Sunday, June 29, 2008

32 Weeks!

Here are some pretty pics of Baby Gabe (oh, and Mommy) at 32 weeks!!

Don't they look good in black and white? Another cool thing about black and white and bare tummy shots is it somewhat masks all of the great stretch marks I got courtesy of Jacob and Caleb (so far no new ones this time around - but I was so stretched last time around, it wouldn't surprise me at all if I didn't get any NEW ones).

The tummy is really starting to grow some - keep putting on that weight, Baby Boy! (Yup, now you are really checking out the stretch marks now that I drew your attention to them. hehehe)

Aren't all of these pictures so pretty? No, I didn't pay anyone to take them - Jon did it! We took the boys for a picnic to the park, but decided to get dressed a little nicer than we normally would so that we could take some nice pictures.

This one is Jon's favorite. I think it is because it looks as if I am in Colorado, and he really wants to go now. It's been a couple of years since we have been, and we are sure it will be a couple more with the arrival of Gabe. I want to take them hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park, however Jon wants to take them skiing on our next trip. We'll see...

This would be a great family picture if the sun wouldn't have blocked my head somewhat. :-( I may try to play with (and have Jon also try) photoshop later...

The very proud "Ma-ma" and "Da-da" of three precious little boys!

Back at the casa, we attempt to get a good, sweet picture of all three of the boys and I. Sounds easy enough... hehehe... YEAH, right! This one isn't so bad, but Caleb wanted to suck his thumb. (He's not even my big thumb sucker - Jacob is. The little turkey!) Don't they look more like little boys than babies now?!

Jacob didn't want much to do with taking pictures, as it would require him to SIT STILL! So this pretty much sums up the majority of our "photo shoot." You can, however, get a good shot of their new "Big Brother" shirts! They are the same design, but Jacob's is blue around the collar/sleeves and Caleb's is red. They also have their names on the bottom!

This is such a cute candid shot. Those are usually some of the best. Caleb is so proud to show everyone "where's baby brother?"

All is progressing well, and it looks like Gabe will arrive August 15th via scheduled c-section if all continues going so well.

Can you believe that is only 47 more days away?!

We go back on Friday, July 11th for an appointment and sonogram. You know we'll then have some actual Baby Gabe pics to share along with the tummy shots. ;-)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Watermelon and Outdoor Fun

OK, so you might be a redneck if you strip your babies down to their diapers and let them go to town on a sweet, juicy chunk of watermelon in the backyard.

Not a great shot, but you can see the black eye that I mentioned a few posts back. Poor Jacob. It's been almost a week now, and it is looking better every day.

Jacob thinks this is some good stuff!

I think that little grin means that Caleb concurs.

Jacob says, "hey, bro, what do you think of this?..."

And Caleb's response...

So, yes, the boys LOVE watermelon. But how ever should be clean up this sticky mess?!

Easy! Fill the small pool, get Momma and Daddy in their swimsuits, grab the baby soap and a couple of towels, and throw the little dudes in. Now that, my friends, is either pure genius or redneck to the extreme!


Sunday, June 22, 2008

My lovely baby bump...

Here's a close up belly shot taken before church this morning.

I go back to the doctor this Thursday. Next sono will June 11th, so we will know more about how Gabe is measuring and see his sweet face again. But if we could guess how he is looking right now, it would be something like this:

Pretty cool.

Can you believe he'll be here in 54 more days?! That's less than 2 months... YIKES!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

"I Wanna Do It!!!"

Caleb has decided in the last couple of weeks that he does NOT want Momma to feed him - or even help for that matter! I had been letting the boys feed themselves about twice a day, and then I would feed them the other meal (so that I knew they were getting something with good nutritional value - like oatmeal, etc - at least once a day!). I initially thought that Caleb's refusal of food had something to do with him being sick (that he was afraid the food would make him throw up again), but then I noticed that if HE gets to feed himself, he's fine. I picked up on it after I began taking his plate away when he'd refuse to eat. He would scream, cry, and point to the food, but then refuse to actually EAT IT when I would give it back! I would give him something like dry Cheerios and juice to munch on, and he would eat every last bite and point to the container for more. I thought it was just that the bland Cheerios sat better with his sick tummy, but then I saw that he also began eating veggies, cheese, beans, etc. just fine if HE got to do it.

