Monday, March 31, 2008

Change is in the air

The First Day of Spring came and went without notice for me. Isn't Spring supposed to happen overnight? I can't believe how impatient I've become with the seasons. But, alas, change is in the air. I see the change happening with our flower beds - our Tulips are starting to bud, and our Daffodils (my favorite flower) have already peeked their little yellow heads out towards the sun. And more change is happening inside our home...

No more bottles. No more formula. Only cups and sippy cups filled with whole milk only.

We're cutting the ties to Rebecca & Mary-Gail's bottles. Tony & I took the recommendation from our pediatrician & JoJo to be DONE with bottles when the girls turned one-year old (adjusted age). After our trip to St. George w/JoJo and her kids the end of February, it was no problem to cut out the bottle feedings: we went from 4 bottles per day to 1 bottle at bedtime. I believe Rebecca & Mary-Gail saw how Cy was eating and drinking and followed suit. Plus, they really didn't have a hard time not having their bottle since they were used to drinking from their sippy cups already. However, I didn't expect the reaction from Rebecca & Mary-Gail when I tried to ixny their bedtime bottle the first part of March. Whoa!!

We're talking HUGE temper tantrums. What was the deal? I knew that I'd have a few rough days/nights, but I was not prepared for the extent of the tantrums. Tony was home one night when I was getting the girls ready for bed and saw what I was dealing with. He caved - he said he was OK with giving the girls a bottle before bedtime, and at this point, so was I. But somehow I back stepped and started giving them a bottle before nap time too.

We had hopes to be completely through with bottles by the end of March. And then Rebecca was admitted to the hospital on Tuesday, March 18th. I think she only drank maximum of 18 ounces on her BEST day in the hospital, and most of that was during her 1 am, 4 am, and 7:30-8 am vital check, diaper change, suction, and breathing treatment. So guess what we're doing at home now? Yup, you guessed it. In addition to Rebecca & Mary-Gail's 7 pm bottle, Rebecca has been waking up for a bottle at 12 am, 3 am and 6 am. Just the past 2 nights she's gotten up at 1 am and 4 am. She still wakes at 6-6:30 am, but I have been holding her off until 7 am when she and Mary-Gail eat FOOD for breakfast.

Tony & I knew that too much change at once would not be good. So now instead of completely cutting off the bottle and completely being done with formula in exchange for whole milk, we've decided to incorporate whole milk in their 7 pm bottle. This is what I did when my frozen milk supply began getting low after I stopped pumping. We added formula to the breast milk, in small ratios at first, to ease in the change. Our doctors at the hospital call it "priming" because you're priming your baby's stomach and digestive system to get adjusted to the change. And just like before, eventually the girls will be solely on whole milk, just like they were eventually solely on formula. And in the meantime, we're feeding every two hours with food, snacks, sippy cups (Rebecca will drink the milk, Mary-Gail will NOT), and only one bottle at 7 pm before reading, singing, and bedtime.

We've been doing this since Easter Sunday. Our goal is to be through with bottles by the end of April. We have one month to make the change. The ultimatum is that we go cold turkey and have a miserable couple weeks, but either way, NO MORE BOTTLES.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Rebecca's hospital stay

Pictures from Tuesday, 3.18.08, when we were admitted.

I said to Rebecca as I was taking her picture,
"Say 'CHEESE',"
and she did! Oh, how cute!!!

Tony & I took the girls to the doctor today for our monthly Synergis shot (the last one of 5). Our NP, SueAnn, checked out Rebecca and was so pleased with her progress. Her lungs don't sound "junky" anymore and her oxygen saturation's are in the 90's. Rebecca took her last dose of her oral antibiotic (for her ear infections) and oral steroids (for her lungs) today. She hasn't had a fever since last Friday, so I believe the medicine has done its job. Although Rebecca appears to be OK, SueAnn said she'd be on oxygen for another week. She cautioned me & Tony to keep Rebecca & Mary-Gail quarantined through May because of their increased susceptibility to respiratory illnesses. I'm OK with that.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

New Baby Bling!!

