Thursday, March 29, 2012


I have two little men that are officially NICU graduates. Once we were discharged from the NICU almost two years ago now, the boys were scheduled to go for NICU follow up clinics about every four months. We just completed our final visit on Tuesday... and they passed! Which means that we don't need to go back... ever! Very bittersweet. I started to cry as we pulled up in the parking ramp and a flood of emotions hit me. There is so much good that came from our stay up there... like now two healthy little boys. But there were so many hard times. And so many times that I drove up there, by myself, not knowing what I was going to face once I entered the unit. But Tuesday was different. So crazy to look in the back seat as we were driving and see my little men... they are so big now!
So, as far as our visit. We started with the physical and occupational therapy assessment. They separated the boys so I stayed in the room while they were being assessed and Caleb took the other outside the main area to play. What I didn't know is that while Caleb was out with the other, speech was doing their assessment with him. So I totally missed the speech evaluation for each! But according to the quick overview from the therapist and from what Caleb said they concluded... the boys are doing just fine with speech. They are by no means advanced, but they said they are right where they should be for their age. Which was really a surprise to me! I just assumed that speech is where we were going to lag. And according to most specialists, our boys will still be proned to develop delays with time. So we need to keep up on it!

But for PT and OT... it went great! I was so proud of how well the boys took directions and it was so fun to see them respond so differently. They had Luke go first and he did really well with the super fine motor skills. Like putting the pegs in holes and dropping small objects into small openings, but he was impatient with doing the puzzles with shapes. Total opposite for Max. He loved doing the puzzles and did great when asked to color and mimic shapes and lines on the page. Joyce actually said that Max's drawing skills were the best of any child she has seen at his age! So nice to hear! She was saying that is a very good predictor for his future reading and writing skills. And Luke impressed them with his ability to master stairs... even walking up stairs without holding on to the railing. Instead he was hoarding about 20 objects he had collected while running up and down the stairs! Ha ha!

After that it was the nutritionist who said they were both doing well. She frustrated me a little because she was determined that we cut down on the amount of milk they get and increase other dairy forms for calcium and fat. Like cheese, yogurt and butter. But when I told her that Luke is lactose intolerant she just kept telling me he will grow out of it... not sure what she wants me to do until then! As far as stats... Luke is now 22 lbs 9 oz and 31.5" long and Max is 24 lbs 4 oz 32" long! They are just finally getting on those growth charts. But barely!

So overall... the results were good. Their doctor from the NICU saw them last and was pleased. He loves seeing the boys because he was twin boys of his own and he loves finding similarities between his boys and ours! He was very complimentary, though, and just was so happy to see them doing so well from where they started!

Another milestone behind us. I guess we are free to say that our boys are on the right track and growing as they should. Wow! What a whirlwind the last two years! So incredibly amazed at what God has done! In less than two months I will have two TWO year olds... crazy how time flies.

Here are some fun before and afters! The really amazing thing is that these bathtub pictures were taken TWO months after the boys were born and they are still that tiny!

Luke sitting in the same tub!

This is what happens if they try to fit in there together now!
They still take baths together... but now with much more room!

Friday, March 23, 2012


Over the past two years I have ran through many emotions... from finding out that I was pregnant to then finding out it was twins! And then to go into labor at a shockingly early gestation and then surviving with my boys. To struggling to cope with their survival rates and then fearing the thought of bringing them home. To settling into life with preemieS and juggling therapies, apnea monitors, and multiple doctor appointments. To now enjoying the miracles of their growth and dealing with only mild delays instead of things that could have become major handicaps. Plain and simple... we. are. blessed. And there is only one GOD that is so just to be forever praised... THANK YOU!!

One of my friends from the NICU just shared this article with me today. So touching to read. It is very humbling to think this way, but I now enjoy the thought of being chosen for this role. If you are a mother of a preemie, grab a tissue, you might need it!

