Monday, November 26, 2007

Being Thankful

Yesterday I gave a recap of our Thanksgiving holiday, but I failed to mention all that I am thankful for.  

Friend, fellow blogger and mom of triplets, Casey, created a very special Thanksgiving post that I just loved.  I told her that I planned to copy her idea and here I am, doing just that.

First of all, I am thankful for my life -- God has granted me so much, despite the fact that I let Him down every day.  His unending love and desire to see me happy never ceases to amaze me or humble my heart.

I am thankful for Todd, who works very hard to give our whole family the good things in life.  We're not rich, but being rich doesn't equal happiness.  We are comfortable, are able to do the things we want to do, see the things we want to see and buy what we need, while all the while maintaining a lifestyle in which we are given the opportunity to count our blessings every single day -- and all of this is because of Todd's hard work.

I'm also thankful for the gift of laughter that Todd bring to my life.  I am thankful for the shoulder he always has for me to cry on or the ear he lends for me to bend.  I'm thankful for his kind spirit, his nurturing personality and his desire to lead our family toward our goals in life.

I am thankful for my sister, her family, my dad, my stepmom and my stepsisters and their families.  I am thankful for my friends, my neighbors, my community, my church and my faith.  I am thankful for my home, my cars and all of the luxurious things that the vast population of our world will never have.

But I want to take this opportunity to address each of my kids, both individually and together, and tell them how thankful I am for them, because without them, we would not be a family -- and family is the thing I am most thankful for.

All Three of You
I am thankful for...
  • Our days spent playing on the floor in the living room
  • Our nights upstairs in the hall, playing and acting silly
  • Our family dinner
  • Our bedtime prayers
  • Our silly songs
  • Our walks to school in the morning
  • Our trips to the Zoo, Sea World and other fun places
  • Your laughter and smiles

  • Devin
    I am thankful for...
  • The love only a first born can teach a mommy
  • Your desire to do the right thing
  • Your energy (even if it does make me crazy sometimes)
  • Your big, bright smile
  • Your enormous vocabulary and how beautifully you use it to express yourself
  • The heart-to-heart talks we can have together now that you're growing up
  • Your enthusiasm for learning
  • Your endless list of questions
  • The tears of happiness you bring to my eyes every single day

  • Faith
    I am thankful for...
  • That sweet face that still fools me into believing you couldn't possibly be up to something bad
  • Your shrill laughter
  • Your constant asking of "What's that?"
  • Your bold personality
  • Your girly attitude
  • Your desire to find every pacifier in the house and keep them as your own
  • How you snuggle your "babies" and rock them back and forth, just like I rock you
  • The tears of happiness you bring to my eyes every single day

  • Grace
    I am thankful for...
  • Your belly laugh
  • That funny, wailing, siren-like yell you do when you're ready to get out of bed in the morning
  • Your desire to get the heck away from Faith before she steals whatever you're holding and hits you upside the head with it
  • Your command to "Do it," when you want me or Daddy to demonstrate how something works
  • Your love of animals
  • Your quiet spirit and snuggly nature
  • Your command to be held (arms thrust upward with a grunt of, "UP!")
  • The tears of happiness you bring to my eyes every single day

  • From the Pruetz family to yours...

    We hope you have many things to be thankful for, both now and throughout the year.

    Sunday, November 25, 2007

    Thanksgiving Recap

    Holy smokes! What a Thanksgiving! This has been a fantastic holiday, with all the cheer and good times a holiday can bring. But with all of that comes a hectic schedule and one very tired Erin.

    Our Thanksgiving started on Wednesday afternoon with the arrival of my dad, his sister Peggy from Kentucky and their cousin Mary Lou from Chicago.  Todd, Devin, the twins and I were anxiously awaiting their arrival in the front yard on a beautiful, 85-degree day.  Welcome to winter in South Texas!

    Aunt Peggy had never met my girls before and the last time Mary Lou saw them, they were still in the NICU!  So it was a wonderful and fun meeting for us all.

    After a few moments here at my house, Dad, Peggy and Mary Lou made their way to my sister ZZ's house and later on we all joined up over there for a yummy spaghetti dinner.  Seven kids and six adults makes for one busy and loud meal!

