Sunday, December 28, 2008

I hope you are all having a great holiday season! The boys and I are having a wonderful vacation and thoroughly enjoying all of our time together. As Riley would say, we are having lots of "Mommy Days"!

Ross is a pretty particular kid when it comes to his food. He definitely prefers certain textures and tastes and, until recently, he has not enjoyed dipping his food into anything. This weekend, though, he discovered that he likes ketchup on his french fries and chicken nuggets! He actually liked the ketchup so much that at one point he was dipping the paper wrapper from a straw into the ketchup and eating it by it itself!

So, since he is now such a master "dipper", I decided to try to have him dip his pancakes into a little bit of syrup at breakfast this morning. I have offered it to him in the past, but he has always been upset by it. Today, his reaction was so funny I had to capture it on video:

In other big news......Riley pooped on the potty this morning! He has been showing some very early signs of being ready to start potty training, so one of the boys' Hanukkah presents this year was a Lightning McQueen potty seat (Red Car Potty Seat!!). They got it last night and I thought we would just play with it and get used to it for a little while, but apparently Riley was ready to use it right away! This morning, he said, "Mommy poop" which he always says when he needs to have his diaper changed and I said, "Ok, sweetie, let's go change your diaper!" He said, "No! Red Car Potty!" and ran and started banging on the bathroom door. So, we went in, he sat down, and he pooped within two seconds! I am so proud of my big boy!! We've been doing the happy dance all morning!

That's whats new with us.....syrup love and a big boy potty! What's new with you? Leave us a comment and let us know how you're doing! Thanks for checking in with us!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Hanukkah!

I can't believe it has been almost a month since I've written a post! The boys are doing well and making great progess. Riley is talking up a storm these days, and even starting to try to make some jokes. Ross has started imitating sounds and gestures, which is a HUGE step in moving toward talking, so I am thrilled about that! They are both so much fun right now!
I want to wish all of our Jewish friends and family a very Happy Hanukkah! I am so looking forward to seeing the boys enjoy the holiday this year! It is going to be so much fun! I am also excited about our winter break, which starts in two days. Then, I get 12 wonderful days to be home with the Twincredible Twosome.

I can't do my first post in a month without including a couple of pictures, of course! Yesterday, we borrowed a Fisher Price Little People Garage from the Pittsburgh Toy Lending Library and both boys have been having a blast with it. Riley has been feeding his red car obsession and vrooming the red car up and down the ramps all day. At the same time yesterday, the boys received a wonderful Elmo telephone from our Secret Santa yesterday and Ross has been extremely busy making phone calls since we opened it up. Both boys love it, but Ross has really been enjoying "talking" on the phone so far. Thanks, Todd and Stacy!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I am thankful for my beautiful sons and for the joy they bring to me each and every day. I am also thankful for my family whom I love with all my heart! I am so blessed to be surrounded by two gorgeous sons, a mom, sister, brother, brother-in-law, and nephew who love me so much! During the holidays, it is easy to be overwhelmed with hectic preparations and rushing around. Please take a moment or two over the next couple of days to remember all of the ways in which you are blessed, and be thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Twincredible Twosome!
My two little turkeys:

Ross and his gorgeous smile

Riley and his purple "at"

Friday, November 14, 2008

Progress for Preemies!

November is Prematurity Awareness Month and if you are reading this, you are already aware of two very special preemies.

Ross and Riley were born 2 months early and have had significant developmental hurdles to overcome as a result. Other preemies have far greater challenges to face.

November is when we focus on the impact premature birth has on babies and families, and on the opportunities for prevention.

Today more than 1,400 babies in the U.S. will be born prematurely. Many will be too small and too sick to go home.

Instead, they face weeks or even months in the newborn intensive care unit (NICU). These babies face an increased risk of serious medical complication, and death; however, most eventually will go home.
The March of Dimes works tirelessly to find ways to prevent premature birth and to provide the best possible medical care to babies who are born too soon. Please take a quick moment and sign the Preemie Petition on the sidebar to the right. Help the March of Dimes urge the new president and Congress to make progress for preemies!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Perfect Pair in Pajamas

I am a firm believer in the fact that there are few things in this world cuter than toddlers in footed pajamas. Even cuter than one toddler in footed pajamas is a pair of twins in matching footed pajamas!