So I realized that it was not a "sick tummy" thing, but a controlling toddler thing!

Then and there, we made the decision to let THEM feed themselves every meal. I've accepted that they are "big boys" and need to teach themselves eventually, so I've completely let go and am letting them do all of their normal favorites foods without limits, no matter HOW messy my kitchen gets - oatmeal, spaghetti, etc. They are really doing quite well with the spoon and fork too! Well, uhhh, MOST days!

Jacob is proud that he had an especially good day with his spoon skills.

Caleb did pretty well too, meaning he didn't get much on his body or Momma's floor, but look at that little face.

Caleb is quite the proud little guy, so here is his applauding himself for a job well done on his oatmeal, milk, and pears. (Yes, he is my little ham!)

This was one particular day where they got a little crazy with their lunch...

That is watermelon and broccoli all over my kitchen floor. YIKES! For some reason I feel like Cinderella here lately, as I am on my hands and knees scrubbing three times a day. Can some one come pick me up in a big pumpkin carriage and make all of the work STOP?!

Along the note of food, we have found another favorite - soybutter! Our twin friends, Hagen and Mason, had posted a blog about eating sunbutter, and we thought that we'd also try it. (As many of you know, Caleb underwent allergy testing last October, and it came back that he potentially has a peanut allergy. I say potential, because the results are not always 100% when the child is that young. Also, the allergy showed to be slight, so it might be fine for Caleb to have peanuts down the road, but we are just holding off a while longer per the Allergy/Asthma Specialist's request.) I has not able to find Sunbutter at Wal-Mart or even Sprouts (I thought that had everything!), but we did find Soybutter, which I thought would serve the same purpose. (BTW, I have only seen Sunbutter at Target.)

What a hit! The boys love their dino shaped PB&Js - uhhh, I guess that would actually be SB&Js!

On the walking front, Jacob is finally walking... AGAIN!

As you recall, from our post on May 21st, Jacob walked!! We even had video proof of the kid! But the next morning is when we all got so sick, and he refused to walk again. Well, Tuesday night (yes, almost a month later!), he FINALLY started walking again.

The problem was that by the end of the night he was already getting pretty brave (not to mention tired - but didn't want to give it up), and fell pretty hard. I mean, it was one of those hits that immediately started turning purple and swollen. The poor boy was toddling along, slipped on a book, and hit his little face on the table. I think he was more upset with me trying to hold him still and put ice on his face than he was from the crash - the tough little guy. Jon and I got pretty panicy. What finally brought me back to Earth was Jon asking me my opinion "as a nurse" and not as "Jacob's Momma." Thinking about it that way, I could at least admit that from a nurse standpoint, the kid was FINE. It might be good to check on him once more before we went to bed and first thing in the morning - he'll have a little shiner on his eye, but he'll be FINE! As a Momma, however, I wanted to go to the ER for overnight observation. hehehe

I thought that we would have a recurrence of the last walking "SIKE," since every time he has tested the waters on this walking thing, something really bad happened to him. But the next morning, he was up and at it again!

Here he is taking not only the popcorn pusher, but also the chimes for a spin. You can't see the black eye, as it is on his right side.

But, anyway, it's always something around here! Now we just need to light a fire under little Caleb. He's done better by watching brother, but he is starting to get VERY jealous and acting more reserved, so we're not pushing him too hard... yet!

Caleb says, "Just TRY to make me walk without my push toy!!"

As far as the pregnancy, I am past the week 31 mark and still feeling great! I am much smaller and have much more energy that I did with the twins - go figure. My doctor's only concern is that I stay well hydrated while going out and about with the boys, since we are still doing our daily walks and frequent zoo trips.

Hmmmm... I'll try to work on some tummy pics soon! Perhaps tomorrow, if I am feeling ambitious after church. It'd be a good time, as I'll be dressed nicer than my recent day-to-day norm. ;-)

Friday, June 20, 2008

E - C - Who?!

I have had several friends and family ask me what ECI is, since I have made references to them on our blog. People have wondered what it is, what they do, and if their child needs to be in ECI as well.

ECI is Early Childhood Intervention.

