Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Lots of Giggles and Love

Today my Mom and sister, Chrissie, spent the day at our house. The boys had a great time! Auntie Chrissie kept them giggling all day. The boys were so excited, that for the first time when we tried to put them to bed they screamed...and screamed...and screamed. After about 15 minutes and multiple attempts to calm them down they finally conked out!

Dominic was too excited to eat. He finally sat on Auntie's lap, had to wear her glasses and have her hand feed him. What a character!

Joe giving my mom a kiss (he ate all his dinner...plus)-

We took the boys outside to play with their water table. I thought we would try the potty chairs again. Joseph really gave it his all, but no success. Is this a picture or what??

Monday, July 30, 2007

Happy Birthday Auntie Lisa

Happy Birthday Lisa! You are truly a blessing to this world. Your birthday is also a special day for our family. Without your birthday we would never know our two miracle babies.

Your presence on this earth is truly amazing. Thank you for your most unselfish gift of our two beautiful boys.

Thank you for all the love in my life! This picture says it all.

Happy Birthday- you deserve all the best.

"May the sun shine on your shoulders,
My the wind be always at your back,
And let no shadow cross your path.

May God grant you many years to live,
For sure He must be knowing
The earth has angels all too few
And Heaven is overflowing"

Friday, July 27, 2007


I love the website Craigslist . It is similar to EBay but closer to a big online garage sale. On craiglsist people list items for a set price for local pickup. I have bought a few things from craigslist and have always had a good experience.

We took Dominic, on Monday, to see an Orthopedic surgeon for a second opinion about his Dennis Browne bar he wears at night. The doctor was wonderful and did a complete assessment. He said Dominic did not need to wear the shoes and bar anymore. He said Dominic's tibial torsion is so mild he will just follow him every year.

Now that Dominic does not need to wear his bar in shoes at night,I have been sadly shopping for new "big boy" beds. The boys are crazy about fire trucks so I am looking for the Step 2 fire truck bed on either EBay or Craigslist. The beds are small and only use a crib mattress. I just could not imagine forking out $450 for new toddler beds that they might use for a year.

I found an unused Step 2 bed today on Craigslist for $65! We pick it up tomorrow. I am not going to change them to a bed until the fall or early winter, but thought I would start looking. Now I just have to find one more. The boys are going to flip when they see their new beds!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Brotherly Love

Lately, the boys have really been affectionate with each other. They are beginning to have feelings and are starting to notice if something is wrong with the other one.

Today, Joseph had a follow-up MRI from his surgery and need to be sedated. After the MRI he came home and just crashed on the floor. When Dominic woke from his nap, I told him "Joe did not feel well". This picture says exactly how Dom feels for his brother-

A big "Thanks" to my mom for spending the day with Joseph and I at Children's Hospital. It is always a difficult day when we need to go downtown. I really appreciate all of your patience and support. We certainly have met a lot of characters over the past two years! Never a dull moment!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

"Now What?"

My Mom and sister, Chrissie, watched the boys yesterday while I was at work. We all met for dinner at a small deli in St. Clair Shores called "Uncle Harry's".

The boys started out doing great at what they call Uncle "Cherries". After drawing, eating many snacks, and pounding a juciebox, Dominic was done. He has never acted up in a restaurant, but last night something got into him and he started shrieking and crying to leave. He then took his placemat and tossed it at my Mom. There are only about 10 tables in the whole resaturant and I swear everyone was looking to see how I would respond.

I am really lacking experience in disipline, so I am not always sure what to do. I thought, should I take him out or stay and try to make him behave?

I decided to take him out and give him a "time out" We headed to the minivan and I explained to him he cannot act like that and he was in a "time-out" I turned around and tried to ignore him for a few minutes. He played around in the van for a few minutes and must have gotten bored. He came over to the edge of the car and sat next to me and casually asked, "Now What?"

I almost feel over when he asked me this! Where did he learn this expression, and how did he know when it was appropriate to us it?

I was trying not to laugh and I said now we are going back into the restaurant to behave and eat our dinner. He said, "Okay".

I could not believe he was understanding and responding to this behavior modification method so well.

On the way back into the restaurant he stopped and looked at me and said, "Bad...Sorry". Sometimes I swear he thinks he is 20 years old and not 2 years old!

