Monday, October 29, 2012

About that baby gender thing.

Feeling somewhat accomplished right now after spending yesterday getting a start on painting the girls' new bedroom. We are doing major bedroom swaps to prepare for the arrival of the babies... and I am freaking out a wee bit because this pregnancy is more than half over and the nursery... and the girls' room... are still in shambles.

A peek at what is to come in the girls' room... super excited for it to be done. 


We are in a state of emergency right now courtesy of Sandy... school is closed, local governments are closed, the federal government is closed... and people are freaking out. I have jumped on the freaking out bandwagon this morning and husband is out searching for water and such.

Clearly we are the king and queen of procrastination.



Payton and Addison are in such a fun place right now... Payton tells us quite often they are "best friends". Addison may be the forced bestie at this point... but it's all good. Ha. I have to say that adopting Addison has to be one of the best things we have ever done... for both of the girls. They are together all.the.time and they learn so much from each other.

So excited for what the future holds for these two chicks.


Payton's speech has really taken off lately... it is seriously entertaining and so rewarding to hear the things she comes up with. She has officially learned to tattle and can tell us in complete sentences why she is tattling. With each sentence... I beam. This is huge for us... slowly but surely, we are on our way.

We are slowly winding down the fall season of football and baseball. Playoffs are in a couple weeks and I am looking forward to the weeks of nothingness that follow.

For some reason... I get pretty emotional watching Mason play football. Yes... I am pregnant and yes... I have double hormone. Ha. But seriously... even though he has played tackle for a few years now, I think this year he finally gets it. In my mind... football is a big kid sport and to see him out there doing exactly what he is supposed to do to help his team... when I myself don't even really understand... it just makes me proud. 


Yeah, yeah... clearly I am a pregnant sap.

Pregnancy is going really well... other than a few sciatic aches, I'm good. I will be 22 weeks tomorrow. The babies are doing excellent... they appear healthy and are measuring ahead. And husband got to feel them move for the first time earlier this week... so sweet.

Baby A.

19w5d week baby stats...

Baby A: Measured 20w3d, weighed 12 ounces, heartbeat 141 bpm.
Baby B: Measured 20w4d, weighed 13 ounces, heartbeat 142 bpm.

Baby B.

So about that baby gender thing... the story goes like this...

We had IVF (in vetro fertilization) back in March of this year. Prior to starting our cycle, we learned about a genetics study through our clinic and we were accepted into the study. Not only did it help with cost, but we were able to get genetic testing done on our embryos for free.

Now... we historically were extremely conflicted about doing genetic testing on our embryos. We knew that our personal morals and values with regard to Down syndrome could be put at risk... and we were not sure we could handle finding out that one of our embryos had Down syndrome... and then be okay with discarding of that life.

On the flip side... we recognize that our plate is full and while we understand that any pregnancy brings risk of issues, we went into this wanting to add a typical child (Lord, I hate that term) to our family. It is what it is... and in no way takes away from our insane, intense love of Payton, Addison and their extra genetic material. 

That said... we were never going to spend the $6,000-$7,000 on genetic testing. But now we had a chance to get it for free... so we agreed. And when all was said and done... none of our embryos had Down syndrome... so thankfully we did not have to face the very thing we dreaded so much.

Moving forward... since we did a frozen embryo transfer, we transferred the two healthiest embryos we had sitting on ice. We were never given gender with our genetic testing results... it was not the purpose of the study.

But when I was around 9 weeks pregnant... our reproductive endocrinologist told us he requested the gender of our embryos from the genetics company. Well, of course we wanted to know... and we learned the two embryos that were transferred were one boy, one girl.

With 99% certainty.

Since the twins each have their own sac and their own placenta... it is assumed that they are di/di fraternal twins. When you add IVF to the equation... it tends to rule out di/di identical twins because that split happens around day 1-2 (20-30% of the time in natural twin pregnancies)... so they say. Our embryos were observed in the lab through day 5-6... meaning they would have seen if they had split... so they say.

So that rules out the theory that our girl did not implant... and that our boy split in identical twins. Both of our specialists say they doubt that happened. Our reproductive endocrinologist believes that the genetic testing was wrong when it came to gender. If true, this means that we fell in the 1% range of error.

All I can do is laugh. Because this crap only happens to us... I swear. And we definitely have two penises.


We really will not know for sure what happened until the babies are born... when we can test them to see if they are identical or fraternal. And if they are identical... this would be an extremely rare thing, to the point that our reproductive endocrinologist wants to submit our case to a medical journal.


So all plans have been thrown out the window... and we have changed directions. Two boys... we are equally excited.

Monday, October 22, 2012

she is six... the annual bash.

Yesterday my baby turned six... and the thing that is even weirder to me is that we are coming up on the anniversary of her being home with us for four years. That is just crazy to me... but here we are.


We had our annual halloween birthday bash... much more low key this year. So fun.

The grub. Kept it easy this year with chili, pizza and homemade mac-n-cheese... oh, and a few salts and sweets. And drinks.





