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It’s that time of year again!  We are working on building our 2013 March for Babies team that honors Colton and Keltie and helps provide money towards research that helps other babies like them.  Their team, Half Baked Crusaders, was small but mighty last year and we are hoping to make it even bigger and better!

Last year, they were itty bitty.  Colton was just released from the NICU after 142 days.  We had to bring his SpO2 monitor and portable oxygen with us just in case he had a spell.  Those days seem like so long ago as we see him now big, strong, and mobile!  I also got to kick off the March for Babies efforts with my employer, Sears Holdings Corporation, by telling our story and inspiring all of the associates at Kmart to ask our customers for donations.  It was an honor and something I was proud to do.

So – what are you doing on Sunday, June 23rd?  Please consider joining our team and walking with us along the beautiful Cape Cod Canal in support of the March for Babies.  You can easily join our team by visiting the team website:  http://www.marchforbabies.org/team/t1947387

If you don’t live near us and can’t walk, please consider donating to our team through the website shown above.  All of your donations are tax deductible.  Honor Colton and Keltie and all they have overcome to be the thriving little people that they are today by donating to a cause that will forever be important to them and our family.  If you own or know someone who owns a business in the South Shore of MA or Cape Cod area – please contact me about being a family team sponsor and the advertising opportunities that come with donations of $100, $250 $500, $750, or $1000.  These family team sponsor donations help our team reach our goals, as well as helping to promote your business locally. Each sponsorship will receive a 18×24” sign to display along the walk- with your business name, level of sponsorship, and our Family Team name.  A great way to support a great cause- and get some advertising around the community!

Please consider supporting Half Baked Crusaders – and we’d love to have our local friends and family join us on Sunday, June 23rd!

2012 Half Baked Crusaders Team!

2012 Half Baked Crusaders Team!

Mother's Day Kmart

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Gosh – it’s been busy but, like a broken record, you’ve heard that here before.  So, let’s get into the details!

Colton and Keltie turned one on January 24th.  What a day it was – I spent it working and Chris spent it carting the celebrities around to visit various family members.  They had cake.  Three times.  And I cried myself to sleep.  An odd sensation of “we did it” came over me and it was a nice release. 

They had great 12 month check ups at the pediatrician about a week later.  I didn’t get the actual age percentages but I know both are on the actual charts for everything except length!
Keltie: 17lbs, 10oz (43% adj), 27″ long (30% adj), and 17.25″ head (50% adj).  She’s pretty proportionate.
Colton: 20lbs, 4oz (65% adj), 27″ long (9% adj), and 18″ head (75% adj).  He’s basically a big bowling ball.

The pedi is very happy with where they are at! And clearly so are we considering when they were born, their stats were –
Keltie: 1lb, 9oz and 13″ long
Colton: 1lb, 13oz and 13″ long

We did have a bit of a scare – both of them came down with pneumonia.  Luckily we were able to treat from home and didn’t have a hospitalization.  It was scary, especially with the coughing and wheezing, but they were strong and some antibiotics and nebulizer treatments helped immensely.  If we get out of this winter only having pneumonia I will say it has been an extremely successful seclusion!  As much as we are going a bit batshit crazy from not being able to take them anywhere and spending 99% of our time at home, keeping them healthy is much more of a priority and it is clearly working. 

Developmentally, they’re doing amazing.  SIMPLY AMAZING for being born so early and going through so much.  We have PT coming once a week for them both, in addition to our developmental specialist (OT).  PT has been an incredible boost for their gross motor skills!  Keltie is now crawling on her hands and knees, pulling to a stand, and is starting to cruise some furniture.  I think she’ll be walking shortly (watch out world)!  She has ZERO fear – so a lot of what we’re working on with her is safety.  Colton is army / belly crawling.  He is bearing weight through his legs but doesn’t pull to a stand yet.  Just this weekend he has been seen rocking on his hands and knees so I think he’s working on some advancement to kneeling / crawling on hands and knees.  Both are clapping – especially when you sing “Patty Cake”.  Grammie and Grandy worked on that with them!  Lots of babbling but no words yet.  We transitioned them to milk – so no more formula!  And they’re eating three meals a day and loving all the different foods they’re trying.  Colton’s favorite is still yogurt and he likes pot roast.  Keltie’s favorite are carbs and crunchy things.  Both love pasta – they are Italian.  🙂 

Oh and *drumroll please*:  for the first time ever, in their entire 13+months of living, they are not on ANY medication!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Keltie had an appointment with her nephrologist two weeks ago and her nephrocalcinosis has resolved and now we have only annual visits with her!  No more Diuril!  And we started weaning Colton’s First Omeprazole (Prilosec) once he was transitioned to milk and he’s doing awesome with barely any reflux at all!  I NEVER thought the day would come and it seriously makes me so proud.  I was in Florida on business when Chris brought Keltie to her appointment – he text me about her nephrocalcinosis and I had to fight back tears.  Such strong, strong little people!

