Sunday, August 31, 2008

Adventures in Preemie Outings #4 - LEGO Mania

On Saturday morning we decided that we need to get out of the house yet again and are feeling particularly brave. My husband is still in love with LEGOS and has read in the paper that there is a LEGO BrickFair about an hour and a half away in Northern VA. It's in a Sheraton hotel and we thought it would be nice get out and see some stuff besides the mall. Here's the link so you can see what we went to:

We weren't sure what to expect, a big convention in the grand ball room or a small local dork fest in the basement. Either way it would be nice to stroll around looking at people's LEGO creations and marvel at the many hours spent staring at little plastic cubes.

We had a mission, a plan of attack and were ready to face the world. Our main concern was pushing the long-hauler mack truck stroller through a room full of tables with precariously positioned LEGOmania. In a stroke of brilliance Drew says we need a baby carrier! Off to Once Upon A Child consignment to pick up a cheap baby carrier. Out of the dozens of different ones to choose from we got a perfectly good though slightly worn Baby Bjorn for only $25. A far better deal than paying the full $80 to $130 at the store. I already had a Moby Wrap that I'd picked up at Target on a whim and because I had read it was good for preemies and reflux. This would be perfect: Drew can carry the chunky monkey with all his gear (oxygen, apnea monitor) as Cameron's now above the weight limit for a Bjorn carrier. I will deftly bundle tiny Evan to my chest in the as yet only tested once Moby Wrap and carry the diaper backpack. Now we could maneuver without making the customary beep-beep-beep of the reversing and turning of our extra long stroller.

We "throw" the kids in the mom-mobile and off we go. The car ride was uneventful except to say that the Volkswagen commercial has a wise parent on their marketing team. Just like in the commercial at every light we came to someone in the back seat started to fuss. As soon as the car hit 55mph they would settle right down. Future race car drivers! But there were moments when even mom's wicked radical driving skillz couldn't entertain the boys and they would begin their version of "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall" which sounds nothing like the version I know. I must be getting old. Their version has a lot more flats and sharps and can really hit some pitches, though the boys know how to do rounds pretty well and can harmonize nicely if they time it. Anyway, a note to new parents: There is a purpose for your AM radio besides baseball. That static is intentionally played so that parents can turn it on very loud and the babies in the car will fall right asleep. Works almost every time!

Upon arrival to the BrickFest hotel we realize we underestimated the magnitude of the event. This was not just your local Days Inn, this was THE SHERATON of Tysons Corners VA. Swanky nice place. And this was not your average Dork Fest as we had thought it might be. This was the Mother of All that is Holy and LEGO. And it was jam packed with parents, grandparents, and tons of KIDS!!! Germy, loud, oblivious to others Kids.
This is a great place to bring preemies! The line for tickets was out the door and down the hotel driveway. Parking was full so we drove two blocks and realized that we'd prefer to take the stroller because of the distance we had to park.

Getting into the very noisy lobby was a mess and Drew waited in line to get the tickets while I took eht boys to get freshened up and look for a place to sit and feed them before going into the convention hall. Finding the bathroom for the diaper change was tricky because the elevators to the restrooms were so packed with people by the time they were empty for us to get on the doors would close. And no one thought to lend a hand and hold the doors so they wouldn't slam on the stroller. Oh nooooo... That would be too thoughtful. DON'T YOU PARENTS REMEMBER THOSE DAYS!?!?!?! Finally made it to the diaper change and headed back to the lobby and both of us noticed there were several parents with double side by side strollers looking m-i-s-e-r-a-b-l-e and we decided that the carriers were the best thing.

Drew ran the stroller back to the car, moved the van to a much closer spot and dashed back. We fed the boys and during that time had a nice mom of twin 3 year old girls come up and ask permission to see the babies. Very thoughtfully she explained to the girls how they shouldn't get close, no touching, use soft voices for babies. It was refreshing to see someone who understood. And then we geared up for battle, I mean LEGO viewing chaos.

