Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Results Are In!!!

Well, I was pretty disappointed when I got home today and went to the mailbox to find that we did not have our DNA results in the mail.  I texted Gary to let him know, but at the same time I was checking online with our DNA lab to see if we could learn the results online or via telephone.  I learned that the results were available by telephone or by chat 22 hours a day.  Gary and I decided that we wanted to find out tonight.

So, once we got the kids in bed, we sat down to call in and get our results.  We tried 3 times.  The phone rang and rang, and we were getting so antsy.  Finally I turned on my computer and opened up a chat.  And after giving them some information and our password, we learned the results. . . .

Piper and Rosemary are indeed IDENTICAL TWINS!! 

The accuracy rate is over 99.9%.  I can’t believe it.  I mean, I can, because clearly we got the test because we thought there was a good chance they were identical, but it’s amazing to actually know. . . . 

Now I have all sorts of thoughts – one of which is that we can truly see the effects of IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction) in an interesting way.  Rosemary was IUGR due to her velamentous cord insertion, but Piper was right at the 50th percentile for weight at her gestation.  We also know that Piper and Rosemary are dichorionic-diamniotic twins (meaning they did not share a placenta or an amniotic sac).  There are just so many interesting things to think about now.  It will probably take some time to sink in. . . .

This is so exciting!!  Thank you for participating in our poll and following along as we pondered this question and finally learned the results. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

“Weekly” Update

That photography class I told you about in the last post is kicking my tail.  Seriously.  It wasn’t as stressful technology-wise as it was last week, but our assignment this week was not easy.  But, I just started my third week of the class, and it’s only 4 weeks long, so I’m halfway there.  I knew it was going to be hard when I signed up, but like most all things, I never really appreciate it until I’m in the middle of it.

Last week’s  lesson was on how to shoot in full sun.  Typically, full sun is just bad for photography – it creates harsh lines and too many highlights and shadows, particularly on faces.  Early in the morning and late in the afternoon is best, and really cloudy skies or some shade is ideal.  I migrate toward shade just from sheer habit.

Anyway, there are some tricks to taking shots in full sun, so we learned those.  Also, we learned how to backlight and create haze and lens flare.  I think it’s something that I now feel like I can totally learn to do, and I do feel more comfortable shooting in full sun if I have to, but it’s something new to learn and it just takes practice.  I’m also continuing to learn how to edit using Lightroom 3.  Here is some of my homework from this week (from our trip to the pumpkin patch this past weekend):DSC_7455 W

DSC_7415 WDSC_7404 WThat is not all of my homework – I also took some shots of a friend’s teenage daughter (who much to my surprise, unlike my children, didn’t run away from me when I pulled out the camera) and turned two of those photos in, but I haven’t asked permission to post those here so I won’t.

On other fronts, the DNA test results on whether Piper and Rosemary are identical are not in yet.  I was expecting them last Thursday, but after questioning Gary, I learned that last Thursday was the earliest that we would have them.  Gary called today and learned that the results went out by mail today, so we think we should have them on Wednesday.  The lady actually almost gave him the results over the phone, but he stopped her in time.  We want to open them together.  :)  I’ll post those results ASAP.  The poll has closed, and you’ve all voted as follows:

Identical – 70 votes (81%)
Not Identical – 15 votes (17%)
Not Sure – 1 vote (1%)

We’ll find out soon who is right!

Last Wednesday, Penelope had an appointment with a pediatric dermatologist to check out a mole on her left bottom cheek.  It is a congenital mole, meaning she was born with it, which is apparently a little more worrisome than the ones that show up later.  The doctor thought that her mole was fine because it is consistent in color, round, etc.  It is large (about 7mm in diameter), and will get larger, but it’s not a big concern right now.  We will just monitor it.  We will probably eventually need to remove it, but the goal is to wait until she’s much older and it can be done under local anesthesia instead of general.

Last Thursday, Rosemary had an appointment with the allergy and asthma specialist.  That appointment also went well.  Rosemary had been on Singulair for her asthma and Claritin for her allergies, as prescribed by our pediatrician.  The allergy and asthma specialist immediately said she’d no longer be taking either of those – they are both the weakest drugs on the market for what they treat.  She is now on QVAR twice a day (an oral inhalant), plus Veramyst (a nose spray) twice a day.  She is off her antihistamines now only because she is being tested for allergies this Thursday.  Once that testing is complete, she will go back on an antihistamine, probably Allegra or Zyrtec.  We will know more on Thursday.

