Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas and My New Job

We had a wonderful Christmas!  I hope you all did too!  

Ben and Ainsley were spoiled by everyone and got so many cute gifts, toys and clothes.  Their "big" gifts from Santa were their "iPads" which are really Kindle Fires.  They just call them iPads because Mommy and Daddy have iPads.  They love to watch PBS kids on them.  Let me know what other apps your toddlers love.

They also got a Mega Block castle and an art easel with paper, chalkboard and whiteboard.  Santa left them a message on it but he must have been getting pretty tired from his busy night...

Jeremy and I weren't supposed to exchange gift because we pretty much get what we want anyway but I found this gem in my stocking...

It's the Naked 3 pallette and I'm in LOVE!

He also made me this thoughtful gift with the medal and my race bib from the Des Moines Half Marathon last October...

I absolutely love it and I'm going to display it at work in my cubicle...speaking of work...

I LOVE my new job.  Quick description: I review prior authorization requests for Iowa Medicaid.  So if a drug is not on Iowa Medicaid's formulary and a prescriber wants their patient to have it the have to send us a request for prior authorization.  I review the request as well as our criteria for the drug and the patient's history (ie what else have they tried to treat this condition) and determine if the therapy is appropriate.  While it was sometimes frustrating dealing with PAs in the retail pharmacy it's interesting to see it from this side.  Obviously it's also important to ensure we are appropriately managing the funds allocated to pay for prescriptions while also giving patients appropriate treatment.  It's a fine line and not always as black and white as I thought it would be. 

So here's me listening to my music while I work.  I love being able to listen to my music and it keeps me focused otherwise I start listening to other people's conversations...which are usually one-sided since they're on the phone.  

I happened to take this picture to share with Jeremy how much I was enjoying myself some One Direction. Ha!

I hope everyone is having a great week and have a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Back to Blogging

So I've been having trouble getting my iPhone to automatically (or manually for that matter) back up pictures to Google+ which is how I get them to this here blog.  Hence, no blog for awhile.

It has somehow miraculously started working.  No idea how.  So let have a blog post, shall we?

As many of you know we had some major sewage/plumbing/flooding of uour basement issues this past weekend.  Sunday it was nice to snuggle up with my loves.

This is a #ReasonsMyKidIsCrying picture, you just can't tell she's crying because she wouldn't look at me.  But she's crying because I wouldn't let her wipe her privates with Lysol wipes.  Seriously.

 A friend of ours wrote a children's book!  How cool is that?!  I feel like we know a celebrity!

This sweet boy took a little road trip with his daddy to Minneapolis to go see his doctor there to follow up about his Botox.  His doctor was pleased with his response and was impressed with how much he's pulling up to stand and walking with assistance!  Here's a video of him getting brave and letting go of the coffee table...

Jeremy found this stuck on a sweater (he clearly hadn't worn for a couple years).  What a memory.  We got these stickers every day when we went down to the NICU when the babies were there.  Seems so long ago but also like it just happened.  Weird how that is...

Well, I have lots more to share but I won't do it all at once!  Yay for blogging again!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Half Marathon

I ran my first half marathon!  This was a bucket list type thing for me and I decided I wasn't getting any younger so I signed up...last MARCH.  I knew I had to sign up early so that I would train for it.  Running is NOT something that comes easy to me.  I actually hate it.  Or at least I did.  I would literally cry when it was time to do the dreaded mile run in school.  I'm just not a natural born runner.  It's hard for me.

So anyway, I decided to do this and when I decide to do something it usually gets done.  I'm pretty stubborn.

I started with the Couch to 5k running program.  I had done that the previous year and I feel like it's a great way to ease into running.  I quickly abandoned it this time though because I was overwhelmed by the fact that I had to eventually run thirteen MILES and it was hard, starting out at least, to run thirteen MINUTES.  So I just kind of ran and did what I could and gradually increased the running and decreased the walking.  I honestly didn't stick to a rigid training schedule.  I only ran a max of three days a week.  This last couple months I usually only ran twice a week - one long run and a shorter run.  I do however like Hal Higdon's training plans and when I do the next one I'll try to follow his training schedule a little closer.

