Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Anastasia's First Birthday Week

On Tuesday Grandma and Grandpa came up to watch the kiddos while Char and I went on our first date in over 18 months. We went to a local restaurant for a late lunch / early dinner. Afterwards, we ran to the store. It was the first time in what feels like forever that we went shopping with just the 2 of us. When we got home the Grandparents had to leave to beat the winter storm.  

I also found a location Rory could start his ABA therapy in roughly 4-6 weeks. Which is great on one hand but the downside will be driving down 2-3 times a week. Oh, and having to drag Ana-Rose along, too. 
 Milestone Wednesday! Rory and Anastasia both got up at 5:00 am this morning. (My children don't know how to sleep properly, I swear.) Anyways Rory did 2 amazing things this early morning. 

Normally, in order to have Rory say "Go" someone else has to chant "Ready, Set, ...." and then Rory promptly yells "GO!" This morning Heidi was playing fetch with Rory, (Heidi was the one fetching the ball). When out of nowhere, he yells "GO!" and threw the ball. It was amazing! It's the first time he's said "go" on his own. 
Then he surprised us again by saying "Mom"! I haven't heard him say Mom or Mama since he was 16 months old. That's nearly 8 months! He said 2 words this morning! It's a HUGE accomplishment. 

Today was language therapy for Rory. He's getting more used to the therapist. He doesn't need to sit on my lap anymore, he goes right to her as she comes in. He's so comfortable with her he goes right into her bag of toys and books and starts bring out what he want's to play with. (He's also beginning to think everyone that comes over is here for him). 

Anastasia is making strides as well, her physical therapist is working on getting Anastasia to sit up on her own and to crawl. This translates to more stretches and exercises I need to do with her 4-6 times a day. (To help me remember to do them that frequently I do them when I change her diapers.) Right now her hips are to stiff to support her in a sitting position and the top of her body, from the shoulders up to her neck, are to weak to stay upright for long periods of time. We use a bumbo to also help her strengthen those muscles.  

*UPDATE*-"Mom" is what he says when he has a problem. I discovered this when he brought a toy that was turned off over to dad and Rory said "Mom" as he gave it to dad. Then later Heidi and Rory were playing blocks when they toppled over. He then looked at her and said "Mom" until she stacked the blocks up again.  

Thursday Rory decided that it was No Clothes day. Seriously, I put him in 3 of his favorite outfits, (along with 1 he isn't fond of). Nothing stayed on him for more than 20-30 minutes. I'd put him in clothing, tend to Anastasia, turned back around and he was just in his diaper. Rory's started to cover his ears when Anastasia cries. Which is new. 

Exactly this time last year I went for a routine OB/GYN appointment and ended up staying in the hospital for a week and gave birth to Anastasia. Technically, her birth story starts with that little doctor's visit. 
Friday Rory kept having issues, or he's getting more aware that there are problems. He'd stack some blocks up and they would topple over. Rory would look at the pile of blocks and say "Mom" in a flat tone. Then rebuild, repeating the cycle, with him saying "Mom" each time. 

Or he'd bring me my phone, which is turned off, and states "Mom" because he wants to watch truck Youtube videos and he can't with the phone off. Apparently, when he's not play or doing something "Mom" several times in a row can mean "hungry" but it's still hit or miss with that one.  

Saturday was Anastasia's 1st Birthday! Heidi Anne and I made a  red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting while Rory took a nap. After Daddy and Rory woke up we celebrated Anastasia's 1st Birthday. 
First she opened up her few presents wrapped up in Christmas tissue paper. She got some new clothes and a dolly. She had fun biting at the tissue paper. Rory assisted in speeding up the unwrapping process. 
Then Anastasia had her first bite of cake, she promptly spit it out. Same with the frosting. Rory on the other hand loved all of it. Which makes me glad we choose to do a smash cake next year for her. It seems as though by babies hate cakes on their first birthdays, but can't get enough cake as they get a tad older. 
Today Rory decided he wanted to keep his nightclothes on. So we let him, because this week has been filled with "no clothes" days for Rory. He just happily ate some cake as this picture was taken.  
While we were eating, Anastasia fell asleep. Birthdays are exhausting when you're barely 1! 

