Thursday, September 30, 2010

Urgent Care Visit...

Eli and Emerson have had runny noses for the past week, then they developed a cough and then this morning Eli woke up crying and he just wouldn't stop. Which is really unusual for him, we could tell something was hurting and I feel so bad that he can't tell us what it is. I went to work and Marcus was home with them today and they both developed fevers. Eli's was 101.7 and it wouldn't go down even with Tylenol so we decided it was probably time for a doctor visit.

Which if you've been following my blog you know that we are having health insurance issues and the babies are not currently covered. We went to the urgent care near our house and when we told them we didn't have insurance their first reaction was to send us to an ER or to find another urgent care. (Which just made me angry). Finally, I told them we would just pay for them up front so she finally agreed.

Then the really fun part, she tried to run my card twice for the exact same amount, one for each kid. The only problem is that I have really tight fraud protection on my card which prevents the card from being used twice in the same place, within a certain amount of time for the same amount. (Why she didn't just add the cost together for both kids and run it that way I'll never know).

So my card went through once and then was denied the second time (for my protection) but she probably just thought we were uninsured and without funds. I hate this entire health insurance situation it makes me so incredibly angry.

The babies are both on antibiotics because they have the start of ear infections and for the infection in their chests. Hopefully they'll feel better soon.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Early Intervention Update...

As many know the babies were both receiving Physical therapy and Occupational therapy through early intervention before me moved. We finally got around to having both babies evaluated last week to see where they're at and if they still qualify for services and we were somewhat surprised by the results. Although it's interesting because in CT they didn't use adjusted age for the evaluation and here they did. So instead of being measure at 16 months they were tested at 14 months.

Emerson has always struggled with gross motor skills but she is now totally caught up to where she should be in that department (she tested in the 13-15 month range). They will occasionally check in just to make sure she stays on track. She is however delayed in Language/communication, in both receptive and expressive language skills.  Surprisingly she is also delayed in the fine motor skills but the therapists are confident that it shouldn't take long to catch her up in this area. Finally, she was delayed in Social and emotional. So starting next week she'll start being seen twice a week.

We were also somewhat surprised with Eli's results. He's really really delayed in the language and communication department testing in at the range 6-10 months. They want him to have a hearing test just to double check that. When he was being evaluated they ask me if he responded to his name (and he wil sometimes) but most of the time he just ignores me which he demonstrated while being evaluated and ignoring me. Marcus and I have always assumed this was a personality quirk but apparently babies his age don't ignore. I know he can hear though so I guess we'll see what the hearing test shows.

He's also delayed in Fine motor skills which is not really a surprise he's always struggled with this. Finally he's delayed in the self-help/adaptive area this is due in part to his continued issues with eating. He doesn't chew his food, he doesn't drink from a sippy cup or straw.

Additionally because of the feeding concerns we're going to talk with a nutritionist and also start seeing an OT to see if we can move the eating thing along.

So that's the update they still qualify for services in different areas but they're continuing to make progress.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A TMI rescue mission...

Today I stuck my hand in a "used" toilet bowl. I'm only sharing because it was one of those really ridiculous moments that you want to forget and yet at the same time it's so ridiculous there's a compulsion to share.

At work I went to the bathroom stood up, turned around to flush and my bracelet broke and fell right into the toilet. My first instinct was to leave it there, because I simply don't stick my hand in toilets. End of story. Bye-bye bracelet.

Then my senses came back because it's a bracelet that has a lot of significance to me (and was my mother's day present this year). So it turned into Operation Rescue.

Plan A) Stick my bare hand into toilet... this plan was quickly eliminated no way, no how, not happening.

Plan B) Tell our custodians... again eliminated for two reasons. It's embarrassing for me and they should not have to deal with something like this. Operation rescue is not in their job description.

Plan C) Get Eli. He has no issues what so ever about putting his hands in the toilet bowl. In fact he rather enjoys it (much to my dismay). Then I came to my senses as he doesn't even respond to his name, he probably won't be much assistance in a rescue mission that involves grabbing a tiny silver object and bringing it back out. He mostly just likes to splash in the toilet (again much to my dismay).

