Sunday, August 31, 2008

Maddie's Surgery

Well, it looks like we will be ready to roll on Tuesday for Maddie's open heart surgery. We met with her surgeon on Thursday, and everything looked good to proceed ahead. We have had the girls locked down in the house for the past week to prevent any illness from creeping in, again! Here is the run-down for Tuesday.

Mark and I will get Maddie to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital at 5:30 in the morning. We will then go back to the holding area with her where numerous people will come by and go over surgery procedures with us, meet with the anesthesiologist, take a marker and mark her chest so they do open heart surgery and don't remove her foot by accident, etc. At 7:00 AM they will take her from us and put her under with gas. They will then put in all of her IV lines, get her bypass ready, put her all the way under and put her on a ventilator. The actual surgery will begin about 8:00 AM. Her surgeon, Dr. Carla Christian, expects to be in surgery until 1:00 PM. She will be taken directly up to the cardiac pediatric critical care unit and we wont be able to see her until about 2:00 PM. She will be kept under pretty heavy sedation until they remove the ventilator about 24-36 hours later. We will be getting updates from the OR in the waiting room via telephone every hour and a half. I will be posting any updates on the blog about every hour and half after we receive the calls.

We feel very confident with the surgeon and medical staff at Vanderbilt. Dr. Christian said that they have about a 98% success rate with this surgery, so we have good odds of this being the only surgery she needs. Dr. Christian did tell us that since one of the surgery nurses is good friends with Mark's family that we are getting the VIP team for her surgery. The nurse has hand picked every one in the OR, according to Maddie's surgeon.

Thank you to every one for the thoughts and prayers as we get ready to go through this process. God has blessed us abundantly and know he will continue to do so!

It wouldn't be a post without a picture!



We'll talk to you all on Tuesday!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Why Did God Make 2?

Because you can't make the car move on your own!

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They learn to take turns at an early age.

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Next we need to work on learning to turn around, but we will get there.

Special thanks to Grmaam for the birthday gift that we had to start using early since they are standing now!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Oh, Maddie Jane!

I feel like Ruthie has been posted about alot, since she tends to repeat stuff enough for me to catch it on camera. Maddie does so many things that I could never catch on camera, and I hate it, because I want to always remember it about her.

Maddie has always been our "texture" child. She loves touching things that have different textures. She is the baby that loved the snuggly's and would just sit in her car seat rubbing it. She is also the baby that LOVES stuffed animals, or in this case, things she thinks are stuffed animals.

Meet "Peekaboo Kitty"



I purchased Peekaboo Kitty on a clearance rack at a bookstore that I shouldn't have been in, and in no way advocate shopping at. You should always buy your books from Barnes and Noble. No where else. Anyways, it was $1.99, and I was looking for something to occupy the girls in their stroller for a little while longer while I was running errands at the mall. I'm sure it would have been cheaper and I would have had a wider selection had I gone to Barnes and Noble....where every one should buy their books from. While you are there, don't flush anything down the toilets that shouldn't be flushed. Anyways, Peekaboo Kitty is a hand puppet that has a little story book attached. Maddie cares nothing about the book, she just loves the kitty part of it.



I wasn't joking about her really loving this thing.

According to Maddie, Peekaboo Kitty is very versatile. It can be used while eating...



or while sleeping... (she fell asleep using it as a pillow. I couldn't get a shot of her face because of that silly block, and when I tried to move it, she woke up!)


or just simply while looking for a nasal aspirator. You know, every day kind of things.




I keep Peekaboo Kitty contained to the downstairs for play time only. When she goes up to her bedroom, there is another good friend of hers.

Meet Ellie, the elephant.

Maddie sleeps with Ellie every night and during every nap. It is the first things she grabs for when I put her down in her crib. Normally this is what she looks like if I go in to check on her.


Poor, squished Ellie. Only a foot sticking out helplessly.

When I walk into the room after a nap or in the morning, Maddie is always standing with Ellie in hand. I normally have to pry it out of her fingers.

I will be shocked if she doesn't grow up to have a bed full of stuffed animals.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Rub A Dub Dub, 2 Babies in a Tub!


One of my favorite parts of the day is bath time. We bathe the girls every night about an hour before they go to bed. They LOVE bath time! Their room is connected to the bathroom, so we bring them to their bedroom and strip them down. Then, I go into the bathroom and as soon as I start the bath water, this is what happens. You need to give it like 10 seconds before the action begins. They were playing on the complete other side of the room.


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It is hilarious to watch them come in every night. They stand up and watch the water fill up with such amazement, every night. As for Maddie and the baby Tylenol, she carries it everywhere. Both of the girls love to gnaw on the rubber sucker. They are childproof lids, so I let them. I actually have a whole bunch of empty baby Tylenol bottle in their baby jail for them to play with. This one happened to be full because she pulled it off the changing table. You can send all complaints to the Tennessee Department of Children's Services.