They came out because, at 16 months of age, the boys still aren't really walking. Jacob took a few steps almost a month ago now, but after our HUGE family illness, hasn't wanted to walk since (until Tuesday of this week - an update to come soon). Caleb is still showing zero interest.

The boys' doctor recommended at their 15 month Well Child Appointment that we get the ball rolling with ECI since it can oftentimes take over a month (with them being a state funded program) for them to come out to evaluate, and then even longer to come out to help them. We figured that if the boys started walking before they came out - GREAT - but if not, that would put them around 18 months and still not walking, and then we would be a little alarmed.

Well, ECI evidently wasn't very behind right now, so they have already been out three times! The first time was to do an evaluation to see if Jacob and Caleb even qualified, the second was to get a care plan together, and then this past time was to being working with the boys.

ECI evaluates Motor Development, Speech, Cognitive Awareness, Self-Help, and Social Development. While, thankfully, they cannot find anything WRONG with the boys that would prevent them from walking, they do indeed have a Motor Delay. As far as motor skills go, Caleb was on an 11 month level while Jacob was 12 months. Also, thankfully, the guys are blossoming in every other aspect - especially Caleb's social development!

The evaluation was pretty easy. It was mostly Q&A with Jon and I, while three ladies observed the boys playing. They asked us over an hour worth of questions about things that they are/aren't doing and then tallied it all up. Painless enough!

Since there was/is nothing really WRONG with their lazy butts ;-), we do not need to see a Physical Therapist, however there are Child Development Specialists that can come out and work with our guys on different techniques to get them up and moving. For example, we have rearranged our house to make it more "walking friendly," per se. (ie: we moved the coffee table further away from the couch and moved toys within two or three "baby steps" from each other so that they boys are more inclined to take the short steps to get to it rather than get down and crawl all the way over to the toy that they want - does that make sense?) Also we have more little games to get them to walk - like carrying the fly swatter (which was actually my Gran's idea!). I'll have to blog about that later when I give an update on them!

Another cool thing about ECI is that they always come out to the home for not only the evaluation, but also all "treatment." They feel that the child does better in his or her own environment, and will learn and thrive better this way. I totally agree. PLUS, it is much easier to keep them happy at their house and their own toys.

So many people have asked me if their child also needs to be in ECI. The evaluation was FREE (they said that they come to the home of any parent who has a concern and then let them know if the child qualifies), so if you are at all concerned about anything, definitely give them a call. Doesn't hurt! Like I mentioned, they help with more than just Motor Delay. They did ask me a few preliminary questions over the phone, so they might listen to your concerns and tell you that, in their opinion, your child is just fine. That might be enough to set your mind at ease a little. Or, if there is a question about it, they can come out to see what the specialist thinks.

The number is 1-800-628-5115. They will then ask for your zip code, if I remember correctly, and give you one more number to call to set the evaluation up.

We were also initially concerned about the cost of having a specialist come out and see two boys twice a month. I mean, if Jacob and Caleb NEED it, we would do whatever it takes, but it might a little be tough for us to fork out $500 + per month PER CHILD! So, we just talked to them about the cost before they even began the treatment plan...

They DO charge your insurance company, however if you do not have insurance or if insurance does not cover their treatment regimen, the cost is then based on sliding scale. And when we talked to them about that, we learned that we will only be paying $20 per month per family (ie: both boys - and also Gabe too, should he need ECI down the road) if insurance does not cover. Definitely do-able!

ECI is for children from birth to three years of age. After this, if the boys still need assistance (which we do not anticipate), we will look into private options or the public school system - whatever is the best fit for them.

Anyhoo - that's ECI in a nut shell. We have been very pleased with them, thus far.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll get an actual UPDATE on the Goobers! ;-)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day, Da-da-da!

Happy Father's Day, Jon!!

“Any man can be a father, but it takes a special person to be a dad”
~Proverb quotes

For this post, I thought it would be best to let actions speak louder than words, per se. I am posting a few pictures of Jon with our boys over the last couple of years. It took me forever to sort through the thousands that we have! But I have chosen a few good ones. Sorry - I just couldn't limit it more. ;-)

But from these pictures, you can see that Jacob and Caleb absolutely adore Jon! I mean, both of their first words was "Da-da!" And every day while Jon is at work, they constant look around and ask for "Da-da." Every time the phone rings, I hear "Da-da?" in stereo. Of course, the boys do adore Jon, but from these pictures that I have chosen, you can definitely see the feeling is mutual.

