Enjoy the pseudo-blog below...click the images in the column on the right to few videos.
The boys just had their last day of pre-school. They start kindergarten in September.
Kate started preschool. She didn't talk to anyone for the first week. Finally, sometime during the second week, she said something to one of the other kids and the kid yelled, "Miss Kristen!! Kate can talk!!!!"
We had Mary Kelly come to our house and take pictures with the kids and Grandma Jan. Some of the best pictures:
Elizabeth Lauren was born on May 13th.
We moved into our new house. The kids miss the old house (and still do as of June, 2008)
I don't remember October much. We harvested the garden and made the annual salsas and spaghetti sauces. We took the whole family trick or treating on Halloween. The boys were a little to shy to say trick or treat very loud (Luke pronounced it "twik o' twee"). They would say "By guy!!" whenever we walked away from someone's door, however.
September was a pretty mellow month. Jeff took three weeks off to help out at home and make the boys feel special. He'd load them up in the stroller and take them to the park on his morning run. JoAnn tended to feeding Kate at all hours and tried to get sleep when she could.
The boys really became attached to Kate quickly. Jake was initially jealous when we brought her home (he tried to drag her basket out of his bedroom the first night we brought her with to put them to bed), but was soon running to see her in the morning.
The picture to the left shows Kate at about two weeks.
At the end of September, we loaded all seven of us up and drove to the cabin (the first time we'd been there since Labor Day of 2003). The picture to the right shows how confined Jeff was at night.
August 29th, 2004
We took Luke and Jake to the Minnesota State Fair on the 27th. This was their 2nd year. JoAnn had an appointment with her OB before we left and they set an induction date for September 7th. (JoAnn had gone off of her anti-contraction medication two weeks ago...now we were wondering if she even needed to be on it!)
On the 28th, we took them to Woodbury Days and dunked one of their doctors in the dunk tank.
On the 29th, JoAnn woke me up with a kiss at 6:30am and said, "Let's go have a baby!". Her water had broken. We called Grandma to come babysit the boys while I started to panic. JoAnn said, "Calm down" and proceeded to take a shower and finish a load of laundry. Grandma showed up, and we hopped in the car and drove to Woodwinds.
After arriving the nurses decided that the contractions weren't frequent enough, so we walked around the floor for about 90 minutes. Around noon, they decided to start JoAnn on drugs to get the contractions stepped up. They worked. JoAnn went into official "labor" around 2pm and Katherine was born at 3:24pm. She weighed 6 pounds 6.6 ounces. She was 18.4 inches long. I couldn't get over how she was 50% bigger than the boys when they were born, but she still seemed so small.
Visitors on August 29th included Grandma Pat and Grandpa Jeff, Grandpa Harold and Grandma Sharon, Grandma Jan and Judy Nelson.
Visitors on August 30th included Grandma Pat and Grandpa Jeff, Grandma Jan, Luke and Jake, Paul and Cindy Gergen and Judy Nelson.
We got to go home on August 31st.
July 4th, 2004
Here are some pictures from the last two months.
We've had quite a bit of stuff happen since May. 1st potty training poops, Jake spent more time in the emergency room (hand, foot and mouth), lots of swimming, trikes, etc.
March 8th, 2004
We took the boys to the St. Paul Children's Museum on March 5th. They had a ball.
March 2nd, 2004 - Haircuts
The boys finally had their first haircut on February 28th. Surprisingly (to us) they did not complain one bit. We took them to "Kids Hair" where they have a little TV and a goldfish at each station to keep the kids entertained.
The boys are developing faster than we can believe.
Jake is crawling on top of everything. He's found a way to crawl up on the activity table, get to the play table and use that to crawl onto the ottoman so that he can look out the window. He crawls up on top of the Fisher Price garage and sits there. He uses the fire station to crawl onto the coffee table so that he can get on the chair to play with the lamp. He grabs the TV remote and runs away from you. He turns the TV off and on (always leaving it on when he's done). His vocabulary is expanding also and now includes "car" (ca), "quack" (kak) and "ball" (bau). He's also been heard saying "triangle". Jake's pretty quick too. If we leave any gate, door or cupboard door open, he's there within a second or two.
Luke has different passions. He loves looking at the DVD cases for The Wiggles and Blue's Clues. He picks them up and carries them everywhere he goes. If he wants you to look at them, he brings them up to you and says "What's this" (wass zis). If it is one he wants to watch, he just says, "this" (zis) and then commands "go". If there's something out of reach that he wants, he points at it and says, "odoh". When Luke thinks it's time for a nap, he proclaims "go go go" and starts heading for the stairs. When we're reading "Maisy Plays" he says "I-sa" (for Maisy). He's also been heard saying "fish", "touch", "circle", "eyes", "shoe", "sheep", "chicken"...basically he mimics everything we say.