**Not all the pictures are here. I will have to make an addendum posting when we develop the other camera.**

Rebecca LaRae & Mary-Gail Darleen have some new bling to add to their wardrobe. They got their ears pierced on Tuesday, March 11th. My mom and Grandma Gourley met me and the girls at the Ear Pagoda to get their ears pierced!!

I know I said I would wait until the girls were old enough to decide if they wanted their ears pierced or not. However, my cute little Rebecca always kept getting "mistaken" for a boy, and I had had it! What mother would dress her "boy" in pinks???

The "BEFORE" picture. Soothing sounds of two happy little girls,

and their almost-empty bottles (with a dose of Tylenol).

Mary-Gail and Rebecca have NO IDEA what is about to happen to them
Mary-Gail will have PURPLE stones; Rebecca will have RED stones

Grandma Gourley + Mom; Grandma Gourley + me

The gal marks Mary-Gail's ears with a purple dot.

(In the meantime, Grandma Gourley took Rebecca on a "stroll" through the mall.

Mom and I think she was trying to help Rebecca escape!)

Lunch @ Wingers with Grandma Gourley, Mary-Gail, Me, Mom & Rebecca

4 generations of ladies with pierced ears.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Taking a break

I'm taking a break from monitoring Rebecca & Mary-Gail to say THANK YOU to my family and friends who have helped us and thought of us during these last weeks.

My Mom - for spending her nights with me after working such long hours. Mom slept over while Tony was gone. Mom would come "home" around 6:30 pm - just in time to help with our 7 pm feeding. She dropped everything on Sunday when I called her at 1 pm and said 4 words, "Mom, I need you." Mom was at my house in less than 20 minutes to help me with Rebecca and a fever that wouldn't break. Mom came with me to the on-call doctor that night at 9 pm, brought me Wendy's & Gandolpho's & Diet Coke (many Diet Cokes) while we were in the hospital, brought Rebecca a stretchy Easter Bunny toy, and spent every available minute with Rebecca & me. I love you Mom.

My sisters - JoJo, CarCar, Kristie. I have truly been blessed with wonderful sisters who are my best friends and truly love me and my girls. JoJo, CarCar, & Kristie each came to the hospital, basically abandoning their families for several hours at a time, to provide me and Rebecca with much needed relief, support, and conversation. Thanks for breakfast JoJo. Thanks for lunch and dinner CarCar. Thanks for the "fruits and veggies" Kristie (banana cream pie and french fries).

My brothers and Dadda - My brother, Jason, who lives 3,ooo miles away in NYC, called twice to check-in on us. Thank you for thinking of us so far away. We love you! My brother, Josh, came to visit us after he finished teaching his class at UVSC and brought me a Diet Coke and some treats. Thank you! And my Dadda who was available each morning to rush over to our home and watch Mary-Gail so Tony could come to the hospital and give Rebecca a blessing, to give me comfort. Thank you Dadda.

My sister-in-law Carol for being a surrogate mom to Mary-Gail while I stayed at the hospital with Rebecca. Carol watched Mary-Gail from 1pm - 10/11pm, so Tony could do our home business, go to work at FedEx, and then come kiss me goodnight before picking Mary-Gail up on his way home. I did not worry about Mary-Gail once, even though I only saw her once while we were in the hospital.

And to all those who did the behind-the-scene things for us: my mother-in-law, Gail, and her nightly phone calls for a status report and long-distance hugs; my two brother-in-laws, Spencer (visits, blessings, Cheesecake); and Paul for checking in on us; my sis-in-law Pam and her coordination with my nieces and nephews to create Rebecca's "Get better soon" poster. Thank you everyone for all your nice words, cute drawings, and hand prints. I LOVED seeing Rebecca's poster hanging on the wall when she & I came home late Saturday night. Thank you!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The power of the "shhhhhh"

I still marvel at how a simple sound can have such a huge effect on my babies. "Shhhhhh-ing" them when they're upset, sad, crying, too tired to sleep, too tired to cope, etc., always yields a calming response. It's not just for babies and children; see, I've been "shhhhhh-ing" Rebecca since our hospital admittance on Tuesday, and I find myself "shhhhhh-ing" me now too. I'm overwhelmed at what's been happening, and frustrated that I don't have any control. Oh, the power of "shhhhhh-ing." It calms me.