Our costumes... literally thrown together in a day... err, less. Looks involved... but it wasn't.


This picture of my kids it is so indicative of their personalities. Payton looking to Mason to copy whatever it is that he is doing... and Nika off to the side, picking at her fingers, being shy when the attention is on her. Sigh.


Our guests... yes, costumes are mandatory... and oh, so fun.





A halloween party ain't no halloween party without the donut game. We do this every year... it never gets old.





Pass the apple... this was quite the cluster... and quite funny, actually.


Happy birthday, baby girl.


Instead of getting an assortment of party favors for the kids to pick from this year... which usually get chucked around my house courtesy of all the crazy boys... I just got these glow masks from the dollar bins at Target. They were pretty cool... definitely a hit with the kids. And they made their eyes look all eery... almost like those fake halloween contacts that they sell.


I think our halloween parties may be one of my favorite things each year... a tradition to keep, that is for sure.

Monday, October 1, 2012

one boy, one girl.

I think being an infertility patient, I always knew that twins could be in our future. But it didn't happen with Mason... and it didn't happen with Payton. So I guess I really thought it would not ever happen. Clearly the third time is a charm, right?

I can't lie and say that my mind never wandered... and I always said that if we did have twins... ever, in our lives... that one boy and one girl would be perfect for our family. Mason would get a brother... which seriously is what he wants so badly... and we would get our typical girl... a sister for the girls.

One boy, one girl it is.


We had a little gender reveal party to reveal to our family and closest friends the sex of the babies. We have actually known since around nine weeks... our infertility doctor was able to get that information from a genetics study we participated in and our nurse left the information on my voice mail. We really had not planned to find out that way... but my screams to drown out her voice mail before I could turn my phone off did not work.

One boy, one girl. We are so happy.


No party of ours is a party without some fun little details. We order a box o'sandwiches from Pot Belly, which worked perfect. Add a fruit salad, some pasta salad and some sweets... wa la. For drinks, we had pink lemonade and some assortment of blue gatorade.




One boy, one girl.


Monday, September 10, 2012

The fall season.

As much as we enjoy relaxing... I don't think we really know how. Err wait... maybe we just don't give ourselves the chance. But it's okay... we like to be busy.

And that is what fall brings. School. Homework. Therapy. Sports... practices and games. From mid August through the beginning of November... we have somewhere to be

Mason plays travel baseball... which means they play year round. And Kyle coaches... so that keeps us very busy. Lucky for Mason... his sisters love to be at the baseball fields. And our fall season is in full swing.


The downfall to travel ball is that if you ever want to play another sport... you have to double up. And Mason wants to play tackle football... making our fall season a little crazy.

Football has been kind of crazy for us this year... in order to keep Mason at the ankle biter level playing with his peers, he had to lose 4-5 pounds. Enter a whole new side to parenting that you never thought you would find yourself discussing with your eight year old. But he did it... mostly by cutting out all liquids but water... and eating lots of lean meats, rather than his mac-n-cheese staple. I gotta say... I was a whole lotta proud of him for making weight... I was a whole lotta nervous for him.

And maybe I'm just a hormonal pregnant woman... and maybe it is just normal... but Mason is so grown up. Yes, he is eight. But watching him on the football field the other night just made me so emotional. Sigh. My baby.

Mason tackling his opponent.

He is so proud of himself when he tackles his opponents. His first couple seasons of tackle football... well, it took him awhile to get the nerve to actually tackle the other team. This year... he is a tackling machine. Now this momma is just praying he doesn't get hurt. We have already lost one little boy on his team this season to a broken arm... I'm so not ready for that to happen.

Payton and Nika are playing football and cheerleading, respectively, through a local Champion football league for kids with special needs. It is run by the football players and cheerleaders at a local high school... and I have to say, I was so impressed with how good they were with the kids and how they just accepted them for who they are.


Payton had so much fun hanging out with the high school kids and playing football... she won over one particular cheerleader and several of the football players. The guys kept letting her tackle them and she would lay across their backs. When they lifted their heads to try to get up... she slammed their heads back to the ground. It was pretty funny.


She ganked a headband that belonged to the cheerleader... my Rambo girl.


Nika is so the girl that likes to watch and take her environment in... especially in places that are new to her. She mostly did just that at cheerleading... until they gave her that one-on-one time that she so craves.


Her little uniform swallowed her body just about whole.


Over the summer, Payton kept asking when it was her turn to go to baseball... since we spent so much time at the baseball fields with her brother. She would lug her little pink baseball bag around the house and get so excited at the thought of being able to play... so we knew we had to sign her up to play again.


She is hilarious. And clearly I am biased... but whatever. Her thang this season is sliding into home plate... although mostly it consists of her getting to the plate and purposely plopping down on her butt.


Where does she come up with this stuff? As long as she is having fun, right?

That she is... that she is.


Love her and her zest for life... even if she gets annoyed with my camera.


Alright... night night... my shows are on. Ha.