We're trying to do sign language. So far, we're working in "dad", "mom", "milk", "more", "eat", "water", "please" and "thank you". They've both made the milk sign, but we don't know if they know what it means.
February 2nd, 2004
It took 4 years and a lot of medical intervention to get Luke and Jake. We decided we wanted another child, but figured we'd try the natural way for a bit before going back to the reproductive specialist. To our surprise and delight, JoAnn got pregnant with ease!
We did have a scare, however. We went to our first doctor appointment on January 28th. They decided that since we'd had premature twins the first time around that an ultrasound made sense.
They got JoAnn hooked up and our excitement turned to panic when we looked up at the screen. There were two sacs!!! IIIIIEEEEEE!!! More twins?? Upon closer examination, it turned out that there was only one baby in there.
January 21st, 2004
We made it through the holidays and my week-long Las Vegas trip. Thanks to JoAnn for handling the boys for an entire week.
Jake's walking now, and Luke isn't far behind. Jake's also starting to talk more...his vocabulary includes "light" (igh-tah), "da da", "ma ma", and "touchdown" (a-DOW). Luke's vocabulary expands almost daily: "Good girl" (guh-gir), "dog", "go go go", "car" (ca), "ma ma", "hey da da", "hey Jake" (hey Jay), "grandpa" (ink-da), "grandma" (ga-ma), and "cheese" (chizz). We also thought we heard him say "shit", so we need to watch what we say around the guys!
They will sit in their cribs and talk to each other in the morning now. Playing with these guys gets more fun every day.
December 19th, 2003
On Saturday the 13th, Jake was admitted to Children's Hospital due to difficulty clearing his lungs and dehydration. After two days on an IV, he was released...
...only to find out that he and Jeff had come down with the stomach flu. JoAnn and Luke came down with it the next day. Grandma Jan came down with it on Tuesday evening. JoAnn, Luke, and Jeff recovered after about 24 hours. Jake had a bit harder time, probably due to his weakened condition from the virus he was already fighting. We were starting to worry about the birthday party we had been planning for Thursday the 18th.
Luckily, Jake's fever broke on Wednesday. Despite a warning that we'd been sick earlier in the week, we had 25 people show up for Luke and Jake's 1st birthday party on December 18th. Jake was a bit cranky, but he was a trooper.
Thanks to everyone who came to the party!
December 2nd, 2003
Luke crawled forward (more than a few inches) for the first time today. Up to this point, he'd always crawled backward. We thought he might walk before crawling forward.
November 26th, 2003
Jakob climbed the stairs today. Now we need to put alarms on our gates.
November 19th, 2003
The boys are progressing in different ways...
We can't believe that Jake started crawling a little over a month ago. He's all over the place now. He can get from the back door to the refrigerator in less than 10 seconds. If you leave a cupboard open, he's there. If you leave the gate open, he makes a break for it. He also seems very good at figuring things out. He studies you when you open doors and gates, as if he's trying to see how you do it. When the toy drawer won't open easily, he pushes it back in and tries again.
Luke is starting to imitate a lot of the things we say. "Touchdown" for instance. After we said it, he repeated "Tada". He says "gog" for dog. Luke wants to walk more than anything. He can't quite crawl like Jake, and it frustrates him. We think he'll walk before he crawls. He's clapping when we say "clap", he kisses, he waves bye bye, he makes funny clicking noises with his mouth, and he's created a fake sympathy-getting face where he opens his mouth and blinks his eyes.
October 13th, 2003
Jake pulled himself into a full standing position for the first time today. Running isn't far off.
October 3rd, 2003
No big updates, but I thought I'd share the boys typical daily schedule:
September 26th, 2003
Jake kicked into full babble mode today. "Ma ma ma va va ba ba ba ba ba". When JoAnn and I sing the Minnesota rouser (something we've been doing for a while because it really cheers Luke up), Jake now starts "ba ba'ing" along with us.
Luke is just about crawling. He's finally getting more comfortable on his stomach and starting to pivot. Jake is all over the place and has conquered the step from the family room into the dinette.
September 25th, 2003
September 21st, 2003
Jake crawled across the family room this morning (see the video). What have we done?? Our lives will never be the same.
September 19th, 2003
Luke woke up this morning saying "a-ba-ba, a-ba-ba". His vocabulary is expanding. Jake can't stop smiling and is getting pretty strong.