Last week, it was in the low 70's here and we were playing outside without even wearing our jackets! This week, it is in the 40's and we are breaking out our winter coats and warm pajamas. I took this picture this morning of the boys, a few minutes after they woke up, in their brand new super warm pajamas. They are both laughing at me because I was dancing around in my own pajamas, celebrating the fact that I had the day off and got to spend it with them!

On another completely freaks me out that these pajamas are a size 4T and fit them both perfectly!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tagged (again!)

I have been tagged (again!) by the lovely Erin at The Mom Buzz. If you have been reading for a while, you know that I was tagged a few months ago by Krista over at The Galli-Ringo Family. So, now I have the difficult task of coming up with 8 new and exciting things to share with all of you about myself that I haven't shared already. Yikes! I am just not that interesting.

The fun part is that after I divulge all of this top secret info about myself, then I get to choose 8 more fabulous bloggers "tag" to keep the game going. Hmmmm... who shall I chose???? here goes:

1. I am a Carmex Mint Click Stick fiend. I keep one in my purse, one in my desk at work, one in my diaper bag, one on my nightstand, one in the kitchen, and at least 5 new ones stockpiled on my dresser at all times in case I run out. Target recently stopped selling these and I am a little bit panicked.

2. My cell phone ringer is "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me" by Billy Joel.

3. I am a Starbucks Coffee addict. I know I said that the last time I was tagged, but it is an integral part of my personality and it bears repeating. I was recently invited to become a Starbucks Gold Card member!

4. I cannot stand mayonnaise or ranch dressing. I hate the way ranch dressing smells and the way mayonnaise sounds. Yes, sounds. I hate the noise it makes when you put a knife in it. Ewww.

5. I love Post-It Flags. 'Nuff said.

6. Over the past year, I have stopped buying books. I have joined the Paperback Book Swap and have gotten TONS of books for free! For every book I mail to another member, I get a credit for a free book. I can choose from over a million titles, request the one I want, and another member sends it to me for free. All I have to pay for is postage (around $2.00) to mail the books I send out. The books I request are sent to me totally free. If you are a reader, you should check it out!

7. Sometimes I accidentally forget that I have a kid's music CD in the player in my car and listen to it almost all the way in to work in the mornings before I switch to "real" music.

8. I teach in a school that has floors that are numbered upside down. You come in on Level 6 and then go up to Level 1. Weird, huh?

And now for the next 8 bloggers to be tagged:

1. Leia at My Life as Mom to 2 Twin Boys

2. Cybill at The Double Dinks

3. Stephanie at 23 week twins

4. Sarah at Ohana Mama

5. Shannon at Miracles, Because They do Happen

6. Tina at The Adventures of a Working Mom

7. Sarah at Sarah Solitaire

8. Jacolyn at The Lieck Triplets

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Tale of Two Haircuts

Once upon a time, two very cool dudes wore their brand new shades on a ride in the car to get their hair cut.

One of the very cool dudes watched as they other one got his hair cut first. His name was Ross and he sat with his Gigi and thought that it didn't really look like Riley was having very much fun at all.

Riley totally disagreed with Ross and loved getting his hair cut. He smiled and laughed and posed for pictures the whole time.

After a few mintues, Ross had enough of watching Riley, and decided to check out the cabinets to see what he could find. He found a very fun shampoo bottle to play with.

When Riley was finished, he checked himself out in the mirror and decided he liked what he saw.

Then, it was Ross' turn. Ross appeared to be a little shocked and surprised at this news. His face sort of said "You want me to do what?" He agreed, though, as long as he could hold his shampoo bottle, not wear a cape, and be held by his Mommy instead of sitting in the chair on his own. He is a good negotiator for a little guy who doesn't talk yet.
There aren't any pictures of Ross actually getting his hair cut, because he and Mommy were cuddling the whole time. When he was all finished, though, he helped brush the stray hairs off of himself, while Riley continued to admire his new look in the mirror behind him.

