I hope everyone is having a lovely February, and that you are all sticking with the goals and resolutions that each of you made for yourselves. I'm steadily working on the organizing and decluttering, but for now, I am on a mini break from it (partly because last week was cookbook and recipe organization, and this week is coupon storage solutions and organization, both of which I don't have!). I look at it as a lifestyle, not a resolution, and even when I am not throwing things out of my house, I am training myself to not 'want.' It is getting easier and easier the longer I'm on this simpler- lifestyle/declutter/minimalism path.
Can you believe it is already mid-January?! I can. The babies' have been quite busy getting themselves into trouble. :D
Yesterday, we found out that Owen is definitely allergic to cows milk. We spent three hours in the ER as a result. But it explains something that I found troubling. Last year (2014) we attempted to switch Emmett from the current formula (that they still get, which is an infant formula) to a toddler formula. He reacted to the new formula with severe diarrhea and dehydrating - we had no idea why. Now we know that his reaction was more than likely an allergic one.
As the babies are getting older and learning to pull everything out of cabinets and drawers, helping unfold laundry, and generally doing what 18-month-olds do best (wreak havoc on a picked up house with the help and encouragement of their slightly older 2.5 year old brother, accompanied by the oldest 8.5 year old brother, and might as well throw Dave in the mix, too), the fight to reduce the clutter has intensified. The less stuff we have, the less stuff I have to clean up. Which brings me to my New Year's Resolutions...all of them. (Well, most of them.)
Jenni's 2015 :
3. To live more organically. Basically, it means we are going to start recycling, use less, grow more of our consumables (as much as we can), and just try to make our footprint on this planet a little less evident. Recycle, reduse, reuse. Other than recycling, I would like to start small with an herb garden and add to it each year. For years I have wanted to do a full blown edible landscaping project, but I have to reign myself in. In time, my dream will become a reality but for now, we'll start small. AND, I can train my 'black' thumb to be slightly more 'green.'
2. To live more simply. This concept is really not a new one, it's more like a renewing of my minimalistic dream. I joined a challenge called the "Home Storage Solutions 101 - Declutter 365 Challenge." Basically, the challenge breaks down the declutter process into small daily tasks that leads you to find a place for everything that is important, and get rid of the stuff that's not. There is a free printable calendar to help keep me on task, weekly emails to keep me motivated, and a facebook page where i can go and be encouraged by others embarking on this same mission. The challenge addresses each area in the house and garage. I am so excited to have a viable approach to purging and organizing. If you are interested in joining the challenge, the great thing is that you can start at any time. (I actually started the week after Christmas, so all my Christmas decorations are inventoried and neatly organized! EEEE!!! How can you not get excited about that?!)
Less stuff, more time. Now THAT is a win-win situation!
Don't you just love this time of year? It's so busy, and wonderful! We have been quite busy with Christmas preparations and activities, and the babies have been enjoying it from what I can tell, as have the 2 older boys. When we decorated the Christmas tree, I thought there was going to be a fist fight over who would put up the NEXT ornament! Luckily, we completed our tree with no additional bruises or emergency trips!
First, let me post some Halloween pictures of some pretty awesome dudes:
At 2:45 a.m., Ethan awakened me because he felt like he couldn't breathe. We started the regiment of breathing treatments that had been prescribed for asthma flares. By 6:00 a.m., it was obvious that his breathing was not improving. At 7:30 a.m., Owen was showing signs of respiratory distress. We started intensive breathing treatments with him and waited to see if he was going to improve. At 9:30 a.m., I pulled the plug on managing everything at home. Ethan had an appointment with the dr. at 10:30, and an ambulance was headed to our house to take Owen, with his nurse, to the ER.