Although this moment was not one of Dominic's bests, it is a moment I like to savor. These moments are sarcred moments in parenting. Moments you wish time would stand still so you could always enjoy these silly 2 year old questions.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Swim Class

On Saturday mornings the boys have swim class. They both love it. Joseph goes underwater all the time. It takes Dominic a little longer to warm up to the water, but as soon as we move over to the wall to jump in he starts to enjoy the water. He is not as fond of going underwater, but still does it without crying.

Here are some pictures of swim class:

After the boys wokeup from their nap we went to the playground and had a picnic. The weather was perfect. It was sunny and only in the high 70's.

Dominic eating his second huge helping of strawberries-

Joseph climbing up the "secret stairs".-

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Auntie Chrissie is Coming Home!

We are all getting excited for my sister Chrissie's arrival home on Friday. She lives is Florida and comes to visit every summer for a couple of weeks between teaching summer school and the start of her new school year.

I was thinking back to last years visit with my sister and what a trooper she was with the boys.

Last year the boys contracted some type of stomach virus. It was TERRIBLE! Matt was also sick at the time so I packed the kids up and drove to my Mom's house. I am sure my Mom and Chrissie had a great weekend planned that did not include 2 miserably sick kids with fevers and diaper "blowouts" every hour! But, surprise there we were knocking on the door!

Really, I am not sure how I would have done it without their help. The second night at my Mom's house Joseph woke up screaming at 2am. He is such a sound sleeper, I do not think he had ever woken up in the middle of the night since he was 3 months old! I knew something must have been wrong.

I went in to pick him up and he had diarrhea everywhere! I changed his diaper and got him in the sink to soak. His bottom was SO red it was almost bleeding. If there are any of my Pediatric Nurse friends reading this, I swear his bottom was not like this when I put him to sleep at 7 pm. I felt terrible.

My sister, who had been awake with us the whole time, volunteered to go with me on a drug store "run" to get some skincare products for Joseph's bottom, extra soft wipes and more diapers.

Now that it was 2:30 in the morning, we had to drive 15 minutes to find a 24 hour store. When we got to the store I think I bought one of everything! The cashier must have thought I was nuts to need these products in the middle of the night!

I love my sister because she understands my craziness. When I need something, nothing will stop me. I was getting some products for my son's behind even if it was 2:30 in the morning! This is how we both operate, we are good with these late night situations.

I hope this year things are not so crazy! The boys and I are spending the night at my Mom's house on Sunday because Dominic has a doctors appointment closer out that way. Let's pray we do not have any late night "runs" (pun...pun) like last year!

Last year with Auntie Chrissie-

Sunday, July 15, 2007

My Little "Old" Men

This is how everyone's morning should start...

As I was cleaning the breakfast dishes, I heard a loud clanking and banging from the den to the front hallway.

I nervously walked towards the front door and this is what I see...

How can I not just melt? They are like two little "old" men watching the morning traffic go by.

How simple and happy life is for a 2 year old.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

We Might Have Started a New Habit...

If you notice in the below pictures, last night the boys pulled their rocking chairs up to the front door to watch the cars go by. They did this all by themselves and it was so darn cute to hear them name off the colors of cars driving by. As they were sitting there they heard the ice cream truck. I told Matt to grab some money so we could buy the boys some ice cream. I thought it would be so cute to see the boys order their first ice cream.

The "cool" blue truck pulled up and the boys order a Dora the Explorer bar.

They absolutely loved the whole process; the truck, the ice cream man, the music and the Dora ice cream bar.

The only problem is tonight they were outside looking for the blue "cream" truck. No truck in site tonight! Yikes!

We had a great day today. The boys had swimming in the morning. They both went underwater and love swimming. Unfortunately, the class is only 20 minutes long. It is VERY difficult to get them out of the water after 20 minutes!

They got their haircut and then we went to their favorite restaurant, Coney Grill. Of course they ran in and gave their favorite waitress, "Miss Danielle", a hug. To top off the day we went to Toys R Us to get some "Noodles" for their pool. Hopefully, it will be warmer tomorrow so we can put our pool out.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Little Flower Roses

One of our favorite NICU nurses who cared for the boys, just had preemie twin boys born at 29 weeks. Visiting and talking with her brought a whole flood of memories back to me. It seems like just yesterday I was in her shoes. I am not saying I would ever want to redo those NICU days, but sure do miss those baby moments.