Find more about the power of "shhhhh" and the "Five 'S's" by reading/watching "The Happiest Baby on the Block" by Dr. Harvey Karp.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday

Good Friday - that's exactly what today was...a Good Friday. Rebecca's oxygen requirements decreased from 2 Liters (that's like sticking your head out the car window as you drive down the freeway at 65 miles per hour) to 1 Liter. She is finally starting to break up the compacted mucus in her lungs and now has "productive" coughs. Previously when I would hold Rebecca, she would wrestle miserably against my chest, trying to get to that right spot where she could breathe. Her poor little body, chest, ribs, were all contracting trying to get oxygen in those cloudy, tight lungs. And even though oxygen was being rudely forced through her cannula at an unbelievable pressure, she still struggled. But now Rebecca can take deep breaths, can sneeze and produce phlegm, and even cough up some phlegm. Today is Good Friday, and Good things have been happening.

I spoke with our physician tonight. No chance of us going home until Sunday at the earliest. He wants Rebecca's oxygen needs to be less than .5 Liters. We're on our way. The steroid she'd been receiving twice a day to help her lungs has finally started to work, and the antibiotic for her ear infections has been changed to a more comprehensive antibiotic given every 8 hrs. All her medicines (except for Tylenol & Motrin) are FINALLY being given through her IV (something I begged for - & was granted - on Thursday morning), and so far she hasn't spiked a fever over 100 since Thursday either. I believe Rebecca's little body has been working over-time trying to kill this awful virus, and now she's starting to win the battles. Thank heavens for medicine. Thank heavens for faith. Thank heavens for the many prayers and fastings that have been offered in her behalf. Hopefully we'll be home for Easter.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


I should have know that when I innocently downloaded a virus on my laptop last Tuesday from a trusted blog site, it was a bad omen for the rest of the week and a foreshadowing of what was yet to come...

Life without Tony was awful!!! Both girls had fevers, fevers, fevers, throw-up, fevers, Tylenol & Motrin, on-call doctor visit at 9pm on Sunday. Diagnosis of double ear-infections for both girls. Start of Amoxicillin antibiotic. Mary-Gail doing OK. Rebecca still running fever of 102.8, 103.5, 104. Tuesday I called doctor's office and they got her right in. Rebecca's oxygen saturation was hovering in the high-70's, low 80's. Not good. She was admitted to the hospital for a 23 hour observation.

That was Tuesday, March 18th at 12:34 pm. Rebecca's 1st x-ray (that had to be repeated 3 times) showed lots of cloudy masses in her lungs. We were told a fancy name that basically means Bronchitis. Breathing treatments, nose suction, antibiotics, steroids, and her Tylenol + Motrin were all ordered. The nurses started an IV and began giving Rebecca "baby Gatorade" to keep her hydrated.

We're back to weighing diapers, measuring her milk intake, writing down when her last dose of medicine was, and when her next dose will be. We've spent the last two nights (tonight will be 3) in an isolation room. ANY health care worker who enters Rebecca's room has to put on a sterile gown, gloves, and mask before approaching her. Rebecca is soooo terrified of anyone who approaches her - she knows they have another motive.

Today we took another chest x-ray. This time there were 2 views and the results were worse: Bronchitis and Pneumonia. Dr. Later told us we were going to be at the hospital "for a while."

Friday, March 14, 2008

Life without Tony

lonely. miserable. sick.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Goodbye to Daddy, Lovey, Pappa

Rebecca & Mary-Gail said good-bye to their daddy, I said good-bye to my Lovey, and Pixie & ArlaMae said good-bye to their Pappa this morning. Tony flew back to Charleston, SC, this morning and will be gone through Sunday. He is going to visit his family (brother & sis-in law, Pat & Kim + their 3 kidlets; mom & dad) and to go FISHING! His brother & sis-in-law, Jack & Carol (they live 4 houses down from us) are also vacationing in Charleston this week. The 3 boyz are going to be together again and who knows what's going to happen!