I am loving the age they are at right now. They are starting to really interact with each other. Sometimes it isn't the nicest interaction, but they are learning. This is for everyone that saw the video of Ruthie taking advantage of Maddie by stealing her pacifier. Maddie reacts a lot more towards Ruthie. We do have a problem with them trying to stand in the tub, but we are working on that also.


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I'm sure the fun has just begun!

*On a side note, Maddie was cleared by the pediatrician to go in for surgery on Tuesday, September 2nd. We meet with the surgeon tomorrow!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Who needs Fisher Price?


The one thing that has amazed me about the girls is how simple things provide hours of entertainment for them. I have no idea how the toy industry makes so much money. Empty boxes make them just as happy as their toys that light up and make music. Anything that crinkles is a keeper also. They will even fight over these every day items. I can honestly say that the only "toys" I have bought for them have been their excersaucer (which really was more about containment than entertainment) and a toy that their physical therapist had that they really liked. Other than that, we have used simple household items. Below is an example of hours of entertainment, and can be found at your local Home Depot.


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That's right. A door stopper. The girls love them! Granted, we do have an issue with Ruthie trying to eat them, but we are hoping she grows out of that.

Your next simple household item, in this video, is a lazy boy. Many other items can be substituted, but for video purposes, the lazy boy worked.


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The game of Peek-A-Bo can literally last for hours. For some reason, Ruthie in particular, never gets tired of this game. She hides behind everything and plays with anyone that will pay attention to her.

This last clip, doesn't even require a household item. It does however require someone to act like a moron. I was glad to play the role in this. This is one of my absolutely FAVORITE clips and you'll see why by the end.


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That laugh! Oh my goodness! I could eat it up!

I am glad for other people to purchase my children toys for their entertainment, but I think I will save the money for diapers!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Look, Mom! No Hands!



That's right, ladies and gentlemen! We are standing all by ourselves!
I did try to get a picture of them both standing next to each other, but when one stands up, the other tries to scale her, like a mountain. That of course doesnt end well, and also makes it difficult to get a picture. I'll eventually get the shot.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

We're on a mission from God!

Can you name that movie?

Blues Brothers is one of my dad's favorite movies of all time. He still dies laughing at it when he watches it, and doesn't miss an opportunity to see any impressionists perform the Blues Brothers. So, I couldn't resist myself when I was in the Chicago airport.



Ruthie hanging out with Elwood


Maddie hanging out with Elwood


The girls very interested in Jake

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Publix...Where Shopping is a Pleasure!

One of the questions I always get with the girls is, "How do you go places with them?" It actually is alot easier than people think. Mostly because it is all I know. I only know how to go to Target with 2 babies, how to food shop with 2 babies...how to do anything with 2 babies. I will say that food shopping has become a whole lot easier, thanks to Publix!


Publix is a chain of supermarkets, mostly in the southeast. We have one less than half a mile from the house. It has never been "easy" to take the girls there because one of them always had to be in the actual cart since there was only one seat. Then....Publix did an upgrade.


DOUBLE SEATS!!! YAY! I had a whole cart to put food in!

The girls were obsessed with the steering wheels. Notice the action shot of the spinning steering wheel.

Of course, we still have our moments. Below is Ruthie trying to steal Maddie's pacifier...again. I like this picture because Maddie is trying to salvage the pacifier by tucking down.
What could possibly hold their attention like this?

The conveyor belt with the groceries on it! They couldn't take their eyes off of it!

Thank you, Publix! You have made my shopping a pleasure!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Cancelled Surgery


So, Maddie's open heart surgery, which was scheduled for tomorrow, has been cancelled. You can see how upset Maddie is about the situation. Actually, she doesn't know the difference. It is just the rest of us that are now put into limbo for another 3 weeks.
She came down with a nasty cold and they did not want to put her under sedation and a respirator in that condition. We took the next available date, which happened to be September 11th.
Thank you for all of the thoughts and prayers! Keep them coming for another 3 weeks now!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

Today we went out to Hendersonville to meet up with friends from college to go out on their boat. They have a 2 year old son, so all 7 of us piled on into the boat. The girls did really well on the boat, until it got closer to nap time.

Mark with his mini-me



Me and Maddie Jane hanging out

The life jackets for the girls were completely ridiculous. I know they have to be like this, but the girls were so uncomfortable in them. They couldn't move at all.


We were actually able to "prop" Ruthie up in the corner of the boat for a while.

We got all the kids out in the lake also. The girls do the pool all the time at their grandparents house, but they have floats there. This is a little different. Maddie really liked it, Ruthie was not very impressed. They DID NOT like floating on their backs in the life jackets.

Daddy and Ruthie


Mark likes this picture because it looks like we just tossed Ruthie out in the water to fend for herself. Really, he was under water behind her, still holding her.

