Birthday Number 3

Sooo, I don’t know if y’all heard about this craziness, but the girls turned three a couple of weeks ago a month ago. I’m way behind on the blog and even on facebook updates; it’s been pretty crazy around here since May, but that’s another post. THREE! How is it possible that these girls are three?! It feels like three years have flown by, yet at the same time it feels like the past three years have taken forever. It was really fun to celebrate their birthday this year, because Violet and Oriana really started to get what it was all about. They were so excited to have a party (parties are their new favorite thing). They are slightly obsessed with the color pink right now, so we had a pink party. Since things have been so crazy, we kept it pretty simple – pink balloons, streamers, plates, cups, utensils, pink icing on the cupcakes. The girls all had pink flower clippies for their hair and we asked their guests to wear pink if they wanted to. They had a great time with all of their favorite people. Plus, they got to eat pizza and cupcakes, so they were pretty thrilled. Mother Nature cooperated and even though we had thunderstorms and hail earlier in the day, it cleared up and we had a beautiful evening for a party. They got lots of wonderful gifts. They have amazing, caring, generous people in their lives and we are extremely grateful.

They got to eat donuts for breakfast on their actual birthday, and then we took them on a walk to the park to run off all the sugar. They also got to go out to eat for dinner, which is one of their favorite things to do and something that we don’t frequently get to do any more. Violet and Oriana got to have their favorite meal from Grinders (chicken fingers) and we experienced the generosity of strangers when the table behind us paid for most of our meal. It was a really nice surprise and we appreciated it very much. It’s so easy to think about all the negative in the world and it is so nice to be reminded of kindness and good things.

I think we managed to give our little ladybugs a pretty awesome birthday weekend. They still talk about it occasionally. It’s so much fun to see all these experiences through their eyes. Thanks to everyone who helped make their birthday great!

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Two years old!!!!

It is hard to believe, but our little girls turned two on August 20th! At times it seems like the past two years have flown by, and at times it feels like they were the longest years of my life. I’m pretty sure they were just teeny, tiny, two pound newborns in the NICU and now, we have happy, healthy, thriving, ornery, tantrum-throwing two year olds!

We threw the girls a dog themed second birthday party because they love dogs. It was a very hot day, but we had lots of family and friends to help us celebrate. Our girls are very loved. We are incredibly grateful for all of the wonderful people in their lives. They might not know yet how blessed they are, but Ryan and I certainly do. Thank you to everyone who came to celebrate with us! Your gifts were appreciated, but even more than that, we are so thankful for the fact that you took the time to come celebrate with us. Your time and love for our incredible little girls means so much! (Official thank you cards will be coming soon!)

 

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I made a dog cake! (Thanks Pinterest)
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It took far longer than I would like to admit to make these.

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What are we supposed to do with these?
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Icing is delicious!
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Oriana needed a little help, but she figured it out.

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It was hot; look at those rosy cheeks!
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Being silly after naptime

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And Suddenly…Toddlers!

It is a strange and amazing thing to watch your kids grow up right before your eyes. Sometimes as parents, you don’t realize it right away. You spend every day with your children, so all the little changes aren’t so obvious. I see all the different things the girls do and how they grow, but sometimes it hits me all at once just how much they have changed. It just recently hit me: we had these little babies just learning how to stand and take steps, and now, suddenly, we have two toddlers running around the house. I swear they went from babies to toddlers in a matter of days. Even their looks have changed; they look more grown up. Comparing their pictures from a few months ago to how they look now is such a huge difference. These girls can stop growing at any time!

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This is my rocker from when I was little that my Mom got out and cleaned up. Violet & Oriana LOVED it!

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And this is Addison making a grumpy face about going to doctor’s appointments today. But, seriously, how cute and grown up does she look in this outfit, with her tennis shoes on?!

 

Our little ladies are now 18 months old (or 15 months corrected age). Violet and Oriana are walking like old pros. When they get excited, they practically run. For being such skinny little ones, they eat a ton! Violet especially loves food. They eat everything I feed them, and then they eat half of my food too. They are finally starting to get the hang of sippy cups; Violet does really well. We haven’t been able to get away from the bottles at mealtimes yet, but the rest of the day we do sippy cups. They eat all kinds of finger foods and whatever food we eat that they can chew. They love books. Oriana loves stuffed animals. Violet still loves blankies. Violet also loves to take the dogs potty. Ryan or I have to hold her, and then she has to hold the leashes. As soon as we move towards the door with the dogs, she makes a beeline for it. (Now if only that enthusiasm would last for the next 18 years…). They are both becoming cuddlers. We have had some rough nights and days thanks to teething lately, but it seems to have let up a little for the moment, and I am super thankful for that. One teething baby is no fun, two is definitely a challenge. Violet and Oriana still don’t say many words. They are starting to get into the mimicking phase though and they make all kinds of sounds and do the whole nonsense baby talk thing. They also point and grunt at everything, which is really lovely (yes, that’s definitely sarcasm). They are getting there. I’m sure some day I’ll be wishing we could go back to the days when they couldn’t talk.

