Sunday, February 27, 2011

Before and After!

There has been a lot of change happening in the Christianson home lately.  Everything is changing...including the walls, Julia's hair, Kai's mobility, and mommy's belly!  Here are some pictures to prove my point:

Nursery 

....before we bought the house



During the project...Jared worked very hard!


And after!


 (of course we will remove the mirror that belongs in the bathroom once it gets painted!)
 (all we have left is some wall art to put up and a baby to fill that crib!)




Julia and Kai

...one year ago 



...six months ago

(Kai got his first hair cut on this day... notice the mullet!)





 ...and present!  
My daughter finally has hair!




Here is mommy
....before


...19 weeks


...23 weeks


...31 weeks


...and at 36 weeks!



And since I started writing this blog a week ago, Kai has made some huge changes!  Watch below to see our new walking man!!! He has been taking a step or two on his own since Septmeber, but he has now just started taking off on his own without our prodding or therapy skills that never seemed to work!  :) We are so proud of him!


video

As for updates on the rest of the family, you can tell what Jared has been up to!  After hiring someone to come and remove all of the wall paper in the house (which took two men w/ special equipment a full week to do!) he has been busy painting, hanging pictures, and getting our house in order before "Bubba" comes.  
We have also joined a small group in our church and Michala and the kids have joined a playdate group through our church.  We are slowly meeting more people and making friends.
Julia is becoming more of a grown-up child than our baby all the time.  Her vocabulary is huge, although she gets confused at times.  She hears us scolding the cat so much that she thinks that Smudge's name is, "NO!"  She also can sing almost all of the "itsy bitsy spider" (to her own words, but right on tune!) and do the hand motions.  She also has taken after her mother and her Uncle Andrew and is a "condiment girl."  She loves dipping anything-chicken, bread, apples- into ketchup or yogurt and eating or licking it off!
Since I took the video above last week, Kai has increased his confidence with walking even more.  He is probably doing more walking now that crawling!  When I see him standing in the middle of the room or see him following/chasing Julia around the house it makes me so thankful that I want to cry! We took him to the Spina Bifida Clinic in downtown Dallas again last week to meet with the team of doctors and will be going back on Tuesday to meet with the urologist. The head doctor at the clinic changed Kai's routine up a bit at night, so that now I can catheterize Kai during the day like usual, but I won't have to cath him in the middle of the night!  I'll gladly give up my head flashlight and get more sleep (since I will be getting less with #3 here soon).  Jared and I are willing to do anything to keep Kai healthy, but this will really take a burden off of me.  Thank you Lord!
We have set the c-section date for March 18th, which is less than 3 weeks away!  We found out that Jared will not qualify for FMLA since he hasn't been at his new job for long, so we hope to use his four vacation days very wisely!  My parents are planning on driving down from Nebraska the day before to help take care of Kai and Julia.  My mom will stay a week until Jared's parents fly down from Washington state and spend their spring break with us.  The 18th is a good date...Kai and Julia's birthday is May 18th, they were due on July 18th, and it's exactly one week after mommy turns 30...sounds like a good date!  We look forward to updating you soon as we welcome this new little miracle into our family!








Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentines Day Fun!

Happy Valentines Day!
We had a fun day filled with a playdate, treats, a bubble-blowing gun, and bath paints....that is the kids, of course!  I was planning on cooking a fun Valentines Day dinner, but then remembered that we were having a crew come to our house this week to remove all of the wallpaper in the house (Yippee!!).  So we enjoyed a few treats made the night before (Rice Krispie treats and heart-shaped jello) and opened gifts that evening.  The kids also enjoyed coloring some heart-shaped papers- my attempt at being crafty (doesn't go far)!