Then, for their grand finale, the two very cool dudes impressed everyone in the salon as Ross sang a solo into his "microphone" while Riley made Gigi run in circles around the salon chasing him until Mommy finished paying at the front desk.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween 2008

I hope you all had a fantastic Halloween! The Twincredible Twosome and Reid (aka Cookie Monster, Elmo, and the Green M&M) did a wonderful job Trick or Treating! They figured out the whole process of going to each house, getting a treat, and putting it in their bags. We were amazed at how much they enjoyed themselves! We were extra lucky to have a gorgeous evening here, with sunny skies and unseasonably warm weather.

Ross and Riley actually started their Halloween celebration a little early and came to visit my classroom for our Halloween party. My students were thrilled to see them, and of course, I was so proud to show them off!
Riley as Elmo, visiting Mommy at work.

Ross as Cookie Monster, in Mommy's classroom

After school, we went to my mom's house to play for a while, where she gave them treat bags full of tons of fun toys. Then, we headed over to Reid's house where we played and then went Trick of Treating.

Here are some pics of our fun:

What is the world is Riley doing with those balls?

Then, the boys woke up the next morning and they both immediately wanted to wear their costumes again! So, just because I think they look adorable, here are some cute pics of them wearing their costumes again, over their pajamas!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I hope I win..

I have entered a contest to try to win a $25 Amazon gift card from the fantastic Confetti by: Katteedyd! It's her first giveaway and all you have to do to enter is leave a comment on her blog and then post something on your own blog (like this!) about the contest with a link back to her. Simple and fun! Wish me luck!

Friday, October 17, 2008

So, how is Ross doing?

Thank you all for the many beautiful emails and comments sharing in my joy over Riley's exciting evaluation results. Many of you naturally asked about Ross' evaulation, and about how he doing in terms of his delays. The overall answer is that he is making fantastic progress in some areas, and having some more substantial trouble in other areas.

His gross motor scores were thrilling and showed absolutely no delay! He is still wearing a DAFO on his right leg only, and he needs to keep practicing walking up and down steps, jumping, and general proprioceptive awareness. However, he is moving around and using all of his limbs just as he should be, which is a huge accomplishment for a kiddo who has CP and who use to have extremely severe torticollis.

His fine motor skills are coming along well, also. Actually, this week he had decided that he loves puzzles and has begun completing a ton of different puzzles on his own. He also feeds himself with a spoon very well, when he isn't using it to spread various foods in his hair.

Ross' evaluation was actually a couple of weeks ago, and I have held off on posting about it, because I have also been holding off on sharing something else that has been going on with him related to his evaluation results. Originally, I hadn't planned to post about this at all, because I was in an emotional tailspin and couldn't see or breathe each time I thought about it. However, I am much more "ok" with it all now, and ready to share. Your comments and emails have always been so supportive and kind, so I feel that I can post about what has been going on.

Ross has officially been diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) which is on the Autism Spectrum. He is having difficulties with both receptive and expressive language, auditory processing, social and interactional skills, appropriate play skills, and sensory issues. He was diagnosed in August, and started receiving wraparound therapy in September. He is also still receiving all of his Early Intervention therapies, so he has quite a lot of therapy each week. In addition, he has had three private evaluations at The Children's Institute for speech, auditory processing, and sensory issues. Each provided more information about what we can do to help Ross, and each reaffirmed that we have already done all of the right things to meet his needs.

As an Autistic Support teacher, I have spoken with many parents about their child's diagnosis of PDD, and helped them to understand what it means. I have helped them to process through the stages of being sad, confused, angry, and afraid for the future. I have stressed to them that this diagnosis simply means that their child will need more intense therapy to learn to speak and interact with others, and that it is not a limit or restriction on what they will accomplish. I have explained that they should always assume that their child will be able to do whatever they want to do, and that this diagnosis will not limit them in any way. Yes, that's what I always said as a professional.