Friday, February 10, 2017

On A More Positive Note

 I just wanted to write about my tiny, serious Anastasia. She can army crawl with the best of them. Ana-Rose is lighting fast when she sees something she wants. Those big blue eyes light up and off she goes. 
She is so close to doing a traditional crawl. She gets on all fours, then rocks back and forth. Sometimes, Anastasia will put one hand in front of the other, then topples to the side. She had always been our little fighter, so Anastasia gets right back up and tries again. Normally with a hint of a smile on her face. It's like she doesn't see it as failure but a chance to try again.
Anastasia has overcome numerous obstacles over the last year. From ROP of the eyes, 2 murmurs of the heart, 3 hernias, learning to breath and eat on her own, to sleep without having breathing complications, plus many other challenges. Perhaps, more trials than most people face in a life time she's had to battle for less than 12 months. 
Preemies are amazing little warriors, they just keep fighting to live with such finesse. Maybe it's because a baby doesn't know how to think negatively nor do they focus on the statistics. They just keep pressing on, despite the odds being stacked against them. 
I admit there are times, more often right now on the first year anniversary, when I look at her, I think of how our lives were flipped upside down. All of this has made us; closer as a family, taught us to rejoice in the smallest of milestones, and helped us realize how precious life truly is. I think our NICU journey prepared us for the Autism road we are now traveling down on.
I hope by this time next year she'll no longer be labeled as failure to thrive. Ana-Rose will be walking, if not running, around everywhere we go. I bet Anastasia will continue to be a chatter box, only next year I'll be able to understand her more. I see her being one to encourage her brother to push his boundaries, while continuing to receive unconditional love from her big sister (as long as the girls don't share a room). 

Sunday, February 5, 2017

This Time Last Year

This time last year was a place of uncertainty. Full of unknowns. I was afraid that I would go into labor at any given second. That my baby wouldn't pull through her medical crisis. This time last year is a place I keep going to without even trying. But the sight of Anastasia takes me back there before I know it. 
I look at my tiny, strong, very serious baby girl. 
I think of how many times we came close to loosing her before she was even born. Then about all the times in the NICU where I feared I might not see her again when I left the hospital. 

I hear her babble away from the next room. She is my loudest baby by far. 
I go back to the time when she was intubated and couldn't even let out a proper cry. You could see her trying to cry but no sound would come out for nearly 2 weeks. When she could raise her voice, it was the smallest mewing sound. Not a proper cry at all. 
I watch my Anastasia fall asleep for a quick nap. 
I think of all the times the monitors went off, showing she was having apena or bradycardia spells in her sleep. I remember she came home with those monitors. How annoying but comforting they were simultaneously

I feed her lunch, which is messy, and full of smiles from both of us.
I remember how she was feed by IVs and a NG tube for weeks. Her milk was measured by the millitliters (MLS) and with medical precision then slowly feed over an hour through her NG tube. Later she was bottle feed but each MLS was accounted for. I remember months later we began to measure her food in ounces and what a huge deal that was! 
I cuddle my little one, Anastasia tries to squirm away, she really wants to play on the floor and be mobile again. 
 I'm transported to the first time I touched her fingers right after the c-section. How I wanted to stay right there beside her forever. But I could only remain for a few minutes because I, too, needed medical attention. I recall getting to help with her "cares". For many days all I could do was just touch her tiny hand or foot. Holding her for the first time took weeks. Then came the skin to skin cuddles. Oh, I would just sit in a little corner, holding my preemie Anastasia, content as could be and wishing time would stand still. 
I think of the actual date of her birth.
It's not only her birthday but my late Granddad's birthday, as well. (Oh, can't forget Aunt Marylou's birthday, too.). I miss him and my Granny so very much. Honestly, what are the chances Anastasia would be born 3 months early? And on his birthday? Since she shared Granddad's birthday, I wanted her to share Granny's name. That's where her middle name Sonia came from. Although they never meet Anastasia, I like to think she has a special connection to them.  

Anastasia gets weighed once a week. She's currently 16 pounds 4 ounces and 27.5 inches long.
I see my tiny girl, 2 pounds 5 ounces and only 13 inches long. Heidi Anne has baby dolls that are taller (and maybe even weigh more). I remember calling nightly to get an update on how many grams she had gained that day. Yes, the updates were in grams. 

