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Edge of Glory

just another day in the pool!

 

farmer's market at the pool!

It’s the middle of October, the kids are three months shy of their fourth birthday and my last entry was over two months ago. None of these things seem possible, time is going too quickly, the holidays are right around the corner, and the kids are almost unrecognizable from my last update.

People often ask me, how I do it. How do I juggle twins, each with their individual needs, each seeking my assistance, neither one of them independent in their own right. Three years ago, my answer would have revealed a day to day strategy, one day at a time, with a refusal to look forward. It was easiest then to only focus on the present. The past was still too fresh, the fragility of life and health too prevalent in our minds to take the future for granted. But honestly, the future was too overwhelming. There were too many unknowns, too many concerns and unanswered questions. So instead of seeking answers, we lived. We tried our best to enjoy every day, to appreciate the gifts we were given and to minimize the “want” of those gifts we did not receive. I believe a certain anonymous support group calls this life approach, “fake it to make it.”

There were days when at my best I was 100% faking it, then there were other days when there was a small percentage of belief that would sneak its way in. It wasn’t until about six months ago when I took a look at the twins, at our life, at the relative ease of our day to day, and I realized, I wasn’t faking it anymore… we had made it.

I don’t want to jinx it, nor do I want to paint an unrealistic image of life among the four of us, but the last few months have been glorious. The kids have been healthy, they are happy, and they are learning new things every day. But most importantly, they are teaching. They are teaching Harry and I the meaning of life, the pain and joy of parenthood, and the importance of faith.

on our way to "meet the teacher"

The kids are back at Bendwood for what might be their last year there (I say that cautiously). Our past first day of school experiences, have been tearful, overly planned and quite honestly overly dramatic. This first day was pleasantly typical and uneventful. There was no pomp and circumstance, no grand gestures, and no drama. It was a dream. I was so relaxed this time around, that I didn’t even panic when we realized that Harry would be out of town on business on the first day of school. (typically, this would have sent me spiraling) I was so confident in Bendwood, in the kids, and in the staff, that Harry’s absence was hardly noticed. (sorry daddy) The kids and I attended “meet the teacher” day together, and while being back at school was anti-climatic, I tend to have a flair for the dramatic and our entrance to “meet the teacher” did not disappoint.

Last year as the school year ended, Sammy Sue was walking to and from her classroom in a gait trainer. We were thrilled to have her moving independently, and no one was more excited to be out and about than Sammy. However, over the summer months, Sammy devoted her time away from school to strength building and when we attended “meet the teacher” day at school, Sammy WALKED into the cafeteria holding only my right hand. It was a debut of sorts, proof of her hard work over the summer, and yet another example that hard work does pay off. Her smile and the look of astonishment on the staff’s faces was one of those moments that is frozen in my mind. Each of the teachers at the school, despite the fact that most have never taught her, knew what this meant for Sammy. They knew what this meant to me. Never before has there been a more profound moment at “meet the teacher”.

The kids and I sat next to Kathy on the front row during the year’s first assembly, and it was then, as both kids listened patiently and remained quiet for the entire time, that I knew this was the start of something good.

meet the teacher

first day of school!!!!!

 

The kids are in the same class this year, and just like so many times before, I have learned the lesson, “don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.” The kids love being together, and I love that they are beginning to enjoy, truly enjoy one another. They have each fought so hard individually to get to where they are, it is heart warming to watch them interact and find joy in one another’s successes.

School continues to be a success and I am so grateful to the fabulous group of women at Bendwood who treat my children as their own and with whom I trust with my whole heart. The ability to drop the kids off, without worry or concern is a luxury that we don’t take for granted and I feel so much gratitude to our teachers, therapists, administrators and to our beloved Kathy for making our experience at Bendwood so comfortable and enjoyable.

We continue to spend our mornings at Bendwood and our afternoons at Texas Children’s. Another question I am frequently asked, is why Texas Children’s. Yes, there are a handful of closer therapy facilities most of which provide ample parking and are literally around the corner, but when the kids were born 17 weeks early, the parking and proximity of our therapy facility were negligible factors on the totem pole of decisions. We wanted expertise, dedication and persistence. Our decision to stick with TCH is validated with every step, with every word and with every “impossible” milestone we achieve. The afternoons spent with our “team” is all the three of us know. Our therapists are our teachers, cheerleaders and friends. I took this picture two weeks ago and it makes me smile everytime I look at it. This is why we went to TCH, and this is why we stay with TCH!

Sammy wasn’t the only one who made changes over the summer, in typical twin form, Noah made his own remarkable and very loud strides during his time off from school this summer. Our once quiet and rather reserved toddler has entered the verbal world and has left all of those around him, smiling and laughing with each new word, new phrase, and most recently new SENTENCES!!!!