    We retired back home where I did last minute preparations for the Turkey Day meal.  We got in bed fairly early and were awoken at 7:30 on Thanksgiving morning by Devin asking if it was time to eat turkey yet.  Ummmmm...a little longer, okay?

    So we began our morning pretty slowly, but around 10:30 things began to pick up as the family started to trickle in.  Dad broke out the scotch and ZZ and I imbibed in Port Wine and Sherry all day long.  A steady buzz was had by all.

    Overnight, the weather turned cold and the high temperature on Thanksgiving Day was only in the 40s -- a very big deal for South Texas.

    So we all stayed indoors all day long, watching football and alternately taking naps on the couch.  The kids ran around upstairs like feral children and finally, around 2:45, we sat down to a dinner of roasted turkey, homemade dressing, raspberry green beans, bourbon sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, brown-n-serve rolls, and cranberries.  It was all topped off by pumpkin and pecan pies after the kitchen was cleaned off.

    After such a long day, we weren't up for much more than just hanging around, which is just what we did.  

    On Friday we all went to lunch at a favorite local BBQ restaurant.  Afterwards, Todd took the twins home while the rest of us went to see Enchanted.  If you are a Disney fan (and you know I am!), this movie is for you.  It lampoons just about every Disney princess movie, as well as a couple of Dreamworks movies to boot.  And, in true Disney fashion, it ends with true love and happily ever after.

    Of course, Patrick Dempsy isn't hard on the eyes, either.  :)

    We got home in time to watch Texas A&M beat the pants off of the University of Texas -- a totally unexpected upset.  That night was pizza at ZZ's house and another early bedtime.

    Yesterday, ZZ's twins, Kaelin and Brendan, celebrated their 3rd birthdays with a party at Chuck E. Cheese.  The girls had a great time in the toddler area and Devin nearly mastered SkeeBall.  He's really good!  

    Dad, Peggy and Mary Lou left from there to go back to Dad's house in Houston and we all returned home for naps and a lazy day, as rain and 30-degree temperatures kept us from wanting to do much more than that.

    Today hasn't been much better in terms of weather, so we've all spent a good part of our day in our jammies and dining on Todd's yummy homemade tortilla soup.  It's our last day of the Thanksgiving holiday before going back to our regular schedule tomorrow.

    Usually, today is the day that we decorate the house for Christmas.  By now, we would have already gone out to the Christmas tree farm and cut down our own tree, but the rain and nasty weather have caused us to have to push this tradition back until next weekend.  The girls and Devin are all on the mend and doing much, much better, but we don't want to chance it.  Keeping them out of the cold weather can only do good.

    So, in contrast to my neighbors' homes, our house is decidedly undecorated.  I have a little bit of anxiety about this, since I'm usually putting up lights and garland before the Thanksgiving bird is even out of the oven, but I'm just going to have to hold tight and remember that while our normal decorations are not out, the one, ultimate decoration that I've been dying to purchase as arrived and is in place.

    Have you ever seen the movie A Christmas Story?  Of course you have...unless you're Tina Zimmerman.  Oh, and Tina --  I know you are reading this and I will kidnap you sometime this holiday season and force you to watch this flick.  M'kay?

    Anyway, what's the greatest decoration in that whole movie?  I mean, what, of everything in that house, stands out as the most stunning and unusual piece of decor you've ever seen?  

    The leg lamp, of course!

    And isn't it something that every home needs, especially around the holidays?  

    But of course!

    You guessed it, my friends.  Todd and I are the proud owners of a 45" reproduction of the leg lamp from A Christmas Story.  It arrived the day after Thanksgiving and within the hour, Todd had it assembled and in the front-and-center window of our home above our front door.  

    It's a thing of beauty and is already the envy of all of our neighbors.  I've been trying to get a good photo of it, but so far nothing has come out.  I'll keep trying, because this is a sight to behold, for sure.  Until then, check out the Red Rider Leg Lamp website.  

    And, in closing, I am  happy to say that I finally have access to all of the editing tools that everyone else has.  Our Mac has not been fully compatible with and therefore I have not been able to change font, sizes, colors or do any sort of formatting or block qouting.

    But we upgraded our operating system and Ta Da!  Eureka!  I've got it all!  Now I just have to figure it out all.  Thanks for bearing with me.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all and here's to a fabulous Christmas season.