They had their 9-month checkups yesterday. Jake weighed 20 pounds 11 ounces while Luke weighed 20 pound 9 ounces.
We're starting to transition to more solid chunky-style foods. Yogurt good, eggs bad. Bits of meat good, berries bad. Cheerios good, Honey-nut Cheerios bad.
September 10th, 2003
Luke took a big leap in his vocal capabilities today. He went from "ooo...ah...ha....i..i" to "i..da..da...da". See the video. Grandma Jan gets him to do this by asking him to "tell me a story".
September 9th, 2003
Luke seems to be getting very close to talking. He frequently utters sounds that sound like "Hi" or "Hey" and occasionally utters something that sounds like "Mama".
The boys are both laughing and smiling at things that aren't even funny. Grandpa Jeff made them laugh up a storm with his funny faces (see the video). Finger food has started.
We'll have our nine-month check-up and pictures soon.
July 28th, 2003
Both boys have been eating solid food for a month or so now. Here's a summary of their current likes and dislikes...
Disease swept through the household during the week of July 21st. JoAnn brought a cold home from work while Jeff was out of town. Both boys came down with it and then infected Jeff when he got back. The dogs escaped unscathed.
Also, Jake is a squeak monkey. See the video above.
June 24th, 2003
Just had our 6-month pediatrician appointments today. The boys still don't like getting shots. Both Luke and Jake are able to support their weight on their legs, roll over both ways, and are babbling endlessly.
Luke is now 17 pounds, 5 ounces and 26 1/2 inches while Jake is 17 pounds, 4 ounces and 26 3/4 inches. (Right on the 50th percentile for each). That's right, Luke passed Jake in weight for the first time ever.
We also had the boys' 6-month pictures taken about this time.
April 21st, 2003
The 4-month ped appointment was today. The boys did not enjoy getting their shots. Time for more measurements:
JoAnn swears that Lukas said, "Ma Ma" the other day, but we have no proof. Jakob continues to want to stand (with assistance) and is starting to laugh and coo as well. We're almost sleeping through the night, but we need to get up for one feeding around 3am.
April 4th, 2003
Luke and Jake had their final RSV shot on April 1st, which means we also had them measured. Here are the results (pretty darn good for premies):
Both kids are smiling up a storm, and seem to be pleased when you acknowledge their attempts at communication.
March 19th, 2003
Luke is a restless sleeper, frequently kicking in his sleep. The most recent development is that he's taken a clear liking to Molly. Whenever she's within sight he becomes noticeable happier: kicking his legs, swinging his arms, and cooing while staring at her. Molly has sort of adopted the boys. Luke also needs to wear socks on his hands because he has a habit of scratching his face.
Jake is a little fussier right now, with a regular fussy time each evening for an hour or two. He's got the cutest cheeks you've ever seen and is starting to take a liking to "Baby Einstein".
February 20th, 2003
We had our 2nd Pediatrician appointment today, the one with all the shots...
Current weights: Lukas - 10 pounds 13 ounces, Jakob - 11 pounds 10 ounces.
JoAnn will be returning to work on April 7th. After that Jeff's mom will be our Nanny.
January 23rd, 2003
Current weights: Lukas - 7 pounds 7 ounces, Jakob - 7 pounds 12 ounces. Check out the caption contest to see how we are tracking their weight.
Jeff went back to work on January 27th.
January 10th, 2003
After 22 days in the NICU, Lukas and Jakob are home. We were discharged from the hospital at around 7:30pm this evening. Lukas is now up to 6 pounds while Jakob weighs 6 pounds 2 ounces. JoAnn and I are happier than we could've imagined.
January 4th, 2003
Things continue to progress. The babies are starting to get more and more of their meals straight from JoAnn rather than through their tubes. Of course, that means JoAnn has to be there a lot. Why? Lukas eats at 1am, 4am, 7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm, 7pm, and 10pm. Jakob eats one hour after Lukas. As the JoAnn feedings increase, we need to try and spread them around the feeding schedule. Today, JoAnn is trying to feed Lukas four times. To make that easier, the hospital has provided us with a small room where we can sleep. JoAnn will probably now be staying at the hospital until the boys come home.
I came down with a cold last night and won't be able to get near them until my cold is gone. I'm really sad.
December 30th, 2002
The boys are doing great. Both are beginning to eat and after an initial weight drop (like all babies have) they are putting on some pounds (or ounces). Lukas (left) now weighs 5 pounds 1 ounce while Jakob (right) weighs 5 pounds 2 ounces.
They clearly recognize our voices look us in the eye while we are talking to them.
