Thursday, January 29

What works for us Wednesday

A day late but I least I didn't forget :)

I know I have mentioned the 'Yahoo groups' before for "Multiples where one or more have Ds". It's a huge support group and the posts that families put on there are great ideas. Some are related to 0-3 yrs programs, some to school age and the really exciting ones are 21 yr olds!

For Christmas one of the parents organized a photo card exchange. About thirty families world wide participated. The Christmas cards we received were of the most beautiful and amazing families! Colin and I literally ran to the mailbox each evening to "meet" new families through their letters and Christmas photos. South Africa, New Zeland, Canada..... ahhhh.

It was heartbreaking to take the photos down after Christmas. So, I decided to make a photo albulm for Tommy and Liam so they can see faces and families similar to ours. I'll post a picture of the completed album. But wanted to say, this beautiful Christmas photo exchange really worked for us!

Tuesday, January 27

Date night

Colin and I had date night on Saturday night. HUGE thanks to Jackie and Megan from Promise for coming to our home and babysitting. The boys were very well cared for and extrememly happy when we returned home. This is only the second time we have hired a babysitter to come. Other date nights have been courtesy of a grandma and sister.

A lovely italian dinner and a movie (Gran Tarino, yes you should see it). And most importantly we could talk without interupption and without the smell of a poppy diaper. Ahhh.

Occupational therapy fun

Awhile back our OT gave us an idea to use silly putty as an excercise to build up shoulder stability. I found some glittery putty on the clearance isle at Target and oh what fun a dollar can bring!
I love it mom! Now if you would only turn your back so I could stuff it in my mouth.

Belated Christmas Music Recital

Nate has enjoyed learning the guitar now for many months. His teacher held a recital for her students and we were wow'd! All the kids were incredible and to have the chance to listen to Christmas music again was a treat. Nate played Johnny Cash "I walk the line". A little out of the ordinary, but hey, he was TERRIFIC!

All of the kids played together in the end and sounded great.

Grandpa Bill and Nate liked all the music. Nate was just a tad bit nervous before he played.

Grandma Sue and Hannah are two peas in a pod.

Cornmeal toes

These pictures are dark, I'm still learning my new camera. Most Mondays I take the boys to 'school' at Whatcom Center for Early Learning. Our local 0-3yrs Center for special instructions. We play with cause/effect toys, enjoy circle time with songs and signs, eat yummy snacks and then...... the 'tactile' bin is by far our favorite place.
First, the boys checked out what was in there... hmmm, it's soft and fluffy cornmeal.

Liam needed a closer look, bottoms up and he climbed in.

Tommy got help from mommy to get in and much fun was had. Tommy is REALLY loud when he is excited. Heck, he is loud anytime. So I think we had the entire tactile area to ourselves :)

I loved seeing their toes in the fluffy cornmeal. Wiggling around. They shoveled more cornmeal on top. Very cute.
Yes, I bring extra clothes to change into. Boys will be boys.

Wednesday, January 21

What works for us Wednesday

Prayer. We have been through two long days with two sick kids and knowing that we can pray about our concerns is what has worked for us. I just added a morning devotional book to my routine "Fresh grounded faith" (picture of a big ol' cup of java on the front) and it has been a wonderful read.

Updates on us. Yesterday the boys were diagnosed with croup. A virus that constricts the larynx. For Liam he bounced back and is doing well today. For Tommy he needed high powered steroids in his Gtube because the Stridor became really bad. He also continues his nebulizer and we parked him next to a cool mist vaporizer. Both boys are better today. And thanks to a loving daddy for being with them (Colin is VERY tired).

Yesterday was also the day to meet our newest team member, an ASL instructor and coordinator from Wa State Sensory Disabilities (Deaf Blind) program. Tommy LOVED her. She had wonderful ideas on how to improve his reception of sign language. First, the colored background that you sign against makes a huge difference. She showed me the difference between using sign language out in the air (besides my body) versus against something dark (like my shirt). You can SEE sign language so much better if it is against darkness. The flesh color of our hands stands out much better for the boys to see. Next, she encouraged us to continue being animated and keep it 'fun'. Lastly, for play, she suggested using a dark colored tray or table so that Tommy can focus on a book or toy or artwork, rather than potentially being distracted by too many things happening (a table with lots of stuff on it). Although she didn't think we needed deaf/blind services right now, she said we continue our eligibility with their department and she will be present at our transition to preschool and can look at the Ferndale preschool room and make recommendations on how to keep Tommy engaged. She agreed with me that his eyes tend to draw larger (pop way open) when he is interested in looking at something. Perhaps this is due to his theatrical self, perhaps this is due to a vision issue, perhaps this is because his brain is still adjusting to his delayed visual maturation. We will follow up with Thornberg his eye dr in the fall on that.

