Friday, August 30, 2013

Working Hard!

We work very hard to continually challenge Drake and find new ways to help him grow and improve in every way.  Within the next couple of weeks, he will be changing from physical therapy twice a month to twice a week.  He will also be starting speech therapy.  When we learned that his vocal cords were alright, we were told he could benefit from speech therapy in order to hear himself and realize he could mimic those sounds.  We are anxious to see how he will benefit from these two new changes.  One of our favorite things to enjoy now is how he smiles when we kiss him on the checks. It just melts our hearts.

Working on head control & doing great!

Brian and I are taking a much overdue vacation with some of our close friends beginning in the morning.  The babies will be staying with Gran and Poppy.  I'm sure they will be ready for a few days away once we return!  It is always hard to be away from our little ones, but we know they will be in good hands and loved very much. 

 We're going to miss these two!

Here we are about to welcome September, and in one month, we go back into hibernation with our little ones.  RSV Season begins in October.  So do the Synagis shots.  We will be keeping them in and away from anyone who has not had flu shots and TDAP boosters.  With the outbreaks of whooping cough and measles, we realize how easily these diseases can pop up and spread.  Even though our babies are up to date on all their immunization, we just can't be too careful.  Drake's respiratory problems could also reappear far too easily.  We have oxygen on hand, just in case.  We just hope we don't need it.

Kennedy is so busy all the time.  She can sit and play with her toys for long periods of time.   She doesn't like to be held as much.  She wants to be down, playing and on the move.  She crawls everywhere and pulls up and walks around every piece of furniture wherever she might be.  She is a very happy little girl, except when you want her to be still and go to sleep.  Let's just say that she definitely has a stubborn streak...I don't know where she gets it.

May you all have a safe and enjoyable Labor Day Weekend.  

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Kidney Test

Drake was such a trooper all day long yesterday! We headed to Children's at 6:45am and arrived back at Gran & Poppy's around 4pm. That was a long day for a little boy! His right kidney looks perfect and is functioning at 51%. His left kidney appears to have some scaring but is still able to function at 49%. This is pretty phenomenal all things considered. His urologist has scheduled a VCUG (urinary reflux) test in 6 weeks. 

Sweet boy!

We have been working with Kennedy on wearing shoes...she is not a fan. I have found that distracting her with toys or snacks seems to help prolong the wearing of shoes. Otherwise she will immediately remove them herself. She has also become a fan of removing her bib while eating. At first this was a sign that she was finished, but now she just does it because she can. 

A little shoe practice :)

I don't want to wear this.

 I don't want to wear this either. 

I've been working on scheduling their synagis shots for the upcoming RSV season. While we are ecstatic about how well Kennedy is doing, it is scary knowing that she will most likely not qualify for the shots this year. However, we are extremely hopeful that Drake will qualify. Going back into seclusion this fall/winter is a lonely time, but something that is necessary to ensure their health. This time I look forward to chasing Kennedy all over the house as she explores! 

Big boy in his high chair! 

Friday, August 23, 2013

What A Week!

What little travelers we have!  After a few days in South Texas, we drove back to North Texas on Wednesday.  Finally, I was feeling like myself again.  Thursday Drake had one appointment in Dallas; then we rested a bit and headed back to East Texas.  Drake had 2 appointments here in Tyler today, and he continues to do very well.  I wasn't sure, as he has not been feeling too well the last few days.  The travel to various areas of Texas seems to have made it clear that he does have allergies!  

We were planning to head back to Gran & Poppy's this evening, but now Brian is sick like I was last weekend.  Kennedy keeps calling for Daddy and wants to go to him, but she can't.  She can only look at him from outside the room.  I don't know who is more upset, Daddy or Kennedy!  

To top off our week, the twins are 14 months old today!  We weighed both babies yesterday.  Drake weighs 19 lbs.  Kennedy weighs 16 lbs 3 ozs.  

Overall, it has been one crazy, busy week!  The one thing I know is that these babies are very good travelers, and they definitely enjoyed being with all of their relatives--East, South and North Texas!

On a final note, I want to ask for prayers for a family in our home church in McKinney.  Their little boy was born at 27 weeks 3 days.  They are now experiencing the NICU life and the roller coaster of emotions and fears.  We pray that this little guy will be home with his family in the very near future.  It is so hard to believe that this time last year, we were there ourselves praying for weight gain, lung function improvement and how blessed we were to have those little, tiny angels in our lives.  We still give thanks for them every single day!  

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Road Trip...What, Mama's Sick?