One stop Tony HAS to make for me is Hand Picked in Mount Pleasant. Tony is REQUIRED to bring me home some earrings and a necklace.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Easter dress fashion show

Tony & I went shopping yesterday with the girls and purchased a couple of Easter dresses for them. I wasn't sure which one I wanted, so I told Tony we were going to have a mini fashion show today to decide. I don't think he thought I was serious...
Rebecca & Mary-Gail laughing at Tony on the bed
Rebecca looks like a very serious little princess

Rebecca in a 1/2 laugh, 1/2 cry

Mary-Gail happy to appease me with my fashion show

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Hanging out on the stairs

Daddy time!
Rebecca is puckered up to kiss...

and then blows a kiss.

Words and more words

Rebecca & Mary-Gail's vocabulary is growing! Tony and I have been working on baby sign language with them and we're reaping the fruits of our labors. I have to credit my sisters, Kristie and JoJo, for doing sign language with their children. I saw the benefits of their efforts, and I enjoyed being able to communicate with my nieces & nephews at an earlier age. Thank you Kristie & JoJo!!!

Just a few of my favorites:
  • When Rebecca and/or Mary-Gail crawl towards the dog food, I sign "no-no" and shake my head. Rebecca will hold up her hand and sign "no-no" back to me. She even tattle-tells on Mary-Gail when she heads towards the doggie food. (Note: they used to sign "no-no" and still grab hand fulls of the doggie food. But now, after they've crawled towards the doggie dishes, they stop and sign "no-no" without taking any!)
  • After dinner, and when we're completely covered in food and have dyed our hair the color of what dinner was, I sign "bath/tub." Rebecca & Mary-Gail go crazy with excitement! They get a little ornery with me since I still want to wipe their hands off (forgive me for not wanting Spaghetti O's mixed in the carpet), but once they're out of their seats, they cruise towards the bathroom. They love love love their tub time.
  • Mary-Gail will sign "daddy" and then lean her head in towards Tony. Oh, this melts my heart!
  • Rebecca & Mary-Gail sign "doggie" incessantly. I'm glad they like Pixie & ArlaMae (and I'm glad Pixie & ArlaMae tolerate Rebecca & Mary-Gail).

More signs we do and/or respond to:

  • Milk
  • Eat
  • Water
  • Sit (Rebecca will even attempt to say "sit" with lots of "S" sounds. She & Mary-Gail tease me when they're in the tub, b/c they will start to stand up just so I sign and say "sit" and then they sit back down and laugh. Silly littles!
  • Animal signs and sounds (Cow, Horse, Dog, Cat, Chicken/Rooster, Sheep, Frog, Fish, Bird, Duck, Monkey, Bee, Mouse). Rebecca & Mary-Gail actually wait for you to do the sign and sound before you can turn the page of the book.
  • Cow (Mary-Gail will sign "cow" and Rebecca makes the sound with lots of "M's"
  • Horse (Oh boy does Mary-Gail love her horses! She rocks her body like a galloping horse as I sign and say "horse" and then make the galloping sound.)
  • Fish is a big hit. Probably b/c we play with fish in the tub.
  • Rebecca says "piggy" referring to her favorite stuffed animal pig.
  • Rebecca says "down" when she's done (being held, eating, etc).
  • "who is it?" is what they say when someone comes over or when the phone rings. It sounds more like "hh-sss-it." Cute.

A game we play is "where is..." If I ask Rebecca, "Where is your piggy?" She'll go and look for it (piggy has to be in the room though). If I ask them "Where is Daddy?" they turn their hands out like "I don't know." I'm finding that Rebecca and Mary-Gail love their books with pictures of animals and little kids. They are both very protection of these books and it's hard to referee them when they want the same one. I did learn the sign for share, however, and Tony & I are starting to use that in our daily routine now too.

Friday, March 7, 2008

I've been tagged...ABC's

My beautiful friend, former co-worker, and new mommy, Kellie, tagged me. Here goes.

