Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Fun with Thanksgiving

These past few days have been a lot of fun for us, since we've packed them with Thanksgiving activities. I've found so many cute holiday crafts and treats on my new addiction, Pinterest, that I couldn't wait to try them all out.

We kicked things off on Monday by making sugar cookie turkeys. We just used some store-bought cookie dough and baked it up in circle shapes. Then I put a line of vanilla frosting across the top of each cookie and gave Charlie and Lily candy corn to put on top of it. Charlie and Lily have recently discovered that they LOVE candy corn (as do I!) so it was challenging at first to keep them from eating it all. Charlie got mad at me for telling him he couldn't eat any more, so he half-heartedly tossed a handful of candy corn on some cookies and stalked off. But Lily enjoyed the activity.
Later that day we made Indian headbands. Charlie and Lily colored some paper, then I cut it to fit around their heads. They picked out feathers and I stapled them onto the bands. In hindsight, I should have had bigger feathers and made the bands thinner, but Charlie and Lily didn't care. Lily wore her "hat" ALL evening.
The next two projects are by far my favorites. We made these hand print turkeys this morning. I painted Charlie and Lily's hands with the different colors and they pressed them onto the paper to make turkey feathers. Once the paint dried, they glued on the pieces of the turkey body and their favorite element, the googly eyes. I just think they're so cute!
And finally, for lunch today we made these turkey peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. They were a huge hit and both kids ate nearly every bite.
Today I saw a quote floating around the Internet that I really liked - "It's not that happy people are thankful, it's that thankful people are happy." It struck a cord with me because I feel like it describes Joe and I perfectly - we live happy, thankful lives. We are thankful for the wonderful family and friends who have stood by us during the hardest years of our lives. We are thankful for our blog readers who offer constant support, and who love our children even though they've never met them. We're thankful for each other and the fact that we are still happy and in love after all we've been through. And most of all we are thankful for our amazing, beautiful children, who give us so much joy each and every day.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Letter G

Due to a busy social calendar, family obligations and random doctor appointments, G Week ended up spanning two weeks instead of just one since I was unable to find time in just one week to fit in the activities I'd planned. And even going two weeks I still had to leave a few things out, but we managed to cover the letter G. We were lucky enough to have Uncle John visit one morning, and while he was here he helped us make some goldfish bowl G's. For days after, every time Charlie saw them he would say, "I make goldfish with Uncle John!"We sang "The Green Grass Grows" and practiced naming objects that start with the letter G. We also made a special graham cracker snack. Charlie and Lily spread peanut butter on graham crackers, then decorated them with sprinkles and a few chocolate chips.This picture is up just because it make me laugh. Both Charlie and Lily love to wear Mr. Potato Head's glasses. Perfect fit, right?
This past week we also took Charlie and Lily to get their Christmas pictures taken. We actually went twice - attempt one at our usual Picture People was a flop and none of the pictures were any good. We gave it another try a few days later at the Target Portrait Studio near our house and got much better pictures! Here are a few shots of Charlie and Lily in their festive attire before we left.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

National Prematurity Awareness Day

If you listen to any of the popular Top 40 type radio stations, you've heard the Lady Gaga song "Born This Way." It always makes me think of Charlie and Lily because of the line, "I was born to survive." I feel like those 5 little words sum up our miracle babies perfectly. From the moment they were born they had to fight to survive. There was no cuddling in a cozy bed with their mommy and daddy or being held by their loving, adoring relatives for the first time. Instead, there was air being pumped into their tiny, underdeveloped lungs. Tubes being jammed down their throat. Needles being shoved into their minuscule arms. It would have been so easy for them to give up - after all they were born 15 weeks early. Everyone would have understood. But Charlie and Lily, like many preemie miracles, were born to survive.

Unfortunately, their fight is a not a unique one, but they are fortunate enough to be counted among those who won the fight. Their sister, our beautiful Annaleigh, was among this terrible battle's many, many casualties.

Today, November 17th, is National Prematurity Awareness Day. Every year, half a million babies in the United States are born too soon, too small and very sick - that's 1 in every 8 babies. Since 1981, the rate of premature birth has risen 36%, and in half the cases it is not understood what went wrong. The March of Dimes is leading the fight for answers, and ultimately, prevention.

Please visit the March of Dimes' Prematurity Campaign to see how you can help. We fight, so babies don't have to.

Charlie at birth - 1 lb, 13 oz.
Charlie now, 28 months old
Lily at birth - 1 lb, 8 oz

Lily today, 28 months old
Our Annaleigh, just days before she was diagnosed with the NEC that took her life.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Rest in Peace, Mom-Mom Lucy

Early yesterday morning Mom-Mom Lucy passed away. Lucy was Joe's paternal grandmother and Charlie and Lily's great-grandmother. To say that Lucy will be missed is an understatement. Never again will there be such a unique, funny, kind, strong, loving woman.We regret that Charlie and Lily will not have the chance to get to know her better, but Joe and I are both incredibly happy that Lucy was able to know her great-grandchildren before she died. I truly believe that right now Lucy is in a better place, and in that place she is very busy doing great-grandmotherly things with Annaleigh. We love you, Lucy.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Trick or Treat (and other holiday prep)

Charlie and Lily had a wonderful Halloween! We started it off in the late morning at Crackers' office. I got Charlie and Lily into their costumes and they trick-or-treated at the doors and cubicles of my mom's coworkers. Everyone in the office was so sweet and kind - they were armed with treats and happily responded to every little shout of "trick or treat!" Charlie and Lily loved it. When we went home for lunch Lily kept saying, "I trick or treat again!" For dinner, Charlie and Lily helped me make mummy dogs, which they had a lot of fun with. We even made up our own mummy dance.
After dinner it was back in the costumes for trick-or-treating around the neighborhood.
By this time. Charlie and Lily were Halloween pros. They charged right up our neighbors' front doors, knocked and happily accepted their treats.
Then it was time for the best part - checking out their loot!
This past week we spent recovering from our Halloween fun and starting to prepare for the upcoming holidays as well. On Tuesday we made cereal acorns. I drew an acorn onto a paper bag and covered it with glue. Charlie and Lily glued Cheerios to the acorn's cap and sprinkled oatmeal onto the bottom. The oatmeal sprinkling was by far their favorite (and the messiest) part.
Later in the week Charlie and Lily broke out their painting skills to make these paper plate turkeys for us to use to decorate the house for Thanksgiving. At least, they're supposed to be turkeys. Charlie keeps insisting they're suns, lol.
And then we did a tiny bit of Christmas prep - we browsed the Target toy catalog together! Charlie and Lily enjoyed pointing out all the toys they liked...lucky for them, Grandma Anne has already bought them most of the things they want ;)