As a mommy, this diagnosis was a blow to my heart, and to my soul. It was far easier for me to hear that both of my sons had CP, as a result of their premature births, than to hear that one of my boys had a disorder that might impair his ability to interact with the world. I spent several days crying, several nights drinking wine. I cried to my mom. I got super busy and preoccupied with setting up wraparound for Ross and focused on the practicalities of meetings and scheduling, so I didn't have to think about my emotions. Then, I cried some more. Finally, I went to the one person who could really answer my questions about what the future would bring:

Ross. That's when I realized that nothing is going to stop this little boy from doing whatever he wants to do in life. Ross is barely two years old and has already overcome so much, and with much aplomb. He survived a pregnancy that was threatened constantly, where his placenta wasn't working correctly from 9 weeks on. He was born 2 months prematurely, weighing only 2 lbs 8oz, and yet his lungs worked perfectly and he screamed for food and gained weight like a champ in the NICU. He had severe torticolllis and plagiocephaly, and had to wear a helmet for 7 long months, and yet has no residual effects. He has CP and was delayed in all gross motor areas, and is already completely caught up and walking independently, wearing just one DAFO.

This is just the next step for him, and he will climb up and over it and amaze us all.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

"He No Longer Has Any Delays"

Those were the words I was greeted with yesterday at Riley's annual Early Intervention evaluation. Riley no longer has any delays, in any area. That simple sentence literally took my breath away, as I realized that I have never been in a meeting about either of my boys and heard that they were developing completely "normally." Usually, these meetings are difficult for me, as I am forced to focus on the areas in which the boys are not progressing as they should be. Of course, we always talk about the gains they have made. However, the bulk of our discussions naturally center on their deficits and on the fact that, since birth, both of my boys have required intervention and therapy in order to learn what comes naturally for so many children. It can be grueling, and sad, and the meetings often leave me drained. Last night, though, I was absolutely elated and joyful! For the first time, Riley is meeting all of his developmental milestones exactly as he should be.

At his annual meeting last year, Riley was still commando crawling, and was not even able to crawl with his belly up off of the floor. I remember having a conversation with all of his therapists about whether or not he would be able to walk independently, and when they thought that might be. I burst into tears because I was so afraid that he was going to start to become aware that he was missing out on things when he saw Ross begin to walk, and I asked if he could try out using a walker. You may remember this post about the first time Riley used a walker in January and then there was this miracle in May. Now, in October, Riley walks completely indpendently, although he does have a slightly altered gait due to his CP. He still wears DAFO's and probably will for some time. His balance is still not great and he falls often. He has a ways to go with managing steps on his own, running, jumping, etc., but, he is a million miles away from the little boy who made me wonder if he would ever walk on his own.

Riley's language skills are right on target for his age. He says about 100 different words and he is now starting to use 2 and 3 words together once in a while. He is having a little bit of trouble pronouncing certain sounds and his speech therapist and I both believe that his CP is making it harder for him to move his mouth in certain ways, so he will still have speech therapy to address that. His fine motor skills are coming along beautifully, although he still has needs related to his CP that he will continue to address in OT.

This past year has truly been incredible for Riley, and while he does still have some challenges to face as a result of his CP, for today, I am basking in the glow of hearing "he no longer has any delays."

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New Look....

I made some major changes to our blog, as you can see. I thought we needed some new color and some excitement around here! I changed the background, moved the sidebar over to the right side, and changed the color and size of the font of most of the text, titles and links. So, what do you think? I really want your honest feedback. Is it easy to read? Are the colors distracting, enjoyable, annoying?

Leave me a comment and let me know what you think. Please, be truthful....I can take it!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Pumpkin Patch Pictures

This weekend, we went to Triple B Farms for our annual trip to the pumpkin patch. This was our first time visiting this farm, and we loved it! The weather was absolutely gorgeous and it wasn't crowded at all, which is always a bonus when you are trying to maneuver a double stroller around. It was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday!

When we arrived, we were greeted by Shrek because it happened to be "Visit with the Green Ogre" day. All three boys were thrilled to see him! Reid ran right over to say hello, Ross laughed and squealed at him, and Riley gave him a shy smile.

