Surprise Appearance

Recently, my family conspired to throw a surprise 60th birthday party for my mom. Her birthday isn’t actually until the beginning of March, so they figured an early party would be the best way to ensure she’d be surprised. The plans came together quickly and I only had a few days to decide whether or not I would try to make it. I would have loved if my whole family could have been there, but travelling with 3 young kids is… well… an adventure. I felt guilty leaving my husband alone with the kids for several days, but he’s actually the one who convinced me I should be there. My mom will only turn 60 once and this event would be something she’d remember forever.

I’m so happy I decided to surprise my mom, because her face was priceless! And actually, my dad didn’t know I’d be there either so it was great to surprise him too. The party was fantastic and she was surrounded by friends and family the entire weekend. And even Mother Nature felt like I should spend more time with my parents and decided to dump lots of snow on southern Maine, thus cancelling my flight. I got a bonus day in Maine, but I was definitely wanting to get back to Shane and the kids (did I mention they were all sick and on antibiotics?).

Seeing my family was well worth the whirlwind trip, especially seeing my Memere (that’s french for grandmother). She lives in a nursing home and suffers from dementia. Over the years her memory has gotten worse and worse. A few years ago, she couldn’t recall exactly where I lived. Then, she had to keep getting reminded that I was expecting twins. At Christmas in 2013, she didn’t recognize me, but it clicked when she was told it was me, her granddaughter. This time, she had no idea who I was and even my name didn’t ring a bell. She was surprised to know that I was her granddaughter. I was a total stranger. We had met up with her immediately after she finished lunch, yet when we asked her how her meal was, she didn’t know when she had last eaten. It’s all very sad, to see her like this. Luckily, I have wonderful memories of her from over the years and try hard to remember happier times. Luckily, she’s still in great spirits and is receiving wonderful care.

This quick trip was just what I needed to combat the homesickness that comes around occasionally, as well as celebrate the absolute best mom anyone can ask for. Happy 60th Mom! You are so loved!

 

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Got to spend time with my cute nephews!

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Here’s a video of the big surprise!

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Sunday Strikers

Over the holidays, a friend sent me an article highlighting a bowling league that is especially for kids with disabilities and their families. The league meets every Sunday at Mt. Airy Lanes and the group is called the Sunday Strikers. We are constantly searching for families activities that everyone can enjoy and we’re happy to have joined this league. Caleb and Wyatt each take turns tossing the balls down the launcher (although Wyatt learned to roll the ball between his legs as well) and watching it (s l o w l y) make its way to the duckpins at the end of the alley. Fortunately, the bumpers are up to prevent any gutterballs. The kids had a blast and the league is very well attended! Kids of all ages and abilities were there with their families and we got to meet quite a few people. This league lasts til May so we’re looking forward to making new friends with our bowling buddies! We’re so thankful for yet another family-friendly, inclusive activity to get us through the cold (but not snowy) winter here in Maryland!

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Posted in Caleb, Cerebral Palsy, Family, Weekend, Wyatt

Caleb’s New iPad

Caleb was recently the recipient of a new iPad Mini thanks to the Heather and Liam Connection. This organization brings awareness for persons with autism and other learning disabilities. The have a physical presence at the high school in my hometown but also raise money to provide iPads to kids who would be able to take advantage of all the great apps these tablets have to offer. While Caleb does not have autism or a learning disability, he does use an iPad frequently during physical therapy to help him with his gross motor delays. As a matter of fact, we’ve seen excellent results when he’s focused on a game while trying to stand independently. We had no way of replicating these results at home since we didn’t have a tablet of our own. A few months ago, we asked that Caleb be considered for an iPad and last week, we received it! It sat in the box for a couple days until I could cover that sucker with a kid proof case. We also had a long talk about rules and sharing protocol, etc.

We’ve had several impromptu therapy sessions at home while using the iPad and Caleb has done great! Getting him to stand and bear weight on his legs for several minutes at a time is just so great for building those leg muscles he needs.

We are so thankful to the Heather and Liam Connection for providing us with another tool in our arsenal to help Caleb continue his path toward independent mobility!

Standing with canes

Standing with canes

Super focused while standing against the wall

Super focused while standing against the wall

But still a goofball of course!

But still a goofball of course!

And now, Caleb’s also working on building up his time that he can stay standing on his own. We had some success the other night and I wanted to share with you his “8 second” ride.

