Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ta Da! 10 months old!

Today Charlie and Lily are 10 months old! They continue to amaze us each and every day. They are so close to sitting on their own, and Charlie looks like he's just about ready to crawl. They are getting so big! Happy 10 months, sweet babies! We love you so much.

(And let me put a disclaimer on these pictures by saying that it is NOT easy to get posed photos anymore now that they are so active...)

Always so happy!

This was supposed to be a picture of Lily sitting, but she wouldn't cooperate."Mom, get him off of me!"

"Fine! I don't want to be in a picture with you either!" (And yes, Charlie is totally rocking Valentine's Day socks. They matched his outfit...)"There's no escaping me, Charlie!"

Sunday, April 25, 2010

March for Babies

Team Three Cheers for Babies represented at the March of Dimes March for Babies walk. We were incredibly disappointed when we woke up this morning to the predicted rain, which we knew would seriously hinder the planned 5 mile outdoor walk. Even though the weather was terrible, the walk was on, so we headed over to the park as planned. We were blown away when we got there to find that nearly ALL our team walkers, many with children in tow, had shown up despite the weather, fully prepared to walk five miles in the pouring rain for us. It was incredible. Luckily, the organizers decided to move the walk indoors so that we could stay dry. So rather than stroll through the park, we walked 5 laps around the ice skating rink. Not ideal, but better than nothing! Charlie and Lily had a fantastic time taking in the crowd, listening to the music and meeting all the friends and family they had yet to meet. Since the walk was so short Joe and I sprang the babies from the stroller and carried them as we walked. Amazingly, towards the end of the walk both babies fell asleep in our arms despite the pounding music and hoards of people. Marching for babies is very hard work!

After the walk we invited our team to join us for brunch at a local diner. We were thrilled to have so many people join us there (and missed those who had to get home!) and had a great time chatting and eating. Charlie and Lily had a blast at the restaurant too. They are definitely not used to being out of the house yet so everything they see is so exciting and new to them.

All in all, we had a wonderful day. Thank you once again to all our amazing Team Three Cheers for Babies supporters. We can't wait to do it again next year - hopefully on a bright, sunny day!

Oh - and as of this moment our team fundraising total is $6,864!!! Woo hoo!

Charlie and Lily model the special shirts we bought them for today.
Our team in the ice rink, waiting to start the march.
"Come on, Mom! Put the camera down and let's go!"
Family photo (or an attempt at one, at least.)
The back of our team t-shirts. My best friend Colleen also brought butterfly stickers for all of us to wear on our shirts in memory of Annaleigh.
Our family poster.
So tired from all those laps around the rink.
Relaxing at brunch and telling Grandpa Fred all about the walk.
Charlie was ready for another nap before long!
Our hungry walkers getting ready to enjoy brunch.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


This morning I took some pictures of Charlie and Lily, and they inspired me to write a post about our morning routine. Mornings and evenings are our two busiest times of day. In the evenings Joe is just getting home from work, the babies need bottles and dinner, Joe and I need dinner, we need to do baths, bottles again, bedtime, etc. The mornings also come with a large "to do" list, but I always find them a bit more fun because Charlie and Lily are usually in such great moods from a (hopefully) good night's sleep.

Our days typically begin somewhere between 6:00 and 7:00 AM, although recently our little early bird Charlie has returned to waking up around 5:30. When they wake up, I bring the babies downstairs to the pack n' play where they chill out for a bit, playing with some toys and watching the jungle crib soother while I feed the cats, let the dog out, etc. If the babies don't wake at the same time it is always Charlie who is up first. If he's awake and Lily is still asleep, I will give him his bottle first. As the babies get bigger and older I'm finding it increasingly difficult to feed them at the same time. They're just so wiggly and easily distracted that it's tough to manage two at once. So whenever I have the chance, I feed them separately. If they are both up at the same time, I'll wake up Joe and he will come down and either feed one of the babies or play with the one who isn't eating. Since he has to go to work each day I try not to wake him if I can help it, but he's always happy to get up and spend time with the babies before he has to leave.

