Thursday, February 22, 2007

Genius in the Family

Check out my sister-in-law, Jill Pruetz, and the research she recently published. This article is on Fox News and she's also been picked up by National Geographic and the BBC.

You make us proud, Dr. Jeel!

Killer Chimps Make Spears, Hunt Bushbabies

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Nine Months and Counting

Monday marked the girls' nine month birthdays and that meant one thing: a checkup!

On Tuesday afternoon, we ventured in to see Dr. Trexler. We started out by actually seeing the doctor before we saw the nurse, but that was fine with us. We talked a little bit about the girls' development as well as their eating and sleeping habits. I told Cheryl that both Faith and Grace seem to really prefer jar food to having a bottle and she assured me that this is fine. As long as they will take a bottle a couple of times during the day, they are just fine to have as much baby food and even soft table food as they like.

I casually mentioned that both girls seemed to have caught the cold that Devin had been diagnosed with about ten days ago. His strep test had come back negative so I didn't think much of it when the girls got a little congested and cranky.

To be on the safe side, though, we went ahead and did a rapid strep test.

Well whadda-ya know? Both girls have strep. No wonder they've been so difficult!

At the end of the appointment, while we waited for Cheryl to write out the prescriptions, we weighed and measured the girls. Grace is 15 lbs, 5 oz and 26.5" while Faith is 14 lbs, 8 oz at 26". Because of the whole unexpected strep thing, I failed to ask about their percentages, but I found a growth chart calculator that says that Faith is at less than the 3rd percentile for weight and at the 5th percentile for height. According to the same calculator, Grace is in the 3rd percentile for weight and the 12th percentile for height.

Okay, so they are a little small. But they are doing all sorts of great things like pulling up to their knees and babbling. Dr. T didn't seem worried, so why should I?

Back here at the homestead, the girls immediately started feeling better, making our lives a whole lot easier.

In fact, it seems that their third round of strep in two months has only increased their adorable-ness. Check out this story.

Last night, as we were feeding the girls, Todd stepped out of the room with Faith while I held Grace. Upon seeing her Daddy leave, she pulled the bottle from her mouth and said, "Dada..." I really didn't think much of it.

This morning, though, as we were watching some TV with Devin, Grace turned to the television, waved her hand toward the dark-haired, mid-thirties man on the screen and said, "Dada..." Okay...this time I think she was really talking about her father.

Unfortunately, Todd was not here to experience this. I wish he were. It was awesome.

Later on, I swear Grace said, "Hi Kitty," (or something remotely close to it). I've been teaching them to wave by waving to the cat and saying, "Hi Kitty!" whenever the fuzzy black feline draws near. I think Gracie caught on!

But now, for the cutest of the cutests...

I have a habit of kissing my girls on their foreheads. I tend to gently brush the palm of my hand over their foreheads first and then lay a soft kiss just above their eyes. I've noticed that I do this a lot.

Well, today, Grace was lying on the floor and Faith crawled over to her. I kid you not on this next part... Faith raised her hand (I thought Baby Smackdown 2007 was about to happen) and gently put it on Grace's forehead. Faith then removed her hand and lowered her head toward Grace's, where she softly placed her lips above Grace's eyes. She held her mouth there for a moment, then got up and moved onto chasing the cat.

Am I imagining things? Are they too young to do this kind of stuff? I guess it doesn't matter. It was so sweet and so perfect that I just don't care if Faith meant to do it or not. It brought tears to my eyes.

Here are some pictures of the kiddos for you...

Baby Body Slam! (And that's Faith, the small one on top of Grace)

Todd is teaching Devin to breakdance, which is what he is doing here. Fantastic. And yes, that's a Mickey Mouse blanket in my formal living room. If you can't be a kid once in awhile, what's the point in being a grownup? You should see my tribute to the Haunted Mansion at the end of my staircase. :)

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Going Down?

