Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

I have to admit, I have never really been one to get really into Halloween. I remember enjoying it as a child, but what child doesn't. As an adult I have never been too excited, until the twins arrived on the seen. I put them in little outfits last year, but didn't attempt costumes. We had only been home for a little over a month and Ava was not doing well. She was in and out of the hospital and life seemed so overwhelming. This year she has been doing much better overall and I was really excited to pick out their costumes. There were so many to choose from, I wasn't sure what to pick. I knew I had to start looking as soon as they came out in August, because I couldn't risk not finding their size and I wanted to find just the right costumes. Initially I settled on Aidan being a giraffe and Ava being a flower because I couldn't find anything that coordinated in their sizes. It wasn't perfect, but it would work. They have one blue and one pink giraffe under their tree in their nursery, so the giraffe had some extra meaning behind it for me. Plus, the costume accented Aidan's Buddha belly and it also worked well with his coloring. I knew he would be absolutely adorable in it. A few weeks later I was in Gymboree looking for outfits for them to wear for the harvest party and I was elated when I discovered they had a girl giraffe costume in Ava's size. This wasn't just any giraffe costume, this was a full on diva giraffe costume with a hot pink tutu. It was meant to be! This costume had Ava written all over it and they now had the perfect matching costumes.

In Des Moines they have what is called Beggar's Night, which is usually the night before Halloween. The kids trick or treat and they have to tell a joke to get their candy. I was worried all day that we wouldn't even get to attempt to go out last night because the weather was dark and stormy all morning and into the afternoon. Around 2:00 pm the clouds cleared and the sun came out. Beggar's night was back on for my little giraffes! I got home from work and made chicken enchiladas before we got the kids dressed. Michelle came over so that she and Mitch could help get the kids ready and hand out candy while we were gone. I don't know what we would have done without them. They were great and even helped me to get the kids to smile for pictures. When we put Ava's costume on, she wasn't having it and expressed dissatisfaction with the whole idea. I was a little worried she wasn't even going to wear it, but finally she gave in and our little girl was transformed into a diva giraffe. She looked absolutely adorable and the tutu was very fitting. 

We started to put Aidan's costume on next and he also protested. Thankfully his went on a little easier and we quickly took him outside to distract him. We sat him on a blanket to take some pictures with Ava, but when she sat down next to him she had no idea what or who he was and promptly started screaming. Not willing to give up easy, we put them both into their wagon and headed to our neighbors and dear friends, the Stouts. Aidan was super excited to see Emily and Brenda and was trying to steal all of their candy. He was also fascinated by Brenda's ghost lights lining her sidewalk. Ava still wasn't too sure about this whole trick or treat thing and just observed quietly. After we left the Stout's house, we headed down our street to see the other families on our block. We are lucky to live in an amazing neighborhood and we have gotten to know almost everyone on our street. The kids had fun watching all the kids out in their costumes and we enjoyed experiencing Beggar's night through their eyes. 

It was also a huge milestone for us. Trick or treating may not seem like a big deal, but last year at this time Ava was in and out of the hospital. She was miserable, we were stressed and I lived in fear that we wouldn't get to experience normal things like trick or treating because we were constantly in crisis mode. However, Ava has made so much progress over the last year that it was thrilling to be able to trick or treat as a family and know that they both enjoyed themselves. Brad and I enjoyed participating in a normal family activity with all the other families on the block. I can honestly say the night warmed my heart and filled me up with hope that better days are ahead. Things are improving and Ava is doing so well. She is such an amazing girl and I love watching her take in this wide world around her that she has only just begun to explore. Aidan is and will always be his sister's biggest champion and our source of laughter and amusement when we feel paralyzed by fear and stress. They are our dynamic duo and we are so thankful every day that God put his trust in us to be their parents. We love our little giraffes to the moon and back and hope you enjoyed trick or treating with your little ones as much as we did. Happy Halloween!

Putting the finishing touches on Ava's costume.  Daddy bravely put the ears on her head as she gave him her famous stink eye. 

