Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bragging on my Caden!

Today Cay came home from school early - fever. Didn't surprise me as one of the twins has strep throat (I know, don't ask - how does a 17mo old get strep before any of the other kids??). I brought him to the dr after calling for an appt because he's also had a lot of peeing accidents as of lately. He's *mostly* trained but we still have some accidents, but it's been a LOT of accidents lately and I wanted to be sure everything was ok.

Anyway. I brought urine along, it was clear. We battled through a throat swab (he actually essentially punched our awesome dr in the face, gotta love kids who don't understand and have oral defensiveness) which was negative for strep. We started antibiotics as he DID have an ear infection.

ANYWAY! He's been out of sorts all day, but I asked him to get ready for bed. I always ask him to get ready for bed, and I always help him all the way. Tonight...he put his own pullup on and pulled it up. He put on his pants. He put on his shirt. He came to me FULLY DRESSED for bed and I didn't have to do ANYTHING!!!!!!!!!!! I have waited 8 years for this with him! I am just so proud I could burst!!!

Ni ni little man. I hope you feel better in the morning.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Ave's thoughts on singing for the old folks.

Today Avery's class is going with the other K class to sing for the "grandpas and grandmas" at the old folks' home. I'm not sure if there was a rather rousing conversation that went on at school or what, but both James and I have heard these exact words out of her mouth about the whole situation (on many, separate occasions):

We're going to sing for the grandpas and grandmas. They're deaF, not deaD. Do you hear that F at the end? Yeah, they're deaF. We have to sing really loud so they can hear us.

Holy mother of hilarious.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Bye-bye ba-bas!

No more bottles! Quite frankly, the twins did it for us. One day they refused the naptime bottles. The next they refused the nighttime bottles. And they BOTH refused on the SAME days/times! I really thought they needed the formula to make it through the night but I was totally wrong. It's been well over a week since they've had a bottle. It's bittersweet, because I loved watching them take that bottle with both hands and suck it down, but I'm so glad we're done with it as well.

The twins are 17 months now and pretty good about getting where they need to be. They still motate via army crawl for the most part, but they are doing more up on hands and knees crawling every day. Macey pulls to stand a LOT - you often find her standing next to something, even transferring back and forth to things next to her. Madelyn will pull up as well, though not as often. Both girls like to climb - they go all the way up our stairs and will get on top of boxes or on the bottoms of tables if they have an extra shelf at the bottom. Madelyn has also figured out how to go down stairs - she spins herself around on her tummy and goes back, one at a time. Macey followed suit just today and went down, too!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

And now, for something to lighten the mood...

There's always hope. And I find an immense amount of hope in humor. Enjoy this!

TRUTH for mature humans:

1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font

5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

6. Was learning cursive really necessary?

7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on # 5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.

10. Bad decisions make good stories.

11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.

13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I swear I did not make any changes to.

14. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

15. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

16. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Budweiser than Kay.

17. I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.

18. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

19. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?

20. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!

21. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

22. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

23. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'd bet everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time!

24. The first testicular guard, the "Cup," was used in Hockey in 1874 and the first helmet was used in 1974. That means it only took 100 years for men to realize that their brain is also important. (Ladies.....Quit Laughing.)

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Merry Christmas?

It should be merry, but things are stressful for us. While money has always been tight, we've never before been worried. Now, James would tell you that I am worried more than I should be, but isn't that what women are supposed to do? :) It is a very good time for us to learn to trust in God. A trusted friend told me this week that God isn't going to let us fall. That made me feel so much better because I know it's the truth. There's something to be learned in every situation, something that God needs you to hear or know. The hardest part is the patience through the journey - we want to know what life holds for us on the other end.

James worked for years in a job that didn't fulfill him. He was miserable, unhappy and lost. We finally found a job (albeit on a part-time basis, but would still provide for our family) that seemed like the perfect fit. And the job itself IS a perfect fit. The problem lies in the fact that this job currently doesn't have enough hours available, and no one saw that caveat coming...least of all, us. Initially they had to work hard to keep his hours low enough because there was so much work. Now...well now that isn't the case. At all.

It's one of those things that I'm sure thousands of people have been through, are going through, are fearing. You just don't assume things will work out that way for you. And let me say this - you do NOT understand what it is like to be in the situation until you are in it. I thought I was so compassionate, so understanding, so able to put myself in the place of someone going through this. And I was not. At all.

We covet your prayers. We are positive God is rowing our little boat with us, but we are learning to let him take the oars more. And we fully agree with this quote: We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.

Monday, November 15, 2010

When your 2 year old asks you...

"Where's your bra?" you know it's time to:

a) put one back on
b) stop using adult language in front of your tot
c) get your jammie shirt on MUCH quicker
d) all of the above

I'll let you decide.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hello, daddy? 'Dis Macey!

Sometimes, a picture says it all:

and sometimes, Tena still needs to say stuff. No, Macey doesn't talk that well yet (she doesn't talk at all yet actually, and neither does her baby sister) but that was a cute title, no? Yes. Love my babies!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Food battles ala Declan

This boy is something else. He would survive on Pop-Tarts alone if we would allow it. We fight him to eat. Period. It's not about battling for fruits and veggies (forget those), we have battles of will just for taking one bite of something. I decided to capture one of our usual mealtimes with him in pictures. It's me, sitting across the table from him, asking him to eat one half of a chef boyardee ravioli. NOT HEALTHY. Super kid friendly. You'd think we were asking him to eat asparagus. Raw. His motivation? An early piece of Caden's birthday cake (this was the day before C's 8th birthday on Sunday).

"Take a bite and then you can have the cake!"

The cake was pushed right up in front of him as motivation...he took the bait!

Now I can use the fork for cake! (Note the leftover ravilolis - he didn't have many to begin with and only ate that one half.)

I believe he thinks he has won.

It's baby steps with this boy. We are working HARD to make sure he's hungry at mealtimes. limiting snacks, etc. He's a buggar.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mischief is brewing

It's so cute with two. Like today, they were both scooting forward, army-crawl style, and they bumped their heads together. They looked at each other and laughed. It was priceless. And when one takes off across the room the other follows behind. I'm also now catching them sitting up when they had been scooting around. Most of the time that's because they pull up on something low and then can't get back down, but still, they're figuring it out! Here's a few pictures of them getting around lately:

Madelyn left, Macey right. Should we or shouldn't we...try the stairs...

Macey tries, but thinks better of it.

Madelyn left, Macey right. Macey was here first, and Madelyn thought it looked like fun...

until Macey started pushing her away.

And another of Madelyn, because I think it's absolutely adorable!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Do I need to post with more pictures?

I do, don't I. You can say it. I know it's true. It's like one of those things that I know is true but I don't want to do anything about. It sort of like someone walking out of a bathroom stall with toilet paper hanging from their pants. You know you should say something but you really don't want to. Or it's like when you *toot* silently in a large group of people and you know you should say something but you just simply cannot admit that you did it. Not that that's ever happened to me or anything.

More pictures. Ok, working on it....

Friday, October 15, 2010

More milestones for Macey and Madelyn

Now they're pulling up on things like steps and fireplace hearths and stepstools. They don't get up on their feet but up on their knees to whack at what's above. It is TOO cute!! (If I do say so myself.)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Wanna see some pics of my crew?

My friend (and talented photographer) came over Saturday morning to get some pictures of the kids. I decided to get in on the action a bit, too - you know those awesome pictures you see of a mom all in play with her kids? Yeah, we didn't get a lot like that but we both had some good ideas! Caden and Declan were seriously SERIOUSLY uncooperative. You can see that in a lot of shots. I'm sporting myself down 40 pounds from January (go, me!) and am determined to love me and the mommy I am to my beautiful children! They light up my life. Let me know what your favorites are - I'm going to have a hard time choosing!


password: fall

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Up on our knees...

not in prayer, but UP on their knees! The twins, that is. Macey has been getting up on all 4s for quite a few weeks now. Madelyn has just started today. Macey is even lifting one hand up off the floor to reach for things while she's up on all 4s! It should be soon that we see the moving forward with "real crawling"! Right on time for our kiddos - they'll be 15 months on Friday! Go little ladies!

In other news, the school called me around 1:30 - had to go pick Avery up from school. Her fever was only 99.9 (which isn't really a fever for my kids) but she was coughing a ton as well. Thankfully Heather happened to be out here so she stayed with my 3 littles who were sleeping while I ran and got Ave from school. It was picture day for her but she told me she did have her picture taken so we've got that out of the way!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ever felt REALLY bad about how a morning went?

