Monday, November 16, 2009

Prematurity Awareness Day

Tomorrow, November 17, is National Prematurity Awareness Day.

When I first became pregnant in 2003, I never would have guessed that I would have twins - let alone that they would be born 13 weeks and 2 days early (at 26 weeks, 5 days gestation). There are no words to explain the guilt that I felt - and still feel - for not being able to carry them longer. I don't think I have met a preemie mom who didn't feel that guilt.

Morgan - hours old

Tanner - hours old

Never would I have anticipated the IVs, medicines, procedures, tests, care, and cost that would go into sustaining these tiny, fragile children. Tanner & Morgan were born weighing 995 grams and 999 grams (2 lb 3.1 oz and 2 lb 3.3 oz respectively). Tanner was 13.25" long and Morgan was 12.75" long. Just slight over a foot - they litterally could fit into the palm of your hand.

Twin pregnancies have a higher risk for early delivery. Even so, I had an ideal pregnancy until about 25 weeks. At that time, I began having contractions - that led to their eventual delivery at nearly 27 weeks. I received steroid shots in those 2 weeks between complications and delivery - shots that helped develop their lungs prior to their birth. Because of this, neither child was every on a ventilator after their birth (nearly unheard of for this gestational age).

(Tanner & Morgan about 2-1/2 weeks old - my first time holding them both together.)

Both children received days of treatment under bili lamps to help control jaundice (Tanner's liver problems were unrelated to his premature birth), Vitamin A shots to help with their vision, Caffeine to prevent low heart rates, og and ng tubes for feeding, and various breathing assistance (nasal cannula or CPAP).

Morgan spent 55 days in the NICU (and returned for a hospitalization within a few weeks).

Tanner spent a total of 81 days in the NICU (72 days initially followed by a 9 day stay for his first liver surgery). That time is the longest 3 months in my life (their birth on 04/30/04 to Tanner's second return home on 07/31/04).

We are so very grateful for the medical advances and God's grace that allowed Tanner and Morgan to survive the early birth. But, as a guilt-ridden mom, I don't want another mother to have to watch their child suffer through weeks of medical treatments in plastic boxes - when the child should have spent those days / weeks / months in the womb. It's why every year, Randy & I walk for March of Dimes.

Never would I have imaged such an early entrance for my two children, let alone what perfect being they would be.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Halloween 2009

Halloween 2009

Halloween also marks Tanner & Morgan's 1/2 birthday. So, in order to help me keep track (and because I won't remember to write it anywhere else) - here are there latest stats:

Tanner - 44-1/4" tall & 39 lb 6 oz
Morgan - 43-1/2" tall & 35 lb 6 oz (she's been sick the last week and it has definitely taken a toll on her weight - we think she's down about 2 pounds)

Monday, October 05, 2009


The things these two say - well, it often cracks me up. And, just so that I don't forget - here are a few more for the record.

On Saturday, T&M's grandparents took them to church. On the way there, they drove by another church and the bride & groom were just emerging from the chapel. Grandma explained that they were just getting married.

Tanner: Are they going to have babies?
Morgan: Well, not quite yet.


On Sunday, I took the kid's to the local farmer's market and told them they could have a mid-morning snack while we were there. There were doughnuts, cookies, breakfast quesadillas, all kinds of wonderful stuff. What do my children choose? Ice was 41 F outside.

They sat, shaking, eating their ice cream. I explained to Morgan that it was so cold, it was kind of silly to be eating ice cream. Her reply: "Well, at least the ice cream doesn't melt when it's this cold out."


Tanner is ALL boy. I'm constantly amazed by the fact that these two were raised in the same house, by the same people, at the same time, in the same conditions - and yet they are so remarkedly different (I'm sure all the other twin parents can attest to that). While out on Saturday, Tanner got to see 4 fire trucks (2 with their lights on), 2 ambulances, and 1 police car. He was so excited, he pumped his fist and said "Now THIS is an AWESOME day!" Oh, what it takes to make them happy at this age!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Tanner & Morgan being in kindergarten has worn them out. We put them to bed at 7 p.m. - and they sleep until we wake them in the morning (or within 5 minutes of wake-up time). Of course, with the exhaustion comes some pretty crabby kids.

Tonight, I overhead Morgan telling Tanner: "Tanner, if I get on Daddy's last nerve, you must get on his first nerve."

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Summer Vacation 2009

The last two summers, we've had the opportunity* to make a round trip between Colorado - Iowa - Kansas (home, grandma & poppy, old home). We just returned home from the trip - and it was as exhausting and fun as ever. We drove 1850 miles in 9 days, spent 4 nights in Iowa, 2 nights at a hotel in Kansas, and 2 nights "at the farm" in Western Kansas. We saw cousins, fished, played in mudpuddles, did slip-n-slide, painted rocks, had tea partiers, water gun fights, saw old friends, played at a gigantic indoor water park, petted some kittens, and learned to drive. What more can you ask for as a five-year-old?












