Trader Joe’s

by Kayte

I took Max grocery shopping today while Lola stayed home with dad. When the cashier handed Max his stickers at the checkout, he asked: “Can I have some for my sister too?” I just about cried my heart was so full.

IMG_4172


Unofficial Start of Summer

by Kayte

We took advantage of the beautiful weather this weekend with a dip in the pool. We had previously dipped our toes and splashed around, but this was our first official swim. The kids are signed up for swim lessons after school gets out for the summer and they are super excited about it. At 73* (surface) our pool was still a bit chilly to stay in for long, but the swimming lesson pool will be heated to a toasty 90* (part of why I decided to go on-location for lessons instead of having someone come to the house). Let the summer begin!

IMG_4167

IMG_4168

IMG_4169


Direct Hit

by Kayte

Max pooped in the potty! Apparently all it takes is proper motivation: dad bought him a bag of Jelly Belly beans as a reward. He did it all by himself too. I was cooking breakfast in the kitchen when all of a sudden I heard a little voice from the bathroom: “Mommy I pooped!” Let’s hope this is the start of a new chapter in our bathroom book.

IMG_4173


Friends of the Library

by Kayte

Since our first visit last fall, we have been consistently taking Max & Lola to the library to check out new books every few weeks or so. It can definitely be hit or miss. They’re always very excited to visit, which sometimes materializes as yelling/running/not listening. But sometimes they are calmly, quietly excited and we have an enjoyable time. Today was one of those visits. They both got books with their current-favorite subjects: Max loves Thomas the Train, fire service, and construction, and Lola is on a Curious George kick. How soon we go back for new books usually depends on how tired mom & dad are of reading the same books over and over and over and over on a daily basis.

IMG_4163 IMG_4164


Sudsy

by Kayte

I don’t think there’s any kid who loves a dog more.

IMG_3917

IMG_3954


Doctor’s Orders

by Kayte

Max has been wearing underpants since March and has been doing really great with pee…BUT for some reason the poop-in-the-potty has not been clicking. For two months he has been pooping in his underpants, and for two months we have been cleaning it up. Everyone I’ve talked to says “it’s a boy thing” but we are really getting frustrated with it. How a pants-load of poop is not enough motivation to go in the toilet is beyond me. At our last wellness visit Max got an official Rx to “poop in the potty” – doctor’s orders!

Modified

This past week we finally ditched the underpants and went back to cloth diaper covers without the liner. It makes it easier for us to clean up, but won’t absorb the pee so he can’t revert back to peeing in a diaper. Any advice would be most appreciated – we’re at the end of our rope with this one.


Field Trip: The Beach

by Kayte

We started the week off right with a trip to the beach with Max & Lola’s preschool class. Apparently they’ve been doing it annually for the past 15+ years. The weather was beautiful and Max & Lola had a great time splashing in the waves with their classmates.

IMG_3944

IMG_3945

IMG_3946

The highlight of Lola’s day was being able to fly her kite all by herself!


Great Clips

by Kayte

We finally cut the cord from our fun kids’ salon and took the kids for a regular old haircut. It’s way closer to our house (and way cheaper) AND they had a huge bin of book so the kids happily sat and read instead of being over-stimulated with games and toys and candy.

Lola’s hair was in this weird phase where the top half was long and straight and the bottom half was curly, so I had the stylist layer the straight hair so it blended in with the curls a bit more.

IMG_3925 IMG_3926
We really liked Max’s style from his last cut, so I just had the stylist clean him up a bit (with a few cowlick modifications). Sorry I know hair cut posts are not the most terribly exciting but it is helpful to have a photo archive of hair styles to show the stylists what we like/don’t like.

IMG_3927 IMG_3928


PSJMC NICU Reunion

by Kayte

Today Max and I went to the 1st annual reunion for the St. Joe NICU. We would’ve have taken Lola too, but we didn’t want to bring a contagious kid to an event full of preemies. We had a wonderful time playing with our fellow NICU-twin-grads and visiting with some of the nurses who have undoubtedly had one of the biggest impacts on our lives. It was emotional and inspiring.

IMG_3918

IMG_3920 IMG_3919

IMG_3921

Before we went to the event I was explaining to the kids who we were going to see and showing them NICU photos. I realized that it was exactly four years ago today that I first held one of my babies. And the man pictured below was the nurse on duty that day. Love and life come full circle.

