Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas 2008

We had a great Christmas this year. Last year the babies had just gotten home from the NICU so this year brought us plenty of time to reflect on how far they have come. It is just amazing to have two little toddling, babbling people running around our house each day. I do have to get a little better at watching this many kids open presents though. I spent many years watching Ashlyn's every move on Christmas morning and now I need eyes in the back of my head to keep up with all of the gift opening (and wrapping paper eating)!

In the same spot, for a second, checking out a new toy.
Ashlyn with her favorite Christmas present
Knock, knock, can I come in??

Posing with our gingerbread house... we improvised a little on the decorations :)
McKenna with her new baby stroller, she's such a big girl!

I bought Mark a new camera for Christmas and he has taken some great pictures. Here are a few of my favorites...

McKenna's first glimpse of all the presents under the tree.

Parker peeking at his presents
Christmas morning

No caption necessary :)

Friday, December 19, 2008

We have a walker...

McKenna took her first steps this week, the more she tries the braver she gets. I can't believe she is old enough to walk. It was a year ago this week we brought her home after 70 long days in the NICU. She has come so far. By the way, the background "whine" is Parker who was helping me videotape.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Finally, the chairs!

Aunt Nancy made the cutest chairs for the babies' birthday and, I am embarrassed to say, we are just now getting pictures of them with the chairs. I've tried on my own a few times but we always lose a chair, a baby... something before I could get a good picture so while Mark was home today we got a few good ones. Thanks again Aunt Nancy!
Look how cute we are...

Okay they never stand this still and they never pose, I think Mark just happened to get them at the exact second I stood them there. It looks like we have such well-behaved children :).

Happy McKenna

Having fun on the couch

Monday, December 8, 2008

Lots of fun!

Okay, you have to know this video is cute since I am showing myself in pjs with no makeup on for it. They are just so adorable, always next to each other, and now they have found a way to push their toys together. Although if one falls by the wayside the other one just keeps on trucking with the toy... we still have to work on that :)

Oh and if you are waiting for a cute Christmas picture card from us this year, you may have to wait another year. After about 10 failed attempts at getting a good picture of all of the kids I think we may have to give up on it this year. Here is the best of the worst... don't look at the laundry in the background, I think I was so busy just trying to get them all to pose that I lost track of the scenery... and yes, those are Ashlyn's glasses in Parker's hand!

Here's a cute one of Ashlyn, she was the only one who would pose, only after bribery though :)

We want to play outside!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

We had a great Thanksgiving over Nana and Papa's house. The kids didn't know what to do with themselves at first because they haven't been out of the house much since RSV season started but they quickly realized there was lots of exploring to do and made themselves right at home. Parker decided to entertain everyone with kissing and some very exaggerated spitting, I managed to get a few minutes of McKenna talking too but Parker had to steal the show again with more spitting...

Parker eating his first Thanksgiving dinner, Daddy couldn't feed him fast enough, he loved it!

McKenna with Mommy at the dinner table. The only thing we could get her to eat was a roll but at least she was smiling. She did love the fancy glasses though!

Parker with Papa, back for round two of turkey.

Nana gave McKenna some pearls to keep her happy and she loved them, she kept them on for hours.

Playing drums on Nana's coffee table, notice the pearls are still on, Daddy's in big trouble with this little princess!
Parker helping Ashlyn with her word search, he had his eye on her mechanical pencil.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


McKenna has the cutest way of kissing Parker. We have been trying to catch it on video for ages and I finally caught it. Whenever we say kisses he just leans his head in and waits for one. It is so sweet...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Goofing around

My kids are turning into nuts at the dinner table. For some reason as soon as they are in their highchairs they start putting on a show. Always looking for a good photo op I grabbed the camera before dinner last night and sure enough the show began...

Parker waving at the camera,

and doing any other move he can think of to keep the camera on him.

McKenna being a goofball...

no that is not a barrette, it's a piece of ravioli that she was very proud to have stuck in her hair.

We also had a fun visit with Aunt Casey, Uncle Keith and cousin Gracie this weekend. Parker loved Gracie's curly hair and kept trying to put his hands in it. They are going to have a blast growing up together especially with Gracie's new brother or sister on the way.

Sitting (sort of) with their big cousin Gracie.
"We are Parker and McKenna and our mom won't stop matching our clothes." I really have a problem with this. I buy clothes I don't even like just because they coordinate. I promise I will stop before they hit grade school, well, unless they still want to match of course :)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Growling and waving, waving and growling

I have been trying to catch Parker growling on camera for weeks. He does this growling sound all the time and it is so cute. If you say, "where's the monster?" he starts crawling towards you and growling. I finally caught it! After I got lucky with the growling sound I tried to get a few of their new words/sounds out of them but they just wanted to wave at me...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday at home

We had a great Sunday playing at home with the kids. I am very excited that Mark put up our new baby gate, much less running to the stairs with one baby under my arm while the other is trying to head down head first. Although I'm sure they will find a new form of danger very soon! Both babies have their first cold, we went to the doctors and thank goodness it is not RSV but they just don't know what to do with themselves with little stuffy noses and coughs. Here are a few pictures from our day...

