Saturday, September 29, 2012

Couch Gymnastics

Cohen loves to play on the couch (supervised of course). He was having so much fun the other day playing on the couch with Mr. Stinkers, who normally doesn't get to come out of his crib. He was rolling around and flopping around and he even accidentally did a somersault! I see a lot of couch gymnastics in our future this winter to get energy out.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Let Me Be Singing....

The blog has been a little quiet over the last week. My heart has been so heavy for my new friend who has had to say goodbye to her twins. It has brought back a lot of memories for me. Those first days where my heart felt like it was literally torn apart. The days when I didn't know if I could keep going. The days of walking the unknown with Cohen and fearing that we may not make it home with either of our boys.

I hate that she has to go through this. I hate that she has to question and wonder. I hate that seeing other pregnant people or people with healthy babies brings her pain. I wish I could take it all away from her, but I know that I can't. I hate that anyone has to go home without their babies.

I feel like we have come a long ways, but it's amazing how fast all those feelings and memories come flooding back like it was yesterday. Even though it's "better" it doesn't go away. I've posted this song before, but it has really been speaking to me lately. The line that always sticks in my head is, "let me be singing when the evening comes". I hope that no matter how crappy of a day I've had, that I can still be singing at the end of the day. Thank you to those of you who have been praying for the family, please continue to keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name

The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning
It's time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name

You're rich in love, and You're slow to anger
Your name is great, and Your heart is kind
For all Your goodness I will keep on singing
Ten thousand reasons for my heart to find

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name

And on that day when my strength is failing
The end draws near and my time has come
Still my soul will sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years and then forevermore

Bless the Lord, O my soul
O my soul
Worship His holy name
Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name

Jesus, I'll worship Your holy name
Lord, I'll worship Your holy name

Sing like never before
O my soul
I'll worship Your holy name
Jesus, I'll worship Your holy name
I'll worship Your holy name

Matt Redman - 10,000 Reasons 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wait a second...

...weren't things supposed to slow down once fall came? That's what I thought anyway. We are still kinda busy and the days have been getting away from me.

I've started going to a Bible study at our church and have enjoyed it so far even though there's only been one week. We've also started going to church and Sunday school regularly. Cohen has even been going to the nursery. He doesn't appreciate us leaving him there, but he settles down pretty quickly.

Cohen is going to have his first non-family babysitter tomorrow! Don't worry, she's a nurse :)

Also, Cohen has taken a few steps by himself!!! Not voluntarily, but he did it. He still prefers to crawl because he is a fast crawler and walking just seems like a lot of work. His OT has been working with him to get him to go backwards down stairs (he doesn't have a very good sense of where edges are or that he will fall). He is finally turning around to go down/off of things instead of diving head first, although he still does that on occasion.

We go in for his High Risk Infant Follow Up visit in a few weeks and make a trip to his pediatrician. We are anxious to see what she thinks this winter will look like for Cohen and us and whether or not he will get the Synagis.

Even though we are still busy, we've also been slowing down a little by taking long walks with Cohen and stopping to look for the frog on the path or picking blackberries. We are enjoying a little more time at home but still trying to get outside while we can.

Oh, and I am finishing up a baby quilt and we signed up to make over 300 more diapers for Teeny Tears. Yep, that should keep us busy for awhile. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Out of the Wild

Netflix has made its re-entrance back into the Kimmel household. I have started watching this show called "Out of the Wild". It's a reality show about people who volunteer to be dropped into the middle of the wild and have to find their way back out. If they get injured or want to quit, they can push a button and a rescue helicopter comes to get them and take them home. They learn how to work as a team, capitalizing on their individual strengths to all come together and survive.

This show is a strangely good comparison to how our lives have felt over the last year or so. Although we didn't volunteer for it, we felt like we were plucked up out of our comfortable lives and dropped into the wild. We fought our way through the world of the NICU and the world of grief. Something utterly and completely different then the life we were used to. We were forced to find ways to survive and not succumb to the "wild". Although in our experience, there was no "rescue button" to take us out of the wilderness and put us back into our old lives. We couldn't make it all just go away when we were tired of it. Not even our wounds gave us an out. There were many times when we wished we could just make it all go away, but that wasn't an option.