I am feeling terrible right now. Avery got up this morning and was all dressed. We did her hair and then she literally sat on the couch waiting for her bus to arrive. Time to kill. So the bus pulls up and she gets up to run to the door and stops dead in her tracks to shout, "MY SHOES!" She didn't have any on. (Last night when I was putting her clothes out for her she told me her shoes were downstairs, and she knew where. Mmmm hmmm.)

So I run to a few places in the house and the bus honks a few times. I run out to the front porch and tell the driver that we can't find shoes but we'll be RIGHT out. And may I just mention that Avery is following me around, doing absolutely NOTHING to help?? I run a few other places and Avery tells me they're out by the trampoline. I glance out there and I do not see them. So I finally run upstairs to her bedroom and grab a new pair, run downstairs, cut the tags off and try to get them on her feet. They will NOT go on. I know they should fit because they are the same size and style of the other ones, only these are new. I grab the shoes, grab her hand and head out the door. Yes, I sent her on the bus, in socks, with her shoes in hand. Felt bad about that but here's where it gets worse....

The driver calls me just a few minutes ago. "We can't get those shoes on Avery." Uhhhh, seriously?? Crrrrrrrrrrrap! So I told him she's probably worked up - send her inside with the shoes and let her try in Miss Amber's room. Which he already did, whew. So now I just pray she got them on.

I feel just awful! And I sent her out the door after saying to her, "I'm not happy with you right now." Ok Tena, so you've NEVER made a mistake before??? Good grief. I hope she has a better day. I'd like to call school and tell her I'm sorry. I'm just going to have to pray that God holds her heart and hand today while I can't.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Have you heard??

Caden is now sleeping outside of a crib! Yes, you read that correctly, he has been in a crib for almost 8 years. The other day I got sick of looking at the crib and decided to take it apart. We had tried leaving the side of his crib down with a step stool next to it in the past and it didn't go so well. I'm not sure what made me think he was ready this time but I had a feeling it might be ok (that, and Heather told me to suck it up and give it a go). We put his crib mattress on the floor and his blankets and special things on there. When he got home from school he did this adorable, arms-up shrug and said, "Where my bed went?" I showed him the pieces on the front porch and he really was ok with it (he tends to get upset about big changes in his normal, so I was a little apprehensive about it). Yes, he gets out of it from time to time and bugs Declan or whatnot, but I have come to a stunning realization that I tend to underestimate Caden. I truly don't believe he is capable of certain things and by doing that I am setting him up to fail. His teachers believe in him. More than I do at times! So I said enough. I'm believing in Caden. I'm trusting that he and God will work things out and that he will show me what he can do. And so far, they're making a great team!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

IEP - rousing success

I just really can't say enough how good today's IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meeting was. Really. Good. Fabulous, even! We feel beyond blessed that Caden has teachers, friends, associates and advocates who rally behind him when he is at school. They believe in him. They think he is capable of so much, and they are right! They told us things he says and does that honestly blow our doors off - he is correctly numbering numerals and speaking them as well. He's doing things for them at school that he wouldn't do here at home. And trust me - I am fine with that as long as he's making progress. Every kid deserves to be obstinate about certain things when they're at home, right? We are so proud of you, Caden! Keep on shining, little star.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Jesus Loves Me, This I Know...

Today is a day when Avery is home - no Kindergarten on Thursdays. We've been noticing more and more that Avery and Declan play very well together. It's a nice break for me at times. I can go tell them to play together and they will - no fighting, only minimal bossing from Avery. It's great, and really it's our first glimpse of a typical sibling relationship with built-in playmates.

Today I was getting the twins ready for naptime and Avery and Declan were in the boys' room directly across the wall from the twins' room - Caden and Declan share a bedroom and are both still in cribs (so yes, if you do the math we have 4 cribs set up in side-by-side bedrooms...probably 4 cribs in 200 sq ft or so, lol!). When I had the twins settled in went in to the boys' room. Avery said, "Mommy, I promise I will go to sleep if you let me get in Caden's crib for Declan's naptime." I'm smarter than that typically, but I went along with it, telling her that if she is noisy or anything then mommy promises she'll have to go upstairs to her bed.

I've since been in there 3 times and neither one is sleeping. And after the last time I went in there, Avery started quietly singing "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so...." and Declan started echoing her. I'm melting. I mean, how can I be upset when they're singing THAT???

But in all honesty, the twins aren't going to take a good nap at this rate, and we need to have a talk about what it means to keep a promise. Mommy's going to keep her promise - here you go to your bedroom Miss Avery! Ta-ta!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Ever wonder what you're missing if you're not on Facebook?

Here's today's update from me:


tried for 45 minutes to hang a faux wood blind in our bedroom - wanted to surprise James when he got home by having it all done. I've completely stripped the screw heads and the drill has slipped off the screw so many times now that there are multiple (extra) holes in the wall. I'm sweaty and POed. Epic fail.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Do you have a good internal clock?

I felt like the mother of the year this morning. Caden's bus comes at 7:30. I awoke from a dead sleep to hear a horn honking in my driveway. Looked at the clock and it was 7:33. CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No one was out of bed yet. I called the bus barn and told them to radio the driver and tell her to move on.

Worst part? This is not the first time this has happened. At. All.

Caden loves buttons and dials and the like. So he turned down my radio all the way. Oh the alarm was still set, but when it "went off" the radio turned on which was turned...all the way down. You'd think by now I would know to check that before bed. I checked to make sure the alarm was on, and that was all. (I know you're going to suggest turning the beeper on the alarm, but I cannot wake up to that. I will crap the bed. Serious.)

My DH James and BFF Heather can't believe that I don't wake up earlier without the help of an alarm. They use alarms, but only as panics if they don't get up with their internal clocks. I don't seem to have an internal clock. I have a hard time falling asleep, but once I do it takes darn-near an act of God to wake me in the mornings. Or a radio. But still, I have to have an external force to rouse me!

What about you?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

First day of school 2010 - 1st grade (Caden) and K (Avery)

Here's a few pictures I snapped the morning of the first day of school. I have one from last year of all the kids sitting on the front porch and it would be fun to see the changes this year, but it's on the upstairs computer (we have GOT to figure out how to link the 2 computers):

My big kids!!! I should've put the twins there but in usual Tena-fashion I was running late because it was morning.

If I'm being honest I struggle with this picture because I see that Caden looks different. But you know, it is what it is - I think this is an absolutely PRECIOUS one!!!!

Caden is signing "bus" here - he was SO ready to see Diana!

She's here!!! Look at that adorable admiration!! I love this picture!!!

Strapped in and ready to GO!

First one off bus #6 at

Some of her older cousin Tressa's 5th grade friends walk with Avery to her classroom since they ride the same bus.

Welcome to Miss Amber's Kindergarten classroom!

Miss Amber helped Avery get her name tag on.

And then she had to color a picture to look just like her!

I was so proud of both of my kids - this day and always! So hard to believe they're growing up. They have done very well this week and we can't wait for more!

Monday, August 23, 2010

We survived!

The first day of school, that is. Caden did wonderfully. He has the same bus driver again this year and we.love.Diana. He spent a lot of time with his special ed class as the first few days are always so hectic and they didn't want to overwhelm him. He got to make mac n cheese at kitchen time and had to clean up afterwards. He told me it was fun and when grandma called to talk to him he told her LOADS of stories about it as well. I guess we had first grade success!

Avery did beautifully. I put her on the bus and then drove into town to meet her at school off the bus. She found her classroom and did the work she was supposed to do - coloring a picture of a little girl to look just like her. I got a few pictures and then headed back home. She only had a half day so was home around 12:45 or so. Some good news is that the bus is going to pull all the way up our driveway now and turn around close to the house, which means we don't have to run down the driveway to meet up with the bus down at the road. Bonus!

Pictures to follow. Anyone care to guess how long that actually takes me??

Friday, August 20, 2010

A first - with a 2nd

Think it doesn't make sense? I'd have to agree with you. I'm struggling with something...I'm struggling with sending my 2nd-born to Kindergarten. It's sort of like she's my first to go. I'm having a very hard time letting her go.

I remember it was difficult to send Caden, but Caden had been attending some sort of schooling since he was 2. I knew school would be good for Caden. I knew he would make great strides there and learn things that I didn't have the skills (or the patience, if I'm being perfectly honest) to teach him. I was ok with sending him off....yes, even though he wasn't speaking and couldn't come home and tell me all about his day, I felt confident that he was "ready". As ready as he could be at his developmental level. (And today we met his 1st grade *sniffle* teacher - she is fabulous and he is going to have a great year!!)

