you never know what the future holds

Two years ago today, A&R had just turned 4 weeks old.  We spent our days in and out of the NICU, visiting our brand new baby boys.  Our lives were upside down.  We were on the cusp of a breakdown, never really allowing it all to come crashing down.  We were filled with sadness, anger, fear, envy, hope, and love.  We had never even held these boys, yet we felt like they've been with us for decades.

Though hope prevailed, we never really knew whether this day would come.  Yet here we are - happy, healthy and whole, about to send our kiddos into the care of a specialized school where they will receive some of their therapy.  It's not a huge deal, 6 hours a week.  But it's a change.  A good change because they need the socialization.  They love, love, love other kids.  We're a little nervous, as they've never been in the care of anyone besides family and close friends...and well dozens of NICU doctors and nurses.  I tend to forget that part.  

While this is a huge milestone for A&R, it's also a big step for us as parents.  Today we learn how to let go just a little.  Give up that control that we hold so near and dear.  As scary as it may be, it's something that we need to get used to.  After all, this only the first of many such lessons.



I've been meaning to post a little about Ryan and his development for a while now.  When I think of Ryan, I instantly smile.  He is such a fun, happy, little boy.  And in the last few months I've realized just how determined he is.  Ryan does not walk yet.  He doesn't even crawl.  But really, that doesn't stop him.  Because Ryan gets around just fine.

He still gets physical therapy four times a week.  And we are getting him fitted for his new stander this week.  The way Early Intervention works, we may have to wait a few more weeks before we get it, but at least it's a step in the right direction.

In the meantime, Ryan has been getting better and better at standing with our support.  Here he is, standing all on his own, holding on to a bar at the park.  He held this position for a good five minutes without any complaining.  

He's been practicing his walking (while holding our hands) a lot as well.  He still needs some encouraging, but he totally gets the idea of walking.  Placing one foot in front of the other.  He is so proud when he does it too.

Ryan is also using his right arm more often.  He likes to play with blocks and he's been challenging himself by placing a block in his right hand.  Here he is bearing weight on both arms, completely unprompted, which is a huge accomplishment for him.

Last week, Ryan said goodbye to his last tie to babyhood.  He weaned himself off his bottle.  Honestly, I couldn't be happier, because we've been wanting to wean him for a while.  But he was so attached to it that any attempts of taking it away led to a drama filled bed time routine, if ya know what I mean.  Anyway, one random night, while we were giving A&R their bedtime milk, Ryan reached out for Aiden's sippy instead of his bottle.  We decided to go with it, and we never looked back.  It took him two bed times and one nap time to really get over it, but there wasn't much crying involved.  He still asks for it sometimes, but we just give him a sippy and he drinks happily.  Well played Ryan, well played.  

What other random things can I tell you about my little boy?

He loves grapes.  Here he is chomping on some while brother napped.  

 He doesn't mind being dressed up as Thor.  He really enjoys it, as a matter of fact.

He frequently falls asleep on our Friday morning runs.

He is a lover of football.

Oh, and his best friend is Opie the cat.

Our little man is doing amazing.  With the help of his therapists, our family, and of course with all the hard work he does at home, he is making wonderful progress.  Just this morning, Seamus told me that he stood unassisted for five seconds.  Without holding on to anything.  He sure is making strides.  And we are so proud.  


we got pumpkins

We went to the pumpkin farm recently and had a really great time.  It was cold and rainy, but that didn't matter.  To us, or the kids. 

I dressed the boys in their train conductor outfits because I didn't get any good photos of them together on their birthday.  And momma needed a photo for their Thank You cards.  Tell me they're not the cutest train conductors you ever did see.  


We walked to the pumpkin patch and picked some farm fresh peppers and string beans along the way.  

Aiden, of course, could not let go of his trains for one second. 

I tried to get a photo of the three of us, and well, there's always someone not looking.

Ryan wasn't too sure about the pumpkins.  

Daddy and Aiden took a walk.

Ryan snacked on some cider donuts.  (Momma had some, too.)