My gifts for Valentines Day came early this year.  Jared sent a bouquet of tulips and chocolate on Friday.  Then Jared watched the kids while I was a free woman for all of Saturday morning/early afternoon.  It was great to drop into many stores while I shopped without carting my huge double stroller and ernery children with me, but I couldn't help but feel lost without my "little helpers!"  After drifting around stores at the mall I soon realized I had no business being there since I don't fit into any of the clothes with my current figure and it's too late to buy more maternity clothes!
We've enjoyed several visits from Tulsa friends and family lately, which is such a treat for us!  First my cousin and her friend from Lubbuck, TX stayed with us a few weeks ago during a girls shopping trip. We went to dinner with some friends from our old "young married's" group in Tulsa last week and then had a visit from our old next-door neighbors on Saturday afternoon.  We also have two sets of friends that are coming through Dallas this weekend that we are planning on meeting up with.  I'm glad that Dallas seems to be a popular place to visit!  Almost all of our visitors have made stops at the IKEA store nearby, which we've never been to.  It must be worth checking out!
We are starting to count down the days until we meet "Bubba!" I sure hope we agree on a name soon so that that name does not stick!   I am due in five weeks, but my doctor plans on scheduling the c-section for the week before.  I have been very comfortable this whole pregnancy, which is such a blessing!  I think it helps that I'm not sitting in bed 24 hours a day for months leading up to the birth :)  The nursery is almost complete (Jared did a great job) which makes me feel a bit more prepared.  Kai and Julia love playing with the baby toys that we have set out.  They have messed with the equipment/toys so much that I'm realizing that there are settings on the toys/bouncer seats that I never new existed!

The twins have been doing well.  Kai has had some increased separation anxiety the past few months that we are working on decreasing.  He gives out cries that will break your heart just by putting him on the ground or leaving his sight.  We believe it's mainly a behavior issue, because the moment you come and pick him up he gives out a laugh.  Oh boy!  Julia has started a habit of hitting the cat or my stomach and then immediately kissing it, like that makes it all ok.  This could get interesting!  It's going to be a big adjustment for Kai and Julia to welcome in a new little baby who needs mom more than they do!  We're hoping that having grandparents around for a few weeks will help them feel fully loved on when the baby comes home.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Christianson Twins.....plus more!

After two years of updating pictures and stories about the twins on our christiansontwins.com website, we have decided that for 1; the title doesn't quite encompass our growing family and 2; we could save money and change to a blog site!  I will attempt to keep you up to date on how Kai and Julia are doing and to introduce you to our new guy when he arrives in March (and hopefully not sooner!).
I get really sentimental about things, especially now that I'm 7 1/2 months pregnant, and want to capture some of the highlights from the past couple of years.  Here are a few entries from our old website as I go down memory lane...........


Introducing...!





We are proud to introduce the birth of Julia Hope and Kai Marcus Christianson, May 18th 9am at St. Francis hospital in Tulsa, OK.

The morning started with the doctor entering the room...”Michala, you ready to deliver?”  Ahh...okay, let me call Jared!  Sound asleep at the house, 7 am, Michala on the phone...”Jared, they are going to deliver at 8:30am...get down here!”

The chance of having the twins early was of course a certain, but we were not excepting to deliver this early (31 weeks 2 days), luckily Jared had already taken a vacation day!

Okay...Scrub up, wash hands, pray with Michala, prep for surgery, watch surgery, baby boy #1, baby girl #2, both breathing, leave Michala, say hi to twins, back to Michala doing fine, see them get weighed (Kai 3 lbs 3 oz, Julia 3 lbs 11oz), Jared grabs Julia, shows it to Michala, nurse grabs Kai, shows it to Michala, babies go to NICU...Jared follows!

That all happened within 2 minutes!   We thought we would be more emotional, but the whole thing was very fast, and surreal!  We didn’t have time to understand what was happening!

The doctor had never seen two ruptured membrane sacks before, and verified that indeed, they were ruptured.  Dr. Nilson didn’t need to break the sack, and pulled the baby boy out!  As Jared peered over the curtain to take a picture of the boy...all he could concentrate on was a little foot sticking out of Michala’s belly!  Dr. Nilson pushed it back in, “No.  we are not ready for you yet!”

We are so thankful for the doctors delivering when they did, after they pulled the placenta out, we found lots of blood clots as a result of the placenta slowly tearing away from the wall (called placental abruption)...praise the Lord!

