Saturday, December 22, 2012

Fourteen Months

Ben and Ainsley are 14 months old!

Time is flying by a little too quickly right now.  I just love this interactive stage that they are in right now.

Ainsley - you are so sweet right now!  You are very much a Momma's girl at the moment and your absolute favorite place to be is sitting in my lap on the floor.  I sit cross-legged and you are pretty certain that my lap is YOUR spot.  While you sit there you LOVE to have me read books to you.  Right now you love Brown Bear, Brown Bear and The Good Morning Book which is one of Mommy's books from when she was a little girl.  You like to read these books over and over.  We finish it and say "The End" and you flip it over and open it up so we can start again.

You are in the stage where you want to be held all the time which makes getting anything done a little difficult but I try to enjoy it because I know you won't want to be held forever.  Soon enough you'll be off exploring!

You are still walking on your knees and crawling to get around.  You are doing better at standing without support and will take one step sometimes.  You will also walk if we are holding both your hands.

I'm not sure why you are so tentative about walking because nothing else seems to scare you!  You climb on everything!  You like to climb up on the ottomans and then onto the chairs.  You like to climb the stairs.  And you often get in trouble at daycare for standing on chairs and things you shouldn't.

Your newest thing is giving kisses which is unbelievably adorable so we make you do it all the time.  You give kisses to Mommy, Daddy and even Ben.  You like to give your baby dolls and stuffed animals hugs and kisses too.

You are in size 12-18 month clothes, size 4 diapers, are about 21-22 pounds, and if you ever wore shoes would probably fit in size 3 because you have such tiny feet.  You have the cutest size 5 Tiny Toms but they are huge on you and just fall right off.

We love you so much and love watching you grow and learn!

Ben - you are just the cutest little guy in the world and melt our hearts every day!  You are quite the cuddler and like to rest your head on ours when we're holding you.  We call them "head hugs."  You will sometimes give kisses too.  You also like to be held right now.  If you are sitting on my lap you like to turn around and make me hold you up so you can pat me on the chest.  That's your preferred spot right now...just being held.

You are really able to make your way around now!  You aren't crawling yet but you are a pro at sitting yourself up and rolling all over the place to get wherever you want.  You are quite interested in everything now and explore all over the room.

You like to read books too but prefer anything you can bang on that makes noise.  You have a couple different piano toys and love to play with those.  You also love to dance!  Anytime there is music or even if Mommy or Daddy is singing you start dancing and smiling!

You are really doing great at standing at PT lately with support from some knee immobilizers so we are going to get a pair of those for you to practice with at home too.  I imagine you'll need some new AFOs sooner than later because your current pair is getting a little small.

You are wearing size 18 month clothes, size 4 diapers, and your size 5 Toms are almost too small.  You are about 22 pounds.

We love you so much, buddy!  You bring such joy to our hearts and we love watching you learn to do new things!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Good Report

Ben had a follow up with the neurologist in Iowa City today and it went well.  He hasn't had any seizures since September 26th. 

We learned he has around a 50% chance of developing Lenox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS).  LGS is a rare and severe form of childhood-onset epilepsy that is characterized by frequent seizures, multiple seizure types, a resistance to medication and/or therapies, behavior disturbances, and moderate to severe cognitive dysfunction.  There was also a 50% chance that his infantile spasms would return once we stopped the steroids and that didn't happen so we are hopeful we won't develop any further problems and especially not LGS. 

At this point everything is going well and we don't have to follow up in Iowa City any more unless he develops any other problems or has a new type of seizure.

Dr. Joshi is referring him to a pediatric stroke specialist in Indianapolis so we will hopefully be traveling there in the next few months.  We want to make sure we aren't missing anything and don't need to be doing anything further for Ben to prevent another stroke.  I should probably back up just a little and explain that Ben's stroke is unexplained.  It is possible it occurred before he was born and could possibly have been the result of a small piece of placenta breaking off and traveling through the umbilical cord to his brain.  But, that is just one theory and we really have no idea.  There is also the possibility that he could have some type of clotting disorder though the hematologist that saw him in the NICU didn't think that was the case.  Dr. Joshi isn't sure he shouldn't be on a daily aspirin regimen to help thin his blood and prevent further issues.  So all this uncertainty is why we are seeing someone who specializes in pediatric stroke.  Hopefully it will provide more answers.

    Ben at lunch before his appointment.  He looks pretty darn perfect to me!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Both babies have started doing this thing where they put their head to they side and we go "awww" and they know it's cute so they do it over and over.  It is ridiculous. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Dance Party!

The babies are both being dancing fools tonight and I caught it on video! 

There is pretty much nothing better than a baby dancing.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 30

Last day!  I'm just thankful today.  I'm thankful for everything I've mentioned previously and all that I have forgotten to say or take for granted on a daily basis!  There is so much God has given me and I could not be more blessed!