After the babies have eaten, I lay them on their mat to play while I wash bottles and throw on my workout clothes. I then set them up in their jumperoo and excersaucer to play while I do my 30 Day Shred workout. This workout has been a god send for me - it's challenging, effective, and over in less that 30 minutes! Charlie and Lily enjoy watching me jump around, although I do my best to entertain them while I'm getting my workout, often breaking into verses of "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" as I do the dumbell rows, or yelling "Jump! Jump! Jump!" as I do jumping jacks.
After my workout, it's time for Charlie and Lily's "second breakfast" of solids. Lily LOVES her solids and eats a big bowl of oatmeal and fruit each morning. In the past few days Charlie has just begun to try the solids again. We took a break from feeding them to him since he was doing nothing but refusing them, but now he'll at least open his mouth and swallow some spoonfuls - before he would just purse his lips together and then spit out any bit that I managed to sneak into his mouth. Once Charlie and Lily have eaten, I wash them up and get them dressed for the day. After that, we play together for a bit more and usually read a story and sing a few songs before I put them down for their morning nap. Aaaaah, nap time. Once they're asleep, I hop in the shower, get dressed and try to eat breakfast, drink a cup of coffee and check my email before they wake up and round two of our day begins.

Charlie and Lily being goofy on (well, mostly on) the mat after their morning bottles.
Happy Bug!
Silly Charlie!
"Don't worry, Mom, I got this. Look how much faster I could eat if we did it this way..."
Bananas taste best when followed by some fingers.
Charlie is ready for a nap, but Lily is still on the move. If I didn't stay close, she'd roll right out of the room.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


As of Thursday, the colds I mentioned the babies having in my last post were still not better. Well, Charlie's seemed better, but Lily's cough had gotten worse - deeper and more frequent. So on Thursday I called the pediatrician and made an appointment to bring both babies in to be checked. I am lucky enough to usually have plenty of help available when I need it, however on this particular day all my usual helpers were either sick, stuck at work or at the Phillies game. I was able to recruit good old Uncle John - he was also going to the Phillies game that afternoon but was able to meet me at the pediatrician before he left. So John and I brought the babies in to see the doctor. Charlie checked out just fine, but the doctor heard some wheezing when he listened to Lily, and also a little rattling in her left lung. He set her up with a nebulizer treatment, after which he said she sounded clearer. He prescribed nebulizer treatments for Lily every four hours she was awake, but to be on the safe side he also wanted me to take her for a chest x-ray to rule out anything more serious, like pneumonia.

At this point John had to head out for the Phillies, so I went solo with the babies to the radiology place. I was doing great until the tech informed me that Charlie was not allowed to come into the x-ray room with Lily and I. After a brief moment of panic, I relented and took the receptionist up on her offer to sit Charlie (in his car seat) behind the counter with her and keep an eye on him. Lily was an angel during her x-ray, and we were out and back to Charlie in no time. Charlie didn't seem to mind me leaving him for a few minutes - when I got back to him he was happily grinning at the four women who had gathered around to admire him. He's such a flirt!

Lily's x-rays came back clear, which is good news! I brought her back to the pediatrician today for a re-check and he said her lungs sounded better. Her nebulizer treatments have been cut back to twice a day, and can be discontinued completely on Monday. This may disappoint our Bug, who really seems to love the nebulizer! Lily's lungs are clearing up, but the doctor found what may be the start of an ear infection in her left ear. He gave me a prescription and told me to fill it on Monday if she still has a lot of congestion. Hopefully Lily won't need it, but I'm glad we have it just in case! Thankfully though, Lily remains her goofy, happy self despite being under the weather. On Thursday the nurse at the pediatrician's office even remarked on what a "happy little sick baby" Lily was. :) Oh - and both babies had some kind of growth spurt in the past week. Charlie weighed in at 17 lbs even, up 7 ounces from last week, and Lily was 16 lbs 8 oz, up 10 ounces!

As if Thursday wasn't busy enough, when I got home from our doctor's appointment I got a call from the Honda dealership letting me know that my Odyssey was in! Joe came home from work and helped get the babies their dinner, then he headed back out to pick up my new ride! For the first time I did the babies' bath/bottle/bedtime routine alone, and am proud to say it went perfectly ;) And when I was done, I had a shiny new van waiting for me to take for a spin. I LOVE the Odyssey, and the babies seem to like it too. I'll post some pics in the next post!

