Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ayden lost his granny glasses!

YAYYYY!  Tuesday, December 14th, 2010 was a long awaited day in our family!  Since I first found out for sure that the boys both have ocular albinism and nystagmus I have been doing research.  Shortly after this research began I learned of a great doctor who was preforming surgery on patients with nystagmus and getting amazing results.  I contacted this doctor for a recommendation of a doctor closer to our home (which was still Oklahoma at that time).  As luck would have it the only doctor he recommended was Dr. Tychsen from St. Louis.  Weeks after receiving this recommendation Jeff was offered a job in St. Louis.  We waited patiently for Jeff to start his job and for his insurance to kick in so we could make an appointment with Dr. T.  Our first appointment was nearly a year ago, in January.  He immediately confirmed all our thoughts on the boys vision and began talk of surgery!  At our last appointment over the summer he decided it was time to schedule Ayden's surgery.
Ayden has his best vision when his chin was down.  This is where he can see out of his null point, which is his best point of vision for really focusing on something/someone.  Doing this "granny looking of her glasses" move so much throughout the day was sure to wear on his neck and back muscles and could cause development/growth issues.  This was Dr. T's reason for having Ayden go first.  The first available date for surgery was December 14th and we immediately accepted.

Fastforward to this past week...
I began to get nervous as the day approached.  Not as nervous about the procedure itself as for EVERYTHING else involved with it. 
~ The boys were going to be separated for several hours and this is not normal for them (or me for that matter!)
~ We were going to have to get Ayden up and not let him eat (Scary thought when the first thing he says when I come in his room in the morning is usually "eat"!)
~ I was worried about how Ayden would separate from us to go to surgery (He doesn't just go with strangers!)
~ Since he had never had any kind of drugs I worried how he would react to them.
~ We were going to have to get Ayden up early.  In doing this we hoped that Ayden would not cry and scream AND that Ashton would not hear us/Ayden and wake up also.
~ Ashton was going to be spending several hours without Mommy, Daddy or Ayden.  This was going to be a first and we weren't sure what to expect, even though he was in good hands with Nana and Papa!
~ Well....I will stop here because my list of fears could go on (stupid pregnancy hormones!)

December 13th
Nana and Papa got to the house about 5pm (the boys were still napping) and they got them up and played with them while I took a friend to the airport (more about that soon!).  When Jeff and I got home Nana and Papa treated us all to a pizza dinner.  Since we were getting up early Nana and Papa spent the night in our B & B, baby's nursery, guest room.  We tried to go to bed early to prepare for our long day ahead.