One thing that all of the people who survived the wild had in common was that it changed their outlook on life. They had all gone into the wild for various reasons, to experience adventure, to find themselves, to prove they could do it, etc. And I will say that the end result is the same for us too. Our journey has definitely changed our perspective. We have been through things we never knew we could handle. We have been helped along in so many ways by our "team". It has also changed the way we live our lives. Our lives are far from perfect, and we're okay with it. We've traded in our old dreams of a wonderfully ideal pregnancy for one that ends with a health baby that we get to bring home. Our perfect birth scenario for a baby that doesn't require life support. Our dreams of living together on this earth have been traded for the hope we have that we will be reunited again one day. Just because some of our dreams have been squashed doesn't mean we can't have new dreams. Some of the things we once thought were important don't seem quite as important anymore, and some of the things we thought were important have become even more important. Living in the wild certainly does change your perspective. I hope it's one that we can keep the rest of our lives.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Friday, September 21, 2012

A Preemie Story - Isabella

This is the story of Isabella, another one of Cohen's preemie friends. While they've never met in person, Isabella's mom Rachel and I have spent time emailing. Rachel has been a big support to me through this journey. Every once in awhile you find someone who just gets it, and Rachel is one of those people to me. Thanks for sharing your story! p.s. Today is Rachel's birthday!! Happy Birthday, Rachel, glad we can share Isabella's story for your special day.

The other day I watched Isabella push herself on her Strider for the first time. It seemed like she may be getting the hang of the balance bike. Despite my beaming smile, a small tear made its way out of the corner of my eye and rolled down my cheek. “Really”, I thought to myself. “Do I have to cry about everything?” Sometimes I am so thankful that I get emotional about nearly every new thing she does. It reminds me how much I appreciate her, and how incredibly lucky we have been. Things did not start out easy for us, and Isabella’s future was pretty gray, sometimes even black with fear and doubt. 

Isabella began her life with the odds stacked against her. Even her conception was a miracle in itself. Unbeknownst to me, my uterus was filled with fibroids, benign growths that really cause no harm, but can make it nearly impossible to get pregnant. The fibroids were discovered at our first appointment when they did an ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy. I was assured they would not cause any problems and that everything was looking perfect for a long healthy pregnancy.

While I was incredibly nauseous the first few months, the baby and I were both doing well. Due to the fibroids, I was monitored more frequently, and at our 16 week appointment we were thrilled to find out we were having a little girl. Again, everything was looking perfect, the baby was growing well and all of our screening tests had come back fine. It wasn’t until our 20 week appointment that things took a turn for the worse. While the baby was again doing great, it was discovered that I had a shortened cervix. To be honest I had no idea what implications that would have for my pregnancy. My OB explained in detail what all this meant and then confidently told us her plan. I am so thankful for her and her frank presentation of the facts. Despite my fear, I truly felt safe in her care.

Part of her plan was to recheck things in a few days. Because the cervix can be dynamic and is always changing, maybe a recheck would show improvement. Foolishly, I went to the follow-up appointment alone. Instead of improvement, things were significantly worse. At 20w5d pregnant I had no measurable cervix, I was 1-2cm dilated and 80% effaced. Lying alone on the ultrasound table, tears sprung from my eyes and my body began to shake with a consuming fear like nothing I had felt before. Trying to wrap my head around this information was almost impossible and I immediately began bargaining with God, begging Him to let me keep this child. 

My husband arrived after a while and brought me to the hospital. I was to be wheeled out to the car, and then wheeled into the hospital – no walking. After getting settled into our room we met with the high risk OB who let me know I would be staying in the hospital for the remainder of the pregnancy. Even writing this and remembering the events of that day, it all seems so surreal. How could this be happening to me? I was healthy, I was a hiker, my body was capable of incredible things and yet I was failing at the one thing it was meant to do. I was a mess of emotions. It truly was a crazy time. Looking back I realize too how lucky I was that this was my first pregnancy, that my ignorance was truly a gift in that I had no other child to care for at home, and I had no idea what I was missing out on. Of course now, two and a half years later, I’m still grieving my “lost” pregnancy.

The 19 days I spent in the hospital were incredibly scary, but filled with laughter and hope. I was on magnesium for most of the time and the last 8 days I spent on labor and delivery because they thought I could deliver at any moment. What a place to be, wondering if we would even make it far enough along for the doctors to attempt to save Isabella’s life. I can say for certain that I would not have survived had it not been for the amazing, nearly around the clock support I received from friends and family. When I think of those days now, I realize how beautiful it was. We were surrounded by love when we needed it the most. We were so lucky.