    A Few Minutes Later

    Why won't this darn thing stop using the large font size letters?  Ugh...sorry for the inconsistency!  It's driving me crazy!  I think I like having no ability to format better than formatting tools that have their own minds!

    Monday, November 19, 2007

    The RSV Update

    Faith and Grace saw Dr. Trexler today for their 18-month check-up and for a check on their RSV status.

    After listening intently to their chests and backs, Dr. T said, "They're not wheezing at all. What you're doing is working!" She said that their nasal congestion, sore throats and ear infections (oh yes...ear infections on top of all of it) are very typical of RSV, but that the wheezing and oxygen intake are what we really need to be concerned about.

    She made it clear that we are not out of the woods yet, but was very happy to see the girls doing so well despite their diagnoses.

    So, for the moment I feel good. As soon as I hear one of them cough or something of the sort, I'm sure I'll go back into panic mode, but for this moment in time, I'm doing okay.

    Thanks for the continued prayers. More updates to come.


    Where Has the Pruetz Family Been?

    The better question would be where hasn't the Pruetz family been? I'll try to start from the beginning, without making this too lengthy.

    Last Thursday (not this past Thursday, but the one before), after school, Devin and Todd jetted off to fabulous Ames, IA to visit Aunt Jill in her stomping grounds. They went to the Iowa State football game (where they beat Colorado 28-21!), a wrestling match (that was Devin's idea), and generally had fun around the college town.

    Meanwhile, back here in San Antonio, the girls and I had a quiet Thursday night while I got the three of us ready for our weekend.

    The twins stayed here with my sister (bless her heart) while I flew to Houston on Friday afternoon for my friend, Bridget's wedding. Bridget and I were best friends in middle school and high school and while life has taken us in opposite directions for many years now, we've still remained close.

    Along with Bridget and me, our friend Karen was a major part of our lives our senior year in High School. You may know Karen from my comments -- she always signs with her last name, though...Blake. Surprise! Blake is a girl!

    Anyhoo...Karen lives in Houston where the wedding was taking place, and offered to house me and be my date to this fabulous event. She picked me up from the airport on Friday night and we went to her place to get ready for the rehearsal dinner.

    Karen lives alone in a condo that took me back to my days as a single woman in Dallas. It's a great place with a living room, dining room, kitchen and half bath down and two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a study upstairs. Very similar to the one I owned in the Big D and I immediately felt myself relaxing.

    The rehersal dinner was a lot of fun, as we reuninted with old friends, reconnected with Bridget's family (who were like a second family to me when I was younger) and had a generally great time.

    We retired early that night and woke up on Saturday morning and just hung out, catching up and relaxing. Karen went to the gym at 10:00 and I took a shower and got ready for the bridesmaids' brunch. I was finished getting fixed up, though, long before Karen was due home and I found myself wondering what to do with all of this time and quietness on my hands. It was bliss! I plopped myself into Karen's comfy living room chair and read my book. WOW! Alone, quiet and reading -- there's something I haven't done in years!

    Karen came home, got herself ready and we were off to the brunch. It was a lovely affair with incredible food and great company. The wine flowed like water, too, so by the time we got out of there, we all had pretty good buzzes.

    To keep the buzz going, we bought another bottle of vino and headed to Karen's favorite nail salon. Karen had her fingers and toes done while I had my toes done and my eyebrows waxed. Two hours later, we were looking fine!

    A trip home and a quick nap on the couch (to sleep off the afternoon's libations) and then we got ready for the big event.

    The wedding was held in a Cathedral-style church in Houston and was simply gorgeous. Bridget was just beautiful and the whole event was perfect. The behind-the-scenes bumps we were privvy to went unnoticed by all of the other guests.

    The reception was at the Houstonian hotel and club and was gorgeous. Ben and Bridget even provided a photo booth for guests to take photos in and then put out a scrapbook in which to paste your pictures and write a little note. It was too much fun and after a few glasses of wine, you can imagine the kinds of pictures that came out of there. :)

    The party ended around midnight, after quite a few rounds of dancing, and Karen and I returned to her house, exhausted. I fell asleep pretty early and managed to sleep through the night until 9:45 Sunday morning. There's something else I haven't done in years!