Owen and Dave stayed overnight at the hospital. By Tuesday, Owen was on oxygen. Preliminary tests confirmed that he had rhinovirus (which presents as a common cold), and fortunately, a very mild version of it. He was stable enough to come home - we have been managing this round of infection from home. By Wednesday afternoon, Liam and Emmett both came down with the same infection, and while Liam and Ethan are both on the mend, the babies are taking their time to improve; however, they are both in good spirits, and they are both nearly off oxygen. I'm hoping in a few more days, they will be back on track.
This past week, Emmett had an appointment at the Scottish Rite Hospital to assess his scoliosis. With this appointment came both good(ish) news and bad news. Apparently, Emmett's scoliosis looks worse on the x-ray than it does clinically, which is good. It may buy us a little bit of time before some type of intervention has to be done. The bad news is that the early, less invasive options of treatment are NOT options because of his abdominal involvement - we HAVE to have access to his feeding tube ports. We are unsure what this is going to mean in the long run for scoliosis planning and management, but in the meantime, Emmett has to have an MRI (after he kicks the respiratory infection) of his entire spine, and he will have to go under anesthesia.
Owen's scoliosis appointment showed NO INDICATIONS OF SCOLIOSIS, however, Owen is not completely in the clear. At the cardiologist, he still showed a mild-moderate septal defect. Emmett's heart is perfect. We still have many years of medical appointments and check-ups ahead of us. It's part of the parcel. I happily accept the whole package.
If you missed the segment on The Meredith Vieira Show that featured the babies, don't despair! There are a few clips on you tube. You can either search for "The Meredith Vieira Show" channel, and then type in 'conjoined twins' or 'Ezell,' or you can click HERE for the first segment, and HERE for the second segment where the babies make and appearance. We had an altogether great experience meeting Meredith and her VERY hard working crew. They were all such genuine, kind, open-hearted people. They all took us under their wings, and encouraged us, listened to us, played with the two older boys, and they helped us make memories that we will cherish forever. Here are a few pictures from our trip:
Get ready, New York, here we come! Hopefully our arrival will not be heralded by some type of van running into some type of building (moving van into apartment in Plano; van into house in Grand Prairie). We are hoping for a calm, uneventful arrival, followed by some pretty amazing things.
The real deal, though, is that the decals are amazingly resilient, and they look as great now as they did when we received them!
I. Love. Kidecals. We have not had infections spread since we started using them. They are personizeable, and there is a huge variety of options (including keyboard decals, 'peanut allergy' indicators, personalized labels, etc.). There are so many options, it is almost overwhelming. But, if you just want simple, you can just do simple! Check out kidecals.com and let the personalizing and organizing begin. (Did I mention thy are dishwasher and washing machine safe?!)
Kidecals also has offers for those of you who would like to try out their product:
2 children: doubles2014 = 15% off $25 or more
3 children: threes2014 = 20% off $50 or more
4 children: fours2014 = 25% off $75 or more
5 children: fives2014 = 30% off $100 or more
6 children: sixes2014 = 35% off $125 or more
7 children: sevens2014 = 40% off $150 or more
So let me leave you with these two things:
1.) 'The Meredith Vieira Show' on Wednesday on NBC.
And now, 3 good things.
1.) cute boys to take lots of pictures of!
2.) amazing opportunities (Meredith Vieira and kidecals.com)
3.) an amazingly loving God who loves without bounds.
Just after Dave and I married, 5 loooooooooooooooong years ago, we had this fantastic idea: let's get a camper and go camping. We were a family of three and a puppy. A small simple antique camper would do just fine, we decided. And then I found the perfect camper - it was cute, it was compact, it was inexpensive, AND it had a teal stripe down the side. The only problem was that it was listed on craigslist in Colorado. All that REALLY meant was road trip! (Right?!) but then we realized that my elantra wouldn't pull a trailer, and Dave's 2-seater truck couldn't carry our small family. So the ONLY logical next step was to buy a truck that could seat us all AND pull a trailer all at the same time!
First thing is first. I apologize for my uber fail - It has been over a month since I last posted an update!!! In my head, this is what I'm hearing, "Come on, Ezell!! Get it together!!!" But before we get to all the recent goings on, I have a lot of funness to impart.