We also met yesterday with our regular speech therapist for the boys. She met with Tommy for the session and he really enjoyed working on books with her. She had LARGE print and was very colorful. He loved that. Our repitoire of songs complete with signs and gestures is growing. She is going to send us some more ideas, but Tommy and I had great fun showing off many of our favorites. One incredible thing that our speech therapist did was to make "Tommy's tips" and "Lessons for Liam" to be used by Promise and others that might help us care for the boys (children's church). They are core ideas to work on in any available interaction with them. I'm so pleased that she had this idea, it will help us all!

We are continuing down a path of assessment for Liam's speech delay. His development was evaluated in an "Early Childhood Developmental Evaluation" clinic (July 08) and will be reassessed in a few weeks. This evaluation looks at all aspects of Liam (cognitive, gross and fine motor, receptive & expressive speech). Specifically, there is concern that he may have what is termed "apraxia of speech". Here is the definition:
We will also have Liam assessed at Western Wa University speech program. Colin and I feel that having both assessments will be good because one is 'focused on speech' and the other looks at global development.

Whew! The next few days will be less eventful. We pray.

Monday, January 19


Where else do you go on a winter's day? To the beach!

I know it sounds silly, but Aunt Debbie suggested meeting at the beach because it was so sunny and bright and it was wonderful. Cold, but great.
Mommy carried me around alot on the beach. She forgot the ergo pack in the van back in the parking lot.... grrrrr.

Nate found a good place to sit on one of the big rocks.

Cousin Owen and my brother Liam were searching for crabs.

My cousin Owen REALLY liked looking for things.

Me and Liam found a good place to sit in a rock.

Aunt Debbie loves to walk on the beach. Cousins Maddie and Owen kept her busy lookin' for stuff.

And when we were almost ready to leave.... Owen found this beautiful PURPLE starfish. What a treat.
We live in one of the most beautiful areas... to have this beach nearby is so incredible. We saw a Heron, a Loon, a couple seagulls, a few shells, lots of seaweed and barnacles. It was high tide else we would have seen more starfish and some hermit crabs. Very lucky us.

Sunday, January 18

What a week

Mom and dad have been busy... just trying to keep up with us. Therapies, 6 month goal setting, finished our antibiotics, weekend family and friends, oh my!

Mom thoughtfully helped set 6 month goals with our team of wonderful therapists. For the first time she didn't cry during it! Her and daddy worked on some of their thoughts in the evenings after we were in bed, so she felt better prepared.
She was happy to see how far we both have come in the past six months. She giggled when she told me that one of my goals had been to crawl! Silly mommy. Now I'm walking everywhere. Our family resource coordinator put us in touch with a sign language instructor from the Deaf Blind State office... she will be here in our home in a few days for our first assessment. I qualified for the Wa State Deaf Blind program back when I could only hear at 65 decibels and I had a delayed visual maturation. Now I can hear better with the ear tubes and my vision has improved. But I'm going to use that sign language instructor at home to get ready for preschool.... only 11 months away :)

Grandma Dorothy and Wilma drove up for the weekend from Tacoma. And we were so happy to play with them all weekend. They made us yummy enchiladas and apple pie. Plus they caught us up on laundry, whew! Grandma brought us a toybox!

Hannah and Nate each had a friend stay the weekend too, lots of crazy fun. The girls got all dressed up to go to a dance.

At one of my therapies this week we worked on my shape sorter. So mommy and I played with it this weekend some more..... I get all my lil' blocks in it eventually. I get really excited when I finish it.

Liam, I'll show you how to do it....

Today was sunny but cold. A perfect day to walk our cars around. We are helping take care of a neighbor's farm so we got to check out all their cool animals.

Liam loved racing his car up and down the driveway. Go brother!

Tuesday, January 13

Favorite pictures of the twins for 2008

I was flipping thru pictures from 2008 for all four kids tonight and organizing some thoughts about this past year. I'm visual and it's helpful to have reminders about 'what' occured 'when' and pictures always help me remember. These two photos are among my favorites from last year and wanted to share with all of you.