I have to tell you first that using a Moby Wrap is not for the feint of heart. The thing is 30 feet of quality cotton that you fold in half and pretzel twist around your body then insert hot stuffy baby. Once it's on it is soooo nice. Except that it's very hot. Sauna hot. I was really worried that I'd over heat Evan. But he instantly fell asleep which apparently, according to the instruction book, is the sign that you put it on right. Drew hooked up our brand new-ish Baby Bjorn and inserted Cameron who instantly started to wail. It never occurred to us that his inguinal hernia would not appreciate this contraption but in hindsight we probably won't be doing this until after we see the pediatric urologist. He did settle down and fall asleep. Drew then used his Camel Back water bag for hiking to hold the oxygen tank (fits perfectly) and then hung the apnea monitor over one shoulder. Here we go!

The convention was awesome and huge. There were over 12,000 square feet of space filled with tiny and massive LEGO creations, some from pre-designed kits but most from the imaginations of the Brick Builders (that's LEGO construction nerds call them selves). I'll post a few of the pics at the end of this posting. There were independently made stop animation LEGO movies being presented for viewing. There were huge LEGO cranes lifting banners. There were huge train sets, towns, chess sets and robots even a large cut away replica of the Nebeconezer from The Matrix. My husband was in dork heaven. I loved the castles with moving people, the working lit up carousel, the miniature city and town scapes, the dioramas of movies like Star Wars and Indiana Jones, and the giant replica of he apartment high rise from The Jettsons cartoon. We couldn't fit in the Great Ball room where they had motorized sets moving objects like raquet balls, steal ball bearings and marbles around the room.

The whole place was very hot and very very crowded with germy people, kids everywhere. There were a few times where it was wall to wall people around us and visions of, of losing my balance or of sick babies were running through my mind. What were we thinking??? I had assumed that it would be big open aisles and lots of space but hadn't thought how crowded it would be. And being double wide with a baby in the front and gear on the back we both were anxious the whole time. We got lots of looks, and a couple of twin parents of teenagers assured us with knowing smiles the it gets better. I made them pinkie swear on it.

The boys slept through all of it. Eventually we made it down stairs to the area where they were playing the movies and it was much cooler. We changed the boys diapers and Evan was soaked both from sweat from him and I and from peeing out his diaper. (The fifth one in a row, time to go up a size I think). Cameron was happy to stretch out and be off of Daddy's sweaty chest. After we cooled off and freshened up it was time to go home.

There was another more enthusiastic round of "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall" from the babies most of the way home. It was a relief to be home. The boys thought so too and gave us hell about dragging them to NerdFest. Upon our return home it was their early dinner and they wanted nothing to do with it. They screamed inconsolably for over two hours and barely ate anything at all. Finally they were spent and fell asleep so hard that they used their amazing superhero Sleep While Eating abilities for their late dinner and barely woke up for the Midnight Meal. It's now 8am Sunday morning and they are still fussy but napping after a decent breakfast at 4am. Hopefully we'll get back on track this next bottle.

There is an extra price to pay for an outing like this... Overstimulated, over tired, over cranky babies. I only hope they didn't bring home any souvenirs like the flu or a cold, but we were as careful as could be and can't live in a bubble as much as I think we should. Besides once RSV comes there won't be trips to anywhere for a long time. Crossing my fingers.... I didn't think we could, but maybe we'll tackle our annual trip to our local Maryland Renn Fest this year after all.

Friday, August 22, 2008

You MUST Check This Blog Out!

As many of you know, and for those of you that don't, I am a frequent participant on forum boards. Particularly the Multiples and Preemies boards. As a sign of sisterly solidarity, and the desire to go to the Oprah show and get some Favorite Things, the ladies of the Multiples board have collaborated in the making of a blog called "Didn't you know? Twins are in!"
Here's the link:

There are over 100 contributing authors lined up, yours truly included, and many more on the way.
Check it out!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

RSV is coming soon!

Just so those of you without kids or those that don't have preemies or major health issues know one of the worst seasons for preemies health risk is coming up very soon. It's called Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). This is the most common cause for bronchitis and pneumonia for kids under the age of one.

This disease is just the common cold to you and me. But to Preemies it can be deadly. This is the reason why we have our standing rule that if you have a cough, sniffle or tickle in your throat 10 days prior to visiting the boys we ask that you postpone that visit for another 7 to 10 days. If you have a family member, someone in your household, people you work with that have been ill then please wait 7 to 10 days before visiting. It's why we are so obsessed with washing our hands. It may seem that we are being paranoid or overprotective. But just one contaminated moment with our babies can send them into serious respiratory distress and put them both back in the hospital. A cold for you is deadly to them. In Maryland the season begins in October and ends in March.

