Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween Fun

Tomorrow is Halloween, and we are ready! We spent the past week doing lots of fun Halloween activities to get in the spirit. We started with a costume dress rehearsal. I present the Grinch and Cindy Lou Who.
Last Sunday morning Charlie started asking to bake cupcakes. I don't know why he had that idea in his head, but I had all the ingredients on hand so I figured why not. I dug out some Halloweeny decorations from my cabinets and let Charlie and Lily fancy up the cupcakes. Lily felt it best to dump all the sprinkles on just two cupcakes.Next up were paper plate jack-0-lanterns. Charlie and Lily painted their plates orange, then we glued on faces made from black construction paper.
We also made hand print bats.Then it was time for trick-or-treat practice. I wanted to make sure that Charlie and Lily knew what to do on Halloween, so I shut myself behind the basement door and told them to knock on it. Then I opened it and waited for them to say "trick-or-treat!" When they did, I put a Teddy Graham in their buckets. Needless to say, they caught on very quickly to this new game, and now whenever anyone goes in the basement they run to the door, knock and yell, "trick-or-treat!"
Yesterday it snowed! In New Jersey in October. Blah! We refused to let the wintery weather deter us from our Halloween activities though. I cleaned the snow off our pumpkins and we turned them in to Cookie Monster and Elmo.
On Thursday we attended Haunted High School at Joe's school. It was so cute - all the classrooms were done up with different activities. Charlie and Lily did a pumpkin craft, got Halloween tattoos, picked up some treats, decorated a cupcake and dug through hay in search of mini pumpkins. It was so much fun! We took our little pumpkins home and Charlie and Lily painted them yesterday. They love to paint!We're very excited for Halloween tomorrow! Hopefully we won't be trick-or-treating in boots and snowsuits...

Friday, October 21, 2011

NICU Graduates

On Wednesday, Charlie and Lily had their very last NICU clinic appointment at St. Peter's. As always, they met with an occupational therapist, a speech therapist and a physical therapist to be evaluated. I am so proud to say that at not quite 28 months actual, both Charlie and Lily scored ABOVE their actual age in perceptive language and fine motor, somewhere in the 30-32 month range. I get teary just typing that. Two years ago when we left the NICU, Joe and I were fully prepared for Charlie and Lily to be developmentally delayed, even beyond their adjusted age. To say that they have by far exceeded our expectations is an understatement. Today we have two toddlers who talk to us in full sentences (full paragraphs, sometimes!), sing entire songs, can identify every letter of the alphabet, can count to 20, know all their colors and all their shapes (including things like hexagon and octagon), jump, run, dance, who tell us not only what they want for breakfast, but what they want us to have so they can mooch....

I could go on, but now I'm gushing. But anyway, Joe and I feel like the the luckiest parents in the world right about now. And even though we will no longer be visiting St. Peter's for appointments, our hearts will always remain there. Dr. Hiatt will always be our hero, and the wonderful nurses will always be our angels. And we will always be proud, proud parents, no matter what :)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Letter F

Letter F Week! To celebrate, we sang "Five Green and Speckled Frogs" and talked about the different members of our family. Charlie and Lily also got to visit with lots of family members this week - they saw Crackers, Mom-Mom, Pop-Pop, Uncle John, Aunt Bec, Nana, Great-Grandma Lucy and Great-Grandpa Fred all in one week!

For art, Charlie and Lily decorated Fs with feathers. Feathers are fun!
They also tore tissue paper squares and used them to decorate fish. I had forgotten, however, that our cat Roger has a serious addiction to eating tissue paper. Two toddlers tearing tissue paper creates a colorful buffet for a cat :P
Lily likes it when her baby doll does whatever she does. So I have to wash the baby's hands before lunch, the baby goes down for her nap when Lily does, etc. Lily also asks me to change the baby's diaper often, so the other day I handed Lily a diaper and told her to go ahead. Even with a little help from Charlie (and a Pluto figurine) it was a little tricky to figure out.But we got it ;)
I recently moved Charlie and Lily's arm chairs from their bedroom down to the living room. They love lounging in them with a snack and some Elmo.
And they love to play with Daddy! Here's everyone "sleeping". Too bad it was just pretend ;)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Another Thank You

I know I have posted this before, but I have no other way to thank your mysterious benefactor other than on our blog, since I have no idea who it is! Almost a year since the first envelope arrived we still continue to receive cards in the mail on a fairly regular basis containing very generous cash amounts. The cards are never signed and we do not know where they are coming from. My friends and family love to hear about the arrival of the envelopes, because they say it helps restore their faith in people and reminds them that there is still good in the world. Joe and I remain deeply touched and grateful (and humbled) by this amazing person. We try to use the money solely for Charlie and Lily, to give them things that enrich their lives and make them happy (as you can see below!). The money we've received has gone to Music Together classes, which Charlie and Lily simply adore and have gotten SO much out of, day trips to the farm, art supplies, breakfasts with the characters at Sesame Place, etc.