Their new favorite place to stand, overlooking the great room. I'm sure many toys will be falling through this railing sometime soon!

Helping Daddy put up our new baby gate.

Working, working, working with Daddy.

Today the babies are 13 months so we had to do the usual "white chair picture" to see how much they have grown. This was the only one where they were both sitting and sort of smiling.

Big kisses for McKenna! (I LOVE this picture)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

One year olds are so much fun!

The last couple days have been great. We spent the weekend having fun with Daddy and since we have the next 6 months to stay in away from germs we have been so thankful to have a few days nice enough to take a walk this week. I think they are stunned by the fresh air because they are silent the whole walk which NEVER happens at home. I thought we would be developing cabin fever after being able to get out and about so much this summer but they are trying so many new things that they seem to keep themselves (and their mom) entertained all day long. Did I ever mention I love being a mom :) ???

McKenna sporting a mohawk, courtesy of all the food she decided to smooth through her hair!

Out for a stroll by the lake

Playing with Daddy in our jammies

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Trick or Treat!

Since the kids couldn't go out for Halloween this year (RSV season) we put them in cute skeleton pjs and took lots of pictures, of course! This was their first Halloween at home, last year they spent Halloween in the NICU with little pumpkin pictures taped to their incubators, I don't think Parker was even 2 pounds yet and McKenna was still on a ventilator. It is amazing to see them now!

Ashlyn and the babies before she left to trick or treat with her friend Gabby's family. The girls went as janitors and put their janitor buckets to good use, getting them filled with candy.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Enjoying Fall!

We took the kids to a local park for some fall pics, it was hard to get too many good ones because they just won't sit still like they used to but here are some of our favorites. Oh, and as you can tell Parker spent most of his time snacking on the leaves!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

RSV time again

If you are not aware of RSV, you are among the majority. Although nearly every child by the age of 2 has been infected with RSV, most have not heard of it. For full-term babies, RSV is typically not any worse than a common cold. For preemies, it is much different. It is a serious virus that is very easily contracted, and for those born earlier than 36 weeks, it poses major risks (pneumonia, bronchiolitis, and other more serious complications, some fatal). The babies were born at 28 weeks, diagnosed with bronchopulmonary dyplasia (BPD) and also had low birth weights, all of which are the highest risk factors for contracting serious RSV.

Stopping the spread of RSV is very difficult. Thus, we must be vigilant about keeping our children safe during RSV season (October through April). It is spread through physical contact, through the air via a cough or sneeze, or picked up via touching an infected object. Since it can live as long as 6 hours on your hands and up to 12 hours on objects, you can see how difficult it is to prevent exposure. It is very easily spread, especially from child to child, and studies have shown that other infants pose an even higher risk at spreading RSV from one infant to another. Some people have asked, “Can’t they just fight it off and it will build up their immune system? Kids need to get sick, right?”. The simple answer is no. Since our babies were 3 months pre-term, they did not acquire the necessary immunities to fight off infection. If they acquire RSV, they could likely be hospitalized and develop other serious complications. The saying, "there is no cure for the common cold" is true for RSV. It’s up to the baby’s very weak immune system to fight off the infection, which is why many times it leads to more complications. Here is a great visual comparison of a preemies lungs compared to a full-term baby:
According to an online RSV tracking page, cases of RSV have already begun to show up in Michigan. Thus, the season has begun and we’ll be asking our visitors to follow a few guidelines in hopes of preventing Parker and McKenna from contracting RSV or any other illness.

We ask that all visitors do the following:

- When you arrive, please wash your hands and use hand-sanitizer as needed before touching the kids
- Please refrain from coming over if you are currently sick, if you live with someone who is currently sick, have been in contact with someone who is sick, and/or if you have not been symptom-free for at least 7 days.
- If you smoke, we ask that you refrain from smoking just prior to visiting, as their lungs are very sensitive. Most RSV sites recommend against passive smoke exposure. Although it’s not second hand smoke, it does linger and we’d prefer to be safe rather than add another risk factor.
- If you are parents to a baby or toddler, please refrain from bringing them to the house during RSV season.

We will not be attending events during RSV season, which unfortunately coincides with numerous gatherings, including the holidays. It is our goal to make it through this RSV season just like the last, without Parker and McKenna contracting RSV or any other serious illness. Their lungs have come a long way. But believe it or not, they are still very fragile, at least until they are 2. Then we can all breathe a little easier. We hope you understand and we appreciate your support as always!
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