Heavy Boys

As of Monday, Zeke weighed 11 pounds, 3 ounces, and Gabriel weighed 11 pounds, 1 ounce. The Z-man not only caught up to his brother weight wise, but decided to squeak by the G-man. We are nothing less than ecstatic that both boys are on the right track as far as the poundage goes.

“Granny loves to hold me,” says Gabriel.

As far as all around health is concerned, we still have a few other items to tend to with Zeke. He got an x-ray at a local children’s hospital back in December and it was confirmed that Zeke indeed does have a mass of something in one of the lobes of his lungs. Remember, the Cincy docs, who were the ones to discover it on their MRI results, said it was a CCAM (congenital cystic adenomatoid malformation)? Well, the pediatric surgeon Zeke saw said we can’t be sure it’s a CCAM till a CT scan is done — that’s scheduled for early June — but he’s pretty sure. And if it is, we are going to have the mass of benign tumors surgically removed soon thereafter, since they have been linked to adulthood cancer.

“I love Auntie Merdy,” says Zeke.

Zeke also has what is known as an umbilical hernia, which is a distended bellybutton. This common harmless condition is when part of the intestine protrudes through a weak spot in the abdominal muscles. Most of these hernias close on their own by age 1, though some take longer to heal and may require surgical repair. We are confident that Zeke’s will take care of itself and the Lord will spare our sweet boy a second childhood surgery. Even though Zeke is happy as a clam and none the wiser about these conditions, please keep the Z-man in your prayers.

 “No, I haven’t quite mastered my table skills,” says Houston.

Houston is definitely not lacking in the poundage department. Although he is just 19 months old, he is pushing 35 pounds, wearing size 6 diapers and donning up to size 4T clothes. We just recently introduced him to potty training; I figured we better get a move on it, since 6 is the largest size diaper. Moreover, I’m sick of changing diapers for three children, not to mention the fact that diapers are very pricey.

Gabriel is one happy boy!

Houston is also very much a toddler, thinking he’s the center of the world, lacking any level of patience and whining like a pro. We’re experimenting with different discipline methods because he’s now too big for time outs in his pack-n-play (he can turn it over on its side while he’s in it) and we don’t want to overuse spanking. We try to show him that his tantrums don’t affect us as to let him know that bad behavior doesn’t garner the result he wants: attention. But sometimes that is so much easier said than done. And of course, other times the outburst is so dramatic that it actually does require a response from us. I think I’m going to start taking his beloved binkies away as a behavior modification tool. We’ll see how that pans out. 

So is Zeke!

Well, mama needs some rest. Click on the very top photo of Granny and Gabe to view the January – part 1 photos and click the above photo of happy-boy Zeke to check out this month’s part 2 pics.

With a Little Help From My Friends

I have finally gotten into a little bit of a mothering groove here recently. One major change is that I’ve stopped trying to breast-feed the twins at the same time. Not only was it getting increasingly difficult due to their ever-increasing size, but the feeding was just becoming such an event: putting on a clean diaper while the other hungry baby screams (times 2), placing baby onto the twin feeding pillow and walking to my chair without harming the baby (times 2), getting settled and comfortable into the chair, and latching the baby on (times 2), trying to burp (and usually clean up the puke of) one baby while the other is still feeding … all while attempting to be as hands-on as possible with Houston. 

Ashley & Ingrid visit “the zoo” to hang out and help out.

The frequent task had simply become too high-maintenance. Therefore, I have gotten the twins on a staggered feeding schedule and have been feeding them one at a time for about a week now, and I couldn’t be happier. It’s much more relaxing for everyone involved. 

The thinking with twins is that if you feed them at the same time, you cut feedings in half. In theory, that’s a great plan. But being that I also have a near 19 month old running around, it’s as if I have triplets, not twins. So, doing single feedings frees up one hand and doesn’t confine me to a chair for a half hour. In fact, I began this blog while breast-feeding Gabriel — too cool! It’s so much easier to keep an eye out on Houston this way and sometimes even get a few light household tasks accomplished in the process.  

Gabriel has fun during tummy time.

This is not to say that things are EVER simple around here, but I must say that I have come a long, long way since the twins came home from the NICU in early November. 

Also helping things to run as smoothly as possible is the help offered up by friends and family. My pal, Meredith, usually comes over for a few hours every Tuesday and Friday. She does whatever it takes to get things on track, from feeding to playing to changing diapers to bringing over delicious food for an always-hungry Mommy to eat.

Two of my best friends, Ingrid and Ashley, came to visit from Virginia for a couple of days in early January to lend a hand, meet the twins and play a little Rock Band 2.

“See, we do have red hair, Daddy,” says Zeke.

My buddy, Beth, who lives about 45 minutes from here, brought her 10-month-old son, Matthew, over this week to do about the same thing. It’s so wonderful to have an extra set of hands for Mommy and a fun play date for Houston.

We also hired a wonderful young woman named Heather to assist with childcare for about 4 hours a week. Again, she’s an extra set of hands, which helps keep things a tad more sane.

Of course, grandparents are invaluable, and luckily, our kids have two loving and giving sets of grandparents. 

Houston builds stuff with his new blocks.

Another wonderfully gracious and charitable item worth mentioning is that Stephen’s colleague made a sizable donation to our family to help out with the immense medical expenses we’ve incurred since July in dealing with the TTTS and the subsequent NICU charges.

Stephen and I are constantly bewildered by the fact that we are so tremendously blessed with the goodwill of our family and friends. Thanks so much for the love and support, y’all! 

Click the top photo to see the pics from Ashley and Ingrid’s visit, and click the above photo of Houston to see all the December – Part 3 photos. Also, don’t forget to check out the new additions to the December – Part 2 gallery.

Houston’s 1st Visit From Santa

Well, Santa Claus made his first appearance at Clan Dillingham this Christmas. “Ho Ho” didn’t go overboard, bringing Houston only a few choice toys. Couple that with awesome gifts from grandparents and other close relatives, though, and Houston Lee still made out like a champ.

Houston takes it all in on Christmas morning 2008.

The twins had a doc appointment on 12/29/08. Zeke measured 19 3/4″ long and weighed 9 lbs., 1 1/2 oz., and Gabriel was 20 1/4″ long and weighed 9 lbs., 7 ounces. Yep, my preemie boys are catching up with their term competition rather nicely!  

Zeke observes Houston’s gift opening from the sidelines.

Here are a few other notables: 

  • 12/30/08 — Stephen and Rebecca celebrate their 10-year anniversary of meeting (en route to see Phish in NYC for New Year’s Eve 1998)
  • 1/3/09 — Both Gabriel and Zeke smile for the first time
  • 1/6/09 — Houston successfully drinks from a straw for the first time 

The “Three Amigos” don their Cincinnati Reds hats.

Everyone at Clan Dillingham (minus Gabriel, who must have an immune system made of steel) is either getting over or currently battling a nasty cold. It has been a rough week and and a half or so, but luckily, good health is making a comeback here at the homestead.

Gabriel rests after a long, but fun-filled Christmas day!

Click the top photo of Houston to view all the Christmas 2008 – Part 1 pics and the above photo of Gabriel to check out the Christmas 2008 – Part 2 photos. Happy New Year everyone!