Today was a good day. We both showered, in the morning. We all ate breakfast, together, at the table. We hustled and got out the door in time for portraits, with Chris too. See photos below. We all napped. Awesome. Later, while I had the girls with me at Gabby's last soccer game of the season, Basia was doing an HEB run, and the babies cooperarted with her. Then tonight, we had a frined come by and help us put the kids to bed. And we went out on a date/shopping trip.
It was a good day. I like good days.
Pictures from portraits, and soccer.
Let me explain. Ellie has some pullups and panties with princesses on them. She's pretty much potty-trained now. It wasn't much of a production. We didn't push it. She was ready. What a big girl!
Last Sunday, Gabby had her first organized sports activity - Soccer! She had a great time, and played really well for someone who's never played or watched a game. There were a few injuries, though. She got a headbutt with a boy on the field, and after the game she tumbled down the big hill... It's at the end of the photo album. The tumble gave her some burrs in her clothes. We ended up driving home with Gabby in her panties, shinguards and sneakers...quite the event!
|Gabby's 1st Soccer Game - 2009.10.18|
Let me start with some context. We have the flu. It started with Gabby last Thursday, Ellie on Saturday, Basia on Tuesday, and me on Thursday. Anyway, I've been craving and needing a little bit extra sleep. Well, Gabby hasn't been too keen on the idea of NOT waking us up with a request at 6am.
Tonight, I reiterated to her that I am sick, and I am tired, and for me to have the energy to take care of her and the rest of the brood tomorrow, I need rest. So please do not wake me up early.
"Dad, you're a grown-up and I'm a kid. Deal with it."
"Good night, Gabby."
We tried to have a little photo shoot on September 20th, the twins' three month birthday. We took lots and lots of pictures, but didn't manage to get a single one with them both looking happily at the camera. Here are a few of the best shots we got. Enjoy!
|Three Month Pictures|
Every evening at bedtime, we get Gabby and Ellie ready for bed, then read two books, talk about their day, sing two songs, and tuck them in. We have a repertoire of regular lullaby-type songs to choose from, as well as some random favorites, but Gabby's most frequent request is, "I want a new song," to which I usually reply, "I don't have any more new songs." Occasionally I come up with something we haven't sung in a while or even something I've never sung to her (often from the deep dark recesses of my musical mind...songs from Girl Scout campfires, junior high chorus or high school drama club, maybe a Beatles tune, etc).
Tonight I offered up Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World." First Gabby corrected me on the order of the verses. I still think I was right, but went along with her on that one. Then I got to the verse that says: "I see skies of blue, and clouds of white, the bright blessed day, the dark sacred night." Gabby grumpily stopped me and said, "that isn't right mama...it's ...'The Dogs Say Goodnight!'" It took me a second to figure out that "the dark sacred night" sounds like "the dogs say goodnight." Even contextually, it's not a bad fit. After arguing with my 4 1/2 year old about it for a minute, I gave in and sang it her way (it was already well past bedtime). The best part is that when I told Joe, he actually took Gabby's side. He busted out the iPod, and sure enough, it does sound a bit like Gabby's version!
It also reminded us of a few other Gabby music-isms.
1. A couple weeks ago Gabby told us they danced to a new song in her dance class. She said someone asked who was singing it and the teacher said she didn't know. Gabby told us that she let everyone know that it was Louis Armstrong.
2. Today there was a Tom Waits song on the radio. Gabby asked if it was Louis Armstrong. Close...just another guy with a deep gravelly voice.
3. And just so you know that Gabby listens to current music as well, the other day she heard "You Belong with Me" on the radio. She told us that it was the same girl who sings the "Romeo and Juliet" song. (aka "Love Story" by Taylor Swift).
4. She can also recognize the voices of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Keb Mo', and Bob Marley!
Nice job Gabs! Now let's expand those musical horizons!
Authored by Basia at 9/06/2009 08:47:00 PM
Click the pic below below to view the album!
Authored by Basia at 9/06/2009 01:22:00 PM
Gabby's teacher distributed a piece of paper with the words, "I want to know..."
Gabby drew a few snakes, then on her own wrote this...
"HAW DOO YU BITN BY SYNACHE"
|From Bitten by a snake|
|From Bitten by a snake|
Awesome, I tell you. This was the day after her teacher tells us that she's the only one in her class that thinks to draw on the back of a piece of paper, before asking for more paper. It's the little things...
Oh, I've ogt one more recent Gabby story. Now, I wasn't there, but to have her tell it...it goes like this...
I asked, "How'd you get one of Lukey's birthday cupcakes, when you aren't even in his class?"
Gabby's answer: "Well, I heard from Miss Haley, Lukey's teacher, that he was having cupcakes, so I asked her if she could save me one. Then later I got the cupcake from her class, and went to Ellie's class to eat it. I sat next to Ellie and Kyla."