Finally, our first family road trip! The bags were packed, the car was loaded...very loaded, and we headed for central Texas. We arrived at Uncle Matt's in the early afternoon, which gave us plenty of time to visit and cook dinner. Kennedy quickly showed Uncle Matt that his house was not baby-proofed, but we appreciate his efforts. As soon as Kennedy crawled and pulled herself up onto his coffee table, she popped a penny in her mouth. Brian leapt up from the couch and swooped the penny out of her mouth in the blink of an eye. 

I began suffering from allergies shortly after arriving at Uncle Matt's. I thought allergies were the extent, but unfortunately during the night fever and vomiting set in. The only thing worse than being sick is being sick on a trip with 2 babies; Brian immediately had to jump into super daddy mode. I was available to answer any of his questions, but I didn't want to take a chance of the kids catching this bug. Once we arrived at Aunt Gigi's, Brian had plenty of help with the babies while I was recovering thanks to: Yea-Yea, Aunt-T, Aunt Gigi, Uncle Matt, Uncle Chuck, and cousin Hannah.

Luckily I was feeling much better today and I have been fever free since last night! Drake and Kennedy have had a wonderful visit with the Gilstrap side of the family. They have also experienced their 1st time with deer. One of the deer even licked Kennedy's toe! We had a nice family dinner out by the lake...lots of family and lots of love!!! 

Friday, August 16, 2013


On Wednesday we were finally able to deliver the care-package items to the NICU families at Presby Dallas. It was wonderful seeing some of our favorite nurses again! It was also quite nice to be there as visitors rather than residents. I think it is clear that my "teacher" side came out with the sorting and uniformed labeling of the items. 10 years of teaching doesn't just wear off. We have already been told how appreciative the parents are who have received gifts. It warms my heart to be able to provide some happiness to parents experiencing the hardships of life in the NICU. 

The NICU this week was the first of many visits we have coming up. Tomorrow we will visit with Brian's grandparents for the day in East Texas. Sunday we will travel to Austin for one night at Uncle Matt's, and then we will head to Aunt Gigi's on Monday in New Braunfels. Even though we travel back and forth weekly to Gran & Poppy's, that doesn't require much packing. However, this trip will require a fully loaded car. Hopefully, my Tuesday report will be about smooth sailing on our travels. Fingers crossed! 

Both of Drake's therapist were impressed with his progress today! He is really beginning to move his arms and hands more and we are very excited about this around here! I am including a couple of pictures where his hand is blurry due to the movement of hitting his suspended toys. I have also included a picture of how Drake manages to wiggle out of this helmet many times daily. During the day, we are constantly putting it back on his head, and at night he wiggles it off in his crib, too. 

Drake is enjoying his new booster high-chair from Gran & Poppy. It is just like the one his physical therapist let us borrow that will recline. This allows him to enjoy sitting up and interacting with the family while still working on his head control. I've included a picture of Kennedy reaching for her brother when we asked her, "Where's bubba?" No doubt about it...she knows her brother. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


The day I have anxiously awaited for months finally arrived!  Kennedy said, "Mama" today for the first time!  Finally!  She has been saying dada for months, and when we asked her to say mama, she would either laugh or say dada.  Cousin Jacob has been saying mama for a while, so she had to meet the challenge.  It is interesting for us to see how Jacob and Kennedy interact and leap frog each other in terms of who will accomplishing a new skill first.

Kennedy also went grocery shopping for the first time yesterday, at Brookshire's of course.  I think she was in sensory overload with so much to see.  Her favorite thing to do was reach behind her and grab things we put in the basket.  At one point she even used a tub of salad as a pillow.

Drake is trucking along slow and steady with his Snowdrop program.  We know this is a marathon, not a sprint, and we do our exercises daily.  He will be re-evaluated in November to see what we need to change in his daily program.  It will be like reaching the first mile marker in a marathon.  Time to see if we need to slow down, speed up, or keep up the same pace.  He has been doing very well this week with his bottle intake, not requiring a large amount through his mic-key button.

Kennedy has found her nose and gets very upset when we tell her she cannot stick her finger in it all the time.  I'm sure this will not be the end of her getting upset when we tell her no.  If this is a preview of what we will see when she is a teenager, we may have a lot of tears and teenage fits ahead of us.

We spent Saturday night at Aunt Mere and Uncle Aaron's.  This was good prep for our visit with Brian's family in Austin and New Braunfels.  We travel back and forth from our house to Gran and Poppy's all the time, but we have all the supplies we need for both babies at both houses.  This was a chance to spend 24 hours at a house that didn't have all of Drake and Kennedy's things.  Great trial run.  Both Drake and Kennedy were entertained by Jacob's toys.  Kennedy crawled over to them and looked back, as if to say, "Mom, check out all of these new toys!", and Drake grabbed a rattle and held it for a while.