IMG_3922


The Toll

by Kayte

Lola has had a fever for the last 36 hours and was crying inconsolably this morning so we took her in to the pediatrician. I thought maybe it was a UTI because she asked to go potty ten times in a row after breakfast, but it turned out to be an ear infection. I had the pediatrician check out Max while we were there too just in case, and his ears were also red. Antibiotics all around! Our pediatrician said this was the price we pay for our weekend/week of epic adventures. He also mentioned that he used to take his family to Legoland but they came home sick every time and eventually stopped going. Must be all those bins of unwashed legos.

IMG_3915

On a sickness side note: on the drive back from Legoland we were almost home when we heard Lola start throwing up in the backseat. We were in the carpool lane on the 405 in rush hour traffic and there was no way we were going to be able to pull over. So I hopped in back and cleaned up as best I could with wipes and a plastic bag. Judging by the amount of throw up it appeared to have been everything she ate since dinner the previous evening. Guess all of the rides and motion and stimulation were too much for her digestion. We made it home without further incidence and went straight from the car to the bath. Whew.

IMG_3916


Immune Function

by Kayte

We got a good call from the pediatrician today – Lola’s immune system responded beautifully to the PneumoVax 23 she received last month. He said her titer “levels were crazy high” which means she has good immune function and makes antibodies very well in response to pathogens. There’s still the question of her immune memory – how long these levels will stay therapeutic. One theory the pediatrician has is that when Lola originally received some of her vaccines (some as early as in the NICU) maybe her immune system was too immature to retain the memory, but now that she (and her immune system) are more mature things are working as they should. If this is the case he said she should still be covered for most of the major illnesses thanks to boosters and ongoing vaccines – DTaP, polio, pneumonia, flu. He also suggested that we do the MMR booster earlier rather than later to get her covered for that. The only vaccines she may be too old to get are for Hepatitis and Rotavirus. We may do another antibody titer later this year to re-check levels, but for now he (and we) are happy.


Legoland

by Kayte

Max and Lola played hooky from school to go on an epic adventure: Legoland! They’d never been to an amusement park before and this was the perfect first trip. Legoland is geared toward younger kids so Max & Lola were just the right height/age to go on about 75% of the rides. We were also lucky to be able to go mid-week while school was still in session; there was hardly anyone else at the park and NO lines. The longest we had to wait was 15-20 minutes for one ride, but most rides the kids could just run up to the front of the queue 2-3 times in a row.

IMG_3804 IMG_3803
One of the first rides we took the kids on was a rollercoaster. I wasn’t sure what they would think of it since they’d never experienced anything like it before. I hoped we weren’t about to derail the entire tripe. But as soon as we came down the first big drop and around the curve all I could hear was laughing, laughing, laughing. It was amazing.

IMG_3818

One of their favorite activities was the various driving rides. One, the Safari Trek, was a controlled ride along a rail but they LOVED “driving” with mom and dad. The second, Jr. Driving School, was a free-form track complete with working steering wheel and gas pedal. I’m not sure if Lola even made it around the track once, but she laughed hysterically every time she rammed into the curb. Max did a pretty good job navigating around the track, except when he tried to park his car and crashed into a garage door. Hopefully this isn’t an indicator of driving skill at sixteen.

IMG_3812 IMG_3821 IMG_3816
Another favorite ride was the Beetle Bounce. It was a ride that took them straight up and then brought them back down in a series of stomach-dropping jumps. It didn’t seem exciting to us (the parents) but the kids thought it was great. It was also one where they were big enough to ride by themselves (the parents weren’t even allowed) so they liked the feeling of independence.

IMG_3838

Legoland also has its own small aquarium so we took an underwater stroll. The kids were pretty wiped at this point so we went through quickly, but they were able to pet some sea stars at the tide pools and watch some big fish swimming around.

IMG_3845 IMG_3846
There were all sorts of other cool rides like boats and helicopters and airplanes and horses. The main thing was we all had so much FUN. It feels like these past few years we have been limited because of either their age and/or some of their developmental delays, but this trip was one of the first time I felt like they could just DO everything and anything they wanted. It all just felt so normal. Pure joy.


Obstacle Course

by Kayte

Lola has been working very hard at physical therapy. We’ve been going three times per week for the last month, and we’re definitely seeing some progress. They’ve been working on a lot of strengthening of both her legs and arms, plus a lot of balance exercises. One of the biggest improvements is that Lola can walk up a step without holding onto a hand/railing (= balance + strength).

IMG_3259 IMG_3260
 Best of all Lola loves going to therapy (and Max gets to play too). Lola really likes both of the therapists she works with and responds very well to their instructions. Sometimes getting Lola to participate in activity is half the battle so it’s nice to see her having fun and willingly participate in PT.

