mask during his first visit at home with the babies. He had just got off a plane and didn't want to expose the babies. Roy was quite happy to put himself between all the action.


Happy 60th birthday, Grandpa Fred! Lily loves you!