Friday, October 31, 2008

Trip to the Mall

Today we wanted to keep the boys occupied so that they would nap a little later that way they might stay up a little later tonight for trick-or-treating. So once we were all up and dressed we headed to the mall. Once we got there we took the boys to play at the little play area for kids. We have never taken them there before so we were not sure how they would react. At first there were not a ton of kids, but soon after getting there a lot of kids showed up to play. We discovered that Ryder is out little social butterfly! He would crawl around and follow the other kids, pull at their legs to play and even chase them through the tunnels. Zak was more interested in playing with the various toys on the walls by himself or going up the stairs and down the slide. We will definitely take the boys back there more often since they loved it. Here are a few pictures...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ryder is Making Big Progress

Today the physical therapist came for our normal weekly appointment, but she had some very good news for us this time. She said that Ryder is now doing what an average 14 month old should be doing when it comes to gross motor skills. This means he will no longer require weekly physical therapy so it has been changed to once a month! So she will come once in November and once in December and then he has his formal re-evaluation in December. At that point she thinks he will probably not need PT at all! She said that if he hits 18-19 months and isn't walking unassisted then she might start to come a few times again just to help with that. We think that after his re-evaluation he will be done with PT (or maybe just monthly), have OT the same (once every other month just to check progress), and have speech more often (maybe twice a month). Originally they had told us that speech usually increases after they turn 1, but we will have to see what the evaluation says. This is just so exciting for us to hear that Ryder has pretty much caught up to the average 14 month old in most areas.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Dinner at the Mall

After we went to the library this afternoon we talked to Laura (Ben's mother) and met her for dinner. We went to Chevy's at Arundel Mills and had dinner with Laura and Dani (Ben's sister). It was great (I love their food) and the boys enjoyed playing and seeing both of them. Thank you guys so much for dinner, it was great! After the boys pigged out on their chicken strips and fries they got to have a special cream cones! It was so funny to watch them eat the ice cream cones. Once they were done we walked down the mall a bit to play with the interactive mat in the middle of the mall. The boys are starting to get more into it and like to chase the balls and cars on the mat and make them move around. Here are a few pictures (they aren't great because I took them on my cell phone)....

Ryder Update

Last week the physical therapist and occupational therapist both came to work with Ryder. While here they did a little evaluation to see where he is and how he has progressed. Today the speech therapist came to work with him and also did a little evaluation as well. He has been receiving therapy since June and now he is at the following levels:

Physical Therapy (gross motor): about 12 months

Occupational Therapy (fine motor, oral motor): about 13 months

Speech Therapy (language, understanding): definite 10-12 months with emerging skills into 13 months

This is all great news because it means he has reached development for his adjusted age and even getting close to his actual age in some areas. The therapy sessions have done so much for Ryder, but more than anything they have shown us different activities to incorporate into regular playtime to help with development. The things we are working on with Ryder now in therapy are:

Physical Therapy: balance when standing alone, catching himself when falling, walking

Occupational Therapy: tongue coordination, chewing, drinking from a straw, putting smaller objects into a small opening, putting a peg into a hole, using a fork/spoon

Speech Therapy: understanding short commands (come here, give to me, take, etc), putting a circle into the shape sorter, differentiate between 2-3 objects (put a ball, cup & spoon out and then ask him to get the ball), incorporating sign language into everyday activities, working on getting him to stand up for himself with Zak (ways to tell Zak no, ways to get Ryder to not give in all the time to Zak, etc), pointing out body parts

Of course we are using all of the wonderful activities and techniques with Zak as well since he is a little behind in his actual age, but not enough to qualify for therapy through the county like Ryder receives. The therapists are all so great with the boys and will even try to incorporate Zak into the sessions so he doesn't feel too left out. The speech therapist is Ryder's case manager as well which is great because she has 14 yr old twins and can give great ideas and real-life experience knowledge.

