hope. shared.

Earlier this week, I was given the opportunity to guest blog over at Papas of Preemies.  You can check out my post here.

Papas of Preemies is a wonderful resource and necessary voice in the world of prematurity.  Often times, as I've witnessed myself in the last two years, papas are forgotten in this journey.  And that isn't really fair.  

Because this journey isn't mine.  It is ours.  And although I often speak in first person when I blog about Aiden & Ryan, their father - my husband - has been an integral part of my healing process.  

Be sure to visit Papas of Preemies, and like their facebook page.  Even if you aren't a papa, or a papa to a preemie.  They share some interesting blog posts, articles, and even thoughts of the day.

Thanks Papa Joel, for letting me share my story of hope.



The boys turned 23 months this past Sunday.  Seamus was under the weather so Aiden, Ryan and myself headed out bright and early for a long, long walk just to give him some peace and quiet.  We went to the park and Ryan promptly fell asleep.  True to form, Aiden started getting a little antsy in his stroller so I released him and let him walk next to me.  He had a great time looking at the flowers and trees and grass, which could identify properly.  He pointed out some kids playing with a ball.  He spotted his milk cup in the bottom of the stroller and reached for it.  He even tried to run away from me.  Two years ago I could never have imagined this day. 

We came home to a poppa who missed his kids.  And despite being sick he decided we should all go to Home Depot to pick up a few essentials.  This is what we do now.  Because we are adults.  Still seems a little surreal to me at times.  Sundays are not for lazying around and nursing hangovers anymore.  They are for trips to Home Depot and yard work while the littles nap.  Which is exactly what happened.  We worked on our yard for a while and A&R rested.  At around 5pm, shit hit the fan.  We had just finished dinner and we were relaxing out back with some friends, and then it hit me.  You see, A&R were sick with Roseola last week.  Or something very similar.  Fevers and general crankiness, followed by rashes.  Then I got the fever and a wicked headache.  But after a couple days I was feeling better.  On Sunday, though, is when the rash appeared.  All over my face and the rest of my body.  And the headache came back, only ten times worse.  And pain killers were not helping, my friend.  Not at all.  

My sister put the kids to bed and I tried to go to sleep at 8pm.  Only now it was 2am and this headache was not letting me sleep.  Once the sun came up, I knew we were in trouble.  Both parents sick as dogs, and two healthy toddlers ready to get the day started is not a recipe for success.  Thank the lord for mommas and sisters because they took the kids early in the morning and kept them overnight in order to give us some much needed rest. 

Fast forward to today, and unfortunately Seamus is still battling fevers and headaches.  Please send him some get well wishes and healthy vibes.  We need our poppa back!  

As far as the kids, they're doing great.  They're talking more than ever.  We've approached two word phrase territory, starting with simple things like, "Hi momma" and "Night night".  They are so adorable when they speak.  

They are obsessed with Thomas & Friends, and perk up as soon as they hear the song.  Aiden even tries to sing it.  They also know the order of the engines in the song and sometimes call out their names before the song does.  

We're working on perfecting the alphabet and starting to learn our numbers.  

We recently dabbled in self feeding with utensils, which gave me a mini heart attack, because hello mess!  But they actually did pretty well and I found that they eat more when I give them a fork with dinner and put their food on a little divided plate, rather than straight on their tray.  

Aiden no longer walks, he speed walks.  He tries to jump, but it's really just him on his tippy-toes.  Ryan is the most mobile he's ever been.  He's not crawling, but he is scooting everywhere and he will transition from sitting to laying (even on his tummy!!) to get what he wants.  Sometimes he falls over and gets stuck because his right arm ends up in a funny position, and this is where we have to practice tough love.  Rather than picking him up, we've had to teach him to get himself into a position where he can sit back up.  It has caused some tears and whining, but ya know what?  He gets back up.  Breaks my momma heart sometimes, but doing it for him now won't help him in the future.  In the last few days, Ryan has surprised us by using his right hand unprompted.  It still doesn't work the way it should, and he does get frustrated, but he is trying so, so hard.  That boy is my hero.  (So is his brother.)




A couple weeks ago A&R had their first second beach adventure.  I chose not to write about their first experience because it was a disaster.  And since it was a disaster I didn't have any photos to document the day.  Let's just say our car overheated and we were stranded at the beach in 99 degree weather.  Thank the lord for husbands (and daddies) because mine (husband, that is) left work to come and save us.  A panicked trip home and a few hundred dollars later our car was fixed but the trauma of that day forever haunts my dreams.  I know, dramatic.

I am glad to say though, that attempt #2 went much better.  We timed their morning nap for the ride to the beach.  We packed snacks and toys, beach umbrellas and chairs.  We arrived at the beach early enough that it wasn't too hot yet and we camped out right near the water.  Aiden got over his fear of sand and Ryan acquired a new fear of seagulls.  He liked them so much at first, but when one tried to steal the pretzel out of his hand...well let's just say baby boy was none too pleased. 

