Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Babies' First Boat Ride

Now that the update posts are taken care of, I'm going to make an effort to keep up with the other fun, and sometimes not so fun, stuff that keeps us on our toes at the DeBauche house.

It's been a while since we've really taken a trip anywhere with the girls.  Besides short trips to some of the toddler classes that the county offers to give parents an excuse to get out of the house, we really haven't taken the girls anywhere recently which required us to go through the painful effort of packing for three one year olds.

This Memorial Day weekend, we decided to break our travel legs back in slowly with an hour and a half trip to the lake.  For those that have been following us for a while, you may recall we made a similar trip around the same time last year.  That trip ended in less than a day when we realized we forgot Izzy's diuretics and needed to rush back home.  Obviously, their first experience on the boat never materialized and would have to wait for another year.

Fast forward to 2013.  This year, we were prepared.  Fully armed with lots of sunscreen and toddler-sized life vests, and a baby that's 100% off of oxygen and diuretics, the only thing that would keep us off of the boat this year would be a horrible storm or if someone forgot to put oil in the engine.  The latter did actually happen, but Charlie preemptively resolved this situation.  The weather, which took a turn for the worst after our first day, gave us one of the most beautiful days this spring.  The girls went for their first boat ride--tears, yelling, smiling, laughing, and all.

I think they really liked being out on the water.  Maybe it was the pretzels we were feeding them, but who's keeping track.  However, what they didn't like were the toddler-size life preservers.  They got used to them after they realized they were the equivalent of straight jackets and they'd have to dislocate their shoulders to get out of them.  We actually had to swap Izzy's for something a tad smaller to get her to settle down.  In the end, they all returned to shore unscathed and ready to play in the sand.

Unfortunately, the next day was 180 degrees different than the first and the forecast for the next two days was pretty ominous.  The girls, ok mostly dad, wasn't handling being stuck inside a non-baby-proofed house in the rain without the creature comforts of our home and I made an executive decision, after checking with Meghan, to head home a day early, but not before I had a chance to take advantage of a sunny afternoon by cutting grass on riding lawn mower with a frothy beverage in my hand.  It was very King-of-the-Hill-esque and an assignment I would gladly sign up for again in the future.

Mary, Charlie, Shallee, Kelly, if you're reading this, sorry we bailed.  Thanks for the time we did get to spend together and we'll definitely do it again before the girls leave for college ;-)

Sophie, reeling in Cubby the miniature rat dog
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Maddy, getting psyched up for the beach
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Please pick me up dad!
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Maddy, lovin' the lake house
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Grandpa John, catching shoreline and trees with his hook
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Meg, trying to calm down a flustered Sophie
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Jeremy DeBauche Photography: DeBauche babies blog &emdash;

Grandma Jo Anne and an unimpressed Madelyn
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Mom soothing yet another bothered triplet
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Shallee looking cool with Miss Sophia
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Sophie was determined to try our limes.  Turns out, they're sour.
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Jeremy DeBauche Photography: DeBauche babies blog &emdash;

Jeremy DeBauche Photography: DeBauche babies blog &emdash;

Izzy rebounded enough to share a laugh with mom
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Sophie thought the outside of the boat was way more interesting than the inside
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Maddy, holding on for dear life
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Our captain, Charlie
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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What's happening with Isabelle Grace?

I forgot that I had begun writing an update post for Izzy a while back.  When I logged in and went back to my drafts to read what I had previously noted, I was reminded how much progress she's made in the last month.  Since I never actually posted the updates, those that haven't seen Izzy in person lately have no idea how much this little lady has transformed in such a short period of time!

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She weighs about 20 lbs now. Her last height measurement was 29.5 inches.  She is growing and getting stronger every day.  If you recall, she had been on five different medications!  We had weened her down to three.  Now, she's not on any!!!

A miracle?  No.  Miraculous work by my incredible wife?  Absolutely. 

About three or four months ago, we had begun to ween her off of her diuretics.  She was starting to walk a lot more and seemed to be building up her stamina.  She was growing and it seemed logical that the surface area of her lungs would also be growing with her, which would have a positive impact on how much oxygen she was getting.  There were days when she seemed lethargic and other days where she was doing cartwheels.  Overall, she was making progress and still is.

Around the same time, Meg and I started eating a little better.  Not perfect, but we added green smoothies to our diet (we're still going relatively strong by the way).  It made us feel so much better.  We thought to ourselves, "Why couldn't we do the same thing with Izzy?" Izzy had been on a special formula since the NICU and we had switched to the "junior" version late last year.  She was still having horrible reflux and gagging with almost every feeding.  Meg worked with the nutritionist to come up with a mix of foods for our mega blender that would provide Izzy with the right mix of proteins, fats, and carbs, as well as the right amount of overall calories.  While we've had some g-tube "explosions" when the port occasionally gets clogged, she started improving immediately with the real food blend.  Honestly, I think it partly had to do with the fact that the food wasn't all liquid and that she slowly learned to manage her gagging.  Over several weeks, we noticed that she stopped gagging all together!