    We grabbed a bite to eat and hit Starbucks, but soon it was time to head to the airport where I said goodbye to Karen and thanked her over and over again for being such a gracious and wonderful hostess! It was an awesome time, indeed.

    I arrived back in San Antonio Sunday afternoon and that night, Todd and Devin flew in. Once again, the Pruetz family was back together and things went back to normal.


    Wednesday of last week, both girls woke up with a fever, so I did what I always do: Call the doctor's office at 8:00:01 and set up appointment for both of them that afternoon.

    Sure enough, it was strep and we were sent home with antibiotics for both. Seems pretty cut-n-dried, right?


    They woke up Thursday not feeling much better, but I didn't think much of it. Friday rolled around, though, and they were wheezing and coughing really, really badly. I called the doctor's office to get a recommendation on what I could give them to make them more comfortable, but I was told that due to their age, there was nothing more that I could do than a cool mist humidifier and the snot sucker. I threw in a few Xopenex nebulizer treatments for good measure and we headed into the weekend.

    Saturday, though, the wheezing wasn't any better. We spent plenty of time in a steamed-up bathroom, upped the nebulizer treatments and continued with the snot sucking and humidifier.

    But to no avail, as Sunday morning was even worse than Saturday morning. As the girls both had 20-minute continuing coughing fits, Todd and I looked at each other and said, "Something's wrong."

    So we paged the on-call doctor and she as alarmed to hear about the girls' condition and how it had escalated so quickly.

    Then she said something that nearly stopped my heart: "There's been an outbreak of RSV in the past few weeks. You need to get them to the ER as quickly as possible."

    For those who don't know, RSV is a virus that causes the common cold. It's pretty harmless, aside from making you feel miserable, in healthy people. But in babies who were born before 36 or 37 weeks, it can be deadly. Mothers pass antibodies that help their babies fight infections outside the womb, but RSV antiboties aren't transfered from mom to kiddo until fairly late in gestation, meaning that preemies lack any ability to fight the virus if they catch it. There is an RSV vaccine, which the girls got last year and will get this year, that gives those antibodies in a monthly shot. The shot is fairly new, though, and RSV is still a very scary thing for preemies.

    So the twins and I headed to the ER while Todd took Devin to the after hours pediatrician's office because we were sure he had gotten strep from the girls -- coughing, wheezing, fever, etc.

    We were triaged as soon as we got to the hospital and the girls were okay, aside from pulse-ox levels of 94 and 95. That's borderline, "Uh-oh," and the nurses decided to do the RSV test on them just in case.

    We were sent to the waiting room where we did just that -- we waited. And waited, and waited and waited.

    Three hours later, I went to the same triage nurse and asked if the RSV tests had come back. She told me that she could not tell me, that the doctor has to give me the results. She asked if I'd like to come have the girls' vitals taken again and I said that yes, that would make me feel better.

    So my two charmers went back behind the desk and, of course, everyone flocked around to say hello to them again. The nurse who was helping us this time was the same one who had administered the RSV test three hours earlier. She saw the look on my face and said, "I'm not technically allowed to give you the results of the tests, but let's just say that your girls won't be catching RSV here -- they'll be doling it out."

    And with that, my premature babies were diagnosed with the deadly RSV virus. They were scheduled to get their first RSV vaccination today at 2:50. We were 24 hours too late.

    After leaving triage, I got a call from Todd. Devin didn't have strep -- he had a sinus infection. And an even bigger surprise was the diagnosis of seasonal asthma. He was sent home with orders to see a pediatric pulmonologist and with three different steroids to get the problem under control.

    Todd and Dev drove to the ER and met the girls and I in the lobby. We waited another hour and were finally seen by the doctor. By this time, the babies' pulse-ox levels were at 98 and 99, which is significantly better and after a thorough examination, the girls were deemed "Pretty Good," despite their diagnosis.

    She said to keep a close eye on the girls, look for signs of respiratory distress and dehydration and to not hesitate to call if we had any questions.

    And with that, we were discharged. We are now doing nebulizer treatments every four hours, even at night, and hoping for the best.

    The girls are miserable. They cry constantly and are awake at night every hour or so. It's like having newborns again and I'm barely surviving on three hours of sleep. Devin, too, is miserable, and the Prednisone steroid that he's on is making him a bear to deal with. I'm just about at the end of my rope.