Sadly, my willful attempts to make it to 24 weeks failed. At 23w3d I was completely dilated, there was nothing more that could be done to keep me pregnant. At 10:06pm on May 2, 2010, Isabella came into this world with a tiny “mew”. The NICU team worked at intubating her while I was getting put back together. My husband was back and forth between the two of us, but ultimately left me to follow Isabella and the team up to the NICU. Interestingly, I never doubted that she wouldn’t live long enough to make it to the NICU. It’s only now that I realize how lucky we were that she survived the birth and was able to be stabilized.

The next few days are really difficult to describe. So much pain both physically and emotionally. I was on the postpartum floor, listening to the loud healthy cries of newborns everywhere. And even worse, I was encouraged to walk as much as possible. That meant pacing the halls, limping my broken body past the newborn nursery, staring in at those babies resting peacefully and painlessly. It broke my heart into a million pieces. I would stagger past the window, tears exploding from eyes, desperate for someone to tell me it was all going to be ok. Anyone who has been on this journey knows there are no guarantees and the only mantra you can depend on is “no news is good news”.

Isabella’s 107 day NICU stay was so very uneventful in the grand scheme of things. Yes, she struggled with her blood pressure, she needed multiple blood transfusions, she was fed and not fed many times, and was tpn dependent for a while. She was on the oscillating ventilator for a little over 2 weeks, then switched to the conventional, and eventually, after several trial runs, graduated to the c-pap for good. It took her more than a month to hit the 2 pound mark. She had more x-rays than I can remember, and more heel sticks than I care to know about. She endured more pain than any child should have in a lifetime. But she survived, and we are so very grateful.

Sometimes I wonder why, or even worse, what if. That’s a very dangerous path for me to travel down. So I try to just see what is, just for this day. Today I am blessed to share my life with a beautiful, strong, stubborn little girl. I love my sweet little Bella-boo more than she’ll ever know!

{Isabella around 10 days old}

{And here's the little lady today. Isn't she cute?}

I love reading other preemie stories, and hopefully you do too. I think it's so amazing to hear the challenges these little ones have overcome. I love to hear the different perspectives and wisdom of the parents as well. If you want to share your preemie story with us, please email us at  

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Smarty Pants

I know every parent thinks their own child is a genius and quite possibly the most intelligent child on the planet, and I know I just talked about mommy wars and competitions, but Cohen is really super smart.

He knows that the toy phones and remotes that we give him aren't the real ones, even though they are real and just not working.

He knows how to turn off the Playstation and take out the DVDs I try and get him to watch.

He knows that if the kiddie gate isn't up in the doorway of our room that he can push the closed door and tromp on in.

He knows that if I accidentally leave my purse on the floor that he can get into and find all of his favorite cell phone, keys, wallet, etc.

He knows that if he acts really cute and tired that we will hold his sippy cup for him.

He knows that if he can pull down his bin of all "his" things in the living room that I will spend just enough time picking them up so that he can get into something else.

He knows that if he throws Mr. Stinkers out and screams that eventually someone will come back in and give it to him.

He knows that if he throws his bananas on the floor that we will whisk them away and probably give him something else because we still want him to get fatter.

He also knows that he can crawl much faster than he could walk, so he's pretty content to not try.

He knows that when he does his fake laugh that people think he's hilarious and adorable.

See what I mean? He's a genius! 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Being Real

Warning: Rambling Ahead :)

I get the comment often that people appreciate that I am "real". Over the last year+ I have learned a lot about myself and the kind of person that I want to be. I struggle between being "too real" and sounding like Debbie Downer, but I also don't want to give a picture of grief that isn't realistic. I don't think it's fair to others to pretend like everything gets better overnight. I would be doing a disservice to other grieving moms if I said everything was fine. One of the things that I like about this blog is that I feel like I can share freely what I'm going through. I hope that it brings some awareness and gives a little glimpse into what it's like to be a parent without our child.