I chat with a friend via text or Grandma comes to visit. 
This time last year family rallied around us to help tend to Rory or watch Heidi Anne. Strangers, who became my friends, came with meals since I couldn't cook dinner. Or they would care for Rory while I had yet another doctor appointment in Ogden.  

I see her toothy grin. 
This time last year wasn't all bad. We made new friends, drew closer to old ones and family members helped in our hour of need. Anastasia had many crosses to bare, but she overcame each and every challenge. For 3 months the hospital was her home, where nearly every nurse greeted me warmly. I knew she couldn't be home but was reassured that the nurses genuinely cared about my tiny girl. Once she could be held I asked them to hold her as much as they desired since I wasn't able to be there as often as I wanted to be.   

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

My Birthday

I scheduled Anastasia's Synagis shot appointment on my birthday because I know how to have a good time. This shot gives Anastasia an immunity boost to fight virus that could land her into the hospital due to her weakened immune system. One other benefit of this shot is that it's virus free, thus no real reaction to the injection. So I didn't have a totally grumpy baby for my birthday. 

We went to my favorite store, Carters. Honestly, I like that store, I really love dressing up my little ones. But this trip was to get a gift for my sister in law's baby shower. (Which due to snow, I missed.) But I still had fun picking an outfit and looking at new clothes for Anastasia. 


Costa Vida (a fast-casual Mexican restaurant) recently opened. They're scattered all over Utah and just made the jump to the Wyoming town we're in. We love Costa Vida and they have a wonderful cilantro and lime rice. SO good! 

Anyways, since it just barely opened (and it's something to eat besides one of our 4 Subways). It had a line wait time of 20 minutes. Regardless, that's what I felt like for my birthday dinner, I called in our order over the phone so it would be ready by the time Char and Heidi Anne made it through the line. 

Something interesting happened while they were there. Smoke filled the back kitchen (almost like someone forgot to open a vent) and the fire alarms went off. Forcing the staff to evacuate the restaurant. Most people cut their losses and just left the location versus waiting for the Fire Marshal to come clear the scene. Char and Heidi Anne decided to just wait it out because I was looking forward to dinner from there. Plus, there wasn't a real rush.  

Once the restaurant re-opened, Char and Heidi Anne got our order and came back home. Heidi Anne regaled me with their adventure while we ate dinner. Rory even ate his quesadilla down to the last bite. 

We didn't do our traditional cupcake this year. I guess because I made brownies the day before. Or that Anastasia's birthday is coming up, followed by Rory's. All in all still a good day.  

Friday, January 27, 2017

Insert Catchy Title Here

A New Word?
Rory has started to say Mlk. Milk, without the "i" sound and glazes over the "l" sound. It often sounds like "Mk". This is amazing! This would be the first new word since he was 16 months old. Yeah Rory!
Anastasia can say Mama, Dada, and baba. She babbles continuously. I can't say for sure but I think I have a chatter box on my hands. Sometimes I think she's here to talk enough to make up for Rory's lack of communication.

Rory's ENT Doctor Appointment
Rory has a slight problem with his eye, it gets goopy every time he gets congested. Sometimes it shuts his eye or makes it look like pink eye (which it's not). 
We took him to an ophthalmologist where he referred us to an ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor). He felt since his eye only gets goopy when he is congested made it an ENT issue. 

We finally had his ENT appointment where this doctor feels like since it's his eye, it's an ophthalmologist problem. The ball is now back in the eye doctor's court. 


The Good Idea
Rory needed to get more fruit and veggies in his diet. But due to his texture aversions it's nearly impossible to get him to eat them. It doesn't matter how I cook / serve them, ALL of it ends up on the floor. 
Well, Anastasia is starting to eat solid food. That's when the idea finally hit me. He can use the stuff she eats. Her pouch baby food! It's filled with weird food combinations that a toddler somehow finds delightful. Honestly; a carrots, apples, and mangoes puree sounds so good to me. NOT! Perhaps separated? Oh, maybe as a nice cool smoothie. But a warm package? No thanks! 

BUT the important thing is HE likes it. How do I know? It doesn't end up splattered all over the floor. He even opens his mouth for more, which Anastasia learned from him. I feel like I'm feeding baby birds when they both open their mouths for more food at the same time. Anastasia is more vocal and will add screeches if she feels ignored for to long. (Which just intensifies the baby bird atmosphere).  