And – we have teeth!  Well, Colton has teeth and I think tonight I might have felt one for Keltie.  Colton literally got 4, yes FOUR, teeth in about 48 hours.  Not exaggerating.  I put him to bed one night and he woke up with two more teeth.  It’s insane!  And they’ve been tolerating it really, really well – not much of a demeanor change and just some Tylenol or Motrin here and there and that’s it.  Thankfully. 

I think that’s about it – they make me smile (and cringe haha) every day!  Their personalities are hilarious and now that they’re on the move it’s a whole new challenge.  We are getting excited for Easter – last year, it was the one “family” holiday they spent in the hospital and that was a hard day for both Chris and I (he worked and had a tough time leaving the hospital to go to work).  I got out their Easter baskets and they could have slept in them this time last year.  Easter has always been a tough holiday as I lost my Grampy on Easter many years ago – so the NICU memories of it don’t help.  But what we are trying to focus on is how far we’ve come from last year and how exciting it will be to celebrate the Easter Bunny with them and dress them in their Easter Sunday best (bonnet optional haha)!

I’ll leave you with some pictures –

One Year Old!

One Year Old!

One Year Old!

One Year Old!

Handsome guy!

Handsome guy!

Pretty lady!

Pretty lady!

Sassy and Coy

Sassy and Coy

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Based on Daddy’s schedule, we had their birthday party a little early last Sunday.  As previously mentioned, it was really small due to the risk of germs and RSV to the twins.  Even in taking the precautions we do, both have managed to get pneumonia.  Hearing your preemie struggle to breathe again is enough to make you even crazier. 

Our immediate family gathered to hang out with Colton and Keltie and celebrate their year of strength and happiness.  We got catering from Mamma Mia’s and it was delicious – chicken parm and baked ziti with salad and rolls.  We ordered their cake from Guilty Bakery – they did an amazing job using the whale theme (which I think we have used to the nth degree and will be retiring it going into their second year haha).  We will absolutely use both places again for their Christening in the Spring and their big Unbirthday party this summer!  Colton and Keltie both LOVED their first cupcakes – Colton ate every last inch of his (no surprise there, big guy) and Keltie had fun with hers until she realized she was sticky haha.  We swooped them up after they had their fun and put them both in the tub and changed them into their Patriots gear to cheer on Wes Welker and the rest of the team!  All in all, it was a great day to celebrate the miracles that are these kids and to gather together as one big family. 

Party time!

Party time!

Birthday2

Mmmmm yummy!

Patriots

Go Patriots!

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The holiday season came and left very quickly – almost as fast as the 5 hour shopping spree I went on to get all the shopping done I could prior to the holiday.  We took Colton and Keltie to pick out their first tree – not sure how much they liked it but it was a warmer “winter” day, so we took advantage.  Tall and skinny – the way we like our trees!  Because it’s such a small world, we ran into one of their NICU roommates while at the tree place!  He was a cutie and, from what I’ve learned, parents of cute babies tend to introduce themselves and inquire about such babies.  So that is when we got into the typical conversation of how old they are “well, they’re technically almost 11 months but they were micropreemies so they’re really 7 1/2 months” and about how they were in the NICU.  Well, this little guy was in the SSH NICU as well because of blood sugar issues.  Ahh, I thought to myself, this is one of the “fatty patatties” that we had as rotating roommates in the Party Pod.  When we said their names, they immediately perked up – they were 3 day residents in the Party Pod as well!!  It was funny, we all got a good chuckle out of it and it was probably more memorable than the actual tree picking out for the twins. 

Christmas Eve we spent at my mom and stepdad’s house for their annual gathering.  It was fun to have the twins dressed up and playing with their oodles of new toys.  It also happened to be their 11 Month birthday!  Keltie had a blast with my uncle’s glasses.

Family

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Eve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas we spent at my sister-in-law’s with the Allan family and Grandy.  It was a wonderful day and once again the kids got spoiled with lots of new toys.  It’s been almost a month and we still don’t know where we are going to put everything!

