Wednesday, January 30, 2008

It's been a while

Yeah, I know. It's been a long time since the last update. Lately, we've started to reclaim our evenings...there's been more relaxing and catching up with the tv. For that to happen, that means the girls are doing much better. I can't remember my last post so I'll just tell you where the girls are now.

Alyssa is now 16 lbs, 10 oz. She is about 27 inches long and happy as can be. She has two teeth on the bottom, can roll with great ease, and will sit upright with some assistance. She has said "Dah" a couple times. Her latest trick is getting on all fours and rocking back and forth. She loves rice cereal and her favorite book is "Ten Little Ladybugs".

Katy is catching up to her big sister at 15 lbs, 9 oz. She is about 26 inches long. Katy has one tooth but the second will cut through any day. She can also roll, rock back and forth on her hands and knees, can sit up with some help. Katy loves playing with her toes (and of course taking off her socks) and has started saying "MAH, MAH, MAH, MAH". She immediately took to eating the rice cereal and there's a pretty funny routine of her taking the spoon, shoving it in her mouth and twirling it to get all the cereal off...then putting the spoon down on her lap so Lisa can fill it back up. It's not as an obvious choice as Alyssa's favorite book but if we had to pick one, it would be "Brown Bear".

Lots of fun at this Alaskan household. We welcomed my mom here for a 2 week visit and she's been helping us out tremendously...planning and cooking our meals, watching the girls, she even let us get out tonight and celebrate our anniversary.

We have big plans the rest of this week. We're having a Lost party tomorrow night (it's about time it's back on!!!), going to Girdwood on Friday for a massage for Lisa and snowboarding for me, and then celebrate my birthday Friday night with some friends downtown. Lots of fun.

I'll do better about posting. It doesn't occur to me how many people check in on us until I stop posting for a while and start getting emails asking if everything is okay. We're doing great.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Enjoying our Alaskan winter

If you stopped by to check up on the girls, then run away...cause today I'm talking about our Alaska winter. As some of you know, I kinda like the weather...especially the winter weather. So far this year, it's been a meh kinda winter (yeah, that's a technical term). But lately, we've been getting some more snow and temperatures have been dipping down into the "holy crap, it's cold" range.

This morning was our second coldest temperature since we've been in Anchorage. We got down to -13.8. Our coldest in the last 3 winters is -16.8. It will be warming back up into the 20s the next couple of days so back to more normal type temps. Just as long as it stays below freezing. I don't want to lose all this gorgeous snow we've hd.

About a week ago, we started getting daily snow. It wasn't accumulating much until we got an 8 inch dump. All in all, we have about a foot of snow on the ground. Does that stop us? Heck NO!! When it was 10 degrees and snowing like crazy, I fired up the grill and cooked a delicious flank steak dinner. Tonight, it was hovering around 0 degrees and we grilled some chicken thighs. MMMMMM!!! I love living here!

So last week when it was snowing, I made a last minute decision to head up the road and do some snowboarding. I haven't been with so much fresh snow on the ground so it was NICE! I took a couple pictures during the 15 minute drive and a fairly boring video of me going down the hill.

Said grilling pictures.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Alyssa being....Alyssa

Just wanted to share some pics and another video of Alyssa real fast.

The other day, Alyssa woke up at around 5 and was just ready to start the day. After trying to get her back to sleep for a while, I just decided to stay up with her so Lisa could get some more sleep. It didn't work out too well especially since Alyssa was ready to finally go back to sleep about the time Katy was waking up. The rest of the day was was still cute when it was just the 2 of us in the morning.

Friday, January 11, 2008

First feeding, part deux

This is the second video I took of the girls' first feeding. As you can see, Katy was getting very exciting about the spoon and would start blowing when Lisa would put it up to her mouth. More of the cereal was getting on her clothes than in her mouth...something I'm sure we'll have to get used to.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Tiny spoons

It's as if the girls knew something exciting and new was going to happen today. Lisa went into the nursery to find two little girls stretching as possible to see what the day was going to bring.

They had done wonderful last night so it was all smiles this morning. After their late morning nap, we got the tiny spoons and mixed up a delicious concoction of milk and rice cereal. Katy really got into it as you'll see. Alyssa...she's not too sure about it yet. They were champs and can only describe today as a success.

So this video is literally the very first spoonfulls of the good stuff. Their reactions are priceless.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Day 34

So 34 days ago (wow, time flies) we started our new sleep routine. Initially, we had tons of success and then things got kinda rough. It's hard to describe without going into a lot of boring details but during the last month, we've had lots of ups and downs. The girls have been troopers, as has Lisa.

During these last 5 weeks, the girls stopped using their "inclined to sleeps", they began rolling over back to front pretty efficiently, they have each cut their first tooth, and finally they moved to their own crib. That's a lot of firsts and a lot of progress in 5 weeks. No wonder it's so hard for them to go to sleep, their little brains are just churning!

Katy got her first tooth yesterday. We noticed with Alyssa that she started having a more and more difficult time staying asleep the days leading up to her tooth coming through. We noticed the same with Katy more than a week ago and when we went to our monthly checkup with our doctor, he told us that she was "weeks away" from cutting that first tooth and that Alyssa's second tooth would cut pretty soon. That kinda scared us since Katy had been having such a hard time sleeping...then yesterday we noticed her sticking her tongue out and feeling her gum. We got the flashlight out and there it was! Alyssa hasn't cut her second yet.