And then there's Avery. Maybe it's the girl thing. Maybe it's the fact that she's my little mini-me. She's my sidekick, my big helper, my incessant chatterbox. Avery is so excited about Kindergarten. She got the teacher she wanted (and she'll tell you this). We went tonight and had a whole scavenger hunt to find the different things in her classroom, to meet her teacher and to bring her classroom supplies. She LOVED it. (I was even a suck-up and had her bring a decorated apple cookie for her teacher. I know, throw rotten tomatoes.) But the whole time I could not be excited for her. I can't seem to wrap my mind around the idea that she is going to be gone from home 3 days a week, moving to 5 full days a week by the end of the school year. I could cry about it so easily and if you know me you know I am NOT a cry-er. Avery is going to ride the big yellow bus to and from school. I have set up a set of identical twin 5th graders on her bus route to help her get to class, so she's covered there. I just can't help it - I feel like she is not ready and won't be able to handle it and cannot possibly be apart from her momma.

Perhaps this is one of the greatest downfalls of being a stay at home mom. Perhaps it's just me. Either way, I think Monday is going to be harder on Tena than on Avery. Yes, I am looking forward to having "just" 3 kids here at home during the day, but no one can talk to me or argue with me (efficiently, that is - Declan sure tries but his vocabulary consists of "noo!" "mine!") or otherwise bug the tar out of me at every turn. Honestly, I don't even know what to say. I'm positive it's going to be ok but my heart feels heavy at the same time. I'll miss her! She's growing up...right before my very eyes and quite literally without my permission. Bittersweet.

Friday, August 13, 2010

I have nothing interesting to say...

but one of my goals in life is to become a famous blogger, and I'm not going to do that by not posting anything for weeks on end, right? Thought so.

Right now it's thundering outside and we're preparing for about the millionth inch of rain this summer. We have been so blessed with no water in our basement, but many of our family and friends haven't been that lucky. It's really a mess for some people and it's so frustrating! I'm ready for next week - they're calling for temps in the low 80s with low humidity and no rain almost all week! Which is really great news considering it's been in the upper 90s with mega humidity. It's also great because...

Next week we are going camping all week! It's our little staycation. We're camping locally as James has to work at The Scooter Store in Des Moines on Monday and Tuesday, but then he has work off until Saturday, so that will be a fun family time after that. The first night camping is always hellish, but then the kids get used to sleeping somewhere else and bedtimes go much better. They don't sleep in at all, but we can handle that. After that week is done...

School starts!!!!!!!!!!!!! I just can't wait, I really can't. Caden and Avery are driving each other nuts. Caden needs the structure of school in a bad way. The only hard part is that Caden's 1:1 associate took a different job for next year and won't be with us again. I cried buckets over that one, but I know Caden will be just fine and God is working out the details so that we'll have someone else special to work with our little man. He's going into 1st grade and he has an awesome teacher (we've heard) so we're happy. Avery will be starting Kindergarten, but she is going to the Christian school instead of the public school where Caden attends. Avery could not possibly be more excited! She gets to ride the big yellow bus and she got the teacher she wanted (this teacher student taught when Avery was in preschool and now is starting her teaching career in K!). She is absolutely certain that she is ready, but I have a feeling that she is going to be more homesick than she realizes. She will be going full days, 3 days a week - MWF. The worst part is that Avery's personalized backpack hasn't arrived yet, and it says it won't arrive until Sept 4. I'm praying it'll be early, but hope is waning with each day. We'll see!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Ready for some cuteness overload?

A sweet gal from our church offered to take some pictures of Macey and Madelyn as a "survival gift" - we all made it through the first year! Here are the pictures she took. Megan did an AMAZING job and I just can't believe how adorable my girls are!!! I know, that sounds totally braggy but I really don't care - they ARE adorable!!


password: twins

Monday, July 26, 2010

Madelyn is scooting forward!

It's exciting stuff people. Madelyn can get on her tummy and then pull herself slightly forward! She uses her arms but some her legs, too. It's not full out army crawl and it's certainly not hands and knees crawling, but I'll take it! Macey is still content to roll where she needs to go. Madelyn also now has all 4 top teeth which is quite cute to see. Macey has 3 of 4 - she's missing her right, true front tooth.

We were gone this weekend to Cincinnati for the RTS Family Conference. It was an amazing time of meeting people we'd only ever emailed with for years and hearing experts talk about RTS and other things related to RTS to help us out. We brought Caden and Avery, leaving Declan, Macey and Madelyn back home with my parents. We truly did have a great time! Avery got very confident in the pool - she was jumping in and swimming halfway across (under water) to me! We spent as much time as possible in the pool. On Saturday and on Sunday morning the kids went into childcare and James and I attended speakers and seminars about RTS. We got some great information from those and were able to have breakfast and lunch in a revolving restaurant - one of only 32 such restaurants in the world I think! The trip there didn't go so well...it took us 10.5 hours to get there. On the way home, though, we stopped less often and made it in 8.5 which felt much more tolerable. It was so fun to see other RTSweeties and meet their families!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

An amazing encounter!

I had an amazing encounter this weekend. James and I were camping with our little tribe. We nearly backed out about 10 times because it was so blasted hot and it was supposed to be just miserable, but we decided to go anyway because we had reservations. After setting up camp I took a walk with the twins in the stroller, Avery on her bike and Caden on his special bike that school made for him. Just 3 campsites away from us a mom smiled and commented on Caden's neat bike, and then signed "baby" to her daughter and asked if she could see the babies. I glanced over at her daughter and my heart literally stopped for a second - I knew in an instant she had RTS. It's so hard to know how to approach something like that, y'know? Some moms are ok with lots of questions about their child with special needs and some really don't wish to have it pointed out that it's "obvious". So I eggshelled a bit - I told her my son had special needs, which led to her stating that her daughter did. I asked then if her daughter had a diagnosis. She said yes, and then said, "She actually has Rubinstein Taybi Syndrome" in a way that I've said it many times - the tone said "You've never heard of it and have no idea what it is." I simply said, "Shut up! Caden has RTS too!!!" She teared up and neither one of us could believe it. A small campground in Iowa, the same weekend, just 3 sites away. What are the chances honestly???? Interestingly enough, they had their 6 year old daughter pull some states out of a hat, then they prayed about it and then decided where in that state they would camp, and apparently Pella, Iowa is the place to be (I mean, we already knew that but still),

So we spent a lot of time chatting over the course of the weekend. The similarities are astounding, both socially and medically. Caden and her daughter hugged each other several times, which is something I have NEVER seen Caden just offer to someone else - they both knew they were something special! This family is from Iowa as well. It was just so exciting!!!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Added a cute lil picture...

of Macey (left) and Madelyn on their birthday up top there! Enjoy!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

James is loving work!

This is refreshing. It is just amazing to see him smile so much, to see him get out of bed early because he can't wait to get to work, to see him smile - have I mentioned that?? I am happy, he is happy, life is good. I will admit that having him get home really late on the days he works in Des Moines is sort of hard, but that's a fair trade off....so far. In a few weeks when he's on his own he will be working weekends which means Fridays and Saturdays. We'll see how that pans out, but I think we can handle it. Thank you God!!

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Happy 1st Birthday Macey Johanna and Madelyn Corinne!!!!

Words can't express how much these two girls have changed our lives. They are precious baby girls who light up our lives so very much! I am so proud to call them my babies.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

About to lose my cool...

I just posted this on a message board I frequent. Enjoy the peek into my life...

I feel like a pretty even-keel person, but with James' new job it's later hours in coming home. It's 7pm and he is not even home yet. I am about to blow a gasket at my kids I swear it. My 7yo is special needs so developmentally he is about 2-3 years ago. He and my 2yo fight like you WOULD NOT believe. The "mine!" "no, MINE!" is enough to drive me to drink. My 7yo doesn't have many words but of course MINE happens to be one of them. Right now my 2yo is SCREAMING outside their bedroom door because my oldest is supposed to be in bed (I sent him there before I NEARLY popped him one) and he is not in bed. I am on here just typing because if I don't I will say or do something I will later regret. Add to the mix my 5yo DD who is hollering "mommmmmmmmmmmmy, the boys are hurting my ears!" at the top of her ever-loving lungs. She should know better but I expect too much of her sometimes. And all of this is happening within feet of the twins' bedroom door - they are having their bottles in bed and trying to go ni-night.

This all started over a stupid Clifford book that no one could share.

Sometimes I get SOOOOOOOOOOO frustrated at my 7yo and his lack of understanding. He pesters just to pester at times (typical boy, I know) and it just drives me up the proverbial wall. With school being out I feel like I am FOREVER telling him no to something or telling him to stop pinching, stop hitting, keep your hands to yourself. It's SO hard to have a meaningful, fun experience with him and I'm sad.