This weekend, I walked into the girls' room just in time to see Faith up on her knees, holding onto her crib aquarium. It scared me enough to have Todd lower her mattress from the highest notch to the middle. Grace's crib has high enough rails that if she were to pull herself onto her knees, her nose would barely be above the top, so I'm not so worried about her (yet -- it'll come).

But to me this was such a bittersweet step. My girls are really growing up. I know I had a hard time with Devin getting bigger, but I don't remember it being this hard. Maybe it's because they are so little, but to me, they are still infants, not mobile little people who recognize and crawl toward me. They are just so tiny. I keep commenting that having them crawling around the house is pretty much just like having another couple of cats around. I mean seriously -- I've had felines bigger than these girls.


I guess this is just a part of mommyhood, but if we can put a man on the moon, can't we find a way to make watching your kids grow up a little easier? I mean really...

Friday, February 16, 2007

In Response To Your Comment, Karen Blake, on February 14

I don't know if everyone else reads the comments that others leave (you're welcome to -- my life's an open book), but on my last post, dated February 14, 2007, good friend Karen Blake left a comment pointing out that I don't need a video camera because it's not like I would ever post the video anyway. Well here is my rebuttal.

Karen is a good friend of mine. She's been one of my best friends (was in my wedding, in fact) since the 10th grade. She's from up North and has a pretty thick skin (unless she's talking about her new-found love, Eck-Tor, then she turns to jelly. I knew she wasn't as tough as she made herself out to be). She'll tell you what's on her mind and won't sugar coat anything. Her candor and ability to say anything to anyone are the things I love most about her.

And because she has such a sharp tongue, it's often hard to "get her." You know what I mean -- not understand her, but rather get her.

But everyone once in awhile she slips up and someone gets the opportunity to point out a flaw or a fault in her argument.

Here is mine.

Butchy -- you've been a devoted follower of my blog for over a year now, posting comments and always contacting me to discuss things of true importance. You're an excellent friend. You always have been.

But I'm a little disappointed in your lack of recall of my blog. I'd like to point out a prior post to you. Please click here and read carefully, especially the paragraph just prior to the photos at the bottom.


You see, I have a video camera that I use often. But because I work on a Mac (Todd's an artist), our Sony DVD Cam does not upload properly to or through the computer, rendering it impossible to post video through any number of posting sites like VideoEgg or YouTube.

So there. doesn't happen often, but when I can beat Karen at her own game, it certainly feels good. That means the score, which has been kept since we were 15 years old, now stands at the following:



Have a great weekend...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Life in the Fast Lane

We've been having a rip-roarin' good time here at the Pruetz house. This weekend took us to Houston to see my parents and step-sisters (two of the four live in Kingwood near my parents). We arrived on Thursday and enjoyed spending time with Nana and Pa-Pa. That night, my step-sister Heidi, her husband Ross and their little boy, Luke, came over. Devin had an awesome time playing with Luke and they devised a new game with Pa-Pa in which they threw items into the swimming pool while Pa-Pa fished them out. I'm not sure Pa-Pa found it to be as fun as Luke and Devin did, but he was a good sport nonetheless.

Friday we took Devin down to the town of Kemah (KEE-muh) on Galveston bay. Kemah is not much to speak of as a town, but in the past few years, a traditional Coney-Island-style boardwalk has been built. There are lots of restaurants, shops and rides to play on.

Devin isn't much of a daredevil (contrary to his parents who love a good thrill) and we thought he wouldn't get on any of the rides. But lo and behold, he hopped right on. He rode the Ferris Wheel, the airplanes, the tower and the train. He played on the playground and even reached right in to pet a Stingray in the Stingray Reef. We ate lunch at the Aquarium, a restaurant built around huge fish tanks with sharks, rays, and all types of fish in them. We all had so much fun!

Later, just before we headed back to Kingwood, we stopped for ice cream. As Dad, Devin and I enjoyed our frosty treats, Todd decided to see if the girls would like a bite of frozen concoction.