How Preemie Moms Are Chosen
by Erma Bombeck
Did you ever wonder how the mothers of premature babies are chosen?
Somehow, I visualize God hovering over Earth, selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As he observes, he instructs his angels to take notes in a giant ledger.
“Armstrong, Beth, son. Patron Saint, Matthew.
Forrest, Marjorie, daughter. Patron Saint, Celia.
Rutledge, Carrie, twins. Patron Saint…give her Gerard. He’s used to profanity.”
Finally, he passes a name to an angel and smiles. “Give her a preemie.” 
The angel is curious. “Why this one, God? She’s so happy.”
“Exactly,” smiles God. “Could I give a premature baby a mother who knows no laughter? That would be cruel.”
“But does she have the patience?” asks the angel.
“I don’t want her to have too much patience, or she’ll drown in a sea of self-pity and despair.  Once the shock and resentment wear off, she’ll handle it. I watched her today. She has that sense of self and independence so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I’m going to give her has a world of its own. She has to make it live in her world, and that’s not going to be easy.”
“But Lord, I don’t think she even believes in you.”
God smiles. “No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect She has just the right amount of selfishness.”
The angel gasps, “Selfishness?! Is that a virtue?”
God nods. “If she can’t separate herself from the child occasionally, she will never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn’t know it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a spoken word. She will never consider a step ordinary. When her child says momma for the first time, she will be witness to a miracle and know it. I will permit her to see clearly the things I see– ignorance, cruelty, prejudice– and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life because she is doing my work as surely as she is here by my side.” 
“And what about her Patron Saint?” asks the angel, his pen poised in air.
God smiles. “A mirror will suffice.”
Isn't it cool how God uses us. In ordinary things, everyday ways, to fulfill  his will for our lives?!! Whatever it is, I believe that God has a purpose for us, a reason for our days. So today I say thank you! Thank you God for choosing me to be the mother to these little miracle men who have filled my life with more joy than I could have ever imagined!!!

Playing on the tires Dad got them for a sand box.
Trying to wear our shoes.  
Little Luke man!
Watching Dad burying in the tires!
And congratulations to Crystal and Marshall as they celebrate their daughter, Audrey's second birthday! Wow, little Miss Miracle who entered the world at an alarming 12 oz is now two years old! Amazing!!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

So the New Family Member...

I hope you are all as excited as I am about the new family member... it is a '92 Dutchman Travel Trailer!!!!!!!! :) Yes... our old, not-so-faithful RV has been sold. I pray that the new owner has better luck than we did, since we have now fixed everything. So unless the whole frame just falls apart, they should be fine! Now... last summer, as we traveled with it... that didn't seem like much of a stretch! I do miss it, weird, I know. But memories are memories. And after the bad has passed, only the good remains. So... on to NEW and hopefully more successful camping memories this summer!!!!!! :)
Here she is...

The ornament my mom gave us for Christmas... yeah, yeah... very funny. My hope is we WILL be HAPPY campers THIS summer!!! :)
The view from the front door.
Nice size kitchen!
BIG windows... love these!
Our 'bedroom'
Big helper, Max, working on the grill.
Luker working in the garage.
 So on to other changes... we are working more and more on our basement remodel and it's coming along nicely. Caleb is trying to get lots done before landscaping starts. So far the sheet rock is hung and now we just need to mud and tape. Then the fun stuff... painting and carpet, etc!

Slow progress...

Some Spring decorating... I even made me own wreath... feels like DIY season now that it's warm!
And the biggest changes of all lately is the fact that my little boys just don't seem so little anymore! They have went from babies to boys! It's so fun but also so sad to me at the same time!!!!
MAX -- both showing off their "cheese" faces! :)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Spring Has Sprung!

Lots of changes around the Yoder household lately... just fun little hints of SpRiNG! I have had some fun decorating and the boys have been growing tons lately! They are just starting to transition from two to one naps a day now and so far, so good! Other changes I'm also super excited about that I will reveal soon, hopefully tomorrow! I just need to take some pictures to go with the post! We have a new family member I need to announce... don't think into this too much... you might just be disappointed!!! ;) I just had to let you know that an exciting post is on it's way!