A-Attached or Single: Attached to Tony, my "Lovey" of almost 9 years (9 years in December)

B-Best Friends? Yes! Lovey, my sisters, my mom, and my two best friends from forever ago - Jessica & Ashley

C-Cake or Pie? Neither. I prefer brownies

D-Day of Choice? Any day is great, although Sunday's tend to be our hardest day (lunch & nap always seems to conflict with church times)

E-Essential Item? ITEMS! My Dyson vacuum (I cannot go more than 2 days without vacuuming I love my Dyson vacuum that much). Aquafor (I use it too), Eucerin lotion and cream, Mac lipstick, eye mask, cherry chapstick, Tivo, digital camera, and my laptop.

F-Favorite color? Green

G-Gummy Bears or Worms? I prefer gummy worms. You can put the whole worm in your mouth and then slither it out. Once the worm is wet, it has a cool iridescent color when light passes through it

H-Hometown? Provo, UT, baby!

I-Favorite Indulgence? Yikes! I always indulge. That's why I'm battling the bulge!!!!

J-January or July? Gosh, I don't know anymore. It used to be January, because I HATE being hot, but after being cooped up in the house all winter, I might go with July...

K-Kids? Of course! Only the cutest!! Pixie 7 yrs, ArlaMae 4 yrs, Rebecca & Mary-Gail 1 yr-old twiners.

L-Life isn't complete without? Lovey, and my girls. What was life like with them?

M-Marriage Date? December 10,1999, and sealed in the Provo Temple, January 7, 2003.

N-Number of brothers and sisters? 2 older brothers, 1 older sister, and 2 younger sisters

O-Oranges or Apples? Apples - Red Delicious

P-Phobia and Fears? Grasshoppers. (I about passed out typing that)

Q-Quote? "Forget yourself and get to work" ~ quoted by President Gordon B. Hinckley's father.

R-Reason to smile? My girls!

S-Season of choice? Spring and Fall

T-Tag two people? OK. I tag my sister, Joanna; my BFF Jessica

U-Unknown fact about me? I always wanted to joing the Air Force.

V-Vegetable? Broccoli. Peas. Sweet potatoes (with butter and brown sugar).

W-Worst habit? Popping my knuckles and biting my nails. Ugh! I need to make a better effort to stop!

X-X-Ray or Ultrasound? Are you kidding me? Ultrasound by far! I loved looking at Rebecca & Mary-Gail on ultrasound. Their little fingers & toes, bulging bellies, and I loved their profiles.

Y-Your favorite food? Mexican!! with lots of jalapenos, chips and super yummy, chunky salsa

Z-Zodiac Sign? Cancer

Thursday, March 6, 2008

"TRIP" to Walmart

Rebecca, Mary-Gail, and I went to Walmart yesterday afternoon to pick up a few things: aquafor, red-cap milk (Vit D), and A&D Ointment. Our trip out ended up lasting over an hour wandering the store looking at all the stuff. Rebecca was in heaven! Her eyes kept searching the never-ending rows of goodies, and she loved looking at all the different people. She's so observant and didn't want to miss a thing. At times I felt like I was in her way! And my Miss Mary-Gail was happy to have her own buggy and would make a rocking motion when I stopped pushing her to look at something. "Keep moving Mommy!" She has this zest and happiness for life that makes me jealous.

So we're at Walmart and I always drift towards the home decor section. My temptation is clocks...and mirrors...and bedding. However, I didn't buy any of those things. I didn't even buy the 3 items on my list. Instead I bought 4 packs of cookies, 2 boxes of fruit gummy snacks, some canned food for the girls, and a couple cans of formula. Nice. Especially since I ate most of the fruit gummies from one of the boxes!

Lesson - never go shopping when you're hungry!!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Right where I left her 10 minutes ago

Have you ever met a child that loves books? That's my Rebecca! She can sit and read a book all day long. She'd rather read than play. She has several favorite books and she'll bring them to me to read. She practically throws them in my lap, and if I don't respond right away, she gets mad. Such a funny one-year old!!