Faith was unimpressed (as she usually is!), but when he laid a tiny bit on Gracie's tongue, the screetching started. Over and over again, Grace would take a bite of ice cream, swallow it and then proceed with flapping her arms and making lots of noise in request for another bite. It was hysterical. I wish I'd had my video camera. It was priceless.

That night was dinner again at Nana and Pa-Pa's house with Heidi, Ross and Luke and another step-sister, Amy.

Saturday morning, the Pruetzes and Pa-Pa headed to Beaumont. Beaumont is the town where my mom grew up and where my grandparents lived their entire lives. It's not a beautiful town and, in fact, was named the "Cancer Capital of the World" a few years back. But it holds a lot of good memories for me. My mom's parents were very special to me -- they were the ultimate grandparents, taking me places and always showering me with attention. I miss them very, very much, but it warms my heart to know that they are reunited with my mom in Heaven.

It had been nearly 11 years since I last went to visit Nana and Poppa's graves, so we made the trek to the cemetary to pay our respects. We also drove by their house -- the dream house they built when my mom was 17 -- and sat out front remembering countless good times. It was bittersweet and I am so glad I went.

When we returned to Kingwood that night, Todd and I got a special treat -- Dad and Jean babysat the kids while we went on a date! We went to the movies to see, "Hannibal Rising," (save your was horrible) and then to one of my very favorite restaurants, Pappa's Seafood. We sat at the bar first and had martinis and then dined on some of the best, freshest seafood in Houston. It was awesome and we felt like adults!

Sunday morning, Jean fixed a delicious brunch for all of us and we headed back to San Antonio. Thanks for the hospitality, Dad and Jean! We hope that you have recovered from the onslaught of loud children!

Here are home, things are going great. Faith is continuing to make strides in her crawling (pun not indended!). She's now figured out she can actually get to destinations and has even mastered crawling on the wood floors and the tile, despite having on jammies or some sort of leg coverings. We have to watch her like a hawk, too, because she can very easily go from a sitting position to a crawling position and be off like a shot!

Faith also pulled up yesterday. She only got herself up to her knees, but soon she'll figure out that from her knees she can get to her feet. Then it's only a matter of time before she starts to cruise and then walk. Oh boy...

Grace isn't quite as mobile as Faith yet, but she's working on it. Yesterday she managed to coordinate both arms and both legs and took her first real crawling steps. She hasn't learned to go from sitting to crawling yet, though, so she stays put when you set her down. But she watches Faith intently and I can see the wheels turning in her head. She'll be crawling around all too soon, I can tell.

So I am spending my days chasing after munchkins and making sure that Hot Wheels and other choking hazards are out of the way. Just one more thing to think about, I guess!

Today is Valentine's Day, which also means that it's Heather "ODUS" Russo's 31st birthday. I hope it sucks, ODUS. You stink.

(You've got to know Heather and my relationship to appreciate this humor. While we've been the best of friends since college and I was even maid-of-honor in her wedding, we communicate with hatred instead of love. It's all in good fun, even though Heather is easily the ugliest person I've ever met. :)

Happy Valentine's Day to all of the Pruetz family friends and family. Enjoy the love and spread it around...


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Crawlin', Crawlin', Crawlin'...'s happened. My babies aren't just scootching around on their tummies. They are movin' and groovin'.

Okay, the truth be told, only Faith is movin'. Grace is still doing a commando-type crawl and going backwards, but on Monday, Faith popped up on all fours, rocked back and forth as has been her recent custom and then suddenly starting moving forward with all four limbs in synchronization. Todd and Devin were working on something in the garage and I ran and got them for the spectacle.

Yes, I cried.