The Busy Day
I should have known it was going to be a busy day today. 
Heidi Anne has a case for her games, she's used to leaving it within reach of the babies because it's a hard case and is zipped shut. 

Apparently, Rory has learned how to unzip zippers. I did NOT
know this piece of information. I had my back turned to him while changing Anastasia's diaper. I look back to him and he is sitting calmly watching her game start up. 
I got a few pictures, because I'm a good mom like that. Then saved the game system from him and got him to watch Amazon Prime on my phone, Daniel Tigers Neighborhood. I used to hate that show, until it helps calm Rory down. As do car/ truck/train videos. 

Anastasia has learned her name. You call her name, she looks for you, then gives you a big toothy grin. Almost every time.
There are times when she's trying to steal Rory's milk from him, she'll start by pulling his hair. Which makes Rory release the cup. Rory on the other hand, will respond to any name you call him. Which resulted in the following incident:

Rory was laying down, drinking his Ma Mlk (More Milk). Anastasia caught sight of his cup and began army crawling to pull his hair. Just as she was about to tug, I startled her by saying "Anastasia, no!" 
Poor Rory looked at me with such confusion and began to cry. He thought I was getting upset at him instead of trying to save him from Anastasia. I got an innocent and adorable look from her. Want to know the ironic thing? Anastasia had a half of a bottle of chocolate soy milk she was drinking from before she saw his cup. 
Today, I noticed Rory was playing with his train. Not just the wheels, but the whole train! He'd push it around in circles around him. He'd even let me play with him a little by pushing the train between us. Normally, he plays alone but today he let me share his world for a few minutes. It was heaven!
As I was tucking Rory into bed I went through our normal routine of saying "Tell (insert name or object) bye bye, night night.", as we walk down the hall and to anyone or anything we see. I've been doing this since he was born and am normally meet with silence. But I keep doing it.  

I was shocked when I said "Tell Heidi Anne bye bye." Rory promptly responded "Bye! Bye!" and even waved bye! We kept this up for 3 minutes. Just letting Heidi and Rory say "Bye, Bye" to each other. I got a little teary eyed when it happened. Afterwards, Heidi Anne was excited, saying over and over "Rory's trying to say he loves me! He said bye to me!!"

Monday, January 23, 2017

Rory's Journey to the Spectrum

After months of waiting we finally have a diagnoses of what is plaguing Rory. He has Severe Autism Level 2. To be severe you need a minimum score of 14, he scored a 21. I know I shouldn't be so shocked. I knew in my gut he had autism, I was expecting him to be mild, maybe moderate. But severe? That threw me for a loop! 

I won't lie I've shed many tears and am a little heart-broken since I've gotten the news. Heidi Anne was inconsolable after she heard the results. Her first words were "You mean he'll never say I love you to me?" Followed by "Will people be mean to my brother or treat him like he's stupid? Because he's NOT!"     
Despite these sad feelings, I'm confident in the results. We took numerous surveys, had three different assessments, with three different people, on three different days. Which had a total of 8 hours of observation of Rory with and without us, in various situations. 

Being non-verbal is one of the key things that pushed him from moderate to severe. Another element is his headbanging and biting of his hands that he does when overstimulated. Nothing can prepare you to see your child bang their head against a wall, table, or floor repeatedly, and you can't do a thing to stop it. Right now I can pick him up, but he'll still try to bang his head in the air or headbutt me. I know a day will come when he'll be to big for me to pick him up. 

Right now Rory's getting as much help as we can get him based on where we live. Which makes the need to move to a bigger area more imperative then ever. We went ahead and got him on a few waiting lists for ABA Therapy in areas of Utah we hope to move to. 
IF he gets accepted before we move, I'm looking at 2-3 sessions a week for 3-5 hours per session (with Anastasia in tow). Once we move we can get him into private speech therapy, in addition to the 12-15 hours of ABA therapy, and the local Early Intervention's services. SO we're looking at over 20 hours a week of various therapies for the next few years. That will be my part time job until Rowan starts school.   