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Oh, Hi Mom, did you need your debit card?
They like to do somersaults - they do this and then we flip them over.
They like to do somersaults – they do this and then we flip them over.

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Oh, you know, just lounging around, eating cheerios and sharing with the dogs.

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Addison has been doing great! We love, love, love having the g-tube. It definitely makes her life and ours easier. She is growing like crazy. I think she gets taller every day. She still has an occasional seizure, but they are much  more controlled. She has been doing awesome in physical and occupational therapy lately; it is so nice to finally see her making some progress. She has much better head control, she is holding her hands open more, she responds to my voice a lot more, she moves her arms much more, she stretches a lot, and she tries to sit up from a reclined position. We go to get her g-tube changed for the first time this week. We have several other doctor’s appointments coming up soon too. I am slowly working her up to getting her daytime feeds done in an hour. We used to have to do them over two hours back when she was throwing up so much. Since she’s not been vomiting, I have been increasing the rate they run at by a little bit every week. Right now, we are up to about an hour and fifteen minutes. Addison has a great little grin, when you can coax it out of her. She still doesn’t coo very much. She is super content, and of course, she still loves to snuggle up and get her fair share of the cuddles.

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Cuddling with Jackson (he really just wanted her blanket).

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It’s been a challenge lately to feel like I’m spending time with and paying attention to all three girls. Addison tends to get a little neglected during the day, because Violet and Oriana are so insistent on having all my attention, and I can’t always get them to behave so I can hold Addison. It is great to be able to lay Addi on the floor, and not have to worry about the other two pulling out her NG, but they just kind of crawl all over her now. They don’t yet understand that they need to be gentle with her. They pull each other down and climb all over each other, so they think they can do the same to Addison. Poor baby gets beat up sometimes. She does love to watch her sisters though. All in all, it has been a pretty normal couple of months, which has been a nice change of pace. 

First Birthday Paar-tay!

On Saturday, October 24, we finally celebrated the girls’ first birthday. We wanted to wait until they were closer to one year corrected age (which will be the end of November), but not get too close to the holidays. We wanted them to be a little closer to acting like your average one year old. Plus, around their birthday, things were a little crazy with Addison seeing new doctors and being in the hospital. Lots of pictures to come, because, really, pictures will tell the story better than I will anyways.

We decided on the theme “twinkle, twinkle little stars, you’ve grown so much and come so far,” and, really, it couldn’t have been more perfect! Addison, Violet, and Oriana have grown so much over the past year. They have made so much progress and we are so proud of them. Comparing where we were last year, to where we are now is completely mind boggling. (Also, I got to play with lots of glitter to make the decorations. Always a win in my book).

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I made the “chalkboard” signs that you see all over pinterest. They turned out really great!
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For the record, Ryan did help with some of the drawing on these.

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Remember all that glitter I mentioned?!

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Homemade ModPodge and glitter = awesome!
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Ryan & I spent lots of time tracing stars on scrapbook paper & cutting them out. But my star garland turned out really cute, so it was worth it.

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We were excited to show our girls off. There were some family/friends at the party that got to meet them for the first time, and some that had not seen them in a long time. The girls were surprisingly well-behaved and social. They visited with everyone and got lots of love and attention. They also got toys, money, clothes, diapers, and puffs/snacks. We are so grateful to everyone who came to celebrate with us. Thank you for taking time out of your day to spend with us and thank you for all the wonderful gifts. Thanks to everyone who: helped make and/or buy food, ran to the store to pick things up, helped decorate and tear down, brought me coffee, and loaded up all the gifts and decorations in their cars and delivered them to the house. A special thanks goes to Marshanna, who not only took great care of the girls in the NICU, but offered to make their tutus, and did a fabulous job! You rock! These kids have no idea how many great people are in their lives!

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I made these smash cakes for Violet & Oriana. Not bad for my first ever attempt at decorating with icing.
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I bought the cupcakes though.
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Violet
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Oriana
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Addison
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Time for cake!
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Wait…what am I supposed to do with this?
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This is delicious!
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Getting a little encouragement from Great-Grandma
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Oriana stayed true to form and preferred for someone else to feed her the cake. Violet was totally hands on though.

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P.S. – I made a slide show with pictures of each of the girls from the time they were born until now. It is kind of long, but I’m going to embed it in this post, because it took forever, and it is really cool to see how much they’ve changed, and you can watch it if you want to.

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Great-Grandpa
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Both of my Grandpas, deep in conversation. They were too cute!
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A mountain of new clothes
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That, my friends, is 23 containers of puffs, and 8 bags of yogurt bites. Violet could not be happier!

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