Plan D) Disposable Gloves. Yes! Gloves I even know where to find some in a storage closet... only problem they will not totally keep all of the content of the bowl away from skin as they're not very long. I don't trust them to protect me on their own.

Plan E) Flash back to basketball camp 1999 when a member of the team bravely used a grocery sack and unclogged a dorm room toilet (and trust me that toilet was in worse condition content wise than mine TMI yes I know, what do you expect I'm trying to figure out how to put my hand in a toilet?)

Final result Plan D + E = Rescue mission success.

Then much hand-washing ensued, bracelet was scrubbed, and aside from this post I will try to never think or speak about this experience again.

Health Care Woes Continue...

I've been going back and forth in my mind about posting about our quest for health coverage for the babies. Mostly because I feel a little bit like a failure about the whole thing. It's frustrating to me that I have a masters degree from an Ivy League school and yet I can't provide my children with health coverage because I don't have an extra $20,000 a year. Not to mention I'm now going on month two of this nonsense and in the meantime my babies are without a pediatrician and without coverage. It's an incredibly scary situation to be in.

I mentioned before that we applied for a state run program that's for children without coverage. The application process was fairly straight forward, the premiums and coverage seemed reasonable. Flash forward to a few weeks ago we received a letter saying we were denied this coverage because we "might" qualify for medicaid.

Ok fine whatever I guess. Then on Monday I received another series of letters in the mail from some caseworker who then wanted an insane amount of information. Originals of birth certificates for all four of us, plus another means of identification verification. (Fun with one year olds who don't have need for identification on a regular basis). Then the extra challenge was getting them originals plus I'm 99% sure that we don't qualify for medicaid.

Tuesday I call the office, was on hold for 12 years, and then finally spoke to one of the most unpleasant people in the universe. I first wanted to know the guidelines for qualifying for medicaid because frankly it's a complicated process and I don't want to waste my time. I was told that she was not authorized to give that information and only "representatives" know.

I then wanted to speak to a representative, that was a no go. According to this lady the guidelines are super top secret. I also asked about the need for original copies. We learned that we must locate a welfare office take our originals there have some one view them, copy them, and then stamp and sign them. Okay awesome...

So Wednesday my day off the babies and I set off for our very first visit to a welfare office. Holy, the place was so busy and disorganized with a line stretching to the door.

Finally, after about an hour we get to the window where I begin to pull my original documents from my file when the lady asks, "Did you make copies of those?" Seriously?! What the heck? I was specifically instructed to bring originals not copies.

So we get out of line locate a copy machine and make the required copies. Then we get back into the line and repeat the above. The lady looks at my originals and then stamps and signs the copies.

Great some progress. Except after she does that she sticks them somewhere and says okay bye.

Um... what? More confusion sets in as my paperwork says to get the stamped copies and submit them with the rest of my life story (pay-stubs, a form that must be filled out by my landlord, and a million other things).

So I simple request to have the stamped copies so I can submit all of my documents together. (Call me crazy but I'm not overly trusting that my documents will get to the appropriate person by the deadline, in this overly busy, understaffed welfare office).

So instead of leaving I instead ask for my copies so that I can file the entire thing together. This is when I learn that once you make a copy in the welfare office it becomes government property and I can't take it off the premise!! What kind of a rule is that? This office and random lady now has copies of my children's birth certificates, mine and Marcus' passports, my SS #, etc. etc. Again call me crazy but I'd rather be responsible for the sending and sharing of all of that information. Plus their brilliant solution was to fill out the rest of the paperwork while sitting in their office and they would then submit the whole thing. Um... yeah except that it requires things like a third party verification of who lives in our home, and how we pay our bills, plus pay-stubs and more private information (seriously).

So again I request the documents so I can handle this whole thing on my own. This prompts the need for a discussion with a supervisor, and eventually the best I get is a copy of my copies.

I'm still not really satisfied with this and frankly the whole situation just makes me angry and annoyed. Plus like I said I'm 99% sure we don't even qualify for medicaid so we're jumping through hoops, being treated like second class people, giving out a lot of personal information, for probably no reason.