"Gabby, why'd you go to Ellie's class?"
"If I went back to my class, my firends would've wanted one."
"Didn't Ellie want one?"
Ellie says, "I ate a crumb!"
I think my girls run that school.
Earlier this week, one of Basia's stroller strides friends brought over dinner. With the scrumptious meal, she also sent a brownie cake. The girls loved it for a few days. And I quote...
"Daddy, who brought us the brown playdoh?" as Ellie smooshed the brownie on the table into a patty with a palm print.
"Look, Daddy. I make circles!" as Ellie used her carrots to punch out circles in her brownie patty.
Did I mention the brownies were very moist and delicious?
Maggie and Ben had their two month birthday yesterday. It was just an ordinary day here, but it's hard to believe that two months have already gone by since their birth.
Today they had their two month check-up. Ben weighed in at 9 lbs. 14 oz. which was 10th percentile for his age, but 50th percentile adjusted for his prematurity. Maggie weighed in at 8 lbs. 15 oz, which was also 10th percentile for her age, but 50th percentile adjusted for her prematurity. (Note: The percentiles differ for girls and boys). They're doing well on all counts and are now up to date on their vaccinations. On a parenting side-note, we tried EMLA cream to numb them before their shots, and the pediatrician also gave them sugar-water, both proven to help with the pain, and I think it did. Now that we have the cream, I'll use it for all their vaccinations...I figure it can't hurt!
In other news...we're getting a teeny bit more sleep these days. I'm afraid to talk about it for risk of jinxing myself, but it helps to remind me that we will get more sleep in the future (some day). Before this week, we were lucky to get two consecutive hours of sleep, and often only two times per night. Nine weeks of 3-5 hours of broken sleep per night is TOUGH!
And here are some pictures from the first half of August. Click the pictures below to view the two albums.
|Early August 2009|
|8-3-09 to 8-16-09|
Authored by Basia at 8/21/2009 08:44:00 PM
Maggie and Ben are six weeks old today...and we are six weeks worth of exhausted!
They had a weight check on Thursday and they're now both officially over 7 lbs. Maggie weighed in at 7 lbs. 4 oz. and Ben at 7 lbs. 14 oz. (He's pretty consistently been 10 oz. heavier than his sister at every weight check). They've now surpassed Gabby's birth weight of 6 lbs. 13 oz. but are not yet near Ellie's chubby birth weight of 8 lbs. 5 oz. Because of their successful weight gain, we've finally been released from waking them up every three hours to eat, and can now feed them on demand. The first night on the new program they taunted us by waking up every 2.5 hours to feed, but last night they did much better and graced us with a couple of 4 hour stretches, which means we got to sleep for close to 3 consecutive hours for the first time in 6 weeks. Woo hoo!
Aside from the weight checks we can tell they're growing well because of the clothes they're going through. We've already packed away all the preemie outfits, and Ben's now starting to outgrow the newborn sizes in length (although there's still plenty of room in girth), so we're now on to 0-3 month outfits in Ben sizes, and I imagine Maggie will be close behind in another week or so.
The one thing that I didn't expect is that although it has officially been the hottest July on record here in Austin, we've really got to keep these little munchkins bundled up. On doctor's orders, they're always in full on sleepers and hats, and we usually have them swaddled up as well (unless, of course, they're actually outside in the 100 degree weather, which only happens for very short stints between air conditioned comfort). As soon as we unswaddle them, their hands and noses get cold. I guess that's what happens when you don't yet have any fat to keep you warm! So much for all the adorable newborn summer outfits I have that were never worn!!!
In other news, "Babci," my mom has been in town this week. My sister Marta has been helping us out all summer, but this week she's on vacation, so my mom came to help out instead. She's been a great help with all four kids, and her own twin experience (my little sisters are fraternal twins, for any readers who were unaware) has been helpful. She will be missed (especially in the late evening hours when she's been helping with the babies and in the early morning hours when she's been helping with Gabby and Ellie)!!!
On Thursday we celebrated Joe's birthday, and I'll need to post a picture of his new T-shirt which proclaims him "World's Best Daddy according to Gabby, Ellie, Maggie, Ben!"
That's all for now. Pictures to follow as soon as we can get around to uploading them!
Authored by Basia at 8/01/2009 07:20:00 PM
Things here are busy as usual. Maggie and Ben celebrated their one month birthday on July 20th. They're putting on weight and Ben has now surpassed the seven-pound mark with his sister close behind.
We'd had some setbacks in the past week or two (flat tire on one car, break-in on the other car, colds and conjunctivitis in the house, courtesy of daycare), but we're getting through it all and are all doing well.