And really, why can't we all just be real? Why do we have to pretend like our lives are completely perfect and that we have it all together? I don't know anyone whose life is perfect, although it may seem that way sometimes. If we need support and help, we should be able to say so without being judged. We all struggle and none of us are perfect parents or spouses. I have been hearing so much about "mommy wars" lately and it bothers me. I wish we could all just acknowledge our weaknesses (and strengths!), ask for support, and help each other out. Parenting is hard enough without having to worry about being judged or being put down for asking for help.

I just want Cohen to be Cohen. I don't want to have to answer why he isn't walking or why he is still taking 2 naps a day. It's so easy to jump to the idea that a parent must be doing something wrong if their child isn't how we think they should be. Once I became a parent, I realized I didn't know as much about parenting as I thought I did, in fact sometimes I feel like I know very little. We are all the perfect parents before we have kids. Sometimes we (myself included) are so quick to place judgment when we truly don't know anything about a situation. What if that kid screaming through the grocery store has a sensory disorder, or doesn't feel good, or mom has been sick for the last week and had to get out to the grocery store because the cupboards were empty even though it was close to nap time. Maybe think about giving a little extra grace, saving your glares, and just giving a smile. Maybe that's just what that parent needs, a little "I've been there" understanding. Can't we all just play nice in the sandbox and be real and supportive of each other?

Anyway, this has just been on my mind a lot lately and I fully include myself in all of the above, I am by no means perfect. End rant/ramble. Thoughts?

Monday, September 17, 2012

My Boys

Cohen had a nice second first birthday. He's worth celebrating twice, right? Danny made him pancakes for breakfast and then we went on a bike ride to the park and to get a cookie at our favorite bakery in town. Cohen threw part of his cookie on the ground so I took the liberty of finishing it for him.

When we got home, I went and checked the mail and got something extra special. If you have read here long, you know that I never got to see my boys together after they were born and by the time I thought to ask, it was too late and we weren't allowed to. I wish with all my heart that I had been given the opportunity to see my babies together.

I had been wanting to do this for some time, so I finally decided just to go for it. And then I got their picture back, on my due date. I finally got to see my boys together. We also got to see a little more of Cohen's face as she took off all the tubes and tape that he had for the first 2 months of his life. I always hesitate to post pictures of Carter. I want to share him, but I also want to protect him and keep him safe. But, here they are. Aren't they sweet?

In case anyone wants more info, here is the gal that did ours. There is also a giveaway going on right now to win a portrait, so check them out if you are interested!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

12 Months Adjusted

Today is what would have been (or close to) the boys' due date/birthday. Cohen is 12 months adjusted!! Happy 1st Birthday again, Cohen! We love you and are so proud of you little buddy.

Also, today is NICU Nurse's Day! We jumped the gun a little, but here is the fun picture we posted on our facebook page a few days ago. We had AMAZING nurses and I truly don't think there's any way we could have done it without them. They were compassionate and caring and loved our little guy so much. They supported and encouraged me as I threatened to quit pumping and throw my pump out the window several times. They explained things to me over and over (and over) again. They cried with us and laughed with us and let us dress Cohen up and put pom poms in his hands. They made us cute little signs for Cohen's room and took pictures to send us while we were gone. When I just didn't know if I could take one more step, they helped me keep going. Thank you all so much, we love you and you hold a very special place in our hearts.

I know it's been a few days since I've posted pictures, so here's a few from my phone of the young lad.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Due Date - Year 2

I have been having moments where I will just start crying for no reason the last couple days, and I couldn't quite put my finger on it. And then I realized, my due date was rapidly approaching. While we knew that twins are almost always early, we had no idea the journey we were about to be thrown into. Dates have never really been that important to me. Neither Danny or I could ever remember the day we started dating. After many, many months of not celebrating a monthly dating anniversary, we finally just picked a day to be "our day".

Lately, my life circles around a number of dates that I feel like I could never forget. The day I got admitted to the hospital, the day our boys were born, our due date, and the day that Cohen came home. I remember all of them.

Of course I remember all those days in between so clearly too. With each passing month I remember looking at Cohen and thinking "He still shouldn't have been born yet". I got emails from baby websites about the kind of fruit that Cohen should have been the size of... if I were still pregnant. While I would have much rather had him safe inside, it was amazing to get to watch what should have been happening on the inside happen on the outside. We watched our teeny, baby with his paper thin skin, ears without cartilage, and eyes fused shut, grow up to look like a "real" baby.

