Tuesday, November 25, 2008


We have much to be thankful for. We are well-fed, housed and clothed. We live in a peaceful place with kind people and the beauty of nature all around us. We have a lot of love, laughter and fun in our lives every day. We have each other.

Happy Thanksgiving.


This picture was taken last Sunday and when we woke up that morning, it was only 4 degrees out. Not 24, 0r 14. Just 4. F.O.U.R. That's crazy for November, even in these parts!

The girls were not deterred and had big designs on the snow outside (yep, we had also gotten about 3" on Saturday) so off they went-bundled up and ready to rock while B pulled them around on their sled and I watched, warm and cozy, from inside. I'm no dummy!:)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Going Home

Three years ago today, our girls were discharged from the hospital after 54 days in the NICU. They were around 35 weeks when they came home, each weighing just under 5 lbs. It was a really warm day for November but we had them bundled to the hilt and they probably sweat bullets the whole drive home! There was no room for me in the backseat with them so I basically just rode backwards in my seat the whole time, obsessively checking them to make sure they were okay.

We got home, I got settled into the glider rocker in their bedroom and Brendan put them each in my arms. Finally we were all home.

Some days it feels like this was a million years ago. We've come so far since then. And yet other days, I can be back there in an instant in my mind's eye.

Welcome home my sweets. What a journey it has been. We love you so.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Want to be inspired?

Click here to read and watch a quick video about ABC's latest "Person of the Week." Get the tissues ready!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Brag fest

It's always good for me to note Hannah's progress periodically so that I remember how far she's come and can extrapolate out to where I imagine she might be in the future. It keeps me hopeful and positive.

So here's my brag list of some of the new and exciting things Hannah has accomplished in the past 9 months or so:

  • Walking in and steering her walker
  • Cruising
  • Standing independently for several seconds at a time
  • Getting from the floor to sitting
  • Pulling to a stand
  • Climbing several stairs in a row with assistance
  • "Wall walking" (walking with one hand on the wall and the other hand holding mine)
  • Taking a step or two holding just one hand
I am so incredibly proud of how hard she works and how motivated she is. Hannah, you're my hero.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Squeaks and scratches

A lighter post to bring some levity to the blog after yesterday's downer:

Living in the north country, once the weather settles into a regular routine of cold snaps and hard frosts, all living things seek shelter. This includes mice. If you live in an old house like we do (circa 1900) there are all kinds of points of entry for these little critters to come on in, so we have a regular routine of setting traps this time of year.

But one place where we always forget to set a trap is the car. It's the perfect spot for a mouse, what with the cozy car seats and the leftover cracker crumbs everywhere. And the napkins and tissues in the glove compartment make for a perfect nest.

Today on the way to hippotherapy, I opened the glove compartment and saw the telltale signs of torn up napkins and mouse turds. Sweet. I also heard scratching and squeaking. I just prayed the bugger wouldn't pop it's head out and race across the dashboard before I could get home.

I'm sorry to say that once B gets home tonight with some more traps, your time will come my little friend. Such is the way of life in these parts...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Today I'm weary

I haven't felt this way in awhile. Not sure if it's the gray November day, or the fact that Hannah has been pretty tough lately, or because it's Monday. Whatever the reason, today has been a hard day.

It started when we got up. Lately, mornings have been a real trial. The girls are whiny, crabby with each other and needy. Makes it hard to get them organized to start the day. For awhile, Isabelle was giving me a run for my money but now Hannah has taken over the reigns. Hannah expresses it in different ways: where Isabelle is defiant and disobedient, Hannah is super emotional. She got absolutely hysterical at breakfast when she spilled some cereal. The way she reacted, I thought for a minute that she got badly hurt somehow. She was that hysterical.

We muddled through the morning and managed to get out the door for story time which we haven't gone to in awhile. I was so excited to get out of the house and connect with some other moms about the challenges we've been going through related to the "terrible threes." I also thought the girls would enjoy the change of scenery, the stories and the craft project we always do at the end of story time.

Ah well...

We get to the library and the elevator is not working properly. I have to run upstairs to ask the librarian to help us while the girls wait and whine for me on the middle floor (story time is in the basement of the library). It takes the two of us 5 minutes or so to get it working, all the while kids and parents are streaming in behind us, kids begging to "go for a ride," parents trying to shoo them downstairs, me just wanting to make a quiet entrance and not a major event out of it.

Already, instead of feeling relaxed I'm tense and annoyed. Wishing we could just go someplace and have it be easy. Then there are the other moms. I recognize a lot of them and they're all friendly and it's nice to see them. But I'm too preoccupied trying to get Isabelle's boots off and encourage Hannah to walk so that the people behind her can get inside, so there isn't any chance for the mutual mommy-venting that I was looking forward to. And the moms are too preoccupied with their own social time to realize that they're blocking Hannah's way so I have to keep saying "excuse me, excuse me" while I'm hunched over Hannah trying to get her to walk.