Then, we headed into the playground area and the boys had fun climbing into a barn filled with hay, going down slides, running around old tractor tires, and pretending to drive a tractor.

After that, Ross and Riley each got to ride a pony for the very first time. They both loved it and looked so handsome sitting on "Missy" who was a very sweet pony.

I also snapped this picture of Riley's profile while he was riding on the pony. Doesn't he look like a cowboy, thinking some serious cowboys thoughts as he rides?

Then, we all headed up into the pumpkin patch to run around and take tons of super cute pictures of all three boys,

Then, we got to see some goats and ducks. All of the boys were pretty amazed by the animals, and all of the goats were pretty interested in eating the boys' shoes.

It was really a beautiful day! What have you been doing to celebrate fall? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Way Back Wednesday (EDITED....on Thursday)

It's Way Back Wednesday! Super Twinmama Cheryl, over at Twinfatuation, has a tradition of posting a picture of her gorgeous twins from "Way Back" each Wednesday, along with a few descriptive words. She has asked all of us (twin mommies) to join in the fun! So here is our first Way Back Wednesday picture:

Babies' Age: 10 months
Dateline: Spring 2007

My mom bought the boys their very first raincoats and I wanted to try them on to make sure they fit. Neither one could sit up on their own yet, so I propped them on the couch. They both smiled at the same time and I actually managed to get a picture of it. I love this picture of the two of them!

EDITED TO ADD: *Blogger was having a rough day yesterday and not letting me post this, so unfortunately, our very first way back Wednesday didn't get posted until Thursday! Oh, well!*

Back to the grind....

I am back at work and the Twincredible Twosome is officially back in to the routine of having mommy gone for most of the day. They had a couple of tough first days, and then made the transition surprisingly smoothly. They are busy, happy, and full of smiles almost every day when I come home.

We have had a couple of very funny two year old moments that I want to chronicle here, mostly so I can record them for myself, but also to share them with all of you!

* One night last week, Riley woke up screaming up in the middle of the night and I went running to see what was wrong. Ross often has a few days of not sleeping well, but Riley has only woken up twice during the night since he started to sleep through the night at 4 months old. So, I knew when I heard him that something was actually wrong. When I got there, I found him sitting up in bed, smacking his beloved stuffed dog "Mimi" on the nose and saying "No bite" over and over. His foot was caught in the bars of his crib, but in his two year old mind, he reasoned that his foot hurt and the only possible explanation was that his stuffed dog must be biting him! I managed to get his foot out from the bars and get him back to sleep pretty quickly, but it took me close to an hour to stop laughing about it. Here's a picture of a more typical night, with Riley cuddled up, sound asleep with Mimi. The flash on my camera made it look like it was daytime, but that was actually taken at night.

*Ross has also been pretty hilarious lately. He has been perfecting varying degrees of squeals and screams and insisting that we all repeat them. Every so often he turns to either myself or Katie, lets loose with a wild shriek and then gives us the most beautiful encouraging smile until we make the exact same noise. As soon as we scream back at him, he applauds and cheers for us!

*The boys also have a new game together that I love to watch. It started with Riley giving Ross a kiss, but it has now evolved into a whole series of kisses, giggles and cuddles between the boys. It usually starts with Riley kissing Ross, followed by Ross grabbing Riley's ears and holding his face close to his and the two of them sit like that, with their faces up against one another, and giggle. If there is anything more magical than that, I haven't seen it.....

*All three of the cousins have decided that the Red Robin character at the Red Robin restaurant is really fun to play with. We have had dinner there a couple of times in the past few weeks, and all three of the boys have really had fun playing with him. Last night, Reid even led all of us in a rousing game of "Ring Around the Rosie!" Just imagine Aunt Lys, Uncle Marc, my Mom, all three boys, and myself dancing and singing in a circle with someone dressed up as a Red Robin in the front of the restaurant. was that funny looking.

So, that's what's been going on with us. Leave us a comment and let us know what is going on with you!