    Wanna hear the best part of the story? I have 17 people coming to dinner on Thursday.

    Any prayers you can spare are appreciated. The girls have their 18-month check-up today (the appointment when we should have been getting the RSV shot) and I'll post more after we see their doctor.



    Wednesday, November 07, 2007

    Get Out Your Kleenex...It's Time To Laugh

    I've actually gotten this as an email a couple of times now, but for those of you who haven't seen it, below is a link to the actual blog that produced what may be the funniest series of photographs and comments ever published.

    The language is a little much in places, but somehow the profanity seems to work. If you have kids who can read, you may want to make sure that they aren't peering over your shoulder while you're viewing this blog.

    Enjoy -- And if you think I'm kidding about needing're wrong.

    1977 J.C. Penny Catalog

    Tuesday, November 06, 2007

    Bath Time = Math Time

    Tomorrow, it will be two years since we found out that we were expecting Baby Pruetz #2, having zero inkling that we were also expecting Baby Pruetz #3. It's hard to believe how quickly it's gone.

    When the news came that we were pregnant with two, both Todd and I started to envision all of changes our life would take once we tripled the number of kids we had. More diapers, more bottles, more car seats, bigger strollers, another crib, more middle-of-the-night feedings, double the colic, etc...

    But, as those of you with mutiples know, you can never be fully prepared for the crazy things you will have to do to keep up with your brood.

    One of the things that I wasn't expecting what the quirkiness of bath time. In recent months, we've decided to bathe the girls together and then give Devin a bath separately, as the girls have recently learned the fun of standing in the tub (something we've unsuccessfully tried to stop) and Devin likes to play rough. You do the math -- it spells major trouble.

    So usually it's Todd and I tag-teaming with the kiddos, making sure everyone is supervised, washed, dried and jammied.

    Last night, though, Todd and Devin went on an excursion to hear Aunt Jill speak at her alma mater, Texas State University, so I was home alone with the babies. Bath time rolled around and it suddenly became apparent to me that this was not going to work without Todd's help.

    Not only do the girls have a tendency to stand up and walk around in the tub, but they also know how to climb in and out (and by climb, I mean get both legs over the side and plop down with a thud and a splash), so I quickly questioned what was going to happen with the baby who wasn't being bathed while I was getting the other one ready for bed.

    I could just see Gracie falling, fully clothed into the tub while I had Faith up on the changing table, diapering her bottom and so forth.

    So I actually had to lock one baby out of the bathroom while the other one was being bathed. Then, once that one was clean and ready to have her jammies put on her, I had to close the bathroom door so the roaming baby wouldn't wander while I was busy in the nursery.

    Then...switch babies and do it all again.

    Nope, it's really no big deal. Granted, bathing them one at a time take a bit longer, but it's really not an issue. It's just so funny how many things I would have never anticipated being an issue with twins. I guess you just adapt as you go...

    Friday, November 02, 2007

    Devin's Doozie

    Lately, Devin has become very expressive toward me, thanking me over and over again when I do something for him (I bought him a new pair of Crocs this week and you would have thought I had just handed him a check for a million bucks).

    He's also become very thankful for the meals I cook.

    "Mom, you make the best tacos!"
    "Mom, this is the best pot roast in the whole city!"

    Every meal comes with some statement like this. I can't say I mind it!

    So tonight, Todd called on his way home from work and I said, "Hey -- it's Friday. Why don't you get a pizza on the way home?" He agreed and when Daddy got home, we all dined on pizza.

    Afterwards, Devin turned me and said:

    "Mom! You make Daddy get the best pizza!"

    Thursday, November 01, 2007

    The Halloween That Wouldn't End

    I can't believe we finally made it to November 1. I was really starting to wonder if we were ever going to get past All Hallow's Eve!

    I went to Halloween Bunco last Thursday night and dressed up for that. The big festivities started last Saturday, the 27th, though, when our across-the-street neighbors had their annual Halloween party. Costumes are not optional for this party and this group of friends never fails to impress. The kids came as the usual characters -- super heros, witches, a vampire, a princess, etc.

    But it's the adults who really get into the occasion. Here's a run down of who was who:

    Next-door neighbors, Gina and Guy:
    Pimp and Prostitute

    Guy's costume was so disturbing, I couldn't have a conversation with him. It creeped me out that much. Check out the mustache and beard -- he worked on it for an hour! It's even worse in person.