Since then, we have worked harder on their playroom.  I say “we” but really it was Chris and his Mom and Dad while I was away in Chicago on business.  We went through and pulled out all of their “baby” toys to make room for their new stuff, hung the TV on the wall, got a bookcase to hold all their books and toys, and took out the Pack N Play.  I can’t believe that they’re too “old” for their play mats and things we have used daily over the last 6 months!  It is nice, though, to have a space dedicated to them and all of their things.  They really enjoy having the freedom to roll around and play with new toys that capture their attention.

From the developmental side, they both have had a boom but especially Keltie.  Three weeks prior to Christmas, we had PT come in to work with her on her arm strength.  About the day before Christmas, she started army crawling and sitting unassisted!  Just like she was in the NICU, as soon as we start rallying the troops she goes “oh you just need me to do X,Y and Z, I can totally do that” – typical Keltie.  So, as of their 11 month birthday, I had two unassisted sitters (still without protective reflexes so they do topple over sometimes) and one crawler.  They both started using consonant sounds as well – lots of dadadadadadada and mamamamamama and babababababa.  It’s pretty awesome!  We are still working on Colton crawling – his strength is there but he’s a lazy white boy who much prefers to roll everywhere he goes.

I've been everywhere, man...

I’ve been everywhere, man…

 

              

Who are these big kids?!

Who are these big kids?!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Health-wise, they’ve been good.  Well, up until they got pneumonia this week.  And passed it along to Mommy and Daddy.  Thanks, guys.  As of January 11th, Colton weighed 19lbs, 11oz and Keltie weighed 17lbs, 3oz.  They have their 12 month check up February 1st, so we’ll get all of the stats and percentiles then.  I can’t believe they’re almost a year old…it’s been the fastest and slowest year of my life. 

This past Sunday we had a very small birthday party for them with immediate family only because of germs and RSV.  And, even with all the precautions we take, they have still managed to come down with pneumonia.  So, if that’s any indication as to why I’m crazy about bringing them places, maybe you can understand it a bit more.  That celebration deserves its own post – so watch for that to come up next.  And – we’re coming into the one year anniversary of my pPROM and the delivery, so I am likely to use this blog to get some of those emotions out.  Stay tuned.

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Sooo…it’s obvious that time is something I lack these days.  Such is life I guess – between the peanuts, their chaotic schedules, work, home, holidays, etc…it’s been quite busy.  I keep saying that I need one of those little yellow minions to help me out but I’ve yet to figure out how to get one.  But, here I am and we should get caught up on the wee ones!

On October 24th, they turned 9 months old!!!  Amazing – simply amazing.  Here were their  9 month (5.5 adj) pedi appointment stats:
Colton
– 17lbs, 2oz (10th percentile for actual LOL FATTY)
– 25.75″ long (25th percentile for adjusted)
-17.5″ head (25th percentile for actual – huge dome)
Keltie
– 14lbs, 4oz (2nd percentile for actual YAY!)
– 24.75″ long (20th percentile for adjusted)
– 16.75″ head (11th percentile for actual)

They have made it onto the chart for all but their length – I am so shocked considering how tiny they were!  As of last week (they went for their first Synagis shot to help fight against RSV), Colton was 18lbs, 1oz and Keltie was 15lbs, 6oz so they are doing a fantastic job growing!

We were blessed to have my friend Candace from Candace Schwab Photography in town the day before their 9 month birthday and she was kind enough to come down and do a family photoshoot for us.  Her pictures came out absolutely incredible – as always!

 They experienced their first earthquake and hurricane as well – and survived both.  Lucky for us they were minor events but it was my first earthquake and I am over 31 years older then they are! 

Colton and Keltie both sat unassisted in the month of October.  Colton is perfecting his sitting while Keltie has a little more work to do.  They continue to roll all over the place, laugh while being tickled (and sang to), and love eating all kinds of new food.  We got the green light to start adding proteins so they have had chicken, turkey, yogurt, quinoa, and other yummy things. 

We attended their NICU Follow-up Clinic at Boston Children’s Hospital at the end of October and had assessments done.  The clinic included meeting with two neonatologists and a psychologist.  It was a bit uncomfortable (we were in a room with one of those mirrors where people could watch from another room), but we tried to go with the flow.  Colton came out in all areas between his adjusted and actual age so he is doing really well with his milestones.  Keltie met her adjusted age for almost everything but was slightly delayed in a few areas so we scheduled a physical therapy consult to see if there is anything more we can do to help get her caught up.  They also suggested a second hearing screen (ABR) for both of them and that is scheduled for December.  Nothing major to be concerned about, but making sure everything is still good.  Much of the testing was done with toys so I wasn’t surprised that Colton did so well – he’s the toy guy.  Keltie much prefers to be social with people so I think that may have played into the results slightly but we will get her there.  I know she will walk and talk eventually! 