Today after the boys wake up from their nap we are going to take a trip to the library. We have found this to be a favorite place to go since it is free and the boys do enjoy books. Today Ben is going with us so he can look for some more Tom Clancy books. I am going to pick up some of the sign language videos I put on hold for the boys now that we have their TV set up in the bedroom. We also still need to carve pumpkins so once we do I will post some pictures.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Zak Gave Us a Scare

So, not even 30 minutes after I posted about Zak figuring out how to get out of the play area he decided to give us a scare! Now that he has gotten out of there anytime we hear something odd or there is silence we get up to check on the boys. I heard somebody crawling quickly on the tile floor (not where they should be) so I jumped up and saw Zak heading down the stairs towards the basement. He can go down them on his own, but sometimes he misses a step so I ran down towards him and called his name. Well, that was a mistake because when I said his name and he saw me coming he tried to go faster. He went a little too fast and missed a step with his knee and fell down the flight of stairs! There are about 5-6 stairs so it wasn't a large set of steps which is always a plus. I ran down and picked him up. He cried for a bit, but then was fine. He has a little rug burn on his chin and hip, but otherwise is fine. Hopefully this will not be the beginning of many accidents with this boy! But he sure does find new things to do or get into everyday.

This happened right before bedtime so he was already cranky. Both boys are now in bed and hopefully asleep. I will check on Zak before we go to bed, but he should be fine.

Cold Weather & Family Update

The cold weather has definitely come to our area now. It has been in the 50's and very windy today which makes it feel even colder. I do love the cooler weather, but am hoping to stay away from snow (which I am not very fond of)! The boys are slowly getting used to wearing pants and long sleeves along with their winter jacket, but they would rather be in shirts and tank tops. They really dislike socks and hardly ever keep them on for any length of time so we are continually putting socks back on them.

The boys are now moved into their new bedroom and have been doing pretty good. But we have started to use some advice we saw on Super Nanny to help get them to stay in their beds for nap time and bedtime. We no longer give them their milk in their beds, they get to drink it before laying down. Once we lay them down and turn out the lights we sit in the room with our back to the boys. Every time one of them gets out of bed we quickly put them back in bed without saying a word to them and then sit back down. Eventually they get the idea and will stay in bed and fall asleep. Now we have discovered that they stay in bed while we are in the room, but if we leave the room before they are asleep they get up immediately. So we are toying with the idea of getting a video baby monitor to watch them and go in to put them back in bed just as we would if we were in the room. They are both done their antibiotics and seem much better although Ryder has a runny nose which is probably how they will be all winter. Zak has become our escape artist and is not able to pretty easily get out of the "penitentiary" (aka the Super yard) and quickly makes his way up the stairs to surprise us! We are thinking it might be time to move toys into the bedroom and make that their playroom as well so that we know he can't escape from there (at least for now).

Saturday night Tracy & Dave had some friends over who have a son that is almost 3years old so the boys had a play date. Poor John was not ready for what he was about to experience with these two boys! They seemed to gang up on John and try to get toys from him, but after a bit they played much better with him.

Ben is done his antibiotics and starting to feel better, but is still dealing with a cough. I still have a few days left on my medicine, but I am also slowly feeling better. Hopefully we will not have to deal with infections all winter long, but we will see what happens.

Ben has applied for a few jobs and is waiting to hear back from 1 in particular. He also had his interview with unemployment and is now waiting to hear back about whether or not he qualifies for it.

Halloween is quickly approaching so we have made plans to go into Annapolis to my grandmother's house for dinner and then trick-or-treating with Jamison & Josephine afterwards. I remember last Halloween like it was yesterday, the boys were so tiny that they wore Build-A-Bear clothes for costumes and slept most of the night in their Snugli carriers.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Halloween Costumes

Today we finally got around to trying on costumes that my mom had bought for the boys a while ago (she found them on clearance and guessed on size), but they aren't going to work. The costumes fit the boys just fine, but we won't be able to get sweats underneath of them which they will need since it will be cold. So we went out and found new costumes for them today. We found a doggy and a monkey and fell in love with them. We tried them on the boys tonight and got such a kick out of them. Here are some pictures...