Lily sits happily for the entire 10 minutes on her nebulizer, and afterwards is usually goofy and super happy. Maybe I should take a whiff...
Bath time! Charlie loves a good soak in the tub (and he recently found his feet!).
Princess Lily, waiting for her bath to be drawn. Don't you love that expression?
Grandma is so funny! I wonder what she's promising them now...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

First colds

In the last few days Charlie and Lily have come down with their first colds. Lily started first, with a cough beginning on Friday. I, of course, freaked out and called the pediatrician's office immediately. The phone nurse told me that it sounded like Lily was starting with a cold, but that we shouldn't worry too much. She said that even though Lily is a preemie, she's now strong and otherwise healthy and should be able to deal with the cold that was most likely coming. Sure enough, by the next day she had not only a cough but a runny nose, sneezing, etc. Thankfully, she seemed pretty unbothered by it. She had a little trouble napping and sleeping at night the first day, but otherwise she's her normal buggy self. Predictably, Charlie caught her cold as well. We tried our best to keep that from happening (sterilizing toys, etc.) but there isn't really too much we could do. Charlie started yesterday with the cough and runny nose, but like Lily, he isn't too bothered other than a little disrupted sleep. We're hoping they are both over the colds soon!

Just a reminder that there's still time to join our team for the March of Dimes March for Babies walk on April 25th, or to make a donation to the cause. Team Three Cheers for Babies has some amazing friends - we currently have over 50 walkers joining us on the day and have raised over $2,700 in donations! And this Friday, my awesome gym, Gold's Gym Lawrenceville, is hosting a VIP Class fundraising event with proceeds going to our team! We're so excited and can't wait for the walk. Please join us if you can!

Happy Charlie rocking his Jumperoo. He loves to bounce!
No cold is tough enough to stop Lily from attempting to cram each and every toy into her mouth, no matter how large.
"Well, hello there!"
Lily trying out her new booster seat. I just love the way she's sitting in it!
The cats still refuse to believe that the baby toys are not actually for them...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Our rock star babies!

We are proud to announce that Charlie and Lily are officially kicking prematurity's butt! We've been busy the last few days - on Tuesday the babies had their 9 month check-up at the pediatrician, and today we headed up to St. Peter's for their 6 month adjusted NICU followup. At the pediatrician, the babies were weighed and measured. Charlie weighed in at 16 lbs 9 oz and was 27 1/2" long. Lily was 15 lbs 14 oz and 27" long. For their adjusted age of 6 months, Charlie and Lily are both in 25-50th percentile for weight and the 50-75th percentile for height, so we are happy about that. They both received two shots, but handled them like champs!

Today's appointment at St. Peter's was much more involved than the pediatrician, but was super interesting and encouraging. Charlie and Lily met with a psychologist, physical therapist and speech therapist who evaluated their development. The babies were tested on a variety of skills. The psychologist showed each baby a mirror to see how they reacted to themselves in it. They offered the babies toys to see how they grabbed them, gave them books to see if they'd turn the pages, offered them a bell to see if they would ring it and gave them little blocks to see if they would bang them together. Charlie and Lily did basically did everything that was expected of them with no problem. The psychologist actually called Lily, "textbook." Then the physical therapist tested Charlie and Lily on their tone, strength, movement, etc. They did fantastic in that area as well. After the evaluation, the therapists told us that it is very, very rare that they not recommend 25 weekers for intervention, but that Charlie and Lily needed NONE! They are doing perfect for their adjusted age! We are so, so proud of them!

After meeting with the therapists Charlie and Lily saw our beloved Dr. Hiatt, the head neonatologist at St. Peter's. Dr. Hiatt was super pleased with Charlie and Lily's progress - by the end of the visit he said he had run out of superlatives for them :) He also told us that in most cases if babies are going to have developmental problems or delays they would have presented themselves by Charlie and Lily's current age, so we are optimistic about their continued progress.