One of her boys is home and the other is about to come home. I was just reflecting back on a moment I had with Joseph in the NICU. Dominic was home and Joseph was still in the NICU for feeding and breathing problems. He would turn blue with each feeding.

As a nurse I want to heal people and fix all problems. So I decided I wanted to spend the night with Joseph and really try to figure out what his nippling issues were. The nurse set me up in this VERY small overnight room and rolled in Joseph, his machines and oxygen.

I was going to solve this feeding problem once and for all! I swear the room was about 110 degrees, as small as a closet and had no phone. Each feeding Joseph would take one or two swigs and turn blue. What was going on? By 5:30am I was ready for a breakdown! I called the nurse in and she said we would have to feed Joseph through his tube since he was not cooperating. When she shut the door I sat next to Joe and held my hand on his chest and prayed to God so hard that he would please give Joseph the strength he needed to learn to nipple. We needed our little guy to come home.

Then I remember the Blessed Rose Petals Matt's Grandma had given me in my overnight bag. I pulled out the rose petals and laid them on Joseph. I said a prayer and whispered to Joseph he had the strength in him to learn to nipple. We wheeled Joseph back to the nursery and the nurse taped the rose petals to Joesph's crib.

I left the NICU, and called my mom in hysterics, "Joseph is never going to come home! He had a terrible night." I remember my mom saying, "Liz don't loss faith, he will do it when he is ready".

I came home and got a few hours sleep. When I went back to see Joseph, his nurse practically meet me at the door saying Joseph had nippled ALL his bottles without any problems!!!! Ever since that point, he was never fed through his tube again and it was removed the next day. A few days later Joseph came home!

Here is a picture of the roses taped to Joseph's crib.

The prayer on the back reads:

Blessing of Little Flower Roses

O Lord Jesus Christ, in Thy Clemency look upon these roses which we bless in honor of Thy pure spouse, St. Therese; and grant that all those who scent their fragrance may run after the savor of Thy ointments, and thro her intercession deserve to obtain health both of soul and body. Amen.

Never EVER loss faith.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Enjoying Every Moment of Motherhood

The boys woke-up around 8am this morning calling out for Nanny and Grandpa. I told them last night that my mom and dad were coming over to visit. It is so crazy how much they comprehend and remember these days.

They had a great day with my mom and dad. They love singing with Nanny on the swing and playing golf with Grandpa. I am really sad I did not take any pictures. My parents bought them each a matchbox car and of course they had to take it to bed with them. I just peeked in on them and they are both asleep with the cars in their hands!

After their therapy class we took them to "Donalds" (AKA McDonald's). They love it because the McDonalds we go to has a theme of race cars and there are matchbox cars everywhere!

The boys intensely coloring before their food comes-



The boys also got a gift in the mail from Auntie Chrissie, a Nemo sprinkler ring. It was too cold to use it tonight so we set it up in the house to practice jumping. The boys loved it. We had a VERY hard time putting it away and explaining we would use it outside tomorrow.



With all of my poking and prodding, Dominic's new shoes will be in early next week! I am so happy he does not have to wait long! We are also ordering him new braces. He has had a huge growth spurt!

Sometimes it makes me so sad to see my babies grow up SO fast. Ever since the first day the boys came home, I have wanted to freeze time especially when I rock them at night. When I am rushed and frazzled I try to remind myself to slow down and enjoy every moment.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

New Shoes Soon??

I have spent the past few days on the phone trying to get Dominic a larger size shoe for his Dennis Browne Bar that he wears at night. I just do not understand why it is so difficult and time consuming to get these type of things through insurance. His shoes are WAY too small. I now have to use the thinnest socks to even get the shoes on.

The Orthotic company is telling me it will be at least 2 weeks to get new shoes! I have decided to take things into my own hands and call the insurance authorizer myself, Linda. As a customer I am not suppose to call Linda directly, but someone I know, knows some she knows... and long story short I got her direct line. Linda is wonderful to work with as she also helped me get Joseph's second helmet authorized. Linda told me to have the Orthodic company fax over a medical authorization form and hopefully she could get things expedited. Sad but true, it is sometimes about who you know.

Dominic has been so good about wearing his Bar at night and during his nap. We have a little stool outside his bedroom that we call his "special chair" and as soon as we tell him to sit down he does so without complaining. He loves Nemo so it also helps I decorated the shoes with Nemo decals.

Tonight the boys found this old foot massager and loved it. Before I put Dominic's shoes and bar on, he wanted a foot massage. A little spoiled or what? So darn cute!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Kichen's Are Not Just for Girls...