After visiting the babies in the NICU, the doctors found a little lesion (meningiocele) on the Kai’s back.  The lesion is small (quarter size), and low (which is good), but were told surgery was necessary to close it.  The surgery will be at 5pm...please be praying...!  His legs are kicking well, so bladder and bowel problems are the main concern.  Also, the ventricles of the brain will be monitored, as spinal fluid can accumulate in the brain.  They will be able to drain this if necessary!

They both have been put on SiPap machines to help breathing, but should be off in a few days, as the lungs of both have been doing well.  Lots of hair!  Both had lots of dark brown hair.  Kai came out a little more red than Julia!  Both really cried, which was a good sign, and little Kai is a feisty little guy, not cooperating by kicking the nurses away (a sign of things to come?).  Julia is a lot more laid back!  Check out the pictures in the Album.

We’ve had many questions about the names, but didn’t decide until after they were born.  Kai is Jared’s middle name, and Marcus is the name of both grandfathers first names.  Julia (Jewel) has always been a favorite of Michala’s, and Hope was Jared’s favorite, which alternatively carries our feelings about our journey to have kids!

Please be praying for the surgery, and no health complications as a result.



Babies are both home!







It’s been a few days since we have blog because...well it’s been crazy!  Julia’s home, Kai’s at the hospital, parents running everywhere in between!  As we write this, it’s a rainy Fourth of July, and it’s our first morning as a family.  The night time went very well.  Both woke up for their 2 AM feedings, and were able to sleep most of the night.  We do not except for every night to go like this!  So far our son and daughter have been very content to sleep and eat!

We are so thankful for the prayers...for those that prayed, your prayers have been answered, not only for the health of the babies, but the attitudes and moods of the parents.  God is so good!

The road leading up to the last few days has been crazy...here’s a quick flash forward

Monday morning, Michala’s mom doing the laundry, Michala leaves Julia at home with Grandma, goes to feed Kai.  Doctor evaluates Kai and it’s determined that he has a hernia.  Surgery is scheduled for Tuesday, the day he was suppose to come home.  Include the circumcision the day before, that will be surgery #5.  He has a successful surgery Tuesday, in which the doctor fixed a double hernia...poor little guy!  Grandma leaves for Nebraska Tuesday night, and Julia is spending her 5th night at home!

I’ll digress, there is a nun that walks between the main hospital and the Warren building using the skywalk, and during this time period, we have seen her 6 straight days, at the exact same place in the skywalk...weird...but she is praying for health of those in the hospital and we feel that!

Wednesday and Thursday drag on as Jared is off to work early, and Michala and Julia sleep off a mostly awake filled night.  The lack of sleep is making Jared’s dreams very entertaining, well it’s making Jared’s awake time entertaining as well...we think he’s losing the capacity to critically think!

Friday comes like any other day...Kai is in the hospital...recovering awesome from the hernia surgery, eating like a champ, and giving the nurses flax.  But friday, we are told, he gets to come home!  At last!  We can hardly believe the time went by so fast...if we never see a hospital again, it would be too soon.

Speaking of fast...Julia & Kai have doubled in weight!  Pretty soon, they will be all grown up...so we pray that life would slow down a little bit...before it’s gone like a flash.  We have got to experience some incredible things the last few weeks...the despair of life & the hope of life, the challenges of health & the sovereignty of God, the sweet smell of babies & the nasty stench of diapers, the illusion of control & God’s protective hand over our family!

We & others have been forever changed by these two little lives...may God be glorified & magnified by them and through them!



6 months old!