Two words: BIRTHDAY PARTIES.
Dave and I had a small, intimate birthday party for the babies on July 15th (their actual birthday). We were able to invite a few of the doctors and nurses who we have become very close with over the past year, as well as our family from Arkansas, and our closest friends. There were many people who were not able to make it, and they were certainly missed!
And just look at that AMAZING cake!!! I have to offer a ginormous thank you to Erika Bridges, owner of Confections In Cake. She introduced herself to us through email, and offered to make Emmett and Owen's first birthday party cake, and WOW! It was 1.) absolutely beautiful and 2.) incredibly delicious. It was perfect. I sent her my color scheme, a couple of pictures for my inspiration, and gave her free design. She nailed the look and feel that I was going for, exactly. All this to say, if you have cake needs (birthday parties, weddings, anniversaries, etc...), Erika Bridges gets the highest recommendation from me! Here is her website: www.confectionsincake.com. Sersiouly, take a peek at her website. It is time well spent!
Wow. Oh my goodness. Wow...
Three weeks have gone by since the babies came home. It has been exhausting. And difficult. Confusing. Hectic. And oh, so worth it. I have learned a lot in the past few weeks about a lot of different things. For one, I had no idea that ambulances with no lights on are NOT just driving around waiting for an emergency - they are typically actually transporting a patient from home/a facility to a hospital/doctors appointment and then home again. I have lived in ignorance for years!
I have also learned that my patience is not where it needs to be. I can feel myself getting frustrated, and then I become frustrated because I am getting frustrated, and the cycle continues. As a momma learning new trick with special needs babies, I have a new appreciation for "age 2-and-under nap times." I have learned to turn off my phone, and take a long, looooooooong uninterupted hot shower, and it is pure bliss. (Don't worry. The babies' nurses keep an eye on them while they sleep.)
We have been home for three weeks, and we have had lots of 'excitement' to fill pur time with. Emmett has been in the ER 3 times for diverse issues, 2 related to j-tube (feeding tube) concerns, and 1 related to breathing issues. He showed signs of respiratory distress, and was hospitalized for a week as a result! He was started on Zyrtec, and seems to be breathing a bit easier since discharge. Owen has been keeping himself and his nurses busy at home, and has figured out how to clamp off his tubes! These boys...they are smart, and into everything!
Owen is also learning to transition from sitting to tummy-time, and by transition, I mean he performs feats of acrobatics with similarities to failed somersaults. It's exactly what it sounds like - leaning too far forward until he falls forward! It is quite cute. Emmett is too chill to try acrobatics yet. He is such a content baby, though when he sees a toy he REALLY wants, he will take a small tumble as well!
Both boys are all smiles all the time, and I LOVE seeing their smiling faces first thing in the morning, throughout the day, and before they go to sleep.
God has seen us through. And here they are:
Aren't they beautiful?
This day, Thursday, June 12, 2014 will forever be a day remembered in our little family. We are overjoyed. Overwhelmed. Exhausted. Full of love and hope. Worried. Relieved. Enamored. And yet we are still missing two boys. Liam and Ethan are both in AR with family, but we will all be home soon.
Owen had a small setback Wednesday that prevented us from discharging from OCH as scheduled. He has one of the recurrent infections that we have to continually watch for signs of. Our dr's thought it would be better to treat him and set us up for success before sending us out the door, and as disappointed as I felt, I'm so glad they had the foresight to keep us a little longer.
Emmett had a small procedure (broncoscopy) at Medical City this morning, and we bumped into old friends and familiar faces, and Emmett handled everything like a champ.
Our journey has been difficult, but look at the outcome, beautiful boys (4 of them), new relationships, growth, understanding, love, faith, patience, happiness...
"A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.
So with you: now is your time of grief, but I will see you again, and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy."
- John 16:21-22
How undeserving I am.
Much love to you all.