I really wanted to get the boys a play kitchen (against Matt's advice). So instead of paying $170 for a new one at Toys R Us, I bought one off of EBay for $25. What a deal!

I really think all kids, girls and boys, should be able to explore and use their imagination with play house things. The lady I bought it from was nice enough to drop it off during the boys nap. So I cleaned it off (if you know me I REALLY cleaned it off), and set it up for when the boys got up.

They were SO excited when they saw their new "kicken". At first they played very nice with it.

Dominic cooking his bulldozer and remote-

Dominic showing me his "cooked" bulldozer!-

Five minutes later Dominic decided to use his new "kicken" in a different way-

This is not exactly the pretend play I had envisioned, but I guess boys will be boys. They definitely love their new kitchen!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Potty Success!!

A few weeks ago, I spoke with my friend Lisa, who is a wonderful mom of 4 boys, about potty training. She told me she trained all of her boys using a M & M dispenser. So, as soon as one of her son's would successfully use the "big boy potty" he would dispense a reward M & M. She swears by this method, and was going to loan me her machine.

I was talking to my mom about her tips and she said she did the same with us girls, but used a bowl of gumdrops on the back of the toilet. I told her about the M & M idea and she said she had a machine in her basement from when my sister, Chrissie, was younger. She brought it over before she went on vacation and today I decided to give it a try.

I prepped the boys last night by showing them the machine, letting them know it was from Nanny and Grandpa (always important leverage), and explaining how they could get a treat.

After we went swimming I brought their potties and some books outside and let them try. You can only image the scene to my neighbors- two naked boys outside on their training potties reading books! I kept reminding them of the cool "treat" if the went on their potty. After a few minutes of reading Joseph jumped up. Success!!! He dispensed himself a few M & M's and was so proud of himself.

But, on the flip side... Dominic was screaming and crying not understanding why he could not have a treat. Now what was I going to do?

I brought Dom's potty inside, calmed him down and got him a small snack and a book and quietly coaxed him into peeing. Success! He was so proud and I was so relieved!

I am SO thankful they were both successful! How stressful if it was only one! I guess this is where a little peer pressure is a good thing!

Thanks to my mom and Lisa for the great tip! We will see how tomorrow goes.

Some pictures of the boys enjoying the summer heat wave- it is still 90 degrees at 10:30 pm!

I also want to welcome our new "niece", Ruby, (my sister Marji's new dog) to our family. We cannot wait to meet her, she is so cute!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Our New "Hang Out"

We found this awesome new playground by our house. It is really great because it has a concession stand that is operated by Coney Grill, the boys favorite restaurant.

Tonight we took the boys to the park and packed a picnic. It was a blast. And of course, we had to have "ICE" (AKA- ice cream). This playground is great for the boys physical therapy needs (plus for their mom's snack needs!).

On a very funny note, Matt thought it would be funny to teach the boys to greet me when I come home from work by saying "Hey Babycakes"! So, at 7 am this morning I am awakened by Dominic's little voice over the intercom cheerfully yelling "Heya Babycakes"! I swear this was the first word out of his mouth this morning. Such a polite new phrase Matt has taught the boys. Although, you just can't help but laugh!

Here are some pictures from the past couple of park visits.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Why I am a Nurse...

A week ago today I put together a conference titled "Pediatric and Neonatal Palliative Care". As I was preparing for this conference I had time to reflect on why I chose to become a nurse. With the nursing shortage today, nurses are faced with long hours and heavy patient assignments. But, what draws people to this field?

Part of my new job is to educate the hospital staff on how to provide palliative care to patients. Palliative Care is similar to Hospice but it can be used in conjunction with curative treatment. You do not need to be in the last six months of your life to receive Palliative Care.

Palliative Care is defined as "a commitment is to provide compassionate and personal care, as well as practical and spiritual support to the entire family.
The focus is on meeting the medical, spiritual, and emotional needs and to provide support to everyone caring for them. Making every last moment together special."

This leads me to why I know I made the right choice to become a nurse. Probably since birth I loved anything to do with the medical field. This idea was confirmed when I was in high school and my Nana became very ill and hospitalized in the ICU. I loved everything about the hospital environment... the excitement, the care, and the kindness of my Nana's nurses and doctors.