We continue to have a family full of sickies! Ryder has finished his antibiotics and seems to be doing good; he still has a runny nose though. Zak has about 2 days left on his antibiotic, but also seems to be doing well. I convinced Ben to go to the doctor today since he will no longer had health insurance after October 31 and he has not been feeling well. So he is now on antibiotics for 5 days which will hopefully make him feel better. After all of that I finally decided to get seen by a doctor as well. Tonight I went to a walk-in clinic for an appointment and found that I have very bad strep throat, ear infection, and sinus infection so I am on antibiotics for 10 days. The good thing from all of this is that we will not be contagious after 2 doses! Tracy & Dave are also not feeling great, but have not gone to a doctor so hopefully they will not end up with infections and needing medication as well. So, for all of you out there, don't fear because as of tomorrow we will not be contagious!

The boys love their new bedroom! They really enjoy being able to play in their bedroom and not really have any boundaries in there. Nap time has still been difficult and they only sleep for about 45 minutes and then play, but they have done great overnight. Of course we think this is because they are so tired from not napping so they just crash at bedtime.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Naptime = Playtime

So their first time sleeping in the big by beds did not go so well, at least in adults eyes (the boys seemed to have enjoyed it). They slept for maybe 10 minutes! We went and checked on them various times because all we heard was what sounds like a construction zone. Here is a list of some of the things they did today:

1) Both successfully figured out how to get out of the beds (Ryder goes head first though)
2) Zak successfully figured out how to get back into the bed
3) They discovered the blinds are fun to make music with (so we had to open them so they couldn't get to them)
4) Zak figured out how to climb into the window while Ryder learned to push the bookcase into Zak sitting in the window
5) They were able to knock over the floor lamp
6) They discovered how fun it is to empty an entire box of wipes onto the floor
7) They made us realize we forgot to put a lock on the closet doors (they opened them and who knows what they got into there)
8) They learned how fun it is to throw their shoes and blankets all over the room
9) They successfully took all 9 bins off of the rack

Overall, they taught us the true meaning of childproofing....

And now the lesson the boys learned (maybe) nap means they are very tired the rest of the day.

They went through this same thing when they started sleeping on the mattresses on the floor. So we are hoping they will quickly figure out they need to sleep and not play the whole time in their room.

Not Babies Anymore

Today the boys are no longer babies! They are now sleeping in "big boy" toddler beds. We got their room painted and set-up pretty quickly. We still have lots of stuff to get their room completely done, but it is to the point where they can now sleep in there. Here are a few pictures of what their new room looks like right now....

2 colors in their room

their bedsZak's bed

Ryder's bed

Zak's 1st time in his new bed

Ryder's 1st time in his new bed

Good thing Maddie will be here soon, we need babies in the family since the boys are growing up so fast!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Day 1 of Painting

Today we got the two blue walls painted and Ben got a good amount of the tan edging done. We are hoping to have the painting done tomorrow or Wednesday and then move furniture in by the weekend, but we will see how it goes. The big news is that I successfully painted without stepping in the paint tray, dripping paint all over the place, or making any other kind of disaster in the room. Let's hope I can keep this up the whole time!

Today started off pretty cold, but ended up being a really nice day with temperatures around 68-70 and sunny. This morning we worked on painting and then Ben went to his mother's while the boys napped to help take up some carpet. Once he got home I ran some errands to get the last of the paperwork I need to apply for the health insurance I found. Then we took the boys outside to play in the front yard since it ended up being such a nice day. Here are a few pictures (the boys were still in their pj's)....

Putting toys away

Zak (aka King of the Playhouse)

Zak's way of going down the slide

Zak using his snack trap

Can you find Zak?

Ryder in his Redskins jacket

Ryder on the 4-wheeler

Now for some random pictures over the past few days....