*By opportunity, I'm referring to the mandatory vacation our company implemented this year.

Monday, June 29, 2009

5 Year Check-Up

Tanner & Morgan had their 5 year check-ups today.

Tanner weighed in at 37 pounds even (25%), 44 inches tall(75%), and got 3 shots. BMI is a whopping 13.4 (not even on the chart - less than 5%). Developmentally appropriate. Eye sight tested as 20/40 (scheduled an eye appointment). He's gained 5 pounds and grown 4.25 inches.

Morgan weighted in at 35 lb 8 oz (10%), 43.5 inches tall (75%), and got 5 shots. BMI is a whopping 13.2 (just slightly below the 5% mark). Developmentally fine (by all measures ahead), eye sight 20/20. She's gained 5 pounds, as well, and 4.25 inches.

How MY children can have problems GAINING weight is absolutely beyond me...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

On Root Beer...

"Hey Mom, can I have some of that beer for little kids?"

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Make A Wish - Day 4

If anyone ever tells me that San Diego has wonderful weather - I'll know they are lying. I talked to a family last night from Greeley, Colorado - they were headed home to get a sun tan. The "local" folk keep talking about "June Gloom" - yeah, whatever. We haven't seen the sun since the day we landed.

So - that is how we started our day today. Not just "June Gloom", but drizzle and a light rain. We determined that we weren't going to let this ruin our day, so after a filling breakfast at the hotel, we packed up and headed the short 10 minutes to Sea World.

We got our tickets - and headed in with the hundred other souls who were willing to brave the weather. We headed down see Shamu at first. Tanner was so tickled with all of the animals - even if he couldn't touch them, he loved being able to see up close.

Here he is on the way into the park seeing "Shamu" - I believe this is Corky

After that, we headed towards the other side of the park to see the Clydesdales. The kids weren't very impressed since we've seen them several times (and in a higher quantity) at Grant's Farm in St. Louis. So, we headed on - and decided to try out the roller coaster.

Our children, for being as small as they are and barely making the typical 42" cutoff for rollercoasters, LOVE rollercoasts. This one was a combination roller coast / log ride. But - we decided to give it a go and were one of the first few onto the ride when it opened at 10 a.m.

It was great Morgan squealed with delight - Tanner got off the ride and told the attendant "that was AWESOME!". We were going to ride it again, but they shut down the ride for maintenance. And, by the end of the day, the kids were too worn out to give it a whirl.

After that, we toured several of the animal exhibits - penguins, sharks, manatees (Tanner LOVED the manatees, we sat in there and watched them for a long time - he thought it was so bad that they got "boinked into by a boat"). Then, it was show time - and when I say show time - I mean lots & lots of shows.



Here's a picture of Tanner raising his hand and going "yeah!" during the Shamu show:

Sea Lions:

Pets Rule:

Of course, with all that excitement, you've got to take some downtime, too. Waiting for the show to start - Morgan & daddy "butting" heads...

Super cute pic of Tanner:

Enjoying some cotton candy (hey, it is vacation!)

Feeding the Sea Lions:

Feeding ourselves at Dinner with Shamu:

All in all, a fun (but long) day. The kids came home, took a shower, ate some popcorn, and collapsed.

They are SUPER excited about going to Legoland tomorrow. I have to admit - Legoland is perfect for this age. The rides & activities are geared towards this age - and they just can't contain themselves. We could have done 3 days there, and they would have been perfectly happy. We checked out the map tonight and have identified all the top spots that they want to try tomorrow - and we will definitely be hitting all of the rollercoasters.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Make-A-Wish - Day 3

Today was Day 3 of our vacation - we headed to the San Diego Zoo. A good choice since the weather continues to be overcast, misty, and cool. At least at the zoo there are very limited chances of getting wet.

We kept telling ourselves - oh, the San Diego Zoo can't be much worse than the Colorado Springs zoo in terms of hills / pushing strollers. Boy, were we wrong! There are hills (STEEP hills) everywhere - my arms & legs are both sore from pushing my free loading kids around in their strollers today.

The zoo was nice - incredibly beautiful grounds. The animals were great - we enjoyed the Panda bears, Koala bears, & hippos most of all. All of these are animals that we haven't had much exposure to in at our other favorite zoo haunts. The polar bears were sleeping - otherwise, I think that would have been an incredible exhibit.

We got up close & personal with the hippo. Morgan was standing along side the glass where you can peer into the Hippo Pool - and the Hippo came right up to look at her.

The pandas were so wonderful to see. We got to watch the 23-month old eat bamboo and climb around. Morgan fell in love with it. She & Tanner both ended up with a stuffed Panda bear at the end of our trip.