While I don't question the diagnoses, we're all still reeling from the gravity of it all. All my hopes of a "normal childhood" for him have gone up in smoke. But I have a feeling something much better then I could imagine lays down the road for him, I just have to help him get there. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

Dads N' Doughnuts

Heidi Anne's school had a special breakfast called "Dads and Doughnuts". It's just for kids and; dads, grandpas, uncles, ect. There was a little interview for the dads and children to work on together. Here are Char's answers in Red and Heidi Anne's answers in Blue.
Favorite Color: Blue and Red, Blue
Favorite Number: 7, 42 
Favorite Subject: Reading, Science
Favorite Food: Doughnuts, Pizza 
Favorite Dessert: Ice Cream, Brownies 
Favorite Sport: Dodge Ball, Skiing 
Favorite Animal: Cheetah, Liger (Lion & Tiger Mix)
Favorite Holiday: Halloween, Heidi's Birthday (Because he can't say Halloween, too). 
Favorite Season: Fall, Autumn 
Favorite Restaurant: Costa Vida, Wendy's
Favorite Candy: Kit Kat's, Almond Hershey's Kisses
Favorite Hobby: Playing in the Snow, Reading
Favorite Place: Home (with Mommy there), Home
Favorite Cartoon: Simpson's, Simpson's 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

All About Anastasia

Lately nothing much has happened, another slow week (minus the fact that Heidi Anne had a second snow day). Therefore, I wanted to do a little post, with lots of cute pictures, of just Anastasia. Anastasia is now the same age Rory was when she was born. I can't imagine having another baby right now. More power to those who can do 3 under 2! Heidi Anne loves to pick out Anastasia's clothes for me, her baby sister is a real life, living doll to her. 

Anastasia loves to try to steal Rory's chocolate soy milk. She will roll close to it, then army crawl the rest of the way to get to that cup. Sometimes, she'll pull Rory's hair to make him drop his cup so she can steal it from him. Her clothes have many chocolate milk stains. 
She is super close to really crawling. She gets on all fours and rocks back and forth. Sometimes, when milk or another forbidden object, (for example, the lap top cord) is near she will lunge herself forward like a little seal to grab it. You can see Rory's puppy in the background, it goes with him everywhere. I once found Anastasia fast asleep and curled up next to "Doggie". 

Anastasia has to have her mobility! Here's a picture of her trapped by a Boppy. As you can tell, she is NOT amused. She's probably thinking "Don't take pictures! Save me!" I thought her face looked rather regal. Now she hates her once beloved swing because she can't move, even if she's swinging. She's had her taste of freedom and loves it.
She's doing so much better about sitting in her bumbo by herself. She hardly slides out from the side anymore. But we're still a ways off from her sitting up unassisted. My goal was for her to sit by Christmas, which then came and went. Then my new goal was by my birthday. Which again, came and went. Now the newest goal is her birthday in February, we'll just have to wait and see.

Anastasia is teething 6 teeth at once! They are super sharp, a lesson I learned the hard way, twice. She broke the skin and made me bleed both times. Don't worry, I've finally learned my lesson, don't let her put my fingers near her mouth. On the plus side it's given her an adorable toothy grin. She can say Mama and Dada, as well! 

She likes apple baby food, but adores sneaking bites of Rory's breakfast yogurt the most. He's kind enough to let her get away with it. She's not picky on the flavor, as long as it's his. 
She may not be the easiest baby, but she is sure a happy one. She loves the time when the others go to bed and it's just her, me, and the unlimited access to all the toys. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Heidi Anne's Week at Grandma's

Heidi Anne spent a week at Grandma's, between Polar Express and Christmas Eve, Eve. Here are her adventures at Grandma's that week, as she remembers them. So the actual day and activity maybe slightly off. I guess this would be her first blog post! 

December 19-I helped Grandma watch Cousin G and wrapped presents. 

December 20-Grandma and I got our hair cut. There was an Elf on the Shelf at the saloon kicking a snowman's carrot nose. (Which Heidi Anne thought was super funny.) 
We went and saw Aunt S at work and peeked at the gingerbread house she made. Then we went to the Corner Bakery for lunch. I spent the rest of the day making crafts and wrapping more presents. 

December 21-I shoveled the driveway! I went to the post office and bank with Grandpa. Then we meet up with Grandma at Subway and had Subway for lunch. Then we went shopping. I spent a lot of time outside and played in the snow trying to build a fort. 