Aside from those maintenance drugs, when Rosemary is wheezing, she also now has a stronger Xopenex for her nebulizer and an albuterol inhaler.  If she is also sick, then she has another inhaler to use.  Everything was a little confusing and really overwhelming at first, but now we understand what everything is for and it’s easier to understand.

Hopefully on Thursday we’ll find out what we can expect to cause allergy problems for her.  Whether right or wrong, except for the pumpkin patch, school, and a quick trip to the playground, we’ve been keeping the kids inside.  They certainly don’t need to live in a bubble, but for now I can’t help but want to keep Rosemary in a bubble until we find out what causes her problems (or learn how to keep them under control).

I have more photos from the pumpkin patch – of course – but I don’t know when I’ll get those posted.  Hopefully soon, but it depends on this photography class and the homework that goes along with it!  It is just taking up all my free time (but I knew that was going to happen when I signed up for it, so I’m just trying to go with the flow).

Hope you’re all having a great week!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Just a Little Catch-Up

It’s been a whole week since I’ve posted.  It’s been a long time since I’ve went that long, but it may be a few weeks before I’m back to my regular posting schedule.  Last Monday I started taking a new photography class.  It’s an online class provided by Clickin Moms called Shooting 201: Beyond the Basics.  It’s been a year since I’ve taken a photography class, and I’m overdue for a little learning and inspiration.  I think this class will do it for me. 

Last week was pretty crazy as far as the class.  Somewhat related to the class, my laptop was almost full of photos and I started to get some warnings.  I have an external hard drive that I keep at work (in case of fire, etc.) and I back it up about once a week.  However, I didn’t want to have my photos just in one location.  So, I’m okay with them on my laptop and on an external hard drive, but I didn’t want them just on one external hard drive.  So, I bought another external hard drive to keep at home.  I will spare you the long description of exactly what all went down, but I’ll just say that I had to buy three separate external hard drives before I got one that worked.

Nothing frustrates me, and irritates me, and upsets me quite like technological difficulties, so I was pretty testy after two days of external hard drive drama.  Once I finally go that sorted out, I started working with Lightroom 3, the editing software that I’m required to use for my photography class.  Again, I’ll spare you the full story, but apparently in the ten seconds I had played with the program after I downloaded it, I really screwed it up (and, of course, the manufacturer’s customer service was not available by the time I figured this out on Friday night).  After uninstalling and downloading the program several times, on three different browsers, I started searching Lightroom forums for a solution.  In the end I had to follow a filepath and rename a file to let it rebuild.  That fixed it.  And took up about 2 hours of my time on Friday night and 3 hours on Saturday.  And had me REALLY worked up.  I mean, I was crazy irritated.  I may have scared Auntie Ann.

THEN I had to work on my actual homework which was due yesterday.  I really did not like what I turned in.  At all.  So I won’t even post the homework here.  Unfortunately I spent so much time dealing with technology issues that I didn’t have a lot of time to shoot.  But, I think I have all those bugs worked out and am ready to go this week.  I think.  I hope. 

Regardless, I will hopefully have some good photos to post from this week’s homework, once I do it.  I keep reminding myself that every photography class I’ve taken is somewhat painful, but they have always been worth it in the end.  And that’s why I only take about one class a year. . . . 

In other news, we should get the results this week on whether Piper and Rosemary are identical.  I think the estimated date to get the results is Thursday, but we are looking for them any day.  Please vote if you want – the poll is on the top right of the blog.  Right now we’ve had 80 votes, 67 (83%) say identical, 12 (15%) say fraternal, and 1 (1%) says s/he is not sure!  I still haven’t voted.  I should probably just choose “not sure”!

And now here is your reward if you’ve stuck with me for this long on this post.  We had a photo session this past weekend and you can see the slideshow of images right HERE.  As always, I’m so excited with the results!  I can’t wait to have them hanging all over my house and office!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Cotton Field

This past weekend we drove up to visit my parents, brothers, and their families.  My dad and brothers were picking cotton, so we had a lot to see and do while we were up there.  We used the opportunity to take some photos of everyone. . . .