We had heard that most preemies get to go home by their due date. As it neared, we would get a few hesitant "maybe"s but it wasn't looking likely that Cohen would be home by his due date. In fact, it would be an additional month before he would be home, with our begging and pleading. Cohen has always done things in his own time, in his own way. Last year, I spent our due date alone with Cohen in the NICU. Holding my baby and wishing I had one in each arm.

This year what I've been thinking about is how much time feels like it has passed since the boys' birthday and my upcoming due date. Nearly 4 months, over 100 days, have passed between Cohen's first birthday celebration and where we are now. An entire summer has come and gone. 

As I watch my little boy cruise around the house and crawl with lightning speed, I can't help but be amazed. Amazed at the obstacles that babies so tiny can overcome, and also still aware of the fragility of life. I don't think we will do anything special tomorrow, just remember how blessed we are and how far Cohen has come.  

Thursday, September 13, 2012


I've done a few things that for me are kind of big things and I'm kind of proud of them. They may not seem like big things to you, but they are to me!

I hosted our monthly bunco at our house. I cleaned the house, I made snacks, and I had people over. As someone who strongly dislikes planning and organizing events that involve me being in charge of hosting something, this was a pretty big deal. Especially lately. And everything went well and we had fun! The other bonus was that I thought I was going to have to send Danny and Cohen off for the night, but then Cohen ended up going to bed at our house and sleeping like a champ through bunco. Win.

The other thing is that I took care of kids at work for the first time since the boys were born. I am a nurse and we get a decent number of kids that come through as patients. Up until now, I just haven't been able to take care of the kiddos, or even be in the same area as them, without getting incredibly anxious. But, a few weeks ago, I cornered my favorite nurse and told her that she was going to help me out. I knew it was something that I needed to do to help me move forward. It was hard to step away from all of the feelings and emotions I have about "sick" babies/kids, but I did it. It wasn't easy, but I made it through. And I'm kinda proud of myself :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fun Links

I'm being a little bit lazy today because we have a busy week. We have bunco this week and I am the host. Like, at my house. I'm also working tomorrow and then having dinner with friends after that. Cohen just got back from OT and is having trouble deciding if he wants to hang onto his 2 naps a day or transition to one.

Anyway, here are a few links of things you should check out!

We have 100 "likes" on our facebook page, how fun! Oh, and there's always cute pictures of Cohen.

The Chase Community Giving program is going on right now. They are giving out a lot of grant money that could really, really help some of these organizations. Our favorites are NILMDTS and Project Sweet Peas.

This website has tons of ideas for toddlers and bigger kids, too. I am definitely going to be trying some of these things out this winter when Cohen and I are spending our days inside.

And, of course if you need something to waste give you a lot of ideas of things you will never get around to doing want to do, there's always pinterest

For preemie parents:

RSV Disease risk assessment tool: I took this test in hopes that it would say "Oh you're just overreacting, it'll be fine". It's actually a nice tool that takes into account lung disease, heart disease, and prematurity. It says things clearly and gives explanations for why preemies are still at risk for RSV even if they appear healthy. This may be a good tool to help you share with family and friends why you still have to take precautions.

This weekend is NICU Nurses's Day, Life after NICU is offering free printable cards to send to your favorite NICU nurses. 

So, there you have it! I'm off to try and clean the house and then put Cohen in a bubble so he doesn't mess it up before bunco :) 

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Confession

As I sat sewing diapers late one night, I was thinking about Carter as I usually do. I was thinking about how incredibly much we love Cohen and how much I know we would have loved Carter if we had gotten the opportunity to raise him and watch him grow.

We love our boys with all of our hearts. Honestly though, and I hesitate to admit this, my connection with Cohen came with time. We have always loved him, he is our child, but there is something about staring at your baby through a plastic box that doesn't exactly allow for a lot of bonding. That moment when the baby is born and the doctor holds it up for you to see, you hear the baby cry, and then eventually you get to hold your baby on your chest and cry happy tears...that obviously didn't happen for us. Both of our boys were immediately taken away, as they needed to be, without out us getting so much as a glimpse. The first time we got to hold Cohen was when he was 10 days old and he had so many tubes and wires, I think I was a little in shock.

