Houston’s Birthday Pics

Finally, here are the awesome photos from Houston’s 4th birthday. I know the party was nearly two months ago, so I apologize for the delay. A sincere “thanks” goes out to Cousin Meredith for snapping and sharing many of the unforgettable shots.

I had the house all to myself this weekend. Houston and Stephen went on a father-son campout with church at Hanging Rock State Park. The sometimes rainy adventure included canoeing, lake swimming and hiking to a waterfall. This was Houston’s first real camping trip and Daddy reports that is was a success.

Although he looks 6, HL turned 4. (Click pic to see Part 1 photos.)

Gabriel and Zeke spent a weekend in the mountains with Granny and Grumps. This was the twins’ first time to be away from home for the night without big bro. Granny says, “They were good as gold!”

Gabriel had his first allergist appointment in late July. Just like Zeke, he tested negative to all 50 allergens pricked on his back during the skin test. Also like Zeke, Gabe was diagnosed as having cough-variant asthma (dry, unproductive coughing at night) and was prescribed similar medications. The hope is that they’ll both outgrow the condition. In the meantime, the meds are helping tremendously, allowing a better night’s sleep for the entire fam.

The aforementioned allergy test is a fairly traumatic procedure for kids, so I decided not to lug all three boys to the doc, which is so often what I do for medical appointments. Instead, I dropped Houston and Zeke off at Bizi Kidz, as suggested to me by a gal from Moms Club. Although a bit pricey, it’s nice to know there’s a safe drop-in childcare facility available when the need arises.

Zeke “helps” push Kara & Gabriel down the slip-n-slide.

We wrapped up last month with a weekend trip to Virginia to attend Meredith’s going-away party. Our beloved niece/cousin moved to New Orleans for adventures and a fresh start. Cousin Casey is also there, attending Tulane, so she won’t be totally without fam. Anyhoo, we wish you the best in the Big Easy, Merdy!

We kicked off August by paying off all of our outstanding longterm medical bills. These included payment plans from Zeke’s CCAM surgery and the hospital balance for having all the babies, as well as the twins’ NICU stay. What a great way to start to month.

Speaking of medical stuff, Miss Pat gave Gabriel and Zeke the Preschool Language Scale assessment in early August. They each scored 82 in “auditory comprehension” and 86 in “expressive communication,” with a total language score of 86. Read: they tested better than 86 out of 100 kids their age. Way to go, boys!

The funny thing is that even though Gabe and Zeke were assessed separately, missing and getting correct completely different answers, they got the exact same scores. Sure, they are genetically identical, but that is pretty zany stuff.

Houston & Zeke blow out the candles. (Click photo to see Part 2.)

Then last week, the twins got screened once more by an occupational therapist. Pat, Stephen and I wanted to put concern over Gabe and Zeke’s occasional clumsiness to rest and see what the OT had to say, now that Gabe and Zeke are older and their intermittent bouts of having two left feet are increasingly infrequent, yet still present. Diagnosis: growing pains.

The sometimes aching and agonizing growth of a child’s body can effect “proprioception” — the unconscious awareness of body position — so the body seeks sensory input elsewhere. And since the receptors for the proprioceptive system are located in the muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints and connective tissue, this can obviously physically manifest itself in a child being blunderous or graceless.

The OT said the twins don’t need therapy. Instead, we should promote activities the kids already enjoy — climbing, hanging, catching/throwing, batting, pulling/pushing, swimming, playing with resistant toys (like Legos), pounding/rolling (Play Doh), hiking, wrestling, etc. — as well as try a few other fun suggestions. Their clumsiness should continue to decrease and be gone by about age 4.

Houston & Gabriel open the birthday gifts. (Click pic to see Part 3.)

Some current favorite topics of exploration for the kids include volcanoes, tornadoes and the moon, and the “what would happen” queries that arise from those subjects. For instance, “What would happen if … I was in the volcano … on the moon … inside a tornado … the lava got me … the tornado got my house?”

The twins are also interested in how they were inside of Mommy at the same time. Zeke often asks, “Was I in your lung?” or “Did I kick your lung?” I suppose that’s because when heading to Granny’s, we drive pass the children’s hospital where he got his “yucky taken out,” so his lobectomy has been discussed more than usual as of late.

Potty talk is also quite cherished these days. If the 3 Amigos can work doo-doo, poot, penis, booger or ear wax into a sentence, they do it gleefully and unapologetically. Ooh, boys are so gross.