My Nana passed away during this stay at the hospital and was taken care of by Dr. Hughes. Dr. Hughes is now and has always been a pro Palliative Care doctor. I now work with him in the ICU with the Palliative Care Project.

Even though it was not called "Palliative Care" back when my Nana was ill this is how the staff at the hospital cared for her. They coordinated family meetings so we were always updated on her condition; they were truthful with my Nana and asked her what her wishes were; they honored her wishes; and they provided wonderful spiritual care to my Nana and our family. When they took my Nana off the ventilator, one of the last things I remember doing was to getting her a diet coke, her favorite. I am sure the hospital staff knew this extra fluid was not good for my Nana but they honored her wishes.

After my Nana passed I said to myself, "I will be a nurse and I want to work at the same hospital as she was cared for". Even as a high school kid I realized the staff at this hospital had heart, passion and a spiritual dimension.

17 years later, I am living my dream. I am working at this same hospital, working with the same physician who cared for my Nana, and teaching others the importance of palliative care.

How life completes a full circle.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy 4th of July!

We had a wonderful 4th of July! We had Matt's family and our friends over for dinner. The forecast in the morning called for a 70% chance of rain. We definitely were in the lucky 30%. The day and night could not have been more beautiful! The boys had a blast with their cousins and friends!

July 4, 2007
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Monday, July 2, 2007

A little about Dominic...

Dominic since birth has always been "raring to go" (notice his feet are off the ground in the above picture!). When the boys were born at 30 weeks, the doctors told Matt to expect the boys to stay in the NICU for about 6-7 weeks. The doctors told us the earliest they start nippling a premature baby is around 33-34 weeks. At 33 week Dominic had mastered nippling his bottle and was and on his "terms" ready to be discharged home. Of course the doctors wanted to wait until he was 34 weeks and he gained a little more weight. The day he turned 34 weeks he was "outta there"!

I remember the day before Dominic was discharged home, Matt and I were at the Pancake House taking a break between the boys feedings. The Nurse Practitioner called me on my cell phone and said are you ready to take Dominic home tomorrow? I knew it was coming with the quick progress he was making but all of a sudden I panicked. How could I take Dominic home and leave Joseph in NICU? It was a difficult 2 weeks having the boys in different places, but in retrospect it was probably good to get used to one baby at a time.

Dominic has always been an explorer. He is and always has been so intrigued by how every object/toy works.

He is definitely the dominant brother. He always wants whatever Joseph is playing with. He will go get another toy to "trade" with Joe so he can have Joe's toy. Don't get me wrong, he is so sweet and kind when he does this "trade" with Joseph. It is like he tries to "sell" his toy to Joe for the "trade". He is so good at this we rarely have any fighting.

Dominic has always been so concerned about Joseph. Whenever Dominic is first to get a snack and Joe is somewhere else he yells "Joe-eee snack". If there is no response he will go find Joseph and give him his part of the snack and a juice cup.

Dominic also loves fruit and vegetables! He cannot get "matoes" (AKA tomatoes) fast enough in his mouth.

Dominic is very sensitive. He loves to kiss all his toys and "babies". He has always been more shy than Joseph. Although he is really becoming more outgoing these days.

Dominic is not a complainer. He needs to have leg stretches 3 times a day. At first this was a little difficult. He could not understand why we were stretching, pulling and pushing on his legs. So we made it into a game. He loves raisins so we sing a song we made-up called "Stretches for Raisins" set to the tune of Frère Jacques . At night we do "Stretches for Stickers". He is now getting to the point of reminding Matt and I to do his stretches.

When he first got his braces the Dr. said he would probably be upset and not want to walk for a day or two and definitely not walk up stairs. In the office, as soon as we put them on for the first time, he took off running for the stairs down the hall. NOTHING holds Dominic back. His motto should be when there is a will there is a way.

Dominic riding his "Moto cycle" with his cast-

He also has to wear this contraption on his feet at night called a Dennis Brown Bar. This is for a condition called tibial torsion. His lower leg bone is slightly twisted so this will hopefully straighten it out. My sister Marji had one when she was a baby. The thing that makes Dominic different is he is about a year older than most babies that are treated.

When Matt and I first saw the bar we were thinking how the heck will he ever sleep in these shoes and bar? I swear he is such a champ. We got him a special frog stool to sit on and we just slide his feet right in, and lay him on his belly. Not a word out of him.

Dominic's will power and passion for life melt my heart.