Aside from the all of the unnatural aspects of parenting in the NICU, we were also grieving for Carter. There was a part of me that was afraid to love Cohen. I was scared to get attached to him because I knew the incredible amount of pain I was already in from losing Carter and I just didn't feel like I could take any more. Cohen was sick and we didn't know if he was going to make it. It probably sounds strange, and many of you may not understand, but it was our reality. Looking back, I feel a little guilty about it now. Afterall, what kind of mom doesn't want to bond with her child? I think about all that he went through, how could I not have given him 100%?

It's hard for me to think back on that time because we love Cohen so, so much. My love for Cohen has surprised me in several ways. I never imagined the depth of love that I could have for a such a little person. And then the cycle goes that my deep love for Cohen brings me back to the love that could have been with Carter. Of course we love him, but knowing how much we treasure getting to raise Cohen and watch him grow, makes us realize all the things we are missing out on with Carter. In some ways, I think we are loving Carter through Cohen. We are experiencing life in new ways that we may not have understood without having gone through the death of a child as well as having a NICU baby.

And now, this baby that I was once afraid to love, has me completely wrapped around his pudgy little finger and with every one of his mischievous little grins, I love him more. I went into his room to watch him sleep as I often do and this time I tell him that I'm sorry. I tell him I'm sorry that I wasn't the mom he needed me to be. I tell him how glad I am that I was wrong about thinking that I could somehow prevent myself from loving him because he has captured our hearts. I hope and pray that I can be the kind of mom that he needs for the rest of his life. I am so thankful for both of my boys and the things they have taught me and continue to teach me. I can't imagine my life without Cohen and we are so happy we are to be their parents.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Summer Conquered

Well, according to our list, we had a pretty successful summer! We missed a few things...we picked strawberries but didn't end up making jam. Cohen isn't walking yet, although summer isn't officially over. And we didn't make homemade ice cream because my mom was using the ice cream maker for her goat milk, at least that's the excuse I'm using.

Our summer was everything we hoped for. We got outside a lot. The things that we dreamed about doing with Cohen "someday" we got to do. Cohen got the teeniest, tiniest farmer's tan and it is adorable. I think we needed this summer. It was our time to just play and (mostly) not worry about germs, doctor's visits, and staying in the house away from people. We had a lot of fun making new memories and doing things as a family that we weren't sure we would ever be able to do.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Fess Up Friday

Sometimes I wish that Cohen would just watch cartoons once in awhile. Just for 5 minutes. Okay, even just for 2 minutes.

I have seriously considered getting a whistle to blow when I need to get Danny's attention while football is on.

Speaking of Danny...I overheard him singing to Cohen one day, the song went something like this "If that looking glass gets broke, Daddy's gonna buy you a rum and coke". Wait, what? He claims it was the only thing he could think of that rhymed with "broke".

I love cheese. I packed my lunch for work the other day and I later realized that I had packed string cheese and cheese and crackers.

I also found a pair of socks in my lunch that was in the fridge. My lunch was also in a "patient belongings bag" from work. Must have been a rough day.

 I also must confess that I am having a complete lack of creativity...we want to give our local little "diaper group" a name. But I have NO ideas. None. "Diaper dorks" was suggested, but I'm not sure how well that would go please! 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

15 Months

Cohen is 15 months old, almost 12 months adjusted.

Cohen hasn't been to the pediatrician in the last few months (yay!) but we are guesstimating that he is around 19 lbs. He is a skinny little fellow and is still wearing 9 month pants but 12-18 month onesies. He is tall but seems to have gotten the short Rinehart legs, sorry buddy!

He has 7 teeth with an 8th on the way.

He cruises around on everything but isn't quite ready to try walking.

He continues his love for all things cars, wheels, trucks. He "drives" all of his toys around the house.

His favorite foods are pancakes, avocados, and bananas. He won't eat berries of any kind and eggs are hit or miss.

He is only taking bottles sometimes in the morning and usually before bed, otherwise he's a sippy cup kinda guy.

He is practicing waving "bye bye" although it doesn't always happen and sometimes he says "bah" for bye bye. He is funny with saying things, sometimes he will say a word for awhile and then he quits.

He usually never puts up a fuss for naptimes or bedtime and he sleeps 12-13 hours at night. He is still taking 2 naps a day and is thinking about switching to one, but hasn't fully committed.