Can you tell Aidan that is loving the fact that Brenda is giving him candy?

I love candy!!! Trick or treat is the best. 

Ava giving Brenda the stink eye. She wants nothing to do with candy and is still unsure about trick or treat. 

Did I mention that Aidan is facinated by candy? He is trying to eat the candy through the wrapper. Creative, but we made sure he wasn't successful. 

A happy giraffe! She finally decided treat or treat was ok. 

One tired giraffe snuggling with daddy. So sweet!

Two giraffes and one silly daddy. 

Ava playing with her toys after we got home. She got a second wind and even though she was dressed as a giraffe, she was making gorilla noises. 

Ava sharing her ears with Mitch. At least he didn't attempt to fit into her tutu. :) Ava loves her Mitch!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Visit from Great Grandma Weitl

The twins had a special visit today from their Great Grandma Weitl. Brad's parents brought her to Rochester from Carroll and Brad and I were so excited to finally introduce her to the twins. She just turned 85 on the 12th and Brad and I were sad to miss her birthday party. However, we had a special day introducing her to Ava and Aidan. The kids also enjoyed seeing Brad's parents and I was able to take some special four generation pictures. It was a fun day and we feel so blessed that Ava and Aidan have great grandparents on both sides. They are looking forward to meeting Great Grandma Zmolek and Great Grandma and Grandpa Wittrock soon.

Great Grandma Weitl with Ava. Precious! 
Great Grandma Weitl with Aidan. He was sound asleep. So cute!

Great Grandma Weitl with Aidan and Ava. We love you Great Grandma!

Four Generations of Weitls. 

Ava and Aidan with Great Grandma Weitl and Grandma and Grandpa Weitl. 

Brad with the twins and Great Grandma Weitl. So special! 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Twins are Growing

Ava and Aidan are growing and Ava is finally starting to catch up to her brother. Aidan had his two month shots on Tuesday and he weighed 8 lbs 12 oz. He did great during the shots and they just made him tired for the rest of the afternoon and the next day. Ava is running behind on her shots because of her recovery so she will get her shots at three months. Ava is starting to gain weight and as of today she weighs 6 lbs 9 ounces. She will be off of the Enfaport by tonight and I think she will gain more rapidly on the new formula. It is hard to believe they started out at just a little over 5 pounds. They are both becoming more interactive and Aidan even started to smile at me of his own volition last Friday. He now does it on a regular basis and it just melts my heart. He continues to be very aware of his surroundings and is more and more interactive with each passing day. Ava is becoming much more aware of the world around her and really focuses on you as you hold her. She will also follow your voice in the room. She smiles when she is falling asleep and even has the same half smile as Aidan. I think it won't be long before she too can smile while interacting and I know Daddy and I will be putty in her hands once that happens.

Aidan getting ready for a bath. The spell of the shots was still working because he was still sleeping. 

Fun band aids to cover his oowies. Thankfully he was very brave for his shots. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Action Packed Weekend

Ava and Aidan had an action packed weekend that started on Friday, when Brad's brother Brett and baby sister Crystal came to Rochester to meet them for the first time. They enjoyed getting to know them and everyone was impressed that Brett held them both at the same time.

Snuggling with Aunt Crystal. 

Rocking with Uncle Brett. Thanks for coming all the way from Colorado. 
Brett was a natural with the twins. He is going to make a great daddy some day. 

Daddy and Uncle Brett. Come back again soon Uncle Brett!

On Sunday, Brad and I were able to give Ava a bath for the first time. It was a little tricky because she still has the picc line in, but it was great to finally do some normal baby activities with her. At times she wasn't sure what she thought of it, but for the most part she enjoyed it. A huge thanks to her nurse Mary for helping to make it happen. Mary also helped to take care of Aidan when he was in the NICU and Ava loves her as much as Aidan did. Thanks also to Kayla, the student nurse assisting Mary, for taking pictures and holding Aidan. We have decided that Aidan has a complete crush on Kayla. Over the weekend he would smile at her and as you can see from the pictures below, he snuggled with her while we gave Ava a bath. 

