Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Easter Preview

Grandma Jean sent the girls & Zach Easter outfits ... whoa, we're going to have to go somewhere fancy in these! Hats and purses too!! :) BTW, Zach LOVVEEESSSSS the tie. He wants to wear it with his PJ's. Who'd-a-thought!

Friday, March 12, 2010

I'm baaaaccckkkk.......

I have taken a blogging hiatus but I'm back! :)

Let's see where have I left off and what's happened. Hmmm....where to start, where to start .... I haven't been here since January. YIKES!

Ok let's start here ... the twins turned FOUR a couple weeks ago. I know right. FOUR??

Then sharing the hospital bassinet:

And still now sleeping together in one bed! I can't believe 4 years have gone by! It seems like just yesterday everyone was encouraging us you'll get through it, you'll get through it, you'll get through it" .... things sure are easier and we don't have to lug around a rolling suitcase full of baby stuff just to go to the store ..but they ARE four years old, so sometimes they can be a little too independent if you know what I mean. :D They are definitely their own little people though - Addie is still the crazy, kooky one - and Avery is much more serious and takes care of her "animals" very seriously. Avery is certain she's going to be a "betterinarian" when she gets older. But just for kitties. Grandma got her a "Pet Doctor" costume for her birthday and she LOVES it (lab coat, stethoscope, bandage, etc.) They are starting to have a couple of "secret" words which is pretty cute - cessaberry, in case you didn't know, means mine. They both separately confirmed what "cessaberry" means. A twin thing?

So..........girls birthday...check.

Sam was given the exciting opportunity to take a trip to Italy for work, and I was going to tag along ... we got grandma out here to watch the kids and everything.....and the trip got cancelled just a couple days before we left. Rats! We were going to be in Milan, and then stay around Lake Di Garda (which looked amazing) and take a day trip to Venice....but it wasn't meant to be.

Cancelled trip to Italy. check.

Moving on to work....things are crazy for us both right now .... Sam's company has been going through a bunch of system conversions which has had him travelling a bit more than he usually does. My company started a new program and I have to be in Baltimore from Sunday through Thursday every single week for 12 weeks. I'm on week 5. It seems like week 52. I get home on Thursday night and Sunday afternoon I'm repacking to go back to Baltimore. Last week I came home on Tuesday because Sam had to travel to San Antonio for work - I got home around midnight on Tuesday and he left at 4:00 AM. We barely got to say hello. He came home Friday around midnight and then I was off again on Sunday. Ugh. Not to mention Baltimore has had an unbelievable amount of snow over the last month- the first week I was there they had just got like 30 inches of snow ... the second week while I was there another 30 inches fell - all of our facilities closed and we were snowed into our hotel. The counties in/around Baltimore completely closed to non-emergency vehicles ... it was amazing. I have to say even though I grew up in Chicago that was DEFINITELY the most amount of snow I've seen all at one time.

Here's some pictures one of my friends took while they were shoveling .... freaking crazy!

We got a lot of snow in VA Beach too, believe it or not ... about 8-9 inches. It was so much fun to see the kids playing in the snow - they loved it but of course we don't have "snow gear" so they had to go out in multiple layers, cowboy boots, plastic bags, etc.

Speaking of the dog:

It's a good thing he's cute .... I mean who could be mad at a face like this?

Except look what the little Marley did. Grr.

Dog - enough said.

Ben has been doing really great in hockey ... here's some recent pictures of his games (and I had to throw in the Mickey ears photo from Disney World where he went in January to see Kayla compete in the Cheerleading competition):

Ben. Check.

Kayla is doing really great - doing good in college and looking forward to her spring break. You saw my last posting which was her squad winning the National Cheerleading competition! (Yeah!)

Here's the UMDT with the "trophies!"

As some of you may or may not know, I've reconnected with my real dad after 20 years. It's been great - I talk to him and my step-mom every couple days and the kids have enjoyed getting to know them also (through the phone of course.) They live in Las Vegas and sent the kids cowboy boots, cowboy hats, and guns. Here's some pics of them in their giddy up gear...