Tim holding Maddie


Me trusting Mark and Tim to not drown my children

In between swimming we got to do a little boogie boarding. I told Tim I had never boogie boarded, but had water skied most of my life. He told me that a whole bunch of 7th grade girls they took out the weekend before got up the first time, so I had to be pretty bad if I couldn't get up. That was a little bit of pressure. I did get up the first time though. I will say that it was the first time I had done water sports since I have given birth to children. Your body just doesn't react to water sports the same way before and after.

*Side note. Maddie currently has a nasty, nasty cold. Because of that, there is a chance that her surgery will be postponed for 2 weeks. We go in on Monday for the cardiologist to make the call.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Houston, We Have a Problem

A stair problem that is!

The girls had just really discovered the stairs probably last week. They enjoyed crawling over to them and just using the first step to pull themselves up, as seen below.



Ruthie has made a discovery though!



She made it up 4 stairs by herself!


I captured a similar moment on video. She doesn't like to climb up the stairs very high when I am trying to get her to, so she only went up 2 stairs, but you get the point. The whole up-down thing she is doing is a little game that she has been playing recently. She just holds on to random objects and does squats. The girl is going to have thighs of steel by the time she is 1!
Don't mind my hand in the video. I felt the need to be ready to catch her since this is a newly acquired skill and all.


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Off to the baby gate section of Babies R Us I guess....

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Holy Multiples, Batman!

I am obsessed with a message board that Twins Magazine runs. It started when I was pregnant and has continued as the girls grow. You start on a board that has your due date, so I was on the September/October 2007 Pregnant Board. When the girls were born I moved over to the September/October 2007 Birth Month board. So, everyone on the board has twins that are the same age as mine. We all post questions, concerns, milestones achieved and just random socializing. It is awesome! All of the ladies are from all over the US, but a big chunk of them live in New England. When I was in NY was when they happened to be having a New England Playdate! 10 sets of twins that were 9 or 10 months old! It was WONDERFUL!!!


It was hosted in Boston by one of the ladies on the board,
Kerry . Her house was perfect!

Ruthie and Maddie were very interesting to watch with all the other twins. They decided to divide and conquer. I didn't see them together at all until the very end. They each found other sets of twins and hung out with them (the girls are in the purple dresses).


Ruthie found the twins with the cheerios, of course.

Notice her expression of accomplishment!

Maddie did quite a bit of "exploring"...
and making new friends...




Near the end, the two of them played on this excersaucer like they had never seen one of them before. Apparently the two that take up half of my living room are not nearly as exciting as this one.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Fun with Food!

I think that out of both of the girls, Ruthie has been the most fun to watch learn how to eat. She pretty much likes everything that we give her, and has no problems with making a mess. Maddie is a little more conservative about her eating and getting dirty, so she isn't nearly as fun to watch. We've had fun at every stage! So, let's see if you can name that food.... (answers at the bottom)

Our first attempt at food at 6 months (there is your hint)


Which baby food is this?


Moving on to table food...

"I have no shame"


Ok, so the last one was a little easy, with the watermelon in the picture. It was a freebie. If you guessed cereal, sweet potatoes, peas, tortellini with tomato sauce and then watermelon then you got a perfect score!


Saturday, August 9, 2008

Hoffman's Playland


Hoffman's Playland is a small children's amusement park where I grew up in Albany. It is only about 15 minutes from my house.



Yes, it is as 80's there as the sign looks.


I don't have a lot of memories of actually going there, but I do have memories of wanting to go there more. Of course, now that my mother is a grandmother, she has no problem frequenting there with Lily and Jamison. So, when Ruthie and Maddie came up to visit, off to Hoffman's Playland we went!


When I was able to go there as a child, I was lucky to get my mom to buy me enough tickets to go on 2 rides. We get there and she buys the whole book of tickets! Oh, how times have changed.



There are lots of kiddie rides, but only 2 that adults can go on with the kids. I didn't really think Ruthie and Maddie were up to riding by themselves on the other rides quite yet. Maybe next summer.

The first rides was the carousal. I'll admit it...they were petrified. I waited until it stopped to take pictures so the memory will be a little better than the real life experience. They didn't cry, they just had no idea why they were on horses bouncing up and down. Carousals go a lot faster now than I remember as a child. I thought that was supposed to be one of the slower rides, but apparently not any more.



Maddie riding the carousal


Next was this balloon ride thing. I felt way too big to be on this ride, but it seemed to be able to run with me in it. It's not like I could have let the kids go on it alone.


Grmaam with the girls

Ruthie riding with Grmaam


Maddie Jane, confused about all these rides


Despite this picture, Maddie actually really enjoyed this ride. It was also on this ride I remembered those posted signs about getting on amusement park rides with heart conditions. I momentarily felt like a bad parent until I realized this particular ride didn't have that sign. I hope she'll be able to go on roller coasters as a teenager. I'll have to check into that one.