It takes two parents to give Ava a bath. 

Washing her hair. 

Ava letting Daddy know she doesn't like having her hair washed. 

Daddy spiked Ava's hair and you can tell by the look on her face she isn't exactly thrilled.  You can also see purple picc line and other leads in this picture. Unfortunately, you can also see all of her battle wounds from all the chest tubes and other lines. She is pretty tiny still, so she is swimming in her preemie diaper. 
Ava was excited to actually sit in the tub. Looking forward to a full blown bath in the tub by the end of the week if the picc line is out. 
All clean and pretty in pink again. 
Aidan with nurse Kayla. She held him while Ava was getting a bath. He started crying and as soon as she picked him up, he melted. 
Aidan content in Kayla's arms. His face says it all. He is in love!!

Ava with nurse Mary. Mary calls her "Princess Ava of Des Moines." Fitting don't you think? :)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Happy 4th of July

The twins enjoyed their first July 4th in Minnesota, even though it was super hot. We visited Ava in the NICU and spent some time in the hotel. Daddy came up with Grandpa DeShaw and the twins were really excited to see both of them. Daddy was really nice and took care of Aidan all morning so mommy could get some much needed sleep. Mommy bought the twins special July 4th outfits, so of course we had to take some pictures. Daddy joked that they needed sun screen after all of the camera flashes. :) Ava was ready to pose with her bright eyes, but Aidan wanted to sleep. When he did wake up he was not in the mood for taking pictures for very long. We look forward to spending the 4th in Des Moines next year and to the time when the twins are older and they get excited about holding sparklers.  We hope you had a wonderful 4th as well.

Ava and Aidan wishing you a Happy 4th of July. 

Aidan finally awake for the camera. 
Miss Ava posing for the camera with those cute chubby cheeks. 

Aidan sort of smiling for mommy. 

Miss Ava striking another pose, but on red this time. 

No more pictures!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Twin Bonding

Now that Ava is feeling better and was able to get rid of her breathing tube, we have been able to put Aidan in bed with her for long stretches of time so they can spend some time bonding. They definitely know when the other one is present and they both seem so much more relaxed when they are together. We hope they are making up for the time they spent apart and we just love watching them interact. It is true what they say about how strong the bond is between twins and we are so thankful they are able to be together again. We hope they gain strength from each other and as you can see from the pictures, they definitely entertain each other and like to be close.

Ava is just not sure she can look at Aidan right now. I wonder what he said to her. 

Ava smiling at her little brother. 

Sleeping so soundly. Aidan moved toward Ava until their foreheads were touching. So sweet!

Aidan with his hand on his sister's arm. I guess he wants to keep track of her while they sleep. 

So sleepy! Two big yawns. 

Happy 6 Week Birthday

Happy 6 Week Birthday Aidan and Ava. It is hard to believe the twins are six months old already. We had a little photo shoot in Ava's room in the CICU in order to document this milestone. As you can see, they were nestled together in her bed and had their arms intertwined. This was not staged, as whenever they are in bed together they will move until they are touching. They are so sweet together and just like two peas in a pod. Brad and I look forward to watching their bond strengthen as the grow up together.

Love you Ava. Love you Aidan. 

Too cute for words!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day Daddy

Brad had a wonderful first Father's Day because he was finally able to hold both Ava and Aidan at the same time. Ava's breathing tube was out just in time for her to enjoy some snuggle time with daddy and as you can see from the pictures, they both enjoyed it. It warms my heart to see all three of them together. Brad is an amazing dad and Ava and Aidan are very blessed to have him.

Daddy and his twins. So cute!

Ava looking pretty in pink. Not sure what that face is about! 
Daddy's little man looking very handsome, but feeling left out because he isn't in pink. 

Daddy's little girl. They both love to wear pink! :)
We also had to take a family picture on this special day. It is so great to have our little family all together. Brad and I are still getting used to the fact that we are now a family of four. We feel so blessed!