Monday, February 28, 2011

Weekend with Family

This past weekend we traveled to Austin to visit with family that lives there.  Thomas's Aunt Linda and Uncle Dale from Winnemucca Nevada came to Austin to visit Thomas's Mom (her younger Sister) for a week.  Aunt Linda follows our blog and was looking forward to seeing the girls.  I think the girls enjoyed their great Aunt Linda. When the girls were born, Aunt Linda always checked in on them to see how they were doing.  That meant so much to Thomas and I.  We are grateful for all that she has done for our family.  She is the kindest person, and we love her very much.  The girls had a great time with their Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

3 generations - Me, my mom (Grandma Benedict), Rachel and Haley

Great Aunt Linda with Rachel and Haley
Grandma Stansel with Haley and Rachel

Thomas, his mom (Grandma Stansel) and the girls

Friday, February 25, 2011

Eye, Ears and 1 year home

This week has been busy for the girls.  It started off with Haley and her eye, then the girls hearing test and finally hitting another 1 year mark in our journey.

Haley is moving forward in the process of getting her prosthetic eye for her left eye.  She was fitted for her clear contact lens on Monday.  This lens is not like a regular contact lens that people wear for vision correction.  Her contact lens is clear and hard.  I was trained on how to put it in her eye and how to take it out.  This clear contact lens is to test her eye's tolerance to it.  If her eye tolerates this clear contact lens then she will get the prosthetic eye.  We go back to the ocularist in 2 weeks.  She has been wearing it only during the day.  So far she doesn't seem bothered by it and her eye seems to be tolerating it.  She definitely does not like me putting it in or taking it out.  It does seem to help open her left eye up a little more and makes it look more normal.

Haley with her contact lens in her left eye

Haley's contact lens

Rachel and Haley finally got their ABR (auditory brain response) hearing test on Wednesday.  We had to wait 4 months for this test at Texas Children's Hospital.  I wish we could have had it done sooner so we could have moved forward sooner with treatment for their hearing.  The results showed that Haley continues to have severe hearing loss in one ear and moderate hearing loss in the other ear.  The hearing loss is sensorineural and can't be fixed with ear tubes.  Sensorineural hearing loss is permanent.  The only treatment is hearing aids.  Haley has to get another ABR before the audiologist can order her hearing aids.  So it may be a while before she gets her hearing aids as we have to wait another 3 months for another ABR.  It's very frustrating.  I want her to get hearing aids soon so she can hear and make progress in her communication.  The results for Rachel also show she has moderate to severe sensorineural hearing loss in both ears.  We were shocked by these results since she passed her newborn hearing tests and she had ear tubes placed back in September.  So Rachel is also getting hearing aids.  She will get her hearing aids in 3 weeks.

Haley and Rachel playing together

A cute picture I got of Rachel.  I love her smile!

 1 year home    
One year ago, Rachel came home from the NICU to be with mommy, daddy and Haley.  February 24,2011 marks one year we have been all together at home.  It has been a great year being all together as a family.  We have been blessed that the girls have not gone back into the hospital.  They are being watched over by our loving Heavenly Father and their siblings on the other side.  Prayers are being heard and answered.  They still face some challenges, but we are slowly getting through them day by day.  The girls have made a lot of progress in the year they have been at home with us.  We are so glad to have our family together.  

One year ago - February 24, 2010
One year later - February 24, 2011

Monday, February 21, 2011

Rachel & Haley - videos and pictures

We had an uneventful past week.  The girls are doing well.  We are so happy that they are doing so well and have so far gotten through this winter without getting terribly sick.  The girls have gotten a couple of colds here and there, but they have been getting through them easily.  We have been blessed.

The girls are continuing to progress developmentally.  They are so active and keep us busy.  Rachel is getting so close to crawling.  Haley loves to jump in her jumper and likes to stand with assistance and take steps with assistance.  Below are some videos of Rachel working on her crawling and Haley taking some steps with assistance.

Here is Rachel working on her crawling:

Here is Haley "walking" with Daddy's assistance:

Here are the girls in their dresses they wore to church this Sunday.  They were so cute in these dresses. 

Haley and Rachel

Me and the girls
Haley with her cute smile

Rachel relaxing - Mommy's lil' cutie

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

 Today the girls got to celebrate their 2nd Valentine's day.  They were still in the NICU for their first Valentine's day.  It's wonderful to have them home for this Valentine's day.
Thomas and I decided to go out for lunch together instead of dinner since it was easier to have someone watch the girls during the day.  We went to The Spaghetti Warehouse here in Houston.  This restaurant brings back memories of my childhood.  I grew up in Austin, Texas and my family frequently went to The Spaghetti Warehouse in Austin.  I had not been to this restaurant in 5 or 6 years so it was nice to visit the one here in Houston.  We had a nice time together and had a great meal.