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 29

I know I've mentioned I'm thankful for my family but I wanted to specifically mention my sister, Liasa. 

She is a great sister!  She is great with the babies and I also have to give mention to her boyfriend, Tobie.  He is amazing with them.  He totally spoils them and carries them around all the time and they pretty much adore him. 

Liasa is amazing.  She is smart, beautiful, kind, and funny.  Not that she always intends to be funny.  She can be good for an unexpected laugh and has given our family many fond memories we like to call "Liasa-isms."  A few examples...

  • We were running a 5K together and were discussing how fast the runners in the front would go.  I mentioned how there were a lot of really fast runners from Kenya.  Her response: "Is Kenya a big city?"
  •  Talking about Valentine's Day one year: "When IS Valentine's Day?" As if it's not the same day every year...
  • We also frequently remind her of how she thought the words to the TLC song Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls were "Go Go Jason Waterfalls." 

Love you, sister!

I will also add my thankfulness for my other siblings - my beautiful half-sister, Misty.

My half-brother, Jace. 

And my ex-step-sister, Carley. 

I only include these labels (half, step, etc) to help define them but I love them all just the same!!!  

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 28

Today I'm thankful for a short work day so I could run home and get the house picked up for a showing.  Also for my great husband who helped pick up the house, for the kids being good in the car while we drove around and for this little cheeser below.  She found a new place to put her sippy cup at daycare.  She also occasionally wears it as a bracelet.  Goofball!

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 27

Ben did at PT today.  He doesn't like to stand up or bear weight on his legs.  He has AFOs which are special shoes to help stabilize his feet. You can see them in the picture below.  

He has been doing a little more standing and tolerating it better lately and we've been trying to get him to show Miss Kim at PT for the last two weeks and he wouldn't do it but today he did!  He stood for several minutes with Miss Kim's support.  He was totally laughing and loving looking at himself in the mirror!

He's wearing immobilizers on his legs to keep him from collapsing his knees. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 26

Today I'm thankful that I was able to snuggle with Ben since he wasn't feeling well.  He has been teething and he is taking it much worse than Ainsley!  Poor little guy.  He has been running a fever off and on so I took him in to the pediatrician and she gave him an antibiotic because one ear was red.  She couldn't say for sure he had an ear infection because he had quite a bit of wax obstructing her view but she wanted to err on the side of caution and treat anyway.  I think this is his first ear infection ever.  Ainsley has had two I think.  We have been so lucky (knock on wood!) to not have had lots of ear problems like so many kids do.  I'm thankful for that too!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 25

Today I'm thankful for this day off with my family!  We had a super lazy day.  The babies didn't get out of their pajamas until bath time.  It couldn't have been better!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 24

So I'm starting to run out of things I can think of to be thankful for.  I know I have TONS to be thankful for but I just keep coming back to the basics - family, friends, our home...the basics.  I could get silly and be thankful for all the "luxuries" of life - DVR, heated car seats (in Jeremy's car), fountain Diet Mt. Dew, Starbucks...the list goes on. 

I guess today I'll be thankful for all the little things that make life easier and more comfortable.  There are a lot of people that don't have those things!

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 23

Jeremy said I should be thankful for the patients that keep me employed.  I thought that was dumb but I am thankful for certain patients!  I told you about the poinsettia I got and today a regular patient brought me gifts for Ben and Ainsley!  She and her husband made fleece blankets for them and we used them already!  They are so warm and comfy.  Not gonna promise I won't be trying them out.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 22

I'm thankful for Thansgiving!  I'm thankful for this entire month to remember all the things I have to be thankful for.  I'm thankful I am able to spend time with my family this beautiful day!

Ben & Ainsley eating their Thanksgiving dinner. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 21

I'm thankful for this date day with my husband!  We both have today off work and daycare is open so we are taking advantage and having a date day!  We aren't entirely sure what all we're doing but food will be involved and we may see a movie.  Love!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 20

Today I'm thankful for Ben's therapists.  We go to Blank Therapy in Ankeny and he sees an occupational therapist every other week and a physical therapist every week.  They are both great and really care about Ben and how he is doing.

I don't usually take pictures at therapy but today Ben got on this super fun swing and he was giggling so much I took a video.

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 19

Today I'm thankful for a reliable vehicle.  Let me be clear.  I do not love my car.  In fact, I am slightly obsessed with getting a new one.  However, that will not be until next year...sigh.  My car runs great.  It has AWD so it get's around great in the winter but it's old.  It's a 2003.  It has NO features.  Unless you count the tape player.  No, I'm not kidding. 