We also got to experience their first Halloween!  A good friend of our family agreed to sew handmade costumes for them and they were Pebbles and Bam Bam!  The costumes came out incredible – Lois did an amazing job!  We took them trick or treating to a few neighbors houses and it was fun – Keltie enjoyed the crinkle of the M&M package she got, while Colton was more interested in chewing on his basket.  No surprises there!

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Look at us getting so big!!

On September 24th it was Colton and Keltie’s 8 month birthday!!! 

As of last week, Keltie weighed 13lbs, 9oz and Colton weighed 16lbs, 2oz!  They are growing so well and each day it seems they do something new to make us laugh.  In fact, Keltie’s newest trick is blowing raspberries:    Excuse it being upside down but I was trying to film it while she was on my lap.  And when she’s shaking, it’s me laughing at her.  She also does this now while eating which is really fun…   Both are still rolling champions!  You can’t put them down on their activity mat and walk away for a second.  Keltie likes inch worming to get to where she needs to be.  Today, Colton sat unassisted (froggy style) during his Early Intervention session!!!  We have been working with them both on their arm strength and sitting and I was so happy to see him do it! 

Overall, I can say I never thought we’d be at such a good place with these two miracles after only 8 months.  We are so proud of their strength and development and enjoy witnessing these milestones so very much!

(PS -I don’t know what is up with the formatting of the blog lately…it seems to have a mind of it’s own!)

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Food!

As the peanuts catch up on some rest from their exciting outing at Cape Cod Doxie Day yesterday, I can spend some time updating on their new favorite thing – real food!

During Colton’s modified barium swallow study, they had me feed him with a spoon to make sure he wouldn’t aspirate during spoon feeds and he did wonderful. This opened up the opportunity to start them with some real food! I have always planned to do a modified version of Baby Led Weaning (BLW). The concept itself just makes so much sense to me – and especially with preemies sometimes experiencing feeding issues, oral aversions, and the like, it made even more sense. But, because of their prematurity, I wanted to start some solids sooner than 6 months adjusted which is when BLW is suggested to begin. So, I decided to start with some purees and make my own baby food so I could monitor what goes in them (for calories) and adjust the consistency of the food. My baby food isn’t stuck in a Baby Bullet or turned into liquid puree form – but, instead, is hand mashed with a fork or potato masher to allow for lumps and small chunks so they can get used to texture and some chewing. I also started incorporating some Mum Mums to help teach them how to hold and self-feed. It also acts as a distraction since I’m often found feeding two babies alone! A lot of my research on Colton’s severe reflux indicated that once they begin solid foods, their reflux dramatically decreases – so I was excited to start introducing them to stuff other than formula. But, their pincer grasp isn’t close to being ready for full on BLW (kids develop from the “top down” and “inside out” so their grasp right now from a gross and fine motor perspective is more of a full handed reach and grab) so voila – Krista’s Modified BLW!

I can do this myself, TYVM.

Here, let me help you.

Their first food was prunes. I don’t know why I chose it except that I knew it was safe since we have used prune juice in their bottles to help “move things along” in the poop department. Colton enjoyed it and Keltie was a little “eh” about it. We do the foods for 3-4 days to ensure no reactions and so far we’ve been successful with everything we’ve tried!

Here is a breakdown of their favorites:

Keltie – carrots and bananas

Colton – everything except peas 🙂

We have tried:

– Carrots

– Bananas

– Peas

– Butternut squash

– Avocado

– Pears

– Sweet potatoes

Today I’ll be making some apple sauce for this coming week!

They’ve moved from taking about 1oz before their last bottle of the day to 2oz – they really like it and are doing awesome eating from the spoon! They even try and “help” us by taking the spoon themselves but that usually ends up in me putting their Spacesaver high chair covers in the wash. I spoke with their pediatrician last week and she wants us to move to having it twice a day (morning and night) in order to build up to three times a day. It does add more steps in our feeding process and more time to get it all done but we seem to adjust okay once we can get a rhythm down with a new schedule. The good news is Colton barely spits up after his spoon feeds and that is so reassuring to us that, once he starts weaning down his formula, his reflux will get better.

So, we are loving our spoon feeds over here and getting geared up to start this week by adding a morning session to their schedule. Unfortunately, we’ve been struggling with thickening Colton’s bottles (for reflux – to cut down on the spit ups) since there was a warning issued by the FDA of his zero calorie gel thickener, Simply Thick, due to infant deaths. We moved towards using oatmeal but the jury is still out on whether it is helping. Hopefully his GI doctor will call tomorrow with some alternatives.

Here are some fun eating pictures!

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