Sunday, November 18, 2012

Special Olympics ~ Basketball

Little Bitty's class gets to participate in various Special Olympics events during the year... a couple of weeks ago was the first one of the school year - basketball :).


Saturday, November 17, 2012

1 in 8 babies is born to soon...

Today is Prematurity Awareness Day.

To learn more, visit the March of Dimes.

Click here to read our NICU story (Cuddlebug and Bearhug were born 6 1/2 weeks early due to severe pre-eclampsia).

Here's a repost of my earlier prematurity awareness post (slightly edited):


Did you know that 1 in 8 babies is born prematurely in the U.S.? In approximately 40% of cases, the cause of premature labor is unknown, and it can happen to anyone. I have shared our story before about Cuddlebug and Bearhug's premature birth, but I think it's worth examining what a difference it makes when a baby is able to be born full term. In contrast with his brothers being born 6 1/2 weeks early, Little Bitty was born 1 1/2 weeks late. Being pregnant with him a full 8 weeks longer felt like FOREVER in comparison, lol, but of course it was well worth every minute because I knew he was where he needed to be (and unlike the situation with CB and BH, it was safe for him to remain in the womb).

What a difference those 8 weeks made! Here is a comparison of their footprints:

I scanned them all together so they would be proportionally accurate. Every time I look at these I'm just amazed at how tiny Cuddlebug's foot was compared with Little Bitty's. The size disparity between Cuddlebug and Bearhug was due to TTTS.

In addition to their sizes, here are some other differences we experienced between our twins' premature birth and the full-term delivery of our youngest. I only have my own experience to draw from, so this may not be applicable to everyone, but I'm sharing it to highlight some of the benefits of full-term delivery and why prematurity awareness is so important.

1. Being able to hold your baby right away. We had to wait 8 days before we could hold Bearhug for the first time, and 2 days before we could hold Cuddlebug. I was able to hold Little Bitty within the first few minutes after he was born. It was an amazing experience!

2. Being able to bring your baby home with you. Cuddlebug and Bearhug spent 22 days in the NICU before we were able to bring them home. Some premature babies stay much longer, depending on how early they are born and their health. Some preemies have medical challenges ranging from mild to severe, while others just need a little extra time to grow.

3. Getting a little more sleep at night. Like most newborns, Little Bitty woke up to eat about every 3 hours when he first came home. Because of their small size, Bearhug and Cuddlebug couldn't hold enough food in their stomachs to last 3 hours and needed to eat about every 1 1/2 hours. Add to that the fact that the effort they had to put into eating often wore them out before they were full, and sometimes we didn't even make a whole hour before they needed to eat again. That's a recipe for exhaustion for mom and dad (although well worth it of course!).

4. Less susceptible to illness. Cuddlebug and Bearhug needed 6 months of RSV shots as a precaution since they'd had respiratory distress early on. We had to be very careful about taking them out and having visitors. We were cautious with Little Bitty also, but the risk level for full-term babies is generally not as high.

The March of Dimes has more on why getting at least 39 weeks is best for babies if at all possible. Did you know the March of Dimes is responsible for leading the call to develop Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU)? They also funded the research that led to the use of surfactant to treat respiratory distress syndrome (RDS). They have had many other successes as well, but for those two reasons especially, I will be eternally grateful to them!

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Creeeeper and aliens

Quick update on our Halloween:

Bitty wanted to be a Minecraft creeper so I resized Cuddlebug's costume from last year:

Bearhug and Cuddlebug didn't want to wear a costume, so they went as "aliens pretending to be humans."

And of course, any self-respecting alien pretending to be human would want to be a Longhorn fan, am I right? ;) (hook 'em!! \m/ )

This is Bearhug (that stuff all over his arms is paint from art class). Cuddlebug ran off before I could get his picture :(

Bitty actually trick-or-treated the entire neighborhood for the first time. This is his third time going (he wasn't interested prior to that), and the last two years he has gone to just a few houses and then decided he's done. So I was surprised when he was getting into it and wanted to keep going until we made it all the way back around to our house (granted, we live in a small neighborhood, but still).