Aiden tried to head butt a goat.

The boys met some furry animals at the petting zoo.  Here is the friendliest little rabbit.


And both boys had their first pony ride.  

It was a perfect morning.  We visited the same farm last year, and when I looked back at photos I couldn't believe how much A&R have grown.

They were such chubby, little babies.  Not anymore, though.  Now they're toddlers with thoughts and feelings and a true love of the word "no".  And you know what?  I'm not sad about it.  Yes, they're growing up so fast.  And yes, they will never be babies again.  But I am so damn proud to be their mother and I'm so excited about what the future holds for them and for us.  Life has been so much fun since these little guys arrived.  I couldn't be happier.


all aboard

A&R turned two last week.  We had their party this weekend, and as always we had the most perfect weather.  We get lucky that way.  The theme was Thomas & Friends, since that is what the boys loves the most.  I swear, Aiden walks around say "Thomas" & "Percy" all day long.  He knows all the train's names better than I do.  And they both beam whenever they hear the opening song on tv.  

I'm not a huge fan of commercial character decor, so I wanted to do some DIY stuff a la Pinterest.  My inspiration can be found here, here, here & here.  However, because I am not crafty at all and since I am a huge procrastinator, we ended up with something slightly less suitable for Pinterest and pretty much all commercial character.  Didn't matter much, because everyone had a great time anyway.  And I was stressed anyway.  But the day is done and all went well so I call it a success.

I ordered a bunch of stuff from Amazon, Party City and Oriental Trading.  I like to buy everything online because it really makes life easier.  I'm also really good at stating the obvious.  What I hate are the million boxes left over after I receive all my goodies and when it looks like UPS threw up in my foyer. 

We began decorating the house the night before, since the party was scheduled at noon and Seamus had a job interview that morning which would cut into the time I had him available for help.  This seemed like a great idea, until Ryan decided that on this night he would not sleep unless he was being held.  So I sent hubs to bed with Ryan, and tried to decorate by myself.  This bad boy kept me company though:

After all was said and done, this is what the inside decor looked like:

Food table with a 6 foot hero, fruits/veggies & dip, chips & pretzels, cheese/crackers/pepperoni, and of course cupcakes. 
Tablecloths from Party City & Oriental Trading, balloons from Party City, pennant banner from Amazon, cupcake stands from Party City.

Conductor hats as party favors from Amazon, Thomas cups and goody bags from Party City.

The day of the party my sister and cousin took the kids so that I wouldn't have them underfoot while trying to get everything else ready.  Seamus came home from his interview in the nick of time and took it upon himself to set up the yard.  At this point I was running around like a chicken with it's head cut off.  It was already noon and I hadn't showered yet.  Ahh the life. 

Our family and friends also took it upon themselves to help cook some food for our buffet so all we really prepared were a few dishes.  On our menu were a 6 foot hero (half American, half Italian), baked ziti, pulled pork, chicken, vegetables, mac n cheese, and stuffed cabbage.  We had plenty of food.  And two cakes.  Which was way too much.  The leftovers are sitting in our fridge, begging to be eaten. 

Thomas cake from Baskin Robbins (please excuse the poor picture taking)

Cake from local bakery purchased by Grandma

As an activity, I had the littles decorate train shaped sugar cookies.  I was supposed to bake them the night before, but I didn't.  So there I was baking cookies in the middle of the party.  I'm glad I did though, because the kids seemed to enjoy it.  

We created a makeshift table from some of the boxes that A&R's gifts came in and kept the fun outside to minimize the mess-making

We had cake and the kids didn't cry this time when we sang Happy Birthday to them.  And we didn't cry either.  We let them open their gifts and everyone went on their merry way with a doggy bag filled with cake.  

 We had a great time and we are so lucky to have such a wonderful group of people who we call family.  They love our boys something fierce.  And as a parent it really tugs at your heart strings to see so many people care for your children.  So thank you for all the wishes and all the gifts for our boys.  We appreciate your love.  

Oh, and how could I forget the outfits I made them wear?  My little train conductors. 

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