December 14th
Jeff and I got up about 6am and got ready.  We got Ayden up at 7 and gave him one last drink of water before packing him up (still in his pj's and with his santa hat on) and we headed to St. Louis Children's hospital.  This is about a 45 minute drive, made a little longer with STL rush hour traffic.  We had to do one last set of measurements at Dr. T's office, just a couple floors down from the outpatient surgery floor.  His office opened at 8:30 and we got there just in time to visit the restrooms before going in.  They had us in and out quickly and we then went upstairs to check in at the outpatient surgery desk.
We got all our instructions and were taken back to our room very quickly.  Ayden was doing great throughout all of this. He was very clingy and wanted to be carried the entire time.  We sat in his room talking, reading books, etc for quite awhile.  Then we decided to visit the playroom down the hall.  Adyen finally lightened up and enjoyed going from toy to toy not worrying about sharing with anyone (the room was empty!).  We hadn't been there long when we saw Dr. T approaching.  We talked to him a minute and our nurse, Ms. Peggy, arrived.  We were shocked that they were running ahead of schedule and she told us that it was a "Christmas miracle!"  We weren't going to argue!  We got Ayden changed and they gave him some Tylonel for the pain and another drug to put him in a fog so that he would not put up such a fight when separating from us and getting prepped for surgery.  A few minutes later the anesthesiologist and his team arrived.  We visited a few minutes and then they allowed us to carry Ayden while they pushed his bed until we got to the "No Parent Zone".  At that point Jeff asked Ayden for a kiss and Ayden responded with a timid "No".  I thought the worst at this point and figured the meds had not kicked in!  Jeff then asked again and Ayden kissed him and then he came to me and gave me a kiss.  Then the anesthesiologist reached out and Ayden went to him.  I then knew the meds had indeed worked!
I then waited around in our room for a little bit, just in case, while Jeff went to the parking garage to find my lost phone in the car.  It was about 10:20 at this time.  After Jeff returned we went to the cafeteria and got some lunch about 11.  We returned about 11:20 and the nurse came in to let us know the doctor had already been by to let us know it went well but, he would be back again.  She told us the recovery room would call us back shortly.  Within minutes they called us back to get him from his recovery nurse.  Dr. T met us on our way out and told us it went great and he didn't think he would even need to see him for 3 months, he would just call and check on him in a week or so!  Ayden was just starting to wake up when we got to him.  He was very drowsy and didn't realize we were even there for a few minutes. 
After only a few minutes in the recovery room the nurse said he was ready to go back to his room so she pushed his bed while we walked beside Ayden.  This was about noon.  Once in the room Ms. Peggy came to check on us and went to fill Ayden's sippy with a first time treat - apple juice!  They wanted him to have something with a little sugar in it.  While she was gone Ayden really started to perk up and asked to go for a ride in his bed!  This was when we knew he was going to be ok!   A few minutes later he asked to go back down the hall to the play room!  We couldn't believe it and we just smiled and laughed at how quickly a child can get over something that an adult would be complaining about for weeks!  Ayden sucked the juice right down...luckily it stayed down too!
In the morning when we were first brought to the room the nurse turned the tv on to a cartoon channel.  Since the boys don't watch tv Ayden didn't really pay any attention to it.  At one point a Christmas cartoon came on and he was pretty interested in Santa though.  So, while drinking his apple juice he asked for the tv to be turned on.  We were shocked but we obliged.  We were thrilled to see that right there, only minutes out of the recovery room Ayden was no longer "looking over his granny glasses"!  We could see right there that his null point was corrected and it brought tears to both of our eyes as Jeff and I watched Ayden.
After coming around Ayden didn't like the iv and monitor he was attached to.  Ms. Peggy said that if he was still doing good in 30 minutes she would take it off.  About that time she introduced us to another nurse who would take care of us for a bit while she ate her lunch.  I then got Ayden out of his bed and he sat on my lap while we read and cuddled!  At about 12:30 this nurse came in to take out the iv, etc. As she was finishing up Ms. Peggy returned from lunch to check on Ayden.  Since he was doing well they started giving us all of our instructions for going home and a dose of heavy pain reliever.  We got Ayden dressed (while holding onto him tight since he was very dopey!) and gathered our stuff to go home.  Daddy drove the car to meet us at the doors and we met our first real tears of the day.  We aren't really sure what the problem was, but Ayden didn't want to get in his car seat.  I got in the back seat with him to calm him down and Jeff was able to finish getting him fastened in.  We were guessing the meds just had him a little confused with what was going on.  We were on the highway shortly after 1pm and Ayden had a difficult time keeping his eyes open, but did stay awake the entire ride!

We returned home to Nana, Papa and Ashton.  Ayden greeted Ashton with "knucks" and a kiss!  It was very sweet!  We let them play for a bit before putting them both down for a nap.  Ayden has continued with this great recovery!  We gave him over the counter pain medicine that evening and again the next morning and night.  Even this was just precautionary, and he did great!  They told us he might be a little off for a day or so and might be a little cranky for up to a week.  We really didn't experience much of this at all.  They also said the whites of his eyes would be red for 7-10 days.  The day after the surgery they were a little red but it was gone by the next day.  We do have to put an ointment in his eyes every night before bed for a week.  He was been pretty tolerant of this though.

These are some pictures taken after the boys woke up from nap the day of surgery.(Excuse Ayden's face, he was also eating his snack!)
In all, we are very pleased with the outcomes and now we anxiously await Ashton's surgery date!  I video taped Ayden's eyes the day before surgery and plan to do a comparison video this week.  Once I get this done and the video's downloaded I will post them here.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Introducing...Kitsmiller 3.0!!

Well, we moved into a bigger house, got a huge dining room table and have Ashton and Ayden potty we decided it was time to add another baby to the mix!

Yes, some days I wonder if I am crazy and can't comprehend what life will be like in a few short months but, most days we are over the moon with excitement about adding another little one to our family!  We liked the spring so much for the boys that we decided to do a repeat performance, and this babies due date is the day ofter the boys' due date. The due date is May 24th, making me 14 weeks today.

We were a little scared of having a total repeat performance of last time with a surprise second baby so we made sure to let our new doctor know that we wanted an ultra sound as soon as possible.  I had my first appointment with ultrasound at 5 weeks and 6 days and we saw one healthy beautiful bean baby.  Of course, we were still not 100% convinced, and we loved getting a picture of our little one, so we had another ultra sound at 10 weeks 6 days and again, we saw one healthy beautiful baby measuring about 4 days ahead even!