Posted in Caleb, Day in the Life, Physical Therapy

Lots of Firsts and Milestones for Parker

Recently, Parker has experienced quite a few “firsts” that I figured I’d showcase here since it’s quite likely these events won’t make it into the actual baby book until… um… who knows.

Parker’s First Thanksgiving

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First Beer

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First Time at Zoolights

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First Flight to Colorado (Already been to St. Louis and Maine)

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First Time Wearing Overalls

(and last time in this pair since they didn’t snap at the crotch)

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First Time Meeting His Great Grandparents

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First Christmas

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“Mom again with the selfies?” Yes, son… yes.

First Time “Opening” Presents

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First Time Swimming

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First Time in the Snow

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Parker Can Now Sit Up on His Own

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6 Months Old

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Eating Solids!

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Parker’s Aquababies Class

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…And TWO Little Teeth

(No picture because uh, impossible.)

Posted in Parker

Christmas 2014

Whoa, 2015 already?  This year flew by. Or rather, time has flown since Parker was born (pregnancies seem to drag on, especially toward the end). Our lives became even busier with the addition of several post-operative physical therapy sessions a week for Caleb since his Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy surgery in August. Before we knew it, the holidays were upon us and the hustle bustle of the season had taken over.

This December we took the boys to several different Christmas-themed activities such as Zoolights at the National Zoo and a visit to Henleyville Christmas Village (actually the intricately decorated backyard of a wonderful family who just allow people to come visit, for free, because they love Christmas).

Henleyville Christmas Village!

Henleyville Christmas Village!

The boys saw Santa Claus at the mall and told him they wanted scooters for Christmas and that they had been good boys this year. Santa even sent them a personalized video to get them in the Christmas spirit.

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Each year it seems Caleb and Wyatt get more and more into the idea of Santa and that was certainly the case this year. “Boy” the Elf made his return and lucky for me, Shane took over the nightly headache of moving that damn elf. He wasn’t particularly naughty this year and even brought the boys a train that circles the Christmas tree and a few awesome holiday books including The Polar Express. Wyatt loves that book so much that he has nearly the whole book memorized verbatim!  I thought he had miraculously learned to read overnight, but then realized that he was just reciting the text from memory. Silly Wyatt! Speaking of Polar Express, the movie based on the book is the first full-length movie our kids have ever sat through, so naturally we watched it two weekends in a row.

I had a lot of helpers when it came time to baking cookies for our neighbors. And let me tell you, it’s really stressful having two 3-year-olds assist with cookie baking and trying my best to ensure the boys or my kitchen didn’t end up covered in ingredients, the cookies remained somewhat edible and no one got burned! We did it though and it ended up being totally exhausting lots of fun.

We were very fortunate to spend a nice, long holiday in Colorado this year and we had an awesome time. We played in the snow, went swimming, went to see the Zoolights at the Denver Zoo, drove real tractors, Caleb had two therapy sessions, we ate a lot of amazing food, but most importantly we got to spend lots of quality time with family. Shane and I were able to sneak away for a night in Denver and really enjoyed drinking and eating our way through the city. This was our first night away together since Caleb and Wyatt were born. We’ve been away by ourselves for work and stuff, but never together. A fun night out was just what the doctor ordered since 2014 has left us pretty tired and feeling like two ships passing in the night on most days. Our trip was fantastic and all three kids did pretty darn good on the flights, thank goodness. We returned rested and somewhat back into our routine. Santa even waited until we were back home to deliver his presents to the boys. We have lots of fantastic memories from this holiday season and we’re looking forward to see what 2015 has in store for our family.

Wheels up to Colorado!

Wheels up to Colorado!

"Who is that man?"

“Who is that man?”

Wyatt driving a tractor!

Wyatt driving a tractor!

Caleb's turn!

Caleb’s turn!

Don't think Parker was going to miss out!

Don’t think Parker was going to miss out!

The kiddos and their Mima & Boppie

The kiddos and their Mima & Boppie

Saying hello to the cattle.

Saying hello to the cattle.

Making cookies with Mima

Making cookies with Mima

Four generations

Four generations

Caleb working hard with a therapist in Fort Collins, Colorado

Caleb working hard with a therapist in Fort Collins, Colorado

Date Night!

Date Night!

Kids table on Christmas Eve

Kids table on Christmas Eve

Mima and her grandkids

Mima and her grandkids

Snow on Christmas! Hooray!

Snow on Christmas! Hooray!