We also got to tour the newly opened elephant odyssey. Very nice facility - impressive engineering of the elephant sturctures, too. Overall, though, I think St. Louis has a better elephant exhibit than San Diego.

We skipped the giraffes (when you're used to feeding them at the Colorado Springs zoo - seeing them just isn't too exciting). Colorado Springs also has a better Okapi exhibit, river otters, & wolf exhibit. You can't beat St. Louis' penguin exhibit & probably elephant exhibit.

Don't get me wrong - it was a great zoo, but we'll wait to go back until the kids can power themselves through it.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Make A Wish - Day 2

As predicted, Tanner & Morgan were up early (although not as early as we had thought). We still decided to hit the beach before hitting Legoland (which doesn't open until 10 a.m.).

The beach was cool (temperature) and beautiful. There were a handful of people on the beach this morning, and we wisened up and had the kids wear their beach socks to minimize sand (that worked well). But - they still ended up cold and very wet. We had to change Tanner's clothes from the waist down (Eeks - I didn't pack this many changes of clothes & there is no washer & dryer at the hotel).



We came back, changed clothes, ate breakfast, and headed north on I-5. Legoland - here we come! It just so happens that Tanner & Morgan had a preschool classmate that is in the area at the same time. So, we're spending some time with them during our trip - and that included our day at Legoland.

We started by riding a few rides and playing in some of the free play areas. It was a chilly day - so some of the water features & play areas weren't working today.




We took a slight break from our friends and decided to take a tour of how they make Legos. We walked through the display, and as we exited the display we were approached by a nice lady who asked Tanner if he were here on his Make-A-Wish trip (he is wearing a MAW pin on his hat). He told her yes - and then she took us on a close-up tour of the equipment.

Tanner & Morgan getting to stick their hands in the plastic that eventually becomes Legos:


the molding machine

With our tour guide, Renate. She even gave the kids some very special Legos & momentos.


After that, we started down a slippery slope when we allowed the kids to ride the Log Ride. They didn't get too wet - so we decided we were safe. However, then we decided to let them ride the Pirate Ships - where you actual battle other guests (both on the boats and in the crowds) with water canons. This time - notice the progression from mostly dry to soaked.




And, it only got cooler. Tanner & Morgan's coats were soaked from the water ride - so it was a chilly afternoon. We focused on "dry" activities - which included some fun things like face painting, the small dragon rollercoaster, & driving a boat that didn't include water canons.


All in all - it was a great day at Legoland. (And, we'll be back on Sunday.)


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Make-A-Wish Trip, Day 1

We're on Tanner's Make-A-Wish trip. I haven't talked much about it, it's a mixed bag when your child gets a MAW trip. Yes, you are so very grateful, but on the flip side, I'd trade it in a heartbeat if my child wouldn't be eligible for such a trip. Or, if he'd never had to put up with all the medical stuff that he deals with. But, fact is, he does have a liver transplant & a cyst in his brain. There is "stuff" that he (and we as a family) has to deal with - and a lot of it just isn't any fun. And, the wonderful people are Make-A-Wish care - they want to give these kids a repreive and just let them be kids sometime. For that, we are very grateful.

So, today is Day 1 of his trip. It started out marevelously. Tanner & Morgan were up at the crack of dawn "ready to go" - even though our flight wasn't until late afternoon. The limo (yes, really - MAW does it in style!) came to pick us up at 11 a.m. Tanner ran out the door to meet them - and promptly fell down the concreate stairs skinning up his knee and elbow. SIGH...but as always, he still was excited...


I think they would have had a wonderful day just riding around in the limo.


The flight to San Diego was short. We were so grateful to be greeted at the airport by a MAW San Diego volunteer - Kevin. Kevin helped us retrieve our luggage, carry it to the rental car location, get our rental car, and get checked into our hotel successfully. Flying into a strange airport is never fun - but being greated with a big "Tanner" sign was really neat - and Kevin was so very friendly. Tanner & Morgan instantly adored him, and they were very sad he wasn't going to spend our entire MAW trip with us.


I don't know what Kevin had done to the hotel or rental car people. But, when Avis picked us up at the terminal, we were treated like royalty - "Make A Wish" is on board. And, when we arrived at the Avis lot, they had 3 people that took our bags & got us quickly & safely into our car. We've never had such wonderful service from a car rental company before!

We got checked into the hotel. We're in a great location between Mission Bay & the Pacific Ocean. What a view we have!


Again, the MAW of San Diego was on the ball - we had a bouquet of balloons greeting us upon arrival in our room.

The kids were exhuasted from all of the excitement - so it was a short evening. We walked along Mission Bay for awhile - and then dipped our toes in the Pacific Ocean (both are much colder than I thought they would be). They are asleep now - and no doubt they'll be up very early tomorrow morning ready to go. The bad news - Legoland doesn't open until 10 a.m. We'll have some time to kill before we even have to leave the hotel.