Ok. In the time it took me to type that all is quiet. I needed the breather. Thank you for letting me vent. Off to start tackling bedtime in a bit. (And no, I am not mad at James for working longer, but this time of day is just HARD. The kids haven't even seen him yet today. But the poor guy got out to his car after work and the battery was dead! He's had "one of those days" as well I guess.)

Monday, July 05, 2010

Happy 4th - er, I mean 5th.

Honestly, what a boring weekend. I am not complaining really, but we didn't do anything 4th of Julyish. My parents kept Declan and the twins on Saturday and we went to Pella's outdoor pool/aquatic center for 3.5 hours which was really fun. Caden is a whole lot braver than I thought he would be! I think it's time for swimming lessons for him, but I'm not really sure where to begin. I think private lessons would be necessary for him. He just basically had no fear, which was good and bad. He also doesn't always listen really well so it's a mixed bag of fun, LOL!

The actual day of the 4th we majorly lazed around. We didn't even make it to church because we slept in so late - now THAT was nice! Today we went and took a bike ride down where we usually camp. The campgrounds are closed due to flooding, so we decided to walk in the campground loops instead of on the walking trails. We thought this would be good because there's no traffic in there right now. It WAS pretty good...except for the mosquitos. Holy CRAP! Awful, I've never seen them so bad. They SAY that mosquitos are so big in Minnesota that they are the state bird. I could almost believe there were so MANY on our kids today that it could be considered the plague!! Interesting too - I bet there were 10 of them on Macey for every 1 on Madelyn! I'm just like little Macey...mosquitos love me, too. Not fair!

The twins are going to be ONE on Thursday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It just can't be so!!!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

So this is how it's going to be?

As you know, today was James' first day. And the bad part about that 1 hour drive (each way) is that it happened on a Wednesday and James has to be at church by 7pm which means we haven't talked hardly AT ALL about how things went. All I do know is that James wore the WRONG shoes and I guess his fashion coordinator (me) is going to have to let him know that you don't wear work boots with nice jeans and a collared polo. I mean seriously, is that so difficult to understand? Sorry, I'm punchy today.

In fabulous news, our Cabela's lounge chairs arrived today! Love them. We got the black ones because they were on sale, AND I had mega Cabelas.com gift cards from our Discover cash-back accounts, yippee!!

Macey and Madelyn had their follow ups after being discharged from the hospital. They are 100% healthy! Glad to hear it.

I'm super struggling with wanting FOOD lately. And I think a large part of that is that my bestie is going to be gone until late Monday so I feel like I have to "make up" for her not being around....replacing one comfort with another. So I'm trying hard to remember that I can't feed my emotions, that I have to feel them and deal with them and be strong in spite of them. But I really want chocolate cake right now (I made some awesome cake to celebrate James' "last day" yesterday). I'm off to crack open a Diet Mt Dew caffeine free instead.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tomorrow marks a new beginning for our family.

I have been hesitant to say anything here about James job and how unhappy he's been. I know there are people who read this who also work where he does and are family members of people who work there. I have nothing but good things to say about the PEOPLE that James has worked for and with for the past 12 years and 4 months. They are truly God-fearing, wonderful people.

The problem has been that James has been unhappy at his job. And he's been unhappy for years. Way too long, but it seems we kept getting pregnant or had a big ol house addition going on and the timing just wasn't quite right. We got to a point though, where the toll it was taking on James (depression, and I swear his illness earlier this year was in part due to his being so down) and ultimately on our entire family just wasn't worth it. So James has been applying. And the economy isn't great. But last week he got HIRED! And tomorrow he starts his new job!

James will be working (part-time at 29hrs/wk) at The Scooter Store. He will be the guy who brings the motorized chairs to people with limited mobility (do you like how I'm using all the appropriate buzz words already??) in their homes, teaches them how to use them and also fixes/troubleshoots issues. After having been working in a troubleshooting type job for so long, plus being a service technician in people's homes, this feels very natural to James. He is excited. He is becoming the James I used to know - fun-loving, animated, full of life and not so exhausted and weary. Hopefully this is just the beginning of better things to come!

So yeah, it's only part time, and his current employer has been kind enough to let him stay on in part time capacity there as well (until he finds something else or they find a full-time replacement for him). And there are other downsides...we will be leaving AHHHHHHHHHHHmazing medical benefits (100% coverage, I kid you not) and going to COBRA type coverage. We're not used to paying for our coverage but I guess we've been spoiled long enough. There's also a 1+hour commute for James to get to work, and he has to be there by 7am. Right now, he has a company vehicle that he drives and it's a 4 minute commute. We went in with eyes wide open, and we believe that God will make a way. It's imperative that James find his happiness again, and we're praying this is one (huge) step in the right direction!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pushing back that bedtime.

Trying to put hyper kids down at 7pm during the summer when it's fully light outside and the fun has only just begun (in their minds) is just not a fun task. Add to that the fact that they horse around for a full hour after they are put to bed and you have some cranky parents. Tonight we went for a drive to go see the flooding and to get some ice cream. We told them that bedtime was going to be later. This means nothing to them as they cannot tell time - which I am NOT complaining about!! Declan actually complained when we said "bedtime is going to be later"...all he heard was that bedtime word. Mmmm hmmm.

So we did bedtime for Macey and Madelyn at 7:30 or so (our drive had us out later than usual) and then tackled the big kids. It was good. We had absolutely no horsing around in beds and cribs after they were put into bed! This is a first. Usually to get that result we have to force them to run 200000 laps around the house before bed. Going to bed just one hour later sure is easier!

Now. We'll see how morning goes. Our kids tend to be the kinds of kids who wake up by 7:30 no matter WHEN they fell asleep. I'm hoping that the 8pm bedtime will sort of diminish that. Hoping.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

And we're home!

That is all. Hallelujah!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Guess what???

Macey is now in the hospital as well. They get to share a room, how sweet! (There is sarcasm dripping off my voice.) We are PRAYING they both get to come home tomorrow. Madelyn is doing tons better and Macey wasn't quite as sick to begin with.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A baby with pneumonia

Yes, one of ours. All 5 of our kids have had coughs and colds for a week or more, some worse than others. Madelyn just kept getting progressively worse and this morning I finally took her in to the ER. She has pneumonia, poor baby! She's doing pretty good, but needs an IV for her ear infection and to cover all bases on the pneumonia. She also needs oxygen so she's got that going on as well. I really thought we were done with the sickness - good grief, we're just a few days shy of summer! Keep her in your thoughts and prayers!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Soooooooo, weight loss.

Yep, I started chattering about it in January. On the 4th of Jan I joined weight watchers with my BFF Heather. It was slow going, too slow for me....aaaaaaaaaaaaand, I wasn't that serious about it if I'm being perfectly honest. I mean I TRIED, but my give-a-dam was busted. I lost maybe 14 pounds from Jan-May, to which you may be saying, "That's GREAT!" but the truth is when you have over 100 pounds to lose (as I do, to even get into my healthy weight range for my shortness) you should be losing a bit faster than that. Jillian Michaels would agree.

In May I decided it was ridiculous to spend money to not care. Interestingly enough, that is when I began to care. And I want to lose weight now, I really do. I am tired of hating on myself when I see a picture of me...and yes, I know that goes beyond the outward appearance but I just look freakin' fat. People say to me, "But you've had 5 babies!" and this is true, but I don't want to be fat anymore. There's no reason I have to be. *I* am the one keeping myself here. Me and my big old fear of failure. I've told myself for YEARS that I can't be "small", I can't get there, that's for the "pretty girls". Ridiculous! I am a pretty girl! Fat doesn't change that, it just hides it. So I'm ready to let the hiding game end. I'm ready to see what I'd look like at 225 pounds, at 200 pounds, then at 175, then at 150, then ....

For today, a couple of successes. First, I walked up and down our driveway 12 times (10 times = 1 mile), running up(hill) the last time! (I also did up and down 16 times yesterday, running up the last time, but the twins weren't having it today.) If you think you can't exercise, get creative. I don't want to exercise after James gets home because I want to veg and be with him, but I also don't want to do it during my "free time" (naptime), so I do lunch, get everyone outside in strollers, on bikes, etc. and start huffing it! Yes, I am red-faced and nearly dying at the end, but then I can put the 3 little ones down for nap, take my shower and I can relax for the rest of the day. (I know a lot of you would suggest getting up 20-30 minutes early and doing this before everyone's out of bed, but then you would not really know me that well.) I also hit a low weight for me, a number I haven't seen for at least 9 months when I dropped down "low" after the twins were born - I was at 243.6 today! I'm happy with that! I started out my pregnancy with the twins at over 250 so this is excellent.