    Party Host and Hostess, Elena and Kurt:
    Britney and K-Fed

    Photo to come!

    Other Next-door neighbors, Billy and Lisa:
    Bexar (pronounced Bear) County Jail Inmates

    Billy is a Lieutenant for the SAPD, so the orange jumpsuits were real. Billy and Lisa also decorated themselves with homemade tattos, including tattoos on their knuckles. Billy's read, "COLD BEER" and Lisa's read, "HGTV" and "WAMU" (stands for Washington Mutual where Kurt just started a new job).
    Here they are with their son, Dillon.

    Across-the-street neighbors, Susan and Duke:
    A doctor (Susan) and University of Texas Football Fanatic (Duke...which he is)

    Photo to come!

    And finally, us.

    You have to understand that Halloween is a huge deal in our family and we work on our costumes dilligently for weeks. The kids were easy - a ninja for Devin, Tinkerbelle for Faith and Minnie Mouse for Grace.

    But Todd and I are expected to come up with something very original.

    Since Todd works at a scientific research institute, he thought it would be appropriate to go as a Nutty Professor/Wacky Scientist. He nerded it up really well with things like dorky glasses and bubba teeth.

    I was Tropical Storm Erin.

    Back in August, a tropical storm, deemed "Erin" by the Big Wigs at the National Weather service, rolled through Texas and dumped inches upon inches of rain around here. It flooded out dozens of South Texas areas and FEMA has been here ever since, helping out those whose houses and lives all but floated away. The storm made news nationwide, but I wouldn't expect anyone who's not from around here to remember it.

    But in San Antonio, Tropical Storm Erin is still a weekly, if not daily, headline.

    And costume was born. I'm wearing Todd's Hawaiian shirt in this picture, so I look like about as wide as a linebacker!

    I'm very proud of my costume because I came up with it all on my own. I live with the world's most creative person and the creative ideas I do come up with are usually trumped by Todd's. But this time, I did it all on my own. :)

    So Saturday was a fun night. The girls pooped out early, but we still got in some good party time.

    Sunday rolled around and ZZ, our friend Erin and I threw a family Halloween party. Kids and parents alike came to play musical chairs, bob for apples and show off their costumes. It was a blast and we're already looking forward to the 2nd Annual 2 Erins and a ZZ Halloween Party.

    Monday was our MOM'S Club trick-or-treating event at the local assisted living home, so all three kids were dressed for that big event, as well.

    Tuesday was Devin's Pre-K Halloween party. It was the last hour of school and I took the girls (sans costumes this time) to join the revelry. Faith and Grace had a great time playing with the toys in Devin's classroom and Devin loved having Mommy there to show off his skills (cutting, gluing, etc...).

    Stick the Nose on the Pumpkin


    And, finally, Wednesday was the big event. Todd came home early from work and we ate our usual Bacon-Lettuce-Tomato sandwiches for dinner. The kids donned their costumes and I took the girls out for an early round of trick-or-treating. I knew they didn't know the difference, but I thought it would be fun anyway, even if it were only for a couple of houses.

    20 minutes. One house. We returned home.

    The babies kept sitting down on the sidewalk, playing with stuff they found on the ground or running back to Daddy in the front yard. Next year for sure, though...

    So once we returned, Devin and Todd took off with some of the neighbors to go begging for candy while the girls and I stayed home handing out candy. It was great fun, as we had the front door open with a doggie gate placed in the doorway to keep the girls inside. We had spooky music playing and we had an excellent turn out with lots of little goblins showing up for their free yummies.

    Devin and Todd returned around 8:00 and after dumping his candy on the living room floor to sort it out, we finally got Devin into the bath and into bed.

    So, if you're counting, that's 3 costumed events for me, 2 for Todd, 5 for Devin and 3 for each twin. I would say that we definitely got our money's worth out of all of our get ups.

    Here are a few pictures for you. Additional photos to come (we never take our camera anywhere because, again, it's too darn big!).

    Gracie as Minnie Mouse (she wanted nothing to do with the ears)

    Faith as Tinkerbelle

    Ready to go trick-or-treating

    Why are you out there while we're still in here?

    Ninja boy, Devin

    Sorting through the loot