Could it get any better?  Quite simply, yes.  After enough time passed, we decide to ween her from her antacids since she wasn't having any more reflux.  We are now 100% medication free!

We've never really known what was going to put her over the edge and make her want to start eating again.  Over time, we noticed her putting food near her mouth though she still wouldn't think of taking a bite of anything we offered her.  Several weeks ago, we had a breakthrough.  Izzy started eating.

I'm sure it had a lot to do with the fact that she probably wasn't scared that she was going to puke everything back up anymore and that she has two sisters who are constantly acting as role models while they eat their food in front of her.  I know it was mostly due to Meghan's infinite patience and her willingness to give Izzy opportunities to eat by mouth throughout the day, even though we thought that it wasn't in the cards for at least another year or two. 

She's not eating enough calories to make up for what she needs on a daily basis, but she's had days where she's eaten over 50% of her calories by mouth.  It's not always easy and she's still working on associating the feeling of hunger (and subsequent feeling of satisfaction) with the action of eating.  Sometimes, we just need to put some food on her lips, even though she may be saying "no."  Usually, once she remembers what food tastes like, she'll open up and take more.

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To watch her now, you'd never know she was born weighing 1 lb 7 oz and that she lived in the NICU for four months before coming home and that we were so scared for her every time she had surgery.

It will still be a while before she's able to get rid of her g-tube, but it and the scars on her belly that serve as a reminder of where she's been, can't hold a candle to the little girl who dances, jumps, runs, climbs, now eats, and throws herself all over the couch with reckless abandon when playing with her sisters.

She loves to read, snuggle, and hide from her parents.  She's also getting very good at understanding what we're saying to her.  She's extremely vocal and talks all of the time.

Right now, she can sign: banana, english muffin, eat, more, fish, butterfly, cat, dog, music, sheep, again,  please, thank you, stinky pants, down
I'm sure I've left something out, but better to write and post this today than to just have another set of updates that never get shared.  Honestly, I can't keep up.  These ladies change so much on a daily basis that, if there were time, I'd have endless stories to tell.  I'll try to do better.  I look at how much I wrote in 2011.  Then, how comparatively little I wrote in 2012.  2013 is even worse.  I'm not trying to make excuses.  Ok, yes I am.  Having three almost-two-year-olds is intense.  Enjoyable, but intense, and making time to blog, while extremely important to me, falls behind putting food on the table and actually trying to participate in their lives. 

More updates to come soon!

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

What's happening with Madelyn Jane?

Next, is an update for Miss Madelyn Jane.  Today, she and her sisters are exactly 21 months old.

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As of a couple of days ago, she's weighing in around 22 and a half pounds.  She's also between 32-33", but seemingly a tad taller than sister Sophie.

Maddy is our climber and, honestly, it's a little scary.  She's aware of edges, but definitely pushes it more than her sisters.  For the most part, she'll listen when we tell her to sit or get down, but I think she would climb to the top of the house without giving it a second thought if we let her.

Our girl can laugh the most beautifully sounding laugh you've ever heard.  It's as full body of a laugh as a one year old can have.  I must admit, I probably tickle her unfairly just to hear that sound more often.  Undoubtedly, she'll pay me back when she's older.

Also, she loves to be upside down.  It's probably a side effect from her gymnastics classes, but she looks like she's always ready to do a somersault at a moment's notice.  It's a combination between somersault preparation and the downward dog yoga position.   I make an effort to mimic her, just so she can see my face right side up, even when she's upside down.

No doubt another side effect form her gymnastics/Monkeys-in-Motion classes, she loves to jump.  We recently bought the girls a small trampoline for toddlers.  The first few days, I was sure she was going to wear it out and, possibly, jump right through the bouncy fabric.  Now, she bounces all of the time, trampoline present or not.

Her speech and communication are definitely delayed, but it's apparent that she's understanding more and more of what we say each day.  While she's not really saying any words proactively to communicate with us, she utters no shortage of sounds, and is getting very good at trying to repeat the sounds and words we say to her.  She's still working with speech, developmental, and occupational therapy on a weekly basis, and there are things I watch her doing now that I would have never imagined a month or even a week ago because of the extra help she receives.  She is capable of making amazing progress and doing amazing things.