So while we're on the subject let's dream a little.  I am going to be getting a new vehicle next year and it is going to be an SUV with three rows and seating for 7 or 8.  My first choice right now is the GMC Acadia. 

I want to check out the Nissan Pathfinder.

And probably a Chevy Traverse.

It's still a long way away but I like to look online...a lot.  In the meantime I'll be thankful for me car that runs great, rust spot and all...

Flexi-Mat Fleece Suv Pet Pad (Google Affiliate Ad)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 18

Today I'm thankful for Sundays.  I love Sundays, especially if I don't have to work!  I work every other weekend but I am home by 3:30pm on Sundays so I still get Sunday evening with my family.  I love the relaxing feel of the day and reading the paper...okay, looking at the ads. 

Ainsley's red face from the Roasted Red Pepper Hummus.  She loved it but it didn't love her.  
We'll try plain next time. 

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 17

Today I'm thankful for modern medicine!  This is kind of an oddball one but I thought of it when I took some Excedrin for my headache.  It's so much more than that though - I think about A & B's NICU stays and the great things that medicine can do now for them and for babies much sicker than they were.  I'm thankful for people who devote their lives to helping others!

This is a sort of fitting picture for this post actually - this is a poinsettia from a patient in thanks for some extra effort from my colleague Allie and myself!

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 16

I'm behind.  That happens a lot.  Today I'm thankful that it doesn't stress me out as much as it once would have.

While I am thankful sometimes for my OCD tendencies - like when I want a really clean house - I'm also thankful that I am less stressed than I was a year ago or even six months ago.  It's all about "letting go and letting God."

Crazy messy eaters!  Love them!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 15

I'm thankful for my in-laws!  Jeremy's mom and dad come up to help out when I work nights and I know Jeremy loves having them come up.  Six to 7:00pm is the witching hour for Ben and Ainsley so it can be stressful to be by yourself with them and try to get them bathed and to bed.  They selflessly come up once a week to help and are always willing to babysit if we need to get out for awhile. 

I'm also thankful for my sister-in-law and brother-in-law.  We don't get to see them and our niece, Izabella as often as we'd like but we always enjoy it when we do!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 14

I'm thankful for our amazing daycare providers!  We use an in-home daycare, which I never thought we'd do.  When we started looking for daycare we checked out all daycare centers.  We found one we really liked but decided we should at least look at in-home too so we could make a completely informed decision.  We searched on Craig's List and found a listing for someone named Lindsay who was starting a daycare and had a degree in Early Childhood Development/Education.  I was really impressed by the ad so I emailed her.  She told me she was going to do it with her friend and neighbor, Sara and they happened to have two spots left!  We met at Panera (because you never know if the person on the other end of a Craig's List ad is a serial killer) and we were hooked!

Miss Sara and Miss Lindsay are seriously THE greatest daycare providers ever.  They truly love our kids like their own and Ben and Ainsley love them right back!  Ainsley especially is into hugging and giving love right now and she gives it to them as much as to us! 

It is so nice to have a place to take take your kids when you go to work and you don't have to worry one bit about how they are being taken care of.

We also have to give a quick shout out to Miss Clara who is filling in for Miss Lindsay while she is on maternity leave - she is fabulous too!

Self portrait :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 13

I'm thankful for my dog, Daisy!

She was our first "baby" and we love her so much!  Have actual babies definitely changes that dynamic some but we still love to cuddle with her on the couch after we put Ben and Ainsley to bed.  She really has a way of comforting us too.  When I was sick recently she laid in bed with me and stayed glued to my side.  She is great with the babies and likes to try to sneak in a face lick if she can.  She'll often do it while she is walking by one of them on the floor and we call it a drive-by licking. 

Also, she cleans up most of the food the babies drop on the floor so she really earns her keep now.  :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Thirteen Months

Wow!  Ben and Ainsley are 13 months old!

I think I'm going to try to continue to due monthly updates through 18 months.

Ainsley - You aren't walking yet.  At least not on your feet.  You walk on your knees which is pretty darn adorable.  You are also super fast at crawling, especially if you are headed somewhere you shouldn't be.  You can climb the stairs now and you think that's super fun.  You are quite the climber!  You try to climb on anything you can.  You can climb on our chairs and I've caught you trying to climb onto the built-in bookcases as well as the stands by the tv.  You love to play on your bouncy turtle and you get in trouble for being up on your knees on it instead of sitting on your bottom like you're supposed to.  You are babbling a lot more lately and we always wonder what you are trying to say.  You are also big into pointing.

Her favorite toy right now!