December 23rd, 2002
When we arrived in the morning, both boys were done with their biliruben treatments and no longer needed their IVs. We got to hold them quite a bit. Later in the afternoon, they "graduated" to another room and were now sleeping in the same crib. We got the chance to be together as a family for the first time!
JoAnn's mom visited today and got to hold each of the boys for the first time. Updates will be a bit less frequent from this point on, and I'll therefore stop logging who visited. Please don't feel bad, Bill.
December 22nd, 2002
Each of their biliruben counts were a little high, so each was receiving treatment to take care of it. Lukas was still in his isolette with a bili-light over it. Jakob was in his bassinet with a bili-blanket. Lukas got a chance to try eating for real and was pretty interested. Jakob still wasn't quite sure what to do.
Visitors today included JoAnn's mom, Jeff's mom, Jeff's Uncle Joe, Jeff's Aunt Sue, and Jeff's cousin Allison. Going home was once again very difficult.
December 21st, 2002
We each got to have some skin-to-skin contact with the boys today. On the left, JoAnn tries to see if Jakob is interested in latching onto some food. He was pretty sleepy, though. Jeff, on the other hand, was too successful with Lukas (on the right). Lukas was rooting all over looking for something to suck on. Jeff tried to produce a little sympathy milk but he can't do *everything*.
We each changed our babies diapers for the first time today. The poo doesn't smell, yet.
Visitors today included JoAnn's dad, JoAnn's grandmother, and Jeff's Uncle Mike and Aunt Deb.
December 20th, 2002
Both boys were removed from their isolettes around noon to see how they'd do. Jakob passed his test and would be in a bassinet from now on. Lukas almost passed, but would need to spend another day or two getting some extra heat. We got to hold each of the boys for longer periods today. They were precious.
Visitors today included Jeff's dad and Sharon, Jeff's mom, Don and Heather Lundgren, Steve Dauplaise, and Jeff, Sheila and Anna Kruesel.
JoAnn was released from the hospital today. Going home without the boys was very hard.
December 19th, 2002: Two healthy strong hairy boys
We transferred rooms and went to bed around 3am. JoAnn had to get up early to start pumping...and she'll need to do either that or feed the babies every 3-4 hours for some time to come.
We went down to visit the boys around 9:30. The doctors and nurses explained everything two us. Luckily, their lungs had developed enough so that they didn't need help breathing. Both boys were being watched in isolettes. Each had an IV in their arms providing them with fluids, a tube down their nose for pumping food directly to their stomach, and several electrodes on their bodies to monitor everything. That probably sounds really sad, but we have babies and this is just temporary until they gain a little weight and coordinate the suck-swallow-breathe combo.
Our visitors included Judy Nelson, Bill Nelson, Stephanie Nelson, Paula Foushee, and JoAnn's parents. We spent as much time as possible in the NICU.
December 18th & December 19th, 2002: Time to have babies, but on two different days
JoAnn started feeling a bit crampier, and in the mid-afternoon started feeling real contractions. She was 4cm by 7:30pm, and 10cm by 8:30pm. After about 2.5 hours of pushing and a little waiting, we went to the delivery room.
Lukas Joseph (left) was born at 11:41pm on December 18th. He weighed 4 pounds 12 ounces and was 17.5 inches in length. He started screaming right after birth. They showed him to us and whisked him off to the NICU. (The picture on the left is Lukas at the age of approximately one hour.) The doctor then said, "Well, we have 19 minutes before midnight...do you want them to have the same birthday??" We tried pretty hard, but...
Jakob Arthur was born at 12:17am on December 19th. He weighed 4 pounds 14.5 ounces and was 17.75 inches in length. The picture on the right shows Jakob when he is an hour old. After delivery, we went back to the room while JoAnn recovered a bit and then went to the NICU to visit our babies.
All of our parents and my Uncle Bill waited around and got to see the boys before going home.
December 16th, 2002: Lukas' sac ruptures
JoAnn went into the doctor on this morning after having what appeared to be a leak. She was admitted immediately because it looked like one of the sacs had a small rupture. She would carry out the rest of her pregnancy (hopefully exactly four more weeks) from a hospital bed. The babies were exactly 33 weeks old at this point.
Later that day, they discovered that JoAnn's cervix had dilated 1cm. She was transferred to United Hospital at 6pm where they can better take care of women in her situation.
Upon arriving at United, they discovered that it was Lukas' sac that had ruptured, but both babies were still fine. We now just wanted to make it as long as possible, but the doctor said that most women deliver within 48 hours of a ruptured sac. If the babies came, they'd probably be okay, but the longer they stayed the smaller the chances of complications. However, if they stayed, there was a small risk of infection.