(Yes, I am that transparent about the numbers. Who honestly cares what the number on the scale says, right? It's not like you can't see that I'm heavy. This just takes the guesswork out of it for you - I know as well as you do that we're all dying to ask people just how much they weigh, LOL!)

I feel great. I feel like I am finally taking care of myself and the other things in life are falling into place. I have supper in the crockpot for tonight already. I made a great meal last night and we enjoyed it as a family. This is a big success for me - meal planning and execution is just about my greatest domestic weakness, so it feels great to be on top of it!

I look forward to sharing this journey with you. This is hard work, but I am so worth it!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The first (of many) questions.

It's the first day of summer vacation for Caden. We're all sitting in the living room together, Caden next to me being his usual self - a bunch of noise, no real words, just "chatty". Avery (nearly 6) is across the room and she said to me, "Mommy, why is Caden 7 and he doesn't know how to do anything yet?" I asked her what she meant and pointed out the things he can do...she said, "But he can't really DO things!" I told her he isn't a like a big kid like she is...and that's what she meant. I explained that Caden was special, that God made him special. I could tell that didn't really resonate with her because we tell ALL of our kids that God made them special. So then I told her that Caden was called special needs - he needs help doing the things that the rest of us learn to do on our own. THAT seemed to do the trick. I then told her that was why Caden goes to a different school than she does because the people there know him, love him and are helping him to learn things. The only thing she wants to know is when she can go to CADEN'S Kindergarten! (Caden goes to the public school and Avery will be going to the Christian school.) I told her she wouldn't be. And that was the end of the conversation!

I've always found it interesting that Avery doesn't seem to question how and why Caden is different. I just assumed she didn't notice. I think she does, but it really doesn't matter to her that much. Our hope as parents has always been that our other kids are fully embracing of those with differences. It starts with small questions, I guess!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Macey and Madelyn at 10 months!


password: twins

Enjoy them!! Macey is on the left, wearing pink. Madelyn is on the right, wearing white (or purple).

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Amazing grief...

Today we got a sympathy card from the vet, signed by all of them. On the front was a poem that talks about not crying over her, etc, but the last line goes "I loved you so...'twas Heaven here with you" and I CANNOT.STOP.BAWLING over it. Oh, and they also took her paw, dipped it in ink and pressed it on the card as a keepsake, signing her name under it. O.M.G.

I honestly can't understand why I am such a wreck over this. I was doing much better until I got that card today and now I have been sobbing until I literally feel like I might throw up. I finally had to take the card and put it away so I wouldn't look at it anymore. Thank God my BFF Heather took Avery this afternoon so I just have the 3 littles and they are all sleeping...so mommy can go sob into her pillow.

I just didn't think this would be so hard. We talked about putting her to sleep for over a year now, and I was usually pretty jazzed about it in terms of not having to mop all her freakin' hair, no letting her out to pee, no mopping up her pee from incontinence. We're free to go on trips and go camping without dog stuff. All of that seemed great. But now it's reality and I'm not sure I like it. I miss her coming into the bathroom while I'm peeing, just to give me a kiss and get herself a mommy-scratch. I miss having to step over her while I'm getting out of bed in the middle of the night. I miss her being underfoot while I'm working in the kitchen. I REALLY miss her cleaning up all the kid food messes.

I keep thinking that she is alone somewhere, cold, wondering where we are and if we are coming back to get her. I know for a fact (I called the vet, I had to know) that she is already cremated and gone. But I still want to call her name, to have her come running like she used to before her ears failed her. My heart literally HURTS.

I can't imagine losing a child. If I am this upset about a DOG, I just can't imagine losing a child.

Basically, if you got this far bless your heart. Writing is helpful for me, so I'm writing. I'm also going to include some very recent pictures of her. I took tonnnns of pictures after we decided she was going to be put to sleep...some are even from before that.

Here's Montana on Monday:

With all her "brothers and sisters" - the babies she welcomed home each time:

One of her favorite spots to lay - in our front bay window watching down the driveway:

Her other favorite spot was her bed by our back patio door:

She was a great pillow:

A true sport about peek-a-boo:

And was just always "one of the kids":

All my girls:

Montana and Macey:

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Just took my first ever sleep-aid

Let's hope it helps. Why is it that I become so ridiculous over the loss of a pet??? I had to get up and read the Bible last night because I was so worked up and crying so much. Yes, next to James who snored. I wanted to see in the Bible if it said anything about animals in heaven. What I did run across was the passage in Proverbs that talks about a dog returning to its vomit. Nice! So I just took 2 Tylenol PM and hopefully I'll be out for the count. Not entirely sure that's a stellar idea as a stay at home mom to 5 small children but we shall see!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

She is gone.

We brought her to the vet today at 4:30. It was fitting - James and I went to pick her up together when she was just a few weeks old and we brought her to the vet together today. Neither one of us could stand to be with her...our hearts were breaking. So we left her there and said our goodbyes to her. She just licked our faces and wagged her tail. I know I'm tired and emotional (I couldn't sleep last night because of it) but I feel like we made a horrible decision and now it can't be reversed. Tell me this gets easier. I can't stop crying right now. I was doing ok up until we got rid of all the dog stuff in the house because I couldn't bear looking at it...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Our family is about to change...

and no, we are not gaining new members. (read your mind) We are losing one tomorrow. Tomorrow at 4:30 our beloved black lab Montana is being put down to forever sleep. To say that we are sad is an understatement, but it is time.

She piddles so much in the house. And it isn't because she's naughty, it's because she incontinent - the peeing all happens when she's asleep or just waking up. We've tried meds for it and the meds made her all shaky and weird, they weren't letting her be the dog she used to be.

Then we realized over the past few weeks that she's deaf. I'm honestly worried that I might back over her in the driveway when I have all 5 kids with me...then what?

The questions keep coming back to us - is it too soon? Does she still have tons of years left? Is she going to die within the year anyway??

We made the appointment and we're sticking to it. It's just way hard.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Tulip Time!

I swore I was not going to march in a parade all decked out in a Dutch costume. That all came crashing down as I proudly marched my twin baby girls in the "Dutch Doubles" part of the afternoon parade today! They got lots of attention which was fun for me, hahahaha! I also got a big ol sunburn on my face, which is pronounced by the fact that the hat I wore with my Dutch costume came down my forehead about 1/2 an inch. I look ridiculous.

Worst part? Both twins got sunburned faces, too. Bad mommy moment!

Sooo, we're camping and it's not going super well. In fact, I'm home right now with Macey and Madelyn because they wouldn't stop crying in their "beds". Mmmm hmmm, we've got to get the bed thing figured out in the camper. Last night went REALLY bad but we toughed it out. Tonight was going better but I figured with their lil sunburned faces and all that it just wasn't worth letting them cry in the camper. So I popped them into their cribs and they are happy girls!! Granted, it's after 10pm and they're still awake but honestly...it's supposed to storm tonight and I don't care to be down there during a storm. So it's a win-win for me!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

He's home!

James was discharged late this afternoon. We are so glad he is feeling better! Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Can you spare a few more prayers for us?

James has been admitted to the hospital this evening. He started coughing horribly again yesterday, started throwing up again, the whole works. After the throwing up with coughing subsided he started feeling very short of breath and tight in his chest. He was feeling so bad that he thought he better be seen at the ER, which is saying something. Sure enough, his oxygen is pretty low (84%) without supplemental oxygen so he needs to be in the hospital on oxygen until he turns the corner, whenever that might be.

We're both feeling very exhausted and emotional about another hospital stay, this time one of us! We covet your thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Maybe it was too early.

I woke Caden this morning and his crib was FULL of pee. Wowsa, soaked. So...he's got a pullup on tonight.

Caden and I left pretty early this morning to go see a pediatric orthopedist about his elbow. Long story short, he did indeed fracture it nearly 6 weeks ago, and probably fractured it in two places. It has healed completely and also healed well, which we are so thankful for! He is going to need some physical therapy for it. Normally the dr doesn't suggest that but he thought "it might help" for Caden - no guarantees obviously. He also said he doesn't think he'll have any long-term problems from it, which is wonderful!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A few milestones around here.

Madelyn's bottom 2 teeth popped out on the 8th. This, after weeks of working at it! James and I were gone for the weekend (James' folks stayed here with the kids) and Macey's bottom 2 teeth popped through while we were gone - so around the 17th. It's very precious to see!

Last night we had to go to Des Moines for a few things, so we got home late - around 9pm. We still had 5 kids to get to bed and it was hectic. I had Caden go potty for me, and then I told him he was going to stay in underwear overnight. This morning when I got him up, he was dry!! First thing he said to me was "point down" - which is his version of "I have to pee!" So proud of him! I've been telling James I think he's ready for overnights but James didn't think so...time will tell!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mother of the year!