The most I ran before the race was 10 miles.  It was a good run too but the last couple miles were hard so I was pretty nervous coming up around 8 miles on race day.  I hadn't that point though and so I decided that if I had made it that far I could make it the rest of the way.  Running is, for me at least, more of a mental game than a physical one.  It's about THINKING you can do something.

I started to wear out around mile eleven.  It was uphill back into downtown and it took me awhile to settle down my breathing.  Then about mile twelve we saw a runner passed out cold on the side of the road.  Emergency services hadn't even got there yet, it had just happened.  It was so scary.  You could tell she passed out while running and she fell and hit her head on the pavement.  I'm so praying she is alright.

That last mile was H.A.R.D.  I was out of energy and just trying to power through.  I had to focus everything I had on running and continuing forward momentum.  Jeremy was giving me so much encouragement and telling me I was doing a great job every couple minutes.  At one point I told him to stop because I couldn't reply since I was so out of energy and conserving every drop and was feeling bad that he was encouraging me but I couldn't say anything back.  I'd regret that later...

I seriously wish they had every 10th marked on the last mile.  I NEEDED to know where I was at and unfortunately I forgot to start my Garmin at the start line and didn't remember until about six tenths of a mile into the race.  This was probably due to the fact that I was having trouble with my music and spent the first half mile running and trying to figure out why my music wouldn't play.  Likely the result of a new phone AND headphones the week of the race.  But eventually all my "gear" was working and my panic attack ended - ha!

So I ran out of music about mile 12.  I decided not to bother restarting and just focus on the crowd and my surroundings.  Let's talk for a second about the signs people had.  People are so creative!

Run like you stole something!

Run now.  Poop later.  Never trust a fart.

Smile if you're not wearing underwear.

This parade sucks!  Where's the candy?  

Where are you all going?

The person who finishes this race is not
the same person who started it.  

I don't know you but I'm proud of you.  
(This one seriously made me tear up)

I loved all the signs.  I loved all the people with cow bells - love me some cow bell!  I loved all the kids (and adults) who gave me high fives.  Seriously, high fives are the best.  I loved seeing my friends as we were going into Waterworks park and they were coming out.  I loved talking with strangers around us as we ran.  I loved that there was freaking Red Bull...while we were running.  I loved all the music and bands along the way.  I loved running along side my husband and spending two and a half hours of time together, just the two of us.  I loved how he kept telling me he was having so much fun.  I loved that I *didn't* throw was touch and go for awhile before I started.  I loved that there were so many older runners around us.  I'm slow so we were definitely with the older crowd but one lady was celebrating her 53rd birthday...running a freaking half MARATHON!  I want to be her.  

So basically, I loved this race and I think I'll do it again.  I can't believe I'm saying that.  Six weeks ago I said, out loud, that after this race I was never running again in my life.  Then my long runs clicked.  And eight miles felt good!  And now I'm a runner I guess.  A runner that runs like a herd of turtles through peanut butter...but a runner nonetheless.  

As we crossed the finish line (at a 6:22 pace - what?!) the lady who finished right behind us had to tell Jeremy thank you for encouraging me.  She knew he was talking to me and helping me through the last mile but it really helped her keep going too.  And then I felt like a tool.  Seriously, that Jeremy's a keeper.  I don't deserve him but I'll hang on tooth and nail and hope he doesn't find that out.

My goal was truly to finish but I was sort of hoping for a 2:30 finish time.  I finished in 2:38:49.  I was dissapointed for about 3 seconds until I remember I just ran THIRTEEN POINT FREAKING ONE miles and I NEVER walked.  Now I have something to work towards!