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Right now, she can sign: banana, english muffin (ok, we actually created a sign for this one), so big, eat, more, please, me, all done, and dog

When it comes to dancing, Maddy is starting to figure it out.  She loves the music, but hasn't really figured out the whole "hip moving" thing.  Oddly enough, this took her dad a while to master, as well.  To encourage her to dance more, we pick her up, rock with the music, and spin her round and round while she cracks up.

Maddy LOVES books, but she equally loves electronics, which we try to limit as much as we can.  All of the girls share a healthy obsession for Dora the Explorer, but Maddy actually wants to hug the screen and pull Dora right into our family room.  One day Maddy, one day.

I'll wrap this up by sharing that she's a hot body, just like her dad.  Each time I pick her up from her crib, it's like I just pulled her out of the oven.  Those warm red cheeks matched with her beaming brown eyes and big smile make her a go-to snuggle bug.

Jeremy DeBauche Photography: DeBauche babies blog &emdash;

Jeremy DeBauche Photography: DeBauche babies blog &emdash;

Sunday, May 19, 2013

What's happening with Sophie Rose?

Let me start by sharing that these photos, and the ones that will follow for each of the updates for Izzy and Maddy, are a couple of months old.  In subsequent posts, you'll see how big they REALLY are!  For now, I just couldn't let these pics from a Sunday morning, banana pancake feast miss out on their introduction to the blogosphere.

Considering it's been several months since we've really written anything that resembles an update for each of the girls, I just couldn't wait another day to sit down and write up everything that's going in their relatively brief lives.  I really just don't want to forget how much they're changing and growing each day.

At this point, everyone is still facing backwards in their car seats.  We're trying as hard as possible to make it until they're at least two before turning them forwards.  So far, so good.  No one's really complaining, they're legs aren't really crunched, and they're not in the car for very long that often.

Also, the weather has taken a turn for the best and the girls have been living outside for a good part of each day.  On a seemingly unrelated note, our monthly wine costs have decreased with the girls being able to get out of the house more often.

The first update is for Sophia, or Sophie Rose as she's commonly referred to when getting into trouble (yes, they do get into trouble).  Well, maybe it's not trouble as much as it is just being a toddler, for which I'm having to find an entirely new level of patience in order to survive each day.

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As of a couple of days ago, she's weighing in around 24lbs and some odd ounces.  At this point, I think we can graduate from keeping track of the fractional pounds.  Same thing with the height.  She's at least 32", but no more than 33".

Due to my lack of updates, it's going to seem like she went from crawling to running in a mere matter of weeks, but she's walking and running like it's the only thing she's ever known how to do.  There's nothing cuter than watching her and her sisters chase each other around the kitchen island.

As independent as she is, she's equally our biggest cuddler.  First thing in the morning and right after nap time, she hangs on tighter than a koala joey.  Try to put her down and sirens go off right in your ear.

She's definitely the closest with respect to wanting to begin potty training.  We actually bought a toddler training potty, complete with a creepy smiley face on the back, just waiting to light up and play a poop or pee sponsored symphony and scare the crap, literally, out of its first victim.

Sophie has really made a ton of progress in her communication skills.  I'm not sure if "parroting" is an official development stage, but we're really having to watch we say around her.  At first, she would sign things to us after we said the word and showed her the object or action in question.  She took the next step and began using signs to actually proactively communicate her needs/wants.  Now, she's uses a mix of short words and signs to communicate.  What's really scary is how much she actually understands.  She pretty much can comprehend almost anything we say to her.  Obviously, we're not teaching her quadratic equations, but most of the language you would use to communicate with a toddler, she gets.

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Right now, she can sign: banana, english muffin (ok, we actually created a sign for this one), milk, eat, more, fish, butterfly, cat, dog, cow, bunny, music, bird, duck, sheep, again, help, please, thank you, stinky pants (we created this one, too), down

Right now, she can say:  dad, mom, sis (sister), ma (maddy), abba (abigail), shhz (shoes), door (and Dora, as in the Explorer), wawa (water), poop, outz (outside), uppa uppa (up), pop (anytime she sees a bubble in book or real life), uh oh, cheese, ouch, truck, dirt, touch (as in NO touch), mess, yes (surprisingly, she's not saying "no" yet)

Sophie really likes to dance.  We'll have dance parties in the kitchen and I've even caught her dancing to the blender when we make our green smoothies.  So silly.  She's really starting to notice the different rhythms to each song and moves her body and arms differently depending on what's playing.

She, and her sisters, are book-a-holics.  While she enjoys being read to, she enjoys even more, identifying EVERY object on EVERY page, at which she's exceptionally good.

I need to spend a little time on the other girls' updates, so I'll end with this.  Even though they're triplets, she definitely acts like the big sister.  She likes to give everyone kisses and always (mostly) helps mom and dad when we're doing things for "sis."  She's super adorable and her smile melts our hearts every day (actually, every hour).

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