Many, many thanks to the wonderful friends who have sent us cards and gifts, brought us dinners, volunteered hours of "baby-holding" time, and entertained the "big girls" with playdates and other fun. This adventure would be much more difficult without you all!
Authored by Basia at 7/25/2009 02:03:00 PM
The twins are 3 weeks... photos coming.
Last night we overheard Gabby and Ellie chatting after bedtime.
Gabby: Do you want a cookie?
G: A really big cookie?
G: Well, you know what happens if you eat too much food, right?
E: I get a tummy ache.
G: A really really bad tummyache. Then you need to go to the hospital. There they will cut open your tummy with scissors, then give you 100 shots.
It was at that point, we intervened. Gabby is going to scare that little munchkin.
Sorry the blog updates are not regular or consistent, but we've got our hands full around here these days!!!
Babci and Papa came to visit this Fourth of July weekend. Rochelle and Bob also came to Austin (from Boston) to visit Marta and Sara and came up to our place to hang out on the 4th as well.
Enjoy some more pictures...click on the picture below to see the album!
|7-2 to 7-6-09|
My parents are in town for the weekend. This morning my Mom, "Babci" asked Gabby if she knew what Independence Day was all about. Joe and I were in the other room, and I figured she'd have no idea since we hadn't talked about it at all. Instead, she boldly answered, "It's about freedom." Then Babci asked Gabby, and what does that mean, to which Gabby responded, "Well, the King and Queen were in charge, and people couldn't do what they wanted to do, so when they got freedom, they could do what they wanted, and that's what we're celebrating."
Pretty astute response for a four-year-old! Joe and I looked at each other in shock...I guess they're actually teaching her something at daycare!
Maggie and Ben had their two week check-up yesterday. Ben had put on 7 oz, bringing him up to a whopping 5 lbs 11 oz and Maggie had put on 5 oz, bringing her up to 5 lbs even. Yes...they are still little bitty babies. After a visit with the lactation consultant we got some strategies for keeping the babies awake for feedings, and for supplementing them so they'll fatten up a little and gain strength. Right now, it takes all their energy to feed, and they often fall asleep while they're eating. The goal is for them to put on at least an ounce per day for the next few weeks, so that's what our task is for this week. We'll weigh-in again next Friday. Aside from that, they're both healthy, and doing well. They're both sweet and cuddly, and remarkably strong for their tiny size. Also, Gabby was also happy to see that they've both lost their umbilical stumps and now have "normal belly buttons." :)
Pictures to follow soon!
Well, the twins are 1 week old today. I have to say that we had a pretty good rhythm going by Friday afternoon. We'd worked out the requirements to sleep, feed, pump, clean, and prepare for all of the above. However, as the weekend hit we introduced to unpredictable variables into the mix. Let's call them Element G and Element E. The new elements produced a sense of anxiousness and need for additional rules and boundaries. However, the Elements did also provide much love and genuine tendency for nurture.
Anyway, the girls, twins, and wife are sleeping now. It's not yet 8pm here. I'm going down shortly. Enjoy the new pictures and video.
Well, we finally got discharged from the hospital at 3PM yesterday, and it's been quite a whirlwind ever since. We got home, unpacked the babies and our bags, then it was time for Joe to pick Gabby and Ellie up from daycare. The big sisters were very excited to see Maggie and Ben again, but Ellie was maybe a bit too eager, given that she's come down with a summer cold, with a very runny nose and nasty cough. Not great for sharing with your newborn preemie baby sister and brother. So...we did our best to temper her enthusiasm, for the time being, until she's back to 100%.
The big girls did well last night with the minor adjustments to their routine. For example, Mommy couldn't walk up the stairs to tuck them in, so we read stories downstairs on the couch, (until Maggie was wailing so loud, that her cries for feeding could no longer be ignored. For such a little munchkin, Maggie's got quite a set of lungs)!
The big girls slept through the night, but the babies apparently aren't quite acclimated to their new environment yet. We're hoping that Maggie's attempts to prove to us that she has colic will be unfounded after a few more nights, but last night was a rough one. Ben's a bit quieter, and calmed a bit sooner, but the 8PM -1AM stretch, was no picnic, and I'm pretty sure that Gabby and Ellie were the only people that got any sleep during that 5 hour period! After 1AM, we did better, thankfully.
Right now Joe's taking the babies on their first stroll. They were a bit jaundiced when we were discharged yesterday (although totally in the safe zone), so our pedi advised some time outside in the mornings, with some indirect sunlight, to help with that.
Tomorrow we head back to the pediatrician (and to the lactation consultant) for our first post-hospital doctor visit. Today, we're just trying to unpack, and figure out some sort of semblance of a routine! Thanks to everyone for your thoughts and congratulations!