A cool double cart at Giant

Ryder wearing Piper's pj's from last winter

(Yes, Piper was almost 2 and Ryder is 14 months old)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Our Weekend

Yesterday Tracy & Dave went to the Navy football game so they were out all day. Ben, the boys, and I were pretty lazy all morning and then went out in the afternoon to buy their toddler beds. We ended up getting them plain natural color wooden beds. Then we will get them Cars bedding sets. We invited Rich & Laura over for dinner last night so when we got home from shopping I started making food. We had some broccoli cheese rice, veggies, and baja citrus marinated chicken while the boys ate spinach ravioli. After dinner the boys got to play with Rich & Laura for a while and then they had their nebulizer treatments and bedtime.

This morning we went to Old Country Buffet for breakfast with Chelley, Colleen, Jo, Jamison, Natty, Roy, and Seth. The boys loved the buffet and got to eat lots of different foods. After that we all made a trip across the street to the new Target just to walk around. Naptime came very quickly so we headed home and put the boys down to sleep. Ben started to paint the trim in the boys' bedroom which is exciting. Hopefully we will get the painting done the next few days and be able to move the furniture in by the weekend. After dinner tonight I gave the boys another quick haircut, we just love their hair being short!

The boys are slowly on the mend from their illnesses. They are in much better moods and back to eating, but still sound congested and need the nebulizer treatments occasionally. Ben is now feeling pretty under the weather though and I am just stuck with this never ending cold.

Ben has been looking around and applying for a few jobs. In the meantime I have applied for 3 jobs (2 vets and Babies R Us) and I have also found some state health insurance to apply for so the boys and I can keep coverage.

This evening we looked in the playroom and this is what we found....

Zak is such a monkey they days and climbs anything he finds. This is why they are no longer in the pack-n-plays any more.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Bedroom Make-Over

The last few days we have really gotten to work on emptying out the office and turning it into the boys' bedroom. Today Ben and Dave got the whole office emptied! They will be making a trip to the dump tomorrow morning (before Tracy & Dave head off to the Navy game for the day). This afternoon we rented a Rug Doctor machine and Ben cleaned the floor in the office. We will also go over the carpet again tomorrow before we have to return it to Giant. The next step will be to paint the walls (we will use leftover paint from the apartment) and then move furniture in. We will be going out in the next few days and buy the boys' toddler beds which are actually their Christmas presents from my mom. Their bedroom is going to be a Disney Cars theme.

We are trying to get the boys' room set up and them moved into it because we need to set up the guest room for my mom & Piper . They will be coming once Chelley has Maddie and we are not sure if Maddie will wait for her c-section date.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Nebulizer Time

Since the boys have been sick we have been giving them albuterol through inhaler to help with their breathing. Tonight I decided to use the nebulizer so the medication gets deeper into their lungs. Zak was great just as always with the nebulizer. He just sits on the couch or on our lap with the mask on and thinks nothing of it at all. Ryder on the other hand did not like it at all. He fought me the entire time so this means we will continue to use the inhaler for him while he needs it instead of the nebulizer. Here are a few pictures of them from tonight during their treatments....



Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sick Babies

So on Sunday we found out Ryder had an ear infection and he started antibiotics. He sounds congested still, bit today he much more himself which is great. While Ryder is on the mend Zak is on the downward slope. I took Zak to the pediatrician tonight since he is sounding worse and spent most of the sleeping. The pediatrician said he sounded like a 2-pack-a-day guy with so much gunk in his lungs so they did a nebulizer treatment at the office in order to try and clear that up to be able to listen for pneumonia. In the end we found that Zak has double ear infections and the beginnings of pneumonia. So he will be starting on antibiotics also and hopefully improve within a few days just like Ryder has done.