Jessie & Wyatt find a cool clubhouse

Jessie & Wyatt find a cool clubhouse

Just back from saucer-ing in the fields.

Just back from saucer-ing in the fields.

Wyatt and Shane playing long after everyone went inside.

Wyatt and Shane playing long after everyone went inside.

Posted in Colorado, Family, Holidays, Uncategorized

Five Little Words

Most days, Caleb’s cerebral palsy doesn’t really have an affect on me. Sure, we’ve had to modify the way we do a lot of things, but they’ve become second nature to us and I don’t really think much about it. When playing with our kids we try to choose activities that Caleb and Wyatt can both enjoy and we assist Caleb with some of the more physical activities so he can play along. Recently, we were playing t-ball in the cul-de-sac in front of our house. We had some bases laid out and the boys were taking turns hitting the ball off the tee and running to first base. Caleb needs someone to hold him upright so he can swing the bat. After making contact with the ball, Shane and I were both yelling to run to first and cheering him on. He grabbed the handles of his walker and turned it towards first base and took off. His arms basically supported his body weight and his legs propelled him forward so he wasn’t taking actual steps, but rather using his walker as a scooter of sorts. In therapy this is considered cheating, since he’s not really bearing weight and his form on his steps isn’t ideal. But something happened in that short distance from the tee to first base. Caleb’s legs kind of gave out, like they do when he’s tired and he slumped down to his knees. He started whining and crying, which we’re used to, but the next five words broke my heart.

“I don’t run that well!”

Seeing the words written on this screen, they don’t look so bad, but to hear them come out of his mouth. I was devastated. This wasn’t like a whining “I’m tired” statement that we sometimes hear when Caleb would rather do something less physical; it was like a realization of the difference between he and his twin. I know this awareness would come one day and we certainly have some difficult conversations in our future but to hear him sound so defeated about his abilities was a lot for me to handle. We dusted him off and he actually continued to play (and run) for about 30 more minutes so I’m probably reading into his statement way too much but it just stung. He was just so matter-of-fact when he said it, and using the word don’t instead of can’t also led me to believe that he might feel like he will always struggle to run. We always stay positive and encourage him as much as we can but sometimes I want to pout and cry and proclaim that it’s not fair that he has these obstacles that most kids don’t. He’s going to do amazing things but not without lots of effort and hard work. I wish I could spare him these challenges but all we can do is move forward and brainstorm what we’re going to say when the questions about his disability eventually arise.

Posted in Uncategorized

Parker – 4 Months Old!

I should have come to expect that time would pass quickly, as it had with the twins, but here we are again. Another month, another few pounds, new likes/dislikes and emerging personality traits. Parker continues to be a really happy little guy who goes with the flow and is pretty much content anywhere. He still doesn’t love being in a car, but has learned to soothe himself quickly. He’s become quite the prolific thumb sucker and hasn’t really cared for any of the assorted types of pacifiers we have at home, including the cute Wubanub pacifiers with a stuffed elephant attached to it. I guess one less thing to remember to put in the diaper bag is ok with me! Parker is a super smiley (with dimples!) guy upon waking and has been cooing, laughing and squealing a bunch. He rolls from his back to his front, but can’t figure out how to go the other way. Despite my attempts to correct him, he prefers to sleep on his tummy while sucking his thumb. When he gets tired of this position, he’s sure to let us know. For the most part he sleeps really well and only wakes to eat once although we have gone some nights without any waking for 12 hours. These past few nights have been a challenge because he’s currently fighting his first little cold and a stuffy nose has been interfering with his ability to breath while sucking his thumb. Fumbling around in the middle of the night with the saline spray and the nose sucker while he’s screaming is only slightly less painful than trying to function after a night of such broken sleep. We haven’t really had to experience this with Parker since he’s been a pretty good sleeper since we brought him home from the hospital.  Hopefully he’s back to his old self soon… *yawn*

Parker is in the 90th percentile for weight and height, so there’s no denying he’s a big boy. The only question is when will he be the same size as his older brothers? He has a huge appetite and luckily my supply has stayed ahead of his intake. The pediatrician gave us the go ahead to start solids when we’re ready, but I’m kind of dragging my feet since solids leads to finger foods then to utensils and real meals and I’m maybe subconsciously trying to keep him little.

My favorite memory from this month has been him propped up on his elbows in his crib and seeing a huge smile on his face when he sees me walk into the room. Love that little guy! DSC_0080

Posted in Parker, Uncategorized

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