Six months ago today Julia and Kai were born!  They have come a long way since their first weeks of life, living in the NICU.  Six months ago they were working hard for each breath, and now they are healthy, strong babies without a care in the world!  Today brings back memories of those emotional first months.  I couldn’t wait until the day they would come home and I wouldn’t have to say “good night” and leave them at the hospital.  We have so much to celebrate!  We are overwhelmed with thankfulness for their health, God’s grace, and such wonderful family and friends who have supported us through this journey.
    We plan on celebrating this milestone by writing personal letters (telling them our thoughts and prayers for them) to each baby to put in their baby books to read at a later date.  I had originally planned to do this each month.....but seeing that they are already 6 months old and I have only written one letter, I’ll just change my goal to at least two letters a year!  I guess I’ve been a little bit busy!
    We have been enjoying the fall in Tulsa.  One of our neighbors let us borrow their lake house at Grand Lake (NE Oklahoma) for a weekend in October.  It was gorgeous (see pictures) and so much fun to get out of the house and do something different than our usual routine.  We also ventured out on Halloween with our “Two Peas in a Pods.”  Too bad we’ll have to share their candy with them next year!
    Jared’s mom came to visit for a few days in November.  It was nice to have her company and help entertaining the babies so that I could cook dinner and shop with help.  She had not seen the babies since they were in the NICU, so she was surprised at how much they had changed and how big they are!
Julia is now over 16 pounds.  They have both doubled their birth-weights twice!  She is learning how to roll more consistently, sit supported, eat baby cereal and put everything in sight in her mouth!  Jared’s nick-name for her is “chewy!”  She loves to be on the move and gets wild while playing with her toys.  She is a social girl and tilts her head and scrunches her nose when she smiles at people!
    Kai is over 15 pounds now and is closing the gap in the weight difference with Julia.  He has become a very content, happy baby.  He has really mellowed out from the first few months of life.  We wonder if he is just feeling so much better now that his shunt is working well.  He loves being sung to and will giggle while throwing his head back!  He is also learning how to roll, sit, and put things in his mouth.    He will have ultrasounds on his head and kidney done in a few weeks to make sure his shunt is working and to monitor his bladder/kidney function.
    Our next adventures include a 10+ hour car ride to Nebraska for Thanksgiving and an airplane flight to Washington for Christmas.  Jared is planning on passing out ear-plugs to all of the passengers in the plane in case things get a little bit crazy!  It will be a struggle getting them to travel for those long trips, but will be worth it to see grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins that they have never met.



Our babies are a year old!










    .....Oh, we are so glad that those are memories, and no longer reality!  I can’t imagine leaving Julia and Kai alone in the hospital ever again!  Those days were tough, but it’s so amazing to see how resilient these children are.  Now at a year of age, Julia is 20 lb 10 oz (45% for 12 month old girls) and 31 1/4 inches long (97%).  She is busy- crawling, pulling up on everything, cruising around furniture, walking with hands held, standing on her own for 5-6 seconds at a time, babbling, and drinking from a cup.  Kai is 19 lb 8 oz (7% for 12 month-old boys) and 30 1/4 inches long (60%).  He is crawling, pulling up to his knees, babbling a lot, doing baby signs, and picking up small pieces of food (and ants!) all by himself.
    A new challenge for mom and dad are nap-time/bedtime.  Kai and Julia have started a new game where they pull up in their cribs and laugh at each other and “talk” back and forth.  This can go on for 30-45 minutes at a time.  Now when one of them wakes up in the morning, they attempt to “yell” at the other one until they wake them up and laugh/play together until breakfast time.  It is hilarious and warms my heart every time I hear it, even if they miss naps!
    Julia and Kai had their birthday party on Sunday, May 16th.  Lisa (Nana), Jared’s mom, flew in from Seattle to help us celebrate this special day.  The theme was “Princess & Prince Frog.”  Mom made frog cupcakes and pink princess cupcakes along with a green candy buffet, punch, and other goodies.  We had 25-30 friends join us.  Kai and Julia each had their own “frog cake” to dig into, which they were hesitant at first.  Kai eventually got into the idea and spread green frosting all over his face and hair!  Julia had more fun with her balloon string!  Dad’s favorite part was the huge flower birthday candles that he ordered.  The flame was ~ 12 inches tall and the flower petals opened up, with candles on each petal rotated while playing the “happy birthday” tune!  We had to make sure to light them far away from the babies!
    On their actual birthday, we took a trip to the Tulsa aquarium with Nana.  Kai and Julia loved looking at all the bright fish, watching all of the children there, and going through the shark tunnel!  That evening we went to a small town outside of Tulsa to eat an Amish dinner.  Julia and Kai loved the home-made rolls, beans, mashed potatoes and pies!
    We are so thankful for these long-awaited children.  We can’t imagine our lives without them.  They are so worth the wait!  We are also thankful for all of the support we have received from family and friends the past few years.  God is so faithful.
.....I hear giggles in the nursery....nap-time is over!