I am still battling something with congestion, a bad cough and full feeling ears. This has been going on for over a week so I might be taking a trip to the doctor for myself soon. Today Ben has been feeling sick as well so it looks like we will all be dealing with some sort of illness. This time of year is no fun at all.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A New Chapter In Our Life

Well, we as a family are currently dealing with something very uneasy. Ben was let go from his job at Dogwood Acres which leaves us with no income at the moment. The details of the whole event are still being worked out so I am not going to really go into it at all, but I just wanted to let everybody know we are going through a very rough time right now. Our families have already offered a ton of support which means so much to us. We know that we will make it through this situation, but it is extremely stressful at the moment. Ben has filed for unemployment which will offer some help. At the moment we are thinking that I might go out and get a job for the time-being so that Ben can look around and try to find the best job out there for him (and the family) instead of rushing out to get a job that won't really be the best decision in the long-run. Ben is looking forward to possibly being a stay at home dad for a bit and it would be nice to get out and into the adult world for a bit. We are trying to make the best of this horrible situation.

**Chelley, not to still have somebody to watch Maddie for you :-)**

As for the boys, they of course have no idea what is going on which is a good thing. They are both still sick and cranky which is not helping with the stress Ben and I are already feeling, but we understand they just don't feel good. Ryder seems to be on the mend now that he has had 4 doses of the antibiotic although he is still coughing and congested. Zak seems to be on the downward path at the moment, today he is feeling worse than before. We are watching him closely though and keeping them both on Tylenol when needed for fevers along with Albuterol for wheezing and lots of nose suctioning. We have not made an appointment with the immunologist yet because we need to wait and see what happens with the health insurance at the moment.

Sick babies...this is how they have been sleeping

Sunday, October 12, 2008

House Full of Sickies!

We have a house full of sick babies and people now. I started to get a bad cold last week and have not felt better since. With the boys both getting sick I might make a trip to the doctor myself to make sure it is just a cold and not an infection that I can spread around. Friday I took Ryder to the pediatrician and they said he had a cold, but to come back if he started to get a cough. Well, this morning he woke up with a pretty deep cough so we got an appointment at 10:20am today. Of course, Zak woke up with a fever today along with runny nose, sneezing, and coughing. The pediatrician found that Ryder now has an ear infection so he will be on antibiotics for 10 days. His lungs are still clear which is really good. Zak was looking good just like Ryder on Friday. The pediatrician said not to be surprised if we end up back there with Zak in a few days as well though. Tonight they are both cranky, sleepy, and very clingy. I can tell already this is going to be a long week!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Pumpkin Patch, Playground And More

We had a good time even though it seems like everybody who was going to come was unable to (Chelley decided against going since she would have to stand up the whole time; Colleen didn't bring the kids because they went into meltdown mode on the way there). So it ended up being our little family from Shipley's (Tracy, Dave, Ben, me, Zak & Ryder). It ended up being pretty hot so we had to roll up the boys' pants so that they wouldn't overheat. While there we ran into Shelley & Jason so I got to see baby Evan and John. (they are coming over for dinner and to play with the boys' in a few weeks) After we left the pumpkin patch we stopped at a church down the street to play at their playground which was lots of fun. Now for the pictures.... (there were so many cute ones)
Daddy carrying Zak Mommy carrying Ryder

Zak in the pumpkin patch

We also got some cute pictures of the boys while at the playground and once we got home.

Zak driving

Ryder in deep thought

Ryder chillin' with mommy

Zak with his 4-wheeler

Ryder cuddling with Tracy

Ryder getting sleepy

Friday, October 10, 2008

Early Christmas Present

Today we had a surprise visit from Chelley. She stopped by the house this afternoon with an early Christmas present for the boys. Aunt Chelley got them a table and chairs for them. Their new table will match the colors in their new bedroom (they will have a Disney Cars theme in the bedroom). The boys will now get to learn to sit on a chair at a table to color.

Of course, like any kid, they enjoyed playing with the box! Ben taped it shut and then cut a hole in one side. They took turns crawling into the box and then they played peek-a-boo with each other.

We are hoping to make it to the pumpkin patch tomorrow, but not sure if that will happen since Ryder and I are sick. We planned to go after the boys' nap, but it will be a last minute decision on whether we go or not depending how everybody is feeling.