His first sentence on his own initiative, was so clear, so purposeful, and yet so NOT what I wanted to hear. I was hoping it would be “I want to stay with Sammy” or “I love you Sammy Sue”, but in true Noah fashion his first sentence came on his own time schedule, with his own best interest at heart, and with zero regard for Sammy. I debated whether to really take Sammy out of the tub, but in the end, I felt that if he is ever going to learn that there is a purpose in language, then I must listen when he speaks. So Sammy was taken out of the bath, dressed and promptly given a cupcake for cooperation! And just like any other mom of toddlers, I have quickly learned who runs this house!

When Noah isn’t bossing me around he is probably somewhere in the house reading a book. He has recently begun to show an intense passion for reading and books. We read every night, and lately Noah has taken over  as the “reader”. There is no better way to end our day then cuddling together in bed, listening to him read to me, and relishing in the fact that he is growing and learning every day.

Sammy isn’t into reading quite as much as Noah. She would rather be with Daddy literally laughing to bathroom humor?!

I wish I could take videos more often, each day there is something I wish I had caught on film, or camera, or even better just written down. They are at that stage where something is changing every day, whether it be a new word for Noah or a new walking record for Sammy or even a new word approximation. Her speech therapist has a list of words that Sammy says in therapy, and while I of course believe her, Sammy Sue is reluctant to use her words outside of therapy. It’s coming, that’s all we could ask for…. it’s coming!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I will spare yall the details and get to the good stuff! Here are a few more random pictures from the last two months!

Friday afternoon at Chuck E Cheese!!!!!!

 

I was getting Sammy dressed the other morning, and this is what I came back to!!!!

 

HEB!!!!!!!!!!!

 

the best cart pusher in the WHOLE world!

I don’t normally “believe” in “previews”. Quite frankly, I never know when I am going to be able to do an update. But the next blog post isn’t going to be any ordinary update. Again, I  know I have a flair for the dramatic. But I assure you that our next update in November will not disappoint. I will leave each of you with two “preview” pictures which will leave you wanting a taste of more. Or should I say, leave you feeling as if we are on the “Edge of Glory.”

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Lullabye, Goodnight my Angel

Happy Noah!!!!

I don’t know when it happened…
I can’t pin point one month, a particular week, or a moment when I knew…..
But somewhere along this journey Sammy and Noah outgrew their once tiny frames.

They are now bossy, vocal and sometimes unimaginably stubborn, yet at their core they remain the sweetest, most delightful gift we will ever receive.

Three years ago this summer we were transitioning from incubators to open air cribs, and then doing the unthinkable and finally coming home. Now, in a blink of an eye it was time to do another possibly more momentous transition.

Last night the cribs on Saint Francis came down and in their place big kid beds were erected. The tension of “moving day” had us all on edge, but perhaps it was easier to show frustration that allow ourselves to feel the real and only legitimate feeling we shared….. nostalgia and disbelief.

This transition was yet another one that Harry and I rarely let ourselves dream of. There were moments when we couldn’t picture our lives outside the walls of a hospital; mornings we couldn’t picture beginning without the rounding of physicians; and nights we couldn’t end without a 20 mile drive home from the hospital.

There were no physicians, no long drive home, no hospital walls.

In the end it was just the four of us. Two very emotional parents, two very brave toddlers and two overly fussed about big kid beds, and no more pacifiers!!!!!!!! That’s right, you heard me correctly, after two weeks of intense rehabilitation, we are celebrating 17 days of sobriety from the pacifier!

Needless to say, the kids slept significantly better than I did last night. I guess it was my way of trying to hold on for just one more night.

Night Night!!!!!!!!!

Goodnight my angel!!!!!!

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Teddy Bear

The second session of The River proved much easier for me to digest and offered a more relatable theme to Sammy Sue and Noah. This past Friday the children at The River payed homage to Elvis.

I found myself more relaxed this second time around and able to enjoy the performance for what it was, a tribute to each of these children who are the true “queens and kings” of rock.

Noah finally let loose and stole the show, Sammy was more reserved this time around, perhaps she felt bad for overshadowing Noah the last performance.

The highlight of this performance didn’t involve dancing or singing but rather the small yet powerful voice that came from Noah as he left the stage. He knows his name, of course he knows his name. But in the presence of the unfamiliar, loud and overwhelming audience, our confident and fearless little man often looses his voice.

We practiced the night before, “Noah, noah, noah”. It was more of a chant, a reminder of my belief in his abilities.

And then, before his family and one hundred other members of the audience, Noah said it. He was proud of himself and his performance reminded him that he might be performing one of Elvis’ songs, but on Friday afternoon, Noah was the “king”.







HE DID IT!!!!!!!

And then, just because I cannot forget to post this later…… a perfect example of how kids say the funniest things!

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