So, I had my third appointment Monday at 13 weeks 6 days and we saw this amazing site:

< picture removed >
This u/s picture I used from the internet was attracting way too much traffic to my blog and I thought it might be for the wrong reasons so I have removed it! :)

Looks like we will remain on Team Blue!
OK, so I confess that this is not the actual picture from our ultrasound! :)  But, this is pretty much what we saw!  The doctor had just finished telling me that we probably wouldn't see anything until next month.  I told him to go ahead and take a peek for me!  He was shocked that at 13 weeks and 6 days the sex was so...obvious!  He told me to tell Jeff that he makes some big "penised" boys!  We were both so in shock that he forgot to take a picture of the ultrasound!  Afterward, I was suppose to pee in a cup and I was so distracted that I just sat right there beside the cup and peed, forgetting all about what I was suppose to be doing!  Oh, well!  They'll just have to wait until next month!

So far I have been feeling pretty good.  Mostly just tired and unmotivated...wait...maybe that is because I have two 2.5 year old boys to take care of every day! :)  I did feel bad pretty much all day and all night from about weeks 6-9.  Although I never actually got sick.  After that I had a few weeks of needing to eat regular snacks or I would feel nauseous.  Now, I am feeling great and looking forward to an uneventful second trimester.

I have a great doctor who is very supportive of my desire to have a vaginal birth after Cesarean section (vbac).  I want this experience to be different than the (necessary) medical interventions required with the boys' birth.  I had high blood pressure, pre-eclampsia, and baby A was breech.  I really want a very natural birth experience this time - hopefully my body and the baby cooperate!

So far I have gained about 4 pounds, but I just look like I ate too many doughnuts (or maybe ice cream in my case!).  It is all in my belly though.  Strangers still can't recognize I am pregnant but that didn't happen until about 18 weeks with the boys. Hopefully, I start rounding out soon so that I actually look pregnant.

I will continue to update about me and the baby here on our blog.  Speaking of which, I guess we will be changing the name soon! ;)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Two...and a HALF!

I am getting caught up! :)  About two weeks ago, on Friday, October 22nd we celebrated the boys' half birthday.  Since they already have to share a birthday I thought we would go out of our way to celebrate this halfway milestone to make them feel a little more special.  Right now they just think it is fun, as they get older I think they may appreciate it in a different way.

We spent the morning making a pumpkin pound cake together.  I don't let them help me in the kitchen too much so this was a real treat for all three of us.  They did pretty well, even with all the temptations!  It was really hard for them to wait to try the cake until daddy got home, but they did!  We ate one of their favorites for dinner, Sloppy Joes in a Biscuit Bowl and after dinner they each got a half a cake and we sang "Happy Half Birthday".  It was a great ending to a great day!  Ashton and Ayden both now tell people that they are "two half"! :)

 Mommy's little bakers
 Two pumpkin pound cakes (one went in the freezer for mommy later)
 Ashton's cake
 Ayden's cake
Ashton enjoying his cake!
Ayden enjoying his cake!

Halloween 2010

This stage/age has proven to be just as exciting as the last!  (Ok, maybe a little more!)  Ashton and Ayden are now to the age where they are really able to understand and get into the holidays! 

They weren't really into picking out a costume so I decided, kind of at the last minute, to dress them as a pair of dice.  It turned out great and, as always, they looked incredibly cute!

We first wore the costumes to school on Wednesday.  It was a good practice or dress rehearsal for them!  Ayden kept saying "NO LIKE!" and trying to take the box off at first.  A little sweet talking from mommy got him to leave it on for a little while though! ;)

 Friday night we went to Aunt Amy's church for Trunk or Treat.  Nanny and Papa met us there and the boys had a great time filling their pumpkins with treats.  Once home we let them have some of the treats including graham crackers and a rice krispie treat.  For these boys who don't get much sugar this was enough to keep them talking and giggling in their cribs for more than an hour past their bedtime!