Goodbye Tulsa, we will miss you!


     Yes, it is true.  Jared has accepted a job offer with Encana Oil and Natural Gas in Dallas, Texas.  This is a bitter sweet time for us as we look forward to a new journey, but also think about missing all of the great people in Tulsa that have become “family” to us the past 10+ years.  It’s a good career move for Jared and we will also have access to better doctors for Kai.  We will be a few hours further away from family, which we are sad about, but there is a better airport!  We have already found a house in Highland Village, which is northwest Dallas and is around 30 minutes from Jared’s office in north Dallas.   We will be moved in and ready for visitors by the end of November!
     I have already contacted people in the area and received recommendations for pediatricians, family docs, OBs, hospitals, urologists, and neurosurgeons.  Jared will start working on November 1st.  Our house will not close until November 17th, so Jared plans on staying in a hotel and driving back on the weekends until our moving date.  It will be a challenge to move with twin toddlers and one on the way, but we will continue to “embrace chaos!”  The new company has an excellent relocation program and they have made the transition as easy as possible.  We will put our house on the market soon, but they will buy it at the appraised rate if it does not sell within 90 days.  They will also take care of realtor costs, closing costs, and moving expenses.  Hopefully that will allow us more time to spend time with friends and say our good-byes.
    On that subject, I have told Jared not to mention moving past 7 pm at night, because I just become too emotional about it!  Tulsa will always have a special place in our hearts.  It has been where Jared and I met, started our family and met so many incredible people.  Okay...I’m getting teary again......
      Now onto updates with the kids....
    Kai had his kidney/bladder testing done and there was no kidney damage noted.  Great news!  We had urodynamic testing done in OKC and those results came back positive also.  His bladder looks larger and has less “spastic contractions” than it did last year.  We continue to catheterize him 5 times a day, but at least we know that it is working and that his kidneys are healthy!
    Kai also has a MRI on his head and spine scheduled for this Friday.  This is something that we have to do each year to make sure that his shunt is working and to check for tethering of the spinal cord.  It should go smoothly, but anytime that a child of mine has to go under anesthesia, mommy tends to worry!
    Kai’s motor skills are improving and he has taken 5-6 steps at a time, although he is usually falling by the last few steps.  He is getting braver with standing on his own and trying to walk.  He continues to gain more vocabulary and new tricks to make us laugh.  Both Kai and Julia love to point to their eyes, nose, ears, mouth and belly button (and each others!) when asked to.  Kai continues to be attached to mom and will head bunt Julia off of my lap!
    Julia is miss social and waves and blows kisses everywhere we go.  She has started running and trying to jump.  Her favorite things to do are read books, dance, and go “bye-bye!”  She is very sweet and often will bring books or toys to Kai while I am changing his diaper.  Julia and Kai continue to build a stronger bond with each other.  One night they laughed for an hour straight as they rolled around the floor chasing each other.  We love seeing them play together.  Although, often laughter turns to crying very quickly!
    Baby #3 appears to be doing good as well.  The doctor was stumped at the last appointment, thinking that now the baby could be either a girl or a boy.  Hopefully we will find out for sure next week.  I have started feeling a little bit better in the evenings, but continue to feel exhausted!  I have been taking 10 times the recommended dose of folic acid since March to help decrease the chance of the baby having any neural tube defects (although it has been “unexplained” why Kai had the defect).
    We went to the Tulsa State Fair last night and the kids loved seeing the animals in the petting zoo, eating fair food, and people watching.  We have enjoyed having our company stay with us this past few weeks.  They will be leaving on Friday.  They have embraced chaos with us as we have had inspectors, appraisers, and termite companies (no termites found!) raid our house.  We also enjoyed a short visit from Zach, my brother.
    Although our address may be changing, we will continue to keep up with everyone.  We may have to change our website name  (christiansontwins.com) since it does not encompass our whole family now, but we will let you know!  For those in the Tulsa area, we would love to spend time with you before we leave.  We will miss you!