December 22-Grandma had a doctor appointment so I stayed at home with Grandpa. After the doctor's appointment Grandma and I went shopping at IKEA. It was a maze of a store. 

I made some more crafts for people as gifts. I also helped Grandma watch Cousin G. 

December 23-You (Mommy) and the babies came to Grandma's (and I quote) "You know what happened that day."

Friday, January 6, 2017

Happy / Post New Years

So time, time got away from me. I don't know the exact days something happened like usual. Oh, well. Here are the important things that happened. 

New Years Eve & New Year's Day
For New Year's Eve Char had the day off (he worked New Years Day). Thus 9:00 pm became the new midnight! I'm honestly impressed Heidi Anne made it that long, she's an early bird not a night owl. 

During the day we played a fun game called 5 Second Rule. You pick a card that has a request like "Name 3 things you need to make cookies" or "Name 3 African American Actors", "Name 3 types of butterflies." It sounds easy, right? But it's so hard when you're put on the spot and only have 5 seconds to come up with the answer. The game is really fun and older kids can play, too. We are so bringing this game to the family reunion this summer!

That night we watched "Storks" the movie. Which was kind of cute. We started "The Secret Life of Pets" but only made it half way because everyone started to drift off to sleep. Per tradition, we had some sparkling cider, which we chilled outside in the snow. Hey, if you have a ton of snow why not use it? 

The Day of Doctor Appointments
On Tuesday the 3 we had a doctor appointment for Anastasia in Salt Lake and Rory had one in Bountiful. 

Anastasia has been outgrowing her helmet due to a growth spurt. The prosthetic doctor tried to shave off as much foam as possible to give her a little more time in the helmet. But for the first time, she HATED the helmet. She'd tug, push, pull, rub her head and helmet. She was also abnormally fussy. (She's cutting 6 teeth at once, which means she was constantly unhappy).  
Her doctor appointment was with the cranio-facial plastic surgeon. He checked her head and made sure her eye socket was circular. While her head is still 10 degrees off, everything is growing normally. So she'll just have funky pig-tails. He gave the all clear to go helmet free. If we had caught it sooner, it would have resolved even more. SO from now on, if I think something is off, I won't delay getting help. It is comforting to know we did act as fast as possible, but were stonewalled by the insurance. Here she is enjoying her new found freedom. 
The next appointment was for Rory to determine where on the autism spectrum he falls. We won't get the answer until the 19th. The pediatric developmental psychologist watched how he played and interacted with her and myself. She would try to engage him in pretend play, which he wouldn't do. She witnessed his laying down on the floor to play with cars or other toys. She said she's never seen that behavior before, and thinks he does that to view things from a different perspective, to see how objects operate. 

He wouldn't play with toys the usual way, for example, cars he wouldn't crash together but would spin the wheels. She tried to get him to play with an airplane waving it in the air, he played with the propeller. She pretended to smell fake flowers, he rubbed the different fabric textures between his fingers. She brought out a toy dog, which he loved. She noted every little thing he did.   

We still have some more online assessments to do. I just wish we could get the results sooner than the 19th. I try to remind myself that some people wait years to get a diagnoses. Waiting 2 more weeks isn't terribly bad. 

The Snow Day
The day before a snow day was called, Heidi Anne's bus got stuck in a snowbank. They had to call for a rescue bus to take the children home. 

The following morning (at 5 am) we got a phone call and a text informing us the school was taking a snow day. Char couldn't get back to sleep, so he went and shoveled the driveway in -3 degree weather. I made him some hot chocolate as a thank-you and to help warm him back up. 

Heidi Anne worked on her first sewing project, she got a sewing kit for Christmas and I just haven't had the time to teach her. But today, I had the chance to work on it with her. 
She is very proud of completing her first sewing project, (which is a little stuffed fox), like a big girl. 
She also went sledding down the hill in the front lawn, made snow angels, and played with her friend. I read "A Snowy Day" to the little babies, (I think Heidi Anne was listening in as well). A pretty good Snow Day if you ask me. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Christmas Week End!

December 23- Our Friday started out at 5:00am! Anastasia had two doctor appointments in Ogden then Salt Lake that morning. So we got Rory and Anastasia up and ready to go. Anastasia was wide eyed and bushy tailed. Rory was less then happy to be up so early. 