Sunday we decided we would take the boys to a few houses on our street to keep alive the nastagalia of Halloween.  We were disappointed to find that very few houses in our 1,400 home neighborhood with lots of kids, were passing out candy!  We ended up going further than we intended around the neighborhood, but the boys had a blast!  Ayden, who is generally talkative, was pretty silent and was putting on his shy act all evening.  Ashton was talking up a storm though!  He said "trick or treat" and "thank you" at every house.  After going to a couple houses Ashton really had the idea and as soon as he got his treat he would say "another house!".  We would have to remind him to say thank you but he still sometimes said "another house"!  It was a little embarrassing, but very cute too!  We returned home to a pot of hot chicken enchilada soup on the stove top!  But, the boys wanted to check out their "treats".  Jeff let them split a fun size kit kat and they were in heaven - their first experience with candy!  After dinner we let them split one more of these kit kats.  So, they each had the equivalent of one fun size candy bar by the end of the evening.  Yes, again we had some talkative toddlers when bedtime came.  We listened to them chatter and giggle until long past their bedtime again!  I think it was a combination of excitement and sugar!  It was a memorable Halloween for sure!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Better late than never...2010 Family Pictures!

So, obviously I am still behind from our big summer of looking at houses and moving!  But, I didn't want to leave out these important pictures since this blog is also a sort of baby/scrap book for the boys growing up!

We had these pictures taken in downtown St. Louis in June, just after the boys turned 2.

Friday, September 24, 2010

286 days!!!

or 9.5 months!  This is how long our family was living apart and/or living in someone else's home.  It was a long time...too long!  But we made it through and after about a month in our new house we are settling in nicely.

Jeff started his new job in St. Louis the first of November.  We finally got an offer on our house in April with a closing date near the end of May.  A long story short, the contract was contingent on the buyers divorce and that ended up being a big mess!  In the end we didn't close until the middle of June.  Jeff and I spent every weekend for many weeks looking for just the right house.  We were very picky!  In the end it all worked out and we were able to get our favorite house out of the 50+ that we looked at!

We are now living just outside St. Louis.  Our house has 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a two car garage.  We have two living rooms on the main level so we have turned one into a big playroom for the boys!  They LOVE it!  We also have a basement that is mostly finished.  The finished portion includes a large living area, a storage closet, an office and a bar area.  The unfinished portion includes the laundry area and lots of space and storage.  We are hoping one day to put in another bedroom and a bathroom.  We have a great lawn with amazing green grass and a fence.  It has has lots of landscaping, a storage shed, a wood swing set and a wood gazebo. 

Just a sneak peek!

backyard - sorry not a great view
bar area in basement - still needs some work
half of boys' playroom - lots of work left to do here too!
part of the living room and looking into the kitchen - we got some new furniture, but we are waiting on the rest

our living room in the basement - the open door on the right is the office the door on the left is the closet, the unfinished portion is behind the wall on the left

For the first time since being married we have a mature yard!  We built our last home and has one dinky little tree and all new landscaping.  This mature yard require a lot more time and attention!  We moved in the house in August and the yard was already beginning to look like fall with all the tree limbs, leaves and acorns that fall off on a daily basis.  Some of the flower beds were overgrown and lots of ivy was taking over the gazebo and surrounding flower beds and tress.  We have began the process of trimming and thinning but it will be awhile before we get things the way we want them!

We have lots of things we want to do to this house.  Nothing has to be done though, which is nice.  We have things we want to do to update the house to make it more modern and more our style.  We have some furniture ordered that will be here in a few weeks.  I will have to update when we have painted, hung pictures, and have our new furniture delivered.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Pre potty training to trained at 26 months!

Yes, this is a little late (the boys are now almost 29 months) and yes, I have not blogged in TWO months! That is my new record! BUT, I do have a ton of excuses! I will share them in my next post...whenever that happens! :)

I will start with a little background information. I began cloth diapering Ashton and Ayden when they were 9 months old. A few months later I first learned about Elimination Control (EC). This is in short potty training a baby from birth using their natural patterns and being in tune with their bodily cues. I thought it was a great idea and I could at least use some of the ideas on my now one year olds. We bought them their first potty around their birthday and started sitting them on it by 15 months. We did have several occasions of using the potty as well! Our long and drawn out moving process started when the boys were 18 months and we did not offer them a potty to sit on too often. Their language skills were still a little behind so they were not verbalizing in any way that they needed to go to the bathroom at this time.