December 10th, 2002: Strict bed rest
JoAnn was now JoAnn's doctor started to see signs of pre-eclampsia, so JoAnn was put on strict bed rest. No more work until after maternity leave. Hopefully the pregnancy would last until January 13th. At that point she would be 37 weeks pregnant and the boys should be fully developed.
November 14th, 2002: Appointments pick up
JoAnn was now 28 weeks and 3 days pregnant and started having weekly appointments with her OB. That's normal for a twin pregnancy. I kept expecting the doctor to put JoAnn on bed rest but she continued to do very well.
November 1st, 2002: JoAnn reduces her work schedule
JoAnn was now 26 weeks and 4 days pregnant. She started having contractions around the beginning of October and now had to monitor herself twice daily. That required strapping on a monitor for an hour twice each day and sending the data to a monitoring company. If there was anything to worry about, they let us know.
JoAnn started working from home on Wednesdays and Fridays because the doctor was worried about the stress the commute and work were putting on her. The people she works with were great about it.
The boys were still doing great, too. We'd named the one on her right side "Car Boy" because he goes nuts in the car. ("Carboy" later was named Lukas). We called Jakob "Food Boy" because he seemed to react to meals.
Here are some pictures from our appointment on November 1st. The picture on the left is one of the boy's butts. The picture on the upper right shows a leg (the foot is on the left side and the knee is on the right side). The picture on the lower right shows one of the babies upside-down from the waist down. One of the legs is fully extended while the other prepares to kick JoAnn in the ribs.
September 19th, 2002: We have boys
Take a look at the pictures of each baby, and you'll see clear evidence of boys! The ultrasound lady made sure to point it out in case you are having problems...
At 20 weeks and 3 days, JoAnn was getting kicked pretty regularly now.
July 26th, 2002: Everything is still okay
The babies were each about 6 centimeters big right now, and their heart rates were identical at 162bpm. They were both fairly active during this session. Lukas, on the left, was doing a little kicking and squirming.. Jakob, on the right, was assuming a boxing pose and exercising its arms. Unfortunately, neither twin was turned in a way that gave us a good view of its face.
JoAnn thought they both looked like boys. Like she could tell... The doctor also thought she saw a little penis on one of the boys.
July 9th, 2002: First visit with the OB
The picture on the right shows the them at actual size. Lukas on the left and Jakob on the right. They were about 3 centimeters in diameter, which was exactly right. Hearts beating, etc. It's all good. They were doing little somersaults (seriously)...they're pretty active.
June 12th, 2002: Done with the reproductive specialist
This was the next big test, and we still had twins! At this point, JoAnn was 6 weeks and 2 days pregnant and the babies were perfect.
Jakob, on the right, was 5.0 millimeters in diameter. His heart rate is also 114 beats per minute.
Upon seeing all this, Dr. Malo told us we couldn't see him anymore. After 18 months at the reproductive specialist, it was finally time to move on...
May 29th, 2002: We're pregnant...with twins!
Yay! What a tough two weeks. We had to try and enjoy a vacation while waiting to find out if we were pregnant, and JoAnn was convinced that it didn't take. JoAnn got a call from Dr. Malo saying that she was indeed pregnant, and her hormone levels were indicating twins!
At least now we knew that we had a chance of ever having kids. JoAnn was now 4 weeks and 2 days pregnant.
May 16th, 2002: We have two good embryos
The twins were officially three days old and JoAnn was considered 2 weeks and 3 days into her pregnancy. At this point, Twin 1 was a six-cell embryo while Twin 2 was an eight-cell embryo. Click on the picture for a larger version. Of course, we don't know who is who in this picture.
What a cool process. You pop in two of these things, wait nine months, and voila - out pop two kids! In reality, it was (and continued to be) very stressful... The twins were put in on May 16th and we had to wait until May 29th for the pregnancy test.
May 13th, 2002: The beginning
Lukas and Jakob were conceived on Monday, May 13th in a little dish where a dozen eggs and jillions of microscopic yet powerful, handsome sperm were romantically stirred together by a lab technician. From that batch, we ended up with two usable embryos.
According to the strict laws of childbirth, the beginning of Lukas and Jakob dates to April 29th, 2002. For pregnancy purposes, you calculate 280 days from that date. That means they would have been born on February 3rd, 2003 if carried to full term. However, you can expect twins to arrive three weeks early, which put their estimated birth date at January 12th, 2003.
Early on, I joked that JoAnn should try to deliver one of the twins before midnight and one after midnight so that they'd be twins with different birthdays. Little did I know...
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