The sky at football the other night... the storm cleared out and the sun set.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

First day.


The first day of school has come and gone... and I didn't even cry. A shock, I know. Last year I was a hot mess trudging into the unknown with Payton going to kindergarten. This year, I knew exactly what to expect and it was easy peasy sending the girls to school. And poor Mason... I say girls because it is with their special needs that all my anxiety over school comes.

Nika started kindergarten.


I was talking to a friend last night and she told me she was a hot mess yesterday morning thinking not so much about Nika going to kindergarten... but rather the amazing opportunities Nika has been given in life, versus rotting away in a Russian orphanage. She said she kept thinking about where Nika would be today if we hadn't adopted her... and she is so right. It is this very thing that also sends my emotions into overdrive.

But sending her to kindergarten... I have actually been so excited for her to start and follow in her sister's footsteps. She had an amazing foundation to her education built by her equally amazing preschool teachers... and I know she can rock this. I just know it.

Her placement... Nika is in a full-day kindergarten classroom with about 24 or so typical peers. She receives push-in classroom support from her resource teacher for 30 minutes per day (typically during literacy centers and writing) and 45 minutes of pull-out support to work 1:1 on her IEP goals. She also will be getting speech and occupational therapy at school, but I have not received the specifics of that yet.

I was up at the school yesterday morning helping unload buses and I peeked in Nika's classroom before I left the school... this was within the first 10-15 minutes of the school day. Most every kid in the class was sitting in their chair coloring, while their teacher calmed a distraught child. Nika, however, was sitting on the floor right behind her chair. I had to laugh and went in to help, because I am pretty sure it is not on Nika's radar that she even has her own seat to sit in. Until she is physically shown the routine of her classroom, it will take her a minute to get comfortable. No worries here... she will get it.

A note about her day... We have been focusing on classroom routines and schedules in class.  She seems very confident, happy, and interested in participating in the classroom activities.  She enjoyed interacting with her peers on the playground at recess and was very independent at lunch.

Short term goals to work on... Getting classroom routines down, staying in her carpet seat, keeping hands to herself and stay with the class during hall movement. We have a daily behavior and goal chart that we use... more on that later.

So we will see... praying she succeeds like I know she can.

And Payton... she started 1st grade.


Payton has been so excited to start school... as in, we had to refrain from saying the word school or she would run, get her backpack and proceed to beg to go to school. She loves it and I am really excited about her placement and the support she is getting.

Her placement... Payton is in a 1st grade classroom in general education with about 24 or so typical peers. She receives push-in classroom support from her resource teacher for 40 minutes per day (typically during morning routine, literacy centers and writing) and 60 minutes of pull-out support to work 1:1 on her IEP goals. She also will be getting speech at school, but I have not received the specifics of that yet.

A couple notes about her day... Payton has had a successful first day.  She has seemed happy and eager to attempt classroom activities.  She has done a great job of demonstrating classroom routines that she learned last year, such as unpacking independently, going through the lunch line to buy milk, and being a good role model in the hallway.  We have focused on classroom routines and behavior expectations in class today.

Payton has done tremendously! We will continue to practice classroom routines, etc. but I couldn't be happier with her progress already.

If I am being honest, there is one teeny weeny thing that makes my stomach churn and that is worrying about peer relationships. While Payton is very much loved at school... and so many of the kids totally get her... some do not. And 1st grade-mean-girl-syndrome is nasty... we experienced it already at orientation. I cried the ugly cry that night... and moved on, knowing that those very people are not who we need to focus on... it is those that accept her for who she is. Here is the thing... Payton may not care, but she knows when someone is treating her differently, or purposely trying to evade her. And for this momma to watch that happen... it ain't pretty. I am trying to get a buddy program implemented at our school... if you have one at your school, could you provide suggestions on how it works?

As a whole... super excited about this year for Payton. She grew so much last year in kindergarten and I know she will this year too.

And big brother Mason... started 3rd grade.

Poor Mason still had wet hair.

I know this is so cliche, and quite possibly I say this all the time... but how have we possibly arrived at the day that Mason has started 3rd grade? It seriously boggles my mind and makes me a little sad.

I am so proud of this kid and sometimes I think I put too much pressure on him, especially when it comes to his sisters... yet he prevails every time. He has an amazing teacher this year and I am hoping that his desire to be the center of attention in class fades a bit. Ha. Right along side that... I know his compassion for others remains. And reading and writing... we are going to work hard on that to keep him on grade level.

His favorite subject at school... recess.
His least favorite subject at school... math.

This cracks me up... clearly he is not yet beyond the age where recess is the favorite. And his least favorite subject just so happens to be the one he excels in. Crazy kid.


When I look at these pictures of the kids loading the bus... my heart just swells. To most it looks like a typical picture of kids getting on a bus... but to me, this shows Mason taking his sisters under his wing. Oh how thankful I am for him to be their big brother... and to know he is there with them. Whether he is more interested in his own friends at this point... let's just pretend he is always watching out for the girls.

Happy trails...