Sometimes he remembered to say trick-or-treat, sometimes he didn't. He usually remembered to say "thank you" but it was always "Thank you, Edward!" (if you guessed he's referring to Edward from Thomas & Friends, you got it! lol). He's been doing a lot of scripting from Thomas episodes lately.

Anytime we came across a pile of leaves (a lot of houses had leaves piled up on their front porch from the wind) he had to stop and "chug" his way through it. When he finished at a house, he came running back to me yelling "wheeeesh!!!" (engine sounds). Whenever someone asked him what his costume was, his answer varied.

"I'm a creeper!"

"I'm a small green engine!"

"I'm Percy the small engine!"

"I'm a creeper engine!"

LOL, he was so cute, and it was kind of funny to see the looks of confusion on people's faces wondering what exactly is a creeper engine? A lot of the neighborhood kids recognized his costume though, since many of them are Minecraft fans too.

Cuddlebug and Bearhug beat us home, and we arrived to find dh decked out as a zombie and the house full of fog from the fog machine, and zombie sounds echoing through the house from the speakers. He had a fun time handing out candy, but may have been just a little bit too scary because we had a lot of leftover candy!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Little Bitty Director


I shared previously some of Bitty's work creating short movies with series' of still-shots of his trains.

He has since moved on to borrowing my camcorder (and tripod) and taking short video clips of his trains, or his characters in Roblox (an online building game where you can design your own "world"). He plays music (mostly his new favorite-evah song - "Break My Stride") or narration from YouTube in the background.





Monday, September 17, 2012

A Close Shave


Bitty acting out a scene from "A Close Shave for Duck" (from Thomas, of course), with a bubble beard :).

His favorite episodes are the ones with crashes (of course!) and his favorite line, which we hear repeated often as he throws himself to the floor, is "... but it was TOO LATE!!" lol

Have I mentioned how much I love seeing him pretend play? :D


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Handsome x3


We got the boys some new dress clothes for church :).

When Cuddlebug and Bearhug were little, we had a hard time getting them to wear anything other than their usual day-to-day clothes, largely due to their sensory issues. Church was enough of a battle without adding to it by forcing them to wear uncomfortable clothes - and so we have always let them wear polo shirts and khaki pants to church (with the exception of their baptism day).

But, as they are quickly approaching an age where they will be more young men than little boys, we thought it was time (again) to try having them wear dress shirts and ties. Actually tucked in and everything. With a belt (so that's what those loops are for!). And dress shoes. And we figured as long as we're getting our big boys some dress clothes, we'd do the same for Bitty.

You may or may not be surprised to learn that nearly all of the rampant complaining that day was NOT from Mr. Bitty. But by the time we left church both Cuddlebug and Bearhug had decided it wasn't SO bad after all.

"Behind the scenes" of how I managed to get a picture of actual smiles ;). Doesn't matter what they're wearing, these two never pass up a chance for a play-fight. This one is actually relatively mild :).

Peter Sam (the engine, in his best "most interesting man" voice) says, "I don't always go to church, but when I do, I go with Bitty." :)

Taken outside before church... I tried to get one of all three boys together, but as you can see that didn't work out.


Splash pad!


A little water-fun downtime after the first week of school. Those smiles say it all, right?

Bearhug as zombie. Be afraid... be very afraid!


Leavin' on a jet plane...


This summer I took Bearhug and Cuddlebug on a trip to visit family. Bitty and dh stayed home, mostly because we're not quite ready to try air travel with Bitty just yet.

This was Cuddlebug and Bearhug's second trip on a plane, and they did great with the airport procedures, etc. It helped that we took the earliest flight possible in the morning so it wasn't too crowded when we went through security.