Ph.D and university insurance is looking like a better answer every single day.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

Yesterday I turned 26! It was a fairly uneventful day. I worked all day and then came home for a bit and the went back to work until 9pm fun times. The babies got me a card...
Isn't it cute?

Marcus also made me a cake. In my family growing up it was always a tradition to put something on the cake and I always looked forward to seeing what my mom came up with. So I have insisted that Marcus carry on this tradition and every birthday for the last 7 years this "tradition" has caused him a great amount of stress. This year was probably his most "Creative"....

Me with my cake. He put small Reese's which are among my favorite candy but then he put my amazon gift cards on the cake. Amazon gift cards that I already had in my possession. He sent me a text at work yesterday asking where they were, now I know why. haha but to his credit he also added a gift card to Borders so he didn't reuse everything.
And me with my babies. I look as though I'm attacking them but they both kept trying to destroy my cake.

I insisted on pictures this year before I went back to work because I don't have a single photo from my 25th birthday. Which is probably due in part to having tiny babies and the start of my third and final school year plus an internship. 

We also took a family picture but I'll spare you those because they really did not turn out well. Eek...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

So frustrated...

about so many things right now and unfortunately they're things I probably shouldn't discuss on a public blog on the off chance that someone from work happens upon it, but arggggggggggggg.

I'm also incredibly frustrated with our health insurance situation. Why is health insurance so ridiculous? Seriously, something must be done. There must be a viable option for those who don't have insurance through work (I'm covered but to add the babies to my health insurance would cost us $20,000 a year, and the coverage sucks. How is that even realistic?) I've been working on getting them covered through the state but it's taking months, there are ridiculous and frankly insulting hoops to jump through, and trying to talk to someone on the phone about it is pretty much an impossible task. More Arrgggggggggggg (it's talk like a pirate day at least I'm with the times in my frustration).

Onto more health issues I need to find doctors but I have no idea how to even go about doing so. Most importantly I need a GI  for my Crohn's stuff but I'm wondering if they'll require a referral? Arrggggggg. I think I should just go back to school. Perhaps a Ph.D? That could take a good long time. My university's have had great health coverage and options. Never mind this real life stuff.


So to let out some of my frustration and anger I thought it would be a good idea to go for a run. This is what I learned. When one decides to go for a run in a new neighborhood it might be wise to consult a map, because the there may be lots of dead ends and winding blocks which don't all go in squares.

My run was much longer than anticipated because I had no idea where I was going and the blocks in our neighborhood make no sense. (Plus we live at the top of a hill).

Saturday, September 18, 2010

No clever title...

I have no idea what to call this post because it's going to be another mishmash.

* An update to the lost piggy drama. We've had no luck in finding another "piggy" just like the one we lost, so we've done several things which include ordering three more pigs to see if she'll take one. The first of the three arrived today and while she liked it (she likes all stuffed animals) it clearly wasn't her piggy. Our best hope is I've found someone on etsy who is going to make us a piggy using a picture. Hopefully that will turn out close for all of our sakes.

It seems that Emerson's replacement "piggy" is me. She clings to be ALL.THE.TIME. It's driving me nuts. She wants me to hold her and she has to be touching me so if I'm standing she clings to a leg, if I'm sitting she lounges next to me. If I'm not holding her she cries. It's a really good time. Naps and bedtime have also been a little rough. She immediately starts searching for her piggy when she knows it's time for bed.

* Eli has learned the art of teasing. He's figured out that it's really fun to take something Emerson wants, walk up to her and hand her something. When Emerson reaches for the object he snatches it back and takes of laughing and running. His ultimate goal is that Emerson will then chase after him (because he loves being chased).

Emerson however is not so amused and she also doesn't really chase, mostly she just screams. So Eli taunts and laughs, and Emerson screams. I try really hard not to laugh but it's hilarious because Eli has so much fun doing it. Poor Emerson though it's not so fun for him.  Before Piggy was lost that was his favorite thing to tease her with. I wonder where they learn things like that?