The beach isn't like it used to be pre-kids.  There is no laying out for hours and hours, letting the sun bake your skin.  Drinking Coronas and reading trashy magazines.  No, now the beach is different.  You sit and watch as your kids try to navigate the small space you claim as your own on this huge sand and water filled piece of land.  You laugh when they decide that they want to eat the sand and the face they make when they realize how terrible of an idea that was.  You apply and re-apply sunblock so that the summer sun doesn't scorch their pearly white skin.  And then you get pissed when you realize you missed a spot and your kid got burned.  

You sit there and you take photos of them.  Doing the most random and mundane things.  But these photos mean so much.  Because time doesn't stop.  And my babies aren't stopping.  Every day they look different, act different, learn something new.  

These are the experiences I cherish.  These are the photos I will look back on when I realize time moves way too fast.  And these are the ones that will help me forget that awful first trip to the beach.  Ha!

Love my boys

Ryan clearly enjoying his pretzel, seconds before the seagull tried to steal it

Brothers just hanging on the beach

Aiden walking the sand, which he previously refused to do


follow me

Hi there.  I'm here, don't worry.  Took a small vacation from the blog to vacation with my family.  We got back a few days ago and we are all dead tired and off schedule.  Last night, the littles didn't really let us sleep that much so we are running on empty.  Stay tuned for details of our interesting trip to Hawaii!  In the meantime, if you're looking for a way to streamline the blogs you follow (including mine), check out Bloglovin'.  You can follow me here.


support. together.

If you've been following along for some time, you may recall that I've sporatically mentioned a group of fellow preemie moms that have been a huge source of support for me during the last two years.  (Not to overshadow the support I've gotten from my family & friends, and especially Seamus.  But a different kind of support).  You may even remember meeting their kiddos in November during my "Meet My Preemies" series.  

It all started when I was in the hospital, on strict bed rest, trying to keep the boys in just one more day, just one more hour.  I stumbled upon a Preemie message board and I dared myself to open it.  There, I found a post entitled "Then & Now".  This is where I found my first bout of strength and this is where I would inevitably return to when I needed more.  In the NICU days, this was pretty much day in and day out.  The women on the board posted photos of their preemies on the day of their birth (including stats and gestational age) and today.  Well, that day.  They then spoke briefly about what their kids were doing, milestones they were working on, struggles they may have had.  Little did I know, that just 6 hours later I would be delivering my own preemies.  And little did I know that these women would evolve into some of my nearest and dearest friends.  

Two years later, we aren't just moms that are part of the same group online that just so happen to have one thing in common.  No, we are a network of interesting and unique women, who care about each other and our children.  We support one another in all aspects of our lives.  We cheer each other on when it seems like the whole world is crashing down.  We celebrate small milestones, and sometimes big.  We help each other shop.  We give advice on parenting and friendships.  We help each other by learning from one another's mistakes.  We give each other a shoulder to cry on.  And we laugh a lot too.  

It may sound silly to some, but face it, we live in a world where the internet and social media are a huge focal point of our lives.  There is a wealth of information and resources out there that can be accessed literally with our fingertips.  And while I was doing just that, trying to access what I could to better educate myself on what was my imminent future, I just so happened to stumble upon people.  Some of the most wonderful people I know.

This past weekend I had the privilege of meeting a few of these women.  You see, we are all over the country.  As a matter of fact, some of us are from Canada too.  So all over the continent.  The few of us that inhabit the Northeastern part of the country decided to get together, in a small town and take our kids to a Children's Museum.  We later went to Denny's.  We went swimming and put our littles to bed.  And then we sat in the hotel hallway and had some adult juice & conversation.  It was really a sight to be seen.  The next day we packed up and all went our separate ways again.  Feeling a little more whole.  

I'm so glad to have finally met my preemie moms.  Thank you ladies for allowing me into your lives and for helping me get through some of the hardest months of my life.  I am forever grateful.

at the Children's Museum

ditto above

our wonderful group

hangin' in the hallway


sharing is caring

My kids have shared a lot of things.  Their first home, my ute.  haha.  Their second home, the NICU.  Their forever home.  Our home.  

As brothers, and especially as twins, they have and always will have to share something.  Toys, clothes, food, the flu, mommy & daddy. 

I posted this photo that Seamus took on Instagram, with the caption that "they'll even share a laundry basket".  

I often look back at the photos I share, and smile, trying to picture what they look like to someone outside of our little world.  And what immediately struck me, and touched me today, was that Aiden & Ryan share something else that will overshadow all the things I've mentioned above.  They share a diagnosis.  

Hydrocephalus is, and forever will be, a part of Aiden & Ryan.  And when they feel alone or different, or even sad about it, they will always have each other to lean on.  Someone who understands without needing an explanation.  Someone who knows exactly what it feels like.  Someone who is a little more like them.

As parents you worry that your kids will be teased, taunted, made fun of.  You worry that they will be sad and cry.  You worry that you can't always be around to make things better.  As weird as it sounds, knowing that A&R share something so profound puts my mind at ease and more importantly, my heart.  

I would never wish this on them.  But life is what it is.  And if this is the hand they were dealt, I feel peace knowing that they will always have each other to lean on.  During good times and bad.   

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