To view the Center for Disease Control's (CDC) maps of RSV season surveillance in your area visit this link:

To combat the chances of preemies being affected by RSV there is a vaccine called Sygnasis that is given once a month in a shot at your pediatricians office. This shot s very expensive (in the neighborhood of $1k to $1200 per shot each month of RSV season) so we'll get on the sign up priority/referral list at the doctor's and insurance will cover it.

(Thanks to KellyMichelle on the Nest for the link.)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Adventures in Preemie Outings #3 - Not So Silent and Almost Deadly

If you frequent Annapolis Mall, and plan on doing this in the next 24 hours, then consider this edition of Preemie Adventures a friendly warning. It's the least we could do for our loyal readers.

It's been such a lovely weekend outside but still just a little too warm and sticky and buggy to stay out too much. The mall is really the only temperature controlled environment that a stroller can go. And surprisingly it wasn't as crowded as we expected. We made the circuit of the mall and closing out our final lap we had to visit the Halloween Shoppe (it's freaking August people!!) as it's our favorite holiday. My dear husband has some crazy Halloween costume making skillz which I hope to showcase in another posting one day.

By this point we'd already been in the mall quite some time and had no agenda other than to stroll around, eat Auntie Annie's pretzels and drink lemonade, gafaw at the ridiculously adorable and expensive Janie & Jack baby clothes, and avoid the stares of strangers. After we'd just visited the Halloween Shoppe we noticed the Christmas Shoppe was right across the way (again, still August!!). Oh, and why do they spell it Shoppe instead of Shop like the rest of the world??

Anyway, it was a much larger store than the Halloween Shoppe and very empty of both items for sale as well as patrons for crowding. The bonus was it was nice and cold too. We could feel the air pouring out of the store entrance into the main thoroughfare. If you've read my earlier Preemie Adventure posts you'll agree this is a perfect place for both my big wheel long-hauler monster stroller and my polar bear-like husband, who prefers sub-arctic temperatures year round.

It was great. No other customers. Lots of space to do wheelies and stroller donuts without crashing into kitchy displays. There were lots of shiny things for the boys to look at too. The shoppe keeper lady was very nice, did the compulsory ooh and aww. She did ask the question "Are they twins?" (cringe, well duh? There are two of them.) Smile and respond "Yes, two boys" and some of the other typical niceties. During all of this chatter Drew, my husband, had been holding Evan in his arms because he was fussy and tired of being in his car seat. Actually, they both hate their car seats. And it's very difficult for them to pass gas in their car seats. Evan had been tooting his little six pound butt audibly all through the mall.

That's when Drew got a smartass smirk on his face and a proud Daddy glint in his eye and whispers to me, "It's not me, I swear! That one took all of twenty seconds for him to pass." I walk over to check Evan out and oh the smell!! It FILLED the store. Near by delicate ornaments were just wilting away. The poor shoppe keeper didn't say a word. I'm certain she thought it was one of us, but probably not the smallest baby she'd ever seen. It made my eyes water. Daddy was so proud he could hardly contain his fits and snorts of giggles as we left the store.

We really enjoyed our time in the Christmas Shoppe. It's a lovely store. But be forewarned, if you are planning to visit there you may want to give it some time to air out. Just saying... :- P

Thursday, August 07, 2008

I Adopted Your Dog Today - Author Unknown

Thank you to ToBeMMG from for sharing this poem she found today.

I adopted your dog today
The one you left at the pound
The one you had for seven years
and no longer wanted around.

I adopted your dog today
Do you know he's lost weight?
Do you know he's scared and depressed
and has lost all faith?

I adopted your dog today.
he had fleas and a cold,
but don't worry none.
You've unburdened your load.

I adopted your dog today.
Were you having a baby or moving away?
Did you suddenly develop allergies or was
there no reason he couldn't stay?

I adopted your dog today.
he doesn't play or eat much
He's very depressed, but
he will learn again to trust.

I adopted your dog today.
And here he will stay.
He's found his forever home
and a warm bed on which to lay.

I adopted your dog today.
And I will give him all that he could need.
Patience, love, security, and understanding.
Hopefully he will forget your selfish deed.