Story time itself goes okay. The girls are pretty quiet, as they usually are when we have a somewhat new experience (we haven't been there in awhile). I'm aware that Hannah is drooling a bit and her mouth is sort of hanging open and between that and the fact that she's not saying much, it crosses my mind that people probably think she is cognitively as well as physically disabled. I just wish they could hear her at home, talking up a storm.

After story time and the craft project, I have to get the girls bundled back up and out the door. It's a task I dread. I usually carry Hannah so she's easier to extract but Isabelle takes advantage of the fact that my hands are full to linger and dawdle since she knows it won't be easy for me to just pick her up. I get Hannah to her walker and again there are parents and kids everywhere, blocking Hannah's way. I start to get frustrated that no one makes any effort to clear a path for her. With all of the people in such a small space, it's hard enough to get Hannah to walk. When she does get her feet moving, she crashes into the knees and feet of the oblivious. Too bad, I think.

The girls get on their coats and hats and we make our way back to the elevator. I struggle to open the door since Hannah has walked right up to it and it opens toward you (what a lame design) No one offers any kind of help. We get into the elevator and I glance back to see a crowd of kids watching us with a wistful look, some asking their parents again if they can take a ride. I don't say goodbye to anyone and don't look back again.

By the time we get home, I'm totally exhausted and we've only been gone for a little over an hour. I'm cranky, my back hurts, and I feel sad. Life has gotten easier to handle in so many ways, but some times I still get weary from it all: from the physical effort it takes to get the girls out the door and ensure Hannah can get what she needs, and from the emotional effort it takes to ignore the stares and try to act like everything is totally normal and fine in my life.

Friday, November 7, 2008

New Boots

Hannah got her new orthotics yesterday: these are the hinged, articulating AFOs which will give her greater range of motion in her ankle and foot. She seems to be doing great in them so far and is actually asking to put them on which is a first (Mommy, can I wear my purple boots today?) Not sure if it's just the novelty of the new floral pattern but I'll take it!

I'm excited to see how she progresses with her walking, cruising and standing in these, as those are the big things she's been working hard on right now. I didn't feel any of that crushing sadness that I felt when we got the first pair, which makes me realize I'm getting used to my new reality. Now, I'm just happy to see that she'll have another tool in her toolbox to help her get what she needs.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Trick or treat

This year, the girls really got the idea of Halloween. We talked for a few days before about going up to people's houses, saying trick-or-treat, and getting candy. Hannah was especially excited about it and kept asking me when she could go get candy. They've never even had candy before so I'm not sure why she knew to be so excited about it, but she was. There were some battles about costumes but they eventually embraced what my parents' bought them-thanks Grammie and Papa! Hannah was a dragon and Isabelle was a sheep. B and I even got in on the action thanks to our babysitter who brought over a whole suitcase full of costumes for us to chose from.

We had friends over for dinner and then all went up into town to trick-or-treat. We live in a small village with about 6-7 streets in a grid that make for perfect trick-or-treating. Our village is surrounded by lots of rural towns so people from all over drive in to cash in on the bounty. When we got up to town there were hundreds of people out and the atmosphere was so festive. It helped that it was a pretty mild evening. Houses, churches, the library and fire station were all decorated and handing out candy.

The girls were wide eyed, taking in all of the sights. I think they were so caught up in the action that initially, they even forgot about getting candy. But after we went to a few houses and they got the hang of the whole "put out your bucket, say trick-or-treat and get candy" concept, they were pretty hooked. Every time we stopped for a minute, Hannah would say, "Let's go to another house and get more candy."

We brought Hannah's walker and I had visions of her cruising around in town in her costume, but there was just way too much going on for her to focus on walking. We wound up walking holding her hands or carrying her the whole time. I was kind of bummed but she didn't seem to mind and was having so much fun that I realized I need to just stay focused on her and not on my own expectations of what constitutes a good time (something I always struggle with). I definitely had some moments of sadness as I watched all the kids racing around with their friends, realizing that Hannah might not ever be able to do that. But the more I stayed focused on Hannah, the easier it was. I also saw a boy who was maybe 10-12 years old and was wheeling himself around in his wheelchair. He was with some friends and seemed to be having no problems keeping up with them in his chair. It made me think more about the difference between "walking without assistance" and "independent mobility," and the fact that for Hannah, there will probably be a time and a place for both of these means of getting around.

Anyway, we lasted about a hour before everyone started to peter out. We let the girls try a few different kinds of candy and then told them we'd put it away and they could pick out one piece each night until it was gone. Once they went to bed, I fished out all of the choking hazards and divided up the loot so that they each had 5 pieces of the exact same kind of candy to chose. Last night as soon as dinner was over, they asked for their candy. Tonight they didn't. Who knows, maybe they forgot about it already (here's hoping!)

All in all, it was a great Halloween and I'm so excited for more fun holidays with the girls now that they're old enough to really understand and enjoy them.