Sweet Mary-Gail is still waking up. Rebecca crawled to me
with a book in hand and "backed up the bus" into my lap.
We're ready to read!

Monday, March 3, 2008

St. George - there and back. Part 2

Breakfast at 7 am. All the kidlets played in the great room. Reese helped Mary-Gail walk around the couch, Gage helped Mary-Gail ride her beetle-bug (hand-me-down from my sister Kristie), Rebecca played with Tony's "pokies" (whiskers) and then focused on reading her book, "Hello Bee, Hello Me!" Cy was busy pushing his walking toy around the great room and kitchen. He would turn the toy before he ran into walls, the cabinets, your feet :). He would cruise at top speed too.
We got ready for the day and headed out to the outlets, which were such a disappointment!! We then tried to go to Tia-Pan, and it was closed. We kept saying, "Good for them - they should be closed on Sunday." So, lesson learned - no shopping on Sunday. We left St. George around 2:30 pm and got home around 6:30 pm. What a trip it was!!!

Lovey and his "Mini-Me" Rebecca

Reese helping Mary-Gail perfect her walking skills

Gage and Mary-Gail were cruising the walkways all morning long

Gage, Mary-Gail, and Rebecca doing their own things

Mary-Gail wanted to "GO" and Gage was there to help

Rebecca saying, "Seriously, people. I'm trying to read here!"

The cutest couple ever - Carly & Spencer Mortensen

The Kemp Kuties, packed up and ready to head home.
Rebecca is already massaging her temples - oh boy!!

St. George - there and back

Wow! Talk about a quick weekend get-away. We arrived in St. George Friday night around 11:45 pm, and returned home Sunday afternoon around 2:30 pm. Jed knows a drug rep who has a second home in St. George that she rents out to other drug reps. So he secured the home for us for the weekend: 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a large kitchen and great room. This was the 2nd time I've stayed in the house, but the first time for Tony and our girls! And definitely NOT the last.
Saturday morning arrived early! At 4:30 am for Jo & Cy, and at 6:00 am for us. We held the kidlets off until 7 am and then hit the breakfast table. We fixed Eggos for the kids. Yummy!
Saturday morning, "The Triplets" at breakfast
Rebecca, Mary-Gail, and Cy
Rebecca doing "So Big"
(something my family started with Preston & Madison, the first grand babies)
The "other" set of triplets :)
Gage, Carly, and Reese
Gage doing his grown-up version of "So Big"
One of the many walks we took around the neighborhood.
I cannot tell you how GOOD THE SUN FELT on our faces, necks, backs and bodies!
Love the double strollers :)

Sleepy time Saturday afternoon
Reese, Carly, Spencer

More of the gang sleeping/relaxing

Jo Jo's in control
We went to one of Jed's softball games, played on the jungle gym/slides, came home, ate lunch, and rested (pictured above). We then went to the aquatics park - NEW!! - and played in the chlorine saturated pools. Carly & Spencer took Gage & Reese down the big, twisty slide. JoJo, Tony and I played with our little ones and enjoyed their excitement as they bobbed up and down in the water and in their little floaties. Too bad I don't have pictures of that!
P.S. Mary-Gail is a fish!! A little fish that loves the water. She laid her head on the yellow float and was dreamy-eyed with Tony as they propelled through the water. Rebecca had Spencer wrapped around her fingers - she wouldn't let him go. She got a little cold in the pool and was shivering her bottom lip. I'm sure we could have stayed at the pool longer if it was warmer. Awwe! I love my babies!!!!! :)
We came home, changed clothes, and debated over dinner. We were first going to get steaks and grill out, then we changed our minds to hamburgers, then we changed our minds to pizza and finally ended up getting Chinese. How that happened, I don't know. But Chinese it was and it was good. Later that night Gage got sick and threw up 3 times!! (No it wasn't the Chinese). Poor Gage. But, he has the BEST mom who cared for him through the night. JoJo is amazing - I just don't know how she does all that she does.

Kemp Kuties on the Charleston Pier

Kemp Kuties on the Charleston Pier
September 2007