DSC_6232 W DSC_6261 W DSC_6275 W DSC_6329 W DSC_6430 W DSC_6451 W DSC_6467 W DSC_6472 W DSC_6484 W DSC_6499 W DSC_6504 W DSC_6521 W DSC_6537 W DSC_6539 W DSC_6566 W DSC_6599 W DSC_6658 W DSC_6677 W DSC_6683 W DSC_6729 W DSC_6766 W DSC_6788 W DSC_6806 W DSC_6832 W DSC_6847 W DSC_6903 W DSC_6919 W DSC_6937 W DSC_6993 W DSC_7013 W DSC_7027 W DSC_7050 W DSC_7078 W DSC_7083 W DSC_7089 W Later that night we had our weekly trip to the ER, except this trip was even less fun than your average ER trip.  I had to take Rosemary to the pediatric emergency room at Huntsville Hospital because she was having an asthma attack.  When we got there her oxygen saturation was at about 95%, (which even though it was the lowest Rosemary had ever had, it was an acceptable rate).  But about 10-15 minutes later (once we were settled into a room) it went down to 72%, which is just not okay.  Rosemary spent about 4-5 hours on oxygen and received 2 breathing treatments – one of which was an hour long.  She’s doing much better now, and we have an appointment with an allergy and asthma specialist next Thursday.  I hope that we can find a way for that to never happen again.

Despite the trip to the ER, we had a great weekend visiting with family, and hope to have another good visit with everyone soon!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Over the Monitor

Yesterday morning the kids started talking around 7:15.  Rosemary was first.  She said:

Cock-a-doodle-doodle-doo!  Cock-a-doodle-doo-doo-doo!  Heeeennnnnnnnny!  Wake up.  Wake up, Heeeennnnnny!  Cock-a-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo!!!

For the record, Henry was not amused.

And right now Gary and I are sitting here listening to the kids talk to each other.  Rosemary is saying:

Give me my pajamas back.  Please!  Please give me my pajamas!!

We have decided that we are going to give that one a few minutes before we head up there to intervene.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Before Photo

Sunday we all met my friend Adrienne, and her kids and husband, at Aldridge Gardens for a picnic and playdate.  After we ate lunch, we went for a walk.  Penelope got a little tired of being in the stoller, so she walked some with us.

DSC_6029 W 3Right after we finished up this walk, we went to our favorite wide open spot to let the kids run.  And while Penelope was running, she tripped and fell on Henry’s water bottle, which has a hard piece on it that went up between her top lip and top gums.  She screamed, and she bled, and she screamed, and she bled.  After inspecting the area, we decided that we needed a trip to the Children’s ER. 

Gary dropped me off with Penelope, and he took the big kids to the zoo to pass the time.  We gave Penelope some Tylenol right when it happened, and after her initial screaming fit, she had calmed down a bit when we got to the ER.  After they checked her vitals, she started screaming again.  And she screamed, and screamed, and screamed.  For an hour.  She would scream slightly less if I walked around with her, so I walked around the ER waiting room, then I walked up and down the hall outside our room. 

I finally told the nurse I needed some Motrin.  He asked me if there was something wrong with her other than just her lip (which is admittedly probably a minor issue compared to why other children were there, but that comment just rubbed me the wrong way).  Anyone that knows me has heard me say what an easy baby Penelope is (other than that time when she started waking up all night long from 6 months to 10.5 months, but even then she was a sweet, happy baby – just awake).  I gave him my best stern look and told him that this baby was NOT acting like my baby and that I’d done all I could do and why not try some Motrin?!!  About 15 minutes later she stopped screaming – so long as I kept walking her.

The doctor finally checked her out and decided that she didn’t need stitches (apparently they try not to stitch up the inside of the mouth unless absolutely unavoidable) and we called Gary to come pick us up.  Unfortunately, there was some event at the zoo that day and it took Gary about 45 minutes to just get out of the zoo parking lot.  Of course, that entire time I was walking Penelope.  I cannot imagine how many miles I walked with that baby.

Sunday we alternated Tylenol and Motrin until Penelope’s bedtime, and then we woke her up on our way to bed and gave her one more dose of Motrin.  She slept through the night and has been fine since then. 

Just another typical weekend in our household. . . .