We vacation to Montana each summer for a week. This moment was so relaxing. The boys were playing with their trucks and I was thinking about nothing. Usually more things happen during 'moments' for our family. But I guess that is why I enjoyed remembering this moment .... not a whole heck of alot was happening!

I posted this last year and just love them bare bums! Hannah and Nate's room being raided by the twins after their bath.

Hope you enjoyed these pictures and thanks for allowing me to reminisce for a minute.

Friday, January 9

Note to self....

...when Tommy gets strep throat.... Liam will get it two days later. Poor little boys. Ice cream for dinner tonight :)

Wednesday, January 7

What works for us Wednesday

After recent doctor visits, a few of them rather emergent, I quickly grew weary of the question "What are his current medicines". Especially while trying to hold a barf bowl under a toddlers mouth and share comforting words with Tommy. So it has turned into our 'what works for us Wednesday".

I asked the nurses if they minded me listing Tommy's medicines on a mailing label (via computer) so that they could simply stick the label on the page instead of us spending 5-10 minutes to write down not only the dose.... but also the strength.... and the correct spelling of the medicine. They LOVED the idea. Now this doesn't get around the issue of mentioning special meds or antibiotics that aren't routine.... but his current 'routine' medicines and pulmonary steroids take up two mailing labels! I stuck a sheet of them in his diaper bag, done.

Another 'what works for us' is repacking the diaper bag with unplanned LONG dr appts in mind. No, we never HOPE for long dr appts. But when an emergent dr appt turns into a longer two hour agony of tests, this mommy was a wee bit unprepared. So, the diaper bag has been repacked with little unopened cereal boxes, can of pediasure for gtube feeding, more books/toys that he hasn't seen in a while, small washrags and a dishtowel (with vomit in mind), change of clothes that actually fits him, and most importantly a five dollar bill stashed in a pouch within the diaper bag for the all important Starbucks run on the way home from a doctor appt. Whew! Hope we don't need to use all of that for a while.

Two hours and a diagnosis

Yesterday was day four of Tommy's most recent illness. Yes, he hasn't felt well again. No pooping. Stomach cramps. Really grumpy. And for a couple of the days some vomitting.

So off we went to see our Pediatrician yesterday. After an xray of his stomach showed only 'moderate' constipation (a not so fun xray complete with Tommy vomitting on the tech/mom/tables) our doctor decided to do a strep test for his red throat. I thought it was from all the vomitting. Low and behold he has strep throat. Which isn't very common in a toddler. But then, Tommy is our uncommon, but absolutely adorable, kiddo.

We are blessed with an amazing doctor (McGuiness) who spends so much time with us to figure out exactly what is going on.

Saturday, January 3

Changed the names to protect the adorable

Our very favorite place for orthotics chose to highlight our first fitting of orthotics .... the twins' names were changed to Trevor (instead of Tommy) and Len (rather than Liam).

Oh how we love the way this newsletter highlights a piece of our journey. And the support and caring that the Cascade staff show toward us is amazing. We went in a few weeks ago because I thought Tommy had outgrown his.... but they carefully analyzed the way his feet were in the orthotics and nope, no need for bigger ones now. We were given a bigger pair from our friend Cooper and Cascade said we could bring that pair in just to be sure they fit (which will be in two months).

Catching up

Outside it has been beautiful. The last two evenings have brought more snow! And this afternoon it snowed again.

Christmas day, Aunt Debbie/Uncle Rob heated their outdoor swimming pool! Although me and Liam couldn't go in it (mom is worried about us getting sick) she and Hannah/Nate LOVED it.

Lots of indoor activities have been had lately. Liam got a train with building blocks on it. He really likes to play with it.

I really like playing with the train track and lining up the wheels on the train with the track. I'm very careful with it, aligining it...... then I throw it! It's always a surprise to everyone around.... they think I'm going to actually place that train on the track. It's MUCH more fun hurling it thru the air.

Today mom put me on this fun little sled. We liked being outside today, it wasn't too windy or too cold.

We practice our dance moves to music.... hey girls! Watch out! We can really jive now.

Outside.... this is the Nooksack river from Main St in Ferndale. Very icy and snow on top. It's usually moving pretty fast.

This was the view for mommy/daddy as they went to work one day. Mommy wanted to take a picture of the semitruck, usually they don't stop in the middle like that.

Tommy Adventures