Friday, February 26, 2010

Round Three (No, Not the Weather)


Sigh. So, we made it from Christmas until last Thursday without anyone having a cold at our house. That's pretty impressive with two toddlers and a Mommy who spends time with the preschool set. Although, due to the tremendous crappyness that this February delivered, we did spend a large amount of time indoors.

Anyway, last week the kids' noses started running, and I started dreading the inevitable wheezing. We started some prophylactic nebulizer treatments with our Little Man in hopes that we could avoid oral steroids and a trip to the ER. Good try Mommy and Daddy, but no dice. By last Saturday afternoon Colin was only making it about two hours between treatments without wheezes. A call to the (now closed) pediatrician's office lead to the advice that we needed to go to the ER. Sigh. Colin was taking his afternoon nap at the time, so I let him finish it (I firmly believe that a sleeping baby should NEVER be woken). After he woke up at 4:00, he and I headed off to the ER, while Daddy stayed home with Bean.

I will say this, Colin is an angel at the ER. The nurses eat him up; heck, the doctors eat him up. They did an RSV test (negative), a HUGE, LONG breathing treatment, and started him on oral steroids. This is now his THIRD round of oral steroids since Thanksgiving. His eczema looks awesome, but COME ON.

We were at the ER for about 2 1/2 hours, which isn't too bad, all things considered. But, it's now 7:00 which is when Colin usually is headed to bed and he hasn't even had dinner yet. By the time we get home, Daddy has Gillian settled in bed for the night. So, I feed Colin some toast, banana and oatmeal for dinner (all his favorites, really), do TWO separate breathing treatment, diaper, pajamas, brush teeth, and BED. Only an hour and a half late.

Colin is doing much better; he actually never felt really sick, as you can see from the above picture taken at his post-ER meal. He finished his steroid and is done with the round-the-clock breathing treatments....for now. We check back with his regular pediatrician on Tuesday.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

You Crack Me Up!

We have really seen in increase in the amount of interaction between Colin and Gillian in the past few weeks. They have started to, well there is no other word for it, neb with each other. For those who live outside of Pittsburgh, to neb (or be nebby) is a local word that means to be nosy or to mess in another person's business. It's one of my favorite Pittsburgh words.

Anyway, C&G are now nebby with each other. The other day I looked in the living room to check on them; Colin was sitting on the couch and Gillian was standing on the floor next to him. She was leaning over and taking off his socks. He was watching her and laughing his head off! Now, his feet are ridiculously ticklish, but I think he was more pleased that Sissy was paying attention to him. They are pretty dang funny right now.

The other day I caught this quick video of them playing "Poke & Giggle" while Dada was holding them. (You can also hear Bean talking a bit)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

(Pre-)Valentine's Day Fun!

Valentine's day with twins... what to say? Remember how the kids love helicopters? Well, Lea decided that the kids should get helicopters for Valentine's day. They had both liked the "Harold the Helicopter" that they played with at Barnes and Noble, so Lea ordered one for each of them (we haven't quite learned to share one of anything yet, in fact sometime even sharing two of the same thing is difficult). The Harolds had arrived some time before V Day, and it took a good deal of will power to hold off on giving them to the kids - especially when they still run to the entertainment center everyday (several times a day) wanting me to fly the remote controlled helicopter.

Our wills finally gave out on the 13th. The kids have really started to like opening presents:
And more than opening them, they enjoyed flying their new helicopters...
And since we were in the business of giving Valentine's day gifts early, the kids and I gave Lea her gift on the 13th too. I'm all too often a lame present giver, and I tried to step up my game this time. As is probably well known, I'm not a fan of overly ornate anything, let alone jewelery. In my browsings around on flickr, I came across photos of jewelery from a small outfit called pineapple seed. Their jewelery was simple and beautiful, and I found a lovely necklace there for Lea.
( Lea says: I have been wanting a "Mommy Necklace," but most of them are just not my style, nor Michael's. He did a wonderful job of finding this lovely necklace made of a simple, larger silver hoop with a clear crystal that represents the "Mommy" and two smaller hoops that represent the "babies", one with a pink crystal and one with a blue crystal. I was very surprised by the gift and I love it!)
Not being one to wear much bling myself, Lea knew what I would really like for Valentine's... COOKIES! Behold "The Chewy"!
I wasn't the only one to enjoy the cookies either, both C&G partook of the chewy goodness.
All in all, a great (pre-)Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Everybody Loves a Good Growth Chart

So, it's once again time for growth charts! We took C&G for their 15 month well-visit with Dr. McGarrity on Friday. She said they are "awesome" and is very pleased with their development and growth. Both kiddos continue to be on the small side, but they are holding steady in regards to percentiles. I just keep thinking that some day they'll have a growth spurt, right?

First Colin's charts (He's 20lbs, 9 oz and 30 3/4" long):

And Miss Gillian's (She's 19lbs, 10 oz and 30 3/4" long):

Monday, February 15, 2010


We have recently been brave enough to, first, introduce plates/bowls and, then, spoons/sporks to the kiddos during meal time. I am actually amazed at how well, and neat, they are with both. They occasionally pick up the plates and bowls and either try to wear them or throw them, but with some, umm, stern warnings they usually put them back down on the trays. The other night I grabbed some quick videos of the spoon eating. Well, Colin is eating nicely with his spoon, but Gillian is mostly looking at her bowl, until she hears the word "head" and then she decides to take action.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


So, like much of the mid-Atlantic region, we received a lot of snow last weekend. When I say a lot, I mean A LOT. The snow, in and of itself, wasn't really bad. In fact, it could have been really awesome... but it had the unfortunate side-effect of knocking out power to our house, and about 200,000+ of our closest friends in Allegheny county. Not fun.