He LOVES his Mr. Shakers/Stinkers and his new favorite thing is to crawl over to his crib and try and pull him out through the slats.

He is starting to like books and will occasionally sit still long enough to hear one. His favorites are "Baby Animals", "Trucks", and "Naptime for Kitty"

He is big into throwing things. He throws all of his stuffed animals out of his crib, his food off his tray, his bottles when he is done. We are working on signing "all done" but so far Cohen all we get is an occasional arm flail.

 {Time for a bike ride}

{This boy loves him some corn on the cob!}
{Exhausted and refusing to nap}

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Part of the Journey

I read a few other baby loss blogs of people who are in various stages of their grief. I think it's good for me to look back and see that the things that I went/go through are normal. There are things I read from other people and I sit and nod my head and remember how I had so many of those exact feelings. The deep sorrow, the questions, the "what ifs". I so badly want to take the people who are in that place and just give them a huge hug and remind them that they will make it through. I wish I could take their pain away, but I think it's all part of the process of healing, to go through those hard places, whether we find answers or not.

I also read about people who are farther along in the process and I am encouraged that someday I can be there too. No two people's journeys will ever be exactly the same, but its nice to know that you aren't alone. Or crazy. Or at least not crazy beyond what is expected.

I am definitely in a different place than I was a year ago, or even 6 months ago. This grieving process is slow, and some days it's two steps forward and one (or 6) steps back. The fact that this hurt is still present reinforces to me how important Carter was, and is, to us. That slowly the wounds are healing. I never expect them to be gone and I do expect to have some scars. But I find hope in the fact that I'm not in the same place I was, that I am moving forward, and that it doesn't mean that I love my little boy any less.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Labor Day Weekend

We decided to go big for our last weekend of summer. I have always worked full time during the summers so before I always felt like they were never long enough. Since I am home most of the time now, I feel like we really got a lot out of this summer. I always love the sunshine, but I also like the changes that fall brings and a time to just slow down a little.

So, we headed down to Seattle for the weekend. We were originally just going to stay one night, but then I decided to see if Danny wanted to stay 2 nights since I know he doesn't get enough time with his friends since we live so far apart. The main reason for going to Seattle was because of Danny's fantasy football draft. Yep, it's that time of the year. I like fall but I hate football season. I like the food but I hate watching football games. (Have you ever tried to get a man's attention when they are watching football? Do you also know that most Seattle teams are....kinda bad?) Anyway, every year Danny and his friends get together and pick their teams.

Our friends Andy and Tamara just got a beautiful new house and they offered to let us stay with them, which was wonderful. Cohen managed to leave a few handprints on a mirror and some mouth marks on the window, other than that he did fairly well. Thanks for being brave enough to have us in your new house, Erstads!

We drove down on Saturday and stopped at the zoo since it was one of the last things on our summer list. Cohen loved it for the first little bit. He smiled really big anytime he got to see one of the animals. Some of the animals were too far away so he wasn't terribly interested, but he had a good time. His favorites were the porcupines and the sloth bear.

 {More giraffes}

{Daddy and Cohen looking at the bears}

{Saying "hi" to the elephant}

From the zoo, we headed to Andy and Tamara's and invited a few friends over for dinner. Little Elliott, who was also born a little early, has totally chunked out and is adorable! Cohen doesn't quite know what to make of babies, he managed to give Elliott a few love pats. Elliott tolerated the first one and then decided he had enough. Sorry Elliott, someday Cohen will know how to be nice to babies, or you will learn how to fight back.

Sunday we made a quick trip to Ikea. We never really finished decorating our house after we moved in, so I wanted to pick up a few picture frames and of course it's always a fun trip. After that, we went to visit Grandma and Grandpa Kimmel for lunch. We got a little surprise in that Danny's sister and his niece and nephew were there, so that was fun. Cohen's little cousin is only 8 months old but the boys were about the same size.


 {Cohen with his aunt and cousins}

Then, it was the long awaited draft time. We broke out of the house for a little while for a much needed wanted trip to Joanns. Our local store has a very limited flannel selection so I needed to see what I was missing out on. I have been missing out on a LOT! I got some super cute stuff that I can't wait to turn into diapers.

We had a busy, fun weekend and I'm glad we made the trip. Football season officially starts this week, please pray for my sanity.