IMG_3847 IMG_3848
Today was Lola’s first time using the kiddie treadmill and she did a great job! I wasn’t sure if she would understand it, but when the belt started moving so did Lola’s legs. The therapist kept increasing the speed faster and faster trying to get Lola into a run.

IMG_3849


LAFD Open House

by Kayte

This was the weekend of open houses! Today Max & Lola got to visit a firehouse. Lola enjoyed herself, but Max was absolutely in awe: jaw-dropped, mouth-open, couldn’t talk in awe. Lola said she liked the garbage trucks better, but Max is going to have to make a tough career decision between waste collector and fire fighter.

IMG_3367

IMG_3368

IMG_3369


Sanitation Open House

by Kayte

Max & Lola love Friday mornings when the garbage trucks come around, so today we visited our local district refuse yard for a sanitation open house. We weren’t quite sure what to expect, but it was a really fun event. The kids got to operate a trash truck, ride along in a truck for a tour of the yard, and they scored lots of recyled-material swag. There was food, music, a raffle, tree/plant giveaways, info booths, and more. We thought we’d just drop by for an hour or so, but ended up spending a good chunk of the day there.

IMG_3301

IMG_3302 IMG_3303
 

IMG_3304

IMG_3306 IMG_3305
 

IMG_3307


Pull-Apart Pizza Bread

by Kayte

Max and Lola have been enjoying a subscription to Highlights Magazine (courtesy AuntieK) for a few years now. The preschool edition includes a recipe each month, so tonight we commissioned the kids to make dinner for us. They had a great time both cooking AND eating.

IMG_3268

IMG_3269

IMG_3271

IMG_3272


Forward-Facing

by Kayte

At 40 inches Max officially hit the limit of his rear-facing car seat. He was absolutely thrilled at being able to sit forward “like Cousin Booker.”

IMG_3258

 

We’ve kept both kids extended rear-facing for as long as possible due to numerous studies that show rear-facing is much safer. Especially for Lola who is small not only in weight, but whose skeletal structure is disproportionately small and whose head has been disproportionately large. She will probably outgrow her current seat by the fall, or maybe I’ll just buy her a new car seat that works until 45 inches…


Wellness Visit

by Kayte

Max and Lola visited the pediatrician for their yearly physical today. Overall everything looked good. Max was 35 pounds and 40 inches (50th percentile for both). Lola was 26-1/2 pounds (3rd percentile) and 38-1/2 inches (25th percentile). The pediatrician couldn’t believe Lola’s height! He was so happy to see her growing.

They both received DTaP and Polio vaccinations. (4 shots, 0 tears!) Lola had her blood drawn for a PCV (pneumococcal conjugate vaccine)  antibody titer in response to the PneumoVax 23 she received last month:

“The antibody titer is a test that detects the presence and measures the amount of antibodies within a person’s blood. The amount and diversity of antibodies correlates to the strength of the body’s immune response.”- Healthline.com

We should have the results some time next week. The doctor said the hemangioma (strawberry birthmark) on Max’s arm should have gone away on its own by now, but since it hasn’t we were referred to the Vascular Anomalies Center at CHLA. They will assess the hemangioma to see if it might still go away on its own, or if we might need to consider surgery.

Despite everything these kids have been through they still LOVE going to the doctor.

IMG_3206

IMG_3207

Max
35 pounds | 40 inches
Size 4T

Lola
26-1/2 pounds | 38-1/2 inches
Size 3T


Golden State

by Kayte

Auntie Karen and I picked up the kids from school and went out for a hike; something I’m not usually able to do during the week when I’m solo. Even though the temperature was cool it was hot out on the sunny trail with no shade. The hills are already turning their summer golden color. The kids did a great job walking the whole way out and back…maybe a mile? (I did carry Lola for a bit after the slipped and scraped her knee.) It was a restorative last day to end a wonderful week with Auntie K.

IMG_3201

IMG_3202

IMG_3203


All About Mom

by Kayte

We spent a cozy Mother’s Day at home with Aunt Karen and Nana Bah. Brody pampered us with a delicious brunch of quiche and fruit salad and the kids brought home handmade presents from school.

IMG_3205

My favorite gift of the day was an “All About Mom!” survey the kids completed at school. Some highlights were the corroborating “coffee & wine” answers to “She like to drink…” and Lola’s “If my mom had time, she would love to go to her room.” (I always tell them I wish someone would give ME a time out so I could go sit in my room by myself and quietly think about things.) Max’s “Her job is pretty much anything” was pretty good too. “My mom always says ‘I love you.'” pretty much sums it up though.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the wine-and-coffee-drinking moms who do pretty much anything and never have time to go to their rooms!

2016-05-08-Mom-Lola 2016-05-08-Mom-Max