The lady checking ID's asked Cuddlebug how old he was and who he was traveling with, then asked him where he was going. He answered the first two questions just fine with one-word answers, but on the third one his expression went blank as he stood there thinking for a minute, then finally he turned to me and asked, "Hey Mom, where are we going again?" Awkward.

Next it was Bearhug's turn. She asked him how old he was and that was about as far as she got since he gave her the long version, "Eleven, same age as 'Cuddlebug' except I'm just two minutes younger and I'm going to the same destination as him and my mom..." he would have kept going, but we managed to move, thankfully there wasn't a long line behind us :).

(Most of the pictures below are new, a few I have posted before but I wanted to have them all in one post)

Waiting in the airport

Playing Angry Birds on the plane :)

Train surfing (trying to balance without holding on)

Visiting the Air Force base, where they signed the gigantic post card :)

Swimming with cousins (note: I typically try to be careful not to post pics of other people's kids on my blog, at least not where you can see their faces, without permission... in case you're wondering why there are not many pics of their cousins, it's not because I didn't take many!) :)

How many boys can you fit inside a stack of floaties? (anyone else remember "how many guys in bunny suits can fit into an H&R block"? hehe)


Love those smiles! :)

Helping their little cousin onto the floatie...

...and all three of them riding together :)

Love this one too... my little niece kept asking me to take her picture while she jumped :).

Looking rather Jason Bourne-esque, no?

uh-oh... ;)

At the airport with Grandma and Grandpa - the boys were sad to be leaving :(

Sunrise viewed from ~30k feet (pilots feel free to correct me if my estimate is way off base)

Waiting for the train to take us to our gate for the last leg of our trip

I am so proud of how well they both did travelling, and had a great time with my big boys! I missed my little guy though (and dh of course) so it was nice to get home too and have the family all together again :).


Monday, September 10, 2012

Sensory coping success


The slightest hint of a popping sound in the distance.

The sight of them boxed up at those tents that start springing up about a month in advance.

Even a mention of the word "fireworks" is enough to bring on a screaming fit of terror.

(leave it to big brother Cuddlebug to notice that and start trying to work the word "fireworks" into his conversations just to get a reaction from Bitty... and leave it to me to tell him "stop saying the F word!" before I realized that came out wrong... dh got a chuckle out of that)

For most of the month of June, Bitty frequently expressed his disdain for any and all holidays that involve the lighting of celebratory explosives. Namely, the 4th of July and New Year's Eve. He was even less happy when a few people in the surrounding area starting lighting them a few days early, and kept lighting them a few days afterward.

The good news is that this year he was able to tolerate it better than in years past. Partly with the help of these:

Those are the kind that shooters wear to protect their ears from the noise, so we figured it would help muffle most of the sound. It helped, and we were able to spend the afternoon relaxing with several of our neighbors at a "barbecue party" as Bitty calls it :).

Bitty was able to handle the fireworks going off in the surrounding area here and there throughout the day with his headphones, but when it started getting dark, he knew we'd be lighting them up close in our neighborhood and he didn't want to stick around for that, so I took him inside while dh stayed outside with our older boys so they could enjoy the celebration (unlike Bitty, they LOVE fireworks).

I turned on the tv and cranked up the movie "Independence Day" about as loud as we could stand it to help drown out the noise outside, and Bitty kept his headphones on too.

He cracked me up because at one point I realized we were coming up on a scary part of the movie so I tried to cover his eyes. He just looked at me and said, "Das not scary."

So... slimy aliens attacking - not scary. Slightest hint of a firework - terrifying.

Got it.

I was really glad we found a way to help him cope without a meltdown, and proud of him for being willing to give it a try.

We'll definitely be pulling out the headphones again for New Year's Eve!


Cuddlebug and Bearhug, taken earlier in the day :)


Monday, August 27, 2012



Painting by Little Bitty.

I LOVE it :)


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I'm a mom of three boys on the autism spectrum, 11-yr-old identical twins and a 7-yr-old. My husband is a SAHD.


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