* Today on facebook a friend of mine posted a link to a gospel choir and church singing a hymn. I clicked the link and when the song started playing the babies went nuts, especially Emerson. It was one of those moments I wished I had a video camera handy. Emerson looked as though she had been "seized by the holy spirit" (haha) she was clapping and stamping her feet, and flinging her body all over the place. I could not stop laughing. Eli was also dancing and clapping but he was much more in control then Emerson was. One of the best moments of an otherwise not so good day.

* Eli really likes to walk around with things over his eyes. A few weeks ago we unpacked a box that had all of our winter gear in it and Eli brought over a hat and indicated that he wanted it on his head. We put it on and then he pulled it over his eyes.

Like This.

Then he stood up and took off running as fast as he could.  Then Emerson who strives to emulate her brother in all things brought over a hat and she too pulled it over her eyes.

(Ignore the stuff all over the floor we were unpacking).

Then they ran into each other which they both thought was hilarious and laughing hysterically they both continued to run into each other over and over. They can be incredibly entertaining these days. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lost: Piggy...

Today a terrible thing happened Emerson's beloved "Piggy" (her security object) was lost. We have searched the place where we think it was left on two separate occasions we have scoured the internet and this particular pig can no longer be purchased. So now our only hope is that someone, somewhere has this particular stuffed pig from The Children's Place and would be willing to send it to our broken hearted little girl. (we would of course pay shipping etc.)

So here is my plea, does anybody have this pig?
It's not very big and it's from The Children's place. On the belly of the pig the word "Place" is embroidered. 

Poor sad missing "piggy" Marcus feels awful. Hopefully we can find a replacement soon. 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Balloons of all kinds...

Eli and Emerson are balloon lovers. The spent my cousins entire reception holding onto and chasing balloons. If they let go and it floated to the ceiling they merely held up their arm and waited for the person closest to them to rescue it.

One of my Cousins with Eli & his balloon

Emmy and her balloon

And two at once...

This love of balloons also extends to hot air balloons. Our city hosts Hot Air Balloon Races every September and on Friday morning when we were driving Marcus to work the sky above our house was filled with hot air balloons. 

The babies were pointing and saying "Ooohhh" "ooohhh" and once back home I found them doing this... staring out the window at all of the balloons.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Random Things...

1.) I'm really sick and can hardly function and both the babies are sick as well. It should be against the rules for all of us to get sick at once. Eli has a little bit of a cough and whenever he has a real cough he also gets a fake cough. It's hilarious that he'll just go around fake coughing.

2.) We discovered today that the babies love Home Depot. The lights, ceiling fans, paint chips it was all very exciting. They also had some American Flags, Eli loves loves loves flags. He kept saying, "Ooohhhh, ooohhh dada oohhh" as he was pointing.

3.) Eli ate a piece of a Banana today and he chewed it. That's never happened before baby steps I suppose.

4.) My grandma's funeral was today. I didn't go, we weren't close at all in fact I don't really have any fond memories of her. I feel guilty for not being more upset, I feel guilty that I wasn't able to go, it's weird that she's gone.

5.) Every time Emerson sees a dog she says gaga or something to that affect. I guess that's her version of dog or puppy?

6.) Speaking of dogs in a desperate attempt to stop the babies from whining Marcus started showing the babies youtube videos of dogs. It was a huge hit they were both so excited at all the puppy videos.

7.) I'm reading Cleaving by Julie Powell (She wrote Julie & Julia) it's quite possibly one of the worst books I've ever read).

8.) The church nursery has a plastic fried chicken leg. It is without question Eli's favorite thing. Every time we take them to the nursery he finds the fake fried chicken and carried it around. We have to pry it out of his hands every time we leave.

Friday, September 10, 2010

16 months old (two days late)...

Eli & Emerson are 16 months old and they're so fun right now (most of the time). In the last month they have both finally figured out the bedtime thing and we can now just lay them down and the go so sleep. No crying, no screaming, no hour long rocking sessions hoping they'll quit fighting.

What's really amazing about this is even if they don't go to sleep immediately they are quiet in their cribs. It makes night time so much more enjoyable for all of us knowing that we're not going to have a fight on our hands.