That's how I felt this morning when Madelyn rolled off our bed. I said to several people over the weekend, "Our days of leaving the babies on the bed are over" and yet what did I do this morning? Put them both on our bed and leave the room. That's what I did. I knew the sound immediately when I heard it. And then I heard her scream. Which was a good feeling, knowing that she was ok enough to scream. I ran into the bedroom and she wasn't off the side of the bed towards the door, which was WEIRD. No, she must have rolled alllll the way to the foot of the bed, across the mound of laundry on the hope chest and the foot of the bed and then down to the laminate flooring.

Mommy is SO sorry Madelyn.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I obviously typed too soon.

Got done blogging, surfed the web a bit....heard Caden ralph all over his crib. Child #5 has fallen! Ugh.

The pukes have invaded.

So far, not a child has been spared except for sweet Caden. Lord, please keep it that way!

Poor Caden fell (twice) today at school and they were very concerned he may have injured his elbow further. We went back in for xrays late this afternoon and were told we'd get a call back. We didn't. I'm assuming no news is good news and we'll leave it at that. He cannot bend it to 90 degrees anymore, but I'm guessing that is because he simply doesn't use it and it's stiff. He cried SO hard when they tried to bend it for the xrays, broke my heart! In case you were wondering, he fell at school because mommy let him wear his croc mammoths that are officially too big. Yeah, feeling REAL wonderful about that right now.

Here's to hoping we wake up vomit-free and happy tomorrow!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Long time, no see!

I remember my blog. Daily. But I just don't have the umption to add anything to it! Until tonight, that is. Are you ready for some picture overload?

A few highlights - Caden's arm is still useless to him, poor bud. He doesn't use it at all. His handwriting goals at school are having to be reworked! We had follow up xrays after one week and it showed exactly the same thing, which was, essentially...nothing. He is to use it as much as he tolerates which is, essentially...not at all. He will NOT bend at the elbow, and the elbow is where we're pretty certain the fracture is. Say it with me, poor buddy!!

In OTHER Caden news....he lost his first tooth! I was so excited. Last Tuesday (16th) James and I made a good date of our day kid-free and shopped in Des Moines all day. Grandma Jean (respite provider) got here around 8am and we took off. When we got home James noticed his wiggly tooth was totally gone! Jean thought we knew - apparently it hadn't been around all day! And, she had washed his bedding so if it WAS in the bedding it was gone. We haven't found it. We assume Cay swallowed it. But anyway, first tooth lost! Super exciting!

Ok then we have a picture of Declan. This is mainly because I don't have much news about him other than he threw up ALL over the supper table tonight....aaaand the only thing he's had to eat all day were some Cheerios and chocolate milk, so you can imagine how incredible that was to the rest of us trying to eat. Anywho, this is Declan in a typical morning pose - poptart in hand, sippy cup nearby, taunting Montana with the possibility of getting a morsel of that. And quite frankly, she often gets the whole dang thing, which makes me angry.

And of course there's more of Caden and some of Avery, with the twins. Caden and Avery can be very, very sweet about helping with the babies. You have to watch Caden carefully. He can't be left unattended with a baby but Avery is REALLY good. On this evening we let them help feed and Macey and Madelyn were so enthralled with being so close to their brother or their sister! It was really precious. Caden has Macey and Avery has Madelyn (you'll notice that Caden, who is very right-handed, is using his left hand to feed...evidence of his owie):

And last we have my favorite picture of them all. I wanted to snap a candid shot of Avery "reading" to her sisters. She loves to make up words to any book and they love to watch her. They typically cutely look at the pages, look at Avery...all cuteness. Well, apparently they know what a camera is now. I bent down to take this picture when they were cutely looking at the book. They must have caught sight of me in the meantime, before the flash, and here's the outcome:

HAAAAAAAAAAAAA! That's Madelyn (aka, the clown) on the left, Macey on the right. Hilarious!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I'd hardly believe it myself unless it happened to me.

That's sorta how I feel about my life.

Thursday night Madelyn had been home from the hospital for all of about 1 hour and it was bedtime. The kids had been playing outside and came in to get ready for bed. James carried Caden to his crib on his shoulders and put him in his crib with the rail down (we usually leave the rail down and Caden climbs in himself with the assistance of a step stool - we started this when I was hugely pregnant with the twins and couldn't hoist him in there anymore). Caden likes to sleep in just his pull up, so he was pulling his shirt off, standing up in his crib. You know how when you're little (like Caden) you feel like you have to lean WAY over to pull your shirt off over your head? Yeah, well Cay did that but in the process he fell head first out of his crib. I stated in my last blog post that he cried hard from a fall and got a bloody nose. Well, apparently that was just the tip of the iceberg.

When Caden woke up Friday morning he was crying. James went to get him to start getting ready for school and he wouldn't use his right arm. AT. ALL. We decided he needed to be seen, so I drove him to the clinic and our doctor looked him over and sent us for xrays.

Nothing huge showed up on the xrays. Apparently Caden has a "posterior fat pad" on his elbow - it means he for sure hurt it, but we don't know if it's a tiny fracture or what it is. He's "wearing a sling" (I say that loosely because mostly he just lets his arm hang down from the sling) until we have repeat xrays on Friday. He has a totally abnormal response to pain - his threshhold is CRAZY high. But he won't use that arm. AT. ALL. I know it must really hurt. However. For prayer tonight I did see him slip his left hand over to his right hand and all 10 fingers clasped. How precious to me, God!!!

And now for the moment of mommy heartache. When Caden went to bed Thursday night after his fall, I put him back in his crib and he was still REALLY crying hard. I assumed it was because his nose had just bled a lot and he was scared from falling head over heels onto the floor (wouldn't you be?). I stroked his head a bit but then I left the room, with him still sobbing. I didn't know what else to do. And he cried for a while. Probably at LEAST 15 more minutes. And now I know he very well could have fractured his elbow. And I walked away from him. With him still crying. I feel horrible about that. It's SO heartbreaking that he couldn't tell me that he was hurting. He didn't have the words. He could only cry. My only comfort is that God heard his unspoken hurt and took it away...I know he finally fell asleep and did sleep all night. So hard. So hard.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

She's home!

She came around this afternoon. She pulled her oxygen out before 11am and I decided to leave it out. Her sats stayed around 94. Then she just stayed doing well with her sats all afternoon and our dr came to see her after 5pm and said she could go home! YAY! We're all back under one roof. Whatta feeling!

Now please pray. Pray for continued healing for Madelyn (she sounds atrocious but is getting better). Pray for Macey, who is acting quite sick. Pray also for Declan and Avery, who both have fevers. And, for Caden, who fell tonight and cried (HARD) for a solid 5 minutes with a heckuva bloody nose. I think we have ALL had it.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

She's still in the hospital.

Madelyn just can't seem to shake needing the oxygen. So for now, she's still in the hospital. James has stayed with her nearly the entire time, which has been very difficult because the hospital air is so incredibly dry and it's making his coughing horrible. I think he went back to work too early last week - he has thrown up and coughed more this week than just about any other week. I think he needs some more time off, for his health physically and mentally.

Things here at home are going pretty well. I'm so thankful to have been able to be at home and Heather's been over nearly every day to help with household stuff or whatnot because I've got more sick kids here at home. Declan is sick - fever, runny nose, just not feeling well. He was also supposed to have surgery on Friday (to bring his left testicle down) but that has now been postponed until he is feeling better. Who knows when that will be...

Macey is also not herself. We think it might be teeth - they are 8 months old now. She does a lot of crying and just acts like something hurts. Not sure what to do for her either...

So we keep on keeping on. I'm tired. I'm sure James is tired. But we do it. I don't think we have another choice! God is blessing us on the journey and we just keep listening for His voice.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

It's (almost) getting funny.

Madelyn is back in the hospital. She doesn't have RSV. Her blood work is excellent. Her chest xray looks good. But she's got something "like" RSV and is really sick.

We were in Wisconsin Dells all weekend for the annual Midwest RTS Reunion. We left Friday morning and Madelyn wasn't feeling well - had been throwing up and fever, but both girls had just had their shots and I figured that was it. Well, she progressively got worse over the weekend. Saturday night I got back to our hotel room with Caden and James said she wasn't doing well. We weren't sure what to do - she was breathing fast, retracting, nasal flaring, all the bad signs. We didn't want her to be hospitalized in WI when we were supposed to leave the next morning to go home, so we decided to leave Caden and Avery with grandpa and grandma in their hotel room (to come home the next morning) and we packed Declan and the twins into our van and headed home....5 hours mind you. We never.stopped.once. The little ones just slept all the way home. We got a few hours of shut eye after arriving home at 3am and then we got up and I brought Madelyn to the ER. Sure enough, she needs to be in the hospital. So that is how I spent my birthday - in a hospital room with a very sick baby.