Since I wasn't able to do EC like I really would have like with staying with my parents and Jeff's parents and not having a place for our potty or a big potty just for them, I made due. I decided I would do what I called "pre potty training". I was not strict about this, I did not push them, I did not offer any rewards. I didn't even use Pull-ups or training pants! What I did do: I gave them a sign for going pee pee (ASL sign), I discussed most diaper changes including what was in the diaper. Ashton and Ayden both started peeing as soon as they stepped foot in the bathtub around this 18 month mark. I stated "You're going pee pee! Pee pee goes in the potty." every time they peed in the bathtub. While saying this I also did the sign for pee. I continued to use cloth diapers, except overnight. A lot of cloth diapered babies potty train earlier because they can usually feel the wetness more so than with the supersoaker disposable diapers of today. Around 24 months I began getting out the one potty we had with us at my in laws house. As the weeks passed I starting offering them the potty more often until by 25 months they were sitting on it at every diaper change. Now, don't get me wrong! They were NOT actually DOING anything on the potty except maybe 25% of the time. But, this slowly increased over the next couple of weeks until before I knew it they were dry nearly every diaper change and peed on the potty when I took them. They even started telling me when they needed to pee. Pooping was going slower, just a few random occurrences. When they DID pee I sang a song I had made up that celebrated this victory. Because of the tight quarters the boys usually had peed on the potty in their room or the living room so the pot had to be carried to the big potty to be dumped. The boys loved to "help" me carry the pot to the bathroom and dump the pee. This was their "reward" I suppose! By the end of June (26 months) they were staying dry even when we left the house to go to the store, park, or out to eat. It was not fun to take a side snapping cloth diaper off of a toddler in a bathroom stall, have him pee and then try to put the diaper back on said STANDING toddlers because they hate public changing tables!
The end of June I also bought our first package of underwear from BabyGap. They were so cute! But, they really meant nothing to the boys! Before the underwear was purchased Ashton was doing better about staying dry than Ayden. After the purchase, Ayden started doing better and Ashton had a slight relapse due to a pooping incident on the toilet that got him a little scared. We started to put the underwear on around the house or go naked and had very few accidents. If they did start to pee they would stop it and let us know and were then able to hold it until we made it to the potty.
We went to a park around this same time that had a family bathroom with a toddler size potty in it. The boys were not sure what to think and both refused to sit on it. I then went to plan B and had them each stand to pee like big boys and wa-la!...they went! They loved standing like big boys and have hardly looked back since! I now have to hold them over our big potty at home to pee since they are still too short to actually stand at the toilet! Glad we only bought one potty for $1 at the tmoms garage sale!
When we were outside to play and they told me they had to go I just pulled down their pants and let them go. After the first time I did this, Ashton later went in the house and said pee pee and got ready to do it right there on the floor! I decided I had to set some boundaries! After that we only went pee under the tree. Ashton does not pee as often as Ayden and would often not go in the morning before we would leave for our morning outing. This would freak me out that he was going to have an accident so anytime he wouldn't pee before we left I offered for him to pee when we got outside to get in the car. Of course, this worked every time! No, I don't want my child requesting to pee outside and he no longer does. But, I needed him to go and there was a new novelty to peeing outside and it got us through that phase!
My mother in law decided to get us a package of Pull Ups after I told her that they seemed ready to go without a diaper in public but that I was a little nervous. We used the first Pull-Up the weekend of the 4th of July. When we got home they were dry. We haven't used them since except for a couple rides in the car that were over an hour. We have not used diapers, expect for nap and night time, since that first week in July. We have had only a hand full of accidents in the 2.5 months since they have been fully trained. Pooping is occurring on the potty more often, especially for Ashton. Ashton and Ayden have always done their pooping while in their crib when they wake up in the morning and when they wake up from nap. Since they still wear a diaper to bed and they are still sleeping in their cribs I am not going to push this. They don't poop in their underwear so it's not too big of a concern! I think this is morning of a timing issue than an inability issue.
The boys love their "unders" and always remind me "no pee pee in unders" when we put them on. I do have a complaint about them though! It is hard to find underwear in a size 2! :) Going out has not been quite as big of a deal as I had imagined. Or, maybe it's just that I have gotten use to it! We now have to visit EVERY public bathroom we pass! Did I mention I hate public restrooms?! One time we went out to eat with Nana and Papa and each boy visited the bathroom no less than 5 times in the hour or so we were there! Most outings aren't that bad, but we do have to go at least once almost everywhere we go. Sometimes they see a door to the employee area or an emergency exit and say they need to go!

I wanted to write about our potty training journey for me to remember in the years to come and also for the boys to read about when they are older. But, I have had a lot of questions about how I got twin boys potty trained so early and thought something we did may help others! Since over two months have passed I am sure I forgot some facts but hopefully something in here can help someone!