They are both walking all over the place now which is a whole new adventure. Eli in particular would like to be allowed to walk everywhere. In stores, down the street, up and down the stairs so he fights the stroller quite a bit.

Eli is making a little bit of progress with his eating issues. He still primarily eats purees but he can now eat small pieces of bread and things with break like consistency which is progress. He however still isn't really good about chewing so it makes us both really nervous.

Eli and Emerson also play and interact with one another a lot more these days which is really hilarious to watch. They chase each other all over, Emerson is a little copy cat and does everything Eli does. They make each other laugh all the time. The other thing I've noticed lately is that if one baby gets hurt or is really upset the other one also gets upset.

Yesterday Emerson tripped and hit her head pretty hard on the wall and she was screaming, Eli stopped what he was doing ran over and just looked really scared and worried for her.

As far as talking goes they still don't have many words. Both say hi, both say dada, and sometimes mama, and Emerson can say ball. But they seem to understand a lot of what we're saying and asking which is really fun. If I ever need to distract Eli I just ask him to find me a ball and off he goes searching.

Eli still licks everything. I really wish I knew what this was about. The other day I was sitting on the couch and he walked up and started licking both of my legs one right after the other. It was so odd (and somewhat funny) and then Emerson decided to join in so both babies were licking my legs. This probably can't be normal.

No new teeth. Emerson has 8 (4 up top and 4 on the bottom) and Eli has 6 (four on top and 2 on the bottom).

Emerson still has anxiety around people and is still pretty clingy but we have seem some improvement in that area. A couple of sundays ago we dropped them off at our church nursery and they both went without any issue.

I think those are the main things that's been happening. They're both going to evaluated for EI on Monday. We finally got them an appointment in our new state. Eli is going to see an Occupational Therapist and Emerson a physical therapist. So I guess we'll see where we're at in all of that.

Now for the pictures (I took these pictures on Saturday at the wedding). The entire experience was a big joke. I'm starting to think they plot together to avoid having me take a picture of the two of them together looking at the camera.

Looking to the right...

Looking in opposite directions....

Looking down.

You get the idea I have about 10 more of these pictures before I finally gave up. At another point in the evening I stuck them both in a chair and got this...

Which is the best I could do. At least they're both looking forward. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The night the babies went to work...

I have so many things to update on: the babies are 16 months today!! Yay (post forthcoming). I still need to post more pictures of our trip but all of that can wait because I need to share the ridiculousness that was my evening.

So, Marcus found a job. It's not his dream job by any means and it's only part time but it's a job none the less and frankly in this economy we aren't being overly choosy. So we had a huge problem I work 9-4 or 5 during the week plus sundays and several evenings each week. Marcus was scheduled to work 8-5 which left a problem of what to do with the babies. So marcus switched his shift to 4-11 which worked great... except that I had to work this evening from about 5-8:30.

Since Marcus literally just found this job we haven't had time to deal with childcare so my sister has just been watching them, except that she had to work this evening as well. So the best solution I could come up with was to just take them with me. While not ideal I'm lucky to have some flexibility in dragging them along (plus my supervisor was a single mom of two for many years so she fully supports and understands my need to bring the kids along).

So I arrive early to set up for the evening and need to haul a billion things inside. So I put the babies in their stroller, strap everything onto the stroller and set off.

First problem: The stroller does not fit through the door of this building that was built a million years ago. Okay, fine I have to open the other side which is never ever opened and we get in and I manage to shut the door and turn off the alarm.

Second problem: It's a super old building with millions of stairs (ok not millions but a lot). We were going to be in the basement of the building and I needed to once again transport a ton of things down the stairs, and there's no elevator and I couldn't even use the stroller past the entry way because of all the stairs. So the best solution I could think of was to shut the babies into a secure common room and then run as fast as possible as I transporting things.

Which worked okay except Emerson was pretty sure that I had abandoned her and was never returning so she was screaming (which was actually kind of reassuring because I figured if I could still here her she was fine).

So that worked. Then we had to leave to go and pick up six pizzas for the evening. So back into the stroller back through the too small door. Which is where we encountered problem number 3.