They say the temps are going to be warming up here. If that isn't true, I just might quit. Quit winter, that is. Do you think it'll play along??

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Nothing new..

I guess that's a good thing, in the grand scheme of things. Not much is happening here. Macey is off oxygen after Tuesday's appointment, which is very good news! They both seem to be doing very well. They have coughed here and there but nothing terrible.

James, on the other hand, is still coughing horribly. He's growing increasingly active here at home (working on the twins' new bedroom, which was Avery's old bedroom) to try to prepare himself for the rigors of work and anything/everything sends him into a coughing fit. It's relentless! He has been able to spend most nights in bed with me so that's nice - he used to have to leave and sleep upright on the couch most nights so he wouldn't cough so bad.

Thought I'd share a picture I captured today. You may remember we tried something similar Christmas day and James made me angry and Declan whacked Macey on the head multiple times and it was just AWFUL, but today went very well! Here's our babies!!

Caden 7
Avery 5
Declan 2
Macey and Madelyn (sitting in that order) 7.5 months

Friday, February 19, 2010

We're home!

As of yesterday, all seven of us are back under one roof. It's such a blessed feeling. I had Macey and Madelyn in the crib together and granted, I am tired and emotional, but I just broke down crying at how precious they were together in the crib and how much they need each other and how much life wouldn't be the same without TWO of them! I can't imagine just one Macey or just one Madelyn - they are unique yet very much part of a set. I'm so glad they're back together!

Macey was discharged yesterday morning, but she is on oxygen here at home, needed especially while sleeping and at times while eating. We don't have a pulse oximeter here to know what her sats are, but she was pretty consistent at the hospital and it was obvious she needed the help while sleeping. We hope to be able to remove the need for oxygen on Wed the 24th at their follow-up doctor appointments.

February is a big month for birthdays in our families! Yesterday was a very special niece's 10th birthday and tomorrow is James' mom's 60th! And then Tuesday is James' birthday!! I love birthdays. :)

I also wanted to add that I have removed the ability to leave anonymous comments on my blog. I wish I still could because I realize several of you comment without IDs but I was getting too many weird comments from anonymous people and I just don't feel like dealing with it. So, sign up for a google account if you want to leave comments! Hey, start a blog yourself!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

We're still in!

I miss my husband. I really do. I want to go away with him for a nice long (cough-free) weekend and do nothing but sleep and sleep and just talk with him and have him be well and know our kids are well and just.....be. That's what I wish for more now than anything else in the entire world.

Tonight we're going to go out for supper together while my mom sits with Macey here in the hospital room. I believe Avery is going to be here as well (I'm sure that she wants to go along with us but the former preschool teacher in me will talk her into staying because "staying with Macey will be the COOLEST thing a 5yo girl could do!"). We're supposed to have Ave's Creation Station conferences tonight at 5 but we called her wonderful teachers and they are letting us get them in later when everyone's healthy, bless them. James has Ave at dance right now (bless HIM) and then they'll be over here to the hospital to see little miss Macey for a while.

Little miss can't quite keep her oxygen sats high enough, so she'll be here for one more night. Hopefully we can go home tomorrow. And then hopefully we'll start getting James healthy. My heart simply aches for him - he tells me that he's so exhausted he barely feels anything anymore. I just can't imagine. He also said last night was the first night he remembers not waking up to cough! That is HUGE! He had all 4 kids at home down to bed by 7:15 and then all slept until after 7am. Go James!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

There's good news and there's bad news.

The good news first. Madelyn was released from the hospital this morning! She really seems to have improved and it's nice to see her smiling self again.

The bad news? Macey was admitted to the hospital this afternoon. Macey and mommy were down in the clinic while Madelyn was being discharged upstairs. Poor James - he's SO exhausted and yet he had Madelyn up in her hospital room, along with Avery and Declan as well. I had to wait forever for xrays which finally showed that Macey also has developed pneumonia. She's in - we'll see how long we're here! Ugh.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Wow, the hospital internet is fast!

Yeah, that's where I'm typing from. Madelyn just didn't improve so we brought her in this morning again and she was admitted to the hospital. Her pulse ox was 92, she was breathing pretty fast, retracting, nasal flaring, all the good stuff. Tonight she is finally falling asleep at 8:30 and has smiled a few times. It was so sad - during her xrays they put her in this horrid contraption that holds her in from the sides and pins her arms up and above her head. She was so exhausted from the blood work pokes, IV pokes and all of that that she simply held her mouth open to breathe better and stared straight ahead. SO SAD!!!

We got some other very interesting news today as well. Turns out James has whooping cough! The test was positive. Worst part is...the twins also BOTH have it! So bizarre!! At least now we have an answer for James but he is just still so miserable. His mom is staying out at our house tonight with him and the other kids because he just about can't take care of everyone on his own. He coughs and throws up that much. I am praying hard that it clears up SOON.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Before I forget (again)!

I just blogged all that and forgot about our Avery funny. So at bedtime we read her stories from the Bible - her children's Bible. Then we pray with her out loud - she prays and we pray. After that we tuck her in and she usually reads from her Bible for a while longer. By read, I mean she makes things up but she does so in a very loud, talkative manner. Last night one of our stories was about the prophet Elijah.

Last night we could hear her clearly. She was just chattering away. She is going to be a gifted read-alouder to her kids someday! We paused the tv so we could hear her and this is what came out: "I'm not a mommy. I'm a prophet! I help God with new tricks!!"

Holy hilarious.


we're still at home. This is a good thing. The person most in need of the hospital is James I think. I have HONESTLY NEVER heard anyone cough like this. He coughs repeatedly/solidly for about 15 seconds and usually throws up afterward. Our dr did run the pertussis (whooping cough) test but we don't have results yet. Today James also has tons of drainage and is stuffed up and just plain miserable. I am truly at a loss. I've never heard of anything like it. I feel TERRIBLE for him.

Macey seems to be coming around. She doesn't cough as frequently and she is happier. Madelyn is still concerning, but after getting her up for a while tonight she smiled at me a few times which tells me she's doing ok. She still coughs a TON and really struggles with that. I actually think her cough is getting worse and will probably bring her in to the dr in the morning to get her checked over for peace of mind. The pertussis test was also run on the twins. Results pending.

I think we may have turned the potty corner with Caden tonight. He has been wearing big boy underwear to school for weeks now and has only had maybe 1 accident. Problem is, he holds it...and holds it and HOLDS it. Then he gets home and tries to go, but starts to cry and saw "ow" on the potty and it's all kinds of confusing. Tonight he started caterwauling on the potty, flapping his hands and rolling his head around, saying owie - it was just bizarre. Finally I let him get off the potty and as we were pulling up his underwear and jeans he started peeing ALL over. I got firm with him (ok, I was mad) and put him back on the potty. I think the problem is he doesn't like the FEELING of continued flow coming out. I think he thinks that's owie. So every time he did a nice, steady stream I got all excited and started hooting and hollering. When he stopped, I went quiet. Caden LOVES a good ol ruckus, so he started back up again, and every time the flow would keep going I would just whoop it up! He finally got a lot of pee out, and I think he got used to the idea that it's supposed to come out all at once and all at the same time. At least I hope so. There seems to be a disconnect there and I'm not sure if it's his developmental age or his disability or what...but hopefully tonight made sense for him!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Double RSV plus ear infection and pneumonia

I'm convinced that the more kids you have, the more you're in the doctor. I guess that isn't shocking news but it's frustrating, nonetheless.

I finally took the twins in this morning for the continued cough. Madelyn was acting sicker, fever, sounding raspy, etc. Turns out they both have RSV (even though Macey's RSV test was negative in the ER on Friday). Macey has an ear infection and is starting on zithromax again. Madelyn also has pneumonia, which is common with RSV. They're home for now. Their pulse ox was good, which is a relief. Now we just pray they turn the corner and start getting better.

James came with me and our dr was asking him about HIS continued cough. We're starting with more aggressive tests now for James, as he is still coughing to the point of throwing up and just so sick of it! Hopefully we'll get some answers.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Digging in to the baby book

the blog, that is...I'm motivated to sit here and write down the twins' weights, lengths and milestones thus far in order to get them entered into the baby book. Wish me luck! It's too bad Ebay keeps calling my name.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Can I just say how sick I am of coughing?