Happy St. Patty's Day to all you IriSh out there! (I am Irish, but not a lot... I'm too much of a 'Heinz 57' to be much of anything... well I guess you could call me a 'Russian Heinz 57', since I am mostly that!)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Traveling with Multiples

So have you ever seen some of those shows on TLC... like "Make Room for Multiples" and others like it?? Well I really think they need to start a new reality show about traveling with multiples. You know, something like volunteer your family to have their vacation taped and aired to the public, everyone seeing you at your worst, and then get your trip paid for or something?! I'm saying all of this because traveling with little ones is interesting! It is very doable but you have to be ready to take on obstacles... as a team! If you are not a team... well, everyone in the airport notices! Ha!
We made it successfully to Orlando from Minneapolis on the way down. Pretty non eventful, actually! It is just hard because we have a three hour drive to get to the airport and then we had a three hour plane ride and then a two hour car ride to get to our final destination... Sarasota! It was all worth it when we woke up the next day to sun and warmth! It just takes major planning!

But back to our traveling blunders! So my mom dropped us off at the airport and we proceeded to unload the car... two suitcases to check, two carseats to check, a stroller, two diaper bags and two carry-ons, a cooler of milk to travel on the plane, blankets times four, my purse, oh yeah... and TWO children under the age of TWO... who are now capable of RUNNING in the airport! We got these great monkey backpacks that we used for them the whole time in the airport. They have little leashes on them and made it so I could go through security with them and then Caleb took all of our stuff! Besides forgetting our carseats and my mom having to rush back we made it in plenty of time and even had a pretty good flight. I would say even easier than last year!

So on to the trip in pictures... the boys LOVED playing in the sand this year! It was so fun to be down there with Angie and Lonnie and their kids again... Caleb's sister and her family. The kids all played together and it was so fun to spend time just relaxing!!
Playing in the sand with cousin Sammie!
Uncle Lonnie burying Luke!!
Family picture plus my nephew, Kaydon! :)
Max playing with some lizards that his cousins caught!
Luke digging in the hole.
Sunset picture time...

The girls...
The boys!
All the cousins, this year 2012.
All the cousins... Last year 2011!!!
The really funny thing is that we didn't even pose them the same... or tell the boys to pick up the same baby. Crazy!
Sleepy babes on the beach!
At the zoo!

Luke in his sweet shades... that he wore the whole time!

Max too!
It was really such a great trip! So fun to spend time together... as a family with no distractions and to just enjoy each other! Caleb and I were talking and praying on our way down and just wanted so badly to keep Christ centered in our minds and do everything we could to honor him on and with this trip. It is so convicting when you stop, and really put things in perspective and think... EVERYTHING we do and say should be to glorify God. That really stopped me and I can't help but think... so this trip, is in vain? My motives while planning it I'm sure where not always pure and were many times selfish, so we talked about how we could redeem that to use the time to grow closer to Him together and just take the time to slow down. It is so cool though because out of it we did grow closer once again, had some time to read the bible together, took more time to pray in the evening and tried our hardest to work together as a team! We even had a really cool encounter with different people on the plane... I met one lady who was traveling with her 19 year-old son that had cerebral palsy. He was born at the same gestation as the boys and was 1 lb 13 oz. It was so humbling and yet we had a bond. Knowing what each other has come through. Amazing what 20 years of technology has done! I also, very quickly, talked to a beautiful girl in the airport while we were claiming our bags. We just chatted real quick and went our separate ways. She a couple days later found me on facebook and wrote me the sweetest message just to encourage our family and said such sweet things. How cool is the bond of Christ?!?! How cool that I didn't even know her and in turn she blessed us by reaching out in that way. Anyway, hope you enjoy the pictures. Have to run.... one little man awake one to go... nap time over! :)