-Author Unknown

Feel the warmth of a cold nose~

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Our Trip to Holland

I found this through my friend Pixie4199 who posted this on the Special Needs board and I think it's a really fitting way to describe this journey of ours. While Cameron and Evan have not been diagnosed with true disabilities or special needs yet I think this description really applies to what parents of preemies go through. Thank you Pixie, and thank you E.P. Kingsley.


Emily Perl Kingsley.

c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Progress Report - 4 Months Old!

The boys are still doing great. Cameron is now 8lbs 4oz and Evan is 6lbs 8oz. Because of their good weight gain the pediatrician has agreed that we need to see if we can drop a middle of the night feeding and see if they will sleep at least 4+ hours straight. Oh the heaven, the pure joy that would be blessed sleep for more than an hour at a time... Last night was the first night we tried this and for the babies it went well. For me not so much. (Thanks Momdar!)

The boys got their 4 month shots and had no problems over night. Cameron is still at 1/4 liter oxygen though I'm fairly certain we'll get to either lower him to 1/8 liter or take him off completely except for meals and sleeping by next month. We continue to take him off the oxygen for short periods with the pulsox (which I will have to post pics of soon) and see that eh can be without oxygen assistance while deep asleep for up to 45 min. at a time. We have a follow up with the pulomonologist in two weeks. Evan is now officially off the lacto free formula and back on to breast milk. However after 17 very long weeks it's time for me to wean off the pumping.

I just can't keep up with it and my supply isn't that great anymore. I am wracked with guilt, but at the same time really excited to be done with pumping. I'm pleased with what I've been able to accomplish, even if it wasn't breastfeeding. Pumping exclusively for twins is quite a feat and I am so relieved I've done as much as I have. It will take some time for me to slowly stop pumping as it's quite painful to go cold turkey and I'm terrified of mastitis. I think in two to three weeks I'll be completely done and will have to return the rented hospital pump.

I know I said I would talk about the Infants and Toddlers Early Intervention Evaluation appointment in the next Progress Report but it's a long one so I will have to post it as a separate post.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Happy Birthday Lucy

Sugar and Spice and everything nice, that's what Lucy is made of!
Happy 6th Birthday! When Lucy was born this is how the world was...

  1. The year number was a palindrome (next palindrome year will be 2112). The last palindrome year was 1991.
  2. The 2002 Winter Olympics took place in Salt Lake City, Utah.
  3. Signs of large water deposits are found on the planet Mars.
  4. Top movies of 2002 are: Spider-Man, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Star Wars Episode II, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Austin Powers Goldmember, Men in Black II, Ice Age.
  5. The number one Pop music single was "Get the Party Started" by Pink.
  6. Kids books that came out in 2002: "Olivia Saves the Circus" by Ian Falconer, "Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type" by Doreen Cronin & Betsy Lewin, "Eloise Takes a Bawth" by Kay Thompson & Mart Crowley, "Our Friend Sam" by Mercer Mayer, "The Thief Lord" by Corneilia Funke.
  7. There’s no better way to demonstrate your love than by giving a ruby in celebration of a July birthday. Rubies arouse the senses, stir the imagination, and are said to guarantee health, wisdom, wealth and success in love. Ruby is a variety of the gems species corundum. It is harder than any natural gemstone except diamond, which means a ruby is durable enough for everyday wear. Fine-quality ruby is extremely rare, and the color of the gem is most important to its value. The most prized color is a medium or medium dark vivid red or slightly purplish red. If the gem is too light or has too much purple or orange, it will be called a fancy-color sapphire.
  8. Top 10 Toys for 2002: Malibu Barbie, Pop Sensation Barbie Sing Along Headset, Bratz Dolls, Bionicle by Lego, Planet Hot Wheels Eco Energy Cars, Polly Pocket Amusement Park set, Power Wheels Super Shock Dirt Bike, Transformers, Furreal Friends, Harry Potter Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans including earwax and dirt flavors, and the game of the year Cranium (aunt Laura's favorite game!!)
  9. The first season of American Idol winner is Kelly Clarkson.
  10. Kim Possible's debut show airs on the Disney channel.
  11. My one and only niece Lucy is born! What a great year!
To Lucy, Happy sweet 6th birthday. We wish you all the best with lots of love, hugs and kisses.
From Aunt Laura, Uncle Drew, Cousins Cameron & Evan
~Don't forget Chewie and Bridget love you guys too!