Avery's on medication now too - antibiotic for her cough, plus she started running a fever. James is still throwing up from time to time with it...at least once daily. The twins have started a nasty cough. And today, it became REALLY nasty.

This morning just after 10 Macey started a coughing fit. She coughed and coughed, never seeming to take a breath and gather air in. I was growing very concerned, and next thing I knew her nose and mouth were blue and the rest of her face was turning dusky. It's so bizarre - it's like everything moves in slow motion. I knew I SHOULD call 911 but then I thought, "for a cough???" and I second-guessed it like 10 times before I just dialed. They were on their way almost instantly and even though we're out in the country it only took about 10 minutes for them to get here - she was done coughing at this point, just breathing fast and rattly in her chest at bit, but was breathing again.

I am so thankful that James' cousin is an EMT and was here with the ambulance. I felt relieved that he was here, talking me through it. I was just so scared. I've never felt more helpless. If your kid had some sort of traumatic injury but was still breathing, that would be tolerable I think, but to know they aren't getting any air and not be able to do anything about it is AWFUL.
They took off with her to the ER in the ambulance. Avery flipped out at this point. I think she believed that Macey wasn't coming back. Plus I had asked Avery to sit Macey up from the floor when she first started the coughing fit and I think she was feeling somewhat responsible. She was holding her and then she realized that mommy was scared...and then mommy was on the phone and it was all just a blur for her. My dad had come out at this point and he stayed with Madelyn, Declan and Avery so I could drive to the ER.

Long story made short, they said she probably had a mucous plug in her throat (somewhere in there, anyway) and babies don't know what to do besides keep coughing until it finally breaks free. They said it would break free, just to sit her up and pat her back until she breathes again. In response to that I'd like to say YEAH RIGHT because you absolutely panic when they are coughing and not breathing like that. Tonight both Macey and Madelyn have coughed quite a bit again, but no turning blue this time. It's all just so unsettling.

Is it spring yet???

Sunday, January 31, 2010

And he's STILL sick.

He's still coughing to the point of throwing up. The worst part is that he doesn't know when it's coming. He's found if he doesn't have anything in his stomach it's better, but that's pretty much impossible to do round the clock.

He went through a lot of tests at the hospital on Friday. All signs point to asthma issues. We knew that he had issues as a little boy, but didn't seem to be too bothered by it now as an adult. Apparently this illness has sent him over the proverbial edge. It's just hard to know how long it's going to last. Very frustrating for all of us, especially James. It's sad when he starts coughing and your 5 year old daughter says, "It's ok everyone, he's just gonna throw up."

Some news (which, I realize, is worthless without pictures) - Avery had her first dance recital on Saturday and it was AHHHHHDORABLE! She did so well but it was a long night. She LOVED watching the older girls dance at rehearsal in the morning. She was fascinated and wanted to do what they were doing. It was called "Dance Before the Lord" and was done to Christian music, which was so nice.

Friday James had all this testing done and we had our septic tank pumped out. Holy disgusting. That reeks. Also on Friday the twins had their 6 month well child dr appointments. They are doing very well but they have what James has (horrid cough, poor things!) so they were too sick to get shots. Madelyn also had her 2nd ear infection. Both girls went on zithromax for their rough sounding chests - basically they have bronchitis. We'll go back late next week for shots if they're feeling better.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

James is still so sick!

I can't believe this. His cough is AWFUL. I'm going to copy and paste something I shared on another board today:

He went to the dr Tuesday morning at my insistance. On Sunday night he coughed so long and hard that he actually blacked out. I called our family dr at home on Monday morning and he said for him to come in on Tues. They did chest x-rays and bloodwork and a bunch of stuff. He thought it could be asthma related and put him on another antibiotic, plus mega cough meds. Tuesday night he starts vomiting every time he coughs. Lovely.

Wednesday morning his sclera (white part of his eye) is blood red. He's burst all the blood vessels in his eye and it looks awful. He says his eye hurts SO bad. Still vomiting with every coughing fit. Absolutely no warning when the vomiting is coming either, which is pleasant.

Thursday (this) morning I made him call in again. They are referring him to our local ENT. Hopefully they can scope his throat. I really think he might have something lodged in his throat or somewhere before his tummy. Incidentally, the coughing started the day after we ate out at a chinese restaurant. While we were eating James thought he got a shrimp tail stuck in his throat (yes, he eats the ENTIRE shrimp, never met anyone who does that). I'm just starting to wonder if that isn't the issue...this is not improving. I can't believe all of this over a cough! But seriously, there's something else going on....I just wish we knew!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A potty success!

Caden is home from school early due to teacher inservice or some other nonsense like that. Can you tell I'm not a fan of early outs? Anyway, he's been wearing underwear to school most every day and staying dry all day, but not having much success with actually PEEING at school. He has a strong bladder, that one! So today he's here and it's nap time (James is upstairs napping as well) and he started dancing around, so I opened the bathroom door for him. I helped him get his pants down and sat him up on the potty and he peed immediately! Granted, it was straight out and hit my jeans and shoes, but hey, I'll take it! Go Caden!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Holy $*&%!

That's what's in our basement. Only it ain't holy. It's backed up from the septic tank. And it's all over our basement. And there's a blizzard going on today. And James was home sick from work...only to work on the basement all afternoon. Annnnnd, it's still not fixed.

That's right. We have a sewer back up. No idea when it happened but James went downstairs (we NEVER go down there) to get a joystick thingy to play a computer game (he NEVER plays computer games) and came back up with bad news. So I started hauling stuff out and piling things in dry corners, which aren't many. Our basement has been a catch-all for junk over the years. It used to be our only storage before the addition, but since we've added on we've just kinda left the basement to rot. It ain't pretty down there, and now it's swimming with.....yeah.

Wondering what James is home sick with? So are we. He has a cough so bad that last night he actually fell over when he tried to stand up. He doesn't remember it. He blacked out because he can't breathe when he coughs. It's been going on for 3 weeks now and when he fell over I freaked out. I called our (awesome) family dr this morning at home and he said to have James come in in the morning to run further tests. I'm somewhat concerned about it, but we'll see.

We'll see, too, if he can even make it out our gravel road to get there at 8am. A blizzard hit this morning, taking everyone by surprise. School was delayed 2 hours, then started, only to let out an hour early. I had to take Ave to preschool and it.was.not.pretty. There was little to no visibility on our gravel road and I was scared at times! Made it home, only to deal with yucky basement.

So there you have it. We finally have power back which I am utterly thankful for. It's just one more thing I guess. And now...Madelyn is crying and it's 10pm. So rare. On we go!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bloggin from the 'rents...

Someone really needs to tell my wonderful parents that their laptop BLOWS. I'm serious. I'm not entirely sure what's up with it but it has closed down internet explorer no less than 5 times i the short time I've been sitting here. Actually, perhaps it's an internet explorer thing. Imagine that!

So school was held today, even though most walkways were glare ice. They did a late start, and they added the wonderful clause that the buses would be on hard surfaces only. Sometimes, living on gravel is not cool. HOWEVER. I have to say that the director of the bus barn is AWESOME and told our bus driver our road was good enough to travel! (As an aside, the director is also Caden's 1:1 associate's husband, LOL!! It pays to have friends in high places!) The next however is that we were already making plans to go to my parents for the day so Caden got picked up here instead. Why, you ask? Well, because living on gravel is not cool, as I mentioned previously - we are without power. And that is not doable with 2 infants because yes, I am one of those mothers who microwaves her babies' bottles, even though it says not to. Oh well!

Yesterday was not a good day. I nearly lost it with all my kids. It was just too much. Do you ever have those moments where you swear your head might come disconnected from your body if one.more.thing rubs you the wrong way? And yes, I admit I was punchy, but wow. Caden peed on the carpet upstairs in at least 3 places that I could feel/smell. He had zero success on the potty while home all day but did pee all over. That was so frustrating. Then Declan. He's 2. And he whines a lot. I'm not sure how to punish whining other than to ignore, but my ears couldn't ignore it yesterday. And Avery...I mentioned she was up by 5am? That didn't work out so well for her. She was RUDE, she was disobedient, she had the audacity to narrow her eyes and glare at me when I told her no to something (wonder where she gets those over-the-top facial expressions from?????). The twins were good. They're honestly always good. Well, almost always. I add that only because I'm sure if I say always they'll go and prove me wrong and I'm just not in the mood for that.

And today I am not doing so well with weight watchers. I'm at my parents' all day and I don't want to count points. I just had 3 York peppermint patties with a Diet Sunkist chaser. But other than that I've been doing ok overall. This is tough stuff though people! I'm trying to undo 9 years of horrible eating habits, and old habits die hard.