A huge congratulations to my BFF Kelly and her husband Steve who PR'd and finished in 1:58:57.  Also to my friend Matt who ran the FULL marathon and beat his goal time be a freaking half HOUR!  Who does that?!  Props to Audrey, Greg (who was one of those crazy pacers - how the heck to they hold those signs the whole time?!), and Dena who are all amazing, inspirational runners.  And congratulations to EVERYONE who finished!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sunday Funday

What an AWESOME Sunday!

We slept in...until 7am for me - ha!  Ben slept until about 7:30am and Ainsley until 8am.  Though when I went in to check on her because she NEVER sleeps that late she was laying in her crib reading a book she had taken to bed with her Saturday night.  They were TIRED from all the birthday festivities!

We got up and drove to The Machine Shed to get cinnamon rolls to take home...since 3 out of 4 of us were still in our pajamas.  Their cinnamon rolls are DELICIOUS!

Then we put together the wagon Ben and Ainsley got for their birthday then we got cleaned up (and dressed) and headed to Ledges State Park with a picnic lunch.  

After lunch we walked around the park for awhile.  It was a BEAUTIFUL day!


Before we left we had to have a potty break...I'm thinking this will be PERFECT for graduation in 16 years.  There was no way I was taking a two year old in the port-a-potty.  It drives me nuts when they can't keep their hands off OUR toilet...if she touched that toilet I would have thrown up. 

Then we had to stop again....

We hung out with the neighbors this afternoon and drove our new Escalade.  They haven't quite figured out how to drive it yet but I'm sure they'll be cruising soon!  We're so thankful for this awesome gift we got from my former boss since his boys had outgrown it - I know A & B are going to get tons of use out of it!

We snuggled in with some popcorn for a viewing of The Little Mermaid, which they got for their birthday from Grandma Barb.  It's Mommy's favorite movie and I enthralled them with my captivating voice by singing along to all the songs...I'm sure they loved it. 

So thankful for this beautiful day and the beautiful people I got to spend it with!

Friday, August 30, 2013

22 Months

Ben and Ainsley are 22 months old!

They are both turning into such "toddlers" now.  They aren't really babies anymore, though they'll always be my babies.  They can say what they want and get around to where they want to go.  Everyone says it, and I've said it a million times, but time really does fly.  Especially when you take a second to reflect and think how far you've come.  I had a wonderful "kairos" moment in the kitchen the other day when I was holding Ainsley on my hip and was just really overcome with what an amazing gift she and her brother are.  There really were times when we didn't know if we'd get to be parents and looking into a child's face that is half you and half your spouse is truly one of God's greatest gifts.

Enough sappy talk!  On with the pictures!

Snuggling on the couch watching Sesame Street.  Whoever would have guessed this would be the best way to spend my birthday morning?!

Fell asleep and his glasses fell off on the way to therapy. 

A new trick!  

Playing in our playhouse from Uncle Larry and Aunt Vickie!

First time eating Lemon Tree frozen yogurt.

After a haircut

Rocking away at Cracker Barrel

Going down the slide at the Iowa State Fair

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Ben Climbs the Stairs

Ben has discovered how to climb the stairs.  It isn't how most kids do almost everything else he's unique!  

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Indianapolis Follow Up

Ben had an appointment with his stroke specialist, Dr. Golomb, in Indianapolis on Monday.  It went GREAT!

We left Sunday morning EARLY.  Like, 4am early.  This was all Jeremy's idea and he thought it would be good to leave at that time and hope that Ben and Ainsley would sleep a good part of the ride.  And they did!  We picked up my mom (who was courageous and kind enough to volunteer to come along and help entertain the kiddos) in Newton on our way and they slept until almost did my mom and I!  We stopped for breakfast at changed the kids in the back of the van.  We did this a lot as I find most public restrooms pretty gross.  It's not weird to change your kid in a parking lot in the back of a van, right? 