Another big step was putting them in separate cribs. It became obvious to us when we needed to make that change when Alyssa became pretty proficient at rolling. Katy would stay pretty still during the night but once they both could roll, there was no stopping them. They would bump into each other and wake each other up in the middle of the night. We had to separate them for our own sanity. The first night went great and while they still wake up in the middle of the night and we even catch them looking for each other, I think they've done far better this last week since we separated them.

Other monumental firsts are the girls getting better at getting themselves to sleep on their own...and back to sleep in the middle of the night without us going in to comfort them. Each girl has done that but today was the first day that Lisa just sat back during and didn't comfort either one and both were able to fall asleep for their nap on their own. Pretty amazing. One part of that is they started sleeping on their stomachs. When we put them down, they both immediately roll to their right so they can fall asleep on their side. Eventually, they'll finish rolling and end up on their stomachs. It made us so nervous the first couple of nights but they are pros now. Spending more time on their stomach will help them shape their heads and also help them ....uh...expel excess gas.

The next first? Tomorrow we start solids. Well, not solids solids...just rice cereal. We are going to introduce that during one feeding tomorrow and see how they tolerate it. We've been given pretty specific instructions on how to introduce something new, even something as benign as rice cereal. So tomorrow we will open a whole new can of worms.

Speaking of can of worms...I hear introducing new food can have a pretty powerful effect on what comes out the other end. I have to admit that I am not looking forward to that.

I'll leave you with our first moose of the new year. This young male found his way into our back yard on January 1st. We've been living here for almost 3 years and I'm still amazed every time I see a moose so close up. I can't believe we're so lucky to have these guys hanging around the neighborhood. Matter a fact...just tonight, I was walking Madison down on the trail that goes next to a creek. We came across a Mom and baby moose and the baby moose was actually walking on the frozen creek. It was the first time I'd seen that.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Little miracles.

I can't help but share this story. When we were diagnosed with twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, I started doing research to find out more about it and came across a website (TTTS Foundation). On this website was a forum where you could share your story or just read about others to find out everything there is to know about TTTS. I shared our story and was overwhelmed with the responses...both support and help. I shared our blog with the forum and now, almost a year later, there still seems to be some lurkers from that original thread that occasionally check on us and our girls and offer their support and advice. Although we've never met, this family has left numerous well-wishes in the comment section. Just recently..ok, yesterday...she left her email address so we could finally e-meet. Ends up, THEY LIVE IN THE CITY WHERE LISA AND I GRADUATED HIGH SCHOOL!!!!! Their TTTS surviving twins are going to the junior high where Lisa went!! It's INSANE!! We've had this surreal connection for almost a year and just realized that we really do have a connection.

I'm typing this really fast so it probably isn't coming out very clear but we're pretty amazed. I'm....I'm....speechless. Too cool. We will get to meet this incredible family this summer when we travel home to see family. It's just too cool!

Thank you OH family for being so cool and we can't wait to meet you! Stay in touch. These pictures of the girls go out to you.

Lisa and her mom took 15 pictures...just like these. Actually, there might have been more that were deleted. There are 15 pictures just like these that I have to choose from to share on the blog. In 14 out of 15 pictures, Alyssa's mouth is open. Why was her mouth open in 14 out of 15 pictures? Apparently she was telling a story and they couldn't get her to stop telling this tale long enough for a couple pictures. It made for some cute pictures either way.

Our last little miracle that I'd like to talk about is Lisa's mom. She has been visiting since before Christmas and will be taking the long journey back to OHIO!!! tomorrow night. Lisa and I (and the girls, of course) will be very sad to see her go. She has been a TREMENDOUS help during the hardest of times. She cooked us dinner every night and would often eat hers cold because she was helping with the babies. She walked the dog when it was -5 degrees and held screaming babies late into the night. I think the only time she got out of the house was to go to the babies doctor appointment and go Christmas shopping...and spend WAAAAY too much on her son-n-law. We can't thank her enough for the time she was able to spend with us during the holidays. Now it's back to work where she can hopefully get some rest.

Thank you, Eileen!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year from Alaska

Happy New Year! I hope your New Year started out a little better than ours. Katy is having a rough night so we weren't really able to celebrate the new year in. We're happy, nonetheless.

Alyssa went through a couple nights in a row where she couldn't stay asleep and woke up in the middle of the night and then a day later, we found that she had cut her first tooth. We're thinking that might be what Katy's going through tonight...although she's also a little gassy. She just hasn't been able to stay asleep and it's especially strange because she's been doing so great the last several days. Whatever it is, we'll push through tonight and tomorrow will be a new day.

I don't think I've updated on their progress lately. Alyssa is now rolling over with ease from back to front. Katy was the first to figure that one out in early December and just the other night, Alyssa rolled over in the crib during her afternoon nap. I was upset I missed it thinking like Katy, it would be a while before she did it again. Boy, was I wrong. We can't contain her any more. They are two little rolling machines. We definitely have to keep an eye on them when they're on the ground.


Many hours later....and I'm tired. It's 2am and just got Katy down for the night, I hope. Sorry no pics or videos tonight. I just wanted to say Happy New Year!