Anyway, I'm rambling now, but I just wanted to again express our gratitude to this generous and caring person. Thank you again from the bottom of our hearts!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Letter E

Last week was E Week! We read Green Eggs and Ham and sang "Do Your Ears Hang Low." For our art project, Charlie and Lily made E elephants. We used the dot paints again for these, which I are just so great for toddlers. Charlie and Lily love them.
I also hard-boiled some eggs for Charlie and Lily to check out. My plan was for us to dye them orange and put jack-o-lantern faces, but I got lazy and decided to skip the dying :P Instead we attempted to color the eggs and put stickers on them, but the stickers wouldn't stick and the crayon didn't really show up. So we ended up just sending the eggs rolling down Charlie's car ramp and hiding them under cups and guessing which cup had the egg. They also tasted the eggs. I knew they would hate the texture, but Lily insisted we "open" one, so I did. She took a giant bite with a ton of enthusiasm...and then spit it right out, lol. But I had some delicious egg salad for lunch that afternoon.
And now just a few random pics! After Lily finished her lunch the other day she came back to the table to bug Charlie while he was still eating. They were so cute though - Charlie kept leaning down and putting his head on hers. Of course, I didn't catch that on camera.Lily reading one of her and Charlie's favorite books, Raindrops: Showers of Color. They pretty much have it memorized and can "read" it to themselves.
Within the last few weeks Charlie has fallen in love with his "binket." It no longer can stay in his crib during the day - he has to bring it downstairs with him and carry it around.
After music class on Wednesday, Charlie, Lily and I stopped at the farm market to get some mums and pumpkins. Charlie and Lily had a great time picking out the pumpkins, and were wonderful helpers when it came to pushing the cart. We also picked up Daddy's favorite caramel apple walnut pie, and the whole way home Charlie and Lily were yelling, "Daddy pie! Daddy be happy!" And he was :)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Letter D

This week Charlie and Lily learned about the letter D. We read Oh My, Oh My, Oh Dinosaurs and sang "Five Little Ducks." We went outside to dig in the sand table, and practiced on of their favorite activities - dancing! For art, Charlie and Lily made ducks.
We also made drums. To decorate the drums, I had Charlie and Lily do some finger painting. I also gave them cookie cutters to dip in the paint and stamp on the paper. Charlie loves stamping!
Once the paintings were done and dry, I wrapped them around empty oatmeal canisters to make drums. But of course, before I could do that, the activity had to end as it always does - with some body painting (this is why we paint in just diapers...).
This time they were so messy that we had to go right to the bathtub. No one seemed to mind though.
On Monday Lily had a follow-up orthopedist appointment. After 2 hours in the waiting room (2 hours!!!), Lily had another x-ray which showed that her fracture is healing but is not fully mended yet. She has to wear her sling for another 2 weeks and then we go back for another x-ray (and hopefully a shorter wait). The sling doesn't slow her down a bit, as you can see. She can still easily feed her baby doll while wearing two stacking rings on her feet like high heels. Can YOU do that?!?And a big thank you to Pop-Pop! He watched Charlie all on his own for me while I took Lily to the doctor. This was the longest stretch that Pop-Pop has ever flown solo and he did an amazing job! He stepped right up and fed Charlie lunch when I realized that Lily and I were at the doctor for the long haul, and he even changed a poop diaper. Pop-Pop rocks! Miss Lily deserves some props too, as she was an absolute angel at that appointment. We know that 2 hours is equal to about 3 days in toddler time, but Lily was such a good girl in the waiting room, charming the other patients, playing make believe games and turning the chairs into her own personal jungle gym. She didn't even mind that her lunch ended up being a package of peanut butter cheese crackers from my emergency snack stash.