We mostly ate lots of snacks and Ben and Ainsley really enjoyed watching Sesame Street in the van.  My Grandma Betty was kind enough to let us borrow her van for this exact reason.  I didn't really want to buy dvd players not knowing if the kids would really watch them or not since they aren't really into watching tv yet.  But they loved it and were completely enthralled.  Total success!  Another key component to our successful road trip was chopped up twizzlers.  These kids are twizzler maniacs!  We found this out on our road trip to Minneapolis a couple weeks ago and I had to keep breaking off pieces for them so we pre-cut a whole bag and they ate close to the whole thing...well, Jeremy and Mom and I helped.  Ben was absolutely killing me with his "More, Pwease!" And he gets his little hand going and signs "please" at the same time.  No possible way I could say no to that.

So we got into Indianapolis around 3pm and checked into our hotel.  It was promptly destroyed like a rock band was staying there. 

We rested for a bit and cleaned up then headed to downtown Indy to check out the Cultural Trail.  It was so awesome!  We walked all over and the have a huge canal in Indianapolis which I had no idea about.  There were lots of fountains and Ben went crazy over the fountains. 

We got up Monday morning and had Ben's appointment.  As I mentioned, it went great!  First of all, we don't have to go back until next March!  We have learned through blood work that Ben and I both have a gene mutation that makes our blood more likely to clot.  We knew Ben had it first and I just got my results a week or so ago (from having THIRTEEN vials of blood drawn).  This is *part* of the cause of his stroke.  Dr. Golomb calls it a "perfect storm."  Several things added together (being a boy, being a first born, being a twin) in addition to having the gene mutation, combined to cause a clot that cut off the supply of blood in his middle cerebral artery on the right side of his brain sometime around the time of birth. 

The mutation itself isn't a huge deal.  Dr. Golomb thinks it's an adaptive or evolutionary type mutation so that if you get bit by a bear or in a car wreck you won't bleed out.  She does recommend that I see a high risk OB before (*if*) we try to get pregnant again to discuss how to minimize risk and she suggested I see a hematologist. 

She was very pleased with his development socially and cognitively.  This was probably the best part of our appointment.  She talked about how Ben might be labeled as "delayed" because of his gross motor issues related to his cerebral palsy.  He can't walk at 21 months but he followed 3 commands in Dr. Golomb's room which falls in the 2-3 year old category.  She said she feels he is cognitively where he should be or even "cognitively advanced."  Now I'm not a parent who feels it necessary to brag about their kids or how smart they were.  I grew up in a house where good grades were expected, not rewarded.  My mom didn't rant and rave about how great it was that I got straight A's or got into pharmacy school or graduated with honors.  I should also mention how I'm not athletically inclined.  At all.  Jeremy possesses these same traits.  Smart, not playing any collegiate sports, much less professional.  So all this is to say that Jeremy and I don't care if our kids can't play professional sports.  That's just not what we personally value (though it's fine that others do).  It was, however, terrifying when there were so many unanswered questions about what Ben would be capable of after the stroke and especially after the infantile spasms.  Let me stress how amazing blessed we are that Ben is where he is.  Infantile spasms VERY often cause cognitive impairment.  My mom always says it's a good thing he was a genius to start with so losing a few IQ points won't make any difference.  I think being a grandma makes one more boastful ;)

So after our great news we headed home!  We stopped in Springfield to see Lincoln's house and the capitol.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Totally Random Tuesday

 We went for a walk this morning and there were ducks in the pond at the park and these two LOVED them.  We'll have to remember to take some bread to feed them next time. 

Both children may or may not have been eating ranch with forks.  Ok, they did. 

We have officially slept with two kids in our bed.  I don't recommend it. 

We did cute 4th of July pedicures.

Mommy did her fingernails too. Then I broke half of them while staining the deck.  Boo.

Everybody loves Cheerios - even Daisy!

That's all for now!