Ben - you are making great progress!  You never fall over when your sitting now unless you do it on purpose.  You aren't quite sure how to get from sitting to laying down gracefully so you kind of just plop over but you are pretty pro at it in your own way.  Even if you decide to lay down backward you pull your head forward so you don't hit it on the floor.  You just started rotating yourself around too if you are sitting.  Twice this weekend I caught you feeling things (the couch and Dad's face) with your left hand!  That is a huge step for you and it brought tears to my eyes to see it!  You finally popped a top tooth through so you now have three teeth!  You are hit and miss right now with sleeping.  Sometimes you do great and sleep all night and other times you are up and ready to talk in the middle of the night.  

My Mom and Grandma Betty got Ben this walker for his birthday hoping he might use it to be more mobile.  He hasn't figured out how to make it go yet but Ainsley likes to push him around in it.  This is the best video I have so far.  

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 12

I'm thankful for the internet!  Seriously!  I know this sounds dumb but I use it SO much.  I love it for staying connected with family and friends.  I also love online shopping.  I would so much rather do things online that fight the crowds, especially this time of year when the malls are a zoo.  Oh, I also love Wikipedia and Google.  It's hard to remember a time when the answers to our questions weren't a click away. 

Sort of a frivolous thankful today but I'm thankful nontheless!

New coat and hat.
Might I say coats and 1 year olds and car seats are not a super genius mix. 

She is super psyched about her hat, can't you tell?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 11

Like most people today I am thankful for all the military service men and women - past and present.  Such a selfless act, a hug commitment, and the ultimate service to your country and fellow citizens.  Thank you!

Ainsley eating her first ever Cheeto.  She was a fan. 


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 10

Today I'm thankful for my extended family!  I have a totally awesome, super fun, amazing family!  Grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins - all great! 

I love holidays because we all get to hang out.  Most of my family is in Newton and I love that it is close enough to go visit often and that many of them come up to Ankeny or Des Moines to meet up. 

Ben and Aunt Laura played with all kinds of new toys at Grandma Betty's house today!

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 9

This one is related to yesterdays thankful post - my job.

I'm thankful for the opportunity I had to go to college and get my degree.  Sometimes it is hard to remember that not everyone has that opportunity.  And I'm not talking "borrow money from your parents" style.  Sorry, I couldn't resist.  I graduated with, and still have, LOTS of student loan debt.  To the tune of $125,000.  It is massive. is the reason I have a job and a good salary that lets me pay those student loan bills. 

Beyond this, I'm thankful for the college experience I had and the lifelong friends I made there. 

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 8

This is a late post.  It was supposed to be done Thursday.  However, Thursdays I work 10 hour days and we only have two pharmacists instead of our usual three and it's usually pretty insane.  I'm tired when I get home and regardless of if I work early (8am-6pm) or late (12pm-10pm) I don't get to see my babies very much. 

This sounds like a lot of complaining and not much being thankful, huh? 

Well, here's the thankful.  I'm thankful I have a job.  I'm thankful it pays well and lets me work 4 days a week so I can spend more time with my babies.  I'm thankful for all my great coworkers who help make an often stressful and sometimes thankless job fun and not so bad to go to everyday.

Love spending time with these two!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 7

I'm thankful for the great news we got at Ben's cardiology appointment this week!

You may remember Ben had a small PFO in his heart which is just a small hole between the two upper chambers of the heart.  All babies have it but it usually closes up shortly after birth.  Ben's was still there at 6 months.  If it is still there at a year of age it isn't going to close on its own and will require surgery. 

So we went Monday for a follow up and they did an ultrasound and Ben's is all closed up!  We were discharged from the cardiologist and went on our way with one less thing to worry about! 

Hmm...whatever you say, Mom.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 6

Today, election day, I'm thankful for the opportunity to vote! 

I love filling in those little bubbles! 

I am also thankful that after a LONG election season all the television and radio ads, phone calls and political mailings will be over tomorrow! 

And because I don't have any good pictures to share today I'll leave you with this gem a friend posted on Facebook.  Just try not to laugh out loud.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 5

I was feeling a little irritated this morning because things weren't going exactly as planned and a little blah because the sun hasn't been out for 2 days.  So, I decided to be thankful for my warm, cozy house.  It might be cold and dreary outside but I am ever so thankful for a home to live in.

We're building a new house right now and I think it will be even warmer and cozier and I'm so thankful we have the opportunity to do that. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Thirty Days of Thankful - Day 4

I'm thankful for my Mom. 

We have a great relationship that I probably take for granted too much.

We usually text or talk everyday.  If we don't get to talk for a couple days it feels like forever. 

She gets me.  She knows my quirks.  She makes fun of them but she understands them.  Like if I don't eat I get really crabby.  So she keeps snacks in her purse.  I'm not talking about 20 years ago she did this.  I mean within the last year she has fed me something out of her purse. 

She is a great grandma.  I'm thankful for the time my kids get to spend with her. 

I love YOU more, Momma!