I could not for the life of me get the side of the door that's never used closed again. I spent around 20 minutes fighting with it, and finally after getting up on top of a chair I figured it out and got it closed. Except to do this I had to bring the babies back inside so instead of using the stroller for transportation I had to take them out, fold it up and get us all to the car.

Both babies thought walking to the car was super fun and they both took off down the ramp straight towards the street. I abandoned my stroller and attempted to walk/carry/shuffle both babies to the car. Three guys seemed pretty amused by my efforts (but of course no offers for help). So we're back in the car off to get pizza.

Problem four: 2 babies + 6 large pizzas = impossible. Seriously do the math it just doesn't add up. Luckily the guy at the pizza place saw my struggle to get both babies into the store and he offered to carry the pizza out to the car for me, but I was on my own back at work. Which once again involved a stupid door (I gave up on the stroller this time).

So again my best solution was to carry both babies in and then run back to the car for the pizza (which again resulted in Emerson feeling abandoned and freaking out).

By this point I was exhausted and wanted to go home and my evening hadn't even started.

Luckily, both babies were perfect during our meeting. Emerson sat in the chair with me and Eli stood right in front of me and I fed them bits of pizza as I talked. Eli eventually mingled around and Emmy just sat right next to me. So we survived but babies, stairs, transporting goods, and pizzas are a very very bad combination.

Seriously, it was awful I wish I could more fully illustrate and explain the chaos that was my evening.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Road Trip...

This weekend we took the babies on their longest road-trip yet. We went to Wyoming for my cousin's wedding. They both did great on the trip. They have new convertible car-seats (yes we're a little slow but they still fit in their infant seats just fine) so they have a whole new view and they can now see each other. Several times on the trip they were playing peek-a-boo with each other or handing each other things and laughing.

We learned several new "fun" things on this trip though, since this is the first time we've traveled by car for such a long distance and the first time we've traveled at all since they've started walking.

One, is that stopping turns into an hour ordeal. We actually didn't have to stop too often because of the timing of our driving but we did have to stop to feed the babies and let them run around a little bit. Emphasis on the running around part. We stopped at a rest area in Wyoming called Little America. Both Marcus and I needed to use the bathroom so we took turns being alone with the babies in a store.

Holy, two babies going two different ways each one getting excited about every random little object on the shelves. It was ridiculous. Now that they can walk they do not want to be carried especially after being in the car so off they went everywhere.

An older man called me over to his table at one point after watching me with the babies for a little bit. He said to me, "Young lady I want you to know that you're going to have your hands full for quite some time." haha um yes... thanks for pointing out the obvious.

We also had an interesting experience our first night in a hotel. We only own one pack and play because we mainly used it when they were younger and could share. So we brought along the one and assumed that our hotel would have cribs (every hotel we've stayed in this last year has had not one but two cribs for the babies).

We arrived at our hotel around 11pm called the front desk and learned that they did not have any cribs. Crap. There's no way they can share a pack in play these days so we at first put Eli in the pack and play (because he's generally the less calm of the two) and put Emerson in the bed with us.

Eli went right to sleep...

Emerson on the other hand thought that it was party time. She kept standing up and jumping on the bed, she was turning circles, attempting to dive over both Marcus and I. Tapping us on the heads when we weren't paying attention. Any attempt to lay her back down elicited giggles as though we were playing the funniest game ever.

So plan two.

Take the sleeping baby out of the pack in play and hope they would stay asleep during the transfer and put then crazy baby in the pack and play. Once again the baby in the pack and play went right to sleep the one in the bed thought it was party time.

So we switched one more time because Eli cannot be trusted in beds he'll just dive off  head first into the darkness of the night.

Emerson ended up staying in our bed that night. I had essentially no sleep between wrestling her back onto the bed into a laying position and then once she was asleep trying to find room on the bed. Emerson is a bit of a wild sleeper.

She doesn't hold still and pretty much goes in circles. I kept waking up to toes in my ribs as she tossed and turned all over. Her wild sleeping habits are why we had to separate them in the first place when they were still pretty young.

Clearly, co-sleeping is not for us.

Luckily our hotel in Wyoming had another pack and play and there ending the sleeping drama.

More later including pictures ...