The one area of concern the doctors came across today was the shape of Charlie's head. From being born so early and spending so much time in the NICU bed, the back right side of his head is kind of flat. The physical therapist called it to our attention, and then Dr. Hiatt examined it and decided that it may warrant further attention. He called in a doctor from the craniofacial clinic to take a look at Charlie. This doctor (who referred to Charlie as "luscious," which made me laugh!) pronounced Charlie's head flattening to be "moderate" and recommended that we make an appointment with her office for further evaluation. The good news is that the issue is strictly cosmetic and nothing more. Charlie may need to wear a helmet (like this) for awhile to correct the shape of his head, but it's not too big of a deal. Our appointment with the craniofacial team is not until June, and until then our goal is to try to redirect Charlie to lay on the other side of his head and keep him upright or on his belly as much as possible to try to help his head round out a bit. Still, Joe and I are thrilled with the way our appointment went today. We figure that if we can come out of this whole ordeal with Charlie and Lily's only problem being one slightly mis-shapen head, we'll consider ourselves very, very lucky parents!

Before we left St. Peter's, we had to stop by the NICU to say hello to some old friends. Lily got to visit with one of her favorite primary nurses, Julia. Lily chose her outfit carefully today since she knew she'd be seeing Julia - she and Julia used to talk fashion quite often while Lily was a patient ;) We also saw Kieren, the NICU social worker, and Ann Marie, the nurse coordinator. It was nice to visit with everyone. We miss all the wonderful people we grew so close to during Charlie and Lily's three month NICU stay. However, it is wonderful to visit, say goodbye, and walk out of the hospital with Charlie and Lily in tow!

In other news, we bought a mini van! By early next week we will be the proud owners of a 2010 Honda Odyssey. The babies came with us to the dealership yesterday and helped pick out what I am fondly referring to as my new "swagger wagon." I adore my CRV, but my lease is coming to an end and the time has come for a vehicle with more space. The babies and I are excited to cruise aroud in our new ride!

Is it summer already? Temperatures here in NJ have been in the mid to upper 80s the last few days, so Charlie and Lily have been previewing their summer wardrobes.
Lily loved showing some leg in her pretty dress.
Charlie knows how to work a pair of plaid shorts!
"Hey, Mommy? I think you forgot to dress me. I don't mind though, I'm enjoying the breeze..."
On Monday, Joe headed to his friend Travis' house to watch the Mets home opener on TV with Travis and their friend Cox. Lily showed her support of Daddy's team by wearing a pink Mets t-shirt.
We are loving every second of Joe's spring break! The days are so much more relaxing when he's home with us. There's nothing like lounging in bed before breakfast!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Charlie and Lily's first Easter!

Charlie and Lily had a blast celebrating their first Easter! They kicked off the festivities yesterday with some Easter egg dying. Mommy was very excited over this, but Charlie and Lily weren't all too interested. When we had some problems getting they dye to work, both babies got mad and had to go down for a nap. By the time they woke up, though, all problems were dissolved and they had a nice pile of brightly colored eggs waiting for them!

This morning, Charlie and Lily woke up to see what the Easter Bunny had brought them. Their baskets contained some toys, bibs and teething rings, plus they received a big bobble penguin toy to share! They both seem to like grabbing and pushing Mr. Penguin around. After a nice morning and afternoon of playing with their new goodies, Charlie and Lily got dressed in their Easter finest and headed over to Grandma and Grandpa's for Easter dinner. The Easter Bunny (this time known as Grandma) had left the babies each HUGE baskets of gifts. Both babies received lots of summer outfits, Baby Einstein DVDs, shoes, sippy cups, books and more. Such spoiled little bunnies. Charlie and Lily took a nap while the adults ate dinner, but were up in plenty of time to sing "Happy Birthday" to Uncle John, who will celebrate his big day this Thursday. We headed home soon afterwards to get our sleepy chicks to bed. It was a great day for all of us though. Happy Easter, everyone!

Charlie and Lily loved their fancy outfits!
The second Joe pulled out the camera Lily just started smiling away. Our little super model!
Handsome boy!
Apparently by the time we took our family shot the babies were done with smiling.
Charlie and Lily's Easter baskets.
"Hello, friend! My name is Lily, what's yours?"
Mommy's Easter basket! Check out all the candy!
Who needs Easter gifts when you have some nice facial hair to play with?