Our power blinked twice and then went out completely at around 10:30 PM on Friday evening. Despite the fact that we couldn't see any lights on anywhere and thus believing that someone else must also be reporting the outage, we did our duty and reported the outage to Allegheny Power. Thinking to ourselves that we'd be OK for the evening and that our power would obviously be restored by morning, we headed for bed. We were somewhat dismayed that our power wasn't restored when awoke the next morning, but it couldn't be that long before it was restored, right? Plus there's plenty of stuff to do, like shoveling out.

Here's the view that greeted me when I rolled up the garage door:
In case you can't tell, that's a lot of snow. A LOT OF SNOW. Here's my measurement:
The readings in the driveway ranged from 18 inches to 20 inches, but this is the one that I happened to photograph. It should also be noted that it only read a value that small because I had already shoveled 4 inches out of the driveway the night before. That means that by my measurement we got somewhere just shy of 2 feet of snow... and it had to leave the driveway.

Grandma RoRo had come down on Thursday night so that she could watch the kids on Friday while Lea went to work (and while Lea and I went out with friends on Friday night). As a result of the snow in the driveway (and the fact that when I went out to shovel in the morning, you couldn't even tell that there was a road at the end of our driveway), Grandma RoRo was trapped. So I set about shoveling the drive way. Well, about 3 hours and 100 cubic yards of snow later, the driveway was clear.

I started shoveling at around 9:00 AM on Saturday and it took three hours to shovel out the driveway, so obviously the power must have come back on by the time that I was done, right? Wrong! While we have a furnace that runs on natural gas, it doesn't run without electricity; as a result, the house was getting a might chilly. This made Lea nervous about the kids, so she started exploring our options.

Our friends Al (a.k.a. Uncle Al, bringer of sleds) and Maria didn't have power and neither did our friends Ken and Laura. Fortunately Uncle David and Aunt Mercedes did have power and were willing to take us in. So, with a clear driveway, we abandoned house - faucets dripping to help prevent the pipes from freezing. Grandma RoRo also left and headed for home.

Once we made it to Uncle D & and Aunt M's we got the babies settled down for a nap... and then, well, I don't know what happened, because I took a nap too. Upon waking we attempted to determine when our power would return. Allegheny power had a nice website with a map depicting the areas without power and estimates of when power would be restored - but no estimate for our area.

Grandma RoRo and Grandpa Greg offered to lend us their generator and my Dad offered to bring it down. Because it was getting late in the day, we decided to have Dad wait until the morning to bring the generator (and his know-how) - we also hoped that the power would be back on when I went to check on the house in the morning. With that decided, we settled in for the evening with Uncle D and Aunt Mercedes.

The next morning (it's now Sunday), I got up and headed back to our house. Because we hadn't had electricity when we left, I disconnected the garage door from the opener so that we could get the car out of the garage. After Lea had backed out, I closed the door and re-engaged the opener so that people couldn't break into our house by just lifting the garage door. I then left through a lockable door in the basement (for which I don't have a key). My plan being that when I returned I would just go in through the front door, to which I do have a key.

Well, I got to our house on Sunday morning and shoveled a path up to our door. Upon reaching the door, I attempted to open the storm door... and it doesn't move. I pulled a little harder (thinking that maybe it's just frozen in place) and it still doesn't budge - because it's locked. Thinking that maybe we forgot to lock the sliding door onto our deck, I called Uncle Al (who still didn't have power either) to see if I could borrow his ladder. Long story made short, the sliding door was locked too.

Thankfully Dad is pretty resourceful, and when he made it down to our house, he and I managed to work our way in without any damage to the house. We then got to work setting up our temporary power grid. Dad started un-wiring the furnace from the household power and I shoveled off the patio under our deck in preparation for accepting the generator. We then routed several extension cords through our laundry room window - one to the furnace, one to the chest freezer, and one upstairs to the kitchen for the refrigerator and some trouble lights. The slideshow below presents our little ad-hoc power grid:

With the generator in place and operational we were able to get the house warmed back-up to human-tolerable temperatures (when Dad and I got into the house, the thermostat in the living room read 37°F). This allowed Lea and the kids to return. We made dinner, put the kids to bed, and then we went to bed with the hope that the power would come back overnight.

Monday morning came, and we still didn't have power. By now Allegheny Power's website was saying our power should be back by 11:00 PM (and around 11:00 AM we actually saw trucks from the power company on our road). Laura had called earlier in the day and invited us over for dinner. However, by around 4:00 PM when we were getting ready to head out for dinner, we still didn't have power. Sad about our lack of power but happy to go see friends, we left for dinner.

The kids played, Lea did a load of baby laundry, and we had a lovely dinner. But, the time came that we needed to go home to put the kids to bed. On our way back we were on the look-out for signs that our electricity was back, but as we drove back our road all we saw were candles. We put the kids to bed, took care of some chores in the house, and I got ready to do the periodic maintenance on the generator (top off the gas, check the oil, etc.). Just as I was getting ready to step outside, the lights in the house came on. 8:30 PM - 70 hours after our power first went out.

Because a call to the power company earlier in the day revealed that many customers in our area had regained their power earlier in the day, only to loose it again a few hours later, we held off on our rejoicing. When the power was still on 2 hours later I decided that it was time to reconnect the furnace to the household power and put the generator away.

So ended one of our most stress-full weekends since before the babies were born.