When I first reconnected with my dad, I reminded him of a dollhouse that he bought when I was little and he started it but never finished it. He has decided to build me the one I never got (for my girls, obviously) ... and here is his work in progress. He has applied every one of the several thousand shingles by hand, after painting each individual one 3 times. He has spent the last 5 months putting this together and he's still not finished, there is that much work involved. How we're going to get it out here is the next question! Though I'm OK waiting a little bit - he's put so much work into this thing, I'm afraid to let the girls have at it. He's also built all the furniture inside and my step-mom Jean has papered the walls, painted the furniture and put little pearl handles on the drawers in the girls room - she even put stone around the fire place! My girls are going to LOVE it. They painted what is considered "Zach's bedroom" in the dollhouse in maroon and gold (UofMN colors) in honor of his big sister! :D

The picture is hard to see because it's from my Dad's camera phone, but you get the idea. It's really been nice having him in my life again, and my kids are lucky they get to have TWO grandmas, TWO grandpas and a Nana!! :)

Anyway - that's about all that's going on for us. Ohhh, I forgot one thing. Cancer.

Yeah, you read that right.

Zach had been complaining of his knee hurting and when we touched it there was definitely swelling on the back of his knee that hurt to touch or when he extended his leg. We weren't sure what he did and he couldn't remember doing anything to injure it - so we iced it up, gave him some motrin, but the swelling didn't go down and after a couple days we decided to take him to urgent care (it was a Saturday and our Peds office was closed.) We thought - worst case scenario - a torn ligament, miniscus, etc. (the Tramontana side of the family does not have much luck with their knees!!) So we take him in and they do an X-ray and all that and the FNP comes to our room and asks us to look at the X-ray (which basically show nothing seeing as it's muscle/tissue, etc.) and she says, as if it's the most normal thing in the world to say - well, it looks like he has either a Baker's (popliteal) cyst, or cancer. (I guess bone cancer in kid's can present itself there.) She gave us a referral to Children's Memorial and told us to call on Monday and sent us on our way like we were just told our son had strep throat.

So the "C" word. We both NEARLY died. We hardly spoke all day long except to compare notes on what we could find on the internet about bone cancer. We took the kids out to lunch and Sam had to keep stepping outside because as you know he's already lost one son, he was thinking "baby Sammy" all over again. About 11PM on Saturday night I finally called the "on call" doctor at our Peds office and he called me back a short while later and was FURIOUS that Patient First would say something like that, he assured us it was probably just a cyst - no big deal - but to bring him in the next week so they could take a look. He also told me he was going to file a complaint against that facility because the way they approached us with that was completley reckless. Well, neither of us got any sleep all weekend and when we called on Monday AM to get him an appointment with the Children's orthopedic surgeon they told us the first available appointment was 4 days away. NO WAY were we going to wait 4 days. So we took Zach to the Children's Memorial Emergency room and they pretty much immediately took one look at it and said it was a Baker's cyst and by NO MEANS cancer. They were literally appalled that the urgent care even SUGGESTED that something like this might be cancer. They did an ultrasound of the area which showed exactly what they thought - it was a collection of water/fluids in this cyst. They wanted us to follow up with the Ortho later in the week, and we did and he said that the cyst should just go away on it's own (reabsorb into his muscles) and only if it gets any bigger and/or continues to hurt him will they need to do surgery to remove it. They don't want to mess around with the muscles / ligaments around the knee of a child unless absolutely necessary. So yeah, for two days - we were pretty freaked out. He still has the cyst, and it still hurts him occassionally - so we just have to keep an eye on it. We didn't sign him up for a spring sport, maybe this will give it time to heal so he doesn't injure himself - although the Ortho said he could do whatever he wanted as long as it was comfortable.

So ....NO cancer. Check. (And a Thank God.)

I have to say I think that's about it right now. My brain is completely fried. Oh .... Here's a couple of random pictures I took of the kids - just cute ones I thought i'd share....they're always making silly faces!

We hope everyone is doing well! Next I'll update my page and get rid of the Valentine's background........but not tonight!