We drove down to Ogden for Anastasia's first doctor's appointment.  Since she was a preemie with respiratory distress syndrome and still weighs less than 20 pounds she qualifies for the Synergis shot. This shot gives her an immunity boost and lowers her risk for getting RSV. She'll have to have one shot every 28 days until May to be effective. The three of us had to wait there for nearly a hour after the shot to make sure she didn't suffer an allergic reaction from it.  (Which she didn't). So from now on, we can just get the shot and go. 

Next we drove to her helmet appointment. She's gone from 20 degrees off down to 10 degrees off. She's gone through a bit of a growth spurt. Which is a double edge sword, on one side yeah, she's growing. On the other side, she's outgrowing her helmet before it's had time to fully repair her head. If we keep this one on much longer it could impact her brain growth. If we don't get a new one her skull could remain deformed. We have to wait for the Cranial-Facial Surgeon to see if her occipital bone (eye socket) is still flat, which could cause her eye to pop out. Fun things to think about, I know. 

After that we went to grandma's for the weekend. Rory had fun playing with Cousin G. Grandma bought a pack of mini balls. I put them into a box, then placed Rory into the box full of balls. Ta-Da, mini ball pit. He LOVED it! 

After we got the babies settled, Grandma watched them while I took Heidi Anne to go shopping for presents. She got socks for Rory and Anastasia and a movie for Char and me. It was packed! I'm never shopping the day before Christmas Eve / before a big snow storm again!
After we got back to Grandma's house, Heidi Anne ran some errands with Grandpa and brought back pizza for our traditional Pizza Night Friday! The kids went to sleep not to long after dinner. 

December 24-The kids all got up super early. Call it a dry run for Christmas morning. Grandpa made a special breakfast of Eggnog French Toast. Heidi Anne helped Grandpa make it. By the time we all sat down to eat, Char came in from work. It was 6:30 am. There we all were sitting down ready to eat. (Good timing on his part). 
After breakfast, Char went down to sleep and the kids went to play. Rory found one of the cousins presents and feel in love with it, it was a stuffed animal dog. 
He kept petting it and repeating "Doggie!", which is amazing. But sadly, it wasn't his present, so we put it away before he became anymore attached to it. He then found a spatula and played in the ball pit again. Anastasia just rolled around. She did a LOT of rolling. She run into a wall or a piece of furniture and cry until she rescued herself or someone moved her back to the middle of the living room.
Later on in the day Char woke up and family started arriving to Grandma's house. The kids played with cousins and had a fun time. Everyone made their own little personal pizzas, which took some time given there were 20 people! 

After dinner, the kids (with the help of the grown-ups) did a nativity play. Heidi Anne was Joseph this year, (she was Mary last year) and Anastasia was baby Jesus. 

Then we had a gift exchange for the grown ups. The kids opened up pajamas. Finally, everyone shouted up the chimney to Santa. This is a British tradition where on Christmas Eve, you shout up the chimney to let Santa know what you want for Christmas. This year, half of the children made last minute changes to their wish list. Seriously, the very last second they changed their minds on us. 
 Oh, well! I told Heidi Anne Santa had already left the North Pole with the wish list she had written at school. Also, he was coming to our home in Wyoming and not to Grandma's house. So no need to get up ridiculously early. 
December 25-They got up ridiculously early. They did the thing!
We opened what presents were at Grandma's house and some stockings. It finally snowed over night and into the morning. Grandpa shoveled the walk, while Char dug out and loaded up the cars for the drive back home. 
Little Anastasia was out like a light. Exhausted from the lack of sleep the night before (not even 1 year old and knew something was special) and the getting up early part. 
By 9:00 am most of the family was back at Grandma's for a family breakfast. Rory and Cousin G were snacking while everything was cooking. 

After breakfast (more like brunch...well, more like 11:00 am) we headed home. It took me over 2 hours to drive back home though the snow. 

The kids were excited to see their Santa presents and unwrap their presents. Rory went straight for Anastasia's gift of a stroller / walker and baby doll, he couldn't be separated from it. 
Until she went for his Santa gift. Then he was all over his present. 
We spent the rest of the day playing, watching a movie, until Daddy had work at 5:00 pm. Then we played some more.