We've been here for only a few days, but I feel like it's been a long long time. We've been through so much is three very very very long days. The days have truly blurred. We've been with about 20 nurses (no exaggeration), some named, some nameless. Been updated on stats and status countless time about countless things. And have been given a more than expected amount of conflicting information and advice.
With all that said, we are very grateful for the health of our babies. And I am grateful for all the breastfeeding practice Gabby and Ellie have given Basia in order to prepare for the twins. Basia is doing great. Feeding in tandem, pumping for supplements. I am very proud.
Ok enough of the reflective stuff...here's what you came for... more pictures and video. Enjoy!! Click the slideshow to access the web album.
|From Maggie & Ben are Born|
Maggie came out of the NICU today. Freedom at last. Having her in the room means we save an hour every 3hours with tandem feeding. Yay! Plus the twins get to share a bassinet. Bonus.
It's a new day today. Not that we'd know it. Last night was full of activity...as is the days. With Maggie in the NICU across the hospital, and Ben in the room - we've been shuttling between the NICU and the nursery and the room, with the occasional visit from a doctor, consultant, or specialist - we've been busy. So we offer our apologies to anyone that may have tried to reach us on the phone, and missed us.
An update on Mags: Maggie came off all assistance devices last night around 2am. No more IV, no more Oxygen, and no more heater. The fine folks at the NICU are observing her, and will hopefully send her to our room this afternoon.
Benji: Ben's been doing well. It's hard to remember sometimes that even though he is the bigger of the two, he's still small. Therefore, he is under close scrutiny as well - to get and maintain his weight, feeding, expelling, etc.
We've added more photos and videos to the online album here: http://picasaweb.google.com/jcohen22/MaggieBenAreBorn?authkey=Gv1sRgCPbKi-mswcytdw
|From Maggie & Ben are Born|
We want to share the news that Margaret "Maggie" and Benjamin "Ben" Cohen were born yesterday. (Still not 100% on the middle names...will let you know). I started having contractions mid-day yesterday which were increasing in frequency and intensity, so we we talked to my OB and headed to the hospital for the C-section that we had been planning, just a week earlier than planned. I was exactly 36 weeks pregnant yesterday.
Maggie was born first at 6:21PM and weighed 5 lb. 4.9 oz. and was 18 1/2 inches long. Ben was born at 6:23PM, weighed 5 lb. 14 oz. and was 19 inches long. Maggie has been in the NICU for observation b/c she wasn't getting quite enough air when she was first born, but she's doing great now. Joe has spent some time with her and I will finally be able to go see her shortly. If all goes well, she'll be in our room by this evening. Ben is doing very well, and has been with us all night.
They both have a full head of hair, although Maggie's is longer. Maggie reminds us of Gabby as a newborn, and Ben looks more like Ellie did.
I'm doing pretty well. The C-section recovery is a little more painful than I was anticipating, but I've already been on my feet once, and my night nurse said I'm doing great!
Basia had a book club event tonight, so I put the girls to bed solo. Not bad. After a lot of dancing to the Beatles, hairbrushing (with B before she left), and pajamas, I read a couple of books to the girls in G's bed.
Ellie didn't sit still, as usual. She ran around and decided to show us her new skill...jumping. She grabbed her 5-6 in. stool and proceeded to continually launch herself to the narration of, "Look!! Ellie jumpin'!"
Anyway, after the books I rocked Ellie while rubbing Gabby's back, while singing them 4 songs. Then I placed Ellie in the crib, and Gabby in the bed. Gabby wanted to feel the fan, so I sprinkled some water on her legs. That was 7:05pm. By 7:25pm, they had stopped chatting, and have been silent since. Let's see how tomorrow morning goes. I'll keep y'all posted.
Around 5:45 this morning, we heard Gabby on the monitor chatting with Ellie. Huh?? Apparently, she saw she was up, and gave Ellie the day's clothes and turned on the lights. I put Ellie back to bed, and instructed Gabby to hang in the playroom. Ellie slept another 45 mins.
Apparently, we were not clear on the plan. Our bad. Hopefully tomorrow morning will go better. Sorry, kids!
Tonight we did the deed. We inserted a crib into Gabby's room, and told Ellie, that she is now sharing the room. Gabby had no issue, and Ellie was excited. It sure is great that they get along so well. Now, I hope that the morning and overnight go well. We instructed Gabby to leave her room when she wakes up, if Ellie is sleeping, and told her she can play in the playroom. My fingers are crossed!
I've migrated back to Blogger, for our blogging needs. With all the things to do between now and when the babies arrive, I do not intend to migrate the wordpress posts back to here anytime in the near future... so if you're interested in posts from the past year and a half...head on over to http://cohenkids.wordpress.com/