Grace is a little frustrated that her sister has become so adept at getting from one place to another, but she too is making her own advances. She now waves hello and goodbye (especially to the Monster, our cat) and this afternoon, as I was laying her down for a nap, she started to babble. Not just coo with her usual, "Oohs," and, "Ahhhs," but rather actually make word-like noises like, "Da-pa, do, gee, wah-tee." I could have sat and listened to it forever. It's like being this close (my thumb and pointer finger are really close together here) to having a conversation with her.

And now, without further ado, here are some photos of my favorite short people. Enjoy!

Here is Devin, all decked out to root for his favorite football team. Too bad they lost. Sorry Aunt Jill.

The girls, playing nicely. Enjoy it now, won't be like this for long

A personal favorite of mine (and future blackmail material for Gracie). This is the hazard that comes with a mobile child -- they tend to wiggle away from you before you are done with the task at hand (in this case, changing a diaper).

Thursday, February 01, 2007

General Pruetz Goofiness

I will admit, up front, that nothing special is happening around here. But I've gotten a few good photos of the girls in the past couple of days, so I thought I'd just go ahead and put them up and write about the not-so-exciting things going on in our lives.

Today is the first of the months, which marks the girls' monthly Synagis shots to help ward off RSV. So I piled Faith and Grace into the family van and headed to the Medical Center. While in the elevator, going up to the third floor, a woman stepped on with her newborn baby boy. She looked at my girls and said, "They're so cute! They are about the same size as my boy. Are they about two months, too?" I just laughed. It was funny to see her expression and the expressions of everyone else in the elevator when I said, "No, they're eight-and-a-half months."

I forget just how small they are for their ages.

At the doctor's office, we did get a weight check and Faith is weighing in at just over 14 lbs and Grace at just over 15 lbs. If I'm reading the chart correctly, that puts Faith still below the chart and Grace right around 5% (meaning that 95% of all babies her age weigh more than she does). So they're still little nuts.

But they are developing just fine! They're both pretty adept at sitting up, although if we put them in the living room rug, we often support them with the Boppies because under the rug is hardwood floor which hurts a LOT if toppling occurs.

The girls can also move! They both get up on all fours and rock back and forth, but now they're really starting to get around. Faith does in the inchworm method, where she moves both hands out in front of her at the same time and then drags her legs behind her. Grace hasn't quite gotten that yet, although she does go backwards very well. It's pretty funny, although it frustrates the heck out of her.

Devin has been living with the sniffles this week and we've kept him inside, wondering if it's allergies or an infection. So far, no fever (the thermometer read 99.5 today, but I think it may have been a fluke) and we're all getting pretty tired of having to entertain him all day without letting him go outside. I think he's ready to be paroled. I know I am ready for him to be paroled.

And finally, tomorrow, February 2, marks the one-year anniversary of our finding out that the girls were monoamniotic/monochorionic. In so many ways, this has been the longest year of my life and yet, in others, it's all gone so fast. I just remember the despair and devastation I felt as I called friends and family after my three hour ultrasound. It was horrible to have to report the news over and over again. Thiat was right around the time this blog became so important -- I hated rehashing and rehashing each detail over and over again, so I just doled out my blog address to everyone who asked.

I look at my angels now and think, "Holy cow -- look what you all have been through, and you're not only a year old." It's a daily lesson in faith and community to me and I hope to never forget everyone who helped bring my daughters into the world.

If I haven't said it in awhile...Thank you.

Here are some photos to make you smile. I know they have that effect on me.

Here is Faith "riding" Devin's battery-powered motorcycle, held up by Todd's mom, Dorothy. We love this photo because, no matter what she is doing, that's her expression. It's hysterical!

We gave Devin our old digital camera to play around with. We've gotten some fabulous shots of the camera strap, the floor, his thumb, and the ceiling. Notice the stains on his shirt -- he is all boy.

The girls playing with their newest toy (courtesy of Devin's old toy box). It's backwards this time, though, with Grace on the left and Faith on the right

I snapped this just because I thought Faith looked adorable, just sitting there, playing in her crib. She had just come from the tub and had that "fresh-picked baby smell."