Jacob, Caleb, and Gabe are so blessed to have such an amazing Father. I could go on, and on, and on, but I just let the pictures speak for themselves.

Jon's First Father's Day, 2006. We actually didn't even know that we were expecting TWINS at this point!!

Jon's Second Father's Day, 2007!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Fort Worth Zoo

Jacob and Caleb seem to have acquired their Mommy's love for nature, science, and animals. Where else to take two little boys (and a big girl) with such loves? The Fort Worth Zoo! On just our first visit, we opted to get a Zoo Membership! It's $57 per year for adults, and kids under 3 are free. We decided not to get Jon a Zoo Membership this year, because we figure he would really only go with us a handful of times - not because he doesn't also love it, but because his Fridays off and the weekends get so busy already. Zoo Membership includes unlimited admission for the full year, free parking, 10% off at the food places, $3 off admission for my guests, and several other perks. Admission to the Zoo is now up to $10.50 per person and parking is $5, so this would mean we would have to go 4 times to have completely have the membership "paid off." Well, we have already more than paid it off!

Plus I love having a fun place to just go. Oftentimes the weather and the boys' attitudes for the day are "questionable," so I would not want to chance paying $15.50 just to have to turn around a come back home. With the membership, if we get there and one (or both) of the boys have a meltdown, we'll just bring our butts on home - only being out some gas money for the drive there. And we can go just to stay a couple of hours, not feeling pressured to "get our money worth" by staying all day.

Anyway, we love it and have always had a great time! The boys might be "questionable" when we leave, but end up happy when we get there. AND, they nap GREAT once we come home!

I think Caleb likes the Jaguar and Jacob likes the Gorilla best. Of course, they are too little to tell me this, but their actions and eyes speak volumes. Caleb stares in awe and points to the Jaguar, while Jacob makes monkey noises to the Gorilla (although I must say Jacob's "monkey" and "dog" sounds are really awful lot alike - we'll work on it).

We have SO MANY pictures from our Zoo Outings, but here are a few highlights - le Crème de la Crème, if you will.

Checking out the animals.

Leaning forward to get a closer look.

We go with a lot of other twins from McMoms often. Here we are "taking over" the Zoo! People are so amazed to see a caravan of so many precious twins come through. Just wait until we take some of our triplet and quad friends along too. ;-)

The boys and their friends, Lily and Maddie, checking out the penguins for the very first time.

A close up of the boys' faces while watching the penguins. Caleb is pointing with his infamous look of pure awe, while Jacob gets those blues eyes HUGE and looks at me for explanation. They tell me: "This, this??" (It means "what is this?") This is my favorite Zoo picture - sums it all up so well.

Getting pretty sleepy, but we have to make it by to see the Jaguar!

Jacob and Caleb have a goof-ball for a Mommy - but she does have a wing span of a Turkey Vulture! ;-)

This is another favorite - Caleb and Daddy feeding the parakeets.

Daddy is still feeding the parakeet, but we had to get a shot of Jacob's face watching too.

Caleb's sweet, sweet face. He gets so relaxed and calm while watching the animals.

A classic! The boys NEVER sleep in the stroller, but we really just wore ourselves out this day.

Will we continue to go once Baby Gabe arrives? Who knows! But knowing the boys' crazy Momma who thinks she can do it all, possibly yes. After all (to steal a quote from Mr. Jimmy Buffett), "if we weren't all crazy, we'd just go insane!" I mean, that's what it's like having little ones, right?! I could stay home and go crazy or I could take 18 month old twin boys and a newborn boy and make myself crazy. My choice - but either way, I am left being crazy! hehehe I think we will wait at least a month or two before getting Gabe out. Just so that we don't have to nurse every two hours at the Zoo and wait until we get away from the 100 degree, blistering Texas heat. It's always an adventure with these boys!

If any of you local people want to ever go to the Zoo with us, feel free to give me a call anytime. We are almost always up for it!

I am getting better about blogging, so hopefully I'll keep up on pics as we go in the future. ;-)