The girls enjoying their day:

Rachel playing with her ball

Haley looking cute in her valentine outfit
Rachel loves balloons

Haley playing with her valentine balloon
Haley and Rachel playing together
Haley and Rachel

Haley and Rachel done with mom taking pictures

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A sister's love

A sister's love is such a wonderful thing.  Rachel just loves her sister Haley.  I find Rachel watching Haley with such curiosity and love.  Rachel will crawl over to Haley so she can be near her.  How sweet!  Well come to find out Rachel is more motivated for the particular toy Haley has at the time.  Rachel will crawl over to Haley and take away the toy she has.  Poor Haley doesn't always know what just happened since she can't see well.  Haley is such a good sport.  She doesn't get mad, she finds another toy just to have Rachel take it away again.  Sometimes Haley will hold her own and take back her toy.  The whole process is really cute.  We'll have to work on learning how to share.   I do love seeing them interact together.  They are going to be best friends. 

Rachel giving Haley a kiss

Rachel being curious.  Haley doesn't seem to mind.

Haley playing with her toy

Rachel taking that toy from Haley
Rachel now with Haley's toy.  Poor Haley
Rachel super proud of herself
 Haley forgiving Rachel for taking her toy 
Having fun together
Rachel has Haley in a scissor hold

Oh a sister's love.  How precious!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Tortilla Soup

This soup is so good!  It's also so easy!  Thomas and I had this for dinner tonight.  We ate late so I'm glad it was a quick fix (5 min.).  I wanted to share this recipe since its tasty and quick.  You may already have all the ingredients in your pantry/refrigerator.  I found this recipe on

2 (10.5 oz) cans of Campbell's condensed Chicken and Rice soup
1 (10 oz) can Ro-Tel diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 (8 oz) tomato sauce
Tortilla chips
Shredded cheddar cheese

Optional ingredients:
Cooked cut up chicken
Black beans

Combine the soup, tomatoes with green chilies, tomato sauce and any optional ingredients in a medium saucepan.  Cook on medium high heat to boil.  Top with tortilla chips and cheese.   Enjoy!

Friday, February 4, 2011

18 Months Old!!!

Rachel and Haley
 Wow, the girls are 18 months old!  Happy 18 months!  They are getting so big and growing up so fast.  Thomas and I have treasured every 18 months they have been here.  What blessings they are.  I'm still in awe of them and am so grateful to be their mom.  What a dream come true to have two beautiful daughters.  Growing up I wanted identical twin girls.  Well I got two beautiful daughters.  Who could ask for more?

Today was a typical day for the girls.  We stayed in due to the cold, icy weather here in Houston, Texas.  The girls stayed in their warm PJ's all day.  Oh the life of a baby!  This is some of what they did today.

They napped: 

Rachel sleeping

They ate:

Haley eating dinner

They played:

Rachel playing with some toys

They jumped:

Haley jumping

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Haley got her Helmet off!!!

Today was Haley's turn to get her helmet off.  She wore her helmet for 5 months and again it was all worth it.  Her head looks so much rounder.  The reshaping helmets are not the most fun to deal with, but they work great!  I'm so glad we decided to put a helmet on Haley 5 months ago.  You can really see the difference it made in the pictures below.

Before and after pictures of Haley's head:

Before the helmet (8/31/10)
After the helmet (2/2/11)

Haley also got new glasses last week.  Her prescription has not changed, just the size of the frames.  I have to say they are much bigger and make her face seem small.  Also without the helmet her face looks smaller.  It has been a challenge to keep her glasses on her, but I know that they are helping her to see better.  Yes that is right - see better.  Haley can see something, we just don't know how well.  She loves to look at lights and will reach out for objects/toys presented in front of her.  She is not completely blind as her eye doctor told us a while ago.  Haley has a vision teacher that comes to see her weekly and she puts Haley in the low vision category.  We are so happy that Haley has some vision and is not completely and totally blind.  She won't ever drive and she may still have to learn braille, but at least she is not living in complete darkness.  This is such a wonderful blessing for her and we know all prayers for her have been heard.  She is such a happy baby despite her low vision. 

Haley with her new glasses and no helmet
Haley and Daddy

To finish it off, here are some cute pictures of Rachel:

Rachel in the swing.  She is outgrowing this since she wants to sit up and hold onto the sides now.

Rachel playing with her balloon
Rachel getting into her toys.  She has really been getting into stuff these days.